December 30, 2010

Christmas 2010

We had a wonderful first Christmas as a family of three!  It was very laid back but we needed the relaxation after traveling for Thanksgiving and being out of town the week before Christmas.

Alex left the house super early on Christmas Eve morning to go fishing.  I kindly told him that he wasn't allowed back in the house unless he brought me fish.  He took me serious and brought home 3 reds, 2 trout, and a flounder!!!

After Alex got home, we got everyone ready for Christmas Eve service.  We went to the 7pm service which had me a bit nervous as that is after Kate's normal (I say normal but lately nothing has been normal about her sleep patterns) bed time. 

She was an angel!  Kate loved people watching (she is quite the nosey baby) and loved all of the music.  She fussed for a few seconds before taking a bottle and falling asleep.  Everyone sitting around us commented on how cute she was and how wonderfully she did in the service!  This is a bad cell phone picture but here she is taking in all of the sounds of Christmas Eve!!!

We had a wonderful Christmas morning as well!  We munched on homemade biscuits and gravy while we showed Kate all of her presents. 

No make up, covered in droll and spit up, but loving every minute of Kate's first Christmas!

With Daddy

I cannot find the words to express how much this Christmas meant to us.  Words cannot express how absolutely blessed I feel.  For the first time in several years, we felt content on Christmas day.  No sad tears, no longing, just praising our God for finally blessing us with our miracle baby. 

December 29, 2010

Florida Fun Part 2: Family & Disney!!

I've already recapped our travel experience when heading to Florida.  So, here's the family and Disney recap!

As I mentioned, my sister picked us up from the airport.  We went straight back to my mom's house to unload the excessive amount of luggage I had with me.  We then headed out to go shopping.  Lauren, my sister, realized while out and about that Kate does indeed spit up a ridiculous amount and that my child really doesn't nap!

My sister's husband and boys came over soon after we got back from shopping.  Miles was a bit shy around Kate but Graham loved her instantly.  He had such a blast playing with her!

Kate loved seeing her Mimi for the first time in almost 4 months.  She made Mimi feel extra special and gave her huge smiles!  We hung out at mom's house Monday night because we were so tired after our early morning flight.

Tuesday my mom had to work so Kate and I met up with my sweet friend Heather and her son Ashton for coffee.  Except our coffee date lasted a solid 6 hours! Mom got off work early so we got to hang out with her all afternoon.

We had a great lunch with my Dad on Wednesday!  Kate loves her Pops!

Alex made it in super late Wednesday night.  We were so glad to have him back in the same city as us! 

Thursday afternoon we made our way down to Disney for Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party!  We rode the monorail to the Grand Floridian to see Christmas decorations before entering the park.

In front of the big Christmas tree in the lobby

We left the Grand Floridian to head to Magic Kingdom.  I was SO excited and proud to finally be pushing a stroller down Main Street USA.  I've waited so long to do that!

I love Disney World so much - but I especially love it all decorated for Christmas!

We rode the Carousel and Small World before grabbing dinner and a spot for the parade.  The weather was beautiful while the sun was out but it got chilly as soon as it got dark.
Kate really loved all of the music and bright colors in Small World!

One thing that makes Disney so easy with a baby is the Baby Care Centers.  A nice, warm area to change, feed, and entertain little ones.  We changed Kate out of her pretty dress and into jammies and a big warm suit for the night. 

Snoozing in her stroller before the parade:

My sister, brother in law, and nephews met up with us just in time for the parade!  Kate woke up right before the parade started so she hung out in her Ergo while it "snowed" on Main Street!

Kate loved the parade - she stayed awake for all of it and again, loved the lights and music!  This is a bit blurry but, she is totally fascinated by the parade.
Kate went back into the Ergo - and straight to sleep for the rest of the night!!! - after the parade ended.  We got a spot for the Holiday Fireworks which were absolutely amazing!  By far the best firework show I have ever seen - and the best I have ever seen Disney put on!

The castle all decorated!

My mom and Miles waiting for the fireworks!

After the fireworks we rode Pirates with the boys and then headed back to my mom's house.  We got up bright and early the next morning to head back to Epcot for the day!

Alex and I took Graham on Soarin' - he loved it!  We also rode the Finding Nemo ride at the Living Seas with Kate.  She loved the fish and the animated Nemo!

The big kids (Jeff, Alex, Justin, Graham and I) went to ride test track while Mom and Lauren stayed with the babies.

Graham and I waiting to take off!

Mimi, Miles, and Kate (under a blanket) while we rode Test Track
Miles holding Baby Kate

We headed to the Animal Kingdom lodge to have an early dinner in honor of my brother's 20th birthday.  We ate at Boma and it was delish!  I also got to meet his girlfriend - she's pretty awesome!

Justin, Jeff, Miles, Lauren, Graham, Me, Kate, and Alex!

Birthday boy!!

We celebrated Christmas Saturday!  Kate racked up on goodies from the family!  Playing with Uncle Justin!

I didn't really take many pictures other than our attempt to get formal Christmas pictures of a 4 month old, 2 year old, and 4 year old.

Sunday was a very laid back day.  We went up to Ocala to my sister's house and packed all of the crap that I thought we would need.  Yeah, learned that lesson - I don't need to bring 4587689234 outfits for Kate for a week trip. 

Mom and Kate on her 4 month birthday!

We said our goodbyes Monday morning and made our way to the airport.  We had such a great trip!  I can't wait to bring Kate back soon!  I know each Disney trip will be more exciting than the last as she grows and actually knows the characters!

December 26, 2010

Back to Belly!!

Well, it's official!  Kate can now roll from her back to her belly.  She's been doing belly to back for a while now but we just witnessed the back to belly a few minutes ago!

I put her on her play mat like this:

She immediately threw her leg over:

And then she was on her belly so proud that she made it all the way over!

I'm just hoping I have a while longer before she can coordinate the back to belly/ belly to back and roll all around!

December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!!!

For unto us a child is born,
to us a son is given.
and the government will be upon his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6

Wishing your family a very blessed Christmas this year!  And, sending extras prayers to everyone still waiting for a child to call their own.  Praying this is your last holiday season longing for a child.

December 24, 2010

New Christmas Traditions: Zoo Trip!

Alex was off work yesterday and was also not on call (this is amazing - his schedule has been insane so to be in Houston and have a few days without work obligations is unheard of) so we decided to have a family fun day.

We thought it would be nice to use our Zoo Membership and check out the new African Forest section. It just opened this month!

We had a great time even though Kate slept through most of the trip.

She was awake for the chimps though.  These guys are too funny!  I really think they were on something as they were putting on quite a show.

This guy, Willie, is the youngest chimp in the exhibit (there are 10 total - Willie is 6 years old and the baby of one of the two chimp families at the zoo).  He stood on this rock and played peek-a-boo with the kids.  He would start banging on the glass if no one was paying him attention!

Kate was mesmerized by the action of the chimps.  She watched them play for a solid 10-15 minutes!

Daddy and Kate enjoying the zoo:

We fed the giraffes lettuce.  Well, I fed them lettuce while Kate slept.

Kate slept through the lions, tigers, cheetahs, and other monkeys but was awake to see the elephants.  The Houston Zoo currently has two baby elephants that are precious!

She wasn't quite sure how she felt about the big elephants.

We also visited the bird house and the reptile house. 

"OMG Mom - why are you putting me next to this big, scary snake?"

We had a blast and we are hoping to make a visit to the zoo a Christmas tradition! 

December 23, 2010

Florida Fun - Part I - Traveling with an Infant!

We are back from our trip to visit my family in Florida!  We had a blast!

I have so much to recap and don't want to miss anything so I am going to so this in two parts. 

Part I - Traveling with a baby.
Part II - Visiting with Family & Disney

Kate and I flew out bright and early on Monday morning (December 15).  I was super stressed about flying.  I am a very seasoned traveller - I'm talking more than 100 flights a year when I was in the height of my business travel.  But, all I know is business travel - take off the suit coat, take off the pumps, slip on the socks as to not walk thru security barefoot, pull out the laptop, throw everything on the belt, and be done with security in minutes.  I was terrified by a stroller, computer, baby, carry on, etc.  I planned, replanned, and planned some more to attempted to make this trip easy.

I was worried for nothing - everything was fine.  Security wasn't crowded yet since my flight was so early.  A lovely man volunteered to lift all of my bags an stroller on to the x-ray belt since I was wearing Kate.  And TSA let me wear Kate through the scanner thing in her Ergo.  Super easy.

The only snafu was that TSA did not tighten my bottle tops after testing the water.  It was no big deal since I was only carrying water to mix bottles but I was so worried about all of the breastfeeding moms out there that may have lost hard earned, pumped milk.  I literally texted every one of my breastfeeding friends that I knew would be traveling to let them know about what happened. 

We had time to spare after security and I grabbed a coffee while Kate gave out smiles to just about everyone.  She is usually stingy with her pretty grins so I'm guessing she is super smart and knew she needed to start buttering up the other passengers so they wouldn't be grumbling about flying with a baby.

While I was sipping my latte, pushing Kate up and down Terminal C at IAH, we saw several interesting things.  I lost count after seeing 17 super tacky Christmas sweaters.  We also saw several kids having total meltdowns - seeing this made me pray that Kate would continue to be well behaved.  But, nothing beat the bride in her full wedding get up - wedding dress, heels, rhinestone jewelry, tiara - yep, full get up - at 7am on a Monday morning.  Her groom was in jeans and a polo so I know she had time to change.

Who does that?  And how pissed would you be if you had to share a row with wedding dress bride? 

I think a white tank with Bride across the chest would have let everyone know you were just married...

We had no problems boarding (I bought the travel bag for my Vista - best purchase as it allowed me to wheel my folded stroller down the jet way to gate check).  Kate feel asleep after having a bottle during take off and slept until she needed another bottle during landing!  My sister met us at the airport and we made our way back to my mom's house!!

Our flight back was a bit more exciting.  Alex was with us which was nice. 

Kate had her first celeb encounter while checking in at the Continental Elite desk in Orlando.
That would be Kevin Jonas and his wife Danielle - thanks to a quick google search "which Jonas is married" for letting me to know which one he was.  He called Kate beautiful!  Too bad she isn't 13 or I would be up for mom of the year!

We had a harder time keeping her occupied while waiting to take off.  She was hungry but we were prolonging her bottle which just made her mad.  The only thing that kept her happy was her new mermaid toy from her Lala.

As soon as we gave her a bottle, she went straight to sleep.  She woke up right before landing and gave me this face:
That would be her, I'm filling my diaper with a surprise face.  Except, for the first time ever, she exploded out of her diaper.  She was covered in poop.  And then entire front of the plane smelled like my child's dirty diaper.  I couldn't get up to change her since we were landing so, I wrapped a blanket around her and hoped she wouldn't leaked through the blanket as well.

I had quite the time trying to change her in an airport bathroom.  I did manage to get that onesie filled with poop off without getting said poop in her hair.  I felt like super mom.

So, my lessons learned:
*Check you bottle caps
*Bring your stroller if you baby doesn't let to be held/ in a carrier all the time.  Strolling Kate around the airport kept her calm.
*Pack toys. I had a soft book, her mermaid, and a rattle toy.
* You will not have time to do things like read a book on your Kindle.  I wish I would have left it at home.
* Wait until the last minute to started feeding baby for take off/ landing.  I started too soon with our first take off and had to force a paci on her after she was done and we were still climbing.
*Dont' freak when your kid poops everywhere.

Overall, it was much easier than I expected!

2010 Christmas Card!!!

I thought I would share our Christmas card!  I wanted something a bit more formal and Alex wanted something with lots of pictures.  He loved this card so I decided to make him happy - and show off more than just one picture (and let's be honest - I wanted to include the pups too)!

I sent out way too many (I think the final count was 182) but I was excited to finally have a sweet family to share with our family and friends.  And I am justifying my insane number of cards by telling myself we come from big families and are blessed with so many amazing friends!

This is a screen capture of the digital file and a few of the pictures look funny.  But, it printed out beautifully which is all that matters!!

I am working on a big recap of our Florida trip as well as a post about our visit to the zoo today!  Hopefully they will be up soon!

December 19, 2010

Happy 4 Months!!

Today sweet Kate turns 4 months old! 

That picture was actually taken yesterday when she was in her Christmas dress.  She was super fussy and wasn't up for 4 month pictures today.  This was the best she gave me today:

Here's what Kate is up to these days:
*She is almost 12 pounds (such a little bit still) - maybe she will double her birth weight this coming month!
*Still wearing size 1 diapers - Huggies Pure & Natural are the only diapers that work for her.  Everything else either gives her a rash or she pees through/ causes blow outs
*24 inches long
*She is wearing 0-3 and 3 month for regular clothing.  We are up to some 3-6 month footed sleepers for length though.
*Everything goes straight to the mouth
*She grabs for everything - toys, earrings, hair, food, dogs - you get the picture!
*She has a super deep belly laugh that is absolutely precious!  I will post a video of that sweet laugh when I figure out how...
*She is having some sleep regression lately.  We are back to a 3 or 4am bottle.  Thankfully, she will go straight back to sleep after that bottle until about 7 or 8.  Too bad I am having issues getting back to sleep.

Kate has proven that she is a tough little girl this month.  She's had 5 or 6 blood draws (taken from her arm) since November 1 and countless doctor's appointments.  I'm sure I'll get into more detail soon but, we are asking for any and all thoughts and prayers in the coming weeks as Alex and I make hard decisions regarding her care.  We are still looking for answers and praying for the best possible outcome.

As always, I can't wait to see what the next months brings!!!

December 18, 2010

What an Amazing Year it's Been!

One year ago today we were in Jackson, MS celebrating Christmas with my in-laws. 

Alex went out to do something with his dad and Mrs. Cheryl and I headed out to shop.

We went to several stores on Lakeland Drive and stopped at Chilck-fil-a to grab something to drink before driving back to the house.  My diet coke drinking self ordered a peppermint chocolate chip milk shake.  Yeah, a drink that has about a million calories.  It just sounded SO good that I couldn't resist.

On the way home I got a call from my IVF nurse - she said that my progesterone levels looked good.  I of course wanted the exact number so asked for my doctor to give me a call.  He knows my type of obsessive, crazy way to well and was on standby just waiting for me to ask for details.  My numbers were super high which is usually an indicator of a healthy pregnancy.

Before I tell any more of this story, I need to confess that I am what the trying-to-conceive community would call a pee-stick aholic.  You know, someone who tests early and often.  I blame it on the fact that I am a type A control freak that has zero patience. 

When we got to the house, I decided I would test.  It was very early (only 4 days past my 5 day embryo transfer - which equals about 9 day post ovulation) but I was feeling lucky.  This is totally TMI but, I pulled out my trusted red dixie cup (because come on - there is NO way I was peeing in one of my MILs cups - NOT happening) that I packed for the sole purpose of testing, so that I could use multiple pregnancy tests and analyze all of the results.  Like I said, I have issues.

I tested with a First Response Early Results and a Clearblue Digital.  Both were positive within seconds.  I was in total shock.  And couldn't say anything since Alex and I decided we were going to wait for good blood results before telling anyone. 

So, I sat and waited for Alex to get back to the house. When he got back I showed him the tests and we had the quietest celebration known to man.

What an amazing day that was.  And it is even more amazing that my sweet girl was growing away a year ago. From a few cells to a beauty!

I feel so blessed to have gone from two pink lines in 2009 to a beautiful miracle in 2010.

December 17, 2010

A little splash of color!

Marina at Penny Lane Design has given my blog a splash of color! I love the gray but wanted a little something more!

I will be changing the sidebar with some new sweet pictures soon!!!

I hope y'all like it!

December 15, 2010

20 Years Ago Today....

We got a new fence at our house on Ramsey Drive in New Orleans. 

And my mother went into labor with her third child.

I left for school that morning wondering if we would actually have a baby this time as my mom had a few rounds of false labor.

School was almost over when my mom's best friend, Mrs. Jenny, walked into my classroom with blue cupcakes!

I had a baby brother!  A big baby brother weighing it at almost 10 pounds.

I've loved that kid so much since the day I met him. 

We are far enough apart in age to not bicker yet close enough to be great friends.  I value my friendship with him - and love that he is comfortable enough with me to come to me with problems, questions, and to see advice.

He is witty, charming, rocks a bow tie like none other, and is quite the Southern Gentleman.  I would typically take a moment to try and set him up with a cute girl.  But, he met a sweet girl recently and I'm pretty sure they are getting serious!  I get to meet her Friday and cannot wait!

He is still my big little brother as he towers over me - he is almost 6'4"! 

Happy Birthday Justin - I hope you have a fantastic day!  Love you so much!!  And Happy Birthday fence - I think of you every year!  Haha!

December 11, 2010

Feeling Better!

All three of us are feeling much better! 

Alex was well enough to enjoy the beautiful 70 degree weather.  He took his kayak out to the marsh and brought back a red and a trout!  I am excited that he will be grilling them for dinner!!

Kate is felling better too.  She enjoyed some time in her exersaucer earlier today while watching a Praise Baby DVD.  I swear this girl is going to give me a run for my money.  She already does what she wants - which is typically not what I want.  Case in point - taking her picture.  She can be smiling away yet the second she sees the camera this is what she gives me:

After playing and doing some things around the house, we went Christmas shopping.  Kate was so good which made it very pleasant.  We didn't go to the mall but we did hit up a few stores close to home!  We scored big on books for Kate at Marshall's - they always have great books for super cheap!

I guess shopping wore Kate out.  She couldn't even finish her bottle before passing out!  Hopefully she won't sleep too long as I would like for her to sleep tonight!

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