Saturday, January 24, 2009

Life As We Now Know It

The above picture is proof that Laney is officially accepted into our family... Avery & Tatum bestowed Lightning upon her!! Little did she know what an act of self-sacrifice that was on their part! So yesterday and today were my first days of being mother of 3 all by myself. I will not lie and say it was a piece of cake, in fact, it was pretty hectic at times and exhausting, but we survived, and had a little fun too. Here's a couple more pictures from our first few days of life as we now know it.
Sweet Laney Hope
The girls helping me watch Laney
Little Laney after her bath
Jennifer sent me the greatest package ever... monogrammed Aggie t-shirts for each of the girls and the cutest monogrammed bag and blanket ever! My first monogrammed "Laney" item! Plus she added a ton of cute hand-me-downs from Kate. THANKS JEN! You are so talented and I love being the recipient of your creativity!!

I tried letting Avery take a picture of Laney & I, but she hasn't quite figured out how to not put her finger over the flash or jerk the camera up right when she pushes the button. So this picture was my attempt at self-photography.

Just hanging out on the boppy.

Brian is already starting to get busy with baseball season. Little did we know, but at the parent meeting a few nights ago, the other coach and parents had a planned a little diaper drive for us. When Brian came home that night, his truck was literally filled to the brim with gifts of diapers and wipes. I could not believe how many there were! We are so thankful for their generosity to us. I think we will be set for diapers and wipes for a long time!

Stack of wipes
Mountain of diapers
(which incidentally, the girls LOVED knocking over about 10 times)

Laney is already making some friends. My good friend Bethany, who I grew up with in SA, just gave birth to sweet Wyatt David yesterday morning! A big boy, too, at 8 lbs. 13 oz! I can't wait to meet the little guy. And I am so excited for Amanda to bring her precious little princess into the world in just over 2 weeks. I think her name is a secret, so I'm not going to post it, but it is really beautiful, and I can't wait for she & Laney to get to hang out together! And Brent & Jenn found out a couple weeks ago that they are having a baby GIRL, too! I am so excited to meet my little niece in May and what fun it will be for our girls to have a cousin!!

To Lane... Happy 30th birthday today, my dear friend. Can't wait to get to SA to see you & introduce you to Laney. And of course, do some shopping!!!

I still can't believe I am the mother of 3. It is an enormous blessing and responsibility and I am praying I will do it well. There is so much going on in both Brian's & my family right now, as well as the busyness of baseball starting and getting into a routine with Laney. Needless to say, we are completely dependent on the Lord right now and there is no other way we'd like to be.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Praise Him!

Praise the Lord! Laney does not have galactosemia. She is only a carrier, which means I can continue breastfeeding and not have any worries about it harming her! I cannot express how excited and thankful I am. God does answer prayers, and in this case, I am so grateful He answered us with a huge "YES!"

Both our grandparents surgeries went well yesterday. Grandma K had alot more cancer than they initially thought, but they feel like they got it all. She will probably have a tough recovery, so please keep her in your prayers.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

3 Kids = BUSY!!!

I am so glad to have a minute to sit down and write up some of my thoughts. Avery & Tatum are at Mothers Day Out and Laney is sleeping peacefully in her bouncy seat, so here we go.

First a couple things that are heavy on my mind today. We should be getting a phone call today regarding Laney's galactosemia. All our prayers and hopes will soon be answered one way or another. If she has galactosemia, I will have to stop breastfeeding immediately, get out the soy formula, and pray that my breastmilk over the past week did not turn toxic in her little body. If she doesn't have it or has the duarte variation of it like A & T, I will fall to my knees and cry and thank God. This is my 3rd time to go through this, so you'd think it would be getting easier, but it isn't. I am very anxious to hear the news.

Also, my sweet PawPaw is having a big surgery on his nose today to help him breathe better. And Brian's precious Grandma K is having a major surgery to remove a kidney that was found cancerous. Please say a quick prayer for our grandparents to have peace, a smooth surgery and quick recovery. We also have two dear friends who are facing big obstacles right now. My friend Allison is pregnant with twins, and the little guy & girl are trying to be born too early. She is only 28 weeks along and is in the hospital for the remainder of the pregnancy so that they can try to keep the babies inside her for a few more weeks. My other friend Beth's sweet little 2-year old, Cooper, is having a brain surgery in a couple weeks in Boston. Please say a prayer for all of them.

So today Laney is ONE week old! It's gone by so fast, and it has been wonderful. She has been such a sweet, content little girl. She hasn't really seemed to mind all the loud noise she hears from her sisters all day. I figure she probably was already used to listening to it from the womb all this time. When she's awake, she definitely focuses on my voice wherever I am. I think I'm her favorite right now, and by gosh I better be, after carrying her around for 9 months! We did have one horrendous night, two nights ago, when she wouldn't sleep more than 10 minutes at a time the whole night unless one of us was holding her. She refused to eat, and she wouldn't lay down in her bassinet without wailing. We agreed afterwards that it was the longest & hardest night ever of all our kids. Thankfully last night she slept great again.

We chose the name Laney Hope for a couple reasons. Laney means "bright light," and Hope means "expectancy." For anyone who knew me growing up, you know that Lane & I were attached at the hip from 2nd grade through high school. I have often prayed for my girls that God would bring each of them a friend like Lane. I truly would not be who I am today if God hadn't given me Lane's friendship. So when Brian suggested the name Laney not too long ago, it just felt right for this little girl. I hope she will be not only a bright light wherever she goes, but also a true friend, to her sisters and to others.

I found this verse the other day that I will be praying for her: "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven." Matt. 5:16

For her middle name, Hope, I found these verses: "Through the Lord's mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. "The Lord is my portion," says my soul, "Therefore I HOPE in Him!" The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. It is good that one should HOPE and wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. Lam. 3:22-26.

So her name came together at the last minute, just like I prayed it would, and we couldn't be happier with it. Tatum says it so cute... "N's" are not so easy for her, so it sounds like "Baby Lay-yee." I thought the girls might have a hard time accepting Laney, but so far, they really love her. When Laney is crying, Avery will rub her head real gently and say "it's okay, Laney, I'm here." It is such a blessing to watch these 3 little people God has given us to take care of, and see how they love on each other and play with each other. I am so excited and happy to see them grow up together over the years.

Avery & Brian fishing with her new Dora fishing pole

Nana & Papa with their 3 grandkids

Here we are at home with Laney
Laney's stork in our front yard
Papa & Laney
I have felt so blessed by everyone's excitement for us and prayers through those last few weeks before Laney came. My labor & delivery could not have gone smoother than it did. I had specifically prayed that I would get a friendly nurse who would keep me talking and keep my mind off things. My nurse, Priscilla, was just that. She was so friendly and kept our conversation going so well, that I barely noticed all the pokes & pains. From the IV to the epidural (thankyou Lord!) to the pushing, it was really the best delivery of all my kids. I had a new doctor for this whole pregnancy and I was unsure how he would be during this whole process, but he was great! After it was all over, I just knew that God had shown me in a very real way that He loves me and is taking care of me and my little family. To Him, through good and bad, I give all my thanks and praise.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Here's the Pictures!

There is so much I want to write about, but I am so tired, so for tonight, I'm just going to post some pictures of our sweetheart, and maybe tomorrow I will have a chance to sit down and type up all my thoughts and stories about the past couple days. To say the least, God blessed us with the most wonderful last few days I could imagine and we are completely in love with baby Laney.

Laney Hope - 2 days old
Just us girls
Wow - we are a family of 5 - crazy!
Sweetest big sisters in the world!
Avery's official job title is "paci-helper"
Sweet Little Laney
Mama & Laney right after her birth
Daddy & Laney right after her birth

More soon, I promise...

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Laney Hope is here!

Our sweet baby girl is finally here and we are so in love! Laney Hope is her name. She was born yesterday at 11:54 AM. She weighed 8 lbs. exactly and was 20 inches long. She has dark black hair like Daddy, and we think she looks alot like Avery's baby pictures, so far. Tatum likes kissing on her little head and Avery just stares at her not sure what to think. I am so excited to bring her home tomorrow and start our life as a family of 5. Once we get home I will definitely make it a priority to get some pictures on here!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Happy Due Date to ME!

Yep, today is my due date. It's been kinda strange thinking about that all day. Mostly because my other two were born on their due date (I was induced both times). So I just keep thinking, "If I had gotten induced today, I would be holding my baby right now, and I would know what she looks like, etc." But I am also really glad we made the decision to give her a chance to come on her own. So here I am waiting for her to come on her own. We scheduled the induction for Tuesday, the 13th, so at least their is a deadline for her. I REALLY hope she comes before that though.

Anyway, at my check-up today I was dilated to 2-3 cm, so I drove straight to the mall and took a couple friends' advice to walk really fast around the mall for as long as I could. I was still in my work clothes and work shoes, and even though they are comfortable, they weren't my good shoes. All that to say, my brisk walk lasted only about 45 minutes. I walked Willowbrook Mall twice, every single inch of it. Some people chuckled at me when they saw this huge pregnant girl trucking it full-speed around the mall. Oh well, I'm hoping it helped and maybe labor will come on soon. I was hoping I could walk for an hour and a half or more, but it just wasn't happening. Maybe I will try again tomorrow.

So I've never actually been in labor (on my own), and I'm kinda nervous about it. I hope we know what to do. But I'm definitely way more excited than nervous. I can't believe I will be holding this sweet baby girl in my arms in 5 days or less! Thanks for thinking about me and all your prayers. It is such a blessing to know so many people care and are lifting us up to our Father who knows the day & hour of her birth (and her name) and will reveal those things to us very soon.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

My blog title

Okay, since my precious, sarcastic brother Martin commented that I must think my life is perfect because the title of my blog is "how could it be any better than this?", I would like to explain why I named my blog. Back almost a year ago, our FCA kids showed our huddle a clip from Godtube that had the Lifehouse song "Everything" playing to a drama. I'm not usually very emotional when it comes to drama, but for some reason this one got me. Brian & I listened to Lifehouse alot when we first got married, but I hadn't heard that song in several years. Anyway, I just broke down a few days later. God just used this song and video to grab my heart and show me that HE is EVERYTHING I need. So, how could it be any better than this? You have to watch it until the end to get the point.

"And how can I stand here with You and not be moved by You? Would you tell me how could it be any better than this? Cause You're all I want, You're all I need, You're everything, everything...." (Lyrics here).

Still Waiting

We're still waiting... 5 days left until the due date and baby girl is still very content where she is, I guess. We are probably going to schedule an induction next week around the 13th or 14th if she isn't here by then. This final month has been so different from my other two pregnancies. With Avery, I was still coaching softball and teaching full-time right up until my due date, and I never remember feeling anything but good during that last month. With Tatum, I remember feeling very tired, but not too bad. And I don't remember ever having more than 2 or 3 contractions with either of them. With this baby, I have been having contractions like crazy almost everyday, some severe, some mild. It has been a rollercoaster ride - every time thinking maybe this is it. Anyway, I know the real thing will be here soon enough, so I am trying to enjoy these last few days as much as is possible for an enormous pregnant girl.

Okay, our Christmas was wonderful! My mom, dad, brothers, sister-in-law and brother's girlfriend and family all came to Houston this year to celebrate with us! On Christmas Eve, we went to church for our candle light service and it was so good. Then we went to the Galleria to eat at the Cheesecake Factory, YUM!
Christmas morning, Lightning McQueen was the hero of the day. Yes, I have two girls, but they are both in love with cars. They love dolls too, but since I am very huge and have very swollen cankles, my sweet husband did most of the Christmas shopping this year. Which would also explain why Avery got a Dora fishing pole, Tatum got a Thomas the train telephone, and their stockings were filled with Hot wheels.
Anyway, they loved it and it was fun watching their excitement throughout the day. The big finale was Avery's Barbie bike and a Lightning ride-on scooter for Tatum from Papa & Nana. Well, wouldn't you know, Avery wanted nothing to do with her beautiful bike once she saw Tatum's Lightning scooter - Ha! But once we made her get on it and start riding, she really loved it.

Then we cooked a big delicious meal and just hung out most of the day. That night we all played a couple rounds of Cranium. The best moment was when Brian had to act out "Richard Simmons." He started dancing around saying "I'm a pony" and within seconds, Martin correctly guessed "Richard Simmons." We were all embarrassed for both of them, but we all got a good laugh and cry out of it. One of those things you wish you got on video for future generations to see. Oh well.

We did Christmas with Brian's family earlier that week and the girls were thrilled with the new dollhouse they got to play with at GiGi and Grandad's house. I was thrilled with my new nativity that I had secretly been wanting but never really thought I would get. It is beautiful, I hated to pack it up yesterday, but I will just have to get out Christmas early next year so I can enjoy it longer.

So the past two weeks, we have both been off work so we've gotten to spend lots of quality family time together, which has been wonderful. I'm really sad to see it come to an end, but I also am ready to get back on somewhat of a routine, which will probably only last a week or so until the baby gets here, but hopefully we will ease into the new parents role again fairly easily.

Okay enough rambling. Here's some pictures of our Christmas.

The new dollhouse at Gigi & Grandad's house

Christmas with Gigi & Grandad
Papa & Nana with Tatum

Avery's new Barbie bike (and Lightning helmet :))

Tatum's Lightning scooterThe four of us at our Christmas Eve service
My family: Nikki & Martin, Matthew & Tracie (with her kids, Jake & Taylor), Tatum & Papa, Me, Avery & Brian (Mom is taking the picture)

My beautiful new Nativity (after Martin "decorated" it)
Elf Tatum (have you ever seen a cuter elf in your life?)