Monday, February 28, 2011

The Brother/Sister Bond

The first few days of the youngest sibling's life are the critical foundation to what will forever be the brother/sister bond.

Jackson definitely loves his little sister. 

Sometimes, he's a little rough in expressing his love. Like, when he grabs Belle by her head to plant a kiss on her forehead. But his intentions are good!
And, Belle isn't too young to be unimpressed by her big brother's antics!


Friday, February 25, 2011

Bye Bye Blankie

Don't worry, Jackson... not YOUR blankie. That would be disastrous on so many levels! 

We're talking about Belle's bili-blanket!

Belle's already been to the doctor enough this week that they pull her charts as soon as we walk in the office- we don't even have to sign in. We've had to go back several times to get her bilirubin checked and we have another appointment next week. By Tuesday, her bilirubin levels had elevated to a point where she needed a little intervention. I am so glad we could use the blanket this time, as opposed to checking into the hospital with Jackson! It was pain in the tush, in all honesty, but it worked and we got the go ahead from the doctor to take her off the blanket today.

Yay for getting to wear the cute clothes that are overflowing in her closet again! (She had to be down to a diaper and swaddled with the blanket for the past several days, so all those clothes were just hanging there un-purposefully!)

Belle's one week old today!


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Introducing Isabelle Marie

On Friday, February 18th our beautiful daughter Isabelle ("Belle") Marie was born. She arrived at 11:56 am at a healthy 6 pounds-11 ounces, 18 inches long, and a head full of hair! 

The Birth Story:
It was no secret that we had a pretty specific plan for how she was suppose to arrive in this world. She clearly has a mind of her own and decided to arrive ahead of schedule, but only by a few hours. I wasn't even induced, she came on her own! Everything worked out just fine and it was still a very joyful weekend!

Thursday night: 
6:00pm- Dinner at Texas Roadhouse with parents
8:00pm- Check into hospital 
9:00pm- Only dilated to 2cm, so they began the Cervidil, which isn't necessarily an induction medicine, but more so a medicine that allows your body to better absorb the induction drugs that will start the next morning.
Friday Morning
6:00am- get up and take a shower. Ate contraband banana (and everything turned out just fine!)
7:30am- dilated only 2cm, doctor breaks water, contractions start right away, holding off on induction medicine for time being. Text to Derek: It's just so weird with you not here. Like it's just not supposed to be this way. He replies: I'm on my way, baby. Just hang in there!
8:30am- Derek boards first plane. Epidural arrives not much later. 
9:00am- Already to dilated 5cm... Woah, slow down!! I haven't even started my induction meds! I decided to do my hair, mom painted my nails... total denial people. I was still hoping she'd make it to 3:30pm.
10:00am- Derek arrives in Atlanta and texts: You are making fast progress. Hope I make it. I reply: You'll make it.
10:30am- dilated 8cm. Noooo!! Nurse tells me to tell her if I start feeling pressure. Mom calls Dad to tell him to get to hospital NOW. Start giving last minute tutorials to Mom and Linda on how to use the cameras.
11:00am-dilated 9 cm, no that's definitely a 9.5cm. And that is definitely pressure I feel. Quick call to Dad: "WHERE ARE YOU!?...You're still 25 minutes away!?...Nurse, do I have 25 minutes?!" She replies that if I can hold it in, I can make it. I literally had to cross my legs and attempt to hold her back for just a little bit longer. If I wasn't going to have my husband, my dad just had to be there!
11:15am- call Derek. She's coming... NOW. Shed a few tears because I was so disappointed. Even though he wasn't there in person, I was talking to him on speaker phone for as long as possible. He was soooo encouraging. 
11:45am- Dad arrives as my hand holder. Nurse attempts a last dilation check, but can't because the baby's head is so low. Derek had to get off the phone so he could board the plane.
11:56am- Baby Isabelle arrives! Dad cuts the cord. Seriously, less than 10 minutes from the picture above and the picture below. Amazing.
12:00pm- Call Derek, goes straight to voicemail. Dang it. He's already on the plane. Leave a quick voicemail. Oh wait-- he's calling me back! I get to deliver the news of our baby girl to him while he is sitting on the tarmac. 
2:40pm- get text from Derek that he's landed in KC.
3:15pm- Derek arrives and gets to meet his baby girl. He just gazed at her for several minutes, just soaking in all the beauty.

It was so good to finally get to experience our baby girl together!

We had chosen a name several months ago, but we decided to keep it to ourselves until after she was born. As soon as it was announced that she was born, the requests for her name reveal was immediate and plentiful. I don't regret keeping that quiet until Derek arrived. It just wasn't right for me to introduce her to the world via facebook pictures and text messages before Daddy even got a chance to meet her himself.

And just an observation: when you keep the name to yourself, more people respond to the news of baby with, "what's her name?!" than, "How's the baby, how's mommy?" and in this case, people didn't even acknowledge the disappointment that it was to have her come before Derek even came home- instead, just texts, phone calls, and facebook messages to me, Derek, and other family regarding her name.

Jackson is adjusting well to his role as big brother. He loves to look at her, give her kisses, and the occasional high five.

Derek stayed until Monday morning. It was pure devastation to tell him bye and watch him walk out the front door. I literally emptied an entire Kleenex box of tissues that day. I'm doing better, but I really miss him so much. I've been so strong the entire separation, but I don't have much strength to hold myself together when I think or talk about him anymore. I gathered some laundry today and broke down into tears as I was putting his t-shirts and jeans into wash. Thank goodness he is coming home next month.

Belle is struggling with her bilirubin levels, but is otherwise perfectly healthy. She's struggling with nursing, but improving a little bit each day. In the mean time, I'm pumping and supplementing with bottles to keep her eating and gaining weight. I really did forget how much newborns really sleep. I feel like she's hardly any work right now!


Thursday, February 17, 2011

My Bags are Packed, I'm ready to go...

And not a moment too soon. I have 2 hours and 35 minutes before I have to check into the hospital. I really didn't start packing until this afternoon. What was I thinking?

The contents:

  • Baby girl attire- hats and headbands so she's looking all cute for her first photos! Those hospital hats are just so not cute...
  • Cute pajama top for me so I can change out of that ugly hospital gown, asap!
  • Socks and slippers
  • Shower stuff and toiletries for both Derek and me
  •  make-up and straightener (because yes, even though I will be giving birth tomorrow, I have every intention of doing my hair and making myself up because I will also be seeing my hubby for the first time since Christmas).
  • Coming home outfits for baby girl and me
  • Nursing supplies including tanks and cover- couldn't live without these!
  • Present for Jackson from the baby girl (Thomas the Train toy)
  • Derek's Valentine's present
  • Baby Book
  • Quiet activities for Jackson (stickers, colors, notebook, favorite book)
  • UNO- to play with Mom while we wait tonight and tomorrow for baby girl
  • Electronics: camera, video camera, card reader, cell phone charger
  • A duffel bag of Derek's stuff since he is coming straight to the hospital from the airport and is only traveling with a backpack. 
  • Lastly, a package of chocolate covered pretzels... for when they actually let me eat again.
And just for fun, here's a photo comparassion of me preggo with Jackson at 38 weeks, and me now at 39 weeks. (I didn't make this far with Jackson-- he was 9 days early).

After seeing this picture, maybe I can understand a little bit why Dad has given me the nickname, "basketball belly."

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Big Brother Practice

A couple weeks ago, I asked a friend if we could borrow a doll. I didn't know how it would go over with Jackson, but he loves it! My initial plan had been just to have it for Jackson to play with after the baby arrived because he really does like to do the things I am doing. It turns out, that it's also good for Big Brother

This morning, Jackson insisted that baby lay with him while he watched the Backyardigans. He sat like this through the entire show (which is a lot considering that sitting still in general is a rarity, but to cuddle and keep his attention on the baby too... amazing!)

The crazy thing is, is that I never had to tell him how to "take care" of his baby. He wants to wrap it up, lay down with it, put it in the swing, change the diaper... and these are all he's ideas. (The doll is truly just an "it" because it is technically a boy doll, however, we talk sometimes refer to it as baby sister, as to try to help him understand how to treat her when she comes.) I chime in every once in awhile with certain key words, such as "soft, gentle, nice, love," just to set the tone. I don't let him play with the doll without supervision, just to monitor that it doesn't become a punching bag or whatever sort of thing he could come up with.

I caught a great video of him taking care of the baby this afternoon. It is an 8 minute video, but it is just so sweet. You have to watch at least part of it!

He's going to be a GREAT big brother!!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day

I love Valentine's Day. To quote a blog friend, "I love LOVE!" It's a super fun time to just let the people in your life know that they are loved. And it's not even just about having a significant other because honestly, maybe sadly enough, Derek and I just sent a couple of mushy emails to each other and that was the extent of our Valentine's celebration this year! (We do have a pizza tradition that we will make sure to fit in sometime over the next weekend-- somewhere between having a baby and him going back to Army duty 2 days later... we'll make it work!). Regardless, we still had plenty of Valentine's Day fun!

Jackson worked hard on a Valentine's card for Daddy the other day. We mailed it at the perfect time- Derek received it today!!

Jackson also has a very important message for Daddy too!

Elizabeth and I decided last week that because neither of us get the opportunity to spend this romantic holiday with our husbands, that we should let Jackson and Chacey celebrate together. After all, they are total BFF's and miss getting to see each other every day!

We met at McDonald's. The kids sat up at the bar all by themselves (we wanted to give them privacy). 

Jackson made Chacey a card that simply had the letter "W" on the inside. That really is Chacey's favorite letter, no joke. We have a book that she used to turn the page and point out every "W" with excitement. He also made her a fruit loop necklace, but it only had about 7 fruit loops because then he got distracted quickly. It was pure joy for each of them to realize that they could eat the cereal off their necklaces!

Lastly, they played. At this point, Jackson wasn't a very good date and took off to climb and play without Chacey. She's not much for climbing and being around the hoards of other children. Jackson on the other hand was sliding down the slide before I even realized he had entered the tunnel! 

They hugged goodnight and each said, "I love you."


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Homecoming Festivities!

Homecoming festivities have been happening here for the past couple of weeks.

Spirit week 
(actually two weeks due to snow days!)
Pajama Day!

 The Basketball Game
Go Mustangs!

Grammy helped Jackson show some spirit. Yea, Julie!

Homecoming Court
Julie was nominated as a candidate for queen!! 
(I was privelaged to escort her during the ceremony- I am like, twice as wide as she is!!!) She didn't win, but she came home and said, "I'm glad Diana won. She really wanted to win." She truly meant it too. No wonder the kids in her class love her!
(side note: Derek was Homecoming King back in his high school days)

Homecoming Formal
 Isn't Julie just b-e-a-utiful!?!?
The kids got all fancied up last night to go to dinner and a comedy club. Julie said it was so much fun.

 Oh! And here is how her Matt asked her to homecoming... so cute!


Saturday, February 12, 2011

These are a few of my favorite things

I've seen this on several other blogs lately, so I thought I'd join in on the fun and share some of my current most favorite things!
We have been cable-free for over two years now, but it wasn't until this summer that we jumped on the Neflix bandwagon. Best decision of 2010. And ever since we started this nasty winter weather last month, it has become my lifesaver. I hate that we've watched so much tv lately, but when there are ten inches of snow on the ground and temperatures are in the negatives, it's not like we can get out of the house much. We watch Thomas, Barney, The Backyardigans... all without commercials and on our time schedule! Jackson enjoys it and it helps us not get so stir-crazy. Monthly subscriptions start at around $10/mo. 

Magna Doodle

This was one of Jackson's Christmas presents. I don't know what it was about this past week, but he all of a sudden became very interested in his "drawing Doodle". We drove to a couple hours last Saturday to visit my sister and this kept him entertained the whole drive there. "Drawin' rainbow, Mommy." I also used it this week when we went to watch one of Julie's basketball games. And when it says, Kid Tough-- they really mean it. He stands on it from time to time and it gets banged around traveling with us and it doesn't even show a mark. I purchased mine for $10 on Black Friday, but you can purchase them for $15-20 at Target or Walmart.

Munchkin Snack Holder

My sister-in-law introduced to me to these amazing contraptions over Christmas-- a snack container that allows little fingers to reach in, but keeps the snack from spilling out when it's turned over. I bought a couple as soon as I could and we use them a lot, like almost everyday. We use them around the house, in the car, to take to church. It's not just good for clumsy-toddler spillage, but it contains the snack when a determined two-year-old attempts at all costs to make a mess. It even keeps Jackson occupied longer when he eats a snack because it's a little extra work. I bought mine (two) for around $5 at Target. 

Glitter Fingernail Polish
I love fingernail polish. It's basically a staple on my Christmas list every year. This year, I specifically requested glittery polish, because as my sister said, "glitter is the new black." Mom got me a few glittery colors and I am in loooooove. I have worn it all by itself for a major glittery effect and I've also just put a little glittery top-coat on a fun color. Keeping my nails painted is a silly priority for me, even though they never stay nice for long because I'm always doing stuff, but I just feel so much better when they are all pretty! Sometimes I even plan ahead in my head a specific time I will be able to paint my nails. It's normally while I watch an episode of Scrubs. My glittery polish that I received this Christmas is OPI and ranges from $7-9, depending on where you purchase it.

Yoga Pants/Jackets
(I'm hesitant to describe how much I really, really love these "track suits" in fear of being associated with Sue Sylvester from Glee. I am *so* not her!)

Even though I haven't actually worn this outfit pictured here, I did purchase it for after the baby arrives. In fact, it's my very own coming home outfit. I practically lived in the two outfits like this after Jackson. I mean, it's so comfy you feel as if you're wearing pajamas, but you can leave the house looking and feeling cute and put together. Plus, the zipper jacket is really nice when it comes to nursing, too, especially when you have a nursing tank underneath. This is available from Walmart for $26 for the set. 

So, these are some of my things that I really like! All opinions are mine and this post was not sponsored by any of the above products. But if one of these businesses wants me to review a product, like OPI and every color of their finger nail polish selection, I will make room for a special blog!!! Just sayin'....


Friday, February 11, 2011

38 weeks: ONE WEEK LEFT!

Yes, one week from today, we will be welcoming our little baby girl in the world! It is so surreal to even think about. And I've been so preoccupied with getting all of the baby things together that I've hardly even thought about actually getting to see Derek next week too. So, I have a new wave of excitement to keep me going!! 

I'm not sure if I even mentioned on here the details of Derek getting to come home. The plan looks like this: I am scheduled for an induction for next Friday, February 18th. I will go in on Thursday night. Derek plane arrives in KC at 2:30pm and we are hoping he makes it to the hospital around 3:30ish. Our doctor is super on board with doing our best to plan the timing so that I'm ready enough when he arrives to just push her out, but yet not getting too far along that we end up having her before Derek arrives. I think God is laughing at our attempt to plan one of life's biggest unpredictablies. Oh well. It's what we are shooting for, but he is coming home regardless... even if it's a few hours (days) after she's born. Still better than nothing.

*How far along?: 38 weeks
*How big is your baby?: Approx. 6.8 pounds
*Total weight gain?: 13 pounds
*Sex: Girl
*Maternity clothes: I've actually started packing up summer items and other things that I don't plan on wearing in the next week.
*Stretch marks: Unfortunately yes
*Movement: All. of. the. time.
*Sleep: Sleep is good, but between getting up to pee a KAZILLION times a night (at least 3) and dealing with a sick toddler... my sleep is often interrupted. I seriously think the biggest injustice of pregnancy-- you should be able to catch up on sleep before having the baby that will wreck havoc on your sleep for the years to come.
*Best moment this week: Finishing the babies "space" today (see pics below!)
*Food cravings: I just finished an entire box of Cap'n Crunch with Crunch Berries in less than 24 hours. Need I say more. 
*Labor signs: Nope
*Belly button in or out: It's out. It's way weird.
*What I miss: sleeping on my stomach and sleeping through the night
*What I'm looking forward to: seeing Derek and meeting this little girl NEXT WEEK!!!

This is baby girl's home! It's in our master bedroom. I'm glad that even though she doesn't have her own room, that she has a definite "space" to call her own!

This is a word collage that my wonderful friend HanNah made for me. I saw one of these prints when we were out together last October. I had forgotten all about it and then she surprised me with it the other day! I love it!

Check out these before and after shots to see what we began with just a few weeks ago to get ready for this little girl! The drawers were a Christmas gift from Dad and he has been down several times the past month installing them (which included cutting out drywall, reinstalling drywall, sanding, painting, etc..). Isn't he amazing!? I just say it's proof that his little grand-daughter already has him wrapped around his finger. 

Okay, maybe me a little bit too. :)


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Jackson, the Professor

Jackson visited another college today. Are we hardcore or what?! Seriously, we have no hidden agenda! We went to visit Grandma at JCCC for lunch and to check out her new office. Instead of doing college student stuff, Jackson got to experience college professor stuff.

Jackson helped "grade papers,"

and then he entered some grades into the computer.
(notice the use of both the keyboard AND the mouse)

He colored pretty artwork all over Grandma's desk calendar

And lastly, he helped Grandma carry her tray as we waited in line at Chick-fil-A.

Is this kid going to be ready for college someday or what!? Maybe it will be free by then...



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