Archive | Baby #2

Two Down, Two to Go

…to be in school all day that is.

{And since one isn’t even born yet I’ve got A LONG time until they’re all in school! But oh what a sweet day that will be! ūüėČ }

Here’s some pictures from yesterday’s first day of school adventures.

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(I can’t help but post this¬†of MM on her first day as a kindergartener three years ago…gosh, time flies, y’all! ¬†One thing funny to point out–MM was NINE INCHES taller than Moseby when she started school, HA!!)

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MM told me every minute detail of her day {of course}, whereas Moseby told me “I don’t remember” about basically everything {of course}.

Here’s hoping for another 179 good days this school year!

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Back to School Teacher Gifts

I’ve mentioned before on here that I love giving teacher gifts.

Specifically themed gifts (I posted about teacher¬†Easter baskets here and their¬†end of the year baskets here). I just can’t help myself–I love a good theme and I’m an elementary school teacher myself so I know how fun it is to GET gifts.

Last night was MM and Moseby’s open house at their schools. We brought in two giant bags of school supplies each (with mermaid labels for her and pirate labels for him on them), but we also brought each teacher a basket. At their schools the grade level puts down a wish list (markers or paper towels or stickers, etc.) so we made sure to get each item from the wish list for their teacher plus a little more.

Moseby’s teacher was also MM’s kindergarten teacher and so I knew what she liked (chocolate turtles are her jam) and also what her room theme was (paw prints). I send a little questionnaire into my kids’ teachers (homeroom, specials, counselors, administration–everyone!) the second week of school to get to know them better–I’ll have to post the form I use on here next week for you–but I wish I knew more about MM’s teacher(s) so I could fill her/their basket with a few more personalized goodies because compared to Moseby’s it’s small. #sosad

Here is Moseby’s teacher gift.

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The baskets came from Target and I had a friend do the vinyl decals. The paper plates, Ziplock bags, magic erasers, and reward sticks were on the wish list. Everything else I got because it was fun–lots of fun-colored Sharpies and Expos, fun tape, copy paper, the teacher’s favorite reward candy, pawprint-themed items, and masking tape (because she asked for that specifically).

This is MM’s teachers’ baskets (she has a homeroom teacher and another teacher that teaches two subjects).

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If you’re a teacher what’s your favorite teacher gift to receive? Mine is fun colored Sharpies or felt tip pens. Though card stock is pretty sweet too!

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Planning a New Room for the Boys

Moseby has been asking to share a room with Lawson once he got to be a “big boy” (meaning age 2 since that’s when the other two kiddos transitioned to a regular bed from a crib) since the winter.

I agreed at the time, but now that Lawson’s second birthday is approaching (on August 13th) I’m realizing that not only do I have to move one kid, but I have to get new beds and linens and redecorate a room…but I ALSO have to teach these two boys to live together. Lawson sleeps with the door shut and it pitch black and goes right to sleep whereas Moseby must have the door open and his nightstand light on the whole night and needs his iPad to wind down (I know, I know).

Yeah, this is going to be real fun.

{Got any tips mamas on how to transition these two crazy boys (ages 5 and almost 2) into roommates?}

As for the room they’re going to be in it’s Moseby/Lawson’s nursery (when I was pregnant with Lawson we moved Moseby into a different room and left the nursery set up).

I have two antique iron twin beds (thanks, Mom) that I need to paint and today I got most of the bedding at Target of all places (they’re offering 20% off on all bedding until July 1st).

I’m going with a light green, black, and white room. With hints of nautical stuff since the boys love the water.

Here are some pins I’ve been looking at for the past six months.

I honestly don’t even know why I’m posting about this–it’s just been running through my brain and once something gets in my head I cannot let it go for the life of me!

I’m sure you’ll be seeing lots on this topic in the upcoming months (we plan to move them in early September after Lawson turns 2 and we get the new school year under our belt for a few weeks)!

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Another Cooper Kiddo Graduates from Pre-K

Yesterday Moseby graduated from preschool.

He’s been itching to for weeks–telling us it’s Lawson’s turn for “baby school” and that he’s ready to be a ¬†“Buford Wooooooolf” (he howls in the middle of ‘wolf’).

Today when he walked in the door and saw nine of his favorite people there to see him graduate this is the smile he gave us.

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Oh, he was proud! He smiled and waved and giggled the whole time he was on stage.

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Afterwards we had cake and he got to pick a restaurant for lunch. He picked “cheese dip” (yep, ANY place with cheese dip), ha!

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And can I just stop for a moment and whine about how hard it is to get a good family photo with little kids?! You mamas know what I’m talking about. This one was the best of a dozen we took. The boys’ faces are hilarious (& pretty dang true to their personalities!).

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It doesn’t seem like it’s been three whole years since this girlie graduated Pre-K. Where has the time gone?! Look how little she (and he!) was/were! I remember it just like it was yesterday. CRAZY! Before I know it Lawson will be graduating Pre-K! #slowyourrolltime

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Ms. Haley’s Pre-K Baby Shower

Moseby’s Pre-K teacher, Ms. Haley, is having a baby boy this summer and yesterday the class threw her a shower to celebrate Bennett’s upcoming arrival. What’s so great is that when MM was in Pre-K with Ms. Haley we threw a shower for her first pregnancy with Harper.

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Oh lordy, where does the time go?!

Better watch out, Ms. Haley: Lawson will be with you in three more years and I’m more than ready to plan another baby shower. ūüėČ

Here’s some pictures of the festivities in their classroom.

Opening gifts. All the little girls were ‘oohing and aahing’ while all the little boys could care less (my child is in the teal shirt with his head down playing with the rug).

I put white table cloths on the tables and my kid came in and said, ‘Hey! What’s this? Why we so fancy?’ (he knows we only bring them out for holidays and birthday parties, haha)

The favors the kids got to take home were baby boy rubber duckies and balloons.

And speaking of balloons, does anyone else feel very claustrophobic in a car full of balloons? It’s like they’re closing in on me and I can barely breathe. #imsureimtheonlyone

(Ignore my hot mess express hair. I was¬†cutting up fruit for the fruit salad at 6am and didn’t have time¬†to straighten it and this is it in all its¬†crazy curly glory.)

We played three games at the party: a scratch off game I found at Party City, a guess the number of m&m’s in the baby bottle, and a baby boy bingo game (free printable!).

I started thinking about it and I knew 4 and 5 year olds don’t have the best “number sense” so I gave them the first number and told them to just put their favorite two numbers in the two boxes. Anyone want to guess how many m&m’s there are? 255!

I made up little prize bags of each–basically little plastic toys and candy¬†from Party City or the dollar store.

For party food I kept it simple. I made a fruit salad and we also had Goldfish, Capri Suns, and cake from Baking Grounds.

I hope you enjoyed your shower, Ms. Haley. And remember I got you covered if you go for a third baby in three years. ūüėČ

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Friday Round-Up: What’s Going On ‘Round These Parts

~I haven’t mentioned the dining room or master bedroom this past week, but they’re both coming along. Actually, they’re both finished minus the drapes in the dining room (BUTTTTTTTT they’re in the process of being made at least!) and hanging mirrors/artwork in the master bedroom. Hopefully soon I’ll be ready to do a post on each. Until then, here’s a sneak peek of our new bed. Oh y’all, it’s dreamy.

~Lawson got his first haircut yesterday at 18 months old. I put it off as long as I could as he is my last baby {I know, I know, never say never} and his firsts are hard for me because they’re my last firsts. It’s hard to explain, but hopefully other been there, done that mamas know what I’m talking about.

Anyway, his hair was too long. We had resorted to man buns around the house to keep it out of his eyes and people always just assumed he was a girl (he is “too pretty” to be a boy, if I do say so myself, haha).

My friend/hair stylist, Jessica, cut his bangs and about an inch off the back. It was important to me not to lose his curls (we cut Moseby’s off at his first haircut just assuming he’d always have curls. Uhm. NO. They never grew back. I’m not making that same mistake with Lala).

And look how cute–and grown up!–he looks. I’ll have to get some pictures with my camera this weekend. He definitely is looking more and more “little boy” and less and less baby. #slowyourrolltime

~Today I took the boys to the pediatrician for their well checkups. It was an¬†experience. Which translates to: something I never want to do again. ūüėČ

Lawson got his shot, didn’t cry at all, and as soon as I made a silly face afterwards he laughed out loud. This is his personality to a “T”. {And gosh, he looooooves that brother of his.}

Momo on the other hand? I’ll just leave you with this picture and say that he refused to put on pants for over THREE HOURS after¬†his shots¬†in case they might brush against his bandaids. I also had to carry him out of the pediatrician’s office like a baby (while also holding Lawson and my purse and my diaper bag). Lordy y’all. Lordy.

(His shirt is his St. Patrick’s Day shirt for this year. It says, “I Pinch Back”. …Lawson got one that says, “Irish I Had a Mustache”. I’ll have to take a photo of the two of them tomorrow and post it¬†on Instagram.)

~Speaking of St. Patrick’s Day, I made Irish Soda Bread on Tuesday and it was good! It tastes like one giant¬†buttermilk biscuit, I guess you could say. And it was super easy to make! You can find the recipe here.

~Do y’all remember me mentioning that I was hosting a couple of sign painting parties? One was at the end of February and the other was the past Sunday. Y’all, it was so fun! I can’t recommend PK Decor enough–you can go to her house and paint (she has room for about 15 people in her studio) or she can come to you. …and if any of y’all ever host a painting party yourself you better invite me because I have about ten more signs I want to make, ha!

Here’s two I made–a Fourth of July truck and a goat that looks like our pet/show Boer goat, Oreo (because…well, why not?!). MM made a castle for her bedroom door all by herself (girlfriend even added her monogram); her classmate/friend made a cute owl. My mom made a vase of cotton.

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~And, that’s all I got! Today is not only the most favorite holiday for all the reddish-haired pale people out there, but it’s the 37th birthday of someone pretty dang special. ¬†And what better way to celebrate than going afternoon bowling with three kids! HA!! {Tomorrow night we’re going to his favorite restaurant (Hals) after he has an afternoon massage so I promise he will have some fun! ūüėČ }

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Choosing to be Grateful

Since Moseby’s diagnosis early last year I have struggled with it.

‘Struggling’ is putting it lightly.

I’ve cried {oh, how I’ve cried!}. I’ve questioned God. I’ve been angry at the unfairness to Moseby…and to us. I’ve felt utterly helpless. So I’ve worried. And worried some more. And worried again.

Everyone always says a year has a verb you can associate with it. Like happy. Or adventure. Or dreaming. Etc. My word for 2013 would definitely, positively, have been WORRY.

But here’s the thing: my worrying about my son’s disease helps no one. It doesn’t make the onset of his symptoms later. It doesn’t make his symptoms less progressive when they begin. ¬†All it does is steal my daily joy.

The daily joy I can have watching him grow and run {oh, how he loves to run!}, jump, twirl, be mischievous while smiling the whole time, hugging and kissing, playing with his sissy. ¬†That’s all lost when I worry about tomorrow.

Because as clich√© as it sounds ’cause we’ve all heard it before, but it’s true: no one is promised tomorrow. We don’t know what it holds.

This past week at the gym I was watching the news and ¬†I watched¬†Mindy Corporon’s address to the world¬†after her son and father were killed at a Jewish community center in Kansas last Sunday. ¬†Y’all, you have got to watch it. ¬†Her faith, her strength, her value on the days her son spent alive {and not being consumed by the days he missed by dying at 14}. Oh my word. Her words put me in my place. ¬†She helped me to see–crystal clear–that I have to stop thinking about the future and what it holds, or doesn’t, for my sweet boy.

In the news conference she says she hopes that something good will come out of her son’s death. I wish I could tell her it did. It made my heart realize that I have to treasure today with my son and just be grateful for that.

Thank you, Mindy, for your powerful words.

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A Peppermint Party

The one good thing about not blogging for a year {…or a little longer. yikes.} is that there’s lots of things to tell you about.

And by “lots of things” I mean my sewing and parties. ¬†‘Cause those are two things we really love around here. ¬†In fact, we’re getting ready to throw our third party of the year {yep} next month. ¬†What can I say, we like to celebrate!

Anywho.

Whenever my kids are really little and don’t really have opinions yet on their birthday party theme I try to think of something they love or something that describes them. ¬†And so when it came time to decide on Moseby’s second birthday party theme I thought of his favorite foods.

Pretzels, popcorn, watermelon, pineapple, and old-fashioned peppermint sticks. ¬†I settled on making peppermints the theme because, well, I’m a little Type A and love when everyone matches. ¬†And when you have a peppermint party everyone is instructed to wear red and white…oh, how that makes my matchy-matchy soul sing!

The decorations, unfortunately, I didn’t get a really good picture of. ¬†We had red and white pompoms hanging from the chandelier and lots of red and white balloons. ¬†We had red and white mums in vintage vases and milk jars. You’ll just have to picture all that in your mind {ha!}.

I did get a picture of some other things though: we had a beautiful cake made by my favorite local bakery that we’ve used forever. ¬†{Seriously, isn’t it awesome?!}

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And all the food {minus the brown chicken nuggets} was red and white as well.  {Our!clothes!and!food!matched! Yipee!}  We had bananas and strawberry skewers, yummy creamy corn salad,  biscuits with strawberry jam, an assortment of white cheeses {on a red serving dish of course}, peppermint sticks {duh}, and peppermint Oreos.  For drinks we had cans of {red} strawberry banana juice, bottled Cokes, & water with strawberries.

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drinks Moseby had lots of fun blowing out his candles.  {Look at his little hands!  Look at those perfect little cheeks! (he was a PRO at blowing out those candles, let me tell you!)}

And he had so many people that he loved, and who love him like crazy, come celebrate his day. Even his birth aunt that he met for the first time {joy!} and then the next day we kept the party going when we went and visited his birth family. ¬†Oh, sweet, peppermint-loving, little man, you are so loved. I can’t believe you are TWO. Do you know just how much joy you’ve brought us in two years?! ¬†My heart just overflows.

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Handful

Oh my, he is a handful.

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A smiles-all-the-time-even-when-you-say-no handful.

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{And it’s pretty hard saying ‘no’ to this precious little guy…even if he’s climbing the stairs or hanging off the back of a¬†chair by one finger.¬† He’s that adorable.}

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He was so proud of himself for crawling into the little rocking chair all by himself.

He is so so so very close to walking.¬† He’ll stand there and then he’ll start walking–2 or 3 steps at a time–before he goes to his knees for his “Moseby Turbo Speed” crawl.¬† Have I mentioned he’s a fast crawler?¬† Uhm, YEAH.¬† Baby Olympian crawler.¬† For reals.

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And this is how he perfers to cruise around the house…walking between someone else’s legs.

And all these grainy pictures? Just random positions that I’ve caught him in the last couple of weeks. Believe me, there were more, but I chose to pick him up instead of take a picture…don’t want any ER trips before his first birthday, you know.

Every meal is like this folks.   EVERY meal.

watching the world go by.

satisfied with himself.

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I just realized I haven’t taken any photos of his stair-climbing adventures.¬† They’re not for the faint of heart, that’s for sure!

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What I Haven’t Said

The cold rain comes down from a sad, cold sky.¬† The windshield wipers do their best to slap it away, but it’s still hard to see.¬† It feels as though the clouds are crying and aching with us.¬† I feel numb, yet so raw at the same time.¬† A juxtaposition of my soul.¬† Afraid yet strong.¬† Weak but steadfast.¬† I once heard someone say they were “strong at the broken places” and oddly I felt that exact same way.¬† As my hands gripped the wheel, my knuckles white with anxiety, I cried.¬† I cried like I had never done before.¬† I heaved so hard it actually felt like my ribs were going to break, my lungs might collapse.¬† It was animal-like.

Beside me sat a white box addressed to a genetics lab.¬† Inside was a small vial of Moseby’s blood that was taken at the local children’s hospital.¬† {He had laid so still while they took his blood.¬† Large tears rolled down his cheeks and he looked at us, questioning us, but he did not move.¬† My sweet boy!}¬† Now I was on my way back to the genetics lab so they could ship it for us.¬† I couldn’t help but look at the box at every stop light I came to.¬† Perhaps I should just throw it out the window and drive home.¬† Act like this was all some dream and that we didn’t need to know.¬† We could just pretend that this wasn’t a possibility for him.¬† But my head told my heart that it didn’t make sense.¬† We needed to know.¬† We had to find out.

Oh, my dear, darling boy.  Our much prayed-for blessing.

When Moseby was a little over a day old, still in the hospital in fact and before any paperwork had been signed, we found out he had a 50% chance of having a rare genetic neurodegenerative disease called Machado-Joseph Disease or SCA3.¬† It’s specifics are easily Googled, but suffice to say it scared us to our core.¬† Not enough to walk away from the “situation”–an adoption term that means baby–we were already so head-over-heels in love that we just laughed when the caseworker mentioned that we didn’t have to accept his placement.¬† He is our fate.¬† Our destiny.¬† He is our son just as much as if he had come from my womb.¬† So we signed the papers, cried happy tears that we were a family of four, and began our lives together.

At our first appointment with our pediatrician when he was two days old I mentioned the possible condition to the doctor.¬† His happy, jovial mood instantly changed.¬† ‘We’ll get you into with the best genetics doctor in Atlanta as soon as possible,’ he said somberly.¬† I think that’s when the reality set in that this could be something bad.¬† And later C. held me as I sobbed in the pediatrician’s parking lot, our newborn son asleep behind my seat.¬† We came home and told our families about this possibility.¬† They all said to not worry about it until we knew for sure–after all, there was a 50% chance he didn’t have it!¬† We had to think positive!

And it turns out genetic testing and counseling is a very busy business.  We were told we would have to wait over nine months for an appointment and that they could see us first thing on December 12th.  They asked if they needed to send us a reminder card and I laughed nervously.  No, 12/12/12 would be forever etched in my brain.  We began the wait for our appointment.

I was certain as the days turned into weeks and those weeks turned months I would forget.  And I did during the day.  I would see this wonderful, perfect little boy checking off milestones left and right.  Gaining weight, growing.  Smiling, cooing, being an absolute joy.  But at night I remembered.  Each time he awoke I would look at his face in the soft moonlight as he sleepily drank a bottle and I would pray.  More often than not I would pray with such fierceness that tears would roll down my cheeks unto his head.  Please God, PLEASE.  Please let him live a long, healthy life.  Do not make him suffer.  Do not give him this disease.  Please keep him healthy. I said the same prayer every time.  Repeating it like a mantra.  Oh, how I prayed!  Oh, how I hoped!

Because as parents, what do we really want for our children?¬† Happiness and health.¬† Sure, success and grandbabies and closeness are all wonderful things, but in the end we want them to be healthy–able to physically do what they want–and happy.¬† The thought that my baby may not get to experience a healthy life and that his life would be cut short?¬† Well, it physically hurts my heart.¬† And so I prayed.¬† And prayed.

The genetic counselor said that normally the test takes only one to two weeks {instead of looking at his entire DNA, they look simply at chromosome 14q}, but because of the holidays it would be after the first of the year before we knew the results.¬† So we celebrated Christmas and New Years the best we could.¬† I would often find myself staring off into space, realizing my cheeks were wet.¬† Sometimes I would cry and C. would hold me and say, ‘Natalie, you can’t think this way.¬† He might NOT have it!’¬† But I cried still.¬† I honestly didn’t understand why my soul hurt so much, of course, now I know.¬† I was grieving the loss of a “normal life” for my son.

Finally, we received the results.  Our genetic counselor called us last Thursday.  As soon as I answered the phone, I knew.  Her cheerful, upbeat voice was replaced with sympathy.

Oh.

But as she told me the news, I didn’t cry.¬† I realized during the phone call that my heart knew he had it all along–that’s why I had cried so much the past ten months.¬† This mama’s heart–this mother’s intuition–knew that my perfectly created son has Machado-Joseph Disease.¬† We don’t know when the onset of his symptoms will be–we are now fervently praying the onset of this disease will be early adulthood, as oppose to‚Ķwell, much sooner.¬† We’re praying for the researchers that will hopefully find all sorts of treatments for the symptoms he will have.¬† We’re praying specifically for some studies going on in Portugal that are trying to block a molecule called Calpain {‚Ķwhich makes the extra protein that Moseby’s brain will produce eventually into fragments‚Ķand those fragments are what start the neurodegeneration, if that makes sense}.¬† If this research that is being done on rats now can be done on people‚Ķwell, it would be the first-ever treatment for MJD.

The reason I’m telling you this very private, very personal story is because I’m begging you to pray for Moseby.¬† Pray for him please.

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