Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Joy Comes in the Morning!

Since I only recently started blogging, I decided to take a few steps back and remember the arrival of our little princess.

I was so impatient waiting for Eveley's birth. As you can imagine, our transition away from a lively house with an energetic 2-year-old boy was very difficult. The silence was deafening and the memories so loud. We were surrounded by the toys. The snacks were in the cabinets, and I could still see smudge marks of little fingerprints on the windows. It was hard!

Eveley was due on April 24, but I was determined not to have to wait that long. In the month leading up to her arrival, I was already dialated 3 cm and the doctor assured me she could come anytime! Well, I wasn't so sure. So I purchased some castor oil and kept it in the cabinet just in case.

I couldn't take it anymore! I decided Wednesday, April 18, was as good a day as any. So, around noon, I mixed a little castor oil with orange juice, held my nose, and chugged it! It was as awful as it sounds. In fact, I am almost heaving as I'm writing this.

Bob came home from work around 3 to take care of a tree that had fallen across our driveway. Around 4 (I remember this because I was watching Oprah!), I started feeling a little funny. I started looking at my watch when I would feel the tense pain and noticed they were coming pretty regularly - about ever 3 or 4 minutes. Well, that doesn't make sense, I thought. Contractions are supposed to start out at 10 minutes apart and then gradually get closer together. After about an hour of this, I called my doctor, and he said I could head to the hospital. The pain was getting pretty intense and coming regularly every 3 minutes. I told Bob it was time to go. "Okay," he said. "Let me go iron my shirt." "No problem," I replied!

We got in the car and made the 20-minute drive to the hospital. I did not have one contraction the whole trip. I felt like such a fool and thought this had to be false labor. So, we decided to walk around the parking lot for a little while before heading inside. Then, the contractions started again with a vengeance!

Around 6:45, we made it to the OB floor and the nurse showed us our room. We walked in and realized this was the same room where I had given birth to Robbie almost 2 years earlier. Bob was overcome with emotion.

Long story short, it was time to begin pushing at 8:50 and little Eveley Joy entered the world at 8:58. Not bad! She was beautiful and seemed to recognize our voices immediately. Just as he had done with Robbie, Bob took her into his arms and began singing to her. She calmed down right away.

It took some time getting use to having this new little one in our house and in our hearts. But she has reminded us how large our capacity is to love.

Her name is Eveley Joy. She is named after my maternal grandmother, Evelyn. And her middle name, Joy, was given to me by the Lord not long after Robbie went to heaven. "Though sorrow may last for the night, Joy comes in the morning." I think it's perfect!

On a side note, I just discovered yesterday that the first time the word "love" is used in the Bible is when God is talking to Abraham about his son Isaac. In Genesis 22, the Lord refers to Isaac as "your only son whom you love." Pretty neat!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Nursery

When I found out I was pregnant with Robbie, decorating the nursery was the biggest decision I had to make. Because he would be Robert Emmet Byrne, III, picking a name was not the difficult task. I knew I wanted to use farm animals and looked forward to him learning to make all of the different animal sounds.

Fortunately, my mom and sister (Marme and Aunt Kate) are talented artists and were able to come and help decorate. It was perfect! And as Robbie got older, each morning we would go around the room rehearsing the different sounds. We soon realized that we forgot an important animal -- the monkey! Of course, it's not a farm animal, but (thanks to Aunt Kate) Robbie LOVED making a monkey sound.

When it came time for Eveley to move in, I wrestled with how I would decorate the nursery for her. She is a girl, after all, but I wasn't ready to completely start over in that room. So, mom came back and "girlied" it up for Eveley. Most of the animals are in twos - one is a rough and tumble boy, and the other now has painted nails, lipstick and a bow! The kitty cat was added to keep the dog company. And, you'll notice the apple tree received a special carving!

I know the time will come when Eveley will want a big girl room, and I look forward to decorating that for her. But, maybe by then we will have a new one (or TWO) to enjoy the nursery!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Angel Eveley

Miss Eveley is an angel. Seriously, we often look around for her wings and halo. She was handpicked and delivered to us by God.

When I first found out I was pregnant with her, the only thing I dreaded was those long, sleepless nights. But I did dread it!And then Eveley Joy was born. A friend who had just given birth to her fourth child gave me some great advice. From the start, she said, feed her every four hours. Her newborn was already sleeping through the night, so I listened.

The first night at the hospital, I told the nurses that I would like Eveley brought to my room every four hours. She was a great eater and nursed pretty well from the beginning (unlike Robbie!). As far as I can remember, there were about 4 or 5 nights where I had to get up with Eveley more than once. And at 4 weeks, she was sleeping through the night. The next several months, Eveley Joy continued to sleep well. And I mean well! She would go to bed between 7:30 and 8:00 and wake up many times after 10 -- that's 10:00 IN THE MORNING. Now, don't freak out. I was checking on her. She was breathing and full. She was just our little angel who enjoyed to sleep. Her daddy calls her Sleepy Peepers (or Sleepers for short), and she continues to live up to her name. Now, she doesn't sleep as late any more. She's in bed around 7 and up by 7. But I'm not complaining.

I have been given much grief by some friends (ahem... Bridget!) for relaying this story. So, I thought I would show the other side of Angel Eveley as well.

Friday night we were having a couple over for dinner. I needed some time to pick up the toys, set the table, and start dinner. So (after waking up from her long nap), I let Eveley play upstairs in her room. She LOVES her room. I had the monitor on and could tell she was enjoying herself. When I went to get her a few minutes later, this is what I saw.

Honestly, it was a normal, clean room when I left. Thankfully, my company would not be coming upstairs. So, I just closed the door and laughed. My little angel is a mess!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Christmas at the Greenbrier

Christmas 2007 was fabulous. We were able to go to the Greenbrier for a few days of quality, relaxing family time.

We arrived on Saturday and were welcomed by the wonderful staff. They say the Greenbrier has 3 staff memebers per guest, and you can definitely feel the difference. It's pretty pricey but we were told that all of the gratuities were included in the resort fee -- except for the bellmen. A nice man helped us unload the van. He packed up all of our luggage, bags and packages and followed us to the front desk. Once we were checked in, he gave us a mini tour of the resort and showed us to our room. He proceeded to unload our luggage, store it in the closets, hang up our clothes, and give us more information about our stay. What a nice man. As he left, Bob gave him a firm handshake, thanked him for his help and courtesy, and left him with his tip. We had not talked about this beforehand, so I was curious how much Bob tipped him. "Two dollars," he replied. I almost fainted! "TWO dollars?" I gasped. Could there be a worse tip? I mean, if you didn't give him anything, he would believe you simply assumed it was included in the resort fees. But, two dollars!!!?? I was mortified,and so was Bob! [We were definitely showing the world that the Greenbrier was a little too high class for us!] Bob jumped on the internet and googled the subject. Yes, two dollars was a little low. The conventional wisdom is that you should tip (at a 5-star resort) FIVE DOLLARS PER BAG! Well, the next day, Bob hunted down our bellman and explained that he had "made a big mistake," and handed him an appropriate tip. The bellman was very gracious and said, "No worries!"

After we were settled in our room, we began to explore. They had a wonderful Christmas weekend planned. In the afternoons in the main lobby they would serve delicious hot chocolate and apple cider. There was a buffet of cinnamon sticks, mocha whipped cream, sprinkles, chocolate shavings and more. This became our favorite time of the day.

On Monday, the culinary experts carved Santa's sleigh, reindeer, and a couple penguins out of ice. It was neat to watch, and we got to sit in the sleigh for pictures (see below). That night, Christmas Eve, was the Gingerbread Ball. I cannot adequately describe the setting. It was just gorgeous and a little girl's dream. There were ballerinas, balloon artists, magicians, and Santa. Inside the ballroom was a life-size gingerbread house, numerous ice sculptures, a band and dance floor, jesters, and the most unbelievable buffet ever. They even had a kid's buffet that was low to the floor and included corn dogs, pizza, chicken fingers and all the favorites. The adult buffet was very gourmet and delicious. We had a wonderful evening together, and, with the help of a canister of puffs, were able to stay for the show.

Christmas morning, we were awakened by Eveley (of course). We read the Christmas story together in Luke 2 and let her open her presents. She loved the book given to her by "cousins" Parker and Graham and especially enjoyed the crinkly paper.

This was a memorable Christmas in many ways. And, I think like never before, we were able to celebrate the birth of Christ with a new understanding and realization of its power and promise. "Praise be to God for His indescribable Gift!"

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Christmas Past

Because I didn't start this blog until the new year, I thought it would be nice to think back and remember some of Christmas pasts. (Thanks for the idea, Kim!)

Christmas 2006 was wonderful. I was 6 months pregnant with Eveley Joy and Robbie was 19 months old. I was unsure whether I would decorate the house for Christmas since I knew it would provide great temptation for Robbie to mess with things. But I sucked it up and decided to introduce him to the sights, sounds and smells of Christmastime.

We bought a tree from the boy scouts one evening and set it up in the living room. I decorated it with red and gold balls and topped it off with a big, gold star. That was Robbie's favorite! Each morning as we would descend the stairs, Robbie would say, "stah, stah." And we would go plug in the lights and look at the "stars." Mom sent Robbie a little red truck GLASS ornament. He loved it and wanted to play with it, which I let him do while supervised. In fact, the only way I could get him to sit still for his Christmas card photo was to let him hold the truck.

We spent Christmas in Tennessee and had a wonderful time. As usual, it was filled with lots of fun and delicious food. Robbie was a little sick on Christmas day but fought through it to play with cousin Layla and his new toys. We gave him a Thomas the train and he got many books, blocks, clothes, toys and, of course, a John Deere hat from Uncle Rob.

As Christmas 2007 grew closer, we were trying to balance our extreme sadness of missing little Robbie and our excitement of celebrating Eveley Joy's first Christmas. Thankfully, the Lord gave Bob the perfect idea to help us experience a fantastic Christmas together as a family. We were off to the Greenbrier!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Some of our Favorites

Eveley Joy will be 10 months tomorrow, and I can hardly believe it. I have said it before and will say it again - she is pure sweetness! I completely loved her as soon as I found out she was on her way. But now I feel that I am beginning to find out who she is, and I just want to eat her up!

This weekend I spent a lot of quality time with her. We played in the tupperware cabinet for hours. Many of you remember this was one of Robbie's favorite spots too!

She is quickly learning to enjoy books. She loves the Alphabet Book, and she will actually sit still through the entire book. Again, this was one of Robbie's favorites. I've never seen a child love books more than him. But maybe Eveley will follow suit.

She also loves her princess pajamas. Don't worry. I don't have a similar picture of Robbie to post. Bob and I were able to head to the stores for a few hours while Grandma and Grandpa Byrne kept Eveley. They stopped in to see us on their way home from Florida. I have never seen so many beautiful little girl dresses. Bob was not amused when he saw the price tags. But they were just gorgeous! Shopping for a girl is much different than shopping for a boy. I'm going to have to stay home or start donating plasma! (Shout out to my college buddies and plasma partners!)

Finally, this weekend I was able to have some wonderful girlfriends time. Thank the Lord for great friends, fun times, and chocolate!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Dressy Casual

You can click on this mosaic to make the pictures larger.

I just love dressing a little girl. This is actually an outfit I bought Layla, my neice, for Christmas last year. We timed everything perfectly because Layla has passed her clothes on to Eveley. And Eveley will be passing them back just in time for Anna Lea. Am I efficient or what??

Thursday, February 14, 2008

My Princess Valentine

Announcing Princess Eveley! We were able to go play with our neighbors, the Chambers, last week while our house was getting cleaned. (side note: Hallelujah for that!) Anyway, Eveley loved playing with Gillian's princess gear and is becoming a very girlie girl.

We played outside on the swingset which Eveley absolutely loved. I'll have to get pictures of that next time.

I am teaching Eveley how to respond when I say, "How much does mama love you?" Robbie loved this question and would respond by throwing his hands straight up in the air while we said "Thiiiiis much!" (I was teaching him to spread them wide but that didn't stick.) No matter what question you asked him, if it began with "how much," he would respond the same way. So, we had fun by asking "How much does Jesus love you?" or "How much do you love cheese?" and seeing him respond.

I love my precious Valentines. Eveley is a bundle of Joy and the sweetest little girl. I am so thankful for her and the time that I have to kiss and squeeze her. I love my sweet Robbie and am thankful that my time to kiss and squeeze him is not over - just delayed. And I love my wonderful husband who makes me laugh every day (even if I won't admit it). So, if someone asked me, "How much do you love your Valentines?" I would throw my hands up in the air and say, "Thiiiiiis much!"

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The good ole days

Well, so much for the "good ole days." I'm not so sure that's a truthful description. Sunday afternoon we had a crazy wind storm. It was sunny, no rain, but the winds were strong and blew for about 5 hours.

When we returned from church, I flipped the light switch in the bedroom just in time to see the light come on and then flicker off. The electricity was gone. So, we sat down at the table with our Wendy's bag of food to wait out the storm. Eveley was in the playroom when I heard a loud crack and looked up just in time to see a tree heading for the house. Eveley screamed as I think she could see the tree heading right for her. Thank the Lord that the tree just scraped down the side of the house. The gutter was bent a little but no other damage. Surely the electricity would be back on soon.

Nope! Monday morning came and there was still no lights, power, water or HEAT. Bob went to the office with plans to shower there. I got up with Eveley and thought we'd be fine. But the house was FREEEEZING. We got into the bed with a pile of books but that didn't last very long. She wanted to get up and play. Her hands were cold as ice so I knew we had to do something. Our phones were out too. I put her in the car, gathered up some clothes and food, and decided we had to leave. Fortunately, my friend Bridget is awesome and allowed us to come over (looking quite lovely I might add!) and hang out all day long. Eveley loved playing with Parker and Graham. And I think Parker has a crush on her! We had a great day and stayed until around 5. The power came back on and the house slowly warmed back up.

Today, things are back to normal. And I am very thankful!