Saturday, May 5, 2018

The Party Boys: Henry Turns Three, Emerson Turns Five

If you've only seen the past several blog posts of mine, you probably didn't realize I actual have two other sons. Nothing like a baby brother to come along and hog all the attention on my blog. Oops.

Well, I do have two very special big boys who deserve a little milestone recap.

Henry

 

In January, this sweet boy turned three! Looking back at photos from even just this past summer makes me realize how much he has transitioned out of that baby/toddler look and into a little boy.

For one, his HAIR! Anyone who knows Henry knows he has an awesome set of thick curls on his head, but really, these just developed since this past summer. Before that his hair was thin and wispy. Always had the baby curl at the bottom, but nothing like what it has become today. His last hair cut was August 2017...I'll just leave that information out there.

Look at how much this baby has grown. And again, that hair!
 

School wise, he's learned lots in the past year, but definitely beats to his own drum in this department. Things just click for him a little differently, and that's OK. Oddly enough, he's really smart with Bible lesson memory, not so much his ABCs though, lol. And he learns the best through song.
 
Having birthday muffins with his friends at school

Speaking of songs, he does LOVE to sing! I think he has the sweetest little voice, of course. He also remains our little stunt devil, not really afraid to try much of anything. He likes to play with his brother and has a wild imagination when he plays solo. He's fast to make a friend and has a kind, sweet soul. He's also our funny boy. Always acting silly to get you to laugh.



Emerson


My eldest is one whole hand years old and that I just can't wrap my mind around.

His independence shot through the roof this past year. He developed a love for school and anything related to math or science...so now I'm questioning if he's even my son, ha.

PAC Man themed birthday party at a trampoline park. He was super excited, if you couldn't tell.


 

 

He loves musical instruments. I'm learning it's not so much the sound or end product of the instrument, it's more of a fascination of just how the thing works. And when he sets his mind to something, oh boy, watch out world! He recently told (demanded) that he learn to ride his bike without training wheels. We stalled for a bit, but he was persistent and he did it! Even when we're not with him, he's outside practicing by himself.


He can become super shy, especially when people are proud of him or when he does something awesome in front of people. He got to play basketball this past winter and did so well. When he made his first basket, he tried to act all tough and hide his smile. Meanwhile his daddy and I were on the sidelines making way to big of a scene of excitement.

I could honestly go on and on about these boys and all the awesome things they are doing, but this is a good summary for now.

Some very big moments these boys have been through in the past year (ex: moving, hurricane, new brother). Through it all, they had each other and a very special bond. I know Blake is too little to ride bikes, jump on trampolines and run around, but I can't wait to see how these three boys rule the world with each other by their sides.

Happy growing, my big boys!

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Blake: 5 Months


 "Say what? I'm FIVE months old?"

Five months in and I'm becoming worse and worse about writing down the things Blake does each month. Hopefully I can recap the highlights from the memory of my mushy mom brain. Maybe.


Let's see...

Drool. There has been lots of drool. The teething process is in full force, but no teeth yet. For the next several years I now get to blame all crankiness on teething. Yay for excuses.


Talking more and more, and making new sounds.

Controls hands better. Intentionally grabs things...and puts straight into his mouth.


Wants to hang upside down like a monkey. Thinks it's funny to throw himself backwards and give anyone holding him a heart attack. Thankfully, I know this is just a phase as he learns how to move about.

Sleeping. Naps have become more hit or miss on the ease of them. I think his wake times are shifting and they have not adjusted well with our day-to-day schedule. Normally he wakes around 8 a.m., takes first nap around 9:30, and from then on who knows. He typically takes two-tree naps a day.

Hands of hips

We've had a busy month of family visitors. Aunt Amy, Uncle Brent, Lillian and Lucas came to visit us. This of course meant a trip to the beach and lots of extra hands to hold Blake. He also took his first trip to Tennessee where he celebrated his first Easter. 

Easter attire




 That makes five months a wrap, folks!

Monday, April 9, 2018

Blake: 4 Months

This growing boy is now four months old (almost five, but we won't focus on that right now).
 
 Blake wasn't so sure about photo taking this month


Blake can now roll both directions, loves to sit upright, and tested out the Bumbo for the first time at Grammy and Granddads house.

Yep, he hated being put down for photos

He's so over his baby swing and rock n' play. Prefers to just play on the floor, even though it is short lived.

He's eating about every three hours and only wakes up once at night, around 4 a.m. But he can also go longer some nights.

His hands continue to be his favorite toy. We must have started the teething process because he loves to chew and suck on his hands...he'll also chew on his paci and whatever else he can shove in his mouth.


Since birth he has had blocked tear ducts in both eyes, but his left eye has cleared up. Here's hoping the right eye corrects itself as well. If not, he may have to have a minor procedure to open it up.


This month he traveled to Oklahoma for the first time to see family. He is an awesome car traveler! I made the seven hour drive by myself with all three kiddos and thankfully the whole trip went really well. It may be a different experience the more active and wiggly he gets, but I'll take what I can get for now. 

Blake continues to be our happy, easy going baby. We just love him to pieces.

 Ending on a happy note!



Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Blake: Months 1-3

Let's just call this Q1 of Blake's life.

You know what my ONE piece of advice should be for all first time moms? "Don't set the bar too high with the first one."

First child
- Monthly blog updates, Check
- Daily journal, Check
- Memory books made for every life event/first holiday, Check
- Baby book completed, Check
- Sending family photo texts of my cute baby frequently, Check
- Nightly reading and bath, Check
-A ROUTINE, check

Second child
 A little less from all the above, but it still gets done, even if I am a little behind on updating with photos.

Third child
Absolutely none of the above. Good. Grief.

Seriously, how do fourth children (and beyond) have any proof that they ever existed as a baby?

Moving on...

Blake is now three months old! But first, let's play some photo catch-up.

1st Month

I could tell from the very first days of life that this was my "chill" kiddo. He does your typical baby things on a typical baby timeline, there are no surprises, and I love that. He eats about every 1.5-2 hours. Prefers belly sleeping and is not a fan of full swaddling. We compromise by swaddling with one arm out.

Quilt made by Gramma

This month, Blake celebrated his first Thanksgiving and participated in one of my favorite holiday traditions, picking out our Christmas tree. We had several visitors, including all of the grandparents.


He seems to resemble Emerson's baby pictures the most.



By the end of this month, we had already phased out all newborn clothing and moved into 0-3 month clothes. We also developed baby acne. (not my favorite). And he FINALLY got his first real bath. It took a good three weeks before that umbilical cord fell off.


2nd Month

This month Blake celebrated his first Christmas/New Years, took his first trip to the beach (Galveston), started giving out smiles (although very hard to get out of him), eats about every 2-3 hours, and has found his hands and loves to suck on them.

Quilt made by Grammy

He continues to be a good sleeper. He loves his nap time and he even gave me a few 10 straight hours at night. Success! This is due to nothing that I have done, he is just by nature a good sleeper. And I get to brag about it, because I've had my fair share of not so great sleepers.




3rd Month 

Blake has turned into a smiley, giggly baby and I just love it! He continues to love to suck on his hands, but will now also take the pacifier more easily. He went through a week phase of not taking the bottle, but thankfully he that was short lived and is now on good terms with it again.

Blanket made by Aunt Amy


We stopped swaddling and moved him up to his very own bed. 

Blake is happiest when he gets to lay on his back on the floor and squirm. He is now wearing 3-6 month clothing. He stays awake about 1.5-2 hours between naps. He still loves to nap on his belly, but doesn't fall asleep as easily as he once did in the early days.






Well there you have it, my attempt to keep Blake updated on the blog. Happy growing, Blake!

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Introducing Blake Edmund McKee

He's here, he's here!

Well, technically he's been here for a few months now. Third child, enough said.

Blake Edmund McKee arrived on Friday November, 17, 2017 at 10 a.m. He weighed a whopping 9 lbs 11 oz and was 20.5 inches long. He was born at Memorial Hermann Katy hospital in Katy, TX.



Blake was taking his sweet precious time to come into the world so we decided to induce the day after his due date, and boy, I sure am glad we did. My body could not have managed a larger child.

 

I had scheduled his induction date the week prior at my doctors appointment, but I honestly never thought we would make it that long, especial since my other two both came two weeks early.


The day before he arrived we were able to make arrangements with our very good friend, Traci, to have the bigger boys picked up and taken care of while we were in the hospital. Then Jesse and I were able to enjoy a good dinner and milkshake before heading to the hospital to check in.


We checked in Thursday night, the 16th, around 10 p.m. and got things started right away.


By morning, we were ready to meet our little guy. Three whole pushes later, he was here and in my arms. All the nurses were anxious to weigh him.


On Saturday, Nov. 19th, big brothers Emerson and Henry got to meet Blake.  Henry was infatuated with him and Emerson didn't quite know how to act around this new little thing.





We had a very uneventful delivery and hospital stay, which considering how stressful the past few months had been on us because of Hurricane Harvey, I definitely welcomed this stress-free event.

By Sunday, we were able to go home and be a family of five for the first time. Blake fits in perfectly with our little family and we could not feel more blessed to have him in our lives.




Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Leaving Harvery Behind and Headed Home

It is the happiest news to announce that as of December 31, we moved back HOME. Hallelujah!

It has now been five months since Harvey hit us. To be honest it feels like a lifetime ago and at the same time its as if it was all just a nightmare, not real at all. Weird how tragic events have an affect on someone. Thankfully, we feel as though we took on this tragedy with extreme power of positivity and strength.

God. It's a given, but truly we owe Him everything.  Through everything that happened, He gave us the mental strength to push through, showered us with endless blessings, grew our family together, grew our marriage together and showed us how important it is to lean on Him, not just when facing destruction, but always.

People. God used people to show His love.  Family, friends, community...all near and far are what gave us this ability to stay strong and push through this event like rock stars. Without support, we would have crumbled.

Regrets. Simply put, none. I've always felt that regrets are lessons you never learned from. So. Many. Lessons. LEARNED : )

All this positive writing doesn't mean this whole experience was all roses. We cried, we worried, we argued...it was stressful, and
the future so very unclear. At times, I felt hopeless and defeated. Thankfully, because of the reasons I mentioned above, we never drowned, we just learned to be better swimmers. 

Now we have nothing but hope ahead of us and we are so very ready to put all memories of Harvey in the past, but keeping the lessons we learned close to heart.

We are so happy to be home, in our own beds, own spaces and look forward to slowly piecing our home back to the way it was. What a great way to start 2018!

Monday, November 6, 2017

Hurricane Harvey: Timeline of Destruction and Hope

It's been two months since Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas. I've been wanting to write down my thoughts, but have been waiting for my own internal storm to calm down before writing. It's been a long road and we still have a long ways to go still, but I can now see the hope and light through this tragedy.

Here is a brief timeline of what happened to us during the hurricane:

Wednesday, August 23: I'm a stay-at-home mom who watches little news, so today was the first day I had even heard of "hurricane Harvey". The hurricane was gaining excitement quickly. I say "excitement" because many people around here were doing your typical freak out things like buying all the bottled water and bread off the shelf. No worries for us since we had planned to leave town for the weekend.

Thursday, August 24: I went to Emerson and Henry's preschool for a meet the teacher that morning. Again, lots of talk and excitement around the news. I was even a little sad we were going to be out of town to miss the "event". After all, we had never experienced a hurricane even though we had lived close to the Texas coast for six years. The teachers even had a delayed school start plan if anything were to happen. All us moms laughed as we knew NOTHING would stop us from getting our kids to school after a long summer break. Ha!

We left town right after the meeting to see my family for a final time before the baby came. I remember running by our house and pulling our garbage cans inside our backyard fence so our trash wouldn't flow down the street in case the water got a little high. In hindsight, what was I thinking???? This was the only flood prep we did. Again, we were clueless to the possibilities of true damage that could be caused.

As we drove out of town we saw tons of road sign warnings urging everyone to stay away from the Texas coast. I just smiled.

Friday, August 25: The day I was a little nervous, but not panicked about our home safety. Harvey made landfall on the Texas coast as a category 4 hurricane. News channels said this was the strongest hurricane to hit the United States in more than a decade. It devastated areas like Rock Port, Corpus Christie and other coastal towns along the gulf coast.

Saturday, August 26: The hurricane hit our home town of Katy hard. Flooding has begun and the town experienced several tornado warnings. I started staying in touch with our neighbors for updates. Meanwhile, we are trying to enjoy our family time in Oklahoma, but really it was very stressful on us being so far away and helpless. We just kept saying "what if" or " if only". What if we'd just taken the time to unplug things, or move things upstairs. If only I'd moved those photo albums! My mind was racing with what might be safe and what was going to be lost.

Sunday, August 27: We woke up to the horrible news and full realization of how much damage Harvey had created. Several were dead, thousands of homes lost, and no end to flooding was in sight. Unlike most hurricanes, Harvey was just sitting on top of Houston and not moving on through. This is the day we had planned to go back home, so it was hard to mentally wrap our minds around not being able to go home and even if we could, what would we go home to?

Monday, August 28: We hear from our neighbors that the water has entered all of our homes. By this point, most all my neighbors that I had been in communication with were being boat rescued. We lose all contact around what is happening to our home.

(not our home, but our neighbors)



Tuesday, August 29: The silence and unknown is unbearable, so we drive to Austin to stay with friends and be as close to home as possible. We needed to regroup. Unfortunately we learn it could be several weeks before we are even able to enter our home. It has finally sunk in that we are homeless and will be displaced for many months...and yet so many more unknowns to come. Today was hard.


Thursday, August 31: We load up on supplies while in Austin and head back to Katy to stay with friends. Today was the first day we see the flooding in our area, but still couldn't get to our home to assess our personal damage.

What happens next is a turning point...our first signs of hope. 

Saturday, September 2: Our home is still not accessible by car and the roads surrounding our neighborhood are being blocked by National Guard, but Jesse and another friend were able to walk in by foot, some places were chest deep in water. The water had receded from our home and was now just in the yard. We confirm we had about 16 inches of water in our home. This was actually the first piece of good news we received!
 (leftover muck on the floor)

In the next coming days we are overwhelmed by the generosity of the people in our church, friends, family, co-workers and community. We start gutting our home and eliminating the threat of mold.

September 8: I see our home for the first time since the water had receded from our neighborhood. It was hard, but good for me to emotionally process.

 

The week of September 24: Rebuilding our home has begun! We had family, friends and our church family there supporting us and helping us start the rebuild process.

 
 

 
 
October 5: The boys see our house for the first time. We wanted to wait until the majority of the trash piles had been picked up from the front yard so the boys didn't have to see their toys destroyed. We also wanted to show them that our home was being rebuilt instead of being destroyed. Like me, I think it was good for them to see what had happened so they could start processing.


Present time:  Everyday brings new challenges, and exciting changes and hope. I feel as though the most stressful time is behind us. Through all of this, we have seen Gods people at work and have seen the blessings flow down upon us. I reminded that God allows tragedy to happen, but he also suffers and mourns with us through the journey. We are using this experience to become stronger in our faith and learn how to help others.
 
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