Monday, January 31, 2011

Chef, I am not...

A chef, I am not - but I wish I were. Just a cook would work - but no. Not at all. 90% of the things I cook have instrctions on a box with them. I wish I could cook, but I just can't. I can't cook, not due to lack of ability - because I can follow directions and that's a big part of cooking, but I just don't have the "want-to" to cook. I feel no more prideful when I get done cooking a meal then I do carrying in take-out. The desire just isn't there.

Noah's babysitter, Laurie, cooks alot! By alot - I mean 4-5 meals a day! She cooks bfreakfast and lunch for her daycare kids, and lunch and dinner for her and her husband, and sometimes her husbands co-worker stops to eat too. Laurie has given me some recipes and said she was going to make a cook out of me! I did make a few of her recipes and they were easy to prepare and good. But the mere thought of cooking just sounds exhausting to me! I have to literally psych myself up to cook - it is sad really.

Nathan and I discovered these Hormel meat dishes - you just add the sides. There is roast beef, beef roast (who knew there was a difference! HA!), beef tips, and chicken. You just put them in the microwave for 4 minutes and they are done! I must say, for $5.00 and such little effort, they are delicious! We just make mashed potatoes (instant of course) or noodles and we are literally done with dinner in 10 minutes! I'm glad Nathan realized when he married me that I was not a cook, so he is not surprised now!

I'm hoping Noah will survive for the next 18 (or more) years and not be scarred for the lack of home cooking in our house! Maybe the cooking gene skips a generation and Noah will love to cook and cook for our family! My parents are both good cooks - so maybe there is still hope!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Seasons of Life

I read Kelly's Korner blog, and yesterday I read a saying on there that I instantly fell in love with! She stated that something was a "Season of life". She was referring to her 2 year old keeping her up at night and how exhausting it is, but it won't be like that forever.

This made me remember back about 7 months ago when I had about decided that Noah would be an only child because of how tired I was from feeding him every 3 hours around the clock. I had him in a bassinet beside our bed and I can still remember the little breathing noises he would make as I sit there feeding him while watching Mash on Nick at Night in order to keep myself awake. I would have the closed caption on so that we could sleep with the TV on as our nightlight and my middle of the night entertainment without the noise disturbance.

My body had not yet adjusted to less sleep, so I was just sleepy all the time. I didn't notice it once I took a shower and got going, but before that I was just exhausted. About 2 months later Noah started sleeping 6 hours in a row, then 7, then 8, and so on until he sleeps 12 hours now! I do have to feed him for about 20 minutes about 10 hours into his sleep now - but that has become one of my favorite times of day. It is usually around 6:00 a.m. and I go into his room (I moved him in his room when he was 4 months old, when the SIDS threat decreased and before he could realize he was ever in our room) and get him and nurse him and rock him. He looks so sweet and innocent by the glow of the nightlight. Once he is done eating I usually will just rock him and stare for a little while before I put him back in bed and get ready for work.

I realized after reading Kelly's blog that this is just a Season of Life. Soon he won't be waking up at all until time to get up and get ready. Soon he will not let me rock him and stare at him. Soon he will be begging me to not make him get up for school. This is all fine though, because that is what happens. Seasons change and kids grow. I will have good memories of the season my son let me hold him.

Oh, and how fast these seasons are changing have helped to make the decision that there will be more Stillwell babies - God willing! I may have been exhausted and it may be even harder with two or more kids, but it is just a season of life and they change so quickly that they are well worth it!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Noah Atlee Stillwell is 8 Months Old!

(Actually Noah was 8 months on Friday - but snow, photo sessions, dinner dates, and Scentsy parties all came up and the 8 month blog got delayed. Hopefully, Noah will forgive me!)

January 21, 2011 ~ 8 months old!
Each month I take a picture of Noah in the rocker recliner in his bedroom with the same blanket behind him. This helps me to see how much he has grown each month!

What Noah was up to this month:

* Noah can sit unassisted for long periods of time, but he can also just fall over at any given moment. As my mom best put it - "He doesn't understand the outcome of his actions", his actions being slinging his head around and down he goes!

* Noah is sleeping 12 hours straight! Usually from 8:00 p.m. - 8:00 a.m. He gets up for a 20 minute snack around 6:00 a.m. which is when I get up, so it works out pretty perfect. I'm so glad he is such a good sleeper! I fully planned on "Babywising" him to get him to sleep, and he was doing exactly as the book said he should, so he didn't put up a fight. He usually gets sleepy eating his cereal bottle and nods off, but if he doesn't he is good to just fuss for about 10 minutes and fall right to sleep.

24 pounds, 28.5 inches tall

* Noah is eating around 27 ounces of breastmilk a day - 6:00 a.m., 10:00a.m., 3:00 p.m., and 7:30 p.m. He eats yogurt for breakfast and a 4 oz. jar of baby food for lunch. He then eats 9 ozs of food and a 9 oz cereal bottle for dinner! The only food he doesn't like is macaroni and cheese!

* Noah is not crawling yet, but he can pretty much roll to anything he wants! He literally rolls from one end of the living room to the other!

He is developing quite the personality!

* Noah isn't talking yet either - he says alot, but none of it is real words.

*Noah doesn't like it when me or Daddy leave the room now. He will immediately start crying - it is pretty pathetic/funny! He is fine when we leave him at the babysitters house though - thankfully!

* Noah loves to scream (playfully) at the top of his lungs! He was even having a scream conversation with another baby at a resaurant the other day! He will have screaming contests with me or Nathan - I love it!

* Noah has his 2 bottom middle teeth and top 2 middle teeth! More to come soon, I'm sure! He handles teething pretty well - a little tylenol and a teething ring and he is good to go!

I cannot believe how fast this is all going by!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Becoming A Mother

I finally got this typed up for Noah's baby book, so I decided to share it here also!

Nathan and I tried to have a baby for 3 ½ years before we ever were able to get pregnant. We tried on our own for 7 months, used fertility drugs for a year, took a year off of the drugs and tried on our own, and finally decided to get help.

It was June 19, 2009, my 27th birthday! I was even more excited that year than normal because what I did was going to change my life forever. Nathan and I went to Little Rock to Arkansas Fertility & Gynecology to our 1st infertility appointment with Dr. Batres. He went over our options with us and said he thought he could get us pregnant within 3 months. He said the first 2 months we would try progesterone to help fertilized eggs implant and another drug to help me produce a few more eggs. They did blood work and had reason to believe I had a brain tumor causing my infertility. They did a retest and figured out that I didn’t have a tumor, thank goodness. Dr. Batres said if the drugs didn’t work then we would do a round of IUI (intrauterine insemination) after that. The drugs didn’t work the first month. The second month however was a different story!

On September 19, 2009 I took my first ever positive pregnancy test! I took it at home and ran in the bedroom to show Nathan. He looked at my belly and said “there’s a baby in there!” I called the clinic and they did tests and ultrasounds the first few months then they released me to my regular doctor.

I had an amazingly easy pregnancy. No nausea or tiredness, no bad cravings. I gained 30 pounds overall and did end up having some major feet swelling towards the end of my pregnancy. The whole experience just flew by – it was crazy! We didn’t want to know what we were having so either Noah Atlee Stillwell or Ryan Maely Stillwell would be blessing us with their presence soon!

This is the day I found out I was pregnant. I quickly went from this...
To this! This was taken 15 minutes before my water broke!

I was ready to finally meet my miracle. So, on May 13, 2010 when Dr. Escue asked if I wanted him to “speed things along” since I was dilated to 2 centimeters and he was on call that weekend, it was hard for me to say no. But, my mom was in New Orleans for work and my best friend Cassie was flying in from Hawaii and neither would be back until May 17, 2010. So, we decided to stay pregnant a little while longer. Dr. Escue set me up to come back May 20, 2010.

That weekend, Nathan and I went on one last outing together as just the two of us. We went to Ft. Smith for the day. Out to eat at Red Lobster and TGI Fridays, shopping, and to the movies. It was nice and relaxing and great way to end our family of 2 life we had been living for 12 years.

That next week I went to work on Monday and on Tuesday I lost my mucous plug while at work. I didn’t feel any contractions or anything so we didn’t call the doctor. We went in on Thursday, May 20, 2010 for our appointment. Dr. Escue examined me and told me that I was dilated for a good 3 centimeters, almost 4! So, he stripped my membranes to help “move things along”. I didn’t feel anything when he did it! It sounded painful so I was glad I didn’t feel anything. He told me if I didn’t go into labor by Monday May 24, 2010, then he would induce me on Tuesday the 25th.

Nathan and I drove around Russellville and out to eat waiting to see if there was going to be any immediate progress from getting my membrane stripped. Finally at 4:00 we headed home. I stopped by work to make sure everything was set up for my maternity leave and to let a co-worker in that locked herself out. I was starting to have some menstrual-like cramps but I read online that those were common with membrane stripping and doesn’t necessarily mean labor. Nathan and I went to eat at South Park and he told me to bring a jacket incase my water broke so I could cover up – which I thought was funny because covering up would be the least of my worries if my water broke! We made it thorough dinner with no water breaking incidents thankfully and went home and watched a movie (The Informant).

Throughout watching the movie I kept feeling my stomach tighten and release, but there was no pain with it, still just some menstrual cramping feelings. But, once the movie was over the pain started getting a little worse. I was walking around because it hurt too much to sit still and as I was walking through the living room it felt like a balloon popped in my belly and I ran to the bathroom – my water had broke! Nathan asked “Should I get dressed?” because he was in his pajamas. I told him yes and I went to change clothes. It was 10:45 p.m. Nathan had been going around and getting things ready like feeding the pets, and gathering things while I was pacing the house before my water broke because he said he had a feeling it was about that time. I was glad he did! I had everything we needed laid out on our guest bed and everything that wasn’t in there was on a list, but trying to grab stuff in between contractions was near impossible. I would go get stuff and then stop and double over in pain in the hallway and Nathan would walk by and take the stuff from me and go pack it. It was crazy!

We finally got everything packed up and got on the road at 11:30 p.m. I called my mom and she said she was on her way. I called my dad and he asked if I wanted him to go ahead and come to the hospital. I told him it may take awhile but I wanted him there. He said he would go ahead and come up for awhile. Nathan called his mom and they decided to go ahead and meet us up there too. I had been told to keep track of my contractions because they would start out far apart – but the best I could keep track they were 1-2 minutes apart! Nathan wanted to speed but I told him that the doctor said first time births usually take 14 hours so I didn’t want to get pulled over on the way, so just go the speed limit.

Since we had to go to Russellville, we got to the hospital at midnight. I called ahead to tell them I was coming, but it still took 20 minutes for someone to come down to the ER and get us. While we were waiting, we looked at a magazine and I saw a picture of Dr. Henderson. I wasn’t sure what she looked like but I knew she was on call that night so I wanted to see who was going to deliver my baby. I got my first wheel chair ride up to labor and delivery room 3. The nurse asked me if I planned on getting drugs, I told her yes – she said that was smart! I changed into my gown and they wanted a urine sample. Well, my water broke more while I was trying to do that so they really didn’t get any urine I don’t think. I got in bed, they hooked up a baby monitor on my belly, and they had a nurse come in to check and make sure that my water broke. They do a dry test using litmus paper that they stick in you and see if it turns color. They did it twice and neither time it was showing that my water hadn’t broke – when I knew it had – twice even! They said the litmus paper may be faulty so they would try again later.

My dad showed up about 12:30, he was the first one there. My mom came in about 10 minutes later. A lab tech came in and took my blood to give to the lab so I could get my epidural. Right before she could take my blood I started having contractions back to back with no break and they made me nauseous and I started vomiting. It was lovely. The lab tech was very nice and helped me clean off and she put the baby monitor back on since I had knocked it off while getting sick. For some reason the only way I felt comfortable was on my left side with my face down. Nathan’s parents arrived just after that, but waited outside the room.

At 1:00 a.m. a nurse came in to check me and said I was dilated to 4 centimeters, which wasn’t much progress from that morning – especially not with contractions that close together. They said they were working on the blood work results for my epidural but they didn’t like to give them before 5 centimeters. I told them that Dr. Escue said if I was making progress I could have one. The nurses were debating on whether or not to call in Dr. Henderson yet or not since it was my first birth and I hadn’t been in labor long. They said they would go ahead and call and let her know.

I breathed through contractions for 20 more minutes and then all of a sudden got an overwhelming urge to push. It was crazy feeling. It was like my body knew exactly what to do. I told my mom and Nathan that I wanted to push and Nathan went out to tell a nurse. They came in and checked me again. One nurse looked at the other one with a scared look and said “Oh my, she is complete! The baby is right there, I can feel the head!” I said “what does complete mean? I haven’t got my epidural yet!” She said I was too far for any drugs and I would just have to do it natural. That is NOT what I wanted to hear at that point. I told Nathan and mom that I couldn’t do it – of course they both started telling me how I could, but I wasn’t convinced.

My Dad stepped out to wait in the waiting area with Nathan’s parents. At 1:30 a.m. I started pushing with my contractions. They let me push for 5 minutes. Nathan was behind me and stepped away between contractions and came back and said – it has a lot of hair! I couldn’t believe that because they told us our baby didn’t look like it had hair on the ultrasound! I heard them talking about how the doctor wasn’t here yet. At 1:40 a.m. the nurse came over and said to just breathe through the next contraction and not to push because the doctor wasn’t here yet. I told them I HAD to push, I couldn’t not push. It was impossible. I was practically climbing up the bed trying not to push when I saw Dr. Henderson stick her head in the door! I was so glad I looked at a picture of her in the waiting room because I said “That’s her! I’m pushing!” She said “Ok – go ahead!” The nurses were hurrying up trying to get a birth cart (the table with all the baby stuff) ready and Dr. Henderson was putting a gown and mask on. She said she was glad she came on in! I pushed 2 more times and that was all it took! At 1:45 a.m. our miracle was born!


Nathan told me “It’s a boy!” and cut the cord. Dr. Henderson asked me where I had him hid because he was big for how big my belly was! She then said to let Nathan speed next time! HA! They asked his name and we told them Noah Atlee Stillwell. He weighed 7 pounds 12.6 ounces and was 21 inches long! I held him first and then they cleaned him off and gave him to Nathan, then my mom. Nathan sent a text out to his parents in the waiting room. Once Dr. Henderson got done stitching up my 3rd degree tearing, they came in to hold Noah too.

The pushing and tearing did not hurt at all. I do not remember any pain except the contractions. So, I was really glad that I didn’t end up getting drugs. It was cheaper and I didn’t have to wait for anything to wear off. If I knew my labor was going to be that quick I would have never even planned on getting drugs! I do not think it is silly to get drugs at all! If Noah would have let me, I would have got some! I handled labor fine without it, but my labor was 3 hours, not too long compared to most of them!

We stayed in the labor room until 3:45 a.m. We got to keep Noah with us until 2:45 a.m. then they took him to warm and bathe him. After he left I attempted a shower, but I ended up passing out, so we decided to wait on that. I had lost a lot of blood and I wasn’t able to stand up by myself yet. We got to our room, room 321, about 4:30 a.m. and Nathan went out to the car to get our bags. We were in such a hurry that we didn’t get to bring anything in with us when we got there. We settled in to sleep about 5:00 a.m. and got up at 8:00 a.m. We had tons of visitors all day long! Dr. Escue came by and said that he really must have “moved things along”! On Saturday, May 22, 2010 at noon we were released and headed home with our miracle. Our lives have never been the same! I never knew what I was missing until I was a mom. It has given my life a whole new purpose. I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life as Noah Atlee Stillwell’s mom!

Our First Family Picture!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Noah's First Snow!

Finally! It snowed! We usually get snow once a year at least, and I am SO glad when we finally get it! Nathan and I are winter people! I love snow and colder temperatures. I'm not big on summer weather at all. You can layer on clothes and eventually get warm in the winter, but I can only take off so much before I am naked and still hot in the summer! I'm not much on tanning, or even wearing shorts for that matter - so winter and fall suit me so much better!

Since this snow day fell on a Monday, I got a snow day off from work and Noah stayed home with me from his sitters house and we had a fun day together! We went and played in the snow with Daddy for a little while and Noah didn't know quite what to think about it. I bundled him up pretty good - he reminded me of Randy off "A Christmas Story" - he couldn't move around real good!

I was so excited to get his snow suit out! He held a snowball I made for him for a little while and just stared at me like I was crazy! He loosened up a little and I think he is going to love snow just like me and Nathan. It was a good relaxing day.

I remember snow days from when I was a kid. They involved playing in the snow with my friends and cousins, snow ice cream, and lots of hot chocolate! Noah was a little young for snow ice cream or hot chocolate but I love the anticipation of knowing all the fun years are to come! Days like this are one of the things I dreamed of when I was praying for a child through my 3 1/2 year struggle to conceive. Dreams do come true!

Here is to many more snow days with my little snow angel!

~ Jessie ~

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The 10 Year Itch

Me and 6 other girls went on a senior trip to Corpus Christi, Texas after we graduated high school. There was lots of sun involved in this trip! We went to the beach alot and Six Flags - so needless to say, there were sunburns.

I bought the bottle of lotion on the left at a Wal-Mart in Corpus Christi, Texas in June of 2000. We finished it this week - 10 1/2 years later.

This picture is proof of alot of things:

1. It takes a long time to go through a bottle of lotion that big! (I'm not sure why I ever thought I needed THAT much lotion to begin with)

2. Queen Helene lotion has an amazing shelf life!

3. Queen Helene lotion has been around and sold at Wal-Mart for over 10 years.

4. Queen Helene is not big on change - besides a different lid design, these two bottles are exactly the same!

5. Lotion packs and moves easily. Since buying that first bottle of lotion I have moved 5 times and it made each move successfully.

Thank you Queen Helene for being so good to me and Nathan for the last 10 1/2 years! You were there for every sunburn, winter itch, and dry hands! Here's to 10 more years!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Whoooo Pig Sooie!

Today is the day! The Arkansas Razorbacks are playing in the Sugarbowl in New Orleans! Noah and I wore our Razorback shirts today to show support! I'm pretty sure that if an adorable little boy named Noah wasn't around then Nathan and I would be in New Orleans for this game. I'm not complaining in the least - I will be just fine watching the game from my couch with Noah sitting in my lap! I haven't went to any Razorback games this year but I plan to go to alot next year! We are thinking about getting season tickets with some friends so we will always have the option! I love Razorback stadium and there is nothing quite like watching a game there!

My house is a Razorback fan house! We are not fair weather fans, we love our Hogs all the time! Don't get me wrong - I will say when they are not doing good and Nathan will have to leave the room sometimes because they are playing "pit-i-ful" but we are still right there cheering them on in the next game! I love to watch sports, but I am not super-competitive. I am a good loser - that is just how I've always been. It drives Nathan crazy because even when we play a board game I can lose and tell him that he did good and he will try to rub it in and it doesn't bother me! So, whether the Hogs win or lose tonight it is not a huge deal to me - it is just a game.

Nathan is a big Bobby Petrino fan also! When Noah is drinking his cereal bottle at night Nathan will tell him he better finish it before he falls asleep because Bobby Petrino comes by and does bottle checks and he only wants big boys that finish their bottles on his team! We have high hopes for our little chubby boy!

Whoooooo Pig Sooie! Lets Go Razorbacks! Play your best and win or lose at least you know you still have fans in the Stillwells!

Monday, January 3, 2011

To Blog or Not to Blog, That WAS the Question!

I decided what the heck, I would give this blogging thing a try. I love to read blogs and keep up with a few of them religiously - love me some Pioneer Woman! When my husband asked me what a blog is, it was hard to explain, so that made me doubt if I needed one or not since I couldn't even come up with a way to describe what I was wanting to join in on doing. Then I remembered that it took him years to understand Facebook and totally dismissed his question! I feel this will be a good way to keep up with events and life and for my out of town friends and family to keep up with me too (miss you Cassie!). I may not post daily, but my goal is to post at least 3 times a week and more if I feel the need. Some posts may be short, some may just be pictures, and some may be really long stories or rants - depending on my mood, which according to my husband changes very often! I hope you enjoy reading and I hope I enjoy writing!