Saturday, October 22, 2016

4 months old~Baylor Jace

Our sweet Bay Bay is now 4 months old. I am so in love with this little guy, I melt each time he smiles at me. I remember being in the NICU with Baylor, and feeling robbed of so much of his newborn weeks, not getting to hold him, bathe him, feed him, just be with him. However, now I feel like I was actually more richly blessed by Baylor coming early and being so tiny. I feel like I've had a "new" newborn for almost 4 months!  He is just so tiny, he still isn't even where Weston was the day he was born! He loves to be cradle-held and snuggled close, whereas when my other two were 4 months, they were squirming and starting to want more independence and freedom. Isn't that just like God to take something hard and devastating and turn it into something even more beautiful than we could ever imagine?

This picture cracks me up, this is how he likes to sleep!

Baylor weighs 7 pounds, 4 ounces and is starting to really fill out. He wears newborn clothes and size 1 diapers. He eats every three hours around the clock and takes about 2.5 ounces at each feeding. I'm exclusively pumping (with a nursing session here and there)with Baylor which is something new for me. With my others, I was able to breastfeed and nurse, but with Baylor being in the NICU and so small, I haven't been able to do that. I've had to pump my milk and then give it to him in a bottle. Again, at first I was just devastated about this, but now I find that there are benefits to pumping and bottle feeding.  Christian and other family members get the privilege and joy of feeding and bonding with him and it enables me to do more with my other two out in public and feed Baylor at the same time.

Making it work! Gotta do whatcha gotta do!

Baylor is becoming much more aware and responsive. He is quite a ham and loves to coo and smile. He is hilarious when he really gets to laughing. He is starting to grab at toys and enjoy playtime and music.  He still adores Aubrey and she spends lots of time trying to get him to smile at her.

Baylor loves to sleep on my bed (which is where he naps 90% of the time). He still sleeps in our bathroom in his rock and play at night.  He is an amazing sleeper and by far my easiest at nighttime. He hates his swing and mama-roo, but loves to be on the floor on his playmat. He also tolerates sitting up in his Bumbo seat. He still prefers to be in the wrap on me every waking moment, but my back is starting to plead for a break.

We are so in love with this boy and he just brings nothing but delight and joy into our family. He is my sunshine when things get chaotic and that smile can bring tears to my eyes. He really is a miracle boy and I am so amazed at how far he has come. Look out world...this little guy will be a world changer!

It's amazing how much they all look alike. I think Baylor and Aubrey really favor each other. Weston was my chunky monkey for sure!!

Friday, September 30, 2016

Troubled Waters

It's been a little over a month since our city faced it's worst natural disaster in history. A little over a month since nearly 90% of the families in our community lost their homes in the flood waters. A little over a month since this nightmare hit our town, our friends, our families. It has been absolutely devastating to watch so many people we know lose, homes, belongings...a lifetime of memories really. It's taken me this long just to process the magnitude of this disaster. I am still trying to come to terms with the fact that people are still out of their homes, still without a sense of normalcy and still suffering. I think I have a touch of survivor's guilt because we were one of the few who's home did not flood.  Many people in our neighborhood did, but we were absolutely amazed to find that we did not have water in our home. We are so fortunate not to have lost our home, but we we are just devastated to have our precious parents both lose absolutely everything. My parents and my in laws both got over 5 ft of water in their homes.

On Thursday, we attended orientation for Aubrey at Victory. We were thrilled to begin this new chaper in her life and we just knew this school was perfect for her. It rained on and off all day.  We never thought twice about the rain.

Friday, Christian went to work and the kiddos and I just hung around the house. It was still raining and we were beginning to hear word of flooding in our area. Nothing crazy...flash flood warnings happen frequently around here. My dad mentioned that the creek down the road from our subdivision would probably flood, just preventing us from getting in and out of the area our normal way.  Again that was something that had happened before and we were fairly used to having it flood. My dad came and got me and the kiddos and we decided to weather the storm out at their house. I knew if we lost electricity, I would need their generator for pumping. My dad managed to get us back to his house around noon and we knew then that this was a pretty intense amount of rain we were seeing. Many roads were beginning to flood and things were starting to close. Still though we did not have any sense of panic or concern.  It continued to rain throughout the day and most of the night.

Saturday morning, I awoke to numerous texts from my mother in love who was very concerned about water getting near her door. She was nervous that it was rising quickly and feared it would begin to come in her house. I also noticed a sense of panic from my dad, who was beginning to take precautions on his own home for the possibility of water. I immediately broke down in the living room and just cried. I knew things were getting serious and I felt helpless and alone. I had three babies, Christian was at work, really unable to get to us, and everyone around me was starting to worry about the welfare of their homes. My dad took me in his arms and assured me that we would be ok.  We would be safe no matter what and he would make sure my babies were safe. My dad immediately got on the phone with my brother and began a plan to get us evacuated. Somehow, Brandon managed to get to us and we were able to leave a few hours later and head to his house.  When we left, we had absolutely no idea the devastation that would come in just a few short hours.

Saturday afternoon was an absolute nightmare. Facebook was swamped with messages of people flooding and needing to be evacuated. It almost seemed like something from a movie and not reality. We watched through social media as our community was shaken to its core. We got word that homes in our neighborhood were flooding and I just sobbed thinking that we were under water as well. Christian was able to leave work and head back to our home to see if he could salvage anything. This began a long day of the guys taking boats, canoes, trucks...anything to get around and try and rescue people. Once the boys returned home that night, beat down and exhausted, did we even begin to realize just how bad things really were. We learned that night that both my parents and Christian's parents home were most definitely under water. We knew everyone of our loved ones was safe, but we also knew that things would never be the same.

Sunday we awoke to more troubled news. Things just kept getting worse and the area where my brother lived, where we were all evacuated too, was now in danger of flooding. Once again, we knew we had to evacuate and get somewhere safer. We were really out of options as to where to go, so it was either get a hotel or head out of town. We packed up and headed out of town. I can't even begin to describe the heartache of this day. We knew our loved ones had lost everything, we weren't sure if our own home was destroyed, we knew the rain was continuing to come and we knew things were just going to get worse. We felt that getting to a safe place was a priority.  Christian and Brandon drove us all to Alabama and got us settled and they both headed back to BR to help. We cried many tears throughout the next few days, just feeling helpless.  I know with three little ones, there wasn't much I could have done, but I just wanted to be near everyone...and help in someway.

We came back on Wednesday, back to a city in complete chaos and disarray. I know I keep using the word devastating, and really that word doesn't even do it justice. It was surreal...a complete nightmare. We spent those next few days and weeks trying to regain a sense of normalcy and in the meantime try to help those around us that were suffering. It seemed everywhere you turned there was a huge need for was very overwhelming.

Here we are a month later. Streets are still lined with trash, people are still displaced and things will probably never be the same in our city. My heart is heavy for those families still suffering. Yes, it is just stuff, but stuff is what makes our memories. My hope and prayer is that our community will rebuild and we will look back on this time and remember the good.  The neighbors who banded together and helped others in times of need.  The friends who brought meals to each other.  The family members who took in other loved ones.  Those are the things I want us to remember from this flood. We will continue to pray for those who have lost so much. Our hearts will continue to hurt for those families and we will continue to reach out and show love and support to those around us. Our community will come back and we will be stronger than before.

This was my parent's street and some from their neighborhood. 

Nana and Papa's house. 

Nana and Papa have never lost their smile or their spunk through this entire ordeal. Praying they can be back in their home before the holidays. 

Our street.

How we didn't get water in our home is a complete miracle. 

Cajun Navy...aka my dad helping others. His smile never left his face either. 
These are the real heroes. 

New beginnings are not always fun, but we have to remember that God has a plan in each step. I'm so proud of my parents and in-laws for standing strong and keeping those smiles.  

Thursday, September 15, 2016

First Day of School

For some reason, I have struggled greatly with the decision of where to put the kiddos for school. I always seem to question myself and go back and forth on what is best. This year was no different and I literally spent months agonizing over the decision.  We ultimately decided that sending Aubrey to Victory Academy (a Christian private school) for K-4 was the best decision. We decided that Weston would go to Broardmoor Preschool (where Aubrey has gone for the past 3 years). We knew it would be a challenge doing two drop offs and pickups, but we felt that it would be worth the sacrifice for Aubrey to be in such a great environment. We signed her up, paid tuition, bought uniforms and even went to orientation. We were so excited and ready to go! 

Well...the best laid plans are not always what God has in mind. Once the flood hit our city, we had to totally reevaluate things. We were devastated to learn that Victory took on about 5 feet of water and lost everything. It was just horrible. Christian and I had to really re-evaluate things with my mom being misplaced and flooded as well...because I rely so much on her to help me with transportation to and from school with the kids...not to mention mom taught piano there, so she was at the school almost everyday. Now things have totally taken a different turn. The school has yet to reopen and they are working hard to get T-buildings in place for the students. Also, my mom won't be back teaching piano there this year.  Christian and I made the decision that for this year, it would be best to just keep her and Weston together at Broadmoor. Aubrey will definitely go to Victory for kindergarten, it's just for this year things didn't work out. We know God has a plan for our children, and we trust that He guides us in making the right decisions for our kids. I know both Aubrey and Weston will do great this year and it will be fun to have them together one last year. 

Here's to a great year for my sweeties. My prayer is that they will be a light at their school and blossom both educationally and socially in their classes. I pray for Godly friends and influential teachers and staff as well.  

First day for Weston was not quite the happy day we had hoped for. Weston has had a hard time adjusting to his new schedule and school. He sure is cute though.  

Aubrey on the other hand was all smiles. Miss social butterfly couldn't wait to see her friends.

Love these two and are so thrilled for new beginnings! Plus I am enjoying having a little one on one time with my sweet Baylor Jace! 

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Baylor Jace-2 months old

This past month has seemed like a nightmare. I am still not able to fully comprehend the devastation that our city has seen with these floods. Our entire city has been is almost like a war zone. Driving through...all you see is mounds and mounds of people's belongings stacked stories high on the side of the road. Both of our parents lost is just heartbreaking. I will do a whole post of this horrific time in our lives, but I just can't seem to piece it together just quite yet. I'm still processing everything and trying to keep myself together.

For today, we celebrate the small things and one of those things is that our sweet Baylor Jace is 2 months old. I laugh because these past two months have been nothing short of hell, but having him around to snuggle...has truly been therapeutic. Looking into his precious, innocent face...helps me block out all the pain and devastation around me.

Baylor you are just pure sweetness. You are still the tiniest little thing and I can't believe you aren't even to the weight that your brother and sister were born at!  You weigh 5 pounds 11 ounces.

You absolutely hate the scream the entire time. You hate baths...again nothing but tears. Other than those two things, you are pretty laid back. You love to be held, you love to be swaddled, you love your rock and play as well as your mama-roo.  You do not like your swing or anything that moves.  You love to just chill on your quilt that Nana made you.

You are obsessed with your noonie and very rarely do not have it in your mouth. You eat every 3-3.5 hours by bottle that is breastmilk with a fortifier. I pump round the clock and let me say it is not fun. We have tried breastfeeding, but you are just not a fan. You eat at 9, 12, 4, 9, 1am and 5 am.  Daddy is such a huge helper with the 9 pm feeding as well as the 5 am feeding. He is a champ in my eyes for sure.

Baylor you absolutely adore your sister. It is the sweetest relationship ever. Aubrey is kinda a "rough around the edges" little girl, but her heart is nothing but tenderness and adoration towards you. She can calm you down in mere seconds and you will sit in her lap and just stare at her for the longest time. She is a huge help to me and I love the bond that you two share.

Baylor you still wear preemie outfits and some newborn outfits. You wear a newborn sized diaper. You also love for me to wear you in the Moby wrap.  I can put you in there and wear you for hours. You never make a peep.  Wearing you is one of my favorite things to do.

Baylor Jace we absolutely adore is beyond crazy right now, but having you with us makes things so much sweeter.  We love you little man.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Life Lately...three's a crowd

We are finally home and settled. Life is starting to form a routine and we are slowly getting the hang of adding a new member to the family. I have to say, Aubrey and Weston have been absolutely amazing with their new brother. There is not one hint of jealousy or anger towards him, but rather absolute love and adoration. They smother him with their love and attention and I am constantly telling them to get out of his face and give him some space! Aubrey has been a huge help to me and I am amazed at her natural ability to soothe and comfort Baylor. She has this little specific song she sings to him when he is crying, something about a seahorse she heard on Jake and the Neverland Pirates, but it cracks me up because every time he hears her sing that "aggravating, makes no sense" song from her, he immediately calms down and listens. She also insist on giving him his pacifier when he is upset because she can't bear to see him in distress. However, she doesn't just softly place it in his mouth but rather shoves it in.  Weston is also madly in love with Baylor, just in a more hands off approach...he constantly baby talks him, which I find hilarious, but isn't much for holding him. I laugh because Weston will say, "aw Bay so tiny" HAHA...he says that constantly!!  Overall they have welcomed Baylor with open arms and embraced his addition to our family like a charm. I am so proud of them and tell them constantly how great they are with him.

I laugh at this picture because Bre is shielding Baylor's eyes from the sun.  Haha!  She is such a protective big sis! 

She calls it "snuggle time with sissy" every single morning tradition.

Baylor is doing great, growing like a weed. At his last appointment, he was 4 pounds, 6 ounces. We had a cardiologist appointment this week as well and all looked good with his heart function and injection fracture. We go back this upcoming week for another check up and we have an appointment with the neurologist at some point in the coming weeks. Baylor is tiny, but he has no problem letting us know what he wants or needs. He is somewhat high maintenance and is not content unless he has a noonie and is swaddled tightly. He grunts constantly through the night which has earned him a trip out of our bedroom. I won't mention wear he is sleeping for fear of being labeled a horrible mom. (my master bedroom closet...hello I have to get some sleep to function)  Much to my dismay, the doctor has me waking, yes you heard me...waking Baylor up every three hours at night to feed him. Otherwise, I think he would sleep, but because we need to get those calories in him, this mama is making the sacrifice. 

Baylor is pretty typical in that he hates bathtime, car rides, tummy time and the car seat...really anything but someone's arms or a swaddle. Homeboy knows what he likes. Don't even get me started on red lights. I can't tell you how many yellow lights I have ran these past few weeks because Baylor screams bloody murder when the car stops. Oops there I go again shining the light on my terrible parenting. I laughed because the other day, Baylor dropped his pacifier on our home floor and I just blew it off and stuck it back in his mouth...with Aubrey, I would have sanitized and steamed the heck out that thing. Poor Baylor...third child syndrome is in full effect. 

Christian and I are adjusting pretty well, we have our moments where everyone is screaming or crying and we just look at each other and say, "let's pretend we are back in Jamaica and we have no kids!" That usually gets us laughing and then snaps us back into the reality that is our chaotic life. However we would not want it any other way. One night last week, Christian took the older two swimming and I was home alone for a few hours, and I honestly was bored! I missed my crazies and texted him to tell him to hurry home! 

We are sleep deprived, our house is a disaster, bottles are overflowing in every corner, there are dirty diapers on my floor, and spit up on my shirt, but life is so full of laughter, joy and tons of love. We are beyond blessed to be spending our days with these three crazies we call our kiddos. They are each so amazing in their own special ways. Adding Baylor to the mix just made it that much sweeter. 

Oh and as a final that I would request a standing ovation and a choir singing the hallelujah chorus...drum roll please...Weston Hayes is potty trained!  I had absolutely no hand in the training, but only by an incredible teacher at his summer camp can we say we have successfully made the transition from diapers to the throne!  We are beyond amazed that this is a reality and now we are working on not removing every single article of clothing and our shoes in order to potty...must be a boy thing. Holla!  Go Weston...keep it up big boy...well rather tuck it down!! HAHA!