August 30, 2011

~ 1 Year Old ~

I'm surprised I still have followers! Things have been quite busy around here and as much as every ounce of me has wanted to sit down and blog at the end of the day.. I just haven't had it in me!

But, wow!! I have an official toddler. He's hit the big O-N-E. Crazy. His birthday party went perfectly. It was so nice to see everything that I had been planning and designing for a few months come together without a hitch... besides him not even remotely enjoying his first taste of cake. Yeah.. that was a little anti climatic.

But don't worry. It was slightly forced on him so we, as parents, could have the proper frosting-faced picture for memories.

And seriously.. it was worth the meltdown that followed shortly after this. Look at that face! A very tiny amount of cake or frosting ended up in his mouth. Mostly, he just liked the feel of it squishing between his fingers and piled it up in his highchair. It caused me quite a bit of anxiety.
I'll dedicate a whole post to his party later. Hang with me for just a little while longer. We'll get back into town (oh yeah.. we're flying outta here soon too) soon and things will get back to normal on my blog.

We took him to his 12-month appointment on Monday, and here are his stats:

Weight: 22.5 pounds (50th %)
Height: Just a little over 30 inches (85th %)
Head Circumference: 47.5 cm (know idea what percentile that is)

Diapers: Still in size 5. This is the longest he's even been in one size.
Clothes: Mostly 18 month clothing. Can still fit in a very few 12 month pieces. Pants and shorts are so awkward right now though. His little waist could still fit into 6-9 month, but length wise he needs 18 month.. soo.. yeah.. it's tricky.

He has 8 teeth, which I don't think has changed since last month. He's eating just about everything that we eat. Minus peanut butter. His new favorites are French Toast, NutriGrain Bars, and carrots are back on the fav list, much to my delight. He is back to eating just about everything. It's been really easy. *knock on wood* I believe I have completely weaned him off of formula as of today and just has a cup of milk in the morning and right before bed. He hates juice. Will have nothing to do with it even watered down.. he LOVES just plain water. I'm sure that will be great for our dental bill! And grocery bill for that matter.
So.. for the record.. favorite foods (I'll try to narrow this down, but I'm sure I'll want to remember this one day): Cheerios, Goldfish, yogurt, bananas, eggs, carrots, French Toast, NutriGrain Bars, apples, grapes, broccoli, and potatoes. He eats way more than that.. but those seem to be the faves.

First word was car. Yup. Car. Not mama. Not dada. Car. To him, a car is anything that has wheels. Our house is now filled with cars and trucks. He also "says" dog and outside. No one else would be able to tell he is saying those two, but I've put it together.

Other firsts this month -

He can climb. Very well.
He's scooting along furniture.
Playing "come and get me". It's really the cutest thing. He crawls just a little bit away from you then looks back and grins out you until you chase after him.
Hugs his stuffed animals.
Kisses everything.
Babbles even more constantly.
Starting to be able to show me what he wants without crying.

I'm sure there is more that I'm forgetting.
He wants to be outside all the time! Doesn't he realize it's over 100 degrees out there? He doesn't care. Not one iota. He just wants to play with rocks and dirt.


This has undoubtedly been the best year of your Daddy and my life. You make life worth living. You bring a smile to my face every single morning. No matter how tired I am in the morning, I find you playing in your crib, bouncing around and just so genuinely happy to see me, that my day can't help but be started on the right track. It's so exciting to see the changes in you lately. You are more fun then ever to interact with and you're just soaking up everything you see. You're growing so very fast! I have to say, I absolutely love this stage and I can't wait to see what's to come in the next year.
We are so glad that you are ours to keep and love forever. So very thankful! You are the reason for my smile. We love you to the moon and back! Happy 1st birthday!

August 22, 2011

Birthday Happenings

It's birthday week in Casa de Norton!! Decoration making is a full time job (along with nap changes - Drew, fatigue problems - me, and poop issues - Trey.. I kid, I kid.. that one is for Drew too) and the excitement is building!

We had his 1 year photos taken last week by our awesome photographer friend (who is sadly leaving us.. any other friends have any photography skills they want to work on???). A few samples below :)
One of his presents was purchased over the weekend. I love the B. collection from Target. We got him the B. Zany Zoo. It's pretty awesome! And umm.. let's just say he better enjoy it! I also want to get him one of those big foam puzzle piece mats to put in his room. Preferably one that has the pop out letters and numbers. I'm still on the search for that.

Now I just have ingredients to buy for the party food, make said food, pictures to print, finish the decor, hopefully will get around to making that slideshow (why is that such a daunting task for me??) and enjoy the party!!

Here are some of the pics that were taken last week :)

It's my party and I'll cry if I want to?

I'm such a big boy now!

We had to hide his cars throughout the pics to keep him from crying and ending the whole show

My favorite :)

August 18, 2011

Emotions - Looking back

I'm sure that everyone that knows me in real life is just about sick of hearing me talk about this... but I'm really confused about where the time has gone in this past year. Do I really have a toddler? Almost.

I'm having a bit of a hard time.. emotionally. Most people look back on the day of their child's birth and remember it as the happiest, best day of their lives. It's natural for me to keep looking back on that day around this time, but for me, it was the absolute WORST day of my life. I had never been so upset. So scared. So helpless. Over the period of 9 months (or longer) I looked forward to meeting my sweet boy.. then the moment came and it was nothing like I envisioned. I held him for not even a second before he was taken away. I didn't hear that first shrill cry. I heard silence and doctors rushing around. I barely knew what he looked like. He was taken to a different hospital and I was able to "spend some time with him" if you can call it that, on his third day of life.

This time takes me back to the uncertainty. Uncertain of what was going to happen to our baby. Would he ever make it home to us? Would there be permanent damage of any sort? A time where I can't put the amount of despair and sadness into words. I came home with an empty belly and had no baby to fill the empty bassinet that was ready.. right next to the bed I now had to sleep in. With no baby to wake me up at night.

I made the mistake of looking back at old blog posts this morning (which is where most of this is coming from).. and read this. I blocked so much of this out. But here it is in black and white to take me right back to that moment in time:
My little monkey is doing better and better by the day. Thank you so so much for all of your kind words and prayers.. keep them up.. they really are making a difference!

He is no longer dependent on a breathing tube. They took the big one out. He still has a little help through a tube is his nose, but he is doing all of the work himself.
He doesn't need the Dopamine anymore either. He is completely off of it now and is controlling his blood pressure just fine!
They are feeding him my breast milk through an IV. He has other IVs that are giving him fats and vitamins, but today they are working on uping my milk and lowering the other IVs. We pray that goes really well.

Our biggest concern now is a good bit of shaking we noticed today. It's like he's going into little mini convulsions and I hate to see his poor little body go through it. They did some blood work which came back all clear, and now we're waiting on the doc to read the EEG results.

He's gained almost 2 ounces and now weights 7 lbs and alllmost 8 ounces.

They won't tell me any kind of date that we can take him home of course, but the nurse kind of made it sound like he may be able to come home soon depending on the results of the EEG. I don't know that for sure though, I very well just may have been reading into what she said. I can't help but get my hopes up though. It's very encouraging to see all of the progress that he has made, but it's getting harder and harder to leave there every day without him in our arms. I'm emotionally exhausted! Especially after today...

We went for our first visit this morning. Trey and I were in the room together (they only let 2 in at a time, so grammy had to wait). I was able to take his temperature and Daddy changed his diaper. We weren't in there for much longer before everyone was kicked out since a new baby was being admitted.
We went back for our second visit at 3:00.. this time it was me and Grammy. The nurse told me right away that there was yet another baby being admitted soon so we don't have much time, but she felt comfortable with me holding him since they had him on his side and his hematoma seemed to be doing fine. Music to my ears! I was going to hold my precious baby for the first time!!

She got a chair ready for me to get comfortable in, brought over a blanket to swaddle him in, and left us sitting there for 15 minutes. She comes back... tells Grammy to put the blanket under him when she lifts him up.. the nurse swaddles him.. the walked away for another minute to help another baby (keep in mind there are plenty of other nurses in here the whole time). She comes back just in time to tell me the new baby will be here in 10 minutes and she doesn't feel comfortable with letting me hold Andrew. Not only for a minute???? I ask her. She tells me that's fine, picks him up and bit then sets him back down saying it just wasn't possible today.

Are.You.Kidding.Me??? I bawled. I understand there is nothing they can do if there is another sweet, poor baby that needs to come in, but like I said before, there were other nurses everywhere. Why was is necessary for her to leave us sitting here alone right after she tells a new mom that she is going to be able to hold her baby for the first time 4 days after him being born. I was a wreck.

First time I touched my baby

I forgot about all the tests that were done on him. Forgot about all the waiting. Feeling like they were taking their sweet time with our lives. Feeling utterly helpless. Being played with when it came to holding him for the first time. Forgot about all the tears that were shed on the drives to the hospital and in the hospital itself. Buzzing the door for a nurse to let us in. Scrubbing our hands. Suiting up in the hospital gowns and masks.

But, God was with us. He protected my mind.. the memories. (If it weren't for this blog, I would have forgotten all of these little heart breaking details). He got us through this difficult time. He got our little boy through it. He made Andrew a fighter.

And now look at the three of us. Getting ready to celebrate a year of LIFE. The happiest year of life I've ever experienced. You would never know that he had all of those troubles when he was born. He is thriving and one of the happiest little boys I have ever seen. We are beyond blessed.

7 months old

August 10, 2011

An assortment of thoughts

Do you ever get the urge to write, even though you have nothing in particular to write about? No? Just me? Well that's how I feel right now. I've tackled my to-do list and the babe is still napping, so it's time for a brain dump!

I'm having a Scentsy party on the 17th. Does anyone want to buy anything? You should. You really should :) Here's the link to use, justin case.

I've recently picked up scrapbooking (I know.. I'm a little late jumping on the train) and I LOVE it. I've always wished I was crafty, but didn't think I had any skillz. I would saunter around in Hobby Lobby, just oooing and ahhhing over everything in there. I'd leave feeling inspired, but would never know quite what to do. Scrapbooking has always appealed to me since I love my pictures so much, but I didn't know where to even begin! It's a daunting task! Luckily, when I moved here to Bliss, I made friends with a group of girls who have been around the block when it comes to SB'ing. We do monthly-ish SB nights and I'm officially obsessed. It's brought that well hidden crafty side right out of me. Of course I'm no pro yet, but I'd say I'm doing pretty well for my first book. I'm working on an Army book for Trey. Next I'll do one for my pregnancy and then... then.. Drew's first year! I can't wait to do that one!!
If you SB, do you have any helpful websites? How do you orgainze all of your supplies?

Here are a few of my best pages so far..

That's the definition of "together" at the bottom

4th of July fireworks at the river at Ft. Benning

The background paper is a letter pattern of sorts. So, I plan to take certain parts of letters we wrote to each other while at Basic and fill up the rest of the page :)

I went with my friend Ashley today to check out a kids' consignment shop I'd heard about. I had high expectations... which were shot down as soon as I stepped in. First of all, it was H-O-T in there! Hotter than it was outside, which had to have been in the mid 90s. Secondly, it was about the size of my living room and mostly all girls clothing. And most importantly, their items weren't THAT cheap. I mean.. cheaper than a normal store, but maybe more like a store full of sale items. Not consignment prices.
There was a Goodwill next door, so we figured, why not?! That's where I should have started out, my friends! Walked out of there spending only $5 for 4 winter shirts.
I had a little bit of a dillema in there though. I found the cutest pair of Christmas pj's that were 24 months. I'm having to buy 18 month pj's that he'll need to be in soon, so the rational side of me thought they'd probably be perfect. The emotional side couldn't buy them. They looked SO big. My baby couldn't be that big by Christmas. Nope.. not him. So there they sit.. still on the shelf. Am I crazy? They were probably like a dollar!

Our computer is going out the window very soon if someone can't tell me what is going on with it. The cursor has a little mind of it's own. I'm typing away, telling it what to do, and all of a sudden the cursor is five lines up and I start typing in another sentence without realizing it. Pretty annoying. I make sure to keep my wrists up in case it's just extra sensitive, but I can't really take it anymore. Please help!

End of brain dump... I'm ready for Drew baby to wake up and entertain me :)

August 7, 2011

This is what's for dinner tonight

Grilled Fresh Tomato and Greek Salad Pizza

I saw this recipe a few weeks ago in the USA Weekend section in the Sunday paper. It looked mouth-watering so I clipped it out, but honestly I was a little apprehensive. I was nervous about grilling a pizza.. if I could pull it off. I don't grill too well.

SO glad I gave it a shot anyway! It's the perfect, light summer meal.

You'll need:
4 large Italian Plum Tomatoes, sliced thin (juice from sliced tomatoes reserved)
2 Tbs. olive oil, divided
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound store-bought (or homemade if you roll that way) pizza dough. I used Pillsbury.
salt and ground black pepper
3/4 cup Mozzarella cheese
4 cups packs arugula or baby spinach (I used the spinach)
1/4 cup chopped kalamata olives (I left those out)
2 ounces crumbled feta (I used low-fat or fat-free.. I can't remember which)

Turn all burners of a gas grill on high. Meanwhile, mix sliced tomatoes with 1 Tbs of olive oil and garlic. Set aside.
Spread dough onto a lightly floured surface. Using a dough scraper or sharp knife, quarter dough crosswise. Transfer to a large cornmeal-coated baking sheet.
Reduce grill heat to medium; lift stretched pieces of dough on grill. Cover and cook until bottoms are spotty brown, moving them around and punching dough down as necessary to ensure even cooking (I mean.. I just patted it once or twice.. whatevs), 3 or 4 minutes.
Return pizza crusts, grilled side up, to baking sheet, topping each with a portion of tomatoes (reserving any remaining garlicky tomato liquid). Lightly sprinkle tomatoes with salt and top with a portion of mozzarella cheese.
Return pizza to grill; cover and continue to grill until pizza bottoms are spotty brown, 3 to 4 minutes longer. Transfer to a cutting board.
Meanwhile, toss spinach with olives, feta, remaining oil and a light sprinkling of salt and pepper. Drizzle in reserved tomato juice; toss to coat again. Top each pizza with a portion of salad. Cut into pieces and serve.

This was fun to make and even more so to eat. Something about it being grilled just made it so much better! We definitely plan to do this again and play with different toppings!

August 4, 2011

Warning: This is a long one

This post will be a tad bit scatterbrained as I'm feeling a bit.. well.. scatterbrained. It's just been one of THOSE days. You know one where I've had to collect specimen samples from my child so of course he wouldn't poop. Until the most inopportune moment when he went while I was driving, dug into his diaper and proceeded to smear it all over his body and eat it. YUM. So of course if spread to me.. and the carpet upstairs... and I called my husband crying and letting him know that I would not, after all, be joining him for his Hail and Farewell tonight. Since you know.. the baby has had ONE 15 minute nap at this point, I haven't showered since Tuesday morning and I now have poop in my hair.

There. I feel much better. (and don't worry.. I've showered by now)

On to the real topic of the day. Back to the subject of friends, which, I know, I've touched on many times. But here it is again.

When I moved away from hometown, SC, I already had my tight knit group of friends. I've never had a problem finding people and forcing them to be my friends, but when I moved away,  I never ever suspected I'd be as blessed as I am sitting here now. I had a lot to learn when it came to the ways of the military.

Friendships - real, true, amazing friendships - form very quickly. Of course, you don't have that instant bonding with EVERYONE you meet, but it happens a lot. See, you don't have quite as long as the normal person would to forge a friendship. People come and go and you never know when. You meet someone, you click, and you don't know how long you'll have together.
You need them. You need these people, you need these friendships. You are thrown into a totally foreign (to you) place and only have the people you live with. You need people to bring you up when you are down (because you WILL have your down moments), to grab a cup of coffee or a cocktail with you, to vent to, to laugh with, to tell you that you should absolutely NOT walk out of this house with those jeans on, to have play dates with, to give you some adult conversation, to hold your hand through hard times. The list just goes on and on and on.
You have to have people to depend on. Because, honestly, you can't depend on your significant other 95% of the time. I don't say that with any bitterness at all, so I don't want it to read that way, but it's true. I know Trey would drop everything for us if he could, but I also am fully aware that Army comes first and he didn't make that rule up. He hates it, but it's a fact. We knew that from the beginning. He's either in meetings, in the field, training to deploy, or deployed. So, no, he can't come home out of the field and take care of the baby while you have a stomach bug and can't leave the bathroom. But, you have 5 girlfriends volunteering to take you to the hospital, take the baby for the night, bring you soup, gingerale or crackers.
You need people who understand the things you go through without having to explain anything. I LOVE my friends back home and they know that. But this would be 100% more difficult if I were still back home while Trey did his Army thing. I don't mean to sound like I'm in some secret society or anything, sometimes I feel like that's how I sound, but as much as I've always had friends that were there for me, it's different in this world. Everyone else's lives still go on. Their husbands would be home every night to have dinner with them and relax with. I have some girlfriends who, usually, it works out that their husbands are not coming home on the same nights mine isn't. Instant girls night!! It's great. But we also understand when plans are ditched at the last minute, because, "YAY my husband's coming home".
You need people to not look at you like you are a complete loon if you randomly break out in tears because you miss your mom and dad SO VERY MUCH. And people to step in and take that roll when your real mama can't! (Hi Sue and Maridee).

I've been lucky enough to meet a great group of girls like that.  I really do count my blessings. I've also been lucky to not have to say, "See you later" to any of them.. until now. I've only known Melissa IRL for a few short months.. just for the summer. But now she is gone and let me tell you.. I felt that goodbye like I was losing a friend I've had my whole life. We bonded.. and we bonded very quickly. The two of us, plus Jaci, had the best time together over the summer. Now she's headed back to law school and (not to sound too dramatic.. it's just the truth) I've felt like I've had this little hole in my heart for the past few days. I will always miss her in my life (until we're stationed in the same area again), but I do realize how lucky I am to have met such an awesome person.. someone who I will always consider a great friend.

Nancy and I had a great conversation about this lately, plus Trey and I were laying in bed the other night, talking about all of these people that have come into our lives. It's crazy when you really think about it.  What if we never left hometown, SC? How can it just be a random thing that our paths crossed with the people that it has. Two years ago I would have never imagined this. That I'd have these wonderful friends that are more like family. That I'd open myself up to and have true friendships with people from Oklahoma, Tennessee, Washington, Wisconsin, Michigan, Georgia, Arizona, Wyoming of all places (sorry.. but not many people know someone from Wyoming).. all over the country.

Of course I do miss back home. But I'm thankful for all this. I'm thankful for the opportunity I've had to broaden my horizons. To meet and become close to the people that I have. Without this crazy, sometimes inconvenient, life that we live now, I would never have known this was out here.

I'll say it again at the risk of pooping out butterflies... I'm truly truly blessed!

On somewhat of the same note, this has been weighing heavily on my heart lately, so I thought I'd share and ask for prayers. I know of so many girls right now that have either just said "see you later" to their husbands for a deployment or who will be VERY very soon. It's the first time that I've been so close to people that are going through it and seeing it happen the whole way out. (hearing they'll be leaving, watching them get ready, counting down the days, etc.) and it's heartbreaking, but also makes me very proud to know them at the same time. It's going to be a hard year for some of my dear friends.. please keep them in your prayers and I promise to do the same!

August 1, 2011

Sneak Peak

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Now that mostly everyone should have their invites, I wanted to share with all of you! Here is a little sneak peak into Andrew's first birthday party. We are SO excited and I have LOTS of cute ideas. I'm almost done preparing everything and can't wait to share the rest with everyone :)