Merry Christmas!!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!  I hope you didn't get stressed out with all the traffic and crazy rude people at the mall this year.  I'm not going to lie, getting and giving gifts is really nice but Christmas is truly about spending time with the people you love.  It is also a birthday celebration for Jesus.  I have been talking this up with Cian and I am afraid if we don't have cake he will be disappointed in the birthday party.

This year I am truly thankful to be spending time with my little family of four.  As I look into the face of my infant I think about Mary and how she looked into the sweet sleeping face of a baby who would grow up to be a man that would make the ultimate sacrifice.  I so thankful for that baby and for my sweet baby.

 And the angel said unto them, " Fear not: for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord."  (Luke 2: 10-12)

Does anyone else hear Linus' voice when reading that scripture??

My Mamaw

Friday, December 23, 2011

 Last week I lost a woman who was very precious to me, my Mamaw.  I wrote a little about her a few weeks ago after we had gone to visit her in the nursing home where she lived.  She suffered a stroke a couple weeks ago that they thought was minor at first but turned out to be not so minor.  There was bleeding in her brain and she couldn't live with the effects of the stroke.  She went to spend Christmas and eternity with my Papaw and Jesus last Friday, December 17th.

Me, Papaw, Ben (my brother) and Mamaw
I want you to do me a favor, play this song while you read this.  You'll see why in a minute:

My mamaw married my papaw a long time ago.  They didn't have any money.  They told me about their house and how you could see the chickens running underneath it.  She was embarrassed about a photo I used at my wedding because of the clothes they had on.  I thought it was beautiful because they were young and in love.  They lived in Alabama but moved to Chattanooga when my mom was 18 months old.  They still had a farm in Alabama and used to take my cousins and I there.  They had this big white bull named Rocky.  They had a bunch of cows too but those ladies never stuck around long enough for me to know their names.  We stayed in a little trailer at the farm and had to watch our step for cow patties.

At any give time in the warm months you could show up at my mamaw's house and find her shucking or picking some vegetables under a huge tree they had in their back yard.  They grew all kinds of fruits and veggies.  This included watermelon which my brother, cousins and I ate on their back porch.  The watermelon was the juicy kind that you have to wear a bib or take your shirt off to eat or at least we did as kids.  It might not be so appropriate now.  On this same porch was a swing. She would push us in the swing and sing Mr. Sandman and Swing Low Sweet Chariot.  I imagine that she new that chariot was coming to bring her home as her days became few.  She even told my mom that she was "going home".  She always talked about leaving the nursing home and going back to her house but this time she said home.

She had the softest hands I have ever felt.  I held her had last week and she squeezed mine, her skin was still as soft as ever.  My mamaw didn't have a middle name but she would have chose Virginia if she did.  Spending the night with mamaw and papaw was a treat; we always got a bath and then I would sit on the floor next to the couch where she was sitting.  She would brush my hair so gently while we watched Golden Girls.  Mom said she could do this because Mamaw was as tender headed as I am.  She also had her shows that she watched in the afternoon, law these were booooring.  I hated when her shows came on but she didn't miss them.

My mamaw and papaw took me to church when I was little.  I wouldn't go to children's church because I was too shy (I know right?) and so I went into church with them and I was so incredibly bored.  One day when I did go to children's church they were talking about Jesus. (Well they probably talked about him lots of days but this day I remember.)  It was that day at their church that I started my long journey with Jesus, you know the one where you give your heart to Him.

Mamaw told you like it was whether you wanted to hear it or not. This included when you gained weight, lost weight, gave her fear you couldn't take care of your child, dated someone who was catholic that might make you drink and many other instances.  If you ask me about it I will tell you the story of her infamous comment one Christmas.  It is not pc enough to post here.  She once said to me, "I know Steve is catholic, he doesn't try to make you drink does he?".  My reply was just "No Mamaw, he does't try." It wasn't a lie.  She had this look that she would do where she gave you an intent stare and bit her lower lip.  If you were getting this look you knew she was thinking something not so nice about you.  Generally when you met her gaze she would turn away.  She most likely told the not so nice thought.  My brother can mimic this look perfectly.

She used to tell us that there was a man in the attic to make us go to bed at night.  This scared the piss out of me, not sure it helped me fall asleep.  She would always take a nap with you in the middle of the day.  Looking back I know these naps must have sucked for her.  She told me once that I was all over the place in bed and would toss and turn trying to go to sleep.  Sounds like a certain three year old I know.

Mamaw made the most awesome cake.  I called it chocolate cake but it was really white cake with a fudge-like chocolate icing.  This stuff was to die for people.  I really want to learn how to make this cake.  I hope it is not gone forever.

Me looking longingly at my "chocolate cake".  Ben seems to be eyeing it pretty intently as well
Mamaw loved her grandchildren.  The minute you walked into her house you knew you were loved.  I am so thankful for her and her life and that I got to be her granddaughter.  I will miss her terribly.  I will also have to start working on my comments, someone has to carry on the tradition.

Two Months Old

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

 Baby girl you are two months old today!  We went to the doctor last Friday and you are definitely a growing bean.  This is where you measure:

weight: 9lbs 12oz (28th percentile)
length: 22 1/2 inches (63rd percentile)
head: 37 3/4 cm (30th percentile)

Right now you are long and lean, it would be nice for you if you stay that way!  Judging by your mom and dad and your brother so far that is doubtful.  Here are some things about your second month:
  • You are an absolute sweetie. You smile and coo and try to talk to us.
  • You do NOT like to be kept up after your bedtime.  You get really cranky at night when you are ready for bed.  
  • You go to sleep between 10-12 and sleep until 4:30-6.  This is awesome.  Your brother never slept this well, he still doesn't.
  • You can still wear most of your newborn clothes but are staring to grow into zero to three.  You have started wearing size one diapers.  I am a little sad because my tiny tiny baby girl is growing.  I am really glad you are healthy though.
  • You love to move and grove.  You kick kick kick your feet around and move your arms.  It is pretty darn cute.  I can't wait until you can join Cian and I for dance parties.
  • I am pretty sure you are the cutest little girl I have ever seen.  You may not be to everyone else (they are blind) but you are to mommy and daddy.
  • Your brother is still super smitten with you and loves to rub you cheek and give you kisses.  If you don't mess up his toys he may always be this nice to you.  I won't count on that though.
  • You are getting pretty good at holding your head up, you have less head than your brother so you have it easy.

One Month                                                                                      Two Months
I love watching you grow and I know you are going to do so much more growing during your first year.  Hopefully you won't stop there cause you would be really short.  It makes me a little sad to see you grow because I know that I am slowly losing my sweet baby.  I am holding you so close and rocking you and singing to you because all too soon you will be a big girl and won't let mommy do those things.  I love and cherish each moment with you, my Isla Kate.

First Bath

Monday, December 19, 2011

Before you start thinking that it took us almost two months to give Isla her first bath I should set you straight.  It only took one month and she has had another one since then.  We are going with the old tradition of bathing once a month.  That works right?

Actually she has only had two baths but we have sponged her off a few times and the gross bits get cleaned about 8 times a day.  Yep, that was me justifying my lazy parenting.  The worst part about my laziness is that she loved her bath!  I mean she was smily and didn't even mind when water got in her face.

Steve was bathing Cian in the bathtub and I took Isla to the sink, divide and conquer.  I was a bit worried that her reaction would be screaming and she would morph into mad baby but I was pleasantly surprised.  Cian is exactly the opposite.  While I bathed miss smiles I could hear mr. over dramatic screaming in the bathtub for a towel to wipe the water out of his eyes.  (I have to fess up that he gets this from me, I have to wipe the water off my face  and out of my eyes while I am in the shower.  Don't act like you don't have your crazy quirks.)  Cian has hated the bathing part of baths from the beginning and still won't put his face underwater.  It looks like Isla will be our little water baby.

Loving the water

Happy Girl!

Who doesn't love baby fee?  The warning label is quite nice as well.

I think maybe we will go for bath number three today...

Lovely Lady Lumps and Exercise

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Don't lie girls, if you just had a baby, you've got more lady lumps than you care to admit and if you don't I am extremely jealous.

Have you ever watched a TV show where a character gave birth? First, they birth a three month old baby and second they leave the hospital a size two.  Unrealistic, I think so!  Also, how about all those movie stars who look like they didn't have a baby two months after giving birth??  Real life is not like this for the majority of people.  Therefore we must trudge back to the gym or drastically change our pregnancy eating habits.  (You know the one where you ate skittles every afternoon at 3pm.  Was that just me???)  Whether this is the typical six weeks later or it is six months later it is hard to get back in the routine of exercising.  For me, I was itching for the six week mark to hit so I could start reducing the squishiness that is now my belly.  This being my second time to do this, I am realistic in knowing that my stomach will not be it's pre-pregnancy self but it will not be this bowl full of jelly forever.

My ideal week and exercise routine looks something like this:
  • Monday:  hour long aerobics class (high impact)
  • Tuesday:  hour long aerobics class (high impact)
  • Wednesday: exercise video at home or run 3-4 miles
  • Thursday: run 3-4 miles
  • Friday: off
  • Saturday: long run 5-6 miles

I have yet to do all this in one week.  I ran a marathon in January (you can read about it here) so I am sort of starting over with the long distance thing.  Let me tell you that four miles kind of hurts these days.  I exercised up until the day before I gave birth so I was somewhat ready to jump back in.  I would not recommend jumping in with this many days of exercise if you haven't been active for the last ten months or longer.  *disclaimer, I am not a doctor so make sure to consult your doctor before doing any exercise routine.*

Here are some of my tips for a successful start back to your old body:
  • First, don't be surprised if you can not make it through a 20-30 minute work out without being interrupted by your bundle of joy.  I was doing a 20 minute exercise routine in my living room the other day and I had to stop to pick up Isla at least four times and put her pacifier in he mouth a few other times.  By the time abs rolled around  I had her lying on the floor next to me.
  • Start slow and maybe even start at home.  Some gyms have daycare, which is awesome.  Mine does but not until the child is six months old.  Luckily I know the teacher of my favorite aerobics class very well so both times postpartum I have been able to bring my babies in their carrier and leave them in the room while I take class.  (Ok, they are in the closet but close enough.  Yep, both my kids have been in the closet.)  If your gym doesn't have a daycare get some videos and exercise in the comfort of your living room.  You cans still keep an eye on the baby while working on some Gwen Stefani abs.
  • Don't be discouraged if you can't do what you used to be able to.  You won't be able to come from labor and run a marathon, plain and simple.  (Nope, I am not that lady running a marathon then giving birth.)  This has become my mantra.  You can't expect your body to perform the way it did pre-baby when you have been sitting on the couch eating oreo's for nine months instead of jumping on the elliptical   Also, there is the case of sleep deprivation and you might feel like you are walking around in a cloud.  Planes fly through them, you can work through them also.
  • Don't compare yourself to your friend who lost her baby weight in two months and is already wearing a bikini.  It is ok not to be back into your jeans in three weeks, three months or longer.  You will get there too but it might take work, be ready.  It took nine months to get that way and I think it takes about a year to resemble your old body.
  • Go to a mommy and baby class, like yoga or strollercize.  If you have that mother guilt (and we all have it about something) about leaving your child with someone while you do something for you take them with you.  It will get you moving and eventually promotes activity for your impressionable young one.
  • Get a support group and get to know the people you are working out with.  You can also work out with the people you know.  I run around 5:30 or 6 in the morning.  It sucks getting out of bed that early, always.  I also have a group of people that I run with that are counting on me to get out of bed so they don't have to run alone in the dark.  If I miss my aerobics class too many time I will get a text or phone call from my support group.  It is really easy to skip out on working out if it's just you that will know, let someone else down and it gets much harder.  At the same time don't try to kill yourself getting to the gym or out of the house.  Work with people who can be flexible.  When you are the mother of an infant you are on their timeline and don't want to feel stressed about making it to the greenway on time because your child always needs to eat when you are supposed to be somewhere.
Well, that is a start.  Now get up off your bootie and take a walk.  That is exactly what I need to do....

Thanksgiving Festivities

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

In our family we do an every other year thing for Thanksgiving. We don't try to rush around to both parent's houses and stuff ourselves beyond belief.  We can stuff ourselves at one person's house well enough.  This yer we spend the holiday and the weekend with Steve's parents.  He had family that came down from St. Louis and in from Birmingham and we hung out with them.  We had cookies, roasted marshmallows, watched movies and the boys played sports and games.  When it comes to hanging our with Steve's family it is guaranteed to be loud and involve some making fun of each other.  It also means a good time will be had by all.
Raise your hand if you are adorable!

Maggie, Logan and Isla

One tired dude

bonfire and roasting marshmallows

Cian and Will are best buddies

Taryn, Autumn and Olivia

 The weekend after Thanksgiving we went to Chattanooga to see my family.  We just went down for the day and had dinner at my cousin Wendy's house. We went over early to decorate her tree.  I missed most of the decorating because Isla was hungry right as tree trimming began.  (She was conveniently hungry both weekends as it was time do to the dishes.)  When it comes to hanging out with my family there is guaranteed to be laughter and wine.  Also good times!!

Ben, Bonnie, Wendy, me, Steve, Isla, Cian, Grumpa and Meme

Matching shirts compliments of Bonnie Nelson

Cian was mad and hiding and this is how we found him

Arrrgghhh Pirate Party

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A few months ago I donated a party component for a Power of Pink auction.  I, along with three other super talented ladies, was asked to put together a super children's party for the auction.  Dana Cox from Dreamcathers therapy, Julie Wyatt from Gigi's in Murfreesboro and Adrienne Tarola, with Noah's Ark Animal Workshop helped me put together a fun pirate birthday party for a sweet little boy Bradley.

Pirate hats, treasure maps, eye patches and gold doubloons.  All the things needed to become a real pirate
 The party was held at Dreamcatcher's therapy facility, which is amazing.  It was supposed to be outside and inside but it was pouring down rain that day so we had to keep all the activity inside.

Pirate suckers

The loot

Amazing cupcakes from Gigi's cupcakes

The Dreamcatcher's facility.

I mean, isn't this a kids dream area??

The full set up for food and goodies

Adorable pirate shirts for the Noah's Ark animals

The horses at Dreamcathers
 The kids played the games at Dreamcatcher's then made their very own stuffed friend before devouring some incredible cupcakes and opening gifts.  It was a fun party and I am blessed to have met some amazing women while planning!

Which Baby is Which?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Santa brought us a gift and put it under the tree.  He brought the same gift three years ago.  Can you tell which one he brought us this year??

Merry Christmas! 

One Month Old

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Isla is one month old!  Two weeks ago...

So she is actually six weeks old right now but the photos are from when she is a month old.  At least I got that at the right time.

My little one month old is so sweet.  She has started smiling which completely  melts my heart.  I love to see that toothless smile looking at us.  She gets an upset stomach sometimes and seems to be the queen of spit up.  She loves to be bundled and held and sometimes wakes up in the middle of the night and cries just so I will pick her up and let her sleep on my chest.  She started sleeping between 4-6 hours in a row which is a complete blessing!  She gets mad and fussy at night when there is a lot going on and she wants to sleep but can't.  We have to take her to a quiet room and calm her down then let her fall asleep.  This is a little different from Cian who just wanted/wants to be awake and in the middle of the action. Her big brother loves her very much and still wants to give her kisses all the time and hold her.  When asked what he thought about his little sister he said she was beautiful.  (If you didn't say aww at that you might have a Grinch sized heart.)

The last month (and two weeks) has been wonderful.  I am starting to need less Coke Zero during the day and I feel like I am a normal person again.  This happened so fast.  I am a little sad that my tiny tiny newborn is getting bigger every day and is now an infant.  I know all too soon she will be running around the house too.  I am savoring each and every coo, smile and cry because this could be the last time I get to do this with one of my own children.  Baby Isla Kate, I am so blessed to be chosen as your mommy.

Graciously Authentic

Thursday, December 1, 2011

If you are a Christian woman, or even if not, how many times have you looked at other women and wondered if they really have it as together as they seem to?  I think a conception of Christians is that we pretend to be perfect and will judge you if you are not.  I know I have felt that way many times and refrained from being myself around certain people with the fear that they will judge me.  How many times have you wanted to really, openly talk about something that is truly going on in your life with another Christian (or a Christian) and not done it because you were afraid they would send you straight to the pits of Hell with their eyes or words.  (Ok, so they can't really do that but that disapproving look sure is uncomfortable).

Well, my friend Kristen started a blog where women can talk, real talk, about what is going on in their lives.  Yes, it is faith based and all about grace and the love of Christ but it keeps it real.
The blog is called Graciously Authentic and I think it is a wonderful place to read about some of the same things you might be feeling but don't feel like you can express out loud for whatever reason.  My friend Emily is also a contributor, she and Kristen are two of the most loving people I know and I can learn a lot from them.  I highly recommend checking it out because I think we can all benefit from the wisdom of all the ladies involved.

WARNING: Shameless plug.  You also might get to read something by little ole me.  In fact, a blog I wrote a few weeks ago on marriage was published there.  You can check it out if you wanna.

I hope you are blessed as much as I am by their wisdom.

Chattanooga Weekend

Thursday, December 1, 2011

A few weeks ago when we went to Chattanooga Normalpalooza was not all we did.  In fact, I packed the weekend full of activity.  We started with visiting my grandmother at the nursing home (twice) spent time with Grumpa, went to Laine's for a girls night (I forgot my camera that night) and ended with going to the Chattanooga Market.  Here is our weekend in photos with a few words.

 Let's face it, nursing homes are depressing.  There are a bunch of old people sitting around in wheelchairs just staring into space.  (I might be one of of those old people one day).  This is why I try to go visit my grandmother every time we go to Chattanooga.  Please come visit me when I am the one sitting and staring into space.  Also, bring wine.  The people there do light up when kids come in.  Cian loves to go say hi to all of them and they all made such a big deal about little Isla.

 See, you gotta kiss your mamaw while you still can.  My Mamaw is one of those people who has always said exactly what is on her mind, whether it was nice or not.  She didn't even say "bless your heart" afterwards.  When I had Cian she told me she was afraid I couldn't take care of him.  Thanks for the boost of confidence, I was secretly afraid the same thing.  That being said, she did awesome things too like make pancakes when we spent the night and let us sit in her living room and watch Golden Girls before going to bed.  She would brush my hair while we watched.  She is probably the only person that could comb my ratty hair out so gently that I didn't scream bloody murder.

 See the lady in the red sweater behind Mamaw?  She wanted to escape.  No really, she said, "you have to let me out of here."  They said she wasn't all there but I can't blame her.

 This is where Cian would sit all weekend while watching Batman with Grumpa.  He would also stay in his jammies if I'd let him.

 As Cian would say, "you have boff kids."  When we are in Chattanooga Cian will not let Grumpa take a break.  This kid is non-stop wanting to play with him. He didn't even want to let him take a break and hold Isla.

  Ben and Bonnie, my brother and sister-in-law, went with us on day two to visit Mamaw.  No sign of the red sweater lady, I wonder if she made her escape??

 Four generations of girls.  If we all turn into our mother's does this mean Isla will eventually turn into Mamaw Leet?

 Checking out the fire truck at the Chattanooga Market.  This is a really cool flea market type thing set up in an indoor pavilion.  There are artists, crafts, food and music.  I bought a really cute headband while we were there and Liane bough the cutest baby hat.

Laine and my cousin Wendy.  I love these girls!!  I am so thankful to have family and friends and to spend a fun weekend with them.
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