We’re Still Alive

Well, hi there.

I’m glad to finally have a minute to sit down and catch up on some blog reading and writing. We’ve had a hectic couple of weeks. And a hard couple of weeks.

Four days after we returned from Colorado vacation {which I’ve yet to finish blogging about}, my Granddaddy went to be with the Lord. His death seemed very fast, considering that he gave the final for his college geometry class at William Carey only a month before he died {at 85 years old}. Mama said he graded every paper {some of them as she was driving him to the doctor’s office for blood work} and turned in his grades on time.

Thank you to all who sent condolences through texts, calls, flowers, etc. Your words and thoughts and prayers meant a lot.

I basically unpacked from Colorado, washed, and re-packed to head to Mississippi. Our time in Mississippi was both good and hard at the same time. It was so good to be with family, remembering and celebrating Granddaddy’s life. It was so good to have the assurance that he is with the Jesus. It was so hard to believe {and face the fact} that he’s not here anymore. It will take some time.

I don’t think I mentioned that the week of the funeral was the week that I was supposed to be in my first J-term {summer intensive} class. Although I had already done about 80% of the bazillion pages of  required reading, I dropped the class and picked up a completely different class for the next week. You do what you gotta to do, and I didn’t want to have to worry about making up class during my Granddaddy’s funeral. We got back to Louisville at about 1 am Sunday morning and started class {me} and work {Adam} Monday morning.

Adam had a fever Saturday night/Sunday morning. Neither of us thought much about it, though. We did get a little concerned when his face started breaking out with blisters on Monday. After a visit to the doctor, a visit to the ER, and multiple phone conversations with my dad, Adam was unanimously diagnosed with hand foot and mouth disease {Coxsackie virus}.

Let me just tell you, YOU DO NOT WANT THIS VIRUS! Oh my goodness. It’s been bad, y’all. Really, really bad. I don’t think I’ve ever washed my hands so much. Or gone through so many Lysol wipes. Or felt so, so sorry for my poor husband. By God’s grace, Luke and I have stayed well so far. And I’m so thankful that my mother-in-law and niece were here to take care of both my boys so I could attempt to finish my class and pass the two exams I had to take this week. It was hard enough to leave my baby all day, every day for the first time. It was even harder knowing that my husband was absolutely miserable and that he couldn’t hold or comfort our baby when I left.

The good news is that, a week later, Adam seems to {slowly but surely} be on the mend. The bad news is that it’s still not a good idea for him to get too close to me or Mr. Boy. He probably won’t even be able to hug/kiss us goodbye before he leaves for 7 weeks of Chaplain training very soon. This is so hard. But not as hard as facing cancer or some other terminal illness would be. I remind myself often that things could be a lot worse. And I firmly believe that God uses every trial, no matter how big or small, to sanctify us and make us more like Christ. For these things, we can truly rejoice and be thankful.

Now, enough about death and sickness! I thought I would share a few 10 month pictures of Mr. Boy before I sign out. Unfortunately, I couldn’t even get even one little smile out of him for these pictures. Poor thing, must be feeling the ripples of the last couple of weeks. But it’s a new a week. And things are looking up!

9 Months

Whew! 9 months, and Mama is tired. Someone is crawling around everywhere and attempting to explore EVERYTHING. Toys don’t entertain as long as they once did. It’s more fun just to strew them all over the floor then move on to bigger and better things like extension chords, the tupperware cabinet, and shoe boxes. Because a cardboard box is WAY more fun than a singing, light-up Elmo. Our living room looks like this pretty much every day. . .

The “keepin’ it real” photo.

But messes are ok. Life is full and fun with a little Mr. Boy. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

At 9 months, Mr Boy . . .

– weighs 17 lb, 12 oz (10%)  and is 25 inches long (25-50%). Definitely not the biggest kid on the block. I was a little surprised that he wasn’t bigger because I feel like he eats a ton!

– Still eating “baby food” but starting to transition to some table food. Has tried picking up and eating pieces of deli turkey, banana, blueberries, strawberries, avocado, cheerios, and puffs {his absolute favorite}. Very curious about whatever we’re eating and often acts as if he wants a bite. Loves to get his hands on a cup with a straw and has learned to take a sip from a straw {I think he may have gotten quite a few sips of my sweet tea as I was carrying him in from the car the other day}.

-Nursing about 3 times a day. Taking pumped milk/formula from a bottle once during the day { trying to start slowly backing off on the nursing.} Taking {a little} juice + water from a sippy cup once during the day.

-Sleeping great {although I wouldn’t complain if the naps were a bit longer}.

-Crawling everywhere. Has learned to go from crawling to sitting position {always sitting up in his crib when I go to get him}. Pulling up to his knees when holding on to something.

-Responds to his name and seems to understand “No.” Does not necessarily obey, though! Sometimes when we say “no,” he’ll look at us with those dancing blue eyes as if to say, “what you gonna do about it?” and go right back to what he was doing. We’re already having to think about mild “discipline!”

-Loves all animals and pictures of animals. Mr. Snail and Mr. Turtle live on the wall beside his crib, and his face lights up every time he sees them. We tell them goodnight before every nap and bedtime. 🙂

-Loves books. Loves to pull them all off the shelf and turn the pages himself. Seems to enjoy when we read to him as well. I found him nestled into his very own little “reading nook” one night.

-Very social. Smiles and “flirts” with almost everyone we see.

-Laughs all the time. Has a cute little cackle!

-Very expressive and passionate with his feelings. When he’s happy, he’s deliriously  happy. When he’s grumpy or mad, look out!

-Requires a toy {or something to explore} in hand at almost all times but especially when having his diaper or clothes changed.

-Rarely still, but every now and then he’ll lay his head on my chest and snuggle close. Those moments melt me.

As the pediatrician was leaving the room after L’s 9 month appointment, he said, “Unless you need us before, we’ll see you again when he turns one.” And I kind of wanted to cry. Because how is it possible that my baby will be a year old in just three short months?!?

Life is fleeting. Some days are hard and exhausting, but every day is precious. Every day is a gift.

Happy 9 months, sweet boy! YOU are one of God’s greatest gifts.

Pearly Whites

Someone is showing off his two new teeth, which don’t seem to be bothering him anymore. You wouldn’t believe how he’s scooting around all over the floor. Trying to change his diaper seems somewhat akin to wrestling an alligator. Not that I know what that’s like you. . .but you get it. Little Man is wild, and we’re just beginning! 🙂 But each day with him is precious. Happy Sunday!

8 Months

In my opinion, 8 months sounds frighteningly close to 12 months. Well, maybe not frighteningly close, but definitely close.

A few things to remember about Mr. Boy at 8 months. . .

-Eating solids 3 meals a day and nursing 4 to 5 times a day.

-Loves fruits, veggies, oatmeal and cereal and will eat meats when mixed with veggies. Has tried Baby Mum Mum crackers and cereal puffs (LOVES the puffs and is doing well with picking them up and putting them in his mouth). Can also pick up and eat tiny pieces of banana.

-Getting the hang of his sippy cup {I think?} but would still rather chew on it than drink from it.

-Sleeping well at night and taking two naps a day (about 1 1/2 hours each)

-Wants to crawl SO badly! Trying to get up on all fours, military crawling and stretching to get what he wants. Constantly rolling over and spinning around on his tummy. Pulls the bumper pads in the crib down so he can peek over them when on his tummy.

– Busy, busy boy! Loves exploring EVERYTHING and tries to get his hands on anything he can. Still obsessively putting everything he touches in his mouth. Loves to pull a toy basket over, look through it, and pull everything out.

-Cutting 2 bottom teeth and has definitely been fussier than normal this week. Woke up screaming around 1 am the other night. This was the first time he’s woken up during the night in months, so we knew something was wrong. Baby Tylenol and Hylands teething tablets have been our salvation!

-Absolutely LOVES dogs. We visited my parents’ house, which I refer to as “the wild land of dogs,” and L just could not get enough of all those puppy dogs! Unfortunately, the dachshunds are scared of him because he grabs their ears, and the lab {although sweet} is too wild to play gently. Adam’s lab is a little bit older and calmer. 🙂

-Thumbsucker…big time! Puts that thumb in his mouth when he’s tired and MANY other times throughout the day. No longer taking a paci at all.

-Loud mouth! Loves to open his mouth really wide, talk, squeal, and scream. Saying “da-da-da-da” a lot. Saying “AHHHHHHHHH!”

-Such a ham! Loved showing out and getting attention from Doc and J-J. Would open his mouth and say “AHHH” when he saw Doc. Then, Doc would laugh hysterically at him and respond, “AHHH.” Then, L would do it again, and this would go on and on. I think they both loved it.

-LOVES being outside {and trying to eat dirt :)}!

-Definitely knows his name. Will stop playing, turn and look at you when you call his name. Definitely knows Adam and me. Lights up when he sees pictures of us or pictures of himself.

-Having a little bit of separation anxiety, especially during the late afternoons and since he’s been teething. Will fuss and reach out his arms for me if I try to leave the room for a second.

-Weighs about 17 pounds, according to our scale. Wearing size 9-12 month clothes and size 3 diapers. He’s a “long tall drink of water” as Doc Doc would say. Legs hang over the end of his infant carseat already.

– Smiles all the time and eyes sparkle with delight and a hint of mischief! Such an easy, happy baby. . .

The light of our lives!

7 Months

7 Months…Say what?!?

Sweet Luker, 

We cannot believe another month of your life has come and gone. You are at such a fun age, and we are absolutely loving it! You are the happiest baby– constantly smiling, jumping up and down {in our arms} when you get excited, and squealing in delight. You keep Dad and me smiling. Like all babies, you do have your meltdowns {major meltdowns} :), but they are pretty few and far between. 

I feel like so much has happened during your seventh month of life! Right after you turned six months you started sitting up on your own. Throughout this month you’ve definitely gained strength and improved your balance. You rarely topple over anymore. It’s nice being able to just sit you on the floor and let you play with a toy. 

You are also rolling from back to tummy {and vice versa} constantly! You have done this plenty of times before, but its always sort of been accidental. This month you’ve realized that you’re able to go back and forth, and you’re doing it all the time. You’re sleeping on your stomach a lot these days, and you’re usually on your tummy with your head stretching up to look around when one of us goes to get you in the  mornings. 

You are such a wiggle worm. You NEVER sit still, and you try to grab everything within your reach. You’re still putting everything you touch in your mouth. No teeth yet, though.

No crawling yet either!

 Right around the 6 month mark, you started napping like a champ. And it has been blissful. Truly blissful. I can now just lay you down in your crib at naptime, and you’ll roll over and go to sleep without a peep! I’m not sure what happened. It’s like you’ve realized that daytime sleep is not your enemy. We are saying, “Thank you, Jesus!!!!” Some days you take one long 3ish hour nap {usually about 2 hours after you get up in the morning}. Other days, you take two shorter naps {ususally 1 1/2 hours}. I think you’re going through a growth spurt because you are sleeping a LOT right now. I’m definitely spoiled, and I’m not going to know what to do if your future siblings aren’t good sleepers. 

This month you got a highchair! You’re eating lots of solids, and you’re definitely not picky. You’ve been eating all sorts of fruits and veggies, cereals and oatmeal. My goal is for you to eat ROY G. BIV {all the colors of the rainbow} every day. As your Doc Doc says, “A colorful plate is a very nutritious thing.” 🙂 We don’t do it perfectly, but that is the goal {and it’s the goal for Mama and Dad too}. You seem to like pretty much everything we have given you with the exception of avocados {you absolutely refuse to swallow them} and turkey/turkey broth {the only meat you’ve tried…you gagged}. You’re still nursing 4 or 5 times a day and still pretty much refusing a bottle unless you’re desperately hungry and I’m nowhere to be found. We’ve introduced the sippy cup, but you’re more interested in playing with it than drinking from it. I’m not sure that you’ve quite figured it out yet.  

I think you know your name, but I can’t be sure. Honestly, you’re probably totally confused because you are called so many different things! But what can I say? We are a people of nicknames. In no time, you will learn that your Mama and your Doc come up with some crazy nicknames! You are called Lukie, Luker, Luker Lou (me), Big Boy, Sweet Boy, Baby Boy, Bud Bear Boy, Booger Bear, Sugar Bear (Dad…he loves anything that ends with “Bear” for some reason), Little Man (Doc, Aunt Jen, Uncle Will), Mr. Boy, Mr. Luke (Doc Doc), Luke Man (J-J), Lukester, The Lukester (PawPaw).

You are growing like a weed and getting so heavy! I’m hoping to grow some firm arm muscles {like Aunt Jenny’s :)} from hauling you around. You’re wearing size 9-12 month clothes and size 3 diapers.

You still love playing with toys on your activity mat and jumping wildly in your jumperoo. You love books! You try to turn the pages, and you love to chew them. We read several stories every day…usually before naps.

 Luke, you are so precious to us. We are so thankful that God entrusted you to our care, and we pray for strength and wisdom to love and parent you well. You are a beautiful child, but our prayer is that God will grant you a beautiful and regenerate heart–a heart that is controlled by Jesus. I pray that you will come to know Christ at a young age and that you will follow Him faithfully all of your days. I pray that you will find your purpose and significance in Him alone. I pray that you will grow to be a man of integrity and a man of faith. 

We love you so much, Luke. Happy 7 months!

6 Months–A Mama’s Musings on the first 1/2 Year.

I blinked, and this newborn baby…turned into this {bright-eyed-almost-sitting-up-by-himself-smiling-from-ear-to-ear} baby.

Time. It sure does fly. And you can’t slow it down or stop it. But you can choose to relish the present…treasuring each moment of the season of life through which you are swiftly moving…accepting both the good and the bad as from the hand of God. This is one of my life goals. This is one of my goals as a mom.

I recently read a great blog post about how our society has {sadly} come to view children as burdens rather than blessings. The author mentioned that, by focusing on the challenges and annoyances that inevitably come with little ones, we have “lost out on the magic of what it means to care for someone.”

Magic. That word really struck me. And the more I thought about it, the more I understood what the author meant. There is something inexplicably magical about caring for another person, especially when that person is your child. Obviously, the first 6 months of parenthood for me have meant complete and total care of another.  And don’t get me wrong. By magical, I don’t mean that it’s all been roses. It’s a hard job and a big adjustment. There’s a lot of spit-up and poop. There are so many questions and times when you feel clueless and wonder, “Am I doing this right?” There are days when you feel lonely and overwhelmed–days when you feel like you just can’t make it out of the house because you’re drowning in a pile of dirty laundry and you don’t have time for a shower. I would be lying if I said I hadn’t experienced these things over the last 6 months.

But there have been so many magical moments too–moments when I think, Oh Lord, I don’t deserve such a precious gift. When I watch Luke’s entire face light up the first time he sees me in the morning from his crib…magic. When I tickle him or sing to him and he laughs hysterically, as if I’m the funniest person in the world…magic. When I lean in to talk to him and he cups his little hands around my cheeks and looks into my eyes…magic. In those moments when I realize that he knows me and loves me too, even though he can’t say it yet…magic.

This is a season in Luke’s life when he needs me for everything. He needs me to get him out of bed in the morning, to feed him and bathe him. These are just mundane, everyday things, yes. These things require a lot of my time and energy, yes. But I don’t want to miss the magic in them because I know it won’t always be this way. One day soon he won’t need me for these things, and magical moments of motherhood will look very different.

Our Little Man has already changed and developed so much in just 6 months. He’s almost sitting up on his own {strong enough but still having some balance issues}. He’s eating solids 3 times a day {we’ve tried cereal, sweet potatoes, carrots, squash, peas, green beans, bananas, avocados, and applesauce….and he seems to like it all so far}. Our little 7lb newborn is now 15 lbs {25-50%} and 26 3/4 inches long {50%). He’s filled out a lot since we started introducing solids. I guess Mama’s milk just wasn’t cutting it anymore as he approached the 1/2 year mark. I think solids have helped with nap time too. L goes down for his morning nap pretty easily and sleeps for 1.5-2 hours. The afternoon nap is a little more tricky…he fights it more. He’s still sleeping like a champ at night and usually has a meltdown if we keep him up much past his 8:00 bedtime. L has SO much energy and personality. He absolutely loves to bounce in his Jumperoo  and “scream talk,” as I call it. He talks like this all the time when we’re in public and makes quite a scene :). We’re pretty sure that other people in restaurants don’t find it as hilarious as we do. He is such a happy baby most of the time, and he brings us so much joy.

People say when you hold your newborn baby for the first time it’s “love at first sight.” I suppose this is true. Of course I loved Luke from the first moment I saw him…or really from the first moment I knew of his existence. But that love is different now. As in any relationship, love for your child grows with time. The more time I spend with Luke, the more I get to know him. The more I know him, the more I love him. Sometimes I wonder how we ever lived without him.  I am so thankful for the last 6 months, and I pray for many, many more.

Growth

Last night, I was flipping through pictures and came across this photo of Little Man during one of his first baths. I think he was about 2 weeks old…

It just so happened that {a few hours earlier} I had snapped a few quick pics on my phone of L in his same little tub. Here he is at 5 1/2 months, fist still in his mouth.

You might not know it was the same child if it wasn’t for that darn fist in the mouth :).

I did, eventually, catch a big smile.

It’s amazing to me to see how much he’s grown and changed in what seems like such a short time. It makes me thankful for the Lord’s sovereign and gracious hand, continually initiating his development and sustaining his life. It makes me a little sad, too, because I’m reminded that the baby days are quickly fleeting. However, as my mom often reminds me, each stage brings new blessings. Challenges, yes, to be sure. But numerous blessings as well.

5 Months

I’m 5 months old!

And I’m wearing my goofy snow hat to show you that it’s cold!

{or maybe just because it matches my onesie sticker this month}

{or possibly just because my mama thinks it’s cute} 🙂

Mr. Boy is growing and changing and really getting to be lots of fun!

This month I’ve noticed much more intentional playing. Instead of just exploring a toy we put in front of him, he is starting to reach for toys and trying to get into things {as much as he can with limited mobility}.

His arms and hands are constantly moving, and he is grabbing anything within his reach {my hair, face, jewelry, anything he can reach on the table if he’s in our laps}. He puts absolutely everything he can touch into his mouth. EVERYTHING.

L started cereal this month, and even though we haven’t been to the doctor yet, I can tell he’s growing {Mr. Boy has graduated to size 2 diapers!}. We usually try to do cereal at the lunchtime feeding {11ish} and the suppertime feeding {5ish}. The whole feeding/eating process is extremely MESSY. I have to work really hard to keep his hands out of his mouth and the cereal in his mouth. We’re generating even more laundry these days, if that’s possible.

Nighttime sleep is still going very well. Naptime is like World War 3 {most days}. Every now and then, L will go down for a nap in his crib without a fight, but most days there is at least some amount of screaming {up to 45 minutes on the worst days} before falling asleep. I guess he associates the crib with nighttime sleep and just fights it during the day.  Overall, L is a great sleeper and I can’t complain! Maybe he’ll decide to be ok with naps one day…

We’ve traveled to Alabama and/or Mississippi during the months of October, November, December and January, and L has really been a trooper. I am very ready for a full month at home, though. Here’s a sweet photo with cousin Samuel from our last trip…

L went to the church nursery for the first time this month. I was pretty nervous since he was having a screaming fit when we left the house and didn’t fall asleep on the way like he normally does {and of course the latest drama with him refusing a bottle}. Well, no need to be nervous. When I picked Mr. Boy up, he was perched happily on one of the nursery worker’s laps, had just FINISHED his entire bottle {which I had packed just in case} and had not cried at all. Maybe we should take him to the nursery more often…

L has taken a bottle several more times since the nursery day…even from me once when he seemed unsatisfied after nursing. I can’t figure this child out! I guess he’s just selective about if/when he’ll take a bottle.

Like his daddy, our Little Man is just full of personality. He already cracks us up with his funny facial expressions and constant jibber jabbering.

Quick funny story….During our last trip to Mississippi, L slept in the room with us in his pack-n-play. On the way home, we stopped in Chattanooga and spent a night with Adam’s sister’s family. Since we got in late, Adam and I got in bed just after putting Luke down, and he was still awake. Just as we were dozing off, L let out an explosive little toot {or not so little, actually}. Adam and I snickered quietly. L heard us and immediately laughed out loud! It cracked us up that he knew he had done something funny. He’s such a hoot…

And here’s a little video of Mr. Boy at 5 months. It’s a little long and probably boring to anyone but grandparents, but I want to remember his little laugh and funny expressions!

Happy 5 months, Luke!

4 Months

This post is only two weeks overdue, but better late than never. Right? They said it would go fast, and boy were they right. My baby is growing quickly!

A few 4 month stats…

*Weight: 12 lb, 7.5 oz (10th percentile)…little guy right now.

*Height: 25 inches (50th-75th percentile)

*Food: Still nursing 5 times a day but getting ready to start cereal very soon. Up until this month, L has taken a bottle every now and then with no problem. Lately, though, he has been rejecting it FORCEFULLY. I have absolutely no idea why, but we’re going to work on it…

*Sleep: Still a great night sleeper. Sleeping from around 8:30 pm to 8 or 8:30 am. Still really struggling with naps…screams for a long time before falling asleep during the day… usually will sleep no more than 45 minutes in his crib or 1 hour in his carseat while out and about. We were starting to get into a nap routine, but Christmas travels messed things up a bit. I’m hoping he’ll take better naps once he starts solids.

*Clothes: 6-9 months, size 1 diapers

*Random: L is doing great with head control and seems to like tummy time more now that his head is stronger. Has rolled from stomach to back several more times but doesn’t do it often yet. Cooing and babbling all the time. Constantly has his hands and fingers in his mouth! Loves his bath {kicks and splashes like crazy} and LOVES TV {oh, no!}. It’s like the ultimate pacifier. We’re starting to read some stories with him each day as well. You know, gotta balance out that TV watching :).  L is more of a wiggle worm than a cuddle bug. He likes to face out and look around. Has great eye contact and smiles when he makes contact with most anyone. Sweet boy…

Cowboy Luke
Big boys pickin' on Mr. Boy
Playtime with Jackson

Happy 4 months, Big Boy!