Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: A few of Carter's favorite things

Having a Pa who snuggles with the great-grandbabies:

 Swinging at Grandaddy and Andi's:

Sitting on my feet:

 "Like texting my BFF, Rose!" and standing on my own.(When my hands are full.  If they aren't full, I usually think I need to hold on to stuff to keep my balance!):

Propping my feet up while I eat, peaches, and being fed by Grandaddy (especially when he accidentally puts his spoonful of banana pudding in my mouth instead of his.)

Climbing on Pa to get the remote.

Getting yummy peaches from Great Grandma

Being toted by Grandaddy

Telling Henry secret cousin stuff

Family photos...gosh, I love family photos :)
(PS: Henry clearly doesn't share this sentiment.  He is looking for an escape route!)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: How sweet it is...

...to be loved by YOU!

We got to visit Carter's Uncle Rique and Aunt Sarah on the way to the beach last week.







Poor baby.  Just wish there was someone to love the child...
;)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Letters to Carter: from Daddy



Carter,

Nine and a half months ago my biggest fear was that I would not know how to love you or if you would even love me. After you were born, I watched your mama feed, change and clothe you with such grace and immense love that I knew that she was born for this. I, on the other hand, asked a million questions every time I did anything with you. “Teri Lee, am I doing this right? Wait, the diaper goes on which way? Is it supposed to be that color?!” It was then that I realized that the hard part, at this point, was not going to be whether I loved you or not-it was going to be getting you home from the hospital in one piece.




Fast forward to present day:  I am still asking Teri Lee questions and watching her gracefully love and teach you. You and I, Carter, are very, very blessed guys to have her in our lives.  And let’s face, she does have something to do with your existence. We’ve both learned so much in nine and half months-you’ve learned to crawl and that vegetables are overrated, and I’ve learned that everything goes in your mouth, including expensive stuff.  I’ve also figured out that seeing someone get peed on is only funny if you see it on America’s Funniest Videos.




          There are so many things left to learn, sweet boy.  Such as…oh, I don’t know...sleeping through the night, to name one and that grunting is not an acceptable form of “Good morning”, a lesson I learned at church from your mama. Some things will be harder than others, and there will be times where you feel like you’re never going to get through it. But trust me, you’ll figure it out.  Just ask your mama about her French classes!





In all the things that are left to figure out, there is one that is not on that list:

I love you.

I love you, Carter Steven. There are going to be days that you doubt that very fact, but it is and always will be true.  I love you, my son. I’m not perfect, so sometimes I will mess up and I’ll have to ask you to forgive me. Sometimes, because I love you, I’ll have to do things that you may not really like or understand, but that will not change my love for you. I love you, Carter. I hope that as we both grow together, as father and son, you’ll see in my life that my greatest victory, the only thing I can boast in, is that I am a redeemed man, saved by grace, in love with his family.
         
As you grow and learn there will be so much to figure out. Like the fact that our Roomba vacuum is not an acceptable mode of transportation…come to think of it-neither is our dog Maddie. But one constant, one thing that you won’t have to learn or figure out is my love for you.

Love,
Daddy



Friday, June 17, 2011

Toast

My dearest and oldest friend is getting married today.

Senior Prom

I met Ashley in second grade.  We played together some, but became better friends when we cheered together in middle and high school.  We went to church together, going to a million youth group trips as roomies.  By the time we graduated, she was as much a part of my family as Travis :)  She knew where to add to the grocery list when her favorite snacks were out, the garage code to let herself into the house, and was a regular at my grandparents.  We went to separate colleges, but stayed close, visiting each other, talking on the phone, e-mailing. 

Travis, Ashley and Brian

I've known Brian since we moved to South Carolina twenty years ago.  His family and my family became friends when we started going to church together.  Stacy, Travis, Brian and I spent half our childhood chasing each other through campgrounds, playing in the woods behind our respective houses, and going to church activities together.  I spent the other half of my life in trouble for things Brian talked us into.  Seriously.  :)

The fam just after Travis and Susanna and Brian and Ashley started dating.  Steven and I started dating the next month :)

Ashley is one of those rare friends that is near even when distance, time and busy-ness keeps us separate for long stretches.  No matter how long or short the time between visits, Ashley always feels like coming home.  The warm, comfortable friendship that doesn't require reading between the lines, saying things carefully, or making yourself look good.  She's the kind of friend everyone wants to be and everyone wants to have.

Daddy and his girls :)

If Daddy could, I think he'd walk Ashley down the aisle today.  Except I'm not certain he would give her away! :)



3 years ago, Ashley helped me marry the man God made for me.  Today, I'll return the favor.  It is a rare gift to be best friends with the bride and childhood friends with the groom.  This is a family wedding for which I am MOST excited :)  I know Brian and Ashley will be a picture of Christ and His church.  Their marriage will bless those around them in a way that shows the grace and love of Jesus.  We are blessed that He is bringing them together in a holy covenant today.

 Celebrating Brian's birthday just after Steven and I got home from our honeymoon.

Celebrating our dear friend's wedding

Ashley's bridal shower

My grandparents were married for over fifty years.  They both love Ashley like their own.  Ma and Pa were the best of friends.  Their love was the intoxicating, kind, and eternal sort that movies can't capture, but we all dream of.  Pa told me one time that he and Ma hardly fought at all in the last several years before Ma passed away.  He said that he knew what she would say and she knew what he would say, and it just wasn't worth all the fuss.  I pray that for you, Ashley and Brian.  I pray that you will be the best of friends.  I pray you will always find humor and contentment in each other.  I pray you will put the other first, loving each other more than yourself.  And I pray that you will grow to the point where you know each other like Ma and Pa and the fuss isn't even worth it :)

May your marriage be blessed and be a blessing.

I love you both my sweet friends!



Letters to Carter

Dear Carter,

9 1/2 months.  I am like every other mother.  I have no idea where the time is going and have no clue how to slow it.  I am trying to enjoy every moment...trying to soak in all the fun and beauty, but it overflows anyway.  I am so grateful for that.

You are doing new things every day.  You started clapping for the first time this week.  The sand, especially, makes you put your hands together in jubilee.  You also clap if I put the food you like on the spoon instead of peas or squash.  You love to clap when Andi plays Pat A Cake with you...holding your hands out for more when she stops.




You stood up BY YOURSELF for the first time!  I have NO idea how it happened.  We were on the beach.  You were on your blanket under the tent, and I was just beyond you on my towel in the sun.  I looked down at my phone and Andi said my name over and over.  I looked up and there you were, standing for a full ten seconds before falling down.  I don't know how you did it.  I helped you pull up one other time and you stood for another five seconds..but couldn't repeat it later.  I think the sand was in just the perfect position to support you...but it's a milestone nonetheless.  I must admit, it was unnerving to see you standing there without holding on to anything!

Speaking of the beach, you have grown to love it, sweet boy.  When we were in Florida for Amanda's wedding, you were very unsure of the whole event, aided by the fact that you were missing morning nap.  After Andi coaxed you to sleep with her legendary, sleep-inducing bounce, you napped and enjoyed the water MUCH more after your sleep under the umbrella.  You were still cautious though.  The waves and sand being unfamiliar made it a bit frightening to you, and you clung to us.  Now, you crawl around in the sand with much more freedom, picking up shells and twigs...and anything else you find!  You like the water to come around you and you splash it with those little fat hands until the waves recede and leave sand for you to run through your fingers.  You like us close by, but you certainly like the beach.  It makes me so happy.  It is going to be so fun to play in the waves and sand with you in a few years, to be sure!

(Thanks for taking great pictures while we playing in the water, Andi!)













The beach was so much fun with you, baby boy :)


You are going through some separation anxiety that sure does hurt the feelings of those who love you, but don't get to see you every day.  You do warm up, but it takes you longer to go to "strangers" than it did.  It will pass as you learn to trust those that love you.  For now, I enjoy all the extra cuddling.  When you are uncertain, you have started tightening your legs around my waist, making sure you aren't about to be deposited anywhere but my arms.  You wriggle up, trying to climb higher until there's nowhere left to go.  Oh, silly boy.  Soon you'll be wriggling to get down...so I'm enjoying every minute of holding you in my arms.

You're eating more like a "big boy" now.  I'm not pureeing as much, and you are doing such a good job eating small pieces of soft food.  However, you WILL NOT pick them up and put them in your mouth on your own.  We're practicing, and you'll get it.  It's funny to watch you lean in with your mouth for something I'm trying to hand you.  When you do get food in your hand, you just mash and drop it.  Sand, of course, get's a first class ride right to your mouth.  I'll never understand!  You are handling the sippie cup like a champ!  Luckily, you have taken right to the kind with straws...which saves me if you want a sip of water when we are out and about without your cup.  You're not always neat about it (AKA sometimes you suck a lot of water out of your straw and then open your mouth!) but it works! 

I don't know how you know...but you have an instinct for that which you should not have.  (Maybe you're not the only one? :))  You delight in cell phones, DVD players in entertainment centers you can reach, and remotes.  You know what the "baby versions" look like and have limited patience for them.  The real thing is all that works for you.  You'll crawl quite the distance for an electronic device.  When we take it away, you howl in anger.  Oh boy....

You are starting to crawl, sometimes, on your hands and feet.  It's not going to long before I'm chasing you at a faster speed!


You have started leaning away from me for your Daddy...it makes me so happy to watch his face light up when you do that!  When he leaves, even to walk to the next room, you crawl after him crying.  It feels good to be loved like that Carter.  You fill our hearts with love, sweet boy.


Sometimes when you are busy in your chair, I will learn in toward your face.  With a smile, you lean in toward my face and tap my forehead with yours.  It melts me.  This is a part of this season that I love.

I love you baby boy. Oh, I am so glad you are ours!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

How does your garden grow?

I've mentioned my husband is amazing, right?

Let me tell you a little secret about him:

The only part he likes about veggies is that I like them.  

And yet...he maddoxed and tilled this garden.  He \killed massive bushes and hauled them out.  He  hauled and spread dirt.  He built two huge, amazing raised gardens.  He shoveled mulch...because he's awesome.  And he'll even begrudgingly eat the fresh produce.  What!?!?  Yep.  He's that cool.


The bed closest to us in this picture above is a huge bed of sweet potato.  Pleeeeease come in.  I want to eat fresh sweet potato!  Also, there is a mint plant in the corner (because it's shady enough in that corner) and a pepper plant in the opposite corner (because I'm absentminded).  In the middle walkway, there are two varieties of basil, oregano and thyme in the pots.  On the far side, there are 8 tomato plants (I really want to try to can tomato sauce this year) and some swiss chard.  There are also some carrots that I think I'm going to have to start over...they didn't germinate, I don't think.  There are squash, zucchini, cucumber and watermelon off to the left, non-boxed.  There is also a container with rosemary that is not pictured.


I'll let you know how it goes.  I'm hoping to stay on top of it better than I did last summer (I was huge, hot and pregnant) and keep a fall garden going...we'll see what happens!  My next project is to get composting so that I can replenish this soil.  I would have never guessed I would like gardening this much.  If only I could make myself like flower gardening.  Those beds don't look so great.  You win some, you lose some I guess.

I'm a huge winner for snagging these two.


Yep...they're the best!

(See the truck filled with mulch?  That's Daddy's.  I also have the best Daddy in the world.  What can I say?  I'm surrounded my amazing people!)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Bumps, Bruises...Boys


Yup.

Carter has his first black eye.  

This was a couple hours after damage was done...it got a bit worse.  I couldn't bear to look at it much more before putting him to bed.  Focusing on it with a camera was just not going to happen.

Little view inside my head as his eye turned black.  It wasn't pretty:

"It's just a broken blood vessel.  It's just a broken blood vessel.  These things are going to happen.  He's okay.  Everything is okay.  He trusted me to take care of him!  This isn't going to be the last time this happens...but it's the first!  I'm not a bad mommy.  He's okay.  How much worse is this going to get?  It's just a broken blood vessel.  HE LOOKS LIKE HE WAS PUNCHED!"

Sigh.

Because I know you're dying to know how I let this poor, sweet baby get a black eye...he was pulling up on the bed where I was sitting, putting away my pumping stuff.  He was using the comforter to pull up...half paying attention to pulling up and half paying attention to bawling so I would pick him up RIGHT NOW.  Then he let go, fell back, over-corrected to pull forward to prevent falling...and face planted into the corner of the bedpost.  Crying.  Freaking out.  Crying.  Nap.  Black eye.

I know I'm not a bad mom.  I know he's a little boy that is going to probably have a number of black eyes and definitely a number of bruises.  I know his face/eye/blood vessels are fine.  I know.

Tell that to my heart every time I see that dark eye.

This was a VERY not Wordless Wednesday.

PS: The crazy hair was an effect of the aforementioned nap...post "face meets footboard".  His natural curl thats coming around + naptime + daddy-hairstyling= above hairdo

PPS: This actually happened a week ago and was saved for today's post. Luckily, the bruise faded the next day and the scab cleared up last night. Whew!  My baby-faced boy is back...for now :)

Friday, June 10, 2011

The White Flag of Surrender

Remember how I wrote about being a princess and squishing the pea of Carter's inability to sleep because of his tummy pain?

That was SUCH  false/early hope.

Yeah, he's definitely not sleeping through the night.  I guess old habits die hard.  And he didn't sleep through the night for a LOOOOONG time because his tummy hurt for a LOOOOONG time.  But I stuck with it.  I rocked him and put him to bed drowsy.  I patted him in the night instead of picking him up.  I got up every hour, on the hour for four months and patted and shushed and patted and shushed and patted and shushed.

Until one day, I just stopped.  I was too tired, too discouraged, and too unconvinced to keep on with trying to get that boy to sleep on his own.  I picked him up, brought him to our bed and nestled in.

I have had one fantastic month of sleep.  I don't care how long it takes to reverse what I've done.  It was worth it.  I was in a total sleep fog, and this rest has lifted me out of it.  He curls on his side, throws his arm up on our sides, and sleeps all night long.  (I mean, he turns over a bit, or cries when he can't find his paci...but other than that...I'm certainly not awake all night)  It's totally great.

Well...not totally.  It stinks that he can't fall asleep with out us laying there.  AKA, I can't get up before he does or he's awake too.  He can go to bed without us, but if he wakes up, we have to lay back down with him until he slips off again.  (Don't worry...not on our bed...he currently has a pallet on the floor because I don't trust the crib with my weight.  We move him to our bed when he wakes up in the middle of the night)  And let's be honest, I love snuggling with my baby...but I also really like just sleeping with my husband.

We've had several trips/people over lately...so I really didn't want to crank up the sleep training again.  But starting week after next (one last occasion)...sleep training is on again.  Because his stomach doesn't hurt anymore...and he's totally old enough to sleep by himself.  I'll miss the knees curled into my stomach, the arm thrown over mine, the sweet little baby breath in my face...but, he's gotta learn how to sleep on his own.  Life skill!

So...here we go.  One more week of sweet cuddles and then it's off to big-boy-sleep-on-my-own land.  For real this time Carter!

It's not Wednesday...and it's not Wordless

There was a lot of sand ingested through the paci...and by his little hand...



 
More evidence of sand-eating :)





I could eat him with a spoon.

 Waiting patiently for lunch...while banging his hands on the table.

I wanted a picture of those big sunglasses on his fat cheeks.  He wanted to bang the big sunglasses on the table.  Notice a pattern?



Nothing like a smashy-baby-face for a Monday morning :)