Saturday, September 21, 2013

What do you know, Stella Jo?

Stella is just as lively as she can be! She is ALL of two years old with the short fuse and ridiculous frustration levels. We're working on obeying with a "happy heart," and the tone in her voice when she's wanting or asking for things. I love seeing her come up with a plastered smile on her face to say, "Pweeaase Mommy!" And then I play the guessing game and twenty questions to try and figure out what's she's asking for! She'll then to proceed to tell me, "I'm happy girl" or "I have a happy heart." I can't lie - that kind of gets me and I'll usually do what she's asking, but if it's something like a treat, etc and I don't feel like she should have it, then I have to explain that it's so sweet that she's asking so politely, but sometimes we still don't get what we want. Well, no two year old understands that, so it's challenging this child-rearing thing, but I love it and it's the best job in the world. We're working diligently on "yes mam," "no mam," etc and I love to hear her say it when it's unprompted by us. This has only happened a few times, but I least I know she's listening and paying attention. 

{A rare occasion that she left a bow in her hair!}

I love listening to her on the monitor, especially in the mornings, singing her ABC's and at the end she claps for herself and yells "yay!!" I just giggle in bed and wait for her to start yelling, "Mommy.....mommy....I'm done sleeping....I sleep good!!" She never ceases to crack me up. She'll go on a roll saying over and over, "My mom, my dad, my mom, my dad." She's also picked up on my name and will sometimes call me "Faif" - and I'm real quick to squash that! I'm definitely NOT into "Faif" or "Mom" - I much more prefer "Momma" or "Mommy"! She's also been pointing at us and saying, "Mommy is a girl and Daddy is a boy." I'm not sure where she learned that or why she likes to keep pointing that out, but it's cute nonetheless! She's also started asking "Why?" to just about EVERYTHING! And I sincerely question if she understands the explanations, but I give them anyway. Or she'll ask a lot, "What happened?" And there's quite a few times that there's nothing going on and she'll just keep on asking. I can only imagine that the questions will get harder and more frequent! Her imagination impresses me and I still love to watch her play with all her babies and feed them, change their diapers, put them to sleep, and even the occasional disciplining them! She prefers Blake or I to be sitting in her play room while she plays, and I'm trying to soak that up since I know one day she'll be asking us to leave!

{I will never get tired of watching her sleep - her face still reminds me of when she was a newborn}

Although I don't think Stella fully understands about having a baby sister, she'll definitely engage and talk about it. She knows that she's the "big sister" and the "baby in the belly" is the little sister. You can ask her what her little sister's name is and she'll tell you, "Blakely" {Yes, our little girl will be Blakely Georgia}. She's started saying, "My Blakely" - which definitely melts me heart! I'm so excited to see what a great big sister she'll be. She's SO affectionate with everyone {on her terms and her time, of course} and loves to give kisses to just about everyone, so I know she'll love feeling some ownership and responsibility with her baby sister.

Stella is still loving preschool and talks about "Ms Amy" all the time. I asked Stella last Saturday what she wanted to do that day and her response was, "I wanna go to school." Social butterfly for sure! She absolutely has the memory of an elephant and at least once or twice during the day will ask me "Where is so-and-so?" So-and-so can be one of many people - Daddy, Gommy, G-Daddy, Mamaw, PaSte, PawPaw, Gamma, Haley, Angie, Christian, RyRy, RayRay, Micah, Paul, Pastor Bryan, Gavyn, LaLa, Avery, Missy, NeNe....and I promise, the list goes on!

I was able to get Stella's Halloween costume at Kid to Kid last weekend along with some long sleeve shirts for fall. Then, my mom took us to Kohl's and spoiled little Stella with some new clothes {shout out, Mom, you have no idea how much I appreciate this, especially with not having an income anymore - you're such a blessing and a help to us!!} I also had a gift card from Stella's birthday from my parents to Carter's, which I had saved purposely for some fall/winter clothes. With a coupon I had, I was able to only have to pay a few dollars of my own money and got quite a few things for my girl! I got a couple things for Blakely since she'll need some warmer stuff those first few months because Stella's newborn and 0-3 months clothes aren't for the cold weather!

{My loot from Carter's}

Speaking of cold weather - I'm so ready for the temperatures to cool down. We had an awesome afternoon outside at a family reunion with Blake's mom's family today. We couldn't have asked for more perfect weather and great visiting! We're so excited to go see our sweet niece be dedicated at church tomorrow! I'm loving all this family time!

{I'm a little freaked out that this means there's only 19 weeks LEFT!}

{She refuses to cuddle - but sometimes I force it anyway :)}

{Somebody wore herself out at the family reunion!}

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

20 Week Update

We are so excited to share that we'll be having a little GIRL! Knowing first-hand how fun it is to have a sister, I couldn't be more excited that Stella will get to experience this and I just love sweet little girls! Don't get me wrong, we would have been equally ecstatic for a boy, but I've said before, I'm just glad God gets to decide and not me!

The sonogram lasted a little over thirty minutes and it was just so special seeing all the little parts of our baby girl as she was squirming around. The sonographer mentioned a couple times that she was having to go out of order to look at the anatomy since our little munchkin was quite active....which may have been from the honey-bun I ate that morning....oops! After the sonogram, our doctor reviewed all the images and said we had a perfectly healthy and growing little 13 oz. girl in there. I cannot tell you how relieved I am to know that physically everything checks out and my doctor assured me that he's not concerned about the CMV and feels pretty certain this was something I got prior to being pregnant. The risk to our girl greatly drops if that's the case, and I'm so very thankful!

I really can't believe I'm already half way through this pregnancy and the last half will only go faster. Starting with this past weekend {which gave us a bit of a scare since I got overheated and really sick on Saturday}, we actually don't have a weekend without plans until the end of October...ugh! And then all the holiday hustle and bustle will start and I think I'm already tired just typing about it! I am glad that I'll have much less to do and buy for this little baby. I registered for a lot of gender-neutral items with Stella so I still have all the essentials and all her's just a matter of getting Blake to help me get them from the attic! Plus, call me boring, but I'm keeping the same decor and bedding for this next baby. I'm just having trouble justifying re-doing a whole bedroom when this baby will be outgrowing it in a couple years. So, I'm opting to keep all the crib bedding and decor and then will concentrate on Stella's big girl room! I already have the bed and bedding, and then I've contacted our friends who re-paint furniture and they'll be working on a dresser and nightstand for her. My goal is to have her room done by Christmas and start her transition to her new room around that time.

We're just so very thrilled to have another healthy little daughter on the way!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Let's Play Catch Up!

August was pretty low-key, other than getting rid of Stella's pacifier. She was SO sad when we sent it bye-bye on a balloon, but then we immediately went to Target and got her a couple toys and she's done great! She still asks for it at least once a day and I just remind her what happened and then she moves on. Naps have been a little more difficult, but I did expect that. It's just taking her a lot longer to fall asleep than what it did previously.

Stella has been between her summer Mother's Day Out program at Firewheel Christian Academy and her new "preschool" program. She's going to Farmersville Baptist Church two days a week. We had meet the teacher last week, which was really great for Stella to be able to see who her teacher was going to be and to be able to see the classroom. She went right over to the toys and started playing. She actually cried when we had to leave meet the teacher!

Tuesday was her first day and she was so excited about it. I had to make her give me a hug and kiss because she had already run into her classroom to play! When I picked her up, she talked about her teacher all afternoon and all the next day and then kept telling me she wanted to go back to school, ha! Silly kid!

We also had a wonderful, lazy Labor Day weekend. We spent Friday night feeding the cows and transferring some hay from one field to the other, then we decided to go eat at Cattleman's restaurant in Blue Ridge because we'd heard good things about it. Oh my yum! The chicken fried steak was SO delicious! Saturday morning, Blake's mom kept Stella for a few hours at her house so that Blake and I could have a "date day"! Blake is trading in two of his roping saddles so that I can get a new custom saddle and I couldn't be more excited! So, we spent the morning looking at saddles and seeing what kind of money we could get for his saddles. We ate at our favorite old burger place in Greenville, called CB's and then headed to Dallas to get Stella. Sunday was the opening of dove season, so Blake hunted that morning with my dad and then that evening with several guys from the church. He also took some of those guys again on Monday morning to hunt and then we had BBQ at our small group leader's house with our pastor's family and our worship leader's family. It was such a great weekend!

As far as pregnancy goes, I'm 18 weeks this week and couldn't be feeling better! Week 16 was really the turning point for me and I've had no more throwing up since then and only one tension headache. Plus, that was the week that I started feeling those sweet little flutters. I'm definitely feeling movement now and it's so exciting each time! Most of my energy is back and although I'm ready to sleep when my head hits the pillow, I don't find it near as much of a struggle to make it through the day! I had given up naps a couple months ago because it was making my sickness SO much worse after I'd sleep in the middle of the day. So sad! I'm so excited for my next doctor's appointment because we'll be finding out this baby's gender on the 16th! By this point in my pregnancy with Stella, I had had 3 sonograms {the initial sonogram, the genetic testing sonogram, and then the sonogram after I passed out at Walmart}. So, I feel really behind or just really uninformed about this baby and I'm just ready for answers!

I'm going to share something because I know most of the people that read this believe in the power of prayer and I know that we pray to a healing God. I've known for around 6 weeks now that my blood work came back showing that I have CMV (cytomegalovirus), which is something I had never heard of, nor would I probably ever have known that I have, other than being tested for it while pregnant. It's a virus spread mostly through children at daycares and then is contracted through saliva, urine, etc. It doesn't mean that Stella necessarily has CMV, but she was at least the carrier that I contracted this from! The only symptoms when you get this can be fatigue, swollen glands, or fever. Then, the virus will lay dormant for the rest of your life with no harm to you whatsoever {unless you have a seriously weakened immune system at some point}. The issue is whether I contracted this prior to being pregnant or not. We did additional blood work, but it's inconclusive as to when I got this virus and there is no change to the way we medically treat the pregnancy. Although, there is a small risk to the baby if I contracted this pre-pregnancy, there is a slightly greater risk if I contracted this while pregnant. The risk being developmentally mostly - vision, hearing, learning, etc. Let me say, the risk is small, but it is still a risk and I absolutely believe that God has the power to protect this baby and give this baby full health, physically and mentally. I am choosing to not worry myself about this and that has taken some will-power, but I continue to pray for this baby and I just ask that you remember us in your prayers, too!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Georgia On My Mind

Several weeks ago, we traveled to Georgia to see my family. My cousin, Bekah, had planned a surprise 60th birthday party for my Uncle Kent (my dad's oldest brother; he's one of 4 brothers). As soon as I heard about the party, which was the beginning of this year, I knew I wanted my little family to go. Traditionally, when I was growing up, we traveled to Georgia EVERY Christmas and it was so special, but now that I have a family of my own that time of year has become increasingly more difficult to get away. We already celebrate around four Christmas's here in Texas, so then to add in a 13-hour car ride and jumping houses is just hard with a young 'un! All that to say, that I knew this would be the perfect opportunity to see my family who I hadn't seen in over a year and half!

We left on a Thursday night and drove to West Monroe, LA and stayed the night {Blake thought it was too overdone to go see the Duck Dynasty place, so he squashed that idea :)}. Shout out to Hampton Inn, seriously. When I traveled a lot for work, Hampton Inns were my favorite hotels to stay in and it did not disappoint this time either! We got a room with double beds so that Stella and I could share a bed and hope that Blake could get a decent night sleep. My kiddo is NOT fearful whatsoever, but for whatever reason, she would not let me put her down in that room and basically held my neck until she finally fell asleep. Apparently, she slept great, but I kept crawling over her to get to the empty side of the bed because she kept crowding me and pushing me to the edge. But, we made it through and got back on the road the next morning to finish our drive!

We arrived at my cousin, Bekah's, house around 6pm that Friday evening. She lives about 30 minutes outside of Atlanta. We had a wonderful dinner and had our own space upstairs with a bathroom. Stella slept in a play pen for this trip, but she didn't seem to mind at all. I brought our noise maker from home and I know that helped her, too. The next day was the party. We went to Blue Willow Inn in Social Circle, Georgia {about 20 minutes from my cousin's house}. The rest of my dad's family drove up from near Macon, GA around 11am. Although my uncle had no idea about the party, he did see a couple of his brother's vehicles that he recognized in the parking lot, but luckily he had NO idea that our Texas crew, along with my parents, would be there! It was a really special lunch with even more special visiting time together. Blue Willow Inn is a traditional, home-cooking, Southern restaurant - the food was SO good!

{Blue Willow Inn in Social Circle, GA}
{The Red Hat Ladies were eating there too - and they LOVED Blake}

{My man}

{My cousin, Bekah}

{My cousin, Amanda - pregnant cousins!}

{My cousin, Eden}

{My dad, far left, and his brothers}

{Four of my cousins and their spouses - we're missing 9 other cousins!}

{Left to right - my parents, my Mema, Aunt Susie, Uncle Kirk, Uncle Kent, Aunt LaDonna, Uncle Hugh, and Aunt Jerri}

{My cousin, Bekah, holding Stella and her two kiddos}
The rest of our trip was spent with one more night at my cousin's house and then we traveled down to my grandma's house where she and my dad's two younger brother's live, as well as more of my cousins and their families! We really enjoyed getting to see everyone for those couple days and I wish we could make it a yearly thing!

{My Mema's house}

{Stella on the redneck trampoline!}

{Stella and G-Daddy riding Mema's golf cart}

{Stella wanted to play with Mema's cat, Gracie, SO BAD - but Gracie wasn't too into Stella}

The last day, before we traveled back up to Atlanta to spend the night with my mom's older sister {my mom is also one of four siblings}, we met one of my other cousin's {from my mom's side} and her two kiddo's at Burger King to play. Stella and her daughter are about 10 months apart and it was so fun to see them play together. Plus, she has a little boy who was about 8 months at the time and I was so excited to see how much he had grown! After play time, we drove to Atlanta and spent that afternoon and evening visiting with my aunt, uncle, and other cousin and her new boyfriend! Such a great trip!!

{My cousin Lauren, Stella, and her daughter Anne Margaret}