His Plans

So I haven't had much to blog about this past week. I am feeling a bit overwhelmed, to be quite honest. I don't know why I feel this way or what has necessarily changed to make me feel this way, I just do. I think it's the combination of things that have been happening to my friends and loved ones, constant prayer that has been needed, a house that never seems to get clean because I'm too tired, a baby waking up frequently and who is into EVERYTHING, covering in the kitchen at work because we haven't had a cook, my workload piling up because I've been without a computer, etc.

I shouldn't complain. I am so blessed. I know it everytime I look into Emory's blue-gray eyes. I feel it when Andy does sweet things for me, like surprising me with a spa mani/pedi for me AND a friend because I "deserve it". I see it when I look around and see this messy house - because I have enough belongings to make it messy in the first place.

I try to remind myself of these things but it does get awful tiring at times.

I told Andy today that I don't think I could possibly be a mother of 3 children and work full time. Seriously, hats off to working mothers!

I'd like to share a fabulous story with y'all because I just can't get my dear friend Jodie out of my mind and off of my heart. If you've read my blog for awhile, you know her story. Jodie and I were pregnant at (sort of) the same time. She had a lot of trouble getting pregnant and after fertility treatments, finally found out that she was pregnant. With TWINS! Jodie found out at 20 weeks that Baby A had Spina Bifida. Although they were hopeful that he would not be severe, they took on the challenge with grace and knowing that this was God's plan for them.

At birth, Eli had a lot of problems and after only 5 days, Jodie and her husband decided to take him off life support. That was one year ago. On August 8th, Jodie, Jesse, and Walker (Eli's twin), mourned the loss of Eli.

That is also the day they found out that they were pregnant.

Read her story here.

Jeremiah 29:11

"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."



Nine Month Ninny!

Emory is 9 months old!

I have been trying to post but thought I'd save everything for one big 9 month update. This past week has been full of CHANGE!! And how fun/exciting/annoying the changes have been! :) Emory has made a full recovery from getting tubes last week. She has been such a happy baby still and is doing great. She babbles all the time. Friday I was at work and Emory was at my sister's house spending the day. Brenna (my sister) texted me and said "this baby is going to crawl very soon." Shortly after I got a video text of Emory crawling to pick up a toy! That night when we got home from dinner Andy and I put her on the floor and she took off. She is still a bit slow but getting the hang of it more and more each day.

Saturday morning I woke up and could hear her jabbering in her room. I walked into her room to a happy baby standing up in her crib holding onto the rail. I was so shocked to see her standing there! Since then I find her that way each time she wakes up from sleep! She also has been pulling up on the couch, ottoman, her walker, me, ANYTHING she can get her grip on to help her!

Sunday we went to Sunday school and Bible class and then came home. I got to take a nice nap and we went out to my parent's house to see my Grandma Payne and Aunt Sherry, who were in town briefly. We had a good dinner. On the way home Emory started to get fussy so I stuck my hand in the backseat so she could hold my fingers. Of course she started chewing on them, and after just a couple of seconds I looked at Andy and said "if that's not a tooth, I don't know what is!" We have been waiting...and waiting...and waiting for Emory's first tooth to come in and it has arrived!

So we had a very exciting weekend. We were so excited to see her start crawling and pulling up, but we didn't realize everything that came along with that! Now Andy and I are constantly having to get up and go get her and bring her back on the rug. She loves to chew on things and get into things she shouldn't get into. But I guess that's all to be expected and I am just so happy that she is a happy and healthy baby!

This morning was her 9 month appointment. She was 20#9.4 oz (75-90th %ile) and 29" long (90th %ile)! I had no idea she was that long!

Emory, you are the light of our lives! I love watching you grow and change and I don't know how I can possibly love anything or anyone more than I love YOU!



Dishing It!


Amanda is having another Dishing It! party and I thought I would participate since I have been a slacker these past few times! This party is "Summer Rewind." Wow, is it ALREADY that time? It seems like yesterday I was walking into the hospital on a very COLD, November night, in labor...and now my baby girl is almost 9 months old!!

So here are a few of my Summer Rewinds...

I had two activities this summer that I participated in that were very memorable! The first was my best friend Stephanie's wedding. Steph and I become friends the first day of our freshman year of college when we met as we moved into our rooms in the dorm - that happened to be right across from each other! She has been my best friend ever since. I can't believe she is now an old married lady! Of course, she looked BEAUTIFUL! The wedding was awesome and I met some really great ladies that were in her bridal party. Unfortunately, I only have these pictures right now...hopefully will have more to come!

Steph and her bridal party! That's me on the very far left with the chicken legs!

Emory was all partied out! I wish I had a better picture of her outfit right was made by my friend Tanya (FrouFrouBritches)!

The second activity that I participated in was for a very special cause. It wasn't a big activity, but I was so excited to be able to do a huge tee shirt fundraiser for a great cause, Team Eli. I have talked about my friend Jodie before on my blog, who lost one of her twin boys one year ago only 5 days after his birth. Eli's short life has inspired so many things (including the documentary Every.Life.Inspires) and people and has changed Jodie's life.

Here is a picture of the news segment on Project Eli.

Here is Emory in her Team Eli gear! Jodie made this precious outfit and bow for Emory so she could be a supporter also!

She is an awesome person and the money from the tee shirts that are now all over Central Arkansas is going towards a new memorial garden at the I Can! Dance center that is a haven for special needs people to be able to go and learn to dance. This is special to me since I work with special needs children but even more special because of my dear friend! (You can also check out Jodie's awesome boutique, The PiNk LlaMa Shop!).

The best new recipe that I tried was at Stephanie's bridal luncheon. Sadly, I don't have a picture of that either (I know, ugh!). The recipe was an easy salad but it was SO good! The ingredients are - mixed field greens, strawberries, craisins, feta cheese, and chinese noodles added just before serving along with Mueller's Homemade Poppyseed dressing. I have never had any of these in this combination but it was FANTASTIC! I am a sweet fanatic and it definitely had a great hint of sweet from the fruit in the salad!

The best book I read this summer was The Glass Castle. What a fabulous book. I didn't think I would really enjoy it but I kept reading and reading and each page I would just be more fascinated with the author and the story of her life. It is a true story and that makes it even crazier. It really opened my eyes to poverty that is all around us that most of us don't see. I really enjoyed it and hope that whoever reads it enjoys it also!

The coolest new blog I found this summer is by far Blacktating. I have been pretty open about the fact that I am a proud breastfeeding mama. It has been a huge part of my life these past few months and I am a very big supporter of breastfeeding. I have considered getting the needed hours to become a lactation consultant and have been encouraged by other Registered Dietitians that have taken this route also, but just haven't decided for sure if that is the road I want to take. Elita from Blacktating is a proud breastfeeding mom of color and an advocate for African American breastfeeding women. I follow her on Facebook and I LOVE her posts. She is always up-to-date on breastfeeding information and articles/controversies.

Last, but not least...I have so many things left on my summer to-do list that I can't even really list them! Andy and I have decided to start getting our house ready to get ready to sell...does that make any sense?! There are many things that we still want to do to get the house ready to put on the market. We bought this house new but know that many things are not going to be favorable to househunters (i.e. our yellow kitchen). I also have a very important FIRST BIRTHDAY PARTY to start planning! It's ONLY three months away!

I hope everyone has a great night and I can't wait to read your Summer Rewinds!




Well, the surgery is over! Phew. It has been an eventful day. Like I said yesterday - I was more nervous about the pre-surgery part than the actual surgery ... and I was right on target. I was up with Emory for 2 hours from about 1:50-3:55. She was pretty upset and confused because she wanted to nurse but I wasn't able to feed her. I was finally able to get her back down and exhausted this morning when 6 a.m. rolled around.

Emory was SO happy before the surgery even though she wasn't able to eat when she woke up. She was just loving all of the attention that the nurses were giving her! The surgery was so fast. The worst part was her coming out of the anesthesia - she was pretty much inconsolable until we finally left the surgery center. As soon as we walked out the door she started to perk up and by the time we were home and she had her toys and Mickey on the t.v., she was SO much better.

The rest of the day went fabulous. She was SO happy all day long! Could it be the tubes making a difference already? The ENT doctor said that she had some fluid this morning still but no infection ... but she seems to always keep fluid, so maybe her pressure is already clearing up and making her feel better!

I snapped this picture with my phone today while she was eating because she was just being such a ham!

So now I'm on to another long day tomorrow. I am really ready for this week to be over already...I will be SO relieved when Friday is here. I hope everyone is having a great week...and here's to hoping we all get some rest tonight!



So tomorrow Emory will be getting PE tubes in her ears. To tell you the truth, I'm not really nervous about the procedure. I'm more nervous that she can't have anything to eat or drink from midnight on, and she often wakes around 3-5 to nurse as well as when she wakes up around 7. I'm a bit nervous about what to expect when she is waking up from the procedure as well. Andy voiced today that he was really worried about the procedure. I think we're both ready to get it over with and hoping and praying that it will clear up the problems she has been having.

It's only Monday, but so far today I've had a lot of anxiety over this week. There are a couple of big events happening for us that we are nervous about and worried about. Well, tonight we decided we would go to the grocery store FINALLY. Andy got home and we loaded up Emory and headed to Wal-Mart. She was getting sleepy but was in a good mood. Close to the end of the trip, Andy took her out of the buggy to hold her because she was getting a little restless.

We were in the ice cream area and Andy and Emory were looking at ice cream for daddy when a woman pushed her buggy around the corner and I noticed her baby in the front. The baby looked small, but was sitting up like Emory. I was a little confused at first because the baby was bald and tiny like she was 8-9 months old, but seemed more alert like a 1-2 year old. I then heard the mom say "put on your mask" and noticed that the baby had a mask she was wearing around her neck. I realized then that this baby must have had some type of disease.

I tried not to stare and when I turned around they were gone. For some reason I get the feeling that the mom turned around on purpose after seeing us, but I could be wrong. We walked around the corner in the direction they had just walked in and I didn't see them anywhere.

But that brief moment made me realize that all of my fears were nothing compared to this woman and her baby and what they are going through. I don't even KNOW what they are going through really. All of my petty frustrations and fears from the day just sort of melted away as I watched Emory grab at things and smile and giggle.

I feel like this was a sign to me to realize what I have at this moment. I have Emory's health, Andy's health, my own health. I have a good job and a home to go to. I have a family - and all this can change in the blink of an eye. I realize that my anxiety is not always uncalled for and that I have a right to worry - but this made me really thank God for what He has given me thus far.

I will update on Emory's surgery soon. I just had to share this experience today.

Deut. 31:8
"It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed."



World Breastfeeding Week

In honor of World Breastfeeding Week, I thought I'd write a post to talk about my story on this journey. This may or may not be interesting or helpful to you, but what I have found is that even if someone doesn't comment on your posts, sometimes they are a help and/or inspiration to others.

The decision to breastfeed...well, wasn't really a decision for me. I honestly never thought about an option. My sister breastfed both of her baby boys throughout their first year while working full time and pursuing her Masters degree in Nursing. To me, breastfeeding was NEVER "weird" or "gross" or "uncomfortable." It was natural. I had many friends look at me curiously when I told them that I was going to breastfeed for at least the first year of Emory's life, and then give their (sometimes not so inspiring) story of failure in that area.

Before I had Emory, my sister told me that breastfeeding was like marriage. If there is a doubt in your mind that it just may not work and that is okay, because if things get tough you have other options - then there's a pretty good chance that you won't make it. She told me that I needed support - which she and my husband would definitely give. She told me to go to a breastfeeding class and scanned items on the shelf at Babies R Us when we were registering as I sat there in the breastfeeding aisle with a deer-in-headlights look. She passed down all of her nursing bras and tanks. She was my breastfeeding crutch - meaning, I leaned on her before and during breastfeeding.

Many of you have read Emory's birth story so I won't go into great detail, but the first few weeks of breasfeeding were not easy for me. I was very engorged, became dehydrated, Emory was dehydrated, Emory wasn't pooping like she should have been in consequence of dehydration, her weight wasn't where it should have been, I had very irritated skin that cracked and bled (also in consequence of the beginnings of breastfeeding and dehydration). When Emory wasn't up to her birth weight at 2 weeks I called the Pediatrician's office and the nurse told me to give formula. I politely declined and told her I was going to try some compression techniques and see how it went.

Emory started gaining weight slowly and I visited with the lactation consultant at my Pediatrician's office who watched a feeding and gave some great encouragement. She asked what my goal was for breastfeeding and I told her a year, and she was so encouraging. The visit went great and I felt like we were finally on track.

A couple of weeks later I developed my first case of mastitis. I had no idea what it was. I just knew that I felt AWFUL and it HURT! I woke up all night long with flu-like symptoms like chills and the sweats. I felt like I could hardly move I was so achy and my right breast hurt so much. After realizing what it was and going on antibiotics it got better in a few days.

I had two more bouts of mastitis after that. Finally, when Emory was around 3 months old, things finally got easier. And at 6 months they got easier. And now, at almost 9 months, it's second nature. During this journey I have done a lot of research on breastfeeding. I joined an e-mail listserv of lactation consultants so I have gotten to read their own questions and discussions on different breastfeeing scenerios. My heart has been opened to different situations and while I may not necessarily make it to extended breastfeeding, I now have started to understand the thought behind it. My opinions have changed and formed regarding topics such as breastfeeding in public and I often find myself getting angry when breastfeeding is mimicked or sneered at. I try to be understanding when other women have difficult situations and cannot make it through - because I know if they really enjoyed it and had to stop, it most likely was a very emotionally trying experience for them.

Please don't get me wrong with this post. Breastfeeding was tough for me but for some it's a breeze. My sister never had problems. When I would ask her some questions she would say "I'm not really sure, because I always had so much milk..." UGH! However, some women do have problems, some much more severe than my own. But making it through those tough times when I just wanted to quit was the best thing I have ever done. I am proud of myself and the fact that I'm "still" breastfeeding. I am happy that my baby has gotten the best she could get. I have enjoyed those moments where it has just been me and her - usually in the middle of the night - when I was the one to provide nourishment and comfort to her in a way that no one else could.

And that is my breastfeeding story. If you are a breastfeeding mom, I'd love to hear your story, too...because I feel that this should be celebrated among women and encouraged as much as possible.




It has been a long time, my friends! Over a month to be exact. I'm going to have to get on the ball. When I got pregnant with Emory I thought this would be a great way to document her life for my own memories. Now I'm realizing how terrible I have been at keeping up with ANYTHING - her baby book, pictures, this blog. The truth is I'm trying so hard to hang on to every moment and spend my time with her and watch her grow as well as maintain a job and household that I just forget all of the other stuff!

However, things have been wonderful. Andy and I are both incredibly busy these days with work. We both work full days and come home to a crazy house. By the time Andy gets home I'm feeding Emory, then she gets her bath, plays for a few minutes, then goes to bed. The rest of the night is ours, which is really nice! It's not uncommon for us to fall asleep on the couch by 8:30, though! lol!

Emory is SO busy as well, in a different way! She is being stubborn when it comes to crawling but she is getting there. She will get on all fours and rock, but she prefers to STAND! She has been trying to pull herself up on everything! If you stand next to her she will grab your pants to pull herself up. If you try to set her down she will straighten her legs and just want to stand!

I have to tell you - with each month that passes I just fall more and more in love with her!

There is so much more going on that I could talk about but there's not enough hours in the day. Emory will be 9 months in just two weeks (!!) so I will update more on what she is doing at that time. I do want to say that we will be getting tubes on Tuesday the 10th. I am really hoping that this clears up her ear infections, fluid in her ears, and the congestion that she can't seem to get rid of. I will definitely update more on that later!

And I do promise I will get better at this blogging thing - for my own sake!

Deut. 5:10

"And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments."