Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Brennan: Five Months

March 2, 2015

  • You are wearing 6 month clothes...though these days are numbered. You're a growing girl!
  • You are rolling over quite easily these days, though never front to back. From your back, you can roll over to your tummy with no trouble, but then you decide that you're "stuck" and get frustrated quickly by your inability to turn over again.
  • The frequency of your eating has definitely declined. You nurse a few times each day, but you're usually able to stretch to a few hours at a time between feedings, and you're definitely not spitting-up as much as you were.
  • You seem to need a late-afternoon snooze to get you through the evening. After that 30-45 minute nap around 4:00 p.m., you're usually able to make it through the activity of the evening until bedtime prep begins around 7:30 p.m.
  • You've begun noticing toys, really playing with a few favorites these days. Sophie the Giraffe is  one of those favorites, and you enjoy the little stuffed tiger, too, and sucking on his nose.
  • The "Jenny Jump-Up" has been a lot of fun for you! You so enjoy being upright, and really move around quite a bit! We've all noticed that it seems that you get more enjoyment out of it than Emerson did. You really get going!
  • You've started to notice Royal walking around, and have made a few attempts at grabbing his tail. You certainly watch him closely when he's in the vicinity.
  • You're starting to seem to need Mommy to be close-by. Often, if I walk away, you'll fuss. Interestingly enough, though, if Emerson is close-by, having her around satisfies you, too. She's a comfort for you, that big sister of yours! 
  • Your hair is definitely continuing to lighten. It appears you'll be another blonde beauty. 
  • You've begun trying to sit on your own a few times. You enjoy the effort, and only need minimal assistance to keep you from falling backwards.
  • I think you look like Daddy, and see the resemblance multiple times a day. I'm curious to see how that resemblance changes (grows? weakens?) over time.
  • You are babbling nonstop, enjoying the new sounds of your own voice. You want to talk just like the rest of us do! 
  • Chewing on Mommy's chin and nose is a precious habit of yours that I just love. It's as though you're giving kisses, showing affection as you are able. Other times it seems that you're trying to tell me that you're hungry...either way, it's cute.
  • Your eyes seem so bright these days...lit with such happiness and joy at the world and the people around you!
  • You are definitely watching us eat our food lately, showing interest in this "food" we all enjoy so much. You are getting so close to eating it yourself! 
  • Emerson can make you belly laugh like no one else can. It's the most precious sound, and truly, no one else makes you laugh so hard. You both get such pleasure out of playing together. She loves to make you laugh, and is so anxious to play with you in other ways. 
  • You're looking longer lately...probably a growth spurt!

Brennan, you are the perfect fit for our family...
and we love that you are a part of it.
It brings me such joy to be your mommy. And, I just love watching you grow. 
What will you do next?!
I love you, precious.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Brennan: Four Months

February 2, 2015

  • You are wearing 6-9 month clothes. I remember Emerson being in so many of these outfits, which is such fun! 
  • Disposable diapers at nighttime continues to work well for you, with cloth diapers during the day. Unless I'm running behind on laundry, and then it's disposables during the day, too. These things happen.
  • At your four month (+ 2 days) doctor's appointment, you weighed 15 lbs, 9 oz. and were 2' 2" long. You are a healthy baby, growing right on track. When Dr. J walked into the room, he said "well, I've seen that face before!" Clearly, there is a fair amount of resemblance between you and your big sister! You got four shots again this time, but calmed remarkably quickly as soon as I picked you up afterwards. I love being able to comfort you. No fussiness or fever post-vaccines, either!
  • You continue to sleep through the night well, though you've woken up early a couple of times lately, at 5:00 a.m. or 6:00 a.m. You are usually able to nurse and go back to sleep on those occasions, but it's enough to throw us off. I still nurse you to sleep on the couch at bedtime, though have learned the hard way that, no matter deeply asleep you may appear, you wake up almost immediately when placed in your crib...if done so before 10:00 p.m. For whatever reason, you're not ready to be in your crib until 10:00 p.m. or later, so we stay up until (at least) then.
  • You love being with and around Emerson. You so obviously look for her in the room, and regularly perk up with a smile when she comes close. She makes you giggle more than anything else. I love watching your relationship develop, and I love that you're already friends. 
  • You are recognizing people these days. Daddy usually gets a big smile when you see him in the morning or after work, and you know Grandma and Grandpa, too. 
  • When I look over your crib in the morning, you are so happy to see me. You have fresh eyes and a wide smile that makes my heart burst. You are ready to enjoy the day, and I get to help you experience it. What a gift.
  • You have begun to find toys next to you on the mat, or reach over to grab one on the changing pad. It takes such effort to close your fist around one, and slowly bring it to your mouth. But, you're doing it!
  • Your favorite "toy" at this point, though, is our fingers. You love to gnaw on our knuckles, and will "chew" for as long as we'll allow it. It must provide some relief on potentially tender gums. Emerson got her first tooth just before turning five months, so we're on the lookout for teething symptoms from you, too. Other than the gnawing and slobbering, nothing yet. 
  • Laying down to nap in your crib is becoming a more regular thing. You still nurse to sleep, but are more willing to be placed in your crib afterward, where you'll sleep for anywhere from five minutes to thirty or so...usually dependent on the amount of noise and activity going on in the rest of the house. 
  • You so enjoy time on the changing table, and you really move your arms and legs constantly when you're up there. You "talk" and squirm and it seems like it's your "happy place".
  • You seem to really want to sit up, straining to lean forward when leaning back on a pillow or up against me. You're not quite there yet, but certainly gaining strength and confidence. You know that's the next step!
  • There is a definite ease to your time with Daddy. You enjoy being together and you are comfortable and trusting in his arms. 
  • There is a lot of "cooing" and blowing bubbles going on! You want to communicate and are certainly exploring ways to do that. I love hearing you!
  • You have the cutest bashful smile, especially for Daddy. You see him, smile, and then shyly turn away and nuzzle back toward Mommy. It's precious.
  • You seem quite easygoing, and relatively low-key. You want to be a part of things, and you let us know when you're discontent...usually when you aren't as much a part of things as you'd like to be. But, otherwise, you're happy to watch the action and just be around it all.
  • You giggle when Mommy nibbles and kisses on your neck. It's become "our thing" and your smiles and happy laugh make me feel so loved right back.
  • You have a somewhat high-shrieked voice when you're trying to get our attention...lots of cute little squeals!
  • You're really enjoying bath time lately, turning towards the mirror and smiling at yourself. I'd say being able to sit up a bit better in the tub has impacted that. You are patient as you're washed, quite tolerant of water dribbling in your face, and happy for the change of activity. But, when you're done...you're done. All of a sudden, for whatever reason, you begin to fuss, and the fun is over. 
  • Finding your toes has been a fun source of entertainment recently, and you seem so proud of yourself. You quickly lift them to your mouth on the changing pad when your diaper is removed, and we have lots of "diaper-free" time on the floor so you can continue to explore. 

Brennan, you make all of us smile...and smile...and smile. 
Watching you grow is nothing short of incredible.
I'm grateful for the gift of you, precious. 
I love you with all of my ever-growing heart.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Eleven Days

One week ago today, Bobby and I watched two of our best friends bury their eleven-day old son.

I am taken aback just writing that sentence. This is all so entirely surreal.

Eleven days.

Eleven days to hold him in their arms. Eleven days to memorize every one of his tiny features...so fearfully and wonderfully made. Eleven days to sing lullabies, read Bible stories and whisper his name. Eleven days of fervent prayers, petitioning the Father to heal their son.

For nine months, they prepared and anticipated, full of excitement and joy. The pregnancy was as normal as could be. There was no reason to expect that the birth wouldn't be, too. For nine months, they waited as their baby boy was knit together.

And then, in a matter of a few short moments, their world was shattered as things went very, very wrong.

The story is theirs to tell; the sorrow is ours to share.

Eleven days.

I am heartbroken with and for them. I am angry. This isn't how it's supposed to work. This isn't what should have happened. They are enduring what no one should have to...certainly not them.

It is beyond comprehension, and although it is not for us to understand, the questions persist. The devastation continues.

This traumatic experience causes me to consider how I might handle the situation if it were me facing it. I can say with near certainty that I would not be responding as well as they seem to be. I am in awe of the faithfulness and trust in the Lord that these two are displaying. They are the epitome of grace, embodying what Christians are called to do in the face of trial. I am overwhelmed by the evidence of God's work in and through them throughout this experience.

"The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. 
Blessed be the name of the Lord."
Job 1:21

The journey, though, is just beginning. The reality of the grief is only now setting in.

Bobby and I pray for the Lord's perfect peace and continued presence in their lives, and for His guidance and wisdom as we seek to discern how to be the kind of friends they need in the coming months and years.

I struggle to know how to end this post. For a situation where there are really no words, anyway.... It seems appropriate, though, to conclude with a verse that I know our friends have found comfort in as they navigate their grief.

May we all hold to this truth so confidently, faithfully clinging to His assurances.

"Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 
and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 
and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts 
through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us."
Romans 5:3-5

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Brennan: Three Months

January 2, 2015

  • You are wearing 6 month clothes almost exclusively, with the exception of a few 0-3 month outfits that I wasn't ready to give up. We could've used some of the smaller ones a little longer, as they weren't fitting terribly, but we have so many of the larger sizes from Emerson (and the bigger size does fit more comfortably), that it seemed as though we might as well go ahead and get them out. It was harder than I expected to pack the 0-3 month clothes away, though, and I already hope that we get to use them again...someday.
  • You are wearing primarily cloth diapers during the day, and disposables at nighttime. That habit started somewhat by accident, and although I didn't plan to use disposables at night, it's worked out that way. And, since I somewhat suspect that that's contributing to your incredible nighttime sleeping habits, I'm not going to test the theory by changing it up. I've been more lenient with the disposable diaper usage this time around, realizing that it doesn't have to be an "all or nothing" thing. It's quite freeing, actually!
  • Your naps don't follow any particular pattern, really. You fall asleep in my arms when you feel like it, then sleep for a little while after being placed on the couch (or wake-up practically immediately if placed in your crib), and you never sleep for terribly long because there's just too much going on around here.
  • You are losing some of your hair, which I've noticed only because of the little circle of dark hair in your crib, where your head lays each night, and the little bare patch at the back of your head. (Little things like that bring back such memories of Emerson's baby days. There are many similarities between you sisters!) Your hair is getting blonder, too, which I notice especially after you're freshly-bathed.
  • You are beginning to really delight in bath time, though it never lasts for long. You abruptly get sad just before we're almost done. Whether you know it's almost over and are disappointed or start to get cold, I'm not quite sure, but it is a rather sad way to end an otherwise pleasant and relaxing time. Daddy usually helps Emerson take her bath while you and I watch from the counter, unless she's helping with your bath, that is.
  • You are really interacting with us, and so enjoy being talked to. You know you're part of the family, and love to be a part of what we're doing.
  • You're starting to verbalize, exploring what sounds you can make, and "cooing" here and there.
  • You are sleeping all night long. Let me repeat that for emphasis. You are sleeping all night long. After our bedtime routine with Emerson, you come to the couch with Mommy and Daddy, and nurse yourself to sleep, around 8:30 p.m. After you're good and asleep, which usually happens around 10:00 p.m., Mommy puts you in your crib, and you sleep soundly until 7:30 a.m. or so. Amazing. I can only attribute this to a) wearing a Pampers disposable, b) your inability to get any particularly long stretches of sleep during the day due to the busyness around the house, c) being highly stimulated during the day from the aforementioned busyness, or d) a combination of some or all of the above. It doesn't matter, really. I'm just so grateful and quite impressed. Keep it up, little one!
  • We never did use the swaddle with you at nighttime. Since you were sleeping with me, it wasn't necessary. You've used the sleep sack ever since you've slept in your crib, and you seem perfectly comfortable with it.
  • You continue to nurse well, though sometimes it seems you're annoyed to eat. It does slow you down from watching the surrounding action, that's true. You don't eat quite so often anymore, though you do seem to still prefer the snacking approach.
  • Your tummy time strength is clearly improving. You seem to enjoy that change of perspective, too.
  • Sucking on your hands is one of your latest tricks, and you slobber all over them...a new toy!
  • You have such patience being left in a room, just laying on your back while Mommy does other things. You enjoy your big sister's company, and are remarkably content for relatively long stretches of time just to lay around. I do appreciate that!
  • When you cry, we know it's something serious, because it's only when you're good and mad that you do cry. You'll whimper and fuss only briefly when you're "complaining", but only if something's truly making you mad do you cry hard. You're generally just quite easy-going and content to be with us, studying all the action around you.

Brennan, you are a delight. 
There is so much to discover about you; watching you grow each day 
is such a sweet reminder for me about how quickly life goes by. 
I cherish this time with you, and I hope you will always know how deeply loved you are.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Till You Feel Better

January has been winning. Yesterday was hard. Two little ones, both ready for a change of scenery, tired of being stuck indoors, in need of fresh air. (Plus, their mommy...also in need of fresh air.) Because there are so many germs prevalent lately, we are under a self-imposed quarantine. Besides that, it's rarely worth the effort it takes to get us all out and about, especially in the cold, with no where we really have to go. It's just not worth it.

But, for the good health we've thus far enjoyed this winter, there's a mental health price to pay. And, pay it we are. (Yes, our solitude is largely of our own doing. In some ways, I have only myself to blame. Noted.)

Yesterday, though, as we began to color on the windows with markers...again...I decided to turn on the 'Sound of Music' soundtrack on Spotify, and introduce Brennan to "My Favorite Things"...because if Julie Andrews can't lift my spirits, what could?! We moved from "Edelweiss" to "That Thing You Do" (I know, I know....) and then from there it was a short leap to an album of James Brown's greatest hits.

And then we couldn't help but get moving! Emerson chased me around the sectional in the living room as we moved and grooved and I showed her my best dance moves (which are, not surprisingly, quite entertaining even to a toddler).

Not much feels blog-worthy in the middle of this long winter, with uneventful days that all look very much the same. But, I want to remember yesterday, if for no other reason than to have a reminder that in the midst of a bad mood, I am likely just a soundtrack and a dance party away from a swift attitude adjustment.

So, as James Brown says, "get up offa that thing", and you know, "dance till you feel better".

I did.
And, I do.

(And then, Bobby came home with sushi. And, my best friend sent an encouraging text that made me cry. And I was again reminded of just how great I have it...even on the dreariest of January days.)

Friday, December 19, 2014

Worth Repeating / 02



Mommy: "Do you want to jump on Mommy?"

Emerson: "No. When the baby comes, then jump on Mommy...."
Mommy: "Do you want to jump on Daddy?"
Emerson: "No."
Mommy: "Do you want to jump on Royal?"
Emerson: "No...he's a little too big."


"Talk about.... Roh-Rah. You're a goooodddd runner...because...you can't run at Hobby Lobby."

"I love you so much, Roh-Rah. You the best dog in the world."


"That is gooooddd macaroni for my tummy. My tummy says 'oh, tank you, oh, tank you!'"


Jumping into Daddy's arms from a balance beam on the playground:

"I did it, I did it! I KNEW me could do it!"

"Aye, aye, Daddy!"


"God make my bed."


"Apple juice, sleep...that rhymes!"


"You make good pancakes, Mommy. (kiss for Mommy) That was a pancake kiss!"

Emerson's rendition of her nightly lullaby, with the lyrics "lullaby and goodnight, thy mother's delight....":
"Lullaby and goodnight, my mother's close-by...."

Looking for the Hornet mascot at football game: 
"Where is dat silly cricket...?" 
And then, "where is dat Jimminy Cricket....?"


Trying to sit on Mommy's lap with pregnant belly:

Mommy:"My tummy makes things a bit tricky!"
Emerson: "My tummy is...easier."

After following a bug on the road:
"The bug...moved a lil bit...and I...smushed him."


Mommy: "You are so special. There is no one just like you. Is your baby sister going to be just like you?"

Emerson: "I guess we'll have to see...."


Mommy: "Emerson, you're so cool."

Emerson: "I am...?"

Getting in and out of bed at bedtime:
Emerson: "My covers came off...."
Mommy: "Your sheet comes off when you sit up and get out of bed."
Emerson: "...So, that's why...."


Mommy: "Do you want Mommy or Daddy to read the book?"

Emerson: "Daddy. He's a good reader."


"I love spending time with you."



During early labor:

Mommy: "Mommy's tummy is hurting." 
Emerson: "I'll rub it for you. ... That feel better?"


Listening to a song on the radio:

"Uh-oh! This is my jam!"


Mommy: "Why did you get out of bed?"

Emerson: "Because me wanted to...."
Mommy: "Why did you want to?"
Emerson: "Because...I have to tell the tooth. I was running around, out of bed. I will never do that again. The...end. Big girls don't do that!"


Daddy: "Let's go watch The Three Musketeers! 'All for one, and one for...'"

Emerson: "...two!"


"Did you know, me your daughter?"


"I love her. Thanks, baby, for coming to our house."


After coming to the nursery very early in the morning, waking up Mommy from sleeping in the recliner overnight:

"I want you to go get a giant pickle and come back and read the Spot book in the baby's room. Can you do that plan?"

Playing with Play-Dough:
Emerson: "I made a 'hole' pizza!"
Mommy: "Is it made with love?"
Emerson: "It's made with play-dough, Mommy! It's not for real."

Having a conversation with herself:
"What's that?"
"A book, clapping."
"Can I have it?"


"It's okay, Brennan. Mommy takes good care of you."


Talking to the iPhone:

Siri: "I'm sorry. That isn't available without service."
Emerson: "Well, I was just playing with it."


Mommy: "Brennan has a dirty diaper."

Emerson: "Oh. That's a bummer."

Mommy: "You need to settle down. Be gentle and calm."
Emerson: "Gentle! That's what me going to be!"


Mommy: "Did Brennan wake you up?"

Emerson: "Yeah. She cries a lot. Do you know, she poops a lot, too?"

"She poops a lot. ... Is she pooping now?"

Playing with Daddy, searching for a watch for their costume:
Daddy: "Where is it?!"
Emerson: "Calm down, Daddy. Calm down. I believe it's in the closet!"


Giving Mommy Halloween costume suggestions:

"You can be a cat, or a dog, if you want to be real. Or, just be Mommy. Orrrrr...nothin'."



Emerson: "Do you want a bean 'prout?"

Mommy: "Yes, please."
Emerson: "No, first use your manners...."
Mommy: "May I please have a bean sprout?"
Emerson: "Okay. You may."


Cupping Mommy's breast while Brennan nurses:

"I'll hold it for you. So it doesn't spill."

"I just want to clean up a lil' bit."


Kissing Daddy goodnight:

Daddy: "Is it scratchy?"
Emerson: "Yeah. You need to mow your face."


"I'm just living the dream."


Mommy's doctor: "Do you know what presents you want for Christmas?"

Emerson: "No.... But, we will sing Christmas carols and see lights and have costumes!"

Listening to the radio in the van:
Mommy: "This song is about how God is always with us, and He is our friend."
Emerson: "Is that God singing?"


"You're part of our family, and we love you very much. Just the way you are! I'll draw you. ... There's you, Brennan!"


"Did you know we can have fun time, Brennan? And roar? Roarrrrr! And play together all day? Tag, you're it!"


"Rah Rah...you make me laugh."


Mommy: "B is for...ball, and Brennan, and Bobby!"

Emerson: "Buh, buh...bathtub! Buh, buh...bubbles! Buh, buh...turkey!"


"Brennan tooted! I thought it was a motorcycle, but it was just Brennan...tooting."

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Brennan: Two Months

December 2, 2014

  • At your two-month (plus one day) doctor's appointment, you weighed 13 pounds, 6 ounces...only 4 ounces more than Emerson did at her two-month appointment! That's amazing to me. You are 1' 11.5", and growing perfectly healthily. What a blessing. 
  • You are still wearing size 0-3 month clothing, though the day is fast-approaching when I'll need to suck it up and put you into the 6 month size. Your pajamas especially are getting a bit snug, but I'm having a hard time with the idea of putting away these tiny clothes again....
  • We haven't started using cloth diapers yet. You're still wearing size 1 disposables.
  • You're beginning to really suck on your fingers, slobbering all over your little hands. 
  • When something gets your attention or you're startled somehow, you raise your eyebrows so high and your eyes get wide. I just love those little eyebrows of yours!
  • You have such a pitiful pout when you're sad...your lips purse and you just look truly pitiful. Pitiful and adorable, that is.
  • You seem so much more content than last month. Happy to just be, and really seeming to be settling into life in this big world. Between a happier digestive system and improved eyesight, things are really improving for you!
  • You seem to enjoy "snacking" though the day at this point, versus having big meals. Our nursing sessions are rather short...too many other things to focus on, it seems.
  • We've still been primarily sleeping on the couch, or in Mommy and Daddy's bed (with no pillows...or blankets...or Daddy....), but you're doing a great job sleeping. You've only been waking up once or twice during the night to nurse (usually around 12:30 a.m.  and 4:30 a.m.), and you fall back to sleep quickly. We're moving toward putting you in the crib to sleep at nighttime...it's a process, we've learned! And, you'll be ready when you're ready.
  • Thankfully, you are now much more accepting of being in your car seat than you were. You don't cry during even a short drive these days, and we appreciate that!
  • You really prefer to be held, or sitting up to watch the action around you. You want to move around if held, but you're more willing than you used to be to just lay still...so long as you can be a part of things! Fair enough! 
  • Being on your changing table has always seemed to make you happy. You just like that spot, and we seem to get some of your happiest expressions when you're up there.
  • We put you in the bassinet and roll half of it under the kitchen table at dinnertime. You can see the light above the table and look up at Emerson, sitting in her high chair next to you. We all get to be together as a family around the table, and it makes me so excited for the days when you'll be in a seat of your own, joining in our discussion.
  • You watch your sister, and frequently follow her with your eyes. You know she's a good time! She's going to teach you a lot...and she is so ready to play with you! I love watching you two together. 
  • You've begun to smile! And, what a precious smile it is! We still have to work for it quite a bit, usually rubbing your lips with our fingers or playing with your cheeks to get a grin...but we're happy to do so. You melt our hearts!

You're growing so, so fast, and this time I get to hold you close,
cuddling and snuggling with you, is precious to me. 
You are cherished, and a perfect fit for our family. 
I love you more each day, Brennan. Truly.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Missing Jim

To anyone that knows me well, it's no surprise that I am a big fan of Jim Brickman. Ever since I was introduced to his piano music as a middle-schooler (let's face it, probably not his key demographic), I have been a fan...a "Brickmaniac", if you will. (Ha! I just made that up...& I don't think I'll say it again. It is quite awful.) His music played at my wedding, and in the delivery rooms when Emerson and Brennan were born, and listening to his music never ceases to be such an immediately calming, soothing experience for me. So, when I heard over the summer that he was coming to Springfield for another Christmas concert, I was thrilled. (Seeing his Christmas tour a couple of years ago was such a fun way to celebrate the holiday, and I have anticipated him coming back to town since then!) I knew I would have a two-month-old at home by the time early-December rolled around, but I told myself that it was do-able. That, one way or another, I'd be in attendance. And, frankly, looking forward to the occasion was an encouragement for many weeks...an outing that I knew would be a rejuvenating, relaxing one for me during a time when I knew I'd need one.

But, when tickets went on sale in August (on my birthday, no less), I didn't buy them. And, the twenty other times I checked the website, selecting my ideal seats and getting excited about the event, something stopped me from ever making the purchase.

I think I knew in the back of my mind that it wouldn't be particularly feasible. And, I was right. Here we are, the day of the concert, and I still don't have tickets. I won't be going. The reality is that the timing is wrong; the girls need me in the evenings, and leaving them for the concert would not be in the best interest of the family. I know that staying with them is what I need to do, and because being "Mom" is my greatest joy, it's what (deep down!) I want to do, too.

But, in all honesty, I am truly sad to be missing out. Seriously, I'm really, really, bummed. It doesn't help my attitude that I have family members that will be going. I'm happy for them (because really, everyone needs Jim Brickman in their life), but I'm jealous. I'm downright green with envy, as embarrassing as that is to admit. Although it's not a quality I'm proud of, it's the truth. I wanted so badly to get out of the house, to have some peaceful time, doing something that would be special to me. 

But, as I reflected this morning about my bad attitude, I realized that my desire to do this, for ME, goes against everything this season (& this life) is about. It isn't about me. It's about giving, and serving, and loving others before myself. Motherhood certainly teaches that lesson again and again.

(With that said, I think there's a lot of value in the concept of taking care of yourself as a mom so you can better serve your family. And, really, going to this concert was less about having a fun Christmas outing, and more about doing something that would benefit my mental health. This definitely would've fit the bill...but I'll figure out something else to serve that purpose. Not that I'm in poor mental health.... You get it.)

I so want to be focused on the right things during this season of Advent. And, if missing a concert is what the Lord is using to reveal an area of sin (that is, too high an emphasis on self-desire), then so be it.

My mom is right. "There will be more Jim Brickman concerts." (Though it'll probably be a couple of years...and who knows what family life will look like then. But, here I go getting all Grinch-y again. I'll stop.) Life goes on. This event just wasn't meant to be.

So! I'm moving on to 'Plan B'. Tonight, I think we'll get the girls dressed in cozy pajamas and load up in the van with mugs of hot chocolate. And then, as we drive around town looking at Christmas lights, you'd better believe we'll be listening to a few of Mr. Brickman's Christmas CD's.

It won't be the same as being at Hammons Hall.... It could be even better. Actually, because I'll be with the ones I love the most, it absolutely will be.

I like to think that's what Jim would want.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Brennan: One Month

November 2, 2014
  • At your 2 week appointment, you weighed 9 lbs. 4 oz. You are a growing girl! I could tell that you felt heavier, and I wasn't wrong. I just have a feeling that you are going to grow quickly. More quickly than it seems Emerson did. More quickly than I'd like.
  • You have outgrown your newborn clothes and are now wearing the 0-3 month size. It is such fun seeing you wear outfits that your sister once wore. Fun for Mommy and Daddy, and for Emerson, too. 
  • You're wearing size 1 disposable diapers.
  • I get the distinct impression that you don't love being a baby, and that you're ready to join in on the fun that the rest of the family has. You seem frustrated by your immobility and, specifically, your inability to play with your big sister. All in due time, darling.
  • You continue to have a good appetite and have always eaten well. You latch quickly and seem to enjoy nursing. That makes me really happy. I know that I'm more confident and more easy-going about your frequency of eating, and that's nice, too. 
  • You have had some tummy trouble, though, which has led to lots of grunting and seemingly uncomfortable days. Your digestive system may still be figuring things out, or my diet is bothering you, or you're getting too much milk...it's hard to know what the problem is. You seem to be working through it, though.
  • But, goodness, you spit-up a lot. Whether it's because of your tummy issues or just your natural way...it's taken some adjusting to! 
  • You are quite strong, leaning back from my chest when held and lifting your neck to see elsewhere. 
  • You definitely prefer to be held, and more specifically, held while standing up. Often, you'll awaken or express disapproval as soon as the person holding you sits down. 
  • We've slept together, with you on my chest, in the recliner in the nursery almost every night since you've been home. You awaken immediately when placed in your crib (and don't enjoy being swaddled), and in order for Mommy to get sleep, this has been easiest. For the past week or so, we've moved to the couch...but it's the same idea. You wake up to eat every three hours or so, and being with you already makes nursing and then getting you back to sleep much more tolerable. We have some work to do on your sleep habits, but we'll get there. 
  • You seem to really need stimulation of some sort now, and are usually not content to just sit. You want to be where the action is...which is tricky, because the action (read: Emerson) is on-the-go, and so, you must be, too. 
  • You are so alert, and that personality trait especially reminds us so much of Emerson. There will be much that is unique about you, Brennan, and we can't wait to discover those things that make you, YOU...but, we also find a lot of joy in seeing parts of Emerson's personality and spirit and demeanor unfolding in you. (And, physically, goodness you so resemble her right now! Quite amazing, really.)

I love you, Brennan Elizabeth.
You are a beauty, and a treasure, and getting to know you is such a gift. 
Thank you for all the joy you're bringing to our family, and to me. 
What fun you are! 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Family of Four

There have been so many moments I've wanted to capture in these early days at home with Brennan. Moments that I know I'll miss and will want to remember in years to come. My only complaint about this time with a new baby is that I have no way to bottle up this time.... These days are fleeting and oh, so precious.

But, I have made notes...words spoken, emotions felt, observations & reflections of this time. Here's hoping that they'll capture a bit of the beauty that we've experienced in welcoming a new life to our family.

Emerson's maturity....

We prepared Emerson as well as we knew how before Brennan was born. About how the hospital experience and time with grandparents could go (so many unknowns about the timeline of childbirth and all of the potential scenarios made that a challenge)...about what it means to have a new baby at home...about becoming a big sister. She was as ready as she could've been.

But, still, there were surprises. We asked a lot of her during a highly emotional time, and the girl responded with confidence & grace, patience & flexibility.

I could not be more proud of her....
As she stayed at home the night her sister was born, away from Mommy and Daddy for the first time.
As she came to the hospital to meet the new baby, unsure of what exactly was happening. (Oh, the thoughts that could've been going through her head. I can only imagine.)
As she went home with Daddy for night #2 away from Mom.
As she tenderly holds Brennan, genuinely concerned for her needs and lovingly offering her help as often as possible.

She is one special little girl, and is a natural in her new role. Being a big sister suits her, and I'm overwhelmed with excitement for the tender relationship those two girls will have.

Things Emerson said on the day we brought Brennan home from the hospital....

  • Shaking her hand as she held her in the hospital bed..."Nice to meet you, baby sister."
  • Proudly bringing a blanket with her to the hospital..."She will need it so she won't be cold."
  • Seeing Brennan's bandage on her ankle from lab work..."I hope she be okay...."
  • Hearing Brennan squeak..."She talking to me! You hear that, Mommy?"
  • Driving home from the hospital..."It's your house, too, Brennan! You'll have so much fun with us!"
  • Holding Brennan in Mommy and Daddy's bed while Mommy folded laundry....
    • "You're amazing."
    • "Is that com-bubble (comfortable) for her?" 
    • "I love you, Brennan. I love you, Brennan.... We took you home, to your new home."
    • "...it puts me in the mood...por food. You like that song? ABCD...."

Our first night at home together....

  • Emerson had a couple of unpredictable and stressful days. Time away from Mom, a new baby.... But, she was resilient. And, after a successful "sleepover" at home, just the two of them together, Daddy was quite proud! As he should've been. I will never forget the joy I felt looking out the hospital window just in time to see the two of them walking in the parking lot, hand in hand. When Emerson came to my room, she was refreshed and content and secure; all was well in her world again. What a happy morning! 
  • There were two car seats in the van on our way home from the hospital. Two. One for each of our children. Of which we now have two. TWO. 
  • As I unpacked the suitcase, Emerson wanted to hold Brennan on the Boppy in the bed. That was such an incredibly precious scene. Some of their first moments together, just the two of them as I watched from a distance. I couldn't type fast enough on my phone as I tried to record the tender, heartfelt conversation. The first of many such visits, I predict. Emerson is in love...a natural...so full of compassion and patience and tenderness. I had no doubt as I watched them that Brennan would be safe in her big sister's arms. They take my breath away.
  • The house was a mess when we came home, and there was lots of laundry to be done and suitcases to unpack and dinner to cook and two children to tend to. And I used the still-flowing adrenaline to my advantage and was bustling around the house trying to get it all done. (Plus, it felt great to be back home, as opposed to stuck in a hospital room.) I decided then and there that I was really going to like the scurry, the busyness and the projects that two children would bring. It feels right to be a mama of two.
  • I saw Emerson in Brennan. Particularly, her expression as she lifted her head off of my chest, pursing her lips with a furrowed brow. What fun it is already to enjoy memories of Emerson's infancy as I watch Brennan.
  • Emerson has been nothing short of a rockstar with the change and the unpredictability of the past 48 hours. And Brennan seems to be quite easygoing! Going with the family flow, fitting right in as we go about our normal activity. I'm so proud of both of these girls. And I don't think that'll be the last time I say that.
  • While Bobby went to get our food, I cooked macaroni for Emerson. And as I juggled Brennan in one arm and mixed the butter and milk into the noodles with the other, I thought for the first time, "oh, yeah, mother of two...I've got this." It felt, for lack of a better term, "legit". And, I loved it.
  • We had a steak dinner delivered to us on our first night home with Emerson. It was a feast and a real treat. But, this time, we had Sonic and macaroni on the couch, as we watched "monkey George" with our precious toddler, with our newborn sleeping peacefully beside us. Happy to all be together once again, home where we belong. That meal was just what we needed. I was teary and joyful. Steak dinners are great...but it just doesn't get better than this.
  • It was a perfect first night at home together. It felt right and it felt comfortable. Every night won't be like this, but I couldn't have asked for more for our first night together, and I'm grateful.

Reflections from the first few days....

  • Bobby and I know our individual roles as parents, and we have better expectations about what each of our children need from us.  We're functioning as a better team, with a more clear understanding of what we need from each other, too. 
  • We also understand our individual sleep needs, and the realities of nights with a newborn. The "shock" factor hasn't existed this time.
  • We are, simply, more confident and more self-assured than last time. And, we're enjoying the experience differently than before.
  • Bobby's role with Emerson has changed form, and they have been such wonderful playmates during his time at home. This is a shift that has been long-anticipated and highly-desired...and although it's so precious to see the trust & fun & companionship between them grow, it's admittedly a little hard for Mommy. I've had to miss out on their daily "adventures" to the zoo or the library or the park, which has made me sad...wishing I could be out of the house, and also knowing that I'm missing special time with Emerson, and one-on-one time with her. As her relationship with Bobby changes, my role in her life is changing form, too, and that's bittersweet. 

The verse mentioned during the church service we watched on our first morning at home with Brennan that made me teary....

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, 
who have been called according to his purpose. 
Romans 8:28

Perhaps the sweetest thing Bobby has ever said to me....

"I'm going to try to remember, and not take for granted, 
the fact that you just had a baby two days ago...
since you look like you're back to 100%."