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Saturday, January 31, 2015

Tess's 4 Month Well Visit

Tess had her 4 month well check-up on Dec 9th. These appointments keep falling on days when Britt doesn't have school and when Zach can't make it. So it's some pretty hardcore girl time ;) Luckily Zach is able to attend her 6 month visit...b/c I can't! I just found out Kye has his Muffins with Mom Day the same morning so we will have to divide and conquer :) 

Britt has done really, really well at these appointments. It doesn't hurt that there is a TV in the waiting room!

On this visit I was fully expecting to see the PA we usually see and was actually a little bummed to see the legit pediatrician haha. Don't get me wrong, he's amazing but when you're just used to certain people you kinda want to keep that relationship going!

It was a pretty easy visit! He checked Tess's chest and said that it sounded perfect! He also told me that he's really surprised she was able to avoid going to the hospital when she had RSV. He said typically 90% of babies end up needing to be hospitalized who get it. Whew. SO thankful!

We went over her stats and at 4 months old Tess was 25 inches long (75th percentile), 13.2 lbs (25th percentile) and had a head circumference of 15.6 inches (25th percentile). During her 2 month well visit she was 23 3/4 inches long (90th percentile), 11 lbs 4 oz (50th percentile) and HC of 15 1/8th inches (28th percentile). He did not mention any concerns over her stats all being lower in the percentages. I didn't realize they had all dropped until I compared myself when I got home, so it's something I plan to discuss at her next visit.

He looked at her head shape and said it looks great! Her ears also looked great and he said it's very normal for poop colors to be a variety of things while nursing (she has green poop from time to time so I was a little concerned). He also said he can see her gums getting ready for her first tooth but it could still be a couple months (PLEASE be a couple months haha!). I talked to him about her sleep habits and how she will sometimes cry at night but seem to still be legit sleeping. He said he has heard of babies doing that and it's not an abnormal thing.

I also asked him for advice about Britt's finger sucking...he basically said the only thing I can do to get her to stop is to do death threats haha! It made me feel a LOT better though that a legit dr couldn't even offer a full proof way to stop her from sucking them!

I left again while Tess had her shots and she did great! We had a good visit and lots of cuddles to help her get through the shot pain. I did notice that the shots had WAY less of an affect on her this visit than they did last one. She just has a VERY easy-going, calm personality. I love it :)

Tess is SO much smaller than my other babies. At this age Britt was able to wear 9 month size clothes and Tess is barely able to wear any 6 month sizes! Just to show the Britt's 4 month visit she was 26.25 inches long (91st percentile), 16lbs 2 oz (80th percentile) and HC was 16 inches (30th percentile). Tess is smaller than her in every area! You can read about Britt's 4 month visit here and Kye's here! He weighed the most and had the biggest head but Britt was actually longer than he was at this age! (I also love the pic of him...oh my goodness SO BALD! ha!).

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Learning Our Love Language

Today is Babywise Friendly Blog Network Day and we're all talking about Love Languages (pretty appropriate with Valentine's Day coming up, right?)

Zach and I are approaching our 8th wedding anniversary. We have grown so much in our marriage since the day we said "I do." However, I think we've actually done the most growing just in the past couple of years. Having children has brought new challenges but also many triumphs for us and I think as we get older, and more mature, that we're able to better communicate and understand each other.

I was really excited to find a quiz about The 5 Love Languages! I have always speculated what my love language is and have always guessed that I knew what Zach's was. But taking the test really helped us determine the way we give love as well as the way we best receive it.

You can take the quiz for yourself here: 

The great thing about the quiz is that it sends your results to you in an email. I forwarded my email to Zach so he could read it and then I asked him to also take the quiz and send his results to me. My results even had a section on how to get your spouse to take the if your husband isn't one to willingly take such a quiz, hopefully the tips help! I'm very interested in learning more about what the love languages are and how they affect relationships!

The 5 Love Languages are based on a book by Dr. Gary Chapman called The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts. They are based on the way in which we best understand our partner's expression of love.

Here is a great breakdown of what each of the 5 love languages mean:

My results surprised me because I wasn't sure what my love language was going into the test. My highest score was for Quality Time with Receiving Gifts being a close second. I do think both of these accurately describe me! I LOVE vacations together because it allows us to shut out the rest of the world and just focus on "US." Some of my favorite moments with Zach at home are when we are laying in bed and have those nights where we stay up talking and laughing before falling asleep. 

Growing up I think both of my parents were Receiving Gifts as they both were always very thoughtful gift-givers and loved giving gifts to their children. I put a lot of thought into my gift giving and it means a lot to me when there is thought put into gifts I receive as well. I think it's a tricky love language because it's not materialistic, it's the thought that matters! And that's hard for a lot of people. I know I've eased up some on my thoughtfulness in my gifts because I realized that a lot of time the recipients weren't appreciating the thought that went into it and therefore not seeing the love I put forth in the gift I gave. I can remember who got us what from our wedding eight years ago. When people sent us presents for Tess it meant so much to me! At birthday parties I never need to make a list of who bought what for thank you cards...I just naturally remember each gift. Meaningly gifts are something I truly cherish and I try very hard to give to others. 

I was not surprised at all by Zach's results. His highest score was for Physical Touch with his second being Quality Time. I think most people would assume that all men favor Physical Touch and that all women favor Receiving Gifts! It's the typical stereotype, right? I like how the description of Physical Touch points out that it's not just about the bedroom. It's about daily interacting! This is something that I rated very low on (I scored a 3 out of 12 for Physical Touch and it was my 2nd lowest). Zach also was very low with Receiving Gifts (He scored 4 out of 12 and it was also his 2nd lowest). 

I'm thankful we both rank high with Quality Time because it makes it a little easier to give each other love in that area! We need to focus on more "us" time in the evenings and try to go on more dates when possible. But it will take more work for me to give more physical touch for him and it'll take work for him to do more random gifts. I've never been a touchy-feely type person. I have to make a conscious effort to hold hands with Zach when we walk places together! It's just not natural for me! Now that I know it's the #1 way he understands my love for him, I can make it more of a top priority in my daily life!

At the end of my results was a call to action. Now that we both know each other's love language we are supposed to really focus on giving our partner love in the way we now know they best accept it. For five weeks it's supposed to be our top priority. I think it's SUCH a fabulous idea. I know just in the short time since we took our quizzes, I'm already thinking of how I can make more of an effort to show physical affection with Zach. It takes ONE second to kiss him. Rub his back as I pass by. It's simple and easy and can have a HUGE impact on our marriage! 

Marriage is based on love, but it's also based on so much more. It takes work and effort. It's never easy and during the good times in our marriages it's the best time to be working together to make it even better. I'm very excited about what knowing our love languages will do for our marriage! I hope each of you will take the quiz and have your spouses take it as well!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Visit to Grandpa and Grammie's

One of my big goals for 2014 was to give Kye and Britt a chance to see snow. We've done the snow days at the local library but, let's be honest, that's just straight up ice. Zach and I talked a lot about what having 3 kids would mean and how we couldn't expect to go on as many trips on our own just the two of us like we usually do. It's a lot to ask someone to keep three kids!!! We decided on years that we go to Presidents Club with Aflac (which is always in April) that we wouldn't go on an Anniversary trip (our anniversary is in May) and we also decided that on years that we go to National Convention with Aflac (which is in October) that we won't go on our little Christmas getaway together. 

Since we went to Hawaii this year with Aflac we decided to take the big kids with us on our "Christmas trip." Tess stayed home with G-Mama for several days and we took Kye and Britt to see Banner Elk which is such a special place to us! 

Our kids have never been on longer than a 4 hour drive (Kye went to South Carolina when my uncle passed away which was 6 hours but that's the furthest) and this was an 8 hour drive. It worked out PERFECTLY to leave a day early and stop at my dad's house to spend the night. I looked it up on Google and his house is legit only 13 min out of the way on our drive! So perfect! 

I do not get to see my dad and Audrey enough. Especially now that I don't have any other family, it's SO important to me for my children to know Dad and Audrey. For them to make memories with people who are from my side of the family. It was truly a gift to me to be able to stay with them for that night. We ended up having an AWESOME ski trip...but this portion of the trip meant the most to me and was my favorite part for sure :) 

We headed out when the kids got out of school and got there close to dinner time. Grandpa and Grammie may not be around kids often...but they have the spoiling thing down pat! Audrey was beyond sweet and had made homemade cookies for us and they had ice cream with all the fixins'. You guys know the way to Kye's heart is through food! Haha!

Dad has lived in many places since my childhood but it's so awesome to me that it all came full circle and that he and Audrey are now living in the same house I visited when he and my mom divorced when I was 9. I also lived in that same house when I moved in with Dad in high school. They've done a good bit of renovating and some changes (my room is now an office) but SO much is still the same. I hadn't been to their house since Kye was very little (2010! I found the post here!) and SO many memories immediately flooded back when I walked up. The whole visit just made my heart SO HAPPY in ways I can't even fully describe. I guess it's the feeling of coming home after a long time away. 

My dad is a collector of things. Like a lot of things. He loves polar bears, Portland Headlight lighthouses, decoys, Elvis, Corvettes, and several other random things. There are a lot of breakables. And nick-nacks. And it's all sentimental to him. Which makes it very nerve-wracking for me from a mother perspective. I remember going to visit when Kye was little and being so nervous the whole time that something would get broken! I wasn't as worried this time since the kids are older but it was a task to get Britt not to try to play with everything ;) Thankfully Dad and Audrey still have the pinball machines from when I was a kid and they still work great! Kye was in LOVE and it provided him something to do so he wouldn't get into stuff :) 

Bonding time over some pinball :)

The kids had both skipped naps that day for our drive up so they were PLENTY ready for bed! We didn't have a monitor with us and were a little nervous about the sleeping situation. We had the kids sleep in the basement and we slept up in the loft so we were really far from them. It made me SO thankful that we've always raised our children to never get out of the bed. We went down and checked on them a few times and my main concern was that they might get scared in a new place. I never, once, was worried that they'd get out of the bed and get into stuff! I totally trust my kids and they didn't disappoint. They both said they slept great! 

Britt was PUMPED to have the Elvis room all to herself. When I was a kid this same room was the "Barbie Room" where I'd keep ALLLL my Barbies. When we'd come up for the weekend my brother and Dad would be off doing boy things (like hunting squirrels) and I'd be content playing Barbies all day long. I loved that room and I love that we sleep in that room when we come visit. 
It was pretty cold and Britt was lucky enough to get to use a special quilt that a close family friend of ours who lives in Maine, Mrs Cathy, made for Dad and Audrey! I have several pot holders she made for me and they are so special to me :)
Kye got to sleep in the same room as the pin ball machines. We gave a nice little lecture to him that he wasn't allowed to play them during the night haha. I'm sure he was probably playing them in his dreams anyway!

We stayed up visiting with Dad and Audrey for a few hours. I loved sitting in the living room and just talking with them. Having family who supports me and loves me is so important to my self esteem and my ability to cope when other family members don't seem to care. Being around Dad was just so great. I loved seeing ways that we are alike. I'm so rarely around people who do share my blood that I just soaked up every second of it I could! I legit wished I could video tape Dad and all his stories and his laugh and the way he does the things he does. I've always had this special soft spot for my dad and time and distance hasn't changed that one bit.

The next morning we had a few hours to visit before we needed to hit the road. My favorite part of our stay was just "putzing around" with Dad in his workshop. He told me about every decoy he has and where it came from. I heard stories about Uncle Spear and I just loved seeing little reminders of my childhood sprinkled around everywhere. It made me feel SO loved to see that he is surrounded by those memories all the time. Even though we don't talk often, I was grateful to know that I'm on his mind.

My dad was 38 when I was born which is so crazy to even think about! Zach's grandparents are closer in age to my dad than his parents are. Zach's grandparents had kids young and his parents had kids young whereas my family was the opposite. My dad's father died when he was pretty young and even my dad's step father died before I was born. I knew my dad's mom but she also passed when I was only 9 and she was 80 years old at that time. Watching my dad get older is hard for me. I remember being very young and worrying about him since he was always older than my friends parents. It's crazy how time passes, and how I'm so much older, but yet Dad is still Dad! He's truly the definition of "young at heart." I'm so glad he stays busy (he works at Home Depot) and that he has so many projects that he works on.

He was very excited to show us this boat that he had worked on. My Uncle Spear (his brother) and my Great Uncle Spear (his uncle) worked on it together. Dad has a scrapbook with the back story of the boat and has put a lot of time, effort, and work into fixing it up to be a display. It turned out great!

I also love that Dad pulled out a yellow flannel shirt to wear while we were visiting :) Uncle Spear wore this dang yellow shirt ALL the time! It was a running joke between us and the more I teased him about it, the more he'd wear it around me. He gave me that shirt during our wedding rehearsal dinner (we did a roast! it was SO fun!) and I still have it hanging in my closet. I love that sweet reminder of a man who meant so much to me and it was so sweet that Dad thought to wear it as well that day. He actually bought it after Uncle Spear passed and had "PMA" embroidered on it as Uncle Spear always lived his life with the motto of having a "positive mental attitude"

Uncle Spear at our rehearsal dinner giving me his beloved shirt :)
Dad with his boat

My favorite part of the boat was the hunter Dad put inside it and how he included snacks for the hunter to eat too haha.

The kids had a BLAST playing all the old school games! We decided we need to plan a visit when it's warm outside so we can all enjoy the lake and play in the woods and such together. Kye totally wants to go fishing too and Grandpa is very good at fishing :)

Growing up my dad had a white German Shepard named Christy (short for White Christmas since she was white...and yes, we were kids and helped name her of course!). She was an AWESOME dog. She died way too young and it's been a tough thing for Dad. Once he and Audrey got settled back in their home they decided to get a new puppy and named her Pearl (Which is my dad's mom's name and a name I totally tossed around for a girl name for us! Zach wasn't a big fan but I kinda love it!). I've met Pearl a few times during her hyper puppy stage and now she's "grown up" and did SO well with the kids! They were the youngest kids she's ever been around. I think she would have eaten Britt up if we let her haha! 



I wish Tess could have been there to spend that quality time with Grandpa and Grammie BUT I'm super, mega glad that I was able to give more attention to having my quality time with Dad and Audrey too. And if I'd had the baby, I wouldn't have been able to focus as much as I was able to. Audrey has been in my life for most of my life and it's so neat to see how our relationship has developed over the years. I'm very, very thankful that my dad has someone who loves him so much! She takes amazing care of him and it's obvious that he's truly happy. She has been such a shining light in my life the past couple of years and I'm beyond grateful for her love and support as well as Dad's! It filled my heart with joy to see my kids at my childhood home making memories with my family. I will always cherish these moments and I know they will as well! They keep asking when they get to go back!

We had a GREAT visit! We hit the road to head up the rest of the way to Banner Elk! Thanks again Dad and Audrey for being such wonderful hosts!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Britt's 3rd Birthday Letter From Daddy


I could start off saying it’s hard to believe that you are 3, but actually it’s the other way around. It is hard to imagine a life without my little princess in it. If feels like you have been a part of it forever.  I love you soooooo much. Right now I am sitting in a prison (working haha) and I cannot wait to get home to hear you yell “Dadddyyyyyy” and run up and jump in my arms. I can be gone for a week or an hour and you are always so excited to see me when I get home.  That is the welcome I have always pictured when thinking about being a Daddy. Long day of work coming home to a house full of joy with children running and jumping in my arms.  Your smile warms my heart. Even though its sideways or funny like you are trying to show your bottom teeth, I love it.

This year has been so fun to watch you grow. You have quite the personality. You always want to make others laugh and you succeed almost every time.  I am pretty sure that you get your sense of humor from me. I guess time will tell. One of my favorite Brittlynn developments this year is how you like to get dressed up every day. It is usually something different on a daily basis. Gloves, hats, shoes, mittens, jackets, and they are always mismatched. It can be 100 degrees outside and you will say “Daddy, my hands are cold. Can you help me put these gloves on?" I try to explain that you don’t need them on, but you end up wearing them anyways. A little bit stubborn too, definitely didn’t get that from me!

You are such a tough little girl as well. You love to dress up and be girly, but you also want to play basketball, football, and wrestle all the time. Your legs are always bruised up. You fall down or get hurt and you pop right back up and say “I ok”. It is so cute. You also have the sweetest voice. Everything you say sounds adorable. I love when you tell me you love me because you make it sound that much better. Don’t ever forget though your sad face does not work on me. Haha

One thing I want you to know and hopefully remember, is how much you look up to your brother. I remember when Aunt Casey was young she used to look at me the same way. You try to do everything he does. Wear the same clothes, sing the same songs, repeat almost everything he says. Your brother loves you sooo much. One day he will probably aggravate you. He will be over protective, overbearing, and probably in your business. Just know that it is only because he loves you and wants the best for you. He already is very protective. I love when he says “nobody better mess with my sister”. I love that. That is how a big brother should be. If you read this when you are older, Let him protect you. Don’t let it bother you. It's only because he loves you so much. 

You are such a shining light in my life. You make everything more fun. I can’t wait to see all the memories we make in in your fourth year. I love you so so much. Don’t forget you will always be “my girl”.



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