Saturday, December 27, 2008

Family Portraits

With all the family in town, we thought it would be a good idea to get some pictures made. We did the kids one day and the family the next. With the exception of Lizzie taking a nose dive out of her little chair, everything went pretty well, and we were all able to agree on the poses we liked. Ryan and I also had a picture of our new family made, which I really love. Clayton looked so big standing on a stool next to me. He was very cooperative, which was a great help.

Visiting Santa

We took Clayton and Eli to the mall to see Santa last week. Eli was two weeks old, and Santa said he was his youngest customer yet. Clayton waltzed right up there without a care in the world. I know it looks like he's moving away from Santa, but honestly, he was just lounging in Santa's big chair. Clayton always likes to get comfy. Eli was insisting on clawing at his face, so he had to be restrained by Santa. Overall, the picture was a success.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Just had to share

So Clayton has been in a "I'm not going to do anything for my parents unless it's my idea" phase for a while. This has translated to months of refusing to even glance in the direction of a camera, which is probably why I'm so bad about taking pictures lately.

Well last night he was all smiles (for about one minute), and I was able to get my first really good picture of the boys together.

Too bad Eli was asleep, but he looks pretty cute too.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Eli's First Bath at Home

From last week:
Not happy.

All done.

The final product.

Eli at Home

Everything here is going well. We've been home for a week and a half now, and time is flying. Eli is doing very well. He had his first doctor's appointment last Friday, and he's gaining on Clayton already. At discharge Eli weighed 7lbs, 2oz. That was Sunday. By Friday he was up to 7lbs, 9oz. Of course there's probably some scale variance, but he's definitely gaining. Everything else looked and sounded great, and the doctor said to come back in two months. With Clayton the doctor usually said to come back in two days, so I don't know how I'll survive two months.

My mom has been here since Eli was born and will stay through Christmas, which is a huge blessing to our family with Ryan's busy schedule. My dad was in to meet Eli this weekend, and we all had a good time. We were all able to attend church together on Sunday. Clayton had been suffering from some "nursery anxiety" earlier this fall, but he waltzed into the nursery willingly for the second time, and that makes Sundays so much more enjoyable. The rest of us are still laughing over the church preschool's performance of We Wish You a Merry Christmas. Oh my goodness! There was one little boy who was absolutely hilarious, and the program will not soon be forgotten by the congregation. I really hope to send Clayton to this preschool next fall, and I can't wait to see him up there singing.

This week Mom and I are busy preparing for our big family Christmas. We're having Grandmother and Granddad, Mom and Dad, Meghan, Luke, and Lizzie, Pamela, and Aunt Janice and Uncle John, plus our family. We've been busy planning the menu and the schedule. I can't wait to see everyone and have them all meet Eli. Clayton will love having so many men in the house and will most likely spend the week conning men out into the freezing cold to play with a ball of some type.

I'm not the greatest about taking pictures, but here are a few from our new family.

Arriving at home for the first time on a very chilly afternoon.

Loving the swing.

Tough love from Clayton.

Zeitler boys.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

We're Home!

I just wanted to give a quick update to say that we all made it home yesterday. The official review of Eli's echo came back, and all structures looked age appropriate. The pediatrician gave him a clean bill of health, and we were discharged late in the afternoon. Unfortunately, we managed to get discharged without my pain medicaton prescriptions. Ouch! Of course I realized this about two minutes down the road, so we turned around, and Ryan was able to run in and get that straightened out.

Eli slept most of the evening, so he was ready to be held and fed most of the night. Luckily we were able to get a few hours of sleep this morning. Today Eli has been a very easy baby.

We are soaking up all of the experiences we never got with our other children. Clayton is loving Eli. He constantly wants to hug and kiss on him, sometimes more than Eli wants. Although we feel like the luckiest parents in the world, it's hard not to imagine what it would be like to have our three boys at home. We sure are missing Colin these days.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Eli's Big Day

First of all, thank you to everyone for your prayers for this baby. This has been a very stressful pregnancy, and we are so grateful for Eli's safe arrival.

We arrived at the hospital at 5:30am to check in for the c-section, scheduled at 7:30am. Neither of my previous two c-sections were not anywhere close to on time, so I was surprised when they took me to the OR at 7:10. I have a history of nausea with anesthesia, and after some unpleasantness, the procedure started at 7:30am. Eli was born at 7:39am. Previously there have been no less than 20 people in the OR with us, everyone running around frantically. Today was different. I think there were about six people in there with us, and there were Christmas carols playing in the background. Everyone was calm and excited, such a nice change.

Shortly after his arrival, Eli went to the nursery, got a little bit of oxygen after possibly inhaling a little amniotic fluid, got a bath, and then he and Ryan were able to join me in my room. What a different experience for us. After a few minutes a nurse came in to let us know they were ready in the nursery for Eli's first echo cardiogram. A little later the pediatrician came by to say he had reviewed the echo, and although he was not a cardiologist, he felt everything was structurally normal. The scan is now being sent to Clayton's cardiologist for his official review. I'll admit that I'm still nervous about Eli's health, but so far everything is looking great. He's been a pretty sleepy guy today, but we're hoping he'll take in a little more food tomorrow.

Clayton spent the day with a friend today, and Ryan brought him up to the hospital for a few minutes this evening to meet his little brother. He was so excited to see the baby. He and Eli sat on Ryan's lap for a long time. Then Nan was able to take Clayton home for the night while Ryan stayed at the hospital with me.

This morning Eli still looks great. Ryan is taking Clayton to our squadron's children's Christmas party, and Nan and I are here at hospital together. The c-section recovery is going as well as possible. You really know what to expect the third time around, and I feel like I know what I should and shouldn't do at this time.

Thanks again for all your prayers.


Eli Jacob Zeitler
December 5, 2008
7lbs, 13 oz
18.75 inches

So far, so good. More to follow.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Advent Naughtiness

Growing up in Germany, my parents always bought us advent calendars after Thanksgiving. These calendars have a little piece of chocolate behind a numbered door, and you open a door everyday in December to count down to Christmas. When we came back to the states we were still able to get these calendars from the commissary, but they were perhaps left over from the year before, as the state of the chocolate was usually questionable.

Last month my parents took a trip to Germany and brought back a real (and very fresh) advent calendar for Clayton. I meant to get it out on the first of the month, but I forgot. While Clayton was napping yesterday I remembered it, unwrapped it, and set it on the hearth, thinking I'd show it to him after dinner. Dinner came and went, and Ryan and I were still sitting at the table talking when I realized it was definitely too quiet in the living room.

Apparently it didn't take much for a two year old to realize there was chocolate in this new decoration. I walked into the living room, and Clayton immediately took something out of his mouth, shoved it into a door (#17) on the calendar, and dropped the calendar on the hearth. Then he looked up at me with a sneaky little grin, his cheek smudged with chocolate.

This is definitely not the first time advent "naughtiness" has occurred. I remember many Christmases when certain children in our family ended up with mysteriously missing chocolates toward the end of the month. I guess Clayton is just continuing in the tradition. For now, the calendar will be safely kept up on the kitchen counter.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Decorating Time

Decorating for Christmas the day after Thanksgiving was always my family's tradition when we were growing up. Seeing as I'm scheduled to have a baby next week, we decided this was definitely a good day for decorating. My feet have grown incredibly huge in the last few days, and I was so tired early in the day, so I decided I really needed a nap before I'd be up to decorating. I slept for a little while, and when I got up, most of the house was done. My wonderful husband had drug all the decorations out of the attic and set up almost everything. He left the tree because I really love decorating the tree every year. We put Clayton down for a nap and did the tree together. Clayton was so excited to see it completely decorated when he got up. He spent about five minutes showing me every colored ball on the tree. He also immediately found an ornament he received from GiGi last year that has Scooby driving a snow plow. Within a few minutes that ornament had to move higher up on the tree.

Tonight Ryan and I sat around by the light of the Christmas tree and several lit strands of garland, listening to Christmas music and enjoying this little time of peace before the new baby arrives. One week to go. Healthy is our only prayer.

Waiting for that third baby.

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! We hope everyone had a great holiday, and more importantly, we hope you had a lovely feast. We were so blessed host Thanksgiving at our house this year. Ryan's training schedule and the baby mandated that we stick close to home this year. Several of our classmates were in the same situation, so a group of us got together to celebrate. We had eight adults and two toddlers and tons of food.

The ladies got together last week, and we divided all the cooking among us. I made one dessert on Wednesday and threw together two casseroles Thursday morning, and that's all I had to do. It was great. The group came over early in the afternoon. The ladies got all the food together while the guys entertained the kiddos in the backyard. It was a gorgeous 65 degrees, and the kids had a blast. We ate at about 5:00. Clayton was a big turkey fan. He ate a little sweet potato casserole, a little mashed potatoes, and a ton of green beans, his favorite. After dinner the guys did most of the clean up, for which I am forever grateful. Then there were marble brownies, pie, and ice cream. Yum!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Cardiology Visit

We had Clayton's six month cardiology check up this morning. Getting vitals is always a challenge, and today was no exception. After that apparently traumatic experience, Clayton did great. He had an EKG, and he actually assisted the nurse in the placement of his stickers. Getting the stickers off is usually painful, but he did really well, and didn't even really complain until the last sticker or two. The cardiologist listened to him for a while and decided we could skip the echo today. That makes me a little nervous, but at the same time, it means he sounded really good, and there's no real need to check that tricuspid valve, which has been our main concern during this Glenn period.

We spent the majority of the time discussing Clayton's weight, or lack of weight. In the past month Clayton has been experiencing a lot of acid reflux, which has done nothing for his weight gain or appetite. Our pediatrician is currently in the process of getting us in with a GI doctor, and the cardiologist agreed it was needed. He said he would look forward to hearing any GI recommendations. Hopefully they will be able to find the cause of the reflux and help us with some weight gain. I'm getting so frustrated. Sometimes I actually find myself regretting not getting the g-tube placed when Clayton was an infant.

Other than that, Clayton's doing great. We talked a little about the new baby, and he said just to call him if we have any concerns after the baby is born. Then he said he'd see us back in six months and that we'd be in touch over the GI concerns.

Have I mentioned how much I love this cardiologist? We've met a lot of pediatric medical professionals in the last few years. You wouldn't believe how many don't make any effort to show they actually like kids. It takes a special person to be a doctor and have good bedside manner, but it takes an extra special doctor to have good bedside manner with a frightened two year old. This guy is always so friendly and compassionate. He really does a great job of distracting Clayton and making him feel a little more relaxed. Everytime I leave his office I'm so grateful for Ryan's assignment here, and for the string of people that led us to find this doctor.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Pumpkin Patch

It's that time of year, and I was really dreading chasing a toddler all over one of the many big pumpkin farms around here. Luckily I drove by a local church that had a mini pumpkin patch fundraiser. It was perfect. Clayton and I went over there this morning. I had visions of sweet pictures of Clayton in the pumpkins. Clayton had visions of running free, playing in old splintered crates, and pushing around wheel barrows. These days it's hard to even get a glance at the camera, especially when we're outside. At least I got a couple of shots to prove that I did in fact take him to see some pumpkins, and you can tell he had a really great time.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

News from our Family

I just realized that my first real post included some pictures of me, obviously expecting a baby. It's true. Ryan and I have been hesitant to spread the word, as we've been very nervous about the health of this baby, but surprise to all who didn't know... I'm expecting a baby, due December 15th. This baby is one of the most viewed babies of all time, and so far everything is looking as it should. I've had four fetal echocardiograms now, and they all appear to show a healthy, four chamber heart. I'm always cautious, as these defects are easily missed, and sometimes the angle or shadows on the ultrasound can mask things, but so far, so good. Each echo and ultrasound have also shown this baby to be a BOY, so that's three boys for us! I have sadly come to the conclusion that I may never get to buy anything pink for myself, so I've been busy buying up all the pink for my niece Lizzie. My doctor is planning another c-section around the 5th of December, so we'll keep you posted. We are very excited to add a new baby to our family, and I think we'll both breathe a sigh of relief when the baby arrives safely and passes his first echo on the outside.

Our Trip to Aggieland

Two weekends ago we were able to get down to Aggieland to see our Aggies lose to Kansas State. We went into the game with low expectations, so we weren't really too disappointed. Besides spending a lot of time with family, we got to spend game day with many of our classmates and their families. We had such a great time catching up at a wonderful little house the T family rented just across the street from Kyle Field. Ryan and I determined that taking Clayton to the game would just be punishment for us, so he stayed with Aunt Meg and Uncle Luke and helped babysit Cousin Lizzie. Then we picked him up so he could join in the post game festivities.

Here is myself, Kalli, and Candace. We're all expecting babies in December, within ten days of each other.

We're not really sure when these guys are due.

Ansleigh gave Clayton his first kiss!

I don't think he minded!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Moving to the Blog

In the interest of making things easier, I've decided that Clayton's website should be converted to a family blog. I think I will be able to update it more often, and hopefully this will inspire me to post a few more pictures. Blogging looks to be a great way to keep our friends and family updated on the events of our lives, and I hope you enjoy reading our updates. I'm a little sad to lose some of the content from our old website, but we have it saved in numerous places on our computers, and I think I'm probably the only one who looks back on old posts anyway. Maybe I'll include bits and pieces here and there to remind us of where we've been and how far we've come.

Thank you to those who have followed Colin and Clayton's websites from the beginning. Your love still means so much to our family.