Thursday, April 29, 2010

This past Saturday Morgan Kate turned twenty months. Twenty months! It sounds so odd. It sounds so different. A sign that my baby is really no longer a baby. It seriously blows my mind that in just four months we will be celebrating her second birthday. Pardon me while I go cry in the corner!

At twenty months, our precious girl is:
-Usually sleeping 12+ hours at night. We put her to bed between 8 and 9 and she sleeps anywhere from 8 to 9:30. Yes, I realized I am spoiled. Travis says, "She gets it from her mama". I love to sleep! (Just as soon as I type this she will start waking up earlier.)
-Napping once a day, but her thirty minute naps have now become two hour naps.
-Drinking only from a cup during the day. Ahhh, at last!
-Still getting a nighttime bottle, but I have been tossing around some ideas to begin to "wean" her and me as well. I enjoy it just as much as she does!
-Walking everywhere and practically running
-Can identify her head, hair, eyes, ears, nose, teeth, sometimes her mouth, feet and hands
-Has been saying, "mama" over and over and over for the past three days, but still doesn't call me "mama"
-Trying to copy the things we do and say. We have to remember, little ears and little eyes.
-Has a total of nine teeth and cutting two molars
-Loves, loves, loves to play outdoors
-Loves to play on the slide
-Wearing size 12 month - 18 month clothes, depends on store and brand
-Wearing a size 3 diaper
-Loves giving hugs and kisses
-Can blow kisses, but is quite stingy
-Does this thing with her eyes where she blinks or winks for a long time, it's the cutest thing ever
-Trying to put her socks and shoes on (Never thought that would happen!)
-Loves playing in the dog water or any water for that matter
-Tries her best to play with Lola, but Lola won't have any part of it
-Loves to play with my hair
-New food interests are mandarin oranges, bbq chicken and corn on the cob

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

We've been back to the NICU several times since the day Morgan Kate was discharged. It's important to us to go back and say thanks and to show all of the staff, whom we consider family, just how great Morgan Kate is doing. After all, it's because of each one of them that she is doing so well today.

Each time we've visited I have made the same walk from the parking garage to the NICU doors. I have stood at those tall, double doors and buzzed in. Sometimes wondering if the staff will even remember me. I have walked past the deep, stainless steel sinks where we washed our hands so, so many times. I have peeked into the glass doors that stand between me and the other babies. I have walked down the long hallway, the hallway where I held my breath each morning because I wasn't sure what I would walk into, and I have returned to our old room. And I have been really, really proud of myself because I have done a good job. I haven't cried. I haven't lost it. I don't even know that I have shed a tear while there. Until Sunday. Sunday was different. Sunday was overwhelming, but in such a good way.

Sunday while visiting I watched this little girl walk down that same hallway that Travis and I walked for so many days. She walked with such confidence and such independence. It literally took my breath away. I know I have said this so many times before, but there were many, many nights early on where I wasn't sure if this sight would ever be a reality. And yesterday it was. It was really happening.

As I walked down the hallway behind her I tried my best to hold back the tears and swallow the lump in my throat. As I approached Room 8, Morgan Kate's room for 107 days, it all became too much and I could no longer keep it inside. The tears flowed. As Travis and I looked into that room so many memories came flooding back. So many feelings and fears resurfaced. And at the same time, so much gratitude came from my heart. And I think we both had a feeling of relief.

It was in this place, in this very room, that my family of two became a family of three. It was in this very room that we spent the first 107 days of her life together. It was in this room where I held her for the first time, fed her for the first time and even changed a messy diaper for the first time. It was here that I gave her her first bath. It was here that she received her two month immunizations. It was here that we became parents and learned how to care for our child. It was here that people took such good care of our daughter. It was here that people loved her and cared for her when we weren't able to be there. It was here that people loved and cared for us when the days and moments were just too hard.

As I looked into that room and thought about the past, I also thought about the present. I looked over at Morgan Kate who was sitting with several of the nurses. She was laughing and smiling and putting on quite the show. I thought about how far she has come and how far we have come. I thought about all the things she is doing and all the things she is going to do. And I thought about how much I love her and how much I love the NICU staff. Travis put his arm around me and without saying any words I knew he was feeling the same exact thing. Dr. Ellis, the neonatologist who admitted and discharged Morgan Kate, walked over to the door where we were standing. She gently patted my back and as I turned I saw the tears in her eyes too.

The NICU, Room 8 and especially the staff, will always hold a special place in our hearts. A place filled with so much love and so much gratitude for all they have done and all they do.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

There were doctors.

And nurses.

And nurses with respiratory therapists.

And even nurses with cameras.

There was a big party sign that read, NICU Reunion Party 2010. There was a red carpet for all of the "stars" to walk down. And there were children everywhere. Children of every age. Such miracles. All of them such examples of the extraordinary work that occurs at Palmetto Health Baptist NICU.

There was a puppet show.

There were snacks and drinks. Karaoke and pictures. And yes, there were Styrofoam peanuts. One of Morgan Kate's favorite activities.

A local news station even showed up and we gave a small interview.

And after all of the fun and festivities we took a trip upstairs to tour the unit. Although, we didn't really need a tour. We're pretty familiar with how the unit looks. But we couldn't pass up an opportunity to see family.

It warmed my heart to take Morgan Kate back and to share her with all the people who took such good care of her.

She walked around and played like she owned the place. Imagine that!

And she even managed to help Dr. E write some orders for the day.

The NICU Reunion Party was an absolute blast! We had such an awesome time seeing the doctors and nurses and respiratory therapists and other staff that cared for our baby girl and cared for us. It was overwhelming to see all the families and children that returned and to see how well everyone was doing.

The NICU and the staff there will always be a big part of our lives. And we appreciate times like Sunday when we can go back, relax, reminisce, have some fun and share our girl with all of them.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Saturday morning a group of twenty-three gathered to support Team Morgan Kate and to "March for Babies". Despite the rain and wind, we had a great turnout and a great time. And we are so appreciative to all of our "walkers".

(Melissa and Caroline came too, but missed the group photo by just a few seconds.)

It literally started raining the minute we began the walk. As we were making the turn back into the fairgrounds the rain stopped. Some wore raincoats, some used umbrellas. Others, like myself, had nothing. And that resulted in quite the " bad hair day".

It's always such an amazing feeling to be a part of a day like Saturday and to be part of an organization like the March of Dimes. It's amazing to see the people that come out not only for Team Morgan Kate, but for all babies. And it's also pretty amazing to see other parents who have been in our same boat. Parents who know how we feel and how we felt. Parents like the Burkett's. The minute I saw Talyse I got all teary-eyed and emotional.

(Talyse and I supporting our little ones.)

We are so incredibly blessed to have the love and support and encouragement that we have from our friends and family. And it means the world to us to have them share in such a special day. And to give of their time on a Saturday morning, bright and early, to be with us. We are and will be forever grateful.

(Mrs. Jan, Roddey and Jessa)

(The Weavers, The Hardisons and some of their grands)

(Owens, Trenholm, Travis, me, Daddy, Mom, and Morgan Kate)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Today Morgan Kate and this precious, sweet boy, Luke, had a play date.

Morgan Kate and Luke have quite a history already.

Luke's mommy and Morgan Kate's mommy have been good, good friends for a very long time.

Luke's grandmommy and Morgan Kate's grandmommy have been best good friends for even longer.

Luke's grandaddy has a birthday on November 11th and Morgan Kate's grandaddy has a birthday on November 12th. And both grandaddies are super laid back.

Luke has two boy cousins, Hampton and Baylor. Morgan Kate has one boy cousin, Hunter.

Luke was in the NICU when he was first born, but not because he was a preemie. And, Morgan Kate was in the NICU when she was first born.

Today, they are both doing so, so well and are super, super sweet.

Morgan Kate had the BEST time and hopes that she gets to play with this little man again very soon.

We love you Luke!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Columbia March of Dimes walk is this Saturday! And this little girl wants to see you there.

Walk Details:
-Saturday, April 24th at 9:00am - The walk begins at 9:00, but we will be there to meet walkers at 8:30.
-The walk starts at the Columbia fairgrounds. You just park where you would park if you were going to the fair and you will see the starting point.
-There will be water stations along the way, but you may want to bring your own water as well.
-Last year there were two routes, a 3 mile and a 6 mile. I am assuming it will be the same this year.
-If you are still interested in donating money to this worthwhile cause, just click on the purple button in the left sidebar.

We can't wait to see you there!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I was doing great.

She was doing great.

And then it happened.

I gave in and I gave her the "baba".

Morgan Kate has been doing really well with the cup. Thursday was our first day with no daytime bottles. Yahoo! For the most part, it went well. By about 7:30 that evening she was quite the bear and only wanted her "baba". Thanks goodness it was almost bedtime. Friday started out great. Things were going so well, but then she fell and got a boo-boo. The boo-boo turned into a lot of tears. The tears turned into a fussy, fussy little girl who kept saying "baba, baba, baba". So Mommy gave in. Yikes!

However, Saturday, Sunday and Monday were all a breeze and we have been back on track. And I am so proud - of both of us!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Morgan Kate loves playing in/with water. She loves, loves, loves bath time and also spends a large part of the day sticking her hands and fingers into Cash and Lola's water bowl.

This weekend she discovered a new love. The water sprinkler.

She played in the sprinkler for a long time. At first she simply stood beside it and let the mist hit her face. She then got a little more comfortable and started sticking her arms and legs into it. At one point she even grabbed the head of the sprinkler as if to point in the direction she wanted.

And while she loved playing in/with the sprinkler. She also loved just sitting and watching.

She had an absolute blast and had the biggest smile on her face. Travis and I are already contemplating exactly which water toy we should purchase for this summer.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Morgan Kate has recently become quite fond of "The Itsy Bitsy Spider". So fond of it, that she insists we sing it over and over and over and over.

Last week, while getting ready to leave speech and after about the sixth time of singing "The Itsy Bitsy Spider, I tried to wrap things up and get Morgan Kate ready to leave. I grabbed my keys and then reached down to grab her little hand. As I reached down she began to fuss and fight and then she bit me. That's right. Bit me. She didn't get her way and she bit me. I must admit, I was shocked. My sweet, little, innocent nineteen-month old (Ha, ha!) doesn't usually behave in that manner. I mean, just look at this face.

She doesn't look like a biter does she? Ha! Well, she is. And for a few hours I had the mark to prove it.

I tried to handle the situation the best way I knew how. I definitely wanted her to know it was not okay to act that way and it was certainly not okay to bite people. After our little "one-on-one conversation" she proceeded to throw a tantrum on the floor. And yes, we were still at speech and this all took place in front of her speech therapist and the intern. I calmly got up off of the floor, grabbed my keys once again and proceeded to leave. Once MK realized that I wasn't falling for her drama, she quickly stopped, picked herself up and quietly followed me out.

That was four days ago and we have hadn't anymore biting. I'll be sure to let you know how the next few days go.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Friday Firsts

We have had quite a few firsts this week. And no they didn't all happen on Friday, but I thought it would be a good way to wrap up the week.

1. This week Morgan Kate said pizza, blanket (blanka) and meow. She has said Lola before, but never consistently. This week that has all changed. She now says Yo-Ya all the time. Oh, and she also likes to chirp like the birds do. And she might have said mama. I say might because it's very debatable and it's not really mama. When I ask her to say mama or I repeat it for like the 1000th time that day she will "Ma-Pa" or "PaPa". Seriously. At first I thought it was just a coincidence, and maybe she didn't understand. But after about three days of the same thing happening over and over, I really think that "Ma-Pa" is her version of mama. And I'm not really sure how I feel about that.

2. She is quite the little helper. She loves to help load the dryer and she desperately wants to help fold clothes. She's got the dryer part all figured out, but we are going to have to work some on folding.

3. Tonight she got her first real "boo boo". These days she is walking super fast, almost running, and as she was running down the driveway, she tripped and scraped her little knee. Nothing that a few of Mommy's kisses couldn't fix!

4. She can now point to her head, hair, eyes, nose, mouth and bellybutton. (Sometimes ears.) She loves her bellybutton and says "beh-e-bu". Oh my, it's the cutest thing ever.

5. This week I have also seen a new streak of her personality. A streak that makes me very afraid for her teenage years. A streak that includes biting me once when she didn't get her way and rolling her eyes when I told her "No". Yikes! The rolling of the eyes is hard to explain. She didn't actually roll her eyes, but it was very similar and I just can't think of a better explanation. I was telling her no because she was playing with an electrical cord. After about the third time, she looked at me like I was absolutely ridiculous, very gently closed her eyes, stood there for about one second and then very slowly turned her head to the right with eyes still closed. It looked just like something a fifteen year old would do. I had such mixed feelings. Part of me wanted to laugh out loud hysterically because it was funny, but the other part of me was just so sad.

She is just literally growing and changing every single day, right before my eyes. Every day she is doing something new or saying a new word. It just blows my mind. She is so amazing and I couldn't love her more!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

o·ver·whelmed -
to be affected deeply in mind or emotion

Saturday I was overwhelmed.

I was overwhelmed with excitement at the sight of our "Team Morgan Kate" tent first thing that morning.

I was overwhelmed with emotion as I spoke and shared our story in front of the crowd.

I was overwhelmed with love as I held my baby girl in my arms.

I was overwhelmed with pride as we received two awards. One for serving as the Ambassador Family and another for being the Family Team to raise the most money. And by they way, we raised $2500!

Overwhelmed with gratitude as I looked into the crowd and saw all of those with Team Morgan Kate t-shirts.

Overwhelmed with so many different feelings and emotions as we began the walk and our baby girl led the way.

Overwhelmed with happiness as I looked around and saw so many of my friends with their own babies.

Completely overwhelmed by the number of people there in honor of Morgan Kate. It is an indescribable feeling to see that many people gathered at one place in honor of your child. It is an indescribable feeling to know that so many people would give of their time and money and energy to spend the day with you. I could never thank all of you enough. Please know how much it meant to me and to Travis and we are forever grateful for your love and your support and your friendship.

And completely and totally overwhelmed at the sight of this special little girl.

A video of our day:

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Dear Morgan Kate,

Today is the day of the Orangeburg March for Babies. Last year was our first walk, but you were just a tiny thing and mostly stayed in your stroller. Today will be so different. Today YOU will walk! (For at least some of it anyway.)

You're nineteen months old now and I keep waiting for my emotions to settle. For me not to be so teary eyed by every little thing you do and that you are a part of. But it just hasn't happened. And I don't know that it ever will. And I am perfectly okay with that. I want to be strong today. I have been asked to say a few words before the walk and I want to do a good job. I don't want to be a blubbering mess. I want to make you proud. But I know that the tears will flow. They will flow because of you. You and your daddy are my heart and my life, my everything. They will flow because for quite some time, early on, I wasn't sure if I would ever see this day. I still have images of your tiny, frail, little body lying in the isolette with all of those wires and cords and tubes and not being able to hold you or comfort you. They will flow because of all the love your daddy and I have for you and for your precious, precious life. And they will flow because of all of our family and friends and supporters and all the love they show.

This year we have served as the Ambassador Family. It has been quite the honor and privilege. You are the Ambassador Baby. I'm slightly biased because I am your mommy, but I think they chose the perfect baby. One of the definitions for ambassador is an authorized messenger or representative. And you are just that. You are such a representative for the March of Dimes and premature babies and for all babies, everywhere. And you are definitely a messenger. Your story is inspiring and miraculous and I pray that to someone, somewhere, it gives them hope. And I hope that when you are old enough to talk, you will share you story with all who will listen. Because little girl, you have quite a story.

You are an amazing little girl, full of life and love and energy. Your smile melts my heart each and every day. Even at nineteen months you are courageous and strong, much more than I am. You are determined and show such perseverance. And I am so, so proud to be your mommy! You are one special little girl and I love you will all of my heart!


Friday, April 9, 2010

These are my brothers. Owens (on the right) and Kyle (on the left).

They are my heart. They make me happy. They put a smile on my face. I love having two brothers. Seriously. Growing up, I never even gave a second thought about having a sister. We played together well. We shared our toys and for the most part we got along. And, I have also on separate occasions gotten both of them to play dress up. So, who needs a sister? Owens and Kyle both also happen to love Travis and Morgan Kate to pieces, which also melts my heart.

Yes, we bicker. Yes, we argue. Yes, we disagree. We've been ugly to each other and even said and done hurtful things to one another. And yes, on occasion I have been known to be somewhat bossy. But hey, I am the oldest.

I like to call my brothers "mine". They are my baby brothers. They are my playmates. They are my confidants. They are my "spare tire changers". They are my bug killers. But, in just the last year I have learned that they aren't always going to be mine. I guess I've always known that, but it's become true in just the past year. I'm going to have to share them. One has just recently gotten married and the other just popped the question five days ago.

Kyle is my baby, baby brother. The youngest. We are further apart in age, so he's always been like my "real baby". I like to watch after him, protect him and take care of him. This past year his life has changed dramatically. He's married to Tabitha, the beautiful brunette above, and they have a new baby boy, Hunter. He went from bachelor to hubby/daddy in a very short time. No, it didn't all happen exactly the way some people think things should happen or expect things to happen. But it happened. Yes, there were some hard parts and ugly words and hurt feelings, but we all came through on the other side stronger than before. I love to watch how he interacts with Tabitha and how he takes care of her. And I especially love to watch him with his new baby boy.

Owens is my baby brother. The middle child. Owens and I are much closer in age. He's like my best friend. I like to talk with him, listen to him and get his advice. And while he might be younger, he's taller and just a little bit bigger so he takes care of me. He dates Trenholm, the smashing redhead. They have been dating for about five years now. Last Saturday he popped the big question and she said "Yes"! I am over-the-top excited for them and I cannot wait until their BIG day. It's going to be absolutely amazing! Trenholm is such a sweetheart and is a perfect addition to our family. We are so lucky!

I'll admit it. I have shed a few tears recently. It makes me a little sad to see my brothers grow up. But most of my tears have been tears of happiness. I'm truly happy for them. I want them to have their own little families just like I do. I want them to experience the love and happiness that comes from that. At the end of the day, all I have ever wanted for my brothers was happiness. I wanted them to be happy and to be truly loved. And right now, they are both just that.

And I don't mind sharing them with these two ladies. I guess. Ha, just kidding!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Life is precious.

I know this. I always have. I think everyone knows this. I think for me, it became especially true once I became a mother and even more so because for the first few weeks of my child's life we didn't know what the future might hold.

Lately, I have been reminded on more than one occasion just how precious life is.

Yesterday marked the one year passing of a beautiful little girl named Maddie. I've never met her in real life. I don't know her parents personally. But, I have followed their story. I found their blog over a year ago and began reading. I was captivated by the little girl and her story. She too was a preemie and she too was doing so very well, until April 7th of 2009 when suddenly she was taken from this world. For the past year her parents have been in such pain and agony. Their hearts were/are broken. And to be honest, so was mine. My heart ached for her parents and her family. Many nights I have sat at my computer, reading their blog through teary eyes. There are days when Heather's (the mother) posts literally make it hard to catch my breath. And although a year has passed things are still hard for her parents, her family and even her blog followers.

Yesterday morning I learned that a very close family friend lost one niece in a terrible car accident and another niece was taken to the hospital immediately. Again, my heart just ached. I had a lump in my throat for most of the day. I personally think death is hard at any age. I don't like when people die.

Some days I get so caught up in the bills, and the dishes, and the laundry, and the "to do" list and I forget to focus on the snuggles, and giggles, and kisses, and even the tantrums. I don't want to be that way. I don't want to overlook even a second of Morgan Kate's life.

And I want Morgan Kate to know how precious her life is to me.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Cups and shoes.

There are lots of things that have given me trouble as a new mommy. Things like naps, bedtimes, developmental milestones, discipline, crying it out, etc. However, the top two things that have really, really rattled me happen to be cups and shoes.

Cups. We all know that story. Morgan Kate is 19 months old and still drinking almost exclusively from the bottle. We have tried cup after cup after cup. And no luck. None. Zilch. Nada. Until....very recently. You see, we have been using this special honey bear cup that our speech therapist recommended. The honey bear cup has a straw and Morgan Kate now knows how to use a straw. And use it correctly. Therefore, she can drink from any cup that has a straw and just two days ago I found some great cups for children with straws. Now, I realize this is no new invention. But, until your child can drink from a straw they can't use those fancy little sippy cups with straws. Now, Morgan Kate can and I am so very happy. MK is now getting her daytime milk (well most of it anyway) through the cup and we are only doing the bottle at night. I should let you know....we are only on day 2 of this, so I'll keep you posted.


For months now I thought Morgan Kate wore a size two shoe. She only has three pairs of shoes and they are all size two. They seemed to fit, maybe even be a little loose, and everything was good. Yesterday I set out to find some summer shoes. While looking I had this nice little man measure her feet and according to him she is a size four. Four? Really? I've been cramming my daughter's size 4 feet into size 2 shoes? The nice little man explained that all shoes are different and the shoes we do have at home may very well fit her feet just fine. He also told me that while MK's foot is a size four in length, it's more of a size 2 in width. He then proceeded to try and sell me these $50 Stride Rite white sandals. First, I don't want white sandals. There's nothing wrong with white sandals, but I don't want MK to wear them. They start out so bright and end up so dirty. Secondly, I don't want to spend $50 on a shoe she is going to wear for a month, maybe two. I did find some ADORABLE jelly shoes earlier today. I put the size 4s on her and they were so, so big. I tried 3s and still too big. Finally, I tried a 2 and it fit. They were only $5 so I bought them. They can at least hold us over until we find something else. So, I am now on the hunt for a cute summer shoe (not white), that can be worn without socks, and is a size 4 in length and size 2 in width. This should be easy, right? Ha!

Just a reminder. All March of Dimes donations will be turned in tomorrow. Sometime tomorrow I will announce the grand total. Three days until the walk! We can't wait!

You can so tell that this little girl has never taken a paci. She doesn't even know what end to put in her mouth. Ha!