Friday, August 31, 2012

Grandmas are Special

Summer 2012

I have been lucky my entire life to have two amazing grandmas. They both have their unique and awesome features that make them special to me. Both sets of my grandparents lived in the Wichita, Kansas vicinity so I was able to see both of them anytime my family or I went to Wichita. I was also able to see both of them at all of the major holidays when we traveled from Ulysses (Kansas) or Arp (Texas) to Wichita.

My dad's mom, Grandma Pat, was an awesome Christian mother and grandmother to learn from and be around. She was married to my only grandfather and they were the perfect picture of a Christian marriage I have ever seen in my life. Anytime I was at their house I was able to sit in their living room and listen to stories of my dad and my uncles and their fun and humorous times of their life. They had a very huge, huge house outside of Wichita in a small town called Derby where my dad and his brothers grew up. They had a basement where grandpa and grandma and us would go downstairs after dinner and watch the nightly news and we would play and watch movies. But my grandma also had a bedroom on the upstairs part of her house that my family and I called "the peach room ". It was completely decorated in the color of peach. The walls were peach, the bedspread was peach and she even had a make up vanity that was peach colored. Anytime I went to their house that was always where and I stayed and it was very, very special to me since my grandmother had decorated it herself and everything in there had a unique resemblance of her. In fact I have a very petite rocking chair in my home right now from her "Peach Room". Grandma Pat would always take me or my sister to Braums ice cream on Sunday night after we would go to church with her and grandpa. This was always special and something my sister and I looked forward to every time we went to see them.
"Great"- Grandma Pat with Natalie Grace in April 2012

My mom's mom, Grandma Juanita, was very active in watching my sister and I grow up and she was always nearby. In fact, she traveled with my family and I on several vacations and even though she was a "grandma" she was never hesitant to do fun things with us like run the bases around a major league baseball park. She would be the first one to volunteer to go with me on the highest roller coaster at amusement parks and the first one to choose a very fun and cool restaurant to go eat at. She was always more fit and active than most grandmas out there which made her really fun to be around. She worked at a church in Wichita so when I would go and visit her I would go with her to work and play with my dolls outside of her office. She would take me around to all the other ministers and secretaries of the church and show me off to them. This was always really special to go with grandma and be the cool grand kid that came with her. I remember on her lunch break we would always go and drop off the mail or go to the bank for the church but then she would always make it a point to stop at Spangles for a milkshake. I would've never gotten a milkshake at home... Only grandmas give kids cookies, candy and milkshakes. She would also take me to the mall to go shopping when I was a teenager, which was really special to go shopping with your grandma. When I would go to visit her or when she was on vacations with us she would always rub my back before I went to bed and it became a ritual of some sort anytime I would see her. It was funny, after I had Natalie she came and visited me in Shawnee to help take care of Natalie and one night after I put Natalie down to bed she came into my room where I was still awake and she said "hey let me rub your back"! It was so special and I will never forget it.
Grandma Juanita and Virg at my Teacher of the Year Ceremony at Grove in May 2011

Both of my grandmas are very special to me and I'm so very grateful to God for giving me such remarkable and wonderful women in my life. I have always wanted for my own kids to have the type of grandmas that I had and luckily they're getting the same type of memories that I had.

This past month the kids and I traveled from Conroe to Arp to visit my parents one weekend. Poor Chris had to stay and work for new teacher meetings for the 2012 2013 school year so I decided I needed a break and headed towards East Texas. I didn't know what to expect going on a trip with two kids by myself but the actual driving part turned out to be just fine. When we got there, within minutes of arriving Natalie ran to Poppy and said "Poppy, I want to read a book". My dad immediately stopped helping me unload the car and read Natalie Grace the book. It made me smile knowing what a precious bond they have with each other.
Natalie has a special bond with my mom as well. "Gigi Shirley is her name and SPOILING is her game". This quote is an UNDERSTATEMENT for my mom! Ever since Natalie was born, she has spoiled that little girl rotten. I remember how my mom would come and just rock and sing to Natalie while I tried to get some sleep! For the past 2 summers, my parents have taken Natalie on a mini-vacation with them to see MLB Baseball stadiums. This is really special to me because it is exactly what my parents did with my sister and me! I am so very glad Natalie and Luke will have this opportunity as well. Of course, while on vacation my mother pretty much gives Natalie whatever she wants... cookies, candy, toys, teddy bears, you name it! This past time, Natalie came home with several new toys and items from their trip. Last time my mom and dad went to an Astro's game they took Natalie and then when they got home, Natalie had a new t-shirt and a new stuffed dog who she named "Astro".  

It really became apparent to me just how special Natalie is to my mom and mother-in-law this past month. While were were in Arp my mom and Natalie really bonded because on the first night there Natalie said "Gigi, can I sleep in your bed?" My mom didnt hesitate to say "Sure, Natalie!" You see, that is exactly what my mom wanted. She even told me, "I want to stay home and just LOVE ON YOUR KIDS!" As soon as we arrived in Arp I put the crib into my parents room as my mom was going to hold and rock Luke as needed so I could get some much needed REST. But since Natalie was going to sleep in Gigi Shirley's bed, Poppy and Gigi pushed the crib into the guest room where I was staying and Natalie slept with Gigi Shirley in her "BIG bed" as Natalie puts it. The funny thing was that Poppy had to sleep on the new Disney Princess sheets that mom had bought especially for Natalie! It was quite a funny scene to see poor Poppy wake up in those hot pink sheets. He too will do anything for Natalie Grace!
My mom and Natalie also got to spend the entire day together on Natalie's birthday this past Saturday. Chris and I went to a marriage conference and my parents and in-laws took care of our kiddos. While there my mom helped Natalie bake and decorate Birthday Cookies. When we got home from Natalie's party that evening mom told me "Don't be surprised next time you bake cookies with Natalie!" I asked her why and she said "I taught her to lick the icing off (Literally, straight out of the can)" All I could do was smile! I remember my Grandma always making cookie dough when Allison or I were there and she ALWAYS let me lick the bowl and the beaters! It's a grandma thing I guess.
Now since we have been living with Dan and Jackie, Natalie has really grown close to Gigi Jackie. Perhaps closer than I ever was to either of my grandmas, especially at this age. Natalie and Gigi Jackie do almost EVERYTHING together! Jackie will take care of Natalie while I have to go and do errands and she will even take Natalie with her to do her own errands. But this relationship goes much further than a trip to Kroger. Ladies and Gentleman, this is a Die-hard, unbreakable friendship. You see, when Dan and Jackie got DirecTV a few weeks back there was a station called "Baby First" on there. We had never watched it but wow, we were missing out. Natalie immediately fell in love with it and likes to watch it several times a day. It is a VERY educational show but nonetheless I try to limit her TV intake. Each and every night after bath Natalie will go down to Gigi's room and watch "Baby First" with Gigi. Jackie usually takes her bath at the same time so she will be ready when Natale gets down there. While Natalie watches the programs, Gigi Jackie will comb her hair and file her nails and loads of other stuff. One night I went in there and Gigi Jackie was sneaking her a package of Fruit Snacks as her Midnight Snack! Keep in mind that this is going on while some of Jackie's FAVORITE TV shows are on. I will go in there and ask Jackie if I need to take her and response is "No ma'am... I want her in here". The last time Dan and Jackie returned from a trip to Lubbock for a few days, Jackie just couldnt wait to have that evening "Routine" with Natalie Grace! This is LOVE ladies and gentleman!
For Natalie's 3rd birthday Jackie made Natalie her very own jewelry box like the one in Jackie's room. She sanded and painted it and then put a picture of Natalie in it! She also loaded it up with stuff like the one in her own as well as actual stuff that Natalie plays with while in Gigi's room each night! I teared up a bit when Jackie gave Natalie the gift this past weekend. You see, my grandma made me one just like that and I have it in my garage! I cannot wait to get over to our new house and show it to Natalie and tell her that my "Gigi" made me one too.

There are countless other stories I could reminisce about with my 2 grandmas and even Gigi Shirley and Gigi Jackie in the 3 years that they have been grandmas but I would not be able to stop. Gigi Shirley and Gigi Jackie are two of the best women I have ever met and I am so grateful that God has given my children such WONDERFUL grandmas and "Gigi"s!
I... no wait, WE are blessed!
You see, Grandmas are special and the relationships that a grandchild has with them is priceless! As mentioned above, I have been very fortunate to have 2 AMAZING women as my grandmas and I have an unbreakable bond and relationship with them just like Natalie has with my mom and mother-in-law. But I am even more lucky to have a mother and mother-in-law that will be these same kind of AMAZING grandmas to my children! I am forever grateful for GRANDMAS!
(Don't worry... I will post about the Grandpas and Poppys soon!)
God is good... ALL the time!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

My Growing Boy: Month 2

Sunday, August 12, 2012

My oh my; how things can change in one month! During Luke's secon month of life he has changed do much and is continue to grow and develop at an amazing speed and rate... It's hard for me to keep up!

This month we started really pushing the bottle and it is a good thing we did. We had tried to get him to drink expressed breast milk from a bottle during his fourth week of life but he would have none of that. So this month we made it a priority to work with him daily to take at least one feeding from a bottle. In fact I had three separate occasions where I would not be home with him due to team meetings and professional development commitments for work and Luke would HAVE to take a bottle so we really focused on this task.

During one of these all-day meetings Luke did not take a bottle from Chris or Jackie and went over SEVEN hours without a real meal. I felt so very guilt when I got home but also very worried. I am not going back to work until October and he will be 4 1/2 months old then but... I DO HAVE TO GO BACK TO WORK! After that whole ordeal I decided to call his pediatrician and get her opinion. She basically told me I had a "mama's boy" and I needed to stop nursing him completely and only bottle feed with expressed breast milk. During his 9th week of life I did this an it REALLY helped him learn to take and bottle and he is doing MUCH better. Of course, it's still a good thing I don't have to go back to work until October but e is getting better.

Besides bottle feeding I still nurse him anywhere between every three to four hours depending on his demeanor of the day and his appetite. He basically has 5 good mealtimes during the day at the same 3, 6, 9, 12 hours and often times stretches those as needed.

This month e has really stretched out his sleeping habits (which is MUCH appreciated by mommy)! For the most part during this month he would go 6-7 hours between feedings and sleep 5.5 to 6 hours at a time. He had a frequent wake time at 3:30am most night when he would wake and need to be nursed but 90% of the time he would go almost immediately back to sleep.

On four separate times during this last month he slept for over 7 hours an went 8.5+ hours between feedings. In fact he would do this about once a week during this last month. now of course anytime he would do this and have a WONDERFUL night, the following night would be TERRIBLE and he would wake up every two to three hours. Just my luck huh?

He takes 3 naps each day ranging from 1.5 to 3.5 hours each. He usually takes a short nap in the morning while I am getting ready. This one is usually the shortest of his naps and it lasts about 1 hour to 1.5 hours. This is because I have to go out and do errands or in the case of the coming months, I will be taking Natalie to MDO. His longest nap happens after lunch and it is sully in his swing (I know, I know... Babywise says to put him in the crib but he just won't have it). Thankfully this nap is at the same time as Natalie and it lays well over 2.5 hours and sometimes even 3.5. It has been great to be able to get house work and school stuff done during this time span. Oftentimes he will take another nap after the 3-4pm feeding and it too is fairly short. I am really working on getting him to take ALL I these in his crib but he really likes the swing and he WILL cry or soothe himself to sleep in the swing so it is still along he same lines as Babywise, just not in the crib. Hopefully this will change in the coming months.

This month we have really hit the playtime and the developmental aspect of our new little man hard. There is so much more that they can do once they hit that one month mark. He is really beginning to hold his head up on his own and he rarely has any trouble with it. He likes to sit facing forward most of the time and he supports his own head very well. We have tried to do "Tummy Time" with him each morning but he, like Natalie did at this age and most of the time, does not like it at all. He will usually sit there on his tummy for about 3-5 minutes and use his arms to lift his head and shoulders up off the floor but then he SCREAMS LIKE A GIRL! Poor little guys hates it. I usually only have him do this for 5 minutes or so because I don't want him to hate it and cry as soon as he gets on his tummy. I remember with natale that she too hated it hit it did get better as the weeks pasted. Hopefully when I write the month 3 post I will be able to say he has improved.

This month has been incredible and I am really adjusting I having 2 kids. In fact Chris has been out a lot more for school trainings several times and I ave been able to keep both kids and even taken them both out to do errands a lot and I am still ALIVE!! There are times where I can even remember what it was like with just one. I am just so very blessed!!!

My handsome boy at 2 months!!!


God is good... All the time!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

"No SOONER Left Behind"

2012-2013 No Excuses University Classroom

At my school we are a "No Excuses University" campus and this means that we follow a program that helps promote going to college even at the earliest of grades. I absolutely LOVE this because getting a college eduction is a HUGE priority to me and will also be to my kids. Not to mention the kids in the area of Houston I am teaching really need to go to college.

We have a weekly college day where each teacher has their home room class wear their college's colors and t-shirts (Let me tell you, it is HARD to teach a class full of 2nd graders wearing burnt orange! It's like I CANT FOCUS!) Each teacher also has their own college/ university that they decorate their classroom in and promotes all of that university's facts and figures throughout the year. Since I am the music teacher I don't have a home room and am unable to purchase 1000 shirts for each kid to wear on College Day. I am however albe to decorate my room and his year I was fortunate enough to be able to get OU. Last year, there was already a tracer who had OU (even though she was NOT an alum) so I had to decorate in UCO. No this year... I was able to get OU and let me tell you, my room is COVERED in Crimson and Cream. In fact, I call my room "No SOONER Left Behind"!

When I get back from maternity leave I plan on making Tuesdays OU days where we will sing and perform "Boomer Sooner" and "OU Chorale" on recorders, xylophones and other instruments as well as talk and discuss information about OU in each class. I have an awesome Pride DVD that I am going to show and I know they will really like that. I am also go to have them march into my classroom each day listening to "Oklahoma".

I am really pumped about this and for that reason alone I am a little upset about not being there until October (that's the only reason... But still!) however, it will still be football season on October 29th and I will give all these ut teachers and fans what for... Trust me!!!

Here are pictures of my classroom!!!

My desk (Chris did this for me and it turned out AWESOME! Thanks honey)

This is the area behind my desk and it will have my degrees and an awesome canvas painting of a saxophone a student from Grove made me when I get back from maternity leave in October! 

This is the front of my classroom COVERED in OU Crimson and Cream

It IS a MUSIC classroom so I guess I should post some music info! 

My "Drum Wall" and cabinets covered in O-K-L-A-H-O-M-A

I put up my mandatory "Word Wall" but added some personal Alumni decor! 

The room WOULD NOT be complete without
"There's Only ONE Oklahoma!"

Boomer Sooner Baby!!!

God is good... All the time!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Music Education Failure

The Thirtieth Olympiad- London, England

Chris and I have really enjoyed watching the Olympics these past few weeks. In fact both of us have basically just sat around for two weeks watching the games. Each afternoon we would have a full DVR of Olympic coverage from London. The first week of the games we were glued to the TV watching the swimming and the gymnastics events. It was awesome to see Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps compete against each other in the swimming pool and amazing to see the tiny gymnasts tumble and flip all over and how can I forget the "Three-peat" gold by the US Women's Beach Volleyball team of Kari Walsh and Misty May! However, what was the best was watching the USA win not only so many medals but so many GOLDS!

I am a very proud American and I consider myself to be very patriotic. I found myself tearing up during each medal ceremony as our national anthem was played (although I did not care for the arrangement that was being played). But some of these years were not just for the national anthem, it was for the lack of patriotism and participation from our very own Olympic athletes. I think I was able to watch at least 15-20 gold Medal ceremonies and probably during 90% of them the athletes not only didn't sing The Star Spangled Banner but some didn't even put their hand over their heart.

It was sad to see some the best athletes in the world just stand there with no emotion on their face as the national anthem from the country they were representing was playing. I know winning a gold medal is a huge achievement but they were not only winning medals for themselves they were winning them for the entire country. As they stood on the victory platform they were representing the millions of Americans that could not be there or perform the events they could and singing the national anthem and participating in its functions shows all of American and the world that they are there for a greater cause. 

I was very disappointed as a fellow American but even more so as a Music Educator. I feel it is my job as a Music Teacher to instill a passion for music into all of the children I teach. In fact, now that I am solely teaching General Classroom music, that is my primary goal and philosophy inside my classroom. I want to make sure that when students leave my class at the end of they year that they have a Love for music. Of course I want them to learn to read music and play recorders and laundry list of other things but at this age, I want them to LOVE music. But I also feel that as an AMERICAN Music Educator it is my job to teach our students about the history of our Nation in the music department. First and foremost is the history and the story behind our National Anthem, The Star Spangled Banner. 

Every year on September 14th our nation's elementary music classrooms celebrate "National Anthem Day". This is a day where music educators all over the USA teach their kids about the history of The Star Spangled Banner, its lyrics and it melody. I have for all 7 years of my teaching had a very special activity on this day and even made it into a week-long event that incorporates September 11th and it's history as well. I have activities and games that we play about the words of the song. We have competitions in the order grades to see who can complete the lyrics the fastest on the Smartboard. We have "Sing-offs" in our choral time and lots of other stuff. But as much as I do I was shocked to see these 20 and 30 year olds at the Olympics not sing the words to The Star Spangled Banner, I don't know if it was because they don't KNOW the words or just didn't sing/ say them but either way I feel it is a disgrace to our country. 

Some athletes were as young as 16 and 17 years old and still didn't know the words to the song. I watched as young female phenom Missy Franklin stood on the podium of her Gold Medal ceremony and did not sing or even mouth the words. She is young enough that she should have been getting the education about The Star Spangled Banner during "National Anthem Day" which started to rise in popularity in Elementary Music Classrooms around the nation in 2003. 

I know I am on a soap-box here but I am appalled at the lack of participation and Patriotism from our athletes on that aspect of the Thirtieth Olympiad. I feel as a Music Educator we are not fulfilling our job requirements and I think this needs to be addressed ASAP! I know I will continue to do my part and I can only hope and pray other music educator and teachers in general will do the same. 

I am PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN and I will continue to help our children feel the same way! 


God is good... All the time! 

House Hunters: Davis Style- Part 5

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Today Chris and I decided to go out for yet another adventure of house-hunting. We knew that if we didn't find our house before he went back to school it would be very difficult to house hunt during the school year. We called the realtor and unfortunately she was going to be out of town but she set us up with her assistant to go look at four more houses. All of these houses were on the southern part of Conroe except for one which was in Willis.

The first two houses we looked at were in Legend's Run in Spring but was still in the Conroe school district. We looked at houses in this neighborhood before and we liked the subdivision as well as its location but we just still were not sold yet. The first house we went into was a very good size of 3000 ft.² but the layout was very odd with a private room above the master in it needed massive repairs. Were not talking about basic fixer-upper type of repairs...we are talking about hole in the wall type of damage. The paint on the wall was of terrible colors every room had a different color and they were on bright red or bright orange or hot pink. They were not only hideous colors but they were so loud it would've taken 2 to 3 coats of paint to paint over them. I immediately knew this was not the house I told the realtor "let's leave".

The second house was in the same housing edition but it too had major problems. In fact only walked into the house we saw that there were two stairs missing and the stairs themselves did not have carpet on them. We then walked into the kitchen and noticed that there were Granite counter tops except for they were not firmly attached to the actual counters. We went towards the master bedroom and found that it was locked and we couldn't even look into it. I told the realtor "I have seen enough". Chris said he wanted to make the most of it so he went upstairs to look at the remaining parts of the house but I knew this wasn't it.

The third house we looked at was actually in the same housing edition that my in-laws live in right now so it's only four blocks away from where we're currently living. This was a house that was built in 2009 and is approximately 3200 ft.². We looked at this particular floor plan with the builder of this housing edition earlier in the month when we thought we were going to build from scratch. We really liked the floor plan and we were just going to look at this house basically to see if it the floor plan would be functional for us. It's really hard to envision living in a home that's empty so we wanted to see what this particular floor plan looks like when somebody lived in it. We had no idea walking in that this was going to be the future "Casa de Davis".

The owners were there mowing the lawn and after walking through the entire house we both knew that we really wanted it so we stopped to ask the owners a few questions. The owners answered most of our questions about square-footage, approximate cost of electricity every month and other things that we wanted to know but they also said that they were willing to leave the high-end furniture with the house if the price was right. Chris and I both looked at each other with excitement because we knew that not only did we not have a lot of furniture but our current couch is broken. Now this furniture is not just basic furniture... this is high -end, high-quality furniture. We're talking leather, nail head trim matching ottoman style. This stuff in all reality is way too nice to own with two kids but at the same time so beautiful and luxurious that we both got excited at the possibility of owning the style of furniture. When we got into the car after leaving the house we both stopped and said a prayer because we both knew that this was a house that we wanted. We immediately started talking about how much we wanted to offer and what the next step was. Of course we still had one more house to go and see,even though both of us knew that it was pretty much going to be a waste of time, we decided to go ahead and look at it since the realtor had made an appointment.

When we got to this last house we were in for a total shock. This house is a 2400 ft.² home that had five bedrooms but it too was very under kept. It had what they call the real estate business "stained concrete floors". These were absolutely hideous. It looked like the owners had pulled up all the carpet and all the hardwood and basically threw a bunch of paint on their floor. The realtor informed us that in the high-end homes these were very popular and very classy but in all reality it was just tacky. We then went upstairs to see the very small five bedrooms all of which had numerous pet stains. Now don't get me two dogs have had their share of accidents in the houses we have lived in but this my friends was disgusting. Some of stains looked as if their dog had gone and peed on the carpet and they never even took the time to clean it up. There were feces and urine every where. infected Natalie came up the stairs and said "mommy it stinks up here ". Again I knew this wasn't it ... especially since we pretty much determined house number three was going to be our future home.

We drove away from this last house and immediately called our actual realtor who was on a business trip and told her that we wanted to make an offer on the house in Montgomery Creek Ranch subdivision. During the short 15 minute drive from Willis to our house we learned that there was also another offer on the house that we wanted to own. This is very discouraging to us and in fact I almost cried because I really knew in my heart of hearts that this was the house that we were supposed to live in.

The rest of the afternoon was very stressful for both Chris and I and we felt like we are walking on eggshells all day just waiting for somebody to call us back and tell us "yay or nay" on the house. Around 8:45 PM that night our realtor called and said that the sellers sent us a counter offer. After reviewing their counter we decided to go ahead and give them a second offer for the asking price so we could secure that house. It was a steal of a house considering the owners had put approximately $20,000 worth of upgrades into it from the original builder's price in 2009. It was well worth the asking price and Chris and I would've paid up to $15,000 more for this house because it was in such great condition with tons of upgrades. About an hour later we discovered that they had accepted our second offer for the asking price and the paperwork had already begun. Around 10 PM Chris and I went ahead and signed the documents that were needed to put the contract on our home.

It was an amazing day full of ups and downs but through it all Chris and I remembered that God is in control. Anytime I would get nervous thinking about losing the house Chris would tell me "God is in control". Chris really was my rock and support through this day and without him I would never have made it. Thank you honey for being so practical and so supportive through this very stressful day. I love you!

God has given us so many blessings since we've moved to Houston but this house is at the very peak of these blessings and we cannot wait to move into it as a family of four. It is been a long 15 months since we've moved to Houston and been living with the in-laws but in just 45 short days we will be able to live in our own home. We didn't know when we moved here in June 2011 that we would have to wait 15 months to get into our house but we also didn't know that we would be a family of four when we did!

As I sit here typing this blog all I can think about is the amazing him "Count your blessings".

Count your blessings
name them one by one
Count your blessings
see what God has done
Count your blessings
name them one by one
Count your many blessings
see what God has done

Thank you Lord for this and the many blessings you have given me and my family. You are an amazing God and I am forever amazed at how much You love me. Thank you, Lord!

God is good… All the time!

Monday, August 6, 2012

The "Mama's Boy"

Monday, August 6, 2012

Today I had to go in for an all day meeting at my school. Last week I went to a mid day luncheon and meeting with my team but today was all day. At five weeks old I started giving baby Luke a bottle about once or twice a day before one of his nursing sessions. First he really didn't like the bottle and refused it but after three or four days of trying different nipples and different styles of bottles I was finally able to get him to actually drink a bottle. In most cases these bottles only had an ounce or an ounce and a half of expressed breast-milk in them. He would usually put it in his mouth and play around with it and kind of "chomp" on it before he would start to suckle on it. In most cases he usually gagged on it and would start to choke on the milk that was flowing from the bottle. This made me think that he has a gag reflex so I invested in nipples that were a lot shorter. Around 6 1/2 weeks we finally found a bottle and nipple combination that he would actually take. It was the in NUK bottle made by Playtex.

So since about 6 1/2 weeks I've been feeding him about 1 to 2 ounces of expressed breast milk once to twice a day. And I have been the one giving it to him and he's been drinking it for me. Whenever I give Chris the bottle to feed him Luke does not want any part of that; which is a little baffling to some of the pediatrician theories that babies will not take bottles from mom because they know the real thing is right there.

Well on Tuesday of last week I was at lunch meeting and Chris tried to give baby Luke a bottle from the NUK bottle that he likes and he would not take it. Luke basically missed one of his feedings and went about five hours without having anything to eat. This was a little disturbing to me since he was only seven weeks old at the time and I eventually have to go back to work. As soon as I got home from that luncheon I gave Luke the remaining milk in the bottle as well as nursed him and he was fine. But the problem still remains that he would not take a bottle from anyone but me. For the remaining of the week last week I continued to give baby Luke two bottles of expressed milk during the day and he did just fine.

Today I was gone for a total of about seven and half hours and baby Luke did not drink a bottle at any point during that time. Chris tried and tried to get him to take the bottom but every time he would stick the bottle in his mouth baby Luke would start gag and choke. I had fed Luke around 6 AM this morning before I left to go to the meeting but by noon I decided that it was just too long for Luke to go another four hours until 4 PM without any food, so I had Chris bring him down to my school in Houston. I ended up nursing him in our librarian's office. This meant that he went over six hours between feedings during the day. He's done this frequently at night but never during the fact during the day he usually can only go three hours or less between feedings. Chris tried to give him another bottle in the afternoon and so did I when I got home but he still would have none of it.

I was so distraught about this I decided to call my pediatricians nurse. She was very kind and listened to my situation and gave me her advice and opinion on what she would do. She basically told me to keep on doing what I was doing and try to invest in more bottles and nipples to try to find one that he really does like. She gave me a few recommendations of bottles and nipples that have worked on babies in this situation in the past and I will be headed to Target and Babies R Us tomorrow to find these recommended bottles.

During our conversation she also asked me if during feeding time it was stressful in the house. I immediately started to laugh out loud and my response was "well duh lady- I have a three-year-old and I live with my in-laws... of course it was stressful!" She laughed and advised me to keep on trying to make it less stressful during his feeding times because he can feel that stress and tension. I explained to her that Natalie gets very jealous when Chris has to hold or console Luke and during both of the times when Chris had been giving him a bottle while I was gone Natalie was in his lap trying to make sure that Luke did not steal any of her "daddy time". Of course this led to more stress! We are going to work on that this coming week and try to make sure that during these feeding times with bottles there isn't any stress and there's less of Natalie (no offense Nattie... we all love you TONS!).

In addition to making feeding time less stressful for us all, the nurse and our pediatrician, Dr. Pulliam, advised that I should stop nursing him completely and just use expressed breast-milk at all of his feedings. This was mind-boggling to me because I thought that an 8 week old would still need to be nursed but the doctor reassured me that if I wanted to get him to take a bottle, I really had to make sure that all he was getting was a bottle.

They both of course said that this can only go as far as my sanity can hold up and as long as Luke doesn't start to not gain weight or lose weight. I've been keeping a really good track of his weight by going to Memorial Hermann Hospital every Tuesday to check his weight. The average weight gain of a 0 to 3-month-old is 7 ounces per week and Luke has been well above that averaging in at 10 to 13 ounces per week. He's a big boy, remember! The doctors also reassured me because he is a big boy, I can worry a little bit less about him not getting enough food between the attempts at the bottle.

The doctor eventually got on the line and explained to me that I have what they call in the pediatrician world "the mama's boy". This is where the boy, or girl in some cases, has such a close bond to mom that they find comfort while nursing off of her. The doctor said in most of these cases the baby can only be consoled by mom when they're very upset and they like to be held really close and snuggle with mom 90% of the time. The doctor said the best fix for this is to get out of the house and to leave. She said to get the bottle ready and warmed up and give daddy the baby and then go and get your groceries. This seems very irresponsible to me but the doctor told me it had to be done in order for him to learn to take a bottle.

In a worst case scenario Dr. Pulliam said that Luke might have a condition called "Tongue Tied". This condition makes babies not feed or suck well and can cause them to have a speech impediment at an older age. This is where the bottom of the tongue it too short and they have to go in and cut it to make it a little longer. This is a non-invasive procedure and does hurt the baby (YEAH RIGHT) and helps them feed and suck better. Dr. Pulliam said she didn't suspect she would need to do this since he is gaining weight so well and nursing so well but when I go in for his 2 month appointment next Monday she will look and test him for this condition. All I can do between now and then is PRAY! I would appreciate your prayers too!

Tomorrow I'm going to go and look for the special bottles and nipples the nurse and doctor recommended and I'm going to start to try to only bottle feed him during his five feedings during the day and only nurse him right before he goes to bed and in the middle of the night. I'm very nervous and a little sad about this as the doctors right... Luke and I have developed a very special bond during our nursing sessions and I'm sad to see that go. I'm praying that he can really learn how to take this bottle quickly and we can go back to our bonding sessions during nursing time soon.

When we found out we were having a boy I was so excited and I immediately told Chris "I hope he's a mama's boy". You know what they say "be careful what you wish for"! I love my little MAMA'S BOY and I hope he will learn to take the bottle soon! I love you Baby Luke!

Thank you Lord for my "Mama's Boy"!

God is Good... ALL THE TIME!

No Excuses University

Monday, August 6, 2012

Today I had to go down to my school for an all day training called "No Excuses University". This training was very motivational and depressing at the same time as it talked about the data behind all students below the poverty line attending college versus not attending college. My school is a "No Excuses University" charter school and so we are trained that it's our job to prepare every child for college. This is an idea that I have had in my head before coming to the school that the school has really fostered and grown that idea into a philosophy for me.

During today's training I learned just how bad it can be when students don't go to college. I learned that the students who are below the poverty line that don't go to college are more likely to commit suicide and go to prison and those who do go to college. I also learned that students who are below the poverty line get the idea and believe that college is too expensive for them and they can never afford it but in reality it costs more to pay for an inmate in state prisons then it does to pay to go to college. The guest speaker showed a slide that in 2011 it cost $42,000 a year for a high school graduate to go to Pepperdine University in California but it cost $87,000 a year to maintain the same person in the California State prison!!! This is absolutely shocking to me! It also makes me wonder if they're serving fillet mignon to our prisoners. But nonetheless it really lit a fire under me to really explain to these kids that every one of them can go to college and be anything they want to be if they motivate themselves and work hard.

Being a mother myself I want to instill this motto into both my kids. Just because I'm a teacher doesn't mean that they have to be a teacher. But as teachers, and really just as a human race, sometimes we look at the child of a truck driver and say "oh the student is the son of a truck driver so that's all he's going to amount to be". This is not fair to the student and a terrible attitude to have as an educator and human being yet somehow we have all found ourselves in that situation.

When I first arrived at my school this time last year I was completely blown away with the clientele on the type of students that I was going to be teaching. I had taught six years in Oklahoma in two different types of teaching situations but neither of them were anything like this. And I felt very confident in my teaching abilities but I didn't feel very confident in the way that I was going to approach this type of student clientele. in fact several times at the beginning of the year I had the same thoughts about the student thinking "oh well their parents are sitting at home not doing anything so that is probably what they're going to do when they grow up". I thought that and didn't give it much after thought after that. It wasn't until around October that I realized that was a bad attitude and I was thinking about it all the wrong ways. I had a conviction of some sort in the education field and I decided I needed to turn my attitude around.

Since that time last year I have been a completely different teacher inside and outside of the classroom within my school. In fact I actually enjoy teaching this clientele of students. They're not near as Welthian Britt to some of the students I've taught during my six years in Oklahoma yet they have a spirit about them that never seen before. And sure there might be fights in the hallway and they might break some rules no and then but when you speak to them they look at you straight in the eye and they say "yes ma'am" and "no ma'am". Its a different type of respect than what I have seen in years past.

After today I have not only relit this flame that I developed last year in October I have started a massive fire. I cannot wait to get back to school and really help these kids on a one-on-one basis and help them understand that if they put their mind to it they can achieve anything. Even the students who they're only meal comes from our breakfast and lunch that is served during school, they too can go to college.

I don't go back to school till October 29 but let me tell you on October 29 Mrs. Davis will be in that building helping those students achieve their goals and you know what… I can't wait!!

God is good… All the time!