Saturday, January 29, 2011

B is for...






(Thanks for all of the great clothes and blankets, Marcia!!!)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Wordless Wednesday (#41): A Young Dale

(Emma Jean has this picture hanging in her living room. It's by far my favorite picture of Dale as a child. What a cutie!)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Our Journey to Five (#9)

Thursday, January 20th

Dear Bryce,

Your Lilypie ticker description on my blog changed today! It says that you are 14.5 inches long and that you weigh 2 pounds (and are "plumping up").

It also says that it's possible that you can hear and recognize your parents' voices. Which I thought was pretty cool. So I figured I'd write you a letter here, and then read it out loud to you. You know, so that you can get plenty of practice hearing my voice in a way that's directed solely toward you (and not, as usual, at your two big sisters).

Ivie CANNOT WAIT to meet you! She keeps asking when you're going to "come out". (She also sometimes asks HOW you're going to come out. I've really got to get better at answering those tough questions - they're only going to get tougher, and, so far, I stink at them). Anyway, my standard response to the timing question is that you'll make your appearance shortly after her birthday. Which generally gets her thinking about where we're going to hold her 5th birthday party. And she moves on. At least until the next day, when she asks about you again.

Macie knows you're hanging out in my belly, but that's about the extent of her understanding. Fine with me, because she's probably not going to be happy about not being the "baby" any more once you arrive. So we'll let her live in her la-la youngest-child land for a while longer before dropping the bomb. Which will likely happen the day you come home from the hospital.

I'm up really late tonight! Was finishing up some work, saw the new ticker about you, and couldn't help but take the time to write this to you. I'll pay for it tomorrow. But who cares?!? It'll be the weekend, so I'll hopefully be able to snag a few naps to catch up on sleep.

In other news, I've started decorating your room! My original plan was to go with a blue and brown theme. Partly because your room is already painted blue, but mostly because I love blue and brown! But then I started looking around our house and realized that the best thing to do was to decorate your room in a Carolina theme. I mean, we already have the piggy bank, blocks, and stuffed animals to pull it off, so why not?

Your daddy immediately and wholeheartedly agreed with this change of plans. Just wait. After you meet him, you'll understand why.

Based on the general rule, we've got 14 more weeks together, just me and you, before you make your grand entrance into this crazy world. Truth be told, I'd be cool if you're ready in only 13 weeks. You see, Ivie was a week early, and Macie 4 days, so a week early is really "on-time" in my mind. I know you're a boy and all, but I'm cool with you keeping up the early-delivery trend. I know there will be plenty of ways in which you'll be different than your sisters. This doesn't have to be one of them.

Speaking of delivery, I haven't given it much thought this time around. Other than to worry if you are going to have your daddy's head and if that's going to give me any problems. Although both of your sisters have big heads, too, and I managed fine with them, so we should be okay. Time will tell. But, just to let you know, I was only in the hospital for 2 hours before Macie was born. While I don't want you to come much faster than that (your stressball mom does NOT want to deliver you in the parking garage), I certainly would be fine if the delivery process goes fairly quickly. Particularly if the epidural doesn't work again (as it didn't, at least on one side, with Macie).

You got all that? Lots to think about, I know, for a little 2 pound, foot-long baby. But I'm pretty sure that you're going to be smart, so I'm going to go ahead and challenge your brain early.

What else do I have to tell you before I go to bed tonight?!?

I'm soooo looking forward to our morning walks while I'm on maternity leave. Now, I know that you won't actually see the scenery much during these walks, since I'll strategically plan them around your morning nap time. But let me just tell you. Those walks? They put me in the best mood. It's my post-baby exercise, but it's also an hour where I have nothing better to do than to push you in your stroller and stare at you. Sleeping. Nothing sweeter than a sleeping infant. Except maybe a sleeping infant lying on my chest while I doze off, too. But we'll save that for one of the afternoon naps!

Alright. It's 11:15p. Time for me and you to go to bed, kiddo.

Oh. Just one last thing.

I love you so much. And I'm pretty sure that you're going to get tired of me saying that. Deal with it, buddy. Because it's oh so true.

A Gazillion Hugs and Kisses,

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Macie's First Haircut

Macie's hair can really only be described as C-R-A-Z-Y. It's super thin, mostly curly (except for the top layer), and has spent the past 2 years and 4 months growing into pretty much an all-around mess.

So, yesterday, when she was home sick with a double ear infection and croup, we decided to take advantage of her toughness (you wouldn't have even known the girl was sick by her energy and attitude) and the time off from work in the middle of the day to get her first hair cut.

Much to my surprise, she was a superstar in her "car", obeying requests to sit still and closely watching Nemo on television. And the cut? It's, well, adorable. I'll let you see for yourself.

Jack's Fire Truck Party

Ivie's friend, Jack, had a fire truck birthday party this past weekend. Dale took her, and the camera! (And I now have a computer that is Picasa-enabled. Yippeeeee!)

Here are some quick shots of Ivie the firefighter!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Teeth #17 and #18

I've got to admit that I have no idea when these teeth actually popped through. It sure gets harder the farther back in the mouth they get! But I glanced in Macie's mouth today, and both are well on their way to being fully-cut teeth. So I just put in today's date. Better a little late than never (which is, unfortunately, the status of Ivie's tooth chart in her baby book).

So, with the exception of the slow/malfunctioning quadrant of her mouth (in which her last second molar has yet to make an appearance and you've already heard the story of the missing lateral incisor), we're done with her baby teeth!

Sorry I haven't had any good picture blogs lately. I am blaming it entirely on a new policy at work that precludes me from having Picasa on my computer. Which means I can't edit my pictures. Like the ones of Ivie at the fire truck birthday party. Or the ones of Macie's first haircut (which is OH. SO. CUTE.). So, until I have an alternative computer, we're all out of luck when it comes to pictures on the blog.

Don't get me started on how I feel about this new "policy".

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Macie's (A)Musings (#4): Taking It to the Extreme

When we arrived back home after church and the grocery store about 12:15p today, Dale and Macie walked inside ahead of Ivie and me. Our pattern is for Dale to unload and put away the groceries while I get lunch started for the girls.

Ivie had already told me that she wanted a pasta bowl (that kid LOVES pasta). I hadn't had a chance to narrow down Macie's choice (between pasta and a pb & j), so I began looking for her when I got in the house. She was no where to be found. I had overheard her telling Dale as they walked in that she was sleepy and wanted her paci, so I knew just where to go to find her after I got Ivie started with her pasta.

But this time, she's taken her paci hunt to a whole new level. This is what I saw when I got to her room...

Asleep, still wearing her coat. You can't tell in the picture, but at least she'd discarded her shoes before climbing into bed! I guess she'll be skipping lunch today...

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

My Belly: 25 Weeks

So this is kind of a silly post. I admit it in advance. But it covers a phenomenon that I've had with all 3 pregnancies, so why not document it this time with a picture?!?

The Braxton Hicks contractions have officially begun with Bryce. They're no big deal, they don't hurt at all, and I'm used to them, as they were fairly regular with the girls, too.

But the effect they have makes me laugh.

Like this, where they totally make my belly lopsided...

Given the placement of the kicks/bumps I've felt, I think Bryce is still lying sideways in my uterus (you can start heading downward any day now, buddy). And most of you out there who know my husband will likely believe that the protruding side in this picture is probably Bryce's big head (because we all know that Dale Herman's son is going to have a large cranium - I'm already concerned about it from the labor perspective).

There might be some more-official-and-actually-medically-oriented discussions out there on the web that would indicate what the protrusion really is, but (without taking the time to look them up, since it's the middle of the work day) I'm guessing it's either Bryce's head, his bottom, or maybe it's just where the placenta is, and that when it tightens up in a Braxton Hicks, that area sticks out, regardless of what body part happens to be below it.

Who knows? But, regardless of the reason for the lopsidedness, it's still pretty amusing. Though not nearly as amusing as watching my stomach roll over from side to side when he's moving around. Maybe I'll try to catch that on video some day when I'm not wearing an annoying striped shirt that makes me dizzy to watch for more than a couple seconds at a time...

Confessions of a ... Mom (#1): Why THIS Series?!?

I started this blog in September of 2008 for the purpose of having somewhere to document all of the happenings in the lives of my (at the time) two young daughters. I knew how poorly of a job I had done maintaining Ivie's (then 2.5 years old) baby book, and I knew that with a toddler and an infant, that task was not going to become any easier. Through this blog, I have discovered that I love to write, edit, review, tweak some more, and publish stories for "the world" (or the maybe 25 people that read my blog, at least) to see. Truth be told, though, even if I had zero "followers", even if I didn't force 10 family members and friends to get the updates in their inbox (even if they didn't specifically ask to receive it), I would still write this blog.

Do you know why? It all goes back to the main reason I started it in the first place. For my kids.

I get giddy when I think that someday, when they're settling into their lives as young adults or even parents themselves (because, let's face it, they're probably not going to care much about the blog before then), they will have something they can hold in their hands that tells their life story. That's why every year I turn my blog into a 400+ page hard-copy book (working on editing the pages of Year 2 right now so that I can use my Blurb jasmere voucher that expires 2.18.2011 - tick, tock, tick, tock). Something tangible, like a baby book of sorts, filled with their memories.

It makes me smile just thinking about it.

But you know what else I've recently realized I want them to get from this blog? I want them to have a better understanding of their mom. So someday, when I'm long gone, they can sit and read and talk and laugh with THEIR kids, and their grandkids, about the person they called Mom. And know ME, maybe in ways that I never really had the opportunity or reason to discuss with them.

To date, I haven't really ventured down that path here. Probably because that would involve introspection, and that takes time. Time that I haven't required myself to commit. Yes, I have a full-time job. And it's VERY full-time. Probably too much so for my own liking and (sometimes) well-being. And my amazing husband? He, too, works very, very hard in a new position that he just began 6 months ago that causes him to travel a LOT. And we have sweet baby #3 on the way, which certainly isn't going to make life any calmer (though it will multiply our joy tremendously, I know!).

But I've done some thinking and some reading lately that have made me realize that this is an area on which I need to focus. My legacy, I guess, to use a fancy term. What is it about me that I want my kids to remember? To know and understand about me, as a person? My attributes that are considered in this world to be positive, as well as those that are just downright frustrating (as hard as those will be to write about).

Last night, before I went to bed, I was thinking about the possibility of this blog series, and approximately 52 topic ideas popped into my head in a matter of minutes. This morning, as I sit and write this introduction to the series before beginning another long work day, I'm having a hard time remembering any of them. So hopefully they'll come back to me at a time when I can write them down. Because I really think this could be something great.

Not really for you all, my few (but treasured) followers. But for my 3 kiddos someday. You know, the little people for whom I started this blog in the first place.

Wordless Wednesday (#40): Bath Tub Hugs!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Our Journey to Five (#8)

Sunday, January 9th

Just settled onto the couch to watch television for what seems like the first time in several weeks. Probably because it is. For a lot of reasons. First, it's obviously been the holidays and we've been busy. Second, the days after Christmas and before the first day of classes for the spring semester are the busiest days of my work year. Third, our favorite shows take breaks over the holidays, too, so we haven't had anything to watch!

But it seems like this couch is where momentous baby occurrences take place with this pregnancy! Like weeks ago when I first felt Bryce move, tonight I first SAW him move. Now, I don't mean little bumps - I've seen those several times over the past couple of weeks. But, tonight, he was going crazy! Rolling all over the place, making my entire stomach visually move from side to side.

I've been so blessed to have experienced this twice before, obviously, with my sweet girls. Let me tell you - it never gets old. Keep it up, little guy.

Monday, January 10th

Operation Move-Macie-Into-Ivie's-Room-So-Bryce-Has-A-Bed took a turn for the worse tonight...

We have tried a couple of times in the past couple of months to get Mac to nap in Ivie's bed. Each time, it's been a failure, as the girls just laid in bed and talked until Dale and I realized it wasn't going to work and put Macie back into her crib.

Tonight as I read them both their books of choice ("Llama Llama Mad at Mama" for Mac and "Happy Halloween, Stinky Face" for Iv), Ivie randomly asked if they could try sleeping together tonight. Macie quickly jumped on board, and Dale and I gave in.

After books, we got them both snuggled under the blankets with their various loveys and stuffed animals cuddled next to them.

For 10 minutes or so, we thought it might work. It seemed pretty quiet on our end of the monitor, and we'd locked the door, so neither of the girls had come out. Then we heard Macie start crying and Ivie begin calling for us...

When I got up to Iv's room, Macie sadly said, "I want to go back to MY bed." Ivie explained that Macie was "scared" and began whimpering herself, upset that it clearly wasn't going to work out this time.

I'm really sad for Ivie, as she desperately wants Macie to be her roommate "for ever and ever," and now it's clear that it's not yet the right time for the transition.

I'm also really sad for Dale and me, because putting them to bed together in the same bed was a heck of a lot easier than the alternative!

Lastly, I'm sad for Bryce because it appears as though he might be stuck in the bassinet for a few months if Macie doesn't turn it around.

But I'm extremely at peace for the Mac-ster, as she happily snuggled under her blanket, hugged her sea horse, and said, "night, night, Mommy!" when I put her back in "her" bed after our failed experiment.

We'll get there. Just not tonight...

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Our Little Gymnast

After soccer in the Fall of 2009 (which, at age 3, was too soon, we learned), and T-Ball during the Summers of 2009 and 2010, this past fall we were eager to get Ivie involved in something that we didn't have to DRAG her to.

So we started her in Gymnastics classes (Monday nights, 6:30p) on August 30, 2010. And, 3 months in, it's been a great choice!

Now, don't get me wrong. I don't have visions of her turning into a high-level gymnast. While she might have the body type for it, she's greatly hampered, unfortunately, by having her mom and dad's flexibility. Awful, times two.

But our hope is that, through this class, she will be able to fight those genetics at least a little bit and, just maybe, be able to touch her toes without bending her knees once she gets to high school. Or to at least score a positive number on the Sit and Reach portion of the President's Physical Fitness Test (apparently they still have those) in middle school.

When Dale is home on Monday nights, our routine is for him to take Iv to gymnastics, and I stay home for some one-on-one time with Macie. The good part of this is that Dale cherishes this time with his big girl. The bad part is that I don't get to watch her on the gymnastics floor very often and, when Dale's out of town and I get to take her, I spend most of my time entertaining Macie in the play room at the gym and don't get to see her working on her skills.

But each Monday evening, Ivie is excited to walk out the door with Dale, and, when they return, she always answers "FUN!" when I ask her how Gymnastics was. Ahhhhhh. Music to my ears.

On November 8th, Ivie's teacher for the fall, Miss Breanne, took the time to fill out a "report card" of sorts for each child to give the parents an idea of how well they were progressing on the various skills. Ivie is in the Flippers class, which is for 4 and 5 year-olds, so she's presumably on the lower end of the age spectrum for the skills being taught. And, as you can see, she has some room for improvement with many of the skills identified below (most of which I have no idea what they are). So she won't be moving up to the next level any time soon, but, for the mom that doesn't get to go to class very often, it's fun to see what she's mastered and what she still needs to work on...

The week after the skills tests, the gym management let parents watch class from INSIDE and bring their cameras (a rare treat!). Dale took Ivie (and the camera) and was only slightly frustrated with me for not sending him with our zoom lens. He struggled a little with finding the best mode for shooting, so many of these pictures are blurry (I've made them black-and-white to hide that a bit), but you'll get the picture.

Here she is, our little gymnast! At least until this, too, becomes "old" and she wishes to move on to something else...

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Christmas at Grandma's, 2010

Christmas with the Herman clan was back in Hickory this year, after having spent last year's Christmas at the beach. What a difference in the weather! Last year at the beach, we were in light jackets walking in the sand admiring the ocean; this year in Hickory, we were inside watching it snow all day, finally ending with about 7 inches on the ground the next morning!

But we were snug and cozy in Grandma's house Christmas afternoon/evening (having our traditional Domino's Pizza for dinner). Early Sunday afternoon, Doug, Jennifer, Luke, and Rod arrived and, following the girls' naps, we quickly moved to the living room for present time!

As you'll see from these pictures, Macie was in a convenient spot for me to catch her with my camera. Ivie was sitting right next to me, and I was too lazy to get up to get better shots, so I didn't get many of her!

As always, Grandma had lots of thoughtful presents for each of us. It was another great family Christmas celebration!