Monday, November 29, 2010

The Hub

hub (n): a place that is a center of activity or interest. synonyms: center, core, heart, nucleus, focal point, focus.
For as long as I can remember, the Giblin-side Thanksgiving as been hosted by my mother. Everyone knows this. Our Thanksgiving is such a long-standing tradition, that over the years we have adopted families and friends to join us. In its' prime, probably between 1998 and 2002, I would not be surprised if the number of guests who made their way thru the house on Thanksgiving, whether it be for dinner, dessert, drinks or just to hang out, approached 100. Though this number appears large, it is easily obtainable. If every family member (with numbers constantly increasing as there seems to be at least one Great-Grandchild added to the mix each year) were to make it to the festivities, that's over 50 people right there. So if everyone invites one friend, voila! 100!

When we lived on 52nd street, we could almost see the Country Club Plaza from the house. Therefore, our place was the hub from which people could park and walk to go see one of Kansas City's only known traditions, the plaza lights. If you were friends with me in high school, then you made this trip with my gigantic family, at least once.

This year, as all 34 of us gathered around the dinner table[s], my aunt pointed out something I had NEVER realized. None of us would be there, if it weren't for my Grandma Giblin. She is the matriarch, the hub, the common thread amongst us all. How amazing must it feel, to sit in a decent-size house that hardly fits your entire family? The thought just blew my mind. Curtis exists because of her. (The even scarier part? If you've met her, you can see that there really is a little bit of Jeanne Giblin in every one of us, the "strong" personalities that pervade our family truly begins there.) Later, during the Thanksgiving weekend, Matt and I had a few friends over. Luckily, some out of towners we see only a few times a year made it by the house. (I am sure it was to see me, Curtis can't have provided a bit more motivation than usual to make our house a stop...) While sitting around, relaxing, enjoying a glass of wine and a lit chimnea; yes, it was sweater weather this Thankgiving, one of these guests said, "I love that your house is 'the hub'. I always end up seeing people I wouldn't otherwise get to when stopping by your house." And there it is. The cycle continues, my Grandma is the hub, my mom is the hub, and now, I am the hub. Perhaps, someday, I can sit at the head of the table and look out to a sea of, well, me.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Because I am in medical school, studying for boards, interviewing for residencies and now have a newborn and a 2 year-old, the term "supermom" has been thrown around quite a bit. I would like to clear the air on that one. First, and foremost, I could do none of this, if it weren't for my husband. He is working full/overtime and taking on photography projects, as well as coming home and taking care of a house, 2 kids, 2 dogs and a wife in medical school. On top of all that I pawn off to Matt, I frequently dump Curtis and/or Brock off with available family. We are talking, someone is watching one or both of the boys for at least a few hours, at least 2 days a week. Brock also has been attending daycare part-time so that I may study. So, if having a very loving father for a husband, and a huge, overly helpful, local family is the definition for "supermom", than yes, I am it.

The only credit I give myself is the ability to stay sane, and perhaps even thrive off of the chaos. But even this is just the personality I was born with. I have done some research, and decided that I am technically "Hyperthymic" (becoming "Hypomanic" upon caffeine consumption). Wikipedia describes this personality type in this manner:

Hyperthymic temperament (from the Ancient Greek θυμός for "spiritedness") is characterized by a personality style or set of personality traits that include

  • increased energy and productivity
  • short sleep patterns
  • competitive
  • vivid, active, extroverted
  • self assured/self confident
  • strong willed
  • extremely conversational
  • breaking social norms
  • very strong libido
  • attention-loving
  • low threshold for boredom
  • generous and spendthrift
  • emotion-sensing
  • cheerful and jovial
  • unusual warmth
  • expansive
  • robust and tireless
  • irrepressible, infectious quality
Individuals with hyperthymic temperament are often seen as strong, energetic, productive, well-respected, and are very often the leaders of the social network; the alpha.

Now, after my morning espresso, here is what Wikipedia has to say:

Hypomania (literally, below mania) is a mood state characterized by persistent and pervasive elevated (euphoric) or irritable mood, as well as thoughts and behaviors that are consistent with such a mood state. Individuals in a hypomanic state have a decreased need for sleep, are extremely outgoing and competitive, and have a great deal of energy. However, unlike with full mania, those with hypomanic systems are fully functioning, and are often actually more productive than usual. Specifically, hypomania is distinguished from mania by the absence of psychotic symptoms and by its lower degree of impact on functioning. Hypomania is sometimes credited with increasing creativity and productive energy. A significant number of people with creative talents have reportedly experienced hypomania and attribute their success to it. Classic symptoms of hypomania include mild euphoria, a flood of ideas, endless energy, and a desire and drive for success. A lesser form of hypomania is called hyperthymia.

So, some of you may think I am crazy, and perhaps I am. But I personally think that I am just me.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Happy Birthday Brock Thomas.

Two years ago, today, Brock made Matt and I THE HAPPIEST parents. Though it was a long, awful, hard, labor (after which I turned to Matt and said, "Hope you don't mind having an only child" - right) it was worth every 27 hours. To be as cliche as possible, I have to say, he has done nothing but bring joy to our lives. Well, I probably shouldn't say "nothing but", he does a lot more than bring joy, but I only think about the joy when I reflect on our last 2 years. I worried that a 2nd child might steal too much attention from our firstborn, but Brock would never let that happen! He is the same lovable, curious, inquisitive, adorable little boy that we welcomed on November 23rd back in 2008, plus some other fun things. I enjoy hearing him talk and attempt to imitate everything we say. Apparently, I like to exaggerate - who knew? This is evidenced by the fact that one of Brock's favorite phrases is: "all day". Ha! Whenever I have been doing something, such as studying, cleaning, cooking, running errands, I probably tell Matt I have been doing them "all day."
To celebrate, we invited only immediate family (grandparents, cousin, aunts and uncles). Turns out keeping the gathering small was a really good thing. We had to wake him from a nap to join the party, which resulted in a grumpy little birthday toddler. Though, I must say, his volatile temper was a perfect example of a 2 year old. We enjoyed Brock's favorite foods: hot dogs, mac n' cheese, tater tots, guacamole, and veggies dipped in ranch-he really just likes to lick the ranch off of celery sticks.
We concluded dinner with opening gifts. Brock was only mildly interested in this, so xander kindly helped. Then moved on to "decorate your own cupcakes"-again, Brock just likes the sprinkles, so he literally ate spoonfuls of sprinkles.
Finally, the kiddos got to play with the new toys. Though the little, wooden travel car kit was a hit, I think they really enjoyed jumping for balloons the most. Curtis really just observed, but hey, we try to make him feel included.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

"Brock + Baby"

This is how the appointment was scheduled at Brock's 18 month check-up for his 2 year appointment. Who knew that we would actually be scheduling the appointment on Curtis' exact 2 week birthday!? I just thought it was adorable that we had already scheduled an appointment for the little made his impending arrival very real.

Now that he has arrived, things could not be going better! At 2 weeks, babies, especially breast-fed babies, are expected to just be back at birth weight. Well, to further demonstrate the oppositeness of these boys, Curtis is currently weighing 10lbs 4ozs - putting him 13ozs beyond birth weight. Brock weighed in at 8lbs 5ozs - leaving him 7ozs to go before returning to his original weight. (Just to throw it in there, Brock was 22'' even, while Curtis is not quite there yet, at 21 3/4") Brock never cared to eat, was easily distracted, and preferred to look around and be stimulated in some way. Curtis, if he's awake, is fairly certain he is dying of hunger at all times. As this video displays (he started completely on his belly, facing the other way, but I didn't get the camera until later in the process), he will roll over if he thinks that means food is the end result. I am convinced he could figure out how to wiggle or crawl to a destination if forced to for sustenance. This boy is a survivor, if anything. The pediatrician was quite impressed upon witnessing Curtis roll over twice - and he was my own pediatrician, so he's seen a few wee ones in his day.Brock continues to hover in that 75th percentile range for height, at a little over 35", and still does not match in weight - though he is up to the 60th percentile at nearly 29lbs. Curtis, of course, is currently in the 90's for both, but I don't really find newborn stats to mean anything. Though, while shopping in Macy's the other day, a woman says, "so, 3 months?" and I reply, "ha, oh no, 10 days". Let's just say, Brock is going to be the QB, and his 'little' brother is going to be protecting him as left tackle (assuming Brock is right-handed).

Monday, November 15, 2010


I am typing this post one-handed because the other hand is occupied by the sweetest thing in the entire world. Is there anything more relaxing and peaceful than a newborn? Despite the craziness that is life, right now, Curtis maintains one pace: eat, sleep.

In the presence of a newborn, I suddenly acquire patience. My world slows down a bit. I guess you could say newborns are my Xanax. I am not saying that I don't get anxious upon thinking about the rest of life, but when holding that tiny bundle of irresistible baby smells, and cuteness, the worries melt away.
I remember this feeling with Brock. Perhaps, it is due to being so out of whack and feeling the furthest thing from 'normal' while pregnant, that I suddenly feel 'right' when the baby finally arrives. I don't mind functioning in a constant state of slight exhaustion (though, I haven't had to really do that, because Curtis only wakes up once a night). I don't mind pausing what I am doing to feed him. For the 2nd time in my life, I don't mind being at someone else's service. I take comfort in knowing that I am just doing my best to raise a healthy, wonderful human being.

There are some differences with number two. With Brock, I felt like he was such a part of me, but now, 2 years later, I see he is completely his own person. So, when I look at Curtis, it is with more of a curiosity as to who he will become. Though I know he is part of me, I see him more as his own man. Already I can feel he is extremely laid-back, and that is exactly what our family needed. I think I speak for all three of us, when I say, I am love.

Friday, November 12, 2010

What's Up With That?

Ok, I did not realize how frequently Matt and I would quote this SNL skit until the other day when Matt said "Ooooohhh Weee", and we hear "what up wit dat" from the other room. It was Brock.

I seriously think this child is hilarious.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Unveiling:



So, after living in the house for nearly 5 years, and beginning construction (or destruction) of the master bath nearly 2 years ago, it is finally done. (Minus towel bars, and a toilet paper holder).

Most of the construction was done by my Uncle Tommy. The tile was all my choosing and design. The lighting was all Matt, and the rest was a joint decision. Only in Kansas City could Matt and I have pulled off this grandiose bathroom at this stage in our lives. I have an uncle as a contractor. A father who does glass ~ the shower was free! A cousin who works at a granite and stone showroom ~ we got all tile at cost. A ex-ish brother-in-law who does electrical. And a good friend who's father owns a plumbing supply company (which we forgot about and didn't take advantage of until the end).

As for the specs. It is a 6 foot, 10 jet Jacuzzi. The tile surrounding the tub is a honed marble. The rest is travertine. The accent piece has bits of glass and matching marble tiles. The vanity is some European thing we found online. The shower has 6 shower heads - ridiculous, I know.

All I know, is I am REALLY glad that I can brush my teeth upstairs again. And shower upstairs, for the first time ever since living here!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Arrival of 2.O

Please welcome, Curtis Patrick O'Laughlin. Our chunky, little bundle of joy, weighing in at 9lbs 6.6ozs and 20.5 inches long. Born on November 5th, 2010 at 3:31pm.To quote the dog in the movie, Up, "I just met you, and I love you". Curtis already possesses a personality that is all his own. It is impossible not to compare him to his older brother, as Brock is the only other child I have birthed...and I am calling it now: they are complete opposites. It even starts with the blood, Brock has his father's type, and Curtis has mine. Brock's delivery took 27 hours, Curt's took 7 hours. Brock came out looking like he was 2 weeks old, bright-eyed with very defined features; Curtis arrived with a bruised face, and the cute chub of a newborn. Curtis cannot wait for each feeding, and will stay latched even with his 2 year-old brother jumping in the bed and screaming. While Brock would immediately detach if he heard so much as a whisper in the next room. Despite these differences, I can tell these boys are going to be fast friends.
As for the delivery story, on the night of November 4th, I was about to write a post along these lines:

"So, I have fallen prey to the trend of impatience and self-centered scheduled deliveries that plagues Obstetrics these days. I really, really tried my best to let baby 2.O choose it's birthday. But seeing as he/she is in absolutely no hurry, and my one month off is slipping away, we will be taking action into our own hands. I have deliberated over this decision constantly. If 2.O is not ready to join us, I don't want to force it, but at the same time, I would like to be able to spend at least 3 weeks with the little one before returning to work. Also, as I am showing minimal signs of progression an induction is appearing imminent at this point. So, I can be induced tomorrow, or I can be induced a week from tomorrow either way, we are still smoking the baby out! I realize I am just attempting to justify this decision in my head, but for us, right now, it seems to be the best choice. I don't foresee coming to this same conclusion with any future pregnancies (not guaranteeing there will be any...) So, Baby 2.O, I hope you like November 5th!"

Now, an easy 7 hour labor and a giant, 9 1/2 pound baby boy later, I realize it absolutely was the right decision! A large part of my hesitation to induce, was the fact that there was no medical reason; I was relying on the ultrasound we got on Tuesday to confirm my humongous baby suspicions, thus providing a good excuse for immediate evacuation. But, as he had been the entire pregnancy on sonogram the baby was measuring in the normal 50th percentile - they estimated 7lbs 13ozs. I must admit, I had my doubts on those measurements. I am telling you, at least once everyday of the 3rd trimester I said, "This baby is huge". I said it at every doctor's appointment, and the doc never refuted the comment. I only gained 26lbs, and was GIANT. Also when I felt my belly, it was ALL baby, he filled that sucker up. Anyway, my point is, supposedly the baby was average sized, thus making it hard for me to use size as the excuse to induct labor. Well, as we now see, if I had let this go on much longer, I'd be having a 10+ pound baby! Not that it's not do-able, many a woman has delivered that and larger, but it can complicate things.

My other hesitation with inducing labor, is the rate of c-section. I have not looked into actual numbers or studies, so I am not sure there is statistical evidence showing that induction increases c-section rate, but I feel, if your body is not ready, then it's not ready. I guess my body was ready. We got checked in and settled around 8am. The nurse got some pitocin started around 9. The doctor broke my water at 10. I got an epidural around Noon. And I pushed a baby out in 6 pushes at 3:31pm.

Seriously, I did not feel a thing. The only "complication" to the labor was trying to keep me conscious. The epidural combined with a 9.5 pound baby lying on my great vessels made my blood pressure plummet. So, I had to try and delivery a baby lying slightly on my right side. With my position combined with the lack of feeling I was not convinced that I was pushing well at all. But after 4 pushes, I was told to absolutely stop until the doctor got in the room. The doctor arrived, gowned up and then Curtis joined the world.

Monday, November 1, 2010

More Doorbell!

So, MY dreams of being a woman in labor for Halloween were dashed, but I think all of Brock's dreams came true...candy, candy, and more candy.I should have anticipated that he would love this holiday. All along, I kind of thought, eh, he's not even 2, he won't care to get dressed up and go door to door. WRONG! Like most toddlers, Brock will do just about anything for candy. As soon as he got the hang of it, he would leave each house saying, "mo' doorbell?" What I found most amusing, is that, previous to trick-or-treating, Brock refused to wear his stethoscope and surgeon's cap, but as soon as he realized that dressing up got him candy, he gladly grabbed the props everytime we headed out the door - only to immediately remove them upon returning home. And we left and came home multiple times, because we had to visit 2 sets of grandparents, as well as, go door-to-door on our own street.We also met up with Annora and Alexander to trick-or-treat in the Brookside shopping center. Never again. Way too overwhelming. As I have mentioned before, Brock shares my anxiety issues with overly crowded, disorganized places. Also, the fact that the baby I am carrying felt as though is could fall out did not help the experience - for me, anyway. Nothing beats going house by house...though, around here, it seems to be a fading tradition.