Wednesday, November 27, 2013

There is always something to be thankful for

We learned some hard news last week that will be shared eventually (sorry to be vague) but for now, in the Spirit of Thanksgiving, we are focusing on the following. . .

It is no coincidence that the timing of this news came just a few days before the Thanksgiving holiday. It's a God thing. Instead of focusing on negatives we have really, really, been trying to focus on thanking God despite what we feel on the inside (easier said than done, but does get easier the more I am proactive and practice). 

I have been especially blessed by the Jesus Calling entries this week. All have focused on this very topic. One day specifically talks about the marvelous things that happen when we actively decide to thank God, despite our emotions or circumstances. As we thank the Lord it is as if "scales fall off your eyes, enabling you to see more and more of his glorious riches." - love that. Sarah Young hit the nail on the head with that one. Exactly the visual I needed this week. Because I have a few scales lingering on my eyes if you know what I mean.

And a few verses from the entries this week that spoke to me. . .

Psalm 118:1 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.

Psalm 89:15 Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, O Lord. (I have hand written beside this verse "takes effort and work to have a relationship with God, but with relationship comes thankfulness and peace.")

Psalm 4:7-8 You have filled my heart with greater joy than when their grain and new wine abound. I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.

Colossians 3:15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts . . . and be thankful. 

Psalm 100:4-5 Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.

1 Peter 5:7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Psalm 107:21-22 Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men. Let them sacrifice thank offerings and tell of his works with songs of joy.

Amen to that.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday, everyone! Time to bring on the family, food, and fun!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Celebrating baby Camille

Yep. . . baby B #2 has a name. . .

Camille Elaine Blackburn!

(Camille is a name Brandon and I both just really like, no family history there. Elaine is Brandon's moms middle name. Clara's middle name is Anne, which was my biological mother's middle name so we thought it only fitting to pass on the same legacy to our girls and represent both {biological} grandmas.)

This past Saturday 11/23/13 a few friends and family got together to love on Camille and bless her/us with gifts, and eat yummy Mexican food in the process. So thankful for such wonderful family and dear girlfriends! Camille already has a nice stash of diapers, wipes, burp clothes and other essentials!

Here are a few pics. . .

(A few friends had to leave before pics were taken. And a huge thanks to my friend, Wendi, who took these pics, especially since I didn't even think to bring my own camera. Oh and let's not overlook that Wendi had a baby 1.5 weeks ago and STILL came to my baby shower bright eyed and with a genuine smile on her face!)

 Amanda, Wendi, Lindsey and Emily

 Lauren, Kaleena and Aja
Sweet monogramed burp clothes (Thanks, Amanda!)

 Present opening continues. . .

Dark chocolate brownies with dark chocolate candies on top. . . these girls know what I like!

Debbie (Brandon's mom), my mom, Susan (my older sis), Tiffany (my sis in law), Ashley (my slightly younger sis), Me and Clara (Clara looks thrilled to be celebrating, ha!) and Avery (my niece, Susan's daughter)

Such a fun evening! So blessed to have such thoughtful family and friends! Only eight more week to go!!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Clara 18 months

18 months old . . . November 2, 2013!

Anything musical and/or with lights
Swinging at the park
Knocking on the doors/windows
Playing in the mirror
Books - I am loving that she is loving books so much these days!
Bath time - the girl could spend hours in the bath and be perfectly content!

Does Not Love:
Dogs barking
Toilets flushing
Babies crying and/or children screaming/shrieking (even if they are happy screams/shrieks)
When the entire congregation claps at church, or like setting
Diaper changes (think she is still recovering from when we had to lay her down and give meds over and over again, during the week of molar craziness)
When we take her from her toys to go eat, get in the car, etc. She totally throws a pity party, ha!

Love this side shot of her hair. . . 

Now that we are passed the molar madness (for now anyway) her sleeping habits are back to normal! She goes down around 7:30 or 8pm and wakes anytime between 6-8:30am. She takes one nap a day, beginning between 12-1pm and she will sleep for a solid 2-3 hours.

Schedule at 18 months:
6-8:30am - Wake for the day (her wake time varies daily)
Breakfast & milk shortly after waking
Play, play, play
11:30am or so - Lunch
Play a little bit more
12 or 1pm - Nap begins, she will sleep a solid 2-3 hours (she also gets milk before nap)
Snack after waking from nap and then we play, run errands etc for the rest of the afternoon
5:30 or so - Dinner
Playtime with daddy! Bath time etc.
7:30pm - 8pm - Bedtime
**Therapy obviously thrown into the mix several days a week!**

Y'all - her eating has exploded this month. Thankyoulordforthisgoodgift. Here is a list of what she will eat & SWALLOW as of today. Our plan is to keep trying new foods each week!! Now. . .  she is not yet at the point of totally feeding herself all of these items (meaning, I still have to cut up most everything really small and hand them to her one at a time - if too much is on her tray she will become overwhelmed, have a meltdown and not eat), but right now I DON'T CARE BECAUSE SHE IS SWALLOWING THE FOOD! Can I get an amen?

Peaches (small ones from the fruit cups)
String cheese
Graham crackers
Veggie sticks (the chips that are made from veggies, not actual raw veggies, ha)
Toddler spaghetti-os
Cooked carrots and peas (although peas are hit or miss)
Cooked noodles (again must be small and in some type of sauce)
Cereal bars (her fav is anything apple cinnamon flavor)
Pancakes (tried for the first time Sunday!)
Stuffing (totally random, but we had a Thanksgiving feast with our church small group and we decided to give it a try. She was LOVING it and taking bite after bite off of Brandon's fork!)

We are also working on a straw sippy cup (patience and practice are the name of the game. . . easier said than done some most days).

She still won't really swallow meat. Other than cheese (and yogurt) any recommendations for protein? I tried putting some peanut butter on her pancake this morning and she did ok. Might try scrambled eggs this week. Other ideas from you experienced mommas?

Clara is pulling to stand on just about anything. She even just learned how to pull up in her crib! She is able to side step up and down the couch or ottoman and is growing more confident each day! She is not quite cruising or anything like that, but you can tell she really wants to make it happen! In therapy we are focusing on getting her cruising, using two hands to manipulate items, and passing one object from hand to hand. We are also working on social interaction and communication cues, even though she is non verbal.

And as mentioned, her eating has exploded this month!

Love that she squints her eyes when she sports a big smile . . . 

Therapy news & misc:
Clara goes to OT twice a week, on Monday and Tuesday mornings. ECI also comes to our home once a week (day/time changes weekly based on our caseworkers schedule).

We just recently learned that our insurance has APPROVED our appeal for speech therapy. Thank you, Lord!! This was a long, hard fight but worth it! Clara goes for her initial speech evaluation on December 10th. At the eval, the therapist will decide how frequently she will need sessions.

We are still awaiting blood work results from the whole genome sequencing that was done earlier this year (blood work was done on all three of us in July).

She was fitted for glasses this past Friday. They will come in, in about two weeks. Please pray for us. She was fighting every step of the appt. - from holding the lenses up, to shining the light in her eyes, to the actual dilation, to the fitting and measuring. Major. Meltdowns. Dr said most kids fight the glasses for the first 2-3 days and then they accept them. She mentioned that for our sweet Clara, we can expect a fight for about a week or tad longer. Again, prayers please!! I will be sure and post pics once the glasses arrive!

Stats from her well check earlier this month:
Height - 31.5 inches (41%)
Weight - 21.5 pounds (33%)
HC - 17.01 inches (0%) - While some professionals are more concerned with her Microcephaly, her pediatrician is not, so we are thankful. 
BMI - 15.1 kg/m2

Think she's had enough pic taking for one day. . . Look says it all. 

We are excited about Thanksgiving and Christmas this year! It will be fun having a toddler that is a little more aware and into the festivities! We will be with Brandon's family for Thanksgiving and mine for Christmas day. Can't wait!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Weekend Links 11/15/13

I took a blogging break this week. Lots of appts for Clara, a few for me, and lots going on in between.  Speaking of appts for Clara, we go this morning to get her fitted for glasses (meaning - Dr has to dilate her eyes. Yikes. Said Dr has already warned me over text message that this will NOT be a fun process because the drops sting pretty bad for little kids. Double yikes). Depending on the frames we select, we might walk away with them today, or we might have to wait a while for the order/prescription to come in, not really sure. I'm a little nervous about how this will go down (meaning - how she is going to tolerate something on. her. face. when she is so sensory defensive) so prayers are appreciated! Nevertheless, I will be sure and post pics once the glasses are in, you know, and once I can manage to snap a semi decent pic of her in them without her having a meltdown.  :)

Despite a little blogging break, I did come across a few really good reads this week. Enjoy!

Do the thing in front of you - The Art of Simple (aka the once Simple Mom website)
The easiest and hardest thing to do when you're not ok - Stacey w/ (in)courage
Courage to be broken: my real Thanksgiving list - Bonnie Gray w/ (in)courage

Eating Disorder/Mental Health/Self Esteem
The Shrinking Woman - video clip, via Kath Eats Real Food
We must stop hating our bodies. For the sake of our daughters and their mothers - Lisa Jo Baker

And below is the Jesus Calling entry for today. Wanted to share as I have several friends going through some really hard stuff right now. I do hope it will bring a little bit of peace and encouragement to your day. And if you are in need of a quick, daily devotional book, I highly recommend Jesus Calling.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Weekend Links 11/8/13

I'm here to report that yesterday and last night went MUCH MUCH MUCH better than what has been our normal the past week. Thank you, Lord, thank you, Lord, thank you, Lord. Clara went to bed about 8pm or so, and is still. asleep. Hasn't woken up once. Didn't cry when we put her in bed. Shoot, she even took her medicine willingly before bed. As in, Brandon told her "Say Ahhhh," and she opened her mouth and let him squeeze the syringe filled with medicine right on in. And then she took her paci. I'm not going to hold my breath just yet, but I am beyond thankful that it seems as though the worst might be behind us???

A few links for your weekend reading. . . Have a great Friday!

The Price of Ignoring Our Problems - (in)courage
Catching Joy - (in)courage
Having a bad day doesn't make you a bad mother - Lisa Jo Baker
Moms: Pinterest can't "make" you feel bad about yourself - The Happiest Home

Eating Disorder/Mental Health/Self Esteem
What I want you to know about having a kid with Autism - RATM
Letting go of the idealized recovery - ED Bites (please excuse a few foul words, good info!)
15 Awesome Celebrity Body Image Quotes -

After the I.V.F, the Wait 
Celebrating Pregnancy Again - Came across this book on Amazon. From the description taken from the link provided: This book follows the author's journey from loss to subsequent pregnancy, with encouragement along the way on how to handle the 'new normal' that rocks your world after facing a loss.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

2013 goals, October roundup

Only going to touch on the recipes and scriptures for my October roundup because, well, those are basically the only goals I worked on all month long. Better than nothing, right?

Banana chocolate chip muffins -  Of course I added some peanut butter to this batter and added more chocolate chips than the recipe calls for, which basically resulted in me wanting to eat these 24/7. And what I love about this recipe is you probably have most of the ingredients on hand.

Cheesy Pesto Bread - This takes like five seconds to throw together and puts a nice spin on just your regular ol french bread with dinner. Brandon LOVED it. We have actually made it several times over the last few weeks, last night included.

Chicken Tortilla Bake - This was really good. Only change I would make is using the hot rotel instead of the mild/regular. Brandon agreed. But we will make this again!

Cheesy Turkey Baked Pasta - Used ground beef instead of of turkey. Awesome! This made enough for six meals at least. Another win in my book.

Psalm 16:8 "I have set the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken."

Isaiah 26:7 "The path of the righteous is level; O upright one, you make the way of the righteous smooth."

Such great promises in both scriptures. God is always, always, within a hands reach and because of this we will NOT be shaken, despite whatever circumstance may fall on our path. And with those less than ideal circumstances, He promises to make our path level and smooth. . . maybe not on our ideal timeline. . . but He will smooth our path, in His time. Guaranteed. And what hope and joy that promise can bring.

Any recipes you want to share? I need some ideas for November...
Any scriptures that have brought peace to your heart lately? Do share! 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Baby girl #2, Weeks 26-29

Hello third trimester. . . when did you get here? Had my 28 week appointment last Tuesday 10/29 and all is going well. Cannot believe I now start seeing my Dr every two weeks. Craziness.

I have actually been taking pictures the past few weeks. Please excuse my lack of photography skills and also that I am too lazy to windex the mirror I'm using for these photos.

Loving: Watching baby girl move around and do all sorts of gymnastics moves in my tummy. Oh, and not having to wear my heart monitor anymore!

Not loving: Varicose veins, back pain, varicose veins, back pain. . . did I mention varicose veins?

Favorite foods: I'm really not too picky these days, but I am still loving thin crust homemade pizza, salads, cold cereal, pumpkin anything, and Chickfila. Sadly, veggies (other than what comes on a salad) have not made a strong appearance so far this pregnancy. Not an aversion really, just not necessarily sounding awesome. Sorry baby. . . I'll work on that.

Looking forward to: Getting the nursery all set up! We have officially cleared out the room and are starting to piece the space together! We are actually moving Clara's current furniture into the new nursery, and repurposing the new (to us) crib and dresser for Clara's room (painting both white, which will match her room a lot better anyway). I am really excited about how things will look in both rooms. Pics to come!

Anxious about: The fact that our lives will revolve around teething for the next, oh, several years. Please reference this post for further explanation.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Growing molars. . . not for the faint of heart

So remember when I blogged last week about how Clara was sick and we got that antibiotic after she cried for four hours straight??? Looks like we found the reason. . .


No one prepped me for the craziness that is when your toddler starts cutting molars. People!!! How does no one talk about this? Or did I just not care to take notice since we had not yet hit that phase of toddlerhood (very possible)? Or maybe you are one of the lucky ones whose child didn't even notice their molars were CUTTING THROUGH THEIR GUMS. If you are that person, I do not like you right now. Maybe in a little while. . . but not right now.

The past six days have been a flashback to Clara's colicky days and thus, has brought on a teeny amount of anxiety about having a newborn again. Baby girl #2 - I will love you unconditionally, regardless of how high maintenance you are, but can I say that you would make your mommy & daddy really happy if you did not hold your older sister as the gold standard between age 6-12ish weeks? Ok? Thanks in advance for that.

Our poor Clara hasn't been eating, drinking liquids (meaning there were several days in a row she ate nothing, and drank only 6-8 oz in a 48 hour period & would meltdown at the sight of her bottle or anything that we tried to lift to her mouth), taking her beloved paci, and pretty much has been crying all the time, day and night. Nights are the worst and poor thing only sleeps 3-5 hours a night.

We even took her to the ER Saturday night (before we had confirmation that molars were the culprit). While she didn't have a fever, and I knew there probably wasn't much they could really do, we just had to be sure that there wasn't something severly wrong that we were overlooking.

These videos are from last Friday. One of our more MILD days. Things were only starting to take off at that point. How pitiful is she???? Breaks my heart.

Look at that tear mid cheek. . . sad!

Lots of snuggles in our pjs. . .

One morning after we finally got some meds in her. She crashed. And no, she never took that milk you see in the background.

My little mouth breather. . .

We have watched a lot of Baby Einstein over the last six days. More than she has watched in her entire life for sure. One of the only ways we could calm her down in the middle of the night.

This was Sunday night (or should I say Monday morning?). 2:30am she finally surrendered and fell asleep in our bed. Then woke at 7:30am crying.

Dad got lots of snuggles in as well. . . 

Yep, her face says it all. . .

Praying our girl gets some relief soon, and that these silly teeth will just make their way through her gums already.

Side note - last night was MUCH better. She slept a little under 6 hours without waking up once. She got up at 4:30 crying in pain, but that is MUCH improved from the days prior. And so far today has been going better as well. Thank you, Lord. That said, I took my first shower in 6 days. Ha!

Another side note - Turns out that kids with sensory issues, especially those with oral aversions/sensitivities/defensiveness, have an extra hard time when cutting teeth, especially the beasts that are molars. Interesting, right? Makes sense why this has been extra hard for sweet Clara. 

How did your child handle teething/getting their molars? 
Any survival tips to share? 

Friday, November 1, 2013

Weekend Links 11/1/13 and Clara's Halloween costume

We skipped out on Trick or Treating last night, due to Clara's crazy week. And looks as though we made a good choice because she cried and cried and cried last night from 7:30 - almost midnight. Sigh. Poor baby girl. Not sure what is going on. We are kind of baffled actually. Is it all due to her recent sickness, possible teething, some separation anxiety stuff starting to make an appearance? Last night, like this entire week, we have tried everything, every trick in the book, and nothing seems to help. So we press on. . . just praying she will make a positive turn around here soon.

(And of course Ive been wide awake since 4:50am because well. . . why would a 28 week pregnant person need more than 4 hr 50 min of sleep??! Thank you insomnia. And back pain. And. . . Ok, I'm really not complaining. Thankful that there is even a reason I am experiencing these issues in the first place. Because a spontaneous pregnancy was not promised to me. So praise God for that! Perspective.)

And here's a little pic of Clara in her costume last week right before we took her up to our church's pumpkin patch event. At least we got a few pics of our cutie ladybug, even if a week early!

And a few links for your weekend reading pleasure. . . Enjoy!

There you are - Simple Mom (quick reminder on how our body language and demeanor communicates volumes, sometimes much more than words)
Six reasons I love living in a small house - The Better Mom (this is percisely why I never want to move)

Eating Disorder, Mental Health and/or Self Esteem
Of Mothers and Monsters - (in)courage (powerful testimony from a woman who suffered with severe PPMD)

Infertility and/or Miscarriage
The Other Side of Me - Walking Through the Dark - The Better Mom
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