Thursday, November 12, 2009

In The Car Tonight...

Jayla: Mama, you are mean to me everyday!
Me: I'm only mean to you when you do bad things.
Jayla: See, I told you!
Me and Daddy: *crack up laughing*

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Student of the Week...Again...

So, remember when Jayla was Student of the Week last time and I worked for way too long on her poster and was all proud of her as if everyone in the class doesn't get a chance to be the Student of the Week? You should, because it was a Big Deal.

Last Wednesday when I went to pick her up from school, the October newsletter was posted on the door to the classroom. As I always do, I glanced at it during the nanosecond that it takes me to open the door and walk into the classroom. But, this time, I spotted Jayla's name under the Student of the Week section. Eeeeeekkk! She was scheduled for the first week in October and I had jut four days to prepare the world's most awesome Student of the Week poster! My first reaction was, "Didn't Jayla just have her turn?" Ummm...that was in January...and time just moves faster than I will ever comprehend.

And so, I spent the better part of this afternoon crafting another Student of the Week poster. I probably spent half of the time on this one as I did the first one. And frankly, Jayla was responsible for ALL of the design elements of this one (whereas she wanted nothing to do with the poster in January). She put the glue on the pictures and pasted them where she wanted them on the poster. She afixed the billion stickers and even wrote her name on the poster. And while I think her first poster was more visually appealing, I'm so very excited about how proud she is of her poster. Here's to Jayla being Student of the Week!...again...

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Four Months - An Update

My baby turned four months old yesterday. And as a cruel reminder of how much she's grown over the past four months, we attended an event for a dear friend to meet the baby to which she gave birth just three weeks ago. And it became clear that we are, indeed, not dealing with a newborn anymore. Tamyra is a full blown infant.

She is, in fact, so much of a non-newborn that the first thing anyone comments on when they see her these days is her size. She's a chubby girl. Last week a lady in Target had a baby about the same size as Tamyra. She excitedly asked me how old my baby was. When I told her that she was almost four months. The lady pointed to her own baby and replied, "Oh...he's 8 months." Wow...way to make me feel like my baby is abnormally large! I had already started to develop a complex when she was 75th percentile for weight at 2 months after being just 50th percentile at 1 month (apparently, I produce some high cal breastmilk!) She quickly followed up with, "...but, he's a small baby!". And as we parted ways, she yelled back to me, "she's beautiful, though!". Yes, I know.

After people acknowledge her abundant fat rolls, they then generally comment on her hair. It is also abundant and blows her big sister's full head of hair at this age out of the water! Her hair cracks me up though. It's a mullet but, I love it. Tight, tight curls in the front and 2.5 inch long straight hair in the back. The two textures are so apparent and I fear my child will eventually hate her hair for that reason. I rarely brush or comb it but, have started an almost daily regimen of smearing a little baby oil on it. Otherwise, it dries out and looks rather dull. The baby oil gives it a nice shine and restores the color to jet black. I'm also putting a little headband on her most days. Then I don't have to smack anybody for referring to my baby as a "he".

Tamyra is a dream baby. Very, very sweet. She rarely fusses and when she does, it's clear what she wants and usually fairly easy to fix. Mama has a better knack for fixing things quickly than Daddy does, but that doesn't stop him from trying. And generally, she gives him a break eventually, even if he doesn't meet her exact expectations. Her favorite hobbies her sucking her hands, drooling (clearly inherited her sister's abilities there), and talking. The girl babbles constantly! She loves her voice, I think. And will flash the brightest smiles when you talk back to her. She's even given us a few chuckles...not all out laughs, yet...but, I suspect that's coming soon.

She sits pretty well, assisted, and has recently started to show a preference for sitting up rather than laying down. She also loves to stand on her chubby little legs (with assistance, of course). She is not a particular fan of tummy time. As a result, she never does it. Neither did her sister. But, her sister did roll over from front to back on the day that she turned 4 months. Tamyra has not yet hit that milestone but, she does generally turn to her side now, whenever you put her down on her back. I guess that's something. She can grab whatever she wants and put it into her mouth. I hadn't realized how good she was at this until I was trying to play a card game with her in my lap last night. Yeah...she managed to swat my cards to the floor at least twice!

Tamyra has been a good sleeper since the beginning. But, she is still nursing once each night. That's something that Jayla was not doing by now. For some reason, I don't mind getting up with Tamyra whereas, I HATED it with Jayla so, I didn't after she reached 3 months old. Tamyra typically goes to sleep between 10pm and 10:30pm and wakes between 4am and 5am for a quick snack and then slumbers again until around 8:00am or so. It's something that I've been able to easily live with. She still spends her nights snuggly wrapped in her miracle blanket but, has never really used it for naps. Tamyra is generally good about taking her naps around any errands or activities we have planned for the day...which is awesome! She likes to stay awake and be involved in whatever we're doing and reserves sleeping for another time. But, left to her own vices, Tamyra would take a 1-2 hour nap following each 2-hour awake period. It's something magically about how programmed she is to desire sleep after she's been awake for exactly 2 hours. Accordingly, she nurses every 3-4 hours during the day. But, the nice thing about it is that she's totally flexible with it.

Our schedule, however, will likely be shaken up a bit soon. Tamyra will start going to day care on Tuesdays and Thursday this week so that I can return to school starting September 1. I will miss her like crazy but, I know I will learn to enjoy having those two days to focus on my studies each week.

We took Tamyra to have her first professional photo shoot last weekend. I was hoping to get our first family-of-four portraits as well as document Tamyra at 4 months and Jayla at 4 years (she will get her own post about that later). It was a disaster! Tamyra screamed through the entire session. She wanted NOTHING to do with the photo shoot and refused to be consoled...even by me. So, in many of the shots, she is seemingly emotionless and in reality, the camera flash occurred as she was drawing her next beath to release a deafening wail. But, in her defense, she was battling a fever of 101 degrees as we would find out when we got home. It was her first fever ever and she dealt with it well after we rescued her from the evil photography studio. She had no other symptoms. After a couple of doses of Tylenol and a mega-sleepfest, she was back to herself (though, she was still doing some uncharacteristic night-waking during this past week - hopefully, that has passed). And, truthfully, I adore the pictures despite the tear-stained clothing and general unhappiness of the littlest one in the portraits.

My goal with this post was to paint a snapshot of what Tamyra is like right now. I have done a very poor job of documenting her life in any form so far. I've got to do better...a third of a year has already gone by and I know from experience that it only gets faster! But for the record, I am totally, totally, undoubtedly in love with everything about Tamyra. Her sister and daddy think she's pretty cool too.

Monday, August 03, 2009

My a nutshell...

Today we went to a car dealership. I drove onto the lot in this:

I've had my Maxima for seven years and the vast majority of its 155,000 miles. For the most part, it's been a good car and yet, I drove off the car lot and returned home in something that looks more like this:

Apparently, it wasn't enough to just turn 30 this year...I also had to go and turn into my mama (whom I vividly remember being 30).

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Make room for Jayla

My husband snapped this picture of me and the girls last night. I can frequently be found in this exact position - a 12 pound girl on one knee and a 46 pound girl on the other one. Jayla rarely just lets Tamyra sit on my lap without claiming a knee for herself. Balancing the two is not as easy as I make it look.

Monday, July 13, 2009


My great-great grandmother died on May 21, 1979 at 84 years old. I was 3 months old. For her funeral, I made my second trip from my home in Ohio to Mississippi where 90% of my family resides. The first trip to Mississippi occurred when I was about 6 weeks old. The trip was for the specific purpose of me meeting my great-great grandmother. Mama Delie (as everyone called her) had been sick with cancer but, promised my mom that she would hold on to see her child born. And she did. That means that there were 5 generations living at one time on my mom's side of the family. And in my mom's infinite 23-year-old wisdom, she did not document me meeting my great-great grandmother in photograph form.

Three weeks ago, we flew to Chicago (both girls were amazingly well-behaved and non-commotion-causing on the flights!!) and drove over to Milwaukee for a family reunion. We flew into Chicago so that we could visit with my grandmother there. She has been sick and decided that she did not want to drive to Milwaukee for the reunion. So, we came to her. It was Tamyra's first time meeting her great-grandmother. And we managed to get a 4 generations picture of my grandmother and her only daughter, my mom with both of her daughters, and of course, me with both of my daughters:

Mama Delie's granddaughter, great-granddaughter, great-great granddaughters, and great-great-great granddaughters.

And I have to note that in full-circle fashion, Jayla was born on what would have been Mama Delie's 110th birthday.

My daughters are also blessed to have a great-great grandmother still living. My husband's great-grandmother lives in Milwaukee so, we also got to visit with her while we were there. More photo opportunities! Here they are...Jayla and Tamyra with their great-great grandmother, Mother Dear (on the left):

The lady on the right is "Sister", almost like a stand-in for her sister "Suga-doo", my husband's deceased grandmother.

I hope my girls appreciate these pictures one day because not everyone gets these types of opportunities.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Happy Holidays to Daddy!

The husband's 32nd birthday happened to fall on Father's Day yesterday. And we managed to do almost nothing for the entire day! Quite honestly, I think he appreciated some time alone to just surf the 'net while the girls and I engaged in our Sunday nap ritual...or at last that what I've been telling myself.

We went to church yesterday morning and the girls were dressed alike for the first time. My mom sent them matching dresses last week and Jayla was completely beside herself with excitement at the idea of dressing like her baby sister.

She really was excited...this first picture just doesn't convey that excitement. She was actually chewing a piece of turkey bacon in the picture.

After church, Daddy was showered with gifts, including a new basketball (Jayla was adamant that he needed one!) and a few pair of sandles (Mama keeps thinking that his feet have got to be hot in socks and sneakers everyday!).

Then after a few hours of nothingness, we had dinner at the Cheesecake Factory. Tee Tee came along with us.

Jayla suffered a monumental breakdown at the end of our outing. Finally, Tee Tee just took her out to the car while Daddy, Tamyra, and I paid the bill and got Daddy a piece of cheesecake to go (He just pulled it out of the refrigerator to finally eat it as I typed this sentence - how does he do that? I would've gobbled mine up in the car on the way home last night!).

It was a very low key day but, it was just what we needed in the midst of such a busy season. Plus, it gave Jayla the creative time that she needed to come up with a song that was appropriate for the day. Essentially, she just got tired of wishing Daddy a happy birthday and a happy father's day so, she shortened it to "Happy Holidays to Daddy!"

Friday, June 19, 2009

Return of the headband

During the first year of her life, Jayla was known for rocking a headband almost everyday.

And while most people probably remember Jayla looking like this in her infanthood, the truth is that we really didn't do anything to her hair AT ALL until she was probably 5 or 6 months old. That's about when the completely natural afro started needing a little attention.

Tamyra's hair has, likewise, needed absolutely no attention over the past 8 weeks. I just occasionally wash the spit-up out of it and keep going. And yet, this is what she looked like at Vacation Bible School yesterday:

And while I know she is not yet at the point that I will put a headband on her everyday, I think she knew how cute she was with it on.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Dance Recital Weekend

Exhausting. There were times when I wasn't certain that I was going to make it out alive. But, she had a blast!

Before the show - excited to be wearing "lips"...

After the show - twitching her nose in hopes that her bouquet of flowers will turn into candy!

Shunning the camera to punish us for buying flowers instead of candy

Heading to the car...resigned to the fact that her brilliant dance performance *only* got her a bouquet of flowers

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

one exception

Remember how I declared that I was not going to post a picture of myself? I need to make one exception to that statement.

Yesterday, we celecbrated Memorial Day with a trip to the neighborhood splash park with some good friends. I was dutifully trying to take some pictures of Tamyra (80% of the pictures that I take are still of Jayla!). Then a friend suggested that she take a picture of Tamyra with her parents. I let her do it because no such picture exists of the three of us. Then Jayla ran by and we quickly grabbed her long enough to snap the first family-of-four picture of us. And I'm so proud of everyone, I had to post it here...even though I'm in it...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The First 27 Days

I know I am going to have to make a conscious effort to NOT constantly compare Jayla and Tamyra to each other. And one thing has made that relatively easy so far. And that is the fact that for the first 27 days of Jayla's life, she was primarily cared for by the wonderful nurses in her NICU. As her parents, we could feasibly have done nothing for her at all during that period and she would have still been well taken care of.

Tamyra, on the other hand, has been with us constantly since they brought her to my hospital room about an hour after I got out of the recovery room. She left my hospital room for about 30 minutes a day during our hospital stay - just long enough to be weighed and bathed each day. I relished in the fact that she and I could inhabit the same room because Jayla and I couldn't.

Tamyra also got to nurse when she was just a couple of hours old and, dare I say, it actually just seemed to come very naturally for her and the whole experience has just been infinitely less frustrating and easier than when I learned to nurse with a 3-week-old who had been taking pacifiers since day 1 and bottles since day 6.

And remember those tears that I didn't shed in the operating room? Yeah, apparently, I was reserving them for that Kodak moment when me and my baby left the hospital AT THE SAME TIME. It was something that I sorely missed out on the first time and was so grateful for the experience this time. And even though I called it a Kodak moment, (1) I have a Canon this time around (it was a Kodak with Jayla) and (2) there are no actual pictures of the occasion.

People have always talked about the newborn days when their children did nothing more than sleep, eat, and poop. I had no such stories before now. Those three activities represent the bulk of what Tamyra has spent her life doing so far. And we have wanted so badly to contrast Tamyra's behavior to Jayla's newborn behavior, when in reality we haven't been able to do that because Jayla wasn't with us. We did not get her home with us until she was a very alert 1-month-old baby.

Tamyra is 4 weeks old today. That means that yesterday was day 27 for her. Yesterday, she was the precise age that Jayla was when we brought her home. And while this time with Tamyra has gone by so much faster than our NICU stay did, I couldn't help but spend quite a bit of energy acknowledging yesterday's milestone. And until now, we have been in previously unchartered parenthood territory. We're finally getting to the part that we've done before. But, thank God we're skipping the hurricane evacuation that we endured on Jayla's day 29!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Mother's Day Photo - a week later...

It was a good, lunch, nap, dinner. I was not showered with lavish gifts, served breakfast in bed, or forced to go spend the day at a spa where I would be pampered with a massage and a much-needed pedicure. However, I was blessed with the opportunity to spend the entire day with the people who made me a mother in the first place. That should count for something.

Note: Unfortunately, mama was unavailable for a Mother's Day photo. There shall be no pictures of mama on this blog for another 15-20 pounds. Thank you for your patience.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Tamyra's Birth Story

I feel like there isn't much to say in the way of recounting Tamyra's birth story. I think I feel this way because there were so few unknown variables surrounding her birth. We knew the time, the place, the means of getting her out, her gender, her name...the only thing that we didn't know is how she and I would make it out of surgery and what she would look like.

Everything went exactly as planned. The surgery was scheduled to begin at 7:45am so, we (me, my husband, and my parents) arrived at the hospital at 5:30am as instructed. My parents went directly to the waiting area while I checked in and immediately went to be prepped for surgery. They monitored the baby, started my IV, and my husband and I really just tried to stay awake. We hadn't had much sleep...not because of the anticipation of the baby but, because he was having sinus issues all night and I had woken up at 2am to him trying to turn our bathroom into some type of steam bath or something.

Anyway, we hung out for quite a while, waiting on our surgery time. My doctor came and posed for pictures with my husband, which was a nice distraction. Then it was time for me to go to the operating room. Okay, I was just a little freaked out by the fact that I just walked into the OR, just like the people who were going to be cutting me open and such. When Jayla was born, I had been in labor for 13 hours and had an epidural, so they rolled me in a bed into the OR. This time it was more like, "here's a seat...why don't you just sit here on this table?". I sat. The nursed immediately put me into some kind of headlock (no warning that I remember) that made my spine curvy enough for the epidural. Immediately, my lower body started going numb to the point that I had a little difficulty bringing my legs up to actually lay down on the table.

I soon got the dreaded "I can't swallow...I am going to die right here on this table!" sensation that sent me into an absolute panic during Jayla's c-section. I was so proud of how I handled it this time though. Instead of screaming at the doctors and trying to run off the table, I just closed my eyes and focused on breathing. The anesthesiologist kept asking me if I was okay. Admittedly, as I closed my eyes to breathe, I immediately started falling asleep. My doctor finally responded to him - "oh, she's fine...her husband just kept her up all night with a sinus infection".

There wasn't much conversation going on in the operating room despite the fact that there were at least 10 people in the room. My husband held my hand the whole time and I drifted in and out of sleep. I remember some guy jumping up on my stomach to push Tamyra out. That was my clue that...hello - my second child was about to be born. I remember not hearing her cry. I remember my doctor saying, "Sorry to disturb your nap, little one!" So, I chalked the not crying up to the fact that she was sleeping. But, my husband said the doctor pulled Tamyra out, quickly showed her to him, and then handed her over so that she could be stimulated because she hadn't cried yet. And even though I still hadn't heard her cry after what seemed like forever, I wasn't worried for whatever reason. I was still focusing on not becoming hysterical over the choking sensation that the dreadful anesthesia makes me feel.

I finally heard her cry. I didn't breathe any sigh of relief. I remember the cry sounding very weak. I remember my doctor asking what her second Apgar score was, which worried me a little...because I didn't hear the answer (it was a 9). Soon, my husband was bringing Tamyra over to me. He laid her in my arms and all I saw was the enormity of her cheeks. I did not cry, though I had fully expected that I would. I was far too relieved and already rejoicing in feeling so much more comfortable in my skin than I had been in those last weeks of sharing my body with her. I tried to figure out who she looked like - with no luck. We stared at each other for an eternity before they took her away and took me to recovery.

Friday, April 24, 2009

She's Here!

Tamyra Jade was born Wednesday, April 22, 2009 at 7:57am. 8 pounds. 20 inches. Beautiful.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter Weekend 2009

We had a great weekend...complete with all-day pajamas, naps for mama, and plenty of nesting time for daddy. I think while we were doing all of that, Jayla was either watching DVDs or sliding her stuffed animals down the stairs in a laundry basket. Seriously, she did that for about an hour (either Friday or Saturday - I can't remember which day because they were mostly indistinguishable from each other). I asked her why FaFa (her pink, stuffed cat) wasn't in the laundry basket with "everyone else" and she explained that it was because FaFa hadn't paid her money. That cracked me up because I always tell Jayla we can't do stuff because we haven't paid the money to do so.

Anyway, we managed to get out on Friday evening and buy Jayla a new movie at Barnes & Noble because that was the only request she had for the entire day. And considering she was patient enough not to show any signs of cabin fever when we were still wearing our pajamas at 4:00pm, I thought she deserved it. Then we headed to dinner and finally, Good Friday service at church. I let Jayla watch her entire new Barbie movie when we got home so that she didn't go to bed until 10:45 or so....which was awesome because we didn't hear from her until 9:00 Saturday morning. Entirely worth it.

Saturday, daddy continued cleaning like a maniac, mama napped and complained about the inability to move without aching, and no one is quite sure what Jayla was doing. But, she never complained and seemed to keep coming up with things to entertain herself. I know at one point she was dusting the TVs and the piano. But, I seriously don't know what she did with the rest of her day. Saturday evening, we had friends over for pizza and chatting. Jayla had an absolute blast as there were 2 other children here that she played with all night. We didn't leave the house at all on Saturday...except daddy went to pick up the pizza right before our guests arrived at 6:00. We even had a surprise visit from my sister who randomly showed up around 7:45 or so. Needless to say it was almost 11:00 again by the time we got Jayla in the bed. She and her Tee-Tee can't really get enough of each other!

And finally, we had a great Easter Sunday. We went to church, of course. And when we returned home, I showed Jayla her "Easter stuff". We haven't really introduced the whole Easter Bunny concept (or Santa Claus, for that matter) but, my mom and sister had bought Jayla enough stuff that I just decided to present it to her when we got home from church. She knows the stuff came from Grandma and Tee-Tee. But, she was really only concerned with the candy. And my mom bought us some Easter mugs as a craft, so the four of us worked on those after lunch. It was much cleaner that dyeing eggs and it actually got us doing something as a family. I, of course, left everyone up finishing their mugs while I got started on my Sunday nap. Dinner out (sense a theme here?) and a trip to the park rounded out our evening.

All in all, the weekend was great...relaxing and lots of time together. Next weekend will not be as carefree nor is it a long weekend so, I'm glad we had this one together because, well, we've only got one more weekend before we become a family of four. And now, the pictures:

Sheer determination at the Easter egg hunt last weekend.

Checking out her loot.

Modeling her Good Friday outfit. Have I mentioned that Jayla thinks she's a runway model? Because she does.

Easter morning before church.

In the car on the way to church...the only time she doesn't feel compelled to
"strike a pose" apparently.

See what I mean? Diva style...on the church alter, no less.

Discovering her Easter gifts. But, playing it cool because as she REPEATEDLY told us this weekend, "I'm cool."

Working diligently on the picture to go into her Easter mug.

Mama and Jayla's finished mugs (with Tee Tee still working on hers in the background). I didn't take a picture of daddy's and Tee-Tee's mugs because...well, I had gone to take a nap by the time they finished!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Interview with Jayla (3.5 years old)

I've seen a couple of blogs lately where the moms asked their kids a series of questions and posted them. I thought it'd be interesting to see if (a) Jayla would even stay in one place long enough to let me get through the questions and (b) what is going on in her little head!

So, Saturday, I sat her on (the little bit that is left of) my lap and we quickly ran through some questions that I snagged (don't remember which blog it was from). I think she let me get through the questions because she was intrigued by the fact that I was typing what she said. It was fun to do and it was very obvious that she was really trying to get the "right" answer to some of the question...until the end where she just got silly and was quite done with the whole project. So, anyway, here's her interview...

1. What is something mommy always says to you?

"Ummmm…booga bear" [That is one of my many nicknames for her]

2. What makes mommy happy?

"Ummmmm…a smile"

3. What makes mommy sad?

"Ummmmm…not going to you." [She had just gotten in trouble for not coming to me when I call her name. She likes to ignore folks.]

4. How does your mommy make you laugh?

"with a secret on the ears" [She loves to pretend like we're telling each other secrets. We do alot of whispering nonsense in each other's ears these days.]

5. What did your mommy like to do when she was a child?

"she liked to do things that are really good…is that right, mama?" [She wanted validation that she was right on this question. I think her answer comes from me telling her most mornings that I want her to do good things at school and not bad things.]

6. How old is your mommy?

"Ummmm…twenty-ummmm…twenty-thirty? That’s how old you are?" [I had no idea how she would answer this question because we only ever talk about how old she is...not how old I am. So, I was actually impressed by her answer. She probably remembers the "30" part from my birthday party a few weeks ago.]

7. How tall is your mommy?

"Ummmm..this tall!" [She stretches her arms as far as they will go and then almost toppled off my lap.]

8. What is her favorite thing to watch on TV?

"Ummmm…family" [The husband and I have been watching alot of old videos from her babyhood lately. I'm assuming that where this came from.]

9. What does your mommy do when you're not around?

"Ummmm…watch TV" [Okay, so some days, I don't turn the TV off before I go get her from school. So, she comes home and yes, the TV is on. But, that's certainly not all that I do when she's not around...]

10. If your mommy becomes famous, what will it be for?

"pasta" [No clue on this one. She was being silly. I think this is about when Daddy came into the room.]

11. What is your mommy really good at?

"watching tv…is that right?" [She may have gotten me confused with Daddy at this point. I'm actually a horrible TV watcher. It just doesn't hold my matter what it is.]

12. What is your mommy not very good at?

"not very good at careful…is that right?" [No idea...unless she thinks I'm a klutz.]

13. What does your mommy do for her job?

"Ummmm…work on her computer" [Right on, baby.]

14. What is your mommy 's favorite food?

"Ummmm…pasta" [Dead wrong, sweetheart. Chicken, pizza, skittles, cake - all of these would have been much more suitable answers. I have no idea why pasta was on her mind that day.]

15. What makes you proud of your mommy?

"Ummmm…hamburger" [Again with the silly.]

16. If your mommy were a cartoon character, who would she be?

"she would be a monster" [Thanks, baby.]

17. What do you and your mommy do together?

"Ummmm…walk" [Very true...although we probably read more than we walk.]

18. How are you and your mommy the same?

"just black" [I loved this answer for some reason. She was just so matter-of-fact about it.]

19. How are you and your mommy different?

"Ummmmm…orange…I mean, pinkilicious" [What!?!? And who taught my child the word "pinkilicious"? I should've followed-up on this one to clarify which one of us is the pinkilicious one.]

20. How do you know your mommy loves you?

"Ummmmm…hug you" [And, of course, she reached out and hugged me at that point.]

21. What does your mommy like most about your daddy?

"Ummmm…trees" [Yeah...that's it.]

22. Where is your mommy 's favorite place to go?

"Ummmm…to the park?" [Not at all. That would be Jayla's favorite place to go. I'm just along for the ride! But, at least she posed her response as a question back to me. So, maybe I can give her the benefit of the doubt.]

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Random St. Patrick's Day

AKA Happy 31st wedding anniversary to my parents (the math technically works since I was born a full 11 months and 6 days after the date that they've led me to believe is their anniversary)

AKA Happy "the husband doesn't have to wear his finger splint 24/7 anymore" Day

And one other random tidbit...Jayla is brilliant. Yes, we all know that. She takes after her mother. And, in all seriousness, I pay people a good portion of my take home pay each month to teach her things. So, most days I get a little surprise nugget of the random knowledge in my child's head that I nor my husband has taught her. I wasn't particularly impressed when I found out that she knows the difference between odd and even numbers earlier this week. But yesterday's tidbit actually impressed me, which is not an easy feat. She had a one-dollar bill that she'd fished out of her piggy bank and randomly asked me if that was George Washington on the bill. Do you know how many adults don't even know that!?!?

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Thirty-Three Weeks (and some change!)

So...I wanted to post about my surprise birthday party after I posted about my birthday. But, then I had to wait until my surprise party actually happened, which wasn't until the weekend after my birthday. Then I decided that I would wait until I had a few pictures from the party to post as well. I have yet to see any pictures because only one person there was actually taking any pictures and she hasn't sent any of them to me yet. And now, it's two weeks later and I figure I should just move on to something else. But, let it be known that I did have a surprise 30th birthday party/baby shower and it was so humbling and awesome in everyway (even though I technically knew about it beforehand).

Now, moving on...pregnancy updates! The last one was at, what? 26 weeks or so? That was like 10 pounds and a full maternity clothing size ago. Behold the belly last week:

I am large. So large that at my doctor's appointment last week, I measured 36cm, which was about 3 weeks ahead of where I needed to be (not to mention in 4 weeks, I grew from 28cm to 36cm). And if you know me, or have been reading this blog since the Jayla pregnancy, you know that large measurements is what helped us discover that Jayla had an issue. Now granted, Jayla had a very rare issue that makes it just super unrealistic that I would have two children with the same issue. But, when everything is seemingly playing out the exact same way, it's difficult to not let your mind wonder to what is almost statistically impossible.

So, we had another ultrasound on Thursday with the high-risk doctor that suggested that Jayla be delivered "as soon as possible" when I was just 35 weeks pregnant with her. The doctor was even nicer than I remembered her (maybe because she was delivering bad news the last and only time I've ever seen her?) but, before we got started with the ultrasound, she wanted to hear everything about how Jayla's story turned out.

She started the ultrasound with routine measurements and estimated the baby to be about 4lbs + 11oz, which is 45th percentile at this point. She continued to look around, commenting that the baby is still a girl and has lots of hair like Jayla. And although I was generally at peace with the situation by then, I breathed an extra sigh of relief when she uttered, "This baby is perfect. Absolutely beautiful." She also took a special look at the bowels just to make sure that we weren't in for similar issues and there was no sign of blockage.

And so it looks like we're back on track for an April 22nd delivery. It hurts so badly to walk and lay horizontal these days and yet, I'm so not ready for her to come yet. If nothing else, I keep thinking that she will want a name at some point in her life. The husband now calls her "Spare Jayla" and that's as close as we've gotten to naming her...

Monday, February 23, 2009

A New Decade

I turned thirty today. THIRTY! That is still crazy to me but, at the same time, I'm very excited to be entering what seems like a new stage of life. My husband took the day off from work today so, we were able to spend a leisurely day together that included the gym, IHOP, and a movie before we had to pick Jayla up from school.

I just returned from my conference in DC yesterday afternoon and apparently, while I was gone, there was some shopping at the party store. It turns out that Jayla wanted to get me a tiara to wear for my birthday but, Daddy wouldn't let her. When I asked him for his side of the story, he told me "That's the oldest trick in the book. She only wanted to get that for you because she wanted to wear it." So, if that little disagreement wasn't enough, there was also some conflict over which banner to get for me. So, I had two banners. One that my husband picked out:

And one that Jayla picked out:

After school, we took Jayla to dance class and then we went out to eat. My sister and aunt joined us at dinner, which was a treat. I just got Jayla into bed about 10 minutes ago. Just after putting on her pajamas, I realized that I had forgotten to take a picture of the two of us together. I have done that for the past 3 birthdays so, I didn't want to break the tradition. So, I had my husband snap a quick picture before putting her into bed.

Can I just say that I love how she completely hides the hugeness that is my 31-week belly?

Monday, February 16, 2009

No place like home...

I'm leaving tomorrow...going to DC for a conference for five days. I don't want to go. I mean, I want to do what I'm going to do there. But, I don't want to leave my family for that long. They will be fine without me. But, I know they will miss me and I will miss them.

Jayla cannot remember a time when I've gone anywhere without her. She's been asking me all weekend if she can come with me. She says she doesn't want to stay with Daddy because "Daddy is not nice" - translation: "he is not a pushover like you, mama!" And while those sorts of comments saddle me with guilt about leaving, I can't help thinking that this will still be a good time for me to get away from the daily grind of all that I am responsible for when I'm at home.

And yet, I know that I will be so, so glad when it's time to come home on Sunday and wipe the crusted snot off Jayla face while trying to cook dinner, fold laundry, read an article for school, and listen to whatever my husband decides that he absolutely has to talk to me about at that exact moment.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Changes and new beginnings

I can certainly never be accused of having much interest in political affairs but, this time is just a little different. Possibly because during the current economic recession, I happen to technically be an adult and for the first time ever, my husband and I are in a situation where his job actually does matter in our ability to pay our mortgage and feed our child(ren!). At all other points in our marriage, I was also contributing enough to the household income that I could've kept us afloat (and obviously, vice versa) if the need arose. But, our current situation is different so, I have to at least halfway care about the economic decisions that will be made under this new, I watch and wait with anticipation of the change that I've heard so much about.

Speaking of change, today is also technically my first day of classes. Except, I don't have classes on Tuesday this semester so, I spent today much like I've spent the last 6 weeks - sitting on the couch, trying to decide when I should take my nap. But, oh buddy, tomorrow begins the commuting back and forth again. It will be a really, really long day...especially considering the whole third trimester thing. I'll leave the house at 7:00am-ish and return at 10:00pm-ish, having driven about 205 miles and sat in two 3-hour long classes. I will not see Jayla on Wednesdays at all this semester. But, I keep thinking that this is going to be better than driving multiple days a week for classes. I have been wrong before.

Finally, after sleeping on the whole 4-day student of the week issue, I realized that it is only appropriate for Jayla to begin her reign as Student of the Week on the same day that our first Black President begins his first term.

Don't you just get the feeling that she will one day make history with some ground-breaking accomplishment(s)?

Monday, January 19, 2009

Student of the week

I spent an embarassing amount of time on constructing Jayla's poster for Student of the Week. But, I will spare you the details.

Instead, I will focus my energy on not being bitter about the fact that my child's spotlight is occurring during the rare 4-day school week rather than the typical 5 days that each student usually serves as the coveted "student of the week". I am trying to operate under the assumption that I should not take this personally...

Saturday, January 17, 2009

I am such a good role model (with a big belly)

We were out to dinner tonight when our (highly incompetent) waiter came over to the table to take our drink orders for the third time (I am so not even kidding!). Out of the blue, Jayla blurted out, "Ummmm...I think your head is too big for your body!" I laughed heartily before explaining to her that it wasn't a nice thing to say. Luckily, I don't think he really understood what she said to him. If he did, that was the ONLY thing that he understood all night. But, it was really the first time that an embarassing truth has escaped her lips in the presence of a perfect stranger. I'm sure there are many more of those times to come. And hopefully, I'll get better at correcting her rather than encouraging the behavior.

Also, the other night when I posted my 25-week update, I was having technical issues with getting my camera to talk to my laptop to upload the necessary pictures. But, alas, I do actually have a 25-week belly shot of me and the no-name kid:

And for the first time on this blog, here's a little comparison. My belly at 25 weeks (+ 5 days) with Jayla:

Tonight is my first time looking back at these old pictures of my first pregnancy. My belly is decidedly more pointy this time. I have no idea what that means.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

25 Weeks

It was at this point in my pregnancy with Jayla that I started to stress a little about the reality that I was actually going to be a mama and that I might want to make a few preparations for her arrival. I remember thinking that 15 weeks seemed like such a short amount of time until my life would be flipped upside down. Little did I know, I only had 12 weeks of pregnancy left!

This time around, the 25-week milestone is mocking my efforts to even come up with a name for this child. We've got nothing on the name front. We are too lazy to start the furniture swapping that needs to happen to build the new child's nursery. I haven't even considered what color her nursery will be, which probably means we're going with "builder white" this time around because that's the color her room is currently. In fact, only two rooms in our house are not painted some obnoxious color and her room is one of them. It remains the same color as it was when we moved here almost 7 years ago.

My lack of preparation likely stems from the fact that I can hardly believe that this pregnancy is going by so fast. I'm starting to feel more aches and pains than I ever remember feeling with Jayla and I keep telling myself that I shouldn't be feeling them yet...and then I get a glimpse of myself in the mirror. Oh yeah - I'm almost at third trimester status! Plus, I'm finally beginning to feel this baby move more often and more strongly. I could even see her moving through my shirt on Monday. Daddy and Jayla have also felt her and when I take the time to tell them the baby is moving, I think the fact that this new little person is joining our family sinks in a little better for all of us.

I had a prenatal appointment yesterday that lasted all of 3.5 minutes. Although, I did get a compliment from my doctor on only gaining 6 pounds over Christmas. Ummm...okay, but, I gain 6 pounds every month so, it was just funny to me for her to say it in a good light this time. She also told me that for the second month in a row, my scheduled c-section has apparently not been scheduled. And for the second month in a row, she made a call to "Rhonda" to make sure that it gets scheduled for April 22...which means that if we ever get it scheduled, this baby will be out of me in 14 weeks or less.

In the meantime, I'll be in school (starts next week) and probably denying the fact that this baby will be here at least 2 weeks before the official end of the semester. I was originally taking 12 hours this semester. And then I came to my senses and dropped a class so, that I'm down to my usual 9-hour semester. Of specific interest is that three of those credit hours involve me getting on an airplane and flying to Arlington, VA to attend a conference for 5 days. Should be interesting, considering that (a) I'll be 30 weeks pregnant and flying non-stop across the country (b) my papers that I have written and am also presenting at this conference are directly related to folks that have babies and subsequently continue their careers as employees in somebody's organization (c) I've never been away from Jayla that long (d) Daddy's never been alone with Jayla for that long. But, that all happens next month...the week before I turn 30. So, until then, I'll just be pretending that neither of those things is about to happen...I have never aged well.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

'Twas the season

I know I'm a bit late but, the Christmas season was rather hectic - full of traveling and visiting with family and friends. Somehow over the past two weeks, our little family has traveled the entire stretch of highway between here and Washington, DC via the Deep South.

The first leg of our trip involved the 8-hour drive from Houston to my parents house in Mississippi. We spent Christmas in Mississippi and had entirely too many gifts to open. It took the 6 of us (me, mom, dad, sister, husband, and Jayla) almost 4 hours to actually get through all of the gifts. Needless to say the majority of the gifts were Jayla's but, my sister and I also had our fair share as we ended up being the last two with gifts to still open (Jayla opened three gifts to everyone else's one gift as we went around the room and opened our gifts individually).

The day after Christmas (Friday), all 6 of us started our trek to the east coast. We made the 12-hour trip to my hometown in North Carolina on the first day. We spent two nights there and were lucky enough to see some dear old friends...people we just hadn't seen probably since the 1990's. It was weird to see those people and have them comment on my little family because apparently, I am not 14 anymore and they noticed.

Sunday took us to my old church and then up to Williamsburg, VA where we rented a condo for the remainer of the week. While staying in Williamsburg, we took a day trip to DC. By then, we were so over riding in the car and yet, there was whole little pesky matter of driving all the way back to Texas. But, we made it back and honestly, the 12 days that we were away from home were mostly good times.

Next to the "Texas" Christmas tree with the Washington Monument behind us

Jayla and her daddy both saw the White House for the first time...