Exercising at One Week

Not me--Evelyn.

In honor of being one week old, she donned her bright, big-girl colored onesie and some leg warmers (because she's so trendy).  Apparently they were inspiring.  I thought she should have some tummy time, and she decided to use that time to work out her legs.

She's a strong little creature.  She should be.  She gained 6.5 ounces in 4 days.  "They" look for them to gain .5 oz. per day, so she more than tripled her goal.  Such an over-achiever.  

She loves to be warm, cuddled, and held by her mom AND her dad--(Hallelujah.)  She's been refluxing a little, and she chokes at least once or twice per feeding.  It makes for a little bit of a nervous mommy when she starts choking at 3 a.m.  I'm just not at my best in anyway at that time of day.  

We are doing our best to soak in all of her precious littleness.  I know it'll be gone before I know it.  She seems to like the car seat, which is another AWESOME character trait.  She does not love to have her diaper changed, but it usually makes her spit up.  As someone recovering from quite a bit of reflux myself, I can attest to the fact that it is horrible.  I don't blame her one bit for fussing; and I honestly put off diaper changes because she seems to be so uncomfortable during them at least fifty percent of the time.

At this point, she decided to quit putting up with my little "exercise" motif for her one week pictures.  She turned her head the other way and stopped moving completely.  Spencer and I played with her toys for quite a while, and I was sure she was asleep.  Eventually I peeked over to see her eyes wide open.  She was not sleeping.  She was just finished with us and our silly ways.  

So, I gave the girl a break and put her in her swing.  She conked out.  Another AWESOME character trait that has persisted for an entire week.  We'll take whatever we can get around here.  And what we can get right now is a lot of precious mixed in with many a marathon nursing session.

This is her pensive pose.  She loves to have her hands on and around her face, or in her mouth.  She does not love to be cold (but who does?).  She doesn't mind being swaddled, but she likes her arms to be out.  She can totally get onto her stomach if I lay her on her side.  That surprised me (don't worry, I was watching her), but I don't know if it should have or not.  

She's currently forced to listen to a steady stream of Wonder Pets, Backyardigans, Veggie Tales, Dora, and Diego, with a few WeeSing movies thrown in intermittently.  Oh well, she has to be ok with it, because that's when she's able to pack on the weight.  

Happy One Week, Evie Rose!  Thanks for bearing with your new family.  We're so glad you're here.  We promise it won't be boring.


Evelyn's Early Days

In your earliest days, I think I made the same mistake I made with your baby brother.  The "wisdom of the day" is not to over-bundle a baby, but the more layers I added, the better you slept. I think you were cold.

You are such a precious little girl.  We're overwhelmed by God's goodness to our family in His gift of you.

You were born on a Wednesday, and by Monday, you were already preferring Mommy hold you (by fussing when someone else was holding you).

Spencer asked to hold you a few days after we brought you home.  It was the first time since he held you at the hospital. He held you about ten seconds and was then ready to give you back, but it was very sweet.

Today he was telling me about your hair and your tongue.  He loves you so much and is having fun getting to know you--just like the rest of us.


Evelyn Rose

After much ado, we gratefully met our healthy baby girl at 4:11 p.m. on Wednesday, September 21st.  She weighed in at 7 lbs. 7 oz. and was 19.5" long at 39 weeks.

It's a miracle that any baby ever gets here in one piece as far as I'm concerned.  And she is certainly no exception

She's a doll, and we are loving getting to know her.  She already loves her Daddy's voice and is totally cool with all of her brother's singing, hooting, and hollering.

She is very strong, lifts her head, moves it all around, and can quickly and firmly get both of her hands and arms in the way the entire time she's trying to nurse.

She's waking up a little more every day--before I know it she'll be running around the house.  I'm simultaneously trying to feed her, love on Spencer, and manage to store up some amount of memories about all that has happened in the past couple of days.  Many more blogs to come on all that later, I'm sure.

Amazed doesn't begin to describe our feelings that she's here and she's ours.  We are loving being a family of four, and, all things considered, we are sleeping pretty well.

I feel fifteen years older after her delivery in comparison to how I felt after Spencer's--and it's less than a three year difference.  It's unreal.  But, it's been so much fun bringing a baby home to a toddler sibling--brings back lots of sibling memories.


Fall Is Coming...Please Notify the Mosquitoes

It was a beautiful day.  Cool enough to actually exert some energy without automatically having a heat stroke.  So, we dragged out the "bouncy house."  Spencer loved it, for a little bit.

Then he said his eyes were hurting and he needed his sunglasses.  So, of course, I obliged.  

Then they kept bouncing off, since, you know, they aren't sports equipment.

What to do?

He thought, perhaps, he should wear them on his head like Mommy. 

Then we practiced his audition to be in an upcoming Pantene toddler commercial.  Such bouncy hair, and roots almost just like Mommy's.  Who says you only get roots when you've had highlights?  I've never felt so natural-looking.  

Then, the real fun began.  He figured, if he couldn't keep his sunglasses on, he should probably take mine and run all over the back yard with them.  The expression below--one of pure joy--is experienced only when a little boy teases his mommy.  I tell ya, that pony-tail pulling starts early.  I thought once I got married I'd be done with all that.  Nope.  I had a son.

The glasses needed a ride down the slide, something Spencer hasn't done all summer.  He's not a fan of playing outside in the sweltering heat.  Who can blame him?

He and the glasses needed a wagon ride.  I actually agreed to a few laps around the back yard, on some level, probably hoping it'd get the baby here sooner. 

Afterwards, he bounced a bit more, but not before tossing my and his sunglasses out of the bouncy house simultaneously--such coordination.  I grabbed mine and put them back on.  No sooner had I done that, than he got out and told me he wanted me to sit in the chair.

I naively agreed, only to look up and see his mavericky little grin, and his hand poised for yanking my sunglasses back off.  I made a little game of it long enough to snap a picture.  See, earlier we had each been sitting in a chair, next to each other; and he'd acted like he'd genuinely enjoyed it--like it meant something to him.  Then, not fifteen minutes later, he used our special bonding activity to trick me.  And I totally fell for it.  Ladies, watch out.

"Ha!  Mom, how could you fall for that?"

And off to bounce again--with the glasses.

All in a day's work.  We hadn't had such a fun, non-discipline-requiring time outside in months maybe. I was just relishing it.  Then, we came in, and unbeknownst to me, a mosquito followed us.  Spencer started telling me his back "need(ed) keem," and I thought he was just itchy from the outdoors.  Finally, I looked up and saw a mosquito on his leg.  I tried to kill it and missed.  I went to get him some Benadryl cream, came back, and it was on his neck.  Ugh!  I HATE those!  I missed it AGAIN--I know, how embarrassing!  And I call myself an Arkansan...I think we went through it once more before I finally gave him some Benadryl orally.  He'd been eaten alive in less than two minutes--in the living room! 

Just one side, upper extremities.  They were all over him.  Poor thing.

But he's taking a good nap now.


(Very) Short Stories from the Life of Spencer

Chapter: 9--"About to Be A Big Brother Edition"

You're about to be a big brother!  I'd be remiss not to remind myself what you were like in the months, weeks, and days before Evelyn made her big debut. But I also know that you've been affected by her existence for quite some time.  You've really weathered my less than romantic pregnancy amazingly well.  Behavior-wise, I've let too many things slide; and I'm paying for it now, right at the time when it would have been nice for us to have some things "down."  But, we're going to get there.
Otherwise, you're just the cutest, smartest, funniest, dancing-est, "clarinet"-loving-est little boy I've ever known.

When your (second) cousin Sam came to visit, we took y'all to the zoo.  It was a special day, so we went decided to go all out and ride the train.  You decided, despite your previous love of riding the train, that you weren't in the mood this particular day.  You screamed as we stood in line, and you screamed almost the entire train ride.  I didn't know what to do after a while of talking to you about it, so I decided to take some pictures to pull out when you're sixteen.  Mean ol' mom, making you ride the train at the zoo.  As you can see from the pictures, your cousin Sam doesn't know what to think about it.  Gigi and you (great) Aunt Sheila know exactly what to think about it.  They've been there done that.

  Strangely enough, we think you've gotten tall for your age.  We don't know what to think about it, ha!  There's definitely height on both sides of our family, just not much of it is expressed in your parents.  So, who knows.  [Please don't hurt your sister!]  Sam is tall too, here's a comparison shot (before the scream fest).

You've known all your colors for months (maybe 6, it's been a long time since I've sat down to write about you), you know lots of your letters, you still love animals, instruments, and "your people" (aka: family members).  You say new phrases every day, and you're finally going to get to start some speech therapy soon, which I know will be such a great thing for you.  You have so much to say all day long!  =)

You are going into your Sunday School class weekly without crying or screaming.  I think we're up to 7 cry-free times.  You're just growing up!  You love wearing your sunglasses to keep the sun out of your eyes, and whenever your nose even tickles you ask for a Kleenex.  Also, anytime something hurts you tell me what it is and then say, "Need cream."  Most kids are asking for bandaids, but you've had a lot of itchies in your life (not to mention eczema and diaper rash issues), so you think that anything that hurts, "needs cream."  I'm always sorry something is bothering you, but it never fails to make me smile when you say, "Leg('Yeg')!  Need cream ('keem')...."

You are doing so well going out with family members other than your dad and me.  Your Nana and G-Dad took you to the zoo on a beautiful "fall" day that came as a teaser around the beginning of September.  Your dad and I got so much done around the house and you had a blast.  They let you lolly-gag around the zoo to your heart's content.  They got you slushies (yes, plural--apparently G-Dad finished off the first when we he thought you were finished, apparently, you weren't finished.  And you weren't happy).  Someday you'll understand what a blessed little boy you are to have so many family members who want and are able to spend time with you.  I think you already know how much they love you, but you don't know how unique your situation is.

You can occasionally be persuaded to "help" me, but to be honest, it's not high on your list.  Bummer.  We've had lots of days where you have had trouble falling asleep for your nap, but I think we've figured out that you can't get comfortable and relaxed with me rocking you (since I'm so big right now), whenever your dad or your Gigi rocks you for a nap, you go right down.  I'm not as worried about it now, I just do my best to get you comfy and tell myself I won't be like this much longer.

A couple months ago, I thought I was being such a great mom, we took you to a frozen yogurt place where you could add toppings.  You've never had toppings on your "ice cream," but you love chocolate, and you love M&M's, so I got you chocolate / vanilla swirl, and I added mini M&M's.  As a child, that would have MADE MY WEEK.  Well, we're very different, you and I--and I'm constantly reminded of that.  To your credit, you did not cry or fuss.  You did, however, pick EVERY SINGLE M&M out of your ice cream after spooning it into your mouth.  Yes, it was very messy.  But you nicely piled them all up on a napkin once I refused to let you throw them on the floor.  I just sat there in amazement.  You're certainly thorough.

Speaking of thorough, that trait will be both a great asset and possibly quite a pitfall for you.  When you decide to do something, it's never halfway.  And, honestly, somedays I wish it were.

We've had record-breaking heat this summer, so many days we just lazied around the house.  Lots of those days, you seemed totally fine with it.  You didn't even ask to go outside.  You don't seem to care for 100 degree-weather either.  We did play in the baby pool and the sprinkler some, but on the hottest days, we hung out inside.  I'm so looking forward to it cooling back down so that you can enjoy your great backyard again.

You've been relatively healthy lately, a cold-turned-sinus infection here and there; but we've actually stayed away from the germiest places because I just couldn't bear the thought of a 2nd or 3rd trimester GI virus.  You just came down with your second "summer" illness yesterday--probably another cold that will be a sinus infection just in time to greet your new baby sister.  The back-to-school stuff has found us.  It's going to be an interesting fall.  Thankfully nursing is both tranquilizing to the mom and immune support to the infant.  You and your dad will be fending for yourself, I guess.

You have been very interested in all of the presents for the baby.  Don't worry, you've been given plenty as well, and we've been fairly "lenient" with you as far as letting you play with her stuff.  You've gotten a few new toys as well, and you don't know it but you have even more surprises (in the form of material goods) yet to come.  I honestly never imagined how, shall we say, "well-provided for" my children would be.  We're going to have a lot of character-building to make sure both of you learn what is really important in life.

I know that you're going to be an amazing big brother.  I can't wait to see you grow into that position in our family.  It will be such an important opportunity for you--one that will make you who you will be for the rest of your life.  Evelyn is a blessed little girl to get to have a big brother as fearfully and wonderfully made as you are.  Your dad and I can't wait to see you two learn what it means to be in a family together.


Cuteness Sneak Peak

It'll be weeks if not months before I get Evelyn's room pulled together enough to officially "blog" it.  I don't know why.  Isn't that how you're s'posed to do it?

But I thought I'd post a few teasers, because girl could get here any time now.  Here's to hoping this is my last blog post before bringing home my precious baby girl.

Hoping you think the "after" chandelier is cuter than the before

Of course, she'll be the cutest thing in her room, but the decor will be a close second...


You Know Things

Spencer, you know things.  And it's weird.  I will again remind you that you are not the first child I have taken care of for most of their waking hours.  You are, of course, my first child; but you are in no way the first child I have known well.  So, some things that would have "wowed" a first-time mom or a  first-time knowing-a-little-one-really-really-well person don't wow me.  In fact, I probably expected a bit much, overlooked a bit much (due to my 'every child is different' philosophy), ignored a bit much, and probably even down-played a bit much.  "Of course, he's smart.  I think all children are 'smart,' and then some are not nurtured as they should have been and they don't get to develop into the person they were created to be."  Kids who "know things" are not that novel.  Studies have shown that babies understand the basics of math (I can't cite it, but it was a "real" study.  I read all about it...somewhere...lol).  You get the idea.  I'm not the mom constantly blown away by all you know.  Sorry.

But the other day, you did it.  You amazed me.  Your Aunt Natalie and Uncle Levi recently moved apartments.  I think you've been to their new apartment twice.  It's possible you've only been once.  I've been sick, pregnant, and trying to coordinate a million things (and doing so quite poorly, by the way), so I'm not sure if it's been once or twice.  I know for sure it's been no more than that.  And it's been at least one month ago.  I think it's been closer to "almost" two months.

Their new apartment is on a road that is sort of a "cut-through" in West Little Rock.  It connects (more or less) two or three major streets.  So, we were over on that side of town the other day, and I cut through on their street.  In using it as a cut through, we did not come the way we would come if we were driving from our house; and we did not come the way I know for sure we came on the one occasion that I remember FOR SURE taking you over there.  So, you follow me?  We drove to their street in a way you've never been driven to their street before.

I'm sure you'll come to know eventually that I'm usually quite the rule-follower.  I'm also sure you'll come to know eventually that I DO NOT drive under the speed limit.  Barring monsoon-like rain or some other weather-phenomenon that Thompson's Driving School taught me to slow down for or you can be cited as "driving too fast for the conditions" or some thing like that, I drive the speed limit or a little bit over.  I try not to drive much over, but if I'm not going the speed limit, I'm going over, not under.  I just say all of that to say that I did not drive by their apartment slowly, I probably drove by a smidge too quickly.  I did not slow down as we approached it.  I did not nod at it, point, look at you to see what you'd say, or do anything other than continuing to drive as I'd been driving the whole trip.

And you looked out your window and said your token, "What's that?  What's that?"  Obviously, this piqued my interest.  I said back to you, "What is that?"  And you said, "Nee Nee! Nee Nee!"  I said, "That's right, honey!  That's Natalie's apartment."  And you proceeded to correct yourself, "Nee Nee's 'partment.  Nee Nee's partment."  It was the middle of the day, her car wasn't even in the parking lot.  I was floored.  How in the world did you recognize it?  I'm still floored.

Then, you proceeded to get so upset that we weren't stopping by that we had to call her on her cell phone and leave a message.  I relayed all that had just happened, and you shouted "Nee Nee" and a shortened version of "I love you" in the background, making both she and I almost cry over the sweetness of it all as we discussed it later.  Needless to say, you made her day and you've finally succeeding in truly shocking me with something you knew.  I usually think that I know what you know. Clearly I have no idea.

Love you kid!