January 23, 2017

A LETTER TO MY DAUGHTER

Dear Layla,

I’m not sure if you’ll ever read this, but I wanted to write a few thoughts that have been swimming around in my mind about the kind of woman I want you to be. Above anything, I hope you become someone you decide—believing and acting on things that are important to you. I don’t want you to feel an obligation to please others or strive for someone else’s opinion of you. I’ve spent too much of my life doing that and it never made me happy.

First, learn from your mistakes. We all screw up. We say dumb things or do something we regret. What makes us better is when we move forward, taking pieces from those moments, and create a new part of ourselves. Not a single person on this earth can determine your worth and though you’ll find yourself listening to the voices that tell you otherwise, DO NOT BE MOVED.

Don’t fall for petty arguments or the shaming of other women. Women need the support of other women-- now more than ever. If someone dresses differently or worships differently or speaks differently, you are not to treat them poorly. I do want you to be a good judge of character and surround yourself with people that bring you joy. Life is too short to remain in relationships that are toxic or harmful. There is no shame in learning from someone, remaining civil, yet removing yourself from their presence.



I hope you always see and empathize with others’ hurt. You will often not relate to others around you, because of the circumstances you can or cannot control; just know that there will always be situations you won’t understand. Someone will always have it better than you and someone will always have it worse. Everyone is fighting their own battle. Whatever life you choose to live is your own, and that woman you pass on the street lives a life that is her own. This doesn’t make anyone better than the next, it just makes us different. Seeing those differences and appreciating them will make you more compassionate toward others.

You have been born into exceptional circumstances and I want you to give back. You don’t need to do what others expect of you, but you do need to be kind. You need to smile at your neighbor and let someone cry on your shoulder. You need to skip out on obligations and spend time with a family member who needs you. You need to stand with to your classmate who’s standing alone. Give something up because it will give someone more. You need to act on the change you want to see in the world by being that change yourself.

I love you for your gentle spirit and the world needs it. You can do more than you know.

Love always,

Mom

P.S. Don’t have a boyfriend in High School

P.P.S. Don’t watch the Bachelor 


P.P.P.S. Dad told me if you asked him with your big, doe eyes, he’d NEVER be able to say no.  

January 04, 2017

LAYLA: 5 MONTHS

I am kicking myself for not blogging L's other month-updates, but I'll just tell myself "Better late than never!"

Today, Layla is FIVE MONTHS OLD. I know it's cliche, but I honestly don't know where the time has gone. I'm finally feeling like my old self again, although that may never be a possibility and I'm okay with that. I am forever changed by motherhood.

My cute New Year's Eve date!

Layla is growing like a WEED. At her four month check-up, Layla made a huge jump to the "normal" growth chart and although she's a teeny-tiny "normal" baby, we are so proud of how hard she has worked to catch up. The visual of her growth is crazy to see the leaps and bounds she has made over the last several weeks. She blew right through her 3-6 month clothes and is already needing some longer clothes. At <10 percentile for weight and 25 percentile for height, our little string-bean is growing well! I keep telling her to stop growing. Then I tell her to keep working hard. That's got to be confusing to her.



Some recent milestones and exciting moments for our girl include...

- Flying to Utah to meet her cousins and aunts and uncles. Layla did so well on both flights and one of our seat-mates kept calling Layla, "dreamy." That's my new favorite adjective to describe her: she truly is DrEaMy.

- Rolling from tummy to back

- Jabbering, yelling and growling; the sweetest humming while mom sings lullabies

- Eating oatmeal cereal and loving it!

- Noticing and studying everything

- Getting sick for the first time (although short-lived!)

- Grabbing and pulling everything to her mouth. Layla loves grabbing her cheeks (think Kevin on Home Alone) and she loves trying to grab mom's nose and pulling it to her mouth


Because I couldn't decide which pose to post, I am including tons of pictures from out 5-month shoot!














December 31, 2016

TWENTY-SIXTEEN: YEAR IN REVIEW

I remember hoping last New Year's Eve that 2016 would be the year G and I had a baby, and boy, did we have a baby! This year has been full of ups and downs, but ultimately I am left at the end of the year counting the numerous blessings that have been given to my little family. I am the luckiest.



Clearly, L stole the show in 2016 and she is our entire world. I had to wrack my brain for moments that didn't pertain to our sweet girl and I did come up with a couple. Without further ado, in chronological order, these are my top 10 moments from 2016:

10. Learning we were pregnant!

9. Road-tripping through Texas with my love and my new little side-kick in my belly. We visited San Antonio, Corpus Christi and Rockport Beach.



8. Discovering that our little peanut was indeed a SHE!

7. Moving our TV from our living room to our bedroom during my 2nd trimester. Seriously, my pregnancy was ROUGH and being able to stay in bed all day watching dumb shows was GLORIOUS.



6. After several days of worry and uncertainty, I delivered our sweet girl at 34 weeks. The BEST MOMENT OF 2016 was hearing her gurgle and sputter out the sweetest, yet most powerful cry. In that moment I knew we were all okay.



5. Having my father fly in to Texas moments after I delivered his granddaughter. Living out-of-state has had it's challenges, but I am so blessed that my parents were able to make it.

4. Bringing Layla home from the NICU!!!!!!

3. Seeing my and Greg's parents hold Layla for the first time.

2. Starting my new teaching job online.

1. Gushing over my daughter with the love of my life. We adore her and honestly don't know what our life was like before she came along. Greg and I will look at pictures of her after she has gone to bed because we miss her so much. She is pure joy and has been sent to teach me how to better.




I cannot wait to embark on 2017 with Greg and Layla.

August 18, 2016

Update on Layla 8/17 & 8/18

Layla's home!!! The past 19 days have been the worst days of my life, but they have concluded with the best day of my life: bringing our sweet Layla home. My heart goes out to all the families who have to keep their baby in the NICU for any amount of time, but especially those who wait for weeks, even months. 

Greg and I got the call yesterday morning (Wednesday) that we were going to room-in with Layla last night! We got to have her in a room just as we would have had she not had to go to NICU after she was born. I was so elated to have her all to myself that I really didn't sleep...  Whenever she fell asleep after eating, I'd just stare at her or snuggle her. Everyone says to sleep when your baby sleeps but I just can't! 



It's crazy to me that just a few days ago she was struggling to eat her required amounts and NOW she's eating like a champ. It's like one day she just decided she was ready.

This morning Layla had a visit from her Neonatologist and was ready for discharge by 11 AM! We had fun dressing her up in the going home outfit I had picked out for a full-term baby... It was a little big. A LOT big. Her bow looks gianormous, too. We just love our little nugget! 


It simply feels right to have her in her home. 



 
This mama is taking doctor's recommendations seriously: little Layla still has lots of growing to do and needs all the rest she can get. For the next few weeks, mommy and daddy are asking visitors to wait. We want everyone to meet Layla because we think she's the best💁🏼, but we want to keep her tiny body rested and healthy! We'll reach out to you when we feel comfortable showing her off. #helicoptermom

Thank you for all your prayers and support, we are beyond grateful for the wonderful people who love Layla and her parents.

August 17, 2016

Update on Layla 8/16

Wednesday makes Layla 2-weeks old and I can't believe all she's overcome in such a short amount of time. I feel so blessed for her to receive the care she is getting and even though it's torture not having my baby at home, I truly do know she is in good hands. 

Today Layla has lots and lots of great news. It makes me nervous to share only because I worry that whoever the doctor is tomorrow might have a different opinion or she might get tired and eat a little less than usual... I've never felt more nervous in my life! 

While I was getting ready to head into the hospital this morning (Tuesday), her doctor called and said Layla has been taking her bottles so well and showing a lot of success while breast feeding. Because her eating is so great... They took out her NG tube!!! That little face is so darn cute with or without the tube, but it was nice to see her without it taped across her cheek! 



Layla also hasn't needed her lights for Jaundice so *knock-on-wood* I think we can check that off her list of goals to accomplish in the NICU! 

When I arrived at the hospital today, Little Miss had gained 2 grams... Not as much as we'd like to see but again, still trending up in her weight! All day she ate well with me and even nursed for 30 minutes!!! (She was pretty sleepy for the last 10 minutes) I am so proud of our little girl. 

Tonight, after I fed Layla and said goodbye, daddy got to watch her complete her car seat test! We keep calling it the "car-seat challenge" because it sounds like game. She sat in her car seat (mostly slept) for 90 minutes while all her vitals were monitored. If anything stands out during that time (sleep apnea, decreased oxygen, significant change in heart-rate) then she has to wait THREE DAYS  in the NICU and take it again; BUT, Layla PASSED!!! This is an important step before doctors will let us "room-in" with L at the hospital. If all goes well tomorrow, it's a possibility that we get to stay the night with our baby in our own room in the hospital and see how she does before SENDING HER HOME. Send prayers her way in hopes that she keeps up all her good work tomorrow!

"Next up for the Car Seat Challenge... Layla Johnson!"

We're ready for you to come home, baby girl!
 
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