Monday, November 30, 2009

thanksgiving festivities!

With the exception of last year (when Jude was only two weeks old), Shawn and I have traveled to either Ohio or Indiana for every Thanksgiving of our marriage. Since we just traveled for Jude's birthday, we decided the wisest thing would be to stay home this year. After almost five years of marriage, it was time for me to make my first turkey ever! I used a recipe from my friend Katie, and Shawn and I both concur that it was ridiculously delicious.

Dinner for the three of us. Well, Jude ate applesauce and two green beans - so dinner for the two for the two of us:

Because we stayed home and I hadn't recently given birth, we were actually able to get our Christmas decorations up in a timely manner this year. Yay for timely manners! Our tree is up and decorated (with presents already underneath, no less!), our stocking are hung, our candles/nativity/santas/snowmen/etc. are out, the lights and garland on the outside of our home are hung, and our small tree by the front door and red chair pillows are out, too! It's amazing what you can done when you're home for Thanksgiving!

In the midst of all of that, I was also able to make a new tree skirt and stocking for Jude. Here's the tree skirt, which is actually reversible. The other side is that stripey candy cane pattern.

The tree, pre-ornamanents:
...And Jude's stocking is on the far right. I wanted to stick with the snowflake theme of mine and Shawn's and am mostly pleased with how it turned out. At the very least, it was significantly cheaper than buying a new stocking!
I hope you guys had a great Thanksgiving, and that you were able to spend time loving on your family. It's amazing to see how much more important holidays are to Shawn and I now, and I have to admit that because of Jude -this was one of my favorite Thanksgivings ever.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

one year check up

Jude's weight is still in the 1st percentile, his height is in the 6th, and his head is in the 69th percentile. The doctor said (and I quote), "He's perfect. Just keep doing what you're doing."

That was said before Jude discovered how much fun the paper on the table could be. Mr. Destructo Pants can annihilate a space in forty-five seconds flat.

Jude's been pulling on his ears quite a bit lately, so I asked the doctor to check for an ear infection. His ears are perfectly clear, so it appears he's just discovered the two fun toys attached to his head.

Once we switched him from formula to whole milk, he started puking (and it was puke - not spit up) about once a day, so I asked about milk allergy. We tried lactose free milk for two weeks, but he seems to still be puking every couple of days. Any thoughts on what the deal might be? Could his stomach just be getting used to the change from formula?

And finally, Jude will sometimes hit his head (almost always when he's sleepy) on the wall, my leg, or anything else nearby. I've seen a lot of babies do this, but it concerned Shawn, so I wanted to ask. Our doctor said it's "within the realm of normal," as long as he doesn't hurt himself and continue hitting. We've found that if we mostly ignore the behavior, he'll stop.

And now I'll leave you - once again - with the words of our doctor. "He's perfect. Just keep doing what you're doing."

Friday, November 27, 2009


While we were in Cincinnati for Jude's birthday, we went to a place called The EnterTrainment Junction with Shawn's parents, sister, nephew, and niece. We had so much fun, and Jude really enjoyed himself, as well.

Watching the gigantic train set with Daddy, Pappa, Mamma, and Noah:

The coolest thing about this place, was the indoor playground they had about halfway through. The toys were great for all ages, and we spent a good hour there - just wearing out the boys.
Noah, Jude, and Shawn playing with Thomas!
"What is that thing?"
"Noah, did you see that thing?! Freaky, huh?"

Those cheeks make me speak baby talk. My "talk-like-an-adult" powers are defenseless against those cheeks.
"Hey. Quit talking about my cheeks, Mom. That's weird."
Jude spent most of his playing time right here - playing in the "coal" with Mamma.

And earlier that day, Jude with my Dad. I felt the need to include this picture because the face my Dad is making is the same face Jude makes - slightly amused.

It was cool to be able to introduce Jude to trains for the first time, and we loved seeing Noah's excitement. We had fun watching the cousins interact with each other, and of course we enjoyed spending time with the family!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

so thankful

1. For my Savior, who not only sacrificed His life for mine, but is also my constant Rescuer, Comforter, Friend, Protector, and Provider.

2. For my husband, whose mere existence gives me sanity and stability.

3. For my son, who has filled my heart so entirely, I feel certain it's going to burst from my chest.

4. For both our family that is related to us, and for our church family.

5. For our home, our health, our jobs, and the fact that our cabinets are stocked full.

6. For pumpkin pie. With whipped cream. And extra cinnamon.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

pure joy

A few months ago, we were given a second-hand-blow-up-ball-pitish kind of thing. I wasn't sure if Jude would be all about it or not, but we finally gave it a try a few weeks ago. Turns out that kid loves him a good ball pit! Even several weeks later, it's still one of his favorite toys. He especially loves mashing his little face up to one of the holes to play peek-a-boo with Mommy or Daddy (which he does for the first time in the video). I swear, if it weren't weird and highly unhealthy, I'd totally take a bite right out of his adorable chubby cheek when he does that.

Maybe I shouldn't say things like that on a blog. It's true, though. I totally would.

I love this ball pit though, because it's perfect for teaching him so many things. It teaches him color, it's taught him to throw a ball (at which he's scarily good), it teaches him about putting things in and taking things out, it helps him with balance, it teaches him about pushing and pulling, and we work on the word, "ball" when he's playing with it. Not to mention it's almost always the perfect cure for crankypantsJudeabug -itis.

He was so cute playing in it the first time we blew it up, I thought you all would like to take part in Jude's joy:

Monday, November 23, 2009

the journey

We were so excited to be able to travel to Cincinnati for Jude's first birthday. We were even MORE excited that we were going to be able to celebrate his birthday with both sides of our family! We drove the nine hours from Winston-Salem to my hometown on Thursday and celebrated Jude's birthday on Saturday. We've traveled quite a bit since Jude's been born, and it seems like it's a toss up as to how he'll do. It turns out that this trip was - by far- the easiest we've had with him because:

1. We could turn his car seat around. It was awesome to be able to see him, hand him toys, and play peek a boo with him when he started getting cranky!

2. I wasn't breastfeeding. We didn't have to stop every 2-3 hours for me to feed him! We could just hand him graham crackers (his new favorite food), or a sippy and be good to go.

3. No reflux. This translated into him NOT screaming for an hour before falling asleep. That was always the worst for me - feeling trapped in a car with him screaming and knowing there wasn't anything I could do about it or anyway to get away from it.

4. No postpartum depression. This is kind of related to #3 and why that stressed me out so much. I noticed that I was much more relaxed about this trip and Jude's fussing didn't get under my skin like it had previously.

Shawn and I really enjoy traveling together and love that our time in the car is time we're able to focus on conversation with each other, listening to sermons together, or just holding hands and enjoying being with one another. Because both of our families live far away, we use all of our vacation time to go see them. We try to focus on relaxing and resting when we're with family, because it's the closest thing to a vacation that we get. Even though our weekend was packed with activities, we definitely came back feeling filled up!

Jude chillaxin' in his carseat. Ida heaped tons of rain on us before we left, but it was beautiful up north!

We made a pit stop at Bob Evans. Shawn and I miss many things about the north, and I think Shawn would say Bob Evans makes his top ten list.


We had Jude's birthday at my great uncle's beautiful and historic Bed and Breakfast, which is in Covington, KY (literally right across the river from Cincinnati). Shawn, Jude, and I stayed at the B&B Friday night, and Jude enjoyed crawling around that king size bed (and I apparently enjoyed looking kind of evil).

He has the sweetest sleepy face I've ever seen

We took a walk around the area surrounding the Bed and Breakfast. Oh Cincinnati, how I love you. I love your Bengals, your Skyline chili, your German roots, your weird fascination with pigs, your White Castle (in theory), your convoluted highway system, your gheotta (again, in theory) and your grit and determination.
Shawn, however, is notsomuchinlove with Cincinnati. His choice of outfit for Jude on this particular morning was his way of giving the finger to the city.

The Ohio river, and the semi-famous Cincinnati steamboats.

And this, my friends, is the ONE picture we got of Jude's birthday party. I'm not even kidding. And those are not even his presents with which he's playing - they're his cousin Asher's toys. If any of you reading this were in attendance and got pictures, I'd LOVE to have them since I appear to be a camera slacker.

Jude's party was an absolute blast! My great uncle kindly cooked a turkey, gravy, and stuffing, and we had our guests bring a side dish or dessert. Shawn and I figured that since we wouldn't be able to travel for Thanksgiving this year, we'd turn Jude's birthday party into a pseudo-Thanksgiving! We had so much fun hanging out with our parents, siblings, nieces, nephews, cousins, uncles, aunts, and anyone else to whom we were remotely related. :)

See, I grew up surrounded by my extended family. With only one or two exceptions (including us), ALL of my family lives in the greater Cincinnati area. Every holiday and birthday in my childhood was spent with family, and my Uncles/Aunts/Great Uncles/Great Aunts/etc, had incredible influence on who I am today. I love North Carolina, and I love Pinedale even more, but I'm sad that Jude won't have that kind of community in his life. We travel to see the Maurers and the Pohlmans as much as we financially can, and my prayer is that Jude's grandparents/aunts/uncles/cousins, etc., and will nonetheless have a huge impact on his life.

The fact that we (and Jude) were able to be surrounded by family to celebrate Jude's first birthday meant more to us than we could possibly relate.

Believe it or not, I actually have more pictures to come (not of his actual birthday party, of course) soon!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

one year

Now that the parties have been partied, the gifts have been opened, the cake has been eaten looked at as if its an alien, it's official. Jude's birthday was Wednesday, November 11th, and I took the day off and spent the day cleaning, packing, and telling Jude his birth story while he completely ignored me.

That evening, my small group girls came over and we had a sweet little birthday party for Judeabug. Remember me telling you about my small group girls? Three of us have been their leaders/teachers/mentors...I'm not really sure what exactly the role is...since they were in 6th grade. Since they're now in 10th grade, we've known those sweet girls for 4 years. To announce to them that I was pregnant, we sent them on a scavenger hunt to look for baby related items. When I was on bedrest, they came to the house and threw me a surprise baby shower and gave us some of the most thoughtful gifts ever. During the summer, Brittany would come to the Pregnancy Center and watch Jude for a few hours so I could get work done, and Kayla, her brother, and her Mom have watched Jude on several of our date nights. So it seemed fitting to celebrate his 1st birthday with these girls, since they're such a big part of our lives.

I blew up some balloons to have around the house and realized - Jude has never seen a balloon. It's so fun to be able to introduce someone to something that seems mundane, but that actually blows them away. And thus a friendship was born. A friendship consisting of Jude pouncing on the balloon, and the balloon not popping. That might just have been Jude's favorite part of the entire party.

Then Jude opened up his gifts - and if you've ever been to a one year old's birthday party, then you know that means Mom and Dad opened gifts and exclaimed with loud excitement over each one. He got some blocks, a fun bongo that talks to you in English OR Spanish, a car that plays "Funky Town" (to which he dances a super cute dance), and an Indie Rock ABC book that I'm not cool enough to understand.

And was cake time! Personally, I'm not a big fan of giving my one year old a sugar high at 8:00pm when he's already pretty riled up from those crazy balloons - but Shawn and I compromised and got him a little cake from Whole Foods ('cause the sugar high won't be as high if it's organic?! I know....). We asked them to write "Happy Birthday" on it, but the lady behind the counter was kind of grumpy, and it ended up looking like, "Happy Birafdadfasdf."

We put Jude in his highchair, lit a candle, sang Happy Birthday (or Happy Birafdadfasdf), set the cake in front of Jude to smash, consume, tear through, gobble up, and he....

...stared at it. Then he took his chubby pointer finger and poked at the flower on top. He then made a face as if to say, "oh chocolate covered sugar and egg mixture, you disgust me," and turned his head away.

Because an organic sugar high is just fine for Mommy and Daddy at 10:00pm, we definitely devoured it once Jude went to sleep.

Even though I pulled the camera out and set it on the kitchen table so I would take plenty of pictures, I got so wrapped up in the fun that I forgot to take pictures. Jill, however, did take a few with her camera phone - and like any good friend I'll steal them from her facebook.

A fun drum/musical kit Shawn's been eyeing for months now. Jude especially loves the drum sticks, and I think I'll leave teaching him how to drum up to Shawn.

Logan helping Jude open his present! Also, I have to confess something. When I went to wrap Jude's gifts, I realized I didn't have any non-Christmas paper left. My birthday is December 30th, so I have this weird thing about NOT wrapping birthday gifts in Christmas paper. SO...all I had was this plain brown paper. And to be perfectly honest, I didn't even have enough to cover the gifts entirely. Nonetheless - I wrapped them as best as I could, grabbed some crayons, and let Jude color for the first time. We wrote his name, we wrote out "love," and we practiced learning circles and stripes.

That's right. I pretended my pitiful wrapping job was on purpose and a moment of Mommy Genius Creativity.

A dump truck and blocks!

...and Jude's look of disgust at the cake. "You dare to place that non-nutritional waste of flour on my plate?"

Happy Birafdadfasdf Jude, Happy Birafdadfasdf.

Friday, November 20, 2009

pumpkin patch

Almost an entire month later....

Thursday, November 19, 2009

pumpkin carving

I know, these aren't the promised birthday trip pictures - you can flog me later. I have some pictures of our fall festivities on my computer and it drives me nuts to post pictures in non-chronological order.

All of our supplies. Two gut scoopers. Two pumpkins. Sunday paper. Guts Bowl. Puffs. Shawn was spray painting his Wild Things ears and they were drying in that box - just in case you were wondering. :)

I made a pumpkin to look like Judeabug - slightly amused.

...And our beautiful pumpkins on the front porch!

Because I'm all about being frugal and homemade now, I pureed the pumpkin guts to use for soup and maybe Jude (although he clamps his lips tightly and turns his head anytime I try to get near him with it). Then I took the seeds, sprinkled them with olive oil, dusted them with salt, baked them, and made one of the best snacks known to man. LOVE me some roasted pumpkin seeds.
Coming up next - pumpkin patch pictures!
Dang it. Do you know what that means? We wouldn't have pumpkins to carve if we hadn't gotten them from the pumpkin patch first.
Well, chronological schronological.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

hey you

Listen up 'cause I got somethin' to say.

You listening good?


So you know my friend Jonah? He's not doin' so great right now. His Mom's also not doin' so great right now.

That makes my Mom sad, and do you know what happens when my Mommy is sad??

...It makes me very, very unhappy.

So what can you do?

Pray. Please pray a lot. And leave encouraging comments on Jonah's blog for his Mom 'cause that means a lot to her.

And then pray some more.

Got it?


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

on the homefront

Shawn, Jude, and I just got back in town from a whirlwind trip to Cincinnati! I'll post pictures later, but just wanted to say that we got back safe and soundly. This trip was by far the best Jude's ever done in the car, which was wonderful. He definitely got antsy, but he did great about falling asleep for his regular nap times and playing while being constrained in the car seat.

He seems to be a bit under the weather, and Shawn and I both have mountains of work on which to catch up -so please excuse the sparse posts for the next couple of days.

Before I forgot - just wanted to let you guys know that Patrice is giving away some awesome Serwa Chic products! Just comment to enter - CLICK HERE for Patrice's blog.

However, feel free to enjoy one of our sweet boy's first experiences with cartoons. I'm not much of a TV watcher - and since Jude's with me 85% of the time, neither is he. We pop in Baby Einstein a few nights a week, and I occasionally watch a bit of news during the day, but Jude hasn't ever really watched cartoons. Turns out he loves him some Sid the Science Kid!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

a letter to jude

Dear Jude,

I'm kind of at a loss for where to start, sweetie. Today you are one whole entire year old. So much has changed in the past year, huh? You were born at 5:58am on November 11,2008 - so at this time last year, Mommy and Daddy were just being taken to Mommy's recovery room and you were being checked out in the nursery. I was in love. Head over heels in love in a way that I'd never known. Daddy and I were in a euphoric stupor, exchanging thoughts on who you looked more like, how sweet you were, how well the birth went, and how excited we were to see you again. You changed our lives, Judeabug.

You're a constant reminder of how much MommyDaddy love each other and of our partnership together, and you're a constant reminder of how unconditionally and almost giddy-like God loves us. You've made me into a less selfish person, my son, and because of you - Mommy and Daddy love each other in a way we'd never experienced. Your presence in my life has made me realize that I'm stronger than I thought, more protective than I thought, and more creative than I thought. Being your Mommy has been one of the greatest privileges of my life, and Daddy and I are so honored that God chose US to take care of you.

But enough of this MommyDaddy stuff, right? I can't really even start with all the things that have changed in the past year - you're so completely different from a year ago! Instead, I think I'd like to list a few of my favorite memories from the past 12 months.

-That time you spit up all over Daddy and pooped all over Mommy at the same time. It was so ridiculous that we couldn't help but just look at each other and laugh.
-Seeing your face for the first time. Knowing you as well as I do know, it was definitely your grumpy face. Daddy kept saying how much you looked like me, and my heart just melted when I finally saw that sweet face.
-Breastfeeding you. I know, I'm sorry - but it IS one of my favorite memories. I loved giving you the nourishment that you needed, and I loved taking a break from the busyness of my day to stop and spend time with you. I loved waking up with you in the mornings and talking to you or singing to you while you ate.
-Sleeping with you in that recliner. For about your first three weeks you spent every night sleeping on my chest in that recliner in your room. We did that so that Daddy could get his sleep and so that Mommy could feed you when you needed it and still fall asleep if I needed. At the time, I was exhausted beyond comprehension and couldn't wait for you to sleep in your own crib or the bassinet - but I can still feel your tiny little self cuddled up against my chest and I treasure that.
-Daddy doing the walk/bounce with you. I'll be reminding you of this for the rest of your life, but you were definitely a fussy baby (until we figured out you had reflux, then you got better), and Daddy did the magic walk/bounce with you that would almost always calm you. He loved to sing "Hey Jude," or "Baby Mine," or I'm sure at times some songs that we wouldn't necessarily admit to - but you'd just look at him like, "I'm so glad you're my Daddy. You make everything better."

On each month of your birthday, I've begun the tradition of telling you your birth story. And well, since it IS your one year birthday you get the story today....with pictures. Luck you, eh?

Alright, kiddo. We have to start with November 10th. I went to the doctor's because I thought you might be on your way. You had been "on your way" for almost three months by that point, but the nurse told me that you weren't ready quite yet...but that it'd be any day now. Daddy and I went to Mario's to get pizza, and then stopped by Target because I had it in my head that we needed baby Qtips before you got here.

That night, we ate our pizza and were hanging out watching TV when I started to feel contractions again. I really wanted you to come, so I started bouncing on a birthing ball (i.e. Jill's exercise ball), hoping all that bouncing would make you say, "Get me outta here!!" However, the contractions stopped, so Daddy and I went to sleep.

But THEN...I woke up at midnight with a very painful contraction! When I got up to use the restroom, my water broke (which meant you were definitely coming). I let Daddy sleep while I went out to the living room to time my contractions. Around 2:00am, I realized this was the real deal ('cause apparently my water breaking wasn't enough to send us into the hospital), so I woke up Daddy. I remember doubling over the bathroom sink while I was trying to brush my teeth because of a strong contraction. Daddy drove Mommy to the hospital, which was so very painful. It was tough to sit still in that car when it hurt so much. Mommy and Daddy got to the hospital and got checked in. Not to make you feel badly or anything, but I was in so much pain that I was actually vomiting. You know...not that you owe your very life to the pain I went through...just sayin'.

While they were checking me out, our dear friend Rhonda arrived. Do you remember her? She helped calm me and Daddy down, and once she saw how much pain I was in, helped us get rushed through to be checked. Once they checked me, they realized that you were VERY much on your way - so into the birthing room we went!

Now sweet boy, I loved giving birth to you, but I have to admit that this is my least favorite part of this story. I was in SO much pain that I was crying and vomiting - trying every position I could think of to get comfortable. I had read that if you wait to get an epidural until you're five centimeters dilated that the effects on the baby of the medicine are greatly diminished. Apparently I was literally crying for drugs, but I really wanted to make sure I was five centimeters first. When the nurse checked me and saw that I was eight centimeters, I do remember begging for an epidural. I wasn't sure how I would handle the pain, and I think it surprised both Daddy and I that I coped with it by screaming. I'm not normally a screamer - or even a yeller - so it's kind of funny to look back at how loud I was being!

We don't have any pre-epidural pictures because we were a little occupied, but I'm so glad that Rhonda was able to get what are some of my favorite pictures in the world. Speaking of Rhonda:

She took such great care of us!

Mommy and Daddy were both so much more happy once that epidural kicked in!

Once they started having me push, your little heartbeat was going down. I had to wear an oxygen mask for a little bit, but eventually your heartbeat went back to normal and we could take it off.

I was in labor with you from midnight until 5:58 - a total of six hours. That's actually pretty quick!

Did I mention that we fell in love?

...Madly in love

I say it every month, Jude, but I just want to make sure you know it. I love you and Daddy loves you. We love you with an indescribable depth and intensity. We know that God has a plan for you. We've seen His hand on your life and His love for you this past year, and we can't wait to see how His plan unfolds in the coming years. He's placed in your heart a sweetness and tenderness - balanced by a spirit that is determined - and we're looking forward to seeing how God uses that. God gave you to us for a purpose, Jude. We love you more than you could possibly imagine.
From your head down to your toes. You're not much, goodness knows. But you're so precious to me. Sweet as can be. Baby of mine.

Mommy and Daddy