Tuesday, August 14, 2012

18 months of Joy!

I am kicking myself!!  Hard.  I haven't posted any of Carter's "stats" since 6 months, including when he took his first step, first word, etc.  I realized this when I came searching my "always updated blog" to find those for his baby book.  SO, now...to get better at this!  We're at 18 months now!  Just to show the growth:
9 month stats:  He was 30" (90% in height)  19.8 lbs (40% in weight)
12 month stats: He was 31.5" (90%) 22.5 lbs (50%)
15 month stats: He was 32.75"  (90%) 24.12 lbs (60%)
Ok, on to the 18 month info:  We were told not to expect height or weight growth much because they tend to slow down in growth at this point.  Our doctor was surprised when she did his measurements:

18 month stats: 34" (90%) 25.1 lb (55%)  He's quite a growing boy still!  This kid, as I have said in many posts, is extremely---EXTREMELY energetic and is on full blast all day long, until those sleep times come where he is literally begging me to go to sleep.  If I am later than his norm at all, he is telling me "Mommy, night night, nap"  What a blessing that he enjoys his sleep!  He puts himself to sleep completely without crying or trouble.  He is easy in this department! 
Dr. Burns was also impressed with his vocabulary.  Carter says 3-4 word phrases all the time and there are few words that he doesn't , or at least attempt, to say.  He seems to love language!  He identifies letters,  both by pointing when asked "Where is letter A" and can be given letters and asked to "Tell me what letter you have".  He surprises me and can tell me letters that I have NO recollection of going over with him, so now he knows A-K, M-T, X, Z.  It blows me away and he is si proud of himself when he does it!  He had the "Q" in his hand the other day and ran to me telling me the letter.  What?  I've never taught him Q, must be a Daddy moment, but I was impressed!
He is counting, 1-3 now and loves being asked "How many _____ do you want?" Most of the time he says 2, but remembers that 3 is more and will change to 3 occasionally with a "I-just-beat-the-system face".  He's a silly kid.

We had our first "traumatic" moment during his 18th month.  We were leaving our house and he fell and landed face first on concrete.  I noticed a bit of blood, but initially thought he bit his tongue.....until the blood began gushing.  Looking into his mouth, I saw that where a top front tooth normally was, there was a hole staring back at me.  There was no trace of the tooth, it was swallowed!  So, that lead to his first Dentist appointment.  They were wonderful with him and informed us that fake teeth aren't given to kids under 3 but that at 3 he needs to have one put in due to speech development and spacing of his teeth.  So, we'll be visiting that dentist again down the road. 

Carter is very into the park right now and requests to go there all the time.  He has friends that he loves to see and asks for them by name often.  He's a social kiddo and I love it.  Swim is going good, we're moving him up to the next level, which means he will be a Super Waterbaby and will not need me in the pool with him while he swims.  It'll be interesting to see how he does.  I think it's a good transition though because we enrolled him in Mother's Day Out starting in August.  He will be going Wednesdays.  The class is from 9-3, but I'll take him out at 12 before nap.  I need the transition for me...haha, I'm going to be sad without my baby....yet productive!  Hopefully after a semester I can see how he's doing and decide if I want to let him stay the whole day.   I'm a bit worried about nap time, but I suppose it'd be good for him.  The school seems good though and the director was great.

We're trucking away and learning something every day.  Love raising this little guy!

And then there were 4

Carter, what's Daddy's surprise?:  "Mommys pegnant".  This is how Zach found out on Tuesday, June 5 that we are having our second beautiful baby.  We had just returned from San Diego on Monday where we went to watch Zach complete his first Marathon!  Wow, did he do great!  We had talked about celebrating that night with some champagne.  After putting Carter to bed extra late since he wasn't adjusted to the time and Zach being wiped out from just running 26.2 miles, we decided to forego the champagne and go to bed early.  I had a feeling I was pregnant so I took a pregnancy test.  There were many things that gave me that feeling.  Along with the normal symptoms, the weirdest was that Zach and I both had a version of the same baby dream a few nights prior.  I thought that's pretty tell-tale.  So I went out to get the test, the old fashion kind that doesn't read a positive result 6 days early.  It was negative.  I didn't believe it, I was sure I was pregnant.  So, the next day, I went to the store and bought the latest technology, the "we identify results up to 6 days early" kind and needless to say it confirmed my suspicions, twice.  And a third time the next day. I was pregnant! 
I decided to tell Zach by playing off the celebrate -your- achievement- of- the- marathon- and- oh- by- the- way- you- have- another- baby- on- the- way.  So, when he got home I had sparkling cider in champagne glasses on the table since we skipped out the night before along with a bag and an achievement card.  He saw the champagne glasses and got a suspicious look on his face, as it is clearly not the same color as regular champagne.   He insisted we have a sip, I'm sure to give himself the affirimitive.  We did so with another suspicious look and big smile.  I couldn't look at him after that because I'm an awful liar and was so excited anyways for him to find out that I was grinning ear to ear. But I still prompted him to read his card.  In it, I focused on the marathon, how proud I was of him, listed out some of his qualities that I admire in him that got him through this but transposes to his everyday life. I told him that me and the kids are lucky to have such a role model.  Not extremely forward but giving a semi obvious hint.  The bag had an I Love Dad onesie in it that would be the obvious give away.  I told Carter when I found out the news that "Mommy's pregnant".  He doesn't get it all the way, but being the parrot that he is, picked up on copying it right away.  So, I thought I'd use it to my advantage and tell him to say that when Mommy says, "What's Daddy's surprise?"  So here we are after he reads his card, just as he's picking up the bag.  I decided to see if Carter would pull it off, so I asked him his cue question "Carter, what's Daddy's surprise" where he immediately got a grin just the same size as mine...ear to ear smiling with his eyes just lit up and yells the news "Mommy's pegnant".  We all 3 started laughing and giggling and Zach was elated.  He hugged and kissed us both and we couldn't stop talking about how great it was that Carter nailed it. :)   He opened the bag afterwards and was thrilled.  We so wish we had the excitement on video, but what a great memory we will always have!  We can't wait to welcome our newest joy next spring, February 14th!! Our Valentine's baby.   We're thrilled to be growing our family!!

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Godfather!

We went back to Michigan on October 5th (Carter's birthday) to spend the weekend there celebrating my Uncle Dennis-who is also my Godfather's- wedding to his beautiful bride Kathy!  We had a wonderful, yet short, time seeing our family!  Carter did great on the plane though, slept for about an hour and made the trip there fairly easy.

We stayed with my grandparents house where my parents and Uncle Dennis stayed too!  Party place after the little one went to bed! ;)  It was wonderful because we got to spend a lot of quality time with Uncle Dennis.  I was his practice dance partner as he prepared for his first dance with Kathy, we had LOTS of great food thanks to my wonderfully talented chef of a grandma, and of course our nights went a bit later than planned because we became wrapped up in conversation. 
Our first night there, we had a pizza party with my grandparents.  The next day, we went to Uncle John's Apple Orchard, a long time favorite orchard of my parents who went there as they were growing up!  It was a wonderful experience.  Michigan's colors were changing, so that was exciting to see since we have 2 colors here in Texas, brown and brown with green tint.  We gave in to the temptation to have fresh made doughnuts at the orchard with our fresh cider.  We took Carter to the play area and let him go bananas playing with anything he could get his hands on.  After he had his fun, we (my parents, Zach and I) had our fun at the orchard's own wine tasting barn.  Of course on this day of indulgence, we also sampled the homemade fudge!  Aunt Krista met us for lunch at a Greek restaurant after that where we ate way too much, knowing that night we'd again eat way too much at my Uncle's Rehearsal dinner. 

Beautiful Captain and GIgi with the Beautiful Michigan backdrop

YUM!  Fresh cider!

Playing at the orchard

The Rehearsal dinner, on Thursday night, was very enjoyable.  All of my Aunts and Uncles were there, and of course Uncle Dennis's kids, my cousins, were there too.  Blair and Laura are pregnant with their first baby girl and moved to Turkey right after our visit there.  So that was wonderful getting to enjoy some convo time with them!  I can't wait to hear about their adventures in Turkey. 
I had my movie star moment on Friday.  My Aunt Krista owns an upscale second hand boutique --see Fashion Hunters on Bravo anyone? -- and she was haivng a commercial made for her shop.  Who were her stars?  Mom and I!  So, we spent the morning filming a commercial before coming home to get ready for Uncle Dennis's wedding.  It was fun and I loved trying on some of the clothes--especially the Ralph Lauren jacket that was being resold for $2,000 as it was 1 of 400 made in the world!  If you're in the Michigan area, watch for the commercial K2 Boutique. 
The wedding was gorgeous!  Uncle Dennis and Kathy were beaming and so very in love.  Carter thought the first 10 minutes of this hour long wedding was his chance to show his vocal talents---that meant Zach spent the entire wedding outside in the lobby-where Carter could still be heard!  He gave him the dinner I packed for Carter while he waited for the wedding to end and that included strawberries that I chopped up.  We got to the reception, which was already past Carter's bed time, and decided we'/d just see how long he could make it!  Well, it wasn't long.  As dinner was being served, Carter was at his end.  So I skipped dinner and went out to try to calm him and rock him to sleep.  No such luck, he got more and more worked up!  Zach came out to switch me so that I could hear my Dad's (hilarious) best man speech.  I listened to it and the sound of my son getting more and more hysterical.  When I came out with all of our stuff, I noticed welts all over his face!  He was having an allergic reaction to the strawberries.  I didn't even think of that when I packed them!  He had had lots of strawberry flavored things before so I didn't think twice.  Well, that's what caused his meltdown.  We were back at Grandma and Grandpa's house by 9:30 with Carter in bed.  It was a bummer missing out on talking to any of my cousins, but Zach and I decided to take the moment of quiet to enjoy each other and a glass of wine.   Luckily, even though we were leaving the next morning, my family was hosting a baby shower for Laura at Grandma and Grandpa's so I got to see them briefly.  I'm thrilled we went, and wish we could have had more time to talk to everyone!  Hopefully on the next round!

Teething BITES!

Well, here we are at 7 months with one tooth who has shown himself to us on the bottom left middle and a tooth trying to get his way out on the top right middle.  Kind of surprising seeing how normally the bottom 2 come first.  My little guy is just proclaiming that he will be doing things in life his way!  :)

I sure don't like the teething process.  It breaks my heart for him.  Granted, there's mass amounts of drool pouring out of his little smiler all the time and he is gnawing on everything-kinda resembling a beaver!, but the part that is the worst is the pain side of it. 

When Carter started getting his first tooth, I was back and forth on whether I thought he was teething or fighting a cold.  Turns out I think it was a bit of both.  He had an extremely runny, stuffy nose for about 10 days.  Towards the end, he developed a low fever (about 101) and had a few difficuly nights.  My little sleep-through-the-night guy had me visitng his room about 6-10 times a night.  It broke my heart because there is nothing that can truly be done to help.  Yes, we givve him the cold teethers, a wet washcloth to suck on, tylenol to help the pain and lower the fever, but in the end, they are all temporary fixes.  It's just one of those rites of passages a baby has to go through to get bigger.

The bottom tooth has peeked through!  This was yesterday before the fever. 
Last night was round two of this.  Actually, it started mid afternoon.  My mom was watching Carter so I could go clear out my old classroom of some of my items and she said he woke up after about 45 min from a nap (which is usually 1 1/2 - 2 hours) and was screaming.  Carter isn't a big cryer, much less screamer, and definitely doesn't usually take much to calm down if he is upset.  She said nothing was working.  Not feeding him, holding him, leaving him be, distracting him...he was unhappy.  Neither of us quite knew why.  Until....I put him down for another nap and mom and I were working on organizing my closet.  When I got him up, he was very hot to touch.  The fever was back.  The drool was flowing.  The tears were pouring.  He's teething again. 

Mom left and we were waiting for Zach to get home from his business trip.  The weather in Dallas had delayed him hours and hours but he thought the likelihood of getting delayed was small.  I don't like staying alone overnight (and haven't yet since Carter was born, call me a wimp, I know!) so I was praying Zach was getting home.  He called and said it seemed as though they were going to leave.  PHEW!  I wasn't looking forward to being home alone, with a teething baby, who has a fever and is miserable.  Even though I would insist on doing the night time tending to Carter, it's still comforting knowing someone else is there to help. 

My poor guy screaming from his pain. 

We sent this to Daddy to convince him to do all he could to get home!
Tough Teething.  Blah.

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Man with the Red Mustache

As many know I just went through a hard time with the loss of a dear college friend.  The journey through that in itself is a story from the events that happened, the people I met, the memories relived, the new memories made....
Mike Hamm was described by another friend as "impossible to describe in one word".  It's so true.  He was an energetic, dramatic, spontaneous, hilarious, dance party, laugh till you can't laugh anymore kind of guy.  I have a million memories from college that I love with him!  We had a blast together.
Mike was rushed to the hospital right after the Christmas holiday break.  He was in Keller, Texas at his sister's house preparing to fly back to New York in a mere 2 hours.  He had just said goodbye to his parents and they began their drive back to Midland, Texas.  Mike grabbed his head and began screaming "My head is exploding" and telling of how hot he had become while putting ice all over himself.  The ambulance was called and Mike began vomitting and went into a coma.  He spent 10 days at the Fort Worth hospital in a coma.  He was completely surrounded by MANY family and friends from the DFW area, NY, Midland, and everywhere in between.  His parents, grandparents, and sisters were all there.  It was a rollercoaster 10 days.  With every up, positive move forward, there was a huge down.  For awhile, he was responding to reflex tests and it was looking very good.  It was amazing to get a hand squeeze back from him after squeezing his.  We talked to him, loved on him, told him stories, people read to him, tried to annoy him out of the coma, and anything else that could be thought of. 
He was born with an AVM which was a mass in his brain.  He never knew of it as most AVM patients do not.  He was a rare case because of his trauma and his age that he experienced this.  Most of the time it is discovered between 15-20 if it is going to give any problems. 
Through the pain that all were going through, an appreciation for the love Mike had for all was formed.  A realization of how similar such a diverse group of people were was astounding.  All of the people who Mike loved were So so so very different yet sooooo similar in many ways.  We all clicked in this tragedy and really leaned on eachother and uplifted eachother while crying together.  It was talked about over and over how Mike would be overjoyed with having all these people he cared about in one room!  It was amazing hearing all the stories from everyone of how they knew Mike or the funny things they'd done together.  The family repeatedly said those stories were what was carrying them through.  They were finding strength in his friends and his friends were finding strength in them.  I've never witnessed such a strength in a family going through such hurt.  They continually were asking all of us how we were doing and hugging on us.  They constantly were giving up time with Mikey to push us to have time with him.  I was blown away with their ability to share him with everyone.  A common phrase was "He's not ours, he's all of ours".  I was amazed that this special, special family could be so selfless and loving during their time of pain.  I could only hope to show such strong true colors during a time like that.  I fell madly in love with his family. 
Mike was due for a 3rd surgery that had to be put on hold because his brain was having spasms.  If he was operated on, it would cause a stroke.  The next day after the scheduled surgery the family was imformed that his brain was at its peak for spasms which was good because that meant it would be calm and ready to operate on in the following days.  Unfortunately, his brain began hemmoraging again and they rushed him into this risky surgery.  Like expected, he had a stroke during the surgery.  The surgeon relayed however, that she completed the operation and rewired everything she needed to.  She did a very thorough job.  The next step was waiting to see how the stroke affected his brain.  After a few more days and tests showing that his body was not operating on its own, showing the brain was not commanding reflexes, the final  two were to be done.  This was on a Saturday.  The family had an idea of what the end result would be and we got the call to come back to the hospital to spend some final time with him and pray for Miracles.  I went up with some other friends early Saturday morning.The first test was done around 2 pm.  It was a dye that would be placed in his blood to see if there was any flow to his brain.  It came back negative, the brain was not getting blood.  His family came out from receiving the news in hysteria and shock.  His dad informed us extremely calm and matter of factly "It is not good.  Each of you should take time to go in a be with him and say what you want to say to him.  They will do one more test as a mere formality."  On that Saturday, the huge crowd of people lining the hospital broke into tears. 
During most of the goodbye moments, there were multiple people in his room at a time.  Same with my first "goodbye".  I found it hard to put a final goodbye and close this chapter.  I went back at one point after we already knew there was no brain activity, but found myself alone with him.  What happened next, I will forever hold on to and cherish.  I was talking to Mike and rubbing his arm.  Telling him of all the memories we had, how much he meant to me, and how he helped form me.  His arm got goosebumps.  I stopped.  I was both spooked a bit and felt a sense of Mike acknowledging that he was there with me, listening.  When I stopped, his goosebumps went away.  So I started again and kept talking to him, they returned.  It was a special moment to me.  A moment of closure.  I will forever hold that. 
I feel blessed to have known him., been apart of his life, and more so had him a part of mine!  He will always live in my memories, and my new friendships with his friends and family.  He will be remembered by all and loved for the rest of my life! 
Thank you Mikey for being who you are and loving each of us so specially! 

A college silly moment together.  One of many!

San Diego beach

Road trip!!   Including Cosmo magazine, gossiping, life stories, and hilarious moments!  Like the scary hotel

College best buds!
In honor of Mike, at his after life after party, we had a whole stache theme!  Here's to your humorous memory and your famous stache!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Carter's 1st birthday! Vintage Toy Themed

We had Carter's first birthday party on October 1, 2011.
Zach and I went into Carter's room in the morning to see his face when he noticed the balloons tied to his crib!  It was a blast starting that way!

Then we dressed him vintage style

 We hosted it at my parents house, thank you guys so much for opening your doors for our party!  It was a blast and although I overthought every detail and worried it wouldn't play out as I envisioned, it was perfect.  I love party planning and found I love it even more than I thought!  Come that day, the main thing was celebrating my beautiful boy and celebrating the full life he has already lived and the 12 months of joy he has brought us! 
One of my highschool best friends, Megan Dunleavy, has taken up photography and does a beautiful job!  She helped me play up the Vintage theme by adding her robin's egg blue vintage high chair and using our radio flyer wagon as she photographed him before the party.  It was better than I could have imagined ! Here's my beautiful boy the morning of his celebration!  Thank you Megan!

Warming up to the camera!  But how beautiful is he in that high chair with the background?!

I live for that cheeeeseee smile!  And those hair flippys!

Totally obsessed with this pic because he does this face all. the. time.  He is "smelling" something!

Ohhhh....sweet smile!

Just melting.  Yep, I am.

He does not sit still.  And especially in a fun wagon!

Model pose.

Definitely a happy guy!  And why not, it's his birthday!!!

Forget sitting in the wagon, how bout pushing the wagon!?

Even though Carter is over this pic, I love the setting, the props and the fact that it's my family!  I love these boys!

We came back to the house and Megan did his smash cake pictures:

Rolls!!  and suspenders!

Make a mess baby!

Meg did great capturing happy photos of him, but he did not like the cake! He gagged multiple times!

Ok, the party pics!  Here are the decorations!
Table done vintage style with Cracker Jacks, old fashioned candy, and an old Coca Cola crate that I got off of Ebay.  Block letters and old fashioned toys added to the feel.

The smash cake with a Radio Flyer wagon on top.  Old fashioned apple pies bought from Kroger as an accent.

Mason jars for drinks with vintage red and white striped straws from Etsy.

The 12 month Red wagon photo banner I made

Funfetti cake balls with red and blue sprinkles in place of a cake, because it seems no one ever eats the cake!  I had a blast making them!

Sock Monkey must make an appearance at a vintage themed party

Little accents throughout the house to tie it all in together

Carter was spoiled rotten!!!

I used a mason jar for a time capsule for Carter.  People wrote verses, memories, or notes to him.  He'll open it when he turns 18!
The people who love our boy and helped celebrate him on this special day!  We love you guys!

Carter thinks he little bit bigger than he actually is!

Loving on our ONE YEAR OLD!

Silly secrets between Christi and Kenadi

The Hiner twins- I mean Dad and son

Chad and Cooper

Owen found something delicious!

Uncle Cody loving on sleepy Carter

Hugs and love for our family and friends!

My angel boy, Nathan

The Websters

Sleepy!  What a great day!


Meg, Sheila, and Sarah

Something caught Devon's attention!


Andy and Mom

Dad and Landon

Bethany and swseet Cooper

Jordan and Carter are staying entertained

Love!  Carter and Brie

Aunt Sarah reading to lil man

Sweetest, most precious beautiful girls I know!

My favorite ladies!!  Meg, Sheila, me, Sarah, Katherine, Jackie, Devon, and Bethany!  Plus babies of course!

Landon wants to help open presents

I sure love this lil angel baby

Thank you to everyone for making this a very special and memorable day!  We love you all!