Sunday, July 31, 2016

New School Year Launch

We have three children in three buildings this year. In fact, from now on, they will always be in their own school. Makenna started her junior year. She holds management positions and a board seat for technical theater but plans to scale back her involvement after calculating she invested over a thousand hours in tech alone throughout her sophomore year. Her parents happily support this decision. She expects to have a better year academically as the one and only teacher she has ever struggled to work with is no longer on her schedule after two very long years. Amen.

Kate started fifth grade in middle school. She is pretty excited about the big kid status. Her enthusiasm overshadowed any hesitation we were experiencing until she emerged from the bus the first day tearful because one of her teachers yelled a lot. Having the one child who was so excited about school return from her first day deflated was tough to accept. But we have been told she has a strong teacher team and one of her close friends is in her class so we are hopeful this will turn into a great year even if the teacher didn't make a great first impression. Given three elementary schools merge into one middle school, we anticipate she will make a lot of new friends as her social circle has widened quite a bit the last six months anyway. She is blossoming and it's pretty sweet to watch. 

Little man is a first grader. Some of his buddies are in his class and his teacher is known to maintain a calm classroom with a genuine love for her students. He had butterflies in his belly the final days leading up to the first day of school as he worried about the changes he was facing but by Friday he had decided he loves first grade.

This Friday, Ty and I had a sleepover and promptly at 8pm, found ourselves curled up together in bed for the night. Three school days under our belt left us wiped out because 6:40 a.m buses are brutal. Kate spent the night with a friend so he and I had a mommy-son date Saturday morning to Chick-fil-A and then to the toy store with some birthday money. My little power ranger escorted me on a walk throughout the neighborhood too. The one-on-one time was priceless

Saturday evening I got to go on a date with another cutie. Greg and I have pulled off two dates this month! Whoa! But he wrapped this one with a quick stop at the local butcher and managed to spend over $100 in five minutes flat so we won't be on another date for quite awhile!

That being said, no one complained about dinner Sunday night. Greg pulled another all nighter maning the smoker and babysitting a brisket. A full house with friends and family gathered in the kitchen was the perfect way to end July.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Sweet 16/ The Birth Story

Recently my beautiful daughter confessed to making off-handed comments about her birth and her name to the adults in her world we don't know well because she lives in the theater and we don't. Anyway, whereas Makenna is making truthful statements, she doesn't often share the clarifying details. Apparently making people wonder about us is entertaining.

Makenna likes to refer to herself as the "planned one". She is humble like that. In truth, she is the only one of our five children we planned for. (God's sense of humor is a post for another day.) Half way through my pregnancy, a routine ultrasound revealed water on her brain. They suspected spina bifida and prepared us for a very early c-section to place a shunt in her skull to drain off fluid in hopes of controlling severe brain damage. We waited a full week with that knowledge before seeing a level three ultrasound specialist who was able to happily inform us we were having a very healthy baby girl. Up until that point, we hadn't wanted to know her gender but decided we needed to name her in light of her possible diagnosis so we could pray specifically. Her name became Grace.

The week we waited for her final diagnosis, I spent in prayer. The incredible peace I had about this baby was nothing short of God-given. It was a peace I had never felt in that magnitude before and frankly, not since. It was that powerful. Once we had word we were having a healthy baby, I journaled my suspicion God was preparing us for something. 

Eight days before her birth, Greg fell 25 feet off a billboard he was posting. I was sitting on my swing watching the girls play while journaling in their scrapbooks when a good friend who was a paramedic called me. He happened to be in the emergency room on another run when Greg was brought in. He calmly informed me Greg had broken a leg and would need surgery to set it so I should head to the hospital. Bless his heart, he waited on my arrival to tell me the rest of the story. Greg was in pretty bad shape and would be for a long time.

As his mother and I wandered back to see him after waiting through his three hour full body cat scan, nurses and staff were commenting sweet things about how worried he was about me. But as soon as I entered the room, he told me about a cute paramedic named Makayla. I knew he was no longer sold on Grace as a first name for our baby and was still seeking alternatives. I quickly applied that knowledge to what my highly medicated husband was telling me. But  I smiled and asked him if he had gotten her phone number because we use humor to tackle hard life around here. He corrected what he was trying to say and noted he really liked the name. His poor mother could have had a heart attack on the spot!

Four days later, I had a routine exam to check progress on the pregnancy and was shocked to learn I was dilated to 7cm and 80% effaced. My doctor wanted me to head immediately to labor and delivery. I declined. Greg was scheduled to have back surgery three days later and I knew the baby was much easier to care for in utero than after birth, especially since I was just shy of 37 weeks along. My doctor attempted to reason with me for about 45 minutes before throwing his hands in the air and exclaiming he had never had to convince a woman to go have her baby in all his years of practice and "babies don't wait on daddies!" And I firmly replied, "this one will". Yet sometimes I still wonder where my children inherited their stubbornness.

Greg had eleven hours of surgery on his leg the day his back was also scheduled to be operated on. Due to the length of time the leg took, his back surgery was post-poned. Several blessings took place during this season of our lives but two stand out from that day alone. First, a world renowned surgeon was able to take Greg's case. Without him, we are certain Greg would have lost his leg. Second, post-poning the back surgery proved to be the best for Greg. In fact, he never required it at all.

During Greg's eleven hour surgery, I was rather uncomfortable. I had walked around dilated to 7cm for three days at that point and was swelling into something unrecognizable. When Greg woke from surgery that night, he groggily told me I best get to the doctor in the morning. So I did right after I did laundry, spent time with the girls, made phone calls and prepared the house. Life was chaotic at the time and I knew I wouldn't be home for a day or two. 

I was sent to labor and delivery but went to see Greg first. We spent some time talking with his surgical team and making final name selections. Makenna likes to tell people she was named after her dad's cute paramedic; of course she does. In truth we aren't sure how Makenna evolved out of Makayla but once we applied it to the middle name of Grace, she was renamed mere hours before her birth. Because once I checked in a labor and delivery, I was holding her within an hour and a half. Makenna Grace Baughman weighed 8lbs 11oz and was three weeks early. With the help of her Uncle Brad, her daddy was wheeled in his hospital bed across the hospital to briefly meet her. He was in much worse shape than me so his presence in the labor and delivery ward was fully noted by all bystanders.

Makenna was our most laid-back, easy-going baby. I once again give credit to God for her disposition because with a husband who literally couldn't do anything for himself, a five year old starting kindergarten and a three year old starting preschool, the last thing I would have managed well would have been a high maintenance baby. She was a joy and a blessing from the beginning.  To this day, she rolls with the punches, remains independent and has inherited our sense of humor as a coping mechanism for the rockier moments in life. As she apparently learned in utero, she speaks up when she has to and unfortunately that can still be rather colorful.

Makenna Grace is beautiful, witty, sarcastic, authentic and honest. She expects those qualities in her relationships but extends grace easily. Her friend group is healthy, her future has a strong plan and the late night conversations we share are priceless. Despite the early years of chaos that evolved into later years of a different kind of chaos, our "planned one" remains steadfast and a blessing. We couldn't be prouder of the young woman she has become.

Happy Sweet 16, Makenna Grace!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Kate's Turn

Kate has been asking to use my camera for awhile now. Whereas I knew she would be careful, I just hadn't taken the time to teach her how to use it. At sunset last night, we finally slipped into the field behind our house for a few moments. Chances are strong I am biased, but the kid has a good eye. These are her favorite, unedited shots.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Wedding Q&A with a "Few" Photos

I couldn't be more excited to have the wedding photos! I thought this would be a great time to answer some of the questions we have all been asked about the wedding, the future and the planning.

Dad's first look got moved to the bedroom when guests showed up over an hour early.

When the bride is quarantined to the bedroom for longer than expected, things happen.

This one still makes me cry

1. Is Lauren barefoot under that gorgeous dress? Of course she is!

2. Who officiated the ceremony? Taylor's Grandpa and he was only emotional a couple times. It was sweet.

3. Who cried? Well this may come as a shock but Erin sobbed uncontrollably throughout the entire ceremony. She could not pull herself together. No one who knows Erin expected that. Oh....and her mother was a blubbering mess too.

That moment the ceremony is interrupted to ask the maid of honor to pull herself together so Grandpa won't lose it too

4. Who stood up for the bride and groom? Lauren selected Erin and Makenna. Taylor had two buddies on his side. His little brother Ethan was the ring bearer and his little sister Ellie was the flower girl. They decided against the traditional pillow and flower petals and opted instead to have the kids carry a sign that read, "here comes your bride".
I did not know this shot took place. I would have stopped it! Just kidding. I would however appreciate a little more time to prepare for the next wedding.

5. When does Taylor leave for basic training? August 16th. He originally selected a job that would have had him leaving immediately after the wedding but once his exceptional test scores came back, he chose a position working with intelligence so he has been able to enjoy married life for a little while longer than anticipated.

6. When does Lauren get to join him? The short answer is we don't know. After ten weeks of basic training in South Carolina, Taylor will go to Texas for 28 weeks of special training. At some point during that 28 week period, Lauren will be permitted to join him. Taylor should find out more during the early weeks of basic training.

7. Where do they live now? Taylor moved into Erin and Lauren's townhouse a few days after the wedding. Given he only got to stay two months, it didn't make sense for them to get their own place. They have had two weeks in Florida and Erin is almost never home so it has worked well.


8. What about the wedding toast? #bairdly legal became a social media stamp Erin created out of their last name "Baird" because they are so young. They did have a toast. Lauren drank sweet tea and Taylor used lemonade. Erin's speech was comical (of course) as she handed Taylor some hollow point bullets letting him know she expected him to look after her sister since she no longer would be able to once they move away. And then we understood all the tears.

Matching cheesy grins

9. Is she pregnant? No. She isn't planning on children for a few years.

All the siblings.....I love this.

I can't express how disappointed I am our nieces weren't here.

10. How was wedding planning? Honestly, it wasn't awful. We didn't have a lot of time so decisions were made quickly. We had a lot of support from Taylor's family and friends who donated time, talent and decor. It was done affordably and beautifully.  There were obviously some highly stressful moments in that final week but I suppose all weddings reach that point before it is said and done.

11. How has married life been for them? So far they are having a blast and are quite happy. We are excited to see what the future holds for them.

12. This isn't a question but a fun side-note. Greg realized we were married the year of my parent's 22nd anniversary and Lauren and Taylor got married the year of our 22nd anniversary. We think it's a pretty cool coincidence.

And finally a link to a wedding video my brother-in-law Jamie took for Lauren.