Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Family Ties

While we didn't spend Christmas in TN with my family, we were able to make a quick trip there before the holidays for my cousin's wedding. Everyone was together, which has become a rarity these days. And it was a great chance to introduce Caleb!

Fortunately, my friend Melissa let us borrow her DVD player for the car. That made a huge difference and the trip was quite enjoyable for everyone!

I had a great time with my sisters. We love eachother and have tons of fun together. But we're spread out across the country (one sis in Texas and the other in Ohio), so these times do not happen often enough.

My uncle, my mom's youngest brother, was also able to come home. He is a fellow attorney so we have many exciting (or some may say boring) discussions!

Here is my brother's daughter, Layla, holding Caleb. She absolutely loved him and asked to "hold that baby" all day long!

This visit was a little different for us all. My sister Kate brought her boyfriend home to meet the family. For Kate's sake, I won't write much about this. But my husband did his part in embarassing both of them and divulging all the family secrets.

We are so very blessed to have a large family that enjoys being together and loves eachother.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Merry Christmas

We hope your family had a wonderful Christmas! This was our first year to spend Christmas Day at our home. Several years ago, I would not have expected to enjoy this "first". I come from a very close and very large family. We LOVE Christmas and make a very big deal of it. Breaking that routine, I expected, would be somewhat depressing. But I was wrong. We had a lovely Christmas together. Bob and I tried to make Christmas a very special day for eachother and for Eveley (Not to forget about Caleb, but it doesn't take much to make his day special!).

On Christmas Eve, we put Eveley to bed in her Christmas pajamas and began to prepare the family room for Christmas morning. Bob put on some Christmas music and we assembled her Christmas presents by the light of the Christmas tree. It was great fun!

On Christmas morning, we waited for the kids to wake up. I'm not sure if Eveley knew exactly what was awaiting her, but she did know it was Christmas, it was Jesus's birthday, and there would be presents. We brought her and Caleb into our bed and read the Christmas story from Luke 2.

Evie has major bed head!!

Evie giving her little brother a kiss. (We are working on being gentle!)

Then, we walked down the stairs and this is what Eveley saw.

As soon as she turned the corner, she began running and said, "Oh Boy!"

I had wondered what to get her for Christmas. She is only 20 months old and I knew we weren't planning to pile on the presents. But each day, Eveley sits at my feet in the kitchen while I'm cooking and begs to "stir". She loves to pour things into bowls and open and shut cabinets. So a kitchen was the perfect choice. She absolutely loves it, especially the phone and the huge basket of play food. It was great to see her so excited. We spent much of the day on the floor playing with her and eating plastic food.

Also, Bob got me one of these for Christmas!

Haven't taken it out of the box yet. But give me some time and, hopefully, the quality of my pictures will improve drastically! Yeah!!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Divine Design

I just had to show off my homemade stockings. Please do not click to enlarge! =) The order is: Bob, Eveley Joy, Robbie, Caleb, and me. Eveley's has Christmas trees and "Joy" all over and Robbie's has Christmas dogs! Caleb's is kind of generic because I had not even met him yet when I picked out his fabric!

I hope to take some individual pictures of our ornaments for a later post. We have been given so many special ones by friends and family and I'd love to document it all. This may have to wait until after Christmas!

Caleb Robert was born on December 8. As I hinted at earlier, this was a very significant date. First of all, it was my paternal grandfather's birthday (my dad's dad). Daddy Paul, as we called him, was a wonderful, fun-loving grandfather who loved his grandchildren. He would often slip me a few dollars ("mad money" as he called it) when I would be home from college and you could see the sparkle in his eyes as he was able to bless and love on me. He passed away during my senior year of college.

Maybe it's not too random for your child to be born on your grandfather's birthday. But how about doing this twice?? Robbie was born on my maternal grandfather's birthday. Poppy was very pleased to have his first great grandchild born on his birthday. So, my two sons were born on my two grandfather's birthdays. Pretty neat, right?

December 8 is very significant for another reason. Robbie went to heaven when he was 10 days shy of turning 20 months old. On December 8, Eveley Joy was 10 days shy of turning 20 months old.

In the past, I had wondered about the time when Eveley would "pass" her brother's age and we would begin to experience new stages with her. On this very day, the Lord brought Caleb Robert into our family. For Bob and me, this has reminded us that the Lord redeems.

I find myself to be a "skeptic" in some ways, hesitating to identify or interpret "signs". But I must say that this birthdate will serve as a reminder of God's goodness, His sovereignty, and His great love for us, His children. In this special way, God was reminding us that our pain has not gone unnoticed. And this large master plan that has been crafted by our loving Father is far too beautiful for us to comprehend.

Job 19:46 "I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end He will stand upon the earth."

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Okay. So, I forgot how life was with a newborn. Exhausting! Caleb had a difficult time sleeping the first several nights. Twenty-minute increments just wasn't cutting it for him or for me! I really thought I was going to collapse at some point. But there's just something about that little booger that keeps me awake in the middle of the night and brings a smile to my face as I'm stroking his soft hair at 3 am! Last night was much better as he slept in 3-hour increments. That said, he is a very good baby and we are very blessed.

We have also been so blessed to have family helping us out this past week. My mom was a HUGE blessing and helped keep Eveley preoccupied and happy while I tended to Caleb. The family left on Sunday but my sister Carrianna was able to stay with me this week. This has allowed me to sleep in a little while she takes care of Eveley in the morning. I cannot say thank you enough to them. I don't know how people do this without some help!

The big question -- Who does Caleb look like? I'll let you judge for yourself.

Pretty funny! Maybe people are right when they say all babies look alike. If you can't figure it out, the order is: Eveley, Robbie, Caleb. I think Caleb looks a lot like Robbie but seems to resemble Eveley a little too. A perfect combination.

We've been trying to keep Eveley in a normal routine and let her feel secure and happy. A trip to the mall to ride the carousel accomplishes this very well!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Where to Begin?

I have no idea where to start, so I'll begin with pictures!

I cannot begin to tell you what a whirlwind Caleb's birth was. My due date was actually the 9th but, like most women, I was hoping he would come early. And my mom came into town on Saturday to help with Eveley.

On Monday, I began my day at the DMV. My driver's license had expired on my birthday, and I had to renew. I then headed to the doctor's office for my appointment. He told me I was 3 cm dialated and said the baby could come anytime. We decided to try and walk around a lot that day so my mom and I finished some Christmas shopping ate a yummy lunch at Long John Silvers!

That evening, Bob and I put Eveley to bed around 7 and then sat down to watch Jon & Kate plus 8. I had been having some cramping on and off but that was it. At 9:01, the contractions started and they were coming every 3 minutes. Miss Eveley, who never wakes up from her sleep, woke up and called for mama. I got her and she laid on my stomach while I sang to her (in between contractions). I then put her back to bed and called the doctor at 10:05. He said to meet him at his office just to make sure I was in labor. We arrived there at 10:30 and I was 6 cm. We walked across the street to the hospital. I got into my room about 10:50, put on my gown, answered a bazillion questions and realized this was it. The pain was very intense and the nurse decided to check me once more. As she began to tell me that I was 8 cm, I had a very strong contraction and screamed, "Is there a baby?" She saw the head and pressed the emergency button. People raced into the room, and Mr. Caleb was born at 11:47. Wowsers! I was not prepared for that.

But here is a special verse that my mom shared with me:

A woman, when she is in labor, has sorrow because her hour has come; but as soon as she has given birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. John 16:21

Can I get an Amen?!

Eveley loves her little brother, but she's still trying to figure everything out. She becomes very concerned when she hears him crying and immediately runs over to give him a kiss. She is amazed (as we all are) by his thick, soft hair, and she loves to rub it.

We came home from the hospital late yesterday morning. When we walked into the house, I was expecting Evie to run for her mama, which she did. But she was mainly excited to see the balloon we brought back.

Last night was pretty rough, by my two babies are sleeping at this moment. God is good!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Waiting No More

We welcomed our precious bundle of joy

Caleb Robert

into this world at 11:47 p.m. on December 8. He weighs 7 pounds, 1.5 ounces and is 19 3/4 inches long.

There are so many details to share - the significance of his birthdate, the meaning of his name, the whirlwind of his birth, Eveley Joy's adjustment. But, for now, these pictures will have to suffice. I feel as if I've been hit by a very large truck! But we are so blessed and excited to enter this new stage in our lives.

Thank you all for your many prayers and beautiful words that you've shared with us.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

What's in a Name?

I don't know about you, but, for me, when I found out I was pregnant for the first time, my immediate thought was -- What will we name him or her? That seemed to be the most exciting and monumental task that we would have.

Of course, I browsed through all of the name books and websites, but when we found out our first baby would be a boy, I knew my role in this task was no more. My husband is a Junior and he was adamant about having a Third. So our firstborn son would unquestionably be named Robert Emmet the Third. I was not opposed to this. I think that's a great heritage and wonderful way to create a legacy. But, I will admit, it took the wind out of my sails. You see, in my family, we have a blue million Roberts. This includes my father, grandfather, great grandfather, brother, three cousins, and two uncles. And that is just on my side.

So, I decided to focus my energy on what we would call him. Some options were Trey or Tripp (due to his "Third" status) and Bo. My great aunt insisted that we call him Bert. (If you know our last name, you would understand why I immediately vetoed this suggestion.)

We decided on Robbie and, of course, it was perfect.

Then, we found out we were pregnant with child #2. Once we discovered we were having a girl, I declared myself the sole name chooser since I had a very minor role in choosing Robbie's name.

For me, I want my children to have significant names -- names with a purpose. I knew I wanted to name my first daughter after my grandmothers. They are both saints -- beautiful, godly women with the most amazing spirits. My maternal grandmother had no namesakes. This could be due to the fact that she is known as "Footy"! But her given name is Evelyn (Footy was born out of her older sister's inability to pronounce her name). I heard the name Eveley and decided on that.

A few weeks after Robbie went to Heaven, we were driving in the car and I was contemplating what Eveley's middle name should be. It had to be meaningful and capture some of the circumstances surrounding her birth. The name Joy came to me, and I knew that was perfect. A song we had been listening to for many months before included the line from the Bible verse: Though sorrow may last for the night, Joy comes in the morning. And Eveley Joy has been the perfect choice.

Here we are again -- trying to decide on a name for our third child and second son that will encompass our prayers for his life, the timing of his birth, and our thankfulness to God for His wonderful blessing. We have chosen a name, and we both agreed right from the start. So, number three has been a definite joint effort.

We can't wait to meet the little guy, and we will tell you his name after we've told him!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Weekend Update

It is hard getting back to work and the "normal" routine after a fun and relaxing Thanksgiving vacation. My husband's parents came to visit from upstate NY. They stayed for the week and were able to spend lots of time with Eveley. I am sure they are worn out! Eveley kept them busy reading books and playing outside. She had a great visit with her grandparents.

We are now just playing the "waiting game" as the due date approaches. No matter what you hear from the doctor, friends' stories, or babycenter.com, there really is no way to predict when the baby will arrive. Other than your water breaking (which I have always wished would happen to me), you just have to sit around and wait for the pain to begin. Haven't I mentioned that I am not a patient person?

This really has been an ideal time to wait though. There is so much to keep me busy - holidays, parties, gift buying, decorating - that I think I'm doing a better job of waiting with this pregnancy.

Those of you interested in the stats: I am 2 cm, 70% effaced and the baby is at -1. Really, this means nothing at all. I have tried all of the "old wives' tales" on how to induce labor -- raspberry tea, walks, Mexican food, castor oil, and other unmentionables. The castor oil worked with Eveley. I took it at noon, contractions started at 4, and she was born at 8:58. But I'm trying to be patient this time. We'll see.

Anybody have any methods that worked for you?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me!

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. And Happy Birthday to me! Every few years, my birthday falls on Thanksgiving. I don't find this to be inconvenient because family has time off, there's no school, and we always have lots of good food.

My sweet husband arranged for us to celebrate my birthday yesterday. I met him in town at noon while my in-laws, who are visiting, watched Eveley. It was "Lauren's Day" and we got to do exactly what I wanted to do.

So, we went to lunch here, of course! YUM!

Then we spent the afternoon shopping at my favorite places - TJ Maxx and Marshalls. It was so fun to be able to browse around the store with two free hands and a calm mind. I purchased a few pairs of PJs for my upcoming hospital stay and then we went to another store where I got to pick out my very own....

Yea! (no cracks about the photo, please; had to capture the big day regardless of the fact I am 9 months pregnant and swollen!)

We ended the afternoon with one of these

If you haven't had a chance to try one of Chick-fil-A's peppermint chocolate chip shakes, you are missing out!

What a fun day. I didn't realize how busy and stressed I had been and how much I needed to get out of the house. This was a great afternoon. Thank you to my wonderful husband for a wonderful day! Oh, and did I mention this is the big 3-0! Where did the time go?

The other day, a friend mentioned that every year on her birthday, her mother recounts the details of her birth story. I thought that was a great idea. I did not relate this to my mom, but she sent me an email this morning with the following story:

On November 27, 1978, Dad went to his secret site to guard Nerve Gas, and I got up as usual in our apartment in Pirmasens, West Germany. Later in the day I began to feel a bit funny, so I drove myself to Meunchweiler, to the army hospital to be checked. I don't even remember what they said, but they sent me home. When I pulled into the parking lot, in our little Volkswagon LE, Dad was walking around the corner, heading for the apartment. I remember hurting somewhat and having to walk gingerly across the street. I told him I thought something was up, but I went inside and fixed his supper while he took a shower. Afterwards, we decided to head to Landstuhl, an hour away. I remember hurting on the way, and as we got closer, I was REALLY hurting. I had no idea that I was in transition, in the last stages of labor. I had trouble just getting out of the car and getting inside, and as I approached the door, the nurses knew I was obviously close. While they prepped me, Dad went to the business office to admit me. The nurse left me in the room while she went to call him and tell him to hurry back. I remember calling out to her, and when she came, YOU were crowning. They rushed me across the hall just as dad came running down the hall. I hardly saw the doctor before you came flying out!! No joke! The doctor stood there with his mouth wide open and said that he almost dropped you! That was quick and easy! You were born at 8:28 pm there, which would have been 2:28 here. That was 30 years ago! WOW! Since then, you have been nothing but a blessing. God truly smiled on us when He gave us Elizabeth Lauren, all 5 lbs 13 oz of you.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thankful for a Holiday!

We have been extremely busy this past month. Not only are we trying to get ready for our little arrival - setting up the new bed, getting his room stocked and his dresser filled, and buying itsy bitsy diapers. But we are also getting ready for the holidays!

I love this time of year. I love the smells - cider simmering on the stove, evergreen, pumpkin, bonfires burning outside, goodies baking in the oven!! It makes me feel like a child again.

But, unfortunately, I am an adult and wear many hats - mommy, wife, baker, gift buyer, grocery shopper, meal planner, hostess, janitor, clothes shopper, entertainer, church music coordinator, and attorney. It has been a busy time!

I am still working full time and just finished a 50-page article on the First Amendment that I had been working on for several months. With that out of the way, I turned to my next project -- sewing Christmas stockings for the family. Who do I think I am? Martha? But, I finished them, and they are lovely (from a distance). I will post pictures of them once they are hanging from the mantle. We plan to decorate for Christmas this next weekend. And to tell you the truth, I got much more satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment from the finished stockings than I did from the article. Hmmm...?

But that's not all that's been keeping us busy. Traditionally, if Miss Evie wakes up before Bob leaves for work, he will go get her out of her crib and love on her for a while before heading out the door. One morning last week, he heard her mumbling in her room and went in to get her. There she was sitting on her floor reading some books. Hmmm... So, she now can climb out of her crib.

We were not planning to upset our Sleeping Beauty's routine. As I have mentioned before, she is a FABULOUS sleeper.

But our sweet friends gave us a toddler bed to help Evie transition when it's time. I have set it up in her room so she can get used to it. She likes to sit on it and read books for now. But she still goes "night night" in the baby bed. Works for me!

I am very thankful for many things and will try to post about those in a few days. But I have to say how thankful I am for my little Eveley Joy. She has truly brought Joy into our home. She has shown us that there is room in our hearts for more love than we could imagine. She has a tremendous vocabulary - including words like slingshot and octopus. And she loves her books.

This is a "My Very Own Box" from my mom's business that was an early Christmas present. I am trying to keep our books organized in the playroom. Miss Eveley has other ideas for the box!

Hope you all have a wonderful and relaxing Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 17, 2008

My Grownup Christmas List

I know this song (by Amy Grant) carries with it a mature, adult perspective on one's Christmas list. And of course I wish for no poverty, sickness, starving children, pain or suffering. But I thought it would be fun to actually make a list of the "things" that I would love for Christmas (in case any loved one happens to be reading this...).

I love this diaper bag. I have a similar one for Eveley which is black and white. But this one is designed by Trista of the Bachelorette fame! Awesome!!

I do quite a bit of baking and would love one of these!

Am I the only person on the planet without Tivo? Even my parents have one!

Beautiful granite countertops . . . been asking for these for a while!

Need I say more?

I would love one of these planted in my front yard. I already have the perfect spot picked out!

I really could not handle one of these right now. But soon, we're going to have to get one. Our kids have always LOVED dogs, and these labs are so cute!

We spent last Christmas at the Greenbrier. It was wonderful and very luxurious! In one of their gift shops, they had a large, wooden wall calendar made by an artist. It came with interchangeable dates and blocks and was lovely. I've looked everywhere for something like this but can't find it. It would go perfectly at the "command central" portion of my kitchen. I'm still looking. Any ideas?

Boy, I sure wish my husband and brothers would do a blog post like this! That would make things easier.

I'd love to know what's on your grownup Christmas list!