Thursday, November 19, 2009

One Month Old

John Maxwell at One Month Old:
9 pounds 7 ounces
21.5 inches
75% in height
50% in weight
25% head circumference

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Friday, November 13, 2009

I Want To Feel Christmas Like A Child

My Christmas as a child...

When we were little, my parents took us to Texas every year to celebrate Christmas. My Mom's family lived in Texas and we would spend two weeks with my grandparents on a ranch in Brackettville, Texas. This ranch was the "headquarters" for the entire Jones Family. There were six houses on the ranch, five of which were occupied. Four sisters and one brother all lived on this ranch with their families. My mom never lived on the ranch but her parents moved there after she grew up. This was my grandmother, Oma's, home place. Every year my parents would pack our massive Econoline van with four kids, six (or more like sixteen!) suitcases, billions of Christmas presents and of course mom's fried chicken that we ate on our two-day drive to heaven! Instead of going to the beach or snow skiing, we went to Texas and to us, there was no other place we wanted to be!

I never thought about it when I was little but now that I am older I realize that my Dad was so generous to my Mom for letting us go to Texas every year for Christmas. He never complained or fussed about not being able to spend the holidays at our home in Georgia with our Georgia family. He told me one time that he figured that we got to spend every day and every other holiday with his family in Georgia, so it was only fair that we have Christmas with our Texas family.

Every year my Great Aunt Bonnie would gather the whole ranch at her home for the big family Christmas party. It was at one of these parties where I first remember actually meeting Suzanne Steece, who most of my readers know from her quad blog. We would gather in her living room and sing Christmas carols as my Aunt Bonnie played the piano... she had the most beautiful voice. We would also celebrate Suzanne's grandmother's birthday. All other evenings at the ranch were spent in someones living room, usually my grandmother or my Great Aunt Sybill's. All of the adults gathered and talked for hours upon end. Us children would either be playing spotlight or creating some sort of skit or "play" for all of the adults to watch at the end of the night.

During the day we would shoot bb guns and ride mopeds... and at night my uncle Boot would usually organize a massive game of spotlight. On Christmas Eve we would gather at my great grandmother's home (the unoccupied house) and we would have Christmas Eve dinner. I remember playing Chinese Christmas and I remember always hearing "Santa's bells" ringing outside which was just a way to excite us kids and make us want to go to bed. Every Christmas Eve my cousin Shara and I would plot how we were going to catch Santa in the act. We always fell asleep before our plan fell through!

Christmas morning was the best! I spent every Christmas morning as a child at Oma and Opa's with my cousins and their families. My grandparents would make coffee for the adults and I think they also made breakfast but I was always to excited to think about eating. A large wooden curtain would close off the kitchen from living room. The adults would always take forever getting all the cameras ready and everything perfect before the curtain would open. The room would be transformed and their would be presents all the way from one side of the room where my grandmother's tree was to the stairs that we trampled down. All of our Santa presents were layed out for all to see! Everyone had their spot they sat in every year to open presents and I always sat next to my Shara. The next couple of hours were spent with paper flying everywhere and everyone screaming and laughing and so excited. You could always hear my brother over everyone, "Daddy, look!" (As if my dad didn't know what Santa brought us!) He always sat on the couch. My sister Tiffany and cousin Kitten would always pass out the presents (and they were very avid that this was THEIR JOB!) and we would spend hours laughing and opening... and then eventually playing with everything we bought. There were so many of us, it was so loud and obnoxious but so much fun. My mom and dad, and my grandmother would sit next to a huge stack of their presents that were still unopened, and watch all of us kids and our excitement. I always remember my grandmother being the last one still opening a huge stack of presents. I thought every family spent Christmas this way, with their extended family. It wasn't until I was in high school that I ever remember having a Christmas at home with just my immediate family.

I loved Christmas in Texas more than anything the world. As I try to put into words what it was like, I really don't feel like I can paint near as beautiful of a picture as it actually was in real life. It has been a long time since my grandmother passed away but I can close my eyes and see her and remember these amazing mornings spent with her and my grandfather. Every year I can't help but think about my cousins and wish they were opening presents right next to me. I want this kind of Christmas for Brooks and Max. It was so exciting and so meaningful. Through all the presents, parties, gatherings and excitement we always remembered the real meaning of Christmas and that is why we were able to gather together every year... to celebrate Jesus' birth. And a celebration it most definitely was! So, when I heard this Third Day song called "Christmas Like A Child" I could not help but think about Texas.

I want to feel Christmas, how it used to be
With all of its wonder falling on me
This season has felt so empty, oh for quite a while
I want to feel Christmas like a child

I want to see snowflakes fall to the ground
My brothers and sisters all gathered around
Singing "Away In A Manager" as we sit by the fire
I want to feel Christmas like a child

It's been so long now, I can't say
Just when I lost my way
But I'm going back to how it was
When this day meant everything
And we spent our time remembering
The baby Child born for us

It's all about Jesus, asleep in the straw
This infant, this King, this Savior for all

So I don't need bells to be ringing
'Cause I'll join with angels singing
And I can feel Christmas like a child
I want to feel Christmas like a child...

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Introducing John Maxwell

John Maxwell Wardlow
Born October 14, 2009
7 pounds 1 ounce
20 3/8 inches long
4:24 pm
Dark Brown Hair
Precious as EVER!

Three weeks ago we welcomed our second little angel boy in to the family! I am finally getting around to writing a blog all about sweet Max, the pregnancy and the birth. I obviously have a lot of catching up to do!!!

The Pregnancy: Max's pregnancy flew by and went very smoothly. I gained 25 pounds total and had more heartburn than I could have ever imagined! When I think back to this pregnancy I will always think of sleepless nights downing Tums! I assumed the constant heartburn would mean that Max would have hair, and sure enough he does! Overall, the pregnancy went by in a blink of an eye and as I stare at my new little baby boy I can't believe he is already here!

The Name: Oh, the name. If you know me very well you know I take the task of naming our children extremely seriously! To the point where I am 100% positive I drove many close family and friends absolutely insane. John is obviously my husband's name but it is also a big name in both of our families. My great grandfather was John Oliver Michael, hence the name of the wedding facility that my parents own and that I work at The John Oliver Michael House. John's mothers side of the family also had a John, whom my husband was named after. Maxwell is John's fathers middle name and "Max" is his great great grandfather's name. So this little sweetie has quite the "family name" and just BELIEVE me when I tell you it was a very hard decision. I always knew if we had another boy it would be a challenge and a challenge it was!!!

The Birthday: We were able to choose Max's birthday! Dr. Leach said we could induce as early as Sunday, October 11th. We wanted Thursday the 15th but the doctor made out of town plans (not cool!), so we basically were able to choose a date from Sunday the 11th through Wednesday the 14th. John wanted it to be close to the end of the week as possible and I wanted to either do Sunday or Wednesday. I wanted Sunday because I was ready to hold my sweet baby but I wanted Wednesday because it was closer to his due date. So we went with Wednesday, October 14th.

Interesting fact: When choosing an induction date it came down to the 11th and 14th. The 11th of October is Max Wardlow (John's great great grandfather's birthday) and the 14th is John's dad's birthday. So in the 365 days of this year it actually came down to the two days that are also the birth days of the two grandfather's who share Max's name. That sounds so confusing, did you follow that one!?

The Labor and Delivery: The labor and delivery went absolutely wonderful! Max's big brother Brooks paved quite the way for our little 7 pounder. I was induced around 8 am Wednesday morning. Contractions came IMMEDIATELY and I asked for the epidural shortly after. One contraction made me nauseated and that was enough for me to request the drugs! I do not tolerate pain very well, let's just be honest! We basically waited on the doctor to come check me. We thought he would be in at noon but he actually came at 2 pm. He broke my water and went back to his office. After he broke my water I kept telling my sister that I felt like something was happening but I decided to just wait on the nurse because she said she would be in to check me in 30 minutes. When she came to check me he was crowning! So, we called the doctor and the nurse prepared herself to deliver the baby without my doctor. Thankfully, Max held out and one doctor arrival and quick push later, he was born! PS: I am so pleased with my decision to switch doctors. I was sad to not have the same doc deliver both boys but Dr. Leach was awesome and I know he played a huge part in making the pregnancy and delivery go so great!

Afterwards: Funny thing about having a second child. For me, everything has been ten times easier. The pregnancy, the labor and delivery, recovery and nursing him. After I had Brooks I felt like everything was super fast and easy... until I had Max! I felt great shortly after his arrival and everything since then has gone very well. He is such a good baby! And Brooks is such a good big brother!

Big Brother Brooks: Brooks loves little Max so much. I often find him helping him with his pacifier, covering him up and mostly giving him slobbery open mouth kisses. The first few days at home were pretty rocky because Brooks had pink eye so he was not able to get close to Max. It was hard for him to understand why he couldn't get near him. Now he is used to him and calls him "Maxey" or "My Max." He is very protective of his little brother and while I have to constantly remind him to be gentle with Max, he has taken to him very well and I do not think of him as jealous at all. I feel like he is just as excited to have Max here as we are and he is a super sweet big brother. Yesterday I was putting makeup on in my bathroom and Max was in his bouncy. I looked over and Brooks was covering him with his blanket (which is a huge improvement, usually he takes his blanket away), and he leaned over and kissed Max on the forehead and said "I wuv you, Maxy." Talk about melting my heart!

I have a new computer that is photo free, but most of my readers have seen photos on FB or my sister's website. We are planning 1 month pics for little Max and I am so excited to get those done! I hope to be able to blog more often about our new little family of four but right now, I have to get back to my mom/wife/wedding planning duties!!!

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Max at 34 weeks!!!

Today Brooks and I ventured to my OB for Max's 34-week check up. As we were driving to the doctor, it struck me that two weeks had passed since I had last been there. It felt more like 2 days and it is just crazy to me how fast this pregnancy has progressed. Wedding season is back and I am glad I am ready for this baby because the next five weeks are going to fly by.

Our little baby is about 4 pounds and growing just fine! He was so cute today when the nurse was checking his heartbeat. He would move from one side of my body to the other depending on where the nurse would squeeze the cold gel. My belly would literally go flat on one side and it felt so cool! I love it and I am going to miss that feeling! She had to chase him to get his little heartbeat.

One thing I have held on to this entire pregnancy is the fact that I do not want to be induced this go around. Well, I thought I didn't. But when I spoke with my doctor and John today we decided if the baby did not come before the week of his due date we would induce. I feel confident in the decision. There are many reasons why I changed my mind and I am super excited we will be able to plan it out again. The main reason I did not want to be induced was because I thought my episiotomy was a result of being induced. But that is not the case at all and the doctor assured me that more than likely I would not need that procedure with the second baby since we've been there done that, so to speak! He made the comment that he rarely cuts episiotomy's and does not do them routinely and he did not think it would be an issue.

Another reason we are going to be induced is because my labor went extremely fast with Brooks. I was induced at 8 am, my water broke at 1 pm and I shot up from 3 centimeters to 10 centimeters and delivered him by 2:30. The doctor said that with many (not all, but many) second labors the delivery tends to run about 2 hours shorter. That said, I would rather be in the hospital, WITH MY EPIDURAL and prepared for this baby than heading to the hospital once my water breaks. Plus, with John having to plan around work and us planning on Brooks staying with my parents it would be better to have everyone packed and ready to go!

So, that said I am a planner and do like for things to be "ready" so I feel better about this. All my reasons for not wanting to be induced were not medically in line so I don't have to worry about that anymore. And Brooks' labor went so smoothly.

So with many prayers in tow, and even more excitement, we head towards the final month of this pregnancy and are planning to have our sweet baby the week of the 12th. Lord and baby willing, it will all go smoothly and flawless and our decision will be the right one!!!

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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Let Me Hold You Longer...

Yesterday I ordered Karen Kingsbury's children's book, "Let Me Hold You Longer" from Amazon. Karen is the author of the Redemption and First Born Series' that I have been reading. This children's book was inspired by a poem in "Remember," one of five books in the Redemption Series.

In this book, the mother Elizabeth Baxter is struggling with the fact that her son is getting married and moving away. She also has four daughters and she talks about how "a daughter is a daughter for life, a son is a son until he takes a wife." (I say bull to that, but that's just me being bitter!) Anyway, this poem turned children's book talks about how as parents we always document our children's "firsts" but very rarely focus on their lasts. I was literally bawling through out the entire poem. So, yesterday I decided to order it and add it to Brooks' book collection.

I know all you mommy's out there will appreciate it. This book would be a great gift for a new baby, a baby shower or even a graduation gift! Enjoy...

Long ago you came to me, a miracle of firsts,
First smiles and teeth and baby steps, a sunbeam on the burst.
But one day you will move away and leave to me your past

And I will be left thinking of a lifetime of your lasts…

The last time that I held a bottle to your baby lips
The last time that I lifted you and held you on my hip.
The last night when you woke up crying, needing to be walked,

When last you crawled up with your blanket, wanting to be rocked.

The last time when you ran to me,s till small enough to hold.
The last time that you said you’d marry me when you grew old.
Precious, simple moments and bright flashes from your past

Would I have held on longer if I’d known they were your last?

Our last adventure to the park, your final midday nap,
The last time when you wore your favorite faded baseball cap.
Your last few hours of kindergarten, those last few days of first grade,

Your last at bat in Little League, last colored picture made.

I never said good-bye to all your yesterdays long passed.
So what about tomorrow-will I recognize your lasts?
The last time that you catch a frog in that old backyard pond.

The last time that you run barefoot across our fresh-cut lawn.

Silly, scattered images will represent your past.
I keep on taking pictures, never quite sure of your lasts…
The last time that I comb your hair or stop a pillow fight.
The last time that I pray with you and tuck you in at night.

The last time when we cuddle with a book, just me and you
The last time you jump in our bed and sleep between us two.
The last piano lesson, last vacation to the lake.
Your last few weeks of middle school, last soccer goal you make.

I look ahead and dream of days that haven’t come to pass.
But as I do, I sometimes miss today’s sweet, precious lasts…
The last time that I help you with a math or spelling test.
The last time when I shout that yes, your room is still a mess.

The last time that you need me for a ride from here to there.
The last time that you spend the night with your old tattered bear.
My life keeps moving faster, stealing precious days that pass,
I want to hold on longer-want to recognize your lasts…

The last time that you need my help with details of a dance.
The last time that you ask me for advice about romance.
The last time that you talk to me about your hopes and dreams.
The last time that you wear a jersey for your high school team.

I’ve watched you grow and barely noticed seasons as they pass.
If I could freeze the hands of time,I’d hold on to your lasts.
For come some bright fall morning, you’ll be going far away.
College life will beckon in a brilliant sort of way.

One last hug, one last good-bye, one quick and hurried kiss.
One last time to understand just how much you’ll be missed.
I’ll watch you leave and think how fast our time together passed.
Let me hold on longer, God, to every precious last.

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Monday, August 17, 2009

Ride Ride and Slide Slide!!!

This weekend I had a Saturday afternoon meeting so I left Brooks with John. He loves being outside with his Daddy more than anything. On this particular day, I left with him playing in the Suzuki while John was finishing up a welding job on the muffler. Man, that sounds so redneck.

Anyway, he was in heaven playing in daddy's "ride ride" as he calls it. He usually gets upset when I leave but as I handed him his juice and crackers to snack on while John finished up he said, "Tay tu Mommy, bye bye!" No hesitation this time.

As I was driving home John kept calling me wanting me to hurry and watch what Brooks could do. He was on the neighbors playground set, a BIG play set, climbing up a very tall ladder and booking it down the slide as fast as he could, over and over and over again! Although he has climbed ladders and gone down slides before, he just seemed so much more grown up and capable this time. Just another sweet reminder that that he is growing up too fast and I really can't stop it!

I captured some cute pics on my phone of him in all of his slide glory... dirt caked on the face! Another reason he likes being outside with Daddy... Daddy lets him get dirty! Mommy let's him get dirty too, it just seems like he ALWAYS gets dirty when he is left with John!

Sliding on his tummy, whichever way he fell or twisted he went that way. As long as he was going FAST, he was happy!

Getting ready for take off!

Very dirty and very happy little face!

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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

New Prayer

I interrupt my current reading session to bring you a precious prayer! I am currently reading the First Born Series by Karen Kingsbury. This summer I read the Redemption series, which I highly recommend, this is her follow up series to Redemption. For those of you who are not aware, Karen Kingsbury books are Christian Fiction and often quote Bible verses.

Anyway, every night before we turn out the lights we say a little prayer with Brooks. My favorite part of his bedtime is when he says, "Amen," even if he says it all slurry through his pacifier! Anyway, I was reading my book last night and read a small prayer that I love and want to memorize so I can say it to Brooks. Thought I would share it with you all, it is so simple but sweet...

"God, please now my future see, make it clear where I should be. Open windows, close the doors, not my will, my God, but yours."

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