Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 In Review

To all of my loyal blog followers, both "official" & unofficial..thank you. I appreciate your kind comments, no matter how rare or frequent you make them. I have been told many times by people who aren't even listed as "followers" that they love reading my blog. This motivates me to keep writing more than you'll even know. This blog has helped me through my UC flareup (2009), pregnancy, and of course Kinsley Anne's NICU ride & continued health concerns. It not only helps me keep family & friends in the loop, but allows me to connect with new friends! I am so very grateful for the new blessings & challenges that 2010 brought us and look forward to 2011 with hope for a new, healthy, & lively year.

Here is Our 2010 in Review...
  • We saw two pink lines. We found out it was a little girl. We named her Kinsley Anne. We thought she may have a club foot. We went to high risk OB & were told our little darling was perfect. We experienced a very unexpected, long, drawn out labor process, ultimately resulting in a beautiful little girl almost 5 weeks premature. We found out that our sweet little girl would be spending some time in the NICU. We rode the NICU roller coaster for 5 long days, finding out along the way that Kinsley Anne's left lung was very underdeveloped. We continue with doctor's appointments & are continually amazed at Kinsley Anne's strength & resiliance. We spent our first Thanksgiving & Christmas as a family of 3. We repeated her CT scan & wait for results...
  • I lost a very good high school friend, Nate Henn but heaven gained one heck of an angel!
  • It snowed on Christmas Day for the first time in SC in 47 years.
  • Kyle had appendicitis, requiring an emergency appendectomy. Turns out I was pregnant at the time & I'm sure 23hrs of no sleep didn't help my exhaustion. Oh well, anything for my Kyle!!
  • Bowen went to his first hunt test & passed with a Prize 1, 110. (Highest score is a prize 1, 112)!! We were and continue to be very proud of him. He has been a great big brother to Kinsley & his biological little sister Avery.
  • We gained another four legged child, Avery. She is a puppy out of the same parents that Bowen is from. They are 1.5 yrs apart & have turned out to be best buds although polar opposites. Avery is also good with Kinsley. She loves to shower her with kisses at any given opportunity.
  • We have spent a good bit of time with my family this year which is always wonderful! Because of my pregnancy, I got to see my parents in July for my DE baby shower, July/August for my parents vacation, August for a cousin's bar mitzvah, October for Kinsley Anne's birth, November for Thanksgiving, & December for Christmas. I got to see my sister a lot as well!!
I will post tomorrow about Kinsley Anne's CT scan yesterday. It was quite an eventful process but ultimately, things worked out the way I believe they were meant to. Keep us in your prayers as we hope to find out the results on Monday.

Until Next YEAR...
Love, Jen

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays from our family to yours!

If you have an extra prayer left to say for our family, we would greatly appreciate you praying about Kinsley Anne's CT scan tomorrow. She is scheduled to be at the hospital at 9:30am. Our specific requests are:

{1} That the NPO hours would go smoothly. Kinsley Anne cannot eat after 5am other than Pedialyte until 9am. She gets very ticked off when she's hungry, so I hope that for some reason, she feels satisfied.
{2} That we could do this test without sedation. It is ordered with sedation, but the sedation nurse called me & told me that we would try it first without. She would have to lay perfectly still for <5>
{3} That her left lung would have grown substantially in the last 10 weeks.
{4} That the little air pockets vs. cysts would be GONE! Howeverrrr, if they are still there, please pray that it would be more clear as to what those little things are.

Thank you so much. This means a lot to our family!!

Until Next Time...
Love, Jen

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Top 2 Tuesday: New Years Resolutions

Welcome back to this week's edition of Top 2 Tuesday! I have so much fun playing & I hope you'll hop over to Taylor's blog (The Undomestic Momma) and join in with us. This week's topic is:

Top 2 New Years Resolutions
{1} Tune into my creative side - I have enjoyed making bows for Kinsley Anne & I hope to continue to do that & maybe even pick up a few other new skills. I also want to use my brand new camera to capture the events of my life. I love photography, took several classes in high school, knew how to manually use a camera & develop my own film, etc. I don't care about the developing part, but I am going to find a couple of hours to re-learn the techniques that I once knew & put them to good use. Sorry Kinsley Anne, you'll be my subject for a long time to come..just get used to it!

{2} Gain more self confidence. I am really hard on myself since I am still hovering ever so slightly above my pre-pregnancy weight. The first chunk of weight came off super easily & the last 5 or so pounds are proving incredibly difficult. I know that I am breastfeeding & that my chest is a little heavier than normal, for obvious reasons, but I don't think I give myself enough credit. I am a busy, tired, working new mom that barely has enough time to breathe, let alone be good about an exercise routine. However, I will to find something fun at home that I can do to work out. I don't care if it's dance to a wii game, walk, some p90x activity, or what, but I have to do it for my own morale. I don't have to have the same body that I once had, but I am going to get this one fit & feel good about it.. And by summer, I will be wearing bikinis again. I am bound & determined.
If anyone has ideas on fun & effective things to do to tone back up as a new mom, PLEASE leave me a comment!!! I value your thoughts/helpful hints!

{runner up} stop cursing altogether again. I used to be realllly good about holding them in. somehow they have started slipping again & with Kinsley Anne now here, it's time to put a stop to them. once and for all!

Until Next Time..
Love, Jen

Monday, December 27, 2010

Our Christmas 2010

I apologize in advance for the length of this post. I found a few moments of peace & figured I better take advantage of it while it lasts!!
This year's Christmas started Wednesday when we celebrated Christmas with Kyle's brother, Ryan and his fiance Ashley (one of my bridesmaids when I got married). They were going up to PA to be with her family for Christmas so we needed to celebrate a little early. We enjoyed Low Country Boil & exchanged gifts. I got a gorgeous new bead for my bracelet (a cross, anchor, and seen below.."Faith, Hope, & Charity" bead) & an awesome brown Carhart vest. What's funny is that last weekend, I had tried this exact vest on with Kyle and said "not that I need it, but it's a great gift idea for the future because I really like it." Little did I know that Ryan had already bought it at Cabela's for me! :) Thanks Rhino and Ash!Then my parents arrived in town on Thursday last week. It is so good to have them around & see them spending time with Kinsley Anne. Thursday evening after getting off of work, we went to Hollywild to see Christmas lights & feed some animals. You drive in and first drive through millions of lights. Then, you enter the "safari" area where you buy food & roll down your windows. Herds of deer, holstein cows, zebras, "za-donkeys," and steer roam around eating from your hands. Then, there is a part where you can park & get out. There you can enjoy bonfires, hot cocoa, Santa, baby goats, llamas, alpacas, and lots of other animals. Kinsley was all bundled up to stay warm and she even had her picture taken with Santa!! We all had a great time but were exhausted when the night was done.

Friday, my office was closed so we all got to hang out & enjoy the day together. That evening, we went to Kyle's maternal grandmother's house (Myma) and enjoyed Christmas festivities with about 40 family members. Kyle's mom is 1 of 6, so it's a big & fun family. The kids had drawn names & exchanged gifts first. Kinsley Anne got a really pretty black fleece pea coat with zebra trim and a matching hat. Then, the Chinese auction began amongst the adults. Everyone brought a gift, either for a female or male. Numbers were given out to everyone & the person with #1 picked a gift and opened it. The person with #2 could either pick #1's gift or get a new gift. A gift could only be traded 3 times & then it was "retired" and safe with whoever was holding it at that time. It was really fun. I took home a really pretty glass heart necklace and Kyle brought home reindeer antlers & a nose for my car!

Saturday morning after Santa had come, we opened stockings at our house with my parents. Kinsley got new pink & camo cowboy boots (yes..a stocking stuffer because her feet are so tiny haha). After stockings, we went over to Kyle's parents & exchanged gifts with everyone. I was blown away with how many amazing gifts I got. We are one blessed family. The biggest gift for me was my BRAND NEW CAMERA!!!! Kyle bought me a Nikon D3100 with an extra (bigger) lens. I had an absolute ball taking pictures the rest of the day. Poor Kinsley's first words are going to be "mom, stop" I'm certain. I also got an express Keratin treatment that I'm having done this Wednesday afternoon. My parents bought us a new Hoover!!!!! I am beyond excited about the fact that we have a nice, high quality vacuum that I would never want to buy for myself. My parents also bought my more Willow Tree Nativity figurines for my happy about them!

Kyle & Kinsley Anne got tons of great gifts as well. Kinsley Anne got more shoes, socks, clothes, books, ornaments, and her very first pocket knife from Daddy! Kyle's dad has always bought his three kids (all boys) a Case pocket knife every year for Christmas. Kyle wants to continue that tradition with his kids. Kinsley will get the same style pocket knife every year, in every possible color and edition that it comes in! Kyle got new work boots, a Dewalt radio, gun cleaning kit, hair trimmer, Decision Points (by George Bush), and lots of other goodies.

After gift exchanging Saturday morning, we had a yummy breakfast (Strata and Breakfast Casserole, biscuits, and gravy). Then, we rested and enjoyed the goodies we had opened up earlier. I read through the basics of my camera and got to work snapping pictures. Saturday afternoon, we went to Kyle's paternal grandparents, where we ate some more. It was quite yummy & then it was onto the much-anticipated scavenger hunt. Kyle's grandmom (Nene) thinks all year about where she can hide $100 bills. There is 1 hidden for each of the grandkids & this year the adults even had theirs hidden. The "kids" are in 1 room & the adults were in another. Mine was rolled up & taped inside of a little decorative broomstick that was hanging on the wall. It took us about 25 minutes to find all of the hidden money...well done Nene! We're already looking forward to next year's hunt!

That night, the snow started falling & it became the first white Christmas in 47 was stunning. We got to just relax by the fire & watch it fall. Quite peaceful, if you ask me!

Christmas is by no means all about the gifts but we are soo blessed to be able to exchange a few with each other. Looking around at all of our "stuff" was a little overwhelming this year. Kyle said on Christmas morning "There are a lot of happy little kids right now!" and I couldn't help but respond "and some that didn't get to experience Santa." I pray that everyone felt the warmth of family & friends this past weekend and maybe even had a few pretty packages to open.

This morning on my way to work, a Christian radio station was having people call in to say "My Christmas was wonderful this year because...." I couldn't help but call to say "My Christmas was wonderful this year because it was my first one as a mom!!" The man excitedly told me congratulations & it put a smile on my face all morning.

Pictures are coming soon, as soon as I find a quiet moment to upload them. So...what was your favorite part of Christmas this year?

Until Next Time...
Love, Jen

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Top 2 Tuesday: Favorite Christmas Memories

Welcome to another edition of Top 2 Tuesday, hosted by Taylor @ The Undomestic Momma! It provides me much entertainment to look through everyone's thoughts on each week's topics & I hope it provides you smiles as well!
If you're new here, HEY! I hope you'll sit back, relax, and get to know my family!

This week's topic is:

Top 2 Favorite Christmas Memories!

{1} Christmas Day with The Loughlin Family (my mom's side). After celebrating Christmas morning with my parents/sister/neighbors (they were like grandparents to us!), we would hop in the car & head up to Nanny & Pop Pop's house. It was so fun to get the aunts, uncles, & cousins together. This picture below doesn't include everyone who used to gather, but it does include my Great Nanny & Pop Pop (who have both been celebrating Christmas in Heaven for a few years now), so it is a great one!!

{2} Christmas Eve. My mom, dad, sister, & sometimes Nanny would go over to my neighbor's house (The Gibbs) on Christmas Eve & Mrs. Gibbs is quite an exquisite chef. She used to make us homemade soup & muffins as our Christmas Eve supper. She made everyone except me vegetable soup from scratch & she would make me crab bisque. She made all sorts of muffins, but my personal fave was a zucchini muffin of hers. They also always gave my sister & I 1 gift to open at their house, which was always an ornament for our tree. Then, we would head home & sit by a fire or watch a movie (typically A Christmas Story) until it was time to head to Cathedral Church of St. John for the midnight Christmas Eve service. My favorite part of the service is always when they light candles, turn off the lights, and sing Silent Night.

..of course, I also LOVED Christmas morning, running downstairs to see the tree & wrapped packages & a few years ago, I'm sure I may have listed that as one of my top 2! But, I seem to cherish family more & more these days. Perhaps it's because most of my family lives a plane ride away? BUT, I get to see my mom & dad THIS Thursday & I couldn't be happier. They are coming down from DE to spend Christmas with Kinsley Anne & I am thrilled.
I love, love, love all of my family.

I hope that you all have been able to spend time together with your family this Christmas season & find time to really soak in all of your favorite memories...and even create a few new ones!

Also, please be praying for my sweet girl's 2 month appointment today! I think we are dealing with some reflux & I hope that we can get this sorted out. She has been very congested & she gurgles in her throat a lot too. I hope that we can get on medicine & avoid her aspirating anything. The last thing we need is for her to get pneumonia!!!!! Of course she is getting her shots today too & that will not be easy to watch. Thanks in advance for thinking of us!

Until Next Time..
Love, Jen

Saturday, December 18, 2010

2 Month Birthday!

Today is Kinsley Anne's 2 month birthday!! She weighs approximately 10lbs & is such a joy in our lives. She is learning to smile (& does most of it in the morning when she's wide awake), talks a little (a lot of "ahhs"), & has pretty good head strength.

Yesterday, I got up & went to work to find out I had NO patients scheduled. Not good financially, but great for my family because I got to come home earlier than normal (after fighting with Medicaid and working on some patient phone calls) & Kyle, Kinsley Anne, and I went out to eat. We also had a Sunday School party where we all went to eat at Caro-Mi in Tryon, NC & then came back to our "teacher's" house to do a Chinese auction gift exchange & of course we had dessert.
Daddy (Kyle) & Kinsley Anne
Mama & Kinsley Anne
..please note her adorable pink baby Uggs!

Today (on her birthday), we were wayyy lazy! Kinsley slept until 630am, ate, slept until 9, ate, then we all cuddled in bed until 11:30! It was wonderful & just what we all needed. We then ate lunch & got a few more Christmas pictures taken of Kinsley Anne (will post soon). We came home, ate some delicious chicken pot pie, straightened up, and put on Charlie St. Cloud (which is currently finishing up)...very good movie & I even got some gift wrapping done while watching!!

Kinsley Anne has her 2 month checkup & will get her 1st round of shots on Tuesday. Pray for her...and of course, her mommy!!!! I'm pretty sure it will hurt me more to watch than it will hurt her! More updates to come soon. I hope ya'll are having a wonderful weekend!

Until Next Time..
Love, Jen

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Top 2 Tuesday

Hey!! It's Tuesday again. For all of you that see my blog week-to-week, you know what that means...It's time again for Top 2 Tuesday, hosted by Taylor @ The Undomestic Momma!

This Weeks Topic is: Top 2 Favorite Games (Board, Video, Card, etc)

{1} Pinochle. This is a card game that my family played all of the time! We used to play on vacation, at home, wherever! It was perfect since we are a family of 4 & all you need is a deck of cards. It provided endless hours of laughs & memories.

{2} Wii Mario Kart. I got Wii for Christmas from Kyle last year & Kyle's brother, Clay and I have played for hours & hours. We typically pull our love seat recliner in front of the TV so that we can play in style!

So, I have to ask...has anyone played any good Wii Karaoke games? How about XBox 360 Kinect?

Until Next Time..
Love, Jen

Monday, December 13, 2010

Kinsley Anne @ 8 weeks..

Kinsley Anne is 8 weeks old today.
Kinsley, here is what you have been doing this month:

-You are wearing size 1 diapers and 0-3 month clothing. Your 3 month footed sleepers are still slightly too big & you manage to pull your foot up out of the footed part & wedge both feet in one leg hole. Ouch!

-You got weighed Friday and were 9#10.5oz!!

-You are still getting exclusively breastmilk, but get it through a bottle while I'm at work & also at nighttime. I usually only breastfeed you 1-2 feedings between work & bed & still love that time together with you.

-You sleep in the pack 'n' play just outside our room. Mama & Daddy were hearing all of your little moans, groans, and squeaks and decided we weren't getting very good sleep because of it. Now, we only hear you when you cry. You have steadily been sleeping 5-6hr stretches at night now. If we put you down at 11, you sleep til 5am. If we put you down at midnight, you sleep until 6am. We really hope we can squeeze out another hour soon!!

-Your nighttime routine goes like this: play/read/watch TV with mama & daddy, start to get fussy, mama gets in the shower & washes, daddy brings you to the shower & you get into the shower with mama. Wash & relax in the shower. Get out, dry off, eat a bottle (usually 6+oz), get sleepy, get put in your swaddle blanket, get put down in the pack n play.

-You LOVE baths & showers!!!! It doesn't matter if the water splashes your face or not. You could be screaming your little head off & when that warm water hits you, you just get wide-eyed and quiet. I was a little nervous about washing you in the shower the 1st time but it is way faster for me to do it this way & you love it.

-You are so alert now! You are not the best napper in the world. You usually get at least one good nap each day, but during the rest of your naps you still make little noises & move around a bit.

-When you're awake, you really work to pick your head up & look at who's holding you.

-You have started tracking people's movement a little bit. Daddy was calling your name in front of you last night & when he moved back and forth from one side of you to the other, you followed him! I think that made him (and me!) very happy!!!

-You are a very good baby. You typically don't cry unless you are hungry or hurting. You still have some bouts of gas but in the last week, it has gotten a little better. We give you infant gas drops as needed & it seems to work well. When we put the medicine in your mouth, you evidently think it tastes great because you stop crying and smack your lips together.

-The dogs still adore you. As soon as they come in the house, they have to go find you. They sniff the swing, the bouncy, the car seat, etc until they find where you are. They, like us though, have learned to sleep through most of your noises.

-You have lots of hair in the back of your head and your hair is growing in slowly but surely everywhere else. It seems like it will be thick and blonde. It already even has a little curl to it. The PA that saw you on Friday said that you have a "beautiful moo-lay" (aka mullet). We love you & your beautiful mullet.

-You like your bouncy seat & sometimes this helps if your belly is hurting you. You like your swing for naps.

-You are still mesmerized by bright lights & fans.

-You are a strong little girl. Your grip is quite tight.

-You love riding in the car but have only had to use that tactic once for when you weren't feeling well.

-I learned a new kind of hurt on Friday when you weren't feeling well. I felt hopeless & cried on the way to the pediatrician's office while you cried because there was nothing I could do. I know you are bound to get sick from time-to-time but I don't like it and hope that you are a very healthy little girl so that your mama doesn't have to feel broken hearted often.

-You're only supposed to be 2.5 weeks old but are thankful for the amazing 8 weeks you have been in our lives.

-You have taught me so much in these 8 very short weeks. You have taught me a love I never knew possible. You have shown me pure joy & true happiness. I wish only the best things for you - that you may grow up to be a strong, healthy, happy, & loving young lady. But in the meantime, I am going to enjoy every single moment of being able to hold your 9lb body, provide for your needs, & shower you with unending love & affection. We love you always & forever, to the moon & back.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

weekend recap

Is it the work week already???

Friday, I got a phone call from Kyle saying that Kinsley Anne was acting like "a demon." She wouldn't stop crying for anything & he was getting her in the car to drive. Where? Anywhere. He didn't know what else to do..she was dry, she was fed, she had been given gas drops, and she was still crying. So, as soon as I got done seeing my patients, I let him know that I was on my way to help. I got home as he was pulling back into the driveway and as soon as he brought her in the house, she was wailing. Kyle said that she would get quiet when he was driving, but as soon as the car came to a stop at a red light, she freaked out again. I picked her up, swaddled her, and cuddled her close to me, and temporarily she calmed down. She slept for about an hour, woke up, & she nursed. After she ate, she again, starting crying inconsolably. I walked around, put her in the swing, put her in the bouncy, tried her in different positions while I held her..but nothing was working. I gave her gas drops again & that didn't do the trick. So at 3:55pm, I decided to call the pediatrician before they closed. I got an appointment at 4:40pm (their last slot for Friday) and off we went. On my way, I called her pulmonologist & asked what I needed to be looking for since she seemed like she was in pain. He said to have them hook her up to an O2 saturation monitor & listen to her breath sounds. If both were good, he didn't think it was pulm related. If one was abnormal, he told me to request a Chest XRay. She cried the entire visit and the doctor said she had "beautiful ears" (aka no ear infections), no ulcers or redness in her mouth/throat, her belly felt soft, she had very mild congestion in her nose, but nothing else. Because of her lung "anomaly" and how incredibly upset she was, she asked if we minded getting labs done to insure that there was no underlying bacterial infection going on. Of course we didn't mind since we wanted to figure out what was going on. However, because it was past 5 at this point, the lab was closed at the office. So, we had to go to the hospital. I drove her over there & registered her as an outpatient. The computers were down and since she had never in the hospital as anything other than "baby girl settle," it was really fun trying to figure out how to get her registered. The lab techs were really nice (& good) and stuck her tiny little foot. She's a good bleeder, so we got plenty of blood on the first stick. We then hung out in the hospital (as instructed by the pediatrician) for results in case we needed to head to the peds ER for further testing. About an hour later, the doctor called & basically said that her white blood cell count was slightly low (possibly viral infection) but otherwise, things looked good. So, home we went. That night, she stopped crying but didn't eat much. She ate 2 ounces at 7pm, 1 ounce at midnight, nursed twice the next morning - each for only about 5 minutes, and then went until 6pm without eating anything else. The doctor called to check on her Saturday morning and told me to offer her breast/bottle more frequently since she wasn't wanting to eat well. She cried off & on and honestly had me really concerned because her urine output started to decrease, but after she ate Saturday evening, things started turning around. She had started to look somewhat pale & her eyes were just pitifully exhausted looking. She ate very well Saturday night and today, we have a new baby. She is SO content, looking around, picking her head up, cooing a little, etc. Our Kinsley Anne is back!! She's making her mama and daddy very happy. Her pees & poops are back to normal and I couldn't be happier. I think we forgot how lucky we are to have a good baby but we now have realized that. She normally is only fussy when she is hungry or has gas. Whatever little bug she had on Friday really did a number on her.

I also have a little bit of the crud which stinks. I have some congestion & cough but am not feeling too terrible. Hopefully we can avoid her getting any of my "stuff." I wash my hands about a bazillion times/day but I am going to have to be super careful about changing clothes when I get home before holding her, etc.

Saturday, Kinsley stayed with Kyle's all afternoon/evening so that Kyle and I could run to the mall & we also had a wedding to go to. Cara, a nursing assistant at work got married & she was a beautiful bride!! We are all so happy for her & hope that they have a wonderful and safe honeymoon in Mexico. I forgot my camera, so of course, I have no pictures to post.

Today was basically a catch-up day for sleep. We didn't actually get out of bed (other than to tend to KA intermittently) until after noon. Then, we put a Lifetime Christmas movie on & Kinsley Anne and I fell back asleep. Finally, I got up and moving and took KA to Target with me to do some Christmas stocking shopping & to get more breast milk storage bottles. Kyle made pecan pie & chocolate oatmeal cookies and then we hung out at his parents house tonight for a little while.

Tomorrow, our sweet girl is 8 weeks old!!! A post on that soon.

How was your weekend? I hope that it wasn't as eventful as mine!

Until Next Time..
Love, Jen

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Guess Who?!

My sweet punkin' is featured on Tammy's Funky Flowers' Wordless Wednesday post today!!!
Go check her out...I must say (although slightly biased) that she is probably the cutest darn flower that you'll ever set your eyes on!!!

Until Next Time..
Love, Jen

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Top 2 Tuesday

I think I will forever be amazed at how fast time flies now that I am a mom. But without further ado, since it's already Tuesday again (and Tuesday is almost over), it's time again for Top 2 Tuesday!! Taylor, over at The Undomestic Momma, hosts Top 2 Tuesday each week & this week's topic is:

Top 2 Favorite Christmas Ornaments

{1} Cliche it is, but my new favorite ornament is anything pertaining to Kinsley Anne's very first Christmas. Just yesterday, a nurse at work gave me the below Precious Moments ornament. I also got her a silver spoon with little pink rhinestones that says "baby's first Christmas." My goal is to get her a meaningful ornament each year so that one day she will be able to fill a Christmas tree full of memories from her mama.

{2} I don't have a picture of this ornament, but it's a red, handpainted ornament that says "Longwood Gardens" on one side & on the other side has a beautiful picture of the gardens at Christmas. This place will always have special meaning as it is where Kyle proposed to me. I grew up close to Longwood Gardens & it is quite a spectacular place, especially at Christmas!! Below is a picture of Kyle and I the night that he proposed!

Other things on my mind:
a} i love "The Sing Off!" I actually love almost all a capella groups, so that show is basically heaven to me.
b} being a working mom is tough stuff! i'm exhausted. 6am is rough.
c} i love that Kyle is handling the Mr. Mom role like a pro. It has really allowed me to focus on getting back in the swing of things at work without worrying about my sweet baby girl so much.
d} i can't wait for my parents to come back! I know they miss Kinsley & I miss them!
e} where did 18 degrees come from? wasn't it 70 less than 2 weeks ago?
f} i should be in bed right now. goodnight.

Until Next Time..
Love, Jen

Monday, December 6, 2010

A New Adventure Begins..

So, today a new adventure began. I became a working mama. Kinsley Anne, luckily, is staying at home for another month. Kyle has the ability to be home for 2 weeks and then between his family & my family, they will keep her the 2 weeks after that. THEN she will begin the daycare experience. I am pleased that she will have her 2 month vaccines before going to daycare. I am praying, praying, praying that we can avoid the dreadful RSV.

My emotions were very mixed about the anticipation of this day...terrified to leave my sweet baby, excited for routine, scared that she'd miss me & my voice, happy that she could spend time with daddy, nervous that I'll miss something, and truly horrified at the possible germs that I could potentially bring home to her from the office/hospital. All of the above are normal, I'm sure. Last night, however, the terrified/sad feeling overwhelmed me for about 30 minutes. I got her ready for bed, fed her, and laid her in my arms. I didn't want to put her down. I didn't want to stop staring at her. I didn't want to say goodnight. I didn't want that kiss to be my last kiss for the night. So I just cried for 30 minutes while looking at her. Kyle said "what's wrong? Oh, that was stupid, I shouldn't have asked that." He was right. I knew I was going to have a "moment." I'm sure it was no surprise to him either. But he just put his arms around me and the 3 of us laid together for a little while & I soon felt better. He's great with her. I knew he would do fine at home...and I was right.

Today went smoothly. I got up, pumped, showered, got dressed (in clothes that I had already laid out), cleaned bottles, packed all of my pumping stuff, packed some chicken salad and Wheat Thins for lunch, said goodbye to my sweet & sleeping husband, kissed my baby girl {gently I might that I that wouldn't wake her}, and off I went..I was greeted in the driveway by waves & honking horns from my brother in law (who lives 2 doors down) & soon to be sister as they drove past on their way to work. That made me smile. I listened to my Selah CD on the way to work & it kept me feeling at peace. I called my mom to tell her that I made it out of the house without a breakdown. I saw my patients (all of which showed up. shocker, considering they've been waiting almost 2 months to be able to see me), did a little e-mail and snail mail catch-up, and headed back home. I got home a little early today but it was nice to just ease back into the routine. Everyone at work was amazing. They all greeted me with smiles, "welcome backs," & hugs. Everyone has been genuinely concerned about Kinsley Anne and today was no exception.

Now I get to love on my sweet girl all evening & I will love every single minute of it. One day, maybe I will get to stay home with my kiddo(s) but today was not the day...& I survived!

More bow pictures coming soon! I am starting to really love this bow-making process & I have gotten so many compliments when Kinsley Anne wears them which makes it all the more worth it!

Until Next Time..
Love, Jen

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Crafts? Yes Please.

My husband has been telling me "you should make those" every time I buy a bow. I finally decided to give it a whirl. I actually really enjoyed my craft time last night & successfully made 2 bows! I will continue on this weekend to see what else I can make. My goal is to make several different types & decide which I like doing best.

bow/flower #1:

bow/flower #2:

So, what do you think? What type do you like better? More to come soon!

Until Next Time..
Love, Jen

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Top 2 Tuesday

Is it already Tuesday again?! Time is flying by around here. I guess that means I'm having lots of fun, which is true! Tuesday means that Taylor at The Undomestic Momma is hosting Top 2 Tuesday.

This week's topic is: Top 2 Cleaning & Organizing Tips or Tricks

{1} As my family knows, I am anything but an organizational or neat freak. However, in my closet, I have gotten a little type-A about organization. My hanging tops are all hung by several categories. First are tank tops, then short sleeve, then 3/4 sleeve, then long sleeve/sweater. Then, within those categories, they are hung by rainbow colors. ROYGBIV - Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purples, whites, greys, blacks. This makes it easier for me to pick out clothes. If I know I am looking for a red top, then voila, my choices are narrowed down. My husband thinks I'm crazy & I'm honestly not sure where this little quirk came from, but it works well for me.

{2} The 2nd thing is really something I can't take credit's my husband's smarts! For organization of bills & what needs to be paid/mailed when, we have a neat little desktop organizer that has slots that are numbered 1-31. Then, you can write a check, slip it into a slot, along with its coordinating bill & envelope, and know when it needs to be paid. You can either decide to put the bill in the date when it's due or the date when it needs to be mailed. Just as long as you understand your own system, it works great! :) We have the below organizer, which can be found at Target.

What are your cleaning/organizational tips? I look forward to reading them!!

Until Next Time...
Love, Jen

Monday, November 29, 2010

Tommee Tippee Giveaway

Danielle, at Happenings of the Harper Household, is hosting a giveaway of Tommee Tippee Soft Shield pacifiers. Tommee Tippee is the brand of bottles that we are currently using & Kinsley Anne loves them. I do not have any of these soft shield paci's yet, but the bottles are great! Kinsley Anne was given pumped breast milk in the NICU somewhat frequently if I couldn't be there in person to breastfeed and they used the screw on nipples that went onto the storage bottles. These were nothing like a breast nipple & Kinsley Anne would throw a royal hissy fit when I tried to get her to breastfeed after she had had a bottle. She was confused & didn't want to have to work for her food. When we got home, we switched her to Tommee Tippee bottles/nipples for when she got breast milk bottles (at night or if a family member wanted to feed her). She has had no difficulty going between bottle & breast ever since we switched. I would recommend these to anyone. Needless to say, I would love to win another Tommee Tippee product & I think you should try to win too! Head over to Danielle's blog to check it out!!

Here is the Tommee Tippee website:

Until Next Time..
Love, Jen

Friday, November 26, 2010

Newborn Photo Session

Alli Maxwell, of Allison Maxwell Photography, took some pictures of Kinsley Anne when she was 3 weeks old. Below are a few....

the below pictures include one of KA's flowers from Tammy's Funky Flowers

I hope that everyone had a great Thanksgiving. We most certainly had LOTS to be thankful for. We decided to take it easy and not go shopping until ~8am. I wasn't super impressed with the deals at the mall other than at Baby Gap. Everything was 50% off until 10am! Kinsley Anne made out the best out of all of us. She slept through the entire shopping ordeal except for when it was time to eat (which was planned well since we were already sitting down to a snack in the food court!). What good deals did you find?

Until Next Time...
Love, Jen

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Kinsley Anne Update

Kinsley Anne went to the pediatrician Monday, 11/15 and got a great report. She had gained 1lb 3oz since her last visit there 2 weeks prior!! She weighed in at 8lb 3 oz!!!!! The PMD said that she should be gaining 1/2-1 ounce per day & that would mean that she had gained 19 ounces in 14 days!! She must like what's in my milk! haha Otherwise, the doctor said she looked great and that from her standpoint, we could transition to a "normal baby" doctor's visit schedule. This means that her next visit will be at 2 months of age for shots :(

Yesterday, 11/22, we went to see the pediatric pulmonologist. He was impressed that her O2 sat was 100% and had still not shown any signs of respiratory distress or issues. He wanted to repeat her chest xray, so we went downstairs, registered, and had that done. We came back upstairs to his office & and they pulled him out of a room so that we could pull it up. He wanted me to see it & we compared it to the ones from her NICU stay. On a CXR, air looks black & in the NICU, her left lung was showing up almost all white in the films. On this CXR, there was possibly more black on the left, meaning more air entry into that lung! yay! The right lung looked no different, which is fine. He didn't want to go getting my hopes up, but he felt like there was almost definitely improvement. What does this mean, however? We're not sure. CXRs are good, but they have their limitations. So, our plan is to repeat a CT scan of her left lung. We are planning to do this in 2 months, but I am going to call him & see if there is a disadvantage to doing it on 12/31 because we already have maxed out her insurance deductible this year and obviously if we could take advantage of that, it would be great! So anyway, thanks for the prayers. It definitely doesn't seem that anything has gotten worse & now we anxiously await the CT scan! The respiratory therapist & MD were both pleased with her and were happy to see that she was gaining weight well.

Otherwise, she is doing great! Thank you again for your continued prayers. We have so much to be thankful for & it is so timely that this week is Thanksgiving! Sometime this week, I will post some pictures from Kinsley Anne's newborn photo session. We have picked out our announcements & I am so excited about them!

Until Next Time..
Love, Jen

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Top 2 Tuesday

The weeks are flying by!! It's Tuesday again, which means it's time for Top 2 Tuesday. This is hosted by Taylor, over at The Undomestic Momma. If you haven't joined in before, today is the perfect day to do so!

So, without further ado, this week's topic is Top 2 Things on Your Christmas Wish List

{1} This is way out there & I know that I will not be getting it, but I must say that my top want is a new fancy-dancy camera. I took several photography classes in high school & had a fancy non-digital camera, but who develops film anymore, right? I obviously have my smaller digital camera that I use all of the time, but I eventually want to step it up a notch. My sweet husband was really wanting to get that for me this year, but that can't really happen now that Miss Kinsley made an early arrival & racked up lots of medical bills so far.

{2} A personal trainer that would come to my house. I know better than to think I will make regular trips to the gym with a little one. I like to think I could pull out P90X or Wii Fit & get my butt in gear on my own, but that hasn't happened in the last 5 weeks and we'll see if it happens in the next couple.

...As far as a MAJOR wish on my list that is not material is for Kinsley Anne's lung to be growing bigger & for those mysterious air pockets or cysts to be GONE when we get her next CT done. (more on her pulmonology appt yesterday in my next post)

Runner-Up Wishes:
-Brown work shoes (Dansko's, maybe?)
-I'm considering a Filson jacket but debating if I really need one
-Keratin complex soothing therapy to get my hair straighter!
-Beige handbag..haven't seen one that I have to have....yet
-North Face rain coat

What's on your wish list??

Monday, November 22, 2010

About Us

I found this cute questionnaire on another blog & thought it would be something fun to do! I hope you enjoy!

{1} What are your middle names?
Me: Megan ,by birth. But now, legally, it's my maiden name, Gilbert.
Kyle: Kyle...yep, he goes by his middle name!
{2} How long have you been together?
Since November 2004
{3} How long did you know each other before you started dating?
We pretty much started dating immediately.
{4} Who asked who out?
Well, I put my phone number in his phone the night I met him & he texted me the next day {& he swears up and down that that was his first text. That's just hard for me to believe since I'm a texting queen. haha}
{5} How old are each of you?

We're both 25....19 days apart.
{6} Did you go to the same school?
Nope, never have.
{7} Are you from the same home town?
Nope. I was born in Texas, raised in Delaware.
He was born in Spartanburg & grew up in Green Creek, NC & Inman, SC.
{8} Who is the smartest?
Depends what topic we're discussing. I must say, we're both pretty darn smart haha
{9} Who majored in what?
Me: BS in Nursing, MS in Nursing - Peds Primary Care NP
Kyle: BS in Engineering
{10} Who is the most sensitive?
I am, hands down. Kyle is very stoic. He has always been that way & I love him for that. I think having a baby has changed him a lot, but still he is not openly sensitive about things. Me, on the other hand? I show my emotions pretty openly. If I am sad, I cry. If I'm happy, I smile big & laugh. I cry when I read blogs of people I don't know. I cried when Kinsley Anne had to go to NICU. I cried when I had to leave Kinsley Anne at the hospital by herself. I cried 2 nights ago, "just because." I think all nurses have to be in touch with their emotions.
{11} Where is the furthest you two have traveled together as a couple?
Aruba, on our honeymoon.
{12} Who has the worst temper?
Hmm..that's a tough question. I wouldn't honestly say either of us have a bad temper, but I would say if he's mad, you're likely to know it faster than with me. Anger is the one thing I am not super quick to show. I usually simmer slowly.
{13} How many children do you want?
We are between 2 & 3. Although I'm not sure I can handle the emotions of another baby going to NICU. I hope & pray that with the next pregnancy, things will not be so "exciting." That would make my decision a little harder. Otherwise, definitely 2.
{14} Who does the cooking?
Usually me since I get home earlier (and am home with the baby right now) but he cooks sometimes, too.
{15} Who is more social?
Probably him, actually. I mean, I'm social, don't get me wrong. But he could talk to a complete stranger for hours. He's on lots of committees in the community & is great at this. He is totally one of those people could be a public figure or run for mayor & do great. Not me.
{16} Who is the neat freak?
Neither one of us. That presents a problem at times.
{17} Who is the most stubborn?
We both are equally as stubborn, just typically about different things. If I had to pick someone, I would say him but I think that comes from being the oldest sibling. :)
{18} Who wakes up earlier?
He does. He has to be at work 30+ minutes before me. And currently, with me being at home with Kinsley Anne, he definitely gets up earlier.
{19} Where was your first date?
HA! Waffle House. How romantic, right?
{20} Who has the bigger family?
He has a bigger immediate family. But, I would say we are pretty similar when it comes to extended families. Mine would probably just seem bigger if you got us all in a room because you can't keep us quiet when we get together!!!
{21} Do you get flowers often?
Not really. Neither one of us are really a lover of flowers as a gift. I mean, I love flowers, don't get me wrong. But they die so quickly!!!
{22} How do you spend the holidays?
When we got married, we decided to split the holidays each year, rotating where we spent them since our families don't live in the same place. The 1st year, we did Thanksgiving in DE, Christmas in SC. Last year, Kyle was in China for Thanksgiving so I went to DE to be with my family & then we also spent Christmas in DE. This year, we will spend both in SC because of Kinsley Anne being so young.
{23} Who is more jealous?
probably me..of his time more than anything. He is really busy, which is a good thing, but we have to schedule time to just stay home.
{24} How long did it take to get serious?
We were serious right away. We began getting to know each other by talking on the phone hours at a time & also asking each other question was out off-limits. We said "I love you" in February after we met.
{25} Who eats more?
He does. But, that's to be expected, right? Except candy. I can eat my weight in candy, haha
{26} What do you do for a living?
Me: mama, wife, & pediatric neurology nurse practitioner
Kyle: daddy, husband, & structural engineer at a very large, international corporation
{27} Who does the laundry?

Before baby, we shared the duty. Now, I do most of it since I'm home. But that will probably change back to more of a shared duty once I'm back at work.
{28} Who's better with the computer?
We are both really good with computers, although he uses more programs than I do since he does engineering stuff on it. I was sooo grateful when our charting at work went electronic. I can type far faster than I can write.
{29} Who drives when you are together?
Typically him. I hate driving.
{30} What is your song?
Our wedding song was "God Bless the Broken Road" by Rascal Flatts

If you decide that you want to do this, leave me a comment so I can come check out your answers!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Kinsley Anne @ 1 month

Kinsley Anne was 4 weeks old this Monday.

Kinsley, Here is what you have been doing this month:

-You are wearing newborn and some 0-3 month clothing (that are generally a little too big)

-You are wearing newborn diapers but yesterday, we did put you in a size 1 diaper for the first time just to see how it fits. You are sort of needing an in-between size!

-You got weighed today and weigh 8#30z!!

-You are getting exclusively breastmilk but since the 2nd week of your life, we have given you breastmilk bottles at night. You tend to sleep longer after bottles because you'll take up to 5 ounces!!! You nurse every 1.5-3 hours during the day.

-You sleep in the pack 'n' play at the foot of our bed at night. We tried to get you to sleep in the cradle that Pop Pop made for me, but you hated it. We are hoping to get you into your crib as soon as you can sleep through the night. This past week, you started waking up only once at night. It's wonderful for mommy & daddy. We feed you between 9:30-10am & you sleep until 1-2am. I feed you again & you sleep until 5-6am. Usually, you'll wake every 2-3 hours after that.

-We swaddle you up at nighttime & this helps you sleep more soundly. We also have a sound machine that plays "womb" sounds while you sleep at night, in addition to having the ability to play lots of other calming noises. We also turn on the vibrate feature of your pack 'n' play for ~5 minutes while you fall asleep.

-You are becoming more alert between naps. You typically eat, stay awake for ~30min-1hr, then sleep until the next feeding.

-You are a really good baby. You typically don't cry unless you are hungry or hurting. You have had some bouts of painful gas & have taken some gas drops to help you.

-The dogs LOVE you! Bowen is your protector already & barks if anyone comes to the house. The day you came home from the hospital he smelled you in your car seat and then when we laid you down in the crib, he laid down in front of it. Avery is still too young to really understand you, but she loves to give you kisses. She, hopefully, will learn soon that she is too big to stand on you (haha).

-You have lots of hair in the back of your head and your hair is growing in slowly but surely everywhere else. It seems like it will be thick and blonde. It already even has a little curl to it.

-You like your bouncy seat & sometimes this helps if your belly is hurting you. You like your swing for short periods.

-You stare at lights, you love fans, and you stare at us, but you don't track our movements yet.

-You are gripping anything in your path. You don't have control over your mouth, arm, or leg movements but if there's a hand in your way, you'll grab it. Also, while you're nursing or just cuddling on mama's chest, you grab at my clothes or skin.

-You love riding in the car. I think you've stayed awake once out of all the times we've ridden places. Even if we just ride from our house over to your nonie & poppy's, you fall asleep.

-You have gotten several baths & you seem to love it! Your nana gave us a little bathtub lounger for you to lay on inside the big tub. So, we've been using that & sometimes I get in the bathtub with you to hold you. You actually cried when I took you out of the water last time. I think you might be a swimmer in the future!! :)

-Your due date is tomorrow.

-You are truly a joy to have in our lives. You have already changed so much in just 4 short weeks. It is already hard to remember what life was like without you. It sounds cliche, but one day I hope & pray that you will know the overwhelming love of becoming a mother. There is nothing like it.

Today is Prematurity Awareness Day. Please take the time today to remember those preemies too small to survive, honor those preemies who conquered despite the odds, and think of those (like Kinsley Anne) who are big enough that nobody even knows they're preemies other than their NICU stay. Also pray for those NICU babies & families that are still undergoing the roller coaster of emotions & those women who don't yet know that they will soon give birth to a preemie.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Top 2 Tuesday

Once again, it's time for Top 2 Tuesday! Taylor @ The Undomestic Momma hosts this each week. If you haven't joined in before, you should try it out!

This weeks topic: Top 2 Favorite Jobs You've Had

1) Mommy & Wife. I will combine these so that I don't completely cheese up this whole post. I absolutely love having this little girl completely depend on me (and Kyle). I mean, even her meals are mine to serve up! I could cuddle her & kiss her all day long. I also enjoy being wife to Kyle. I love having someone who I can fully trust & depend before Kyle, I was quite the independent girl.

2) Pediatric neurology nurse practitioner. This is my current job & I really do love it! I knew coming out of grad school that my preference was to work in a pediatric specialty but I had no idea which one. This job fell into place & I haven't turned back. I work both outpatient & inpatient. Our office is part of a large hospital system. There are 4 pediatric neurologists, myself, 2 nurses, 2 nursing assistants, 2 EEG technicians, multiple schedulers, but we are one big happy family. All of these people that I work with are awesome. The hours are great, I don't have to take call, and I love working with kids. I am one very happy employee.

In other news, Kinsley Anne is doing great! Thank you for all of your many prayers. She went to the pediatrician yesterday for another weight check and weighed 8lbs, 3 ounces!!!! The doctor asked what she was eating & was a little surprised to hear that she is getting exclusively breastmilk. That means she gained 1lb, 3 oz in 2 weeks!!!!!! What wonderful news. The reason we are getting so excited about her weight gain is that if she were having to work too hard breathing, she would be burning extra calories, therefore not allowing her to gain. This obviously doesn't seem to be the case. We have not had any breathing concerns, thank God!

Any moms out there have suggestions for a baby that seems to get painful gas frequently, not necessarily associated with any particular foods I am eating? She'll just wake up randomly, cry horribly for a few seconds up to about a minute, pass gas, then go back to sleep. Occasionally, I'll have to reposition her & rub her back to help her out. As mentioned above, she is exclusively getting breastmilk - nursing during the day, pumped milk in Tommee Tippee bottles at night. Any suggestions? Thanks in advance!!

Until Next Time...
Love, Jen