Monday, March 31, 2014

March Miscellaneous

March was so very busy.  We definitely lived up all 31 days of it!  I began the month with a chop of my hair.  I was ready for a change, and I thought donating it sounded like a good idea.  Warmer months are ahead, and I thought it would be nice to lighten the load for summer!  It was a fun change, and it was neat to know that my hair went to Children With Hair Loss.  
A Baylor Women's Mama Bears event I facilitated took place the first Friday of March.  The weather was perfect, and it was fun to catch up with and meet other Baylor alumnae with young children.  We played at the park and made some fun handprint and footprint crafts (because what mama is not a sucker for handprint/footprint crafts, especially ones that look like bears?!)  There were 10-15 mamas there, and my mom came to help out with Clara.  It was lots of fun!

The month brought a few Sunday School events, both from our old classes and current class.  The first Sunday of the month, we attended a reunion lunch of sorts with lots of friends from our very first MYA class at HFBC, Veritas.  What a sweet groups of friends.  Many have moved on to other churches, and many (like us) went on to start other classes, but it was neat to be all together again.  It was also astounding to see how many children we have had since then.  Goodness gracious!  The next weekend, we hosted the leadership of our new class, Catalyst, for a brunch.  Exciting times!  Madeleine also had a blast at Violet and Parker's camping-themed birthday party (so cute!) before we enjoyed a family dinner at Linnet's.
The next Monday I was overjoyed to have a crazy day at home with four sweet girlies - mine, of course, and my sweet friend Laura's girls.  Our girls are third generation friends - their grandmothers were roommates at Baylor, then their mommies were...and well, no pressure, y'all.  Anyway, my friend Laura's little sister was having her baby, so I kept the girls while she spent the day at the hospital.  It was a RIOT.
That same week, we enjoyed an evening at the Rodeo with my sisters and their men.  We saw Jake Owen and had a lovely time in the Waste Management suite.  Thanks, Jul!
The following day, Madeleine had her rodeo day at school.  She looked so cute and so BIG!  Goodness gracious.
I picked her up from Rodeo Day just a bit early so that we could meet up with Granna and Grandad and head north to Plano for a little spring visit.  Usually my dad doesn't come with us for these mid-week trips, but he had some business in the metroplex, so we all headed north together.  It was a great time of catching up with some of our family, and I got to have dinner with Anne too!


The girls were troopers, but they must have been a little worn out from the traveling.  When we got back (the beginning of their "spring break") Clara had a virus, then I got it, then Madeleine was dealing with allergies, and Clara was teething.  We stayed home for about five days straight!  I guess you have to slow down sometime. (wink)  We eventually made it back outside to enjoy some of the springtime weather!
We hosted a big going-away party for some friends the next weekend, but that's in a separate post.  We quickly went back to the metroplex for just one night - my sweet mother-in-law retired from decades of nursing!  The party we attended was so much fun, and she was just a little excited to show off her granddaughters. :)  It was an honor to be there and celebrate all of her accomplishments!
The month finished up with our class women's retreat.  We didn't want to go too far since we have a lot of new mamas in the class - let's just say there was a lot of well-labeled milk in my parents' fridge!  Anyway, it was such a nice time of retreat - of spiritual and relational refreshment, and for some mamas, it was just lovely to get a full night's sleep!
We really enjoyed the arrival of spring - the month began with the girls in fleeces, and we finished in short sleeves at Fire Truck park!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Happy 4-month birthday, Clara!

Dear Clara,

Hi love!  You are four months old today!!  You are such a little joy in our family.  Your little personality continues to blossom, and I admit, you are turning me into more of a "baby person."  I'm not ready to claim that title quite yet, but baby, you are so irresistibly charming!  Your sister loves you so much that she made her own video parody about you to the tune of "Let it Go."


MadeleineLetItGo (Clara Bear) from Allison White on Vimeo.

Too funny.

You are getting chunkier!  You still nurse for your morning feeding, but you prefer breastmilk bottles during the course of the day.  That works out fine since we are oftentimes on the go.  Your teeth are starting to really bother you on and off, and you are having a little bit of some sleep regression.  Most nights you go about 8 or 9 pm to 7 or 8 am, but you are starting some shenanigans every few nights.
March was a busy month, and you did so well just going with the flow with our family.  I am continually in awe of your go-with-the-flow nature.  Your awareness is growing - you love playing on your playmat, and your neck is getting stronger and stronger as you turn to look at everything around you. We've had to venture into some crying-it-out, but don't try any antics, sister, we know from Madeleine that this method is totally worth it as you learn to soothe yourself.  Where we are in uncharted waters is middle-of-the-night crying it out.  Hmmm.

You did have a little fever one Sunday morning, which morphed into a little 24-hour feverish virus, but all-in-all you are a pretty healthy little girl!  We are so thankful for your health.
As you grow, you are able to better support yourself, so this has yielded a new tradition: sister baths!!  We used to bathe you in the sink while your sister got a tub bath, but you are getting too big, love!
Madeleine loves having you as her little buddy.  She loves doing everything with you.  This could change once you start moving and taking her toys, but for now, we will enjoy it!

I know I have said this before, but it is already so hard to imagine our little family without you as a part of it.  Even as such a little baby, you add so much!   
You are generous with your smiles, cuddles and giggles, you still love your paci, and we love watching you grow!

Love,
Mommy

Friday, February 28, 2014

The fullness of February

 February brought more fun as I continued to grow into my role of mom to two.  Madeleine has done a great job adjusting, and she continues to play well at home (many days) since it's hard for us to get out and about with four-nap Clara!  Madeleine has such an exceptional imagination, and she continues to be lots of fun.  Whether she is singing "Do you want to build a snowman?" into Clara's doorknob or coming up with all sorts of adventures, she continues to be a delight (most of the time.) 

We were able to celebrate Cason's 33rd birthday with a fun, low-key, make-your-own-pizza night.  We had a great time celebrating Cason!  I even made cupcakes with twizzler bites on the top.  That's love!

 Valentine's prep got underway, as I had a fantastic little cupid to help me!  Madeleine loved making things for her class and for our family.   As I've said before, I really enjoy Valentine's day much more now that I am a mama!  She was a great help, and she loves any time she can help cook!
Madeleine's party in her class was so cute.  The kids have grown so much this year.  Of course she had a photo op with Avery.  Avery's family had a tough February as her baby sister Kate was born on the 7th with some health complications.  She spent the whole month in the NICU, but Avery and her parents handled it amazingly!
I love making a big, gaudy deal out of Valentine's day for my sweet girls and husband.  It is just too much fun being a mom during this holiday.  Madeleine was delighted by the hearts she got on her door each morning, and she loved waking up to a decorated breakfast room!
After our family breakfast, we jumped in the car and headed north to Denton.  Cason had a long weekend thanks to President's Day, so it was fun to go celebrate his birthday again, Valentine's day, and have the Monday holiday to really maximize our trip.  We ran some errands in Plano on Saturday, so Gran and Granpa met up with us for lunch.  Granpa gave Clara her lunchtime bottle. :) 
We enjoyed an impromptu chipping contest in the backyard as well.  Madeleine was a real sport about collecting all of the balls that did NOT go into the hot tub.
We ventured to the zoo one Friday - we have a great family membership, but this time we went also for a friend's birthday party.  Thankfully my sweet friend Sara Beth has Fridays off of work, and my sister Liz has every other Friday off of work, so they happened to be free to join us, and I sure appreciated the help!   The weather was perfect for Clara to mostly stay snuggled in the Moby, it was chilly but not too cold.
I also had the chance to go visit previously mentioned baby Kate in the NICU.  It was such a miracle to see how God was continuing to grow and heal her body, and I loved stroking her sweet hair.  What a beautiful baby with a powerful story!  For more of her story, visit Shannon's amazing blog! http://www.shannonpurnellowen.blogspot.com/
It was definitely a full and fun February!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Happy 3-month birthday, Clara!

Dear Clara, 

We are so excited to celebrate three months with you!  February has been a fun month, and we were excited to have you join us for Daddy's birthday and Valentine's day this year.  You fit in so very well with our family, and we just can't imagine life without you!  

After your 2-month shots, it was time for you to go to the church nursery on Sunday mornings!  You are loved so well there.  Ms. Judy, who took such good care of your big sister, is also your first Sunday School teacher.  She loves you very much. You began this month with a little congestion, and for some reason, that was making it hard for you to nurse.  We started feeding you with mostly pumped bottles, both because it seemed easier for you, and we really wanted to make sure you were getting enough food.  That has translated to always nursing you first thing in the morning, but you prefer bottles the rest of the day.  It actually works pretty well for our busy family!  You have moved over to your bed officially - no more rock and play sleeper in your room.  

You are still very peaceful and love to be cuddled. You still love the Moby, and that makes it easy to take you places and get you to sleep when we are out and about.  You love it when, after your baths, I give you a little massage before bed.  When it gets to the tummy part, you almost always have little baby toots, and it is just so cute. 
One thing you are not always laid back about is your carseat.  You typically are sleeping in it or screaming in it!! Another thing that we were disappointed to find out this month is that you were uninsured!!  When Daddy went in the system to add you after your birth, there was a glitch, and you weren't added. :( Long story short, we had to pay out-of-pocket for your 2-month check up and shots (!) but we purchased you your very own insurance plan.  Goodness gracious. 

You continue to develop more awareness, really responding to us, focusing on different things, babbling, and you even gave me your first giggle.  February in Texas has yielded days when you were really bundled to days when you felt the grass with your bare feet!
We love you, sweet thing!

Love,
Mommy

Friday, January 31, 2014

Just...January

Welcome 2014!  We started January with wedding festivities but also really settling into life with our two chickies after the holiday season.  Madeleine enjoyed playing with her new toys, and we rung in the new year with fondue and a Baylor Fiesta Bowl game, unfortunately not a win, but hey, we looked cute!

Since Clara came home, the kitties had been acting a little unusual, making more messes, etc. We thought they might be randomly having a hard time with the new baby (there wasn't an issue with Madeleine.)  Anyway, it got really out of hand, and we came back to a huge mess after Christmas.  We made the tough decision to let them go.  Well, when we took them in to try to get them adopted, we found out they were actually really sick (the reason for the messes) and they had to be put to sleep.  We miss them lots and lots, and even though we were sad they had gotten sick, we felt better that it wasn't just an adjustment thing, they really had a problem.  Poor babies.  Miss you Winston and Theodore!  We had a great 5 1/2 years with you!
Madeleine had some good fun with our cleared out living room - after the kitties were gone, we steam cleaned all of our rugs and carpets.  Our living room quickly turned into her dance floor.
Before the wedding, Madeleine got her hair cut, and we had a lunch date with Daddy at Corner Bakery Cafe - one of our favorite spots.  Clara just kept getting cuter and cuter.
The weekend after the wedding, Anne and Patrick came to visit - Patrick ran the Houston Marathon!  They were so sweet to come by to visit with us and meet Clara.
Cason had Martin Luther King Jr. Day off, so we spent some time at the Arboretum. 
Madeleine also had fun riding her new bike in the neighborhood, but sometimes she needed to "stop for a little rest. 
The weather wasn't all balmy - we had two "ice days" where various parts of Houston were hit with varying degrees of icy weather.  It was quite cold, but all it brought to us were some icicles.  We spent a lot of time inside trying to stay warm, and once Madeleine wanted to "play beach."
We had a really nice date night with our friends the Halgrens - we went to Backstreet Cafe and a wonderful American Songbook-type show at the Houston Symphony.  We had such a nice time!
I was honored to be among the hostesses for Baby Charlie Carpenter's shower!  It was a really special celebration with lots of yummy food!  We are so excited to meet him - J.T. and Noelle are going to be such good parents.
We went to the Arboretum once more with the Owens before our second "Ice Day."  While there wasn't much of a storm, the excitement felt by the city and the uncertainty in all the preparations sure makes for some fun, and there's nothing wrong with staying cozy indoors, especially when you have a two-month old.  The Texas weather is so crazy.
The girls were up to their usual shenanigans, just being hilarious and lots of fun!  I'd say our January got off to a great start!!