Sunday, December 28, 2008

Baby Connor is Here!

Connor Mason entered the world on December 18, 2008 at 12:34 pm,
measuring 19 1/4 inches and weighing 8 lbs 1 oz.
Details to come later. Meanwhile enjoy some photos.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Family Portraits

I know you're anxious, but don't scroll down for the photos just yet. I have to give you a little bit of backstory first.

I'm currently plugged into a fantastic on-line group of moms that are local to my area. It has been such a blessing to not only my life but to Preston's as well. We have many, many friends who love to have playdates and when we're not meeting in person we're talking just about anything and everything on-line. One aspect that continues to amaze me is just how talented this group of women is. From crafts to cooking to photography - you name it, someone can do it, and do it well. We have at least a couple of dozen women who are either professional photographers or semi-professional. And then there are the rest of us aspiring photographers or wannabes.

My good friend Chera was once one of us wannabes (that's probably not an accurate description as she's always had amazing photography skills) but has worked her way through the trenches to become one of the best photographers I know. It has been such a joy to watch her photography skills improve by leaps and bounds. She has such a talent working with little ones and really captures the spirit of the child. She really isn't in it for the money, she truly loves her work and for that I adore her. Not to mention she has the most precious, adorable little girl, Cassidy.

Talking with Chera one day she graciously agreed to do what we call a mini-session swap. Basically she spends about 10-15 minutes taking some photos of my family and then we swap and I do the same for hers. I really wanted to get a few family shots done before our newest addition arrived. And since there are practically zero photos of me pregnant with Preston, I wanted at least one for this one. Unfortunately the weather was quite uncooperative - 35 mile per hour winds and bitter cold does not make for good outside photos, especially for sweet Cassidy. She was not digging the cold or wind at all. The good news is Chera didn't let it slow her down and got some good shots of us anyway. We tried really hard to act like it wasn't freezing and the wind was blowing, but as you'll see it wasn't easy. Please enjoy. And if you get a chance stop by her blog Chera25 Photography and check out more of her fantastic photos.

And here are just a couple that I took of Chera and her sweet family. I took these with her camera which completely puts my old Sony to shame. I've had camera envy ever since.

This one is Chera's favorite. She said it shows the "real" them and plans to use it for their Christmas card. I love that!

And we did finally get a little smile out of Cassidy. I told you she was cute!

Monday, December 8, 2008

10 Days and Counting

Hard to believe but we are just a little over a week away from meeting the newest member of our family. And while we still have a bunch of loose ends to tie up - one including actually coming up with a name - we're enjoying this last bit of time as a family of three.

Preston seems to be more and more excited about baby brother coming. He probably talks almost as much about baby brother as he does Christmas. Hope he's not disappointed in either. Four year olds can be so finicky.

I was so blessed recently to have been thrown a baby shower. Phillip's great aunt opened her wonderful home and co-hosted with my mother-in-law and my good friend Micki. It was a lovely afternoon of food, fellowship and of course presents for baby boy. It was a really nice turn out and thankfully no corny games were played. Unfortunately I'm not able to figure out how to post the photos here since they were shared with me on Shutterfly. So I'll just share the link. Click here.

After browsing those photos you may have noticed that my hair looks a little different. I have been growing out my hair for the last 18 months so that I can donate to Locks of Love again. I was also waiting closer to my due date so that I would have a fuss free new 'do with a newborn and all. I was able to go to the same stylist that I donated with last time and I think he did a fantastic job. I gave him free reign and while it took a little getting used to I really do like it, and it is super easy and fast to fix. I feel blessed that my hair grows so fast that I can at least help brighten a sick child's day with a full head of hair.

And becuase I know you're asking: I'm feeling pretty good. My blood pressure has been creeping up the last two visits and doc says I need to take it easy but that ain't easy. We're still scheduled for a c-section on the 18th, so we're not really calling it the "due date" anymore but "THE date". That is unless little one has plans of his own. My feet are swelling and my back hurts and darn it if I don't have to pee every 10 minutes - but other than that I feel great. ;)

This week is crazy busy for us. Phillip's work party, my family coming to town, a mom's night out with the girls, cookie swap, and possibly more family trying to squeeze in one last visit before baby gets here. I'll do my best to keep you updated. Here's a little nugget to hold on to though... I'll have some family portraits (professional no less!) to share with you very, very soon. Stay tuned.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Place Your Photo Order

I sent out this email to family and friends regarding how to order their favorite print from Preston's photo shoot.

Dear Family,

We wanted to share with you some portraits from Preston 4 year photo shoot. We’re really pleased with how they turned out and hope you will be too. You can view them by clicking on the following link to Cindy’s blog.

We would be happy to send you your very own copy of one of these portraits in any size you prefer. Unlike most professional portraits where we would only get to send you one pose in whatever size they give us, you get to pick the one you like best.

Once you make your decision, email us with the following information:
- Name of photo(s) (i.e. "Green pole")
- Your preferred size of each photo (4 x 6 are standard but will also do 5 x 7 and 8 x 10 if that is your preference)
- Color or black and white

Please make your selection from any of the following portraits. Remember that any photo can be made black and white and vice versa. And if you just simply cannot make up your mind and need more than one photo that can be arranged as well. (Can't say as I blame you, I can't pick my favorite either.)

"Close up" in color

"Close up" in black and white

"Standing door"

"Looking down"



"Funny face"

"Green pole"

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

What'd You Say?!

So recently Preston has been coming up to us with some whoppers. And by whoppers I mean out-of-the-blue-seemingly-out-of-context-where'd-you-hear-that kind of sayings. This usually happens while we are having a conversation in the car. Here are a couple of examples:

Preston: Daddy, I saw you on top of the fence yesterday.

Daddy: Oh, really? I don't remember being on the fence.

Preston: I saw you, it was really funny.

Me: What was Daddy doing on the fence?

Preston: I don't know, he was up there and then he fell off.

This conversation just happened to take place after Phillip mentioned to me that he was "on the fence" about some decision.

And there is this one:

Preston: Nana, why was her head cut off?

Me: *Gasp*

Nana: Where did he hear that?

Me: *Shrugs* What are you talking about, Preston?

Preston: Her head, why was it cut off?

None of us were quite sure where to go with that... until suddenly I realized that Nana had just said, describing a co-worker, that she was "running around like a chicken with her head cut off".

This is just proof that kids hang on to your every word. They may not obey every word, but they hear it.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Secret Identity Revealed!

Yes, it's true, my disguise as a mild mannered housewife has been compromised. I will now reveal to the entire world (ok my mom and the other two occassional readers) who the real Cindy is.

Click here.

Friday, October 3, 2008

I Joined the Army!

No, not that army. I don't think they let 7 months pregnant women enlist anyway. But I did join The Army of Women. This is an organization that researches breast cancer by way of studying healthy women. In other words, they are looking for a cure and that's the most important thing.

Here are their two main goals:

  • To recruit one million healthy women of every age and ethnicity, including breast cancer survivors and women at high-risk for the disease, to partner with breast cancer researchers and directly participate in the research that will eradicate breast cancer once and for all.

  • To challenge the scientific community to expand its current focus to include breast cancer prevention research conducted on healthy women.

The best part is, it's so easy to join. All you have to do is sign up, answer a few questions and if you qualify you could be contacted to participate in a study near you that is looking for volunteers. Click here to be a part of the one million women who can make a difference in the fight against breast cancer.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Change Is Good... Right?

Don't forget to scroll down and see some pretty awesome pics
of my little man.
(If I do say so myself.)

*warning this is going to get long, you might want to grab a cup of coffee or a Diet Pepsi*

These last few weeks have been so crazy. While Baby Boy has been cooking and growing, I've been a wreck trying to figure out what to do about my OB. I had purposefully chosen this OB/GYN prior to getting pregnant knowing that I should be established with an OB should I need one. Well you know how that turned out... I needed one. Unfortunately, I needed to wait until the better insurance kicked in so even though that meant no prenatal care until I was nearly out of my first trimester, I was ok with that. Well the busybody receptionist at my OB's office didn't see it that way and I had to fight my way in to get an appointment. That certainly did not start out well.

Unfortunately things continued to get worse. I was shuffled from office to office despite expressing a preference for using the office closest to me. I was told one thing and then called the night before an appointment that I would need to change locations or some nonsense. I tried to be understanding as I was often told by different nurses on different occassions that "we are going through some staff changes", "we're upgrading some software that everyone has to learn". Fine. It's a learning curve for everybody (including me). I get that.

I was willing to deal with a few logistical mishaps as long as I continued to like the OB. Well, I can't tell you if that came true or not because not once... I repeat, not once in the 3 months that I have been going to that office did I see my OB. I was always seen by the Physician Assistant. Nothing against PA's, I happened to like this one, but seriously I can't see the doctor?! Even when I questioned this, I was given excuses. "Oh I don't know why they didn't schedule you with the doctor." Oh ok, are we back to the front office staff again? Great.

The final straw was last Thursday when I was scheduled to have my gestational diabetes test. I intentionally scheduled it super early so that I could get it over with, leave Phillip and Preston at home and still get them both to work and classes, respectively. This way I could go, drink the ten times worse than Kool-aid drink, sit an hour and not have to entertain a four year old, give my blood and be home by 8:30 am, 9 at the latest. Well the night before I get a call once again asking me to come to the less convenient location simply because they wanted to make sure there was a "provider" (aka PA) there and somehow that would make things easier for them and making sure my blood was taken right at that "hour" mark (that's important for this kind of test). So even though I wasn't scheduled with a doctor (or PA) only with a nurse - I checked when this appointment was scheduled because remember I wanted to see my OB - I complied.

I show up, the receptionist gives me her usual blank look and has no clue as to why I am there. She keeps telling me I'm there for a routine OB. No, I insist I'm just here for my diabetes screening. They send me back where I'm seen by a different PA (where did she come from?!) and by now I'm seething. This PA insists that I'm here for both routine check and screening. Fine whatever, this way I don't have to come back in two weeks for the routine check I'm already scheduled for. Oh no! I have to come back then too. Why? Nobody could tell me.

Ok, just give me the drink I've still got that hour to kill and I need to get home. I drink. I sit, sit, sit... read, read, read... watch a little 'I Love Lucy'. ('Lucy' was really funny... must have been the sugar.) Ok, time's up, let's give a little blood.

Oh no here's trouble. I've got deep, rolling veins. I've been through this before. The nurse is panicing because she can't find a vein. She pokes once. Nope. Twice. Nope. She calls another nurse. I tell her, you know this happened last time and there is only one nurse that was able to get me on the first try. Oh gee, guess which office she is at. That's right... the other office that I was originally scheduled for! So nurse #2 takes a stab... literally a stab that sends a shooting pain up my arm. I'm in tears. I'm coming down off this sugar high and I'm supposed to be on my way home now. Nurse #2 tells me that no one has ever cried on her and she can't deal with me and leaves. Good riddance, I say! Nurse #1 comes back with the PA and they both poke, dig, prod and finally get a vein in my hand. Were you keeping count? Let me help you out. That's five times that I was poked before actually getting some blood out of me.

I'm now seriously late getting back home. Preston misses his first class, Phillip is late to work as well. And did I mention that I'm coming down off a sugar high? Did I mention I'm a hormonal pregnant lady? Ok then, so you won't judge me when I tell you that I was an emotional wreck.

I spend the rest of the afternoon trying to decide what to do. Do I stay? (By the way, I had many more issues with this OB office that I just won't get into here.) Do I take a chance to try to find another doctor that will take me at nearly 7 months pregnant? After much consideration, I called a good friend who is also pregnant and insisted she give me the name of her OB that she's been raving about. I called them up and not only were they more than happy to see me at nearly 7 months pregnant (remember my first OB didn't want to see me at 3 months along) I could get in almost immediately.

So today was my first appointment with my new OB, Dr. F. I was really nervous about having to kind of start all over (my first OB was either unable or unwilling to release my records, but that seems to have been resolved now), but I really like my new OB. He took his time with me and answered all my questions and was sympathetic to my previous unpleasant experience. Even though we weren't able to really get down to the nitty gritty as my records were MIA, he made a point to make sure I felt comfortable with him and that we had the same philosophy when it came to the birth of my baby. The staff was nice - that's an improvement. The nurses staff was as well, although it is yet to be seen if they can get blood out of me.

So lots of changes. New OB. New hospital. Bring on the new baby.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Reveal!

Here is the finished product from Preston's 4 year photoshoot. Enjoy!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Sneak Peek

Every year about this time, I'm scouring the coupons trying to find a good deal on some professional portraits. Of course, I use the term "professional" loosely as I'm too cheap to go anywhere other than WalMart or JCPenney. Sometimes we get good photos... most of the time they're just ok. And I'm really good about saying "No" when it comes to all those "extras" they try get you to buy so really spending $9.95 for an 8 x 10, a couple of 5 x 7's, and the hundreds of wallet sized photos - that are always left over - isn't too bad.

But this year is different. I'm hiring a real "non-professional" to do Preston's 4 year portraits. Me! So after spending a morning "on location", I've got a few snaps that should look nice on our portrait "Hall of Fame" (literally, a hall of framed portraits). Isn't that what everybody does with their 8 x 10's? I couldn't wait to get home and edit a few, so here's a sneak peek. Enjoy my handsome little man!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I Suppose I Could Get a Pair of Stilts

"How's the weather down there?" "Mind if I set my drink on you?" "Hey shortstuff!"

Ok, ok I get it. I'm short. And if you're not family, you are probably asking, 'How short are you?'. I'm 4 ft 6 in. There's some debate over whether I am 4 ft 6in or 4 ft 8in, whatever. Short is short. Just know that I am not even 5 ft tall. It's ok. I'm ok. I've been this way ever since like what... fourth, fifth grade? I'm not sure, I just know I've always been short. In fact, most of my family is short so we think we're normal. Does it stink sometimes? Sure. Like when I'm in a crowd of people and all I see are people's belt buckles or worse yet, their navels. Or when I'm at the store and I can't reach something and I have to either ask a total stranger or go without. (And man, I really needed the cinnamon that day! Why do they feel the need to alphabetize spices anyway?) Fortunately I have a four year old who can stand in the cart and reach things for me now.

Speaking of said four year old, he's not all that tall himself. Preston just had his four year well visit and just like all the previous times we check height and weight and wait for the doctor to chart it and see how he's grown. I don't know if other moms have anxiety about the "chart" but I'm right there leaning over the doctor's shoulder just waiting to see where she puts that little dot. It all started when Preston was just a newborn and his weight was progressively decreasing. Once he started gaining weight again we found that Preston was just going to stay on his own little chart. Actually his height/weight ratio doesn't even get "on" the chart, he's always stayed below it in the less than 5% range. However, every pediatrician we've ever seen has always said, as long as he stays on his own chart everything is fine.

Well fast forward to last Monday and one of my worst fears was realized. He fell off his own chart. His weight was good, but he only grew an inch and a half over the last year. So his pediatrician puts on her concerned hat and recommends we get a "bone growth x-ray" to determine bone age. Basically, an x-ray is taken of a child's hand and wrist and then compared to "norms" for children of the same age. Preston had his x-ray done and the doctor determined that Preston's bone age is that of a 3 year old (he just turned 4 earlier this month). This means that his little body is just a little bit delayed when it comes to growth. The bad news would have been if his bone age showed that of a 4 year old, that would indicate that something was not growing properly. Fortunately he's growing, just a bit slowly.

This actually has a name: Constitutional Growth Delay. Sounds like some kind of problem you have in your high school American History class, doesn't it? It really just means that Preston will likely start puberty a year later than his peers and at the end of puberty we'll see his height max out to the projected 5 ft 5 in. Still not all that tall, but we'll take it. Hey, it's almost a foot taller than me! Cannot fathom one day having to look up to my son.

But being short isn't all that bad. I'm often mistaken for someone much younger. When I was much younger I could get the child discount for most everything. I trick or treated until I was 18. (I probably still would if it didn't embarrass my husband.) Being height-challenged definitely has it's ups and downs. Although I was kind of hoping to spare my children from the "down" part. I mean, I did all that I could. I married a man who is 6 ft tall just to "breed some height back into the family", just like my momma told me to.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Preston's 4th Birthday Party

We celebrated Preston's 4th birthday on Sunday September, 7. He wanted to go to Chuck E. Cheese like we did for his 3rd. But this time we went to a "new" Chuck E. Cheese (basically just a different location than last years). Unfortunately only one of the few friends we invited was able to attend. I don't think Preston noticed, as he thinks everybody at Chuck E. Cheese is there for him anyway.

First stop, playing games. Notice the tongue, that helps you play better.

Checking out the air hockey table.

Air hockey rules!

Playing games with his Ra-Ra.

Time to open presents!
Discovering what is inside the box.

Yay for wriggly track! (This goes with his marble run)

Speed Racer cake which almost didn't happen.
(Ugh! I might be able to talk about it when he's sixteen)

Make a wish!

Our friend Corbin enjoying some blue icing.
Meeting Chuck E. Cheese.

Getting ready to dance with Chuck E. Cheese.
(They gave all the kids free tickets after they danced.)

After the party we headed to Preston's first night at Awana. It's a weekly Bible based program for preschoolers and school aged children. They teach them scripture, play games, tell stories, have a snack, and sing songs. We got to stick around for the first night and Preston had a really good time. There's even another Preston in his class, which totally blew his mind. He looks forward to going every week. And it gives mom and dad a chance to hang out.