Mommy Life Lessons

Never in my life have I ever felt so helpless as I have in the last 72 hours. My baby has been sick. Apparently when a stomach virus takes over your baby's immune system the effects can last and last and last. Emersen started this whole nightmare with a fever on Friday. I thought she may have started teething (finally!) so I gave her cold things to chew on, Tylenol and tepid baths (which she let me know she could have done with out thank you very much) and lots of mommy snuggles.

Turns out, when your baby has had a fever for two days and then starts throwing up, your mommy instincts kick in and says "Emergency Room, Now." Unfortunately, two a.m. Sunday morning is when those instincts kicked in for me. Paul and I took Emersen to the E.R. and we were seen fairly quickly, considering we were the only people there. (Praise God) The doctor there examined her, and told us that 102.5 degree fevers where typically indicative of viral infections and there were no medications we could give her to cure it. We'd have to wait it out. He prescribed us some Tylenol so we wouldn't have to stop and by any and sent us on our way.

After a full nights rest, and some Pedialyte she was looking much better. (Here's where life and lessons go hand in hand.) So, I decided to nurse her for a little while because she had to be hungry, she hadn't eaten in almost twelve hours! As soon as I stopped nursing her, every single drop of milk was soaking my hair/shirt/shorts. She threw up, again. Lesson Learned.

So, continue that day of packing and cuddling because the next morning we are to fly to California to see Nana and Papa! Emersen was doing fine, the fever was under control and she was playing normally.

Cut to Monday morning. I called our pediatrician, just to be on the safe side. I let him know we were getting on a plane in a few hours, and I wanted to be absolutely sure we weren't doing something horrible to our baby. The pediatrician told us as long as she was keeping fluids down and having wet diapers without a high fever we were good to go.

And we were! Emersen made it through the flight with little fan fare. Of course, this is her third trip and fifth time flying so this is old hat for her. The little varmints sitting behind us however, were obnoxious and their parents were even more so for not doing something about it. I mean, I even let one of the little ones play with Emersen's toys. (When I pulled them out of the diaper bag to organize it, his eyes got as big as saucers! Other babies toys are like manna from heaven! The mom didn't even acknowledge my efforts to help make her life a bit easier.

So, the drive home was also uneventful, thanks to Darlene and her giant SUV! After getting lost for a few minutes in the airport trying to find our luggage, we get to the vehicle and are on our way. Emersen did quite well our first night home. It was rough putting her in the play pen since her crib is at a different level, she wasn't too sure about being put down so far!

Last night was a different story. Emersen's whole torso was covered in a rash! During the day it didn't look so bad, but when we were trying to get her bathed that I felt the need to take her to the emergency room here in Napa. The rash was creeping up her face! Her FACE! We don't mess with the face! Dr. Sprinkle was awesome. He walked in, and officially declared her rash "something everyone gets when they are a baby" and gave us benadryl to ease her itchiness. Another mommy lesson learned. When your baby has a fever for a few days, she's most likely going to have a rash afterward! B

Phew. Emersen is much happier today, less clingy and warming up to her Nana quite nicely! I'll be updating again soon, probably from home with plenty of pictures!


Today, the leaves fell...

Fall has fallen all over our front lawn!
Today we spent the better part of an hour playing in the leaves outside. The fall colors here are so amazing! Growing up in Napa, we saw plenty of "seasons" but here in Washington there are definitive seasons. You know when spring has sprung and can hear the quiet calm of winter.
Emersen was so much fun to watch in the leaves! She thoroughly enjoyed being sat in the middle of the leaves, and having the other kids throw them on top of her! I thought for sure she would be terrified, but then again babies are constantly making liars of their mommies and daddies. We spent the afternoon walking to the grocery store to get pepperoni, and playing with the neighborhood kids. The weather was not nearly as biting as it has been lately. The sun was shining, the clouds were wispy and the kids didn't really need their hats.
Although, Emmie in a hat is one of the cutest things I've ever seen so of course she had to wear it for a couple of the pictures I took! She's really such an amazing baby. Not really one to explore the taste of things like carpet lint and sticks, I usually don't have to worry about her putting things in her mouth which is such a blessing. However she does love clothing tags and definitely puts those in her mouth whenever she can find them! (Which I'm sad to say is pretty often...but I know that shocks none of you what so ever!)
This face and gesture is most commonly seen when someone says "Hi Baby!" She reaches that chubby little hand out and smiles big. It's absolutely precious. (But I'm 100% biased!)
We've all trampled through fall leaves, seen the colors and heard the crunch under our shoes but experiencing Autumn through my daughter's eyes is such a miracle. She crawls away from me, to get to a tiny pile of leaves she can call her own. Away from the other kids, and from me. Just to shake a leaf and see it fall after she throws it on the ground. Knowing she is secure enough to move herself away from me swells my pride. Seeing that she has the confidence to navigate between two kids that are light years bigger than she is, through a pile of leaves much larger than she is lets me know I'm doing the job the right way. I love raising my baby!


Something as small as shoes.

During my last visit home, Pete (the pastor of CrossWalk if you don't know!) and Rodney (the youth pastor of CrossWalk) were about to make an important journey to Nairobi. Pete talked about the needs of all the orphaned children, and how most teenage girls don't have feminine products because they can't buy them. He also talked about the raw open sewage running through the streets, and how at best the children have flip flops to cover what...? Their feet? I don't think so. In lieu of making a cash donation, I decided to run out to Target and buy three pair of boys shoes and three pair of girls shoes. I also purchased about ten or so packages of assorted female products. This little boy on the right hand side of the picture could be wearing shoes that I bought! It's an incredible feeling knowing that ten dollars could change someone's life. These days, people say they "can't afford" something. Guess what that means? It means they don't want to. For me, spending the money wasn't the hard part. Shopping DEFINITELY wasn't the hard part. The hard part was thinking about the kids who needed the shoes. They needed the ability to walk to school without getting their feet covered in excrement. Having done this felt amazing. Just one sliver of time, and one fraction of the money I have and someone's life is completely different. What a rush!
Okay, on a completely different subject! Lately, Emersen and I have been doing tons of reading! She is into "kissing" the characters after each page I read! Right now, her favorites are Sesame Beginnings books. They have baby Cookie Monster, baby Elmo, baby Big Bird and baby Zoe. Talk about adorable! I say "Kiss Elmo!" and she leans over to give Elmo a great big (read: wet) kiss! She never misses either. She knows exactly where each character's face is. She also loves books that rhyme, or books that have us point to body parts. Most of her board books (books that have hard pages so they don't tear!) are from Target's 1.00 bin. $1 is practically nothing, so each time we visit Target we have to look and see if they have new books. I buy them when we do, because one dollar is such a small price to pay for how much fun she has!

We have also been trying new foods this week! She's had a blast with everything from English cucumbers to homemade chicken noodle soup. Tonight we had meatloaf, but she ate so fast I didn't have time to take a picture before she was begging for me to give her more. To end this post, I have a couple of pictures of her eating! (Beware, it gets a little messy!)Cucumber Bliss!

Chicken Noodle Nummy!

And of course a bath after all that food because she was super messy!


A Hot Bed Of Germs

So, we have the sick...again. For some reason, it's hitting us hard this year. Short of keeping the "shut in" lifestyle, I don't know what to do! I really loathe being sick. Especially since it's just a regular, run of the mill no big deal can't exclaim anything like "my leg is haunted" cold. There is nothing special about a cold, just the copious amounts of slime running down Emersen's face. (Yeah, I didn't want to know either.) Although, through it all she remains slightly(majorly) this side of adorable. Despite not taking a nap yesterday afternoon, she went to bed at eight and woke up before five. Now, I don't know about all the other mommies out there but five in the morning is simply not an acceptable time to be awake. So, after about half an hour we tried to go back to bed. Well, we tried anyhow. She was talking and wiggling the whole time. So, around six thirty we got out of bed for good. She made it almost all the way through Sesame Street and then passed out for an hour. Long enough for me to eat breakfast, and starting typing this out!

Yesterday we kind of lazed around the house since Emersen and I were trying not to get sick. I made Paul cinnamon rolls for breakfast, since it was his day to sleep in. (Colombus Day and all.) We did all the laundry, and Paul organized the DVDs. Normally, this wouldn't even recieve a blip of notice on the radar but since Emersen was "helping" I snapped a picture. Yes, all those binders are full of DVDs.

We did manage to get to the exchange to purchase some much needed tissues and a couple other sundries. When did Christmas start being celebrated before Halloween? I mean, the candy is already on sale and Christmas themed EVERYTHING is being put on display! Toys are being pre-wrapped with Christmas paper and candy canes are buy one get one. (Pause to grab a tissue...and to catch my nose...it's running!) Okay, enough grinching. Last night I made a pot pie, with a different take. We had some leftover smoked turkey and I wanted to try using it in place of the chicken in my pot pie. (Pause to grab the rug rat who has something she shouldn't.) Well, the pot pie was fantastic...and I'm almost ashamed to admit that we ate the entire thing. We never eat the entire thing! We usually save half for lunches the next day, but not this time! I should have taken a picture it was so beautiful!

Just for good measure, here are a couple of pictures from the last few days! I was cleaning Emersen's room/finding out what fit her and found this dress given to us by a co-worker of my mom's. The dress is adorable on her, but unfortunately the weather will prevent her from wearing it anywhere to show it off! In this picture, she is "charging it." I don't know how she got the idea that charging something means shaking your arm up and down...but she learned it from somewhere!

This is a picture of Daddy feeding her breakfast at the table. Breakfast was Home made applesauce and rice cereal. She doesn't much mind the cereal as long as it is mixed in with something else!

This is the Hedgehog outfit that I've absolutely loved from the very beginning! She's fitting into it quite nicely now and I'm excited! It has matching socks! I am a sucker for matching accessories, as you can probably already discern for yourselves!

Okay, time for munchkin playtime. Lately our time hasn't been spent playing but rather doing icky chores so I'm desperately in need of some fun baby time!


Paul's 28th Birthday

We have had quite the day! Starting with Paul's birthday, he turned 28. When asked how he feels about being 28? He simply says "Man, I'm old." I laugh because he is so close to 30! When did we grow up? It feels like yesterday we were 21 and 23 just getting married and starting our life together. Now we have a gorgeous baby and obedient dog!

Around one o'clock this afternoon we headed to Bremerton to get the third photo taken in a four photo series. A photography studio there has a promotion where they take your baby's picture at three, six, nine and twelve months then they mat it for you. I thought it was a smashing deal, so I jumped at it! The only bummer is since their prices are so insane, I won't order any of them therefore I only get to see the ones I pick after the whole series is completed! So in the mean time, we take pictures at Sears!

Speaking of pictures at Sears, here are some of Emersen's nine month portraits!

Are these not so adorable? I'm amazed we got smiles out of her, since it was the second time I was plopping her in front of a stranger asking her to smile and be happy when the light was flashing in her eyes!

Terra is the lady who has taken Emersen's picture since we first had them done. She does an amazing job, and Emersen really responds to her. It's odd how babies "pick" their people. For some reason, she doesn't mind this woman taking her picture! I think it is fabulous because my pictures turn out!

The sailor hat was a total last minute add on! I was talking to our neighbor about how I wished I would have purchased a clean dixie cup cover (the white hat) but I didn't have time. She offered up one of her husband's! So I took it, and I am so happy I did! I'll have to give her one of the pictures I ordered!

This naked sailor one is going to be so much fun to show her boyfriends! I also love this flowery one because it is so feminine and sweet. I've known a lot of babies in my lifetime but seriously, she is SO CUTE! Okay. Enough of the gushing. It's past ten o'clock at night and I have a bedtime routine to adhere to! If you loved/hated the pictures, let me know and leave a comment!


My Gym

Every Thursday morning, since Emersen was 12 weeks old we have gone to My Gym. If you click the link, it takes you to the company's website. My Gym is all about babies interacting with mommy and daddy and about socializing with each other. The Tiny Tots class is more for the mommies than the babies, but we are moving up to the Waddlers class now that Emersen is crawling! We went to the Tiny Tots class one last time to say good bye to all our friends. Next week we'll be attending a class with babies that can walk!
I love it because it gets us out of the house! They also teach new nursery rhymes and new ways to help your baby with development safely. There are a few things even I didn't know, like instead of holding her hands when she was first learning to stand they taught to hold the fore arm so the delicate cartilage in her wrists doesn't get injured! Of course, plenty of babies have learned to stand the older way but out with the old and in with the new right!

Last night, we had Family Game Night at the McKuen's house. I'm sure I've explained it before, but I'll do it again. Every so often one family hosts game night at their house. They have food and whatever game they want to play ready for the rest of us. A typical game night has about three families at it but as many as six! (Of course, when there are more families we rarely play an organized game!) Last night we played Taboo, and it was a lot of fun. Boys against girls, of course! The girls soundly kicked the boys tooshies! (It happens every time, women's intuition and what not!) Emersen was the only baby last night, but she had a good time playing with Valerie's HUGE remote control. It doesn't control anything, but she likes it anyhow! Emersen loves our friends, and I can
just hand her over to any one of them and she is happy as a clam! It's great because they don't have kids and love the opportunity to play with the cutest baby in the universe!

Now Emersen is taking a nap, which is wonderful because she was so crabby on the drive home! She has been doing so well in the car lately, I'd hate to have her return to her cranky car riding self! She's finally gotten past the whole "being in the car is traumatizing and I can't believe my parents would do this to me" thing. Now she plays happily, or on longer drives just plays until she falls asleep. It's AWESOME!


I literally can not think of one subject to write here, that would make an entire coherent post so I'll just write about what we've been doing lately!

Yesterday Emersen and I met Paul, his Chaplains, and another RP for lunch at Famous Dave's. This week is Paul's birthday (28!) and Chaplain Sauders as well. (I don't know how old he is!) So, the lunch was for a collective birthday celebration.

I took her to peruse Target afterward, since we were already out. She really has become such an awesome baby to just hang out with! She has this sweet face that practically forces people to look at her, and then she gives them the biggest stink eye face you could imagine! Eyes all squinty, mouth curled up at one side. Someday, I'll catch it on film but I haven't been able to as of yet! The only face I've been able to catch is this one lately.

Last night, Paul and I decorated our Guitar Hero guitars. They come with face plates that are interchangeable, but we decided we didn't like any of the lame ones that cost ten bucks a piece. So, we bought two on clearance for $1.99 each and now we have custom made ones. His is appropriately poker themed, and mine is zebra with a little monster face on it! It was so much fun, and so easy to do!

I hate to admit it, and he'd probably be embarrased that I told but the whole thing was Paul's idea! He wanted to make his own, and talked about making the surface look like a poker table. I think he achieved that goal! I didn't origionally know what I wanted mine to look like but I was inspired at the craft store!

The weather is changing, and not too suddenly either! Althought autumn is absolutely stunning here, typically the sun doesn't cooperate to get amazing pictures! I love when the trees are changing color at the top, but the bottom of the tree isn't aware yet and is still a lush green.

Our house was recently painted as well. We are known as the "Ketchup, Mustard & Relish" block. Our house was painted a yellow and red color, and across the street was painted green and yellow. I like the colors, but the general consensus is that no one would pick these colors if they had to pay for it! It was interesting being taped and drop clothed inside my own house for what felt like one hundred hours! It was really just ten hours, but not being able to see outside was really hard!

This will be my update for now. I have a very limited time to get in the shower and dressed before Emersen wakes up! We have a couple of errands to run. We are also going to Sharon and Jordan's house to see them. They were in Southern California for almost three weeks so we miss them!


Dress Up

Dressing up my baby in a million different outfits every day is so much fun! I swear, her first word is going to be "outfit." This outfit was supposed to be her Halloween costume, however that is not to be! The sizing was off and it barely fits as of today. I'd hate to see how miserable she'd be in it a month from now! We have a back up costume, that I am going to keep a surprise! This next outfit is one that was hand crocheted by a close friend of Emersen's Gigi. (Great Grandma)
Now, I know this picture doesn't really show the whole dress, but her face is just so sweet!

What is it about baby girls that practically mandates that you dress them in the cutest outfit you can find? I love shopping in general, but having a baby girl makes shopping so much more fun! I see things in tiny sizes, and just melt! I "have to" have this or that because she would just look soooooo cute in it! The huge bummer is she outgrows clothes so fast, I can't put them on her enough!
(I mean come on...purple hat, purple cords and elephants!) I maintain that I have to dress her as often as I can, because this time like most times in parenting goes by so quickly. Soon she'll be wanting to wear boxer shorts under her overalls and body glitter. (Oh wait, that's MY fashion nightmare from 1995!) For now, I dress her how I want and I am loving every minute of it! I have a neighbor with a son, and he dresses himself. His pants are backwards, his shirt is inside out and his shoes are on the wrong feet, but he did it all by himself. I know when Emersen wants to dress her self, I'll probably be ready to let her but a part of me will be sad because I can't make her wear what I want her to!

So for now, dressing her is my form of expression...and I choose to express myself with outfits that have matching top and bottom, along with hats, socks, bibs and blankets! It's going to be a sad day when she grows out of the clothes that come with matching blankies! I LOVE the blankets...they get me every time.


Beautiful Baby

A mother has one job, to love her baby.

There are many babies I have loved with my whole heart. There are many little boys and girls that have touched my life, and shaped the mother I have become.

I thought I knew what love was, who I was and what I was doing in my life. Then I gave birth to my daughter.

The love between my daughter and myself is so evident, it is almost tangible. I recall saying to a very dear friend of mine, while she was holding my brand new daughter, "You think you know how much your mom loves you, but you have no idea." I'm right. Every mother reading this knows I'm right. The capacity God gives you to love rivals the volume of the Grand Canyon a million times over, but I was blissfully unaware of this gift until December 28th, 2007. Now, I know what you are thinking! "What about the love your mom has for you, certainly you know she loves you that much!" True! The capacity you have for being loved is just as big, but it's different when you are the one giving the love rather than receiving it. That is to say, before I gave birth to my daughter I was not aware of the fact that I had this capability. The intensity, the quickness in which the bond happened and the strength it has is almost frightening. Watching her tiny body thrive under less than stellar conditions (which I feel responsible for), learning what could please her so much she smiled, seeing her light up when she sees her daddy, watching her figure out how to rotate things in her own hands and having the pleasure of being around her every day makes me so proud to be a mother, her mom (or in her words...ma ma ma ma ma) and her guardian.

This is my chance to love her like I am loved. To impart unconditional love and acceptance, no matter who she turns out to be. I am loved like this, and if my mom had not loved me this way, my daughter would not know this love. Thank you Mom.

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