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Tucker & Lana Davis
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Lana Marie Davis
Tucker Philip Davis
 

Last Updated:
07/09/2010
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JOURNAL

Life with Lana today (3 years, 9 months)
posted on 04/30/2010

*Around the beginning of March, Lana started having terrible nightmares. She would wake us up screaming and crying several times a night, most nights of the week.  For the past month, we've noticed a pattern. If Lana has quiet time instead of napping, she is up at night with nightmares!  It makes sense because Dan is the exact same way.  If he is overtired, he tosses and turns and talks in his sleep and is very restless in general.  Like father, like daughter, apparently.  We've started making sure she gets a nap on most days, and she has almost completely quit having nightmares.  Relief!

*Mommy & Daddy went on a date night, and one of the things we did was play arcade games.  We used our tickets to buy Lana a whoopie cushion - she loves it!!  She thinks it's the funniest thing to blow it up and then to jump on it.  I don't know if she really "gets" what's funny about the noise, but it sure is funny to watch her!

*Almost every day, she asks me if it's July yet because she knows that her birthday is in July, and she can't wait to be 4.  Oh, I just want it to slow down.  I TEACH 4 year olds in preschool - I can't imagine her being that old.  How did this happen?

*Walking through the grocery store this week, she said, "Mommy, I could just read books with you all day long."  Music to my ears.

*This morning, Lana slept in quite a bit longer than her brother.  He was going down for his nap just as she was waking up.  She came out of her room in her pj's, flip flops, and a headband (or "crown" as she calls them).  The first thing she said was "Can I go outside to play?"  It makes us so happy that she loves the outdoors!

*She has really started to play "family;" it's her favorite thing ever.  Everyone is assigned a family member to be - can you guess what she always is?  It's fun to watch her imagination take off and send her into her own pretend world.  We have plans to find her some sort of little playhouse to put in the backyard - she would love it.





Life with Tucker today (7 months old)
posted on 04/10/2010

*Tucker will sit unassisted for a minute or two at a time before he crashes over, but he is still happiest laying on the floor and rolling around.  At small group the other night, I laid him in the floor in the middle of all 10 or 12 of us, and he just rolled around and looked and smiled at everyone, happy as a clam.

*He's just a very social boy - will smile at nearly anyone who talks to him.  This makes it so fun to take him anywhere.  The only downside is that he's becoming less likely to nap when we're out and about because he doesn't want to miss anything.  

*He loves tags!  I've seen other babies do this, but Lana was never very interested in tags.  Tucker will find the tag on anything...a toy, a bib, etc...and put it right in his mouth.

*He is eating just about everything these days.  He LOVES when I roast sweet potatoes - those are his favorite.  I'm going to try broccoli and cauliflower this week.  I hope he loves them like his sister does!  Fruits are still a bit too tart for him, although he does much better with fresh fruit in his mesh feeder than he does the store-bought purees.

*He does LOVE his mesh feeder!!  I need to be better about putting more in there.  Pears are his favorite.

*He also loves Sonic ice.  Don't ask me how I know this.

*He recently had his 4th ear infection - ugh.  He ran a fever with this one, for the first time.  It was so bad that it spread to his eye - I had no idea that ear infections could even do that!

*He sleeps from 7:30 pm to 6:30 am most nights, and then takes 2-3 naps/day, totaling about 3 hours.  If he misses a nap, he easily gets overtired and then doesn't sleep well the rest of the day.

*He is not interested in crawling yet, probably because he's so happy rolling around.  I try to put him on his hands and knees a few times a day - he will rock back and forth a few times, and then collapse on his belly.

*He is still taking reflux medication.  He takes Prevacid in the morning, and Zantac at night.  Dr. Dirk wants us to try to quit giving it to him and see if he's grown out of it, but I'm scared to.  One day while we were in Alabama, I forgot to give it to him one morning, and by noon he was irritable and spitting up all over the place.

*I LOVE wearing him in the Ergo, but he much prefers the stroller, probably because he can see better.  When I put him in the Ergo, he will push his arms against me and arch his back so he can see everything around him.   

*I am introducing the sippy cup to him, but he isn't interested at all.  I'm not sure how it's going to work, because we have to thicken his formula so he doesn't choke on it because of his dysphagia.  Water in his sippy cup is so thin - he chokes on it every time.  I'm going to ask his therapist when we go this week.

*Lana is still his favorite person in the world - she is almost guaranteed to get a laugh out of him, often for no reason at all.  She better watch out, because when he can crawl, she's in trouble!

*He is not interested in the monkey we bought for him to have as a lovey.  So sad!  I have pictures of Lana at his age with her lovey in her bed, and he just has nothing for it.

*He has two teeth on the bottom, and they are sharp as little knives!





Life with Lana today (3 years, 8 months)
posted on 03/30/2010

*We are so glad that spring is here!  Lana is having a blast being outside.  She is constantly on her swingset (thanks, Thigpen family!) or in her car (thanks, Lyon family!).  But above all else, her favorite thing to do outside is take a pole to the pond and fish with her Daddy!  

*She has also become very interested in helping me in the kitchen lately.  I found a great bread machine for very cheap on Craigslist, and we have had a blast making (and eating!) bread together.  She is a wonderful sous chef: loves to measure and pour and crack eggs and grate cheese and put things away and wipe off counters!  How did I ever cook without her?  

*Crafts and projects are her favorite indoor activity these days.  I bought her a little plastic storage unit with shelves and filled it with lots of craft stuff: wooden sticks, sequins, tissue paper, beads, straws, etc.  She will put a plastic placemat on the table and just go to town.  

*At her Easter musical this month, a little girl did a ballet dance, and Lana has been SO into ballet after watching her!  She will dress up and show us her "ballet dances," and keeps asking when she can take a ballet class.  We've told her she has to be 5.  At first, I thought I'd let her give it a shot this summer, but I couldn't do it.  Once we let her start taking lessons and doing things out of her home, it just won't stop.  And because she does go to preschool, which includes Music and Discovery classes, I just don't feel like she needs anything extra.  Not to mention, I just don't want to add one more thing to our schedule!  We really value dinners together and time to walk to the pond and fish, and with Dan working 3 nights/week, we have to guard our time carefully.

*We think she is outgrowing the beloved nap.  She will still lay down and fall asleep, and sleep for an hour or hour and a half, but when we put her in bed at night, she will just lay awake until sometimes after 9:00 p.m.  On the days she doesn't get a nap, she is out like a light at 7:00.  This is kind of a neat stage, because if we have something to do at night like small group and we know she'll be up late, we can make sure she takes a nap and can handle the late night.  But if we want her to go to bed early so we can watch a movie or Dan can study, we let her do quiet time in her room instead of nap, and that works, too.  Thankfully, she is SO GOOD about quiet time.  We let her choose a few things to do in her room (along with the books and puzzles that are already there), turn on some music for her, and she stays in her room and plays until we get her up.  This lets me get a nap if I need it, even if she doesn't!

*She is doing so well learning things at home and preschool: she can write her name, Mommy, Daddy, and Tucker.  She's learning to write our last name.  She is also learning to draw shapes.  Number sense comes very easily to her, and she's beginning to grasp some basic addition concepts.  It's so fun because she just LOVES it.  She's still not quite ready to start blending sounds (a beginning step to reading). 

*Her favorite thing at preschool is circle time - she is SO into the calendar.  I'm thinking of pulling mine down from the attic so we can use it during the summer.  Oh!  Maybe I'll set her up a little pretend school area with it - she would LOVE that!  Her primary struggle at preschool is sitting still in her seat at lunchtime.  She's such a wiggle worm.  We have to work on that at home during meals, too, though, so it doesn't surprise me.  Her teacher says her other struggle is (oh, surprise!!) that she is sometimes a bit bossy.  I can't imagine where she gets that from.  We're working on that, together.  

*The discipline issue we've been dealing with at home this month is her arguing and wanting to debate decisions with us.  If we tell her no, her response is often, "But...."  We are working hard to teach her to do everything we ask without complaining or arguing, and to accept our "no" as happily as she does our "yes."  A challenge, to be sure.

*We are working on catechism with her, mainly through songs called "Songs for Saplings."  Catechism is most often used in Catholic circles, but there is such value is teaching our children the building blocks of our faith.  It's, very simply, theology, presented in the form on questions and answers.  So if you ask Lana "Who made God?"  she will respond "Nobody made God."  Or, the one we're working on right now is asking her, "What happened to Adam and Eve when they sinned?"  The response we're teaching her: "Instead of being holy and happy, they became sinful and miserable."  We began with Who God is and Creation, now we are working through the Fall and Salvation, and then we'll progress to the Work of Christ.  We are really enjoying this!

*The most wonderful thing happening in our home this month is watching Lana and Tucker interact more and more.  His whole face lights up when his sister walks in the room.  She is so careful to take care of him.  If she's in her room playing and hears him fussing in the living room, she dashes out to sing him a song or dance for him.  They are adorable in the car - they just can't get enough of each other.  This relationship just melts my heart.





Poll results
posted on 03/14/2010

Tucker loves his veggies, and hates all fruits except one. Which one do you think he actually eats?
applesauce 0%
peaches 0%
prunes 0%
pears 17%
bananas 83%
Total votes: 6

The answer is PRUNES!!!  Can you believe it?!

 

What is Lana's favorite thing to do with Tucker?
sing to him 5%
read books to him 63%
change his poopy diapers 5%
push him in the stroller 21%
put him to bed 5%
Total votes: 19

The answer is "change his poopy diapers"!  I don't know WHY in the world, but she won't miss it.  





Life with Tucker today (6 months old)
posted on 03/10/2010

Sleeping: It seems like Tucker is finally getting well, and his sleep is getting back to normal!  He wakes up around 6:30 or 7:00 a.m., takes a morning nap about an hour long, an afternoon nap about 2 hours long, and a short late afternoon/early evening nap about 45 minutes long.  He goes back down for the night around 7 or 7:30.  Can't complain about 11 hours at night!  He goes down like a dream at night, but still fusses some when going down for naps.  I think he's realizing that we're leaving.  He's such a social baby.  When we lay him down he smiles and pats our face and grabs our clothes - he just enjoys interacting with us!  Sometimes he just fusses for a minute - occasionally it'll take him up to 30 minutes.  He does well if we go back in and rub his back for a minute.  (He prefers rubbing to patting - the opposite of Lana!) He puts himself to sleep every time, though.  He does well about napping when we're out and about, although it's never for as long as he would nap at home.  It's such a victory for us, though, because Lana would not nap anywhere besides home - not even in her car seat!  This morning in church he took a 30 minute cat nap on my shoulder - just long enough for me to really enjoy the sermon.  So grateful for that freedom!                                                                                                                                                          Eating: Our big boy is eating an 8 oz bottle every 4 hours, which means he eats 4 times a day: 7 a.m., 11 a.m., 3 p.m., and 7 p.m.  He LOVES all this vegetable, and can't get enough of them.  He is not a big fan of fruit, though, which is so funny!  Most kids like those sweet things.  He doesn't like plain rice cereal - we will start oatmeal this week.  He has made HUGE progress at therapy!  Eating his bottle is nearly flawless these days.  Now we are working on increasing the thickness of his purees and adding texture to his food.  I took some videos on the things we're working on in therapy right now.  I'm so grateful that we caught this early!  It's amazing how much of a difference in makes for us.  We are still going to therapy weekly, and will continue to until we see how he tolerates textures and thickness.  Right now, he is resistant to fork-mashed food, so we will begin work on that next week.                                                                                                                      Other happenings

*Just tonight I was rubbing his gums and felt a little sharp point poking through!!  The first tooth - wow!!  I knew it had to be coming...he has been a drool factory, and putting everything in sight in his mouth.

*Tucker is a very social baby - laughs and smiles all the time!  Baby talk does not impress him, but he loves if you just smile and talk.

*He will smile and make noises to get your attention.

*Not yet sitting up - he's not even interested in trying!

*Can roll all over the room.  We have to watch him.  If we put him down on the floor on a blanket, he'll roll to the edge of the blanket and put it in his mouth, and then keep rolling.  He essentially rolls himself up like a burrito!  Maybe he's trying to swaddle himself!!  Ha!

*Can support his weight on his legs if we are holding his hands.

*He loves tags of all kinds!  If we put toys in front of him, he inevitably just chews on the tag.

*He will sit in his jumperoo and johnny jumper for a while, but much prefers to be on the floor where he can roll around.

*He's not a huge fan of the bathtub, probably because he hates to be awake that time of night.  (If we'd let him, he'd sleep from 5 p.m. - 5 a.m.  But we're not letting him!)  I usually bathe him with Lana because she keeps him entertained.  Lately, he's been content as long as I give him a washcloth to suck on.

*I LOVE to wear him in the Ergo, but he seems to prefer the stroller!  Even if he's tired or hungry, all we have to do is pop him in the stroller where he can see everything, and he is perfectly content for long periods of time.  

*He's wearing a size 3 diaper during the day, and a size 4 overnight diaper at nighttime to prevent leaks!

*He has really good eye/hand coordination - he can pick things up and put them right where he wants them: his mouth!

*While feeding him, he sometimes tries to take the spoon from us and feed himself.

*At 6 months, is wearing 12 month clothes!  They are wide on him, but anything smaller is way too short.  He is really, really long.  We're looking forward to his check-up to see exactly how long he is.

*He adores his big sister more than anything else - she is truly his favorite person in the world!  If he is fussy, she can immediately settle him down.  And the best part is that she LOVES that - if she hears him fussing, she comes running! You have to check out the videos of her making him laugh.





The sickest February ever
posted on 03/07/2010

What a yucky winter it has been!  We have been fortunate to stay pretty healthy all winter long....until February rolled around.  Then it all fell apart.

It started the first week in February when Tucker got some sort of stomach virus that gave him diarrhea.  He had the worst diaper rash...it just broke this mama's heart.  And his sleep was a disaster, because as soon as he made the first peep, we would rush in to change his (always!) dirty diaper so his rash didn't get worse.  Not so good for learning how to put himself back to sleep!

Then, on February 13, after a party at Jumping Beans where at least 1/2 the families got sick, Dan, Lana, and Tucker all came down with the "norovirus" (aka the dreaded stomach virus) to varying degrees.  Dan was toast - it literally wiped him out.  He was sicker than I can remember seeing him in a long, long time.  There were a few times that I wondered if he was going to end up in the ER.  It hit Lana at almost the exact same time in the middle of the night, but she definitely had a milder version.  She was sick a few times through the night, but I only had to change sheets once - she did so well with a bowl!  She was kind of puny the next day, so she laid around and ate crackers and drank "sick juice" (gatorade).  By that night, she was back to her old self.  Just as I was putting the kids to bed, Tucker started throwing up.  A lot.  Enough to scare me.  So I called our nurse advice line, was put through the triage at the ER.  They reassured me that night time was the best time for babies to get it because they would sleep most of it off.  They gave me some specific instructions on how to feed him, and what to watch for with dehydration.  Sure enough, they were right.  He was sick quite a bit through that night, but the next day was better, he was just fussy.  We were SO THANKFUL that I never came down with it - what would we have done???  And even the mercy of them not all getting it simultaneously...so grateful.

We recovered from that a few days later.  Shortly after that, Lana got what seemed to be just a cold, but quickly deteriorated.  Lots of yucky coughing and just generally not feeling well.

And because she shares so well, she shared this lovely cold with her baby brother!  Except what is just a cold in a 3 year old is something a bit more serious in a baby.  

At first he was just congested.  

Then came the ear infection that kept us up for several days and nights.  Got that cleared up with some antibiotics, but the cold just kept hanging on.  

Then he started wheezing.  Our pediatrician is so wonderful - not an alarmist, but careful. He put him on albuterol and had us bring him in daily to check his oxygen levels.  This level of care is (we are sure!) what kept us out of the hospital.  When Lana was exactly Tucker's age, she got RSV and was hospitalized for several days.  We are so thankful that we have been able to work through this virus at home.  

Nighttimes have been the worst.  One night he slept from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. and woke up crying.  He cried inconsolably until 3:45, when he fell asleep on my chest on the couch.  He slept until 4:30, woke up and cried until 6:45, when he fell asleep on my chest again.  I was able to put him back in his crib to sleep just as Lana was waking up.

Even with that little sleep, he's so smiley!  Dr. Dirk calls him "The Happy Wheezer."  

Last night, for the first time in weeks (literally!!), he slept through the night peacefully and woke at 6:45.  He took a 3 hour nap this morning and is now on hour 2 of his afternoon nap.  I'm so hopeful this means his little body is working hard to fight this stuff off.

We go back tomorrow to the pediatrician to have his oxygen checked and to see if we can return to preschool.

Oh, we are so ready for spring!!

 





Spring baskets!
posted on 03/01/2010

What a wonderful new tradition we've started this year!

I love Easter baskets...I love filling them up with goodies for Lana.  Some candy, of course, but mostly practical, brightly colored things: a new bathing suit, a pair of flip-flops, new panties, bubble gum, a bow, etc.  My mom always filled ours up this way, and I am continuing that tradition.  

I hate giving Easter baskets on Easter morning.  Easter morning is the crowning dawn of our faith.  Christ Jesus is ALIVE!!!  Without this cornerstone, our hope would be in vain.  He defeated death and Satan, and because He lives, we have life more abundantly.  There is nothing more amazing, more incredible, more awe-inspiring.  I just couldn't get to the place where I could wake my children up on Easter morning and celebrate a BASKET with them when there was so much more to be celebrating - something more wondrous, more amazing.  

But I couldn't give up the baskets.  

And then I read a blog that my friend Larissa writes.  Instead of doing Easter baskets for their kids, she does spring baskets.  They get them on the first day of spring!  What a wonderful solution - I could not be happier!

I missed the first day of spring this year, but gave them to them anyway.

I think I'll do something like this to celebrate the first day of each season from now on.  It's a perfect way to give our children the things they'll need or get for that season anyway.  For summer: a bathing suit, sunscreen, a new beach towel, sunglasses, flip flops.  For fall: a little rake, a windbreaker, etc.  For winter: mittens, hot chocolate, a warm hat, a new book.  For spring: rainboots, an umbrella, etc.  





Quick dysphagia explanation
posted on 03/01/2010

On Facebook, someone asked me why Tucker has dysphagia and how we knew.  I wanted to post my answer here so I can remember all these little details:

We knew because our pediatrician is amazing! Tucker had trouble eating right from the beginning. Nursing was okay, but he couldn't ever get the "hang" of it. When we switched to a bottle, it didn't get any easier. Lots of crying and fussing while eating. You can go to our website (www.totsites.com/tot/lana) and look back at the videos - we got a couple of him trying to eat. We treated his reflux, but it didn't get any better. Eating was MISERABLE for him, and for us. Our pedi sent us to a dysphagia clinic, and it truly has been a miracle for us. His suck/swallow/breathe pattern has never really developed to maturity, so often when he is eating, he feels like he's drowning. (No WONDER he was fussy!) We've learned lots of techniques to make it easier for him. The dysphagia therapist had a barium swallow study done, which revealed that he aspirates on thin liquids, so thickening his formula has been really helpful for him. He also has a strong tongue touch aversion, which means he doesn't like anything on his tongue - this is most likely a result of the acid reflux...he would pull his tongue back to block the reflux and fell into this tongue pattern. Tongue touch aversions often lead to texture aversions, so we are working to avoid that, and making great progress! He still has a very strong tongue pull, but we've figured out ways around that, while continuing to work on improving it.





Yet another reason I love Carolina Pediatric Dysphagia Clinic
posted on 03/01/2010

Where in the world would I family be without Joan and Jihan and Carolina Pediatric Dysphagia?!  They have done so much to make life easier/better for our family, and Friday they outdid themselves yet again.

We went in for Tucker's regular weekly therapy session.  It was our first time with Jihan - we are moving up to working on textured solids with her.  In the course of our session, she asked how he was sleeping.  I told her that the past 2 weeks had been rough because of sickness, but even before that, he never slept past 5:15 a.m.  Even more, he always woke up fussy in the morning, which is so unlike what we experienced with Lana.  

She explained to me that sometimes their patients have to be put on a nighttime acid reflux medicine, to piggyback the daytime.  What happens is that we give him 15 mg of time-released Prevacid in the morning.  By the middle of the night, it has worn off, and when he wakes up around 5:00 a.m., and his stomach is empty, he begins refluxing and can't put himself back to sleep.  

She recommended that we call the pediatrician and see what he thought about a nighttime dose of something.

I left our session, got in the car, and called him before I left the parking lot.  Dr. Dirk agreed to try it.

That night, he slept through.  Until 6:30 a.m.!!  The next night, he woke up at 5:30 a.m., fussed for just a minute, and then put himself back to sleep until 7:30 a.m.!  And as I write this on the 3rd morning at 7:15 a.m., he is just now starting to stir.  The best part of all is that he's HAPPY.  Obviously he's well rested, and probably his reflux is not bothering him.

This is something that could so easily be missed by a pediatrician because we don't see them on a weekly basis.  We could not be more grateful for CPD.





Life with Lana today (3 years, 7 months)
posted on 02/28/2010

Physical 

Lana is still very tall for her age.  Although she is one of the youngest in her class, she is nearly the tallest!   

She is sleeping 10-11 hours at night, and naps about an hour each day, although she goes to bed much easier at night if she doesn’t have a nap.  Still, though, on preschool days her body just REQUIRES that post-school rest.  If I don’t want her to take a nap, she’s very good about playing quietly in her room for up to 2 hours while we all have a rest time.   

Her taste in foods just delights me.  Yesterday, I made her a lunch that included pickled okra, sliced red bellpepper, cucumber slices, and fruit, and she declared it “the best lunch I’ve ever had!”  Music to this mama’s ears. 

She’s had a pretty sick month – nothing serious, just one head cold after another.  We’re ready for spring time!

 

Emotional

We know clearly that our little girl’s love language is quality time.  She likes nothing better than to curl up on the couch with us and read, do a puzzle together, go for a walk, cook dinner, even clean up together.  These things are so much more valuable to her than anything else we can give her.  I read in a book recently that a generation or two ago, receiving a new bike was a wonderful occasion for celebration for a child!  That’s because back then, quality time was plentiful, and “things” were in short supply.  Now, it seems that quality time is in short supply, while our kids have an abundance of “stuff.”  This means that in order to love my child well, I’ve got to clear out the stuff, and make time.  I’ve got to quit being so busy and just be.  I am working hard to make some adjustments in our daily rhythm that will permit this way of living.  It’s so wonderful to watch her just blossom when we love her in a way that she understands. 

We love Lana’s sense of empathy.  Just this past week, Dan got hit in the eyebrow with a bungee cord, and it split his skin open enough to need 6 stitches.  Right after it happened, he came inside and was applying pressure to stop the bleeding.  Our sweet girl, after a brief moment of panic, immediately left the room.  I assumed that she was going to get in her bed, and was going to go comfort her as soon as I made sure Dan was okay.  But just a minute later, she came back into the room with a band-aid and her lovey for Daddy, to “make him feel better.”  Then she sat down at the kitchen table to make him a Get Well Card – all as I am on the phone with Urgent Care!  She really does have a tender heart, and is quick to care for others as she is able.  

Mental

One of the things that I enjoy most about Lana is her willingness to soak up anything I teach her.  Although we have no idea what we will do about her education yet, I know that she would be a delight to home school!  She is learning so much these days.  She’s mastered her letters and sounds, can orally spell and write her name, Tucker’s name, Mommy, and Daddy, and is working on Davis.  She loves to rhyme, and is grasping many of the print concepts she needs for kindergarten.  She’s not quite ready to blend sounds yet, although I keep modeling it for her in the hopes that she’ll pick it up soon.  The most interesting thing so far is her love for numbers!  She loves to talk addition, and can quickly identify how many things are in a group of objects.  She is rapidly learning how to count to 100.  She sure doesn’t get this math brain from me! 

Spiritual

This is a new section that I’m addressing in “Life with Lana today,” and although I can’t imagine how I haven’t written fully about it before, I’m having a hard time capturing it all to write down.

Right now, Lana’s spiritual development is a moment by moment process of surrounding her with the Truth found in the Word of God.  Every single thing we do from disciplining to comforting comes back to the Scriptures and provides an opportunity to share with her about what the Bible holds for us.  It’s amazing to me how often gospel conversations take place between me and my 3 year old….when we’re sitting at home, when we’re riding down the road, when we’re lying down, when we’re waking up….if only I am walking in the Spirit, I can seize these opportunities to share the Way, the Truth, and the Life with her.

By the summertime, we want to begin doing catechisms with her – we’d love to hear from any of you who have done this with your children!

An area of growth that we’d like to see in her, and our family, really, is an increased involvement in memorizing the Bible.  She is very capable of hiding God’s Word in her heart, and I just have not been disciplined enough about having a verse for us to learn together each week.  Any suggestions or encouragement in that area?

 





Life with Tucker today (5 months old)
posted on 02/10/2010

&nb

Sleeping: The good news is that he’s done with being swaddled!  We just went cold-turkey, and he has done so well.  Sometimes he’s even seemed to sleep better without it.  The bad news: about two weeks ago, he got a little stomach virus that wreaked havoc on his little hiney.  So as soon as he made the first peep, we hurried in his room to change his diaper and clean off his cute little booty.  Now that the yuckiness is done, he can’t figure out why we’re not zooming in at the first peep he makes.  : )  He is waking up in the early morning hours, around 4:00, and talks/plays/fusses for as few as ten minutes but up to an hour.  He eventually falls back asleep, but is up for the day at 6:00.  Finally, Dan suggested that we just try to feed him and put him back down – we did that this morning, and he slept until 7:30.  With his last feeding of the night being around 7:00, maybe he just can’t make it 12 hours without eating again.  His naps have been off, too…and we’re thinking maybe it’s because he’s growing and hungry!  We’ll see.  In any event, 6:00 is not a favored wake-up time for Team Davis.  We much prefer 7:00 a.m.                                                                                                                                Eating: We started solid foods!  He loves his veggies, didn’t turn down one of them.  We are now introducing fruits.  He likes them okay so far: bananas were tolerable; applesauce was totally rejected!  I tried just mashing up some of our food, which is my favorite way to make baby food, but the texture is too much for him and makes him gag, so for now we’re using store bought baby food because it has a smoother texture.  (In two weeks, we will begin to see the solid foods therapist to work on this.)  He is still eating about 8 ounces 4 times a day, and 2 or 3 times a day we give him solid foods after his bottle.                                                                                                                                                                                                           Other happenings:                                                                                   *He has learned to roll over from back to front, but can’t quite get himself back over yet.  This makes for interesting nap times!!  We hope he masters this skill soon.                                                                                            *He has ended up asleep on his belly in his crib once or twice; it’s so cute.      *He is very social, and just loves for anyone to talk to him.  Just a few words, and you’re sure to be rewarded with a smile.  He will break his neck looking for his sister if he hears her voice in the room.                              *He still has those fingers in his mouth all the time.  Funny, but he doesn’t put them in his mouth to go to sleep – this is strictly a wake-time thing for him.  I don’t know if he’s teething or what.                                                *His eye hand coordination is impressive.  Although he won’t hold onto objects for long periods at a time, he has no problem reaching out and getting what he wants – including Mommy and Big Sister’s hair!                  *He is not a big fan of the Bumbo or exersaucer, much preferring to be on the floor.  I’m guessing this is because he’s working hard to master rolling and just wants to practice.                                                                                                     sp;                                                                                    Tucker's schedule today:

6:00 a.m. Woke up fussing, not happy at all.  Ate 8 ounces, went right back to sleep. 

7:30   Woke up happy and cooing, playing with his feet 

9:00   Ate 4 ounces; too tired to eat 

9:30-11:30   Nap 

12:00         Ate 8 ounces and an entire container of solid foods 

12:00-1:00  Played on his mat, rolled around, sat unhappily in his exersaucer 

1:30-3:30    Nap

4:00          Eat 7-8 ounces and solids

6:00-6:45   Nap  

8:00           Bath, eat 7-8 ounces, bed

 





A dream about Sissy
posted on 02/07/2010

I just went in to get Lana up from bed, and she told me that she had a dream last night about Sissy. She has been watching the Berenstain Bears lately, so I thought she was talking about Sister Bear. When I asked her what it was about, this is the conversation we had:
L: Well, me and Sissy were walking through the woods, and we saw a deer.
R: And then what?
L: There was a rabbit, too, but that deer bumped into me.
R: Did it hurt?
L: No, Sissy said it was just hugging on me. And then I woke up and called you.
R: So it was you and Sister Bear?
L: No, Mommy. It was me and Sissy. You know, she's in our family. Mommy, she's the one who looks like Nana!! You know her!





But what about forgiveness?
posted on 01/31/2010

We are reading through the Bible with Lana, and tonight we read about David.  We ended with David killing Goliath.  I was tucking Lana in bed so that we could pray together, and we had this conversation:

L: Mommy, where was Goliath?  Was he in that cave?

R: No, baby, he was in the field.  Remember, the Philistine army was camped up here, and the army of the Lord was camped up here, and David and Goliath met in the middle.

L: So where did Goliath go after the field?

R: Well, he didn't.  Remember, David killed Goliath.  The Lord won the battle for him.

L: He was DEAD?!  Aw, Mommy, that's so sad.  (She was really grieved by this fact.)

R: Hm.  Lana, Goliath was an evil man.  He was not for the Lord, so he was against him.  David stood up against him in the name of the Lord.  God protected David and the rest of the army.

L: Goliath was evil?  And so David killed him?  Because God said to?

*pause*

L: But what about forgiveness?

R: Lana, God promises to forgive us.  But Goliath wasn't sorry.  He didn't repent and ask forgiveness.  He didn't believe and trust in God.

L: Oh, that's like that other evil one, Mommy.  That really bad king?

R: King Herod, you mean.  (She was quite interested in King Herod this Christmas season.)

L: Yes, him.  We don't want to be like King Herod and Goliath.  

R: No, Lana.  We want to be like David.  The Bible calls David "a man after God's own heart."  David sinned, but oh how he loved God.  

L: Yeah.  I wanna be like David.





Life with Lana today (3 years, 6 months)
posted on 01/30/2010

Sleeping: Thankfully, bedtime has gotten much easier.  I think part of it was just a “stage,” or whatever you call it when your child inexplicably, temporarily loses their mind.  The other part of it was relatively simple…her sheets were cold.  I bought her a twin size electric blanket and put it on her bed.  When I put her in the bathtub, I turn it on and let it warm up her bed and sheets.  After I tuck her in, I turn it off so I’m not worried about it during the night.  She loves, loves, loves her “cozy” bed and will sometimes ask to go to bed early so she can get in it.  Funny! 

Eating: Just in the past week or so, she has been trying to say she “doesn’t like” things.  I’m guessing she’s probably picking that up from friends at preschool.  We are just handling it like always….”That’s fine.  Try one bite,” and then we don’t push anymore.  I made a major mistake the other night….we had friends over for dinner, and they require that their children eat all of the veggies on their plate.  (They really do just put a couple of bites!)  This is not something we’ve ever required of Lana, but they were having a conversation with their son and asked him to eat all of his, and so I told Lana she needed to eat all of hers.  It turned into a small struggle; she did eat them, and then went on about her business.  However, later I regretted handling it differently than I ordinarily might just because we had company.  It was a reminder to me that every child needs to be parented differently, and I need to parent my child the way she needs, no matter what others are doing.  Because, of course, they are generally parenting their children in the best way for them. 

Talking: I have been so proud of the kindness that Lana has shown around the house this month.  I literally can’t remember spanking her more than once in the past month.  She really has been respectful and obedient.  We are working hard on the “tone” of her words – i.e., not whining.  This is not something she does on purpose; I really just think it’s a sin she struggles with.  When we remind her, she can usually correct her tone.  Obviously she has more trouble with this if she’s tired or hungry.  So do I, if I’m being honest. 

Discipline: My sweet girl…this month has really been a joy.  A few minor things here and there, but overall, she has just been a blessing to us in so many ways.  Discipline this month has been focused more on instructing her how to love God well, and how to love others well.  She’s been asking some questions that lead into great discipleship….”How do we get to heaven?” and “How can I do EVERYTHING the Bible says?  It’s got a lot of words,” and “What if I don’t want to consider my friend first?”  Sometimes as we’re talking and praying through the things she asks, I am reminded that her tender little 3 year old heart is struggling through things that lots of adults are struggling with, too.

Playing: Pretend has reached an all-time high at the Davis farm!  She is, of course, always the mommy – I am usually the daughter, Dan is the big brother, and Tucker is the little bitty baby brother.  The Daddy is at work.  She likes for us all to pretend we are kitties, too.  Her imagination is taking off, although she is always happiest when we are engaged in the pretend play with her.  She still doesn’t do very well pretending on her own.

 





Such a girl!
posted on 01/23/2010

Last night we had our friends the Creswell's over for dinner.  They have 3 boys, ages 6, 4, and 1.  We had a great time...they were so gracious when the dinner I prepared for them was a bust, and were just as happy with the pizza Dan picked up.

The funniest part of the night for me, though, was watching Lana interact with the older boys, Jacob and Isaac.  

Jacob was out in the living room playing, Isaac was in the playroom, and Lana came out from her room to say, "Jacob.  I'm scared and I'm lonely...will you come and play with me back here?"  And off Jacob went!  It was simultaneously funny and shocking - how do girls know to ACT like that, from birth?  How do they know just what to say to appeal to a boy's masculine side?  And isn't it incredible that God just CREATED us that way?  

 





Wiggle worm
posted on 01/23/2010

I was holding Tucker in my lap this morning, and Dan and I were laughing about how he is ALWAYS moving.  His hands, his feet, his arms and legs - they never stop.  Even when he's eating, he's moving.  

Then we remembered our pediatrician saying that the reason they didn't detect his heart murmur in the hospital when he was born is because he moves so much; he said he almost missed it because Tucker just wouldn't stop squirming.

Is it bad that this makes me nervous?  If my 4 month old is this active - wonder what that looks like at 4 years old?





Bye bye, swaddle?!
posted on 01/20/2010

Dan & I realized this afternoon that perhaps one of the reasons Tucker is such an early bird is because he's waking up around 5 or 6 a.m. as a part of his regular sleep cycle, and kicking out of his swaddle.  Because he's always swaddled for sleep, he can't figure out how to put himself back to sleep, so he's just awake.

This obviously means that his swaddle has become a sleep prop. We've got to get rid of it SOMETIME, so we figured that there's no time like the present (especially before Dan goes back to school next week).

Tonight we had dinner with friends, and got home about 7:45.  He fell asleep in the car on the way home, so he was super sleepy when we got inside.  We changed his diaper and laid him in his bed, no swaddle.  Then we held our breaths.

He laid in his bed waving his arms and kicking his legs for a while....he looked like a fish out of water, which is probably kind of how he felt.  Then he started talking to himself, and after about 20 minutes, he fell asleep without so much as a whimper.

He slept for a solid two hours, and woke around 10:30 p.m. crying.  He was obviously going through a sleep cycle, woke up, and couldn't put himself back to sleep.  He cried for exactly 8 minutes, gnawed on his fingers for another minute or so, kicked his head back in typical Tucker sleep-style, and went back to dreamland.  YAY, buddy!

It will probably only really be a problem when it's closer to morning, and he wakes up and thinks he wants to be up for the day.  Nap times tomorrow are probably going to be pretty sketchy.

To be continued....

He woke up around 5:00 this morning, which he does in the swaddle, too.  He cried for about 5 minutes, rolled around, discovered his feet (!!!), played and fussed of and on for about 30 minutes, and then kicked his head back and went back to dream land.

He woke up at 6:30 for the day, which is exactly the same time he's been getting up when he's swaddled.  So not a perfect night, but no worse!

Dan will be at home with him today while Lana and I go to preschool....this is the part that I think may prove to be difficult.

To be continued...

What a wonderful surprise this day turned out to be!!  Lana & I went to preschool this morning, and I felt so bad for leaving Dan for what I thought would be a tough day.  I was SO wrong!

Tucker went down for his first nap at 8:15, and was asleep with minimal fussing by 8:30.  He woke up at 9:45, rolled around talking for a few minutes.  Around 10, he fussed off and on for 5-10 minutes, and then put himself back to sleep around 10:15, and slept for another hour.  HOORAY!

He ate at 11, went back to sleep at 1 (very easily!), and slept until 3.  We almost think he's sleeping better without the swaddle.  It's so funny how parents are usually the ones who are more nervous about transitions....kids are so resilient!

Update 4 days later:

The swaddle is gone forever!  He hasn't looked back for a minute...wowzer!  This kid has NO sleep props.  No pacifier, no swaddle, no "lovey."  We do use the sound machine, but that's more for our benefit.  Amazing.





"Booty neck"
posted on 01/18/2010

Lana's lower back was itchy, and she kept scratching at it.  Here's how our conversation went:

Me: Lana, are you itchy?

Lana: Yes, Mommy!!  I just have to keep scratching it.

Me: Let me put some lotion on it.

Lana: Right here...mommy...it's itchy right here on the neck of my booty!





Tucker's 4 month check up
posted on 01/15/2010

This morning we took Tucker to the pediatrician for his 4 month well baby check.  

He weighs 16 pounds, 12 ounces, which puts him in the 80th percentile for weight.  

He is 27 1/4" tall, which puts him in the 97th percentile for height.  

When Lana was 4 months old, she weighed 17 lbs. 11.5 oz., and was 26 1/2" tall; in the 97th percentile for everything.  

Dr. Dirk said that Tucker is developing perfectly.  He hates tummy time, so I was a little concerned about the development of his head/neck control.  Dr. Dirk reassured me that he's right on track!  

He also said that it's okay that we're still swaddling him; it's not going to hurt his growth/development in any way.  I told him that we might need a doctor's note to turn into our parents about that one!

He encouraged us to go ahead and begin spoon feeding him rice cereal, veggies, and then fruits.  He said that normally it's fine to wait until 6 months, but that solid foods will likely help his reflux not to flare up.

We're so grateful for a healthy, happy baby boy!





Life with Tucker today (4 months old)
posted on 01/14/2010

Sleeping: Since we’ve returned home from traveling, Tucker has seemed to settle back into his routine.  He wakes up between 6 and 6:30 every morning, although he sometimes doesn’t wake us up until 7:00 if we’re lucky.  He can stay up about two hours until he’s ready to go back down for a nap, so if we’re at home, he’s back down by 8:30 for at least 2 hours, sometimes 3.  He takes another long afternoon nap, from 1 or 2 until 4 or 5.  He can’t stay awake very long in the evening before he’s ready to go back down, usually no later than 6.  Ideally, at 6 he would take a short nap and get back up for some wake time, but usually he just sleeps until we wake him up at 8 to bathe and feed him and put him back down.  We’d love for him to sleep from 8 to 8, but we’re not going to complain about 6 to 6.  Obviously he’s a great sleeper at home in his crib – we couldn’t ask for better!  It’s a different story when we’re out and about, though.  He’ll nap for short periods of time in the sling or car or at preschool, but definitely not for extended periods like he does at home.  Both of my kids have been this way – we think it’s partly a personality thing, but partly because we just put them in their beds to sleep, so they sleep best there.  A trade-off, I guess.  The only other sleep “trouble” we have is that he will sometimes get out of his swaddle in the middle of the night.  He tries and tries to go back to sleep without it (I’ve watched him for up to an hour), but his hands startle and he wakes himself up.  As soon as we swaddle him back up, though, he’s off to dream land again.

Eating: Tucker is eating 4 times a day, 7-8 ounces each time he eats.  That’s a lot for a baby his age to eat at one time, but it works for him.  He’s eating at 8, 12, 4, and 8.  His eating has improved so much that we expect that he’ll be discharged from the dysphagia clinic soon.  We recently had a barium swallow study done and learned that he does much better drinking thick liquids because he doesn’t aspirate on them like he does thin ones, so we continue to thicken each bottle with rice cereal.  It still feels funny – I didn’t feed Lana rice cereal on a spoon until she was 6 months+. 

Other happenings:

*He still hates tummy time.  With a passion.

*He is trying so hard to roll over from his back to his belly.

*He’s found his voice, and will spend a minute or two at a time “talking” to us.  He’s also got a great little laugh.

*He has discovered his hands and has them in his mouth almost all of the time.  He doesn’t suck on his fingers (his suck reflex is limited – one of the things we’ve been working on at the dysphagia clinic), but he loves to gnaw on them.

*He is reaching for objects on his play mat and bouncy seat.

*He has big smiles for us in the mornings when we come in to get him – I love that he wakes up happy!

*His favorite song is “Oh, how I love Jesus.”  It calms him like nothing else, especially when Mommy sings it!

*We are still swaddling him at night and during naps because he sleeps so much better that way!  If we unswaddle him or even loosen the swaddle, he just flails his arms around and makes himself mad.

Tucker's schedule today:

6:00 a.m. Wake up and play in crib for up to an hour tyle="font-family: 'comic sans ms';">

8:00   Eat 7-8 ounces

8:30-11:30   Nap

12:00         Eat 7-8 ounces

12:00-1:00  Run errands, play on the floor, read books, etc.

1:30-4:00    Nap

4:00          eat 7-8 ounces

6:00-8:00   Nap  

8:00           bath, eat 7-8 ounces, bed

 





Praying in the dark
posted on 01/13/2010

Dan and I were laying in bed listening to Lana on the monitor, and we heard her saying, “Please help him not to cry.  Please, God.  Please, please.  We love you, God.”

Dan sent me in to find out what she was praying about.

Rachael: "Lana, were you just talking to God?"

Lana: "Yes, ma'am."  (big smile)

R: "What were you talking to God about, baby?"

L: "I was asking him to help us obey and do good things, and to help Tucker not cry when he eats."  

May this be only one of many times that she intercedes for her little brother.

 





Life with Tucker today (5 months old)
posted on 01/10/2010

Sleeping: The good news is that he’s done with being swaddled!  We just went cold-turkey, and he has done so well.  Sometimes he’s even seemed to sleep better without it.  The bad news: about two weeks ago, he got a little stomach virus that wreaked havoc on his little hiney.  So as soon as he made the first peep, we hurried in his room to change his diaper and clean off his cute little booty.  Now that the yuckiness is done, he can’t figure out why we’re not zooming in at the first peep he makes.  : )  He is waking up in the early morning hours, around 4:00, and talks/plays/fusses for as few as ten minutes but up to an hour.  He eventually falls back asleep, but is up for the day at 6:00.  Finally, Dan suggested that we just try to feed him and put him back down – we did that this morning, and he slept until 7:30.  With his last feeding of the night being around 7:00, maybe he just can’t make it 12 hours without eating again.  His naps have been off, too…and we’re thinking maybe it’s because he’s growing and hungry!  We’ll see.  In any event, 6:00 is not a favored wake-up time for Team Davis.  We much prefer 7:00 a.m.                                                                                                                                Eating: We started solid foods!  He loves his veggies, didn’t turn down one of them.  We are now introducing fruits.  He likes them okay so far: bananas were tolerable; applesauce was totally rejected!  I tried just mashing up some of our food, which is my favorite way to make baby food, but the texture is too much for him and makes him gag, so for now we’re using store bought baby food because it has a smoother texture.  (In two weeks, we will begin to see the solid foods therapist to work on this.)  He is still eating about 8 ounces 4 times a day, and 2 or 3 times a day we give him solid foods after his bottle.                                                                                                                                                                                                           Other happenings:                                                                                   *He has learned to roll over from back to front, but can’t quite get himself back over yet.  This makes for interesting nap times!!  We hope he masters this skill soon.                                                                                            *He has ended up asleep on his belly in his crib once or twice; it’s so cute.      *He is very social, and just loves for anyone to talk to him.  Just a few words, and you’re sure to be rewarded with a smile.  He will break his neck looking for his sister if he hears her voice in the room.                              *He still has those fingers in his mouth all the time.  Funny, but he doesn’t put them in his mouth to go to sleep – this is strictly a wake-time thing for him.  I don’t know if he’s teething or what.                                                *His eye hand coordination is impressive.  Although he won’t hold onto objects for long periods at a time, he has no problem reaching out and getting what he wants – including Mommy and Big Sister’s hair!                  *He is not a big fan of the Bumbo or exersaucer, much preferring to be on the floor.  I’m guessing this is because he’s working hard to master rolling and just wants to practice.                                                                                                                                                                                          Tucker's schedule today:

6:00 a.m. Woke up fussing, not happy at all.  Ate 8 ounces, went right back to sleep.

7:30   Woke up happy and cooing, playing with his feet

9:00   Ate 4 ounces; too tired to eat

9:30-11:30   Nap

12:00         Ate 8 ounces and an entire container of solid foods

12:00-1:00  Played on his mat, rolled around, sat unhappily in his exersaucer

1:30-3:30    Nap

4:00          Eat 7-8 ounces and solids

6:00-6:45   Nap  

8:00           Bath, eat 7-8 ounces, bed





Good news about Lana's appointment at Duke!
posted on 01/04/2010

I took Lana to Duke this morning at 8:00 a.m. to have an ultrasound and VCUG done to figure out the cause of her recurring UTI's.  I have avoided this VCUG for as long as possible, because it's pretty invasive, but the doctors insisted that it's time to figure out what's going on.

I struggled with quite a bit of anxiety the night before this test - so thankful for Facebook in moments like that.  Dan was at work, the kids were in bed, and I was just before the Lord with my anxiousness. I checked e-mail, and updated my facebook status to ask for prayer to calm my heart.  Within minutes, there were close to 20 people from all over the country praying.  Boy, did I feel it.  A friend graciously encouraged me to pray for the nurse who would catherize Lana - she said that nurse makes all the difference.  So I prayed for her last night and this morning, prayed for her to rest well, for Lana to find favor with her, for her to be excited to be at work, etc.

My only tearful moment today happened on the way to Duke.  I was obviously taking Lana by myself while Tucker stayed at home with Dan.  We contemplated all going, but just didn't want to risk exposing Tucker to anything at Duke.  So as I made that long drive alone, I really missed my mother-in-law.  She worked in the medical field for years, and I was just so sad that we aren't close enough for her to go with us to appointments like this.  

It was a miracle that we got to Duke on time and in the right place - it's a big place!  Everyone is so helpful, though.  The ultrasound was easy greasy - she thought it was funny that she got to take pictures of her belly like Mommy did with Tucker.  Then we went a few doors down for the VCUG.  

Get how good God is: we walked in the door, and the nurse immediately reaches out and puts her hand on my arm and says, "Mom, I've been doing this since before you were born.  We're going to be okay."  And then she kneels down on Lana's level and very matter of factly says, "Sweetie, I prayed for you this morning, that this test would go well and quickly, and that you would be brave.  So let's do it!"  Big tears rolled down my face - such a sweet reassurance from the Lord.

We had to change Lana out of her clothes into a hospital gown, and put her on an x-ray table.  The nurse put on a Dora video for Lana (major treat = major distraction!), and got to work.  Essentially, the procedure involves putting in a catheter, filling her bladder with dye, and taking pictures as her bladder fills up and empties to see if her urine is refluxing back into her kidneys.

The nurse was so skilled at putting in the catheter - it was very quick.  Lana was very uncomfortable, crying and begging me to make her stop.  But my brave girl held very still so that we could get it done....I was so relieved that I didn't have to hold her down.

The radiologist and her intern were wonderful, just had a great bedside manner.  

The worst part was at the end when she had to empty her bladder on the table...she begged us to let her pee pee in the potty.  However, they have to watch her bladder empty, so she had to pee there.  It took quite a while and many tears for her to do that, but she finally did.  

And the best part: no reflux!!  

We met with the urologist afterward, and even though we are all relieved it's not reflux, it's puzzling that she has recurring UTI's at her age.  At this point, our strategy is to wait and see.  If she gets up to 1 bladder infection per year, we'll just treat them.  If she gets more than one a year, we will have to go back to the urologist for further discussion.

Thank you so much for praying for our sweet girl - this is great news!

 





Prayer for my children in 2010
posted on 01/02/2010

I want to be diligent to pray for my children.  Not just in an in-the-moment way, although certainly there is value in "praying without ceasing."  But I don't want to pray only in the moment...."Dear God, please help me discipline my child well right now," "Lord, let them see the lesson here in loving our neighbor well," or "Father, please heal my sweet boy's tummy."

Those are valuable, life-giving prayers; but I also want to pray globally for my children, with an eye toward the future and the disciples of Christ that they will become, with a focus being for God's glory and their good.

In the past 6 months, I've posted Scripture all over my house as constant reminders to me to pray for my children...that they would be clothed in humility; that when the time is right, they will go; that they will not be unequally yoked in marriage; that they will act justly and love mercy, and walk humbly with their God; etc.  

For the past month, I've asked the Lord to give me a Word to pray over them for the entire year - something that He would see developed in their hearts.

This year, my prayer for Lana will be that she gains a Biblical view of herself: fearfully and wonderfully created in His image, and a sinner in need of his mercy and grace.  (Psalm 139:14, Genesis 1:27, Romans 3:23)

My prayer for Tucker will be that he is given knowledge and discretion, that he fears the Lord rightly, loving knowledge and discipline, that he would not be foolish and despise instruction.  (Proverbs 1:4&7)





Dysphagia example
posted on 01/02/2010

Tonight's feeding was a perfect example of Tucker's dysphagia (swallowing disorder)...the modified barium swallow study shed so much light on it, and tonight when he struggled, I knew why and thankfully had some idea of what to do to help him.  

He was very hungry when I finally got Lana settled in bed and sat down to feed him.  He does much better when he's REALLY hungry - he's motivated.  The pitfall that we have to avoid is that when feeding is difficult for him (and it's not always, but when it is...), he would prefer to eat just enough to take the "edge" off, leaving us with a snacking schedule as opposed to a feeding schedule.

So I sat down to feed him, and immediately saw that he was not taking the bottle nipple fully in his mouth.  I didn't know this until I saw the video of the swallow study, and the radiologist pointed out the huge pocket of air in the back of his mouth.  This is why he never latched on correctly while nursing, and part of why eating from a bottle is difficult sometimes - he's doing his darnedest to keep that nipple off the back of his tongue.  

There's nothing to do at this point about him not taking in the whole nipple - Joan, Tucker's dysphagia therapist and owner of the clinic, says that we'll begin working on that next week.  I can't wait to see how she can help us adjust that!  

This problem is only compounded for Tucker by the fact that he has an "underdeveloped, almost nonexistent" sucking reflex.  Most babies have a strong suck need, which is why they love pacifiers, and will suck on your finger if you put it in their mouth.  Not T.  One of the therapists was shocked when she put her finger in his mouth and he didn't suck at all.  She had me wash my hands and try, and he didn't suck.  This didn't surprise me at all, but she was definitely surprised.

Back to tonight: Within the first ounce, I noticed the tell-tale symptoms of a difficult feeding: milk was leaking and he was taking big gasping sucks.

I remember at Abby Lyon's birthday party when Tucker was so itty bitty, probably not a month old, I was putting a bib on him to give him a bottle and Hollie said, "You're having to use a bib already??"  At the time, I didn't think much of it, but now I know (because Joan told me!) that when milk is leaking out, there's something wrong.  It shouldn't happen when he is latched on and feeding correctly.  Well, back then, he was a TOTAL MESS and we would often have to change his clothes after feeding.  Oh, I wish I knew then what I know now!

The big gasps he takes during eating were explained during the swallow study: at the very basic level, when his milk is too thin, he aspirates on it.  Not totally, but not slightly.  Enough so that he feels like he is drowning.  Joan explained it to us like this: if your hands were dirty, and someone was giving you a drink of water out of a glass, no matter how careful they are, when they tip that glass up, you feel like you have to drink fast and probably will get choked up.  If Tucker's milk is not thick enough, he feels like he's drowning and then OF COURSE gasps while you're trying to feed him.

This is why adding rice cereal to his formula has helped.  Our pediatrician originally recommended that we do it because of his reflux, but it is clearly easier for him to consume thick liquids.  

So tonight when I saw the milk squirting and saw the nostrils flaring, I knew that I hadn't put enough rice cereal in his bottle.  I added another scoop and voila: a perfect feeding!!  

I can't wait to see what Joan will teach us next week.





Life with Lana today (3 years, 5 months)
posted on 12/30/2009

Sleeping: Oh, the bedtime battles.  Lots of tears and hugs and spankings…it’s just endless, especially on the weekends when Dan is working.  I’ve tried putting her to bed earlier, not wanting her to be overtired.  I’ve tried putting her to bed later, not wanting her to be wide awake.  None of it works.  We are doing lots of praying for discernment during these times….sometimes it is a battle of her will, and sometimes it’s a genuine need for some more closeness.  We want to be sure to handle each instance the best way we can, and it just seems like we have to take it on a case by case basis, while trying to be as consistent as we can. 

Eating: When we had Tucker, we were so fortunate that friends brought us meals forever…literally every other day for 2 months!  It was a blessing in the most profound way possible – just a beautiful expression of the Body of Christ doing what it does best.  Most of those meals came complete with a scrumptious dessert – much to the delight of my husband and daughter!  I rarely make “dessert,” instead serving fruit or applesauce for something sweet.  Well, my lovely friends spoiled my family rotten, and now Lana thinks that we are SUPPOSED to have dessert after every meal.  She’ll eat a little and then ask “How much do I have to eat before I can get some cake?”  She’s still shocked when I tell her there IS no cake!

Talking: All.  The.  Time.  That’s really all I can say about that.  She wants to talk to us, listen to us tell her a story, sing to and/or with us, talk to her babies, ask about what’s going on….it’s endless and precious and sometimes tiring.  When we’re riding in the car and Dan & I are talking, it’s very common for her to pipe up from the backseat during a break in the conversation: “What are you guys talking about?”  Her little ears are always listening!

Discipline: Those crazy temper tantrums we were seeing last month have become increasingly more rare, although they’ll still rear their ugly head at bedtime sometimes.  We have been encouraging her with Deuteronomy 5:16 (the first commandment with a promise): “Honor your father and mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, that you may live long and that it may go well with you.”  We are pointing out to her the correlation between how her life goes well when she obeys vs. the pain and suffering she experiences when she disobeys.  We are teaching her that the reason we must be careful to teach her to obey us is because we want her to obey God well. 

Playing: Oh Christmas time!!  Between the gifts from her grandparents and aunts and uncles, and the gifts we were able to give her through the generosity of Bay Leaf Baptist Church, Lana is having a blast playing with her new toys!!  Her favorites by far are her digital camera, her pop-up princess castle, her sand table (filled with gravel – I hate sand), and her indoor trampoline.  These are all wonderful things to get us through this remaining cold months!

 





Life with Lana today (3 years, 6 months)
posted on 12/30/2009

Sleeping: Thankfully, bedtime has gotten much easier.  I think part of it was just a “stage,” or whatever you call it when your child inexplicably, temporarily loses their mind.  The other part of it was relatively simple…her sheets were cold.  I bought her a twin size electric blanket and put it on her bed.  When I put her in the bathtub, I turn it on and let it warm up her bed and sheets.  After I tuck her in, I turn it off so I’m not worried about it during the night.  She loves, loves, loves her “cozy” bed and will sometimes ask to go to bed early so she can get in it.  Funny!

Eating: Just in the past week or so, she has been trying to say she “doesn’t like” things.  I’m guessing she’s probably picking that up from friends at preschool.  We are just handling it like always….”That’s fine.  Try one bite,” and then we don’t push anymore.  I made a major mistake the other night….we had friends over for dinner, and they require that their children eat all of the veggies on their plate.  (They really do just put a couple of bites!)  This is not something we’ve ever required of Lana, but they were having a conversation with their son and asked him to eat all of his, and so I told Lana she needed to eat all of hers.  It turned into a small struggle; she did eat them, and then went on about her business.  However, later I regretted handling it differently than I ordinarily might just because we had company.  It was a reminder to me that every child needs to be parented differently, and I need to parent my child the way she needs, no matter what others are doing.  Because, of course, they are generally parenting their children in the best way for them.

Talking: I have been so proud of the kindness that Lana has shown around the house this month.  I literally can’t remember spanking her more than once in the past month.  She really has been respectful and obedient.  We are working hard on the “tone” of her words – i.e., not whining.  This is not something she does on purpose; I really just think it’s a sin she struggles with.  When we remind her, she can usually correct her tone.  Obviously she has more trouble with this if she’s tired or hungry.  So do I, if I’m being honest.

Discipline: My sweet girl…this month has really been a joy.  A few minor things here and there, but overall, she has just been a blessing to us in so many ways.  Discipline this month has been focused more on instructing her how to love God well, and how to love others well.  She’s been asking some questions that lead into great discipleship….”How do we get to heaven?” and “How can I do EVERYTHING the Bible says?  It’s got a lot of words,” and “What if I don’t want to consider my friend first?”  Sometimes as we’re talking and praying through the things she asks, I am reminded that her tender little 3 year old heart is struggling through things that lots of adults are struggling with, too.

Playing: Pretend has reached an all-time high at the Davis farm!  She is, of course, always the mommy – I am usually the daughter, Dan is the big brother, and Tucker is the little bitty baby brother.  The Daddy is at work.  She likes for us all to pretend we are kitties, too.  Her imagination is taking off, although she is always happiest when we are engaged in the pretend play with her.  She still doesn’t do very well pretending on her own.





Life with Lana today (3 years, 6 months)
posted on 12/30/2009

Sleeping: Thankfully, bedtime has gotten much easier.  I think part of it was just a “stage,” or whatever you call it when your child inexplicably, temporarily loses their mind.  The other part of it was relatively simple…her sheets were cold.  I bought her a twin size electric blanket and put it on her bed.  When I put her in the bathtub, I turn it on and let it warm up her bed and sheets.  After I tuck her in, I turn it off so I’m not worried about it during the night.  She loves, loves, loves her “cozy” bed and will sometimes ask to go to bed early so she can get in it.  Funny!

Eating: Just in the past week or so, she has been trying to say she “doesn’t like” things.  I’m guessing she’s probably picking that up from friends at preschool.  We are just handling it like always….”That’s fine.  Try one bite,” and then we don’t push anymore.  I made a major mistake the other night….we had friends over for dinner, and they require that their children eat all of the veggies on their plate.  (They really do just put a couple of bites!)  This is not something we’ve ever required of Lana, but they were having a conversation with their son and asked him to eat all of his, and so I told Lana she needed to eat all of hers.  It turned into a small struggle; she did eat them, and then went on about her business.  However, later I regretted handling it differently than I ordinarily might just because we had company.  It was a reminder to me that every child needs to be parented differently, and I need to parent my child the way she needs, no matter what others are doing.  Because, of course, they are generally parenting their children in the best way for them.

Talking: I have been so proud of the kindness that Lana has shown around the house this month.  I literally can’t remember spanking her more than once in the past month.  She really has been respectful and obedient.  We are working hard on the “tone” of her words – i.e., not whining.  This is not something she does on purpose; I really just think it’s a sin she struggles with.  When we remind her, she can usually correct her tone.  Obviously she has more trouble with this if she’s tired or hungry.  So do I, if I’m being honest.

Discipline: My sweet girl…this month has really been a joy.  A few minor things here and there, but overall, she has just been a blessing to us in so many ways.  Discipline this month has been focused more on instructing her how to love God well, and how to love others well.  She’s been asking some questions that lead into great discipleship….”How do we get to heaven?” and “How can I do EVERYTHING the Bible says?  It’s got a lot of words,” and “What if I don’t want to consider my friend first?”  Sometimes as we’re talking and praying through the things she asks, I am reminded that her tender little 3 year old heart is struggling through things that lots of adults are struggling with, too.

Playing: Pretend has reached an all-time high at the Davis farm!  She is, of course, always the mommy – I am usually the daughter, Dan is the big brother, and Tucker is the little bitty baby brother.  The Daddy is at work.  She likes for us all to pretend we are kitties, too.  Her imagination is taking off, although she is always happiest when we are engaged in the pretend play with her.  She still doesn’t do very well pretending on her own.

 





Tucker's second visit to the dysphagia clinic
posted on 12/14/2009

This morning I took Tucker back to see Joan at the dysphagia clinic for the second time.  As soon as we walked in the door, the receptionist said, "Good morning, Tucker!"  I love that they pay such close attention to each patient.

Joan is the therapist we see, and the owner of the clinic.  She truly is wonderful.

This morning she did some tongue therapy, noting some improvement.  That was encouraging - we'll keep on working.  The goal is for him to allow us to depress his tongue with our finger instead of pulling it up high and back.

She watched him eat again, and within just a few minutes told me that she thinks his issue is primarily respiratory, as opposed to gastrointestinal.  She definitely hears his reflux, but his breathing patterns are the major problem she sees.  It's as if he can't eat and breathe at the same time...within a couple of sucks, his nostrils flare and he begins gasping for breath.  Essentially, he feels like he's drowning while he eats - no wonder it's been so tough for him! 

She showed me how to "pace" him while he's eating, which involves tilting the bottle so the milk is out of his mouth, but not taking the bottle away, giving him a chance to catch his breath.  She showed me how to read the smallest cues that he gives...incredible.  She reminded me that Tucker is not the kind of baby that will let me watch tv or have a conversation while I feed him - right now, he's going to require my entire attention.  She also told me that for the time being, no one needs to feed him besides me and Dan (once he learns the new techniques).  

Because this is a respiratory issue, she said that she'll give him a couple of months for this to resolve, but if it doesn't, then she will send us back to the cardiologist to make sure nothing is going on.  

I'm so thankful that Dr. Dirk had the insight to send us to Joan at CPD - she really is a gift! 





Life with Tucker today (3 months old)
posted on 12/10/2009

Eating: We’ve had quite a bit of difficulty with Tucker eating, although thankfully it hasn’t affected his growth any!!  We have been seeing a therapist at Carolina Pediatric Dysphagia, and are seeing some slow progress.  Joan (therapist/owner) believes that his eating issue is respiratory – you can see when he eats that his sucking/swallowing pattern is arrhythmic.  She has given us some techniques to work on, and we go back at the end of the month for a barium swallow study.  The best news of all, though, is that just last night Tucker ate at 7:00 p.m. and went to bed, and didn’t wake up to eat again until the next morning at 7:00!!!!  Hallelujah!  He’s been eating on a 3-3.5 hour schedule, but we’re going to try to stretch him out to 4 in the hopes that feeding him will be easier if he’s hungrier.

Wake time:  Such a happy boy we have…when he is awake, he’s content to just look at you, although he often will let out a squeal to get your attention.  He loves to be talked to, and is very verbal for his age, making lots of squeaks and grunts.  He’s generous with his smiles, too!  He still can’t stay awake for much longer than an hour, although I think he’s transitioning to staying awake longer these days.

Sleeping: Oh, how exciting that night of uninterrupted sleep was for us!!  We hope that pattern continues, although we are leaving in 5 days for almost 2 weeks of travel, so we’re not counting on it.  We’re still swaddling, simply because he sleeps longer that way.  He has begun waking up happy in the morning, smiling and cooing in his bed until we come get him.  I LOVE that!

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Tucker started going to preschool with me, and he is doing really well!!  His teachers are so precious…just really invested in caring for him well.  They try really hard to keep his routine stable, while doing whatever he takes for him to have a happy day.  Best of all, they are honest with me about how his day was – I need that!!  He sleeps in the swing there, which is fine with me.  Eating is a disaster at preschool – he just screams and screams.  Hopefully we’ll make some progress with the dysphagia therapy, and he’ll be better after the new year.

 





Day of specialists with Tucker and Lana
posted on 12/10/2009

I told my friend Mary Katherine yesterday that I have two healthy kids, and am just so tired of taking my healthy babies to see doctors.  She was so kind to remind me that I'm taking my kids to these doctors to KEEP them healthy.  I am so grateful that we live in an area where we have access to wonderful health care.

We started yesterday morning with an appointment for Tucker at Carolina Pediatric Dysphagia at 8:00 a.m.  Thankfully, my friend Allison agreed to keep Lana for us and take her to preschool so that Dan & I could both be with Tucker.  We saw a therapist named Joan...what a wonderful, calming woman.  She watched several videos we had taken of Tucker eating (or trying to!), checked the structure of his mouth, and observed him eating.  

She immediately noted his severe silent reflux, and pointed out to us several times that we could actually hear him refluxing.  She suggested trying a different med...one that is time released, and giving him infant probiotics to help heal his GI tract. 

Another major problem she noted was his tongue placement.  Here's how she explained it to us: most babies curl their tongue around an object placed in their mouth, whether it be a finger, a bottle, a toy, etc.  Tucker, however, has a tongue aversion, and pulls his tongue back and up.  When he's eating, this means he is compressing the bottle nipple, but not actually sucking.  He's essentially "squishing" the milk out and drinking it instead of sucking it out.  (No wonder we had latching on problems when nursing!)  At this point, this is not a major problem because even though it makes feeding frustrating for all of us, he is still intaking the right amount of nutrition and he’s obviously thriving.  However, she said that if we don’t teach him to get used to having things on his tongue, spoon feeding will be a nightmare!  Her recommendation was for us to put our clean finger in his mouth several times a day and just rub back and forth across his tongue. 

 

The last thing she pointed out to us (and the one I’m most concerned about) is that he strongly prefers to turn his head toward his left, so much so that his head is becoming a bit flat on that side.  This was probably a preference he developed in the womb – that sometimes happens when big babies are tucked inside mama for 42 weeks!  This prolonged turning of his head could possibly mean that the muscles in his right shoulder are lengthening, and the ones in his left are shortening, and when he tries to eat, it causes his discomfort.  That, combined with the pain of reflux, is what makes eating a disaster for him.  She gave us some PT suggestions to use to gently stretch his head toward the right.  This morning we discovered the most effective way to encourage him to do that – we turned on cartoons and put them on his right side…you should have seen him turn his head!

 

We are going back to see Joan again on Monday morning. 

 

After leaving Tucker’s appointment at 9:30, I went straight to work and worked until noon, when I picked Lana up from her classroom and took her to her pediatric urologist appointment at Duke.

 

Here are some of the concerns we’re having with Lana: after her third and latest UTI (around Thanksgiving), she has been really struggling with some potty issues.  She will occasionally wet her panties…not a full fledged accident, but almost as if she can’t make it to the bathroom in time.  She sometimes has a period of time where she potties in “clusters,” going to the bathroom as many as 5-7 times in 15 minutes, almost as if she’s not completely emptying her bladder.  At first, I thought this was a ploy to get out of bedtime, but now it is happening even when she is engaged in something she wants to do.  The other day it happened while she was playing with her dollhouse, and she was in tears over it.  We have been dropping off frequent urine samples, so we know she doesn’t have an infection. 

 

Thankfully, the pedi urologist at Duke had a cancellation and we were able to get in today.  She talked with Lana & I about what has been going on, tested Lana’s bladder to see if was emptying, and talked with me about some options for treatment.  One of the immediate things we are going to do is a total body clean out…and yes, that’s exactly what it sounds like.  Sometimes bladder problems are related to bowel problems, and that’s a possibility in Lana’s case.  On a scale of 1 to 7, with 1 being extremely constipated and 7 being not constipated at all, Lana is a 1.5.  We’re going to do the clean out, and the maintain her bowel health with daily Miralax.  We are going to Duke on January 4th for a kidney ultrasound and a VCUG to test for reflux in her kidneys, and then we’ll meet with the urologist again and go from there.





More on Tucker's eating difficulties
posted on 12/07/2009

Tucker is so happy.  Truly, if he is awake, he is smiling, cooing, and giggling at whoever is around.  He finds totally happiness in watching us go about our day or looking at his mobile.  He is really just a happy baby.

Until it's time to eat.  And then he becomes a 

back arching

screaming

crying

hands flailing

terror.

We've tried everything.  Reflux medication.  Different bottles.  Mylanta.  Rice cereal in the bottle.  No rice cereal in the bottle.  Swaddling him while he eats.  Walking him while he eats.  Praying out loud while he eats.  No joke.  

Nothing works.  We posted a short video of a mild example of what feeding him is like.

Someone suggested trying a chiropractor.  We're generally pretty mainstream medicine people, but we're desperate, and willing to try almost anything.  The pediatrician is NOT willing to try that, however, and has thus far refused to give us a referral.  We're still working on that.

He did, however, give us a referral to Carolina Pediatric Dysphagia.  They treat children with swallowing/eating disorders.  

When he suggested it, I almost laughed at him.  I couldn't imagine how swallowing would be Tucker's issue...he's gaining weight just fine, and he does eventually swallow.  So I did some research, and he meets nearly all the criteria: crying/fussing during or after feeds, gagging/coughing during feeds, hiccupping during feeds, seeming desire to eat and then refuses, requiring distractions in order to eat (patting and rocking, in his case), arching, etc. 

So I called their office, described what Tucker was doing, and they said, "That's exactly the kind of child we treat!  Merry Christmas, mama, we're gonna help your boy eat!"  

We have an appointment on Thursday, December 10 at 8:00 a.m.  I'll be very interested to hear what they have to say.





The most important guy here
posted on 12/06/2009

We believe in having "touchable" nativities in our house.  One day, maybe when we're out of seminary, I want to have a Willow Tree nativity.  The whole, $300, gorgeous thing.  That will NOT be touchable.  But, as I was reminded while reading a blog I follow (www.allthingshendrick.blogspot.com), Emmanuel means "God with us."  So we have several nativities that I put out for Lana to play with, and she has already spent HOURS with them.  

Tonight I was folding laundry and listening as Lana pulled around her nativity characters in a wagon:

"OK, angel, scoot over and make room for the donkey. Shepherd, please quit falling over. No, baby Jesus can't go in the back!! He's the most important guy here!!"  

Yes, baby girl.  He is!

Baby Jesus and others getting a ride in the Hope Depot wagon...love this!<br />Emmanuel = "God with us."

 





Sticky and good
posted on 11/30/2009

Today we stopped by Palsie's to get some popcorn for me to take to our staff Christmas party.  Lana got to pick 3 pieces of candy, and as usual, she picked taffy.  She was eating in the kitchen after naptime....

Lana: Mommy, this candy is SO sticky and good.

Me: Lana, YOU are so sticky and good.

Lana: I'm not sticky, but I sure am good!  





Life with Lana today (3 years, 4 months)
posted on 11/29/2009

Sleeping: OK, so just as soon as we taught Lana that she could only call us from her bed at night for “potty, throw up, or blood,” suddenly she has to go potty 25 times before going to sleep.  Hmm.  The trouble is, we’re waiting on an appointment with a pediatric urologist, so it really could be a manifestation of a physical problem.  Maybe her bladder isn’t completely emptying or something similar.  Ugh.  So we can’t give her a limit on how many times she goes potty.  My wise, wise husband finally came up with the solution.  We close the hall door so that she can’t see out in the living room and told her to go potty whenever she needs to.  She usually gets up 2-3 times to go, but she doesn’t call us at all. Speaking of sleep, here’s the funny part about having two: if one sleeps through the night, the other doesn’t.  It’s just true.  Our sweet Lana girl has started waking up in the night, crying her little heart out saying, “I just want you, Mommy!”  No one besides Mommy will do in the middle of the night.  When I am bone-weary and just want to scream when she wakes me up, I remind myself that there is soon coming a day when she might NOT want Mommy to come to her rescue.  So I get up, and go in, and soak up those little arms wrapped tightly around my neck. 

Eating: Lana’s teachers at preschool made a book with a page for each student.  It has that child’s picture, and their answers to some fun questions.  The book comes home with a different student each week, letting the parents learn about their child’s friends.  Lana’s page says that her favorite food is broccoli – love that!  I’m so grateful that she’s a good eater.  In general, she refuses anything to drink except water or milk.  She does like a good dessert, though!  J

Talking: She’s been trying out difference voices the past month.  Mostly it’s cute; sometimes I just remind her to “talk like Lana.”  It’s so interesting to watch her develop her own idea of who she is, and what she wants to sound like.  She’s doing lots of role playing, too, with her dolls in her dollhouse.  She is so enjoying talking to Tucker...she loves to sing to him, read him books, tell him about what's going on.  She is such a good big sister!

One of my favorite things that she does right now is mix up awake and asleep words.  She’ll say that Tucker is “wide asleep” or that he’s “falling awake.”  Oh, and here’s a not so cute conversation we had this afternoon after she dropped her bubble wand in the dirt:

Lana: “Dang!”

Rachael: “Lana!  That is not a wise thing to say.  Where did you hear that?”

Lana: “You guys, Mommy.  You and Daddy say that.”

Discipline: Wowzer.  This month has ushered in the “Terrible Three’s” for sure at our house.  This has totally, completely come in the form of pitching fits.  And when I say pitching fits, I mean all-out holy-moly tantrums, with lots of screaming and kicking and saying “Don’t you touch me!” and running away from us.  Unless you’ve been unfortunate enough to witness one of these doozies, I cannot even begin to describe to you how bad they’ve been.  This has been so sad for me, and I’ve done more than my share of wallowing in sadness and guilt.  “What happened to my little girl?”  “What have I done wrong?”  “How have I let this happen?”  Thankfully, Dan has been consistently encouraging and dedicated to getting this behavior under control.  At my women’s accountability meeting, I poured out my heart to my friends, weeping, sharing with them what was going on with my sweet girl.  They so encouraged my heart, reassuring me that it is a phase, that I had to expect Lana to act out in some form or fashion.  She has shown no jealousy toward Tucker himself; instead, it's coming out against us.  Another friend reminded me that no matter how big of an adjustment this was for me, it was an even bigger adjustment for Lana. 

So I’ve taken a deep breath, and sunk my teeth into James 1:20: “Man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.”  Getting frustrated and angry with Lana when she is acting out does not produce any good fruit in her.

Dan and I sat down and came up with 2 major things that we need to be committed to when disciplining Lana: (1) We will be calm and gentle at all times, and (2) We will be very, very, very consistent.  We are already seeing some results – she has not had a major tantrum in the past week.  It may not sound like much, but boy is it an improvement! 

Playing: My sweet girl has found a new love: pennies.  She could play with them all day long.  She has a purse full of them, and she just loves to take them out, put them in buckets and cups, rearrange them, stack them up, put them in her piggy bank, take them out….the games are endless for her.  She has not idea the real value of them…as a matter of fact, I found her throwing the dollar bills from her piggy bank into the trash because she said, “Paper is not money!”  (I guess she usually sees us using our check card!)





Life with Tucker today (2 months old)
posted on 11/10/2009

Eat: Tucker is now eating about 6 ounces of formula 5 times a day.  We’ve been putting cereal in his bottle to keep him from eating more than that.  It seems to be constipating him some – we’ll talk to Dr. Dirk about that when we take him for his 2 month check-up later this week.  He’s a bit of a fussy eater.  He wants to be sitting a certain way, and he’s very distractible.  The reflux medication has helped with his spitting up.  We forgot to take them with us when we were in the mountains on vacation, and he was miserable.  We won’t make that mistake again! 

Wake:  Tucker’s wake times are becoming longer, and he is definitely more alert.  He is happiest in the morning, and sometimes can’t eat because he just can’t stop smiling and cooing at us.  His little smiles go from ear to ear – they melt our heart.  He likes his Baby Einstein mat, and hates tummy time.  He enjoys his swing, but will quickly drift off to sleep in it.  He loves the mobile in his crib and on his changing table.  He also likes to look at the big painting on one of the walls in our living room.  He’s really a very happy baby unless he’s hungry or tired. 

Sleep: This is, by far, the hardest part for me of having a newbie.  I just like to sleep.  Uninterrupted.  For long stretches of time.  I’m nicer that way.  That being said, I can’t complain one bit about how Tucker sleeps.  At two months old, he’s already sleeping through the night. 

No matter what time we feed him last (8 p.m. or 10 p.m.) he is sleeping through his middle of the night feeding, waking up around 4:30 and fussing for 3 or 4 minutes, going back to sleep by himself, and waking up between 5:30 and 6:00 to eat. 

He doesn’t love to nap during the morning hours – he will rarely sleep for more than 45 minutes at a time.  But in the afternoon, he will sleep for hours on end.  This morning, for example, he only napped about 30 minutes between his 7 a.m. feeding and his 10 a.m. feeding.  Phew.  I gave up on him sleeping, fed him about 9:30, and then went to the park and ran errands until his 1:00 feeding.  However, this afternoon after his 1 p.m. feeding, he slept from about 2:30 to 5:00, and only woke up because I was putting his laundry away in his room.  

We read that around 8 weeks, newborns start losing the “need” to be swaddled and it starts becoming a sleep prop, and that we should start weaning him off of the swaddle.  So last night, I swaddled him loosely to see what he would do.  He woke up at 2 a.m. and couldn’t go back to sleep because just as he would drift off, his arm would jerk and he would hit himself in the face.  Forget about it.  I went in there and swaddled that little dude back up like a burrito, and he went right back to sleep.  I’ll swaddle him until he goes to college if it means we can all sleep through the night.  

So, depending on how early he wakes up, his schedule looks something like this right now:

6:30 or 7:00 Wake up and eat

7:30-8:00 Playtime

8:30-10:00 Naptime (supposedly. see above.)

10:00 Wake up and eat

10:30-11:30 Playtime, run errands, etc.

11:30-1:00 Nap

1:30-2:30 Playtime

2:30-4:00 or 5:00, depending on when he wakes Eat, then some playtime, then some more sleep until he wakes for his last bottle of the night.   Then we bathe, eat, rock and sing, swaddle, and down for the night by 8:00 or 9:00.

 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Tucker will begin going with Lana & Mommy to preschool next week on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  It will be the first time anyone has kept him besides Mommy & Daddy & Nana.  

Mommy and her little rascal enjoyed the beautiful weather while big sis was napping today.

 





Aplasia cutis congenita
posted on 11/06/2009

Tucker had his appointment at Duke Dermatology this week for the doctors there to look at the abrasion on the back of his head.  

Basically, when he was born, he had a wound on the back of his head about the size of a dime.  It looked just like a wound that would have been caused by nodes put on his head to monitor him during delivery, except those nodes were never put on.

It scabbed over, and the scab came off, but then it again took on the look of a wound: red and peeling around the edges.

When it had not gone away by the time he was a month old, Tucker's pediatrician wanted to be sure that it was nothing wrong, so he referred us to Duke.  

The dermatology team there looked at the spot and diagnosed it as "Aplasia cutis congenita."  Wikipedia defines this as "a congenital focal absence of epidermis with or without evidence of other layers of the skin."

The Dermatology Online Journal defines this as "a rare anomaly presenting with absence of skin. The most common site is the scalp. No definite etiology is available. Heredity is proposed with not much evidence."

That whole heredity part at the end is kind of crazy to us, because Dan's younger sister Mackenzie has a spot that looks just like Tucker's in exactly the same spot on her scalp.  Wild, huh?  Sounds like evidence for heredity to me.  

Anyway, everything is fine.  He's just weird like his Aunt Kenzie.  I hope he gets her sense of humor and good looks, too.





Today's prayer
posted on 11/04/2009

People ask quite frequently how Lana is adjusting to Tucker's arrival.  

This prayer she prayed before breakfast is a perfect example of her heart toward her baby brother:

Dear God, thank you for this awesome day and thank you for our English muffins.  They are so good.  Thank you for Tucker waking up, God, cause I love him so much.  God, you are such an awesome God!  And thank you for sending my brother out of my mommy’s tummy.  Amen.





Great is Thy Faithfulness
posted on 11/02/2009

I just left Tucker's room after feeding, rocking, and laying him down to sleep.  I still have that sweet baby smell on my hands.

It's been a really tough weekend....so much so, that I texted my sister-in-law tonight and told her that I didn't think I was cut out for this.  (This being motherhood.)  She so kindly pointed out that it's a little too late for THAT revelation.

But that was just my feeling at the end of this awful, tear-filled, homesick, lonely, hate-the-cold-weather weekend.  

So as I rocked my baby boy tonight, I confessed all my failures and shortcomings to my Father.  Tears rolled down my face as I, once again, admitted to Him that I am desperate, weak, poor in spirit, and in need of rescue.  I nearly sobbed as I asked for forgiveness for all the myriad of ways that I wronged my husband and my children over the past 3 days.

As I watched Tucker's eyes slowly close, I felt the Holy Spirit, my Comforter, come sit with me.  And  the words of that old hymn came flooding over me, so much so that I had to sing them out loud.

Great is Thy Faithfulness, O God my Father,

There is no shadow of turning with Thee

Thou faintest not, Thy compassions they fail not

As thou hast been, Thou forever wilt be.

Great is Thy faithfulness

Great is Thy faithfulness

Morning by morning, new mercies I see

All I have needed, Thy hand has provided

Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me.





Favorite books of the moment
posted on 11/02/2009

Every week or so, Lana & I go to the library so we can pick out books.  We take this tote

 This is how we transport our library books.  We take it with us to the library, and when its full, thats all the books we can choose!

to the library, fill it up, and then read them over and over until I can't bear it anymore and take her back to the library to replace them.  I'm going to try to jot down some of her very favorites from time to time so I can remember...you know, the ones that she asks to read over and over, and begs not to have to return to the library.

 

Farmer Dale's Red Pick-up Truck by Lisa Wheeler

Chicken Little by Rebecca Emberly

The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear by Don & Audrey Wood





Life with Lana today (3 years, 3 months)
posted on 10/31/2009

Sleeping: It is so bizarre, but always true, that the later we put Lana to bed, the earlier she wakes up.  So, since it’s been getting dark earlier, we have been putting her to bed earlier….around 7:00.  She is most often asleep by 7:30, and doesn’t wake up until 7:30 or 8:00 the next morning!  When we were putting her to sleep at 8:00 or 8:30, she wasn’t falling asleep until 9:00, and up at 6:30 or 7:00.  It’s just so strange, but putting her to bed earlier has helped me manage Tucker’s nighttime routine better, especially when Dan is at work.  *our biggest discipline struggle this past month has also been around bedtime…more about that below.*

Eating: Lana’s new favorite food this month has been fried okra!  For some reason, she calls it “cornstarch.”  Who knows?  In any event, she loves fried okra.  Shamefully, the only kind she’s had is from the deli at wal-mart.  I can’t wait until we go home for Christmas and my mom can cook her some REAL fried okra.  She won’t know what to do with herself!  I wonder if she is so in love with fried okra because we rarely eat anything fried. Come to think of it, when we fried up fish, she loved that, too.  A true southern girl at heart, loving all things fried.  Too bad her mama hates cooking with grease.

Talking: Just the past week or so, she has begun “reading” books, even if she doesn’t know the words.  For a long time now, she’s been memorizing her favorite books and reciting them as she turns the pages.  However, lately, she’s been opening books that we haven’t read yet, and telling a story by looking at the pictures.  The teacher is me is just overflowing with joy!!  Using illustrations to predict text is a great pre-reading marker, not to mention the fact that she’s exercising her imagination.  I love hearing the stories she “reads” out loud to us.

Discipline: The big discipline struggle for Lana this month has been around naptime/bedtime.  She is pitching fits, calling for outlandish things, and just in general trying to control what goes on when we are putting her down for bed.  So a couple of weeks ago, Dan & I took some time to come up with a new plan.  Then we sat down with her on the couch and laid it out for her.  She can call us from her bed for “potty, throw up, or blood.”  No other reasons.  Anything else has to be handled before the lights are off.  If she wants a band-aid, a sip of water, chapstick, etc. – she better remember before we turn the lights off.  If not, she has to wait until it’s wake up time.  She may not pitch a fit if one of us is laying her down, and she wants the other one – instead, she should be grateful for whomever is with her.  These were the major issues we wanted to address, so we kept it simple.  The consequences were that the first time she cried or pitched a fit or called out for something she shouldn’t, we take all of her “guys” out of her bed (baby, stuffed animal, blanket).  The second time, she goes to our room gets two spanks with the wooden spoon.  *note – this is the first time we’ve used a spoon to give spankings.  Always before, we’ve used our hand, but we were finding this becoming ineffective.*  It is taking a lot of consistency and patience, but it’s paying off.  She’s giving Dan more difficulty than she is me, but we’re not giving up.

Playing: As I’m writing this, there is a perfect picture of what Lana loves to play with right now.  Our living room floor is covered with baby dolls, strollers, books, puzzles, and dress up shoes.  I just asked Lana what she loved to play, and she said, “Baby dolls. My dollhouse.  And I love playing with you, Mommy.”  And on that note, I’m publishing this and am going to play with my girl.

 

 





Lana-isms
posted on 10/30/2009

Silly girl has had us cracking up this week.  Here are a few of the funny things she's said:

  • When we ask her what song she wants to sing, or what book she wants to read, she'll often answer us by saying "It doesn't matter to you," when she means "It doesn't matter to ME."
  • While we were driving up and down the mountains, our ears would pop.  Lana would tell us, "My ears won't come on!"  "Are your ears coming on?"  "Oh, there they are!  They turned back on!"  Such a cute way to describe that weird feeling.
  • We walked outside this afternoon to check the mail, and it was dreary and drizzling. She said, "Mommy, this weather is SOGGY!"
  • While we were roasting marshmallows for s'mores, the wind changed and blew smoke right at Lana.  She started coughing and said, "Oh!  My breath hurts!!"
  • Her new favorite food is fried okra.  (I can't WAIT until we get home so my mama can cook her some REAL fried okra...she is going to think she's died and gone to heaven.)  But...funny...she doesn't call it okra.  She calls it cornstarch.  Seriously.  And we have no idea why.  So, Sue Sue, when she asks you for cornstarch, you'll know what she means!





Adjusting to life as a family of four
posted on 10/25/2009

Tucker is 6 and a half weeks old, and we are all learning our "new normal."  

Lana has probably been the BEST at adjusting!!  We have not seen one bit of jealousy, she is always eager to help, and she just adores her little brother without trying to smother him.  We have been so proud of her!  She has been a bit needier at bedtimes, and has been pushing some discipline issues since we can't always drop everything and handle them right away as we did when it was just her, but truly - those are the only issues that we are having.  She loves to lay with Tucker on the floor and talk to him, she pats him if he gets fussy in his carseat, and she loves to make suggestions about what he needs if he's crying.  (Lots of times she's right!)  We've obviously been spending a lot more time at home than we did before Tucker's arrival, and she has handled that remarkably well.  The only trouble she's had with that is when we missed several weeks of church and small group...that was HARD on her!  So precious to see how much she loves the local Body we're a part of.  

Dan took fewer classes this semester, in anticipation of this adjustment period.  He was so kind to know that the itty-bitty baby stage is difficult for me, and he wanted to be available to me as much as possible.  We're glad that he made the choice to lighten his class load this semester!  I can't imagine how we would have kept up with reading and writing papers for a full-time load.  He's having to learn how to balance loving his family well, helping me, spending time with Lana and Tucker, getting the reading done for his internship, making it to all the required meetings, finding time for accountability with his friends and mentors, working on his internship project, etc.  Just a new normal, and we know it'll all change next semester when he goes back to taking a full time load!

(With that in mind, please be praying for some of the MAJOR leadership opportunities the Lord is opening up before Dan: being at the head of beginning a recovery ministry, possibly helping lead a foreign mission trip, and helping to birth a small group.  We are so grateful for the way the Lord is growing Dan and helping him to develop his leadership abilities.)

I am getting adjusted to being the mommy of two, also!!  Besides dealing with the lack of sleep, the major adjustment for me has been in the reduced amount of time that I have with Lana, especially on the weekends. Before Tucker was born, if Dan was working, Lana & I stayed busy with lots of fun activities and outings.  That has obviously changed, and sometimes I miss that a lot - for both Lana & I.  I have really been praying through the discipline of contentment...I want my heart to rejoice in this stage of life!!  The Lord has been good to grant me peace in this area.  I could tell how He was working tonight especially.  Dan called from work just two hours after he had gone in and told me that he had the opportunity to VTO (voluntary time off) and come home early if I needed him to.  Tucker was crying, and I was in the middle of disciplining Lana, and would you believe that I told him NO?!  I felt confident that I had it under control, and that we were okay, so he could feel free to continue working.  A few weeks ago, I would never have done that....so grateful for the new rhythm we have gotten into! 





Our first middle of the night trip to the ER
posted on 10/17/2009

Lana was "off" all day yesterday.  Just very teary, wouldn't nap, needed lots of extra attention, etc.  Naptime was really a nightmare.  She kept calling over and over, and I was fed up.  I even fussed at her.  *sigh*  In hindsight, not a shining moment of parenting, considering she was sick and we didn't know it yet.

Because she didn't nap, we put her to bed early.  She woke up shortly crying her heart out, but couldn't tell us why.  I resettled her, and she went back to sleep. A  little while later, she woke up hysterical because she had pee peed in her bed, just the tiniest bit.  She has not had an accident in I don't know how long, and she has only had one or two bedtime accidents in the 10 months she's been potty trained.  

I knew something was wrong.  As I put her on the potty to finish, that mama-instinct really felt like she might have a UTI.  When I pulled her off the potty, there was blood in the water, immediately confirming my suspicions.  I cleaned her up while Dan changed the sheets (thank goodness he was home!), and settled her back in bed while I called the nurse advice line at the pediatrician's office.  

While I waited for a nurse to return my call, she had another accident, with more blood in her urine.  At this point, I knew we would have to do something immediately, so I put her in a warm bath to relieve the burning.  As I sat there with her, a nurse from WakeMed called me back, listened to her symptoms, and advised us to bring her in immediately.

Super cool fact: WakeMed has a Children's ER.  Strictly for kids, with pediatricians on staff...we don't have anything like this in Alabama, so I didn't know what to expect.

Around 10:30, Lana & I headed to WakeMed, while Dan stayed at home with sleeping Tucker.  She was SO SWEET.  Just wanted to chat with me, asked lots of questions about the hospital, etc.  I have had UTI's before, and they are miserable.  Her sweet little disposition made me want to cry.

The Children's ER was amazing.  I can't say enough about it.  Really clean, kid-friendly, the staff was wonderful.  Lana was so excited that she got to watch Fox and the Hound while she waited!  The wait was thankfully short, and I was able to catch a urine specimen from her while we waited.

As we headed to a room, we ran into a parent of one of the children in my class at preschool!  I almost cried at the sight of a familiar face.  She was so good to Lana - turned a movie on in our room, bringing her popsicles, giving her a pillow to take home with her...just spoiled her rotten.  As she left the room after bringing Lana a popsicle, Lana said, "Purple popsicles in the middle of the night!  This is crazy!!  I'm so glad your friend is here, mommy."  

They got lab results back quickly, confirming that her urine was "dirty." They gave us a script, and told us that the hospital pharmacy could fill it, but it would be another two hours.  No thanks!  They discharged us quickly.

Going home was a bit of a fiasco...we almost ran out of gas, couldn't find a gas station, couldn't find an open pharmacy, had to wait 20 minutes to have it filled, Lana had to pee pee while we waited in the drive through.  Whew!  She was such a trouper - amazing what a little apple juice and some vanilla wafers from Walgreens can do!

We got back home around 2:30 a.m., which is really good considering all things.  She slept until 9:30, and took a good nap today.  She is back to her normal self, and says it doesn't hurt when she pee pees.  We'll follow up with Dr. Dirk this week, to talk about why this might be recurring.

We are so grateful to live in an area with such wonderful medical care!!





Tucker's one month check-up
posted on 10/12/2009

Today we went to see Dr. Dirk for Tucker's one month check up.  It is so hard to believe that he has been here for an entire month.  I hope this is not an indicator of how fast time will continue to go - I can't bear it.

He weighs a whopping 11 pounds and .5 oz. (80th percentile), and is 24 inches long (off the charts)!!  Such a healthy, growing boy.  Maybe growing too fast???  Evidently right now he's eating the maximum # of ounces per day that he should be eating for the next MONTH.  Dr. Dirk advised putting some rice cereal in his bottle?!?  I couldn't believe it - he told us NOT to do that with Lana.  What made it even funnier was that just a week ago, my Mom told me that I should think about it, and I was horrified - "MOM!!  The doctors say never to do that."  She was so gracious, and just said, "Well, ask your doctor about it. It may help him feel more full."  So when he said that today (totally unprompted by me!), I almost fell out of my seat laughing.  God has such a sense of humor - I tell my Mom that the older I get, the smarter she gets.  I'm going to get some rice cereal tomorrow.  (FUN FACT: At Lana's one month check up, she weighed 10 pounds, 13 ounces, and was 23 inches long.)

On a more serious note, Dr. Dirk heard a heart murmur when he was listening to Tucker's heart today. He's sending us to a pediatric cardiologist at UNC. I know that these often resolve themselves on their own, and he is a thriving, happy little boy, but it destroys me to think about something being wrong with that precious little heart. I just well up with tears everytime I think about it. Really having to pra y through it tonight....this deal of trusting God totally with your children is easy when everything is okay...something like this really causes me to search deep.  In the face of my fears, I've spent some time reminding myself of WHO God is - LifeGiver, Trustworthy, Faithful, True, and Sustainer...He is so good, and can be trusted with all things.  Including the health of my children.  Praise Him for Colossians 1:17 - "He is before all things, and in Him, all things hold together."  Including my sweet baby boy's heart.

He is also sending us to Duke to see a dermatologist.  When Tucker was born, he had a small circular wound on the back of his head.  It looked like something caused by an electrode, except that they didn't monitor him by electrode.  Dr. Dirk has been watching it.  It healed over, scabbed up, and the scab fell off.  However, the wound is still there, and looks a little funny around the edges.  So we'll go have that checked out, too.

Just two of the reasons I love Dr. Dirk: he's thorough, and covers his bases; he can tell a mama that her baby has a heart murmur calmly, without being an alarmist.

 





Life with Tucker today (3 weeks old)
posted on 10/03/2009

Sleeping: Oh, what a difference a couple of weeks make!!  With some gentle encouragement from Mommy & Daddy, Tucker has put himself on a routine of sorts.  He is eating every 3 hours on the dot during the day - we could set a clock by him!!  7:00 a.m., 10:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m., 4:00 p.m., and 7:00 p.m.  We try to stick to this loose routine in preparation for when we'll return to preschool - it works perfectly around our arrival and departure times.  It also means that he & Lana take an afternoon nap at the same time - heaven!!  After he eats each time, he spends a few minutes awake - some times he's awake longer than others, but at the first sign of drowsiness, we swaddle him up & put him in his bed!  

Oh yes, that's right - his bed!!  He lasted in the bassinet for about a week.  Dan & I just cannot sleep well with a child in the room with us - we hear every little noise, and are constantly jumping up.  We have a video monitor, so it gives us enough peace of mind to be able to see him at night.

Speaking of nighttime - for the past week, he's been sleeping from the 7:00 p.m. feeding all the way to the 1:00 a.m. feeding.  However, that means that we were getting up at 1:00 a.m. and then again at 4:00 a.m., so although he was going a long stretch from 7:00 p.m. - 1:00 a.m., it didn't mean we got any more sleep.  So last night, we woke him up at 10:30 p.m. and fed him, and we didn't hear anything else from him until almost 4:00 a.m.!  That was a gooood stretch of sleep.  Dan did the 10:30 p.m. feeding and got to sleep until 7:00 a.m.  I went to sleep at 10:00 and got to sleep until the 4:00 a.m. feeding, and then went back to sleep for a couple of hours.  Perfect!  I hope this pattern continues.

He's been doing really well with us laying him down drowsy but awake.  Sometimes he just drifts right off to sleep by himself.  Sometimes he'll let out a couple of "yells" - not crying at all - just letting us know he's irritated.  If he does truly cry, we immediately go in and settle him...pat his tummy, pick him up and shush him, whatever it takes until he's calm again.  Then (while he's awake!), we lay him back down and repeat as often as necessary.

Several times we've tried to give him a paci, but he is not interested.  Every once in a while, if we're in the car and he's upset, he'll take it, but if he's in his bed, it's a no-go.  We've decided we think that's a good thing!!  With Lana, she did that whole routine of her paci falling out when she fell asleep, and then she would wake up and cry until we gave it back to her....ugh.  Up and down, up and down.  We're relieved to not be doing that again.

We're using a white noise machine in his room now, not because he was having trouble with the noise, but so that we felt like we could move around the house.  His room is in the very dead center of the house.  It has wood floors and wood walls, and you can hear every single noise in there!  He seemed to be sleeping well through the noise, but it was making me anxious, and I felt like I was constantly telling Lana to be quiet.  We turned on the white noise as a buffer, and I think we've all relaxed about it.

Eating: "They" say that, at 3 weeks old, Tucker should be eating 2-3 ounces each feeding, with 8-10 feedings per day.  However, he's eating 4-5 ounces each feeding, with 7 feedings per day.  He's getting in all the nutrition he needs, so we're not bothered by it.  The switch to GentleEase formula seems to have helped him, too.  He still has a tendency to want to fall asleep during and right after eating, but we work hard to get in a full feeding, and keep him up for at least a few minutes after.  He's also still projectile vomiting after eating about once a week, but it's nothing like it was before, so hopefully the reflux meds are making a difference for him!  He weighed 10 pounds at his two week check up.  We go back next week for his 4 week check-up - I can't wait to see how he's grown!  I think his little cheeks are fattening up already.

More sleeping.

 





Life with Tucker today (2 months old)
posted on 10/03/2009

Eat: Tucker is now eating about 6 ounces of formula 5 times a day.  We’ve been putting cereal in his bottle to keep him from eating more than that.  It seems to be constipating him some – we’ll talk to Dr. Dirk about that when we take him for his 2 month check-up later this week.  He’s a bit of a fussy eater.  He wants to be sitting a certain way, and he’s very distractible.  The reflux medication has helped with his spitting up.  We forgot to take them with us when we were in the mountains on vacation, and he was miserable.  We won’t make that mistake again! 

Wake:  Tucker’s wake times are becoming longer, and he is definitely more alert.  He is happiest in the morning, and sometimes can’t eat because he just can’t stop smiling and cooing at us.  His little smiles go from ear to ear – they melt our heart.  He likes his Baby Einstein mat, and hates tummy time.  He enjoys his swing, but will quickly drift off to sleep in it.  He loves the mobile in his crib and on his changing table.  He also likes to look at the big painting on one of the walls in our living room.  He’s really a very happy baby unless he’s hungry or tired. 

Sleep: This is, by far, the hardest part for me of having a newbie.  I just like to sleep.  Uninterrupted.  For long stretches of time.  I’m nicer that way.  That being said, I can’t complain one bit about how Tucker sleeps.  At two months old, he’s already sleeping through the night. 

No matter what time we feed him last (8 p.m. or 10 p.m.) he is sleeping through his middle of the night feeding, waking up around 4:30 and fussing for 3 or 4 minutes, going back to sleep by himself, and waking up between 5:30 and 6:00 to eat. 

He doesn’t love to nap during the morning hours – he will rarely sleep for more than 45 minutes at a time.  But in the afternoon, he will sleep for hours on end. 

We read that around 8 weeks, newborns start losing the “need” to be swaddled and it starts becoming a sleep prop, and that we should start weaning him off of the swaddle.  So last night, I swaddled him loosely to see what he would do.  He woke up at 2 a.m. and couldn’t go back to sleep because just as he would drift off, his arm would jerk and he would hit himself in the face.  Forget about it.  I went in there and swaddled that little dude back up like a burrito, and he went right back to sleep.  I’ll swaddle him until he goes to college if it means we can all sleep through the night.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Tucker will begin going with Lana & Mommy to preschool next week on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  It will be the first time anyone has kept him besides Mommy & Daddy & Nana.  

Mommy and her little rascal enjoyed the beautiful weather while big sis was napping today.

 





Life with Lana today
posted on 10/03/2009

Sleeping: We wondered how Tucker's arrival would affect Lana's sleep.  All three of our bedrooms are pretty close together, and even though we use white noise machines in their rooms, we knew that she would probably hear him cry when he woke up during the night or at naptime.  So far, we've been really fortunate, and it has not bothered her sleep much.  For the first week or two, she was extra sleepy during the day, so we figured that she was hearing him and waking up at night, but just going back to sleep on her own.  This week, though, she's seemed much more rested, so maybe she's just getting used to it!

Eating: Lana is a great eater.  However, we have a major meal time struggle that's been going on for MONTHS.  She simply cannot sit still in her seat.  She wiggles and moves and falls off and a variety of other things.  She doesn't actually get up, but it's nearly impossible for her to sit still.  We're thinking that putting her back in a booster seat might help!

Talking: Listening to her talk to Tucker is one of the most precious things in the world.  She will tell him about what we're doing, if he's crying, she "sh sh sh's" him, she likes to read books to him.  I wonder if her big vocabulary means that he'll talk early & well, too, or if it means he will talk late b/c he can't get a word in edgewise??

Discipline: Just last night, Dan was reading the Word out loud to me as I fed Tucker, and he read I Corinthians 1:11.  Paul says, "Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ."  This led us immediately into a discussion about how this directly correlates to disciplining our children.  Lana (and soon Tucker) naturally imitate what we do.  When we see a sin in her life, we often find the root of that in something she has seen us do or not do.  This is not always the case, but quite frequently it is, simply because she imitates everything we do - the good and the bad!  We want to be able to encourage our children to imitate us IN EVERY WAY, as we imitate Christ.  This calls us to live life at a higher level....and no, it's not about legalism or do's and don'ts.  We pray regularly for Lana & Tucker to be generous, to work hard as for God and not for men, to have a heart for missions, to use their gifts to joyfully serve others, etc.  And how will they learn to do those things?  We hope & pray by imitating us as we imitate Christ.  And the ONLY WAY we can imitate Christ in any way is to go back to the Cross for grace and more grace.  Our children are sinners, being raised by parents who are sinners.....we are weak, poor in spirit, dependent on our Father for every good thing.  We cannot HOPE to imitate Christ unless He affords us the grace to do so!

Playing: Lana is really into playing "Mommy" or "teacher" right now.  She'll often tell Dan & I that we are her babies, and she'll take care of us...push us in the swing, bring us drinks, cover us up, etc.  It's fun to listen and watch her and see what she's picked up on that we've said.  She has wonderful preschool teachers, and she is soaking up every thing they throw at her.  She comes home and wants to teach us how to pattern, what the calendar says, how to walk in a line, etc.  So fun!


 

 





A visit from Nana!
posted on 09/29/2009

This weekend was Dan's first weekend back at work since we've had Tucker, and his mom saved my sanity by flying in to help me!!  She arrived Friday afternoon, and stayed until this morning.  I cannot even begin to tell you what a wonderful gift this was to me....and to the kids!  Every night she took one of them middle of the night feedings so Dan & I could sleep...she changed diapers and did laundry and mopped floors...and just spoiled us to death!!

Friday night, Dan called me on the way home from the airport with his mom and said, "Mom wants to keep the kids so we can go out on a date!"  WHAT?!?  She had been flying all day long, so I knew she must have been tired, but she insisted.  We hit the door and had the MOST delicious wings at McGuire's, enjoying over an hour of conversation NOT about children, while she bathed both the babies and put them to bed.  Awesome.

Saturday morning, Nana hit the ground running AGAIN!  She played babies and dress up with Lana, and then helped me change out clothes for the season in ALL the closets!  This was a big project, as I had to move maternity clothes out, too.  She totally reorganized my system, and it's fabulous.  

As she was hanging up my clothes in my closet, she turned out and gave me this look and said, "Do you REALLY only have 2 dresses to your name?"  That afternoon after naptime, with Dan at work, she hauled me and the kiddos to the mall where she took me to New York & Co and bought me the cutest dresses you can ever imagine!!  They are PERFECT for the transition from preggo body to...well...not.  I feel so pretty in them!!  What a wonderful treat!!  Spoiled.

We picked up burgers on the way home for dinner, and Lana has now decided that "Ardee's" in her favorite place to eat.

Sunday morning Nana stayed at home with Tucker while the three of us got to join our church family at East Carroll Joyner Park for an outdoor worship service to celebrate our 20th Anniversary as a church family.  It was so good for my soul to worship with our body of believers...and I was so grateful that my sweet boy was at home.  It was beautiful, but the sun was strong, and Lana got sunburned!  His little fair skin would have TOASTED.  

Sunday afternoon after naptime, Nana took Lana on a special date - to the movies!!  It was only her second time in a movie theater, and they saw Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs.  They were hilarious telling me about the movie when they got home!

Monday morning, she got up with Lana & Tucker and let me go back to snooze...how nice!  When we all got up and moving, we went to the seminary and had a picnic lunch, and did some tree climbing.  (Tucker & I stayed safely on the ground.)  Back to the house for nap time and for Dan to go to work.  When Lana woke up, Nana gave the two of us a wonderful treat: she stayed home with Tucker so Lana & I could have a date!!  We went to the playground, had dinner together at Moe's, and then visited Palsie's Popcorn for yummy dessert.  

You can only imagine how sad we were to see her go this morning....of course, I was selfishly sad for me because I will desperately miss her help!  But I was so sad for the kids, too....it was so precious watching her love on Lana & Tucker so well.  My heart just overflows with gratitude for ALL the wonderful grandparents our children have.  We are blessed beyond measure.

Here's a picture of Lana & Tucker with Nana - how gorgeous is she???  Nana's aren't supposed to look this good!  Thank you so much, Mrs. Karon, for everything you did this weekend.  We love you so much and miss you every single day.

I love this picture of Dans mom with both our kids...

 

 





The endless crying....and then it stopped.
posted on 09/25/2009

Our sweet Tucker boy is so precious....and it seems like he has cried non-stop since we brought him home from the hospital.  Well, I take that back.  He's perfectly calm as long as we are holding him to sleep.  However, laying him down in his bed was a TERRIBLE ordeal.  Our goal is to be able to lay him down drowsy but awake, teaching him from these very early days how to fall asleep on his own.  However, we were totally willing to rock him to sleep, if that worked.  It just didn't.  He would fall asleep, and then as soon as his little punkin head hit the mattress, he would start screaming.  And if, by some chance, we DID manage to get him in his bed sleeping, he would wake up SCREAMING a few minutes into his nap...totally a cry of pain.  It was heartbreaking to hear.

The ONLY way he would sleep well is if we took him outside and rocked him in our hammock chair.  Now, if this had been Lana, that's probably what I would have done - just sat in that hammock chair all day long.  But he's my second child, and it's just not fair for Lana for me to do that all day.  She needs my time and attention, too - not to mention the time and attention I need to give to the Word, Dan, my house, our extended family, my friends, etc. With this second child, I've realized that sometimes decisions have to be made with the best interest of the WHOLE FAMILY in mind....not just one member, no matter how small and precious.  This is why it's important to us that he get used to sleeping in his own bed.

 He doesn't like a pacifier, so that was no help.  We knew that his fussiness was a combination of reflux (he has ALL the signs/symptoms), and gas, so we have spent the past week just trying to figure out how to help him.  I'm writing it down so I can remember this & share it with other mamas down the road.

9/10 - 9/16 I breastfed exclusively, for hours on end.  You nursing mamas know what I'm talking about.

9/14 Dr. Dirk started him on reflux medicine (Prevacid)

9/17 Due to his weight loss and the beginning stages of postpartum depression in my own heart, Dan & I made the decision to supplement with formula.  As soon as Dan was able to take a nighttime feeding, we saw a dramatic improvement in my emotional state, so we chose to begin formula feeding exclusively.

9/18 We began using formula exclusively - Enfamil with Lipil Premium, and my boy began sucking down bottles and putting on weight like a champ!  Tipping the scales at 9 pounds!

9/21 Dan was out of town, and Tucker was up crying for most of the day....he literally slept 2 hours.  I knew that sometimes the crying seems worse in the moment, so I wrote down the exact times that he cried, ate, slept, etc. so I would have an accurate record to show the doctor.  And it was literally 2 hours all day.  Aren't newborns supposed to sleep 20 hours a day or something?  My kids don't.

9/23 We switched formula to Enfamil GentleEase, which the pedi felt would sit better on his little tummy.

9/24 At this point, nothing was helping, and he was still crying for most of the day.  Nighttime was a little better, but we would still be up with him sometimes for 2 hours at a time trying to get him to go back to sleep.  Several friends suggested that we try gripe water.  *Gripe water is a natural remedy, and has ingredients such as fennel and ginger.  According to people who use it, relief occurs within 5-20 minutes of administration.*  

Around 2:00 p.m., I found myself in tears, outside rocking my sweet boy to sleep, just praying that he would rest a little.  Dan went out and got a little bottle of this gripe water stuff.

And I kid you not, he has not cried when going to bed since.  Truly, the past 24 hours have been so peaceful for him...and for us!  Now who knows if it's the reflux medicine finally working, the formula kicking in, or the gripe water?  But, to be honest, I don't care!  We're not going to change a thing.

Right this moment, he is sleeping like a dream in his crib, swaddled up tight and laying on his side.  We woke him up to eat, he ate, stayed awake for just a few minutes (total wake time, including feeding, being about 45 minutes right now), and after a diaper change, swaddle, and a cuddle in the rocking chair, went back to sleep.  Now I'M going to catch some shut eye while I have two babies sleeping peacefully!  





Lana-isms
posted on 09/21/2009

Two of my favorite things she's saying this week:

"Basagna" instead of "lasagna"

"Tucker's having a leak out!" when he drools.





Lana's adjustment
posted on 09/17/2009

Lana has been adjusting well to Tucker's arrival....she has shown no jealousy at all towards him - just sheer delight.  When she wakes up in the morning, the first thing she wants to do is see him, and the last thing she wants to do at night is kiss him.  She is not as gentle with him as I might like her to be, but I'm thinking he may as well go ahead and toughen up.

She is doing a great job letting us be Mommy & Daddy - she makes sure to ask before she picks him up, gives him a toy, etc.

She has been a little on the sleepy side, whinier than usual, and incredibly emotional - she will burst into tears at the drop of the hat.  Welcome to the club, baby girl!  We've had to extend lots of grace to each other as a family this week.

The only real way that I've seen her have trouble adjusting is her attitude towards me.  She has been a little stand off-ish, but I'm thinking that's probably because I'm usually nursing him.  Today Dan fed Tucker a bottle, and she & I went to Target together, and it made a world of difference in her attitude!  We both came back home giggly and happy.  She's just my sidekick - it was so good to have a few minutes alone with her.

While we were driving, I asked her about having her picture taken at school today.  She said, "We got to ride the elevator upstairs to take pictures.  Then downstairs, then lunch, the Bible time, then Mommy time!  Except not my mommy.  She doesn't come get me anymore."  Break.  My.  Heart.  I'll be going to pick her up tomorrow.

I wrote her preschool teachers to see how she was adjusting at school, and here are there responses:

Mrs. Amy: "Lana is doing well at school.  We have noticed a few changes since baby Tucker has arrived.  She is very tired, and will lay on the floor at times.  She is a little more quiet and subdued.  I will certainly let you know of any other changes in her behavior.  Being a big sister is an adjustment, but she is doing well.  I'm glad she is excited about school.  We love having her!"

Mrs. Kathy: "Lana is enjoying preschool.  She sometimes looks a little tired like you said in your note, sometimes a little quiet.  She perks up at lunch and snack and at music.  She also loves circle time when we read stories.  She has fun when we are on the playground and she loves all art projects that we do.  I think she is just getting adjusted to all that is going on in her little life so we are sure to give her some grace with  that.  But rest assured, we will always insist on her first time obedience and good manners in the classroom.  And our classroom is a wonderful place filled with love and fun!!" 





Life with Tucker today (one week old)
posted on 09/17/2009

Sleeping: Hah!  This is almost a joke to write about at one week old!  Obviously we have had 7 very sleepless nights....some more so than others.  We've had some trouble working out what sleep should look like for him right because when we had Lana, we were still in the hospital when she was one week old.  We know that we want him on a eat, wake, sleep routine, but we couldn't quite figure out how to do that with a one month old.  We found ourselves rocking him to sleep, and him fighting it like the devil.  The middle of the night would find him screaming bloody murder, Dan taking him outside near the big AC unit, and me crying in the bed.  One of my dear friends from high school has a newborn just a few weeks older than Tucker, and she sent me an e-book about setting up sleep routines for newborns!  We read it today, and we both feel so much better having a plan.  We've implemented a few of the strategies, and today/tonight has been lots better.  Obviously wake time is hard to achieve with a one week old, but we're doing things like making sure he's in his own bed to sleep, putting him down sleepy but awake, and making sure to put him down before he gets overtired.

Eating: We have been breastfeeding exclusively for the past week, and it really has been enjoyable for me.  However, he is the slowest eater in the WORLD, and I have been sitting in a rocker or glider constantly since we've been home.  The hardest part of that has been the lack of time I have with Lana.  It seems that there has not been a moment for me to sit down with her...even if I can, I'm just so tired from being up all night that I don't have anything to give her.  Dan & I decided today to start supplementing with formula.  This will not only let him take one of the nighttime feedings so that I can have some uninterrupted sleep, but it means that he can stay with Tucker while I do some things with Lana.  This afternoon, Dan fed Tucker, and Lana & I took a quick trip to Target.  She & I were both giddy with having a few moments together....we got an Icee, picked up a few things we needed, and just enjoyed some time together.  Praise the Lord for formula!  He's eating 2 ounces at a time.

 

 





Tucker's birth story
posted on 09/11/2009

Psalm 40:5
"Many, O LORD my God, 
are the wonders you have done. 
The things you planned for us 
no one can recount to you; 
were I to speak and tell of them, 
they would be too many to declare!"

At 41 weeks pregnant, we set an induction date for our sweet Tucker boy.  The doctors had been very cooperative, letting us go as long as they felt comfortable with.  We tried everything (besides castor oil!) including letting the doctor strip my membranes to get him moving.  No luck.  Dan felt strongly that we should not approach 42 weeks, and I trust his judgment completely, so we set an induction date for September 10, 2009. 

 

Both sets of our parents had arrived by September 9 – we were so glad to have them in town for such a special day!  I could barely sleep that night….it felt like Christmas morning!  It was such a blessing from the Lord that there was no nervousness or anxiety – just sheer excitement, as we had been with Lana.  Children are truly a gift from the Lord.

 

Rex Hospital called us at 6:22 a.m. on Thursday morning and asked us to be there by 7:30 a.m. to begin the induction process.  We both took quick showers, threw a few last-minute things in a bag, and got stuck in traffic, arriving at the birthing center at 8:00 a.m.  Fortunately the beds weren’t full yet, and they got us checked in quickly.  We met my labor & delivery nurse Amy – can I just tell you what a treasure she was??  She was an amazing answer to prayer.  Her bedside manner was amazing, she made us feel so comfortable, and worked really hard to help us manage our labor well by advocating for us….including taking a “less aggressive” approach to the pitocin, which was important to us.  She refused to just crank it up to hurry things along, but instead advocated with the doctor to give my body time to respond.

 

By 9:45 a.m., she had started the pit, and gradually increased it throughout the day.  My body responded very slowly, not dilating or effacing much. 

Around 2:30 p.m., I started to actually feel the contractions, but had still only progressed to 3 centimeters.

Around 3:30 p.m., my contractions got pretty painful, and I got an epidural….a miracle of modern medicine.  Shortly after I got the epidural, my water broke on its own.  At that point, the contractions really picked up in frequency and intensity.

At 4:00 p.m., they checked me and I was dismayed to learn I was still only 4 centimeters dilated or so.

At 4:30 p.m., my contractions seemed to slack off some, indicating that my uterus was either weakening (a HUGE concern considering my history) or that my body was going into transition, preparing to progress into active labor.  At this point, the Nurse Amy made a phone call recommending to my OB that we put in an internal monitor to see what my contractions were actually doing.

At 6:30 p.m., I was fully effaced and 5 ½ centimeters, and Tucker was dropping into a good station.

At 7:00 p.m., my wonderful nurse Amy went off shift, but she switched schedules around to make sure I had someone "good."  Her last words were before she hugged us and left were, "I bet you have this baby before I go to bed at 9:00!"  Nurse Cindy came on, and she was TRULY ordained to be there with me as I delivered...very grandmotherly, encouraging, confident.

At 7:30 p.m., our parents went to get some dinner, and Dan & I turned on 24.  We turned the lights out and tried to relax.  (My favorite facebook comment of ALL: “If anyone can get Tucker out, Jack Bauer can!”)

A few minutes before 8:00, I started feeling a great deal of pressure with each contraction.  I casually mentioned it to Dan, and told him that we’d get the nurse in to check me when that episode of 24 was over.  The third time I mentioned it to him, he got up and left the room, returning with the nurse. 

She very casually turned on the light to check me, and said, “Okay.  Fully dilated, and there’s the baby!  Let me go call the doctor.”  I almost FELL OUT OF THE BED.  I had no idea.

**I have to interrupt this regularly schedule programming to give props to my man.  He is an ALL-STAR in the delivery room.  Says exactly the right things, does exactly the right things, knows the perfect balance between being as "present" as I need him to be without hovering, charms the socks off the nurses, cheers me on authentically, covers me with prayer.....he should give lessons, seriously.  Twice we've done this, and had totally different experiences, and he has rocked it out both times.  I could NOT deliver babies without him.**

I started pushing at 8:18, and Tucker was born at 8:49 p.m. – I only pushed for 31 minutes!!  I didn’t need a stitch at all – such a testament to my doctor and the controlled pushing that the epidural allowed me to do!!  I did, however, throw my GUTS up for most of that 31 minutes.  I didn't do this with Lana, so it caught me off guard.

No fever.  No infection.  I was on a pure high as I gave birth to my perfectly healthy, 8 pound, 12 ounce, nearly 22” long baby boy.  I cried tears of joy as the grandparents came in to hold him, just marveling at how amazing it felt to be HEALTHY postpartum. 

The doctor and nurse immediately gave me cytotech, a crazy drug with very few side effects that made my uterus immediately harden like a rock, preventing any risk of hemorrhage.  They worked really hard to make sure my uterus was doing exactly was it was supposed to do.

The nurse made sure I had time to feed him within 15 minutes of his birth – so grateful for that!

We were in a recovery room an hour and a half later, and Tucker stayed with us all night.  We caught sleep in hour increments, and he fed well through the night.  He’s fully a month older than Lana was when she was born, and I can tell the difference in him cooking a little longer!! 

He’s a content little boy, only cries when he needs to burp or has gas – he doesn’t like that feeling. 

No one can decide truly who he looks like – some swear he looks just like Dan or Lana….I think he just looks like Tucker.  He has a little bit of blonde hair, dark blue eyes, huge hands and feet, and the most kissable little mouth you’ve ever seen.

Lana came to see him the very next morning before she went to preschool.  I had gotten some good advice and had this big plan of how I was going to let her come cuddle with me before showing her Tucker, who was in his crib in the corner of the room.  Yeah, right!  She bee-lined past me, went straight to the sink to wash her hands, and said, "Where's my Tucker?!"  She was so delighted to hold him - her only major disappointment was that she couldn't give him a bottle.

However, I explained to her very matter-of-factly that Tucker was still a little too young for a bottle, and he was just going to drink Mommy's milk for a while.  She protested a little, but we sent everyone else out, she piled in the bed with me, and I nursed with her there.  She said, "He gets milk from your NIBBLES?" and that was that.

The next time he cried, she said, "Oh!  He's crying because he doesn't have words and he's hungry.  He needs Mommy's milk.  Here's your pillow, Mommy - let's feed him together!" and piled up in the bed with me to nurse.  Precious girl.

She loves his hands and feet, is appalled at his belly button cord, and wants to change his diaper every other minute.  She's quite good at it, by the way.

Her grandparents have been AMAZING - making a huge deal over her, spending lots of time just playing with and enjoying her....she could not be happier, and has no idea that they are here for any other reason than to see her.  

Her preschool teachers have loved her so well...we thought she might not want to go, and we had decided that we wouldn't make her, not wanting her to feel "sent away."  Please!!  She has barely been able to wait to get out the door to go to preschool each morning.

Facebook, e-mails, and phone calls have poured out more love on us than we could possibly deserve or imagine - we feel constantly surrounded with friends and family cheering us on, lifting us up, celebrating this with us.

We are simply overwhelmed by the wonders that the Lord planned for us through Tucker's delivery.  Oh, may this son of ours continue to be a vessel of His light.  May he always bring this same joy to those who walk alongside him, in the name of the Father.  May he serve his father's God all the days of his life.

 





41 weeks pregnant
posted on 09/08/2009

An update after our doctor's appointment this morning:

Big surprise: I had made NO PROGRESS!!  : )  Still at a centimeter.......I have to laugh - Tucker is a mama's boy already!  Well, that, and he's a bit of a procrastinator like his Daddy.
At the risk of giving you too much information, we decided to let the doctor strip my membranes today.  It's a more "natural" way to induce labor than pitocin.  He did, and thankfully, it was not as painful as I had anticipated.  However, the chances of it helping me go into labor don't look good.  According to the doctor, it works about 50% of the time, and in the cases it does work, it's usually accompanied by immediate cramping/contracting.  I didn't experience any of that.  
According to the doctor, who has a great sense of humor, I am approaching my expiration date.  We're hopeful that this stripping *might* work, so the doc is giving us tomorrow to wait and see.  Our prayer is that I will go into labor on my own tonight or tomorrow.  
However, we have an induction scheduled for Thursday at Rex Hospital.
Here's how inductions work with our doctor's office:
On Thursday, we wait by the phone.  They might call as early as 6:00 a.m. to tell us to come in, or they might call us that night at 9:00 p.m. to tell us that we're being pushed back until Friday.  There's no way to tell.
However, inductions are ranked according to priority, and because I'm past 41 weeks, I should be at the top of the priority list.
Dan's parents are on their way, and should arrive sometime tonight.  Mine will leave in the morning and arrive Wednesday night.
Thank you so much for your prayers....we can feel them!  I thought I would be really disappointed when/if I had to set an induction date.  However, I have a total peace about this.  Dan has a complete confidence that this is the right thing to do, and that makes me feel really good....totally relaxed about it all.
We're going to spend some quiet time together as a family of three this afternoon and tonight, get a good night's rest, and spend tomorrow doing some last minute things like cleaning the house, mowing the grass, etc.  
One way or another, we're going to meet our son this week!!!  The prayer of our hearts is that no matter how his birth happens, Tucker is healthy and I am healthy.
Rachael





40 1/2 weeks pregnant - update after doctor's appointment
posted on 09/04/2009

A quick update after our doctor's appointment this morning:
Dr. Segal monitored Tucker (via Non-Stress Test) for about 40 minutes this morning.  His heart rate is steady around 130 - he's an incredibly laid back little fellow.  The nurse kept trying to "wake him up."  I hope that's a good indicator for what he'll be like OUTSIDE the womb!  : )  Anyway, his heart rate looked good and strong.
According to the monitor, I am experiencing no contractions whatsoever.
Dr. Segal also did a quick ultrasound to make sure my amniotic fluid levels were measuring okay, and they were "perfect," in his words.  He said that Tucker will be an "average-sized baby, probably a bit over 7 pounds."  He is head down, but his head is turned to the side.  He is not "engaged in the birth canal" yet, although as of this morning, I can tell that he IS lower because I can breathe and have had no indigestion at all today!
When the doctor checked me, we found that I am in exactly the same place as I was last week....1 cm dilated, and around 50% effaced.  I have made no progress at all.  He offered to strip my membranes (which can get labor "moving"), but indicated that it would be very, very painful due to the lack of dilation.  That, combined with the increased risk of infection once the membranes have been stripped, caused us to decline.  We may reconsider that at some point; perhaps when we go in next week - we're thinking we'll try that before induction.  The fact remains that the longer the membranes are "stripped," the higher the likelihood of infection, and you all know how scary that word is to us.
Dr. Segal was very supportive of our decision to just wait and see if things progress.  He reassured us that Tucker is healthy, and I am healthy, and we can take a "wait and see" approach comfortably for another few days.  He DID say that none of the doctors in their practice will let me go further than 42 weeks, because of an increased rate of still born births past 42 weeks.  Dan very strongly agrees with Dr. Segal on this, and would prefer for me not to even get too close to the 42 week point.  Dan is very supportive of my decision to not have my membranes stripped, to wait and see, etc., so the fact that he feels strongly about that means a great deal to me.  Because of that, I will not ask Dr. Segal to let me go beyond 42 weeks - if Dan didn't feel so strongly about it, I might consider asking for that....but I have total trust in Dan's instinct about this.  He doesn't often feel "really strongly" about things like this, so I'm going to trust that the Lord is giving him that wisdom, and I'm going to gladly take advantage of it!
We have another appointment scheduled on Tuesday, September 8th at 8:15 a.m.  They will do another Non-Stress Test at that point to see how the baby is doing, and he will check to see if I have made any progress.  At that point, we'll talk about what our next step is.
As it stands, there are no inductions available next week at all.  The latest they will let me go without having this baby is Wednesday, September 16th.  
When we go on Tuesday, if an induction has opened up on Wednesday, September 9th, we will take that appointment.  (His birthday would be 9/9/09!)
If that date is not available, then we will just hang out for Thursday - Sunday, and check the induction calendar for Monday the 14th through Wednesday the 16th.  If nothing is open for those days, then Dr. Segal will schedule a night induction or a weekend induction (for the weekend of the 12th) - whatever it takes to make sure Tucker is here by the 16th.  He is being wonderfully flexible in allowing me to go as long as I feel comfortable.
We are not opposed to induction so much as we would rather my body go on its own.  Induction leads to an increased rate of c-section, makes for harder labors, etc.  If I can avoid those things, I want to!  Although, thankfully, I've had sweet friends share their wonderful induction stories with me, too!!  In any case, as long as Tucker is healthy and I am healthy, we are willing to just hang out.  Yes, I'm uncomfortable and tired and sore.  Yes, I'm willing to do almost anything to keep Dan from going to work this weekend and leaving me here!!  Yes, it would be so much more convenient to know exactly when Tucker will arrive so that grandparents can be here.  However, when I weigh it in the balance, it's not enough for me to want to induce before it's a necessity.  
So you can pray with us that my sweet boy just decides to come on....that the Lord will show us much favor in this, whatever form that actually ends up taking.  I have searched my heart on this, and while I want to do this "naturally," I am TOTALLY okay with inductions, c-sections, epidurals, whatever.....at the end of the day, we just want Tucker to be healthy and Mommy to be healthy.





Lana's random observations from the 2nd day of preschool
posted on 09/03/2009

It is such a bizarre feeling to drop Lana off at preschool in the mornings and pick her up in the afternoons.  This has never, ever happened before in her little life.  If she's at preschool, I'm there with her and peek in on her multiple times throughout the day.  So by 1:30, I am STARVING for her....just literally cannot wait to pick her up and get her in the car so I can pick her brain about her day.  She is NOT the kind of child who tells me every detail of her day...I have to work for it.  

To lay the groundwork for you - I am having a BALL being "just" a mommy right now.  I have baked cookies for her teachers, put notes in her lunchbox every day, today her sandwich was in the shape of a little girl with buttons and a bow, and I make sure to have a special snack and drink in the car when I pick her up.  It's too much fun finding ways to love on my baby girl right now while I have a little extra "free time"!  Although we're so ready to meet Tucker, I'm grateful for this special time with me and my "first baby."

Here are some of the things that Lana told me on the way home about her day at preschool:

  • She got 3 sparkle sticks today, which means she got to choose a prize.  She chose a doctor kit.  When I asked her how she got her sparkle sticks, she said, "I just sat on my place on the carpet, and then I sat patiently in my seat.  You just gotta be patient in a 3 year old class, you know!"  
  • I asked her if she liked her little girl sandwich and she said, "It made everybody laugh!"  Of course I felt terrible...I asked her if she was embarrassed when her friends laughed, and she said, "No, Mommy, I liked it!  But lots of people thought it was funny."  "Well, Lana, do you want Mommy to make shape sandwiches or just regular ones from now on?"  "Oh, do the shapes, Mommy!"
  • I asked her if she had a job today at school, and she said, "My job was to put away all the books when everyone put them in a pile.  I like when Mrs. Amy reads us books - she read us the silliest book today!  It was about dogs and cats going to school!  And then she read a book about Froggy going to school and acting silly....she read lots and lots of books to us."  
  • She told me that she got to go to the big girl and big boy playground and "today I was brave and sat on the tire swing!  Lots of different teachers pushed us."
  • I asked her what Mrs. Kathy's job was at school and she said, "Her job is to help her friends....she helps us do all kind of stuff.  Mommy, she just loves her neighbor as herself!  And that's Mrs. Amy's job, too."
  • "Mommy, for snack we had goldfish and cereal bars....yummy!!!  Some people don't like goldfish - I just don't know why not!  I sat by Isaac at snack.  And I ate almost all of my lunch, Mommy....but there's some left.  Just carrots and peas.  But I did eat that cookie....is that okay?"
Edited to add: I sent a link to this journal entry to Lana's preschool teachers.  I want to post their responses here so I remember them:
From Amy: Thanks for sharing!  She is too cute and quite smart!  I forgot to tell you that her job yesterday was prayer warrior and she prayed for all her new friends to have fun at their first day of preschool.  So sweet!
From Kathy: How sweet!!!!  She is right about most all the things that she did today!!!! Except I do not know who Isaac is :-) .They are all just learning each others names. What a great day she had today.  She really is such a sweet girl and she is the one in the class that knows the memory verse by heart already....guess she gets that from that great Mommy that she has!!!! :-)


Can't wait to see her tomorrow,

Kathy

 





Lana's first day of 3 year old preschool!
posted on 09/01/2009

Today was a big day for my girl!  She went to her first day of preschool at Little Lambs in a 3 year old classroom.  She was so excited to not be in a "baby class."  

She & I went to the grocery store together yesterday afternoon and I let her pick out some goodies for her lunch box - she chose gummies (a special preschool treat!), plums, strawberries, pretzels, pepperoni, and string cheese.  

We also got cookies to make for her teachers, so we spent the evening baking and wrapping them up.  That was SUCh a good idea for her....she sometimes has a little trouble leaving Mommy in the mornings, but there was no hesitation this morning because she couldn't wait to take her teachers their cookies!  We'll make sure we do this every first day of school from now on, and anytime that she begins struggling with separation anxiety, we'll make some sort of treat for her teachers or friends.

She bounced out of bed this morning, and immediately asked if she could go to preschool!  We ate a yummy breakfast, packed her bookbag together, and headed out the door.  On the way to school, we talked about how she could honor her teachers and love her friends well.  We have been working on memorizing Matthew 5:16 together: "Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven."  I got to talk with her a little while about letting her light shine, and the purpose of that is bringing God glory...the whole purpose of our lives is tied up in that.  I spent a little while praying out loud over her as we drove down the road, and then she wanted to pray.  Her prayer was "God, I want to obey my teachers.  I want my light to shine.  Amen."  AMEN!

Her teachers are Mrs. Amy and Mrs. Kathy.  They are both very sweet and loving....just what my girl needs.  Amy has a background in education (taught 1st grade, 5th grade, and preschool), and Kathy's son was in my class a couple of years ago.  Lana really has taken to them already, and had no hesitation going in this morning.  I stood at the door, a little lost, and said, "Can you come back and give me a kiss?"  "Mommy, I am too busy playing!!" she responded.  *sniff*

It was SO HARD for me to leave and not go to my own classroom to teach - just felt really strange!!  I never expected this...I thought for sure Tucker would be here already.  So I eventually drug myself out of the hall and back home.  Dan was in a meeting, and then class.  And although I missed being so very close to my girl, and I missed being with my class on the first day, I was grateful for the extra bit of time.  I fixed myself a cup of Red Raspberry Leaf tea (known to help labor along!), and got to sit down with my Bible for an extended time with the Lord.  Sooo kind of God to give me some extra time to prepare myself spiritually.  

And before I knew it, it was time to pick my baby girl up!  I stopped by Sonic to get her an apple juice slushie, and went to Little Lambs.  The very best part of my day was when she came out of that classroom and wrapped her little arms around my neck....she would NOT let go.  She is normally very independent and not so very affectionate, so this was a rare treat.  I just relished it.  

Her teachers said she had a good day - she said she did, too!  I scanned in the picture she drew on her first day of school...pure sweetness.

 





Life with Lana today
posted on 08/27/2009

Sleeping: Lana successfully potty trained in January, between the time we got home from all our holiday travels and the time we went back to preschool.  We trained her for day & night at the same time – basically, we just got rid of diapers, put her in panties, and never looked back.  She did great!!  However, the one tiny quirk that we’ve had is that since then, she has woken up at least once most nights to go pee pee.  She doesn’t get out of her bed without us, so she calls us.  Which means that since January, most nights, we’ve had to wake up with her at least once. And during these hot months, she’s gotten up without fail, probably because we’re pushing so much water into her during the day.  But it’s better for her to call us to use the potty than accidents in the bed, so we can’t complain. 

However, for the past 5 nights, she has not woken up at all to go pee pee…..wow!!  She’ll call us around 8:00 a.m. to use the potty, and Dan and I are always like – “Did YOU get up with her last night??”  Such a treat to be able to sleep uninterrupted for just a few days before Tucker makes his appearance.

Eating: Lana is like me in many ways, but she has a MAJOR sweet tooth like her Daddy!!  I have to be conscious not to keep sweet things in the house, b/c it’ll be all she wants to eat.  And it’s tricky, because Dan LOVES sweets, and misses them if I don’t keep cookies in the cabinet.  Thankfully, her sweet tooth extends to fruit, and I can satisfy it most of the time with that.  Blackberries and raspberries have been her favorite this month.  They are SO expensive, but Lowe’s had them 5 for $5, so she’s been snacking on those this week. 

She’s also developing a big interest in helping me in the kitchen.  She likes to pour and stir and roll out dough and wash dishes.  And it’s guaranteed that if she helped cook it, she’ll want to eat it!  

Talking: Lana is so verbal….always has been.  (Keep in mind, though, her gross motor skills took a while to catch up!)  We love talking with her and listening to her talk….it really is lots of fun!  Dan & I were just noticing this week how very little is left of her “baby talk.”  She uses huge words now like “Absolutely” and she’ll tell us that “Mommy, Badger (in a book) is bashful.  That means he’s shy.”  But there are a few remnants of her baby talk hanging on at 3.  She still calls bibs “dibs.”  Instead of yesterday, she’ll sometimes still say “lesterday,” a combo of last night and yesterday.  She still says “with” instead of “if.”  Our favorite is when she says, “I’ll help you with you want me to.”

Discipline: Our big focus in discipline this month seems to have been talking with and teaching Lana about considering others better than herself, and loving her neighbor as she loves herself.  She will tell you now, “Everyone is my neighbor!” and she can tell you that she should consider others better than herself.  However, she (like her mommy!) does NOT have this down pat yet.  We’re seizing teachable moments, like sharing toys that she doesn’t want to, or giving up things that she wants so that a friend can enjoy them or helping Mommy & Daddy with chores even when she’d rather be playing. 

Playing: Babies.  Babies.  Babies.  Feeding baby dolls.  Singing to baby dolls.  Changing baby dolls’ diapers.  Putting baby dolls to bed.  Repeat.  Some friends handed down a bunch of dress-up clothes, so she's started dressing up quite a bit - her favorite part is wearing the high-heeled shoes and being "Sue Sue."  Her imagination is beginning to run wild - she's very into making "cheetah food" these days and feeding it to her pretend cheetahs.  For her birthday, she got Candy Land, and she wants to play every chance she gets.  All this big girl playing is so fun, but kind of makes me sad.

 





Life with Lana today
posted on 08/27/2009

 

Sleeping: We wondered how Tucker's arrival would affect Lana's sleep.  All three of our bedrooms are pretty close together, and even though we use white noise machines in their rooms, we knew that she would probably hear him cry when he woke up during the night or at naptime.  So far, we've been really fortunate, and it has not bothered her sleep much.  For the first week or two, she was extra sleepy during the day, so we figured that she was hearing him and waking up at night, but just going back to sleep on her own.  This week, though, she's seemed much more rested, so maybe she's just getting used to it!

Eating: Lana is a great eater.  However, we have a major meal time struggle that's been going on for MONTHS.  She simply cannot sit still in her seat.  She wiggles and moves and falls off and a variety of other things.  She doesn't actually get up, but it's nearly impossible for her to sit still.  We're thinking that putting her back in a booster seat might help!

Talking: Listening to her talk to Tucker is one of the most precious things in the world.  She will tell him about what we're doing, if he's crying, she "sh sh sh's" him, she likes to read books to him.  I wonder if her big vocabulary means that he'll talk early & well, too, or if it means he will talk late b/c he can't get a word in edgewise??

Discipline: Just last night, Dan was reading the Word out loud to me as I fed Tucker, and he read I Corinthians 1:11.  Paul says, "Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ."  This led us immediately into a discussion about how this directly correlates to disciplining our children.  Lana (and soon Tucker) naturally imitate what we do.  When we see a sin in her life, we often find the root of that in something she has seen us do or not do.  This is not always the case, but quite frequently it is, simply because she imitates everything we do - the good and the bad!  We want to be able to encourage our children to imitate us IN EVERY WAY, as we imitate Christ.  This calls us to live life at a higher level....and no, it's not about legalism or do's and don'ts.  We pray regularly for Lana & Tucker to be generous, to work hard as for God and not for men, to have a heart for missions, to use their gifts to joyfully serve others, etc.  And how will they learn to do those things?  We hope & pray by imitating us as we imitate Christ.  And the ONLY WAY we can imitate Christ in any way is to go back to the Cross for grace and more grace.  Our children are sinners, being raised by parents who are sinners.....we are weak, poor in spirit, dependent on our Father for every good thing.  We cannot HOPE to imitate Christ unless He affords us the grace to do so!

Playing: Lana is really into playing "Mommy" or "teacher" right now.  She'll often tell Dan & I that we are her babies, and she'll take care of us...push us in the swing, bring us drinks, cover us up, etc.  It's fun to listen and watch her and see what she's picked up on that we've said.  She has wonderful preschool teachers, and she is soaking up every thing they throw at her.  She comes home and wants to teach us how to pattern, what the calendar says, how to walk in a line, etc.  So fun!


 

 





39 weeks
posted on 08/26/2009

Today I am 39 weeks pregnant.  I only went to 37 weeks pregnant with Lana, so this is the "most" pregnant I have ever been.  

There are numbers on the scale that I've NEVER seen before.  Whatever.  

I lost my mucus plug 5 days ago.  I never did that with Lana, so it was really exciting.  So far, though, nothing else is happening.

I can't seem to sleep enough.  I'll wake up, feel rested, and then 30 minutes later, want a nap.  

The indigestion is terrible.  No matter what I eat or what medicine I take, when I lay down, I feel like there is fire in my throat.  My restless leg syndrome is off the charts, and I wake every hour at night to pee.  Then I'm thirsty, so I drink a big glass of water.  Vicious cycle, you know?  

His movements are really "big" now.  It's so cool to watch my belly literally roll around.  He prefers my right side, and it's often "higher" than the left side of my belly.  

Whenever  someone asks Lana when her little brother is coming, she says, "September 2," which is my due date.  She's being so patient waiting on him!  

I've totally gotten over most of the nesting, and am just doing the bare minimum to keep my house clean and laundry done for whenever he decides to make his arrival.  

People ask me all the time about when I'm going to induce.  I'm avoiding it if I can.  With Lana, my water broke, and then labor stalled.  They had to give me pitocin, and the jury's out over what good it actually did.  I'd really like my body to just do its thing this time.

I also have had several people suggest having my "membranes stripped" to help jump start labor.  Sounded like a good idea to me, but I did some reading on it, and one of the things it is associated with is an increased risk of infection.  Holy cow.  No way.  We want to avoid infection at all costs.  

I've contemplated writing up a "birth plan."  However, totally contrary to my normal personality, I don't really have a firm plan in place.  As with Lana, I'll go without drugs for as long as I can.  If I get to the place where I'm in enough pain that I'd rather have an enormous needle in my back than continue on, it's time for an epidural, you know?  I'll use the birthing ball and the shower and I'll walk and we'll see.  I learned with the birth of my sweet girl that my plans didn't matter.  Each labor and delivery is unique and special.  Our goal for Tucker's delivery is healthy baby, healthy mommy.  However that has to happen will be okay.  I sometimes set myself up for failure with having too firm of a plan, you know?  If it doesn't go the way I want it to (and it never does!!), then I consider it less of a success.  And that's (most often) just not true.  Clinging to and trusting in Proverbs 16:9: "In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps."





That's so sweet of Jesus!
posted on 08/09/2009

Today when I picked Lana up from Sunday School, her teacher told me that she had to sit in time-out on the playground for throwing mulch.  She assured me that Lana was not the only one, and we talked briefly about how bizarre it is how some Sundays they all want to throw mulch, and sometimes they never even think about it.  I thanked her teacher for disciplining her appropriately, and Lana & I left.

As she & I walked down the sidewalk toward the car, I asked her about sitting in time out, and she told me that her teacher put her there because she was disobeying and throwing mulch.  Here's how the rest of the conversation went:

Me: "Did that honor your teachers?"

Lana: "No, ma'am."

Me: "God tells us to obey those in authority over us, and your teachers are your authority.  Were you honoring God when you disobeyed your teachers?

Lana: "No, ma'am."

***a minute or so of silence as we got to the car & I buckled her in**

Lana: "Mommy, is God sad at me right now?"

Me: "Well, Lana, it does make God sad when we disobey and dishonor Him.  But, Lana, there's a way to make it right.  We confess our sins to God, and ask Him to forgive us, and the Bible tells us that He is faithful to forgive our sin and clean all that yuckiness up!"

Lana: "So I need to tell God I'm sorry?  I need to tell my teacher I'm sorry, too."

At this point, she is buckled in her carseat, and this 9 months pregnant mama is *finally* sitting in the cool air conditioning of the car.  What I wanted to do was go home and tell her that we'd tell her teacher sorry next week.  *sigh*  Not what I needed to do, though.

I unbuckled Lana and turned the car off, telling her that I was so proud that she was listening to the Holy Spirit speak to her about making things right with her teacher.

Back inside we went, and to her classroom.  She went straight to her teacher.  I couldn't hear what she said, but I tried to read her lips, and I think she said she was sorry for disobeying and throwing mulch, and asked her teacher to forgive her...or something similar.  Her teacher gave her a big hug, and Lana came back out the door to me.

As we walked BACK to our car, I asked her if her heart felt better.  "Yes, Mommy," she said.  "But I need to say sorry to God, too!"  So we stopped on the sidewalk, and I helped her to talk to God, to tell Him what she had done wrong, and to ask His forgiveness.

When we were done, she beamed up at me.  "Mommy, God's not sad at me anymore!!"  

"No, baby, He's not!  As a matter of fact, He's so happy!  And the Bible tells us that He separates our sin from us as far as the East is from the West...that He's thrown that sin into the sea!!  And He does that because of Jesus dying on the cross.  Jesus got the punishment for our sins...for all the bad things we do."

"Mommy, that's so sweet of Jesus."

Oh, yes.  Yes, it is.





36 weeks
posted on 08/07/2009

Tucker update:

We went today for my 36 week check-up.

His heartbeat is holding strong at 150 beats per minute, and he's still head down.

The doctor let Lana hold the little wandy-thing so that she could hear his heart beat.  She loved that.

They tested my hemoglobin, and it is still at a shockingly high 14.5!  It's unheard of for a pregnant woman to have an iron level that high.  However, mine ran that high when I was pregnant with Lana, and that rich blood literally saved my life as we ran into all the bleeding issues at delivery.  The best part: I don't eat much meat while I'm pregnant.  I just have an aversion to it.  So my iron REALLY shouldn't be any good at all.  We know that it's just God reassuring us that He is before ALL things.  As a family, we ask God often to do things in ways that can't be confused with anything that man has done...love it when He answers like this!

They "checked" me for the first time today, and nothing's doing.

That's great news, mostly because I have lots of things on the calendar for next week!

A fun girls date with my dear friend Emily on Monday, a shower on Tuesday night given by some of my dearest friends here in Wake Forest, and maternity pics on Wednesday night: just gimme this week, Tucker boy!!





The bestest part of the ice cream cone
posted on 08/07/2009

This morning, we all went to my OB appointment.  Afterwards, we went to Gymboree to use a gift card given to us by a family friend....we got Lana & Tucker their first coordinating outfits - so fun!  After shopping, we had lunch at the food court, and Lana (of course!) chose Chick-Fil-A.  When she finished her meal, she traded her toy in for an ice cream cone.  (My personal favorite part about CFA.)  

Let me tell you, that girl can EAT an ice cream cone!  It's so funny....she doesn't spill a drop, and eats it in record time.  

As she got down to the last third or so of her cone, we started walking toward the restrooms in preparation to head back to Wake Forest.  

Lana was almost finished, Dan and I were talking as we were all walking, and all of a sudden, she held up the very last bite or two....you know, that bottom part of the sugar cone...she held it up high in the air to me and said, "Here, Mommy!  You can have this!  I saved the bestest part for you!!"

You must know, that bottom part of a sugar cone is my VERY. FAVORITE.  I don't even care about the rest of the cone....I just want that last few inches where the ice cream has soaked down into the cone.  Mmmm.....love it.

I don't know how or when she picked up on it being my favorite part....she must have just been listening the last time we had ice cream cones together.  But that was ages ago!

The fact that she remembered how much I loved it, and chose to give it to me spontaneously, without any prompting at all, turned me into a puddle of tears.  It was just pure selflessness on her part...pure love for her Mommy.

Now, she's not always like this.  Don't let me paint a rosier picture for you than it actually is.  But this was one of my favorite moments of all times with her....we could totally see the gifts of generosity and love that the Lord has planted in her.  





Directions to Rex Hospital from Alabama
posted on 08/03/2009

Directions to Rex Hospital from Alabama:

 

I-65 N toward Montgomery

Take exit 171 to merge onto I-85 N toward Atlanta

         (continuing through George, S. Carolina, and entering N. Carolina)

Slight right at 1-40 E (signs for I-40 Raleigh)

Slight right at Wade Avenue (signs for Wade Ave./I-440/US-1)

Take the Blue Ridge Road exit

Turn left at Blue Ridge Road

Turn left at Lake Boone Trail

Look for directional signs to Rex Birthing Center/Women’s Center

 

Phone: 919-784-3100

 

Visit this website for detailed map information: (click on link for the main campus)

http://www.rexhealth.com/Services_and_Wellness/Hospitals_and_Locations/interactivemap.asp





Life with Lana today
posted on 07/31/2009

Sleeping: Two funny little sleeping quirks have popped up this month.  The first is that she has become a little afraid of the dark, and wants to have a nightlight in her room.  It has NEVER bothered her before….we have always kept her room pitch black with a darkening shade and everything.  But a few weeks ago, she started crying a few minutes after I put her to bed, and when I came in, she said, “I just can’t see.”  I stuck a nightlight in her room, and we’ve been memorizing Proverbs 56:3 “When I am afraid, I will trust in you.” 

The other funny sleeping anecdote is that she could retell me a dream in the morning for the very first time!  One night she woke up around 2 a.m. just crying and crying.  I went in and knelt by her bed – she was sitting up, and holding her toe.  “That fish bit my toe, that fish bit my toe,” she kept saying.  I kissed her toe, and asked her what kind of fish it was, and she sort of woke up and said she needed to pee pee.  The next morning, I asked her if she remembered the fish biting her toe, and she retold me this story about how she was sitting near the pond in her bed, and a lady told her there were fish in the pond, and one of those fish bit her little toe.  I put a video of it on her website.

Eating: Lana’s favorite thing in the world to eat right now is a hamburger at Sonic!  I think she would eat there every day if I let her.  She’s also become a big fan of the white part of boiled eggs.  Summer eating is lots of fun….we eat breakfast outside almost every day, which she loves, and many times we’ll have a sandwich picnic for lunch or dinner at the pool.  She’s still a big fan of having her foods separate….casseroles just aren’t her thing. 

Talking: A major focus for us this month has been teaching Lana to speak when she’s spoken to.  She is naturally on the shy side, and never more so than when strangers speak to her.  She’ll often duck her head and look away, very rarely answering.  It has been difficult for us to decide how to handle it….we don’t want to push her, but it also comes across as rude or disrespectful sometimes.  We’ve had several conversations with her about how she can respond if someone speaks to her while we’re out running errands (grocery store, library, etc.).  We do lots of role-playing while we’re in the car headed somewhere: “Lana, what could you say if someone tells you that you have pretty curls?  Lana, how do you respond if someone asks you how you are doing?”  On and on…..we just keep rehearsing how she can speak when spoken to.  It really seems to be paying off!  She is doing lots better with this.

Oh, and my favorite things she’s said this month: Dan’s sister gave birth to her daughter Sofia on July 23.  When I told Lana, she excitedly told her friends, “FiFi cracked out of Aunt Kenzie’s tummy!”  She’s totally envisioning Mackenzie’s stomach like an egg!

A couple of days after her birthday, she woke up from her nap, and said, “Okay, Mommy, I’m 3 now.  I’m ready for Tucker to grow out!!”

Discipline: We’ve heard that the “terrible 2’s” are nothing compared to the “terrible 3’s!”  Since she just turned 3, we’ll have to wait and see if that proves true for Lana.  Right now, we are memorizing the Fruits of the Spirit and helping her equate those with her behavior.  This has, of course, been very convicting for me as I talk through it with her…. 

Playing: Her very favorite things in the world right now to play with are her babies….she interacts with them endlessly throughout the day.  She reads to them, feeds them, changes their diapers, puts them to sleep, etc.  It is so neat to see her being so nurturing – she’s going to be great with Tucker!

Last month, we realized that we needed to work on Lana’s ability to play independently for an extended period of time.  Last week, I began implementing “Room Time” for her each morning.  This is time that she goes in her room and plays by herself with the door closed.  She has books, puzzles, babies, a little table in her room that we let her use for an activity of her choice during Room Time….playdough, coloring with colored pencils, etc.  We set the timer, put it in her room, and tell her that when it beeps, she can come out and find us.  We started with 10 minutes, are at 15 right now, and will work up to 30 or 40 minutes.  My hope is that she will have this Room Time while Tucker is having his morning nap, leaving me with a few minutes to check e-mails, answer phone calls, talk with Dan, fold laundry, or just put my feet up!  At first, I think she felt like she was being punished, but we have worked hard to make it positive, and she’s begun to look forward to it.  One day, she came out of her room with the timer and said, “Mommy, I’m not done reading my books!  I’m going back to Room Time.”

 





Happy 3rd birthday, Lana!
posted on 07/31/2009

We celebrated Lana's third birthday on Thursday, July 30!  I woke up so happy to celebrate her, but quite sad that time is passing by so quickly.  She is such a treasure to our family...we can see the Lord building into her some special gifts: she is a nurturer and encourager, and has the same gift of mercy that her Daddy does.  Oh, how excited I am to see what God does with her!

On the morning of her birthday, Dan got up early and went to Daylight Donuts.  He got her favorite kind of donut (chocolate covered with sprinkles), and when she woke up, we sang Happy Birthday to her and let her blow out candles on her birthday donut!  

Then we took her outside to see her birthday present: a battery powered red Mustang convertible!  Such an extravagant gift for a worthy little girl....we never could have given it to her if it weren't for the kindness of God and dear friends.  The Lyon's won this car at Bay Leaf's Toy Chest 2 Christmases ago, and their girls no longer have a place to ride it.  They have kept it in excellent condition, and they gave it to us to give to Lana for her birthday!!

 

After a ride in the 'stang, we took off for swimming lessons!  She did so well....although she's the youngest in her class, she's by far the most confident in her abilities, so she's having a lot of fun!  we hung out at the pool for a while after lessons, and then let her choose where to have her birthday lunch: CiCi's Pizza!  After nap time, our friends the Fowler's arrived, and we had a great time with them.

We had her Wake Forest birthday party at Holding Park again this year.  It was on Saturday, August 1 from 9:30-11:00.  We had cookie cake, popsicles, water and juice...and LOTS of friends!!

We had Lanas 3rd birthday party in Wake Forest at Holding Park....my heart was so full as we spent the morning surrounded by the people who make our life in Wake Forest so rich.

We are so blessed....as we left the park, Dan & I were overwhelmed with how rich our life here in Wake Forest is.  To spend the morning surrounded by so many whom we love dearly was an incredible reminder of the kindness of God in bringing us here.  Yes, it's hard to be away from family and friends in Alabama; yes, it's hard for Lana not to be with her grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins; yes, it's scary to think about having a baby so far away from my mom and mom-in-law; nonetheless, our blessings abound.





Poll results: tattoo for Tucker
posted on 07/24/2009

Dan has Lana's infant handprint tattooed on his back. What should he do for Tucker?
handprint 29%
footprint 71%
Total votes: 55





Welcome to the world, Sofia Rae Patty!
posted on 07/23/2009

 

Our new niece, Sofia Patty: born 7/23/09, 5 lbs 6 oz, and 19

Welcome to the world, Sofia Rae Patty!

Our niece was born this morning at 6:50 a.m.

She's 5 lbs, 6 oz., and 19" long.

She's beautiful (of course).

She's having a little trouble.

She's anemic, and had a blood transfusion to help with that.

Her blood oxygen seems to be low, so she's being transferred to USA Women's and Children's to get some help with that.  

Please pray blessings over her.

Pray that she finds favor with the doctors and nurses at USA.

Pray for a quick recovery for her.

Pray for Mackenzie as she heals from her c-section, and as she copes with being in a different hospital than her daughter is.

Pray for Barcus, as he's trying to care for his wife and daughter.

Pray for our nephew Noah as he adjusts to being big brother!!

Pray for the rest of our extended family who is there, that they may be able to love on Mackenzie, Barcus, Noah, and Sofia well during this time.

Pray for us.  It's hard being this far away.

We've spent most of the day trying to figure out how to get there.

At 34 weeks pregnant, my doctor's aren't having it.

So we'll pray.

And ask for you to pray, too.

**Update: Sofia's levels are all looking normal today (6/24/09)!  Praise the Lord!  Thank you so much for your prayers!  She will stay in the NICU until Monday for observation.**

 





34 weeks
posted on 07/22/2009

Today I am 34 weeks pregnant with Tucker.  I'm feeling him so much more strongly now!  He loves to hang out on my bladder.  It's so funny, I can feel him turn and then I'll suddenly have to pee RIGHT AWAY.  

If the old wives' tale is true, then he's going to have LOTS of hair - I've had crazy indigestion, especially when I lay down.  It's fun to think about what kind of hair he'll have!  Lana was born with dark hair, and then by her first birthday, it had lightened up and turned curly.  Now she's got a head full of ringlets.  I can't wait to see what his hair looks like!!  And his toes....and his nose....and his eyes....oh, I can't believe I'm having a son!!

Just in the past week, I've started to FEEL more pregnant.  I'm just heavier and moving slower, and everything seems to take a lot of energy.  My sleep at night is restless because I can't get comfy.  I am more emotional, and have way less energy.  I feel like I could sleep all the time.  

Nesting has begun in earnest....all of a sudden, I feel like I'm running out of time and have to get everything done right. this. minute.  It's so funny - I know I'm acting crazy about something, but I just can't help it!  Dan has been very accommodating, and is doing everything he can to help get us ready.

Lana & I have checked out and read TONS of children's books from the library about being a big sister and having a new baby.  She's really getting excited - I hope she continues to feel that way after he arrives!!  I'm trying to slowly let her know about the "rules."  She can only hold him after she's asked mommy, she can't give him anything to eat or drink without asking mommy or daddy, etc.  She really is such a nurturer - just a first born girl in every sense of the word!

Several people have asked me if I'm getting nervous as my due date approaches, especially about delivery issues.  The truth is, I'm not.  I know the Lord ordains each of our days.  As scary and horrible as Lana's delivery was, I know that the Lord was sovereign in that.  He had lots to teach me, and surely something to teach the doctors that cared for me!  I know the same will be true for Tucker.  He has placed our family in Raleigh, delivering in the research Triangle, for a very specific reason.  If the worst case scenario happens and I again go through some of those same delivery/postpartum complications, I am in a wonderful place, rich with medical knowledge and personnel.  I really am at peace with this.

The only source of anxiety I am experiencing right now is about Lana and what our plans are for her when I go into labor with Tucker.  Our family is 12 hours away, and will not be able to get to us any quicker than that.  Lana thrives on routine and knowing what to expect, so the thought of having to take her and drop her off at a friend's house, possibly in the middle of the night, makes me worry.  I know she'll be okay, but it makes me cry to think about her being anxious, or being so out of her routine that she doesn't sleep well and starts having meltdowns and needs me....on and on my mind wants to take me.  I have been praying about this for weeks, and trust that the Lord knows what we should do.  Right now, I am praying specifically that the Lord will send us someone who is willing to come stay with her in our house, especially if it's the middle of the night.  He may or may not answer that prayer; either way, I am choosing to walk in the knowledge that He knows the desires of my heart.  He knows what my little girl needs most.  

Please pray with me over this....and if any of you have had children away from family, I'd love to hear your stories/suggestions!





Sidewalk paint
posted on 07/14/2009

This afternoon we made sidewalk paint!  It was the perfect activity: super simple, easy to make and clean-up, and just right for Lana to help make!  

She helped me get out the ingredients, mix the cornstarch and water, and add the food coloring.  She stirred it up, and helped carry it outside.  Then we painted and painted!  The colors dried quickly in the sunshine, and they were so vibrant!

Sidewalk paint

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup cornstarch

6-8 drops of food coloring





Confessions
posted on 07/13/2009

Yesterday I was NOT the mom I want to be.  

Lana didn't nap well.  I took her to have dinner with a dear friend and her kids, even though I KNEW she would probably have a meltdown.  I was being selfish and really wanted to visit with my friend.  I pushed her way past her limit.

When she had the (expected) meltdowns, I grew increasingly frustrated with her.  As we left our friends' house, I responded to her continued crying by raising my voice at her and giving "full vent to my anger."  I WANTED her to feel bad.  It was NOT about discipling her or training her in righteousness.  It was much more about me being embarrassed and wanting her to feel bad.  The WORST motivations ever.

Thankfully, the Spirit is so good to speak to my heart, and before we even arrived at our home (5 minutes away), I was fully repentant.  After parking in our driveway, and before we got out of the car, I unstrapped Lana and sat her with me in my seat.  I apologized to her for the poor choices I made in speaking to her and asked for her forgiveness.

She is SO tender and quick to forgive me when I've done wrong.  Of course that just makes me cry....what a precious child she is.  We had a sweet time of cuddling and praying, both of us asking God to forgive us.  I explained to her again about how when we ask for forgiveness, God is faithful to hear our request, and then our sin is gone - done with - paid for.  

This morning I had an early doctor's appointment, and Lana stayed at home with Dan.

I called him when I was leaving the doctor's office and asked him if she had told him about our terrible afternoon while he was at work.  He laughed and said, "She did!  Let me see if I can remember exactly what she said."

And here is Lana's retelling to her Daddy:

"Last night when we were at Kate Kate's house, it was not dinner time, and then it was dinnertime.  And I pitched a fit.  And I made poor choices.  And then mommy got frustrated and got a fit and yelled.  And in the car, I had a bad attitude and Mommy had a bad attitude.  But she said she was sorry, and we prayed and asked God for forgiveness.  And I forgived Mommy and Mommy forgived me, and God forgived us.  And that feels better."





Why??
posted on 07/12/2009

For about the past month, we have officially been in the "Why?" stage.  She must ask "why" a gazillion times a day, and I'm not kidding.  For the past two weeks, we've been at home in Alabama with family, and it was nice to have others to answer that question!!  PawPaw was the funniest about it....he would just laugh and laugh at her.  

I LOVE that she is so inquisitive.  In all truthfulness, I really don't mind answering her questions and explaining things to her.  It gives her an opportunity to learn more vocabulary words, and we have some of the best conversations these days!  And I'm a teacher at heart, of course, so in my opinion, the only dumb question is the one you don't ask.  I'm all about my child asking and learning as much as she can!

However, just yesterday, Dan noticed something that bothered him - I can't believe I hadn't picked up on it before!  

When we give her a direction, such as "Lana, please put your shoes away," her first response is always "Why?"  Or when she asks US permission for something, and our answer is no or wait, her first response is "Why?"  Now, she very rarely responds this way in a rude or disrespectful manner.  Instead, it's just become her automatic response - a bad habit, to be sure.  And I have just been answering her without thinking about it too much.

Dan pointed out to me (and then to Lana), that he wants her first response to be obedience.  After that, it's okay for her to ask why, but we want her to obey FIRST.  He had a great discussion with her about how if we ask her to do something like put her shoes away, she must say "Yes, ma'am" or "Yes, sir," obey, and THEN she can ask why.  We are always willing to explain it to her - AFTER she obeys.  

He did such a great job sharing our expectations with her.  He explained (on her level, of course) that the reason we are going to insist on this is because we want her heart to be FULLY trained to respond to God this way.  When He asks her to do something, we want her first instinct to be obedience, then seeking to understand.  Because sometimes we WON'T or CAN'T understand why God wants us to do something, so we must be trained to obey immediately, and then wait patiently for comprehension.  

The past two days have been busy with training her in righteousness in this area.  <Discipline sometimes is seen as exclusively punishment - SO MUCH of what we are doing right now is teaching, training, rebuking.>  We don't think that she'll get this overnight, but I'm so grateful for Dan's wisdom in this.  I would MUCH rather be teaching this to her at 3 as opposed to 13.

 





Lana's favorite things
posted on 07/05/2009

What is Lana's very favorite thing right now?

 gum 
 flip flops 
 jump ropes 
 chapstick 
 taking naps 
Truly, it's a toss up between flip flops and chapstick!!!  She can't get enough of either one.  Perfect summertime accessories.
gum 20%
flip flops 20%
jump ropes 0%
chapstick 60%
taking naps 0%
Total votes: 5





Life with Lana today
posted on 07/03/2009

Sleeping: Bedtime is still 8:00 p.m., but here lately, it sometimes takes her until 8:30 or 9:00 to fall asleep.  She sings, puts her babies to bed, talks about her day, etc. until she drifts off.  It kind of bothered me for a while, but then I realized that Dan & I both do things to wind down: I have to read, he likes to watch TV, and evidently Lana has to talk to herself.  J  She wakes up sometime between 7:00 and 8:00 in the morning, and takes an afternoon nap that lasts between 1 and 2 hours (although she stays in her bed at least 2 hours). 

Eating: We hear all the time what a good eater Lana is.  I don’t mean that she always eats a lot in quantity – often she eats like a bird.  I think that’s just part of being a toddler.  What I mean is that she eats a wide variety of foods: there’s nothing she won’t try and very little she rejects.  The only two things I can think of that she really d oesn’t like is green olives and tomatoes.  It’s really a pleasure to cook for her or to take her out to eat because she just likes so much!  Her favorite right now is broccoli, particularly the stalks.  She tried boiled crawfish recently, and loves it.  We’ve talked some about why we think she’s a good eater, and what we’ll do with Tucker to encourage him to eat well, too.  From the time she was a newborn, we included her in family meal time.  Whether she was in her bouncy seat, Bumbo, or eventually her high chair, we put her with us at the table and included her in the conversation.  When she began to eat solid foods, we gave her whatever we were eating: perhaps pureed or chopped in tiny bites, but seasoned and cooked the same way.  We never cook a separate meal for her – she eats what we eat.  If she chooses not to, we know she won’t starve: the next meal is just a few hours away!  I try to cook healthy, well-balanced meals so that even if there is one thing on her plate she doesn’t like, there are several other good choices.  We never force her to eat anything, only insist that she try one bite.  If she tries it and doesn’t like it, our response is always something like: “That’s okay.  You might change your mind when you’re bigger.  Thank you for giving it a try!”  We don’t battle food with a two year old.  If, for some reason, we see a pattern of her not eating well at mealtime, we immediately evaluate her snacking habits, and will usually eliminate snacks entirely for a while.  We don’t want her to graze all day – we want her to eat well at mealtime.

Talking: I love watching her little personality emerge.  Some of my favorite things she’s said lately:

*Dan took us to have Dippin’ Dots, and she called them “Polka Dots.”  She kept saying, “I love to eat those polka dots!”

*She says “with” instead of “if.”  “I’ll hold it with you want me to.”  “With you need it, you just tell me.” 

*Lana fell & impacted her front two teeth pretty badly, to the point that she couldn’t eat much solid food.  Dan went to the store to get her some soft things like yogurt, grits, and soup.  When he asked her what kind of soup she wanted, she told him that she wanted “sick soup.”  She meant chicken noodle!  The first time she had it was when she was sick with a stomach virus.  She also calls Gatorade “sick juice.”

*We were all in the living room together, Dan & I were talking about something, and we heard Lana say from across the room, “Excuse me!”  When I asked her what she needed, she said, “Oh, I was just saying excuse me to my body!  I pooted.”

*We were swimming in the pool, and PawPaw explained the “No Diving” sign to her…you know, the guy diving with a big red circle around him and a line through it….the universal no sign.  A few days later, she & Dan were in the restroom at a restaurant, and as she sat on the potty, she said, “No diving, Daddy.”  Thinking that she was just remembering the pool, he said, “That’s right, Lana.  We can’t dive in the pool at the condo because it’s too shallow.”  “No Daddy!  No diving in this bathroom!”  He couldn’t figure out what she was talking about until she pointed out the no smoking sign on the door of the restroom.

Discipline: As I’ve been reading and praying about this all-consuming time in my life of discipling Lana (and soon, Tucker), the Lord has been using a couple of passages from Proverbs to train my heart about WHY consistency in important in disciplining Lana. 

Proverbs 29:17 says, “Discipline your son, and he will give you peace; he will bring delight to your soul.”  Who doesn’t want their children to be a source of peace and delight??  And why are there times when I don’t feel that peace and delight?  As I reflect on the times when I’m not delighting in Lana, it can often be retraced to a lack of discipline on my part….an area where I have not been consistent in training her.  Perhaps I’ve slacked off, maybe I’ve started making excuses for her behavior, but it usually has something to do with an area that I’ve begun to overlook.  Thus, she isn’t disciplined well, she is NOT delightful, and I’m not peaceful.  Hmm. 

After chewing on THAT a while, I took the time to read through those other verses in Proverbs 29, and God REALLY got my attention with this one:

Proverbs 29:15 “The rod of correction imparts wisdom, but a child left to himself disgraces his mother.”  

That “left to himself” part really got me.  I don’t ever leave Lana alone.  Not in the bathtub while I run to answer the phone, not in the car while I dart inside the store, not in the pool while I go to get a drink, nada.  Her safety is too important to me.  She’s so young, and it’s my job to keep her safe.  I’m vigilant about watching over her. 

So why would I EVER neglect to discipline her consistently?  Why would I leave her alone in her sin??  That’s what it is, I’ve come to realize.  When I’m not consistent, I’m leaving her alone in her sin.  I’m disgracing myself. 

This whole discipline deal, I’m learning, is not for the faint of heart.  It’s hard work, and at the end of the day, I’m just so glad I can run back to the Cross for more grace.  I can’t do this alone.

Playing: Dan & I regularly sit down and have a “state of the family” talk.  This includes talking about Lana’s strengths, and her “weaknesses,” or the areas in which she needs to be discipled.  One of the areas that Lana struggled is the ability to play by herself.  She’s just high needs in this way.  She might play with her babies or puzzles or blocks independently, but she wants to be in the same room with me.  She wakes up in the morning asking us to play with her, read to her, just BE with her.  I really do love this….she’s my sidekick, and I don’t mind doing everything together.  But I do want her to be content to be alone, too.  Part of this, I truly believe, is just how the Lord made her.  She loves to interact with us and talk, and she just enjoys people.  She’s definitely not a loner.  But I’m working to develop her ability to be alone.  I can’t wait to see how Tucker’s littler personality is similar or different than hers in this area!  

 





Long drive with an almost three year old
posted on 06/24/2009

Today we began the 12+ hour drive from Wake Forest, NC back home to Mobile, AL.  The last time we made this drive Lana was 6 months old and we were moving to Wake Forest.  I'll spare you the details, but suffice it to say that it was so terrible that we have not made the drive since.  We fly.  Every. Single. Time.  For the sake of my sanity.  

Well, plane tickets have gotten quite expensive, so when Dan's dad offered to use his points to get us a hotel room to break up the drive, we decided to try it again.  

Last week we went to D.C., which is about 4 hours away from Wake Forest.  It was the trial run.  And believe it or not, she did wonderfully!  Not one minute of complaining or whining - she just played and chatted and watched TV and sang with us and snacked and was really a pleasure to travel with.  I was totally, pleasantly shocked.  This was the child that for the first two years of her life HATED her car seat, and would scream if we put her in it for longer than 15 or 20 minutes, no matter which was it was facing.  She refuses to sleep in her car seat (still).  I just couldn't believe how delightful she was!

So we packed up for the first leg of our trip...a 7 hour drive from Wake Forest, NC to Newnan, GA.  In our house, all the rules go out the window when someone is sick or when we're traveling.  We watch lots of movies, snack on lots of fun things, and just try to survive with a joyful heart.  

So before leaving, I took her to the grocery store and let her pick out some "special" snacks.  She chose Wheat Thins and fruit chews and strawberries.  I swear I did not try to influence her one bit.  I also let her pick out a new coloring book.  We put it on the table where she could see it, but she knew she couldn't color in it until our trip.

Last night we packed the seats around her with snacks, cups of water, crayons, blank paper, stickers, stamps, playdough, string and lacing beads, and all her comfort items (lovey, blanket, baby, doggie, and travel pillow).

And now, with a sleeping little girl settled in the hotel in Newnan, I have to tell you that today was wonderful!  She did not have one single fussy moment, although Mommy had a few.  She didn't ask one time to stop and use the potty, although that could have been averted by a 7 and a half months pregnant Mommy who asked to stop and use the potty constantly.  She watched just a little while of TV while we were stuck in Atlanta traffic.  We packed a lunch and stopped at a rest area where she could run around, and that seemed to help.  Around 2:00, we told her it was naptime and she needed to go to sleep, and she didn.  She only slept for 30 minutes before the talking GPS woke her up, but it was enough to keep her from being cranky.  The hotel we are staying in has a pool that we jumped in as soon as we arrived - pure relief for everyone!  We walked to a restaurant for dinner so that we didn't have to get back in the car.

We have about 4 and a half more hours tomorrow.  I'm dreading getting in the car again just because I'm so sore, but the payoff at the end (family!) makes it worth it.  

Such a blessing Lana is to us!!  





First week of summer time!
posted on 06/04/2009

Summer is a real treat for us around here.  Really, it's more than a treat.  It's what helps us survive this crazy life here at seminary.  The semesters are long and hard.  Dan works full-time, goes to school full-time, Lana & I go to preschool....quality family time is hard to come by, and never in great quantities.

But Dan doesn't take classes during the summer.  Our home church sponsors us here, and that money applies only to the semesters, so we take the summer off.  The first summer, we weren't sure if that was the right thing - I contemplated working a summer job to pay for him to take classes so we could hurry up through seminary.  Dan decided against that, and since then, we've seen a HUGE benefit in us having a couple of months of downtime, with just Dan working on the weekends, and us having the week days to really invest in each other and others.  

We're a week into this summer, and it's proving to be the best one yet!!  

Tuesday was a totally relaxing day....Dan slept in after working the weekend, we all lazed around the house, ate a leisurely lunch, took a nap, and then went to our friends' house for dinner...buffalo wings....yum!  Wednesday we got up and went to the lake with friends, jet ski-ed, and had the best time.  We made it home for naps and got to play with Hollis for a little while until April got home from work.  After nap time, we went to the library to pick out new books, and then had dinner with friends.  We came home, put Lana to bed, and then I got to meet a friend for accountability and dessert.  Today we went to the Farmer's Market for produce and lunch, came home and took naps, and then our small group came over to eat dinner and hang out.  Tomorrow we're going to clean the house and do some chores in the morning, and maybe take Lana to the theater to see her first movie.  We're having friends over for dinner tomorrow night.

This week has been like a dream....better than any vacation I could imagine.

Next week  is shaping up to be just as much fun.  The next week we go to DC to work with our new church plant there, and then we head to sweet home Alabama for two weeks.  I'm just so grateful for this time we have as a family of three as we wait for Tucker's arrival....soaking up the precious time and making lots of memories. 





Feeling Tucker move
posted on 06/01/2009

This morning, Lana felt Tucker move for the first time!  He is super active late at night and in the morning, and he was really rocking and rolling this morning.  I called her into our room, and when she piled into the bed, I got her to put her hand on my belly.  When she felt him kick, her little eyes were as wide as saucers!  

Dan reached over to feel him, too, and she immediately grabbed his wrist and took his hand away.  "Everybody take their hands off Tucker!" she told us.  

She thought about it all for just a second, and then asked me if Tucker was big or little...you could tell she was trying to picture him inside my belly.  

Later that afternoon, she asked me what Tucker was doing...."Is he moving around in there, mommy?"  

Love it.  Love it all.





Praise God for no potty words!!
posted on 05/26/2009

Five years ago, if you would have told me the time I might spend talking to my two year old about not using potty words, much less PRAYING about it, I would have laughed at you.  However, such is my life these days.

When I say potty words, I don't mean curse words.  I literally mean potty words: poopy head, pooty, etc.  Lana has a friend at preschool who has introduced her to these words, and together, they find them hilarious.  

Lana is always so honest - on the way home from preschool, I'll ask her who she played with, she always names this friend, and then she usually tells us that they used potty words on the playground.  Her teacher never even has to tell us - she tells on herself!  We have talked and talked and talked about this.....about how potty words stay in the bathroom, and about how she should honor her teachers by obeying them, even when her friend is encouraging her to make foolish choices.

About a week ago, I told her that if she couldn't make wise choices with this friend, then she couldn't play with her at school.  We talked about choosing friends who help her make wise choices.  It made her so sad not to play with her best friend, but she obeyed.  Her teacher said she was so diligent about avoiding this friend all day long.  It made an impression on her, because she came home talking about how she wanted to play with her friend, so she would make wise choices from now on.

This morning on the way to school, we talked about it again.  This time we did a little role-playing, and practiced what she could say to her friend when she started using potty words.  Before we got out of the car to go into preschool, we prayed for God to help her make good choices even when it's hard.

Here's how our afternoon conversation went in the car:

Lana: Mommy, I played with my friend today at school, and she used potty words.

Rachael: She did?!  And what did you do, Lana?

L: I made wise choices and didn't use potty words!!  I did a good choice, mommy!

R: I'm so happy about that, Lana!  You honored Mommy and God by obeying.  What did you do instead of using potty words?

L: I told my friend not to those potty words, but she did it again.

R: Okay....

L: And then I told her did she want to go to time-out???  And she stopped!

We had a big celebration about how she spurred her friend on to make wise choices, and about what blessing that was.  We prayed and thanked God for answering our prayers that morning.  She was so proud to come home and tell her Daddy about her good day.

Dan & I have talked about this more than I'd like to think about, and we feel strongly that this isn't just about Lana using words like poopy-head.  It's about her tendency to follow someone who is making a choice she knows is not right.  It's the kindness of God that he's allowed us to see this in Lana at such a young age.  We pray hard about this, and talk with her often about pleasing God and not her friends.  We really are grateful that we've been allowed to see this in her, and work on discipling this area of her heart.





Life with Lana today
posted on 05/25/2009

 

Sleeping: Our big sleep training push this month has been focusing on a new wake-up routine.  She is so good about not getting out of her bed without calling us, but it had started to drive me a little nuts that as soon as she woke up, she was calling, "Mommy, come get me!" non-stop until I came in.  So I sought out wisdom from my dear friend/mentor Stephanie, and we have re-trained her in this area.  Instead of her being in charge of when she gets up, WE are in charge.  She now knows that when she wakes up, she can read books, sit quietly, or lay back down and try to sleep.  But she is not to call us - we come get her when it's time to get up.  This has made for a MUCH happier mama, and it's amazed me, but several times, she has laid back down and gone back to sleep! I think this training will pay off majorly after Tucker comes.  I know there will be times when she wakes up & I can't come right in and get her because I'm feeding or rocking or whatever.  It's so good for her to know how to wait well.

Eating: Dan & I talk all the time about what a good eater she is.  She will try anything once.  She might not like it....tomatoes are a definite reject....but she'll try a bite every time we ask her to.  I think this works for her because she knows that we won't make her eat it all, especially if she doesn't like it - we just want her to try.  She ate sushi with us for the first time a few weeks ago, and loved it!  Her favorite thing lately has been fresh pineapple.  I think she could eat an entire one if we let her!  

Talking: Her vocabulary continues to expand - she is using words like "incredible" in the correct context.  We are hearing SO MUCH parroted back to us - she was playing with her cell phone in the car today, and told us, "I need you to please be quiet while I talk to my Nana!"  Her imagination is taking off, too, and it's so fun to hear her talk about the different things that are going on in her mind.  She told me a story this afternoon about some worms who went shopping in their blue car.  They went to the grocery store and bought sugar, and poured it in their milk.  But only worms eat sugar in their milk - not people!  I could not keep the smile off my face as I listened to her.  I can't wait until she learns to write....she's going to write some fun stories.  She's also using different voices for things as she makes them talk to each other.

Discipline: The tantrums seem to have subsided, for the time being, although we'll see one every once in a while, especially if she's tired.  We continue to have to work on first-time obedience with her, but she really is eager to please and truly desires to honor us.  One of her favorite Bible stories lately has been the one about Jonah being swallowed by the big fish, and she's beginning to understand the correspondence between Jonah disobeying God and being punished, and her disobeying us and being punished.  We just continue to pray that we disciple her HEART, not just her behavior.  Dan & I have been talking a lot lately about how we don't want to neglect the TRAINING part of discipling her.  So often, we get caught up in simply addressing her misbehavior, but that is only one part of discipleship.  We want to train her well in righteousness.  No small job.

Playing: Hooray for warm weather, and a new house with lots of land to run and play on!  She is having a great time playing tee-ball out in the grass, and taking her babies for walks in their stroller down our driveway.  She plays very little with "toys," preferring instead to play with her babies or draw/color/paint on her easel.  I'm not going to discourage any of that imaginative play!  We have been trying to drastically limit her TV time.  My first trimester when I was so sick, she watched quite a bit more tv than I was really comfortable with, but it was all I knew to do.  Dan was working and at school A LOT, the weather was cold and yucky, and we were trapped inside our little apartment on campus.  I felt terrible, and so I would often let her a watch a cartoon or two each day just so I had some time to rest.  We quickly saw her become almost addicted to the thing.  It was bizarre - she was asking about it everyday, crying when we wouldn't turn it on, etc.  It amazed us how dependent she became on it so very quickly.  So with the warmer weather and a mama who feels good, there's no reason for that thing to be on - we will go days and even weeks sometimes now without turning the tv on for her, and she seldom asks for it anymore.  

 





Things I want to remember
posted on 05/25/2009

  • We spent the weekend in Dallas for Melis' wedding celebration, and Lana is still talking about the hotel, only she calls it a "show and tell." 
  • She was digging for worms with her Daddy before they went fishing a few days ago, and when she pulled up a really big one, she said, "Daddy!  Look at this joker - he's so squiqqly!"
  • Lana's two favorite Bible stories right now are the ones about Eli & Samuel, and Jonah and the big fish.  She asks me to tell them to her over and over, even though she knows them herself.  We spend most of our driving time in the car this way...me telling her Bible stories and us talking about what God wants us to learn through them.  Precious, precious time.
  • We were at B&N's train table a week or so ago, and there was only one little boy playing there.  He was NOT excited about having to share the trains....he kept pushing Lana & snatching them away from her, while his mom sat there and just watched.  I kind of hung back & watched, too - I wanted to see how she would respond.  We've talked in our family devotions about repaying evil with blessing....what a perfect opportunity to see if she "gets" it.  She just kept giving him funny looks as he pushed her around, until finally she was done.  He snatched away a train she had picked up, and she looked at him very sternly and said, "You're doing sin!"  And then she & I had a talk about forgiveness - how we are to forgive as Christ forgives us....it was interesting to watch the little boy's mom take it all in.
  • Everything right now is a "family."  From my nail polish bottles to leaves in the driveway, there is always a daddy, mommy, big sister, and a baby.  Sometimes there's a grandma, too.
  • She's still such a sensitive little girl!  If we just talk to her in a stern, no-nonsense voice, she'll often break down crying, accompanied by her wailing "Don't yell at meeeeeee!"  It's so hard not to laugh because it's nowhere close to yelling.





Our daily schedule
posted on 05/25/2009

I try to journal about Lana's general daily schedule every once in a while, so I can remember it when Tucker is her age.  Here is what her 2 and a half year old routine looks like on a day we are at home.  Preschool days are obviously quite different, as are days that Dan works.

7:00-7:30 a.m.    Wake up    It's a rare treat for her to sleep in until 8:00.  We have worked the past few weeks on teaching her a new wake-up routine.  It had gotten to the point where she would wake up and start calling for us from her bed.  After I spent some time talking with Stephanie, one of my dear friends and mentors, we have re-trained her in this.  She doesn't decide when we come get her - WE do.  So now when she wakes up, she knows that she can choose to read the books that we place on the end of her bed, lay back down and rest, or sit quietly and wait for us.  She does call if she can't wait to pee pee, but we always put her right back in her bed after and wait at least a few minutes before going to get her.  We don't want her to start using that as an excuse to get up.  Having her wait patiently for us to come to her has made for a much more pleasant wake-up time in the mornings, and after nap, and I think it's setting a good stage for after Tucker comes.  There will be times I can't run right in and get her, and she needs to be able to wait well.

8:00-9:00 a.m.  Time to play, read books, and eat breakfast.  I'm not a big breakfast eater, and usually just prefer a bowl of cereal or toast, but she & Dan LOVE big, home-cooked meals with bacon and fried eggs and grits.  Dan & I can usually make this happen on days that we stay home.

9:00-12:00     Playtime, preferably outdoors.  This is sometimes when she & Dan will go fishing, or she & I will snuggle in the hammock.  If we have errands to run, this is the time frame that we do those in because it's her "best" time.  She's just cheerful and loving life.  

12:00     Lunch, usually outside.  She loves to eat at her little picnic table, and we get so much good talking time in, too!

1:00-1:30   Lay down for nap time.  It can take her up to 45 minutes or an hour to wind down and actually go to sleep.  She'll lay in her bed and talk and sing and count her toes....it's neat to listen to her, because I'll often hear things that I'm teaching her repeated back during this time.  Her brain totally uses this time to process all the new info coming at her.

3:30-4:00  Get up from nap.  My rule of thumb is that she must be in her bed for two hours.  I really don't care how long she sleeps....I know her body will get what it needs as long as I give her those hours to rest.  She generally sleeps about an hour, and spends the rest of the time talking, singing, and reading.

4:00-6:00     Playtime and dinner preparation.  I try to let her help me prep for dinner as much as possible.  She'll play outside if we're cooking on the grill.  If I'm inside cooking, I have plastic shoeboxes full of fun activities in a closet that I will pull out and let her play with.  She doesn't have access to them all the time, so that makes them special!  She'll sit at the table, or on the floor in the kitchen with me.  I actually prefer to have her in the kitchen.  One of my favorite feelings in the world is to be chopping and mixing and cooking while she plays happily at my feet.  

6:00-6:30    Dinner time.  After dinner, we all help clean up as quickly as we can and then try to take a walk to the lake or around the fields.  It's a sweet family time for us.

7:00     Bath time

7:30     Bedtime - we read a book, say prayers, give kisses, and then scoot out so she can do her winding down before finally going to sleep.

 





Memorial Day weekend in Dallas
posted on 05/24/2009

My college roommate is like family to us....she's 'Aunt' Melis to Lana, just a huge part of our lives in so many ways.

A few weeks ago, she flew to Costa Rica and got married on the beach to Nick Bunch, a man that I am so pleased to welcome into our "family."  

For Memorial Day weekend, they had a celebratory dinner, and Melis & Nick very generously flew us into town so that we could be there for the festivities.  They arranged for us to stay at the Great Wolf Lodge just outside of Dallas: www.greatwolf.com/grapevine

You have to check it out!  It's an amazing hotel with an indoor waterpark exclusively for its guests.  We had the best time you can imagine!!!  Lana proved to be a real daredevil, spending only a little time in the "kiddie" area.  She much preferred the bigger slides - which, to be honest, I was shocked she was allowed to ride!  I'm uploading a few videos - she takes after her Daddy, for sure!

We were treated to an amazing dinner on Friday night at the GayLord Texan, and then the celebration was Saturday night at Cowboy Chow.  It was really neat...just an intimate gathering of Melissa & Nick's family and closest friends.  They shared some of their story with all of us, many of us participated with prepared readings, Dan read Scripture and prayed over them, and then we ate the yummiest dinner you can imagine!  Everything was just really tasteful and enjoyable for all of us.

The dinner on Saturday night didn't start until 7:00 p.m., which is 8:00 p.m. on Raleigh time.  We weren't sure how Lana was going to handle it, but she really did amazingly well!  She ate and played with Melissa's nephew, and enjoyed her first root beer, which I'm sure kept her powered through the night.  

We left the restaurant around 9:30, which is remarkably late for my little scheduled girl.  And then we promptly ran into the worst traffic jam ever.  Seriously, there was a 6 or 7 car pile-up, and they had the interstate completely closed down.  And to make matters worse, in our haste to leave and get Lana back to the hotel, we had forgotten to make sure she used the potty before we left.  So just as we got enmeshed in this terrible traffic jam, Lana says, "I have to go pee pee.  I have to go pee pee BAD!!!"  Oh wow.  For the next hour and a half that we sat in traffic, she cried off and on telling us how badly she needed to potty.  Because we were sitting still, we figured one of us could just hop out and let her pee on the side of the road.  No deal.  "Noooooooo!" she wailed.  "I don't pee pee in grass, I just pee pee in POTTIES!!  I need a potty!!!"  In our car at home, we carry a portable potty in the back, but there was most definitely not one in this rental car.  We were just sure she was going to have an accident in her car seat!  

So I climbed in the back with her and held her hand and told her stories and sang songs and tried to keep her mind on anything but pee pee.  An hour and a half later, we finally could get off and found a gas station.  As soon as she had used the potty, she got back in her car seat and snoozed.  We were so relieved she made it!

We seriously got back to the hotel around midnight. She slept until 8:30 this morning, we played at the water park for an hour or so before we showered and headed to the airport for our flight back to Raleigh.  She was so tired that she fell asleep on the airplane - something she hasn't done since she was a baby.

We had an amazing weekend - we can't stop talking about how much fun we had!  I've uploaded a few pics, and can't wait to see the ones the photographer took.  I'll try to upload those, too! 





Top 10 things I love about my mama
posted on 05/10/2009

 

  1. Her cookin'.  Homemade creations like you wouldn't believe: chicken & dumplings, mac & cheese, fried chicken, collard greens and cornbread....just my favorite comfort foods to the MAX!
  2. That she'll tell me the truth as she sees it without holding back - a mixed blessing for sure, but only a good mama will do that!  I know that what I see is what I get, and I LOVE that.
  3. She chose life for me, making many sacrifices to raise me.  There are no words to describe how grateful I am when I reflect on what my early years must have cost her emotionally, financially, physically, mentally.  Who I am today....that I am HERE today...I owe to her.  
  4. How her voice just sounds like HOME to me....called her today to wish her a happy day, and immediately burst into tears when she said "hello."  Wherever she is, is just home sweet home.
  5. The way she loves my little girl.  She may think I'm a nut case for some of the ways we're raising her, and she may do things that MAKE me a nut case when I'm not around, but I know she loves my little girl to pieces.  Something priceless about that.
  6. Her high heels!  Anyone who knows my mama, knows what I mean.  I just love that it's totally her.  I can't try on a pair of heels without thinking of her!  
  7. That she taught me to write thank you notes.  This is a lost art, and every time I put pen to paper to send someone a handwritten note, I'm thankful that my mama insisted I do this from the time I could write.  Good manners are hard to come by, and any that I have are because of her! 
  8. That she married my step-dad!!  Billy is such a wonderful part of our lives, and I got an amazing sister in the deal, too.  We're so fortunate that they chose each other!  It all just feels like family when we're together, even the fighting!  (wink, wink)
  9. How she's changed over the years, and in that, how she's taught me by example how to forgive, let go, relax....it makes me so proud to see that she's not stuck in who she was yesterday, so I don't have to be, either.
  10. That she's mine!  I've come to a point in my life where I realize that it's a compliment when someone tells me that I'm just like my mother.  Mama, I am so grateful for all the sacrifices you have made over the years to love me well.  You are one of a kind, and I mean that in the best way possible!  I love you so very much.  Happy Mother's Day!

 





Top 10 things I love about my mom-in-love, Mrs. Karon
posted on 05/10/2009

 

  1. Her willingness to HELP - she will sacrifice her own time, money, and energy to do things that will benefit her children and grandchildren, not to mention extended family & friends, expecting nothing in return.
  2. That she'll e-mail me even though she would rather talk on the phone Laughing
  3. She's just so beautiful, and I see so many of her physical features in my Lana....those pretty eyes, gorgeous cheekbones....I smile every time I catch a glimpse of her in my daughter.
  4. The trips that she makes to come visit us 12 hours a way several times a year....we know they cost her much in terms of time and efficiency at work, but they mean so much!  So grateful that she wants to be a part of our world here.
  5. Her curtain-making ability.  I mean, seriously, have you checked out the custom draperies in my home that she & my sister-in-law made?  Amazing!!!
  6. The packages that come oh-so-regularly for Lana, and that often include a surprise or goody for us!  Makes home seem not quite so far away.
  7. The incredible job she did raising my husband.  I am married to the kindest, most selfless, hardest working man you know.  He is my greatest earthly treasure, and I am reaping the benefits of all the hard work she put in years before I ever knew him.  I am so grateful.
  8. The smocked dresses she buys Lana.  I know it seems superficial, but it's SUCH a treat for this mama's heart!  We would never be able to afford to buy those beautiful outfits on our seminary budget, so every time I put Lana in a smocked dress (always purchased by Nana), I'm so thankful for her good taste, and for how she loves my little girl!
  9.  Floating around the pool at the condo in Orange Beach with her might be one of my favorite things in the whole wide world.  Sadly, we have gotten to do this very little since we moved to NC, and I miss it like crazy!!  Wish I could spend every Saturday there with her.
  10. That she loves me so much that she's stuck with me the past 7 years as we've forged a unique relationship all our very own.  We are two very strong, opinionated women, and it's taken work and love and forgiveness and laughter and understanding, but we've come to this place where we both know that we love each other dearly and would do anything for each other.  Now THAT'S family.  Happy Mother's Day, Mrs. Karon!  I love you very much. 

 





Family night - Art After Hours
posted on 05/08/2009

What a fun family night this turned out to be!  The second Friday night of every month is Art After Hours in downtown Wake Forest, so we thought that after two and a half years here, we'd go wander around and see what was going on.

We ate an early dinner at Las Margaritas, and then walked through some of the downtown shops.  I found a cute maternity shirt at the thrift store, and a dress for Lana to wear next year.  We picked up a gift for a friend, played with rocks, danced in bubbles, and just enjoyed being out in the nice weather.  

We stopped for ice cream at Wake Forest Coffee Company, and then came upon FREE horse and carriage rides!!  The City of Wake Forest pays for them to give rides during Art After Hours - what a fun treat!!  I was so disappointed that I forgot my camera.  Lana loved it!  

There was live music in the gazebo, and when we stopped to listen, the musicians played a few children's songs for Lana....Twinkle, Twinkle, and Wheels on the Bus.  We ran into our friends the Carson's and Lana & Laney danced and played together for a while before we had to head home for baths and bed.

It was getting really busy around the time we left (7:15 or so), so we'll definitely continue to go early.  We love Art After Hours!  Pictures next time....





23 weeks
posted on 05/06/2009

Today I am 23 weeks pregnant with Tucker, and I can't believe that this pregnancy is more than halfway over!  I LOVE being pregnant....even the yucky parts.  Childbirth...well, that's not so much my favorite thing, but we're hopeful this time will be easier.

He is still very low; I'm carrying him very differently than I did Lana.  She was high and basically in my ribs the whole time.  He is super low, near my hips.  Because of how low I'm carrying him, sometimes you can't even tell I'm pregnant, especially when I'm sitting.  I can't tell you how many times I've had people express surprise at how far along I am or that I'm even pregnant at all!  The OB assured me today that I'm measuring right on target, though.  So funny how pregnancies can be so different!

I am not feeling him a lot yet during the day...I usually feel him at night when I get still, but it's not strong enough for Dan or Lana to feel him yet.  I was a little concerned about this, as some friends who are also pregnant have mentioned feeling their babies a LOT, but when Dr. Campbell listened to Tucker's heartbeat, he laughed out loud!  His response was, "You better be glad you're not feeling him a lot yet, because when you do, you won't sleep again.  This little guy is EVERYWHERE!"  

I've gained about 12 pounds, and am perfectly healthy in every other way.  The OBs at my new practice are waiting on all my paperwork and are going to have a round table about my delivery with Lana so everyone is on the same page.  They are not alarmed about it at all, but just want everyone to be aware of the situation.  They have some interesting theories about why and what happened with Lana, and want to have a game plan about Tucker's delivery.  Very reassuring.  





05/03/2009

Sleeping: Bedtime is still 8:00 p.m., but here lately, it sometimes takes her until 8:30 or 9:00 to fall asleep.  She sings, puts her babies to bed, talks about her day, etc. until she drifts off.  It kind of bothered me for a while, but then I realized that Dan & I both do things to wind down: I have to read, he likes to watch TV, and evidently Lana has to talk to herself.  J  She wakes up sometime between 7:00 and 8:00 in the morning, and takes an afternoon nap that lasts between 1 and 2 hours (although she stays in her bed at least 2 hours). 

Eating: We hear all the time what a good eater Lana is.  I don’t mean that she always eats a lot in quantity – often she eats like a bird.  I think that’s just part of being a toddler.  What I mean is that she eats a wide variety of foods: there’s nothing she won’t try and very little she rejects.  The only two things I can think of that she really doesn’t like is green olives and tomatoes.  It’s really a pleasure to cook for her or to take her out to eat because she just likes so much!  Her favorite right now is broccoli, particularly the stalks.  She tried boiled crawfish recently, and loves it.  We’ve talked some about why we think she’s a good eater, and what we’ll do with Tucker to encourage him to eat well, too.  From the time she was a newborn, we included her in family meal time.  Whether she was in her bouncy seat, Bumbo, or eventually her high chair, we put her with us at the table and included her in the conversation.  When she began to eat solid foods, we gave her whatever we were eating: perhaps pureed or chopped in tiny bites, but seasoned and cooked the same way.  We never cook a separate meal for her – she eats what we eat.  If she chooses not to, we know she won’t starve: the next meal is just a few hours away!  I try to cook healthy, well-balanced meals so that even if there is one thing on her plate she doesn’t like, there are several other good choices.  We never force her to eat anything, only insist that she try one bite.  If she tries it and doesn’t like it, our response is always something like: “That’s okay.  You might change your mind when you’re bigger.  Thank you for giving it a try!”  We don’t battle food with a two year old.  If, for some reason, we see a pattern of her not eating well at mealtime, we immediately evaluate her snacking habits, and will usually eliminate snacks entirely for a while.  We don’t want her to graze all day – we want her to eat well at mealtime.

Talking: I love watching her little personality emerge.  Some of my favorite things she’s said lately:

*Dan took us to have Dippin’ Dots, and she called them “Polka Dots.”  She kept saying, “I love to eat those polka dots!”

*She says “with” instead of “if.”  “I’ll hold it with you want me to.”  “With you need it, you just tell me.” 

*Lana fell & impacted her front two teeth pretty badly, to the point that she couldn’t eat much solid food.  Dan went to the store to get her some soft things like yogurt, grits, and soup.  When he asked her what kind of soup she wanted, she told him that she wanted “sick soup.”  She meant chicken noodle!  The first time she had it was when she was sick with a stomach virus.  She also calls Gatorade “sick juice.”

*We were all in the living room together, Dan & I were talking about something, and we heard Lana say from across the room, “Excuse me!”  When I asked her what she needed, she said, “Oh, I was just saying excuse me to my body!  I pooted.”

*We were swimming in the pool, and PawPaw explained the “No Diving” sign to her…you know, the guy diving with a big red circle around him and a line through it….the universal no sign.  A few days later, she & Dan were in the restroom at a restaurant, and as she sat on the potty, she said, “No diving, Daddy.”  Thinking that she was just remembering the pool, he said, “That’s right, Lana.  We can’t dive in the pool at the condo because it’s too shallow.”  “No Daddy!  No diving in this bathroom!”  He couldn’t figure out what she was talking about until she pointed out the no smoking sign on the door of the restroom.

Discipline: As I’ve been reading and praying about this all-consuming time in my life of discipling Lana (and soon, Tucker), the Lord has been using a couple of passages from Proverbs to train my heart about WHY consistency in important in disciplining Lana. 

Proverbs 29:17 says, “Discipline your son, and he will give you peace; he will bring delight to your soul.”  Who doesn’t want their children to be a source of peace and delight??  And why are there times when I don’t feel that peace and delight?  As I reflect on the times when I’m not delighting in Lana, it can often be retraced to a lack of discipline on my part….an area where I have not been consistent in training her.  Perhaps I’ve slacked off, maybe I’ve started making excuses for her behavior, but it usually has something to do with an area that I’ve begun to overlook.  Thus, she isn’t disciplined well, she is NOT delightful, and I’m not peaceful.  Hmm. 

After chewing on THAT a while, I took the time to read through those other verses in Proverbs 29, and God REALLY got my attention with this one:

Proverbs 29:15 “The rod of correction imparts wisdom, but a child left to himself disgraces his mother.”  

That “left to himself” part really got me.  I don’t ever leave Lana alone.  Not in the bathtub while I run to answer the phone, not in the car while I dart inside the store, not in the pool while I go to get a drink, nada.  Her safety is too important to me.  She’s so young, and it’s my job to keep her safe.  I’m vigilant about watching over her. 

So why would I EVER neglect to discipline her consistently?  Why would I leave her alone in her sin??  That’s what it is, I’ve come to realize.  When I’m not consistent, I’m leaving her alone in her sin.  I’m disgracing myself. 

This whole discipline deal, I’m learning, is not for the faint of heart.  It’s hard work, and at the end of the day, I’m just so glad I can run back to the Cross for more grace.  I can’t do this alone.

Playing: Dan & I regularly sit down and have a “state of the family” talk.  This includes talking about Lana’s strengths, and her “weaknesses,” or the areas in which she needs to be discipled.  One of the areas that Lana struggled is the ability to play by herself.  She’s just high needs in this way.  She might play with her babies or puzzles or blocks independently, but she wants to be in the same room with me.  She wakes up in the morning asking us to play with her, read to her, just BE with her.  I really do love this….she’s my sidekick, and I don’t mind doing everything together.  But I do want her to be content to be alone, too.  Part of this, I truly believe, is just how the Lord made her.  She loves to interact with us and talk, and she just enjoys people.  She’s definitely not a loner.  But I’m working to develop her ability to be alone.  I can’t wait to see how Tucker’s littler personality is similar or different than hers in this area!  





C'mon over!!
posted on 04/27/2009

For the past couple of years, I seemed to have struggled with hospitality.  It isn't that I don't LIKE people or want to hang out with them, I just got caught up in all the details of having company come over....wanted the house to be clean, smell good, have things for the kids to do, an "impressive" meal (on a budget, too!), etc.  By the time I got done thinking about planning to invite someone, I was worn out and just wanted to cancel the whole deal!  

Complicating the whole matter is that I'm a closet introvert.  I do love being around people, but I MUST have time alone to recharge.  I find I need time to read, rest, pray, write, etc. in order to have energy to give to others.  This surprises lots of people who think I'm a total extrovert, but by definition, extroverts are ENERGIZED by being with others.  While I enjoy it, that's definitely not me.  Dan says that I have an "innie-outie personality."  Terribly true.

All that to say that the Lord has spent the past year or so really working on my heart in this area.  I want to be unselfish with my time, while at the same time setting up good, healthy boundaries for our family.  Through the sweet encouragement and accountability of the women in my small group, I've been learning over the past year to just DO LIFE with people.  It doesn't have to be perfect or even look perfect....people just want to come hang out.  

Well, since moving to this house, it has TOTALLY, COMPLETELY blown me away how much differently I feel.  I am craving having people over, and we have had friends and/or family over almost every day since we've moved here.  Instead of being draining to me, I've loved it!!!  What an amazing gift from the Lord.  

I think it helps that there's ROOM here to have people over.  A playroom for the kids to play, room for everyone to hang out in the living room, a table big enough to seat everyone, lots of room outside for playing and eating and running and fishing....it's just enjoyable to hang out here.

I think it's also helped to be away from people.  We loved our time on campus - please hear me say that.  We made some of our dearest friends...relationships that we will cherish for our lifetime.  But here's the truth of it - I couldn't walk to the mailbox without having 3 conversations on the way.  As soon as I stepped out my door (front or back), I was surrounded by people.  There was no opportunity for quiet or solitude to read or pray.  Ever. This has its positive points (I was never lonely and Lana always had a playmate), for sure.  But now that I have the opportunity to be alone sometimes, my heart is moved toward seeking out time with others.  

This is yet another wonderful blessing that has come from this move....a blessing I could not have anticipated, but am so grateful for.  Not only am I enjoying having people in my home now, but my sweet husband is honored in this.  He LOVES having company - our house would be full from daylight to dark if it were up to him.  It's so neat to be able to honor him happily this way....just a blessing for both of this.

So....all that to say...come over!!!  We'd love to have you.  For a few hours, for the afternoon or evening, for a few days and nights....we want you to visit.  





Funnies
posted on 04/27/2009

  • Since I've been pregnant, Lana has insisted that she has a baby in her tummy.  His name is John Three (we were memorizing John 3:16 when this began).  She talks about when he "grows out" and asks me to buy things for him.  Well, today he grew out!!  She picked up one of her baby dolls and said, "Hey, mommy, this is John Three!  Tell him hello!"
  • Then she picked up another baby and said, "This is Kate.  You know, like Josh & Jacelyn have that Kate.  Now I have a Kate, too."  So we have John & Kate.
  • The other day, Lana had done something I asked her not to.  I got down on her level and asked her if she made a wise or a foolish choice.  "A foolish one, cause I disobeyed."  "What does God tell Mommy to do if you disobey, Lana?" I asked her.  She thought for a long second, and replied, 'Well, spank me, BUT you could give me some of that grace!"  We've spent so much time lately learning about Jesus, the cross, and the grace that we have received - how could I tell her no?
  • Yesterday afternoon, I got frustrated and made a growly noise and banged my hand on the doorframe of her room.  Immediately, I realized my mistake, and knelt down in front of her.  I told her I was sorry, and that to have a bad attitude like that was wrong...instead, I should have an attitude of gratitude. I asked her to forgive me.  She put those little arms around my neck and told me that she forgave me, and then said, "You had a bad attitude like I had a bad attitude with Daddy at nap time.  That's sin, Mommy."





I AM a hypocrite.
posted on 04/22/2009

Usually this website is focused on Lana, and the things going on in our family as a whole.  However, I have to share with you what the Lord is doing in my life....

Recently, someone called me a hypocrite.  My first instinct was to defend and explain myself.  However, upon reflection of myself and the Cross, I came to realize: I AM a hypocrite.  And not only that - I am worse.  Much worse.  My heart is wretched above all things.  You have no idea how terrible I really am.  I cannot defend myself again that accusation of hypocrisy, or any others.  My only defense is in Christ and the work He did on the cross.  My hypocrisy and sinfulness only make me that much more grateful for the grace and mercy of salvation.  

Although the circumstances that surrounded this situation were painful, it's purely the kindness of God that made something beautiful from it...that led me to repentance in this area, that has revealed to me the depth of my sin of pride.

Obviously my prayer life and Bible study have been focused on this lately.

Today, on the way to the zoo, Dan let me listen to a recent chapel sermon given by Mark Driscoll.  The title is 9 Distinctions between the Gospel and Religion.  I've posted it in the video section, or you can listen here:

http://www.sebts.edu/news-resources/multimedia.aspx?type=chapel&Vid=72

My friends, I could not have been more mortified as I rode in the car with my family and sat under deep conviction.  EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. of the 9 points that Driscoll made applied to me.  I have made religion my gospel.  I have cheapened the power of the work that Christ did on the cross.  Perhaps this is because I was raised in the Bible belt, perhaps it's because my spiritual gifts lend me toward this, but most probably it's simply because I'm a sinner.

After the sermon was over, Dan wanted to listen to another, and I begged him to just let me have a break.  I was literally breathless with how far away I am from the gospel.  Hebrews 12:11 says, "No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful.  Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it."  

This is PAINFUL, but I am just so grateful for the kindness of my Father.  Hebrews 12:6 says, "The Lord disciplines those He loves, and He punishes those He accepts as a son."  

Please listen to this sermon....no matter what your perspective on religion or the gospel, I am certain you will be impacted by it in some way.





A visit from PawPaw, Nana, Aunt Kenzie, and Noah
posted on 04/21/2009

Brother, Janika, and Jake left on Friday night, and Sunday afternoon, Nana, PawPaw, Aunt Kenzie, and Noah arrived!!  What a blessing to have family here for almost two weeks!  We were spoiled rotten.

They helped us clean out the old apartment, put up our gorgeous new curtains, deep clean the new house, paint a table for Lana's room, and a myriad of other projects.  We could not have gotten moved in to the point that we are without them.  They also treated us to dinner at the Angus Barn - always such an indulgence!  : )  We made a little time for play, going strawberry picking and to play at the mall.  We squeezed in a breakfast at the Border, too.  

Noah & Lana played so well together, and Aunt Kenzie was the resident nanny while the rest of us ran around with our heads cut off.  It was funny to watch Lana "mother" Noah because he's younger.  Most of the time it was really very sweet to watch her take care of him, but other times she wanted him to do things a certain way, and if he didn't, she'd try to do it for him.  We had to remind her that he wasn't a baby!!  It made me excited to see the bond that she and Tucker will have.

The time really did fly by, and we were so sad to see them go.     





Poll results: what will Lana think of her new room & bed?
posted on 04/21/2009

What will Lana think of her new room and bed?
She'll hate it and cry for days. 0%
She'll cry the first night, but will be fine after that. 0%
She'll love it! 73%
She'll like it, but keep asking to move back "home." 27%
Total votes: 11

You guys were so right - she LOVES her new room and bed!  I thought we'd have some transition issues with so much change going on, but my girl didn't miss a beat.  When she got up to potty one time in the middle of the night, she told Dan, "I love to move to new houses!"  

She wasn't even upset about all her old furniture being in Tucker's nursery.  The only complaint she had was the lack of a rocking chair in her new room....she asked every night for us to rock her, so finally we picked up an outdoor rocker from Rolesville Furniture.  We figure we can use it outside once she is done with it.  In the meantime, we'll rock her as long as she'll let us!





Pictures of the new house
posted on 04/18/2009

Here is a link to house pics:

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=79783&id=592827895&l=9d2ef08766





A visit from Bro, Nik, and Jake....and moving!
posted on 04/10/2009

What a wonderfully busy Spring/Easter break we've had!!

Part of Dan's family came in for the week: Uncle Bro, Aunt Nika, and cousin Jake!  What a fun treat to see them!  And they have been so very much help moving.

They arrived on Monday afternoon, so we took a break from packing and had burgers at Five Guys before continuing to pack late into the night.

On Tuesday, we picked up Lana's bed and dresser, and our new kitchen table from my friend Janine's house, and took it all to the new house.  Dan and his brother put Lana's new furniture together while Janika and I cleaned the house.  We are SO GLAD that we did all of that on Tuesday and got it out of the way!  It took us the whole day, but it sure paid off on moving day. 

Tuesday night around 5:30, Dan went and got the moving truck.  He and Brother, along with a few neighbors, loaded the truck almost halfway that night.  We got started bright and early on Wednesday morning, and had lots of help.  We are so fortunate to be a part of the Body...grateful for the way they use their gifts for His glory and our good.  

 

Wednesday was just slammed full of moving and moving and moving.  It took us all day.  Our little townhouse was like a clown car - stuff just kept coming out of the attic and shed and storage nooks.  We had no idea how much stuff we really had!

We unpacked as much as we could Wednesday night before we all just passed out.  Thankfully, there were beds set up so everyone could sleep.  

Thursday morning, Brother and Janika took Lana & Jake to the Kazoom puppet theater so Dan & I could have a few hours to unpack.  They came home around lunchtime and helped us get some more things done before treating us to a delicious dinner at the Cheesecake Factory. By Thursday night we had the majority of the house unpacked and put away.  Tdday we took some time to play!  We took the kids to Marbles and had lunch at Roly Poly before coming home for naptime.  They will leave tonight around bedtime to drive at least part of the way home.  We just could not be more grateful for their help this week!  I cannot imagine how we would have done it without them.

And on top of all that fun and excitement, PawPaw, Nana, Aunt Kenzie, and Noah will arrive Sunday afternoon to stay for a week!  We'll have to detox Lana after everyone leaves - she won't know what to do with herself!

Pictures coming soon of moving week and the new house!  Nana and Aunt Kenzie made lots of curtains for us, so we'll take pics after those are up.

Lana has done so well with this move....much better than my most optimistic expectations, in spite of the fact that I think she's getting sick.  Having Jake to play with has kept her busy, of course, and she's just loving the new house!  She woke up last night to use the bathroom, and in her sleepiest little voice told Dan, "Daddy, I love moving to new houses."  So sweet.  She loves her new bed, too.  Naps have been much shorter, but that's what happened when we transitioned from a crib to a toddler bed, too.  It'll get back to normal before long.  Such an answer to prayer!

And this house....oh, this house.  So many wonderful things about it that we love: all the land, the windows that let in so much sunshine, the peacefulness, the pond to fish in, all the SPACE....such an undeserved gift. 

 





It's a boy!! **Tucker Philip Davis**
posted on 04/01/2009

Somehow, I have just KNOWN for months that we were having a boy.  When the doctor told us, I wasn't even really surprised....delighted, ecstatic, but not surprised.  It was like he was telling me something I already knew.  So fun!  Dan cried, which was my very favorite part.  His sheer joy in seeing his son was one of the best feelings I've ever experienced.  

For weeks, Lana has been insisting that she wanted a baby brother.  We kept reminding her that God could give us either one, and that we would be happy no matter what.  Even in the waiting room of the doctor's office, she predicted boy.  And in typical two year old style, when the doctor told us it was a boy, she said, "Well, I want to see a girl!!"  Talk about a mind of her own!  I'm so looking forward to the big sister she will be.  

His name is Tucker Philip Davis.  We just love Tucker, and we are giving him Dan's middle name.  Lana got my middle name as her own, and Tucker will have Dan's.  

He is developing right on track, and is beautiful and healthy.  The doctor saw two "bright spots" on his heart that he noted.  He said these bright spots appear in the hearts of 4-5% of all fetuses, and for years, doctors just ignored them as anomalies.  However, a few years ago, researchers noticed that these bright spots appeared in the hearts of 20% of children who had Down's syndrome.  The doctor checked several other places on Tucker's body, and there are no other markers or signs of Down's.  At this point, we are not concerned in the least about this, and will be doing no further testing.  My mother's instinct really does tell me that this is nothing.  

SO....a boy!!  All you mama's with sons, I covet your advice and encouragement and hand-me-downs!  Laughing

We can't get over the great favor that God has shown us, and it has nothing to do with expecting a boy. It wouldn't have mattered.....the fact that the Creator of the universe and our children has entrusted us with the care of two souls is nearly overwhelming. Our blessings are too great to number, and we are thrilled to count Tucker among those blessings. My prayer for him today is that he will love his father's God all the days of his life.





Lana time!
posted on 03/23/2009

Just a few of the fun things that Lana has been saying/doing lately:

  • I was changing her clothes the other day, and she looked up at me with the funniest expression on her face.  "It's in me, Mommy!!  It's in me!!"  "What's in you, baby?"  I couldn't figure out WHAT she was talking about!  "It's IN ME!!"  "What's in you?!?"  "My panties!!"  She had a wedgie, and could not figure out what the problem was!
  • At lunch one day, a grape fell into her potato salad.  She gingerly picked it up, held it out to me, and said, "I DEFINITELY don't want this one!"  We rolled with laughter....she sounded just like me!
  • As we were leaving the playground one afternoon, Lana started to whine and fuss.  Her hand in mine, I talked with her as we walked toward our house about how it makes it hard for me to want to bring her to the playground when she has a bad attitude.  She looked up at me, so sincere.... "I'll have a better attitude next time, Mommy!"
  • Lana has started imitating us reading the Bible. I was pushing the buggy through a store, and she opened her Bible: "I John 620, chapter Peter," she said, in the most authoritative little voice.  People around us couldn't help but giggle.
  • She has started praying the most wonderful, sincere prayers.  If she sees a child crying or hurt, her first inclination is always to pray for them.  Every weekend night when Daddy is working, she prays for him and his friends.  "Dear God, please help Daddy and his friends to have fun at work and to be kind to each other.  Keep them safe and help them obey!" 
  • Saturday morning, Dan took Lana on a date.  They went to Jumping Beans and then had lunch together at Ziggy's.  Later that night, I asked her about her date, and she said, "It wasn't just a date, Mommy!  Daddy took me to a PARTY date!"
  • She has a pair of pink Mary Jane Crocs that are too small for her....I think they were the first pair that Sue Sue ever bought for her.  (Sue Sue and Baloo KEEP Lana in Crocs, thank the Lord!)  Anyway, I was packing up some of her shoes that are too small to make room for the new ones, and she pulled out those Crocs and said, "These are for my new baby to wear!" I don't know what we'll do if we have a little boy - he might just have to wear those pink Crocs!





17 weeks
posted on 03/23/2009

I am almost 17 weeks pregnant now - nearly halfway done!  It's incredible how fast this pregnancy is going by.  I guess I'm staying so busy with a preschooler that it's just flying by.

The nausea is completely gone, although I don't know if I'll EVER not be tired again.  i feel like I could sleep all the time.  Dan has been SO gracious to let me sleep as often as I can.  I try to sleep in a little on Wednesday mornings when I can, and he lets me stretch out naptime sometimes by getting Lana up and starting dinner.  He's so good to us.

I experienced some really bad back pain a few weeks ago - one day, it was literally paralyzing.  I couldn't get out of the bed, and had to call in to work.  The doctor recommended Tylenol and lots of wet heat - it helped, but the pain came and went.  I had never experienced anything like that with Lana, so it was shocking to me.  And then, after a week or so, it went away.  My belly popped out quite a bit, and my back quit hurting.  Crazy!  

My cravings are mostly over, although I have not wanted to eat ANY meat lately.  Funny, I have been so sure that I'm having a boy up until now, but this aversion to meat is exactly how I felt with Lana, so maybe it's a little girl after all.  Either way, we are just so happy to be having this addition to our family.





House for rent
posted on 03/07/2009

We're moving!!  Suddenly, and way out of left field, the Lord has yet again given us the desires of our hearts....more than we could ask for or imagine.  

Here's the story: we have some friends who have been renting a house for the past few years, and every time we've been to their house, we tell them that whenever they want to move out, we want to move in. It's an older house but built really well and in CRAZY good condition. It's about 1500 square feet, 3 bedrooms, one bath, an office/playroom, a storage shed, a covered carport, beautiful trees (cherry blossom!), is on about 25 acres of land, has a big pond stocked with fish, the owner plants a huge garden with fresh fruits and veggies (corn, tomatoes, peaches, pears, etc.) that he gives away. (This is a HUGE plus for me!!! I love fresh fruits and veggies!!!)

Well....our friends are buying a house, and they recommended us to the landlord! Dan has met him, and they have a gentleman's agreement - it's basically a done deal!  Mr. Brown is a wonderful man - just the kind of person you want to rent from.  He's in his 80's, and has lived in the area his whole life. He and his wife actually lived in the house we are going to rent for nearly 30 years!!  

The rent is about $15 less than we pay per month to live on campus. It's well water, so no water bill. They do have propane heat which will cost us more during the winter, but we went and talked to our friends who live there now, and they showed us how to save on that. When Dan talked to Mr. Brown, he said that he had thought about raising rent because of rising property taxes, but he just loves seminary students, and he'd rather collect a little less rent from tenants that he knows are trustworthy.

It's about 3 miles away from campus. A little further out from town than is "ideal," but for the price and condition, it can't be beat. We know - we've been looking.

Our friends are closing on their new house on the 31, and will move out April 4-6 - we'll move in the last half of that week. It's Easter break, which works out perfectly for Dan. Brother, Janika, and Jake had already planned on coming to visit us that week, so they're still going to just come on up and help us move - how wonderful!!  Obviously things could still fall through - if our friends don't move into their new house, then we don't move into this rental house.  But their home inspection has been done, and their loan has been pre-approved - now we're just waiting!

We found a really nice futon on craigslist to put in the office, so there's a place for you to sleep when you come visit us!!  We bought a farmhouse kitchen table at an antique store today, and are busy looking for a trundle bed for Lana's new room so her bed can go in the nursery.  We are just so excited about having room for our growing family, and even more - having room to invite people over!  For our family to come visit, for our small group to meet, for friends to come to dinner...

God's hand is just so evident in this. We talked to the housing department, and there is going to be no trouble with us getting out of our lease. He's just clearing the path for this to happen, and we couldn't be more grateful. We have LOVED our time on campus, really we have, but this is just such a good move for us with new baby coming.  And the abundance is just overwhelming to us - it's not only a rental house, which alone we would be grateful for, but all of the other sweet gifts that go along with it - the acreage, the fruits and veggies, the pondfor fishing...it's just more than we could have hoped for!  I'm uploading a few pics of the outside that my friend Ashley took when it snowed....





Kazoom Puppet Theater
posted on 03/04/2009

Today for our family day, we went to Kazoom Puppet Theater in downtown Raleigh.  Every month the theater features a different show, and this month's was Farm Animals.  The show is full of songs and always includes a story.

The last time we visited Kazoom, Dan and our friend Dustin ended up on the stage as the "Crab Daddies."  Well, they remembered Dan, and he got a part as a pig in the story of the Three Little Pigs - he was the cowboy pig.  They brought Lana on the stage too and asked her if she'd like to be a princess or a construction worker pig.  She said she wanted to be a pig!  After just a few minutes, though, she changed her mind and said she wanted to be a princess pig.  They are so wonderful - they added a tiara and skirt, and pronounced her a princess construction worker pig.  

She repeated her lines so well - seated safely on Daddy's lap, of course!  This was big time for her, though.  Lana's much more of an observer...she doesn't like to be the center of attention, especially in an unfamiliar setting.  We were so proud of her for doing her part!

She & Dan danced and took a bow when it was done....they were adorable together.  He's such a good Daddy - what wonderful memories we make because he's a kid at heart!  Lana is so fortunate to have Dan as her Daddy....I wonder if she'll ever realize what a gift she has in him.

If you live in the Raleigh area, this is such a fun thing to do with your kids!  It's most appealing to ages 2-6, and it costs $4 per person.  It's very family friendly - crying babies and nursing mothers are welcome.  A tip: the beginning of the month is MUCH less crowded than the end of the month, so your child is almost guaranteed a spot on the stage; however, if you end up being the only person there, they won't do the show for just one family, so you run the risk of driving that whole way for a cancelled show.  The end of the month is jam-packed - sometimes standing room only!  It makes for a really fun, bustling show, but not all the kids get parts.  Check out their website: 

http://www.carolinapuppets.com/kazoom/index.php

After we left Kazoom, we stopped at a Chinese buffet called Crystal Palace that Dan's been dying to try.  I usually have no interest in buffets...they make me nauseous just looking at all the piles of food...gag.  But I'll tell you, this one was very clean and the food was really, really fresh.  The selection was amazing.  I enjoyed it!  Dan loved it, and Lana thought the chicken on a stick was the best.

I just uploaded lots of pictures and videos from our fun day.





Life with Lana today
posted on 02/28/2009

 

Sleeping: Lana's sleeping has worked itself out this month.  She's sleeping 11 hours a night (8:30 p.m. to 7:30 a.m.), and napping for an hour and a half, almost on the dot.  The general guidelines for sleep say 2 year olds need 10-12 hours of sleep per 24 hour period, which she's getting, so I can't complain.  However, I'd like naptime to be longer than an hour and a half.  So we've started having "quiet time."  When she wakes up after an hour and a half, I go in and give her a lap tray with books and puzzles that she can do in her bed.  I turn on soft classical music, and let her have some quiet time in her bed for another 30-45 minutes.  I'm hopeful that this will establish a good habit for when she does eventually quit napping.  We'll ALWAYS have a quiet time.

Eating: It makes me laugh how sporadic her eating is!!  Some days she'll eat us out of house and home, and then other days, she just picks like a bird.  I try to look at what she eats over the course of a week, instead of worrying about those days when she just eats a little.  

Talking: Dan and I have been cracking up lately at how she's trying to figure out the grammar of the English language.  When her molars were coming in, I would give her Motrin, and she would say, "This medicine is not going to help my teeth hurt."  Today Dan was carrying her to the car under the umbrella and she told me, "Daddy is not helping me stay wet!"  So funny! 

Discipline: Whew!!  This has been a tough month for us on this front.  Every few days or so, she'll decide to assert her will in the form of tantrums.  I don't even know if tantrum is the right word for it - it's like she loses her mind!!  We'll tell her no or ask her to do something, and she'll just freak out.  Screaming, throwing herself down on the floor, running from us, etc.  WHAT?!?  This is just so out of the blue.  One of our friends reminded us that this is totally normal, though - she wants to run the house.  She wants to be in charge.  And it's our job to not let her be.  What a battle!!  We're having to work and pray hard to be patient and consistent, trusting God's Word that our hard work now will yield a "harvest of righteousness."  The Scripture that I pray over her nightly is Philippians 1:6: "Being confident of this, that He Who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."

Playing: We're ready for some warmer weather!  You can tell that she's getting serious cabin fever - bored with her toys, tired of coloring, asking to watch movies out of sheer boredom - just wanting to get outside and run around!!  We had a day or two of warmer weather last week, and she could not wait to play baseball and do sidewalk chalk and just be outside!  


 





Life with Lana today
posted on 02/28/2009

Sleeping: We've got such a good sleeper.  Although she doesn't take marathon naps, she does still nap, and her nighttime sleep is amazing.  She puts herself to sleep well, and sleeps 11-12 hours per night without waking, unless it's to go to the potty (which at 4 months pregnant, I understand!).  Thinking ahead to our next one, we're trying hard right now to remember how we got here, while keeping in mind that each child is just different.  We're hopeful that baby #2 sleeps as well as Lana does!

Eating: Some of her favorites this month have been marinated cucumbers, blueberry waffles, pickled okra, strawberries, burritos, and as always....chicken!  This month we started doing "Muffin Tin Mondays," where I serve her lunch or dinner in a muffin tin on Mondays.  It's lots of fun.  She's so great to try new things....we never force her to eat something, just insist that she try a bite. 

Talking: She's begun asking the "why" questions.  : )  So funny!  There are times that we just can't explain enough.  She can quote John 3:16 and Ephesians 2:8, knows all of her letters and sounds, prays so sweetly and sincerely, and loves to "read" to her babies.  It will be interesting to me to see how her advanced verbal skills affect her little brother or sister.  It will either help s/he be an early talker because of her excellent example, or s/he will be a late talker because Lana will do all the talking for them!

Discipline: In Matthew 23:27, Jesus is talking to the Pharisees, and he says, "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness."  With my educational background in behavior management, I know how to manipulate children's behavior so that it "appears beautiful," but that is no guarantee of a heart change.  Our prayer during this season of discipling Lana is that we don't create a whitewashed tomb.  We are after her heart....we want it to be full of life and a desire to honor the Lord.  

We are in the throes of the twos or threes or whatever age it is when they are so full of life and laughter, and then a few minutes out of every day, they act as if they are possessed and pitch fits and throw tantrums and act generally like they've lost their minds.  We've found, of course, that she's more likely to act out if she's hungry and/or tired, but for her, it's closely tied to needing/wanting our attention.  Her love language is definitely "quality time."  Lana just wants you to BE with her....talk and play and interact with her.  When we are busy or distracted for extended periods, we are almost asking for a tantrum.

Playing: As always, Lana has been playing with her babies a lot.  Her imagination is starting to take off.  She says that she has a baby in her tummy, and his name is John.  If you ask her what his last name is, she says, "John 3."  We'll be eating dinner, and suddenly she'll say, "I hear my baby crying!" and have to go take care of them.  Silliness.  Books are another staple....our trips to the library have become even more fun as she picks out the ones that she finds interesting.  We ordered her a Rainbow Fish matching game, and she plays with it every single day.  Playdough, fingerpainting...she's just loving all those fun, typical two year old activities.






Life with Lana today
posted on 02/25/2009

 

Sleeping: Our big sleep training push this month has been focusing on a new wake-up routine.  She is so good about not getting out of her bed without calling us, but it had started to drive me a little nuts that as soon as she woke up, she was calling, "Mommy, come get me!" non-stop until I came in.  So I sought out wisdom from my dear friend/mentor Stephanie, and we have re-trained her in this area.  Instead of her being in charge of when she gets up, WE are in charge.  She now knows that when she wakes up, she can read books, sit quietly, or lay back down and try to sleep.  But she is not to call us - we come get her when it's time to get up.  This has made for a MUCH happier mama, and it's amazed me, but several times, she has laid back down and gone back to sleep! I think this training will pay off majorly after Tucker comes.  I know there will be times when she wakes up & I can't come right in and get her because I'm feeding or rocking or whatever.  It's so good for her to know how to wait well.

Eating: Dan & I talk all the time about what a good eater she is.  She will try anything once.  She might not like it....tomatoes are a definite reject....but she'll try a bite every time we ask her to.  I think this works for her because she knows that we won't make her eat it all, especially if she doesn't like it - we just want her to try.  She ate sushi with us for the first time a few weeks ago, and loved it!  Her favorite thing lately has been fresh pineapple.  I think she could eat an entire one if we let her!  

Talking: Her vocabulary continues to expand - she is using words like "incredible" in the correct context.  We are hearing SO MUCH parroted back to us - she was playing with her cell phone in the car today, and told us, "I need you to please be quiet while I talk to my Nana!"  Her imagination is taking off, too, and it's so fun to hear her talk about the different things that are going on in her mind.  She told me a story this afternoon about some worms who went shopping in their blue car.  They went to the grocery store and bought sugar, and poured it in their milk.  But only worms eat sugar in their milk - not people!  I could not keep the smile off my face as I listened to her.  I can't wait until she learns to write....she's going to write some fun stories.  She's also using different voices for things as she makes them talk to each other.

Discipline: The tantrums seem to have subsided, for the time being, although we'll see one every once in a while, especially if she's tired.  We continue to have to work on first-time obedience with her, but she really is eager to please and truly desires to honor us.  One of her favorite Bible stories lately has been the one about Jonah being swallowed by the big fish, and she's beginning to understand the correspondence between Jonah disobeying God and being punished, and her disobeying us and being punished.  We just continue to pray that we disciple her HEART, not just her behavior.  Dan & I have been talking a lot lately about how we don't want to neglect the TRAINING part of discipling her.  So often, we get caught up in simply addressing her misbehavior, but that is only one part of discipleship.  We want to train her well in righteousness.  No small job.

Playing: Hooray for warm weather, and a new house with lots of land to run and play on!  She is having a great time playing tee-ball out in the grass, and taking her babies for walks in their stroller down our driveway.  She plays very little with "toys," preferring instead to play with her babies or draw/color/paint on her easel.  I'm not going to discourage any of that imaginative play!  We have been trying to drastically limit her TV time.  My first trimester when I was so sick, she watched quite a bit more tv than I was really comfortable with, but it was all I knew to do.  Dan was working and at school A LOT, the weather was cold and yucky, and we were trapped inside our little apartment on campus.  I felt terrible, and so I would often let her a watch a cartoon or two each day just so I had some time to rest.  We quickly saw her become almost addicted to the thing.  It was bizarre - she was asking about it everyday, crying when we wouldn't turn it on, etc.  It amazed us how dependent she became on it so very quickly.  So with the warmer weather and a mama who feels good, there's no reason for that thing to be on - we will go days and even weeks sometimes now without turning the tv on for her, and she seldom asks for it anymore.  

 





13 weeks
posted on 02/25/2009

Today I am 13 weeks pregnant!  The nausea has mostly subsided, although it'll hit me like a rock if I let myself get hungry or thirsty.  I'm still pretty fatigued and feel like I could sleep for days, but I think that's probably just a product of having a toddler and growing a human. 

I've had some pretty intense cravings...usually for fruit, thank heavens, but I've also been jonesing pretty hard for chips and french onion dip.  The weirdest so far was apple cider vinegar.  I bought some for a recipe, and barely got it home before I HAD to have it.  Drank it straight out of the bottle....almost a quarter of it!  

My belly is growing, growing...can't believe how fast I've started to show with this one!  My jeans mostly won't button - I've got to get a bella band or break out the maternity clothes soon.

Today was our check-up with the OB.  Baby's heartbeat was 158 beats per minute, going strong.  I cry every single time I hear that precious sound.  We uploaded a video...a little weird having a video of my bare belly, but I know the grandparents will appreciate it.

Be praying....our new OB (whom we ADORE) has been delivering babies for 25 years, and it going to quit delivering babies this year.  He's waiting on some information from Rex Hospital to decide if he's going to stop this summer, or deliver through September.  Obviously, with a September 3 due date, we'd love for him to continue through that month.  We should know something within two weeks or so.  

baby bump!!!  My jeans wont button anymore.  Time to get out the maternity gear.





Life with Lana today
posted on 02/24/2009

Sleeping: Our big sleep training push this month has been focusing on a new wake-up routine.  She is so good about not getting out of her bed without calling us, but it had started to drive me a little nuts that as soon as she woke up, she was calling, "Mommy, come get me!" non-stop until I came in.  So I sought out wisdom from my dear friend/mentor Stephanie, and we have re-trained her in this area.  Instead of her being in charge of when she gets up, WE are in charge.  She now knows that when she wakes up, she can read books, sit quietly, or lay back down and try to sleep.  But she is not to call us - we come get her when it's time to get up.  This has made for a MUCH happier mama, and it's amazed me, but several times, she has laid back down and gone back to sleep! I think this training will pay off majorly after Tucker comes.  I know there will be times when she wakes up & I can't come right in and get her because I'm feeding or rocking or whatever.  It's so good for her to know how to wait well.

Eating: Dan & I talk all the time about what a good eater she is.  She will try anything once.  She might not like it....tomatoes are a definite reject....but she'll try a bite every time we ask her to.  I think this works for her because she knows that we won't make her eat it all, especially if she doesn't like it - we just want her to try.  She ate sushi with us for the first time a few weeks ago, and loved it!  Her favorite thing lately has been fresh pineapple.  I think she could eat an entire one if we let her!  

Talking: Her vocabulary continues to expand - she is using words like "incredible" in the correct context.  We are hearing SO MUCH parroted back to us - she was playing with her cell phone in the car today, and told us, "I need you to please be quiet while I talk to my Nana!"  Her imagination is taking off, too, and it's so fun to hear her talk about the different things that are going on in her mind.  She told me a story this afternoon about some worms who went shopping in their blue car.  They went to the grocery store and bought sugar, and poured it in their milk.  But only worms eat sugar in their milk - not people!  I could not keep the smile off my face as I listened to her.  I can't wait until she learns to write....she's going to write some fun stories.  She's also using different voices for things as she makes them talk to each other.

Discipline: The tantrums seem to have subsided, for the time being, although we'll see one every once in a while, especially if she's tired.  We continue to have to work on first-time obedience with her, but she really is eager to please and truly desires to honor us.  One of her favorite Bible stories lately has been the one about Jonah being swallowed by the big fish, and she's beginning to understand the correspondence between Jonah disobeying God and being punished, and her disobeying us and being punished.  We just continue to pray that we disciple her HEART, not just her behavior.  Dan & I have been talking a lot lately about how we don't want to neglect the TRAINING part of discipling her.  So often, we get caught up in simply addressing her misbehavior, but that is only one part of discipleship.  We want to train her well in righteousness.  No small job.

Playing: Hooray for warm weather, and a new house with lots of land to run and play on!  She is having a great time playing tee-ball out in the grass, and taking her babies for walks in their stroller down our driveway.  She plays very little with "toys," preferring instead to play with her babies or draw/color/paint on her easel.  I'm not going to discourage any of that imaginative play!  We have been trying to drastically limit her TV time.  My first trimester when I was so sick, she watched quite a bit more tv than I was really comfortable with, but it was all I knew to do.  Dan was working and at school A LOT, the weather was cold and yucky, and we were trapped inside our little apartment on campus.  I felt terrible, and so I would often let her a watch a cartoon or two each day just so I had some time to rest.  We quickly saw her become almost addicted to the thing.  It was bizarre - she was asking about it everyday, crying when we wouldn't turn it on, etc.  It amazed us how dependent she became on it so very quickly.  So with the warmer weather and a mama who feels good, there's no reason for that thing to be on - we will go days and even weeks sometimes now without turning the tv on for her, and she seldom asks for it anymore.  





kisses and pee pee
posted on 02/23/2009

Lana is doing really well with night time potty training.  She sleeps in panties, and never has any accidents.  About once a week, she won't be able to make it through the night and will wake up crying.  She's not awake/aware enough to know she needs to use the potty, so she just cries until I come get her, and then she will tell me she needs to pee pee.

Just a few minutes ago, she started wailing, so I went into her room.  Her little arms reached up out of her bed for me, and I knelt down beside her and held her.  "What is it, baby?"  I asked her, thinking she might be having a bad dream.

She locked her little arms around my neck and whispered, "I need kisses from you and I need to go pee pee."  

Melted me.  





Dentist appointment
posted on 02/23/2009

We had Lana's 6 month dentist appointment today.  We talked about it a lot yesterday - what they were going to do, how mommy was going to stay right there, etc.  She was pretty excited this morning, but when we got there....woah!!!  She was fine right up until they wanted to get in her mouth, and you would have thought that they were asking to cut out her tongue.  She lost her mind! Screaming and kicking and fighting!!  HUGE props to Dr. Buddy and his staff at Carolina Pediatric Dentistry - they didn't act annoyed at all, and they didn't let her fit stop them.  He just picked her up and put her in my lap and did his thing, talking to her really calmly the whole time until she finally settled down and listened to him.  

Besides the embarrassing show she put on, we had a great visit.  They said her teeth look "exceptionally white and clean," and gave her big praise for brushing and drinking lots of water and milk.  She has a "100% overbite," and (just like they do every time) they encouraged us to start saving for braces.  Dan & I both had them, so we're not surprised.  

As we were leaving, she gave the nurse a hug and said, "I won't cry next time." As we were getting in the car, I asked her why she pitched such a huge fit, and she said, "I just didn't want to be scared, Mommy."





Crazy stunt at preschool
posted on 02/22/2009

What crazy stunt did Lana pull at preschool last week?
colored on the walls of her classroom 8%
ate her friend's snack 15%
got stuck in the oven 23%
cut her friend's hair 8%
stayed outside on the playground while her class went inside 8%
put playdough up her nose 38%
Total votes: 13
The correct answer is "got stuck in the oven."  Crazy girl!!  When I came to pick her up from her class, they told me she had gotten into the oven in the pretend kitchen, and one of her friends came by and closed the door!!  Of course she freaked out, and they had to work pretty hard to get her out.  
When I asked her about it that afternoon, she told me she needed a time-out.  At our house, time-out is not punitive....we just use it when she needs a break to get herself together.  As in, "Lana, you're being kind of whiny.  Why don't you take a time-out until you're ready to talk to us?"  Sometimes at home she'll put herself in time out and let us know when she's ready to hang out with us again!  Anyway, evidently she needed a break at school, and thought the oven would be a good place.  We had a long talk about safe time-out places, and not-so-safe places.





New favorite food
posted on 02/14/2009

What food has Lana not been able to get enough of lately?
mac and cheese 50%
snow peas 20%
sausage 10%
strawberries 10%
cereal 10%
oatmeal 0%
Total votes: 10

Strawberries has been the new favorite food!  Lana cannot get enough of them....so glad that strawberry season is coming up soon!  She's going to LOVE picking them herself this year! 





What is Lana's favorite Bible story?
posted on 02/10/2009

What is Lana's favorite Bible story?
Daniel in the lion's den 27%
baby Moses in the tall grass 55%
David and Goliath 9%
Jesus feeds the five thousand 0%
Queen Esther 0%
Creation 9%
Total votes: 11

Lana's favorite Bible story is actually David and Goliath.  She asks to read it over and over, and can even retell most of it, although for some reason, she sometimes tells us that David ate Goliath.  I have NO IDEA where that came from.





Things I don't want to forget
posted on 02/05/2009

We have a friend here named Carolina.  Lana is CONVINCED her name is North Carolina, and has lots of trouble figuring out how we live in North Carolina.  So cute.

For a week or two, bedtime was a nightmare with Lana.  It's better now, but I swear, I thought I was going to kill someone for a couple of weeks.  Last Monday night, I was so frustrated with her.  When she got up to pee for the thousandth time, I barged into the bathroom, turned on the light, and (in a very frustrated, raised voice) said, "Lana!! That's enough!  I'm DONE!!  You've got to go to sleep because I'VE got to sleep!!"  Her bottom lip pooched out, and of course I felt terrible for almost-yelling.  I apologized and asked for her forgiveness, which she gave so willingly.  We loved for a while, and she went to bed, where she DID eventually fall asleep.  Well, several nights later, Dan was putting her to bed and she totally ratted me out!  She told him, "Daddy, Mommy yelled at me the other night.  She had a mistake and said she was sorry.  We all make mistakes; you just gotta apologize.  I forgived her, Daddy."

She's had a yucky cough for a week or so, and I sometimes will give her a cough drop.  She tells Dan, "These don't help me cough."  She really means that they help her to NOT cough, but it comes out every time as "These don't help me cough."

 

 





Life with Lana today
posted on 01/31/2009

 

Sleeping: Hmm.  I just posted a long journal entry about our major sleep struggle this month, which is basically that she doesn't want to sleep during naptime, and she doesn't want to GO to sleep, period.  She wants us to come in and cover her up, or give her a drink of water, or cover baby up, or give her some socks, or sing one more song.  She wants to pee pee.  She wants to poop.  She also prefers singing and talking to her baby to sleeping.  We're working on this.  One of the major things we're doing is telling her that "your bed is just for sleeping."  If she talks and plays with baby, out comes baby.  She can snuggle with baby, but that's it.  We've decided that even if she doesn't sleep for two hours, she has to stay in her bed for two hours.  My mom wisely recommended that we find a timer to use, and tell her it's wake up time when the timer goes off.  I don't want a loud beeping one to wake her up in case she does go to sleep, so I'm on the hunt for a two hour sand timer.  In any event, while she may think she doesn't need a nap, Mommy definitely needs one.  Naptime is really for the parents, anyway, right?

Eating: This month's huge hit has been grits!  She wants to eat them every single morning.  They're not packed with the most nutritional value, so we try to pair them with some fruit and/or sausage.  I think it's so cute, though - she's a southern girl at heart.  We've been putting snow peas and blueberries in her lunch lately, and those are both a big hit.  For the longest time, she wouldn't eat eggs in any form, but now she's eating them fried or scrambled with ketchup.  She's just such a good eater.  

Talking: Her two new vocabulary words for the week are "attached" and "frustrated."  I wrote another journal entry about them....it's too cute.  And we're hearing SO MUCH of what we say parroted back.  There are things that we love, like when she tells us that Jesus died on the cross for our sins, or that the Bible is God's true Word.  And then there are things that we don't so much love, like today when Dan was talking to her before naptime about not calling out for us and just going to sleep, and she said (with finger pointing and all): "You worry about you and I'll worry about me."  Oh, heavens!!

Potty training: is finished.  She's trained.  Poops and pees, no matter where she is, she'll tell us and go to the bathroom.  Also, she's no longer getting up in the middle of the night to pee - she's waking up dry in the morning about sleeping 11 hours.  I really am so proud of her.  I think she's living proof of the importance of waiting until a child is ready before you potty train.  She was just ready, and it was easy.

Discipline: Lana is two and half.  She has begun to realize (as evidenced by our bedtime struggles) that she has wants and opinions, and they don't necessarily coincide with ours.  She's asserting her will in many ways, and we are working hard to train her in righteousness in this area.  A particular point of focus for us right now is first time obedience.  Since I've been pregnant, I have probably let her get away with more, or obey more slowly.  I just haven't had the energy to put into being consistent in that area.  Well, we are seeing the results of that, and are ramping back up on our insistence that she obey the first time.  We know that this is an area that requires constant diligence - the Lord is STILL training me to obey Him the first time.  My main goal with discipline right now has less to do with Lana, and more to do with ME.  Before this new baby comes in the fall, I want to memorize as much Scripture as possible to use in teaching and training our children.  I use Biblical principles when training her, but it is not always the Word of God falling from my lips.  For example, I heard myself tell her the other day to "talk sweetly."  I'm a southern girl, and at first listen, that sounds innocent enough.  However, I cannot find one place in the Word that it tells us to talk "sweetly."  It does tell us "do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouth."  It tells us to use our words to "build others up."  THIS is the Truth that I want to be pouring into her life - not some nonsense about sweetness.  When she leaves my home at 18, I want her to be clothed in the full armor of God, and I have to begin now to cover her with that Truth.  If it is always on my lips, then it will be on hers.  This process of parenting is so refining.

Playing: Lana's babies are occupying nearly all of her free playtime!  She lines them up and puts them in strollers and dresses them and rocks them and reads to them.  She loves on them, and spanks them when they disobey.  I'm looking right now for a baby doll highchair on Craigslist, so she can practice feeding the baby.  She has not made a connection yet between those babies she plays with and the baby that is growing in my tummy, but it's great practice as she nurtures them.  She's going to be such a good big sister! 


 





Prayers
posted on 01/31/2009

One of the sweetest blessings of my day is to hear my child pray.  Her prayer at mealtimes often go like this:

"Dear God, God is great, God is good.  Thank you for our food and our drinks and our Mommy and Daddy and Lana.  Thank you for our chairs and our slide (and whatever else she might see as she looks around).  In Jesus' name, Amen."

At night as we pray together, she'll often ask me to pray for certain things or people.  Her cousin Noah and Uncle Allan are almost every night requests, but there's always someone else, too.

Tonight as we prayed before bed time, she asked me to pray for Daddy.  I prayed, and she repeated me - we asked for God to keep Daddy safe and bring him home to us soon.  I was finishing up our prayer as I always do, asking God to teach our family to love Him with all of our heart and mind and soul and strength, when she whispered, "Pray for the baby in your tummy."  I said, "Lana, why don't you talk to God about that?"  And she did.  "Dear God, thank you for my baby in Mommy's tummy.  Amen."

My blessings are too great to number.





Sleep struggles with a two and a half year old
posted on 01/29/2009

Ever since we got home from our Christmas travels, going to bed has turned into more and more of a battle with Lana.  She doesn't get out of her bed, but she calls us thousands of times to come get her, she sings and talks and plays for an hour and then will only sleep 30 minutes, leaving us in store for a grumpy afternoon, etc.  

It's gotten really, really frustrating.  Admittedly, I do not have as much patience these days.  I'm nauseous all the time, and so tired I feel like I could sleep for days.  By naptime and bedtime, I just want to lay down and she is NOT cooperating.  On the weekends when Dan is at work, I'm almost pulling by hair out by the time Monday night rolls around.  NOT the picture of peace and tranquility that I'd like to have surrounding bedtime.  

I vented my frustration on facebook, and got some great advice from my mommy friends.  The most comforting thing I heard was that it has happened to their children, too - that it's typically a phase.  There's just something so relieving about hearing that - being assured that I haven't run this off into a ditch - that it's just a phase.

I'm going to copy the thread here, so that I can come back and look at this when our other children go through this stage.  If you have any advice to add, please feel free!!

Rachael could not be more frustrated with Lana not sleeping. 3:48pm - Comment
 Allison Wheeler Littrell at 3:54pm January 29
How long is she sleeping?
 Rachael Armitt Davis at 3:59pm January 29
Oh, please. She slept for 30 minutes, and then woke up talking. I've taken everything out of her bed, and am leaving her in there. I'm so frustrated! We've got small group tonight - she NEEDS to sleep. What is going on? She is NOT giving up her naps.
 Allison Wheeler Littrell at 4:04pm January 29
Aubrey went through a stage like that as well. I can't remember how old she was, but I'm thinking 2ish b/c I don't think it was last year. I just did like you're doing. I really think that their bodies go through a stage that they don't take long naps and some think that they're giving them up when all they really need is just a little one. They do get tired earlier, but for Aubrey it was a few months and then she was right back on track. Now look at her. It was a short stage in the whold scheme of things.
 Jennifer Kelliher Huffman at 4:04pm January 29
Just as an encouragement :) When we switched Silas to a big boy bed we saw a temporary decrease in the length of his naps after about a month. Now he's back to napping three hours. Hang in there!
 Rachael Armitt Davis at 4:06pm January 29
Thank you both for your encouragement. I am just so TIRED, and need the sleep more than she does. I'll keep holding on for her to get back to regularly scheduled nap times. : )
 Jennifer Kelliher Huffman at 4:07pm January 29
During that time I made a two hour rule. He had to be in his bed for two hours no matter if he slept or not. I just needed that break :)
 Rachael Armitt Davis at 4:10pm January 29
Exactly, Jennifer!! I am determined that she's going to be in her bed for at least that long.
 Allison Wheeler Littrell at 4:14pm January 29
I did the same thing! Hang in there!
 Brenda Richardson at 4:28pm January 29
Rachael, been there done that! We made a "you have to stay in the bed till mommy comes to get you rule" It worked! I got the rest and they learned to enjoy their quiet alone time. Keep the faith girl!
 Stephanie Stringer Lyon at 4:30pm January 29
this SO happened to us with AK at his age...i just remember my blood pressure raiseing as i march edback up those steps, a million times, with my big old pregnant belly, after getting out of my desperately needed napping spot...i was determined not to give them up, or even turn them into a "rest time" with books and such at that age...it was not a one-and-done battle, but it was worth it...we still deal with it occassionally, but we est. very early on that this IS her nap time, and she has to be in her bed with "no talking, no moving around, no playing..." eventually she falls asleep, and had gotten really good being as quiet as a mouse.
*the video moniter SAVED me through all of this...some things i overlooked with a little grace IF they were not in direct defiance to what i'd said.
hang in there, girl!
 Christy Vandiver Sansom at 4:35pm January 29
Oh we are so in your struggle right now too Rachael!!! It's so hard and frustrating. I resorted to rocking him to sleep today since I knew he wouldn't make it tonight while I have class without his nap. I have the same rule of staying in bed for 2 hours even if he doesn't actually sleep. He has books right by his bed that he can look at. We've been through this little stage many times over the past year, but he is 3 now and I won't be surprised if Luke actually quits napping. I bet Lana still will though. When he doesn't nap he goes down at 7:45 and sleeps for 11 hours, so that's nice. Our problem when he doesn't nap is getting him to stay in his bed. I've even found him standing in his window sill..he's a tall little boy who sure can climb! Let me know if you find anything that works, and I'll do the same. I will say just ignoring him as long as he was staying in bed worked well. He seemed to feed off my reactions towards him staying awake when I would check on him.
 Allison Wheeler Littrell at 4:54pm January 29
I did EXACTLY what Stephanie did. Couldn't have said it better. Now, I think she'd nap until she was 18 if I let her. She ASKS me to takes naps!





Our first visit to the doctor for baby #2
posted on 01/28/2009

This morning, the three of us headed out to Raleigh to visit Dr. Holton for the first time.  Dr. Holton has come highly recommended to us by several mothers we trust, and we found everything they said to be true.  He was wonderful!  We had a great visit with him.  He's very forthcoming and warm, yet matter-of-fact and to the point.  Dan & I both came away with a really good feeling in our spirits about Dr. Holton delivering this baby.

The most reassuring part of meeting with him is that he was very knowledgeable about my delivery complications with Lana.  He had an idea of what the infection probably was, and he assured us that the chances of us having any problems like that again was less than 1%.  However, he said that because of that history, he would know to keep a close eye on my uterus after delivery, and even if I did get sick again, he laid out for us the steps he would take to prevent the same kind of trauma from occurring.

After that wonderful meeting, we went to the next room for the ultrasound!  Lana thought it was funny that I laid down and put my feet in those "steps."  Just like with my precious Lana, as soon as I saw that little heart beating on the screen, I wept.  What an incredible privilege that the Lord uses me in the makings of a miracle!!  I kind of feel bad for Dan...there is NOTHING like seeing your child grow inside of you.  Poor men.  (And then I remind myself of the sickness and backaches and headaches and bone-numbing fatigue, not to mention delivery, and I don't feel so bad for them anymore.)  It was neat for us to see this baby for the first time together as a family.  Dan held Lana, and she loved watching it on the screen.  When Dr. Holton would stop it to take a picture, she would beg for it to "keep moving."

The baby is measuring right at 9 weeks, and is developing perfectly.  The heartbeat was 176 beats/minute, and you can already see those delicious little arm and leg buds.  I had a few sips of Mountain Dew on the way to the appointment, and that little thing was dancing!!  Dr. Holton even remarked on how neat it was to see....s/he was just moving and wiggling all around.  Incredible!!  We posted a couple of the ultrasound pictures for you to see.  

I was so thrilled with the visit and the ultrasound that I forgot to ask all my questions...oh well.  We go back again in four weeks; I'll try again then.  





Big words from a little girl
posted on 01/26/2009

Two of my favorite words that Lana has used this week: "frustrated" and "attached."

I told her earlier in the day that I was frustrated because I couldn't get something out of the freezer.  Later that afternoon, she wanted me to get out her paints, and I told her we'd have to wait until after dinner.  She said, "Mommy, I am frustrated about you!"

I don't know where attached came from, but she's been using it all the time, referring to magnets as "attached" or velcro that's "attached."

I love her big vocabulary!





Poll results
posted on 01/20/2009

Here are the results of our latest poll:

Do you think our new baby will be a boy or a girl?
Boy 41%
Girl 59%

Total votes: 32

 

I am completely shocked that more of you think we will have a girl.  I am almost certain it's a boy - totally different than my pregnancy with Lana.  I am so sick!!!  

It'll be a few months, but we'll definitely find out who is right and who is wrong!





Winter storm warning?
posted on 01/19/2009

Sweet home Alabama seems very far away right now as our weathermen here in Raleigh have issued a winter storm warning (not watch or advisory - warning!).  It's kind of exciting - you know how people who don't live on the coast get excited about hurricanes when they're visiting during hurricane season?  That's how we're feeling about this snow!!  

Lana would LOVE it - I can't wait to bundle her up her snowsuit and get her outside to throw snowballs and make a snowman!  I bought hot chocolate and marshmallows to have when we're done, too.  She's just at such a great age to enjoy this!  She was only 6 months old the last time we had snow here, and she wasn't too impressed then.

My only major concern is Dan's commute home tonight.  He's been arriving home around midnight or later this weekend, which is around the time "conditions will rapidly deteriorate."  Please pray for him to have a safe drive home tonight, so that he can be warm & snug in his bed with me by the time that snow really starts falling.

Here's the advisory that's been issued:

Winter Storm Warning for Wake County, NC

from 9 pm EST, Mon., Jan. 19, 2009 until 6 pm EST, Tue., Jan. 20, 2009

Issued by The National Weather Service
Raleigh/Durham, NC 
2:31 pm EST, Mon., Jan. 19, 2009

... WINTER STORM WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 9 PM THIS EVENING TO 6 PM EST TUESDAY...

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN RALEIGH HAS ISSUED A WINTER STORM WARNING... WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 9 PM THIS EVENING TO 6 PM EST TUESDAY. THE WINTER STORM WATCH IS NO LONGER IN EFFECT.

A STRONG UPPER LEVEL DISTURBANCE WILL APPROACH FROM THE WEST THIS EVENING AND CROSS JUST SOUTH AND EAST OF CENTRAL NORTH CAROLINA LATE TONIGHT AND TUESDAY. THIS WEATHER SYSTEM WILL CAUSE AN AREA OF LOW PRESSURE TO DEVELOP OVER SOUTH CAROLINA THIS EVENING. THE LOW WILL MOVE OFFSHORE BY EARLY TUESDAY AND RAPIDLY INTENSIFY. NORTHERLY LOW LEVEL WINDS ASSOCIATED WITH THE DEVELOPING AREA OF LOW PRESSURE WILL USHER IN MUCH COLDER AIR INTO CENTRAL NORTH CAROLINA... ALLOWING PRECIPITATION TO BECOME ALL SNOW BY LATE TONIGHT.

AREAS OF RAIN THIS EVENING WILL CHANGE OVER TO SNOW LATER TONIGHT AND CONTINUE INTO TUESDAY. THE SNOW WILL TAPER OFF TUESDAY AFTERNOON IN THE WEST... AND BY EARLY EVENING IN THE EAST. SNOWFALL AMOUNTS BETWEEN 3 AND 5 INCHES ARE EXPECTED ACROSS MOST OF THE PIEDMONT... THE SANDHILLS AND THE COASTAL PLAIN. THERE IS THE POTENTIAL FOR FEW SPOTS TO RECEIVE UP TO 6 INCHES. AT THIS TIME... THE FAVORED AREA FOR A BAND OF HEAVY SNOW EXISTS ALONG THE HIGHWAY 1 CORRIDOR FROM SOUTHERN PINES THROUGH RALEIGH... EAST TO ROCKY MOUNT AND NASHVILLE.

AT THIS TIME... IT APPEARS THAT THE PRECIPITATION WILL START OUT AS RAIN EARLY THIS EVENING. THE TRANSITION TO SNOW SHOULD OCCUR IN THE TRIAD REGION AND THE FAR NORTHERN PIEDMONT BEFORE MIDNIGHT. ACROSS THE REMAINDER OF THE PIEDMONT AND INTO THE NORTHERN COASTAL PLAIN... THE PRECIPITATION WILL TRANSITION TO SNOW AROUND OR SHORTLY AFTER MIDNIGHT. OVER THE SANDHILLS AND THE CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN COASTAL PLAIN... RAIN IS EXPECTED THIS EVENING... WITH THE TRANSITION TO SNOW OCCURRING BETWEEN 2 AND 5 AM TONIGHT.

THE TRANSITION FROM RAIN TO SNOW MAY OCCUR FAIRLY QUICK. THIS MAY LEAD TO A RAPID DETERIORATION OF DRIVING CONDITIONS IN A SHORT PERIOD OF TIME LATE TONIGHT AND EARLY TUESDAY. EVERYONE ACROSS CENTRAL NORTH CAROLINA SHOULD KEEP A CLOSE EYE ON THE LATEST CONDITIONS AND FORECASTS THROUGH TONIGHT. AT A MINIMUM... THOSE WHO MUST TRAVEL LATE TONIGHT AND TUESDAY SHOULD BE PREPARED FOR A DIFFICULT COMMUTE.





From the mouth of Lana
posted on 01/13/2009

A few of my favorite things that Lana has said this week:

  • We were on our way to preschool Tuesday morning, and I asked Lana who she was going to play with.  "Olivia!" she shrieked.  "I love my friend Olivia!"
  • We have been telling Lana that the baby in my tummy is Mommy's baby and Daddy's baby and her baby - we want her to feel a sense of ownership...that this baby belongs to our family.  So today going down the road in the car, I asked her "Whose is the baby in Mommy's tummy?"  Without missing a beat she replied: "God's."  Well, yes, actually.  Exactly true.
  • She put on some white socks with some cotton lace fringy stuff and said, "Look, my socks have snow!!"
  • Dan cut his hair into a (temporary) mohawk.  Lana took one look at it, and said with great delight: "Daddy, you look like a horsey!!"
  • Tonight we were doing family hugs before putting Lana in the bed, and Lana leaned back so she could see both of us and said, "I just love you guys."
  • We were listening to Lana on the monitor, and heard her saying to her baby, "Come here, you sweet baby.  You come here."  SO ready to be a big sister!





Six weeks pregnant with baby #2
posted on 01/11/2009

I'm right around six and a half weeks pregnant, and this pregnancy could not be more different than my pregnancy with Lana!

I am sick...sooooo sick.  If my eyes are open, I'm nauseous, like I'm constantly on a rocking boat.  I've tried everything from ginger tea to preggie pops to ginger snaps...nothing helps.  I can't complain about it, because it means that the baby is healthy, but wow.  Poor Dan and Lana.  I haven't done a thing to the house.  I might start dinner or laundry, but I can never finish it.  There's a to-do list two miles long that I'm not motivated to even look at.  Playing with Lana consists of reading to her in bed, or playing babies while I'm laying on the couch.  She has been so patient with me, and the Lord has given me just what I need to get through the weekends while Dan works.  Speaking of Dan, he has been a hero!  Cooking, cleaning, taking care of Lana, letting me sleep...what a man.  He's so gracious about my lack of energy and motivation.

With Lana, I had these super intense cravings from the first day.  Watermelon was a huge one - I couldn't get enough of it, even in December.  I haven't had anything like that yet.  Nothing looks good or sounds good to me.  I have to eat to keep from getting sick, but I hate even thinking about food.  I'll think I want something, and then when I see it or smell it, no way.

I think I am already starting to show with this baby, too!  With Lana, I was dying to wear maternity clothes, and I didn't really start to show until around 6 months.  But here I am only 6 weeks, and my body is already starting to look different!  How bizarre!!  I haven't gained any weight yet, but my tummy is definitely starting to pooch - even Dan can tell.  Crazy!  Tell me this is normal for second pregnancies!

We go to the doctor on the 28th of this month...I can't wait to see the little heartbeat.  It makes it so real!  What a miracle. 





Life with Tucker today (4 months old)
posted on 01/10/2009

Sleeping: Since we’ve returned home from traveling, Tucker has seemed to settle back into his routine.  He wakes up between 6 and 6:30 every morning, although he sometimes doesn’t wake us up until 7:00 if we’re lucky.  He can stay up about two hours until he’s ready to go back down for a nap, so if we’re at home, he’s back down by 8:30 for at least 2 hours, sometimes 3.  He takes another long afternoon nap, from 1 or 2 until 4 or 5.  He can’t stay awake very long in the evening before he’s ready to go back down, usually no later than 6.  Ideally, at 6 he would take a short nap and get back up for some wake time, but usually he just sleeps until we wake him up at 8 to bathe and feed him and put him back down.  We’d love for him to sleep from 8 to 8, but we’re not going to complain about 6 to 6.  Obviously he’s a great sleeper at home in his crib – we couldn’t ask for better!  It’s a different story when we’re out and about, though.  He’ll nap for short periods of time in the sling or car or at preschool, but definitely not for extended periods like he does at home.  Both of my kids have been this way – we think it’s partly a personality thing, but partly because we just put them in their beds to sleep, so they sleep best there.  A trade-off, I guess.  The only other sleep “trouble” we have is that he will sometimes get out of his swaddle in the middle of the night.  He tries and tries to go back to sleep without it (I’ve watched him for up to an hour), but his hands startle and he wakes himself up.  As soon as we swaddle him back up, though, he’s off to dream land again.

Eating: Tucker is eating 4 times a day, 7-8 ounces each time he eats.  That’s a lot for a baby his age to eat at one time, but it works for him.  He’s eating at 8, 12, 4, and 8.  His eating has improved so much that we expect that he’ll be discharged from the dysphagia clinic soon.  We recently had a barium swallow study done and learned that he does much better drinking thick liquids because he doesn’t aspirate on them like he does thin ones, so we continue to thicken each bottle with rice cereal.  It still feels funny – I didn’t feed Lana rice cereal on a spoon until she was 6 months+. 

Other happenings:

*He still hates tummy time.  With a passion.

*He is trying so hard to roll over from his back to his belly.

*He’s found his voice, and will spend a minute or two at a time “talking” to us.  He’s also got a great little laugh.

*He has discovered his hands and has them in his mouth almost all of the time.  He doesn’t suck on his fingers (his suck reflex is limited – one of the things we’ve been working on at the dysphagia clinic), but he loves to gnaw on them.

*He is reaching for objects on his play mat and bouncy seat.

*He has big smiles for us in the mornings when we come in to get him – I love that he wakes up happy!

*His favorite song is “Oh, how I love Jesus.”  It calms him like nothing else, especially when Mommy sings it!

*We are still swaddling him at night and during naps because he sleeps so much better that way!  If we unswaddle him or even loosen the swaddle, he just flails his arms around and makes himself mad.

Tucker's schedule today:

6:00 a.m. Wake up and play in crib for up to an hour

8:00  Eat 7-8 ounces

8:30-11:30   Nap

12:00         Eat 7-8 ounces

12:00-1:00  Run errands, play on the floor, read books, etc.

1:30-4:00    Nap

4:00          eat 7-8 ounces

6:00-8:00   Nap

8:00          Bath and bed

 





Scary accident
posted on 01/08/2009

Last night just before bedtime, Lana was using the potty.  She lost her balance while she was standing up, and her girl parts landed exactly on the blunt edge of her potty seat.  She completely freaked out, and there was quite a bit of blood.

As soon as we got the blood slowed down, Dan began loading things up to go to the ER while I got on the phone with the nurse advice line at our pediatrician's office.  They patched me through to the ER at WakeMed, and I spoke to a nurse there.  She advised us to wash the area with water and mild soap, put on a cold compress (yeah, right!), and to not come in unless the wound was gaping and we thought it required a stitch or two.

We finally got her calmed down and asleep last night, and she slept well through the night.  When she woke up this morning, though, she started to pee pee and freaked out, screaming that it burned.  We checked the wound, and there was fresh blood.  An hour later, she still wouldn't pee, and I knew I couldn't take her to preschool without a visit to the pedi.

I met the nurses there as they opened with door, and they were so kind.  Those of you who use Growing Child know Candy - what a godsend she is!  She held my shaking hands across the counter and reassured me that everything was going to be fine, that I would be the first one in to see the first doctor who arrived.

I was hopeful it would be Dr. Dirk, our usual pedi, but it was not.  It was Dr. Mandy.  The Lord sent exactly the right doctor in to us....she was wonderful.  She was gentle and compassionate (with both of us!), and gave us lots of great tips.  She took the time to talk with Lana and explain what she wanted her to do: chiefly, use the potty in the bathtub today so that it wouldn't hurt.  She also advised me to put some neosporin on the wound, which we have done several times today, with much trauma.

It took us forever to convince her to use the potty in the bathtub.  We put her in, read books, let her watch a movie, ate popsicles...you name it.  I just wanted her to pee.  She finally did pee pee in the tub, and you could just see how relieved she was that it didn't hurt.  As the day wore on, she wanted to pee pee in the potty, and she did better and better.  

We'll go back to preschool tomorrow.  I'm so grateful for a wonderful pediatrician's office.





Progress
posted on 01/05/2009

We're making progress with the potty training honesty problem.  After a few days of spanking her when she called us from her bed to use the potty when she didn't have to, I think she's learning the difference between truth and lies.

Now, instead of saying, "Mommy, I need to use the potty!" she is calling out, "Mommy, I need you!" or "Mommy, I want to talk to you!" or, right now, "Mommy, come get me!  I waked up!"  

I'm not thrilled that she only napped an hour, but I am very, very pleased that she's calling out to me with truth instead of lies.  Think I'll go get that sweet girl up from her nap.





Lana's babies
posted on 01/03/2009

When she is carrying around a baby doll (or three) Lana is often asked, "What's your baby's name?"  She always looks puzzled - she doesn't name her babies.  

She DOES however, know how to identify each one of them and how to communicate that to us.  She has "Baby" - the original baby doll that my mom gave her for her first birthday.  There's also "big baby," "blue baby," and "white baby."  Those are her current favorites. 

It's so funny to see her personality coming out as she takes care of these babies.  She knows when they're crying, and when they need a nap.  They like to ride her four wheeler with her, and watch her eat.  These days, they use the potty a lot, too!  

She's going to be such a good big sister.





Our major potty training problem
posted on 01/03/2009

Lora Jensen's 3 Day Potty Training e-book has worked for us!  Lana has potty trained quickly and well, with no accidents (day or night) since Day 2.  She tells us when she needs to potty, and even pottied in Target the other day when we forgot her potty seat.  It's just been an overall good experience for all three of us.

Except.

Going to bed.

We have been traveling for the past two weeks, so she's been out of her nighttime routine, staying up later and getting up earlier than normal anyway.  AND I read an article the other day that between 2-3, toddlers start resisting bedtime.  They want to stay up, and try to think of ways to prolong going to sleep.  So probably this would have happened anyway.

We just gave her a really good excuse to get out of the bed when we told her, "Call Mommy & Daddy if you need to use the potty."

It took her about one nap time to figure out that if she called us, we would come get her out of the bed and take her to the potty. So she's started manipulating us, calling every two or three minutes, even sometimes giggling about it.

Wow.  Talk about frustrating.  Where a few weeks ago, we had a little girl who would go to bed with a smile on her face, and who would talk & play until she fell asleep, now we have a little monster, continually calling us to get her out of bed and pitching a holy terror fit when we put her back in each time.  Going to bed for nap or nighttime has begun to take almost an hour!!!!  And if she wakes up to use the potty in the middle of the night, the cycle starts again.  This is probably all compounded by the fact that she's overtired.  She's not sleeping as long as nap or night because she's waking up to potty, and when she gets tired, all bets are off with her behavior.  Being rested is just so essential for her.

Dan & I have been purely exhausted by all of this.  We have wrestled with it for hours on end, wanting the potty to be a positive thing, not wanting to discipline her for potty infractions - that's just not the route we've chosen to go down.  After talking and praying and seeking counsel from other moms and dads who have already potty trained, he finally put his foot down and said that it was an issue of honesty, pure and simple, and that if she lied to us, we had to spank her.  He believes that the issue of honesty is more important than any potty training issue.

So we sat her down and had a talk with her, and told her that she could only call Mommy & Daddy from her bed when she really had to potty.  We also told her that if she pitched a fit when she went back to bed, she was being rebellious and disobedient, and we had to spank her.  Several times during the day, we've stopped and prayed about this.  We told her that we were having a problem in our family, and that God wants to help us, so we talk to Him about it.  We showed her in the Bible where it tells Mommies & Daddies to spank their children if they disobey.

Whew.  And spank her we did.  After two battles at nap times, and one nighttime battle (which Dan handled himself while I went out to dinner with friends!!), she seems to know that we mean business.

Before nap time today, as she was getting ready to crawl in her bed, she said, "I think I want to use the potty before I get in."  She peed, got in the bed, and went to sleep.   She woke up in the middle of nap, and called us to use the potty.  She peed, got back in the bed without a fuss, and went right to sleep.

We're praying that this is the beginning of a new pattern for her.  I'm so grateful for Dan leading us well.  I'm so grateful for a God who cares about all of parenting...even the potty training issues...especially about the heart issues of honesty and obedience.





Potty training, day 4
posted on 01/01/2009

I think Lana has got the hang of using the potty!  I know that we'll have accidents and set-backs eventually, but she has been really, really successful so far.

She woke up with her panties dry this morning around 7:00 a.m., her normal wake-up time. I did get her up in the middle of the night to potty - I heard her whimpering around midnight, and she used the potty when I put her on it.  I don't know if she even really woke up.  She went back to sleep and stayed dry until she woke up at 7:00 and called for us!  

She has told us each time she needs to use the potty, without any reminders or prompting.  She's even pulling her own panties and pants up and down.  So independent!  She's even pooped in the potty twice today with no trouble at all.  She was just playing with her toys when she suddenly dropped everything and said, "I need to use the potty!" and off she went.

We got brave enough around 11:00 a.m. that we ventured to Wal-mart for a few things we need for dinner.  We took her little green portable IKEA potty with us.  It's all once piece and perfect for taking with us.  We stored it in a Walmart bag and put it under the buggy.  We showed her the potty when we put her in the buggy, and reminded her that if she needed to use the potty, we had it with us.

About halfway through our trip, she told us she needed to potty.  We dashed to the restroom, where I took her and the potty into the handicapped stall.  I didn't let her touch anything, put her on the potty, and she pee peed.  I was so proud of her!!  It made me feel so much more comfortable about taking her out and about.

My friend Kelly loaned us her "Piddle Pad" for the carseat: http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2265545      It costs about $9 at Toys R Us, and we're going to use hers until ours comes in.  It'll make me feel safe while we're riding in the car, especially once we start taking longer trips.

Anyway, it's just been a really successful day and overall potty training experience.  

Dan & I were talking at lunch about how we've enjoyed it, for the most part.  Nothing has been on our calendar except being here at our house with each other.  We've done some really fun things as a family, and she has definitely enjoyed all the attention.  The frustration level has been pretty low - the only time I've felt frazzled was the first night, when I didn't know quite what to expect.  Dan being here has helped that a lot - we're such a good team.





Potty training, day 3
posted on 12/31/2008

I hate nighttime potty training.  I'm four weeks pregnant and I just want to fall into a coma at night, not listen to the monitor on high alert all night long.  But even so, it's worth it to us to try it for another night or two because we feel like she's making progress.

Last night we went in to check on her around 10 p.m., and she was still dry.  When we went to check on her at midnight, she was soaked and sound asleep - that gross pee pee feeling didn't even wake her up!  We got her up, let her sit on the potty (nothing), and changed her.  She woke up at 6 a.m. and asked to pee pee, but nothing happened.  Repeat every 5 minutes for the next hour, until she finally peed at 7:00.  She could tell that her body needed to go, but she couldn't make anything happen until then.  She had mostly dry panties when she finally went....just one small wet spot.  We could tell she had started to go, and then stopped herself and called.  Hooray!!!

Since then, she has had on the same pair of dry panties all day long!!  4 or 5 times she has told us she needed to use the potty with no prompting - we are so proud!  This feels like huge progress to us.  We have not had to clean up any accidents on the floor all day long - it has all gone in the potty.

And even better - she pooped!!!  We could tell she needed to because she kept asking for privacy when she pee-peed.  Finally, she & Dan were playing kitchen - she had just served him some "spaghetti" when she said, "You stay out here and eat you dinner.  I'm gonna go to the potty."  She went to the bathroom, sat on the potty and said, "I don't have to poo poo, but I do have to pee pee."  About a minute later, we heard, "I poo-pooed!!  Come see!"  She had!!  

We're so proud...not only is she doing what she's supposed to do on the potty, but she's beginning to do it without prompting, and she's identifying what exactly it is that she's doing.   

Nap was an hour and a half long (a little shorter than usual, but still reasonable), and she woke up dry.  I saw her on the monitor grabbing herself, so I dashed up the stairs and whisked her to the potty, where she promptly peed.  

The rest of the afternoon/evening was more of the same...us reminding her to tell us if she needs to potty, and her either doing the potty dance or saying that she did.  No accidents at all!!!  

And then around 5:00, we were all laying in the living room floor reading when she hopped up and said, "I need to use the potty!" and went to the bathroom all by herself.  She called out to us when she was done!!  She recognized her body's signal, and then followed through without any prompting from us.  WOW!!  She has made huge progress every day.

Dan has been a champ these past few days - I can't imagine potty training a child without him!  We've tried to rotate being "on duty," giving each other breaks.  It's made it bearable being locked in here on high alert all the time.  I don't know if we'll be ready to get out of here tomorrow, but we might.  We'll see how tonight goes.

It's New Year's Eve, and our big plans are to get in the bed!!  We are worn out from the past three days - we've been laughing all day about how just 5 years ago, our plans for New Year's Eve were much bigger than recovering from potty training!  Gotta love it!





Potty training, day 2
posted on 12/30/2008

Last night was better than we expected.  I kept the monitor turned up to listen for Lana telling me that she had to pee pee, so I didn't sleep well at all.  Every move she made I jumped up to check the monitor.  But even though I didn't sleep, she did.

Our first wake up call wasn't until 6:30 this morning.  She didn't tell us she needed to potty, though, she was just soaking wet.  I changed her, Dan changed her sheets, and back to bed she went.  I didn't go back to sleep; instead I just came downstairs with the monitor so I could get her at the first sign of her waking up.

She slept like a log until 8:00, when she sat straight up and called "Mommy!  I need to pee pee!" I dashed up the stairs and put her on the potty - nothing.  So we came downstairs and got some orange juice and watched a DVD while Daddy slept for a little while after his late work night.  I kept giving her reminders to tell me if she needed to use the potty, almost every minute.  Right at 8:30, when I reminded her, she said, "I DO need to potty!"  We went to her little potty, and she pee peed!!  No accident at all!  What a great way to start the day.

The rest of the morning was pretty uneventful, as potty training goes.  She had a couple of accidents, but finished in the potty each time.  We saw her making progress in recognizing her body's signals - she would grab herself or do a little dance.  Everything is staying really positive and upbeat, so that's good.

We cut off her liquids around 11:00, except for a small cup of milk with her lunch at noon.  She pee peed once more before we put her down for a nap around 1:15.  She slept for a solid hour and half, until we heard her call out at 3:45 "I need to go pee pee!!!"  We dashed in and took her to the potty, where she did exactly nothing.  But 20 or 30 minutes later, she told us she had to go and she did!!  Hooray for a dry nap time!!!

Later that afternoon, we were playing in the kitchen (linoleum floors, you know - we try to spend a lot of time in there) and she got very still.  We were standing right there, encouraging her to poo poo in the potty.  She pooped just a little in her panties, and then said, "I need to poo poo!"  Off we went to the potty, where she finished!  I was so relieved that she pooped.  It was the first time in two days.  It wasn't very much, though, and later when she acted like she needed to poop and we asked her if she wanted to go to the potty, she refused and acted anxious.  I'm concerned that it might be hurting her.  I made corn chowder for dinner with lots of fresh veggies, so hopefully that fiber will hit her tomorrow!

We cut off her liquids around 5:30, with a small cup of milk at dinner.  She pee peed twice more before bedtime, without having an accident either time.  She's in bed right now with panties, talking to her baby doll about pee peeing in the potty!  We're praying for an easy, dry night!

Another highlight of the day for me was the fact that when she pee peed the two times this evening, she didn't even ask about a stamp or gummy.  I didn't mention them, either, and so she went without a reward.  That's always the idea with tangible rewards - you use them in the beginning to modify behavior, but gradually extinctualize them as the behavior becomes learned.  In the beginning, I was leery of using m&m's or fruit chews because I didn't want her to always have to have them, but I don't think it's going to be a problem.

All in all, we feel like it's been a really successful day.  A longer, dry nap, some using the potty without accidents, and even a little poop.  Hooray for Lana!





Potty training, day 1
posted on 12/29/2008

**These potty training entries are going to be super long and detailed.  Don't let me make you feel guilty at all for not reading them - I just want to have them for my own reference.**

 

Lana woke up around 8:00 this morning.  Dan & I were already up and showered, ready for the day.  We got her up, and changed her diaper.  After she was fully awake, I told her that this was a very special day.  Today is big girl panties day!!  We've been talking about this for several weeks, so it wasn't a big surprise.  She was SO excited!! 

Before we changed into panties, we let her help us get everything ready.  We got all the potty seats out (two floor potties and an insert), put stamps (for pee pee) and M&M's (for poo poo) on the counter, put big girl wipes on the back of the potty, and got out her new big girl cup.  (I let her pick out this new cup yesterday at Target and she was DYING to use it!)  We threw all the diapers and pull-ups away - no more of those for us!!  We took all our panties out and put them on her floor, and then let her pick out her favorite ones to put on.  Then she picked out her favorite shirt to put on, and we were ready to go!!

 And then we started saying, "If you have to use the potty, tell Mommy."  "If you need to pee pee, tell Daddy."  "If you need to poo poo, tell Mommy."  Over and over and over.  All day long we repeated ourselves.  Sometimes she would say "Okay!" and sometimes she just ignored us.  But we kept saying it.  We don't ask her if she's got to go potty, because we don't want to turn this into a power struggle.  We want her to know that she's completely in control of when she potties, and she just has to let us know.  

We're trying to avoid milk, so we let her choose anything she wants to drink.  She drank a big cup full of OJ in her new cup first thing.  Then she wanted sweet tea, which I let her try!!  Can you believe it?  It's decaf, though, so not a really big deal.  I filled her cup up, she took one sip, and said, "I don't like that tea!  I want water, please!"  Laughing  We had lots of fun activities planned: coloring on the windows with markers, making gingerbread cookies, watching Miss Pattycake, reading new books, playing with her new toys...anything that we can do together so she's close to us.

Until 11:00, we filled her up with lots of liquids and fruit and popsicles, but she didn't pee at all!!  WHAT?!?  I was starting to get worried that we were going to give her a bladder infection.  And then the water works turned on.

She had 4 or 5 accidents, but each time, she stopped and said, "I'm pee peeing!"  We dashed to the bathroom, and she finished in the potty every time!  WOO HOO for Lana!!  Everything is positive - nothing negative at all.  This is TRAINING - we just want her to learn to sense her body's potty signals and follow them.  

After all that pee-peeing, we cut off her liquids around 11:30 at lunchtime in anticipation of nap time at 1:30.  We tried to get her to pee pee before laying down for a nap, but she didn't want to, and we didn't want to force it.  We kept telling her that if she needed to pee pee while she was sleeping, to call for Mommy or Daddy, that it's okay to wake up to go to the potty.

She's sleeping right now, and we hope she's dry.  After nap time is usually when she poo-poos, too, so we'll see.  More later.... 

****************************

Nap time was NOT fun.  She slept for about an hour, and woke up soaked.  I changed her and the sheets, and put her back to bed, hoping and praying she would go back to sleep.  Yeah, right.  She called me every five minutes telling me that she had to pee, but nothing would come of it.  This was the time I had to work really hard to not let her see my frustration.  Everything was still super positive, but matter of fact.  I would let her try, and then send her back to bed, where she would remain for another 2-3 minutes before calling me again.  Finally I asked her why she called me, and she said, "I just wanted to get out of my bed."  

Several times she called me AFTER she had pee-peed, so I had to repeat the changing process.  No wonder she couldn't go back to sleep - she was wide awake!!  At the two hour mark, I got her up from the bed, and we went back to our normal routine.

I encouraged fluids from 4-5, and she pee-peed several more times.  Only once did she pee pee without having an accident on the floor first, but each time she started peeing on the floor, she would stop herself and finish in the potty.  I call that success!!

I mostly cut off fluids at five - she only had a small cup of milk at dinner at 6:30.  She did not use the potty at all after that, even though I kept reminding her, and even asked her to try before she went to bed.  She COULD have gone in the bathtub - she drinks mostly water, so her pee pee is clear - I wouldn't have known.  

I put her to bed in panties, with a reminder to call me if she needs to pee pee.  I'm going to wake her up an hour after she goes to sleep and let her try.  In the past 20 minutes, she's called me and said she needed to pee pee 5 times, and not once has anything happened.  I know she's just trying to get out of bed, and I'm trying to be super positive, but each time, she's pitching a fit about going back to bed, begging to stay up and play.  Hmmm.  Not sure what to do about that.

Finally at 8:30, she finally peed in the potty.  But she's called me twice since then, and nothing has happened.  And every single time she gets up, she pitches a complete fit when she has to go back to bed.  Why, oh, why did I decide to do this for the first night when Dan is working?

I want to give in to the temptation to just stick her in pull-ups, but Dan & I have agreed to go completely panties for 3 days and 3 nights to give this a fair shot.  If after that time, she's still have lots of bed time accidents, we're going to go to plan B, whatever that ends up being for us.

I keep reminding myself that this is the first day in her whole entire life that she has not been able to pee at will in a diaper.  She's doing great, all things considered.

She has not pooped today, so that's a little concerning.  She doesn't appear to be in distress over it, and I gave her lots of high fiber snacks today, so it should be coming tomorrow.

P.S .  At the end of this day, I am dog tired, and preparing myself for a long, wet night.  But I am going to bed with a huge smile on my face.  I know there will be a time that I'll miss this...that I'll look back and wish these intense, busy days hadn't gone by so fast.  I'm so fortunate  to be Lana's mommy.





Our family Christmas
posted on 12/28/2008

After spending 10 days in Alabama for Christmas, we returned home late on December 26.We got Lana in the bed, unpacked, and then Dan & I stayed up late pulling down gifts from the attic, taking them out of packages, and making sure everything had batteries.  Dan even made a midnight run to Walmart for more batteries!!  (I should have checked that before we left.)

We were so excited when she woke up the next morning!  We pulled our little sleep head out of bed, talked about the Christmas story, and reminded her that we give gifts because Jesus is God's gift to us.  Then we all headed downstairs!  

Lana headed straight for the $2 musical instruments, completely ignoring the My First LeapPad and dress up clothes that we were sure would be her favorites!  It's so funny the things that they are interested in!

She did eventually make time to check out all her toys in the living room before we brought her outside to see her big gift - a motorized four wheeler!

We expected a big reaction, but in true laid-back Lana style, she just smiled a little bit, jumped up and down on the balls of her feet, and climbed on.  

After she rode around for a bit, we came inside for a favorite breakfast....pigs in a blanket.  We ate and lounged around and played with her toys the rest of the morning.  I made Dan's favorite lunch: meat loaf, homemade mashed potatoes, and green peas.  After we ate lunch, it was time for Dan to head to work and Lana & I to take a nap.  





Life with Lana today
posted on 12/28/2008

 

Sleeping: This month we transitioned Lana to a big girl bed (toddler bed).  We were pretty apprehensive about the move because she's such a good sleeper in her crib, but those worries were for nothing.  It was the smoothest transition ever.  The first day when we put her in it for nap time, she stayed awake playing the whole time.  Bedtime that night was completely normal, and she hasn't looked back since.  When she wakes up in the morning, she just sits on her knees until we come get her.  Hooray!!  She's getting so long, we're going to think about having to put her in a twin sized one soon.

Eating: My girl has a sweet tooth like her Daddy!!  I try so hard to put healthy things in her body...lots of fruits and veggies and whole grains.  But since Daddy has a sweet tooth, we often have some sweet things in the house...candy or cookies or whatever.  She'll often ask for candy before she eats breakfast in the morning!  What do you think I say to that??  Surprised  I try to keep a close eye on what she's eating and if she gets a treat once every few days, I don't mind so terribly much.  Everything in moderation.  

Talking: Baby talk?!?  WHAT?  Lana is the most wonderful little talker, but for some reason, this month she's trying out baby talk.  She'll play with her babies and make them "talk" with short one or two word phrases, and then the next thing I know, she'll try to use that baby talk with me!  We've pretty much ignored it, thinking that she'll just stop.  It's worked for the most part, although about once a week or so she'll try out that baby talk.  So silly!  She's using pronouns correctly now, noticing the difference between boys and girls.  I love to hear her say, "I am a girl!"  I posted a video of it.

Potty training: starts tomorrow!!  I've got lots of fruit juice and decaf tea to fill her little tummy with.  Applesauce and oranges for fiber, two potty seats, and lots of panties.  I think we're ready!  I'm praying that this transition goes as well as moving her to a big girl bed.  She's plenty old enough, and I think she's mentally ready.  The only concern I've got is that she still wakes up VERY wet in the mornings - I mean completely soaked nighttime diaper.  I stop giving her liquids at dinnertime, and I don't know what else to do.  We'll see - wish us luck!!

Discipline: Since I wrote last month's blurb about discipline, we have really focused on teaching Lana HOW to obey.  Now she can tell you that she's supposed to obey "all the way, right away, and with a happy heart."  Sometimes a quick reminder is all that she needs to change her behavior.  She really is a well-behaved little girl.  It's funny to watch her try out behavior that she sees other children use: she'll throw herself down on the floor and look up to see what we're doing, or insist on having a different cup with her meal, and then giggle.  She's really been doing well with saying "thank you" lately.  Today we went out to lunch at Olive Garden, and she thanked the waiter each time he brought something to our table - I was so proud.  Our goal this month is to get her to use "yes, ma'am" and "yes, sir" regularly.  We're trying to say it to her and to each other.

Playing: Christmas time means lots of new toys!  We've cleaned out some of the ones she's not playing with so much to make room for the new.  It'll be fun to see what emerges as her favorite.  She loves playing with her babies, of course, and she has begun to want to dress up.  We made a dress up bin under her bed.  She spent most of Saturday dressed up as Miss Pattycake, with gloves and all.  She really enjoys play dough, and will color for short periods of time.  After Christmas, I cut the photos out of all the photo cards we got and let her glue them on a big poster board.  She did a great job learning to glue!  Just a few photos into the project, she was using just a few dots of glue.  


 





Great American Baby Photo Contest
posted on 12/25/2008

Great American
Photo Contest™

Get out the
LANA IS IN A $2500 PHOTO CONTEST THIS MONTH AND NEEDS YOUR VOTE!

Dear friends and family,

I just entered Lana in the Great American Photo Contest. The baby photo with the most votes this month wins $2,500 (that could be a nice amount to put away now for college!!). Please do me a big favor and CLICK ON THIS LINK TO VOTE. We really appreciate it. Thank you.

RachaelMDavis@earthlink.net

P.S. - Please forward this email and help me get more votes!





Silent Night
posted on 12/24/2008

Tonight in the car we were headed back to Brother & Janika's house, and the three of us were singing Christmas carols.

We were singing "Silent Night" and got to the part where you sing "all is calm, all is bright," and Lana exclaimed:

"He can just wear his sunglasses!"

What??  "Who can wear his sunglasses, Lana?"

"Silent Night can!  He just needs to wear his sunglasses."

"What in the world are you talking about?"

"You SAID all is bright, Mommy!  Silent Night just needs to put on his sunglasses if it's bright."





Christmas in Alabama, 2008
posted on 12/23/2008

We are celebrating the holidays in Alabama from December 16-26 this year, and I want to write down all the fun things we are doing for her to read about one day.

*Playing with Piper...pushing the babies in the strollers, cooking in the kitchen, dressing up, playing at the park on the swings and the merry-go-round, listening to Daddy tell Bible stories in the backyard, eating soup at Daruma, sleeping in Piper's big girl bed

*Playing with Nana & PawPaw at their house, watching cars with PawPaw, eating lunch with Nana, opening tons of presents on Christmas Eve at Nana & PawPaw's house

*Being silly with Noah, playing chase

*Playing with Jake at Grandaddy's - burying bubbles, running in the yard

*Reading with Uncle Allan

*Making jewelry with Aunt Kacie

*Building gingerbread houses with Baloo

*Playing with Sue Sue, letting her paint toenails  

*playing with Jake in his playroom, sharing toys at the restaurant, shopping together

*hugging Noah, hugging Noah, and hugging Noah

*smiling for Aunt Nika and Mommy taking pictures

*Christmas Eve: going for breakfast with Mr. Steve & Mrs. Dana, Kenna, and Cole and playing until lunchtime, taking a "good sleep" then heading to Nana & PawPaw's for our big Davis Christmas, going to visit Phyl & Randy and their family, and getting in bed LATE! 

to be continued.....

 

 





First "real" haircut
posted on 12/15/2008

When Lana turned one, we had her bangs trimmed up, but it was only one snip.  The lady who "cut" it didn't even charge us.

I've put off a real haircut for two and a half years.  I just love her curls. I love to wash them and put product in them and play with them.  I love how they curl up around her face when it's humid.  They are just so HER.  And I've been so afraid that if we cut it, they wouldn't come back.  

However, it was past time for a haircut.  Dan put his foot down about it finally - he said he didn't want a daughter with a rat tail:

Before the haircut

I knew he was right.  So I e-mailed Aunt April in a panic, asking where to take her.  I called Impressions Salon in Wakefield this morning to see if they could get in her in today, and thankfully, they did.

The sweet lady who cut her hair was so patient with me.  I told her that I was a freak out about her curls and that I would be so sad if she cut them off.  She really listened to what I was saying and took the time to show me what she was doing.  She kept the biggest curl for me to save.  

Lana was absolutely WONDERFUL!  She sat in that chair just as big as you please.  She was very serious the whole time, and didn't move one muscle.  She looked up, looked down, etc.  I was so proud of her.

And my friends, I LOVE it!!  Those little curls just bounced up tighter than ever.  It has the cutest shape.  Lovin' my girl with a haircut:

After the haircut 





Christmas celebration with the Scott's!
posted on 12/13/2008

What a fun day we've had!  

Today is the day that we set aside to celebrate Christmas with Dustin, April, and Hollis.

We got up this morning and took Lana to downtown Wake Forest to have her picture taken with Santa.  We don't avoid Santa by any means, but we haven't talked about him a lot.  We treat him like a character....Dora or Bugs Bunny.

So when Santa asked her what she wanted for Christmas, she looked at him like he'd lost his mind.  It made us laugh out loud!  Most of our conversation about gifts have been about the great Gift God gave us in Jesus, and about how we show love by giving gifts to others.  She couldn't figure out why in the world he would ask her that.  Hilarious!

After pictures with Santa, we met Dustin, April, and Hollis at CiCi's for lunch.  Lana LOVED watching Hollis open his gifts.  She had picked out the wrapping paper and helped wrap them, so it was pure pleasure on her face as he opened them.  

After lunch, we headed to downtown Wake Forest for the Christmas parade.  It is the sweetest, most small town event you can imagine.  I love every minute of it.  We talked with an officer for a few minutes, and he said the biggest problem they have it keeping traffic flowing around Shorty's, the local hot dog joint.  

Lana & Hollis loved watching the fire trucks and floats and bands - it was a wonderful time to share with these lifelong friends.





A treat for Mommy
posted on 12/13/2008

This morning (Saturday), we are preparing to go to lunch and the Wake Forest Christmas parade with our friends Dustin, April, and Hollis.  I have not yet wrapped Hollis' Christmas gifts, so Dan & Lana made a quick run to the dollar store to get wrapping paper while I took a shower.

I heard them come in the door, and Lana came shrieking up the stairs: "Mommy!!!  I got you a treat!!"  She did indeed have in her hands one of my favorite treats: Hershey with almonds.  I cannot begin to tell you how excited she was to bring this to me.  

I told her thank you and gave her lots of hugs, and then she took off downstairs.  She came back up with another candy bar and said, "Here's my treat, too!"

Dan told me the rest of the story:

They were in line at the store, and Dan saw the candy bars.  He pointed out the Hersey's with almonds and told Lana, "Mommy really likes those."  "Let's get it for her!" she responded.  She brought one to him to buy, and then looked up at him with those big blues and said, "But what about a treat for me?"  He laughed and let her pick out a candy bar, too.  As she headed toward them, she said, "Daddy, do you want a treat, too?"

It made me so happy to see her delight in giving something to me, and then even thinking about her Daddy.  We are going to be careful to give her opportunities to pick up small gifts for people she loves.  We want to encourage this giving spirit in her!





2008 LLLC Christmas musical
posted on 12/12/2008

Today was Little Lamb's Learning Center's Christmas musical.  This was Lana's first year to be in the musical, and she has been so very excited about it!  She has been singing the songs every afternoon, and couldn't stop talking about dressing up as an angel.

Dan had a front row seat with the video camera so he could tape the show.  We didn't get many still shots as he was manning the video camera, and I was on the stage with my own class.

She was so excited to see her Daddy when she walked in, and as soon as she hit the stage, she twisted and turned and craned her little neck to see me...it was the sweetest thing.  She beamed at me and then turned back to the audience to sing.

It was SO FUN to see her on stage - I could not have been a prouder mama.

Rob & Emily were so great - they came to watch her.  There is simply nothing like friends who are family...

What a wonderful day for the Davis family!





Easy greasy....
posted on 12/06/2008

I am in a bit of shock over how easy the transition to a big girl bed has been for us.  I really expected it to be more of a battle, especially since she's been developing a little mind of her own lately & such strong opinions.  I have been so pleasantly surprised!  Besides her not sleeping for her nap time on the first day, her sleep has been completely normal.  I tried to think some tonight about why I think it's been so good.  I want to write it down so I can remember this when I'm transitioning another child, God willing.  

I think three things have been key for us:

1) Lana had good sleep habits to start with.  She was sleeping an uninterrupted 11-12 hours a night, with an hour and a half or two hour nap each day.  Early sleep training has made a huge difference for us in this area.  I may not agree with everything in Babywise, but it sure did send us down the right road in the area of sleep.

2) For over a year now, Lana has been trained to wait on us when she wakes up in the morning without crying. When she was much younger, we would NOT go in her room in the morning when she was crying. We would wait for a break, when she wasn't crying, and then go in with lots of big good mornings! It made sense to us - we didn't want to reinforce the fussing. We wanted to reinforce the waking up happy! So before the transition, when she was still in a crib, she would wake up and just stand in her crib quietly until we came & got her - sometimes up to 45 minutes or an hour if we accidentally fell back asleep!! She would just stand at the edge of her crib and wait. This worked for us because we have a video monitor, but I think it can work even if you don't. Anyway, she does the same thing in her bed girl bed. She wakes up and sits on her knees at the edge of the bed until we come get her.

3) We decided beforehand that it was an obedience issue. We talked to her the whole day about obeying Mommy & Daddy by staying in her bed until we came in. Dan & I decided that if she got out of the bed, we were going to spank her. She knows what it means to obey and disobey, and we were in complete agreement that we were going to insist on total obedience in this area.

I'm not going to say that we might not have trouble with this in the future, but I'm so proud of how she's done so far!  I'm super hopeful that she'll do well when we're traveling over Christmas and she's sleeping on an air mattress.





Big girl bed, day 2
posted on 12/04/2008

Day 2 in the big girl bed was a breeze!  Lana went right in for her nap with very little fussing, and slept her normal two hours.  When she woke up, she sat up on her knees and waited until we came in to get her.  You better believe we did some celebrating!  She stayed in AND she slept!!  Woo-hoo!  

When she went down for the night, she didn't make a peep...just laid down and went to sleep.

It's during times like this that we realize how essential it is to insist on first time obedience from her.  We're not foolish enough to think that we won't have trouble with her getting out in the future, but it's made it simpler thus far to be able to say to her, "Mommy & Daddy want you to stay in your bed until we come in.  You must obey."  

Hooray for Lana!!  We're so proud of her, and we're very glad that we're making this transition here instead of while we're traveling.





Big girl bed
posted on 12/03/2008

We are so excited about our trip to Sweet Home Alabama in a couple of weeks!  One of the major things we've been doing is trying to figure out sleeping arrangements for Lana.  She is too long for a pack and play, so that really complicates traveling.  She's a great sleeper in her crib at home, and we've never had to try to get her to sleep on an air mattress or anything until now.  We purchased a twin size air mattress with plans to let her "practice" sleeping on it here before we ventured into someone else's home.

Last night, I was talking with my mom, and we talked about how to transition Lana from her crib to a bed.  After getting off the phone with her, Dan & I talked about it, and we decided that we'd rather train her to stay in the bed at home before we are staying with friends and family.  

So today Dan converted her crib to a toddler bed while she & I were at storytime.  We went to Target and let her pick out a pillow and a special stuffed animal for her new big girl bed.  (She chose a giraffe she has named La La.)  We also picked up a rail guard so she won't roll out.  We talked about how she has to stay in her big girl bed until Mommy & Daddy come get her.

She was so excited!  Too excited to sleep, actually.

She was so excited about her big girl bed, right up until it was time for her to actually get in it for nap time.  She fussed for a while, and then sat up talking and playing for 2 hours!  Not once did she close those peepers and go to sleep!!  WHAT?!?  The good news, though, is that she did not attempt to get out even once.  She stayed right in that little bed until we came in to get her.  We definitely praised her for that!  We can't make her sleep, but we're satisfied as long as she stays in her bed.  

We put her down at 7:00 tonight, and by 7:02, she was asleep, curled right up next to La La the giraffe.  She completely refused the pillow, and wouldn't let us cover her up.  Whatever.  She's sleeping.  

Bed time was a different story - she was asleep in two minutes, seriously.





"We share everything we have, Mommy!"
posted on 11/30/2008

Tonight at dinner, Lana & I were eating hotdogs.  I had mine on a bun with ketchup and mustard, and I licked a drip of ketchup off.  We have a strict "no licking" rule about ketchup in our house.  If we let her, she would put ketchup on her finger and lick it off the entire dinner time.  We tell her it's only for dipping - she has to eat something WITH the ketchup.  

Anyway, she of course noticed when I licked the drip.  She said, "Mommy, you licked that ketchup?"  She pointed to my ketchup and stuck her finger in it, accidently, I think.  

She grinned and licked the ketchup off her finger.  "I want some more of your ketchup," she said.

"No way, Lana!  You can't just lick it, you have to eat something with it.  And you have your own ketchup," I told her.

"But I want some of yours!  And you say we share everything we have!" she insisted.

I cannot believe that at two and a half, she's already using my own words against me!





"I love you more than..."
posted on 11/29/2008

Since the time Lana was born, I have played the "I love you more than...." game with her.  For the past six months or so, she has played with me by repeating what I say to her.

I would tell her "I love you more than there are stars in the sky," and she would smile so big, immediately repeating back to me, "I love you more than the stars!"

Tonight for the first time, she came up with her own!  As I was rocking her before bed, I said, "I love you more than there are people at the mall."  She smiled and said, "I love you more than I love to eat at Chick-Fil-A!"  I laughed out loud, and said, "That's a lot, Lana!  I love you more than there are lights on the trees."  She responded with, "I love you more than I love to eat at CiCi's.  That's a lot, Mommy!"  

Life can't get any better than this....

I love when she cuddles!





Life with Lana today
posted on 11/27/2008

Here's my monthly journal entry about what life is like with Lana.  I wish I had been doing this since she was born - there's so much that I might remember, but can't quite remember exactly when it happened.  Glad I'm starting now!

Sleeping: Lana is such a great sleeper.  She's had a cold and a pretty persistent cough, along with her two year molars breaking through, and she has slept through the night without a problem.  On the other hand, she's starting to test us at nap time.  I guess she's gotten old enough to realize that she'd rather be playing, so when we give her the 5 minute warning for nap time, she starts telling us "I'm not sleepy.  I'm busy.  I need to play!"  For a few days, she was crying quite a bit at nap time, asking us to come in and get her.  Finally, I had to tell her that Mommy said it was nap time, and if she chose to pitch a fit instead of sleeping, she was disobeying.  It isn't as if she doesn't need the sleep - when she finally goes to sleep, she's napping an hour and a half to two hours.  Hopefully this phase will pass, soon.

Eating: One of the hardest things for me to adjust to when Lana turned one was the change in her eating habits.  When she was a baby, she ate on a pretty consistent schedule, and pretty much the same amount each time.  When she turned one, all that changed, and now that she's two, it's even more hit or miss!  She eats a wide variety of things and will try anything at all, but her appetite is so unpredictable.  Some days she's starving and will eat as much as Dan does at a meal; other days, she just picks and will hardly eat anything at all.  We never make eating a battle - we want her to learn to listen to her body's signals to eat when she's hungry and stop when she's done...none of that cleaning her plate business.  So if she doesn't eat much at one meal, we just make a point to not give her a snack until the next one, so she'll eat well then.  Today is Thanksgiving Day, and she's been a big eater!  Sweet potato fries were the huge hit today - she couldn't get enough of them.

Talking: She is learning to reason and try to convince us to do things her way.  It's so funny!  "Mommy, I'm not sleepy, so I will just read a bunch more books."  or "Daddy, I don't want to get dressed.  I'll do that later."  It is so fun to be able to communicate with her.  She's listening to everything we say.  We hear lots of things that her teachers say.  She told me today, "Mommy, you don't talk while I'm talking!  You just listen."  I'm CERTAIN her teachers have had to tell her that a time or two.  I wonder what they hear at school that we say here at home?  She's been watching her LeapFrog Letter Factory movie a lot, and she can identify lots of letters and most of their sounds.  She can often spell her name if we ask.

Potty training: We intended to spend this Thanksgiving week potty training, but my friends Lindy Hayes and Melissa Black really encouraged me to wait until after the holidays.  It makes so much sense: even if we were really successful potty training this week, we are only here for 3 weeks before we are traveling for Christmas.  To have her so newly potty trained and take her out of her environment, routine, etc. is a recipe for disaster and regression.  We decided to not add that stress to our holidays.  We're going to hold off on the "intense" training until we get back from our Christmas vacation.  We'll have a week or so before we have to go back to preschool, so we're going to hit it hard and heavy then.  In the meantime, we'll keep encouraging her to let us know if she needs to use the potty, reading lots of potty books, etc.

Discipline: "Obey right away, all the way, and with a happy heart!"  Sometimes I wonder if she'll ever "get" it, and then I'm reminded that I still don't obey my heavenly Father that way all the time.  Sometimes I'm slow to obey, or just obey the parts I want to, and obey grudgingly.  Whenever I get frustrated with Lana, I have to remember that it's the kindness of God that leads me to repentance, and in turn, I want to use kindness to bring her to repentance.  She is such a tender girl, and usually accepts discipline and instruction willingly.  She's been testing us lately.  It seems that if we slack off even for a moment, if we allow her "slide by" with being disobedient once or twice, she runs with it, and we have to really tighten up.  It's so interesting to me that her obedience to us in so dependent on our consistency.  It makes me realize when I'm seeing a lapse in her good behavior that I need to check my own!

Playing: This month, Lana is such a homebody.  It's winter and dreary outside, and Dan & I will try to come up with fun things to do: "Let's go play at the Factory!" or "Let's go get ice cream at the mall," or whatever.  No way.  Almost without fail, she responds with, "No, I just want to play at home."  She's lining up EVERYTHING these days!  It's so funny to watch...her animals, her letters on the refrigerator, her nativity characters, her babies - everything goes in a straight line.  Today she had all her animals lined up, and she accidentally walked backwards into them and knocked them over.  When she was trying to set them back up, they kept toppling over, domino-style.  It drove her BESERK!  She was in tears over these animals falling down - they had to be in a line.  It was really quite funny, although she didn't think so.  She really plays well with others, loving especially older kids.  She will follow them around, doing exactly what they do.  I better be careful who we schedule play dates with, right?!?  She loves playing with our neighbor Julianna, and her friend Olivia at school is her favorite - she talks about her all the time.  We have already begun praying about the friends she will choose when she's older, about the company she will keep.  

 





Happy Thanksgiving!
posted on 11/27/2008

It has been such a wonderful Thanksgiving Day!  Although we missed being with our family in Alabama, it really has been a treat to have a quiet, grateful day with the three of us.

We started the morning at the airport.  Our friend Courtney's husband Jerry has been in Iraq for a year, and got to come home for a few days.  A group of us brought flags and big smiles to welcome him home on Thanksgiving Day and tell him our grateful we are for our sacrifice.  It was a lot of fun!  (and yet another opportunity for Lana to wear the adorable dress that Aunt Kacie made for her).

On the way home from the airport, I reminded Lana that it was Thanksgiving Day, and I asked her what she was thankful for.  I uploaded a video of her telling you...what a treasure for Dan and I.

We came back home and got busy preparing our Thanksgiving lunch!  We had a honey glazed ham, homemade mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, sweet potato fries, rolls, cherry pie, and sweet tea.  It was all of our favorites!  We all ate until we were stuffed.  Lana could not get enough of the sweet potato fries!  

As we ate, we talked about what we are thankful for.  This year, Lana could participate, and we made it such a special time.  I jotted down all the things that she is thankful for in her own words - we'll do this every year.

After lunch, we cuddled and watched the parade and some football and then when we couldn't keep our eyes open anymore, we all went down for a Thanksgiving nap.

After nap time, we all had another piece of cherry pie.  Yummy!  We lounged around reading and watching football and playing until around 5, when we took off to watch the sunset.

We've found a little hill where we can see the sun as it sets, and it's beautiful.  Sometimes we see deer when we go there.  We park the car, let Lana climb out of her seat, and we all cuddle together in the front.  

After the sunset, we came back home and decorated for Christmas!  Lana LOVED putting on the ornaments, and the lights on our little tree.  (We don't have room for a big tree, so we just do a table top one.)  We brought out her Little People Nativity for her to play with, and talked about Baby Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.  I love having a nativity that she can touch and play with.  

Then we watched Miss Pattycake's Christmas.  On the DVD, Miss Pattycake uses the book "What God Wants for Christmas" to tell the Christmas story.  It has little treasure boxes to open that makes it really interactive.  We have the same set for Lana, so she got to open the boxes along with Miss Pattycake!  You have never seen a little girl so excited.

It was a really good day here in the Davis home.  I think we've started some traditions here that will last a long time. 





Putting potty training on hold
posted on 11/25/2008

Well, well.  Just when I thought I had it all figured out, along came some friends who are MUCH smarter than I am.  They each have multiple children, all potty trained.

And both of them encouraged us to put off potty training until after the holidays.

Think about it:

Let's say potty training was successful this week.  She got it.

In three weeks, we're going to board a plane to spend almost two weeks in Alabama.  

We're going to be out of her comfort zone, out of our routine.  We're going to be off schedule, doing lots of new things and seeing lots of people.  

A recipe for potty training regression.  Duh!!  Why hadn't I thought of that?  I was just so pumped up about it.

SO - we are going to wait until we come home December 26.  We'll start the next day, and we'll have 5 full days at home to train before returning to preschool.  And if she needs an extra day or two, Dan doesn't have classes, so he can keep her home and keep going.

And then we won't travel again for 6 months or so.  Plenty of time!

I'm so grateful to have wise friends who don't mind sharing their thoughts and experiences with me.

I'm also a bit relieved: all three of us are fighting off yucky colds this week.

Stay tuned for more potty training news in the next month or so... 





Preparation for potty training
posted on 11/24/2008

Today I began preparation for potty training.  We took Christmas pictures, so that's not hanging over our head.  I made sure I had some meals in the freezer so I don't have to cook and can completely focus on Lana for the rest of the week.  I got a good start on the laundry, including washing all the new big girl panties, and I'll finish the rest up in the morning.  I made a shopping list of some essentials we'll need to pick up before we go on potty training lock down.  Tomorrow we'll clean the house and roll up the rugs.  We used a gift card someone gave us and went out to eat for lunch, knowing that we won't be going out much of anywhere for the next several days!  

My friend Emily asked me tonight if I was getting excited about it - I responded with an emphatic "No!"  I don't like messes; I don't like my routine being disturbed; I don't like being cooped up in the house, especially during the winter.  But I am kind of getting those pre-game jitters....you know, that feeling of "What's going to happen?"

I think I've got my head on straight about this.  I have a plan and have read lots of stuff, but we're going with it "loosely."  Just like I read Babywise and really, really liked most of it, and we used it loosely, going with what worked for us and just not using what didn't.

For over a decade now, I've been learning how to teach/train children.  For many years, I was learning how to teach/train students in a classroom.  For the past few, I have been learning about how to teach/train my own daughter, including this potty training bit.  And throughout all the studying and reading and learning (for whatever purpose), my mom has encouraged me to think critically by saying, "Rachael, just use the good stuff that you read, the stuff that makes sense to you, and forget about the rest."  What a wise mama I've got...

We're going to go full-force potty training - I've read a lot, and I'm going to use the stuff that makes sense to me. And I'm going to follow my gut.  I want this to be an adventure for our family - I don't want it to be something that exasperates my child or that stresses Dan & I out.  We're going to put on panties Wednesday morning, and see how it goes.  Real talk: I think pee pee during the day is going to be pretty simply for Lana to catch on to.  I think poo poo is going to be much harder, and I think nighttime is going to be a disaster.  But we'll see.  If it's not successful, I am 100% okay with backing up and punting.  We'll wait until she's ready and try again.  She's not going to go to kindergarten in diapers.

So wish us luck!  Dan was going to keep her home from preschool tomorrow and start then, but he's swimming in papers and schoolwork, so we've moved to plan B.  She & I are going to go to preschool while he tries to knock out his school work.  We're going to enjoy Tuesday night in diapers, and Wednesday morning is go time!

I'm going to try to journal our progress daily - I want to remember what this was like.

Any last minute advice?  I welcome it all!

 





Thanksgiving Feast
posted on 11/21/2008

Today was Lana's classroom Thanksgiving feast at preschool.  All of the two year old classes got together and had a huge picnic in the gym.  We spread out our blankets, filled our plates with traditional, delicious food and enjoyed the time we had together.

Dan's afternoon class was cancelled so he got to come, and one of my sweet parents stayed with my class so I could join them.  Lana was SO excited to see us!  She danced the entire way down the hall until she got to us.  

Just before we ate, everyone stood in a huge circle and everyone said what they were thankful for.  When we asked Lana, she said, "Daddy!"  

Lana had a cute pilgrim hat to wear, and she made us a card with her handprint.  It's so much fun to enjoy these events together as a family.  

She'll be in a Christmas musical at school in a month or so - we can't wait!





Lana's favorites
posted on 11/17/2008

Favorite nursery rhyme: Jack and Jill (she can sing both verses)

Favorite book: Biscuit - she loves that puppy!

Favorite song: the B-I-B-L-E

Favorite snack: apples and pears

Favorite part of her lunch: gummies, otherwise known as fruit chews

Favorite inside toy: baby dolls & her farm animals

Favorite outside toy: her scooter

Favorite drink: milk or water

Favorite meal: spaghetti

Favorite dessert: anything chocolate

Favorite free activity: to go play in the gym at Daddy's school

Favorite comfort item: lovey, of course

Favorite movie: LeapFrog Letter Factory - she knows almost all of her letters & sounds!

Favorite restaurant: CiCi's pizza and Chick-Fil-A





I forgive you, ball.
posted on 11/17/2008

Today just before naptime, Lana was rolling a ball across the floor in our living room.  She wanted the ball to go under the chair, but it wouldn't fit.  

After a few tries, she brought the ball to me and said, "Mommy, this ball is being disobedient!"  

Choking back a big belly laugh, I said, "Well, Lana, what happens when we disobey?"  

"We get a spanking," she said.  "And only mommies and daddies spank.  So you spank that ball, Mommy, for disobeying!"  So I spanked the ball, of course, and then said, "What do we need to do now, Lana?"  

She took the ball back, hugged it close, and said, "I forgive you, ball."  "Now you need to pray," I reminded her.  She thought about it for a second, folded her little hands, bowed her head, and said, "Dear God, this ball not obeying.  Please let ball obey.  Amen!"  

I would have give anything for a video camera - it was probably one of the cutest things I've ever seen, and a wonderful reassurance that she understands our discipline process of disobedience, correction, forgiveness, and restoration to each other and to God.  Wow!  





Toy Chest is here!
posted on 11/14/2008

We are overflowing with gratitude for the people of Bay Leaf Baptist Church.  They host an annual ministry called "Toy Chest" for seminary families, and it is one of the greatest blessings of our holiday season.  Let me tell you about it....

The Toy Chest provides brand new toys for the children of seminary students at Christmas time each year.  Now, when I say toys, I mean TOYS, my friend!  You get 7 points for each child, and can get a maximum of 3 gifts.  Each toy is labeled with a point value from 1-6.  And these toys are not someone else's cast-offs. They are AWESOME.

Toy Chest is always on a Saturday morning.  It is such an incredible opportunity that people begin lining up as early as 4 or 5 a.m.   This year, they let the seminary students whose wives teach at the preschool pre-shop on Friday.  It was such a treat to be able to take our time shopping.  And on top of that blessing, some of our fellow teachers (non-seminary students) volunteered to keep our children after preschool so we could shop.  Amazing!!!  Do you have a feeling now for the incredible community that we live in?  How blessed I am to teach at Little Lambs?  I walk each day among spiritual giants.

This year, we got Lana a motorized jeep - not as big as a Barbie jeep, more like a ride-on toy that is motorized.  Perfect for her size!!!  She is going to LOVE it!  We also got her a My First LeapPad and a bug vacuum.  What a wonderful Christmas she's going to have!

We also got to visit the "Quarter Aisle."  These is a row filled with toys that they did not give away last year, or gently used toys that people donated.  We got 2 garbage bags full of those toys, including a doctor kit, crayons, toy ambulance, toy flutes, candyland, a marble game...just tons of really fun stocking stuffers!  We'll save probably half of this stuff for her birthday, too - it's just too much to get at Christmas.

Tomorrow morning, we'll go back for the raffle.  Each family can put their name in for the raffling off of MAJOR gifts for their children.  These big ticket items range from things like a Barbie jeep to Mac notebooks.  You only register for things your kids will use.  So for Lana, we registered for things like a train table and a Barbie jeep, but we did not register for things like the XBox 360 and Ipods.  

And the most unbelievable part of all of it is the attitude of the church as they minister to us this way.  It is NEVER an attitude of "Look what we're doing for you."  Instead, their attitude is complete joy.  It is precious and makes me cry every single year.  

We were able to visit Bay Leaf Baptist Church a few weeks ago and share with them how Toy Chest has touched our life and family.  They considered something that we were doing for them, but we were just so grateful to have the time and pulpit to tell them congregation what a difference it makes in our life, not just for now, but for how we'll do ministry in the future.  I hope that all our seminary friends get to visit Toy Chest tomorrow morning!  

Thank you, Bay Leaf members!  You have blessed us more than we could ever ask for or imagine.  Your sacrificial giving and joy in giving makes the Body beautiful.

 

 





Visit from Melis & Nick
posted on 11/10/2008

I was a TERRIBLE mother this weekend, and did not get out my camera one time!  I was just so busy having fun that I didn't even think to!

My college roommate Melis & her friend Nick flew in for the weekend, and we had a BLAST!  Melis always brings books for Lana - it's such a sweet tradition that she's started with her.  They cuddled up and read together as usual.  I love it.  Nick fit right in, too - Lana loved to have him read to her, too!

We did lots of fun things....ate lots of food, had ice cream, wandered around downtown Wake Forest, played lots of games, rested & relaxed...we all enjoyed every minute of it.  I wish I had pictures to show you of all this fun, but when you picture it in your head, just think of lots of smiles!  

Thanks, Melis & Nick, for taking the time to come visit us!  We loved having you, and can't wait to see you again.  





Type one word
posted on 11/07/2008

Type only ONE word.  It's harder than you think!

1. Where is your cell phone? charger
2. Your significant other? Ipod
3. Your hair? up
4. Your mother? away
5. Your father? Abba
6. Your favorite thing? kissing
7. Your dream last night? scary
8. Your favorite drink? sundrop
9. Your dream/goal? family
10. You’re in? pj's
11. Your fear? wrecks
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? school
13. Where were you last night? church
14. What you’re not? perfect
15. Muffins? warm
16. One of your wish list items? vacation
17. Where you grew up? Mississippi
18. The last thing you did? newsletter
19. What are you wearing? pj's 
20. Your TV? UFC
21. Your pet? :(
22. Your computer? mac 
23. Your life? enough
24. Missing someone? Moore's 
25. Your car? empty
26. Something you’re not wearing? jewelry 
27. Favorite store? target 
28. Your summer? short 
29. Your favorite color? yellow 
30. When is the last time you laughed? Nick
31. Last time you cried? today

Now it’s 4 answers.

32. 4 people who e-mail me: Mom, Eva, Wendi, Allison
33. 4 of my favorite foods: olives, apples, bread, salad
34. 4 places I would rather be right now: beach, lake, river, water





Mrs. Laurie says....
posted on 11/07/2008

I wish I had a quarter for every time we hear Lana say "Mrs. Laurie says...."  
Mrs. Laurie is one of Lana's teachers at school, and her word is authority.

Here are a few of the things we hear...

  •  Mrs. Laurie says we not take our socks off!  We can take our shoes off, but not our socks!
  • Mrs. Laurie says we sit on the pillows.  Pillows are not for standing!
  • Mrs. Laurie says we don't frow things!
  • Mrs. Laurie says we don't hit our friends.  
  • Mrs. Laurie says just the leader gets to hold the big flag.  I get to hold the little flag.
  • Mrs. Laurie says God is in the Bible.
  • Mrs. Laurie says teeth are not for biting.
  • Mrs. Laurie says our friends need privacy when they go to the potty.
It makes me laugh out loud to envision the scenarios that might require Mrs. Laurie to say some of those things.  Love it!

 





Trick or Treat
posted on 10/31/2008

Halloween used to cause me some discomfort.  All the "devil's holiday" and "all saint's eve" stuff freaked me out - I didn't want to celebrate the devil!  As I've matured spiritually and Dan & I have taken the time to sort out what we really believe our walk with the Lord should look like, we have decided that Halloween is a perfect time to get out in the community...not to hide away with other believers.  We've decided that Halloween for us will be about dressing Lana up in fun costumes, letting her enjoy a fun night with her friends and some candy, and getting out into our community, meeting people we normally would not.

This is Lana's third Halloween, and this time she got it!  She loved the idea of dressing up, and could hardly wait to be "Little Quack!" (She loves a book she has about a duck named Little Quack, and so her duck costume was PERFECT.)  

When she woke up from her nap this afternoon, we told her that after dinner, she got to be Little Quack and go get some candy.  We even practiced saying trick or treat by letting her knock on the front door...I was waiting on the other side with some candy.  She was so excited.  Then we expected her to sit down and eat dinner....yeah, right!  We managed to coerce her into eating a few bites of a delicious pot pie before suiting her up as Little Quack and meeting some friends in downtown Wake Forest.  

Our friends Kelly & Bradley came with Julianna (a ladybug), and Dustin & April brought Hollis (a mouse).  The kiddos were so cute!  It only took Lana a house or two to "get" it, and as soon as we walked away from one house, she was showing us the next one, saying, "I gonna get some more candy!"  By the end, she was so brave, asking to go get the candy by herself.  (Her mama was too paranoid for that...I had to have a hand on her at all times.)  

My favorite part of the whole night was when we were about halfway done,  Lana looked up at me with her big blue eyes and said, "Mommy, they being such good sharers!  They share everything that God give them!"  She was just amazed at everyone giving their candy away...precious.

The route that we go on Main Street is perfect!  It's just the right distance...by the time we get to the end, it's time to go home.  We trick or treated from 6:30 to 7:30, and then headed back home.  Once we got back to our little house, we let Lana dump out all her candy and eat some.  I made hot chocolate with marshmallows for us to drink - I think we'll make this a tradition.  She didn't get in bed until 8:30, and didn't fall asleep until 9:00, but it was worth it!

my Little Quack with her cute trick or treat bag that Aunt Kacie made





prayers for Mommy
posted on 10/31/2008

Today after preschool, the three of us were sitting at the kitchen table.  Lana was having a snack before naptime, if a snack counts as leftover Sister Schubert rolls that my friend Allison sent with dinner.  

There were a couple of cards sitting on the table from my sweet friends, and Dan & I were reading them while she ate.  

She picked up one and said, "I read this one, Daddy.  I read it myself."  She opened the card, pointed to the words, and said, "Dear God, help mommy feel better."  Precious.





Life with Lana today
posted on 10/30/2008

Inspired by one of my favorite blogs (www.prayerofhannah.blogspot.com) I am going to try to regularly write down a snapshot of how Lana is in her daily life.  Sometimes I look back and find it hard to remember exactly what she was doing at say, 8 months.  That makes me crazy!  I want to remember the specifics forever...so in the spirit of that, here's what life is like with Lana today:

Sleeping: Lana sleeps 11-12 hours a night.  She goes to bed around 8, and wakes up between 7 and 8 in the morning.  She does the funniest things when she wakes up.  First, she puts all her babies to sleep.  Serious, she lays them facedown beside each other and covers them up.  Sometimes she'll sing them a song.  Then she stands up at the edge of her crib and waits.  Silently.  For as long as it takes us to come get her.  One time, I woke up at 7:15 and she was standing up waiting.  I closed my eyes for just a few minutes, and all of a sudden, I woke up at it was 9 and she was STILL standing there.  She hadn't made a peep.  When I went in, she said "Mommy, I get out!  I been awake a long time!"

Eating: Lana is really a great eater.  She might not eat everything we do, but she'll try anything one time.  She eats funny things, too, like pickled okra and black olives and raw onions and peppers.  She prefers for her food to be separate - no casseroles in our house.  She sits at the table with us in her booster seat, although lately she's really been asking to sit in a regular chair on her knees.  The trouble with that is that she slides around, food spills, and it's just more hectic than having her in a booster.  Breakfast is the hardest meal of the day for her...very rarely will she eat a big breakfast.  This morning she ate 1/4 of a pancake and drank her milk.  She is the SLOWEST eater you have ever seen, especially at preschool.  She's just so busy watching everyone else.

Talking: We LOVE how verbal Lana is!  She will talk about anything and everything, and repeats anything we say.  One of our favorite words that she says right now is "though."  It comes out "doe," as in, "I can't have juice.  I can have some water, doe!"  Love it.  She has a bit of a shy side, and when she first meets someone or sees someone after a while, she'll clam up, sometimes literally standing behind my legs.  It's so funny, though, because as soon as that person leaves, she'll talk up a storm about them.  My friend Stephanie brought us dinner last night, and I couldn't get Lana to tell her thank you for anything.  But AS SOON AS Stephanie closed that door, she was jabbering non-stop about her.  "Mommy, Steffi bring us dinner!  That's so sweet of her, Mommy.  God gives us good friends..." on and on with things she had heard me saying.  She's learning to memorize scripture, and she can almost say the pledge of allegiance by herself.

Potty training: Lana is showing lots more interest now that she's back in preschool.  She tells us that "Andy uses the potty!" and "Eliza wears big girl panties."  She asks to try to potty a lot at preschool, so we have her in pull-ups to make that easier for her teachers to encourage.  She will often stop playing abruptly, look up at us and say, "I just pee peed!" We're glad she's realizing what her body is doing - that's a good step!  Sometimes she'll actually do something in the potty, and we get really excited about that.  In about a month, we have Thanksgiving break from school, and we're going to give full-on training a shot for 3 or 4 days and see how it goes.  If it's not completely successful, I'm okay with that.  I just think it's the perfect time to give it a try.  We won't be traveling, and we'll all be at home together for 5 days in a row.

Discipline: We are still working hard at first-time obedience.  We've found that if we give her any "freebies," it starts a downhill spiral to disobedience, so we are working on being super consistent, with expecting first time obedience every time.  She can tell you that if she doesn't obey, we have to spank her.  It's so fun to encourage her when she DOES obey.  She is learning to be a good sharer.  We've been working on some of the specifics of interacting with others lately.  For example, if she wants something that someone else has, it's not okay for her to take it, or to even ask for it.  If Dan were talking on the phone, and I interrupted to ask if I could use it, that would be rude.  So we're teaching Lana that asking for something before someone is done is rude, and "Love is not rude."  So we wait until their actions show us that they are done before asking for a turn.  We've also been learning how to respond if someone tries to take something that she's playing with.  Her natural reaction is to say "Mine!" but we're learning that "Everything we have is from God," so nothing is really hers.  Instead, we're teaching her to tell the friend who is trying to take the toy away, "I'm not finished yet!"  Still lets her stand up for herself, but is much kinder than the typical "mine!"

Playing: Lana LOVES the outdoors.  One of her favorite things to do in the world is to go to the seminary ("Daddy's big school!") and explore the grounds.  There are lots of fun things for her to see and do there.  She really enjoys going to the gym and playing with the basketball.  She still loves to read....we could read to her for hours a day.  She's starting to branch out from her favorite books and pick some new ones.  We recently discovered Biscuit, and she likes him a lot!  Her imagination is going wild these days...lately, we're on a bear hunt wherever we go.  She plays with her babies, and carries purses around.  It's fun to see her turning into a little girl right before our eyes.

my beautiful, beautiful baby

 





a family bear hunt
posted on 10/29/2008

This morning, we all got up and went to Raleigh for my post-op appointment.  It went well - the surgeon said everything is healing nicely, that it's normal for me to still be in pain, and that I should feel lots better by the beginning of the week.  Lana was a hit in the office.  They had a fit over the outfit that Aunt Kacie made for Lana, and gave her a sucker and stickers for being such a good girl waiting on Mommy.

We came back home so I could take some medicine and a nap, and after lunch, we took a family outing to Daddy's school - one of Lana's favorite places in the world to play.  We climbed and walked and played in leaves....just enjoyed being together in the fresh fall air.

She has such an exploratory nature now...just like her Daddy.  She found some trees that she could climb under, and told us they were "caves." She LOVES singing 'Going on a Bear Hunt' at school, and we do a LOT of bear hunting at home.  She convinced me to climb in the cave with her, and we found a bear!  Dan got some pictures of us being silly...what a fun time we all had together.  One of the greatest blessings of our family is that we just enjoy each other's company so much.

All that fun wore us out...she's napping and I'm heading that way.  I posted some pictures of all of our adventures!

 





highs and lows
posted on 10/28/2008

No point in listing the lows during surgery recovery...such a waste of space...but I want to remember the sweet times...the highs.  

  • Lana has been so understanding of me not being able to pick her up.  She'll say, "Mommy pick me up?....no, that hurt mommy's bo bo.  You sit down, Mommy."
  • She's constantly asking if things make me feel better.  "Hot chocolate make you feel better mommy?"  "These kisses gonna make mommy feel better!"
  • We've gotten some sweet snuggle time on the couch this past week.  We'll put a movie in and just cuddle up.
  • We read in our bed LOTS.  She brings piles of books in, tells Daddy to share his pillow, and we read for as long as possible.  When I was younger and envisioned being a mommy, this is what I hoped it would be like.
  • Today when she & Dan arrived home from preschool, I was waiting at the door.  The look on her face was amazing!  Every little fiber of her body was thrilled to see me.  She gets this way every day when she sees her Daddy, but it's not often that I get to be on the receiving end of that joy.  Precious!
  • If I'm in the bed resting and she comes inside from playing outside, I often hear her say, "Daddy, I going upstairs to wake up mommy.  I gotta give her love and hugs and kisses."  
  • She's gotten lots of "bo-bo's" this past week like mommy's.  She needs that extra attention, too.





On the road to recovery
posted on 10/22/2008

Thank you so much for your prayers for us as I had surgery yesterday morning.  The surgery went really well...quick and no complications.  

We arrived at Duke Raleigh at 5:45 a.m. and were back at home by 9:30 a.m.!!  The nurses and surgery team were INCREDIBLE!  There are so many hospitals up here that they are in competition for business, therefore patient care is excellent.

An RN met me at registration and stayed with me until discharge.  She knew my entire history (including all the details about Lana's delivery), and was a huge support for me while I was there.  They had my hospital gown and booties warmed up for me when it was time to change into them!  I mean toasty, snuggly warm.  And thanks to an excellent anesthesiology team, that's all I remember until I woke up in the recovery room.

After surgery, an elderly gentleman (a volunteer) waited on me hand and foot.  Brought me a coke, my clothes to change back into, a snack, my wheelchair...he was just so sweet.  It was really a neat touch.  

Today has been quite a bit more painful, but it is definitely not as bad as it could be.  I'm SO GRATEFUL that Dan's mom and sister are here with our nephew Noah.  Lana is having lots of fun with them, which makes it easier for me to rest.  Our friends from preschool and church are bringing meals....I just feel so loved.  It's so neat to see the body of Christ working this way.  Thank you so much for your prayers, thoughts, words of encouragement; for your ministry to our hearts and our bellies! Laughing





Right this minute....
posted on 10/19/2008

Lana is playing with play dough.  

She is making a "narwhal," which is a whale with a long, twisted tooth featured in Eric Carle's ABC book.  

She's making this narwhal for Gordy.  She says Gordy is my little boy, and he's at the farmer's market picking strawberries.

She just told me that Gordy wants chicken nuggets for dinner.  We'll see.

I love this life.





Daddy said
posted on 10/17/2008

Lana and her daddy were playing outside yesterday afternoon while I was inside doing something.  I came outside to play so he could go inside for a few minutes.  Lana was crouching on the ground, and I ran and jumped over her.  

She popped up and said, "Daddy said we don't jump over each other, Mommy!"

I was surprised, but what Daddy says goes, so I said, "I'm sorry, Lana.  We obey Daddy.  Why can't we jump over each other?"

"So if you jump over each other, you might fall and get hurt!" she told me adamantly.

Dan came out a few minutes later, and I asked him why I couldn't jump over Lana.  He laughed out loud, and said that he hadn't said any such thing!

It cracked us up that she has learned that to invoke Daddy means something!  Sometimes if Dan tells her she can or can't do something, she'll try to persuade me.  I always remind her that "Daddy is our leader, and we obey him."  She figured she could use that logic on me!





funny potty story
posted on 10/14/2008

For the last couple of days, Lana has shown a little bit of interest in pottying...we've been letting her dolls pee-pee on the potty, and she's been telling us "I just pee peed in my diaper!"  Several times a day, she'll tell us that she needs to pee pee.  We celebrate the effort, although it's rare that she actually goes.

Tonight after dinner, Lana and I were upstairs.  I was in our room doing something, and she called out to me from her room, "Mommy, I have to go pee pee!"  I told her to take off her shorts and I'd come help her.  In just a minute or two, I heard her screech, "Mommy, I went pee pee!" at the top of her lungs.  

I dashed out of the bedroom to find her sitting in the potty in total darkness.  She had gone into the dark bathroom, taken off her shorts and diaper, climbed up on the potty (without her potty insert), and pee peed!!





Tagged by Lindsay Creswell
posted on 10/13/2008

My friend Lindsay tagged me on her blog...loved reading her answers, so I had to do it, too...I'm tagging Stephanie, Whitney, and Emily.

1.     What time did you get up this morning?  7:45am

2.     Diamonds or pearls? diamonds

3.     What was the last film you saw at the theatre?  Iron Man

4.     What is your favorite TV show?  The Amazing Race and Intervention

 5.     What do you usually have for breakfast?  a Sundrop and maybe a piece of fruit

6.     What is your middle name?  Marie

7.     What food do you dislike?  cottage cheese

8.     What is your favorite CD at the moment?  John Waller - it speaks to my soul

9.     What kind of car do you drive?  2005 Chevy Trailblazer

10.    Favorite Sandwich?  peanut butter and banana

11.    What characteristic do you despise?  dishonesty

12.    Favorite item of clothing?  any a-line dress that draws attention away from my lower half

13.    If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would you go?  Australia, to snorkel the Great Barrier Reef

14.    Favorite brand of clothing?  whatever I can get a great deal on at TJ Maxx

15.    Where would you retire to?  the beach...in Belize, if I'm being optimistic

16.    What was your most memorable birthday?  21 - Dan & I kissed for the first time on our birthday!

17.    Favorite sport to watch?  don't much like to watch sports

18.    When is your birthday?  March 23, the same as Dan's

19.    Are you a morning person or a night person?  morning, definitely

20.    What is your shoe size? 8

21.    Pets?  Not right now...I miss my dogs.

22.    Any new and exciting news you would like to share with us?  I'm going to be an aunt again - Dan's sister Mackenzie is having another baby!

23.    What did you want to be when you were little?  the president, I'm sure.

24.    How are you today?  a little overwhelmed trying to get prepared for my surgery next week

25.    What is your favorite candy (lollie/chocolate)? jelly belly jelly beans and hershey's with almonds

26.    What is your favorite flower?  lillies

27.    What is a day on the calendar you are looking forward to?  Toy Chest at Bayleaf Baptist Church on November 14!

28.    What is your full name?  Rachael Marie Davis

29.    What are you listening to right now?  Lana talking in her sleep...precious.

30.    What is the last thing you ate?  blueberry pancakes for dinner

31.    Do you wish on stars?  nah, that doesn't do any good.

32.    If you were a crayon, what color would you be?  yellow

33.    How is the weather right now? fall-ish...aaahhhh

34.    The first person you spoke to on the phone today?  Dan

35.    Favorite soft drink?  Sundrop

36.    Favorite restaurant?  Mizu's...I could eat sushi there daily.

37.    Real Hair Color? what you see is what you get

38.    What was your favorite toy as a child? my blue bunny - any others, Mom?

39.    Summer or Winter?  summer at the beach

40.    Hugs or kisses?  hugs

41.    Chocolate or Vanilla?  chocolate

42.    Coffee or Tea?  tea, sweet and cold

43.    When was the last time you cried?  leaving Gatlinburg after our family vacation

44.    What is under your bed?  my wedding dress, camping gear, pictures

45.    What did you do last night?  took Lana to dinner at CiCi's, and worked on Women's Day registration after she went to bed

46.    What are you afraid of? car wrecks and something happening to Dan or Lana

47.    Salty or Sweet?  salty every time...

48.    How many keys are on your ring?  a dozen, having no idea what most of them are to

49.    How many years at your current job? a year and a half as a preschool teacher at Bayleaf

50.    Favorite day of the week?  Wednesday - no one has work or school, and we spend the whole day together!  (Dan lets me sleep in sometimes, too.)

51.    How many places have you lived in?  Lake City, FL; Biloxi, MS; Daphne, AL; Mobile, AL; Wake Forest, NC

52.    Do you make friends easily?  No, it's actually very hard for me, although that surprises most people.  I wish it were easier....

 





Her favorite part of Gatlinburg - poll results
posted on 10/12/2008

Here are the results of the poll - you guys know her so well!  She had a WONDERFUL time playing with her cousins...sometimes she couldn't even sleep because she was thinking about it.  She woke up super early every morning, begging to go get them, and told us before naptime, "I gonna cry.  I want to play instead."  So much fun!  

But this afternoon, we asked her what her favorite part of Gatlinburg was, and she said "playing with Nana and PawPaw!"  such sweet times~

What will be Lana's favorite part of our vacation in Gatlinburg?
the hot tub 0%
playing with her cousins Jake & Noah 43%
eating candy apples 7%
going down the slide at Ober Gatlinburg 14%
seeing her Nana and PawPaw 29%
eating at the Apple Barn 7%
playing on the big porch 0%
walking through downtown Gatlinburg 0%

Total votes: 14





Gatlinburg 2008
posted on 10/12/2008

We love our new Gatlinburg family tradition!!  We just returned from our week at "The Pleasant View" at Gatlinburg Falls Resort (www.gatlinburgfallsresort.com).  We look forward to this Davis family vacation all year long, and can't believe it's over.

We did such fun things - went whitewater rafting, up to Ober Gatlinburg for the day, swam in the resort heated pool, ate lots of caramel apples, cooled down the hot tub so the kiddos could play, and just had a great time being together.  Our poor nephew Noah came down with the croup while we were there, so we spent some extra time in the cabin letting him rest, and Lana was so happy about that!  One of her favorite things this year was playing in the game room - she played foos ball and Miss Pac Man a LOT!

We ate really well...cooking in the cabin some nights, and eating out others.  Dan's parents treated us all to a steak dinner at the Park Grill - it was delicious!  

It was really neat to watch Lana and Jake and Noah play together...last year, Lana & Noah were still babies, taking two naps a day and everything.  This year, they are not babies anymore!  The three of them chased each other around and played and acted silly and got in trouble - it was really fun to see them making memories together already.  

Thank you so much, PawPaw & Nana!  It was a wonderful week, and we miss you already.

the whole family after dinner at the Park Grill





Vacation fever
posted on 10/04/2008

It seems like EVERY time we get ready to go on vacation, our sweet baby girl gets sick.  She's been running a low grade fever since she woke up from her nap today.  Nothing will do except to be held by Mommy - my arms hurt from holding her so much!  She did sit in her chair and eat a few goldfish, but after a minute or two, she just laid her head down and fell asleep.  This is so unusual for her...

I didn't give her any Tylenol or Motrin - I wanted to see if the fever was going to spike or stay low grade.  It was still around 99.5 degrees when she went to bed.

It's time for those two year molars to come in, so we're hoping that's all this is.  If she's still running a fever when she wakes up, I think I'll take her to the after hours clinic at the ped before we hit the road for Gatlinburg.  





"But Daddy said I could!"
posted on 09/30/2008

Yesterday afternoon, Lana woke up from her nap and (as usual) asked for a popsicle.  I told her that we needed to change her diaper, and maybe we could have a popsicle later.  She looked at me with those big blues wide open and said, "But Daddy said I could have one, Mommy!  Daddy said we could do that!" all the while nodding her head so sincerely.

 Unfortunately, Daddy was at work, so he couldn't verify the accuracy of her claims.  I can't argue with Daddy, though, so she did get a popsicle.

Today I remembered to ask him about it, and he cracked up!  As he was laying her down for that nap, she asked for a popsicle, and he told her maybe later.  She told him, "Mommy said I could have one!"

I thought this didn't start until they were at least 12!!





I don't correct this.
posted on 09/30/2008

When our children say things the wrong way, we often correct them, hoping to improve their patterns of speech.  I do this often with Lana, helping her straighten out the kinks in the English language.

However, there are a few things she says that I just can't bring myself to correct...

She says "alligator" for escalator and elevator.  As in, "Mommy, I want to go ride on the alligator!"

She says that rings are "ringers," as in, "I want to wear a ringer like you, Mommy!"

I know that someday soon she'll say these things the right way, and I miss these Lana-isms.  I just love it.





"What you doing with you eyes?"
posted on 09/29/2008

Today has been one of "THOSE" days in our house.  I've spanked Lana at least 5 times, each time for being disobedient.  She has done everything from tell me "NO!" when I asked her to come, to pulling a cord out of a light socket (a big no-no that she hasn't tried in a year!).  It's been one long, trying day.  Now keep in mind that each spanking takes up to 5 minutes...we have to find a quiet place, talk about why she's getting the spanking, give the spanking, love, pray, reconcile, the whole deal.  As the minutes (and spankings) have ticked by, I have been consciously thankful that I took the time to read Ginger Plowman and Tedd Tripp - I was able to stay calm, and discipline my little girl lovingly, rooted in the Word, knowing that I am being obedient to God's way.  

So in the midst of all of the seriousness, all of the prayer and spankings and tears, my child made me laugh so hard that I cried - I was so grateful for the giggles that we shared in the midst of this day that I just had to write it down!

Right after bathtime (and another spanking), I had Lana in my lap, wrapped up in her towel, just snuggling.  I was giving her a very stern "talking to," not scolding, I was just explaining to her that I would spank her every single time she disobeyed me, because I had to obey God, and I wanted to teach her to obey God, too.  

Now, my friends, if you've known me for long at all, you know that I talk with my eyes. I use them to express myself in lots of different ways, and they are an integral part of my serious "mommy face," and "teacher face."  I must have had them open quite wide, because in the middle of this deep theological discussion I'm having with my two year old, she interrupts and says, "Mommy, what you doing with you eyes?" in the most serious voice you can imagine.

All I could do was laugh - I thought she was listening so intently, and instead she was trying to figure out why my eyes were bugging out of my head!!!  So then it became a game - I would open my eyes as wide as I could, and she would laugh hysterically....

Aaaahhhh....just what we needed to end the day with.  God's so good.

 





"Don't hurt my feelings!"
posted on 09/28/2008

This afternoon, I was making up the bed in our room, and Lana was "helping" me.  I turned around from putting on the pillows, and she was on the other side of the bed pushing buttons on the alarm clock.  "Lana, don't push those buttons!" I told her.  She stopped immediately, and then turned around and kind of whimpered.  "What's wrong?" I asked her, thinking maybe she got her finger stuck or something.  "Mommy, don't hurt my feelings!" she said.  





A weekend with Uncle Dustin & Aunt April
posted on 09/28/2008

Starting on Friday afternoon, I came down with a terrible case of the "yuckies."  No fever, but I just felt horrible.  My throat hurt, my eyes itched, my chest felt heavy, and all I could do was lay around.  Dan was so sweet to take care of everything on Friday night so I could rest.  By Saturday morning, I thought I felt a little better, so I toughed it out, heading to Dan's intramural game and a friend's birthday party, but by the time we got back home for lunch, I was done.  I felt like I had been steamrolled.  Dan had to go to work in just a couple of hours, and I didn't know what I was going to do.  At that moment, I would have given anything to have grandparents nearby to take her for the weekend.

Our sweet friends Dustin & April came to the rescue!  They are truly like family to us.  They came to get Lana as soon as she woke up from her nap.  They spent the afternoon playing with her, they fed her dinner, bathed her, and brought her home to go to bed.

Sunday morning, Dan woke up feeling bad, and so they swooped in again.  They picked Lana up on their way to church, and she spent the whole morning with them while we rested.  She went to church and out to eat with them, returning home just in time for naptime.  

Dan and I both feel so much better - what would we have done without the time of rest their friendship and love for our daughter allowed us?  

The best part is the sweetness with which they took care of our daughter - as if WE were doing something for THEM.  They brought her home with funny stories about what she said and the things she did, from not liking fried okra to telling about the Bible story she learned about...."That man was not listening!"  (turned out to be the story of Jesus making a man hear.)

Thank you, our friends.  We owe you bigtime, and are so grateful for the way you love our family, fleshing out the love of God in the way you care for us.  





Master negotiator
posted on 09/24/2008

Dan & I have realized the last few days that Lana is very good at talking herself into and out of things - we call her the Master Negotiator!  Here are a few examples:

  • Dan often lets Lana have a popsicle when she wakes up from her nap - not a habit I would have voluntarily started, but they both have a huge sweet tooth, and it's a fun thing that they do together, so how can I complain?  Anyway, most afternoons the first thing she'll say after naptime is "I take a sleep!  I get to have a popsicle now!"  A few days ago, she woke up around 8 a.m. and said, "I take a sleep!  I get a popsicle now?"  Um, no.  We are NOT starting a popsicle breakfast habit, too.  When we told her no, that popsicles were only for after naptime, she said, "But I take a good sleep, Mommy!"
  • I had a bottle of green tea on the dresser in our bedroom as I was getting ready one morning.  If you know Lana well, you know she LOVES green tea.  I satisfy that craving for her by saving her a sip or two of mine every once in a while.  Well, this bottle was full, so when she asked if she could have some "teef," as she calls it, I told her no.  "But just one sip, Mommy?"  "No, Lana, no sips right now."  "It's OK, Mommy, to just have one sip!" she assured me.
  • Lately she has shown more "potty awareness," asking us to change her diaper immediately after she pees or poops.  She woke up from nap today with a mostly dry diaper, so I asked her if she wanted to sit on the potty.  She did, so I put her on the potty and sat down on the edge of the tub.  Dan brought her some juice in her M&M cup, and as she was pointing to the M&M's on the cup, I told her that if she pee-peed, she could have an M&M - potty candy!  (Another habit that's not so much my idea; something she picked up somewhere else, but whatever....)  She smiled really big and told Dan, "If I pee pee, I get potty candy!  And chips, too, Mommy!"  What?  Who said anything about chips?  Dan laughed and said, "Potty candy AND chips?  Wow!"  Then she looked at me and said, "Mommy, I get potty candy and chips and grapes, okay?"  (In the end, there was no pee pee, and no candy.)
Wonder what she'll try to talk us into next?





Aunt Kenzie says....
posted on 09/22/2008

Mackenzie reminded me today of this hilarious moment with Lana when we were home during the summer that I had completely forgotten!  Too funny not to journal....

Lana was in the stage where she was telling us what everything said.  "A cow says moo," "Noah says ya ya ya," "A fire truck says wee ooh, wee, ooh," etc.  

Well, one day Lana and I were riding with Mackenzie and Noah in her car, and Mackenzie was telling me a story.  At some point in the conversation, she said, "bleepity bleep."  Not really cuss words; she was bleeping them out for the kids.  We thought nothing of it until a few minutes later when she said, "Mommy, Aunt Kenzie says bleepity bleep!"  She said it for days, and every time, we would roll with laughter.  Just like a sheep says baa, Aunt Kenzie says bleepity bleep!





Be nice to Daddy!
posted on 09/22/2008

Today at lunch, Dan and I were having a...uh-hum...a discussion.  We were disagreeing in a polite, controlled way at first, but I suppose he said something that bothered me, and as I got up to get Lana more milk, I changed my tone to a not so kind one.  Right away, Lana piped up, "Mommy, you be nice to Daddy!"  I was pretty upset at the conversation we were having, but it was hard not to laugh at that.  Dan was so good...he immediately said, "Lana, you don't tell Mommy what to do.  She's the parent."  Usually she backs down immediately at that, but this time, she stood her ground.  "No, Daddy.  Mommy, be nice to Daddy!"  And she was right, of course.  I had to apologize to both of them for my tone, and then we had a good laugh about our little Holy Spirit eating at the table.





tonight for dinner
posted on 09/20/2008

Tonight for dinner, Lana ate:

2 pieces of homemade pizza

1/2 cup green beans

1/4 sliced red pepper

1/2 cup of black bean salsa with tortilla chips

1 cup of milk

I love that she eats weird things like red peppers and black bean salsa.  She also enjoys regular homemade salsa, black olives, steak, mushrooms, sweet potato fries, and hummus.  I have a rutabega in my fridge that I want her to try - I've just got to figure out how to cook it first.  I'm always on a the lookout for a way to get veggies and protein into her, and it makes me delirious with happiness that, at 2, she eats so many good things.

 So, my friends, what's for dinner tonight at YOUR house?  Any other ideas for things I should try with her?  Keep in mind: she likes her veggies crunchy (not cooked) and her food separated (no casseroles).  Can't wait to hear what you feed your kiddos (and yourself)!   





camping
posted on 09/19/2008

We are planning a family camping trip when the weather cools off a little.  Now this is not to be confused with the trip we are taking the first week of October to Gatlinburg with Dan's family.  On THAT trip, we are staying in a super-deluxe cabin courtesy of Dan's parents, we'll chill in the hot tub every night, eat like kings, and do lots of fun things.

No, no, I'm talking about a different trip entirely.  The three of us are going to pack up the back of the Trailblazer with a tent, an air mattress, and some cooking stuff, and we're going to chill at a campsite in the woods for a night, eating hot dogs and smores and sleeping under the stars.

Dan and I did some tent camping before we had Lana and really enjoyed it, but we haven't been brave enough to try it as a family of three yet.  We've finally gotten to the point that we think Lana will enjoy it, and we're going to go on a Tuesday night so we can rest on Wednesday (our off day) in case the night doesn't go well.

We would love to make camping a part of our family life - it's such an inexpensive, fun way to make great memories.  It takes us away from the tv and phone and computer and helps us focus on having fun together.  I am praying Lana enjoys it as much as we do.

Any suggestions?  We know some of you have done some tent-camping with your family, so help us out.  Any things we need to definitely take or definitely leave home?  Any thing we can do to make life easier for ourselves in the great outdoors? 





these are the moments...
posted on 09/17/2008

Today is Wednesday, and this semester it's our family day, when no one has to be at work or school, and we get to spend the whole day together.  It's our Saturday, and we enjoy it immensely because we didn't have it last semester.  

It was  an ordinary day filled with ordinary activities, yet in this moment I'm reminded that our life together is extraordinary.  These are the snapshots from today when God was gracious to remind me of how very full my life is:

  • This morning, the three of us went to chapel to listen to Dr. Akin's presidential forum.  We weren't sure if Lana could make it for the whole hour, but she was an angel, very quiet and obedient.  And as I sat in the beautiful chapel of this amazing seminary, listening to the president affirm God's Word as he spoke about issues going on in our seminary and world today, with my precious, godly husband's arm around me, and my daughter playing quietly in the pew next to me, I was astounded at how full and complete my life is.
  • After chapel, we splurged and had lunch at Olive Garden...I was dying for some salad!  The three of us just enjoyed each other's company so thoroughly - there was no rush, we just ate salad and olives and bread and Lana made us laugh our heads off when she dipped her bread in the side of salad dressing and said "It's spicy!  That is so spicy!"  It was a nice treat for us to not have to cook or clean up or eat sandwiches, and we just reveled in the time together with no obligations.  We probably couldn't afford to go out to eat, but afterwards, I was sure that we couldn't afford not to. 
  •  On the way home, we were all singing together, and Lana kept requesting an old camp song that I've taught her called "He's a peach of a Savior."  It's got silly hand motions, and we were all doing them.  Dan & I were being silly and bumping each other with our elbows, just flirting, and it cracked Lana up!  Over and over, she asked for the song and waited for us to be silly together, and she would laugh hysterically again.  It was such a joy to see her delight in our affection for each other.  As we all laughed and teased each other, I was filled with the greatest contentment.
  • When we arrived home, there was a package for Lana waiting on our doorstep from her Nana.  It was the neatest magnetic dress-up doll thing, and Lana just loved it!  She was so excited, and she really understood that it was from her Nana.  Watching her play with this surprise gift, I just couldn't get over how blessed we are to have such a loving family.  We are so fortunate to have come so far in our relationship with each other, and they are so good to make a huge effort to stay connected with us.  From sending us surprises in the mail to helping us pay for books to renting a cabin for a family vacation in the fall to making trips to visit, I was overwhelmed by the magnitude of their love as I watched Lana play with her new toy.
  • After naptime, we went outside for a little while and hung out with our friends Kelly and Bradley and Julianna.  Julianna has a double ear infection, and we told Lana that she didn't feel good.  She quickly went up to Julianna and hugged her, and when Julianna wrapped those little arms around her, too, my heart melted.  We love this family so much, and it's so precious to see our daughters love each other.  This is such an amazing community that we live in.  Although it is so hard here emotionally and financially, the Lord is good to surround us with families whom we love deeply, and who love us, too.  It feels a lot like a family, and I was reminded that this feeling is one of God's greatest blessings to us during this time in our life.
  • Dan was so sweet to cook dinner tonight....could anyone ask for a better man?  He works, he studies, he goes to school, he sets aside a whole day to love on his family, and then he cooks dinner for us so I can have some time to play with Lana.  At one point, Lana and I were dancing and singing together in the kitchen while Dan cooked and laughed at us being silly, and she looked up at me with her eyes just shining, and I wanted to freeze time, to dance and laugh with her always.
  • After dinner (which was delish, by the way), we had to take a quick shopping trip.  We returned some of Lana's clothes to Target, and we needed to pick her up some long sleeve stuff to wear this winter.  As I looked for her clothes, Lana wandered around looking at all the clothes, and she kept pulling things out saying, "I like this one!  This is cute.  This one is for babies to wear.  Do you like the green one?"  (And she even put them back when she was done looking!)  I'm not a big shopper, but in that moment, I could imagine some fun shopping trips with my little girl.  It hit me that she's my daughter FOREVER...she'll always be a part of my life, a part of my shopping trips.  Wow.  What a gift God has given me in Allana Marie Davis.
  • When we were leaving Target, Dan & Lana ran together through the parking lot, and as I listened to them delight in each other, my heart was turned again to the favor that God has bestowed on our family.  I did not have a good relationship with my father, and watching my daughter bask in the adoration of her daddy heals my heart.  

The lyrics to an old Edwin McCain song keep running through my head....

I could not ask for more than this time together,  

I could not ask for more than this time with you,

every prayer has been answered,

every dream that I've had's come true,

These are the moments that I thank God that I'm alive,

And these are the moments I'll remember all my life

I've got all that I've waited for,

and I could not ask for more.





Favorite moments this week
posted on 09/14/2008

A glimpse into some of our favorite Lana moments from this week:  

  • We have been eating Fiber One yogurt lately, and Lana loves it!  I bought a new flavor (Key Lime, which is delicious).  Lana took one bite, pushed it away, and said, "I don't want that yogurt.  I need some good yogurt!"
  • The afternoon before the Auburn game, Aunt Kacie practiced with Lana all day saying "War Eagle!"  Lana was running around saying it like crazy, and did until we got to Dustin & April's for a cookout and to watch the game.  Kacie said, "Lana, tell Uncle Dustin what we practiced!"  Lana looked up at Dustin and said, "Roll tide!"  Smart girl - she knew who was cooking her dinner that night!
  • Lana has been doing that typical kid thing where she holds water in her mouth for a while before swallowing it.  We've been trying to teach her not to do that because it makes her choke.  Well, she had some chipmunk cheeks and Kacie said, "Lana, let me see what's in your mouth."  Lana looked at her Aunt Kacie, took a big swallow, and opened wide!  She had figured out how to get rid of the evidence....
  • Lana handed me a book the other day, couldn't remember what the title was, and said, "Mommy, how you call this book?"
  • She's developed a preference these days on whether we lay her in her crib on her stomach or her back.  It's not always the same, but she's started telling me every night, "Mommy, you lay me on my front so I can go night night," or "I like to lay on my back, Mommy."
I'm sure there are other funny ones, but I can't remember them right now.  Maybe Aunt Kacie can add some!





And what's your name, little girl?
posted on 09/14/2008

We have finally decided that we are going to "officially" let Lana's name be - Lana!!!  Although her given name is "Allana," we had to make a decision if we wanted to let her go by other or the other.  Dan & I always call her Lana, Lana is going to be easier for her to identify and eventually spell, it's easier for others to read & remember, and truthfully, we just prefer Lana!  Dan reminded me that when we decided to name her Allana, it was mostly because we love "Lana."  

For a while I struggled with the confusion it might cause her to go by Lana when her name is Allana, but then Dan pointed out that LOTS of Jacobs go by Jake, Johnathans go by John, Elizabeths go by Beth, etc.  It's a pretty common thing.  

So we really took the plunge this weekend and had Kacie monogram some things with "L."  You know when you monogram it, it's real!  





Prayer of Hannah - magnet people
posted on 09/09/2008

There is a blog I read almost daily called "Prayer of Hannah."  It is an amazing source of encouragement, information, and godly wisdom for me.  One of the authors is a dear friend of mine, and she asked me to share a how-to on the magnet people I made for Lana.  You can check out the instructions at www.prayerofhannah.blogspot.com  Lana with the magnets I made her of our family...she calls them her "peeps."





First day of preschool!
posted on 09/04/2008

Today was Lana's first day of 2 year old preschool, and what a wonderful day it was!  Thank you so much for your prayers for her adjustment and separation anxiety - she went into her classroom today without one tear!  I know that was because of the power of your prayers, and I am so grateful.  

She was so excited about all the new toys to play with in her new classroom.  Although she was hesitant at first, after a quick prayer and hug, my precious little girl went right in and blew me a kiss goodbye.  Everytime I peeked in at her throughout the day, she was happily playing or dancing or eating...it made my heart so warm.  

Her name was drawn to be the leader of the class today, and when I came to get her, the first thing she did was pull me to the sign that had her name written on it as leader.  She was so proud!  She kept telling me that she got to ring the bell for clean-up time - that was her favorite part!  She also bubbled over about a game Mrs. Laurie played with them called "What is Missing?"  I'm not quite sure of the rules, but I do know that Lana got to find the lion!!  

Our wonderful assistant director, Susan, did me a huge favor and crept in her classroom to snap a few pictures for me, and I caught a video of her telling her Daddy about her day.  You can't understand all of it, and the light is dim, but it is so precious to me because she is literally jumping up and down from excitement as she recaps her day for him.  

Even as I'm writing this, tears pour down my face, and I don't know if they're happy or sad tears.  I know I am rejoicing over God's goodness to us through her amazing teachers, and I am so thankful that she had a wonderful, fun-filled day.  I also know that I am so sad that she's getting so big - I can feel the time slip through my fingers like sand, and just like sand, the harder I try to hold on, the faster it slips through.  I am so thankful to be Lana's mommy!






What are you saying?
posted on 09/03/2008

Sometimes when we talk to Lana, if she's not really listening, she'll wait until we're done and say, "What are you saying to me, Mommy?" Or if she doesn't understand, she'll say, "Daddy, what are you trying to tell me?"  It cracks us up!





tonight from her crib
posted on 08/30/2008

"Thank You, God, for everything.  Thank You, God, for everything we have and You give us.  We praise God and thank God.  We praise God every day!  Thank You, God, for my Mommy and my Daddy and my friends.  Jesus!!  Praise Jesus!!  I love you, Jesus!!!"

This is what Lana is saying in her crib at this very moment.  She is in there falling asleep, and it's been quiet for a while, but she just started talking, getting louder and louder until she was almost shouting "I love you, Jesus!"  It's quiet again now.  I've been typing as she was talking - it brought instant tears to my eyes and was too precious not to write down. 

This is what the Word means in Deuteronomy when it tells us to teach these truths to our children as we "sit at home and walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up, write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates so that your days and the days of your children may be long upon this land that the Lord has given you."

We talk ALL THE TIME about everything good coming from God; we strive to praise Him in all things, to be grateful in all circumstances.  Sometimes I wonder how much of it she understands - I feel like the Lord gave me a glimpse into my child's heart tonight as I listened to those words pour out of her mouth.  I am renewed in this battle I wage for my child's heart.  Thank You, God, for this sweet gift tonight!!





scratchy fingers
posted on 08/29/2008

Today after Lana woke up from her nap, we packed up and went to the pool for the afternoon with our friends Kelly and Bradley, and their little girl Julianna.  It was so relaxing after a long week of training at preschool...the girls enjoyed the water, we had pizza delivered to the pool for dinner, and Dan & I enjoy time spent with Kelly & Bradley so much.  

After a few hours in the pool, Lana looked at her fingers and said, "Mommy!  My fingers are scratchy!"  At first I couldn't figure out what she was talking about, but when I looked at her "scratchy" fingers, I figured out that they were all wrinkled up from being in the water for so long.  I LOVE that she called them scratchy!!





Dear Lana,
posted on 08/27/2008

Dear Lana,

 

Daddy doesn't usually write in this journal, but we had such a fun day today.  So, Daddy decided (with some persuasion from Mommy) to write about our time together today, just you and me.  Well, the fun started when you woke up this morning about 8:00 a.m.  So I jumped out of bed to come get you so we didn't wake mommy up.  We grabbed our tooth brushes (and product of course) and hurried downstairs.  I made you a waffle and some toast for me and we headed for the door.  I was excited about taking you to the park and eating breakfast outside only to open the door and find it raining.  So, I moved to plan B, get in the car and drive somewhere.  Before I could get us out of the parking lot it hit me, "the tractors are working today".  Which is something you always remind us of as we drive past them each day.  So, off we went to watch the tractors "work that dirt,"as you say.  As we pulled up I noticed the tractors were working very close to the road, so I even got excited a little.  I pulled you from the car seat and your face was priceless as you stared in amazement at the size and noise of the huge tractor that was literally only a few feet away.  I'm not sure why I thought trying to feed you while you were completely distracted was a good idea, but it worked.  You actually ate every bite of your waffle and a couple of bites of my toast.  As you can see in the pictures, you were unwilling to part with your "Hollywood" shades, even though it was one of the cloudiest days we've seen in a while.  Your mind raced and questions flew with each pass of the tractors and graders.  "What's dat boy doing?", "Where dat tractor going?", "I want to drive it!", "What's a grader?", on and on they go.  I gladly answered each one the best I could knowing that one day you might remember the morning we ate breakfast in the back of our Trailblazer and watched the grader "work dat dirt."  You eventually finished your waffle (and my toast) and turned to me and said "Daddy, I ready to go to my home."  But I just couldn't bear to let the fun end yet.  I suggested we head up to the gym at "Daddy's School" (SEBTS) and play some ball and you excitedly answered "let's do dat Daddy!"  

So, we were off again, making our way to the Ledford Center to play some ball.  We finally found a parking spot, jumped out in the rain and made a dash for the door.  All along the way you were shouting, "hurry Daddy! hurry!"  After several funny looks from passers by and a few ankle deep puddles we made it to the door without crashing or getting too wet.  I went to the desk and got a couple of basketballs and we headed up to the gym.  You ran like the wind around that place.  Throwing your ball and then chasing after it over and over again.  After a while the only thing that amused you was me running around chasing my missed attempts at shooting three pointers.  You were more excited when I missed then when I made it.  It was a good reminder for me, Lana.  I couldn't make enough three pointers to come close to the value of one of your sweet laughs.  It's not always about being the best or making the most, sometimes it just about connecting to the one that is watching.  

Sometimes Lana, I think this is how God looks at us.  He doesn't always want us to be the best or do the most.  Sometimes he just wants us to come closer to Him.

Well, our awesome morning was topped off when you looked at me and said "Daddy, I need to go get my Mommy now."  How can I say no to that request.  It was so nice spending the rest of the day with you and Mommy.   

Thank you so much for a fun Daddy/Daughter morning and the sweet reminder of God's desire for us to be near to Him.

 

Love,

Your Daddy 





a baby???
posted on 08/24/2008

Lana has been very interested in babies lately - she likes to look at them and her favorite thing to do is put their pacifiers in their mouth!  Today she saw a baby in a stroller, looked back at me, and said, "Mommy, I want you to have a baby in you tummy!"  WHAT?!?  

I've tried and tried to remember where she might have learned that, and the only thing I can think of is a few weeks ago, she said, "Let's get a baby, Mommy!"  I told her that God will put a baby in Mommy's tummy when He's ready, and that was that.  We didn't say anything else about it.  It's amazing what she listens to and remembers!





middle of the night temper tantrum?
posted on 08/21/2008

Lana woke up screaming last night around 3:30 a.m..  It's so unusual for her, so I dashed into her bedroom and to her crib.  She held her little arms up, "I need my mommy!"  Of course I scooped her up and we sat down in the rocking chair.  I rocked and sang, and by the time I finished one song, she was asleep.  I laid her back down in her bed, she didn't stir, and I went back to bed.  

10 minutes later, she was screaming again.  I rocked, she slept.  Repeat until 4:30 a.m..  At this point, I am thinking ear infection: it's time for her tubes to have fallen out, and this is exactly what ear infections looked like for us: she would only sleep if we were holding her.

So I did what I used to do when she had so many ear infections...brought her into our bed to let her sleep on my chest while I caught a few zzzz's, too.  

Except it didn't work.  She laid on me for a few minutes, then rolled over and looked at Dan.  "Daddy!" she whispered.  "Daddy, wake up.  Feel lovey.  Lovey so soft, Daddy."

Um, no.  No, we are not talking about lovey at 4:30 in the morning.  Absolutely not.  And at this point, I got the sneaking suspicion that she wasn't feeling bad at all.  She just wanted to be awake.  So I took her back into her room and rocked her to sleep again.  

I laid her back down, and she woke up 10 minutes later, stood up, and started screaming.  I mean, holy terror, losing her mind screaming.  Stomping her feet so hard she was jumping, shaking the bedrails screaming.  And not crying-screaming - she was screaming words!  "Mommy, I need you!  You come get me!  I need to get out of my bed!  You come get me, Mommy!!!  You do that!  You do that right now!!!"  I had turned on her turtle music toy before I left the room, and at this point, she starts hitting it to turn off, "I don't need that turtle!  I need my mommy!!!"  

5 a.m. and she's screaming like a banshee.  Dan & I watched her on the monitor, and I must admit, we laughed out loud.  She was pitching a full blown temper tantrum.  I wish we could have gotten it on video!  

Well, no way were we going in with her screaming at us like that, so we just let her rail on, and she did.  For thirty minutes.  When she finally was quiet for just a moment, I ran in and told her: "I'm going to rock you and sing 2 songs.  Then you're going night night."  So we sang and rocked, and I laid her down, and as I did, she started kicking her legs.  

At this point, I was done.  I knew we were in a battle of wills.  I put my hand on her, and told her gently and firmly, "Lana, Mommy said that it's time to go night night.  You may not pitch a fit.  If you pitch a fit, you are disobeying, and what does Mommy have to do when you disobey?"  "Spank me," she replied quietly.  "Yes, ma'am.  Do not cry.  Go to sleep, and Mommy will see you in the morning."  

And that was it.  Not one more peep from her until she woke up at 8.  (Dan, unfortunately, had to be up at 6:30 to go to class.)  

Ya think we've hit the two's yet?





"That is so pitiful!"
posted on 08/19/2008

I will never tire of the funny things Lana says!  

This evening, we were out enjoying the cooler night air with our friends Rob & Emily, and Kelly, Bradley, & Julianna.  Lana & Julianna were playing with sidewalk chalk, and "practicing" their sharing skills.  Innocent  

At one point, Kelly wouldn't let Julianna take a piece of chalk she wanted, and Julianna started crying, letting us know she wasn't pleased at all.  Lana looked at Julianna, marched right over to me and said, "Mommy, that is so pitiful!"  

We all fell over laughing....I guess she's picked up on us saying that about her when she pitches a fit!  I would have given anything to have a video camera rolling....





Nexterday and more
posted on 08/16/2008

I love listening to my little girl learn the nuances of the English language.  We talk a lot about what we did yesterday and what we're going to do tomorrow and then the next day, etc.  

This afternoon, she and I were playing outside and talking about tomorrow being the day we go to church and what we're going to do after church, etc. etc.  

A few minutes later, in typical Lana style, she was repeating back to me the things I told her.  "I playing outside with my friends and riding my scooter and then I take a bath and go to bed and nexterday I go to church, Mommy!  I not cry because Mommy always come back."  She said it several more times, and I couldn't bear to correct her.  

My other favorite thing she's saying this week is "sk" for the "sn" sound.  Snake is "skake" and snack is "skack."  It's so cute.  

And for those who voted in the poll, she says "ringer" for ring.  I love it!





From the mouth of Lana
posted on 08/13/2008

(riding in the car, she spies an airplane overhead): "That airplane is flying to Alabama.  We go to Alabama to see Nana and PawPaw!  I gonna miss them.  I gonna miss Alabama."  

(Dan & Lana ran an errand without me - arriving back home, she ran to the door and knocked on it as loudly as she could.  I opened the door, she flew into my arms and hugged me so tight): "I love you, Mommy!  I love you A LOT!"  

(In the car on the way home from preschool, she was eating a snack): "Mommy, I save these cheerios for Daddy.  When I get home, I share these cheerios with him."  

(Bathtime with Daddy): "I want my Mommy.  I want to kiss her and love her."





"I need my mommy!"
posted on 08/12/2008

We are venturing into new territory in our family....Lana is struggling with some full-blown separation anxiety.  

The past two Sunday mornings, they have had to get me out of church to come get her.  She just could not be consoled, kept crying and asking for mommy.  By the time I got there, she was hysterical.  It was heartbreaking.  

She was in childcare at church Sunday night and Monday night, for around an hour and a half each time.  They didn't have to get me, but they did confess that she was whiny and clingy.

She has always been 100% Daddy's girl (sometimes to the point that it hurt my feelings), and she still often prefers her daddy, but come time for bed, only Mommy will do.  

Today we went to camp at the preschool, and thankfully Mrs. Ashley (her teacher last year) was teaching her class.  However, if Mrs. Ashley walked out of the room or had to attend to someone else, Lana lost it.

This just isn't LIKE her.  She's always been a little uncertain at drop-off time and when she's tired, she always needs her mommy more, but it's never been anything like this.

I keep trying to figure out what the trigger was for this - her Sunday School teacher said she thinks it started after we got back from France.  

It makes me so sad to know that she's sad, and it's also disappointing to me that her caregivers don't get to see what a wonderful, happy little girl she is.  I'm praying that this is a stage (a short one!), and that she'll be back to her usual, sunny self soon.  She's always fine as soon I as get her...she'll even tell us on the way home from church: "I cry for my mommy at church.  I want my mommy to come get me! I have fun with my friends but I want my mommy."  

So I'm looking for suggestions...this is new territory for me.  Any ideas?  Strategies?  Tips you've used successfully?  I need some wisdom!





Happy birthday to Lana, again!
posted on 08/09/2008

This morning we had Lana's Wake Forest birthday party, and it was wonderful!  It was at Holding Park, a playground right across the street from the seminary campus.  It's a great big park with lots of shade, and it proved to be a wonderful place to have a birthday party!  We had cookie cake and popsicles and water and juice, and because it was so simple, we felt like we really got to enjoy Lana and our friends.  

Speaking of friends...we were so happy to see many people that we love so dearly come to celebrate Lana's birthday with us!  Precious neighbors from our seminary neighborhood, dear friends from church, friends from preschool...we were reminded again how great the love is that the Father lavishes upon us!  Wake Forest has become a home away from home for us, and to be surrounded by those we love most here is a blessing of the greatest kind.  God made us for community, and we are blown away by what an amazing community He has placed us in.  

THANK YOU...each of you...for coming to Lana's party, and for sharing your life with us.  You are one of the richest blessings in our lives, and we are grateful for you.  

I uploaded a few pictures of the party to Lana's August photo album, but to see all the pictures, visit this link:  

www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=36914&l=0df91&id=592827895





my favorite Lana-isms
posted on 08/08/2008

I don't want to forget one adorable thing she does....so I have to write them all down here.  

She says "alligator" instead of "elevator." - "Daddy, let's ride on the alligator!"  

She has started speaking in paragraphs.  We have been talking to her about good manners at the table...not playing with her food, just picking it up and putting it in her mouth, putting her fork or spoon back on her plate when she's not using it, etc.  All of a sudden the other night at dinner, she looked at us and said, "Mommy, I just pick my food up and put it in my mouth and I not drop it on the floor cause it's yucky and I have to frow it away!  And I pick that spoon up and put it in my mouth and put it back on my plate so I don't make a mess!"  Hilarious!  It's like she had finally processed it all and had to repeat it to us.  She goes on a tangent about her birthday party at least twice a day.  

She is having conversations with people she's comfortable with.  Skylar asked me in the car if Lana was turning four, and I told her to ask Lana.  Skylar turned to Lana and said, "Are you turning four Lana?"  I expected her to just say, "I two!" but she said, "No, I not four.  I gonna be two years old!"  

She has started articulating how she feels just in the last couple of weeks.  This morning, I said, "Do you remember where we're going today, Lana?"  (We were headed to Marbles.)  "I go to Alabama!" she exclaimed.  "No, we're not going to Alabama today," I told her.  She was quiet for a moment, and then said, "I want to go to Alabama.  I miss Nana and PawPaw."  

There are more, but I can't remember them right now....see, I have to write them down or I forget!  More later....





Wrightsville Beach with the Johnson's
posted on 08/06/2008

The Lord gave us a great treat this week with a trip to Wrightsville beach with our neighbors, Brad and Kelly Johnson, and their little girl Julianna.  

We have been trying to find time to get to know this sweet couple for months, and Kelly suggested we take a trip to the beach together.  We planned a day trip, but then found a great deal on Priceline.com.  We stayed at a brand new Hilton Garden Inn (normally $200/night) for $60/night!!  

We headed down to the beach late Tuesday afternoon, stopped for dinner, and arrived at the hotel at bedtime.  We stretched the rules since we were on vacation, and headed to the pool instead of to bed.  Laughing  It was great fun, and we finally got the kiddos in bed around 9:00.  We spent the next few hours hanging out in the hallway, playing games and talking the night away.  What a wonderful encouragement Bradley & Kelly are to us!  They are super fun, positive people, and were just so easy to be with...what a refreshment for our souls!  

The next morning, we ate breakfast in our rooms, then hit the beach, which was only a couple of miles away.  It was gorgeous, and the girls had a great time playing in the water, sand, and shells.  Dan & Bradley jumped waves, and we all just soaked up the beautiful weather and salt air.  It was so relaxing for all of us.  

After the beach, we went back to the hotel pool, ate lunch, and swam for a while before we loaded up in the van and headed back home.  It was a really fast trip, but one that we hope to repeat soon!  We've already talked about trips together camping, white water rafting, and skiing!  We're so grateful for new friends.  

Check out the August photo album for pictures of our quick mini-vacation!





Back to reality
posted on 08/03/2008

We're back to reality here in Wake Forest.  After a fabulous week at home in Alabama, we returned to North Carolina just in time for Dan & I to steal a night away at a bed and breakfast for our anniversary.  Our friends Dwight and Stacee kept Lana for us, and we're keeping their kids this week while they have a night away.  (Thank goodness for good friends!)  

We had an amazing time together, just reconnecting after our busy summer, and now we're back to the grind!  Dan is busy registering for classes, making sure his paperwork is in order, and trying to figure out how to pay for those books!!  I'm looking ahead to this year in preschool, and trying to really soak up these last few weeks of summer with Lana.  It occurred to me the other day that if we start trying for another baby anytime soon, then this will be the last summer that she and I have alone together.  I am so excited about adding to our family eventually, but it makes me cry to think of sharing my time with her.  Giving Lana a sibling is truly a gift to her, but I am so selfish...she is my precious firstborn, and I can't imagine a life that doesn't include me focusing most of my daytime time and energy on her.  The Lord has so much work to do in my life, doesn't He?

Please pray for Dan as he readies his heart and mind for this coming semester.  He has learned so much already; pray that he is able to sit under the very best professors possible, and that he will find favor with them as they teach him this semester. 





Happy Second Birthday!
posted on 07/30/2008

Today is Lana's second birthday!  We started the day off by sleeping in late, and as we woke up, we turned on the monitor to listen to Lana wake up.  The first words out of her mouth this morning were her singing the happy birthday song to herself!  "Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday, dear Lana, happy birthday to you!" she sang.  A few moments of quiet, and then she sat up and prayed..."Dear Jesus, thank You for my mommy and my daddy and my birthday cake.  Amen!"  What a wonderful way to start the day!

We headed to see Dr. Dirk for her 2 year check-up.  It went so well....he said that she's got one of the healthiest brains in Wake Forest!  In all seriousness, she got a wonderful report - it's always such a treat to see him for a well baby check.  He's so encouraging.  She did have to get one shot...boo...but it was over quickly.  

After we left the doctor's office, we had to pick up some groceries, and we let Lana pick out a birthday cake to have for lunch.  She picked out a really cute little cake shaped like a dog.  

We had CiCi's for lunch, and she ate her weight in pizza.  Good thing we didn't go to the doctor's office after lunch or she would have really tipped the scales!  We didn't have our camera, but oh how I wish we had!  She didn't want to touch the cake and get icing all over her fingers, so she just stuck her face in it and took a bite.  It was so adorable!  

Then we headed home for naptime.  When she woke up, we had her gifts waiting for her...a basketball goal, a tricycle, and a Shake and Go raceway!  She loved playing with her new toys.  We have some pictures of this part, but our computer is on the fritz, so we'll have to post them later.  

She played and played the rest of the afternoon, we had hamburgers for dinner, and then Aunt April & Hollis came by to wish Lana a happy birthday and bring her some beautiful birthday dishes that she will cherish for years to come.  

Thank you to all who called today to wish her a happy birthday!  We love you!





Things I want to remember about Lana at 2
posted on 07/18/2008

  • She just began saying the blessing for us at mealtimes, and she is careful to thank God for everything on the table.  It goes on until she has given thanks for EVERYTHING...down to the peas and carrots and our forks, sometimes.
  • She pronounces "real quick" as "lil click," as in "Mommy, I go in the kitchen lil click!"
  • When she's leaving the room, she'll tell us or her baby dolls, "I be right back!"
  • Sucking on lovey's ear or biting lovey's face is an essential part of going to sleep
  • Her 3 favorite songs right now are "The B-I-B-L-E," "Behold, Behold," and "Zaccheus."  We sing all 3 to her almost every night.
  • When she's counting to 5, she usually forgets 4.
  • She says, "I got two!" when she holds up 2 fingers.
  • She has an intense fascination with trucks right now, and can identify trucks as they pass on the road...some of her favorites to name are a big rig, a mixer, a dump truck, and a flatbed.
  • She is trying to learn her sounds, and will often pop into the room where I am and tell me, "Mommy, A says buh!"  ("No, dear, B says buh!"
  • She still can't say "washcloth."  It comes out "loth cloth," and we love to hear her say it...it makes us laugh every time.
  • She is constantly telling us to watch her.  "Watch me run, Daddy!  Mommy, watch me swim!"
  • She loves to gallop through the house saying "Giddyup!!"
  • She likes to climb anything and everything.




"I don't like it, please."
posted on 07/17/2008

We have a really great neighbor who works at Starbucks, and last night she gave us little coupons for free drinks at Starbucks.  They have these new, healthy smoothie-like things with no added sugar, so on our way to Pullen Park, we stopped to try them.  (The banana-orange-mango was delicious, by the way.) 

We got Lana an organic chocolate milk to drink, and were kind of excited about her trying it...she's never had chocolate milk before, but she loves chocolate!  She also had a lollipop because she was really good while waiting for us at the dentist's office earlier in the morning.

So anyway, Dan waited for our drinks, and Lana and I sat down outside to wait.  I opened her lollipop, and she sat there quietly sucking for a while.  Dan brought out our drinks, she tasted her chocolate milk, and you could tell she loved it, too...she was chugging it.  But after a few seconds, she stopped, put the carton on the table, and said, "I don't like it, please."  WHAT?!?  First of all, she was drinking it like a madwoman, and second of all, it was $1.50 worth of chocolate milk - what do you mean you don't like it?  But she would not be persuaded - she kept sucking her lollipop.

So after a while, I got up to throw it away - she made a big fuss.  "I want my chocolate milk, Mommy!"  I took it back to her, she drank a few sips, then put it down and said very sweetly, "I don't like it, please, Mommy." 

I was puzzled, until Dan figured it out!  When we ask her if she wants something, we'll often say, "Lana, would you like your milk?  Lana, would you like to read a book?" and so on.  Lately, she has been telling us, "Mommy, I would like to have a bite of that," or "Daddy, I would like to play with that ball outside."  It's funny to hear her repeating what we said.  So when she is saying, "I don't like it," she really means "I don't want it."  The logic makes sense...if she tells us she would like to have something, then she also tell us that she doesn't like something.

It made us laugh out loud when we realized what was going on.  Now, just to figure out how to teach her to say, "I would not like that" instead of "I don't like that."





Directions to the Eastern Shore Center for Lana's party
posted on 07/15/2008

http://www.easternshorecentre.com/directions.php 

Here's a link to directions to the Eastern Shore Center, where we are going to have Lana's birthday party.  There's also a link to click for a map if you need it. 

The fountain is straight in front of you as you enter the parking lot.  Call our cell phones if you need help finding us:

Dan 251-370-2131

Rachael  251-370-8815





Go away, virus!
posted on 07/15/2008

I. Hate. Viruses.  They cause high fevers (like 104.5 degrees), make my daughter cranky, wake us all up in the middle of the night.  No doctor can name them, no treatment can touch them.  They just have to "run their course," making everyone sleepy and bored in the meantime.  They can last from 24 hours to weeks on end.

Go away, virus.  We don't want you there.  We have things to do, places to go, fun to have.  Leave our baby alone!





Our first Wake Forest bus ride
posted on 07/15/2008

Today we took our first bus ride...we got on at the Park and Ride at the corner of White and Elm and got off at Triangle Town Center.  It was clean, well run, efficient, and FULL of people!  The express line is free until next week, so we took advantage of it this afternoon.

Lana loved it, of course.  She loves buses, and begs to ride on them all the time, so she was delighted when we got on and headed down the road.

My favorite part was the fact that it was full of people who live and/or work in our community.  It's so easy to get caught up in our "seminary bubble," and that's not a good thing.  We're called to be salt and light to the world, and I find it hard to do that sometimes.  The bus is a great way to meet people I would not normally meet.  Lana is, of course, a wonderful conversation starter, so it was easy to begin chatting with the people around us.  Dan & I talked to several people each way, just meeting them and getting to know who they are and what they're doing.  Several of them knew each other because they ride the same route to and from work together each day.  We are trying to figure out if there's a regular route we can ride so we can really begin to build relationships with some of the regulars. 

Seminary wives, we need to get on the bus, if for no other reason than to reach out to our community.  They need to know that we're here, and that we care about them and what's going on in their lives.  We have such a wonderful support system in each other, but it's not enough to go about our day to day activities, mostly separated from our world in Wake Forest as we take care of our children and husbands and homes.  (Not to mention that riding the bus saves gas!!)

Dan is going to help me look at the routes and figure out what bus goes where at what time.  I'm going to try to use it  to go downtown to Marbles, to the Raleigh museums, to the mall, to the library and post office, etc.  I know it picks up right across the street from our neighborhood; I've just got to figure out where it connects to the main line and what times the routes run...I think they're kind of limited right now.  I'm excited about this opportunity for our family to get out into the community.

If you're at all interested in using the bus, let's go somewhere together!  The main line into downtown Raleigh is free until January.  The Wake Forest loop costs $2.50 each way, but it's 50 cents cheaper during midday, and children under 10 are free.  Please e-mail me and let's plan an outing!  RachaelMDavis@earthlink.net  





A grateful little girl
posted on 07/13/2008

Sweet family and friends.....I hope you always know how grateful we are when you give to us out of the richness of your love for us.  You give to us of your time, money, and love...we are so thankful for all you do for us.

I want you to know that Lana is very grateful, too.  So often when you give her a gift, you go home before you hear her talk about it.  Days, weeks, even months later, she remembers who gave what to her, and she is thankful.  She'll talk about who gave the item to her, and then she'll tell them thank you, as if she doesn't realize that you can't hear her!  We have tried and tried to get it on video, but she always clams up when she sees the camera.  Here are some examples of things she says:

"I put on those pink crocs.  Sue Sue bought me those crocs.  Thank you, Sue Sue!!!  I get some m and m's from Baloo.  Thank you for those m and m's, Baloo!!  This the right foot?"

"Mommy, can you read Monday the Bullfrog?  Lissa brought me that book on the airplane.  Thank you, Lissa!!  Mommy go to Dallas to see Lissa.  Lissa come see Lana, too?"

"See that monster?  I put my hand in that pocket.  That monster is like a pillow.  Aunt Kenzie send me that monster in the mail, and it had that candy it it.  Thank you, Kenzie!!  Mommy, I have some more candy?"

"Look at that duck.  That duck says quack quack quack.  PawPaw brought me that duck.  Thank you, Paw Paw!!!  Look, I make that duck hurry.  I put that duck in my stroller, too."

"I put on that hat.  I made that hat when I see Peter Pan.  Robby & Emily take me to see Peter Pan and Wendy and those buddies and Captain Hook.  Thank you, Robby!  Thank you, Emily!  I love Captain Hook."

"Daddy, see my pretty dress!  This my new dress, Daddy.  Nana bought it for me at the store.  I cute!  Thank you, Nana!!  Where my shoes that match this dress?"

And on it goes...if she happens upon something that you have given to her, she gives an entire narrative about it.  Thank you for all you do for her...she remembers and is thankful!





Wake Forest Bus Service
posted on 07/11/2008

For all our Wake Forest friends, here's a copy of an e-mail I received on Monday about the new bus service here in our area:

Transit service begins in Wake Forest today. Residents can now ride a weekday rush-hour express from the town to downtown Raleigh and use a local circulator service that will serve the Town and provide access to grocery stores, shopping and other services.

 

The two new routes are a partnership of Triangle Transit, the Town of Wake Forest and the City of Raleigh. The express route will be operated by CAT - Capital Area Transit.

 

The local circulator will be operated by Triangle Transit. The first route, the Wake Forest-Raleigh Express will serve a new Park and Ride at White Street at Elm Avenue in Wake Forest, the Triangle Town Center Park-and-Ride at Orvis, State Government, and the Moore Square Transit Station during rush hour. During the midday, service is only provided between downtown Wake Forest and Triangle Town Center with timed transfers to CAT Route 1 throughout the day.

 

To help kick-off the service, the Wake Forest-Raleigh Express will be fare free from July 7 through July 18. After July 18, the express fare is $2.50 each way in rush hours and $2.00 each way in midday. Discounted 30-day passes are available online at www.GoTriangle.org and at the Wake Forest Town Hall.

 

Morning Express Schedule to Downtown Raleigh

Wake Forest                      Triangle Town Center                    Moore Square

5:55 AM                               6:20 AM                                               6:55 AM

6:55 AM                               7:20 AM                                               7:55 AM

7:55 AM                               8:20 AM                                               8:55 AM

 

Afternoon Express Schedule to Wake Forest

Moore Square                   Triangle Town Center                    Wake Forest

4:15 PM                                4:45 PM                                                5:15 PM

5:15 PM                                5:45 PM                                                6:15 PM

6:15 PM                                6:45 PM                                                7:15 PM

 

The second route, called the Wake Forest Loop, will be a local circulator for residents wanting to travel within Wake Forest and a portion of the Wakefield community. The Wake Forest Loop will serve the Park and Ride at White Street and Elm Avenue for those riders wanting to connect with the Wake Forest-Raleigh Express in rush hours and with Triangle Town Center in midday. The Wake Forest Loop will be fare free through December 31, 2008.

 

In addition to the local route, ADA Paratransit (door to door service) will be provided for eligible persons with disabilities whose trips originate within 3/4 miles of the Wake Forest Loop and end within the service areas of Triangle Transit and the City of Raleigh.

 

Full schedules for the two new routes are available on line at www.GoTriangle.org and at the Wake Forest Town Hall.

 





Finding two and a washcloth
posted on 07/06/2008

Two funny, entirely unrelated Lana stories:

  • Lana has been trying to hold up two fingers for weeks now.  She couldn't seem to do it...she would try to copy up, and end up with all kinds of crazy fingers sticking out everywhere.  Yesterday, on the way to the mall, she said, "Mommy, I need two.  You help me?"  So I reached back and put up two fingers for her.  She was so excited!  "I got two!  Daddy, look, I got two!" she squealed, showing him her fingers.  She wouldn't relax he hand, just kept holding her two fingers up, so proud.  Well, she forgot and pointed to a motorcycle going by, and had a fit when she realized she wasn't holding up two fingers anymore.  "Mommy, I lost that two!  Where that two go?" she kept saying, trying to hold up two fingers on her own.  We were rolling laughing in the front seat as she got more and more frustrated.  "Mommy!!  Help me!  I need two!  Where that two go???"  By the time we got to the mall, we had taught her how to put one finger up, and then the next one, so all is well in her world.  [Strange thing, though...she can hold up two with her left hand, but not her right.]
  • Yesterday after naptime, Lana was coloring with markers on her easel in the kitchen.  I wandered into the living room to pick up some things, when I heard her opening drawers in the kitchen.  Seconds later, she came scurrying into the living room with me.  "Mommy, I need a washcloth, please."  That must have been what she was looking for.  I thought to myself how clever she was to have noticed where I keep the dishrags.  I headed into the kitchen to get her one when I almost stepped on her masterpiece.  On the floor.  She had used her markers to draw a huge picture on the kitchen floor, and was looking for a washcloth to clean it up.  I almost fell on the floor laughing, but I was trying to hide my laughter from her so I could talk to her about not coloring on anything but paper.  After I got it together, we talked, and then cleaned it up together.  Last night in bed I heard her talking to herself..."I no draw on that floor.  Mommy say draw on just the paper.  I clean it up with that washcloth."




Happy Fourth of July!
posted on 07/04/2008

Happy Independence Day!  We hope you had a wonderful day - ours was filled with lots of fun and time with some of our favorite people in the world.

We got up this morning and got dressed, filled up the pool so it would warm up, and headed down to April & Dustin's.  We decorated the wagon and piled in our cars to head to the parade. 

The kids were so excited - Lana couldn't stop smiling and jabbering.  We got in the parade line-up, and then had to wait almost 30 minutes.  There were so many people!  The kids were troopers, though, and we enjoyed spending the morning participating in such a fun community activity.

After the parade, we went to Red Robin for lunch.  When Dan's parents came, they stayed at Dustin & April's house because they were in Alabama with their family.  Dan's parents left them a gift card to Red Robin as a thank you, and our sweet friends shared it with us today at lunch.  Yummy!

After lunch, everyone went home and took long naps - we all needed them!  Then the Scotts came to our house for a cook out.  We put the slide in the pool, and the kids played and played.  We had bbq chicken, baked beans, grilled corn, and homemade ice cream for dinner - it was delicious!  April & I stuck Lana and Hollis in the bathtub while the guys cleaned up, and then we all finished cleaning up.  (You know you have good friends when they stay to help you wash dishes and sweep your floor!)

We finally got Lana wound down and in bed by 9 - much later than usual!  We have had a wonderful holiday with our friends.





Independence Day Eve
posted on 07/03/2008

It's the day before the Fourth, and we have had a big day, full of fun and celebration all day!

This morning, we went to Kazoom Interactive Puppet Theater with Dustin and April and Hollis and Bailee (Dustin's little sister).  It was SO FUN!  Lana and Bailee had parts on the stage, but Dan & Dustin stole the show.  Check out the videos section for a clip of their performance as "crab daddies!"

We headed home for lunch, cleaned the house, and tried to keep Lana up so she would take a late nap so she could stay away tonight.

The high school near our neighborhood has fireworks the night before the fourth, and all the neighbors pull out lawnchairs and blankets and watch them together.  Last year, Lana was in bed by 6:30 or 7:00, but we wanted her to stay up and enjoy them this year.

She napped from 3:00-5:00, a couple of hours later than usual, and she did great.  We went outside after dinner, and she played and played and had a great time.  The fireworks started about 9:30 - I really couldn't believe she made it that long.  Eating the chips and cookies that people brought seemed to help keep her awake! Tongue out

We didn't know how she'd react to the fireworks, but she was mesmerized.  She kept saying, "That's so pretty," and "It's like the lightning!" and "See that one?  See that one, mommy?"  My favorite was when she said, "Those fireworks are hot, mommy!"

As soon as the fireworks ended, we gave her quick dip in the bathtub to wash off the bugspray, and she was in bed at 10:00.  My child has NEVER seen a 10:00 p.m. bedtime, but we're so glad we kept her up to watch with us.  We'll see how we feel about it tomorrow, though...we may pay for it then!

Speaking of tomorrow, Lana and Hollis are going to be in a parade at 10:30!  We're decorating our wagon tomorrow morning, and then we're headed to the children's parade in downtown Wake Forest.  So fun!  We'll have lunch and a nap after the parade, and then the Scott's are coming back down to cook out and swim in the pools.  Fun times!





Save the date....
posted on 06/30/2008

for Lana's 2nd birthday party in Alabama!

We are celebrating at the fountain at Eastern Shore Center on Friday, July 25th from 10:00-11:30.  Let your little ones wear their bathing suits, bring a towel, and come play!  We'll have lots of cold drinks, popsicles, and cupcakes.

{I know Friday makes it hard for those of you who work, but Dan has to leave on Saturday morning at 7:15 to head back to Raleigh for work.}





Picnic at the Market
posted on 06/28/2008

The Farmer's Market is one of our family's favorite places.  There's nothing like fresh fruits and veggies for the lowest prices around.  And the samples of the produce are always great! 

We try to make big trips to the state farmer's market in downtown Raleigh, but we don't get there as frequently as we'd like to.  However, there is a small local farmer's market in downtown Wake Forest every Saturday morning.  We make it there almost weekly.  I love the locally grown produce, Lana loves the samples, and there's usually live music there to make the experience even more wonderful.

PawPaw and Nana were here this weekend, and we were excited to learn that it was Picnic at the Market, where every vendor creates a dish from the produce that they sell.  Yummy!

None of us ate breakfast - we just got up and dressed and headed to the market.  We tried some of the most delicious treats - from zucchini bread to garlic honey.  Everything was wonderful, and my brave girl tried a bite of everything.  She discovered she loves locally grown cucumbers.  She'll have nothing to do with the ones from wal-mart or a salad bar - they don't have the crunch that these local ones do.  She didn't care for honeydew melon or foccia bread, but her favorite dishes by far were the green bean salad and the beet salad!  None of us could get over it.  She ate probably a full cup and a half of the fresh beet salad.  I'm so glad she's such a good eater!





Where Nana and PawPaw?
posted on 06/28/2008

PawPaw and Nana left today right before naptime.  They took the time to explain to Lana that they were going back to Alabama, but they would see her when we fly home next month.  She seemed to understand, and said goodbye to them so sweetly, with lots of hugs and kisses.  She went down for nap without a problem - she does so well when we take the time to explain things to her.

But she was only awake for 15 minutes when I realized that she didn't understand that Nana and PawPaw are going to be 12 hours away. 

She and I were sitting at the table having chips and salsa for a snack when she said, "Where Nana and PawPaw?" 

"They're in Alabama," I reminded her.

"I go to Alabama, too."

"You're right, we're going to Alabama next month to celebrate your birthday."

"No, I go to Alabama now," she told me, quite firmly.

I started to explain, "We can't go to Alabama right now..."

"Okay," she interrupted.  "Not right now.  After snack we go."

I couldn't help but laugh out loud before I tried to explain to her that a month meant we would go to church 4 more times before we flew to Alabama.

We kept eating our snack together, and a few minutes later, there was a loud knock at the door.  You should have seen her face light up.  "They're here!" she squealed, certain that her Nana and PawPaw had come back. 





A visit from Nana and PawPaw
posted on 06/27/2008

We arrived home from Paris on Wednesday morning, and then Nana and PawPaw arrived Wednesday evening.  Lana is in heaven!  Each night, she lays in her bed and talks about Mommy and Daddy and Nana and PawPaw being home.  We realized yesterday that this is the very first time she's had Nana and PawPaw all to herself for several days in a row.  She could not be enjoying herself any more.

For that matter, neither could we.  Nana and PawPaw are so very generous, and they bless us in such lavish ways.  From taking us out for delicious meals to shopping with us for new clothes and shoes for Lana, they make every day feel like Christmas, not only by the wonderful gifts they give us, but by the joyful, unselfish way they choose to give.  It's really neat to see how their generosity and love for blessing others has made an impact on the generations that follow them.  Dan has the biggest heart of any man I've ever known, and that is a direct reflection of his parents and the values they've taught him.  Lana is following in their footsteps...she has a sweet, giving spirit.  She is so good at sharing, and she feels deeply what others around her are feeling.  What a wonderful legacy Dan's parents are leaving.

We've had a relaxing few days together.  We have gone to the playground, shopping at the mall, swimming at the Y, and out to eat.  It's been one of the best times we've had together...we can't stop talking and laughing.  It will be hard on all of us to see them go tomorrow.

Thankfully, we're flying home to Alabama for a week at the end of July, so it won't be too long until we're together again.

Thank you, PawPaw and Nana, for being so wonderful to us.  We can only hope to be so good to our own children and grandchildren one day.





Pictures of Paris
posted on 06/25/2008

I put together a slideshow with a few of the pictures we took in Paris.  There are not very many pictures of us actually involved in ministry because of safety restrictions.  Taking pictures of nationals, especially the North Africans we were among, makes them very nervous.  Some are here illegally, and some have religious objections to their children having their photos taken, believing that it exposes them to the evil eye, but more on that later. 

Click on the link below to check out the slideshow:

http://s284.photobucket.com/albums/ll3/franceteam2008/?action=view¤t=0145c411.pbw

 





Home again!
posted on 06/25/2008

Bonjour!  We are finally back home after 10 days on a mission trip in France.  We were so very glad to see our little girl!  This mama doesn't plan on being away from her that long again.

Our wonderful friends Rob & Emily took such great care of her.  She did some really fun things with them, stayed healthy, ate and slept well...they really went above and beyond.  If you want to take a peek at the pictures they took and the blogs they wrote while they kept her, visit www.thelourceys.blogspot.com

We are working on gathering some pictures from the trip and summarizing our experience there.  There are over 1000 pictures, so it may be a few days before we get that done.  Dan's parents are coming in this afternoon, so we're going to enjoy the rest of the week with them.

Much love to you all....





Dear Allana,
posted on 06/10/2008

In four days, your daddy and I are going to get on an airplane to go to France on a mission trip.  You are staying here with Rob and Emily.  I know you will be safe and loved and well taken care of.  God has given me much peace in leaving you with them.  However, I want you to know that I'll miss you with every moment that passes by.  I have cried myself to sleep the past few nights thinking of being so far away from you.  It's been a sweet reminder of how precious you are to me, how much fuller our life is with you in it.  God granted us much favor to bless us with you in our family.

I want you to know, too, that in leaving you, we are trying to teach you something.  Life is bigger than just being happy and comfortable.  It's more than just living day to day.  Lana, there are many, many people who have not heard about Jesus, and if they die without him, they are going to hell.  Your daddy and I want our lives to be about sharing Jesus with others, here in the United States and all over the world. 

God told us we were supposed to take this trip when we read Romans 15:20-21: "Thus I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone else's foundation, but as it is written, 'Those who have never been told of him will see, and those who have never heard will understand'." 

We want you to live your life following God's perfect, exact will for you, no matter what it means or where it takes you.  And how can we expect you to do that if we don't set the example for you?

Sweet girl, I just recently read a quote by John Keith Falconer that says, "I have but one candle of life to burn, and I would rather burn it out in a land filled with darkness than in a land flooded with light." 

Who knows what that really means for us?  The United States seems to be a very dark place just now....and there are countries all across the globe that are much, much darker.  As your parents, we covenant with you that our family will go to whatever dark place the Lord asks us to...France, Africa, Alabama, California...wherever He leads, we will follow.  I pray every day that our life is example enough that you will want to do the same with your life.

I love you so dearly, and will miss you beyond words.  You are going to have a wonderful time with two of your favorite people in the world.  I'm so proud that you have already learned at a young age that Mommy & Daddy might go away for a while, but we always come back to get you.

Jesus made that same promise to the disciples...He said He was going to heaven to prepare a place for those who believe in Him, but that He would be back to get us.  We are going to France to tell people about that promise, and our prayer daily is that you will come to know Jesus one day and spend eternity in the place He is preparing for us. 





From the mouth of Lana
posted on 06/08/2008

  • Riding down the road last week, Lana and I passed by a lake.  She said, "I see that boat!"  I told her that it was going to be so much fun to ride the boat this summer, and she said, "I ride that boat with PawPaw."  "Yes, you will!" I told her, surprised that she remembered us talking about PawPaw's boat.  She sat silently for a minute, and then said, "I invite Nana, too."  I laughed at her, and after a moment, she piped up again and said, "I like PawPaw and Nana." 
  • At lunch yesterday, Dan & I were chatting, and Lana was interrupting.  We've been trying to work on that, so Dan turned to her and said, "Lana, I'm talking to Mommy right now.  We'll talk to you in a just a minute."  Seconds later, he finished what he was telling me, and turned to look at her.  Her face lit up and she said, "Talk to Lana now!"  Then after lunch, on the way home, Dan & I were talking to each other, and she started whining.  One of us turned around and asked her why she was whining.  "Talk to you, too, please!" she said.  "What do you want to talk about?" I asked her.  "I talk about the playground!" she said.  And then she started gabbering about it..."I like that slide...Mommy swing me...don't frow that sand..."
  • Dustin, April, and Hollis are driving home to Alabama.  We saw them this morning before church for a few minutes before they left, and we told her that they were going to Alabama.  After church, we were driving home, and she said, "I need to get out of this car."  "Why do you want to get out?" we asked her.  "I want to walk!"  she responded.  Dan asked her, "Where do you want to walk?" "I walk to Alabama!" she said.  "I need to go to Alabama."

 





A big week
posted on 05/31/2008

This has been a big week for our Lana. It was her last week at preschool with Ms. Mary Mac & Ms. Ashley.  We have been so blessed to have them for teachers...they have loved her and guided her and always seen the best in her.  We couldn't be more grateful for them.  I can only hope and pray that every year preschool is as wonderful for her as it has been this year!

This morning we went to the Farmer's Market for sugar snap peas, then to Lyons Farm to pick strawberries.  We were super excited to find out that they have pick-your-own blackberries in June and pick-your-own blueberries in July!  We eat lots of berries in our house, and there is something special about picking them yourself and then eating them.

We came home for lunch, then Lana went down for a nap and Dan went to work.  We spent the afternoon playing in the inflatable pool with some of the neighborhood children.  Stacee and her kids had us over for dinner afterwards, which is always a treat.  Lana loves Skylar and Conner to bits.  We just posted a video of her imitating Conner singing the Itsy Bitsy Spider.  We came home just in time for bed and bath.

I also posted a video of her telling you what God made her hands to do.  At school, she has seen children pushing, and she'll tell us about it when she gets home.  When she is tempted to try to use her hands in a harmful way, I always remind her of the good things that God made her hands to do.  The two things that have stuck with her are that God made her hands to clap and to praise Him.  I love it! 

The other area of discipline I'm working on with her this week is not trying to wiggle away when I'm holding her.  When I am holding her in my arms or in my lap, I do not want to have to fight to hang on to her; instead, I want her to learn to use her words to ask for permission to get down.  It's a heart issue of submission to authority that I want to address with her while she's still small.  I can physically restrain her now, but will I be able to in 3 years?  5 years?  10 years?  Probably not.  I want to teach her to be still when I ask her to, and to ask permission to get up or be let go.  So we're practicing, like everything else with a two year old.  I'll put her on my lap, especially when I know she is interested in something else going on.  And when she tries to wiggle away, I remind her, "Don't fight Mommy.  Ask if you can get up."  And she always stops fighting, sits still, asks, and then I let her go.  We've been doing this routine all week long, and you always wonder how much they're absorbing, but tonight when I was putting her to bed, she pointed her finger and said, "Don't fight Mommy!  Obey Mommy.  Ask to get up."  Hooray!!  Tonight she gets it...who knows if she will tomorrow, but we'll keep at it.





A virus
posted on 05/30/2008

Lana didn't have the virus - the computer did!  Sorry we've been MIA.  Our laptop came down with a yucky virus, and we took it to a computer repair shop in downtown Wake Forest.  We like to support the mom and pop shops if we can (as opposed to the big guys like Best Buy), and if their prices are competitive. 

Well, the prices were competitive, but they deleted all of our addresses in our e-mail, all of our bookmarked sites, and put all of our photos and documents from us.  It has taken Dan several days of work to try to get it all put back together.  The only thing he has not managed to recover is our e-mail addresses, which we're going to work on finding and (tediously!) putting back in one by one tonight.

So if you live in the Wake Forest area, please don't use the little computer shop downtown.  It has been a huge mess for us, and they have been terribly unhelpful. 

I think we'll be back up and running soon - I'm going to try to add some pictures now.





Happy Memorial Day!
posted on 05/26/2008

Holidays are sometimes hard for those of us here at seminary.  Our entire family is spread out on the beach...some at Gulf Shores, some on Dauphin Island, some at Orange Beach.  Dan had to work today, so I was feeling quite a bit lonely and missing my family like crazy. 

Thank heavens for wonderful neighbors!!  The next best thing to being with family is being at a neighborhood cook-out, with hamburgers and hot dogs and baked beans and roasted corn and popsicles and swimming pools and sprinklers and sun! 

Thanks to my new, precious friend Stacee, we had a great cook-out.  We started around 11 and played and ate until 2, when I finally insisted that Lana come inside for a nap.  We got to spend time with some new neighbors, and some old neighbors whom we haven't gotten to know, and some of our all-time favorite neighbors, too.  It was really a great time, and as Lana is napping and Dan is at work, I'm peaceful and content and most of all grateful for those who buoy us up and make times that could be sad so much fun!

After Lana is done napping, I think Stacee & I are going to take our kids to a park to play and eat dinner, then to the fountain to get ice cream before bath and bed.  It will be a really nice end to a really fun day.

 





Blocks and suckers
posted on 05/22/2008

Allana's teacher Mary Mac came down to our classroom today to ask if it was okay if she gave Lana some candy.  She told me that Lana had cleaned up all of the blocks in their classroom without being asked or helped...they looked over, and she was just putting them all back in the box.  What a good helper!  They rewarded her with a sucker and made a big deal over her helping without being asked.  What wonderful teachers she has...I love knowing about those kinds of things in the middle of the day!

When we were getting in the car after school, I asked her how her day was and she told me, "I get that sucker...I get that red sucker!"  "What did you get a sucker for, Lana?"  "Mary Mac gave me that sucker.  I picked up that blocks!"





Big sayings from a little girl
posted on 05/22/2008

  • The other night we decided to bike up to the seminary campus after dinner for some family playtime.  We were in the living room when I asked Lana if she wanted to go for a bike ride.  Her eyes got so wide, and she called to her Daddy, "I go on a bike ride, please??"  He told her she could, and to go get in the bike trailer in the back.  She flew through the living room, into the kitchen, headed out the back door.  She stopped suddenly in the kitchen right on top of the toys that she had been playing with while I cooked dinner.  "Let's clean up Spud Buds!" she said, and so we cleaned up before we left for our bike ride.
  • After all that cleaning up, we finally arrived on campus, letting Lana run and play in the big grassy areas there.  She had invented a game where she ran down the brick walkways, picked up some big magnolia leaves, and brought them to Mommy or Daddy where we were sitting on the ground.  It was getting close to bedtime, so I told her that she could get two more leaves, and then we had to go home.  She ran as fast as her little legs would carry her, got two leaves, and headed back toward us saying, "I go home now!  I go home now, Mommy!" 
  • She was brushing her teeth the other morning, and handed me her toothbrush to pick up my make-up brush.  I rinsed it out and put it away, when she looked at me with big eyes and said, "I wasn't finished!"
  • A few days ago we were eating out for lunch, when several other children arrived outside on the patio where we were eating.  Lana loves new kids, so she headed over to tell the little boys hi.  They were excited to see her, too; so excited, in fact, that one of them pushed her hard enough to knock her on the ground, slamming into a chair on the way down.  It was not pretty.  The little boy got a spanking, and we got out of there - Dan would have lost it if we stuck around and he hurt her again.  Anyway, for the rest of the day, Lana talked about that little boy.  In the car, she told us, "That buddy pushed me down.  I bonk a head.  Buddy got that spanking!"
  • On the way downstairs for breakfast this morning, she told her Daddy she wanted oatmeal.  He told her he would fix some for her, and as they headed down the stairs, I heard her telling him, "I don't frow that oatmeal.  I make a big mess.  Don't frow that oatmeal."  Now keep in mind she has NEVER thrown her oatmeal - who knows where these things come from?




"I like you"
posted on 05/19/2008

Sometimes the weekend afternoons are really tough with Dan not here.  The three of us are so very close that when one person is not here, it just feels a little empty - we rattle around a bit.  Somehow we always have more fun when the three of us are together.  So when Dan is at work, we miss him, and sometimes Lana and I both get pretty grumpy by Monday afternoons. 

But sometimes it's easier.  Like today.  The weather was perfect - we couldn't have asked for anything more.  The neighbors were out, everyone had that peaceful, easy feeling.  The house was clean, the laundry done, and lunch packed for the next day.  Lana and I just got to enjoy each other and our friends, and I was reminded several times how much I adore my child.

She was riding her friend TJ's tricycle (how excited am I to give her one for her birthday?!?) and went around the corner on the sidewalk.  A few moments later, she turned it around and headed back toward me.  As soon as she spotted me, she stopped and stood up and yelled, "I see my mommy!!!"  I waved big and called to her and she jumped up and down and said, "I excited!  I get mommy!" and pedaled toward me as fast as she could.  Aaahhh...my heart, outside my body, just truckin' along on a tricycle.

And then tonight as she and I sat at the dinner table, she put a bite of pasta in her mouth, chewed it up while looking at me very thoughtfully, and swallowed.  She pointed at me with her spoon and said, "I like Mommy." 

I know she loves me...every little girl loves their mommy.  But it's another thing entirely that she likes me.

To be honest, her liking me is not particularly high on my list of goals for her.  I realize that I may have to make decisions and choices that aren't very popular with her, and it's far more important to me for her to honor me than to like me.

Nonetheless, it's a fun bonus when she does like me and tells me so.  And weekends are funny because during the few hours she sees Dan, she clings to him and ignores me completely, leaving me feeling a bit...well...discarded.  Her little words tonight hit the spot. 

Thank you, God, for fun days with my daughter.  I'm so glad she likes me.  I like her an awfully lot, too.





A busy, busy Saturday
posted on 05/17/2008

The weather was gorgeous here in Wake Forest today, and our little family took advantage of it!

We started off our day by walking to the Farmer's Market in downtown Wake Forest.  It's much smaller than the big one we go to in Raleigh, but we can walk to this one in about 10 minutes!  We listened to some music, tasted local honey and garlic butter, and picked up some fresh sugar peas and goat cheese to take home.  Lana loves to eat the sugar peas, and they're so good for her!  I'm going to mix the goat cheese with the strawberry preserves I made last week to go on her breakfast toast.

We headed home, but couldn't resist a quick stop at the community playground to swing, go down the slides, and play on the monkey bars! 

When we arrived home, we cleaned the house from top to bottom.  Lana helped sweep and dust for a while, but she got very quiet and we found her in our bed with a big pile of books around her.  "I have lots of books!" she told us.  She read and read until we were done cleaning.

Then we had an indoor picnic for lunch...we spread out a big blanket in the living room, ate lunch, and just cooled off from our busy day.

After lunch, we washed the Trailblazer and all of Lana's outdoor toys.  We thought she would love getting wet and playing in the soap, but she kept running away from the water and soap, saying, "I don't want to!!"  Silly girl.

Then it was nap time, and off to work for Dan.  I finished up the laundry and answered e-mails, and then we went outside to play with our neighbor Connor.  His dad was at work, and his mommy had to take his big sister to a birthday party, and Emily was keeping him.  We played golf, and took a wagon ride, and just had a big time! 

Just a little while later, we had an impromptu playdate with Laney, our friends Hugh & Hollie's little girl.  Hugh & Dan work together at the distribution center.  Laney is not too much younger than Lana, and Hollie and I are new and super fun friends!  Hollie is a wealth of information and good times - it's always a treat to steal a few minutes with her.  Lana and Laney played so sweetly together, and we all had homemade strawberry pancakes for dinner.  Yummy!  We were having so much fun that Hollie & Laney stayed until past Laney's bedtime...none of the girls were ready for the fun to end, and that includes Hollie and I. 

Bath and then bed, and I enjoyed the night air outside chatting with friends for a while.  What a full, wonderful day!  Thank you, God, for restored health and the abundant life that we have in You and with those You place in our paths.  Thank You for our precious family, good friends, and a day full of fun.





Never quite like I plan it...
posted on 05/15/2008

I had such a fun week planned for Allana.  She was going strawberry picking with my class field trip on Tuesday, then we had a Fancy Nancy tea party to attend on Wednesday, back to school on Thursday....

However, she's been running a yucky fever since Monday night, so instead she's been cooped up in the house, watching Miss Pattycake and listening to us read THOUSANDS of books. 

She ran a pretty high fever last night in the middle of the night, so I took her to see Dr. Dirk this morning.  The back of her throat is covered in blisters - she's got Hand, Foot, and Mouth disease again!  He recommended that we let her eat and drink whatever she wants - the highest priority is to keep her hydrated.  He was so sweet to her, and told her to tell her daddy that she needs lots of ice cream.  She remembered what he said - I took a video of her talking about it.  So funny!

Hopefully the fever will stay away for the rest of the day so we can go back to school tomorrow.  She misses it so much - she woke up this morning talking about her friends and asking to go to school!





Things I love about being Lana's mommy
posted on 05/11/2008

Knowing right where her ticklish spots are

Reading books together

Rocking before naps and bedtime

Talking about our day at school on the way home

Holding her when she cries

Making sure she eats healthy, well-balanced meals

Praying over her

Singing together

Teaching her about Jesus

Listening to her learn to pray

Hearing her say, "I need mommy!" from her crib

Holding hands when we walk in the street

Checking the mail together

Watching her grow...in wisdom and stature!

Being her Sunday School teacher

Hearing her say, "Thank you very much!" spontaneously

Watching her fall more in love with her Daddy every day

Teaching her how to skip

Kissing her bo-bo's

Watching her sleep

Watering the plants together

Making messes together...paint, chalk, markers, water, whatever

Doing laundry together

Giving tight squeezes

Putting on make-up and lotion in the mornings together

Listening to her name all the people she loves

On and on I could go....I am so very blessed.





Happy Mother's Day!
posted on 05/11/2008

Happy Mother's Day!  We hope everyone has a wonderful day honoring the women in their lives who are mothers, grandmothers, mothers-in-law, stepmothers, women who are like mothers....

We are a bit sad to not be in Alabama celebrating the day with our mothers.  Moms, please know that we love you and are so grateful for all the sacrifices you have made throughout the years...and the ones you continue to make.  We are even more grateful for you now that we have a child of our own.  She is so blessed to have her Nana and SueSue, and she loves you more than you can imagine.  Thank you for being such a wonderful part of her life.

We started our Mother's Day celebration started with Muffins for Mom in Lana's preschool class on Friday.  She made me a precious hand towel with her handprint on it.  It's proudly on display in our downstairs half bath.

My sweet mom sent me a Mother's Day card, and my generous father and mother-in-law actually sent us a package with a cute shirt for me, a dress for Lana, and a shirt for Dan....a Mother's Day package!

I can hardly believe that this is the second Mother's Day I have celebrated with my precious daughter.  We don't have big plans...we'll be at church all morning, then a quick lunch before Dan goes to work.  We'll go to the Six Sundays in Spring concert with friends and we'll celebrate Mother's Day as a family later in the month.  I am trying not to be too sad about Allana & I not being with any family at all tomorrow, and to instead just focus on how blessed I am to be the mother to a beautiful, sweet, healthy daughter.

Edited to add: my precious husband and daughter worked hard to make today special for me, even though we just had a few moments together.  Dan went in to get Lana up this morning, and wouldn't let me come in.  She came out of her room pushing her grocery cart that was filled to the brim with goodies: Starbucks Mocha Frappucinos, chocolate, gum, and a gift certificate for a manicure and pedicure!  Dan promised me that when he's done with finals, I'm going to have a day all to myself - hooray! 





Muffins with Moms
posted on 05/09/2008

Allana's precious teachers invited all their students' mothers to join them for breakfast this morning - Muffins with Moms!  My wonderful co-teacher Allison covered for me so I could have a few minutes with my daughter, and it was such a fun time!

I got to sit and play with her, we ate muffins together, and she presented me with a hand towel that had her handprint on it and said, "Happy Mother's Day!"  (There's a video clip of this in the movie section.)

I am so very blessed to be able to call Allana Marie Davis my daughter.  She is a constant source of joy and delight - I can scarcely believe God thought enough of me to entrust her to me. 





Dessert?
posted on 05/05/2008

Today we were out running errands around lunchtime, and Lana asked for pizza for lunch.  We stopped in CiCi's, and she ate very well.  She finished her pizza and was ready to go, but Dan was still eating.  We don't have very many "desserts" at our house....we usually have fruit for something sweet after dinner, if anything at all. 

CiCi's has wonderful brownies, so to buy Dan a few minutes to finish eating, I told Lana that I was going to go get her something yummy and to wait just a minute.  I filled a plate with 3 brownies (one for each of us), a cinnamon roll, and as I was walking back to my seat, I grabbed a few carrot sticks from the salad bar. 

I walked up to the table and Dan said, "Oh, Lana, look what Mommy got you!" and when I put the plate down in front of her, she said, "ooohhh!  Carrots!  Yummy!" 

3 brownies, a cinnamon roll, and she gets excited about the carrot sticks.  I love it.

(Although she did polish off the "chocolate cake," as she calls it, she ate all the carrots, too!)





Our day off: Pullen Park and the Farmer's Market
posted on 05/02/2008

Allana and I had today off from preschool, and Dan did not have work or school - a rare treat!  We very seldom have 24 hours together, as one or more of us have school or work every day of the week.

Thanks for voting in our poll - most of you thought we should go to the beach.  We decided to wait and try that when we have a place to stay overnight, since the beach is a few hours away. 

Instead, we sent to Pullen Park and the Farmer's Market.  For those of you in the area who have not been to Pullen Park, you must go!  We arrived as it opened, and spent several hours of fun there.  There's a train and a carousel and little boats for kids to ride.  Each ride costs $1, but they only charge the kids for everything except the train, which everyone has to pay to ride.  We ate ice cream and played on the sandy playground and just had a wonderful time.  We also wanted to ride the paddle boats, but they're not open yet for the season. 

Around lunchtime, we left Pullen Park and headed to the Farmer's Market, which is right around the corner.  We ate at the seafood market there, then strolled through the veggie and fruit vendors.  Allana tried lots of strawberries, and I bought fresh snow peas, asparagus, and garden peas.

We came home for nap time, fed the geese, ate a yummy dinner of salmon and sweet potato fries, and fresh garden peas, then went bike riding together before bath and bedtime. 

What a wonderful family day!





A day for Mommy & Lana
posted on 04/30/2008

Today I was supposed to go to a meeting with Dan on campus, and our precious friend Emily graciously agreed to keep Lana for us. 

However, late last night and early this morning, I strongly felt the Holy Spirit impressing me to spend the morning with Lana instead.  I just knew in my heart that she needed some fun time alone with Mommy, with no chores to do or errands to run; time to just spend together having fun.  Boy, am I glad I listened to the prompting of the Spirit.  We have had such a wonderful morning together so far!

We got up this morning and went to storytime at the library.  It was much less crowded today, and she had a great time, especially when Ms. Gail gave her two stamps on her hands!  She loves to put her books in the book return, and then pick new ones to check out.

We left the library and stopped by the fountain at the Factory, one of her favorite places to go.  We took a handful of pennies to throw in.  Another little girl came to look at the fountain, but she didn't have any pennies.  My sweet little girl shared her pennies, even to the point that she was not throwing any pennies in, just running back and forth to me to get pennies for her friend.

We walked around inside the Factory for a while, and then headed to Target to check out the clearance clothes section.  As we were driving down the road, she asked about her Daddy.  I reminded her that he was at school, and I said, "We love Daddy, don't we?"  She replied, "I love Daddy!"  Right about that time, we were pulling up into the Target parking lot and then she said, "I love shopping, too!"  Tongue out

After picking up a few things, we came home for lunch.  I made her a heart shaped grilled ham and cheese sandwich with strawberries.  She loved eating the heart sandwich!  After lunch, we made a strawberry pie together, and then she played outside with her toys while I washed all the dishes.

Last week, Dan's mom sent Allana an herb garden to plant, so after lunch we planted our herbs.  I put some pictures in the photos section - she had a great time!  I can't wait for her to see them grow...it's going to amaze her.  We had a wonderful time playing in the dirt together.  Thanks, Nana!  What a great happy!

She's napping now, Dan's on his way home from class, and I'm looking forward to enjoying the rest of the afternoon together as a family.  I am so grateful for these times with her...





Bee alley???
posted on 04/28/2008

Allana has been saying this strange phrase for a few days now: "Bee alley!"  We have been stumped, but Dan & Melis finally figured it out this weekend.  She's asking for us to sing or play the song "The B-I-B-L-E!"  In her little language, it comes out "Bee alley!"  So sweet....





University of Mobile weekend in Wake Forest
posted on 04/27/2008

We've had quite an exciting weekend here in Wake Forest!  As you know, April Brock Scott (one of my closest friends from college) lives here in Wake Forest with her family; they are also here in seminary.  It's a precious treat to have them so close to us.

Well, April & I were treated to a special University of Mobile weekend here in Wake Forest!  Kate, one of our dear, dear friends, has been in Indonesia for 3 years.  She managed to make it up here for a visit this week - we were so excited!  When we found out she was coming, our friend Melis immediately booked a plane ticket to be here for her visit. 

So we all got together to eat dinner on Friday night; strawberry picking together on Saturday morning; Kate, Melis, April, and I got to have a girls' night out on Saturday night (THANK YOU, Dustin!); the four of us and the kids went to the Six Sundays in Spring concert on Sunday night, along with some of our other wonderful seminary friends.

All in all, it was a wonderful, refreshing weekend spent with women whom I have a history with...who have known me at my best and worst and love me anyway, and vice versa.  The Lord is so kind to grant us moments like this.

And poor Dan....he came down with a terrible throw-up virus and felt generally terrible this weekend.  My poor husband. 

Hope your weekend was more like mine than his....





Spring trip to the zoo
posted on 04/24/2008

During our time here in NC, we take advantage of the NC State Zoo in Asheboro by visiting in the spring and the fall of each year.  Last year, we went during the summer because Dan's family was here for Lana's birthday.  It was lots of fun, but it was HOT!  Lana was young and still needed 2 naps a day, so it was tough for her to be out and about for so long.

Yesterday, we spent the day at the zoo, and the temp was perfect.  Lana doesn't need a morning nap anymore, so that made it easier to spend all day there. 

We headed out by 7:15, arrived at the zoo by 9:30, and were pleasantly surprised by the drive.  Allana is notorious for hating the car seat, but we warned her before we got in that it was going to be a long drive, let her eat breakfast in the car, and sang lots of songs.  She didn't fuss one time!! 

The weather was perfect when we arrived.  It was very cloudy, but that ensured that it was nice and cool.  All the animals were out playing and eating because it wasn't hot, so that was a special treat, too. 

Allana loved it.  She walked and looked and ran and played - it was such a joy to see her enjoying herself so much.  We had a great day together.

We left the zoo around 2, and gave her a snack in the car.  She fell asleep while eating it, and slept most of the way home. 





Six Sundays in Spring
posted on 04/20/2008

We miss Dan terribly on the weekends, so it's always very exciting to have something fun to do while he's gone.  Tonight, we packed a picnic dinner and went with our neighbors (Emily, Ashley, Stacee and her kids Skylar and Conner) to the Wake Forest birthplace in the historic district to listen to some music.

Tonight was the first night of the event called Six Sundays in Spring.  If you live in this area, definitely come check it out!  We plan on being there every Sunday night that the weather holds.  We're going to do potluck picnics, eat together, let the kids play, and just enjoy the spring!

Here's a blurb about it that I found online:

Six Sundays in Spring featuring Zydecopious

Sunday, April 20; 5:00 p.m.

Wake Forest College Birthplace

This is the 16th season for the series sponsored by the Wake Forest Cultural Arts Association. The free concerts, which continue each Sunday through May 25, begin at 5 p.m. and last until 7 p.m. Area residents are encouraged to pack picnic baskets, blankets, chairs, dogs and children into their cars and come out to enjoy the music. Parking is available on the street. Local artists are invited to display their work, civic clubs sell hot dogs, snacks and drinks and various community groups display information and sale booths. Visiting with friends and neighbors, flying a kite, kicking a soccer ball and whirling a frisbee are strongly encouraged. For more information about the band Zydecopious, visit

 

www.zydecopious.com <http://www.zydecopious.com/> . For more information about the Six Sundays in Spring concert series, visit http://wakeforestculturalarts.org/sixsundays/ <http://wakeforestculturalarts.org/sixsundays/

> .





These are a few of my favorite things...
posted on 04/19/2008

A blog I read inspired me to feature some of the toddler items we have for Lana that I truly love.  Here are some of our latest favorites:

  • Seeds Worship CDs - this is Scripture to music.  Love it!  When I get tired of kids music but Lana is begging for "Music, please," this is what I turn on.  Our friends the Jimersons gave Lana the Faith one for her birthday last year; we're hoping to acquire the rest of the collection soon.  Check it out: www.seedsmusic.com
  • Our new IKEA easel!  Wow...super inexpensive, and just right for Lana.  With several different use options, we have only had this one month, and have already gotten our money's worth.  This one will grow with us.  http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/50021076 
  • "Oh, David!" board book.  We checked this one out at the library this past week, and Lana has fallen in love with mischevious David.  There is an entire collection of David books, and I'm now on the hunt to add them our library.
  • This is a bit late for this year, but during the winter time, we LOVE Babylegs!  http://www.babylegs.net/  They are wonderful leg warmers that fit even the chunkiest little legs.  They come in all sorts of patterns and fabrics, and they last for quite a few years, it seems.  They stop at the top of the thigh, and are held in place with elastic (that doesn't pinch or irritate, by the way), eliminating the need to pull down the tights for diaper changes or potty time.  EXTREMELY useful during the first winter we're potty trained, I bet.
  • Someone just told us about the Shake 'N Go speedway and cars: http://www.fisher-price.com/fp.aspx?st=10&e=snglanding  We don't actually have this yet, but I'm keeping my eye out for one on Craigslist.  This looks to be lots of fun!
  • Puzzles!  Just in the past few months, Allana has begun to love working on her puzzles.  She'll spend an extended period of time dumping them out and putting the pieces back in.  However, this interest in puzzles means we need a puzzle rack/holder, and I cannot find one to save my life!  Have any of you seen one that looks like this: http://www.kaplanco.com/store/trans/productDetailForm.asp?CATID=4%7CGP1040%7C0&CollID=2430&Max=6&ID=1&Page=1
  • Crocs!  Uncle Bro & Aunt Nik bought Allana her very first pair for her birthday last year, and we wore them until she completely grew out of them.  Sue Sue & Baloo just bought Allana 2 new pairs, and she has figured out how to take them off and (here's the big deal!) put them back on all by herself!  She is so proud.  I have found that the name brand ones just handle the wear and tear of toddlers better than the knock-offs.
  • Our Summer Infant Video Monitor www.summerinfant.com/videomonitors.htm  We have the Day and Night Quiet Sounds version with the handheld monitor.  This video monitor is a lifesaver!  If there were one item I would tell every expecting mother to put on her registry, this would be it.  We use it every single day, almost 2 years later!  We love watching her wake up and fall asleep.  When she was very tiny, it kept us from running in her room at her first peep.  We could watch and listen to her and make a decision on if she needed us or could settle herself back to sleep.  Priceless!  Best of all, Summer is wonderful about standing behind their products.  Almost a year ago, our battery wouldn't work anymore, so we called and they sent us a new battery, completely free of charge.
  • Miss Pattycake (www.misspattycake.com)!  If you haven't heard of her, you must check her out.  Allana is not interested in watching TV of any sort...cartoons, movies, even Veggie Tales don't hold her interest.  Praise Baby is still her very favorite (www.praisebabycollection.com), and Miss Pattycake is loved almost equally because she does lots of singing and dancing. 
  • Her Step 2 climber and slide!  We bought it for her with Christmas money from Sue Sue and Baloo, and she is having the time of her life on it.  She can climb up and slide down all by herself, and just today she learned to climb up using the holes in the side instead of the stairs.  She just beamed! 
  • Unbelievably, her Baby Einstein Baby Neptune Soothing Seascapes turtle is still an item she uses every day!  It's still in her crib, and she turns it on before she falls asleep and as soon as she wakes up.  There was recently a recall on this item, but it was not on our particular model, thank heavens!  I cannot for the life of me remember who gave this to us, but if it was you, THANK YOU SO MUCH!

What about you?  Any favorite products we should know about?  Any questions about the products mentioned above?





Not a UTI
posted on 04/19/2008

Allana's cultures came back today, and she does not have a UTI.  She does, however, still have a fever.  She's still not sleeping or eating well, and is very whiny.  She actually fell asleep in Dan's arms while we were walking around downtown this morning, and those of you who know her sleep habits know how atypical that is.  She was just so listless. 

Dr. Dirk wanted us to come in to Urgent Care to run her bloodwork.  Her CBCs came back completely normally.  They also tested for mono....negative.

So basically we have no idea why she's running this fever.  For those of you whom we have exposed your children to this virus when we thought it was a UTI, I am so very sorry. 

If she runs any fever at all on Tuesday (which would be 5 days of unexplained fever), we have to take her back in for more tests and bloodwork.  We're praying that the fever just stops.





A fun, full month so far!
posted on 04/18/2008

This past weekend was full of fun, with a walk around the seminary campus and a trip to Vollmer Strawberry Farm.  We've had a great week, too...a trip the Farm Days at NC State, and then to the Farmer's Market for fresh fruits and veggies.  Lana got a package in the mail this week for both sets of grandparents, too.  We had a fun dinner out with our friends Rob & Emily, and Hugh, Hollie, and Laney Carson.  We cooked out and made homemade ice cream with Dustin, April, and Hollis.  This weekend we're laying low while Allana recovers from her UTI, but next week is Dan's spring break, and we're going to spend Wednesday doing something special as a family.  Thankfully, he'll have a few days to himself while we are at school.  Maybe he'll get a chance to relax and play.  Next weekend my college roommate Melis flies in for the weekend, and our dear friend Katie from college is coming to stay with Dustin & April.  April, Katie, Melis, and I have a girls' night out planned.  We're making lots of great memories this month!





A mystery, solved. For now.
posted on 04/17/2008

For about a week now, Allana has not been herself.  Last Thursday at small group, she screamed and cried so horribly in childcare that we went and got her out.  Not like her at all.  She has not been eating well (just a few bites at each meal), and not sleeping normally (10 or 11 hours at night instead of 12 or 13).  But mostly, she's been super emotional.  If she asks for a snack, and we suggest a banana, she dissolves in tears.  If we ask her if she wants to go outside, she dissolves in tears.  On and on it goes....she's will fall apart at the drop of a hat.  Not pitching fits, just crying like her heart is breaking. 

At first I was puzzled, but I chalked it up all week long to teething or a growth spurt or whatnot.  By yesterday, I was just tired of it.  I was just weary of the meltdowns.  I had coffee with Stephanie Lyon (a dear friend and mentor here in Wake Forest) in the afternoon, and I had to confess to her that I was just tired of my child that day!  She was so reassuring, and really encouraged me to just love my baby through this.  Thank our sweet Father for friends like Stephanie.  I returned home better prepared to love my daughter, even when it's not easy!

This morning, my ornery little angel woke up with a high fever.  My spirit told me that something wasn't quite right....a fever combined with her being out of sorts for an entire week is a red flag for me.  So off we went to see Dr. Dirk.  (An aside: in the car, Allana kept saying, "See Dr. Dirk.  Fun!  I excited!"  We are so blessed to have him as a ped.) 

He ran a strep test...negative.  No rashes, vomiting, diarrhea.  Nothing.  Because Allana had a UTI almost a year ago (July 4, 2007, to be exact), it was necessary to check for that.  Dr. Dirk didn't want to cath her, so he sent us home with a cup and a prayer.  If we didn't get a sample by late afternoon, we would have to cath her. 

I've never prayed so hard for pee!  I wish you could have seen us.  I stripped her down, covered the living room floor with towels, put her potty seat in front of the TV, turned on PraiseBaby, sat her on the potty, and gave her a juice box.  I knew I could keep her on the potty with a juice box because it's such a big treat for her....she very rarely gets juice at all, has had very few juice boxes in her life, and NEVER gets to eat or drink in the living room.  I gave her saltines to make her thirsty so she would want to drink more.  I pulled out all the stops!

Within minutes, I knew it was a UTI.  She would try to tinkle, but only a drop or two would come out.  So pitiful....after several hours, we finally got a good sample, and took it back to Dr. Dirk.

It looks suspicious for a UTI (white blood cells, traces of blood in the urine).  He's sending it off to be cultured, and we'll know for sure in 24-48 hours.  Because she's already had one before, this is a pretty big deal.  If it grows something, she'll have to have a VCUG (they use a catheter to inject dye into the bladder and kidneys) to determine our next course of action.

2 UTIs in her 20 month life is too many.  It's a signal that something is not functioning properly.  A main concern is that if she associates pain with urination, potty training will become very difficult.  Other concerns include scarring in her kidneys, or inflammation of the kidneys.  Treatment for the problems we could find range from daily antibiotics to surgery, worse case scenario. 

Sweet Dr. Dirk is so calm - we're just taking it one step at a time right now.  He is so good at keeping everyone (read: ME) cool, calm, and collected.  We'll keep you posted.  Please pray for the antibiotic that she is on to work quickly to give her some relief.  That's all right now.  Today has enough worries of its own; we'll pray for tomorrow's issues tomorrow.





Today's funny things
posted on 04/15/2008

Allana has kept us giggling today.  Here are a few of the things she said and did:

  • When we were driving out of the preschool parking lot today, we passed the playground.  She looked out the window and began waving wildly, shouting "Bye, friends!  Bye!  Bye, friends!"
  • After naptime today, we were out on the front lawn blowing bubbles, visiting with a group of neighbors who were also outside.  All of a sudden, Lana ran up, grabbed my hand, saying, "I have dinner," and tried to drag me up the sidewalk toward the house.  I took that as my cue to head inside and start to prepare dinner!
  • Rob & Emily came over to have strawberry shortcake with us tonight.  When they were leaving, Rob said, "Peace out, Lana."  She laughed and told him, "Peace out, Robby."  We laughed and thought that was that.  Well, a few hours later, we stopped by Dustin & April's, and Lana was playing with Hollis.  We were all trying to get Hollis to say da da, and I told Lana to teach Hollis some big words.  She said, "Peace out, Hollis!"




Lots of talking and peeing today
posted on 04/05/2008

Our little girl is talking up a storm!  She is now speaking in complete sentences that are sometimes 4 or 5 words long.  She said today, "I dropped the water!" when she dropped her sippy cup in the car.  And I was playing my kissing game with her, asking her where Mommy's kiss was, and she replied, "I can't find that kiss."  I laughed so hard my sides hurt.  I'm going to try to be better about writing down the funny things she's saying now, especially since she's using longer words or phrases.

And not only has she been talking non-stop, but she pee-peed in the potty twice today - right after nap and right before bed!  Her diapers aren't dry by any means, but at least she's using it now.  I think I've found the right motivation for her....stamps for her hand!  She loves them more than anything, and I love that they're not a food reward.  She is really proud of herself when she goes.  She'll hop up and look down, saying, "I pee peed in the potty!  I did it!" We do a little dance and clap and celebrate big, and then she helps me dump it in the potty and flush it down.  We're not going to try to really train until the summer.  They don't train in her preschool class, and I know it's got to be consistent for it to take, so we'll wait until summertime and give it a try when we're at home together for a few months. 





More Jesus, please
posted on 04/04/2008

Tonight at bedtime, Allana picked out her books to read, and she and I climbed into the rocking chair to read and rock.  She chose the two Matthew von Fleet books that her Aunt Melis gave her - they are some of her favorites!  We also brought her Bible to the rocking chair to read.

We read about David and Goliath tonight, and sang a little song.  When I finished with the Bible story, she said, "Jesus, please."  So I flipped to the New Testament and we read about Jesus and Zaccheus and sang the song for that, too.

Finally I told her that it was time to go to sleep; we said our prayers and as I was leaning down to lay her in the crib, she said, "More Jesus, please!"

I want that to be the cry of her heart forever.





Discpline at the Davis'
posted on 04/04/2008

The Bible says that the Lord disciplines those He loves.  And that if a parent wants to avoid spoiling their child, if they want their child to seek after the Lord, then they will discipline them.  And it also says that discipline is good....that it's about training in righteousness. 

Because we believe that the Bible is completely true and completely sufficient for all of our needs, we trust what it says about disciplining Allana.  It is not easy, and sometimes it causes us pain to be obedient to what the Lord tells us to do, but it works.  It doesn't make sense to us how bringing momentary pain into Allana's life through spanking will correct her heart and bring her into repentance and right relationship with us and with the Lord....but it does.  It works.  It isn't easy to isolate her when she is out of control to teach her self-control...but it works. 

We have been fortunate enough to spend time in churches under the leadership of many godly parents and in the company of parents who provide us with much wise counsel about how to discipline our child.  We both grew up in homes that valued good behavior, and our parents are to this day incredibly encouraging as we raise Allana.  We learned from Pastor Mark at COTES that we should spank for deliberate disobedience and defiance, because in the Bible, those things bring pain and suffering into our life, and we want to teach our children to be obedient to us so that they are obedient to the Lord.  That wise counsel started us down a path of searching Scripture and seeking out wise counsel in this area.  We have read Tedd Tripp's book Shepherding a Child's Heart.  We have gleaned much wisdom from blogs like www.prayerofhannah.blogspot.com and www.allthingshendrick.blogspot.com.  We have spent hours sharpening ourselves through discussion with trusted friends and members of our small group. 

Dan and I strive to be consistent and like-minded in our approach to discipline, and to come before the Lord regularly to seek His counsel and guidance.  We want Him to be at the helm of this thing, and He is so faithful to us.  We are nowhere near spot-on; it's a constant process of learning and becoming more like the Father.  Here's what discipline looks like in our house right now:

  • We spank for defiance and disobedience.  That includes things like telling us "No!", doing something immediately after we tell her not to, or running away when we ask her to come. 
  • Spanking is a process for us, and we work very hard to not skip any steps.  Spanking is private, not done in public - we do not ever want to humiliate her.  We tell her why we're spanking her (in 5 words or less at this age), give the spanking (usually on her leg right now; we'll lay her on our lap and give it on her hiney after she is potty trained), hold her until she stops crying and tell her again why she recieved the spanking.  We prompt her (if necessary) to say she's sorry, extend forgiveness with lots of hugs, and then pray to ask Jesus to forgive her and help her have an obedient heart.  When she's a bit older, we will begin explaining to her each time we spank that if she disobeys and we don't spank her, then we are disobeying God, and he will have to punish us.
  • We are consistent, even when we are sick to death of being consistent.  There was a brief period when she was doing that running away from us thing.  All kids do it, and we've observed parents turning this into a game in public.  To save face when their child runs from them, the parents hurries to catch up and swoops the child into the air, laughing.  But it's not so funny.  It's disobedient and dangerous.  We knew that we wanted Allana to listen to our voices and obey, so we were going to treat running away from us seriously.  We spank for it.  Every. Single. Time.  And of course she realized that there was a power struggle, and so she tested me to see if I was really going to spank her for it every time.  And there was a week or two when I felt like I was spanking her every hour or so.  But we stuck with it...we didn't leave the house for a couple of days, and we practiced her coming to me when I called, and she got it.  Every once in a while, she'll return to her old behavior, but most of the time when I say, "Allana, obey Mommy.  Come right to me," she obeys.  That's priceless and it well worth all the hard work.
  • We don't count to 3.  I know there are a lot of people with many more degrees than we have who write books talking about how this is a good method, but it doesn't line up with Scripture.  I want Allana to obey the Lord immediately when He speaks to her, so that means I must teach her to obey me immediately when I speak to her.  If I count to 3 before requiring her to obey, I am giving her time to disobey, for delayed obedience is still disobedience.  I am teaching her to push the limits, to satisfy her own desires until she gets "caught." 
  • Time-out is very rarely punitive in nature at our house.  It is used more to give her a "break" from her emotions.  If she is out of control, very whiny, etc., we send her to time-out for a minute or so.  We set a timer.  When the timer goes off, we go to her, make sure she's got herself under control, talk about what the appropriate behavior is, and go about our merry way.
  • We work hard to make sure our discipline is truly discipline...not just punishment.  For us, that means using our words to instruct her daily in righteousness.  We use our words to teach her the right way, to encourage her when she chooses obedience, so guide her to be independent in her thought processes.  This is NOT about self-esteem or self-concept....I have an M.Ed. in counseling, and I think a lot of that self-esteem jargon is hogwash, and I'm not dousing my child in it.  Instead, I'll cover her with what the Word of God says, and I'll take the time to be proactive intead of reactive.  I'll make sure she eats well and sleeps well and I'll set her up for success.  I'll speak words of blessing into her life on a regular basis, and I'll pray for her OUT LOUD.
  • We are willing to put our lives on hold if there is a chronic behavior issue that she is struggling with.  If she cannot obey us in the confines of her own home, then we will not be going out to eat, to the park, to storytime at the library, etc.  This is not about punishing her....we don't even verbalize it to her.  We just put the brakes on our social activities and focus our time and attention on correcting the heart issue that we're seeing.  Is that inconvenient?  Yes.  Is it disappointing for us sometimes?  Yes.  But we have just a few short years to instill truth and life into her heart, and we don't want to miss our window of opportunity.  The Lord promises us that if we train her up in the way she should go, when she is old she will not depart from it.  Well, now's the training time.  We know we can't wait until she's 3 or 5 or 9 or 13 to begin training her in righteousness....that's too late.  If we wait even a year or two to curb unrighteous behavior in her life, we have disobeyed the Lord and have done our child a grave injustice.  Not only will it be much harder for us in a few years, but it will be much harder for Allana because she will not have the wisdom that she needs to make good choices. 

If you've made it this far, we'd love to hear your thoughts?  Any encouragment, admonition from the Lord?  Anything you've seen work or not work in your family?  Any questions? 

 





Allana's spring break in Alabama!
posted on 04/03/2008

We have all had a wonderful time in Alabama, especially Allana!  We uploaded some pictures so you can catch a glimpse of all the fun times she had.  Here were some of the highlights for her:

At Sue Sue and Baloo's house, she loved eating M&M's and learning her colors, climbing in her carseat by herself, going to Chuck-E-Cheese and eating pizza, shopping for new Crocs and pj's, hunting Easter eggs, going to a shrimp boil on Dauphin Island, singing songs with Sue Sue, watching Baloo dance, watching Scooby Doo on tv, doing sidewalk chalk, playing with Aunt Kacie and Ethan, Uncle Allan and Ranae, visiting Mama Sue on Dauphin Island, painting in the bathtub, playing in a fold-up tent that she calls "my house," blowing bubbles, kicking the ball that blinks, putting on makeup....

At Nana and PawPaw's house, she loved sewing with Nana, watching for the kitty, playing Bob the Builder with PawPaw on the computer, hanging out with Noah in the play area in the sewing room, throwing tennis balls in the circle with the whole family, going out to eat, playing in the fountain at the mall, splashing in the bathtub, watching PawPaw play tennis, spending time with Aunt Kenzie and Uncle Barcus at their house, spending time with her cousins, blowing bubbles, drinking coffee and readin the paper with PawPaw in the mornings, running up and down the hall.....

She also got to play with Uncle Bro, Aunt Nika, and Jake, go to the Dauphin Island Sea Lab with her friend Piper Moore, cook with Mama Sue (her great grandmother),  and go to church at our church in Fairhope. 

I know there are fun things she did that I forgot...c'mon, family, leave a comment with your favorite memory of the trip.  (That means you, Nana, PawPaw, Sue Sue, Baloo, Aunt Kenzie, Uncle Barcus, Uncle Allan, Aunt Kacie, Uncle Bro, Aunt Nika...I know you read this!)





Daddy & Mommy's trip to D.C.
posted on 03/28/2008

So this is obviously a website about all things Lana, but I have to leave a note in her journal about our wonderful week without her!  We know it's so important for her to have parents who are head over heels for each other, and spending time together alone always brings us closer.

This week was no exception - we talked and laughed more in the past few days than we've had time to in months.  I am such a lucky girl to have Dan for a husband.  He is my very best friend, and I'm so glad that we are blessed enough to have family members who will take care of Allana while we invest time in each other.

We arrived in D.C. Tuesday night, after stopping at a Japanese hibachi grill for dinner (honoring the first time we ate hibachi together...on our honeymoon!).  Our hotel was amazing - we stayed at the Doubletree in Dupont Circle, regularly $250/night.  We got it for less than $100/night through priceline - hooray! 

Wednesday was gorgeous in the capitol city...the cherry blossoms were gorgeous, the weather was in the 70's, sunny and breezy.  We spent the entire day outside, looking at all the monuments and some of the smithsonians.  It was our favorite day by far.  We had dinner at Gordon Bierche, a yummy brewery/restaurant.  We abstained from the brewery part Wink but indulged in the restaurant part with a delicious tuna steak. 

Thursday was not so pretty, but we had planned indoor activities.  We hit the spy museum first (which was amazing!), and then had a Capitol tour, which was also very cool.  It's tourist season in D.C., so we had to wait for 2 hours in line at the Capitol...and that was the line for people who had scheduled guided tours!!  It was well worth it, though.

Our feet were so tired by the end of Thursday....we picked up a pizza and an amazing salad at Chop't and headed back to the hotel. 

Friday we leisurely made our way back home, stopping along the way at IKEA, where we found a gift for Allana - the coolest easel ever for only $20!  It's wooden and has a roll of paper that she can use to color on, and a chalkboard and a whiteboard.  We can't wait for her to get home and use it!  I'm sure you'll see it in pictures soon.

Our heart's desire is to model a Godly marriage for our daughter....we want her to grow up seeing us love each other and the Lord so well that she chooses her future mate based on what she saw our marriage look like.  Time like this together is an excellent step in that endeavor. 

Thank you, grandparents and aunts and uncles, for allowing us this bit of time.  We are more grateful than you know.





The joy of my heart....
posted on 03/27/2008

I have been missing my little girl so much today.  Just 48 hours until I am with her...I can almost smell her!  I can't wait to get my hands on my child.  I have enjoyed the time to myself and the time with my husband, but it's time for our family to be back together again!

And as I'm sitting here with my heart hurting because I miss her so much, my sister-in-law Mackenzie called Dan's phone.  Here's what she called to tell us:

Today, Dan's mom asked Lana who loves her more than anyone else in the whole world.  You know what Allana said?  "Jesus!" 

My sweet, sweet child.  Yes, He does.  I want my whole life to be about you knowing and loving Him.  It seems we're off to a good start.

When I tell her all the people who love her, I end by telling her that Jesus loves her most of all.  She's been listening.





Countdown: one week until I see my Lana!
posted on 03/22/2008

She is doing fine.  Of course.  I'm the one going crazy missing her.  Why in the world did I think I could do this? 

Although, to be honest, I'm so glad we did.  She is spending some really good time with her grandparents.  I didn't always have the opportunity to get to know my grandparents and spend weeks at a time with them....I want this to be a part of her life from her earliest memories.

She and Dan had a great week with his parents and siblings and extended family.  They played and ate and just had a great time being together.  I got lots of rest, and got to spend some time with friends, which I very rarely get to do. 

Lana and Dan went to my parents' house Friday morning and had a great day there, playing with sidewalk chalk and coloring and just having a great time reconnecting.

Dan flew home this morning before Allana woke up, and when I called to check on her after nap this afternoon, she was on her way to Chuck-E-Cheese with Sue Sue and Baloo.  Hopefully I'll have pictures to post soon so you can see all her new shenanigans!

Dan is working this weekend, I am working Tuesday, and we're taking off Tuesday night for DC for three nights.  We come back Friday night, and then I fly out Saturday for Alabama to see my girl (and the rest of my family, of course). 

For those of you who have asked: Yes, it's hard.  Yes, I miss her and I cry at night.  But I keep her bedroom door closed and I listen to her on the phone having the time of her life with her grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins, and I know that the only way for her to love her extended family is to spend time with them.  Yes, I'm sacrificing these days with her, but I have her all the time.  They are making precious memories together, and it would be selfish of me to deprive her of that.





Creative Alternatives: Custom Gift Solutions
posted on 03/22/2008

This is a shameless plug for my super-talented step-sister Kacie.  How in the world I lucked up and ended up with such a creative sister is amazing!  And she's so sweet about it that it doesn't even make me feel bad that I am so not creative.  Instead, I'm just grateful that Allana has an aunt who makes her the coolest gifts in the world.

For example, for Christmas this year, Kacie made Allana a custom bowholder to match her room:

And she made us a white board for our kitchen - I use it like crazy to plan meals, shopping lists, etc.  The words are handpainted on:

Is that the best or what?  I could go on and on about all the cool things she can do, but instead you can go to her photobucket account and check out just a few of them: http://s88.photobucket.com/albums/k184/kaciedale/

E-mail her at Cre8iveAlt@aol.com.  If you place an order with her this week, maybe I can pick it up from her while I'm in town next week and save shipping for you.  In any event, keep her in mind when you're looking for a special gift!





The airport, and other thoughts
posted on 03/18/2008

I know that security has to be tight at the airports now, but I absolutely hate dropping people off at the curb.  What I would have given to have gone inside with Dan & Allana today, to have waited with them at their gate until the last possible minute, to sneak in another hour's worth of hugs and kisses. 

I did good, though.  You would have been proud of me.  I knew that my attitude about them leaving would determine how Lana felt about it.  If she senses that I am even the least little bit upset about something, she falls apart, so that meant no tears for me this morning.  Yesterday, I made up silly songs about she and Daddy going to Alabama, and Mommy coming later.  Last night, we prayed about their trip.  And this morning was very exciting...I kept it fun and upbeat all the way to the airport.  And so she was fine.  And Dan was okay, just a little teary.  And I was fine, until they walked away, and I could hear her little voice saying, "Mommy?" as in, "Mommy, I can't see you?"  I was wise enough to not put on my mascara this morning, so I cried all the way to school (those deep sobs that make your chest hurt), and then I got it together in the parking lot and went inside for the day.

Backing up a bit, though....as I drove to school this morning and prayed travelling mercies over my husband and daughter, prayed for this time to be an investment into their relationship apart from me, the Lord impressed two things on me.

The first thing the Lord shared with me is how hard it must be for our parents to let us live here, so far away from them.  To say nothing of our plans to go overseas at some point.  No matter how old Allana gets, she will always be my little girl, and this morning, God reminded me that even though living apart from our parents is His will for us right now, I should be very gentle with our parents, very understanding about the loss they experience when we leave.  We are still their babies, still the ones they gave birth to and raised and cherished and kissed and spanked and tickled and loved for over two decades, before we decided we were grown up enough to leave their nest.

The second thing the Lord impressed upon me was to not run past the realization that my attitude about things directly correlates to my child's attitude about things.  She learns whether or not something is going to be fun or miserable based on my facial expressions and emotion.  She decides whether something is good or bad based on my reponse to that thing.  I don't want to forget this lesson the Lord is teaching me.  When the time comes that she exhibits a behavior or attitude that is not pleasing to me or to the Lord, I want to remember to search myself, my own life.  Is she simply reflecting me and my attitudes?

So do you have a child who is disrespectful to their teacher or other authority figure?  One who shouts or kicks?  One who will not obey until threatened or forced?  One who makes ugly facial expressions?  One who does not treat their other parent with respect and honor?  One who does not complete their work, or who does not complete it well?  One who does not clean up after himself?  On and on the list could go of sinful behaviors children exhibit.  I challenge you to ask yourself...is it a learned behavior?  It's not always; children are sinful from birth and sometimes they do not learn those behaviors from us.  But sometimes they do, and before we begin working in our children's behaviour, we should carefully examine our own. 





First game of animal pretend
posted on 03/14/2008

We have such a big girl!

Tonight I came back into the house from returning a dvd to a neighbor, and Allana was laying on her belly on the kitchen floor.  I said, "Whatcha doing, Lana?"  She grinned up at me and wiggled her little body and said, "I caterpillar!  I crawlin!"  She kept on pretending to be a caterpillar for a few more minutes before getting up and running off.  It's the first animal she's ever pretended to be.

It seems she's developed a fascination with caterpillars....she asks her teachers to draw them all the time and loves her books with caterpillars in them.  And now she's pretending to crawl like a caterpillar! 

That's big girl stuff.  Where has my baby gone?





Kazoom Puppet Theatre
posted on 03/12/2008

We had such a wonderful time today!  We went to the Kazoom Puppet Theatre in downtown Raleigh.  My friends Julie Brown (and her boys Nicholas and Ethan) and Chandra Martin (and her girls Madelyn and Catharine) met us there, and Chandra even brough a friend with her, so we had a pretty big group.  This is just some of us: This is part of our group...

Getting there early is crucial...we arrived at 5 til, and parking was full!  Julie got there about 5 minutes before we did, though, and got a front row parking spot and saved us seats in the front row.  I'll get there a bit sooner next time. 

It was pretty wild...lots of talkative kids...but Allana was transfixed the whole time.  She really enjoyed the puppets and the music.

Afterwards we went to Chick-Fil-A for lunch.  We ate and played and then had ice cream and now it's naptime. 





Fun kids places in the Raleigh area
posted on 03/11/2008

One of the wonderful things about living here in Wake Forest is all the fun things for kids!  Here are a few of our favorite places to visit in the Raleigh area.  (Many thanks to our friend Emily for searching out some of the best of these!)  Some, like Marbles, we visit regularly.  Some we have not visited yet, but plan to in the near future and want to share them with you.  If you know of some other places you think we might enjoy, please post them for us!

  • Marbles Kids Museum http://www.marbleskidsmuseum.org/  If you are a seminary student, check out the sponsored membership link.
  • Storytime at the library (starting back up on March 24!)  http://www.wakegov.com/libraries/kids/storytimes.htm 
  • Daniel Farm or Vollmer Farm to pick strawberries!  We're looking forward to strawberry season coming up in just a few months.
  • Museum of Life and Science in Durham http://www.ncmls.org/  They have a new "Play to Learn" area designed specifically for the youngest visitors.  It's pretty neat!
  • The fountain at the Factory in Wake Forest - a dollar's worth of pennies can occupy an hour of time.
  • The Farmer's Market in Raleigh - it's a great place to buy local fruit, veggies, plants, and herbs, and they always give out samples, which is Allana's favorite part!
  • North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh www.naturalsciences.org
  • Cotton the plain-clothed clown is at Moe's in Wakefield the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of each month.  She sings and plays guitar and brings instruments for the kids to play and we love it!
  • Kazoom Puppet Theatre http://www.carolinapuppets.com/kazoom/index.php We're visiting this one tomorrow, so watch for photos.
  • www.jumpinbeans.com/wakefun  This is a great rainy day place to visit.  If your little one is small like mine is, the earlier you go, the better.  Don't go when school is out.
  • When the weather warms up, we'll be at the lake every chance we get!

So what else do we need to know about in our area?  Please share some of your favorite places to go!





Smiles on our faces
posted on 03/11/2008

Here are a few of the things Allana has done lately to make us smile:

  • We were coming up the stairs and Dan said, "Hey, Allana Davis!" and she looked up at me and said, "Mommy Davis!"
  • She has started asking for a blanket at night, and it's amazing how she settles down when we put that blanket on her.  As soon as she's asleep, she throws it off, but she just keeps asking for it.
  • We'll get her little hiney sometimes and say, "Booty!" so now she's started talking about our booties.  She'll say, "Mommy booty?  See it?"  or "Booty?  Touch it?"  She does it deliberately to make us laugh.
  • At night when we say our prayers before we go to bed, we have started asking her who we need to pray for, and she always tells us right away.  Some nights it's one or two people, some nights it's the whole family, some nights it's her teachers, some nights it's our neighbors and friends here, some nights it's her friends, it's always Daddy on the nights he is at work...it is so precious to us to know who she has on her little heart.





Celebrate spring!
posted on 03/06/2008

Today at preschool, I was trying to get my class cleaned up for lunch when Allana's teacher stuck her head in the door, and said, "Come look, quick!" 

I popped out the door to see my sweet daughter walking down the hall with a big springtime bonnet on her head that they made in class that day.  They were taking a little parade down the hall....it was absolutely adorable to see nearly a dozen toddlers strolling down the hall with these huge, flowered hats on their heads.  (I put some pictures that her teachers took in the photos section.) 

But the very best part was when she saw me standing outside my door.  Her little chunky legs ran down the hall as fast as they would carry her, and the whole time, she's shrieking, "Mommy!  Hat!!  Hat!!  Show mommy!"  I met her halfway and she flung herself into my arms.  "Pretty hat!" she told me. 

I could have melted into a puddle on the floor.  Her friend Tess was saying, "Dat's her mommy," and tears filled my eyes.  Somehow, I am her mommy.  For some amazing reason, God chose me to give this precious child to.  A springtime hat parade made my day today.





Sneaking in some family time
posted on 03/05/2008

Our schedule is very unusual this semester, in that we don't have one day at home as a family.  Seven days of the week, one or all of us have school or work at sometime during the day or night.  Therefore, we're learning to be creative in finding time to have fun together as a family!

Wednesday mornings sometimes offer us a little block of time to be together.  Allana & I don't have preschool, and Dan doesn't have class until 11:30.  Today, we slept until around 8, had breakfast together and got ready, and then we headed out for a couple of hours of fun together.

We went to the fountain to throw pennies (an old favorite for the Davis'), then to Jumping Beans, which is a coffee shop that has ginormous inflatables inside.  Wednesday mornings are reserved for kids under 2, so it was perfect for us!  Parents are welcome inside the jump house, too, so can you imagine the fun we had?  We posted some pictures for you to see! 

After wearing ourselves out at Jumping Beans, we all had lunch together at Moe's.  Dan left to go to class, and Allana and I stuck around to see Cotton, the plain-clothed clown.  She comes to Moe's the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of the month and plays music - Allana loves it! 

After Cotton left, we headed home, took a short walk to feed the geese, and then came back home for a nap.

What a fun day!





Who else loves you?
posted on 03/03/2008

Sometimes when we are riding in the car, or rocking before bed, or just taking a walk, I'll remind Allana of everyone who loves her.  "Mommy loves you, Daddy loves you, Nana loves you, PawPaw loves you, Sue Sue loves you, Baloo loves you...." and on we go, naming all the aunts and uncles and cousins, too, until we get to the end, and I always tell her, "Jesus loves you most of all!"  She always smiles when I'm going through the roll call of who loves her, and often she'll repeat names back to me.

Tonight I was rocking her before bed and she asked for her daddy (he's at work).  I said, "Daddy loves you, Allana.  Who else loves you?"  And to my surprise, she responded with, "Kenzie loves you."  "Who else?" I prompted.  And on she went, naming everyone who loves her.  Halfway through she got very sleepy, so I finished for her.  After I told her, "Jesus loves you," she said, "Best of all!  Night night?" 

Night night, Allana.





Giggles and prayers
posted on 02/29/2008

Allana's lyrics to some of her favorite songs make me giggle.  When I sing songs to her, I leave off the last word or phrase and let her supply it, after teaching her the words, of course.  Here are a few of her favorites (with the words she says in italics):

Twinkle, twinkle, little star    How I wonder what you are

Up above the world so high    Like a diamond in the tree

It's raining, it's pouring        The old man is snoring

Went to bed, bumped his head    Couldn't get up in the shower

Too cute!  She also has decided that she loves for us to floss her teeth, and will ask for us to do it at bathtime.  She is so fun!

We also need your prayers for us as we parent this precious child.  She has entered the stage of saying, "No!" and while sometimes it is OK for children to say no when they don't want something or want to stop an activity, we want her to do it in a way that is respectful and kind.  So we embarked on a mission to teach her to say, "No thank you," or "No please," or "No ma'am," or "No sir."  It seemed to us, though, that we were constantly reminding her to say the right thing, and by giving it so much attention, she realized her "No," had lots of power and it became a bit of a power struggle.  Not good or smart on our part.  So we've gone back to the drawing board, which is always the Father, and spent a better part of an evening praying for her attitude and spirit and for wisdom as parents to cultivate a loving, respectful spirit in her.  After getting some wise counsel from parents we trust and admire, we realize that it's time for us to change our language....she is only patterning herself after us.  We are attempting to make sure that the words that come from our mouth are only the words that we want to hear come from hers...responding to her with "No, thank you," or "No, please," or "No, ma'am" instead of simply, "No," which has been our habit in this past.  Please pray for us to be diligent and faithful as we train the heart of our child.





A visit from Nana, PawPaw, Aunt Kenzie, Uncle Barcus, and Noah
posted on 02/24/2008

Living so far away from those we love most in the world makes us appreciate every single moment we spend with them.  Certainly, we have always loved them and valued time spent with them, but there's something about only having a few days every month or so with them that makes it very, very precious time.

PawPaw and Nana (Dan's parents), Aunt Kenzie (Dan's sister) and her husband Uncle Barcus, and our precious nephew Noah arrived right at bedtime Saturday night.  Of course I couldn't put her to bed without seeing them.  She was so excited...she waited at the window, and as she watched each person she loves so much get out of the car, she squealed their name, and said, "Go get him!" or "Go get her!" 

They hadn't eaten yet and had to run get something to bring back, so 9:00 p.m. found Allana sitting on her PawPaw's lap eating french fries.  Yummy!  She finally went to sleep that night, but woke up the next morning anxious to see everyone. 

Sunday we spent a lazy morning at the house, eating Daylight Donuts (yum-o!), and playing together.  After the kiddos took a nap, we went to Marbles and had a blast!  PawPaw and Nana took us all out for a steak dinner, and our little family was so grateful - we ate it all up! 

On Monday we fed the geese together, ate hotdogs at Shorty's, and browsed through Cotton Company.  While the kids took naps and Dan went to work, Mrs. Karon & Mackenzie & I made Rice Crispy treats and homemade playdough.  That night, they went with me to Teen MOPS and sat in on our discussion group; it was so great to have them there with me.  PawPaw and Uncle Barcus stayed home with the kiddos, and all I know is that when we arrived home, the kids were sleeping and the house was standing.  Beyond that, I don't care.

Tomorrow morning, Allana and I are off to school at 8:30, Dan leaves at 10:00 for class, and by 10:30 the fam will be headed to Greensboro to catch their flight back to Alabama.  The time we had together here just flew by!  It's always so neat to have them here with us, and we are so grateful for the sacrifices they made to come, financially and otherwise.  We'll be counting the days until we're headed back to Sweet Home Alabama.

And as a final note, here's the gem of the weekend (if you know Mackenzie, Dan's sister, this will be classic):

Dan's mom, Mrs. Karon: "Mackenzie, are you going to wear those sweats out today?"

M: "SWEATS?  These aren't sweats.  I don't sweat in them.  The only thing that sweats when I have these on are my butt, because I'm sitting on it."





Field trip with the four year olds
posted on 02/21/2008

Today, I scheduled a trip to the post office for the preschool class that I teach, and Allana got to tag along.  We met at the post office around 10, stayed there until 11, and then went to Chick-Fil-A for lunch and playtime!  She had a great time with the big kids!  Cool

When we arrived, she of course saw the play area.  I told her we had to eat first, and then play, and she did a great job obeying and cooperating.  She had chicken strips and fruit, and loved the polynesian sauce as much as I do!  I got a great picture of her trying to drink it, ha ha! 

When she was done eating, she waited for me to finish and then we headed to the play area to hang out with my four year olds!  She didn't miss a bit - she climbed right up, saying, "Bye, mommy!  I climb!" and off she went.  My students were so sweet to watch out for her, and they'd yell down to me, "Here she comes, Mrs. Rachael!" before she came blazing down the slide.  With a huge smile on her face, she would look up at me and exclaim, "MORE!" 

After almost an hour of playing, she was sweating.  I told her, "Last time, Allana," and she was very obedient when she finished - came right to me and out the door we went.

She was ready for a nap when we got home - it takes a lot of energy to keep up with the big kids!





Latest developments
posted on 02/19/2008

Our little girl is growing and changing so fast - at the end of each day, I struggle to remember all of the new things she has said and done.  This website helps - if I take a moment to jot them down here, I know I'll have them.

So here are the new things she's been doing this past week or so:

  • Her gross motor development has really begun to improve.  Most of you know that Allana is an extremely verbal little girl, but her gross motor skills have always developed on the later side.  Well, just in the past few days, she has started climbing like a monkey.  She can safely get in kitchen chairs, on the couch, and over her Daddy's legs all by herself!  Today she even walked backwards down the sidewalk - I almost flipped out.  She loves to jump, and although she can't really do it consistently, she has managed to catch a little air a time or two.
  • Her vocabulary never ceases to amaze us.  Her /m/ sound has always sounded like an /n/ - for example, "milk" is "nilk."  Just recently she's started actually making that /m/ sound.
  • She is pronouncing April's name very clearly now.
  • The best part of her vocabulary development is that she is spontaneously saying "thank you" to us.  For example, tonight she asked for play dough after dinner.  Dan took it off the shelf and before he could even hand it to her, she exclaimed, "Thank you, Daddy!"
  • She LOVES music - her favorite time of the school day is going to see Mrs. Nikki in Music.  Just ask her about Mrs. Nikki and she'll explode with words, one right after another: "Music!  Nikki!  Dance!  Sing!  Shake shake!  Stamp!"  A few days ago, she woke up from her nap and I saw her on the monitor rocking her baby, saying, "Tinkle tinkle" - trying to sing "Twinkle, twinkle, little star." 
  • She has just begun to pretend a little, and it is one of my favorite things in the world.  She wants to give baby medicine, and she makes her animals from Noah's Ark interact.   




A visit from "Lissa"
posted on 02/18/2008

This weekend was extra-special at our house!  My (Rachael's) college roommate, Melissa, flew in from Dallas on Friday afternoon to spend some time with us.  We had the most wonderful, relaxing weekend.

As always, Melis arrived with a bag full of books for Allana and I!  She always has the most wonderful additions for Allana's library.  Needless to say, we spent hours Friday afternoon reading Allana's new books!

On Friday night, we ate at Pei Wei and played at the mall for a while.  On Saturday, we all slept in and when we finally managed to get up for lunch, Dan grilled some yummy hamburgers.  We napped and played at the playground and enjoyed the rest of Saturday with "Lissa," as Lana calls her.

Sunday was a great day at church, followed by a nap and dinner with April and Hollis.  April and Melis and I lived together our senior year in college, so it's always fun for the three of us to get together.  Sunday night Melis and I stayed up late talking and talking and talking.  Dan was at work, so it felt like the good ol' days in Ingram dorm.  

Today we all slept in again, managed to get dressed in time to feed the geese and have lunch at Shorty's before Dan went to work.  Melis & I played the Wii while Allana napped, and then we had to take her to the airport.  I am always sad to see her go - she is one of the closest friends I've got, "always a roommate at heart, only a phone call or plane ride away."  But this was the hardest time yet because my little girl was in the back seat, and as we drove away from the airport, she asked, "Lissa?  Pees?"  And when I told her that Melis was on an airplane, she cried.  "Mommy!  Lissa??  PEES?" with big tears rolling down her face.  

She asked for her again tonight before bed, and I reminded her, "Allana, where's Melissa?" and she responded, "Airplane.  Home."  When we were saying our prayers, I asked her who she wanted to pray for, and you guessed it....we prayed for Lissa. 





He's got the whole world
posted on 02/13/2008

One of Allana's favorite new songs is "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands."  When we play it in the car, she will do the motions and smile big!  It's so fun to watch her singing about God and already learning about how wonderful He is.

This afternoon before naptime, I stole a few quiet minutes with her in the rocking chair.  She asked me to sing that song, and as I sang the words, "He's got Allana Marie in His hands," my eyes filled with tears.  I recently read about a child Allana's age who passed away from a degenerative genetic disease, and as I rocked my healthy baby girl, my heart flooded with gratitude.  And in that selfish moment of gratefulness that my daughter is healthy and happy and whole, I realized that there are mommies all across the world who rock babies who are sick....and God holds them in His hands, too.  Even when He doesn't heal them, He holds them.  Even when things are beyond my comprehension, He understands.  In I Peter, the writer tells us that "we are not following cleverly invented stories....but are eyewitness of his MAJESTY." 

Every day with Allana, I get to be an eyewitness of the majesty of God.  He reminded me today to slow down and savor His presence with us.  Thank You, God, for holding my little one in Your hands.





Highlights of the weekend
posted on 02/10/2008

  • Sleeping in until 9:30 or 10 - she must be going through a growth spurt
  • Jogging to the post office - the wind was blowing so hard and Lana said it was "Brr, cold!"
  • She found a ball under a chair and said, "Hold the ball!"
  • Watching her talk to the birds...."Teet teet"
  • Going to Marbles as a family and watching Allana explore and discover - she loves coloring on the big chalkboard wall
  • Watching her wake up on the video monitor.  Sunday morning, she was sitting in bed and trying to make baby doll sit up with her.  She kept telling her "Sit.  Sit," but baby kept falling over.  Finally she leaned baby up against the side of the crib, and said, "Time out!"
  • Every time I take out my cell phone, she insists on calling PawPaw or Sue Sue or Nana.  It's so often that sometimes I just pretend.  Innocent
  • Playing sock puppets - she and I each put one of her socks on our hands...she made them dance, hug, and kiss.
  • Snuggled up on the couch reading together - a little bit of heaven.




Because it made me laugh...
posted on 02/09/2008

I had to tell you this because it made me laugh out loud and I'm here by myself and I had to tell someone.

Today for breakfast, Allana had yogurt with wheat germ.  For lunch, she had applesauce and blueberries and a few bites of soup.  So tonight when it was time for dinner, she was hungry!

Here's what my child just ate for dinner:

8 ounces of whole milk, probably 10 ounces of vegetable beef homemade stew with crackers to thicken it, a cup of rice, an entire orange, and a pack of peanut butter crackers that she saw on the counter.  WAY more than I ate, for the record.  Bet she'll sleep good tonight.





Go get her
posted on 02/08/2008

Dan was rocking and singing to Allana tonight before he put her in bed, when she looked up at him and said, "Mommy?"  She asks for me sometimes when he's putting her to bed, just like she asks for him when I'm putting her to bed, so like he normally does, Dan said, "Mommy's downstairs.  We're going night night."  That has always been enough of a reponse before.  Tonight, though, when he told her that, she responded, "Go get her?" 

So he did.  (How could he not?) 

And I rocked her and sang a song and about halfway through she said, "Mommy.  Hurt."  "What hurts, Allana?  Tell Mommy."  "Eyes," she explained.  I said, "Your eyes hurt because you're sleepy.  Are you ready to go night night?"  "Night night.  Ready,"  she said.  And I laid that angel down in her bed and off to sleep she went.

These are the moments I wish I could freeze in time.  Years from now, when I'm old and want to be with my beautiful first-born daughter, and I ask someone to "Go get her," I bet she'll come.





Stories from Sunday School
posted on 02/05/2008

Dan works at Wal-mart with one of Allana's Sunday School teachers...Dan says he always has funny stories to tell at work after being with Lana in church on Sunday morning.  Here are the latest stories from Hugh:

  • All the kids in Sunday School right now have yucky, running noses.  The teachers were walking around wiping everyone's noses, and Allana came running up to Hugh, pointed to her nose, and said, "Nose!  Yipe (wipe) it!" 
  • Hugh built a big tower of foam blocks, and asked the classroom full of 1 year olds, "Who wants to knock it down?"  Allana came tearing across the room, crashed down the tower, and said, "I knock it!"
  • Our neighbor Shannon (who is also one of Lana's teachers) was changing diapers.  Allana came running up to her and said, "I tee tee!"  Shannon put her on the changing table, took off her diaper, and it was dry.  Shannon said, "Lana, there's no tee tee in here," and she insisted, "I tee tee!"  Hugh told Shannon she better put that diaper back on - maybe she meant she was going to tee tee! 




Tonight's main events
posted on 02/04/2008

Tonight I cut you out of your Christmas pictures.  That's right, if you sent us a Christmas card with a photo anywhere in or on it, I cut your silhouette out for Allana.  I'm going to put them in a little box for her to take them out and play with them; I'll tell her your names and all about you. And while she's playing, they're going to be reminders to me to pray for you.  I never have known what to do with those cards after the holidays are over...it seems so callous to just throw someone's picture in the trash, so I end up with piles of old Christmas cards stuck in a drawer.  I'm excited about my new way to recycle them!

OK, on to the funny story for the night: I've learned to strip Allana down to her diaper before dinner at home to avoid food stains.  She was a great eater tonight - she had soup, green beans, rice, and blackberries.  She ate more than I did!  Of course there was food all over her, and her diaper.  So before I took her out of her highchair, I took her diaper off and put her down on the floor.  She walked about two steps away, I turned around to push the highchair against the wall, and when I turned back around, she was peeing on the floor.  A LOT.  She looks at me in a bit of a panic and says, "Mess!"  I reach out to get her, and she starts walking toward me, and no kidding, she slips and falls in her pee.  I pick her up and pee is dripping out of her hair.  Thank goodness she drank a lot of water today and it wasn't stinky pee.  Anyway, she is furious at being covered in pee and keeps yelling, "Yucky!  Wipe it!" and I can't stop laughing.  Tears are pouring down my face as I pick up her and take her to the bathroom.  She didn't think it was very funny, but it was the best thing that happened all night.





Visit to Dr. Buddy, the dentist
posted on 02/04/2008

We went to see Dr. Buddy, our pediatric dentist at Carolina Pediatric Dentistry this morning for x-rays and to let him look at her teeth.  It seems that she did have a "trauma," as he calls it.  Her front tooth is impacted about 1 mm, which is truly not that bad.  He thinks it will return to its original position.  Part of her trouble is that her front teeth are already crowded and are further out than normal.  (Dan & I both had braces, so that's no surprise.)  Because they are not recessed far enough, they are likely to be damaged in a fall.  Ug.

Right now, her roots and teeth look fine.  Basically all we can do is wait and see.  There is a possibility of abcess, root trouble, discoloration, etc., but only time will tell.  We're going back in 3 months for another xray and exam.

He also cleaned her teeth while we were there, and he said they look great!  Very clean, healthy, etc.  Hooray for Mom & Dad & all the toothbrushing!  We are supposed to start using a tiny bit of toothpaste with fluoride when we brush now.  That kind of made me sad...such a big girl thing to do.  Every day, it seems like we're losing one more "baby thing."

She did a great job letting Dr. Buddy look at and clean her teeth.  She's a sweet, sweet girl.  We took her to the park for a couple of hours afterward to celebrate!





Reflections on this week....
posted on 02/02/2008

Our precious girl has been as much fun as ever this week, despite a terrible ouchie on her mouth. 

This morning while we were all in the bathroom getting ready, she reached over to Dan and rubbed his arm up and down, very softly for several seconds.  It was so tender that Dan's eyes filled up with tears.  She looked up at him with those big blues and said, "I sweet."  Yes, indeed you are sweet, our Lana.

Dan has discovered a wonderful tactic to help her remember to obey us.  When he tells her to do something and she acts like she doesn't want to or says, "No!" he says sternly, "Allana, say yes sir."  And SHE DOES!  Every time, she immediately says, "Yes sir," and does what he asked her to do.  Amazing.  It's like she just needs to be reminded what the correct response is.  So I tried it, and it works for me, too.  She obeys every single time when we remind her what she is supposed to say and do.  What a wise husband I have!

For the past couple of months, she has had a really hard time with me leaving her in the mornings at preschool.  She loves school, asking for her teachers and friends when we're not there.  She is excited to get to school, and is more than fine throughout the day, but when I walk out the door, she has been completely falling apart.  Dan & I have been praying about it, and I have been reading and talking to others, trying to figure out how to ease that transition time for her.  So the past two weeks, right before I leave her classroom, I get down on her level, look her in the eyes, and say, "Mommy is going to her classroom.  You are going to stay here and play.  I'll be back to get you at the end of the day.  Give me a hug and kiss."  And she does, and then I leave, and as I'm walking out the door, she says, "Be back!"  No more tears - what a sweet relief! 





Fell on her face...literally.
posted on 02/01/2008

Last night, Allana took a terrible tumble.  She was hurrying into the living room from the kitchen, got tripped on her own feet, and fell.  She fell full-force on her mouth.  Her two top teeth went nearly through her bottom lip, and there was blood everywhere.  Thank the Lord that Dan was here....it was so very scary.  Her bottom lip is split wide open on the inside, but the Urgent Care docs advised us to clean it with hydrogen peroxide and just let it heal.  Her top teeth are my main concern.  The gums around those two teeth are still bleeding off and on and are very, very bruised.  Those precious little teeth that I brush twice a day....I am praying continually that they will be okay.  We spoke to the pediatric dentist on call, and he advised us to take her in Monday morning for an x-ray to check for root damage, which could cause the tooth to die.  On a positive note, he thinks that is highly unlikely.

She doesn't seem to be experiencing any major discomfort.  She does tell us, "Teeth hurt," but it has not stopped her from eating or drinking.

I am praying constantly those those teeth stay healthy and white, and that she continues to experience little or no pain.  Will you pray with me?





18 month well baby check
posted on 01/30/2008

Allana is 18 months old today!  She had her 18 month check-up with Dr. Dirk right after storytime at the library.  She is doing so well.  She weighs 27 pounds, 11 ounces, and is 33.75 inches tall.  She is right on her growth curve.  Developmentally, she's doing very well, too.  Dr. Dirk is so wonderful...he's very calm, nothing ruffles his feathers at all, always very encouraging, not alarmist at all.  Because of that, when he says to do something, we listen.  And he says she's doing wonderfully.

We didn't have to get any shots today, which made it a super visit.  She has one more to get at her 2 year appointment, and then that's it (besides flu shots) until she's in kindergarten. 





February 1-5, 2008: Operation PT aborted.
posted on 01/25/2008

Edited to add: Last week, my precious girl was ready to be potty trained. She talked about the potty, she used the potty - for all intents and purposes, she was on the cusp of being potty trained.  The minute I breathe a word about training her, all bets are off.  This week, she won't sit on the potty.  She won't even look at the potty - no interest whatsoever.  And since I'm not much interested in getting into a battle of wills with an 18 month old, I think we'll wait and try again later.  So we're free this weekend if anyone wants to hang out!  Smile 

Wish us luck!  We are embarking on Operation Potty Training the first weekend in February!

Allana is completely aware of the potty...she knows what you do there, she can tell you which one is hers and which one is Mommy's, and she'll pee pee or poo poo in it once or twice a week.  She is probably ready to be potty-trained - Mommy just hasn't been consistent with it!  I've heard that if you miss the "window," though, it's a nightmare to potty train.

So, after some encouragement from a sweet neighbor and friend, I've decided to give it a go.  We're going to stay home from Friday afternoon until Tuesday morning, drink lots of water and juice boxes to keep her hydrated, and sit on the potty every twenty minutes.  I'm going this weekend to buy an additional potty seat, lots of juice boxes, and some pull-ups.  

Any advice or thoughts?  Leave me a comment - you won't offend!  I know nothing about this potty training business, and am just flying by the seat of my panties!  Laughing





To be or not to be a big sister?
posted on 01/24/2008

Disclaimer:  This website is so useful for keeping all of our precious family and friends updated on what's going on in our sweet daughter's life, but it is also an online scrapbook that we are keeping for Allana to have one day.  So by virtue of that, sometimes you'll get to read more of our intimate thoughts and conversations than you might otherwise.  Thank you for joining us on this wonderful adventure, and do know that you are just reading the words that we are thinking out loud.

This is our favorite age yet - there is NOTHING we are not enjoying about the stage Allana is in right now.  She's very verbal for her age, so there's not a lot of communication frustration.  She sleeps from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m., and will sometimes let us snooze until 9 a.m.  She eats three meals a day at the table with us, and enjoys almost everything she eats, saying, "Yummy!" or "I like it!"  She laughs and plays and loves to read books and run around the house or the yard....everything is just delightful, to the point that we are sometimes selfish of her time and consider it a sacrifice when we are away from her for even a few hours.

So although we know we would like to have another baby and we would like for Allana to be a big sister at some point in the future, we cannot imagine sharing this time that we are spending with her with another child. 

(Not to mention...where would another kid fit in this tiny place?  I mean, seriously, we live in 900 square feet, and 800 of it is full of stuff!  And Dan works two jobs and is school full-time and we barely make ends meet each month.  This might not be the best timing.)

All along, we've thought that we'd like them to be 3 or 4 years apart.  We've got a few months before we need to really start thinking about conceiving, but still....it's coming up faster than I think we realized.

We're just so caught up in the stage she's in right now - we couldn't be enjoying it more!  We talk daily about how rich our lives are, with each other and family and friends and church.  But we don't want to be selfish.  We know that the relationship between siblings is mighty - because we experience it ourselves.  We want her to have brothers and/or sisters, and we don't want there to be a huge gap between them. 

This is tougher than we thought it would be.  All we know at this moment is that the Lord told us when the right time was for us to have Allana.  He made it perfectly clear that we would conceive...and we did, immediately.  Right now, our prayer is that He would again be clear with us, and that He would trade our selfish hearts for a heart like His. 

What a gift our one daughter is....how much richer our lives will be when He gives us another child.  It's hard to fathom.

 





What a weekend!
posted on 01/21/2008

So we've been closed up inside all weekend, and our little girl has been full of energy!  Here are some of the things she's doing now:

  • She races through the house with her grocery cart, yelling, "Go go go!" and then slams on the brakes and says, "Stop!" 
  • She puts baby in time-out a lot.  She'll even set the timer like we do, and she always remembers to give baby hugs when time-out is over.
  • She's getting a new tooth, and when it hurts, she'll point to her mouth and say "Teeth...hurt....teeth....hurt," until you give her Motrin.
  • We love to give hugs, and so now she's making Noah (from the Little People Ark) give all the animals in the ark hugs.
  • If you show her a picture of herself, she'll say, 'It's Lala!"
  • When we're sitting down and she wants us to get up to go do something, she puts her hand on our arm and says, "Push!"
  • When she's tired of eating, she takes her spoon or fork and makes airplane noises with it.
  • When Dan's praying, if I open my eyes to peek at her, she's always looking at me, and she'll say, "Hi!"  Busted.




The first snow of the year!
posted on 01/19/2008

It was beautiful and magical and a gorgeous reminder of a Father who always gives good gifts....Allana stood at our front window for the longest time watching it fall.  She would go play with something else for a while and then suddenly shout, "Snow!" and run back to the window.  Sadly, the beautiful flakes we got fell after sundown so we couldn't get outside, the forecasters predicted much more than actually fell, and although it's supposed to be very cold through the night, we doubt there will be enough to play in tomorrow.  We didn't even get any good pictures because we were stuck inside being sickies.  Oh, well, it's still early in the winter.  Maybe when Dan's family comes next month, we'll get a big snowstorm and they'll be stuck here for weeks!!  Laughing

On another positive note, I think we're both recovering from our respective sicknesses.  Our next door neighbors Ashley and Nick kept Allana for us this morning while we took medicine and slept most of the day away.  (Thank goodness for "family" away from home!)  We woke up feeling a bit better, and have continued to improve as the day goes on.  We'll wait until tomorrow to see what he thinks he should do about work.  The doctor advised him to stay out all weekend (especially since he works in a freezer...literally), but he's hoping not to have to do that, and says he's going to make a call each day based on how he feels.  Hmmm...

Now we're just praying that Allana stays healthy.  She did get a flu vaccine this year, and we are trying to be super-conscious about Lysoling and using Clorox wipes on everything.  Please pray with us that she'll avoid getting sick!





Sickness update
posted on 01/18/2008

Dan went to the clinic this morning, and he's got the flu, too.  Cry

It's my greatest fear....both of us sick, really sick, away from home and grandparents and family. 

Dan's mom, of course, would be here in a minute if we said the word, but it's an awfully long drive or expensive plane ride, and we want to spare her that if we can.  What a sweet blessing to know that she'd be here if we needed her, though...

We have sweet friends here who are offering to take care of Lana, but we're so afraid of getting them sick, too.  We're trying to hold off unless we are absolutely too sick to take care of her.

Please pray for us to recovery quickly.  We are both running fevers and have no apetite, so we're pretty weak.  Allana had a flu vaccine, so we're praying she stays healthy. 

Dan is supposed to work this weekend, and he's obviously not going to be able to.  Please pray for us to find ways to ease this financial blow this month. 

Thank you for being prayer warriors we know we can call on.





Thankful to be sick???
posted on 01/16/2008

Last night about dinner time, I started coughing so hard my chest hurt.  By dinnertime, I was running a fever and felt like my bones were breaking.  This morning, I got up feeling terrible still, so I went to the doctor.  Let's see, he diagnosed me with the flu, walking pneumonia, a slight case of strep, and a sinus infection.  Geez.

I'm not glad I'm sick, but I'm so thankful I'm sick right now.  Dan doesn't have class until next week, and it's not the weekend, so he's not at Wal-mart.  He has been super-daddy all day long!  He took Allana to storytime at the library, ran some school errands for me, and then took her to have lunch at Moe's and see Cotton the plain-clothed clown.  So cute.  They have been playing together all day long - last semester they did not ever have one complete day to spend together, so it's been good for them.

I have felt like roadkill all day long, and she is so sweet.  Everytime she sees me, she points and says, "Sick!"  This afternoon after she woke up from her nap and Dan brought her downstairs where I was lying on the couch.  As soon as she saw me, she broke into the widest smile, pointed at me, and said, "Go get her!"  What a precious daughter I have.





Today's top 3 moments
posted on 01/15/2008

Here are my favorite moments from today:

Last week Allana was on a huge meat binge.  All she would eat was meat.  So tonight we grilled chicken, thinking she would love it.  Nope.  She wouldn't even touch it.  We got out the ketchup, thinking we could entice her to eat a few bites of it.  Instead, she kept pushing it away, saying "I like it!"  But what she really meant was "I don't like it."  But she just kept insisting in this horrible, whiny voice, "I like it!"  It took all I could do to keep from laughing.

She has started wiggling her fingers at you and saying, "ticka ticka ticka," with a big smile on her face, meaning, "Tickle, tickle, tickle!" 

After bath time and pjs and books, Dan brought Lana downstairs to tell me goodnight.  As she walked past the bathroom, she said, "Bye toys!" to her bath toys.  I love sentences.





Zaccheus, time out, etc.
posted on 01/14/2008

She cracks me up.  Really, she does.  Sometimes I can hardly believe that this creature grew inside of me.  She amazes me so.

Here are tonight's favorite moments:

  • I was washing dinner dishes, and she kept whining for me to get her more milk.  I explained that I would get some for her when I finished washing dishes, and she kept on whining.  I tried ignoring her.  The whining continued, to the point where I thought my eardrums might rupture.  So, with my hands in a sink of soapy water and dirty dishes, I turned around and said, "Allana.  That's enough whining.  Go to time out."  And she did.  And she sat there until I finished washing dishes and came to talk to her.  Geez.
  • After her bath, I was drying her off and telling her the routine.  She knows it, but it helps to remind her of what we're going to do next. She always repeats the last word that I say.  Well, usually she does.  Here's how the conversation went tonight, with me in blue and Allana in pink:

        "We're going to put on your lotion..."   "Lo-shu!"

        "And then we're going to put on your pj's..."     "Deejays!"

       "Then we'll read a book..."     "Book!"

       "And sing a song...."    "Zaccheus!"

Huh?  I think she just told me what song she wanted me to sing.





A day at home without Mommy!
posted on 01/11/2008

Yesterday, Allana had a bit of a fever, so she stayed home from preschool with Daddy today while I went to school.  I hated leaving her this morning, but it seems like they had a good time together.  I'll let him tell you about the highlight of their day (pictures and video posted also):

Well, we did have a great day.  Aside from having to put her in time out while we were at Old Navy, it was a rather uneventful day until shortly after lunch.  I was in the kitchen cleaning up after the tornando that is our child during meal time and I hear her banging something around in her toy room and saying "night, night".  So obviously I go to investigate and find her throwing her babies our of their pack-n- play and on to their heads.  Then she proceeded to climb into the baby doll pack-n-play and tell me "night,night."  What you will notice in the pictures is that the baby pack-n-play measures about 10" wide and 16" long.  So of course I grabbed the camera and started snapping shots.  I had a laugh and went back to the kitchen to finish things up.  Then suddenly I hear a banging again and I look into the living room to see that Lana has carried the pack-n-play out of the toy closet and into the living room.  She then proceeded to climb in and go night, night.  So, I grabbed the camera and asked her what it exactly she was doing.  She explains on the video.  Enjoy! 





Marbles Kids Museum
posted on 01/09/2008

Today was such a fun day for our family!  Dan didn't have school or work, Allana and I didn't have to go school, so we got up and went to Marbles Kids Museum.  It is an amazing hands-on, interactive museum that allows kids to explore and play and learn through doing. 

Allana had the best time!  She ran and danced and colored and played her little heart out - we're posting lots of pictures and even a super cute video of her dancing.

We are really looking forward to our nephew's visits in the next few months - we definitely want them to visit Marbles with us!

Here's the website: http://www.marbleskidsmuseum.org/ 





A better mommy
posted on 01/08/2008

Tonight I went and met my friends Chandra and Julie for dessert at Applebee's.  We met there at 8:00, and didn't leave until after 11:00, and I am a better mommy because of it.

There's just something about sitting down with women I love and talking about our fears and failures as wives and mothers, our hopes and dreams for our husbands and kids and selves, what the Lord is doing in our lives and the lives of those around us and other silly unmentionable things that just refreshes my soul. 

After nearly 3 hours of laughter and tears and talking and listening, I know that I've got to make time to do more of this, with these two precious women and with other women in my life.  I need it.  My soul needs it. 

Just knowing that they go through some of the same things at their house that we do at ours is a sweet relief.  Confession is so good for the soul, and speaking things out loud make them easier to handle.  Leaving their company has sharpened me, and I can't wait for the next dessert date.





Happy New Year!
posted on 01/08/2008

It's hard to believe that our little girl was born the middle of 2006, and it's already the beginning of 2008!  The time really does fly. 

This must be my favorite age yet, although I think I say that every stage she's in.  Here are some of my favorite things she's done lately:

  • She'll spontaneously say "Kiss!" or "Hug!" and she wants to kiss or hug both of us.  If I'm closer, she'll kiss me, and the immediately say, "Daddy?" and reach to kiss or hug him.
  • She shares really well, and is quick to give a toy to a friend and say "Ur turn!" to let them know it's their turn.  We're having a bit of difficulty encouraging her to share her toys, while at the same time discouraging her sharing her sippy cup.
  • Dan calls every night from work, and he always talks to her.  I give her the phone and she says, "Hi Daddy!" really loudly.  It's so sweet.  Sometimes he tells her to give Mommy a kiss for him, and she'll smile at me and give me a kiss.  So sweet! 
  • When we go to the library, she immediately runs to the children's section where there is a big shelf of board books she likes to read.
  • Every morning she wants to get in bed with us and read books....lots of them.  Nothing could make me happier, although it gets a bit hairy when she doesn't wake up until 8:00 and we have to leave at 8:30.
  • She's learned how to throw pennies in the fountain, and a dollar's worth of pennies makes her a super happy girl.
  • Her vocabulary amazes us everyday...my favorite word she's saying now is "product," for the curling mousse we put in her hair.  She's also saying, "sorry," "yougurt," "hold it," "your turn," "groceries," and she'll repeat anything you say to her.  Even "darn," if you say it while you're playing the Wii.
  • Ketchup, or "dip!" accompanies most of her meals now.  She loves chicken dipped in ketchup!  She's been on a huge meat kick lately; it must be what her body is craving to grow.
  • Speaking of food, she's getting better everyday with a spoon and fork.  She makes less and less of a mess all the time, and when she has to work hard to get a bite in her mouth and finally does, she beams and says, "I did it!"
  • She's developing definite preferences - when she wakes up in the morning, she tells us if she wants milk or water, and it's not random.  If we try to give her milk with breakfast when she's asked for water, she hands it right back to us.
  • Miss Sassy Pants has started trying to tell us "No!" when we tell her to do something, especially if we're walking outside and tell her to come back to us.  She has been testing us, saying "No," and running the other direction.  Therefore, she's learned lots about spankings lately.
  • Her attention span is getting longer.  While we were getting ready the other day, she sat in her room and played with puzzles by herself for nearly 20 minutes without changing activities.  She was having a difficult time with one piece, but she kept at it until she finally got it in.





Dear Allana,
posted on 12/30/2007

Tonight was one of my favorite nights with you, and I want to write about it so we'll remember it.

Daddy is at work tonight, so it's just you and me here.

We had a good time eating pancakes for dinner and washing dishes and playing.  But the best part was after all that was through.  We went upstairs and you took a bath and you were so very good.  I love shampooing and conditioning your curls...how much longer do you think I'll get to do that?  I don't ever want you to be old enough to wash your hair by yourself.

And after you were done playing in the tub, I dried you off and we put on your lotion (you like to do your legs while I do your belly), and we read books together.  I sat in the big rocker and read my book and you sat in your little rocker and read your book.  It was so quiet and peaceful.

But then you got up and went into my bedroom with your book and said, "Bed?"  You never do that.  So I came in and pulled back the covers and propped up some pillows and we climbed in with our books.  I read mine and you read yours, and every once in a while you would look at me and giggle.  We read for a long time, and then we put down our books and you kissed me!!  You're not a big kisser, but you gave me so many kisses tonight.  I told you they were sweet as sugar, and then you said "shugr" and puckered up and made a kissing sound until I kissed you again!  We laid our heads on the pillows and laughed and made kissing sounds and rubbed noses and I laughed so hard at you when you said, "hilarious." 

We laid in there being silly and sweet together for almost 45 minutes.  You're a toddler.  You don't lay in one place for 5 minutes unless you're sleeping!  It was such a sweet time, and I want to remember it forever.  You're growing up so quickly, sweet girl.  Slow down a little for me, okay?





Home at last!
posted on 12/29/2007

Since we moved to North Carolina, we've flown back and forth a lot.  Almost a dozen easy, trouble-free flights later, we ran into a doozy trying to get back to North Carolina yesterday.

We had a flight leaving Gulfport around 11:30 a.m. Friday morning.  We arrived at the airport around 10, and it was raining cats and dogs.  We knew then that it might be rocky.  Little did we know how right we were.

We said teary goodbyes to Nana and PawPaw, and went inside the airport to discover that our flight to Atlanta at 11:30 had been cancelled.  However, an earlier flight that was supposed to depart at 9:30 had been delayed, so they put us on stand-by for that flight.  Luckily, seats were available to us, and it departed at 11, in plenty of time for us to make our 3:15 connection in Atlanta.

We get to Atlanta around 1, eat lunch, check in, and discover that our flight is on time - no delays, which is amazing because bad weather in Atlanta had been backing things up all morning.  We were relieved that it appeared we were going to make it home on time, until we realized at 3:00 that the plane was not at the gate.  The announcement over the loudspeaker told us that we would leave at 3:30....then it was 4:00...then 4:30....when it was all said and done, we boarded the flight around 6:00.  Allana had not taken a nap at all.  She was miserable, and we were running out of diapers and milk.

We got on the airplane and sat on the tarmac FOREVER.  Something broke on the airplane, and then we found out we were 18 in line for take-off.  I got so desperate that I started feeding Allana the Jelly Belly jelly beans I got for Christmas, and I fed her the good flavors to keep her quiet.  Those of you who know me well know that it must have been bad - I never feed my child candy, and I never share my Jelly Bellies with anyone.  Period.  It was a dark, dark time.

We are so blessed to have wonderful friends in Wake Forest.  One of those friends had agreed to come pick us up at the airport - at 4:30 p.m., when we were supposed to arrive.  We had called her to let her know our plane was delayed and would leave at 6:00, but as we sat on the tarmac for an impossibly long time, we realized that Dan's cell phone would not turn on.  Not at all.  So we couldn't call her and tell her we were just sitting there.  Poor her.

We finally got in the air and made it to RDU.  My poor child was in that miserable, past-tired, nothing makes them happy state.  All she wanted was her bed. 

So we get off and while Dan waits for luggage, I go outside to find our friend, who at that point had been circling the airport for 2 hours.  My friend who has a child at home with RSV.  I find her, throw Lana in her carseat, and dash back inside to help Dan get our luggage.  Except there is no luggage.

Instead of luggage, there are hundreds of angry passengers who don't have luggage.  Including us, although at this point we were too tired to be angry.  I go outside to tell our friend that we're still waiting to see if our luggage arrived.  She's gone.  Security made her leave.  So she's circling the aiport with my tired, screaming child in the backseat.  I could not have been more horrified that she was having to go through this.  I don't have a cell phone to call her, and we still don't have luggage.

Allana has leaked through her last diaper, and has no more extra outfits.  She's dressed in a diaper and a jacket.

I go back inside, and we realize that our luggage just isn't going to arrive.  Dan goes to get in the baggage claim line, which is seriously at least 75-100 people long.  Evidently all the weather delays in Atlanta caused everyone's luggage to be lost.

Finally, I just got in the car with our friend and take Lana home.  Dan stays at the airport in the baggage claim line.  We have no live cell phones, so I have no way to get in touch with him.  We decide that he'll just take a taxi home when he's done.  Allana literally screams the whole way home for milk.  I died inside knowing that she was hungry and I just didn't have anything to give her.  It was a long, long ride home.

We never carry cash on us, so normally we would not have had money for the taxi.  Unbelievably, my stepdad had handed Dan some cash when we were leaving on Christmas Day, "to get us home."  He had no idea when he said it that his cash would literally get Dan home.  We are so grateful for his generous spirit; it really saved us last night.  A $50 cab ride later, Dan arrived home, sans luggage.  They delivered it at 6:00 this morning, just in time for us to brush our teeth. 

Our precious child slept until almost 9:00 a.m., so Dan wasn't completely exhausted when he had to go in to work this afternoon.  He's at work right now, and he called earlier to say it was going to be a really late night.  I woudl insist that we stay home from church tomorrow so that he can rest, but we're signed up to bring refreshments for Life Change.  The Lord must have something really good for us to hear tomorrow morning.

It was a long, miserable trip home yesterday, but odds were that it was time for us to have a rough one.  I just need to remember to bring along more diapers and milk.





What to do with Santa?
posted on 12/26/2007

Beginning before Allana was conceived, we began talking and praying about what we would do about Santa.  We knew we wanted Jesus to be the focus of our holiday season, but let's be honest, we want her to experience the magic of Christmas.  We were both raised in homes that "did Santa," and it caused no crisis of faith in either of our lives.

However, I (Rachael) had an experience while I was teaching that really challenged me to be careful about the jolly old man.  Each year, my students composed letters to Santa as a writing exercise in December.  I love all my students, but one particular year I had one particular student who captured my heart.  He had a really rocky home life, and I wanted to keep him for my own.  Every morning, I prayed over this child's chair before he came into the classroom.  I shared Jesus with him whenever possible.  My heart desperately longed for this child to know my Savior.  That December, he finished writing his letter to Santa, and brought it to my desk to read to me.  Part of it will forever be embedded in my memory.  It said,

Dear Santa,

I have been a good boy this year.  I want......... for Christmas.  Santa, you are so cool.  You know when I'm good and when I'm bad.  You see me all the time and know everything I do.  You know what, Santa?  You are just like Jesus!"

NO!  Santa is nothing like Jesus.  Santa is fiction, and Jesus is REAL - He is the Word made flesh, come to earth to redeem us.  But how easy it is for children to get these two benevolent stories confused.  I have never forgotten that letter and how Satan used the story of Santa to confuse and disguise the Truth.

So we have prayed and read and talked (to each other and others) and wrestled, and came upon this Christmas season still not knowing exactly what we feel like is the right thing to do.  She's still young enough that we didn't have to be specific with her about Santa, but we couldn't avoid him.  We took her to see him briefly, and have spent hours playing with our Nativity, talking about Jesus' birthday. 

And Christmas was full of love and laughter and family and gifts and prayer.  It was beautiful and amazing and as we opened gifts, we didn't speak about Santa for one minute.

We can't escape the jolly old man, and the story about Saint Nick is one worth telling.  We don't mind her sitting on his lap and getting a candy cane and smiling and waving at him in the mall.  But there's a greater Story to be told, and we know that for our family, our focus must be the one who gave the greatest Gift of all.

As we conclude this Christmas season, we know that we have figured out the solution for our family.  We're not going to demonize Santa, but we are going to exalt our King.  We're not going to spend one minute fussing about those who "do Santa," but we are going to spend every moment possible celebrating the birth of a Savior.  So the question, for us, isn't what to do with Santa.  Who really cares?  It's trivial compared to dedicating our lives to showing our daughter and the rest of the world what to do with Jesus.





Amazing gift from amazing people...
posted on 12/22/2007

On Thursday, I got to slip away for a while and have lunch with some of my favorite friends in the world.  Having a meal with them is always one of the highlights of my trip home...it is so refreshing to me; I love that we can always pick right up where we left off, even if we haven't talked in weeks or months.  I know these women genuinely care for me and pray for me and support me - what a gift they are in my life.

Well, as we show up at the restaurant, my friend Debbie Carnley hands me a package.  Now, it's not customary for this group of friends to exchange gifts, so it kind of panicked me a little at first.  Then she explains that it's from her husband Tony.  Now, if you don't know Tony, let me tell you that he is one of the sweetest, funniest men I know.  He looks all rough and tough and he's got the most tender insides you can imagine.  Tony & Debbie are two of the most wonderful, loving people you can know.  They have raised two sons unbelievably well; we have much to learn from them. 

So, I open up the package from Tony to find a gorgeous painting of Allana.  He painted it from the picture on our Christmas card, and captured her right down to her rosy lips & soft curls.  It took my breath away & made me cry.  It was an amazing gift; something I can never repay or reciprocate. 

Everyone in the family freaks out about this painting - we just can't get over how beautiful it is and what a treasure it is for Dan & I.

My wheels immediately start turning on how we are going to get it framed.  Custom framing is so expensive....we're on a tight budget...in my head, I'm trying to figure out what we own that I can sell when we get home to pay to have it framed.

Enter Dan's aunt.  Her name is Sharon Robertson, but we call her "Sis."  She's Dan's mom's identical twin sister.  She and her husband have been a huge part of Dan's life, and mean a lot to him.  They come over for dinner that same night, and ooh and ahh over the painting.  She volunteers to run it by a framing shop the next day...she knows someone there (she knows someone everywhere) and thinks she might be able to get us a good deal.  She takes the painting and promises to call us the next day with a quote.

Nothing.  We get nothing from her except that it's way out of our price range, as we expected.  She tells us that she's going to try one more place she knows and then bring it back to us if that doesn't pan out.

Today (Saturday), we all met out at Dan's grandaddy's house for lunch to celebrate Christmas.  I ask her how much the frame shop quoted her; she wouldn't tell me exactly but said it was ridiculous.  We have a wonderful day with 4 generations of the Ruddy family, and as we're all finishing opening gifts, she brings