Monday, March 30, 2015

So many changes, So little time, All in God's perfect timing.

The past four months have been insane!  We became parents to a sweet baby boy, Russ completed another semester of Law School scoring at the top of his class, we experienced the holidays with a newborn, Russ started a new semester of school, we unexpectedly bought a house and moved, put our condo on the market and sold it after only two days, and I quit my job as a NICU nurse and started a new job with TeamHealth.  This all has been amazing, such a blessing, but also stressful.  We have felt God's leadership the whole way through. It is amazing to see His plan come together and unfold.  I have been scared at times, but God has always given me the peace that I needed to help make the best decision possible.  

Russ and mine's plans were totally different than God's.  In the beginning, we thought we would move to Knoxville, Russ would finish school in three years, and then we would move back to Ooltewah where Russ would work in downtown Chattanooga.  We had no idea that God would provide Russ with an amazing job opportunity (as well as myself), that we would meet such wonderful Christian people, and our three year journey would turn into something much bigger.  

It has been an incredible experience.  I have gotten to care for God's tiniest miracles for three years.  I have always wanted to work with babies and help parents.  I've always loved children and being a nurturer is who I am.  It has been such a privilege to be a NICU nurse.  Seeing babies as small as the palm of my hand grow into healthy babies and go home with their parents is something I never took for granted.  It has made me so thankful for my sweet, healthy boy.  I loved caring for babies (especially since I was trying to wait to have children) and truly making a difference in so many lives.  

Russ' job allowed us to have so many unique, fun experiences.  We have gotten to meet so many interesting people.  (Dave Ramsey was probably my favorite).  We have gotten to watch football games from the Chancellor's box and have front row seats to the basketball games.  I am amazed at how this position was made for my husband.  How he landed in it is only by God's grace.  He is years younger than his coworkers, yet excels at what he does.  I am one proud wife.  It has helped us financially while Russ goes to school full-time, and we will always be grateful and humbled.  

Right now, we feel like we are supposed to stay in Knoxville.  I am so thankful we listened to God and had faith to make the move.  It was scary leaving everything we knew.  However, this place feels so right.  We love the people, the culture, and being so close to everything we need.  I do miss the country.  I love where we came from.  But I know Knoxville is where we are supposed to be for now, and I'm thankful our new home is a little closer to our old home where family is.  

Another plan we had was for Russ to finish law school, buy a house, take a big trip, and then have a baby.  I felt God pulling at my heart that I needed to trust Him with when for us to start our family.  We still tried to put it off, but God's plans for us to go ahead and start a family won.  We had already booked our Jamaica trip and it ended up coming at the perfect time in my pregnancy.  I don't know if any vacation will ever top that one.  And I continue to be amazed at God's perfect timing.  Pierce came three weeks early on Thanksgiving day.  Our plan was for him to come on his due date after Russ' finals, but he ended up coming at the perfect time for us.  It allowed extra time before Christmas to recover, Russ to take more time off to be with us, and extra time for him to study.  It all worked out just as it should.  And again I am amazed at God's perfect timing.  Russ and I always wanted to move to Farragut, but didn't think we could afford it for a long time.  Then one day Russ was browsing the internet and saw our new home.  We couldn't believe how perfect it was for us right now and the price was just right.  When we went to look at the house, we found out the seller is an attorney who graduated from UT.  He and his wife were selling by owner, which allowed us to not use a real estate agent and save a lot of money.  And again I am blown away by God's perfect timing.  We moved into our new home (I am still pinching myself) and put our condo on the market for sale by owner.  After only two days on the market, we got an offer at exactly what we were hoping for and accepted!  We continued to see answered prayers during the home inspection as Russ was under a lot of stress that it wouldn't be good.  All of this has taught us to trust in God and trust Him when things are out of our control.  We will be closing at exactly three years after buying the condo, which is exactly what we needed.  Our new home is much closer to family and has extra space for visitors.  This will help my mom out so much when she starts babysitting Pierce.  

Right before Pierce was born, our pastor preached on tithing.  Honestly, I didn't want to.  I wanted to keep my money for me.  When we counted how much it would be to tithe, my selfish side was hurting.  We knew after much prayer and reading our Bible that God expected us to tithe.  It should be God's money first, not ours.  It is only by His grace that we have what we have.  He has blessed us so much and the least we could do is to put Him at the top of our finances.  With a little one on the way, it wasn't easy, but we did it.  After Pierce was born, (as every mother does I'm sure), I started feeling the call to stay home with my baby.  I felt very strongly God calling me to be a stay-at-home-mama, but we just couldn't afford it.  I grieved not only at the thought of leaving my baby, but also not obeying the Lord.  I prayed for his mercy and that he would provide for my family.  After talking to one of my coworkers who had recently taken a new job, I decided to apply to the same place she was working.  They were hiring and the hours would work better for my family.  I felt like this was it, but sadly I didn't hear back from them.  I was desperate!  My current job that had said I could drop to part-time, had told me I was unable to decrease my hours like they had told me.  I looked at my schedule and they had me coming back working three twelve hour shifts in a row.  I didn't understand.  I was mad.  I was scared.  I finally gave it to God and got peace in my heart.  I had no choice but to go back, and I would patiently wait until God provided.  That same day I got an email from the job I had applied for and I got an interview!  I was thrilled to get the job just in time!  If I had gotten the job when I had planned then I would have had to leave Pierce much earlier, but this way would allow me to extend my maternity leave by a few weeks.  The hours are from 3-11 pm and it is part-time.  This helps my mom since she also cares for my grandmother and lives an hour away.  After four months,  I will be able to work from home.  I have been so impressed with my new job already.  They seem to truly care about my family and will be more flexible with my schedule.  I will no longer miss a whole holiday or a whole day of my child's life.  As much as I loved being a NICU nurse, the stress of caring for critically ill babies was sometimes too much.  I feel this job will be much better for my stress-level as a mommy.  I will still be helping parents as they call to ask health-related questions about their children.  The pay will be much better with this job as well.  God provided.  He said to test Him and put Him in charge in all areas of our lives.  He will never stop amazing me at how He cares for me and my little family.  He gave His son to a brutal death so I could live, and he continues to bless me every day.  I am the daughter of a King and owe it all to Him.

Snow right after moving in!



Friday, March 6, 2015

Pierce at 3 Months

Man, time is flying by!  Everyone warned me, but I had no idea he would grow this fast this soon!  Where did this month go?  It seems like as soon as I put a new outfit on Pierce, he outgrows it a week later.  When he went from newborn to 3 month size clothes, it didn't really bother me.  I thought it was neat that I got to put him in a whole new wardrobe.  However, now that he is growing out of 3 month size clothes and wearing 6 month size clothes, it isn't as fun.  It hurts my heart a little.  I'm so proud he is growing and doing so well.  I'm so proud I can provide the nourishment he needs, but oh how my heart aches realizing how fast moments, minutes, days, and years are going to pass by.  I try to hold on to each day and savor it, but it is like sand falling between my fingers.  I grasp it and then it is gone.  I smell that baby lotion and savor those baby coos, because I know they are fleeting too fast.  And as sad as it is, it also makes me so happy.  Each month Pierce learns new things and I can see more of his personality.  I love it!  Each stage becomes more fun!  Oh, how I love my baby boy.  Words just can't describe how much I love being his mommy.  He is the best!

There isn't a doctors appointment for this month, however, I can feel that Pierce has definitely been growing!  It hasn't been as a drastic change in his physical appearance as last month.  From 1 to 2 months it was like he grew overnight, but this month has been much more gradual.  He also has been overall a much happier baby.  He isn't near as colicky.  I can lie him down and he will entertain himself.  The ceiling fan is where its at!! There is nothing better to him than lying down on the floor and looking up at the ceiling fan.  He shows off the biggest grin and "talks" away.  I think part of what has really helped him is the probiotics we started him on.  If we ever have another child, I am going to start giving the Goodstart Colic drops right off the bat.  He started sleeping eight hours about a week after starting them.  We have been able to reduce his Zantac to once a day and rarely give Mylicon or Gripe Water anymore.  I'm so happy he is happy and doing well!


Developmentally, Pierce has grown so much this month.  He tracks with eyes and gives eye contact to others much better than at the two month update.  He carries on conversations now.  He loves to talk to his mama, and I eat it up!  Standing is a favorite of his.  We sing the song, "Stand up, stand up for Jesus!"  and he stands right up like he knows what I'm saying.  His daddy has recently taught him to stomp his legs.  It is so cute seeing those chubby legs stomp up and down.  He holds his head up really good as well, although it is a little heavy, like his daddy's. ;)  Some other new things this month is he has learned to blow bubbles, he has found his tongue, and his lips.  He likes to push his tongue out and around.  Now when he talks he tucks his lips in like a little old man's.  We have been trying to get him to hold a rattle and he can for a little while, but isn't really interested in it.  He does like to hit the toys on his play mat and in his bouncer.  As far as rolling over, he can do it if I lie him on his little play mat pillow, but hasn't been able to without it quite yet.  He is so close! 


Pierce is on more of a schedule now than last month.  He isn't as fussy and does really well with eating every three hours.  A few days ago, he went for day or two when he wanted to eat more, but I'm pretty sure that is due to his 3 month growth spurt.  For the most part our day starts at seven.  There are times where if I'm tired then we go back to sleep for a bit, but usually he eats then we go ahead and get up.  He is in the best mood in the mornings and it helps to allow me to pump, eat breakfast, and get ready.  He goes three hours throughout the day, but sometimes needs to cluster feed in the evenings depending on his mood.  We also have a bedtime now.  He eats at seven thirty then goes to sleep at eight.  I think he would actually go to bed earlier than that if I would let him.  I have tried to do the dream feed, but haven't had any luck with it, so I kind of do a dream feed in reverse where I feed him around 4 in the morning.  Sometimes he wakes up around one and I have to feed him, but usually a little rocking does the trick without needing to nurse.  We give him a bottle now at night and then I nurse him afterwards to sleep.  We put his Vitamin D and probiotic in his bottle plus it helps us to know he gets enough to last him through the night.  I'm hoping to start practicing and letting Russ put him to bed.  I love putting him to sleep, but I know I will be returning to work and others will need be able to put him to sleep without nursing of course.  As far as the amount of food, I have read that babies take about the same amount and it doesn't keep increasing.  This has been true as Pierce takes 4-6 ounces usually.  I'm still mostly nursing him, except for the bottle at night.  

Breastfeeding is going really well.  Pierce has learned that he can nurse without that annoying shield!  Praise!!  However, I ended up with blistered, raw nipples.  No bueno! So, I used the shield until they could heal up.  I'm watching his latch closer now and am doing much better.  Nipple butter, Lanolin, and soothie pads  have been very helpful.  I went through a period where I got lazy and stopped pumping, but part of it was that he was nursing so much.  Now that he eats every three hours, I try to pump after the morning session and before I go to bed.  I keep my milk organized and stay a week ahead in the refrigerator.  I'm not freezing any, but I have tons frozen from when I had an extra supply.  I was afraid my supply wasn't good enough, but after doing research on the Kellymom website, I am making just what I should be.  I did realize that if I want to nurse Pierce for months to come that I need to be responsible.  I need to drink water, pump, and eat my Cheerios!  haha


Sleep is going really well.  I can't complain.  I know sleep can change with a baby, so just because he might sleep well now doesn't mean he will do well in the future.  Babies are always changing and going through growth spurts.  In fact, during his growth spurt a few days ago he started waking up two to three times at night needing to eat.  However, he is getting better again and going back to his usual.  Every other night he gets a bath.  On nights without a bath, he sometimes gets lotion and a massage.  He gets his bottle and nurses then falls asleep.  I turn on the sound machine and it has a projector that puts a picture slideshow on the ceiling.  I put him in his pack-n-play by our bed and he sleeps until 3-4.  I feed him and put him back down and he gets up around 7.  Sometimes he wakes up more.  I try to rock him back to sleep or offer the pacifier before automatically nursing him.  I usually can tell if he is hungry or not.  Lately, he doesn't take his pacifier much, so I can't use that as an alternative like I used to.  He sleeps so good lying across me on his belly and sometimes I fall asleep while he is nursing and wake up to him rooting around looking for more food hours later.  I have been trying to do better about putting him back in his bassinet.  He is getting old enough where he will start remembering when I let him sleep with mommy. I am really trying to not start the habit of letting him sleep with us.  It is so tempting, especially since moving.  Now his room is upstairs and I know it is going to be harder to move him to his crib in the next few months.  I've moved his pack-n-play farther away from our bed and that has been hard enough!  I dread putting him upstairs so far away from us, but I know that is what baby monitors are for.  Hopefully, when he starts sleeping a little longer then we can move him.  Luckily, our new master bedroom is much larger and there is plenty of room for him to sleep.  We have also stopped swaddling his arms up.  I still put him in a sleep sack, but also let him have a blankey to cuddle.  I know that's not exactly safe sleep, but he can move the blanket around and also move his head.  I love watching him grasp on to the blanket and rub it to his face.  I was a blankey baby myself, and it is so sweet to see him loving on his.

Favorites and Dislikes

Favorites: ceiling fan, light fixtures, standing "up for Jesus", looking at mommy, playing on his playmat, sitting in his new bouncer, his giraffe lovey, blankets, eating, rocking in the glider, splashing in the bath, sound machine

Dislikes: His paci (avent), staying in the carseat too long, waiting to eat, being burped, going down the stairs, going to sleep, unfamiliar places, staying up late, loud noises

Mommy's 2 Month Letter to Pierce:

My sweet baby, you may look just like your daddy, but you are totally a mama's boy.  I love the way you love me and I love lovin' you right back!  You are so fun these days!  I have seen your little personality shine.  You love to "talk" to whoever/ whatever will listen as long as you are in your usual surroundings.  If we go out somewhere then you become oh so serious.  You have to study everything around you.  I can't believe how strong you have gotten!  Those chunky legs stiffen up and all you want to do is stand around.  I'm afraid you won't ever crawl and might even be walking in a few months at the rate you are going.  If not standing or stomping then you are kicking.  You love to lay around, kick, and talk to that wonderful ceiling fan of yours.  I think you are really enjoying your new home.  We joke we bought you a house, and we kind of did.  You love looking up at the high ceilings and are really happy your changing table is no longer in the closet.  Most of our conversations are had on that changing table.  For the most part, you enjoy getting your diaper changed and don't mind wearing a dirty diaper one bit (although mama changes you often).  You think it is hilarious when you make a stinky diaper and me or your daddy says, "Sheeeweee!"  I love seeing that gummy grin.  We can finally make you grin, which delights us to no end.  You are such a big boy!  People see you and wonder what I'm feeding you.  I'm amazed myself that you have grown so fast so soon.  There is just more of you to love now.  It is crazy to think a few months ago, you were in my belly.  I can't even remember what life was like before you were here.  Now I sit and rock you and you stroke my arm with your precious little hands.  It is the best feeling in the world.  I also love when you are nursing and stop just to look up at me and grin.  You know how to make your mommy's heart just melt.  I try to thank God for you multiple times a day.  Never have I been so happy and so fulfilled.  My whole life I have tried to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up.  Sometimes still I wonder if I made the right choice.  However, being your mommy is something that I am 100% positive I was supposed to be.  I love this role I'm in.  God knew just what I needed.  Mommy and daddy love you more than anything.  You are such a blessing to us!  I love you more this month than the last, and I can't wait to see how you grow in the months to come.

Love you with all of me