Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I present to you.....

The Hays Family photo shoot!!! :)

Courtesy of Ruth Vasquez Photography.....and TOTALLY AWESOME! :)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A request.....

One of my friends in blogger land has recently received some potentially devastating news. Their 2 year old son has been battling cancer (Wilms tumor) for quite a while now. His latest scans have revealed some spots on his liver that may indicate his cancer has spread. They are meeting with their doctors tomorrow and should know more detailed information tomorrow evening. I am desperately hoping that the lesions are merely scar tissue or something less concerning. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers. It isn't fair. What their family has had to go through is not fair. Not. At. All.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

So, this is what it feels like to breathe.....

I must mark today as one of the best days of my life. Brandon had an appointment with an endocrinologist to discuss the potential health problem that we were facing. In an attempt to protect B's privacy, I won't go into great detail other than to say that initially, it was not looking good. Fortunately, as is the case with EVERY medically related issue B has faced in his short little life, it turned out to be a fluke! It is really quite astonishing! Let's recap, shall we?

-2 weeks old-ER visit for projectile vomitting-possible pyloric stenosis. Ultrasound of GI tract shows everything is normal.

-5 weeks old-hospitalization for virus, and discovery of prominent sacral dimple and told it could potentially be spina bifida. Ultrasound of spine shows that everything is normal.

-6 months old- Had markers for Down's Syndrome, pedi ordered karotype/chromosomal testing. 2 weeks later, test comes back normal.

-9 months old- Growth of head is faster than normal, so pedi suspects hydrocephalus. Ultrasound shows everything is normal.

-9 months old- Weak eye muscles in right eye, pedi refers us to an opthamologist. All exams have been showing marked improvement, but we may need to do patch therapy in the future.

-1 year old- The endocrinology issue arises. Today's appointment shows everything is normal and there is no real cause for concern!

PHEW!!! Seriously, after today's news, I am finally able to breathe!

So, today, officially 20 months old, I am hoping that this is the point where we can finally be done with medical issues for awhile! The occasional cold I can handle, but all of this quasi-major stuff has been STRESSING me out!!!

So, here is to a new day, and a new time in our parental adventure! I will say though, all of these health related issues have made an ear infection seem like a walk in the park! :)

Yay to Brandon for being a healthy little boy, and for following tradition in proving everyone wrong!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

I just don't get it.....

Beware-this blog may be slightly offensive, or judgmental. However, this is my blog, and a place for me to vent and share my own feelings, so that is exactly what I am going to do.

WHY do people have continue to bring children into the world when they should NOT?!?! I understand that everyone is entitled to have children when they choose, and that is one of the many freedoms we have, but WHY would you KNOWINGLY attempt to get pregnant when you were JUST planning on divorcing your husband? WHY would you KNOWINGLY have unprotected sex with someone when you KNOW that you CANNOT afford another child, or when you can barely afford to take care of the children you already have? WHY would you trap a man by getting pregnant and think that he is required to stay and provide for you and your child? WHY would you have a child when you are making no attempts to be self sufficient?

I just don't get it. In my opinion, it is SO easy.

1.) Pregnancy is NOT that hard to avoid. It is called being RESPONSIBLE. Protect yourself. I can understand not using protection if you are in a COMMITTED relationship, and are capable of providing for a child. I don't understand "accidental" pregnancies. I'm sure there are cases out there, in fact I know of a few; however, these cases are so few and far between. If you don't want to have a baby, PROTECT yourself. Easy.

2.) Babies are not accessories! Just because everyone in Hollywood is having a baby, does NOT mean that you should run out and get one for yourself. Babies are HARD work, and require CONSTANT care. Babies are expensive. Babies DO NOT FIX A RELATIONSHIP!!!!! Omg, I CANNOT stress that last one enough. You should NOT continue to bring children into the world if you are not at least making an attempt to be self sufficient. Yeah, if your husband takes care of you, that is fine well and good. BUT, what happens if he decides to leave you, or you decide to leave, or whatever? At least ATTEMPT to become self sufficient.

Ugh, I could go ON and ON, but I won't. I just don't get it.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

18 months ALREADY?!?!?!

Today B is 18 months old, and I swear it seems like someone hit the fast forward button on our life. At the risk of sounding cliche, everyday he amazes me even more! These past few weeks he has become SO interested in the things around him. Everywhere we go he has to point out various things, and say, "Wow!!!!" His vocabulary is amazing and gets better everyday. He is a little sponge, and picks up on things so quickly. He is turning in to such an amazing little boy and is completely crazy with energy! He certainly keeps me on my toes, and I never forget for a second how blessed Brian and I are to have him in our lives. He has enriched out lives more than we ever could have expected. He's amazing!

To keep track of a few of the latest milestones, I am going to list some of the latest and greatest!

At 18 months he can say: Mama, Dada, Ball, Car, Juice, Please, That, Hot, Cold, Meow, Ruff, Hi, Wow, Bye, PawPaw, Out, Me, Eat, Water, Yellow, and a ton of letters.

He is fascinated with letters. Everywhere we go he points out the letters. HE is particularly attached to the letters "R," "A," "O," "T," "D," "P," and "E." He is good about actually pointing out the letters "R," and "A."

He LOVES cars, and especially big trucks. Today, we waited for the dump truck to pick up out trash all while hearing him say "WOW!!" :)

He loves cats, and will point them out and say, "Meow" with this cute little scruntched up face. Heh...he gets his love of cats from his Momma. :)

His latest is pointing out Momma and Dada in all of the pictures he sees. He's been pointing out Dada for awhile, but added Momma lately. I've always emphasized Dada because Brian has been gone, so it is so nice that he started Momma on his own. Makes me feel special. :)

He loves to say hi and bye to himself in the mirror everynight when he brushes his teeth. :)

He LOVES to run around naked after his bath! lol He gets THAT from his Daddy. :)

He loves watching Barney, Yo Gabba Gabba, and The Backyardigans.

He gets in to EVERYTHING...ALL THE TIME!!! Hahaha.

He can point out eyes, ears, nose, mouth, teeth, hair, head, feet, toes, belly, hands, and knees.

His favorite song is The Itsy Bitsy Spider and the babies and mommies verses of The Wheels on the Bus.

He loves when I point out the color of things. He will point to something (especially floors with different colors) and wait for me to say the color.

He will not say hello to someone on the phone, but he will say bye.

He loves to "read" anything.

He goes to bed around 8pm and sleeps until around 8-9am. He takes a nap from around 12:30-4pm.

He has 4 molars, 4 bottom teeth, and 4 top teeth.

He has the cutest dimples I have ever seen.

His eyes are still blue and green.

He weighs about 33 pounds and is about 37 inches tall. He wears 3T, and some 4T and a size 6.5/7 shoe.

I'm sure there are a ton of other things that I am leaving out. He is a wonderful little boy. Everyday is an adventure, and we are loving every moment of watching him grow and learn.

We thank God, or the universe, or the spirits that be everyday for allowing us the opportunity to have him in our lives.

Mommy and Daddy love you Brandon!!

I leave you with pictures of our little (big) guy and his half birthday cake! Enjoy!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Updates in Bullets

There are so many things going on lately! So, to simplify, and prevent my brain from exploding in an attempt to weave everything together, I am going to update in bullet form. Here goes!

-Brandon is almost 18 months old! OMG!!! Where has the time gone?? He is getting SO big, and is learning SO much everyday! He knows SO many words, and loves exploring EVERYTHING....including things he should NOT. I'll update more on him on the 30th when I post a big 18 month update on him. He's wonderful though, and everyday I spend with him is a blessing and a gift that I am forever grateful for. Words cannot express how much I love being a Mommy! :)

-Brian started Warriors Leader Course (WLC) today! He enjoyed his first day and is excited to be learning things new and old. He is counting down the days until he is here! He should be here sometime around mid-September. I am hoping he will be here for our anniversary. It will be the first one that we get to spend together in 3 years. He has been either in the field or deployed for the past two. So, I'm keeping my fingers crossed!

-Speaking of Brian and his job- we found out that the unit he is slated to be stationed with here at Fort Hood is not deploying again until October 2010! So, we are looking at being able to spend a whole year together as a family before he has to leave again. The optimist in me is hoping that by then, everything will be settled and he will not have to deploy again, but I am not going to hold my breath.

-Things at the house are great! B and I are LOVING our space and have adjusted quite well. Our household goods were delivered the week before last, so I have been a busy bee unpacking stuff. There are a number of things that I have had to sell on Craigslist because we have no need for it, or it won't fit in this house. I'm almost done unpacking, but it would be great for me to be able to get rid of our dining set and hutch because it is taking up a ton of room. I am getting rid of the coffee table, desk and a twin mattress and box spring this weekend. So that should free up a lot of space. It will be nice to have my garage back again! :)

-Speaking of the house, the blinds and alarm system were installed last week. The blinds are SO nice! They are wood and have a valance as well. So, that saves me the hassle of having to put up curtains! Hahaha The security system is a great thing, especially with Brian gone all the time. The other sort of update we have done is paint! I painted the living room and hallway a khaki/brown color and it is gorgeous! We have a ton of plans for the house and they will come to fruition as soon as we get the $8000 tax credit for purchasing a house this year. We will be putting in wood floors and ceramic tile to replace the carper and vinyl. Also, crown molding will be installed in the living room. We are also going to get new flat screen tvs mounted to the walls in the living room and B's playroom. The possibilities are endless with a house, and we are loving every minute of it! :) We have a ton more plans that will be accomplished as the funds allow. We're pretty stoked.

-I chose my classes for next semester and will be able to register for them on August 3rd when registration opens up. I start classes on August 31, and cannot WAIT! The only hesitation I have is B starting daycare. I am just so nervous about it. We are still waiting on paperwork from the doctor to be completed before he can be officially registered. Once he is originally registered I will begin transitioning him slowly. Well, that is the plan at least. Depending on when the paperwork is completed, and the registration is completed, he may have to be transitioned a little quicker than I would like. I guess naptime is one of my biggest concerns. I highly doubt that he is going to go to sleep for a stranger...especially on a mat instead of in a crib. We'll see. He always reacts to things way better than I think he will, so let's hope that trend continues!

-Brian and I are going to be Aunt and Uncle for the second time! Beth is expecting her first little one! She finds out her due date on Friday, so that is exciting!

Well, that is about all I can think of for now. I'm sure there is more, but it's getting late and I am sleeeeepy! So, goodnight world! :)

Thursday, July 9, 2009

We're HOME!! (and anyone know anything about sod?)

Brandon and I moved into the new house on Sunday! Yay!!! Too bad Brian left to go back to Germany on Sunday as well. :(

Brandon and I are adjusting to life in the new house quite well. I was worried about him having a hard time with the new surroundings, and not having his extended family around, but he has exceeded my expectations. As always. He LOVES his new playroom. Since our house hold goods aren't here until Saturday, he has been enjoying running around a mostly empty house. He is so cute. His bedroom is all set up, and is looking GREAT! We ordered a new glider, and it will be here tomorrow. One I have that set up, I will take pictures of his room and post them.

As I mentioned, the rest of our house hold goods get here on Saturday. When I get everything unpacked, I will take pictures of the house and post them for you all to see. I cannot WAIT to see all of our stuff again. It has been in storage for almost 18 months. So, it will be like Christmas unpacking everything!! :) Can't WAIT!!

Now on to the sod. We had sod put down on Monday. I have been watering it like a maniac, but it still has spots that are brown. Anyone have any suggestions? I will continue watering like crazy, but since it has decided NEVER to rain in TX, I am SO afraid that our sod is going to die.

Well, I am sure there are a number of other things I could talk about, but I need to go move the sprinkler, and then clean the house a bit. Thanks in advance for any advice on the lawn! :)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

June 2009

This month, or more accurately, summer 2009, has been our family's driving force since the spring of 2008. From the time we found out Brian was deploying, every decision we made, and every move we made was in preparation for summer 2009. When we made it to this summer, we knew that the deployment would be over, that we would soon be together again as a family, and that we would finally be debt free! The last accomplishment was mostly an after-thought, but is exciting nonetheless. Now that the time has arrived, we couldn't be happier. Granted, there have been a few minor changes to the "plan," but we're adjusting nicely.

On June 6th, Brian flew in from Germany to spend a month with us. It has been so great having him home, even if only for a month. Watching Brian and Brandon together is wonderful. The two of them are so silly, and watching them interact and play is amazing. Watching Brian learn all of B's little quirks, and discover how truly amazing B is has been a blessing. We are both falling more and more in love with our son everyday. The dynamic of our family, when we are together, is perfect. We make due when we are apart, but having us all together is such a wonderful feeling. Indescribably really.

In other Hays Family news, we bought our first house!!! We are SO excited to move in!!! It is a brand new, 4 bedroom, 2 bathroom house in Killeen, TX. It is way small (only 1350 square feet) but it will work for us. We are already making plans for improvements, and can't wait to make our house a home! Our closing date is scheduled for June 30th, but we are hoping to close by the 26th so we have the weekend of the 27th-28th to move in. As of now, the only thing left to do in the house is the electrical and appliance install, the sod in the front and back yard, and the fence installation. We are waiting on the VA Appraisal, which can take place as soon as the house is mostly complete. Actually, the VA Appraisal can take place as soon as the electrical and appliances are installed, and the fence posts are put in. So, hopefully, our 26th closing date is possible. We were going to have wood laminate floors installed before we moved in, but the quote we got was WAY out of our price range. So, we are going to keep looking. There are a number of projects that we are planning to do with out tax return. For example, we are going to change out the vinyl in the bathrooms and kitchen to ceramic tile, change out the formica countertops to stone, and add a glass tile back splash. If we aren't able to get the laminate installed before we move in, we are also going to do that with our tax return. We cannot wait to make our house a home, and add our personal touch. In the meantime, I will leave you with the pictures we took of the house the day our offer was accepted.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

BEST NIGHT OF MY LIFE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So, I know this is a "family" blog, and this next post has little to do with our family, BUT I'm telling myself that Brandon will want to know about his Mom's love of music, namely Bush and Gavin Rossdale when he grows up. So, please allow me to gloat a little, and revel in the beauty that was Sunday night!!!

My 26th birthday present from Brian was tickets for Heather and myself to go see Gavin Rossdale!!!!!!!! ACK!!!!! Heather was going mostly just to go, and I was going because it is GAVIN FREAKING ROSSDALE!!!!!!!!! Haha.

A little background- I *LOVE* Gavin Rossdale. Love him. I fell in love with him during the infamous 1997 MTV Spring Break performance of Glycerine. From that moment on, he was it. Like any other teeny-bopper in love with an artist, I had a picture of him above my bed, surrounded by glow in the dark stars. Throughout my adolescence, he was always the favorite. Any new artist that came along never compared to Gavin. Heh. To this day, Gavin is always mentioned as my "it" guy. My celebrity crush. I <3 him!!! lol

Ok, I'm done gushing about him.

Anyway, rewind to a few weeks ago. I was driving home from somewhere, and heard that he was going to be at the House of Blues in May. So, I looked it up, and decided that I was going. I didn't care if I went alone, or if someone wanted to go with me. I was going. Brian decided to buy the tickets for me and Heather as my birthday gift, and the deal was done.

Sunday around 4, we pull up next to House of Blues and notice a bus. I joked that it was Gavin's bus, but didn't believe that it was. Heather and I had the valet park the car and we went to find the venue. We expected there to be a long line of people waiting for the concert since it started 3 hours later, but there was nobody there! So, we went down to the House of Blues restaurant to have dinner. After dinner, we went back up to the concert area, and there were 3 people in line. We sat down and held our place in line for the next 2 hours. While in line, we discovered that the bus WAS Gavin's and that he had come out of the bus and some of the people sitting next to us were able to get autographs and pictures with him! I was SOOOO jealous!!! Haha Once they opened the doors, Heather and I were able to get FRONT AND CENTER!!!!! The microphone was literally RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME!!!!! It was perfect!!!! The opening band, Nico Vega, came onstage around 8-ish. They were really good! I was pleasantly surprised. Then, after Nico Vega's performance, they took a few minutes to set up the stage for Gavin. I swear it seemed like it took an eternity. Finally, the curtain opened, and Gavin came on stage. It was an AMAZING concert! He played a great variety of songs including Bush songs, solo songs, and songs from Institute. During the performance, he climbed onto the railing RIGHT next to Heather and I and - yes, I did the typical teeny-bopper thing, and touched him! Awesome! Can I just say that Gavin has the hottest abs imaginable?!?! Heather noticed that his wristband (that he had thrown on the stage when it started to fall off) was stuck to his shoe. So, she grabbed it, and gave it to me. How awesome is my sister?!?! :) There were many times during the concert that he made eye contact with me, and at one point focused and was singing....ack!!! It was awesome!!!! After the show, Heather and I ran out to be near the bus in case he was able to sign autographs and take pictures. Heather was convinced that he wouldn't be out for at least an hour, but he came out shortly after we got there! He walked RIGHT PAST ME!!! As he walked past, I asked if I could have a picture, and he said (something along these lines), "Yeah, just a second. I have to go get something really fast." ACK!!!!!!! Gavin Rossdale TALKED TO ME!!!!!!! Hahahaha. His manager came out and told us all to wait along the wall and that Gavin would give everyone an autograph and picture. So, obviously, we waited! :) I was able to get TWO pictures with Gavin and an autograph. I made sure to tell him that it was my very first concert experience, ever, and that it was a birthday present from my husband who was in Iraq. (Ok, so that was a shameless use of Brian's service, but whatever.) Then, we proceeded to have a small conversation. Here's the breakdown:

Me: "This is my first concert ever, and is a gift from my husband who is in Iraq."
Gavin: "Oh really? When is he coming home?"
Me: "Two weeks!"
Gavin: "Oh, and then he will be home for good?"
Me: "No, he has to go back to Germany in a month because that is where his unit is stationed at."
Gavin: "You know, I never understood that. Why are there bases in Germany?"
Me: "I don't know. Leftover from WWII I assume."
Gavin: "Yeah, I know, but why are they still there?"
Me: "I don't know."
Gavin: "Yeah, I just don't get it."
Me: "Me either, but they are closing a lot of them."
Gavin: "Good."

Hahahahaha.....I am such a nerd. There was a little more conversation, but I can't recall what was said. I got 2 pictures and an autograph! It was AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Here is a slideshow of pics from the concert. Please excuse my hair. It is a hot mess thanks to Houston humidity. I swear it was cuter before the show! Hahaha

Friday, May 15, 2009

Parenting Technique vs. Luck

I must preface this post with a disclaimer stating that I do not intend to judge anyone on their parenting style, beliefs, or opinions. I am NOT an expert, and in no way, shape, or form is this post intended to suggest as such. This post is merely a means for me to take stock of myself, and note things that work and don't work for my son and my family. I understand that every child is different, and responds to situations based on their own unique personalities. I am basing this entire post off of my "vast" 15 month experience with motherhood (please note obvious sarcasm) and the things I have learned along the way. So, again, please try not to take offense to this post, and feel free to comment.

This evening, I was blown away by my son's willingness to follow instruction with little prompting. Yet again. From Brandon's birth, I have always voiced how Brian and I "hit the baby jackpot." He has always taken to every change so well, and has just generally been an easy going kid. Even despite my fears of whatever transition we are faced with, Brandon always exceeds my expectations. I am always so worried that he is going to not take well to whatever changes he has to adapt to, and am always so pleasantly surprised by his adaptability. Brian and I claim to be "lucky" and "lottery winners," but I question how much is luck, and how much is parenting technique. Granted, as I mentioned above, every child is different, and I am aware of this. However, I do believe that there are basics that, if in place, can help deflect some of the stress associated with parenting.

I believe that predictability and schedule are essential to parenting. Not only do I believe they are essential, I believe they are really the foundation of parenting and without them, it is quite easy to get "lost" for lack of a better term. From my own personal experience in parenting, and assisting with parenting some friend's children, I have learned that getting a child on a schedule they are familiar with and WORKS for THEM is vital. I believe that children thrive on predictability and routine. Now, obviously, some people take this to the extreme and do not allow any flexibility in the schedule and that is counterproductive. Brandon has had the same basic schedule since about a month old. It took that long to figure out what he was comfortable with, and what worked best for him. There have been changes to this schedule, obviously, as he has grown and developed. I believe that since he KNOWS his routine and knows what to expect, it has paid off. For example, this evening went as follows:

-dinner, bath, nightly hygiene, snuggle time in the rocking chair with his milk and a story.

After which, he was able to put his own cup in the sink, give Grandma and Grandpa a hug and kiss night-night, go to his room where he stood by his crib while I turned on his lullaby CD and then reached for me to put him in his crib but not without Mommy's hug and kiss goodnight. All of that is with very little prompting. I simply ask him if he is ready to put his cup in the sink and say night-night. The rest is all him. Furthermore, this is not the first night that he has done this. He has been doing this for weeks, and every night I am filled with pride for him and his great behavior. Again, I do believe that his willingness to follow the schedule is because he KNOWS what to expect. Now, the luck aspect may be that I have never had to "drill" any of this in to him. I simply started the schedule before he was mobile, and he just kept with the same schedule now that he is running around like a crazy toddler. I am aware that he IS in fact a crazy toddler, and he is not perfect (well, to me he is...haha) and he does typical toddler running around the house naked because he figured out how to take his diaper off. I just think that the predictability of our routine has directly influenced his ability to start initiating some of the items on our regularly scheduled agenda.

Another basic I believe is essential is consistency. I've recently made changes to his routine that I thought were going to throw him off, and cause a tantrum, but was pleasantly surprised when it took very little if any transition. I started taking him with me to the gym daycare and it was a disaster the first day. The gym daycare was my precursor to when he has to start daycare full time in July. I geared up for a long, hard road to a peaceful daycare schedule. I began going to the gym regularly, with the intent to work out for a minimum of an hour; however, prepared to leave if he couldn't calm down. Imagine my surprise when after the third time he went, he didn't cry. He didn't shed a single tear, and when I checked in on him halfway through the workout, he was LAUGHING and PLAYING with the other kids!!! It was amazing to me. I was so proud of him, as was Brian when I told him. Again, I attribute this behavior to consistency. However, as important as I belive consistency is, I struggle with it in terms of discipline. I am unsure as to how to discipline Brandon. Brian and I know that we are anti-spank. (that may be controversial, please refer to disclaimer again) While we are anti-spank, we are not COMPLETELY against spanking if it is the only thing that Brandon responds to. We haven't really gotten that far yet. We haven't really gotten to any "hard" part of discipline yet. Everything he does is age appropriate, and we don't see a point in spanking him for acting his age. He is exploring the world that he lives in, and while we don't allow him to run rampant and destroy everything, we do allow him the independence to safely learn cause and effect. Even if that means we have a mess to clean up. Messes are not a big deal to us. It is more important for him to explore and learn things then it is for us to have to spend an extra 10 minutes cleaning something up. Now, that being said, we don't give him crayons and let him run around the house. The result of that behavior is crayons on walls, furniture, and anything else within toddler reach. Instead, we give him crayons in his high chair for now, and as he learns the concept of crayons (as we just introduced them) we will allow him a bit more SUPERVISED freedom. As precaution, the crayons are washable, so that helps too. :) Brandon does get the occasional swat on the hand if he is deliberately misbehaving (touching something he KNOWS he isn't supposed to while STARING at my as I warn him not to touch). We just don't feel comfortable spanking Brandon, yet telling him that he is not allowed to hit. It just doesn't sit well with us. There has to be a better, less degrading way. Again, I reiterate that we have not experienced much "hard" behavior yet, so I am not claiming to be an expert in this field. I have admitted to struggling in the consistency department as sometimes I will use redirection, and other times I will take something away without redirecting, and others I will smack his hand. I use my "Stern Mommy Voice" and sometimes I feel as if it comes across as too harsh. Sometimes I feel like my stern voice is more of a yell than a calm stern voice. I am contributing that to the fact that I was raised with yelling, so it is natural to me. I work on this, and do feel guilty when I raise my voice to him and he cries. I don't want him to be afraid of my punishment. Obviously, I believe a healthy level of fear is necessary in parenting; however, I don't believe that fear should be based on fear of punishment. I believe the fear should be of dissappointment, and understanding their own lack of responsibility. How to balance on this fine line, I am not sure. I just know that I always want Brandon to know that he can come to us when he has made a mistake and not be afraid that he are going to physically or mentally hurt him. We never want to hurt him. We want to instill values and morals that provide the compass for him to make his decisions, and when he falls short of his responsibilities (as we KNOW he will) he is aware of how his actions affect others as well as himself. We want him to be self-motivated and make his decisions as to not let HIMSELF down, as well as us as parents. Now, all of this sounds great, but like I mentioned before, I am NOT sure how to GET to this place. I suppose trial and error is in order.

I am sure that there are more basics that I believe are essential, but I am REALLY tired and if I go on any further I am sure I will stop making much sense. Not to mention, this post is already rather long, and I doubt that many will read the entire thing anyway. Before I close this post, I want to restate my intentions. Again, this blog was NOT AT ALL meant to point fingers or judge anyone on their parenting techniques. Obviously, there are differences of opinion and that is what makes our jobs as parents so wonderful and confusing. I have many friends that do things completely different from how I would do them. I know many people that co-sleep with their child. Brian and I are against co-sleeping in the sense that we wanted to establish a solid ability for Brandon to sleep in his own room, by himself. This example is particularly important to me because as happy as I am that Brandon can sleep 12+ hours in his crib every night, I am a little saddened by the fact that I can't put him in bed with me and have either of us sleep well. He tosses and turns too much to sleep with us, and sometimes I just want to snuggle him. :) So, while I am happy with my decision, I am jealous of the snuggle time you co-sleepers get! Haha. Perhaps when he is a little older, I can let him sleep with us on occasion. I am also all for co-sleeping when they are sick. Luckily, Brandon hasn't really been sick to where he has symptoms that make him so uncomfortable it hinders his sleep. So, I do think that if he gets sick and wants to sleep with us, we will let him. I guess the point of giving this example is that nothing is ever cut and dry, and that the ability for a variety of view points is one of the beauties of parenting. eyelids are getting heavy. So, I am off to bed! Goodnight!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Funny Brandon Video

Hahaha, he is SO funny! Who knew that kids could make you laugh so much. :)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Our Family Earth Day Resolutions

I was thinking about Earth Day yesterday, and how I should have Brandon and I celebrate this day. I thought of the stereotypical things that we could do to better our planet, like plant a tree, and recycle. While these actions are monumentally beneficial, they are not practical for our situation right now, as we live with my parents and cannot force them to recycle, or plant a tree in their yard without permission. So, as a tribute to Earth day, and in an effort to make the world a better place, I am compiling a list of resolutions that we, the Hays family will begin to do to better our planet. I realize that the small steps that we take as a family will not drastically change the world, but it is my hope that we can raise Brandon and our future children to be aware that every little bit helps. Perhaps educating our children about the reality of pollution, and the impact that it has on our planet will bring them up to make smarter decisions and do their best to become part of a generation that aims to better the treatment of our globe. As a family, we will implement these resolutions when we move this Summer, and hope to continue to take steps to learn everything we can to be environmentally conscious. So, here are the steps that we vow to take in order to help better our environment.

1. Start recycling when we move to Killeen.
2. Plant a tree (or a few) in the yard at our new home.
3. Use our cloth bags EVERY time we go shopping. (We always forget we have them.)
4. Use all CFL lightbulbs in our home.
5. Buy each of us a reusable mug/thermos/water bottle instead of using styrofoam or plastic bottles.
6. Learn about and use cleaning products that do not contain chemicals.
7. Buy a water aerator to conserve water.
8. Buy a water filter or pitcher instead of buying bottled water.
9. Buy all Energy Star appliances for our new home, evenutally of course.
10. Use cloth towels instead of paper napkins.
11. Buy a water heater insulator to reduce the amount of electricity used to heat our water.
12. When we paint the new house, we will use no VOC paints.
13. Buy low-flow shower heads for all of the showers in our home.
14. Try to be aware of the amount that we drive and attempt to combine outings.
15. Reduce our junk mail by joining
16. Use reusable plastic containers for food storage instead of buying pre-packaged foods/snacks.
17. Start having a "Meatless Monday" in order to reduce the amount we contribute to the processing of animals and the energy that it consumes.
18. Try to eat/buy foods that are the least processed to reduce the amount of energy that is put into the processing of foods.
19. Start a small vegetable garden at the new house to reduce our carbon footprint and to eat healthy produce. This activity will also bring our family together and allow us to have a common interest.
20. Put all of our appliances on Smart Strip Power Strips and turn them off when we are not home.
21. Install a programmable thermostat in the new house.
22. Look into obaining electricity from a 100% renewable Electric company.
23. Become more aware of the amount of electricty that we use by making sure that we turn off lights when we are not in the room.
24. Keep our cars tuned and well maintained to reduce their emissions as much as possible.
25. Regularly change our filter in our air conditioner.
26. Weather strip any window or door in the new house to ensure there is no air leak.

These are steps that our family is vowing to do to reduce our carbon footprint on the environment. We hope that by taking these steps, we can help create a better, healthier world for the future generations of our family and yours.

Friday, April 10, 2009


It's Easter time! I remember this time last year, we were celebrating Brandon's first Easter. It seems like SO long ago! :) This year, he will be much more active in the Easter festivities. He LOVES to put things "in" anything. So, the Easter egg hunt should be a blast.

Today, Grandma and I took Brandon to get his picture taken with the Easter Bunny. I was really worried that he would freak out when he sat in the Bunny's lap, but he did really well. He has recently developed a tendency to be scared of things, so I was relieved when he smiled for the camera. He started to get a little creeped out for a second, but when he looked at me, he smiled and was fine the rest of the time. I am adding the pictures at the bottom of this post. He wore an ADORABLE little suit. Of course, I bought it, and he will only wear it for Easter before he cannot wear it again. Houston is too hot for him to be wearing a blazer. Oh well. It was SUPER cute, and I waited too long so most stores were sold out of the Easter outfits. He is seriously the cutest baby boy on the face of the planet! Not to brag or anything (but I'm going to brag, heh) but we get stopped on a daily basis by people that just love him, and we get SO many comments on how adorable he is. He gets compliments on his eyes, and cheeks the most. He perpetuates the complimentsby hamming it up for everyone and waving, laughing and smiling. :) I am not biased or anything, but I have to agree that he is the cutest baby EVER!

Tomorrow, we are going to bake and decorate Spring/Easter sugar cookies. I bought some Spring-ish sprinkles, and we will see how many end up on the cookies. Heh, it should be fun. Then, we are going to dye Easter eggs. I doubt that we will be interested in the cookie decorating, and egg dyeing, but he will surely appreciate eating the cookies and eggs. Not together of course. :)

Sunday we are having a little Easter celebration. He will get his Easter basket from Mommy and Daddy Sunday morning. We got him a huge basket and filled it with puzzles, books, sidewalk chalk, colorwonder markers and paper, and some other toys. He can't really have candy yet, but we did get him a chocolate Easter Bunny. We also got some m&ms, but he won't get to eat much of the chocolate. Grandma and Grandpa Bennett got him a new swingset for Easter. He outgrew the one they got him for Christmas, and since he LOVES to be outside, a swingset was appropriate. Grandma and Grandpa put it together today, and he will get to play on it tomorrow. I am so excited for him! He is going to LOVE it!

Now, as far as pictures of Easter are concerned, I will post them as I take them. Perhaps I will make a little slideshow of all of the Easter pictures, we'll see. For now, I will share Brandon's picture with the Easter Bunny. :) Too cute.


Saturday, April 4, 2009

Wow....we are going to be BUSY!

I just posted the R&R blog, but I need to post a general update on our little familia.

Where to begin...

Well, after Brian's R&R, I had to turn my focus to figuring out what courses I needed to register for this Summer. In order to do that, I needed to call Tarleton State University in Killeen, TX and have them draft a tentative degree plan for me since Tarleton is where I was planning to go to school in the event we got stationed at Fort Hood. After submitting my list of courses I have already completed and speaking with the advisor, I discovered that the earliest I will be able to graduate is the Spring of 2012! The reason it is going to take so long is because Tarleton only offers the education classes in 4 class blocks, and there are 4 blocks. These blocks are only offered in the Fall and Spring semesters. So, after finishing up all of my undergrad and lower grad level classes, the earliest I would be able to start my education classes would be the Fall of 2010. Brian is scheduled to get out of the military in the Fall of 2011. So, we needed to do some decision making and decide what the next step was. After discussing with him the details of my school plan, we made the decision that he needed to re-enlist. We decided that he would re-enlist for 4 years (which will start the day he signs his enlistment papers) for an additional 2 years and 2 months added to his original enlistment. This will put him getting out of the Army in April of 2013. The benefit to this is that once I start teaching, we will have 8 or 9 months to put his salary in savings. Another benefit to him re-enlisting is that he will be able to choose his next duty station, so he can be guaranteed Fort Hood! That will take a TON of uncertainty our of the next couple of months. In the end, him re-enlisting is what is best for our family. So, that is the decision that we have made.

We found out yesterday that his re-enlistment and request for Fort Hood is approved. So, he is officially re-enlisting for another 4 years, with a guarantee of Fort Hood as his next duty station. Plus, he gets a $5,500 bonus! Yay!!! Things are really falling into place!

Another decision that we have recently made is to purchase a home in Fort Hood as opposed to renting a home. With the new $8,000 tax credit and the other benefits to home ownership, we just cannot justify throwing our money away in rent. Initially, I was really hesitant to this idea. I just did not see how it would be possible to purchase a home before July, especially with Brian only being home for the month of June, and me being in school all day Monday through Thursday while he is here. After some thinking, and discussing with Brian, we realized that it made no sense for us to move to Fort Hood and sign a lease, just to turn around and have to break the lease because we purchased a home. It is also ridiculous to move twice in a 6 month period. The new tax credit is only good for homes purchased before November 1, 2009. So, we needed to make the decision to buy a home, and start the process as soon as possible. So, Friday, I spoke to a real estate agent, and started our journey to home ownership. The tentative plan is to narrow down houses that we are interested in as per the weekly emails we will be receiving from the realtor. The realtor has our search criteria, and will send us an email containing the homes that match our needs. From there, we will narrow it down to a few houses that we are really interested in. After the first week of May, I will have a 3 week break from school, and I plan to go out to Fort Hood to look at the houses that we have chosen. I will then take more pictures, and have my parents look at the houses as well to make sure that we are not leaving out anything important. I cannot stress enough how lucky we are to have family members in the housing industry to help us out with buying our first home! Then, after we have narrowed it down to a few houses, when Brian comes in June, we will make our selection, and make our offer(s). We are hoping to close by the end of June, so that I can start the moving process by July. So, that is huge! We are both SO excited!!!!!

So, these next couple of months are sure to be very busy and exciting for us. In addition to all of the changes and events that are going to be taking place, we also will be starting Brandon in daycare. I am extremely nervous about putting him in daycare, but I am also excited for him. It is important for me to make sure that we are at Fort Hood with enough time for him to be transitioned into daycare. The poor guy is going to be going through so much that to just throw him into daycare may be a bit much for him, and for me. He is going to have to deal with having Brian home for a month, then gone again. Then we will be moving away from the only home that he knows, and he will not be seeing his grandparents everyday like he is used to. Plus, he is going to be in a new home, and new environment, so that is going to be a big adjustment for him. So, to just put him in daycare worries me. So, the plan for that is to slowly introduce him into daycare. To start off with, I will be with him at daycare, then I will leave him there for a short time and gradually increase the length of time that he is there. Hopefully, that will make that transition easier for him. I am very nervous about it. Yikes!

So, the goal for the next 3 months is to buy a house, go to school full time in June, get moved and set up at Fort Hood, get Brandon enrolled in daycare, and get registered at the school there. Whew! I can't wait!!!!!!!!!! :)

Monday, March 30, 2009


As many of you know, Brian was recently home for R&R! He was home from March 3-22, and we had an AMAZING time together! I will start from the beginning....

Sunday evening (March 1), Brian called to tell me his flight arrangements. He was scheduled to land in Dallas early Tuesday morning (March 3) and was to catch a connecting flight and arrive in Houston sometime Tuesday afternoon. Impatient as we are, Brian's parents and I decided that we would leave Houston at 2am on Tuesday morning to meet him when he landed in Dallas. The original idea was that Brandon would just sleep in the car. Wow, were we wrong! Brandon decided that he did NOT need to go back to sleep, so he was awake the entire almost 5 hour drive from Houston to Dallas. When we arrived in Dallas, we had to figure out what terminal we were to pick Brian up in, and finally were able to get situated at the gate to wait for him. Shortly after we arrived at the airport, Brian's family in Dallas showed up to help us welcome him home. We were fortunate to only have to wait a short time before the plane landed and soldiers started trickling through the gate. It seemed like the entire plan deboarded before Brian came through the gate. FINALLY, he came through, and immediately I started tearing up and jumped on him! I was SO excited to see him! He said hello to Brandon, who was wearing his adorable "Welcome Home Daddy I Missed You" shirt, and then proceeded to say hello to the rest of the family. He was quite shocked to hold Brandon for the first time. The last time Brian held Brandon, he weighed only 16 pounds, and he now weighs in at close to 35 pounds. After the initial hello, we all decided to get some breakfast. After a lovely breakfast at Cracker Barrel, we headed back to Houston. Another 5 hour drive that Brandon decided he did not need sleep. He did fall asleep for about an hour toward the end of the drive, but overall, he didn't sleep much.

That evening, Brian and I had dinner reservations Maggiano's Little Italy and hotel reservations at The Westin at the Galleria. We enjoyed a beautiful evening of wonderful food, drinks, and music at Maggiano's and then went back to the gorgeous Westin. Around 8am the next morning, my mom called to tell us that Brandon was not feeling well the night before, and suggested that we make a doctor appointment for him. I got up and called his pediatrician, and we got an appointment for that afternoon. When Brian woke up, he was regretting his three drink the night before. He had quite a headache, and was not feeling too good. After some asprin, toast, water and rest, he felt better. We checked out and went to lunch before heading home to take Brandon to the doctor. Brandon ended up having a cold and was prescribed a decongestant. The rest of the day was spent hanging out.

That following weekend, Brian and I had a date night out, and we had a lovely visit with Brian's Grandpa, Aunt Debbie, and Uncle Ralph. Saturday evening, we had a date night planned. We had reservations at the Intercontinental hotel in the Galleria area, and were planning on having dinner and margaritas at Cafe Adobe, and follow up with drinks and games at Dave and Busters. Dinner and margaritas were amazing. Then, we headed over to Dave and Busters was a huge disappointment. We were under the impression that it was for 18 and up, but apparently if you ar with your parents, you can be there. So, the place was swarming with kids, and packed with people. So, all of the games had a ridiculous wait, and we were tripping over kids that were being left unattended because their parents were losers. I mean, really, who takes their kids to an adult arcade and keeps them out after 11pm? Craziness. The next morning, we went to visit Brian's Dad's side of the family. We visited with Brian's Uncle Ralph, Aunt Debbie, and Grandpa. One of the anticipated events of that gathering was getting a generation picture. It was so great to get a picture of the 4 generations of the Hays men. We all sat around and caught up on our lives, and just generally hung out. It was a very great day.

Yet another outing we had planned for Brian's R&R was a trip to Fort Hood. Brian was recently promoted to Sgt., and since I was not there to pin his new rank on him, we wanted to drive out to Fort Hood to buy some rank. Brian also wanted to eat at his favorite mexican restaurant there, and we wanted to drive around and narrow down the areas that we wanted to live in when and if we are stationed there. It started out to be a horrible trip because it was downpouring when we left Houston. About an hour into our drive, the rain stopped, and things were looking better. It was still FREEZING though. We had a great time at Clothing and Sales, and then went looking for areas that we wanted to live in. We met some friends in the area for dinner. We met with Seth and Jen James. Jen had twins 2 days after Brandon was born, so it was SO great to meet her babies and for her to meet Brandon. After a wonderful dinner, we headed home. We had an awesome time in Killeen.

The rest of R&R was spent doing random things that we wanted to do. We took Brandon to see the animals at the Bear Creek Park, and then took him for his first ice cream sundae. Brian got a "Mom" tattoo, we went shopping, rented movies and ordered pizza, and spent time together. I think my favorite memories of R&R were every night when we put Brandon to bed. Brian read Brandon a bedtime story while I rocked him and he drank his milk. Then, we both took him to his room, gave him hugs and kisses, told him that we love him, and put him to bed. It was such a sweet time spent together. We had such a great time!

He left Sunday March 22. It was sad to see him go, but fortunately he will be home again in June for a month. Then, he has to go back to Germany until the beginning of September. We just can't wait to have him home for a considerable amount of time.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Opinions please!

I am having a bit of a disagreement, and would like some opinions for clarification. Please feel free to chime in!

The question:
Are all babies blessings?

For example, if a 16 year old girl gets pregnant, is her baby a blessing? Now, I admit that the initial fear a 16 year old must be faced with when she discovers she is pregnant is probably overwhelming. I acknowledge that fear, and understand the gravity of it. I am well aware that the situation is not ideal, and that she will have to figure out the financial aspect and a number of other responsibilities will need to be addressed. That being said, does that make her baby any less of a blessing?

What about the woman that has 5 kids and is on welfare and gets pregnant with her 6th child? Is that baby a blessing as well? Understandably the baby will be another baby supported by welfare, but is the baby any less of a blessing?

I suppose my point is, that the situation set aside, the circumstances aside, is the BABY any less a blessing because the circumstances are not ideal?

I guess I ask this because I feel that all babies are blessings. The mere fact that an innocent, beautiful baby is created overshadows the fact that the situation may not be the best. I am aware that not everyone is going to be excited about having a baby, but I cannot see how it makes the baby any less than a miracle. I believe that if one does not want to conceive a child, don't. I know that accidents happen, condoms break, some are not responsible enough to take their birth control, etc. However, there are WAY too many people that are damned with infertility for me to consider that babies are anything less than a miracle.

Also, it is not the baby's fault that they were conceieved when the timing isn't right. Why should that baby be forced to hear how they "ruined everything," or "forced [the parent] to grow up," or "is the reason [the parent] didn't have a normal teenage life or money for this, or whatever.

What do you all think?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

B's first haircut!

I know that I haven't posted any pics from Brian's R&R, but I want to wait until he leaves to gather a good collection of the best pics to share. I don't want to gloss over today's big event though. Today we had Brandon's hair cut for the first time!! His hair has been really long for awhile now, but I had been waiting for Brian to come home so he could participate in one of B's "firsts." So, today was the big day! Brian's family has been going to the same hair stylist, Edith, for over 20 years, so we took B to her for his first hair cut. It was quite sad watching her cut his hair. His hair is so soft and gorgeous! I LOVE his little curls, so Edith was given strict orders to leave the curls and just trim his bangs a little and trim a little off the length. His hair needed to be trimmed to keep it out of his eyes, so I am glad that it is done, but I miss my little baby! He looks like such a little man now. He still has the curls though! I made sure of that. Anyway, here are some pictures:

Sitting in Daddy's lap!

My two boys.

Daddy keeping B entertained.

Mommy and Daddy's big boy!

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Before our world gets a little crazy......

Brian is on his way home for R&R, so the next couple of weeks are going to be kind of crazy. It is definitely going to be the good kind of crazy though.

Speaking of Brian, let me share a little update on him. He was officially pinned Sgt yesterday!!! He went to the board on February 3rd, and passed. Then, he had to wait until the promotion points for February came out and once they did, we knew that he was going to be promoted. As of yesterday, he was pinned by his unit, and he is now Sgt. Brian J. Hays!!!! We are SO proud of him!!! He has definitely earned this promotion as nothing in the Army has come easy to him. So, his hard work, patience, and studying has paid off. Yay Brian!!!! :)

In my news, I'm still trucking along in school. I am taking Fitness for Life, US History II, Biology, and Ancient Literature. The fitness and History class are pretty easy. Biology is not too bad, and the Literature class isn't too bad either. Biology is a lot of technical, and complicated words, and Literature is a TON of reading REALLY BORING material. I am doing ok this semester, but doubt that I will be making all A's and a B like I did last semester. Oh well. I'm just trying to make it through as quickly as possible so I can start teaching. Other than school, there really isn't much else going on in my life besides taking care of B and waiting for Brian to come home.

Brandon news is good. He is getting bigger by the day! He has learned a ton of new tricks, so I doubt I will remember them all. For starters, he knows what it means when I say, "Can I change your diaper?" He walks over to his changing table. Haha. He HATES having a dirty diaper, so I suppose this is the main reason, and I doubt that it will last long, but it is cute while it lasts. He dances ALL the time, and when he is holding something in his hand and I ask him to shake it, he bounces his little tushy. :) SOOOO cute. He is understanding SO many new things. He started pointing to things, and points ALL the time now. He LOVES when I chase him around the house, and loves to tackle me. The smile on his face when I am dodging him is priceless. His best friend is still Leia the beagle. They play chase all the time, and it never gets old to him. He is just beginning to hold my hand to walk places instead of having to be held, although we move at a snail's pace. It is precious when we walk hand in hand. It is moments like these that I want to remember forever, as I know that he is getting big fast and I am going to miss these moments. He is perfect, and we love him more each day.

Well, to close this post, I am going to share a couple of pictures of Brandon's new rain coat that Nana and Papa sent him. It is a fire truck rain coat, so it fits him perfectly! :) It is a 3T and it FITS!!! lol Can you believe it?!? :)




Thursday, February 12, 2009

It's been awhile....

My last blog was February 2, so it has been awhile since I have updated anyone on life in Hays-land.

There really isn't too much going on.

The day after B's 1 year check up the pedi called with some interesting news. She referred us to a pediatric urologist. She didn't really give us a reason. It is common for circumcisions to cause minor complications that aren't easily noticed. So, based on my own vast medical knowledge (note the sarcasm), it appears that it is one of three conditions. I also discovered in my research (heh) that 2 of the 3 conditions are corrected with surgery, the 3rd condition corrects itself. The pediatrician recommened Texas Children's Hospital which is a world renowned hospital. Naturally, I called them as soon as I got off the phone with the pediatrician. Brandon was scheduled to see one of their pediatric urologists on February 23rd barring the approval of the referral. Lovely, wonderful Tricare did NOT approve the referral to the pediatric urologist with Texas Children's Hospital. Instead, we got a referral to a pediatric urologist in Pasadena, an HOUR away. Ugh. On top of that, they gave me the WRONG contact information for this doctor. When I FINALLY got in touch with him, Brandon was given an appointment date of March 19th. It is all so irritating. I just want him to be seen so I know if there is anything wrong, and if he will need surgery.

The whole thing was rather shocking. I kind of jinxed us though. This was the first well-baby check up that we had gone to and gotten a clean bill of health, and not the chance of a scary health problem. I was so excited about a great appointment and even said to Brian, "Yay, finally a well-baby appointment with no scares!" I guess I should have known better than to say anything. :)

I know I joke about how B has had "health scares" at every appointment, but we have been truly blessed with all of those potential scares ending up as false alarms. Brandon is definitely a healthy baby, and for that Brian and I are grateful. We both are aware of how blessed we are to have a healthy baby boy.

Speaking of the health of our family, Emily had a vet appointment the other day. We were concerned because she has a lump growing on her belly. It started out as a small lump about the size of a half dollar and has grown to about the size of a golf ball. The vet did a test on some cells from the lump and believes that it is just fatty tissue, so nothing major. We were so relieved! We could opt to have it removed, but with a cost of $850, I think we will wait awhile and see if it continues to grow. So, Emily is healthy too!

In other Hays family news, Brian's R&R is coming up! I am not going to say any specific dates due to operational security, but we both CANNOT WAIT!!!! It is going to be so neat to see Brian and Brandon interact again. I'm sure initially there will be some hesitance, but I have every confidence that Brandon will take to Brian rather quickly. Brandon is a very accepting, easy going baby. So, I'm sure that he will roll with it. The thought of Brian coming home so soon gives me butterflies! It has been SO long since I have seen him! I am seriously about to burst with excitement!

Speaking of Brian, he went to the board on Feburary 3rd and PASSED!!!! SO, he will hopefully be getting promoted to Sgt at the end of the month!!! I am SO proud of him! He studied really hard, and spent a bunch of time practicing everythine he needed to in order to be ready, and all of the stress and hard work was worth it! The best part about him passing his board was hearing the pride in his voice. He was so proud of himself! He doubted himself, but I never did. I always knew that he could do anything he set his mind to! I am so proud of him!!!

There isn't really much going on in my part of the family. I am just trucking through school, trying to do the best I can. I'm still loving being a Mommy, and enjoying every second I have being a stay at home Mommy. I keep thinking about what it is going to be like when Brian comes home and Brandon has to be in daycare all day. The thought scares me, and makes me want to savor this time I have with Brandon.

I think that is pretty much everything. I apologize that this blog is kind of choppy, but my brain is all over the place. :) Until next time.....

Monday, February 2, 2009

12 Month Appointment and Portraits

Today was Brandon's 1 year checkup! He is getting SO big!!! His stats are:

Weight: 29 pounds 15 ounces (1 ounce shy of 30 pounds)
Height: 33 1/4 inches (almost 3 feet!!)

He has met and exceeded all of his developmental milestones, and is doing wonderfully. He has been given the green light on all foods!! So, I am going to make a shopping list and start him on some fun stuff soon! The pediatrician was happy with his development and was not concerned with his head circumference. If anyone remembers from his 9 month well-baby check up, she was concerned about the growth of head. She ordered ultrasounds and they came back ok. She still wanted to plot the growth at the 1 year check up to see the curve on the growth chart. All is well with that. He got 2 shots today. He was supposed to get 4 shots and a TB test, but I am splitting up the shots. So, on the 16th he will get the other 2 shots and the TB test. He was very unhappy with me after the shots and made sure he told me all about it. He quickly forgave me when I handed him the sippy cup. So, an excellent doctor's appointment!

He also had his monthly appointment with Mrs. Jennifer at the portrait studio. She had a whole party set up for him! She bought him a cupcake and got him some balloons and streamers. It turned out really cute! She also made him into Baby Cupid, which is absolutely adorable! My favorite picture is the nakey one. I just love his tummy! :) I made a little slideshow of the pics. Enjoy!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Some entertaining pictures...

I have been a little camera happy since Brandon's birthday. In the process I have gotten some really funny/cute pictures. So, I thought I would share....

His birthday cupcakes....

His special cupcake...

I went into his room shortly after midnight on the 30th to take an official birthday picture. The flash woke him up. He always wakes up in a good mood....notice the awesome bed head.

Mmmm....funfetti and rainbow chip cupcakes....

We went to Papasitos for dinner. They did the little birthday song thing...he was NOT a fan of the hat...

His famous "Lemon face."


Of course, what would a birthday be without jokes from Mommy?

Thursday, January 29, 2009

1 year old already?!

It isn't quite the time of Brandon's birth, but I am going to post a birthday blog now.

At 12:22pm January 30, 2008, Brian and I welcomed our son, Brandon into the world. That day was filled with such joy and excitement. I cannot even believe that a year has already gone by! I can still remember how scare Brian and I were when we found out that I needed a c-section. I only vaguely remember Brandon's actual birth because I was on so much medication. I do remember crying when I heard Brandon cry for the first time. After my time in recovery, I was reunited with Brian and Brandon. Due to the side effects of the medication, I was extremely shaky, but as soon as I held Brandon for the first time, I stopped shaking. It was such an amazing feeling, holding my son for the first time. He was so perfect. I was overwhelmed with love and seeing him made me realize how truly blessed Brian and I were. There is not a day that goes by that I do not thank God for giving us a healthy baby. Brandon has filled our lives with so much love and has given us such wonderful memories. He brightens everyday with his smile and energy. Watching him grow this past year has been wonderful! He has grown so much and learns something new everyday. He never ceases to amaze us. So, Happy 1st Birthday Brandon! Mommy and Daddy love you SO much!!!

Last year at 9:15pm CST (so, 4:15am 1/30/08 in Germany)......

I was having my water broken. After no progress on the cydotec and pitocin, the doctors decided to break my water. They had to do it carefully because Brandon was not low enough in my pelvis. They were concerned about cord compression, but it was successful.

THIS is where it started getting interesting. Around 5:30am Germany time, I got my epidural. What a joke. It never worked. Ever. Despite "boosts" to the medication, and completely changing out the medication with a narcotic based medication, the pain still persisted. To say that it sucked, or that it was painful is the understatement of the century. At that point, I was on the maximum dose of pitocin, so breaking my water brought my contractions on HARD and FAST.

Yeah, it was bad. Not fun AT ALL.

I will post a final "This time last year" blog tomorrow. Now, I must go get a tissue because I am blubbering like a baby. :)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

And...THIS time last year.....

I was starting the SECOND induction which FINALLY resulted in Brian and I meeting our son!!! It is 12:22am CST, which would make it 7:22am in Landstuhl, Germany. At 7:22am I was just checking into our room, and getting my IV and getting set up. So, nothing major had really happened at this point. I remember being extremely excitied to finally meet Brandon and anxious because we didn't know what to expect with the labor.

Remembering back, is so wonderful for me. It brings all of these wonderful memories of how exciting and new, and blessed that time was. The 29th-30th of January 2008 was a day that changed our life forever. We will never forget those days.

Monday, January 26, 2009

This time last year......

As Brandon's birthday draws near, I am becomming more and more setimental. This time last year, I was being released from Landstuhl Labor and Delivery because my induction failed. After 2 days of trying to get me to go into labor via foley-bulb, pitocin, and cydotec (sp?), I was discharged from the hospital. I was SO upset that I had to leave the hospital without our baby. Officially 40 weeks 6 days pregnant, I was READY to meet our son.

My, how time flies! The days after the failed induction seemed like they took forever. I couldn't wait to meet Brandon. Now, the time seems like it is speeding by and I am powerless to stop it. I just want time to slow down. I want Brandon to be my little baby forever!!!


As Brandon's birthday draws near, I am becomming more and more setimental. This time last year, I was being released from Landstuhl Labor and Delivery because my induction failed. After 2 days of trying to get me to go into labor via foley-bulb, pitocin, and cydotec (sp?), I was discharged from the hospital. I was SO upset that I had to leave the hospital without our baby. Officially 40 weeks 6 days pregnant, I was READY to meet our son.
My, how time flies! The days after he failed induction seemed like they took forever. I couldn't wait to meet Brandon. Now, the time seems like it is speeding by and I am powerless to stop it. I just want time to slow down. I want Brandon to be my little baby forever!!!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Carseat Safety

I came across this video while doing some research on carseats and turning them forward facing. Personally, I had been looking forward to Brandon's birthday and turning him forward facing! After watching these videos, I am now NOT going to turn Brandon forward facing until his maximum weight limit for his carseat. The maximum weight limit for his carseat is 35 pounds, and he is roughly 28 pounds, so he will be rear facing for a while longer. I wanted to share this with any other Mommy out there in the hopes that it may save a child's life, or at least educate in some way.

Considering that the American Academy of Pediatrics have had WAY more college and training than I have, I will take their advice over anything else. I just wanted to share this with you all.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Just a thought....

So, my sister and I just went to see Revolutionary Road. It was a great movie, and I don't want to ruin it for anyone, so I am not going to give away any specifics. As obvious by the previews, the movie is about a couple that are unhappy in their life/marriage.

This brings me to my thought. Why is it that people never seem to be satisfied with their life? I mean, why is it that people are always complaining, or seeking some sort of "excitement" all the time. Don't get me wrong, I like excitement in my life, but I get excitement from simple things. Seeing my baby boy happy, and accomplish something new is excitement enough for me. Talking to my husband and cracking up together is exciting enough for me. I mean, sure, I'd like to take a crazy vacation, or take up some random hobby. Those things I will do someday. I just don't understand why people are so unhappy with their lives. Maybe I am bing naieve, who knows. I just think that life is what you make it. If you are bored at your job, GET ANOTHER JOB! If you are unhappy in your relationship, work on it, and if all else fails, leave. I understand that those things take effort and real planning and resources, but what is the alternative? Living a life that you cannot stand? Why? There is absolutely no point in being miserable. Besides, you have no excuse to be miserable if you make no effort to change the things in your life that you are unhappy with. I guess that people just like having something to bitch about, and if that works for them, so be it. It just seems like such a miserable existence. I'm not judging anyone, and I realize that there are some circumstances that require some amount of enduring some kind of unhappiness. Trust me I understand that. I am currently living in a situation that I do not find particularly enjoyable. However, the difference is, I try to find the positive in the arrangement. Brian will be home for R&R soon, Brandon is healthy and makes me laugh everyday. Honestly, just having him and Brian in my life is enough to sustain my happiness for eternity. Sorry, I got all emotional for a second. My point is, why settle for being unhappy and complaining about it? Especially when you are the one that is in control of your life? It just is so perplexing to me.

Just call me Mrs. Optimistic I guess. I just like to be happy as opposed to being bitter and grumpy. My life has WAY too many blessings to focus on the negative all the time. I will say that people should do what works for them though. I'm not one to tell people what to do, or how to live their life. Which brings up another subject.

WHY, OH GOD WHY, do people feel that their way is the only way? Seriously. I mean, I understand that people like the way they do things, and that is great. Your way works for you, great. But, my way works for me. To each their own. Why force your opinions on any given topic down someone else's throat? I mean, who made you God? I guess my point is, people should really attempt to not pass judgments on other people. Really, there is no reason to judge.

The last paragraph is kind of off topic, and a little of a tangent, but the main point of this post was to state my confusion of why people are never satisfied with what they have. Lord knows that I cannot be happier with the cards I have chosen and been dealt. I am truly one of the luckiest women on the planet!

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Smash Cake Video

I just uploaded some video footage from Brandon's birthday party last night. It is the all important cake footage. Enjoy! :)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Brandon's First Birthday Party!!

We had Brandon's first birthday party this evening! We were fortunate enough to be able to have the party at Grandpa Joe's Fire Station! We had a fire truck theme to the party, so the location was perfect! (Thanks to Grandpa Joe and his crew for being so hospitable!) The party was such a whirlwind. We were so glad to see all of our friends and family that were there! Some friends couldn't make it for one reason or another and we definitely missed them. Brandon had a great time! He got to eat brisket, baked beans, bread, and potato salad. He loved every bit of his dinner. Brandon was showered with tons of gifts and further spoiled rotten. :) He got to play with his friend Cara from gymnastics. They were SO cute playing together. They were both so excited to see each other and were all smiles. After presents, it was cake time. Brandon dove right into his cake. He made a HUGE mess, but it was all worth it. As he was eating his cake, he kept saying, "Mmmm...Mmmm." It was adorable! The party was a huge success, and full of wonderful memories. Now on to the pictures...

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Dare I say.....

we are bottle free??? I think I will!! So far, we are on day 3 of NO BOTTLE!!!! Instead, Brandon is getting his formula in sippy cups and is taking to it extremely well!!! He has not resisted at all.

I knew that I wanted him to be broken of the bottle by a year because I am not a fan of toddlers walking around with bottles. So, I started randomly exchanging the sippy for the bottle, and sure enough, it stuck!

Our little man is growing up so fast! It kind of makes me sad that he doesn't take a bottle anymore. I still rock him with his last cup of formula for the night. That is our special time, and I am not ready to give that up yet. He doesn't fall asleep to me rocking him, but he stares at me and I talk to him and just look at him. I look at his little hands and feet, and look at how long he has gotten. It is my favorite time of the day. I don't know if I am ever going to want to give up that time with him, but all good things must come to an end. Besides, how silly would it be to rock my 15 year old son at night??? Hahahaha

20 days until our little man turns a year old!!! :)

Monday, January 5, 2009

For your viewing pleasure....

I cannot believe that B is almost a year old. It seems like the past year has flown by. If this is any indication as to how the next 17 years are going to be, I want to make sure to cherish EVERY moment! He changes so much everyday. It seems like everyday he learns something new. So far, in the past week, he has learned to lift his arms when asked so Mommy can tickle him, clap when Mommy says clap or good job, say "aaaahhhh" after drinking something, stick out his tongue when asked, wave to the fan when Mommy says, "Say hi fan," and look for the dogs when I ask him where the dogs are. He is so curious and wants to explore everything. Like Mommy and Daddy, he is clumbsy. The thought of his clumbsiness and the injuries we are in store for gives me heart palpatations and I am sure that my hair is going to be grey very soon! His most recent injury is a busted lip. When he is crawling, sometimes his legs push him faster than his arms can move him. Poor guy. :)

Yeah, this blog is a little rambly, but I just have enjoyed watching him grow up so much and want to share it with everyone! Here's the video! Oh, please forgive the shaky filming in the beginning. I was on my bed and trying to get situated without him noticing me. :) Enjoy!