Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Long time, no post

My baby is sick. I feel so helpless. My sweet, easy-going, beaming child has been reduced to a cranky, crying, sleepy one by a miserable fight with an ear infection. We have seen the tiniest glimpses of her former self when we dance around like fools for her as she cries and tries to smile back at us.

Last night was a blur. With the incessant coughing and sneezing, Avery woke herself up more times than I can recall. Not having dealt with a sick child before, I jumped out of bed in panic every time she made a sound. A couple of times, I jumped up just to check and see why I hadn't heard her in a while.

She was so sweet this morning, even after such a hard night. Chad dropped her off at her daycare and she was asleep in her carseat. A couple of hours later, they called me because she seemed miserable. Her 4 month checkup at the doctor was supposed to be Thursday, so we just bumped it up to today and they worked her in for shots and a once-over from Dr. Morel.

We're coming down off a weekend high. We had a nice visit with Beverly (Chad's mom), who came in town Thursday to watch Avery while Chad and I went to David and Jessie's rehearsal dinner. Friday, we all went to the wedding—Avery included—and enjoyed catching up with old college friends. As Beverly was leaving, Nana and Papa (my parents) were coming into town from North Carolina. It had been so long since they had seen Avery. They were so shocked at the little personality she has taken on.

Chad and Dad played golf on Saturday and Mom and I bought fabric and patterns to get started on some outfits for Avery. I'm gradually learning more and more about how Grandmother's old sewing machine works. While I am incredibly grateful to have it, I'm dying to have a new one of my own with all the bells and whistles that I'm looking for. I have a long way to go before I'm as talented as my mom, but maybe a new toy will motivate me to keep trying.

I'm trying to discipline myself to schedule things I need to get done after work. I just finished my first week full-time in the office. It wasn't as bad as I expected. I have a pretty great team and they're so supportive and encouraging, assuring me that family comes first. I still have a long way to go before I'm caught up with marketing plans and campaigns, but I really enjoy it, so I'm inspired to work hard at it while I'm in the office.

Chad and I went for a walk tonight. We're trying to make it a habit. Since I haven't been able to join the walking mommies in the mornings (They'd better still be walking!), I have to come up with my own exercise regimen. I'll still be battling the bulge for a while, so I'm grateful for Chad for motivating me to get out and get moving. If you have any recommendations besides pushing the stroller up a steep hill, share away!

I leave you with photos from the past week. Enjoy! I'll try not to wait so long for the next post.

Sleeping in Daddy's tie at Josh & Lindsey's wedding

Cheesin' it up

Showing off for Nana & Papa

Happy time in the Boppy

Grins with Mommy before school this morning

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Testing 123

I thought I was going to get my husband back on Friday. He came back into town, but dove straight back into his studies for the CPA. His test is Tuesday. The poor thing has been hanging out at the library most of the time since he got home. (He's much more disciplined than I am.) He has poured himself into preparing for each individual part of the exam. We were hoping to have all this behind us before Avery came along, but we should have realized that you can't rush this and that you have to completely focus in order to end up with a good score.

Parenthood has interrupted a few of our plans. We should have known. Some of them have been welcomed interruptions and others seem a bit more sacrificial. Regardless, we know that God timed Avery's arrival just perfectly for us. While we would love to have the CPA exam behind us, we know that Chad will be finished in plenty of time to reap the benefits.

We had a nice weekend. Chad rolled into town earlier than expected on Friday, so he squeezed in a quick 9 holes of golf. (It's been ages since he has played.) We grabbed dinner out with Avery on Friday night and got our wedding rings cleaned, too.

Chad spent most of the day at the library on Saturday and I went to Traveller's Rest Plantation to help set up for Lindsey Stigall and Josh Crites' wedding. That place is gorgeous and the wedding was so beautiful and fun. Although I didn't do much, helping with the reception made me want to be a wedding coordinator. If I could do it all over again, I would have hired someone to take care of all the details of my wedding. It's just too stressful for a bride (& her family) to have to worry about that stuff on the wedding day. I'd much rather have left it up to someone else so I wouldn't have even had to think about what might have been forgotten. Of course, I probably would have done several things differently. Brides too often feel as though they have to please everyone else rather than actually have the dream wedding. It's going to cost a fortune anyway. A bride should get what she wants!

Kim spent the night with us after the wedding. She left around 8 this morning so we went to one of my favorite places for breakfast -- Bruegger's Bagels -- and then to class. Ken Switzer and Randal Wilcher are teaching a class on Paul's letters and it's fantastic. It is very well attended because Ken and Randal are quite educated -- and quite funny, too. I'm amazed that Ken seemed so eager to attack the controversial topic today of women's role in the church. I'm really sad that next week is the last week of the quarter. I'm sure we'll have another great set of choices for class.

After church, we went to Pei Wei. (Wow. Does it seem like we eat out enough?) We love to eat out with our life group, but it's pretty tough to find a place that can seat so many babies. We usually end up scarfing down our food before all the kids start screaming.

Chad headed back to the library this afternoon and Avery and I settled in front of the Braves game for a quick nap. She slept a little longer than expected, so we were late for Celebration service at church. We were expecting our life group there. We decided not to meet in someone's home tonight so we could go to Celebration, but it ended up being us and the Daniels and Laura Essner. So we went to McAllister's with the Daniels afterward. (Okay, so YES, we do eat out way too much.) It was nice to have some two-on-two time with them. They're pretty fun. Although they've been married longer than us, they are at a place in their lives that I remember quite well -- just getting plugged in at church and in a life group. I just hope that their lives are blessed by the life group as much as our lives have been blessed.

It is a sense of belonging. Even though we still have some insecurities, Chad and I feel amazingly close to our group. We're all sharing the joys and challenges of being new parents and still trying to keep our marriages fresh and new. It's definitely good to have friends who know what you're going through, good or ill.

Mom and Dad are coming to visit this weekend and I couldn't be more excited! It has been so long since they've seen Avery, so they're taking advantage of the long weekend. We still have to work out the lodging logistics, but it looks like they're coming Saturday morning. I think they are going to flip out when they see how much Avery has changed and developed. Her face is so expressive now and she's using her hands really well. I'm very proud.

Well, Chad is already asleep, trying to get rested so he can get up early and study before work. Bless his heart. I'm calling it a night. Till next time . . .

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Snot and spit up

This week is a weird one. I'm playing the single parent since Chad is out of town. It's tough. I don't know how some people do it. It makes me really appreciate all he does around here. I definitely appreciate that he takes Avery to daycare each day. It's quite out of the way for me.

Speaking of daycare, Avery is doing really well. I think she and I have come down with something, though. It started out as sneezing with allergy-like symptoms, but it has gotten down in my chest and initiated a painful cough. Avery's eyes are red and she has been sneezing and coughing, too. Let's hope it stays mild, though. I've been blowing my nose like crazy, but she doesn't exactly know how to do that yet and she hates the bulb syringe stuck up her nose.

When I picked her up today, she was in a different outfit. Mrs. Kourtne', Avery's teacher, told me she had to change her because she spit up "all over herself." That's a new thing. She has never been one to spit up much, but after we got home this afternoon, she did it again. She's in her fourth outfit today (counting her pj's from this morning). It'll be 5 by bedtime. I'm hoping this trend is over!

She seems to be adjusting to this new schedule quite well. I'm doing much better than I expected, but I miss her like crazy during the day. I'm very tempted to take her to work with me and stash her under my desk.

No pictures today, but be sure you look back a couple of days where I posted shots from St. Louis.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Happy Mother's Day!

Today is Mother's Day. My first with a child of my own. However, last year's was just about as special because it was the day we found out we were expecting Avery. Let's go back . . . the Saturday before, we took a pregnancy test that was supposed to show a plus sign if it was positive. It looked funny, so we decided we weren't pregnant. The next day, we took a digital test and it confirmed our suspicions. It was a pretty special day.

Today was pretty special, too. Chad and Avery woke me up with roses and a card. We went to lunch at Big River Grille and came home for a Baskin Robbins ice cream cake! It's amazing to think that I'm a mom. It's even more shocking to realize that my mom is a grandmother now. She's not old enough to be a grandmother!

Being a mom now makes me appreciate my mother even more than I already did. There are so many tiny little things that I never realized moms did. And I never knew how much she really loved me until I had Avery and felt the deepest, purest love I've ever known. It's a love that children don't have to earn. It was as if God planted a mother's love for her child deep into her heart while he was knitting the child together in the mother's womb. Amazing!

Avery rolled over for the first time today, too. We were so proud! She is advancing and growing every day. She does a new "trick" every week. And she is the happiest, sweetest child I've ever been around. We are pretty lucky to have such an easygoing baby.

My blessings are too numerous to count. Happy Mother's Day!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

The (Thomas Nelson) Office - Season Premier

Today was the day. I started back to work. Well, technically I started back Sunday when I flew out to Los Angeles with my team for a strategic planning meeting with the Red Hat Society. It was a whirlwind trip, but we accomplished so much for our upcoming book project. Those ladies are fantastic!

I left Avery in very able hands with Chad while I was gone. My cousin Jenny kept her on Monday while he was at work, but he managed everything else. I, on the other hand, had a bit of trouble while I was gone. Airplanes don't have electrical outlets and I forgot my hand pump. In fact, the airports didn't have reasonable accommodations either. I stuck it out and survived, but it definitely wasn't comfortable. I'm just grateful there were no crying babies on the plane. Yikes!

We spent Tuesday and Wednesday getting Avery adjusted to daycare. Okay, so let's be honest. We really just needed to get ourselves adjusted to having her in daycare. Chad and I were both miserable and weepy all day Tuesday, but we managed to keep it together. Today was definitely easier.

Miraculously, my car drove itself to the office today. It was a pretty easy transition back to work. I wasn't there very long. All I managed to get done was clean out my email inbox. I'm pretty proud of myself, though. I went through almost 3,000. Granted, most of them were Google news updates and Viagra ads, but I got 'em knocked out. Tomorrow will be dedicated to educating myself on the new products and alerting my authors and media contacts that I've resurfaced.

We had dinner with the Millers tonight. It was an answered prayer. Sallie called when Avery and I were staring blankly into the pantry trying to come up with a plan for supper. I HATE deciding what to cook for dinner. The actual preparation is not a problem. It's the decision itself. Aarg! But Sallie phoned in and laid out the invitation and saved the day! All we really ended up doing was grubbing and watching NBC season finales.

We have a night for each network. Sunday is ABC for Desperate Housewives and Grey's Anatomy. Tuesday is Fox for American Idol. Wednesday is Fox, too, for the results show. (Can you believe Chris got voted off? Shocking! I, personally, am a big fan of Elliott Yamin. Vote people!!!!!) Thursday is NBC for Will & Grace, My Name is Earl, The Office, and ER. We try not to watch TV too much, but it's ridiculously difficult to turn the thing off when we pay so much for cable. Don't get me started.

Okay, so I really should wind it down. I need to save something to write about another day.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Still in STL

I can't believe how quickly this week has flown by. I know it's because I start back to work next week. At least it's part time so I can stay sane. But I'm going back with a bang. I fly out Sunday night to Los Angeles and back on Monday for a really fast meeting with the Red Hat Society. We're publishing their cookbook this summer, so we're nailing down all the final marketing plans. The book is going to be incredible! All the best recipes from the country's most extravagant gotta-love-life women.

Chad's auditing class wrapped up today in St. Louis, so we went up in the arch. Avery fell asleep right before we got in the tram to the top. We took pictures of her by the window and next to the elevation sign so that one day we can prove to her that she has been there. We left the camera cord in Nashville, so I'll have to post those pictures when we get back home.

While Chad was in class today, Avery and I hunted for the post office to mail my dad's birthday present. While we were out, we grabbed lunch. There are not many places to eat in St. Louis. I found a Qdoba restaurant, but I had to circle the parking lot 4 times before I found a parking space. And we realized that the line was out the door. Then it dawns on me that it's Cinco de Mayo. Bad idea. But we had no other choice. The place was packed with high school kids (they get free soft drinks on Fridays) and business people drinking Corona on their lunch break. Any excuse for a beer for some folks, I guess.

We had dinner with my friend Jodi and her fiance' Paul. Jodi and I always have a good time, but I feel like I got to know Paul. He is a great guy and he and Jodi make a pretty good couple. It's going to be fun watching her get married and start a family. She has always been the Mother Hen to our group of college friends. She took great care of me after my car accident in college and ever since has made herself responsible for the well-being of the rest of us. It will be neat to see her with her own kids one day.

Well, that's all for tonight. I'm sure I'll have plenty to add when we get home. Till then . . .

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Gateway to the West

Chad, Avery and I are in St. Louis, MO, this week. Chad has an audit conference at the Adam's Mark Hotel, so Avery and I are killing time in the city. We arrived last night in time for dinner. Not wanting to risk getting lost on our first night, we went to T.G.I.Friday's. They seated us in the non-smoking section RIGHT next to the smoking section. We had to be moved so our infant daughter wouldn't smell like an ashtray. But dinner was fantastic.

This morning, Avery slept quite late. We loaded up the stroller and hit up the local Starbuck's for breakfast. I'm almost convinced that no one in St. Louis has ever seen a baby. People everywhere were stopping me to coo at Avery and ask questions about her. Absurd.

We went to Famous-Barr department store afterward. I'm hunting for the perfect birthday gift for my dad. I managed to find everything else but that gift while I was at the store. My dad is hard to buy for. What do you get for the guy who has everything?

I digress. We played around at Famous-Barr long enough to allow Mother Nature to brew up a little storm outside. We were trapped. We had walked 6 blocks from the hotel and I didn't have an umbrella. I waited for the rain to let up and made a run for it. We zipped from awning to awning, popped in Panera Bread for lunch and got back to the hotel only slightly drenched. The first of many adventures this week, I'm sure.