Saturday, December 4, 2010

Christmas Card 2010

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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Updates and Requests

I'm going to start off this post with a very important new development...  Austin said Mama!!!  He said it on Sunday while we were visiting friends in Tennessee.  My heart literally skipped a beat! He has only said it once more, but I cannot describe the feeling that overcame me when I heard it that first time.  It is completely indescribable, but so incredible and amazing!!  

We had a rough first week at our new daycare last week.  Nothing really bad happened, but there are some things that are done differently that are just going to take some time for us (okay, really just me) to get used to.  Austin seemed to do great, which I expected.  He hasn't really met a stranger, doesn't care who holds him....he's such an easy going baby that I really wasn't worried about him adjusting.  Me, now that is a completely different story.  But we made it through the first week and it can only get easier from here.

We went to Tennessee Saturday to visit our friends whose youngest daughter just turned one.  We had a great visit and Alex had a blast at her party.  Our only regret was putting Austin's pack and play in the room with us.  He ended up waking up as we came to bed and would not go back to sleep unless he was in my arms.  So, after all that hard work we did with the whole "crying it out" thing, we were back to square one.  Justin went to sleep in another room and I curled up in the bed with Austin.  The sleep wasn't great, but the cuddling was awesome.  We were wondering how Sunday night would be, if he would go back to normal or if we had regressed back to where we were just a week or so ago. Well, we did, indeed, regress.  Austin spent about an hour and a half crying in his crib in the middle of the night Sunday night before going back to sleep.  Luckily, I was off on Monday so I could take a nap.  Monday night it only lasted for five minutes and Tuesday night it lasted for 30.  Last night, we didn't hear from him all night.  So, hopefully we are back to normal!!

I would like to take a moment to thank the readers of this blog (if there are any) for any prayers they sent our way for my Uncle Rickey.  The doctors were able to remove all of the cancer from his colon, and his tests came back cancer-free.  However, his wife, my Aunt Theresa, went in on Monday to have a lymph node removed from her breast.  She is a breast cancer survivor so this was somewhat of a shock for our family.  The doctors have told her that the cancer is back, but we are waiting on the test results to find out if it has spread into her lymph nodes.  They are most definitely going to start her on chemo, but hopefully no radiation.  We'll know more when her tests come back, but please, please pray for my family!!  It is so disheartening to have my uncle be cleared, just for his wife to be told five days later that her cancer is back after eight years of being cancer free.  I would really appreciate everyone's thoughts and prayers.  Please keep Nikki in those prayers as well.  Cancer is an evil being and I hate that it is affecting so many of my loved ones.  All we can do is pray...

Thursday, October 7, 2010

9 Months

I can't believe it has been so long since my last update.  We went through about two to three weeks of Austin not wanting to sleep very well and the lack of sleep just completely dictates our lives!!  It's amazing what a lack of sleep can do to a person, and even more amazing what some good sleep can do FOR a person!  We believe the issue is stemming from some separation anxiety that has started to set in.  Austin has gotten to where he is like a little lost puppy.  He follows me around everywhere I go.  If I'm standing somewhere, he pulls on my pants or stands up at my feet wanting me to pick him up.  If I put him down somewhere, he cries.  If he's in his Daddy's arms and I come close, he holds his arms out to me.  He will literally crawl around the entire house just to follow me around and be wherever I am.  Even if I can sneak out of a room, he will listen for my voice and follow the sound until he finds me.  At first it was really cute and made my heart swell with happiness and joy that my sweet baby wants nothing but his Mommy.  But now it is getting a little old.......Mom's need a break every now and then!!!  Poor little buddy, he just doesn't understand that.

He had been going to bed just fine every night, but he started waking up during the night and would NOT go back to sleep.  I was getting him out of the crib and rocking him back to sleep, just to have him wake up the second his head hit his crib.  Sometimes he would even stay asleep as I put him back down, but maybe 10 or 15 minutes later (you know, just as I was getting back to sleep), he would wake up screaming again.  This meant that I was getting NO sleep.  I can't really get comfortable enough in the glider to sleep while I'm rocking him.  I would try to get into a comfortable position on the chair or couch in the living room, but sometimes he would not be happy with that so it was back to the glider.  Eventually I decided that the only way he and I were both going to get any sleep was if we just laid down in the bed together.  So for the first time since he was a few weeks old, we slept in the bed together.  It is something that Justin and I have been very careful about doing for multiple reasons.  We didn't want him to get used to only sleeping in our bed with us, not to mention I don't sleep very well with him in the bed with me.  I'm not sure if it's a fear of rolling over onto him or what, but when he is sharing my pillow, my quality of sleep is about 50%.  Every little sound and movement he makes is enough to wake me up, so I'm constantly falling asleep and waking up again, and never getting that good REM sleep.  Now don't get me wrong - I LOVE cuddling with my sweet baby and would give anything to snuggle with him every single night!!  But we did not want to start that habit early on so we've tried to avoid it at all costs.  Until now, that is...

We went three nights in a row like this until finally by that Thursday, I was a walking zombie.  Justin and I were at each other's throats because we were so ill and sleep deprived.  Not to mention, I'm sure I (subconsciously) held a little bit of resentment towards Justin because while I was rocking a crying baby, Justin was able to sleep.  Comfortably.  In our bed, sprawled out all nice and cozy.  While I'm scrunched up in a glider praying for a few minutes of good sleep, or curled up in the extra bedroom sleeping with my head an inch above the pillow all night.  Even though there was absolutely nothing he could do to help, since all Austin wanted was his Mommy, I still couldn't help but feel a little jealous.  We've always said, if one of us can get some sleep, then they should.  There is no point in both of us being awake if we don't both need to be.

Around this time is when Similac had a major recall on their formula.  The containers we had at home were included in the recalled lots, so I called our pediatrician to make sure that swapping formulas after all this time wouldn't mess up his tummy.  While I had the nurse on the phone, I told her the sleeping issue that we were having.  She gave us some good advice and pretty much told me that he is going to have to cry it out.  She said me going in there and picking him up was exactly what he was wanting me to do.  She said to have Justin go in there, give him his paci and blanket, give him a little pat and then walk out.  As quickly as possible.  So that night, we gave it a shot.  Once he woke up and Justin went to check him, he cried for a solid hour before Justin went back in there.  Once he gave him his paci, he crashed.  The next night we got some relief from Justin's parents, but they had the exact same experience and also let him cry for an hour.  Since then we haven't had any other episodes except for a few nights where he cried for only 10 minutes before he soothed himself back to sleep.  Sooo, we have definitely made some progress, and have even had a few nights where we didn't have to go in there at all.  Hopefully it won't be long before we are completely back to normal and we're not having to go in there all night.  It's amazing how spoiled you can get!!!  Austin has been sleeping through the night since he was six weeks old, so this was a MAJOR shock and change for us!!  I can't tell you how hard it is for a Mommy to listen to her baby cry and not want to do something about it!  Even when you KNOW they are crying for no reason at all, it doesn't make it any easier to listen to.

Austin is now standing up every chance he gets.  He pulls up on anything and everything he can.  He will do a little cruising, but mostly he just stays in one spot.  It's funny when he gets tired, he just slowly bends his knees back to a kneeling position.  He'll rest for a moment and then stand right back up!  He is into everything these days.  Luckily our house was pretty much baby proofed when we bought it, but we have now triple checked that every outlet plug is covered and that there are no chords lying around and things like that.  Of course he wants to go to all the places he isn't allowed to go, like our bathroom.  He wants to be in there with me while I'm getting ready in the mornings, but we don't allow him in there because he will scoot around and mop up all the hair and who knows what else with his nice, clean outfit.  He also wants to pull on the free-standing fan we have in our bedroom (I can just see him pulling it down on himself one day), and he LOVES the DVD player and cable box on the bottom of our entertainment center in the living room.  Fortunately, it has given us a great opportunity to teach him "NO".  When he gets close to it or starts to reach his hand out for something he isn't supposed to touch, we say "Austin, NO!!"  He most definitely knows what it means, but sometimes he chooses not to listen or tries to test us.  Most of the time though, it works and he backs away.  He is such a smart baby! :)

He is now eating fruits and veggies galore!  He eats rice cereal and fruit for breakfast, a fruit and veggie for lunch, and either a fruit and veggie or two veggies for dinner.  He gets bottles in between, and we just dropped down to four (6oz) bottles a day.  He seems to slowly be phasing out the bottles though.  He eats less and less each day, which is why we made the decision to drop one this past weekend.  He has started eating more from his bottle at bedtime though, so I guess he is making up for the milk he didn't get during the day.  Who knows, really?!?!  The good thing is, only three more months until we can go to cow's milk!!  We are VERY excited about this!  It is much cheaper and it will take away the worry of wasting.  It can be crushing to warm up a 6oz bottle, only for him to take an ounce of it, because at that point, the rest of the bottle is completely wasted.  

One of his most favorite things to do is wave "bye bye". Once he learned how to do it, he started doing it all the time.  About half of the time he'll say it as he waves, but he mostly just likes to wave.  As soon as he hears the words he starts waving!  "Bye bye" were his first words, and just a few weeks ago he said "Dada".  Still waiting on that "Mama" to come out...  From what I hear, I could be waiting a while.

It's crazy to me that he is 9 months old already!!  I can't believe we are about to plan his first birthday party.  It is so exciting, but also bittersweet...  The time has literally flown by.  

Before I close, I have a prayer request.  My Uncle Rick was just diagnosed with colon cancer this week.  He had surgery on Tuesday and I hope and pray that they were able to remove all of the cancer.  The doctors feel confident they removed it all, but they are doing tests on his lymph nodes to make sure the cancer hasn't spread.  Please keep him and my family in your prayers.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

An Overdue Update

Well, we have been pretty busy lately and on the move!! Literally!! Austin is crawling now!! Well, it's his version of a crawl, which is more of an army crawl. It started out with him pushing himself backwards. Within about two weeks, he finally figured out the forwards direction. However, he hasn't quite figured out how to get up on his knees, and bless his heart, he also hasn't figured out that he can push off with both his right and left foot. A few days after he started moving in the forwards direction, I picked him up at school and his teacher had just noticed a large open blister on the bottom of his right big toe (this coming the day after she noticed a bump on his hand and freaked me out with the possibility that he had Hand, Foot and Mouth, which thankfully he did not have). They couldn't figure out how he got the blister but I wondered if it had anything to do with how he was crawling. Sure enough, when we got home and I put him on the floor, I noticed that he uses his elbows to move forward and he only pushes off with his right foot!! So poor little buddy rubbed a big blister on his toe from crawling around. We kept a sock on his foot for a few days to let it heal some and it has almost completely healed and toughened up. Now he has multiple little blisters in different spots that just continue to heal and toughen up, just for another to come up in another spot!

After mine and Austin's weekend in Huntsville, we had a slight life-changing experience happen within our family. Justin was on his way back from working in Memphis on Thursday, August 5 when he flipped his truck off a 25 foot ravine off the interstate. Him and both of his coworkers were all miraculously okay with only minor cuts and bruises. It was a total freak accident and started when Justin's back tires hydroplaned after hitting a patch of standing water on the interstate. After losing control and skidding across the northbound side of the interstate and hitting a tree, they went right over this drop-off and flipped until they landed upside down. I'll post the pictures below.....they speak louder than words.

So needless to say, by the time he got home Thursday night and spent the day in the office on Friday, we did absolutely nothing that weekend except enjoy our time together. Justin was very sore and tired so we were as lazy as possible. This experience has made us both realize how precious life is and how short it can be. In all honestly, Justin should be dead right now and I should be a widow. A widow. I can't tell you how many times that word has crossed my mind. That night as I was washing dishes after Austin was in bed, all I could think about was what I would be doing if the wreck had been fatal. Would I even be in our house, washing those same dishes? Or would I be with Justin's parents at their house? Or would my mom be with me, washing my dishes and taking care of Austin while I mourned and grieved? Would I already be making funeral arrangements? Would I have to drive to Mississippi to identify his body? What kind of funeral would he have wanted? Who would be taking care of Austin while his mommy was grieving the loss of his daddy? How long would I continue to wear my wedding band? As morbid as these thoughts may sound, they were all running through my head, along with so many more. And as I talked to my mom about all these thoughts, she knew all too well exactly how I felt, as she actually had to ask herself those same questions when my dad passed away. I cannot even begin to imagine the thoughts that went through Justin's mind. I know his perspective and outlook on life has been changed forever. Right then and there, in the kitchen in front of the stove, I dropped to my knees and thanked God for sparing my husband's life. I give Him all the thanks and glory for the miracle that happened that day (oh yeah, and Ford for making "Ford Tough" vehicles). Hug your loved ones extra tight can be so sweet, but also so short.

The following weekend, Justin, Austin and I all went back up to Huntsville for another weekend stay since Justin was finally done with working on the weekends. We had such a great time!! Austin loved the pool of course and Justin and I really enjoyed having "adult" time with our friends! Jenn and Quin have such a perfect backyard for entertaining and we loved sitting outside on the deck, drinking a few beers, listening to music, grilling burgers and hot dogs and just enjoying life!! I wish we could do that every weekend!! Austin playing in Aunt Jenn's sinkSwimming with Aunt Laurie and RowenI love this picture of them!We have a picture just like this of Justin and his dad when Justin was about Austin's age. We were trying to re-create the picture...sure do wish my scanner would work so you could see the side by side comparison!

We came back on Sunday afternoon and went straight to Justin's cousins house for a Vinson family gathering. It was the first time that some of Justin's cousins had met Austin since we only see them about once a year. We had a nice time, although we were both pretty exhausted from staying up too late two nights in a row.

This past weekend we did a ton of cleaning on Saturday and a lot of nothing on Sunday!! Austin is at such a fun stage right now and is quickly getting into anything and everything!! He may not have his crawl down 100% but he sure is fast!! He loves playing with his toys and I could sit and just watch him for hours. He makes me smile and laugh so much when I'm with him. He is just so awesome. I know we have had our moments and he hasn't always been "perfect", but really, what baby is?! Other than those few moments...or days....he has been incredible and such a blessing to our lives. I can't even look at him without thinking or saying, "Oh my gosh, he is so cute!!" I swear he gets cuter and cuter by the day. He is still eating great and sleeping great!! He eats about 25-30oz of formula a day, eats a fruit and vegetable each day and also still gets rice cereal. We have had to change up the consistency of the rice cereal though because if it is too thick, it makes him gag and then he throws up everything that he just ate. Not a pleasant experience and very frustrating to say the least. He is sleeping from about 7:30pm to 6am, sometimes a little later, which is pretty awesome!! It has turned into a great schedule for us because we have plenty of play time with him at night, but also plenty of time to cook dinner, eat and spend some alone time with each other before bedtime. He is teething right now, which has proved to be a slight struggle lately! We just started putting Orajel on his gums and that definitely seems to help. I just hate to see him in discomfort and we believe the pain has kept him from sleeping a few nights here and there. Any teething suggestions from you moms out there?!?!

We are gearing up for football season and a trip to Charlotte, NC to visit our friends, Scott and Beth Ann this weekend. We are leaving around lunch on Friday and coming home Sunday, so it will be a short trip but we are very much looking forward to it. Austin is going to stay home and my mom is coming to stay with him. I just couldn't fathom a 6+ hour drive with him one way, not to mention that Friday is Justin's 30th birthday - yes the big 3-0 - and we really wanted to be able to go out and celebrate. So it worked out for everyone and we so excited!! Saturday should be lots of fun with the start of college football and getting out to see some of Charlotte! It should make for a great birthday/football/Labor Day weekend!

Here are just some recent pics of Austin over the last few weeks:

Austin was so tired after his bottle that he fell asleep on the changing table!He was wide awake after his bath though!He fell asleep in the bathtub the next night which has never happened!This was the night he started "crawling" backwards (yes, that is drool dripping off his chin!)These are his 7 month "photo shoot" pictures I do each month....they are getting harder and harder as he gets more mobile. I took a ton of pictures over the course of a few days just trying to get a few good ones!You can see how interested he was in taking pictures!I love that sly little grin!He fell asleep with his paci in upside down, which he does often because he loves to take it in and out of his mouth and play with it. I just think it's so cute when he puts it back in upside down and doesn't seem to care at all!I was trying to capture how blue his eyes are and the picture turned out kinda weird, but I kinda like it! In a way, it looks nothing like him to me!Playing with Daddy!Kisses for Mommy!
We put him in the swing in his swingset for the first time and he loved it! The smile on his face is priceless!!!

That is all I have for now! I would like to end with a quick update on Nikki. I know I haven't updated on her in a while, which is awful because the news is good!! She has had a zero tumor marker at her last two checkups!! This is such awesome, amazing news! She has been feeling so good and has had a wonderful summer because of that. She is getting ready for a trip to Hawaii (I'm only slightly jealous..) after another checkup next week, so please continue to pray for her! We need those tumors to stay away for good and I really don't want her to get bad news right before her trip. It's so amazing that the last chemo has worked so well, especially since it is the treatment that worked so great for her in the past. I just hope and pray that it continues to do its job because it's time for those tumors to be gone for good!!

Not even sure if there are any readers still out there, but if so, thanks for reading! I would love to hear from you!!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Weekend in Huntsville

The weekend before last, Austin and I took a weekend trip to Huntsville to stay with my best friend, Jenn, and her husband, Quin. Justin was working out of town so rather than staying home by myself, I packed our bags (and everything BUT the kitchen sink) and left work on Friday afternoon and went straight to Huntsville. After a long detour in Cullman due to a wreck on the interstate, I finally got there around 7:15. We fed Austin his sweet potatoes, which he loved, played with him for a little while until we gave him his bath and put him to bed. This is the first time that Austin has spent the night away from home with me. He has stayed with Justin’s parents a few times but we have never gone out of town together. So this was also the first time he has slept in his pack and play since he was about four weeks old when he was sleeping in our room. I was a little apprehensive about how the night would go, considering he was in a completely different atmosphere and slightly off his routine, but he seemed to go down fine without a fight, so I felt good about it.

Jenn, Quin and I spent a quiet night outside on their deck, having a few cocktails and just catching up. Jenn and I were up til about 1:30am and finally decided we had to get to bed. Once we got ready for bed, I opened up the room Austin and I were sleeping in to peek in at Austin before I turned the light out, and he was wide awake!! I thought, oh no, here we go again. I put his paci back in but that didn’t work. Jenn and I spent the next hour rocking/walking him until he fell asleep, only to have him wake right back up once we laid him back down (WHY does he do this?!?!)

Finally we got him down and Jenn and I went to bed. I laid my head down at 2:30am, and literally seconds later, he was awake again. I just wanted to scream at this point!!! So I picked him up, rocked him for a few minutes, and when that didn’t work I cuddled him up tight and laid down in the bed with him. My plan was to lay there long enough to where he was fast asleep, then attempt the transfer back to the pack and play. By 2:45am, I thought he was asleep enough, but when I started to move, he woke back up again. By about 3:15am, I said screw it. For the first time since he was a baby, he slept in the bed with me all night (well, the few hours that was left of the night!!). Even when he was a baby, I only let him sleep with me a couple of times for a few hours because I was just so paranoid. Saturday morning, he woke up at 5:30am which means Mommy was VERY tired the next day.

That morning, Jenn got up not long after Austin and I were up and we took a morning trip to Target to get some food for the day and some extra PJ’s for Austin (since he pooped all in his and of course I only brought one pair) – oh yeah, and some flip flops for me since I forgot shoes and the only pair I had were the heels I wore to work on Friday. No way was I walking around their back deck and pool all day in heels, even though I’m sure it would have been a funny sight!! We got back to her house and got ready for some pool time!

One of my other bestest, dearest friends in the world, Laurie, came over with her four year old daughter and husband and we all had a great day swimming and relaxing. It was HOT outside but the pool felt great and Austin had such a fun time. He did so great all day, you would have never known that he didn’t get a full nights sleep the night before. He didn’t seem to want to sit in his float like he did the last time, he wanted to be as much in the water as possible!! He even face-planted his face in the water a few times and it didn’t even phase him.
All it takes is a paper towel to make this little guy smile! Austin and Aunt Jenn playing in the pool I love this picture of them!Cool as school in the summertimeOur future little baseball player! Chillin with Aunt Jenn

It’s so funny the things your friends and/or family will do with your baby when you’re not around. For instance, Jenn was watching Austin while I went to change clothes, and I came back into the kitchen to find this: Aunt Jenn gave Austin his first popsicle!! He wasn’t sure what to do with it but he seemed to love the coldness of it and would open his mouth like he wanted to bite into it!!Jenn and Laurie made me lay down for about an hour when Austin was napping so that I could try to catch up on the sleep I lost the night before. When I got up, Aunt Laurie had given him the cutest little Mohawk!! Her daughter, Rowen, loooved Austin, but also got very jealous if her mommy spent too much time with him, which was too cute! Once they seemed to grow tired of the water, we set up blankets in the shade with lots of toys and a box fan to keep them cool. They were so cute and sweet playing in the yard together. Austin was constantly watching Rowen and she was so sweet with him! Austin also enjoyed playing with their German shepherd, Daisy. Daisy wanted nothing more than to lick his face constantly, which he didn’t seem to mind. We let her give him as many kisses as he would allow. He loved grabbing her fur and luckily it didn’t hurt her if he pulled too hard like it hurts our cat.
They sat in the floor and played, and it was so sweet when Austin put his little hand on top of her paw!! Sunday morning I left and spent some time visiting my mom, brother, his girlfriend and my niece and nephew. Brayden was born about a month before Austin and this is the first time they have been together since Easter. It was so cute to see them together and to think about all the years they have ahead of them to be the best of friends. They are so different in so many ways, yet are also very similar. Brayden never stops moving, making it almost impossible to hold him in your lap. Even when he was on his tummy, he legs were constantly flapping around! I tried to get pictures of all three of them together but was not very successful. Either Brilee would start moving around or Brayden would start crawling towards me or Austin would be so captivated by both of them that he just was not interested in me at all. Out of all the pictures I took, I think Brayden is looking at the camera in all buy maybe three – that boy LOVES the camera!! Then of course, my battery died, so I didn’t get near as many as I wanted to. I love how they are making the exact same face!
Brayden and his sweet little smile!This was the best one of all three of them. Brilee and Austin were too interested in watching the TV and Brayden never took his eyes off the camera!How cute are they together?! I love the way Austin is looking at Brayden and touching his armBrayden was trying to crawl towards me and it looks like Austin is trying to hold him back like, "No cuz, stay back here and chill with me!"

Overall, we had a great weekend trip and I feel much better having conquered it without any major mishaps! Now I know we can do it again! That’s a good thing too, since we are planning to visit them again next weekend!