Sunday, October 27, 2013

4 Months

You just turned four months old and have been such a delight and blessing to us in that short time. You seem to have your daddy's laid back and easy going personality and you're rarely upset. Here's some more about you at four months:
-You weigh 16 lbs and 2 oz and are 26 inches long. These measurements put you in the 60th percentile for weight and 80th for height.
-You have a quiet cry and are hardly ever fussy.
-You are smiling a lot and like to stare into my eyes and flash your gummy smile. It melts my heart.
-You can roll from tummy to back and are so close to back to tummy. Sometimes I find you lying on your back in your crib when you wake up from sleeping on your tummy.
-You love to sleep and are waking usually only once a night to nurse, but have slept all night a few times. Your daily routine is usually sleep, eat, awake for an hour and a half, and then sleep again.
-You love riding in the Ranger on the land. We leave you in your carseat and buckle you in and the bumps put you to sleep in no time.
-Your sisters absolutely adore you. Heidi brings your paci when you cry and is constantly giving hugs and kisses. Ansley loves to talk to you and call you "Little Buddy."
-You hair is so fuzzy!
-You're very cuddly and I hold you as much as I can.
Sweet boy, I love watching you grow and seeing how closely you resemble your daddy in appearance and personality. I'm excited to know that you will learn so much from him. Most of all, I pray that you grow to love the Lord above all else. We love you, little buddy!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Ansley's 1st Day of Pre-K

Today was Ansley's official start of pre-k with our homeschool organization, Classical Conversations. Though we kind of started school a couple of weeks ago with her reading curriculum, this was our first time to visit the campus and learn what our time in "class" would look like. She has been so excited about today and I really tried to make it special and make a big deal out of her first day of school. I stuffed a new backpack with fun school supplies last night (and didn't forget to put a pile together for Heidi, too) and had it all waiting on the kitchen table for them when they got up this morning. We had their favorite breakfast of pancakes and sausage, got dressed in some new school clothes, and then took our first day pictures with backpacks. Heidi made sure to fill hers with some books.
So, why homeschool and what is Classical Conversations? Jeff and I made the decision to homeschool about a year ago after much talk and prayer. Since I have my degree in interdisciplinary studies and taught fifth grade for a few years, I'm so happy to be able to use what I've learned with my own children. Ansley loves to learn and is one of those children who will beg to do school and sit down for long periods of time to draw or practice handwriting. She enjoys the one on one time with me and I enjoy teaching her. So, it just makes sense for me to use my education and passion for teaching with her. We also desire to give her a firm foundation in Christ before we possibly send her to school at a later point. While I know that she would do well in public school (Jeff and I were both public school students), we agreed that she would benefit most intellectually and spiritually at home at least for now. And starting pre-k gives us the opportunity to get a year behind us before she would otherwise begin public school to make sure it's the right decision for our family. I'm still not sure of exactly how it's going to look day to day for us, but we'll learn as we go.
Classical Conversations is a nationwide homeschool group/curriculum that has local campuses and meets once a week for the tutor to present information to the students (history, geography, latin, science, some math). We're calling this "school" and during this time the kids will also get to do fine arts, presentations, and science experiments together. What I love most about it is their desire and emphasis on knowing God and making Him known and the opportunity to show how everything points to Him. From what I've seen so far, I think Ansley will love this time and is going to do so well. But, I'm going to try to be very flexible and really evaluate what I think works best for her each school year. We're excited to begin this journey and thankful that God has given us this opportunity!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Summer vacation in photos

4th of July and the Frio River

Graham's Birthday

Since time is flying and our sweet boy is already almost 2 months old, I decided I'd better get his birth story written. I just really can't believe how the days are filled with activity and we are moving through them so quickly. While it seems like his birthday was just yesterday, I also feel like I've known him forever and that he's been a part of our family for so long. So, his birth story goes like this...
At 36 weeks pregnant I had my regularly scheduled appointment with my OB and found out that I was already at a 3 and 70% effaced. I had been having some contractions that were uncomfortable, but nothing too painful. The morning of my appointment I had been doing some yard work and was having some pain, but just attributed it to that. Jeff was at his parents' house for several days helping his dad harvest the wheat, so after I found out about the progress I had already made, I called to let him know. I think we were both pretty surprised. The doctor suggested that I rest and take it easy to try to avoid going into labor before I reached 37 weeks.
The following week I had an early morning appointment on Monday and found out that I was almost at a 4 and was about 80% effaced. By this time I was 37 weeks and having pretty uncomfortable and frequent contractions, but nothing that was consistent enough to time. Dr. Gayle estimated that I would have Graham in 72 hours, but that if I came in to my appointment on Wednesday morning and was a 4, he would admit me. We called Martha that day and asked if she would come stay with us in case it happened before the appointment and she came that night.
On Tuesday, June 18, we had a pretty busy day. All of us made a shopping trip to Gander Mountain and Sam's because I decided I was going to walk what I was pretty sure was a gigantic baby out. That night we had dinner at Frank and Misty's and then took a ride out to the land. I had hoped that the bumpy ride would bring on contractions like it had a couple of weeks before and I guess that did the trick. I started having them, but still nothing regular enough to time. I had been instructed not to come until I had contractions that came every 5 minutes for an hour. Jeff and I stayed up late watching the NBA finals, then went to bed around 11. At midnight I was woken up by sharp contractions that kept coming closer and closer. I remember watching the clock and telling myself that I would wake Jeff up at 12:30 to tell him if they continued. When I woke him, I told him that I would wait until 1:00 and if they were worse we would go. He just rolled over and went back to sleep. But, I woke him again five minutes later and told him we needed to go.
It was such a short drive to the hospital and like the two times before with Ansley and Heidi, it seemed so surreal. I was admitted close to 1:00, my doctor was called and I was hooked up to the machines. The anesthesiologist came in at 3:45 and Graham was born at 10:00 on Wednesday morning. Those hours before he was born were wonderful because I finally had pain relief after days of contractions and back and hip pain and Jeff and I just got to sleep and be alone together in the peace and quiet. When it was finally time to push, I expected for Graham to come out quickly and easily like the girls did, but I had to push much harder and for a little longer than I had before. It felt like there were a ton of people in the room, too. There were three or four nurses, my doctor, Jeff, and a firefighter/EMT in training (which wasn't as weird as it sounds. I don't know why. Maybe because there were already so many people in there. Maybe because Jeff had to watch deliveries when he was in training and I figured it was just something this guy, who was around our age, had to do).
Anyway, Graham finally made it out and was just perfect. I was immediately in love with him and was so relieved that he was a boy since I had a secret fear that he was going to be a girl and we already had his room done in navy blue. He weighed 6.14 lbs and was 21 inches of pure sweetness. I was surprised to see the little dimple in his chin, but not surprised at all that he looked like his daddy. We had lots of visitors that day and the next and went home Thursday afternoon. The next few days Jeff, Graham, and I spent alone together because the grandparents took the girls. It was a sweet time of rest, quiet, cuddles, and getting used to our new little boy. God has blessed our family so much. I wasn't sure I would ever be the mother of a boy and I'm so thrilled that I get to experience it all. What wonderful blessings all of our precious children are!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Introducing Graham...

Born Wednesday, June 19 at 10:33 in the morning. He was 6.14 pounds, 20 inches long, and absolutely perfect. His big sisters are already in love with him and we're all doing well. More to come on his birth story later...

Monday, April 29, 2013

Update on Graham

I'm now 30 weeks pregnant and cannot believe that in two months we will have a baby boy in this house full of girls. I feel like I'm starting all over having babies since I'm about to start a new adventure with a boy. I'm so excited to see how different he is from his sisters and to see what Jeff is like with a son.
I still feel completely different with this pregnancy than I did with the girls. I've gained less weight so far, but that's probably because I'm not allowing myself to eat whatever I want like I did with them and because I barely have time to sit down during the day because I'm too busy. I've been a lot more tired and physically achy. I'm carrying much differently than I did in the other pregnancies. Because he's so low, I'm experiencing a lot of back and hip pain, but not the rib pain I did with both girls. By the end of the day I am hobbling around the house and was convinced that he was a giant baby because of the size of my belly and the amount of pain I'm in and still have two months to go. This was confirmed at my last appointment when I was told that he's measuring three weeks ahead. The doctor says that if I deliver around 38 weeks (which I doubt will happen because I've never really had my babies early), he will probably be around 8 1/2 lbs. That's doable. But, I'm afraid he'll stay in there and chub up until the due date and be 10 lbs. Maybe not. Maybe he's just average size and it's all the way I'm carrying, but it will be interesting to see. But, I do know that I already love this little boy so much and all this pain and what I will face is more than worth it.
Something funny about him: I feel him get hiccups several times every day. And every time he does, he gets so upset and starts kicking in every direction and making huge movements until they stop. They always only last for a couple of minutes, but he seems to really hate them.
My sweet friends are having a prayer shower for me in a couple of weeks to pray over both of us. I know it will all really set in when we're praying for specifics and I'm getting little boy clothes and things. I'm so excited! Last night we moved the crib into his room and I am slowly starting to get it ready for our son. Can't believe I'm saying that!

Heidi's 2!

Our precious Heidi,
You just turned two years old and are such a sweet blessing to us. Your personality continues to change and I laugh as I think of how funny and sassy you've become. Here's more about you:
-You weigh 24 lbs and are in the 60th percentile for height and 25th for weight. Daddy and I were both surprised by this because we don't think of you as being small in terms of weight, but in height. I guess maybe you're not going to be so short after all.
-You have a HUGE personality. You love attention, to be silly, and to make people laugh. You can also be sassy and independent. You're learning to share and be kind and are very active.
-You have started pretending and love to play dress up and with your baby dolls. Your favorite baby is still your Minnie Mouse and she's always with you.
-You love to imitate everything your sister says and does. You get along so sweet one minute and are fighting the next. I guess that's the nature of sisters. I pray for you to be best friends and to have a wonderful relationship as you grow up. Sisters are so special.
-Something funny you do: We listen to a particular radio station in the car and during their breaks they sing the name of the station (KSBJ). Every single time they sing it, you finish by singing the J. It's so sweet hearing your little voice singing behind me as I drive and it's so funny that you never fail to do it.
-You've also started singing about Jesus and that's my favorite thing to hear you say. I pray for you to know Him at a young age and that you desire to glorify and serve Him all of your life.
-I'm interested to see how the transition goes when Graham gets here in a couple of months since you're so attached to me. You're still my baby and love being held, carried, and rocked, so I'm not sure what you're going to think when Mommy's carrying around and rocking a new little baby. But, you seem to understand that there's a baby in my belly because you are constantly rubbing it and saying "baby Graham."
-Speaking of my belly, when you see it you laugh and say "belly" in a deep and funny voice, like the image of my bare belly is the funniest thing you've ever seen.
You are such a precious little joy, Heidi Reese. I cannot believe the ways the Lord has blessed your daddy and me with such a sweet family. I'm so thankful for the two years He's given me with you and I look forward to many more!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Ansley's 4!

My sweet Ansley,
You're four! You've grown and changed so much in the last year and I just can't believe how much all of our lives have been changed and blessed since we first met you four years ago. You are such a sweet girl, full of love and always willing to help. Here's more about you:
-You are still very tall. We haven't been to the doctor yet, but you are quite a bit taller than most other children your age. You're wearing 5T, but the dresses are a little too short. You refuse to wear shorts or pants and have told me on many occasions that princesses only wear dresses, skirts, and leggings. I'm not sure where this came from, but I love how girly you are.
-You amaze me all the time with your vocabulary. You will hear something once and usually figure out what it means and use it in a sentence, or will try to slip it in anyway. You're learning to write and sound out the letters of the alphabet and can write most of them on your own. You can write your name without help and ask all the time how to spell your friends' names so you can write them. You love to learn and "do school."
-You're so sweet and patient with your sister. Heidi is still learning how to share and treat other people and you usually ignore her outbursts or try to kindly correct her. She is learning so much from you and I love seeing you two play together.
-This year you have been involved in gymnastics, ballet, and Cubbies. You've done great in all of them and love going to see your friends.
-You are so loving and affectionate. You tell Daddy and me that you love us several times a day and are constantly giving hugs and kisses. You offer to help Heidi and hold her hand. This is one of my favorite things about you and I hope we have many more years of it before you decide it's not so cool to hug us.
-Since turning four you have decided that you are much more grown up and mature now. You have told me that four year olds always help their momma, say yes ma'am, clean up when asked, eat all their food at dinnertime, and on and on. I'm not sure where this came from either, but hope it hangs around for awhile.
-Every night you ask where we're going when you wake up the next morning. You love to be busy and to see your friends. We have a very close group of friends and see each other several times a week. They are all such blessings to us and I'm so happy that you will have a group of friends from church that are learning to love the Lord with you.
Ansley, you are such a sweet blessing and pleasure to be around. We love you so much and are so thankful that God chose us to be your parents and are excited to start another year with you!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Introducing Graham...

I've been waiting for awhile to write the first post about our sweet new baby so I could write about the gender and name. We found out yesterday that we're having a BOY and his name will be Graham Runnels. So, more about him and the details of the pregnancy from the beginning:
We found out that we were expecting number three on October 30. I didn't think I was pregnant, but there was the question in the back of my mind, so I decided to take a test to know for sure. After three tests, it began to sink in. We had been hoping to have another, so it was no shock, but emotional nonetheless. The only indication I had had before the positive tests was that during dinner the weekend before with friends, I suddenly got very nauseous when eating a steak. We told family and close friends in the coming days about our pregnancy.
At six weeks I made a spur of the moment appointment with the midwife at our clinic and the ultrasound showed the tiny little dot with the heartbeat and I was so excited to know that things were going as they should. My regularly scheduled appointment with my doctor was for the following week and thankfully Jeff went to that appointment with me. It started with small talk with the doctor, but as she began the ultrasound, I could tell by the look on her face that she was concerned. I looked at the screen and saw only a black void. No yolk sac, no baby, no heartbeat. Nothing. She didn't say anything, but continued the ultrasound for what seemed like five minutes. Finally, she scanned over something that flickered quickly. She said that she thought it might be the heartbeat, but that the ultrasound did not look normal. She wanted me to come back in a week to do another ultrasound. We discussed my options if there were no heartbeat the next week and in the back of my mind that is what I began preparing myself for. I had had a miscarriage a couple of years prior and been through this before. I would have never imagined I'd be doing it again. I left the office and spent the next week in tears, convinced that it was over. There were other indications that week that there was a problem, so I fully expected to see no heartbeat at the upcoming appointment.
During this difficult week, I sought the Lord constantly, knowing that He was and is the only comfort I could find. I prayed for Him to save the baby, to comfort and encourage me. I have a wonderfully close group of friends who lifted me up in prayer during this time, sat with me when I cried, and spoke truth to me. That was so good. I needed to be reminded that all I knew for sure was that I was in fact pregnant and that there was a little heart beating inside me. And that God was in total control of it all. I sat in the bath every night praying for the baby and just waiting to hear from the Lord. It finally occurred to me that maybe I was making Him too small, not trusting that He really could work a miracle and let everything be okay. After that realization, I felt such peace.
When the time finally came to go back to the doctor, Jeff was right beside me as she began the ultrasound. I closed my eyes and turned my head away from the machine, not wanting to see the lack of a heartbeat as I had before during my last miscarriage. It's just an image that is burned in my memory and I didn't want it again. My doctor said, "There it is. There's the baby." I looked at the screen and saw my precious little baby's body and the strong heartbeat. A head, arms, legs. The baby. Measuring perfectly. Amazing. Instantly I thanked the Lord because I knew He had answered the prayers of so many. The ultrasound machine used the week before was blamed, but whatever it was, I know the Lord had His hand in it.
So, I ended up changing doctors and clinics all together. I just didn't feel comfortable with mine and wanted someone who I felt went the extra mile and cared more about me and the baby. I found one that I'm so happy with. He discovered the reason for my complications, put me on progesterone, and I've had an ultrasound every time I've gone in. And, every time we see that the sweet baby is growing right as he should be and everything looks great. I feel his movements now and frequently lie on my back just to feel him wiggling. He gave the ultrasound technician a hard time yesterday though because the umbilical cord was between his legs and he had his legs crossed and pulled up, but she finally got the picture confirming that he is definitely a boy. I've kind of had a feeling all along because at the beginning of my pregnancy I was incredibly hungry all the time and was nauseous, which I didn't experience with either of the girls.
About the name: We've really only had a boy's name all this time. Graham is named after Jeff's grandmother, whom everyone called Gram. Runnels is Jeff's middle name and his mother's maiden name. The initials GRH have been in the family for many years. We love his name and that it has such sweet meaning. I'm so excited to add a boy to our family and experience being the mom of a little boy. Oh, how God has blessed us!!!