Tuesday, April 22

Callie's 2nd Birthday - Party Prep!

I cannot believe that our baby girl is about to turn TWO!!!  Where on Earth has the time gone?!  I knew that things would get a little busy around here after Kellan was born so I started party planning while I was on bed rest.  For some reason I've never been a huge fan of "themed" birthday parties.  Part of me found them hokey, but I always loved going to them.  Now that I have a toddler who is absolutely obsessed with Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, all of that has changed.  Funny how those little rug-rats can change ya so much!  

I knew that her party this year had to have something to do with Mickey, but I didn't know how.  We decided to narrow it down to one character to focus on, and of course had to go with her favorite, "Mimmie" as she calls her.  My goal was to go with different shades of pink and polka dots along with some fun Minnie flair here and there.  It's been really fun browsing Pinterest trying to find ideas and the party has now grown past what I thought we'd do... and I wouldn't have it any other way. :)  We've invited close friends and family to celebrate in our little backyard cookout, just a couple of hours playing in the yard with good people and good food!  Let's hope the weather holds out for us! 

Of course, I had to make her another stats chalkboard this year... it's sort of her thing and I kinda love it!  All it's missing right now is her weight, our home scale is broken and she doesn't have an updated one from the pedi yet. 

Our sweet friend, Joanna, who also takes care of Callie when I'm working, is an incredible baker and we've asked her to cover the sweets for her party.  Typically I try to do everything myself, but being a busy mom of two I knew that it would be pushing it to try and tackle this, too!  These are my inspirations for the birthday cupcakes, aren't they ADORABLE?!  
Here are a couple other inspirations for the party that I'll be tackling over the next couple of weeks.  I'm so excited for some projects to put my time and energy into!  Crafting is my absolute favorite hobby, especially when it's for someone I love so dearly. :) 
The other day I was trying to come up with some activities for the kids at the party and came across this incredible Mickey Mouse Park bounce house...  Knowing it would be way too much, I checked it out anyway.  Turns out the price wasn't TOO bad and since we weren't getting her a huge gift this year we decided to just go for it!  This bounce "house" is specifically designed for toddlers and even has a slide "weeeee" inside!  I can't wait to see Callie's face when she walks into the backyard and sees her favorite peeps in the yard... 

The last little thing I plan on having at her party is a cute photo booth.  I'm making these adorable Mickey Mouse Clubhouse character props for guests to use and we will have a mini printer hooked up outside for instant photo keepsakes!  I can just see it now, all of the adults tapping into their inner child as they pretend to be a Mickey character in silly little pictures...
We now only have 3 weekends until her big day!  Looks like I'll be a very busy bee... Stay tuned for pictures of the actual party, coming soon!  :)

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God Knows What He is Doing... Always.

When we found out we were expecting our first child I went through a time of very difficult emotions regarding my dad.  His absence in our lives was deeply felt every moment of everyday and I wanted nothing more than for him to be here to experience this miracle of life with me.  Watching Callie grow into the beautiful, spirited little toddler she has become there have been many moments of sadness knowing that she is missing out on knowing an amazing man, and in turn, he is missing out on knowing her.  
The news of our second pregnancy brought about similar emotions, but this time I was able to fully hand them over to the Lord, knowing that only He could hold the pain and confusion I was bound to feel.  God has safeguarded my heart from hitting rock bottom on several occasions, but most recently in regards to this.  

For those of you who know my family well, you know that my dad took his own life on December 14, 2010.  Josh and I had barely been married a year and our lives were flipped completely upside down with the tragedy and loss of someone we loved and cared for so deeply.  Every month that followed, my immediate family would gather together on the 14th to remember Dad and try to forget the pain.  We'd play games and share dinner, but we all felt the same gnawing pain in our hearts, wondering if and when it would subside.  It never did.

My pregnancy with Callie was a great distraction from the hurt inside, we were about to welcome new LIFE to our family, and what could be better than that?!  Her due date was June 12, 2012 and we waited eagerly for her arrival.  God had a different plan, though.  On May 14, 2012 I went into labor at 35 weeks and our little 5 lb 8 oz baby girl entered this world.  We spent 8 days in the NICU getting her healthy enough to come home, and once we did, again, our lives changed.  My mom and I both mentioned how ironic it was that she was born on the 14th, that it was God's way of easing our pain and giving us something else to celebrate on that day.  Every month I'd take the time to celebrate her one month birthday.  I'd take pictures, dress her up and write her little notes for when she's older.  Eventually the 14th became a less painful day for me. 

Kellan's due date was April 29th, 2014.  After 9 weeks of bed rest my body finally couldn't handle the pregnancy anymore and at 33 weeks I went into labor delivering our sweet 4 lb 4 oz baby boy.  He was born on March 14th, 2014; exactly 22 months after his sister.  The night before he was born, while we were laboring in the hospital, my mom came to my bedside and told me she had been having a terrible day until I called.  She had to take the day at home to just sleep because the pain in her heart was too strong to go about her normal daily activities.  The ache she must feel because of my dad's absence in her life is something I hope to never know... she is the strongest woman I know and my adoration of her cannot be put into words.  She then smiled through her tears and said, "Wouldn't it be funny if Kellan was born tomorrow?  It's the 14th."  And wouldn't you know it, he was.  

I prayed for God to take my pain away.  I prayed endlessly for so many nights that He would help me to recover from such a horrific tragedy.  I prayed until I couldn't pray anymore.  And you know something?  He answered.  The 14th of every month is an incredibly special day in my family now.  Not only do we celebrate Callie's monthly birthdays, but now our sweet son's and in just a couple of weeks we will be celebrating Cal-Girl's 2nd birthday!  That day has completely transformed from a day about death and loss to a day all about life and growth.  I see no coincidences here, this was the work of God, this was His answer to my prayers.  I am so thankful for a God who loves me unconditionally, through my sins and mistakes, loves me enough to bring me happiness despite the odds.  He truly knows what He is doing... Always.
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Wednesday, April 16

Kellan One Month

My life has been completely flipped upside down and I couldn't be happier about it!  Being a mother of two is such a blessing and so far, not as difficult as others have made it out to be.  I know that Kellan is still a newborn and that it will become more difficult when he's up and moving around, but for right now I think we've got the hang of things (knock on wood!)

We were in the NICU with our little peanut for 12, very long days.  He did incredible and was off cpap in just two days and went straight to room air.  From there we just had to work on lowering his bilirubin levels and getting him to nurse for a sufficient amount of time.  Being a premie brings problems with energy levels.  He nursed really great but wasn't able to stay awake long enough to get enough nutrients.  They fed him via tube until he was able to nurse better and that took up the bulk of our time there.  When we finally came home I couldn't have been happier.  Callie absolutely adores her "brova," especially giving him kisses.  

The night we came home she ran to the couch to see the "baby" and immediately wanted to hold him and play with him.  Since he was still so small and fast asleep she thought he was another baby doll for her to play with.  His first sound or movement made her eyes nearly pop out of her head, she looked at us and gasped.  It took a little bit for us to explain to her that this was a REAL baby and not a toy.  Once we let her "hold" him everything got better.  She gave him gentle kisses and rubbed her sweet, chubby hand over his soft hair.  I couldn't hold back the tears, seeing my two, beautiful children together for the first time was truly a moment I'll never forget.  Since then she has been an incredible helper, and despite some moments of frustration with her begging for attention, she has been an angel.  We couldn't have asked for more!  

Kellan is now a month old and is growing like a weed!  We are so impressed with his growth and health and know that it is only because of God's grace and faithfulness that he is doing so well.  We continue to give praise to Him for so many answered prayers.  
A week and a half ago we went to get his newborn portraits taken and are so eager to get the pictures back!  Stay tuned for a post with those little morsels of cuteness...

Weight: 6 lbs 11 oz (he's really packing on the pounds, especially in his chubby chipmunk cheeks!)
Height: 18.5 inches
Head circumference: 33 inches 
Percentile: 1st in all 3 categories 
Eating schedule:  He is still eating for roughly 18-20 minutes every 3 hours.  We just started letting him sleep at night and he's had one or two times where he's gone 4 hours instead of 3 and for that I'm so thankful!  I'm still pumping at every nursing session but am starting to try every other because our garage freezer is already full and there isn't much room in the inside freezer either.  We already have over 1,000 oz of breast milk stored so I'm looking into donating some of it to a local milk bank. 
Sleep:  Kellan is such a good little sleeper.  When he's not up eating he's fast asleep or cuddling with momma. 
Favorite things:  We absolutely love his little baby noises.  Callie sounded a lot like a monster, but Kellan is definitely more of a sheep.  He will stretch and make a baaaa sound, it's the cutest thing!  When he's awake, my favorite thing is staring into his baby blues.  I never dreamed I'd have a child with anything but brown eyes, and as of right now, his are bright blue!  I'm hoping they turn a little more green so he can look even more like his daddy. :)  He very rarely cries and now that we can give him "real" baths is liking those a lot more.  I try to bathe him every 3 days, even though he needs it much more often than that.  He spits up after every feeding and sometimes the milk shoots through his little nose ( I feel SO bad when this happens), but the doctor said not to worry since he's gaining such great weight.  He loves having his hair washed or head rubbed (such a typical male) and is a great snuggler.  I'm totally smitten with him.
Milestones: Right now the only milestones are his growth.  Nothing too exciting yet, but I'm definitely not wanting to rush things!  Stay a newborn little man... 
Clothing/Diaper size: We just graduated from premie clothes and into newborn!  They're a little big but he's too long for the premies now.  Size premie diapers still, but once this current pack is gone we will go to newborn. 

Here are a few of my favorite pictures from the past two weeks at home:
"Hey, this is MY brother!"
 My beautiful 23 month old baby girl!

 Callie on top, Kellan on the bottom... So weird!!

Just a little size comparison 
Kellan's first band rehearsal!
First night in his own room (1 month old)
Life is so, so good!  To God be ALL of the glory!

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