Thursday, March 8, 2012


Seven months. Seven months and Ellie Bea has bloomed into this amazing, complicated, hilarious little person. It's the coolest thing EVER. And, well, it's kicking my ass. Exhibit A being that this was supposed to be a six month post, and, now, here we are. But that's okay, six months blended into seven, and all the amazing things that have happened with our little girl can be rolled into each other. So lets get to it....

Oh, Ellie Bea.

You are the smiliest, happiest baby girl I have ever known, and people comment on what a joy you are all the time. Don't get me wrong, you have your moments, but they're mostly private ones--in fact, they are mostly for Mommy only, and I'm tough, I can take it. You smile so much, but ironically, you're still stingy with the laughter. In fact, there is only one person in our world so far that can consistently crack you up, and that is my mother, who has chosen to be called LaLa (if we can make that stick). LaLa is hilarious to you, and she has magic shoes that you are fascinated by. But, laughter or no, you seem to have room in your heart for us all. You adore your Grandaddy Frank and have developed quite a routine for the evenings you spend at he and Granna's house. And you seem to worship your Daddy almost as much as he worships you, which leads me to believe that the two of you will just be IMPOSSIBLE one day, but I will love you both anyway.

Suddenly and without warning last month, you began to balance while sitting up, and the world opened up. You sit up like a big girl in the bathtub, in the shopping cart, and you are happy as a clam to sit on a blanket in the middle of the floor, surrounded by toys you can bang and throw. Sitting up has opened up all sorts of possibilities like umbrella strollers and backpack carriers, and Mamma is positively ecstatic that Spring has arrived and we can start using all these fun new things. Of course, now I'm terrified about the potential for you to crawl soon, but that's a story for another time... Today you and I went to a consignment sale and came home with an exersaucer, and after 3o minutes (during which you were so excited you drooled like a maniac and panted to the point of hyperventilation), I was ready to write a fan letter to whoever invented that thing because I was able to clean the kitchen UNINTERRUPTED and start a batch of green beans and carrot babyfood. It was a magic moment, and I hope like hell the saucer remains as fascinating for another month or two.

At your six month checkup, you screamed bloody murder from the moment we entered the exam room until well after the vaccinations. Mamma broke into a sweat and my fuzzy cardigan literally began TO SHED on your naked, screaming body, but we survived. Your height was only in the 20th percentile (shorty like your mom), your weight in the 50th, and, oh, my little darlin', your gigantic Hall noggin posted an impressive 90th percentile. Your legs are adorably chubby, in fact, we've taken to referring to your thighs as your 'baby hams'. As always, Mamma could absolutely devour your chunky little feets, and Oh My LORD YOU ARE DELICIOUS.

We had to go back to the doctor last week for your flu shot booster. Daddy and I were prepared for the worst. Instead, you simply lay on the table, flashed your smile at the nurse, and never shed a single tear. Dearest, you never fail to amaze me.

Sleep is still a battle. We can't seem to get back to the glory days of sleeping through the night, but I was fine with a midnight bottle and a 7am wake up call. Unfortunately lately, your nightly acrobatics send you to all corners of the crib, and you wake up at midnight...and 3 am....and 5...and oh, sweet girl, we've got to get over this. Daddy and I are those people that love their sleep, baby, and we are cranky humans without it. Lets work on that together, shall we?

Your little wardrobe remains impressive. You are wearing 6-9 month sizes in most outfits, and the stack of outgrown clothes in your closet has become a tower. Actually, there are two piles, one to sell/give away, and one of tiny things I cannot seem to part with. I'm not sure if I'll just keep them in a box forever to take out and caress whenever I feel like, or if I'll turn them into a quilt I can curl up in an cry over when you go off to college.

Everyone is right. It goes by so fast. So. Darn. Fast.

Don't be in a hurry to grow up, Baby Girl. Mamma's heart can't take it.

Monday, January 9, 2012

5 months and clean slates...

My husband hates New Year's Eve.

In the short week between Christmas and NYE, his "winter blues" begin--winter in East Tennessee isn't much fun, it rarely snows and the sun hardly ever shines, the days are just gray, so I can hardly blame him. But, I love the New Year. I am chipper and eager and full of the promise that is a newly cleaned house and a clean slate for the year. As much as I adore Christmas--the food, the family, the decorating--there are few things I find more refreshing than the day the decorations are finally put away, the floor is vacuumed, and my daily routine is suddenly simplified. New projects begin to form in my brain, and I get so inspired just thinking of all the free time I imagine I have now that the holidays have ended.

Of course, this year, it's a little different--but, somehow, the promise is still there. What I realized this year, as the holidays came to a close, is that for the first time in as long as I can remember, this year is just I'm not pregnant, I'm not trying to get pregnant, I'm not waiting for the next big thing. I'm here. I'm here with my little family, watching my baby grow, enjoying my job for the first time in years, and it seems like a really good place to be.

  • 5 months is turning out to be pretty fun in terms of babyhood, horrid nap-strike notwithstanding. After weeks of battling tummy time, Ellie Bea just rolled over one day as though she'd been doing it her whole short life. Like, seriously Mom and Dad, what's the big deal?
  • Same thing with reaching for a toy. One day, she just stared at it, and us, and the next, she was grabbing at it with both hands and shoving it right into her tiny, drooly mouth.
  • She talks, babbles, screeches, and blows raspberries like we all know exactly what she's saying, and continues to smile and charm everyone she meets. Ellie Bea will be that kid in the store that says "Hi!" to everyone she sees. Since Mommy was a painfully shy child, I'm guessing she gets that from her showman Daddy.
  • No teeth yet, but I expect them any day. She's mastered rice cereal and moved on to the more advanced world of sweet potatoes, bananas, and applesauce. Because I'm, you know, like that, I've been making my own baby food, which has been really cool. I've got a stock pile of applesauce and sweet potato puree in my freezer, and zucchini and green peas are coming up next. I think, since I failed so spectacularly at breast feeding, being able to rock the homemade healthy baby food makes me feel like I'm redeeming myself.
  • Ellie Bea is right around 15 lbs now, with chubby baby legs that I threaten to devour daily. Seriously, is there anything more delectable than baby thighs? We've moved up again in diaper size, and she outgrows clothes at an alarming rate. I'm sure she still looks small to everyone else, but for me, this roly poly girl erases any memories of that tiny little newborn.
  • Her new size (and more importantly strength) led us to giving up the swaddle, which, quite frankly, sucks. She was sleeping a glorious 10-12 hours straight through right before we took the swaddle away, and now we're back to a mid-night feeding, plus a few "gas woke me up come give me my paci back" moments here and there. I know--*I KNOW*--I was so lucky to have such a great sleeper, and even one overnight wake up is better than a lot of families are doing (women LOVE to tell me about their kids who didn't sleep through the night until they were four), but, you know, that doesn't make me miss it any less. Hopefully, we'll be back to our happy night-time & nap time routine any day now....

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas, Y'all!
With much love from Matt, Cortney, Ellie Bea, and (of course) Santa!

Friday, December 9, 2011

4 Months and change...

Clearly, monthly posting at best is what we are looking at for a while, huh? I'm sure we can all live with that.... ;)

Ellie Bea weighed in at 12lbs 13oz at her 4 month check up, which was just after Thanksgiving. I'm guessing we're well into the 13lb mark by now, and my mind is continually blown when I pull and outfit out of the dresser drawer only to find that she no longer fits in it.

One of her favorite things in the world to do now is have Mommy or Daddy pull her up to standing so she can show off what a big girl she is. Her head control is pretty excellent these days.

She would rather chew on her hand than anything in the world.

She has started sleeping through the night on occassion. At first it was just on those nights that she refused to go to bed or days where lots of activity had worn her out, but this week she's even slept through an entire evening with, really, no particular reason. It's down right glorious, but I'm not planning on getting used to it, she likes to throw me curve balls.

She is, of course, too young to notice Christmas going on around her, but that hasn't stopped us from dressing her for the season, and decorating her room with her own little tree and a wreath on her door (a coffee filter wreath Mommy made just for her). Mommy is also making her a special present, a new mobile for over her crib, since lately she is fascinated by any and every thing hanging above her head.

She has lots of new sounds this month, including blowing raspberries and a high pitched, squealy sound that is suspiciously similar to the way the cats talk.

Still no teeth, but she is insanely drooly. She's tried some rice cereal, which was met with complete ambivalence, so clearly no rush there.

She has rolled over exactly three times, clearly she is in no rush there either, and it's killing her Daddy. She is the smiliest little smiley bear that has ever lived, but she flatly refuses to give us a real laugh. Mommy has managed to illicit a chuckle once or twice, but Ellie Bea appears to be keeping the good stuff in reserves for leverage in negotiations after the holidays.

We have our own little ritual where I kiss her on each cheek and then the nose while saying, "Mommy will kissyou and kissyou and kissyou," which is nauseating if you aren't related to us or perhaps if you don't have children and understand how impossible it is to NOT be nauseating when talking to this Snugglebug. She is my adorable baby girl, and I want to pinch her cheeks and eat her toes and squeeze her all day long. And so I shall...

Monday, November 7, 2011

3 months and the clock just keeps ticking...

I cannot even fathom that it has been two months since I last posted. Since then I've started back to work two nights a week, which has been wonderful even as it's been hard to leave her for a minute. And since then, Ellie Bea has blossomed into a chubby, wiggly, giggly little baby girl. She's out of her newborn onesies and filling out her 3 month outfits. She's moved up a size in diapers. And she has generally cemented her status as the love of our lives. It's mindboggling to me how quickly this little girl keeps growing, and as all mommies are, I'm torn between the joy that is seeing her change and learn in new ways every day, and the sadness in realizing that, Oh my goodness, it's all just going by so fast!

Ellie Bea will forever be the most amazing thing to me. She is magic, and being a mother has made me magical as well.

  • At three months and counting, she is sleeping really well, taking good naps and only getting up once a night to eat.
  • She fusses at exactly 7 o'clock, every single night. It is the magic unhappy hour, and the only way to make her happy is to walk with her and let her look at everything in the room (do NOT EVEN TRY to sit, PLEASE), until she finally admits defeat and goes to sleep for her last nap.
  • Her smiles are pure, unadulterated joy, and make me wonder if anyone yet has checked to see if baby smiles cure cancer--because I think they might, they are that amazing...
  • I love the sound of her sucking on her paci over the baby monitor, and the way her eyelids instantly get heavy the minute it touches her lips.
  • She thinks "meeeoowww" is the funniest word in the entire grown-up language.
  • When I go to get her up in the morning, the moment she sees me at the edge of the crib and her face lights up and she breaks into her huge smile is so good, it may very well be the only reason I need to get up in the first place.
  • She knows and loves her daddy, and seeing her smile the same smile for him makes me fall in love with him again every. single. time.
  • She is uber-chatty now, and listening to her coo and gasp and squeal has convinced her parents and all her grandparents that she is brilliant, and will obviously talk at an early age.
  • She HATES tummy time. She hates it so much, and mommy is so loathe to upset her, that she may very well wind up walking first and skipping crawling altogether.
  • She's discovered the deliciousness that is chewing on her hands, and so far has yet to pick a favorite. Just wait til she finds her feet...
She is my baby. My Bunny Boo Bear. She is Peanutty Goodness. And if you think her daddy and I are nuts over her now, just wait. Christmas is coming.

Monday, September 5, 2011

First of many...

My Baby Bea is one month old.

Everyone is right, the time just flies by--I cannot believe this tiny creature is already a month old. She changes every day, and she is positively amazing. Some things from her first month that I want to remember forever:

  • Her "wake-up" faces. In the process of coming back to consciousness this child runs through every possible facial expression in her repertoire. My favorite I have dubbed "the Turtle Face", and it has hints of Elmer Fudd to it as well, and is always coupled with a solid grunt. It's so ridiculous, Mommy absolutely loves it.
  • Her gorgeous, bright shiny blue eyes. I know, I know, they all start out blue, and hers may very well change color later. You know what? All the more reason to commit these early months of baby blues to memory. When she stares at me or her daddy and blinks those big beauties, I fall in love with her even more.
  • Watching her little jaw flex and eyelashes flutter while she nurses.
  • Her big toe. That's it, just...her big toe.
  • Her three sounds--the grunt, the squealy baby elephant noise, and the almost-cry-almost-talky "aah!" sound, which she's only done a few times and surprises her as much as me every time she does it.
  • When she plays trombone with her pacifier.
  • How she's thisclose to smiling....
  • The way she has absolutely no idea what to think about bath time.
  • How Mommy ran around all morning of her first Vols game, looking for an outfit small enough to wear, and when I couldn't find one, how I raided Hobby Lobby to make sure she at least has a cute orange hair bow (or three...)
  • How she hates 1) the moment you put on a clean diaper, 2) going to sleep in the bassinet, and 3) the Pooties (poor gassy baby).
  • Her little pear belly and how she finally is putting on that baby chub after being SO little for SO long.
  • Chillin' on the couch in the Boppy with Mommy and Daddy, watching her first Disney Movie, Tangled (although, I'm pretty sure Mommy and Daddy actually watched more than she did).
  • How, if I've been asleep and Daddy has her downstairs, or if I've gone to run an errand and come home, my heart leaps out of my chest the moment I see her again.
  • Her myriad of nicknames: Baby Bea, Jellie Bean, Bean, Noodle, Peanut (and when I'm really excited about her, "Peanutty Goodness").
  • How in the morning, when I first pick her up, I sing, "It's the Baby Bea Morning Show, starring Ellie Bea!"
  • And, finally, how her daddy and I cannot imagine loving anything more.
Yup. That's my Baby Bea.

Monday, August 22, 2011


Sweet Baby Bea

Mommy and the Jellie Bean after our midmorning meal

Daddy and Ellie Bea studying some Law School reading

Who could blame you for being a little skeptical, kid? It's all new for all three of us...

Portrait of a new Mommy--Diaper bag and stroller, cruising the Kroger parking lot

Most mornings, this is about as far as I get before being summoned by the Queen Bea

Last picture before the belly button finally came off!

Deep conversations with Daddy

This outfit was a little boyish, so we dressed it up with our first hairbow :)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The love of our lives...

My baby is two weeks old.

She is beautiful and amazing and brilliant and she is already two weeks old.

Her daddy and I cannot remember what it was like before she was here, which is probably good since it will never, ever be the same again. And that's just fine, because we're both totally and completely in love with this little girl.

She has the most beautiful little eyes ever, and a fuzzy head of blond hair. She has long feet and big toes. She likes to have her legs rubbed. She is a tiny tyrant who demands to eat every 2 1/2 hours and would like to be held at every moment if possible. She is so charming in the morning it hurts my heart just to look at her. She smells amazing. She is still too tiny for all the clothes and diapers we bought before she was born ( we've taken care of that...naturally), but she is growing like a weed. She has already been out to eat three times, and has been a perfect angel every trip. She's been to the grocery store as well, and stopped a woman in her tracks in the vitamin aisle. The lady gushed so long and so loudly over how amazing she is, I found myself looking over my shoulder in the parking lot to make sure she hadn't followed us out. She poops LOUDLY.

Her name is Ellie Bea Ann Hall.

She is the most amazing thing I have ever done.

Friday, July 15, 2011

The race to the finish....

This room isn't SO bad.

As I sit here staring out at a rainy Cumberland Avenue strip on a Friday morning, I can't help but think that it's not my first choice of where to spend the next two to three weeks...

A beach would have been nice. If we're talking first choices. But let's be honest, at this point, a close runner up is "anywhere but here". Specifically, the comfort of my own couch, surrounded by my animals, on a fluffy blanket, with lots of TiVo and On Demand TV to watch, and plenty of snacks and foods that have never been powdered and reconstituted and served to me on a melamine hospital tray.

But, as I must remind myself daily, that's not a choice I have anymore. I'm here. And it's not SO bad.

There's cable, and a fridge, and it's private and clean. There's a bathroom and a shower with good water pressure. I keep saying it's a lot like staying in a hotel, in a town where there's not a lot to do, and you don't really have any money anyway.


I left the house Monday with absolutely no idea that I wouldn't be back shortly. Another of my routine OB visits was all I had on the agenda. But with my blood pressure still measuring high, and with a bonus of increased protein in my urine (fun!), I was shuttled off to Labor and Delivery, for what I thought was just going to be monitoring. Before I could get in a room, my OB called and asked to speak with me, and let me know that, actually, I'd be staying the night. Constant monitoring and another 24 hour urine sample (24 hours of fun!) were the new agenda, and even though I think she tried to prepare me for the fact that, if that testing showed what she thought, we were looking at Pre-Eclampsia, I still don't think it fully registered to me that I might not be going home the next day. So, yeah, I won't lie...Tuesday afternoon, when she called and told me that an ambulance was going to transfer me to the downtown hospital that was going to be where I'd spend every second until I deliver this little girl...I didn't take it so well.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I am, and it's not so bad. The pre-eclampsia is still on the mild side. I'm taking a relatively low dose blood pressure medication, and Baby Girl is still cooking. Lots of monitoring (daily Non-Stress Tests, nearly daily ultrasounds, every other day labs, and multiple checks of blood pressure and blood sugar all day long) shows that we are both doing well, and delivering just yet is not necessary. We've had two steriod shots to mature her lungs, and every ultrasound reveals her little tummy bouncing up and down, exercising those lungs, practicing for the outside world. Saturday is 34 weeks, a milestone we should pass with no problems. My doctors want to get me to between 36 and 37. I want to get there too, but I also don't want to start losing my mind. We all have a fine line to walk. Theirs is a balancing act between deciding how early is too early to deliver the baby when delivering is the only thing that keeps my health from declining. Mine is the crushing guilt I have over not wanting to have a preemie versus wanting to leave this room as soon as possible with my sanity in tact. Yesterday I chatted with the girl down the hall from me, who described having the same feelings. She's been here almost a month, and she's not as far along as I am. She's my new hero. But believe me, every day, she's a little more ready to leave than ever before, regardless of what it means.


I wish I'd know my last night in the house without a baby was my last night. I don't know if I would have done anything differently. But I would have been aware, and that would have been nice. I might have petted the doggies a bit longer, snuggled a kitty more, enjoyed my late night bowl of ice cream more enthusiastically. I would have relished sleeping in the bed next to my snoring husband, and taking a leisurely shower in my own bathroom. I might have tossed in one more load of laundry. I might have breathed in the scent of my home, my things, my life, a bit more deeply as I walked out the front door that morning, taken a last good look at the flowers blooming in the window boxes and the freshly mowed lawn.

I know, it will all still be there when I get back.
But I'll be bringing home a baby girl with me. And everything will have changed.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Quick update!

Baby girl and I had our first NST (non-stress test) today. Basically, during an NST they hook up fetal monitors and track the baby's heart rate and any possible contractions. What they are looking for is the healthy spike in heart rate that occurs when baby is actively moving in the womb, all part of tracking her development and heading off any problems down the road. When I asked how long an NST usually lasts, the nurse explained to me that they need a full 20 minutes of 'active' monitoring time to get a clear picture. So, say if a baby is napping or not particularly active during a period of the monitoring, you can stay hooked up for much longer than 20 minutes. I laughed and told her this would NOT be a problem with us, Baby Girl is a wiggle worm. I'm sure everyone thinks/says this to her, and she just smiled and said, "Let's hope so!"

Before she could even get the monitor latched, the Doodle had kicked her hard. For the remaining 20 minutes, as the nurse filled out my paperwork and asked me all the standard questions, the gentle thump thump of the Doodle's heartbeat played background to the rumbling thunder of her rolling, flipping, kicking, and punching at my belly and the monitor. "You have a very happy baby in there," she said to me, as I was signing out no more than 30 minutes since pulling in the parking lot. "A very happy, perfect baby."

I never get tired of hearing that.