Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Welcome, Molly

I guess Molly got the memo!

Molly Bette Morgan was born Thursday, April 19 at 9:47am, weighing in at 7lbs, 1oz and measuring 19 inches.  We've been spending the last several days soaking up her newborn sweetness and learning how to be a family of four...

So thankful for our precious gift.  We love you, Molly.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Memo to Molly

Molly Dear.  Seriously.  Perhaps you read my blog post about waiting and the dream life.  Please allow me to clarify: my feelings of pleasure were derived exclusively from the household-running aspect of said waiting (ie- keeping things clean and completing tasks as they arise).  And now even that is losing its luster.  I'm fat.  I'm tired.  I hurt.  This starting and stopping labor business is no fun.  Okay, so no rush if you have good reason to stay in there, but just wanted to let you know that we are ready whenever you are.

Love you!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Real Pictures!

A couple of months ago I was commenting to Matt that life had become much more busy, and we weren't taking as many pictures as we used to.  (In reality, there probably wasn't anywhere to go but down from averaging hundreds a week of newborn Reed-ha!)  Not only were we failing to capture some fun Reed moments and milestones, but I could also count on one hand the number of family pictures we've had in the last year.  Boo! :(  Then there was also the matter of my growing baby belly... With Reed, I had at least a picture every week.  This time, with Molly (who is a girl and might actually care), the artful masterpieces below were literally the extent of our maternity pictures:
My favorites are the action shot at the aquarium and the tee-ball catcher pose...

Ha!  So I took matters to more capable hands, and enlisted a dear friend to take a few more professional shots of Two-Year-old Reed, our Family March 2012, and maternity Molly... Reed was not very cooperative at all, but Nicole (http://sixthdayimages.wordpress.com/) is so, so great with him and still grabbed some good shots!

 Much better. :)

And as part of fulfilling my stay-on-top-of-things-pre-baby-dream, I also posted lots of action pictures from this spring here.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter 2012

Happy Easter!
I hope you've had a wonderful week celebrating Jesus' love for us and His victory over sin and death!  (And bribing little ones with Easter treats!) :)

**Wanted to be sure to report back about the 2-year-old version of the Easter Story Basket Project (adapted from here)... It was both fun and funny! :) For reference and so you don't have to click back I will just copy last week's original "plan" (in small font) below and comment throughout.

First, I've been trying to think about a "one-liner" that we repeat about Easter, the one thing we want Reed to "get" this year about Easter.  This Christmas we talked a lot about how Christmas is Jesus' birthday, when God sent us Jesus to rescue us.  I am thinking we will recall Jesus' birthday together and then talk about how on Easter Jesus rescued the whole world-- He died, He rose, and He will come again.  All part of the rescue mission!
Our Easter "one liner" became (with motions!) "Up from the grave He arose!"  Reed loved this!  He would bust out in song randomly throughout the week!
The biggest overall change in the plans below is that I briefly talked through each egg and its meaning/one-liner and then only read the accompanying story if Reed wanted to...

Palm Sunday
Give Reed his Easter Basket and tell him that it is a special Sunday--Palm Sunday.
Talk briefly about the triumphal entry and how people worshiped Jesus, their King, with branches.
Lay green Easter grass in his basket and speak praises to our King.
One liner: Jesus is our King
Reed was mostly interested in pulling all of the grass out of the basket :)  But each day before we opened a new egg, we would revisit the main points of the Easter story (each previous day/egg), starting with the grass that reminds us that "Jesus is our King."  This weekend, he would encounter pieces of Easter grass here and there and hold it up and ask, "for Jesus?" haha

Read/paraphrase story of Mary anointing Jesus' feet with perfume ("Washed with tears" in Jesus Storybook Bible).
"Discuss" Jesus, our King, is more valuable than all our treasures on earth.
Add gold egg to basket with money inside that Reed gets to take to church on Sunday as offering to the King.
One liner: A gift for our King
This day was particularly funny because we had purchased a Cadbury creme egg for Daddy's Easter basket, and that is what Reed thought he was getting when we added an egg to our basket. :)  He opened the gold egg and exclaimed, "a dollar!!"  I told him it was a gift for King Jesus, and that he could bring it to church on Sunday.  For a couple of days he kept trying to put it in his monkey bank, but I would just remind him that it is a special gift for King Jesus. :)

Read/paraphrase story of the Last Supper ("The Servant King" in Jesus Storybook Bible).
"Discuss" Jesus telling His disciples about His rescue mission and teaching them to remember His great big love.
Add purple egg to basket with a heart sticker inside- to wear as a reminder of God's love for us.
Sing "Jesus Loves Me."
One liner: Jesus Loves me!
This was one of my favorite days.  We read the story together, and Reed was so proud to wear his "Jesus loves me sticker."  I ended up putting a new heart sticker in the egg each day following for when we reviewed.  I would ask Reed what the sticker reminds him of ("Jesus loves me!"), and then he would say something like, "He eat dinner with his friends?"  I would answer with "Yes, Jesus ate a special dinner with his friends and taught them to remember how much he loves them."  I think he honed in on the dinner part because he thought the bread in the illustration looked like a cookie. :)

Read/paraphrase story of The Garden of Gethsemane ("A dark night in the garden" in Jesus Storybook Bible).
"Discuss" Jesus prays and surrenders to His Father- It is time for the plan.  Talk about how sad Jesus felt about taking on all the sins of the whole world.
Add dark green egg to basket with tissue inside.  Talk about how our disobedience (mommy and daddy too!) that makes Jesus sad should make us sad too.  Model repentance.
One liner: We have all sinned, but Jesus rescues us from our sin
I didn't bother with the egg this day; I didn't think Reed would get it.  We just talked again about Easter, Easter week, and looked at each of our other eggs...

Read/paraphrase last part of "A dark night in the garden," which includes a snippet of Jesus' trial.
"Discuss" how Jesus was going to be punished, but didn't do anything wrong.  (Part of God's Rescue Plan!)
Add clear egg and emphasize that Jesus was perfect; He never sinned.
One liner: Jesus was our perfect sacrifice
Same thing this day...

Read/paraphrase first half of "The sun stops shining" (crucifixion story) in Jesus Storybook Bible.
"Discuss" Jesus died on the cross to rescue everyone from our sins.
Add red egg to basket with grimy pennies inside.  Soak pennies in vinegar/salt to show how Jesus' rescue mission can wash away our sin and make us clean.
One liner: Jesus did it!  He rescued the whole world!
On Friday, I told Reed that it was the day we remember that Jesus died on the cross for our sin, before "Up from the grave He arose!"  I put a really grimy penny inside the egg and told him it is dirty like all of us are dirty on the inside.  But Jesus died for our dirtiness and can make us clean and new.  We put the penny in the solution and watched as it turned shiny.  This was really fun!  Friday night as we prayed at dinner, Matt said something like Thank you for Easter and for Jesus' death on the cross for us... and Reed chimed in "and thank you for pennies!"  Matt and I both started laughing.  And the next day, Saturday, we ate lunch at the square and Reed asked to throw his "Jesus penny" in the fountain. :)  Reed kind of half listened as I read Friday's story passage and commented on the picture: "Jesus crying?"  I told him yes, Jesus cried for us because He loves us so much.

Read/paraphrase second half of "The sun stops shining" (crucifixion story- the tomb) in Jesus Storybook Bible.
Add black egg to basket with a chocolate marshmallow inside to represent the stone (or maybe just a stone- is it weird to let Reed eat the "stone"??:) and reiterate that Jesus died to rescue us.
One liner: Jesus died and was buried... (but arose!)
I did let Reed eat the stone. :)

Easter Sunday
Read/paraphrase first half of the Resurrection story ("God's wonderful surprise" in Jesus Storybook Bible).
Add white egg- empty because He is risen!
Discuss the Easter story, briefly recalling each egg.  Jesus rescued the whole world-- He died, He rose, and He will come again! 
One liner: He arose! Jesus is alive!
We reviewed all of the days, and as I was about to hand him the last egg I realized he might be disappointed that it was empty even though that is the whole point.  I just made a big deal out of it being empty and that was that.

Can't wait to see how God uses the seeds of His Truth and His story in Reed's little heart! :)

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Confession: Dream Life

Confession: Waiting for baby to arrive is secretly my dream lifestyle...  It's an excuse for constant clutter-free, stay-on-top of things living.

Baby's imminent arrival starts out as a good reason to take inventory of household projects and needs, and then as your due date approaches you have the just the right amount of sympathy and urgency to get your honey to complete his part of/in said projects and honey-dos.  And it isn't just big stuff, (even though if you're like me your initial nesting instinct leads you to believe you have super powers and can complete any project you've ever dreamt up for your home)...

"Baby could come tonight" is also great ammo to get your spouse to partner with you in all the little things here at the end.  I know I am a freak, but it makes my heart leap with glee when tasks get completed as they arise.  In Danielle's world, you don't bring in the mail and leave it on the counter for a week; it touches your hand only once because you open it right then, throw away what needs to be thrown away, pay what needs to be paid, and clip and sort the coupons you want to keep.  If a light bulb burns out or the toilet paper gets used up, you replace it right then.  If there is a full load of laundry, wash it before you have 2 loads pile up on you.  When there are hand-wash dishes at the sink after lunch, even if it is just one or two, I like to wash them right then and wipe the counters and the floor before I move on to my next nap-time tasks.  I can't stand it when I look around and can visibly see multiple things I need to get done, even if it is just a cheerio I missed on the floor.  (Do they make medicine for this?)

Now, do you think this also describes Matt's ideal lifestyle?  Oh no.  Oh, no no no.  Matt is a really hard worker and an incredible servant, but he doesn't have the sickness I have and it doesn't matter to him that the tasks get done right then and there.  (He loves me so much).  So, I am fully embracing this final stage of baby-waiting and convincing Matt that it is a wonderful reality to have things constantly clean and clutter-free. :)  I smile every night as I head to bed with everything picked up and clean.  I straighten my toothbrush just so, make sure I didn't take anything out of my hospital bag, and then close my eyes blissfully.  (Then I wake up in the middle of the night with pregnancy insomnia and think about what will be on tomorrow's list).

Take your time, Molly.  Mommy secretly loves this stage.  Oops, gotta go, I see a cheerio under the couch...

Friday, April 6, 2012

Favorite Baby Books

Yesterday I woke up to strong contractions early in the morning and thought Molly might be on her way!  I was feeling ready and thought it would be the perfect day for her arrival.  I was also pumped that my labor was starting in the morning rather than at night because we did the nighttime thing last delivery and didn't sleep a wink for about 2 days straight.  (Miserable way to start the newborn stage).  Anyway, obviously Molly didn't arrive and a little part of me was disappointed, but Matt and Reed and I ended up having a perfect day just the three of us!  Matt stayed home since the students are on spring break and there are no youth activities this week, and we played and laughed and enjoyed each other.  We rounded out the evening playing in the yard and introduced Reed to the fire pit and "marshmallow sandwiches" for dessert. :)

We've made some major progress on all things pre-baby checklist and are about as ready as we're going to get around here.  While we're patiently waiting for Molly, I have been trying to rest a little each day, so I've been putting my feet up during R's nap and revisiting some of my baby books.  When I was pregnant with Reed, this was my reading load, plus some!

This time around, (you know how it goes), has been very different.  I haven't read anything, I have no idea of my prenatal appointment stats, and only about 3 pictures of my growing baby belly (as opposed to the hundreds with Reed).  I have 4 favorite books that I am skimming/brushing up on.  In case you are in the market for baby prep reading, these are my 4 favorites and a brief description of what I used from each:

What to Expect the First Year
When Reed was a baby, I paged along with this book each month as he grew and changed.  Nothing spectacular, but a usable Q&A format with a lot of broad information.  I will probably only pull this one out if there is something specific I want to look up, but I did use it with Reed so wanted to include it in my book list. :)

Baby Wise
I don't even own this book, so I still need to borrow someone else's and reread, but off the top of my head these are the simple main concepts I liked and implemented the first time around:
For nursing: On demand for first 2 weeks (probably every 2 to 3 hours), focusing on full meals at each feeding (as opposed to "snacking"), and moving toward an eat-wake-sleep schedule-- instead of eat-sleep-wake.

Happiest Baby on the Block
This book basically looks at the first 3 months of infancy as a "fourth trimester" in which you try recreate the comforts of the womb for your baby.  The only thing we used, and the main point of the book, is the "5 S's," the keys to soothing and calming an infant-- swaddle, suck, swing, shhh(sound), and stomach.  This book would be especially useful is you have a colicky or extra fussy baby.  You can even jump to the fold out cheat sheet in the middle of the book- that is all I brushed up on this go round.  (Disclaimer: Although we found the 5 s's useful, I don't endorse the author's evolutionary theory behind the "4th trimester"). :)

The Moms on Call Guide to Basic Baby Care
This is my favorite baby book by far!  It was given to me by one of its co-author's, Laura Hunter, and I used it as my go to what am I doing source!  The book covers everything from basic infant care to common sicknesses to introducing solid food, including (my favorite) the MOC sleep method!  I also relied a lot on the sample schedules in the book as I tried to navigate what worked for Reed and me.  The format is incredibly usable, almost like an outline, and the information is thorough and straightforward.  I also have the Moms on Call Swaddle Blanket. www.momsoncall.com

Hope I remember what to do with a baby!! :)  As long as Molly is still comfy in there, I am going to (finally!) try to return to my long lost toddler reading list too.  I will keep you posted with book reports. :)

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Big Boy Room Update

Quick progress update on Reed's new room!  We told you about his big boy bed in early January, and then gave another quick check-in once Reed officially moved into his new pad.  With Molly's arrival around the corner and no sign of our next steps for project big boy room, this is probably as good as it gets for a little while. :)  I will show you what we've added, and where I hope we're headed...

We started out with no new room paint because, a, we weren't sure about color and, b, Reed bangs into the walls all the time with guitars and other toys.

So first we jumped right into setting up his top bunk as a railed twin bed.  I shared some bedding ideas with you way back when, but Reed still sleeps in his bed like it is a crib (upside down/backwards, etc and no covers!), so we're on hold for adding additional bed clothes. :)  ...Maybe we'll have time for this one or this one to clearance out after all!

The nine-cubby toy shelf is from Target, and the fabric bins (as well as the curtains) are stowaways from Reed's nursery (and also Target).  The plastic buckets are from dollar tree!  I'd really like to add labels to the toy storage, but some of the containers are still empty and I want to give everything a little time to settle into how we'll best use it.  Same goes for the toys and bins (from ikea) under Reed's bed, which right now house mostly cars to drive on his car mat (also ikea).

Above the cubby shelf is Reed's bulletin board, recycled from my college dorm(!)  Would love to paint it-- maybe a red frame... or even some thick diagonal stripes on the actual cork?  It is great to have a place to display his master works of "art" and little treasures, such as his birthday card from Publix. :)

Above the board is his name display, which I picked out and spaced out to cover big holes in the wall.  (I'm impatient (and/or distrusting) when it come to the promise of eventual painting). :)

Reed's books are oozing out of his red crate (on the floor to the right of shelf), but thanks to pinterest, Ikea has been out of stock for months on the spice racks that work great as book ledges... ha.
Oh well... maybe we'll build some DIYers.

I'd still like to paint both the nightstand and the dresser, but color and style undecided...
Instead of the alphabet collage wall I mentioned, I compromised the time and expense with using a 1 2 3. :)  I made Matt hang the ladder (that will eventually go with Reed's bunk beds) sort of like a shelf, thinking it's free, matches his bed, and when the top bunk replaces decor on the opposite wall we can just switch.  I know it is "floating" a bit, but I was trying to cover holes again... oops.  Haven't put much into the arrangement of the top of the dresser yet, because his diaper station/supplies will (hopefully!) soon be obsolete.

I also want to paint his bedside lamp.
Maybe silver base to match the furniture and curtain hardware and stencil something red on the shade?

Drawing a blank on the big empty wall above his bed.  Went looking for road signs, but only found smallish ones.  My newest idea is maybe a couple of signs (traffic light and stop sign) collaged in with some of his other favorite things, like a Braves sign and  picture of a basketball, maybe even an animal or two.  I'd have to collect the pieces and see if they can all tie together, I guess.

Last, but not least, you know I love closets!
Reed's closet has lots of storage for both clothes and toys!  The two big bins at the top operate on the same system we used for his baby clothes (old in the left, new in the right).  I really want to make some cute vinyl labels for all of his closet bins!!  And that unused vertical space makes my organizing heart hurt... maybe another peg rack for his many hats and bags?

So that is the Reed-monkey's current natural habitat, and where we stand on Project Big Boy Room!  Meanwhile, we'll be waiting around for sales and/or inspirational finds. :)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Molly's Nursery

Molly's room is pretty much ready!

Thought I would go ahead and post pictures in case she makes her appearance before I finish piddling around with last minute projects.  (I will take pics of Reed's big boy room progress tomorrow... going to assume we'll mark time in there for a little while).

So to go from Reed's room...
to Molly's room...
...in a budget-friendly, workload-friendly manner, we:

- Kept the wall colors and used all of the same furniture pieces in nursery.  (We focused our new purchases forward-looking (big boy bed and toy shelf so far) in Reed's new room).
- Instead, we switched lots of accessories: curtains (Target- This was actually our biggest purchase(!), but they were a gift), crib sheets (Babiesrus), crib skirt (Walmart- I cut off 3 sides of the skirt since only the front shows and used the material), fabric bins (Target), changing pad cover (BRU).

- Added some homemade focal decor above the crib:

And tried to reuse some of the fabrics and/or bring in "sweet and girly" in other fun touches.  A few of my favorites...

The pillow...

The painting...

Window Hardware...

I also went spray paint happy and re-purposed some things we already had around the house when possible--the clock, the decorative hanging piece(with the tutu), mirror above changing table. :)

In the closet,

We added a short side shelf on the inside right to gain some hanging storage... because girls wear more dresses than boys. :)

I also kept the same bins from Reed's clothing system and printed purple labels to replace the light blue ones.  (I ended up buying new bigger bins for Reed's closet since his toddler clothing takes up more space than baby clothes).

 And, if time, these are a couple of things left to do (maybe)...

1- Add embellishment to the lamp... thinking a fabric flower and/or making a few fabric ruffles to wrap around the bottom of the shade.  The lamp shade and base (gold, painted white) are both from Walmart.

2- I want to hang a bow board above the peg rack (behind door) for all of Molly's hair accessories!  I tried repurposing a memo board we used to have in our guest room, but I really, really want to make a shabby chic looking chicken wire one!  We'll see...

It's not super fancy or designer, but we love it and it didn't bust our budget :)  For all practical purposes, Molly's nursery is all ready for its little princess!  Thanks for your help with Operation: Girl Nursery. :)

Monday, April 2, 2012

Shower Surprise!

Last Wednesday I showed up at church for youth as usual, and found this sweet surprise waiting for our family!

(I didn't have my camera on board, so Lauren snapped the (at church) pics with her phone)

A surprise baby shower!  Everything was so cute and thoughtful-- pink and monkey-themed! :)  The ladies even had a few monkey touches especially for Reed, including a monkey piggy bank that now houses his $11 and a singing sock monkey that he is a wee bit obsessed with.  Reed doesn't always come on Wednesdays, so I was happy that he ended up being there with us... It appears that he enjoyed partaking in the cake.  We felt so very loved by a group of people we adore!  We're deeply thankful for all of the amazing individuals that partner with Matt and serve Sanctuary's youth and families so well.  And, of course, we love our students-- we feel like they are "ours"! :)  Having our youth family celebrate Molly with us Wednesday night was so special.  And little Miss now has even more cute outfits, sleepers, accessories, and baby care essentials!  Thank you all for loving on our family! :)