Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Coffee, Tv shows, and a vacuum

So I realize since I got pregnant almost every blog is all about my growing belly or my baby girl. For those of you who don't have babies, I realize you probably don't care much about Kennedy's milestones and month by month development...But I want to keep the baby updates consistent for a few reasons. 1. For my daughter to read someday (although I wonder how she will feel about the whole world having access to the journey of her life...) 2. comparing her milestones with my other kids someday and remembering what I went through with each kid, what worked, what didn't, etc. and 3. It's helpful for ME when other moms with babies post about this stuff because I can relate, get good ideas and advise, and learn how to help KJ through each stage by their posts. So maybe mine will help some moms. Who knows. I also think, when it's your first baby, you have more time to totally focus on that one kid. He/she really DOES become your world as you figure out parenting. And everything is new to you, so it's a little more exciting (or more overwhelming since you have no idea what you are doing). But anyway, for all of you non-parent-readers, I'm sorry for the single focus of my blogs these days. All my friends were always at a different stage than me and I TRIED to relate to them but really just couldn't. So here is a post about things besides baby.

How are Kent and I doing? Good question. I think Kent would say that his job is taking a lot out of him these days (on top of being a new parent) and he is SOOO ready for Thanksgiving break (as our most teachers, I'm sure). We haven't quite fallen into a rhythm yet or figured out how to thrive with his work load and caring for Kennedy. BUT, that's why we are thankful teachers have these breaks at the most needed times. He has also been training various sports teams every day after school (until track season starts) and that is something he really loves. Working with athletes, motivating them and relating to them is something he is so natural at, and I'm thankful Briarcrest offered him this extra job.

As for me, I am loving that I can stay home with Kennedy and continue to count it a HUGE blessing. I LOVE MY BABY! I can't imagine missing most of the day with her, coming home and basically having to put her to sleep. Kent only gets an hour with her. I would HATE that! That being said, I still struggle some days with not feeling accomplished, not bringing in income, and not getting to build community with people I work with/not having a life 'outside'. I also don't feel like she's the most easy-going baby, and some days seem REALLY long trying to get her happy. There are only so many ways to play with a 4 month old. In the same house every day. By yourself. Now that she is so 'roll-y', I am running out of places to put her when I need to do laundry, dishes, cook, or clean. Also, lots of my mom friends live in other parts of the country. I Can't exactly do play dates with them and there aren't a ton of moms I know here with the same age kids (although I think that won't matter as much once KJ can walk and play at the park and all.) So those are some of my challenges.

I AM super thankful for my Thursday women's bible study at our church. I have been learning a lot and loving the other moms in the group. We just went through a study on the book of James, which I love (who doesn't?) and it was fun to re-memorize it, since I'd memorized it 6 years ago while at the Kanakuk institute. LOVE. THAT. BOOK. Now we are doing another study on the best seller book, One Thousand Gifts. It is all about cultivating a heart of gratitude that freely receives ALL God allows into our lives. Even the bad stuff. With thanksgiving. Yikes. And how to fully live an overflowing life amidst heart ache, confusion, or just times when life seems tedious and mundane. This is something I am all about, because I can easily become a complainer or get stuck in the 'always wanting what I don't have' mentality, and that really sucks the life out of you (and those around you). So learning to be thankful EVERY DAY and embrace even the hard stuff that comes my way with JOY is a much needed lesson. I'm excited to get to know these women better also, as many are moms of older kids and I have much to learn from them. And if you are needing a good book, get this one!

I also LOVE my Tuesday nights. I meet with a great group of people from my church and we just share life, pray for one another, and spur each other on in our faith. I always say that to keep on keeping on, I NEED 'my people'. When we moved here and left all 'our people' back in Arkansas, we knew God was calling us to start over and dig in deeply with others here in Memphis who were striving after Him. If you know me at all, you know that it is one of my FAVORITE THINGS to meet with a small group of women to share life and get in the word. I LOVE studying the Bible SO much. I don't get the long, uninterrupted quiet times I used to have where I can soak deeply in the word and study it without distraction. I'm a quality time person and need that to feel close to people- even the Lord. Now it seems that just when I get my cup of coffee in hand and sit down with my Bible, KJ is awake and hungry. Then when I get her fed, changed, and dressed, I bring her in with me and HOPE she will entertain herself for a short while so I can read and pray. That never really goes over well, as my baby is SUCH a wiggle worm and has a very short attention span. Anyway, I have to learn to connect with the Lord differently, in short moments throughout the day or through random prayers that come to mind as I'm holding, rocking, feeding, bathing, or playing with my daughter. All that to say, at least on Tuesday nights (if baby girl lets us put her to bed first), I DO get rich time talking about God's word and accountability as to if I'm actually APPLYING it to my life. I love the 6 women in this group and getting to know them better has been really fun. They bless me, encourage me, and pray for me. They hold me to the things we talk about and spur me on towards living the life God desires for me. Now that I'm not in full time ministry, it seems harder to apply God's word. Ha, I realize that sounds lame, but I feel like I have a lot more opportunities to NOT be doing what I should be doing, to be selfish,  and to waste time with worldly or pointless things. I don't get to hang out with kids and leaders, disciple, lead bible studies, and study the word all day! Having KJ has given me different opportunities to actually apply God's word. It is stressful having a kid, if I'm honest. When she is screaming in the back seat of every car ride, my husband and I can quickly lose our patience and snap at each other. We also have a lot more to miscommunicate about with her and need to show each other a lot more grace. Finances are tougher and can be another area we can worry or fight about and fail to trust God with. SO, those are some areas where I need to live out my faith these days. SO different than my life the past 6 years!

Anyway, Kent and I are enjoying this stage of life. We cherish our time together, our random date nights, and our nightly TV shows to unwind once Kennedy goes down. Our newest show is 'The Last Resort' (makers of LOST). We love 'Person of Interest', 'Chicago Fire', 'Up All Night', 'The Mentalist', 'Ben and Kate', and are fall backs are 'Friends' and 'Seinfeld'. I still LOVE baking and probably make something every other day. I'm trying out Pinterest recipes weekly, and because cooking is a lot more challenging with KJ needing so much attention, the crock pot has become one of my best friends. Our church just got a new pastor since our old one moved to Ethiopia with his family to do missions. So he will start this Sunday. That's exciting.

We are spending Thanksgiving and Christmas here in Memphis this year. My parents are going to join the Austell family for their Christmas (that way both grandparents can experience KJ's first Christmas!). I will fly home to Chicago with Kennedy the weekend after Thanksgiving and see all my bfs! CANNOT WAIT. I haven't been home in so long! What are ya'll wanting for Christmas? I'm asking for a Keurig. Any of ya'll have one? Such a splurge. I know it's so much more expensive for each of those coffee pods, but it just seems so fun and so convenient. I'd also love a Kitchen Aid mixer, but those things are SO expensive. And, I really need a new vacuum. You know you are old when you ask for a vacuum for Christmas. Worst. Gift. Ever. Ha!

Well, I know this was a picture-less and wordy post, but I wanted to just free-lance the thoughts in my head about what's up behind the scenes with us. Love ya'll!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Little punkin...4 months old!

Kennedy Joy-
You are 4 Months Old today! 13 lbs (48th percentile) and 24.5 inches long (79th percentile). I can't believe its been 4 months since I had you and it's already hard to remember what life was like before you came around. I don't think I actually call you Kennedy or KJ to your face very often. More like 'baby', 'punkin', or 'lovey'. You never know what knew nicknames your parents will give you at this stage. We also can't seem to talk to you in a normal voice. I think it's a disease moms get when they have their babies where they can only talk in a high pitched baby voice. So sorry about that, it's uncontrollable, really.
This was a huge month for you. And for me! I have had to put away most of your 0-3 month clothes and pull out the 3-6 month outfits. Thinking that you have already outgrown the first stage of clothes we got you makes me SAD because, if that stage went quickly, I know the rest will also go way too fast. Gone are the little bitty baby days where you would just snuggle in my arms all day. You are ready to explore the world around you! You are SO wiggly and curious, always looking around, grabbing things, trying to stand up, trying to talk back to us. But this new stage is REALLY fun too, and I'm excited to see all that you learn in month 4!
I walked away for 30 sec and came back to find you almost completely off of your bouncer

The ridiculous amount of pictures I usually take of you has diminished a BIT, partly because you are more mobile and not just sitting/laying on me all day so I can't just sit there and take pictures. BUT, of course I managed to get a FEW of your wonderful goofy faces...




Accomplishments:
-You roll front to back like its no big thing anymore. The 'back to stomach' is a bit more challenging but you can do it after much effort.
-You can ALMOST feed yourself from a bottle the way you grab it with both hands! WHOA.
-You can grab toys and bring them to your mouth, although putting sophie giraffe in your mouth is still a bit tricky since she's so long.
-You are more stable now when sitting, but eventually slump to one side or the other and still need major support.
-You haven't been screaming in the car as much lately. Although you still hate  your car seat, you get distracted more now and stop crying once the car moves. PRAISE THE LORD!
-Pretty sure you are teething! Oh joy! The drool is out of control.
-You are still going to bed pretty easily now that you can find your hands and put them in your mouth til you fall asleep. Still sleeping through the night most nights.
-I think you've decided which part of your hand you prefer to suck on. The middle two fingers seem to be your favorite. No thumb sucking for you, but you still enjoy your paci.
-You still fit into size 1 diapers but we are about to try size 2

Highlights:
-You are LAUGHING! Not quite a loud belly laugh, but more of a shriek of excitement and happiness. I'll TAKE it! It is the greatest thing ever to hear you laugh! Dad and I act ridiculous in the hopes of getting a laugh from you.
-Daddy getting home from work is a highlight. LOVE watching your face as he greets you!
-I love your curly hair (especially just out of the bath) and you do too. You twirl your fingers around in it and they get stuck. It is crazy!
-Love that you are a blue eyed brown hair baby. Definitely a mix of your dad and I (even though we still can't quite see the exact resemblance yet). Hope you keep those blue eyes!
-You love it when we sing to you. Morning worship sessions and night time serenades are becoming more regular. I love that music captivates you.
-You got to meet your mom's best friend! Aunt Kelley came to visit us and you sat on her baby boy (your potential future husband) when you sat on her lap :).
Too bad almost all of my friends have boy babies...doesn't seem like you'll have many girlfriends your age to play with.

Habits:
-Wake up at 7am.
-Eat every 2-2.5 hours (YES, while other babies go about 4 hours between feedings, you are definitely ready for more after 2 hours. Apparently your dad was the same way as a baby..ALWAYS wanting to eat) Still nursing like a champ! Keep it up, baby!
-Mid morning nap (only if we are at home. You won't sleep at church)
-Mid afternoon nap (this is also inconsistent...we probably need to be stricter about your schedule, missy)
-Ready for bed by 7pm.

Looking forward to:
-Getting a jumper or exersaucer so you can work those legs and entertain yourself for a short while (suggestions as to which kind? The fisher price looks awesome but she can't touch her feet to the ground in it yet...)
-Hearing more laughs and baby sounds. You aren't super talkative, but I LOVE hearing your noises
-Our first flight to my home sweet home, Chicago! You will get to meet lots of your mom's best friends and spend time with your nana and papa. Cannot WAIT!
-Spending the holidays with you for the first time! Thanksgiving with dad's whole fam, and then my parents will join us here for Christmas. It will be SO FUN!
(-We hope to hold off introducing you to food until 6 months! Not quite ready for that stage!

KJ, you really are my JOY! I thank God every day for you. I Love being your mom! Happy 4 months!

*Moms, know of any good developmental toys for 4-6 month olds? She just now seems interested and is pretty lacking in the toy category.

I'll post again soon about what's been happening over here besides KJ's world. Love ya'll!
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