Monday, May 7, 2012

"This is a Special Ed program..."

Well, we met with a  Pre-K teacher and our intervention case worker on Friday about Jackson's the future of special services for Jackson's communication delay.  In case you don't know the history you can go herehereherehere, and here to get caught up.  

Jackson's been in speech therapy since January and has made some wonderful progress.  At this point he will say just about anything you want him to say  It's putting together phrases that trips him up.  Many times, instead of saying the phrase correctly, he will just mimic the vowel sounds.  Example:  We can say Jackson say juice and he'll say it clear as day.  The same with please.  But ask him to put it together and he just says, "oo eeee".  When we try to correct him after a few times, he gets really frustrated and either goes silent or flat out says "No!"  As my friend, Tara, pointed out, he's kinda like Joey from FRIENDS when Phoebe is trying to teach him French.  The resemblance to how things go when trying to get Jackson to repeat us is uncanny!

What we've seen improve the most from speech therapy is Jackson's auditory comprehension.  Even our speech therapist has been amazed by what he understands in the past few weeks.  She even broke out the picture cards and he pointed out things that we didn't even know he understood.  It made us all realize that knows and comprehends just about everything we say and everything he sees, he's just not good at expressing that he knows and understands it.

All of Jackson's initial goals have been met and they've been updated twice since he started intervention and that has been really uplifting.  He may still be behind but at least we are seeing consistent progress!  At this point we're thinking he's probably at around a 6 month delay in speech, which is much better than he was before.

Unfortunately, intervention services through the state stop at the age of three and then the local school system picks up via a preschool program.  That is why we had to meet with the preschool teacher and our caseworker on Friday -- to discuss what may happen once Jackson turns three.

The meeting was really informative and I had a lot of questions going in.  My main concern was the range of delay that the other children in the class will have.  What I don't want is for Jackson to be in a class where he is the most developed kid in there.  When I asked the teacher about it she was very clear to say, "Well, this is a special ed program..."

When she said that, I suddenly felt like I was drowning again.  First, it confirmed my fears that there would be some children in the class with SEVERE delays of all sorts - from motor skills to cognition to communication.  Second, that my child...MY CHILD...would be in "special ed."  That is a hard pill to swallow and makes me emotional just thinking about it.  No...not my kid...not my Jackson.  No way....he can't be "special ed," can he?  I mean "special ed" comes with a ton of terrible stereotypes -- "retarded", "riding the short bus", "stupid", etc.  And while I know those things aren't true, I know that if Jackson ends up in special ed he will have to face people saying those things to him.  And no one wants that for their child!  I know that I can't protect him from everything, and he will most likely face some type of bullying at some point in his adolescence, but to start out school at such a disadvantage would probably ensure that he'd face those things much earlier than expected.

As the meeting went on I did start to feel better about the program though.  The goal is to have the majority of children who enter the program, test out of it by the time they start Kindergarten.  And since Jackson has a late birthday, he would have at least 2 full years in the program, which greatly increases his chances of doing so.  The teacher also encouraged us to come observe so we could see first hand the range of students in the class and how they run things and attend to the needs of each child on a day to day basis.

About half way through the meeting, a big question arose.  Will Jackson even qualify for the program at all?  See, in oder to test into the program, he has to have a 25% delay in two areas or a 40% delay in one.  And right now, according to an informal evaluation, he only has a 17% delay in two areas and a 24% delay in another.  And the 24% delay is only because he's not potty trained (which I think it's ridiculous that they even have that as a goal so early).  They will do a formal evaluation sometime in August or September, but with the strides he's been making due to Speech Therapy we're unsure he'll qualify.

So, I'm left feeling torn...

Do I want him to test into the program, which is FREE I might add, and have him be one of the top performing students in the class?  I know from my teaching experience that sometimes the top kids end up getting ignored and thus unchallenged because they don't need as much attention from the teacher.  But, if Jackson does test into the program, and we decide to have him attend - he will also continue to receive FREE speech therapy twice a week through it.

Or do we pay for a regular preschool program?  Not only will that be tough on our finances, but I also fear that his communication delay might be viewed as a behavior problem and not handled correctly.  I don't want Jackson to be viewed as disobedient or defiant simply because he doesn't understand, or can't communicate his understanding of instructions and other things.  Also, if he doesn't attend the special ed preschool program - TEIS will no longer cover his speech therapy.  Which means if we choose to continue it, we will have to pay for it.  And right now, insurance won't cover it at all so that would be a battle we'd have to fight with them and ultimately another hefty expense.

There is just so much to think about and so much to pray about in the coming months.  My prayer is that God would make it clear to us and that what is best for Jackson is what would happen.  If he doesn't need the program or it would serve to his detriment rather than benefit -- I pray he won't test into it.  But if he needs it and it would prepare him for school better than regular pre-k -- I pray he would test in.

I wish we could've gotten definite answers as to what the future holds regarding special services for Jackson, but is seems as if God has decided our patience and our faith in Him for just a little longer.  I don't know exactly what He has planned or the purpose of it yet, but I will continue to trust in Him during this time.  Your prayers are welcomed and appreciated as well!


Tuesday, May 1, 2012


Yes, I stole that from Ellen Degeneres.  But, she's right.  This month is going to be amazing!  I feel like life is getting back to normal as we've adjusted (well, almost) to being parents of two and therefore things are starting to pick up and get busy for the Parsons household again.  There are just so many reasons to be excited about May!

1.  This month is going to bring a better night's sleep for our whole family because Ruth IS going to start sleeping better at night.  Do actually know this?  No.  But I am believing and trusting in the Lord for it!  Jackson started sleeping through the night here and there at 6 weeks and never looked back by 8 weeks.  Ruth isn't quite on the same track but I am believing that it WILL happen by the end of this month.  My God is the God of things both big and small.  This may seem small but fellow parents know that when you are in it, sleep deprivation becomes a sleep mountain! I also know that the word says that faith the size of a mustard seed can move a mountain (Matthew 17:20).  So, sleep mountain, BE MOVED!

2.  We have a meeting this Friday with Jackson's intervention case worker and a daycare about what will happen once he turns 3.  If he still tests at a delay (which I think he barely will), he is qualified for FREE daycare.  I have a lot of questions about the program and am very interested to see how things will work.  I'll do a completely separate post about all of his improvements and what all we find out after Friday.  For now I'll just say that for all of you that have kept this situation in your prayers - we are seeing them be answered before our eyes.  I am so proud of the strides Jackson's made so far and how this next step will help him even more.  Glory be to God in the highest!

3.  Our 7 year anniversary -  WHAT?!  How have we been married 7 years already?!  It's craziness I tell you.  I still feel like we are those 19 year old kids who were so madly in love that we didn't want to spend one moment away from each other.  But then again, our love has grown into so much more.  Seeing how Bryan has morphed from the young man I fell in love with into this dedicated, loving, incredible husband and father makes my love for him so much deeper than it was back then.  We probably won't be able to do much to celebrate this year, but just having him is gift enough.  And there's no itch in sight! ;-)

4.  Bryan's birthday is just a few days before our anniversary and I'm super pumped about it.  I just might have some tricks up my sleeve this year that he's gonna love...if they pan out.  I can't spill the beans but I can say that I am SO EXCITED about doing something BIG for him this year.  So many times, Bryan's birthday gets overshadowed by our anniversary or the end of the school year but this year IT WILL NOT BE OVERSHADOWED.  He deserves to feel special this year (well, he actually deserves it all the time)! :-)

5.  That brings me to the end of the school year - This semester has been especially stressful for Bryan...ya know with a new baby and all...and he is ready for a break.  Technically he is teaching a Maymester class and an online class in June, but both will be a lot easier on him.  Plus, by teaching those classes he will make some extra cash which we just might use to purchase a new vehicle by the end of the summer.  We aren't positive about it quite yet, but we are seriously considering a mini-van.  I never thought I'd be so excited about the possibility of purchasing a mini-van.  But the extra room and features makes me positively giddy.  Funny how things change once you have children!

6.  Fun with friends and family - I just love how Spring and good weather brings us together with the people we love.  We have so much fun stuff planned already - a day trip to Memphis to go to the zoo, yard sale-ing, shopping trips with my girlfriends and a caravan of kids, our annual church picnic, the start of our Young Adult ministry...and that's just what I can think of off the top of my head.  I'm sure there will be so much more fun stuff that we do this month and the rest of the summer!

7.  PHOTOGRAPHY!!  As you may have seen and I've talked about before, I've started doing some photography. I took a digital photography class this past fall and have fallen in love with taking pictures.  I've done a few shoots here and there and have a lot more on the books this Spring/Summer.  Right now I'm just trying to practice as much as possible with different types of shoots - I've got an engagement shoot, a few Senior shoots, and some family shoots all on the books in the next couple months.  I'm SUPER nervous to see how I'm going to do them and how the pics will come out but I'm also SUPER excited to do them.  Ultimately, I'd love to start making some money and actually have this become a small business but I know that is going to take a little time and I'm not rushing it.  I have so much to learn and I am loving the learning aspect.  Capturing these moments is just such a blessing to me and hopefully to the families that are allowing me to capture them.

Here's some of my favorite shots so far...

My sweet girl
I could eat those toes!

Such a cute couple
My sweet friend Kaycee and her Vince

Baby Norah
Look at that hair!

My boys...swoon!

"Haters gonna hate"
Happy May! XOXO!!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Has it been a month already?

It's so odd how the first month can fly by but seem to last forever at the same time.  One minute I think that it feels like just a few days ago that we brought Ruth home.  The next, I'm thinking back on my mom and mother-in-law being here afterwards and it feels like it's been an eternity that Ruth has been a part of our family.  In a way, I think it's because she just fits in so well.  Like she was always supposed to be here.

I figure I better write down some of the things about her first month because I can barely remember anything about Jackson at this age.  It all gets jumbled up and I can't remember when he did what, or how big or small he was, or how exactly I felt.  Sleep deprivation can do that to a person!

So here's some things about our Ruthie girl at 1 month old --

- She is high maintenance..."like her Momma," Bryan says.  :)

- She prefers to be held by me and only me all.the.time.  Sometimes that is difficult but, secretly, I love it.  She will be crying in Bryan's arms (or whoever is holding her) and they can hand her to me and she just stops.  It pretty much melts my heart every time!

Sleeping in her favorite place - Momma's arms.

- It took a couple days but she now LOVES the swing.  Good thing too, because Jackson practically lived in it.  I wasn't sure what I was going to do if she hated it.

- She's not the best sleeper (definitely not as good as Jackson) but she is getting better.  For a while she was waking up every 2 hours and didn't want to be put down at all.  Literally, I had to sleep with her on me or in my arms, which made for some VERY long nights.  In the past week though, she has gotten better.  In fact, there have been 3 nights that she's gone 4-5 hours between feedings...but alas it's only been 3.  :)  She mostly wakes up twice a night and sleeps in her crib until after the second feeding.  THAT'S WHEN THINGS GET DICEY!  After about 5 am, she wants to sleep on me again.  I can put her down in the crib and within a few minutes she'll be wide awake.  But, if I pick her up and move her to the bed or couch with me, she'll be out like a light and sleep for another 3-4 hours.  It told you...HIGH MAINTENANCE!

- She is very fickle about her paci.  She only takes the Soothie or Gumdrop pacis.  One second she'll take it, then within a few seconds she'll spit it out and gag on it if you try to give it back to her.  Then a few seconds later she'll be fussing again and latch onto it like she's been longing for it for days.  Honestly, it can get real old, real quick -- but it's so funny.

-  In the past couple days, she's started to find her voice.  I wouldn't quite say she's cooing yet, but she's getting close!

-  She's starting to give halfway real smiles.  I can't tell if they're full on smiles or still gassy smiles, but sometimes I think they're real.  It's so hard to tell at first!

-  She finally has some chunk to her and is filling out her newborn clothes.  Within a couple of weeks, she'll probably move up to 0-3.  She has outgrown newborn sized diapers and is in size 1s already!

Proof of the chunk

-  She had her first bath with her big brother tonight and Jackson even helped wash her off.  It was very cute and yet I completely forgot to take pictures.  I'll be kicking myself for that one for a while.

-  When she starts to get uncomfortable or unhappy she'll let out these angry shrieks.  It isn't a full on scream or a cry -- just a high-pitched, kind of raspy squeal.  It's in a tone like, "Hey! HEY! Come get me...NOW!"  Again, with the high maintenance!

-  In her first month, Ruth had her first Easter.  It was her second time at church and I dressed her in a lavender Petit Ami smocked dress and bonnet from her Nana.  Everyone thought she was the prettiest girl at church.  And they were right!  I even got Jackson to sit and hold her for a picture.


-  Jackson still isn't paying too much attention to his little sister.  Sometimes when I'm burping her he'll come up and try to help.  He says "pat, pat pat..." while he pats her gently on the head.  Like I said before, he did help me wash her off in the bed.  Actually, today I caught him trying to soothe her.  I had laid her on the couch while I warmed a bottle and she was crying.  I walked in the living room to find Jackson covering her up with HIS blanket.  It was super sweet!  Poor Buggy had a difficult time in the first couple of weeks and still has his jealous moments.  He may not show it, but I think he's starting to warm up to her.

Happy One Month Ruthie Girl!  We love you so much and are gonna have SO MUCH FUN!  What did we ever do without you?

How cute is she in her big brother's South Carolina sleeper?!
It's a good thing I had a boy first.
I don't think a little boy would look quite so cute in his big sister's hand me downs! :)


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

And then she arrived...

Alright friends, my sweet Ruth is 2 weeks old so I figured I better get to writing her birth story before sleep deprivation gets the best of my brain and I forget how it all happened.  Let me start by saying that I am very candid with her birth story and some of it may be TMI.  So, if you don't want to hear about all the gross stuff...then you probably shouldn't read on.  :)

I will start a few weeks before she came to clue you all into my mindset before she arrived.  At my 36 week appointment, they checked my cervix and I was already 1 cm dilated and about halfway thinned out. This FREAKED me out.  Jackson came 10 days early and I really needed little Ruth to hold out until March which was another 17 days away.  Why did I need her to wait you ask?  Well, you see, my mom lives most of the year overseas and wouldn't be back in the states until March 4th!  I really wanted her to be present for the birth, so I started praying everyday that our sweet girl would hold out on us.

The next 2.5 weeks went by, each doctor's appointment showing more and more progress, but thankfully, our sweet Ruthie stayed comfortably in place.  My mom arrived Sunday, March 4th and we started the process of trying to coax Ruth out.  I'm convinced at this point she was pretty confused...I mean...all this time I'd been telling her to stay in and then in a flash I was all like "get out!"

For the next 8 days we tried everything to start labor.  I ate more spicy Mexican food than I could stomach, walked, swam, swung on a swingset, massaged pressure points (which really, REALLY hurts), rocked back and forth on a birthing ball, had my cervix stripped, and Bryan and I "did our part" too (if you catch my drift).  Still...nothing. My due date of March 8th came and went and Ruthie still stayed put despite our best efforts.

Jackson sure didn't mind the swimming!

The morning of March 12th I had my 40 week appointment.  Now, there is some significance to the date of March 12th.  Initially, this should have been my due date based on MY calculations.  See, I knew the exact day that Bryan and I conceived [it was the only time we were stupid and acted like a couple of hormonal teenagers and ignored the proper safety precautions ;-)].  But my ultrasounds always put me at March 8th, so my midwife went with that over my math (again...proof that I'm always right!).

Anyways, I digress...back to the birth story...

My midwife couldn't believe I hadn't gone into labor yet and neither could I.  She stripped my cervix again and told me to go for a walk, use nipple stimulation, and intercourse to try to induce labor within the next few days.  She said she would let me go another week before inducing, which I was totally against happening since I wanted an all natural childbirth.  The only thing I hadn't tried was nipple stimulation because it just seemed so weird to me.  But, at this point, I was desperate.

That afternoon, I put Jackson down for a nap, sat down to watch my soap, and pulled out the breast pump.  After about 20 minutes of using it, I started to feel something.  I didn't get too excited because I had educated myself and knew that nursing/pumping/nipple stimulation causes the brain to release oxytocin, which causes your uterus to contract.  I figured once I stopped using the pump, the contractions would stop, plus I wasn't even sure they were contractions to begin with because they were so slight.  I continued to use it for another 20-30 minutes and my contractions grew stronger and were consistently 4-6 minutes apart.  I looked at the clock and it was 2:51 p.m.  I called my mom in, told her, and then I decided to cut off the pump to see if they stopped.  After about 30 more minutes, I was still having contractions so I called Bryan and told him to come home just in case.  Then my contractions started to slow down and I got very disappointed.  By the time Bryan got home, which was around 4pm, they were 19 minutes apart.  Then suddenly they started picking back up again.  Bryan and I went for a walk, and were recording my contractions at approximately 4-6 minutes apart again.  We figured, at this point, it was probably the real deal but were still skeptical.

That evening, my parents took Jackson out of the house for dinner and some play time so I could continue laboring at home.  Laboring at home was awesome.  We went for a walk, I got a bath and dried and straightened my hair, ate dinner, and I was even able to talk to some friends on the phone and watch the finale of the Bachelor.  I recommend to every woman out there to labor at home as long as you can.  It is so much more comfortable and relaxing than being strapped to a hospital bed.  The time seemed to go by so much faster.

Let me stop here and take a moment to brag on my wonderful husband.  He was the most incredible coach the whole time.  I remember that my contractions started to become more uncomfortable while I was trying to do my hair.  He stood there with me and could sense when one was coming on by my body language.  He would help me set down the dryer/straightening iron, would grab my hips, and help me sway through the entire contraction.  I never had to tell him to do anything, he just did it instinctively.  He recommended getting in relaxation positions, swaying on the ball, etc.  I couldn't have done it without him.

I remember the moment when things started to get intense.  I was laying on the bed in the Bradley technique relaxation position watching After the Final Rose.  I remember thinking in between contractions, "this Courtney girl is a joke."  But, I couldn't tell you anything her or Ben were saying at this point because my whole brain and body were focused on laboring.  This was between 8-9 pm CST. Then between 9-10 pm things really started to get intense.  My contractions were so strong that I had to moan through them to keep breathing.  We all kept asking each other, when we should go to the hospital.  Closer to 10 pm my body would start to tremble during a contraction and I would start to cry.  It was at this point that my mom looked at Bryan and finally made the call to head to the hospital.

We left home at 10:30 pm.  (Let me take another moment to thank a special lady, Shari, for staying the night with Jackson and for so many countless other blessings that she and her family is to our family.  We'd be lost without them!)  I remember looking at the clock in the car that read 10:36 pm and thinking, "I can't believe it's after 10:30 already, it totally doesn't feel like I've been in labor that long."  I also remember chuckling to myself about reading that if it takes you less than 20 minutes to get to the car then it's not time to go to the hospital yet.  Ha!  It took us over 30 to get the stuff in the car and walk me out the door, pausing for each contraction.  I guess we were leaving at the right time after all?!

We arrived at the hospital at 10:45.  The nurses quickly got me hooked up to the monitors, an IV started with antibiotics since I was Group B Strep positive, and went through the rigmarole of questioning me about my health history between contractions.  By the time that was over it was 11:30 pm and they finally checked my cervix.  I was 6 cm dilated.  Now, let me say that 6 is a great number but I was hoping for more.  I really wanted to hear 8 because by this time my faith in myself to have an all natural childbirth was starting to fade.  They were able to unhook me so I could labor on the ball more, which was better than being in the bed.

The next hour was brutal.  My entire body was shaking uncontrollably, my moans were growing louder, and I was starting to tell myself that I couldn't do it anymore.  I didn't have enough energy to hold myself up on the ball anymore, so I had to be in the bed.  I grabbed Bryan by the shirt, trembling and crying, and said, "I can't do this anymore.  I can't.  I need an epidural.  Call me a wuss...I don't care.  I can't do it anymore."  I could see the torment all over his face.  We had talked about me reaching this point and how he should just tell me to try to make it through a few more contractions, but he just couldn't say it.  He saw how much pain I was in.  He saw my desperation and I knew he wanted to take it all away.  Thankfully, my mom stepped over and so soothingly said it'd been an hour since I'd been checked.  Let's get the nurse to check me again and if I hadn't made any progress that we'd get the anesthesiologist in immediately.

Between contractions we just stayed relaxed.
Feeling how relaxed Bryan was really helped.

Well, the nurse checked me and I was 9 cm!  TOO LATE FOR AN EPIDURAL!  They called in my midwife who was there within 10 minutes.  In those 10 minutes I started to feel the pressure to push but was told to hold off until the midwife could check me.  When she came in, she immediately checked me and I was fully dilated and could start pushing.  The problem was my bag of water was still attached, it hadn't broken yet.  Thing is, we thought it had just a few minutes earlier.  But nope...turns out all the pressure had just made me pee myself.  I apologized to the nurses and was super embarrassed.  This just started my long list of apologies that I would have to issue until my little girl entered the world!  The midwife told me not to worry that I couldn't help it and that during one of my pushes that my water would probably break.

Well, that sure turned out to be true!  During my very next contraction, I gave a big push and my water broke.  Actually, let me be a little more descriptive.  My water didn't just break...IT EXPLODED!  It literally shot out of me like a water cannon!  It drenched my poor midwife and got all over the floor about halfway across the room.  The nurses were cracking up and my midwife said, "Well, that type of thing has happened before, but I'd say that was the best one!"  I just kept saying, "Oh my gosh, Jamie, I'm so sorry!"  The laughter quickly turned to slight concern when they realized that there was meconium in the water though.  They assured me it was "light" and therefore not a real concern but because of it I wanted her out and wanted her out now.

I started pushing hard!  Then all of a sudden I was in tremendous pain.  I'd heard pushing was supposed to be a relief, but for me it was the hardest part.  During each push, I felt like the baby was going to explode out of my back.  My mom had t o push on my lower back to help ease the pain.  I was in so much pain at one point, I asked the midwife just to reach in and pull her out.  Ha!  If only it worked that way, right?!

I was pushing so hard, without stopping that the nurses actually had to tell me to stop and breathe because they thought I was going to pass out.  This was the point both Bryan and I were really glad my mom was there.  She told me to count to ten with each push, take a breath, and then start again.  There is no way I could've done that without her.  My mind was so focused on the pain and the panic of getting the baby out that I wasn't realizing that I was actually doing myself more harm than good.  It was then, that I was able to make progress with my pushing.  I pushed so hard that I was involuntarily passing gas and going to the bathroom (Yes, ladies, it will happen to you too.  Sorry to burst your "I don't wanna poop on the table" bubble!)  Of course, each of those was followed by me apologizing to everyone in the room again.  I was also pushing so hard that I became the type of birther I didn't want to be -- the screamer.  This also was followed by me apologizing to everyone in the room for being a screamer.  They all just laughed, told me to stop apologizing, and then just a few pushes later, little Ruth made her appearance at 1:13 am weighing 7 lbs, 3 oz and 20 in long!

She's here!

She came out sunny side up (which is why it hurt so much in my back) and had the cord wrapped lightly around her body and the top of her head and under her chin.  She was a little blue due to the meconium but they still put her immediately on my chest.  I remember being so happy she was here but was having a hard time focusing on just her.  I just remember saying to myself, "Holy cow I can't believe I just did that.  I can't believe I just had a baby all natural."  I wanted to be like, "Hey everybody, look at me!  I just had a baby without any drugs!  I'M A BEAST!  Aren't you proud of me?!"  Bryan prayed over her, and even the nurses bowed their heads (that was really cool), then they took her and got her all cleaned up as I sat and watched while the midwife got me all fixed up too.  It took 45 minutes to get me all fixed up because I had torn quite a bit.  That would be my fault for pushing a little too hard and a little too fast!

Having our first family conversation with God.  Such a special moment!

Once we were both cleaned up, they put Ruth back on my chest and I was able to talk to her and nurse her.  She was a greedy little thing too!  She didn't want to stop!  I nursed her on and off the next few hours until they came and took her for more tests and all the other stuff they do to newborns after they arrive.

Girl talk

I was finally able to get some rest and reflect on everything.  I've done a lot of reflecting over the past 2 weeks too.  All natural childbirth was one of the hardest things I've ever done but it was totally worth it.  I didn't have any of the complications that I had with Jackson and all but the last couple hours was really quite a breeze.  In fact, I've said many times that the first several weeks of life with a newborn is much harder than having one naturally!  I'd go through it all again tomorrow if I could trade it for a few nights of uninterrupted sleep! :)

Best brother ever!

She wore the same dress I wore home from the hospital when I was born.

Meeting our furry baby.

Baby Ruth

Daddy's already wrapped.

Momma's girl.

Our sweet girl.


Friday, February 3, 2012

It took over a month, but I finally have a resolution!

This year, I haven't been quite so in the "make a New Year's Resolution" kind of mood.  Maybe it's because my due date is rapidly approaching and I've got so much more on my plate because of it.

Last year I made three resolutions.  Before I get to this year's resolution(s), let's revisit how last year went down...

Resolution #1:  To blog more. -- I think I did fairly well with this one.  The last half of the year was a little touch and go but if you think about it...that's when I've been pregnant.  I've dealt with a lot of morning sickness the first several months and then things got overwhelming between substitute teaching, Jackson's speech, getting ready for Baby Ruth, etc.  So, I consider this resolution a success!  And, I want to continue it into this year.

Resolution #2:  To run a 5k. -- Well the whole unexpected pregnancy thing kind of ruined this one.  Actually, I shouldn't blame getting pregnant because right before I got preggo, I resolved that I am just not a runner and this would NEVER happen.  I'd much rather do aerobics, spinning, Zumba, walking, etc.  This resolution would've been a complete BUST no matter what!

Resolution #3:  To try and get an idea patented. -- I looked into this one very early on and was and still am very serious about it.  Trouble is, as I expressed in previous posts, getting a patent is VERY expensive.  Like tens of thousands of dollars expensive.  And, I simply don't have that kind of money nor am I at a place of confidence in my idea yet that I'd feel comfortable asking for investors.  So, this resolution is on the back burner for now.  Also, there's been a lot of political talk about changing patent laws so it's probably best to wait and see what happens there.  It may make it easier and less expensive or it could nix my whole idea in general, as some people have patented similar things.

This year I've taken a lot of time to think about what I want to do this year and what I want to consider a "resolution."

I know that I want to lose the baby weight, plus some, once Ruth gets here.  In fact, I've joked with several people that my resolution is to lose at least six pounds!  Should be fairly easy come March, right?!  Ha!  In all seriousness, I do want to lose a fair amount of pre and post pregnancy weight but I don't want to make that my resolution.  EVERYONE resolves to lose weight or diet or exercise more.  And most of the time it's unsuccessful in the long run.  So, this is just a goal for me in the YEARS to come...not just a resolution for this year alone.

I also know that I want to get more creative.  I had a wonderful friend teach me how to knit and am excited to build on my knitting abilities.  I have learned that that kind of crafty thing, as much as I wish I found it more fun, just isn't for me.  I am glad I know how to knit now so I can make my own stuff...but I don't think it's something I'm going to be doing a lot of.  So, I've decided not to worry about learning to crochet.  I DO want to learn how to use a sewing machine, though.  Not to make a bunch of stuff, but just to be able to do simple things like hemming or taking in clothes.  It's just a good skill to have!  I also will continue to build on my photography, which I REALLY enjoy.  It's hard right now, being 35 weeks pregnant so I'm really going to get into it once Ruth gets here.  I am already planning out a newborn shoot for her and some sibling shoots for her and Jackson.  I CAN'T WAIT!  Even though I plan on doing these things, I don't want to consider them resolutions for this year as I think they will bleed into the next year as well.  Learning to sew and make things and building on my photography are going to take much more than just I won't consider them my New Year's Resolutions.

So, you ask, what ARE your resolutions for this year?!  Get on with it woman...

First up...grow a garden!
As, I expressed in this post.  I have a lot of fond memories of my grandparents' garden and my grandmother preserving all the goodies they grew.  And, I want to do that this Spring.  First, because home grown tastes better.  Second, because it'll save us some money on produce.  And third, because I don't want this tradition to be lost on account of me.  Granted, this year will probably be a small garden -- some tomatoes, herbs, and a few other veggies...but hopefully, each year, as my confidence in my green thumb will the size of my garden! still!
Our church has been studying Spiritual Disciplines.  The one that I'm the worst at is being still.  And, I don't mean just not moving.  I mean taking time, regularly, to be still and silent in the presence of the Lord.  Truth is, I hate silence.  I always like to have background noise, whether it be the TV, radio, or some type of visual noise.  Pastor asked a great question -- Does your life resemble someone who looks like they want to hear God's voice?  And, I have to be honest...mine doesn't!  I don't spend nearly enough time in The Word, in prayer, and mostly just being still.  How can I expect Him to speak to me, when I'm crowding Him out with a bunch of noise that doesn't really matter?  I too often expect God's voice to be like a loud, booming thunder; when in reality, He more often speaks in a whisper!  So, that is my main resolution...TO BE STILL and listen for God's voice.  Now, is this going to be hard?  You bet.  My whole life is about to change with the addition of another little one.  But, that HAS to become more motivation to follow through on this resolution.  I cannot expect my relationship with the Lord to grow, and for me to instill that relationship in my children, if I don't spend time with Jesus.

There is a great video that expresses our reliance on noise.  I've watched it over and over and I have been so convicted by it.  Here it is...I hope it touches you too!

If you're having a hard time viewing this video on my blog page, here is the link for it via YouTube.


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Holy Potatoes, where did the time go?!

Most mornings, when I check my email it just consists of a lot of junk or stuff I won't read so I quickly delete it all.  Well, this morning, whilst moving 18 messages to the trash one jumped out at me and I gasped.  It was my weekly pregnancy update that read:  "Only 6 weeks left!"

WHAT?!  How is that possible?  It seems like last week I was just finding out this little one was a girl.

I guess it's time for a pregnancy update, here goes...

How far along? 34 weeks

Total weight gain/loss: Somewhere around 15-20 lbs.  Since I wasn't sure of my weight pre-preggo it's hard to tell.  I'm not crazy about the weight gain but was pleased that from my doctor's appointment 3 weeks ago to the latest one, I hadn't gained any!  

Maternity clothes? You betchya!  In fact, I've gotten to that point that my belly sticks out of some and I can wear the parachute-like maternity shirts.  They're VERY attractive by the way.  ;-)

Stretch marks? Boy do I!  I didn't get any stretch marks until the last 3 weeks with Jackson.  But I've already got more with this little girl.  They're also extremely attractive...NOT!

Sleep: HAHAHAHAHAHA!  I have terrible restless leg, get hot and cold, hot and cold all night, and Ruth is constantly on the move.  I just cannot seem to get a full night's rest anymore.  I guess it's my body's way of preparing for the baby's arrival.

Best moment this week: I've had several great moments in the past week or so.  Got the nursery painted, got much of the decor to put on the walls, and have started moving in furniture!

Movement: Tons.  All.the.time.  She's a wild woman!

Food cravings: Cheesy things and meats.  I have reached that point that my stomach is smushed so I can't eat much at one sitting though.  Plus, my iron is low so I have to eat A LOT of red meat and leafy greens now.

Gender: GIRL!

Labor Signs: No true labor signs.  I have been feeling a lot of pressure "down there" and have had a few Braxton Hicks contractions when I stand for a while.

Belly Button in or out? Totally out or flat depending on her position.

Wedding rings on or off?  On...but around my neck.  :)

What I miss: Being quick to move, a full night's sleep, and getting through a day without something hurting -- my back, tailbone, leg cramps, muscle spasms, etc.

What I am looking forward to: Getting the nursery finished!

Weekly Wisdom: Get your crap together!  You only have 6 weeks left woman!

Milestones: I'm not sure there are any left??


Friday, January 20, 2012

The Moment Every Mother Dreads: Chocolate or Poop?

The Parsons' household is currently in the thick of potty training.

Day 1 went as well as can be expected and I could bore you with all the details but last night things really got interesting!

As we were putting Jackson in the tub, he started to go pee pee.  So, I picked him up and put him on the toilet and he finished going.  Of course, Bryan and I hooted and hollered and made ourselves look like fools as Jackson clapped and said "Yay!"  And since he went on the potty, he got a few M&Ms.  I let him eat them as he continued to sit on the potty and I rounded up a towel, pjs, etc and then Bryan put him in the tub.

This is what happened in the next 2-3 minutes:  

I look down at the water and notice little brown flakes. 

Me:  What are those brown flakes in the water?  Uh oh, I think he's pooping in the tub.

Bryan:  What?

I slosh the water around only to notice more and more brown flakes.

Me: Yeah...Oh yeah, he's pooping in the tub.  Quick we gotta get him out!

Bryan throws the potty seat on the toilet and I whisk Jackson out of the tub, his play razor still in hand and put him on the toilet.  

Me:  Jackson, you need to go poopie on the potty.  Can you be a big boy and...

I'm stopped mid-sentence as I look at Jackson's face only to see his play razor, hands, and mouth covered in brown stuff.

Me:  AHHHHH!...

Bryan:  What's wrong?

Me:  He's eating it!  HE'S EATING POOP!  It's all over this razor.  GROSS!  HELP ME GET IT OFF! GROSS!

Jackson's smile is from cheek to cheek and he's fully enjoying this Crazy Mom bit I'm giving him.

Bryan:  It's all over his legs too.

Me:  Just get it off!  AHHHHH!

Bryan, being the calm and logical one here, smells it.  

Bryan:  Wait, I think it's is just an M&M.

I smell my fingers and drop to my knees as the panic leaves my body.

Me:  Hallelujah Jesus, it's just chocolate!  

Bryan:  Looking at me like I'm a crazy woman.  Wooooooow!

Me:  Just put him back in the tub.

Needless to say we both had a good laugh.  

Nothing will make you feel disgust and panic like thinking your child is eating poop.  NOTHING.

Hope you enjoyed!


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Christmas gives me writer's block.

I feel like I'm constantly apologizing for not writing blog posts lately.  Truthfully, since the last post about Jackson's speech and Christmas, I've had a little bit of writers block.

My mind was and has been so consumed with other things:  Jackson's speech delay and getting him an appointment with an audiologist and once a week speech therapy, Christmas presents, travel and everything else that comes with the holiday, trying to finally get things ready for Ruth to arrive in about 2 months (WHAAAAAT?!), transitioning Jackson to the big boy bed and potty training, and lastly a terrible accident we witnessed during our holiday travels.

Needless to say, I've been a little overwhelmed with everything.  Good thing is, I'm finally settling into the stress and just taking things one day at a time instead of worrying.

The Christmas holiday was wonderful.  We spent 2 weeks in North and South Carolina and spent lots of time with friends and family.  The wonderful people in my life threw us two baby showers: one with family in NC and one with friends in SC.  We were so blessed by the gifts, but more than that, we are more blessed by the love and support we have in all of them.  Jackson got to spend lots of time with aunts, uncles, and grandparents and was spoiled rotten by them!  There were of course some stressful times of the trip -- but that just comes with traveling out of state and trying to see everyone and make everyone happy.

As I stated before, we did witness a tragic accident on the last day we were in SC.  On our way to church that morning we witnessed an alleged drunk driver crash into the side of a mini-van containing a family on their way to church.  The parents and 4 children were inside.  The youngest, a 6 year old little girl, was killed in the accident.  It was horrible to witness and Bryan and I have had this family heavy on our hearts and minds ever since.  I still find myself getting nervous behind the wheel.  I'm sure the people around me keep wondering why it takes me so long to turn at an intersection or go once the light turns green because I find myself checking around me like five times before I can muster up the guts to hit the gas.  Those of you who follow me personally on Facebook know the story and have probably been keeping up with the news stories I've posted.  Just please continue to keep the Longstreet family in your prayers as it will be a long healing process for them both physically and emotionally.  God has shown His grace through this family and I'm sure He will continue to win souls for His glory through the loss of this sweet little girl.

Since we've been home we've just been trying to get ready for baby!  It took several coats of paint, but we finally got the ugly green room painted yellow and are set to start moving the baby furniture from Jackson's room to Ruth's room and start decorating.  I'm also searching for a dresser or chest to refinish and have a few more things to buy before Ruth gets here.  I hope she takes her time!

Continue to keep Jackson in your prayers as he starts speech therapy tomorrow.  We're also starting potty training on Thursday and going to move him to a twin size bed in the next few days.  Pray he adjusts quickly and effortlessly to all the transition and changes!

Stay tuned to the blog for a New Years Resolution post and pregnancy updates along with pictures of the nursery.

I'll leave you with a few of my favorite pictures from the holidays.


Santa came a week early at our house.
Jackson still loves his kitchen! 
Now he can help Daddy set up everything for Ruth.

Jackson got his first truck at age 2.  I'm glad he's not spoiled!

Finally got my new auto lens.
I make this face every time I use it.  Eeeeek!

No caption needed.  His face says it all...

Just riding his trike!

Jackson helped open all his sister's presents.

Covered in prayer.