A letter from Buddy


(Read in southern accent)

Dear Mowma,

I haven’t the words to express my undying love for you.  (Mainly because I’m only 5 months old and nobody has taught me about vocabulary.)  I’m the luckiest boy in the world.  What more could I ask for?

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You have pretty hair that you love for me to pull out.  You scream with excitement every time I score a few strands for my collection.

You love my farts.  You make the most special faces when you smell them.  You even turn a  shade of purple from holding your breath, mowma, and it’s a lovely color.  I like it a lot.

I like the way you shake me even though you tell me that we can’t talk about the shaking in public.  You shake my feet.  You shake my hands.  You shake me up in the air.  I don’t know why we can’t tell everyone we meet about how good you are at shaking babies.

Sometimes when I throw up, you catch it.  It must be like gold to you.

I love your milk jugs.  Even though you don’t give them to me as much as you used to, I never stopped loving them.  Sometimes I suck on your amazing shoulder just imagining it’s your boob.  You have nice shoulders too, by the way.

Even though I love you Mowma, there are a few things that you need to explain.

Who is that man who thinks he can sleep in OUR bed?  I don’t really appreciate it.

Sometimes when we take walks through the bathroom I see a big picture of you holding another little boy.  I give him a dirty look every time.  Who is he?  I feel like you’ve been cheating on me when I see it.  Can we take it down?  Who has pictures of themselves with little boys in their bathroom anyways?  It’s not right.

When I finally get my diaper off, after minutes of trying, you seem so disappointed.  Why can’t you just be happy for me in my moment of triumph?

What’s up with the purple bumbo you make me sit in to supervise Bell’s Bows?  Although I like my position with the company, I feel like I deserve a little more respect.  Maybe a mint bumbo?  Is that too much to ask?  Clearly you’re doing well for yourself…couldn’t splurge an extra 30$ for a freaking gender appropriate bumbo?

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Keep those ribbons coming my way, they make me happy.

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Oh yea, and someone dropped a deuce in my tub last month.  It wasn’t okay.  I need you to keep a better watch on that sort of stuff.  It’s a health hazard.

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Well, enough of this negative stuff, Mowma, I want to leave you on a positive note.  I love you and I promise I am working on a gift for you right now.  I will call you tonight around 3am so we can hang out and maybe give you my gift.

Sincerely yours,

Buddy

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Is it September yet?


Prepare yourselves.  This is just a negative Nancy post.  I need to let it all loose on you guys!!!

This MONTH has been rough.  Let me tell you about this month.

We have gone to about 10 (maybe more, but I’ve lost the ability to correctly count)  doctor related appointments IN 22 DAYS.

A few weeks ago, Harper started to wake up in the middle of the night around 2-3 am screaming.  She would be inconsolable sometimes.  I recognized this as abnormal and my brain went back to her previous cyst discovery a couple of months ago.  I thought surely it must be bothering her.  To my advantage, our pediatric gynocologist forgot to order an ultrasound for her when we had an appointment with him a couple of months ago.  I was able to call him and point out his mistake and promptly get Harper that ultrasound.  Go me.  Thanks for screwing up, doc.  Guess what, It WAS bigger. I was right.  Other than being right, that’s all the satisfaction I really got, because there’s not much to do about a cyst.  Fast forward from the cyst to a couple of weeks ago.  Harper was bipolar.  She was happy, mad, sad, angry, hurt, flirty, then enraged all in about 15 minutes.  Everyone noticed.  So we scurried off to the doctor for her sick appointment, and Buddy’s well check appointment all wrapped up into 1.  That was fun.  I got the whole “Harper has something viral, keep doing what your doing…blah blah blah…tylenol every 4 hours for her fever….blah blah blah….Oh yea we are going to give Buddy FOUR shots”.  We get home, all half dead, and try to get back to normal.  Both kids had 103 fevers the next day and are summoned back to the doctors office to be told to continue doing what we are already doing.  John goes on a guys lake weekend extravaganza while we all proceed to die at home.  Luckily my mother in law was able to take Harper off my hands that night that John was gone.  Buddy slept with me but did not sleep well at all.  He had a raging fever from his shots and was up about every hour or two.  That sunday, Harper was returned still feelin’ a little cruddy.  She sounded cruddy too.  SO WE GO BACK TO THE DOCTOR WITH 2 CHILDREN IN TOW.  By we, I mean MYSELF.  Harper has an ear infection.  Great.  We take home antibiotics.  In a few days she starts to sleep through the night again, making me think she feels a little better or is just too tired from all of this sickness to rebel anymore.

I celebrate my ability to be a mother and have 2 tame children in the same room around wednesday of last week.  Then my sick child sticks her pacifier in my well child’s mouth.  I stop celebrating my short lived victory.

By that friday night, my little Buddy is awake every couple of hours coughing and sneezing.

On Saturday morning he is immediately sent to the doctor with The Daddy.  I made that executive decision to skip the appointment.  I deserve a break.  When they return from their appointment, Buddy is visibly even more ill.  He has a double ear infection.  I am certain he is dying.  I send his  sister away to my mother in laws again and hold him ALL saturday.  He gets worse.  LIKE WAY WORSE.  He is so hoarse he can’t cry, he just whines in the SADDEST SOUND YOU’LL EVER HEAR IN YOUR LIFE.  I would compare it to the sound of a kitten dying.  SO. SAD.  I spent most of saturday cleaning massive amounts of vomit off the bed and crying while holding my sick baby.  I’d done all I could except cry with him.  So there we were.  Crying together.  I’d never experienced this type of sickness with Harper, she was lucky enough to live 366 days of her life illness free!  I was NOT prepared for a sick baby.  Harper returned on Sunday and everyone seemed to feel a little better, although not well.

Tuesday was Harper’s appointment with our geneticist.  He was able to talk to us more about her syndrome and what we need to expect in her future and when tests needed to be performed.  I alerted him that she had been waking up at night after we learned the cyst was larger, and that I thought it was bothering her.  I also let him know about some suspect discharge she was having.  When I say “I let him know” I mean, I was pushing him to get us more tests because I was sure she was about to start bleeding again.  He saw that I was not a doctor and just let me know we would do the tests in a month or so, no urgency necessary.  Ok.

Wednesday, Harper is spotting in her diaper.  I promptly send the genetics doctor an “I TOLD YOU SO” email and called every single doctor that Harper has to get our tests ordered before I could make it to Children’s hospital.  The cyst is bigger, but not ruptured, leading me to wonder if the blood is from her cycle.   I still don’t know.

Thursday (aka yesterday) we encountered zero blood.  That’s good, but I still have no idea what happened and am just scared it’s going to hit us all of a sudden full force again.  I utilize our blood free day to take Buddy back to the doctor since he still has a fever and cough.  Harper joins us since she also still has a fever, although, she acts like she feels good.  The doctor told me that now THEY BOTH HAVE DOUBLE EAR INFECTIONS.  Oh yeah, and we need to order a chest Xray for John tyler.  That’s how bad his lungs sound.  I cry.  We figure out that he does not have pneumonia, but he does have something called bronchiolitis, it requires an inhaler.  They both require different antibiotics since the previously ordered meds are not working.

Today is friday.  Today I am not leaving the house.  Okay technically I left the house once, but it was to purchase black out shades for the kids windows to increase nap time.  If that’s not a step towards my well being, I don’t know what is.

 

Here are some pictures of my sick children:

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Let me tell ya about my friends.


I think that I rarely talk about them on here.  I always just assume my friends don’t especially want to be on the blog on a daily basis but I think they’ll like this one.  

Let’s start in order:  

My best friend N – She is my longest best friend in the world.  We met on the bus in the 7th (?) grade.  I didn’t like the girl.  I don’t know why, heck I was 11 years old I probably just wanted the bus seat to myself because I was selfish.  Then a few months later I got to know her.  YA’LL, SHE’S FREAKING FUNNY.  Soon after we were thick as thieves.  Singin’ dixie chicks and spice girls as loud as possible at her moms house.  Bless her mom.  She’s the girl who would give me the shirt off of her back to soak up my heartbroken tears.  SHE LET ME BLOW MY NOSE ON HER SHIRT.  That should tell you a lot about her.  She’s kind, loving, beautiful, A GREAT MOM, funny, and a true best friend.  I wrote her hundreds of notes during school.  HUNDREDS.  It broke my heart to see the girl ever sad.  My thing (it sounds cruel but it worked) was to laugh at her hysterically while she cried…until she started to laugh at how ridiculous I was being.  We did lots of crazy things, none of which will ever be discussed to outside parties.  They were fun.  She’s responsible for a lot of fun in my life!  I LOVE YOU N!!!

 

My best friend D – Oh man, I’ve spent A LOT of time with this girl.  We’ve gotten ourselves into some pretty crazy situations and lived a FUN life together!  I met her through my ex boyfriend, and luckily even after we broke up, she and I remained best friends.  She had my back even in my craziest ideas.  If I ever decided to kill someone, she would show up with a shovel.  (that didn’t actually happen)  She was there to tell me that some of my choices were crazy and irrational, but also stood by for when they failed and I needed someone.  Although it is rare for either one of us to hear/see the other one cry I always wanted to cry when she would cry.  She is an amazing girl.  She teaches, she’s athletic, she is in lots of way my twin, she’s a great mom, and an amazing singer- just like me.  I LOVE YOU D!!!

 

My best friend A- I met this girl under odd circumstances.  Actually, I was pretty sure she didn’t like me at all the first few times I saw her.  She dated my boyfriend at the time.  After a few visits with her I decided I’d like to start a relationship with her.  It started out with a couple of texts……then I was texting her more than my boyfriend!!!  A love blossomed.  :)  She has gone above and beyond her friendship duties.  She has shown me that she truly cares about me in many ways, and i really appreciate her kindness and great advice.  Oh yea, and she’s really funny….and she thinks I’m funny too!  

 

My best friend K – I met this girl walking my great dane at my new apartment complex in birmingham.  She was my first birmingham friend.  Even better, she lived 600 feet away.   She has a good heart.  She’s the friend who would come over when I was at my lowest point with my favorite ice cream and a bottle of vodka.  Even if it was a work day, she would come over and drink wine and skype with my other friends with me to make me feel better.  I cried when she moved away from Birmingham!  I wanted her all to myself!  

 

My best friend (the other) A –  I feel so blessed to have met her.  I feel like God put her in my life when I needed a friend.  She never has anything negative to say about me.  She is always 100% supportive when I am questioning myself as a wife or a mother.  She loves my babies too and I’m pretty sure that her daughter is Harper’s best friend!  I hope we are together for many many years!  

 

A few of these girls got flowers today (my chattanooga peoples) and I just want to let them know I love them and appreciate them!  

 

How lucky am I?

XOXO

BELL

The F word


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FORMULA.

We are currently 100% breastfeeding the new baby.  I’m slowly but surely running dry.

I started having anxiety attacks last week when everyday we would take a bag of our freezer stash.  The freezer stash is no more.  It’s all me.  All of the time.

So everyday I am starting to realize that soon we will be supplementing with formula.

I don’t really judge people who formula feed their babies- it’s their choice/or it’s chosen for them from their bodies.

It’s not that I think formula is poison, it’s just that he’s done SO well and gotten SO big from my milk.  I want to continue being proud of making him that way!  I don’t want to give credit to similac or infamil!!!  I don’t want to take fenugreek because it makes me smell like pancakes and I don’t even notice much of a difference with it anyways.

When you get towards the end, you start living paycheck to paycheck so to speak.  I pump, then he drinks it all within an hour of me pumping it.

I said I wouldn’t be sensitive about formula this time, but  I’m wrong.  I don’t even want to talk about it with anyone.

 

Well, here’s to hoping I can live paycheck to paycheck a little longer without having to dip into the formula.

XOXO

BEll

4 Months Old


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Dear Buddy,

You are 4 months old this week.  I wish I knew the secret to stop time because I need you to stay this small and cuddly for The Mommy.  I sniff your head every day just to make sure that the newborn scent is still there.  It is.  It’s just not as strong as it once was.  Stop it.  Physically, you’re a big dude.  You weighed 14lbs last month.  I’m not sure what you’ll weigh when we go to your next dr appointment!  You are so happy when you are with me.

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You’re serious when you see others.

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You must really like me.  Who am I kidding?  You do REALLY like me.  You think I’m funny and you love the way I smell, even when I haven’t showered.  I actually think you like me more when I haven’t showered and washed all the good mommy smells off.  I won’t tell your friends about this when you’re older.  I think you’re going to be more like The Mommy than your sister is.  You already want to have a blankie like The Mommy.

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Somedays you really like your sister and think she’s funny.

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Most days you’re very concerned with her.  You have a look on your face when you hear her like “she’s RIGHT behind me isn’t she?”

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Even though I think you will be a lot like The Mommy, you look just like The Daddy.

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We will never need a paternity test.

Here are a few of your favorite things at 4 months old:

  • The Mommy.
  • Breastmilk.  LOTS of it.
  • Your hands.  I melt when you chew on your hands.  It’s one of the cutest things I’ve ever seen.  IMG_6236
  • Blankets.  You have one.  You like mine as well.
  • Movies.
  • A twinkle twinkle little star video.  It was your sister’s FAVORITE thing ever.  She can sing along with it now!
  • Ribbon.  You manage my bow making business and are so intrigued when I hand you my spare ribbon.  It’s so bright and pretty!
  • Cuddling.

Things you dislike:

  • Pooping.  Apparently it’s a real bear.
  • To be set down.  You demand to be held at all times.
  • Rice cereal.  We tried it a few days ago in your breast milk…….you’re still not over it.
  • Loud sounds.

I can’t wait to see all of the new things you have in store for The Mommy and The Daddy.

I love my Buddy.

XOXO

The Mommy

McCune Albright Syndrome


I have been told by multiple people they’re concerned about my absenteeism on the blog lately. I just left you here. Cold turkey. No love note or anything. Sorry about that.

I’ve been very conflicted on whether to post on things that have been on my mind because it’s pretty heavy. I feel like now, I can clue everyone in on what’s been happening over here at Birmingham Bell.

As you saw- we have a new beautiful baby boy, John Tyler. He’s my buddy. He knows this too.

A month after we had my buddy there were a series of events that I wish on no parents.

A thursday evening I took Harper to go tinkle on her potty and noticed some brown discharge coming from her lady parts. It was a little gross, so I just made note to call her DR in the am when they open to see if this is normal or what they think about it. The world didn’t appear to be ending at the time I saw it.

Friday morning I go grab Harper from her crib and take her to my big potty to tinkle. She always “wipes” herself, then I’ll take her to the bed and really wipe her and put a diaper on. Well, I noticed a more pinkish discharge this time and that was my reminder to call the doc. I did leave her a message. I then went to go flush the toilet. In the toilet was BRIGHT RED clotty blood.

This is the part where I flip my $*%&. I call the dr and we both agree I need to load everyone up and head to their office asap. Keep in mind I have a newborn with me. This is a daunting task. John decides to meet me, and he showed up right in time. Both kids were screaming bloody murder and staff were buzzing around trying to help me out because they could see I was struggling.

Doctors always try to be optomistic when talking about your childs health. So ours said “it could be that she fell on top of a toy and nicked her lady parts, it could be a uti, it could be some other infection”… I was clear with her. It was none of those things. What I saw with my own eyes was menstral cycle blood. There’s nothing like it. THAT’S WHAT IT WAS. After a few tests and investigating further- AND seeing the picture I took of what was in our toilet, she agreed that I was correct. This was not a simple thing. It was huge. Our baby girl was bleeding. A lot.

We were sent to the children’s hospital for a series of tests and bloodwork. It was awful. It was basically 4 hours of John holding Harper down while she wailed.

We got home and made sure to spend extra time with her. We were both scared. She was still bleeding. I cried myself to sleep that night. Babies aren’t supposed to bleed.

We got the test results the next day. She had a cyst that had ruptured, but is still there. She also had elevated estrogen levels, and her uterus is visibly showing it’s been getting estrogen to it. None of this is good. She shouldn’t’ have estrogen in her uterus yet.

We flop back to a diagnosis we had discussed when she was just 4 weeks old. She has cafe au lait spots on her back. Only on the left side. This is a big indicator of 2 different syndromes. The first is neurofibromatosis, and the other is McCune Albright Syndrome. NF is the worst of the 2 because it affects the brain and parts of the brain that stimulate hormones. Tumors are common with this. The McCune albright syndrome is where we were leaning now because a symptom of that syndrome is precocious puberty. Although she hasn’t actually started a cycle yet, she is showing signs of precocious puberty in the form of too much estrogen. Armed with all the right symptoms for McCune Albright’s, our dr officially diagnosed her with it. I would cry every time I changed her diaper the week it happened.

It’s not ideal, but it’s better than the other diagnosis. We have to be extra careful because children with this syndrome have bones that will break easily because of the estrogen that weakens them. We have to always keep an eye out for symptoms of another cyst or a cycle. We avoided medications for now since it was a cyst and not a cycle. If she ever were to start a cycle very early she would be on medication until she is around 10. I don’t want that.

Thank goodness we are past that. Thank God for our doctor who kept an eye on this syndrome since Harper was 4 weeks old. Friends and family would tell me that our dr was just trying to scare me. They were wrong. I trusted her with everything I had, and she didn’t fail me.

Moms, trust your instincts. I knew something wasn’t right, but it wasn’t wrong enough for me to ask my dr to run tests on her at the time.

If you know anyone at all with McCune Albright Syndrom please have them email me at birminghambellblog@gmail.com I can’t really find anyone in real life that has this. It’s very rare 1 in 200 million I believe!

Pray that we keep getting the good answers and that none of the bad ones come our way.

XOXO

Bell

PS I almost deleted this whole thing because I have the hippocratic oath engrained in my head. Here I am sharing someone’s medical information! Shame on me!

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1 and 1/2 years old!


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Dear Harper,

Who threw us into this time warp?!? You were once a squishy newborn …seems like last week. I miss your squishiness, but baby girl, I love you more now than I ever have before! Seeing you is like seeing my heart walk around outside my body. We have to protect you, we have to provide a safe home for you to live in, safe friends to play with, and a whole ton of other things.

In the time that you’ve been with us you’ve taught us so many lessons, given us so many new emotions, you’ve daily made us laugh with you or at you, you’ve danced more than a few nights away. You’ve also shown us the love a sister has for her brother. We must’ve picked the right brother. Not sure if we can return him as it’s been over 14 days.

Lessons you’ve taught yourself as well as us:

  1. Don’t be greedy. That’s right Honey, I found 4 Fake Toms in your toy box yesterday!!!
  2. Proceed with caution. Especially on stairs. You taught yourself that lesson. Ouch.
  3. Eat frequently so as not to turn into the evil witch of the west.

Emotions I feel with you:

  • As a parent I have a huge fear that someone will try to take such a pretty little girl so I have to keep tabs on you at all times!
  • Empathy with you as you endure test after test while we hold you down. It breaks our hearts to have to do that to you every other week. :*( I shed a tear every time, but try to get it together before you or anyone else notices.
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  • SO loved. I can tell you love me. We play hug wars every other day and I LOVE IT!!! Not a day goes by you don’t make The Mommy and The Daddy smile.
  • I feel like I am becoming your role model. I’m not sure I’ve ever been that to anyone before. You watch me all day and try to do exactly as I do! My 2 favorite things to do with you are: painting our nails to match and making faces in our front cam!
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  • Excited to see what you have in store for your brother. You are very sweet to him, you want to hold him and carry him, but he’s just a little too heavy for that now. Not sure he will ever be light enough for you to carry honestly.

Here are some skills you have mastered lately:

  1. Ejecting The Daddy’s playstation games.
  2. Reaching anything on our counters with a little tip toe action.
  3. You turn into stealth fighter when you notice a phone unattended.
  4. You pee pee on the potty all day long.
  5. You rock your brother in his swing and in his carseat when he cries.
  6. You give him his binky when he needs it.
  7. You just figured out how to open the mini fridge. Broke my heart.
  8. You’re still a dancin’ fool.
  9. You can say: Daddy, Mommy, Nina, Pawpaw, Nana, Poppy, Nanny, Ashley, Aubrey, Linda, Kitty cat, Meow, puppy, blue, purple, pink, green, and yellow, and often refer to the dog as “nonono”(because that’s all the mommy and the daddy call him).
  10. You can sing part of twinkle twinkle little star.
  11. You can count some of your numbers, your favorite is nine.
  12. You can brush The Mommy’s hair AND your teeth. Just not at the same time.

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Everyday we have with you is a blessing and we love you with every cell of our being! You are our little shining star, Kitty.

The Mommy loves you.

XOXO

 

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Sushi shenanigans


Many of my friends know that last year John and I had the pleasure of taking a local sushi making class.

It was SO MUCH FUN.

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I totally made this 3 days after my class!!!

Today is the company’s 1 year anniversary and I thought it would be a good time to give them a shout out!  My friend Kelly is the main vein.  She is AMAZING.  Seriously.  I don’t think we would have retained so much information in our mushy new baby filled heads if it hadn’t been for Kelly’s spunk and humor.  She is not only a great educator and artist,  she might as well be a comedian.

I know everyone has already read THIS POST about our experience with Birminghamsushiclasses.  Well, I at least know 3 people read it because I have 3 feedbacks.  Thanks you guys, all three of you!!!  :)

 

If you live in the Birmingham area, go take one of their classes, you won’t regret it.  If you do regret it, I will personally have you over to my house and bake you a pie to make up for it.  But I promise you’ll love the class.

One of the coolest things Kelly has come out with lately for my friends who live in far far away land (or Chattanooga) is an online sushi class!!!  For the price of going out on a cheap date, you can stay at home and learn how to make sushi!!!  She’s a genius, I know.  Here is where you go to hook yourself up with a sweet online sushi making course: http://www.birminghamsushiclasses.com/Online_Sushi_Class.html

Congratulations BirminghamSushi!

XOXO

Bell

 

My Buddy’s first month home


*ONE MONTH OLD PICS*

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Dear Buddy,

The Mommy can’t believe how much love you have brought into our family.  Who knew there was room for more love!?!?   There was!  From the moment I saw you, I deemed you mine.  I know you’re Daddy’s too, but I knew you were my person.  When I was in a lot of pain in the hospital, they would put your naked little baby body on my bare tummy.  I have no idea how, but you healed me in those moments.  You lessened my pain, and relaxed me to the point of almost napping.  You took care of Mommy . Even The Daddy noticed you made me feel better in those painful times.   I knew You were going to hang onto me and be the epidomy of a Momma’s Boy.  My sweet boy, I was right.  You are MY boy.  My Buddy.  You like my smell, you like my skin, you like the clothes I wear, you like my blanket, you like my special bounces and rocks, and you LOVE TO STARE AT MY FACE.   It melts me into a pile of mush sometimes.  I can’t help but to think I’m kind of a big deal to you.

Here’s how you look at me (I feel like you’re thinking “HEY MOMMA, when did you get here????”:

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In your first month you:

  • Are amazing at staring contests.
  • GREW TO 11 LBS.
  • Know how to hang on to the Mommy’s shirts so she can’t get away when you fall asleep.  See:IMG_4328 IMG_4498
  • rolled from front to back
  • are starting to smile on purpose:
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  • are making tiny coos maybe a few times a day, but I just know you’ll get the hang of cooing soon!
  • grew out of newborn size clothes
  • Grew a mustache :
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  • Sleep 2.5 hours straight before you need the Mommy to feed you.
  • are starting to show signs of being almost ready to hold your own head up.  My strong boy!

Favorite things:

  • Boobs
  • Milk
  • The scent of boobs.
  • Mommy and her stare-worthy face
  • Poopin’
  • Tootin’
  • Peeing with a ridiculously forceful stream sure to go all the way across the room.
  • Soothie pacifiers with animals attached.

I can’t wait to see all of your milestones unfold.  We are so lucky that The Daddy has the Mommy stay at home so that no moments will go unseen!  The best gift a Daddy can give to a Mommy is to let her stay at home and watch her precious babies every single day.

You make my life better.  You make me smile every single day, even if it’s a bad day!  You make me want to do more for my family and be a better person for you guys!

I love you more than words could begin to describe, you, your sister, and your father completely fill my heart.

Love,

The Mommy

 

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The boobie files


I latch sometimes, but find myself pumping a lot more. This is because I have a toddler who doesn’t breastfeed and who doesn’t care if I need time to breastfeed her brother. Or sees this time as an opportunity to get into EVERYTHING that she shouldn’t. She’s smart like that. I figured I would make a list of the things I like to do when I am bored during my pumping sessions. They usually last 15-20 minutes depending on how engorged I am.

These lists are made from a person who owns the most amazing product available: a pumping bra.

This list is for my pumper peeps who are plugged into a wall and do not have free reign to move wherever they want:

 

  • Download the words with friends app.
  • Download the scramble with friends app. (My personal favorite game!!)
  • Get a Vine account and enjoy all the neat video clips- make some of your own too! This is a new discovery for me and I have already wasted hours of my life on it in 2 days.
  • Tetris. (I’ve seriously played tetris the entire 20 minutes I’ve pumped before)
  • Facebook. DUH.
  • Paint your nails – just enough time to dry without causing pesky dings.

 

If you have a fancy freestyle pump that allows you to walk around while pumping:

*Keep in mind, even if you do have a freestyle pump that allows you to “do things”, you can’t bend over, all of your milk will dump out into the floor. Lets be real ladies, WE DO CRY OVER SPILLED MILK.

  • Do your makeup if you’re about to head out. (this can also be done with the plug in pump if you take your makeup and mirror to your pump location!)
  • Wash all those dirty bottles in your sink. (but don’t bend too far over- keep an eye on how full your bottles are!!)
  • Fold a load of clean clothes.
  • Style your hair.
  • Brush your teeth.
  • Pee.
  • Pump on your drive somewhere. You read that right. I will set up my freestyle pump in the car right before I leave home. I have a great pump holder bra so “look ma, no hands!!!” Then I put a cover over my front so nobody can see I’m pumping, press start, and hit the road! When you are around 20 minutes into your ride, make a pit stop at a closed business or empty gas station and remove the equipment , celebrate your tall glasses of baby milk, and drive on! Use discretion of course. Not everyone has the ability to pump and drive safely. I put my buckle on before I hook up the tubing so I’m safely restrained. (obligatory safety disclaimer: BirminghamBell is not responsible for any injuries obtained by readers who attempt to pump and drive)

 

 

Anymore suggestions would be appreciated!

XOXO

BELL

 

Sisterly Love


We can already see it budding.

She will always give him kisses.

She will try to hold him for a while.

She will give him her version of a hug….may look like strangulation, but it’s sweet.

She pets him now, without breaking out a game of wack a mole on his face anymore.

She says BABY.  SO CUTE.

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I just can’t wait to see how their relationship evolves over time.

People worry about the first child feeling unloved or believe that the parents have to divide their love between two now, and I’m not a part of those beliefs.

I love them both equally.  My love for Harper has not faded an inkling.  But I have new love in my life now.  Instead of my love, I have my loves.

Now I get to see them love each other.  Oh heart be still.

I get to see a sister love a brother and a brother love a sister.

I get to see John’s love for 2.  Then I have even more love for him.

All that love might make ya just explode!!!!

XOXO

Bell

TWO


What’s it like with TWO under TWO you ask?

Well I’m halfway into my second month with my 2, so it’s high time I tell you guys how it’s been over here in bama.

Also, prepare yourself for the photo dump since I have literally posted 3 times since the birth of our son.

Here’s a few nineteen before I start:

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I was terrified for John to go back to work, and for my mother to go back home, leaving me alone with 2 children that would certainly eat me alive.

The day came.  It was pretty awesome.  Harper must have had some purple drank in her bottle because she slept until TEN that morning.  TEN!!!!  She literally NEVER does that.  Praise Jesus, ya’ll!  By the time she woke up, John Tyler and myself had rested up from our hectic night and I was able to get up feeling somewhat rested while he snoozed in my bed.  Harper was in a good mood too.  A change from the previous week.  She had been hell on wheels for a few weeks.  Thank you lord for lifting her brat tastic mood.  My sweet baby was back!!!!!  I set her up with a movie and went downstairs to make her breakfast.  She was contently waiting for me when I came back up with her yogurt/banana/granola mix.

Here’s why she was mean to me the first few weeks of being home.  6 teeth at once.  SIX TEETH AT ONCE.

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While my big baby was playing in her playroom, my little tiny buddy was just snoozin’ in Momma’s bed!

So Harper and I play/clean up the house a little and right around nap time, guess who I hear waking up?  You guessed it!! John Tyler.  He was ready to play.

Harper went down for her normal nap and I snuggled up to feed my buddy.  Then (thank ya jesus!) he was ready to go right back to sleepy town with Momma.  Momma needed that sleepy time.

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Nap time was beautiful.  It lasted around 3 hours.  And I actually go to sleep an hour of it!  :)  SCORE!

Soon, John was home to see any possible damage.  Other than the lack of dinner or housework, he was pleased.  I had kept them alive.

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Days like this happen more than I had expected.

Then there are DARK days where I’m sure they pow wow on how to break me down to a tiny ball of frustration.

They turn me into a woman that wants to drink.  (disclaimer:  I don’t actually drink.  Tried it the other night, didn’t like it, didn’t get past beer #1.)

There are usually 1-2 more magical days than dark days, I’ll take it.

Dark days are the days we stay home and dare not venture out, for it will surely create the perfect storm.

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How the work involving the babies has been impacted:

The work is not double.  No no no no no…it is triple or even quadruple.

The number of diapers used on a daily basis has greatly increased.  We probably go through triple the diapers as opposed to when we only had Harper around.

We change our sheets 2x a week MINIMUM.  I have become a vile woman who is not above sleeping in a little urine if it’s 3am when the incident occurs.

I create double the laundry I used to -from being vomited on, leaked on, peed on, etc.  John tyler always has a nice load (no pun intended) for us too, he throws up on, poops on, or pees on about 3 outfits a day/1 a night.  Good thing the kid has more clothes than a grown man.

All hands on deck is ideal.  If we are both at home, one of us  needs to pick a baby and be its person.  It’s a “This one is yours and this one is mine” sort of living.  Your journey is a success if you keep your designated baby alive.

If we are both home and decide to go to a store, we have to pick one to accompany us while parent #2 stays at home with the other baby.

If dinner is desired and you’ve had one of those “perfect storm” days, tell parent 2 to pick something up on the way or suggest a frozen dinner from the house.  I can pull a nice dinner off on magical days, but I can barely eat a single teddy graham  all day on those DARK days!  I have only eaten lunch at home 1 time in the last 3 weeks.  Whatever.  More weight watchers points for me at 11pm when I can REALLY eat.

 

I hope everyone else I used to be internet land friends with is okay and surviving well with their new babies!!!

XOXO

Bell

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Things I’m sure are true:


  1. If I wash this baby’s head, he won’t smell like baby anymore.
  2. If I take him out of his carseat in public, a ninja baby snatcher will appear and steal him from me.
  3. That his runny right eye is not from a “clogged tear duct” as the doctor told me, but it’s really from his first day home, when he peed in his own eye.
  4. I suffer from shower schizophrenia. I hear baby cries the entire shower. Nobody is crying in the house.
  5. The baby doesn’t care much for me when I take a shower and wash the “boob smell” off.

These things are all true and legit.

They just are.

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“Two of my favorite things, Mommy”

Being released into the wild


I had forgotten all of my newborn rules from when Harper was born. I was a fool not to look back at the posts from those first few weeks.

You really need to do/know some things to survive life after newborn. Mostly you need to know some things about leaving your safe little home.

Here are some things I just had to share:

  1. When you are ready to be “released into the wild”, take it easy. Pick familiar spots. Like, if you know everyone at the publix (like me), go to the publix. Pick your familiar cashier, even if you have to stand in a longer line or cheat your way through that stupid “1o items or less” line. Talk to the bag boy that you are certain will not steal your baby while he wheels your groceries out to the car. MAKE it a comfortable experience.
  2. Know that strangers are going to walk up to you and your new baby. Know that AT LEAST 4 people will ask you how old that baby is. Be prepared for that 1 person that is brave enough to reach their grubby hand into your dang buggy and TOUCH YOUR BABY. There is something about a pristine tiny baby that just screams “touch my hand or face and transfer ecoli from the chicken you just bought onto my germ free little body”. SH*T!!!
  3. Be prepared to hear comments that make you want to go all Naomi Campbell with a cell phone on folks. “That baby is hungry”, “Does he not like to wear socks”?, “Oh you’re pumping instead of breastfeeding?”…..The last one gets me. It happens every day almost. Isn’t that strange? That someone, even a stranger would say that?? Listen people, I’m breastfeeding my child. Sometimes I pump BREAST milk into a bottle and feed it to him. It’s still breastfeeding, there is just an extra middle man. He’s exclusively breast fed. Get off my balls. Just simply think what you are thinking, and don’t say it out loud to whoever has decided to question your parenting skills. Deep breaths.
  4. Don’t go far from home the first few weeks home. Factor in how long you could possibly be trapped inside a vehicle with a screaming baby.
  5. Don’t shove too many errands into one outing. Pick one or two goals, and be realistic in thinking “it’s okay if I only get one of these things done”.
  6. Plan your life in 2 hour increments. Think about feeding baby right before you leave the house and start your timer. Know that 2 hours (maybe more maybe less) later you will have a hungry baby and your breasts may be bursting at the seams.
  7. Keep a whole pack of diapers and wipes in your car. That way you can pack just one diaper in your purse and know that you are set up for car refills at all times while you’re out. (While you’re at it, stick a pacifier, extra set of baby clothes, extra momma shirt, and a burp rag in there too) You can never be too prepared. Let’s face it, we have had a baby sucking our brains out through our boobs, we forget lots of things.
  8. Don’t only bring food for baby. Do yourself a favor and buy purse-friendly munchies for yourself.
  9. If you feel like you’re not ready to go out in public yet, it’s fine!! WAIT!! Don’t let anyone pressure you into it, for some people (LIKE ME) it’s a big leap to go back out into public with a tiny human after being safely locked in your home with him for 3 weeks. My indicator to take it slow was an almost complete meltdown over a sandwich that was made incorrectly. I literally had to leave the restaurant because I was about to cry over lettuce being on my sandwich. LETTUCE!!! I didn’t even have my babies with me!!
  10. This one is for at home but I’m on a roll, so here: buy snacks or pre made goodies and shove them wherever you spend most of your time. If you’re like me, you’re not going to be cooking yourself lunch every day (actually if you’re like me, you won’t have made yourself a hot lunch for the first 3 weeks). I can’t tell you how many times I have been digging through a bag of cookies at 2-3am while pumping or feeding. The kid has crumbs in his hair pretty consistently.

This is where I feel most comfortable so far, and I think it shows:

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Hope this list was helpful!!

XOXO

Bell

Baby 2.0’s birth story


On March 29th at 0815, I, along with my sister in law, paid the second visit to my OB in that week.

After the countless false alarms and being sent home every single appointment with a nice “you’re cervix is closed TIGHT” comment, I really just figured that everything remained the same.

They weren’t.

I had started to finally dilate.

I probably asked the doctor if she was just kidding about 10 times before heading to labor and delivery. I’m pretty sure that even though it’s her job to deal with pregnant women, she was glad to finally get this baby out of me.

At 0900 I was getting settled in labor triage and texting John to not even bother going into work. The nurses were nice enough to let me power shave my legs in the sink before they put in my IV. After the IV, I continued to put makeup on and paint my nails PERFECTLY. They’ve never turned out as good as they did that morning!

As I laid there in the triage room, I wasn’t scared. It was the strangest thing.

Once you’ve experienced a semi-traumatic birth, you have something to compare to your second, and it was night and day from when I had Harper. You can read about that birth story HERE and HERE. I just drifted off into thinking about how stressful of a situation Harper’s birth was and thinking “THIS IS NOTHING – YOU WENT THROUGH HELL THE FIRST TIME”! I knew (for the most part) that my birth plan would be followed, it wouldn’t deviate like last time. I KNEW what was happening soon. I didn’t have to worry about every single moment this time. It was amazing to me that I didn’t have to be terrified.

11:00 rolled around and the man who I almost named my first child after, came to give me my epidural. I’ll never forget that man from Harper’s birth. NEVER. I was anxious that I would be scared when he came in, and then I wasn’t!

Within 5 minutes of his arrival, he pushed some sort of magical juice through my IV and he had the epidural placed. It was time for John to come back into the room. I WAS JACKED UP. I imagine it’s what people who do heroine feel like. I didn’t want to talk to anyone because I wasn’t confident that my tongue would even cooperate. I shut my eyes and enjoyed the ride.

About 11:50 I was wheeled into the OR. This was the only part that I was scared. I was scared because I remembered how it felt to be moved from my stretcher to the operating table. It was still a scary ordeal because you feel like you’re about to hit the floor, and your dang legs don’t work! Luckily that was quickly over and I was heading back to narcotic land, shutting my eyes and waiting for John to come in. When I was in this position with Harper’s birth, I was shaking so violently that the doctor had to give me something to calm me down. It looked like I was seizing back then! Night and day, people.

John came in a few minutes after noon to sit with me and wait.

At 12:09 I could see my body shifting and moving from the pulling they were doing to get the baby out, and then we heard him cry for the very first time! Apparently he also peed on me as soon as he came out. A great indicator of what was to come.

There you go! Boring right? I’M SO GLAD IT WAS BORING.

Some people will tell you that C sections are an easy way out of labor. I had no way to tell if I could have him VBAC so soon after a previous C section. He never dropped down and for the most part, I had no cervical change. My body was indicating that I would not be able to deliver vaginially, just like the first time. I wasn’t willing to go through the trauma again. It was too much the first time. It’s something that will stick with me. Everyone told me it would go away and I would not even remember it, so not true! It was easy to do (to skip labor, that is), however It wasn’t an easy decision to make though, I knew what a C section recovery looked like, and it wasn’t pleasant.

Although the birth was an easy experience, the recovery was harder. I still have no idea why. The only explanations I can think of is that they had to reopen an old incision to get the baby, or they had to dig him out of me, making the whole process brutal. My stomach was crazy swollen until 2 weeks post partum. I still looked 7 months pregnant, and that was a hard thing to deal with! I just needed more time with this one. After 2.5 weeks, I am of course, not fully recovered, but a version of my old self is starting to emerge. I am slowly picking up more and more household duties and am able to hit the road in my car! Baby steps!

I’m hoping all of my formerly pregnant people out there had a good birth because almost all of you were due the same month I was!

XOXO

Bell

 

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What are you going to do when you have 2 of them!?


Exactly what we are doing now, keeping them both alive!

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We were home on April 1st (HAHA world), to begin our REAL journey on having both a new born AND a toddler! I was excited to get Harper back from family because I felt like when she saw me in the hospital, she didn’t want anything to do with me, so I missed her, I especially missed her favoritism towards me.

I really don’t even remember much about the first day home. I ate some french fries for lunch that I’m certain Jesus Christ himself made. John Tyler got to take his first nap in his very own nursery. Glad he liked it because he didn’t see much of that nursery for the first 2 weeks of his life!! I’m pretty sure this was the day I realized that Harper was mad at me. I’m not sure it was the whole “having a baby” thing, I think it was more that I had been absent for a week. She wasn’t cool with that. I was her favorite. Not anymore. I was probably hooked up to the milk factory machine that day and night every 2 hours when I wasn’t having him latch on. I really took advantage of latching at night when I was WAY too tired to pump and could just lay him at my side. He ate, I snoozed.

The entire first week home is a blurred mess in my brain. I’ll try to piece it together.

I would have DIED if John wasn’t home. I’m not sure how anyone in the world can take care of their toddler after having a c section. I couldn’t pick Harper up, couldn’t change her diaper, couldn’t chase after her, nothing! This didn’t help to pushing me further into the least favorite parent category for her. When I would take my medication, I was tired, but functioning. If I skipped it, I paid for it. I would have to have help drying my legs off after a shower, and putting pants and underwear on. The pain was that bad without the medicines. The recovery with Harper was NOT this bad. I was never so bruised feeling with her, I think they had to dig baby brother out of my ribs with a crowbar. That is the only explanation as to why I am STILL sore in my ribs.

The days were filled with asking John to bring me buckets of ice water to suck down, as well as any meals we required. There’s NO cooking the first week when you have 2 babies. I cried during the days, and John Tyler cried during the nights! We had understood shifts. We were lucky enough to have family help us out by taking Harper a few nights, because we REALLY needed that time in the morning to sleep in and recover from the night before. I forgot that when I only had one newborn to worry about, I could lay back down with her to nap or to sleep in, and I would get my sleep fix. You can’t do that with 2. And if you can, do tell me the trick.

That’s all I can extract from my brain about the first week.

Here we all are in our second week home. Harper is just now coming around. It may be because I am able to hang out more because the pain is going away, or it may just be running its course. John Tyler is bigger every time I look at him after falling asleep! He had surpassed his birth weight a few days after he was born (it usually takes 2 weeks for babies to do that), so I know he is going to be a healthy boy! Harper is getting her molars, prompting her to be mean to her mother and father. I wish those things would finish coming in! I want my sweet girl back!

I am finally cooking dinner for us, a task that proved entirely too much the first week. I am able to drive since I am no longer on pain medications. The real world is nice. I missed it. If you were to ask me how long John Tyler sleeps at night, I would have no answer for you. I’m too tired to notice times and actually remember them that late at night. I *think* he may have done a few 3-3.5 hour stints, but I can’t prove it. I’m sure I will have a more documented night next week when I am the only one getting up with him at night!

Here are some questions I’ve been asked recently:

How different are things with your second in regards to how you feel about him?

I am clinging to him more because I know he is our last baby, and I know how quickly everything slips away.

Although during the day, I feel like I hold him as much as I held Harper. At night, he is with me way more than she was. I’m very focused on preventing time from getting away from me, and even time snuggling in bed is valuable.

I feel a greater sense of accomplishment with breastfeeding him. He latches perfectly, and in turn, I am not in pain when I feed him. Even though I pump a lot, he still latches like a champ. I’m okay with this.

How is he different than Harper?

He pees and throws up on me/us WAAAAYYYYY more than she did. My, what a steady, strong stream.

He is much more laid back.

Noises and lights don’t bother him.

He doesn’t really care to be bounced like Harper did. He also doesn’t care much for pacifiers. He normally spits them back out and looks at me like “that was a fraud”!!

He doesn’t require a swaddle to sleep well.

How is he similar to Harper?

It’s hard to tell how similar he will be just yet. He does look EXACTLY like her newborn self! For real, they could be twins in the photos.

They also have the same big toe/first toe separation. However, his other toes are crazy long. Like chimpanzee stuff.

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He was born with a nice little genetic mohawk. One difference in his hair and hers, is he has a sweet little “water tornado” swirl at the tip of his mohawk!

Benefits of having 2 so far:

  • Being able to see him wear some of the gender neutral things that she wore.

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(like this)

  • Watching Harper come up to him and kiss him without us prompting her to do it. It’s especially refreshing when just the week prior, she would walk up to him and smack him as hard as she could. :/ He needs a helmet this first year. She will need a helmet next year.
  • My baby wearing will soon be in full force. I like baby wearing.
  • We finally have a sufficient number of pacifiers laying around.

I hope everyone was able to read that post and not think I’m a complete idiot. My brain is just mush. It’s hard to extract much from it just yet. I will try to leave a short birth story up soon, because really, it’s the thing to do as a blogger.

I miss everyone on here and am going to try to be more of a presence – my 100 daily readers are very important to me and I’m starting to miss the interaction!

XOXO

Bell

 

 

 

I’ve been trying to figure out who he looks most like. Here are some options:

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