Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!!!

Happy Halloween! We had a fun family night with our little zebra. Of course she didn't start out as a zebra. I honestly hadn't planned on dressing her up at all. I don't know why, but I just hadn't thought much about it. I figured she was too little to care. I haven't dressed up in many years. Plus I am way too practical and didn't want to buy a costume for her to wear just around the apartment since our complex doesn't even have Trick or Treaters. This all changed around 5pm tonight. I saw a couple of other costumes that friends had put their babies in and all of the sudden I felt convicted. This was her first holiday. How could I not embrace it and dress her up in some silly costume? I asked Ryan why we hadn't gotten her a cute costume like all of the other "cool parents" and he reiterated that I am very, very practical. He also agreed that we should dress her up so that we had a cute photo for her baby book.

So at 5:30pm on Halloween we were cruising down the aisle at Walmart looking for a tiny costume. The leftover picks were strange and huge so I convinced him to make another stop at Babies R Us. We lucked out and they had one zebra costume left in size 0-3 months....for 75% off!!! It pays to be a last minute Halloween shopper. I also like that the costume is basically just a cozy, striped sleeper that she can wear again on cool fall days and not just tonight (oops...there is that practical side of me). We changed her in the store and headed to dinner.

We went to eat at Benihana's so we could use the awesome birthday coupon they sent Ryan before it expired. Did you know they have a birthday club you can join and get a free meal the month of your birthday? At another table there was a cute baby girl that was only 5 weeks old and dressed like a candy corn. Glad we dressed up our baby and didn't look like lame-o parents in public :) Also we would like to apologize to the other restaurant patrons that had to listen to our hungry baby cry while we tried to heat up a bottle in a cup of hot water. I'm sure that wasn't the kind of scary they were looking for tonight.

Time for this sleepy zebra to go to bed. Hope everyone enjoys some candy tonight!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Awkward Encounters

Don't you love running into people that you know out in public? I do.... Last night Ryan and I were at the Barnes and Noble in Southlake. We were casually browsing around when I saw Dr. Kindrick, my doctor that delivered Eva. There she was. Just out in public. Not wearing her scrubs. And on an escalator! I realized that she was quickly rising above us and luckily caught her eye just in time. I shouted out, "Dr. Kindrick!!! Hi!!!" She appears to recognize me. Then I added this clever line, "We have our baby with us!" In our stroller, covered in blankets. Smooth. She is friendly and responds, "It looks like you are all doing well," before disappearing into the oblivion of the 2nd floor. We have our baby with us. Why did I say that????? We were standing over the stroller - of course we had our baby with us. And it wasn't like she could see her and tell us how cute she was. I was just so excited to see this wonderful woman who helped me and brought my child into the world that I completely forgot to not be awkward. Ryan laughed at me and said that a better line would have been, "We don't know where out baby is!!!" just to see what her response would have been. So if you ever see me out in public and I make an awkward comment to say hello, please just smile back and know that I was overly excited to see you. Thanks.

Eva bundled up in her sweater to stay warm yesterday. I think she kind of looks like an old man sleeping in this position with her little sweater on.

Oh, precious baby. I hope I don't embarrass you too much as you get older :)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Mr. & Mrs. Bradley Go to the Dentist

I do not like going to the dentist. Yet to the dentist I went. My appointment was today and Ryan went yesterday. I had to get a filling redone from when I was much younger. I've actually had this same filling redone before. If I could go back and tell the 10 year old me to eat less candy to avoid going through this discomfort 3 times and spending my grown up money on it I would. I hate the awkwardness of the dentist. The scraping of your teeth. The smell of whatever it is dentists use. The way they inevitably ask you questions like, "So what is your life story?" while they are working in your mouth and couldn't possibly answer them. One day when Eva has to go to the dentist I don't know how I'll be able to make up a story that it is fun. Maybe I'll just promise her a reward if she agrees to be brave and not bite the dentist. After experiencing both, I can honestly say that I would rather go through childbirth again than get another filling. At least with childbirth you get a cute little baby. All the dentists gives is a free toothbrush.

Dislikes aside, I will say that our new dentist office is really great. That sounds ironic... I guess it's that I hate the procedure but the staff is awesome. When I went in today they were so friendly and talked to me all about my husband. Apparently he was quite the hit yesterday. They told me how funny he was (I know - that's why I married him). They told me the story of how we met on a mission trip and how much he liked me (yes, I was there and I remember it). They told me how happy he is to be a father and how he was looking forward to his daddy-daughter time with Eva while I had my appointment today. I'm not sure how Ryan had so much time to tell the dentist his life story, but I'm proud that he made such an impression. I'm proud that out of all their clients yesterday they knew and remembered so much about my family (they asked, "How is baby Eva today?") all because of Ryan's fun personality. Hearing about how great he was made me relax a little bit and it made my heart so happy. I'll probably even go back in 6 months for my next check-up.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Getting to Know You

Wow. Today church was awesome. Do you know why it was awesome? Because there were so many people there that I didn't know! Now I realize that for most people that might be intimidating and not welcoming but let me give you a little back story. We go to a small church in Westlake. My husband is the Director for Student Ministries. For the past year and a half I've been a greeter, which means that I usually meet all of the new people as soon as I spot them walking up. There have been Sundays in the past that the only people in attendance were people that were directly involved in the service (pastor, sound guy, set up crew, etc.) Flash forward to now.

It is awesome that there were so many people that I didn't know because that is what we've been praying for. For our church to grow! Not just to have a certain number of people in the seats but to have a greater opportunity to share with more and more people the truth about Jesus. To teach people who haven't heard the whole story of our Lord and to encourage and teach those who have! Our church has been doing tons of outreach to let more people know about Redeemer Church. I missed a month of Sundays right after they "relaunched" the church since I had Eva. Also the first Sunday I was back I did youth and last Sunday my parents were there. All of this added up to me looking around this morning and realizing that there were a lot of new faces. I love new faces! Since I had a baby in tow (translation: my crying baby had to literally be worn on my body in a sling and soothed) I didn't get to meet every new person but I did talk to a few families. It was also amazing to look around and see that almost every chair was full this Sunday. Oh, except for the 5 chairs next to me. Don't you love to be the one person sitting by yourself in a room full of people? I wasn't offended though since I sat in a back corner so that I could easily escape when Eva started to scream - which she did. So, wow. Today was truly a picture of how our prayers are being answered. I continually pray that each week there would be at least one new person that Redeemer can reach out to and today my prayers were answered in abundance. I believe that it wasn't our efforts alone that brought people to Redeemer this morning, it was the work of our faithful Lord. Praise God!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Surviving the first 6 weeks

Before I begin I have to point out the cute Juicy Couture outfit that Eva is wearing today. It was a gift from a friend and I hope Eva enjoys wearing it because it will likely be her only designer outfit for the next 18 years. If Mama has to buy her sweatpants at Target, so do you.

Today we've officially hit the 6 week mark. I think this is an important step because it symbolizes moving past the "Oh my gosh. They gave me a baby that I have to take care of. I will never sleep again." phase. I remember being in the hospital after my c-section and being pretty sure that I would never recover from the surgery. I asked my mom how I would recover and take care of a baby and move on to normal life. She assured me that each day would get a little bit easier and I would get stronger. Everyone who talked to me about this said, "Give it 6 weeks." At the time 6 weeks seemed like both an eternity and way too short of a time to recover.

But it happened. As the days passed I was able to get out of bed or up off the couch without an assisting hand. I was able to stop taking pain meds and feel like an almost normal person. One day I decided that I could transition into regular clothing instead of being limited to pajamas. I napped less and moved around more. I've even reached the point of cooking my own food again and eating off of real plates instead of disposable (although if you offer to bring us food, I will never turn you down....).

During the first 6 weeks I also fell so in love with our little girl. I love holding her and playing with her every day. I've changed a million diapers and spent hundreds of hours nursing her. I've learned to tell what her cries mean. We've gotten into a routine. She keeps on growing - which I'm pretty sure that I told her not to do - and getting more fun as she interacts with us each day. I'm so incredibly thankful that I get to stay at home with her because I can't imagine leaving her to go back to work at this point.

I've also experienced motherhood amnesia. Not the kind where you are forgetful of everyday things. More like the kind where any hard memories have been completely erased. When we were at Northpark earlier in the week I saw so many pregnant women and kept thinking about how much I loved being pregnant. I have this vague memory that it was hard but when I look back all I remember is how amazing it was and how sweet it was to feel Eva moving around inside me. The same thing happens when I think back about being in labor. I can remember so many of the details of that day, but somehow the pain seems so much less that what it actually was. In the first few weeks when every task seemed hard I couldn't imagine having more than one child. Now I get excited about having more kids one day (in a few years, not too soon).

Our life will never be the same as it was before we had her. Sometimes I still look at Ryan and say, "Can you believe that we really have a baby????" I feel a little bit sad to transition away from the time of having a brand new baby but I know that each month with her will be full of joy and new memories. I feel so proud for surviving the first, hardest part of having a newborn.

I'm even ready to start working out for real. I bundled up this precious girl to go for a long power walk this morning :)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Looks Like Somebody's Got a Case of the Mondays

Ryan and I actually love Mondays. Since Saturday and Sunday are busy working days for him, Mondays are our family day. But before I get to Monday, I wanted to flash back to Sunday. Ryan preached at church yesterday and it was Eva's first time to sit in during "big church." I took her last week but we were out of the service teaching the 5th/6th grade youth Sunday School. She did such as great job during the service. She was happy while we were singing and then slept through the sermon.... I'm sure that her falling asleep had nothing to do with her daddy's preaching :) It's okay to sleep through church when you're only 5 weeks old.

For our family time today we took her on her first trip to Northpark Mall in Dallas. This was a big deal because Northpark was the first mall that I ever went too! I grew up less than 10 minutes from there and I'm pretty sure that Northpark was one of my first words when I learned to talk. Or maybe shopping. Ryan wanted to use his birthday $$$ to get some new shoes and it was a great day to shop. Lots of moms with strollers, but since I was also a mom with a stroller I didn't mind. Eva wasn't so content in her stroller after a while, so we ended up having to take turns carrying her. Not a good time to forget my Moby baby carrying wrap! Good thing she isn't a giant baby yet.

This last picture is just for fun. I love the blue feather bow. What a little d'Eva!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Don't Believe What They Tell You

I am the type of person that likes to keep my house clean. Not just picked up. Dust-vacuum-mop-sanitize clean. I don't judge you if you are not this exact type of person like me, it's just how I like my house to be. Obsessive Cleaning Moment Confession: In the weeks before I had Eva I realized that after I had her it might be a while before I could get back into a weekly cleaning routine. So in the last few weeks of being greatly pregnant I made a habit of doing one big cleaning task each day (dust, vacuum, etc.). With this pattern my whole apartment would be thoroughly cleaned approx. every 4 days, meaning that it never actually got dirty and that whenever I went into labor I could rest assured that we wouldn't be coming home to a dirty house. Yes. I care that much. (Remember I said that I wasn't judging you, so you better not be judging me right now.)

I have followed the orders of others and let go of my home a bit since coming home from the hospital. I truly believe that resting and spending time with my little girl is way more important than having a perfectly clean carpet. A few weeks ago my awesome mom even came up and cleaned for me so I wouldn't get cleaning crazy before I was really up for it. Notice though I said a few weeks ago... today the house was ready to be cleaned again. Since Ryan was gone working on church stuff I decided to tackle the cleaning while Eva was napping.

Have you ever heard the old advice, "Make lots of noise when the baby is sleeping. Vacuum while she sleeps so that she gets used to loud noise. Even vacuum under her crib." Don't believe what they tell you. It is great in theory, especially because we do need Eva to be able to sleep with noise so that we can take her to youth events and let her sleep there. My experience, however, makes me wonder....

As I was cleaning I was thinking about the vacuum quote. I thought, "Hmm, I do need to vacuum. But I DON'T want her to wake up yet. What should I do?" I decided to clean other things until I committed one way or another. I dusted the living room. I walked in our bedroom where she was napping in the pack and play. I peered lovingly at my peacefully sleeping daughter. I sprayed one pump of dusting spray on my nightstand. And then "WAAAAAHHHHH!!!!" The loudest baby cry. Over one tiny spray. Are you kidding me? She was fully awake. I rocked her back to sleep. I figured that it was better to quietly clean the toilets far away from her and save the vacuuming for a time when she is awake and Ryan can play with her.

On a completely unrelated topic, check out the baby jeans I got for her at Target this week! They are really cute with a little ruffle at the bottom. They are newborn size but are still huge on her! We call them her gangster pants.

By the way, my tiny baby isn't so tiny anymore. At her one month checkup she weighed 8 lbs, 12 oz. This is a normal weight for a baby to be born at, but it shocked me because she gained over 2 lbs since her 2 week checkup. I guess she isn't starving. I will leave you with a cute family pre-bedtime self portrait. Cosby was on the couch with us and if you look at the bottom right hand corner you can see white from his head. That was as good as we could get. Happy Saturday!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Happy Birthday, Ryan!

Ryan turned 25 years old today!!! As someone who has been 25 for almost 3 years, I was excited for him to finally join me at this quarter of a century turning point. We started our celebration on Saturday with a family birthday party for Ryan and his brother Greg who just turn 33. There was lots of cake and lots of silliness from our nieces!

Keirsi and Kayden made Ryan a poster for his birthday instead of a card. It was really cute how they cut out letters (kind of like a ransom note!) and they wrote his name on it several times. I love that they are learning letters and how to write. They are such smart girls!

More cousin love! Guess who happened to be asleep again? I think Eva looks like a baby doll in this picture. We missed cousin Mallory being with us and look forward to taking a picture of all 4 cousins someday soon.

Family photo: Daddy (almost 25), Eva (exactly 1 month), and Mama (ageless beauty)

This morning my mom came up and stayed with Eva while we went to see a movie. Our first time to leave Eva with a babysitter. I figured my mom probably knows something about taking care of babies since she raised me and has been a nanny for almost 12 years. Of course, that didn't stop me from telling her exactly how to take care of my baby. There are a lot of weirdos out there and you want your babysitter to do things the right way. Don't worry, Mamy, you did a great job! And I only cried for about 30 seconds when I had to say goodbye and leave Eva.

We went and saw The Ides of March. The movie was good, but my favorite part of the day date was when Ryan and I took turns practicing walking up and down the long movie theatre entrance way doing our "I'm a serious politician/assassin/mafia member and I'm thinking something suspicious" walk. And then we noticed that the movie theater lady was standing there waiting to clean the theater. Oops.

For our evening date, Ryan's parents came up to babysit so we could have a romantic dinner. That's right. I left my baby twice in one day. I deserve a gold star for not being a clingy mama. It was hard but good to have time with the birthday boy just one on one. We had a good dinner at Carraba's. Mmmm, bread, calamari, lobster tasty! I also want to mention that I have had my "little black dress" above since I was 18! I realized that today when I was trying to decide what to wear. I hope it is still in style. Probably not...

At the end of our fun day it was sweet to come home to my favorite little cuddle bug.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Morning Wake Up Call

Each day my morning starts when I wake up to feed Eva. This usually happens sometime between 6:30 - 7:30 am. This morning she surprised me by sleeping in until 8:00 am! I actually woke her up because I realized that we need to have time for me to feed her and get ready to leave on time for our first Sunday back at church. Usually when we have somewhere to be it is either later in the day or I have Ryan's help getting ready. Since he has to be at church way earlier than I do, today I was stuck in a bit of a bind. I decided that since it was my first Sunday at church in a month, a shower would be an appropriate way to bless others. I also needed to eat. And do my hair and make up....hmm. How do I get all of this done in under 2 hours with a baby?!?!?! And a dog.

After feeding her (which takes about 30 - 45 minutes) I put her on her boppy pillow and ate my breakfast on the couch while talking and making silly faces at her. Since our daily pattern goes eat/play/sleep I knew I couldn't just put her back to sleep for a while. I decided that the best way for me to get the shower in was to set up her swing in our room facing into the bathroom so that I could continue to make silly faces and talk to her while I got ready. She did good while I showered thanks to the oh so charming musical tunes that her swing plays. I got my make up on without any glitches. And then of course when I'm blow drying my hair she falls asleep. This would have been fine except that by that point I knew I'd have to take her out of her swing and put her in the car seat within 10 minutes.

Finally we were both ready to go. I open the door and start to walk down stairs to the parking lot, suddenly realizing that it's raining. Pouring. I almost called it quits to have a movie and pjs day instead, but who wants to waste a good shower? So I draped a blanket over her and made a mad (but safe) dash to the car. We made it on time to church. Even early, which is impressive because I'm rarely early anywhere. But it was a challenge. I can't imagine being a single mom and doing that every morning to get kids to school and me to work. If you are a single mom, I congratulate you on getting things done!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

1 Month Old

Taken from Letters to Eva (our book to our little girl)

Dear Eva Kate,
Today you are 1 month old. The days pass by too quickly. Our first month together has been so sweet. I love being your mama so much and truly thank God for every day. You have blessed my life and added love and laughter to our family.

Your days right now are spent mostly eating and sleeping. Nursing you takes a lot of time and work, but I actually love it more than I thought I would. I enjoy our quiet moments together and seeing how exited you get when you know you are about to eat. When I put a bib on you, you get a really cute look on your face that tells me you know what is about to happen next. This week we started giving you a bottle once a day.

Daddy and I love you so much. We like it when you sleep well but sometimes we joke around with each other about who gets to wake you up because we both miss you while you are asleep. Right now you sleep in your pack and play in our room at night and take naps in your crib or swing during the day.

You love to be swaddled and rocked to sleep. Sometimes when we want to play with you, you get too sleepy and crash right where you are.

And then there are other times when I know you are tired and I rock you for a long time only to look down and see your bright, wide awake eyes looking right back at me. When you are more awake and alert you like to read books with me and spend time sitting around in your boppy cushion.

We've also started giving you tummy time each day. You don't love it but you enjoy it more when we make it a family affair.

Even Cosby helps! I should have probably started this earlier, but honestly, I forgot until this week. I'm learning to be a mommy just like you are learning to be a baby.

You are the best, most fun gift I've ever received. Right now you are asleep and it makes my heart smile just to think about getting to see your little face when you wake up!

I have a few more things to get done..... so keep sleeping, baby :)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Newborn Photographs

My baby is 4 weeks old today! I can't believe how fast the time goes. The nights may be long (or short depending on how you view sleeplessness...), but the weeks fly by. I feel like she gets a little bit bigger every day even though I tell her not to. I just want to cherish every moment of her being a tiny infant. These are a few more of the pictures taken by my sister in-law Amanda when Eva was 2 weeks old. We had so much fun playing dress up with Eva. I love how these turned out and plan to hang some up around our home. I may be biased but I think I have the most beautiful baby ever :)

And lastly a sneak peak of the photo we plan to use for our family Christmas card.....

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Speed Racer

The day I turned 16 my parents let me get my driver's license. It was awesome. I even got to get out of school to go to the DPS so that I could use it that night, which happened to be a Friday. Looking back, I may have been a less than stellar driver. I got my license on a Friday, on Saturday I backed up into a car (and didn't tell my parents until Sunday evening because I wanted to be able to drive all weekend). Then there was that time 2 kids on a bicycle ran into me. Make sure that you read that correctly - THEY hit ME and it was declared their fault for driving recklessly on their bike but still not a great experience (the kids were a little banged up but fine). Once when I was driving on the Dallas Tollway I threw my quarters out the window and missed. And then spent the next 5 minutes digging through my purse and an overnight bag for more change while cars honked madly at me (from then on I was hooked on maintaining a Toll Tag). Thankfully I was never in a serious wreck and in my defense never got a speeding ticket.

Now that I'm a mama, I have become the most careful driver in the world. Speeding? No thanks, I'll drive cautiously. Wild stops? My babies little head will fling about! Texting while driving? Are you CRAZY?!?! Having precious cargo in the backseat has made me rethink how I drive. I may get places a bit slower but it's worth it to make sure she's safe. At stop signs or before turning I look both ways 10 times to make sure that no other cars are coming. That's the real threat - other drivers. People who don't have babies in the backseat. So the next time you are driving down the road and you see that car with 2 side window shades and a little car seat poking up over the center, don't honk or make fun of her for being careful. Smile and pray for her sweet child :)

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Redeeming the Time

Me (age 12) with my sister Sara Rose Elizabeth

When I was almost 12 years old my parents had a second child. I was so excited to finally have a sibling! A sweet baby girl named Sara Rose, or "Rosie." She was born with Down Syndrome and a hole in her heart. She was able to be part of our family for about a year before she passed away from complications resulting from open heart surgery. Her life and death had a tremendous impact on our family. It was my first real experience with the death of someone I loved and it was heartbreaking.

Sara Rose died on September 11, 1996. For many years after that September was marked by sadness for our family as we remember the anniversary of her death. Ironically, it was 5 years later on September 11, 2001 that the World experienced a different 9/11. That was actually the first time I had gone to school on the anniversary of her death. I remember it as a sad, shocking day.

When I found out that my due date for Eva was originally September 10th, I began to realize the possibility of having her on the 11th. I thought about it and realized that if that happened, it would be special but at the same time I was okay if it didn't happen. More importantly, I recognized how awesome it was for it to be in God's plan for my baby to be born anytime in September.

My baby will never replace my sister, but I feel like God has been purposeful in redeeming the time for my family. My sister will always be remembered, but now September is a month full of joy and excitement. Each year September will be celebrated as Eva continues to grow older. I love that the Lord could foresee this in His wisdom. For many years I don't think my family could ever imagine celebrating at the beginning of September, but for me at least, God has turned sadness into rejoicing and praise. I wanted to write about all of this to remind myself to trust God more in all circumstances. We don't always understand why things happen and the pain of this life is real. But God is good and His love for us is greater and deeper than we can imagine.

My mom, grandma Dede, Eva, and Me - Celebrating Eva's Birth!

You have turned my mourning into dancing.
You removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy.
Psalm 30:11