Friday, September 30, 2011

Because I'm Awesome-A Post from Big E

I've been working really hard on my exercises lately, using my rock hard ab muscles to sit up.  Mommy helps me by holding my hands, but I'm REALLY tired of laying down all the time.  Sure, the Bumbo is fun, but I'd rather do it myself.  So today, Mommy decided that maybe she should try letting go of my hands to see what happened.  Ha! I showed her! Check me out!

We tried again a few times and my balance is still a little inconsistent, but check me out! I'm sitting up all by myself for the very first time on this beautiful Friday morning!


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

3 Months

My sweet "Stinky" boy,

Today marks your 3 month birthday!  Already?? Wow! I can't believe it has already been 3 months, it feels like you were just inside my belly.  I'm also having a very hard time remembering life before you.  You are my WHOLE world, and I'm so happy that my world now has such a sweet face.

Seriously, how hilarious is this face? He was obviously over the photo shoot.
You weigh about 12.6 pounds and are growing like a weed! We are still going strong with breastfeeding (via bottle) at about 7 ounces every 6 hours.  You are a BIG eater, but we are still doing what we can to avoid formula.  So far, it is working well.  I hope it continues.

You started sleeping extremely well over the past few weeks.  Most nights, you go to bed about 7:30 and sleep until 7 the next morning! We occasionally have a night that you want to be rocked back to sleep in the middle of the night, but that is rarely difficult to do.  

One of your biggest achievements this month is that you rolled over at 11 weeks!  We were so excited and proud, but had no idea that would interfere with your great naps.  Apparently nap time now means "practice rolling over time" instead.  We finally caught you rolling over on video, even though you seem a bit annoyed in the video.  Daddy and I were rolling you BACK over to your belly in attempt to catch it on video.  You were not amused.  Sorry about that. ;)

Your Seahorse is completely your BFF.  You love to watch him glow and play music as you fall asleep, and we even caught you snuggled up to him once!  Other times we find you far away from him so that you can keep an eye on his glowing belly.  (Please see disclaimer in previous posts about Ethan's sleeping positions.)


The outfit your Granny bought the day we discovered you were going to enter our lives finally fits! We intended to bring you home in it, but it was WAY too big, and 3 months later, we can take a few pictures. :)

This month, you attended your first baseball game...

...STILL love your bathtime...

...starting to understand cause and effect (such as pulling on your car seat toy)...

...teethe (Sophie is becoming just as good of a friend as Mr. Seahorse)... with Daddy's old raccoon toy...

...Support the GREATEST team ever (Go Cards!) on your GQ cover...

...and snuggle your cousin Riley.  You are really starting to interact with Riley, which is thrilling her to deal.  Unfortunately you aren't talking quickly enough for her, but I know that she is enjoying watching you grow anyway.  She loves you very much, and really likes that you are cooing for her.

You seriously hate the car.  You can be the happiest baby around and if we place you in the car, you scream bloody murder.  You will scream until the car stops and someone gets you out.  Then you resume to being your happy self all over again.  I hate to hear you so upset, but I can't help but laugh when you do it.  I never want to make you angry, but son, you HAVE to ride in the car sometimes.  It's going to be a way of life for you.

You are nothing but joy in our lives.  We are often questioned about our stress level with a new baby, and we can honestly tell them that YOU are the only thing that doesn't stress us out in our lives right now.  I know people don't believe us when we say that, but it's true.  After what we went through to bring you home with us, we are still so thankful for your high-pitched, red faced scream.  In moments of intensity, it has been so easy for us to remember that we almost didn't make it to this point.  As hard as it is to watch you hurt from your teeth, or cry for being gassy, or fuss from being overtired, we never feel overwhelmed or stressed.  Because we know.  We know that we are so very lucky to be getting to hear that sweet (and shrill) sound.  Not everyone in this world is as lucky as we are to have something so wonderful in our lives, and we remember every single day how blessed we are.  Our perspective of your moments, good or bad, is to feel completely grateful for those moments.  I feel so relaxed around you, I love being with you.  I love your crooked little smile.  Most importantly, I love you, and I will always love you.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011


It seems to be a common trend that when difficult things come around, I become speechless on my blog.  I want to use this place as an outlet for these discouraging, bitter feelings that I seem to carry around with me lately, but quickly delete so many drafts out of fear of it biting me in the ass later.

There is so much I would love to share with you all in hopes of your wisdom in areas that I'm limited in, yet I'm rendered speechless.  I'm not sure how to get the point across without just laying it all out there.  I often think about deleting this particular blog and beginning again more anonymously, where I can feel more freedom to openly discuss specific situations.  I also love keeping this particular blog open, because so many friends and family that are at a distance can see what we are up to.

Jason and I have recently taken a huge leap into a difficult situation that neither of us ever wanted to even tip-toe into.  We both feel cheated and frustrated.  I'm still struggling with accepting reality in the facts of other's lies.  I feel like we did everything in our power to prevent these situations. Yet here we are, knee deep in a huge mess that was 100% not our fault.  So why are we the ones that get screwed?

I still feel sometimes that I could have done something different to get a different result, but then I remember.  I didn't ask to get sick.  I didn't ask to have pregnancy complications.  I never would have dreamed what an impact those months would have on us.  I never would have thought that we still feel afraid of recurrence, and how my condition during that time has spilled over into every area of our lives.  God has a reason for it all, but I may never know what.  I may never understand.  Honestly? The thought of never understanding sucks.

We are so lucky and thankful for so many terrific family members that live in town with us.  They are willing to support us and help us during this time. Though we are so glad that we have them, it is difficult to even admit that things suck.  I hate for anyone to know when things get difficult.  I'd much rather be the supporter than the supported.  I enjoy being on the giving end of things rather than the receiving end.  I always know that I have help and support from such a large number of people it's incredible.  But I don't like using it.  I'd rather just be around those people, not need anything, especially when they've already given so much, especially over the past year.  Whether it be time, prayer, a shoulder, whatever-Jason and I have been given so much over the past 11 months.  It's difficult to admit that we are still in a situation that we can't do some things on our own.  It's embarrassing to tell a story that doesn't have a positive ending yet.

Jason and I have always felt the need to prove ourselves to some people. These situations make that extremely difficult, because we know that a spiteful grin is likely around the corner.  That spiteful grin makes our times of struggle so much more difficult.  Unfortunately, it's coming.  We cannot avoid it much longer, no matter how hard we try.

It's definitely a huge blow to our pride to admit how defeated we often feel.  We are parents now.  It's our job to do anything and everything for our child, even if it means swallowing pride to do things we don't want to do.  I understand that, but I don't like it.  I know I don't have to like it, but I'm at a place that I really don't want to accept it either.  I especially don't want to accept it because this one was completely out of my control.  I'm a total control freak.  I like to feel that I have a plan laid out in front of me (I'm hysterical to God, I swear) and can move forward with that plan.  This entire situation was out of my control, and of course drove me batty.  It's still driving me batty.  We have a long way to go with this struggle, and I feel like it is going to get harder before it gets any easier.

Well, how about that? I guess I wasn't so speechless after all.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Quick Report of a Milestone

Ethan has officially rolled over!  Ethan was down for a nap this past Friday, sleeping on his belly*, and began to grunt and squirm.  Jason went in to check on him and ran back to me and asked how I put him down.  I looked at Jason like he was a total moron and said, "On his belly of course, why?"

He gave me a huge grin and said, "Well, he's now on his side, so come watch."

We tiptoed into Ethan's room and a few minutes later, he flipped all the way over!  He went from his back to his side every few minutes until he finally decided to relax on his back and grin.  He realized that he was being watched and cooed at us, so proud of himself.  We're pretty proud too!

Just for cuteness, here's a small bathtime video of Ethan too.  He adores the water!

*Before you say anything, I have done the research of infants sleeping on their bellies.  I understand what the facts state, and I also understand what the facts do not state.  After a lot of prayer, discussions with fellow blog mommies who know far more than I, and talks with Jason, we allow Ethan to sleep on his belly.  We take several precautions and extra ways to monitor his breathing and movement while he sleeps this way, and feel that it is best for Ethan to allow him to sleep the way he is most comfortable.  This was a well educated, well thought out decision on our behalf, and we truly believe that it is the right thing to do.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

My New BFF

Have I told you about my new best friend lately? Seriously, I had no idea that something could be in your face so much and overlook it for so long.  Then suddenly, BAM.  Smacks you in the face and you are instant best friends.  This is definitely not a relationship that needed time to grow slowly.  We are officially inseparable.  Well, on my end anyway.

These days, it's all about the crock pot.

Why did I always think that the crock pot was for keeping soups warm?!  Who knows, who cares, but that crock pot has become my new favorite household item for just about everything.  I don't have to worry about thawing out chicken or pork, I can just throw it completely frozen straight into the crock pot with my choices of sauce for the day and walk away.  Ethan sure is appreciating that crock pot too, because it gives us a lot more snuggle time.

One of our current favorites is barbeque chicken.  All of these recipes I will post are recipes I found on Pinterest (another new BFF, why did it take so long for me to get on that thing!?) so feel free to find me and find the links that I have repinned.

You only need a few things:

Chicken (breasts, leg, wings, whatever) thawed or frozen.  I personally prefer to throw it in frozen to enable my laziness.

1 bottle of BBQ sauce (any flavor or brand will do, we like to do a sweet and spicy one, but it really doesn't matter)
1/4 cup of vinegar
1/4 cup of brown sugar
Red Pepper Flakes (the recipe calls for 1 tsp, but we add a little more in because we like the spice)
Garlic Powder (the recipe calls for 1/2 to 1 tsp, we always go for the 1/2 because it is so strong.

Throw frozen chicken in the bottom of the crock pot.  Mix all other ingredients together and pour over chicken.  Cook on low for 4-6 hours.  Ta-da!

How easy is that?!  We love how tender the meat is in the crock pot since it is cooked so slowly, we rarely use our oven for meat anymore, unless it is in a casserole of some sort.

Anyway, I need to go have a meeting with my new BFF.  It's so cold out today, I'm thinking BFF needs to make some tortilla soup. :)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Ethan's First Pumpkin!

I just had to share. My Dad brought Ethan and Riley home their pumpkins last week, and we took a few photos of Ethan with his first pumpkin! They are enormous, but he really seemed to like them! Forgive the quality, they are just my iPhone photos, the better ones are on my parents camera.

By the way, I know the Boston toboggan doesn't match his outfit at all, but we received it as a gift the day before and was trying it on for size.  Isn't it adorable on him?!

Sunday, September 11, 2011


I was a freshman in high school.

I walked into my second period, choir class when we noticed the television was on and one of the towers was on fire. I was so naive, I had no idea what the World Trade Center even was. I remember a classmate shouting, "They think that plane was hijacked?!" I remember feeling uneasy, but had no idea what was really going on.

My choir teacher shut off the television, said we had work to do, and proceeded with class. He said that we couldn't let the news interrupt our practice time.

By the time I walked to my geometry class, the first tower had fallen. My geometry teacher told us that we needed to watch what was going on in the world, and that class would have to wait. We watched several replays of the first tower falling. So many, in fact, that I remember thinking that we were still watching replays when the second tower fell. We watched people running from the huge clouds of smoke and debris.

By my last class of the day, we had watched the footage over and over. My Spanish teacher, a woman from Morocco, wanted us to continue to watch and talk about what was going on. I remember feeling bored and ready to go home. I didn't understand what was going on, or why it was a big deal. I didn't understand that what we were watching was no accident.

By the time my Mom picked me up from school, I was just ready to get home. She asked me if we had been watching the footage. I remember telling her how sick I was of watching the news. She looked shocked, and asked me if I had any idea that this likely meant our country would be going to war. I didn't. I didnt get it, and I didn't understand. New York was so far from us that I never realized that my future and family would be impacted on what happened that day.  We talked the whole way to my dance class, and by the time I got there, I began to feel afraid.

A few weeks later, we were discussing the attacks with my Spanish teacher.  She was telling us about her family members that were Muslim, but had no connection with the attacks.  She explained to us that there is good and evil in every group of people in the world, and encouraged us to understand that.  She had a Muslim father, who was a good hearted, kind man who never would harm another soul.  She expressed fear that she and her family members would be judged for those attacks because of their heritage.  She explained to us that although our country was experiencing the worst attack on our soil that we've ever seen, we couldn't stereotype.

It was those moments that several of us realized that a divide among people would occur, and that we would individually be responsible for not allowing that divide within ourselves.  She validated our confusion, our anger, and our lack of understanding.  She validated the tragedy, and expressed her own hurt and anger towards those responsible for the attacks.  She taught us that we could continue to have these feelings, but not to allow those feelings to overwhelm our judgement of others.  I am still amazed at her during such a hurtful, sad time for our country.  In the midst of our country's outrage, she was teaching us about love.  She was teaching us that it was ok to feel the way we did, but it wasn't ok to turn our love away from others that weren't responsible.  She felt it important to tell us that it was now, more than ever, that we needed to come together instead of divide.  It was now more important to love others, to accept others without judgement, and to direct those feelings only at those responsible.

Jason and I watched the replay of the Today Show from 9/11/01 last night after Ethan had fallen asleep.  I think of the parents who lost children in the days of the attacks, of the children who lost their parents, and of the men and women who lost their spouses, and count my blessings.  Watching that footage today seems so different to me than it was 10 years ago.  I have a child to protect.  I know that I cannot shelter him from the world of evil as much as I want to.  I know that he needs to understand that evil does exist, and that there are people in the world that would do things that we could never imagine.

I worry that one day, he will see another tragedy like the one of 9/11, and not understand the way I did.  I wonder how I can possibly help him understand the magnitude of that day when it took so long for me to understand it.  I wonder what we will say to him when he brings a school assignment home to ask his parents about the attacks on 9/11.  I hope that we are able to give him the emotion, and not the facts.  I hope that we are able to teach him what was lost.  I hope that during that conversation, we teach him that in the midst of evil in the world, that he also opens his heart to love others.

To all the heros that have defended our country before, on and after that day, thank you.  In on way or another, every single one of us will always remember.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Friday Randoms

Today is my Dad's birthday.  I'm really excited to spend the evening with my parents to celebrate.  Jason and I are so lucky to have my parents as a support system for us.  Things have been getting more difficult around here lately, and it's nice to have non-judgmental ears just a few miles away.  I've really enjoyed becoming an adult because my parents have turned into my friends now, and I like it much better that way. :)

I'm such a schmuck.  I never used to feel sentimental or emotional, and becoming a Mommy has turned that  completely around. Ethan is sleeping 12 hours a night now (crazy, I know) and I feel sad when I put him down to sleep.  I know I should be so glad that he sleeps that long, but I immediately start to miss him when he goes down for the night.  I just love it when he is awake, smiling and cooing at me.  Some nights I rock him a lot longer than he really needs because I'm just not ready to put him down yet.

Ethan had his two month check-up last week.  He's growing within all the normal ranges, but definitely on the small side.  He's 11.03 pounds, which fell into the 50th percentile, and 22.5 inches long, which is only in the 10-15th percentile!  Our pediatrician reassured me that he is still growing normally even if he is small.  I'm blown away that he only weighs 11 pounds, since he takes 24-28 ounces of breast milk a day.  My only guess his metabolism is a lot like his Momma's.

Ethan's vaccinations broke my heart.  His nurse was so good to him, and to me as well.  She even allowed us to stay in the room after she was finished to comfort him, feed him, and change him before leaving.  He did so well, but I had my first real dose of what a mother feels like to see their child in pain.  Beware, all future girlfriends, don't break my son's heart.

I'm still feeling really bitter this week, and extremely angry.  I'm having a difficult time accepting that there are people in this world that will lie and cheat to better themselves.  It's a struggle for me to fall in line with people that want to use my family for various reasons.  I don't do well with feeling used or manipulated by others.  I wish that everyone we encounter could understand that sometimes the ball is in their court, and sometimes it is in ours.  We cannot accommodate every convenience for others, and it frustrates me so much that it is expected of us.

My son is taking a ridiculously long nap today.  He's going to be starving when he wakes up.

Do you all watch Big Brother?  I was so sad to see Jordan go last night.  She was my favorite during her season, and definitely my favorite this season.  I hope she gets the America's Choice prize.  As much as she annoyed me all season, I'm officially rooting for Rachel.  She really calmed down and acted halfway normal after Brenden left.  Portia and Adam don't deserve to be there, they didn't do anything all season except get lucky in a few competitions over the past week.

Is standing up for yourself when you were mistreated always worth it? Sometimes I wonder if it's worth the stress, and know how much easier it would be to let it pass.

We have a lot of women on bed rest at my church for pre-term labor.  As difficult as my pregnancy was, I hug my little boy tight and feel so thankful that he decided to come 10 days past my EDD.

I realized the other day how differently I view everything.  I see everything from a mother's perspective now.  When I watch TV, I wonder what their mother's would think of the crazy things they pull.  When reading the horribly sad stories of the children that lost a parent in the 9/11 attacks, I feel so thankful that Jason and I are both here and healthy to raise Ethan.  I have such a fear that Ethan will have to grow up without one or both of us.

I have a dear friend that just learned that she is expecting a little boy.  Like me, she has been around mostly little girls, and is in a little bit of shock that something new is coming her way.  She asked me to make her a list of all the wonderful things I've been able to experience by having a boy instead of a girl.  It's had me thinking for the past few days, and I love so much that she sparked a new perspective of how glad I am that Ethan is Ethan and no one else.

Happy Friday, everyone!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


‎"Here's how I see it. It took all I've been through to make me who I am today and to teach me what I know. I choose to be better, not bitter. I trust the faithfulness of God more than ever. If faith doesn't move the mountain, it will give me the strength to endure tomorrow. And if it's not gone by tomorrow, I'll still believe that God is able, and trust him until he acts."

Today I'm just plain bitter.  I'm angry.  Today the enemy won because I totally let them ruin my day.  I let them get to me and make me angry.  I allowed myself to forget the lessons I have learned over the past year and feel angry instead of thankful.  I've tried so hard to understand God's plan for everything in these past few months, but today I just don't get it.  And that makes me angry.  I do still believe that God is able, and I do know that he will act in his time, not mine.  Somehow, that's not helping my bitterness today.

I have a difficult time understanding blatant lies about others to get ahead.  I have a difficult time understanding only face value of morals and values.  I don't understand how any human being could do and say cruel things to make another person suffer or hurt.  I refuse to be bullied and I refuse to be manipulated into any situation that I am not comfortable with.  I have nothing to prove, I'm not afraid of an end result because I know that truth will easily be visible.  I may be unafraid, but I am angry.

It bothers me that I even let people that choose to stoop to that level get to me.  I should never let someone like that get the best of me, but sometimes I manage to slip and they succeed.  Sometimes I let spite slip into my heart quickly and am tempted to stoop to their level as well.  I have to remember that I choose to be BETTER, not bitter.  But today I still just feel plain bitter.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Say What?!

Why is it always the grocery stores that you run into the boldest people?

I took Ethan to the grocery store with me a few days ago, and this was my first grocery trip without my Mom or Jason with me for assistance.  We only needed a few things and I thought, "What's the big deal?"  Apparently adults in twos keep the insane comments at bay.

Ethan wasn't the happiest camper that day, and was fussing as we went in.  I was able to calm him quickly, and began to move faster through the store so that we could get in and out before a melt down.  I was moving down my list with great speed, and only had 3 items to go when I had my first loony encounter.

A short, elderly woman stopped me and stood WAY up on her tip-toes to peek into the cart where Ethan's car seat was mounted.  She peaked in and her first question was the obligatory "Is it a boy or girl?" (It's a girl lady, of course that's why she's dressed in navy blue pants, and a red shirt with a football on it.) Our conversation got even more strange.

Old Lady: "Well what's his name?"
A Very Hesitant Mommy: "Um, Ethan."
OL: "Ah, well I like that."
(cue ANOTHER woman in this aisle)
Another Woman: "Ethan? What's his middle name?"
AVHM: "Bryant." (Crap.  Why in the world did I just answer that question?)
AW: wrinkles her nose "People seem to be going back to that kind of things these days."  Shrugs, then leaves.
AVHM: What the hell is that supposed to mean? "Well, have a nice day."
OL: "You know, I had a boy first too, and then I had all girls after that.  He was very protective of his sisters, and even now that they are grown, he would do anything for them."
AVHM: "Well that's very sweet of him, I hope that Ethan is protective of his siblings too."
OL: "Well, he might not be.  I had brothers that were older, and they didn't do that for me.  It was just my son..." (proceeds to tell me her family tree, and Ethan is beginning to squirm.)
AVHM: "Well, that's wonderful your son is such a great brother, have a great day!"
OL: "Well, good luck to you honey, it gets harder."  (great, thanks)

Ethan is nearing a meltdown and we rush through to get my remaining three items and get in line.  As soon as my groceries are unloaded on the belt, Ethan sends out his I'm really, really mad and if you don't get me out of this car seat soon I'm going to scream until you do. (For the record, he did.  All the way to my Mom's house, where I had to drop off a few things I picked up for her.)

Cashier: "Someone's not happy."  (You think?)
AVHM: "Yep."
Bagger: "Aww, he's hungry!"
(Yes, because every time a baby cries, it means he's hungry.  Of course it's responsible parenting to shove food in my child's mouth to soothe him every time he cries, why didn't I think of that? Thank you bagger man, thank you.)
AVHM: "No, he just ate, he's tired and wants out of his car seat."
B: "Oh look, he spit out his pacifier! He must not want that. He's hungry."
AVHM: ignores comment
B: "You know, don't worry that he doesn't have any hair.  I didn't have hair when I was a baby either, but it all came in.  And when it came in, it was BIG (uses hand gestures for emphasis) and really long.  So your baby will get hair one day too, it's ok."
AVHM: (Whew, thank goodness, that is definitely at the top of my lists of concern right now.  Wait, you can't see that very fine, dark hair on his head? Ok, weird.  Wait again! What does YOUR hair growth have to do with MY baby? Do you know something I don't? How did your hair genes get involved with my son?) "Um, thanks, but I'm not really worried about it. Have a nice day."

Lesson learned: Never grocery shop alone in Kentucky.  Not to help tend to your little one, but to yield off ridiculous comments.