Saturday, December 31, 2011

Quinn's White Christmas

There's nothing better than a white Christmas unless you get to share that white Christmas with a beautiful new baby! Quinn, Jeremy and I (and of course the dogs) spent the week in Odessa (my hometown) for Christmas and it was wonderful. It snowed all day on the 24th and most of the day on Christmas Day. The dogs loved it too!

Mom's front porch turned white.

Ella and Lexi loved the snow!

I love, love, love being home for Christmas! It's my favorite time and even though there is a little stress in traveling, it's always worth it to be around family. Just the smell of my Mom's house when we walked in made me so happy! (A mix of pound cake, stew and Christmas potpourri.) I am so glad Q got to have her first Christmas at the house in which my Mom grew up and our extended family has made so many memories.

Nannie Mae (my Mom) was SO excited to have Quinn home. She couldn't get enough of her! The greatest part of the trip was that Quinn reached a milestone...she started smiling and talking! It was so awesome! My Mom got her talking on the second day we were there. Quinn loves hearing her voice, and over the next few days she was smiling and talking to everyone.

Nannie Mae wanted Quinn to stay with her forever.

Smiling and talking to Mama after a full belly.

Traveling With a Baby
Who knew a baby could have so much stuff?! I mean, let's be honest, she didn't need some of it, but I had to pack enough outfits for her to have options! Luckily, my Mom had a crib set up for us, so we didn't have to take the pack and play, but all our other stuff and the two dogs filled our SUV to the brim. Quinn did so well! We only had to stop twice, and our normally 5.5 hour trip only took us 7 hours. Way to go Q! I think traveling and breastfeeding in the car was the most interesting part...let's just say a lot of modesty goes out the window (pun intended).

All packed with Quinn's clothes hanging in place of Mama's. Mine just got stuffed in a suitcase! :)

Quinn learned how to drive at Christmas. 

Christmas Eve
Christmas Eve afternoon was pretty low key and we spent the later part opening gifts with my Mom, Emily, Justin and Abby. Quinn got some cuddle time while I opened the massive amount of gifts she received. Let's just say she has plenty of clothes! One of the most memorable moments was when Justin gave Abby a pearl necklace that was our Margaret's. My Mom had saved it for his future wife and Abby was so moved. I am so glad she is going to be a part of our family and I know Margaret is looking down just as thrilled as we are!

Aunt Abby cuddling with Q and wearing one of the gifts I got for her: ear muffs for the wedding in Utah complete with fur and rhinestones on the headband.

Opening gifts!

Pawpaw loved his framed photo of Quinn.

 Justin and Emily sharing some sibling love.

Abby opening the pearls...let the waterworks begin.

My Mom's side of the family has always had a tradition of spending Christmas Eve together. We used to all gather at my Margaret's house where Santa had already come and exchange gifts. All the cousins would draw names and Margaret would make food. The past few years, we have continued to meet but at my cousin Erica's house. I couldn't wait to take Quinn over there to meet all her crazy cousins and her Great Aunt Sandra and Uncle Randy. She didn't disappoint...Sandra cried. :) Uncle Randy always gives nicknames to babies when they are born and Quinn's is the best. Ready? Quinn will be called Snowflake from now on when she's around Uncle Randy. He said it's because she is unique and there is not another one like her, just like a snowflake. I LOVE IT!

Family photo on Christmas Eve.

Q loved meeting all her cousins.

Aunt Sandra getting some cuddle time.

Christmas Day
Santa came to see Quinn! Nannie Mae couldn't help herself and Quinn got a precious pink rocking horse, a crawl-to-walk toy and some other fun stuff from "Santa." Jeremy and I decided it wasn't really necessary to get Quinn a Christmas gift this year. My Aunt Kerri got us a "My First Christmas" ornament and we tend to buy stuff for her every week. Plus, we can save the money and go all out next year when she can sort of appreciate it!

Quinn on her new rocking horse from Santa.

 Talking to Nannie Mae on Christmas morning.

My Dad's side of the family has a tradition of gathering on Christmas morning in our pajamas. My Aunt Kerri makes breakfast and we usually wait around for my Mimi and Tom since they are habitually late. But, they always come with TONS of gifts, so it's hard to complain. This year it was fun to see Quinn get toys and clothes (of course my Dad, Quinn's PawPaw, had to get her Red Raider gear). I can already tell that Christmas will be very different from now on. I will not want anything and I will want Q to get everything!

Q got to meet her great Aunt Kerri and cousin Brady.

I had the Moby ready to go, and Jeremy tried on his new red "jury picking" tie.

After our Christmas morning, we went back to my Mom's house to get dressed and then we headed over to Mimi's house for lunch. It was so fun being around family, but I must say, Quinn is going to have to get used to that side of the family. They are very loud and rambunctious, but that's what makes them my family and I love that about them. We got to see my great-grandmother, Nana, and she was so proud of Quinn. She got her a doll for Christmas and wanted to hold her every time she heard her cry. Poor Nana is not strong enough to hold Quinn, so I sat and helped her hold her for a while. We also got to take a photo with all five generations that will always be very special to me (and of course Quinn later on).

 Family photo on Christmas Day.

Nana loved meeting her first great-great granddaughter.

Quinn loved talking to Mimi and her cousin Tobi.

Talking up a storm with Mimi.

Five generations of women on my Dad's side.
(Nana, Mimi, Aunt Kerri, Tobi and Me and then Quinn.)

Quinn loves her PawPaw!

We spent Christmas night at home with Mom, Emily and Dennis. It's funny to think about what Christmas was like before Quinn. Normally, we would play games and stay up late watching a movie or talking, but this year Quinn dictated our schedule. We fed her and got her to sleep, and then went to bed early. Such is the life of a new parent, but I wouldn't have it any other way. I can't wait until next Christmas when her face will light up at the gifts, Christmas lights and the story of Baby Jesus.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Q's Newborn Pics

Here are just a few of the pics we got from Q's newborn photo session with Christina Carroll. She did an awesome job! I wish I could post all of them, but I wanted to pick a handful for the blog! Enjoy!


This one was at the very end of the shoot...irony much? :)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

It Takes All the Fruits

One of my favorite Bible verses is Galatians 5:22..."The fruits of the spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control." (Raise your hand if you know the VBS song for this verse.)

I think about these a lot as a Christian and try to live my life with each one in mind, but as a new mother I have realized that it truly takes all the fruits.

Let me preface this post by saying, I am in love with Quinn. I can't imagine our life without her and I know I will grow to love her more and more each day. I love the moments when she makes her funny faces, looks me in the eye, stretches her neck and opens her mouth like a little hungry bird and kicks her legs and waves her arms. But, I also think it's only fair to talk a little about the frustrating mommy moments too. Quinn has had some reflux, so it's been especially difficult and I am finding that I have to rely on the fruits of the Spirit (and my faith) to get through a lot of the struggles.

This one is obvious. I am IN LOVE with Quinn and there is no doubt that I would do anything in the world for her. It's funny to tell a little person who has no concept of language how much you love her, but I think that's important and I won't stop. My love for Jeremy has also grown. It's so amazing to see him as a father, and work with him as a team to figure this whole parenting thing out.

I relish in every happy moment I have with Quinn. Like I said, she has had some reflux, so those happy moments don't come as often, but I love them. I love seeing her happy and it brings such joy to my heart. There is also a lot of joy in knowing I can comfort her and she knows I am her Mama. I can't wait for her to become more alert and interactive with smiles and coos...that will melt my heart!

In the first few days home from the hospital, I was an emotional/hormonal basket case. I cried a lot (sometimes I didn't even know why) and I had all these crazy irrational fears. I worried that someone (myself included) was going to drop Quinn down the stairs or over the banister. I was scared someone wanted to come kidnap Quinn. I even had a fear of stepping on her if she was on the ground. Like I said...crazy and irrational. I prayed for a lot of peace during that time and still do. I have no doubt that as Quinn gets older, there will be a lot of situations that I have no control over. I have a feeling I am going to need a lot of peace over the years and I need to rely on the Lord to give that to me because there isn't anything in this world that can bring it like He can.

Oh my I ever need patience. I think it's funny how it always works out that Jeremy and I are impatient at different times so we can help each other. If we were both impatient at the same time (which I am sure will happen eventually) it would be a lot harder. Lately, we have been letting Quinn "cry it out." Our pediatrician gave us instructions on how to do this so that she will start to self-soothe and sleep longer during the night. When she is 11lbs. she should be able to go the whole night w/out eating. This takes patience like I have never had. We are supposed to wait 15 minutes before we go soothe her and then if she wakes up and cries again, we have to wait 25 minutes. hard and I have to be so patient.

Breastfeeding required A LOT of patience as well. I had to keep reminding myself that Quinn and I were both learning and that it doesn't come naturally like a lot of people think. She lost a pound at the hospital so I was having to supplement her feedings so she could get back to her birth weight. I cried a lot. Quinn cried a lot. I think the most frustrating thing was the little contraption that we got from the lactation consultant. (Picture below.) Basically, that tiny tube is taped to my breast so she can get milk from that and my breast at the same time. Imagine having to teach an infant how to latch on while also trying to aim that dumb tube in her mouth. There were so many times I just wanted to say screw it and start her on formula (which is not a bad thing), but somehow we both made it to her birth weight and it has been so much better ever since then.

One more on patience: getting her to sleep. I have decided that Quinn is an insomniac. Well, I shouldn't say that because she sleeps well at night (once she gets to sleep she will go five or six hours). She just does not like going to sleep at any time of the day, and her daytime naps are not long. I get excited if I get to eat and shower while she takes a 30 minute nap. I read somewhere that it takes a baby 20 minutes to get to sleep and get through the cycles it takes to get there (the doze-off, dream smiles, startling, etc.). That's a long time sometimes when she has been breastfeeding, burping, playing a little bit and then tired and fussy. There are so many times when I have to pray for patience while we are trying to get her down because it can take an hour sometimes. It's also been harder since we are trying to put her in her bed drowsy instead of completely asleep. We put her down, and many times her eyes pop open like a little toy doll and we have to start the process all over again. Patience...the hardest fruit to have.

I think this one mostly relates to how I treat Jeremy and even the dogs. When I'm tired and Quinn is fussy and I haven't eaten it gets a little harder to be kind. For some reason I think humans have a need to vent or even blame someone when things aren't going their way. In a husband/wife relationship, that can happen a lot. I haven't done or said anything mean, I think there are just times when I don't feel particularly kind. This is a fruit I need to work on and make an effort to speak kind words or even just stop and give Jeremy a big hug. The dogs are getting the brunt of it too. They tend to always be in the way (I told Jeremy that Lexi is like a nosy old lady) and I am tripping over them or they are barking right when Quinn gets to sleep. Ella is also taking advantage of our lack of attention by digging in the trashcan while we aren't looking. I need to think about their perspective and how this little baby has moved in on their life. I need to pray for a little more kindness toward them since they were my babies before Q came along. Ella still needs her cuddle time.

Not really sure how this one relates to parenting except maybe in the way we teach Q. I hope that she will learn from our actions and words how to be a good person and care about others.

Jeremy has told me several times lately (when we have to let her cry it out) to have more faith in Quinn because she will get it soon. He's right, I do. I also need to have more faith in knowing God gave us what we need to be good parents. I need to have more faith in myself as a Mother and trust the natural instincts I have been given.

Being gentle with a baby seems obvious, right? I am very gentle with Quinn, but sometimes when she's super fussy and I am trying to change her diaper and get her swaddled quickly, gentleness goes out the window. I turn into a "get-it-done" kind of Mom and forget that she's a baby and she doesn't have a schedule and doesn't care what time it is. I want to always be gentle with her in my touch and my words, even as she gets older.

This fruit goes along with a lot of the other fruits. I think it takes self-control to continually be "fruitful" and not get tired of striving for these characteristics as a parent. I think it has a lot to do with integrity and knowing that you want the best for your child and the whole family. On a side note, I am sure this fruit will come in handy when I start seriously trying to lose baby weight. Burning 500 calories a day breastfeeding is nice, but I have to stop eating like when I was pregnant...I am just so hungry all the time! :) Self Control.

...and here's a photo of Quinn just because she's so dang cute. I am pretty sure she was pooping here.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Quinn's First Thanksgiving

Gobble, gobble! Quinn had a very eventful Thanksgiving weekend for a 2-week old! I was so glad my Mom was still in town and we were joined by Uncle Justin, Aunt Abby and Aunt Emily. The only people missing were my Dad (Pawpaw) and Dennis (Papa D). My Mom was glad to have all her kids in one place for the holiday, and she went all out cooking, baking and making my house smell amazing!

On a side note, this is the first year in three years that Jeremy and I have missed the Turkey Trot. We are hoping to take Quinn next year and run with her!

My family has an old tradition of making pies the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, and Emily and Mom kept that going. I was able to put Quinn in the Moby for a little bit to do my part, but they definitely did most of the work.

Quinn liked the Moby!

We had so much food, and we all sat down at one time to eat (my Mom fed Quinn a bottle at the table while I ate). :) My Mom pulled out my china and we used it for the first time since we have been married. Yes, we have had china for almost four years and I have never used it. Hey, this was the perfect occasion to break it out! This also happened to be the second time we used our dining room. We eat at our kitchen breakfast table most the time...the dining room has just looked pretty up until now.

My dining room and china being used and not just looking pretty!

The rest of the day consisted of me feeding Quinn a lot, the Aunts getting some cuddle time and watching football. I love having family here that we are so comfy around. Staying in your pjs all day is totally awesome! (Let's be honest...I do that a lot these days.) We have a lot for which to be thankful! 

Nannie Mae knows the best ways to get Quinn to burp.

Auntie Em knows what makes Quinn happy!

Quinn loved cuddle time with Aunt Abby!

Aunt Abby and Uncle Justin chillin out in their pjs with Quinn.

Thanksgiving weekend, Jeremy's Dad, Stepmom and sister, Tylia, were able to come meet Quinn for the first time. Quinn will call them Ahwo and Ahpo (that's grandfather and grandmother in the Alabama-Coushatta language). Her Ahwo already gave her a nickname also in their language: Sattase [SUTTA-see] (little turtle). 

 Awho, Tylia and Ahpo seeing Quinn for the first time!

This might be my most thankful Thanksgiving yet...I give thanks to God for the blessing of Quinn and Jeremy and the little family of three that we have started.