Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Christmas shopping... and the wedding story

Wow... I've only been on an official Christmas shopping outing once this year. I went with Isaac and, because of his schedule, we were only out for about an hour. I got one thing... which is still the only thing I've gotten so far for my husband. The other Christmas gifts I've managed to pick up have been for nieces and nephews, and for my brother and his wife. The nieces and nephews are lucky that there now exist Super Wal-Mart and Super Target and that my grocery shopping time can double as Christmas shopping time. How did my parents do it before Super Wal-mart or Super Target? It's a mystery to me!

Having a baby changes everything. I wouldn't say that having a baby makes things more difficult, it simply makes simple, every day tasks far more time consuming that you could ever have imagined. For instance, this past Saturday one of Brandon's long time close friends got married. Brandon was a groomsmen in the wedding, as was his cousin Jeremiah. Jeremiah's wife, Jennifer, and I decided that we should hang out while our guys were doing wedding stuff, so she came over to our house with Brenner, their 5 month old son. We had plans to go shopping for a wedding outfit for Brenner, then come back to our house to change before the wedding. Once she arrived, however, she quickly discovered that she had left her change of clothes for the wedding in another town where she and her husband had spent the night. So, we began to get ready to make the trek to Mesquite for her clothes, and then back to Garland to shop. By the time we had moved car seats, changed diapers, fed our boys, and unpacked her car to make room to pack the strollers, we had been preparing for our trip for an hour! The trip to Mesquite and back cost us another hour, which left us with 30 minutes to shop. So, our shopping trip together turned in to Jennifer running into two stores alone while I stayed in the car with the babies. By the time we got back to my house, fed the babies, changed the babies, and threw on our dresses, we arrived at the wedding 15 minutes late! We were running so far behind that, as I was putting Isaac in the car, my purse fell and dumped stuff all over the driveway and I left it... yes, me... I left the mess of stuff sitting in the driveway! The good news is that our baby boys were perfectly content with their full little bellies during the wedding ceremony, and made nothing but precious cooing noises for the entertainment of those around us. As they said about Apollo 13 - it was a successful failure. But I tend to lean more toward the successful part myself. Oh, and in case you're wondering... my mess of stuff was still in the driveway when we got home. :)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Christmas time is here!

Christmas is, without doubt, my favorite holiday. I love the lights, the music, the smells, the decorations, the colors... it's all so beautiful. I enjoy every minute of it. I especially love decking the Ritter halls in preparation for the day we celebrate our Lord's birth. As I decorate the fireplace and dining room, Brandon hangs lights on the house. We top off the day by decorating our Christmas tree together and tidying the house of all the boxes and newspaper that house our decorations in the off-season. Here are a few pictures of the end result:

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree

The Fireplace awaits the stockings...
The dining room adornment
This Christmas is going to be particularly special for us now that we have Isaac. I know he's too young to ever remember his first Christmas, but I'll ALWAYS remember it. I can hardly wait for Christmas morning... helping him open his gifts and playing with him and all his new toys. I have a whole new understanding of the miracle of Jesus' birth and the magnitude of the sacrifice God made for the human race. It's a sacrifice I cannot comprehend... which makes His love for us even more amazing and has made me realize how truly undeserving I am of His mercy.

And, last but not least, here are some recent pictures of our bundle of joy.

Chillin' with Dad

Relaxin' in my relaxin' chair

Dressed for the cold weather (finally!)
Playing with Mommy

I can't help but look good in orange... I'm part Cowboy!!

Enjoy the sights and sounds of the Season!

Short & Sweet

When I went to wake my bundle of joy this morning to feed him his breakfast, I found him in the most peculiar of sleeping positions. Brandon and I got quite a kick out of it!

It was completely dark in his room, although it looks like he was trying to block out the sunlight. His plan was working well... the flash from the camera didn't even phase his slumber! :)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

That's all he needs. He needs this....

Brandon and I went to the mall tonight to get some much needed clothes for our boy. He's had a MAJOR growth spurt this week, and has gone from wearing 0-3 month to 3-6 month clothes in a matter of days. Cu-razy. We had so much fun shopping for him, but I must say it was a challenge. We kept finding adorable things all over the place, but knew we couldn't go crazy buying a million things that he'd only wear for a little while. So, we did our best to go the sensible route, buying several pairs of pants, lots of onzies and one splurge. He'll probably be able to wear the splurge for like, a day, but Brandon and I both agreed we couldn't possibly leave it in the store. You better believe I'm going to put him in that outfit as many times as I possibly can before he has another growth spurt!

Here's a picture of Isaac and Mommy just before our trip to the mall. That adorable outfit he has on was bought by Daddy. Does my husband have good taste or what?

Monday, November 16, 2009

How fast they grow...

I've always heard parents talk about how quickly children grow and change and, now as a parent myself, I'm getting to experience this first hand. Isaac is growing so quickly! Brandon and I are running out of season appropriate things to put him in, despite the truckload of adorable hand-me-down clothes we got from my wonderful sister-in-law, Karen. While getting hand-me-downs is awesome, I have to say that I'm REALLY looking forward to shopping for Isaac!
On another note, Isaac is starting to enjoy his bath, which is so much fun! Here are some cute pictures of him after his bath last night.

I love bath time!

In my jammies and ready for bed.

Not only is Isaac getting bigger by the minute these days (at least it seems that way!), he's also becoming more alert, more responsive and... a totally new thing... he's cooing! This has got to be the single most delightful sound I've ever heard. Brandon and I do whatever we can to get a coo out of our little man.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Back to shcool, back to shcool....

The honeymoon of my maternity leave is officially over. Monday marked my first day back to work, and my first time to leave my Isaac for an entire day. The good news is that Brandon, my awesome, amazing, wonderful husband, took Monday and Tuesday off to stay home with Isaac. It made my first week back to work quite a bit easier. It gave us the opportunity to get a feel of our morning routine, and it gave me the ability to go back to work those two days with much less anxiety... and knowing I could call home to check on him as often as I wanted! While I've always dreamed of being a stay at home Mom, that's just not a possibility for us right now. So I've got to make the best of this by remembering that I'm blessed with a job, a wonderful home, a tank full of gas, and food on the table while many others are struggling to find work and provide the bare necessities for their families.

Thank you, Lord, for these blessings.

Today was Isaac's first day to go to the sitters. Brandon and I LOVE our sitter - she is wonderful. A sweet, Christian woman who has previously run a day-care, a pre-school, has been a foster parent and has 5 children of her own. She is the real deal - she's all about kids. We couldn't have asked for a more loving and caring person to take care of our Isaac (with the exception of family, of course). Even as wonderful as she is, though, it was still a tearful morning leaving him with her. Those Moms out there that have done this before, you know exactly where I'm coming from! I've never been as ready to leave work as I was today... I straightened my classroom and cleared my desk in record time to get to that precious boy as fast as I possibly could! His big eyes and bright smile have never been so sweet.

Today brought about the harsh reality that my time with Isaac in the evenings is going to go much too quickly... between cooking dinner, packing Isaac for the next day, bath-time, kitchen clean-up and multiple feedings, the time FLIES by! I'll cherish the weekends even more at this stage in my life... the time that they will give us to spend together as a family will be invaluable.

Speaking of family, this weekend marked Isaac's first trip to Grandmomma and Grandaddy Rhodes house! Here are some pictures of Isaac getting his first bath at Grandmomma's house. I love you, Mom & Dad - we had a great time in B'ville!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Time really does fly...

I can't believe that my baby turned a month old yesterday. While the day of his birth seems like ages ago, his first four weeks at home have absolutely flown by! It's been so much fun being at home with him and getting to know him. Here are a few pictures for your viewing pleasure. :)

Gearing up for a smile...

and it's a big one!...

and still showing off my precious smile!

Ready for a walk with Mommy and Cooper

Playing with Daddy

Looking more like my Daddy everyday

World's cutest frowning face

Posing for the camera

What a cutie pie

Having lived in the Dallas area for nearly 7 years now, I've found that my least favorite thing about living here is the lack of a Fall season. The weather tends to go from hot directly to cold, the trees go from green to leaflless, skipping over that crisp, cool Fall temperature and the colors of the season. I remember hosting Thanksgiving two years ago and having to turn down the air conditioner because it was still so hot! However, we've actually been having Fall-like temperatures lately, so Brandon, Isaac and I took advantage of it this weekend by walking around a beautiful outdoor mall close to our home on Sunday afternoon. We bought a few outfits for our little guy, enjoyed a couple of Sonic drinks (thanks, Mom!) and did a bit of window shopping. I hope that the weather allows us to have another family outing sometime soon! I also hope that this Fall-like weather brings the other joy of Fall - the turning of the leaves. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we'll actually get to see some color this year!

Isaac's ready for the mall!
Just before I started this post...

I hope you all enjoy the wonderful Fall weather, too!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

My little family and my 30th birthday

My family... these words have a whole new meaning for me now. In the past when I've said "my family", I've been referring to either my immediate family, extended family, or that of my in-laws. Now these words refer to the family that my husband and I have started. I guess we're growing up!

Speaking of my family, here are some pictures of my boys. :)

Our perfect little angel...

Daddy and Isaac

Smiling for Mama

Daddy's whiskers tickle!

Daddy rocks me to sleep.
On another note, I turned 30 last week and had the most wonderful birthday celebration with my family. I'm still not able to get out much, so I wasn't sure what we would do for my birthday. I really didn't expect much since Brandon is talking about having a big 3-0 party when I'm feeling more up to it and Isaac is a bit older. I was very pleasantly surprised when Brandon brought a beautiful bouquet of flowers home with him, along with cards from both him and one from Isaac, both of which made me cry. And then, as I turned to hug my husband to thank him, he surprised me with a gift bag from Zales. Inside was a beautiful sapphire ring - something I've been wanting for years - AND a sapphire necklace and earrings. Oh, and did I mention that we also had sushi for dinner? WOW! Am I lucky or what? A healthy, happy, beautiful baby boy, an amazing husband AND sapphires for my birthday? What did I do to deserve all of this?

My new ring!

Thank you, dear Jesus, for the immeasurable gift of my family. I pray that I will never take them for granted and that I will always remember what a blessing they are to my life.

A visit from the Pruitts

Yesterday brought some much anticipated guests - the Pruitts (aka my sister, her husband and her son). They came all the way from Moore, Ok to meet Isaac for the first time!

My sister is one of the most special people in the world to me. She is my best friend. I can talk about anything with her and know that it is in complete confidence and also know that, if I'm receiving advice, it's expert advice from someone that knows me better than just about anyone else in the world. She is one of the most Godly women I know, so she is also an inspiration to me. Stephanie and I have always had this deep connection - we can read each other's minds.. I've heard her describe it as a "twin" thing, which is a very good way to describe it. Needless to say, I was super excited for my little sister to meet my baby boy. It was an incredibely special moment for me - one that I'll never forget.

Yes, there's also a baby in the picture... :)
Beautiful Aunt Stephanie and Isaac

It's always great seeing Mike, too! Mike truly is like a brother to me. He and my sister dated for many years before they got married, beginning in High School. Mike and I graduated from high school together and our families also went to church together. Needless to say, we spent a lot of time together at our many youth group gatherings, and also had a lot of fun "learning" French in High School (non, merci... ha!.. Mike will get it...). Mike is a great guy, a great father and a goof-ball that I always enjoy spending time with. He's the in-law that I can ALWAYS be myself around, same as my actual siblings. Sometimes we even fight like we're siblings... sorry, Mike. :)

Uncle Mike meets Isaac

And last, but certainly not least, there's my nephew Sam. Sam is the grandson of the Rhodes family that my Mom affectionately calls the "giant little baby". That's a GREAT description of him. He's enormous for his age (95th percentile)... I can't believe how much taller he is than even the last time I saw him! He's also one of the loudest, most rambunctious kids I've ever seen. He's ALL BOY, and super fun. He loves his parents, loves to smile, and loves to explore. I can hardly wait for Isaac to get a little older so that they can play together. They're just over a year apart, so we all hope that these two cousins grow up to be great buds! We love you, Sam!!!!

Sam on the move!

Sam loves on his Daddy. So sweet!

Thanks, Pruitts, for making the trek down to Rowlett this weekend. We love you and can't wait to see you again soon!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Isaac's arrival

Last Sunday was the most exciting day of my life. I woke up Sunday morning with some unusual symptoms, so I called my Mom to see if they could be signs of labor. She thought that they were, and as the morning progressed, Brandon and I became sure of it.

We made our first trip to the hospital when I knew I was definitely having labor contractions and they were getting rather close together. When we arrived at the hospital, one of the most wonderful nurses, Mary, checked us into Triage to monitor my progress. Sure enough, the contractions were coming hard every two and a half minutes, but I wasn't dialated enough for them to admit me. So... home we went... hard contractions and all.

I'd had the flu on Thursday and Friday the week before, so I was still monitoring my fever in case I should let the doctor know that I was still sick. At one point once we returned home, I began to feel feverish, so I checked and and found that my fever had shot up over 100. I called my doctor and he told me I should definitely come back in. When we arrived, they put us straight into a labor and delivery room due to my "flu symptoms", and the doctor reluctantly agreed to admit us, even though I was still not meeting the 3 cm dialation requirement. PRAISE THE LORD!! He told the nurse that he expected I would be at 5cm by 5 the next morning.
Once we were admitted, they started IV fluids, antibiotics, and pain meds to help take the edge off of the contractions until they could give me my epidural. There was also a shift change for the nurses almost immediately after we were admitted, which meant that, unfortunately, Mary was going home. Luckily, she snagged us a FABULOUS nurse by the name of Susan. (those of you who don't know, my Mom's name is Mary Susan.... coincidence??) After a couple of hours, the anethesiologist came into our room to talk with us. The first words out of her mouth were "I'm so sorry to be the bearer of bad news.". My first thought was, "Great.. they're sending us home... again!". Instead, the news was about my bloodwork. It showed a very low platelet count, which could cause major complications with the epidural the we'd planned to receive. So... there would be no epidural - only IV meds to help with the pain. The good news was that I was already on the same relaxing meds that I would be receiving throughout my labor, so I took the news much more calmly than one would expect. A couple of hours later, Susan came in to tell us that it was time to start pushing. She said "You still have 30 minutes to have this baby today... let's get to work!". She, along with my amazing husband, were the most wonderful coaches I could have asked for during delivery. Brandon was always there to give me more ice-chips and Susan knew exactly what to say to get that baby out of me. :) Their wonderful words of enouragement kept me going strong. Thanks to them, I pushed for less than an hour!

Labor was just that. LABOR. Hard work. Pain. Sweat. Tears. Ah, the tears. Tears of joy as they showed me our son for the first time. All memories of the pain, sweat and labor of child-birth were suddenly replaced with the overwhelming joy of that beautiful little person that the Lord had blessed us with. Love had never been so overwhelming. Joy took on a whole new meaning.

Isaac Aiden Ritter was born to us on Monday, September 21 at 12:29am, weighing 8 lbs., 4 oz. and measuring 21 inches in length. He is our little miracle - practically perfect in every way. I can't wait to see what God has in store for our precious little man.

And now, the moment you've been waiting for... PICTURES!! :)

Isaac's first picture

Look at those beautiful eyes...

Isaac and Mommy

One day old - snoozing with Daddy at the Hospital

Meeting Grandmamma for the first time

Meeting Grandpa for the first time.

Meeting Aunt Julie for the first time.

We're going home!

All dressed up for the ride home!

Chillin' on the couch

Don't hate me because I'm beautiful...

Isaac is super alert - watching Daddy's every move.

Happy camper right after dinner!

Isaac's first bath at home.

All clean!

Mommy and Me

Listening intently to Grandmamma

Thanks so much to everyone for the meals, sweet phone calls and emails of congratulations. An extra special thanks to my Mom - Grandmamma - for coming to stay with us during the first week of Isaac's life. Her help has been tremendous - she's cooked, cleaned, run errands, stocked our fridge and given up sleep for us. Thanks, Mom, for the precious gift of your presence. I don't know what we would have done without you!