Thursday, October 20, 2011

3 years and counting....

October 11, 2008-the day that changed my life forever. The day Justin let me be his better half FOR LIFE. The day I married my best friend and really starting living. In short, one of the best days of my life!

Justin and I just celebrated our third wedding anniversary and even though we now are responsible for two small children, the day was just as special as the actual day we got married. Of course we had to work and our anniversary was on a boring Tuesday but it was still special. My only wish for this year was that Justin had to plan how we would celebrate and he would have to suprise me and what a suprise it was.

We celebrated our anniversary the Saturday following our actual anniversary. The night started with dinner. PF there any better Chinese food out there?!? Dinner was amazing. Of course I had my usual but for some reason, it tasted better than normal (perhaps because it is definitely not part of my weight watchers eating plan)! Then Justin and I hopped over to the Funny Bone in Virginia Beach and saw Eddie Griffin. He was funny (as expected) and the Funny Bone actually has some great comedians coming to town, so we might just be frequenting that side of the water a little more in the future. The night was relaxing, child free, stress free, and exactly what we needed. Justin and I had the chance to be a married couple and enjoy eachother's company but I must say I missed my little men and was happy to see their smiling faces on Sunday morning. So our anniversary was great and I am sure next year it will be even better!

Some pictures from our special day:

Until next time....

Two months!

So Colin is now two months and had his two month appointment this past Tuesday. He now weighs 11lbs12oz, is 23inches long/tall (I say it that way because he's not standing yet, so long seems more appropriate) and the nurse said his brain is growing perfectly (head size 15 3/4inches). The doctor examined him and said he's "perfectly proportioned" and was shocked to find out he has almost rolled over. The other day while I was in the kitchen and Justin was hanging with the boys, he said if Colin had sneezed, he would've rolled over. So hopefully any day now he'll do it!

Sleeping is getting a little bit easier on all of us. I like to call Colin our little night owl because he stays up most nights as late as Justin and I do. Most nights he fights sleep and finally succumbs around 9:30 or 10:00pm. This is taking some adjustment on my part because we have had two years of being spoiled by Ethan going to bed at 8:00pm AT THE LATEST! But finally this morning Colin slept until 5:00am (after falling asleep at 10:00pm). It felt great getting up so "late" to feed him and I am really hoping the trend continues. What has also helped the sleep situation is that since I returned to work, Justin and I have been doing a great job of turns on who gets up with Colin. So every other night I get to sleep all night! While I love my bonding time with Colin all alone during his middle of the night/morning feeding, I also love my sleep. I know it won't always be like this, so I'm just soaking it up as much as I can!

Take a look at what the little man looks like these days:

Until next time...

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Catching up!

I know, I know...where have I been? What have I been doing? And most importantly, why have I not been blogging? Well since Justin is at work and NOT doing school work, I can finally catch up on the life and times of the Mandell's.

We took our (what's becoming annual) beach trip with the family to Sandbridge Beach and had the best time! Ethan had a better time this year than he did last year. This year we were able to get him used to the sand which was a task and I am hoping next year we won't have to go through the same dramatics like we did this year. Colin did not really do much but eat and take extended naps, but really that's what was expected of the little guy who turned 4 weeks old while we were there. We also had a chance to hang out with tons of family, eat some great meals, and while the time in the sun was limited it certainly was nice to just get out of town for a little bit and relax as much as possible.

Colin hanging by the pool

 Three of the four dudes
Ethan testing out the sand

We really had a great time and are so fortunate to have family that provides these great vacations for us. Our hope is to one day be able to be the ones providing the vacation for the family.

The boys also had some check ups this past month. Ethan had his two year check up. He is in the 90th percentile for his weight and 80th for height. All I can say is he has come a long way. When he was born he was below the 50th percentile for both so he has grown a lot and it has been awesome to watch. I can now have conversations with my little dude, he can tell me how he's feeling, and we can enjoy bundles of laughs together. It really does put into perspective how time flies. I feel like just yesterday we were painting his bedroom and now he's his own person telling me what he likes and what he doesn't like.

Colin went in for his four week check up and he has become such a little ham. He actually put on almost three more pounds. He also has already grown two more inches. He's definitely going to be our big boy. Hopefully he doesn't push around his older brother too much :) We are still getting to know the ins and outs of our newest little guy and so far we've decided we are going to keep him (insert laugh here)! He really is a great baby and it's amazing how similar he is to his older brother but how different he is at the same time. Maybe it's because we have already gone through the newborn stage so we knew what to expect and we aren't over analyzing everything like we did with Ethan. He's still not sleeping through the night yet but that's expected and we are actually about to test him out in his crib for the first time tonight. The crib will be in our room for a little while but it's time for him to get acclimated to sleeping on his back, in his own bed, and hopefully (soon) through the whole night.

I also went back to work this past month. This is my second week back and honestly I do not even feel like I left. I was gone for 7 weeks and it flew by like you would not believe. Things are the same at work and honestly, I do not mind. I love being at home with my children, but I am also the type of person who needs things to do throughout the day so working is a welcome change to napping and watching reruns of CSI (well not the napping part). Justin also had something big happen. He went back to school and started classes! He's been working diligently and we are so proud that he had taken this step in his life. He's really just too smart and this is a welcomed step in the right direction
for him. So congratulations Justin, we love you, and we know you're going to do great!

Here are some more recent pictures:

Until next time...

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Goodnight, Irene!

So in case you had not heard, the eastern seaboard just went through a hurricane. Thankfully she was not as bad as expected for Hampton Roads and thankfully we only lost power for 3 hours (4 days AFTER the storm). Just as a precaution, the boys and I decided we would head for Lynchburg to escape the potential flooding, wind, and darkness of the storm. So on Friday we made our way out of Hampton Roads and headed to Lynchburg.

The trip was not as smooth as I had hoped it would be, but six hours and four stops after we started, we were in the Burg and enjoying a somewhat laid back weekend. There was one minor speed bump along the way (as there always seems to be when trying to rush to get packed and get out of nature's path). Ethan ended up in the ER early Saturday morning but has made a full recovery. Looking at the picture I have from this trip, one would think he was there for the horrendous scratch/carpet burn on and around his nose (from falling off the bed), but really he was there for an asthma attack/acute bronchitis. In the rush to get away, I forgot his nebulizer and of course he would have an attack when I did not have his medicine handy. We were there for about four hours but he is fine now! Below are some pictures from our adventure:

Notice his nose: this is why he doesn't sleep in the bed with us!

GG reading to the Big Guy hoping to calm him down since he gets amped up once he has his breathing treatment

Now having two children makes things more difficult when I have to do things like this (take one to the ER) so thankfully since Justin did not make the trip with us, my dad was able to stay with Colin so we did not have to take him to the ER. We took Ethan to the ER at about 4:00am so my dad got some quality time with our little prince.

In case you wanted to know what Colin looks like at 4am below is what he looks like that early (or late depending on how you look at things)!

As the weekend went on, we were glued to the TV watching TWC and reports about Hurricane Irene. Our house was spared, our electricity was saved, and the three of us got some quality time in with my parents. It was a good weekend and we are now gearing up for Beach Week Madness starting this Saturday. Below are some more pictures from the weekend (enjoy):

Colin looking lovingly at his grandfather, perhaps saying "thank you" for taking care of him while Ethan was at the hospital

Colin sacked out early Sunday morning

Ethan relaxing--cruising for chicks around Lynchburg

Ethan at Amazement Square--his second visit! This time his Peepa took him and he had a great time!

Ethan at Amazement Square hanging in the Bug exhibit

Ethan at Amazement Square milking some cows

Until next time...

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Living the life!

So we are now in our second week with two children in the house and I have to say so far it's not all that bad. A week ago I did not feel the same since I was in so much pain and I was not used to waking up during the night to feed a newborn (Ethan slept through the night at 4 months)but it has gotten easier. Ethan has calmed down a great deal now that it's just the four of us and (I think) he's really liking having a brother. He helps with almost everything. He likes to observe diaper changes, he will sit with us during feedings, and he tells us daily that Colin needs a bath ("Colin bath, Colin bath..."). Right now Colin is too small for the big bath or to be in his bathtub in the big bath but I know when we transition him to the big tub, Ethan will have the greatest time!

All in all Colin is completely different than Ethan was at the newborn stage. They look alike but their temperaments are completely different. Justin never really got to see the "bad" side of Ethan so he doesn't remember the uncontrollable crying and fits Ethan used to give me during maternity leave so it is like a breath of fresh air that Colin really doesn't display his emotions yet. Yes, he does cry when I take to long getting his bottle ready or when he gets cold from the baby wipes, but all in all, he's quiet and just goes with the flow, and just observes what is going on (hello baby Justin). If I had to sum our children's personalities up, I would say Ethan is like me (God help us) and Colin is like Justin. Maybe it will change and maybe it won't, only time will tell.

One downside of last week was the our car (which we bought in May) was in an accident. Thankfully Justin and Ethan were not hurt, but my poor car did suffer some damage. It's in the shop now being repaired and I hope to have to back by next week. Apparently it is requiring a 10-day fix so it should be just like new again. It was new in May... 

Below are some pictures of the damage:

So as you can see, we are lucky that no one was hurt and the damage can be fixed.

Now here are some more enjoyable pictures of our boys:

A picture of the boys side by side (Colin looks small but at one point Ethan was even smaller than Colin is here)

Little brother telling big brother to "shhhhh"

Ethan at Kyleigh's birthday party

Colin at Kyleigh's birthday party

Monday, August 15, 2011

He's here!

Well it finally happened! Colin McCabe Mandell is here! It seemed like we had been waiting forever, but our newest addition has arrived and what an amazing day it was! Since Ethan was born via cesarean section, we decided to have Colin in the same fashion. The risks outweighed the benefits and we decided it was not worth the risk especially when it came to putting the little man's life in potential jeopardy.

The day started early for us. We had to be at the hospital by 6am. Because I did not want to just show up right after rolling out of bed, I decided to wake up early (4:50am) and shower and get make sure I was clean for the big day. My parents stayed at our house so they could take Ethan to school and make sure he was taken care of while Justin and I were away. We got everything packed and were out the door.

After arriving to the hospital, I was admitted, hooked up to an IV, and then sat there patiently waiting for the my doctor to show up and for things to really get started. When I had Ethan I had an epidural and for Colin's delivery they were going to do a spinal which was explained to me as one shot of numbing medication in the back and not a continuous numbing agent like an epidural. Either way I was terrified as I know the risks of both and just was dreading the needle being put in my back (as I am sure any person would be). BUT of course things did not go according to plan (it seems like for us it never does). Since I was taking baby aspirin to help keep preeclampsia/eclampsia at bay, I could not have an epidural or a spinal as the anesthesiologist feared I might develop a clot in my spinal cord which could result in paralysis. So we were given two alternatives: wait five more days to have Colin or I could be complete asleep for the procedure. My doctor did not want me to wait another five days so we decided to have me go completely under and deliver the baby without me being awake to remember doing so. With this option, Justin would not be allowed in the room, I would not be able to hear Colin crying for the first time, I would not able to be the first person to hold him, and when it was time to wake up I would feel as though I was hit my a ton of bricks and be in the worst pain OF MY LIFE! Sounds awesome doesn't it?

Once the decision was made to be asleep for the whole procedure, everything seemed to speed up and in no time Colin was here. He was born at 9:15am. He weighed 7lbs 2oz, was 19 3/4 inches long, and was completely perfect. Justin was able to see him right after he was born and he was even able to feed him about 20 minutes after he was born.  Our little guy came out hungry and has been the same way ever since! Colin is completely different than Ethan with regards to a sleeping schedule and formula intake. When Ethan was born it was hard to get him to eat and keep it down and we joke that Colin ate more in one day than Ethan ate in a week. He eats ALL of the time and as long as he is keeping it down, we don't mind. He also (so far) has been really great with sleeping. Of course we are going to bed later, but I consider it a success when a 4 day old newborn sleeps from 1:30am-6:00am instead of being up every two hours like Ethan was. So below are some pictures of our little guy and if you has followed the pictures of Ethan since he was born, the boys are very similar and I couldn't be happier!

Colin McCabe Mandell

The 3 boys

The birthday boys

My first time feeding Colin

Ethan giving his little brother a kiss

Gigi with her two boys

Colin with his grandpa (Peepa)

Little man wide awake

Until next time...

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Our last weekend

So this weekend marks our last weekend with only one child and Ethan's last weekend as an only child. It's hard to believe the time is finally here when we will be adding a fourth to our family of three. While it's exciting it's also nerve racking and I'm a little worried about it. I am worried because we have been living so comfortably in our routine for two years and now our routine will have to change not only for Justin and I but also so Ethan. I am sure at the beginning it will be hard but just as we became accustomed to Ethan's needs and set his schedule, we will be able to do the same for both boys.

Friday also marked my last day of work for awhile and it is going to feel weird but good to not have to go to work tomorrow morning. Of course I will not be sleeping in as we are keeping Ethan in school and keeping him on his schedule but it will be nice to be able to spend tomorrow cleaning and getting ready for the big day. It will be nice to not have to come home from work and complete my "chores" but instead will do them in my own time during the day. My plan is to get everything done by the time I have to go pick Ethan up from school so that way on Tuesday I won't have anything to do other than get a much needed pedicure. We will see how that plan goes but as long as I stick to it, I can get it done!

Since it was Ethan's last weekend as an only child, Justin and I wanted to do something special with him and have one last outing with our little guy. We decided we wanted to take him somewhere where we all had never been and decided on the children's museum in Portsmouth. Below are some pictures from the big day:

Ethan playing with the trains

Ethan and Justin in the bubble room

Brush, brush, brush

Ethan and Justin being fire fighters 

Ethan being Ethan

Ethan dressing up

So that is all for this week. We are just getting excited for Wednesday and can't wait to meet our newest little guy!

Until next time....

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Crunch time!

So this pregnancy is winding down and while it is sad this will be our last I am just looking forward to the new challenges that are going to come our way. I have hit 36 weeks and this is the farthest I have gone in a pregnancy. I never felt this big with Ethan although this time around everyone says I am small. Actually let me rephrase that: woman think I look small but men think I am huge; so there is definitely a different perspective when it comes to male and female perceptions of pregnancy.

As we were laying in bed tonight reading to Ethan before his bedtime, I could not help but think how different our lives are going to be in less than two weeks. Will we still be able to have our special time with Ethan? Will Ethan feel like he is not as important as he was being an only child? Will the boys get along? While the amount of questions are endless,  I think our little family will manage just fine. Ethan is our helper and has always been our helper, so I think he will do a fantastic job of helping us with the new baby. I am not prepared for him to not be the baby anymore so that is another struggle I am dealing with. I guess the idea of Ethan growing up and becoming more independent was put into perspective when I was washing the baby's clothes this past weekend. I held up one of the onesies to Ethan and he just made it look even smaller. All I could think of was when Ethan was born and how 0-3 month clothing just swallowed him. Now to see a 0-3 month outfit next to him and realize just how big he has gotten is a little overwhelming but awesome at the same time.

There were also two birthdays in the family this week! Mr. Jim McCabe (my dad) and my brother, Marc,  celebrated another year of life. So my dad is now in his 52nd year of life and my brother is in his 28th (that's for you grandpa!) This was the first year in a long time that we were not together celebrating both birthdays. While we could've risked it and traveled to Lynchburg, we decided it was probably not in our best interests just in case I had to deliver in Lynchburg. The doctors there do not know my history and my doctor here always tells me that I better not have this baby without him. So next year we will most likely do the normal celebration, plus one more family member :)

Another bright spot of news for us is that Justin has decided to go back to school and get that oh so important degree. Nowadays you have to have a degree to really be successful in life and I am just so elated that he has decided to do this not only for himself but also for all of us. He will start in August and while school was a struggle for me, I am more than confident he will be successful in this adventure, even with a newborn and a two year old running around!

So I guess that is all for us this week!

Until next time...

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


So it was brought to my attention this morning that I have been neglecting my blog. It's not that I have forgotten about it, it's just that I feel I do not have much to share since school has ended, we are getting ready for baby #2, and there is nothing really new to report. But I promised a special lady I would comment on some things so here goes (just for you Gigi McCabe)!

I guess you could say I reached a milestone this week pregnancy-wise. We have finally hit 35 weeks! When I was pregnant with Ethan this is what happened at 35 weeks:
my sweet boy was born and our lives were forever changed. He was and still is perfect and the only regret I have about the whole experience is that I do not remember meeting him and it was not until the next day that we were properly introduced. He was jaundiced, thin, and needed some help learning how to feed but all I could remember when I met him was that I could not believe he was mine. I kept looking at him as if someone were going to tell me he was not mine because he was just so handsome. I do not find many babies attractive when they are born (sorry moms but I cannot help it) but I immediately recognized Ethan was the most beautiful baby I had ever laid eyes on. I wonder if Luke/Colin will be just as handsome?  I know all moms are supposed to think their children are adorable, beautiful, and the best looking but my mom will tell you when my brother was born she thought they handed her the wrong baby because my brother simply was NOT a looker. I, on the other hand, was the most beautiful baby some of the nurses had ever seen. So time will tell if Luke/Colin will measure up to his big brother but I think he will!

I have also been hard at work trying to get the boys' room together because I have this overwhelming feeling that Luke/Colin will be born earlier than projected. So here is the progress so far:

We also have one more piece of furniture to put together (JUSTIN!), get painted, and then fill with clothes and we should be good to go with making sure we are ready for the baby. On Wednesday (7/20/11) we have three weeks (give or take) until he will be here, so I am definitely feeling the time crunch but I know we will have it all ready!

And I guess I could report that while I was originally planning on returning to school at the end of August, I think I am going to put it on hold at least until the 2012 Spring semester. I kind of have a hinkering to explore the world of real estate. I have received some really interesting information and while it would not be a full-time venture to start since the market is the way it is, I do not think it would be a bad idea to get my foot in the door. This is still very early in the works and I have not made my mind up about it completely, but I figure it would be another thing to add to my resume and hopefully become successful at not only for me but also for my family.

So the last week or so has been great and here's to another great week!

Until next time....

Friday, July 8, 2011

Hello Master!

Well I am happy to report: I DID IT! I just completed the last assignment I had for my Masters degree!!! So now I have a Masters of Arts in Human Services specializing in Marriage and Family.  I started on this journey in August 2010 and taking a full course load each semester has allowed for me to be finished before the one year mark and well before the five year time limit! I will not walk in graduation until May 2012 but it does not make this seem any less real!

It has been a long journey with late nights, missed nights out, and exhaustion like you would not believe but I am thankful for the love and support I have been shown while completing this chapter in my life. When I graduated with my Bachelors degree ages ago (2005), I swore to myself I would never go back to school but we are living in different times and having a Masters degree almost seems necessary so when I was passed up for a promotion, I decided that I had had enough! I applied to school, was accepted, and started my journey. Now all I can think about is what is next? Where do I go from here?
I told Justin the other night that I just do not know what I am going to do with myself now that I do not have to spend countless nights completing discussion postings, writing endless papers, and taking quizzes. He simply replied to me "relax and get ready for the baby". So that is what I will do. I have toyed around with the idea of continuing in school and obtaining a post graduate degree as an Education Specialist and while this is still my plan, right now my main focus is getting this house and our lives ready for Luke/Colin.

So this weekend I will take the time to paint the boys' room, do laundry, clean the house, and hang out with my two awesome boys and bask in the glory of completing another chapter in my school career.

Below is a picture from my undergraduate graduation. Graduate school picture to come May 2012.

 Have a great weekend everyone!

Until next time....

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


My grandfather can be described just as all of the McCabe's can be described: strong willed, smart, intense at times, and only striving for the best. He was a Marine and I guess still is because as the saying goes "once a Marine, always a Marine". He is politically conservative, outspoken, and for the most part keeps everyone on their toes. He wants people to do their best, be their best, and be treated the best and while sometimes he can be intense, all he wants is for his wife, children, grandchildren, and now great grandchildren to be happy and get out of life what we all deserve!

Today was an exciting day for our family and I can finally share that Justin and I have a date for the arrival of our second baby boy. August 10, 2011 has been put on the books and I have my doctor, Dr. Lockhart, to thank for making this a very special day not only for us but also for the rest of the family, especially my grandfather because his birthday is also August 10th.  I would've preferred to keep the entire day a secret from him until Luke/Colin was born, but I know how my family works so I know my grandfather would've found out well before the end of the week :) So that gives us exactly 5 weeks from today to finish getting ready. I am starting to get nervous but I also know when the day finally arrives I will have peace knowing that we will be taking home another miracle and completing our little family.

So happy early birthday grandpa! Fingers crossed Luke/Colin does not come early and hopefully the week Luke/Colin is born will be a great week for you and not a sh*tty one ;) !

Below are some pictures Heap:
My brother and I with our grandfather during Chirstmas

Mom and Grandpa

The Heap

Until next time....