Thursday, September 23, 2010

It's been a month?!?!!!

Yesterday was September 22, which means that little Lilah is one month old!  Time has flown by this month, which I guess means we're having fun!  She really is such a sweet, easy-going, peaceful little baby and we couldn't ask for more.  I find myself just sitting, holding her and staring at her many times during the day, watching her face and marveling that she is actually here!  I love her little expressions and trying to figure out who she looks like.  Everyone always says she looks like Ethie and I definitely see lots of Kunkel in her, but I think there's a little James too :)  Hopefully she won't lose all the dark hair, although it's already lightened quite a bit.  I can't believe how much she's changed already, just in one month.  Sometimes it makes me sad that she won't ever be the same, but it's also fun to see how she's growing and starting do be more alert and interactive.  I'm just trying to enjoy and appreciate every moment!  And also take lots of pictures :)

1 day old...


She's getting cheeks and thighs and she's just so cute!  I love to watch James come home and take her and just love on her.  He'll change her diaper and talk to her and play with her and she loves him!  Ethie still loves her so much and we haven't noticed any jealousy or resentment.  He always tells me when she starts fussing if I'm in the shower or cooking and his job is to put her binky back in the car, which he is very diligent about.  His new favorite thing to do with her is burp her after she eats!  I'm so glad she has an older brother!  My favorite thing these days is just holding her--when she's eating, sleeping, wide awake, in the wrap, in bed, whenever!  I can't get enough of her and I love having her close to me.  She definitely loves to be held and cuddled and I'm glad!  Thank goodness for wraps and slings so I can also try to get things done! 

Here are her birthday stats:  6 pounds, 3 ounces, 19 1/2 inches
Here are her one month stats:  8 pounds, 8 ounces, 21 1/2 inches


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Swim swim swim

Later that day, we went down to the pool to cool off.  It's still so hot around here!  We have really loved having a pool in our complex and have definitely taken advantage of it!  Ethie loves to swim and has really gotten good at it this summer. 
He especially loves it when James comes along so he can throw him in and have cannonball contests :)

Can't wait for next summer when Lilah can join us!  But she was perfectly content with Grandma...


Art at the park

James' parents were able to stay here through Labor Day and James actually had the day off (yay!!!) so wanted to find something else fun to do.  I saw in my Atlanta Parent magazine that there was an art festival in downtown Marietta, so we thought we would try it out.  It was perfect!  There is an old historic square in Marietta, which we had only driven by, so we got to see more of our own city.  And there were tons of art exhibits from various artists set up all over the place, as well as booths and yummy food (candied pecans)!  There were also lots of booths set up for kids to do free crafts, which was awesome for Ethie...

Grandma Sandy totally spoiled him and let him get his face painted, which was of course his favorite part!!!
Meanwhile, Lilah had a great time sleeping on Daddy :)  Look at those cute little legs!

Grandparents are so much fun!

So while James' parents were here, we wanted to show them how much fun Georgia is!  The first thing we thought of was the aquarium in Atlanta, which is supposedly the biggest in the WORLD!  Unfortunately, James had to work on Friday, but it was a perfect thing to do during the day while we waited for him.  Ethie loves fish and could barely slow down to wait for the rest of us.  I think Grandma and Grandpa Cook enjoyed it also!
Can you see Lilah in there?  She was so good in her wrap--she loves being snuggled close and I love it too!  She slept most of the time and when she was awake, she just looked all around!
The best part for Ethie was being able to "pet" the fish and various creatures.  He loves animals!
And the fish were very cool!  This one was my favorite...

Monday, September 13, 2010

Blessed little baby

As if having a baby and being sealed weren't enough excitement, we also got to bless our little baby the next day!!!  James' parents had planned to come for Labor Day weekend to be at her blessing, so even though she was born later than we thought, we went ahead with plans.  Only 2 weeks old, she was so tiny and sweet!  The blessing was beautiful, she was wide awake and perfectly content, and we felt so much love and support from family and friends.  She wore my blessing dress for the temple sealing...

so she wore another pretty dress I bought before I knew my mom still had my blessing dress for the blessing...

Isn't she a little angel???  I just love that little girl so much.  I told James I only had one request for the blessing, if I could request something... that he tell her how much we love her.  I realized during the blessing that I needn't have said anything because he expressed so much love to her throughout.  He told her that she is a blessing in our lives, that we love her and blessed her that she would always know that love.  He also blessed her that she would know the support of her family throughout her life, and that she would know peace and happiness in her life.  He also blessed her that she would recognize blessings from the Lord and would have gratitude for Heavenly Father.  I know that God was pleased with James as Lilah's loving father and that Lilah is so loved, by us and by her Father in Heaven. 

Afterwards, more pictures and love all around...

Mom and Scotty joined us for the blessing and brought delicious rolls and lemon cheesecake for dinner afterwards.  Thank you!

And thank you to Dad and Jeannette for making the drive up to celebrate the blessing with us.  Lilah has so much love!!!

And really, who wouldn't love this little one???

We WILL be together forever someday

As if having a baby weren't exciting enough, we were able to go to the temple and be sealed as a family on September 4.  James' parents came to celebrate with us and meet their newest granddaughter, and it was wonderful to have them here for the weekend.  Saturday morning they headed to Birmingham to pick up Jeff, James' older brother, and then met us at Cracker Barrel for some southern food.   
Then we headed to the Birmingham temple for the sealing. My mom, Scotty, Karen (love her!), James' parents, and Jeff came with us, as well as Ethie-man, of course! I had never been to a sealing with children before, so I didn't really know what to expect. We had to leave the little ones while we got dressed, and it was hard for me to be apart from Lilah, but so worth it when I saw her again. James and I had time together to prepare for the sealing and I was overwhelmed with gratitude for him and the blessing of being married to each other. I was so happy to be in such a beautiful place with him and to be committing to each other again, for all time. It felt so symbolic and immense and I was just full of peace and love.  Here's the beautiful temple...

We walked into the sealing room together and our family and friends were waiting for us. The sealer said some words and then we knelt across from each other and commited verbally to each other. I could have said "yes" a thousand times! I couldn't take my eyes off James and I was so excited for the opportunity to be with him forever. I think participating in the birth of Lilah together and the experience of being her parents has brought us so much closeness and dependence on each other and it felt so right to be recommiting at this time.

Then they brought in our sweet kids, Ethan and Lilah, and I couldn't stop the tears! Our family felt complete in that room, knowing that Ethan was already sealed to me, and that Lilah would soon be. They brought her over in a little white blanket and put her little hand on ours across the alter. She was, of course, completely peaceful and calm, as she was sealed to us. I can't remember much of what was said because I was so full of emotion and gratitude, but the message was that we are now officially joined together forever. I love the word "sealed" because it feels so permanent and binding. I love my little family so much!
Afterwards, we hugged all around and went outside to take pictures. So much joy in one little day...

Our newest love!

We welcomed our baby daughter, Lilah Raine Cook, to the world on August 22, 2010!!! 

Since then, I have found that it is very difficult to blog with a newborn.  I sit down to start and then she wakes up hungry or just wants held and I am not good at typing one-handed.  And no offense, but I would much rather hold her all day than blog!  However, I would like to catch up so I can start keeping up.  She is already changing so fast, there is so much to write about!  I think I will go ahead and add her birth story here since I wrote it up and it is, after all, how she got here!  It's long, so skim as you'd like :)

My water broke Friday night, August 20, after eating eggplant, curb-walking, foot massages, etc. We'll never know what did it! We waited and waited for contractions to come and when they never did, we headed to the hospital Sunday morning. I knew that probably meant they would start pitocin to put me into labor, which scared me to death. I really wanted the least interventions possible and I was worried that it would be too much to handle.  Here we are about to head to the hospital... Do we look scared??

The midwife let us walk for a while at the hospital, but they finally started the pitocin about 2pm. I started feeling the contractions right away so we turned down the lights, turned on the music, and got ready! Plus my lovely friend Amber arrived right then, which turned out to be perfect timing. Here I am still feeling pretty optimistic...
Without saying anything, the nurse cranked the pitocin up and I started having heavy contractions right on top of each other. I couldn't even rest or breathe between them and it sucked! James and Amber were awesome encouraging me and rubbing my back, but when the nurse checked and I was only at 4 1/2 cm (I came in at 4 cm), I was so over it!
I told James and Amber I was going to swear, so they told the nurse and she came in and offered me something to take the edge off (Fentanyl). Right away I felt dizzy and drunk and I could still feel the contactions, but I didn't care as much. It was perfect! She also turned the pitocin down and eventually off and after my body took over instead of the stupid pitocin, I was able to focus and deal. James and Amber read me my positive birth affirmations, pushed on my back (til they were sore--sorry!), let me squeeze the life out of their hands, and did whatever I needed. I don't know what I would have done without them!!!
I started feeling urges to push, which was wierd because the last thing I heard I was at 4 1/2cm. But the midwife checked and said it was almost time to push and I was so excited! And scared!!! They set everything up and I got on my left side and she told me to push when I felt like it. Apparently I didn't know what I was doing, though, because the midwife kept telling me to quit whining and pushing with my face and fighting with my legs. It was so frustrating! I told her I didn't know what she was talking about. And it hurt!!! But I was so excited to see little girl, especially after James said she has lots of hair!
So finally her head came out and then the rest of her at 5:40 pm and James asked if we could wait to cut the cord (he's so awesome)! They laid her on me all fresh and new and perfect and I couldn't believe we had out little sweetheart! Actually, I asked if she was a girl cause I wanted to make sure and James confirmed it :) Then he cut the cord and they checked her and let me do skin-to-skin and tried breast-feeding her. She was more interested in looking around (bright eyes!) and it just felt so good to have her close to me and to be able to see her and take her in. It was so emotional and intense and I think James and I were in complete heaven.
They washed her and checked her and weighed her right in the room, which was awesome, cause they never had to take her away from us. The nurses kept saying she didn't look like a 41 1/2 week baby, which confirmed to us that we were right in waiting as long as we could to have her. She is so tiny and tall (like Daddy!) and perfect and sweet and beautiful and we can't stop looking at her. She's mellow and wide-eyed and just cries tiny cries when she's hungry. She's a good eater (all night long!) and pooper and just a sweetheart!
Ethie has been such a cute brother since we got home, bringing her toys and animals and helping me tons. I love that he's so independent and helpful!

James is the best husband and daddy and I am so amazed by him. He knew exactly what to do during labor and waited on me in the hospital and spoils me at home and I feel so blessed to have him! Plus he's just such a cute, loving daddy-o!

We are so thankful to have our Lilah with us and even though labor didn't go exactly as we had planned, we felt guided and accompanied through every decision and experience and so blessed in the end. We love our little Lilah!