Monday, December 11, 2006

How can I freeze time?

This weekend my husband and I were talking about how time seems to just fly by. We have been married for almost 5.5 years now and both of us agree that it's all a blur after that first year. He seems to think that is just gets faster as you get older. But, here's the thing...I need it to slow down just a bit so that I can enjoy Jayla right here at this perfect age. She is so fun and cute right now. Who do I need to have a talk with to make that happen?

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Moving On Up

Upon Jayla's return to the day care yesterday, she was placed in the Pre-Toddlers class. She has been in the Wobblers class since Labor Day. Her move up to the Pre-Toddlers class was a little scary to me because the class is intended for 18-24 month old kids. Jayla is only 15 months as of 4 days ago! The plan was to let her transition by spending some time in the Pre-Toddlers class each day. She ended up spending ALL DAY over there yesterday. All of a sudden Jayla apparently knows how to sit still and listen to a story, sit in a circle and review flash cards, and nap on a cot! A cot - no more crib! The day care teachers were all very impressed with how well she did in the Pre-Toddlers room yesterday. So, is this proof that my child really is a genius and extremely advanced for her age? I think so. I was very proud of the report that I got about her yesterday. But, the best part of having her on the Pre-Toddlers side of the glass door rather than on the Wobblers side is the extra $43 in my pocket every month! Yes, our tuition just went down $43 - life is good and my child is a genius!

Monday, November 27, 2006

A Catastrophic Event

A horrible thing has happened - I have misplaced the battery charger for my digital camera! This means that I can no longer take pictures of my Jayla! It must be replaced ASAP. Until then, life as I know it has stalled.

In other news, this is my 100th post to this blog. It just took over 2 years to do it.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Friday, November 17, 2006

Wish Us Luck...

Tomorrow, our little threesome family will embark on a 12-hour trip to St. Lous in a car. We're going to visit the in-laws for an entire week. We'll try to make the entire trip while Jayla is sleeping tomorrow night. If for some reason we don't, then Lord, help us. Her father didn't nickname her the "Screamin' Demon" for no reason!

(Actually Jayla is a really good car baby. She likes the change in scenery and looking around at the other cars, the sky, etc. We just thought that making the trip at night would be easier and more efficient as there is no need to stop to feed her, change her, entertain her, etc.)

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Legacy

My husband is so excited about all the many things that he has taught Jayla in the past few days. She is truly a sponge but, seems to catch on to things that have absolutely no educational value so much quicker than say...her ABCs. For instance, in the past 5 days, she has learned the following from her father:

  1. When he yells randomly at her, she does it right back and thinks it's the most hilarious thing that has ever happened. My child literally walks around randomly yelling at things now.
  2. When he says the word muscle, she points to her forearm. This comes from him bragging about his biceps one day and pointing at them while he flexed.
  3. When he says the word snake, she does the dance. This one is admittedly very, very funny to watch her do.

I must also give my baby credit for the genius things that she does. She is excellent at following any direction that you give her. It is amazing to watch her little brain work when I tell her to do something - especially if it's a new thing. She tries to figure out what I am talking about so that she can do it - all in pursuit of a round of applause from everyone in the room once she has accomplished the given task. She's going to be a people-pleaser like her mama.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Bitten

As a first time mom to a toddler, I am relatively unparanoid about most things these days. A lot has happened lately to help toughen me up:
  • She's had almost constant ear infections since we returned from our trip to St. Louis for Labor Day
  • I've watched her fall from the top of an indoor play structure at the day care
  • Despite my generally strict dietary regimen for her, the day care has managed to feed her chocolate chip cookies and candy
  • She crawls up the stairs to the second floor in our house whenever the mood strikes her and we have yet to purchase any type of gate for the top or the bottom of the stairs

But, I was so NOT prepared for what I would see when I picked her up from the day care on Friday!

On Thursday night, before she went to bed, I noticed that her right ear was red. It didn't seem like a big deal though. Then, on Friday morning, it was still red and maybe a little swollen, I thought. My husband dropped her off at school as normal Then around mid-morning, I got a call from the day care. They wanted to know if I had noticed her ear was red, hot, and swollen. I told them that I had. We talked a bit longer about how it was probably just an insect bite and Benadryl would probably clear everything up. Well, when I got there and my child looked up at me, I almost didn't recognize her!! Her ear was literally standing out from her head at a 90 degree angle! It was bright red and about the size of her hand! I felt sorry for her but, the truth is, she just looked really, really funny. And the people at the day care said that it had improved over the course of the day. I'd never seen anything like it in real life. Her left hand was also really swollen and red. I stopped by CVS on the way home and got her some Benadryl. On Saturday morning, the swelling and redness of her ear was going away but her hand still looked pretty bad. I took her to the doctor on Saturday morning (for the third of a series of shots for her latest double ear infection). The doctor seemed to think that it was just mosquito bites and nothing was infected or anything. She suggested that we continue with the Benadryl and just give it some time. By yesterday, you could hardly tell her ear had been swollen and it had gone down enough that you could actually see where she had been bitten on the ear. Her hand was still puffy though.

In all this, I'm not even sure my child noticed what has been going on. Maybe she's preoccupied by the fact that she is currently cutting her two top, front teeth (FINALLY!). But all I know is that when we got in the car this morning to take her to school, I saw a mosquito buzzing around the front seat. I had but once mission - that mosquito had to die!!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Subliminal Messages

I will update my blog....I will update my blog...I will update my blog...

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The First Steps

It never ceases to amaze me when she accomplishes a new milestone. She took her first steps this evening. At one point she took as many as 4 consecutive steps before falling forward and catching herself with her hands. I was so proud of her...just like I was when she first rolled over and when she sat up on her own and when she first learned to crawl and when I finally felt her first tooth and when she first learned to pull up to standing...no, but really, my child IS a genius!!

Monday, August 14, 2006

Under-impressed

Today was the first day of The New Day Care Solution. I am trying to reserve judgement (unless something drastic happens) until she's been there for a month and everyone involved has had plenty of time to adjust to the new situation.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Be careful - they're watching!!

Jayla has become quite the little mimic over the past few weeks. But, I just realized on Sunday how she's watching and imitating even those things that we aren't doing for the sole purpose of her copying us (like when teaching her to blow kisses). After getting out of the pool on Sunday, Jayla and I were changing out of our swimsuits when I accidentally dropped one of my breast pads on the floor near her. I went ahead and finished putting on my bra before picking it up. In the meantime, she picked it up and proceeded to cover her little chest with it. It was hilarious but, boggled my mind that she knew exactly what to do with it.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Eleven Months

My baby is 11 months today. My baby is 11 months today!! I absolutely cannot believe that the next time the 24th of a month rolls around, she will be celebrating her first birthday! BIRTHDAY…as in she will be a full year old!! I can’t believe it.

To be honest, she is becoming less and less like a baby everyday. She is absolutely turning into a little girl – a liitle girl who interacts with the world and the people in it more so than the baby who used to just observe the world. A little girl who, just this morning, watched her parents give each other a kiss and decided to blow her own kiss, complete with puckered lips and a “MWAH!”. It was so cute. She loves to blow kisses and wave bye-bye and hi any time some says either of those words. Her latest challenge has been her balancing act. She is learning to stand unassisted. So, she spends approximately 80% of her day pulling up on objects (her favorite one being her mommy), letting go, and balancing on her two fat feet for as long as she can. Then she falls on her padded little butt, giggles, and pulls up again to start the cycle over. She stands for noticeably longer periods of time everyday.

She is such the social butterfly. She loves to play with other babies and has a knack for flirting with and charming any adult that she comes in contact with – that is, if she likes you and decides that you are worthy of experiencing her cuteness. She is very much like her momma in that he basically doesn’t pretend for anyone. She keeps it real so, whatever she’s feeling or thinking, she will express that to you in one way or another.

She also loves water. We found this out last month when we were at my family reunion in Savannah, GA. She absolutely LOVED the beach. She squealed louder and more happily with each wave that came in. And yesterday, we went swimming at a pool party (at the same house where my baby shower was held exactly one year earlier – memories…) and she learned to kick and blow bubbles in the water. She loved the splashing and made it her personal goal to cover her entire face with water from her splashing.

It has just been so incredibly exciting to watch her grow over the past eleven months. Her personality is so strong (and so much like her momma’s) that I know that there will never be a dull moment in raising her. She is, indeed, the most incredible blessing. But, wow – eleven months can fly by…

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The Great Day Care Search

Yesterday, my husband and I took a half day off work to look around at our day care options. We went to just four places:

The Place That's Buying Our Place: We decided that we liked it. We liked the director. We liked the fact that the children start a real educational curriculum at 18 months. We liked that they promote to a new class based on developmental stages rather than solely on age. Obviously, we like the location(s) because we can either stay in our current location or go to their main location, which is actually more convenient to our house and for our commutes. We like the fact that they are committed to trying to make it a smooth transition for the babies that are already at [the day care center that is closing]. The pricing was reasonable. They have good security measures in place and the ability to view via Internet. My husband thought that there were too many kids in a classroom but, I pointed out that is why they are expanding to two locations. The Director indicated that the classroom would have 8 kids to two teachers which is absolutely the best that we can expect at this age (12-17 months)

Big Franchise Center in the Ritzy Neighborhood: We weren’t impressed. The teachers seemed young and not very experienced. There wasn’t anything BAD per se but, being underimpressed and the location being a bit less convenient and the price being higher all combined for a no sale. Plus, the kids looked dirty – couldn’t decide if that was a parent thing or a caregiver thing – regardless, we have been spoiled by the fact that Jayla is actually clean…at least by the time we pick her up.

Our Current School at Their Other Location: The location just weighed too heavily. It just isn’t convenient for us. However, the Director told us that the plan was to move Ms. J over there and let her keep our babies for as long as possible, which is obviously a plus. They have great resources over there and Jayla could obviously learn a lot there between now and Kindergarten.

Big Franchise Center (same as above) on Our Side of the Freeway: We like the personnel, though they were extremely ghetto but played "professionalism" very well. I noticed that it was rather chaotic. There did not seem to be much organized play going on. It could have just been the time of day that we were visiting. However, I did not like what I saw in the 6-12 month classroom at all. The babies weren’t being stimulated. They were all sucking pacifiers and swinging in swings. All of the toys in the classroom were sitting neatly on the shelves at 3:00 in the afternoon! In the 12-18 month classroom (which is where the enrollment manager told me she would have a spot for Jayla in August), the kids were kinda just playing on their own. The teachers just didn’t seem engaged with them. My husband agreed when I pointed that out once we left. We also didn’t like that they promote solely based on age.

So, we both independently came to the same conclusion for our first option: To let Jayla stay in the current location and transition into The Place That's Buying Our Place. That’s where we’re leaning…though nothing is set in stone.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Times - they are a'changin...

After being out of town for an entire week, Jayla was so excited to get back to the day care this morning. When we walked in, her back was to her teacher, Ms. J. Ms. J said, "Good Morning!" and Jayla started looking all around trying to find where the familiar voice was coming from. Then she got all jumpy with excitement as I was trying to unbuckle her car seat. When I carried her over to Ms. J, she had a big grin on her face and instantly reached out to hug Ms. J. Then we put her on the floor to play and with a huge smile on her face, she started giggling and waving at the two little boys that were already sitting on the mat. Then, she topped it all off in a fit of clapping. I was so, so, so happy that Jayla was so happy to be back at her school and into her routine again.

So, I got Jayla and her stuff all checked in with Ms. J and as I was walking out Ms. J says, "Oh - I have something to give you." She hands me a letter and says, "The school is closing." My little heart just dropped. She went on to explain that the school owner has leukemia and his condition continues to worsen. He is now on a list for a bone marrow transplant. If he does, in fact, get the transplant, he will basically be out of commission for a year or so and his wife will have to be constantly assisting him. So, in an effort to streamline their lives during this ordeal, they have decided to close our school location. Those students who are currently enrolled have been offered a spot at their other school, which is bigger and way inconvenient for our family morning commute. Our location is being bought by a different school in the area and they have also offered the existing students a spot. Ms. J is not sure what she will do but, says she will probably just go back to the other school (which is where she came from originally before our location opened) and work her 5 years to retirement. So, I am very sad about this whole situation...especially because I know that Jayla loves it there and I love it there and everything will change as of August 11, 2006. (just 13 days before Jayla's birthday!!!)

Friday, May 26, 2006

Making Moves for Memorial Day

Last year on Memorial Day weekend, I was about 25 weeks pregnant. I was just beginning to really feel Jayla moving in my belly. We took a trip to Memphis with family and they spent the better part of the weekend with their hands on my belly in anticipation of Jayla giving them a swift kick.

This Memorial Day weekend, Jayla is again moving - only this time in the form of a crawl. Maybe it has something to do with the conversation that I had with her on Wednesday: "Baby girl, you are 9 months old today. You really need to figure this crawling thing out already." Or maybe it is the fact that her newly developed separation anxiety requires her to cry every time the mere thought of leaving the room that she is in enters my mind. On several occasions this week, I have told her that if she could just crawl, then she could follow me around the house.

Whatever the reason, she saw something she wanted on the floor last night and crawled (very slowly and unsturdily) across the family room to get to it. That thing was our stereo system that has shiny bright lights. Yes, it's currently on the floor. Yes, we will spend our Memorial Day weekend baby proofing our house.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Mobility

She's not quite crawling but, she can scoot to where she wants to go.

She's not quite walking but, she managed to participate in the March of Dimes. Here she is after that feat (notice she's wearing a very small version of the company t-shirt - it was cute!):


Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Bittersweet

Last week, we dropped one of Jayla's feedings...the one she has used every single night of her life to go to sleep. I'm not sure why I decided to do it. I think it was a combination of wanting more time to myself at night (on average we started that feeding around 9:45pm...and she generally nurses about 35-40 minutes), thinking it was time for her to learn to fall asleep on her own, and adding a third feeding of solids during the day. Regardless as to what the original reason was, I think a week later, I am glad that I did it.

The first few nights were hard. I wanted to nurse her. She wanted to be nursed. And yet, my husband was forcing her to lay in the bed and cry. Now, the longest she cried all week was just 20 minutes and I ran an errand to the store during that time. That was Sunday night. And by Thursday night, we put her in the crib awake and didn't hear from her until 6:45 on Friday morning. She has started to compensate for the dropped feeding by spending more time snuggling with me during awake times, which is fine with me.

So, I'm sad that we don't have that time together. But, I am so happy to have a big chunk of my evenings back and most of all - an 8 month old that can put herself to sleep on her own!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

No fun

Okay, since none of you wanted to play along - the answer to yesterday's question is "Fifth's Disease". Jayla has been exposed and so we wait...

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

4 Clues

  1. I am a viral infection that tends to affect young children.
  2. I have an incubation period that ranges from 4 to 28 days. During this time I am very contagious and those I have infected have no idea that they are infected.
  3. My most visible symptom is a red blush or sunburned looking rash appearing over both cheeks. But, I also give cold-like symptoms and a low grade fever.
  4. I have infected at least two babies in Jayla's classroom and I hear that Jayla had a low grade fever yesterday along with a runny nose and a cough.

    Who am I?

Monday, April 03, 2006

Traveling

I have done more than my fair share of airplane travel over the past 27 years and one of the things that sticks out the most is how annoying, inconsiderate passengers can completely ruin your trip. For my husband and I, people who bring babies who cry and whine the entire trip fit into the “annoying inconsiderate passengers” category. So, needless to say, we were a bit anxious about taking Jayla on her first plane trip.

Well, it had to be done. This past weekend I was in a wedding (for a dear friend whom I’ve known since 2nd grade) in North Carolina and clearly, we’d rather brave a 2.5-hour-flight than another 17 hour drive with her (remember the horrid Hurricane Rita evacuation experience!?!?). So, Thursday morning we got up as normal and headed to the airport. I think I did a pretty good job in packing as we only had 3 checked bags and carried on my breastpump, her diaper bag, a bag of food/bottles/etc., and her stroller. She slept on the way to the airport and while we checked in (curbside). Then we parked the car and went into the terminal, arriving with just 20 minutes to spare. Once we got on the plane, the plan was to feed her. The plane’s departure time was exactly the time that she was scheduled to take her next feeding. Well, we got on the plane and sat there for 30 extra minutes. Jayla was not pleased in waiting on that feeding. But, we started giving it to her and she was sucking happily by the time we lifted off. Once she finished the bottle, she played a while, then we fed her some chunks of bananas and whole sweet peas. At exactly her normal nap time, she fell asleep. When she woke, we had to change her diaper which was actually easy. We put her changing pad on our laps and did it with no problem. The Continental Airlines barf bag served the disposal purpose. Next thing you know, we’re landing. We gave her a bottle of apple juice to suck on a little to help her ears during the decent. Easy as pie…it really was.

The entire rest of the weekend was a complete whirlwind. Thursday night was the bachelorette party, Friday was the rehearsal for the Christian wedding then the Hindu wedding and the Hindu reception. Then Saturday was the bridesmaids luncheon then the Christian wedding and the Christian reception. Then Sunday we got up (with 1 hour less sleep) and flew back home.

Jayla was exhausted by the time we were at the reception on Saturday night. She spent most of the night staring into space in a daze. The girl had basically just missed 3 days of her regular napping schedule! She got passed around to so many people while we were gone. When we got home yesterday, she just sat on the floor and played by herself for like 3 hours. She seemed so happy just to have some time to herself. The plane ride back was just as good as going. Jayla feel asleep while we were waiting to take off. After an hour and a half, we finally just woke her up to take her bottle. She slept through most of the bottle even.

So, back to work and school this morning. We all overslept and after a 9 hour night, Jayla still was not ready to get out of bed. I am considering dropping her last feeding at night (reducing her to just four feedings per day) and letting her go to bed a little earlier. I’m so scared to mess with a schedule that works for all of us though!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Remember Me??

Hmm...looks like I fell into another hole. The past two weeks I have been in all day meetings at work and clearly since I only blog when I'm at work, I haven't had much time to make new entries. I can't think of anything too special going on. Jayla is growing and developing SO MUCH. She now babbles non-stop, is finally ticklish, and claps her hands all the time. As crazy as it sounds, she will be 7 months on Friday. I leave you with a pic and a promise to come back soon and write something substantial.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

What Happened to Me?

It’s hard to believe that it’s been a full two weeks since I last posted. But, it has definitely been a FULL two weeks. Let’s see, my birthday was great. The next day Jayla turned 6 months old and we sang “Happy Half-Birthday” to her. My mom came to town that weekend and we had a good visit with her. Then that Monday Jayla got sent home from “school” because she had the granddaddy of all bleeding diaper rashes. She ended up staying home 3 days last week – 2 days laying naked on the family room floor, letting the diaper rash air out and one day with a low grade fever. Her daddy stayed with her one day and I stayed home two days. So, last week was not the most productive at work for me – but, somehow I landed a promotion over the course of the week.

Then last weekend was somewhat busy with a lunch date and double header softball games on Saturday and church and traveling to San Antonio on Sunday. We were in San Antonio on Monday – Wednesday of this week. I had to be there for a conference for work. Jayla had to be there because I am her primary source of food. Her daddy came along to keep her while I attended conference activities. Jayla pooped in diarrhea proportions for the whole trip. Other than that, it went pretty well. We had a huge amount of stuff for just 3 days but, most of it was Jayla’s, of course. She and her daddy spent most of the days in the hotel room. We all went out to dinner and lunch together. Now, we’re back to real life as of today. Jayla was slightly confused when she got to the day care this morning but, once they set the basket of toys in front of her – she remembered!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The 27th

Tomorrow is my birthday. I will be 27. I typically get very, very excited about my birthday. If you don't believe me...

  • Exhibit A: Last week I sent a note to my co-workers detailing how I would be out of the office tomorrow due to the fact that my birthday is a holiday.
  • Exhibit B: Last year Lucy asked me if I could remember all of my birthdays. I could remember something about most of them. I have attempted to recreate that here:

1st Birthday, 1980 -
I don’t remember it at all but, I have an invitation to the party that my parents had for me.

2nd Birthday, 1981 -
I don’t remember this one either.

3rd Birthday, 1982 -
I don’t remember it but, I have pictures of the party that was held in my parents’ home. There was a clown that everyone except me seemed to be afraid of.

4th Birthday, 1983 -
I don’t remember this one either but, I have pictures of me and my pre-school friends at McDonald’s.

5th Birthday, 1984 -
I don’t remember this one either.

6th Birthday, 1985 -
It was a Saturday. I got up that morning and was standing in the kitchen. My dad then walked up from the basement with a 14 inch television with a remote control! I laid in bed the rest of the day, watching cartoons. I kept that television until I moved out of my parents’ house. I have no idea where it is now.

7th – 9th Birthdays, 1986-1988 -
No recollection. But, I’m sure they all involved going to Chi-Chi’s in Fayetteville. “Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday to our guest, ole’! Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday, Chi-chi’s wishes you the best, ole’!”

10th Birthday, 1989 -
It was a Thursday. This was a big deal. I got to have a sleepover and invite 10 girls. The sleepover was almost cancelled because a huge ice storm came through. We were out of school the day of the sleepover (24th) but, my mom decided not to cancel it. Everyone still showed up and it was a blast. I have silly videotape from this one. We spent a lot of time playing with the video camera that night.

11th Birthday, 1990 -
It was a Friday. All I remember about this one is that I was in the 5th grade and my class was being housed at a middle school (which I started attending the next year) because the elementary school was getting air conditioning installed. I was so scared of the big 6th-8th graders. I was also disappointed that I didn’t get a birthday announcement over the intercom like they did at my elementary school.

12th Birthday, 1991 -
It was a Saturday. This was a good one. My family and I spent the weekend at Myrtle Beach. We did a lot of shopping and ate a lot of good Calabash Seafood.

13th Birthday, 1992 -
It was a Sunday. We went to church that morning and they sang happy birthday to me during the service. After church, we went to Chi-Chi’s and the mall. I got a pair of sneakers.

14th Birthday, 1993 -
It was a Tuesday. This year my mom gave me a balloon tree (yes, a tree made out of helium balloons). It also had 50 dollars stuck in it. The tree sat on my dresser for like 5 more years – the balloons never deflated. I guess my parents threw it out when they packed up my NC bedroom to move to MS.

15th Birthday, 1994 -
It was a Wednesday. It rained that day. I, of course, managed to leave my keys at home so had to sit outside after I got home from school. I had a surprise dinner at Fong’s – the Chinese restaurants that my family went to every Thursday night. My friends, family, and boyfriend were all there. I ate a pound of Skittles that night. It was a BLAST.

16th Birthday, 1995 -
It was a Thursday. My dad picked me up from school early to go get my driver’s license. (I think that was a valid reason to get signed out of school early – everyone did it!). I had a birthday party that night. It was a beautiful, warm day so the party was in my backyard. There were lots of friends there. We cooked out around the pool and video taped a lot of the party. My boyfriend had to work (although his best friend who worked with him had asked for the night off to come to my party – but, that’s a different story) and didn’t show up until much later.

17th Birthday, 1996 -
It was a Friday. I was away at school (about 2 hours from home). My new friends at school gave me cards but, it wasn’t the same as being with my “home friends”. So my dad came and picked me up that afternoon. Once I got home, my mom had arranged for a few of my friends to be there while I opened gifts. Then, we went to a basketball game at my high school at home. A bunch of us came back to my house and hung out after the game. It just felt good to be around my friends from home.

18th Birthday, 1997 -
It was a Sunday. I was at home that weekend. So, I had to be driven back to school that day. That caused me to be somewhat depressed for a big part of that day. I hated going back to school! On the way back, my family and I stopped at a Japanese Steak House and had dinner. Once I got back, my school friends had gifts and balloons waiting on me so, it made me feel a lot better about having to be back at school again.

19th Birthday, 1998 -
It was a Monday. I had a Cal 3 test. My car had broken down so, my parents had come to see me at school (college this time) the day before. I had dance practice that night.

20th Birthday, 1999 -
It was a Tuesday. I had a Physics test. That night, my friend and I went to Chapel Hill to BW3’s (as we usually did on Tuesday nights). We met up there with a few other friends. We ended up spending the night in Durham with some other friends. We had to get up early the next morning to get back to Raleigh for class. It was a long, fun night.

21st Birthday, 2000 -
It was a Wednesday. My sorority had a program to host that night and then we all went out to Applebee’s together. My husband (fiancĂ© at the time) sent me a stereo system that it took about 4 guys to carry up to my dorm room. That weekend my husband and I went to Atlanta. We stayed with my cousin and spent the whole weekend watching movies, bowling, and going out to eat.

22nd Birthday, 2001 -
It was a Thursday. I drove down to Greenville after class to spend the weekend with my husband (still fiancĂ© for just a few more months). He had made me dinner for the first – and only – time ever. It was some type of lemon-something crusted chicken and baked potatoes. He was so proud of the fact that he had made the bread crumbs for the chicken. The next day we went down to Atlanta again and did some touristy stuff. I remember going to some museum and seeing an IMAX movie.

23rd Birthday, 2002 -
It was a Saturday. Friday night had been a blast. Some friends (another husband/wife couple) had come into town because her birthday was on the 22nd. So, we all went to the Houston Rodeo on Friday night to see Mary J. Blige and Brian McKnight. We ended up staying out all night – including a 4am meal at Denny’s. On Saturday, the four of us did a little shopping and then went down to Kemah Boardwalk. We ate and rode around on the silly little train. I got a yummy cake that year.

24th Birthday, 2003 -
It was a Sunday. We had been in Austin the entire weekend for my sister-in-law’s martial arts competition. That Saturday night, I brought my birthday in on 6th Street. On Sunday we headed back to Houston and hung out in the museum district. That evening we ate at a Mexican restaurant near the house.

25th Birthday, 2004 -
It was a Monday. The first time I had ever had to be at work on my birthday. Also my first birthday at my current place of employment. The night before, we had gone to a Houston Rockets game that went into triple overtime. We left the game during the first overtime since the game hadn’t started until 8pm as it was. We had time to grab some Sonic and get home to watch the conclusion of the game. On Monday at work, my new co-workers took me out to lunch. After work, a friend surprised me by bringing over a cake that she had made for my birthday. Then my husband and I went down to Kemah for dinner. Then he surprised me with a nice spa gift certificate. He actually blindfolded me and drove me to the spa to give me the gift.

26th Birthday, 2005 -
It was a Wednesday. I had a prenatal doctor’s appointment. I was about 11 weeks pregnant and it was the first time that I got to hear Jayla’s heartbeat. My husband and I then had lunch together at Schlotzsky*s. Then I had to hurry back to work for a presentation that I was scheduled to give. That evening we had dinner at Outback and went to see Hitch at the movies. On Friday night, I got a surprise birthday party.

27th Birthday, 2006 -
It is tomorrow. We are taking off work. We are dropping Jayla off in the morning. Beyond that, I have no idea what our day will bring.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Like Mother, Like Daughter

I took off work yesterday. Jayla had her 6-month check-up so, I could have only worked a 1/2 day anyway. Her check-up went very well. She weighed in at 15 pounds, 11 ounces and measured about 26 inches. Both of these measurements were in the 50th percentile. At her 4-month check-up she was also 50th percentile for both measurements. So, yesterday, upon finding out that her size is still exactly in the middle for children her age, I told her, "Jayla, you are exactly average!". The child burst into tears!! I am not even making this up. She made me apologize for calling her average. While I was apologizing, I realized how bad it sounded to call my child average and I realized that I would hate it (probably burst into tears too) if someone called me average. I solemnly vow to never call my child average again - I must always remember that she is nothing short of exceptional...

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Valentine's Day

The last time that my husband and I went to dinner together, alone, was 8 days after Jayla was born. September 1, 2005 - it was our 4-year wedding anniversary. It wasn't particularly enjoyable as we had just spent 10 hours at the hospital that day, visiting her in the NICU. So, clearly, we are overdue for a meal together, alone. As we do not have a babysitter lined up for tonight nor dinner reservations for anywhere, I decided that a lunch date could be in order and then we'd be free to spend Valentine's evening with our sweet baby girl (and our long-term house guest). I sent him this in an email yesterday:

My darling husband,
You are my perfect mate.
So let's seal this v-day
With a lunch time date.

He liked the idea but, isn't sure if he can get out of an all-day meeting long enough to meet me somewhere for lunch. So, I'm still waiting for a firm answer...

On Sunday, we opened Jayla's Valentine's Day gifts from my mom. I thought it was a little over the top to send a 5.5-month-old a card but, I'll just save it until she's old enough to actually read it! My mom also bought her some tummy time soft books. They're kinda like mats that you roll out and it gives them something to look at while on their tummies. We tried it - Jayla is not easily fooled into tummy time. She liked the book so, she grabbed it, and rolled over so that she was viewing the book on her back while holding it in the air. So, not the intended outcome but, at least she liked them.

So, this past weekend, I pulled out Jayla's two Valentine's Day bibs so that she can wear one of them to day care today. Apparently, her wardrobe manager (aka daddy) didn't remember that today was the day...neither did I - UNTIL, I got to the day care. All the kids had on red and white and Carson's bib said, "Hug Me", while Emma's bib said, "I love you". Jayla has on pink, green, and yellow stripes and a bib that says "I Love My Daddy". Her bib could be special if she didn't have 11 "I Love My Daddy" bibs so, she basically wears one of those everyday. Oh well, surely, I'll just put the Valentine's bib on her tonight for a photo shoot.

Friday, February 10, 2006

What was I thinking?

Last night, my husband had another basketball game. Jayla and I went. Of course, the other wives wanted to hold her and play with her. I warned them that she was sick. My pharmacy tech friend was asking me if I was giving her any medicine. I explained that I hate medicine and never take it. And unfortunately, I have decided that Jayla must hate medicine too and I never give it to her either. Plus, I had given her some medicine when we were out of town over Christmas and she slept NOT A WINK that night. I vowed to never do it again.

But still, when I got home, I was thinking more about the medicine thing. I decided to go ahead and try to give Jayla a small dosage of some infant decongestant. I would feel selfish if I didn't do it. She took it with a smile, then sopped up some oatmeal, and nursed for almost 2 hours (I fell asleep and I'm sure she did too so, it wasn't a solid 2 hours). So, when she went to bed, I figured it'd be all good and I'd see her in the morning. But, Jayla decided that "morning" was 3:30am and we went through a similar scenario as we had 2 months ago when I gave her medicine the last time! Finally, at 5:00am, we shut her in our closet where we couldn't hear her and went back to sleep. I have no idea what she did between 5am and 7am.

Now I'm serious - no more medicine for Jayla...or at least not any infant Robitussin!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Instructions

It appears that my sweet Jayla hasn't been feeling well since about Tuesday. She's got a runny nose, a wicked cough, and a very low grade fever. Yesterday at the day care they said she was just staring into space sometimes and sleep the rest of the time. I noticed the same thing yesterday evening. Luckily, my husband told her not to put any toys in her mouth today that have been in another person's mouth - glad we nipped that in the bud!

Friday, February 03, 2006

Day Two

As I was so kind as to actually warm the milk that I mixed with Jayla's cereal last night, she returned the favor by absolutely sopping up every bit of cereal in the bowl. A few times I almost stopped feeding it to her because she was scrunching up her nose at it. Then she did a complete 180 and started opening her mouth very wide every time she saw the spoon coming towards her. I do think that she's got the hang of it. I think I'll stick with rice cereal for another day or two and then move on to oatmeal.

I experienced another very exciting Jayla moment yesterday. Jayla relies on pacifiers to calm her down when she is sleepy. It only works when she is sleepy. She will not take it any other time (and even spits it out as soon as she is sound asleep). So, when she is fighting sleep, she is trying to holler and suck at the same time. It doesn't work so, she ends up losing the pacifier and hollering louder until someone crams it in her mouth and holds it there until she falls asleep. My husband and I have been absolutely living for the day when she has the coordination to just put the thing in her mouth at will instead of needing us to do it every time. Well, I saw her do it TWICE yesterday!! I was SO excited. I gave her the pacifier so that she could relax enough for our after work/school nap on the couch. I watched her take it out of her mouth and place it back in twice...without so much as a wimper in between. I do believe this is going to be huge for our sanity.

In other news: A friend of mine from college is coming to live with us for a while. She is moving here from Atlanta to start a job on Monday. So, she's staying with us until she gets an apartment. I made it clear up front that I cannot guarantee a full night of interrupted sleep every night - she wanted to come anyway...(In Jayla's defense, I will say that she has slept 7-8 hours straight each night for a week now.)

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Introducing Rice Cereal

So last night we finally let Jayla eat a little bit of rice cereal from a spoon. We planned to give it to her right after her evening feeding. I'm trying to do this where it will affect my milk supply as little as possible. So, after I fed her, we put her in the high chair and made up just a little bit of cereal with breastmilk for her. She took it VERY well and seemed to really enjoy the whole experience. She only ate a little bit but, everything that I put in her mouth pretty much stayed in her mouth and was ultimately swallowed. The experience was not nearly as messy as I thought it would be. After a few spoonfuls, she lost interest and became completely engrossed in exploring her high chair instead. I count it a success, especially considering that the cereal was mixed with ice cold milk! I promise to remember to warm it up a little tonight. Here she is in her chair and after finishing her meal:





Monday, January 30, 2006

Great Weekend

The highlights:

Two of my childhood friends came to visit this weekend. They specifically wanted to meet Jayla so, seeing me was just an added bonus. It was great for the three of us to get together again. The last time we were all three together was at my wedding 4.5 years ago. We didn’t do much but hang around the house and places right around my house. Jayla was great all weekend. She warmed up to my friends very quickly, which was nice because they wanted to play with her all weekend. She, in turn, managed to take the equivalent of ¾ of a nap all weekend. But, she slept through the entire night on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (about 8 hours each night) so, I can’t complain. I honestly think last night was the first time that I have had 6 hours of uninterrupted sleep since we brought her home from the hospital! (I have got to learn to go to bed when she does instead of hanging out another 2-3 hours.)

I’ve noticed that Jayla has been making chewing motions with her mouth. I’m thinking she may be catching on to this eating thing that everyone around her seems to be doing. We got her high chair and assembled it yesterday so she sat in it while we ate dinner last night. She wasn’t particularly pleased with it – probably because she was exhausted from the weekend. Anyway, I guess we’ll start cereal soon enough. I’m in no particular hurry.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Extra-curriculars

Every night this week I have been subjected to watching 13-year-old boys playing 8th grade basketball. The games were video-taped in 1991 and include my husband and all his childhood friends. Sadly, he remembers every play and every game score as if it happened yesterday. What’s worse – my baby girl can’t peel her eyes away from the television when it’s on! She has always been mesmerized by sports on TV but, she has been even more intrigued with the video tapes this week.

Last night we went to a live basketball game. My husband plays in a church league and Jayla and I have to be his biggest supporters every Thursday night. She LOVES to watch him play! It is adorable. She watches the ball and players go back and forth up and down the court as if she knows what’s going on. My husband is thrilled. He can’t wait to video tape her 8th grade basketball games!

Now, I was never a sports player. I was always in various choirs, bands, dance teams, a cheerleader – you know the type. And since Jayla is a girl, I obviously want her to love my extra-curricular activities so that I can be one of those ridiculous stage mothers. We play music a lot for her so, hopefully, she is developing a love for music. I’m determined to put her in dance by the time she is 2. And just for good measure, I think I’ll throw in some of my middle school show choir tapes from 1990-93 this weekend and make her watch them. Yes, my husband will kill me…

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Five Months

5 Months ago today:

  • I was laying in a hospital bed, waiting on a consistent contraction pattern that would ultimately never come.
  • I would give birth to my first baby by c-section in about 12 hours.
  • I had no idea that the first time I’d see my baby, she’d be hooked up to an IV machine and have a large tube down her throat, emptying the contents of her distended belly.
  • I had no idea that I wouldn’t get to hold my baby for another 2 days.
  • I had no idea the physical pain that I would feel the first time I got out of bed the next day.
  • I had no idea how much emotional pain that I would feel as I continued to visit my baby in the hospital for the next 27 days.
  • I wasn’t sure if I would be a good mother.
  • I had no idea how to take care of a baby.
  • I had no idea how much more deeply I would fall in love with this person whom I already loved so much, even in the womb.
  • I had no idea how unselfish I would become.


I couldn’t picture the baby that she is today. At 5 months old, being with Jayla is absolutely the highlight of my every day. She reminds me so much of her father and her mother – a perfect blend. She smiles every time that she sees or hears either one of us. She is learning to play with toys, her favorites being her hands and her feet. She is learning to sit up on her own and can do it for several minutes at a time. She puts weight on her legs when held in a standing position. She still hates being on her tummy but, has perfected the ability to roll over to her back without expending a lot of energy in the process. She loves to squeal and make laughing motions. Although, she doesn’t quite now how to produce sound when it is appropriate to laugh. Her sleep is still somewhat erratic but, more often than not, she will sleep through most of the night and take 3 naps of varying length during the day. She has not yet had any solid foods but, still seems to be thriving on 100% breastmilk.

It is amazing how quickly she has developed a very distinct personality. I am very excited about watching her continue to develop and grow. I am excited about what the next month, weeks, and years will bring. How ironic that I still don’t think I’m “ready” for kids but, I can’t imagine not being Jayla’s mommy.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Daily Guilty Pleasures

After work/day care, before Daddy gets home:

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Put it in your mouth...

Jayla has finally figured out that the things that she can now hold in her hands are also suitable for sticking into her mouth. Among the things that Jayla has learned to put in her mouth this week:

Thursday - An empty granola bar wrapper. I eat about about 4-5 granola bars a day (seriously, it's that bad!) and I was having one with her sitting on my lap. She was eyeing the empty wrapper when I finished so, I gave it to her. First she crumpled it up a few times to hear the sounds that it made. Then she wadded it up and stuck it in her mouth! I was excited because it's the first thing she'd ever really stuck in her mouth. But, now I'm worried that if she forms a granola bar habit that's anywhere close to mine, we might as well buy the Quaker Oats company and put it in our backyard - it'd be cheaper!

Saturday - I was buying some new underwear at Gap Body. Jayla likes to be included in purchasing decisions. So, I asked her what she thought of them. She asked for a closer look so I put them on her lap in the stroller. She picked them up and crammed them in her mouth. I took that as a "yes, mommy, I like these!"

Tonight - Her feet. She discovered her feet about 2 weeks ago and has been staring at them and reaching for them ever since. (The funniest thing was last week when she was trying to figure out why her toe was wiggling.) Her daddy is so excited about this one. He sees it as a developmental milestone and since she was about 5 weeks old, he has been worried that her belly was too fat and she was too inflexible to accomplish this trick. He didn't believe me when I told him she did it. But, then I showed him the saliva on her feet! And here she is shortly afterwards:

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Experiments

Remember in high school and/or college when you used to have to do science "experiments" in class? (They were "experiments" because the teacher already knew what the outcome should be). Well, in science class you learned to keep all your variables constant and only change one thing at a time. Even though my husband and I have degrees in chemical engineering, the whole "change one variable at a time" thing didn't really sink in for us. See the following scenarios:

1. At the beginning of last week, Jayla was very fussy at the day care and at home. We thought it could be from coming off vacation for 10 days...maybe she needed more milk in her bottles for the day care...maybe she was constipated...maybe her gas was painful...maybe she was teething. So, last Wednesday, I added another 1/2 ounce to each of her day care bottles, she had two massive poops, I gave her Mylicon and Orajel and she finally stopped fussing. Do we have any idea which one was actually wrong with her? No - because we changed all the variables at the same time.

2. Over the weekend, Jayla let us get precisely 0 hours of sleep per night. So, last night after observing her in her crib for a few minutes, we decided to take off the bumper and everything soft in her crib. She was rolling around a bit much and specifically grabbing the bumper and pulling it into her face. So, we emptied her crib (for some reason there was alot of soft stuff in there - isn't that like against the new parenting laws or something?), turned on a night light where she usually sleeps in the pitch dark, and lowered the thermastat by one degree (to 73). She slept the entire night. Woke up at the exact time that she needed to get her morning nursing in. Again, have no clue which of those things did it for her...but, we're shooting for an exact duplication tonight!

Monday, January 09, 2006

Committed

Yesterday, my little family and I participated in the Parent Commitment service at our church. The service is designed to be a time where parents can publicly commit to raising their children in a Godly home and teaching them about Christ. It turned out to be a really nice evening. The following was read by our Pastor when my family was introduced to everyone:

Jayla Tamia, meaning Ascending Spirit, born August 24, 2005

Her verse:
Isaiah 40:13 - but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

The verse was actually chosen for Jayla by the church. We were given an option to change it but, I really, really like that one for her, especially in light of her initial hospital stay.

So, in leiu of a baptism for babies, our church has this service. My husband is still very adamant about getting Jayla baptized soon. He hasn't figured out when or where or what in the world we will tell Jayla when our church basically teaches against baptizing babies that "cannot make a choice for themselves".

In other news, my parents were here this weekend to attend the service with us. We also went to Fogo de Chao to celebrate my mom's 50th birthday, which is coming up on Thursday. We had an AWESOME time!! Jayla slept through the entire dinner - has no idea that we ever even went.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Routines

To get home from work, I take one of the major Houston freeways out of downtown. When I exit the freeway, I turn left to get to my house. Since I've been back to work, I've had to turn right after exiting the freeway to go pick up Jayla. Every afternoon when I leave work, I think of nothing but her until I get to her. Well, yesterday was slightly different. For the first time since I've been back, I exited the freeway and turned left to go straight home. Of course, as I was actually making the turn through a yellow light, it dawned on me that I had forgotten by baby for the first time. I immediately turned around to go get her. I think that must mean that I am finally comfortable back at work and getting back into the groove. So much so that for that brief moment while I was turning left, I had forgotten how drastically my life has changed in the past 4.5 months. I don't feel bad about it, rather excited that I do have the ability to have a life that is separate from my child. As a special treat, when I walked into the room to pick up Jayla, she looked up and made eye contact with me and broke into the absolutely biggest grin I've ever seen:



Speaking of routines, Ms. Jayla woke up last night at 3:19am. That made about the 5th night in a row that she has woken betwen 3:00am and 3:30am. The routine goes something like this:

1. Jayla screams
2. Mommy kicks Daddy to wake him up
3. Daddy goes to Jayla's room, shoves a pacifier in her mouth, holds her head down (because otherwise she flings the pacifier out so that she can continue to scream), and she immediately falls asleep within 30 seconds.
4. Daddy comes back to bed
5. Jayla awakes at 6:00am (as she is supposed to) for breakfast

Well, last night I decided to help Daddy out because he is noticably more tired than I am this week. So, I did the routine this morning. She woke up at 3:19am and I was back in bed with her fully asleep by 3:25am.

But, I'm thinking that we are going to have to break her of this. I don't know why she feels the need to do that. I'm wondering if we should let her cry through it a little bit to see if she can put herself back to sleep. We haven't done it on a weekday just because it's easier to go to her room for 6 minutes then go back to sleep. But, maybe tonight. We haven't had to make her cry for anything yet in her life but, this is obviously an issue because she does it like clockwork...hmmm...

Thursday, January 05, 2006

A Lifesaver...

Thank you Orajel!

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Just for Lucy

Today I returned to work after being off since December 22 for the holidays. After my morning pumping session, my friend/co-worker, Lucy, gave me a hard time about not doing a better job of updating my blog. So, since I'm back at work, I guess I have no excuse. I promise to do a better job of updating.

Now, where were we? Yes - we left for Christmas in Mississippi on Friday, December 23. We drove (~7.5 hours) and I must say that Jayla did a good job in the car. I wasn't really too worried about it because I knew there was no way that the trip could be any worse than our attempts to escape Houston and Hurricane Rita back in September. We stopped to change Jayla's diaper and let her look around at different scenery twice. When we got to my parents house, we saw Jayla's first gift. My mom bought Jayla a swing and repainted the ancient (circa 1950's) bars in her yard and hung it on there. My mom was raised in that house and the swing has always been there. But, the bars had been empty since my parents moved there back in 1998. I loved seeing a new swing there - brought back so many memories of when we used to go to Mississippi when I was growing up (we lived in North Carolina then and would just go to MS on holidays). We would hang all over the bars and the existing swing and now Jayla's going to get to do the same thing!...eventually...



Jayla had a huge Christmas. Gifts galore.



She also finally rolled over on Christmas day. We put her on her tummy (which, by the way, she does not scream bloody murder anymore when we do it) and she just rolled over as if she had been doing it all of her life. She also discovered her thumb while we were at my parents house. It has not yet replaced the pacifier but, it did help her go to sleep on her own at least 3 times over the holidays.

The day after Christmas, we headed to Hot Springs, Arkansas for the rest of the week. It was another long car ride for Jayla but, she handled it well again. Hot Springs really is a cute little place.



We generally just hung out. But, my mom and I did go get a bath on Wednesday morning. It was an awesome experience. We headed back to MS on Friday and then back to TX on Saturday. That was the limit to Jayla's patience in the car. I think she would have gone crazy had there been another road trip in her future.

We brought in the New Year with a bunch of friends from our Sunday School class. Jayla was a doll at the party.



Around 11:00pm, we shut her in a room by herself and kept listening for her to scream - she never did. After staring around at the strange room for about 45 minutes, she put herself to sleep with no fuss. That was a welcome event as Jayla had some difficulty sleeping while we were in Arkansas last week. I'm pretty sure it was just because she was in a strange place - oh, and had her grandparents spoiling her 24 hours a day. So, everytime she woke up, she screamed for someone to pick her up instead of trying to put herself back to sleep.

Okay, I think that brings us to the present. I have made several goals for this year. But, I don't think I'll post them here yet. This post is already long enough!