Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Young Life… College Life

For the past year I’ve spent (almost) every Wednesday night with these girlies. Actually, when the year started I was only meeting with one. Nicole signed up for my small group at the beginning of the year and I was so impressed each week as she continued to show up to hang out with me even though it was just the two of us. After a month or so of chatting with the girls at the Sunday night College Life gatherings, a couple more decided to start coming. We added to our numbers little by little and now I have seven girls who come over every week. They are so fun. We eat dessert and they poke at and make inappropriate comments about my growing belly. We laugh and cry as we talk about their classes, their moms, their friends and boys. Each week I try (with very little success) to get them to stop texting while we’re meeting. Most importantly, we open up the Bible and talk about the truths and treasures that it holds. Each of these girls is so beautiful inside and out. Five of them are going through training to be Young Life leaders themselves next year and I couldn’t be more proud of them! I love you, girls! Thank you for being so open and candid with me. Thank you for loving on my kids, and thank you for making me laugh and keeping my Wednesday nights interesting. It’s been a great year!

Nicole, Stephanie, Lauren, Chelsea, Kelli, Me, Veronica, & Mary

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Camping with the Collins Family

The Thursday before Easter, Brian and Aaron took the big kids camping. They went to the Bailey’s ranch, which is on the Guadalupe River in Medina. I’m not big on camping, so I wasn’t exactly sad to miss out, but judging by the pictures that Brian took they had a GREAT time!

Aaron setting up camp

They spent a lot of time down by the river exploring, throwing rocks, swinging from trees, and climbing on big logs.
This might be one of my favorite pictures EVER!
I love the Hill Country and the Guadalupe!
The Baileys' land is so pretty - lots of
room for running around.
... and plenty of wild flowers for
a sweet little girl to pick!
All settled in for a yummy camp dinner
Followed by s'mores, of course
How did he get his face THAT dirty? Was he trying to eat the rocks?
Sweet friends having a wonderful time with their awesome daddies

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Noah’s Newborn Pictures

I think we were originally scheduled to take Noah’s newborn pictures on April 30th (in anticipation of his April 25th due date). Thankfully, Amy had an earlier opening and we were able to reschedule. I think the pictures came out great even though little man didn’t sleep as much as we hoped. Amy is so sweet and super talented… you can check out her photography blog here.

Have seafood, will travel

It was Paw Paw Chuck’s turn to visit and meet the new addition. God bless him, he brought a ton of yummy Louisiana seafood with him. Ben has always liked fish and shrimp, but in the past, he has refused to try crabs or crawfish. Well, times, they are a-changin’, because he spent the afternoon with his Paw Paw in the garage and that boy put away some boiled seafood! If only he had learned to peel it, it would have made a bit less work for us! Thanks, Paw Paw, for driving out to spend some time with us, for helping around the house, and for the delicious grub!
It's good, in case any of ya'll were wondering.
Kisses from my sweet prince
Stealing some love from my Gracie - I'm guessing she had her guard up
because she wasn't sure what was going on with all of the
beady eyed creatures staring up at her.
At what age can you start eating crab?
I'm pretty sure it's not 1 month!
Those are some pretty crabs, Paw Paw!
A lesson in peeling
Crawfish attack!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Noah meets the Lubbock Barricks

Uncle Brad, Aunt Jessica, and Addison came to visit us and meet Noah. We had fun playing around the house, and Uncle Brad and Aunt Jess even took the big kids to the park one day while Brian worked and I stayed home with Noah. It was also a great opportunity for Addison to practice her big sister skills, because the next Barrick baby will be here before we know it! Jessica is due to deliver another little girl in June!
The girls were anxious for their turn to hold Noah :)

Addison was so sweet to her new cousin!

Check me out - I'm doing it!

Snuggles for Uncle Brian!

The obligatory group shot - one day we'll get a good one of these!

The cousins always have fun when we get together… come back soon, guys!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Outings with Daddy

For Ben and Grace, the Spring was filled with lots of outings with Daddy. I was supposed to be resting as much as possible before Noah was born, so Brian usually spent his weekends with the kids out of the house so I could get some rest. This continued after Noah arrived just to keep the kiddos from going stir crazy. Bri is so great about finding things for them to do. Sometimes he just takes them to the park or the zoo, and sometimes he looks on the Little Daily Planner to see if anything fun is happening around town. Here are some pics from a few of their adventures:
Feeding the ducks at the park behind the zoo
"Quack Quack Ducks" as Grace calls them
And playing on the playground
A little snotty, but having a great time!
This was some sort of robotics expo at
the convention center. When I asked
Brian how it was, he replied,
"Nerds, SOOOOO many nerds!"
Followed by the playground at Hemisfair Park
I love this picture of Ben with the
Tower of the Americas in the background!

Right after we came home from the hospital, Brian and my mom took the kids to Fiesta de los Ninos so that I could get some rest in a quiet house.

There were carnival rides...
and a parade...
and snow cones, of course!
Isn't our Daddy the best? In his Father's Day card this year, Ben wrote "Daddy, I love you because you take me to fun places!"

Monday, April 4, 2011

NICU, part 2

Noah’s second week in the NICU seemed to move much more slowly than the first one. If I were to be perfectly honest, I was miserable most of the time. With the exception of one dinner out with Brian, my mom, and the kids, I didn’t step foot off of the hospital campus. I remember feeling really lonely and overwhelmed. Brian was spending most of his time at home with Ben and Grace, and I was physically and emotionally exhausted. I was pouring every ounce of energy I had into teaching little man how to breastfeed. While the doctors and nurse practitioners in charge of his care supported my desire to breastfeed, they were much more concerned with him simply gaining weight and getting discharged. There was more than one occasion when they pressured me to supplement him with bottles, and they insisted that nipple confusion didn’t exist. In my heart, I felt like that was not the right thing to do. I stuck to my guns, but it was not a fun position to be in. I was constantly second guessing myself. I was a hot mess of hormones, fatigue, and worry. Both Brian and my mom received multiple phone calls from me where they couldn’t even understand what I was saying because I was blubbering so much! Thankfully, with the end of this week came the end of Noah’s NICU stay! We brought him home on Day 15, April 3rd, 2011. Here are some pictures and a recap of his progress during his second week in the NICU:
Day 8 - March 27th - His weight was 5 pounds, 7 ounces today (he lost a little). He is making SLOW progress with eating because he tires out very quickly. Today's positive was they turned off the bili-lights and the heat lamp and we were able to put him in his clothes!

Day 9 - March 28th - Today he was 5 pounds, 6 ounces. The loss is most likely due to him being removed from the heat lamp and having to regulate his own body temperature. We moved out of the NICU today and into Intermediate Care. Ben and Grace still are not able to visit him, but the Intermediate Care Unit has a small window and the nurses allowed me to hold him up to the window so the kids could see him. Ben's face was priceless!

Day 10 - March 29th - Nursing, nursing, and more nursing. His feeding tube is still in his nose, and unless he nurses for atleast 15 minutes, he still gets 1/2 of his feeding amount in the tube. He typically can only last for about 8-12 minutes, and I can barely get him to eat at all during the 11pm, 2am, and 5am feedings.

Day 11 - March 30th - We got to the point where we felt that we needed to remove his feeding tube completely so that he could nurse as effectively as possible and also to see if he could gain weight without it. I offered to nurse him every 2 hours instead of every 3, so they moved him to a small room that had a couch where I could sleep with him (instead of coming back and forth from the Ronald McDonald House). He lost weight again this day.

Day 12 - March 31st - In addition to breastfeeding we worked on finger feeding and arranged to get a Supplemental Nursing System (you'll have to google that one). He lost weight again and his bilirubin levels were also back up, so they decided to put him back under the lights. It's safe to say I was at my wits end at this point and I felt like we would NEVER get to go home!

Day 13 - April 1st - His bilirubin level went back down, so they discontinued 1 of the lights that was on him. The SNS was really helpful (although a complete pain in the booty to use) and he FINALLY posted a weight gain. 15 grams! (Who new that I could get so excited about 15 little grams).

Day 14 - April 2nd - His bili went down again so they discontinued the 2nd light. Our doctor told me that if he posted a gain overnight that we could be discharged tomorrow. Elated. I was elated!

Day 15 - April 3rd - He gained and we are home bound! He passed his car seat test, Brian and I took an Infant CPR crash course, and we were ready to go. We were discharged at around 2pm. I could not wait to have our whole family together and to sleep in my own bed! Family of 5, here we come! Noah's discharge weight was 5 pounds, 8 ounces.

Finding his fingers!

Snuggling with Mommy!

My sweet boy! He made all of this bearable!
A proud Daddy!

Noah's home away from home for his 1st 15 days, complete with pictures of his big brother and sister.
Passing the car seat test like a rock star! Ready to head home!