Now I Get It

You know those moms who always refer to their children’s ages in months? I’m not talking about that mom who tells you she has a 3 month-old baby. I’m referring to the moms who say they have a “34 month-old” or a “28 month-old.” I used to get so annoyed when I heard moms say comments like that. I would always think to myself “Oh, so you mean they’re 2 and a half years old? Or…almost 3 years old?!” No, those kids’ ages are still in MONTHS. Now that I’m a mom, I totally get it.

When Paisley was born I kept track of how many hours old she was. Call me crazy, but I did. Naturally, those “hours old” then became “days old” and then before we knew it, “weeks old.” Oh man, when I had to make the transition from “weeks old” to “months old” I almost lost it. I remember talking to my husband about how I was never going to stop telling everyone Paisley’s age in weeks. I would start a new trend if I had to, but I wasn’t going to say the word “month” after her age. I couldn’t bring myself to do it. All of a sudden those moms who tell you their toddlers ages in months don’t seem so bad, right!? (Don’t worry – that trend didn’t last too long!)

This month, on February 9th, our “little” baby will be 6 months old. 26 weeks old. 184 days old. 4,416 hours old. Even if I didn’t realize it at the time, I truly am thankful to God for every single one of those hours.
Every hour spent soothing a crying baby who was wide awake in the middle of the night.
Every hour spent trying to work on homework or study only to be distracted by a cute little baby staring back at me.
Every hour spent at various doctors’ appointments and casting appointments.
Every hour spent crying because I was an overwhelmed new mom who felt like I didn’t know what I was doing.
Every hour spent cuddling with this precious miracle God gave to me.
Every hour spent watching my husband be the best dad he can possibly be to our little girl.
Every hour spent ignoring everyone’s advice to “sleep when she sleeps” so we could just stare at her in admiration and love on her.
Every hour spent praying for Paisley and about the responsibility of being a mommy to this precious girl.
Every hour spent wondering how my baby was doing at daycare when I should have been paying attention in class.
Every hour spent with sweet family and friends who helped us immensely when Paisley was first born.
Every hour spent on the phone with my mom asking 1,000 questions about newborns and milestones and everything else you can think of.
Every hour spent just trying to figure out how to function during the day when we were only getting 2 hours of sleep each night.
Every hour spent ultimately loving being a mommy to this amazing gift from God.

Forgive me if I refer to her age in months for the rest of her life. Yup, I’m going to be THAT mom. (Okay, okay… I won’t do that. Well, at least not out loud)

In all seriousness, I can’t believe she is going to be six months old soon. Wow.

Time really does fly by.
Now I get it.

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Paisley Grace: 5 months

We are so blessed to be the parents of this beautiful baby girl.

IMG_0207Paisley Grace is 5 months old!!
At 5 months old she…
– Has a TOOTH. What?! It came in on December 29th when we were on vacation in Florida! And…it’s pretty adorable.
– Started rolling over from back to belly with her boots and bar on. This also happened while we were in Florida!
– Has started eating some fruits and veggies! The first vegetable she tried was carrots. She loved them right away
– Loves the Johnny Jumper her Aunt Holley let us borrow. Right now, it’s probably her favorite thing to do!
– Has started to use her hands purposefully (reaching for things, picking up her paci and toys, etc)
– She watches EVERYTHING and is very in-tune with her environment
– Is almost always smiling and laughing. Except for when she’s extremely hungry or tired…then she sure can throw a fit!
– Enjoys going to any kind of store where we can put her carseat in the shopping cart and she can look around. She just laughs and laughs!
– Weighs 13 pounds, 10 ounces and is 24 inches long
– Doesn’t quite sleep through the night…yet. But we’re hopeful!! We have a good bedtime routine and some nights she gets a full night of sleep, but most of the time she decides to wake up to eat around 3:00-4:00 AM.
– Is such a goofball. She’s constantly making funny faces and hilarious noises.
– Tries to put everything in her mouth
– Is wearing 0-3 month clothes and is starting to fit into some 3-6 month clothes (but we have to roll up the sleeves and pants cause they are still quite a bit long on her)
– Definitely knows who mommy & daddy are. We love it.
– Makes every day an adventure.

Our monthly photoshoots have become quite the task now that Paisley Grace constantly wants to be moving around and making silly faces. Enjoy!

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Mommy & Daddy love you so much, Paisley Grace

Happy 5 months of life, little one!

Paisley Grace: 3 months

Our sweet baby girl is 3 months old already! Somebody just stop time for a little while, please!!!IMG_9307

At 3 months old she:

– Smiles. A LOT. We absolutely love it!
– Really, really loves to be swaddled when she sleeps. BUT…because of her boots and bar we are only able to swaddle the top half of her and her little arms. It’s kind of adorable.
– Is a paci baby. This momma is definitely thankful for that! (For now, anyway)
– Wakes up smiling in the morning. Some mornings we even have to wake her up to get her to daycare and she is all smiles even after we wake her up! I only wish I could be so friendly first thing in the morning.
– Is a WIGGLE WORM. Always. That’s all I’m going to say about that.
– Finally has her nighttime/sleep routine down and is currently at the point where she only wakes up once (or not at all) during the night!! We could not be more thankful!!
– Had her first Halloween – she was Snow White! We are very excited for next year when she’ll be able to go trick-or-treating!
– Is wearing 0-3 month clothing and is in size 1 diapers. It’s unreal how fast babies grow!!
– Has the cutest crying face. How is that even possible? Sometimes, Gus will just watch her when she starts to cry because it’s that cute!
– Is completely enthralled by anything that moves, makes noise, and/or has lights. Ceiling fans, the TV, her mobile, lights…you name it! It’s so cute to watch her “interact” with her environment.
– Has adjusted unbelievably well to daycare. I’m telling you – our little girl has the ability to adjust exceptionally well to different situations.
– Coos and babbles. This is one of my favorite things about this age. She’s so interactive! She makes the cutest little noises and faces as she tries to “talk” to us!
– Doesn’t like it when mommy has to focus on homework. She also doesn’t like it when we’re at a restaurant and the food arrives at the table. Both of those scenarios result in her loudly requesting our full attention. Maybe it’s just a phase?
– Is finally used to her boots and bar! This is a huge accomplishment for all of us!
– Laughs in her sleep AND cries in her sleep sometimes. Do babies dream? Either way, it’s entertaining.
– Is overall a very, very happy baby. She is exceptionally content! Obviously, there are exceptions…but overall we have been very impressed with how well-behaved she usually is.

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I never knew that a 3 month-old little baby could teach me so much. So much about myself, about life, and about God’s grace.

We love you very much, Paisley Grace.
Happy 3 months of life, little one!

Pregnancy Milestones to Remember

As my due date gets closer and closer, I’ve been reminiscing on my pregnancy and I’ve realized – there’s A LOT I don’t remember. I don’t mean little things like “Oh, I can’t remember some symptoms” or “I can’t remember how bad morning sickness actually was.” Even though some of those little things may be true, I’m talking about big things like not being able to remember how far along I was when we found out, when we told our family, when we announced it to our friends, everyone’s reactions…the list goes on and on. I wish I could just blame it on pregnancy brain, but it’s not that simple. Until this point in my pregnancy I’ve really just been going, going, going (thanks to nursing school and working all the time) & I haven’t had time to just sit back and fully enjoy being pregnant.

Tonight I decided to go back and look at old pictures, look through all of my ultrasound images, go backwards in my pregnancy app on my phone, compare dates, and sit down and finally figure out little details of my pregnancy I either 1) didn’t know 2) couldn’t remember or 3) somehow convinced myself had happened another way. I decided to share this and the story of how we found out on the blog because even though a lot of these things are personal (yes, personal – consider this your warning) they are precious things I want to be able to remember and look back on. I also want to encourage other expecting mommas out there to remember these details. I know it seems obvious and some people are probably thinking “How can she not remember that?” I’ve even thought that myself. Truth be told, I don’t really know. I think everything just came as such a shock to me from the start that I just kept busy and didn’t give myself time to wrap my mind around it until I was already about halfway through it!

So, here goes an attempt to remember and share some of these precious details of such an incredible time in our lives:

December 9th, 2013: I went to my 10:00 Sociology class just like I did every other Monday. I sat next to my friend Heidi (who has been an incredible friend ever since freshman year and now we’re finally going to be GRADUATING this year with our nursing degrees! Sorry… side note. It’s kind of a big deal for us). I felt really weird all throughout the class and I just remember that I couldn’t focus or anything. I can’t explain the feeling. I didn’t really feel sick, I just felt kind of weak and like something was a little off. When we left class that day, I told Heidi I was going to skip chapel and go home because I wasn’t feeling so hot. I’m pretty sure I even told her I was going to take a pregnancy test just to make sure I wasn’t pregnant. (Obviously, I can’t remember – maybe Heidi knows!) On my way home I stopped at CVS and grabbed a 2-pack pregnancy test. I knew Gus was home sleeping because he had to work a 12-hour shift the night before. I didn’t wake him up, I just came home and took the test. Honestly, I was fully expecting for it to be negative. I also felt funny the day before after Gus and I finished a run outside and it took me quite awhile to recover. I just knew something was off and I figured I should use the process of elimination to narrow it down figure out exactly what was wrong with me. I was on birth control consistently, so I didn’t think for a second that I was actually pregnant! I hadn’t had any morning sickness or missed my cycle, so let’s just say I was SHOCKED when two little lines appeared on that stick. Shocked, scared, terrified. The flood of emotions I felt literally cannot even be expressed. I still didn’t want to wake up Gus so I went in the living room and just texted my mom asking her to call me. In typical mom fashion, she responded “Is everything okay?” “Yes, mom, I just need you to call me.” Her next question: “Is Kassidy okay?” “Yes, Kassidy is fine.” “ARE YOU PREGNANT?” When I didn’t respond for a couple of minutes, the phone rang and when I answered it I was just crying hysterically. I remember repeating the words “I don’t know, I don’t know!” And she told me to send her a picture of the test. IMG_8216She was instantly excited. Meanwhile, I was scared and terrified, yet somehow she was just excited & happy from the start. I told her I thought that maybe the first test was wrong, so I hung up and took the second test in the pack. Of course, the second test was also positive and when I called my mom to tell her she reminded me that I should probably tell my husband! I still didn’t believe two little sticks I bought at the drugstore, so I decided to call the Piedmont Women’s Center, which is a great Christian organization in our area who I knew would do another pregnancy test. I made an appointment for that day at 2:00. This was all happening so fast and I couldn’t really wrap my mind around it. After I called and set up the appointment, I decided it was time to tell Gus. I nervously walked into the bedroom. I sat on the edge of the bed holding one of the pregnancy tests and said “Gus, I’m pregnant. This isn’t a joke.” He woke up, saw the tears in my eyes, looked at the pregnancy test and excitedly said, “We’re going to have a baby!” And he gave me the biggest hug. He was excited from the second he found out. I was relieved that he felt that way, but it wasn’t long after that I broke down and just cried and started freaking out. “I’m still in school! We just got married! We can’t be parents! How are we going to do this?! We weren’t planning on having kids this soon!” Never once did any of those things seem to concern Gus. If you know Gus at all, then you understand why. He’s not the kind to worry – about anything. Him and my mom are a lot alike in that way. That’s just one of the many things I admire about both of them and I totally wish I could be more like them in that area. I left the room for a little while to just go out in the living room and think – and, of course, let him sleep. A few minutes later, I walked back in the bedroom to wake him up and I had a whole new outlook, “You’re right, Gus, we can do this. I can finish school. We will be great parents. God knew we were going to have kids this soon. We have great families who will be so supportive.” And within a short time the emotions I initially felt came flooding back in and it was just a rollercoaster of a morning.

Somehow in the midst of all of this I remembered that I had a nursing test that afternoon! My test was at 1:00 and let’s just say there was NO WAY I was going to be ready to take a nursing test that day. I had way too much on my mind. I e-mailed one of my teachers to let her know I wouldn’t be able to take my test that afternoon. It was almost 1:00 and she hadn’t e-mailed me back, so I decided to just go to school and let her know I would have to take the test another day. I had no intention on telling her that I was pregnant, but after frantically running up to her office with tears streaming down my face, those were some of the first words out of my mouth. She was so sweet and understanding! She congratulated me and, of course, told me that I could make up the test another day.

I didn’t want to go to my appointment alone, but I really didn’t want Gus to have to come with me since I knew he was so tired from working the night before. I texted my sister to see if she wanted to come somewhere with me, and I’m pretty sure she had to skip a class to come with me but I told her it was important. I put the pregnancy tests in a little ziplock baggy and I wrote a cute little note that said “Aunt Kassidy, look under here.” I set the note on top of the bag on the center console of the car and when I picked up Kassidy from campus I was so excited to tell her. She got in the car, saw the note, looked at the pregnancy tests and just screamed. She was so excited. We went to the appointment together and there they did another pregnancy test.
It seemed like it took them forever to come back to the room and tell me the results of the test. The lady at the Piedmont Women’s Center was so sweet and caring. She could tell that I was scared and she did a great job calming my fears and helping me to trust God even in this unexpected blessing. When she came back into the room with my results, she shut the door behind her and as soon as she turned around she had the biggest smile on her face. “You’re going to be a little momma!” She gave me a big hug and we sat and talked for awhile. I finally came to the point where I, too, was excited to be a mom instead of scared of the unknown and unexpected. We obviously didn’t know at this point how far along I was (we later found out that I was 6 weeks pregnant at this point), but they set up an ultrasound for me the following week.

December 16th: Gus, Kassidy, and I went to my first ultrasound. It was another service provided by the Piedmont Women’s Center. As you can tell, I’m a huge fan of that ministry and everything they do! We found out based on the baby’s measurements that day that I was about 7 weeks pregnant. We got to see the little heartbeat flicker on the screen and just watched in amazement as the sonographer explained to us exactly what we were looking at. It was a really great experience and at this point I was beginning to get really excited about our surprise little miracle.

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First ultrasound: baby at about 7-8 weeks

December 20th: When I was 8 weeks pregnant, we told my dad and Gus’ parents. Yes, my mom actually kept it a secret from my dad from the time I told her on December 9th! Pretty impressive, I know. We told my dad via Skype, and my mom was able to record the whole thing without my dad knowing!

We called Gus’ parents afterwards and put them on speakerphone to tell them together. They were very excited!!

I honestly can’t remember when we told the rest of our family (grandparents, his brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, cousins, etc) and close friends but it was sometime after December 20th and before January 30th. Gus thinks we told them after January 1st. I really can’t remember. I know, I’m terrible for not remembering when we told them. I want to say it was sometime around Christmas. I won’t bore you with all of the details but we definitely had some great reactions from the people we love!!

I do remember that when I went back to school after Christmas break at the beginning of January, one of my teachers (Miss Hannah, the same teacher whose office I ran into frantically crying the day I found out I was pregnant) e-mailed me before class to let me know that she was going to give everyone in our class an opportunity to share any exciting news that may have happened over Christmas break. She knew I hadn’t yet shared our news with my classmates (who, in reality, are more like a second family) and she also knew I eventually needed to find a fitting time to do so. Some other really exciting announcements were made and afterwards, I raised my hand and told my nursing class about my news. Let’s just say I think that most of them were about as shocked as I was when I first found out!

January 31st, 2014: We announced our little bundle of joy to the rest of our friends on Facebook when I was 15 weeks and 3 days pregnant. [A simple post, you can find it here] It was pretty difficult to wait this long to announce it to everyone, but we knew we wanted to wait until I was at least 14 weeks pregnant and out of the first trimester to let everyone know. Gus wanted to tell everyone right away, but I really wanted to wait. I had an ultrasound the day before, and we thought it would be a good idea to announce the pregnancy the day after that ultrasound.

Baby at 15 weeks & 2 days

Baby at 15 weeks & 2 days

March 20th: We found out that we were expecting a sweet baby GIRL. I was 20 weeks & 4 days pregnant at this point. Gus, Kassidy, and I were able to go to the ultrasound together. We each had our guess as to whether Baby Vanaman was a girl or a boy! Kassidy and I dressed in pink, and Gus wore blue. We made it a lot of fun and it was an experience I’ll never forget. At this appointment, we also found out that our little girl possibly had clubfeet. On April 1st, we met with the specialist and they confirmed our little baby’s clubfeet. If you want to, you can read all about that experience here.

Well, there you go. I guess I remembered a lot more than I originally thought I did. I’m thankful I finally took the time to sit down and write it all out. I’m telling you right now – if I had waited to try to blog about these pregnancy milestones AFTER Paisley got here I’m sure I wouldn’t have been able to remember anywhere near as much.
To other expecting mommy’s – really cherish this sweet time in your lives. Take time to remember the little details. It really is such a beautiful experience for you and the people you love.

As I’m wrapping up this post, I’m rocking away in my rocking chair. Not in an “old lady sitting on her front porch crocheting” kind of way, but in a “new mommy who is excited as can possibly be” kind of way. Soon I’ll be holding our sweet Paisley Grace and rocking her to sleep in this chair. I’ll spend countless nights and hours feeding her and singing to her and just cuddling with her in this chair. I cannot wait to be her mommy. Thinking back on all of the special memories of this pregnancy and all it has entailed makes me even more excited to be at the point we’re at now.

It’s definitely been an unexpected journey – but it’s one I would never want to change a single part of. 10414421_10203953725147765_3921106650031762840_n Only 17 days until your due date, baby girl. We’ll meet you so soon.