Saturday, December 31, 2011

Having a Girl

As many of you know, I was dying for a baby girl. I wanted one so badly that Zach and I tried lots of tricks to conceive a girl (guess they worked...you can read about what we did here!). While I wanted a girl super badly, once we got pregnant things changed. We don't find out the sex of the baby until it's born so I was worried that I'd spend nine months wanting a girl then if I had a boy I'd be mega upset. Right when I found out I was pregnant I started focusing on the positives about baby #2 being a boy...so much so that I SERIOUSLY changed my mind and hoped Blitzen would be our second son!!! One of the first things everyone asked me after Brittlynn was born was if I seriously did want another boy or if I was just saying that so I wouldn't be disappointed if she had been a he...well I PROMISE you, I really did want a boy!!!

Once she arrived I still wasn't hardcore excited that she was a girl. The only positive girl thing I kept thinking was that I'd get to help plan her wedding someday :) Once we got home from the hospital though, it started to sink in that I have a daughter. At first everyone said she looked just like Zach. Which is pretty annoying because they said the same thing about Kye. And still do. I mean he may look like Zach but he's def. not an exact copy of his father (the way Crissy's kids look like Seth!!!) and I see traits of us both in him so it irks me when all people say is that he looks like his daddy. When we got home and I looked at MY baby pictures I KNEW everyone was wrong about Brittlynn. She is NOT her daddy's child...she is 100% mine ;)

Me fresh out of the womb (I mentioned my tough delivery in Brittlynn's delivery story...you can read it here to know why the black eye!)
I was also a semi-Christmas baby (Nov 1st bday!)

Here's Brittlynn as a newborn
Tell me we don't look alike?!?!
(and it's okay to say it...I KNOW she's a pretty version of my newborn self!)
Seeing our similarities made it more exciting that I have a daughter...but it REALLY got exciting when Mom brought over a bunch of my baby clothes to pass along to Brittlynn. How neat is it that she'll be able to wear things that I wore? That someday we may even be able to share clothes? That we will get to enjoy girly things together? Have fun spa days? Play with Barbies? That she'll get to enjoy the same loves I had as a girl? That I'll no longer be the only one to get crunk over meeting a Disney Princess? That we will both giggle about boys? Lay out in the pool while we watch the guys mow the grass? There are SO many wonderful things that we'll get to do together! So many firsts I'll get to experience as a mother of a girl instead of a son. 

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE having a boy. Kye is a-mazing and our relationship is so special. But I'm thrilled to now have a daughter as well. As an adult the saying is SO true "a daughter is yours for life but you lose your son when he gains a wife." Zach's mom went through it when we got married. My mom went through it when Brandon got married. It's a fact of life (and it's part of God's plan so I'm not hating on it...it's just tough for the mamas to let go of their sons!), and I'm thankful that I now have a daughter that I'll never have to "lose!" Yes, I've heard of some mother and daughter relationships that aren't ideal...and I know that could happen but most mothers and daughters I know only become closer and closer as they get older!

I know girl's tend to be tougher to raise, especially during the teenage years, but I have good memories of those times too with my mom. Asking her every day if an outfit looked okay. Shopping together. Coming home and telling her every detail of my day and what guy I liked. Kye ALREADY hates talking to me! He'll say "I don't want to talk right now" and I have to leave him alone and not ask too many questions (such an alpha male like his daddy). Sometimes it's lonely for me to not have anyone to talk to since Zach doesn't enjoy too many questions either...so once Brittlynn starts talking she better be ready! ;) I know not all girls are the same, but most women I know enjoy talking and sharing feelings and I look so forward to those special conversations with Britt!

Mom with my baby clothes!
A lot are cute...a LOT scream '80s...once she can fit into them I think it'd be fun to do an 80's flashback photo shoot of her in them all. Good black mail pics for when she starts dating ;)
Late one night when I first got home from the hospital and was up nursing her, I watched an episode of Parenthood (I'm like 11 episodes behind but it's my FAVORITE show!!! That and Up All Night are great!) and it was a prom episode. It was so neat because I related to both the parents of the guys going off to prom...and the parents of the girls. Having one of each allows Zach and I to experience both and it's such a blessing. It also makes me mega pumped for baby #3 because either way we'll know what to expect and will already have tons of clothes and toys waiting for them ;) 

I also LOVE that we had a boy first. I am the older sister to my younger brother and I always wished it was reversed. Being almost 3 years apart (we're actually only one month off from being the exact age difference of Kye and Brittlynn, as are Zach and his younger sister Casey!), we could never "date" each others friends. I was always the "protector" when really you'd rather have an older brother to be protecting you ya know? Zach is the middle child (and only son...you KNOW I had a tough time breaking into that family haha) with both an older sister and a younger sister and, from an outsider prospective, I like the dynamic of his relationship with Casey (especially when they were in high school) better than the one with Courtney. Zach DID protect her and still has this protective instinct over Casey. I'm excited to see how Brittlynn's and Kye's relationship develops through the years. I'm already praying that their future spouses all get along with each other as I know that's critical in order for Kye and Britt to remain close through adulthood!!! Zach and Casey are way closer now that she and I have become good friends than they were when we didn't get along...and now that we both adore Jordan we're all even CLOSER so I hope the same thing happens for my children; as I know Mrs. Charlotte is overjoyed about it :)

One of the outfits Mom had saved was the one I left the hospital in...I thought it'd be fun to put it on Brittlynn for a little mini photo shoot. It was funny because the thing snapped up the back. I mean how did they deal back then?!? She only wore it for a little bit and I packed it away, thinking her daughter may want to wear it (another pro about having a girl...they tend to be WAY more sentimental so I'll get to pass stuff down which will be fun!) someday too.

It says "Thank Heaven for Little Girls"
My sweet baby girl!





I'm so thankful for my daughter and am so excited for all the fun times to come! More than anything I'm thankful we have one of each because if something does happen and we aren't able to have more children, like we want to, we will at least get to experience both sides of parenting. When Zach and I were early in our relationship and would talk about our dreams for the future we both said we'd like to have a boy first, then a girl, then another girl, and have the last baby be a boy (we've seen a lot of "babies" be spoiled rotten and felt like we'd be less likely to spoil a son if we ended with a boy!). We're halfway there and so far have exactly what we'd always hoped for :)

Friday, December 30, 2011

Kye's First Progress Report

Kye started preschool this past August and I'm SO glad we made the choice to go ahead and start this year. He goes three days a week for half a day and it's the perfect amount. We debated which class to put him in as based on his birthday he should have been in the two year old class, not the two and a half year old one. However, we discussed it with the principal and she agreed that he was fine to be in the older class. Typically boys are behind girls in school and he's the youngest in the class so I didn't expect him to surpass his peers or anything like that. His bff, Kailyn, is the oldest in the class as she turned three soon after school started. I taught her in Bible Class at church and the girl is beyond smart. Knows all of her colors while Kye doesn't know any! It doesn't bother me that he may be "behind" his peers. I think it's a good thing to have kids like Kailyn in class with him as it helps him learn!

We got his progress report the day after we came home from the hospital with Brittlynn. It couldn't have been better timing. For two reasons: 1) It gave Kye a chance to have LOTS of attention and praise, which he probably was needing and 2) It reminded Zach and I that we are good parents. When you add another child to the mix, there is a LOT of guilt involved for Mom and Dad. It's hard to give attention to them both, it's tough to feel like you're equally good parents to each child. This progress report helped boost our confidence that we are doing a good job and our kids will be raised up right in our home :)

Since it's a half-way through the year report, lots of the items on the list the class hasn't yet even touched on so I'm not going to include them all here. In each section he could get a N/I (for not yet introduced), B (for beginning), D (for developing) and M (for mastered).

He is developing the ability to identify all of his colors and shapes, but has mastered singing the alphabet (don't we know it!). They are just starting to work on identifying numbers but he can count up to 13.  He has mastered counting objects all the way from 1 - 10. He has mastered showing both the numbers 1 and 2 on his fingers, is developing showing 3, 4, and 5 and hasn't yet learned 6 - 10.

All of that was wonderful to see, but it isn't really stuff we work on at home. It's the type of things they learn at school ya know? So I don't feel like I can take too much credit for it all (sure, we touch on all of them at home but we don't hardcore work on them the way I'm sure they do there). It WAS great to know what he's learning at school so I can do a better job working on it at home. I didn't know they were starting to identify numbers so that's great!

The rest of the progress report is what really mattered to me. It's the things we DO work on at home and that are a reflection, in my opinion, on us as parents. In the fine motor skills category he has mastered holding his crayon correctly, following directions, building a tower of cubes, and stringing beads. He's still developing the ability to color in the lines. In the large motor skills category he has mastered all of them including: running without falling, walking up steps, kicking ball forward, jumping with both feet off the ground, jumping forward, and balancing on one foot (who knew he could do that?!?!).

The best part of the progress report was at the end :) Don't get me wrong, I think education is very important. However, both Zach and I agree that social skills and the ability to self-help are much more valuable. If you can do well in social settings and are an independent person then the sky is really the limit...being smart doesn't open nearly as many doors as being likeable does!!!

Kye has mastered every social skill and language milestone including: follows directions the first time he's asked (HUGE to us!), shares and takes turns, works quietly, accepts responsibility for behavior (another biggie in my book), knows name, knows birth month, uses complex speech when playing with friends, knows the first name of a friend. He has mastered all but ONE self help category. He removes his jacket, pulls down pants without help, pulls up pants without help, hangs jacket on hook, and hangs bookbag on correct hook. The only thing he's developing in the self help section is kinda embarrassing to admit...he is still working on washing his hands by himself. I KNOW it's gross but neither Zach or I do a great job in the hand washing department...this was a good wake up call for us to do better in that area!!!

I was BEAMING with pride when I finished reading the progress report, but then I read the teacher comment section and I about cried. His teacher said "Kye has the best manners I have ever experienced as a teacher. He has a kind heart; always ready to help. He is my little artist and loves to paint and color (I need to get paint stuff for the house!!!!). We love him.

I have tears in my eyes just re-reading that now. Is that not the BEST compliment you can get as a parent?!?! Sure, we think Kye's great, but having someone else say it is even better. Especially someone who does spend SO much time with him. When strangers give you a compliment about your child it's wonderful, but his teachers see his good and bad moments. They experience the full, whole Kye that we know and to hear that report about him couldn't make me more happy as his mother.

I know, reading this blog, it may seem like I brag on my kid (now kids!) a lot, but really I only keep this blog to remember everything they do. If you know me in real life, I don't brag at all. I've been around plenty of parents who do brag and it's beyond annoying. I typically don't really talk about Kye at all when with friends. I know other people don't find little stories about my child that interesting since, let's be honest, I don't really typically find cutesy stories about other people's kids interesting either! It still surprises me how many people read this blog everyday since it's mostly stories about Kye!!! Isn't that boring to read to anyone else other than Zach and I (well and his Gramma)? Anyway, back to the point. I don't typically brag. However, when this progress report came home I have showed it to EVERY single person who has come by the house (which has been a good bit with a new baby at home). I've made a HUGE deal about it and it is the FIRST thing to ever be placed on our fridge (I'm not that kind of mom with artwork all over the fridge...).

Zach and I have worked very hard as parents. I'm not saying we're perfect but we really do put our all into it. Parenting is my passion. I feel that it's my gift from the Lord and I take it very seriously. Having such positive feedback about my child reinforces that passion and drive. Kye is SUCH a blessing to us and has made us SO PROUD. I know this is only the first wonderful progress report of the many, many to come. I know that Kye will continue to make us prouder and prouder through the years! I'm SO appreciative to his teachers and school for continuing to instill the values and responsibilities that we teach at home!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

2 Day Hospital Visit

Brittlynn was born on Tuesday, we left the hospital on Thursday and we had to go back to the hospital for her two day (since leaving the hospital) check up on Saturday. They said we could bring her by anytime from 2-4. Easier said than done when your toddler naps from 1-3:30! Zach and I discussed it, and it's something we're going to have to remind each other of over and over again. Now that we have a baby, Kye's schedule comes second to her schedule. The first year of a baby's life scheduling is VITAL. Since Kye is older, he is more flexible. We decided to leave based on what was best for Brittlynn so right when she got done nursing we left. Luckily Kye was semi-awake anyway so it worked out perfectly.

It was our first time taking Brittlynn out and we had both kids with us. It went pretty smoothly! Luckily, she likes the car (at least so far) and slept the entire way. We didn't make Kye sit in silence and we all sang Christmas songs on the way there. He was nervous that we were going back to the hospital to leave Brittlynn there (makes sense seeing as that's where she came from when we got her). I had to reassure him that they were just going to check her then we'd bring her home.
When we got there we had to ring the nurses station and Elizabeth came out and greeted us!!! It worked out perfectly because I had a thank you card and massage gift certificate for her. :) We visited for awhile, and I REALLY like her. Not just as a nurse but as a legit person too. She said it was so neat to see Kye since she was there when he was born and hasn't seen him since. She said for us to come up and see her so I may do that! Maybe I can take Britt to get weighed or something as an excuse...and I'll look for her when Crissy has Olive ;)

We got Brittlynn all dressed up cute...for no reason at all! She was covered with her blanket the whole time then when it was time for them to check her she had to be naked. Poor Zach handled all the undressing and re-dressing and the kid was not happy about it. The whole appointment was so casual. I don't remember it being that way with Kye at all (you can read about his visit here). I had zero questions and she really didn't ask me many either.

She asked how breastfeeding was going and I told her it was taking a long time each feeding but that it was going well and she asked for the diaper count. Literally Brittlynn was peeing and pooping at least once per feeding. I think at that point it's considered good if the baby has like 3 poop diapers a day...she was having 8 or more!!! The nurse said we didn't have to keep track anymore which was good ;) She also said Brittlynn didn't have any signs of jaundice and had beautiful coloring.

Then it was time to weigh her! At birth she weighed 7lb 13 oz. When we left the hospital she had dropped down to 7lb 6oz, which is very normal (it was actually Kye's birth weight!). Only two days later she had gained 5 oz and was weighing 7lb 11oz!!!! The nurse couldn't believe it...she said that it's rare to see that, especially for a breastfed baby. Made me feel SO proud and the nurse was mega impressed. She said she'd be letting the lactation lady know how awesome we were doing. I don't typically brag about stuff but I was hardcore PUMPED about her weight gain! I put that junk on facebook and texted all our family members about it. I was nursing practically around the clock and to see it pay off so quickly was exciting. I knew we had a good thing going and a healthy baby. It's a HUGE blessing and something to be proud of for sure!
While we were dealing with Brittlynn, Kye was socializing with the people in the hallway outside the room.  Some nurses caught his attention and he was in Heaven entertaining them while he waited. When we were done, they let us know that they enjoyed it too...such a ladies man.

The whole "appointment" lasted no longer than 15 min or so and it was wonderful to walk in there feeling so confident and prepared. It's AWESOME having a second baby because Zach and I both know what's going on and aren't running around like clueless crazy people.

On our way into the hospital we actually were waiting for an elevator with another new parent. This young guy was carrying in a HUGE car seat (one of the kinds that Kye now sits in) and had a brand new baby boy. He was cute and so excited but also so, so clueless. He looked at our car seat and said "I don't think mine does that." I felt so bad for him. Part of me wanted to tell him to go run to Walmart and buy a different car seat. Those poor new parents would have to lug their baby in that car seat to the car then somehow get the thing in! Thankful we don't have that problem for sure!
The hospital visit couldn't have gone any more perfectly. I'm SO proud of my sweet girl and how awesome Zach and I are doing so far as her parents :)

Britt's First Bath

Newborns don't need baths very often but it's always been something Zach and I enjoy! You can see the pics from Kye's first bath here. Since Britt still has her cord we can't fully submerge her in the water so we washed her body, then her hair separately. Kye was super pumped about helping and Gramma was able to be there for the big event too! Here's a video of the start of Brittlynn's first bath!

Using the sponges Teresa gave him in the delivery room
Daddy cleaning her up!

Fun family time


She really enjoyed it!

Especially washing her hair - so glad we had the pictures of her first bath at the hospital to know how to wash it the way she likes :)


Big helper!

Her hair looked so soft after being clean!
We don't give her baths very often...she doesn't have long enough awake time for them yet! Zach does enjoy washing her hair though so sometimes he'll just do that and not do the full bath. I'm not rushing her to grow up, but I am looking forward to the time when Kye and Brittlynn can take baths together. I'm sure it's going to be super fun!!!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Heading Home

After Kye's nap Zach and Kye headed back up to the hospital so we could all go home as a family. Of course Brittlynn decided to nurse for like two hours straight (and my body decided that that was the time I'd need to poop for my first time after delivery so that took awhile...) so I was rushing around trying to get dressed and packed up and they ended up getting there before I was completely ready to go. Kye did a great job being patient and waiting though and Zach was a HUGE help! He got her dressed for her first time in one of the cute outfits Mom and Mrs. Charlotte bought for her.

Sweet girl is ready to go!
It kinda shocked me how casual the whole hospital was about us leaving. I guess because I signed all the forms in advance there wasn't anything left for me to do? We put her in her car seat, and she did not like it.

She had to ride in my lap while I rode in a wheel chair as we left the hospital
The guys pushing the luggage cart to the car
First time outside, it calmed her RIGHT down
Excited!!!
First car ride
Proud Big Brother

When we left the hospital with Kye we were soooo dumb. We got discharged at like 7:00 at night. We rushed home and totally forgot to get my prescriptions filled so I was in SO much pain. This time around we left much earlier in the day and Mom ran my prescription by the pharmacy before we left the hospital so we could pick it up on our way home. Typical Emily luck though...their systems were down! We ended up having to take it do a different pharmacy and have it filled. Thankfully Mrs. Charlotte was bringing us dinner that night so she stopped by and picked it up. So annoying!

Our Welcome Home sign waiting for us when we pulled in the driveway!
(it cracks me up how "manyly" it is...)
The guys and their sign

The girls!
We're HOME!
Here's a video of us walking in the door...once we realized the dogs were freaking out we stopped recording ;) If you have ever been to our house before then you know something about Kye...he LOVES his room. Literally every single time someone comes over (you could be a friend, a door-to-door sales person...anyone and you could be at our home for the first time or millionth...) he runs up to them and says "wanna see my room?" He loves to show off his room and he's so proud of it. We knew it'd be the first thing he'd want Brittlynn to see...and he didn't disappoint. Here's a video of Kye showing his sister his room.

Once settled, we swaddled her up and put her down to sleep before her next feeding time. Right out of the hospital she was going about 3 hours between feedings but nursing for an hour to an hour and a half each feeding...she was keeping me busy! Yes, it's a blue swaddle...don't worry I bought some pink ones :)
Mr. Rusty and Mrs. Charlotte came by to visit and give us dinner. She made a roast and omg I was STARVING so that meal was literally one of the best meals of my life!!! I LOVED It. The next day I ate it as left overs and poured the sauce from the roast all over everything on my plate...so unlike me b/c I hate for any of my food to touch.

Cuddling Big Papa
and G-Mama
Kye was the dr and had to "check" everyone

Meeting the dogs, Sadie and Levi
Before Mr. Rusty and Mrs. Charlotte left, I had them take some pictures of us to remember Britt's big homecoming! Kye has been the only child for over 2 years and has TONS of pictures with just him in them...I think it's very important to try to get pictures of Brittlynn alone too. Someday she'll get married and she will want the pictures for her wedding video or something and won't want her brother in every single one!!!


Our new family!
Our first night home wasn't too bad...I got like 3-4 broken hours of sleep which isn't great, but it's not horrible. I know I'm comparing to Kye a lot but that's just going to happen. He's all I knew before she came along so it's natural to compare the two experiences! With him we were up ALL night. Mom stayed with us and none of us got any sleep. You can read about our homecoming with Kye here, and about his first night home here. This time around everything was so much better. We even had an extra kid at the house and no one else to help and did great...and no one almost died ;)
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