Thursday, December 27, 2012

Ella Rae - 6 month newsletter

Dear Ella,

You're half a year old! I can't believe how big you've gotten and how much you've grown.

You got your first tooth last Friday. Hopefully that explains your fussy mood. Daddy and I have been wondering what's happened to our happy baby. You've also had a bad cold, but today you seem much happier.

Oh, that paci. You kind of like it. And if it falls out in the middle of the night you want it back. So, up I go to put it back. Just as I snuggle back in bed and start to doze off, you lose that paci. Something's going to happen to that paci. I'm just not brave enough yet to do anything about it. But soon.

You've been rolling for about a month now and can sit up by yourself for a few seconds at a time. I guess because of your new perspectives you don't like to lay on your back on your play mat anymore. You like to be held sitting up where you can look around and see. Well, that's fine, but I've got stuff to do! :)

I got smart and put you right in the middle of the living room in an old car seat. That way, you can look around all you want without being held. You really like to sit up. You like to sit in the kitchen this way and watch me cook and clean. It's nice to have the company too!

Sometimes you don't know what to think of Riley. If she is dancing and twirling around it's hard for you to focus on her. Today, she was coloring next to you and you really loved that. You also like to spend time in her room laying on her bed. She loves to entertain you for a few minutes while a make your bottle or something like that.

You were pretty sick a few weeks ago. I stayed home with you one day, not because of anything other than I knew you didn't feel right. You were so fussy and that morning I hadn't been able to get dressed or your ready. It was time to go to school and you hadn't even had anything to eat. You were very fussy. So we stayed home and you slept quite a bit and fussed some. After lunch you seemed better. So the next day I sent you to school. At around lunch I got a call saying something was coming out of your ear. I was expecting a bunch of ear wax. Your Daddy was able to go get you and I went ahead and made an appointment for the next day to have you checked out. I couldn't wait to get home and check out your ear! I don't think anyone could have prepared me for what it was. I've never seen so much PUSS coming from someone's ear! It was really bad. Your doctor said you had had a bad ear infection, unbeknownst to us, and it had ruptured your ear drum.You never ran any fever or pulled at your ear, so we had no idea you had an ear infection. After one dose of antibiotics the puss stopped and you felt much better.

Ella, you are the sweetest, cutest, most precious little thing. We love you so, so much.

Love, Mama

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

School Girl

Dear Riley,

Because I work at Bullard, you were able to start pre-K this year. You'll have to go to pre-k for two years, but that's ok. All the more to learn!

You really love your teacher, Mrs. Sanders. You've met so many new friends, too. Your favorite friends are Mollie, Brooklyn and Jonah.

When I drop you off in the mornings, the two principals are waiting to help all the kids get out of the cars. Without fail, you began talking about the most random things to the principals. "My pants are a little too small." They weren't too small, they were capris pants! "Today we're in the truck. It's my dad's truck." "My tummy hurts." I almost croaked when you said that! Or something to the effect of, "That's my little sister. She's just little and goes to her own school."

You've learned so much and the year is just half-way finished. You sing new songs just about every week. If it's set to a song, you can learn it so quickly! You've learned the months of the year, days of the week, plus countless other little jingles. I really surprised you the other day when I sang along to a new song you'd just learned. You couldn't believe that I knew that song, too!

Nap time at school is an ordeal. You're just not a napper and laying still and quiet isn't really in your nature. You've had two notes sent home this year about how you are disruptive during nap time. You were in a lot of trouble for it this last time, and it really had an impact on you. You told me from now on you want to lay quiet and still and not get in trouble. I asked you if it felt good to do the right thing and you said it did. We'll see!

Yesterday you asked me if I missed you while you were at school. I told you of course I did! Some days I am so busy I don't have time to look up. Other days when I'm not so busy I do wonder what you're doing. I hope you're being a good friend, learning all you can, and missing me, too!

You've got so much to learn and you really enjoy it. I hope you never lose this love of learning!

Love you sweet baby,


Monday, November 26, 2012

Ella Rae - 5 month newsletter

Dear Ella Rae,

This month snuck up on me! I was not prepared for you to start eating solids, but that's what your doctor recommended. I thought I had two more months before you started solids, but at 4 months and 1 week you had your first solid foods. You like most foods I've tried, with your favorites being green beans and sweet peas. Anything sweet gives you the "bitter-beer face."

You are such a happy baby. Tonight I had you cackling! I love to hear your sweet laugh. You're very serious, too.

Strangers don't bother you much, but you love to stare at new people.

No matter what, your sister is always around. She is your constant entertainment and my invaluable helper. You like bath time best when Riley is in there with you. You love the toys she brings you.

Ella, you can almost roll over. There's nothing really important you are trying to reach, so you don't really give it a good try. I've even put toys just out of your reach but that doesn't seem to motivate you. You're very content to lay around and look.

When Riley was little I couldn't wait for her to hit the next milestone. I wanted her crawling, walking, talking, as soon as possible. It was a new experience to watch a baby grow up. But with you, Ella Rae, I am happiest letting you be a baby. I want you to meet all the milestones, and you do, but if it takes you forever, that's just fine with me. Stay little! I am so enjoying having a baby around to tend to. It's exhausting most days, and even more so with a four year old, but it's my purpose in this world. Both of you girls make my life worth living.

Love you so, so much.

Love, Mama

Monday, November 5, 2012

Ella Rae - 4 month newsletter

Dear Ella,

This month you've started chuckling when we tickle you. But not all the time. You don't laugh hard very often, so when I'm able to coax it out of you it makes my day. You smile and grin, but not many laughs.

In this picture, Aunt Ma knew the trick to get you to laugh. You had been laughing like crazy.

Halloween was just a few days ago. It passed without you noticing much. You were a kitty cat.

Several years ago, Riley was the same kitty cat, too.

You're a very laid back baby. You are content to lay on your mat in the floor, or lay in your bed looking at the balls on your ceiling. You don't put up much of a fuss unless you are hungry. 

Bath-time is your favorite. You kick like crazy! We call it "riding a bicycle" because your legs are constantly moving in the motion of riding a bicycle. 

You're not rolling over yet. Instead, you are trying to sit up. It's funny to watch when you are doing this. You just keep on and on trying, without success.

You don't have much hair, just a small tuft in the back. You're quite bald! I just started giving you cereal some because milk was not filling you up! Cereal isn't your favorite, but with a little applesauce you eat it up.

You kept me up pretty late a few nights ago. I never did really figure out what was wrong with you. I don't know if it was your belly or your gums, but something was just not right. Finally at 2 a.m. I fed you and that kept you down. As a whole, that was the worst night you've ever given me. When you were little you would wake up to eat, but almost always go right back to sleep. I've been so lucky and grateful.

You are a sweet, sweet little girl. I want a dozen just like you.

Love you, baby.
Love, Mama

Sunday, October 7, 2012

4th Birthday Party

Dear Riley,

We had your 4th birthday party at Sonic again this year. It's so easy to have a party there. The playground is enclosed, so we only have to worry about someone jumping off the playground equipment since you can't get out.

I work with a sweet lady who paints faces. I knew this would be perfect for your birthday party! She was a hit and almost all the kids loved it!

It's no big surprise Braxton didn't want his face painted!

Happy birthday! We love you so much!

Love, Mama and Daddy

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Ella Rae: 3-month newsletter

Dear Ella,

Aunt Ma and I both agree that you're the sweetest baby so far. You don't cry much, you love to grin, and you don't mind laying on your back looking at your toys. You're very low-maintenance.

You're such a good sleeper, too. You go to sleep at around 7:00, and I have to force you to wake up the next morning at 6:15. What freedom!

You can hold your head up really well, so tummy-time is one of your favorite things.

You want to laugh so bad, but you still haven't got it quite figured out. You've just started cooing also. If Riley is in the room, you are watching her. You're a lucky girl to have a big sister like Riley.

We love you so much, sweet girl.

Love, Mama

Riley Claire - 4 year newsletter

Dear Riley,

You are my big girl.
You are four and you know it! You absolutely think you will be a teen-ager any day now. To you, four is a big milestone.

To be honest, it's a big one for me too. I am so proud of the little girl you have become. You're my best friend and just like me. Your feelings get hurt very easily, you always know where you are going, you like to be in charge and be the boss, and you are so smart.

This year we decided to put you in pre-K at Bullard where I teach. You were 3 for a couple weeks, so that makes you the youngest student in class. Your teacher bragged on you, telling me she couldn't believe you weren't quite 4. She said she had several 4 years olds whom she thought were younger than you. This made us very proud.

It's amazing how much you've already learned at school. You sing songs, sound words out, and tell all kinds of stories about your day at school. Your teacher has learned that you aren't much of a nap-taker.

You really love your little sister. You love to baby-talk with her and make her laugh. Other than that you don't have much to do with her. Of course, she can't color or play with Barbies and babies, and that's all you seem to want to do these days.

We love you so much. It's an honor to be your Mother. Love you more than you know.

Love, Mama

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Ella Rae - 2 month newsletter

Dear Ella,

I never imagined I could make it this far. I feared the first couple of months with a new baby, but surprisingly, they were wonderful. You are such a good baby and my heart is so full of love for you and Riley.

You are a sleeper and I needed a sleeper the second time around. If you're not sleeping, you're eating so you can hurry up and go right back to sleep. You even sleep later than Riley. You've just started grinning a little bit and you love to watch Riley play. You also like sleeping in your own bed, which I'm thankful for. But sometimes I want to snuggle you up.

You had a pretty lazy first summer. We stayed around our house most of the time. Riley has been my big helper this whole time, too. She loves to see your "beautiful eyes" and make you grin. She is also very concerned about your well being, especially when we are in the car since she is the only one who can see you then. She thinks it's her job to watch after you, and I think that's great. One of her favorite things to do is pick out your clothing.

You started day care last week. I was really emotional that first day. The only people who had cared for you were me, Aunt Ma and your Daddy. I really like your day care so far and another good thing, I have an hour and a half at lunch so I may get to come see you every once and a while.

You are the sweetest baby I've ever known. So, so sweet. It's an honor being your Mom and a privledge to take care of you.
You're my angel.

Love, Mama

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Ella - The day you were born

Dear Ella,

The moment I found out I was pregnant I started dreading the day you would be born. I was excited to have you, but not about having a C-section. For nine months I worried about your birth. I had a terrible fear of something going wrong during the operation; not only wrong, but that I would die.

With Riley, I had an unplanned C-section and didn't have time to even think about being nervous. But with you, Ella, I had plenty of time to think and worry.

Your due date was never certain and it changed a lot. We were scheduled to have you on June 25, but on the Friday before that Monday I found out I had to wait one more day to meet you. June 26 is also your Uncle Timothy's birthday. It was a Tuesday, and the temperature was around 100 degrees that day.

Your Daddy and I arrived at the hospital at about 9:30 to get ready to meet you around 12:00. I cried off and on all morning and more so once it was just your Daddy and me in the hosiptal room. I told the nurses how scared I was and thankfully I knew one of the nurses, Kim Hardy. She was so sweet. She let the anestesiologist know how nervous I was and he came and tried to reassure me.

Family started arriving around 11:30 and there were more tears. I was so scared! I wanted my Daddy. Where was he? At Applebee's with Aunt Ma, Tio, Riley, and Mamaw, flirting with all the waitresses and women.

Just before I went in the operating room Aunt Ma came in. I cried the most when I hugged her neck for the last time. It was a terrible feeling going into the operating room thinking I was going to die. I hugged your Daddy last and walked down the hallway.

I'm an emotional person but still tried to control myself. It was no use. I cried getting up onto the operating table and cried as the gave me the spinal block. A male student was in the room and the nurses asked if it was ok if he stayed during the C-section. I didn't care. Knowing he was there kind of took my mind off things for a few minutes. He asked if I was what a normal pregnant person should look like. The nurses said yes, that I hadn't gained too much weight. That made me feel good.

Despite all this, I couldn't control my tears or my breathing. Later I found out I was having a panic attack. Kim Hardy stood beside me and talked to me the whole time. She asked me all kinds of questions about my family and my dad. It was kind of irritating at the time, but now I realize she got me through the panic attack.

Finally your Daddy came in. I was so glad to see him! The operation had just started. The anesthesiologist kept telling me that everything was "textbook" and then he looked at Henry and said, "She had a panic attack but is doing ok now." Your Daddy laughed.

The doctors told me that I would feel a lot of pressure on my chest, like someone was sitting on me. More like an elephant was sitting on me. It was hard to breathe and very uncomfortable. This lasted an eternity. You would not come out! They could see your head and said you were shaking it "no." Everyone laughed because they said you didn't want to come out.

Finally, at 1:35 you came out crying. I was so happy to hear you cry. Riley didn't cry and had a hard time breathing at first, so your cries made me feel reassured. As soon as the nurses laid you down on your table you tee-tee everywhere. After you were cleaned up they handed you to your Daddy and he brought you to me. You looked just like your big sister!

Your Daddy carried you out of the operating room and left me to finish the surgury and go to recovery. The rest of the surgery took about 15 minutes. I was alarmed when people started cleaning the operating room while I was still being operated on. They were in full-scale clean-up mode while I was still being gutted. Not to mention, nurses and doctors were carrying on as if I wasn't laying there eviscerated. Music was playing and they were making plans for the weekend. No lie.

Finally, my doctor came around to my head and said they were finished. No one was more relieved than me. I was alive! I went to recovery for about an hour. This time I was completely lucid and knew what was going on. With Riley I was knocked out but kept coming to not knowing what was going on. This time I had full view of the clock and was watching it too! I was ready for the one hour to pass so I could meet my baby. One of the nurses told me to remember to massage my fondus, "So you don't bleed to death." That one little sentence had me worried for two days. Heifer.

I wasn't alone in the recovery room. "Vanity" (that was her real name, or what the nurses were calling her), was next to me. She was having a much worse time than I. They were talking to her trying to calm her down as she tried to get up... repeatedly. She was moaning and yelling. Poor Vanity. I wonder why she was in recovery and what happened to her.

Finally I was rolled out of there and away from Vanity. When I got to my room you and your Daddy walked in right behind me. I was so happy to see both of you! Friends and family trickled in after you and then your sister came to meet you face to face.

I still couldn't believe I was alive!

The next two days in the hospital were filled with pain for me. I had a much more painful recovery the second time around. When we had Riley we didn't know we could send her to the nursery for a few hours so we could rest. With you, Ella, your Daddy demanded it. Not only was he caring for you, but I was in so much pain that I couldn't help him. I am very sensitive to pain medicine also, and when I asked your Daddy about the 7 other kids we had, he knew it was time for you to leave.

At times, the pain was so bad I was crying uncontrollably. And when I would cry it would make things worse. When the nurses were finally able to get ahead of my pain I was in a much better place.

You were a good baby in the hospital! I was happy to get you home and love on you!

Love you, Mama

Sunday, July 29, 2012

July 2012 Newsletter

Ella and Riley,

I think everyone would agree that we've had a busy summer. But, it's been blissful.

Our first family photo 6-27-2012

Ella, you're a month old this week and you're still the sweetest thing I've ever met. You are such a good baby for me, exactly the opposite as your sister. You love me the best, but you're really warming up to your Daddy, and you love to hear your sister's voice.

I didn't know a baby could be so good. After Riley, I was under the impression that babies never slept. I've come to realize that a baby will sleep, especially you, Ella.

You had several fussy days, but after switching to a new bottle you've settled down again. You sleep reasonably well at night, only waking to eat and then going back to sleep. All I can say is, "THANK GOODNESS!" I am more experienced now, but with Riley it was nothing for me to go more than 24 hours without any sleep. Riley never has been a sleeper, and still isn't. But Ella, you're my sleeper. You really are a good baby. I am so in love.

Riley, don't feel left out or neglected. I couldn't make it through the day without you. You are my right hand and you keep me sane. You're someone for me to talk to and you are always ready for a "job." Some days you want to snuggle more than normal, but that's the extent of your jealousy. You love your little sister. When we have visitors, you are so proud to show her off. The pride beams from your face.

You are so smart and you don't forget a thing. We really are impressed with your memory. You reminded Paw-Paw about a shirt he wore on our Summer vacation to Galveston, last year.

People say you look like me. I take that as a compliment. You can be a handful somedays, especially when your imagination gets going. You have brothers, more sisters and a husband. You have a job and pay bills. You wear me out.

School will start in about three weeks and both of you will be in day care. I'm really trying to squeeze in all the kisses and hugs I can before then. I can only hope the work day goes by fast, because I will miss you both so, so much. I'm anxious to get into a routine around work and school though.

I love you girls, more than you can ever imagine. I hope I make you proud to be my daughters.

Love, Mama

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Ella's Room

I'm excited to show off Ella's room. Thanks to Pinterest and my sister, Morgan, her room is almost finished!

Above her bed is the letter "E" in a silver frame...
In one corner of her room is this corner shelf my Grandad built. The green vase came from a flower shop when I was in the hospital with Riley. I added the Gerber daisies from Hobby Lobby. I'm also using the shelf a a beginning book shelf. One the second to last shelf are embroidery hoops with fabric in them. The fabric matches all the bedding in the room.

Ella's first book: "There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly" by Kate Toms. This book is so cute!

This is Ella's bed. I made the fitted crib sheet from a vintage flat sheet of my Grandmom's. The dust ruffle was made out of vintage sheets as well. And the crib bumper I made out of assorted fabric and white minky.

Ella approves!

Also in the room is a twin bed. My Great-Grandmother purchased it in the 50's. The orange pillow case is an oldie from my Grandmom's house. I made the quilt using mostly half-square triangles.

On the wall above the twin bed is more embroidery hoops with fabric.

In the corner above Ella's bed I hung pom poms and lanterns. My sister, Morgan, helped me make the pom poms and did all the arranging because I am not that talented.

My husband also painted the walls. When we bought the house the entire room was the turquoise blue color.  I could handle the blue, but wanted to tame it just a little, so we painted the top half buttermilk cream and my Grandad and husband added the chair rail.

This is my favorite room in the house! And the bed is so comfortable! I have a few more things I want to add. Hopefully I'll get around to them this summer!