It’s Time

Remember that c-section that was scheduled for July 22? Yeah, well, now it’s tomorrow. The wife’s OBGYN decided to go out of town instead, and 2 p.m. on July 19 was the only time slot the hospital could crowbar us in to on the surgery schedule.

All thoughts, prayers and good vibes are very much appreciated.

I’ll start a post tomorrow and live blog as the day goes on. Expect photos, baby stats and my bad jokes.

Jax Remembrance 2016 Details

Next Friday is the Jax Remembrance. For those that have attended in the past, the details are similar. For those that haven’t, let’s fill you in.

My family will be in the Angel Stadium parking lot, closest to the Orangewood entrance, by 5 p.m. The spot has worked out very well for us in previous years. We’ll get there early and I encourage anyone else that joins us to help build a perimeter with your vehicles to help carve out a safe spot for our kids to play and the rest of us to play catch or stroll around and visit. Feel free to bring some food, coolers, chairs – anything to make the experience enjoyable. Really, we just want to hang out with you all.

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Around 6:30, maybe a little later, we’ll start heading over to the area between the two large Angel helmets in front of the stadium. If you didn’t meet up with us in the parking lot, you can meet up with us there. GAME TIME IS 7:05.

Tickets! Let’s talk about getting your tickets. We will bring them to the stadium with us. If you want to pick them up before hand, let Kristina or I know so that can be arranged. Tickets are $21 each.

Payments! Let’s talk about the Benjamins. If you haven’t paid, you can bring money to the game (check is preferred, otherwise I’ll blow it on beers and Rally Monkeys). If you have PayPal, you can send it to me at austin5377@aol.com. If you want to mail a check and need our address, let me know. I also have Venmo.

Questions? Let me know.

Thank you for continuing to remember our boy.

First Look at Baby Boy

First off, an update on the pregnancy. Everything has gone very well to date. The wife and Baby Boy are growing appropriately, and as far as we know, are healthy as can be. A c-section was scheduled for July 22. We’re hoping the little sucker is good at keeping appointments.

Last month, Mommy’s First Peek captured some 4D ultrasound pics for us while the wife was 28 weeks pregnant. I thought it’d be fun to compare and contrast 4D ultrasound photos of Jax, Gray and Ellie to Baby Boy.

For comparison, Jax was 30-weeks-old at time of ultrasound and the twins were about 24-26 weeks.

Let me know who you think he looks like in the comments below.

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addtext_com_MTcwODUwNDA0MzcHe’s already a conceited little sumbitch, ain’t he?

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Jax Remembrance 2016 – Save the Date

Thanks to whoever it is that schedules Major League Baseball games, the Angels are home again on June 24, so we’re going to have the Jax Remembrance at Angel Stadium again this year. It is a Friday night, they’re playing the Oakland A’s and it’s “ugly sweater” baseball cap night.

ugly sweater baseball cap

Like the last couple of years, we’ll meet before the game in the parking lot to visit, eat and play some catch or wiffle ball. Then we’ll meet again in front of the stadium and walk to our seats together. Unfortunately, because it’s a Friday night game, our same seats from the last two years increased to $21 per seat this year.

As we get closer to the date, I’ll provide more details for the night.

Please let me or Kristina know if you are coming. We should buy tickets within the next two weeks. 

Today Was A Good Day

At 1:36 p.m. last Friday, a board member of the Corona American Little League texted me. He was planning festivities for the league’s Opening Ceremonies, to be held the next morning.

“Would you do us all the honor and perform a ‘first pitch’ in memory of Jax?” he asked. He went on to write that our Rookie (t-ball) Brewers were being highlighted, and they’d also release 12 white balloons in Jax’s honor.

How do you say no to that?

If you don’t recall, prior to the 2014 season, we approached the league about permanently sponsoring the Brewers t-ball team. It was a way for us to give back and honor our boy. But the league did much more than that. This year, I was managing the Brewers team.

The next day we were throwing a fifth birthday party for Gray and Ellie, so my wife was going to skip Opening Ceremonies. Instead, she decided to come, along with her mom who was out helping with the party. My mom and dad and sister and her two kids joined as well.

As all of the teams gathered in the outfield before the ceremony, a mom of the youngest player on my team pointed out that they wrote a big number three in white chalk behind home plate, Jax’s jersey number. From afar, I could see three pearly white baseballs resting on a folding table covered in a royal blue table cloth. As we gathered to lead the parade of teams on to the field, my family got in to place overlooking the field to grab some photos and video.

3 in Chalk

I zoned out for about 10 minutes as the other teams were introduced and joined us at the lip of the outfield grass. I chatted with our team mom and coaches and tried to keep our players seated; anything distract myself from the emotions of the day.

After some words from one of the league’s board members, he introduced me. I walked, head down, towards the table with the balls. I grabbed one of those beauties, and kept flipping it in my hands while the board member spoke about Jax, our relationship with the t-ball Brewers and commitment to sponsor the team. I just wanted to get it done with. I couldn’t look at the crowd – it felt too overwhelming. I felt the eyes on me, and it made my skin crawl. I kept waiting for the board member to give the okay to toss that clutched pearl.

I was in gray shorts, a black tee shirt and beat up, gnarly Converse. Just what you think a little league coach should look like, right? The board member finally gave the cue. I stood a couple of feet in front of the rubber on the pitcher’s mound, raised my front arm to start a quick side-step motion and painted the black on the outside corner.

“Strike,” the board’s president said to me as I walked back to my team on the outfield grass. I pumped my fist as if to say “damn right.” My players released the 12 white balloons in to the sky. By the time I reached them on the grass, they were still watching them escape in to the heavens.

I saw my wife along the other side of the fence down the left field line. As I got closer to her, I noticed her eyes red and swollen with tears. I told her I had to walk away so I didn’t lose it. I felt it coming, the emotions I’d tried to bury all morning.

When I got back to my players, our team mom was fixing Ellie’s pony tail. The mom told me Ellie had started crying. I asked why, and she said she was sad. I asked Ellie what was going on, and she told me she just missed Jax. This, from the girl that never shows emotions or wants to talk about her feelings when it comes to Jax. I just always figured she had ice in her veins. Gray talks and shares and asks questions constantly about his big brother. Ellie usually sits in silence, asking my wife or I if we’re going to cry. She just doesn’t want us to cry. So to hear that she cried, and was moved by the day to lead to some sort of feeling, was special to me.

An active military servicemen and a player in the league battling an illness (this is all I can give you, as I could barely hear because all of the speakers faced the crowd, away from us) threw out the other two first pitches.

And with that, opening ceremonies ended. The league scheduled us to play immediately following the ceremonies, as they continued to highlight our Brewers team. The hope was to get a lingering crowd to stick around and watch us play the Giants. It worked.

It was a relief to finally get to the game. We were the home team, so we were in the field to start. Ellie fielded all four balls they hit in the first inning. She was a vacuum. About an hour later our game ended. The team played really well and I couldn’t have been more proud. Our shortstop made a sweet forehand play up the middle, tagged second base and threw to first. It’s as close to a double play as you can get in t-ball. Gray, inspired by pretending to be a Jedi with a light saber striking down a Sith lord, ripped line drives in all three of his at-bats. It was the hardest I’ve ever seen him hit balls. None of our players ran to third base after hitting from the tee, and while I may be biased, our team played considerably better than the Giants. BUT I MAY BE BIASED.

It was the kind of start to a day that Ice Cube would’ve rapped about (except I didn’t get a triple double, despite messing around). Our family is touched by the league’s willingness to continue to honor our special boy. To help us share his memory to those that knew him and perhaps played with him four years ago, and many that didn’t know of Jax or our story.

Damn right it was a good day.

It’s A…

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Today we unveiled to the kids the sex of Baby Tearz, and now, we share it with you. As you can imagine, Ellie wanted a girl, Gray wanted a boy, but they both really just want a baby, whatever gender it is.

Coming to you July 29, 2016. We’re open to name suggestions.

 

Happy 8th Birthday, Jax

Jax turns 8 today. I dropped dinosaur cupcakes off with the kids at preschool so Jax’s teacher can celebrate in her class. She just so happens to teach Gray’s class this year, too. In an hour we’ll pick them up and head out to the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles., as we do, and then meet our family at Ruby’s in Orange to celebrate our little man.

This year, I want to share about the day he was born. On January 28 of 2008, I left my job at Aurora Loan Services/Lehman Brothers early after receiving a phone call from my wife saying she being admitted at Long Beach Memorial. At 5 p.m. doctors induced her. Twenty-five hours later, at 6:17 p.m. the next day, I stood behind my wife’s right shoulder, holding a video camera, and watched the doctor hold up our first child.

“HOLY CRAP IT’S A BOY!” I shouted. We didn’t know the sex. Well, my wife did, because it happened upon her at an obstetrician appointment a week before, but I didn’t know that until later. I thought for sure it was a girl. I was pleasantly surprised that it was, indeed, a boy.

Jax was eight pounds, six ounces and 22 inches long. He had no hair. And he was gorgeous.

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But let’s back up a bit. My wife was in labor for 25 hours. Twenty-five! Little man did not want to come out. I slept in a chair at her bed side that only a 4×4 would find comfortable. Nurses kept us awake every couple of hours. We watched so many episodes of Law & Order that, to this day, that trade mark “Dun Dun” sound gives me the willies.

Jax’s big ‘ol head caused some issues at delivery, enough that the doctor had to cut my wife open to make the hole bigger (episiotomy). Then the doctor had to use a vacuum to help suck him out, which left an abrasion on the side Jax’s head. Clearly, this wasn’t an easy delivery.

Once the nurses took Jax to the nursery I joined my friends and some family in the cafeteria to mingle, enjoy the moment, and relax that it was over. But it wasn’t. While I was down in the basement, the doctor had sewn my wife back together and loaded her up on pain medication. She’s very sensitive when it comes to the meds, or the amount of pain makes her sick. Either way, she started to vomit. And it wouldn’t stop. The doctor was gone and our nurse froze. She didn’t know what to do. The vomiting tore my wife’s stitches and she started hemorrhaging.

I ended up at home that night. I took my friend Munky home, as he stayed at the hospital with us and wanted to make sure I got home safely. I have this thing where I tend to doze off if I’m driving for more than 30 minutes and exhausted. It never hit me how serious my wife’s condition was. Or else I would’ve stayed.

She lost enough blood that she had two blood transfusions. She stayed two more nights in the hospital to recover, and then the hospital discharged her and Jax.

Remember that scene at the end of Knocked Up, when Seth Rogen’s character, a new dad, is driving his newborn and baby mama home from the hospital at about 15 miles an hour and backing up a stretch of road, what appears to be Malibu? That was me driving Jax and my wife home from the hospital. I hesitated pressing the gas. My palms sweat. My stomach was sick. I thought that driving over 20 mph was surely going result in my Chrysler 300C smashed in to a concrete overhang on the 710 freeway.

It was the happiest time of our lives. That’s not to say we don’t absolutely love the twins – they’re the reason I’m still alive. But it’s different having the first-born. All of our energy and love and attention was able to go to just him. And he was so wanted.

As I type this I’m watching a video that my wife’s brother made for Jax’s first remembrance (you can watch below). My heart hurts so much. Andddddd shit, now the Ronan song is on. I’m a mess! I just want my little man.

You were our best four years.