The Fairy Forest

This past week was amazing and I got an unexpected surprise. On Tuesday Angie gave me a little box with something so incredible and amazing yet, I can’t speak of it right now. I was completely caught off guard in a good way because I had always wanted to experience that type of unexpectedness. This past week I’ve been thinking about how our family will change and grow over the next few years and how we can prepare for that.

On Sunday, Angie and I took the kids up to the canyon in Kamas and met up with Alexa and found a place called the Fairy Forest which was so fun to let the kids run around and explore. We played around for an hour and a half then came back to Salt Lake and ate at BGR in Sugarhouse.

 

Labor Day Weekend 2018

We had a spectacular Labor Day weekend and had a lot of fun things to do. I worked hard on Saturday to build a second bench for the backyard but then that left me enough time to enjoy the rest of the weekend with the family. A few weeks back when we were doing our family photo shoots, I saw a bench idea out at Day Break and it gave me some good ideas. The first one took me a couple of days to complete but I really wanted to finish the second one in one day so I would have the rest of the weekend, but it was exhausting work.

On Sunday we had the day to enjoy at Lagoon. I went for a bike ride during the morning and had time to take a quick nap then head out. We had an absolute blast and Seneca really enjoyed riding on all of the rides with Liam. The weather was perfect and we stayed until the very end, the kids were so exhausted and fell asleep on the way home. This past week my parents stopped in and stayed the night and were able to play with the kids. I had an Xray on my kidney stone and it didn’t show up, it’s quite a mystery that it dissolved, and hopefully it did just that. Yesterday I went on a 100 mile bike ride and the miles went by quickly, then we I hung out with Liam for most of the day. We put a blanket out under the stars with Seneca and watched planes fly by.

Seneca is now 23 months and so fun, I love watching her learn things. Her biggest passion is for Fairies and I sit with her and watch the Tinkerbell movies on Netflix. She has several friends to play with including Aya and Sparrow. She loves her grandpa and grandma and likes to say ‘hi ma ma’ and ‘hi bumpa’. Lately she has been fascinated with putting on her shoes herself. She hasn’t quite got it down but every morning she tries. She loves looking at bugs and bees. She loves Moana and Frozen. She likes to say ‘beeshoe’ (meaning shooo bee’s) to get the bugs away.

Liam started Kindergarten last week and was sad the first day but quickly got acclimated and now has a lot of stories to tell and new friends he talks about.

My Birthday and turning 44

Well I certainly had an exciting birthday due to a kidney stone. I had planned to take off Thurs and Friday from work, but still work on my birthday. When I got to work I started feeling some dull pains in my abdomen which made it hard for me to concentrate, I had to leave work and come home to have my wife take me to an appointment, but by the time I got there they told me to turn around and go to the ER. Once I got there they gave me some pain meds, did a CT scan and told me that I had a 5mm kidney stone. They sent me home with some meds and told me to pass it. After that the pain went away but I have yet to pass the stone and am unsure I will be able to without some type of intervention. I’ve been drinking apple cider vinegar and lemon juice in the mean time.

Later in the day we went out to dinner at JC’s Sushi, which was a blast with the kids. On Thursday I felt a little bit better and was able to do a light workout, then mow the lawn and in the evening we went to an 80′s concert and took Seneca to her first concert ever which she absolutely loved. On Friday I worked out inside then went downtown with the family to watch the Tour of Utah in 100 degree heat. Saturday was pretty mellow and I just watched the tour from home and worked in the yard. On Sunday we drove up to Guardsman’s Pass and watched the final stage, the weather was perfect. Then we dropped into Park City and had dinner there.

Seneca at her first concert, at Red Butte with Wang Chung and When in Rome

Seneca has been so amazing lately, learning lots of new words and just being a cute little bug. She is so entertaining and loves to play, laugh and make us laugh. She loves her fairies and wants to ride a bike so bad. Lately she has said many new words including “grandpa, grandma, bike, wheel, tickle”.

Seneca’s Firsts

I’ll try to keep a running list of first words and milestones, I should have started this earlier but oh well.

  • Late October 2017 – 1 year’s old, starts to stand up for the first time, pops up around her birthday and then starts standing a lot better. Says ‘mama’ and ‘dada’, ‘baba’ and ‘be-be’ for Binkie.
  • December 2017 – starts taking her first steps in Mid December. By January she is walking and by the end of Jan she is speed walking.
  • Jan 2018 – she is getting good with her sign language and can say a lot of things. She pats her leg for dog. She says ‘meow, meow’. She says fffff for Fish at the Aquarium.
  • Feb 1, 2018 – she holds her cell phone up and pretends she is calling me and says ‘hi dada’. She loves baths and pats her tummy when she wants one.
  • March 7, 2018, says ‘shoes’, ‘eyes’,
  • March 11 while on our trip to Maui she starts nodding ‘yes’, so cute! She is starting to say Fish all the way through. She signs Bird by pointing to the top of her head. Today at the pool in Maui she chased some birds around while pointing at her head.
  • Aughfff is Avocado. Booah is Bird. This month she is eating so much. It’s getting nice outside so we go for walks every night and she sings. She loves Frozen and Moana, she is a good climber and gets up and down the stairs easily. April 23, 2018
  • May 17 – she’s saying more and more all the time. This week she said Fairy, more, door (singing along to the Frozen song, Love is an open door), me.
  • August- yesterday she said grandma and grandpa while on the phone with my parents, sounds like “bumpa” . Other words include “moon”, she calls bugs “bees”. She says “towel, shower, bike, bye bye’. She now likes to wear her pink helmet and loves for me to put her on Liams bike. She has a Finding Dory splash table that she loves to play in.
  • September 2018 – so many new words. This week she said her name Seneca, she says ‘hi Cows’, she says ‘Beeshoe” to tell the bugs to go away. She calls walking “walkie” and she loves to say Hi to everyone and everything.

Happy Moments in January 2018

The holidays have been absolutely amazing and I had so much time to spend with my family. It was great taking 10 days off, the only other time I had done that was while I was on paternity leave. I did fun things with my family every day and got in to the habit of putting my baby girl to sleep every single night, and now it has been 2 months since I have done that. I will put her in my arms and rock her to sleep while she drinks a bottle, then pop a binkie in her mouth and let her fall asleep. I savor every moment and make sure i am so present, I think about how thankful I am for these moments and savor them.

Angie got me an amazing present for Christmas, daddy-daughter swim lessons. I did my first one in the last week in January and although I was sick as a dog, I wouldn’t miss it for the world. It was such an amazing experience and was one of the happiest moments I have had. What a wonderful bonding moment with my daughter, she was so happy and stared into my eyes with the biggest smile and her twinkling eyes. I told one of my co-workers how amazing it was and she said that it was too bad she is too young to remember, but I disagree, I think these moments build that bond stronger between us. We take them into the pool and sing songs while we teach them swimming motions such as kicking, floating and paddling.

Liam has been an amazing big brother and loves to play with his little sister and teach her things. I have a hard time getting him to bed because he just loves being awake so much, as I write this he is laying in his bed and singing songs. I am so happy that I have these two children in my house and it is so fun to hear them talking and babbling with their cute little voices. I love my time with them and never want to be too busy for them. I love being a father and teaching them, but also having fun with them and making them laugh. I love holding Seneca and chasing Liam with him in my arms, this makes them both laugh and scream with excitement.

Work has been great, after a tough year I feel like I am back in action and our full team is firing. The mood is much better and we are off to a great start to the year. I am so thankful for my company and the amazing things that it gives to me and my family. I am so thankful for the Presidents Club trips that allow my family to have amazing experiences. I love that it allows my wife to be a stay at home mother and spend time with my baby. I love the challenges that make me a better person, and the relationships that my job gives me. I love being so close to work, and the home that I was able to purchase. I am excited to leave to Maui in a month from now and am having a blast getting prepared. I plan on riding my bike up Haleakala which is a bucket list item.

Fitness has been great up until getting sick 3 weeks ago. I had some high 1 hour threshold power numbers leading up to that and probably lost some fitness, but hopefully I can get on track soon.

Seneca’s first birthday

My how time flies, Seneca is now one year old and Angie put together an amazing birthday party for her this past weekend. The theme of the party was “Twinkle Twinkle little Star” and we had a great turnout of friends and family. Angie made a wonderful gluten free cake and a delicious chicken tortilla soup for our guests and Seneca got some great toys to play with. I was able to finish up the playhouse for the most part, at least enough for the kids to go play on. What a great first birthday!

Trip to San Francisco for Presidents Club

This was my third year at Presidents Club and this time I was able to bring the kids, and it was Sececas first ride on a plane and a boat. We were able to go to Alcatraz on the first night then there was a cruise around the bay with dinner and dancing.

On Friday we visited the Wharf and then took Liam to the Arcade museum, then went to dinner at Aliotos and then had a sundae at Ghiardelli Square. On Saturday we went on a Bay Cruise with Liam then went to the aquarium. Later that night we went to a party right in the middle of Union Square, after that we went to Ruby Skye for about an hour.

On Sunday I took Liam to the Museum of the Sciences in Golden Gate park, then when we got back we walked to Chinatown for dinner. On Monday I got up early and went walking with Seneca and took her to the point on Broadway that overlooks the city and Bay. Later we went there again and did photos with the kids. We then walked down to Columbus street and had some lunch then went back to Macy’s for a sundae and then went home. Great trip with the family!

 

The Birth of Baby Seneca

Friday October 28th was the happiest day of my life as my baby girl Seneca was born at 8:19 in the morning after a long 15 hour labor by my wife.

This has been a long year and a half for Angie, we had been trying to get pregnant for the last several years but became more deliberate after we starting seeing a fertilization specialist who gave us some different options but ultimately at Angie’s age, we needed to go for the option with the highest possibility of success which was IVF. Luckily Angela’s insurance was able to pay for up to 6 rounds of IVF, but even so, at 40 years old we had a small chance of success, less than 15% chance but the way I thought of it was that we had a 90% chance if we did it 6 times. The first two times were unsuccessful and Angie had to take a large amount of very specific hormones to make it work, she definitely went through a lot to make it happen. Finally, in February we got the news that we were pregnant and were so happy, but in for many months of worry as we knew how fragile those little cells could be. In the first trimester, we had a big scare because Angie lost a lot of blood but after we went to the hospital we found out it was a cyst and not a miscarriage. I felt so lucky but all along I have been anxious about her birth.

Baby boy or baby girl?

I would have been just as happy with either a boy or a girl. On one hand, it was nice to have Liam and I love bonding with a boy and love having a little side kick, also I would have loved to have a boy to carry on the Parsons name (hopefully Liam can do that for us). On the other hand, Angie really has always wanted to have a little girl, and it would be so nice to have one of each in our family. I have also wanted to have a girl just so that I would have an opportunity to give this little girl everything in the world that I think Angela should have had when she was a child. Well in the first part of April we were allowed to do a test that determined our baby’s sex and also run some tests for chromosome disorders. When we were at Disneyland we were in our hotel when we found out that we were going to have a baby girl, it was so exciting and I love that Angie has the opportunity to have a little girl.

Baby’s name:

We played around with a few different names, at first we thought we were going to name her “Maya” or “Maya Rey”, after that we started thinking of “Aviana”, Angie also liked “Zaylee” but I never really got interested in those names. One day I mentioned Seneca, who was a friend of mine since high school, and Angie also met Seneca in a yoga class. We both really liked that name and decided that would be our baby’s name. When my old friend Seneca learnt that would be our baby’s name, she said she looked forward to meeting her because she has never met anyone else with that name. We always get compliments on how beautiful that name is and know that it will be quite unique.

Hypnobirthing Classes

Angie decided that she wanted to do the birth naturally and through a few recommendations, decided to do ‘hypnobirthing’ which I didn’t quite understand until we went to the classes which consisted of 5 x 3 hour long classes during August. Once I got into the classes I started to understand what hypnobirthing was and was very fascinated with the idea. The classes talked about a peaceful way to have a child naturally and that using visualization, meditation and coaching could help with the natural birth. I enjoyed doing these classes and the teacher did a great job. Also during August we did an 8 hour child birthing crash course on a Saturday, as well as a Friday night hour long class for Liam on being a ‘big brother’.

 

The pregnancy:

Angie did well for the entire pregnancy, she was somewhat sick during the first trimester but never threw up. The second trimester was during the summer and I remember Angie feeling really hot all of the time. The last trimester Angie struggled with her mobility and her sleeping. During the last few weeks, she had a couple of times where she didn’t feel baby Seneca moving and went to get it checked out. Baby was fine but they said her fluid levels were low so she needed to drink lots of water.

The baby’s due date was November 4th, but Angie and I were doing our best to be prepared ahead of time. We had an idea that Seneca would come early and on October 27th, I got a call from Angie saying she was going in because she had not felt Seneca moving very much. When she got in for her checkup, they said they wanted to head over to delivery and get ready to have the baby because she wouldn’t be safe with such low fluid. It took a while for it to really hit me and I had some stuff to do at work to be able to leave for 2 weeks, also I had to go home and get Liam and drop him off with the neighbors. I didn’t know if they mean that we would have to do a c-section or have an induced labor.

Angie is starting to feel her labor wearing on her.

It took me about 2 hours to wrap up my work and then I left around 5pm and headed over to my house to grab all of the things we needed for a hospital stay. I also dropped Liam off at Tiffany (our neighbors) house around 6pm, then headed over to the hospital and arrived around 6:30pm. When I got into the delivery room, Angie and our doula Kristen were hanging out just casually talking, and let me know they were going to induce her with some Pitocin. From there it was really just a long waiting game and several hours went by where we talked and listened to casual music as Angie got dilated. They inserted a catheter that would help push on both sides of her cervix to help open it up, but it was extremely painful and she had to endure that for several hours until she reached a 4cm dilation.

About 2pm they removed the catheter and Angie felt some immediate relief, but then the started upping the Pitocin and the contractions became stronger and stronger. We laughed and joked around for quite a while, and went on walks around the hospital hallways. Kristen and I took turns taking short little naps and massaging Angela, but neither of us got much sleep. I was so concerned for Angie getting tired, and in the back of my mind I wondered if she would consider getting an epidural, but by 3 or 4 in the morning I knew the contractions were growing so strong that we were likely past the point of no return. As the contractions got stronger and stronger, I spent a lot of time trying to help her get her mind off the pain by helping her visualize being in a peaceful place and using some of the techniques I learned in our hypnobirthing class.

Around 5am it seemed like the dilations were not going as fast as we would like and the nurses and doula agreed that it would be a good idea to break Angie’s water. It took a little bit to get the resident OB to come in and break her water. I remember my stomach was sick and I had to go to the bathroom, by the time I came back from the bathroom, Angie was in a full labor. Angie’s OB was just getting in by this time and would help with the delivery. At this point, Angie could no longer keep her mind off the contractions, each one lasted about 10-12 seconds but it must have felt like a lifetime. I was holding her hand and she would pull so hard on me and then she started screaming, it was hard for me to watch her go through this. I tried to get Angie to focus on the sunrise that was coming up over the mountain but there was no way she could put her mind on that.

When the OB came down, she could tell the baby was stressed because her heart rate would drop during each contraction. She inserted an electrode onto the baby’s head to help observer her heart beat better. I sensed something was going wrong because the staff and OB seemed to become a lot more ‘serious’. The OB started getting stern with her guidance and started to yell at Angie to push and push harder. The scariest part was when she told Angie that she had to push hard because the baby was stressed. Angie pushed and the head started to pop out and the OB told us she had a hairy head, which gave me some relief. A few more hard pushes and finally the baby popped out, they put her right on Angie’s chest and before I knew it, I was cutting the cord. It was such a relief to have her out and such a miracle after almost 2 years of work.

Seneca was born at 8:19am and weighed in at 6lbs 8oz. I was so emotional and so happy to have my baby girl born and I just soaked it all in. The sun was just peaking over Mount Olympus when it happened. I took some photos and put the word out to my parents and Angie’s dad. He was the first to arrive around 9am when Angie was recovering and with the baby. Kristen, with a job well done, left after an exhausting night. I stepped out of the room for a few minutes when they were giving my baby her shots because she was crying so hard, but I wasn’t worried, just full of emotion. After an hour, we were transferred upstairs to a recovery room where we have been for the last few days. Angie and I were so exhausted, I had been up for over 24 hours and Angie had been up for nearly as long but with a full 15 hours of labor, what a champion.

The support we have had:

The support for our baby has been so unbelievable. We have had some amazing friends and family helping us out. We had many beautiful baby showers that provided us with so many great gifts to help our baby with a great start. Angie was a little worried about some of the showers because invitations  went out so late, but they really all were great and shows how many amazing friends we have. My parents have been helping to watch Liam while I am here in the hospital helping Seneca get her strength and eating up. We had some good visits from friends such as Alexa, Lisa, Angie’s dad and Lolli, even Marcus came by to bring some gifts for both Seneca and Liam.

Bonding time with Liam

This week there was a very touching photo making the rounds on the Internet of a boy who was pulled from the rubble of an air strike in Syria and it really hurt to think about. What it did do is give me more perspective on the things I can give to Liam and bonding with him. After school on Thursday I picked him up and took him on a date. Yesterday I took him to see a butterfly launch in the park.