Friday, December 22, 2006

Our Girl at Eight Weeks

Abby Kate is getting bigger right before our eyes. As she approaches two months, she now weighs over 10 pounds. I'm not sure how tall she is now, but I know she's growing in that direction, too, because she's getting too big for some of her clothes. It's such a shame that they grow out of all those cute little outfits so fast. There are a couple things she didn't even get to wear!

I spend lots of time trying to engage her while she's awake. We play with her toys (read: I play with her toys while she watches intently), take walks and jogs, swing in the hammock, read books and sing songs. She has now found her hands and tries [unsuccessfully] to put her entire fist in her mouth. She's such a happy and content baby. She's full of smiles and is starting to coo. She hardly cries, but when she does I've been able to calm her down quickly. She's sleeping in her crib for four and five hours consistently at night. I've been able to put her down during the day when she's still awake and she falls asleep on her own after "playing" in her crib for a few minutes. Initially, she HATED being on her stomach, but now she lays on her stomach for a little while each day and is getting the hang of holding her head up.

We got her this playmat for Christmas (couldn't wait to give it to her). She loves it!

Junah is really good with her. He's getting used to sharing our attention. AK just stares in wonder at him and smiles.

She absolutely LOVES bathtime!

I say she's getting big, but here you can see how small she still is. We're swinging at a park near our house.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Feeling the Burn Never Felt So Good!

Remember me saying how great it would feel the first time I could take off running after having the baby? Well, I forgot to blog about it until now, but I did take off on that first run 2 1/2 weeks after Abby Kate was born and it felt awesome! I jogged two miles and felt like pumping my fists like Rocky in the home stretch. The neighbors would've thought I was crazier than they already do, so I obstained, but in my head I was so singing Eye of the Tiger! Since then, I've been slowly building my endurance back up by running, spinning, circuit training and resistance training. It feels exhilarating to seriously exercise again. I feel completely free not having that huge belly and all the strain it brought on my body. I LOVE NOT BEING PREGNANT!!!!

Here's my new jogging stroller, equipped with a big basket for Junah, a pedometer (which I still haven't figured out), lots of handy pockets and cup holders. And the best features are the speakers so I can use my iPod Shuffle without having to wear the ear pieces.

My friend, Sommer, and I have been working out every chance we get. Sometimes we wait until our husbands are home to watch the babies and then head to the gym. Other days, we just take the babies with us and strap them into our jogging strollers. It's so much harder to run while pushing a stroller, but we still manage to run about two miles. Abby Kate loves it and so does Junah, who rides in the basket underneath. There's an 8-mile paved path called Blackwater Trail that we usually go to.

At week seven, I've still got about five more pounds to lose before I get back to my pre-pregnancy weight. But it's coming off a lot faster than I thought it would. Along with the exercise, it may be because I'm on the go non-stop all day since having Abby Kate. I feel like I never sit down anymore! But I still have many more push-ups, sit-ups, lunges and squats to do before I get the muscle tone back. It's a welcomed challenge. I just can't tell you how great it is to feel "normal" again!!!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Abby Kate's Debut

Over the Thanksgiving holiday, my friend and old college roommate, Sara, hosted a "holding party" for Abby Kate. She let me invite way too many people and then entertained them perfectly with her amazing party-planning talents. She and her husband, Tommy, welcomed 50+ of our dearest friends to their new [BEAUTIFUL!] home. Sara made some delicious appetizers and a beautiful pink cake with Abby Kate's initials. We so appreciated their thoughtfulness in having the party so we could introduce everyone to Abby Kate without having to take her around everywhere visiting people during our short stay in Kentucky.

I found such joy in introducing our daughter to our friends back home. Watching them smile at her and hold her was so special to me. Abby Kate was an angel the entire night. She was awake and perfectly content and bright-eyed, then fell asleep toward the end. I know she won't remember this night, but I always will. Thanks again, Sara and Tommy!!! And thanks to all who came - it was wonderful seeing each of you!

With Sara and her beautiful cake!

Some of the guests

With "Grammy" (so weird to think of my mom as a grandmother now!)

With my sorority sisters. From left: Sara, Ellen (who's expecting!), Meg, Me and AK, Tricia, Maggie, Tracy and Meredith.

Meredith helps with the burping.

Some quality time with Pawpaw.

With Lynds and Meg.

Mike and I had a great time!.

Ellen getting some practice.

Abby Kate meets Izzy, my friend, Liz's baby

Some good food!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

All Smiles

Abby Kate is growing so fast. She looks bigger to me every day. She is up to 9.5 lbs! That may not sound like much, but the doctors seem to think that's great progress in just six weeks. (She weighed 6 lbs, 15 oz at birth.) She has a lot more personality now. She has started to really smile in the past two weeks. It is so cute! I could spend all day just trying to get her to smile. Watching her light up warms my heart!

We have successfully moved her from the Pack-n-Play in our room to the crib. She was sleeping between four and five hours at night, but she's having her 6-week growth spurt, so she's up every three hours on the dot this week.

We are all still battling some sniffles, but I'm happy to report that the Wallace family is feeling much better. I have been busy catching up on my work, getting birth announcements out, getting Christmas cards out, keeping up with household stuff and trying to get a workout in every day. Every time I start on something, I have to stop to tend to Abby Kate. It's so hard to finish anything! Going to the mall with a newborn is difficult I've found, so I try to wait until Mike is home to watch her while I do our Christmas shopping. Fighting the crowds with a stroller is no fun!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Feeling Ill

Well, we didn't escape the bug that was going around in Kentucky. All three of us are sick. Mike has been home with the Flu the past couple of days. I've got a really bad cold (I think, anyway, I haven't been to the doctor). My lack of sleep hasn't helped, I'm sure. And poor Abby Kate is really congested. She could barely breath last night. I wish she knew how to blow her nose, or how to breath through her mouth for that matter. Isn't it weird that infants won't breath through their mouths, even when they are so stuffed up?! I tried saline drops and using the nasal aspirator, but it's not working. She doesn't have a fever, but we're taking her to the doctor today with hopes they can do something for her.

We answered a knock at our door yesterday afternoon and were surprised to find Chad and Sommer standing in the doorway with homemade chicken soup and warm apple pie in their hands. We were so grateful! We didn't have the energy to cook anything or go out and pick up something to eat, so their thoughtfulness was such a blessing. Thanks again, guys! Sommer, I hope to be feeling good soon so we can get back to our daily workouts! My new jogging stroller is ready to hit the pavement!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

So Much to Be Thankful For

Our little family set off on the 9.5 hour trip home to Kentucky for the holiday last Wednesday. We were a bit nervous of how Abby Kate would do in the car for so long. We were relieved to find that she loves road trips. At least right now, anyway. She slept the whole way and didn't cry one bit. I sat in the backseat with her so I could feed her along the way. She is doing good taking the bottle when we need her to.

We arrived at my parents' house late Wednesday night. I was excited to introduce Abby Kate to her Uncle Brian and Aunt Carrie for the first time! Brian held her for awhile and she just stared up at him with her big blue eyes. It was great to be at home with my family and to bring our daughter to Kentucky for the first time. Unfortunately, most of my family was sick. Mom had an upper respiratory infection. Dad and Carrie had some sort of bad colds going on, too. We all kept the antibacterial lotion handy.

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving meal on Thursday. My grandmother and many of my aunts, uncles, and cousins came over. They all held Abby Kate and said (as everyone does) that she looks exactly like her daddy. So true. Thanks, Mom, for cooking a delicious meal, even though you weren't feeling well. The desserts were especially good!

The trip was way too short, but thankfully we were able to see a ton of our friends and family while in town. I already miss them and I can't wait until January when Abby Kate and I will be home again.

Mom in the kitchen

I couldn't believe how much my nephew has grown since I saw him last!

My sister-in-law, Carrie, with Abby Kate

Abby Kate meets her great uncle Greg

Our daughter's first Thanksgiving.

Abby Kate meets her "aunt Lyndsay"

Mike and Brian lounging with the babies

Abby Kate meets her great aunt Linda and second cousin Windy

Monday, November 27, 2006

I Know, I'm a Slacker

I've been meaning to post for days now, but I've been so busy lately. Hmmm, now why would I be busy?! Ha, ha. Caring for Abby Kate is a full-time job! I haven't been able to master the suggested "nap when she naps" thing because with all the extra laundry and my design work on top of that, I go non-stop all day long. I'm a zombie. A lot of things I say make no sense. Mike would argue that this was the case BEFORE I was a mom, but he exaggerates [a little]. Anyway, I've got lots to post, so my goal this week - besides getting my Christmas decor up - is to update my blog. So stay tuned...

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Officially Part of the Moms' Club

Abby Kate is only a little over two weeks old, but she already has several 'friends'. Sommer with her son, Griffin, and Sarah with her daughters, Eden and Maren, came over last week to have a play date. I look forward to our future get togethers. Sommer and Sarah are great company, not to mention a great support for a new mom like me.

It's a Boy!

Congrats to CJ (Mike's brother) and his wife, Amber, on the news that they're expecting a baby boy in March! We're so excited for you two and can't wait for him to get here. It'll be neat to watch Abby Kate and him together. Again, congratulations!!!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

The First Week

Time sure flies by when you have a newborn! I can't believe Abby Kate's 10 days old today. It has been such a joy getting to know her. She is an angel. She doesn't cry much and is pretty content most of the time. Her eyes are so bright and big. I can't believe how alert she is at such an early age. She's nursing very well, eating every three hours consistently.

We've spent our days hanging out at home for the most part. My parents were here the week before she was born and a few days afterward, then Mike's mom and dad were here for a few days after that. Her only outings so far have been to the hospital for her 48 hour check-up and a quick trip to K-Mart.

At her check-up, we were pleased to hear she is already back to her birth weight and she is perfectly healthy. I checked out OK, too.

She grows and changes every day right before our eyes it seems. We are so glad she's here and just can't get over the fact that she's ours!

Some photos from her first week...

One day old, still at the hospital...

Already spoiled by the Grandparents...

First stroll...

Sleepy girl...

First bath...

After pooping on Mommy, she sported her "Junk in the Trunk" onesie, courtesy of Sommer and Chad...

Most of her clothes are still way too big...

With friend, Griffin, in the hammock...

First outing - doctor's appointment...

Daddy's girl...

Enjoying the early Fall weather...

Mike changes his first diaper...

Sunday, October 29, 2006

A Most Precious Gift

Mike and I returned home Saturday night from the hospital with our daughter in tow. It was such a wonderful feeling to strap her in the carseat and finally bring her home.

I was a week and one day overdue and I didn't think I'd ever go into labor on my own. My doctors had scheduled me for an induction on Thursday night, so I was happy. However, to my complete surprise, my water broke on Wednesday afternoon at 3 p.m. and the contractions came quickly after. Mom and I took a one mile walk around our neighborhood to make sure it was the real thing. When I got back, I had lost a lot more fluid and Mike called the hospital. They told us to come in right away.

I got to the hospital around 5 p.m. They checked me to find out I was only 2 cm dilated. But since my water had broken, I was admitted. My contractions intensified throughout the night and I thought I was going to die before they gave me the epidural around 3 a.m.

To make a very long story short, I dilated very slowly so they gave me pitocin. This brought on strong contractions. Unfortunately, the umbilical cord was wrapped around Abby Kate's neck and every time I would contract, it would tighten and her heart rate would plummet. So they'd have to back off the pitocin drip. This resulted in a 25-hour labor with very ineffective pain relief due to the position they had me in. The epidural numbed my legs, but nothing else. As we came up on the 24th hour, Mike and I could tell we were headed for a c-section. At that point, I wanted the pain to end so bad that I didn't even care. But thanks to our WONDERFUL labor nurse, and his confidence in me and encouragement, I delivered her naturally at the 25th hour. I only pushed for 29 minutes and she was here. He was able to cut the cord and then we were holding her in our arms not long after. Mike was a great help through the whole labor process. He never left my side and encouraged me at every step. He was in awe as she came into the world. I'll never forget the pride and absolute joy in his eyes as I delivered her.

We spent the next two days recovering in the hospital and getting to know our daughter. She is such a wonderful gift. We just stare at her in amazement and thank God for giving her to us. My heart melts every time I look at her. Sometimes I have to remind myself that this isn't just a dream and she's really ours to keep!

I'm feeling pretty good now that we're home and Abby Kate is doing great. She nurses like a champ now and sleeps just as well. She doesn't cry much, but when she does, it breaks my heart! Mike has been the best support I could ask for. He has taken to being a father like I never imagined. Abby Kate and I are so lucky to have him taking care of us. I didn't think I could love him more, but seeing him with our daughter makes it possible.

Thanks to all of you for your prayers. Finally, I'm excited to introduce you to the newest member of our family, Abigail Kate Wallace...