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.