Monday, November 14, 2011

Princess Keelie

Every precious child needs a "birth story"... Here is the story of Keelie Kate Baker.

Our second daughter, Keelie, was born at 1:49pm on Saturday October 8th at University Medical Center in Lubbock, Texas. She weighed 6 lbs. 14oz. (the smallest of our children) and was 19 1/2 inches tall. This little girl was destined to enter our lives on this day.

Although my original due date was October 14th, I simply could not wait. I was uncomfortable and emotionally frustrated. I had been dilated to a 3 for over 2 weeks. Every day I went to work, people would comment about how "ready" I looked. Even Dr. Casanova informed me he did not think I would make it to my due date. The problem however, was that since I had taken maternity leave for Ambry a year ago (yep, just a year- yikes!), I had not yet met the 12 month mark to be able to use additional FMLA leave from work. This meant that if I had my baby on or before October 7th, potentially I could lose my job.

Therefore I was clearly praying that my sweet baby would be born on the 8th. I told everyone I knew that the 8th, would be the perfect day-plus it is one of my favorite numbers! (I'm so glad Keelie is already following her mother’s instructions).

Around noon on October 7th, I started having some serious contractions. I didn't want to get too excited, but it was fun stressing out my students when I asked them to time my contractions as an assignment. I even got a little over dramatic with my relaxation breathing just to watch their reactions. At this point, I didn't really think I was in labor. However, contractions continued throughout the school day at roughly 8 minutes apart.

When I got home that afternoon, my contractions had stopped. I was bummed, but tried to stay patient. I knew the Lord would bless us when our baby was ready. However, just in case, I tried to clean the entire house and did a double check of my hospital bags. I really wanted it to be the 8th. Contractions came back that night every 20 minutes. I was so confused!

With both of my other kids, once the heavy contractions came- they kept coming. This time was weird. I truly could not tell what was happening. I tried to sleep through the night, but I began to worry. At one point, my contractions had been 4 minutes apart for over an hour, and then, they just stopped. Around 6am, I woke up Brandon in tears. I did not think I was in labor, but started to panic something might have been wrong (clearly there were lots of hormones at work). I decided to contact the on-call doctor and explain my situation. I told her I was having infrequent contractions, but that I already felt like I needed to push. She casually invited me to come in. I was bugged! I did not want to go to the hospital early (especially if I wasn't in labor), but I felt so comfortable I wanted to make sure everything was okay.

Thus, we called the grandparents, packed up the kids and loaded the car. This car ride was much easier than last time, since my contractions had nearly stopped again at this point. Brandon gave me a wonderful blessing and I tried to start my relaxation and hypnobirthing- just in case. I was still pretty sure I wasn't in labor. We called our doula to notify her we were coming in anyway. She was already at the hospital working with another patient.

By the time we checked in at the hospital, things had drastically changed. Contractions had all of a sudden gotten very intense every 2 minutes. I was going to be pretty mad if they sent me home at this point. By the time they actually checked I was dilated to a 5 and 90% effaced. Woo hoo! If we followed the same standard as when Ambry was born, this meant I would have a baby in less than five hours (I was predicting around noon).

I always get annoyed with nurses during labor. While I understand that they mean well and have a job to do, very few of them are use to moms who request a natural birth. Once we got set up in our room, we turned on the music, turned down the lights and started to relax. A few minutes later, the nurse told us that our doctor was not available today (we're pretty sure he had tickets to the Texas Tech game) and that the on-call doctor would come in and see us soon. I had to assure the nurses several times that I did not want medication.

Soon, our doula came by and helped us get comfortable. I was kneeling over a birth ball while the nurses continued to bug me with straightening the monitor every 10 seconds. Ugh. There was nothing to indicate there was a problem, so I wanted to rip the dang monitor off of me and relax already- it was an empty plea.

Eventually, the OB resident came in to check on us. Imagine our surprise, when we saw that it was our next door neighbor! We have lived next door to her for over five years. Due to her medical training and scheduled, we rarely saw them, but it was fun to see a familiar face. She asked if it was okay to check us. She ended up doing our entire delivery. It was a fun bonus!

Again, this labor was so different from the others. After the intense and close contractions came back, they stopped again. I was not progressing like I had hoped. Thus, we worked on changing positions, walking around, deep breathing, lunges, everything. I swear I must have gone to the bathroom 2-3 times an hour, just since me helped relax me…plus it got the stupid monitor off for awhile. After 2-3 hours of this on again off again pattern of contractions, I had only dilated to a 7. At was at this point, I got frustrated.

Every woman has a point during labor when she wants to quit or give up. This was my point. I was exhausted and disappointed. I kept watching the clock- you should never count time during labor. Due to my frustration, it was hard to relax and stay focused. My water still had not broken (although it has never broken until actual delivery) and our neighbor (Dr. Wiggins) suggested we should try to break it to speed up labor. At first I was nervous to have them rupture it manually, so I spent a good twenty minutes lunging up and down on the bed to try and break it on my own. I almost laugh thinking back on how funny I must have looked. The doctor and nurses were great about letting me do things my way.

After trying unsuccessfully to get my water to break, I was very unsure what to do. Since I had never experienced it in the past, I was scared to have it break unnaturally. However, I appreciated that the doctor and nurses never pushed the issue. It was only after gentle counsel from my husband and doula that we decided to try something new.

Around 1:30pm, Dr. Wiggins broke my water. I was still at a 7. Several minutes later, I had a huge urge to push. We called the doctor back in. Before checking me, she said “it’s okay, we still have time, just relax and breathe”. I persisted. I really wanted to push. (It’s not healthy to push too early). Everyone kept telling me to breathe through it and not to push. Around 1:45, the doctor checked me again and said “whoa, she’s at a 10. She’s ready. Lets get prepped for labor. As soon as they got the lights set, and while the nurses were prepping for delivery I yelled “I have to push”. At this point Dr. Wiggins was still getting her robe and gloves on. She said “maybe if we lift up her leg, it will help her push” and as soon as she lifted my leg, I let out a huge breath and with one big push (ready or not), her she was! The doctor and nurses were stunned. She was here. We all cried. I was so happy. Keelie had a huge head of dark brown hair like her daddy and was extraordinarily healthy. They immediately placed her on my chest and let me hold her. Brandon cut the umbilical cord.

Ahhh….it was so nice not to be pregnant. It was instant relief. Everyone joked about how fast it was. Literally, they almost didn’t get make it in time. If only I would have know 4 hours ago that breaking my water would have worked this fast! We delivered the placenta, I had a few stitches, and they got Keelie all sucked out and wiped off. Then, we had roughly an hour alone to sit quietly together as a new family and reflect on everything we were thankful for. It had been a hard and surprising pregnancy. It had been a unique but relatively easy labor- up until the end. We knew we had a huge journey ahead but when you are holding a brand new child in your arms, all you can think about is love! We were truly blessed.

After our time together, we were eventually moved to a recovery room. Once again we got the special VIP treatment by getting one of the largest rooms, only reserved for private insurance patients. Since it is the county hospital, doctors told us the average age of a mother who delivers there is roughly 16. Many nurses talked about laboring with 11 and 12 year olds. It really put things into perspective for us. We were so glad to be married and to be prepared for this child entering our lives. Our gratitude is endless!

Recovery went great! Judy and George brought the kids up to visit. Taylor was excited and Ambry was a little confused, but all in all, we were a happy family. Brandon enjoyed watching a Tech game and World Series game from the comfort of our room while I rested as much as possible and we both enjoyed some one on one time with our newest baby.

We loved our doula. She was a great support and very encouraging about hypnobirthing. Apparently she has started to hear a lot about it here in Lubbock and even got a special request for the method from another patient. She is starting to read about it and even invited Brandon and I to be guest speakers during a parenting class in January.

I was up and ready to go less than 24 hours after birth. It took some convincing, but since we had a connection (wink wink), we were able to discharge a little normal than usual. It all felt so surreal. I was in shock that we had THREE kids- three! Whew. I still couldn’t believe it.

Over a month has passed since that sacred day. Despite battling an array of ear infections, colds and sore throats, we are all doing great. Ambry loves her sister more than words can express. She kisses her literally 50 times a day- thus the reason for all the sickness spreading around. Brandon is a wonderful support and provider. Taylor has matured quickly and is doing great taking on the extra responsibility. I am enjoying time at home as new mom for a few more weeks. It’s quite the adventure caring for a 14-month old and 5 week old at the same. Yet, I cannot not think of anything else that could possibly bring me this much joy!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Welcome to the World!

Ambry Eileen Baker entered the world at 10:22am on Wednesday August 25, 2010. She weighed 7lbs 12oz. and was 19 inches long. She was born with a head full of dark brown hair, bright alert eyes and a beautiful sweet smile. Here is her birth story:

After going to work on Tuesday the 24th, I was completely frustrated. Our oldest son, Taylor, had come a week early and I was losing my patience. Doctors had estimated Ambry's due date on either the 24th or 25th and I was beginning to think she would never come! I had already had pretty bad back labor for nearly a month and I had honestly never envisioned myself starting the first day of school with my new students. Well, it's a good thing God is in control and knew what was best for us.

On the evening of the 24th, I had a complete break down. Brandon was gone at a church meeting and after putting Taylor to bed, I began to sob. I prayed and prayed that I would have the strength and patience to continue for as long as I needed to ensure we had a happy, healthy baby. One hour later, the contractions started.

At first I wasn't sure it was really labor. The contractions didn't feel the same as they did with Taylor. They were very low and the pain was sharp and specific (not all over). When I went to bed that night, contractions were coming every 30-35 minutes and were more annoying than anything. (I was still assuming this wasn't labor and was my payback for crying)

Around 11:30pm, I woke up in extreme discomfort. I started to get a little excited, but didn't want to over-analyze the situation. As much as I wanted to start my relaxation and breathing, I didn't want to wake Brandon up with my music, so I headed for the couch. I spent several hours going back and forth between the couch, the bathroom floor and warm baths. I just couldn't relax. However, I knew I was going to need as much sleep as possible.

At 4:30am Brandon woke up and checked on me. Contractions were around 7 minutes apart. He was wonderful! We brought me music, pillows and water. He even massaged my back. At that point things got very real and more intense. Brandon knew it was probably labor and started to clean our house with all the last minute duties (emptied the trash, packed Taylor's overnight bag, rinsed the dishes, prepared food for the animals, got dressed, etc.) Meanwhile, I fought to find a sense of deep relaxation, despite my back pain. It was at this point, that I starting to throw up with nearly every contraction. Yet again, Brandon was my knight in shining armor and sat by me (bowl in hand) and combed my hair with his hand. This helped immensely.

At 5:30am, we called Brandon's parents and asked if they could pick up Taylor in about an hour. Contractions and back pain continued. Brandon loaded the car for the hospital. Neither one of us wanted to leave "too soon" since our doctor had counseled us not to come until I was 4 minutes apart.

When George and Judy arrived, I could barely speak. George and Brandon gave me an incredible priesthood blessing that finally helped me to relax. Taylor was so sweet and kissed mommy and baby goodbye. He said "good luck mommy. I can't wait to see my baby sister." He even said a prayer for us. It was a precious moment. Right after that- I threw up!

Around 7:30am, we tried to get in the car. However I was so sick, I was scared to leave. I didn't want to throw up while having contractions in the car. Plus, my back hurt so bad, I didn't want Brandon to drive. That meant he couldn't put counter pressure on my spine. For a short moment, I wondered if we were going to have this baby at home.

Thirty minutes later we were driving. Brandon had downloaded all my hypnobirthing music to our I-pod. I was trying to relax and not panic in the car. With every contraction, I would yell "back" and Brandon would calmly release one hand from the steering wheel to help me through the pain. At one point, he was on the phone with the hospital, holding my back and driving with his knees. (I'm very grateful my eyes were closed) Contractions were now 2-3 minutes apart.

When we got to the hospital, I could barely walk. It was 8:15am. However, my back pain was so bad I didn't want to sit in a wheelchair either. Thus, we braved our way up the elevator to the nurse check-in station. No one was there! By the time we walked all the way around to the secondary check-in counter, I was exhausted. I nearly cussed when the nurse said "hi. Are you here to be induced?" Hello! Could she not see I was in labor? She sent us back to the original nurse's check-in for a preliminary evaluation. You know, just to make SURE....Arrr....

At this point, no one really seemed to care that I was having deep contractions every 2 minutes. I'm not sure they believed me. I guess I was calmer than most patients. They proceeded to have me pee in a cup (yeah right lady!) and check my blood pressure. I was taking deep breaths and slowly fighting each contractions. Finally the brilliant young nurse says, "you know, I think you might be in labor. I should probably check you before the doctor gets here" (You think?)

After the exam, I could tell she had a little faster sense of urgency. I was dilated to a NINE. They called the doctor, prepped the room and brought me back. The only problem was that everyone kept wanting me to lay down. I just wanted to stand! Once our doula got there, she was great to support me. They brought cool rags for my head, turned the lights down low and kept the bathroom door open just in case I had to throw up again.

I started to get a little nervous when there was a problem with Ambry's heart beat. It wasn't registering on the monitor properly. It was only indicating 80 beats per minute-when it should have been more like 150-160. Thus, I was quickly hooked up to the monitors and moved to all sorts of crazy positions to try and find an accurate beat. It never came. At this point, I caved and asked if I could please have a small amount of medicine to relieve my back pain. I had already said no to the epidural.

The doctor explained that if she gave me the relaxer, there was a possibility it would cause the baby's heart to stop and they would have to revive her after she was born. I panicked when I watched them bring in the oxygen equipment. I didn't know what to do. Her head was facing the wrong way and I couldn't bare the back pain anymore. (Ever tried to relax with a baby in your butt?) Thankfully, our doula spoke up and calmly said "Amy, the only reason this baby hasn’t come yet is because your muscles aren’t relaxed enough to let her through.” She assured us that a very small amount of the relaxer would not take away the pain, but would help me relax enough to begin the birthing process. Thus, with a prayer in our hearts we agreed. We are grateful that it was the right decision.

Thirty minutes later the nurse came in to break my water. Five minutes after that I began pushing. Never in my life have I had such a strong desire to push. It was VERY clearly this baby was ready to come. Although I was still a little nervous since I had to push for nearly forty-five minutes with Taylor. However, this time around, once the urge to push came there was no stopping it. Brandon yelled for the doctor and once she was ready- we pushed. It was amazing how easy it was. After the first push, we saw her hair. With the second push, the head came out. The third push brought our precious, healthy new baby into the world. (2 hours after entering the hospital)

Ambry was immediately placed in my arms and we both started to cry. It was a miracle and true gift from God. She was alert and wide-eyed. She had a full head of dark brown hair and was as calm as can be. We were in love! One of my favorite moments of the whole experience was when the nurses left the room and allowed us to have a full hour alone with our baby before they performed the regular routine (bathing, weighing, tests, etc.) It was a quiet hour filled with thanks and gratitude.

It’s amazing how quickly your pain fades once you are holding your baby. Other than a few stitches and the normal swelling, I felt great. I was much more prepared this time around for the recovery and after-birth. I knew what to expect and was able to stay calm and happy. My back pain was immediately lifted and I understood the changes that would happen to my body now that the difficult part was over. It was true bliss.

After our alone time, everyone came back into the room to care for her. I loved that all of the tests (and even the bath) were done right in front of us in the delivery room. It was so cute watching Brandon help sponge bath her. He was very nervous about getting the umbilical cord wet. Ambry was eventually swaddled and they ever turned her hospital-issued hat into a cute bow.

We were elated to find out that we would be staying in one of four VIP recovery rooms, since we were private insurance patients. Of course, it didn’t hurt that Brandon also had connections with one of the hospital VP’s. J The room was large and spacious with lots of windows. We had great food and even got to special order our first meal. We received several vases of flowers to decorate (from Judy and George, Jim Johnson and United Blood Services) and had short visits from our close friends and family.

It was so exciting to watch Taylor walk into the room for the first time. He instantly loved his new baby sister. He immediately wanted to hold and kiss her. In fact, he was pretty frustrated that she wouldn’t open her eyes. I also laughed when he asked to “see the hole in my tummy and see all my blood”. He was pretty confused when there was no hole. It was so sweet the way he looked at her. He was very careful when he held her and was sure to wash his hand extra times. We are so happy that the new princess has her own little guardian and protector.

Over the course of the next day and a half, we received many annoying visits from doctors and nurses who came to conduct their mandatory tests. Every two hours, they came to take my blood pressure and temperature. At one point, they even woke me up at 3am to draw blood. I was pretty upset. Why can’t they just leave you alone and let you sleep? We were discouraged to learn that Ambry failed her hearing test in her right ear. Although they assured us that due to fluid build-up, a lot of infants don’t pass the first time. (We will go back again this week for a re-test. We are pretty confident she’ll pass)

The most challenging aspect of the tests was learning that Ambry’s irregular breathing pattern during labor was still present. Even though it wasn’t an urgent emergency and Ambry still got to stay in the room with us, we started to get worried when they ordered an EKG and Echo test for her heart. No one wants their new fragile child to undergo tests that you know will be miserable and uncomfortable. The pediatrician also called for a pediatric cardiologist to perform an exam and analysis. We ended up waiting an extra 6-7 hours before we could be cleared to leave the hospital, while we waited for this appointment.

Ambry has what is known as a heart Arrhythmia. Apparently this condition is present in roughly 15-20% of newborns. The doctor indicated that most children grow out of it or show no adverse effects due to the condition. However, the tests showed that she also has three leaky heart valves. Again, two of these leaky valves are very common, even in adults.

This news was emotionally very difficult for me and I immediately prepared for the worst. The doctor scheduled a follow-up appointment (for September27th) and gave us counsel to “treat her as normal”. He said we shouldn’t do anything differently and that I should continue to nurse, hold and comfort her as if nothing was wrong. Despite my fear, Brandon reassured me that if it was something urgent, they would not have let us take her home. We are still praying.

After we received clearance from the cardiologist, OBGYN and nurses we began the discharge papers. I still think it’s funny; I had to attend a parenting class before I could leave, but I understood. Thus, with the help of our good friend Leslie Eyerly, we loaded Ambry, Taylor, 3 bags, 3 large flower arrangements and all our hospital “incidentals” into the car and headed home as a new family.

The last three weeks have been sweet, tiring and filled with life’s simple pleasures. Ambry is a good sleeper, a decent eater and a wonderful little sister. We love dressing her, bathing her and cuddling with her. Despite the fact that my body is not recovering as fast as I would like (I am ready to run, scrub and play soccer again); this time at home has been precious. I am actually starting to panic that I am already halfway through my maternity leave. I love my family so much and am blessed every moment I get to spend with them!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Baby Time!

It has once again been some time since we have posted. A lot has happened in the last 6 months. We were the recipients of a true and everlasting miracle on December 17th, 2009 when Amy discovered she was finally pregnant. All of the tears, patience and humility finally paid off. The frustration and sadness melted away. After a nearly 4-year journey of praying and pleading we were HAVING ANOTHER BABY! I cannot express the gratitude we felt to the Lord during that time. It was as if we would finally see and understand his plan for us.

However, due to some intial skepticism, Amy did take 4 pregnancy tests just to be sure-one of each brand of course. I still can't believe I waited a full day to tell Brandon. My heart was about to burst. But, I wanted to be sure. At that time Brandon's 30th birthday was drawing near and I wanted to do something special. I kept pestering him about whether or not he wanted to open his present early. He knew I was up to something, but I guess he thought I was being my usual dramatic self. He doesn't like early surprises. I had to be persistent. I finally emailed him a short poem to read. It was cheesy of course (he won't let me post it on the blog), but it sealed the deal. You see, Brandon had wanted a handgun for some time. However since we had been saving money for potential fertility treatments, I did not think it was a worthy expense and kept saying no. The poem talked about how two of his wishes were coming true. (I had to sneak in a few corny lines...)

"You asked for a gun, and I said maybe,
But now you need one to protect your baby"

"I hope you’re excited to share your life,
With a brand new gun and a pregnant wife"

Needless to say, he was thrilled. It was a calm and reflective moment for both of us. We both cried. We had planned to start fertility next month! Despite the fear and anxiety that new mothers feel about potentially losing their baby during the early stages of pregnancy, we knew everything would be okay. The only question was "how soon do we tell Taylor?" Five-year olds are not famous for their ability to keep secrets. It wasn't long. We just couldn't wait. We told him a week later. We were expecting fireworks and obsessive dancing as his response, but happily settled when we got a calm "yeah". He made a short Christmas video to announce the news to family and friends another week later. It was super cute.

As pregnancy continued, things became increasingly difficult. I was still recovering from my endometriosis surgery in September and the stretching pains became very hurtful. Additionally, there were major issues with my gallbladder due to intense nausea and sickness. My doctors put me on a great medicine (that they give to chemo patients) but my gallbladder attacks continued. In short, I was stuck eating nothing but bread, chicken and mashed potatoes with water for the first 16 weeks. I lost 8 lbs. I thought things would never end. However, my joy in being pregnant overshadowed the misery. It was more frustrating and embarassing than anything. I hated throwing up at school in the middle of class. Those poor students.

At 20 weeks, the pain subsided. It was another miracle. I thought for sure I would be sick the entire pregnancy. The Lord has had a great hand in our adventure. I finally had more energy, more excitment and quickly geared up for my "nesting phase". It was around this same time, we learned (what we knew all along), that this sweet precious baby was going to be A GIRL! I think we all had a sense of it, but did not want to jinx anything. We kept telling everyone we thought it was a boy (we lied) so that we wouldn't be disappointed. Even Taylor was confident it was a girl. He told us every night he was having a sister. When we gently explained, he might have a baby brother, he would scream and say "no, I'm not. It's a sister! It's a sister!"

We took Taylor to the sonogram with us. It was such a precious moment. We were relieved to know the baby was growing well and was healthy, but when the nurse asked us if we wanted to know the baby's sex, we all held our breaths. (Taylor yelled, "I already know it's a girl"). I started to cry. I didn't know how I was going to explain it to him if he was wrong. The nurse assured him that he was right! I cried some more. I had had some very strong dreams and spiritual impressions about a baby girl over the last 4 years while waiting, but now it was coming true. I asked the nurse if she was SURE. Of course she replied, "we can't ever be 100% sure". I felt a small pain of discouragement. "But, I'm 99% percent" confident. "Go home and paint that baby's room." Hooray!!!

The nesting phase consisted mostly of shopping and obsessing. I would stare at our daughter's room every day. I would envision her crying as a baby, playing as a little girl, and trying to sneak out her window as a teenager. Whew! Was I really ready for all of this?

I quickly made plans for how we would design the nursery and we finally agreed on green and purple with butterflies. I continued to shop like a maniac and bought tons of cute clothes for a bargain. What can I say, I waited so long to shop for a little girl, I just couldn't help myself. Once I spent $45 buying outfits from a lady off of craigslist ($1 each). Brandon finally said it was time to cut me off. Although I did manage to sneak in a few more purchases after that.

The most recent dilema was in regards to our daughter's name. Even before the sonogram, we had two names we really liked. Brandon had randomly come up with the name "Ambry" by combining our two names together and Taylor declared he had a vision (yes, he used that word) and we were suppose to name our baby "Sedriano". This later changed into his obsession with the name "Catie". We're still not sure were Sedriano came from. We both had clarity that her name would be either Catie or Ambry. Yet we (mostly Brandon) were still having a hard time committing to a final decision.

Ever since I had attended the temple back in March, I knew what her name should be. It was reaffirmed to me again during the sonogram that our baby's name was Ambry.... but now we had a problem. Taylor was convinced I was wrong. He called her Catie every day and would cry (literally sob) if I talked any differently. On two seperate occassions, I tried to explain things to him, but his eyes would simply swell up with giant legitimate tears. I felt stuck. Could I be wrong? Did the name really matter that much? Thus, I resorted to the tactics of a sneaky mother. I told Taylor that every time he said the word Ambry, his sister would start to kick. He got such pleasure in thinking every time he said her name, I would get punched in the stomach. (although on many occassions this was in fact true).

It took about two months of this continual game to help him relax and get use to the idea
of a different name. Now, it is simply second nature for him. I love the way it sounds when he says "Ammm...breee" in his cute little Texas accent. There is something very special about this baby. She has brought us all together as a family. We love her so much already! It is as if she is meant to be a part of us.

Despite the small occasional panic attack (how will we afford this, will I keep working, will she be born healthy, will labor be okay, etc.) we are so blessed. We are so thankful for our friends and family who have supported us during this journey. May your prayers continue to bless our lives as we feel of your love and grow as a family. Thank you for everything.

(Yes, I'm still planning on a hypnobirthing labor- just in case you were wondering) :)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Primary Program Bribery

Well, today was the day! It was the first time our sweet, oh-so hyper son would perform in front of the entire church congregation with all the other children ages 4-12 in the annual Primary Program Presentation. I have to admit I was nervous. We hadn't really practiced the songs with Taylor (mostly just because we are bad parents, but also because we knew he didn't really like to sit still and sing in the first place). Nevertheless, we had practiced his "lines" over and over again just in hopes that MAYBE he would get it right. Then, we resorted to what any good parents would do.....we bribed him!

Just before he walked to the pulpit, I quietly reminded him, "Don't forget son. If you sing loud, I will let you have cake tonight." Boy did I eat my words. Our adorable and well-dressed son was the star of the show. Not only did he sing, but he belted every word (at least the ones he knew) louder than any other kid there. He was completly off tune, but man did the kid sing! We were so proud of him. I truly couldn't stop crying. It was like all my motherly emotions swelled together. There was my posterity! He was so cute in his little suit, yelling "Jesus came to John the Baptist" at the top of his lungs on the front row. It was as if his entire life flashed before me. I knew this was simply the beginning of many miraculous and challenging experiences to come. My sweet, sweet son was starting to build his testimony of Jesus Christ. I couldn't have been more proud. (Until he starting to eat his tie at least)

The whole program was quite a spectacle. I am so thankful to all the leaders who invested time and effort into this opportunity. When my son finally came to the microphone and said "Adam and Eve were the first family on earth", my heart just melted. I have not felt such gratitude since the very day Taylor was born. Despite the lame attempts at bribery, it made me truly grateful to be a parent.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Sunday, October 11, 2009

7 Happy Years!

It is so gratifying to know that we beat the odds! Today we celebrated 7 wonderful, chaotic, romantic, fun and sweet years of marriage! Although our anniversary will always be bitter-sweet, since it is also the same day Brandon's best friend died in Iraq; it is so comforting to know that I am married to my best friend for all eternity! Despite our polar differences, we bring such a sense of completeness to one another. When I am stressed, he is calm. When I am nervous, he is calm. When I am busy, he is calm.....Are we sensing a pattern here?

I love being married to a man who supports me in my personal goals and is always willing to be a part of my interests (traveling to debate competitions, school events, pageant parties, etc.)

I love being married to a loyal spouse who cherishs his relationship with his wife and son- Who never lets a day go bye without saying "I love you" or holding my hand. Who is active, competitive and Christ-oriented all at the same time. More than anything, I am so happy I found a man who believes in me!

Note the following list of 110 reason why I love my husband. This was a Christmas present to him in 2006. I hope he doesn't mind me sharing. :)

Reason Why I love Brandon Baker

1. He is the father of my children
2. He makes me laugh
3. He calls me at least twice a day-no matter what!
4. He lets me have “pageant parties”
5. He comforted me during pregnancy and child birth
6. He holds my hand
7. He helps me remember what’s truly important in life!
8. He looks for monsters in the shower when I’m scared
9. He pulls my hair back when I’m sick
10. He is the “perfect height”
11. He calls me “boob-a-loo” and “gum drops”
12. He lets me sing out loud when I’m with him in public
13. He takes out the trash (usually without even being asked)
14. He drives slow around the curves just to make me feel safe
15. He compliments me even when I am terrible at something (golf, dancing, mowing, etc.)
16. He tells me I’m beautiful
17. He is thankful for my cooking even when it’s corndogs or top ramen
18. He brought me to TEXAS
19. He gives me blessings when I’m sick or sacred
20. He lets me do the budgeting
21. He lets me spend money, even after I complain about not having any
22. He takes care of Taylor in the middle of the night, when I’m tired
23. He tries to help change dirty diapers- even when it makes him throw up
24. He is athletic and enjoys sports (and plays on 2 softball teams, a soccer team and bball)
25. He lets me play in his fantasy basketball and football leagues (and win)
26. He golfs- and once almost won a car in a tournament
27. He watches chick-flicks
28. He makes fun of chick-flicks right in the middle of the most romantic part
29. He tucks me into bed
30. He comes to high school games, competitions, and events without complaining
31. He has chaperoned or judged at over 10 DECA/Debate competitions (including twice on our anniversary)
32. He cares about my family
33. He served a mission in the Philippines
34. He is loyal
35. He is a good listener (when he’s not distracted) J
36. He allows me to be myself
37. He pushes me to grow and follow my goals
38. He cuddles with me
39. He holds me close to him when we’re in the temple
40. He pops my knuckles against my will
41. He makes Taylor giggle and squeal
42. He is strong in body, mind, and spirit
43. He has an impeccable work ethic
44. He likes to watch movies
45. He likes to eat out
46. He helps me clean (even on Saturdays)
47. He lights/buys illegal fireworks
48. He eats dressing every Thanksgiving
49. He tries to keep gifts and presents a secret-even though it never workds
50. He lets me help him with his homework, talks, lessons, or assignments
51. He teases me about being a hypochondriac
52. He likes to brush my hair
53. He doesn't complain when my back rubs only last 30 seconds
54. He likes animals
55. He bought me my first puppy
56. He likes family-oriented Christmas tree ornaments (even though I'd prefer sparkly ones)
57. He drinks Lactaid
58. He always wears his wedding ring
59. He is a “good” man
60. He knows a lot about music
61. He used to work on a farm
62. He hates rollercoaster’s
63. He is an Eagle Scout
64. He was in DECA
65. He dresses up for Halloween
66. He always does something romantic and creative on Valentine’s Day
67. He is compassionate
68. He is sincere and emotionally grounded
69. He bought me a Barbie cake for my birthday
70. He convinces me to buy him gifts I was originally against (Shotgun, X-box, Golf clubs)
71. He knows my “favorites” without having to ask (color, food, book, clothes, etc.)
72. He graduated in Business Management
73. He owns a cowboy hat
74. He dances with me at random moments (He also taught me to two-step)
75. He lets me drive his truck
76. He lets me sleep while he drives on long trips
77. He likes to play 20 Questions
78. He reminds us to say prayers
79. He is a Republican, but lets me persuade him to vote Democratic
80. He is tolerant and open-minded
81. He took hypnobirthing classes
82. He doesn’t complain when I leave the bathroom messy
83. He’s sarcastic and enjoys teasing or “trash talking”
84. He doesn’t mind when I act “cheesy”
85. He wears polo shirts
86. He pretends to read in bed with me, even though he hates reading
87. He won Flora and Muggy for me playing Ski-ball
88. He likes to camp and he likes my tin foil dinners
89. He watches “crime” shows with me (Law and Order/CSI)
90. He plays the piano (at least a little bit)
91. He wrote about basketball in his mission journal
92. He helps me with map quest directions
93. He taught me to like new foods (shrimp, “dressing,” elk, brisket)
94. He’s had a lot of jobs (Great Harvest, Macey’s, Jamba Juice, EE, Finish Line, CMS...)
95. He lets me tease him about having red eyes
96. He likes outdoor sports (snowboarding, hunting, fishing) though he rarely goes
97. He took me to the “Price is Right”
98. He plays with my hair clips and usually breaks them
99. He lets me steal all of the covers and sleep with 5 pillows at night
100. He is much better and grocery shopping and always saves money
101. He fixes and builds things (Sand table, Taylor’s bed, bathroom drawers)
102. He lets me give him hair cuts
103. He cuts and styles Taylor hair
104. He plays hide and go-seek with Taylor
105. He has my “exact” same thought at the “exact” same moment
106. He encourages me to complete my list of 100 things to do before I die
107. He wrote me a poem
108. He is a worthy priesthood holder
109. He is my husband, lover, friend, and companion for all eternity!
110. He gives me romantic kisses RIGHT now!

Kids Say the Darnest Things

Well...I never thought it would happen to me! I never thought that something I said in front of my son would translate into later embarassment when he passed the information on to others.

Example #1: During "transportation week" at school, Taylor's class was discussing safety rules while driving. When the teacher asked if anyone had any safety ideas to share with the class, Taylor eagerly raised his hand and said, "When your mom lets you sit in the front sit on special occassions, and you see a cop; you are suppose to lay down and hide".

Example #2: During soccer practice, Taylor purposefully gave the ball to a kid on the opposing team. When we asked him about it this was his reply: "Mom, he said PLEASE can I have the ball and so I had to give it to him."

Weekly Questions of a 4-Year Old
  • Why does God have so many powers?
  • Why doesn't our goblin come down the fireplace?
  • Why can't I be a zombie-vampire for Halloween?
  • Why does our cat always have poop on her butt?
  • When can I grow-up so I can kiss a girl?
  • Can I drive your car to take my friends to kill the dragon in the hot lava castle?
  • Why are there so many poor people?
  • What is breast cancer and why is it pink?