Thursday, July 25, 2013

What We've Been Up To: Newbie3

I am very far behind on the baby updates! My brain has been so scattered lately, it's been hard to sit for an extended period and put thoughts together.

I am at 20 weeks--halfway there!

My last appointment with Dr. W was a few weeks ago, and here are the stats from it:
My bp: 120/68
Weight gain since last visit: 3 lbs
Baby's heart rate: 160

We discussed the Level 2 ultrasound I would be getting at 19 weeks, and she said we would not have the normal 20-week ultrasound in her office.

I asked about the pain in my tailbone, and she said it has to do with the position of the uterus, and the lax nature of the bony structure in my spine. Everything is stretching out for the baby!

That was pretty much the extent of the appointment. The fast heart rate started putting a little doubt in my "it has to be a boy" philosophy. Maybe...a girl?

Well, this past Thursday, we went to our Level 2 ultrasound. Of course, the main purpose was to find any medical problems that might indicate Down syndrome or other chromosomal syndromes. Within a couple of minutes, the sono tech said, "Well, I'm not looking at it closely, yet, but I can already tell you it's a boy!"

Haha! Another baby boy! What a blessing. Jon has his plate full in raising some good men! And my job isn't easy, either, trying to teach them how to treat ladies and look for godly women to be their helpmates in the future. What a responsibility, this parenting is!

But the more wonderful news of the ultrasound is that the doctor found no major health problems. All the "soft markers" that could indicate Down syndrome were non-existent, and all the major organs looked perfectly healthy. We were scheduled for a more detailed look at the baby's heart next week, because of James's medical history of a VSD, but the doctor said this baby had a "beautiful heart"--or maybe it was "beautiful ventrical septum,"--and there was no need for further study.

Prior to the ultrasound, we met with a "genetic counselor" whose main job was to explain what to expect in the ultrasound, and then to meet with us again afterward if any problems were found. He would explain the implications of what was found, the next steps or further testing recommended, and then also to handle the emotional stuff that could happen. We understand the possibility of what could happen, but God had taken care of us so far, and no reason to doubt that now, no matter what we found. Not that we would be bundles of smiles if we had found out some devastating news, but what a powerful peace we have knowing that God is in control--not my body, or the doctors, or anything else in all its imperfection. The perfect God is in control.

I have given up my pile of pillows that bolstered me up at night. They also kept me awake, and I fought with them any time I moved. So I'm going without, until I can't sleep without them.

Oh my goodness, I almost forgot! The name for little Newbie3!

Jackson Lee Norvell

We will call him Jack.

I'm not quite used to it, yet. I haven't said it enough times, I guess. But the boys can both say it, and that's good!

Jack is quite the mover and shaker! He was really wiggly during the ultrasound, and I feel him moving around all the time.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

What We've Been Up To: James

James. My James-Man. What a stinker little boy!

We are so proud of everything James has accomplished. At almost 3 years old, he is quite the walker! And into EVERYthing. He pulls interesting things out of the trash. He topples folded laundry, or brings it to me, wherever I am in the house. Any container is free game for his desire to "undo:" box of toys, blocks, books, etc. His latest past time is getting into his brother's sock drawer. I can't tell you how many times I've caught him with an armful of socks, making his way to the living room. He dutifully picks them up and puts them back where they belong (as he does with the laundry or other messes), and then smiles at his accomplishment. Stinker.

Potty training is slow-going. I can't believe the strides he's already made, though he certainly hasn't made it. He can keep a dry diaper for several hours, and will almost always go potty if I ask him to. He will rarely tell me if he needs to go potty, but he has even started doing that a little, and I think that is awesome! He had a few days of potty training boot camp with my mom, but it only showed us that he really was not ready, yet, for full-blown potty training. For now, though, I'm perfectly happy with the progress he's made. I really had not expected him to be this far along at his age.

Our latest surprise with James is finding out he knows his alphabet! As in, if I hold up a letter, he tells me what it is--almost every single time! Again, I attribute the iPad to his success. He spends lots of time flipping through alphabet flash cards. But it was very funny the first day we figured it out, and I cautiously asked his occupational therapist to confirm what I thought: That a boy who couldn't even identify his colors, yet, knew his letters. Sure enough, the OT called me into her session with James so I could see him confidently pulling the correct letters out of a choice of three...and occasionally picking one up from the pile and saying, "P" or "8" just to surprise everyone. (Yes, he knows his numbers, too, and surprised us awhile back with counting to ten...not perfectly, but at least understanding that some numbers follow others. His favorite is, "Eight...NINE!!")

James is a man's man. Where Caleb hugs all the ladies, and tells them they look beautiful, James holds up his arms to the men in our church, asking to be held. He loves his Daddy most of all!

Beyond the developmental things that James has accomplished, he is definitely headstrong. The battle ground is usually mealtimes, where he would much rather just drink his milk than eat his food, or he would rather I feed him than he feed himself. He very easily lets us know what he wants, when he wants it. Usually with pointing, grunts, signs, and words--he uses whatever it takes to let us know! Sometimes it's, "I will not eat until I am watching the Andy Griffith Show!" Sometimes it is, "Bubba is taking my blocks, and I am not happy about it!" And lots of times it is, "I need to watching Signing Time!!!"

He has really gotten into reading "big boy" books lately, looking intently at the more detailed pictures in them. And he's playing with blocks in a more intentional way--stacking instead of just throwing.

He loves to dress up. We have a bin of hats and costumes, and he's constantly pulling on a hat and maybe some beads or something else he can put around his neck.

We enjoy watching him, and watching his mind and body grow and develop. Just like we sit back in wonder at Caleb, we watch and wonder at James. Usually a pause, and then, "Gosh, he's a cute kid." We are so blessed by our little second-born!

Newbie3 is up next!

*Note: The awesome shirts in this post were made by the super-talented Kim Davis. Visit her etsy site for your own custom-painted shirts!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

What We've Been Up To: Caleb

My boys are gone for the week. The whole week! I keep telling people this is the first vacation I've had as a stay-at-homer. The first time I've been at home while my children are gone. No youth camps, mission trips, or anything. Just home! It's lovely.

It's also a little lonely! I gotta admit I just started thinking about Caleb's little quirks, and how I miss them. Mind you, it's been a little over 48 hours. Hard stuff for a mama. :)

So, you're in luck! I think I'll just write about my boys, and maybe I won't miss them so much. And you get to know what's going on in their worlds these days. Keep in mind that I miss them, so forgive any overly sappiness or glossing over the little heathen traits they have. :)

My firstborn.


Gosh, I love this kid. He is just like me! He drives me crazy with his stop-and-smell-the-roses mentality, but I really love it. He and I compete for slowest eater, most likely to cause everyone to run late, and other exciting contests. Now that I think of it, together we probably drive Jon bananas.

It's been no secret that we think Caleb is exceptional (we are his parents, after all). I've been working on a preschool curriculum with him, and when I say something like, "Today we get to learn a new letter: P!" he'll say, "Oh, yeah, Mama, I know what that one looks like." And he'll swoosh his finger in the air in the shape of a P.

"Okay," I say, "maybe we'll learn about Q today then."

"Yeah, it looks like this!" And he correctly puts a little tail on the circle he drew in the air. Then he tells me what sound it makes, and several words that start with Q.

I attribute most of his genius to the iPad.

His recent kick is science. As a science-lover myself, I love this! These days, his block creations are less often castles, and more often science labs...usually complete with a mad scientist. He includes secret doors and traps of all kinds.

We have started a bug collection! I am not timid about bugs, but I will say I was a little nervous pulling them out of the freezer. Were they really dead...or just really cold? None of them have wandered off, yet, so the collecting continues.

For his birthday, Caleb wants a science party. I'm not sure exactly what he expects from this science party, but it's a GREAT theme, and I can't wait to get planning for it!

One day, as we drove in the car, Caleb asked, "Mom, do you actually know any scientists, and can I go see their lab someday?" I had to admit to myself that I did not know any scientists! But a plea on Facebook found a friend of mine who is now teaching 8th grade science, and she has agreed to show Caleb some fun bubbly things on Skype once it gets a little closer to school. I thought that was super-sweet. It's fun to be able to run with my kids' current interests.

In June, we had several camps and VBS at our church. The kids that came forward to commit their lives to Jesus and be baptized sparked quite a few conversations with Caleb. He would tug on my dress and tell me he wanted to be baptized. After discussing it quite a bit with him, and Jon and I together, we are grateful for the sensitive spirit that he has, but he doesn't yet understand what becoming a believer truly is. On one hand, does ANYone ever fully understand that? But on the other, he is very young, and we want him to be very sure.

In the meantime, I enjoy the sincerity of his prayers. For a long time, his prayer consisted of, "Thank you, God, for a great day, and for helping Mommy and Daddy feel better." Every. Day. It didn't matter if we had been sick or not! We finally asked him to start thinking of one thing to thank God for, and one thing to ask God for. Now I'm amazed by the prayers that come out of this little boy's mouth. Some things he says are things he hears us pray, while others are from songs, or things he simply says on his own. Some of the sweet prayers I can remember at the moment:

Thank you, God, for making things good. You took bad and made it good. You took sin and made it not sin.  (This was in response to a discussion about how bad things in life--animals and bugs, specifically--would not be bad one day. The lion laying with the lamb.)

Jesus, we don't deserve you. But we need you.

Dear God, help Great Grandpa. His batteries went out, and he needs new ones.

Thank you, God, for a great day. You are wonderful. You are ... (well, I can't remember the word, but it was a big one, and most likely from some song on the radio! Magnificent, maybe?).

Caleb is very excited about the new baby. Last time around, he really had no idea what was going on. This time, if I tell him, "I'm sorry, I can't share these raisins; I really need to eat them," he'll say, "Is the baby hungry?"

And a few times lately he has hugged my belly, or zerbered my belly, or spoken to my belly in a silly voice--all for the baby.

I love how tender Caleb is. He is sweet and kind. He is certainly not perfect. We have had to deal with a quite a bit of attitude lately (which, sadly, he has picked up from us!). But in general, Jon and I marvel that we have been blessed with such a neat kid.

 James is up next!