Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Traveling Baby

Waiting on the airplane
We have had quite a crazy month! Etta Mae took her first plane ride! My 10 year high school reunion was scheduled for the end of September, so I decided to take Etta Mae for a visit to Joplin. It was a fast and furious trip. 

We visited my dad in Seneca, and Etta Mae had a great time riding the train.

I was so excited to see all of our friends in Fayetteville! We had a great lunch with the Maland's celebrating baby Luke's dedication then headed to visit with the Smiths.  I'm not sure if Monroe and Etta Mae remembered each other, but they still had fun. It was crazy to see how much they have grown.  Monroe is a full head taller than Etta Mae now! After eating plenty of applesauce with Monroe, we headed over to Nicole's for dinner and a fun sleepover.

We also had a great time at the pumpkin patch with Grammy before going to visit my friend Kayla and her sweet daughter, Olive.

It seems like Etta Mae learns to climb on something new everyday.  She's crazy stubborn, and won't stop until she figures it out.  Her latest victims are the slide and the couch.

Helping daddy with the yard

Last weekend, we took another mommy/ daughter trip.  This time, by car.  We drove to Dallas to visit Tyler and Courtney and so that I could attend the Birth Without Fear Conference. I'm worried that I will never have a niece or nephew after leaving Etta Mae with them for two whole days!

Visiting Uncle Tyler's office
Etta Mae has been amazing us lately with her growing vocabulary. It seems like it just appeared out of nowhere.  Among all of her babbling, is some actual words! Some of the new ones she added recently are: baby, bless you, yucky, Samson, water, buckle, vacuum, all done, bye bye, ice, glasses, and belly button (buh buh). And, she's as hilarious as ever.  When she hears a dog bark, she holds her finger up to her mouth and says "shhh". She also blinks when you wink at her and loves jumping up and down!

It has finally started cooling off (sort of) in Baton Rouge, and we are so ready for fall!  There are lots of fun Halloween activities over the next couple of weeks that we are excited to attend.  It will be great to be able to spend more time outside and enjoy the beautiful autumn weather in Louisiana.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Reviewing My Birth Story

I wasn't sure if this was a post I wanted to or would be able to write.  I hope that it will help other women and families to understand their choices.

I have been avoiding rereading my birth story (you can read it HERE) for quite awhile now. Today, I decided that it need to be done. I cried. I shook my head at the things I wrote and thought were ok. The International Cesarean Awareness Network calls this the 18 Month Cry. Since Etta Mae's birth, I have grown even more passionate about helping other women with their birth experiences.  This has led me to do a lot of reading and research about pregnancy and birth options.  I recently read an incredible piece that applies to all women, regardless of the type of birth they desire.  Read it HERE

Let me start by saying that there are a lot of amazing OBs and midwives out there. They respect birth and make sure to inform mothers about their options. Medical interventions have saved many lives, and we are lucky to live in a country where they are readily available. 

Here are a few of the things I have learned and come to believe. Note that there are links to resources about birth within many of my points.

  • Your birth experience matters! You will vividly remember that experience for the rest of your life. Healthy baby is not the ONLY thing that matters. I know without a doubt that my traumatic birth experience contributed to my milk not coming in for 6 days, trouble breastfeeding, and subsequent post partum despression and anxiety. 
  • Every woman should take childbirth classes, even if she is planning to get an epidural or have a cesarean birth. It is important to know what is going on in your body and the benefits and trade offs of any interventions you consider.
  • Doctors and hospitals have certain routines that they are comfortable with.  This DOES NOT mean that those procedures are best for every woman or that they are supported by evidence.
  • You have the right to ask for more information about anything that is being done to your body.  If you don't feel like a procedure is best for you or your baby, you can say I DO NOT CONSENT. You do not HAVE to do anything. Remember that you are paying the hospital for a service.
  • It is our responsibility to to make choices for ourselves and our babies and take back our birth experiences. I feel like I was bullied to be induced.  The on-call OB's exact words were "YOU AND YOUR BABY COULD DIE." Who says that to a pregnant woman????? Unfortunately, these scare tactics are far too common.
  • Please, please, please inform yourself about your options during labor and after birth. There are some great resources out there.  I highly recommend reading books like The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth and Ina May's Guide to Childbirth, watching movies such as The Business of Being Born and Orgasmic Birth (yes, I said orgasmic), and looking over websites like Improving Birth and Evidence Based Birth.
  • If you have had a traumatic birth experience that led to a cesarean birth, seek out a local ICAN chapter.  It can be very healing to talk to other mamas who have been through similar experiences.
I love Etta Mae.  She is the best thing that has ever happened to me.  But, it took us a long time to truly bond.  I think this is the direct result of her birth.  I hope that other women can find my experience helpful and have a truly wonderful birth.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Catching WAY Up

So, the last time I blogged was when Etta Mae was 7 months old.  She is now 14 months old which means I have a lot of catching up to do. And, a lot has happened in the past 7 months! I guess I'll start with a quick recap of Etta Mae's last few months.

8 Months
At 8 Months, Etta Mae: loves clapping, pushing things across the floor, pulling up on everything, eating finger foods, and can go from standing to sitting without holding anything.  She also started crawling shortly after I posted last.

9 Months
At 9 Months, Etta Mae: Loves to wave and push buttons, stands unassisted for a few seconds, shakes things and bangs them together, climbs into any basket or container she can fit into, pretends to hand stuff to you then pulls it back, loves to make the "duck face"

10 Months
At 10 Months, Etta Mae: tries to stack things, cruises along furniture, 'reads' books by turning pages and babbling, tips up bottles like she's drinking from them, opens and closes doors, hugs and pats her baby dolls, twirls her hair and sucks her thumb when she's sleepy.

11 Months
At 11 Months, Etta Mae: tries to snap her fingers, chases Samson, loves rocking in chairs or on the floor, WALKS!

12 Months
At 12 Months, Etta Mae: Signs "more", "eat", "drink"; can point to her eyes, nose, and mouth when asked; holds up her foot when it's time to put on her shoes, "rolls the dough" when playing patty cake, dances to music, knocks on doors, says "hi", "uh oh", "ow", "dog", "shoes"

At 13 Months, Etta Mae: Loves to spin around in circles and walk on her tip toes, points to the iPod when she wants to listen to music, runs when you chase her, can climb on the couch, loves playing outside in the grass, holds everything up to her ear like a phone, semi-successfully uses a fork and spoon, swipes the screen on the iPhone and iPad, opens her mouth and says "aaahh" when brushing her teeth, says "down/done", "diaper" (da-dum), "bath", "hair", "baby", and "hello"

We've had some big family changes, as well.  Jason accepted a position with LSU as the Director of Fan Experience, so we moved to Baton Rouge at the end of April.  We love it so far! The parks are beautiful, and we're really looking forward to the mild winters! Jason is really enjoying his new job and getting used to wearing purple. And, Etta Mae loves visiting Mike the Tiger.

Etta Mae took swim lessons!

We took an amazing vacation to Navarre Beach with my mom, Dave, aunt Margaret, Melissa, Sophie and Maya. At first, Etta Mae wasn't sure about the sand and the ocean, but she loved walking along the beach by the time we left.

We also had some awesome family pictures taken by Jessica Whittle Photography!

When we got home, we had a birthday party for Etta Mae.  Uncle Tyler and Courtney came, and we were so excited to hang out with them. And one thing is for sure, Etta Mae LOVES cake!

I have been blessed to have the opportunity to stay home with Etta Mae since we moved. I recently decided to pursue a career that I've been interested in since I was pregnant.  I completed a DONA Doula workshop and have been working on setting up my business! Have no idea what a doula is or does? You can find lots of info on my Facebook and Website! I can't wait to start helping mamas!

Here are a few of my favorite pics from the last few months:

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Seven Months


I'm a little late getting this written, like always. The last month has been so full of new things for Etta Mae! She is such a sweet, happy baby!  Everyday, I get to hear her giggles! Here is a roundup of some of the things she started doing between 6 and 7 months.

She loves her daddy and has started saying "dadadada".  Okay, so maybe she doesn't know what she's saying.  And sometimes it comes out as "lalalala" or "babababa". Just waiting for the elusive "mama"!

She wants so badly to be mobile.  She has been rocking on all fours and gets so frustrated that she can't get what she wants!  Her favorite time to practice is in bed, especially at 4 am...

One of my favorite new things is that she reaches out for mom and dad to pick her up.  It's so sweet!

She has also started shaking her head back and forth like she's saying no.  It's hilarious to watch.

We recently got Etta Mae a bigger bath tub because she was trying to climb out of her infant tub.  She is having so much fun playing with her toys!  And she even figured out how to splash.

She loves riding in the cart or sitting in high chairs when we go places.

She has figured out that if she is on her tummy, she can push herself up to sitting.  She also loves doing this in bed at 4 am!

She continues to try new foods all the time.  She loves carrots, prunes, yogurt, peaches and many more. She also enjoys frozen mango in her mesh feeder.

We were so excited that Courtney and Uncle Tyler came to visit! Since he was in town, Grammy and Dave visited and Papa came that weekend, too.  Mimi also came to town.  Etta Mae loved all the attention!

Awesome new toy from Grammy!

 Good times with Monroe:

Other favorites from her 7 month photo shoot:

Until next month!  Since it's already half over, I can promise that some fun stuff happens :)



Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Six Months

6 Months

Etta Mae has been busy for the last month! Somehow, she has gone and turned 6 months old!  She continues to do new things every day!
  • She has mastered rolling tummy to back and loves rolling all over

  • She can sit up unassisted for long periods of time with only the occasional tip over. The other day, I saw her lean all the way forward and pick up a toy that must have weighed 1-2 lbs and pull it into her lap!

  • She is sleeping on her tummy for all naps and at night.  

We have also experienced several other 'firsts' lately!

Etta Mae's first Christmas was a blast. She was extra spoiled by everyone.  First, we went to visit Mimi in Little Rock. 
Playing with daddy's blocks from when he was a kid

On Christmas Eve, Papa and Uncle Larry came to visit!  Somehow, I forgot to take any pictures, but he got Etta Mae an awesome convertible car seat! She loves it, and it is so comfy!  

We spent Christmas Day with just the three of us.  Thanks to Uncle Tyler for going crazy on gifts.  He was Santa this year!
The loot from everyone!

She is pretty excited!

Next, we went to visit Grammy!

Book that Grammy recorded for Etta Mae
Etta Mae and I also got special gifts from Grammy.  These guardian angel pendants have diamonds in the wings from my grandma and the larger center diamond is from Grammy.  

She got so many gifts that we had to rearrange our dining room so she would have her own space (dog free!)

Right after Christmas, Etta Mae got to see her first snowfall!  It wasn't much (and she wasn't outside for more than a few minutes), but she looked cute!

We have also let Etta Mae start experimenting with solid foods.  She isn't entirely sure about it, but so far she has tried bananas, avocado, sweet potatoes, mango, prunes, green beans, oatmeal and yogurt. She loves to pull the spoon to her mouth and usually makes a big mess.  If nothing else, it makes for some cute pictures!

We had a wonderful Christmas break, but before and after that, Etta Mae and Monroe were having lots of fun.

As always, Etta Mae did an awesome job during her monthly photo shoot.  It's so hard to pick just one "official" picture each month.  Here are a couple of my other favorites.

Until next month!