The Hall Happenings

Happy 3 Month Birthday!

You had quite the busy month this month! You celebrated your first Christmas and your first New Years! We didn’t go to the pediatrician this month, so I don’t have a breakdown of your weight and height. Although I don’t have that, I can still tell that you have grown quite a bit. You have outgrown all of your newborn clothes, as well as, some 3 month clothes. You now frequently wear 3 to 6 and 6 month clothes. This year you celebrated Christmas at home in Gainesville, with your Daddy and I. It was so nice to be able to have time this Christmas as a family of three! This year, your Dad and I made our very first complete holiday meal. We also had our first live Christmas tree. It took the three of us 3 full days after Christmas to get back on schedule and recover. :) Grammy Faith and Poppy Bill drove all the up from the Keys to visit with us on Christmas Eve, so that we wouldn’t be alone for the holiday. They drove home on Christmas Eve to spend Christmas with Uncle Jacob, but we had a wonderful time while they were here. Poppy Bill even brought your pink rocking chair up and put it together. Poppy Sam and Mamaw Paula sent some sweet gifts in the mail just for you for Christmas! Your visitors this month included: Nicole, Jill, Isabella, Katie, Sophia, Kevin, Grammy Faith, and Poppy Bill.

Here are some of the highlights from this month… You giggled for real for the first time on January 14th. I was giving you kisses, and you must have thought it was funny, and you giggled. It was the cutest sound I have heard to date! You smile whenever you see your Daddy or I. In the mornings, we have to wake you up, because you would sleep all night and halfway through the day if we let you. But, alas…I have to get you on a schedule that is going to be good when I go back to work soon. When we wake you up in the mornings, you move your head from side to side with your eyes still closed, as if to say, “I’m not ready yet, let me sleep.” But, as soon as you open your eyes, you give us the biggest, sweetest smile! Your Daddy and I both love to see that smile, so we wake up together in the morning just to greet you! You visually track objects quite well now. You are awake more now, which I love! It is so nice to see your pretty eyes, and to hear your little coos. You will listen to 5-10 books easily, and focus intently on the pages. Your Daddy and I went a little bit crazy and bought you a bunch of books as a late Christmas present. You love looking at the pages! Your current favorite song to fall asleep to is the Wheels on the Bus, sung by your Daddy. He has his own version which includes adaptations to include verses of the following: Yoda, Darth Vader, Deaf people…etc. You love it. You coo often, and are a very happy baby. You tend to “talk” a lot on the changing table. You are even able to do turn-taking quite well in the conversation. You LOVE your swing now, and you have since Christmas. The swing is AMAZING! :) Sometimes in the morning, you would rather be in your swing. You fuss just a little, then I put you in the swing, and you coo at me as you watch me. Then you slowly fall asleep. Sometimes when we call your name, you smile before you open your eyes. You’ve been sleeping through the night since a few days after Christmas. Right before Thanksgiving, you started sleeping 5 to 7 hours, and that has increased to all night long. You sleep very well! You’ve been to the nursery one time at church, and I couldn’t leave you, so I think I’m going to “help out” in the nursery! You started this month not really liking tummy time very much, and now you smile and hold your head up very well. You even turn your head while doing tummy time to find your Daddy or I when we talk to you. You’ve been taking more naps in your crib during the day, and I am slowly getting used to this adjustment. You have the sweetest little smile, and your eyes are so bright and pretty when you are happy. You don’t fuss very much at all, and seem to be intently watching everything around you. You have been grasping objects like rattles, your ball with the holes, your clothes, and play keys. You love the music on your play mat, and you love looking in the mirror. Bathtime is fun, and you have been splashing around quite a bit. You have found your hands, and frequently hold them. You hold our hands now with both of your hands, and it is adorable. You eat your hands ALL the time, and you will chew our fingers if we are holding them anywhere near your mouth. You’re not a fan of the pacifier anymore, but that’s ok. We especially love how you rub your eyes when you’re sleepy, and how you make sweet little sleepy sounds. :) now when you fuss, occasionally your fuss/cry sounds a little authoritative (i.e., “come pick me up now!”). You change everyday! Recently while reclined on me reading books, you’ve sat up all by yourself from about a 45 degree angle. You even make a little grunting sound when you do it, like you are working extra hard! Your 3 month photos turned out so well. I thought you might get upset with all the pictures, but you just smiled more and more as we took more pictures. You are such a sweet baby, and we are having the best time with you! This month has been so fun! Happy 3 Months, Lilla! We love you more and more everyday, and can’t wait to see you continue to grow!

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Happy 2 Month Birthday!

You went to the pediatrician today, December 19, 2012 for your 2 month well-visit.  You are 8 weeks and 5 days old today, but according to your birthday, you are two months old.

Here are your 2 month stats: Weight = 11 pounds and 8 ounces (75th percentile), Length = 23 1/2 inches (90th percentile), Head circumference = 38 3/4 cm (50th percentile).  You are a healthy, happy, sweet baby.  You had your first vaccinations today.  Although you didn’t like them, you handled them well.  You came home very sleepy. You’ve been sleepy and a little fussy all day, but you seem to feel a lot better when we hold you close.

In the past four weeks, you have traveled twice.  You went to Georgia for Thanksgiving, and met your Great Grandma Jo.  You also traveled to the Florida Keys, so that your Dad and I could celebrate our 5 year wedding anniversary.  You got to visit with a lot of family, and you handled the traveling very well.  You are now sleeping around 6 to 8 hours every night.  You are smiling more often when you see our faces and when we talk to you.  You are cooing so much now, and you enjoy looking at yourself in the mirror.  You went to pick out your first Christmas tree, and you LOVE staring at the lights.  It took Mom and Dad 3 days to finish decorating the tree, but it looks beautiful.  In the mornings when you start to wake up, you turn your head side to side while your eyes are still closed, and grunt like you are trying to find a way out of the swaddle blanket.  You coo to yourself with your eyes closed for about 30 minutes to an hour, before you really wake up. When you’re on the changing table, you “talk” a lot, and we love to listen.  You like lights and fans a lot, and you really enjoy looking at the dots on your curtains in your room.  Bathtime has become an enjoyable experience, and there are no more tears.  You look around curiously, but you don’t seem bothered by it, which is different than your first bath.  Tummy time is not your favorite thing to do, but you are tolerating it better now.  You seem to be looking more at the books now when we read to you, which we try to do a lot.  You even sat through the book from Grammy Faith, “Twas the night before Christmas.”  You went to your very first Winegarden family Christmas party, and did a great job.  You also went to Warm Springs, GA for our tradition of Christmas ornament shopping.  You visited with cousin William all week, and he was so sweet with you.  We sang a song to you to the tune of “santa baby” but we changed it to “Lilla baby” and made up our own version.  It was William’s idea.  He has nicknamed you “Lil.”  He asks often, “How was Lilla’s day today?” and “What’s on Lilla vision?”  You went to his winter performance at his school, PKS.  We went to the book fair after his performance, in the same library that Mommy remembers when she was little.  You went to Mrs. Mac’s twice, and did fine, until all of the food was gone.  We love taking your photograph, as you are so photogenic.  You really like to sleep with white noise on, but you don’t need it.  You only use the pacifier occasionally, and spit it out if you don’t need it.  The cloth diapers are going great, and look so cute on your little bum.  We are so lucky and blessed to be your parents.  We have already made two photobooks out of pictures of you, and one puzzle (for Great Grandma Jo).

You have so many cute clothes, and I am really enjoying dressing you up. I think I’m enjoying it more than you.  You like the swing a lot more now than you did in your first month, and you also like to be put down a lot more to stretch out and explore.  Your favorite thing to do currently is stand up while we steady you.  You push up all the time.  When you’re being held, you push up on us, when you are sleeping you push up.  The second we stand you up, you look around all happy, and we love seeing it.  We have enjoyed playing with your hair to make different styles.  Our current favorite is the mohawk/curl.  You are so darn cute.  Sometimes when you sleep, you hold your hand up in the air for a long time after you are startled.  My favorite part of the day, is right as you’re waking up in the morning.  You stretch, yawn, and coo, and are very happy to see me.  Sometimes, I want to wake you up earlier, just because I miss you.  But, I tend to let you sleep. :) Your Daddy is so very sweet with you.  He tells you all about the world around you, and you smile at him A LOT, which he loves.  He loves taking your picture, and with his Christmas present, we are sure to have many more wonderful photo memories of you.  We love you!

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Happy 1 Month Baby Love!

It’s been four weeks (by the time this was posted, it was actually six weeks) since Lilla has arrived.  The saying that “enjoy every minute with your baby, because the time will fly by,” is absolutely true…as cliche as it sounds.  Everyday I look at her, and she looks so different to me.  There are so many facial expressions that she is starting to make.  When she smiles, I feel like she looks just like Aaron.  Which makes me happy, because his smile and laugh typically ALWAYS makes me smile and feel happy.  I would love for her to have his smiling eyes.  She is a sweet baby.  As long as she has a clean diaper, has been fed, and has had a good nap, she is happy.

We went to her 1 month well-check on Monday, November 19, 2012.  She weighed 9 pounds and 3 ounces, which was in the 50th percentile, and measured 22 1/4 inches long which was in the 95th percentile.  Her head circumference was at 36 cm.  She is healthy and sweet.

In her first month she was visited by many people, including: Grammy Faith, Poppy Bill, Uncle Jacob, William Michael, Mamaw Paula, Poppy Sam, Heather, Richard, Zoe, Cathy (and Baby Bump Braden), Rhiannon, Hannah, Jacob, Mark, Brittany, our neighbors in the cul-de-sac, Kanika, Polly, Pastor and Mrs. Carr, and more that I am sure I am forgetting (sorry…I blame “Mom brain”).

On November 1st, Lilla had her first professional pictures taken.  We went to Footstone Photography, and they did a great job with her!  We can’t wait to get the pictures we ordered.  We are also waiting on birth announcements to mail, as well as some adorable Christmas cards.  Can’t wait!

Grammy Faith continued visiting for a week after Lilla was born, and Mamaw Paula visited a week after that.  We had A LOT of great help from those two wonderful ladies!  Thank you!

Lilla celebrated her first Halloween as a baby candy corn. Grammy Faith made the bloomers, and Aaron picked out the candy corn hat online.  We used the white blanket made especially for little Miss Lilla. :)  Lilla got to meet her big cousin William Michael for the first time on November 17th.  He was so incredibly sweet with her.  His first comment about Lilla was that she was “so soft!” and that he could see her eye lids.  He kept talking about how small Lilla’s feet and hands are.  We have a little joke.  He used to call me, Mowissa (because he had trouble with /l/).  Now, he calls me Molissa has a joke, and I call him Mowilliam.  William and I called Lilla “mowilla” a few times, and he thought that was funny.  We took a walk with William Michael when he was here, and it was great!  He really wanted to push the stroller, and Lilla really wanted to be held.  So William Michael pushed the stroller, and I carried Lilla.

We had a great visit from Cathy on November 9th to November 11th.  I am so happy that she was able to come.  Her little one is due very soon, so we weren’t sure that she was going to be able to fly, but she did!  The visit was short, but fabulous.  We got to talk and visit, and just hang out. We went for two walks with Lilla while she and baby bump Braden were here!  Cathy even made us a delicious meal!  Her roast chicken is amazingly tasty!  Yum!  Thank you Cathy! :) We LOVE YOU!

On November 11th, Uncle Jacob, Poppy Bill, and Grammy Faith stopped by for lunch on their way home from GA.  We had a nice time visiting with them! :)

Heather, Richard, and Zoe came to visit on November 12th.  We got to visit with them all day, and it was great!  Mommy had great personal growth that day, with the assistance of Heather. I put Lilla down for a few legitimate naps, instead of holding her most of day (which is exactly what I wanted to do…Hold her…:).

On November 18th, we noticed that Lilla likes to sleep longer at night now.  She slept for 5 hours! Amazing!  She hasn’t lost any hair yet, and is so alert now! Lilla makes the sweetest sound right before she wants to nurse. She also has the cutest little sad face, although we don’t like to see that often if we can help it.  She furrows her brow A LOT, like she’s trying to figure things out.  She focuses on objects, and she has been consistently able to hold her head up for longer periods of time than I would have expected.  We do tummy time everyday, and she is not a huge fan yet.  She can move herself forward a little bit.  She sleeps in the cradle every night, and does great!  She LOVES the rain noise on my alarm clock.  We play that every night.  We read at least one book before bed, and more during the day.  She doesn’t always look at the pages, but we can normally get through a 5 to 10 page book with no problem.  She doesn’t really have an opinion about the swing yet.  We got a bouncy seat, and she LOVES that!  She had her hearing screened in the hospital at birth, and passed in both ears.  She also had her hearing screened by Rhiannon and I at home on October 25, 2012, and she passed in both ears.  Aaron and I are signing to her, and she seems to like it.

That was our month 1 with baby love!

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Arrival of Baby Love

Little missy decided to make her grand appearance on October 19th, 2012.  I went to work on Thursday, October 18th, with every intention of finishing the day, and then working a full day on Monday.  I was planning on taking my official maternity leave on Monday, October 22, 2012, which was also our official due date.  I did fine at work on Thursday, but was a little tired around lunch time, and opted to go home for the rest of the day.  Once I left, I decided that since I was so tired, I would start my maternity leave officially that day.  My lovely mom had been “visiting” or rather “helping-with-everything.”  She is truly amazing.  I don’t believe she relaxed one bit though.  She was so busy while she was here.  She drove me to work everyday, and to doctor’s appointments, etc.  We even did a little mall shopping.  We worked on the “little cousin” and “big cousin” t-shirts the night before.  She kept telling me to take it easy, and rest.  She made it so that I was able to rest.  THANK YOU MOM!

Also, I need to thank my amazing husband.  He went on countless runs to “the store” (which meant any store imaginable in Gainesville, depending on what was required at the time).  He got me a gazillion tumblers of water during this pregnancy.  He is an extremely patient person, and was very patient with my less than patient pregnant self.  He made sure that all of our bags were packed for the hospital. He also put together the furniture.  He is awesome!

Ok, so back to the story.  On Thursday night, I was resting on the couch, when I decided I wanted to finish the cousin shirts.  I got up to go work on them, and felt a tightness in my lower abdomen.  I decided that I was just really tired from working a lot, and not resting that much.  I got up again, and felt the discomfort again.  At that point, I knew that it felt different.  I decided to get a shower, so that in case we had to make a trip to the hospital, we would be ready to go, and I wouldn’t feel rushed.  After the shower, I knew I was have for real, real contractions.  No matter what position, it was uncomfortable.  They started out about 20 minutes apart at around 10 pm.  I opted to lay down and sleep between contractions, as I knew I wouldn’t get much rest soon.  By about 12:00, I knew we would be going to the hospital soon.  The contractions were much closer together.  They went from about 10 minutes to 5 minutes, and eventually 3 minutes apart in less than an hour. We headed to the hospital at 1:15 am on 10/19.

It’s such a strange thing to describe.  I was feeling a million different emotions at the time.  I was exhausted, and really just wanted to sleep.  I was pretty relaxed because I was so sleepy.  Aaron and I were also incredibly anxious.  We had been to 9 different baby education classes, but still felt as though we had no idea what we were doing.  We were also anxious as we anticipated meeting our baby girl!  We wondered what she would look like, if she would be healthy, and a million other things.

I had heard so many “horror” stories (which are not very helpful to a pregnant woman) along the way, that I was VERY anxious about labor and delivery.  Our original plan included “let’s see how it goes and we will try to not do any pain medication” route.  Which roughly translates into “who am I kidding??? Give me the epidural.”  My mom was able to come with us to the hospital, which really helped us to feel like we were being well taken care of.  We knew the doctors and were comfortable with them and the hospital staff, so we felt confident that we were in good hands medically speaking.  But, it is so nice to know that your mom is with you.

She is so calm in an anxious situation.  Both Aaron and my mom made sure their voices were calm and even. They were supportive the whole time.  Let me just say, Aaron did awesome!  He was attentive without being overbearing, and sweet.  So sweet!  We went to the Labor and Delivery floor at North Florida Regional at 1:30, and were admitted.  We were in triage for about 45 minutes, before being transferred to a labor and delivery room.  While in triage, we were only at about 3 centimeters, and we were told by the nurse, “it will be a while, get comfortable.”  Well…neither part of that sentence ended up being fulfilled.  The contractions at that point were 3 minutes apart.  Comfort was not a term I understood at that time.  When asked if I wanted something for pain, my answer was immediately “YES!”

Well, it took a while to get transferred to a labor and delivery room.  So no pain medication was provided while in triage.  Once in the labor and delivery room, they asked again if I wanted pain medication.  Again I answered definitively, “YES!”  You see how that whole, “let’s wait and see if we can do this without pain meds” plan was working out well…

They decided to start an IV.  Well, it took them forever to get the IV placed, as my veins are terrible.  I was never actually hooked up to anything. They just put the IV needle in place.  I commented that I felt that I needed to push.  That was around 2:45 am.  They checked me again, and we were at 10 centimeters and fully effaced.  CRAZY!  We went from 3 centimeters at 1:30, to 10 at 2:45.

At that point, I was told…”Sorry honey, no medications! You are having this baby in the next 30 minutes!”  I replied, “No, that can’t be right.  These things are supposed to take longer.”  (Clearly irrational.)  I was also told that I need to roll over, to which I replied to the nurse, “I won’t be doing that, you are going to have to push me.”  Clearly, I am a very irrational patient.  Anyway, the doctor arrived, and then the big show was about to take place.  No pain medications.  Perhaps I should capitalize that.  NO PAIN MEDICATIONS. There, I feel better!  I suppose that is the way God planned for this delivery to happen.  In my head, I planned something entirely different.  This was a great lesson for me to show that God is truly and completely in control.

Right before I started to really push, Aaron mentioned that he wanted to go get some water.  My mom, the nurses, and the doctor replied…”Nope, no water, you are about to have a baby!  Get ready!”  We pushed for about 10 minutes, and at 3:23 am, Lilla Rita Hall was born!!!

She arrived and immediately started crying!  THE BEST SOUND IN THE WORLD.  Seriously. The BEST!  Right away, they gave her to me, and I got to hold her.  Aaron says that his favorite part is when they gave her to me, she lifted her head up slightly, and looked at me.  We even have a picture of her doing that!  I don’t think I’ll ever be able to truly describe that moment.  I now fully understand the saying “there are no words.”  The feelings we experienced in that moment go beyond Webster’s.

Lilla is a beautiful gift from God.  She weighed 7 pounds, 15 ounces.  She measured 19.5 inches long.  She had dark brown hair, and a lot of it.  She had gray/dark blue eyes.  We counted all 10 fingers and all 10 toes, and just stared at her for what felt like the longest time and also the shortest.  Before I knew it she was getting her first bath.  Aaron got to see all of that close up.  Precious baby love. :)

We were transferred shortly to a post-partum room.  Aaron and my mom slept a little bit, although I don’t believe any of us really rested.  We were so vigilant of her, that I know we hardly slept.  My Dad and Jacob were on the way up from the Keys, and Paula and Sam were on the way down from Lenoir City, TN.  We were so lucky to have so many of our special people visit us in the hospital.

The next morning, they wanted to take her to the nursery so that the pediatrician could do an assessment of her.  I could hardly stand it.  I sent Aaron with her! :)  Needless to say, the next day or so was kind of a blur, but what I remember the most clearly above the exhaustion was how absolutely happy I felt.  We are so blessed with this little lady, and with our amazing families.  Now she is 6 weeks old and we can hardly believe it.

She went to the pediatricians on the Monday following birth, and she weighed 7 pounds 6 ounces.  She went a few days later and weighed 7 pounds 8 ounces.  She went again at 2 weeks, and she weighed 8 pounds 6 ounces. She went again at 1 month, and she weight 9 pounds 3 ounces.  Absolutely crazy and amazing.

She has also already gone on her first major road trip.  We went to GA for Thanksgiving to visit Great Grandma Jo.  She loves her so much and was so happy when Grandma Jo was holding her.  She also got to meet Uncle William and Aunt Nicole.  And VERY importantly, she got to meet big cousin William Michael!  He is absolutely adorable with her, and kept saying what a good baby she is.  We love him so much, and it was so nice seeing the two of them together!

Since she’s been born, she has been to the pumpkin patch, has had her first Halloween (she was a candy corn), has gone to 3 restaurants, and the mall.  We have gone to Warm Springs to pick out Christmas ornaments, and to Michaels.  We haven’t braved Publix yet.  We are just lucky to be loving her.  More to come! :)

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Baby Love :)

It’s amazing how so many little things impact your perspective.  I was looking on Pinterest the other day, and saw some of the most encouraging words posted by a student of mine.  It gave me hope for the generations after mine, and for people in general.  It also made me realize that I need to be a better example.

So, on that positive note…we are getting things finalized for the arrival of our little lady!  We are at 37 weeks today, and it is hard to believe that it could essentially happen at any time!  I feel much more prepared than I did even a month ago.  Thankfully we have had a lot of help from a lot of people, and that has really made all of the difference.  I am looking forward to Baby Love meeting all of our wonderful family members (who may not even read this post, as I am so terrible at posting things…)!  We are going to post the pictures of the nursery once we get the finished touches added.  I can’t wait to bring her home to show her the space that her daddy and I worked so hard on.  My mom also worked amazingly hard to make this room a special haven for her, and for everyone to spend time with her in.  We have all of our cloth diapers washed and prepped, and are ready to go.  I am so excited to use them!  They are so pretty, and match all of her clothes without covers.  Aaron has been absolutely amazing.  He and my amazing mom went shopping for furniture for her room without me while I would working on course prep for my class.  They came back with an antique dresser, and a gorgeous shelf.  I couldn’t be happier with their choices.  He has worked so hard putting curtain rods up, putting together her crib, her stroller, and everything else I have asked him to do.  We got batteries put in all of her stuff for her room.  I am in love with the tiddliwinks starfish night light.  I would love to have our bedroom look like her room.  So peaceful and pretty.  On the next post I will post pictures.

I need to get things done for Cathy’s baby girl too!  Her shower is coming up quickly, and I have a lot of work to do to finish some special projects!

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Project Yucatan

Every year the University of Florida Audiology faculty and students travel to the Yucatan in Mexico for Project Yucatan.  This year, Aaron and I were able to go as well.  We flew from Miami to Mexico City, and then from Mexico City to Merida.  We stayed in Merida for one day, and then traveled on to Campeche.  We were lucky enough to go and see ancient Mayan Ruins at a site called Edzna.  This type of trip is something that people talk about, and you think you know what you are getting into, but you don’t.  Not really.  When they say that people live in tiki huts with walls, they are completely serious.  We went to villages to identify people with hearing loss, in order to be followed by Ayproda.  Between all of the faculty and the students, we ran three different sites each day.  The total number of patients for the week of all three sites combined is 1828.  Compared to how many patients I normally see in a week, this number absolutely blows me away.  I never imagined something on this scale to be possible.  We also went with the pharmacy department at the University of Florida.  Even with the group that we had, there were still not that many workers.  I have never seen people work so hard in my life.  Some days ended with everyone sleeping on the bus on the way back to Campeche.  Other days ended in tears.  Tears of exhaustion and gratitude.   Continue reading →

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