So this happened…{hello Jackson Ryan}

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Jackson “Jax” Ryan Stuckenschneider made his entrance 12 days early on Friday, January 2. He was 20″ long and 8 lbs 1 oz. I think I’m the most surprised of all, even though I wanted him to come ASAP most of all. We couldn’t be more in love with him.

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So the birth story (mainly so I have a record of it somewhere, before I forget it!): I had been super uncomfortable in the last week, in general and because of contractions that started to hurt a little vs. just be uncomfortable. It made me wonder if the real deal was going to happen soon, but given Henry was 11 days late after inducing, I didn’t really think he would be coming, at least that soon. I didn’t even have my hospital bag packed. The morning of January 2nd I was woken up at 5:45am from what felt like being kicked in the stomach (like, hard, not like a usual baby kick). I got up and went to the bathroom and tried to go back to bed, but I was having contractions that hurt, often. I started timing them and they were four to six minutes apart, which surprised me, since I thought usually they would start further apart? After a good half hour or so without them letting up and becoming quite a bit painful I got up and took a shower, since I thought “holy sh*t, these feel how they did with Henry. This could actually be it.” and apparently I felt I needed to shower before the big show. As I tried to get dressed the contractions were even more painful, causing me to stop whatever I was doing, and convincing me that this was it. So I finally woke Ryan up about 6:30 or 6:45am and then I tried to get ahold of my parents so they could come over to be with Henry. We also tried texting a couple neighbor friends (it was 7am which isn’t super early but early enough we didn’t want to disturb anyone if we didn’t have to), but no answers all around. Luckily my sister heard me call her while she was asleep and she was able to wake my parents up, who came over to relieve a friend who was actually up and able to come over to be at the house with a still sleeping Henry (Thanks, John!). As I was throwing things into my hospital bag (I had no idea what I was doing or putting in there) and trying to get dressed (I seriously couldn’t figure out what to wear to the hospital while in labor), my water broke in the bathroom, shortly after 7am. <insert two changes of underwear>. On the three minute drive to the hospital even more water gushed out – yes indeed, I really was in labor. For real. As if I couldn’t tell before.

At the hospital I had to have a wheelchair to get to the labor and delivery ward and was swearing a lot, because geez, those contractions hurt! And were every few minutes so there wasn’t much relief. They quickly checked me in, as I told them that I was ready for my epidural, ASAP. The longest hour later I finally (though was informed it was quick) got the epidural, and thank goodness for drugs, friends. My completely asleep right leg, my extremely dry mouth and hunger were more of an annoyance than the contractions for the rest of the time. God bless a fantastic nurse (if you go to Delnor you will want Becky) who snuck me water and said I could take some sips. About 3:20 pm it was time to push (my nurse, Ryan and the doctor were really encouraging and helped this along!) and at 4:02 pm my perfect little Jackson was born. He definitely had lungs on him, and came out with some rolls! I was super excited to see those rolls 🙂 I’m hoping they stay/grow. When Henry came to meet him that night with my family, it was the best thing ever. He was so excited, kept asking to see “baby Jax”, proudly showed me his visitor sticker, tried to give Jax his new toy and kept wanting to hold him.

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Everything was a bit surreal to me. I felt so unprepared for everything that happened! I was not supposed to give birth almost two weeks early – I was in the middle of projects, didn’t finish the nursery yet, hadn’t finished all the baby laundry (thank goodness we had at least gotten out and washed all the gear) and hadn’t packed. But everything happened as it should have, and really couldn’t have gone any better. I’m very happy he was an impatient guy and was so glad I was able to have a successful VBAC, with my chosen doctor who was miraculously working that day, for the experience and the recovery. My recovery is much easier this time around (though let’s be clear there is recovery and it’s still going on) and I was able to go home the next day – which may be crazy, but I was anxious to get home with Henry.


going home






So we’re home and healthy and happy — and tired, but my mom was here for several days doing all the things, which was amazing. I’ve had my food cooked, laundry done, house cleaned, flowers and food delivered – a girl could get used to this 🙂 I guess it’s not every day you have a baby, so I’ll soak it in…along with baby snuggles and the joy of watching Henry with Jax. Seeing Henry with him is one of the most special things ever, my heart could burst every time he gives him a kiss or a face hug or tells him “it’s OK baby Jax”. He is also no longer a “big boy” but is instead a “big brother”. So so so so so awesome. I can’t believe he’s a week old already today and I seriously can’t believe he’s here – have I said that already? My heart is so full, what a perfect start to 2015!

1 week(one week old!)


(I have 2 weeks left of my maternity book to post, which I’ll still do since it needs to get done anyway. Though if it will be anything like Henry’s, it still won’t be printed a couple years later…)


Halloween 2014

Halloween this year was so much fun! Henry was totally into it, and I was determined to squeeze in lots of fall fun, especially outside while we could. (Let’s just pause for a sec and recognize that the weather this fall was amazing…ahhh). We hit up various pumpkin patches/place areas – three to be exact, one of them twice, painted pumpkins for the mantel, went to the park district’s Halloween party, carved pumpkins and trick or treated twice (once at downtown businesses the day before Halloween).

Painting pumpkins happened twice, as I had five and I thought I’d split up the “time wasting” activity (more like 10 minutes) – yet I think the clean up took as long as the painting process. At least my little artist loved it, and still points up at the pumpkins he painted proudly.  Henry was able to wear his costume three times this year, which is always nice since a. time/money/thought that went into it b. he looked so darn cute. I decided he was going to be Mickey Mouse, since he’s obsessed with the show at the moment and I could pull it off pretty easily, and he was the cutest Mickey Mouse I ever did see. I think he loved it too.

A couple nights before Halloween we carved pumpkins and Henry couldn’t have been more excited or involved. I was a little surprised how much he helped (albeit slooooow help) scoop the pumpkins out and put the seeds in the bowl. He even wanted to help carve, which was interesting carving with a knife while he held onto my hand. He was so excited to carve Mickey into his pumpkin (he has the best excited face with his mouth open, that he’s been doing for several things lately and I love it, see pic below) and was genuinely scared of Ryan’s “scary face” pumpkin – though he still loved it. I had to carry him up the stairs every night since “scary face” was right outside the front door (I didn’t mind the tight snuggles). Such a character, my Henry.

Of course Halloween was really cold and windy, despite the week leading up to it being super nice, but Henry braved the weather and made it to several houses. Henry had a special treat and was able to trick or treat with both of his grandmas who also braved the weather for him. The neighbor across the street was Minnie Mouse – how perfect! – and they trick or treated together for a bit, cutest pair ever. Henry has LOVED the Halloween candy, and I can’t lie, I like it too since I’m not above bribing him with it (“if you take a nap, you can have a piece of candy when you wake up”. hey, it works. usually.)

With all the fun we had, of course I took tons of photos. Today I’m sharing just a smattering of them (though still a lot), from the pumpkin patch/play place where Henry picked out his “big pumpkin” (that we paid too much for, only to have it rot on the porch before we carved it and I had to go buy a replacement + another to carve without him noticing), carving the pumpkins and Halloween itself.

roping slide with dad slide with mom jump jump 2 horse ride corn maze corn maze 2 picking pumpkin picking up pumpkin with pumpkins cleaning pumpkin cleaning pumpkin 2 IMG_9388 IMG_9393 IMG_9390 IMG_9395 IMG_9398 IMG_9403 IMG_9405 IMG_9411 IMG_9426 IMG_9464 IMG_1760 IMG_1761 IMG_1766 sad mickey mad mickey

(he was a little tired of pictures)

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The only fall activity we haven’t done is eat caramel apples, though I’m hoping to still make some at home – pretty much just because I could really go for one 🙂 Leading up to Halloween we watched the Curious George Halloween special one million times, and the day after Halloween we had to switch to Christmas movies (since there’s not much out there for Thanksgiving) – and we’ve subsequently watched the Christmas Curious George and the three Mickey Mouse Christmas movies one million times already and it’s not even Thanksgiving yet. We’ve created a monster. I have to admit, it puts me into the Christmas spirit early this year – I’m not sure I can hold out until the day after Thanksgiving to decorate and get the tree.

Hope your Halloween was just as fun and magical!


Henry is getting a….

Baby Boy 2


If you follow me on Instagram or know me in real life then you probably already knew two weeks ago since I’ve neglected this little blog of mine lately, but I figured better late than never is best for this internet space of mine.

Going into the appointment, I had no “feeling” of boy or girl – I don’t know how people have those to be honest. My only indication of anything was that this pregnancy has been fairly similar to the last one – though not exactly the same, but that’s just an old wives tale anyway, so I didn’t put much stock into it. Henry said it was a girl every time I asked him, so I felt so bad for him that he was wrong, even though I’m sure he didn’t really care. I’m going to be really truthful, finding out it was a boy, again, was a combination of excitement, shock and a smidge of disappointment (future child of mine: smidge. And I know it will be all gone once you’re here and another beautiful boy of mine). And most of all gratefulness that the baby is healthy, of course.

+Excitement: Henry will have a brother! Built in best friends! Another totally handsome and awesome son. It will be so interesting to see how alike and similar they are. I really hope he’s as sweet and overall well behaved as Henry is. And as good of a nighttime sleeper as Henry was/is, just for starters (I can wish, right?).

+Shock: TWO boys! I WILL BE A MOM OF TWO BOYS. Never saw that coming. Even though I had no idea what it was going into it, and knew it was a possibly of being another boy, it still didn’t register until it was true. Even though I have a boy already, I don’t consider myself a “boy mom” as some say.  Maybe after two?

+Disappointment: I can’t lie, I want a daughter so bad. I want the most adorable clothes ever, pony tails, pig tails, tea parties, babies, prom dress shopping, wedding dress shopping…I wanted a boy so him and Henry could be besties since they’ll be close in age, but I wanted the pressure off of the third child (should I have one, crossing fingers) and to just have one. Now it all comes down to the last one. Dum dum dum. (And should it be a girl, I’m already sad she won’t have a sister. But we’re not doing 4, nope.) But that’s a while from now…

Whatever the sex, this one or the next (or the first, ahem, Henry), the bottom line is that they are healthy and I will love them an immeasurable amount. I will love them so much I want to squeeze them and kiss them over and over and never let go and hold them forever…but that would be weird, so I’ll do all those things in my head and only do that sometimes when I can’t control myself.

In closing: brothers! Everyone says they’re awesome, so I’m sure they are. And crazy. And love their mom 🙂 Though I honestly don’t know how I’ll handle having the two cutest boys in the world, my head/heart might explode.


Coming January 2015!

Baby Stuckenschneider #2!


I am so excited for Henry to be a big brother and to be a family of four in the new year!

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Seriously, I can’t use enough exclamation points! Even through the nausea and complete exhaustion (please end soon) I am so excited and already impatient to meet him or her. It’s all worth it in the end, right?

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The baby’s official due date is January 14. My current doctor has told me I will have another c-section on January 7, but I may be changing doctors in case I decide to try the other route (VBAC – let me know if you have any experience with that) — though knowing when they’re coming, and having to wait a full week less would be nice. We will be finding out the sex again, since I’m way too impatient and want to get planning the nursery and names and everything. The most important thing is having a healthy baby (of course), but Ryan would like another boy (of course) and while it would be nice for Henry to have a brother only 2 1/2 years younger, I would love a girl so much. The gender ratio in this household needs to even up! I have even started taking  a couple bump photos already, as seriously I had pregnant bloat belly happening pretty much immediately with #2, though I can’t decide which direction I want to take them (Same outfit every time? which? Only belly, no face? Kind of impersonal, but let’s be honest, it’s a rare day here when I do my hair let alone make up and the first time I tried to get my head in…no, just no.)

I will be sure to keep you updated, though as you can tell, not quite so often. I have our painted house, patio (not quite finished yet but almost) and summer vacation to share…some day 🙂 I’m pretty exhausted all day long, so computer use is pretty sparse. I will try my best though! So yea! Babies! I can’t wait to have a newborn, cuddly little squish again.



Henry: Today you are TWO!


Henry, today you are two!

Today you say so many words, though you still only say the first syllable. Just a sampling: Ha (Henry), Ma, Da, Ba (Beck), Ja (Jack), Jer (Uncle Jarrett), Pa, Ah (Otto, and Charlotte), wah (walk), poo (pool, poo, pee), pull, hi, bye, na (banana, yellow), nya (milk), Geor (Curious George), Ah-ja (Mickey Mouse), juice, choo (train), truck, draw, and my personal favorite – boo (balloon, blue, boo boo and…boob – while grabbing it. ha!).

Today you have also started to put together phrases and it’s so cute. “Nya Geor Da Ba” (drink milk while watching Curious George with Dad and Beck – usually said after bath time) and “Da Ba wah” (Dad and Beck go on a walk).

Today you don’t ever sit still, even while watching TV.

Today you love to climb – on furniture, on Beck, on Mom and Dad. Though you are still fairly cautious and haven’t gotten really hurt yet (knock on wood).

Today you are 34 3/4 inches tall and weigh 27.5 pounds.

Today Curious George is still your favorite. Though you also love Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.

Today you fake cry, a lot. Though sometimes you convince yourself it’s for real and then it’s for real.

Today you love trucks. In the car you ask me for “one more truck” over and over again. If I could make trucks appear for you, I would my dear.

Today you love to draw. You draw line after line on the chalkboard, and scribbles on paper. You request that I write “Henry” and draw dogs, cats and owls over and over…and over.

Today you love letters. You love the Endless Alphabet app, and can identify and match letters. Sometimes I think you’re a genius. You say “ah ah ah” to point out letters.

Today you love to learn.

Today you love animals. You call a cow a “moo” and a pig a “go”. Sometimes I am your interpreter.

Today fruit snacks, apple juice and milk are your favorites.

Today you love to go to the pool. Your favorite part is the fountains and you love to stand over them and spray your bum like the big kids. You also love the sprinkler, and the hose, and the bath. You’re a water baby and I love it.

Today you sign “thank you” but everyone thinks you’re blowing kisses – which works.

Today you are still destined to be a class clown. If something accidental makes you laugh or other people laugh, you attempt to do it again and again.

Today you walk by women at the pool, wave and say “hiiiii”. Lady killer.


Henry, I wish you all the happiness, smiles, stomach-aching laughter, Curious George marathons and trucks you could ever want. I hope your love for learning and getting laughs never ends. I love you forever and ever and always. I love being your Ma.

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Did you all have a good Easter? Good! We did too! Last year I thought Easter was so fun, as it was Henry’s first Easter, but this year was even better, since he was a little more aware (although let’s be honest, not much – he just knew how to collect the eggs well). And the weather was AMAZING. After the winter we had, thank goodness Easter was so late this year. After we woke up (late) and ate breakfast, Henry “found” his Easter basket under the dining room table and promptly played with all the things and tried to eat all the candy. The egg hunt in the backyard took a quick two minutes (literally), as we were running late. After the church service we were late to, we headed to my parents where we spent all day in the backyard soaking the rays, seeing family and watching Henry throw balls again and again and again… There was also another egg hunt, because you can’t have too many egg hunts for Easter.

Here’s some pics from the day, and also from the day before when I got my act together and dyed eggs with Henry, who was surprisingly into it – almost too much so, as eggs are just. so. crackable.

dying eggs finding easter basket basket farmmore mandms egg hunt finding an egg egg pickup with Beckryan henryfamily picthrowinghand in pocket_grown upeaster basket 2egg hunt helpjilly eggjayneegg in bushgrandparentsthrowing ball 2the boyssittinghula hoopingjilly hulajilly hula hoopjilly hula hoop 2ballHenryevening lightjord henryjord henry hamds

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Believe me when I say there’s lots more where these came from, I edited down because how many pics of Henry throwing/picking up eggs/putting his hands in his pockets can you take? Speaking of hands in his pockets – is it not the cutest thing you ever saw? Also, I die for how handsome Henry looked in both his outfits. Squeeeeeeeze!!

Enjoy the rest of your week!


Road trip to Panama City Beach

Hello! Happy Spring! It’s finally starting to get warmer here, though I say that lightly since even though today is supposed to be 60 degrees (amazing!), it’s back down to the thirties after that. This winter has been awful and long and cold and snowy and awful, have I mentioned awful? As it happened, there was a free place for us to stay in Panama City Beach in January, so we hit the road in search of warmer weather. While we knew it wouldn’t be that warm, and it wasn’t, we at least escaped the bitter cold, had a few warmish days, got outside and had sunshine. So while we will not go back to that location at that time of year in the future, it was still worth it (and would go back to Panama City Beach when it’s hot there, it was great).

It was a loooong drive down, but luckily Henry is basically addicted to Curious George and was in heaven when he got to watch it for hours straight and caused us no issues. It also helped that we stopped twice on the way down and once on the way back to break up the drive. We left on a Saturday and drove the seven hours, in part through basically a blizzard, to Bowling Green, Kentucky where we stayed with my sister and her boyfriend. Sunday we drove the hour to Nashville and stayed there for a day/night since we had never been and enjoyed some good food, country music and (watching) line dancing. We finally arrived in Panama City Beach early Monday evening and were greeted with the first of  many amazing sunsets, sand as fine as flour and a gorgeous condo to stay in. While there we hit the beach a lot, soaking in all the vitamin D we could get, despite less than ideal beach temperatures, shopped and ate a ton (yay for ultra fresh seafood). And during nap time I had nothing to do except read books and browse the internets, I loved it. It was so exciting to see how much Henry loved the beach. Like, threw himself down in the sand to “swim” in it over and over again loved it. It really made the trip worth it. Henry picked out a shovel at the souvenir shop and it barely left his hands; he had to carry it down to the beach himself, it was too cute (and has since slept with it a couple nights at home). And let’s discuss sunsets again. OMG sunsets. Breathtaking. Judging by the amount of pictures I took of them I’m a teeny bit obsessed.

So here’s more pictures than you ever wanted to see of someone else’s vacation. But dang it, there were great picture taking moments and I just couldn’t cull down any more.


car waves Hen Jen fish kayakhotel bed nashville Nashville Wild Horse

balcony Henry view kitchen living room {Henry is taking a business call; also, LOVE the table}view greeting us 2 view greeting us {that chandelier, mmmm hmmm}master bedroom {master}master master bedroom_bed master bath bedroom 2 {2nd bedroom}bath 2 third bedroom{third bedroom; bath not pictured}mom henry b&wtoes in water{first time with his feet in the ocean}

henry ryan sunsethenry mom beachhenry beach playing in sand sand playing sunset shoulders superman pool pool beach pier running naptime

walk {walking with a stroller on a beach is impossible}sunsets panama city beach palm trees oysters henry glasses condo beach shoulder ride buried 3 buried 2 buried 4 buried daddy digging chase carry shovel Beach modeling Beach modeling 2 digging 2 digging dolphin toy henry beach sky henry beach sky 2 ice {yea, it was pretty cold during a morning walk}in hole justine & henry sunset sunset walk sunset shoveling ryan & henry sunset shoveling shovel carrying sandy mouth sandcastles getting buried drinking in bed

breakfast sleeping in bed {Henry slept in real late the day we left, the week of sun wore him out}sleeping

Gosh I love vacations. And sunsets. And my boys.

Have a great weekend!