Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Dear Miles, 3 months

Dear Miles,

What a fun month this has been!  Although the morning always comes far too quickly for me, you start my day off right with one of your infectious smiles.  It never fails!  As soon as we place you on the changing table you lock eyes with us and smile like we are the best thing you've ever seen!  It exudes joy and all of the sudden my empty tank feels full.  Your nicknames have already been established and they all have to do with your sweet smile.  "Miles of Smiles", "Biggie Smiles", and "Smiles" have almost replaced your real name.

Your sweet cheeks are growing! At your 1 month appointment you weighed 9lbs 1oz and were 20.5 inches long and at your 2 month appointment you weighed 11lbs 13oz and were 22 1/2 inches long.  I can only imagine you gained another pound or three since then! When your brother Weston is asleep we can put you under your playmat to play with your toys.  You can already bat and grab them!

You like to suck on your hands and are getting better at keeping the paci in your mouth just a little longer.  You do a great job with tummy time and have a very strong neck.  You still don't love your car-seat, but we are working on that! Like your brothers, you LOVE your bath, but I know you don't get them often enough.  You have been such an easy baby and an exceptional cuddler!  I just love that about you!
I never told you about how we came up with you name.  Not surprisingly, we were having a very difficult time coming up with a 3rd boy name we loved.  During my pregnancy with you we were asked a lot about what names we were thinking of and also given a lot of suggestions!  True to form, we didn't name you until a few days after you were born.  We came to the hospital with our list and after initially laying eyes on you we actually thought we were going to name you something completely different!  But by your 2nd day, you opened your eyes for an extended period of time and we finally just knew exactly what name fit you best.
Miles means servant leader, merciful, and soldier.  Such a fitting tribute to your sweet Nana.  Once you get to know your Nana, you will know she embodies the gift of mercy and is one of the biggest servant leaders I've ever met.  Your Nana has become a true warrior as she has learned to battle cancer with not only her body but with the Holy Spirit.  She continues to surrender her fears and her own plans for her life and gives it all to the One who knit her together.  Your middle name, John is after your Great Grandpa Winkler.  He is a man you can emulate you life after.  A disciplined, kind, and faithful man.  Miles, I pray you come to know the God who knit you together.  I pray you grow to embody all these beautiful qualities. I love you so very much, sweet boy.


Monday, August 11, 2014

Dear Miles, 2 months

Dear Miles,

When I was 7 months pregnant with you I received a phone call from your Papa I will never forget.  Standing in the middle of the park with your brothers and Dad, I plugged my ear and pressed the phone hard up against my other ear so I could hear what he had to say.  Tears of disbelief and panic overtook me as I listed to Papa say, "Your mom has been diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma."

The day you were born, your Nana had just finished up her 2nd round of chemo therapy a few days before.  As I labored with you through the night and into the morning, Nana was lying awake sick, praying us through your delivery.  Nana had to miss out on visiting us at the hospital.  She was unable to come help take care of us in the first few weeks you were home.  She didn't get to meet you until about a week after you were born.  It's been very different around here.

Your Papa reminded us all of a verse we have treasured found in Habakkuk 3:17-19.
17 Though the fig tree does not bud  and there are no grapes on the vine, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, 
18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. 19 The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights.
In your Papa's words, " those of you who know us well, know that this passage means a great deal to us.  Verse 19 is a cry to change my feet.  When we arrive at a pathway in life that we would rather not take, rather than asking the Lord to change our path we are asking him to change our feet, to give us the feet to walk the path He has asked us to walk. "

Miles, God is teaching us a deeper faith.  One that requires pressing into God.  What I have come to trust with all my heart is that we serve a good God.  In His grace, He changes our feet to fit new paths because He has great love for us.  I pray you come to know this faithful God we serve in an intimate way. He is trustworthy and He is so good.

Now, let me tell you about all the blessings we've experienced in your 2 short months here with us.  First of all, God gave you to us. A healthy, smiley, sweet baby boy.  The biggest blessing of them all.

God brought Aunt Tammy to us our 2nd week home with you.  Oh Miles, she was the BEST.  She took care of everybody, including the house, and meals! Luke and Weston went on tons of adventures with her while I snuggled you.  We've lovingly re-named her, "Elasta-girl".  We made great memories with her and deepened our friendship.  I am so grateful for your Great Aunt Tammy! It was a complete joy and blessing to have her in our home!

After Aunt Tammy left, Aunt Jenn came to help!  Aunt Jenn loved on us and served us for a whole week.  What a treasure it was to have her with us.  We also got to celebrate your big brother Luke's 4th birthday while she was here!

While Aunt Jenn was here I started to feel a little braver so we took our first venture out together as a family in the van.   This picture is one of the first ones I took with my very first IPhone.  All three kids in in their carseats?  Check!

Another huge blessing is how much your brothers love you.  Literally, the first thing they do when they get up in the morning is run to our bedroom to see you.  Luke asks to hold you everyday and Weston squeals, "baby" in his baby eater voice.  Weston has way too much love for you.  He has hit you in the head with various objects including his own head multiple times.  We've quickly learned not to put you on the ground while Weston is awake.

We took a fantastic vacation to Michigan to see the Hoffman family.  You were just 5 weeks old!  You were such a great car rider!  Grandma and Grandpa Hoffman got to meet you and love on you.  Of course your Aunts, Uncles, and cousins loved on you too!  We had such a wonderful visit with all of them and look forward to being with them again soon.
After our time in Jackson we went to Bitely Michigan for a Kayser family vacation.  We had such a great time being all together in such a beautiful place.  We went on lots of walks, you road in a Gator, and were snuggled by everyone there!  Since Nana wasn't able to help me with your first bath we made sure she was part of one while on vacation.  You were just 6 weeks old here.  This will always be a special memory for me.
Our first family photo with all 5 of us!

During your 7th week we went to a wedding in Memphis and were able to reconnect with several great friends.  Your Dad was taking pictures all day so you and I toured around Memphis together.  I loved spending time just the two of us that day.  

And finally, one of the BEST BLESSINGS we received during your 2nd month was the news that after 4 rounds of chemo Nana's scan looked normal.  Doctor Young says the chemo is working!!!  We are praying Nana through her last 2 rounds.
God has given us new feet to fit a new path these past several months, Miles.  It has been an incredibly special and difficult time all at once.  I am so very grateful you are here and you are healthy.  I want you to know I soak up every smile, every cuddle, even your cries.  I get the privilege of holding you, comforting you, and loving you.  What a gift it is to be your Mom.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Miles' BIRTH DAY -- June1st, 2014

I had a lot of things I felt pretty sure about with this pregnancy, Miles.  I felt sure I would go early because I did with your brothers, I felt sure your labor would be quicker since you were my third, and I felt sure I didn't need to fret over what day you would come, because after all, it's out of my control anyway...... Famous last words.

It was the Friday before your due date, we made plans to have dinner with some neighbors who promised some spicy salsa to maybe help things get moving.  I ate a lot of that delicious spicy salsa thinking it definitely wouldn't hurt progress.  Well that night I started contracting around 7:00pm.  Nothing alarming but contractions non the less.  They kept on through the night and at about 2:00 a.m. I was sure things were going to start progressing.  I got in the shower and your dad and I gathered a few things around the house.  The contractions kept on but did not increase in intensity or time.  At about 5:00am things started to fizzle out.  Your dad and I got up and took a walk around the neighborhood a couple times hoping they would start up again.  No luck.  I was so tired from a night of contracting and not sleeping .  I felt so defeated thinking you were coming only for it to turn out to be a false alarm.  My relaxed attitude quickly turned to anxious thoughts and I instantly became extremely ready for you to be here!

Later on Saturday evening around 5:00pm my contractions started up again.  This time they were noticeably more intense from the get go and they were coming 5-7 minutes apart almost immediately. Your Aunt Katie and Uncle Tim came over at about 8:00 to stay with your brothers and we decided it was time to head to the hospital.  We drove towards down-town Nashville and detoured to Bicentennial Park to do some walking before heading into the hospital.  We walked for about an hour, stopping to breathe through contractions about every 3-5 minutes.  We ended up at the hospital around 10:00pm and were brought back to be checked.  I was only dilated to a 3 and 80% effaced.  What?!  Disappointed is not a strong enough word for what I was feeling.  I asked the nurse if we should just head home.  She called Dr. Schlecter who asked that we stay because "third babies often progress quickly".

They brought us back to labor and delivery and settled us in.  Without going into too many whiney details I'll hit the bullet points:
* The nurse couldn't place my I.V.  Three pokes later and one giant bubble forming on my hand I passed out.  Embarrassed and sore I regained composure for the 4th try.
* No progression
* A student placed my epidural. OUCH.  Not a good idea
* No progression
* The epidural was turned up all the way even though I asked for it to be set low.  My blood pressure kept dropping which caused nausea, vomiting, body shakes, and more passing out.
* No progression
* Your heart rate was worrying the nurses.
* No progression!
* Dr. Schlecter came in @ 4:00am just as I was finishing vomiting into a pan.  She took control of everything and had them turn the epidural down and I immediately felt better.  I could even feel my legs enough to move them around.

I had a few good cries throughout the night, feeling like I made all the wrong decisions.  I was fearful I would end up having a C-section.  Then God sent us a wonderful new nurse at shift change.  She did such a great job taking care of me and even put my fears to rest without me even having to explain them to her.  Dr. Schlecter was also amazing, coming in to check on us as often as she could.  At around 9:00 a.m. I finally started to progress and at about 10:45 a.m. Dr. Schlecter was called in.  It only took 5 pushes and you were finally here at 10:54 a.m. right on your due date!
Crying very loudly you were placed right on my chest. Oh, what relief and complete joy your dad and I felt at that moment! You were an absolute perfect 7.8 lbs 19 inches long.
 It's hard to describe the feeling of being given such a precious gift.  I can only say you'll never really know the depth of our love for you, sweet boy.  Your Dad was so proud and with teary eyes kept saying, "He's perfect, He's just so perfect".

  It was just the three of us at the hospital for those few days.  We spent them staring at you and snuggling you.  Being our third baby, we were really able to just relax and soak up all your sweet newborn goodness. We knew once we got home our time with you would be divided.

 We introduced you to your brothers when we got home.  Luke knew just what to do with you.  He wanted to hold you right away.  He snuggled you and kissed you and wanted to know all about you.  Your brother Weston also absolutely LOVED you.  In fact, we call him "baby eater" because left to his own devices that's exactly what he would do.  He has a little too much love and doesn't quite know his own strength when it comes to his snuggles.  We have to watch him a little closer when he comes near you.

Miles, you are the perfect addition to this family of boys.  I don't think I quite know what I'm in for but I know I couldn't love 3 boys any more than I love y'all.  

 We are praising God for you.  What a precious gift you are.  I love you, love you, LOVE YOU, Miles John.


Friday, August 9, 2013

Dear Weston, 12 months

Dear Weston,

Happy Birthday buddy!  One year ago today we were sitting in our hospital room staring at your sweet face, in awe of the fact that we just expanded our family by one sweet baby boy.  We are so incredibly blessed to have you as our second born.  Your content nature, contagious smile, and overall sweetness are beautiful gifts the Lord put in you.
We recognize these qualities and are grateful God allowed us a baby like you while continuing on the parenting learning curve.  You are a beautiful, sweet, healthy baby boy.  Such a blessing!
Weston, I absolutely LOVE being your Mom.  I've had the privilege of being with you for all your milestones and for most every smile.  We've shared lots and lots of snuggle time.  I think I may have forced you into becoming a cuddler, but you sure love it now.  You squeeze my arm tight and often find the nook of my neck for a long snuggle.  You pop your head up only to give me a big smile and then burry your head back down.
If you are upset, it only takes your Dad or I scooping you up and you calm down right away.   If you see one of your blankets on the floor you do your fastest crawl towards it and dive your head down onto your blanket for a snuggle.
You love to nuzzle your swaddle blankets and listen to your mobile lullaby song.  You really like your crib and usually fall right asleep when we lay you down.
You also enjoy your carseat.  This has been an added bonus!  You're all about car rides and love to try and get Luke to laugh at you by screaming "BA" over and over again.  Luke laughs and usually joins in the screaming.  It can get a little loud in there, but most of the time the laughter overrides any irritation the loud noises might cause me.
You have lots of tricks.  You love to shake your head back and forth as if you are saying "No".  Sometimes I think that's what you are saying :).  You crawl around the house shaking your head back and forth I have no idea what you are doing, but it always makes us laugh. You also like to do "so big' and scream from your high chair to see who you can get to mimic you.  You are pulling up on things and cruising.  You have even attempted to climb the stairs.  You love things with buttons and most of all like crawling after your brother through the house.  You still love jumping in your jumper, but I'm afraid we are about to hit the weight limit!
What a fantastic year it has been, I cannot imagine life without you, precious boy.  Weston, we pray your tender heart, content spirit, care and interest in others, and overall sweetness remain as you continue to grow into the person God's created you to be.  While I always get a little sad when my babies get older, I am learning to love each new season God brings.  You are a delight and I love you with all my heart!


Thursday, July 11, 2013

Dear Weston, 11 months

Dear Weston,

This year has gone faster than I thought possible.  We are just a few short weeks away from your 1st birthday.  How can this be?  I cannot tell you enough how blessed we are to have you in our family.  Your presence alone brings joy to my heart.  Seriously, I just have to be near you and I feel happier.  It's the truth!
You have grown a lot in your abilities this past month!  You are crawling!  You love to chase your brother around the kitchen island.  Some of your favorite things to play with are the match game cards.  You love to open the box and throw all of them out all over the floor.  Then you put one in each hand and crawl all over the house with them like they are your friends.

You LOVE my phone and get very upset if I have to take it from you.  You notice which toy you were playing with and are not happy if someone takes it from you. :)

You are practicing some new sounds.  You say; mama, dada, buba, nana, and papa.  You babble often with your low voice and scream in your very high pitched voice.  Your pallet is proving to be a little more picky than your brothers'.  You definitely love to eat, but seem to be sensitive to different textures.  You make hilarious faces of disgust when something just doesn't feel right in your mouth and then push out the remains with your tongue.  
Let's see, you can pull up on things, get up on all fours and sometimes use your head to balance.
You can wave hello, scream with delight when you know you've done something good, drink out of a sippy cup, and you still fall asleep anywhere we lay you.  I think that's the best trick of all!
You have 2 teeth and seem to be working on 2 more.  You are in 12 month and some 18 month clothing.  People notice how big you are, but they also notice how sweet and content you are.  Several of our friends are having babies this month and they've all hoped to have a "Weston baby" because you are so easy!
Dad and I left for a few days to go see Aunt Joy and Uncle Scott in their new place in Knoxville.  Nana and Papa stayed with you and your brother.  You did great and had special bonding time with Nana and Papa.
Did I mention I've coerced you into snuggling?  I couldn't help it.  You are too sweet not to be snuggled.  You like to be held and hold on tight to my arm.  You give great hugs and kisses and have such a tenderness about you. 
Weston, I pray daily God would capture your heart at a young age.  I pray He would develop a deep affection and friendship between you and your brother.  I pray God gives your Dad and I the grace and wisdom to parent you well.  We love you so much, buddy!


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