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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Gems from Julia

Julia is always hilarious, and here are a couple of gems from the last few months that I don't want to forget:

One day she was telling me that they were learning about the letter 'J' at school, so we were trying to think of things that start with 'J'. As a hint, I said, "What about the guy that we talk about a lot at church...?" to which she excitedly replied, "Oh, I know! Jason! Jason starts with 'J'!"

Jason is the director of her preschool (which happens to be at our church). But just to be clear, I was going for "Jesus" as the correct answer.

Julia recently got her hair cut, and was so proud of her new 'do. She was admiring it in the mirror and asked, "Do you think Daddy will like my shiny, shiny golden hair?" Later, seemingly out of the blue, she asked me, "Mommy, can I sleep standing up?" I wasn't sure where she was going with this, so I told her that no, she probably couldn't sleep standing up, and asked why did she want to do that anyway. She quickly became upset and noted, "I need to sleep standing up so I don't mess up my hair before I go to school tomorrow!"

We saw a firetruck drive by us, and Julia asked me why they were called firetrucks. I stammered around for an answer, and she continued, "They don't carry fire, Mommy. They carry water. So, they should be called water trucks, not firetrucks. I am going to call them water trucks."

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Griffin: Month One

Dear Griffin,
Your first month was a complete blur, though I guess that's true for most babies. We were overjoyed by your arrival on July 5th. You came via scheduled C-section, but of course I had to wait through a weekend of record-breaking heat before you arrived. Luckily, you were worth the wait. I was so thrilled to get you here and know that you were okay. With the diagnosis of your cleft lip in utero, I had been worried that something else was wrong. Instead, you were perfect, and you were HUGE. Everyone in the operating room was astounded by your 10 pound, 11 ounce weight and 22.5 inches of length. Truly enormous. Unfortunately, huge, C-section babies also often have breathing problems, and by the end of your first day, you had been sent to the NICU. Thankfully, Doctor Levin likes to manage his own patients in the NICU, and you were sprung from there a few days later, and in time to come home with me. But, those few days were fairly miserable. I really feel for those parents who have children who spend weeks or even months in the NICU.

Your brother and sister didn't get to meet you until a few days after your birth, due to the NICU stay. But, they were thrilled when they finally met you. Julia, especially, relishes in her role as big sister. I don't think I've ever seen her smile as big as she did when she held you for the first time.

When we got you home, we moved into survival mode. It always seemed that everyone needed something at the same time, and I never felt like I was meeting those needs very well. We did have a babysitter for Will and Julia all summer, so that was a huge help. They went to their camps, to the pool, or just out and about, and I could stay home and hang out with you.

You were a very sleepy baby, and really slept most of your first month. We even had a bit of a hard time getting you to wake up and eat (again, pretty typical of any newborn). Because of your cleft, you can't nurse, so I spent a majority of my time pumping milk for you. At first, you had a hard time with the special bottle we used for you, but then our neighbor suggested a different nipple, and you really got the hang of it. You gained weight steadily, but slowly. I think you finally got back to your birth weight around week three. Like the other Mather children, you have been afflicted with some terrible newborn skin: baby acne, cradle cap, and eczema. Yours seems to have come earlier and been worse than the others, but we still think you're cute!

Your first month also included your first visit to the cleft clinic, where we found out that you did not need any genetic testing (they saw no abnormalities that indicated a syndrome; hooray!) and we got a date for your first surgery: October 9th. As I type, I can't believe that this date is almost here.

You had lots of visitors during your first month. All of our friends were SO kind and brought tons of food and gifts. Coco came to visit a couple of times, as she was looking to buy a house in Birmingham. Hulie was here as much as she could be...she never liked to let more than a few days go by without seeing you. And, we also met your/our new favorite person: Ms. Angela. Ms. Angela is a wonderful night nurse who started coming a few nights a week when you were about three weeks old. She helped us get on board with swaddling you, and she helped us get a few nights of great sleep. At first, you were sometimes waking up twice a night, and with two other kiddos, I wasn't handling that too well. Luckily, you quickly moved to waking only once a night for a feeding, and then often going back to sleep quickly after eating.

You have really been such a joy and a wonderful addition to our family. While there have been some growing pains as we all adjust, your brother and sister have been so sweet to you, and always want to check on you or hold you. We all love you so much and can't wait to see what this year holds.


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Girlie Thursdays

"We went to God today. But, He didn't come out. We just saw a picture of him."
From what I can gather, this is Julia's description of going to chapel at her new school. She's pretty interested in God and Jesus these days. In fact, the other day she told me that when she grows up, she's going to be "a ballerina and Jesus." Sounds like she'll be a bit busy!

In other news, I saw Julia poking at her stomach yesterday, and I asked her what she was doing. She kept at it, very determinedly, and replied, "I am trying to make my belly button go away!" I didn't want to be the one to tell her that that was going to be a hard feat to pull off.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Dear Will,
As of yesterday, you are five! You have waited so long for this, and I am so happy for you that the time has finally come. Being the youngest in your preschool class meant that everyone else was five, but that you were still four. You constantly told me, "I hate being four!" and now four is no more.

In some ways, I can't believe it. I can't believe that it's been five years since I first met you, yet in some ways, it seems like yesterday, and I can't really remember or imagine what our life was like before you were in it. I can't believe how "grown-up" you are, how much you know, how many things you can do, and how you already have a life that I'm not a part of...that there are parts of you that I don't know every detail about and things every day that you experience without me.

You are a delightful child. Really, you are almost always so much fun to be around. Now, you could stand to tone down the questions, but since you come by that naturally from me, I can't blame you too much. I love that you're inquisitive, but some days it feels like my head might explode from the lines of questioning that we get into. Just today when we were at the doctor for your checkup, you had to ask the nurse approximately fifteen questions about why they needed to check you blood and pee and how they were going to do that. She winked at me and said, "He's going to be a smart one!" And, I don't doubt it. You truly have a love of learning that I hope will continue for life. Currently, you're really into math problems and love to get me to ask you all of the addition tables whenever we're in the car. For some reason, you're particularly proud that you know what ten plus ten is. You also love for us to read to you, but of course, that can become difficult with the questions. Sometimes I find myself saying things like, "No more questions until I finish this page." But those proclamations never stand up, because I can't resist explaining things to you when you ask so nicely. I feel like I've become a walking thesaurus or dictionary, as each time you ask "what does that mean," I search my brain for a list of synonyms that might make sense to you.

But, learning isn't your only passion. I don't want to make it out like you're a quiet child who sits and does math problems by himself (though that would be fine, too). But're quite active. In fact, your Hulie says that in our family, at least one child is always talking and at least one is always moving. You and your sister switch out on who is who, but let's just say you're both VERY energetic. You're always up for a project or coming up with a new plan of what to play (though you can be a bit bossy). You love to be outside, and even the 100 degree heat doesn't seem to slow you down. You've become a fantastic swimmer this summer and you've moved on to working on strokes with your swimming teacher. You love to play soccer, as well, and that will start up in a few weeks. You've also begged to take tae-kwon-do, which is offered through your new school. You seem to have lucked out and inherited at least some athletic ability from your father.

In terms of play, you're very imaginative, but I think daycare has spoiled you with always having someone to play with. You are not very good at playing by yourself, but when I play with you, you often tell me I'm doing it wrong. But, you love to play with superheroes, cars, dinosaurs, cowboys, or a random combination of all of those.

You're still a good eater and a good sleeper. If someone will lay down with you, you'll often still take a nap. You're polite most of the time, and you're mostly nice to your sister, who does not always return the favor. You're a very caring, affectionate, and sensitive child and you seem to be uncommonly good at thinking of how other people might feel (MOST of the time). When I asked you what kind of birthday cake you wanted, you initially said chocolate. But then, you paused, and asked, "But what if some of my friends don't like chocolate?" You're always looking out for other people---be sure to keep that up. Kindness, particularly to those who might not receive it from others, tops my list of character traits that I hope you develop.

You're a funny kid. You constantly say funny, grown-up things, but you don't even realize that they're funny. You're not trying to be funny, but certain things just come across that way when they come out of your mouth. Like when you looked at Julia and plainly asked her, "Julia, why do you need to be so fussy right now?" Or when you mutter under your breath, "Oh great, Julia's fussing again." You mimic us A LOT, and we're finally learning that we need to be aware of that.

Will, keep up the good work. We love having you in our family and you really light up our days. I can't wait to see what FIVE has in store for you.

Love you to infinity,

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A Song

Julia made up a song for me this morning that I just had to share. It's sung to the tune of Frere Jacques.

Sweetie Mommy!
Sweetie Mommy!
Yes her is. Yes her is.
Her my favorite Mommy. Her my favorite Mommy.
Yes her is.

She was obviously in a good mood this morning! I have to say, this is my new favorite song. I'll even forgive the grammatical mistakes.

Funny Things My Kids Say

From Julia, when she climbed up in my lap after I had been at the gym: "You don't smell very good!"

From Will, when he saw me wearing white jeans and a tank top (i.e., something other than workout clothes): "Mama, why are you so fancy today?"

From Julia: Zach told her that he would rock her five more minutes if she would give him a kiss on the cheek. So, she obliged and got her additional minutes. When those were up, she got a gleam in her eyes, gave him a kiss on the other cheek, and asked, "Now can I have anudder five minutes?"

From Will, who was obviously feeling extremely philosophical: "Mama, who made God God? I mean, who was around before God to decide that he got to be God?" (I had no answer on this one.)

And, a couple of funny things that I've found myself saying, things that I never really thought I'd have an occasion to say:
"Where is the other half of Chewbacca?"
"Get your cheese off of the sofa!"
"Do not put your panties on Will's head. He doesn't like that."

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

I'm Back!

Wow. I have been completely sucking at blogging this year. When my kids look back at 2011 and ask what they did or what cute things they said, I won't have anything to tell them. But, as always, I resolve to do better. And, this time, I might actually have a shot at posting more frequently because....I quit my job! Yes, as of June 10th, I am a full-time SAHM, housewife, or "domestic engineer" (Zach's term) or whatever you want to call it. I'm very excited to have this opportunity to spend more time with the kids....well, come the fall I'll spend some more time with them. But, through the summer, I'm keeping them in daycare. Yes, I am completely spoiled!

Anyway, what have we been doing since I last posted? Well, there was Easter. There were various egg hunts, parties at school, dying eggs for the first time ever (not as much of a disaster as I would have thought), an Easter bunny "cake" out of Rice Krispy treats that I was very proud of, church at the Alabama Theater because our sanctuary is being renovated, and lunch at the Venables.

I got strep throat and thought I was going to die. Seriously, it was the sickest I've been in recent memory. I was in bed for three full days, and couldn't even drive myself to the doctor. Fortunately, no one else in the family got it. I think they are all carrier monkeys.

We went to Lindsey and Nate's wedding in North Carolina and left the kids with my parents. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on who you ask), that was the same weekend that Melanie, Bob, and baby Jack came to B'ham for a wedding. So, EVERYONE stayed at our house, and I think it was a bit much. But, we had a great time! And, that's what really matters. (And then I got to see baby Jack for a day when we got home. Yahoo!) Will also had a great time that weekend--he was enthralled by cool uncle Bob who taught him science experiments and math problems. He's still talking about it.

Will "graduated" from his 4K preschool class and they had a big party to celebrate. It was really cute, even though he's only been there for a year, and even though he isn't actually going to Kindergarten in the fall (he's going to 5K because we're holding him back due to his late birthday). But, the kids had worked hard on their program, and I worked hard on not tearing up while they sang their songs. Off-key children's singing is about the cutest thing ever.

The day after graduation, we headed to the beach. We rented a condo in Seagrove, and my mom joined us for most of the week. It was GREAT! We had perfect weather all week, and since it was the week before Memorial Day, it wasn't crowded at all. The kids loved playing on the beach and swimming in the pool. I have never seen so much energy.

To keep things exciting, as soon as we got back from the beach, I went to Fairfax to wrap things up for work. I attempted to teach "the new girl" everything I could about the job and said goodbye to my co-workers, some of whom I worked with for over ten years. They had a happy hour for me (with too many shots), and gave me a very sweet "retirement" gift...a membership to the Children's Theater for the year. We went to see our first show, The Little Red Hen, this past weekend, and the kids loved it...even Julia!

When I returned, I finalized everything in my last week of work, and then we left town again. This time, we went to Austin, TX to see my cousin Ben (Big Ben, as the kids call him) get married to Amy. Since it was a family wedding, my parents and sister went too, so the kids had their first overnight babysitter. Everything went off without a hitch, and they were even asking for her when we came back (I could really feel the love). We had a great time in Austin. It is such a cool city, and we loved spending time with my cousins, who we don't get to see often. My aunt and uncle put on a great Rehearsal Dinner, and then the wedding was beautiful, though quite hot. On our free day before the wedding, we went out to brunch, rode water bikes, drank during the day, and walked around some of Austin's shops (again, very hot). I felt like we made the most of our mini-vacation!

Whew...we have been busy. Of course, mixed in all of that, we celebrated Mother's Day and Father's Day. Will started swim lessons again (though this time we have to call it swim "practice" and refer to his teacher as "Coach Andrew"). Julia started gymnastics, which is as adorable as it sounds. Will's going to McWane camp this week, and I've been trying to take the kids out of school for some one-on-one time. So, life has been full, and it doesn't seem to be slowing down. But really, that's just the way I like it.