Friday, December 31, 2010

I have been thinking of one word to describe our Christmas. So far, I've come up with eventful. Eventful in so many, many good and awesome ways, but eventful in some not so good ways too.

Up until about 4pm Christmas Eve things were going great. We traveled to my parent's house late Wednesday afternoon. My mom and I finished up some last minute shopping and we spent the remainder of the time just hanging out and relaxing. Mostly we just sat back and watched the excitement in Morgan Kate's eyes. She was so excited. Around 4pm on Christmas Eve I began to get ready for the festivites that night - the candlelight service at church and our annual Christmas Eve dinner at Mammie's. Around the same time I was heading upstairs to shower and I heard Morgan Kate crying. I figured she was up from her nap and went in to pick her up. Much to my surprise, I found a baby girl covered in throw up. Ugh.

And all of that fun stuff continued for the next three hours. Needless to say, Travis and I didn't attend the candlelight service or the dinner at Mammie's. Instead we stayed at my parent's nursing our girl back to health. Of course my heart was broken for Morgan Kate. She was so sick and just so miserable. Throwing up scared her to death and at times she would just cover her little mouth and try to keep it all in. I felt so bad for her and there was nothing I could do except hold her. I was also heart broken because we wouldn't be attending Mammie's dinner. I know it sounds silly, but every year our family changes so much and you never know who's going to be at the next Christmas Eve dinner and who won't be. I hate to miss it because it's such a tradition, one I am very fond of, and one we wait for all year. And I also happen to be the biggest kid when it comes to Christmas. It is my absolute most favorite time of the year and I don't like for anything about the holiday to change or be different. Although we didn't make it to Mammie's, Travis did his best to make it special for Morgan Kate and I. He made a huge pallet on my parent's living room floor and built a big fire in the fireplace. All three of us sat by the fire playing, talking, watching A Christmas Story and of course occassionally cleaning up MK's throw up. Thankfully around 7:30 or so the throwing up subsided and my dad and uncle even left my grandmother's to bring us a plate of food.

I just knew we were on our way to a "normal" Christmas. Until around 4am.

That's when the bug hit Travis.

Christmas Day Travis was confined to the bedroom upstairs while all the Christmas activities continued downstairs. Morgan Kate was feeling so much better and was so excited to see all that Santa had left. She loved opening presents and couldn't decide which toy to play with first. We all continued with our normal plans while Travis lay in bed dying from the stomach bug. Of course I checked in on him frequently, but didn't ever stay for too long for fear of catching it myself. (I know. Wishful thinking, right?) Morgan Kate and I, along with my parents, ventured to Mammie's to open gifts and have lunch. And then that night we went to Mama Jean's for Christmas with that side of the family. Not only did we have some yummy food, but we particpated in a Chinese gift exchange and then played this other awesome, fun game which resulted in the winner winning a Target gift card. Unfortunately, I was not the winner.

Around 10 or so Christmas night Travis was feeling better. He got up, ate and he and I sat by the Christmas tree watching TV until around midnight. We had been robbed of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, but things were beginning to look up. Until around 3am, when the bug hit me. Are you beginning to see a trend now? I was confined to the bed upstairs for the entire day after Christmas. Later that night, Owens got it and then we passed it to Tommy, Chad and Corrisa in the days following. It was awful. And gross. And painful.

Christmas was indeed eventful. We had some really awesome times like waiting on Santa with my parents, awakening Christmas morning to see what Santa had left behind, spending time with family, eating so much yummy food, playing some really fun games (that I hope will become a tradition) and most of all just watching Morgan Kate and seeing Christmas through her eyes. But then there were the yucky stomach bug moments that we are so thankful are behind us now. Not exactly how we expected to spend Christmas, but we definitely made the most of the situation. And of course, I am already looking forward to next year.

A few Christmas moments I don't want to forget:
1. Hearing and seeing MK point to nativity sets and say "Bebe Gee-sus"
2. Watching the excitement in Morgan Kate's eyes
3. Spending time with my nephew Hunter who is just the most precious little thing
4. Spending time with my entire family - Christmas Day felt so good because at one moment everyone was here -my parents, Mama Jean, Owens, Trenholm, Kyle, Tabitha and Hunter - it made my heart so happy
5. Just watching MK play with all her new things
6. Spending time at "home"
7. Christmas Day lunch at Mammie's
8. Christmas dinner at Mama Jean's house - again, a moment that made my heart so happy
9. Seeing my parents with their grandchildren

Pictures to come. I'm a little behind - just in case you didn't notice. Ha!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

This little girl is super excited about Christmas.

She can hardly wait for the big day.

 The day where we celebrate Jesus' birthday.

And open all of the goodies Santa left behind. Two days and counting...

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A special prayer request here.

One of the special people that took such good care of our Morgan Kate while in the NICU is now facing a similar situation herself. She is only 25 weeks pregnant and her membranes have ruptured. She has been hospitalized and things are stable, but as we all know, things are touch and go. I have been praying constantly since the minute I found out. I just don't know what else to do. She and her family have already had their fair share of trials and tribulations this year and it just breaks my heart that they are now having to face this. She is such an amazing and caring person and so, so strong! Please pray that she would be able to carry her baby boy for many, many more weeks. Please pray for her and her husband as they try to figure out this "new". And please pray that God will give her the strength and courage to face each day. 

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Have you noticed that I've now blogged for 4 straight days? Wowzers. I haven't done that in quite some time. I'd like to say that it's because I've mastered the whole working mom thing, but then I'd be lying. I haven't. Not even close to mastering that. Instead, I'm on Christmas break. And it is oh, so nice. Just today I have had to time to mail important documents, do the laundry, clean our bathroom, vacuum the floors, play with Morgan Kate, wash the dishes, cook a pizza, play some more and begin to wrap presents. And it's only 3:00. I'm quite impressed with myself.

Not only do I have time to actually get a few things done, but my writing mind has become wide open. The past few months, as you can all tell, I have had a serious writer's block. I think it was blocked my my endless to-do lists, lessons to plan, problems to solve and many, many other things. It's amazing what a break can do for your mind and body. 

Speaking of the whole working mom thing. It's hard. A lot harder than I expected it to be. Things are getting somewhat easier and we are slowly figuring out our new routine, but it's still hard. I'm not saying that being a stay at home mom was easy, because it was tough work too. But for me, I had more time at home to actually get things done. I think they are both hard, just in different ways.

Morgan Kate is doing awesome and each day her personality shines more and more. Sometimes that "shine" is accompanied by a tantrum in the middle of the floor. She is just all over the place and right now her favorite thing to do is play pretend. She loves to pretend she's feeding her baby or rocking her baby. She will pretend she's cooking or having a tea party. It is so sweet to watch. She's also really into reading right now. She loves to open a book and read to herself. Such a big girl! Some other favorites include riding her bike, jumping off of the couch playing dress up. She also still adores spending time outside and the cold weather doesn't deter her. She is talking so much and trying her best to tell us exactly what she wants. For the most part we understand her, but there are still some words and phrases we are trying to decipher. She will now say thank you without being prompted. If you do something for her or hand her something she will say, "Thay you". She also recently said, "Mama, luh you" without any prompting. It melted my heart into one big ole' blob. I was sitting on the floor, she came over, touched my shoulder and said, "Mama, luh you". Oh. My. Goodness. 

Travis and I are both just giddy about Christmas. Not just for ourselves, but mostly for Morgan Kate. Every time we are out shopping for gifts, we pick her up another one. It's quite addictive and we both need some serious help. It's just so much fun. Just a few days ago we were talking about how we are both really enjoying this Christmas and how we hadn't felt this way about Christmas in a very long time. Then it occurred to me that the past few Christmases have been quite different and difficult. Christmas of 2007 we were wanting so badly to have a baby, Christmas 2008 we finally had our little miracle, but we were dealing with oxygen and feeding tubes and fear and then Christmas 2009 we found out we were expecting #2, only to find out a short time later that that would not become a reality. This year, though, we are enjoying every single minute and loving everything about the holiday season. We are enjoying one another, our family and friends and just soaking up every moment with our precious baby girl! 

"It's the most wonderful time of the year."

Monday, December 20, 2010

Two weekends ago, while my mom and I were out shopping I came across a Gingerbread House Kit. I've done a lot of things in my thirty years, but I don't think I have ever made a gingerbread house. I decided that now would be a good time to cross that off of my list and besides, I knew Morgan Kate would love it.

This past Saturday was the perfect day. It was cold and rainy out, and we were all itching for something fun to do. I pulled out the kit and began to get things ready. 

Preparing things was much more fun than I expected and at one point I almost forgot that I was supposed to have Travis and Morgan Kate help. 

The minute we walked Morgan Kate to the table her face lit up and she got so excited. She jumped up in her chair and waited so patiently until she knew what she was supposed to do.

She did such a good job! She was so patient and concentrated so hard on each little gumdrop or candy that she added. 

It wasn't until the very end that she decided she wanted to try a gumdrop. And that's where the real fun began. She not only ate the three gumdrops left in the glass cup, but she also began to take gumdrops off of the house and eat them. 

She wasn't the only one working hard and concentrating. Her daddy was pretty intense too.

In the end she was very pleased with herself and with her creation. 

I must admit she's got some serious gingerbread house making skills. 

This is definitely something we will do again. Possibly a new holiday tradition. 

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Night 1 of Operation "No More Night Bottle" 
Mission: FAILED

Yes, our daughter is almost two years and four months old and we still give her a night bottle. Don't judge. I know I should have begun this mission long ago. But, I didn't think she was ready and I knew I wasn't. I enjoy giving her a bottle each night and rocking her. It melts my heart to hold her and rock her and see her all sleepy-eyed. Since going back to work, this routine is sometimes our only real time together. I will say though, that we don't rock her until she is asleep. We give her the bottle, rock her for a few minutes and then put her to bed while she is still awake. At least I got that part right. 

I'm not sure why I'm attempting to get rid of the bottle now. Honestly, it doesn't bother me that she still gets one. I guess I just realize that at one point or another she's going to need to learn to go to bed without one. Part of me thinks I need to begin preparing her and another part of me thinks I should just let her have it until she doesn't want it anymore. She should give it up before age five, right? Ha, just kidding. I know that some would say that a night bottle at this age isn't good because of their little teeth and things like that, but her teeth are great. We brush them in the mornings and then again before bed and her smile is perfect.

I'm home for the next two weeks. Yahoo!!! And so my mission is to work on this whole bottle thing during that time. I waited until this break because I didn't want to do this when I knew we needed to be in bed by a certain time or to be up by a certain time. My next chance to work on this would be summer and I already have another mission to accomplish then. POTTY TRAINING. 

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Just my personal opinion, but I think there should be some sort of mandatory prerequisites when becoming a "Santa" at a local mall, business, park, etc. My list would include, but not be limited to:

-All Santas must obviously look like the man in the big red suit. 
-All Santas must smile.
-All Santas must use kind words.
-All Santas must like children.
-All Santas must be healthy.
-All Santas must say "Ho, ho, ho".

I don't feel like this list is too much to ask, especially when most of Santa's cliental includes small children. Well, with the exception of big people like me. 

Apparently though, a local mall, which will go unnamed, but happens to be off of a very busy road, doesn't have a list of prerequisites. Apparently, they just take what they can get and expect a lot of money for it. Taking what you can get often results in:

-Santa not looking like the man in the big red suit.
-Santa not smiling.
-Santa not using kind words or even being kind.
-Santa not particularly fond of children.
-Santa not healthy.
-Santa not saying much of anything, but especially no "Ho, ho, hos".

And when you take what you can get and then offer it up to others, including small children, it can then result into crying children and angry parents.

Travis has said since the start of the holiday season that we will not make Morgan Kate sit in Santa's lap or even go near him if she doesn't want to. He doesn't want her to be afraid of Santa in any form or fashion. I agree and we have both done a pretty good job of this. When we saw Santa Tuesday and then again on Wednesday, we let it be on Morgan Kate's terms. When we left it up to her it resulted in a happy child and even happier parents. 

Last night was a little different.

We went to see Santa one last time at a local mall. We waited in line for just a few minutes and then it was our turn. Morgan Kate was standing beside me and I bent down and asked her if she wanted to see Santa. Santa replied, "Mom, don't ask, just do it". Ignoring Santa, which is something I wouldn't typically do as I happen to think a lot of the big man, I picked Morgan Kate up and asked her again. Santa replied, "Mom, just turn her around, sit her here and take the picture". I shot evil eyes his way and then proceeded to kneel with Morgan Kate at his feet. He attempted to grab her in which she whimpered and I held on tighter to her. Travis quickly snapped the picture and we were on our way. I may or may not have said as we were walking away, "That Santa is terrible". 

Now, I am not sure if Santa was having a difficult night or wasn't feeling well or maybe he was irritated that we weren't paying the ridiculous price for a 5X7, but he was just downright rude and the total opposite definition of Santa. And if it was because of the whole money thing, then that is just pathetic. Thank goodness I didn't sit MK in his lap and thank goodness she seemed to be okay. I think had he been kinder and more gentle, we might have actually gotten her to sit in his lap. But with his attitude, she wasn't budging and we weren't making her. 

In the future we will not be visiting that Santa. 

I apologize for sounding angry or harsh, but I was really disappointed. I think a lot of Santa and even after thirty years I still hold to the "If you believe, you will receive" motto. Of course there are so many things I want Morgan Kate to know and learn about the holiday season that don't have anything to do with Santa, but I also would like to foster the kind of excitement and love I had and continue to have for the man in the big red suit. 

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Every girl loves a good pair of heels!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

We have been spending a lot of time with Santa this week. Last night we went to Kate's house to visit with Santa and some of Morgan Kate's friends. Then today Morgan Kate came to my school to see Santa. And Friday we are headed to visit Santa again! 

Last night was so much fun. We went to Kate's house where Santa was waiting in his rocking chair for each child to arrive and share their list. Morgan Kate wasn't so sure about him. She didn't mind looking at him or waving at him, but she preferred there be some distance. We were able to capture this quick picture.

By the end of the night she would get this close...

Morgan Kate not only got to see Santa, but she got to see Roddey and all of her friends from Roddey's house. It's been almost three weeks since she's seen them, so she was so, so excited. I was pretty excited myself, as I got to see Roddey, Jessa, Annie Parker, Maxcy, Mrs. Jan and the newest addition, McNary. Oh, she is precious! Any chance to see these girls and hang out is always a fun time! 

I love this picture. It's of Roddey and all of "her children". Not only are they precious looking, but they are all just the sweetest children ever. We thank God everyday for Roddey and each one of these sweeties.

While we were trying to snap a few shots my daughter was doing this - digging in the candy dish. Ha!

After each child visited with Santa or stared at him from a distance, he read them all a book. They gathered around his feet and he read "Twas the Night Before Christmas". Morgan Kate sat really well for most of the book. Most is keyword here. 

This holiday season has been so much fun already and it's just getting started. I can't wait to see what the next few weeks have in store!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

This girl has got some moves...

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Two years ago today, we were doing this. It still gives me chills and make me all teary-eyed.

Monday, December 6, 2010

This casualty occurred only forty-eight hours after our Christmas tree went up.  

Morgan Kate's curiosity got the best of her. And our tree. And that ornament.

It's been a week now and thank goodness there have been no other casualties.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

I feel like I have passed a few things on to my daughter in the past two years. And apparently my love for turkey is one of those. Morgan Kate loved it so much that she wanted her very own turkey leg. That's my girl!

On a more serious note, we had a fabulous Thanksgiving. As cliche as it sounds, I really do have so many things to be thankful for. One of those things is my family. When I say family I don't just mean my little family of three or even my immediate family. I mean I am thankful for my parents, my brothers, my sister-in-laws, my grandmothers, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. And I am also so very thankful that we all still put forth the time and effort to get together for the holidays. I did not get to see all of my family for Thanksgiving, but I did see a large majority of them. And the ones I didn't see for Thanksgiving I know I will see for Christmas. 

We've always gotten together for the holidays, but this year it really struck home with me about how special that is and how rare that is. Often times in today's world it's hard to just get your immediate family together for the holidays, much less any extended family. But we did. We had family travel from Columbia, Summerville and even Macon, Georgia. We all contributed not only food, but conversation and laughter and love. I really did have the best time and I just tried to savor every second. It seems like each year I just realize even more how important my family is to me and I just want to enjoy every minute of them. 

Some of us spent the morning serving others a Thanksgiving lunch. Again, another heartwarming experience. We spent the afternoon baking and cooking and just hanging out. And then we spent the evening eating and eating and eating. Seriously. Maybe not everyone did, but I did. I assure you. The food was way too good to pass up. 

We also made time for snapping some photos.

And taking our annual walk through the lights at the Gardens. Always something I look forward to! This year however, I was more captivated by the look on Morgan Kate's face. 

After the walk we went back to Mama Jean's for dessert. Yes, more food. And then we all got together and decorated Mama Jean's Christmas tree. This was something new for us this year and it's definitely something I want to continue. It was so nice to decorate the tree as a family and I know it made Mama Jean's heart smile. 

I absolutely love this time of year and it reminds me of all the things that mean so much to me. 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Well, Morgan Kate's tubes are in and we both survived. Oh, happy day!

The surgery literally lasted about ten minutes. Maybe only nine. The longest part of the morning was just waiting to go into the operating room. We arrived at 7:40 and were immediately called back to dress MK in her little gown (cutest thing), fill out paperwork and check vitals. We then waited for about forty-five minutes. MK and I played, gave each other pretend medicine, counted ceiling tiles. You know, fun stuff like that. Everyone was super, super nice and so sweet to both she and I. Right before 8:30 they came to take her into the operating room. She went straight to them and never looked back. I, of course, lingered for a bit and watched as she walked down the hallway that seemed three miles long. I did very well and didn't shed a tear until I called Travis to tell him that she was in the OR. He wasn't able to go with us today and it broke my heart not having him there. I know it absolutely broke his so I called and texted with every little update. Luckily, Gator met us there and was a big help! He helped keep me distracted for the the ten minutes that seemed like ten hours. He also picked up breakfast on the way back home and that made my heart and tummy smile. 

As I was saying, the surgery took no time at all. Just ten minutes after taking her from me, they called me back to let me know how things went. Dr. B said everything went great and that the tubes went in very easily. They did have to remove some fluid from her left ear and that ear was a bit more irritated so she could have a little bleeding. Five minutes after that conversation they let me go back and see her. She was already sitting up, drinking apple juice and eating an orange popsicle. The minute she saw me she began crying and of course I started crying a little too. It's so hard seeing your baby hurt. Actually, I don't think she was hurting at all. I think she was just groggy and disoriented from being sedated. We only stayed in recovery about five minutes and then we were on our way. She cried until we hit the interstate and then she was out like a light. She slept the entire way home and continued napping in my arms for about twenty minutes once we got here. She's still a little crabby, but nothing I can't handle. Right this minute she's watching cartoons while eating sliced cheese and a Milky Way. And anxiously awaiting a visit from her "Kaka". She'll be feeling better in no time!

Thank you all for your kind words, thoughts and prayers! We love you all!