Thursday, February 25, 2010

Couple Pictures

The last few posts have been light on the pictures so here are a couple just because...

We took MacKenzie to the Cy-Ridge Varsity Girl's basketball game...she slept...I look tired after a full day at work!

Matt took MacKenzie to Chick-Fil-A. As much as we like it there, rest assured that her first solids do NOT involve fried food!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Talking Baby! (Sorta)

Our baby girl has a lot to say about her little world. This is a video Grammy KiKi got when she watched her today!

video

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Life is sexually transmitted...

Ok. So I debated long and hard about this post, but finally decided to go for it.

Yesterday it has been a year since MacKenzie has joined our family, she has either grown inside of me or been in our arms for a full year now. We know this, without a doubt, for a fact, yesterday she came into our lives. I am so happy for this fact and that she has been promised for us to treasure and raise and guide for as long as we can. All of you know how thankful I am to have her in our lives. February 12 will always be a special day for us and we fully intend to remember it for many years down the road! I think about what a miracle it is that her little cells were rapidly dividing at this point to make the framework that would now be the body I am looking at today. I think it is amazing that at this point a year ago, so much was determined by the creation of her own DNA that we aren't even aware of ourselves. We don't even know what color her hair will end up being, but a year ago it was set and determined! I remember being awed by the idea that a few months in, she has a brain, heart, and all sorts of organs, but is no larger than the tip of a pen. It makes me realize how far out of our hands so much is and how amazing life truly is!

The reason I decided to go ahead and write about this post was because of my beliefs about when life begins. For us, we know that her life began at this point last year. We celebrate her birth day on October 24, but her first day of life is February 12. There is no doubt in our minds that life begins at conception. From that moment she is a completely separate person from either Matt or myself. She has her own DNA and will grow up to have her own personality and traits that we might influence, but cannot manipulate to be just like our own. Just because for the first 6 months or so of her life in the womb she relies on me for strength and nourishment, that does not make her life any less worthy of living. After a child is born they still rely on those around them for strength and nourishment. Thus, she cannot be merely a choice. We fail to understand the argument of those that believe that abortion is an ok option. We hate to use the term "pro-choice" because it makes abortion seem so positive. Most people that decide that abortion is ok feel that there is a point during pregnancy where it is no longer ok. In all of the baby books I read, there is no mysterious point that makes that life any different from before. The argument may be that life is viable on its own at a certain point, but as stated earlier my child still relies on me past birth. This is not as organized written down as I had intended it to be, but I wanted to take time to encourage others to celebrate life at every opportunity, especially when you know (even an approximate) time in which your little ones joined you! My heart breaks for all of the lives lost because of a failure to understand the miracle that occurs at the very moment of conception and hope that one day we can give true choices to mothers who feel like termination of a pregnancy is their best choice.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Passport troubles

I thought I would share the adventure of getting my passport with all of my loyal fans. When we went through this process, I was not blogging, but it was blog worthy. Warning...it is a bit long!

Matt and I were headed to Puerto Vallarta to hang out for a week in May of 2007. Because of the new regulations, I needed a passport and Matt needed to renew his. He was sad about renewing his because it meant that he didn't have all of the nifty stamps inside from his travels prior to this trip. However we both applied for our new passports in the first part of March being reassured that we did not have to apply for an expedited passport and that we would have plenty of time.

Applying was a bit of a trouble for me. In February, I called the post office near our house and was told that they had a camera on premises and confirmed what I needed to bring in. When I arrived at the post office I was told that the camera was broken... That would have been nice to know. I went back the following week after confirming that their camera was now fixed and working. When I arrived, I was greeted by the most pleasant post office worker in existence. I wish you could see my face and hear my tone of voice as I write that...it is dripping with sarcasm. She informed me (after I waited in line for half an hour) that they were not taking any more passport applications that day. I was not sure exactly what this meant and she refused to elaborate. I asked if they were out and she replied that no, they had plenty, they just weren't taking any more that day. I sighed, ran through a few choice words in my head, and left determined to not try that post office any longer. I went to a different post office later that week where I actually did encounter a very pleasant lady who quickly and efficiently took care of my application and informed me I had made it in time that day for it to be sent off. I asked her if I needed to get the passport expedited as she said that I should be more than fine.

March and April pass with no sign of either Matt or my passport. We were leaving the third week in May so we started to get a little antsy. The week before we began trying to call the US passport service in order to find out where our elusive passports were. We were left in a tangled web of bureaucracy where no one actually tells you anything but merely transfers you around in circles. The Saturday before Matt and I were supposed to leave we both called and waited on hold for the entire day. We did not know that a cell phone would ever time out on a call. Apparently after 6 hours they do. We both waited until we were sure the offices were closed. At this point I was more than a little frantic. That semester had been tough, I was substitute teaching, bar tending/waiting tables, and taking 12 hours of graduate classes. Matt had stopped working in March to try to find a different job and we really needed the time away to recharge and spend time together. I broke down crying thinking that there was no solution.

We called the next day, Sunday hoping that we would get some news as to what we should do. We spoke with a real person who informed us that our passports were being processed in Charleston (why they were sent all the way to Charleston when there is a processing center in Houston, I am not sure) and that, if we were leaving on Wednesday that there was no way of our passports to get to us in time. He informed us that he could set an appointment for us in the Houston office to get them rushed and would still be able to go on our trip! I asked him what we needed for the next day. He let me know we needed new passport pictures, photo i.d., proof of our flight, and a check to pay for different processing. I asked him about all of the other information (birth certificate etc). He assured me that the necessary info was in what he called "our system". Matt and I gleefully went to Walgreen's for new photos and I cancelled my sub job for the next day.

We arrived in downtown Houston ready to get our passports taken care of. We parked in a pay lot and gave money to who we thought was the attendant. Later, the real attendant came and found us and told us we gave money to the wrong guy. Matt and I figured it was his fault for not being there when the lot was open, but I don't remember if we paid him again or not. We were called upstairs to get in line for the passports. Because we had an appointment we were able to head to the front of the line and did not have to wait long (we felt special skipping over all of those people). When we arrived at the window we gave the woman the things we were told to bring and smiled, happy that this would all soon be over... She asked us for our birth certificates... I informed her that she did not need them, because you have them in your "system". She informed me that there was no "system" and that she needed them to process our information. With all of the stress over the past few days, I immediately started crying at which point the woman began to yell at me for crying. We told her we did not know how to get a birth certificate as ours were in Charleston with our original applications. She let us know that we could go to the other side of downtown in order to get new ones (for a fee) and come back to the front of the line when we got back. We ran over there, paid for new parking, paid for new birth certificates, ran back to the passport office, paid for new parking (again), and skipped up to the front of the line at this point not really caring if we offended anyone. She accepted all of our information, gave us a number or ticket and told us to wait on the other side of the room for them to confirm and swear us to the passport. So we waited...and waited...and waited.

Finally, later that afternoon we were called up to answer three little questions and told to sit back down to wait for our passports to be printed. There were people there with suitcases watching the clock and realizing that their flight was leaving without them, looking back we were fortunate that we took care of things a day or two before. We had an appointment at about 3 that afternoon, so we had to leave as our passports were not going to be ready until later that day. I made sure that Matt could pick up my passport for me (so we wouldn't have to pay to park again) and we left for the appointment.

The appointment was embarrassing to say the least. We were going to see a job placement agency for Matt and for some reason they wanted to meet with the both of us. They told us information about Matt based on his testing and their perception of him and looked to me for confirmation that it was true. I half way told them it wasn't and they told me in a way that there was truth to their report. Then they informed the both of us that in order to work on his job placement we would have to spend over $1,000. The stress of the day and trying to find Matt a job and the embarrassment of not having that kind of money to spend and feeling put on the spot was just too much. I began crying again) and we left saying "we would let them know". Trying not to worry about it too much, we went back downtown to get our passports. They weren't ready yet, come back tomorrow! At this point I informed Matt that I could see why people pull guns on government agencies like this. Surely not all agencies are this bad...

Matt cancelled his sub job the next day and went down to grab our passports (paying to park again). Needless to say we definitely were ready to relax on the beach... We considered "billing" the state department for our troubles, but never followed through. Matt and I still feel it was one of the most stressful days of our lives...

All of this being said, I love my passport. I love my stamps and stickers that confirm all of the wonderful adventures I have had. Because I got my passport stamped in Israel, I will not be able to travel to Syria, Iran, and Lebanon any time soon, but I don't have that in my travel plans for the forseeable future anyways. We were disappointed that our journey into Scotland was not rewarded with a new stamp, but we will eventually get over it.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Working out

The 30 day shred was going great...yes...note that I said was. Between Mastitis, people visiting, leaving to go to College Station for the weekend, and getting a cold, it has proved difficult to stay on top of the whole work out. I understand that there are always excuses when it comes to working out and that Jillian Michaels would probably yell at me and say that I was just "phoning it in" anyways. I have decided to put a hold on pushing the Shred any further right now. Last week my cold was the turning point. Normally I try to push through a cold and continue to work out, but I felt that with my usual "extra reserves" of energy being taken by nursing the monster child that is my daughter (unofficial weight of over 16 pounds), I took the week off. I weighed myself on Monday (as usual) and grimaced in preparation of seeing a larger number than a desired (Super Bowl Sunday plus no working out couldn't be good). I was surprised by a number a full 6-7 pounds less than the week before! While this might be a small amount of muscle mass, there is no way all of it was. I have personally decided that the shred might not be the best workout for a nursing mother because I feel that my body was keeping on extra pounds because of the fear Jillian Michaels instilled in it. Instead I will be starting the couch to 5K program (as previously mentioned) this week. It is a very gradual program so I don't think I will have the same issues as with the shred. Also, I think that our stroller is good enough that I can do some of the program while getting some fresh air with MacKenzie. So...we will see how this goes!!!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

16 weeks

MacKenzie,

The months are simply flying by. I have had friends tell me that each month that passes will be your favorite month and they really are telling the truth. This past month you have truly developed into a baby who loves to be social and interact with others. You have gone from inconsolable crying when you wake up, to crying to get our attention and smiling when we go to get you from your naps! You smile almost every time you see us and it makes us so happy to know that, to some degree, we are making you happy too! You laugh at Mama a lot, especially when she is doing something silly. You are usually a bit more serious with Dada, but I think it is because you are playing coy with him. You are already learning how to manipulate your father, neither of us are sure what to think about that! There have been several times in the past month that you have been upset and look over at your swing or activity mat. We put you down expecting you to get even more upset, but this has been the very thing you wanted. You LOVE to play on your activity mat. You squeal, smile, and talk to the star who smiles down on you and you have definitely learned that if you kick the right way to move the star then he (or she) will play music as the lights flicker on and off for your eyes to see. You have also begun raising your legs at a 90 degree angle, holding them there, then slamming them onto the ground as hard as you can. I think you like the way the floor moves underneath you or maybe you just like how strong and powerful you are becoming. You consistently roll from your back to your side and are very close to rolling all the way onto your tummy.

MacKenzie, you are so very strong. You like to stand up on your legs and look at us with glee as if to say "Look what I can do". We always joke with family and friends that you think you are older than you are. You so want to talk and move around with the rest of us! We are trying to enjoy each stage that we can, while encouraging you to grow up in your own time...parenting is so bittersweet! You are eating well, both nursing and taking the bottle, but you have begun to reach the stage where you will get distracted as you eat. It is fun to watch you smile as you nurse or when daddy feeds you a bottle all we see is gums!

You are becoming more and more portable and we love taking you places with us! Recently, we took you up to College Station so Mommy and Daddy could go to the Aggie game, we knew it would be too loud for you. We did take you to the basketball game at Mommy's school, you slept while we all cheered and screamed for the team. After, Daddy took us out to a pizza date and it was wonderful, I hope he continues to treat his girls!

We love you so much MacKenzie and love where this journey is taking us! Thanks for all of the great memories!
Mommy and Daddy