Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 Year End Review

It is hard to believe this is the last day of the year! It has been quite a year for our family. Several ups and several downs. Here is what sticks out as I think through the months, some big and some not so big:

Our dog Lucy has an episode where she is unable to get up, then loses continence and vomits. It was a Sunday afternoon so we have to take her to the emergency clinic. She is fine by the time we get there. $200 later they can't find anything wrong with her.


Three and a half months after being laid off, prayers are answered and Brad starts a new job.

My brother Sam and his wife come to visit and treat the whole family to some yummy pizza. I babysit all four nieces and nephews for the first time by myself (plus Will) while all three of my brothers and their wives go see the play my parents are in. They come back slightly scarred after seeing my mom get on a table to carve a turkey and strip to a slip on stage due to some major hot flashes.

March (this was a BIG month!)
I finally go to the dermatologist after battling major skin issues on my hands for years. It had gotten so bad in recent months that I had about 5 bandaids on at a time. I laugh as I leave his office with a steroid cream prescription and instructions to make sure I am not pregnant before using the product. Ha! Pregnant? Not me!

Will starts walking!

My father-in-law is hospitalized and for a short time we fear we might lose him. He returns home and slowly gets better.

I turn 27.

After feeling slightly off for a couple of days, I decide to take a pregnancy test, knowing it won't be positive. It looks negative and I almost throw it away. But then the faintest line catches my eye. Over several minutes is gets darker. Shocked, I tell Brad. His response: "What? How did that happen?" Will is only 11 months old. I tell God I am not ready for another baby. God tells me everything is going to be fine. We decide to keep it a secret for now.

Feeling I should wait awhile before going to the doctor, I make an appointment for 5 days later (I really did want to wait a few weeks but it was either that week or next month). They dated the pregnancy as 10 weeks, but I knew that wasn't right. An ultrasound shows nothing. It could be miscarriage. Could be ectopic. Or it could just be early. They do a blood test but it is a Friday and I have to wait until Monday to hear the results and have another level checked. I call my mom sobbing and tell her I am pregnant. She says, "Ok. I am happy!".

Monday comes and my levels are great! They are too low to see anything on ultrasound. They redraw the blood and I have to wait until the next day to make sure the numbers are increasing as they should. I get the call the next day at work. My number dropped to less than 1. I was told I was going to miscarry. I told God I desperately wanted this baby. He told me everything was going to be fine. My doctor's office calls me back and says we can repeat the test the next day. I have it done at work and a friend in the lab calls me with the result so I don't have to wait until late in the day. It was over 4,000! Looks like the baby would be fine and there was a mix up in the lab.

Will has bronchitis and we purchase a nebulizer.

Will turns 1! We have a farm themed party with an awesome cake. KFC charges us twice for all the chicken we bought for the party. I have to go to the bank and to KFC to clear it up.

Will has his first Easter! We took him to 'big church' for the first time in months because he was still recovering from bronchitis.

We go back to the doctor and have another ultrasound. This time there is a baby with a heartbeat! They establish a due date of December 1st. We start telling friends our good news.

We celebrate Mother's Day and a slew of birthdays.

We take pictures of our family by the lake, including some pictures of my quickly growing baby bump.

My friends and I go to Tunica for Haven's bachelorette party. We go outlet shopping and I buy a few (cheap) girl clothes because I just KNOW we are having a girl.

Haven gets married and we leave Will for more than 1 night for the first time.

Our air conditioner dies. It's hot.

My mom, Will and I go visit my grandmother, Betty Jo.

We have a 3rd ultrasound. I decide the baby looks like me. Surely it's a girl! But we don't peek. Brad was unable to make it to the appointment so I have the tech write down the gender and put it in an envelope just in case we want to know. He doesn't let me open it. I send the envelope to a friend's house for safe-keeping.

We go to Orange Beach with Brad's family.

I get to meet a friend in real life who I have been talking to on the internet for over 2 years. It is so cool to meet face to face and to see our kids play together.

Betty Jo goes into the hospital and is very sick.


Will, Brad and I get mega-colds and just can't seem to get better. I am quite miserable since you can't take anything good when you're pregnant.

I pass my glucose test! My doctor gave me some medicine that helped me get better.

We decide Will is too little to sleep in a big boy bed and order a crib for the baby. I find the perfect bedding for our little one.

Betty Jo is back in the hospital and Will and I go visit. The next morning I wake up with an awful stomach bug. Mom has to leave Betty Jo to come take care of Will because I am unable. Somehow I make the 4 hour drive home that evening.

We celebrate birthdays for my niece and nephew. We pick up the baby's crib on the way home. The future nursery is still the current nursery, so the crib goes in the garage.

Nesting starts setting in and we start the cleanup process of the guest room which is to become Will's new room. We make progress, but there is still a ton to do.

We have another ultrasound and the baby looks great. They turn it to 4d and the baby looks like me. It is so a girl. I buy some bows. Baby Caroline is going to look so cute with those bows in her hair!

Betty Jo goes in the hospital again. I plan to go see her again. She passes away on a Sunday morning while we were at church. We go to visitation Tuesday night and the funeral Wednesday. We come home Thursday. It feels strange to leave Corinth without her standing in the driveway and waving us off.

I miss my 31 week appointment because I have the stomach bug. Again.

I go to the doctor on Tuesday at exactly 32 weeks. Everything is perfect. He tells me to come back in 2 weeks. He gives me medication for reflux and it works like a dream.

On Friday I am at work and my water breaks at 11am. The ultrasound shows plenty of fluid and a perfect baby estimated at 5lb 5oz. I think I will be sent home on bedrest. I am sent to the hospital and told I will not leave until the baby is born. I get to the hospital and at 3pm I am having contractions every 3 minutes. They give me magnesium to stop it and steroids to help the baby's lungs.

The week goes on with visits from family and friends, wonderful nurses and lots of ultrasounds. During the ultrasound on Wednesday I think I see boy parts. I still think its a girl but start to think we should settle on a boy name.

It is Friday again, a week since my water broke. It is also our 5 year wedding anniversary! After a week of circling 'hot chocolate' on the breakfast menu, they finally bring me some. I start having stronger contractions. The nurse tells me that we may have a baby today if this keeps up! I ask if she really thinks so, because Brad is working out of town and I need to tell him to head back. She tells me to wait. There should be time. An hour later I am asking for an IV and Stadol to help manage the pain and call Brad to come back. I also call my brother on a Stadol high and he said not to make any more calls; he was on his way. He and my dad show up, followed shortly thereafter by my mom. Brad finally makes it and our baby boy is born an hour later. 5lb 11oz. He is perfect. We still hadn't chosen a name but I didn't want him to leave my room without one. We decide on Reed Matthew.

The next 2 weeks were spent visiting Reed in the NICU and preparing the nursery. Family and friends showed loving support during a very dificult time. I cried more tears than I knew I was able.

My friends surprise me on Halloween with cake, pie, lunch out and a wonderful visit. I get to spend the night at the hospital with Reed. It was so great to be by his side all night.

Reed gets to come home!

My coworkers give me a baby shower.

Brad gets a new job.

Our dishwasher is on its last legs. My mom notices and my parents and Brad's parents decide to give us a new one for Christmas.

The dishwasher croaks. We get our Christmas gift early and my dad installs it.

We buy a Christmas tree.

We go to Atlanta to visit Brad's family for the weekend.

I put lights, a sash and 3 ornaments on the tree. That and the stockings and garland on the mantle was the extent of our decorations.

Brad turns 29. We celebrate with his parents and brother and sister-in-law at a nice steak house. The hostess gets a lobster out of the tank for Will to see. He is impressed!

Reed sleeps nearly 8 hours!

We have the best Christmas ever. We feel immeasureably blessed to have 2 healthy little boys.

Reed gives me a couple of small smiles.

I go back to work. Poppy survives 3 days of having both boys all day. Things seem to be getting back to 'normal'.

It has been an interesting year! I wonder what 2010 will bring?

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Never before seen footage...

I can't believe it has been 2 1/2 months since this day! I am still amazed at how strong he was (is). I knew he would be fine, but hearing that cry was (is) amazing!

I took this the night I came home from the hospital (without Reed). This boy cheers me up. Sorry it's turned sideways. Bad habit of using the camera portrait style instead of landscape.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas 2009

Our beautiful tree Christmas morning. We had it up for a week and a half and I only managed to get lights, ribbon/sash and 3 ornaments on it. The ornament box never made it down from the attic, so 2 were found in the mantel decorations box and one was sent from a dear friend. The tree skirt wasn't even included this year. It is probably just as well, because I bet Will would have been taking ornaments off all day long. I still thought the tree looked pretty, though! I did get all of our stockings hung and the mantel semi-decorated, though none of my usual items were displayed - just garland and ribbon.
Santa brought Will a set of play tents and he loves them. I think Santa may have underestimated their size in our modest sized home. But who needs a dining room anyway, right? Santa brought Reed his very own diaper bag with a few Carter's outfits. Poor kid has been borrowing one of Will's bags to get around. I think I had 3 monogrammed bags for Will before he was born and had zero for Reed. He is definitely the second child.

Will was really excited about the shoes we got him. He has a thing for shoes. He usually prefers other people's shoes, though. I had visions of him wearing some cute Christmas pjs while he opened gifts. I never got him any pjs but he did have some hand-me-down red footie pjs. They didn't make it to the opening of gifts due to diaper leakage. (Some day, I am going to find the right diaper to keep his pjs dry all night).

His other gift from us was a very cool Wizard of Oz pop up book. He tore 2 things out of it on his first time touching it, so I don't have hopes of it lasting too long. But this book is SO cool. Definitely the coolest pop up book I've ever seen. The twister actually twists! If you have a Sam's club near you, I recommend picking one up.

The Emerald City page came with some glasses! Daddy showed Will how to wear them.

Then he tried them on. Stylin' and profilin'.

We all got cleaned up and made the long journey (1.5 miles) to Brad's parents' house. We had a wonderful meal and they were nice enough to invite my parents to join us. We saw his brother and sister-in-law Wednesday night and they were with her family Christmas Day, so it was just the 8 of us. We visited and enjoyed our very full bellies and opened a few gifts.

Reed did this most of the day.

And Will did a lot of this. My parents got him this cute coupe and he loves it. Brads parents got him a little play mower which he loves, as well. They also got him a Cars book that makes noises and a wooden puzzle of vehicles that makes the noise of the vehicle when you put the puzzle in the right spot. We left those at their house for him to play with when his Poppy starts keeping him next week.

We had such a good day. We didn't have the most glamorous Christmas. We didn't have the most beautifully decorated house. We had the fewest amount of gifts we have ever had under the tree. We are the brokest we have ever been since getting married according to our bank account. But we are the richest we have ever been. We are the most blessed we have ever been. We have more love this Christmas than I could ever have imagined. Our hearts and our home are full because of God and because of these two beautiful boys:

I hope you had a very Merry Christmas. We certainly did.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Will can't wait...

Will is so excited that Santa is coming to his house! In fact, he was overjoyed when we visited Old Saint Nick last week:

Hopefully he will sleep through the visit. ;)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

How to Decorate Cookies for Santa (by Will Sharp)

The first thing you need to do when you decorate cookies is grab one to snack on while you work.

Then take a nice big bite.

Be sure to smile for the camera and proudly show off your icing 'stache!

Don't worry about getting the sprinkles directly on the cookies. The wax paper or counter tops will do just fine.

But if you want them on the cookies, just smash the sugar crystal shaker directly on the cookie. Pick it up if you want. The cookie will come with it.

Pour a nice glass of milk and put your masterpieces out for the big guy.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

2 Months

You are two months old today! It is amazing how fast these past 8.5 weeks have gone. You have grown so much! You are actually bigger than your bunny now.

We finally reached your due date 15 days ago. You are more alert for longer periods of time, but you still sleep quite a bit. You are becoming a bit more demanding, though and definitely prefer to sleep in my arms. If I put you down immediately after you nurse, you usually nap for 2 or 3 hours until you want to eat again. But if I snuggle you up next to me for awhile then try to put you down, you wake up and want to nurse to go back to sleep. I usually stay up until midnight to feed you, then we go to bed for the night. I put you in the hammock next to our bed and you will lay there and be content until I turn off the lights and get into bed. You give me about a minute to get comfortable, then you fuss for me to bring you in the bed with me. You stinker! You have me figured out, though, because almost every night you are right beside me a lot longer than you are in the hammock. Most nights you sleep for 5 hours in a row and then you nurse and go back to sleep for a few more hours. If your brother stays asleep until 8 or 9, I actually get some decent rest! I don't quite know how it will go when I have to be at work at 5:45, but I'm sure we will figure out a rhythm.

I can tell you are filling out. When we went to see Dr. Rogers 2 weeks ago, you weighed 8lb, 8oz and were 21.5 inches long! That is nearly 3lb and exactly 3 inches of growth since you were born! You don't fit into any preemie clothes anymore and are wearing newborn clothes and a few 0-3 month things. As soon as we use the last few newborn diapers, you are moving up to size 1's! And today, you finally wore your first (hand me down) pair of Robeez and they didn't fall off!

I know these don't look like December pictures, but what can I say? We live in Mississippi. The Bradford Pear trees finally decided to shed their leaves.

And look! Your brother decided to offer you one as a 2 month birthday gift:
You have been such a blessing to our family these last two months. I was nervous about having 2 children so close together, but you have made it so much easier than I ever imagined. I am going to miss being with you all day when I go back to work after Christmas. I know your Poppy will take very good care of you, but I also know I am going to miss out on all the fun things you will start doing soon! You have started making a few cooing noises here and there, but if you could throw in a genuine smile in the next 12 days, I would really appreciate it!

I love you with all of my heart,


Thursday, December 10, 2009

20 Months

My dearest Will,
You are 20 months old today! Can you believe it? I sure can't. In just four short months, you will be two years old. Two! You seem pretty amazed, as well:

These last 20 months have gone by so fast. It seems like it should be just yesterday that you were a tiny baby being placed in my arms for the first time. But it wasn't yesterday. And now there is another (sort of) tiny baby in our house. You are a big brother!
You seem pretty interested in the little squeaky being that has come into our house. When you hear him cry, you look at me and say "Baby?" (with a big souther drawl) and often go and look at him. Sometimes you try to shove a pacifier in his mouth. If his hands are where you can reach them, you give him a fist bump. You like to put your head next to his and give him a 'hug' and sometimes you want to hold him. You often greet him and say "Hey Ree! Hey bebe!". When I am holding him, you will bring me the boppy pillow if I don't already have it and you often bring me his blankets, pacifiers and bottles. You usually offer to throw his diaper away when I am changing him. You come stand beside me, point and say "trah?". If you pick up some of his clothes, you hold them up and say "Awe. Koot (cute)." You are a good big brother (most of the time). Sometimes I catch you snatching Reed's blanket or hat off of him or taking his pacifier. And sometimes you let your sweet head patting become a hit. The other day I had to stop you from stepping on his head while he was on his playmat. But I still think you are a good big brother, you are just a mischief maker!

I have enjoyed being at home with you these last several weeks. I enjoy playing with you and hearing you laugh and watch you be silly. There are days when you test my patience. You have been quite a monkey this past week! Yesterday, while I was nursing Reed, I thought you were sweetly playing in your room. When I came to check on you, this is what I found:
You little stinker! I should have known it was only a matter of time before you discovered the pictures I had stored in your closet. Our house isn't very big and since we have no guest room or office and we have a very small closet in our master bedroom, I thought I could borrow some of your extra closet space. I thought wrong!
While I was writing this post, I heard you in the kitchen and when I went in there, I found you standing on the chair next to the table. You were messing with a jar of ornaments on the table and had just broken the lid to the jar yesterday. You are very into climbing these days.
And you seem to have a slight obsession with A&D ointment. You LOVE to get a tube and squeeze it! You usually get them out of diaper bags (which I now have to put out of reach when we come home), but the other day you took it to a new level and stole it off the top of Reed's changing table. (You are getting so tall and are able to reach so much! And now we keep your brother's door closed.) After I finished up feeding Reed, (why do you always take advantage of that time?) I found you hiding in a corner just covered in A&D:

Sadly, I wasn't able to get the greasy stains out of your pants or your shirt. I really loved that shirt on you, so we may still wear it anyway. It isn't so bad, but the pants are done for.
You have gotten really good at feeding yourself. You prefer it most of the time. Sometimes you gesture with your spoon or fork and want me to feed you (feeling left out because of the baby?). You really like yogurt and though your shirt ALWAYS has to be washed after eating yogurt (why won't you leave your bib on anymore?), you usually do pretty well with it. Last week I had a doctor's appointment and we needed to leave by 9:00. While I was bathing Reed at the kitchen sink, you were happily eating your breakfast. But then I looked over and saw you running your yogurt hands all through your hair. Which was previously clean. Sigh. So you got a quick shower. I guess in a pinch, yobaby would make for some decent hair gel. That hair wasn't going anywhere.

You are a really funny little guy. Probably your most favorite thing in the world is a vacuum. But you call it a "bike" for some reason. You get SO excited when we vacuum and you often throw a tantrum when we turn it off and put it up. Daddy and I decided you needed one of your own. You know how to turn this on and off, release the bottom so it will lean back and you can take the canister off. When you take it off, you go to the trash can and beat the canister twice against the can, then come back try (sometimes successfully!) to put it back on. The dogs aren't too fond of it, though.

You are such a smart boy! You recently started putting your puzzles back together. You used to try but were unable to get them just right. You know where the power button is on the cable box and like to go and push it while we are watching tv. You understand so much and are saying so much! You like to say "Nigh nigh" or "bye" to everyone and everything whether you are going to bed or just for a diaper change (unless we ask you to say bye to someone, then you absolutely will not!). We usually hear "Bye jake, bye dada, bye light, bye baby, bye bike." when you leave the room.
You like to sing and two of your favorite songs are "Twinkle, Twinkle" and "ABC's". You don't say all the words, but you like to say "how I" and "now I know". You still won't say "Poppy" but we think you call him "Pop". It is confusing because you also call my dad "Pop". You have also started saying "Gigi" as gee-gee instead of jee-jee. You ask for milk and more. You make the 'more' sign and it is quite cute. You also started saying giraffe as "waffe". You say so many words now, it is hard to keep up!
I have given you some chocolate recently and boy do you love it! You will always eat anything cheese and most of the time will eat chicken nuggets or pasta. We can often get you to eat mandarin oranges or a peach parfait cup, but your fruit and veggie taste buds are lacking. We will keep trying, though! You obviously are getting enough to eat, because you weigh about 34 lbs now!
Daddy and I love you so much and are so proud to have you as our son. You are so much fun and even though you keep us on our toes, I wouldn't have it any other way. Once you look at us with those big blue eyes and smile, the frustration goes away. We adore you. You are such a gift and we are so thankful for you.


Saturday, December 5, 2009

My Boys

Will was being very sweet this morning and kept asking to 'hold' Reed. Melt my heart.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009

I have spent most of my life having our family's Thanksgiving in Corinth at my grandparents' house. Papa Dude passed away 11 years ago but we would still go see Betty Jo for the holidays. Now that she is gone and my mom is preparing the house to be sold, it is unlikely we will have any more meals on her fine china, at least not in Corinth.

This year we were delighted to be invited to my sister-in-law's parents' house in Raymond. They have a lovely historic home across from the courthouse and it is quite charming. Will loved running (stomping) around and playing with his cousins. We enjoyed appetizers of pita chips and salmon dip and artichoke dip and visited before lunch. The kids burned off some energy.

So excited to see Alex!

Alex was quite a cutie!

Alex and Will peeking outside

My brother Joseph hanging out with Reed

My brother Chris getting in trouble. ha!

(just kidding. they were talking about something)

We managed to get a decent family picture. This was our first one since Reed was born.

I am usually behind the camera, so I only have a few of me and Reed.

We pressed our luck and went for one with me and both boys. Will was more interested in climbing the stairs by this point. Oh well.

Nana snuggled Reed

And he was very content in her arms.

Then we had lunch. It was so good! We had a pretty traditional menu of turkey, dressing and gravy, sweet potato casserole (one with pecan topping, one with marshmellows), macaroni and cheese, broccoli casserole, cranberry salad and cranberry sauce, crunchy romaine salad and biscuits. Its a shame I didn't get a picture.

After lunch, Will had a dessert bar on the stairs

Cynthia and Hannah got cozy.

Will got tickled by Pop

Then he got hung upside down by Daddy
And then sadly it was time to go. It was 4:00 and Will had been up since 7:45 that morning. He didn't even make it to the highway a mile down the road before he conked out. But he did better than his Uncle Joseph, who went and napped on the Chunn's couch after lunch!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Hi everybody! Mommy said today is my due date! I can finally be born! Oh wait - you mean that already happened? Six and a half weeks ago, huh? Wow, time flies! Well I have been up to a bunch of things in the past 6.5 weeks. Like eating. And sleeping. And filling my pants. Sometimes I cry. And sometimes I just have my eyes wide open like this:

This is my big brother Will. He likes to pet my head, give me fist pounds and say "Hey Ree! Hey bebe!" If I cry he tries to shove a pacifier in my mouth. And sometimes he throws things at me. Or grabs my blanket or my hat. But for the most part, he seems ok.

This is my big brother when he was a little baby like me. He was 2 weeks old here:
And here I am in the same outfit (plus a long sleeved shirt 'cause mommy says it finally feels like December). I weigh a bit more than he did, but we are about the same size in these pictures. Do you think we look alike?
Well, that's about all I have to say about my due date! Mommy and daddy got a new dishwasher to celebrate (courtesy of all of my grandparents). Mommy is pretty excited about it, but I could care less. I have some sleeping to do!
P.S. Go State!