all that said, i failed as a mother here on this easter 2010. my excuse is that you and i are both sick with a nasty tummy something and this is my third night working in a row. so mommy was not dressed up pretty like you and daddy were to go to church, and we have no family pictures from today! better luck to us next year.
my goodness we have been busy lately! you started the feeding clinic 2 weeks ago and you're basically kickin' tail and taking names. this little tummy bug didn't help you much friday, but hopefully tomorrow you'll be back to your ravenous puree'd peach eating self. (ravenous is a bit of an overstatement, but you really are doing SO GREAT!!!) here's a general synopsis of "food camp", as daddy calls it. (every morning we wake you up and he says "cafery!! are you ready for food camp!?!?"and you usually jump around in your crib with a big smile on your face.) the feeding clinic is big on establishing and working towards the parents' goals for the child. our goal for you is to wean off the g-tube during the day, and hopefully by the time you're done there you'll only need to use it at night to supplement what you didn't take orally during the day. so the best way to increase the volume of food you eat and calorie-pack the food is to make them purees (think baby food, but tastier). so that's what we're doing. you're not putting up a fuss and you're responding really well to the techniques they're using to get you to swallow the food faster. you swallow peaches pretty fast without much prompting but your "drink" is basically thickened pediasure and you're not always so eager to get that stuff down. when we started two weeks ago you would usually take about half an ounce at a feeding, and now you've taken 1.85 oz!!! that's not much in comparison to our goal of 6.5-8 oz per feeding, but it's a HUGE improvement and we are so so proud of you!! as my sweet friend debbie said at work tonight when i was telling her what you've been up to lately: "isn't she just the greatest thing?" little catherine is indeed the greatest thing, miss deb=)
i think you're becoming more outrageously gorgeous by the day. daddy says you're looking more like me, and i of course have decided to put those two statements together and take his opinion as a compliment. your eyelashes are getting longer and your skin is so pretty and you've got the most amazing lips. your hair is getting longer too and starting to cover up that fantastic peyton manning forehead you got from your daddy. (for the record, i happen to think that daddy, and peyton manning, are two very handsome men.) also for the record, i'm sitting here debating whether or not to delete that last little bit about your forehead in fear it will give you some kind of complex. instead of doing that, i'm just going to say again that you are incredibly beautiful and completely perfect. God didn't make one mistake when He made you. absolutely every little thing about you was on purpose. focus on that, will you please?
you're a little jabber mouth here lately=) we cannot get enough of that sweet voice naming all the things you see in your world. you really are like a little parrot repeating everything we say. we were cracking up today listening to you. i wish i had a video. you are (appropriately) saying all your words in one syllable and just saying one word at a time, and "please" has always been "puh" but lately i've noticed you're trying to throw an "L" sound in there somewhere. smarty pants. it's disgusting how proud of you i am. we've been taking lots of walks lately because-HALLELUJAH!!!-it's 80 degrees and sunny!!! and along our walks you'll eat goldfish and take sips of water that i give you and every time i hand you a goldfish you turn around and look up at me and say "thu" and sign "thank you" and i always say "you're welcome! what good manners!" and if i ever don't notice that you're saying thank you you'll just keep saying it and signing it until i acknowledge your good manners. sweet little thing.
you and daddy have two new favorite little games to play. the first is where he just says "catherine! run to me!" and you take off "running" like a crazy monkey. arms flailing every which way and this cute little body bobbing on your skinny wobbly legs. the other game is where he's holding you and he starts singing "i got a feeling" by the black eyed peas and he starts slowly bouncing you a little to the beat and when you realize what's happening you say "ni! ni! ni! ni!" (night) trying to sing along with him and you get a huge grin on your face because when he gets to the crazy nutso part where they're just basically yelling things daddy jumps up and down with you and you're flip flopping in his arms and it's all you can do to stay upright and you laugh your cute little head off. daddy is just the most fun, isn't he? remember when i said you would think so? =)
we went to clemson a few weeks ago to find a place to live. it was a very successful trip! we got to spend time with some sweet sweet friends-they're the cousins and uncle of mama's friend jennifer farrell who lives with Jesus now. jennifer was SO goofy crazy about these people. it was so much fun listening to her talk about them, and i loved getting to meet them when we were freshmen at clemson. and i can't begin to describe how excited i am knowing they're about to become a bigger part of our life. we are lucky to know them, for lots of reasons, that's for sure=) but we found a place to live that daddy and i are really excited about!!! there's a pool there that you will love so much-i can't wait to see you splashing around in it. we are feeling very peaceful about the move now that our time is winding down here in richmond. (many emotions accompany that last statement...) now if mommy could just find a job, we'd be in business!!
we went to see dr rodgers last month. we decided on june 1 for your surgery to close your little trach hole. the blasted thing is STILL open. it's worth mentioning that mommy's feeling a little nervous about this. and i'm honestly not sure why. you've certainly been through surgeries that are more intense than this one. you just generally don't do things the easy way and general anesthesia and cutting on your airway is not my idea of a walk in the park. it's an expected one night stay post-surgery, so hopefully that will be the case. we're praying that surgery and recovery will go smoothly. and that you, as you will be approaching 2 at that time, will handle the stranger anxiety well=) oh my gosh it makes me tear up right now thinking about them taking you from the little room with us to the OR-i'm imagining a scared little look on your face and the confusion and fear that will be going through your head. i'm also wanting to smack myself right now and yell at me to get it together. but i guess it's just a "mama's heart" as daddy puts it. so all you catherine fans out there, if you feel so inclined to pray for those things as well, it would be greatly appreciated!
we sucked it up and taught you a few weeks ago to go to sleep without us. our thought was that, with you starting the feeding clinic now and more structured child care in the fall, you're gonna need a tighter schedule than we've had so far and you're also gonna need to just go to sleep easier. so i'm expecting this to be a week long process of you crying for an hour by yourself in your crib before finally falling asleep. did i mention we started this process the night before your first day at the feeding clinic? whatever. we were in atlanta the week before and it would've traumatized gigi to hear you crying and us not let her go save you from your sadness=) and you're such a little rockstar!! you cried for maybe 5-10 minutes the first 3 nights and then you became a pro. so now at bedtime we read a few books and sing a few songs and say our prayers and i tell you goodnight and i love you and i lay you right down and usually (i know because i'm watching you on our little video monitor, my favorite invention of all time) you stay in the same position i laid you in and your sweet little eyes just look around for about 5-10 minutes and finally you fall asleep! sweet little boogar. at naptime you do the same thing with no complaints, but if we try to give you a second nap you put up a fuss. but i should note that, if we're wanting you to take a second nap it's because you're acting like a raging wildebeast and being a totally unreasonable 19-month-old, so it only makes sense that you would continue your antics when we leave you in a crib by yourself. i tried to just prophylactically lay you down for a second nap one afternoon but that didn't really help. and then i felt bad because you were being a sweet little angel before i put you in your crib. perhaps i should keep trying to tweak our little second nap plan...but i'm SO PROUD of you for making all our lives easier and going to sleep like a sweet angel. you're sleeping from 8pm-7:30am (when we get you up to go to the feeding clinic) and daddy and i are actually getting some time to hang out at night (what a novel idea!) and mommy's actually coming close to getting enough sleep (i don't wake up easy at 6am, but this new schedule of ours makes me less of a monster that early in the morning). i'm very excited about the new schedule. the first week i was telling everybody who would listen to me about it. i can imagine that got kind of boring to them. and i thought i would miss so much the rocking to sleep, and of course i do, but this routine has its definite perks too. i love watching you pick out which books you want us to read and then when it's time to start singing you snuggle your little self into my body ("spooning", some might call it) and i'll ask if you want to sing this song or that song and you'll say no and shake your head on some and if you do want me to sing it you'll start laughing and say one word from the name of the song. and then when we stand up and say our prayers you lay your head on my chest and wrap your arms around my shoulders and pat me until i say "give me a night-night kiss" and then you kiss me and lay down and that's all there is to it! can you tell i'm excited about this? again, very proud of you=)
guess what, babe!!! sweet ava kate jennings was born march 25th!!! she is a week and a half old and she is a little ball of precious. it has been an incredible honor to walk with jeff and jessica through their journey of having sweet baby ava. what a little miracle. after some trouble with fertility, they were scheduled to start IVF the next week when they found out jessica was pregnant with ava kate=) God is funny, isn't he? so perfect in His timing. so mysterious. always trustworthy.
i guess that's enough for one letter. here are some pictures from the last few weeks. enjoy!
i love you sweet angel=)
we got to help celebrate miley's 2nd birthday while we were in atlanta! her party was at "pump it up" in hiram and you loved it! it's a huge building full of those huge inflatable bouncy castles and slides and obstacle courses...as soon as we came down one slide you'd say "more! more!" and we'd climb right back up again. mama was very sweaty by the end of that party! thanks again, christi, for letting us rsvp last minute!!
you like to climb into your toy box. we think it's hilarious.
"did i do it right?"