Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas card 2014

Hello, friends and family!  Slip on your favorite footed pajamas, grab a mug of hot cocoa, cozy up by the fire, and read a little update on the Edwards family…
Before the dust had settled on Christmas 2013, we found out we were expecting another baby!  Before that news truly sunk in, the morning sickness began.  When I was pregnant with Carter I’d been sick, so I figured I knew how to handle it.  I was wrong.  The terrible nausea went on and on, and lasted from early in the morning until late at night.  I worked hard at using my tone of voice alone to discipline Carter so I could ‘parent’ from a reclined position on the couch.  I tried several different anti-nausea medications.  I chewed ginger gum at work and put aromatherapy oil inside my dental masks to block out any smells that might send me running to the restroom.  Because of all this trouble, we thought of naming the baby Ralph, whether it was a boy or girl, but we figured we shouldn’t curse the child for a lifetime over a few months of trouble.

This time around we were able to find out the gender of our baby even earlier than before through the magic of technology.  A new blood test allowed us to learn in the first trimester that we were expecting a boy—oh, boy!  Mommy is getting badly outnumbered at this house…I may never again find the toilet seat left down with all these boys running around.  

In March our marriage turned 6 years old and we turned 28 years old.  At 28 years old, having been married for a while, and having 1.5 kids made us feel pretty old so we decided to live it up and take an anniversary trip to Dallas one weekend in April.  I believe we were asleep by 8:30 pm each night, solidifying the fact that we are not only old but also no longer cool.
April showers are supposed to bring May flowers, but April had some other surprises in store for us.  The first was a literal April shower, or torrential downpour with hail included, that resulted in demolished roofs neighborhood-wide.  After umpteen phone calls, paying a hefty deductible, and choosing a new shingle color (who knew there were about 40 choices of those) we solidified a date on which our roof would be replaced.  Imagine my surprise when ‘up on the housetop’ reindeer pawsworkmen’s boots woke me on a different date than the one we had scheduled.  Carter, our dog, baby in utero, and I made a hasty exit while shingles and nails rained down on us.  We spent the day as nomads in Temple, wandering around from place toplace while our roof was unexpectedly redone.

It was also in April that Jeffrey became aware of a job opportunity in Abilene, TX.  One of the hospitals there is building a brand new clinic and needs an Internist beginning in the summer of 2015.  After much consideration and prayer, he decided to sign with Hendrick Hospital in Abilene, so we will be heading to Abilene permanently once his residency is completed.  I will be working with my Uncle Gary at his dental office, fulfilling a dream that we both wished for since I started dental school in 2008.  Gary’s office just so happens to be next door to Jeffrey’s clinic, too.  Just imagine—you could have a tooth pulled and your diabetes diagnosed in one convenient stop!
Sometime in May I finally stopped feeling so sick from the pregnancy and began to eat again.  
Determined to make sure that baby boy came out chubby and cute, I dutifully ate Blue Bell every night to make up for the lean months early on.  (I highly recommend this diet plan—it’s delicious.)

In June we spent some time with family, going on a family vacation with my folks at a rented lake house in Austin for a long weekend and spending a few days with Jeffrey’s family in Fort Worth.  The times when were all together are some of myfavorite memories from the year, and some of the most restful since there are so many extra eyes and hands to keep track of Carter.
July marked the beginning of Jeffrey’s third and final year of residency.  He started it with a bang, working an entire month in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).  The other residents’ wives and I have a running joke that ICU month should actually be called ‘I-don’t-CU’…because when those guys are working that rotation, they basically live at the hospital.  My thoughtful husband had planned to get that rotation finished early in the year so that once our newest little boy was born he would be able to be here to help.  
As it turned out, our little Harrison Jeffrey came 2 weeks early, on August 27th, weighing in at 6 pounds, 15 ounces.  He came out kicking and screaming, and pretty much has continued that trend.  He’s been officially diagnosed with a case of colic (intractable crying) which has led to some moments of frustration for our family, but little by little he has improved and we are getting to know the happy side of him more each day.  Though a little on the small side at birth, he now weighs in at a hefty 15 pounds and has the most kissable chubby cheeks I’ve ever seen.  I promise I don’t have him on the Blue Bell diet…I make no such promises about myself.

In September our Carter boy turned 2! We celebrated by throwing him a little party at the house—construction equipment was the theme because he never tires of pointing out the excavators, dump trucks, and front loaders at the many construction sites around town.  (And yes, he does call them by name.)  His two’s, so far, have been much more terrific than terrible, with him talking more and more and learning every day.  He loves reading, coloring, and being a helper.  He has been exceptionally sweet to his little brother and is almost always gentle with him.  We’re very proud that at only 2 years old he can already recite ‘his’ Bible verse (Joshua 1:9) that his daddy picked out for him when he was born.
For Halloween this year I asked Carter what he wanted to be and he said, “Baa, black sheep.”  Concerned about my abilities to create such a costume, I asked him again on another day and that time he told me that he wanted to be a fireman.  I happily seized on that idea, buying him a fireman costume and making a littleDalmatian costume for baby Harrison.  On the day of Halloween, Carter refused to wear his costume, but he did wear it once to Sunday morning church and twice to daycare, so I guess we got our money out of that one.  Harrison had a diaper explosion in his costume, so that Dalmatian ended up with a few extra spots!
As I write this letter, Thanksgiving is approaching and I have so much gratitude in my heart for all the wonderful blessings in my life.  I’m so thankful for my husband, my boys, newopportunities, old friends, warm pajamas, and of course, Blue Bell.  It truly is the most onesie-ful time of the year.  Best wishes to you and yours.
The Edwards

Saturday, December 27, 2014

4 Months

Well, little buddy, I would say that you're getting so big…but I think I've said that before.  At four months old you're tipping the scales at a whopping 16 pounds--that's somewhere in the 80th percentile. This Christmas when you went to sit on Santa's lap, Santa remarked, "He looks like a middle linebacker!"  (And he's right.)  We have lots of nicknames for you, including H-man, Chunkers, Cheeks, and Tubby.  We mean them all in the nicest way possible, of course!

This month you've gotten so very good at smiling.  You give us smiles for looking at you, sticking our tongues out at you, and singing to you.  You dole out screams if we leave a wet diaper on you one second longer than you would prefer, and if you have to wait one minute longer to eat than you would prefer.  No surprise there, right?

You're only 4 months old, but I feel like you're already trying to talk.  You have such an expressive little face with eyebrows that furrow as you 'talk' to me very seriously.  You've made friends with some toys this month, and you talk to them, too.  Every day you become more aware of the toys and noises and general craziness around you at our house.

Soon we'll have to start letting you sleep in your own room.  I'm not sure how we're going to do that since you still like to sleep in your little bassinet next to my bed while holding my hand, but somehow we will find a way.

You're just a big, cuddly darling, Harrison, and your smile still lights up my world.

Happy 27th, baby.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Halloween 2014

The first time I asked Carter what he wanted to be for Halloween, he said, "Baa, baa, black sheep."  I thought for a minute about making a sheep costume, and then I thought about how terribly that could go.  I mean, that idea has the potential to end up on some website somewhere highlighting the worst homemade costume fails in the world.  So to avoid epic levels of embarrassment, I simply asked him again what he would like to be.  This time he said, "Fireman!" 

I found a fireman costume at HEB for $8.  Sold.

Of course that left me wondering what I could make for Harrison that would coordinate.  Again, a terrible idea came to me first--what if H-man dressed up as a fire hydrant?!  Nope, terrible idea...and not just because we have a dog and that could create a potential indoor urination problem.  I settled on making Harrison a little onesie that looked like dalmation spots so he could be the firehouse dog.  A few hours and some fusible fabric later, this was the result:

Pretty cute!  Good thing we took this picture at the beginning of the night, though, because about 5 minutes after Carter refused to wear his hat and Harrison had a major poo-splosion that splattered all over his outfit.  It was a goner before we even said one 'trick or treat.'
And although Carter refused to wear his hat for Halloween, he wore it to Sunday school that weekend and to school the following Monday.  That's a two year old for ya.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

3 Months Old

Our sweet little Harrison is 3 months old today, and it’s also his first Thanksgiving.

I’m so thankful for our little man.  He has the best, most chunky-cheeked smiles.  He smiles as he goes to sleep, smiles first thing in the morning when he wakes up, and smiles while he poops!  This month he’s started “talking” to us and to his little toys and seems to be growing more and more aware of the world around him.  He’s been rolling from front to back and looks like he wants to crawl already, even though he’s still several months away from being able to do that trick.  (I hope.)
The symptoms of colic seem to be fading, although he’s made it clear that he still has some strong preferences (and there are loud, crying consequences for not following procedure).  He very much prefers to be held all the time, and since he tips the scales at about 14 pounds, mommy and daddy are canceling their gym memberships and simply working out at home by holding that adorable little dumbbell. 
**Just kidding—we never had gym memberships.  But seriously, our biceps are getting strong.
Carter is still his favorite person, in fact we weren’t getting any good pictures during his monthly photo shoot until big brother came into the room, and that’s when we captured this sweet smile.  He’s also a big fan of slobbering all over his fingers, a fun little body part he only recently discovered. 
We just can’t wait to see what this little butterball turkey does next. 
Happy 27th, baby, and happy first Thanksgiving.


Friday, November 7, 2014

Colic Me Crazy

*Disclaimer: if you've not had a child who suffered from colic, this post may come across as cold or selfish as I talk about the difficulties the parents of colicky babies face. Be assured that I love my baby very much and that the purposes of this post are not to say anything disparaging about him, but rather to describe the difficulties I've faced recently and to hopefully help (if only by commiserating) someone else who may be going through the same thing.

If you have been around me in the last 8 weeks, chances are you've heard me complain about Harrison's having colic. (You would also know about Harrison's colic if you live within a 3 block radius of our house--the kid's lungs are very strong!)

What is colic? Well, let me tell you, since I've basically become an expert by frantically looking up internet resources in every spare minute. Colic is intractable crying that occurs in about 25% of babies. It generally starts around 2 weeks and begins to wane around 3 months. Doctors often use Wessel's criteria (also called the rule of three's) to diagnose colic: the baby cries for at least three hours, three days per week or more, for at least three weeks.  Some folks guess that colic is due to upset stomach issues while others attribute it to a method of coping with the stimulation of life outside the womb (they call it the '4th trimester'), but as of yet the cause is unknown. And without a known cause, there is no cure, of course, so the crying just goes on until the baby outgrows it…or until you go insane.

Does that sound miserable? It is.

Colic is no joke, y'all. One day a few weeks ago Harrison cried for 4 out of 5 hours that we were awake before noon. Add to that the fact that I haven't slept through the night in about a million years and you've got a major problem.

Anyway, in case someone out there reading this post is looking for some company for their misery, allow me to enumerate some of the worst features of colic.

1. The noise

Oh the noise, noise, noise. There have been studies done on the sound of babies crying and do you know what they found? Crying stresses people out. Literally. Cortisol levels actually increase at the very sound of a crying baby. This is your body reacting to the sound like it would react to an intruder, a danger, a fright--as a threat. Your heart rate increases, your breathing speeds up, and your head pounds. If you think I'm being dramatic, go ahead and search Youtube for a video of a baby crying, then listen to it on full volume right next to your ear (because this is where you're holding the baby as you try to soothe him). How do you feel after 1 minute? 5 minutes? An hour? It's miserable. Somehow that sound crawls into your brain and stays there, jumbling all thoughts except for that one pleading 'please stop crying' over and over like a Gregorian chant. It even affects your ability to tell time. I started timing Harrison's crying sessions when the colic started to try and determine if I could figure out any patterns. What I found instead was that time stops when your baby is crying. At times I could've sworn that he had been crying for hours and it had only been 3 minutes. Sometimes I'd allow myself to put him in another room to cry on his own for 5, 10, or 15 minutes while I composed myself again--those minutes flew by! In these past few weeks I've even had phantom crying episodes where I thought he was crying but went in to find him peacefully sleeping. I have probably lost half of the hearing in my left ear over this (he prefers to be held on that side). The noise is an assault in itself.

2. The isolation

When you have a baby who's suffering from colic, your first instinct is to hibernate. In the safety of your own home, the crying is horrible, but at least it's not embarrassing. But let's say you have to get out-- let's say you have nothing to feed your 2 year old because you haven't left the house in a week and so you have no choice but to go to HEB. Then let's say that right when you get to the very back of the store that your baby starts a full-blown atomic colic fit. Well, if you're like me, then you'll be that crazy lady crying next to the hot dogs in HEB with your toddler yelling about lunchables and your infant turning red with anger like some kind of Incredible Hulk gone wrong. Abandon ship, leave the cart and the groceries, exit the store, retreat--retreat--retreat. And back into isolation you go (after stopping at Sonic or Mcdonalds for food for the toddler--you're crazed, but you’re not a jerk). The crazy thing is, while you feel like you should never leave your home again until the child is twelve or thirteen, the HEB situation is the exception, not the norm. Annoyingly, most of the time you take the baby out he will act perfect or sleep the whole time and people will look at you like you're insane when you describe the incessant crying spells that you've grown to dread. So my advice is to get out when you need to or want to, but keep an eye on the nearest exits lest you end up making a longer walk of shame than is absolutely necessary.

3. The accusations

To be fair, there aren't many people who make accusations outright, but sometimes well-meaning folks say things that sound like accusations of poor parenting to my noise-scarred ears. The reflex response someone has when you tell them your baby has colic is to say something like: "Have you tried ----? It worked for my cousin's sister's boyfriend!"  They're only trying to help, and I do grasp that, but to me it sounds like this: "You totally missed it! If you had been paying attention, you could've fixed this a long time ago."  Another typical response: "Yeah, my daughter was just like that." If you don't shudder as you reminisce about your days in the throes of colic, then your baby didn't have colic, ok? She just cried once or twice when she was hungry. That's different.

Let me suggest some more supportive responses in case you find yourself in a conversation with someone like me. Great response: "What have you tried so far? Are you looking for something else to try?" This one is great because it assumes that as a mom you naturally would have spent hundreds of dollars, several trips to the doctor, and a significant chunk of your phone's data plan searching for solutions to help your child. It also asks the mom if she even wants to think about more treatments right now. Sometimes it can start to feel like there's a lot of snake oil out there and not many real treatments.

Another good one: "I'm so sorry. That's really hard. I don't know much about it, but I do know that it's temporary. It will end." That little phrase 'it's temporary' is my mantra right now. Someday the colic will go away and I will have my little boy instead of my little boy with colic.

4. Not knowing your son/daughter

This is the one that makes me cry. The absolute most difficult and horrible thing about colic is that it doesn't allow you to get to know your baby. Colic is an eclipsing disorder that covers over your baby and hides his personality from you. That is cruel. In a way it reminds me of how you feel about your child when he's still in the womb--you love him but you don't know who he is yet, and you're dying to find out. Except that in the womb you can take solace in the face that he's supposed to be in there, that he's comfy and warm, that he's happily growing strong enough to meet you one day soon. With colic you experience that same overwhelming desire to know your son as a mother should. To know how he likes to be held on his left side and that tummy time makes him mad and that he makes funny faces when he poops but instead you only know that he's expressing sadness or fear or anger with all this crying and you just can't know why or how to help him--or anything else about him, really. Even in the quiet times you're afraid to do something that might set off another fit, so you peer at him from afar instead of pressing your face next to his. You encourage him to sleep when he's happy instead of keeping him awake to stare into his blue eyes. You hold him and try to comfort him but make no progress and have to set him down to take a break rather than feeling the sweet relief of being able to calm your child. It's not fair. It doesn't feel good. It's not what you pictured when you dreamed of this child.  And that is hardest part of all.

5. Wondering: Is something wrong?

One of the biggest issues with colic is that you can drive yourself crazy wondering if you are missing something that might be causing the crying, something medical like reflux or some kind of pain condition.  When you ask the doctor about this, she will ask you a bunch of questions to try and discern what could be going on.  This will be an exercise in futility.
Dr: Does he cry after feedings?
Me: Yes
Dr: Does he seem upset when he spits up?
Me: Yes, he cries when that happens
Dr: Does he cry if you make him lie down flat on the ground?
Me: Yes
Dr: What about if you keep him upright for feedings?
Me: Yeah, he cries then, too.
It’s like a terrible, terrible real-life version of the boy who cried wolf…when you cry all the time, how can we determine when you really mean it?  In your moment of more rational thinking, you realize that all of his symptoms exactly fit the diagnosis of colic and that other than driving yourself crazy with worry, you have nothing to fear.  Shortly after thinking these rational thoughts you will return to worrying, haha.  Such is life.

So that's my list of the most horrible things about colic. If you're going through it yourself, I'm so sorry. It's really hard. Hang in there. It will end. It will end. It will end.
As for us, in the past two weeks I’ve started to feel like Harrison is gradually coming out of this haze of colic and becoming more and more like a normal, albeit high maintenance, baby.  And I love that, you know?  I can finally start to know who he is.  He loves to be held.  He likes bath time, but not for too long.  When he smiles, he does it completely—bunches up his big, fat cheeks and gives it everything he’s got.  I love that boy, and I know we’re going to get through this together.  And I’m not even going to hold this against him.
(Except for extra hugs and kisses.)

Monday, October 27, 2014

2 Months Old

It seems like just yesterday I gave birth to a tiny little 6 lb, 15 oz baby boy we named Harrison Jeffrey....and today we are the proud owners of this tubby guy who is two months old!  My, how this boy has grown! 

I'm not sure of his weight yet (we go to the doctor this Friday), but at an appointment a couple of weeks ago he was already tipping the scales at 12 lbs.  I believe the distribution is 2 lbs in each cheek, with the other 8 lbs spread throughout the rest of his body. 

When I was pregnant with Harrison and exhausted from chasing after my rambunctious 2 year old, I said that I wanted this one to be a snuggler, and boy, did I get my wish.  Harrison is the squishiest, cuddliest, most huggable little guy I've seen in a while, and he loves to be held. 

His biggest smiles are for his big brother.  Second biggest smiles are for ceiling fans.  Mom and Dad come in somewhere after that.  He has the prettiest dark blue eyes that are starting to brighten as he wakes up to the world around him.  Daddy sometimes calls him 'Big Blue.' 

One of the gifts he received at his baby shower was a CD of a group called Go Fish.  I decided that the last song on that CD would be 'his' song.  It's really sweet and has a line in it that says, "Welcome to my heart/just a smile from you can make it fly."  That lyric rings so true for me.  When that boy smiles at me it just makes me well up with joy.  Partly because his smile is so cute...and partly because I know how much effort it must take to move those big ol' cheeks. 

Love you, H-man.  Happy 27th.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Hi, how are you googling?

Lots of times when folks see each other in town or at church or at a restaurant they'll ask,"Hi, how are you doing?"  There are two issues with this greeting: 1) the asker doesn't really mean the how are you doing part, they're really just saying 'hi,' and 2) the answerer almost never answers truthfully but instead gives a generic 'I'm good' type of reply. So what's a person to do?

Well, my suggestion is this: If you ever want to know how someone is doing in life, don't ask them how they're doing. If you really want to know how they are, if you want to look deep into their souls,--check out their google history.

For example, this is what my google history looks like today:

'Why does my baby cry 2 hours after I feed him'

'Dalmation infant costume'

'Hobby lobby coupon' (never buy full price!)

'Can gas drops cause constipation in infants'

'Temple tx la Roma' (restaurant)

'The good life temple tx' (restaurant)

''Why is my toddler so destructive' (Yes, I really googled this one morning after Carter tore a Kleenex into 5 million pieces, broke a book binding, and stretched apart the cute window cling stickers I got him for Halloween in a span of about 3 minutes.)

'Is it normal for babies to sweat when they cry'  (That's weird, right?)

'Difference between colic and reflux '

'Fireman costume for toddler'

'Which pizza place has Brooklyn style pizza' (It's Domino's)

So basically that's my life in a nutshell. I'm on a constant search for easy Halloween costumes, delicious food that I don't have to cook, and ways to make my baby stop crying. And, you know, the meaning of life or whatever.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

1 Month Old

Little brother has survived his first month at the Edwards' house outside of the womb.  Quite a feat when you consider how much his big brother loooooooves to love him!  I have a feeling these two boys are going to grow to be the best of friends--if, that is, I can continue to keep Harrison from being hugged to death in the meantime.

Harrison is what we affectionately call a 'high-maintenance' baby.  He loves to be held, always wants to be in the room where the action is, and falls asleep best when grasping two of mommy or daddy's fingers with his tiny little hands.  This means that during my maternity leave, mommy is getting in lots of snuggles (but not a lot of laundry is getting done...then again, laundry has never been my strong suit, so now I have an excuse).

We do think our littlest boy is having some struggles with acid reflux--hopefully we can get that straightened out soon.  I've done lots of research (aka--googling) about acid reflux in babies lately and I read that some babies nurse less when affected by reflux because they associate eating with pain, but other babies nurse more to keep the flow going downward.  Harrison falls into the latter category, which is great with me (another excuse not to do the laundry), but gives us a tough choice trying to choose which of his chins we like better!  He's plumping up like a little butterball.  Love it!

We love you buddy--can't wait to get to know you more and watch you grow.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Trash Wars

Incredibly, this post has nothing to do with my brand new, precious, adorable, baby.  And I guess that's good considering the title of the post has the words 'trash' and 'wars' in it.  There will be lots and lots and lots of posts about Harrison, but for now I have another story to tell.

We live in a small, quiet subdivision with a home owners association that for all practical purposes simply exists to keep the gate at the front of the neighborhood serviced.  There are occasional meetings for the HOA that no one ever goes to and sometimes signs at the front announcing garage sales, but other than that, for two years (aside from paying dues) we've not heard much from the HOA.

For this reason, we were quite surprised one day in August when we received a citation in our mailbox from the HOA--a $50 fine was being imposed upon us for "failure to properly store our trash cans."

Confused, I called the number on the paper.  The woman on the line explained to me that our HOA has a rule that trash cans must be stored out of view of the street at all times.  We had been fined because our trash cans were neatly stored on the side of our house.  Hmm...

After more discussion with the woman, we came to an agreement that our citation would be revoked since we had received no warning about this rule and since we wanted to file an appeal.  She also let slip that we weren't alone--about 75% of our neighbors had received a similar citation, and about 100% of them were hacked off about it.  I was pretty incensed, too, but I tried to be nice on the phone as I planned the wording for my appeal.

Below is the appeal that I wanted to write.

To whom it may concern:

Are you kidding me?  You don't have anything better to do than to go around checking on the location of people's trash cans?  It's not like we parked them in your front yard--they are on our property, out of the way, and not bothering anyone! 

You know what would be a better use of your time?  How about you fine the people who go dove hunting in the tiny greenbelt directly behind our house, or cite the folks who live right at the front of our neighborhood and have about 4000 different plants in their 200 square foot front yard.  (It does not look good.) 

Maybe there are even projects you could put your time toward that would benefit the neighborhood instead of make everyone mad.  You could host a block party or a recipe swap.  Life could be fun and we could all act neighborly.  But instead you have chosen to become the trash can police.  Well, somebody call the WAH-mbulance because I'm gonna cry about it.  I'm 9 months pregnant and I don't have the strength, energy, or desire to drag my big huge trash can back and forth from the back yard each week.  And as for the suggestion that we stow them in our garage?  Well, once I have my baby's and my toddler's diapers in there sweltering in the Texas heat, what will that stench do for property value?



Of course, I didn't write that appeal.  I wrote a very nicely worded, respectful, responsible appeal and they responded with a big, fat 'no.'  So now there sure is a big trash can full of two stinky boys' diapers in our garage every day, cooking in the heat.  We're basically going to have to fumigate the property before we sell it. 

HOA-1, Edwards-0

Monday, September 8, 2014

An Early Arrival

Well, hello there, my poor and abandoned blog!  I’m going to make an attempt to revive this site, if only to show Mr. Harrison that we took a few baby pictures of him, too.  We don’t want him developing second child syndrome so early!

So without further ado, here is the story of Harrison’s entry into the world, minus a few gory details.

If you’ve been around me at all during this pregnancy, you know that it has not been an easy nine months.  I was nauseated for about 24 weeks of the pregnancy and had no appetite for about 30 weeks.  I had back pain, sciatic nerve pain, acid reflux, and pretty much every other pregnant lady malady known to mankind…all while taking care of a very rambunctious toddler.  Needless to say, I was very ready to be un-pregnant by the time I reached the ninth month.  Harrison was due on September 10th, but all along I had guessed that he might arrive a bit early (I was guessing late August or very early September), but by the end I had started to think that it might be more wishful thinking than premonition.


On the morning of Wednesday, August 27th, I woke up and went to work like any other day.  On Wednesdays I work an early shift, so after finishing at 1 pm I went to pick up Carter from daycare.  As I put him into the carseat I felt the distinct sensation of my water breaking.  After getting Carter buckled in, having a mild panic attack, and changing clothes into my spare outfit that I had with me for such an occasion as this, I headed back to Temple and toward the hospital.  I checked in with Jeffrey by phone to let him know what was going on and he started making arrangements at work.  Thanks to great friends and family, I had babysitters lined up for Carter in only 2 phone calls.  I warned my doctor by text message that I was on the way in (isn’t technology handy?) and arrived at the hospital at around 2:45 pm thinking, “August 27th is the day I get to meet my second son!”  I was 38 weeks exactly.

After a quick exam from my doctor, we were ushered over to the labor and delivery area of the hospital.  At first my contractions were coming very frequently, so we waited a bit to see if true labor would begin on its own.  Sure enough, after about an hour the contractions spaced out and became more rhythmic (and more painful!), and the next time the doctor checked on me she recommended that if I wanted an epidural I should go ahead and get one. 

You don’t have to tell me that kind of thing twice.  I ordered up my epidural and looked forward to a mostly painless delivery.  Little did I know…

I had heard women tell stories of epidurals ‘not taking’ or only working on one side but I figured that it wouldn’t happen to me.  Then it happened to me.  To be fair, there was a significant portion of the time I was in labor when I can say I was totally comfortable, and I’m very thankful for that, however, during the time from 8 cm to 10 cm I went from ‘this pain is tolerable’ to beyond tears, eyes and teeth clenched tightly, involuntary writhing on the bed kind of pain.  At one point I asked the nurse to get the doctor to check me again—surely I was at 10 cm by now, right?  The doctor came in and said, “You’re about nine and a half centimeters.”  I said as nicely as I could through gritted teeth, “You must be mistaken.  Measure again—we need to get this baby out.”  (I’m sure my doctor appreciated my telling her how to do her job.  Oops.)

To the anesthesiologist’s credit, she worked very hard to get me as comfortable as possible during that time, and miraculously managed to get me completely numb just in time for the pushing phase of the delivery.  I’ll need to add her to my Christmas list for that.

It was fairly quiet in the delivery room.  I guess that it was around 10 pm when I started pushing and it seemed that much of the hospital had gone to sleep.  In our delivery room several people with various jobs bustled around but the only sounds were my doctor’s encouragement, my nurse’s soft voice counting to 10 to synchronize my pushing with the contractions, and Jeffrey’s steady reassurance that progress was being made with each push.  This stage of the birthing process has such an otherworldly feeling to it for me.  It is as if it exists outside of time—in a haze of emotional and physical extremes.  Looking back on it now it has a fuzzy, shapeless quality and is almost impossible to describe.  Some may attribute this to hormonal changes and chemical upheaval in the body, and certainly I believe that is true, but also there is a certain reverence in the very air while new life is being brought forth into the world that takes you to another place.

But suddenly a sound broke through the haze and time started ticking again and my memory is sharp and clear as my second child, my Harrison Jeffrey, was born.  At 10:18 pm on August 27th, 2014, Harrison was born.  We laughed a little as the doctor tried to untangle him from the umbilical cord he was wearing wrapped around his chest like a little sash.  We stared wide-eyed as he was placed on my stomach.  Welcome to the world, baby boy.

The rest of the night was a bit of a blur as we got everybody cleaned up and ready to transfer to the post-partum rooms.  Harrison briefly met his grandparents before we all went to sleep. 

What an honor to be a part of your very first day, Harrison.  We love you and we’re so glad you’re our little boy.
Harrison Jeffrey Edwards
August 27, 2014
6 lbs, 15 oz
19.5 inches

Our first family picture with all FOUR!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Riding in cars with boys

Last weekend my parents invited the whole family to a lake house in Austin they had rented for the weekend. The vacation was great--filled with lazy days by the pool and shopping trips and lots of laughs together. But I don't blog about the good things--I blog about the ridiculous things, so I have to write about our time in the car.

Luckily for us, Austin is only a short drive away. It took about 2 hours to drive from our door to the door of the rental house. Unluckily, Carter was in a pretty bad mood on the trip there, and it was touch-and-go on the way back.

Jeffrey and I had one major thing in our favor: our son loves music. He perks up at the sound of singing, and it can calm most tantrums in seconds, so when Carter started crying approximately 10 minutes into our drive, mommy and daddy began our sing-a-long. We sang songs about frogs, ducks, itsy bitsy spiders, and (Carter's favorite) choo choo trains.

Happiness reigned in the car for about 20 minutes, but we hit a snag when he kept asking for more choo choo trains. We had sung 'little red caboose' 98 times, Jeffrey's sing song act from 2012 (train conductor theme), and 'I've been working on the railroad' ad nauseum.

When the chorus of "I nee mow choo choo TRAINS!" reached a decibel that warned of impending disaster---we got desperate.

And that's when we sang this highly inappropriate country song to our small child, together, in perfect harmony:

Well I was drunk the day my mom got out of prison
And I went to pick her up in the rain
But before I could get to the station in the pick-up truck
She got runned over by a damned old train (we said 'dadgum' train, because that's how Christians curse)

And I'll hang around as long as you will let me
And I never minded standin' in the rain
And you don't have to call me darlin', darlin'
You never even called me, well I wondered why you don't call me?
Why don't you ever call me by my name?

Carter was ecstatic. The crying stopped. We survived the trip. Thank you, David Allen Coe, and my apologies to good moms everywhere. 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Setting them up for success

As a parent, one of my main goals in life is to set my children up for success--not to give it to them easily, but to provide them with the tools and skills necessary to find success on their own. How do I do that? Well...

I don't rightly know.

But I'm trying, and for now that means having lots of long conversations on the phone with my mom filed under the heading: What are you supposed to do when your child does (insert bad behavior here)?!?

The last time we talked, she said, "Just read. Read a lot of parenting books. Then maybe one day when you're at your wit's end, you'll remember one brilliant thing from a book to try."

Isn't she smart? Diligently, I followed her advice and am now halfway through my first book. So far I'm learning lots of interesting things that I can put into practice with Carter. And perhaps the best result of reading the book is the simple fact that I'm consciously thinking about my parenting on a daily basis rather than just moving by instinct or emotion.

One of the hardest recommendations in the book? No TV for kids under the age of 2. (Not even The Real Housewives of Orange County on in the background while he plays with trucks or eats his boogers.)  Ouch. That really cramps my style.

Not as hard, but still in the top ten? Praise your child's efforts rather than their results. This one is tricky. Researchers found that children who were constantly told "You made an 'A' on that test! You're so smart. Great job!" were at risk of falling apart at the first sign of a challenge. On the other hand, children who were told "Wow, I know you worked on that for a long time. Great job finishing even though it was hard," were much more likely to rise to the occasion and succeed when difficult problems arose. This was especially true in math. Kids in the 'praised for results' group completed 50% fewer difficult problems than kids in the 'praised for effort' group.

What does this equate to in the parenting of a toddler? Well, at my house it looks like this:

Me: Carter, this is a yellow cup. Can you say cup?
Carter: Cup!
Me: You're so sm--(crap), umm...yes! Great!  And what color is the cup?
C: (earnestly) Blue.
Me: No, but good try. What color is the cup?
Me: No. What color is the YELLOW cup?
C: (emphatically) Bluuuuuuuue.
Me: Proud of you for trying, buddy. Mommy needs to go read some more of her book now. Sit here and watch Real Housewives for a little bit.

I don't think I'm doing it right. Ha!

Friday, April 25, 2014

We're getting there...

If I had to summarize my life in one short sentence, it would be: we're getting there.

It has been no secret that I haven't felt well during this pregnancy, even far into the second trimester (see previous post for proof) but it seems as though the twenty week mark has been the start of a gradual improvement in symptoms. Knock on wood.   We're getting there.

The weeks going by have brought more relief in the form of a growing  belly, even in the absence of a normal, non-regurgitated diet, and some reassurance that the baby is ok and growing normally. This also makes me feel better about saying, during the times I'm feeling nauseated, "when this boy comes out, he's getting a spanking for this."  At least I know he'll have a little meat on his bones for his first punishment.   Little by little, he's getting there.

Speaking of the new little guy, we finally arrived at a name for him:  Harrison Jeffrey Edwards. It took a looooooooot of negotiating on both sides to pick a name that Jeffrey and I both like, but finally, we got there. No longer nameless, Harrison becomes more real to us with every tiny kick. I can't believe we will be parents to two boys in only a few months. Oh my, we're getting there quickly!

And then there's Carter. Don't get me wrong, I love that boy fiercely with my entire being, but daily now I see us slipping away from the carefree days of happy baby and ever onward toward the dreaded "terrible twos."  Our little sweetness has developed a tiny temper and lots of opinions seemingly overnight. Yes, we're finally reaching the level of parenting I was afraid of. Level one parenting is simply keeping the baby alive--not scared of that. Level two parenting is, you know, actually parenting--teaching right from wrong, establishing boundaries, and other tantrum inducing activities. Ugh, we're getting there.

Some recent items that have resulted in major breakdowns in Carter's emotional state:

Waiting for waffles to toast in the oven
Not having a waffle for breakfast
Saying the word 'no' about anything at all
Picking him up
Putting him down
Needing some juice to drink
Shoes being on

Clearly, his life is horrible and deserving of tears multiple times per day. Ya. We're there.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Horsey says 'Nay'

Tomorrow I will be 16 weeks pregnant, well into my second trimester, a time period which has oft been referred to as the 'honeymoon' of pregnancy since you are past the nausea of the first trimester but not to the bloated, weight-laden third trimester yet.

Well, somebody forgot to send me the memo.

Quick disclaimer: it seems that a disproportionately large number of my friends are struggling with infertility issues right now, and yet here I am about to complain about my perfectly healthy second child who occasionally causes me to throw up. Please don't let my words sound like complaints to you, friends. I hope it sounds like a funny story that you can laugh at now and then remember later and laugh about again when you're going through it yourself .  Moving on...

So this morning, like many other mornings during this pregnancy, I woke up feeling awful but managed to feed Carter breakfast and get him ready for preschool before attempting to get myself ready for work.

Just as I finished putting my hair back into a clip (the professional woman's ponytail, you know) I felt that feeling that sends you bowing before the porcelain throne. Carter must have felt it, too, because while I was still *ahem* busy he came over to check on me. How sweet, I thought, between violent dry heaves. But that thought was short-lived as I soon felt Carter's tiny hands on my back, following by his own guttural noises as he hoisted his whole body onto my back. He giggled since the sensation for him was much like when he and daddy play 'horsey.'  I did not.

You really haven't thrown up until you've thrown up with a toddler on your back. This horsey says 'Nay."

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Cheek to cheek

Jeffrey left early this morning for his 21st day in a row of work. (Go ahead and wrap your mind around that one!). Before he left he brought Carter into the room with me and dumped him in the bed to 'snuggle mama.' Unfortunately our snuggle time consisted more of the usual toddler fare of head-butting me, licking me, crying to be let off the bed immediately followed by crying to be let on the bed, and a much too loud impromptu concert provided by my keyboard, which his chubby hands managed not only to turn on, but also to rock a loud Caribbean drum beat. Good morning, mommy!

As you probably guessed, within about 10 minutes I was desperately wishing my boy would go back to sleep, just for a few minutes, especially since today is a Sunday, the most schedule-ruining day for a toddler (and thus, the most likely to end in tantrums). So I pulled out my best trick (iPhone) and started letting Carter watch the short videos of himself on there. It worked like a charm. Except for one thing: apparently he decided that the optimal viewing angle would be to snuggle his face right on my face and fall asleep. Like so.

So now I can't go to sleep because I have to keep my chin elevated lest I want the drool that is on the verge of dropping out of his slack, sleeping mouth all over my face. But the baby is sleeping, and we are getting in a few snuggles, oddly placed as they may be.

And that is really all that matters.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014


Time for a little blog "ketchup" to recap what's been going on since I last wrote.

Speaking of ketchup--guess what Carter's favorite condiment is? You guessed it--red, staining, sticky-when-dried ketchup. But you know what? He also has developed a serious bout of pickiness, but if I give him some ketchup to dip his fish sticks/fingers/peanut butter sandwiches in, down the hatch it goes. So if you hear me at a restaurant ordering applesauce with a side of ketchup, well...avert your eyes, I guess. One man's condiment is another toddler's main dish.

Speaking of toddlers, we're going to have another one (in a few years, that is). I'm pregnant with another baby boy due in September. Sound familiar? Yes, I've said that exact thing before. It appears we are not very creative when it comes to baby-having. However, we are very excited about our next little September boy. He doesn't have a name yet, but we'll get to that as soon as I start spending less time dealing with morning sickness that lasts all day. That's been a full time job this time around!

Tomorrow I turn 28 years old. To celebrate, I'm going to go to work, haha. Honestly, though, I think this is going to be one of my happiest birthdays yet. I feel so blessed to have all that I do. I have a wonderful husband who works very hard every day but worked an extra shift to buy me a necklace from Tiffany this year. I have a sweet boy who calls me mama in a precious voice that melts my heart. I have another boy on the way who will undoubtedly steal my heart just like his big brother. I have a job that let's me practice what I love and still have ample time to dote on my boys. I have a solid church family who supports me weekly and any hard days in between. I have a God who gives me a deep peace and joy that cannot be unsettled by things of this world. I really think I might have it all, and I'm so grateful that I don't even mind getting a year closer to 30...

Almost. :)

Sunday, January 26, 2014


Sometimes as a parent you have the distinct honor of cleaning up vomit, boogers, and various other unpleasant bodily excretions.  When these explosions happen, the best case scenario is that you are at home within arm's reach of a box of wet wipes.  The medium case scenario is that you are at a restaurant where you can quickly exit and pretend that it was someone else's kid who exploded all over the floor and high chair.  The worst case scenario?  Well, that would be this...

Last week Carter had a mean bout of diarrheal illness, most likely caused by a virus/bacteria/parasite he picked up while playing in the toilet water earlier in the week.  (I looked away for 2 SECONDS!!)  We went through a lot of diapers and a lot of wipes and probably forever ruined our relationship with our childcare providers.  By Wednesday he was seeming better and I needed to go to a meeting at church after work, so I picked him up and took him with me.  As we started the meeting Carter very obviously and very loudly started to have a *ahem* bowel movement.  That was pretty distracting to our meeting, but what came next pretty much decimated all hope.  He had come over to me and asked me to hold him, so I picked him up but kept saying, "I'm scared....what if you're leaking on me?"  I picked him up to check for leakage and noticed something on the carpet beneath me.

It didn't hit me at first what had happened because I couldn't figure out where the liquid was coming from, but after a few seconds of deduction I realized that the foamy, beige colored liquid on my pants, the chair, and the carpet was actually Carter's diarrhea that had leaked out of his diaper and down his pant leg.

Even after using several industrial solvents, a countless number of wipes, putting on a new diaper, and taking everything (including the trash from the clean up) outside of the building, it still smelled like disgusting baby poo throughout the entire office. 

There's really no way to gracefully handle that situation, or to save face as you leave, so I pretty much just ran...and then brought this up to the office this morning as an apology.


Sunday, January 5, 2014

Christmas Recap

Christmas 2013 was a great one!  (And we've got pictures to prove it.)

Between Jeffrey's work schedule and mine, it was a little difficult to work out the plan, and in the end we only got to spend a couple of days with each of our families over the holiday, but it was well worth it.

We spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with Jeffrey's side of the family this year.  On Christmas Eve they always go to Nana's house for dinner and presents.  This year we had gotten Nana a photo book of Carter pictures (every great-grandma's dream, right?)  Well, after everyone had opened presents in a quick, chaotic minute, I realized that I hadn't heard Nana say anything about the photo book.  I thought it was odd that this normally doting great-grandma wouldn't have had anything to say about a book full of pictures of her favorite little boy, so I looked over and noticed that she hadn't even opened the box that the present was in!  I had wrapped her gift in a used graham cracker box (we had run a little shy on gift wrapping supplies) and she thought that we had given her graham crackers for Christmas!  Being the sweet, kind woman she is, she hadn't even thought twice about it and even said, "I really like these crackers!"  We told her we'd get her some next year, but this year there was a different surprise inside.  Haha.

Around 9 pm Carter was very tired and so we left Nana's house early to go back to the Edwards' house and put him to bed.  The only problem was that when we got there the garage door wouldn't open.  Jeffrey sheepishly asked if I thought I could fit through the dog door.  Now, the Edwards have a Chihuahua/terrier mix, but luckily decided to dream big on their dog door and got the XL, good luck for me.  I fit through and got us inside and put the boy in bed.  Merry Christmas to me.

The next morning Carter got several presents but his favorite was definitely this big truck!

The truck theme continued at my parents house a few days later when he got a dump truck.  Since then he's added the word "truck" to his vocabulary--no big surprise there.  Jeffrey unfortunately learned that the joy of being a father on Christmas is that you spend most of your time trying to get those little toys out of their (impenetrable) packaging.

We got to see lots of family and share some smiles before it was time to head back to Temple.  Merry Christmas to all, and a Happy New Year!