Sunday, February 28, 2010

Girl's Day Out

Yesterday was a big day for Miss Kate. It was her first girl's day out!! My mom and I are all the time going on fun "adventures" when we can. I love our girl's days. I have the best mom in the world!! She truly is my best friend. So of course we love doing fun things together. Kate got to join us on our fun day yesterday. We went to a consignment sale and got some great deals on shoes and clothes for the kiddos. Then we had a fun lunch together at Cantina Laredo. We finished up the day with a baby shower for a friend. It was a great day. Kate did wonderful she took it all in and slept a lot.

I look forward to years of girl's days out with Kate and my mom. I pray that I can be 1/2 as good a mom as my mom has been. I also pray that I can have as special a relationship with Kate as my mom and I do.

Yummy lunch at Cantina Laredo! Love me some guacamole.

Granna & Kate

Sweet Kate at the baby shower. She looked so cute in her brown sweater dress (thanks Aunt Kelly!)

3 generations of East/Eckley women!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Construction Birthday Party!

Wow!! That is all I can say. We had such a good time last night at Ben's 3rd birthday party. Everything was wonderful. It was such a fun time. Ben loved every minute of it. He had a blast playing with his friends. He was such a sweet boy. He said thank you to all his guests and let them play with his new toys. I was so proud of him. When it was over he looked at me and said "my party was awesome!" That makes it all worth it! Here are some pictures from the party. Sorry they are in a really random order but there are a bunch and I don't feel like going through them. They are also very unedited at this point.

Digging into the cake

Opening presents. He loved everything he got. Lots of superhero stuff and some fun games and books and puzzles.

Eating some cake

He loved having all his buddies there - Evan, John Thomas, Micah, Anna, Kylie, Bailey & Genevieve. The boys were sort of crazy!

Blowing out the candles.
Look at the cutie!

The cake - it turned our really cute!!

We had all his favorite foods to eat for dinner - Chick-fil-a nuggets, chips and dip, grapes and cheese!

Sweet baby Kate had fun at the party too!

I had games planned for them to play but they just wanted to play on the playground which was fine with me!

The tables
Food table
Cake table

I was so busy I didn't get to take as many pictures as I wanted to but hopefully you can see what a fun time it was!! Thanks to all our friends for coming. Ben is one happy little boy. We are going to be doing lots more celebrating over the next few days!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Party Prep

We have had a super busy week getting ready for the big birthday party tomorrow. I have a confession to make. "Hi, my name is Emily and I am party planning obsessed." I think I may need professional help. I started planning Ben's birthday party the minute I got done planning a baby shower back in January. I love planning parties and having everything come together! It is so much fun. It is stressful but I love it.

So I had been asking Ben what kind of party he wanted. He said "football party" so I of course tell him that he wants a construction party. Great mom I am! I thought football seemed good for an older boy and construction was perfect for a 3 year old. He was good with the idea so we have been planning a construction party for the last few months. I love using the Internet to get great ideas. I ordered lots of fun (cheap) things to have at the party. It is going to be great. We are branching out this year and not doing the party at home. It was just going to be too much to get it all together and clean the house and have a 3 month old so we are doing it at the indoor playground at our church. About 7 of his little friends are coming so it should be tons of fun!! I am so excited.

Here are the invitations I made. I love using my digital scrapbooking stuff to make invitations. I can make them for less than 20 cents! I thought they turned out really cute!Here Ben and I are making the favors for the party. I look horrible in pictures. I can't keep my eyes open! Any suggestions?
Ben in the party room (guest bedroom). For the last couple of months it has been full of everything we needed for the party.
Last night we made the icing for the cake. Tonight is making the cake and decorating. Should be interesting. I was going to buy the cake but Matt talked me into making it. It is fun to make the cakes for the kiddos birthdays. I just worry that it won't turn out right.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Our New "Toy"

Happy Wednesday!!!! Today has been a great day already!! Mr. Ben went to school today!! YEA! I love school days. I love my little man but it is nice to have a break. The last couple of days have been long and rough and we both needed sometime away from each other. He is always so excited on school days. I dropped him off at school and Kate and I went to Panera for bagels! While I was pregnant with her I would go just about every Wednesday after I took Ben to school before I went to work. So it was fun to go today and actually take her. We enjoyed a nice quiet time together! It is also nice to run errands with just one kiddo. Makes things so much faster. I was on the hunt for some tights for Kate to wear to Ben's party. I think I found some!! So great day so far!!

On to what the post is really about... With our Christmas money, Matt and I bought ourselves a fun new "toy." It is a Flip video camera. The thing is awesome. It is about the size of the palm of my hand and takes awesome HD quality videos. We had bought a video camera before Ben was born but never used it. It was just a pain to get out and lug around so we are hoping that this will inspire us to take more videos. We haven't used it too much yet but so far I really like it. It is super easy to use and takes great videos. We even got to design what we wanted it to look like. So cool!! They are actually very reasonable at just over $200.

I thought I would post a couple of videos. The first one is of sweet baby Kate smiling and looking cute. The second one is Ben singing "Pants on the Ground." The wonderful song made famous by American Idol this year. I sing it to him in the mornings while he is getting dressed so he has picked it up. If you can't understand him he is singing "Pants on the ground, pants on the ground. Looking like a fool with your pants on the ground."

The Flip

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Daddy's Princess

Hope you like all the changes on the blog. I thought I would update it a little and change the format. Just needed a change.

We were so blessed to get so many wonderful clothes when Kate was born. Lots of new outfits at showers along with tons of hand-me-downs from friends and neighbors. At one point I think we got about 35 size 3 month sleepers. So I was taking some of them back. I had a stack of them ready to go. Before I took them back I asked Matt if there were any he wanted to keep. This is the one he wanted...

Daddy's Princess!! I thought it was so cute that he wanted to keep this one. She is her daddy's princess.

I caught this crazy picture of Ben tonight. Wearing a construction hat. Carrying a sword and football. In shorts and a sweatshirt. Crazy guy!!! The weather has turned back really cold so we are stuck back inside. YUCK!!! It has been a long day! I need to go to bed!!!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Lessons from the NICU

This is a post that has been a long time coming. I have been thinking it over in my head for a couple of months now. It has been 3 months since we got to bring sweet baby Kate home from the hospital. The 6 days that Kate spent in the NICU were some of the hardest days of my life. But through that I have learned so very much. It has taken me this long to even just begin to process it all. It was such a whirlwind time and very overwhelming. I am thankful for the experience and the time I have had to process it all now.

Last fall I was praying to God to really increase my faith. I was thinking about how I have had a pretty easy life. Everything has sort of fallen into place with no real struggles. I was wondering how strong my faith really was because I had never really faced anything difficult. Well God heard my prayers and thought he would throw a little curve ball our way. We thought we were going to have a perfectly healthy baby girl. Even 5 minutes after she was born, I was thanking God that everything had gone so well. Things changed rather quickly as Kate was rushed off to the NICU. Talk about a scary time. But God is faithful and through the experience I learned so much!

We have friends that have gone through so much worse lately and their stories are so much greater. And there are people that have much longer and scary NICU stories. But I know God is using the trial that we faced in a big way in our lives. Our pastor started a sermon series last week called "Lessons from the Storm." He is taking literal storms from the Bible and applying the lessons that are to be learned. God is so great and His timing is so awesome. I had been praying over the previous couple of months about what lessons He wanted to teach from the experience we went through. My goal is to see what lessons I could learn through that storm in life. So here are some of the lessons I have learned.

  1. God has a bigger and better plan than I can ever come up with. Those of you that know me well know I am a super duper type A over planner. I have list after list. I even have lists of lists I need to make. I pride myself on having a plan and sticking to it. So of course I had it all planned out how things were going to go with Kate's birth and afterwards. God had to pull me away from my perfect little plan to make me depend fully on Him. In those days when there was no plan, I had to lean on the fact that God was making the plan not me. And I learned that His plan is so perfect. I knew that but I had to fully experience it.
  2. God is sufficient to meet all of my needs. I am also a fiercely independent person. I like to do things on my own. Through this experience, I learned that sometimes I in and of myself can't do it all. In those moments when I was struggling to understand why everything was happening, God was right there providing me the comfort and peace that I needed. I learned that I am not as strong as I think I am . I don't ever cry but that first day Matt and I just cried and poured our hearts out to God. He met us right there in my hospital room and filled us with such a peace. Through the whole week, He was walking right with us and meeting every need that we had along with some we probably didn't even know we had.
  3. Prayer is a lifeline!!! Once again something I knew but had never really experienced for myself. I did more praying in that week than I probably ever have in my life. As I would sit by Kate's bedside, I would just pray for her. Not just for healing but for her whole life. I would pray that God would use her in a mighty way as she grows to be a woman after His own heart. That brought me so much comfort. Really that week totally changed my prayer life. I pray that I don't forget this experience and that I can continue to pray with such eager expectation!

  4. I am so blessed! First and foremost with a wonderful husband who walked through this storm with me. I will never forget some of the sweet moments the 2 of us shared together when we were alone without our new baby. Secondly with great friends and family that helped us out so much. But most of all for a Savior that never leaves or foresakes us!! I often times wonder how people who don't have a personal relationship with the Lord can make it through difficult times. And I am blessed in the fact that my sweet baby girl is perfect and healthy now. We truly experienced God's healing hand and power.

These are just a few of the big lessons that I have learned through our experience. God is still working on me and teaching me new things. Our experience really has inspired me to a new faith. As our pastor talked about last week, I pray that I will continue to know Jesus even better after this experience than I did before. I think the verse that sums it all up is one that I now have hanging on Kate's wall. "The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy." Psalm 126:3

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Beautiful Weekend!!!!!!

It has been the most gorgeous weekend!!! I think any sunshine would have been gorgeous after the winter we have had. I heard that we had not at 3 days of sunshine together since November (before Kate was born) and that this was the coldest winter since 1986. I believe it!!! It has been pretty miserable. So when the sun came out on Friday we took advantage of it!!!! It was fun to get the kids out and enjoy a great weekend.

Friday afternoon we went to the park. Ben had a blast just getting to run around. Kate loved being out in the sun (a first for her). Friday night Ben had a birthday party for his best buddy Micah. It was a carnival and he had so much fun!! All he talked about all week was going to Micah's party. I did learn a lesson. Don't let a 3 year old pick out a present. He thought he was going to get to keep the "green lantern" present. He has cried and cried for that thing. Luckily Micah's dad told Matt that Micah actually bought it for Ben for his party (told you they were great buddies - they picked out the same present for each other).

Saturday we went to a free family concert put on by the Huntsville Symphony. It was lots of fun. Ben enjoyed the music for a little bit but then fell asleep. Kate slept through the whole thing. Oh well, Matt and I thought it was fun. Trying to expose them to cultural things at a young age. We then came home and enjoyed a fun afternoon of playing outside. All the neighbors were out so it was nice to visit with them and catch up. It has been a long winter of everyone being inside.

Today was church. It was so nice to drive there in sunshine instead of clouds and snow. Just made it even better. We put Kate in the nursery for the first time. I had a little bit of a hard time with it. Just worried about her. She did ok. She is such a mama's girl that they said she cried when she realized I wasn't there. They rocked her and got her to sleep. After church we found the preschool director walking the halls with her. Never a good sign! She seemed ok. It will just take some getting used to it on her part (and mine). Now we are going outside to play some more. I LOVE it!!!!! It has been a great weekend! We are looking forward to a super fun week!!! Birthday week!!!!!!!!

Park time for Mommy and Kate Ben running at the park. He has so much energy he needs to run off!
Saturday before the symphony we went to eat at Chilis. We love Chilis. Our whole family eats for under $10. It is great. And Ben eats his weight in chips and dip!
Ben chilling before the symphony concert.

Kate at the symphony. All snuggled up in her carrier.
The symphony
Our sweet neighbor Anna with Ben and Kate. It was so great to play and visit with all the neighbors Saturday afternoon.
I got out the new double stroller to try out. Seems to work great. Looking forward to using it on our upcoming trips.
Sweet baby Kate all dressed up for church. She looked so cute in her little blue smocked dress. All the nursery workers thought she was a doll even if she cried.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Flashback (Way Back) Friday

The age old question of "who does the baby look like" has been asked a lot lately. I am never really good at telling who babies look like. They look like babies to me! It cracks me up how one person will say "Kate looks just like Matt" and then the next person will say "she looks just like you." And everyone has different opinions on if she looks like Ben or not. So I thought all you blog readers could weigh in. Who do you think looks like who? I don't have any pictures of baby Matt so just imagine.

Kate at 1 week old
Ben at 1 day old
Kate at 3 months
Ben at 3 months
And for the way back part - Emily as a baby

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Buying Girl Clothes

What I am about to say is probably going to shock some of you. I had a really hard time getting into buying girl clothes. Yes I admit it! I guess after 3 years of buying little boy stuff the girl stuff intimidated me or something. I felt like I didn't know what I was doing. You would think since I dressed my little boy is "sissy" clothes that I would relish buying girl stuff but it just didn't happen. I got overwhelmed at the amount of girl stuff and just what all it involved.

Luckily lately I have gotten over my intimidation and am embracing the girl clothes buying!! I went shopping a couple of weeks ago and was so excited about the things that I found. I love to buy 1 year ahead on all my clothes. I buy at the end of the season for the next year. That way I get some awesome deals!! Kate has 3 bins of summer clothes waiting on her for this summer (stuff bought at the end of last year by my mom not me). I am quickly filling up 2 bins for next winter. I shop second hand stores and retail stores and get some great deals on clothes. This way the kiddos get lots of clothes. Believe me I am still buying Ben clothes but lately I am getting into the girl stuff.

Here is the dress I am super excited about for next fall. I love bishop dresses and this is a smocked one with leaves!!

Got this super cute outfit for her birthday next fall.
This maybe taking it a little far but I got this awesome smocked Christmas dress that is a size 3. It was on clearance after Christmas for $2.50 at a second hand store so I couldn't pass it up! I might have a compulsion.

Here is an example of the bins that I keep for the coming up seasons!
I am finally starting to get into the girl clothes buying as you can see!!