Learning from Pop

We've had a pretty great ride with parenthood so far. Arleigh is a great baby. She's a singer and a chatter box. And she's OH so sweet. And she loves her Daddy.  Minus the salmonella, allergies, snot and ear infections, she's been a breeze. And I have a prayer for her life. I want her to be like my Pop. Or grow in Christ even more than him.  And find a man who loves the Lord as much as him. It's the circle of life. It will be his legacy.

I'm not perfect. I'm FAR from it.  But at least I have fantastic role models that are leaving the right kind of legacy for me to follow. Not just my Mom and Granny, but my Pop.

Right now, as I type this out, my Pop is laying in the hospital in the comfort care (and according to his doctor) on his final few days. This afternoon, I'm headed to Columbus to be there for my Mama.

One of my favorite Pop stories is about when one of my aunts decided to run away. My mom's greatest memory of that time is that my Granddaddy stayed in his chair reading the Bible, not saying a word, the entire time she was gone.  That's the Pop I want the world to remember. That's the Pop that I want to remember. That's the kind of parent I want to be. That's the kind of man I want for Arleigh. That's the kind of man everyone needs in their life.

Pop's journey to becoming a Christian is pretty amazing too. I remember him telling his story about not  growing in Christ until they had Aunt Nancy, my Mom's special needs sister. In a age where babies who were different were locked away, they made the decision to turn their lives over to the Lord. How amazing is that? Instead of asking why, they made the decision to just change. Change for the better.  I will always remember him as a man who expected the best from me. But most importantly, my favorite memories are when he was growing older in life, you would always find him in his chair reading and studying God's word. Even on days as a child when he wasn't plowing, fishing, hunting, or working in his shop, you would find him studying his Sunday School lesson and learning. How else can you truly grow in Christ? I'm learning more and more that no books, people or life can teach you anything for certain. The Bible is the only truth on this earth. It's the best way to hear God. Pop knew that. I hope and pray  I can grow more like him. That's my prayer.

Truthfully, as hard as it is to say or even fathom, he's going to a MUCH better place. He's going to see Jesus and sit by God. This much I know. He's going to receive the riches of glory. He's going to see my Granny, and hopefully give her a big ole hug for me.  Part of me is so excited for him. Our  family transitioning to a new "family", without our patriarch, will be extremely difficult. Especially on my Mama, Aunts and Uncle, and my little brother.

I want to hold on to the memories. About the peppermints in his pockets on Sunday mornings for me to find when I sat beside him EVERY Sunday at church. Or P-O-P being the first word I could spell, and I remember spelling it for him over and over. How he aways had a real handkerchief. Letting us watch him in the shop or work with him in the garden as kids.  Picking muscidimes to eat and catawba worms for us to go fishing, or for him to sell the worms at the lake. Skinning deer and how you never ever want to bust the stomach. How he was a sharp shooter, but he couldn't stand war. And how he didn't want to talk about his military service. How he helped my Daddy build the camphouse, and how he truly believed it existed for family. He taught us that you never mow the yard or go fishing on Sundays. Sundays were about church and family. And as kids, we did just that. When we were younger we went "visiting" on Sundays. How he loved cashews and those orange circus peanuts. How he could be tough as nails, but it was only because he had high expectations. How he would pick me up at school or take me to the doctor when I was sick. (I called my Granny when I was little and at school sick, and my Pop always came to get me.) The delayed reaction when he would pick up the phone and say ............."Hello". How I remember his work jumpsuits he always wore, always navy or green. How he ALWAYS folded his pajamas and put them under his pillow. How he loved the outdoors and was so talented and (in my mind) could fix or do just about anything. He loved wood working and making things. How he grew up in a different time...and he still would hammer out bent nails or eat half a can of chicken noodle soup. How as a kid, his Coke was a treat, and you didn't dare drink one without permission. That you better keep the back porch door shut if the air conditioner was running. How he always had a dog. And he couldn't stand the cats. (Even though I loved them, and he ALWAYS had a bunch.) Cooking his supper and making his favorite white cake with chocolate icing, and lining up the pecans on top just like Granny taught me. How he would ride his 4-wheeler or walk through the woods to our house because he hadn't seen us that day.  Or as we grew older, because he heard we were were home. (But he wouldn't say that.) If we weren't at church, he would stop by to find out why.  And if Mama wasn't going for whatever rare reason, you ALWAYS had a ride to or from church. He let us be kids, but respectful kids. But don't dare slide down the stairs or play in Granny's junk room. :-) How he expected us to do right and act right. (Granny, on the other hand, would let me get away with murder.) How he always called me Sis as he grew older, and how he softened with age and loved kisses on the cheek. His silly Christmas socks and his bunch of ties. How he's taught the older men's Sunday school class as long as I've been alive. How he was always clean shaven until he started going down. Pop got to be there for my wedding. He met Arleigh. He had pizza with Clarence in our living room. Last Christmas, our Pop envelope was addressed to John, Penny, Clarence and Little Penny. How he gave CLARENCE a dollar at Christmas and had a sense of humor. How he STILL used his military issued razor. How he didn't loose his sharp-as-a-tack mind. How he called Arleigh his baby. It's almost if what I remember as my Andy Griffith Mayberry childhood is going too. I have so many awesome memories. He loved us. He loved family. All of us, even my crazy dog.  He even let Clarence in his house to visit.  Most importantly, he took his role as a Christian seriously.

The fact is, up until fall of last year, my Pop was still plowing fields and hunting at 89. This new life, of being confined indoors and not able to participate in life, just isn't him. It's selfish to want to hold him here when he can be back to plowing fields in heaven and sitting with God.

Last Saturday, I attended a bible study on leaving a legacy. When I think of the legacy I want to leave, I think of my Pop. It's the legacy he is leaving us with, and I want to leave at least as much with Arleigh. I pray that she remembers me as I will remember Pop.

With all the prayer requests, let me encourage your prayers in a different direction. Let me encourage you to pray for the souls he touched all these years to keep on reaching and teaching others to come and grow in Christ for generations to come. Let that be his legacy. Pray for peace as our family transitions one of our best to heaven.   Pray for God's will in this. Pray for us to never forget him as a man of God. Pray for all of us to be more like him, and in doing that, we will be grow closer to HIM.

1 Peter 1:3-5 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.


Charity vs Socialism

Grocery line and someone uses their government issued food stamps card, checks out and gets into their ballin new ride. Or better...buy groceries with their card and sell them for cash in the parking lot. This is the same government that thinks they should be more involved in healthcare because they are so smart? Sorry folks. I already work 3 months out of the year for the government because they get 25% of my check. Maybe I should take a vacation those 3 months and see how they like my entitlement program. I'll be glad to help those with real needs that are verified and use MY money for good. I wish Washington would realize it is NOT their money they like to spend so freely. It's mine. If you can't manage existing programs, why insert yourselves in others? Rant over.

I've been listing to AFR. Socialism is when the government takes our money to use for the good of others. Charity is when we make a conscious effort to do good on our own.  I'm just not sure using my tax dollars for all these entitlement programs is a good thing. It's certainly not charity. Point to ponder, anyway. I'm thinking I'd like to do the Jesus in Politics study. Sounds like something I'd really enjoy!


Gerber Babies

This is superficial and silly, but when I was pregnant and folks would ask me what I wanted, I'd say a gerber baby. I think I got my wish. :-) every parent thinks their baby is the most beautiful ever, so we can just call this the bragging that it is. John and I made one pretty baby. (or at least we think so!)I'll have to update soon on our past 10 days battling salmonella. An adventure in parenting.  I'm so thankful our precious baby is back to smiling. No real giggles in over a week, but hopefully soon! She definitely feels much better.


Important realization today. Clarence (dog child) wouldn't get out of the tub and behaved like an angel. I'm thinking he's realizing that's his only chance at undivided Mama attention since his world was rocked by a baby. He's never really liked baths. I think Clarence may need a day vacation to the pet store since he's been such a good brother.    Mama is gonna have to do better remembering to love on my first child. At one more thing to the Mama balance beam.


Sweet sleep

Sweet baby sleeping before 9 should mean that mommy would tackle thank-you notes for all the generous people that have blessed us. However, this new Mommy just can't put her down. I totally see how it would be easy to stay home the first year. She changes so quickly that you blink and miss it...which makes this working Mama soak up every second. These first 3 months have FLOWN by way to fast. I think we'll move to Canada before the next one since they have a better maternity leave plan. This working mama business is TOUGH!

Baby girl LOVES her two fingers. Has from about week 11. Ain't she cute?


Thing 574 I said I'd never do...

Who knew there was a Baby's first TV channel that she likes more than me at this second? Add it to the mega growing list of parenting ideas I threw out the window. Deep breath....I'm sure there are worse things than allowing her a few minutes of TV. Then why does it bother me so that she really likes it?


Top 10 things I didn't know before Arleigh

10.  Nasty, smelly poop can excite you. Especially when your baby is crying and fussy and you know she just needs to let it out. There has been once already where we were so excited and happy there could have been balloons, cake, and ice cream afterwards.  Speaking of belly issues, babies have gas. And bad gas can have grown up smells. We are in amazement sometimes that 12 pounds of cuteness can clear a room.

9. Babies cry and get fussy when you try to eat supper. Arleigh is the best diet invention yet. Apparently when I come home from work I'm all hers. It means we rarely cook supper anymore, too. I like that arrangement, but I have to eat sometimes. Lots of meals of triscuits and hummus so far. Apparently Arleigh's "I want my mama and my mama wants me" diet plan is working. I'm down 14 pounds in the past three weeks. (Way to go Arleigh!) It also means that my lean cuisines at work for lunch are extremely enjoyable. It could just be the uninterrupted part of the deal.

8.  They make zip up footed PJs without the engineering degree snaps. I LOVE zippers! Especially at 2 in the morning half asleep with no contacts.

7.  Cheaper luvs diapers can hold more pee at night and don't leave a damp feeling on her clothes like pampers and huggies. This was news to me....I thought you paid more for better. Apparently not. But I do really like the new stripes on diapers that turn dark green when she's wet. That is way cool.

6. I didn't know I would totally revert back to child hood. This includes reading silly books in multiple voices (We LOVE Going on a Bear Hunt), singing silly songs and having conversations with just ahhh and goo. Conversations with an 11 week old are just about the highlight of my day.

5.  One smile can make you melt. JUST MELT. I'm going to have to teach myself and her daddy that just because she has that sweet smile doesn't mean she can have anything. If she could talk right now, it would be dangerous. "Diamonds, please Daddy?" "Paris for Christmas, Mama?"  "I'd like to go to the moon, Papa." Why sure, honey. Whatever you want.

4.  Buying used clothes was so cool. I've never been a consignment, eBay, or Facebook used clothes shopper. But it means so many more outfits when you will wear something for 3-4 months. Most of Arleigh's smocked dresses (that weren't gifts or hand me downs) I bought for $15 and less. I'm a new fan!

3. I didn't know we would check milestone charts everyday and text out our updates. And that we'd be watching so closely for the next little thing.  (The poor next kid. I'm afraid they won't get such luxuries.)  I'm such a goober, because I really do know that this doesn't mean jack when it comes to walking or other development. But I like to know we're progressing.  This week she loves to stand and put all her weight on her legs. (So stubbornly so, she's started locking them straight so you have to stand her up.) She's started a giggle that is pretty darn adorable. She loves sitting in her bumpo seat or sitting straight up in your lap checking out the world from a new angle. She's able to hold her head up and turn it side to side on her own pretty good now.  She's really discovered the TV and would probably like us to let her watch it more. (She likes Seinfeld like her Daddy for some reason. Mommy doesn't.) And she's starting to love her fingers more and more, which Mommy likes because it means she can suck on her fingers instead of using Mommy, the world's best midnight to dawn fussy baby paci-putter-back-inner.

2.  How AWESOME John would be at this. (I figured I'd catch on pretty quick. I love babies and kids. I worked in a daycare. I've had babies around me forever.) Call me crazy, but I just assumed since he'd never wanted to be around babies or kids that he wouldn't be into parenting.  (I now know wanting to be around kids and having your own are two entirely different things.)  Heck, He's held Swayze once, and other than his conversations with Millie and Libby over the years, that's about the extent of his child care expertise. BOY WAS I WRONG. I'll never forget them rolling her in to the room at the hospital Friday night. (We had her Wednesday, and after much begging, they moved her from NICU to Well Baby so she could come to the room.) John just reached in and picked her up like he'd done it a thousand times. He gave me a little look like "here we go" and he just went for it. He hasn't stopped. He changes most poopies, feeds, bathes, sings...all of it. He's making me SO proud. So very, very, proud. Arleigh is very lucky to have a daddy like him.

1. And my number one thing that I didn't know before Arleigh...How you can have THIS MUCH LOVE for something so little and tiny. I knew we would love her. But I can't even explain the volume of love for her. It amazes me EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.


Mommy Life - All I can say is WOW!

This is a long one...excuse my babbling.

It's an amazing process. You get pregnant, and (if you are lucky) Poof! You have a baby and become a mom. Just like that. There's no magic switch to create this amazing love....but let me tell you, something happens and the flood gates open. And love grows. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.  I'm so amazed that I can wake up in the morning, see those smiley blue eyes and sweet chubby cheeks staring at me jabbering and just have the surreal rush of love. It's AMAZING. Absolutely God sent. In the beginning it was about survival. Feed, sleep, poop and repeat, all on zero sleep for the parents.  There wasn't much time to think about what you were doing. But now - we're almost 10 weeks -  the bubbly little personality begins to shine and the love keeps on growing. Maybe it's because of the miscarriage and the fact we wanted her SO much. I don't know where it comes from. I just know it's some kind of amazing love.

If you can't tell, we think Arleigh O is FABULOUS. She's a grinner and a talker. She loves to be the center of whatever is going on. From about 3 weeks, if you left her while she was wide awake she'd let you know that wasn't the plan she had in mind. She doesn't have to be held, but she has to know you are there...talking, listening to her babble and coo. If we're cooking or working on chores, she likes to be right there with you. (I hope she's like that until she's 30, but somehow I know it won't last.)

I'm one of those Mama's that can't really sing - but we sing ALL the time. (I'll blame that on the W....we had songs for EVERYTHING!) Old hymns, Praise and Worship, Masker and Silhouette songs, kid's songs, made up songs (thanks Uncle Richard) ....We sing. We start each day with Rise and Shine and give God the Glory....our own version.  (I hope I'm that mom who will stay goofy and will sing this when she's home from college one day.) And we carry on the silliest conversations. There is nothing sweeter than Arleigh answering my grown kid questions with her AhAhs and GoooGoos....It's my little piece of heaven. (Arleigh apparently talked Poppy in to a new boat and a chicken coop Sunday morning while Mommy and NanO were getting ready for church. She was a chatterbox talking to him!) She's finding her voice more and more. Some sounds are just crazy, like when she figured out how to make the silly hiccup sound without actually having the hiccups last Saturday morning. Our favorite game is mimicking sounds. Ah Ah Ah by Mommy then AhAhAh by Arleigh. LOVE it! :-)

Her favorite current possession would have to be her mobile in her crib. She loves that sucker. And Clarence of course. She likes to talk to both. Don't know what she's saying, but they all seem to be happy.

She's letting me read now more and more. I started in the beginning, but she wasn't that interested and would be crying by page 4. (Mommy was so into reading it may have been a bit overwhelming.) From about week 6, she started really focusing on the pages and can now stay engaged for 2 books or more - depending on how much ad-lib Mommy ads. I love the silliness and simplicity of children's books, and apparently I've been missing them for years...Because I can read at night as long as she'll let me. :-) 

We tried rice cereal mixed with formula by spoon around 7 weeks and also in a cereal feeder. She LOVED it and wanted to chow it down! She would attack the spoon with a vengeance! But it didn't make a difference on her staying to sleep longer at all, and didn't really help with reflux, but it did make her break out in a little rash. (Of course my child would be the one allergic to rice.) We decided we'd shelf the idea until closer to 4 months and try again. She's up to sleeping now from 10-3 on her own. The doctor said it had more to do with her size and weight, and if she's getting everything she needs to eat during the day. He said most babies are sleeping through the night on their own (without cereal) at 3-4 months.

Speaking of eating, she's up to around 30 ounces a day. (New mamas, you calculate the minimum they can eat by taking their weight times 2.5, and that's the ounces per day.) She's on a pretty decent schedule. She takes the bulk of her bottles (6 oz) from noon to about 10 at night, then "snack" eats 2-4 ozs randomly in between. 

I've been overwhelmed lately by the seriousness of the responsibility we have to raise our kids right. I'm still figuring out what kind of mom I want to be, what type of discipline we'll want to use, how we'll keep our kids engaged in our family - the list goes on. Heck, she's 10 weeks old.  My mom and I had the conversation this weekend about child rearing. (I have pretty amazing parents. So does John.) I've always known the train up a child verse, but it's never really meant anything to me. Until now.
Proverbs 22:6
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

We raise them right. We give them all the knowledge and directions they need to get to the destination. Of course we hope the road is straight and smooth. But they are going to hit pot holes, they are going to get lost. But if we give them the know-how to figure out how to get back on the right road, they will get to the destination in the end. We have to make their foundation solid so that when we let them go, which we will eventually have to do, they can find the right way on their own. That's the goal. Not for us to drive them there or be the co-pilot for life. But for us to give them the tools to get there on their own. In the end, we have to let go and let God.

 I already know I'm the mom who'd rather have dirty clothes and eat a lean cuisine for supper than miss out on my daily conversation with Arleigh during her awake time when I'm home from work.

I'm the mom that loves to listen and gather everyone's opinions to get ideas (like with the cereal) then go with what works best for us, sometimes throwing it all out the window. There's not a book or person out there that has my baby. And we will always know what's best. Even if we have to search the depths of our soul for the answer and live with the consequences of our mistakes. We're her parents. It's our job. 

I'm the mom that likes being silly and cheesy because now I have the perfect excuse. (Not that I really needed one, but I love goofy. Especially baby goofy when no one else is around.)

I'm the mom that didn't freak when breast feeding didn't work for us. I had kinda figured on a csection, and wasn't totally distraught by the fact of not having a natural delivery. I just wanted her here. But the one thing I did really want to do was breast feed. I have horrible allergies, and I knew BF was best. Plus, the bonding with your baby would have been such a wonderful experience. Both of us tried hard for 6 weeks. Really hard.  If I hadn't gone back to work I'd still be trying. But even with pumping round the clock, Arleigh trying, lactation consultants calls and visits, reading books and websites, bottles of fenugreek, friends helping...It didn't work for us. The most we ever got was 2-3 ounces a day. When you have a kid that was eating 25 ounces a day, completely frustrated with anything other than a bottle, and you are going back to work, it didn't make sense for us to continue. We calculated that I was spending 5-6 hours a day pumping and washing parts. (Outside of her feedings, because she didn't want anything to do with the breast. And with the super duper hospital grade pump, I couldn't do anything else while pumping.) Even though I know the little bit we did give her was best. (And she loved it!) I wish it would have been great for us and I'll try again next time. But I'm not going to let it define who I am as a mom. We did what was best for us and Arleigh, and that's what matters. There are plenty of other ways to bond. I know that now.

I'm the mom who learned real quick to throw out the judgement of other moms and their parenting.  I'm eating lots of my words and thoughts, just like my daddy-in-law said I would. I'm sure I'll be eating all of them before we hit 18. Everyone has different ideas, just like every kid will need the parents to understand they are different, and individuals. What works for one won't work for another. Discipline will be different. Schedules will be different. Even morals will be different from family to family. You just have to trust your instincts and roll with it...and there may be consequences. But you're doing your best, right? 

I'm the mom that knows she may be a dream baby right now, but there's going to come a time when she's not going to be this perfect. I'm soaking up the good now, but I know we're going to have bumps soon. And I just hope we as parents stay focused on the outcome of her character. But lets be real, I can hope and pray all day about how I want her to be. But she's going to be herself, and I just hope we give her enough tools to turn out top-notch in the end. 

I'm the laid back mom who doesn't freak when dog-brother Clarence decides his newborn sister needs a kiss...or kisses. As a matter of fact, Clarence has become the perfect baby sitter...you just have to let him. If she's crying, you can tell "brother" to check on "sister", and he'll go stick his nose in her face and let out some sort of gruff in their own language. Typically she will automatically chill out and just look at her goofy, big, black, fur ball brother. Some days, Clarence gets all the smiles. The vet actually told us that this was the best thing we could do for Clarence and his relationship within the family. Let him do what comes natural from the beginning and just be there to make sure he won't hurt or show aggression. And he hasn't. He's a great big brother. Clarence was in the family first, and we try hard for him to know he's still a part, even though his role (and amount of attention) has definitely changed.

I'm the mom who makes it a habit now to apologize to her when I get tired and cranky and don't act like a mom should. (Sometimes, even with my happy self, it happens from sheer exhaustion.) She doesn't have a clue now.  But one day, if it's a habit of mine, hopefully she will be able to do the same.We want her to have grace. The kind of grace that knows no one is perfect. Even parents.

I'm the mom who knows Arleigh should be in bed earlier than 10 or 11 on a better schedule because she needs 10-11 hours of sleep, but I can't do it because I want to spend every minute I'm awake with her. She's usually awake from about 4-11 pm - just for her Mama I'm sure. She can sleep at school. (For now anyway.)

 I'm the mom who prays with her every day because I want her to know it's part of our routine. Even if she still doesn't have a clue what I'm doing. One day she will. One day it will be her habit.

I'm the mom that bites my tongue if someone is doing something different with her than how I would do it. Or advice that doesn't matter. Just keep on smiling and change the subject. None of us have broken her yet.

I'm the mom that said for years I could never be a stay at home mom, but now I'm eating my words and would do anything to be afforded the luxury of taking care of Arleigh full time. (But I hope she grows to respect me for working hard in a different way.) I'm sure she will be fine; it's more upsetting for me than her. She has fantastic teachers who smother her with love during the day.  And when she's older, they will provide a great education. Of course I'll still need to supplement it all. She, just like me, will be fine. Although the more personality she gets, the harder it is to leave her every day. Makes me wanna cry! Or we could blame it on the new hormones...Who knows. Either way, it's HARD! Thank goodness for sweet teachers who text me pictures!

I'm the mom that wants to spoil her with love, my time, attention and affection, but not spoil her with things. I hope this is one we can remember to stick to as she gets older. (Current closet excluded from judgement.)  :-)

I'm the mom that doesn't panic when daddy puts Palmolive in the bathtub instead of baby wash. I'm just thankful she has a dad that wants to give her a bath. She's loved. So very loved.

Arleigh's baby dedication was Sunday. We went "home" to Mt. Zion to have her dedicated over to the Lord. :-) Full circle for me. NanO did the dedication, and Bro. Steve did the prayer. It was where I was born, brought up, saved, baptized, married, and now Arleigh's dedication. Arleigh had a cheering section. When you think about it, this was a huge day in her life. We, as parents, have made the decision that she's really not ours. She's God's, just on loan. We're responsible for making sure when she meets God, He's proud of his child. (See...SERIOUS responsibility!)  Papa and JuJu, Nano and Poppy, Uncle Josh, Aunt Brittney, Cousin Swayze, Cousins DanDan, Libby Lou and Millie Claire, Cousin Alexa, Auntie Rosie, and Tuscaloosa Aunties Beth and Claire came to see her dedication. (Total cheering section!) Arleigh is surrounded by a village of love.

When all this love comes pouring out of you for this one little baby, there's plenty to go around elsewhere, believe it or not. It's amazing what this new little love has done for our marriage. She's changed us both already. We smile more. Laugh more. Love more. Have you seen John as a daddy? He's down-right awesome. He loves his little mini-me, and she loves him. As a matter of fact, when she first did the "follow the voice" and "follow the face" it wasn't for her Mama - It was for her Daddy.  They are buds. :-) Arleigh only stays at school for about 3 hours in the morning now. John picks her up and he has Daddy duty until I get home. He's great with her. Gets up at night, changes diapers, gives baths...whatever needs doing he's right there. So protective. Super hero mode already.  I pity the guy who comes knocking on our door one day.   Maybe it's because she's 80% John, 15% Josh and about 5% me. Sometimes I can look at her and John's percentage goes down to 60%, but he's winning the genetics right now.

The best advice and the most repeated advice has been to hold them, love them, and hold them some more. Friends who have little ones to elderly adults have all stressed to us that she's going to grow so fast, that when she is on the move she may not want you to hold her. I'm definitely soaking up the sweet baby while I can.  We're making it a point to chill out and enjoy her.

Thank you notes and baby announcements, I promise I have you printed and on the to-do list! House cleaning and cooking, you can wait, too! I've still not reopened Daisymaes. I'm just not ready yet. Arleigh's the one that gets to be center of our universe right now.  It's hard enough going back to my 40 hour a week job - that wasn't a choice. But Daisymaes I can choose. Right now it's not as important...  I've been creative for others for so long, now it's time to use that little gift for Arleigh.   I've been very blessed and fortunate to have a creative outlet and make a little extra. But we're readjusting our needs as a family now, and choosing a second job to take another 8-15 hours a week away just isn't an option. Not while SHE needs me to be a mama.

Gosh she's cute. :-)

But Of COURSE it's hard! We have a 10 week old and our batteries are running out of juice most days! We try to stick to a schedule, but she has a mind of her own sometimes.  I just cut us all some slack, give a little grace and keep on trucking. We are new to this after all. She doesn't seem to mind or even know if we mess up, she just knows we're always there. She knows she's content and loved. She's one of those easy babies. (Even though we're not sleeping, and our new routine/schedule was shot after our weekend in Columbus.) She's still a very good, calm baby.

Man I love my little ray of sunshine and my little family.  When I say we are truly blessed, we REALLY are blessed. Life is good. So sweet and so good.

Now if I can just remember all this when she hits the terrible twos through teenage years, we'll be in business. That's why it takes a village, right? So the village can pick up when we mess up....or we're wore slap out! :-)


Let's jump right to my newest hobby

Ok, so let's jump right to my newest hobby/addiction. Wonder under and my sewing machine. It's my new diet coke addiction! I stink at updating this blog anyway, so I'll cut right to the point. 

Arleigh is a fabulous baby. The first month has FLOWN by at an incredible rate. She's a really easy going sweet baby, but can have a bit of her daddy and Uncle Josh's temper on occasion. (Although it's rare, and she never seems to do it for anyone but us...The grandparents don't believe us!) She's definitely a keeper!  I figure anyone who follows this would see all the facebook love anyway, or at least see my 10,000 pictures I've posted. Can you tell we REALLY think she's the coolest kid EVER?

First project was the carrot. A little existing ribbon, orange carrot shape with wonder under, zig zag around, 
a new button...voilĂ .

Second project - Same day. I found a pattern for a skirt online. It tempted me because it said it was a easy project... Well, she was right!   (Go to the EASY rectangle skirt pattern HERE.)

The fabric was left over Amy Butler from a nursery project. I had a few onesies left from my month by month project (I'll post that later).  I added the mini-pompom fringe by hand, but it wasn't difficult.

 The cross was wonder undered on first, then I zigzagged around the edges. While I'm definitely still learning, and this would NOT win any awards for technical abilities, the trick to applique freehand on a regular machine is keeping the fabric border in between the foot pedal piece. You just have to focus on using the foot pedal as your guide.  Really not that complicated, but I'm just learning so it's not a beauty yet. Don't judge on my sewing ability!

Familiar with Matilda Jane? I LOVE the style...but I can't afford the price. The main aspect of every collection I ADORE are the mismatched yet coordinating fabrics. They are wild, yet they have a mid-western vintage modern flair.  So I went for it....I just had to add more layers to the skirt! 

Then...I decided Arleigh just had to have a matching head accessory. The band (on the brain-squeezer, as we say) is little girl panty hose. I disected another hand-me down band for this one. The backing is a piece of felt. I made my favorite easy breezy flowers. Super easy. Thin strips for fabric, rolled onto a pipe cleaner. Roll the pipe cleaner into the shape of the flower, a little hot glue...and again, voila! 
I'm SO ready to try it on her!  Uncle Brock is stopping by before heading to the airport in Bham, and then JuJu and Papa J are babysitting while I take Clarence for his shots. As long as they don't look too close at the outfit, maybe they can't tell I don't have a clue what I'm doing! But it's SO MUCH FUN!

PS...Can you tell I'm excited? Maybe it's because I've never sewn more than a straight line for curtains! And I've certainly never made a complete outfit! (Ok, I'll chill out a little now. Time for more coffee, because it's not even 6 am, and I'm going on about 2 hours of sleep!)  


Mommy is doing better this afternoon. Very Sore still, but I walked to the Nicu. Trying to keep moving.  Breathing was initially Arleigh's problem, but basically our nurse said once they get a baby in nicu they hold onto it. She looks much better now. Good color, some of the fluid is off of her and she is rooting and sucking on that passy like she's starving.  She kept her eyes open and was very alert on our last visit. Hopeful they will take the drip out tomorrow if she's eating well. They are going to try the first bottle this afternoon. This mommy is just ready to hold her and give her kisses!  Fingers crossed we will be able to hold her tomorrow. They still won't allow more than the parents and grands to see her because of RSV/flu season :-(  we will more than likely check her out of nicu to go home.


Introducing our chunky monkey - arleigh olivia! I still haven't laid a finger on her, so she better get ready for when mama can smother her with kisses!
Arleigh was hanging on really high, wouldn't even drop. Ended up with a section. They did have to take her to the nicu, but the doctor hasn't come to see us yet so we dont know any details. Didn't seem to be anything serious, just preemie type breathing since she was early. But we don't know yet. She weighed 7lbs 11 oz, 20 inches. Born at 11:07. We're at northport DCH wp3. :-) so far I feel really good. Spinal is still working, so I can't feel much yet. Just sucks because I wont be able to see her for about 4 hours or more. John should get to go back soon and see her. I'm ready to smother my girl in kisses!


We're better now. Today was a little rough. Had some pretty good contractions all day on the meds, 1-2 minutes apart. Pretty intense at times. But so far my cervix hasn't budged. Still closed tight and high. We'll start the process again tomorrow.  If  we don't proceed tomorrow we could end up with a section by tomorrow night. They could try for day 3 on the meds, but its a little more doubtful. Had a shower and got to eat (hospital valentines day special of steak ans shrimp) and then they put the cervadil back in. Fixin to sleep for a while now. Can have the Demerol every 3 hours. Can't have epi until I'm dialated or we commit to a section. OJ did touch up my toes....made me feel a little more human. :-). Hubs bought me roses for valentines..now I'm  off to sleep!
All hooked up and ready to go! The cervadil didn't do much, and they anticipate this may take more than one day. Policy is to try the induction meds, see if we make progress. If we don't make enough, they'll start it over again tomorrow. As of now, that's the plan. Will know progress by late afternoon.
I have a hubs who brings me homemade milkshakes. :-) we had a talk that I thought preggo needed a little ice cream pick me up, and knowing that his are MUCH better than any drive thru, I got a special, made with love shake as my last food as a surprise. Ain't that sweet? :-)


Yay! Good news. Dr. Emig came by, we're gonna start the cervadil tonight and start the induction tomorrow. Could be a long process since I haven't dilated any at all, may even go into Wednesday before Arleigh makes her arrival. No reason to talk csection unless me or baby have some  kind of distress. We get to move to the nice rooms this afternoon. Dr. Chwe or Allen are on call tomorrow.  Will be in WP3 birthing suite.  We have started having a few contractions, so fingers crossed we get to have as natural as possible! :-)


To all my mommy to be friends. Pack your bags and your car well in advance of your due date! Last Thursday we went in for a regular checkup at 36w2days by their calculations. Ended up downstairs in the hospital, where we'll stay until we get a baby. I missed one fabulous shower by my neighbor Beth today, and then these lovelies are setting up the nursery and packing bags for me and Arleigh....


Are we sure there's room in there? Baby Belly! :-)

Not a fan of belly shots of myself, but here goes! 36w3day. 3w3d left. Counting them down! :-)
We have an ultrasound today, woohoo! :-) Then the last of our classes tonight. CPR/First Aid. We've done the comprehensive child birth and breast feeding. Not much left! :-)


Nursery Rough Draft and Niece Cuteness

We finally have furniture! It's no where near done, and there's rearranging to do, but we're one step closer to Arleigh having a room. It's a t-tiny room, so we're having to really plan the arrangement for function. 

I went a little crazy with color, but I LOVE COLOR, and I hope my child inherits the love of all things creative just like her Mommy. And I hope she appreciates the details...The vintage details.

Rough Draft Photos: 

Here's a list of what we're recycling or creating so far: 

Crib and Cradle from Danielle, used by Libby and Millie - Poppy (David) and Papa (Johnny) did a fabulous job with the turquoise paint!

Green Antique Link Lamp - (I've loved all my life) Josh rewired, it belonged to a great aunt

Rocking Chair - Santa gave it to my mama 32 years ago before my birth

Vintage Doll house - A bargain found on Etsy. Just like NanO got for Christmas in 1957 or so

Crib Mobile - Another Etsy bargain.... Just like mine from 32 years ago. We even researched old photos. :-)

Chandelier - I think I paid $6 from the Habitat thrift store. 1 can of red spray paint and crystals from online and it's now one of my favorite things in the room!  Much better than buying the $300 one...

Curtains and Cornice - Amy Butler Fabrics. Papa (Johnny) made the cornice board, NanO (Olivia) made the curtains, and I covered the cornice. I would consider this my "splurge" piece....Fabric is outrageous! I've been a fan of Amy Butler for ages! I LOVE LOVE LOVE fabrics.com.

Vintage Mother Goose prints - NanO had from a book she'd been saving forever. 

Hospital door wreath - was the one I made for Swayze. I'm sentimental, and I love the idea of keeping things in the family. :-)

And I could go on and on.... There's lots more to come!

Speaking of Cousin Swayze, isn't she serious cuteness! Aunt Pen thinks so. :-)

I'm very excited about this week. Wednesday is my 32 birthday. Thursday we get an ultrasound of our priss-pot. Saturday my neighbor Beth is hosting a shower. Saturday afternoon D, Lib, Mil and NanO are helping get it all together! Hopefully by next week we can have "final" nursery shots instead of the rough draft! :-)
Until then, enjoy your week!


Miss Arleigh Update

Well....This week marks our 35 week mark of pregnancy.  4-5 weeks left! Due date of March 4. I'm ready for her to be here, but I'm so not ready on other levels. We've been so blessed with gifts for Arleigh so far. Thank goodness! Swayze had given her cousin a few things, and we have collected PLENTY of hair bows. (This is the south after all!)  But now it's starting to get a little more real.  Our dining room table is covered -just waiting on the furniture to arrive to get it all together. Hopefully the grands will make deliveries soon. ;-)  We've still got to get our bags packed and everything together. I have 6 different to-do lists, but I'm having a hard time getting anything done.

Regular old life has been busy as well. Seems like Christmas went with a blink of the eye. January was birthday month in our family. My mama spent January caring for my Pop. I've been working like crazy getting ready for maternity leave with the real job and daisymaes. Life is wild.

I haven't been the spunkiest preggo lately...which makes nesting a problem.  (If this is TMI, look away now.) The getting up to pee 5 times a night I don't mind. I'm sure it's just the natural adjustment to taking care of a baby. Adding to my heart burn, dry mouth, congestion and regular morning pukes, we now have nose bleeds and back aches.  I feel like a druggie. I'm taking benedryl, sudafed, prenatal (of course), pepcid, and lots of peppermint smoothie Tums. All regularly. My doc assures me it's fine. This week we've added tylenol, icy hot and a heating pad.

Monday was ROUGH. Miss Arleigh found a nerve connected to my right hip, and I spent the day in tears. Serious pain for 3 days. But, as of today - Friday, I've recuperated enough to make a quick trip into our newly rebuilt Hobby Lobby. (HEAVEN. ON. EARTH. I think I was SO excited I couldn't even notice the pain!)  My back is still achy, definitely more by the end of the day, but it seems more typically pregnancy bearable pain than the seriousness of sciatica with the hip pain. (Sciatica was horrible. I couldn't drive, hardly move...It was BAD. John made a great nurse.)  A lot of the back ache in the past few weeks has more to do with the fact I'm (she's) just now gaining weight, so with my finally growing belly it has me and my back out of whack.  The placenta had moved up to where it belongs, so we're no longer on watch. (Thank goodness!)

Even with all the "HOT mess" associated with pregnancy, I am SO thankful and blessed to have this opportunity.  I've had friends with serious complications, and we're really blessed we haven't dealt with preeclampsia or gestational diabetes. I'm using this more to journal than complain, and I would take 20 times this much to have our sweet baby here with us. I think back to the journey to get pregnant, and how Arleigh started her life on the same day exactly one year later as the one that didn't make it - It's amazing. And SUCH a blessing. I'm sure when we hold her the first time, all this becomes a distant memory.

I have started going to the doctor every week now. Which means you get checked. UCK-O. It's not so fun. I haven't dilated or effaced or any of that, and the cervix was so closed he couldn't even tell if she dropped. So - we get another ultrasound next Thursday.  (For those that know me and my family, not dilating or even effacing is part of it. The Junkin's have beautiful C-section babies.) I'm still holding out for natural  - but I'm not setting some beautiful birth plan in my head to get smashed. Arleigh's gonna get here one way or another. It could all change and we go from nothing to a baby over night. WHO knows.  Good news is we get so see our squirmy-wormy priss-pot again before she gets here, which I don't mind at all. :-)  She is such a swimmer/cheerleader/soccer star inside. And she's funny. She'll be moving up a storm for Clarence to see or for me, and when her daddy gets close - or anyone else for that matter - she stops. It's a hoot. :-)

I haven't had too many cravings. I have more fits about what I don't want than what I just have to have. Mainly my likes are Edy's vanilla ice cream, baked potatoes, boiled carrots, watermelon and La Gran cheese dip.  But definitely not together. I know....so goofy!

In other news, we've decided to go with Valley View for daycare. It makes the most sense for us. I do have concerns because they go on a "school system" 180 day schedule, which means we'll need an outside village for help because we can't take off 3 weeks at Christmas and other holidays. But it has a top-notch Christian educational program, it's super clean and organized, it's right by our house, and we can do only half/days mornings (John will be super dad in the afternoon). Our neighbor is the director, and is willing to work with us when John's schedule changes or I'm out of town for business or emergencies. She knows our closest family is 40 minutes away. And that's important, because John won't be able to leave his mail route and it's difficult for me to leave my job. And, most importantly,  it means that's where we need to be for church.  I'm not sure if I've mentioned this before, but Tuscaloosa is so different from my home town and home church. I went to the same church my entire life. Here, people church jump ALL the time. Just when you think you like a church, the little group that made up your new church family leaves to go somewhere else.  It's been hard to plug in. And hard to just stick it out. It's made me lackadaisical with church. But, this answers our questions. God has a way of that to me. :-)  Plus, the only thing I know to do as a parent is have my kid in church. That's the only definite to parenting. The only thing that matters.

Now that I've gone on and on about us, how are you?


Big Brother (Dog Child) Clarence

 Have you met my first child? This is Clarence. Everyone lately on facebook has posted photos of their children TPing the house, and this was the Clarence version. He wasn't getting attention, so he got the rolls from the garbage can. Bless him. He's such a good child. He really is. This happened because I came in after work talking on the phone and didn't greet him appropriately or even speak to him. Mama should know better. :-)

Dogs do the funniest things when you are pregnant. Clarence - from the beginning - started laying his head on my belly. He does it in the afternoons when I get home and sit now, too. He watches my belly squirm and gets his head petted at the same time. 

The biggest change - especially since about week 28 - Clarence has become my hip child. Before pregnancy, Clarence would go take a nap on the couch while I went through my morning routine. Not any more. When I get up at night, when I come home, when I get dressed, in and out of the shower - He's there. It's like he knows when his Daddy's not around he's responsible for me. The funny time is in the morning. As I'm getting ready and moving around and John is at work, he watches me like a hawk. I'm not sure if he knows to dial 911 if something happens, but it's a weird reminder for me to slow down and go easy with my moving around.

The cutest thing is when I'm down on the floor or getting up out of a chair. Clarence will come over for me to use him to "balance" myself getting up. Not using him for pressure or anything, but just a little support. He's like our own working dog now. :-)

And my goodness....Don't dare let Mama try to sneak a kiss with Daddy. Here comes Clarence wanting a little TLC, too. Bless him. 

We hope he's a fabulous big brother. We're constantly having talks about when "sister" arrives, and pointing out "sister's" toys, or saying "sister's" room.  I think he may be a little jealous, but we're hoping our friends will love on both our kids when they come to visit. We think he's pretty great. We hope Arleigh thinks so, too. :-)