Thursday, August 30, 2012

To my two babies

Chet sent me this on Sunday while he and Grey spent the morning at home together.

Today is Grey's 23rd week birthday, and two days after Holden's 2nd Glory Day!  I am just now sitting down to write a blog post, although I doubt I can describe this week very well, because I really don't know how.

To say that Holden's birthday was better this year than the past two is an understatement.  I woke up Tuesday with Grey snuggled in my arms (yes, I decided she had to sleep in our bed for the night!) and kept her in my arms all day.  Two years ago I would never have dreamed of walking the road of pregnancy again after the nightmare of losing Holden.  Last year on Holden's 1st birthday, we knew we were pregnant, but I could not let my heart imagine taking a baby home.  It felt like I was in a dream all day long to be able to hold a live, beautiful little person.  

We sent balloons up to heaven with the Holden Uganda team on Saturday, and were very blessed by so many people remembering our family this week.

Holden, my sweet son, I may be two days late blogging this, but I think you know just how much I love you and thanked God for you all day long on your 2nd birthday.  I think of you as a chubby, rambunctious toddler, full of energy and laughter.  I imagine you with green eyes and a head full of light brown hair.  I think you would be quite the fun little stinker right now, getting into our toilets, and climbing every surface in the house.  You would probably be in a toddler bed now and 'too big' for constant cuddles in my arms.  I am aware that you may not even be a baby/toddler in heaven, but this is how I think of you.  I do because of how much our Heavenly Father loves children, so I picture heaven filled with His precious children.  Not a day goes by yet that I haven't imagined what you would look like in our family.  Our family would be so very different, indeed.  We are so profoundly different than we were the day you were born.  
What did you do on Tuesday?  I know time is such a human concept...but I believe that you celebrated the fact that you have been able to spend every day of 2 years with Jesus!    
Your little sister (isn't she the cutest?), Daddy and I spent the day as a family, thanking God for your life.  Grey loves balloons, so we decided to let her send two of them up to you.  We took Grey to your body's resting spot for the first time.  She smiled and seemed so at peace; what an example and gift from God to watch.  I know that is how He wants us to be about your life, yet I still ended up in tears out there, because I selfishly want you in my arms instead.  Each year on your birthday we are going to do something to give back to God what He has given to us as a is what we think is the best way to celebrate the gift of having you as our son.
The deep pain of losing you is no longer there, yet the deep longing to be with you always is.  We praise God for everything good that has come out of your life...and the good that will come.  It is a joy to experience the glory the Lord gets through your name and life.
I am never going to stop missing you, until the Glorious Day I can join you in Paradise.  Happy 2nd Birthday Holden Newell!  I mean that - Happy.  
I love you more each and every day,

Grey, you are 23 weeks old.  I am sure every parent of a "rainbow baby" feels the way I do, but I simply cannot understand the grace poured on us through your life.  I stared at you all day on your big brother's birthday, and marveled at how good God's plans are.  You are such a perfect GIFT in every possible way.  I pray for your life to have a powerful impact on this world for the Jesus Christ.  You are a priceless and measureless weight in my arms.

At 23 weeks, you are:
  • Spending your first day in daycare today!  I am nervous and having a difficult time not crying all of my makeup off, but I know you are in good hands and will love playing with friends each day.  You love babies and have 7 of them to love on each Tuesday and Thursday! :)  
  • Honing your rolling skills.  You are getting better at rolling multiple times to get places.
  • Starting to eat formula mixed in your bottles.  This has not been easy, since you are very particular about tastes, and very strong-willed to eat things you like.  ;)  We are going slow, but hope to transition you to formula within the next couple months.
  • Loving your green beans and peas!  So far we haven't added any other flavors of baby food to your diet because we are going easy on your digestive system, but you squeal for them and eat as much as we will let you!
  • Learning to play "games"!  This week was you played your own version of "peek-a-boo"!  Your version is precious:  You look up at me to give you a kiss, and then you laugh and turn away and hide your face...over and over and over.  I LOVE IT!!
Because Grey is at daycare, we didn't get our normal weekly photo shoot in.  I will take some tonight though.  This was a photo of my chubby princess from yesterday, and one right before we left for daycare this morning:
 She's got THE sweetest smile on earth.
Smiles.  The tears flowed after I got in the car after saying goodbye. :/

Two years ago was the hardest day of my entire life.  I could never picture myself happy on this day.  Thank you Jesus for JOY.

"...was caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell."  2 Corinthians 12:4  
Oh the things you are experiencing Holden.  

Friday, August 24, 2012

22 Weeks!

Ignore these terrible photos!  I had like 20 seconds to attempt photos yesterday in the noon sun - and then made them worse by trying to darken them. ;)  Good thing my daughter is CUTE regardless of her momma's camera skills.  

I had written this yesterday but somehow forgot to "post".

Grey, at 22 weeks:
  • You love your exersaucer!  You are big enough to turn all the way around in it now, and can manipulate all the toys on it.  You will spend 15 minutes laughing and playing in it, several times a day, long enough for me to get a few little things done around the house.  
  • You have worn shoes several times this week, without kicking them off.  Your feet are still so tiny, so we are just now fitting into our newborn/size 1 shoes!  I have a feeling all the adorable size 2 sandals you have may not fit you this summer.  
  • I am sure it's just a passing [nice!] fluke, but you have napped better than usual this week.  I will still love you if you decide to go back to your usual nap for 15 minutes at a time idea though.  =)
  • You have to taste everything!  I can rarely catch a moment that your hands or other objects aren't in your mouth!  
  • You tried green beans today for the first time - and loved them!  You literally attacked the spoon and squealed for more!  We had to stop giving you baby food since it upset your tummy at 4 months, but we attempted it again today.  Crossing our fingers that your tummy is more mature and able to handle it!
It's almost fall and we have a 22 week old!  Hello there time warp!  Although the cooler temps are wonderful to take Grey out in, I am probably one of the few [non-teacher] Texans who isn't ready for summer to leave us yet.  As much as autumn is my favorite Texas season, I am savoring each day this summer.  I know as the weather cools and we get to wear boots and scarves, that will only mean my little tiny baby is growing up even more!  I have become quite sentimental since having babies.  Weird, but I am okay with it. :)

Since I am posting this on sweet Reese Aleyna's 2nd heavenly birthday, I thought about this verse:
However, as it is written:  "What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived" - the things God has prepared for those who love him - 1 Corinthians 2:9

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

5 Months & Erwin Family Changes

They say parenting gives you gray hair.  I am positive that taking photos of this little 5 month old has particularly added some silver to my head! :)

Lessons learned:
#1.  Don't even worry about using a real camera ever again for her monthly photos.  I am far too novice to get the lighting settings okay, things centered, the bear, kid and white board all in the screen, and even halfway expect it to not be blurry or her to be smiling.  Ha.  From now on I will grab my phone and snap some photos.  I am purposely including all of these for your entertainment and my future laughs.  ;)
#2.  If I'm crazy enough to try this again, don't use the 50mm lens.  No wonder I had to stand so far away.  Ha.
#2.  Don't try to take photos in the crib anymore.  Crib = jump up and lay down and turn around and laugh and roll over and do anything but sit.
#3.  Just be grateful to have a happy, healthy 5 month old who is full of LIFE, who won't sit still for a posed photo, who loves kissing her bear more than posing with it and is capable of rolling and standing.  Those things are what really matters.  I ended this photo shoot by giggling with her and just throwing my camera on the other couch.  Who needs to take pictures when you can get slobbery kisses instead!?

At 5 Months Old, You:
  • Weigh 13 pounds!  I weighed you last night on our home scale and it said 13 pounds even. 
  • Wear size 2 diapers and usually 3-6 month clothes.  Of course, I have said before, clothing companies are crazy and are all sized differently - you can fit into some 0-3 month and even some 12 month clothes.  
  • Are enjoying tummy time a lot!  You lift your upper body up high and try to scoot.  Fun times are had on our big blankets!
  • Understand how your toys work!  You can press buttons, pull parts and turn your toys around.  When you learn something on a new toy I can literally see the excitement on your face!  You sputter and spit and squeal. :) 
  • Love to talk!!  You are very linguistic and have added a wide variety of gurgles, spits and "body sounds" to your vocabulary. ;)  
  • Are losing your rockstar hair!  I am a little sad about this although I know it will grow back.  Check out this head of hair from almost 5 months ago:

This past week included several changes and HUGE prayers answered for our family.  I thought I was going to have to go back to work full-time (spent hours bawling over the thought of leaving Grey), but God has blessed in several ways, and I am able to only work part time!  I will be working for Holden Uganda on Tuesdays (and most Thursdays) while Grey spends time at daycare, allowing me to catch up on and expand HUF in the direction we are headed.  We had been discussing the need to hire someone to manage HUF, and the Board asked that I would step up and take the hired position.  It was something Chet and I very prayerfully considered, and I am honored to get the privilege of doing something I will be passionate about.  We enrolled Grey in daycare this afternoon.  I really like the director and teachers and feel that it will be a great thing for her.  (I of course will be crying/sobbing the first day I am sure!)  She is obsessed with children and other babies, so she will have quite a few to share her slobbery exuberant kisses with!  ;)  I expect a few phone calls going something like, "Well, Grey has had a good day, and she is okay, but we are working on keeping her from [accidentally] rolling on top of the other babies and smothering them [with love]."

Grey, as I think about this week in my life two years ago, I hold you closer, thankful that the Lord has taught me to appreciate every second with you even more.  We are just a few days away from your brother's 2nd birthday, and this afternoon I stare at you realizing I will never fully understand God's plans for our family (until I am in heaven), yet those plans included YOU in our lives...and I cannot imagine my life being any other way.  I am infinitely in love with your preciousness.  I am infinitely happy to be blessed enough to call you my daughter.  I love you and thank you for giving me infinite reasons to smile each day.  

He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all - how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?  Romans 8:32

Thursday, August 16, 2012

21 Beautifully Blessed Weeks!

I asked Chet how old he thought Grey was turning today, and he said 18 weeks.  I like his number better. :)  Denial has set in...I don't think it's possible that 21 weeks have slipped by.

We have been WONDERFULLY BUSY with Holden Uganda lately.  I am living in a bit of a blur this week, and am going to try to post this blog super quick!  Our liaison from Uganda, Dr. Patrick Mutano, and his engineer Andrew and assistant Joseph are here in Texas this month.  They are learning how to use HUF's new drilling rig, so that they can return to Uganda and drill deep wells in the driest and remotest locations.  HUGE blessing and I cannot tell you the feeling I got when Dr. Patrick scooped Grey up in his arms on Tuesday.  And my oh my did Grey ever LOVE Dr. Patrick!  She squealed for him when I took her out of his arms, and kept smiling at him!
I hate public crying, and fail miserably at holding back tears most of the time, but managed to not cry during this sweet, sweet moment.  Dr. Patrick later wrote, "This is Holden's sister you know, she is special to us in Uganda" on my Facebook page.  Yeah, my best efforts at not crying didn't work at that.  Dr. Patrick and all of Uganda are so very special to us

Two more of Grey helping Chet fulfill HUF t-shirt orders yesterday.  I love that our littlest is learning about the world outside of Snyder, Texas.  I have such a desire that she grasps how big this world is!

All the HUF excitement has taken over my week, but this morning I managed to snap a few photos with our real camera (two weeks in a row! yay!).  I took them before naptime this morning, so we only had a couple of shots before meltdown ensued.:

 Mrs. Jackie made us some cute outfits! :)
I know her head is cut off in that one, but Grey's very tired self was just not going to sit without toppling I had to squat less than a foot from her with a lens that isn't so great at 12 inches away. ;)

Daddy came home for a few minutes today and took a couple of us outside at lunchtime!
 Flying in Momma's arms is SO fun!

 Not sure why she has to pose for us.  "Please baby, Momma needs a LOT of practice!  Just sit there while she figures this camera out." 

Such an ab workout to not topple over!  Even Daddy got worried and had to grab her!

I also snapped a few more candid ones this week with the real camera, so why not add while I am already blogging:
 Our scooter is just all over the place!  These "concentration" faces melt my heart!  They look exactly like CHET when he concentrates!

'Auntie' Paula sent Grey an adorable Hawaiian outfit from her HI visit!  I wish it wasn't 110 degrees out when I decided to take Grey outside for some pictures in it though.  We had to make that outing a short one!  

At 21 Weeks Old, You:
  • Started grunting.  It sounds hilarious and we don't know why you do this!  At any rate, it is cute regardless of it not making any sense! :)
  • Are able to pick up your pacifier nearly all the time.  I am hoping this skill continues to get better and better!  You get very frustrated when your paci falls out when you are laying down to sleep.  
  • Are taking Reuteri, a probiotic, in one bottle a day.  It is making a noticeable difference in your reflux!  Praise God!
  • Met Dr. Patrick, Andrew and Joseph for the first time!  
  • Are becoming such a pleasant, easy baby!  I have taken you out and rearranged your schedule every day this week, yet you never cease to make me so proud with your content happiness!  It is such a joy to see you love meeting new people and seeing new things!  This is one of the things I am going to contribute to Reuteri helping you feel better.
  • You are still in size 2 diapers and close to 6 month clothing.  I had a lady tell me today that you would be so, so tall, because you are, "Just so big for almost 5 months!".  I wanted to remind her that you are my little, teeny, tiny newborn, just born yesterday, and that you are not big at all.  And that you are only in the 10th percentile for height.  And that she should know to never tell a new momma that their baby is going to be huge.  It's worse than asking a lady's age....  I tried to ignore her comments, because even if you are 6 feet tall and 40 years old, to me you'll always be my tiny little baby girl.
Yours, LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all. 1 Chronicles 29:11

Thursday, August 9, 2012

20 Weeks!

Happy 20 Weeks Beautiful Daughter!

I practiced with our real camera outside this morning for her 20 week photos.  None of these captured our normally EXTREMELY HAPPY morning girl, because I was SO worried she would fall out of the chair that I couldn't concentrate on snapping pictures.  That and I was fidgeting with the settings on the camera to figure lighting out, etc.  Sheesh!  Photography isn't as effortless and easy as Tisha makes it look.  I wasn't talented enough to combine picture taking with making funny faces/noises and holding a toy.  I think I need an assistant. ;)  I also need LOTS and LOTS of practice, but I have a feeling that might be fun!  The better she can sit, the more confident I will feel about not having my hands on her...which is difficult while holding a camera 5 feet away! ;)  I've made up my mind to ONLY use our real camera for her weekly photos, and maybe by her first birthday I will be okay enough to capture her birthday!

I suppose I could learn some basic editing skills too...OR leave that up to the professionals...good thing Shuffield Photography is her family.  :)

Here are a few unedited shots from her 20 week pics:

As soon as she would look up at me with a big grin, I would reach for her and drop my camera (it was strapped around my neck), because I kept thinking she would leap out of the chair.  Eek.  Oh big smiles...but I had a blast learning how to change the settings!

At 20 Weeks, You:

  • Are always wanting to be engaged in something.  Learning while playing is so much fun!
  • Turn your head at "Grey", "Baby!" and "Boppy!".  You've recognized your name(s) for a while when we say it, but no matter who says your name you will turn towards them now.
  • Have eyebrows!  Okay, so maybe you've had eyebrows since you were born, but Daddy and I just recently started noticing them getting darker.  :)  Right now they are an auburn color - pretty! They make your many facial expressions even cuter.
  • Have watched more TV than I would ever prefer you to.  Momma is addicted to the Olympics, so she isn't a good momma and has let you watch it with her.  I tell myself that as long as I am engaging you with toys and conversation while the TV is on, it can't be that bad.  Right? :)
  • Continue to amaze me with your leg strength.  Those short little legs have some serious muscles! You can stand for an hour without getting tired (and longer even).  
  • HAD YOUR FIRST BABYSITTER!  (Today, in fact!)  Family has watched you, but I have never hired a teen babysitter be with you until today.  You warmed up to Miss Brittany very quickly and seemed to like playing with her!  I am excited about having a few hours a month that I can have someone here to play with you while I organize Holden Uganda work.  I don't trust just anyone with my greatest gift, so I am glad there are a few people who do love to be with you.
  • Can reach your toes to your mouth!  Big step for our little not-so-flexible sweetie pie! 
  • Make Momma want to cry when I think of 20 weeks.  I woke up a little emotional today thinking about 20 weeks...where has all the time gone?
I have decided not to blog a ton of iPhone pictures from the week, so that I can be consistent about blogging each Thursday.  Thank goodness for Facebook. ;)  I doubt Grey will ever think I didn't capture her cuteness enough.  Haha!

Grey, thank you for teaching me to enjoy the smallest blessings in life.  I love you honey!  Here's one of my favorite verses in Scripture.  I hope that you will love the blessings you receive from giving!

Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.  2 Corinthians 9:7

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

4 Month Well Check

Jumping off the exam trampoline table!

Yesterday was Grey's 4 month appointment (even though she's 4.5 months).  I absolutely love Grey's pediatrician, Dr. G., and of course we love Aunt Carrie, our nurse practitioner!  I cannot say enough how helpful it has been to have Chet's sister-in-law (I consider her my sister) be our nurse practitioner too!  She has dealt with many of my "crazy mom googled something and now needs expert advise to calm her" texts and calls at all hours of the day and night. ;)

Grey is growing and developing perfectly!  In fact, her head has grown a LOT since last time, and is now in the 25%!  Yay!  Make room for that smart brain. ;)

4 Month Statistics:
Head: 15.9 inches - 25%
Height: 23 inches - 10%
Weight 12 pounds 11 ounces - 25%

This means we are on the short and chubby side.  Short, chubby and PERFECTLY CUTE! :)  Grey has a small frame, so I think she may end up with my frame instead of Chet's.  I couldn't be happier with how Grey is growing and learning.  She is ridiculously social and is ahead of the curve on many physical developments too!  She bounces, pops up to a stand from sitting, scooting on occasion (if she really wants something), etc.

Noteworthy and laughable for this checkup: After Grey was weighed (sans diaper), she tee-teed all over the scale.  She has never ever peed without a diaper on, so we got a taste of what a baby boy might be like! ;)  (Sorry for anyone reading this that thinks that is too much to share.  I just wanted to document it for Grey to smile about one day as a mom herself!)

We discussed Grey's reaction to baby food with Dr. G., and we all decided it was best to discontinue feeding her baby food until next month.  Hopefully her 5 month tummy will be better equipped to handle all the yumminess.

Sadly 4 month checkups also mean 4 month vaccines.  She did not do as well this time as last time, and screamed for a good 5 minutes. :'(  This meant my heart was breaking in a million pieces as she looked at Chet and I so hurt.  She has also had a much higher and persistent fever this time around, so we have spent most of today (and last night) snuggling.  My normally VERY ACTIVE baby doesn't even want to bear weight on her legs or let me put her down.  I am choosing to relish the cuddles with this sweetie pie, rather than dwell on the fact that she's not feeling great.  (In my arms as I type.)

Today is August 8th: exactly one year ago we found out we were pregnant again...  I have never had more mixed emotions combined in one day; not wanting to get excited or happy, but yet not being able to contain my joy.  I remember telling Chet that we were pregnant and his face going white.  I remember staring at that pregnancy test and not knowing what to think.  I remember driving to work (it was a Monday) and attempting to concentrate on work.   It was a huge day...a big leap for us in learning to trust God with another child.  I look back now and cannot help but THANK THE LORD over and over and over.  Just like Holden, Grey is only our child to raise and love and teach about Him.  It is one of my greatest struggles to continually remind myself to hold Grey with open hands and open heart.  Your will, not mine.  Thank you Jesus for this gift.  365 days of learning to walk in Your plans for our life with our second child...You are so good to us I cannot fathom Your love.

Teach me, LORD, the way of your decrees, that I may follow it to the end.  Psalm 119:33

Friday, August 3, 2012

19 Weeks!

And we are a day late again! :)  I never knew being a stay-at-home mom could be so busy.

My sweetie, who usually fights her weekly photo shoot, was in a GREAT mood yesterday.
Strong enough to not fall down on supported sitting! 
 Completely describes her lately - checking everything out!

19 weeks old, and you have a ZEST FOR LIFE!  These are some of the cool things we love about you this week:
  • You 'happy scream' so much we have had to raise our voices to hear each other.  I love that you are so exuberantly thrilled to be alive!  Yesterday during our playdate with friends, you were so loud, I'm sure you just wanted us to know you were demanding to be the center of attention. ;)
  • You're a wiggle worm.  You always have been, but you are getting to a stage that I feel like we are in a constant wrestling match.   You make a cute wrestler!
  • You tried (and love) sweet potatoes!  This is your first "baby food" experience (rice cereal doesn't exactly count since you've had it mixed in your bottles for months now).  I didn't expect you to nearly jump out of your Bumbo chair reaching for more.  You finish off the entire little bowl each evening, and wave your arms and squeal for more when I don't go fast enough.  Yay for food!  We are giving you just one veggie to try each week, to watch for reactions/allergies.  Up next on your menu: green beans.  Mmm!
  • Your hair has lightened to a strawberry blonde.  I bet you end up brunette, but it's fun to have this color for now!
  • And my favorite---- you started mimicking us this week!  You will click, stick out your tongue and make sounds when we do.  We make faces and noises for hours together each day.  LOVE!
Two more from yesterday:
 Rolling to give Momma a kiss!
Look how much Henry is catching up to Grey!  Truth be told, his two months younger self is longer than Grey, but our little lady has some chubs on him.  Yesterday was the first time they have looked at each other and held hands and seemed to like each other's company.

The second bullet point is why I am unable to add any more photos from the rest of this past week.  We are FULL OF LIFE in Momma's arms right now! :)

I love you endlessly sweet girl.

It has given me great joy to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as the Father commanded us.  And now, dear lady, I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning.  I ask that we love one another.  And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands.  As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.  
2 John 4-6

(I love that 2 John was written to a woman, talking about her children!  Great lesson!)