Monday, June 28, 2010

Gate Shmate

Last week Jeff installed the baby gate downstairs to keep Kaitlynn from climbing up the stairs all the time.

There's just one little problem...

You have to make sure the gate locks in place or it really doesn't do much good. She already figured that out and takes advantage of it anytime we forget to lock the gate in place. Gate shmate, when she wants in she gets in!

At least Connor found a good use for the gate, though.

He learned that he can put his toys on the other side of the gate and enjoy some solitary playtime.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Swimming with Ms. Glendy

This past week we volunteered our swimming pool as a "host" pool for Ms. Glendy of Glendy's WaterBabies. She has been teaching water safety and instruction for over 40 years to kids all over the world, and she has a very unique approach to ensure kids learn how to swim and float for safety.

Since Connor did so well last summer with his swimming, I assumed he didn't need much swim instruction this year. I assumed wrong! As soon as swim season began, Connor seemed to have lost his confidence in the water and wouldn't swim without a floatation device no matter what we tried. So we decided to take advantage of Ms. Glendy being here and signed Connor up for lessons.

There were 8 kids signed up for 30 minute lessons with Ms. Glendy at our house and since most of the kids were Connor's friends from preschool, it was like we had a play date at our house every day of the week! Connor had a blast. This was how Connor's toy room would start out each morning...

And this is how it would look by the time the last swimmer left.

The kids (with Connor's encouragement, of course) managed to make their way into most rooms of the house creating quite the mess everywhere. By the end of the week, we had installed a gate to keep the kids downstairs and we also kept the bedroom doors closed so they would just play where we could see them. One day they snuck away into Jeff's closet of all places. Who knew closets could be so much fun?!

It was a great week of fun, though. Connor did amazing and is now swimming independently again with much improved form. Ms. Glendy is a tough teacher -- won't take no for an answer -- but she is very effective. Here's Connor with Ms. Glendy learning how to have better posture in the water.

Here he is about to swim across to the other side.

And I couldn't resist posting the following picture, where you can see how Connor is "negotiating" with Ms. Glendy (she told him to do something and he tried to talk her out of it). I think he cracked her up with his constant chatter...he never stops talking!

Did I mention that Ms. Glendy makes the kids work hard? Connor was so exhausted that he fell asleep several times during the week when he was having his rest time. A VERY rare occurance. (That's him wrapped up in the blue blanket at the foot of the bed.)

Here's a quick video showing Connor's progress. He's doing the "swim and roll" technique which is basically freestyle. Go Connor!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Weather Report

Have you heard? There is a storm brewing down here on the Gulf Coast.

She started as a minor tropical storm...

And quickly escalated up the scale into a full-blown hurricane.

Hurricane Kaitlynn to be exact.

No matter how much we prepare, there's not much we can do to prevent her path of destruction.

So hunker down everyone. I'm no weatherman, but I have a feeling this storm will be sticking around a while....

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Date Night

For at least 6 months or so, Connor and I have been talking about Toy Story 3 and how we were so excited to see it when it came out in June. He has both of the other Toy Story movies on DVD and loves them. Every now and then, Connor would ask me, "Mom, is it June yet?" because he just couldn't wait to see the new Toy Story movie!

Last weekend the movie was finally released so we began planning our "date night" to go see it together. Jeff was kind enough to stay home with Kaitlynn, so Connor and Mommy set off on our date.

On the car ride to the movie theater, Connor was just bouncing in his seat because he was so excited about our date! We had seen a couple previews for the movie so we talked about what we thought might happen in the movie when Andy goes off to college. What would happen to all of his toys??

Finally we arrived at the theater, still excited and skipping all the way to the entrance. Here's Connor pointing to the movie poster.

Once inside, Connor was even more thrilled to get his own movie pack (popcorn, candy, and a drink.) He carried that movie pack into the theater like he was speed-walking -- he couldn't wait to get there!

When we got in our seats, Connor just couldn't stop reaching over to give me kisses and telling me how excited he was about our date night and about finally seeing Toy Story 3. What a sweetie!! And the movie was great. I have to admit I think I laughed in the movie more than Connor did. I highly recommend it!

It was an awesome date night with my precious boy. Jeff now has some stiff competition in the date department! ;-)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Kaitlynn Lately

I thought I'd share a few photos to show what Kaitlynn's been up to lately.

First of all, she's been BUSY. We've had such a busy summer already and it's not even July yet! We try to get out of the house most days, and we're lucky that Connor's friends from preschool get together often for play groups. Last week we went to one of the local inflatable places and the kids had a blast. Kaitlynn forgot she was just a baby and tried to climb with the big kids.

Kaitlynn has also been growing out of her clothes, so we've been visiting the resale shops and came across some cute finds like this.

She is still pulling all of her usual tricks like twisting around in the grocery carts...

And somehow kicking her legs out of high chairs.

Another recent activity for Kaitlynn has been a morning stroller ride from her brother. The umbrella stroller usually sits in the toy room and Kaitlynn will make her way over to it and start making some noise, indicating she's ready for a ride. Connor likes to push her in it, but before he does he always makes sure to load up the pocket with toys. So when she starts to whine or fuss, he just pulls a toy out of the stroller pocket for her to play with. Genius! And might I add, I LOVE stroller time because it gives me a good 15 minutes or so to finish getting ready each morning without worrying what mess the princess is making now!

And finally, I should add (although I don't have pictures or video yet) that tonight Kaitlynn hit one of her biggest milestones yet. She took her first steps! On two separate occasions, I let go of her and she took 3 steps to get into my arms. Jeff and Connor witnessed it too so I know I'm not seeing things. Honestly I was shocked because she doesn't seem ready to walk yet. But here's the strangest part: Connor was 1 year and 1 week old when he took his first steps (at an Astros game in fact). And today Kaitlynn is exactly 1 year and 1 week old. How crazy is that?? Yay Kaitlynn!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to all the wonderful fathers in our lives... Grandpa Jerry, Grandpa Dave, Grand Daddy ...

And of course, this one and only Dad.

We are so lucky to have such awesome Daddys!

Friday, June 18, 2010

1-Year Pictures

In an effort to scale back, I took Kaitlynn to JCPenney for her 1-year photos instead of my usual preferred place (Portrait Innovations) where I typically end up spending way too much money for so many photos that inevitably end up in a box in the closet!

The pictures turned out cute -- not exactly my favorites -- but then again the subject wasn't exactly cooperative either. In this one, I actually had to hold her with one hand in an attempt to keep her still.

I had such cute bows for Kaitlynn's hair and EVERY SINGLE TIME I put them in her hair she immediately yanked them right back out.

One of the pictures of Kaitlynn clapping reminded me of a similar one of Connor at his 1-year photos. Take a look...

As with most photo sessions with small kids, I was sweating profusely by the end. It's SO much work trying to get them in their outfits while keeping them happy and still for the photographer. But after I saw this last photo, I thought to myself..."OK, maybe it was worth it!"

Gotta love those baby blues!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Happy 15th to Kevin

Yesterday was another birthday for the Courtrights... Happy 15th Birthday, Kevin!

It gets a little complicated around our house with Kaitlynn's and Kevin's birthdays being 1 day apart, but we try to make sure each gets her/his own special night to celebrate. Kevin decided he wanted to eat at The Outback for his birthday dinner. And it would've been a lovely dinner, except for a certain someone in the family who was extremely loud, fussy, and disruptive. No, it wasn't Jeff, at least not this time. :-) We eat out regularly and Kaitlynn usually does very well, but not tonight. I think I noticed dirty looks from everyone sitting near us, and I don't blame them. Who knows, maybe Kaitlynn was just a little jealous that Kevin was trying to steal her birthday thunder, ha ha!

We came home and put the princess straight to bed and then we sang Happy Birthday to Kevin. Unfortunately I was out of birthday candles so we improvised with one of our household candles from our hurricane stash, ha!

Happy Birthday to Kevin! I'm not sure which birthday is more surprising, Kaitlynn turning 1 or Kevin turning 15. It goes by so fast!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

1 Year Stats

Kaitlynn's 1st birthday has come and gone! (And today is actually Kevin's 15th birthday -- stay tuned for pics when we celebrate tomorrow night.) Anyway, we spent Kaitlynn's big day by going to VBS and then to eat Mexican food last night for dinner. It's one of her faves! Here she is in her precious 1st birthday outfit. Target -- $9.99!

Here are some other fun facts about Her Majesty on her 1st birthday:

  • 1 year stats: weight - 23 lbs 4 oz (90th percentile); height - 29.5 cm (also 90th percentile)

  • Kaitlynn is "cruising" everywhere these days. She pulls up on anything and then side-steps her way to get what she wants. She'll look over at something like she wants to walk to get to it, but instead she plops down and crawls at super lightning speed!

  • She is drinking 3 bottles a day, part whole milk and part breast milk. We've been mixing them for a while to get her weaned, and she seems to have no trouble whatsoever drinking whole milk by itself.

  • Her 1-year molars started coming in at 11 months, and now she has 3 of them. And they work, too. She will eat just about anything these days. (Except baby food, ha!)

  • Kaitlynn seems to have a developed a morning routine for conducting her, ahem, business. She crawls under the kitchen table and, well, gets it done!

  • Everywhere we go, people comment on Kaitlynn's plumpness. Especially her thighs, which I admit came straight from her Mama. Very precious on a baby. On an adult, not so much ;-)

  • She has become quite the social butterfly, always waving and smiling at strangers.

  • Kaitlynn has become very vocal these days. She can be LOUD, too!

  • Remember Connor's sweet blond curls when he was a baby? Looks like that gene might have skipped Kaitlynn. She has some little flips but no curls for now. Why is it that the boys get all the fun traits like that?

  • She is sleeping pretty well these days. Most days we are on the go in the mornings so she'll take a long afternoon nap (3 hours or so). She goes to bed at night around 7 and usually sleeps until around 6 most mornings.

  • You'll rarely see Kaitlynn in a hairbow or shoes these days. She won't tolerate them for long and rips them off all by herself.

I've said it before and I'll say it again (and again...) -- I can't believe my baby is 1!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Happy 1st Birthday, Kaitlynn!

1 year ago today, our lives changed forever when Kaitlynn Faith joined our family.

Happy 1st Birthday, Kaitlynn!

Yesterday we had all 6 of us together so we had a little celebration for Kaitlynn with some pink cupcakes. It's hard to tell but the cupcakes spell out her name.

We sang Happy Birthday and then we let her "smash" her own cupcake. Here's a quick video -- you can see she was really delighted to have everyone's attention!

She managed to get cupcake icing everywhere, and then she was DONE!

Time for a bath with Daddy!

It was a very low-key celebration for our little princess. But there is nothing low-key about her personality! She wants what she wants and she knows how to get it, ha!

More pictures and updates to come, stay tuned!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Kaitlynn's Birth Story (1 Year Later)

I've been feeling very reflective lately considering that Kaitlynn will be turning 1 next week. Everytime I think about it I get very sad! Why?? My sweet baby girl is just growing too fast. I was looking back through my blog at her newborn pictures and stories and realized that I never posted her birth story. I actually wrote it a few days after she was born because I didn't want to forget any of the details, but for some reason I never posted it. And most people probably wouldn't be interested, but I decided to go ahead and post it anyway. So here you go, Kaitlynn's birth story - 1 year later!

I arrived at Memorial Hermann hospital at 7:45 am with Jeff and my Mom for Kaitlynn's induction. I got checked in and settled into the delivery room within about 20 minutes, and then we met our nurse who would be with us throughout the delivery. Her name was Paige and she was very sweet! Paige immediately put in my IV and hooked me up to the heart rate and contraction monitors to see how I was progressing, and we were told to wait for Dr. Promecene to come check my cervix before starting the Pitocin. I was hoping that I had dilated past 3 centimeters since I had been having more frequent contractions the previous day, but the doctor said I was still at 3 centimeters and 50% effaced. By 9:00 am, the Pitocin drip was in and we waited to see how my contractions would progress.

I immediately began feeling a regular pattern of contractions, but for some reason I couldn’t see them show up on the contraction monitor. I kept telling Paige that I thought it was strange, and she adjusted the contraction monitor several times. Finally, after increasing the Pitocin several times and still not seeing the contractions on the monitor, Paige came in and replaced the round monitor with a different flat one in the shape of a rectangular strip that laid flat on my belly. Within seconds, we noticed that my contractions were finally showing up and were so strong that they were off the chart! I was relieved because I was beginning to second guess myself that all these contractions I’d been feeling might not be contractions at all!

Since I knew that I would have many friends and family members wanting updates on our progress in the hospital, I brought my computer to the delivery room and committed to posting frequent updates on our blog site during the entire process. Jeff thought I was crazy and silly for wanting to do that, but I figured it would be much easier than calling or sending text messages all day. So as soon as I was hooked up to the Pitocin, I made my first blog post about the delivery and included the very last photos of myself pregnant!

Around 11 am, the contractions were in a very strong and regular pattern. The resident doctor came in and said they were going to break my bag of water, but she first suggested that I get the epidural (I had already made it clear that I wanted the epidural!) since often this would stimulate very painful contractions. I agreed, so the anesthesiologist came in and got me set up for the epidural. I made sure to tell him all about my last experience and how it did NOT provide pain relief, so I think he was intent on getting it right for me this time. After the epidural was in, the resident doctor came in and broke my bag of water. It took about 20 minutes or so to feel the numbness from the epidural medication, but it finally kicked in and I could definitely tell the difference. With the epidural I had for Connor, I had never experienced numbness in my legs or feet, so it was already working better than I anticipated. The contraction pattern I was having seemed to dip a bit, and it took another hour or so before the nurse found the right level of Pitocin to get me back into the strong contractions. But thankfully by then, I wasn’t feeling a thing!

After I was settled with the Pitocin and epidural, your Dad noticed me looking over at the computer. He kind of smiled and rolled his eyes and said, “You want me to post an update on the blog, don’t you?” And thus he became the blogger for the rest of the day to make sure everyone stayed informed. (And he did a great job!)

At 2 pm, the resident doctor came to check my progress. I was dilated to 5 centimeters and was 75% effaced. We were all a bit disappointed because we just assumed I would progress faster. She said she’d be back in 2 hours (4 pm) to check me again. At this point, I was STARVING and couldn’t think of much else except eating some food (primarily pizza and a Coke, just what I had wanted during Connor’s delivery as well!) I tried to rest a bit and may have dozed on and off. Your Dad and MeMe took turns leaving the room and getting food (discreetly, thank goodness). I was so hungry that I began munching on ice chips. Around 2:45 pm, I began to feel very nauseous. I teared up a bit because feeling nauseous always makes me cry! I also began feeling some distinct pain and pressure from the contractions, and Paige thought I should stop eating ice and maybe get the epidural checked. The anesthesiologist came in and checked the epidural, giving me more medicine and telling me to sit straight up with my legs out so that the medicine could reach my extremities. Within minutes I was feeling better, but I still felt very uncomfortable because of all the pressure I was feeling. Dr. Promecene had asked me to tell her when I started to feel pressure, but I wasn’t quite ready to announce it yet. I think I was beginning to get very nervous that the end was near.

Around 3:30 pm, I finally gave in and asked Jeff to notify the nurse that I was feeling pressure. I wasn’t 100% certain that it was the right kind of pressure, but it was definitely getting uncomfortable. Within minutes Dr. Promecene and the resident doctor came in to check me. I think they knew I must’ve been close. Sure enough, the resident doctor checked me and said with a big smile, “Oh yeah, we’re ready.” Apparently I was only 8 centimeters dilated, but Kaitlynn was so low (+ 3 station) that she thought a single push would open me up to complete dilation. A minute later, several more doctors and nurses came into the room. I looked at Jeff and my Mom and we were all in shock because it seemed to be happening so fast. We knew that with 5-6 doctors and nurses in the room, they were ready to deliver the baby at any moment! Which meant I needed to prepare myself to push!

I think Jeff and I were feeling the same anxiety at this point. I was just dreading the pushing process more than I can describe, and Jeff later said he was trying to prepare himself for the 2-hour pushing marathon (like we expected after I had to push for 3 hours with Connor). He joked that he needed some time to “get in the zone,” but his time to prepare had officially run out!

Dr. Promecene explained to me that one of the resident doctors (I can’t remember her name) would be delivering the baby. She was on her final shift as an ob/gyn doctor, so she wanted to have the privilege of delivering Kaitlynn as her very last baby. So Dr. Promecene and the 2 resident doctors (both young women, very sweet) got into position and asked me to try pushing. I admit at this point I was a bit overwhelmed. I felt like I should’ve known immediately what to do, but I really wanted someone to tell me instead (where to put my feet, how to push, how long, etc.) Thankfully the resident doctor did just that. The doctors then helped me lift my legs to push. And let me just say, the epidural worked GREAT! I never understood before that my legs were supposed to be “floppy” from the epidural since it didn’t work with Connor. Thankfully this time around I was blessedly floppy and numb!

Jeff stood on one side of me with the camera while my Mom was on the other. I lifted my legs to push and then pushed with all my might for 2-3 times. Immediately everyone in the room was exclaiming how close Kaitlynn was -- her head was crowning and I was told she had a head full of blond hair. After that contraction was finished, the doctors prepared for her imminent arrival. Dr. Promecene said she'd be here in the next contraction. I remember being extremely doubtful that it could happen so fast, but I was also hoping she was right. I think it dawned on me that she was almost here, and I was trying really hard not to break down and cry from the overwhelming emotions I was feeling. I looked up at Jeff who was obviously feeling the same.

We waited a couple minutes and finally another contraction came. I pushed again with everything I had, and the entire room of people seemed so excited. All of a sudden, Dr. Promecene told me to stop pushing – the head was out! What??? A second later, they asked for another push, and Kaitlynn was HERE!! In only 2 contractions, she arrived at 3:46 pm!

Looking back now, I am surprised that I wasn’t immediately trying to assess Kaitlynn's condition and whether or not she appeared to have Down syndrome. Before the delivery, I assumed that would be the only thing on my mind when she arrived. In reality, it never crossed my mind once she was here. I was just so overwhelmed with how fast everything progressed and how remarkably easy this delivery was compared to Connor’s. But moments after she arrived, I distinctly remember Dr. Promecene’s first words to me: “She’s perfect! She looks perfect,” she said. At that moment, I remembered that we had been so anxious and uncertain about her condition, but all the worry seemed to melt away because the medical team seemed to think she looked completely normal. I was cautiously optimistic that they were right. I looked at Jeff and he was smiling so big with tears rolling down his face. I said to him, “They say she’s perfect!” and we both just felt so overwhelmed with joy and relief.

The doctors delivered Kaitlynn and placed her on my tummy as they wiped her down. She was letting out some pitiful cries, so we all felt that she was doing well. I noticed how small she looked, mostly because I was comparing her to Connor 3 years earlier. But I also noticed right away how much she looked like Connor. She was a beautiful pink color and seemed perfectly healthy. After a few minutes, nurse Paige took her away to clean and weigh her. 6 pounds, 13 ounces!

I began having the “shakes” from the epidural medicine. Dr. Promecene and the resident doctor worked to finish up the delivery, and I remember thinking that it was completely painless (unlike with Connor, it was almost as uncomfortable as the actual delivery). With Kaitlynn's smaller head and fast delivery, I didn’t have to get the episiotomy this time (thank goodness!) and so the rest of the process was completed much quicker. The nurse brought Kaitlynn back to me all swaddled and cozy, and her eyes were wide open. I remember looking down at her, just amazed at this precious miracle in my arms! I know several times I just closed my eyes and praised God for her, that she was healthy and perfect. As the doctors and nurses were finishing up in our room, each of them at different times reiterated that Kaitlynn looked perfect (translation: she did not have Down syndrome). It was then I realized that Dr. Promecene must have discreetly prepared everyone for that possibility and how I wanted the medical staff to be open and honest with me when she arrived. I so much appreciated her for that.

I held Kaitlynn so close and just marveled at her for a long time. Our baby girl was here, tiny and perfect. It was then that I recalled one of my favorite Bible verses, James 1:17: "Every good and perfect gift is from above...."

So true, so true.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Super Villains

Jeff: (from across the living room) "Lauri, why is our bedroom door locked?"

Lauri: "I don't know."

Connor: "Oh, I locked it!" (spoken with pride)

Lauri: "What do you mean, you locked it?"

Connor: "I locked the door, to keep the super villains out."

Lauri: "The super villains?" (anger rising)

Connor: "Yeah, I was playing super villains and I wanted to keep them out of your room."

Jeff: "Um, the guest bathroom door is locked, too."

Lauri: "Connor!" (more anger) "Did you lock the bathroom door, too?!"

Connor: "Um, yeah...." (spoken more timidly now)

Lauri: "What?! Why did you lock these doors? Now we can't get in there!"

Connor: "Calm down, calm down. All you have to do is unlock the door."

A few guys, a hammer, some loosened hinges, and an allen wrench later, both doors were finally unlocked. At least we were all safe from the super villains!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Block Party

It was (and still is!) a madhouse at the Courtright household this weekend. In addition to the 6 of us, we had 2 additional visitors staying with us. Cousin Jon, Jeff's cousin from Michigan, flew in on Thursday for a long weekend since his original trip last fall was cancelled from Jeff's swine flu. And then my brother Ben stopped in for the weekend on his way down to south Texas for work. It was good timing for our visitors, because our cul-de-sac hosted a block party and we all had a blast. There was music, a ton of food, swimming, water balloons, and then there was the water slide...

Looks pretty cool, huh? It was a 20 foot inflatable slide with water and the kids (some grown-ups, too) loved it!

That's our house in the background of the picture above. So as you can see, we were right in the middle of all the fun!

There goes Connor down the slide.

And Kaitlynn managed to get lots of attention, as usual, with her smiles and waves.

This picture cracked me up -- Kevin and Kaitlynn have the exact same looks on their faces! (As if they are saying, "Really? Another picture??")

Here's a pic of me with Kaitlynn after we both got soaked from standing too close to the water slide.

Here's Cousin Jon relaxing by the pool. I'd say the guys spent most of their weekend out there.

Here's Uncle Ben shooting some hoops from the pool. Jeff and Collin mounted a basketball hoop to the side of our house, so this is the new favorite swim game around here.