Friday, May 30, 2008

Just a few steps more...

The past week and a half Bennett has been taking a step or two before resorting to crawling. She is becoming a little braver and occassionally taking 3 or 4 steps, but she isn't quite there yet. We keep hoping that she'll succeed, as she has been waking every night for the past week at some point during the night (if not more than once) crying and wanting to be held. Since we just switched her to soy milk (from formula) we thought it might have something to do with that, until we read that most children wake up during the night right before they start walking. So, this has given us the added encouragement to keep going to her at 2 in the morning and helping her take more steps during the day. Here is very short clip of her taking a few steps. As you can imagine, since there are only a few involved, it is very difficult to capture on video.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Bennett's One Year Photos

Check out this link for a short collage of Bennett's most recent "photo shoot" at Birmingham Botanical Gardens.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day 2008

This weekend we packed up the SUV and headed to Smith Lake where Steve's parents have a place. It is a great getaway, and only an hour away. The whole family (Spencer included) got to go, so we loaded up with all of our food, Spencer's food, our clothes and all of Bennett's gear! For a two night jaunt, we were pretty loaded down. Once we arrived on Saturday morning, we got settled and headed to the pier. Bennett stayed pack with her Mimi and Papa for a little while so we could unwind and enjoy some adult conversation with Steve's cousins Cathy and Lisa, as well as Louis and Michelle. The kids entertained themselves in the water, and it wasn't too terribly hot for us. Being one of the first weekends where people swim, the water is still pretty darn cold. So it took some time in the heat before it was tolerable.

As the afternoon wore on, we decided to lather Bennett up with sunscreen and see if she still liked the water. We recently purchased a little float for her with a canopy to protect her delicate skin from the UV rays. So, we put her in her bikini and brought her down to the lake. Steve held her initially,and eased her into the water at the boat launch. She wasn't too fond at first, but once she was in I guess she got used to it. Next, we put her in the float which was a weird feeling for her (just floating while no one was holding her) because she was a little nervous. However, we stayed close and she began to relax and enjoy bobbing with the waves. After 20 minutes, Bennett had enough of the water. She was such a good sport, but we didn't want to push it, so we took her back inside.

That night the whole family (18 of us) had dinner and hung out. Some inside, some outside...or where ever you can find a seat. It is always a very laid back atmosphere up there. In fact, between the group, there are four big dogs to add to the fun. For the most part they all get along so that is good. Since Bennett just loves dogs, she enjoyed all of the activity among them. Here you can see Michelle, Bennett and Kojak (their dog) outside.

Bennett was a handful over the weekend, fighting sleep as always and making sure she wasn't missing any action. She was great about going to anyone who wanted to hold her, which was a huge help to us. But once she realized there were no baby gates to deter her from climbing the stairs, she did it every opportunity she had. Michelle tried to teach her how to go down, but my stubborn girl wanted no part of that (don't you know how much quicker it is to be carried back down?). We finally got her to sleep Saturday night, but she awoke several times. By the third time, I succumbed and brought her to bed with us (doesn't this sound like our last trip to the lake?). Though none of us slept much better, it at least allowed us to "rest our eyes" for a few more hours. However by 5am, Steve had had enough so he and Bennett got up for the day.

Bennett was great about waking up the whole house. I guess she figured if she was up, everyone else should be too. So by 7 am, everyone was stirring except the teenagers who can tune out anything! Once Uncle Dan awoke, he gave Bennett one of her birthday gifts which she enjoyed for the rest of the weekend (her first Alabama sippy cup).

We finally got ourselves organized late morning and all headed to the pier. Bennett joined us out there initially and enjoyed all of the excitement. The kids danced for us, while we just sat around and chatted. Thankfully there is a tent of sorts on half of the pier to offer shade to those of us who didn't want too much sun. However, even under it the humid air makes you want to brave the cool water. Once again we put Bennett into her float. She did real good and stayed out there for close to 30 minutes before she was ready to come out. Not wanting to push our luck, we took her back to her grandparents for a couple of hours.

Later that afternoon, our niece Maria played with her outside. All weekend Bennett kept teasing us by taking one or two steps, but then sitting down and crawling after that. She is soooo close to walking, and we kept thinking how nice it would be for her to walk on her birthday weekend (but it didn't happen). She does however like to hold your hands and walk now, something that we have been practicing for several weeks.

As you can see here, Spence loves going to the lake too. Since he is the only true house dog of the four, everyone teases him by calling him a "city dog." They are just jealous though because he is the only dog allowed in the house (thank you Myra and Big Lou!). Mimi spoils him, and though she swears that she doesn't feed him, this picture says it all...

All and all...the weather was great and we all had fun! It was nice getting away from the routine of our chores around the house, and hanging with the family for a couple of days. Thanks to Myra and Big Lou for hosting us and feeding us until we were stuffed each night! We all had fun, especially young Bennett who was doted on 24 hours a day by someone up there.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Happy 1st Birthday Bennett!!

My birthday message to my angel...I can't believe how quickly this past year has passed! It seems like just a few weeks ago that we were going in for a check-up with the doctor. Since we had been in and out of the hospital and on bedrest, we knew there was a chance that you would be making your first appearance, so we took our last "belly shot" and headed to the doctor. After the ultrasound, the doctor said that she was going to take you out that day. Of course we were shocked and couldn't believe that you were finally coming, but we had several hours to take it all in and decide on your name. We were pretty confident you were going to be a girl, though we wouldn't know for sure until later that day. Since Nene was already in town, helping me buy your last minute items, we let her and your Mimi and Papa know right away. Then we called Poppy since he wasn't in Birmingham yet, we needed to make sure that he could catch the next flight down. Uncles Louis and Brian, along with Aunt Michelle and Aunt Shannon, were in town and ready to be at the hospital for your arrival with all of your cousins...they took over the waiting room!

Since you were breech in my belly, with low amniotic fluid, our doctor had to take you via c-section, which worked out quite well with mommy! We just got all prepped and then within minutes - there you were! When they announced "it's a girl" we each said "I knew it!" You were born at 4:21 pm (and the only reason I can remember that is because we asked the doctor if we could write 4:22 on your birth certificate since that was our anniversary date...she said no). Of course you were just perfect...a full head of dark hair and huge blue eyes! You were so alert from the beginning and just as gorgeous as we could have imagined.

Daddy was excited to bring you to the window to show you off to the family, who was anxious to hear whether you were a girl or boy. There were several teary eyes that day, and the joy just continued.
Once the nurses got you all cleaned up, we headed up to our room. The family was all there ready to meet you, and you were so alert ready to meet them! Though that day will never be forgotten in my mind, I was so exhausted from the whole day and the anesthesia, that I began to get very sleepy. So we asked everyone to leave and come back the next day. Then your Daddy and I just sat there and held you in complete and utter amazement. We couldn't believe that you had finally arrived, and that you were now going to be apart of our lives forever.

We love you angel, and wish you the best birthday ever!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Okay Okay....

I wanted you all to read my last blog before posting the results of our ultrasound last week. I also wanted to see the polls regarding what you all thought (boy vs. girl). Last count, there were 11 people who cast their votes, and 7 of those people felt we were having a little girl. Those 7 people are wrong, as we are expecting a little brother for Bennett!! Steve and I couldn't be more excited! Of course the health of this baby is the most important thing, and that is all looking great! He is quite active and is kicking all of the time. In fact, Steve has already felt him kick once! The due date is still September 25th, but since he will come via c-section, we imagine he'll come at least one week prior.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Almost 1 year old...

Saturday night we honored Bennett's 1st birthday with all of our family (except Uncle Dan). Even though it is a few days before her actual birthday (May 23rd), we celebrated and she had a great time! We had gone to Do Dah Day that morning in hopes of tiring Bennett (and the dogs) out, but my dreams of her taking a 3 hour nap quickly faded when it took her over an hour to fall asleep once we got home. With less than a 2 hour nap, she still managed to hang in there with everyone, and remain in a good mood. Brian, Shannon and Christian were among the first to arrive. The kids had fun playing together, but Christian is still learning the concept of "sharing." My father had brought Christian a little toy semi-truck with a detachable trailer, that they both enjoyed. Since it broke down into two parts, they played nicely for the most part, as long as each of them had one of the pieces. As the rest of the guests began to arrive, the chaos and noise began. Since it was a gorgeous day, some people congregated outside, while others were inside. We had a slideshow of Bennett's first year playing on inside, which of course we just love. Seeing her as an infant and how much she has changed and turned into a little girl is so fun for us.

After dinner, we had everyone gather in the living room so we could thank them for coming and being apart of her life. It was at this time that we decided to share what we are having for #2. I know I caught everyone off guard, and Steve was there recording the whole thing. After Brian and Shannon found out last week, we couldn't take the suspense of another 19 weeks of not knowing. So, I apologize for lying to each of you in one of my previous blogs, and to the rest of our family. We did find out last Wednesday at our ultrasound, but decided it would be more fun to tell everyone in person at the party than over the phone. So, we spilled the beans...and everyone was VERY excited, except Michelle (my sister-in-law). She really wanted us to wait and not spoil the fun.

Anyway, Bennett didn't understand the excitement in the room, but was anxious to tear into her presents. Of course the first gift she eyed was a stuffed Minnie Mouse animal from her cousins Cathy, Brian and BJ. Since she loves her stuffed animals, she went straight for that. Then it was off to her new pink and purple car from her Mimi and Papa. Though she liked honking the horn, her legs aren't quite long enough to reach the floor yet. However, I don't imagine it will be much longer before she can scoot around on it outside. She also enjoyed taking the tissue paper out of the gift bags that contained her own baby dolls, stroller, book, puzzles and a variety of bath/swim toys, including a baby pool! I think she was quite excited, and a little overwhelmed with all of the new goods. Thank you to all of our family for the wonderful items!
We finally let Bennett enjoy her cake outside on the deck. We have been singing "Happy Birthday" to her for a couple of weeks, hoping that it would make her smile and feel comfortable even though there would be more people singing to her. However, the practice did not prove to help much. She was upset about getting strapped into her highchair, and then she didn't know what to do with the cake. She eventually stuck her fingers in it, but being the little girl that she is, she didn't know what to do after that. So I had to get a fork and feed her for her to enjoy the cake, which she did.

Overall, I think she (and the rest of us) enjoyed the night. It was fun being with all of our family and thinking back on how quickly the year has passed. We shared some different memories, but overall counted our blessings. Steve and I are so fortunate to have a happy, healthy little girl that is loved by so many!

Happy 1st Birthday Angel!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

21 Weeks!

Today we met with our OB and had an ultrasound to make sure that everything is progressing the way it should be. Thankfully, it all looked great! All of the baby's organs looked perfect, and he/she was very active in the womb. The ultrasound technician took this 4-D photo of the baby, and like Bennett, the baby was shy. As seen here, the arms are up around the face, covering his/her eyes. Currently the baby is very comfortable, all stretched out in my belly sideways.

It is hard to tell who the baby looks like at this point, and what gender it is, but cast your vote on our poll (left side). It appears that there is an overwhelming thought it is a girl right now.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Dancing Again

Like most children at this age, Bennett loves to dance...whether it is to music on the radio, her toys or just commercials (as seen here).

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Bennett and Me

Yesterday was just terrific...Steve and I awoke well-rested and Bennett woke up in a great mood and not as congested (she has had a cold the past few days with the beginning of an inner ear infection). We sat outside on the deck, enjoyed the beautiful peaceful morning over a warm cup of java, and just chatted. At nine we met Brian and Christian at the zoo (leaving Steve behind to work on the fence). We had fun exploring all of the exhibits and checking out a variety of animals. Christian is at the perfect age to enjoy the zoo, and admired all of the animals. He even said "bye-bye" each time we headed off to the next cage. It was so sweet seeing him take it all in. Bennett is still a little young, but she certainly liked seeing those animals that were active, and getting out of her stroller occasionally to stretch her legs.
After a couple of hours there, we headed back home to see what progress Daddy had made with the fence. You may have heard me talk about it before, but he has taken on the challenge of fencing in our entire backyard with a new privacy fence. Being an engineer at heart, he is quite the perfectionist so he has had the survey out making sure the fence is on our property, and that it is straight and level. Now don't get me wrong, I love the fact that he is like this. It is just that this (along with the fact that the weather has been very hit and miss the past few weekends) has caused him to not make as much headway as I thought he would have by now. However, he was dedicated to working on it yesterday, and got one WHOLE side done!! Only two more to go and the gate now!

All of this time that Steve spent outside on Saturday allowed Bennett and I to play together. She was a very busy little girl, climbing on her new chair (that she was supposed to get for her first birthday), going through my purse, and then pooping herself out and taking a 3.5 hour nap!

As you can see her here, she is thinking hard about what she wants in my purse (the tongue hanging out is a sign of her deep thought). Little does she know as she tries to open my wallet that I only have my signature $2 in there...not much to shop with honey. She had fun nonetheless.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Halfway there...finally!

I feel like I have been pregnant for the past two years of my life. Of course I know this is an exaggeration, but with Bennett, and then nursing, and now this has been close. Since we found out we were expecting when I was only 4 weeks along, these past 16 weeks have really gone slowly. And to top it off, I look and feel like I did when I was almost 7 months pregnant with Bennett!

I have heard other moms say that your body just accepts the new pregnancy easily, and your skin is more elastic the second time so you "pop out" sooner, but come on!! At this rate I will be a house when September 25th arrives (yes...that is soooo far away)! So, word to the wise, if you see me anytime soon, don't ask me when I am due, or say anything about my weight because I might tear you apart. I am quite sensitive these days because I am already in maternity clothes, and I have another 4.5 months to go!!

However, I know the end result is worth it, so don't think I am unappreciative of this miracle inside of me. We couldn't be happier that things are going well, and he/she is growing like he/she should be. Our ultrasound is next week, so we are anxious to verify that the baby is perfect and growing like he/she should be. Of course, this is the time where we could find out the gender of the baby, but we have once again elected to wait until delivery. We initially thought we would find out, and maybe just keep it a secret from all of you. However, I knew that I would slip up sometime, so we are just going to wait.

I know how that drives many of you crazy, so just read my sister-in-law's blog for all of their updates since they plan to find out what they are having. Stay tuned for more updates...

Monday, May 5, 2008

An Afternoon of Fun

Yesterday afternoon we went to Louis & Michelle's house for Sara's confirmation. There was quite a gathering there with all three of Michelle's siblings and their families, in addition to both grandparents and most of Louis's family. It was a great time, with terrific food and lots of noise and activity!

Bennett had a ball watching everyone and playing with one of Sara's other cousins, Joseph. He is just a couple of weeks younger than her, so they really enjoyed playing with each other.

Here is a clip of Bennett's new trick...clapping.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

We Love Homewood Day!

Today is "We Love Homewood Day." It was celebrated by a variety of festivities in one of our many parks, along with a parade and a street dance in downtown Edgewood (an area within Homewood). We didn't participate in all of the fun today, but we did take Bennett to her first parade. It was great because it started at the library which is across the street from our house (almost), so we just walked a block to watch it.

It started off with the police and firetrucks, which startled her some. Then our Mayor rode by in the first car and was throwing dog bones, so Spence (who was with us too) got the first "treat." Then the procession of area business owners, congressmen, school bands and cheerleaders came by, all throwing candy to the kids. Since Bennett isn't old enough to run out and grab herself any, Steve and I fought the neighborhood kids for the good stuff! I was pretty excited when someone threw laffy taffy.

After the parade was over, we packed up and headed to a Baron's game (our minor league baseball team). Tonight Steve's company was sponsoring a family night at the game, so we went to eat dinner and mingle some. I have no idea who they were playing or what the score was when we left, but it was a beautiful night and we had fun. Bennett loves to people watch, so she just stared at everyone. Then their mascot came by for photo opportunities, so of course we had to partake. She reached for his tongue and then tried to figure out what/who he was. She wasn't scared, just curious.
Overall it was a big day...and Bennett was up way past her bedtime. She fell asleep on the way home, and was so tuckered out, she didn't fight us at all when we got home and put her in her pj's for bed.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Happy 2nd Anniversary Steve!

First off, let me apologize for this being a couple weeks late (our internet was down).

April 22nd, Steve and I celebrated our 2nd anniversary! I can't believe that we have only been married for two short years. And I say that with love, because we have accomplished so much in our two years of marriage.

This year for our anniversary, we stayed at home and enjoyed a steak dinner out on our deck with Bennett and Spencer. Steve was sweet and said that he wouldn't want to be anywhere else, and I agreed.

We had plans of watching our wedding video again (like we did last year), but after we put Bennett down to sleep, we didn't have enough time. So instead we just reminisced about our wonderful, perfect, wedding weekend.

For those that attended our wedding, I hope they felt the magic and love that was in the air in the romantic city of Charleston, SC April 20-23rd 2006. I look back through our photos and watch our wedding video and feel totally blessed. We were lucky to be surrounded by all of our loved ones and close friends, and it was a dream wedding (thank you mom and dad)!

I wanted to post some photos from that incredible weekend because it was such a picturesque setting. We married at Charlestown Landing (which was over the bay from downtown Charleston) at the former Governor's mansion, the Legare-Waring House. It had recently been restored and re-landscaped and it was just perfect. We chose to risk having bad weather and get married outside (something I swore I would never do). Though it rained all morning, the clouds parted that afternoon so the florist could set up, and it was beautiful and sunny for our wedding. Our ceremony was perfect under "the avenue of oaks." Though the minister mispronounced "Mizerany" a handful of times (after numerous corrections during the rehearsal), I still wouldn't have changed a thing.

We elected to have a tent decorated and set up right on the property so all of the guests just walked about 100 yards for the reception. The food was great, and I think everyone enjoyed our band. We were lucky to have a young band that played a wide range of music. Since they were a local "bar band" they played mainly music that you hear on the radio, so we danced until we were forced to leave.

The whole day was great, but the thing I will treasure the most from the wedding (outside of my commitment to Steve for the rest of our lives), is our wedding video. Our videographers did a great job, and we have these great toasts from so many of our guests that we can refer back to forever!