Monday, November 30, 2009

Thoughts from a First Thanksgiving

Dear Colt,

I'm probably going to write you a lot of letters over the next few weeks. It would be hard not to, seeing as how in just 17 short days you're going to be ONE year old! That means anytime I think to myself "this time last year" will be part of my story.

Your first Thanksgiving this year was a blast. I kept thinking the whole time how different it was compared to last year. Last year, we didn't dare travel more than 5 miles from our city in case we got the call that you were making your arrival. We were already 2 hours away from you, but to think we might be 2 hours and 15 minutes was just too much to bear.

Last year your due date was December 4th. So at Thanksgiving, we stayed in town instead of going to Missouri to see Great-Grandma and Great-Grandpa and Aunt Linda. We had a wonderful week last year, relaxing at Mimi and Papa's house, decorating for Christmas, and standing in line with friends at 3:00 in the morning for Black Friday shopping. The whole time, we kept thinking about how those few days would be so different for us the next year.

This year, you're here. And not only are you here, you're becoming your own person and moving where you want to move, doing what you want to do, and clearly NOT doing anything you don't want to do. You're more than just a baby we can share our holiday with and be thankful for, you are a PERSON. Already. One year you're not even here, the next you're running 14 people's holiday plans.

This year, we had to make your own plate of food at BOTH Thanksgiving dinners we attended. When we went out to eat over the weekend, we ordered food for you instead of sharing. We shopped 'til we dropped for your birthday and Christmas presents. We followed you around GGrandma and GGrandpa's house without so much of a thought of the football we (I) were missing. We took turkey-induced naps together. We strolled around the mall, making sure to leave whatever store YOU weren't interested in. We clapped everytime you decided something was exciting enough to clap about. We imitated your faces trying to get you to show them off again. Daddy put up the Christmas tree as a surprise when we got home, just so he could see your face when you saw it.

Your Great Grandparents are so enamored with you. They think everything you do is adorable (as does most everyone else in the family). They were SO happy we traveled up there this weekend to see them. Great Grandpa calls you Colt 45, and whenever we ran into his friends over the weekend (even when he wasn't around) they said "this must be Colt 45" and proceeded to tell us everything about you. He talks about you to everyone, you are his pride and joy.

Your Great Grandma is equally as proud of you. She would like to hold and kiss you all day if she could, but now that you're almost 1, you have no interest in things like that. So instead, she followed you around all weekend. This is the same woman who has a hard time getting around on the best, most relaxing day and there she was in a crammed house full of people following you with energy we haven't seen in her in years. She also cooked two meals while we were there, and she hasn't been able to cook for us in a long time. You put energy into her body and soul!

And her reward was great. On Saturday night, after one exhausting day for you, you snuggled in her lap and let her feed you a bottle. You stared at her as she sang to you (I'm pretty sure she sang "When the Roll is Called Up Yonder"), and then you sat quietly as the two of you watched the "Lawrence Welk Show" together. You clapped for all the songs, and she sang along to you. It was a memory I hope is as clear to me the rest of my life as the moment I met you is.

YOU are special, you are loved, and so many people give thanks for the joy you brought to our life that it made your first Thanksgiving one of our family's most special. Thank you for being here, for being you. Thank you for giving me more to be thankful for than any one person deserves.

Happy Thanksgiving, Little Man.


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Gotta love the bullet points!

So much has been going on lately, I don't even know where to start on an update!

Work has been so busy for me lately, lots of new projects and deadlines. I've even been fairly absent from Twitter and FB for the last week and they are part of my job! I'm not complaining though.

So, I thought I'd just give you a quick taste of what's been going on. I have pictures for several things to follow up with soon.
  • I don't think I mentioned here that we've decided on a name for Baby #2: Owen Pete. Owen because we like it (and happens to pay homage to OU football field), and Pete because it's my grandfather's childhood nickname. I'll probably post more on this another time and how much it means to us and to him to incorporate such a personal name and carry it on in our family. We're excited about the baby. Please don't call him OP or John will change his mind.

  • Thanksgiving is TOMORROW! What?! I'm excited...we'll have traditional family Thanksgiving at John's parents (and they even invited my mom, stepdad and sister, too!) then leave from their house to go to Missouri to visit my grandparents and aunt this weekend. John will actually turn around and come home the next day to work on some house projects, but Colt and I will stay and come home with my mom on Sunday. I'm excited to get away and do lots of eating and some shopping!

  • Speaking of John's projects...he's got a lot of things to get done this week! Luckily, he already put up Christmas lights this weekend (check out his wasp sting for proof). But he will be cleaning out, packing up, and assembling new furniture to turn our office into a playroom this weekend. He's also cleaning out Owen's room, painting a wall, and getting ready for the furniture that is to come in there. He's also beginning the process of fixing, stripping, and repainting the dresser in that room. The guy will be BUSY while we're gone!

  • Um, I will be busy, too. Because Colt is a mad crawling monster machine. And he's a master of pulling up on things now, so he requires a constant eye of supervision. His favorite thing now is to turn on the bathtub faucets in our bathroom and run his hands in the water. Also requires lots of attention because the only one he can turn on by himself is the hot water!

  • Last week I had a friend come over and help me reorganize my pantry and kitchen cabinets. Even though it wasn't a HUGE difference to the naked eye, everything makes so much more sense now and I have room to add things! It makes me feel like a better person to have control over my glassware, random kitchen appliances (hello S'mores maker!), and food we don't eat.

  • My dear friend, Liz, celebrated her 30th birthday this weekend. We had an awesome party, then met up for a girl's day on Saturday. We went and saw "The Blind Side" at the movies and it was so good! A real feel-good movie with lots of football in it...can't really go wrong.

  • John and I were discussing whether or not to put up a Christmas tree this year. He thinks it's too dangerous with Colt crawling and pulling things over all the time. I feel heartbroken at the thought of not starting that tradition now. So I did what anyone struggling with a major decision would do: I asked Facebook. Overwhelmingly (almost 40 comments) agreed we should do it! Everyone gave lots of suggestions on how to limit the "danger" so we'll see if John can get everything out of the attic this week. We know Colt will LOVE the tree!

  • I went Black Friday morning shopping last year and had a blast. This year it will not be happening. I'm kind of sad, but at the same time I'm so easily worn out and my back hurts ALL.THE.TIME right now so it's probably best for me to limit trampling crazy ladies this year.

So I guess those are the main things. Off to try and finish everything by lunch time today so I can get take off early and get some things done before we head out of town. Happy Birthday to my amazing Mom did she want to spend her birthday and the early afternoon she gets at work? By picking up her grandson at daycare, of course! She's so wonderful, he'll be glad to see her!

Happy Thanksgiving to you all, be safe, be full, and be thankful!

Friday, November 13, 2009

11 months of pure joy

On Monday Colt turns 11 months old. Which means his first birthday is right around the corner. Completely out of character for me, I already have the date scheduled for this occasion AND am thinking about themes. It helps me avoid the pangs of sadness I feel about my baby growing up so fast!

This morning we had a grand ol' time with Colt and Daddy high-fiving. John says "Give me 5" and MOST of the time Colt will slap his hand and then start clapping because we go crazy with the "yays" and praise. But sometimes we say "Give me 5" and he immediately starts clapping without giving the 5 because he knows that's the routine.


So I've been thinking about that all day and it made me want to share a little about Colt at 11 months.

  • He eats anything and everything, but has been particular about the amount in his mouth lately. We're finding spoonfuls of baked beans or corn means he'll spit it right out, but if we keep it to 2 or 3 pieces he'll go to town.
  • He is a MASTER at peek-a-boo and "Where's Colt?". He loves to hold a blanket over his eyes and wait until we ask where he is. He starts to giggle then will pull it down so we can excitedly say "THERE he is!!". He will even do it with toys or wallets or anything around that he can "hide" behind.
  • He's still doing the gangster crawl, with a healthy balance of bouncing on his bottom across the room to get around. He pulls up onto his knees, but still not a full standing position. But he SO wants to walk...
  • He has found his voice...and uses it ALL THE TIME. He loves screaming just to scream, not because he's mad or anything. And he's babbling a lot like he's in a conversation. We love hearing him, and my favorite is that he talks in the car now so I feel like we're using that time for quality bonding while driving to daycare in the mornings!
  • He has also discovered that if he doesn't like something, he can protest. He screams, whines a lot, and arches his back and stiffens up so we can't hold him without a fight. Fun times.
  • He hates getting dressed, but we've found a middle ground of changing him on his changing table and there is less thrashing and gnashing of teeth. In fact, lately in the mornings he's been pretty quiet about it!
  • Desperately needing shoes...he has one pair we always put him in for school because they stay on and are easy to move in. Our nephew, Mason, who is 8 years old saw them the other day and said "Whoa, did someone donate those shoes to you? They look really old and torn up." All I could do is laugh because he DOES need new shoes and I really DON'T want to shop for them! But, hey, if 8-year-olds are embarrassed for my son then I should be too!
  • He loves opening and closing drawers and doors. We've had several smashed fingers but it doesn't deter him!
  • We started using Huggies Overnight diapers and immediately stopped the overnight leaks. LOVE IT!
  • He started sleeping in a cot at school instead of a crib, and apparently is sleeping much better that way. Break my heart that he's big enough to sleep on a cot!
  • Still eating mostly baby food and some bottles. With only 2 teeth it's hard to make a meal out of table food! But we try to give him some at every food is just so much easier!
  • He has conversations with his teddy bear and hippo that sleep in his bed at night. Every morning we can hear him talking over the monitor, and we go in and his animals are lined up against the side of the crib while he is facing them and talking to them. He loves them and it's hard to leave them behind when it's time to get up!
  • He's still doing awesome crafts and artwork in school. We have multiple prints of his hands and feet throughout the year turned into kitties, butterflies, caterpillars, bats, and ghosts. Can't wait to see what he does for Christmas!
  • He can eat an entire ice cream bar or ice cream cone by himself. Boy loves ice cream...just like his Daddy!

I'm sure I'll think of more as we go, but for now those are the things that make me smile.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Thanks through Nov. 12

Thanks to everyone for their comments, e-mails, FB's, etc. on my last post! I definitely don't feel scared about where we are, just frustrated and ready for a change. The ideas and support you've shared have given me a lot of hope...I know we'll do well, it's just going to take some major sacrifices!

Being that it's the month of November, many people I've seen have been doing daily "thanks" on FB, Twitter, etc. I know that we're already halfway through November (WHA??!!) but I have SO much to be thankful indulge me while I catch up to this day, November 12th.

1. I'm thankful for my son! He is the light of my life and completes me in ways I never imagined.

2. I'm thankful for my husband. 6 1/2 years of marriage has brought us lots of ups and downs, but I never ever doubt that he's with me for the long haul, loves our family, and is a great man.

3. I'm thankful for my co-workers. They provide me much laughter and support during the day, especially now that I'm not really traveling I love my OKC office pals even more.

4. I'm thankful for my son's daycare and the teachers that love him like crazy.

5. I'm thankful for Huggies Overnight diapers, which I'm not afraid to say have changed our life.

6. I'm thankful for our cat, Faith. She has long been the comfort I need while waiting on Colt and stressful days at work...she continues to be my favorite cuddler and companion at night as I drift to sleep. (John goes to bed much later than I do!)

7. I'm thankful for blogland and Facebook. I feel so connected to perfect strangers and even better connected to people that I know. Advice, support, funny quotes and more inspire me to get through the roughest of days, and I feel like I have a whole stadium full of people to celebrate the best of days with me.

8. I'm thankful for our house and how it seems to be a perfect fit for us. Not to mention the neighbors!

9. I'm thankful for my church family, especially our Bible class and the relationships we have there. I will never feel alone with them by our side, and I find comfort in knowing nobody in that class will go hungry, no children will go without a playmate, and no one will go without prayers.

10. I'm thankful for donated maternity clothes that have saved precious pennies during my pregnancy.

11. I am thankful for our active duty and veterans in the U.S. Military. I find them astonishingly brave and self-sacrificing. I'm also thankful for their families who share them with the rest of the country. I'm thankful they fight in wars they may not understand for people they'll never know. My family has a long history of military service and it makes me incredibly proud.

12. And today I am thankful for flexible work schedules that allow me to attend my son's Thanksgiving lunch at school! I'm headed there now!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


So I used to post every time I started Weight Watchers. Similarly, I posted every time we started Dave Ramsey budgeting lifestyle. And inevitably I'd be into it for about a week and then you'd never hear from me about it again.

So, in hopes of breaking tradition I am blogging about budgeting and how THIS TIME, we're doing it and going to be successful.

For the last year or so, we've been operating under "new baby mindset" and basically just getting by. We don't plan a lot when we go grocery shopping, and John often finds himself at the grocery store at 10:00 at night because we're out of diapers. We eat out every single night (or get take-out and bring it home) because the food prep and clean up is exhausting for 2 people who don't get home until 6:00 or after.

There's no planning involved in operating our lives, only in-the-moment survival.

We even strayed from our trusty cash-only system that had served us well for long time. And subsequently our money is disappearing each month before our very eyes. And we choose to ignore it, operating in survival mode instead.

Well, funny thing about suddenly realizing you're 6 months starts becoming more and more of an issue. And then you start to worry about it and get scared about things. And then, medical bills start piling up. The medical bills are literally sucking us dry. Between numerous co-pays, prescriptions, ER trips (for me...migraines before, violent stomach bugs twice since being pregnant)...they are sucking the life out of our savings and our credit cards. I have done a terrible job of keeping up with all things medical bills-related, and probably have overpaid in deductibles and co-insurance this year.

I've started a new system for keeping track of medical bills and you can bet your bottom that next year I'll be watching everything like a hawk.

Leah recently posted a blog about admitting some of her weaknesses on her blog, because often times we look to our blog friends for advice or support and it can be overwhelming when everyone posts their happy-go-lucky life and you end up thinking you're the only person who's not perfect out there. Well, this blog is my version of Leah's. We already know my number one vice is bad language. Well, here's your next confession:

We are in debt. And even though there is a plan, there is a big chunk in taxes coming back next year, there is a light at the end of the tunnel...we are still in debt. We have a SMALL savings that could last us maybe 2 months for the most important bills we have to pay if something were to happen. But with a mortgage, 2 car payments, student loan, CREDIT CARDS, and medical bills...month after month it's just easier to avoid than make a plan to deal with it.

In 6 months we will have two babies in daycare. And with the way we're living right now, we can't afford that. Literally can't afford it. Plus, early in the year one hospital visit will cost my entire health plan deductible. There will be more diapers, more wipes, more laundry detergent, more toys, more pacifiers, more formula, more baby food. It's just so overwhelming I can't even explain it.

And I have to say that we are not, by any means, big spenders. Other than the house and our cars that we foolishly bought brand new a few years ago, we don't ever go out and spend money on big purchases without paying cash for them. We have a broken down, 12-year-old TV in our bedroom, and our flat screen in the living room was paid for entirely through Christmas bonus and gifts 3 years ago. Colt's furniture was a big expense, but something we planned for. Other than that...we've bought nothing we can't afford. Ok, maybe some vacation expenses but I don't regret that either!

So how did we end up here? Brand new cars started it. Fertility treatments compounded it. And while we definitely aren't house-poor or upside down, but we probably could have been wiser when we bought our home. And of course, you plan and save as you can for adoption expenses but those added up, too (not that I would go back and change a thing...I'd rather live in debt forever than go back and change those decisions!).

So, here we are. We have a plan, we survived the initial discussions. We are current on our medical bills. And now we have to go back to our Dave Ramsey baby steps, we have to chip away at the debt piece by piece. We're borrowing baby furniture for the new baby, buying a few reasonable items for the new guest room/playroom. I'm learning how to CLIP COUPONS. And we'll once again try to eat more at home.

That's our reality. We're having trouble with money. YIKES! We haven't really had trouble with money before, I feel like we've always been pretty responsible. But I see a way out, and there's no one I'd rather work with than John to head that way. I hope none of you are in debt, but I know there has to be some people who find themselves in similar situations! Any tips of the budgeting trade you'd like to share would be awesome. Just wanted to share our particular struggle as it's dominating my mind these days. There may be more posts about couponing in the future!

Monday, November 09, 2009

The strange things blogland can do to you

I feel compelled to write this morning, even though I only have a few moments.

In the last few months I've really started following and reading MckMama's blog, and more specifically her tweets. I have found her so refreshing and uplifting, honest and open...I just feel like she's so genuine and like I KNOW her. Everything I've heard from others that have met her would lead me to believe this is not just a feeling I get from her writing, but actually what she is like in real life.

Her son, Stellan, is only about 2 months older than Colt. And he is so, so sick. And today is an especially bad day and his heart has already stopped once this morning. A few weeks ago he also came very close to leaving with God, but pulled through and went home for a few days. During that hospital stay, MckMama posted photos of Stellan asleep in his hospital bed, cuddled in their arms, and talked about the things she and her husband were doing to stay calm and focus on their time with Stellan. I've been haunted ever since, and even thinking about the post brings tears to my eyes.

For the first time, I truly put myself and my baby in that situation. What if Stellan was Colt? What if those pictures were of Colt and we were in the hospital snuggling him through IV cords and wires and ventilators? What if we never knew whether or not each breath would be his last? I've been thinking about this and it's weighing heavily on my heart more and more.

I know I don't KNOW MckMama. I know that I can't play the "what if" game because when I go home tonight, other than a cough from allergies my son is perfectly healthy, happy, and safe. But it has caused me to hold him a little tighter (when he'll let me), kiss him more and more, tickle him for fits of giggles when I'm in a rush, let him crawl where he wants, play more peek-a-boo, and in general cherish the snores and sighs and even midnight cries over the monitor as I get my jealously guarded sleep at night.

Whatever happens to Stellan, I know that eventually it won't weigh so heavily on my heart. There will be times where I'm stressed and busy and Colt is grumpy and I won't think of Stellan as we're dealing with life. But right now, I think of him all the time. This baby I don't know, his mom I don't know...they're changing the way I view time and schedules and the way I love. So he has done more than he'll ever know to bless my family.

PLEASE keep them in your prayers, check in on her blog and tweets and follow their story, especially today since they need him to be stable for a life-saving, very risky surgery that he can't wait for. Please pray for his doctors, his parents, his 3 older siblings, and for that little 1-year-old to stay strong and hold on a little longer.

Then hug your kids.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Parties for a Little Monkey!

For a 10-month-old, Colt sure had A LOT of social obligations for Halloween that required the costume. Luckily, the monkey costume wasn't terribly cumbersome! He didn't LOVE it, but he never cried in it or fought us on it.

First was our church's fall festival (bottom pictures). Then he had Trick-or-Treating AND a Halloween party at daycare. Finally, we made the rounds to a few grandparent's houses on Halloween night to get some goodies (including some Puffs instead of candy!).

It was fun, but kind of exhausting! I loved his costume, though. He looked SO cute, and the stuffed belly was the best! Made him look even more squishy than usual! I accidentally left his brown onesie at school on Friday, which is why he had green on Halloween night. Regardless, I think he was pretty adorable.

John and I have always called him our little monkey, because for some reason when he was born he had a lot of clothes with monkeys on them. So the costume was perfect...Halloween is fun again!

Pumpkin Patch

So we did, in fact, go to the Pumpkin Patch. It was a fun activity, will be A LOT more fun when he can run around and pet the animals and we don't have to get him in and out of a stroller! By the time we were done, we had a couple of worn out kids on our hands!

We took his friend, Anna, which I think he loved. They are in the same class at daycare and are just inseperable. It's cute to see babies with such good friends already! We got a few pumpkins to take home with us, and they were a great background to his true masterpiece: the pumpkin he painted himself at school. I took a lot of pictures of it, since we won't be able to keep that...I was proud!

Do you not want to just eat him up? He's pretty squeezable!