Sunday, March 5, 2017

February in a nut shell

February was a very busy month for us, packed with normal day to day activities, but also two holidays thrown in there...enough to wear this mama out.  

Valentine's Day this year was just plain terrible.  It was definitely not one of our best nor will it go down in history as anything other than a total flop.  Just being real isn't always sunshine and roses.  Never do I want to paint a false picture of our family.  I want to remember the good, but also acknowledge the bad...because in the bad we learn lessons that motivate us and move us towards being better. Plus it is real...I love to read things from other mama's or families that acknowledge that life is isn't always pretty...just knowing that other people experience ups and downs, gives such hope and inspiration to others who are walking similar roads. 

This Valentine's Day started off rocky the evening before the actual big day.  C and I got into an argument about cookies (of all things to argue about)...and it basically set us up for both being angry and frustrated with each other on Valentine's Day.  We both hardly spoke to each other and neither really felt much like expressing our love. Usually I get a long, handwritten card from Christian (he is such an amazing writer) but this year my card just said "Happy Valentine's Day, Love Christian." HAHA! Apparently writing a love note to me was the last thing he wanted to do!  But you know the end of the day, we had talked it out, both said our pieces and come to a resolution.  That is what we do...we may argue and disagree but in the end we figure it out and make amends. We love each other like crazy, we are the absolute best of friends, and not a day goes by that we don't acknowledge that we are soul mates...but we still have our off days.  The day was still ruined so we didn't really attempt anything romantic...we took the kiddos to eat at Walk-On's and enjoyed a family dinner. Christian and I both realize that we are in a tough spot in our lives right now...our marriage is really last on the list at the moment, and though it shouldn't many other things are taking, jobs, school, the list could go on and on.  However, we both know our marriage is built on a solid rock and we will weather any season of life.  We both laughed at the end of the day about the messiness that is our lives right now, but we will blink and our kids will be out of the toddler stages, more independent and the romantic dinners and getaways will become more of a reality for us. So this Valentine's Day will go down as one of my least favorites...but I have no doubt that C and I will make next year's much better. 
 We did manage to make Valentine's cup cakes!

All my Valentine Lovies

Mardi Gras isn't a holiday that we really acknowledge or usually participate in but the preschool the kids go to does a huge parade and the kids get so pumped up and excited about it.  I was a sweaty mess by the end of the parade, exhausted from trying to run from kid to kid while carrying Baylor and dodging flying beads being hurled from crazy toddlers!  Whew...another not so great holiday for the books but one I don't want to forget. I love this crazy mommy life...I wouldn't trade it for the world.

This month we also have begun the process of having our sweet Bay Bay enrolled in some much needed therapy.  Our little guy had such a rough start at birth that we are seeing some slight delays in his milestones. We are beyond thankful to have an amazing support staff that will begin working with him on important things like rolling over, sitting up, babbling, eating properly and much more.  Baylor continues to amaze us with his perseverance and fight...he is a true miracle.  I've had to repeat his birth story numerous times this month to various healthcare professionals, and each time I am blown away by the severity of his time in utero and first few weeks of life.  As the months pass by, you forget the details, but having to discuss and relive everything just brings tears to my eyes. Baylor was and is a fighter...he is a "tough nut" as my daddy calls him.  He may have to do a little more to catch up...but catch up he will do...and I have no doubt he will surpass any expectation I have for him.  His smile and laugh brings me such incredible joy...he is just pure perfection...a mama's boy for sure. Prayers that we will continue to know what is best for Baylor and how to best get him the help he needs to flourish. 

That about wraps up our February...we started March out with a bang and took a spontaneous family trip to New Orleans...more on that to come.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

A day in the life of...

One of my favorite things to blog about is extra special occasions and events that happen in our lives. But if I am most favorite thing to look back on and read about is just our normal, everyday lives. 99.9% of our days are filled with mundane, repetitious activities and to most would seem pretty boring...but these are some of the most fun days of my life. Having three small children is what I dreamed about growing up, and I am getting to live out my dream on a daily basis with the most fun kids around. Don't get me wrong, I get tired, I get frustrated, I get overwhelmed, but for the most part, these babies bring me unspeakable joy and laughter. Doing daily life with them is a hoot.  Disclaimer: I do have a husband.  A wonderful one at that...but he is in his last year of clinicals for Nurse Practitioner school so we see VERY little of him right now. It sucks and is very hard, but we are taking it day by day and I can survive knowing the end is in sight!

This particular day was a Wednesday. My morning starts around 4:00 with Mr. Baylor Jace needing to be fed.  I usually nurse him and then get back in bed for a few more hours of sleep. Both Aubrey and Weston are usually up by 7:00 and I roll out of bed around 7:30. Being up numerous times in the night with Baylor leaves me very tired in the mornings. Christian gets the kids breakfast and then leaves around 7:30. I manage to get myself breakfast and a shower, before getting the kids dressed and ready to go. Wednesdays are my main work days and very busy for me. Now that Christian is gone 7 days a week, Wednesdays are my most stressful days because I'm trying to juggle three kids and a job. On Monday of this week, Weston was sent home from school with a fever and vomiting. Thankfully he made a very quick recovery, but I kept him home for a few days to recoup and recover. So usually, he would go with my mom on Wednesdays to bible study but on this particular Wednesday, he was a tiny bit clingy and wanted to stay with mommy.

My mom comes by around 8:15 and takes Aubrey to school.  I try to clean up bottles, unload the dishwasher and tidy up the kitchen. I give Baylor a bottle around 8:30 and then go pump.I let the boys play a little while I finish getting dressed.  Baylor usually is ready for nap around 9:30 and is an excellent napper. He will nap for about two hours in the morning and afternoon.

I put him down and then get a few toys out to entertain Weston. When his sister is at school, he loves to play with her things. He plays for a little while and I try and get some work accomplished. That last about 30 minutes and then Weston tells me he wants to take a bath. Weston absolutely LOVES bath time. He will sometimes take 3-4 baths a day. He loves to play in the tub...he can play for upwards of an hour at a time. Today is no exception...he takes a bath in my bathroom, while I work for about an hour. He is a hoot...he makes me laugh.

Around 11:30, I wrap up my morning work and get Baylor up.  We make lunch and I head out to get a diet coke. Diet cokes are my lifeline and I do not go a day without one. It's my most favorite time of the day.  On this day, we run through Sonic and I get Weston some french fries and myself a drink. We head back home and finish eating and I feed Baylor.  I put a movie on for Weston and I go pump. Around 12;45, I put Weston down for a nap.  Weston is a great napper as well, and doesn't fight me at all. I let Baylor play in his jumpy and have some sit up time while I try and do some more work. Around 2:00 I put Baylor down for a nap. Usually we have to go get Aubrey from school at 3:00, but on this particular day, Aubrey's teacher called and said she was complaining of a headache, so my mom (have I mentioned that my mom is my lifesaver...we could not survive without her) grabs Aubrey from school. Aubrey gets home and rests for a little while until both boys wake up.

I hate 3:00-5:00 because it is just the hardest time of the day. I'm trying to finish work, unpack backpacks, make lunches for the next day, make dinner, feed Baylor all while keeping the two big kids occupied. On this particular day, I am brave and decide an art project will pass the time away. We break out the paints and have fun out on the patio.  The fun last about 15 minutes until Weston takes his pants off (I have no idea why) and proceeds to paint himself. We wrap up the art fun and head inside for dinner. Dinner is hot dogs and chili and the kids eat it up with no complaint.

After dinner, we do baths and clean up. Christian gets home around 6:00 and I slip out and run to Oak Point for milk and a drive by myself. Once I am back home, we do a quick movie before nightly devotionals and bedtime for 7:30.  Once the kids are down, I take a quick bath, finish more work, talk with Christian and snuggle with Baylor. I usually pump again around 8:30 and then hit the bed. Christian feeds Baylor and lays him down, usually Bay Bay is up about 2 times a night to nurse but overall he is a great sleeper.

The days are crazy, crazy busy.  The days are loud and sometimes deafening.  The days sometimes seem long and never-ending...but these are the best days of my life. I get to spend my days with my loves doing what I dreamed of doing since I was a child.  May I always remember the sweetness that these simple days offer to me.  Laughter, play, hugs, kisses, and fun...these are what my days consist of.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Joy comes in the Morning- 2016

I always love to do an end of the year post.  I usually spend about an hour re-reading each post of mine from the year, savoring each moment and special occasion that we have experienced throughout the year. This year I did the same, by the end of my reminiscing, I was had tears streaming down my face. What a year. What a hard year. What a year of worry, unknowns, fear, loss and devastation. But tucked deep beneath those tough times were times of growth, times of learning and even times of laughter. This is not a year that I will remember as one of our best, but I will definitely remember it as one of tremendous trials that produced tremendous testimonies. Testimonies that speak of God's goodness, His provision and most of all His grace. This year brought us to our knees time and time again.  So often I felt bruised and battered by the beatings that this year seemed to continue to bring our way, but never before have I had to cling to Him with such force.  Having walked through trials we never could have dreamed of, has forced us back to the foundation of what we believe and that being that no matter what...we will trust in God's ways. We may cry out to Him in pain, questioning His reasoning but we will not ever turn away. When we are weak...He alone is strong. We may have been knocked down repeatedly but we are far, far from out. We are not alone in a year of hardships. Our family and friends have also been battered but shown nothing but resilience and strength. I've seen unshakable strength from both my parents and my in-laws. I've witnessed first hand the devastation of losing everything, a lifetime of memories but not once losing hope. Our parents have both set the standard for what it looks like to walk through deep waters (pun intended) and come out on the other side with dignity and strength.

The beginning of last year started off really rough. I was about 15 weeks pregnant and had received news that two rounds of bloodwork came back abnormal. I also had noticed a large knot in my breast that was alarming. Both of these factors together caused us to panic.  Thankfully, things all turned out okay and some weekly shots helped to get my bloodwork back in order.

In February we had the blessing of learning that our sweet baby was a boy!  It was so fun having all of our family there to share in the announcement. Aubrey was a tiny bit disappointed, but I have no doubt she wouldn't even think twice about preferring Baylor over a sister now. Also my sweet Bre got to go on a daddy daughter date with Papa D, this was extremely special for my dad as well as for Bre. This night will be one that goes down in history as one of Papa D's favorite nights for sure. 

In March we celebrated Weston's 2nd birthday at Chuck E Cheese.  His birthday is actually the end of December but after Christmas festivities, it's always too much to try and squeeze a party in.  It was nice to wait a few months before celebrating his big day.  We also gave our sweet Lexie away in March and it was one of the best decisions we ever made!  We miss her dearly but know she is in a much better family who can give her lots of attention!

In April we took our annual "Moots only" beach trip.  This trip is always one of my favorites because it is so nice to not have any agenda or itinerary but to just relax and enjoy our family. This year we had to go a little early, so it was colder than we would have preferred, but overall we had a great time. 

In May we learned that our precious Bay Bay was not growing properly in my belly and I was told he had IUGR.  We began seeing Maternal Fetal Medicine on a weekly basis and really monitoring Baylor's weight and progress. We learned at those visits that my umbilical cord was abnormal and not functioning at the 100%.  This was very alarming for us and I was very fearful for Baylor.  I kept being told to just monitor his movement, but I could never actually feel him move. Those weeks were extremely unsettling for me.  

In June Aubrey had her 2nd dance recital and she totally rocked that stage!  She is such a performer and it was so fun to watch her light up with such confidence and beauty.

Just three days after Bre's recital, I was unexpectedly admitted to the hospital because Baylor was deteriorating.  At 34 weeks, I was rushed back for an emergency C-section.  Our sweet angel was born at just 4 pounds and very sick.  Baylor spent 21 days in the NICU and those days were by far the hardest of our lives. Having a sick child was not something we had ever experienced, and I was so torn between wanting to be at the hospital with him, but needing to be home with my other two as well.  It was such a heartbreaking time for me and I remember feeling so robbed of Baylor's birth and first days of his life. I sobbed the first time I learned that they had given him a bath and I wasn't even there to be a part of it.  All those little "firsts" you take for granted were taken from me.  However, God has totally given me back those lost moments because I've gotten to have a newborn for literally 6 months. Baylor is so tiny and snuggley and just precious.  He has no desire to crawl or move around, but rather is just content to lay in my arms. I feel like God has given ten times more time and special bonding moments with Baylor.  

July is somewhat of a blur just because we spent so much time in the hospital and then bringing Baylor home. Settling into a routine with three was an adjustment but also very exciting for our family. Baylor has brought such a peace to me as a mommy and we are all so blessed by him each in individual ways. The NICU seemed like such a tragedy, but really as I look back on those weeks, I see such great memories. We had so many moments of getting to visit, one on one with family members and friends, that it actually brought us closer to many loved ones. Such sweet, intimate moments were spent in that tiny room, great conversations, prayers and even laughter came out of many special visits. It's in those valleys that others are able to lift you up, carry you through and bless you in mighty ways. We will forever be thankful for the lessons learned throughout those NICU days. Most of all we are in awe of the miracle that is our Baylor. He is a complete medical marvel and his survival and success are nothing but an absolute miracle. 

Just when we thought things were looking up and turning around, August decided to rear its ugly head. The rains began to pour that Thursday and by Sunday almost our entire city was completely underwater. Homes ruined, lifetime of memories destroyed and lives completely turned upside down. I remember packing my 4, 2 and 7 week old in my dad's truck and just hoping that we could make it to safety.  Driving that drive to my parent's house...I just knew things would never be the same. But just like the days we spent with Baylor in the hospital, there was beauty to be found from the wreckage.  The pain and suffering would lend way to restoration and hope.  There would be many great things to come from the troubled waters...most of all the recognition that nothing really matters in this world but relationships.  All things will ultimately be lost but love will remain.  My parents and in laws have walked a very hard road in losing everything, but they have been amazing and such an inspiration.  We have such respect and admiration for their strength and joy that they have shown throughout this tragedy. 

September brought about first days of school and some were more excited than others!  My sweet Weston started school for the first time and he was such a trooper.  He struggled at first but he has done great in getting adjusted.  

In October we celebrated Bre turning 5 years old!  How on earth is my baby a whole hand now? Makes me sad, yet I absolutely love her being a little older and more mature.  She is a huge help to me and I just love having a little girl to do girly things with.

In November and December we enjoyed Thankgiving and Christmas with our families and even wrapped up the year by celebrating our sweet Weston's 3rd birthday.  Our kids are growing so fast that it is vital we stop and party it up with these little cuties. Christian was out of school for the entire month of December and it was amazing to have him home and able to just spend time together as a family.  He has ONE YEAR...11 months to be exact left of Nurse Practitioner school and we are just elated that it is almost over. Walking through these tough months, while in school full time, has not been easy and honestly we have almost thrown the towel in twice...but ultimately C hung in there and the end is in sight!!!  

As this year comes to a close, even though the difficult times were present at times, the year was over and abundantly filled with wonderful moments. Moments that have taken our breaths away and will forever be etched in our memory.  Moments that brought us to our knees, but also brought us to a place of healing, peace and ultimately joy.  I'm reminded of the verse, and I think it so beautifully fits this year's theme...For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may endure for a night, But a shout of joy comes in the morning. I am so thankful for His favor...He alone is the reason we can stand and proclaim the goodness of this year.  He has brought us through it all and made us much stronger in the process. I said it earlier but its truth is profound, 2016 had many trials but those trials gave way to many amazing testimonies...testimonies that will shape our future and be stepping stones for great things that lie ahead. 2017 will be a year of rebuilding and growth...I can't wait to see the beauty that comes in the days ahead.