Thursday, November 24, 2011


Our second try at a family picture-the kids were both happier this time.
This Thanksgiving isn't what I had planned.
Months ago, when I invited my family to Texas for Thanksgiving, 
I was picturing a cozy house, decorated so nicely,
lots of time just cuddling the baby,
a table set with all the fancies,
a fun, relaxing week.

Instead, we have a house with bare walls,
a garage full of packed boxes,
house cleaning and readying projects to do this morning (crown molding finishing),
to-do lists, not enough time, and the knowledge that we are leaving our home in less than a week hanging over my head.

when I crawl back into bed in the middle of the night and Kent reaches over to squeeze my hand,
when Nicholas gets down close to Ellie's face and tells her "you so cute!  Yes you do! Yes you do!",
when Ellie falls asleep on my chest,
when I think of how Nicholas doesn't have to say a long goodbye to his grandmas and our families,
and when I think about how I know that my Heavenly Father loves me, and everything is going to be all right,

I am thankful.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

our texas adventures

Mariachi band.  July 2010.
Kent and I don't share many of the same hobbies.  
I would rather read a book, he would rather watch the movie.
And that's how it goes for many things.

One thing we do share, though, is our love of just going out and
doing stuff.  
He told me the other night that if he ever got rich (haha) he would picture himself 
spending the money not so much on 
big toys and new cars but on outings and vacations and experiences.
And I'm the same way.

So in the 2.5 years we've lived in Texas, we've managed to do and see a lot of stuff.

Here's what I'm going to remember "going and doing" here:
  • Big city concerts--Michael Buble, Brian Reagan, Beauty and the Beast, Josh Groban
  • Favorite restaurants; places we've been again and again and again--Guenther House, La Madeline, Paesanos, Grimauldi's Pizza, Schilo's Deli, Fralo's Pizza, Perico's, Longhorn Steakhouse, Yogurtzone, BJ's Brewhouse, sunshine donuts, Cosi, (and Kent would add HuHot and Chama Gaucha to this list)
  • The Alamo, the Riverwalk, etc.  A few times on our own and once for every time we had visitors from out-of-town.
  • Buying $7 sno cones at the Alamo because we were melting in the heat.
  •  Six Flags. Just once during Kent's internship. 
  • Schlitterbahn.  Also just once, but oh so fun!
  • Sea World
  • Floating the Comal.  Oh how I would have liked to do that one again.  But the drought and my pregnancy meant it just didn't happen this year.
  • Helicopter Tour
  • Natural Bridge Caverns
  • Visited Gruene and the Gristmill
  • Major awesome fireworks for Kent's 25th birthday (before the drought made them banned)
  • Best weekend beach getaway ever to Mustang Island with our friends.
  • Seeing Texas wildflowers in 2010.  (again the drought prevented that this year)
  • Throwing our own Halloween extravaganza
  • Camping in March
  • Going to Austin to visit IKEA, stay the night, and the ill-fated drive home with the kitchen island.
  • Exploring new places to eat.
  • The weekend in the little cabin along the Guadalupe river with the Foulks
  • Poteet Strawberry Festival
  • House projects.  Never-ending house projects.
  • Taking Nicholas to the zoo early this spring. He loved it, and his favorite animals were the gazelles and the tiny monkeys. 
  • Winter Sunday walks in the park. 
  • Hosting our formal Christmas dinner with our friends.
  • Driving through redneck country to see Medina Lake.
  • Getting together with friends at least once a month to have Sunday dinner, play games, watch a movie, celebrate a birthday or obscure holiday, or just plain hang out (usually involving youtube videos or researching Cancun condos). 
Beach getaway--April 2010
We have had the best group of friends here;
I'm still thinking there's got to be a way for us to take them all with us.

Looking at this list, though, I'm pretty sure we'll be able to find all sorts of fun new things to do once we get to Utah.  

    her name

    For history's sake, I need to tell you the story of how we picked Ellie's name.

    The day I found out I was pregnant, Kent and I went on a date-we went to our favorite Italian place and then we went to Borders and bought The Baby Name Wizard.  

    We established "the list" early on....
    and it stayed that way.  Just a list 
    of names that we loved. Equally.  
    Meaning, we couldn't pick a favorite.


    With the stress of us deciding to move and my due date getting closer and closer, 
    the fact that we didn't have a name picked was driving me crazy.

    One night, somewhere around 35 weeks, 
    Kent and I were in bed, with the lights off.
    To Kent, once the lights are off, it's time to sleep. And that's it.

    But me, crazy stressed hormonal wife, I talked and talked and talked and poured out all my stresses to my poor half-awake Kent.
    The list ended with
    "And we don't even have a name for the baby yet!"

    Kent rolled to face me, opened his eyes, and said,
    "How about Ellie?"

    I told him I really really liked it.

    "Good," he said,
    "me too.  Now go to sleep."

    And that was that. 

    Tuesday, November 15, 2011

    first bath

    We gave Ellie her first bath on Sunday night. 

    It took her a bit to get used to the idea, but once she did she calmed right down and enjoyed the warm water.

    We set up a space heater in the bathroom to make sure Ellie would be comfortable,
    and Nicholas walked in halfway through the bath,
    walked around for a minute,
    and then said,
    "whew! It's hot.  I need to go in the shade!"  
    and then he walked around the bathroom, looking for somewhere cooler.  
    He just kept repeating it:  "I need to go in the shade!"

    It's his Texan survival skills kicking in.

    I took Ellie to be weighed today at the doctors. 
    Last week they were a bit concerned that she wasn't gaining weight fast enough-they wanted me to start waking her up more at night to feed her.

    Last week she had gained 4 oz in one week.
    This week she gained 12 oz.

    Yeah, I think she's doing just fine.

    She's now 8 lbs. 14 oz. and 20 inches long.  She's pretty much grown out of her newborn size clothes already.  I'm so excited-I think she's going to be a chubby one!

    Sunday, November 13, 2011

    two weeks

     My sweet Ellie is two weeks old. 
    I'm almost positive she smiled at me this morning.  Three giant open-mouthed grins while she looked me straight in the eye. 
    And she smiled at my brother Nathan a few hours later.  She seems too young to be smiling already, but they were quite convincing!
    Those first smiles--they just fill me up and I fall in love, hard.

     She is a sweetheart. So content and easy. 
    If I ever let her go too long without feeding her she isn't shy at all about letting me know-
    loud, loud voice!
    But, she rarely uses it, and mostly all I hear from her are the precious little newborn squeaks and grunts.
    She is a pretty good sleeper, too-usually only waking up once or twice.  (Which has been a huge blessing since Nicholas has been waking up at 5:30 every morning since daylight savings.  I've quickly discovered that I can't just lounge in bed all morning with the second baby like I did with the first.)

    And the new mom exhaustion hasn't hit me yet.  Maybe I'm running on adrenaline with all the moving and stuff going on. 
    And a big part of it was all the help I have had-Teresa came last week and was truly a lifesaver, and now my mom and younger brother are here helping out.

    But really, I am recovering SO much faster this time.  I'm thinking a big part of that is simply the fact that I didn't have an epidural.  It was crazy intense, but if it means the recovery is this much better, it's so worth it!  I feel great!

    Nicholas just adores her, and whenever he thinks I'm not looking he gets up close to her face and whispers to her, tells her how cute she is, and kisses her on the nose.

    We're pretty much in deep deep love with this baby girl.

    Wednesday, November 9, 2011

    tender mercies

    Our first family of four photo-right before Kent left.
    I don't know how to say it any other way.
    Moving and changing jobs at the same time as having a baby is rough/almost impossible.  I would never recommend it to anyone.
    These post-pregnancy hormones are killing me.

    But I know how things could be worse.  So so much worse.  
    Because really, we love each other and we are healthy and we have money and safety and faith and family and 
    there are so many people who don't have those.

    Since it's November, I'm going to focus on the tender mercies.
    There are many.
    1. Kent.  I'm getting teary-eyed just thinking about how good I've got it. (did I mention the hormones?)  He is everything to me, and we are missing him like crazy right now. I have come to realize how blessed I am to be in a relationship like this-we love each other, we serve each other, and we like each other too!

    2. My children. Nicholas is my sweet boy and I am doing everything I can to figure out how to balance my attention so I can spend the time with him that I want to.  
    Ellie is a dear-she is a perfect baby.  She even sleeps 8 hour stretches at night!  In fact, I'm having to wake her up so she can eat as often as she needs to right now. Oh the irony. (but believe me, once she gains the weight like she's supposed to, I'm letting this baby sleep!)

    3. Our moms.  Maybe it's just the hormones again, but the idea of having to be alone right now while Kent is working for two weeks just terrifies me.  Another adult presence in the house has saved my sanity this week.  

    4. Health.  I feel SO good not being pregnant anymore.  I can move! I can sit on the floor! I can lay on my stomach! I can breathe deep and eat without heartburn and go more than 15 minutes without needing to use the bathroom.  
    Yesterday I took Ellie to her well check-we had to go up to the childrens' hospital do the heel prick blood test and she needed an ultrasound to see if her hips are normal (nothing major-just wanted to check on them) and there were lots of sick kids.  Kids with real and serious problems.  And I snuggled my healthy baby close and was oh so grateful.

    Life is far from easy right now,
    but the beautiful parts are coming into focus.  
    We are blessed.

    Wednesday, November 2, 2011

    first (and second) outings

    We've taken Ellie out twice now.

    The first was last night.  We got a phone call asking if someone could come look at the house.
    We have specified showings on Saturdays only,
    but no one has come yet...and I didn't want to miss the opportunity.
    So although I can't quite get around like I used to,
    and although our house looked like it does when you have just arrived home from the hospital,
    we did a 40 minute clean-up and got out of the house.

    First we went to the park where Nicholas and Daddy played while I nursed Ellie in the car.
    Then we went over to the Foulks house to crash for an hour.

    We had a nice time, talked about the babies, ate some ice cream, and then came home.

    We have two house keys.  One is in the lockbox on the front door.  The other is in the bag that we gave to the friends who watched Nicholas for us, in case they needed to get in for anything.
    That bag is in Nicholas's room right now.

    Apparently realtors always lock every door when they leave, including the door that goes to the garage.

    We were locked out until 10:15 last night, when the locksmith finally arrived and let us in our house.

    Luckily we were able to open our garage at least, and Nicholas had more fun than he'd had all day,
    running back and forth with the broom, playing with the caulking gun, and climbing around in the car, pretending to drive to Allison's house.

    And luckily Ellie is still new, can sleep anywhere, and doesn't weigh much.

    Me and Kent, though, we weren't too pleased with the situation.  Standing around (or sitting in the car or on the cement porch steps) for an hour and half isn't the best thing for someone who gave birth only four days earlier. 

    But hey, at least this happened now and not in the middle of the summer when it's a billion degrees outside, right?  I suppose if you have to be locked out, last night was a good night for it.

    Now, our second outing.  We ventured downtown to the Guenther House this morning/afternoon since it might be Kent's last chance to go before we move to Utah.

    It was beautiful.

     Nicholas...well he's a bit crazed right now.  This picture kind of sums up his behavior for the morning.  We're chalking it up to the whole new-little-sister thing, and hoping that it wears off eventually.

    the big brother

    Our Nicholas is a big brother now, and all of the sudden,
    he seems like a boy, not a toddler.

    He's actually been very sweet with Ellie.
    There's been a bit of craziness, but mostly just because he's been stuck inside all day every day with a sleep-deprived daddy and a recovering mommy.  He hasn't been aggressive or jealous of least not yet.

    First thing in the morning, he looks for Ellie in her little bed, and when he sees her,
    he exclaims "There's the baby!" and then he leans in close and talks to her in a high, gentle voice
    "Hi baby! Baby cute!"

    Nicholas likes to tell us about the baby, referring to her as "him"
    "Him does this with him arms!" (showing us how Ellie stretched)
    "Him make this noise: squeak!"
    "I like him nose and him ears and him eyes and him hair is so cute!"

    Our family the night before Ellie was born-our last night as a threesome!

    Nicholas was SO excited to go to Allison's house that morning, even though we woke him up pretty early.

    Proudly showing off his new big brother backpack.
    We're blissfully happy that Ellie is here, and we are loving having time to just be our little family for a week before things start getting crazy. 

    Kent is home all this week.  He's kind of taken charge of Nicholas and I take care of Ellie, so we feel like things are going well so far.  
    But Kent has to leave for work on Sunday. He'll be gone for two weeks.

    His mom arrives on Friday, and I'm beyond grateful. This two kids stuff is fun, but more than a bit insane at times.