Monday, October 31, 2011

James is One

From James turns 1

It's hard to believe our baby boy is one! At a year old, James is a happy, smiling baby who is still breaking hearts with his dimples, especially his Kirk Douglas style chin dimple. He can say a few words: ball, baba, and bye-bye. And, when he really wants something: mama. He's not yet walking, but he will be anyway now. And, while we're admittedly biased, we think James has the sweetest, softest eyes and the personality to match. James has a calmer spirit than his high-energy brother Jack, but he is equally determined. It's been so special to watch the two of them get to know each other this year.

Enjoy these pictures from James' big day!

James turns 1

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Fab Fourth

From Fourth of July

We headed back to Ohio for the Fourth of July this year. James turned on the charm for the whole family and got lots of snuggles in return from everyone, especially Granpa and Nonni.

From Fourth of July

It was a fun-filled weekend, starting with a much-appreciated birthday celebration for me and Jack. (The cake was so big we had to keep celebrating the whole weekend). We also made a trip to COSI, an interactive science center that I remember visiting as a kid. The big boys had a great time exploring water, wind, electricity, and gravity.

From Fourth of July

The boys also had a blast at a nearby - and really nice - indoor pool with waterslides, a waterfall, and a lazy river. We finished the weekend with a visit from Nana, looking smashing as always with her four great-grandsons here.

From Fourth of July

Fourth of July

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Big Four - OH!

From Birthday and Block Party

Jack is four. One of the big boys now. It's been pretty amazing to watch him grow these last four years. This year has already been a big year for him. He's talking more, and showing us more of his funny little personality. He's braver and bolder than ever, jumping headlong into pools and barreling down giant slides. And, he finally learned (or decided more like it) to ride his trike.

Jack has so many adventures ahead of him this year and the years to come. And, while we'll always be right there to cheer our big boy on, he'll also always be our baby.

From Birthday and Block Party

Enjoy these pictures of Jack's birthday party and our annual block party.

Birthday and Block Party

Saturday, June 18, 2011

A Memorial Day to Remember!

We made our annual trip back to Ohio for Memorial Day this May. It was James' second trip to Ohio, but his first up north to meet my extended family. We made it a long weekend so we would have plenty of time for fun with the family. We started the trip with a day at the indoor water park. Grandma and Poppy have wanted to take Jack for a few years, and he was more than ready this year! He had a great time in the wave pool, on the water slides, and the lazy river ride. He has been asking to go back ever since.

From Memorial Day 2011

We also got all dressed up to go to Grandpa Bill and Alice's wedding! I was certain that Jack would refuse to wear his dress-up clothes and would end up wearing a Lightning McQueen shirt to the wedding. But, it turns out he really enjoyed getting all decked out. He especially liked wearing a tie and he told everyone at the wedding: "I have a tie and awesome pants!"

From Memorial Day 2011

He was as good as you can expect a three-year-old to be at a wedding, and James was good as always.

From Memorial Day 2011

Jack was rewarded with a milkshake at McDonald's for good behavior afterwards. And, we got to spend the night away in Cleveland thanks to Grandma!

From Memorial Day 2011

We finished the weekend with a great picnic hosted by Grandma and Poppy. Hope to see you all again soon!

Memorial Day 2011

Friday, May 20, 2011

Going back to Ohio

Back in February, we made our first trip to Ohio since James was born. Because he was born early, we didn't travel for the holidays. But, we went to Columbus on President's Day weekend so James could meet more family members and make his first trip to the Buckeye State.

Jack got to reconnect with his cousins Ethan and Mike. They always have such a great time together. We really wish they could see each other more often.

And James got to meet Aunt Karin, Uncle Dave, Aunt Pam and Nana for the first time. As always, Aunt Pam lived up to her reputation as the "baby whisperer."

James also met cousins Ethan and Mike. Mike seemed okay with giving up his spot as baby of the family.

The weekend was over too soon, but we're hoping to make another trip out this summer!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Merry Christmas, Jack Buening

This year, we were fortunate that our family brought Christmas to DC instead of making our usual trek to Ohio for the holidays. With James still so young - and sick with a cold - on Christmas, we were more than grateful, although we were missing other family members back home.

Like all good things, our guests arrived in threes. Grandpa Bill and Alice were the first to arrive the weekend before Christmas. They stopped through on their way to Ohio. They brought lots of great gifts and it was great to see them. Grandpa also brought a picture of himself when he was a baby, and he looked a lot like James! We'll have to post that on the blog soon.

Grandma Boop and Poppy came next bringing more gifts for Jack and James to open. Despite a rough start with James' cold (earning us a night in the hospital), we had a great visit with them too. We celebrated with a delicious dinner cooked by Niki and Nick, although Poppy was missing the traditional Christmas breakfast. We should have made it Christmas "brinner." Grandma also took good care of us with her home cooking and by helping out so much around the house - the best Christmas gift we could ask for!

Finally came Nonni and Grandpa bringing even more gifts from family in Ohio. Their visit was special because Grandpa hadn't met James yet! It was great to see them and we hope to visit the family we missed very soon.

Many thanks to our family for making this Christmas - James' first - a special one. Of course, Jack now thinks that Christmas is a weeklong gift extravaganza. But, he actually really enjoyed Christmas this year. He was interested in all things Christmas - Santa, reindeer, elves - but he was especially into Christmas music. He learned and sang many Christmas carols for us this year, with Rudolph and Jingle Bells as favorites. He also really enjoyed his Christmas-themed books, particularly "Merry Christmas, Curious George." He liked it so much that he started saying, "Merry Christmas, Jack Buening" after reading it! We hope that Christmas will stay magical for Jack and James for years to come.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Giving Thanks

We have a lot to be thankful for this year. We have a great house in a great neighborhood, great jobs, and great friends. But we are most thankful for our family. This year, we are thrilled to have added to our family with baby James. It still takes me aback when we talk about "our sons." James has made us a family of four - and has made us complete. We look forward to all we will share together in the years to come.

We are also thankful for our extended family. We were grateful to share Thanksgiving with my mom and step-dad and with my sister and her husband. We hadn't spent Thanksgiving with them in a number of years (or had my mom's famous stuffing!), so it was really special even though we were missing other family members.

To all of our family, we want you to know that we so appreciate all that you have given us over the years, but we especially appreciate the help you have given us with the arrival of our new son this year.

Hoping you all had a Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 29, 2010


It is amazing to watch how James is similar - and how he is different - from his brother Jack. You can see how much they share in common, yet you can also see how they are unique. Over time, their similarities will bond them together, but their differences will also help each brother encourage the other to learn and grow.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Since James came home, he's met many family, friends and neighbors. Among the visitors, the grandmas put in extra time and energy to welcome baby James. Nonni took the first tour of duty, which included driving me back and forth to the hospital every day until James came home from the NICU. By the time he left, we were both really tired of hospital cafeteria food! Once home, Nonni helped us finish all of the preparations we hadn't gotten to yet since James was five weeks early. And, she did all of our laundry! Grandma "Boop" took the next tour. With her trademark home cooking, Grandma kept all of us well-fed and happy. Both grandmas spent just as much time keeping big brother Jack busy, which was much appreciated by his tired parents.

James also had visits from Aunt Niki and Uncle Nick and he met Grandpa Bill and Alice. But the most anticipated meeting was between big brother Jack and baby James. We were more than a little anxious about how Jack would react to James' arrival since he has thoroughly enjoyed his time and attention as our only child for the last three years. We're happy though that Jack seems really interested in his baby brother and wants to hold and help him (with close supervision of course!). Most of the time, Jack is not too jealous and we can tell he can't wait for his brother to get old enough to play with him. Jack can often be heard asking "Baby brother play cars with me?" Soon enough!

Thanks again to all who have visited and brought or sent gifts - especially food!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Marathon Man

This year, Michael decided he wanted to train for his second marathon. It had been seven years since his first one - the inaugural Akron RoadRunner marathon sponsored by his company. He figured he wouldn't have much time for running after our second baby came along this fall. Michael had a great training season and was more than ready for the Columbus marathon on October 17th.

Since I was five weeks from my due date, we decided that I should not make the trip to Columbus to cheer him on. But, his family was there to watch him run a great race. He posted a sub 3:30 time, besting his previous marathon by 30 minutes. He also managed to raise more than $2,000 for charity - the American Cancer Society - making him the highest ACS fundraiser for the event. Exhausted but excited to have met his goal, Michael planned to spend Sunday night in Columbus recuperating and celebrating with his family, returning to DC on Monday.

Back home, Aunt Niki spent the weekend helping me take care of Jack, who had much more energy than I did at 8+ months pregnant. She had a business trip on Monday, so she headed back to her place on Sunday afternoon. Around 7pm on Sunday night, though, I called her up to come back over. Five weeks from my due date, my water broke! She and Uncle Nick made it back to our place in record time. Meanwhile, I called Michael and told him to get on a plane because we are having a baby tonight!

Aunt Niki drove me to the hospital while Uncle Nick tended to Jack. I hadn't yet prepped Jack about Mommy going to the hospital since I thought I had a few more weeks. So, I told him I was going to the store! Back in Columbus, Michael and his family were frantically looking for flights to DC. Turns out the last direct flight to DCA had been delayed in Columbus so he was able to get on (for a considerable price that is). His plane was set to leave when all air traffic was halted in Columbus. Turns out President Obama was also in Columbus that day and Air Force One was about to take off! After about an hour delay, he was in the air and on his way home.

Back in the hospital, I was having contractions and getting prepped for a c-section. Aunt Niki was prepared to dress into scrubs to be there with me during the surgery. But, thanks to a delay in my pre-surgery bloodwork, Michael was able to make it just before they took me to the OR. He arrived at 11:30pm and James Engle Buening arrived at 12:01!

We were grateful that Baby James was born a healthy 6 lbs 4 ozs despite being five weeks early. He did have to go to the NICU right away though. He spent the first few days getting help with his breathing and then with jaundice. While it was difficult for all of us, especially not getting to hold him right away, we were again grateful that James did not have any serious issues to overcome as a preemie. He spent 9 days total in the NICU and has been thriving at home ever since.

Many thanks for all the well wishes from family and friends!

Here are some pictures of James' early days at Sibley Hospital.