Sunday, April 24, 2011

My last post was about preparing to leave for a girls weekend. A weekend away from my two loves. I was a little anxious at first, but I survived. Totally. And I did more than survive, I had a fantastic and relaxing trip celebrating this beautiful bride. The bride who will be marrying my brother this weekend. In six short days. I can't wait!

And I mean really, with this view, how could you not enjoy yourself? Oh. My. Goodness.

Not only did I return from my girls weekend, but we, the three of us, returned from a week in sunny Florida, with a stop by Disney. We had the most wonderful time and it was absolutely gorgeous. I'll be posting more about our trip in the days to come, but right now I have laundry and ironing and dishes and schoolwork waiting on me. Until then, here's one of my favorite pictures from the trip...

Thursday, April 14, 2011

This weekend I am headed to Edisto. A beautiful, serene beach. A weekend of relaxation and fun. Good food and friends. Cold drinks. The possibility of seafood. And the celebration of a bachelorette enjoying one of her only two weekends left as a single woman. 

There's only one problem. 

I'm leaving my hubby and baby girl behind. I've left my hubby before (and I survived), but I've only left my baby overnight maybe three times and all were just one nighters. And I might not have been with her, but on each occasion I was with my other third to our trio.  I've never, ever, ever been away from her for more than one night and never, ever without my hubster holding my hand and reassuring me periodically that she and I would both be okay. This is a big deal people. Seriously. For real.

And if you remember, I'm not a huge fan of Travis traveling and I like even less traveling myself, minus spouse and baby. I know it sounds a bit ridiculous. You'd think I'd enjoy a weekend away. Some time to myself. But I'm ridiculous like that. In my free time, in my relaxation, I like to be with my hubby and my baby. Our weeks are so busy and so crazy, so my weekends are coveted family time. Time I thoroughly enjoy and look forward to. I'm sure many of you are laughing or rolling your eyes or mocking me, but I don't care. I am, who I am. And besides, sometimes I laugh and roll my eyes at myself. Ha.

Now with all that said, don't be mistaken. I will enjoy the drive down there and back. It will be time to think, reflect and jam out to some tunes, hopefully with the windows down. I love just riding. I will also enjoy the smell of the salt air, the relaxation that this weekend will bring and hopefully some sunshine. I will enjoy sitting on the dock and feeling the breeze and sleeping in a little. And my saving grace will be that I am with people I like, especially one person in particular - my soon to be sister.

I realize that technically or legally or whatever, she will be my sister-in-law. But in my eyes and in my heart she's much more than that. No lie. And I'm not just saying that because its sounds nice. I really, truly mean it. God knew exactly what he was doing when he gave me brothers. He knew I was going to the be the first born. And, an at times attention seeking gal who wasn't always big on sharing. (That has changed drastically. I now LOVE to share. Most of the time.) He knew I was going to need two younger brothers who would watch me when I wanted attention, who would listen when I felt the need to be bossy. And two brothers that would never, ever ask to borrow my clothes or my shoes. He did however, give me two girl cousins who I consider my sisters and then he blessed not only Owens' life, but mine, with Trenholm.

Trenholm is a true jewel. Truly. She is beautiful, compassionate and caring. She's full of life and always up for something fun, sometimes even a little trouble. Hee, hee. She's an excellent cook. She loves to sleep, just as much as I do. She's fashion savvy and has THE best shoes. She's a lover and a giver. She would literally give you the shirt off of her back if you needed it. She's always so kind and so thoughtful. I love her for so many reasons, not just because she does share and she does let me borrow her shoes and clothes. One of the things I love most about Trenholm is her heart. I know she loves us and I know, without a shadow of a doubt, she loves my brother. Wholeheartedly, without any hestitations or reservations. And I don't know this because she's told me (although she has) or because she's written it down somewhere (although I'm pretty sure she's done that too). I know it because I can see it, with my own eyes. Her expression gives it away. Her actions prove it. She loves him, just the way I've always wanted someone to love him.  

It's no secret that I'm slightly protective over my brothers. I love the two of them unconditionally and they aren't just brothers, they are some of my best friends. And that above and beyond anything else in life, I've always wanted both of them to find people who truly love them. Through thick and thin. People who love them for all the awesome things they have to offer and people who love them despite their flaws. (Because they surely do have some. Just a few.) With Trenholm, I just know this. I see it, I witness it and I feel it. And it makes my heart happy and full. It makes me feel content and at peace. I know that Owens will always be loved and taken care of. And I know that he too, will love and care for Trenholm in the same exact way. He already does. And at the end of the day, that makes a sister real happy. 

So, while I'm leaving part of my family for a weekend at the beach, I will be with another part. My sister. And I can't wait! 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

This past weekend we celebrated this precious girl's 2nd birthday.

I can hardly believe she is two. I vividly remember hearing her mommy and daddy just talk about wanting a baby. I remember them sharing their big news that they were expecting. And I remember the middle of the night call from her mommy letting me know that they were on their way to the hospital to meet their precious girl. And now she's two. Two.

It was a beautiful day. Gorgeous weather. Yummy food. Delicious cupcakes. And fun with friends.

My girl had THE best time. And when we left she cried most of the way home.

The birthday girl, Caroline, had such a good time. She enjoyed running around, playing with friends and opening presents.

And, as expected, she LOVED this cupcake. I mean, who wouldn't?

I had a great time too. I love celebrating birthdays. Especially for sweet girls like Caroline. And I always enjoy a chance to play with my girl.

And this perfect boy, too.

 And I especially enjoy getting together with my girls and our babies. It's always THE best time!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

It was bound to happen.

I knew it was coming.

But, I was hanging on as long as I could.

My baby is truly not a baby anymore.

It's has now been exactly seven days since Morgan Kate gave up her nighttime bottle. Yep. She did. All by herself. All on her own. With no assistance, whatsoever, from Travis or myself. (I know my friend Jenny would be so proud of MK!)

Last Monday as we were getting her ready for bed our conversation went like this:

MK: No bah-bah, Mommy.
Me: Ok, baby. Are you sure? No bah-bah?
MK: No bah-bah. No bah-bah.
Me: Alright. I guess you are a big girl now, huh?
MK: Big gull, mommy!
Me: Well, I've already fixed it, so I'll just bring it in your room and put in right here just in case.
MK: No bah-bah.
Me: Ok, no bah-bah, but it's here just in case you want it.

She never asked for it that night. And she hasn't asked for it again since. She just gave it up. All on her own. When she was ready. She is quite the big girl and I'm not sure what to think.

The part of me that hated washing bottles loves that I don't have any more to wash. The part of me that hated having to take bottles on all of our overnights loves that I no longer have to remember to pack them. But there are much bigger parts that actually miss those bottles and the little baby that used to want them. I don't even know how to really explain it. I really think MK would have given up the night bottle a while back, but I never pushed for it. I never really even tried. Giving her a bottle at night or listening as Travis gave her one was such relaxation and pure joy for me. A time for thinking. A time for reflection. A time for enjoying my girl and our time together. Sitting in that dark room with only the little night light shining I would watch her. She was so relaxed. So settled. So content. Some nights I would just watch her and think of all the things yet to come. What would she grow up to be, who would she love. Other nights my mind would drift back to those early days and my arms would squeeze her a little tighter. Some nights I would just sit and thank God over and over for this precious little girl. 

Some days I feel like this whole "baby" phase goes entirely too fast. I mean one day you are bringing them home from the hospital and the next day you are worrying about whether or not they can hold their head up. You start them with bottles and worry about when they will transition to the sippy cup. They start to sit up and your mind drifts to crawling and then walking. They learn to say "Mama" and you are already thinking about phrases and sentences. Or at least that's how my mind works some of the time. I've tried so hard to enjoy every stage/phase and savor every minute of her life and her milestones. I'd like to think that I would have done that regardless, but I do think her birth and that time in my life make me appreciate things more than I would have. So maybe I've held on to some things just a little longer. Maybe I haven't always pushed things like walking and talking and giving up that night time bottle because I wanted to hang on a little longer. Maybe it's because I don't know what the future holds and I don't know if that future includes another baby, therefore, I'm going to make her my baby for as long as I can. (This post just got way deeper than I intentionally intended on going.) I guess what I'm saying is, I don't know why I've waited so long (thirty-one months, to be exact), but I'm okay with it. I'm glad I waited and that I didn't rush things. I'm glad it was something she decided and initiated. And guess what? Her teeth are perfect. They are all as healthy and as straight as can be. She's happy and my heart is full.

And, regardless of whether she's still taking a bottle or not, she will always be my baby. My precious baby girl. And besides, she still wears diapers. She's not all big girl! 

Monday, April 11, 2011

March for Babies 2011 was a huge success! Thanks to all of those who donated, Team Morgan Kate raised over $1500. Awesome! It was a beautiful day, beautiful weather and a beautiful crowd. A big thanks to all of those who attended that day. As each person or group or pair arrived I felt the lump in my throat grow. It still overwhelms that so many people love and support Morgan Kate. And us. And the March of Dimes. It absolutely melts my heart and I truly, truly am so grateful to everyone. Thank you to all of those who made the ride from Columbia, Sumter, St. Matthews and even those who just drove a few minutes down the street. Your time that day meant the world to me!

I present you part of the 2011 Team Morgan Kate...

Just the three of us. These two are my heart and soul. 

The star of the show and her Daddy

Look at these sweet, sweet babies!

Again, I am just so grateful and so thankful for each and every person who prayed, donated, bought a t-shirt, wore their t-shirt or thought of us that day. We feel so blessed to have each of you in our lives! 

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Wowzers! Team Morgan Kate has raised over $1300 for the March of Dimes. The purple button on the right says a little over $1000, but the actual amount that will be turned in on Saturday is $1379. How awesome is that! Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone! Your thoughts, your prayers, your donations and your support mean the world to me and my family. You just don't even know how much each of you touch my life and how you each mean so much to me! 

Get those walking shoes ready! The walk is in less than 48 hours. We will be gathering in Orangeburg at the Edisto Gardens before 9:00am on Saturday. Be there! We can't wait to see everyone and share in such a special and important day. We are planning to have some consumable goodies (aka "food") and we will also have drinks. Just bring you, your walking shoes and your smile! 

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

I remember in my BMK (Before Morgan Kate) days I would sit and ponder motherhood. I was so sure I was going to have all the answers. I was so sure I was going to know exactly what to do. I was going to be the best mommy. Ever.

My baby was going to be on a strict schedule. Schedules are important. I was going to nurse my baby. Breastmilk, in my BMK opinion, was the only adequate nourishment. My baby was going to cry it out and sleep in their own crib, every night. And I would not rock them to sleep. Following those "rules" would make them more independent. My baby would not take a bottle even one day longer than their first birthday. Because that's what all the magazines said to do. My baby would be potty trained by the time they were two. Diapers are expensive. My baby would be polite and well-mannered. No one likes a brat. My baby would not throw fits and the minute he or she cried out in a restaurant I would immediately take them out. I completely respect other people and their space. And besides, I would know exactly what to do about discipline. I would read to my baby every chance I got and TV would not be an option. Cartoons are not good for chidlren's brains.

I used to be quite the expert, huh?

Then, I became a mommy. And all of that went right out the window. Well, most of it. And I can say, with 100% certainity, that I am so thankful that it did.

Yes, schedules are important, especially early on. Without one, you and your baby could lose all sanity. But, flexibility is important, too. I love that MK has the same bedtime during the week. I love that we have her bedtime routine down to a science. But, I also love that on the weekends we can be off schedule. She can stay up late if she wants to or if we want her to. She can sleep past 7:00 am, which in turn means so can we.

Morgan Kate received breastmilk until she was 13 weeks old. I pumped and pumped and pumped some more. Actually, to be quite honest, I was a terrible pumper, but it didn't take much to feed a baby that only weighed one pound and twelve ounces. When she was thirteen weeks old I stopped. I beat myself up for about a week and then I just let it go. We went through numerous formulas and several reflux medications, but we worked it out. I had heard that formula fed babies were always sick and got frequent ear infections. Morgan Kate was always healthy and the ear infections didn't start until she began drinking whole milk.

Cry it out? No rocking? Sleep in their own bed? No bottle past 12 months? Ha. I am the ultimate rule breaker in these departments. 

I think Morgan Kate was probably at least a year old before I let her really cry it out. My heart just couldn't handle it. But guess what? Even though I never really let her cry it out, she's fine. She doesn't have fits before bed or nap time. 

Most nights MK sleeps in her own bed and when she was a teeny, tiny baby girl we really didn't let her sleep in our bed. I was afraid she would suffocate. We would rock her or sit up with her. But now? If she wakes up in the middle of the night and can't get settled, we most certainly do bring her to our bedroom and snuggle her down in between the two of us. Nothing else quite like it in the world. But, she doesn't ask to come to bed with us and she doesn't refuse to sleep in her crib just because we let her sneak in our bed once or twice a week. 

And for the record, she's now thirty-one months old and we still rock her each night before bed and she still gets a bottle when she wants one. We don't care what the magazines or the experts or other people say. We do it because it works for us and because we enjoy it. She's recently not wanted a bottle before bed and so, we don't give her one. We rock her just enough to settle her and then we put her to bed. She grabs her pillow, turns over, says "Night, night" and she's off to sleepy land. Rocking my baby girl before bed is one of the most rewarding parts of being a mommy. I don't care who disagrees. This is time I am never going to get back and if I have to give up some of my own personal time to settle her for bed, then so be it. I would give it up again and again and again. 

And at thirty-one months old she's not potty trained. We're slowly working on it. We read a lot, but we also watch a lot of cartoons. And guess what? She knows some very simple Spanish and she knows all about animals and how to be kind to your friends. She knows songs and dances. And, despite my best efforts, she's not always the most well-behaved child. She tells me no and she doesn't always listen. She certainly has her share of tantrums. She will pitch a fit and throw herself on the floor in a heatbeat. And she's been known to get a little rowdy in the middle of a store and/or restaurant before. But those are rare occurences.

Regardless of the things I did or didn't do. The rules I did or didn't follow. She's a pretty remarkable little girl. She has a big heart. She loves to help others and give hugs. She kisses her mommy and daddy before bed each night and says "I love you". She's an excellent, 12+ hour sleeper. And naps good during the day. She loves people and animals. She says "please" and "thank you". She says her blessing and her prayers. She talks about baby Jesus. She smiles and laughs most all of the time. She will try any food at least once. She loves veggies and fruits and actually prefers them over sweets. 

So, yeah, I thought I knew it all. I thought I was going to have it all under control. I thought I was going to be the best mommy. Ever. But, I'm learning to be careful. Careful of what I think. How I speak. How I judge. Careful of the rules I think I will follow. And Morgan Kate is the absolute best teacher.

Three days until the walk! 
Remember, 9:00am at the Edisto Gardens in Orangeburg.
Tomorrow is the last day to donate to Team Morgan Kate!
An ENORMOUS thank you to all of those who have prayed, supported, encouraged and donated! This wouldn't be possible without you!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

I sat down tonight and spread out all the contents of THE manilla folder. THE manilla folder that has been housing all of the donations and all of the t-shirt orders for weeks now. As of tonight, at 9:00pm, Team Morgan Kate has raised a little over $900. How awesome is that!?!?! I'm so excited. I am so thankful to all of you and I'm so anxious to turn in all of our money. The March of Dimes and myself are so very, very thankful! 

And, it's not too late. I will not turn in our money until Thursday. And let's face it, you can donate to the March of Dimes any day and any time. But, right now, you can donate on behalf of Team Morgan Kate. Let's see if we can reach $1000 or even exceed $1000. A very dear friend sent me her donation today and I thought it was quite clever. She had purchased two t-shirts, but still wanted to donate more. She said she always struggles with the "right" amount to donate. So, she decided to be creative. Her daughter, an absolute beauty, was born weighing seven pounds and twelve ounces. Therefore, she donated seven dollars and twelve cents in honor of that. How cool is that? (I would get out pretty cheap, huh? One dollar and twelve cents. Ha, ha. Just joking.) 

Remember, no donation is too little. EVERY donation counts! Make yours today!

Four days until the walk. So far, I only know of a handful of people planning to attend the walk - which is perfectly fine. However, I am planning on bringing some goodies, so let me know if you plan to walk. Can't wait to see you there! 

Monday, April 4, 2011

The countdown is on...

Five days until the walk.

Three days left to donate to Team Morgan Kate.

I am still receiving donations daily and will try and have everything tabulated by Wednesday night. Thursday is our bank day or the day to turn in all donations. Friday we will get our of our walking gear together and Saturday morning we will walk. 

We will walk in memory of precious ones that are no longer here. 

We will walk in honor of babies everywhere. 

We will walk in honor of pregnant women. 

We will walk to raise money for lifesaving research.

We will walk to support the March of Dimes. 

We will walk for my baby girl. My miracle. My Morgan Kate.

I can hardly wait!

Thank you to all who have donated or to those who will donate. And a big thank you to all of those who purchased Team Morgan Kate t-shirts. I now have all shirts in hand and I am diligently delivering them. Be on the look out! 

If you are planning to walk Saturday I would love to know so that I can be sure to look for you. We will be meeting up between 8:30 and 9:00 at the Edisto Gardens in Orangeburg. The walk will begin at 9:00 am. Please just leave me a comment or send me an email at

Hope to see you there!