Gazing Upward
  • August17th

    Post on No Hands But Ours Blog….click here.

  • August9th

    We’re moving full speed ahead into the school year! Caroline had registration and preview day at the middle school last week.  The 6th graders all got their lockers and were able to decorate them.  And whoa, how locker “decor” has changed since I was in middle school! Many of the students had wallpaper and mini shag rugs for make their little space their own. And did you know you can now buy battery-operated chandeliers and pendant lamps for your locker?? Yes, I’m serious. Just check out PBTeen.

    Caroline won’t actually start school until the 20th, and Grace’s first day is after Labor Day. But my big boy started 4k at his new school this past Tuesday!

    We had gone to meet his teacher the day before, and Carter was so nervous and shy. It was so hard and emotional for me to see him so vulnerable because I was a shy kid as well and still vividly remember the anxiety of new places and experiences without my mom by my side.  However, he had the best first day of school! And he was so disappointed yesterday to find out that he wouldn’t go back to school untli Monday. (He goes MTW.)

    This month is a little overwhelming to me, mainly because each child’s school and activities start at different times. If I don’t consult my planner, I have no clue where we’re supposed to be or what we’re supposed to be doing!  I do much better with a routine, so I predict I’ll be in a better frame of mind once the dust settles and the daily schedule is set.

    I am sure there are a lot of moms out there who will agree with me that it’s TIME for school to start back.  Everyone is bored, camps are completed for the summer, and the bickering and whining are nonstop in my household.  The changes of a new baby have finally hit home (pun intended) with Carter and Grace, and the resulting behavior has left me exhausted and drained of patience. From regression in potty training to holes in walls and drapes being pulled down, the kids are making sure they’re getting my attention. Grace seems to be having a tough time. I know she needs more reassurance and attention from me, but I also can’t completely disregard her disobedience and disrepect.  It’s a challenging line to walk. I wish I weren’t so irritable and impatient with them.  I’m hopeful that all of our dispositions will improve soon!

  • August5th

    Dear Maryn,

    In this second month of your life, you’ve really transformed from a newborn to a baby.  As a result of your love for nursing, you weighed 11 lb 3 oz at your 6 week check up! That put you in the 75-90th%, and your length of 22.75″ keeps you in the 90%.

    You’ve gradually extended your awake time and become very alert.

    You flash your gummy smile quite a bit and just began cooing last weekend.  When your big sisters and brother are around, you can’t keep your eyes off them. And your daddy and I think you recognize us because your face seems to light up when you see us. You also settle down when you’re in my arms which makes me feel pretty special.

    When you’re awake, you enjoy the swing, baths, listening to music, and holding your head up to look around. It’s amazing how quickly you’ve gained head control.  You don’t like the bouncy seat, and your opinion of the carseat changes from day to day. But once we’re moving in the car, you usually fall asleep.

    While I don’t think you have reflux like your brother did, you’ve definitely benefitted from sleeping in the Nap Nanny.  It was a pricey purchase but worth every penny!

    When you look back on these pictures, you’ll see how much you’ve changed in appearance.  The hair on top of your head came in (after it had mostly fallen out), your cheeks have plumped up, and your once bird-like legs now have adorable rolls! GrandMary almost didn’t recognize you last weekend.

    5 weeks

    8 weeks…what a difference three weeks makes! And the picture below doesn’t even do her rolls justice.

    Your disposition is sweet and happy. Your only fussy time is at night when you want to nurse or be held continuously for a few hours. This has worked out pretty well since the Olympics are on TV every night and you give me an excuse to sit with you and enjoy the festivities.

    The hardest part of the month was when I had to leave you strapped to a bed for an EEG. You have many leg spasms, and your pediatrician wanted to make sure the spasms are due to an immature nervous system and not a form of seizures. So she scheduled an EEG for you. We were originally told it would be a 30 minute test with you sitting in my lap. However, when we got there (actually an hour after we had checked in), as the EEG tech was walking us back to the exam room, she told us it would be a 2 hour test and that I wouldn’t be able to hold you. In fact, I’d have to wait out in the waiting room. I felt very flustered because I knew you needed to be fed in an hour. And the sight of you crying while strapped to the table broke my heart because I couldn’t pick you up.  With it being 90+ degrees outside, I’d dressed you in a sleeveless outfit, but the exam room was freezing cold.

    Your momma was a real mess when I had to leave you, often hearing your cries through the double doors.  Thankfully, the EEG results were good. No seizures. But nothing traumatizes a mother like seeing their child scared, hurt, or crying and feeling so helpless to comfort them.

    Carter has already coined some nicknames for you: Renny and Ren-Ren.  He also calls you “baby cutie.”  Grace enjoys tickling your feet and making sure you’re snuggled up with a blanket. And Caroline helps me entertain you during dinner time as I prepare the meal.

    Daddy and I are simply smitten with you.  You’re a joy in our family, and we look forward to seeing what changes the next month brings.

    Happy two months baby girl!

    Love, Mommy


  • July11th

    Since I haven’t been able to come up with clever post titles, I thought the direct and straightforward approach was the next best option.

    Some of you have probably already seen a few pictures on Facebook, but here are some alot of our favorite photos from the newborn photo shoot several weeks ago. The pictures were taken on June 16th, which was Maryn’s actual due date.  My friend, Heather Knowles, is a VERY talented photographer, and we’re thrilled with the moments she captured. You can see more of her work on her website:

    P.S. It was not our intent to include our dog, Jackson, in the family photo on our bed, but he was having a fit to get up there with us. Then he proceeded to pose and look forward at the camera! I think he was in need of some attention and kudos. Poor thing still is.

  • July11th

    I have several posts to catch up on or else our 2012 family scrapbook will be woefully sparse in memories preserved!  In fact, I still have to finish our Xmas post so I can have the 2011 posts printed out into a book. That’s how far behind I am!

    But first, I want to thank all of you who wrote such incredibly kind and thoughtful responses to Caroline after I posted her letter. I had no idea that so many people would write back to her, and I wish you could have seen her face as she read each of your comments.  And for me personally, I believe I got goosebumps from every person’s response!  You are all amazing, and you’ve touched our whole family. I realize there were so many details I left out of the one-year post that I had planned to include, but this sleep-deprived mama’s brain wasn’t working at full speed. I hope to provide a more detailed summary of our year with Caroline in the near future, even for my own sake…knowing the details will become hazy over the passing years.

    Our family spent a wonderfully relaxing five days at the lake last week.  My parents have a house there which is right next to my uncle’s house. And then on the other side of my uncle’s house is a cottage my cousins recently bought.  So we joke about having a family compound, but the space is truly needed given that all of the cousins have kids now.  This is the first summer when Carter and Grace have been old enough to really run around with the older kids (my cousins’ children), and it was a blast watching them have so much fun with each other.  Carter and Grace also went tubing for the first time, and Caroline learned to wakeboard!  Because I was literally inside the whole time with Maryn, taking occasional peeks out the window to see who might be speeding by on the water, I don’t have many pictures except what my mom was able to capture. But here are few highlights.

    Maryn’s 1st trip to Lake Martin!

    (Have you noticed all the hair she’s lost on top of her head??)

    Dressed up for the July 4th family dinner. When everyone is together, the lake visits pretty much center around food. 🙂

    Carter really felt like a big kid getting to run around with the older boys.

    And when they weren’t playing Star Wars…they were eating Star Wars characters, thanks to my mom and the pancake molds she bought from Williams Sonoma.

    Carter’s never been so delighted with Yoda as he was at this moment.

    My dad finally got to meet Maryn! Work deadlines had kept him from traveling to Alabama when she was born.  He couldn’t get enough of her!

    One night, we celebrated Mary Katherine’s 12th birthday.  I feel like it was yesterday that I was babysitting her! Now she’ll soon be babysitting for my kids.

    Caroline and MK are in the same grade and attend school together. And they have such a great time hanging out!

    Carter and Caroline riding the seadoo (with my cousin driving).

    Grace and Cece were going to perform a show for us but it didn’t happen. Maybe next visit! The two are quite the performers.

    I may have been trapped inside the whole time, but I have to admit that it was pretty relaxing.  I read two books, watched a movie, napped, and cuddled with Maryn. (Oh, and I was also feeding Maryn most of the time which is probably why she already weighs 10 lbs!) But not a bad deal for a mom of four kiddos, huh?

    I hope you and yours had a great 4th!