July 22, 2014

summer fun:

We've been enjoying all the mild weather we've gotten this summer. 70s and 80s in July are unheard of here in Arkansas! We've been to the lake with my family several times, set up Elliott's pool and water table in the back yard, visited the local splash park with friends, checked out story time at the children's library, joined the crazies for dollar day at the zoo, made a trip to Arkadelphia to visit Gary's family at the "Grant get-away", and frequented Sonic for half price shakes more times than I can count.

Elliott has reached the age where he is starting to entertain himself some, so we've enjoyed sitting back and watching him sing and play this summer. He is full of energy and personality!

^^^ fourth of july at the lake. ^^^

^^^ yummy red, white and blue treats! ^^^
^^^ the whole gang at lunch on the fourth. ^^^
^^^ Elliott wanted to try everything on Grandmommy's plate. ^^^

^^^ these two love to get in bed with Pia and Poppy every morning at the lake house. ^^^

^^^ Julianne meeting her great grandma (Grant) for the first time. ^^^

^^^ the way that belly hangs over his little sagging swim trunks, I just love it! ^^^

^^^ playing in his pool with his best friend, Paisley. ^^^

Summer is only half way over, and it's getting easier to get out and about with both kids, so we've still got a few things on our summer bucket list to check off. Stay tuned for homemade popsicles, a visit to the sno cone stand, and a picnic at the park.

July 18, 2014

big brother status:

Quick update: There's so many wonderful things going on, and I've wanted to record them all here, but I'm exhausted, and any time I get both kids to sleep, I pass out on the couch. Seriously, I've never been more tired in all my life. I stay up until midnight to pump, Elliott is climbing in bed with us every night between 1 and 2:00, and Julianne wakes up to nurse somewhere between 3 and 6. I'm working out at 6:15 with a trainer twice a week trying to loose this baby weight, and on the days I'm not, Elliott is up by 6:30 anyway. I'm back at work two days a week, and trying to keep up with house work, meals and laundry in between. Gary has been awesome helping me juggle everything, I couldn't do this without him! 

Three things I've realized: 1- We need a king size bed. 2- Our parents are awesome. I had no idea as a kid how stressful their lives could be. They were sacrificing left and right for us, and walking around like zombies in desperate need of a good night's sleep, but they never let on that it was hard, they just did it. So thanks mom and dad, I appreciate you more and more every day! and 3- I'm not cut out for life as a single mom. I'm so thankful to have a partner to share this crazy life with. 

All that being said, I can't imagine a life more rewarding. Parenting these two sweet babies is my greatest joy. It's crazy hard, and some days I just want to cry, but it's also so, so wonderful.

Ok, on to what I really wanted to share, some pictures and stories of Elliott blossoming in his new role as big brother. He has done so well adjusting to sharing his mom and dad. He tells me all the time he loves Julianne, and his actions certainly show it. He loves to join her on her play mat and talk to her in  the sweetest little voice. He gives her her paci if she starts to cry and if that doesn't work he will kindly ask me if it's "time for her to nurse?" Just the other day he walked up to her, poked her little cheek and said "you're cute!" It's precious. We love watching them interact. 

One night I laid Julianne on Elliott's bed while I went to grab his toothbrush. When I came back in, he was showing her his toys and telling her what each one was. He didn't even notice when I came back with the camera to take pictures. She was watching him intently as if she understood every word he was saying. When he finished showing her his toys, he started "reading" a book to her. It was so fitting that I was able to capture this moment while he was wearing his "best bro ever" shirt (which he did not want to take off in the days following her birth).

Another day, Elliott requested some stickers to play with. I found some and put them on him, then went back to cleaning the kitchen. A few minutes later I noticed him sitting by Julianne's cradle. I came over to find her blanket covered in stickers. He looked up at me, smiling from ear to ear, and said "look mommy, I gave Juliannie some stickers."

He often asks us to put the Boppy around him so he can hold Julianne. He loves to give her kisses, and asks me if she is a princess any time she is wearing a dress. (I can already tell she is going to have a hard time dating as long as he's around looking out for her.) He is pretty crazy about his little sister, and he's protective of her too. He doesn't like many people to hold her. Many times he has requested that someone "give her back to mom." And if I'm laying with him and she starts to cry in the other room, he rarely protests if I tell him I need to go check on her.

Just this week he started bringing his stool into her room when I'm changing her diaper so he can be face to face with her. He talks to her, brings her toys, and comforts her when she cries, saying "it's ok Julianne, I'm right here."

We are so blessed to have been entrusted with the responsibility of looking after these two little ones. I literally thank God every night when I'm putting them to bed for choosing me to be their momma. I can sleep when they are grown up and gone. These moments are too precious to miss!

July 15, 2014

Julianne - 2 months:


You've been a part of our little family for two full months now.  Your Daddy and I are loving being your parents, and watching you learn and grow each month.  You are already changing so fast!  Here is a list of milestones from your second month:

-At your 2 month well check you weighted 10 pounds, 11 ounces, (25th percentile) which was a one and a half pound weight gain since last month, measured 23 inches (75th percentile!), which was a one and a quarter inch growth since last month, and had a head circumference of 14 inches (40th percentile).

-You're wearing size 1 diapers and 0-3 month clothes, but we just switched to our cloth diapers now that you can fit in them.

-You started smiling at us at 5 weeks. You like high pitched voices and over exaggerated facial expressions. 

-You've started cooing at us this month too. We love hearing your sweet voice "talking" to us!

-You slept through the night this month, starting with a six hour stretch and making the occasional 8 hour stretch. 

-You're sleeping in your crib in your own room now.

-You still love to be swaddled when you are getting sleepy, and you nap off and on all day in your swing.

-You are getting better with your paci, but you can't keep it in your mouth for more than about 5 minutes.

-You've had problems with pooping, infant acne, and cradle cap this month, but it's nothing a little coconut oil and apple juice couldn't fix.

-I started back to work two days a week. You're staying with Pia on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10-5:30. Your Daddy keeps you until I get off at 6. You'll start day care with Elliott in mid August.

-You're doing great with nursing, and as a result, your weight gain has really taken off (you've developed some pretty cute little rolls on your thighs).  You're still exclusively breastfeeding when we're together, and are drinking expressed breast milk from a bottle while I'm at work (three 3oz bottles a day). You nurse for about 20 minutes every 2-3 hours during the day.

-We do about 5 minutes of "tummy time" most day. You're getting stronger at holding your head up, and don't seem to mind being on your belly.

-You like bath time now, and you cry when you have to get out.

-You HATE your carseat. We've had to endure lots of screaming in the car this month.

-You've started using your hands more. You love to play with your hair while you are nursing. It's adorable!
-People can't decide if you look more like me or your Daddy, we get mixed reviews, but everyone agrees you look a lot like your big brother.

We love you more every day. It's hard to imagine what our family was like before you joined us. Your sweet, laid back personality is bringing us all immense joy, and we look forward to continuing to watch you grow this month.


June 21, 2014

Julianne's newborn photos:

You may have noticed the new photos on the blog header last week. These were taken by Amy Hough when Julianne was 9 days old. Amy did all of Elliott's professional photos for his first year of life, and we were so pleased, we decided to purchase the same 1 year package for Julianne. Here are just a few of our favorites from her newborn shoot:

June 20, 2014

Sesame Street Live!

Elliott has been such a good big brother (more on that later) the past 6 weeks, that we thought he deserved a little special attention from Mommy and Daddy. So when we heard Sesame Street Live was coming to town, we decided to take him on a Mommy/Daddy date night. Julianne went to stay with Pia and Poppy, and we started the night at Chick-fil-a for dinner and playing in the tubes before heading to the show.

This was his first show, so he was super excited. When we arrived he saw Bert peeking over the balcony waving at him as we went up the escalator. If he wasn't already pumped enough, he was now! He asked us over and over if we could "go up there and find Bert?" We were finally able to distract him with a Sesame Street light up toy and a colorful program when we got to the lobby.

While we were waiting for the doors to open we ran into one of our classmates from OBU, Julee Turner and her daughter, Preslee. Preslee was just as excited as Elliott to see all of the Sesame Street characters perform, especially Abby.

When they finally opened the doors, we had to hold him back from trying to go on stage to look for Bert again. The suspense was killing him! Our seats were great, third row center, perfect for him to see everything.

^^^ waiting for the show to start! ^^^

^^^ reading his program. ^^^
When the curtains finally opened, revealing all of the characters on the stage singing and dancing, the look on his face was priceless! The cutest smile and squeal I ever did see/hear!

^^^ seeing the characters on stage for the first time. ^^^

He sat so still and quiet for the whole show. He got a little sleepy toward the end and cuddled up to momma a few times to rest his eyes, but overall, he did great, and I can't say that I minded that snuggle time, because it doesn't happen very often anymore :)

I love being able to take Elliott to do fun things like this. Watching him enjoy something brings me so much joy. I think Mom and Dad enjoyed the date night just as much as Elliott. 

June 14, 2014

Julianne at 1 month:


We have loved every minute of our first month with you. You have the sweetest personality already. We feel so much more complete having you here in our home. Here are some milestones from your first month of life:

-At one month old you weigh 9 pounds, 3 ounces, measure 21 and a half inches long and have a head circumference of 14 and a half inches.  That puts you in the 50th percentile for all three.

-It took us 3 weeks to get you back to your birth weight after your weight dropped from 8 pounds, 8 ounces to 7 pounds, 11 ounces.

-You wear 0-3 month clothes and size 1 diapers.

-You had to be readmitted to the hospital the day after our discharge for 12 hours of phototherapy because your bilirubin levels were so high.

-You love sleeping in the vibrating cradle that came with our pack and play. You sleep in it next to our bed.

-You love to be swaddled. If you are upset, which is very rare, it calms you instantly.

-You're nursing every 2 hours during the day for 20-30 minutes, and every 3 hours at night. We only had to supplement a little formula when we in the hospital for your bilirubin levels. You are growing great on strictly breast milk.

-You are very laid back. You rarely fuss or cry. You eat and sleep. You sleep a ton!

-You don't like bath time, you scream until you are dressed and swaddled. 

-You can already put yourself to sleep if I lay you down awake. We're amazed at how content you are.

-You like the wub-a-nub pacifier, and are already pretty good at using it.

-You've had lots of visitors this month, everyone thinks you look a lot like Elliott did, and everyone (even strangers) comments on your full head of hair and how beautiful you are.

We are looking forward to watching you grow and seeing more of your personality come out in the coming months. You are bring all three of us so much joy, and we love you more than words can describe.


June 10, 2014

our new nephews:

May was a big month for both of our families. Not only did we welcome a daughter, but we also welcomed a new nephew on each side of the family. My brother and his wife welcomed Elijah Wayne (Eli) on May 26th and Gary's sister and her husband welcomed Jordan Daniel on May 31st.

^^^ my brother with his new baby, Eli! ^^^
^^^ meeting baby Jordan for the first time this past weekend. ^^^

Gary and I are both the oldest children, so while our siblings have all been aunts and uncles since Elliott was born, these two boys made us an aunt and uncle for the first time. We are both so excited to watch our siblings experience the joys of parenthood, and to get to love on these sweet babies in addition to our own. We're also thrilled for Elliott and Julianne to have cousins close in age. Some of my fondest memories growing up were made with my cousins.

^^^ Elliott meeting cousin Eli for the first time. ^^^
^^^ my brother with his beautiful new family. ^^^

Over the weekend, we all loaded up and went to Dallas to meet baby Jordan and to introduce Julianne to Gary's Dad and sister who have been unable to come here due to work and pregnancy. It was an interesting drive with a two year old and a one month old, but we survived, and it was worth it to spend time with family and meet Jordan.

^^^ Jordan checking Gary out. ^^^
^^^ the proud grandparents with their THREE grand babies. ^^^
^^^ with my sister-in-law and our new little ones. ^^^
^^^ Julianne and cousin Jordan. ^^^

Our families sure are blessed to have all these healthy babies to love on. The holidays and family gatherings are going to be so much fun thanks to these new additions. I'm looking forward to watching them all grow up together.