Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Rocking Motherhood

More often than not, I feel like I'm drowning in motherhood, certainly not rocking it.  However, Jen is my ever-present blogging cheer leader so I'm going to write today about motherhood just as she prompted me to.  And, Hi to all those new faces she keeps sending my way! ;-)

I trust my gut.  We're 14 months into this thing and B still doesn't sleep at night.  We have tried everything in the book - white noise, essential oils, melatonin (only once, I promise!), reflux meds, having him sleep with us - except sleep training.  Sorry, I just can't do it.  My gut tells me there's some other reason he doesn't sleep, and I guess I just have to wait it out.  I'll sleep when he gets married, or goes to college, or moves out the house, I suppose. 


I look for his cues.  On that same note, I try to follow his cues for sleeping and eating (that's not to say we don't have a schedule, because we definitely do) and being around others.  If he doesn't want to go with a family member or friend, including grandparents, I don't make him.  Let those feelings get hurt, I refuse to force my kid to be with you if he isn't comfortable doing so.

I read to him daily.  B LOVES books.  LOVES them, I tell you.  We read all day, every day.  It's not unusual for him to beg me to read a few quick books after I change his diaper in the morning and before I rush off to work.  He's constantly dragging books around and making us read them.  He's also known to disappear into his self-made book nook and spend 30 minutes ooh-ing and ahh-ing as he flips through the pages. 


I love his daddy.  Parenthood is hard.  Really hard.  We're certainly not our best to each other as we were before B, but I still love Alex and I yearn for time spent with him regularly.  One day, I hope B will learn to treat a woman as well as his daddy does...a direct result of my love as well. 

I don't buy him new toys or clothes (often).  I say this 2 hours after we bough several new shirts and shorts for B on our weekly grocery trip to Walmart.  However, this is probably one of three or four new clothes purchases I have purchased for B in his whole life (from Walmart, at that!).  Ninety percent of the time B wears hand-me-downs (I'm looking at you Jen!) or items purchased from Goodwill.  We buy books for holidays and birthdays, occasionally something that we know fits his personality (a stuffed Clifford on sale for $3 or a toy steering wheel because he loooves real ones), but that's it.  ...He's a kid people.  He doesn't know what brand he's wearing, or if it's new/used, etc.  Plus, they grow so fast.  I can't in good faith pay full price for a whole new wardrobe every few months!  Let's just say we're teaching him the value of a dollar, and smart buying early on. 


I let him watch French TV.  I know, I know.  The APA recommends ZERO screen time before age 2.  We were sticklers for that right up until age 1, and then I started relaxing the rules a little.  We don't give him our phones/tablet/computer to play, but we do occasionally flip through pictures of him because he loooves looking at himself.  Recently we have also begun allowing him to watch a French television show on PBS Kids.  I keep telling myself it's good for him to hear the language being spoken because now is a great time for him to bridge those synapses or whatever it's called when language development happens.  Ha!


I take him to church (and we don't sit in the cry room).  As best as I can remember, B has missed church less than 3 or 4 times in his 14 months on this earth.  Thanks to the wonderful wisdom that abounds from amazing mama blogger friends, we choose not to sit in the cry room unless an emergency diaper change is needed or a full out meltdown occurs (and even then we stay as briefly as possible).  I feel B needs to learn how to respect the fullness of the Mass, and for us that means sitting in the pews with everyone else.  Before he was born, I swore I'd never give my kid snacks during Mass, but I've learned that little kids eat a lot more often than adults, and snacks really aren't a big deal if they're quiet and used appropriately (re: before the age of reason).  While I can't guarantee B will be a faith-filled adult, bringing him to Mass, and bringing him regularly is an important part of that journey.


Mmm...sadly, I am stopping there because neither me nor my husband can think of anything else.  I told you I totally don't rock motherhood.  Plus, B will wake up from his nap soon, and we all know how that goes! 

First, though, I'm tagging a few friends:

Stephanie at Blessed to Be

Stephanie at Captive the Heart

Sheena at Bean in Love

Annie at Annery at Home

Rosie at A Blog for My Mom

That's all folks!
-Lauren

P.S.  These are obviously NOT current photos of the B...but I figure I'll keep inserting an assortment until we get all caught up (one day?!). 

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Introducing BAE

Because who doesn't like ooh-ing and ahh-ing over wittle (or not-so-little) babies...


Some photos taken by Bennett's godmother a few weeks after he was born:








And, if you recall...we hosted a baby pool at BabyHunch.com.  It was SO much fun to watch the guesses come in as we got closer to the big day.  In the end, over 65 people participated!

The first place winner was a college student who worked for both Alex and I (at our separate jobs - yes she was employed by both of us, no wonder she won!).  Second place went to one of Alex's graduate assistants.  I guess they spent enough time with us...or just got really lucky. 

For fun, check out their guesses:

Kerigan:  Feb. 16, 8:11 a.m., BOY, 8 lbs. 5 oz., 19.75 in., J name
Dan:  Feb. 16, 8:05 p.m., BOY, 8 lbs. 3 oz., 20.25 in., L name

We actually had someone guess the correct date (Feb. 15), but she came in 3rd place. 

If/when there is another child, we will definitely be waiting to see the gender, and using another baby pool.  It was so much fun!!!

 

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Clearing the Fog [Birth Story, Part 2]

We arrived at the hospital just before 5 a.m.  Of course, I was placed in triage, but thankfully, I was the only one there.  The nurses had me change into a gown, give a urine sample, checked my cervix (not more than a 1, if I remember correctly) and then hooked me up to monitors.  Alex went to move the car from ER parking to a regular lot while the nurse started a test to find out if my water had broken.

Before he even returned from the parking lot, the test results were clear...my water had broken and we were there to stay.  Needless to say, I think we were both surprised; I for one, was certain they would laugh at my trip to the hospital and turn me right around, insisting that I was not, in fact, in labor.  Oops.

Since I was still only dilated 1-2 cm, we were told the procedure would wait until my doctor arrived for the day at 8 a.m.  My family lived 3.5 hours away, so once we received the news that we were staying and baby was on the way, we made the call around 6 a.m. to let them know things were happening.  I sent Alex back to the car to get our bags...and reality started to set in.

At 7:59 a.m., I was rolled into the OR and prepped for the procedure.  Alex had to wait in triage for about 20 minutes while they did the spinal block and got everything set up.  When he came in, he stood at my head and we waited anxiously to find out the gender of our little one.  The doctor asked us one last time before delivery, and we both guessed it would be a boy...

...WE WERE RIGHT!

Bennett Alexander was born at 8:28 a.m. on Monday, February 15, 2016.


Alex went over to the baby table and watched as they cleaned him and stamped his hand and footprints.  They cut the cord, wrapped him up, and Alex brought him over to see me while the doctor stitched me back up.  Then Alex carried him to the nursery so they could take his stats and complete initial tests. 


I was returned to triage less than an hour after I left.  Alex beat me there, so he texted my family to let them know "it's a BOY," and announced his name.  This is when things get really really fuzzy; I guess it's the pain medicine to blame here.  Baby was returned to us before we got our room...the oohs and ahhs, and "oh my gosh what are we doing" began. 

Once we got our room, we continued skin to skin and enjoyed baby, hoping we'd be allowed to keep him at least until my family arrived.  Just as the nurses were coming to take him back to the nursery, we got word that my family was close, so we asked to keep him a few more minutes in order for them to meet him.  Family came, lunch was delivered, we settled in, and as they say...the rest is history!

 
I realize this is all "old news" at this point, but because we ended up having such a difficult time with the transition to parenthood and family life, I really do want take the time to write down as much of it as I can remember and bare to tell.  Even though my memory is super foggy, I think it's important to have a record of our experiences, and to acknowledge for others that having a baby is not at all like the movies or on TV, or even like what some of our friends experience.  In fact, sometimes it downright SUCKS.  But that's another story for another day.  ;)  Thanks for sticking around and feel free to leave some love before you go!

-Lauren

Sunday, March 26, 2017

That One Time We Tried to Celebrate Valentine's Day...[Birth Story Part 1]

As you may or may not recall, after much deliberation, we made the decision to schedule a cesarean delivery for Tuesday, Feburary 16, 2016.  Most planned deliveries (induced or otherwise) are scheduled for Mondays; not that it's important at all, but I didn't want Bennett to have a February 15th birthday because the kid would have no shot at feeling special with a birthday so close to Valentine's Day (especially if he were to ever be in a serious relationship).

February 16th sounded like a pretty good date...no odd numbers (I'm weird about that), and it kind of had a ring to it.  2.16.16.  Yep, it flowed pretty well, or so I thought.  Apparently God and babies are pretty similar when it comes to telling them your plans...

Fast forward to Sunday, February 14, 2016.  Alex and I decided to take advantage of one of our last evenings pre-baby by going out to dinner at Logan's Roadhouse.  While we were pleasantly surprised there was no wait on this holiday of sorts, the restaurant seemed to be out of everything.  It was like they hadn't anticipated an influx of customers for the weekend and everything was used up prior to Sunday.  We made the best of it and chatted about what the coming days were sure to bring.

Nothing out of the ordinary, we went home after dinner, relaxed, and turned in for the night.  Sometime around 11 p.m., my stomach started hurting.  I ignored it for a while, fell back asleep, and then woke up every hour for the next few hours feeling the aches.  At some point, my bladder told me I needed to get up, and I thought maybe I'd find relief by using the bathroom.  Not so.  I returned to bed, curled on my side and tried to fall back asleep.

Not long after returning to bed, Alex got up to use the bathroom.  When he returned, I decided to tell him that I didn't feel well and my stomach was hurting.  (This was around 1:15-1:30 a.m.)  It really hadn't occurred to me at all before, but Alex asked if he should try to time what must be contractions.  Since I wouldn't have even told him about the aches if he hadn't gotten up to pee, I was kind of surprised by his question, but agreed to try to time them.  At this point, we realized the contractions were __________ apart, not close together or super regular, but we kept timing.

As pregnant women do, I went to the bathroom again and realized something was different.  I hadn't experienced a "gush," but I thought perhaps I was "leaking" amniotic fluid...hmm.  We had been told previously to come in using the 511 rule (contractions every 5 minutes, lasting 1 minute, for 1 hour) or if my water were to break.  Since we weren't sure on the last part, we decided to call the on-call doctor.  When we mentioned the scheduled cesarean, we were told to go in, just in case.

And yep, I'm going to leave you hanging right there...mostly because things get foggy from here on and Alex isn't home to consult for assistance with the details...lol.  BUT, how about one more photo of us before we lost our innocence and became real, live, can't-run-away-and-hide, PARENTS!  Muhahahahahahahah.....


Sunday, February 12, 2017

A Month for Your Marriage {Week 1 - Togetherness}

I'm taking a little break from playing "catch up" to join Jen at Into Your Will for her "A Month for Your Marriage" link-up.  When I read Jen's post about the first challenge of the month, I thought to myself, "This will be EASY; Alex and I love doing things together!"  I guess that should have been my first clue that God was about to send me a slap across the face and a healthy does of humility to boot...


It's true though, Alex and I really do love doing things together.  One of the worst parts of me working while he's a stay-at-home dad is having to leave for work in the morning knowing that he and Bennett get to spend the whole day together, even if Bennett is a tough kid and things are certainly not rainbows and sunshine while I'm away.  However, I thought this challenge was going to come naturally to us and in some ways it did (we didn't intentionally do anything different), in others it really didn't.

We've been gearing up for Bennett's first birthday party which is coming up next weekend.  While we moved into our new house at Thanksgiving, we had never gotten around to hanging anything on the walls.  It didn't bother me so much at Christmas/New Year's, but almost 3 months later, I have been itching to make the place our own. 

In an effort to get the ball rolling, we left Bennett with my Nanna on Sunday afternoon and shopped like crazy for some fun new touches to our d├ęcor, especially to dress up Bennett's room that had never actually been decorated in our old house (I was pretty much anti-baby room for a while, but Bennett's turning a year old now and I felt it was time).  We really had a great time, but we hadn't found exaaactly what we were looking for, so we went back out again on Monday evening, as a whole family.  Alex had put dinner in the crockpot on Monday morning, so we were good to go with heading to Lafayette for a few quick stops after work and before dinner. 

I work "late" on Tuesdays, which meant we weren't going to get anything more done on the house that day, but we did manage to squeeze in a family walk and hosted dinner for my dad.  It was nice to take a brain break on the decorating front, though.  And, I think I was able to read a chapter for school while Alex put Bennett to bed, but that's neither here nor there...

Wednesday, we went on another family walk (love those), shared dinner, and then...I failed at life and became apparently ungrateful, mean, and demanding toward Alex.  Obviously, I never mean to hurt his feelings or make him feel like anything less than the amazing man that he is, but nevertheless, it happened.  I try to be understanding of his emotions toward being stuck at home all day, but I'm not perfect and I am not always as respectful or gracious toward him as I should be. 

At this point, I don't remember much about Thursday, but I do think we managed to share another family walk that evening.  Friday, Alex took one for the team by keeping Bennett while I went to dinner with some girlfriends (after being with him all day as well).  We had talked about squeezing in a walk again, but time just didn't allow it.  BUT, we did end the week on a good note when we asked Nanna to keep Bennett again so that we could attend a performance of Annie Jr., put on by the new Christian Youth Theater group in town. 

I think I said some other things to upset Alex again this morning, which means I REALLY need to take Jen's next challenge to heart and work hard at building him back up again through affirmation.  And if you read all the way through...mad props to you.  Here's a picture of Alex and I from a trip to the local pumpkin patch way back in 2014.  Apparently I also need to make a point of getting a recent photo of us together for next week's post.  :)


Have a good one, ya'll!

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Celebrating a Hungry Caterpillar

Still trying to play catch up by sharing about 2016 in chronological order, so today I'm here to relive our baby shower...Enjoy!

--

Some family and friends threw together a cute little shower for us on New Year's Day (2016).  It was an adorable "hungry caterpillar theme," with yummy food and fun games to entertain guests.  The weather did NOT cooperate (SO cold, windy, wet, gross and very unlike Louisiana), but we made the best of it and went on with the show.  



Shower hosts:  Dawn, Victoria, (myself), Jen, cousin Laurie, and Great Aunt Jackie
Laurie's triplet 5-year-olds served as bell ringers in our wedding 3 years prior
Drew (my godson), Sophie, and Emma
Jen's son, Chase, totally stole the show all day.  He and Alex were buds.  
A co-ed shower wouldn't be complete without a drinking game, no?
My daddy was the champion!
A nice photo with my parents, brother, and Nanna.  
Okay, now all that food is making me hungry, lol.  In any case, we really appreciate the effort made by those who contributed to this special day.  We received lots of love in the form of tangible gifts (but no diapers/wipes/or repeats, yay!) and silly notes too (mad libs, anyone?).  Next up, a surprise baby arrival (birth story), introductions, and the announcement of a winner from our baby pool!  

-Lauren

P.S.  I know for some this type of post can be uncomfortable, difficult, or just plain painful.  Please know that we recognize this and pray for those of you who may struggle with infertility (any variation thereof) and/or infant loss.  Our hearts go out to families affected by these struggles each and every day. 

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Can we say gorgeous? [Maternity Photos]

Although these were taken over a year ago now (late December 2015), I am still in love with our maternity photos, and never got the chance to share them here....so enjoy! 

Just a little background first...Katie Hoffpauir is the photographer who took our engagement photos, bridals, and photographed our wedding, as well.  We love how she is so incredibly flexible, good at what she does (we're not the most photogenic or model-like people!), and wonderful to work with in general.  I started talking to Katie about maternity photos back several months before these were taken, but we lived 3.5 hours away from Katie at the time, so our schedules didn't line up until we were about 34 weeks along in the pregnancy.

I asked Katie for some simple photos that we could use for New Year's greeting cards (yeah, those never happened) and to remember the bump while we were at it.  Not only did Katie fill my requests, but she went above and beyond to do so (as always!).  We love our photos and I'm excited to share some of my favorites!











And these don't scream "maternity" but I LOVE them anyway!  ("Dirty hot chocolate," yummmm.)



If you want to check out the whole album, they're on Facebook, or you can visit Katie's online gallery.

Enjoy!
-Lauren

P.S.  I know for some this type of post can be uncomfortable, difficult, or just plain painful.  Please know that we recognize this and pray for those of you who may struggle with infertility (any variation thereof) and/or infant loss.  Our hearts go out to families affected by these struggles each and every day.