Three 31


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ANGEL GOWNS // gifts for grieving parents

Yesterday, I had the most amazing experience: I donated my wedding dress to the NICU Helping Hands Foundation at Baylor All Saints Hospital in Fort Worth. Here I am pictured with Natalie, the project coordinator and mother to twins born premature.

angelgowns.nicole.ii

Natalie has personal experience in this NICU unit. Four years ago, she delivered micro-preemie twins, a boy and a girl. Her babies were born at 24 weeks and weighed just one pound each. Now, they are healthy and driving their older sister bonkers! Unfortunately, though, not every baby leaves the hospital and lives in their earthly home. To support grieving families after the death of an infant, NICU Helping Hands provides, without cost or obligation, Angel Gowns made from donated wedding dresses. One wedding dress can provide as many as 40 infant gowns, depending on the amount of fabric available. Each gown is handcrafted and sewn by a volunteer seamstress and detailing is as unique as the precious child wearing it. No two gowns are exactly alike and there are outfits for boys and girls.

angelgowns

Next week, on March 31, Husband and I will celebrate our seventh anniversary. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate our marriage and abundant blessings than to donate to this worthy cause. The donation process was incredibly simple. Even though my dress was professionally cleaned and stored in a protective box seven years ago, this is not a requirement. My dress – a plain, white, strapless, A-line from David’s Bridal with a mini-jacket and modest neckline – has gone from a boxed memento to a sacred gift for grieving parents.

nicoleandkevin

As the parent of a happy, healthy, and hefty three-month-old son, I cannot fathom the grief experienced by parents who have lost their child. When I heard of the Angel Gowns project, my heart-strings were tugged and I knew I had to participate. Since becoming pregnant last spring and Kamden’s birth in December, I’ve had to cancel a third trip to Haiti and a few local mission trips, but donating my wedding dress was super simple and something I could accomplish on a random Thursday. I even ate lunch with Husband and Kamden before making the donation. What’s better than that?

If you are interested in donating your wedding dress (or any light-colored formal gown, including bridesmaid dresses) to the Angel Gowns project, visit the NICU Helping Hands website. You can also follow them on Facebook and Twitter. This is NOT limited to the Dallas and Fort Worth area; Angel Gowns are distributed nationwide. Donations are welcome at anytime and seamstresses are always needed. NICU Helping Hands will provide any hospital with Angel Gowns. As a bonus, folks who donate a dress and wish to keep a portion of it will receive a keepsake sash upon request.


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Finish This #12

It’s Week 12 of Finish This! If you’re new here, welcome. This link-up is hosted by LISA (COASTLINED), JEN (The Arizona Russums), BECKY (The Java Mama) and I.  If you’ve joined us before, thanks for returning and be sure you add your post to the link-up. If you don’t have a blog, don’t fret. Answer the prompts in a comment. Next week’s prompts are provided at the bottom of this post.

FinishThis--SMALL

1. I know it’s a little weird but
I eat the four corners of sliced (square) bread first then, moving counter-clockwise, take small, evenly-sized bites. The counter-clockwise rule also applies to circular buns. In regards to the kind of bread at Subway or Which Wich. where the sandwich is cut in half, I start at the cut edge and move right to left. Could eating a darn sandwich be any more complicated?!

2. When stopped at a stoplight, I
hope to be in the front so I can look side to side at my competition and beat them off the line. I would make one helluva drag car racer. Except there are red light runners something fierce in this area and even though I’m usually quick to accelerate, I always – ALWAYS – look at cross traffic and make sure everyone is stopped. That’s some scary stuff. For the record, I’m not a speedster, I drive a four-cylinder, rice burning Toyota Camry after all, but I definitely drive at or slightly above the speed limit. I have a rap sheet (and video evidence) in Union City, Tennessee though.

3. My guilty pleasure is
chocolate icing. Just give me a spoon and leave the premises. Unfortunately, what you eat in private you wear in public. Yeah, that sucks.

4. My favorite way to unwind
is our nightly routine with Kamden, involving a bath, body massage, and feeding. When he’s in the tub, kicking and splashing water everywhere, he gives me one of his signature crooked smiles and his eyes are bright and my heart instantly melts. As quickly as he’s energized in the tub, he gets real still signaling he’s ready to get out. After drying him off, I massage his entire body with lotion, dress him, then feed him before putting him down for the night.

Now it’s your turn. Answer these prompts in a post on your own blog or, if you do not have a blog, simply add your responses in a comment. Join us next Wednesday for another round of Finish This where we’ll answer the prompts below!

Prompts for WEEK #13 (April 2) are:
I don’t get enough
My favorite indulgence
I made a major change in my life when
You should read
____ is my secret ingredient in


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Motherhood Essentials (0-3 months)

motherhoodessentials.03months
I love lists and product recommendations, especially when it comes to items for babies and new moms. As a first time mom, I think I’m a pretty good judge of usefulness and whether or not I really need a product. You can look all over the interwebs and folks will tell you buy a hundred different products for a tiny human, but I’m here to tell you that not everything you read is true or necessary. Husband and I have survived, and Kamden is thriving, without bottle and wipe warmers or a sound machine, though I did consider getting one because I thought it was “too quiet” in his room. As long as our son is sleeping 10-12 hours a night, I’m leaving well enough alone! These days, our only issue is having clothes that fit our chunky little man! The other day, after another shopping trip for clothes in a larger size, Husband suggested we dress Kamden in pillowcases. Cut a couple holes out for his arms, tie a piece of string around his waist, and he’s ready for a toga party! At three months, he’s wearing 12-18 month size clothes. With the exception of his ever-evolving wardrobe, Kamden’s array of baby gear and supplies is pretty minimalistic. We’ve tried to keep our purchases at bay because, honestly, who wants their home to look like the inside of Babies R’Us?! However, there are some items that I consider to be must-haves, especially during the first three months. I shared this list of items we used during the first month and now I have more I think are essential. Parents, what products did you use often?

Motherhood Essentials (0-3 months)

Target’s breast milk storage bags
Not only are these bags cheaper than name brands, they’re also thicker and more durable. I’ve heard horror stories from moms having bags of breast milk break or leak, but I have had no issues with these. Since I began pumping exclusively and building a surplus of milk, I have 70 bags, each filled with six ounces of breast milk, in the freezer. On a (humorous) side note, I recently used the Southern staple below to store milk while some bottles were in the dishwasher. Does this make me redneck, crazy, or just plain resourceful! I have to admit, it’s quite convenient and takes us much less space in the fridge!

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Bravado nursing bras
If you’re a breastfeeding/nursing/pumping mama, you’ve got to have excellent bras.  Yes, you need more than one. I have three: one to wear, one to wash, and one for back-up. All of my nursing bras are by Bravado. They’re incredibly soft and fit wonderfully. I’ve been wearing a Bravado nursing bra (not the same one, mind you) since I was six months pregnant, even while sleeping.

This probably goes without saying, but if you are pregnant or recently had a baby, your boobs will probably leak and you will need these pads. Again, I had to start wearing pads in my bra when I was six months pregnant and haven’t been without them since. Along with the nursing bras, I have no less than five pairs of pads. They’re all washable and 100-percent cotton. The Medela brand is my favorite because the pads are thicker and the cotton is softer — two very important traits!

Wubbanub pacifier
I’m the first to admit that I was hesitant to introduce Kamden to a pacifier, especially since I nursed him in the beginning, but we have not had any issues. We received this Wubbanub from a friend, who’s also a NICU nurse, and she explained how newborns have a natural instinct to suck but they’re not necessarily hungry, so a pacifier is completely normal and useful. We also use these pacifiers but the Wubbanub is convenient when Kamden’s in his car seat. There’s nothing worse than trying to find a lost pacifier under a car seat or the bottom of the diaper bag!

Baby bath tub
Kamden LOVES bath time. He gets one every night, before his last bottle of the day and bedtime. When he was younger, and much smaller, we’d lay him in the hammock/sling that came with the tub and he’d lay there while we gently poured lukewarm water over his body. Now, the kid is gearing up for the Summer Olympics! He kicks, squirms, and splashes water all over the place, smiling and cooing all the while.

There’s nothing better than the smell of a freshly bathed baby, and Kamden is no exception. His daddy, however, loathes perfume-y soaps and lotions, so we use California Baby extra sensitive bath products. The shampoo and body wash work great, and even create lots of sudsy bubbles for Kamden to splash, and the lotion keeps his skin soft without feeling greasy.

Activity mat
Kamden’s not a huge fan of tummy time, but we still use this activity mat. He prefers to be on his back so he can see people’s faces and tries to grab the toys above his head. We attached this rattle ball and Kamden really likes to grab it with his fingers and toes.

The Storybook Bible
I honestly believe children are never too young for books and Bible stories. Jen introduced me to this children’s Bible and I think it’s perfect. Instead of verses, it’s written in narrative with the most amazing illustrations. This is definitely a book Kamden will enjoy reading and looking at for years to come. Lately, on warm sunny days, we have had story time on the front porch. Our porch is perfect for rocking and sitting a spell so I’m hoping for a mild spring and summer so we can make this a daily ritual.

Graco DuetSoothe swing and rocker
Until two weeks ago, when Kamden had another growth spurt, we used this swinger/rocker every day since bringing him home from the hospital. Now, unfortunately, he’s too long for the seat and his feet hang over the edge. But it’s still a really great product for babies when they’re little. It has a variable speed control for swinging and the seat can be removed and has a vibrating option. It was very convenient to put Kamden in the seat and move around the house, either in the kitchen or bedroom when I put laundry away.

Samsung video monitor with night vision
If there’s one thing I wish we had done sooner, it would be set up this video monitor in Kamden’s room. We kept his Pack N Play in our bedroom until he was a month old, but we could have moved him to his room earlier with this monitor. When I began pumping exclusively and we knew how much Kamden took by bottle at each feeding, he slept through the night. I’ve learned to ignore the variety of noises he makes in his sleep – he sounds like a 90 year old man grunting and farting — but it’s wonderful to be able to watch him on the monitor instead of going into his room.

For breastfeeding purposes, calories in these lactation cookies don’t count, right?! If you like chocolate chips cookies (who doesn’t?!), you’ll love these cookies! They bake perfectly every time and taste amazing. For lactation purposes, I add whole oats and flax seeds.

What would you add to this list of essential items?


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LET THE CHILDREN COME TO ME — #LentChallenge // 40-Day Bible Reading Challenge // New Testament {Reflections from Week 3}

During this Season of Lent, I am clearing out the cobwebs, ignoring the distractions, and preparing my heart for Easter Sunday by diving into God’s Word. I have accepted the #LentChallenge of reading the New Testament in 40 days. You can accept the challenge and use this easy-to-follow READING GUIDE too.

* Let The Children Come to Me *
Three of the Gospels — Matthew, Mark, and Luke — mention Jesus praying for and blessing young children. In the Gospel of Luke, children are identified as infants. To reiterate their importance not only in society but for God’s kingdom, Jesus used children as sermon/parable illustrations when teaching the people, including his disciples.

  • Matthew 19:13-14 The little children were being brought to him in order that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples spoke sternly to those who brought them: but Jesus said, “Let the children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs.”
  • Mark 10:13-16 People were bringing little children to him in order that he might touch them; and the disciples spoke sternly to them. But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not stop them; for it is such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.” And he took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them.
  • Luke 18:15-17 People were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them; and when the disciples saw it, they sternly ordered them not to do it. But Jesus called for them and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belong. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.”

Jesus, in simplistic terms, was not bothered or annoyed by young children, as is often the case, even in modern times. Rather, he welcomed them. He invited them to his side. He encouraged them to be active participants in worship and fellowship. Jesus brings attention to the children because they have an important lesson to teach adults. Children, especially babies, are completely dependent on their parents or caregivers. Their complete trust of a parent to feed, clothe, and nurture mirrors the total dependence all of us, no matter our age, should have for our Heavenly Father. Followers of Christ should be like an innocent child: rely on faith instead of impressive knowledge, accomplishments, social status, or worldly possessions. If we accept Christ and follow Him with reckless abandon like the little children, we become humble servants, followers, and believers of The One who says the first will be last and the last will be first.

Lord of Heaven and Earth, make me an instrument of your grace, a beacon of light for your truth, and place in me the trust of babes. When I try to complicate life, give me childlike faith to trust you, your words, your deeds, and your perfect promise. May I be reminded every day of your faithfulness through the eyes of my own child, who depends on me to provide his physical and emotional needs. May I also recognize my role in his spiritual formation and the responsibility I have as his parent to lead by example and wholly trust you. Amen.

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It is my heart’s desire to raise Kamden in the church, amongst a community of believers who love God and submit themselves to His will. I believe in God and His mighty works to bring all children to himself. As such, I want to be part of the solution — not a hinderance — to raising up a new generation of disciples who put their faith in the Lord.

An excellent article on the importance of children in church and the church’s responsibility to make them feel welcome.

Come along this Lenten journey and dive into the New Testament for 40 days. The reading guide is graciously provided by Margaret Feinberg.


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Finish This #11

Hey, it’s Week 11 of Finish This! If you’re new here, welcome. This link-up is hosted by LISA (COASTLINED), JEN (The Arizona Russums), BECKY (The Java Mama) and I.  If you’ve joined us before, thanks for returning and be sure you add your post to the link-up. If you don’t have a blog, don’t fret. Answer the prompts in a comment. Next week’s prompts are provided at the bottom of this post.

FinishThis--SMALL

1. When I need help with life’s mysteries, I turn to
Husband, as he’s a pretty smart guy and wise counterpart. Even if he doesn’t know the answer, he’ll make me laugh or think in a way I didn’t consider before. For everything, big and small, I rely on my faith to accept life’s mysteries. Faith, itself, is a mystery but I believe. There is an undeniable truth: some things are meant to be mysteries.

2. My next challenge is figuring out
how to lose weight while trusting strangers with my child. I want to renew my gym membership, I really do, but how do I entrust my child’s safety and well-being with a stranger while I’m there? I miss water aerobics and yoga with Jessica, as well as Body Pump and Zumba, even though I can’t dance. The challenge for me, as a new mom, is leaving Kamden in the children’s center. Even though it’s located in the center of the facility,where I can easily see him if I’m on the cardio machines, I can’t see him if I’m taking a class or swimming in the pool. I was able to lose 36 pounds during my pregnancy, with intentional lifestyle changes and commitment to exercise. I know I can resume the good habits, but trusting a stranger with Kamden (albeit an employee of the fitness center, associated with a reputable hospital network) raises my anxiety to a whole other level. Even though I would be in the same facility, literally steps away, it makes me nervous. When did I become THIS mom?! Oh yeah, on December 19.

3. I shake things up
by cheering for Kentucky during basketball season and yelling “Roll Tide!” during football season for Alabama. Yes, Kentucky’s men’s basketball team isn’t very strong this year, but have you seen our football team? Yeah, it’s March and that means NCAA tournament and time to fill out the bracket. This year, I filled out two. I think the championship game, played up the road in Arlington at Jerry’s World (i.e. Cowboys Stadium, i.e. AT&T Stadium), will be Florida against Louisville. But I can’t decide who will ultimately take home the title. I’m a fan of Rick Pitino, and love the Louisville Cardinals when they’re not playing Kentucky, but the seniors at Florida look mighty fine right now. They’ve taken the SEC by storm, undefeated in the conference this year, and I predict they’ll play even stronger and dominate the NCAA tournament. Unless, of course, Louisville dominates and defends their title. That would be AWESOME to win back-to-back championships! As soon as college basketball season ends, I’ll be in mourning until football resumes. Summers are a very difficult time, made miserable by the ridiculous Texas heat.

4. High heels are
not in my wardrobe. I don’t own a single pair. I don’t even have wedges. Or kitten heels. In fact, I don’t have many shoes at all. Let’s see: a pair of TOMS, a pair of athletic (gym) shoes, and Sperry’s. I need new flip flops for summer because the pair I wore last year had a broken strap. In regards to the high heels, I’m plenty tall enough, prefer my feet to remain flat, and I don’t wear the kind of clothes that require fancy shoes. And high heels, I think, are very uncomfortable. Besides, if you could see the damaging effects of high heels on my aunt’s feet, you’d NEVER wear them again. Ewww.

Now it’s your turn. Answer these prompts in a post on your own blog or, if you do not have a blog, simply add your responses in a comment. Join us next Wednesday for another round of Finish This where we’ll answer the prompts below!

Prompts for WEEK #12 (March 26) are:
I know it’s a little weird but
When stopped at a stoplight, I
My guilty pleasure is
My favorite way to unwind


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Irish Luck. { Kamden’s THREE MONTH update }

Kamden-monthlyupdate.SMALL

Three months … really? I can’t believe it’s been three months since our Little Big Man made his debut into the world. It’s been a fun 13 weeks, who knows what he’ll do next. February and March can be summed up in two words: FAMILY TIME. My mom’s sisters came to Texas for a week to meet Kamden and, a week later, my mom came to stay with us and take care of Kamden while I recovered from surgery. It was great to have Kentucky family visiting in Texas, as well as extra time with Husband and Kamden. It was also fun celebrating Kamden’s first Saint Patrick’s Day. After sleeping a glorious 11 hours, I pinched his chubby cheeks the morning of St. Paddy’s Day because he wasn’t wearing green. He smiled his signature, toothless grin that melted my heart. Of course, I had the perfect shirt for his monthly pictures!

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GROWING
Dear Kamden, just like Mommy and Daddy predicted, you are growing by leaps and bounds. You had your two month check-up on February 28 with Doctor J and, once again, he said you were thriving. At birth, you weighed 7lbs-10ozs and were 20 inches long. At your last appointment, you weighed 13lbs, 13ozs and were 23 inches long. You’ve nearly doubled your birth weight! Your belly button has healed too. It’s now completely recessed and you have an in-y instead of an out-y.

Mommy’s milk does your body good .
You have the chubby cheeks, big belly, and rolly-polly thighs to prove it!

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EATING
Mommy is a pumping machine because you demand her to be! Her goal in February was to collect one extra bottle (6ozs) each day for 28 days to build a supply. She did better than that because, by the end of the month, there were 49 bags of breast milk in the freezer. You drank some of the stored milk on March 4 when Mommy had surgery to remove her gallbladder and get her tubes tied (so you would stay an only child). Daddy and Nana C took great care of you while Mommy “pumped and dumped” and recovered. You were a rock star, though, because you didn’t seemed phased at all by the events.

Mommy and Daddy suspect you went through a mini growth spurt because you were an eating machine for a couple of days. For two consecutive days and nights, you ate the usual six but then whined, cried, and fussed until Mommy gave you more. Total, you drank 8ozs. That seemed like a lot (because it was!) but you transitioned back to 6ozs at each feeding the third day like nothing had happened. At your check-up appointment, Doctor J gave Mommy and Daddy the go-ahead to give you water if you wanted more during a feeding – instead of excess calorie-intake from Mommy’s milk. The next day, we gave you an ounce of water to see how you’d react. You made a funny face during the first sip and that was the extent of your amusement. You didn’t NOT like it, but you weren’t too impressed either. Since this trial, we’ve had no reason to give you water, so we are refraining. For now.

WEARING
No one can say you’re malnourished because, Sweet Child of Ours, you are a big, hefty, strong boy! You’ve officially transitioned into size 2 diapers. At three months, you’re wearing socks for 12-24 month olds. As for clothes, you’re all over the map. Depending on the brand, you’re wearing tops that are sizes 6 months, 12 months, and 18 months. Your chunky legs haven’t quite caught up to your upper body because you wear bottoms that are sizes 6 months and 12 months. Basically, you’re built like an ox with wide shoulders and chest and have short legs. But Mommy loves you!

One Sunday morning, Mommy dressed you in her favorite outfit: dark blue jeans and turquoise polo shirt. Daddy said you looked like Dapper Dan!

jesusmeetingsmall

GOIN’ TO CHURCH FOR OUR WEEKLY JESUS-MEETIN’

While Nana C was visiting, she bought you a new wardrobe from the clearance racks at Kohls. She and Mommy went through the sale to find you larger clothes since the majority of what you had at home was too small. Since your last monthly update, Mommy has had to “weed” through your closet to remove items that are too small. Right now, there are two large diaper boxes completely FULL of clothes you’ve either outgrown or never worn and the tags are still attached. This summer, Mommy’s organizing these clothes by size and season in order to sell or give away to friends with baby boys.

Despite your rapid growth, at least you’re getting to wear a variety of things thanks to the crazy, bipolar weather. One day you’re wearing long sleeves and fleece to stay warm and the next day you’re wearing short-sleeves to stay cool. Welcome to Texas, kid, it’s a hot and cold roller coaster!

DOING
As much as you love car rides, Mommy is considering opening a taxi service for you two to operate together. You and Mommy went to DFW International Airport and picked up two great aunts, Georgia and Kathy. Mommy’s never seen them more excited to meet another human! Even though you were sound asleep when they arrived, you greeted them wearing a shirt that said, “Coolest Nephew Ever.” They spent a week with us covering you in Kentucky kisses and spoiling you rotten. You proved, over and over, that you’re the best baby in the whole world. We went to the George W. Bush Presidential Center on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Downtown Dallas and a museum in Fort Worth. Mommy pushed you around in the stroller while you snoozed. You even slept through multiple visits to Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen for lunch!

Kamden_Cutest_Nephew

A week later, Mommy took the aunties to DFW Airport then drove to Dallas Love Field to pick up Nana C. You and Daddy stayed home for quiet ‘boy time’ alone. This was probably more for Daddy’s benefit than yours. Mommy and Nana C ate at Pappadeaux’s before coming home to see you. Yes, Mommy ate at Pappadeaux’s five times in two weeks …. she might have a problem!

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SLEEP IS AN AMAZING THING and you’re doing it beautifully, both day and night. You snooze 45 minutes to an hour before noon and take a long nap (two to three hours) in the afternoon. Sometimes you’ll sneak a cat-nap during the evening, usually while Mommy and Daddy are eating supper, before your bath and last bottle. Because you’re such a great sleeper at night, Mommy and Daddy don’t mind. Until this week, the majority of your naps took place in your rocker-swing but you’re outgrowing it quickly. Over the weekend, you napped on the couch, in your Pack N Play (which is Mommy’s most desired location for your sleep activities) and Mommy’s recliner. Yep, you’ve taken over the leather recliner and Mommy doesn’t mind a bit!

kamden.recliner.small

Mommy and Daddy tried a sleep training method last weekend. In the past, you’ve been falling asleep on Mommy after your last bottle and sleeping for 30-45 minutes. As soon as she put you in the Pack N Play, you’d wake up. Now, a few minutes after you’re done with the bottle, Mommy puts you in the Pack N Play. You fuss, sometimes a lot, but you’re getting better. It’s not exactly the “cry it out” method, but we are letting you fuss in three to five minute increments, calming and replacing your pacifier, then leaving the room. The first night, we repeated this three times. The second night, twice. On the third day, for your afternoon nap, Mommy put you down and you fussed on and off for 15 minutes before finally going to sleep for almost THREE hours. You put up a good fight, sweet babe, but you’re learning that sleep is divine.

Nightly bath time has become a sacred ritual with Mommy and Daddy. We give you a bath between 7:30 and 8:30pm, depending on your mood, wakefulness, and how well you’ve slept throughout the day. By 9:00 or 9:30, Mommy has massaged you with lotion and dressed you in pajamas. Every night, Mommy feeds you in the glider chair in your nursery. All lights are off except a nightlight in your room so Mommy can see. You finish your last bottle within 30 minutes and Mommy holds you, snuggles you, and watches you sleep before putting you in the Pack N Play. She says it’s so your belly will settle and you won’t spit up, but she really adores the cuddle session! You’re in the Pack N Play between 10:00 and 10:30pm, probably late for a little guy your size, but you’ve been sleeping 10-12 hours. Some nights you wake up for a feeding, which Mommy satisfies with her freshly pumped liquid gold!

According to your development chart, you are right on track. Your eyes are brighter and able to focus and follow objects or faces that move. You recognize Mommy’s and Daddy’s voice. When you make eye-contact with someone, you smile a huge, toothless grin! During play time, Mommy puts your changing pad on the floor and the activity mat on top. You like the comfy cushion rather than the hard floor. On your back, you’ll kick your legs and grab the stuffed animals above your head. To build your strength, Mommy’s been “bicycling” your legs. You’re still not a huge fan of tummy time, but you’ll tolerate it for a few minutes and lift your head off the support pillow. You are infatuated with the TV and its bright colors and movements. Daddy put together your activity center, but you’ve got some growing to do before you’re totally ready for that. In the meantime, Mommy bought you a new rocker recliner (that’s pint-size!) and a Bebe baby seat. It should be fun to watch you transition into these new items, Mommy will take lots of pictures for your next monthly update!

 Kamden_NapWithDaddy_Small

With all the estrogen you’ve been around the past few weeks, Daddy has rescued you for periods of quiet solitude and boys-only time. Daddy says there’s an imaginary box around the two of you and girls aren’t allowed inside. You love sitting in Daddy’s lap. He tickles your chins and cheeks, which makes you laugh, and you make the biggest grin when he says “ham and cheese.” It’s not uncommon for Mommy to find both of you sound asleep.

Speaking of Daddy, it looks as if you inherited the inevitable balding head of hair. At three months, your tiny locks are falling out and your hair line is receding. If the hairlines of your father and grandfathers are any indication, son, you’re in trouble! The photo below was taken on your birth day with Daddy (left), Paw-Paw Hutchison (center), and Granddaddy Edwards (right). You were born with more hair than all three of these men combined, but you’re catching up quick! You currently have a bald spot on the back of your head where you lay to sleep.

baldtroublesahead

Just recently, you’ve discovered your little big hands and began sucking and licking your fingers and wrists. It may be a combination of hunger cues and exploring new territory because you do it before and after feeding. At least you’re not a thumb-sucker!!! You’ve also become Mister Drool Face and have started blowing spit bubbles. Hopefully this is just a fun transition and not the extra-early signs of teething.

LOVING
Bath time!!! Mommy fills your tub with warm water and soap bubbles, while Daddy undresses you. At first, you lay real still while Mommy washes your hair. It’s the calm before the storm. Once you start kicking, squirming, and splashing water, you don’t want to stop! Some nights, you’ll splash more than half of the water out and Mommy fills it back up again. When your splashing slows down, you start to relax and get quiet, signaling that you’re ready to get out. Daddy holds you while Mommy carefully rinses off the soap suds, then we wrap you in a big towel and carry you to the bed to dry you off. Mommy loves to massage you with lotion afterwards. Once dressed in pajamas, it’s time for your last bottle and bedtime.

Ham and Cheese — It’s the most random thing, but you crack the biggest smile so Mommy and Daddy continue to say it. We’ll do anything for that toothless grin of yours!

Car rides — Last week, Mommy drove to the post office, about a mile from the house, and you were sound asleep by the time we got back home. This happens every time you get in a vehicle!

LOATHING
You were not a fan of the immunization shots at the doctor’s office, but you did well. You screamed real loud one time and then you were done. Daddy held you while the nurse poked your legs and Mommy waited with a bottle in hand.

kamden-throwing-fit

Not a fan of shots.

You detest being left alone! You’re happy and content as long as you can see somebody. Mommy and Daddy made the mistake of being out of your sight and you threw a fit! Mommy was in the kitchen preparing your next bottle and Daddy was putting away your clean clothes. Once you realized you were alone in the living room, you let out the most pitiful, pathetic whimper! You can’t fool us though, you’ve still not shed a tear.

When it’s time to eat, you have no patience. You want your bottle NOW!

NICKNAMES
Mister Drool, Handsome Guy, Little Old Man

MISHAPS AND MILESTONES
February 21 — You slept nine hours straight! Mommy woke up in a panic and rushed into your room to make sure you were still alive. You moaned when she touched your chest and face but went right back to sleep.

February 22 — met two great aunts, Georgia and Kathy, for the first time

February 28 — weighed 13lbs-13ozs and 23 inches long; received first round of immunization shots

March 1 — slept 11 hours straight (awesome!) but woke up SUPER HUNGRY (not so awesome!)

March 17 — celebrated first St. Patrick’s Day by wearing green

kamden-precious-sleeping-small

Dear Kamden,
You’re growing up right before my very eyes. I want to slow you down, but I get too excited watching you explore and discover new things on a daily basis. I thought my world was falling apart the week after my surgery and I could not lift or carry you. But Mommy is a rule breaker. By day two of post-op, I had you in my arms while sitting on the couch. Thank goodness for Daddy and Nana C. They took great care in attending to both of our needs. I thought Nana C was going to kiss the skin right off your head though, she could not get enough of your sweetness! Since I could not kneel beside the tub, Daddy and Nana C gave you a bath each night. Nana C also massaged warm lotion all over your clean body before dressing you in pajamas. When it was time for your bedtime feeding, you did wonderful with Nana C. She repeated our routine perfectly and you went to sleep easily.

I still giggle at your grunts, moans, and groans while you sleep. The other night, you woke me up with your old man noises and farts. I thought for sure you’d wake yourself up, but you kept snoozing right along! Even though I spend a couple of hours pumping in the wee hours of the night, I live for mornings when I walk into your room and you’re lying in your Pack N Play awake, smiling up at me. Your toothless grin literally melts my heart. My love for you knows no bounds and my heart is overflowing with joy because I get to be your Mommy. Parenthood is emotional and I’m the first to shed happy tears!

Thirteen weeks … three months … and life with you keeps getting better and better. Here’s to the next month of adventures, what are you going to do next? I suspect you’ll get stronger in holding up your upper body and maybe even roll over by the time I post your next monthly update. Don’t make a fool of me, kiddo!

Love,
Mom


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#LentChallenge // 40-Day Bible Challenge {Reflections from Week 2}

During this Season of Lent, I am clearing out the cobwebs, ignoring the distractions, and preparing my heart for Easter Sunday by diving into God’s Word. I have accepted the #LentChallenge of reading the New Testament in 40 days. You can accept the challenge and use this easy-to-follow READING GUIDE too.

This week was I finished the Gospels of Matthew and Mark and began Luke.

* Emmanuel: God With Us *
Matthew 28:19-20 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.

Jesus, even after his resurrection, came back to reveal himself to the disciples, to assure them of what they had heard and seen. Just as the Gospel of Matthew began with Jesus being called Emmanuel (Matthew 1:23), it ends with his great commission and gentle reminder that He is “God with us.” No matter what I do, or where I go, I am never alone.

chapels

* The Meek & The Lowly Are Favored *
Luke 2:8-20 In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see — I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger. … The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

Having visited the Holy Land and seeing shepherds in the fields with their flocks of sheep, the art of their profession and blessed calling is not lost on me. The lifestyle of a shepherd is not glorifying or prestigious, but rather dirty, self-sacrificing, and denounced by society. Shepherds, still today, are homeless wanderers and despised scum. They are not even recognized as citizens or welcomed in towns. Yet, it is the lowliest of society who God favors and blesses with His presence and special message about Jesus’ birth. God favors the disfavored. He raises up the lowly and humbles the powerful. Even Jesus, later on in his ministry, called himself the Great Shepherd of people.

Do you know what a shepherd does? A shepherd is much more than the caretaker of a flock of sheep. He is the leader, the voice of reason. Sheep are very intelligent animals, but they are meek and mild. They cannot defend themselves if attacked. They’re social beings, living in communities with other sheep called flocks. Sheep rely on their shepherd to lead them to food, water, and shelter. While in the Holy Land, our tour guide, Wisam (called “Sam” for short) further explained the shepherd and sheep relationship:

Sheep are so dependent on their shepherd that they cannot survive in the wilderness without him. A shepherd loves his sheep and protects them at all costs, even putting himself in danger to save an animal. But the shepherd is stern with his flock and, if necessary, will teach them hard lessons. If, for example, a lamb is too adventurous or notorious for running away from the flock or keeping too far a distance, the shepherd will intentionally break one of its legs. He’ll then bandage the broken leg. While mending, the animal is completely dependent on its shepherd to carry it from place to place. The shepherd will provide its food, water, shelter, protection, and companionship. Wherever the shepherd goes, the lamb goes. When the lamb’s leg has healed, the shepherd removes the bandage and sits the animal on the ground. However, instead of walking away, the lamb remains by the shepherd’s side at all times. The animal has learned a valuable lesson: this shepherd is my comforter, provider, and protector.

Lord, my Shepherd, this is my simple prayer: I want to be your lamb.

Come along this Lenten journey and dive into the New Testament for 40 days. The reading guide is graciously provided by Margaret Feinberg.

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