4 Months Old!

Dear Carter,

Can time really be flying by this quickly? It has been an exciting month! Your personality is really beginning to shine through. You love meeting people and will smile at anyone who gives you attention. Being so social, you enjoy the nursery at church (which is a relief to us!). You gave us your first real laugh on May 22nd, and we have learned that tickling you will produce more chuckles. We can't get enough.

You can certainly make us laugh as well. You are obsessed with your feet, and you love to stick them in your mouth and suck on them! You also make adorable gurgling sounds and try so hard to "talk" to us.

You are very curious about the world around you and love to observe everything. You are now reaching out and grabbing toys. You will stay glued to the TV for a whole video of Baby Mozart, Baby Bach, or Praise Baby. We just put you in the exersaucer a few days ago, and you kept craning your head around to check out all the flashy new toys at your fingertips. You also discovered that it's a great place to check out Sadie and Jackson as they chase each other around the coffee table.

This month contained several new adventures. You had your first roadtrip (9 hours to North Carolina and 8 hours home from South Carolina). While in Myrtle Beach, you went to the beach for the first time and loved sinking your toes into the sand. (Sadly, Mommy had her camera but not the battery for it, so we have no pics of this.) You met your great-grandmother Mimi, you attended your first birthday party, and you sat in your highchair to watch Mommy cook. On May 11th, you were dedicated to the Lord at our church. Your daddy and I vowed to raise you in a godly home, to provide for you to the best of our abilities, and to serve as examples for you. I hope that even now, you can sense Christ's love radiating from and through us.

You have a new talent...breakdancing! When lying on your activity mat, you'll reach your head backwards, arch your back, and use your feet to spin yourself around. We are quite impressed! We think you're trying to roll over to your tummy...that will come in time. Keep working on it!

One of my favorite moments this month occurred when we were visiting the Staplers in Myrtle Beach. We had gone up to our room to take a nap, and I had you resting in the crook of my arm. I opened my eyes to see you gazing at me through half-opened eyelids. You had such a sweet expression on your face. I smiled at you, and you smiled back at me, so deliberately and warmly! At that moment, I felt such a connection with you. That is a memory I will treasure for years.

After having you in our lives for four months, your daddy and I feel like we know you well. We can usually discern your cries. We can read when you're tired. We have learned what makes you smile, laugh, and coo. We have also discovered what makes you upset and pushes you past your limits. We know what toys you love and what will soothe you when you're upset.

At the same time, we still feel somewhat inadequate. Every time I think I can predict your schedule, it changes. Sometimes you cry and we cannot figure out the cause. This last week, you have woken up, crying, several times each night...perhaps you're beginning to cut teeth? I sometimes fret over whether I have made the right decision, and I always feel overcome with guilt and shame when those choices turn out to be wrong. It's only going to get harder.

Carter, I love being your mother. Your daddy has said that he has never seen me happier. We have difficult days for sure, but you seem to bring out the best in me. You challenge me to make better decisions, to take my focus off of myself, to seek Biblical wisdom. Some might say you were a missing piece of my life that I now have. But that implies that I was incomplete beforehand. I think you could compare each person to a diamond. It's whole, beautiful, and valuable to begin with, despite its rawness. But as flaws are chipped away, as new facets (such as marriage, motherhood, or other opportunities and roles) emerge, the diamond becomes more beautiful and reflects more light. I like to think that being your mother has added a new facet to my being. One that is refining me as well as bringing forth new beauty. And I pray I am reflecting God's light.

Carter, your daddy and I love you so very much. We are treasuring each day and looking forward to what lies ahead.

Happy 4 months!


Carter and DaddyI am four months old!
Hey Bear, I have a secret.If my paci isn't in my mouth, my fingers are.Hey Mom, I can only hold this leaning pose for so long....

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Fill in the Blanks

My friend Kristy tagged me on this one. It's taken me a while to fill it out because I thought her answers were so good that I struggled to come up with my own!

* Maybe I should... stop rushing through each day to get stuff done and just enjoy the moment.
* I love the smell of... honeysuckle, baby lotion, Scott's aftershave, almond extract
* People would say that I... talk faster than anyone they know.
* I don’t understand why... some of the strongest Christians I know seemingly end up suffering the most.
* When I wake up in the morning... it's to the sounds of Carter's voice coming from the baby monitor, and it's typically earlier than I would like. Once I get him from his nursery, I like to drink my coffee while sitting in bed and playing with him.
* I lost my will power to.. give up caffeine.
* Life is wonderful with... faith in Jesus Christ. I didn't begin a relationship with Him until my senior year of high school, so I clearly recall life before embracing my Christian faith. I can't imagine living life now without hope for the future, confidence in a loving and sovereign God, and assurance of eternal life.
* My past made me... self-conscious about my looks but more confident in who I am as a person. My past mistakes are a driving factor in my desire to minister to teenage girls and young women.
* I get annoyed when... I am stuck in traffic.
* Parties are not... fun when I don't know anyone. I like to think I am outgoing, but I realize that's only when I know people there and I'm in my comfort zone.
* Dogs are... loyal companions. They can cause some trouble, but at the end of day, they make you smile and feel loved.
* Cats…should avoid me at all costs. I am not a cat lover.
* Tomorrow I am going to…make a list of goals for the summer... books to read, movies to see, smocking to learn, articles to write, meals to try, etc.
* I have a low tolerance for... arrogance.
* I'm totally terrified of... becoming a widow at a young age. This has been a fear for years, and I am not sure where it stems from.
* I wonder why I thought my life would be... predictable. (ditto, Kristy)
* Never in my life... have I been so content.
* High school was something that... seems very broken up - I spent the the first two years in Sparta, NJ, and the last two years in Alpharetta, GA. So, high school doesn't seem like a coherent experience.
* When I'm nervous... I get an upset stomach.
* Take my advice... wear sunscreen.
* Making my bed is…a daily ritual.
* I'm almost always... in a good mood.
* I'm addicted to…caffeine, reading blogs, and the new Leona Lewis song "Bleeding Love"
* I want someone… to be touched by my writings.

I tag Amber, Joy, and Emily C.

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Carter and Co.

On Friday, Carter and I went over to Stacey and Ben's house for lunch. Our friends (Susan and Kaitlyn, and Stacey and Hope) were also there, and we caught some cute moments on camera!

Carter and Ben, BFF
What's so funny, Carter?
Kaitlyn, Hope, Carter, and Ben
The girls checking out the boys... starting young!
The boys' clueless expressions...typical.

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Too Cute Not to Share...

After visiting my parents in Cary, NC last week, Carter and I ventured to Myrtle Beach, SC to visit one of my college roommates and best friends. Amy, Scott, and their son, Eli, moved there from Birmingham in December, and it was great to visit with them. This is a picture of Eli (17 months) hugging Carter. He was very intrigued with the baby!

Ames, thanks for having us! We had a wonderful time! (With the exception of my 101.0 fever.) :)

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I was beginning to think my life was boring because it seemed everyone had been "tagged" except me. :)  I also got tagged by another friend for a different set of questions, so I'll start working on those. 

Here is information about me that perhaps you don't know yet...

What was I doing 10 years ago?
I had just finished my freshman year at Auburn University. (Has it really been 10 years???) I had just been selected SGA Director of Campus Organizations and was asked to stay on campus for the summer to introduce Camp War Eagle attendees to the various activities available to them. You should have seen my parents' confused faces when I tried to explain that I was staying at Auburn for the summer but wasn't going to be taking classes. I had to earn money to cover my rent, so I began my first waitressing job at Niffer's. (Actually, that was my ONLY waitressing job.) I was hopelessly head over heels for a guy who definitely did not have the same feelings. :) I think the theme of unrequited love sums up my four years in college. But I like to think God was protecting me from broken hearts and "relationship baggage" as much as possible until I would meet the man to whom I would vow my everlasting love and commitment. I had been a Christian for just over two years, so I was participating in a summer Campus Crusade for Christ Bible study and soaking up truth with passion and vigor that I wish I could recapture and possess permanently.

5 things on my to do list today: 
1. go to grocery store
2. finish unpacking from our trip to NC and SC
3. pick up a book I ordered (I probably would have saved more money by having it shipped to me rather than spending gas money to drive to the bookstore. Speaking of what was going on 10 years ago, does anyone else recall buying gas in Auburn at 97 cents a gallon?)
4. buy a teething ring for Carter
5. write some thank you notes

5 snacks that I enjoy:
1. Cheese (any kind, any form..except cheese whiz)
2. Dark chocolate (I specially love Dove chocolates)
3. strawberries
4. Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
5. Stacy's multi-grain pita chips

5 things I would do if I were a billionaire:
1. Give - above and beyond what we now give to our church and our friends who are in ministry; to our families; to mission organizations that I truly feel are making a difference; to kids in need of college scholarships. I have always thought it would be fun to send out anonymous checks for thousands of dollars.
2. Save- for our kids' college funds, for retirement, for rainy days, for my shopping fund (clever how I snuck in my spending under saving, huh?) :)
3. Build our dream home (although, I would spend so much time and heart designing and decorating that I would probably be too attached to it and would be devastated if it was ever destroyed by a fire or tornado.)
4. Start a travel fund so our family could travel each year. We would bring family and friends on different trips. I would love to visit every state in America as well as Italy, China, Israel, Australia, Africa, and Canada.
5. Hire a Christian financial coach to keep me from spending too much money and becoming very materialistic. I am sure it's a slippery slope!

5 Bad Habits:
1. Repeating myself....especially when I am upset about something. For some reason, I feel the need to vocalize my thoughts every time they come to mind again.
2. Winking. When I feel like my mascara has caused my lashes to stick together, I blink my eye in an effort to make them separate. Weird, I know. This has led to some embarrassing situations. i.e. When I took an SAT prep course in NJ, the instructor stopped in the middle of his lecture to ask if I was winking at him!!!
3. Spending money on things I don't need. A few years ago, I stopped going to mall or the Summit to waste time because I knew I would be tempted to buy something. The problem is that when I finally need to go make a purchase, I have in my mind that I have been really good at restraining myself and end up "rewarding" myself with more items I never needed. My current weakness is cute outfits for Carter. The boy is growing faster than I can spend money, so I do not need to buy anything else!
4. Buying fresh vegetables with all good intentions of eating healthy and then letting them go to waste in the fridge.
5. Slouching...you would think that as a former dancer I would have great posture, but I managed to pick up this bad habit over the last few years. If I would just straighten up, suck in, and roll my shoulders back, maybe you wouldn't notice the baby weight I am still carrying. :)

5 places I have lived:
1. Sparta, NJ - growing up, age 1-15
2. Alpharetta, GA - moved there my junior year of HS and only visited several times once I left for college. It's a great area but the traffic is horrific!
3. Auburn, AL- for college. Dorms for 2 years, and the Chi-O mansion for 2 years. I stayed at Auburn for grad school too.
4. Birmingham, AL- born here and then moved here after grad school. I lived in Hoover when I first moved here, and now we live in Homewood.

5 jobs I have had:
1. Snack Bar employee at the Sparta Cruiser Swim and Tennis Club (I LOVED me some mozzarella sticks!)
2. Radio disc jockey for Mix 96.7 in Opelika, AL. I was not cool enough to be a dj....let's just say that my first few broadcasts were at 6 am. :) I just didn't have the lingo and pop culture expertise to be very interesting. I worked there until I began grad school.
3. Dance instructor in Roswell, GA and then Auburn, AL. I taught ages 3 through adult.
4. Marketing and Public Relations for the Alabama Ballet.
5. Marketing Coordinator at Cooking Light magazine (my last job before I began seminary full time.)

I want to know more about (you're tagged):
1. Natalie Roe
2. Stacey Prentice
3. Anna Rooks
4. Sarah Armstrong

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Meeting Mimi

Carter's 1st visit with his great-grandmother, Mimi, on May 12, 2008.

Most people think Carter looks like my dad.

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My Cup Runneth Over

Today marked Carter's first official road trip! We drove about 9 hours to Cary, NC to visit my parents for a week. Since they were in town this past weekend, I followed my dad, and my mom actually sat in the back with Carter because we weren't sure how he'd do. (As you may recall, some of his worst crying moments have been in the car when I have been driving and unable to do anything except tear up and fret.) Thankfully, he did great! And because he was in a car seat all day, he must have had some pent up energy. When we got here, he talked and cooed and squealed for over an hour. He also worked up an appetite... while in the bathtub, he grabbed his feet and shoved his left one into his mouth. The whole acrobatic routine was complete with sucking noises. Scott and I want to teach our son good social skills, but we didn't realize the lesson of sticking his foot in his mouth would come so soon.

On our way here to Cary, we stopped in Spartanburg, SC to introduce Carter to his other great-grandmother, Mimi. She has been anxious to see him, and it was so touching to finally see Carter in her arms, smiling up at her face. I will post pics of the sweet moment soon.

Below is the post I began drafting last night but did not finish because it was close to midnight and I was still packing for the trip....

What a joyful day! Scott and I not only celebrated Mother's Day, but we also had Carter dedicated to the Lord this morning at our church. As I responded to my pledge to raise Carter in a godly home, I felt the weight of responsibility but also the joy of having such a priviledge. We shared a verse we selected for Carter in honor of the occasion: "The Lord your God is with you. He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing." -Zephaniah 3:17

As I thought about the last three and a half months of motherhood, I also reflected back over the last couple of years. Last year, Scott and I spent Mother's Day at Lake Martin with my family. Still aching for a child and mourning the loss of two babies, it was a difficult day to say the least. Scott gave me a Mother's Day card and reminded me that while I hadn't yet held a child of our own in my arms, we would one day meet our two children in heaven. On that challenging day last year, I shed some tears, prayed several desperate pleas, and in an ironic twist (or more likely through God's perfect timing and providence), conceived Carter.

One more thought that came to me today....I remembered walking out of the doctor's office on September 8, 2006, after receiving the news that the 11 week old baby inside of me had no heartbeat. Scott walked me to my car (we had met there for the appointment), and I climbed in behind the wheel practically choking on my tears and the physical pain in my chest. For some reason, a lesson about Job that I had recently heard came to mind, and I began thanking and praising God. With tears streaming, I uttered words that had to have come only through the moving of the Holy Spirit in my inner most being. Let me be real with you... I had absolutely no ounce of gratefulness in my heart, and I spoke the words perhaps out of obedience rather than true emotion. Maybe I thought I was saying what I was supposed to say, following the example of Job. In retrospect, I believe the Holy Spirit was speaking through me on my behalf. In His omniscience, He led me to say thanks for blessings that were yet to come.

What I didn't know that September day was that I was thanking God for Carter. I was thanking Him for the child He would faithfully deliver to this waiting mother. I was thanking Him for the healing He would bring about. And I was thanking Him for the joy I now feel with such overwhelming power on this Mother's Day. I learned that thanking God for the unexplainable, the unknown, and the unforeseen is what having faith is all about.

My family
Scott's family
Celebrating the Mothers

The proud daddy and grandfathers
Carter wore this gorgeous gown that was smocked by his Aunt JuJu!
Mommy and Carter
Daddy, Mommy, and Carter
After the service, we came back to our house for lunch and cake. I had prepared a bottle for Scott to give Carter while I set out the food. Carter tried to hold onto the bottle for the first time!
So I am a sucker for smocking. :) This was his Mother's Day outfit. (I find lots of "occasions" for new outfits.) :)
We all LOVE this picture! Carter was all smiles while sitting with his great-grandmother, MaMa.
More closeups of Carter in his dedication gown prior to the service. Maybe he had stage fright?

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