Wednesday, February 25, 2015

A Little Late...Christmas & New Years

Even though our Christmas did not go "as planned", it was fabulous because it was the first one with our new little addition.  The week before Christmas, we packed up the Residence Inn and left with smoke behind our tires. We literally looked like the Clampetts. Manny in the front seat, me and Greyson in the back and all our luggage for a week shoved in every crook and cranny. For real, I felt like we needed a pull behind UHAUL trailer for the 10 pound infant's stuff. Greyson did great on the car ride to Mississippi. Manny and Jeremie did not fare so well. We stopped halfway to spend the night in Ruston and it was raining when we got there. Jeremie had Manny on a leash in one hand and the travel bassinet in the other. Manny bolts, J slips on the mud, bassinet goes flying. Some how, J managed to keep his body between the muddy ground and the bassinet. Hubby for the win. The next morning Manny threw up all over the front seat, including J's computer bag. Someone please remind us why we felt like we needed to take the dog on a 9 hour trip. Nevertheless, we finally made it to MS before we both got committed.

The family was MORE than excited to have their grandson home for the first time.

WARNING: If you are not interested in an overload of adorable pictures, please leave this post.

Isn't he the most darling Christmas present under the tree?
While I was Christmas shopping and J was napping, Nona played dress up with Greyson.

I thought this was the CUTEST OUTFIT EVER, but apparently Greyson did not.

Greyson finally got to meet his BFF and future college roommate, Jaxon Jones. We immediately switched babies so we could love on our respective "nephews".
Christmas Eve morning we did Jeremie's side of the family. Then Christmas morning was at Jeremie's grandparents for breakfast and then off to my parent's house for dinner and more gifts. LISTEN. I'm gonna be honest. Christmas Day WORE. ME. OUT. It's already tiresome enough without a little one to get up/fed/dressed/gifts in the car, etc. I was hoping to have a little "mini" family Christmas with my boys since we didn't get to do it in Dallas, but we barely had the time or energy to snap a picture in front of the tree on Christmas Day.  We DID, but by that time it was 8:30 p.m. and it's so bad, I'm not even posting it! Nevertheless, it was a great day.  Here are some more fun pics from that week.

Our sweet Judah is 3!!! From the look on Gray's face, I think he knows this next gift should come with a warning label.
So I wanted to put Greyson IN the stocking.......chunky monkey wouldn't fit.

Too bad nobody loved on Greyson while we were there. I pretty much never held him!

Greyson got to meet 5 of his GREAT grandparents!

At the end of the week we headed back to the chaos we call our lives. Since our temporary apartment wasn't available until January 4th, we stayed at The Adolphus Hotel in Dallas for a few nights.  And we had a ball. This was really the first time we felt like we relaxed since November. We drank hot cocoa in the lobby, watched bowl games, ordered room service and strolled around downtown.

Lunch at Iron Catcus
In front of the Christmas tree at the Adolphus

Don't mind the baby on the couch a midst our fancy dinner.  #ababychangeseverything

We went to the original Neiman Marcus downtown.....and the only thing we could afford was a Christmas ornament...that was 50% off.....
This is what Jeremie did while I shopped.....

We also did lots of napping......

And yes. These are baby pajamas.

And this may be my all time favorite pic ever. Doesn't Greyson look so guilty like he just took a big ole bite out of that burger?
And even though we didn't make it till midnight, we rang in the New Year with excitement for what 2015 will bring!


Thursday, February 19, 2015

Trial By Fire

So, as established in the last post, we lived through the first three weeks. (I think, I don’t really remember, but I’m still here.) Jeremie stayed home that third week, and we were looking forward to settling in as our new little family of three. Little did we know how crazy our lives were about get!

On Wednesday night, we finally put the last touches on the nursery by hanging my “gallery wall”. (While I was pregnant, J had ripped out the carpet and laid beautiful wood floors.) I sat in my cozy nursery chair that night and just sighed with satisfaction. I thought it was the most adorable nursery I had ever seen.

As if that night couldn't get any better, our sweet friends Erin and Stephen brought us a mountain of food from Zoe's.  A good meal that I didn't have to prepare was worth gold.  We had a great time catching up them as we chowed down on chicken kabobs like cavemen. 

That week was REALLY cold, so the next day, J built us a cozy fire and headed out to get a truckload more of firewood for the winter.  Now THIS is what I had been waiting SWEET baby....taking a a warm fire.

So J returned home and started unloading firewood while I was nursing Greyson.  I noticed smoke coming out of the little gas keyhole on our fireplace. (The fireplace is wood burning but has a gas "igniter" to start the fire.) I knew that just wasn't right and at the same time it hit me that it was smelling particularly smokey in the house. I called J inside and he thought maybe the fire was just dying down and I was smelling the ashes. So I headed upstairs to get away from it and yelled to J that it smelled even worse upstairs.  At that point, I really felt like something was wrong.  At that moment, our neighbor started banging on our door and yelling that our chimney was on fire. As J called 911, I ran out the house thinking: "Is our house about to burn down? Is this gonna be our story?"

I headed over to the neighbors, and from their second story loft, had a direct view of our chimney in flames.  Looking back, I wish I had taken a picture, but I was too upset to do it.  At that point, I had no idea how far the fire was gonna I just started praying. 

Even though we live around the corner from the fire department, it felt like YEARS until they got there. Finally, 4 fire trucks and about 25 firemen pulled up and got to work!  I snapped this pic from our neighbor’s kitchen. Yeah, Mr. January through Mr. December were all there.

I love how the MSU flag is still flying proudly!

So from this window I watched these guys with their masks, ladders and hoses climb up on the roof and shoot water down our chimney.  In the meantime, J came in and told me the fire had spread to the attic so they were getting busy there too. After about 3 or 4 hours, the show was over and I was left in the foyer of my neighbor's house still in my slippers with my 3 week old and a handful of stuff the firefighters yanked out of the house that they figured was important.

Our other neighbor from across the street was around while all this was going on, and had been through a terrible house fire in the past. He offered for us to stay with him and his wife for a couple nights and we agreed.  Listen-these people took us in like their own children.  They fed us dinner, made us breakfast, helped us wash and dry clothes, let us dump all our smoky stuff in their house, and loved on Greyson while we needed to deal with house stuff. (And being a mama herself-Brenda offered words of encouragement and hugs while I cried it out a couple or seven times.) If you don't believe in God's presence and provision....we need to talk! We are forever grateful for our sweet Brenda and Ed.

Besides labor, that was truly the longest day of my life. We stayed up till 1:00 a.m. washing and drying clothes since what we had all smelled like smoke. We were both still sleep deprived and I was nursing around the clock.  At one point, around 12:30 that night, Jeremie and I were changing Greyson's diaper, he was screaming bloody murder, and we looked at each other and were like "What just happened to us." FINALLY, everyone got situated and we were able to put the day behind us.  Greyson slept in a ~100 year old heirloom crib that Brenda and Ed had...we yanked the stuffed animals out and put it back into circulation! The little bambino had not a clue what all was going on.

Let me interrupt and say that my hubby was a ROCK through all this.  He was calm as could be while the fire was happening and went back to the smoky, dark, cold house several times that night to fetch things I needed that I had forgotten about.

The next day we headed over to the house to grab some clothes for the next couple days and the rest went with a cleaning company. Let me just say, I was NOT prepared for what I saw when I walked through the front door. 

I was totally shocked. It looked like a bomb had gone off. The water/foam spray that they had shot down the chimney flooded the first floor, and what was sprayed in the attic caused the ceilings to fall in. [ Lots of people are asking how the fire got started, and the short answer is we really don't know.  It could be a number of things, but quite possibly the fact that a dry summer caused a crack in the bricks and an ember got caught in that crack and just heated up.]

We spent the next hour being followed around by the clothes company with trash bags itemizing what was "911" (clothes we needed back in the next 48 hours) and what was not anything we need in the next 4 months vital. There was obviously no electricity at this point, and the house was smelly, wet, dreary and freezing. I felt like I was holding myself together pretty well until I went up to the nursery. Now-fortunately, the nursery was one of the least damaged rooms-but it just looked so sad-and broke my heart to remember just the night before I was rocking sweet Greyson up there. J made me leave and after a small breakdown in the front yard I collected myself again. 

I can say that we were VERY fortunate in the fact that we really didn't lose a lot of our belongings. Most of the damage to the house was actually from the firefighters putting out the fire. (Which we are totally grateful for.)

So the clothes cleaners actually took anything textile related (rugs, sheets, curtains, etc.).  Then an electronic team came in and took TV's, computers, etc.  THEN a few days later, an actual moving company came and took EVERTHING else. Every pot, pan, picture and book. Totally moved us out. Then the demolition started.

Meanwhile, me, Jeremie and our newborn moved into the Residence Inn. I cringe as I even type the name Residence Inn. Don't get me wrong-the place was very nice and the people were so sweet, but 5 weeks in an efficiency hotel room with a newborn is was not a party.  This was our world for over a month.

I think what made it harder is that Greyson was still too young to be out and about in public yet (for my comfort level), so I did feel sorta isolated and closed in.  But J was awesome about taking care of him for a few hours while I would go run errands. (Boy going to the grocery store has never been so exciting!) And while J went on a business trip for a few days, CC (my mom) came to the rescue and flew out to spend that time with us.  Pretty sure her new grandson had a lot to do with it. : )


I was SO sad that we weren’t able to spend the holidays in our home. I had daydreamed for months of decorating, hanging Greyson's stocking on the mantel, and watching him stare at the Christmas tree. And what hurt more was knowing that most of my Christmas decorations had been destroyed since they were in the attic.  Regardless, the Residence Inn wasn’t gonna stop me from putting up a Christmas tree! We found this pre-lit tabletop tree at Lowe’s and it might be the best $15 I’ve ever spent. Greyson was obsessed with it and would stare at it and just kick his legs!

And one night, we made ourselves some hot chocolate, loaded G up in the car and rode around looking at Christmas lights. So that helped spread the Christmas cheer.

But our favorite hotel pastime was this. 

The bathroom was right next to this closet with a big mirror, so I would put Greyson in front of it and he would stare at himself long enough for me to get a shower and put makeup on. I also tried to make the most of the dungeon hotel room by doing a couple of photo shoots with Greyson. I tried the naked baby poses, which just earned me a bunch of pee in my face. (HOW do newborn photographers do it?) So the next few times, we covered Ole Faithful up and just used cute outfits. (Fortunately, we had a professional photo shoot at 5 weeks old.) I have to admit, being in a small room with no house to clean or chores to do really did help me to focus on Greyson and learn about his habits.

 More hotel fun:
Greyson turned 1 month old!
Chatting with Dad
Ready for the Egg Bowl! (Apparently the Bulldogs were NOT.)
I will fill in the blanks later, but now, we are comfy in a great little townhome just down the road from our house while it gets rebuilt. (April is the projected move in date.) But let me just say, I was NOT a pillar of strength through all this. Like I said on Facebook a couple months ago: I am human and mourned over the fact that we didn’t get to settle into our home with our new baby and darling nursery. But Greyson obviously couldn’t care less and the fact that I don’t have a “gallery wall” in my makeshift nursery has not stolen any of the JOY of being a new mom. And I’ve already learned so much from this. I’ve learned that God can provide physical and emotional strength beyond what I thought possible. (Isaiah 41:10) I’ve learned that I probably valued my “stuff” more than I should and that I CAN survive with less amenities! I have seen goodness and love pour out of others. Our friends, neighbors, and some complete strangers have shown us graciousness by providing lodging, meals, babysitting, and lots of prayers. And lastly, I’m learning from others who are going through or have gone through MUCH harder circumstances and still exhibit obedient faithfulness. A speaker at our church conference last weekend said “Job had faith that couldn’t be shaken……because he was shaken.” So here’s to learning from the bumps in the road and allowing it to draw us closer to Christ! 

Monday, February 2, 2015

Life with A Newborn: The First Three Weeks

Bringing Greyson into our home was like a dream. Even though the house was totally set up for "baby" actually having our child home was so surreal. Jeremie and I would just stare at him and couldn't believe that we had brought something so beautiful into this world.

I was SO tired from the whole labor/delivery and hospital stay (48 hours felt like 2 weeks) that I couldn't WAIT to sleep nap in my own bed. I will never forget the first night home. I guess Jeremie and I though we'd just wrap our baby up in a blanket, lay him in the bassinet, and everyone would go to sleep soundly until the next feeding.  HAHAHAHAHAHAHA..........I hope you can hear me laughing hysterically through your computer. So news flash: a 72 hour old human does not know day from night, isn't comfortable outside of the womb, and wants constant skin to skin contact with his mama. (Well, in Greyson's case, this was true.) Child would scream bloody murder unless he was nursing/on my chest. Of course I was trying so hard to follow the #1 Rule of  "Don't fall asleep with your baby on you" and I was about to lose my mind.  Jeremie hadn't slept in 72 hours either.  At 4:15 a.m., I called it, and in sobbing tears, took Greyson upstairs to the GRANDMOTHERS. My mom heard me and came flying out of one door while J's mom came flying out the other door across the hall. In my ugliest cry face, I said "This baby hasn't slept a wink and neither have I!" Someone grabbed the child and they ordered me to bed. Next thing I knew it was 7:30 a.m. and time for the next feeding. I felt like a new woman.

Let me interrupt this post and answer the question all of you are asking: "You had BOTH sets of your parents in your house at the same time when your baby was born?" And the answer is ABSOLUTELY. Not only did it "take a village" to get us situated when we got home, we actually enjoyed having them, and they actually enjoy each other. Just look at them having a grand ole time at Saltgrass while me and J ate hospital food.....

To say these are four amazing people is an understatement. Our dads added the humor while our moms cooked and cleaned like it was a full scale Four Star operation. We are beyond blessed with our families.

Anyway, the next day, we went all "Operation Sleepy Baby" and Nona (J's mom) went and bought swaddles while J ordered a mobile, a bassinet vibrator, and downloaded soothing worship music on an old iPhone.  All seemed to helped.....our cousin's rendition of "It is Well" bought us about 45 minutes, so we were ecstatic.

J's parent's left after a couple nights and my mom (CC) stayed the first week. And the firsts began....this is us trying to get out the door to our first pediatrician appointment.  I love that I am trying desperately to make this a darling first family photo shoot and Greyson is screaming his head off and J is like "what the heck". You should have seen us trying to pack our first diaper bag....we had no idea what all went in a diaper bag. I'm sure my mom was wondering if we were actually gonna raise this child.

Since J had to go back to work and needed sleep, I slept upstairs on an air mattress in the nursery so I could be close to G. Plus, I was nursing 'round the clock.  And ya'll.  Sleep deprivation is legit. It's something I have never truly experienced before. I feel like they should just use newborn babies for Navy Seal training. When they say your baby needs to eat every 3 hours, but the clock starts from the BEGINNING of each feeding, that is not 3 hours. By the time I would feed, change his diaper, swaddle him back up, EAT (because breastfeeding makes you hungry as a horse), use the bathroom myself, and catch up on all the pain meds I was taking, I had about 45 minutes to an hour of sleep time. During said time, Greyson would make all sorts of crazy noises, to which I would jump up and make sure he hadn't choked on his own spit. Or he would just wake up on his own before the next feeding.

After a couple of nights like this, my sweet mother would swoop in if Greyson woke up between feedings and I'd go crawl in the guest bed. She also encouraged me to start pumping bottles so she could take a middle of the night feeding, which helped tremendously. (I would still get up and pump during this time....if you've ever nursed, you know skipping a feeding is super painful.) But brainlessly pumping takes a LOT less energy than the changing/feeding/re-swaddling process. Honestly, I don't know how my mom was up at all hours of the night and still cooked and cleaned all day!

During my mom's stay I probably had 3 good breakdowns. Ugly cry and all.  One day was so hard, I finally just closed myself up in my bathroom and took a hot bath while I ate a big ole piece of chocolate cake.  (J came home and found the cake plate with crumbs and fork on the side of the bathtub....and was like "Bad day?")

CC clocked out and Nona clocked in at the end of the week. The night she got there I had another breakdown. (I'm sure she thought to herself...."Oh dear, it's gonna be a long week.) But she assured me that my overwhelmed feelings were normal. She was also a superwoman for a week taking midnight or early morning feedings and helping with laundry, grocery shopping and cooking! I was still teetering on the edge of craziness but finally felt like I had gained some control that week. I already felt like I'd come so far since week one!

Nona did go to our 2 week appointment with us, where Greyson had his first shot. Do not let this picture fool you. I may look happy and Greyson may look calm but he was in the middle of screaming like a wildcat and I was trying to fool him into thinking he wasn't in pain. The shot just broke my heart. Hearing Greyson cry made me cry, and seeing me cry made Nona cry.....we were all a hot mess.
Having a newborn is HARD. It is a mixture of PURE EXHAUSTION, PURE ELATION, and PURE SHOCK all at one time. Days run into nights and the sleeplessness leads to hopelessness that you don't have the energy to keep up with the demands of this little person.  You barely have time for a shower and even less time to have a conversation with your husband. But in the midst of the endless feedings and God-sent naps, you look down and see the ANGEL you brought into this world and you know this must be the biggest joy in life.

And by literally taking ONE day at a time, the "new normal" became less overwhelming. God truly gave me the strength I need to get through each day. Looking back, I think I felt like it was pure chaos because it was a totally new schedule for me and took me longer to do everything.....mainly because I didn't know what I was doing. AND Greyson was getting used to his new little life. Going from warm and cozy in the womb for 9 months to having a digestive system, wearing clothes, and working for your food is pretty traumatic I'm sure.  Eventually his nap times became more predictable so I knew when I could probably take a shower, wash cloths and bottles, EAT, straighten up, etc. 

Don't get me wrong, some days still totally throw me for a loop.  But now I know I CAN do it and I celebrate every small victory, like our first successful grocery trip or going to bible study.

And on a more adorable are some of my favorite pics from the first 3 weeks.....

My boys.

My whole world on one bed.

Greyson's first Halloween. After 2 sets of trick-or-treaters with the doorbell ringing and Manny barking, we put a bucket of candy outside and locked the door.

And this is my all time favorite. This is Greyson's milk drunk face. Completely comatose after nursing. Precious.

I could post 2,647 more, but I will try to limit myself.  Looking at these pictures reminds me what a blip each stage is right now and that I should really cherish every moment. This sweet thing has been the biggest blessing and I can't wait to see where his little life leads.