Thursday, December 29, 2011

a sad end to a great Christmas break

This year we spent Christmas with Neal's family in Little Rock. This year was really fun because even though Reese doesn't fully understand she is more into opening presents and gets really excited about certain things. Below are some pictures of some fun memories of a great Christmas. Visiting Santa (the amazing elves convinced her that it was okay):

Christmas jammies:

Papa & Reese:

Mimi & Ella:

My sweet family:

Papa & Ella:

I LOVE this one:

Sweet Sisters:

Her reaction when 1st seeing Santa:

Fun with cousins:

We have always alternated each Christmas between my family and Neal's. Although it wears us out to travel for every single Thanksgiving and Christmas it has worked well. We have always known that once we have kids we wanted to spend some holidays at our own house. Next year is the year that we start this and we are going to do both Thanksgiving and Christmas at home. I am hoping that my family will come up for Christmas some years, maybe every other which would make it every 6 years for them. I know that Neal's family will come to our house for Christmas since he is an only child. Even if my family decides not to come, I will miss them greatly, but I am so looking forward to getting to stay home. Traveling with kids is tough and it will be nice not to have to use up so much of our vacation time.

On to the sad part. Baxter bit Reese pretty bad the day that we got home from Christmas. Maybe he was mad at us for being gone? We have always wondered if this day would come since he is a pretty moody guy. He has done so great the past 20 months and avoided so many fights. He got so good at just walking away when she tried to bother him. BUT we know that we are going to have to find him a new home now that this has happened. We don't want to constantly live in fear of what might happen as we know that it could be worse next time, that would make us bad parents. He is making it harder on us and being ultra sweet the past couple of days. He's given me lots of kisses and been extra cuddly. We are so sad and have cried many tears in the past few days while trying to find him a home. Let me know if you know of a good kid free home!

2 month shot comparison

I dread taking my girls to get shots. It is terrible to see them in pain. I took a photo of each of them just after getting their 2 month shots. It is interesting to see the similarities. I really think they look alike but Reese is a bit fuller, see below.



Friday, December 9, 2011

an overdue update

Many things have happenend in the past couple of months and I am going to do my best to recap below. I have been so bad about keeping up with the blog lately, although I do have a pretty good excuse. I am going to try to commit to updating the blog bi-weekly to avoid such long posts. I don't want to miss capturing any of our sweet memories because I know how fuzzy it gets just months later.

House: Biggest news is that our house is well under way. It has a foundation, a frame, raw plumbing, most of the electrical, windows, insulation, a roof, soffet and facia and I suspect we will have brick any day now, I am very excited to see it with brick because that will give me a good idea of how it is all going to come together. They have laid tile and installed cabinets. Today they were starting on trim and templating for the granite. It sounds like we may be able to move in sometime in March, at best February. Below are some pictures along the way (I will update with interior soon!).

Halloween: Reese had a fun 2nd Halloween. She was a ballerina this year. She went to a baby Halloween party the day before Halloween (which was so fun, one of our friends throws amazing parties), a school Halloween party and she trick or treated at a handful of houses on the street where we are renting. One of my very good friends came by to meet Ella on Halloween and it was good to visit with her and catch up while Reese was out trick or treating with Neal and Gigi.

Thanksgiving: We had a great time in Houston over Thanksgiving. Parts of it were bittersweet as we recently lost my Uncle John, which has been extremley painful for many in our family, but overall we had a great time. 10 days away from home may be too long but it was a great visit. Reese got her 1st pedicure, Neal, Chelsea, Carrie, Alex and myself got to go out to dinner and a movie, we got to hang out with an old Walmart friend and her 2 year old one morning, we got to spend lots of good time with my Mom and my Sisters and the highlight for Reese was Yo Gabba Gabba Live!

Ella: Ella is growing like a weed. I cannot believe that she will be 3 months old soon. I am having such a good time at home with her right now and am dreading the end of my maternity leave in less than 2 weeks now. She is such a pleasant, content and somewhat easy baby. I love both of my girls so much and am looking forward to moving in to our fun new house with two children. Below are some great pictures of my sweet baby girl.

Saturday, November 12, 2011


I am really late getting this up as Ella will be 4 weeks old on Monday (cannot believe that) but better late than never. Ella Brennan was born on October 17th at 10:33, weighing 7 lbs. 10 ozs. Labor could not have been smoother. She has been such a sweet baby and an amazing blessing. We definitely feel that our family is complete. Below are some pictures of our sweet baby girl.

Friday, October 14, 2011


I think I can say that I am fully ready to have Ella at this point. Until now it has felt like there were too many things that I wanted to get done before she came but as of last night I think that all of those things have been checked off of my list.

We sold our house...this in itself is huge!I was let off of bed rest about two and a half weeks ago. Since my doctor really felt like I was going to have her at any moment I crammed a bunch of activity into that weekend in order to check many things off before having her. That Friday evening Neal and I took Reese to Farmland Adventures with our old neighbors and friends. I really wanted to take her to a pumpkin patch to pick out a pumpkin and this was a great place for this. She got to go on a hay ride, she rode a pony multiple times, she fed animals, picked out 2 pumpkins from the patch (really it was Neal and I that did this as she was more interested in riding around in the wagon), she ran around in a mini maze- truly a mini maze made out of hay bales…perfect for a toddler and her favorite part of all was the corn box. They had a big box full of corn…I really liked this much better than a sand box, not so messy.

The next day was the Arkansas & A&M game. It was a very exciting game and I am so happy that we won because my silly husband made a bet and if we had lost my girls would have had to wear A&M shirts, photographed and displayed on facebook, that would have been terrible. After the game we headed out to the Gentry Animal Safari. We had a good time but I don’t think she is quite old enough to enjoy this as much as I wanted her to. We did a little shopping and went out to dinner. We had a great day although we were supposed to have gone to one of my best friend’s daughters first birthday party this day. The party was in Conway and while my doctor was fine with me traveling to Conway for the day a couple of months ago he changed his mind after discovering how far I had already progressed. We were sad to miss her first birthday party. Sunday we went out for donuts and then went to church. That afternoon we took Reese to the playground and then had a relaxing evening around the house.

Last weekend I got to go on a fun date with my wonderful husband. We had dinner and then went to the Need to Breathe concert. The concert was a birthday present that he got me back in August. Ben Rector opened for them and though we had heard of him we really did not know any of his music. We discovered that he is from Fayetteville, well went to the UofA anyways. They were both so good. We left the concert a few minutes early and went to Kohl’s, because they are opened extremely late, to use our $10 coupon on a new outfit for Reese since we had pictures the next day. Saturday one of my very generous co-workers took pregnant pictures of me and family pictures. She did such a good job, I love how they turned out. That evening we watched the Arkansas & Auburn game…we won(!), causing us to now be ranked #10.

The biggest stressor that I really wanted to have put to bed before Ella got here was the contract and house plans on the house we are building. I can now say, that as of yesterday, we have a final house plan and a contract, that we feel very comfortable with, in place. This turned into a frustrating ordeal on the front end, mainly due to the realtor that was initially involved. We are not happy about how it all happened but we are happy with the way that it ended up that the realtor will no longer be representing us and we will be able to deal directly with the builder. We are so excited about the house we are building and hoping that the process goes smoothly from here on out.

Yesterday was really a great day. In addition to getting the house plans finalized & contract in place I got to spend some precious time with Reese as her last day as an only child without company at our house. Neal had to work late so I planned a fun evening with her. After picking her up from school we went to a really fun playground that we discovered near our rent house. We spent over an hour at the playground. There were two other 18 month olds out there as well as a 3 year old. She had a lot of fun playing with all of them. After the playground we went and ate some Mexican food. She wanted to dip each of her chips in the salsa and then began grabbing handfuls of salsa and putting them in her mouth, I guess she likes salsa but this made a mess. After dinner we headed home and ended up getting there about the same time that Neal got home. We got her a couple of new toys to play with before she went to bed. We spent 20 or 30 minutes playing and then put her down to bed together.

Last night we got the car seats out and plan to put those in today, we assembled the bouncer and got the swing set up. All things that will be necessary when she is here. The problem will be that Reese really wants to get in the swing. I am trying to convince her that it is just as fun to let her baby dolls swing instead.

I have gotten so many things accomplished: we sold our house, the pumpkin patch, Gentry Animal Safari, date night, pregnancy pictures, house plans & contract in place and very important some good quality time with my precious baby girl. Now I just have to wait until Monday when I will be induced…unless she decides to come on her own over the weekend. We cannot wait to meet Ella!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

bed rest

Last Tuesday afternoon I went in to my regular weekly doctor's appointment. Towards the end of the appointment I mentioned to him that I had been feeling some minor pressure...nothing I was too concerned about just something that I never felt with Reese so I thought I would mention it. He said that this being my second pregnancy my muscles are not as tight to hold the baby as high and she may be carrying lower causing some of the pressure. He didn't think it would be much of an issue but since I was complaining of pressure he was going to check me. When he did it turned out that I was 3 cm dilated and 70% effaced. So he immediately admitted me into the hospital for 24 hours of monitoring and 2 rounds of steroid shots. They were able to determine that I was not in active labor and getting in the 2 rounds of steroids will greatly improve her lung functioning if she does come soon.

He released me on Wednesday afternoon to complete bed rest until I reach 36 weeks. He said our initial goal was to get me to 34 weeks, which is today. While 34 weeks is way too early her survival chances are very high. Our next goal is 35 weeks and our ultimate goal is 36 weeks. Who knows maybe I will make it to the end, she just wanted to scare us a little.

Bed rest has definitely gotten old. I know I am doing great things in growing this baby but it makes me feel worthless to lay around all day long. In the middle of all of this Neal is moving us into a rental house as our house is under contract and scheduled to close on September 26th. My husband is so amazing and has worked so hard every spare moment he has had to get us moved. Because of him I really have not been stressed through all of this and I appreciate that about him so much.

Reese hasn't seemed to notice much of a change but I make sure to hang out with her in the evenings. We lay on the couch and watch Yo Gabba Gabba, she gets to eat dinner in the living room (we roll her high chair out) while I lay on the couch and eat and I lay on her floor while Neal and I do bedtime together.

I am so excited about getting to begin the building process. We are not starting a thing until our house officially closes and we know that it is a done deal. That should all take place in the next 12 days or so. We are so close to getting to begin something that we have fantasized about for such a long time.

Monday, August 15, 2011

a blast in Branson

Neal and I have gone to Branson in the past a few times. We have always had a good time but I think it is going to become a more regular place to visit now that we will have kiddos to enjoy it with. There are so many fun things to do with kids. It is funny the things that we notice, now that we have a baby to enjoy things with, that we never noticed before. In the past we might see a show, do some eating and do a lot of outlet shopping.

Shopping definitely had to be done in short shifts on this trip. Reese can only stand so much and luckily they have a ride on toy about every hundred yards at the outlet mall. We got lots of cute clothes for the girls and my favorite would be the matching pink skeleton pj’s for Halloween. We did the outlet mall in two short rounds and did a little shopping at the Landing.

We headed to Branson Thursday late afternoon. We did the Landing the first night just as we got into town. We ate at White River Fish House which is Bass Pro Shops restaurant. It is on the lake and has lots of interesting things hanging from the walls to keep Reese’s interest including boats and moose heads. After dinner we walked through Bass Pro Shop, which Reese thought was the most amazing place she had ever been, and we then did just a little shopping.

Friday morning we cooked breakfast at the condo and then headed to do a little shopping at the outlet mall and then off to the indoor/outdoor water park. The park was fun but the inside part was kept at around 75 degrees and the water felt as if it was 40 degrees. So, it. Was. So. Cold! Reese was pretty uninterested in the water due to the temperature. She had a blast in the outdoor portion though. I wish I had gotten more pictures of her playing in the water but I was busy playing with her. It took less than a minute for her to fall asleep in the car on the way back to the condo. While Reese slept Neal and I made BLT’s with some tomatoes that we picked up from a roadside stand on our way into town…they were really good. When Reese woke up we fed her lunch and took her swimming in the condo pool. There wasn’t a whole lot to the pool but she had about as much fun in this pool as she did at the water park. We then went up and took a bath and go ready to head out to dinner.

On our way to dinner we did another hour and a half or so at the outlet mall. We then ate at a steakhouse. Reese was much more interested in eating ketchup by the handful then she was about eating anything else. She is turning into a finicky eater and it breaks my heart. I miss my baby that eats anything and everything set in front of her.

Saturday Neal made pancakes and sausage and after eating we headed out to the golf course for Reese’s first lessons. We stayed on the Payne Stewart golf course in the condos. We stayed in the Villas last October with some friends and their babies and I don’t know if we will be able to stay anywhere else. The location is great and the amenities are wonderful. Back to the golf lessons, this was the highlight of the trip for Neal and I have to say that Reese and I really had a great time as well. He taught her how to hold her plastic clubs correctly and they hit the ball quite a few times. I cannot say that she can do this on her own but practice cannot hurt and I bet in a year’s time she will be quite the golfer for her age. We then took a long walk to the club house and took some photos on the first hole, it is really a beautiful course. We headed back for Reese to get a nap in and then packed the car and headed home. We had a great trip and look forward to many trips to come as a family of 4!