Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Hello world

We'd like to introduce you to our daughter...
Tessa Kaye Houston
(named after her great grandma Houston)
Born: 10/30/12 at 8:43 AM
6 pounds 2.5 ounces
19" long
And she's absolutely, 100 percent, perfect.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Rainy Saturdays

Sleeping in late and grocery shopping. Dance parties in the living room and Brady's awesome guitar skills. Homemade chocolate chip cookies, movies, and lasagna soup (that's right I said soup). I don't know about you but, to me, there is nothing better than Saturdays where you can just be...well...lazy (it also helps that I get to do all of these things with my handsome husband).  
(check out the other amazing soups we plan to make here)
(Our cookies did NOT turn out like this, by the way. Such a bummer. If someone has an awesome, melt-in-you-mouth recipe for chocolate chip cookies, please help!) 
The process sure was fun, though :)

Happy Saturday everyone!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Countdown to motherhood guest post: Katya Camp

(He's much, MUCH older but this is just the best picture)

So, funny story about Ayden. He will be a year old on Oct 16. I am convinced that little kids, especially toddlers, know instinctively which button to push in order to cause the most damage to whatever electronic device you happen to be using. Time and time again, this sweet little mischeif maker has deleted facebook posts, sent unfinished e-mails, clicked on inappropriate ads on the side of the page, called random strangers, or hit redial and called grandma, daddy, and various violin students. He is also an expert at turning on the xbox, selecting Netflix, and turning on Yo Gabba Gabba, even occasionally turning off the show mommy is watching first. :)

One day, Ayden crawled off to the bedroom by himself without me noticing. I was in the kitchen doing dishes. I heard the TV and xbox turn on and then heard the opening music for Halo. I thought my husband must have come home without my noticing, so I went into the bedroom to say hi. There was Ayden, sitting on the bed looking up at the TV with an xbox controller in his hand, fiddling around on the Halo menu. When he saw me, he looked up as if to say, "What? That's what this thing is for, isn't it?" I laughed so hard, I thought I was going to be sick!

Now every time daddy is playing games, he has to take the battery pack out of one of the controllers so little dude can "play" along with him. :)

It always amazes me how fast Ayden learns things. I think most kids are a lot smarter than we give them credit for. Scary smart, sometimes!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Role model

Well, we made it to week 38. Good job us!
(No, this is not our baby :) This is my niece, Mary, the day before my wedding... but very soon we'll be able to take a picture exactly like this with OUR baby. 
Gosh, nothing's ever sounded sweeter. )  

Baby girl has a new favorite game she likes to play during the day. It's her own little version of London Bridge, in other words, lets see how long it takes to make mom fall down. True story. She's sitting so low these days, that her little head bumps all the nerves in my lower back and between my legs. I'm starting to have to walk next to the walls so I have something to hold myself up when my legs give out, which they do on a regular basis because of little girl. I'm choosing to look for the "silver lining" in this situation and decided that it's just her way of saying, "I'm still here mom and I'm one nerve closer to making my grand entrance." Pretty great, huh? We'll see how well that silver lining holds up when I actually find myself on the floor.

I've been thinking a lot about role models lately. I feel that when you're about to have your first child or even a new child, for that matter, there comes a time when you ask yourself if you're enough, not the,"am I going to be a good parent?" kind of enough (although we ask ourselves that, too) but the, "Where I am, right now in my life, am I the kind of person I want my child to emulate?" kind of enough. I feel like this feeling has been enhanced even more because I'm about to have a little girl.

Please understand this isn't me bashing on Kate, this is me wondering if I, myself,  have developed the things that I want my daughter to develop. I'm not just talking about my behaviors and habits, I'm talking about my deeply rooted inner beliefs about myself. It kind of causes you to do a personal inventory. To ask questions like, "Do I truly believe that I'm valuable?" or "Do I believe that I have something special to offer to the world?" or "Do I believe I can do hard things?" The reason it's important to ask these kind of questions is because I believe you can't teach someone something you don't already know yourself. It almost seems hypocritical to tell my daughter to think she's beautiful and then turn around and look at myself in the mirror and not like what I see. It sends a really confusing message.

In order to help her feel deep inner worth, I need to model a feeling of deep inner worth, and in order to model that worth, I need to first feel it within myself.

I understand thinking like this can be overwhelming and sometimes seem like it's too late, especially if you already have a handful of kids and especially if those kids are older, but "It's never too late to be who you might have been." No matter our present state, as we begin to change, I believe, our daughters will notice and begin to change themselves as well.

I'm not trying to sound like I know it all or like I have it all figured out. I'm just trying to become the best role model I can for my children, especially my little girls... one second at a time.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Well, it's still here

The baby bump is still around. Last night was an, I guess you could call it... interesting (?) night for our little family. I was seriously expecting my next post to be an "Introducing our baby girl" post. I started having "contractions" (I'm still trying to figure out exactly how to tell the difference between real and not-so-real-but really-feel-like-they're-real contractions) at about 10 a.m. yesterday morning. After bombarding my poor sister with a million texts asking a million questions about Braxton Hicks and false labor vs. real labor, I just decided to wait it out and see.

They weren't increasing in intensity and frequency but they weren't going away like they normally did either (trust me, I tried walking, laying on my left side, a bath, and I drank lots and LOTS of water). After about four and a half hours of that (still feeling contractions but not really knowing if they were "real" contractions) I decided to let Brady know, better safe than sorry, right? I just didn't think my next door neighbors would appreciate delivering my child because I had waited too long to tell my husband.

At about 10:20 p.m. they definitely started getting worse (I had to actually take deep breaths through each one) and they started coming pretty consistently. My midwife had told me, when I called earlier that evening, to take a hot shower and get some rest because if it was the real thing, it wasn't like I was going to sleep through it and miss the party. I decided to take her word for it and get some sleep. By that time, Brady didn't think any of it meant the real thing, and, if I'm being honest with myself, I didn't either. Secretly, I was hoping that I would wake up in the middle of the night and things would really start happening; that all the anticipation and uncomfortableness (if that isn't really a word, I just made it one) wouldn't be for nothing.

At about 1:30 a.m. I woke up with a lot of pain in my lower back and lower abdomen, the next hour or so wasn't very fun for Brady and I. Then 3 o'clock rolls around and those pesky, painful contractions (if that's even what they really were) just... stopped. All day long, at the end really painful and then they just stop.

I guess baby girl just got cold feet?

In all honesty, I think I just didn't want to let myself believe it wasn't really happening and until I let it go and told myself to stop looking for signs that it was really happening, the contractions just gradually went away. Do I think you can really will your contractions away? No. Do I think you can build it up in your mind because you've been pregnant for almost nine months and really want to hold your baby girl for the first time? Definitely.

So, today I'm still sporting my not so little baby bump and a really sore lower back/ lower abdomen. If you're curious, I'm occasionally getting ache cramps in both my back and my abdomen but until I can't talk or Brady has to carry me out to the car because it's so painful, I'm not getting my hopes up.

On the bright side, Brady was a champ! He cleaned the house, tolerated my many middle of the night strolls around the bedroom, massaged my lower back at two in the morning and went grocery shopping so I wouldn't have to. Like I said, champ!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Countdown to motherhood guest post: Jessica McCormick

(Brett helping his mom with his little brother Jordan)

I've been thinking about what I would want to say for a couple days because i've only been a mother for two and a half years and already there is so much you learn. I'm just getting into the potty training fun and I just learned something new about my son. Brett is attached to his poop and tried to grab it out of the toilet when I tried to flush it. A new lesson i'm so happy to teach him. Hehe. 

From the moment I had Brett in my arms after he was born, my life was immediatly changed forever in the most amazing way. But the most touching moment in my life was Sept. 23 2011. I was pregnant with Jordan and Brett was a little over 1. We were sealed together as a family for eternity in the temple. Right when they brought Brett into the sealing room he looked at me with this smile on his face and touched my cheek as if he knew what was happening (which I'm sure he did), and it melted my heart and I knew we'd be together forever. 

Now, every day when I walk into the room and my kids faces light up with a smile, it reminds me of that special day and that we're forever. It also makes it harder for me to be mad at them and adds to the patience I need to talk to them calmly. Like the other day when I found Brett in Jordan's bassinet while Jordan was trying to sleep. 

I think the most important lesson that i've learned so far is to let things go, it happens. Things can be fixed and cleaned and picked up, you only have your baby for a little while and they grow up too fast to sweat the small stuff.

I would also definitely recommend the book "Baby Wise" by Gary Ezzo and Robert Bucknam. It helped me get Jordan to sleep and eat better than I did with Brett. Jordan was sleeping through the night by 3 months. Enough said! 

Jessica mentions a temple and eternal families in her post. If you're interested in learning more about Latter-Day Saint (Mormon) temples and what goes on there, please click here and here

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

This and that

Obviously one of the main purposes for this blog is to keep family and friends updated but it's also kind of a journal for our little family. Sometimes I feel like too much happens too fast and there's not enough time in the day to write about it. I'm so worried that I'm going to miss something and then completely forget what it looked like or how I felt! How sad. In an effort to avoid this actually happening and nip that feeling 'in the bud,' I've decided to occasionally do a post called "this and that." It's an attempt to remember important things without having to do a full blog post about it. That way we can remember the little things that are going on.

Life is so good and, gosh, I just don't want to forget any of these moments.

I'm thinking this may be our new General Conference family tradition. Pork Salads.

Can't get enough of this fall weather! Homemade clam chowder and chocolate, caramel apples...
And a splash of fall color, too.

Highlights from Puget Sound
 I'm pretty proud of this picture I took. Just look how the water sparkles. 
Mel's little "treasure" trove.
 I took this one too. Again, very proud :)

Where I spend a lot of my mornings, just reading to my baby.

It finally started raining for the first time this weekend and it didn't stop raining until today.

Brady took this picture of Mount Rainier, the highest mountain in Washington. Can you see it? Look closely, right in the middle.

And finally, I just REALLY like this guy

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, October 15, 2012

They finally came

Well, everyone we finally made it to "full" term! 37 weeks today and my stomach still seems to be growing by the minute. Baby girl and I celebrated by taking a nap:)

On the agenda for tonight's F.H.E (family home evening): pack hospital bag and diaper bag, create birth plan, and put baby girl's comfy new stroller in the car. I have to admit, it'll feel a little weird driving around with an empty car seat for awhile.

 I've had a couple of you ask about our nursery. Last weekend kind of felt like Christmas morning at our house because baby girl's car seat/stroller and nursery furniture finally arrived.

Brady made us lug that car seat out to our car to make sure it'd fit before I got too attached to it. I have to admit, it was pretty adorable watching him try and decide the best place for it to go and watch him try and figure out how to strap it in.

 Hopefully, very few of you remember the state of my nursery when I wrote this post. All I can say is, I was glad to have such a handy man when we tried to put that furniture together. "Some" assembly required my foot!

We were a great team! Brady was the head assembler and I was assistant assembler (mainly I just watched and occasionally handed him a screw or two). Have you ever seen the directions for nursery furniture? They only use pictures, no words. That can get really confusing when all the pieces look EXACTLY the same. Luckily, Brady didn't have a hard time because of all the mad skills he acquired from his lego building days (those instructions only use pictures as well).

Shall we do a before and after picture of our new and improved nursery? I think we shall!
 And after!

Tada! Hey, you can actually see the color of the carpet now. How nice.

I walked into the nursery the other day to find this little quilt spread out over the mattress. Brady had laid it out so it'd be ready for baby girls arrival, which I thought was REALLY cute :) Daddy is so ready for her to be here, he can't hardly stand it.
So there you are. The walls are bare and there is still a pile of stuff in the corner, conveniently placed behind the door so it can't be seen in these pictures, but we're getting close.

Brady also requested that I play a little game with my "avid" readers. We'll call it "Guess when baby girl will be born"! I wish I could offer the winner $50 dollars or something cool like that, but all I can give you is the title of winner and maybe, if I'm feeling really crazy, I'll buy you your favorite candy bar.

So post your guess in the comment section below and we'll see which  one of you will win that awesome title "WINNER" and get the candy bar of your choice. Ready go!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Brother & Sister

Remember the date Brady and I had here?

Yesterday we took Melissa to that very spot to giver her a taste of Seattle, or at least our favorite part of Seattle :) I have to tell you, there is something so awesome about having a big brother protector or having a little sister to protect. I spent most of my time on a nearby rock snapping shots of these two interacting. Gosh they were cute.

Pretty darn great, eh?

And just in case you were missing my pretty face (mom)... Here's a little Kate action for you :)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Little m-e-l, we sure think she's swell...

Remember the rockstar in this post? Look how grown up she is!

Little, but really not so little anymore, Melissa gets to come spend a whole two days with us this weekend! We couldn't be more thrilled because she's just a ray of sunshine and trust me, in Seattle you need all of the sunshine you can get.

I'm so excited to be reunited with my playmate.

Maybe she can do something about the box of decorations for my house gathering dust in the corner. Or maybe we'll just watch Sleepless in Seattle and leave the box where it sits :)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Countdown to Motherhood Guest Blog: MaryAnn Johnson (Mom)

(Mary Ann and her grandson Benji)
I never thought much about being a mother. I mean you grew up, got married and had kids. Everyone did it; everyone that I knew anyway and they didn’t seem to make much of a big deal about it. But it is a BIG deal. I had so much to learn about being a mother.

It doesn’t come naturally to everyone.
It isn’t always a piece of cake.
Sometimes it is overwhelming.
You often do not know what to do next.
If you just keep at it, it will be the very best thing you ever do!!

I would do it over again even though there were some very hard times. 

Now I am in my sixties and I look back with fondness. I look at pictures of my sweet children and I am sure that I did not see how wonderful they were then, not clearly enough anyway. It is so easy to get caught up in the work of being a mother that you forget to pay attention to the joys of being a mother.
(Mary Ann's "babies" from left to right: Jodie, Seth, Jenny, Marie, Andrew, Barry, and Kate)
Here are just a few things that I would do differently if I had it to do over again: 

I would realize that hearing a child call “mom” is a magical sound even if they say it 100 times a day. The time will come when you will miss it!

I would cherish every wet and sloppy kiss because no matter how many you get they will never be enough! You will want more of them long after your child is grown.

A clean house is not more important than a sweet relationship with your child. Messy bedrooms eventually disappear and so does the child – into adult hood – and then all you have left is a perennially empty and clean room and hopefully a child who wants to come home on occasion and fill it back up.

Conversations with a child are amazing, if you take the time to listen.

A child’s laughter and joy is contagious if you are paying attention. Catch it because it is great.

Being the care taker of another persons learning and personal growth is an amazing stewardship and is worth all the time and effort it takes to do it with kindness and gentleness.

The huge reward for raising a child well is another adult friend and grand children! Now that I am a grandmother I have learned most of these things. Moving at a slower and gentler pace is what grandparents do and so we see a bit more clearly and we enjoy a bit more deeply. Any mother who is clear on the importance of being a mother and is willing to make it her number one priority for a short while can have these things long before she is a grandmother. 

It is truly a short time so enjoy it.

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