Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Happy Birthday, Mom!

It's time to celebrate today as this last day of September brings about another important family birthday---my Mom's! Never afraid to tell her age, Mom is proud of each of her 61 years and fondly reflects how each choice she's made helped to get her where she is today.

The saying around our home has always been If Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy! Luckily for us, my Mom is one of the happiest people I know. Heck, she's practically a Sesame Street character!

Having a strong faith in God, Mom sees each day as a gift and is determined to make the most of it. She is very social and has a loyal bunch of girlfriends that we jokingly call her peeps. Never one to brag about all that she does; Mom is humble, and most of the time is unaware of the effect she has on the lives of others. Mom spoils her family with generous gifts, and most importantly, her time.

Mom is honest, almost to the point of absurdity. Once when I was in middle school, Mom and I were shopping. In the dressing room Mom found seven pennies. She gathered them together and turned them into the sales clerk. Most people would have left the pennies or taken them for themselves, but not my mom! She'll do anything if it means making someone else's life easier, even if it means she has to go out of her way to do so. And, the best part is, she doesn't ask or expect anything in return.

There to listen when I need to talk, lend a shoulder when I need to cry, or grab her boxing gloves when I need a fighter in my corner, Mom has always been there for me. Now that I am a mother, my appreciation for her and all that she has done for our family throughout the years has grown exponentially. I can only hope that I can be half the mom to Gillian that my mom has been to me. Mom is a blessing to all of us and we are all better people for knowing her.

Happy Birthday, Mom! We love you!

Mom and me last year on her birthday. I wonder what goodies she'll get this year?

Monday, September 28, 2009

Weekend Update

Saturday afternoon Bret and I had our first lunch date with Miss Gillian. Crazy, right? Gillian is over two months old and yet Bret and I had never gone to a restaurant with her in tow. With the swine flu running rampant through Mobile since late Summer, Bret and I erred on the side of caution and kept her out of most public places until several weeks ago.

Wanting to be home in time to watch our Saturday SEC football, we loaded up on the hand sanitizer and headed to McAlister's Deli for lunch. McAlister's has been a favorite of ours since our college days in Gainesville. In typical Gillian style, she slept through most of lunch waking only long enough to show her obvious disapproval of an obnoxious toddler's behavior as he went stomping through the restaurant playing hide-and-seek. Hello, where were his parents?

Tea as sweet as me! Gillian is snoozing through lunch.

Gillian continued snoozing through much of the afternoon. And, as though she knew what was about to happen, Gillian awoke from her sound sleep just minutes before Florida was set to kick off against the Kentucky Wildcats. We capped off Saturday with our game and, as a family, watched in horror as our boy Tebow took a hit that left us all speechless. With Heaven and the entire Gator Nation on his side, Superman will surely make a full recovery.

Gillian watches as Tebow takes a bad hit.

Sunday morning I packed and Bret loaded the car for a Mommy and GillyBean road trip to Gammie and Grandad's. Bret needed to spend the day at work and not wanting to hang around the house all day, Gillian and I decided to head east for a visit. The rest of our Sunday was spent shopping with Gammie and enjoying a nice family dinner. Gillian and I will head home sometime Monday after hitting a few more stores around town.

For only two people, Gillian and I sure do have a lot of stuff.

Here's a closeup of the adorable onesie Gillian sported for Gammie today.

Hard to believe yet another weekend has come and gone. It seems that I no more wake up Saturday morning before I'm crawling into bed Sunday night.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

¡Feliz Cumpleaños!

Today, September 27th, Aunt Helen is celebrating her birthday. Although we're not related by blood, Aunt Helen is as close to a family member as one can get. She and my mother have been best friends since 1977, several years before I was even born. Hundreds of miles from her family, my mom quickly grew to view Helen as a sister; thus the reason I now fondly refer to her as Aunt Helen.

Having recently purchased a home in Miami, here's hoping that Aunt Helen is celebrating her big day in SOBE (South Beach) with a drink, perhaps something with a funny name and an umbrella, with Alex and Uncle James. Since they are now living the high life in South Florida, I think learning the native language is a bit of a necessity. Here's hoping they've been brushing up on their español.

Esperamos que había un cumpleaños increíble. Gillian manda abrazos y besos. Esperamos verte pronto. ¡Feliz cumpleaños, tía Helen!

(We hope you had a great birthday. Gillian sends hugs and kisses. We can't wait to see you. Happy Birthday, Aunt Helen!)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Happy Birthday!

Today we wish a very Happy Birthday to Bret's mom, Stephanie. As we speak, Stephanie is cruising through the Caribbean. Not a bad way to spend a birthday, right?

Friday, September 25, 2009

What's up, Doc?

Bright and early this morning, Bret and I took Gillian Grace for her two month checkup with Dr. Shearer. Knowing that Gillian would be receiving her first round of inoculations, I have been dreading this appointment since making it over a month ago. Luckily for all involved it was much ado about nothing, as Gillian Grace triumphed over the nurse and her wicked needles. With little more than a few tears and a brief, albeit mind numbing, shriek, Gillian breezed through today's appointment. By the end of our office visit, Gillian was giving out smiles like doctors give out lollipops---freely and often! Not willing to forgive and forget just yet, Gillian's smile was replaced with a quivering pout as she caught a glimpse of the needle nurse on our way out.

Growing like a weed, Gillian now weighs 11 pounds 13 ounces and is 23 and a 1/2 inches long. Dr. Shearer commented that she resembled a 4 month old, and after hearing that she now takes nearly 8 ounces of formula at each feeding, fondly referred to her as a chunk on several occasions. He also told us that Gillian would likely hit a limit with the formula in the upcoming weeks. It was then, when Dr. Shearer uttered the most beautiful six letter word in the English language, that our hallelujah moment occurred. The word was C-E-R-E-A-L, and it means a fuller tummy for Gillian which could facilitate a full night's sleep for everyone. Hallelujah and can I get an Amen?!

Gillian's measurements place her in the 75th percentile for growth, which Dr. Shearer said is, "stone cold normal!" Showing off for the Doc, Gillian held her head upright and quite steady for some time during one portion of her exam. Impressed by her strength and growth, Dr. Shearer gave us two thumbs up and Gillian a clean bill of health.

After seeing how much Gillian has grown in 2 months, we are so excited to see the changes that await us in the weeks and months to come.

Hey Doc, bring it on!

Gillian is reflecting upon the events of the morning.

Seriously Mom, no more shots and I mean it!

Smooth Moves

Mom told me about this video after seeing it on CNN. Even if you've already seen it, it's worth another look. Perhaps we're catching a glimpse of a future So You Think You Can Dance winner! Hope this puts a smile on your face and a boogie in your step!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Counting Sheep

It's been a week since we transitioned Gillian from the Moses basket in our master bedroom to her big girl crib in the nursery. Taking to her crib like a fish to water, Gillian slept longer and more soundly that first night in her nursery than she had since we brought her home from the hospital. Going down about ten thirty last Friday night, she didn't wake until around three in the morning. After feeding, Gillian went back to sleep around four and didn't stir again until seven Saturday morning. With each passing night, Gillian seemed to become more and more comfortable with her new surroundings.

With our video monitor, we're able to watch Gillian from the comfort of our own bedroom. We call it Gtv, where it's all GG all the time. In the middle of the night I can switch on the television, check on our little one, and then fall asleep knowing that she's resting peacefully.

Gillian's first night in her big girl crib.

The hand-held video monitor is one way we can keep an eye on Gillian.

Gtv, the best channel on television.

A closer look at our favorite show on tv.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Time Flies

Two months ago today, Gillian Grace was born.

On her birthday she weighed 8 lbs. 5 oz. and was 20.5 inches long. Today, she weighs 10lbs. 10 oz. and is 23 inches long.

At two months of age, Gillian:
  • holds her head up for extended periods of time
  • fusses when hungry or tired
  • cries actual tears
  • moves her head from side to side
  • grips some objects like a blanket or finger
  • responds to sounds
  • follows objects with her eyes briefly
  • stiffens her legs
  • stands on surfaces like someone's lap
  • makes bubbles with her mouth
  • smiles
  • makes cooing sounds
  • laughs
  • rolls on her side
  • tries to talk
  • copies facial expressions
  • uses her right hand more often than left
  • bats objects on her tummy time mat
  • fidgets a lot
  • startles when someone screams (Who wouldn't?)
  • squirms out of her socks during the night
  • hiccups several times a day
  • sneezes after eating
  • fits her right fist into her mouth (Yes, she's truly gifted---I know.)
  • goes on runs and errands with Mommy
  • loves the car
  • has taken many trips to Gammie and Grandad's in Pensacola, Florida
  • has gone to Fairhope, Alabama
  • visited Daddy at work
  • has had many visitors
  • naps less and less throughout the day
  • sleeps in her crib in the nursery for about seven (nonconsecutive) hours
  • chugs between 6 to 8 oz. per feeding
  • eats around six times a day
  • wears size 6 mo. in some brands of baby clothes
Animated, happy, and an all together love, Gillian is the light of our lives. Bret and I cannot imagine our world without her. We thank God each day for the blessings He has bestowed upon our family.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Operation Stay-At-Home-Mom

Dad, this entry is for you...I've finally gotten it together.

Long before having a child of my own, I always thought that being a stay-at-home-mom would be a walk in the park compared to teaching. After all, it has always looked so easy when I've watched others do it! I used to think that it couldn't possibly be that hard to take care of a baby, clean and maintain a home, tend to the laundry, and prepare dinner all while dressed like you just stepped out of the pages of J.Crew. Needless to say, I'm singing a different tune these days.

In the beginning, it seemed that being a stay-at-home-mom was an impossible mission. Although one I gladly accepted, I wasn't sure how to go about getting anything done during the day while simultaneously caring for Gillian. With household chores piling up and an ever increasing need to resume some level of normalcy in my life, it was time to take a cue from Nike and Just Do It. After all, I needed to start earning my keep.

In the past few weeks I've grown more comfortable with the idea that Gillian does not have to be held 24/7. Thanks in part to wonderful baby gifts like her swing, bouncy seat, and baby bjorn taking care of household chores has gotten easier. The baby bjorn is especially helpful. Although having a nearly eleven pound baby strapped to my chest took some getting used to, this carrier leaves my hands totally free---a must for completing most tasks. While Gillian napped in the bjorn this past Friday I was able to start and finish several loads of laundry, pick up, dust, vacuum, mop, unload and reload the dishwasher, print photos, and pack for our weekend jaunt to Pensacola.

Running errands has actually become a highlight in my day. Missteps and faux pas are the norm for me, and the first time Gillian and I ventured out with Gammie was no different. On a trip to Pier 1, onlookers were undoubtedly entertained as they watched me struggle with the stroller. After tinkering with the stroller for what seemed like an eternity and kicking myself for not listening to Bret as he explained how the darn thing worked, I finally figured out how to open and set it up. No longer something I dread, errands get us out of the house and allow me the chance to have a conversation with someone that is actually able to talk back. The ego boost that I get from people frequently commenting on our lovely Gillian Grace is just an added bonus!

Far from being SuperMom, I can only claim to be a work in progress. With each day full of new challenges, all I can do is give it my best shot!

View from the top---Here's Gillian chillin' in the baby bjorn.

Go me, I'm baking muffins!

Sad, only because I haven't done it before now, dish duty has been added to my repertoire.

Laundry---What's a day without a few thousand loads?

With no Publix in Mobile, we look forward to our weekly Publix run to Pensacola or Fairhope.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Welcome Fall!

The return of college football, leaves changing colors, the smell of pumpkin spice wafting throughout the house, cooler days and crisp nights, pumpkins, and Halloween can only mean one thing...Fall is near! Here in the Deep South we may not get to experience the beautiful foliage that cooler autumnal temperatures can bring, and we may not get to enjoy many crisp nights until November (if we're lucky), but we still welcome Fall and gladly slam the door closed on another sweltering Summer.

For us Fall promises to be full of firsts and special occasions---Gillian's first trip to the pumpkin patch, her first trip to see the St. Paul's Lower School Halloween Parade, her first Halloween (although we'll stick to answering the door this year), her first hostess gig at Gammie's as we honor and introduce her to our Pensacola friends, her church baptism, her first Thanksgiving, and many more. As I prepare to decorate our home for Fall, I thought it only appropriate to adorn our blog with a little Fall bling as well. With so many cute backgrounds available, I look forward to keeping our blog seasonally up-to-date.

Speaking of Fall and firsts, Gillian fell in love with Grandad's pool during her first dip over Labor Day weekend. Since the pool is basically a super-sized bathtub and knowing how she loves her bathtime, we felt confident that she'd enjoy this new experience. Even the cooler water temps brought about by a few consecutive days of rain didn't phase her as she laughed and cooed from the time her first tiny toe hit the water. Crying only when we got out of the pool, Bret and I chalked this up as another successful first for our lil' Gilly Bean.

Gillian is ready for her first swim!

Gillian and Daddy enjoy the water.

Grandad provides some much needed shade for his Snicklefritz (one of Gillian's many nicknames).

Mommy stealing some sugar from her little girl.

College Bound

Last week Gillian and I delivered lunch to Bret at work. Gillian had never before visited her Daddy's office. And having seen her only in pictures, it was the first opportunity of many of his colleagues had to see her in person. It warmed my heart to watch as Bret reveled in the chance to show off his darling daughter, lil' Gilly Bean as he now affectionately calls her.

As pleasant as an experience as it was, being on a college campus was also a painful reminder that our Baby Gator may one day want to attend a state school like Alabama or Auburn. Although meaning no offense to our Roll Tide or Tiger compadres, we can't help but cringe at the thought. What else can you expect from a couple of UF alums?

Bret's office building. Ground breaking on the new College of Engineering building took place on South's campus today.

Read more...http://blog.al.com/live/2009/09/sen_richard_shelby_attends_gro.html

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Happy Grandparent's Day!

Nobody can do for little children what grandparents do. Grandparents sort of sprinkle stardust over the lives of little children. ~Alex Haley

Gillian Grace is blessed to be surrounded by so many loving and caring people. Perhaps some of the most special people in Gillian's life are her grandparents. Gillian is also very fortunate to still have great grandparents in her life to spoil and adore her. Today on Grandparent's Day (yes, you know how I love a good holiday---even if it was created by a greeting card company), Gillian celebrates Gammie, Grandad, Great Mama, Great Papa, Nana, and Poppy. We love you!

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: With Love From Gillian
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Friday, September 11, 2009

New Wheels

The stroller fairies (wink, wink) delivered a new jogging stroller to Gillian last week: the Bumbleride Indie in spice (or as we like to call it, Gator orange)! After coveting this stroller for months, we were finally able to take it out for a spin over Labor Day weekend for our first family run. It is fantastic!

Gillian is ready for her first run in the her new ride.

Potty Humor

The following is suitable for (im)mature viewing audiences only! If you take life too seriously, then this video clip is definitely not for you... my apologies. And to our little Gilly Bean, we promise not to show this video to any of your future suitors (well, at least not until after the first date).

The recorded video was nearly ten minutes long, so consider this the highlight reel! Can you guess what Gillian is up to here?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Sleepless in Mobile

No, the title of this post isn't referring to a new Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan romantic comedy, but rather it aptly describes our current predicament---sleep deprivation! Now, I like to think of myself as a relatively intelligent person with good common sense, so it should've come as no surprise to me (especially after all the advice to rest up from family and friends) that the first few months of Gillian's life would be rough and full of sleepless nights. However, no amount of advice adequately prepared me for what I'm currently experiencing. Let me begin by saying that Gillian Grace is a sweetheart and a great baby, she just doesn't sleep all that well...at night! During the day the child can saw logs like a lumberjack, but when it comes to consecutive zzzzs at night, it's a whole other story.

Throughout the day, Gillian will catch little cat naps lasting anywhere between 5 and 15 minutes; and on most days she'll take one long nap lasting between one and three hours. As we speak the lil' misses is sacked out in her swing and has been for the past two hours. Usually preferring a late afternoon nap over a mid-morning snooze, I was surprised to find that she fell asleep while I fixed my morning toast around ten thirty this morning. It wasn't that long ago that I would wake Gillian up to eat or to play for fear that she would sleep too long during the day causing her to be wide awake at night. I ceased that madness after coming to the realization that despite whether spending her days awake or resting, she sleeps about the same amount at night. Mom also reminded me that they had the saying, never wake a sleeping baby---let sleeping babies lie for a reason. Depending on what type of nap Gillian decides to take during the day, I am able to get things accomplished. During her short naps I can do a little blogging, throw a load in the washer, pick up around the house, or grab a shower (something that has become quite a luxury these days). On days when she goes down for longer, I usually have enough time to clean and vacuum, catch up on emails, bake a little something, or, my favorite, take a nap myself. Now there are days when she doesn't nap at all. Although completely napless days are rare they do take their toll on me, especially when coupled with the lack of sleep from the night before.

Gillian was doing well at night until this week. She had been averaging six hours of sleep a night with a feeding somewhere between two and four in the morning. Realizing now that I was a bit premature in thinking that she was well on her way to a full night's sleep, this week Gillian has thrown a kink in things and is waking up several times a night. Lately it's the 3 Fs that are keeping her from sleeping soundly---feeding, fussing, and farting. (Pardon the last one, although I've never much cared for that word the force and potency of the gas that is expelled from my little girl's tushy cannot be adequately described by dainty words like poot or toot.) Gillian also likes to cheer during her sleep and unknowingly whacks herself in the face or kicks herself awake. And with grunting that rivals that of Martina Navratilova, she can't get herself back to sleep after waking. Then there's the BIG oops, she's still sleeping in her Moses' basket in our master bedroom. I know, I know...it's time! This weekend Gillian will be making the long overdue move to her big girl bed, the crib in her nursery. I'm sure this transition will be tougher for me than it will be for her and I am prepared to allow her to cry, at least for a little while. Thanks to the sage advice of friends and family (Mom, Tracey, and Les) I feel comfortable that as long as she's not wet, hungry, or hurt she will eventually calm down and soothe herself back to sleep when she awakens during the night.

We'll give this new routine a shot and hope for the best. A full night's sleep may not be in our immediate future, but a few minutes here and there will definitely be a step in the right direction. Keep your fingers crossed for us and wish me luck!

Lil' Sweetness asleep in her swing this morning as I blog.

Awwww, this face! Sleepless nights and all, this precious girl is worth it!