Thursday, December 12, 2013

11 Month Update .... and She's WALKING!

Emma turned 11 months old on December 2nd and... SHE'S WALKING!!

Eating: We are working on chewing table foods. She loves chicken and turkey (those are mommy's favorites too)! She still HATES the sippy cup. Any advice here (besides giving her juice) is greatly appreciated. 

Napping/Sleeping: Emma has cut her morning nap out! She sleeps 11-12 hours at night with a three hour nap after lunch. Oh this schedule is heaven.

Stats: She is in 9-12 month clothes, size 2 shoe, and size 3 diaper. She hit a whopping 18 pounds this month. She continues to accomplish milestones at an average pace which is great because she arrived 3.5 weeks before her due date! She had her first ear infection over Thanksgiving break.

Teeth: Emma has 6 teeth.

Mobility: Emma took her first steps on Josh's birthday (Nov. 23rd). She is still working on balance and strength but she'll get there soon. If we visit your home this Christmas, your tree is not safe - so hang those ornaments high!

Vocab:  Emma has started to babble more and sing this past month. She also experiments with her voice more often (especially in the car and public places).

Interests:  Emma can now sway to a beat (she has been bouncing to a beat for months). Mommy and Emma have frequent dance parties at the house; drop by and join us one afternoon. We'll be the house on Smith Sims in Trussville that's rocking out to Christmas music (and whatever Emma chooses on my iPhone)! Emma also loves the Christmas lights and reading stories in mommy's lap. Her favorite playmate is definitely Daddy who is home on a one month sabbatical through the month of December into January 2014.

I am trying to prepare myself for her first birthday, which is only 3 weeks away! Emma rocked my world when she came into my life on January 2, 2013. I had no idea what I was doing and nobody could have prepared me for this first year as a mother. Motherhood has changed me - just ask Josh. He'll tell you ALL about it.  I'm so thankful for my scaled back work hours. It allows me to keep up my certification without spending too much precious time away from Emma and Josh. God has used Emma to change my heart. I'm so thankful to be her mommy. And I have one incredible husband who has cheered me on the entire way. Not many men could handle these changes in their wife the way he has. It's like he knew this would be a perfect fit all along (i.e. me being mom); he was just waiting for ME to realize it. Thanks Josh - I don't tell you enough how much you mean to me. I can see where Emma gets her kind-hearted spirit. Thank you for always taking care of us.

Josh captured this beautiful big smile!  See all those teeth!?

We surprised Daddy at work with a cookie cake for his 32nd birthday!
She raises her hand every time she sees a Christmas tree.  I think it's her way of saying, "oh how pretty!"

Emma is on the move!

Daddy may be her favorite playmate but she is still a mommy's girl!

Emma's beautiful Aunt Steph.  Grams made her cute Turkey Day shirt!

These two are precious together.  We met Josh at the mall for lunch one day and rode the new carousel.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

10 months old - Happy Halloween!

Emma will be 10 months old on Saturday.  I have not updated the blog lately mainly because life is a little more exciting with a mobile child!  Here's a brief update...

Eating: Emma is down to 4 feedings a day, three of them with solids.  Unfortunately she loves feeding herself more than she likes us feeding her.  This can cause some conflict during dinner time (between strong willed momma and determined daughter).  She enjoys feeding herself puffs, cheerios, banana, bread, etc.  Still working on Mandarin oranges.  She is also eating yogurt and baby food with meat.  She still LOVES sweet potatoes and bananas (not together).

Napping/Sleeping: Emma takes a short 45 minute to 1 hour nap in the morning and a 2-3 hour nap in the afternoon.  She sleeps 11 hours at night.  Praise the Lord for that!  She has always been a great napper and has been sleeping through the night since around 9-10 weeks (of course we went through the whole reversion thing but she got the hang of it really well around 5 months).

Stats:  She's petite, I know.  You don't have to remind me.  She is still in 9 month clothes, size 2 shoe and size 3 diaper.  But she's healthy, so I'll take it.  She has not had a single ear infection and I pray she stays well through the cold/flu season.  Pretty amazing considering I think I catch more colds than her from just walking into daycare to drop her off!  Her health is a huge praise and answer to prayer for our family.

Teeth: Emma has 4 teeth and 2 just broke through on top this past week.  I imagine that 2 more will break through on the bottom soon. 

Mobility:  Emma is mobile.  She's got the speed crawl down.  She can also walk pretty well with our help.  She is cruising around the house like crazy! 

Vocab:  She is very quiet and observant and doesn't like a whole lot in her face (sounds like she got that honest from her no drama momma).  She can say bye bye, mama, and dada.  Although, she only says mama when she's crying.  Oh, and Gracie is "ga."  She does the funny, toddler backwards wave and will even give you a high five (with a little encouragement).

Interests:  She LOVES music.  She can do some hand motions.  She claps and bounces to a beat; it's pretty darn cute if you ask me!  Oh, and she is putting EVERYTHING in her mouth.  I scraped out paper, toilet paper, magazine paper, and leaves out of the girls mouth last week... 
In October, we celebrated her first Halloween and we were away from her for the first time for a full week.  I'll leave you with a few fun pics.

Everything goes in this child's mouth!
Future music lover for sure.  My mom is a fantastic pianist - Emma's one lucky girl.
Emma gives Halloween a thumbs up
Emma helping dada clean out the pumpkin...

Trunk or Treat at FBCT.  We love our church.

My sweet ladybug

Mommy and Daddy take a mini-vacation to Colorado - beautiful place.  If things don't work out here in B'ham, we know where we're going to move.  I'll even deal with the snow to see this beautiful place every day!  I'm sure Denver could use another software guy and a bean counter :)

Many Parks Curve on Trail Ridge Rd -the furthest point we could go b/c the highest paved road in the US was already covered in snow.

Our view from Estes Park

Emerald Lake Hike

This is a gorgeous hike to Beirstadt Lake in the Rockies but unfortunately I could not summit b/c of my intense fear of heights. I did push up the mountain 3/4 the way and was rewarded with some incredible views. This hike has a 500-600 foot elevation gain.
Love this guy!

Thanks Aunt Dana and Cousin Elise for the cute clothes!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

7 Month Update - Teeth, Crawling, and Talking!

Emma 7 Month Update
Emma is now 7 and a half months old.  She has two bottom teeth - finally!  She is starting to babble more and make connections between words and objects.  She is sitting up and learning to crawl as well.  Her personality is coming through more and more and I'm seeing not only Josh's traits but mine in her as well.  She is very determined to learn and do things on her own.  She gets very frustrated when she cannot do something but gets over it quickly with a little encouragement.
She is squealing and making the ba, da, tha, ma and ga sounds.  She enjoys stringing the various sounds together like any other typical 7 month old.  She is working on perfecting "daddy" and she says "Ga" when she sees Gracie (our dog).  Josh and I are also working on some sign language with her - food, milk, more please.

She can blow bubbles and raspberries which is cute until she does it during dinner with food in her mouth. So we have been learning what "NO" means.  The ladies at daycare also gave me a great tip - leave the spoon in her mouth for a second when feeding her - love those women who take care of my girl!  Every time I question our decision about me going back to work (even just part-time - I only work 1,200 hours per year now compared to my typical 2,400 hour year), God uses these ladies to reassure me of our decision.  (He is also teaching me not to doubt when He answers my prayers - can you tell??)

I love that Emma is able to sit up and play now.  Pots and a wooden spoon are a good 30-45 minutes of entertainment while I fix dinner.  She is scooting, rolling around, climbing on mommy, pulling up, standing with support, but not crawling.  She will even take steps if you hold both of her hands!!  I think she will be crawling in the next couple of weeks though.  She can get to the crawl position on her own, but she falls on her tummy when she tries to move forward.  Even though Emma cannot crawl just yet, she is getting into more stuff.  For example, I was packing last week for our trip to Huntsville.  I placed her in the floor with a few stuffed animals.  I left the room for a moment to grab a Ziploc bag to organize her supplies and when I got back she had rolled over to her pile of clothes and unfolded everything!  I couldn't help but laugh at the mess; she was so proud of it. 

She also loves bathtime and floating in the pool.  I LOVED the water when I was little, so I'm excited about this.  Water does not scare me and I hope to teach her to swim next summer. 

She is down to 4 feedings from mommy, 1 formula feeding (because mommy's supply is NOT holding up with pumping and introduction of solids), and 2-3 solids.  As far as food, she has had avocado, bananas, rice cereal, squash, zucchini, sweet peas, sweet potatoes, apples, pears, oatmeal, peaches, green beans and carrots.  Her favorite food is sweet potatoes and she loves bananas but does not care for peaches or apples.  We are still battling reflux.  It is getting better but we do a lot of laundry in this house still.  If I ever hand you Emma, you better take the burp cloth too!  She has not had one of those epic across the room milk vomits in the last month (spoke too soon, b/c she had one friday morning before I was able to publish this post).  If you have not experienced this as a mom, count your blessings!  Bibs are Emma's hottest accessory these days and she can soak one with spit and drool in 1 hour flat!
Those blue eyes get me every time!

Girl loves splashing in the water.

My smiley baby
"Vroom, vroom - go faster mommy!"
First time in a big pool.
At seven and half months I keep thinking "Where has my tiny baby gone?"  I know everyone warned me that she would grow up fast but I had NO idea just how fast!  It feels like yesterday that I was rushing to pack my bags for the hospital.  I had just cleaned up our Christmas decorations, picked up the house, stocked the fridge for two weeks (like usual), listed out my last minute before baby comes "to-do" items, and completed my big December 31 deadline project at work (over 240 property tax filings with counties all over the state of Alabama).  I had Emma's bags packed but not mommy and daddy's - I'm a planner but Emma made her debut a little early.  Like 3.5 weeks early!! Having a baby was NOT on MY agenda that week - I mean, I was still trying to get over the chaos of Christmas.  I should have known better; her daddy is ALWAYS early, and God likes to remind me who is really in control sometimes! 

I remember riding to the hospital and asking Josh "Is this really happening?"  I think it sunk in when they put us in a delivery room around 11:30 pm on New Years Day.  Josh called our parents and I immediately started knocking things off my "to do" list.  I finished my thank you notes from my December shower and starting emailing coworkers to handle projects that were not completed.  The nurses kept asking me if I was okay and if I needed pain meds - nope, I was good, just had things to do.  When I look back now, this could have ALL waited.  But I think I worked on my "to do" list because it helped distract me from my fears - my fears of our insurance switching over that very same day, my fears of delivery, my fears of possible surgery, my fears of induction, my fears of a premature baby.... the list could go on.  I cannot even imagine what was going on in Josh's mind.  Being a supportive husband during all of this had to be hard b/c there is just not much a husband can do (other than hold her hand and coach her through the contractions and take care of all the family logistics - which he took care of like a pro).  Emma came fast.  I pushed for 15-20 minutes and she arrived at 11:24 am on January 2nd!  I was up walking around that afternoon.  I have to thank our amazing nurses and doctor at St. Vincent's.  I had such kind women taking care of and coaching me (and directing Josh) all the way through the process.  We were in great hands and our parents agreed.  (One of our nurses is on the new St. Vincent's commercial.  She's awesome!  For ladies in the B'ham area, St. Vincent's is the way to go for excellent, budget friendly care.  We are lucky!) 

The next 48 hours in the hospital are still a blur to me.  Emma stayed under the warmer a lot since she was early (no NICU visits - yet another answered prayer).  I had to keep her double and triple bundled so I did not get to inspect my sweet baby and "kangaroo" her like most mommas.  I was also trying to process the fact that my main focus those first few weeks of January was Emma instead of setting up our tax software at work or finishing up my client planning for tax season.  When we came home with Emma, I was upset.  I struggled with the baby blues.  It was not the "I want to hurt my baby type of blues" (thankfully) - It was the "I can't do this, I'm not a competent mother, I'm a better CPA, why did I think I could handle this, just give me the keys to my car so I can leave town" blues.  It was awful and it was ALL Satan.  I mean who would rather work on corporate tax returns for 60 hours per week instead of snuggle with a newborn?? - Now you know how bad it was!  Oh, and my poor younger sister got a front row seat to all this.  Stephanie helped us out a ton by running errands around Birmingham the first weekend we had Emma at home.  She even made us a wonderful homecooked, healthy meal with leftovers.  Thankfully my caring Mom came the following Monday and a sweet friend was able to talk to me when Josh couldn't reason with me.  Mom showed me how to comfort Emma with a lullaby and worked with me on nursing her to keep her jaundice down.  My sweet friend kept a check on me via Josh.  I cannot tell you how thankful I am for these ladies.  It kept the baby blues from turning into full blown postpartum (although I don't think I really felt like myself until the last month or so).  One piece of advice for all mommies to be - don't disregard the "4th trimester."  It's a hard time and not sleeping makes everything worse.  Talk to your husband openly about what is going on and talk to your mom or a close friend who has gone through this.  Don't go through this alone!!  And if you are a mom and notice a friend going through this, pray for them, pray Satan away!!

Emma has always been a chill, smiley baby and I'm so thankful for her temperament.  It is definitely an answer to one of my many prayers for her.  We get stopped in the store all the time by people eyeing her beautiful red hair and she always returns their compliments with a big, bright smile!  She has been a joy and I'm so proud of her resilience.  God has used motherhood to teach me so much.  I'm forever changed because of this little red headed beauty that God has allowed me to call my daughter.  I still have a lot to learn but God has placed a supportive husband, encouraging parents, a flexible employer, and some wise Christian women in my life to help encourage me along the way.  One day Josh will tell Emma just how much she has changed her mommy and how thankful I am for that.  I encourage you tired, overworked, under-appreciated mommy's and daddy's - Keep seeking after God's will for you and your family.  Keep striving to know exactly what He wants for your life.  And take comfort in the fact that there are other families out there doing the same thing!  



Saturday, July 20, 2013

Updates and Other News

Emma Update -
Emma can now sit up by herself and stand up when supported - she loves pulling up to the standing position with help from Mommy and Daddy to get her balance.  She loves the new soft books that Memaw and Mommy bought her at Buy Buy Baby.  She is drooling a TON!  I really hope those teeth pop through soon - still NO TEETH!  She is starting to eat 2 meals each day along with her 5 other feedings from mommy (boy am I tired of breastfeeding).  She has had mostly homemade foods - bananas, squash, avocado, rice cereal.  She loves it.  You have to hold her little hands down while you feed her b/c for some reason she thinks she can feed herself already and is constantly reaching for her spoon.  Yet another display of this child's determination to do things on her own.  Mom and Dad, I'm going to need some tips on this one :)  She has also learned to shake her head "no" and I'm thinking that is from daycare (or from me repremanding Gracie at home for barking).  It's super cute nonetheless.


I had to go to the Jefferson County courthouse in downtown Birmingham on Friday to get my car title updated - new immigration/insurance rules in the state now require that your title exactly match your license.  So what do you do when you have limited childcare, work part-time, and no family in town?? - You take your 6 month old with you.  She did FANTASTIC - and we waited in line for 2.5 HOURS!  She played with her books, chewed on her toys and enjoyed watching the wide variety of individuals standing/sitting in line.  There was a really nice lady in front of me that helped me move my arsenal of stuff with Emma each time the line moved and the folks at the courthouse were so nice.  For those of you who don't keep up with current events in our area - Jefferson County is bankrupt.  One of the largest municipal bankruptcies in the nation.  So they have closed all satellites to save money which means more inconveniences to the citizens.  My understanding is that the county is working with CitiGroup Global to refinance our debt.  Tony Patelos (former mayor of Hoover) has been working hard to straighten out the mess that our previous corrupt commissioners got us into.  (Most of the previous Jefferson County Commissioners are serving time in jail by the way... don't you love it?)  We will come out better after all of this, but being a citizen in Jefferson County right now is no fun when you have to deal with any govt. service.  It really makes me miss how well run Auburn city and Lee county were when I lived there (over 7 years ago).

Yard Update -
As many of you know, Josh and I have been working on our backyard.  After having the yard regraded and two trees taken out (and one torrential downpour) - we have sodded (13 pallets of sod with the help of family and friends), leveled off a play set area near the house, and installed a fire pit and new flower beds.  Josh used his craftsman skills to build some beautiful wood chairs out of FREE pallets - yes, one man's trash has become our backyard treasure.

Here are the chairs that Josh made.
He's pretty talented when it comes to projects around the house.
This is for Emma's play set!
This is what I love about our home - peaceful!
Other News -
I love current events and keeping up with local news.  This is something I have not been able to do much these past 6 months, but I'm starting to get back up to speed.  Here are a few things that I'm keeping my eye on....

Josh and I found out that there will be a new recreational area near our house and it will have a launch for our kayaks into the Cahaba River!  Check it out (we are super excited) - Moon River Canoe Launch....

Hopefully Trussville will work to get our new greenway project by the Cahaba completed - latest update -  The mayor said that we were doing well financially recently so hopefully they'll start putting our tax dollars to work for us - if not, then yours truly may make an appearance at a city hall meeting :)

There is a lot going on in the tax world as Congress attempts to find more money to fund our programs and balance our budget.  One of the latest things I have heard is that the administration may end tax breaks for municipal bonds.  I follow a tax attorney who does a great job about blogging on these current events.  Check this out if you're interested -

Have a great weekend!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Missing My Girl

Monday was hard.  I had 4.5 days straight at home with my girl and Josh was home for 3 of those days.  I really miss my family when I'm at work, but we had a wonderful long weekend!  We also had a few firsts this 4th of July week.

Emma saw her first fireworks show and she ate avocado for the first time (which looks like green slime when pureed).  She is not a huge fan of the texture of avocado, but I'm going to keep trying.  I'm determined to fight her becoming a picky eater.  We will see how strong willed we both are by the end of this....

Josh and I helped with the church nursery for the first time this Sunday.  We kept 5 other babies (6 mo to 1 year) along with our 6 month old.  Emma was awesome and took her morning nap with all the chaos but Daddy is not so sure he wants any more kids -- at least not anytime soon (sorry, Grams and Memaw - I'll keep working on him though).  Josh did a fantastic job of holding and rocking the crying babies.  He's a natural (especially with little girls) - even though he won't admit it.  We had a good time and all babies got snacks and diaper changes.  Josh and I were exhausted afterwards - props go to the families out there with more than 2 kids and mommas of multiples.... that is HARD work (much harder than a multistate tax return or working 60+ hours a week)!  But I will say that I noticed a huge difference in my Baby Wise babies :)  They were much less clingy and easier to handle without mommy around.  I highly recommend the eat, play, sleep routine and actually having a nap routine with kids especially if you are going to put your child in nursery or daycare. 

Side Note - If you have not volunteered for your church nursery - DO IT!  You don't know how big a blessing this ministry is both to you and to the parents you serve. 

A few pics from our fun filled weekend....
On our way to "The Mall" in the Cahaba Project to watch the Trussville Fireworks Show and visit with friends.

Sweet babies - (missing 1 newborn and this is only 5 young families and I think the oldest child pictured here is 3). 
We have our hands full for sure!  God definitely blessed us!!

"Mom really, green slime?"
This was my first attempt at feeding her avocado.

Pig tails (or antenna as Josh calls them)

Gracie and Emma playing "who can get out more toys for Mom to clean up?" - Gracie won this round...

Showing off my ruffles during nap time after church.
(Yes, this is how we find her most mornings and I promise I lay her on her back to sleep.)

"I love bananas!"
Look close b/c it's all over her (see the "finger painting" on her tray?)...
I'm going to have my hands full with this little red head!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

6 Month Doctor Visit

Emma had her 6 month appointment today.  She is 13 pounds, 8.5 ounces and 26.5 inches long.  She is in the 8th percentile for weight and the 75th percentile for height - so long and lean little girl.  She has remained in a very low weight percentile and her height percentile keeps going up.... her growth chart is going to be interesting to watch (and the doctor was not concerned by her petite figure).  Maybe she'll be tall like Aunt Steph - I will add that I am one of the shorter females at the family Christmas gathering each year and I'm 5'8"!  She received 4 shots and a Complete Blood Count test.  All appears normal and she is developing well.  We are very thankful for her good health considering she came 3.5 weeks early.  She can now start eating solid foods daily - she has had bananas and some brown rice cereal so far.  I hope to introduce avocado this coming week.  
Emma and her crazy red hair - having fun while waiting to go back.

Showing Daddy her strong legs while waiting for Dr. Youngblood.
Daddy's girl? Definitely!!
Poor baby.  She cried a lot with this round of shots.
Emma showing off her boo boos :(  She had two on each leg.
Missed her nap and had 4 shots.  Thank goodness I remembered her bear. 
She fell asleep as soon as we got in the car.