Max’s Star Week

Max’s kindergarten class has a “Star of the Week” where one student is showcased throughout the week. The weekend before their week, a big poster is brought home with them. They fill out their favorite color, food, and the like. They color in boxes explaining what they want to be when they grow up (Max: a doctor), what they would wish for if they could have any wish (Max: all the K’nexs in the world), and a photo of their family. On Monday, they bring their poster and show it to the class.

On Tuesday, they read their favorite book to the class (Max: a random you-can-read Transformer book that yes, we have read a bazillion times, but this is really your favorite book, buddy? Ok.)

And on Wednesday, the teacher reads the class a letter from the child’s parents. The letter is suppose to share how they are special. Admittedly, I wasn’t sure what to write. Not because Max isn’t special to me. But it is going to be shared with his class. It’s a difficult audience to cater to. I don’t want to embarrass him. But I also don’t want his letter to be boring and unauthentic.

I finished the letter Tuesday night-naturally right before the deadline. And I wanted to remember it so that in later years, I can look back to when my Maxie was a little boy.

So here is our letter to Maxie: (note–this is going to be read to him on December 14th-the day before his birthday)

Our little Maxie:
Tomorrow you will be six! It feels surreal that six years ago, it was the coldest day of the year, and you showed up, on your due date, almost being born in the car because you couldn’t wait any longer. 

And for six years, you have filled our family with love, silliness, a love of Legos and K’nexs, licks, dances, cuddles, and more happiness that we could ever capture into words. There are so many ways to describe you.  Forever a mama’s boy.  A Lego Master. A Cub Scout. The most task-oriented helper. A hard worker. Tenaciously determined. But ultimately there is one word that truly encompasses Max Cremona: Fearless.

You have always been fearless.  Being the little brother to a brother who is only a year older tends to foster a desire to push yourself.  If your brother jumped off the couch, you wouldn’t just jump off the couch.  You’d jump off the sofa table that stood a foot higher.  No heights could scare you. No food was too squishy or mushy to try.  There isn’t a challenge you won’t take on.

And this past year, you’ve learned to leverage your fearlessness with your unrelenting perseverance.  Over the summer, we spent a weekend at the Cub Scout Camp.  The second day of camp was filled with activities.  We got to go swimming, learn how to identify tree berries, practice archery and shooting, ride a horse, and how to read a map.  You did a wonderful job mastering each skill.

But then we reached the rock climbing wall rotation.  The wall looked more like a large skyscraper tower, but instead of walls of windows, there were walls of items to climb upon.  One side had wooden planks and blocks strewed all the way up to the top, several stories above the ground.  Another side was littered with rocks you could grab onto to pull yourself up to the top.  It was huge.

I was excited for you to climb, but I was also nervous. You were the youngest kid at camp by a year. And the rock climbing wall was not made with 5-year-olds in mind.  I worried your arms and leg span wouldn’t be able to reach all the rocks.  But this fear did not even enter your mind.

You took one look at the massive rock climbing wall, and your eyes widened. “Wait, do I get to climb that?” you said. 

“Yes!” I said, “Of course!”  A huge grin grew across your face. You couldn’t wait to try. 

The instructor secured a helmet on your head and tied a harness around your waist.  You mounted onto the wall, and it appeared all your days of climbing on furniture and trees paid off–you were a natural. You made your way half way up without much fuss.  But then you looked down, saw how high you were, and hesitated to grab the next board.  You stayed up there for a moment, and I could tell you were not certain if you wanted to keep going higher.  Then, you asked to come down.  You ballayed down the wall, looking a bit disappointed in yourself. 

“I want to try again. I know I can get to the top!” you said.  Once it was your turn again, you quickly climbed your way back to where you stopped last time–the halfway point.  You paused and looked down. I held my breath, knowing you had to be a bit nervous with how high you were (because wow, you were high up!).  And then your hand reached for the next board and you pushed yourself up.  And then the next board.  And the next one. Everyone on the ground cheered for you. Before we knew it, you were at the top!  The youngest kid at camp just made it to the top of the highest rock climbing wall!

The smile on your face when you ran over to me once you came back down is one of the happiest I’ve ever seen. Of course, I smothered you in kisses and hugs–the pride that our Maxie climbed all the way to the top and reached his goal radiated everywhere.  And then you went on to climb to the top 5 more times.  You made a goal and not only did you reach it, you crushed it! 

And that is you in a nutshell.  A guy who doesn’t let fear stand in his way.  Who climbs all the way to the top even if it is a little scary.  And who still lets his mom cover him in kisses and hugs. 

We love you Maxie and cannot wait to see what the next year brings.

  xoxo Mom and Dad

My fearless boy
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We made a baby boy.

And I am completely obsessed with him.

Christmas 2016
Christmas 2016

In late 2014, we got a huge surprise–I was pregnant.  We weren’t exactly trying to get pregnant, but we also weren’t trying not to, just playing our own version of Russian roulette which turned out to be successful a bit faster than we anticipated.  Of course, Matt was over the moon.  He had wanted to be a baby daddy since forever and the news that it finally was a reality was the perfect news.  I was a little scared of the unknown but excited to have a baby to kiss and cuddle with.

Lucky for me, I had a generally easy pregnancy.  I slowly got fatter and fatter around my belly, but no morning sickness, no food aversion, no cravings.  Instead, my feet swelled.  By 7 months, my shoes no longer could fit and when I wore high-heels for work, I looked like Miss Piggie.  Nothing like fat feet to make your whole body look unbelievably more large and prego.  Even though my swollen feet looked painful, typically they weren’t too uncomfortable, beyond feeling tight. Plus, Matt massaged them every night 😉

8 months pregnant.

You can’t tell, but my shoe strings are straining from my fat fat feet!

We decided not to find out the sex of the baby until Toastie (our womb name for JR) was born.  For us, it was a no brainer.  The sex of your baby is one of the most genuine surprises in your life, and we didn’t want to ruin the surprise until Toastie was ready to fall out.  The anticipation of finding out what Toastie was wasn’t too difficult….until Toastie decided to be late.  12 days late (with labor starting at 11 days late). Those days were easily the hardest part of my pregnancy.

The due date was July 12th.  Sure, it is common knowledge that calculating due dates is not an exact science.  And I am certain I said that catch phrase over and over again once the calendar said July 1st (mostly to my boss, who was starting to come to terms with the reality that I would be out of the office for two months).  Still, when July 12th came and went, we were disappointed.  Every day after July 12th, I would wake up a bit disheartened that I was getting ready for work instead of getting ready for labor.  (for some reason, I was convinced that I would go into labor in the middle of the night–I didn’t).

8 days late stress test
8 days late stress test

We tried everything to induce labor. Sex, walking, running, spicy food, acupuncture (three times).  Nothing worked (we didn’t try the castor oil–I just couldn’t bring myself to risk it).  Every day I would run 2 miles.  But this baby was stubborn. He had his own agenda.  But then it was Thursday, July 23rd.

I woke up on Thursday, July 23, 2015 at 6:00 a.m. and it felt like I had peed myself.  I was quite certain it was my water breaking, but the entire area wasn’t saturated, so I started to doubt myself and wondered if maybe I just sweated an ungodly amount over the night (pregnancy can be gross).

Sure, this baby was already 11 days past the due date.  But after 11 days, and thinking everything was “a sign that labor was around the corner” and then feeling disappointed when I was still pregnant, I was starting to feel like I was going to die pregnant. Plus, weren’t contractions suppose to come with my water breaking? I felt just like I had every other day of pregnancy—completely fine. I needed a second opinion.

I woke Matt up and told him what happened.  He smiled, “we are going to have a baby today!” And he was right (ok, well he was born on the 24th but close enough).  After only 5 and half hours of labor,  I caught my baby as he floated up from the water towards me like a torpedo.  We are so blessed.  I had the birthing experience I wanted–a non-medicated, water birth–and a beautiful, healthy baby boy.

first family photo taken 5 hours after JR was born.

Since we gave birth at a birth center, we were discharged 5 hours after JR was born.  I know, this sounds shocking to most people (and even I was hesitant about it) but it was natural and organic.

Dressed and ready to go home
Dressed and ready to go home

Matthew Anthony Jr. (who we lovingly call JR) was born July 24, 2015 at 2:43 a.m. at 7 lbs 6 oz and 20 inches.  And our life has become better for it.

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