Saturday, July 30, 2011

What a big girl!

Look who's sitting up all by herself! (Though usually a Boppy is there ...just in case.)

This is a toy that I got Lil at a garage sale today. $5! Score!

And look at her eating solids and (sorta) drinking from a sippy cup!

She loves her sippy cup!

What we do all day.

I love being a stay at home mom! I feel so blessed that I get to stay at home with sweet Lilleigh. I've been asked many times by friends what Lilleigh and I do all day. I think many people get the impression that being a stay at home moms means I am either sitting at home drinking mojitos each day or standing in my kitchen twiddling my thumbs. Let me assure you that neither are true.

While I am incredibly thankful to be able to stay home, being a stay at home mom is neither a walk in the park or a bore. It's a busy job! We have fun things scheduled during the week, and during Lilleigh's naps, I try to keep up with cooking, laundry, and cleaning, which to be honest isn't always possible. But my husband doesn't complain! Oh and I blog too! :)

When Lilleigh is awake, we play, sing songs, read books, change diapers, eat, go on walks (when it's not too hot), and just have fun! I love her active time! I think many of the people who picture a stay at home mom having all the cooking and cleaning done forget that someone has to care for and entertain the baby!

A typical week looks like...
Monday - Possibly meet up with a friend for lunch, have a play date, or some other fun activity.
Tuesday - Bible study with other moms and babies at our house in the afternoon.
Wednesday - Swimming lessons in the morning. We also sometimes have neighborhood play groups in the afternoon.
Thursday - Play group in the afternoon.
Friday - Run errands. (Though Monday and Friday are interchangeable.)

I try to be flexible and not keep Lil on too rigid of a schedule. While schedules are great, especially for someone type A like me, I choose not to keep Lil on one. My personal preference. The hope is that she will be go with the flow.

This does not mean that I am Mommy Loosey Goosey. While I love taking Lil out and being active, I am actually very intentional to not overbook us. I really try not to have more than one main event each day for Lil's sake - well, and mine! I can let Lil miss one nap, but I try to let her get the other two in. (She's a three nap napper. Typical for her age.)

As you can see from our week above, we are on-the-go a lot during the week, so truthfully, I long for the days that we can stay home all day! This means Lil gets all 3 naps, and I might actually get dinner cooked AND the house cleaned! Imagine that! Plus it's just nice not having to cart a baby around... nice to slow down!

Here are some photos and videos of us at our different activities...

Lil with her baby friends at swimming lessons. The instructor is a friend's mom. She's teaching the babies to hold their breath, kick, and even roll onto their backs in the water. Lil can do the first two. We're getting there! Yea, Lil! ...By the way, something cool - all three babies in this photo were delivered by my midwife.

Lil (third from the right, yellow dress and pink diaper) with her play group friends!

Lilleigh and her friend Felicity having a play date before Bible study

Okay so occasionally Mommy uses free time at home to dress Lil up for photo shoots. But who wouldn't want to photograph this cute munchkin?

Lil playing with toys - her favorite activity when we have a nice leisurely day at home.

Mommy and Lil at Baby Bounce, which is a free event put on a few times a week by our public library. Lil LOVED it!  

And here's a video of Baby Bounce. It's shaky, and really not a great video at all, just to be honest. But it gives you an idea of what Baby Bounce is. And why Lil loves it - music, clapping, and LOTS of other mommies and babies!

This post was a little all over the place, but hopefully you were able to follow. Hope you enjoyed the glimpse into our life at home!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Baby Mozart

I have to brag on my husband here. Brendon is an AMAZING piano player. He can play pretty much anything you put in front of him. In the winter, he'll play Christmas music. Lately he's taken to playing hymns. But what I love the most is when he plays by ear and makes up tunes as he goes. And because he's also an awesome daddy, he often puts Lilleigh on his lap and plays the piano with her.

Lilleigh loves it and even tries to play the piano herself. This one great quality that I hope she gets from her daddy!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Chicken Introductions

I've held off on introductions long enough. Without further ado...

This is "Tail Feathers" aka the still nameless hen. She needs a name desperately. I just haven't had a name that's popped out at me. Any ideas?

A little about "Tail Feathers"... She's been termed this temporary (I hope) nickname because she was the only Rhode Island Red that we got who still had all of her tail feathers. This is probably because she can fend for herself. She isn't fiesty, like Queeny who we'll get to later, but there is no doubt that she's second in command (behind Queeny, of course). She's also pretty daring. This hen used to walk up to Sammy and peck her in the nose. Then Sammy showed her she isn't one to be messed with.

This is Henrietta. She got this name because there's a children's book I love called Henry the Dog with No Tail. Well, this is Henrietta, the hen with no tail feathers. When we got her, her tail feathers had already been plucked out. You may have already guessed the reason for this - she's not the boss. She's more submissive to the other chickens, careful not to get in the way. Still, this chicken is very people-friendly. She has jumped up on the bench several times next to Brendon to sit with him. She is also the chicken that came after my dinner. Just walked right up to my plate like it was no big deal. 

This is Ida May. I'm almost embarrassed to tell you how she got her name. Almost. Notice the bright red above and below her beak. (Anyone know what that's called by the way??) And her feet are the yellowest of all. Red and yellow. Red and yellow. Hmmm I didn't have to think hard about this one. Red and yellow = Chi O. One of the founders of Chi O was Ida May Bowles. I told you... embarrassing. Either way, it sounded like a good country name!

Ida May is the most independent of the hens. She tends to wonder off. And when the other hens go running, she is content to stay pecking where she is.

This is Queeny. Queeny came from a sketchy feed store just South of Dallas. We got her 24 hours before the other three chickens. Enough time for her to claim the chicken run and coop. When the three new hens showed up, she considered them unwelcome guests. The three new hens, or "the girls," hung out in the coop for a full 24 hours. Of course it was Tail Feathers who first ventured out, but Queeny showed her. Queeny squacked and pecked at her until she went back up in the coop! All that to say, Queeny was almost given away. I actually had someone ready to pick her up, but they had to delay a day in coming. During their 24 hour delay, Queeny straightened up and started to get along. So she remains. And I'm glad she was able to stay too. She adds some good entertainment to our evenings, chicken watching.

Thanks for meeting our chickens! Don't forget "Tail Feathers" needs a real name! Please submit your ideas. 

Just Another Evening at Home with the Chickens...

Just another evening hanging out in the backyard with the chickens! The chickens were becoming interested in my dinner, so I gave them a few spaghetti noodles. And guess what. They like them. A lot. Sooo I gave them more. So it's spaghetti noodles that they are pecking off the ground. Queeny was getting kinda territorial over the noodles though. She nipped Henrietta, the hen without tails feathers, in the butt, as you'll see on this video.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Finished Coop

And I just realized that I never posted a picture of the coop complete. Shame on me! Bad, blogger! Here it is...
The finished coop.

Brendon, his dad, and Lilleigh in front of their finished creation. The chicken coop!
Isn't it gorgeous? When they said they were building a chicken coop, I wasn't expecting it to look like this! My hubby and father-in-law did an awesome job! They are fighting it now, but they will be building sweet Lil a play house in the future! Once she can look at them with those big blue eyes and ask herself, they won't be able to say no! ;)

And some chicken photos...

Queeny... This was before the other three - "the girls" - came along.
And here are "the girls."

Our Weekend: Harry Potter, Teething, Chickens, & More!

This past weekend Brendon's mom (Val) came into town. She was so excited to come up to see Lil and also to celebrate Brendon's birthday, which was last weekend.

Val watched Lil for us while we saw Harry Potter! Uh-mazing. I'm sad that it's over. While Harry Potter is in no way a direct correlation to the Gospel, I do think J.K. Rowling was intentional about the ending. I've heard she's a Christian, and judging by the end of the series, I don't doubt it. (The books are even better though - read them! Or at least get the audio books to listen to!) It's going to be hard to top this series.

When we got home from the movie, Lilleigh was actually sorta drinking from a bottle! She wasn't sucking on it, but she was kinda gnawing on it and drinking from it - more like you would with a sippy cup. Val was walking around with her, singing to her... distracting her, anything to make it seem less like a feeding and more like something fun. Ha. But Lil drank an ounce that way! Yea!!

Brendon and I also got to go out to The Cheesecake Factory one night on a date night! It's so great having a babysitter in town!! Those of you with family in town to babysit, enjoy that. We are always so thankful for a date night!

Today has been a relaxin day! We went to church and came home for lunch and a nap! Lil must have been worn out from having Grammy here because she slept 3 hours!!

Yes, that is a necklace my baby is wearing. It's an amber teething necklace. More on this later.
Don't mind the drool marks on hubby's shirt... It's impossible to avoid those these days.
Brendon reading to Lil and Sammy before bed.

I also managed to get more of Lil's room done this weekend! We are almost there! My goal is to have it finished by the time she turns 6 months, which is in two weeks! As you may remember, the nursery was completed in gender-neutral form before her birth, but then I saw a cute idea in a Pottery Barn catalog, and well, I just had to add to it!

I made these flowers with heavy weight paper. This idea came from a Pottery Barn catalog.

This weekend, I also noticed a sometimes-white-sometimes-red bump on Lil's lower gum! I can feel it too. Lilleigh is teething! I had a feeling this would be anytime now since I teethed early and she's been drooling A TON! She soaks her shirts. It's crazy. Normal, yet crazy. It's exciting for sure, but I just hope the little munchkin doesn't bite me while nursing! OW. Prayers and advice welcome.

Oh, and as for the teething necklace mentioned above... it's an amber teething necklace. Something about amber against the warmth of your skin is supposed to be a natural pain reliever. Pretty cool, really. I've heard great things about them. I'm actually reviewing the necklace for my blog Thankfully Thrifty... I'll let you know my thoughts once she officially cuts her first tooth! ...which by the way, I heard that after feeling and seeing the bump it can still be a month before the tooth cuts!

In other news, I guess I should give a chicken update. We got more supplies for the chicken coop... feeder, water can, etc. And the chickens all seem to be getting along! This is great news because any of you following Thankfully Thrifty on Facebook (my other blog) know that there have been some issues. One chicken, who we've now dubbed "Queeny," was bullying the other three chickens, who we're now referring to as "the girls" - they stick together. Turns out Queeny could only be rude so long. Clearly she's alpha. She's made this known. Now they can all be friends.

We have started naming the chickens. There's just one left to name. So far we have...
  • Queeny - Because as I said before, she's Alpha.
  • Ida May - Good country name, plus she has bright red on her head and bright yellow legs, which reminded me of Chi O. Ida May was a Chi O founder. Dork, I know. (By the way, she doesn't really have tail feathers.)
  • Henrietta - There's a great children's book called Henry the Dog with No Tail. Henrietta lost her tail feathers (way more so than Ida May), so she's Henrietta the hen with no tail feathers.
  • And then there's the nameless chicken... She does have tail feathers. And she comes up and pecks at Sammy! Just letting her no to leave them alone. This hen is second in command, behind Queeny. Any name ideas?
Lastly in chicken news (The chickens needed their own post!), Sammy managed to get a few of Queeny's tail feathers in her mouth. Needless to say, Queeny was not happy. Now every time Sammy comes outside, the chickens cluck angrily! Haha.

Queeny's tail feathers... courtesy of Sammy the dog

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

To vaccinate or not to vaccinate?

Image from Keeper of the Home

This question has been one I've been asking since before we had kids. I first began thinking about this when I picked up the book A Shot in the Dark, which discusses the possible link between the "P" (Pertussis) in the DPT vaccine and SIDS as well as other neurological issues. Thankfully, the P component has been altered, and now the vaccine is DTaP. (So, moms, breathe a sigh of relief.)

Still, this has been an issue heavy on my heart. There's no easy solution to it. So I'll just tell you right now that I'm not going to give you a solution. My husband and I have come up with a solution that we think works for our family at this point in life, but I'm not going to share that with you. I'm sorry.

I was anxious during pregnancy about vaccines and unsure what we would do for Lilleigh. After reading that book, I was sure I would not vaccinate. But then I talked to my uncle, who was a pediatrician, about all this, and he convinced me that vaccinations were completely necessary and definitely something I should do. Talking to a pediatrician in my family, who I know has my - and my daughter's - best interest at heart, really made me feel more comfortable with the idea of vaccinating. Still, he didn't tell me anything new. His words just seemed more reassuring to me. I want to trust him because he's family and he practices medicine!

I have heard all of the arguments for vaccinations. And I had heard some of them against vaccinations. What I wanted was a non-biased opinion. So in January, I had a friend come talk to a group of moms about them. This friend is the mother of a 2-year-old, a pediatric nurse practitioner, and married to a pediatrician. She spoke honestly about her confidence and her worries with specific vaccines. She shared about the vaccines they skipped or delayed. (Yes, a pediatrician actually skipped giving his child some vaccinations!) After hearing her, I really felt more comfortable with getting Lilleigh vaccinated. Even though there were ones they chose to skip, none of the vaccines seemed to pose much of a risk at all. And some of the diseases they protect against can be terrible and even fatal. I was fully convinced after this that vaccinations were the way to go.

Then recently we've become much more interested in natural living - more organic foods, raising chickens (farm fresh eggs), recycling, cloth diapering, etc. And one of the blogs I subscribe to made me question what I had already decided. Read her posts: one and two. (And that post led me to this one... and two.)

And those blog posts made me want to research more. (I am a researcher. It's a gift, I suppose.) So I read these two books: Educated Decision and The Vaccine Book: Making the Right Decision for Your Child. The first is based in homeopathy. I found the case studies really interesting.
However, personally I think I found the second book to be more helpful. I appreciated how Dr Sears talked about the vaccine itself, why we use it, the disease it prevents, how common that disease is and the likelihood of catching it. He also discussing what ingredients are in the vaccines, why some parents choose to skip the particular vaccine, why the vaccine is recommended, and then in a nutshell his perspective. It's well-organized. And it clearly shows that this is not an easy issue.

Your child can get sick from a vaccine. (Even hard-core vaccine doctors will admit this if pressed.) But your child can also get sick if you do not vaccinate. Agh! Why can't this be an easy decision?! As a friend told me a couple years ago - You have to decide which consequence you can live with because your child can get sick either way. I know that's reassuring, but I did think that was a good point. The ore I have learned on the issue, the more I have been able to understand different parents' decisions concerning this. I know some that get every vaccinations on time; some that choose not to get any; and some that spread them out, one per month; and still some that pick and choose. Each is just trying to do the best they can for their child.

Where I have finally landed is this: We have to make the best decisions we can as parents with the knowledge we have. For me to not research this issue would have been ignorant. It's a hot topic. There's a lot of information being thrown at us, so I knew I needed to sort through it all myself. With the knowledge I have gained and a prayerful heart, my husband and I decided what we feel is best for our daughter at this point in time. That may change next year, and we realize this. We have done our best at parents, and now we have to trust the Lord - trust that He led us to our decision and that He is in control even if we are thrown a curve ball. Lilleigh is ultimately His - our job with her, just as with anything else, is to be good stewards with what the Lord has given us. I am just privileged to get to love on her now. No matter what happens, God is ultimately the one in control, and He is sovereign.

So what did we decide? Like I said, I'm not saying here. This is such a hot topic among moms. It's sorta like mommy politics. For some reason, it's taboo. I would love to talk with you privately about it if you are interested, but since this is such a controversial topic, I don't want to open up the comments section in this blog post to brim stone and fire. But wherever you are on the issue, I completely respect your stance. If you haven't researched this topic, I would encourage you to do so, simply so you have solid evidence to base your decision. And then, make a decision, trust in the Lord, and don't doubt yourself or God. Life's too short to be second-guessing.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Happy birthday, Brendon! And more chicken coop photos.

Another update for ya!

Today is Brendon's 27th birthday!  Happy birthday babe!

From the inside

Brendon trapped me. Haha!

Until it's finished, this is the last update!

Chicken Coop Progress

Here's some of their progress. It should be finished today, and hopefully chickens will be inhabiting it later this week!

Larry and Brendon nailing on the roof.

Progress as of last night.

And as I type this, the door is actually on the coop, see on the left hand side where there is a tall narrow space. And they are also putting up the cedar siding. So I guess I need to get to taking more photos...

And did I mention that it's Brendon's 27th birthday?? Well it is! We had pancakes, eggs, and bacon for breakfast. The pancakes had a candle in them of course! Photo of that is also to come.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

They're building a chicken coop!

Brendon and his dad, Larry, have started progress on the chicken coop! Hopefully it will be finished this weekend and ready for chickens!

Sorta a "before" shot


Cutting chicken wire
Talking about next steps

Taking a break

Lil and I supervising

Progress as of yesterday evening

Friday, July 8, 2011

Lilleigh is 5 months!

Lil turned 5 months earlier this week!

Lil at 5 months...
  • She's been rolling a lot more, but avoids the tummy. The other day I laid her on her tummy to play with her toys on her activity mat. I turned around to send an email, and when I turned back, she was on her back! I missed it! Her first unassisted roll!
  • More hair! Yea, Lil!
  • She loves pulling her feet to her mouth and chewing on them.
  • She enjoys playing in her exersaucer and sitting in her Bumbo seat.
  • Drooling A LOT! I'm beginning to wonder if those teeth of hers will ever come in. 
  • She now chews on Sophie the Giraffe and her Wubbanubs! I'm hopefully about the bottle, but still no luck.
  • We swim! And she's in swimming lessons! More on that later.

We took her to her 5 month well-baby check-up today. We have a new pediatrician that we went to today and liked! He's much more on our same page ...whereas the other one was just okay. So that's a good thing! She's now 26" and 15lbs 11oz... 83rd percentile for height (which she clearly didn't get from me!) and 68th for weight!

PS Bear with me while I come up with a new name for my blog... sorry about all the confusion with new names coming up in your feed. I figured now that this blog is not so much a personal blog anymore but also a blog chronicling our lives as a family. So I'm working on a name! Any blog name ideas? (The "farm" thing is a reference to the fact that we are getting chickens! I'll post about that when it happens. Soon though! Very soon.)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Our Story: The Continuation

If you missed it, see the story of how we met here.

As it turns out Brendon had just transferred to my high school from a private school. He was good friends with a lot of the people I hung out with already. So we began hanging out a lot in group settings and quickly became good friends.

Here we are at Young Life camp (Windy Gap).
It was western night, which sorta explains the drawn on goatee.

Throughout the next two and half years of high school, he pursued me. And of course, I was always dating someone else. Senior year he asked me to both homecoming and prom, and since my boyfriend at the time was in college, I gladly accepted! I thought it would be fun to go to prom with a good friend. Now I think it's fun that I went with my future husband! But not to jump ahead.

Prom! Check out Brendon's shaggy hair and my chubby cheeks!
And don't mind the fact that I took a picture of these pictures in order to share them with you...
finding the DVD they're on and uploading them just seemed like too much of a hassle!

We left for college - me to SMU in Dallas and him to Baylor in Waco. We remained good friends throughout college. He even came up to visit me a few times. (Like I said, he pursued me!) I can clearly remember driving home from college that May after freshman year and having God tell me that I was going to marry Brendon. I love clear moments like that when you distinctly hear God's voice.

That summer we had a brief fling. But honestly, it just didn't feel right. I had gone to college and jumped into becoming a Young Life leader and become super involved in Christian life on the SMU campus. And Brendon, who had been a rock in high school, hadn't really gotten plugged in much at all at Baylor. We were just in two different places. I felt so confused because I thought I had heard God so clearly, but this just didn't add up. We ended up breaking up when the summer ended.

Meanwhile at college I dated some more... and had a not so great experience with a new guy. Things were totally not going my way. And when this new guy broke up with me, for some reason I felt heart broken, even though my family and friends were all sure that he wasn't a good fit for me. And looking back, I know I knew that too.

That summer after sophomore year, I interned with the middle school youth group at the church Brendon grew up at and the church where I had recommitted my life to Christ. Brendon was around that first part of summer, volunteering with the youth - coincidence, I think not. He knew what he was up to! He had planned to go back to Waco in July for summer school, but for "some reason" that didn't happen. We basically spent the entire summer serving the Lord and loving on middle school kids.

And every time sparks started to fly, I backed away. But not because I was afraid. I just knew this would be it. If we dated, we would date for real. There would be no going back to being friends. We would either get married or break up and be done forever. Plus, I really wanted to be completely dedicated to my internship position and those kids. I knew if we started dating, that I'd be... well, distracted. So we waited.

We waited until the week after I was done interning. Then we went on our first real date to Macaroni Grill and to see March of the Penguins. A movie about penguins just seemed so fun... but it was a little boring, let's just be honest. If you haven't seen it, you can pass on that one.

We continued dating that next year, making the hour and a half trip between Waco and Dallas almost every weekend and sometimes during the week!

Brendon graduated that next May - a year early. And that summer he interned (officially this time) with the youth while I studied abroad. But that didn't stop him from coming to visit me!

Mykonos, Greece

And after a few months found a job in Dallas, which made it oh so convenient since I was finishing up at SMU! We got engaged that February, I graduated in May, and we got married in July! 7-7-07!

My SMU graduation

Today marks four years together!