Wednesday, December 30, 2015

"Before"-- Chantzlyn Hope's Birth Story

Before we get into the day of Chantzlyn's arrival, there are a few things I'd like to document that led us to that point.

If you'd like to get caught up on our journey into adoption, our paperwork, and up to the point of waiting, then read HERE.

Read HERE to catch up on our being "matched" with our birth mother, Jess. Here is a picture of us the night after meeting Jess for the first time:

And there was a post on one week out from meeting Chantzlyn that you can read HERE.  Here is a picture of us & Jess after the appointment:

On the notes of those sweet pictures, let me just take a minute to tell you about how much we love and respect our birth mom, Jess.  She truly is a warrior and someone that has overcome so much in this world.  From hearing her story for the first time I knew in my gut that we were all meant to be intertwined together to bring love to a sweet baby.  I wish each of you could know her story to be inspired from it, but it is her story to tell.  She is so sweet, very loyal, a hard worker, and very driven. And the best part of all of this, is now being able to call her our sister in Christ.  About a month after Chantzlyn was born Jess gave her life to Christ in baptism and we couldn't be any more proud or happy for her!  This woman is so wonderful!

Now back to our sweet baby girl's pre-birth story:

Chantzlyn was to be induced on October 7th in Abilene.  We had plans of being there the day before and getting up early to be at the hospital.  I had {half} of my bags packed and ready to head to Abilene in case she decided to make a grand entrance early.  The plan was that I'd drive down by myself and that Lantz and the girls would follow if our birth mom went into labor before the 7th.

We asked Jess to keep us posted if anything happened because the last thing we wanted to do was miss the birth of our 4th daughter.

Well, on October 1st at about 1:00 I got a phone call from Jess letting me know she was headed to the hospital with contractions that were strong and frequent.  I was so excited and also {slightly} panicked!  I hung up the phone with Jess and immediately called Lantz, who had just left the house from his lunch break.  I let him know what was happening while I walked around in circles trying to finish packing my bags.  We quickly dropped plan A and decided that he would get Sawyer and Kennedie from school and meet me at the house.  I was to pack everyone's bag and we were all going to Abilene.

I don't know how we did it, but we managed to be on the road by like 1:30 headed to Abilene with our 3 girls & who knows what that was packed or not packed. The whole time on the road I had been texting Jess & her dad who were both keeping me updated.  She was continuing to have strong and consistent contractions, but it didn't seem like our sweet baby girl would be coming quit as fast as we thought originally.  This was very good news because we felt we had enough time to get to Abilene, but that we'd still be meeting our girl that night.

We rolled into Abilene about 4:45, making great time & not having to stop for the bathroom for the girls. Right as we were pulling up Jess was literally walking out of the hospital with Brenda {my mother-in-law, who quickly made the trip too} and her dad.  She said they released her to go home and walk but that they'd probably see her later that night.

We were so excited to be in Abilene because we were nice in close if anything happened.  Jess decided to go back to her parent's house to rest some.  I told her to call me if anything happened and we'd meet her at the hospital.

We went out to eat and then headed to Lantz's aunt's house to stay the night.  Brenda came with us so if we had to leave in the middle of the night she could stay with the girls since Lantz's aunt was out of town.

Well, Jess rested up that night and we surprisingly didn't hear anything from her.  We hung out with the girls at Lantz's aunts house & just had a low key day playing and cuddling with the girls.

We decided to stay in Abilene through the weekend in case she went into labor.

I got to go with Jess as she followed up with her doctor on Friday {I think} and he said he was surprised they sent her home from the hospital because he thought it sounded like she was going into labor.  He sent her next door to the hospital to get a sonogram to check in on the baby and get a better idea of what was going on. Lantz and the girls came over to the hospital with us so that we could all see baby Chantzlyn's sonogram together.

We were there for awhile.  We didn't realize that Jess would have a hospital room and put on a gown and they would hook her up and monitor her for a few hours.

While we were there, Jess had the sweetest nurse, Stephanie, who took care of her for those few hours.  It was so great to get to see Chantzlyn on the monitor first hand.  Of course, my heart was going wild with love.  I thought love would ooze out of my body I was so excited!  The girls were super excited to see their baby sister too!  They did great at the hospital considering we weren't planning on being there so long.

Eventually they sent Jess home and told her to come back if her contractions came back consistently (because at this point they were not consistent or frequent like on Thursday).

So we hung out again on Saturday for a little while and then decided  that we'd go ahead and go back home to go to church on Sunday and so Kennedie didn't miss more school Monday and Tuesday.  Plus I had a batch of pictures sitting and waiting for me to edit on the computer and my house was a wreck.  We thought we'd just come back on Tuesday night like we had originally planned. We just thought going home was the best thing.

Saturday night I actually had a sweet friend who invited a few girls over for dinner and girl time.  It was such a great time and I so desperately needed it.

From the second we got home I did not feel at peace about being back.  I just kept thinking, "What if Jess goes into labor and this time I don't make it.  If I we would have stayed then I'd be there no matter what."  Something just wouldn't settle inside.

At the girls night I explained a little of what I was feeling and why we'd come back and then I had a sweet friend who spoke out of love very blatantly.  She looked me in the eye while outside on her back porch and said, "Why are you here?  Why would you come back?  Is Kennedie missing school or whatever else you have to do here really worth missing the birth of your daughter?"

I will never forget that conversation.  It was exactly what I needed to hear.  Yes, why had we come back?!  It seemed like a good idea, but now being back it appeared to be the dumbest choice ever.

I got home and I woke Lantz up and told him everything.  We both went to sleep unsettled that night. When we woke up we decided that we'd go back to Abilene.  We decided after church we'd hit the road and that we weren't coming back until we had our baby girl.  Best. Decision. Ever.

Even though we got back to Abilene and nothing happened, I am glad we were there just in case.  I think I would have lived with regret had we stayed in McKinney and Jess had gone into labor before the 7th.

I cherish those few days of nothing to do in Abilene as we stayed outside of town at the ranch of one of our elders.  It was a time we could just be with the 3 big girls and love on them before becoming a family of 6.  It was nice to not be surrounded with a to-do list and just live in the moment there as we prepared to meet Chantzlyn. I was at peace knowing that I was close by in case something were to happen.

To say we were both nervous and excited would be understatements.....

{Up next will be Chantzlyn's birth story complete with amazing pictures by our amazing birth photographer, Micah of Double Knot Photography.}

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Preslee is 20 Months Old

I can't believe that my fun and sassy little baby girl is already 20 months old!  Time goes by fast in the fall as we prepare for Christmas, and this year was no exception.  This sweet girl rocks my world!  She is such a ham and so outgoing!  She makes me laugh every day and truly is so fun to be around.

Precious Preslee Ray,

- Each day you become more and more vocal as you learn your way in this communicative world.  This month you have started to say the prayer at meal time occasionally.  You will say, "Pay!" Meaning you'd like to pray for us.  I will say the prayer and then you so sweetly repeat after me as best you can. I love how you say your name, "Peh-eeee."  So sweet.  You will say "do it" when you want to do something.  You say, "moo-mee" for both "movie" and "smoothie" so we have to listen closely to the context.  You also say, "bud-ee" for both referencing a "buddy" of yours or your "bunny" you sleep with.  You will say, "tank-ooh" for "thank you," and "m-maan" for "yes ma'am" when you are answering me after you get in trouble.  You will say, "too-tee" for "cookie"-- which you love.  These are just a few of the words you have picked up on this month.
-On top of being vocal, you have also started to become a bit musical.  You will try to sing at times.  When something plays on the radio that's familiar to you, you will randomly sing the one word you know right on cue.  You will do the same when I'm rocking you and singing to you.  You will occasionally sing one or two of the words that you know with me. Tonight while rocking you I sang, "He is jealous for me... loves like a hurricane, I am a tree..." and right at the right time, you sang the word "me" and then a few seconds later right on cue, the word, "tree." On the radio, the commercial for KLTY played singing, "KLTY" and you right on cue sang, "Y."
- The last few weeks you have been a bit more stubborn and fussy than normal.  I was originally chalking it up to you having an ear infection, but when that passed your new little attitude stayed around.  We are constantly having to remind you to have gentle hands and to not hit your big sisters.  We still have to sit you on your bed to punish you and that still has been working, but it hasn't been as dramatic as it once was.  Most of the time you go to your bed without too big of a fuss, and after you have sat on the bed and we have a talk typically the behavior improves and you correct yourself.
- You want to do everything, and I mean everything that your big sisters are doing.  You are constantly trying to keep up with them.
-This month you have started finding yourself up at the bar.  We have started letting you sit on a barstool with your sisters at times and you just think you are so big and such hot stuff!
- You have continued to use the bathroom on the potty throughout the month.  Most of the time if we sit you on the potty you will "tee-tee" and know how to make yourself go.  The problem is that you are not consistent at all in telling us when you need to go to the bathroom and you continue to "tee-tee" and poop in your diaper without telling us.
- We got *most* of your hair into a back ponytail for the first time this month.  It's getting longer!
- You are currently wearing size 18 month clothes, size 6 shoes, and size 3 diapers.
- You are an early riser for sure.  A lot of days you will be the first up out of your big sisters.  You are up and at 'em before 6:30 on normal days. You still nap, but lately instead of a good 2 hour nap you've been taking more of an hour and a half nap.
- You are so funny!  You will do anything to get a smile.  You are confident and you love people.  You are most certainly not shy!  I love how much you will interact with others and how you just have a certain confidence about you.... the way you carry yourself and the interactions that you have with others.

My sweet little girl... you are at such a fun age right now! I wish I could bottle you up and come back and visit these days when they eventually slip away.  You are such a joy to be around! You are fun and like to make people smile or laugh.  On the flip, your little smile and laugh are to die for!  My heart could explode when I think of how much I love you!  I am so thankful that out of all the Mommies in the world, God picked me to be your Mommy.  You are so fun and I really do love you more than I could ever say.  

Monday, December 7, 2015

Chantzlyn is 2 Months Old

I find it absolutely CRAZY that I am writing about my baby already being two months old!  Where, oh where did the time go?!  I feel like she should only be two weeks old, not two months!  My sweet little thing is still so tiny and newborn-ish that I really can't believe she is this old yet. I'm having a hard time believing it.... I just keep checking the calendar. Ha!

Sweet baby angel of mine....

- You haven't quite settled into a sleep pattern yet.  We are still working on getting you to the point that you can sleep through the night.  I think so much of it is us and not you.  I'm having a hard time getting you on a schedule throughout the day because your big sisters are so busy it's hard to get you into a rhythm.  You on the other hand don't notice at all... you are so laid back and go with the flow.  It's like you know you are the fourth and just completely content with doing whatever is going on.  You have had three nights this month where you slept for 7 glorious hours!  Those were precious nights, but they were random and haven't lasted.  This week I've noticed that after I try to feed you one last feeding before bed, I'll lay you down, and no matter what the time you are ready to eat again in about 30- 40 minutes.  This was making it very hard on me.  I would get in bed and just barely drift off to sleep only to wake and feed you again in such a short time.  Well, now I have decided to feed you, lay you down, and then get myself ready for bed & drink LOTS of water to get ready for your next feeding.  You are like clock work... you want that next feeding 30- 40 minutes later and then you crash and then I go to bed.  It makes it easier versus barely falling asleep and then getting up.  You will then sleep for about 4 hours give or take and then I'm up with you again to feed and then you will sleep another 3 to 4 hours and then you are ready to eat & the rest of us are already up and at 'em.  I'm hoping this next month we can settle into a little better sleep pattern.  But for now I'm just trying to get you what you need.
- I find this interesting.... you haven't had a bottle yet.  With your sisters I had already pumped and let the bigger sisters have a turn feeding, but I haven't pumped a bottle yet for you. I really hate pumping, and haven't seen a need for it yet & I'm enjoying our bonding time.  Maybe soon I will pump a bottle to give your big sisters a chance to feed you.
- Speaking of eating, you eat pretty much about every three hours except for at night which I already discussed.
- You are still so small.  We go to the doctor tomorrow to find out how much you weigh, but I'm guessing about 9 pounds.  So, you are still fitting in your newborn clothes.  There are a few 0-3 month things I've tried to put you in, but they are still big on you.  I'm thinking sometime over the next week or two you may be moving into 0-3 month stuff.  Newborn stuff used to be big and now it's fitting just right, which means 0-3 month stuff will be on you soon.
- You have moved into size 1 diapers but it's not because newborns won't fit it's just because we ran out of newborn sized diapers and had several size one's on hand so we just started using those.  They fit fine, but you can tell they are a bit on the bigger side as opposed to the smaller size.
- You have started smiling so much more this month.  And I don't feel it's as random.  I feel like you look and smile at me or at your sisters and take notice in what's going on around you. I mean I really can't even begin to explain how much I love seeing you smile! It really is the best thing ever!
-This month you have found you little voice.  It's so sweet.  At different times you'll coo or make little noises and I LOVE it! I like when you open your mouth and go, 'OHHH." It's the sweetest ever. You have only done it a few times but it is precious.
- We can still wake you up easily by slowly raising you up in the air and then slowly bringing you back down.  You never fuss about it, just open up your eyes to see what's going on.  It's awesome!
- You have really started to enjoy being held over the shoulder.  When you are fussy I can pick you  up and put you over my should and walk around and most of the time that calms you immediately.  It's like you know you want to check out the world around you.
- You have started to have a little tummy time this month and you are not sure what to think about it. I think you find the position comfortable because it almost seems to want to put you to sleep.
- I have put you on your play mat this month so that you can look around at all the colors and lights and toys, but again most of the time you seem disinterested and like it makes you sleepy. Sometimes though you will perk up and try to look around at what is going on. :)
-You  seem to be the most alert in the afternoons and evenings.  You love it when I hold you and look at you and sing to you.  You just study me and give me random smiles and it's so awesome!
- Sometimes you really like to put weight down on your feet and "stand" on my lap when I hold you up.  It's like you know something is going on, but you can't quite figure it out.
- We had to take you into Children's last week because your temperature got a little high.  We have all been battling sickness and I had just been praying that you wouldn't get it.  Well you were doing so good not getting sick, but it finally got you. Boo!  You got a cough and then started running a temperature.  It was after hours and so I couldn't take you to the doctor but the nurse line suggested I take you to Children's since your temperature had hit 100.6. Apparently in a newborn under two months if it gets at or above 100.4 then it's reason for concern.  I took you into Children's and after an x-ray, blood work, and urine sample they decided you were okay and it was just a virus and to just let it run its course but to watch it.  You temperature went away, but your cough is still hanging around just a bit.  It's not bad, but it's there.  We go in for your well check tomorrow, so I'm sure the doctor will listen to your cough again for us.
- You are not a spit up baby at all.  I love that it is completely rare for you to spit up.  It typically doesn't even matter if we get a burp or not from you.  You are just so easy and laid back.
- We also got to have a "Sip and See" for you.  Some of my sweet friends from church hosted a little get together to welcome you.  It was so sweet!  Lots of friends and family came by to see you and say hi and even bring some sweet little gifts.  It was so much fun!
- This past month we finally transitioned you out of our room and into the crib in your room with your sisters.  It was over the week of Thanksgiving and Kennedie decided to have a 'sleepover' in your room with all the girls.  She had a palate on the floor, and you and Preslee & Sawyer were each in your beds.  After I laid you down I stopped and looked at my room of little blessings.  I started to cry and my heart ached with love.  It made me so happy to have all four of my babies in the same room.  I just envisioned many more "sleepovers" in the future with little giggles and fun sister love.  I really can't explain the joy that moment brought me-- it's one I hope to never forget.

My sweet, sweet Chantzlyn Hope I feel so incredibly blessed that God chose me to be your Mommy.  You are the sweetest, most precious little baby ever and I love that I get to snuggle you and love you. You are getting so big so fast and I'm just not sure I can handle how quickly it's all going.  Most days I want to just bottle you up so I can keep you my baby forever, but then it's so fun to watch you hit new milestones. You are such a good little baby and it's so fun to be with you.  You are a true joy to my life and I can't imagine life without you.  You are definitely a little gem-- one whom I like to hold an admire, and drool over.  You are beautiful and precious and I'm so thankful that you are ours. I love you more than words could ever express to you. 

I love this next set of pictures.  My mom made the white dress especially for Miss Chantzlyn, and the smiles of course is what steals the show:

**And don't you worry all you fabulous blog followers out there, the goods are coming soon!  Chantzlyn's birth story, newborn pictures, and first week are in the works soon!  Being a photographer this is my busiest season and also had to wait for a few legal things before plastering stuff out there. **

Monday, November 23, 2015

Preslee is 19 Months Old

It's crazy how each month seems to fly by quicker and quicker!  I'd tell you it's because my hands are full, but I think it's rather that my heart is so full! Each day is filled with the mundane, and yet it's so special.  I really can't believe that these sweet little baby of mine is turning into a toddler more and more each day.  I mean, I'm just not ready to say she's a toddler & not a baby.  19 months has truly flown by & this sweet one brings a smile to our face & joy to our hearts every day! To say that you are our little clown may be an understatement!  Your personality truly does match your name, Preslee "Ray".... our little drop of golden sun!

My little ham, Preslee Ray:

- My favorite thing this month has been when you hold up your little finger & say, "Mmm back." You are telling me you'll "be right back."  It's so sweet when you hold up your finger, say "Mmm back," and run off to get something and then quickly come back a few minutes later.  It's the sweetest thing ever!
- Your "hole me" {hold me} request has lessened this month as opposed to last month.  But, you can guarantee when you make the request I am quick to oblige because I know time is fleeting where you will want me to hold you.
- I think you've settled into your big sister mode & it's "normal" now to have a new baby in the house for you.  You still love Chantzlyn so much and will still request to hold her (with Mommy's help, of course) and you love to give her kisses.  You smile so much while she is awake looking at you.  I can already see a bond developing between the two of you & that's priceless!
- Just because you've stepped up to the plate on your big sister duties does not however mean that you have slacked on your little sister duties.  You are busy trying to keep up with your big sisters and will quickly copy every single thing that they do.  You love to be right in the middle of whatever they are working on, and they are quick to get frustrated with you taking their toys or destroying their puzzles or towers.  You just want to be right where the action is.
- This month you have sat on the potty and "tee-teed" four times!  You haven't completely gotten the hang of controlling yourself, but you are definitely close to learning!  The M&M incentives surely help in the process too!
- You have such a fun personality!  You will do whatever it takes to get a smile or laugh {and I'm not so sure that's a good thing}!  You are a firecracker & so outgoing! There is no "shyness" about you.  You will run around the church building like you own the place.
- When you are disobeying us, we have found the best way to discipline you is to have you sit on your bed.  Typically just a threat of sitting on your bed will quickly change whatever behavior we are trying to fix.  The few times you have had to sit on your bed you have screamed the whole time- convinced that it is the worst thing in the world.  I'm thankful that this method of discipline has helped us train you in your behavior.
- Currently you are wearing size 18 month clothes and size 6 shoes.
- You are opinionated on what you want to eat & will quickly devour any carb or sugar placed in front of you.  Although you will eat vegetables, you sometimes will bypass them when other things are on your plate.  You get very mad if your sisters finish their food & get a treat and you do not.  Most of the times it does not convince you to finish your own food, but it does make you mad.  You do really great with soup!  I love that all protein & veggies are mixed right in and you get a good sampling!
- Any time you get to pick a piece of candy from the Halloween bowl you ALWAYS pick a Dum-dum sucker. :) Love how predictable you are!
- You are still napping once a day for about 2 hours and you are sleeping great at night.  The last few nights you have cried a few times in the middle of the night, but then go back to sleep.  Not sure if you are having nightmares or just need extra cuddles.
- You love to play babies, play with stickers, and pretend to cook us food to pretend eat.  I love your imagination!

My fun little Preslee Ray, I can't believe how big you are getting!  Your personality is as big as the sun!  You are spunky and sweet and sassy all rolled into one!  I love how you are so confident.  You are in whatever you are doing 100%! You love to put on a show and then glance over your shoulder to make sure you have an audience.  You are also so sweet.  You will cuddle up on my shoulder while I sing to you at night and you will genuinely show concern if your baby sister is crying {you will say, "ty?" as a question when she cries}.  My heart has so much love for you it can hardly contain itself.  It seems at times it might bust when I think of how much you mean to me.  I love you bigger than words can ever express sweet girl!

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Chantzlyn is 1 Month Old

It almost seems impossible that a month has already passed with this sweet little angel baby of ours.  I just really can't believe that I am writing this post right now.  This month has truly been a whirl wind of love & my cup truly does runneth over.  It seems crazy that this is my last baby and I'm just trying to soak up every little cuddle and movement and baby sound and little looks.  With four girls time is just not standing still for us at all so I am taking every opportunity to take in all of the sweetness of my baby.  Here is a little bit about the last month, but I hope to write out her birth story and more detailed posts soon.  

Precious baby Chantzlyn Hope,

-This past month as been a whirlwind and really the last week we have really been able to slow down and get you on a bit of a schedule.  The first two weeks it seemed like you really wanted to cluster feed a lot at night... once about every hour.  I really think it was because we were letting you sleep so much during the day that you just wanted to be held and cuddled at night and eating was a way to achieve that. :) I surely didn't mind the extra snuggles, but it made for one very tired Mommy during the day. The last week we have really been able to focus on getting you into a rhythm-- which I think you've really enjoyed too. You have been eating about every three hours during the day.  Sometimes closer to two and a half and sometimes closer to three and a half, but pretty much every three hours.  After you eat we try to really interact with you and have some good wake time, whether it's singing or taking a bath or letting your sisters get extra snuggles- it's been good to see your eyes open during the day more.  After a little wake time we are letting you nap for about an hour to two hours depending on how alert you've been for your awake time.  At night after your big sisters go to sleep we really work hard to play and interact to keep you awake.  We then have been giving you a nice warm lavender bath.  After the bath we rub calming lavender lotion on you and get you snuggled up in some nice fleece pajamas since it's been cooling down a lot at night.  Some sweet neighbors gave you a fun sound machine that projects a picture on the ceiling.  So after pajamas are on we've been laying you in bed for a little thirty minute to hour nap with the sound machine/projector on.  Sometimes you fuss for a minute or two, but mostly you just crash because you are tired.  I then wake you right before I get in bed and feed you.  At night you've gone about four hours without eating.  This past week I've been up about two times each night, and a few times it's been three times.  Really this past week you just have been eating in the middle of the night and falling right back asleep.  It's been a great week.
- Speaking of sleeping, we still haven't transitioned you into your crib in the room with your sisters.  To be honest it's been out of sheer laziness on my part.  Since I'm still getting up several times a night it just seems easier to keep you close at night.  So, you are sleeping in our pack and play bassinet and it has seemed to suit you just fine.
- And speaking of sleeping again... you do not like to be swaddled.  We figured that out the first week we brought you home.  In the hospital you would always wiggle your arms out of the blanket when someone held you, but we still swaddled you at the hospital and when we got home for a few days.  You seemed SUPER fussy every time we laid you down and I thought you might have been hungry, but eventually I thought maybe you didn't like to be swaddled.  I unsaddled you and you spread your arms out wide and fell right to sleep.  I learned that that was all you wanted.  You didn't want to be confined all tight in a blanket... you wanted to be able to stretch out and relax. Precious!  Love this tiny detail about you.  I don't know why, but it makes me smile.
- You are breastfeeding like a champ!  From day one you have latched on and been a pro.  You rarely spit up and if you do it's because you have eaten too much. You haven't had a bottle yet because there really hasn't been a need and I don't really want to pump. I'm sure your sisters would love to feed you though!
- We took you into the doctor when you were 6 days old and you were weighing in at six pounds and 5 ounces {12%} (when you were born you were 6lbs & 9oz & when we left the hospital you were 6lbs & 4oz), you were still measuring in at 19 & 1/2 inches long{40%}, your head circumference was 13 & 1/2 inches {46%} and your body mass index was 11.7.  You were a little jaundice, but not much.  The doctor was also a tiny bit concerned about your front fontanelle.  She thought it might be a little small, but she had another doctor look at it and they didn't think it was anything to be worried about, but just to watch it.  Your head sutures overlapped a bit during the birthing process and it made a small ridge on the top of your head. The doctors explained that those would move back to the correct position and possibly open up your fontanelle more.
-We took you back into the doctor for your 2 week check up and the doctor thought your fontanelle was bigger and closer to normal since your ridge had gone down on your head some.  This was awesome news!  Your stats at your two week appointment: you were weighing in at 6lbs & 13oz {12%} which was SO good, length still at 19 & 1/2 inches, head circumference at 13 & 3/4" {44%} and your body mass index was at 12.6.  So you grew quit a bit in one month & I feel like you have done nothing but get bigger since then!
- You are still wearing your newborn clothes.  Your 0-3 month stuff is still too big, but I have a feeling that it won't be long until you are in that size.  I've noticed that your newborn stuff that used to be big on you is now fitting just right. :)
- You like your wubba-nub pacifier that Binky got you.  You are not attached to it, but it does provide some comfort when you get fussy at times.  We don't use it at all at night though.
- You have already celebrated your first holiday.... Halloween! It was fun to tote you around and show you off while your sisters got as much candy as possible!
-Your eyes are very blue right now.  I know most babies eyes are blue, but yours seem very bright compared to my other girls.
- Your hair looks very blond to me right now.  There have been moments where I've seen a small tint of red, but mostly it just looks blond.
-Yesterday when you were crying it looked like there was a little water that you produced in your right eye.  It was so sad to see a tiny hint of a tear.
- Over the last few days it seems that you are becoming more and more aware of your surroundings. I can tell you are trying to turn your head at times to see if you can tell what is going on.  Or, when I'm holding you and you hear your sisters you will sometimes try to turn your head to them.  It's so sweet.
- You are aware of your feet under you.  Many times I'll try to hold you and "stand" you, and you'll put a little pressure on your feet, but not much.  It's like you know that they are there, but have no idea what's going on.
- You also seem to have really started smiling so much more frequently the last week and a half.  It's mostly random, but there are so many times where I'm talking to you or singing to you and a smile comes out at almost a perfect time.  I am going to believe that you are smiling at me intentionally and it's not random. :) Your smile is so beautiful and it warms my heart every time.
- Daddy took you into get your 2nd PKU last weekend. It was sweet that he took you up to the hospital all by himself and the two of you got a little quality time and extra snuggles after the "poke."
- If I raise you a little above my head really slow and bring you down really slow your eyes will pop right open.  You are either going to love roller coasters or hate them when you get bigger.
- The past few days your neck has seemed to have gotten SO strong.  You are trying to hold it up and turn your head and look around. Today you pulled it right up and were just moving it around when you were having some tummy time.  It's crazy how strong you have gotten!

My darling little baby girl.... my how time flies. I can't believe that you are already a month old.  You are so special to us all.  You complete our family and our hearts are full of nothing but love for you.  You have lived up to your name and carried so much hope into this world already.  I look at you and my heart swells up with a love so deep that I can't explain it.  I know that we are blessed to call you our daughter and it is a treasure that I will never take for granted.  My heart fills with gratitude when I think how blessed I truly am that the Lord picked me to be your Mommy! I could sit and stare at you for hours because you are so beautiful.  Your little baby noises are like music to my ears and every little coo that you make is a reminder of life and hope.  Your three big sisters are completely smitten by you and it's so sweet to watch all of them love on you.... My prayer is that one day you'll all four be the best of friends.  You will have a such a special sister bond!  You are so loved by so many.... more than you will probably ever know or be able to understand.  Your tummy mommy checks in on you frequently and loves to hear reports on how you are growing.  She always sends extra hugs and kisses to you.  She loves you so much and we feel honored that she followed God's directing and brought you to us. Sweet girl you have already brought so much joy to our lives.  I love you more than words can express. 

Here are a few pictures throughout the last month in order from when we brought you home to today:

Friday, October 23, 2015

Preslee is 18 Months Old

My baby doesn't quit seem like a baby anymore!  Where did my itty-bitty go, & where did this sweet little toddler come from?! Since bringing Chantzlyn home, it's amazing how big Preslee seems, but then in so many moments in my day I'm reminded that she is still a baby too. Sweet girl is getting so big!  18 months seems like such a big milestone and I feel like I blinked and we are here! So much has happened over the last month with this sweet one of mine.

Preslee Ray:

- You became a BIG sister!  You have handled it as well as possible.  You love Chantzlyn SOOOO much and you are SOOOOO sweet with her, but I can tell it has been a hard adjustment for you.  Your tantrums have increased and all day you walk around following me saying, "Hole Me." {"Hold Me."} I try to pick you up every time you ask, and give you lots of extra loving, but I know how hard this has been for you.  You are however so precious with your baby sister and you smile and kiss her so often and your face lights up when you get to hold her (with Mommy's help) or if she's awake looking at you.
- In light of becoming a big sister, you also got a new rear-facing carseat!  You love it, and it appears to be the best seat in the car! You look so big in it and it looks so much comfier than all the other seats.
- You also got to transition into a big girl bed!!  Yah!  We did this transition before baby sister got here so it didn't look like she was rooting you out of your crib.  I can't tell you how much you LOVE your big girl bed!  The first day you slept in it you thought you were just living the high life.  The smiles were priceless!  Actually, everyone changed beds... Kennedie went to the toy room bed, Sawyer went to Kennedie's bed, and you went to Sawyer's bed.  It was like musical beds at our house, but you handled it like a champ!  You have only gotten out of bed a few times, but you quickly learned that you don't get out unless Mommy & Daddy come get you.
- You are fearless!  You love to play outside with your sisters and if we turn our backs for two seconds you will climb right up the play house ladder all by yourself!  It scares me so much.  I like to stay close, but you'd rather play with out Mommy.
- You are starting to show lots of interest in the potty.  Lots of times you will tell me, "Potty" when you have already pooped in your diaper.  I am sensing potty training in the future for you.
- You have started the weaning process, and pretty much are weaned.  I wasn't expecting to cut you cold turkey, but it's almost what happened.  I was at the hospital for three full days with Chantzlyn and so you were not around.  I breastfed you once in those three days, but you really did fine and didn't ask for milk at all.  Since we've been home you have asked a few times and I've fed you a couple of times, but really you are only interested if there is a perfect storm which consists of  me feeding Chantzlyn, you being tired, and you being hungry.  If I can avoid those three things all together then you are totally fine without milk.
- You have had to sit on your bed as "time- out" a couple of different times this week. This is much more of a punishment for you then spanking your hiney.  All I have to do the past two days is threaten you having to sit on your bed and you straighten up your behavior.
- You have really had a hard time eating the past few weeks. You have only been wanting to each carbs or sweets.  You tend to throw a fit if we tell you to eat your vegetables, fruits, or protein.  You will scream and cry and ask for more of the "carb" that was on your plate.  We have been asking you to eat other things on your plate before we give you more carbs or before you can get a sweet.  You have figured out that we won't give you more and you are starting to get hungry.  The past few days you have started eating all on your plate because you realize that's how to get more of what you want and it keeps your belly full. :)
- You are starting to express yourself with words more each day.  I love how you ask me to, "Hole Me," {hold me}, and how you say, "Em Me" {Get Me}, and when I ask you a question everything is, "Noooo" in like the sweetest voice ever, and how when I ask you to say "Yes Ma'am," it's more , "Ma'a."
- You are currently wearing size 18 month clothes and size 6 shoes.
- You are napping once a day about 2 hours.  Sometimes you will take two shorter naps though. But mostly you just want to keep up with your sisters.
- You have lately been hating taking pictures.  You tend to fuss and get upset when I bring out my camera and you tend to throw a big fit if I have you try to smile. Occasionally you'll look at me and say, "Cheeeeeeese." It's sweet in the moment!

Sweet baby girl of mine... I love you so much. I know right now you are having a hard time finding your place now that your baby sister is here.  Just know that no matter what my love for you is always present, and never waning.  You are still my ray of sunshine and my heart melts when I see your precious smile.  You are energetic and outgoing and I love to see you be you.  Precious Preslee babe you have my heart in so many ways and I love you more than you'll ever know. 

In your new big girl bed, happy as a lark:

You are such a sweet big sister, and you love to point to your baby's "nose:"

No smiles for the camera here:

Love this one of my girl in an outfit that Bee made for your Aunt Feather when she was little over 20 years ago:

So serious:

My happy girl:

I know the next one is blurry, but you can see how blonde she really is after summer: