Sunday, December 28, 2008

New Year's Resolution

It's that time of year again. You know what I'm talking about...when you sit and figure out what you "need" to change, to make next year better. Typically, you give it plenty of thought and then by the 2nd of January...you've already given up on it.
This year, I figured...what's the use? Seriously...am I going to keep any of these "promises" that I make to myself? Probably not. Then, when I don't, I feel bad about myself.
This year, I'm not setting myself up for failure. This year, instead of focusing on things that I think I need to change...I'm going to focus on things I'm doing right now...that I want to continue doing in the year to come.

Going to school. Breastfeeding Presley. Blogging my family's memories. Playing games with the kids. Going to the gym. Making sure we all take our daily vitamin. Taking time for myself. Drinking plenty of water. Making sure the kids do their best in school and encourage their love of learning. Focus on our finances. Working on organizing my entire home. Continue telling myself that milk chocolate is a serving of dairy. Keep being an example of tolerance, for my children. And other people that need the lesson. Taking time to cuddle my kids, just because...even when I don't think I have the time. Taking plenty of pictures, to document my children's childhoods. Continue to never get stressed out and always think logically, without letting my emotions get the best of me...okay, so maybe I do have a little something to work on... :)

Presley's First Christmas
















Tuesday, December 23, 2008

'Tis The Season

Josh came home tonight and found an envelope on our front door, simply addressed to "The (our last name)." He walked in and asked me if anyone had knocked and I said that I hadn't heard anything. I assumed it was another Christmas card, much like the many wonderful ones we have received from family and friends.

However, it wasn't like any other Christmas card, that we have ever received. Inside the envelope was a beautiful Christmas card and $100! It was simply signed, "Merry Christmas! God Bless!"

Because of my pregnancy complications, I was in and out of the hospital a lot before Presley's birth. This means that for a couple months I haven't really been working a lot and since her early arrival, I haven't been working at all. Because of that and the medical bills that fill our mailbox daily, money has been really tight.

We haven't told anyone about our financial issues, so we don't know where it could have come from or how someone knew. Now, we don't know who to thank, either. All I can hope is that this amazing person reads this and knows how much we appreciate their gift.

Josh and I discussed it and we feel so incredibly blessed, that we will be taking half of it and giving it to another family, that we know could really use it. It's not money that we planned on, so it's not money that we will miss...and knowing that another family will feel as loved and blessed as we do now, is what Christmas is all about.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Mommy's Emotional

Pres is almost starting to fit into her newborn clothes. Today, I packed away the preemie outfit she came home in. She will never wear it again.

The thought that she is beginning to grow, makes me incredibly sad. I can't believe that she is my last baby. My last "first smile". My last baby smell and soft eyes. My last "first tooth". My last time hearing my baby say "Ma Ma" for the first time. My last experience as a nursing mom. My last tiny little hand tangled in my hair. My last "first giggle". My last first steps.

I will never again feel the sudden rush of excitement at a positive pregnancy test. I will never again hold my breath as I wait for my doctor to find the baby's heartbeat. I will never again strain my eyes to make out my baby's body parts on a black and white screen. I will never again wonder if I just felt my baby's first kick...or if it was just gas. It will always just be gas... :) I will never again use my belly as a shelf, for a bowl of ice-cream. I will never again watch my belly morph into geometric shapes as my little one tumbles inside. I will never again feel the shock of my water breaking. I will never again feel a contraction and be so happy to be in pain. I will never again sit in a hospital bed with all the people I love around me...waiting for one more to join us. I will never again push with all my might to bring my child into the world. I will never again hold a child that is physically connected to me. I will never again watch my husband cut the cord that has binded that child to me for 9 months.

BUT....I will always know that no matter where in the world my children are, no matter what they choose to do or who they choose to become...I will always love them. With every little piece of my heart.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Not Yet!!


There are some things I'm not ready for.

I'm not ready for my kids to start driving. I'm not ready for "the talk" with any of them. I'm not ready for the day that Luke loves another woman more than me. I'm not ready for bras and PMS.


Another thing I'm not ready for? Boys to be checking out my 7 year old!

It happened for the first time this fall, when we went up to Brighton. It happened again last night at Josh's work party.

I'll admit...it kind of made me laugh because I could see this little boy looking at her out of the corner of his eye...pretending that he wasn't watching her.

But, at the same time, I wanted to walk over and flick him in the forehead and tell him to STOP IT!

She's my baby girl. I'm not ready for this.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

There's No Such Thing...

...as too many pictures!

My wonderful, wonderful, WONDERFUL friend, Mickey, came over and took a million photos of our family. She knew we couldn't take Peanut out public, so she was nice enough to come to our little corner of the world and do wonderous things! We took over 200 photos, over 60 came out perfect and these are a few of my favorite!


Garrard Family 2008
Since Pres can't go out for her newborn pictures that I normally do, we spent some extra time capturing her cuteness!

I LOVE this picture! Mickey made me pretty!


I am one lucky Mommy!

My BEAUTIFUL photographer!


Christmas 2008


Thank-you

I've recently received a few e-mails from "blurkers" - people who read, but don't comment. These aren't people that I know...some don't even know people I know...they are complete strangers. These are just random people, that for whatever reason, find my life comical enough to keep coming back.
To these people...you know who you are...THANK YOU for your e-mails. You bring a smile to my face and brighten my day. Thank you for letting me know that you are there. I love to write about my crazy kids, my school struggles and my extra-ordinary happenings...thank you for reading!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Christmas Letter 2008

***I usually send out a Christmas letter in our Christmas cards. Due to some one's unforeseen early arrival...I'm finding myself a bit behind. So, I will post my Christmas letter here and hope that I've caught up enough by next year...to actually mail cards out. ***

Dear Family and Friends,

What a year of changes! I can’t believe another year has flown by, while we weren’t looking! Our children continue to surprise and delight us everyday and we could not imagine our lives without them.

We’ll start with our most recent big…yet tiny…change! Our little princess, Presley, was born on November 21st. After having a miscarriage in April, we were shocked to find out only a few weeks later, that we were expecting again. Following a month of threatening to come early, she arrived by emergency c-section at 33 weeks, 1 day. We were warned that she would be spending almost two months in the hospital, due to her premature birth, but they severely underestimated our little peanut! From day one, she became a legend. She was known as the “preemie that didn’t know she was a preemie.” The nurses, doctors and I would joke that if we just didn’t tell her she wasn’t full-term, that she’d keep doing well. After only nine days in special care, she came home! She is the cutest thing you’ve ever seen and has an incredibly laid back personality, that fits in well with our chaos.

Luke is no longer my little baby boy. He has the vocabulary of a five year old and the mess making abilities of several 2 year olds. He loves Thomas the Train and only wants a train set for Christmas. He loves having Pres home and calls her, “MY baby!” He can’t wait to start pre-school next year and hates when we drop off Avery and he can’t stay. It’s strange to think that he’ll be old enough to be starting school already!

Avery is in her first year of pre-school and loves it! She is starting to pick out letters and tries to write her name. I have seen a lot of changes in her in the last few months. She is more helpful and gets into trouble a little less. She still has the biggest eyes and the cutest smattering of freckles on her nose. She wants a new baby doll for Christmas and she already loves to “feed” her babies like I feed Pres.

Ryleigh is really enjoying kindergarten. She has picked up reading quite easily and her teacher just adores her. She gets along with everyone in her class, but is more on the shy side. She has developed a little attitude, but overall, is a good kid and is a big help, most of the time. She loves holding Pres and changing her diapers, when asked. She played soccer again this year and really seems to have a natural talent for it.

Bailey is doing really well in 2nd grade. She loves reading and drawing pictures. She has times when she thinks she’s already a teenager, but thankfully, that isn’t too often. She has a lot of friends at school and is very much the social butterfly. She has a gentle personality and always tries to make the right choice. She also played soccer again this year and improved quite a bit! I love watching her attempt new things and succeed.

Josh is still working for XXXXX and working crazy rotating hours. He got our yard completely finished this year and has been busy painting various areas of our home that weren’t done yet. He got into the Christmas spirit even more this year and decorated the house and front yard. The kids are quite impressed with what he’s done! His Mom has done well with her cancer this year. It has been a lot of ups and downs, but we are still extremely thankful for every day that we get to spend with her. Josh’s brother and his wife are expecting another baby girl any moment and Josh’s sister is expecting another baby boy at the beginning of the year. We are excited to have a new niece and nephew to grow up with our children!

I’m still working at home for XXXXX and going to school at XXXXX. Unfortunately, due to Pres’s arrival in the middle of fall semester, I had to take an incomplete in my pre-calculus class, so I’ll have to finish it up in the spring. However, she is worth any “trouble” she may have caused, so I’m not too upset. I’m not too far away from my associate’s degree! That is only the first step, in the long walk to graduating nursing school, but I’ll get there. Knowing that Presley is indeed our last baby, I can tentatively look toward the future and plan the completion of school.

Well, that is a quick update of our lives! We hope that your family is doing well and that this letter finds you all happy and safe. We are so grateful for the presence of each of you in our lives. To our friends and family, both old and new, thank you for everything, this past year. There is no way that we can repay you for everything you have so selflessly done for us. We wish you all a very MERRY CHRISTMAS and a HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Love, The Garrard Family

Friday, December 12, 2008

Updating It All

I haven't posted all week because of my computer. I've complained about Dell before and I refuse to do it again. Just know that they are the computer store based in Hell, where all their employees speak broken English/Chinese/Spanish...(Eng-ese-ish?)...but are named Bob.
Life has been good around here. Chaotic. Sleepless. Stressful. The usual.
Little Miss Pres had her two week appointment and gained...drum roll please...one whole ounce! Yup, my little peanut is up to 4 lbs. 12 oz. How I love that teeny, tiny little girl. I just look at her and I want to cry. Partially because we've already gotten about $30,000 in medical bills for her...(I'm teasing...she's worth every penny), but mostly because I can't believe that she is here and healthy and making me smile every single day!
Mom's most recent scans came back this week. It's not good news. The tumor in her lungs has gotten much larger, indicating that the chemo she has been on, is no longer working. We are down to only two therapies left to try. This is depressing news to have to swallow right before Christmas. As I told Mom...we have watched her tumors grow and shrink all year...there is nothing to indicate that they won't shrink again. Yes, I like my denial bubble. I'm surrounded by hope in this little bubble of mine.
I finally just went out Christmas shopping yesterday. The kids will be getting less this year, than in past years. Many things attribute to this. The economy sucks and I refuse to go into major debt for one day of the year. Pres came early, completely throwing me off any "schedule" I may have previously had. And...we just realized...what's the point? Christmas isn't the material things that we all stress over. Christmas is all of us being together. All of us being healthy and happy and TOGETHER. It isn't about the toys that will get forgotten about in a week or two. It's about celebrating the fact that I survived another year in my crazy, extra-ordinary life.

Monday, December 8, 2008

MY Blog

It's recently come to my attention that someone copied a post I had written and claimed it as their own. They even went so far as to change certain things about the post, to match their life.
I will NOT tolerate this.
If I find out that this has happened again, I will immediately go private. Have some respect for my writing. These are my personal words...go find your own. I do not feel that I need to post *please do not copy this* above every single post of mine. I would think that would be implied. If I ever copy someone else's words, I give credit where credit is due. If possible, I will even ask permission, before doing so. I demand the same respect.
While imitation may be the highest form of flattery...plagiarism isn't!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

ADD...at it's finest...

So, tonight I went upstairs to check the thermostat, because I'm cold.
When I got up there, I found that every single light was on, so I shut them off.
Then I realized that Avery wasn't in her bed.
I went back through all the rooms and turned on all the lights again and looked for her.
She wasn't anywhere to be found.
Then I went down to the basement and found Bay, Roo and the missing Avery all snuggled together in the Bay's bed.
I took a moment to "aww" over it and then shut off all the extra lights down there.
Then I came up to the main floor and realized I was still cold.
Soooo....I went back upstairs and shut off all the lights again and bumped up the thermostat.

When does "pregnancy brain" go away?

Letter For Peanut


Dear Peanut,
I am so in love with you. It amazes me how one tiny little body, can cause my heart to fill with so much emotion. I can't even begin to describe the joy that I feel, just at the sight of you.

You are already starting to develop your own little personality. I love the little noises you make and your tiny little cry. I love that when I hold you, you grab on to my shirt with your hand, like you never want me to let you go. I love that when you cry, all I have to do is snuggle you into my neck and you stop in an instant.

I am so lucky to be your Mommy and to have had such a beautiful soul sent to me, to complete my family. Knowing that you are my last baby, I've realized how much the phrases, "I can't wait until you..." or "I can't wait to see you..." are unnecessary. I can wait. I want to enjoy all the beautiful little moments I have with you now. I don't want to miss them, because I'm always looking forward to the next thing that you'll be doing. I want to enjoy all of the amazing things that you do today...and let tomorrow take care of itself.

I love you, peanut.
Love, Mommy

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Beautiful Smiles

Pres is quite the smiley girl! I don't know what she's dreaming about, but it usually means that we get treated to some great expressions. I was so glad that I got to catch some of them in pictures.



My personal favorite!

Meeting The Family

The kids were SO excited to meet Presley. It was quite the fight over who got to hold her first and how long they got to hold her.
Bailey

Ryleigh
Avery
Luke
Mom - "Grandma, Presley has more hair than you!"
Dad - Poor guy just got off a graveyard shift
Brat - Longing to hold her own baby...March is coming sooner than you think!
Cody - I promised he'd get to meet her before leaving on his mission. I figured he'd get a few days with her, not a few months! :) She isn't too much larger than a Cabbage Patch!
The first time we've had all 5 kids in the mini-van. Capacity: FULL

Coming Home

Well, I'm behind on blogging, but I found something so much more entertaining...staring at my beautiful peanut! :)
I have a lot of pictures to catch up on, starting with getting her ready to come home!

This is a cute little onesie that says, "New In Town" on it. One of the few things we found that fit her!

Here's my peanut all dressed up. We were never able to find dragonfly apparell to bring her home in, but since she was born our little peanut, this outfit seemed perfect!
Close up of her hip.
Notice how tiny she is in her carseat? We couldn't have made the straps smaller if we wanted to...so it's a good thing this fit her.