Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Hartley Thanksgiving

Do you love when sitcoms begin at the end and work their way backwards? I do. So here goes. This is how our Thanksgiving weekend ended. Eli, completely pooped out in the back of the Tahoe. How did he get this way?

Well, we went carouseling at the Fantasy of Trees.

Attended the grand lighting of downtown Knoxville's Christmas Tree

Father and son did some serious bonding over fireworks.

Mom and baby picked out ornaments.

Saw the Holiday train exhibit at UT's garden. (It was awesome!)

Enjoyed some serious holiday family time.

Paused on Volunteer Landing for some family shots by the river.

And it all began with Thanksgiving Day lunch at Calhoun's on the River. Mmm. Nothing says Thanksgiving like some slow-roasted chicken, Spinach Maria and corn pudding. Yum. Here's the boy enjoying his first Turkey Day a la restaurant. We'll do a home for the holidays Thanksgiving when Eli's old enough to remember it ... maybe.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

we've reached double digits - 1 0

Eli is 10 months old! This pic is from the Fantasy of Trees at the Knoxville Convention Center. He's on the front end of a Polar Bear/Tennessee Train. Good thing I only have 2 more of the month by month pics to do because I get slower and slower getting these up each month.

Elijah is loads of fun! He's totally into Peek-a-Boo, chasing games, and riding along on his john deere tractor, patty cakish games, tickling and big open mouth kisses. He also likes to pull hair-but that is not so much fun.

Eli is pulling to standing and even takes wobbly steps along with his ride-along toys or holding onto chairs or the couch. I even peeked in on him during a non-nap to find him toddling around his crib holding onto the railing...awesome. In other breaking out news- he loves buckles, clasps and ties. He studies them intently and tries to put them together. I think he's just waiting for the day when his strength and dexterity are enough to break out of his car seat.

Eli also really enjoys "helping" mom. He helps me fold clothes by grabbing them and crawling around. He helps me cook by banging pots and crawling into the fridge. He even helps unload the dishwasher (spoon by spoon) and dryer (piece of lint by piece of lint).

He has 2 little tooth nubs barely poking through his gums. - Nights around our house have been loads of fun lately with these two shiny white chompers making their presence known. Though mommy is firmly night weaning - and by firm I mean I rock him back to sleep now instead of nursing. He's upper two teeth are also coming in strong, perhaps he'll get them for Christmas.... We sing for them daily.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

My Ideal Church

For the past couple months Rob and I have been part of a Church Planting Small Group at Crossings.

We were given this assignment a couple weeks ago:
"In 50-100 words describe your ideal church"

Of course I went over by a word or two, but here's what my dream church would be like:

My Ideal Church...

Is very welcoming. We have fun together and celebrate often. We share our joys together so well that they're enough to carry us through life's sorrows. We live close to one another and spend days intricately involved in each others' lives. We care about people around us in a non-do-gooder way. We care about the earth, the health of our families, and the world around us in uncool ways. We hold each other accountable. We do all this because we love Jesus and he is so good to us.

On Sunday mornings the songs are real, the teaching sound and moving. The love of God palpable. baby can cry throughout.

Mark Nelson summed up my 102 word description in 1 word - Community. Yes, I think that's it!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Mama Worry, Go Away

Mama Worry and her sister Mama Guilt have been beating down my door.

Before Eli was ever born Rob and I decided that we were going to parent like Eli was our 4th kid. We weren't going to panic, we would let him eat off the floor, and the 5 second rule would be extended to, if he finds it he can have it - germs can be our friend. We'd play pass the baby at parties and church and everyone would be happy and relaxed.

This lasted until week 17 of Eli's life when he stopped breathing during the night. I woke from a bad dream, checked on Elijah and found him sleeping gray and breathless. I thank God for waking me from that nightmare and giving us the state of mind to do rescue breaths to bring our little boy back to us. For letting there be time.

Nothing was ever found to be wrong with him and Dr.s labeled it a "near miss SIDS". Needless to say, this rocked our world and a sleep monitor for Eli finally allowed Rob and I to sleep soundly through the night and stop taking shifts. But, oh did Mama Worry bend my ear. Does he have brain damage, are doctors missing something, will it happen again, can we save him again, did I cause it somehow?

I suffered some serious post-traumatic stress and felt the after-effects of adrenaline in my body for days. I totally know now how moms lift cars and do all manner of crazy feats to save their babies. Within a couple weeks we resumed a new normal; our reality changed based on what we'd experienced. We celebrated having Eli with us, but unlike ever before we realized that he was in God's hands for protection and provision. We got to love, care for and look after this little boy, but he wasn't ours alone. Life could be fragile.

I struggled to take back our relaxed parenting style. For the couple months following, I was on edge. Nervous and doubting most everything. But I adopted a 'fake it 'til you make it' strategy; remaining calm and nonchalant on the outside, while quietly resolving paranoid fears in my mind endlessly entertaining Mama Worry and Mama Guilt. However unhealthy, my 'fake it 'til you make it strategy actually did work. And our healthy little boy grew and grew unencumbered by psycho mom.

With few and normal new mom/baby health scares along the way we did great and Rob and I really were able to continue parenting in a non-stressful way. Remembering what happened week 17, allowing ourselves to be forever changed by week 17, but trying not to dwell on the what could have been and trying not to let week 17 unduly and negatively influence everyday normal parenting and health decisions. We always ended those remembering discussions with God is amazingly good to us. We are incredibly lucky to have experienced God's direct intervention. He is mighty to save.

And then came last weekend. I was at a Bradley Teacher Training in Atlanta and Eli got sick. He began running the first temperature he's ever had in all of his 9 months of life. Friday night the fever began and it continued over into Saturday. Fever and a runny nose were his only symptoms and Eli wasn't phased by either. I called both his pediatricians (one in PA, one in GA) and our pharmacist to get advice on what to do until his previously scheduled appt. on Monday am. We gave him Tylenol and Motrin (the first he'd ever had) and watched him. I continued with my training and Eli continued playing, eating and drinking like normal. We were assured we could easily ride out this illness until we got to the dr.s office on Monday am. Then on Sunday afternoon after waking from a nap you could tell he felt worse and his fever was higher, 103+. We took him to the ER, but before going in we checked his temp again. It was back to 101+, so our pediatrician said it would be okay to just take him home and bring him in first thing Monday. So we went home.

Then Sunday evening around 6 after waking up from another nap, Eli appeared to have a febrile (fever induced) absent seizure from a temperature spike. We got in the car to drive back to the hospital but decided to call an ambulance instead after he projectile vomited. Poor little sick boy. His underarm temp in the ambulance was 104.5 (so more like an oral 105.5) and his pulse was close to 200 bpm. He got a mega dose of Tylenol in the ambulance and a dose of Motrin once we got to the ER. His temp came down and we came home. It was just a plain virus.

At the peds office the next day, we got an antibiotic for a possible sinus infection and our kind nurse (my nurse when I was a baby) attempted to calm my fears concerning febrile seizures. But once again Mama Worry and Mama Guilt decided to stay for a visit. What would another mom have done, does a temp that high or seizures cause long-term damage, is he going to be okay, has he had enough of the meningitis vaccine to be protected, surely this bug came from the shopping cart at the grocery-why didn't I cover the handle bar?

We spent Monday night from 5pm to 11:30pm with Eli in and out of the bath and rotating hospital dosages of Motrin and Tylenol every 3 hours. We worked so hard to keep his temp below 103.5 which was the Drs' cut off for us having to go back to the ER. He got up to 103.4. Poor sick baby.

I come from a long line of fretters. Which is a big reason I tried so hard in the beginning to not start the pattern of worrying early- To tell Mama Worry and Mama Guilt to take a hike. But man, has it been hard I feel like I've been given this perfect baby boy where my one and only job is to not mess him up - but, it is unbelievably hard! And surely, he will not escape unscathed from our parenting. My mom and Rob's were notorious (though now reformed) worriers; and they are my best cheerleaders in my anti-worry campaign. Just last night my mom reminded me not to waste this time worrying, Elijah is growing up so fast.

Fear, stress and anxiety is a terrible and exhausting frame to parent your child from, though a great way to lose weight (picture wedding day skinny-friends from years ago). Our week 17 is what I go back to when my brain senses danger and it is a perpetual tug of war between rational calm mommy and Please-Don't-Let-Him-Die panic mode. Hopefully realizing this will help me lean toward the rational calm side of my mommy brain more and more often and that time will heal the trauma we faced when Eli was so small while still remembering our reality that God gives life and keeps our babies even when we can't.

Monday, November 1, 2010

9 month-er

Eli in his gaudy game day orange. Go Vols!

Elijah turned 9 months old a couple weeks ago! WooHoo!!

He is a crawling, laughing, clapping, waving, squealing bundle of non-stop action. Eli began 'real' crawling a couple weeks before turning 9 months. He eats most anything-even without any teeth, though I can now finally feel a tooth bud. Also, he's a little over 20 lbs. Weigh-to-grow kid.

He won't stay still for a second. Even the quickest diaper change involves chasing down his bare bum at least once from the other side of the room. I have now permanently set up the pack in play in our living room for when I have to leave the room. No longer do I return to find my baby exactly where I left him- He now is under the table, behind the TV or reaching under the proofing supplies, yes please.

We take him to a lot of intramural games here at the college. Anytime the crowd gets excited we join in, too. Eli's cue to clap is when mom and dad yell "Yay!" He loves being in the know on how to act like a big kid.

Elijah began waving after his deliriously high fever on Monday at the pediatricians office. Rob was holding him and Eli waved "bye bye" to the Doctor. Nice kid, we get the picture. You're done being poked and prodded.

I know it's probably a little early for Elijah to begin talking, and maybe it's just my imagination, but I feel like Eli can say,

bye bye

and, my personal favorite, "Vrroom, Vvroom." In true little boy fashion.

Let's just hope, "No" is still a couple months away.

View that I have most often now that he crawls.