Friday, December 28, 2012

Year End Book Review 2012

Per usual I have successfully achieved my resolution of reading five books per year.  This is usually the only resolution I make and I am still batting 1.000.  It seems to be a very manageable goal so why change what's working.  I not only meet the goal but I also get to read some good books and be challenged both in my thinking and my life.  This year was no different.  I was able to read some fantastic books that were very thought provoking and challenging.

1. The Search for Satisfaction: Looking for Something New Under the Sun by David McKinley - This book was actually written by my Pastor.  It is essentially a commentary on the book of Ecclesiastes.  This book outlines and highlights some of the major themes, like knowledge, relationships, wealth/money, that Solomon was trying to use to find completeness in life.  And since not much has changed this book is very applicable as we continue to try to satisfy ourselves with things other than Jesus.  The book helps highlight different areas that you may be pursuing and challenges you to, like Solomon realize that everything is meaningless under the sun apart from Jesus.  This is a quick, good read that you are sure to enjoy, especially if you feel like reading Ecclesiastes.

2. Desiring God by John Piper - Pretty much challenges you to look at all aspects of your life and ask yourself this question.  Do you delight in God?  Is he supreme above all this world has to offer? And how do we give Him all the Glory?  Powerful and challenging book by an incredibly convicting author/teacher.  A must read.

3. The Pursuit of God by A.W Tozer - A challenge to live for God by a most respected and thoughtful Pastor and author.  Highly recommend this book if you are looking of a quick but thought provoking read.  It is paperback and only like 9 or 10 short chapters.

4. Just Do Something by Kevin DeYoung - This is the first book I've read by a guy that I enjoy reading via blogs and such.  It is very easy to read, very entertaining because the author is quite the story-teller, and gives you very good food for thought.  The basic premise is that Christians get stuck in a rut of spiritual paralysis because we over spiritualize our decisions and thus end up not doing anything.  For, example the excuse is usually like, "I'm just waiting to see what God's will for this is" or "Let me pray about this to see if that's God's will." as if God's will is nebulous and unknowable.  Kevin points out theologically all that is wrong with this thinking and guides the reader to discover that we do in fact know God's will.  We must do it.  He also has a great chapter on young Christian relationships and the lies/paralysis young believers can concoct to postpone dating/marriage/responsibility.  A great read and challenges you to start doing what you believe.

5. The Essential Works of Charles Spurgeon by Charles Spurgeon and Daniel Partner - This is a very thick book containing, well, the essential works of C.H. Spurgeon.  To be honest, I have not read the whole book but I have read several sermons over the course of the last few months of this year.  The book contains mainly his sermons but also includes some biographical writings.  This guy is fast becoming one of my favorites.  Eloquent, challenging, and theologically sound, everything I've read out of this book as been super applicable and though provoking.  It is fun to learn from the spirit filled words of a theological giant.  I definitely recommend this one to read throughout the year since it is not like a "book" book.

I have yet to decide what to read this year.  I'm sure it will include some more Spurgeon as well as some newer guys.  But you will have to wait until next year to find out!  Now go forth and read!

Lucy is 5 Months Old - What God Taught Me through my Biggest "Mom-Fail" Moment

I was a bad mom and missed Lucy's 5 month old blog post update! It is definitely true that having a baby adds more busyness to your life, and somehow, the 5 month post didn't make the cut in the list of priorities, that list goes something like this (eat, sleep, work, take care of Lucy, take care of my husband, etc.).

The months of November and December always seem to be busy and this year was no exception. However, this year was very different in the fact that we had little Lucy tagging along with us through all of our Fall and Christmas adventures.

When Lucy was about 5 months old, we were packing up to leave for our Thanksgiving trip to Atlanta. Jason and I had both worked all day and were frantically packing to leave and make it there before midnight. We had been in the (bad) habit of leaving Lucy laying on our queen sized bed while we did stuff in our bedroom like drying my hair, getting ready in the morning, cleaning up the room, etc. Well, when I was packing I left the room for a split second to grab something to pack, and that is all the time it took for Lucy to flip off the bed right onto our wood floors. I ran in picked her up and she was screaming. I was scared to death and felt a HUGE pit in my stomach (that I still feel just thinking about this moment). I ran to tell Jason what had happened and was in tears myself and told him that we HAD to go to the emergency room to see if she was okay. After a few minutes of trying to quiet her down, I fed her, which made her feel a little bit better. All I could do in the moment was cry out to God to make my baby be okay, even though she had just fallen. I prayed and prayed for God to make her okay and to take away any pain she had. We called our friend Shannon who is a pediatrician and she told us what warning signs to look out for. She told us that if she was eating normally and acting normal, she was probably okay, but to wake her up every few hours during the middle of the night and make sure she woke up normally and was alert enough. We finished packing and I held Lucy's hand the whole drive to Atlanta, apologizing to her and praying the whole time.

I thought that I would never admit this story on the blog, but I thought I should share what the Lord Jesus has taught me through this experience. Through a lot of tears and time, he has shown me that no matter how hard I try, Lucy's life and well-being is STILL not in my hands. I dealt with this during pregnancy. It was hard for me to trust in God to take care of her when I couldn't see her. It was hard for me to trust that he was watching out for her and to admit to myself that I was not in control of the pregnancy or child-birth, but that everything was in his hands. He was so faithful to me and Lucy during pregnancy and childbirth and he taught me a new level of trusting in his faithfulness. However, once she was born and as time went on, I gradually began to trust more and more in myself thinking "Hey - I'm actually a pretty good mom, I got this mom thing down!" :) Without even realizing it, I think my trust in the Lord was decreasing as my mom-self-confidence increased. It was only after Lucy fell off the bed (and was OKAY), that I realized that even after her birth, she is still just as fragile and is still COMPLETELY in God's hands. All I can do is do my best, and leave the rest up to him. He created her and knows the plans he has for her life. It is my job to pray for her protection and to stop trying to carry the weight of being the perfect mom around - that load is TOO HEAVY and I was never meant to carry that around. The freedom in Christ is simply amazing. He is so good and loves his children so much.

After experiencing the depth of love and care I have for Lucy, I am starting to understand a bit more just how much he loves all of his children. In that moment when Lucy was in pain, all I could think about was that I would rather be in pain than her, that I would rather any bad thing happen to me instead of her. It is this realization that shows me just how much of a sacrifice it was for God to send his only son Jesus to be crucified on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins. It would have been SO much easier for God to sacrifice his own life, than to give his son up as a sacrifice. I can't imagine the pain that God must have experienced seeing his son suffer, but I thank God every day for that sacrifice that allowed me to have a relationship with him, have my sins forgiven, and receive the gift of spending eternity with him in heaven.

So to summarize, God has used my greatest failure as a mom (and unfortunately, I'm sure I will have other future failures too...:( ) to teach me a little more about the depth of love he has for us. I hope that I will continue to learn to trust in him more and more as I realize how little control I have over the safety of my daughter. I thank him for the gift of her life and pray every day that she will one day experience the greatest joy that this world has to offer - and this JOY is surrendering her life to Jesus, admitting that she is a sinner in need of a Savior, and getting to experience friendship with the creator of the universe.

Matthew 11:28-30
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Romans 6:22-23
"But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life inb Christ Jesus our Lord."

Tales of a Slobbasaurus

Lucy is 6 months old now.  And Lucy slobbers.  A lot.  So much so that in addition to her mainstay nickname of "boopers", she has also become my little "slobbasaurus."  She slobbers so much I guess because her little incisors are trying to claim a piece of her little gum real-estate.  Although it could be because she is starting to eat people food, and she puts everything in her mouth.  But I can't complaint to much because she seems to be growing up normally (I've heard from others that baby's are slobbery too.)  But having just finished up the Christmas season and getting ready for a new year I thought I'd share some anecdotes and moments I love of my little slobbasaurus over the past six months.

One thing that I love about my little slobbasaurus us her brute honesty.  No, she cannot talk and express her deep thoughts and emotions, even though I'm pretty sure she is a genius and just chooses not to express herself with words, but she can definitely communicate.  Loudly, if need be.  Laura and I always know what she needs/wants.  Hungry? Scream, cry, and slobber.  Tired? Scream, cry, and slobber.  Bored? Whimper, slobber.  She is so effective and honest with communication, sometimes I've wanted to experiment with her methods for one day.  Maybe, when my stomach growls about an hour before lunch I just start to whimper and yell until I get food.  The problem is people would think I'm a lunatic instead of cute hungry baby.  But I still think it would be funny.

This effective communication is important though because she lets me know what she needs, like "Hey, I've been sitting in wetness for awhile and it is not comfortable!  You there, do something about it!"  Which leads me to one of my favorite tales of slobbasaurus.  This tale comes early in her life, maybe about a month or two old.  She was surviving and I was becoming less inept in care-taking except in one little area.  The diaper change.  Now I have learned how to properly handle this procedure but it was not always so.  One day when Laura was taking a nap and I was still on paternity leave, the time came for me to change Lucy.  So like any new parent I dove right in.  I took off her onesie and then removed the diaper.  However, I did not place a new diaper underneath her which I now know is of vital importance.  So needless to say, I had a naked baby on the changing table.  I reached for a wipe but while I was doing so, my ears perked up to the sound of leaking gas and before I knew it, projectile poop was literally spraying everywhere.  It was all happening so fast but it reminded of my of a spray nozzle on a hose when you are washing a car.  Very conical in projection.  All I could do was try to play soccer goalie and block as much poop as I could with my moist wipe but that was in vain.  When all was said and done (a matter of maybe 7 seconds) I just stood there, looked at the couch, me, my boopers, the pack and play...and just started to laugh.  It was funny then, and it is funny now.  But after the laughter came the clean up...not as funny.

As Lucy grows up she continues to take naps although they are getting less and less.  But one of my favorite things to do is watch her wake up.  Again, I had a learning curve with this too.  One of the first times I woke her up from a nap, I just zoomed down into the crib with my hands and lifted her out quickly like a ninja performing a sneak attack.  This did not sit well with my boopers and at once she began to cry.  I startled her out of her slumber.  I wouldn't like that so what made me think she would?  Probably because I'm a dude and don't think about those things until afterwards.  Now, I have it down to a science and I love waking her up. I tip-toe into the room and start by just rubbing her back and gently saying her name.  This will induce some whimpers and head turning and thumb sucking.  I rub a little bit more aggressively which will cause Lucy to open her eyes and look up at me with tired eyes before her heavy little head plops back down on the mattress.  At this point, I role her over onto her back and pick her up at which point she snuggles into me as I carry her out to our bed.  That is the sweet part.  What daddy does not want their little girl to just snuggle into him?  Then comes the funny part. I put her down and she stretches.  And stretches.  Reaching up and out as high as she can with both arms making little whimpering noises while her legs look straight out.  Hilarious and one of the many things I love about my slobbasaurus.

**Side note:  I also love the futures of my little slobbasaurus.  You just can't beat her tiny little hands and fingers or her tiny little feet which look like miniature twinkies with little jelly beans for toes.  Everything is just  so little and cute as she learns to use all of her appendages.

One of the last little joys of watching Lucy grow is meeting her developmental milestones.  Yes, I am a licensed PT now!  But I love watching Lucy look at something, reach for it, grab it, and the promptly pull it her slobbery mouth.  I just never get tired of it and it was really fun to watch her do this at Christmas time because this was the first time she got a lot of presents and was aware enough to do something with the gift.  She got really good at ripping paper with a little help and was especially good at removing tissue paper from a gift bag.  The problem is that she enjoys the tissue paper more than the gift inside and would just get distracted.  It was really cute though and one of my favorite tales of the year.  In addition to being able to reach/grab/pull she is starting to crawl which is very awesome.  She would see a gift with shiny paper and before I knew it was trying to tear and or lick the package.

In summary, my little slobbasaurus loves to explore the world around her and loves to drool and lick.  For example, I was holding her at the dinner table one night and noticed she was just gnawing/licking on the edge of the table like it was a corn on the cob, spewing her slobber all over.  The funny part is when I realize what she is doing and pull her back.  She looks up at me, and then grabs my face with her tiny, slobbery hands as if to say, "What? I'm OK"  She is awesome and God is good.  I'm excited for more tales of adventure with slobbasaurus to come.

PS:  Pictures to come!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Lucy is 4 Months Old!

Age: 4 months
Weight: 13 lbs, 6 oz. 
Length: ~24.5 in.

What can she do now?
  • Getting much better and reaching and grabbing objects. Can pretty much grab any object set in front of her, as long as it is not too small. She can also pick up objects. 
  • Rolls (all the time) from her back to her tummy, but then gets stuck and can't roll back to her back! She is happy for the first 5-10 min. that she finds herself on her tummy, then she gets upstet and starts crying. One time she woke us up about 4-5 times in the middle of the night because she kept rolling over. So now we put her changing pad in her crib to keep her from getting stuck in the middle of the night. 
  • She giggles a lot 
  • This month she started playing in her Jenny Jump Up and her jumperoo for the first time. 
  • She can sit by herself in her boppy for awhile. 
  • Improving trunk and head control
  • She likes to pull hair
  • She's talking more and more 
  • Can stand up with assistance for longer periods - her FAVORITE thing to do is stand up (with someone holding her) we spend lots of time standing her up in our laps. 

Celebrations from the past month:
  • Went to the lake house to celebrate my birthday and Ben's birthday. We took the group photo below. At this trip Lucy was very interested in Lucas reading and kept grabbing the pages. This month she really started to pay attention to books and really enjoys when we read to her but mainly just likes to grab and eat the pages. 
  • She continues to have explosive poops - and messes up her diaper/clothes at least once a week. The laundry is truly overwhelming! Luckily we got a fancy schmany new washer and dryer to handle the new quantities. I really feel like a mom now that I actually go through all the clothes every time to check for stains and apply stain remover! 
  • Lucy is now one of the older babies in our small group, and this month she helped us take food to baby Brantley, Baby Noah, and Baby Burch! 
  • We watched Georgia defeat Florida! UGA is currently ranked #5 in the nation! 
  • I was going to go to Washington DC for my first work conference - when I was going to be away from Lucy for 3 days. Hurricane Sandy hit, which cancelled the conference and caused some work over the weekend. The trip got rescheduled, so now Lucy will be 5 months when I'm away instead of 4 months - probably a good trade off. 
  • Lucy went to her first birthday party - it was Cara's who turned 1 year old. This was a fun birthday party because the kids wore their Halloween costume - so we had a great excuse for Lucy to wear her ladybug costume twice! At the other party, Lucy has a twin ladybug! 
  • We re-rented out our rental property so Lucy got to enjoy a weekend of cleaning! We hope that one day that house will fund her college education! 
  • Other than that, our lives have consisted of working, taking care of Lucy, going on walks (because it is still like 70+ degrees around here most of the time!), running errands, cleaning the house, dreaming of when we can get a slightly bigger house ;), hanging out with friends, and going to church (our class is reading "Shepherding a Child's Heart which we highly recommend)
Things I love about Lucy...this list could go on and on, but here's the top things that come to mind:
  • Her little feet and little hands - those little hands are doing more and more exploring each and every day. She also has started touching and grabbing our faces. When she gets upset in the car, I'll reach my hand behind me to hold her little hand to comfort her - best thing ever! :) 
  • Picking her up from the babysitter's is my favorite part of the day - in just about 5 hours away from her, I forgot how adorable she is. 
Lucy - I love you more than words can say - I think we are starting to develop special mother-daughter bond. I'm really starting to get to know who you are and I love it so much. You have the sweetest disposition  - which is why I call you "Sweetheart" all the time. We thank God for you every day and pray that he will watch over you as you grow up and guide us to be the kind of parents he has called us to be for you. 

Fun Videos from this month:

Sunday, October 7, 2012

An unexpected morning...

We watched UGA lose horribly to USC Aiken last night. Fortunately, we got to go over to our friends James and Mary Beth's house that night to have dinner and watch the game - so it wasn't a bad night overall! However, we had brought food to make pizza and salad over. When we were leaving (around 10:45) Mary Beth gave me a bag of some leftovers (some pizza, pizza toppings, salad, salad dressing, etc.) Well apparently, we were so out of it and tired that when we got home we didn't even put it in to the refrigerator. So my morning started off by realizing all that food was sitting out on the kitchen table. We also woke up way too late to make it church on time  - we woke up at 8:15, church starts at 9:20, and we have to take Lucy to the nursery before church starts (add at least 5-10 min...)

So we both hopped out of bed, I put the food in the refrig (will prob. have to throw it out later...:( ) and we realized that not only were we running late, but Jason had to teach (which meant he had to print out his lesson) AND we had signed up to bring breakfast. It was at that point that we went into high gear, deciding that Jason would leave ASAP to pick up donuts, and I would stay with Lucy - get a shower, and try to get there not TOO late. However, Lucy had other plans for me.

I thought I was being so prepared by feeding Lucy, changing her diaper, and asking Jason to put her into her church clothes for me. When I got out of the shower and finished drying my hair, Jason was gone, but Lucy was playing happily on her play mat. When I picked her up, I realized that she had pooped - which around here means she also got it on her clothes (since I think she is getting too big for her diapers that we have WAY too many of - size 1s). I was frustrated because I was actually about to make it Sunday school and only be about 5-10 min. late. But with this new development - it was probably going to be out of the question. So I changed her clothes and her diaper again and carried her out to the kitchen - when she proceeded to spit up ALL over my church clothes. So there goes MY outfit too! After I had breakfast, I decided she needed a bath (obviously...) and when I put her on her bath sponge, she peed all over it! I couldn't believe that in about 15 minutes she had ruined her clothes, my clothes, and her bath sponge! Well - 30 min. later she is all clean and clothed in church clothes #2. I still need to find outfit #2 for myself. We will see if we get to church on time!

Here's a pic to show you why I can't be upset with her :)

Monday, October 1, 2012

Lucy is 3 Months Old!

Age: 3 months
Weight: 12.5 lbs
Length: ~24 in.
What can she do now?
  • Brings her hands together 
  • Grasps objects
  • Rolls (with a little help) from belly to back and back to belly 
  • Finds her thumb and hands to suck on
  • Coos and makes noises 
  • Loves to look at herself in the mirror
  • Focuses on people that are far away 
  • Notices her surroundings more and more (was awake and looking at the trees outside today on our walk) 
  • Recognizes familiar faces
  • Smiles ALL THE TIME and we've even heard a few laughs and giggles here and there!
  • Getting better and better at tummy time, she is starting to enjoy it a little before she gets too tired

Celebrations from the past month:

  • Her facial expressions and sounds are endlessly entertaining! I could watch you all day long! 
  • She has become a drool monster! Drool is everywhere all the time! 
  • For Labor Day Weekend we went to Atlanta to celebrate with Drew and Lauren on their wedding day. Lucy had her longest babysitting experience yet when my parents watched her for about 7 hours. Lucy also got to see Jason's parents that weekend. 
  • Lucy got another floor mat which Jason calls the "Dome of Development" - my mom and I got matching ones at a kids consignment store. 
  • Lucy got a bigger swing now that she doesn't fit in her small one anymore. 
  • After a very busy August, we decided to stay in town for all the weekends in September. This made for some relaxing weekends and let us hang out with lots of friends here in Augusta! Lucy has met many of our friends and (lucky for us) she does pretty well in groups and lets other people hold her (unless she is tired or hungry!) 
  • Michael and Angelyn visited us a few weekends ago and got to meet Lucy for the first time! We had lots of fun catching up, going for a walk around the neighborhood, going out to eat, etc. 
  • Lucy is a pro at going out to eat. We have taken her many places and we will just take her out of her carrier and let her look around. We took her on a few of our "dates" (ex: Takosushi) and she really enjoyed it - although I have a feeling she is getting too loud with her coos and talking to last too much longer with these date tag-a-longs. 
  • Jason and I watched our first movie together post baby! Seriously, for some reason, we haven't been able to sit down and relax for that long without getting interrupted, or wanting to do something else. We watched "Life as we know it" and it was really good (and applicable) to our lives :) 
  • Lucy had her first time at the church nursery. Checking her into the nursery was one of those moments when I really felt "old" or like a "real mom". She did great and slept the whole time. When I picked her up, I found her fast asleep in the middle of a room full of a lot of babies (many of them crying). When the nursery workers asked which baby I was there to pick up, I pointed to Lucy and they said "are you sure you don't want to take one of the crying babies instead?" 
  • I went on my first run in 11 months! I stopped running when I found out I was pregnant and mainly exercised on the elliptical during pregnancy. Post pregnancy I have only felt like walking. Running felt GREAT! Until the next day (week) when I couldn't barely walk or go down stairs I was so sore! But I have gone a few runs since and I love it again. 
  • Lucy is now in her 3 month old clothes and I love discovering new things in her closet all the time as she grows. There is simply nothing cuter than little girl clothes! 

Things I love about Lucy...this list could go on and on, but here's the top things that come to mind:
  • Waking her up in the morning, sometimes during the night I forget how blessed I am and every morning I am reminded again to see that precious smile smiling back at me
  • A few minutes after she starts eating she gives a big sigh and smile - a sort of relief that her tummy is finally getting filled! 
  • Holding her a walking around is one of my favorite things, sometimes she even wraps her arms around me. 
  • She has started sitting in my lap and paying attention while we watch TV - prob not the greatest thing to teach her, but she is the best (and most cuddliest) companion! 
  • Giving her a bath is so much fun, and there is nothing better than clean baby smell! 
  • I love seeing her notice new surroundings, this month she really started turning her head from side to side. Sometimes her head is literally darting back and forth as she explores new places. 
Lucy - we love you more than words can say. We are so thankful to God for you - it is so obvious that you were given to us by him as a HUGE blessing to show us how much he loves us. We are so undeserving of you and we are trying our best to raise you up to love and honor the God who created you and loves you more than we do! We can't wait to see what fun new developments the next months (and years) bring! Just don't grow up too fast! 

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Lucy is 2 Months Old!

Age: 2 months
Weight: 11+ lbs. (to be precise, she weighed 11 lbs. 4 oz at her 2 month appointment. That puts her at 70% 
Length: 22 3/4 in. = 50% - head size was also 50% at 2 month visit 

Size: moved up to size 1 diapers - we had way too many newborn ones and had to return them! She is starting to outgrow her newborn clothes and we started trying on some new 1-3 month and 3 month outfits! 
Schedule: She usually sleep from about 9pm to 4am, feed at 4, then goes back to bed until 7am when we wake her up. Me and Jason take turns playing with her in our bed while the other takes a shower. Once Jason leaves for work, I play with her and give her a bath until about 9am when she takes another nap while I start work. I wake her around 11:30 and she is up for most the day until another evening nap. This schedule has changed a lot over the past month though. 

What can she do now?

  • Her social smile emerged this month! Actually a little before 2 months. It is the cutest smile I've ever seen! 
  • She makes talking noises/coos now! She tends to do this in the evening the most. 

  • Stand on her own two legs - when supported of course. She loves standing in my lap. 
  • She can focus on an object and track it as it moves. We have also noticed that she tracks us as we walk across the room. I don't think she could see that far before. 
  • She can sleep about 7.5 hours at a time. So if I make sure to feed her before I go to sleep, I can get a full night's rest! However, this doesn't normally happen, so still waking up 1 time around 4:00am each night. She is a very quick eater during the night though - so it isn't too bad. 
  • She has been sleeping and napping in her crib since about 4 weeks. 
  • Turns her head a lot when lying on her back
  • Can bat at objects with her arms/hands
  • Has discovered her hands and loves to play with them, hold her own hands, suck on her fist, hands, fingers, etc. 
  • She still is not a fan of tummy time, but can hold her head up for awhile - she would rather  hold her head up when someone is holding her in a sitting or standing position 
  • Lift head and legs off group while on tummy 
  • Can turn from back to side and side to back - she enjoys "side time" much more than tummy time 

Celebrations from the past month:
  • Had lots of fun times with our church small group and Lucy did so well at all of them! She is a very flexible baby most of the time - so we are super thankful! We had a small group potluck at the Reddings when she had just turned 1 month. 
  • In August, I started a new part-time work from home job through my dad's company. At first, I had to primarily work while Lucy was asleep. However, during the past month she has become much more alert and wanting to play more and more. So this past week (at around 2.5 months, we got a babysitter to help out about 5 hours a day 3-4 days a week). This has already helped out a lot since I felt so bad having to focus on work when Lucy wanted to play with me! Now I know that she is getting the attention she needs while I focus on work, so that when I pick her up, I can give her all of my attention again. I keep her with me in the mornings still since I can work during her morning nap and I get to enjoy playing with her and giving her a bath after she wakes up.  
  • We've had lots of visitors - Audrey and Alex stopped by, more friends from church brought dinner for us, 
  • We visited Kristen and Ben in Atlanta to see their new house, and also visited Nana and Papa for Lucy to meet them the first time. That same weekend, Lucy also had her first trip to an Outlet Mall - I think she will enjoy it MUCH more in the future. 
  • We've had lots of baby showers this month for friends who are expecting. We are so excited for Christy & Paul, Marie and Brandon, and Marybeth and James! 
  • We went to the lake house and Lucy did better than ever! She stayed with Gigi a few times while I got to go out on the boat. 
  • I'm back to my pre-pregnancy weight! This happened faster than I thought without crazy exercise, other than walks around the neighborhood! I credit breastfeeding since I'm eating a lot still!
Lucy - we love you so much! You have brought so much joy to our lives it is unbelievable! I can say without a doubt that although working and caring for a newborn have had its share of challenges, these past two months have been the BEST of my life. I love watching you grow and discover new things, and I feel so undeserving to be your mom. I'm so thankful for the healthy, beautiful girl that God blessed us with. There is nothing better than holding you, giving you hugs, and tell you I love you! 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Already 6 Weeks Old!

Dear Lucy,

You are already 6 weeks old! You weigh a little bit more than 10 pounds right now (this is of course using my method of weighing myself with you on our scale)! Since your 4 week post, I have had two more weeks to spend with you! I think we are both getting used to spending our days together. I love getting to see you all the time, playing with you, giving you baths, and snuggling with you. You are so soft and I love hugging you! I think my new favorite activity is holding you and watching you play. :)

You are already getting so big and strong, you used to scream the whole time during tummy time-  but now you see to kind of like it at the beginning. I'll post some videos to the end of this blog. You also are picking your head up all the time when we hold you on our shoulders. Lately, you have really started to enjoy putting weight on your legs too - you are already getting ready to stand up!

During the last two weeks, you have started to play independently. We can lay you on your mat, and you will (sometimes) play contentedly by yourself - while we clean the house, or do other things.

About a week ago, you started sleeping in your crib for naps and at night! It probably was harder for me than for you, since I liked being right next to you in case something happened. But I am more and more convinced that you are okay across the hall since you are getting bigger and stronger each day! Because of this change, I now feed you in your room and rock you in the rocking chair instead of feeding you in bed.

Right now, you eat about every 3 hours during the day and anywhere from 4-5 hours at night. Normally this means I get up 1-2 times a night. We were trying to get you on the exact same sleeping/eating/playing schedule each day, but we decided that was too hard fitting it in with our schedules. So now, we try to keep your schedule close to the same each day - with some flexibility built in.

Luckily around week 5 your little tear duct cleared up = no more eye gunk! Yay!

The past two weeks have been pretty eventful:
  • In 99% sure that you smiled at me ON PURPOSE today three times! Yay! 
  • You rolled over 3 times on your own - assisted by the couch cushion - but still, you are figuring it out! 
  • Met up with Amy in Madison
  • We went out to eat for the first time as a family - to Fatz Cafe 
  • I quit my job to spend more time with you! 
  • I got a haircut - you just slept through the whole thing! 
  • Finally got your birth certificate (the corrected one) 
  • Audrey and Alex stopped by to visit you one afternoon
  • We joined Costco - we are officially parents now! Or at least joining a club like that makes me feel all grown up! 
  • You started drinking (some) from a bottle. So we don't have to keep our outings to under 2-3 hours anymore! 
  • Lots of people from Sunday School have brought us delicious meals! Thank you Hales, Berryhills, Gables, Bounds, Wares, Gays, and Reddings! Plus neighbors, family, and other friends have as well! 
  • Hung out with Myers, Wares, Sunday School friends, and others 

Yesterday, I drove past the entrance to Doctors Hospital at around the same time you were born - 12:30pm and was already reminiscing about that day that you changed our lives forever! It seems like we are already very used to having you as a part of our family. You bring so much joy and laughter to our lives every single day. We can't believe how fast you are growing up. I was looking at some pictures and videos of  your first week and can't believe how different you look! Lucy, although it is hard to believe, we love you more and more everyday!


Monday, July 23, 2012

Lucy is 4 Weeks Old!

My baby girl is 4 weeks old today! Time flies when you're having fun! 

Happy 4 Weeks Lucy Marie! 

You didn't have a 2 week doctor's appointment since your doctor was on vacation. Instead, you had a 3 1/2 week check up. You weighed 8 lbs and 11.5 oz (50%) You were 20 3/4 inches long (50%) and your head  size was 14" (45%). Just like your Gigi says, "practically perfect in every way." Now, I have to test my patience and wait all the way until 2 months to have you measured again, until then I'll probably try my method of weighing myself with and without you - just to make sure you are growing okay! 

This past week was my first week alone with you and I had so much fun with you! The first day scared me a little bit because you vomited twice in a row all over yourself and me! That scared me a little bit and I was worried you might be sick and might get dehydrated. That day (Monday) and Tuesday you weren't quite yourself and were more fussy and cried more than normal. I of course Googled tons of articles trying to figure out what was the matter and fortunately the signs all pointed to the fact that you were fine - just demonstrating some normal newborn tendencies. Overall you are extremely healthy. The one thing we are dealing with right now is a blocked tear duct in your left eye. Apparently this is extremely common in newborns and the best way to treat it is by just removing the sleep that forms in your eye and massaging around your tear ducts as often as we can. We hope that this problem resolves itself because it is so sad to see you with eye "boogers" all the time! :( 

Last week on Thursday, we started to try to put you on a sleeping schedule - so that you would take your naps, eat, and play at the same times each day. This journey deserves a post of its own - so stay tuned! 

In true Georgia form - it has been VERY HOT recently. I love going on walks with you, but I have been trying to be careful not to take you out when it is much over 80 degrees. You don't mind your baby carrier as much as you did at first and now you pretty much just fall asleep in it. I do use the pacifier sometimes on our walks if you wake up and get upset - and that pretty much guarantees a happy cry-free walk. 

Here are some more things I have learned about you over the past 4 weeks: 
  • You were very strong from the get go and love to crane your neck all around when we are trying to burp you - you even did this when you were only a few days old at the hospital! 
  • You make tons of funny faces - your dad and I have shared so many laughs because of your funny faces! Every day you have at least one new one that we haven't seen before! 
  • You have long fingers and feet - so we are already planning a future piano career for you - just kidding! 
  • Everyone always comments on your hair! Apparently it is quite rare for an infant to have so much of it! It is so soft!!!
  • We have seen some of your adorable smiles. At this point, we aren't sure if they are on purpose or not, but we love to see you happy! 
  • You spend most of your playtime on the piano mat that Nana and Papa got you. You just discovered how to hit the little play animals with your hands on your own yesterday! 
  • You are a really good eater and have been from the get go. You are normally finished within 15 minutes of feedings. Sometimes you eat so fast though that that I have to stop you and force you to take a break so you don't spit it all up! 
  • You like to be burped for a long time after you feed and need to be help upright for awhile too. You also like being over someone's shoulder so you can look around and take in the view. 
  • You are very mesmerized by ceiling fans, I always catch you staring at them. 
  • You were in newborn diapers for your first 3.5 weeks and have recently transferred over to size 1. 
  • You are still in newborn clothes, but are quickly outgrowing them. You hate having clothes pulled over your head, which I why I recently bought some more outfits with buttons all the way down the middle. 
  • You eat every 3 hours during the day and 4 hours at night - although these times have decreased a little recently - I think you are in a growth spurt! 
  • Your dad makes sure that you have tummy time every day. You normally make little fussy noises during the whole time - but normally don't cry until you have kicked around and held up for your head for awhile. One of these days hopefully you will enjoy it! 
  • You hated having your washcloth bath by the kitchen sink, but on Sunday we gave you your first bath in the tub and you really liked it! You liked the feeling of water underneath you.
  • Finally, we have SO MANY nicknames for you - Boo, Baby Boo, Lucy Boo, Squirm Wiggles, etc. etc. etc - many from Jason that I can't remember. 
Lucy - we love you so much. You have brought so much joy to our lives over the past 4 weeks I can't imagine what else is in store! You are such a sweet baby girl - we couldn't have asked for a more lovable daughter.

I'll close with my first Iphone video of Lucy during her playtime today - expect many more of these!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Lucy's Third Week of Life

Monday - Lucy Turns 2 weeks old!  Jason worked that morning, and came back for lunch when Randy had to leave. We went on a walk, but it was kind of hot and I think that it made Lucy act weird for the next few hours. She had projectile spit up that freaked me out, so I fed her really slowly the rest of the day - and resolved to not take her outside for walks when it was that hot anymore. That night, Jason found out that he passed his test at around midnight! Steph and Kristina came and brought us lasagna.

Tuesday - Jason and I went on a walk that morning. Spent the morning telling everyone that Jason passed his test - calling some people and texting other people. Jason was so relieved. We went out to Bonefish that night to celebrate. Went out to Old Navy that day.

Wednesday - Jason and I went on another walk. Then I went to the Social Security Office and waited a good two hours trying to get Lucy a SSN- had to go back and feed Lucy, Jason got the hospital records, picked me up, went back to the SS office, then went to Old Navy and His office to get his new badge. Jason and Ruth went grocery shopping while I cleaned the house - came back and we took Lucy to the pool party and to drop off Steph's sunglasses. Then came home and hung out - watched Bachelorette/Mythbusters, etc. Jason got his PT license number today, so his boss called and told him that he could start work as a real PT (at his new increased pay rate) on Thursday!

Thursday - Jason's first day of work! Yay! He was super excited and we were excited for him! I went back to the Social Security office and left victorious with a SS number for Lucy. I came back home and emailed HR with the info to get Lucy added to my health insurance plan. That night, we had leftovers and went out to Brusters for some ice cream.

Friday - Jason again went to work and Ruth and I went on another morning walk with Lucy. Lucy at this point has slept through all 4 of our morning walks! We then dressed her up like a little cow and met Jason at Chickfila for Cow Appreciation Day! Her outfit won us a free meal and we decided to all dress up for next year. That night, Ruth made us pork chops that were delicious and we finished off the night by going to the Christian bookstore to buy a rhyming book of bible stories for Lucy, some children's music, and David Barton's DVD set American Heritage that was 50% off!

Saturday - we got up bright and early and packed to leave for a day at the lake house. We had lots of fun with my family and the Baaremans and Lucy got showered with a lot of love from all four of her grandparents! We all went in the boat and swam a little while Ruth got some last minute time watching Lucy. That evening we drove back to Skype with Michael and Angelyn. Lucy was a very good baby that day and slept during all the car rides perfectly!

Sunday - we ventured to church for the 2nd time and went to Simmons Hall this time. It was fun to introduce Lucy to some of our friends that hadn't met her yet. The comment that we get over and over is - "Look at all that hair!" We got home from church and played with Lucy some, then went out to get our Costco membership! That afternoon, Lesley Anne came over to take some photographs and unfortunately, Lucy decided to be VERY fussy/crabby during the entire time! I think/hope that we got a few good photos so I can send out her baby announcement cards! Here's a sneak peak of the photo shoot...

Lucy's Birth Story - Part 2

So after laboring from about 11:00pm to 4:00am at home, I finally lost my nerve and decided I would rather be at a hospital. Jason had tried to convince me to keep going, since we both knew it would be easier to labor at home, but I told him that they were getting to strong for me to feel comfortable at home. I remember while we were leaving I had a contraction while we were gathering up our bags, one while I was on the deck, and a few while we were driving. They were strong enough at this point to stop me in my tracks. To get through the contractions I basically just had to stop everything I was doing, and focus on breathing. Luckily , since we hadn't had a substantial dinner that night, Jason had thought to have some cereal before we left the house and we had plenty of snacks with us. It was really funny after when we returned to the house from the hospital on Wednesday to see the house as we had left it. Jason's cereal bowl was still on his night stand, the exercise ball was in the middle of our room, dishes were left out, etc. haha

Since it was practically the middle of the night when we were driving to the hospital, there was no one of the road. We also had to go into the Emergency Room entrance since the main hospital wasn't opened yet. I had to fill out all the paperwork while having contractions - not fun! At one point I had to take a break from standing at the counter filling out paperwork and sit down to breathe through a contraction. We were the only ones in the waiting room at the time though - so we got help the minute we walked in the door. It was cool to get to fill out paperwork for the first time on behalf of Lucy - it started to really feel real at that point. As we walked past the security guard he said "Congratulations" - kind of funny since I was probably wincing through contractions at that point. I remember asking Jason "What % chance do you think we have to staying here?" And he said "50/50" which was NOT the response I wanted. I was like "I think my contractions are strong enough to stay" and he was like "I hope so!" Sure enough, when we got to the labor and delivery area, they took me to a room and told me they would have a nurse check me out to see if I was far enough along to be admitted to the hospital. When they left, I was a little upset and thought to myself - "Of course I'm ready to be admitted to the hospital - why else would I be here?" The nurse checked me out (also not comfortable...I've come to believe that the while checking of the cervix thing is great preparation for  childbirth - haha) and told me I was 2 cm dilated and 70% effaced (I think I'm remembering that right...) they then called the doctor to see if I could stay and he directed us to walk around the hospital for about 2 hours to see if that would cause the labor to progress.

At this point, Jason and were both extremely exhausted - especially me (I might add) since I was the one going through contractions this whole time!) but we were both determined to stay in the hospital too - I couldn't imagine anything else more disheartening than having to be sent home. Luckily I had brought some tennis shoes with me and we started our two hours of walking around the labor and delivery wing. I would tell Jason if I felt a contraction coming and we would both stand along the wall, I would lean into him and breathe through the contractions. He would often ask if it was easing off and I would either nod my head or not. He was a great companion during the whole thing - I really couldn't have done it without him. Plus, at about this point I started to get REALLY emotional and would half cry and ask him to pray for me, or tell him that I was nervous. Like I wrote in my other post - praying was also what got me through the whole fear of the unknown and the discomfort of the contractions. I am so thankful that I can pray to Jesus anytime and that he comforted me during the entire 13 hours of labor!

Walking did progress the labor and the contractions were getting stronger and closer together. I remember taking a break to eat a Zone bar and although it tasted good it def. made me feel queasy and I promised myself I wouldn't try to eat anything else. Jason took a little cat nap hear and there since he was so tired. At around 7:00am they checked me again to see if walking had done anything, and sure enough our efforts had paid off! I was about 3 cm dilated and 100% effaced, plus the doctor said the baby was very low - I was going to be able to stay at the hospital!!!!

When the new shift of nurses came in, the conversation came up about the fact that I would probably have the baby that day, and that if they needed to, they would progress the labor with pitocin. That was the one thing I was sure about - I didn't want pitocin to speed up my labor! So I asked if they could progress the labor by breaking my water instead. The next thing I knew, my doctor was in my room (at this point it was after 8:00am) and she had a crochet hook thing to break my water. It felt SOOOO weird - it didn't hurt, but it felt like she was popping a giant water balloon inside of me. She said that it was hard to break it since the baby's head was so low, that she had to go around the head to pop it. Once she did, some water gushed out of me, which was also a super weird feeling. They told me that the baby's head acted like a cork, which would cause the water to stay inside of me and gush out periodically as I moved around, sure enough, through the rest of the labor, water would sporadically come out - it felt SOOO weird! During the time I also told them that I wanted an epidural but that I could probably last a little longer. Well a "little" longer apparently was interpreted to be like 2 hours since I asked for it around 7:00am and didn't get it until after 9:00am. They put an IV in my arm (another first for me), and took some blood (apparently had to be done before I could get the epidural). I remember during those two hours of waiting I kept asking Jason what was taking so long. He asked the nurses and they told him they had to do my blood work first. It ended up being a good thing that I was left to labor for two more hours after they broke my water before my epidural, because it allowed the labor to continue to progress pretty quickly. I was sitting in bed at this point, and my contractions were stronger than they had been but weren't really increasing in frequency. I remember Jason and my nurse trying to convince me to get out of the bed to get the labor to go faster and I was like - it is going plenty fast and hard enough! I don't want it to go any faster, until I have an epidural - lol! However, I will say that although the contractions were really painful, and I wanted each one to be over as soon as it began, they weren't like the unbearable pain I had been expecting them to be. They were bearable, I just remember thinking "I'm so tired, how am I going to be able to push unless I have a break before then?"

The anestisiologist arrived 9:00 and I was nervous about how it would feel, but honestly, was mainly excited about the prospect of the contraction pain going away! I had a death grip on both of Jason's hands during the entire process, and it went very well. The anesthisiologist explained to me that since according to my nurse that my labor was progressing quickly and I was "going to have a baby by lunchtime" he was just going to give me a single larger dose of the epidural instead of hook me up to a flow of the drug that I could press a button to increase anytime I wanted to (like they use for longer labors). At that point, I really didn't care and was just happy that the epidural worked on me - it hadn't really been 100% effective for some of my friends. With the epidural, I couldn't feel the contractions anymore really, but I could still kind of feel (and even wiggle) my toes. At that point, I finally got to lay down in the bed and relax, and even got to experience something else new - a catheter (TMI?) Luckily, I couldn't feel that either!

Only labor shot - after the epidural!

So from about 9:30-12:00 I just relaxed in bed and watched the news. The epidural did work on my right side a little bit better than my left at first, but the anestesiologist helped fix that. During the epidural, I was able to relax and watch some TV. It felt wonderful to just take a break from the contractions! My back did start to hurt pretty bad during the end of the epidural, but I really couldn't complain given the fact that my body was experiencing such strong contractions. It was weird to think about what was happening to my body and not being able to feel it. I just kept checking the baby's heart rate to make sure she was okay. I was so blessed with the fact that my body did everything it was supposed to and progressed just fine through the contractions to 10 cm without pitocin! Praise God! Because I had just had a single dose of the epidural (which the doc told me would last a little over 2 hours) he did come back to give me another dose.

I will mention that at about 8:00am I emailed my work (this must have been right before I got my epidural) to tell them that I was in labor and would probably have a baby that day! Also, we had called my parents when we went to the hospital (around 5:00am) to tell my mom to go ahead and drive to Augusta. It was a good thing we called when we did, because by the time she packed her bags for the whole week, got the kids ready for the day and arranged childcare for the week, she got stuck in Monday morning Atlanta traffic! During the entire labor, I kept asking Jason where my mom was in her travels. Turned out that she barely made it in time for the pushing-  which started at around noon - and that was after driving 100mph on I-20!!!!

At around 11:30, I started to feel a lot of pressure and felt like the baby was about to come out- little did I know, it would take a LOT more work than that for the baby to come out! The nurse had positioned me sitting up in bed during the last hour or so to let gravity help with the labor. At this point, I knew that the pushing was coming soon and that I would feel some of that - the anesthesiologist had told me that in order for me to be able to push effectively, I would feel some of the pressure of the pushing. I was pretty nervous about this - since it was just so hard for me to fathom pushing a baby out of me! The whole time I was on the  epidural, I was praying for the baby to be healthy, and for the pushing to go well (and prior to the epidural, my prayer had been for the epidural to work!).

Finally around noon, they called me doctor, and my mom arrived! I was so happy to see her and happy that she would get to experience Lucy's birth. It was weird because my mom and Jason were just so excited when we were getting ready to push, and I was so nervous, scared, freaked out of my mind! Thank goodness for prayers that calmed me down!

The pushing was harder than I thought it was going to be. I think that some of my epidural had worn off since they had thought my labor was going to be faster than it was, but needless to say I definitely felt pain during the pushing- worse pain than the contractions. The pushing just felt like pushing, but in between the pushing, the pressure is what was painful. I know that I probably didn't experience anything like those who do a natural labor, but what I felt during this part of the process def. convinced me to never have a baby naturally! I pushed for about 30 minutes, then my doctor told me that the baby was bigger than they thought she was going to be! That made me a little nervous, because I was afraid that if she didn't fit, they would have to do a C-section on me. But instead, my doctor did an episiotomy on me. I didn't feel it, since I was pushing Lucy out at the time, but I def. felt the pain of the stitching up afterwards.

The pushing was very much like running a marathon. The hardest part about it was that I had to push as hard as I could even though I was super tired from all the contractions and from not sleeping much in the last 36 hours!!!! They kept all yelling at me - "Push harder Laura! You can do it! We can see her hair! She is almost here!" over and over again, I pushed and pushed - it seemed like they kept telling me she was almost here, I would push as hard as I could, and she wouldn't come out! That is when my doctor stepped in, cut me, and she was born with the next push! I remember that in between the pushes was just as painful as the pushes themselves, and I was motivated by almost being done!

With that last push, her head and body came out and they placed her on my chest. It was the most amazing experience of my life! I looked at her and said "Is she breathing?!?" They all laughed because she was crying and Jason said "Of course she's breathing, or else she couldn't cry!" I looked at her face and saw that she was completely perfect and healthy in every way and felt so relieved. They then took her to do her tests and clean her up. Then I had to endure the stiching up (not fun). I also had a death grip on Jason at this point. I remember all the adrenalin had caused my teeth to chatter uncontrollably, and Jason kept asking if I was cold. But I wasn't cold at all, I was just overcome with the adrenalin/emotion of everything. The doctor said that was normal.

After all her testing was complete, I got to hold her, all clean and alert and I fed her for the first time and she was a pro already! I just couldn't believe (and still can't believe) the miracle of life that I had just been able to experience. Every single part of the process was more than worth it for my beautiful baby girl. We love her so much and are so thankful to God for leading us through a healthy pregnancy and healthy delivery. Thanks be to God! :)

Here are some pics from her birth day! June 25, 2012


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