Sunday, December 30, 2007

2007 in Review

2007 was an eventful year for our little family. I wanted to take some time and reflect on everything that happened...especially since I neglected this blog for a good portion of this year.

January: We brought the New Year in with some friends from the Baptist church. Jayla started a new school (the Montessori that she is currently attending) and she finally stopped nursing. I started half-heartedly taking classes at a local university.

February: I interviewed for the Ph.D. program that I am currently in. I was offered admission along with a fellowship and an assistantship that would allow me to quit my job and go to school full-time. My dad had triple-bypass surgery and I turned 28. We made two trips to Mississippi that month.

March: I left Jayla overnight for the first time. I traveled to Phoenix for 3 days to complete a certification class. I also officially accepted the fellowship and assistantship offers with my husband’s full support. Consequently, I started counting the days until I could quit my job.

April: We started visiting a Lutheran church. We had been attending a Baptist church for the past 4 years, even though neither of us was raised Baptist. My husband was raised Lutheran and could not reconcile some of the doctrinal differences. So, we went to check out a Lutheran church near our house since our responsibilities as small group leaders at the Baptist church would be on hiatus until the beginning of the summer.

May: We started taking a Lutheran 101 class which required us to be in attendance at the Lutheran church each Sunday for 13 weeks. We committed to it so that I could learn more about the Lutheran church since I was not as familiar with it as my husband. At the end of the 13 weeks, we would make a decision on joining the church. We also traveled to Mississippi for my sister’s MBA graduation.

June: My sister moved in with us after her graduation. My husband turned 30 and we left Jayla with my parents for the first time. We took a quick trip (4 days) down to Galveston while they watched her at our house. We were only 45 minutes away from home but, it was nice to get away together for the first time since we’ve had Jayla.

July: We traveled to Atlanta for my husband’s family reunion. My parents came to visit for a weekend to witness my baptism at the Lutheran church.

August: I visited girlfriends in Nashville for a weekend (three times away from Jayla this year!). Our little family officially joined the Lutheran church that we’d been visiting. I finally quit my job. Jayla turned 2 and all of her grandparents came to town for her birthday party. I started school full-time. We started taking Financial Peace University (FPU) through the Lutheran church.

September: We celebrated 6 years of marriage by traveling to Mississippi for my family reunion. My husband was thrilled . We also made a trip to St. Louis for my husband’s college scholarship reunion (they were celebrating 20 years of the scholarship award’s existence). In between, I was trying to adjust to being a student again and FPU was in full swing.

October: We flew to North Carolina for a wedding that I was in. Otherwise, I was intently focused on school and trying to recover from so much traveling. Jayla dressed as a bumblebee for Halloween and we took her and her best friend to a city park to a sponsored trick-or-treat trail.

November: I was still pretty focused on school. FPU finally ended. We spent Thanksgiving in Mississippi with my family.

December: I finished my first semester in this program with all A’s. With me done with school, we got to enjoy a bit more quality time as a family. We also drove to St. Louis to spend the week of Christmas with my husband’s family and friends.

There were a lot of changes with my employment, the church/denomination switch and Jayla’s development, of course. But, looking back over the year, it is so clear that God was faithful and we were blessed. I’m looking forward to big things in 2008...

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Christmas Travels

This evening we returned from our week-long trip to St. Louis. The drive took us 13 hours to get there last Saturday and 13 hours and 10 minutes to get back today. I was really apprehensive about trying to entertain Jayla on the way there. But, we made it in one piece. On the way back today, entertaining her was a piece of cake. She spent the first half of the trip like this:

Then, she enjoyed some fried chicken out of box (which, if you know me, you know that for me to claim her as my child, she is required to enjoy this experience):

Then, back to sleep for the rest of the trip. Easy Peasy.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Performances

How has it been almost 2 weeks since I last posted. Oh, yeah - I have spent that time being tremendously busy with holiday-related activities!

For instance, last weekend, I found out that a two-year-old can in fact monopolize the entire social calendar for her family. Jayla had three Christmas performances last weekend - Friday night was her school's Christmas music concert. After a full month of hearing nothing but "Jingle Bells" come out of her mouth, she sang not a word of it at the concert. But, how proud I was that she swayed with the beat unlike so many of her other classmates. Then, Saturday night she sang at church. I knew they were singing "Away in a Manger" but, I just wasn't ready for all of the hand gestures and movement that went along with it. It was really cute and she belted that song like there was no tomorrow. Then on Monday night, she had her dance concert. Apparently, my husband and I were talking a little too loud during the performance because she kept turning to us and saying "shhhhh!!!" It cracked me up. I managed to sneak this picture when she wasn't preoccupied by the volume at which my husband and I were discussing her dancing skills:

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Playing Hookie with the Girls

Yesterday I kept Jayla at home with me. She seemed a little sad in the morning that she wasn't going to see her friends at school. But, once I revealed our plans for the day, she soon got over that. Our goal for the day was to hang out at the big, swanky mall with a girl that I used to work with and her daughters (ages 4.5 and almost-3). Last year, we took off of work to take our girls to the mall at Christmastime. This year, I thankfully, didn't have to take off of work to do it. It's funny because Jayla was talking about them this weekend, not knowing that we had an outing planned with them this week. That made it extra-sweet when she got to see them.

We met at lunch time and started at the Bennigan's in the mall. Then we walked around for about 3 hours. The girls were great. First of all, I was just so happy that Jayla used the potty when we were at Bennigan's because it is so much easier to hold her over a potty than it is to change a pull-up in a public bathroom. Then, we actually got to shop - and buy Christmas presents! The girls walked around most of the day, holding hands, and really just entertaining themselves. Usually Jayla was in the middle. But, they walked in front of us the whole time. It was really cute. They got to watch ice skating, awesome water fountains, see Santa and blow kisses at him without making us stand in line to take a picture with him, and Lord only knows how long we were in the Disney Store! We wrapped up the day with a trip to the Nestle store in the food court for chocolate chip cookies. And even though the girls probably don't remember last year, we did the exact some thing so, it is officially a tradition now.

My friend and I were debating on how much longer the girls will enjoy being at the mall with their moms. Since her oldest is already 4.5, we figure we've only got another 8 years before she starts convincing the younger two girls that it isn't cool to walk around with us anymore. But, for now, those trips are definitely a blast and really, I am so already looking forward to doing it again next year!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

My Little Chef

Jayla helped me make pepperoni rolls for dinner tonight. I was so proud of her for putting the cheese on the dough rather than in her mouth. The pepperoni, however, didn't stand a chance against her!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Thanks for staying...

For the past few months of non-activity on this blog, I've been seriously thinking about whether I would ever post here again. I mean, I didn't blog about my child's 2nd birthday, quitting my job, starting school, the cute halloween outfit, Jayla starting ballet classes, or our Thankgiving trip. But, I feel compelled to come back to this blog because a few of you are still faithfully checking in on me. And I appreciate that...really, I do.

So, I won't bore you with trying to catch up much on what's been going on but, let's just say that school has been keeping me extremely busy and Jayla and her vocabulary and attitude have grown to the point that I can no longer even imagine that time when she didn't tell me what she wants to wear, what she likes and doesn't like, and how I should wear my hair. It is never boring when she is around...that's for sure...

Anyway, I'm welcoming myself back to my own blog. Thanks for staying...

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Friday, July 06, 2007

Poked and Prodded to the Max

On Monday night, as I was putting Jayla to bed, I noticed that she was a little warm. I took her temperature - 101.3 - no need to be too alarmed. I gave her a dose of Tylenol and put her down to sleep.

I really did not think much of it and even considered not telling my husband about it. But, I did right before we went to bed just so he would know to check her out when he woke her up the next morning.

She was still running a fever when he got her up on Tuesday - still 101.3. She was really lethargic so, he gave her more Tylenol and let her sleep some more. I volunteered to stay home with her for the day because it was the day before the holiday and frankly, there was absolutely no reason for me to go to work.

She woke up again just after her daddy left for work and really wanted nothing more than to just lay around and watch PBS while I surfed the web from the couch. It really was a great morning.

I tried to put her down for a nap a little early. She slept for about 20 minutes and then woke up screaming. I picked her up and she was burning up! Her skin looked red and was hot to the touch. I took her temperature and with every 1/10 degree that the number increased, I was just praying that it would STOP GOING UP ALREADY!!

It didn't stop until it had reached 104.7. That's degrees, people. The child had a fever of 104.7 degrees! I thought of my boss' stories of how his child went into seisures at 105 degrees. My immediate thoughts were to get her in a bathtub of cold water and call the doctor.

I let her sit in the bathtub as the water ran and I called the doctor's office. They, of course, were at lunch and would not monitor the voicemail for another 2 hours - when they opened back up! I left a message and focused on cooling her down.

I managed to get the fever down into the 102 range before she went down for her full nap. Please remind me the next time to just go straight to the Motrin. Tylenol does NOTHING for this girl.

Her fever continued to decrease through the afternoon and then we had a doctor's appointment later on. I think that doctor's appointment was definitely the worst part of the day for Jayla.

By the time we left the doctor's office, she'd had blood drawn from both of her arms, her finger pricked, been catheterized, and had a shot of antibiotices in her thigh. She faught everything tooth and nail. I was very proud of her for fighting back when she perceived that someone was hurting her. But, really, I'm so glad that her daddy was there to hold her down. It freed me up to cry in the corner as they poked and prodded by baby.

So, she either started feeling better from the shot or the threat of having to ever go back to that dreading doctor's office...

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Where ReRe's Shouldn't Go

So, Jayla has this thing where she is constantly requesting a snack consisting of "ReRe's and Crackers". The crackers are always whole grain goldfish. No one can figure out why this combination is so appealing to her but, it is her absolute favorite. But, ultimately, we know it will shut her up so, when we get home in the evenings I usually give her a bowl of rere's and she quietly dissappears to the family room to watch Hannah (as in, Montana - as in, her favorite tv show for whatever reason).

In the past few weeks, she has gotten really bad about purposely emptying her bowl onto the floor. It is usually just a few remaining rere's after she has enhaled the crackers (which are soggy from the rere's, which further puzzles those of us who are more discerning with our food choices). It doesn't necessarily mean that she is finished with eating them. She simply doesn't want to see her snack in the bowl any longer. She prefers, instead, to decorate the floor with it.

In turn, her father and I have gotten really, really strict on making her pick up every single bit of her snack whenever she does this. It usually involves alot of painful screaming and crying but, the parents always win this battle. She continues to do it, though, and I can't figure out why she won't just let the rere's stay in the bowl because clearly mommy and daddy don't think they should go on the floor.

Nor should they go in Jayla's nose. In true Jayla fashion, she tested this theory on Saturday night.

We were at a movie in the park. They were playing Cars and it was free. We thought it would be a good opportunity to see how well Jayla would behave in a movie. We brought dinner with us and of course, a bowl of rere's and crackers. Since the movie started late, we managed to finish our dinner of Quizno's sandwiches and chips before it even started.

About mid-way through the movie, Jayla started looking through her bag and saw the bowl. She immediately went into a "rere/cracker" chant. I granted her demand. I even called myself getting ahead of the game by pouring the contents of the bowl into the tray on her stroller (in which she was strapped because otherwise, I would have spent the entire movie chasing her around the park!). I figured there was no additional mischief to be had because I emptied the bowl for her. But, I think she got the last laugh.

I looked at Jayla at one point and she had her index finger halfway up her nose. I initially ignored it and turned back to the movie. But, then I decided that is was disgusting so, I told her to take it out. She complied. Then she tried to take a breath through her nose. She started screaming and grabbed her nose. I immediately thought I knew what had transpired.

I mentioned my theory to my husband (who was utterly engrossed in the movie). He looked at me like, "what?!?" and then said something to the effect of, "why weren't you watching her!?!?". I thought, "When have I ever watched her eat rere's? Hannah watches her eat rere's. Not mama." But, I decided not to actually say that lest it become a discussion while the child still screams violently with every breath she tries to take.

So, my husband tried to reach up her nose to retrieve it, but couldn't. So, he told her to blow her nose. Let me tell ya'll - this is when I realized just how truly truly amazing this child is. She blew like she had never blown before with a force that said she understood just how important the blowing was at that moment. With that blow, my hunch was confirmed, we saw the rere peep out of her nose. She sucked it back in with her next breath. Then daddy said, "Blow hard, Jayla! One more time." She blew her nose with everything she had and the rere shot out and landed on the tray of her stroller.

I threw the remainder of the rere's away. For the first time ever, she didn't object.

Monday, June 04, 2007

On My Mind

Last night, I dreamed I was pregnant. Part of me wishes I were...but, that's not the plan right now.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

It really doesn't get any easier!

We had great Memorial Day weekend. We were on the go alot - from a birthday party to dinner with friends to a show at a local amphitheater to two cookouts. But, as sappy as it sounds, the best part was just doing all these things with my little family.

That means the second best part must be the fact that it was a 3-day weekend that actually felt like a long weekend. I did not once think about work or even the fact that I had to go back there on Tuesday. It was quite a little shock to my system when I had to drop Jaya off yesterday morning.

See, contrary to popular belief (or at least the beliefs of some of the women at cookout #1 on Sunday evening), it does not get easier to drop your kid off at day care every morning. For me, it has gotten exponentially harder.

Technically, when Jayla was a little baby, I was so incredibly relieved to drop her off that it wasn't funny. I didn't know what to do with her so, I was comforted in the fact that I was leaving her with someone who knew what to do with babies. I was happy to drop her off and go to work because going to work was normal. It's what I knew and understood. New baby wasn't so comprehensible.

Now that she is older, I am more comfortable with having her around. She has become a part of the family. She is now what's normal and spending so much time away from her is not. We have fun together. She has a personality. We interact. We're friends.

I've been thinking about this lately but, I try not to let it get to me. But, I felt like I needed to set the record straight. It really doesn't get any easier. The truth is quite the contrary.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

What Mama Never Told Me

It was a mostly normal Tuesday afternoon, except Jayla and I had doctor appointments. Jayla had a follow-up appointment with her dermatologist. She was released to live the life of a normal toddler who no longer has a deadly bacterial infection. I had my first EVER appointment with a primary care physician. It turns out that I am allergic to Houston and was released to a life of Flonase, Claritin, and yogurt.

I am told this is normal. I have apparently never been normal.

As the doctor examined me on Tuesday afternoon, she asked me if anyone in my family had a history of allergies – Hay Fever? Asthma? The lightbulb went off in my head when she mentioned asthma. “Yup. Mama.” I answered. She replied, “Well, you can thank your mama because you are suffering from allergies”.

What? What does a sort throat have to do with allergies? And why is it that I’ve never been allergic to anything ever before in my life?

She explained the postnasal drip that has apparently been causing blisters on the back of my throat which is why the immense pain has been torturing me for the past week. She also said that allergens are particularly bad this year and people that usually are not affected, have been.

I asked her what sorts of things I could be allergic to.

I just remember “smog” being in that list. She might as well have said, “Houston.”

When I got in the car, I did just as the doctor suggested – I called my mama to thank her for my allergies. She laughed. I kept talking. I told her how I swore to the doctor that I had never had any issues with being allergic to anything in my life.

Mama’s response: “Well, not exactly. When you were little you were allergic to everything. I remember your daddy almost killed you one time. You were following him around the house and he was using bleach to do a load of laundry. He didn’t know what had happened. All of a sudden you couldn’t breathe. We had to take you to the hospital for a reaction to bleach.”

What!?!? No, mama, there’s no reason that you should have told me that I was allergic to bleach at some point in my life. There’s no reason that you should have told me that I was hospitalized on several occasions due to allergic reactions. And there’s certainly no need to know that I was an asthmatic child.

But, I do appreciate knowing that all of that cleared up when we moved to North Carolina. I may need to use that as a supporting argument one day. I can see it now – “But, at least I’m not allergic to North Carolina!”

Monday, May 07, 2007

Tales From The Day Care Workers

Today when I went to pick Jayla up from school, one of her teachers (the one who actually never talks to me when I pick her up) looked up at me as I walked through the door. She startled me when she blurted out, "Oh! I need to tell you what happened today!" All sorts of scary thoughts ran through my head but, I kept my cool and replied, "Okay?" as I gather Jayla's belongings.

She proceeded to tell me a convoluted, long-winded story that I still don't remember the details of. But, the gist of it was this: Jayla walked up to her and said, "Potty." So, she asked Jayla if she wanted to sit on the big girl potty and Jayla, in true Jayla fashion, shook her head and said, "No."

I can totally picture that entire exchange between the two of them because if Jayla knows how to do nothing else, she knows how to contradict herself.

Then...something, something, something...she put Jayla on the toilet and Jayla sat there for 2 or 3 minutes until she decided to get up from the potty. When she got up, she ended up pooping on the floor - timed it a little wrong, I guess.

So, while I was all disgusted at the thought of cleaning poop off the floor that does not belong to your own child whom you gave birth to, the teacher was grinning ear to ear at Jayla's accomplishment. She was so excited that Jayla told her that she needed to use it and then actually used it. The teachers seem to think that she is, therefore, well on her way to potty-training land. I'm not entirely convinced but, I received the story with all of the enthusiasm that they told it with.

As Jayla and I walked down the hall towards the front desk, the teacher at the front desk says, "Here comes the diva!" - complete with the whole 3-snaps-in-a-z-formation. Not sure how to receive the comment, I asked, "Is that how she acts around here?". Ummm...apparently, that is entirely how Jayla is known by approximated 100% of the employees at that school. Because as we stood there, several teachers came up and they all had their own example of Jayla's diva attitude. The storied cracked me up.

But, quite honestly, I could not be happier with how confident and assertive she is. I don't know if that's just a regular toddler trait at this stage but, based on her teachers, it is not - or at least she adds her own flair to it all. I know I will be less happy with some of these characteristics during her teenage years but, ultimately, I wouldn't have it any other way. My job is to just help her refine it so that she is not perceived negatively by people who don't understand her attitude...just like my mama did for me...

Sunday, May 06, 2007


Spoken byJayla today:

"Daddy's keys, mama!"
"Please, more water!"
"Good girl, Jayla!"

Monday, April 30, 2007

It finally happened...

For the past few weeks, Jayla has consistently been found in her bedroom with one leg draped over the railing of her crib in a half-hearted attempt to free herself from her crib at will. Well, last night, she finished the deed. Jayla climbed out of her crib, which can, of course, only be read as "Jayla fell out of her crib". I think it's somewhat of a rite of passage for a toddler. Let the downward spiral into the Terrible Two's gets more and more fun every day. (Seriously.)

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Jayla's First Kiss

Yesterday. In the park. With an older man. He was reportedly 2.5 years old. In front of both mommies. Jayla was holding a random hamburger patty and had red jello smeared all over her face even. And all the little guy had to say to get his kiss was, "I think you're cute"...oh yeah - and he followed her around the park in a trance for a while (to show his undying committment to her, I guess). But, still, I probably need to have a talk with her about her "friendliness" pretty soon...

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

On Coming Back...

So, you all should know by now that I have a bad habit of posting regularly for a month or so and then forgetting that I have a blog for several months...rinse, repeat. It's not that I forget that I have a blog. It's just that after I haven't posted in a while, nothing seems worthy of posting. Nothing is the "hey, I'm back!" post that I'm looking for. The things I've thought about posting in the past few weeks:
  • A countdown of the number of weekdays until August 21 (90 as of today) because really, that date consumes my life right now
  • Jayla can jump - as in both of her feet consistently leave the floor simultaneously at her will
  • Jayla attended her first McDonald's birthday party for a little boy in her class. It should surprise no one that she spent the entire time eating french fries and cake and drinking the infamous McDonald's orange drink while all of the other kids played on the indoor equipment. She ate everything off all of the plates that the other little kids left at the table when they went to play. It cracked me up because clearly, she is my child.
  • I have been a single parent for the past two days. I can apparently officially take care of my child all by myself (which I honestly had no confidence that I could successfully do) - at least for two days while my husband is in New Orleans for work. But, really, Thank God he's back!
  • Also? A list of all the words that Jayla knows but, it's hard because she says a new one everyday. The lastest? ReRe. It means "raisins" for those of you that haven't a clue.
See? None of that is worthy of being the post to bring me back. But, it shall have to do lest Cecilia continue to harass me about updating.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Aggie Pride

During my freshman and sophomore years of college, I spent nearly every single weekend visiting my friends at North Carolina A&T in Greensboro. We always had a blast – hanging out all night, reminiscing, going to football games…

I used to get into football games for free with them. They were all members of this group called Aggie Livewires. The Aggie Livewires wore maroon and white t-shirts and sat right beside the band in the stands. They were the best seats. The Aggie Livewires had little cheers that went with each of the songs that the band played. My friends taught them to me so that I wouldn’t look like an outsider at the games. It was so much fun. I remember screaming out the cheers and chanting “Aggie Pride, Aggie Pride!” throughout the entire game. But, never in my wildest dreams did I think I would ever become an Aggie…I was only pretending, right?

Have I mentioned that I have been blessed with the most supportive husband on the planet? Thanks baby. I love you too.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


Well, here I sit. In a hotel room. By myself. In Phoenix, Arizona. I have never been to Phoenix before. I also have never been away from Jayla for more than 11 hours at a time. Right now? It has officially been 32 hours since I saw her. She was a little clingy when I dropped her off yesterday morning. I don't know if it's because she could sense that it would be a full 3.5 days until she saw me again or if she just gets tired of screaming "No!" and trying to hit other little children all day long (Why must the new school have such violence going on in the classroom!?!? Another post. Another day.). Her daddy fed her chicken and pork n beans last night for dinner - two sources of protein with a little fiber in the mix - but, what about her Vitamins A & D and her calcium!?!? I would've made sure she had them. She talked to her grandparents on the webcam for an hour while I was taking a nap during a 3-hour flight. Not once on that 3-hour flight did I have to tell anyone to stop kicking the seat in front of them. But, I miss her. But, I slept until I felt like getting up this morning. She talked to me on the phone last night. We had a conversation. She usually just wants to push the buttons when the phone is in her face. My husband says she misses me. I miss her too.

Sorry, Luce and Cecilia - I guess the 911 post wasn't exactly worth 2.5 weeks of non-posting.

I should have brought my camera to Phoenix. I've seen several photo opportunities. But, I made a conscious decision not to bring it. I only ever take pictures of Jayla these days and since she isn't in Phoenix, I did not think I would need my camera. I was wrong and realized this as soon as I saw my rental car. It's something I can't explain with words and will therefore, be finding the disposable camera section in Wal-mart a little later today.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

911 Emergency?

Picture it:

Our house. Two Wednesday nights ago. I had just come downstairs to sit with hubby after putting Jayla to bed.

KNOCK! KNOCK! KNOCK! These were loudest bangs at a front door that I have ever heard in my life! I was pretty sure this person had likely just put his or her fist completely through the front door or had, in fact, hired a small army just to knock on our door.

Hubby and I look at each other like, "What the &*^%?!!?". The doorbell rings. Hubby runs upstairs to look out of the window that overlooks the front porch. It's where we always go if we aren't expecting someone at the door. Meanwhile, more attempts to knock our door off its hinges. The entire house shakes. Literally, I think.

He runs back downstairs, more confused than ever - "It's the police." I am now also more confused than ever.

He goes to the door and finally opens it.

Officer: "We received a 911 call from this house."

Hubby looks at me, "Again, what the *$(^#$*!?!??!"

Me: "It was Jayla." I step up to the door to talk to the officer. "Our daughter was just playing with the phone so she probably did it. I'm sorry. I'm so sorry."

Officer: "That's okay. I have kids of my own and they've done it too. So, are you saying that everything is alright here ma'am?" He looks suspiciously between me and hubby as if to say "this is your last chance to tell me if he has been pouncing on you all night and you did, indeed, dial 911 on an effort to save your very life."

Me: "Yes.", in the most sincere voice as possible. "Everything is just fine here."

Officer: Pulling out a little notepad, "Ma'am, can you give me your name and date of birth?"

I oblige, feeling ever so much like a criminal and hearing the "don't dial 911 unless it's a real emergency because you are diverting resources that could be used to save a person's life at that very moment" commercials run through my head. He tells us good night and gets back into his patrol car that he had left running in the middle of the street with the driver's side door flung open.

Upon closing the door and going back to sitting on the couch...

Hubby says, "We're going to get fined."

I say, "I can't believe it took them like 10 whole minutes to get here. What if you really were trying to strangle me in a tub full of water?"

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Birthday Recap in Pictures

I turned 28 on Friday. I must be getting old because (1) my husband did not get me a gift and I didn't care and (2) I was really looking forward to spending a weekend with my family in the country doing nothing. Well, I can't really say that we did nothing...

My birthday started with breakfast of oatmeal (hubby), a lean pocket (me), and eggs and a banana (Jayla). Then, I took my dad out for a walk. We walked a full mile...his longest walk since having his surgery. Dad wanted to start the walk at 10:21am because that's what time I had been born. So, as we started the walk, he told me how proud he was of me today just as he had been exactly 28 years ago at that moment. Sweet...I know. Anyway, my parents road is about 1/2 mile long so, we took one trip up and back to walk the mile. As we approached the house on the way back, Jayla and hubby met us outside:

Since it was such a beautiful day outside, we decided to hang out on the swing for a while:

As we sat on the swings, we heard someone come down the road. A guy was delivering hay for Dad's cows to eat:

So, we all watched him unload it and then watched the cows decide that they didn't want to eat it:

We soon found out that Jayla was no match for the soothing power of the swing:

We let her stay that way for the duration of her regular nap period.

Then, my mom came home and brought lunch for everyone and more importantly, a birthday cake!! (I really, really, really should have taken a picture of the cake but, I was far to busy eating it.) We all ate lunch together. Jayla managed to stick 1/2 of her rice to her shirt with peach juice so, we had to change her clothes.

After cleaning Jayla's mess up, the afternoon was spent much like the morning, outside, swinging - except my mom joined us (And really, if you can't wear a robe while swinging in your front yard, then why live in the country?!?!?):

And Jayla and I took a picture by a toilet:

Jayla also opted for a pre-dinner nap in the same fashion as her earlier one:

While Jayla napped (we moved her inside this time because it was getting dark), I decided that I wanted to get out for my birthday. So, hubby and I decided to go see a movie. We ended up going to an 8:00 showing of Norbit and then had dinner at O'Charley's afterwards. It turned out to be a very nice evening - and the first time we've done the dinner and movie combo since before Jayla was born. We arrived at my parents house that evening at 12:05am...making this year the absolute most low key birthday that I have ever had!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Slight Change in Plans

Two weeks ago I was all set to leave Jayla for the weekend while I visited friends in Nashville, TN. I had weaned her and readied myself for 60 whole hours away from her. Well, I went on a trip that weekend but, it wasn't quite the one that I had planned. Several of you already know what happened. But, I am still going to put it here.

Two weeks ago, just two days before my Nashville trip, I got a call during lunch. My sister told me that my dad had been admitted to the hospital that morning. He had apparently gone to the doctor because he didn't feel well. They admitted him immediately after seeing results of his blood work. After running a few tests, the doctors determined that he had 4 blocked arteries, one of which was about 95% blocked. They scheduled him for an open heart surgery - triple bypass on that Friday.

It hit me pretty hard. I was also torn about when I should go to Mississippi to be with him. I had an interview scheduled for the next morning and I really, really, really did not want to miss it. But, I felt like there was no way that I could focus on that while I knew my dad was in the hospital in that condition. A co-worker whose father died just about 3 months ago told me to do what I thought my dad would want me to do in this situation. It may have surprised her but, I know he would have wanted me to go to the interview. So, I did. But, I had to cancel my trip to Nashville because I definitely wanted to be with him before and after his surgery.

So, we headed to Mississippi in the car on Thursday evening and got there around 2am. The goal was to be at the hospital before his surgery, which was scheduled for noon on Friday. We barely made it. We had a rought night as Jayla decided sleep was optional for the night (quite possibly because we woke her up singing in the car at 1am) and was awake periodically until about 4am. But, we got to hospital in time to spend about 40 minutes with him before they took him in for the surgery. He was so happy to see us and I was so glad that we were able to be with him.

While he was in surgery, my husband, sister, Jayla, and I headed to the mall to kill time and eat lunch while my mom stayed right outside of the operating room for hourly updates from the surgeon. She called us with each one of them. When we got back to the hospital, several other family members had joined the wait with my mom. When the surgery was completed, we were taken into a small room where we got to meet the surgeon who explained what he had done during the operation. Then we were finally able to go see my dad.

It was so weird to see him laying there in such a vulnerable state. He had no idea that we were there. He was still sedated and on a breathing machine. I could see him shivering and it reminded me of my recovery period after my c-section. He was also coughing a little bit, which the nurse contributed to him starting to try to wake himself up. The hospital staff were very optimistic about his recovery and assured us that he was doing very well so far. I left the hospital that night to go finally get some rest.

The next morning (Saturday), we headed to the hospital in time for the 10am visit in the ICU. Dad was awake during this visit. He seemed very weak. I remember him saying 3 things to me: (1) "It seems like you're always seeing your dad in bad shape." (2) "I'm sorry you had to cancel your trip for me." (3) "I heard your interview went well...good." Amazing that in all that he had been through, he was still thinking about me and not himself.

I saw him during the next 3 ICU visit sessions (30 minutes each every 4 hours or so). During the last visit that day, he was sitting in a chair eating. He had started walking again and had a great appetitite. The ICU staff assured us that he was having a great recovery and would likely be leaving the ICU very soon.

On Sunday morning, we were there to help him move into a regular room. He seemed so much stronger already. We spent the day in that room with him - helping him walk and practice expanding his lungs and urinate for the first time again and trying to encourage him to continue eating. They took his bandages off that day and his scar looked great. We had so many other family members come visit that day. Jayla got to meet her 3 first cousins whom she'd never met before. Dad was loving having all of us around.

Then on Monday, I decided that my little family and I had better head on back to Texas. I thought he would be out of the hospital in just another day or so. I wanted to come back and catch up here at home and then return to Mississippi to help out once he got home. Dad cried when we left. It broke my heart but, I assured him that we would be back.

He continued to progress nicely and was released from the hospital last Thursday. He is now at home recovering. My sister spent last weekend with him and this weekend the three of us will be there. Our flight leaves tomorrow evening at 5:00pm.

So, hopefully this explains the brief hiatus that I have taken. I know we probably aren't completely out of the woods but, it just seems like we have escaped what could have been a bad situation. I am so thankful that he decided to go to the doctor when he did and that the problems were immediately identified. I am excited about spending another weekend with my parents, especially when the alternative was staring me in the face two weeks ago. I can't think of a better way to spend my 28th birthday...

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

The Dreaded Return

Hello Unwelcome Visitor,

Although it’s been 26 months since we last met, I was still really not ready to see you again. And if you ask me, it really isn’t fair that you are back as I have only just weaned Jayla two weeks ago. Just two weeks. I thought surely you would not come around for another few months or so. I am not happy to see you. I do not need you since I am not planning to try to conceive any time soon. And what makes the entire situation even worse, you did not come alone. You have brought with you 4 pounds of water weight, killer hormone levels, fatigue, and cramps – none of which I particularly needed right now. I even purposely did not mention your absence as one of the reasons that I kept breastfeeding because I did not want to jinx myself by mentioning you at all. I had truly forgotten how your presence sucks.

Caught Completely Off-Guard,

Monday, February 05, 2007

But, what about me?

For the past week or so, I’ve been trying – really, really hard even – to find something to say about myself on this blog. I know I talk about Jayla ALL THE TIME here and that’s probably what most people come here to read about. But, really, I would like to say something about me. But, I have nothing. Every single thing I ever think of to write about involves her. Everything.

But, there’s probably a really good reason for that: for the past almost-18 months my life has revolved around her. Completely around her. I enjoy it. Actually, I love it. I am, however, going to venture out on my own this weekend. It will be my first time away from Jayla overnight. I am looking forward to it in a way.

I keep trying to tell myself that after almost-18 months, I deserve a break…even if it’s just for about 36 hours. She will be fine. She will be with her father whom she adores. She will likely realize that I am gone. But, it will not kill her. It will not kill me, technically, either. She will probably have a blast while I am away as she thinks her father invented comedy and all things that are funny. In my defense, she also believes that her mama invented hugs and kisses and all things that are comforting. So, we will survive.

I am such a drama queen. And I still can’t think of anything to write about myself.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

We need a bucket!

So, my child...the one who took 10 months to grow her first two teeth? Yes. The one who waited until she was 15 months old to grow two more teeth? Yes, yes - that's her. Well, now, at 17 months old she is having her first real experience with teething as it seems all the rest of her teeth are surely coming in at once.

When Jayla grew her first 4 teeth, there were practically no signs of teething - other than the emergence of pearly whites from her gums. And this time? She walks around with no less than 4 fingers in her mouth at any given time. Her mouth is a faucet. A faucet. It's pretty nasty. Jayla has never been a slobbery child, which has apparently spoiled me.

A few months ago, my husband and I volunteered in the church nursery one Sunday. There was a little boy in there that was drooling all over the place. I did not want to touch him. I did not want him to touch Jayla. I thought his parents needed to do something about it and oh, how embarrased they must be that their child can't keep his saliva in his own mouth!

Well, lo, I am now that parent that can't keep my child's saliva in her own mouth. My husband's solution? Last night he says, "Jayla, close your mouth and stop slobbering! You're too old for this." I merely rolled my eyes and looked at him in disgust. My solution? Pretend she isn't doing it and surely, no one will notice.

So, today Jayla is wearing a bib to school. Otherwise, her clothes will be her bib was by the time she arrived at school this morning. She has not worn a bib since she was probably 9 or 10 months old. She looks silly in it to me because apparently my husband's 'you're too old for this' attitude has rubbed off on me. But, when I dropped her off, I noticed that there were at least 3 other kids in her room with slobber-stained bibs on. So, at least she's keeping up with the Jones'.

Up next? How Jayla is now the bully in her class...

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Round 2

I've never been one that always had to keep up with the Jones'...and yet, I totally do have to keep up with the Jones'. The latest trend? A second child. It seems that almost everyone that I was pregnant with in 2005 is now pregnant again. I'm just not ready. I want to go to school. I want Jayla to enjoy being an only child a while longer. I want to continue sleeping through the night. I want to reach my 5th anniversary at my job. So, why do I have the urge to ditch these pills and stock up on pregnancy tests?

Monday, January 29, 2007

The Guilt Factor

I don’t think I’ve mentioned it here, yet. But, I started school again two weeks ago. I am officially working on my doctoral coursework. I decided to do it now, while Jayla is young, and technically won’t remember the nights that I was in class and I won’t have to miss any of her cheerleading games or track meets when she is older. I’m trying not to feel guilty. I only have to be in class one night a week (Wednesday) but, I literally died when I got home last Wednesday night and she was asleep on her daddy’s shoulder when he opened the door to let me in. He said, “I tried my best to keep her awake.” It was only 7:40 though. Her new school is wearing her out. Anyway, I decided to let her sleep on my shoulders for a few minutes rather than actually putting her in the bed. After 15 minutes, I decided that it was pointless and I should just lay her down and get me some dinner. She woke up while I was pulling her shoes off and gave me the hugest grin. Then she played with me for about 30 minutes before I did put her to bed. It made me feel so much better – like I actually had a chance to interact with her for the day – albeit brief. Just 12 more weeks of feeling guilty for being in class…and let's not even talk about how I'm going out of town next weekend without her!!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

So, I kept doing it because...

The very first time that I saw Jayla, she was in the Level II NICU - hooked up to an IV, several monitors, and had a tube going down her throat to remove air from her stomach. She had a surgery appointment for the following morning though the surgeons nor the doctors knew exactly what kind of surgery would need to be performed. All they knew is that her tummy was distended and she appeared to have some sort of blockage of her bowels. So, they didn't feed her. Jayla was never fed until she was 6 days old.

But, during that 6 days, I pumped at least 42 times so that when my baby could finally eat, I would have a milk supply for her. I was determined to make sure that she was getting breastmilk because it is supposed to be most easily digest by babies...and I needed good digestion so that my baby could poop and get out of that hospital! She was finally able to breastfeed at 3 weeks old. It was hard at first. She was very used to taking bottles in the NICU. But, I was determined to make it work. So, I kept doing it because I wanted to make sure that we did not stop up her bowels again.

After 2 weeks or so, she had become a pro nurser. In those days she was nursing about 8-10 hours a day. But, when she wasn't, I didn't know what to do with her. She cried. So, I kept doing it because it meant she wasn't crying.

Then once I went back to work, I was determined that I would do everything for my child that I would do if I were staying at home with her. So, I kept doing it because it helped ease some of my working mom guilt.

Then I realized the power that I had. It meant that Jayla had to be with me always because I was the only person that could feed her. So, I kept doing it because people accepted it as a reason why I couldn't be separated from Jayla.

As she started to get older and I would think about the weaning process, I became very afraid. I did not think I knew how to be a mother to her outside of our nursing relationship. So, I kept doing it because I wasn't sure how else to be a mother to her.

Then as we were approaching her first birthday and people were really looking at me to wean her, I decided that I didn't want to. So, I kept doing it because there was no real reason to stop.

For the last 6 weeks, we've only been nursing in the morning - just one feeding a day. But, it was the most awesome time. It was how we started our every single day. It was the one thing that we knew would happen no matter what. Her daddy would bring her to me as I lay in bed every morning and she always looked at me and smiled as if to say, "Good Morning!" before she latched on. So, I kept doing it because no one in their right mind would want to give that up.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The End of an Era

After Jayla was born, I took 16 weeks off of work. Before returning to work, I worried about how I would be able to get up in the morning and get everyone out of the door in a decent amount of time. One of my main concerns was having to nurse Jayla every morning when it generally took her any where from 60 to 75 minutes to nurse each time. So, the morning of December 12, 2005 I woke up at 6am and started nursing her. It took her an hour, of course. But, during the last 30 minutes of that, my husband was able to get himself dressed and was ready to dress Jayla by the time we were done. We then packed the car after Jayla and I were dressed and managed to get out of the house around 8:00.

Well, as the months passed, we got more and more efficient at the morning routine. By the time Jayla was about 7 or 8 months old, it went something like this:

  • ~6:50am - Daddy wakes Jayla up and brings her to our room.
  • 6:50am - 7:30am - Jayla nurses. I sleep. Daddy gets dressed, picks out Jayla's clothes and packs the car.
  • 7:30am - 7:55am - Daddy dressed Jayla. I get dressed.
  • 8:00am - Everyone leaves the house.

      This schedule seemed to work like second nature for the whole family.

      Today Jayla turned 17 months old. This morning, I finally decided to switch up the morning routine a little. It went something like this:

      • 6:40am - Daddy and I wake up
      • 6:40am - 7:05am - Daddy and I get dressed.
      • 7:05am - I wake Jayla and take her to the kitchen to warm milk for her. Daddy picks out Jayla's clothes.
      • 7:10am - 7:30am - Daddy dresses Jayla. I make breakfast for Jayla and me and pack the car.
      • 7:30am - Daddy leaves for work.
      • 7:30am - 7:40am - I feed Jayla a bowl of oatmeal.
      • 7:50am - Jayla and I leave the house.
      A huge part of how we have always defined our mornings is now gone. It was a game time decision. I prayed about it last night because I was considering making the change this morning. I did not even tell my husband that things would be different this morning until about 6:55am when I said, "When you go get Jayla, just go ahead and get her dressed." It seemed fitting. It seemed like the time was right. I am very happy that Jayla and I were able to enjoy that experience for 17 months. I think Jayla realized it was missing this morning but, did not put up a huge fuss. I am slightly uncomfortable, physically, as I type this. But, I think it was the right thing for us right now. I have always known this day would come and, quite honestly, I am handling it much better than I thought I would.

      Monday, January 22, 2007

      The Power of Cheerios

      Today was Jayla's first day at The New School. As we got out of the car, she started screaming because she didn't recognize where we were. I managed to calm her down as we walked up to the door. I explained to her that everything was new. I have no idea if she understood the concept but, it quieted her down. We went in and Jayla was very curious about her surroundings as we walked through the halls. When we approached the door to her classroom, she stood and just stared at her new classmates. I talked with her new teacher for a while, giving Jayla a chance to get comfortable. She spent 5 minutes or so hugging my legs. I explained to the teacher that Jayla would need to eat breakfast, so she poured her a bowl of Cheerios. Jayla walked over to the table. The teacher put her in the chair. Jayla grabbed the spoon and put a bite in her mouth. She then turned to me, waved her little hand and said, "bye bye". I took my cue and left my big girl in her new environment. It was totally her way of telling me that she would be fine and that she liked it well enough to let me leave her there...after all, they had food!

      Her teacher said she had a great day. She was amazed at how much Jayla could eat. Maybe I should start warning people about that. Apparently, Jayla polished off two full lunches of chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans, and pears. I was not at all surprised that she managed to consume twice the allotted amount of food. Her teacher said that Jayla never cried, whined, or even wimpered all day long. Best of all, Jayla has been reunited with another little girl who was in her class at the old school. The teacher said they were two peas in a pod all day. She even let them nap beside each other. (This little girl's mom is the one who tipped me off about this new school.)

      Jayla was absolutely giddy all evening today, which makes me think she had to have had an awesome day. She went to bed about 45 minutes early tonight - I guess she was worn out.

      So - so far, so good. I am happy. Jayla is happy. I think it was the right decision for us...finally...

      Thursday, January 18, 2007

      Don't Worry

      Luckily, her nose broke her fall...

      Tuesday, January 16, 2007

      More School Decisions

      This is Jayla's last week at The School That I Settled For After The School That I LOVED Closed Down After Giving Me Two Weeks Notice. I just never was completely comfortable with it. It felt like Jayla was spending the better part of her day in complete chaos. I feel like she needs a little more structure. Plus, you know, "the fall", the eating insane amounts of food that I don't necessarily approve of, the playing with 3 and 4 year old kids that are 3 times her size...and such. Not to mention how long I agonized over not hurting their feelings when I told them that my child would be leaving...and their response was, "Okay. Let me write it on the calendar." So, I'm done with them and we're moving on...on Monday! I'm excited. I think Jayla will really like the new place. Hopefully, this can be the end of the childcare drama for a little while...

      Wednesday, January 10, 2007

      More Than Just Words

      Tonight my husband and I sat on the couch and watched Jayla walk around the family room, playing and singing to herself. She has turned into such a big girl and it's just amazing to think about how fast it has all happened. Two years ago this week, I found out that I was pregnant with Jayla. And this time last year she was just learning to roll over. Now she can run, dance, jump, and talk.

      Talking is the funniest thing. In the past couple of weeks, she has become a little mimic machine. When our families were here for Christmas, she learned everyone's name. She somehow manages to use the word "Uh-oh!" about a trillion times a day! That is by far her favorite. Tonight when my husband got home from work, he said, "Hi Jayla" and she replied "Hi Daddy!". It was so cute. She also likes to say "Oh" when you tell her something. She can point out and say eyes, nose, mouth, ears, and hair. But what takes the cake is when I sang "I Love You" to her tonight and she repeated it...