Sunday, May 30, 2010

Getting pregnant makes me nervous. Being pregnant makes me nervous. Giving birth makes me nervous. Really, anything that is remotely associated with childbearing makes me a nervous wreck. Yes, I have seen and witnessed and been a part of some amazing experiences. Experiences that were all smiles and laughs and all good times. But, more than I would like, I have experienced some really painful and tough times. Times where I say to myself, "This is not how it was supposed to be." I have been through some of the times myself. And I have watched very close family and very close friends go through them. I'm not sure what's worse. Going through them yourself or watching it happen to people so near and dear to your heart and not being able to do anything to change the events or make things better. When it comes to pregnancy/childbearing/etc. I find myself doing a lot more frowning than smiling.

But Friday, I was all smiles. My smile was unstoppable. Late Friday afternoon I was on my way to the hospital to see this perfect, precious baby boy. A true gift from God.

Let me introduce you to Nolan Thomas.....

I spent most of the day Friday texting and phoning one of my besties, Raven. I wanted the specifics. How was she doing? How were things progressing? When was this baby boy going to make his debut? Friday marked 41 weeks of pregnancy for Raven. And while she was a week overdue we were all so thankful. I'm sure Raven might have preferred Nolan to arrive a little earlier, but I was perfectly content. I wanted him to stay nice and safe and sound in her womb for as long as he needed. Around 4:00 or so that afternoon I got the call that things were indeed progressing and that it was almost time. I quickly grabbed my things, jumped in the car and made my way to the hospital. I wanted so badly to be there for the entire day, but I don't know how all this labor stuff works and I didn't want to be in the way. I knew Raven had a mission, one thing on her mind, and I didn't want to distract or interrupt. So as soon as I got the call that things were moving quickly I made a mad dash.

As I was driving the eighteen miles to the hospital, the same hospital that I know all too well, I had the biggest smile on my face. I kept thinking to myself and even saying out loud, although I was all alone, "This is how it's supposed to be." Women are supposed to have healthy pregnancies. Women are supposed to go full term, maybe even longer. People are supposed to make mad dashes to hospitals to be a part of such an amazing event. Babies are supposed to come out crying and all pink. Daddies are supposed to be able to go "behind the glass" and present their baby to the world. Family and friends are supposed to gather in waiting rooms and pace the floor.

The birth of your child is supposed to be a day to never be forgotten and for all good reasons. And I am so very thankful that I got to be a part of this day. I am so thankful for Raven and for Koto and for Nolan. He is so beautiful and so perfect and so amazing! They are all so special to me and so dear to my heart. And I am just so, so thankful.

I am so excited to hold him and love him and kiss him and snuggle him. I can't wait to introduce him to Morgan Kate. And I can't wait to spoil him rotten, because I WILL! I love you so much Nolan. You have an amazing mommy and daddy who have waited for this day for so long. You are one lucky little boy! And we are all so lucky and so blessed to have YOU!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Morgan Kate's newest toy.

And no, I did not buy it for her. It was a "gift" from her PT and she loves it. She has been sweeping, sweeping, sweeping! Her daddy wants to know who she learned that from. He says he's never seen her mommy do that. Ha, ha!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Yesterday our sweet girl turned twenty-one months old. My heart still skips a beat when I think about the fact that in just three short months she will turn two. Wow! In honor of her twenty-one month birthday and the month of May, I will give you five (for May) things you may not have known about Morgan Kate...

1. For the past few weeks she has been sleeping until 9:00 or 9:30. Some days even later. (Tomorrow morning she will probably be up at the crack of dawn.)

2. She tried fish this weekend and LOVED it. Don't worry, we only gave her a little and it was not anything exotic or full of mercury.

3. Some new words include: purple (pu-pah), fish, and the expression Hey Bubba or Hey Baby. She is really trying to repeat anything we say or do. Just today I was dancing in the car and pumping my fists. Okay not really. I wasn't pumping my fist, but I was moving my arms. When I looked back in the rearview mirror MK was attempting to do the exact same thing.

4. She tries really, really hard to say one, two, three and A, B, C.

5. Morgan Kate has curly/wavy hair. I HAVE WANTED CURLY HAIR ALL OF MY LIFE. Seriously. I guess you always want what you can't have, but truly, all I have ever wanted was curly hair. When I was younger I would beg my mom to put my hair in rollers. However, board straight, fine hair doesn't work well with rollers. I even tried a perm once or twice. BAD. Really bad. After having MK my hair has gotten a little wavy, but still requires quite a lot of work to make it curly. However, when MK's hair gets wet this is the result. The only reason it looks straight in pictures is because we brush it down. I'm sure that as time goes on it could get straighter, but for now my little girl has curls. *Smile.*

The following is totally unrelated to Morgan Kate....

We have a bird feeder in our backyard. For quite some time it hung untouched. We were beginning to wonder if we even had any birds. However, just recently the bird seed has been going at lightning speed. Travis will fill it up one day and by the next morning it is completely empty. We figured there was one of two things happening. We either had a huge bird population stop at our house or we had some furry visitors.

It turns out it's the furry kind and I caught one red-handed.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Just a little sunny Sunday sprinkler fun...

Friday, May 21, 2010

We have had some visitors this week. Specifically, the Molar Monster and the Terrible Twos. And for the record, they are not welcome back. Although, for some reason I don't think they will be waiting around for an invitation.

Morgan Kate is cutting these enormous molars. Or they look enormous in her tiny little mouth. She must be cutting at least three, maybe more. They are causing drooling, bleeding, crying, diarrhea and restlessness. We have been up three nights this week with a baby in such pain from these molars. This tooth business is no game. The front eight teeth really didn't cause much pain. Lots of drooling, but none of the other stuff. But these molars have been the worst. We have been using tylenol around the clock and thankfully it does provide some relief.

I'm not sure if the Terrible Twos were really here or not. They didn't identify themselves. And it could have been someone or something that the Molar Monsters brought, but this week we have had major attitude. MAJOR. We have had a precious, adorable, almost twenty-one month old that will not listen and has forgotten the meaning of no. When she doesn't get her way she goes "boneless" and throws herself on the floor. And at times she is screaming at the top of her lungs. Despite her demeanor, at times I find myself giggling inside because even her fits are so darn cute. (Believe me, I do not reveal these giggles to her.)

Like I said, these are two visitors that I don't plan to invite back. But I know that they are the type of visitors that will show up without notice. And hopefully we will be better prepared.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

My heart and mind have been and still are in other places right now, but I did want to post some pictures of our most recent excursion.

We took some time this weekend to visit the Riverbanks Zoo. We had taken MK once before, but she was much too young to know what was going on. This time was different. She was captivated by all of the animals and all of the children there. Her absolute favorite part of the zoo were the farm animals. She loved them! And my favorite part was watching MK and her daddy have so much fun.

Friday, May 14, 2010

End of the Week Wrap Up, Updates and Photos

Last week I had a bit of a moment during one of Morgan Kate's speech sessions. I was having a bit of a low and was concerned with MK's speech. Or maybe I should say her consistency. She can speak, say words, imitate, etc, but it's not always consistent or it didn't happen to be that particular week. The speech therapist talked with me at length, helped reassure me and even let me help with an informal assessment. I must admit that all of her techniques put me at ease, but it has been MK who has put my mind at ease the most. This week she has really taken off. I have to keep reminding myself - it will all happen in her time. Just in the last three days or so she has started repeating quite a lot. Some of her new words include: clean up, apple, cheese, eat, pig, cow, and moo. There are probably others, but my memory escapes me. Now, does she say these words all day, every day? Does she repeat them every single time I want her to? No. Certainly not. But nor do I. There are words I use daily and there are other words I use rarely. I have to remember that she is the same way. Oh, and she is also now signing please and cheese.

Physical Therapy:
Morgan Kate still LOVES PT. I think she just loves playing outside and being able to do and go as she pleases, but she also really likes our PT and I think that makes a huge difference. The past few weeks we have been working on running, kicking a ball, throwing a ball overhead and going up and down the stairs with little or no assistance. She is basically running, can kick and throw when she wants to (keywords: wants to) and is working really hard on the stairs. Some of our next "tasks" include standing with her feet together, jumping and balancing on one foot.

Occupational Therapy:
We receive OT once a month and Tuesday was the second time we have seen our OT. We are working on things like stacking cubes, using a spoon, completing puzzles and making scribbles on paper. Our OT is fantastic and MK is pretty fond of her too. Actually, MK is pretty fond of all of her therapists.

Early Intervention:
Just this week we got a new EI. Our other EI took a job somewhere else. The new EI seems really nice and I think she and MK will be a good fit. Not only did we get a new person, but we decided on a new schedule. Instead of coming once a week, she is now going to see come only twice a month.

Overall, I think MK is doing fabulous. She is making great progress and continues to blow me away with all she does and all she is learning. If you subscribe to Parents Magazine, there is a great article in June edition about Early Intervention. It does an excellent job of explaining what Early Intervention is and how it helps children.

My grandmother, Mama Jean, bought herself a new car, actually an SUV, for her 80th birthday. It is super nice and so sporty. She has this "clicker remote" that goes with it and MK became quite enthralled with it. She watched how my grandmother used it and then tried to copy her. I love Mama Jean's expression in this picture. It makes me so happy and so proud that my grandmothers are such a big part of MK's life and mine.

This picture cracks me up for two reasons. One, MK would not stand with us or let us hold her for this picture. She apparently did NOT want to participate in the family photo. Two, she has not sat in a Bumbo seat since last summer. And even then she wasn't too fond of it. However, Sunday she saw her younger cousin, Jillian, using one and insisted that she sit in it as well. She also did this with Jillian's infant carrier. The same carrier that MK would scream about every time we tried to put her in it. Go figure...

I hope my Mother's Day post didn't give the wrong impression. I am thrilled beyond words to be a mother. I LOVE being a mother. My cup overrunneth. And I happen to think I have THE best mom on the planet. Mother's Day was a great day for me. But my heart was heavy and still is at times. It's heavy because I happen to think it's unfair that some people don't have their moms with them. I happen to think it's unfair that there are women and men out their longing to be parents. And I happen to think it's unfair that there are parents out there without their children. My heart aches for those people every single day, but especially on days like Mother's Day and Father's Day and even Grandparent's Day.

And just for the record, I don't like Valentine's Day either. It's nothing personal. I didn't ever have a bad Valentine's Day or anything like that. I just think it's kind of stupid.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

I've been sitting at my computer for quite some time trying to think of a post or captions to go along with the following pictures. But, I am convinced that these pictures really need no words.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

I grew up in a household where my mom cut the grass a majority of the time. Now, I'm not saying that my dad never cut the grass, because he did. But, my mom definitely did it the most. When I was old enough my dad even allowed me to cut the grass. However, I spent most of my time just riding in circles, so no one really ever wanted me to do it. Apparently my dad thinks mowing the lawn is a "girl thing" and he's trying his best to keep the tradition going.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

I can't decide if I like Mother's Day.

As a child I did. I liked picking out the perfect gift to show my appreciation. I liked spending hours creating a card that my mom would love.

Two years ago I was pregnant on Mother's Day. I thought it would have been a day filled with happiness and joy and all of that good stuff. And while on the outside I pretended it was all those things, on the inside I felt completely different. I was nervous. I was scared. I was anxious. I was so afraid that something might go wrong and that I might not be able to experience being a mother. Last year was my first Mother's Day officially being a mom. I don't know that I even thought about it being Mother's Day. I was just so overwhelmed that I was finally a mom. I was so overjoyed to finally have my baby girl home with me and to be able to share her with everyone else.

And then there was yesterday. Yesterday I had a nice day. I got to spend time with my hubby and my baby girl. My hubby surprised me with a special card and gift card. I got to be with my own mom, whom I might add is absolutely amazing. I also got to spend the day with both of my grandmothers, as well as many other family members. But, at the same time I was experiencing such a range of emotions. On one hand I was so happy for so many of my friends and family members who were experiencing their very first Mother's Day. And I was thrilled for those who were experiencing their first "Mom-to-Be" Day. And on the other hand I was so sad on the inside. My heart was so heavy.

My heart was heavy for those who are longing to be a mother. We watched a special Mother's Day video during church and I found myself feeling so uncomfortable. I kept thinking about all the women out there who wait every day and every month to find out if this is going to be the month or not. I remember when we were trying to get pregnant with Morgan Kate. It took some time, a lot longer than we would have liked. I remember those feelings of disappointment. I remember that longing feeling. I remember all of the feelings I experienced and how sensitive I was during that entire time.

My heart was heavy for those who have lost their mothers. I can't imagine having to get through Mother's Day without my own mom being here. All day I kept thinking about that and thinking about my own family members who have lost their mothers and how difficult yesterday must have been for them.

My heart was heavy for those mothers who have lost their babies or whose babies are not with them. It breaks my heart that there are mothers out there who have lost their babies/children. Or there are mothers who aren't able to be with their children for one reason or another.

I understand that Mother's Day is a time to celebrate and honor and thank mothers everywhere. But honestly, I think that's something we should do everyday, all throughout the year and in our own way.

Maybe one day I will feel differently. Maybe one day I will like Mother's Day again. Maybe one day my heart won't be so heavy.

Monday, May 10, 2010

It's Monday. Everybody needs an excuse to smile...

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Our girl is growing! I have no clue how much Morgan Kate weighs these days. We haven't been to the doctor since her 18 month check-up. Yahoo! But I know she's growing because her clothes don't fit, she needs bigger shoes and just tonight I realized her diapers are too small.

As I mentioned a few weeks back, I had been cramming MK's poor little feet and toes into size 2 shoes. When I went to have her feet measured she was a size 4. Yikes! At first the size 4 shoes seemed too big, but just recently, they have begun to fit perfectly. It won't be long before this girl needs a size 5.

For quite some time MK has been wearing 12 month clothes exclusively. Everything has been 12 month - dresses, pants, shirts and pjs. However, we are having to say goodbye to many 12 month items and say hello to 18 month. Twelve month dresses, shirts and pjs just don't fit the same. However, all her shorts are still 12 month. And by the way, what happened to all the 15 month clothes? Why does 15 months get skipped?

In the past few weeks we have had a lot of night time "leakings" and just recently MK has been pulling and tugging at her diapers. It occurred to me just this morning that maybe her diapers were getting too small. I don't really know how they are supposed to fit anyway. So, I made a trip out and bought size 4 diapers. They definitely seem to be more comfortable. I'll let you know how the "leaking" goes tonight.

I guess it's hard for us to tell how much MK is growing. We see her everyday and it doesn't seem as obvious. Thank goodness for cues from clothing and cues from her!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Almost Wordless Wednesday

This girl likes to play. She plays hard. And she plays dirty.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

My husband is a fishermen. He loves to fish. He is serious about fishing. And in my opinion, he's pretty good at it too. I have to be careful about letting him know that I feel this way. If I say too much about how good he is then he might feel like he needs to fish more.

Just this weekend he and my daddy went fishing. When he called around 9 that morning to give me an update I knew it had been a good morning. I could hear the excitement in his voice. They caught many, many fish and brought home two nice "keepers". (See, I am even catching on to the fishing lingo.) It was definitely a proud day.

Travis is working really hard to pass his love of fishing on to Morgan Kate. I don't think it will take a lot of work or a lot of convincing. She seems pretty comfortable around fish already. And if she's anything like me, which I think she is, she'll love fishing just because her daddy loves fishing.

It thrills me that she might love fishing one day. I think she can learn a whole lot while out there with her daddy. A lot about fishing. And a lot about life.

She'll learn to be a planner and to take things seriously.

Travis takes fishing seriously. The night before a trip he gets the boat ready and the rods ready and his lines ready. He decides exactly when he needs to get up the next morning. He decides where to get his bait and exactly what time he needs to be on the water. He knows where to go and all the little "secret fishing holes".

I secretly love this about him. I love that he puts so much thought into things.

She'll learn to love wildlife and how to take care of it.

Travis does hunt and he does fish, but in a responsible way. He only keeps fish that are the legal limit/weight and he lets the others go. Travis would probably die if he knew I told anyone this, but he swerves in the road to miss frogs. Seriously. We stop all of the time and move turtles to the side of the road. And it pains him to see animals on the side of the road that weren't so fortunate.

I pick at him about doing that, but it actually melts my heart. I love that he's compassionate and kind. And I love that he will pass that on to Morgan Kate.

She'll learn to keep trying and not to give up.

Fishing isn't easy or at least that's what I'm told. I personally don't really have the patience for fishing. Travis will teach her to try again and again and again. He will teach her that if you can't catch any fish in one spot, then try another.

And she'll learn to have a good time.

If anyone knows how to have a good time, it's my husband. And if you aren't having a good time he will do everything possible to change that.

I certainly have a "keeper"! And I can't wait to see all that he has to teach and show Morgan Kate. Morgan Kate is one lucky girl!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Yesterday Morgan Kate attended her very first University of South Carolina (USC) baseball game. It was a first for Daddy as well. I myself have been to several baseball games, but this was my first game at the new stadium. A day of firsts for everyone!

It was so hot and so muggy, but it was so much fun. We all had a blast! We spent a lot of the time in our seats watching the boys play. But, when little bit got restless, as little bits sometimes do, Travis and I took turns walking her around. She was absolutely in love with the bouncy house. I did my best to convince her that she was too little and mommy and daddy were too big. (In the picture below you can see that she is trying to convince her daddy to take her to the bouncy house.) She was also quite fascinated with Cocky (the mascot), but would never get too close.

We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and we can't wait to go back. The new stadium was awesome and the Gamecocks won, 15 - 20. It was a great day!

Morgan Kate thought so too!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Last Saturday morning as I was walking around the fairgrounds anxiously awaiting the walk to begin, my eyes and mind began to wander. As I looked around I saw children and parents and tents and carefully designed t-shirts and even dogs wearing carefully designed t-shirts. I saw March of Dimes banners and balloons and posters with children's faces. I saw lots of things and it made me think. It also made me quite teary-eyed, but in a good way.

Last Sunday while at the NICU reunion I found myself doing the same thing. Watching and thinking. Watching and thinking. I was thinking about our own little miracle and our story and I was wondering about other parents' miracles and their stories. Of course I was teary-eyed there too, but my heart was overflowing at the same time.

I do a lot of watching and thinking while we are at speech each week too. I look at all of those precious children waiting to be seen and I wonder about their stories. Many times I just watch them in pure amazement.

In all of these places I feel at home. I feel comfortable. I feel a peace about things. It's hard to explain, but I feel like I am part of a group or a club.

It's not a group or club I ever expected to be a part of.

But today, it's a club I can't imagine not being a part of.