Thursday, December 27, 2012


I always appreciate creative photography, especially when it documents something through time.  I borrowed this idea from the web.  It was easy to accomplish, and the end result is the best!!

At the end of every year I swear I can smell magic in the air.  People are more friendly and giving in celebration of the holidays. Well, everyday has been a celebration in our house!  Kaleb and Aiden add all the magic to every minute of every hour in every day!

We had a delicious homemade pasta noodle dinner at home on Christmas Eve, and spent Christmas day singing carols and baking cookies!  I've eaten so many cookies in the past few weeks I'm turning into a cookie.  Well, that's not entirely true.  I'm half cookie, half salami!

Christmas Day at the McNamee's house!  Doubling as the boys first outing ;)
You all saw the beautiful congratulations bouquet my Dad sent when the gummyboys arrived.  He also spoiled Keith with two delicious boxes of IT'S A BOY cigars!

Keith is officially back to work and feeling extra sleepy.  Some nights are better than others.  Today definitely called for extra naps!  This sight warms my heart <3

Sleepy Boys

Sunday, December 23, 2012


Ready to head HOME at last!
I know we've been home for nearly two weeks, but I wanted to share the memory of the day.  A big thank you to my MOM for being here to welcome the babies to their house, and for taking photos from one door to the other!

Kaleb, slightly fussy, but it was short lived. The boys loved the car seats and stroller ride!
The day was full of sunshine and a great mild temperature.  We had a calm car ride and rocked out to the rolling stones!

SOOO happy to leave the hospital!
Aiden has been a champ, and I'm so thankful we haven't had any additional apnea spells while home!  The first couple nights were slightly frustrating, but I was able to work out a nightly feeding plan, and with additional practice, I'm sure I can manage 2 hour stretches of rest.  Put it all together and I'm probably getting 4-7 hours of shut eye.  It doesn't really compare to my pre-pregnancy sleep habits, but I feel rested and happy.

The boys are really, really wonderful!  I love when they are wide eyed and alert, watching me, the pack'n'play owl mobile, or the wall!  I also love when they are sleeping and smile when I run my finger along their cheek.  Aiden sounds like a car attempting to start when he cries, which I find hilarious and can't stop laughing....and Kaleb grunts and snarls when he eats, which is just too funny!

Aiden....always with the pucker lips!!!
The newborn stage is really wonderful.  The boys are sleepy and rest while I get things accomplished around the house.  My only complaint is that I don't have four arms!  I love to snuggle and wish I could manage both all the time!

Hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season with friends and family!
Happy Hanukkah and Happy Christmas!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Hospital Days

Our hospital stay was a little longer than expected, so I figured I'd share some details and photos of our adventure.

Aiden on Left, Kaleb on Right
Sweet boys!
Although home is SO amazing, it's difficult to deny how special our week 1/2 was in the hospital.  I'll always cherish this first week, when we first met our little men and shared smiles, tears, cuddles and kisses!

Recovery from birth was scary the first two days.  It's utterly unreal what the human body can go through.  The nursing staff was beyond helpful teaching me special care for myself and the gummyboys.

Aiden was a dream to have next to me for those first couple days, before heading to the NICU to chill out with Kaleb.  Our nurse was visiting with Keith and I in the room when Aiden had his first sleep apnea spell.  I thank the angels above for the quick care he received, and wish I hadn't panicked and froze.  Keith called for additional help and within seconds Aiden was regaining color and breathing again.  So scary!  I was discharged as a patient shortly after Aiden was moved.  My nurse found an available sleep room, down the hall from the NICU, for me to stay in to be close to the boys.  I'm so grateful the military provided this option, and permitted my stay free of charge.

Aiden after the big scare
I'm not sure I've ever been so emotionally drained!  Everything brought on tears, but most were drops of joy!  I spent my third night alone in my new room, since I started sending Keith home to get better sleep.  Early in the morning on the 4th day I received a phone call, and best visit ever!  I was brought paperwork explaining how Kaleb was healthy enough to stay in my room with me!  Oh what fun!!

Kaleb, so tiny, getting ready to leave the NICU
From that moment on Kaleb and I bonded, just as Aiden and I had done!  We walked down the hall every three hours to visit his brother.  Both ate together and co-bedded for a short time.  It was wonderful to see them side-by-side!

Kaleb left, Aiden right.  Looking alike!
Mom flew in the night before all three of us were released from the hospital!  What good timing!!  I was keeping my fingers and toes crossed Aiden wouldn't have anymore episodes.  It was so great to see my Mom and introduce her to her first grand babies.  Plus, how special to have her here for our homecoming!  Coming up soon :)

Mom and Keith arrive from the airport, and love, love, love on Kaleb!

Aiden's last days in the NICU!  Ready to go home at last! 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Birth Story

Do you think we should "be careful what we wish for?"  Even if, on the rare occasion, it works out to our advantage?

The last photo I posted of myself, at 35 weeks, I mentioned how I hoped it was the last one I needed to take.  Can you believe that's when I went into labor?  Crazy right!?  I knew "something" had happened, called my mom, a friend and the hospital, but decided to put off a visit until I knew more.  Keith was up for work at 5:30am the next morning.  I woke up, "surveyed" my situation and asked him to call in.  I still wasn't positive what I was experiencing so I took my time around the house.  Had a shower, ate breakfast, did a couple house chores, then we were off.  I only alerted my parents we were headed in for some testing and I'd let them know how things went.  Shortly after our arrival, around 9am, I was admitted.

Here is the "short" version of the day the Gummyboys finally arrived.  December 4, 2012.

The nurse prepared my IV and wheeled me into labor and delivery.  I found it amusing I was put into the same room where I had my false alarm. This should have been a sign that I had a long way to go...

I was introduced to my team of doctors and nurses, began answering questions and sharing my birth plan.  I was given a few hours to progress on my own, but didn't do well.  I was having the same contractions I had been experiencing for over a month.  A little after noon my nurse began the first round of pitocin.  This was the first time I felt nervous.  Every two hours they would increase the pitocin, just slightly, which brought a round of uncomfortable contractions.  I called for pain relief for the first time around 6pm.  Once the anesthesiologist arrived I felt fine and called it off.  Another hour passed and I called for pain relief once more.

The epidural wasn't like I expected.  The hardest part was not being able to watch what was happening.  It's a funny feeling when your leg falls off the side of the bed and suddenly it's too heavy to move yourself.  I knew exhaustion was setting in when I called the nurse to help me pick my leg up.  Clearly I wasn't the only one exhausted.  Keith somehow made himself a cocoon.  The nurse asked me if I had gotten up (bum leg and all) to tuck him in, haha.

Practicing his swaddling skills!

Although labor progressed extremely slow the clock on the wall seemed to move rather quickly.  It wasn't until around 3am (now December 4th) I started begging for help.  I was on my 2nd set of doctors and nurses, and knew shift change was quickly approaching.  I felt so comfortable with my 2nd set of doctors, since most were familiar faces to me.  Finally at 530am they took pitty and pushed me to the last leg.  It was time at last!

Being wheeled into the OR was surreal, and SO intimidating.  We had double the staff, so  although the room was fairly large it felt small and cramped.  Keith was an amazing coach and held my head the entire time.  He disappeared after Kaleb was born to sign paperwork for the NICU staff to give him the care he needed.  While he was away I realized how tired I really was, completely incapable of holding my head up on my own.

The staff was great, giving me constant encouragement, massaging my sore hips and legs when they cramped, and helped settle my nausea when I couldn't concentrate.  The NICU staff paused for a moment on their way out of the door with Kaleb and I remember saying "look how cute he is!"  Aiden made his appearance exactly 50 minutes after Kaleb!  I couldn't believe how I could suddenly see him over my significantly smaller belly!  I remember feeling so happy when they announced we had another BOY!

Aiden, brand new
After the push push push was complete everything seems kinda foggy.  I remember the staff trying to give me Aiden to hold, but all I managed was a little kiss before falling asleep.  I'm not even sure how much time passed before Keith woke me, holding a hungry little Aiden in his arms!  Breastfeeding was the most important part of my birth plan, and without Keith's encouragement this would have slipped through the cracks.  I was lucky, being successful with feeding from the get-go. 

After my first successful tandem feed!  Feeling very proud

Sometime that morning I was moved to my recovery room with Keith and Aiden.  I was SOO excited to finally order something to eat.  Aside from labor being EXTREMELY difficult, not eating for over 20 hours was sheer torture!  I remember talking about salami sandwiches and crackers in the middle of the push push push!

I slept a lot that day, mostly with Aiden tucked into my chest keeping me cozy and warm.  It was like a dream.  I met Kaleb for the first time that evening, which was a little heart breaking.  Seeing him hooked up to breathing tubes and IV's wasn't and easy thing to swallow.  My sweet little man was so strong, and by the second day he kicked the tubes and was ready for some kangaroo care!  I'll never forget the first moments I held him.  Completely consumed with love and emotion.

First time meeting Kaleb!
Kaleb, day two..kicked the tubes!

My mom explained labor to me in many different ways, but the most helpful tip she passed on to me, and I'll continue to pass on to others, is God made it really hard to do, but really easy to forget :)

Besides waking up to see my husband and sons, I'd like to thank my Dad and brother Ben for sending one of the most beautiful congratulations flower arrangements I've ever received!  I love you both!

Sunday, December 9, 2012


I should be sleeping, well napping, as I've quickly learned sleep does not exist with newborns, but here I am giving you all an update.

Kaleb Jesse Rickel 5pounds 5ounces
Aiden Jake Rickel 4pounds 14ounces

Aunt Jessica wins a special prize!  She was the only one who picked December 4th as the arrival date!  And I win a special prize...cause my first instincts told me it was two boys.  Everyone else went with two girls or one of each.


This past week has been a crazy rollarcoaster of emotions!  I'm not even sure where to begin.  I'm obsessed with our FOUR TINY FEET!!  Those little chapped toes just melt my heart!

Kaleb Jesse
Aiden Jake

I'll share our birth story sometime soon!  I hope to be home with both the boys by the middle of next week!  Aiden is being monitored in the NICU for sleep apnea.  Kaleb and I are living down the hall in a parent sleep room.  Fingers crossed for everyone to go home on Wednesday :)

Oh...and I feel AWESOME!  I LOVE not being pregnant anymore!!
Shortness of breath/gone
Zero bladder control/gone
Leg cramps/gone
Carpel Tunnel/gone

Mommyhood is better than all the candies in the world!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Ants in my Pants

Happy December everyone!  Now sing:

Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes
Knees and Toes

Kitchen chalkboard, showcasing 3 of my favorite things
Congratulations, you've made it to the end of the 3rd trimester with me.  Pregnant ladies: consider yourself lucky to reach your knees, even luckier to see your feet.  Reaching your toes....DREAM ON!

Last night I went to a friends house for a bonfire.  Keith found a box of sparklers, and seriously, who can resist shiny spurts of fire??????  In the middle of my twirls and swirls I got ants in my pants.  


I have a new understanding for the phrase, and now I'm stuck singing the silly little song.

The teacher tells me to be quiet
He says "sit in that chair:
He pretends he never had ants in his pants.
He acts like he don't even care
I'd like to give him all my ants
And then I'd watch him do a dance
(all the way to France!)
I'd put my his pants

Like my poor feet weren't swollen enough.  I'm covered in bites and welts, and as the song continues, I've got the itches in my britches.  Bet you thought I was just being anxious and inpatient to meet the gummies when you saw the title of this post!

Feeling BIG.  I hope this is the last photo I have to post of myself!
How far along? 35 weeks
Total weight gain/loss: 39 plus
Maternity clothes:  Everyday
Stretch marks:  None yet...surprisingly
Sleep:  Still difficult.  This past week especially.
Best moment this week: I received an unexpected package in the mail!  Warmed my heart and made my day!
Miss Anything?  The list could go on, and on, but this is new...wearing my favorite shoes...TOMS!  Can't wait for the swelling to go away.
Movement: The gummies are running out of real estate at a rapid rate.  I don't feel them moving as much, which is a little scary, but I trust they are doing well.
Food cravings: Donuts for breakfast yesterday, and I wanted thanksgiving dinner...again.  So I spent a few happy hours cooking.  Once more the fridge is full, and so is my belly!
Anything making you queasy or sick: Pregnancy
Gender prediction:  Boy and Girl
Labor Signs:  Um, yes, but I'll spare you the details
Symptoms:  All the same symptoms as before, plus a few embarrassing ones
Belly button in or out?  Depends.  The babies are down so low sometimes my belly button goes flat again.
Happy or Moody most of the time: I was pretty moody this week.  I thought week 34 was going to be the magic week, especially with the false alarm and full moon.
Looking forward to:  Maybe meeting the gummies THIS week, and getting rid of all these crazy symptoms

Turkey Dinner Round Two!  (With Sparkling Grape Juice)