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 us...so 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 met...it'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 pregnant...so 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 people...so 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 more...so 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 blessed...to 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 is...my 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 us...my 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.