Thursday, April 29, 2010

big bro Ben meets lil sis KB

He was a little apprehensive at first...

but quickly learned that there wasn't much to fear from this precious face!

Ben has been so cute around his new "yittuhl sisser, Kay Beff".
"No worries, Mom - 10 toes here!"

My parents are here to meet the baby and help with Ben, and everyone seems to be enjoying the arrangement!
So here are our children (plural)!
They think they're pretty cool.
But then again, so do we...

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Katherine Elizabeth is here!

After my doctor's valient effort to turn her proved unsuccessful , our sweet baby girl came into the world at 8:40 a.m. via csection, weighing 7.8lbs and measuring 18.24 in.

She had some fluid on her lungs, so she's spent the day in the NICU. While being separated from her has been hard, we are so thankful for the care she's receiving and the quick rebound she's made, as she's scheduled to be released to us in the next couple of hours.

Happy birthday, Katie Beth! We are so happy you're here!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Trying something new not something I'm completely foreign to. After all, I did get married and move to a new town with my new husband as he was starting a new chapter in his education. We did try a new church. We did make new friends. I was challenged by a new job at a time when leaving my old one was scary. We became new parents. I even ran a half-marathon, did a sprint-triathlon and ate Indian food...very new to me.

So many changes looking back over almost seven years here in Birmingham. And now it's time to make some more. Tyler wrapped up 25 years of education at the beginning of April when he received his orthodontics certification from the UAB School of Dentistry.

I could not be more proud of this man
(standing with his department chairman),

and the fact that he wanted me for a wife.

Which is why I am looking forward, with genuine excitement and anticipation, to our new adventure! Tyler is now the owner of Scenic City Orthodontics in Chattanooga, Tennessee!
We love Chattanooga. After all, it's where we met, fell in love, found our dog, got engaged. We have friends there we miss and can't wait to reconnect with. We already have our aquarium and zoo memberships ready to put to good use, and Tyler is chomping at the bit to get up to the river for some fly-fishing. He's actually spent the better portion of this month there, but sadly has no fish to show from it! Instead, he's been setting up his business, moving our belongings into the cute house we're renting from my sister and brother-in-law, painting a nursery and bedroom, meeting local dentists, and generally just preparing our life.

One Toddler and a Truck, reporting for duty

Ben and I have been holding down the fort here, and have done better than I expected, nine months pregnant and all. We miss Tyler during the week of course - "daddy no here" everyday as we pull into the driveway - but it's just made our weekends together that much sweeter. And our neighbors and friends have been quick to offer assistance from packing our house to taking me to the hospital should I need to go in the middle of night, and then watching Ben while I'm gone! (fortunately, none of those have happened. Whew - can you imagine having your friend pack all your junk?!;))

(he's being an elephant)

Once the baby comes tomorrow, we'll be here for another week and then join Tyler for good in the Scenic City! Now please don't misinterpret the exclamation marks as a sign that I am anxious to leave the Magic City. Far from it actually, because I have a lot to show for all those new things I did in Birmingham:

A marriage that grounds me, excites me and a best friend who is my rock.

A real relationship with God, security in my salvation, a heart for worshipping Him and a desire to make a difference for eternity.

Lifelong friends who crack me up, challenge, motivate, encourage, support and understand me.

Work experiences and people that have molded me, supported me and helped me develop new skills I'll use forever.

Children whom I love so dearly that words just fail.

But even as my heart aches to leave people so precious to me and a community that I love behind, I know that there are great things in store and I welcome the change wholeheartedly. After all, what I've learned from trying new things before is...

my home will always be with my family

my church will always be where God is

my friends will always be in my heart (and on the phone, skype, email, facebook and road trips)

We hope that a short drive won't stand in anyone's way of coming for a visit - it really does live up to its name...lots to see and do. So if you haven't been before, you've got a place to stay and try something new too!

And here's to another new chapter, starting bright and early tomorrow!
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you." Jeremiah 29: 11-12

Monday, April 26, 2010

39 weeks down, two days to go!

This Wednesday is officially Baby Day!

39 weeks

I had my last prenatal appointment today, and confirmed that Tyler and I will report to the hospital at 6 a.m. on Wednesday morning for a version (externally turning the baby), with plans to induce and have Katherine Elizabeth make her grand entrance sometime that afternoon. The procedure will be done in the operating room however, with an epidural (ahhh), and closely monitored so that if it doesn't work or if her heart rate drops and stays low, the doctor can go ahead with a c-section that morning.

So, one way or the other - Wednesday is Baby Day!

Now, if you scrunch up your face in pain every time you read "version" or "turning the baby"...I hear ya..but did I mention the epidural?! Even though I've come to terms with a c-section if needed, I still want to do what I/they can to get her out the traditional way. My doctor seems pretty confident about the version - as long as baby girl cooperates and lets them move her around. She said that she'll have one person "driving the ultrasound machine" and she'll watch that as she literally pushes my lubed-up belly around. Apparently it takes 15 minutes or so, and from the sounds of it, this will happen around 8 that morning. If they're able to do that, then she should stay where they put her long enough for them to start pitocin and get the contractions to do their job of pulling her down into position.

Now all that's left to do is, well there is actually a lot to do, but I'll save that for another post! In the short term, I'm just a little nervous now about sleeping on Tuesday night. I'm not a great sleeper anyway, especially when I have something important to do the next have a baby! And I'm just so emotional about little Ben and his about-to-change world, if you couldn't tell. I know he'll be fine...people have more than one child all the time! Right?!

So if you're thinking about it, I'd love your prayers for those things, as well as a cooperative baby and successful version and safe delivery regardless and healthy little girl and smooth recovery....have I hit my limit?! Thanks for checking in on us...we can't wait to meet this wild woman and welcome her to our family. Wednesday, here we come!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

"What a great week!" what Ben would be thinking, if he had a better grasp on the concept of time. Because, looking back on it, this was a really great week for him!

On Wednesday, we took a field trip to the zoo with his school. Little did I know, the zoo is a crazy place during the week - inside and out of the exhibits. Busloads of kids, all dressed in their school's color-coordinated tshirts (see below) swarm in droves everywhere you turn.
Ben was a little unsure about so many kangaroos chowing down of their breakfast "sayad" (salad/lettuce) so close to him.

We were thankful to have Amy and her boys accompany us on the adventure!
and also thankful our stowaways didn't get kicked off the train.
"What do you mean two and under aren't free, sir?!"

After roaring with the lions, we headed back to the school for a cookout.
Which for Ben, translated to chugging a Capri-Sun and stealing all my chips.

Friday evening we had a lovely little dinner with baby Jonah, and his parents too. When we pulled up to Taziki's, Ben shouted, "ready to eat!" He also did a great job of giving Jonah's toys back when he hurled them to the floor, over and over and over. What a good little helper he's going to be!

Speaking of that, he may also come in handy at naptime, as he's got a new thing for putting his stuffed animals night-night. Yesterday, his chick needed a nap in the kitchen, on a hand-stamped piece of paper, covered in dishtowels.
Like his mama taught him - you don't forget the sound machine!

Finally convinced to move naptime to his bed, he read all of his animals some stories before covering them up and shutting the door on his way out.
Whew, fatherhood wears a guy out!
Since it's the last weekend before baby sister's arrival (more to come on that tomorrow), we decided to make Saturday night, date night... for just the three of us!

First up, a trip to Barnes and Noble for a quick spin on the train table.
Then we worked the catwalk at Banana while daddy tried on shirts.
And then the main night!
Armed with popcorn, diet coke and a sippy cup, we enjoyed Disney's Oceans. Ben was mesmerized by the whole experience and did really well...aside from his lack of volume control.

B: (yelling) "What dat, Mahmmy?"
me: (whispering) "a crab...Ben you have to whisper."
B: (whisper-yelling): "Dab!.... (yelling) "What dat, Mahmmy?"

The funniest part was when the little sea-turtle hatchlings were trying desperately to make it to the safety of the ocean before getting snatched away by the dive-bombing seagulls. Ben watched a few unlucky turtles with great concern, and then promptly shouted: "Dat not nice!" every time another seagull scored a meal. And then of course I can hear Tyler starting to explain the circle of life to our two-year-old, ("we all have to eat"), and so I become the one about to get shoosh-ed, from laughing at them both.

Today we went to church, where Ben just loves his classroom and ran ahead of me this morning to get inside.
I'm sure it has nothing to do with the lollipop he gets at the end.

After some fun park time with Daddy, lunch, nap and some "Yite Muhdeen" (Lightning McQueen from Cars...which was his preference over Daddy's suggestion of the Talledega race), we headed to another park for Kaitlyn's third birthday party!

Somebody was just a little excited.

He'd been waiting to give Kaitlyn her present all day,
And was even excited to watch (and help) her open it.
Kelley brought her new daughter, Virginia Grace, to her first Birmingham social event!
Grace just joined the Brown family from China last week, and they arrived home on Friday. We are all so excited to welcome this precious little girl to her forever home!

And of course Ben and Travis threw the football, spit, and did other manly things...
In their handmade outfits. :)

Ben had such a good time, that soon after arriving home, he blew kisses to Uncle Michael and Aunt Jess on Skype and pulled me to his room where he climbed into bed, fully dressed, and said "night night."

Hoping he sleeps well and that place in his brain that stores memories is growing strong, so that when things get a little wild 'n crazy here shortly, and mommy is a little distracted, he can know that fun times are always right around the corner! (thank goodness for Grandma)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Predictably unpredictable at 38 weeks

I take it all back. Not only is Miss Katie Beth not listening well, she also appears to be a bit manipulative! I found out at my 38-week appointment yesterday that the little monkey has flipped back to breech (bottom down, head up)!


Didn't come as that much of a surprise I suppose, as she certainly has not be staying still these past few weeks! I'd like to think that she's just getting her wiggles out before she comes and will be a mellow baby like her big bro...but I have my doubts about that. Lately, she's sucker punched (kicked?) me in a way that momentarily paralyzes my leg, and pinched me (with her toes?) in uncomfortable ways and places that make me hold my breath. While she moves constantly, her "clubbing" hours seem to start in the evening and usually go way past my bedtime.

but I can't be upset at this sweet face
(that's where the manipulative part comes in)
This is a profile of the right side of her face, with her hands right under her nose, up by her mouth - just where they've been in every single ultrasound...another thumbsucker perhaps?

The important stuff is that she's growing fine - 6.5 lbs they say - and has enough fluid in there to still be comfy. And the good news is that if I have to schedule a procedure to manually flip her, then induce (and possibly have a c-section if that doesn't work out), then it takes the guess work out of everything, and Tyler and my parents can just schedule accordingly and I'll know my last day of work, etc. My doctor and I will figure all that out next Monday, and I'll keep you posted!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Easter weekend in the Scenic City

We were so fortunate to be able to spend time with Tyler's sister's family in Chattanooga over Easter weekend this year! Much more fortunate than they were, because we only had to drive two hours to meet them, as compared to their 15-hour all nighter!

I had some concerns about how Ben would do in a pack-n-play after his big move to a real bed, but he did really great!

We also did really great at wearing him out during the days, so that might have played a part...

We kicked off the weekend with the main event that brought Amanda's family of seven down from Canada - SAU's SonRise Pagent. Sonrise is an interactive walk through Christ's final days leading to His death and resurrection, put on by more than 500 volunteers across a mile of campus. It's an impressive production and more importantly, such a tangible illustration of the suffering of the cross and the joy of the resurrection, and what we as Christians gained from both.

Auntie A didn't waste a moment scooping Ben up and making him feel special all weekend!

Amanda's youngest, Cadance, also likes to dote on her younger cousin...who is exhibiting his latest "feeling overwhelmed" tic.

Francis and Austin came too!
Ben was jealous of his hat, he was jealous of Ben's ride.

The Mohns fam got caught by the Jerusalem paparazzi!

After the pagent, we had a wonderful homecooked meal,

and I got a birthday boa!
(Ben also scored lots of fun loot, including a precious handmade-by-cousins book called, "The Big Ben Book".)

Exploring with Cassia

After Ben took a nice car nap, we explored Lookout Mountain and enjoyed dinner out and playtime at Coolidge Park in downtown Chattanooga that evening. Unfortunately my camera died by that point, but I did have the video camera all charged up!

Now, I know there are only a handful of people on the continent that might have the attention span to watch these videos...but that's who I posted them for anyway, so it's ok! Here's the crew in action:

We spent Easter Sunday morning at the Collegedale Community Church's Easter Extravaganza...not sure that's what it was really called, but it should've been! There was an egghunt, petting zoo, pony rides and a parade! Ben enjoyed them all, except the parade - no time for that when there are special treats to count and bunnies to pet!

Getting down to serious egg-hunting business

Sifting out the stickers from the candy

So much for that 10-egg limit, Mr. Ben..who likes to say "cheese!"
(and this was after I stealthly threw several over my shoulder from his basket)

Much to my surprise, Ben decided - with some cousin encouragement - that this was the day he would saddle up for a pony ride!
"Howdy, ma'am."

family Easter picture on the iPhone

We followed that fun up with a pizza picnic at a local creek where there was lots of room to fish and wade. Here's some footage of both!

We had a great time together and only wish the opportunity came around more often. Love you guys big!