Friday, December 30, 2011

2011 Holiday Card / Birth Announcement

About 10 days after Cruz's birth we brought him to Farrah Grant Photography for his newborn pictures. We had found Farrah through one of my good friends and used her as our wedding photographer, so when we had Little Mango I knew she would be the one to take his first professional pics. I love how they all turned only wish is that I would've listened to her and taken off his little diaper. I just didn't want him to do his business all over her plush blankets & props!

Regardless....I love how the card turned out and his photos as a whole. I can't believe how much he's changed over a few short weeks!

Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas 2011: Cookie Traditions

Kicking off the Christmas season, my sister & I always plan to spend a day at her house baking up a storm of cookies and other holiday treats. This year was no exception and we decided to introduce Cruz to this tradition in big way!

Tessa baking up a storm

We spent about six hours whipping up frosted sugar cookies, white & milk chocolate covered pretzels, turtles, chocolate peanut butter Ritz cookies, chocolate star cookies and ginger snaps. The best part is now that her kiddos are big enough they can help out with the sprinkles and frosting which makes it so much more fun than Tessa and I trying to see who can be the most artistic and creative - although we both acknowledge we lack the artist gene.

Cruz is a BIG help

Decorating & frosting sugar cookies - Aaysen, Kayden & Dayvaney

It got messy so the shirts came off!

Afterwards the kiddos got time to cuddle with Cruz - Dayvie just loves holding him and feeding him. She will be a great little babysitter some day. And Aaysen couldn't believe that Cruz was "hitting" him when his arms were flailing about. They are all in love with their newest cousin!
Dayvie and her favorite "dolly"

Ace & Cruzer lounging around
Part one of the Christmas festivities in the books...onto the traveling and celebrating!

Monday, December 26, 2011

My Baby Boy: Six Weeks Old

Six weeks old....WOW! Cruzer is growing and changing every single day and it's been amazing spending time with him all day, every day. This week was definitely a big one with Cruz's first Christmas and a lot of travel to northeast Nebraska and back to Omaha for three different get togethers.

  • Cruz is becoming so much more alert - following sounds/voices, discovering his limbs (although not sure how to control them yet), staying awake longer throughout the day. 
  • This weeks marks the first thumb sucking...done while at my parent's house over our Christmas visit. We definitely need to work on getting him used to that pacifier to make sure he doesn't become accustomed to his thumb!
  • It seems as though we are days away from his first "real" smile and his first words (and by words I mean cooing and jabbering)...he's trying so hard to talk that I know its going to happen any day.
  • Cruz continues to sleep in his basinet in our room and we only have a couple hours between feedings during the night. The debate is on whether we give him a little bit of rice cereal to get through the night or if we need to suck it up until he gets a bit older. Family and friends have sworn by the rice cereal but our pediatrician says not yet, so we are going to side with the pediatrician (for now...)
  • He has the habit of fussing when he just wants to be picked up and cuddled for a bit and usually he only prefers when his mommy does this with a little bounce while patting his booty. Daddy is getting better at this now as well and can calm him down when he fusses.
  • His neck continues to get stronger and he can hold it up for a couple seconds at a time when he's on tummy time or on our shoulder. Not only his head but his legs have a strong kick and he's got a great grip with his little fingers. On Friday, he grasped his new soft baseball rattle and shook it around a bit - so cute!

Shaking his new rattle from uncle Mook & aunt Britt

Happy 6 weeks of life, Little Mango!!

Monday, December 19, 2011

One Of Those Days...

Today was a lazy, relaxing day in the Manganaro household, primarily due to the fact that we had four men upstairs putting in our new wood floors which required that we move to the basement for the day. We packed up all we needed for little man (bottles, pampesan, diapers, wipes, floor gym, you name it...) and everything we needed (laptops, iPad, camera, water, cell phones, etc) for a day sequestered in an area we don't use very often.

We planned a day chock full of playing, watching movies and battling each other in Words with Friends, so I dressed Cruzer in lounge-wear for the part. However, Nick opted to call him an old P.E. teacher, saying that with his sweatpants and shirt tucked into his pants (it was a onesie, mind you) that he reminded him of his former P.E. teacher in high school. Seriously, a PE teacher?

Little P.E. teacher

Sunday, December 18, 2011

My Baby Boy: Five Weeks Old

Five weeks old already and Little Mango is growing like crazy! While we haven't had him weighed since his two week check-up, he is definitely filling out and putting on some pounds. His cheeks are filling out (getting me closer to the chubby cheeks that I've longed for) and he feels solid.

  • My anxiety has subsided and we finally took him out on the town this weekend! We went to Shevy's for dinner on Friday night...where he hung out with Uncle Mook, Aunt Britt, Uncle Kyle and Kurt, plus he got to see Shevy and Jeremy. On Saturday, Nick and I were feeling brazen and took him to lunch at the new Tanner's and then later that day he and I went shopping (yes...him and I on our own!) at Village Pointe. It was 50 degrees in December, so we had to take advantage of that!
  • Aunt Jen came to visit and help out this week - he loved spending time with her! We went shopping and relaxed around the house. It was nice for me to have an extra set of hands so I could get some stuff done around the house.
  • We discovered the boppy this week and it's a great way for him to have support while he sits up. We may try it in the middle of the night to help with his congestion that still hasn't completely gone away.
  • When he's awake we spend time playing under the floor gym where he stares away at the colors and on his tummy to help him develop head & neck strength.
  • Cruz experienced his first tummy ache this week. It was heartbreaking when he was crying through his feeding...thankfully it lasted less than 24 hours.
Relaxing in his boppy

Hanging with Nanu John

Tummy time with Daddy

 Happy 5 weeks, Cruzer!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Our Little Guy: One Month Old

Happy 1 month of life, Cruz!

Wow, Little Mango is already ONE month old {well, he was on Tuesday} and I can hardly believe it. It seems like just last week we were in the hospital with him - so excited to get to know him and his personality, but nervous to bring him home on our own. On the flip side, it's hard to imagine my life prior to him being in it.

Sporting the onesie Gma Carol made out of fabric from a
onesie Nick wore when he was a newborn

Hanging in his crib

All stretched out...on his {loud} blanket
What has Cruz been up to?
  • Eating: up to 4 1/2 oz depending on the day.
  • Sleeping: approximately 2-3 hours in between eating.
  • Developments: cooing, sighing, squeaking. Loves wiggling his hands free from his swaddle. Started tummy time to strengthen his little neck and making funny faces when we're holding his gaze. He favors his right side and only lays with his head facing that way. He seems to know our voices and when he hears us looks right in our direction.
  • Features: Cruz still has his deep blue eyes {wonder what color they will be?}. His skin has been relatively clear, except for the random blemish and scratch from his long nails {which were clipped for the first time by aunt Ashley this week}. He still has his thick head of hair including the mullet and receding hair line...never thought I would love those two features so much!
 He loves the Christmas lights

Started playing on his floor gym this week - loves the colors & sounds!

Love you Little Man - this has been the BEST month of my life!

Two In A Row...

Evidently my son doesn't feel I do enough laundry in a day's time and continues to help me ensure I have plenty of sleepers, blankets and onesies to wash.

This morning following our 5:30am feeding, I was in the nursery changing Cruz and while I had his little feet hoisted in the air wiping his backside, he gave himself a the face and soaking his PJs. Surprisingly, this is the first time he's gotten himself in the face, but this follows a conversation yesterday I had with my sister Jen and then later my mom about needing to get a Pee-Pee Teepee "For the Sprinkling Wee-Wee" (just love the name!). Mom was saying she was surprised he hasn't yet gotten himself...oh how you speak to soon.

Prior to this little adventure, I was planning to head back to bed once I got him changed and back to sleep, but it's amazing how much laughing while your son showers himself with urine will wake you up and prohibit you from falling asleep....

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Showers....Bring Flowers??

Yesterday brought on a sick little guy. For some reason he had an upset tummy which started about 4pm and continued on throughout the night. I've never had to change so many dirty diapers...he pooped 4 times from 4pm to 7pm and last night when I was feeding him around 4am he cried through his entire bottle. It was heartbreaking.

Earlier this morning, I called his pediatrician to see if there was anything we could do to help him out and they asked us to take his temperature. Being the first time I had done this, I called for the form of daddy. Nick held his feet and tried distracting him while I lubed up the thermometer. At first it wasn't working, so I pulled it out and Nick & I were reading the directions...and no one was paying attention to little man when he decided it would be a great time to shower us. It went everywhere! Down the changing table to the blanket which was on the floor in front of the chair and even hit the instructions I was reading in my hand! Nothing like a lot of clean up in the wee hours of the morning.

Fortunately, his temp was good and he is feeling better now. Let's hope it's passed and he will be back to his happy little self.

Monday, December 12, 2011

My Baby Boy: Four Weeks Old

Little Man is 4 weeks old! I feel like I will be saying this every week, but I can't believe how fast it's going...he's almost a month old! He continues to grow like a weed and has changed so much. His little face is filling out. Cruz is very alert and loves to check out his surroundings. He spent a lot of time with his cousins this weekend and I found myself envisioning what he will be like when he's a year old (like DeLaney), 3 years (like Aaysen), 4 years (like Sophia), 5 years (like Dayvaney), 6 years (like Kayden) and 17 years (like Blake).

  • Cruz had his first major car trip this weekend for DeLaney's Baptism & 1st birthday party in Emerson - he was such a good traveler. Although his mama is still riding in back with him while daddy drives.
  • He attended his first church service this week - and slept the entire time.
  • Cruz is crushing 4oz of formula these days - he's such a great eater!
  • The pacifier is becoming our friend - we are working on giving him the pacifier when he wakes up instead of immediately feeding him so we can extend the amount of time between feedings. Unlike our previous idea of "if he cries, give him the bottle."
  • This week also marks his first time being sick - Little Man woke up very congested in the middle of the night. We tried to remedy this with steam baths, running the humidifier & heater at night as well as a Vicks vaporizer. We also had to use the saline and aspirator to pull boogs from his nose. He HATED it at first, but toward the end of the week got used to it and just went with it.
  • When Cruz is upset, holding him in your arms while sitting down will not cut it. He loves to be walked around while you pat his little booty. 

Happy 4 weeks Little Mango!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

A Big Sigh of Relief

Well a big check mark was made on the to-do list yesterday...we found a daycare for Little Man. And as much as I really don't want to think about going back to work and leaving Cruz with someone other than his mama, it's something that had to be done.

A while back {you may remember} we weren't even looking at daycares, but instead wanted to hire a nanny. It seemed like a great idea, however, once we looked into the pros & cons of a nanny versus daycare and talked with family & friends - the overwhelming response was daycare. I started researching Omaha daycares and one seemed to stand out more than the others - the Primrose School of Legacy. So I scheduled a tour for Nick & I to take a look for ourselves....and boy did it not disappoint.

From the moment we walked into the building (with the high tech security system) to meeting Miss J (the director of the facility) to touring the rooms - we were sold. Primrose is an accredited school where Cruz will start learning immediately in the Infant Room and will also progress through each stage as he gets older. The caretaker to child ratio is 4 to 1 - which helps ease my concern that he won't get enough attention. They start teaching our children sign language as early as a few months old which means we will be able to communicate with Little Man much earlier than most parents (ala LJ and Robert DeNiro in "Meet the Fockers").

As much as I don't want to think about heading back to work and leaving Cruz with someone else, I am excited we found a place for him that we both feel really good about. It gives him a chance to interact with other kids and adults and gives us a chance to ease up on the baby talk a bit and get back to the real world.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Rub A Dub Dub...One {little} Man In A Tub

How did we spend our Saturday night you ask? Well, just like any other 30 year old couple would....

Cruz's first bath

Ok, well maybe not like the rest of the world, but it was a great Saturday night nonetheless. Nick & I braved "real" bath time with our little one this past weekend and overall would have to say it was a success. Up until Cruz's umbilical cord had fallen off we were stuck giving Little Man sponge baths of sorts. After the cord had fallen off last week, I was excited to pull out the Puj Tub and give our guy a real bath...and Nick was along for the ride....

Getting ready for bath

Decided I had to go #2 - Mom & Dad covered me up so I wouldn't freeze

Just changed and I. Want. My. Clothes.

First dip in the water...not too sure if I like it...

....nope, I don't like this bath thing after all

Please dry me off, daddy

Mommy, I'm not sure I like these baths

Ahh....nice & warm

Mmmm...ok, now I'm a happy boy

And now time for my & boxing with daddy!

Monday, December 5, 2011

My Baby Boy: Three Weeks Old

I can hardly believe Cruz is three weeks old! Time has flown and I'm loving every moment of getting to know this little guy. He is really such a great baby...Nick & I have been so lucky. He rarely cries, if anything he fusses when he's hungry. He's a great eater, he is sleeping well (it could be worse, I hear) and he is just the most beautiful boy...I could stare at him all day.

My favorite things of this past week:
  • He has been so much more aware this week and spends more time awake. I love our early morning time when it's just him and I - and I get to stare away at him, taking in all of his changes.
  • He intently stares as he checks out his surroundings and takes in new sights and people.
  • He seems to recognize mommy & daddy's voices. If he hears one of us, his gaze quickly follows the sound.
  • His hands continue to be a great deal of interest to him. We barely have him swaddled and he's wriggling out at least one hand (generally his left first), if not both.
  • He's just about growing out of his newborn clothes. A couple of his outfits have already been retired since he cannot fully stretch out in them any longer. While I'm happy he's a growing boy, I'm so sad he's growing so quickly.

Happy three weeks, Little Man!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Cruz's Birth Story

Cruz John Manganaro
November 13, 2011
6lbs 15oz; 20 in long
Saturday, November 12th  (38 weeks, 5 days)

Nick & I had planned to spend the day watching football and lounging around the house, so in the morning I ran to the grocery store to get ingredients to make chili and some other game-day snacks. Around 2pm and after getting everything together, I was relaxing on the couch when I felt an uncomfortable leak. I [waddled] into the bathroom where I noticed a difference from the normal pregnancy discharge and when I wiped the paper was more pink than clear. At this point I was concerned, so I got onto my laptop and googled what had just happened. I got mixed messages on what I should do next and if in fact this was the start of labor. At this point, Nick had come upstairs to get something to eat and I explained to him what had happened. He asked if we needed to head to the hospital and I said, "not yet."

As I was laying on the couch, I continued to feel a slight leak and decided to call my doctor's office. Surprisingly, Dr. McTaggart picked up the phone herself and as I explained what was going on, she said that we should head to the hospital and she would call and tell them to expect us.

I went downstairs and told Nick that the doctor wanted us to head into the hospital but I was going to shower and get ready first so he had about an hour before we needed to leave. After getting ready and washing up the dishes, we packed up the car and headed to Bergan Mercy. On the way down we were debating calling our families to let them know we were heading in - my biggest fear was that I was wrong and they were going to send us home because we weren't going into labor yet.  We decided to call our parents and, of course, my sister Tessa. We also sent a heads up text out to our brothers & sisters. At this point, I started feeling slight contractions.

Once we got to the hospital around 4:30pm, they immediately checked us into a birthing suite where our nurse, Sheryl, started examining me.  This is when my water fully broke and she confirmed we were going into labor. At this point, I was only dilated 1cm. A while later Emily, a resident, came in to examine me and predicted that we wouldn't have the baby until 4am. (What...4am?!? But my water broke, isn't it time to have this baby?) Around this time, the anesthesiologist happened to be in our wing so they asked if I would be ok if they started the epidural process. Surprisingly, Nick watched as they stuck the needle in my spine (surprising because two of his biggest fears have always been childbirth and needles!)
Getting the epidural

From there it was a waiting game. Nick went between pacing the room and being on his iPhone watching football and texting family & friends and I was on my iPad and phone doing the same. Tessa was the first to make it to the hospital and came up to hang out with us in the birthing room, followed soon after by my parents, Josh, Ashley & DeLaney, and Nick's mom Carol & her boyfriend Duane.

Around 7pm, Sheryl left and introduced us to our new nurse, Maelene. Right before 9pm, the contractions were coming more frequently and were more painful, so I asked for the epidural and our families left for the waiting room. The epidural was amazing. As soon as the anesthesiologist put it in the catheter, I could feel the cool, soothing sensation flow down my back and almost immediately the pain went away (though I still had some slight pain with each contraction). Shortly after, Maelene examined me and told us that I was only 3cm dilated...that was such a deflating feeling, it seemed like it was taking forever. At this point, I felt bad that everyone had been waiting for so long and it looked like it would take a lot longer before Little Mango was going to make his appearance. When Nick's dad John got to the hospital, he came into our room to quickly say hello - and that is when he saw the dry erase board on our wall where Nick had written "Welcome Cruz John Manganaro." We hadn't told him we had decided his middle name would be John and you could tell he was moved. He then sent Janice up and then they went back home to put Sicily & Dominic to bed since they were babysitting them that night.

The waiting continued until my 11pm examination. When Maelene told us that I was fully effaced and 9cm dilated, we were ecstatic - it was game time! Maelene and a few other nurses started prepping the room. We were excited to think that we would be having our baby on 11/12, however, the nurses had other things in mind and we stared at the clock as it ticked closer to midnight. Finally, Maelene came back in, verified I was 10cm dilated and prepped me. I hoisted my legs in the stirrups and she helped me practice pushing during the contractions, which consisted of her watching my contractions on the monitor and having me take a deep breath and push for 10 counts. I would be doing this three times during each contraction.

Sunday, November 13th  (38 weeks, 6 days)
Around midnight, a doctor and a couple of nurses came into our room and we were all waiting for Dr. McTaggart who had been paged, but hadn't yet responded. Finally they found her (she had been asleep!) and we were ready to roll.

With Nick up by my head, holding onto my shoulder, I started pushing through each contraction. Since I couldn't feel anything it was hard to tell if I was making any progress, but all of the nurses and doctors were great at giving me positive feedback after every push - at least making me feel like we were getting somewhere. After some time, they explained that Cruz was being stubborn and wasn't progressing as quickly as they hoped and they thought they would have to use the forceps to help pull him out. I was praying that wouldn't happen and after a few more pushes, he was out!

It's difficult to explain how I felt as soon as I saw them take him from me and bring him over to get cleaned up. He was bluish in color, with a little cone head from being in the birth canal a bit longer than anticipated. Immediately I broke down in tears and took one look at Nick who was smiling through his tears. What an amazing moment. While they removed the placenta and stiched me up, Nick walked over to where they were cleaning Cruz up and grabbed his tiny little hand...almost immediately, Cruz squeezed his finger back.

Finally after what felt like forever, they brought him over to me. With tears pouring down my face, I looked into my little boy's eyes. He was perfect and for the first time I felt like a mother. This moment was truly the best of my life.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

My Baby Boy: Two Weeks Old

Well...I have been terrible about posting the past couple of weeks. Little Man has been taking up a lot of my time these days, so it's been completely justified. And I have to say, I am loving my life right now...

It's hard to believe that Cruz is already two weeks old! Time has flown and he has changed so much in the past 14 days. We had his 2 week doctor's appointment and he has grown - up to 8lbs 1oz and 20 3/4 inches long. He's been eating well, however, his sleep pattern is sporadic and he seems to be waking up hungry more often during the night - usually every 2-3 hours. His umbilical cord fell off last Wednesday (just in time for his newborn pics) and his little circumcision is fully healed.

My favorite things of the past couple of weeks:
  • I'm loving all of the little noises he makes, especially when he's sleeping. He coos, grunts, sighs and has quick high-pitched cute!
  • His "smiles" - I love when his lips curl up into a smile. Sometimes it's just one corner of his mouth, but I've also seen some pretty big smiles. While I realize he doesn't intend to smile and it very well could be gas causing them, they absolutely melt my heart.
  • He's discovering his arms and hands and they move like crazy when he's not swaddled. He is constantly touching his face, moving his arms around and clenching his hands into fists.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Photo of the Day

One of my favorite blogs while I was preggo was Spearmint Baby. Shari posts a ton of great information, cute nursery ideas and fun photos - both of preggo mamas-to-be and their kiddos. I sent in the first pic we took of Cruz and Maya and she posted it today. I have to say Cruz looks pretty darn cute in his first blog debut! Check it out (here).

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Favorite Things....

As I'm sitting here typing Cruz's Birth Story, I'm loving listening to his little noises. He makes some of the cutest sounds when he's in a deep sleep....little sighs and grunts. I just love this little guy so much.

Lounging in the pompesan

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Welcome To The World

Nick & I are so happy to present Cruz John Manganaro, who made his appearance on Sunday, November 13th. This date is officially the best day of our lives and we are the proudest parents to this adorable little guy. He arrived at 12:44am - weighing 6lbs 15oz and measuring 20 inches long. We are so in love....

Baby's 1st picture