Saturday, January 31, 2009

DaddyDay Letdown

We had all sorts of fun plans for DaddyDay today. The McWane Center. The park. Maybe a good game of corn-hole (What, you don't know about corn-hole? I'll fill you in on the details another day.)

We didn't quite get to all (or any!) of that, though, because Jack and I spent a good portion of the day at Children's Hospital.

Everything is fine, but he and Abigail had a little run-in in the living room this morning. Jack came up screaming, and he couldn't walk on his right leg. After the tears had stopped, we gave him a few minutes to try to "walk it out", but each time he tried, he just fell over on the floor.

Time to call the doctor.

Needless to say, they brought us in and examined him for a variety of potential conditions, but each test and x-ray for the more serious problems came back negative (no ligament tears or fractures). The diagnosis? A knee sprain and deep tissue bruise. So we're taking it easy for the rest of the weekend (and trying to convince Jack to do the same!) He's such a trooper, and he's been an angel all day long.

When he first got hurt, our whole family huddled around Jack and prayed for his little knee to be OK...and we're so thankful that it is!

I hope your DaddyDay was more fun than ours, and I hope we all have a nice day of rest tomorrow!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The rest of the story...

As I'm sure you figured out from yesterday's picture, I took the kids to the zoo earlier this week. The weather was bee-yoo-tee-ful that day, and I knew as soon as I woke up and saw how gorgeous it was that we had to find something to do outside. Here's the conversation I had in my mind as I laid in bed that morning:

Score! We could go to the zoo today.

Oh man...I let our membership expire. I guess we can't go, because the zoo is expensive!

Sad.

WAIT! What's today? Is this Tuesday? Let me think...yesterday was ballet, right?

Yes! That means it's "Half-Price-Admission-Day" at the zoo.

COME ON, KIDS, WE'RE GOING TO THE ZOO!!!!!


If you saw One-Word Wednesday, you've already seen how we started the morning. Here's another equally creepy fascinating shot from the reptile house.

From there we moved on to the sea lions. And in an effort to one day prove that I did actually go places with the kids, I set the timer on the camera and took a picture of all of us.

Izzy's not quite chatting it up yet, but as you can see, she definitely gets her "point" across when she wants you to see something.

Here were some of the animals that she was so excited about:

But the kids' very favorite part of the trip was our stop at the farm section of the zoo. It's got lots of hands-on fun that all three of them enjoyed.


And my favorite shot of the day...
This is Jack shouting "No dog!" to the goat.

Hey, when you've got a little one in speech therapy for a language delay, you take what you can get! :-)

We had a super day at the zoo, but we were pooped when we left!!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

What a Fun Site!

Remember "Landscape Anna" that I mentioned in a recent post? Well, she introduced me to a great site that I've had so much fun looking through:
They do themed contests each week, and this week's theme is JOY. Isabel's "joyful face" almost always involves a scrunched-up nose (hence the "Piggy Party" we had for her first birthday). This picture that I took on the way to Meme's house was a perfect fit for this week.

I had been saving it for Wordless Wednesday tomorrow, so now I'll have to surprise you with something else!

Monday, January 26, 2009

The second half of DaddyDay

After a little post-"Couch-Toss" nap, we headed east on I-20 for a couple of family visits. Our first stop was to visit my grandmother, Meme, in Eastaboga.

Imagine Birmingham.

Now take away three of the interstates, 687 of the red lights (just a guess), and every inch of Highway 280. Now add 12 lakes, 34 cows, and countless trees.

That's Eastaboga.

One of my favorite childhood memories was visiting there with my family and spending hours trekking through the woods, strolling around the lakes, and running in the fields. Time seems to slow down a little in Eastaboga, and that's a feeling I love. Josh put it best when we first sat down in Meme's living room. He said, "I always feel like I could take a long nap when I'm here. It's so relaxing."

Meme is special to us for many, many reasons, but one of those reasons is that she's Abigail's namesake. Abigail Eleanor Lewis is named in honor of Meme. (As a side note, my dad and Abby were talking about this fact over lunch last week, and Abby said "Oh, so Meme's real name is Meme Eleanor Lewis?" Too cute!!)

Here's one of my favorite shots from our visit to Meme's. This photo tells so much about the passage of time...

Goodbye Eastaboga! (I've kind of fallen in love with sunset shots)

Our next stop was in Oxford for dinner with Josh's sister (Rebekah), her husband (Kevin), and their sweet baby girl (Ayda). I did Ayda's newborn pictures in December:

And even though I've seen her since our session, I was still surprised at how much bigger she's gotten. Rebekah says the little girl loves to eat!

Rebekah lived with us for a while when I was pregnant with Abby, and she was over at our house a lot after she was born. The running joke is that Abby looks like she belongs to Rebekah much more than does me. Whenever we were out together, people would always compliment Rebekah on her beautiful daughter! Now Ayda obviously doesn't look a thing like Rebekah, so she could pass for my daughter just as easily as Rebekah's (if not more so). So we did a little switch-a-roo at the restaurant. Whose daughter is whose? :-)

This really does look more accurate, doesn't it?!?

Now for the ride home...remember how I mentioned in the "Izzy Facts" that Izzy is the most flexible child I've ever seen? This is how she rode home that night:

I don't know if the picture does this any justice, but her legs are literally in a straight line out to each side. And she's not even batting an eyelash! I told Josh that if she didn't have shoulders to get in the way, I'm pretty sure she could clap her feet behind her back!!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

How are you spending your DaddyDay?

I think I've mentioned this before, but we no longer have Saturdays around our house. Since Josh works each weekday and we're tied up with church most of Sunday, Saturday is a special time for our family. The kids always ask, "Is tomorrow the day Daddy stays here with us?" So it only seemed natural to rename Saturday...now we celebrate "DaddyDay"!

One of Jack and Abby's favorite things to do with Daddy is to be "thrown on the couch". Do you have a mental image going yet? No? Well let me help you out. The kids run as fast as they possibly can (laughing hysterically the whole time) into the kitchen, through the dining room, past the foyer, and straight into the living room where Josh is lying on his back, ready to toss them over his head onto the couch. Only a Daddy could think of this game!

It looks a little like this:


And sometimes, if the momentum/throwing force ratio is just right, it looks more like this:


They work together like a well-oiled machine...until Abby laps Jack, and they end up with a bit of a traffic jam...

...or until Jack slows down for a little snuggle (who could resist this?!?)

Izzy's not quite ready for the Couch Toss, but she still manages to get a little DaddyDay workout of her own...(drum roll, please)...because guess who's finally pulling herself up to stand!
HOORAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

ENJOY YOUR DADDYDAY!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Not Too Bad

I'm a photographer, yes. But that definitely doesn't mean I take good pictures of everything. My friend, Anna, is an incredible landscape and architectural photographer (you can see some of her photos here). Me? I just don't have an eye for that kind of work. But when I saw this view from my back porch this evening, I knew I had to give it a shot (that's a hokey pun, isn't it?). It was such a beautiful day today, and the sunset was gorgeous! So although this photo seriously pales in comparison to anything on Anna's site, I didn't think it was too bad (for me, at least!) :-)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Itty-Bitty

Remember this pint-sized cutie from her newborn session in October?

I saw her again yesterday for her three-month pictures, and we had such a great time playing dress-up and peek-a-boo! She's still teeny-tiny, and it really was like doing photos of a baby doll. So cute!

I love this hat!!

She actually weighs less at three months than Izzy did when she was born!! Look how tiny those hands are...

I love my "job"!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

And now there are six!

As I mentioned in one of the Christmas posts, we've known the Cobbs for years and years now. What started out as casual college friendships developed into deep and intimate relationships with these precious friends. Molly was the first of the Cobblets, and Abby joined her just a few months later.

Then when Abby was eight months old, I was thrilled to tell Kerry we were going to walk through another pregnancy together as she was already several months pregnant with Grace. The intensity of that laughter and joy was nothing, though, compared to the grief and tears we shared when I lost our baby. I will never forget Kerry racing over and standing in our living room holding me as our sobs were the only sounds that pierced the silence. There was something so bittersweet about our babies lying there together only inches apart.

One was vibrantly alive with strong heartbeats and tiny kicks while the other one was already resting eternally in our Savior's loving arms.

Kerry grabbed my face in her hands, and through her tears said, "I would do anything to take this from you." And she meant it.

Brent and Kerry were at our house when we found out we were expecting another baby, and they began that night praying for us and our precious child. Jack was born almost eight months after Grace.

Then shortly after that, Kerry and I were once again pregnant together with Ben and Isabel (they were born just six weeks apart). Our families share yearly traditions, holiday meals, hand-me-downs, and countless hysterical stories (several of which revolve around racing to one another's home so the expecting Mommy can rush off to L&D!). But most importantly, now there are six little playmates who love being together. And they have literally grown up with one another since birth! Here's a picture from this morning when Kerry had an early appointment, and the Cobblets came over to play (Ben didn't make the picture...he was at the doctor because he's not feeling well).

We love you all dearly, and we're so thankful you're a part of our family!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Cross

May he always love The Cross as much as he does now.
-Mary Crouch

As you can imagine, Josh isn't much of a jewelry guy, but he has one really special necklace that he wears. It's the cross that his mom gave him his senior year of high school, and with the exception of the occasional basketball game or knee surgery, it's been around his neck every single day since.
One of Jack's favorite things to do is to cuddle with Daddy each night after his bath, and he's developed the most precious routine for those snuggle times. He curls up in his towel, lays his head on Josh's chest, and sucks his thumb while holding the cross with the same hand. All the while, he runs the fingers of his other hand along its edges. I don't know how long he would sit there in that moment with his Daddy, but I'm pretty sure that Jack has never been the first to move.

I know all little children love their daddies, but there's something really special between these two:

They can spend all day long throwing the ball, wrestling, chasing, and getting dirty. But at the end of each day, there's a sweet exchange that takes place in the quiet of the evening. So is the story of The Cross.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

A Unique Blessing

Isabel Mary Lewis - January 8, 2008 - 12:39 am

Isabel is a serious night-sleeper. She's not much of a daytime napper, but she really loves her nighttime sleep (all 12-13 hours of it!) So I knew something was up when I heard her crying in her crib last night. I hopped out of bed to go see what was wrong with her, and on the way out of our bedroom, I glanced at the clock...it was 12:39.

As I walked into her room, I saw by the dim light of the nightlight that she was sitting up in bed with her little arms reached out waiting on me to pick her up. I scooped her up and sat in the rocker to settle her down. What would normally be a quick "soothe and back to bed" plan ended up being the sweetest (much more drawn out) time for us. We cuddled, we cooed back and forth, and we giggled together as I tickled her under the chin. And then I snuggled her up in her blanket and sang to her.

Happy Birthday to You.
Happy Birthday to You.
Happy Birthday, Sweet Isabel.
Happy Birthday to You.


It wasn't the loud, celebratory rendition that we always sing at birthdays but a quiet, gentle lullaby that I sang over my precious baby. It's not what I had planned for her first birthday, but it was such a special time for the two of us!! What a joy to hold my daughter and pray for her just as I did exactly one year after God first entrusted her to our care.

Now for the sadder part, Izzy was already scheduled for a well-baby checkup today, so her pediatrician checked her out and told me that she appears to have a sinus infection. She began running a fever last night, and she seems to feel pretty yucky today. What a way to spend your first birthday! But on a lighter note (this won't seem very "light" at first, but stay with me), her doctor also referred her for a physical therapy evaluation with Early Intervention. As I was filling out her developmental checklist, I found myself checking quite a few more "No's" than I did "Yes's" on the physical milestones. When I began to talk to the doctor about it, he said there are several factors that make him very unconcerned about her seemily slower physical development. He said he assumed that being the third child in a family with two other young children means that she probably gets held and carried around a lot. (He was in big-time "doctor" mode, so he wasn't paying too much attention to what was going on around him.) Within seconds, we were both cracking up as he looked down and saw that I was holding Izzy in the Ergo (baby carrier) so that my hands could be free to help with Abby and Jack. Carried a lot? Whatever could he mean?!? :-) Anyway, he said he doesn't want PT to see her as a means to diagnose a potential problem...he just wants them to give us some exercises to work on with her to help strengthen her hips (remember all the pediatric orthopaedist trips?). She'll be up and going in no time!!

Last but not least, here are her 12-month stats:
Isabel weighs 21 pounds, 5 ounces (60th %ile)
She's 29 1/2 inches long (70th %ile) I don't think you can be 29 1/2 inches "TALL" until you're standing!
And her head is almost back on the chart! HOORAY! (If you haven't followed us for a while, check out this post and the updates on it here and here.)

Happy Birthday, Isabel! We love you so much.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Monday, January 5, 2009

Fun Izzy Facts

10. Izzy's full name is Isabel Mary Lewis. We name each of our children for meaning (first name) and in honor of a family member (middle name). Isabel means "Consecrated to God", and Mary is my mother's name.

9. She absolutely adores her big sister and brother. She squeals each morning when she gets up and sees them for the first time.

8. She just recently started crawling (Does that mean we carry her around too much?) :-)

7. Up until Thanksgiving Day (literally...it was like a light-bulb went off during lunch time), she would cry when anyone held her except me (and occassionally Josh). But ever since then, she's been happy with just about anyone she knows really well.

6. Izzy's nickname is Tooter.

5. She's amazingly flexible. (photo documentation to come)

4. Isabel is addicted to her blankie. One day, she was having a tough time getting to sleep for her nap, so I grabbed the first blanket I saw and gave it to her. Unfortunately, it was a blue blanket, and more unfortunately, she's been crazy-attached to it ever since. Oh well...at least it matches her eyes!

3. Part two of the calming ritual involves an odd little habit. As soon as you hand Izzy the magic blankie, she pushes it against her mouth and starts sucking on her tongue. It's like a dose of "instant-calm" as soon as she does it. That's how she goes to sleep, too.

2. Isabel has been photographed more than perhaps any baby on the face of the planet. I started shooting professionally when she was five months old, so she's had the great responsibility of being one of my little subjects while I learned about my new camera. :-)

1. And finally, Izzy never met a food she didn't like...literally. That includes the black bean and cheese quesadilla (with salsa) that Jack fed her when she was four months old!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Is it time yet?

This is me (with one very sweet big sister!) around this time one year ago:

It would be a gross understatement to say that I was ready to deliver that little bundle of joy in my tummy. I had suffered through weeks of terrible pregnancy-induced insomnia that made me an absolute crazy person, and with two other children (who were only 3 and 15-months-old at the time), I wasn't doing much napping to catch up during the day either.

So imagine my glee when I showed up at my obstetrician's office for my 36-week appointment and began having contractions as I sat in the exam room! Having had weeks of early contractions with Jack, I tried not to get too excited about it, but my doctor wanted to play it safe, so he sent me home and told me to come back in a few hours to see how I was doing. So after three hours and one terrible decision involving a McDonald's chicken sandwich (if you know that story, you're cracking up right now, aren't you?), I was back with bags packed (just in case!)

The verdict? STRAIGHT TO L&D!!

Now Abby definitely gave me a run for my money in the delivery room. It took two-and-a-half hours of work before we met our first daughter. Jack, on the other hand, made his entrance in a mere 17 minutes!! You can imagine my thought process: 2.5 hours for the first...only 17 minutes for the second...at that rate of improvement, this baby will be here in around 23 seconds!!

Nope.

Have you ever heard that third babies can be rather unpredictable? I would like to go on record as saying that is absolutely true. It wasn't until after midnight that Josh was finally able to announce "IT'S A GIRL!"

It was a breathtaking joy to meet our new daughter, Isabel Mary Lewis. How precious is she?!?

Stay tuned as I'll be doing "Izzy posts" all week in honor of her first birthday!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

This Little Piggy...

I have a hard time believing I'm even writing this, but Isabel is turning ONE next week!! We thought hard about what kind of party to have for her, and finally Josh came up with the perfect theme...a PIGGY PARTY!

Random? Not quite as much as you might think.

One of Izzy's little quirks is the squishy face she makes all the time.

Admit it...she looks like a little piggy, doesn't she? Hence the party theme.

Izzy had loads of fun opening her gifts...

...as well as gnawing on them!

But folks, I've never seen anything like what I witnessed when she got a hold of her smash cake. Considering this is the third "1st birthday" party I've done, I thought I knew what to expect. Abby? Definitely a little weirded out by the messy icing. And Jack? Not only did he not dive in, he was actually content to sit back and let Abby feed it to him.

Izzy definitely blew my preconceived ideas out of the water!

Let me tell you the story "bookend style". Here's the before shot:

And here's the after:

What happened in the middle is the best part, though. Here's a quick picture sequence (taken over a matter of about four seconds) to show you Isabel's "enthusiasm" for her first bite of cake. Notice that she's already grabbing for it before it's even on her tray (and no, we didn't let her touch the candle)!



She was somewhat tame until she tasted sugar for the first time, and then she went straight into "shovel and inhale" mode:

In all fairness, she did have a little help from some very willing siblings:

Her cousin, Brayden, was happy to lend his services as well. Check out his finger (inside the cake) in the first picture and his face in the second. "Cake? What cake?"


Isabel is pretty sure that eating cake is the best thing she's done in her whole life (all 360 days of it)!

I'm sure I'll be back with more pictures on her birthday. This little piggy is growing up!!