Thursday, September 30, 2010

I Sew.

Here's the little stinker in one of the outfits. I took the pic from my phone to send to my mom. He was a little perplexed at the time. :)
A few months ago, I mentioned how I wanted to learn how to sew. Well, I finally did...sort of. I practiced first by making two of the same jon-jons for Eli. The first doesn't even fit him anymore, and to be honest, it barely fit him as soon as I made it. Lesson one: measure your child first.
Lesson two: be precise. I cut out the pattern and the lining, but my sewing skills are super steady yet, so some of the lining in places didn't quite get sewn to the fabric, and peeks through here and there.
Lesson three: I don't have a lesson learned for this one yet because I still can't do it. Once I got to the bottom of the jon-jon, it tells you to sew most of the bottom together and leave a small opening to pull it right side out. I tried that about five times before I gave up and did little stitches at a time then hand-sewed the little hole I left. I also added snap tape at the bottom but I haven't quite figured that out yet either. Can you see the bottoms of my outfits? Should I turn them under and add the tape? I also broke a needle trying to sew around the snaps...

Either way, I LOVED making them. I love seeing Eli in these cute outfits knowing I made them with love for my little boy! Plus, I saved myself lots of money! My mom has an embroidery machine (she bought it as soon as she heard I was pregnant), and we can put his initials and little trains, anchors, etc. on them but I am hoping we can purchase a monogram set soon to add those!

Here is the first one that doesn't fit him anymore!

Here's the second one:

Oh, and I also can't make button holes yet. I have to hand sew snaps on and hand sew buttons on top to hide the snaps! I've been looking up classes, but really, I think I need my mom to come live with me for a week so we can sew during nap times!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Barely a Teen Mom

Two summers ago, we participated in a program at our church called Agape. We started this ministry thinking we would be helping a family and teaching them about life. And although that may have happened a little, mainly WE ended up learning a lot about life instead. Funny how God works, isn't it? Did you know Agape means action love? As in, show people you love them through your actions, not just words. Man, if I could do that everyday that would be nice. I fall short all the time, but I keep a little note in my Bible to remind myself. SHOW others love. SHOW others Him.

This is the family. Every kid but the girl in the top right is part of this one family. Clockwise: Cierra (12), Sabrina (11), Shyan (9), and Adarius (5). Their mom lives with an older boyfriend who we are fairly certain sells drugs for a living. Their dad is in prison. They live with their dad's mom. They share beds and sleep on the couch, and eat ice cream for breakfast. The youngest one, Adarius lives with his mom and her boyfriend, and lost all his teeth when she didn't care for him when he was younger.

This is the oldest. She doesn't get to see her parents much, and her grandmother tries to do her best to raise them, but has many health problems and works when she can to make some money to take care for her grandkids. Cierra is stuck between being a kid and an adult. The responsibility is on her shoulders many days to care for her younger siblings. She acts very tough at first, but lets you see her child-like side after a while. Cierra is now 13, and just had a baby last week. Her mom was the same age when she first had Cierra.

This is Shyan. She is loud, rambunctious, and smart. She likes to play with the boys and sometimes gets in fights. She has a big smile and a bigger heart.

Shyan and Sabrina went to church camp two summers ago and loved it. Shyan won an award and could not have been prouder of it. She talked about it for days even though it made her older sister Sabrina a little jealous. She was simply so excited to be recognized for something good.

These two girls were with us the most. We went to movies, swam in pools, played computer games and guitar, ate out a lot, cheered and danced. With our church's help, we kept their grandmother's electricity and water on so the girls could stay with her. They had so much fun picking out Christmas presents for their family members and we played in the snow on snow days. The one on the right making that lovely face is Sabrina. She is also very smart, and makes good grades in school. She likes to have spelling and math contests at dinner, and loves to swim. She is silly like Shyan, but like Cierra, she sometimes has to be the adult in her family.

They also love nothing more than a good photo session.

Unfortunately, when their dad got out of jail for a brief stint, the girls began spending a lot of time at his new girlfriend's place. Their mom also wanted them, and the kids would bounce around from house to house. We kept trying to pick them up for church and to hang out, but many times, they wouldn't be home when we would show up. We ended up stopping the program, and heard the news of Cierra becoming last winter. I am not sure of the status of their whereabouts right now, but I do know I miss these kids and I miss learning from them. I also miss reaffirming their place in life and giving them hugs and compliments. All this IS NOT to say, "look at how nice we are." If I was that nice, I would still be tracking them down and keeping up with them. This is really to say: if you don't mind, could you say a little prayer for this family and especially for Cierra as she learns how to be a mother? It's a hard job at 27, and I know it has to be even harder at 13. I know our God listens to prayers, and I would really appreciate if you prayed for this family.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Oh My Goodness Gracious.

Here's a video of my sweet boy laughing. Try to ignore my annoying voice. Eli will think the most nothing phrases are so funny.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Kicks, Rolls, and Hiccups.

Is it weird that I miss this a little? This was the end of week 38, and I remember feeling kind of miserable. But do you know what I mainly remember? Little kicks from sweet feets, and rolls from precious arms, and hiccups that made my belly jump.

There is something incredibly special about growing a life inside of you that makes me want to do it again, and again, and again. It also makes me want to tell every mother I meet on the street how amazing they are. Your body grew a life!! An actual human life!

Now that our little boy is out of my belly, he is still doing acrobatics and hiccuping all the time. Matth and I will just sit and stare at his little features and murmur to eachother how he used to fit in my belly. How he would kick in response to our warm hands. How we wondered what he would look like for hours. How we prayed over every finger and toe and hair on his head. Then my husband will look up at me and whisper, "Can you believe we made him? He's so perfect. He's beautiful."

And during those times, I want to have about 10 million more beautiful babies with this beautiful man I love.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Baby Scents.

My heart is constantly being pulled between two places. The first: where I can't wait for all the fun things to come with Eli. Like crawling, saying "momma" and "i love you", big hugs from little arms, etc. The second place: trying to snap onesies that are already too small even though I just bought them last month, wishing he would cuddle in my arms like he did when he was teeny tiny.

I am so excited for the new parts where my baby learns and discovers for the first time, but my heart could literally break thinking about how fast he is growing. Does every momma feel like this ALL the time? I remember my mom in the hospital telling me, "Can you believe he is only two days old on this earth?" And I could only think, " Oh my goodness, I can't believe two whole days have passed. I wish he was still just minutes old."

I love when my baby starts to fall asleep in my arms and he is so still and just stares up at me with those big blue eyes. I lean down and kiss those sweet lips and breathe in his sweet breath. One day, I might not remember just how sweet he smells, and the thought of that is almost more than I can handle.

I feel torn between the person I am excited for my baby to grow and become and the tiny sweet baby that I want to keep this little forever.

Today my inbox said, "Your 5-month-old: Week 4", which means next Thursday he will be a full 6 months old. Oh my stars.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Well he can't go naked.

That's what I tell my hubby every time I feel the need to justify another outfit for our little boy.
If I was made of money, these are the two stores where I would blow it all. I love all their clothes for babies.

Baby Gap...duh. Look at these outfits:

Mini-Boden: Love their clothes, just not their prices. Their women's stuff is just as cute, but unless they have a 80% off sale, I won't be owning anything from there.

Remember when I said I wanted to learn to sew? Well, I did...sort of. I'll show you those soon. Have any other good husband would really appreciate you telling me about some. :)

Monday, September 13, 2010

I Read.

I love to read...always have. I read every night before I fall asleep, and by that I mean, I read two pages before I'm out cold. Here are my top faves of all time.
Redeeming Love is a christian fiction book that I read after my SIL Leah told me it was her favorite. And she knows how to pick them. It has a great story line, and it's not preaching to you, but you figure out what it's about anyway--acceptance, forgiveness, and God's ability to love you no matter your circumstances.

LOVE this book. I was shopping for new books one day and Barnes and Noble when a girl handed me this book and told me to read it. I took her advice, and she was right. This book actually "preaches" to you a little bit more than the first, meaning, Claiborne actually talks about Jesus to you. I wish my small group could study this book b/c Claiborne believes in some pretty "controversial" issues for Christians, like war, politics, communal living, etc. It really made me think about what type of Christian I want or need to be.

Last, my fave book of ALL time...still. I read it about 5 years ago, and no other book has topped it yet. A family moves to the Congo with their overzealous father in hopes of converting the tribe that lives there. He fails...but the wife and three daughters learn how to befriend the tribe and learn from them rather than trying to push their ways onto this tribe.

Now, I know my descriptions aren't the best. I'm no great book reviewer. However, if you need a good book to read, go get these. And........anyone have any others for me to read? I'm out of good books. Next up on my nightstand is Crazy Love, but I need some more!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

It's a Marathon, Not a Sprint.

Matthew and I have started a new devotional that we do at home. We decided we needed to be doing something a little more than our regular go-to-church routine, so we bought a book that we thought would encourage us in our daily walk with God. Having Eli has really helped us strive to be better Christians. Just like the title says's not a sprint. Matth and I falter DAILY (like every minute).
So our latest chapter encouraged the two of us to discuss our goals for our family, and we broke them down into categories.

Family: One TV-less night a week (Do I really need to watch Housewives of New Jersey again? NO!)
             Eat dinner at the TABLE 3 nights a week (We want to do this every night when Eli is older, but right now, he has to be held...while you stand...remember?)

Home: Complete backyard landscaping by Fall
            Finish our living room (It has been two whole years this November)

Leisure: Plan big vacation for next Summer (We skipped it this year with a newborn)
              We each need to go out and do something without Eli at least once a month (eat with friends, fish, whatever)

Health: Eat a healthy meal 2 times a week (easy for me...not for Matth-he likes meat, and butter, and fat)
             P90x every other night (has been sitting in our car since we borrowed the dvd)

Spiritual: Me- Make it a conscious effort to glorify God with my everyday tasks of being a SAHM (be the best mommy I can, clean as well as I know how, have a positive attitude about it...)
                Matth- Work harder to be the spiritual leader in our home
                Us- pray TOGETHER (not just before meals)
                       Go to church on Wednesday nights again (much harder now with a baby and no real class for him)

Financial: Us- Save, save, save
                       Continue to contribute to Eli's college fund on a monthly basis

So, that's it. There they are.  Now you can hold us accountable. You can see me and ask, "How's that P90x going? And I can tell you that it's STILL sitting where we left it. I know we won't succeed at all of these all the time, but we are going to make an effort.

Anyway, here's my little rolly-polly when almost a month ago. He's even better at rolling around now, and is starting to "crawl" across the room. I'll have to get a video of that and post it soon.

P.S. Eli slept through the night for the first time in a LONG months and months!! Very excited...even if he decided it was time to greet the day at 6 this morning. I'll take what I can get!

Do you have any good devos/books to recommend?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

A Typical Photo Shoot.

First, I prep Eli. I tell him it's his 5 month birthday and we are going to celebrate with some pictures. Generally, he gives me this look below.
This time, since the weather was decent not 105 degrees , I took him outside because the lighting is one hundred times better out there. Unfortunately, every picture I took was met with the same squinty-eyed stare. He just couldn't keep his eyes open even in the shade.

Since I didn't want every picture of him looking away from me or squinting, I asked him how he felt about moving this party indoors. This is the look I got.

I took that as a yes.

Once inside in his usual spot (the brightest room in our house), he did a little better.

This is the first picture we took, and incidentally, my favorite. He looks like such a little boy here, and like he is posing for the camera.

Sometimes he needs some pillows for support...he doesn't quite have the unsupported sit mastered yet, but....

He does LOVE to stand. His skinny little legs are so strong, and he will screech until you let him stand on you. He really wishes he could run around the house all day, and I think he gets pretty frustrated sometimes when he's stuck in my arms.

He's getting pretty close to sitting, but just not there yet. He topples over pretty quickly. If he is reclined in our arms, he will struggle for minutes to try and sit up on his own. His abs much be rock hard from all the effort he puts into it.

This is the look I get when I make high-pitched tongue-rolling sounds to get his attention. I was going for a smile, but I think I just startle him instead.

He's got legs for days. And clearly, his feet are too long for those socks. I just bought those not too long ago too. I'm pretty sure they said 0-12 months, whatever that means.

And this is usually how we end our photo shoot, with one big meltdown. It was nap time, and he just couldn't take the posing and screeching mommy in his face anymore.

Let's see, at 5 months, Eli:

-weighs 14 pounds (14%)
-is 26 inches long (76%)
-squeals and shrieks whenever he feels like it (all the time)
- is EXTREMELY vocal (which baffles me b/c his daddy and I are pretty quiet people)
-wears every size (mainly in the 3-6 month range)
-can sit for 5 seconds before toppling
-can stand assisted
-"crawls" (shoves his face into the carpet while pushing off with his legs...he can move across the room with this maneuver)
-eats 6 oz. every 4 hours
- STILL wakes up to eat 1-2 times a night
-"sleeps" from 10:30 - 7:30
-eats rice cereal and peaches
-is allergic to mosquito bites (gets awful blistery rashes)
-learned how to arch his back to throw a mini-tantrum
-LOVES his Baby Einstein dvd
-hates his car seat still
-takes 2 naps a day
-smiles a lot
-laughs (usually with his daddy)
-loves to bounce
-wants to be held from 7- 10:30 at night ( and you have to be standing)

We are loving this new stage with Eli. He gets more personality every day and makes us laugh all the time. We can't believe he is already 5 months, and we are looking forward to each new stage with him!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Eli McGrabby Hands.

Here's Eli with his best friend Aiden. You see, Aiden's mommy is one of my best friends; thus, these two WILL be best friends. Hope they like eachother.
Here Aiden's wondering why Eli is copying his outfit. Because great mommies (and minds) think alike little boy.

And here are our little twins with showing off their UT matching onesies. Katie and I met at the park this weekend and somehow managed to both dress our little boys the same...too cute! Aiden's daddy played for the Vols, so he HAS to have tons of Vol gear. Eli's daddy is just obsessed with the Vols, so I guess we have to have tong of Vol gear too.

And here's Eli McGrabby Hands reaching for Aiden for the 100th time. Poor Aiden got prodded and poked all morning. Oh yeah, don't get confused. The pretty girl holding Eli is my friend Jenna. She has two boys of her own. Read this old post to see one of her sweet boys being held by my expecting hubby.
The pretty girl holding Aiden is my best Atlanta friend Jeanna. She has a 6 year old, and gets to tell me all about raising handsome sweet boys! She met Eli for the first time this weekend, and I think he fell in love.

What else? We traveled to Franklin this past weekend to celebrate ole' Papa being cancer free. He got a shout-out at church and everyone applauded, whistled, and woo-hooed his miracle! Speaking of church, if you are ever in Franklin, go visit Fourth Avenue in downtown Franklin. It's where Matthew and I attended before we moved to Knoxville. We walked down the aisles there. We love our church friends here, but terribly miss our church there.

5 month post coming up next...

Friday, September 3, 2010

Cancer sucks.

It's true. Cancer sucks. But do you know what else is true? God is WAY GREATER. This is Matthew's daddy. He is a husband, a father, a friend, a brother, a coach, and most importantly, a son of God. He prays for his family, boasts about his love in Christ, and works hard to show Jesus to others. We call him Papa around here.

Right before his last baby and only daughter got married, Papa was diagnosed with stage four Hodgkin's Lymphoma. He had to undergo months of chemotherapy, and finished his last treatment Spring of 2009. Leah had her daddy walk her down the aisle that August.
We were all so thankful for God's healing hands as we watched Kyle return to health for the past year. A couple of weeks ago, while visiting us, he felt a swollen lymphnode in his neck. The doctors said the cancer had come back. The biopsy showed active cancer cells around that lymphnode.
When his family, friends, and church family heard the news, many prayers went to God on his behalf. The entire church was down on their knees one Sunday praying for healing. Well...guess what?

God prevailed. He intervened. He conquered. When Kyle went back in for a more extensive scan, the doctors were dumbfounded. The scan did not show ANY cancer cells...anywhere. They sent the scan to another pathologist in Maryland and she confirmed that there was no cancer. NONE! So like I said before, cancer definitely sucks, but God is WAY GREATER. Thank you to anyone of you who reads this blog who sent up a prayer for our sweet Dad and Papa. God is so very good.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Because Memories are Priceless...

I like taking pictures. There, I said it. I took a photography class with my brother in high school, and although he and I didn't get agree on just about anything, we did agree on how cool it was to take and develop your own pictures. This was in the roll of film days, mind you.

In college, I would take road trips to visit my brother at TTU, where he and I would take pictures around campus and develop them in his bathtub. John is an engineer who knows how to do all sorts of cool stuff my mind could never wrap its brain around.

2 years ago, my sweet hubby bought me a great Nikon point and shoot. I've loved it, but am still getting grainy pictures even with its 8 megapixels. Maybe I need to read my manual again.

Or, maybe I need to upgrade to one of these...........
This is the Canon Rebel XSi, and I'm in love with it. I've seen lots of blogs where everyday people are using this camera to capture their family's memories, and the pictures are so clear, it's liking looking at them in HD. I've already tried to sell it to Matth by telling him about all the photography money we will save with our future kiddos. This camera isn't cheap, but would pay for itself in the long run, right? Anybody else have a camera they love? Please share!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

You Are My Little Bird

Have y'all heard of Elizabeth Mitchell? She sings children's music. But not just any children's music. This isn't the obnoxious kind where you want to pull your hair out. This is the folk acoustic guitar kind that you might actually listen to even if you didn't have babies. Go to pandora and check her out. She's one of my new favorites. Eli and I dance around to her music while cooking dinner. He loves her too. Especially her version of Bob Marley's "Three Little Birds".

P.S. 5 month post coming soon. As soon as I can get this little boy to smile. Today is not his day.