Monday, February 27, 2006

FSU Photo Shoot

Apparently, Jeff and Emma had a serious talk the other day and decided on her college. Jeff promises it was all her idea...

Thursday, February 23, 2006

You Know You're a Mom When…

This question was asked of me a few weeks ago during an interview for a MOPS newsletter. (For those of you who don't know, MOPS is a social program for mothers of children preschool age and under. Emma and I attend every other Friday at my church so we can play with kids our own age.)

Anyway, at the time of the interview, I couldn't think of a good answer, which has bugged the crap out of me ever since. So the anal retentive (or is it obsessive compulsive?) side of me has been creating this list in my head, and I thought I might as well share. So enjoy and let me know what would be on your list!

You Know You're a Mom When…
1. You would give up chocolate for the well being of your child… twice.
2. You have mastered the art of sleeping while sitting straight up.
3. Sleep is no longer necessary for everyday functioning.
4. The sound of a burp brings an overwhelming sense of accomplishment.
5. A poopy diaper warrants an excited call to Daddy at work.
6. You shower every other day…if you're lucky.
7. You finally have a good excuse as to why the hair on you legs is almost as long as the hair on your head.
8. You now understand why God gave you hips.
9. Peeing alone has become a luxury.
10. You become numb to the fact that you are ALWAYS doing laundry.
11. You now talk in the third person.
12. Your CD player is full of instrumental music.
13. The last good book you read involved pop-up chickens.
14. Your pant leg has become a Kleenex.
15. You literally thank God for pacifiers.
16. You are proud of the original hand movements you created for "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star."
17. Hoodies and elastic pants are wardrobe staples.
18. Your lips have turned into a thermometer.
19. No day is complete without tummy time.
20. A mysterious red bump prompts a frantic search of every medical Web site you can find.
21. The most adventurous thing you've done all day is drive to the bank. (This line item may change when a toddler is involved.)
22. A long nap triggers a mad dash up the stairs to confirm breathing.
23. The layout of Babies R Us actually makes sense to you.
24. Bright-colored plastic decorates every room of your home.
25. One smile from your baby makes you want to do it all over again.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Sweet Potatoes Anyone?

The verdict is...


Monday, February 20, 2006

Happy and Healthy

On Friday, Emma went for her 6-month well-baby appointment, and everything is great. This was the first appointment with our new pediatrician, and as always, it was meant to be. This doctor has a 17-month old who had silent reflux -- exactly what Emma has -- so we clicked instantly. (My friend who recommended her didn't even know this!) So, the doc knew exactly what we were going through and suggested one more medication that worked for her daughter. I was hesitant at first to put Emma on yet another med , but she promised us that she would never offer it if she didn't think it would make Emma more comfortable. She's not a big meds person and likes the body to heal itself from things like colds and coughs. She also only feeds her baby organic food, so I feel like she would only suggest it if it really worked. I pick up the Rx today, so we're anxious to see if it helps. I guess this stuff somehow moves Emma's tummy so that it isn't always in the same place. This should keep the acid from constantly bouncing back up into her esoph. We'll see. She suggested we try it for a month and then stop if we want to limit the meds. Then, if we see a huge difference, we continue it. If not, we'll stop.

All the other usual stuff is great. Emma is 16 pounds, which means she gained 3 lb in only 2 months. Usually babies at this age average about 1 lb per month, so she's a little over. We did find out we might be feeding her a little too much of the formula, so we're scaling back. I had an instinct that we were since she was spitting up more than usual, but at the same time, she didn't seem satisfied after a bottle. The doc said she's probably ready for solids, which I agree. So, tonight will be the sweet potato trial. I'm going to wait until Jeff gets home so he can feed it to her. We're both excited to see her reaction. It's pretty funny what you look forward to when you're a parent! :o)

She also received her next two shots and did great. The first one didn't phase her, but the second stung and she let us know it! She got over it quick though and zonked out on the way home. Don't think that meant we'd get a long nap out of her. No way! 39 minutes later she was up and ready to play!

Overall, her sleeping has gotten better. Her naps are regular, but the duration still varies. I can usually get her back down if she takes a short nap, but I'm hoping those instances when she sleeps on her own become more frequent. One can dream!

We are going to try putting her to sleep without her papasan this week. It's worked great as far as putting her in an upright position, but she's getting too big for it and can't seem to get comfortable. So, we're going to prop up her mattress a little more and see if her reflux can stand it. I'm a little hesitant since this will mean some LLLOONNGG nights, but we don't know what else to do. I just hate the thought of her being uncomfortable, but we're out of options. We can't let the girl sleep in her high chair! Just pray that she will be able to get some ZZZs!

That's all for now. More photos to come as Miss Emma attempts to get mobile. So far, we just have some frustrated tummy "crawling," but if her Daddy has anything to say about, she'll be on all fours soon. I, however, am more than willing to wait...

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

To My Little Valentine

Well, peanut, here's the letter I've been meaning to write you every month for the last 6 months, but as it turns out, you keep me a lot busier than I expected! Still, I figured 6 months was the perfect milestone for you to get a letter from your Mama. Not to mention that it's Valentine's Day. Did we plan perfectly or what?

Actually, you are teaching me that life can't be planned perfectly, especially when it comes to a baby. And that started with your early arrival. Six months ago today, you were nice enough to give me a nice, short labor. Little did I know this was your way of telling me that this was the way you liked everything -- quick and to the point. From eating and playing to your short naps (I like to call them "snaps"), everything is done with an intensity that even I have a hard time keeping up with!

Let's start with the fun stuff -- you love to play, play, play! I should have known by the kicks inside my tummy that you would be a busy little bee. Your legs move nonstop and have since you were a few weeks old. The doctor was amazed at how active you were at your 1-month well-baby appointment and warned us that we had a very energetic child on our hands! :o)

Your first favorite toy was Mr. Star, who mesmerized you for the first 4 months. That is, until the exersaucer came into your life. This was much more comfortable for you since you were off your back and able to play with several different toys at once. Although you are careful to play with each toy, the book is your favorite. You try to turn the thick plastic pages for minutes on end and never get frustrated. At least we know you have some patience in you!

And your legs aren't the only body parts constantly moving. Those hands keep up just fine. When they are not in your mouth, they are grabbing for anything in sight that may or may not fit in your mouth, including other people's fingers. You also took to praying early on. ;o) For a short time, you liked to sleep on your side and your hands naturally fell into the praying position. Although you changed your sleeping position before I could get a picture, it is imprinted in my mind forever.

Believe it or not, one of your favorite things to do is get your diaper changed. From day one, you have loved your changing table, which has turned into a fun play area for us. We have our little ritual where I tickle your legs before we change your diaper. You know from the moment those pant legs are off what's coming, and you straighten your legs and wait for those goose bumps. No smiles or giggles, just some serious relaxation going on. In fact, this is possibly the only time I can get those legs to stop moving! But once that diaper is off, it's playtime again, where you do everything in your power to prevent the diaper and pants from going back on. Kick, giggle, kick, giggle, kick…and since Christmas time, you now squeeze in a few toe sucking sessions in there as well. Thankfully, God has granted me with an enormous amount of patience when it comes to this part of our day. I actually think it's hilarious and probably encourage it more than anything. When else do I get to see joy in its purest form?

Your smiles came early, right around 6 weeks and have been melting hearts ever since. Fishy lips were a sure way to get a smile early on, but lately we've had to work a little bit harder. You also carefully choose who hears your giggles, and only a select few have had the pleasure so far. You actually have two kinds of laughs. You have your silly playful laugh when we say funny things or sing silly songs, and then there's the belly laugh. This comes when we are tickling your tummy or your sides. These are my favorite!

You are certainly one vocal little girl and have been since you first discovered your voice. You amazed me and your Daddy with your early forms of communication -- how you managed to make noises that sounded exactly like an elephant is beyond us, but you did so for several weeks until you started cooing, which was the most precious thing ever. These soft, angelic noises were much different than your early grunts and garnered the undivided attention of your aunts, uncles, and grandparents. It wasn't long, however, before those coos turned into very loud goos and gagas. And boy do you like to be heard! You're not exactly soft-spoken, and you know exactly what you want and will communicate accordingly. You literally yelled at your Daddy the other day for leaving you in the car seat for too long. Now we just eagerly await your first word, which will hopefully be Mama or Dada (although baba is looking more realistic). We work on all three words, but for now, you seem to just enjoy watching me make these strange noises, with little interest in mimicking me. But that's okay. We have many years of talking ahead of us!

Rolling over started early for you. You first flipped from your tummy to back, right around 9 weeks. You stuck with that trick for quite a while, until you finally figured out you could roll back over onto your tummy. That happened right around 5 1/2 months. You just started to sit up on your own last week, but you have always liked the upright position. I can recall you fussing at a few weeks old, and you would only stop when I put you in the sitting position on my knees. I know part of that was because of your reflux, but it is also because you like to see what is going on. There is so much to see! You're not a big snuggler and would rather face outward so you can take in every bit of your surroundings. In fact, I better feed you in a quiet, dark room otherwise forget about it. Your head whips around at the slightest noise. Why waste time with eating when everything else is so much more interesting?

Eating has certainly been a journey for both of us. You caught on to breastfeeding quickly and knew exactly what to do from the first feeding. No problems there. You ate more than enough and gained weight so quickly that the doctor actually thought I needed to spread out your feedings. Little did he know that you absolutely had to eat every 2 hours and no one -– and I mean no one -– was going to change that. So I fed you and fed you until you finally got big enough to eat every 2.5 to 3 hours. This made it a little difficult to do much else but feed you, but I learned quickly that catering to your needs was my one and only priority -– a responsibility that I have grown to treasure with every passing day.

Unfortunately, the fact that you needed to nurse frequently didn't mean you exactly enjoyed it. You wiggled and cried often, leaving your Mama pretty confused and frustrated. However, as time went by, we discovered why you were so unhappy. Not only did you have a pretty bad case of thrush, you also had acid reflux and a milk/soy allergy. That's a lot for one little person to handle. But you did so with relatively little crying; you're such a trooper! The good news is that after some medication, strategic sleeping positions, and a strict diet, we got it under control the best we could. (By the way, I am demanding that you buy me a box of chocolate for every birthday and special event until I die. Your Daddy can explain why when you get older.)

You tried cereal at 4 months and loved it. Unfortunately, we stopped it after a few weeks because it seemed to plugging you up. This may have been a mistake because you have now made it very clear that you don't want any part of this stuff we call cereal. You'd much rather have the potato chips Daddy is eating. I have a feeling real solids are in your very near future.

We also recently decided it was time to put you on formula. You didn't like the taste of it at first (and I don't blame you for that -– it smells pretty bad!), but you have adjusted extremely well. Although I am sad that I am no longer your sole provider of food, I know your Daddy and other family members are having fun feeding you. Even with all of our struggles, I will always treasure our feeding times. Sometimes we would "fight it out," but other times we had lots of fun as you played hide and seek and spoke to me in the sweetest little voice I have ever heard. And then there were the peaceful night feedings where I fell in love with you over and over and over again. You'd fall asleep on my shoulder and nuzzle in close enough so I could kiss those chubby cherub cheeks and your sweet little lips. Thankfully, you do the same with your bottle night feeds, so I get to enjoy that for a little while longer.

Sleeping has been another fun adventure. After about 2 weeks of age, you decided sleep was something necessary, but not something that was going to interfere with everything you had to do during the day. You slept much like you ate -– quick and often. No long stretches for you. That would take up too much time. Your strategy was to get in just enough rest to get you to the next play time. No quiet time necessary.

In the first few months, you only lasted about 45 minutes before you were ready to sleep, and your naps were only about an hour long at most. Eventually, you were able to last an hour and a half before a nap, but that's didn't mean you'd sleep longer. Quite the contrary. A 30- to 45- minute nap would do. It is only recently that you are able to sleep longer than that, but those times are few and far between and are usually at a time when I least expect it. You love to keep me on my toes! And for as much as I want to believe our recent (dare I say it out loud) schedule is here to stay, I have a feeling it will be changing right around the time I get used to it.

Sleeping through the night is not an idea we really even entertain yet, but you have gotten much better. On good nights when your reflux isn't bothering you, you will get up for one late-night feeding and one early morning feeding. For the most part, you sleep from 7pm to 7am. You have a few "pacifier moments" here and there, but you don't put up a fight. Your Daddy and I haven't gotten brave enough to let you cry yet, so for now you have our full attention around the clock. We are hopeful you will learn to sleep on your own. Until then, I have a feeling you are going to milk our attention for all it's worth. Truth be told, provided that you go right back down, I don't really mind these little pacifier moments since they are usually at the time I am thinking about you and missing you. Sometimes I wonder if you are psychic.

You are already famous. Since you've been born, you have been featured on TV and a Web site. Your blog might even end up in a book! You also have met some pretty special people. Your first week home, we made a special trip to meet your Great, Great Grandma Emma. Watching you two meet was a very special moment. Five generations doesn't happen every day you know! She is so proud of her namesake, and I know she looks forward to watching you grow up these next few years.

Your 4-month birthday also brought the birth of your baby cousin Evan, who I know will be your buddy (and bodyguard) in the years to come. He is already trying his hardest to catch up with you, so I know he'll be a great playmate. He's very relaxed though, so I have a feeling this may be a ying and yang relationship. It will be fun watching you two grow up together. I see embarrassing bathtub photos in both of your futures!

So there you have it. A quick little summary of our life together these past 6 months. It goes without saying that you have rocked our world Miss Emma in more ways than one. We have more love in our hearts than we ever imagined possible.

You have also taught me more about myself than any college course or career ever could. I am learning to enjoy the simple things in life again, and for that I am truly grateful to you. You are my buddy, and I love spending my days with you. I can't wait to see what the next 6 months have in store for us.

We love you, bunny!

Monday, February 13, 2006

Comments Welcome

Okay, so I've held back from posting this request because I felt dumb, but I'm gonna go for it. I know many of you read this blog, but the truth is, I'd never know it. So if you have two seconds, feel free to post a little comment. You don't have to of course, but it's just nice to know who's reading and what ya'll think. I know you have to "register," but I haven't noticed any major email spam resulting from doing so. Still, it's up to you. Hopefully we'll be hearing more from you!

Luv you all!!

Friday, February 10, 2006

Fun Fotos

This smile's for you!

Sitting Pretty

Girlfriends rock!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

A Weekend from Heaven

Oh, where do I begin? Well, I guess Thursday is a good place. This was the night of MY doctor's appointment. Right before this appointment, I decided to breastfeed Emma. This just happened to be one of those wonderful feedings where she was sweet and calm and fell asleep on my shoulder -- in the middle of the day! I was so happy I nodded off with her even though I knew I had to get ready for the doctor. It was a wonderful moment that I now realize was a blessing. It was almost as if God was saying, "This is my gift to you. You've done a good job. Now go take care of yourself." So I did.

My doctor's appointment was probably the first time I actually looked at my own health these past few months, and Dr. S really made me feel good. He was very positive about what kind of mom I've been so far and really encouraged me to take better care of myself. We went over a few things I've neglected since Emma's been born. Nothing serious, just a few minor "to dos," and I should be as good as new. Maybe better!

So I left the doctor feeling rejuvenated and okay with what we were planning on doing over the weekend -- completely weaning Emma.

The last feeding happened on Friday night, and it wasn't as emotional as I thought it would be. Actually, I would count that Thursday afternoon feeding as our last since it was so special. The Friday night feeding wasn't as "peaceful," which made me feel like she was just as ready as I was to move on to the next step. I did have a little bit of an icky feeling in my stomach that night, but I figure that's normal. Emma was about to thrive without me...and with the help of others. For anyone who has breastfed, that is a very hard thing to come to terms with. But it was going to happen sometime, so I figured doing it while we were out of town was the best time. Besides the fact that I would be able to eat normal food, it would also be easier on Emma. Since her surroundings would be so unfamiliar, I thought she might not notice the difference as much. I wouldn't be feeding her a bottle in the same chair as she normally gets a boob. Same thing with the night feedings. I thought this would help "ease" her into the idea so that when we returned from Geneva, she might not notice. Maybe I am justifying it all, but it made sense to me -- and it worked.

I'm still not 100 percent sure she isn't reacting to the formula, but she seems fine. In fact, she is sleeping great -- naps and at night. She was actually amazing over the weekend. I was so proud of her!!! She was extremely happy and never missed one nap. That's quite an accomplishment when 11 of us (including four kids ages 6 and under) were sharing the same living space. She adapted so well. I couldn't believe it! Again, I believe it was God's way of saying she was going to be fine and that I could chill.

And boy did I! Not only did I have pizza, pop, and lots of chocolate, I also got to work out and pamper myself with a facial. It was so much fun. And I didn't have to worry about Emma, who was busy being loved by her cousins, aunts, and grandparents. At one point, I came back from the gym and wanted to hold her (I missed her like crazy!), and she wanted to stay by her Auntie Lexi. This was huge -- she NEVER turns me down! But, heck, the girl was having fun. Who was I to interfere? :o)

As you all know, the title of this blog is Heaven Sent, and I truly believe with all of my heart (and mind!) that Emma was a gift directly from God. She is the closest to heaven I will ever experience in this lifetime. BUT I also feel like this weekend was a gift sent directly from God as well. A worldly gift, yes, but it renewed my spirit like only He could. His timing is amazing. This could have been a very stressful weekend as far as Emma's sleeping schedule and her weaning, but instead it went extremely smooth and provided more relaxation than I have felt in a LONG time. I know this was not coincidence. He graciously gave me peace about what I was doing.

For those of you who may feel I read too much into things, I honestly don't care what you think. I know what I feel, and I know my Father in Heaven is taking care of me. That is the blessing of being one of his children. He unconditionally loves us and gives us blessings we don't deserve. Even when we (I) try to control everything and question His plan, he still gives us blessings simply because He loves us. Wouldn't we do the same for our own children?

Okay, enough of my deep thoughts. Back to the fun stuff. Miss Emma had a great time this weekend. Here are some photos of her first swimming experience. Thanks to Grandma Bonnema for her adorable swimsuit!

Jackson and Emma have fun splashing around

"It's a little cold, Mom"

"I love you, Daddy"

"And I'm spent..."

Friday, February 03, 2006

We're Famous!

Check us out on this Web page: Click Here. (We're the February 2 image of the day!)

Thanks to Cara for the heads up!
:o) Lisa