It's been a while since I've caught up on what we've been up to. The summer is flying by, and even in "newborn world," things are pretty busy for us! It's funny how life doesn't slow down even though we have a new little person. Stella does a great job of keeping up with our family activities....maybe that's why she is such a great nighttime sleeper!
So....here it goes!
Nora took two weeks of swim lessons over at UT Aquatic Center at the end of June. We did this last summer, and I was so pleased with the program over there. It's super-affordable, and the classes are grouped according to age and taught by UT college students. Nora loved it last year, and we decided to do again this summer. My next-door neighbor Anne lovingly offered to take Nora for me since Stella was just two weeks old at the time. Anne's little boy, Dillon, is in the same class as Nora, so it worked out great. Funny Story: Anne was blown away by how talkative Nora was on the car rides to and from swim lessons. She said Nora didn't stop chatting the whole time, and Dillon seemed a little put out by the fact that he had to listen to the girls "talking" the whole time. Nora apparently asked Dillon too many questions, so he got to the point where he just tuned Nora out because it was too much for him. HA HA! Anyway, shortly after swim lessons were finished, Jonathan was in the pool with Nora and she started "swimming" to him without her life jacket on. She can move her hands and feet at the same time and is able to swim farther and farther without assistance! I'm so proud of her and thankful that our kids love the water so much. Seriously, Nora is our little fish, and Liam is getting braver and braver, too.
My entire family was in town this past weekend. My mom, dad, and two sisters arrived late last week, and we got to spend an entire three days together! It was wonderful. My parents and youngest sister, Hillary, drove up from New Orleans last Thursday. When they got into town, we greeted them with one of my dad's favorites from up here: Dead End BBQ. It was so fun to gather around the kitchen table, eating a meal together, and just spending some quality time with them. This was my dad and sisters' first time to meet Stella, so they were all eager to hold her and love on her as much as possible. On Friday, we hung out at our house in the morning, then hit up Steak and Shake for lunch. While the kids took a nap, my dad and Jonathan went to pick up my middle sister, Emily, from the airport. She lives in Brooklyn, NY, and came all the way down to see us for a short visit. That evening, we went down to Market Square so the kids could play in the fountains and we could eat dinner at one of our favorite places Cafe 4. On Saturday, we did the unthinkable--we headed to Dollywood. It was a bit more crowded than we've experienced in the past, but we hadn't been in the summer or on a Saturday since last year. It was super hot, but we all had a great time. Stella did awesome! I wore her in the Bjorn most of the time, and we took several trips to the air-conditioned Infant Care Room for feedings and to cool off. Nora and Liam skipped their naps so we could get as much out of the day as possible. We left there around 4 pm, drove home, changed clothes, then went to our favorite Mexican restaurant for family dinner. It was a long and exhausting day, but we all had a blast! On Sunday, everyone went to church and Jonathan and I had the privilege of dedicating Stella. To dedicate a baby is an opportunity to declare before the Lord and before our church family that we are committing Stella to the Lord and that we as her parents are dedicated to raising her up in the Lord. Our prayer is that we will raise all of our children in a way that is pleasing to God, and we acknowledge that it is by God's grace alone that we can do that and that only He is capable of opening their hearts and minds to Him! My entire family was there and Jonathan's parents came too! I'm so thankful it worked out that way! My parents left as soon as the service was over, and Emily flew out Sunday evening. It was such a fun weekend together, and it makes me sad how rare those times are these days since we are all so spread out and in such different phases of life.
Stella is just growing like a weed! She is filling out and as of today, she is officially out of Newborn diapers and into Size 1. Sad day!!! She is such a wonderful night sleeper. Last night, she had her longest stretch yet. I nursed her at 10:00 last night, and she woke up for her next feeding at 7:00 am. That's 9 hours! I cannot believe it. I have never had a baby sleep such long stretches this early, but I am very thankful and am just letting her take the lead. I know she will let me know when she is hungry, and my milk supply is keeping up since she seems to make up for the lack of nighttime feeding during the day.
I can also say that I am officially loving the newborn stage. I don't think I "loved" the newborn stage with the other two....maybe I was too stressed out or too exhausted to fully appreciate it, but that's not the case now. Stella is such a joy, and my moments of holding her and rocking her are not as frequent as I would like. My favorite time of the day with her is the last feeding of the day when we sit in the rocker in the dark and I can just hold her and stare at her. She smiles more and more each day.
Liam is just as every two-year-old boy should be. He's into EVERYTHING and such a mess! His vocabulary grows every day, and he surprises us all the time with what he says and comprehends. The other day, he recounted an entire story to Jonathan about something that happened to him. It was not super clear, but since Jonathan already knew the story, he could tell what Liam was trying to communicate. Too cute!
One funny thing about Nora and Liam:
Liam says "Yeah" all the time. And he says everything in a very deep, nearly monotone voice. Nora--Little Miss Verbal--tells Liam, "Liam, you say 'Yeah' all the time!" Liam's response to her: "Yeah." It may not sound funny, but it's so cute. Just something I want to remember, more than anything.
Ok, my time has run out! Crazy kiddos to tend to. Till next time.