2:11 PM

I was made to raise my voice, Lift my hands up and rejoice!

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6
Merry Christmas Eve! I cannot believe it is our son's first Christmas. I am so thankful for all that the Lord has blessed me with. I have an amazing fiance, beautiful son, great friends and an unbelievable family. The only thing on my Christmas list this year is prayers for strength and wisdom in the coming year to help our son grow and prosper. I ask that he will fall in love with God and fulfill the Greatest Commandment (Matthew 22:37-39). Brian, Kaleb and I will be in church this evening thanking Him for all of our blessings, praying for the future and remembered the real reason for the season.

I hope everyone has a great Christmas! I'll post some pictures this weekend!

3:24 PM

Self Sacrifice

This weekend was a great success. We had our first annual Shankford-Peterford Christmas. Each year we are going to let the kids exchange gifts and have dinner. Riley got Kaleb the cutest cowboy boot slippers and two t-shirts from Bass Pro. We grilled out in the freezing rain (Thank you Brian's!) and even got some pictures of the kids asleep after the long night. I can't wait to see them when they are older!

Brian did a very self-sacrificing thing yesterday. We were eating dinner with my sister and we were both very sad. I miss her like crazy. We got this house in hopes she could move back in with us since we would have 3 bedrooms. Problem is, she can't fit anything into the bedroom. Olivia has 150+ pairs of shoes in boxes. A closet for each season of clothing. A queen size bed and a "get ready room" at my mom's. No way we could accommodate her at this house. The condo she at least, had her own bath room and a huge closet/bedroom. I know, I know she's just across the street but it's not the same.

My mom tried to separate us when we were little too. We asked for walkie talkies for Christmas and used them to sneak into bed with each other. Every morning my mom would find us in bed together. Fast forward to high school, my mom still insisted that we would "outgrow" this whole sharing a room phase. So she just slept in my bed. No walkie talkies needed. The first night I had ever slept without her was my freshman year of college. We never outgrew that phase, ever. When she lived at the condo most of the time Brian would end up in her bed and she'd be in mine. That's us.

Brian decided to give up his basement for Olivia. She cried. It was totally his idea and an amazing one. She will have a huge open area and a bathroom. Plus I will be able to help her with her nursing stuff and she'll get to see her nephew grow. I know eventually we'll have to separate but it's never for long. One day we'll live next door to each other on a ton of acreage. Until then she is taking over the man-cave :) Thank you Brian. We both love you very much.

11:25 AM


This photo was taken when Brian had known each other a week. One week. We sat up talking until 7 in the morning on our second date and I was hooked. We said, "I love you" on Day 4. I had already moved a ton of my stuff into his house by day 6. I cannot tell you how many times I heard "you're crazy" or how "stupid" we were being. We just knew. We worked really hard to get off 13th street and into our very first condo. It seems like such a long time ago...

Brian recently had a conversation with one of the major doubters of our relationship. He almost had a cow when he heard we were engaged, have a baby, a beautiful home and are still head-over-heels in love. That is my inspiration for Y3W this week and a song to boot!

Headed out to California
Everybody tried to warn us
Said we wouldn't make it any further
Than that worn out Chevy would

We broke down a time or two
Thought maybe we didn't think it through
We were all we had to turn to
When it wasn't looking good

Looking back, laughin'
Cause they called us crazy...

We were young
We were wild
We were restless
Had to go, had to fly, had to get away
Took a chance on that feeling baby

We were loving blind, borderline wreck less
We were living for the minute we were spinning in
Baby we were a lot of things,
But we weren't crazy

Just a couple kids a couple years ago
Now we got a couple kids of our own
Turned out right and proved them wrong
Look at us, going strong

Looking back, laughin'
Cause they called us crazy...

We were young
We were wild
We were restless
Had to go, had to fly, had to get away
Took a chance on that feeling baby

We were loving blind, borderline wreck less
We were living for the minute we were spinning in
Baby we were a lot of things,
But we weren't crazy

Could've set it down
When things got tough
We could've walked away from this love
That've been crazy

We were young
We were wild
We were restless
Had to go, had to fly, had to get away
Took a chance on that feeling baby

We were loving blind, borderline wreck less
We were living for the minute we were spinning in
Baby we were a lot of things,
But we weren't crazy

3:45 PM

Tis The Season!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

When someone calls into my work they have to identify themselves or the person they are referring to by two letters and then a series of numbers. To make sure we get the correct letters many people start with, "B as in boy or C as in cat." We have heard it all. We once had a list going of idiotic things people have said:

J as in Giraffe
D as in doggy-style (Ew. No you didn't)
K as in Cat

This morning I got this one,"C as in Christmas. X as in Christmas" What!? Okay. I wanted to say I as in Idiot. Tis the reason for the season!

Anyhoo, tomorrow is church night again. Olivia is taking Kaleb. I think we might make this a tradition until he's old enough to sit through an evening church service. I'm excited again. It's nice to get away to talk to God and experience the real reason for the season. This is going to be a very tough holiday season for us financially. Brian is off work and I was off for 8 weeks right before him. Our income has been drastically reduced. We made sure Kaleb was taken care of on gifts and the rest is up in the air. We decided to revert back to the old homemade gifts :) The ones I am doing for my family is actually really amazing. It has me logging at like 40 hours of work time on it but it will be worth it. It will also cover everyone in my extended family (grandma, grandpa, ect). I know that our economy is struggling and we are not the only ones tight on our budget. It doesn't matter to us. Our son is taken care of on gifts and the rest of this holiday is going to be spent focusing on what we are so very thankful for. We've been reading the story of the birth of Jesus in Matthew and Luke each night around the Christmas tree. Kaleb is all smiles and usually falls right to sleep after we read a few verses. God has blessed us in so many ways this year. We still cannot fathom what we did to deserve such a wonderful life.

On a lighter note I got emailed the not-yet-released new book in the Twilight series called, "Midnight Sun." I can't print it but I can read it on my desktop. It is the first book from Edward's point of view. Amazing. If anyone wants it drop me a line and I'll grab your email.

If you are reading Jess I lost your email already! Ah. Can you send it to me again? If not, I'll have Brian call Brian to see how your days back to work went (lol, I know... we should call ourselves!) and get it again. The pictures of Riley and Santa are amazing!

4:05 PM

Weekend Warriors

Monday, December 15, 2008

This weekend went blindingly fast. Too fast. Friday Brian and I made the trip out to West Chester to do some shopping in the Voice of America park. My main stop was the Carter's Outlet. It was great :) Kaleb was such a good boy. He started grunting when we were in line. Brian looked at him and told him, "Behave son. You need to quiet down." And he did. It was so stinking funny. All the women in line cracked up. We got Kaleb some cute Christmas pajamas too. Brian and I ate at Cici's before heading back to this side of town.

Saturday I planned on sleeping in and Brian was going to take Kaleb all morning. Egh. Didn't happen. Kaleb decided to scream his head off... all day. Sure enough, stick your finger in his mouth and he gnawed on it for hours. We alternated fingers, wet wash clothes and chew-things. Kaleb has hated his swing and it was in our storage room. I dragged it out to the kitchen so that I could get some dinner made. He loved it! Who knew? He also took a 1/2 jar of banana's. I guess they must have felt good on his sore gums. We put the other half in his bottle. He is such a hungry boy all the time :) My mom and dad decided to take our wild man so we could eat dinner. He ended up falling asleep so we let him stay. Brian and I made buckeyes together and watched a movie. It was such a good time. Apparently after we fell asleep Brian attempted to roll over so that his back was to me. I climbed (gracefully, of course) over him so that I could snuggle back into his arms. I don't remember any of it except waking up on the wrong side of the bed.

Sunday we went to church with the Shankford's. I'm happy to report Riley & Kaleb behaved like little angels. We all headed to the mall to get the kids picture taken with Santa. They both were amazing the whole time. Our Brian's, were not! This is what we see waiting in line for Santa:

The rest are pictures I snapped of my stinker this weekend. When he was a happy boy!

2:19 PM


Friday, December 12, 2008

ABC’s Good Morning America does a weekend piece called “Y3W” for “Your Week in 3 Words.” Ordinary people use cameras to capture their week in images and then choose three words (or groups of three words) to express it all. It’s powerful and moving: a soldier in Iraq standing by a wall with a sign: “Happy Birthday Morgan;” a baby stumbling across a floor to waiting hands with the words “Her First Steps;” a hand with the words “Lost My Job” written on it, and when the hand is removed a “For Sale” sign in front of a house. Powerful. I am going to "attempt" to do these each Friday. Here we go:
It's as simple as that! I love my boys. I made it through my first FULL week at work since before Kaleb was born and it has me thinking how much I love and miss them!

I hope everyone has an amazing weekend!

11:50 AM


December 11, 2008

First things first, Kaleb is 11 weeks old today. 11 on the 11th! He is such a big boy. He can sit on my hip now when we are making a bottle with very little support around his neck. He picks his head up for really long periods too. Yesterday he set a feeding record in our house. 12 ounces. Yep. 1-2. That is 2 bottles! I almost didn't believe Brian when he told me until later that night our hungry hippo took 8 for my sister. All my mom said was, "Good luck financing that."

Church was amazing. It is so different than anything I have ever known. The church is non-denominational but the preacher was raised like Brian (pentecostal). I get so uncomfortable when people talk out during the service. I went to a quiet Presbyterian church with a choir and soft-spoken pastor. This church had a full band and Marvin Hurley (the pastor) gives one heck of a sermon! There is absolutely NO way to fall asleep or go of course with him! I cannot explain what is was like to have Brian & Jessica there... I just kept hoping they didn't think this was crazy. Jessica was raised in a Presbyterian church like me- I know she's not used to this way either. She cried twice and I wanted so badly to hold her hand and tell her I love them. Shanky handled it for me though :) It was amazing to get to see them together in church for the first time. The sermon touched on some many things that are going on right now. How is it that we can go to the movies and spend a ton of money on snacks, tickets, drinks but come to church and offer up a dollar? Or how is it that we can go to football games and get so passionate about it... screaming in the stands but come to church and rest quietly in the pew. I've always understood that you can go straight to hell from a church pew- it's so much more than just showing up. You have to believe it, live it and be a witness for God. It renewed Brian and I on how to live our life just a little bit more for God. We held hands and prayed at the end. Our little family is finding is finding it's way and I'm glad we have the Lord leading us. We are headed to Jess's church on Sunday :)

Brian and I talked all the way home from Oxford. I found out so much more about him. We both agreed the moment we really felt God was in the chapel after Kaleb's birth. Brian told me that he believes God made us for each other. We thrive together. We build each other up and we do even better now that we are a family. Every single heartbreak, relationship, decision led us into that bar the night we met. I feel so blessed to know how rare it is to have what we have.

We picked up Kaleb from my sister. She kept him busy! She took him to the mall and got him a ton of clothes. We are going to put him in one of the outfits for Christmas Eve. It's the cutest sweater outfit! She also got their pictures taken with Santa. They look so adorable. We got Kaleb home and gave him a bath. I could barely keep his eyes open after we did our nightly "baby massage." He was still sleeping this morning when I left for work. He's so good at knowing when it's bed time :) I hope he never outgrows that!

And for fun I was playing with this new photo program. I did some of Kaleb and then Riley. I stole this picture Jess- it's just too cute!

They are so sleepy!

I've always wanted to know how to do the color accents. Now that I know we'll probably do some of his Christmas pictures this way :)

She is so stinking adorable! Brian & Jess are very lucky! :)

It is quite possible that when we get these two together on Sunday I might explode with happiness. We are so blessed!

2:58 PM


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

As a new mother I don’t have a lot of time to reflect these days. My time is spent running from person to place, packing bags, putting out fires and taking care of my beautiful son and fiancé. The weekend passed all too quickly but I found myself in the shower last night (or this morning- the clock was teetering on the edge of 1 am) reflecting on my life right now.

On Friendship:

This is the one that sticks out in my head the most right now. We shared a wonderful night on Saturday with Brian & Jessica. We decided to have a “baby free” night. Although our children went to their grandparent’s houses it was anything but baby free. The night started out comparing notes, as always. Riley is smiling, gaining weight, sleeping in her big girl bed and hating her swing. Both of our children will find a “jumperoo” under the tree this year. Poor Riley has acid reflux but it is being managed well now. As soon as they cross the threshold of our house it’s like the great divide. Brian and Brian run off to the self proclaimed, “man-cave” or “manrage.” Far be it for us to understand why they would rather sit in the garage with a space heater than with us. My Brian says we speak in code, “Yeah I’d rather see him in the jumeroo than the play station. He will just have more range when he gets excited. Yes I’ve been nesting. Did you see the Ohio nesties are getting together in January?” Okay, I can see how that could be confusing from the outside. Brian and Brian are more alike than any two people I have ever met. At times they even look alike. It would make sense they would both be with women so very close.

Since the day I met Jessica we hit it off right away. We share everything. There is no façade or anything we need to hide. “I don’t know how to fix this with my baby, we literally have no money, our insurance sucks, this economy is killing us, listen to what Brian did…” I feel like I have known her forever. We opened a bottle of wine and talked babies, weddings and Christmas for a while. I got to share the video of Kaleb’s birth with her this weekend. I turned around mid-video and huge alligator tears were streaming down her face. My eyes welled to the brim too in that moment. It was for the same reasons I cried when I heard the news that Riley was here and healthy. Love, in its purest form. We shared so much that evening. They even got to stay the night because the roads got too bad. We even made plans for family vacations, Christmas Eve Midnight service and church service. Nothing like strengthening a bond even MORE with God.

No friendship will ever touch the way I feel about my sister. It goes beyond words but the friends I do have, I treasure. I know I can always count on Char. She pulled me out of the darkest time in my life. Jessica is my partner in crime. I can think of another person I’d like to share motherhood with… Kristi has become my sounding board and I don’t think I could make it through a work day without Ashley. So many different personalities but I quietly thank God for each one.

On Faith:

I don’t know how I ever coexisted in a relationship with someone who didn’t believe. It is such a part of who I am and the way I want to raise my children. My life revolves around my faith and belief in God. Each quiet moment I am thanking God for my amazing life and for the strength to teach my son how to live a purpose-driven, God filled life.

I got an email survey the other day that you send your friends to fill out about you and they send back. The question read: If I were stranded on a desert island and I could bring one item what would it be? I told Ashley she’d bring her cell phone to call for help. She told me I’d bring a bible so when the cell phone stopped working we could pray our way out of there! The answer made me laugh but I knew it was true.

Kaleb will be dedicated in January by my brother-in-law, Donald. We couldn’t think of a preacher who loved Kaleb more to help us dedicate his life back to God. It really is an overwhelming ceremony and such an important part of beginning Kaleb’s life. Brian and I continue to search for a church attend and become members. We are trying to find a balance between my traditional church and his love of modern music and sermons. We are having a ton of fun along the way exploring churches. We are headed to one tonight (sans Kaleb- thank you Auntie O!) and Sunday with Brian and Jessica. On Christmas Eve we’ll be sitting in the pew as the clock tolls midnight in a candle light service with Brian and Jessica. (Kaleb and Riley are going to be fast asleep in Riley’s bed =)) We all have way too much to be thankful for this year to not have ourselves praising God and reflecting on our many blessings.

On Brian:

How can I write and not mention him? He drives me absolutely insane but I wouldn’t have it any other way. We laugh constantly. We lay on the floor of our son’s bedroom watching him sleep together. We pray together. He is everything I prayed for in a husband and father. He is literally the half that makes me whole.

All of my previous relationships look like such a joke now. If I ever had any doubt about spending the rest of my life with Brian, September 25 changed it all. There are things that we shared in the midnight hour of the chapel at Christ Hospital that only God will ever understand. As we begged, pleaded, bargained and cried to God for our son’s healing Brian and I saw our lives in each other and our son. I’m not sure there is anyone in this world that could break the bond we share. (Okay, okay I can hear you gagging as you are reading) Besides, there aren’t really words to express what he means to me.

Okay I got my heavy reflective piece out of the way. I’ll update tomorrow and let you know how our night went in church!

4:15 PM

Even More Inspiring... I can do this! :)

Thursday December 4, 2008

There are 20 days until Christmas Eve and I have zero shopping done. Yep. Zero. I talked about it back in like my August blog. Having children really does push you back on your time. Sheesh.

Kaleb went to his Aunt Jennifer's for a little bit yesterday. She had to sing at a funeral that Donald was preaching. Kaleb was a great boy during her singing and she went to change him when she was done. Right as she went to go back into the service he started talking to her. Growling like a grizzly, ohhhhing and ahhhing. She decided to stay in the back, lol. Nothing like a hungry grizzly to liven up a funeral service! Kaleb must have had a good time, he has 4 amazing cousins to keep him entertained over there. I can't wait to see him and Jadon play together next year!

We also took Kaleb with us to see Dr.Grim yesterday for my follow up appointment. You cannot see my c-section scar at all. It looks like the tiniest wrinkle. The three people who work in his office loved seeing Kaleb again. We also took his Jim Abbott stuff. Dr. Grim told us about him and we wanted to make sure he saw what amazing things he already helped Kaleb get. I wrote Dr.Grim a really long thank you note a while back so he already knew about the photo/letter but it was great to show him in person. It was actually kind of sad leaving. So much of my time was spent there that they are almost like family to us. I just hope that Dr.Grim stays in practice for the next couple of years... I don't know what I'd do if someone else had to deliver my other children! They also got there own ultrasound machine at their office. It was ordered right after Kaleb was born. Jamie said he was so torn up about missing Kaleb's hand he no long wants Midwest Radiological in there doing his ultrasounds. He's doing them himself from now on... and check this... they are 3D-4D! That makes me excited for my next pregnancy. Although we have plenty of time to wait for that... :)

Kaleb and I went to be at 8:30. Yep. He got up once at midnight. It was so relaxing! Jessica told me Riley has been in her big girl bed for 3 weeks. Since Jessica and I pretty much share the same thoughts, willpower, anxieties, even husbands (we are practically married to the same man) I know that I can put Kaleb in his room. I can do this! I have new inspiration now :) I guess we'll give the big boy bed another try this weekend. Wish me luck!

4:04 PM

You Inspire Me

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

There is a girl who I work with, Liz. She sits directly across from me and for a very long time it we were the only 2 in our entire pod of 6 :) She is married to Mark and they have a 23 month old son, Grant. We, of course, share a ton of stories and I pump her for advice all the time. When it comes down to Kaleb in his own room I wanted her advice. Grant sleeps in his bed. How did she do it?

Get this. He has slept in his own room, in his big boy crib since day 1 from the hospital. It is amazing she has that kind of willpower! When I asked how long she rocked him before she cut off that routine and switched to the story book routine she said "never". He has always laid in his own bed, no rocking needed. Brian and I decided they are our sleep inspiration. Seriously. They should write a book. I know a ton of the girls at my work (imagine 99% of them) have co-sleeping issues. I do not want to be these parents. I don't want to share a bunk bed with my first grader.

With our hopes set high we decided to take the advice of my mom and Liz. We noticed Kaleb was cranky and hadn't slept in a while. Bathed. Check. Bottle. Check. Diaper. Check. Pacifier. Got it. We laid him down, wide awake, tucked him in and closed the door. We only pretended to leave. Come on people- we are not super human! We both crouched down next to his bed and peeked through his bumper and watched him go to sleep. It took all of about 4 minutes. We wanted to be sure so we stayed 15 minutes. It's a wonder we didn't wake him up. We laughed the whole time wondering if we are going to be this crazy about our other children. We watched our shows and cuddled up next to the Christmas tree. We listened to his deep breathing on our monitor until it was time for us to go to bed.

Road block. I was in bed for all of an hour listening to him rustle around and I could not take it anymore. I know he was asleep but he was making little baby sleep noises and I couldn't see what he was doing. Next, I lost my willpower. I took the sleeping baby from his crib and carried him to our room and into his bassinet. Bad mom, I know. My sister-in-law Becky suggested getting one of those tiny cameras that you can clip onto the crib and it reaches our television. We can leave it on all night and when he makes noise I can see him on the television. Brian agreed I won't get very far on our gig if I can't see him at night. We will keep trying until I get my video thing... I know I can do this :) Kaleb sleeps so much better in his nice, quiet room. It's me who needs the inspiration!

I wonder if it will be possible for him to take the monitor and camera to his college dorm? Hmmmmm.....

Here are a few pictures of my boys on Turkey Day. Yes, they match. I could seriously bite them! I hope he pays this much attention to us when he is older!
Kaleb's face cracks me up in this one!

5:58 PM

What A Stinker!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Kaleb's first Thanksgiving was amazing. He was such a good boy. He is entertained so easily that each new stop was an adventure for him. He did get a little fussy at Grandma Luther's but straightened himself out after a warm bottle and a long car ride. He was pretty fussy in the afternoon the entire break. He's drooling like a mad man and gnawing on his pacifier. I know it's too early for teeth but if I didn't know better...

On Sunday we took Kaleb to church. We ran into one of Brian's old friends who is a pastor at a new church out in Oxford. Kaleb was a great boy all morning. He watched a couple episodes of 'Bob The Builder.' He loves watching him. He sits in his bouncy seat smiling and kicking his chubby little legs the whole time. Once the music started in church he was all smiles again. They have a full band and Kaleb didn't mind it a bit. When they stopped to preach he went nuts. I ended up having to take him out to the car because he just did not want to be in that church. Once I get him to the car and turn the radio on this is the face I get...

The Pastor told us it's a sign of a great kid if he screams in church. Yeah. I believe that. This is the first time I have ever had to remove him from anywhere. I think it had something to do with gas, teeth or the very wet, nasty weather. Maybe a combo. We'll try again soon. I think I'm going to get my sister to watch him Wednesday night so we can try again. I would like to hear the sermon that sounded very interesting before my wild banshee went crazy in the church pew.

This morning our doodle went to the doctor for his 2 month check up! Great news. He has grown into his enormous head. When Kaleb was born he was in the 12th percentile on everything. We didn't mind considering he was born 4 weeks early. Now, 8 weeks later he has shot up into the 75th percentile on everything. His head, length and weight are all huge. The doctor told us he's never seen an improvement like this on a preterm baby. Kaleb is now 13 pounds 4 ounces, 24 inches long, and his head is 16 3/4 inches. We hope he keeps growing like this (although we are running out of clothes fast-we are in the 6 months already!) He also got 4 shots today. It was so hard for Brian and I to not cry. Ugh. Poor little guy!

On a heavy note I need to clear the air. I am very proud of my son. Every single inch of him. I have no issue with anything. Brian has no issue with anything. The very second Brian told me he was missing his hand I said, "He's healthy right?" When he said 'yes' my exact words were, "Who cares!? Now go be with him!" I remember it like it just happened. I made a decision in that brief second that I really didn't care. Correction. I didn't need to make a decision, I already knew. The reason I didn't share pictures from his ICU stay is because they are personal. I'm not going to post pictures on the internet of my son with an IV in his forehead, feeding tube, oxygen mask inside a fish bowl so swollen he cannot open his eyes. Those pictures are for family and close friends only. Some people might post those pictures for sympathy or whatever. Kaleb needs no sympathy or pitty. He's perfect. Just because I didn't post those pictures or let anyone post those pictures does NOT mean I'm ashamed or worried what someone might think, it means I'm a good mom. God gave Brian and I Kaleb for a reason. We do not question His ways or His purpose. We got exactly what we prayed for regardless of what anyone thinks our "lack of birth pictures" means.

You are way. off. base. Maybe I should send them a link to this blog so they can see exactly how I feel about our son. Now that my vent is over here is a picture of my little thinker!