Sunday, December 28, 2008

It is beyond belief we are at the end of a year. A year in which so much happened and in which God changed our lives in so many ways...most of them for the better. Ha!

As we gear up to head into the beginning of the end, we look forward to friends, family, giving, sharing, and a whole lot of memories - being remembered and created. This Christmas we were able to have the celebration at our house, which was fun on multiple levels, but mostly because we didn't have to travel with the little dude across the country packing all of his stuff and probably incurring some sort of virus along the way. That, in and of itself, is a blessing to be able to avoid. But it was a fun adventure decorating the house, planning the menus, wrapping gifts and stacking them under the tree, and doing all things festive.

My parents and brother came up on Tuesday to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with our little trio of a family. Mom and I spent most of Tuesday cooking and preparing our Christmas Eve meal while the boys watched an array of TV, movies, and football. We had fun putting together Aiden's toys for Christmas morning on and off throughout the day and finally geared up for Christmas Eve Dinner. We decided to do things a bit differently this year since we weren't at my parents house and did a formal Christmas Eve Dinner after the little dude (Aiden) was in bed. It allowed us to have some adult time and enjoy a nice dinner. To compensate, we also planned a brunch for Christmas Day followed by several rounds of snacking and leftovers. We also toned things down some from Thanksgiving since we were having two meals instead of one big one. All in all it worked out well.

After dinner we opened our gifts from the Poage grandparents, which keeps in line with the tradition we had growing up since they were the side that always celebrated on Christmas Eve. Then we all tucked in for the night.

Christmas Day was super fun and the opening of gifts and the eating of food drew out for most of the morning leading up to a brunch at lunch time. It was so fun to see the joy on Aiden's face as he dove for the boxes, ate the ribbon, and ogled over his new-found toys. While he didn't really get all that was going on, he did have fun from what we can tell. This year we were able to enjoy a true miracle in Aiden's birth and to be able to see his joy as an innocent baby come out was truly thrilling as his mom.

That night Nathan and I went to see The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and really, really enjoyed it - the cinematography, the character development, the plot, and the special effects. We both came away with tears in our eyes and a realization that our sweet, innocent baby boy will have to endure the discovery of the awful things that comprise this sinful world. Our prayer, now more than ever, is that Aiden will come to know our Savior at an early age and that he would be impressionable and sensitive to the Spirit as both Nathan and I were as children. It struck me how very little I will soon be able to control about his little world and it made me sad to realize his pain in discovering all the trappings of this world. But the thing I am most grateful for is that the people in his life know, love, and exude Jesus every day and I can't wait to see the joy he already has amplified by the one true Joy.

All in all it was such a great Christmas and I can't wait to see what is in store for us the New Year!

I'm writing on my other computer, but will post some pictures when I get synched up. Trying to get cleaned up and caught up (still!) after the holiday season.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Try a MINT

So I keep track of the finances in our little family mostly because I'm super Type A and a former accounting major. I actually enjoy it. Sick and sadistic? Yes. But completely mind releasing to me? Yes. I know. I'm weird, so sue me. While things in our budgetary world are not wildly out of control in our world (yet!), the crazy economy has caused me to be a little more conscious of things as of late. I have always used some kind of software to track our budget and spending habits, produce silly trend graphs and pie charts which may seem a little over the top for some, but speak to my "Monica-esque" nature. Up to now I've found it fairly time consuming to download and run statements each month through Quicken, but have been turned on to a handy dandy site called MINT which has already made my life (and pie charts) a breeze.

In short, it's a one-stop shop to enter all your accounts: bills, loans, credit cards, retirement accounts, checking and savings accounts, investment accounts, etc. and see them in one place, tracked by the minute and analyzed based on the budget you set for yourself. It will email you (or not if you choose) when you have a bill due, when you're over or under budget in an area, and to send you a statement with your spending habits, charts, etc. You simply enter in all your account numbers and passwords to their secure site and watch the magic happen. It's really quite amazing and I've been wildly impressed with the ability of the program thus far.

I encourage you to try it. It's free...and requires very little for you. You can let it track it all or just the basics. But regardless of how you use it, I think it takes a load off of all the downloading, naming conventions, etc. associated with most of the programs out there. It operates like Quicken in that you can create and modify the categories, but just takes a few steps out of the process, buying us all a little time. And who can't use the extra time these days?

Sunday, December 21, 2008

A friend of mine sent me this link to Elf Yourself. While I'd seen this in year's past, I never took the time to do it. But this year, I partook in all the Elfing festivities. Here's our little Country Christmas dance. Check it out here:

Now it's your turn. Go ahead, Elf Yourself. It's fun. 

Nathan has this book on the shelf in our office called, Letters to Philip. While I've never read the book, it is actually a collection of letters from a father to his son before he gets married. It's a fairly old book, but still finds its place on our shelves among some other great books. Anyway, the point is that one day while I was holding Aiden at my desk, it occurred to me to do start my own letters to Aiden. There's not much thought to this yet and I'm not sure exactly what my vision is, but my idea is to kid of collect my thoughts (and whoever else's) in the form of letters to Aiden as he grows up.

I've just been struck with the fact that he changes so much every day. It hit me so much more after I returned from Arizona and after being away from him for only three days, he had changed SO MUCH. But while I was gone, I thought about all the things that are so "Aiden" about him and I want him to know those things from my perspective, as his mom, when he gets older. I started doing this when he was a few weeks old, mostly because I had so much going on in my head about him as this new thing in my world, my thoughts, feelings, emotions. And not only me, but what he was doing, what his expressions were, what he laughed at, all those little things that we forget within 24 hours because in 24 hours it's something different they are doing, or thinking, or laughing at. There's not really any method to my madness, and not necessarily any particular topics come to mind, but I'm just writing him notes, letters, comments, thoughts, etc. as they strike me. It's not even a daily thing as much as it is an emotional thing.

I want him to know all I see in him from now until he is old and grey and while I may not even ever give him this collection (while I'm alive at least!) at least I'll have my memories kept in a place so I never forget how he changed my world forever. With Christmas right around the corner and a six-month milestone not far beyond that, I realize how much time has already passed and how fast it will only go from here. I don't want to miss a thing and I want him to know how very loved he is for every second of it.

Monday, December 15, 2008

In recalling my Christmas memories in the questionnaire, I failed to mention my dear old Dad in the lis of memories. And while these memories number themselves far to many to recount in detail, one of the memories that comes to mind most clearly is the Christmas we had when I was about nine in Michigan. We had flown from Texas to Michigan (I think!), to spend Christmas with my Dad's family....actually it might have been California to Michigan...regardless, it was a long flight. We all felt a little jet-lagged from the trip and it took more than a few hours to recover from our travels, so it was an interesting start to our visit. While this sort of a trip could be memorable enough for any child of a young age, there's more to make it a true Christmas memory. I, being the busy kitchen helper I always have been, was working with Dad in the kitchen on a lovely breakfast for the fam.  Dad was busy makin' bacon on the stove and I was making eggs. And I'll just add that I was making eggs in the microwave. Why? To this day, I am still not sure.  Regardless, as I pressed the buttons to continue the cooking, I began to feel dizzy and told Dad, "I feel dizzy." The next thing I know I'm waking up in the living room with an audience of ten or so hovering over me like I'd just died. Apparently I'd just fallen flat on my back and passed right out in the kitchen. My mom, the ever-calm woman that she is, was freaking out and hyperventilating and they almost had to resuscitate her, not me! My dad, the humorist, was calming her down, and telling everyone I was just fine. Always the hero, there to save the day. I'll never forget making breakfast that day, and how he saved my life (joking!). A fond Christmas memory to be sure...and to this day I will NOT eat eggs from a microwave. Seriously. Ask anyone. Never. 

The other thing that stands out and definitely bares mentioning is our annual reading of the Christmas story in advance of opening our gifts. While many families do this, I'm not sure you have the eloquence of our dear Dad Down in your household sharing his take on the story that year. It never fails he manages to find a new detail in the amazing story of our Savior's birth. The story we could probably all relate from memory (I did before I was even in 1st grade) is always presented in a new and fresh way, with some new nugget to chew on while we open our gifts. It's something I love and will miss whenever the day comes we aren't together on Christmas morning. I am blessed to have them coming to our home this year for the first's going to be one to remember and I'm sure filled with lots of new "firsts" that we'll be talking about from this Christmas forward. I can't wait. 

Friday, December 12, 2008

I was checking out Beth Moore's blog and her daughter had posted this Christmas questionnaire. I decided it would be a nice way to get into the Christmas spirit a little early and also share a few of my favorite things.

1. Fresh Tree or Fake Tree

Fresh...there is nothing like the smell of a North Carolina Frasier Fir in my home at Christmas. Nothing in me could live with a fake tree. Nothing. Nathan could not pay me enough money to have a fake tree instead of a fresh, messy, sap covered, water drinking tree. There is something about it that makes it Christmas.

2. Favorite Ornament
I love the bee my mom gave me a few years ago. In high school I had this nickname from a good friend of mine at the time: "Kara Bee" and she found this beautiful bee ornament that stands out in the background of the tree. While I don't keep up with the friend anymore, it reminds me of the simple times in life and the joy those memories will always hold in my mind and heart.

3. Favorite Christmas Song
Oh, this one is so hard, but I have always loved, "Emmanuel, God With Us" by Amy Grant. It still gives me chills every time I hear it. Not sure why. I remember singing this at church when I was in middle school...just me in front of every one...and I just have that sacred memory burned in me and can't seem to let it go every time I hear the song.

4. Favorite Tradition
Three things...that make Christmas "CHRISTMAS" at our house:
1) Opening our gifts from the Poage grandparents on Christmas Eve
2) Mom's homemade Cinnamon Rolls on Christmas morning
3) Going to the movies after we're stuffed to the brim on Christmas afternoon (though I am thinking that one will get a bye this year due to our little addition, Aiden...we'll see!)

5. Favorite Gift Ever Received
Oh wow. Not sure I know quite how to answer this one. If we're talking about Christmas gifts, I'd have to say my marriage. The first year we were married, we hit a rough patch right before Christmas and it looked like we might not even be spending Christmas together as husband and wife. After some amazing intervention and a re-uniting that can only be described as God-ordained, we spent our first Christmas together and it was the most perfect day I've experienced on any Christmas.

6. Favorite Christmas Meal
Love the turkey and dressing (only mom's cornbread dressing will do), homemade rolls, green bean casserole is a must, sweet potatoes, and of course, PIE: cranberry nut & fudge. All these things = the perfect storm and a very happy belly.

7. Favorite Christmas Cookie
I LOVE LOVE LOVE my mom's Sandtarts. It is not Christmas without a few staple Christmas cookies, but this one is the most favorite of all because the recipe dates back several generations and it makes me feel like home no matter where I am.

8. Favorite Place To Be
Home. This year we have the luxury of waking up on Christmas morning in our first home. In the nearly five Christmases we have shared only one has been spent in our "abode," and that was a 700 square foot condo at the time. So, needless to say, it has been a joy to decorate our house this year and I cannot wait to wake up on Christmas morning in our home. I've always loved being at home for matter what city that is.

9. Favorite Memory
Up until now, my favorite memory was probably the Christmas we spent in Dallas with the entire Poage clan and getting to share with everyone that the first great-grandbaby was on the way the following year. Seeing the joy and elation on everyone's faces, getting to share in the family times (good and bad) and seeing all of my cousins, aunts, uncles, etc. deep in the heart of Texas was really good for my soul. Something I won't soon forget. And while that was a great memory, somehow I think seeing my Baby Aiden on Christmas morning will somehow top it. Though he doesn't quite get Christmas and was super scared of Santa, just seeing little miracle...will impress a deep memory I'm sure. We'll see.

10. Favorite Christmas Movie
ELF. Without a doubt. Hands down. Best Christmas movie ever. I love it because it makes everyone laugh and without a good laugh, what is Christmas.

Enjoy...your turn. Take and share!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving has come and gone. All the build-up, all the prep-work, all the eating...and then it's over before you can blink twice. This year Thanksgiving was so different for us than last year, when we were in the throws of moving from Charlotte to Nashville. We celebrated one year in our house on November 19 and were thrilled to be hosting our first holiday in Nashvegas. And even better, we were actually in one city for longer than 10 days at a time during the month of November, which was even more amazing.

My brother was home from college for the day on Tuesday, and though he had to work on Thanksgiving and couldn't stay to eat with us, we still had such a great time with him. He was finally able to meet his little nephew and Aiden really enjoyed trying to figure out who this new person was. My mom was thrilled to have him home since he hadn't been home since last Christmas. It was a nice time...and I think he enjoyed the home time.

Mom and I prepared as much of the food we could in advance of Thursday's feast and had quite a spread by the time we got to the day. Had I not had her help we would have had a very dismal dinner! It's a challenge to care for a newborn, clean and decorate a house, and cook a huge meal...probably the most challenging thing I've done in a long time. Mostly because Aiden requires so much hands-on time right now. But oh so worth it. And oh so helpful to have many hands!

Thursday morning, Nate and I ran our annual Turkey Trot. And even though this year it was only a 5k (since Nashville doesn't do an 8k) it was well worth the effort. Nate ran his best time ever and placed in the top four of his age group. I matched my PR, finished in the top 10 women overall, and placed first in my age group! It was fun. I walked away with a lovely red level and a runner's high (the race was sponsored by Habitat for Humanity so all the awards were tools).

Back to the house for cinnamon rolls and recovery. Then to the rest of the cooking. Our biggest adventure in cooking this year was attempting to smoke our turkey instead of cooking it in the oven as we have eaten in the past. Since Mom and Dad always do the meal, it was fun to get to host and do something unique, like smoke a turkey. Nate did a phenomenal job with the turkey and it tasted absolutely scrumptious! We have instituted a new tradition for ourselves and will now be enjoying various renditions of smoked turkeys each holiday we host! I didn't get any pictures of him cooking it, so we'll have to do that at Christmas.

All in all we have so much to be thankful for and as we gathered around the table to eat, we took part in our tradition to share what we are most thankful for. I won't share them all, though they were quite good, but I will share mine, or at least those I shared with the fam:

MIRACLES - I am thankful for the miracles I have seen take place in our lives over the past year. Together, Nate and I have seen some amazing things take place in our lives, and am so grateful to have been a part of watching God work these little miracles in our lives. Being a part of our rapid and God-ordained move from Charlotte to Nashville. Having a baby, Aiden, after being told we would never bear our own. Selling our house in a declining market. Seeing God move my parents out of a situation that seemed hopeless into one filled with more hope than seemed possible. And that's just the begninning. It was an amazing year.

HEALTH - I am so thankful we are all healthy, alive, active, and young. My family all runs, or does somethig to keep them healthy and going and I am so grateful for our health when so many families are facing diseases and painful loss.

GROWTH - I am so thankful for the growth God has brought to our lives over the past year. Not that we didn't grow before, but the move to Nashville has brough with it so much more growth than I ever thought possible. To me as an individual, as a wife, as a daughter, and as a mother; but also to my family. My faith has grown exponentially, not by being in a church pew every week, but by truly experiencing God in a real and present way. I have learned so much about myself and my relationships over the past year that it truly makes me marvel at how much I've changed, for the better as a product of stepping out in faith to move here and trusting He would do amaing things. Though I still do not know for what major purpose we are here, I am content in knowing so much has grown within me to know that if nothing else comes of our move, it served it's purpose.
There's a ton more for which I am thankful, but it's all pretty much inferred as a by-product of those three main things. I hope you all find yourselves thankful this year...there is so much.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

So here I am again, not having written in quite awhile. Not to say things have not been abuzz in the Tabler house, it's just finding the time to sit and jot about them...

After our travels to Charlotte, some time was spent recovering from the drama that ensued and we finally found ourselves back on track. Aiden celebrated his four month birthday, and while uneventful in activity, it has been more than eventful in his little life. He is a curious, laughing, smiling, and very interactive little guy and it's been really really fun to watch him come into his own the past few weeks. He laughs a LOT, he talks a LOT, and you know just by looking at him he can't wait for everyone to understand him and for his little legs to help him scoot! 

We moved Aiden to the big boy bed a few weeks ago, right around the time he hit the four month mark, and I will say that as nice as it is to have the freedom to go in my closet after 6 pm (which is where his bassinet still sits), I miss being able to walk around the corner and just watch him sleep. His big boy room is upstairs and at the other end of the house, so peeping takes a bit more time and effort, though still a worthwhile venture. So many changes in this short time, and it's amazing to watch him experience life with the innocence and vigor that being a child provides. It's sad he's grown beyond sleeping in that little nook and I'll miss him, though I know this is probably the least painful "letting go" experience I will ever have. 

When we go to get him in the morning, bright eyed and ready for action, we start up his mobile, equipped with four little "aminals" that he watches do their thing while the music plays. He talks to them, and almost sings with the music...again, first thing in the morning...he is SO my child. But as I sit there and watch him talk, sing, and bat his long-eyelashed lids at his animals, I realize how simple life really is and how much we miss being adults. I think so often that's really how God looks at us, in utter awe and sheer joy that we get a smile out of something he put in our lives. We often complicate things to the point of no enjoyment, but as I stare at Aiden, I am constantly reminded that it's the simple things in life that bring us the most joy. 
How I feel about Aiden is probably like 1/10000000th of how He feels about me, though I often forget that, no, I take that back, I all too often fail to BELIEVE it... something I am making a conscious effort to be aware of and change. Seek out the things in life that are not temporary, but eternal, and find your joy resting there....

But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him, 
on those whose hope is in his unfailing love. (Psalm 33:18)

Monday, November 10, 2008

So as a follow-up to my last note, I mentioned we'd had some pictures taken with our friends Dan & Candice. They have a photography business that they just began working full-time and are amazing people, an incredible couple with a heart for God and his people. We really miss them! Anyway, they were going to come shoot Aiden when he was born, but things were so crazy and he was born in the middle of wedding season, so things were not ideal for that to happen, so this was our "make up" opportunity. And what a day it was. Despite the fact that we were really harried and crazy after driving in from Knoxville, dealing with a screaming baby whose ears popped all through the mountains, and visiting with friends upon our arrival (and trying to squeeze a nap in to get rid of tired eyes!), the pictures turned out amazing. Hopefully we got a Christmas card out of this, but even if we didn't, we were able to capture this significant time in Aiden's life with some beautiful images AND get some great shots of the two of us that manage to capture how in love we are. How they do this, I really don't know, but they do a great job!

For those of you who'd like to see a glimpse, they published a slide show for us to share with our family and friends. You can see it by clicking here.

They also wrote about us on their blog, and included some great shots as well as the slideshow.

Don't be surprised if you see one of these pictures in your mailbox in a few weeks! All suggestions welcome.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

This Halloween was fairly unusual for us. While it would have been quite lovely, and even fun to be at home this year, we found ourselves on the road for the first time in a long time. Our neighborhood goes all out for holidays, and Halloween is no exception. The homes are decked out, they host a haunted trail in one of the walking trails, and on Halloween night, homes in the neighborhood are designated "cider homes" and "chili homes" (which basically just means food and drink houses; offering both the adult and child varieties). So while we were looking forward to introducing Aiden to his first Halloween adventure in Westhaven, we were off to Charlotte for what seemed like a simple weekend trip, but in reality served way too many purposes than seems humanly possible...

1) To introduce Aiden to his fan following at Charlotte Christian, my alma mater and my mom's place of connection to Charlotte;
2) To attend a family wedding - my cousin Casey was marrying his bride Heather;
3) To let Aiden meet his great-grandparents on the Down side (he's the first great-grandbaby and that's quite a special thing!);
4) To let Aiden meet his Grandpa Tabler, Nate's dad, whom he had not yet met; and
5) To take part in a little photo shoot with Dan and Candice, some friends of ours from Elevation who were taking pics of Aiden as well as some family pics for our Christmas card and home.

Needless to say, traveling with an infant at anytime poses it's fair share of challenges, but when that travel requires traveling through the mountains with a little dude who already has sensitive ears, it makes it that much more "fun". Friday was interesting, but he did get to meet his CCS family. You can see pictures here. They, of course, loved him. :)

Next, it was on to our little photo shoot, of which we'll have pictures to share later...and we can't wait. Candice and Dan are awesome people and we really miss their friendship here in Nashville, so it was great to see them. God has blessed them with an incredible gift to share together that they are now able to pursue full-time, which is really awesome.

Saturday we were off to lunch with some people at Cafe Monte followed by a visit with my grandparents at Cracker Barrel, which was fun! I hadn't seen them in several years, so it was great to have some one-on-one time with the two of them. They are so active and young for their age and I love to hear their stories and see their life come forth. Here's some pictures of our lunch. Then it was off to the wedding, which was lovely. Poor Aiden was wiped out, so we spent time with him asleep in the barn above the wedding, but dancing away regardless. :) It was quite lovely and we were so glad to be there.

Sunday we did the church thing (and oh how we miss Elevation in Nashville!)...and then we prepared to head on our way back home. Despite our plans, little Aiden didn't feel so hot, so I spent most of the morning consoling him and helping him nap so we could have a good trip back, but as we got into the day, it didn't look so good. At the last minute, we decided Aiden and I would fly home to Nashville and Nathan would drive home...I know, not fair for him, but it was what had to be done. So the little guy and I headed on a jet plane (and he did FABULOUSLY, sleeping the whole trip!) and got home a few hours before big daddy Nate. We LOVED coming home and I am 99% sure Aiden knew when he was here. It was so cute. It was a great trip, but long and tiring, so all in all a Halloween worth screaming about.

Monday, October 27, 2008

I know it seems like everyone we know is taking their kid to the pumpkin patch and making them pose and do all this stupid stuff in a field of pumpkins. We didn't want to be one of those people...and we really weren't, at least I'd like to think we weren't. Sweet Baby Aiden really did ask Nathan to take him to the pumpkin patch, yes, he is speaking quite audibly at 3 months. So we obliged his request and off we went. Lucky for us, we live across the street from a farm and there was a bevy of activity for the Fall season occurring there, so we just drove across the street and did our pumpkin patch thing. Yes, we live across the street from a farm, with cows, and fields of corn, and apparently piles of pumpkins, too! Craziness. But oh how I love it!

We did NOT dress him up...
We did NOT force him to lie in a collection of pumpkins...
We did, however, see lots of silly parents doing this to their poor unsuspecting babies and it made me so glad we refrained!

It was so cute...and so cold, but it was fun nonetheless. We took a few pictures in the pumpkin fields, walked around, and did the hayride. We skipped on the corn maze since Aiden was tired and can't really enjoy much more than the basics anyway. Regardless, it was a fun day and one we'll remember...not sure Aiden will, but we have pictures to remind him! You can see all the pictures from our visit by clicking here...but here are a few to capture the essence of the day.

Our best attempt at a family photo while riding on the hayride.

Sweet boys of mine.

A confused Aiden on the hayride...pretty lake on the farm.

Me and my cuddly boy.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Catching up

I have been so totally out of the loop with writing the past few weeks...but so much has gone on that I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed just thinking about catching up. So instead of writing one hugely long blog about it all, I'm going to do my best to just write "quickies" to catch up...I know, quickie and Kara in the same sentence just doesn't add up. But I really will try. :)

My Uncle Wayne came to visit a few weeks ago, and that was really part because he is the first of the Poage clan to meet Aiden. This is really old news, but I forgot to write about it earlier, so I wanted to make sure we captured it before I forgot. He was in town visiting a college about an hour from our house, so he came out for dinner, spent the night, and headed back to Texas. It was really fun to hear his stories (he shared lots about growing up with my mom!), and catch up since we hadn't seen him since Christmas. Good times.

Aiden turned three months the week he came to visit and we had his little photo shoot the next day, so that was a fun and busy week, but well worth the long days and nights. Here's a few pictures from his visit. You can see more by clicking here.

Wayne with my mom (his older sister!) me, Nate, and the boy.

It's been a while since Uncle Wayne's held a baby (his kids are almost all out of the house now!) but he still looks like a natural!

Wayne with my neighbor Bridget, her daughter Reagan (who LOVES Baby "Ainen"), and me with the boy.

Mom and Wayne with little Aiden...loves his hands!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

This morning Jessica drove through town on a trip from Pennsylvania, where she is in school, to Texas, where she was attending a conference. Though it was an early morning, and I do mean EARLY (like 6:30 am), it was well worth it for her to be able to meet Baby Aiden for the first time.

We met at the of our favorites (as you well know from past posts) and had a lovely breakfast before sending her on her merry way with her van of friends and before sending ourselve home to finish sleeping!

It was fun, and memorable...we're so glad she was able to go through town for such a random event, but it was great timing. And we got some great memories captured, mostly in our minds, but a few on film. You can see them here. Here's a little glimpse.

Our little family and Aunt Jessica!

Sweetness covered in Carolina Blue...not my choice, but they look cute!

So sweet.


Sunday, October 19, 2008

I am really late in putting this up here, but we had Aiden's three month pictures taken. We're having four picture sessions taken over the course of his first year and will create a panel of images with the four sessions, but will obviously order a few from each month's capture as well. There is an online gallery of photos, but it's only available for two weeks from the posting date. Sadly enough, as I write this nearly a week has passed, but it will still be available until October 29. So if you're reading this after that, they are more than likely down. But I just had to share how CUTE my little one is!! :)

We actually discovered he had an ear infection the same afternoon of this morning session, but they still turned out well considering. So here's my little cutie in his 3-month glory!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Busy Weekend

The Auburn vs. Vanderbilt game was this weekend, so Nate's friend Parker (who was in our wedding) and his girlfriend Meghan headed up from Atlanta (or as we say, Hotlanta) to stay with us and go to the game. They arrived on Friday night and we all went to dinner at SOL in Downtown Franklin, which is kind of upscale Mexican. We luckily had a babysitter (my Mom) in town for the weekend so we were able to go sans Aiden, which is a nice treat every now and then and helps us feel like we still have a life. SOL has great food and a fun atmosphere, but the service leaves something to be desired. I always say I won't go back, nearly every time we go, but somehow the amazing guacomole pulls me back in every time. Oh well. Mexican is just so hard to turn down.

Saturday we went to breakfast at the Mercantile, which is also in downtown Franklin. We love this spot and frequent it least once a week. It's so good and they make all their food right in the moment. They have live music on the weekends, a fantastic lunch menu, and good for you breakfast all at reasonable prices. If you're ever here, you have to go. Eat the Heaven Cake if you do. I've blogged about this before, and all I'll say is that it is pure Heaven. After walking around for a bit in downtown, we headed back to clean up before they headed to the game. Nate and I had other plans...Willie we went our separate ways.

Willie Nelson was awesome! It was a sold out show that took place out in a field (a farm actually) in Leiper's Fork, TN about 6 miles from the house. We drove out there as it was approaching sunset and it was simply amazing. We passed by farm after farm until reaching The Preston Farm, where the concert was. We parked in the field, walked through the field to the show, sat in our chair in the field, and chilled out (literally, it got cold!) to Willie. Our neighborhood got preferential treatment and a huge block of tickets for the event, so it was nice to see some neighbors, meet some neighbors, and be out of our norm. About three songs into it, though, we could smell the "good stuff" floating around...too funny.

We went from there to meet up with Parker and Meghan (defeated by the Auburn loss to Vandy) at Tin Roof 2 for dinner. Soooo good. Sunday morning was about rest (as well it should be) and they headed out after a quick breakfast.

My good friend Beth was in town with her little boy Ryder, who is 3 months older than Aiden. They hadn't met yet, so Beth, Ryder, and her friend Kirsten came over Sunday afternoon to hang out, catch up, and let our little dudes meet for the first time. It was great - both catching up with Beth and watching the two boys ogle over one another. Aiden hasn't met another baby that close in age yet, so it was really funny to watch the two of made me sad, too, because I so miss Beth and just know if we lived in the same town still Aiden and Ryder would grow up good little buddies. But they are in Texas, closer to their families, and we all know the value of that with newborns.

Needless to say, it was a long week, a long weekend, and it felt good to really rest Sunday night when it all was said and done. On to another week...I think this post is too long for pictures, so you can see them all here.

This week I started back to work. If ANY of you have seen or heard or read about the news, you know that I picked a mighty fine week to return. First, it was this, then it was this, then this! So going back to work went from a really fun and exciting thing to not knowing if I'd have a job on day two of my return, to not knowing what the heck is going on. And for those that know what I do, you know I work in merger, so this now means going back to work will be insanely busy. As if going back after a 12-week hiatus didn't bring enough craziness to my life, now we have a huge project on our hands. Needless to say, it should be interesting. No doubt if you don't get your info from the news, you'll hear at least a smidgen from me...I can only say so much you know!

After starting back to work on Wednesday and pushing through a short, but insane, week back, we had company in town for the weekend for the Auburn vs. Vanderbilt game, which made a busy week back even busier prepping for them to come and then getting my act together before another full week back.

It's a new thing for me, being back to work. And it's brought all kinds of things to the surface that I didn't fully anticipate. The first day I went back, I balled my eyes out that night. I was so sad I had left Aiden all day long and only saw him for his bath and bedtime. I felt so terrible as a mother to have done this to my little boy. I felt so empty from being away from him all day when I've spent every minute with him for the past 3 months. Needless to say, it was much harder on me emotionally than I ever anticipated it being, and the drama at work only made it worse. The days that followed were a bit better, but man, do I miss that boy. I sit and look at his little picture on my desk and tear up just thinking about it, realizing I have so much wrapped up in him that I can hardly describe it all. I can't.

It did make me so aware of my situation, and of my need to really ask what I want out of this whole thing - motherhood, work, wife, life. The answer at the end of the day is freedom. While I can't have that now, it is the goal, and if working during these years will get me to that place in just a few, I'm so willing to do it. I really enjoy what I do. I love it. I love my boss, I love my work, I enjoy the people I work with, I enjoy being challenged, and being good at what I do, I love learning...I really do get a lot out of it. It doesn't mean I love being a mom any less, but it does make me realize the value of both and the impact they have not only on me but on my family. It has caused me to evaluate and take stock in MY needs, emotions, feelings, and dreams, and to do what I can to live out of those....pursuing God's heart for me as I head into this new path of my life. All in all, it's been a challenging week, but a super week at the same time. If my mom hadn't been here I think I would have gone clinicallly insane and ended up in some sort of facility this weekend instead of hanging out with friends, but we all made it.

So there's lots to update on since I last wrote about Aiden sleeping for 11 hours, and sometimes even 12, which has continued despite a few unplanned interruptions. Over the past two weeks, Aiden got his first little cold (from the next door neighbor), I added another year onto my life (and took my last step into my 20's before heading into 30 years), had Parker and Meghan come visit, saw Willie Nelson in concert, visited with my great friend Beth (formerly a Nashvillian now residing in Austin with her 6-month old and hubby), and started back to work. As you might imagine, it's been rather full, and I haven't had the time to sit down and write, so I'm trying my best to catch up now. I have lots to say about the events, so hopefully we'll catch up one note at a time...stay tuned.

I'll just jot briefly about Aiden's first little cold, which hasn't been so fun. Poor little guy got cough and runny nose from the dumb girl next door who told me she'd washed her hands. Lesson learned: never believe a 12 year old when it comes to hand-washing. She wasn't sick at the time, but a few days later we heard she was laid up in bed. It was too late for Baby Aiden, though, who had a cough all night that same night. Poor little guy. So the cough became a runny nose, and off we were to buy a humidifier and saline drops. That little blue sucker from the hospital finally saw some good use, sad but true.

To add insult to injury the cold came down two nights before my birthday, so Thursday and Friday (b-day) were pretty much a bust and spent caring for my ailing little boy who had trouble sleeping (right after we'd hit our stride!) and couldn't breathe worth a lick. Anyway, I spent my birthday on the couch holding him upright so he could sleep and was really fun-filled.

BUT, my parents arrived that evening after Aiden went to bed to give Nate and I the chance to go out to dinner, which is always a nice treat no matter when it is, but especially on a birthday. So we went to our usual spot then came home for cake and ice cream and gifts. They stayed the remainder of the weekend and we had a great time, even though we all spent our time helping the little guy feel better. Mom stayed with us for the week after for me to have a helper for my start back to work...and that was that.

Now I'm 29 and one year closer to 30. No, I don't feel any different. Yes, I do hate odd-numbered years. Hopefully this will be a good one. Regardless, I'm entering into this year with the best gift ever - Aiden - and a whole new set of rules for myself as I walk into motherhood. Should be an adventure to say the least. One I'm glad and excited to be on with Nate by my side and Aiden on my hip. We'll see. I'll get some pictures up soon. Promise.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

11 Hours

So this is just a really really fast note to say that my baby boy, who turned 11 weeks old today, marked his day with 11 hours of straight, undisturbed sleep. Oh what a night it was! Must be something lucky about eleven. He's been sleeping consistently about 8 - 9 hours per night, but last night was the mark of a champion. After sleeping for 11 hours straight, he got up for an hour and then went back to bed! For two more hours! And he napped like a pro. What a day it was. 

While I know this will more than likely disappear tomorrow and we'll be back to getting up at least once with him, I just had to write how amazed and excited I was to have this night.  I can't complain much, though...he is a great sleeper and in the past two weeks he's gotten really regular with his naps, which has been a super addition to my days. So all in all, it makes my going back to work less week just a little less harried, painful, yes, but there is at least a glimpse of hope that we'll be able to manage. (Fingers crossed!) 

Monday, September 22, 2008

I wrote this a while ago, but am just now finishing it up. Better late than never. 

Tonight was the last night my mom was with us before she heads back to Knoxville. She convinced Nathan to blow off work a bit early and take me out to dinner and take advantage of the free babysitter while he had it! Work has been crazy for him lately, so it took a lot for him to take a few hours out of the house. Anyway, we went to one of our favorite places, Bricktops, because we had a really bad server last time we went there and had a free meal waiting on what better night - a free babysitter and a free meal! 
So after some good food (too much!) and a nice night out, we headed home and on the way home, Nate asked me what I thought about being a mom...just in general I guess. And while I'd love to be able to rattle off an answer, it took me a minute to process what I felt about it, other than sheer, utter, and constant joy.

I finally was able to verbalize something I hadn't even thought through when I said it...becoming a mom has helped me realize my own needs. It seems pretty basic and may not even make much sense, but what I've realized over the past few weeks is that as I've gotten older, my needs have been able to be met without me even realizing they're met. Aiden's every need has to be met by me. I think as we get older, we forget the innocence of being a child and the dependence that comes with that. I realized in taking care of Aiden that I, even as an adult, still have needs and those needs are not ridiculous, but real.  In growing up, I have tended to put those needs aside. I think we all do. And not by intention, but by society's encouragement towards independence. Despite what "they" say (whoever "they" might be),
 God created each of us with needs...many I might add. And just because we age doesn't mean those needs disappear...though it seems they do as we gain control over our lives and are able to fulfill needs for ourselves, negating our "need" for the basics. In fact, in some senses, they may even increase.  Even though we are encouraged to push our own needs aside in pursuit of meeting the needs of others, either by necessity or choice, we still have needs. 

My own realization of all this has only come in the moments I've had time to think about life since becoming a mother. While I have realized much, one of the things I have become more and more aware of as I care
 for Aiden is my own need(s) and how those are met.  Among other things I have a need to be loved. That need is met by Nathan, my parents, my friends, and whoever I choose to let close enough to love me. However, my need to be loved is ultimately met by my Father, who meets all my needs either directly or indirectly. This fact is often forgotten as we grow into adulthood, but of which I have been reminded of in so many ways, small and large as Aiden has entered my world. My needs are so small, and seem so insignificant to me, yet they are just as important to my Father as they were when I entered the world. They are met in exactly the same way, albeit it looks different to me.  

So I as I sit back and look at my "new," crazy, insane life with this precious new addition, as I begin to feel out who I am now that I'm Kara AND mom AND wife AND daughter AND sister AND friend, I see how full circle my life has become. And as I find time, I hope to discover the significance of my needs and getting a glimpse at how they are's so simple to Him, no matter how complex my life seems to get.  

Oh the joy and pain of road racing. I am not much of a runner, never really have been, but right before I got pregnant, I finally found myself enjoying the sport of running. I know, most of you would never consider running a sport, nor do you likely enjoy it, but if you watched any piece of the Olympics, I'm sure you'd have a different opinion. Those track and field maniacs have insane work ethic, wicked body structure, and crazy fast legs. It's an amazing thing to see in action...way better live than on TV, but still quite amazing on TV. So anyways...back to the topic at hand. Where was I?

Oh yeah, right before I got pregnant, I actually enjoyed running and was finding myself getting a bit faster than I had been in the past without really trying too hard. That was kind of fun and I even finished a race and placed third in my age group at a 5k with a 22:17 time. I started considering running a half marathon in the winter of that year, then I found out I was there went that plan. Don't get me wrong, I still ran, and even did a race while pregnant, but it's just not the same. No ifs, ands or buts about it. I couldn't wait to get the "ok" from my doctor to run again, so when the time came, I was off. 

But, much to my dismay, it was quite difficult to run.  If you read my previous post on that topic, you'll find out I was pretty disappointed. I felt like I'd never get my legs back. And I really thought never. Realistic? No. Sooooo Kara? Yes. 

Anyway, we ran a race over Labor Day in Franklin and it was huge. Tons of people, and despite hating every second of it, and really laboring (imagine that, on Labor Day) through the event since I didn't have my inhaler on hand, I at least finished. My goal was sub-30:00...and we crossed in 25:04. Am I proud of my time? No, because I hurt the entire race and didn't take the time to enjoy it. Am I proud I finished? Yes. Quite proud. I ran it for my 8 week old Aiden. :) 

I didn't know quite what to expect at another race, but I found this Chick-Fil-A 5k online and knew it would be a small race. But I had a few other things in my favor: 1) it was at my old alma mater, Belmont University; 2) it was an evening race, which is typically when we run with Aiden most of the time. With these two things in my so-called corner, I figured it'd be a good one to do. And I finished in nearly record time, a whopping 22:35...just a few seconds off my pre-preggo pace! While it's still nothing to brag about, I was pretty pleased to have beaten the Labor Day time by nearly 3 minutes and come in second in my age group. Yes, second. If you don't believe me,  you can see the results here.  AND...for those of you who are wondering...I won a $25 gift certificate to Chick-Fil-A which I may never see since we had to leave before the awards...poor Aiden was a little scared by all the lights, sounds, and we had to take off.
I know, that was a WAY longer story than necessary just to talk about a race I ran this weekend, but I just felt like God was proving me wrong in those few minutes. After all my doubt and uncertainty, lack of faith and self-deprecation over something so silly as my ability to run, I was able to bust a move on some people. It was exhilarating to finish the race and have Aiden and Nate at the finish line cheering me on...not because I was running fast, but because they were proud of me. How much more does our Father cheer for us! On a daily basis, whether the task be large or small, significant or not, He cheers. Amidst all our doubt and fear, frustration and anger, He is our ally, our strong provider, and our biggest fan. Why do I always forget this? Maybe this will help me remember...and just enjoy my 10-week old baby boy and my ability to even move my legs, much less finish a race!
 Post-race Kara (happy and pain-free)
   My two men...and biggest fans. Well, my only fans. 

Thursday, September 18, 2008

As you might well imagine, Aiden is the hit of our neighborhood.  Just about everyone who lives near our house (or even drives by it often) knows that "Baby Aiden" lives here. While we wave to lots of folks, there's a few that come by more often than others, one of those is Reagan. Reagan is a super-cute 2 year old who lives two houses down from us, with her parents, Michael and Bridget. They're great and we often sneak over to one another's houses in the late hours when we've put the little ones to bed so we can have adult time. It's rare, but we do try and make it a habit as often as we can. 

We see Reagan a lot, but yesterday was special because she got to hold "Baby Ainen" (as she calls him) for the first time. We were getting ready to go on our run, and before we left she sat in the stroller and held him - just long enough for me to grab a few shots. I just wanted to share...they are so cute and she was so excited to hold him.  What if they get married? :) 

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Today we took Aiden for his fourth trip to the doctor...his two month check-up. This visit promised to be *fun*. Not. I knew beforehand he would be getting some shots and I was not too excited about the prospect of watching, dealing with a fussy boy, and having to bear the pain of knowingly hurting my child. Needless to say, I wasn't stoked for this day. All started well with little man weighing in at a massive 8 lbs, 10 oz. He's just huge. :)

Off we went to see Dr. P and face the needle of the nurse. He's doing quite well and growing away. Always on the smaller side of normal, his little body's growing longer and he gets chubbier by the week. He's a healthy and observant little dude. He sat wide eyed and curious as the nurse brought out the big guns, aka needles. He was getting six vaccines, though one was delivered by mouth and there were only three shots. Nathan and I held his little hands and feet as she prepped his leg and then there it was....needle #1. Needless to say, it's not an experience I want to relive, but three shots later, we had a screaming boy on our hands. BUT....miracle of all miracles, he stopped about 30 seconds later and within 5 minutes had fallen asleep. Afraid of certain doom - afternoon fussiness, all day fever, and an out of control day - we headed home after a few errands. To my pleasant and oh so grateful surprise, he did so well all day. No crying, no fussing, no fever,  no nothing, except one happy boy. It was great...all in all he's much braver than me!
Our little man is growing so fast...he's talking more, laughing lots, pooping in massive quantities (though only once or twice a day), growing so much and is finally more than 8 pounds, and becoming a little man. I can't wait to see how he'll grow as the weeks continue to fly by. It's truly remarkable all the changes that have occurred even since we brought him home. It should be exciting to watch. 

I finally got around to posting some updated pictures - you can see them via  the link on the sidebar of the blog or by clicking here

You can also see updates of Aiden at my dad's site by clicking here or here.

Thanks for keeping up with Aiden and our family.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

We had my mom here again this week helping us out, which is always so great. A few reasons why, you ask?

I actually get to spend some time by myself when she's here and go workout without feeling guilty for pawning Aiden off with Nathan who is swamped at work. 
I get to take naps!
I get to sleep through the night without being woken up, which is a beautiful thing.
I get to go on a date with my hubby (well, when he has the freedom to leave work before 8 pm).
I get to be me. :) 

Not that I can't do any of those things when she isn't here, but the availability to do them is so much more readily accessible to me. It's freeing. Liberating. Joyful. And I love being able to see Aiden interact with my mom. She's so good with him and so patient. I'm able to learn so much by watching her and having her there to counsel me through the rough patches (though he's such a great baby, there aren't many of those). 

This trip was especially wonderful because he started sleeping from 7:30 - 4:00 a.m.  this week. I know a lot of babies sleep a lot longer than this earlier than he is, but they also weigh for being such a little dude, it's a great gift to have a good sleeper. I will say that, among other things, is something we selfishly prayed for daily before he arrived. So I count myself only have to wake up once in the middle of the night I feel really lucky...

So we took her back to meet my dad today in Cookeville and sent her on her merry way. It was sad. I knew I wouldn't have the free advice, or full night of uninterrupted sleep, or someone to run with while Nathan is working, or someone to give me a free night out with my husband. It is pretty cool. After a disappointing experience at Cracker Barrel (which rarely happens), we said our good-bye's and off we went. But we'll see them again for my birthday in a few weeks and we'll have another week of help. Of course, that help is coming because I have to go back to work that week, but we'll save that depressing topic for another day. Until then, here's a few pictures from that day.

Poppy and Aiden as he tries to find his thumb.

Us being silly...
Us looking nice for the camera
Proud Mimi and Poppy get ready to say goodbye to Baby Aiden for a few weeks...

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

 There he sweet baby boy as we sit on the patio waiting for Mimi and Poppy to arrive for the long weekend....

Looking at him, it's hard to believe Labor Day is already here. It seems like just a few weeks ago we were here in Nashville - visiting our friends for a laid back Labor Day. We hung out with Beth and Daniel and heard their story of their impending move to Austin, recent pregnancy first hand. We hung out with Taylor, who we hadn't really hung out with since he'd moved to Nashville. We met a bunch of people and it seems like every single person asked us when we were moving to Nashville. At the time, we had no intentions of any such thing, but after that visit, we left feeling more and more like God was doing something in our lives and calling us here, to Music City of all places. It's funny, because Nathan never really liked Nashville before that visit last Labor Day, but he joined me on the plane back to Charlotte as we pondered what God was doing in our hearts. 

Here we are, a year later. We went home that weekend, prayed lots and lots, and within two months were living in our awesome neighborhood in Franklin.  Thinking back to that time, it's amazing to see the path we've traveled. Among other things...
- Doctors had told me for two years we couldn't have kids...the week we closed on our house, we found out we were pregnant. 
- I worked at Wachovia's headquarters in Charlotte...and was given permission to move and telecommute to work for the time we were here.
- We found a house we loved and were able to move into it just ONE month after we found it.
- We were in the process of building a house...which finally sold this past month.

Here we are. Living, loving, and watching the incredible works God has done over the past year. We have a house, a son, family living closer, great friends, good jobs, and have been on an amazing journey. 

Now Aiden is almost 2 months old - he'll hit the mark on Monday, though he is 8 weeks this week. and Mimi and Poppy (my mom and dad) are here visiting again. We spent the weekend baking, grilling out, running a race, and just enjoying each other - watching Aiden's funny faces and ways all the while. It was fun...and one to remember and reflect on, even though I can't say for the same reasons the holiday was originally intended. Regardless, at least I was reverent!

My Dad, Taylor, and Rachel ran the Franklin Classic 5k with first race after a real LABOR DAY!!!

 Nathan and his one track mind!! Even after a race!

  Me and my boy after an evening run with Mom and Dad...Poppy holding Aiden before the evening jog.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Today was one of those days I won't forget soon. Maybe I'll forget it sooner than I think I will but it was the scariest day I've had in a long time. It all started with a little throw up this morning after his first feeding. But the throwing up continued. Despite a happy demeanor, Aiden was throwing up his breakfast and more (though not scary colored or anything). It just seemed Aiden was not quite himself.  He slept most of the morning...which is very a-typical. And the throwing up continued after repeated efforts to get him to keep food down, ending with an early afternoon attempt that ended abruptly when Aiden stopped breathing for about 5 seconds due to choking on his reflux. Five seconds that felt like five minutes.

So that was the straw that broke it for me. Nate called the doctor and they wanted us to come in to the office since he is so small. Being that it was Friday, they didn't want matters to get worse over the weekend, so we heeded their advice and headed out.  After a quick check, his pediatrician wanted him to go to the hospital for an ultrasound so they could rule out a condition called pyloric stenosis.  Ironically enough, my cousin Audrey had this and so we became even more concerned that he might indeed have it...and if he did, would have to have surgery to correct it that day.

After a traumatizing trip down to the hospital, a major BM blowout in his carseat, and a teary ultrasound session, we got the call from the doctor telling us he did not have it and more than likely just had a virus.  We were relieved, though it had been a long day to get to the results, so we were also very tired. It was a fitful evening for baby Aiden, but was followed with a sound night's sleep. Scary say it mildly. I was a wreck, Nathan was the picture of serenity...despite his feelings of fear for our little man. It was just a hard day.

Amidst all the flurry of activity today, I was reminded of just how fragile we are. All of us, not just the babies. We often forget how precious each of us is to our Creator and how much he watches out for us...just like we had to do for Aiden today, he does for us each and every day. I was also reminded that Aiden is not mine. I know Aiden was protected and would have been whether or not he had the condition, but not by me, by Him, as each of us are. So the next time we end up at the hospital, I'm not sure that I'll be any more calm (in fact, I can promise I won't be), but I will be more secure in my little reminder from today. This little guy is just on loan to us from his Papa...and He's got him in the palm of His hand, just like me.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Today was my unofficial 6-week checkup...unofficial because it was inadvertently scheduled for 5 weeks after I had Aiden instead of 6 weeks. But, believe me, I'm the last one who's going to draw that to anyone's attention, especially my doctor, who is the one giving me the "okay" or "no way" on my ability to begin activities that have been restricted. So the past five weeks I've done a whole lot of nothing...and am super anxious to get back to doing something, though painful it may be, and though I know I won't be nearly as in shape as I was 9 months ago. That, my friends, is a whole other story. Today we were concerned only with my doctor's answer to the question every woman who's just had a baby wants to know (or at least me), "Can I work out?" Additionally, the question every husband wants to know gets answered in the same doctor's visit...and we all know what that is. 

I got a big fat YES (at least to one of the questions) you know I came home and got my run on as soon as I could. Yes, that evening I went for my first run post-preggers. And seriously, it felt like I was learning to run again. Despite the fact that I ran up until my 38th week and walked 5 miles 5 days a week in the last two weeks, I still felt incredibly inept and out of shape. So they tell me that most of it is due to the fact that I took 5 weeks off and in the midst of those 5 weeks pushed a baby out of my body and got rid of a bunch of stuff that I didn't need anymore. And I believe them, whoever they are. But knowing this in my head and equating it to the logistics of what I think I should be able to do somehow don't connect, and I find myself frustrated that I can't run 7 minute miles anymore...and begin to wonder if I ever will again.

And then something brings me back to reality...the precious face of my baby boy waiting for me on the porch when I get home. It's in that second that I realize what I have there on the porch in Big Daddy Nate's arms, is far more important than a 7 minute mile or even my ability to run. Those things will come in their own time, but even if they don't, I have Aiden, I have Nate, and we are a family. We'll play and laugh together, grow together, and even run together - at our own new pace...and it will be a far better race than one I could ever do on my own. Maybe that's why God makes our bodies need time to heal. To give us time away from things that can deter us from the gift that he's given in the life that sits in front of us. And while it feels like I am just learning to run, I'm not...I'm just learning to be a mom. The two will balance each other nicely and be a consistent reminder that what I have now is better than I ever was, despite what my head told me for a few short minutes today. 

Friday, August 8, 2008

It's funny how I count my life now. It all seems to fall in terms of weeks now rather than days or even months. Most of the time, if you ask me I don't even know what day it is. I only know what week of Aiden's life it is. How sad is that? It's all kind of in line with all the changes I've talked about earlier, and this is just one more to add to the list. I'm no longer driven by a work schedule or what typically happens on "such and such" a day as much as I am focused on making it through the day...and before I know it another week has passed. He's another week older, I'm another week older. He's doing a little bit more, I'm doing a little bit more (or less depending on what we're talking about). He's growing, and I guess I'm growing too, just not so much in the same way as he is - mine feels so much more about growing in the "life rules" area than in the growth chart area. All in all the weeks bring some really neat things.

But here I sit on August 8. Aiden is one month old today and it seems all I can remember from the past four weeks is how many diapers I've changed (though this is completely bogus because there is no way I can remember all those diapers!), how many hours he's slept, how many hours i've fed him, and finding myself wondering what it is I do with my days these days. Where they go, I'm not really sure, I just know they fly by and before I know it it's 8:00 at night and I look back on the day and can't really even remember how I got to 8:00. How does this happen?

It does really scare me, though, because I know that it's only a matter of time before I'll look back in a year and say, "How did he get to be a year old?," "What did I do with my year?" So these weeks turning into months already scare me. I don't necessarily want him to always be dependent on me...just to stay so small and innocent as he is now. I really enjoy these days blurring into weeks. I hate them, but I love them at the same time because they are so simple and really remind me of what life is supposed to be about. It's amazing for me to look at Aiden and to see parts of myself and parts of Nathan and parts of God all wrapped up in his little teeny body. It reminds me how small we all are and how much I should enjoy every minute, even if I can't remember what happened at the end of my day, or month, or year, or lifetime for that matter. So here's to the weeks that I can't remember and the months that have already passed us by, but especially to this past month, for it is the one that changed my life forever.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

So the latest in the series of changes is how much my hormones are seriously going crazy. You read all over the place that the cocktail of emotions and hormones really comes to a head after you give birth, but who really believes that stuff? I guess I believe it now. During pregnancy, I didn't really deal with any rough morning sickness, no unusual cravings, no crazy up and down emotions. I really had a phenomenal pregnancy overall...I can't complain, and I don't think I even did much of that until the last week when I was REALLY ready for Aiden to be here. Outside of the occasional fluke day of an emotional high or low, I was pretty even keeled and pregnancy suited me just fine. I loved being pregnant and have never felt a lot of the horrible things a lot of my friends complained about. It was freeing, almost exhilarating to be pregnant and have the freedom to eat what I wanted, when I wanted, to know there was a life growing daily inside me that would one day be outside (a real boy!) and was a part of me, a part of Nathan. It was pretty great.

So now that he's here...all those emotions (I guess the ones I didn't have through pregnancy) all seem to be rushing in at once. I mean, seriously, sheer elation to tears in a matter of seconds. Utter joy to complete desperation and sadness in the next breath. And then it all kind of gets back to the thing of who am I anyway? I mean, outside of Aiden's mom, who am I? Right now that is what it feels like, though I know it will change as time goes on...

Life went from being busy to being even more busy, leaving me to wonder what it was that kept me busy before Aiden. Our schedules are different, our moods are different, our ability to eat out whenever we want is a little more difficult, and our house even feels a little different. None of the different feelings are bad...just different. It's hard to describe, but you can just tell things have changed and only for the better since we now have this little wonder to share it all with...that wonder being Aiden of course.

And speaking of Aiden, the changes from his world (inside my belly) haven't seemed to impact him too much. I mean, he still sleeps a ton of hours during the day and pretty much gets to eat whenever he wants (thanks to the beauty of motherhood). And despite our feelings that it's a little harder to do things, he makes a great case for proving us wrong. Like tonight we went to an art show...a very adult thing for us in having a four week old. But it was a good friend of ours and we promised. So we went, child in tow. He had fallen asleep in his carseat and our plan was to stay about 20 minutes then leave. But after arriving at 6 and taking him inside (we hid him in a closet!), he slept the entire art show...until 10 pm when we arrived back home. It was a miraculous and beautiful thing. Did we find any art? No. Did we successfully enjoy an adult event? Yes. Did Aiden enjoy it as much as we did? Who knows, but he seems to like sleep and sleep he did.

All that to say, though we're experiencing all kinds of changes - hormonal, sleep, travel, schedule, etc. they are welcome and new...and only preparing us for the many years of changes we have yet to come. Should be fun!

aiden goes to an art show and sleeps through the whole thing

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

today aiden attended his first party. it was a momentous occasion celebrated with those near and dear to us...well, really just a few people. but the par-doo was hosted by uncle taylor (taylor brooks) and a few of his friends. but aiden got to see taylor's girlfriend rachel who came to visit at the hosptial (see picture below), and uncle nathan (nathan postlethwait) who he can't go more than a couple days without seeing. while all aiden did was sleep, he seemed to be the hit of the hot summer party, also known as the tiki summer showdown.  how can anyone resist a completely adorable and utterly silent sleeping baby? i don't know many.

  rachel and aiden
  how can anyone resist this?? 

to top off the big day, we ventured to our favorite dining hot spot, bricktops. while we had the worst service of all of our many visits to this venue, the food was nonetheless remarkable as always. AND, to top it off, since i was no longer pregnant, i could partake in the awesome seared ahi tuna burger we love! 

a fun night overall, and proof to nathan that we can, indeed, have a life and a child. that, in and of itself, is worth far more than any dinner out! :)