Wednesday, August 21, 2013

365: A Reflection on Will's First Year

My dear, sweet William Joseph, today is your birthday.  I cannot believe you are a year old.  I cannot believe we have had all your first holidays: Labor Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's, Valentine's Day, Easter, Fourth of July, and now Birthday Month (appropriately named due to all of the August birthdays we celebrate--including yours). 

One year ago today, mommy was leaving for the hospital looking like this:
Whoa!  Suffice it to say you were out of room in there.  It was time for you to officially join our world.  So we left for the hospital long before the sun rose, before your Kindergarten-brother would climb the school bus for just the 2nd time in his life, before we would actually see your face for the first time -- although just how long until you and we met face-to-face came as a surprise for us all.

I have explained before that Will was born with some heart issues.  But be reminded that for the previous nine months, we had no clue anything was other than routine.  During the 11 hours I labored we never imagined how the day would end.  It wasn't until my silent little colorless, six pound 11 ounce bundle emerged that we began to worry.

Through all of the confusion, amid the anguish, Bobby and I took a united approach to getting through the minutes, hours, and days.  Somehow time passed.  With little notice, an entire year passed.  But let me not get ahead of myself.

Will spent the first week of his life in the NICU.  I left the hospital without him, writhing in agony.  I lay awake at night wondering if his tiny little hands were searching for mine.  Was his "Morris" nose searching for my scent?  Was he listening to all of the nurses' hushed voices trying to hear my familiar drawl?   However, I couldn't focus too heavily on that.  I had two older children who needed me to be strong for them.  Their childish innocence also yearned to know why their long-awaited-for baby brother couldn't come home. 

Some may say Will's health challenges were small, even insignificant, compared to what other "sick" newborns face.  I'm not negating that claim; it's true that Will was okay.  But I believe that God allows everyone to face tribulation relevant to what that person can handle.  We all suffer in our own ways.  Fear and despair exists, faith is challenged in every heart just enough before it snaps or we hit our knees in worship and ask God's mercy.  So in that first week of Will's life we managed to check off our list of blessings: hearing...check; eyesight...check; no spina bifida...check; no physical malformations, heart deformations, signs of brain injury...check.  And then, he came home!

We were assigned to Dr. Robb Romp, the most fabulous pediatric cardiologist I have ever met (sure, he's the only one, but I feel confident the bar has been raised by him).  Dr. Romp never spoke to me in multi-syllabic medical jargon.  He would tell me exactly what I needed to know, yet also maintained the expertise to alleviate any concerns I may have. 

I can remember very early in Will's life the Dr. Romp said not to raise Will as if he were a baby with a heart condition, meaning, do not give him any special treatment.  Another blessing: we would be able to raise Will as a "normal" child.    In months the first three months, Will was truly an easy baby.  He easily accepted being put on an eating and sleeping routine.  By month six Will could sit up and by month seven he could pull himself into a standing position.  We dusted off our list of blessings: fine motor skills...check; muscle strength and coordination...check.

And that brings me to today.  Today, Will is a year old.  He completes this family in ways that I never realized were deficient.  I will always have concerns and worries.  There will always be times of fear and doubt and confusion.  I am a mother.  But I look back on my scared, post-partum self who wished the days would hurry along so I could bring William home and I want to remind myself that sped time never slows down.  I look back on my longing and yearning and realize that I was always so very blessed to have that experience.  It was truly a humbling lesson on both acceptance and trust in God's plan. 

William Joseph, you are 12 months old today.  You weigh TBA and you are TBA inches long.  You say "Bubba", "dah (dog)", "dada", "bye-bye (with a wave)", "da-du (thank you)" and an entire vocabulary of babble.  You hold your own bottle, you self-feed, you love to chase balls, you scream and squeal with delight, you have the most unique un-crawling style I have ever seen, you are extremely close to walking, and you are the best snuggler who ever existed.  You wear a size 12 month clothing and a size 4 diaper.  William Joseph, I wish I could slow down time.  But I am along for the ride and I thank God every day for everyone who makes up your family. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Will's Very Hungry Caterpillar Birthday Party

I cannot believe that one year ago at this very minute, I was double triple checking my hospital bag, knowing that I would soon be heading to the hospital to meet my William Joseph.  I mean, look at this sweet face:

On Sunday the 18th we threw his birthday party with a Very Hungry Caterpillar theme.  The invitations were adorable, if I do say so myself:
I had a lot of fun decorating; so much so that I put out very little food.  It's okay though.  With a party time of 3:00 PM, I was hoping people didn't come too hungry. 
Food tents at the food.  We kinda-sorta ate our way through the story with a few exceptions and modifications.

One of the main centerpieces of any great birthday party is the cake...or cakes in this case.  I made chocolate and white cupcakes, and Will had his very own smash cake:

To drink, guests had a choice of sweet tea, soft drinks, or water especially bottled just for the occasion.  Okay, the last part is a stretch, but check these out:
Instead of goodie bags filled with dime-store treasures (who started that joyous tradition, anyway?) I sent guests home with caterpillar cookies that looked really similar to these:

...but I didn't get a good picture of mine.  Shame.  Here they are on display in the bottom left hand corner of the picture below:

I have to be honest, Will didn't truly love his cake the way I thought he would.  I wonder if it was all the attention of being watched.  He did like it, but he didn't make the huge, face-planting mess that some 1-year-olds do. 
Will received a little candle-blowing assistance from the sibs.
It was a great party.  Will had a fun time being passed around and crawling around.  Our simple home was filled with close friends and family who all came out to celebrate Will's first year of life.

The sweetest big brother who ever lived!
The Mitchell-Nolan crew were in attendance!  Hooter-Hoot!
The birthday-boy and his!
I just love this picture of Caroline and her Uncle Jason!
Will and his Aunt Kristy
Will and his cousin/Godmother

Party sources:
All printed products (invitations, cupcake toppers, banners, water bottle labels): Allie Logan Designs
Will's first birthday shirt: bought 2nd-hand in new condition from a "W" monograms group on FB
Will's cake and favor-cookies: Val's Handmade Creations by Valerie Cook, my neighbor


Friday, August 2, 2013

Five on Friday - Morris Style

Happy, happy Friday y'all!  I am trying something new, which is not completely uncommon around here.  I'm participating in a li'l blog link up:

Here are five of the five million random things on my mind today.  Ready?

1.  I use eMeals to dinner plan most weeks (you know, the weeks I actually do dinner plan).  I'm not pie-in-the-sky in love with eMeals.  Sure, it makes dinner planning easy, and it creates your meals around what is actually on sale at your pre-determined grocery store.  My main complaint is that the meals still seem a little to out there for my meat and potatoes loving crew.  However, sometimes there are hits that make the must-cook, must-share list like this one below.  So I'm sharing.  You're welcome in advance.

Mexican Lasagna

1 lb ground chuck
15 oz can jalapeno ranch-style beans, drained
10 oz can tomatoes and green chilies
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper
10.5 oz can cream of celery soup
10.5 oz can cream of mushroom soup
10 oz can enchilada sauce *I used green sauce and it was heavenly good!
9 corn tortillas
3 cups fiesta blend cheese, divided
1 tomato, chopped
cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 avocado, peeled and chopped
Heat oven to 350 degrees. In large skillet, brown ground chuck until done and crumbly; drain. Stir in beans, tomatoes, garlic powder, salt and pepper; set aside. In a saucepan, combine soups and enchilada sauce; stir and heat through. Spoon ⅓ of sauce in bottom of  greased 9x13 inch baking dish. Top with 3 corn tortillas; sprinkle with 1 cup cheese and spoon half of meat mixture over cheese. Repeat layers. Sprinkle with chopped tomatoes and cilantro. Bake for 30 minutes. Top with chopped
avocado before serving.

Disclaimer:  Obviously this is neither clean eating nor paleo.  I do not have nutrition information, and I don't care for this recipe.  This falls under the "everything delicious in moderation" category. 

2.  I really wish I was back at the beach right now.  Sure it rained 4 of our 7 days for part or all of the day.  Sure it was crazy chaos with all our crew.  But I love those people.  Am I a glutton for punishment?  I am also annoyed at myself that I haven't blogged about our trip yet.  Hopefully that will come soon before I completely forget all the special memories.
3.  This fall Bobby and I will celebrate 10 years of marriage.  10 years!  How is that even possible?  Bobby, if you are reading this, you know you hate it when I lie to you, so please don't ask me any questions that put me in a position to have to lie in order to stall you.  For the rest of you, I am planning a sweet surprise for my hubby.  I am so giddy about it, too!  You know when you are so excited that all you want to do is snuggle and talk to your BFF about what's on your mind?  But in this case I can't because he is the subject/recipient of my plans.  Oh, the mental turmoil!  Y'all stay tuned in October to see what I have cooked up!

4.  I am so excited about Will's upcoming The Very Hungry Caterpillar birthday party.  I love that book; I love all of Eric Carle's work and I really hope this turns out cute.  I am not terribly creative.  Rather, I just find inspiration (or PINspiration) and try my best to recreate it. 


5.  Jurassic Park.  Y'all, my almost 7-year-old is obsessed with this movie.  We went this summer to see it in 3D in the theater.  I was afraid he would be scared by some of the more bloody T-Rex attacks, but he took it like a pro.  Now we have discovered that AT&T U-verse has this movie on demand for free.  So every time the little kids are away that is all he wants to do.  In fact, T-Rex is eating the smarmy lawyer off the toilet as I type this.  Rob has seen JP 2 and JP 3, but he learned a lesson so obscure to Hollywood: nothing ever beats an original installment. 

That's it for today.  Except for one bit of vague personal business matters.  I know someone who is in need of prayers.  This person is having a hard time living a Christ-centered life.  I don't want to go into too many details, but this person is really at a crossroads of being tested.  If you are out there reading this and you know me personally, please just leave this vague.  I am not at liberty to share any details.  For all the rest of you, if you could just pray that God answers Emily's random prayer request, I am sure He will know what you are talking about.  Thanks!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

It's A Blog Sale!

Hey y'all!  I have a mixed-lot of goodies you may be interested in.  All items include a $5 shipping fee.  If you are reading this and you are local to me, we can get together minus the shipping cost.  Leave your PayPal info in the comments with the item(s) you want.  I will send you an invoice ASAP.  Make sure you are refreshing this page, as I will update the item availability frequently.  Happy shopping!
Ladies' Wilson's Leather 100% leather / faux fur coat.  Size L but fits snug...$50
Ladies' snow / ski jacket EUC size L $25

NWT strawberry outfit / costume 9M $15

3T shabby chic "peace" top with matching ruffled pants.  Material is a thick, canvas-type and top is almost terry cloth in feel. $20

Girls' faux leather / animal print coat 3T GUC $15
 NWT Viva La Fete red gingham smocked shortall 6M. $30  Details of smocking below.

NWT Carter's Layette size 6M colors: grey, blue, white "(daddy's) ROCKSTAR", "MOMMY (rocks!) $20

NWT 6-9 months 2-piece outfit grey Henley/onesie with football motif and navy blue pants $15
NWT Will'beth boy's bubble size 3 months.  Includes cream knee socks $30
NWT Nursery Rhyme blue corduroy longall and l/s onesie.  Includes matching hat.  All embroidered with a red car and a blue tow truck.  $30
NWT Carriage Boutiques navy smocked sailboats / shorts outfit size 6M $30

Boy's EUC winter coat navy and white.  $15
Remember, the prices listed include $5 for shipping.  If you are in a position where I don't have to ship to you, then we will work something out.  That's it for now, but if this is a success I may add more later.  Thanks for stopping by!