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Thursday, September 25, 2008

More Pictures of Lily

I just can't stop taking pictures of Lily lately. Not that I've ever really let up on the picture-taking mania around here, but lately she's been growing and changing so FAST, and she's just so dang CUTE, that I can't help myself.
When I am in the office, Lily brings her toys from the playroom and sits outside the gate to play. Sometimes she hangs over the gate, saying, "Mommy Mommy Mommy," but usually she plays nicely for a few minutes first. Check out all that hair (finally)!
From the front it still looks like she doesn't have much hair on the sides, though. Pigtails will have to wait.
Lily always wants to sit in regular chairs when we're out and about. Such a big girl.



Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A New Favorite?

I don't have any problem with Lily being attached to a stuffed animal, doll, blanket, etc... It was the pacifier part of Mr. Froggy that had to go. But I was afraid that detaching the paci from the Froggy would make Lily even more upset than just taking him away altogether. What's Mr. Froggy without a paci? Who knows, taking the paci but leaving the Froggy might have been fine. But there's no turning back now. I'm too stubborn.

But I think Lily may have settled on a new favorite comfort-toy... Topper is doing his best to fill Mr. Froggy's shoes. I think I may have mentioned before that Topper is the Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital mascot, so we've known him for a long time. I think Lily actually has five stuffed Toppers, so I've always hoped that if she were to become attached to a stuffed animal, it would be Topper. He would be easy to replace if something happened to him.

Yesterday and today, Lily has been bringing Topper with her when she gets out of bed. She must think I'm going to steal him out of her bed, like what happened to Mr. Froggy. She carries Topper around the house and gives him kisses. This morning he sat on the couch and watched Baby Einstein with her.

Today at naptime...

Mommy: Lily, are you ready to take a nap?
Lily: Nap.
Mommy: You're ready? Ok, where's Topper?
Lily: (raises her hands and shrugs her shoulders, looking around as if to say, "I don't know!")
Mommy: Go get Topper, so you can take a nap.
Lily: (runs out of her room, down the hall to the playroom, yelling) Oh oh oh!
Lily: (runs back to her room, Topper in tow, walks right over to her crib)
Mommy: Oh, you found Topper! (gives Lily and Topper a big hug and puts them in bed)
Mommy: You take a nap, and I'll see you when you wake up.
Lily: (with emphasis, smiling) Ah wuvvy! (translation: "I love you!")
Mommy: I love you, too! (Leaves room and closes door. Does not hear ANY crying.)
Awwwww.... She melts my heart when she says Ah wuvvy in response to my I love you. But for her to say it first... Awww... This is only the second time she's done that, and let me tell you, it's awesome. AND she went right to sleep without crying, and she's been asleep more than an hour already! What a great day.

Here are some adorable pictures of Lily and Topper, in case you need a cuteness fix today. My favorites are 1) the one with Dusty's grin, and 2) the one where she's giving Topper a kiss. Note: If the slideshow isn't playing, you can click the X in the top right corner to make it play.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Froggy Withdrawal

I decided last week that when Lily's canine teeth came in and stopped bothering her, I was going to take Mr. Froggy away. The time had come - She's almost two years old, and she is certainly capable of soothing herself to sleep without a Froggy pacifier (she just didn't know it yet!). She only has the frog for naptime and bedtime, but she's never without him when it's time to go to sleep. If she goes to bed and he's not in her crib, she asks for him by name (it's incredibly cute).

We didn't go through any big production of giving Froggy to a new baby or anything like that. We just put him away in a dresser drawer before Lily's naptime on Sunday. When she went to take a nap, he wasn't in the crib. We countered her requests for Froggy by giving her a favorite blanket and Topper (a stuffed giraffe she's also always had in bed). And then we left the room and listened to her cry for 25 minutes before she finally fell asleep. Bedtime was worse. It wasn't crying, it was screaming. But again, it only lasted about 25 minutes, and she slept all night.
Monday was a little better, with shorter crying spells. Today at naptime, she cried even less and really just talked herself to sleep. But then, she only slept an hour! She woke up crying for Mr. Froggy and Daddy. Poor Mommy comes in at third place today, I guess! Lily is most definitely a Daddy's girl. She absolutely adores him, and looks all over the house for him when he's at work. But when she needs something, it's usually me she calls for, so I was a little surprised...
I couldn't get her to go back to sleep, so we went to play in the playroom. We had just finished reading a story in one of the papasan chairs, and Lily got down. She discovered that she is now tall enough to reach the buttons on the TV, so she proceeded to push them. Before I could even get the words out of my mouth to ask her not to push those buttons, she found the power button. And the DVD player was not turned on, so you know what happened - The fuzzy screen with loud static. And she turned tail and RAN to me as fast as her little legs would go, crying real tears and everything. She was absolutely terrified. I scooped her up and we laughed and laughed when she realized it was just the TV making noise. And I thought to myself, "I knew she still needed me!"

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Sleep Study

Lily and I spent the night at the hospital last night for her follow-up Sleep Study. I really, really hope we don't have to do that again. It was a very long night.

Lily was a very good girl while having most of the wires attached to her, but she didn't like having the cannula and various monitors attached to her face. I felt awful having to hold her there to have a cannula taped in place. Bad memories! They had to put the no-no's on her arms before we even left the prep room. At first she thought they were fun because she could still clap her hands.

It was almost 9:00 by the time we got back to her room so she could lie down for bedtime, so I was hoping she would be so tired that she would just go right to sleep. Yeah, right. She's too curious for that. She wanted to pull on the wires, roll around, crawl on the bed, stand up, and climb on the bed rails. A queen sized bed with hospital-style bed rails is just not a good idea for a toddler who's used to sleeping in a crib. She couldn't hold Mr. Froggy because of the no-no's on her arms, and having me in the room with her was a distraction she's not used to at bedtime. Plus, it was a lot colder in the room than what Lily is used to. It took her a little over an hour to fall asleep. At home, she would have been out like a light within 5 minutes.

Once she was asleep, the tech came in to turn on all the monitors, which woke her up a little bit - Froggy put her right back to sleep that time. Then, about an hour later, the tech came in again and had to turn on the light to replace one of the wires! Thankfully, Lily was only awake for a few minutes that time... But she woke up off and on all night long, and she cried when the wires kept her from rolling where she wanted to. There was a lot of, "Mommmmyyyyy, Mommy, Mommy" during the night, and I felt so bad knowing what was making her upset but not being able to fix it.

I fell asleep around 2, but I was awake at 5 when Lily started fussing again. The tech finally came in a little after 6 to end the study, and she said that Lily was asking for Daddy during the time when I was asleep. After all the wires were removed, I tried to wash the gunky glue off Lily's face. The tech had said that they are using a different kind of glue stuff now than what they used when Lily had her first study, so this stuff should wash right out of her hair and everything. Last time, I was washing glue out of Lily's hair for days. And I am not exaggerating. Well, I saw right away that it wouldn't be as easy as I'd been told, so I gave up. I put a washcloth on the back of Lily's stroller so she wouldn't get goo all over the headrest, and we left.

To my surprise, she didn't fall asleep on the way home. Probably too busy drinking her milk. When we got home, she woke Daddy up and ate a little bit of breakfast, then took a great 3-hour nap. Mommy too. Then it was bathtime... We got most of the gunk off of her, but I think there's a little left in her hair.

I told Dusty that if we have to repeat this study again, he's going with her, not me. He didn't think that was a very good idea, but I'm telling you, I do NOT want to do it again. Unfortunately, the tech did say that Lily had some central apneas that caused her to de-sat. She came back up on her own, of course. We'll see what the official report says in a couple of weeks. Sorry, I didn't take any pictures this time.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Fever-Free!

Dusty said my post made it sound like we were over-reacting, so let me clarify: She was running a 102.6 degree temperature, consistently spiking up again before it was time for her next dose of medicine.
Lily spiked a fever Tuesday evening, just before dinnertime.
I took her to the doctor the next morning to be sure there was no ear infection or other obvious ailment that needed antibiotics, which there wasn't. She just had a yucky virus that gave her a fever.
It lasted about 24 hours, but today she's back to normal! You can click on the picture to make it bigger.
We're so glad it took 20 months for Lily to get her first real fever. It's a good reminder, though, that we'll have to be careful again this fall and winter to protect her from too many cold and flu bugs. She's doing so very well, we would hate for her to develop a pneumonia and set her lung growth and development back.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Baseball Game

Last week before the hurricane turned the world upside down, we went to an Astros game. We didn't stay for the whole thing, but we did get to see a homerun. Lily enjoyed the transitions between innings, when she could watch the outfielders playing catch; she wasn't really interested in the game itself. We had a fun evening!

Monday, September 15, 2008

We're still here!

Well, the hurricane is over! I'm quite sure you already knew that, but our power was out for quite awhile! We lost power around 2:30am Saturday morning, and it was out for a little over 2 1/2 days. Thankfully, we had a "cold front" come in, with overnight lows in the 60s. This allowed us to keep the temperature in the house bearable. We never lost our water or gas, so we were always able to cook, wash dishes, shower, and flush toilets. We are very, very thankful!

It has now been almost three full days since the hurricane, and I am still reflecting on the sheer size and power of the storm. Like one of our neighbors said, we're glad that our introduction to hurricanes was on the weaker, clean side of the storm! We did have some damage to our house, but nothing major. I've posted a slideshow below, with captions so you have an idea of what you're looking at. The insurance company expects to have an adjuster out here within 72 hours, but obviously they're very busy so it may be longer. In the meantime, we are working on getting estimates from repair companies.

Our whole neighborhood was very fortunate. There are many trees that either snapped or were uprooted, many fences knocked over, a little bit of roof damage. But for the most part, the trees didn't fall on the houses, and we haven't seen any broken windows. Obviously, the damage could have been so much worse... Thank you all for your thoughts are prayers!


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Hurricane Ike

Hurricane Ike is headed our way! For our area, the report from this morning forecasted sustained 80-110 mph winds and up to 10 inches of rain. Our community is not under evacuation orders; we have been asked to shelter in place, keeping the roads clear for the people who really are in danger of storm surge.

This is the first year since being in our house that we've had any significant storm threats, so hurricane preparedness is something a little bit foreign to us. But it's really not a whole lot different from preparing for a blizzard... In case of power outage, I'm making sure we have non-perishable food on hand, bottled drinking water, batteries, diapers, etc. It is certainly better to be safe than sorry.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Helping in the Kitchen

Lily helped make brownies the other day. I have been wanting to let her help me in the kitchen, but I was scared to attempt it by myself. Turns out there was nothing to worry about. She was so happy to be helping that she didn't try to move around on the countertop like I thought she would. It was messy, of course, but there was no danger of falling... So I'm going to try to do this more often with her when I'm cooking. We'll see how that goes.

Symphony

We went to see the Fort Bend Symphony Orchestra on Saturday night. It was the only free concert they will do all season, so we were glad we got there early! It was held outdoors, in Town Square, so we took a picnic dinner, spread out a blanket, and enjoyed the evening. The weather was remarkably nice! Lily loved the music. She danced during most of the pieces, and always clapped when they finished. Getting her to stay close to us was a challenge, but that was no surprise. The evening reminded me a lot of the Starlight Music Series concerts we attended in College Station that first summer in Texas, when we'd been here about a year. It was so much fun! (Katie, remember the night the concert was rained out!?)

Here's a tiny clip of Lily swaying with the music and then taking off. She's basically running now. Walking didn't last long! I don't know what happened when the video was uploading, it was supposed to be longer than this; but I'm sure Grandmas and Grandpas will still enjoy it, even if it's only 3 seconds.

video

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Meal Ministry Success is a Lesson in Faith

The Meal Ministry did a great job with the funeral reception today! Everything worked out just fine, and there was plenty of food - enough that we were able to send extra home with the family, which they were very grateful for. I learned a few things that I'm sure will come in handy in the future, but really the whole thing went very smoothly. I felt so inept at the outset of preparing for this reception, but it quickly became quite clear to me that God had it under control and just wanted me to follow. He had already done the work of inspiring volunteers to serve - all I had to do was give them the opportunity. Funny how things work out so well when we trust Him.

Our church used the month of July to seek God's direction. As a church, as families, and as individuals, we spent the month in prayer, asking God to show us the way. We prayed for direction in all sorts of matters, but the point was that we were not asking for God's blessing on our own plans, but that we were asking Him to lead us so that we would do things according to HIS plan. I prayed those prayers, and I thought and thought and thought about how I would KNOW when he was leading me. I knew He would provide direction, but I wanted to know HOW. How was He going to let me know what the plan was?

I think this funeral reception today was but a small portion of my lesson. God doesn't want me to know all the details, He just wants me to have an open heart. He wants me to LET Him lead me. I can't fully explain how I came to that conclusion, but I did. And I think that's the point.

Hebrews 11:1 (NIV)
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

Certain of what we do not see. I am absolutely certain that God has a plan for my life, and I want to follow Him.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Jessie Rambling

Sometimes I just feel like blogging about little things going on in my life... So if you're only here for stories about Lily, you'll want to stop reading this post after the next paragraph. :)

I think she said it! Lily was copying everything I said this afternoon, so I said, "I love you!" And she said, "Ah wuvvy..." I think she meant, "I love you, too, Mommy!"

We've had a busy couple of days of cleaning around here, so I was feeling kind of cooped up and tired when Lily said that this afternoon. Perfect timing, and a perfect way to prepare me for a very busy evening of Meal Ministry work. For the first time, our team has been asked to provide food for a funeral reception. It's a lot different from the type of meals we typically provide, so I've had to plan and prepare a little more than usual before seeking volunteers. I am praying that our ministry will be able to bless this family with a nice reception following the funeral.

I paid our electricity bill today. Don't ask me how much it was. You really don't want to know, because if you hear the number you might have a heart attack. But that's not what's significant about my paying the bill. The significance is, we won! After a week-long battle with our REP (utility company), they finally corrected the rate on our account. And when I say battle, I mean it. They were trying to charge us over a penny more per kWh than what we had contracted, and they basically insisted that because their system showed that we locked in on 6/20, that meant that the paperwork I held in my hand, dated the 16th, didn't matter. I faxed them my proof (well actually Natalie did - thanks Nat!), but they denied my dispute. Twice. They clearly were not actually looking at the documents I faxed them. We were seriously gearing up to file a dispute with the Public Utility Commission. But as a last-ditch effort, Dusty called them one more time. After I had been told numerous times that it was not possible to be transferred to someone in Operations who is able to make a decision (and the people in Operations are not able to make outbound calls), Dusty was almost immediately transferred, and the representative actually reviewed the account! Then the call was somehow disconnected, but the representative completed the review and called ME to let me know that the account had been fixed, a credit had been issued, and the problem would not recur. Amazing. I truly believe Dusty was successful simply because he's a man. I was never once rude or discourteous to the representatives I spoke with. I requested the very same things that Dusty did, but with drastically different responses. But it all worked out ok in the end. Well, hopefully. If the rate is wrong on the next bill I'm not even going to try to fix it, I'll just ask Dusty to call them.

My doctor prescribed another medication for my blood pressure. I'm still taking Procardia, but he added Metoprolol. I was taking Metoprolol when I was discharged from the hospital after Lily was born, but it was one of the several drugs they weaned me away from as my blood pressure "normalized." This medicine has to be taken at night because it can slow the heart rate. I've been taking it for about a week, and I have to say, it seems to be working! My blood pressure yesterday was 113/72! If you've ever talked to me much about my blood pressure, you know these numbers are really quite remarkable for me. And I think the slower heart rate might be helping me sleep at night - added bonus!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

My Gas Range

My oven was leaking gas, so we were faced with a dilemma... A) Buy a nice, new stove that would be something I would pick out if I had my choice; B) Find something less expensive that doesn't have to last toooo long because we plan to remodel the kitchen eventually; or C) Pay someone basically what the range is worth to have them fix it.

Bear in mind that the range was brand new when we moved into our house two years ago. That would make a person want to just fix the stove and keep it, since it's not even that old, right? Not this stove! Oh my goodness, I've never seen a range like mine before. It has two pilot lights under the stovetop that are always burning. The oven temperature is off by 50 degrees. It only has one oven rack. By looking at it, you can just see that it is not very high quality. Nevertheless, it has produced many wonderful meals in the past two years (if I may say so myself!). So while it is not the greatest gas range in the world, it certainly does the job.

We chose option B! We found a great deal on a used gas range, and I couldn't be happier. For the same price as it was going to cost to repair the old one, we got a much nicer gas range. There's a window in the oven door, TWO oven racks, the temperature is only off by about 30 or 40 degrees (lol), the burners are nicer, the knobs are nicer, there's a clock with a timer, and there is NO pilot light always burning! (It's not self-cleaning, but I'll keep that on my wish list for when the kitchen gets remodeled someday.) Sometimes things really do work out nicely! I'll spare you the pictures of my new oven. It's probably not that exciting to the rest of you, just me.

There was some serious frustration with installing this new oven of mine, but Dusty came to the rescue. Thank you, Honey, I love you!

Brazos Bend State Park

I hope you all had a great Labor Day weekend! We had a busy couple of days full of fun birthday parties, and then on Monday we headed to Brazos Bend State Park. The park is only about 15 miles from home, and we've been wanting to visit for awhile.

We had a picnic in the shade and then checked out the nature center, where we got to pet a baby alligator, just 11 days old. The alligator was born in the park, but the nest was near a predator, so park staff brought the babies into the nature center to protect them. We also saw a presentation on snakes in our state, which was very interesting. Texas has more varieties of snakes than any other state, and some of them are venomous. Lily got antsy before we learned how to identify the last of the four venomous snakes, so I think I'll just plan on staying away from all snakes, just in case! We finished our trip by walking along one of the trails, keeping our eyes open for alligators. We hoped to see one from a distance, but they must have been trying to stay cool since it was mid-afternoon by that time. We had a great day in the park!


Some Cute Pictures

Lily's been riding in her big-girl car seat for a few weeks now. She likes to look out the window and say hi to the cars that pass by.
Cute outfit!
Bikini Baby - Check out that belly!
Big girl sitting on the bottom step like Mommy does.
I was trying to get Lily to smile for a picture, so I stuck my tongue out. This is what happened.
So excited at the spray park!