Thursday, March 31, 2011

I can't be the only mother who does this, right?

I think it's quite well established now that I love a ritual or routine.I find comfort in doing something the same way, every day, without changing a single bit. Like I mentioned a few days ago, Bea and I are coming into a final few days or weeks of breastfeeding. With that comes the opportunity to change well-established Bedtime Routine. And, as you can probably guess, I've got a few reservations about it...

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Identity Crisis in the making ...

Warning: This is the post where I say: boobs, breastfeeding, nipple and breast frequently. Like, a whole lot. So, if you're not comfortable with that, then click here to read about something more man-friendly (or here to support The Bea Team and win a cool prize, hint, hint).

Though I've been quite reluctant to admit it, for the past week Beatrice Kate has slowly started to wean herself from breastfeeding. I say reluctant because I really, really don't want her to be doing this. However, at the same time, I realize that it is something I knew she would eventually do; I just didn't want it to happen so soon. I feel like breastfeeding has become part of my identity and I'm not sure what happens next.

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Dollar Diet: A new 30 day challenge ...

Disclaimer: No, this isn't a new fad diet. It's a diet for our wallets, not our muffin tops...

Last month, I was busy clipping coupons  spending quality time with our family in the living room while Casey read the newspaper out-loud to Beatrice Kate. When I overheard him telling her about this family and their month-long commitment to no spending...I told him to hand over the article.

Basically, for the entire month of February, they didn't spend a dime on unnecessary expenses or really any expenses at all. They ate out of their freezer and pantry stock piles and only spent $10 a week on fresh veggies and fruits. Hmmm, I thought. I bet we could do something like that. My stockpile has gotten pretty big and now that Beatrice Kate is drinking milk from a sippy cup, I finally have had room for actual foods in our outside freezer.

Meal Plan Monday: The Prodigal Housewife Returns ...

Yes, we have fallen off the meal-plan train with an audible thud. I will own up and take full responsibility for that on our family's behalf. But like all great comebacks, we have returned and are (possibly) better than ever.

Starting on Friday, our family will begin our month-long Dollar Diet (more on that later today), and we'll be living out of our freezer and pantry stockpiles. So, this week, we'll probably splurge a little and have at least one "night out" as a send off.

Regardless there are still 4 days between now and Friday and this family's gotta eat. So, here's what's on the menu:

Monday: I don't know what the heck happened to our 85 degree Spring days, but it's currently less than 40 outside and was sleeting this morning. So, it's shaping up to be a soup and sandwich kind of day. Specifically, Cream of Fresh Tomato Soup and grilled cheese sandwiches with Jarlsberg, fresh tomato and basil.

Tuesday: Roasted Chicken with Spring Vegetables

Wednesday: Tofu Lettuce Wraps

Thursday: A dinner out (somewhere that doesn't mind a screaming one-year-old who throws crap on the floor) to say Adios to our spending for thirty whole days.

Find other good recipes here, at OrgJunkie.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Like Carbs? Then you'll love this week's giveaway ...

This week, I think we can all use a little energy boost. Maybe the kind that comes from an overdose of delicious, starchy bread? How about the kind that comes from Panera Bread??

That's right! This week, we're giving away a entire year of bread from Panera Bread and the Breadwinners of the Triangle. For twelve months, you can enjoy a free loaf of their freshly baked, award winning bread.

Want in on this chance to go semi-gourmet and stuff your face with a loaf of Artisan or Specialty breads? Then click here and make your donation to The Bea Team for the 2011 March for Babies walk in April.

I won't lie... I was quite tempted to keep this little treat for myself. I LOVE Panera Bread. Actually, I love all bread, but Panera Bread is the creme de la creme of the Carbohydrate Kingdom. However,after seeing all the hard work that our team and supporters have drummed up... I just couldn't do that to you guys (Side note: I'm totally kidding, of course I wouldn't have kept it, regardless of how great you all did!)

I'm so proud to announce that we have surpassed our fourth goal of $2,000. But really, why stop there???? Let's try to take it even further! How great would it be if we could raise $2200? $2500? The possibilities are endless!

So, if you like bread, (and come on who doesn't?) then get all click-happy and donate now!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Prayer Request ...

Last night, I was doing my usual perusing of blogs here and there, stalking catching up on various families and friends, when I came across this entry about Baby Clara.

I don't personally know this family, but I do know some of their relatives, Craig and Meredith Davis. Regardless, even if I didn't know anyone connected to them, it would still break my heart. You see, at their routine 18 week anatomy scan/OB check-up, an ultrasound revealed a serious congenital defect with their precious baby. Initially thought to be a combination of a diaphragmatic hernia – basically a hole in the diaphragm that has allowed the stomach (and sometimes other organs) to migrate into the chest cavity and some other chromosomal abnormalities, they were left with very little hope of birthing a live baby.

After further testing and scans, MRIs, ultrasounds, etc. The Hardys learned that their daughter, Clara, had Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH), for which the survival rate is between 50-80%. The challenge with an in-utero diagnosis like this is that it's often very, very difficult to know how your baby will respond outside of their little piece of paradise, the womb. So for months, it was wait and see for Clara's family. Can you imagine??

Anyway, Clara was born three days ago, very much alive, and is now in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Brenner Children's Hospital in Winston-Salem. There are no guarantees for her life, how long she will live, or what her quality of life will be when she comes home from the hospital. BUT, it is blatantly obvious that this child is very much loved and very much cherished by her parents, her family and strangers around the world alike.

As someone who knows what it's like to sit next to a hospital warming bed watching helplessly as your daughter fights for her life, I can tell you... it's not for the weak of heart. There are no words to describe what it's like to not be of any use (unless you count hand-wringing as useful) as doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists, and others swarm around your baby like her little worker bees.

I ask my blog readers to please add this family to your prayer list. Pray that Clara will make a recovery and that she will be healed. Pray for her parents, Robert and Chrissy, for the strength and support that they'll need. Pray that they will be able to lean on each other. Just simply- pray.

I know that I will and I will certainly be cuddling my little miracle a little closer tonight, saying a prayer of thanksgiving her for life as well.

If you want to read about Clara, her family or their journey, you can visit their family blog for updates and more information here.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Babies are weird ...

Since becoming a parent, I've learned that babies do a whole bunch of weird stuff. Things like: waking up for no reason at all to play in the middle of the night or asking for food, only to shake their tiny little heads and refuse to eat or asking to be held and then immediatley, demanding to be put down and then ask to be held again.

Still, the strangest thing I've seen Bea do is choose random pieces of trash or particulate on the floor to play with over her absurdly large amount of toys. Toys made, you know, specifically for babies.

She's done this on several occasions. Christmas, for example, was New Toy Heaven. Of course, by "new toy" I mean, "wrapping paper":

You shouldn't have....

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Mourning what I never had ...

It probably sounds strange, but I sometimes still mourn my third trimester. I'm sure you're thinking, "Geesh, just get over it. You've got a healthy daughter." You're right. I do. But there's still a big small part of me that is quite sad to have never reached "full-term" with Beatrice Kate. I know that saying I "grieve" something like the loss of the end of a pregnancy is a little extreme; but for me it's true.

That Baby ...

Beatrice Kate has a new friend. We affectionaltey call her "That Baby". As in "That Baby looks just like you, Bea!" or "That Baby is waving at you":
O, Haaayyy...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

It's good to be Queen (Bea) ...

Finally, our computer is back home and I can access and post all of the super cute photos from Bea's birthday party last week. I can't even believe that I typed that... Bea's FIRST birthday. I thought the day would be traumatic and bittersweet, and yes, it was bittersweet but mostly it was very, very happy. I would have never been able to see where we are now as a family one year ago. It's a far cry from the dark, isolating world of the NICU.

Instead of typing a bunch of stuff, I think we'll just let the pictures tell the story (for the most part that is. You all know I can't help myself sometimes) ...

Worker Bees, preparing things the night before
Birthday Girl was all smiles

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Operation Fat Baby ...

Because our computer is STILL not fixed, I'll update you on some other things going on around here and fill in with pictures when I can.

Last Monday, Beatrice Kate had her 12 month well-baby check at Dr. Calm's office. Keeping in mind that she had a real stomach virus the week prior to her birthday unlike my husband, I was expecting her weight gain to appear a little off. I wasn't expecting was the scale to reflect a decrease by a pound and a half since her last recorded weight check (last month's RSV shot). I had the nurse recheck it on every scale in the office. (Yes, I was the one milling around the office with a naked baby in my arms, hoping she wouldn't pee on me)

But it didn't change. She had lost weight and we were back below the curve. For most people, a large glass of water, or even a particuarly satisfying trip to the bathroom can fluctuate their weight by 1.5 pounds. But, when you only weight 17 pounds to begin with, you're looking at a near 12% decrease. Add in the fact that Dr. Calm is hyper-vigilant about her weight (Bea's, not Dr. Calm's) because of her "former micro-preemie" status, as we had a certified "situation" at the appointment.

I won't lie. It was very disheartening. I was instantly taken back to our NICU days where every gram counted, and anything but a gain of more than 15 grams meant bad news.

Instead of being patted on the back for my tremendous parenting efforts, I felt like cowering the corner for bringing my starving, waif of a child into the Doctor's Office. Luckily, Dr. Calm is very... well, calm and understanding. She knew that Bea and I were not regulars on the child pageant circuit I do not starve my child and instead, her weight decrease was a direct result of her stomach bug. Oh, that and her love affair with Puffs and Mum Mums.

The remedy? A little project Casey and I have nicknamed, "Operation Fat Baby". Dr. Calm suggested that we need to make every bite of her food count. Because Beatrice Kate refuses to eat a lot of things now and takes a limited number of "bites" before we both she loses patience and freaks, we need to pack as many calories as we can into each one.

Dr. Calm recommended every Southern adult's dream diet: a lot of butter, a lot of frying, a lot of oil.

So far, it's been going OK. Bea doesn't seem to favor (or not favor) more butter on her foods. In fact, she still shows the same amount of displeasure at eating in general. We've found though, that if we force encourage the first bite, she'll realize that, "Oh, yeah, I do like this" and will willfully continue to eat the rest.

We go back to see Dr. Calm in a month to re-check her weight. Until then, it's butter biscuits galore here (and Bea has already had two today).

PS: Speaking of fatness, don't forget about our online bake sale to benefit our March for Babies Team.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Fresh baked cookies, sent straight to you!

Yes, our computer is still at the computer doctor. We got it back on Wednesday and it still wasn't fixed so... it's back in the shop for more repairs.

Until then, I'm so excited to report that we are only $75 away from our fourth March for Babies goal of $2,000!

To encourage a little extra giving, I've got a neat little incentive for folks who can only donate small amounts! I'm not trying to brag, but I've been told that my baked goods are pretty decent. In fact, I've even had a few people pay me for some of them! Heck, I even once made a wedding cake!?!

Here's some photographic proof of my skillz from Bea's baptism, last September:
Wipe the drool from your face, please.

So, for the next ten people who donate $10, I'll bake you either: a dozen chocolate chip cookies, a dozen cupcakes of your choice or a 9-inch, two layer chocolate or yellow cake with butter creme frosting. I'll even ship it, next day shipping, directly to you.

Think of it as an "online bake sale".

Sounds tasty, huh? If so, click here to make your $10 donation and help put us over our next goal! Then, be sure to come back here and leave a comment so I know who all I need to thank :)!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Bea Team Updates and T-Shirt Reveal!

I am so proud to report that for the third time, I have had to adjust raise our March for Babies Team Goal! We've long-since smashed $1,000. We've said "Adios" to $1500. Now we're only $40 away from our third goal of $1800!

First, that is absolutely amazing. I am so thankful for each donation and for such an outpouring show of support for Beatrice Kate and preemies like her!

Secondly, $1800? Holy Cow! Bea Team members are here being heard, loud and proud. I am honored to be the Team Captain of such a successful and dedicated team. And, we still have more than 40 days left to go until the walk. I know for sure that we can once again, have to raise our goal. I'm betting that we may even be able to raise $2,000.

It'll only take 10 $20 donations, or 20 $10 donations, or 40 $5 donations! And yes, I realize that money is tight. But $5 (or the average cost for a cup of Starbucks!) goes a very, very long way in helping provide life-saving research and advocacy for the tiniest of babies.

Anyway, to continue with the good news ... I am excited to unveil the designs for our 2011 March for Babies shirt:


They'll be bright yellow with black ink and will include the MOD logo, too! Shirts are generously being provided by Casey's dad and stepmom for all of our team members (even the little ones). We'll also be entering them into the Family Division's T-Shirt Contest!

I'll be emailing our team members within the next week or so to get sizes and quantities. So, hang tight... you'll get them soon enough.

Monday, March 14, 2011

So why no Bea BDay party post and pictures?

That's because our computer is still on the outs and I have no where to download our photos on to! Casey swears he's taking it in tomorrow so I hope to get something up by the end of the week.

Until then, here's a photo of the Birthday Girl, enjoying her delicious birthday cake (photo was stolen from our dear friend, Aunt Rachel):
She looks like a musketeer with that goatee

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Golf Giveaway Winner ...

I know, I'm late ... again. No excuses this time, so I'll just cut to the chase!

The winner of the golf goody bag (and the rumored second prize from last week) is...

Robbie (and Lauren) Upton!

Congratulations guys and thank you so much for your support of The Bea Team. Robbie and Lauren have been Beatrice Kate supporters since even before she was born! That's because Lauren happens to be a very knowledgeable NICU nurse at a nearby hospital. You already know how highly I think of NICU Nurses! They rock.

So I am honored to have their support for our 2011 March for Babies Team and to give them a little something back in return! 

If you would like to win one of our fabulous prizes (including one this week), then all you have to do is click here. Make a quick $25 donation and Ta-Dah! You're in the running. Every $25 you donate gets you another chance to win! 

Robbie and Lauren: Hang tight. I'll put your loot in the mail this week!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Letter to my daugther on her first birthday ...

Beatrice Kate:

How is it possible that it has been an entire year since you made me a mother? I cannot comprehend how time has moved so quickly, and yet seemed to stand still all at once.

Daddy and I prayed and wished for you for months before you were spoken into existence. You were created out of love and wanted more than you could ever know.

I knew, even before I met you, that I would love you with every fiber of my being. What I didn't expect however, is the magnitude of this love. It's unlike anything I've ever experienced in my entire life. It's an all-consuming, all-encompassing feeling that makes me smile and tear up at same time.

Beatrice Kate, you have been such a pleasant surprise from the get-go. Arriving eleven weeks early wasn't the only surprise you had in store for Daddy and I. Did you know that I was absolutely convinced that you were going to be a boy? I was so happy, though, when the doctors told us that we had been blessed with a daughter.

From the first time I laid eyes on you, I was overwhelmed by just how beautiful you are. I don't know how Daddy and I created something so perfect, but I am thankful that we did. I think you'll be keeping Daddy busy in a few years, chasing the boys away. When I first saw you in the NICU, I couldn't believe how long your eye lashes and fingers were! Oh, and your tiny ears! They were so precious. Even at two pounds, you were perfect. Tiny, but perfect.

You have taught me so much in just the short amount of time that we've known each other. Most importantly, you've shown me, and the world, that it's not your physical stature that defines who you are or what you can become. Instead, it's inner strength and resolve that will help make your dreams come true someday.

You have been a fighter since Minute One. From your first, kitten-like cry, to your abbreviated stay in the NICU, your feisty spirit was front and center. I know, without a doubt, that it's that spirit that will elevate you above the rest of your peers and make you a natural leader. Watch out world!

Underneath that spunky little attitude is a sweet, loving nature. You are the happiest, smiley baby I have ever seen. I hope that you continue to show the same compassion towards your friends and loved ones as you get older. It will take you even farther in life.

I am so, so proud to be your mother. This is the hardest, but most rewarding job I've ever had. Yes, there are days that are tough. But, there are twice as many that are hilarious and happy! You make me smile nearly every time I look at you.

Today, on your very first birthday I am overcome with a bittersweet mix of reflection of our past year and excitement for the future. I am so thankful for getting to meet you three months earlier than I thought I would. I cannot wait to see the person you will grow into. I know without a doubt, you will continue to amaze and inspire me with your life.

Thank you for choosing me to be your mother. I love you sweet girl.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A little somthin' for the fellas....

I realize that the majority of our readers are probably women, but I happen to know a few guys happen to visit our blog regularly like my Dad. And so, we'd like to giveaway a little something for you fellas.

Up next this week, a golf goody bag filled with all your essential (at least I think, I don't really know a lot about golf) items. Our computer is still on the fritz, so I can't take a picture of everything that you'll get with this prize. Instead, a list will have to do (How very businesslike, huh?):
  • Adidas low-cut comfort socks (size M)
  • A "Combo Brush" (whatever that is)
  • A TaylorMade Player's Towel (this sounds questionable typed out....)
  • 100 count of wooden golf tees
  • TaylorMade golf balls that promise to help you "Command the Tee Box" (so it's got that going for it)
  • Adidas ClimaCool white collared golf shirt so you'll not only play like a pro, but you'll look like one
As I said, I don't know anything about golf and I usually fall asleep if it's on TV. In fact, I am not even that great at Putt-Putt. I got beat once by a six year old. So... me telling you that this is a great prize doesn't really hold much merit. But my husband, who is actually decent at golf, says that this is an awesome prize and if you're not a golfer, then it would make a great gift. I'll even gift wrap it for you if you want. I am at least really good at doing that!

Does all this interest you? Click here to make a simple $25 donation to The Bea Team and show us some love.

I'll be drawing the name of a random lucky winner from our pool of Bea Team suppporters and team members tomorrow afternoon, so get busy with your donating!

My week in numbers ... (AKA: The reason I haven't posted the next giveaway yet)

I know, I know I promised to post the next giveaway yesterday; but I promise... I have a decent reason for being late. Just to simplify, here's a glance at my week, stastisically:

5- The number of loads of baby-puke covered laundry I've done since Monday
5- The number of times Beatrice Kate has thrown up
2- As in, 2 a.m.. Which is the time of day we've been getting up for the day around these parts
4- Individual boxes of Pedialyte Bea has consumed over the course of two days. That stuff is expensive.
50- Percentage of the amount of food Bea has been able to keep down; though it looks like we've turned the corner and are back to normal consumption.
0- The number of walks our poor dogs have received since last week because I've been too tired to even look at them
3- The average number of times a day I've had to pump since Monday because Pukey Baby couldn't handle breastmilk.
40- About the number of people that I am expecting at my house in 48 hours
1- The number of pseudo-sick husbands I have. I say "pseudo-sick" because I'm absolutley convinced that his symptoms are 99% in his head.
1,000,000,000- The average number of complaints from said "pseudo-sick" husband about how "like death" he feels
1,000,000,000- The number of times I've rolled my eyes and told him to stop being a Topper.

So, needless to say, it's been a rough week. Luckily, it seems that both Beatrice Kate and Casey are on an upswing and are both back to feeling as good as new. Which is a good thing because I just might kick him in the knee caps put in some ear plugs.

I WILL post up the next giveway later this afternoon. But first, I have to put my baby and my husband down for naptime.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Good night, sleep tight. The Dozy Dolphin winner is ...

I happen to know this that lucky lady recently had a new baby who (we hope) will get a lot of use out of this week's first giveaway...

Congratulations to Amanda Sawyer! (Oh, and to her new baby girl Edie)

Amanda, thank you so much for your support of The Bea Team. I'll be emailing you shortly with how I'll get the prize to you (Thanks in part to the US Postal Service!)

For the rest of you... keep an eye out tomorrow for prize number two this week. This time, it's one for the fellas! If you want to be in the running to win tomorrow's giveaway, or any of our future giveaways in the coming weeks, simply click here to donate $25 and support us at the 2011 March for Babies. Remember, for every $25 you donate, you'll get an entry into our prize drawings. So, hurry up and give us your support for more chances to win!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Ever just have one of those days?

Well, we had one on Saturday. I say a collective "we" because, despite getting off to a great start, Saturday ended with Casey and I searching, by flashlight and with a magnet connected to a string, through garden weeds and grass.

I guess I should back up, huh? Saturday began like any ordinary, lazy Saturday usually would. We cooked breakfast together, we took a family trip to the Farmer's Market. Casey and Beatrice Kate spent some time in their hammock, swinging in the breeze. Later, Beatrice Kate and I went to her very first friend's First Birthday party, leaving Casey to do a little yard work in preparation for Bea's own party next weekend.

It all had the makings of a beautiful day.

And then ... Bea and I came home to find Casey frantically weeding through (pun intended) all of the formerly discarded weeds from our front garden. As it turns out, at some point during the day, Casey accidentally (at least, I hope it was an accident) lost his wedding band.

After helping him (with no luck) to look for it a bit while Bea finished her nap in the car, I needed to ske-daddle on to Michael's (the craft store) to get something framed for Bea's birthday gift.

So, off we went to Brier Creek, about 15 minutes from our house. While trying to merge onto the side road where the store front is, I noticed the power steering possibly give out. Considering I don't even know how to pop the hood of our our know a lot about cars, I quickly (as possible) pulled into the parking lot and called my own personal mechanic, my husband.

As if he needed something else to worry about, he abandoned his wedding band search for a bit to help his wife and child, who were now stranded in a shopping center... a little too close to a meal time for comfort.

When Casey got there, he noticed that a belt was missing (which seems like it should have been a bigger deal than it is!) and left to visit a nearby auto parts store for a replacement. Oh, and Bea and I continued to be stranded. Also, by "a nearby auto parts store", what I meant to say was, "three nearby auto parts stores because we drive a Volkswagen and no one carries their parts".

So, Bea and I made the best of it and took a walk down to Target to buy something for her to eat for dinner. I am quite proud to say that what we purchased (organic, natural canned foods) were the first (and only) premade, packaged foods she's ever eaten. And she hated. every. bite. But she ate, because she was hungry and won't nurse in public anymore.

Then, she threw another mother-of-all-meltdowns tantrum because she was tired of being in her stroller. Yep, in the middle of the Target food court, with my husband 20 minutes out. Nothing helped. She just wanted to be at home, and I frankly couldn't blame her. Honestly, I wanted to crawl in the stroller next to her and start my own tantrum.

Instantaneous Teleportation could not have gotten Casey back soon enough. But, he arrived as soon as he could and I cannot tell you how much I appreciated seeing him! We got the Jetta back in working order and finally, we made it back home. Three hours after we left for a "quick trip" to Micheal's.

When we got back, Bea was (understandably) ready for bed. We all were, but Casey and I still had a wedding band to find.

Unfortunatley, despite our best efforts and two different magent types, we had no luck. The ring is still lost in (we think) our yard. If it still doesn't turn up in a the next few days, I'll be ordering Casey a new one.

After all, I don't want all those single-ladies hittin' on my man...

Ready for two chances at a really great gifts? ...

This week, The Bea Team is feeling extra generous and wants to give away TWO prizes. It could have something to do with the fact that the star herself, Beatrice Kate, turns ONE YEAR OLD (pause for me to sob hysterically that this is happening too fast).

It also may have A LOT to do with the fact that last week, I received word that The Bea Team is officially one of the top five teams in all of North Carolina! You hear that? Top Five!

Ya'll, that is awesome. Thank you so much to all of our Bea Team members and supporters! With roughly 50 days to go until the walk, we've already surpassed our initial goal of $1000 and have had to adjust it up to $1500!

But we can't stop there! We still need support and help to surpass our second goal!

And, hey, we're givers and up first this week, we're giving away a gift from SmartMomma, one of my all-time favorite stores here in Raleigh. They have everything from nursery furniture, toys, strollers, feeding supplies and clothes. What I love most about the shop is that they have all (and I mean all) of my favorite cloth diapering supplies like liners and Rockin' Green (Including the Funk Rock line, which is amazing.) They've even recently added an activity studio where you can take pre/post-natal fitness classes, Mommy and Baby Yoga, learn to cloth diaper or participate in the upcoming "Great Cloth Diaper Change" for a Guinness World Record!

Heather, the owner of SmartMomma, has generously donated a Dozy Dolphin for this week's giveaway. It's basically a sound machine that can be strapped to your baby's stroller or carseat (or their bed...) and provides soothing noises on the go.

If your baby is like mine, (meaning: as a result of the NICU, she can't sleep in a quiet room) this is a really great gift. It sure beats the elaborate fan/heater set-up we currently have going on in Bea's room.

Don't have a baby? Tuck it away and give it as a baby gift for an upcoming shower. Everyone knows someone who's having a baby at some point, right?

How do you get entered to win? Click here and for every $25 you donate or raise on behalf of The Bea Team, you'll get a chance to win. Winner will be announced on Friday.

Then, if you're a Raleigh local, go and visit SmartMomma. I know you'll love the store as much as I do!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Warning: Contents under pressure ..

We've come into a new era here at the Collins Household, "Tantrum Time". It's a rough, shaky time for all of us. Most of all, me.

It all started out innocently enough. A simple head shake "no", maybe a little whine here or there if she doesn't want to do something or is unhappy with something. But it's quickly, and I mean quickly, escalated into a full-throttle, red-faced, potential-head-spinning meltdown.

She's gotten so good at it lately that she's perfected new cry to let me know she is especially displeased. It's a guttural, animalistic wail-growl that I honestly don't know if I should ignore, or have her excised for demons.

Then, top it all off, once she starts with the new wail, she gets herself so choked up, that she goes into real crying and that leads to hysterics. And, we all know how great I do with her "real crying"...

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

365 days ago today ...

Exactly one year ago today, this happened and then this.

One year ago today, I was so, so scared that the baby that Casey and I prayed for, wished for, hoped for, the baby that we created wouldn't be.

I remember exactly the emotions that I felt the day I was admitted to the hospital initially. I was so scared, so afraid, so ... unprepared for what was happening around and in me. My stomach still flips and turns, knots and rumbles at the memories stirred up by this first anniversary, today.

We weren't ready to become parents yet. We weren't ready to meet our baby yet. We weren't ready for any of what was about to happen, yet. But it didn't matter. A plan, larger than any one that we could have imagined, was already set into motion for us.

Prepared or not we would, in fact, become parents in less than two weeks. We would become forever changed, but forever strengthened as individuals and most importantly, as a family. Our own, tiny family with our own, tiny baby.

One year ago today, we prayed together. We cried together. We pleaded for more time to be pregnant, together.

One year ago today, we began to see magnitude of God's grace in the faces of our friends and family after several tearful phone calls to explain what was happening. The help that you all provided to us. The love that you all showed to us. The encouragement that you all gave us. It was indescribable. We were humbled, and still are, at the amount of support we received from each and every one of you.

One year ago today... we had no idea how our lives would be so complete. All because of one tiny, fiesty, beautiful baby girl who couldn't wait to meet us; her parents.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A picture perfect winner...

So sorry for the delays in posting the winner of the free photography session! We have been having technical difficulties here at The Raleigh Collins House (which shouldn't be much of a shocker if you know how old our technology is!). But that's neither here or there...

The lucky winner for the free photo shoot from Laura Simson Photography is.....


Molly is a very well deserving winner of this prize, as she is responsible for raising nearly half of our amazing $1200 total so far! Way to go Molly and thank you so, so much for your hard work for The Bea Team. I'll be emailing you (and Laura) shortly with next steps, so hang tight.

Does winning a prize like this sound interesting to you? You could be our next winner! Click here to make a donation and support The Bea Team at the 2011 March for Babies!!

Pilgrimage to McAdenville ...

This past week, I did what most sane smart parents would never do- I took a solo car trip with my infant, back west to visit my family.
Uh, let's get this show on the road