Now We Are Four!

KW joined us on November 10, 2010. Thanks for following our journey as a family!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Gotta Start Somewhere

Now that I am back at home full time with the kiddos, I sometimes read the blogs I grew to love before I went back to work. The other day, I read an especially timely post about the contentious wife. Timely, because I don't know anyone who gets it all done when there is a newborn in the house, and timely, because I am so hard on myself about creating the family experience of the future. What I mean by this is that I have a vision of what I want our family to be - memories, traditions, etc. - but I expect myself to have created this NOW. How can this be? Not only are we only three Christmases into being parents, I will stifle the Spirit in our household if I pick a bunch of random traditions now, refusing to adjust to personalities, likes, dislikes, and new finds in the future.

Case in point: the Advent Calendar. Last year, I asked my mom to knit me twenty-five mittens so I could make an Advent Calendar - a garland hanging over our dining table with mittens full of candy and gifts to count down the days to Jesus' birth. I was going to sew numbers on the mittens and attach a pom-pom to each one so they can be thrown over the garland. She completed the mittens, but due to a mailing snafu with Bryan's travel schedule, said mittens were not in the house until December 8. No pom-poms, and I hadn't even stuffed the mittens yet.

At first, I was going to scrap the whole thing for this year; Lee would not have known what an Advent Calendar was unless I told him, right? But then I read the post, and decided to stop fighting with myself. I stuffed those mittens, threw them in a snowman gift bag, and set them on the table for breakfast the next morning. May I say the snowman was a huge hit, the first mitten's gift was a huge hit, and now, Lee keeps telling me Christmas is the day Jesus gets here.

Who cares that we have only fifteen days of Advent in the Hardman house this year? We will not have missed the point in our short celebration, and there is always next year to hang the thing up and go all out with Advent.

And, please know, the adults have their own little Advent "calendar" hidden in the pantry...

Sunday, December 12, 2010

One Month Down

I really can't believe it - doesn't everyone say that? It gets so old to hear, but it is so true! Our little girl is already one month old, and already going to her first office party! Here she is all decked out for the event.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

My Birthday Crew

These are the loves I spent my birthday with - could I ask for more?

And the view I had just before going to bed that night...

Love them all!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Playing Cards

Lee likes to enlist us to play cards with him. He uses the Candy Land deck with some very specific rules:
1. We only get the colors he doesn't like,
2. We are not to touch or move our cards (not a problem for KW), and
3. We are not to touch or move his cards.

Pretty fun. For Lee.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Decorations by Lee

Love this little guy. He is finally smiling for the camera again. This beats hearing, "Turn it off!" every time I try to take a picture.

I resisted my compulsive urge to "fix" his ornament placement.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Did you ever have a friend that was so cool, and did so many of the things you wish you would do, and took the time to look deep and think deeply about herself and everyday life (which you also wish you would do)? The friend who inhabits this place in my heart and mind right now is Laura Jones. You can read her blog, bruce avenue, by clicking on the link in my blog roll. An amazing woman. I find myself wanting to copy-cat her. Often.

I love you and miss you, Sweet Laura!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Magic Chair

This is apparently where I need to sit if I want to have these wonderful mommy moments.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Virtuous Girl

I love how KW perfectly places her foot for this picture, hiding any delicate parts that could not be broadcast to the internet. This was taken at her one-week doctor visit - she had already gained back her birthweight and more!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

It's a Double Name, Y'all

It's about tradition. It's about family. It's about being proud and southern. It's about heritage.

It's a double name, y'all.

I always wanted to name a son Harris, until Bryan and I got engaged. I wasn't so wild about Harris Hardman. But I had always wanted to honor my dad, and allow his name to continue on - he did have three girls, after all!

Lucky for me, Bryan was named in a really cool way, using the middle names of his two grandfathers - George Bryan Wilkes and Billy Thompson Hardman. I loved this idea and jumped on it as soon as we got married, and Lee was named after his two grandfathers - Ernest Lee Harris and William Thomas Hardman.

But what to do for a girl? We had picked out four names during our previous pregnancy, but we wanted to honor our moms this time around. I have always loved the name Wilkes, which is my mother-in-law's maiden name. But my mom's maiden name is Norowski - not sure how I felt about that combo!!

Enter southern heritage and our comfort with using the double name. My mother was Katherine Marie, and I seriously considered Mary Wilkes. Then my sister suggested we use Katherine as the first name, and call her Katie Wilkes. Done!

The suggestion was not made unselfishly, however, as my sister's name is also Katherine, and she wanted her own namesake. And so, a few days after KW was born, a new tradition was begun...

The Katherine Sandwich!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Love at First Sight

I tend to plan events, play them out in my head, and then get disappointed when people do not react the way I want them to. So, when I knew Lee was on his way to the hospital, I began to prepare myself that he may ignore the baby, throw a tantrum, or any other number of reactions to his new little sister. In fact, when told the night before that Katie Wilkes would be here in the morning, his response was, "No, I want Mickey Mouse!"

So I was more than pleased when he ran into the hospital room and immediately climbed up onto the bed and started kissing his little sister. Although he was a little like a bull in a china shop, he is doing very well learning to be gentle with her head and to not kiss her on the mouth (he did manage to plant one right on her when she was in his lap!).

He also couldn't wait to hold her in the hospital... nowadays, he is done with that after about a minute, or thirty seconds, or ten. His new desire is to pick her up... oh, no...

He also loves to talk about her face, her hands, feet, noises, etc.

Sure, we have had some meltdowns along the way in the two weeks since she arrived, but he seems to like her - for the most part!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Katie Wilkes is Born!

After my water broke, I knew labor would be much harder, but I didn't realize that - in my case - it would be non-stop until Katie Wilkes arrived. Luckily (very luckily) this only lasted about ten minutes! The very first contraction I had, I felt the urge to push, then I was just pushing. I tried to stop and wait until the nurses or doctor said it was ok, but I just couldn't stop. Bryan said they had run to get the doctor, and he was walking into the room, pulling on his scrubs and show covers with each step. He sat down, whisked the bottom of the bed away, and they told me to move down. I just kept thinking, "Can't they let me wait until this contraction is over?" The problem was, the contractions did not really have any breaks in between, and Katie Wilkes was already peeking out into the world! I imagine it was a little like a scene in a movie - you know, the scene where you turn to someone and say, "This is so unrealistic. Babies aren't born like that." Well, not all the time, at least! She had little bruises all over her head and face, she came so fast!

This was a weird part of the labor experience for us. We had a bag packed with things we could use to be more comfortable in the hospital during the final hours of labor. My mother was going to help me breathe. My mother-in-law was going to read Scripture. My sister was going to take pictures of us for KW's baby book. In fact, no one was there! It all happened so fast, and my mom and sister only arrived three minutes before she was born!

I am so glad I finally called and left for the hospital, or this baby may have been born on Northside Drive!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

KW's Labor Day

Wednesday morning, I finally woke up to find that I was having contractions about six minutes apart that actually hurt a little. By 5:15am, I had observed a few other signs that labor might actually be starting. I called my family and told them to hit the road (driving from Memphis) and Bryan and I showered and dressed as normal.

We spent the morning doing last minute chores around the house and hanging out with Lee. He wrapped his little birthday gift for Katie Wilkes, and it was so cute watching him open the sack, put the stuffed elephant inside, and stuff in a piece of tissue paper on top. Bryan's aunt came to pick up Lee at lunchtime, and he went to spend the night at her house. The first wave of emotions came over me as I watched he walked out to the street holding his little gift, calling out, "Bye, Mommy, see you later!"

After Lee left, Bryan and I went to Target.
I honestly didn't really feel like we were getting anywhere. All morning, the contractions had been continuing, which was a welcome change from the days before, but they weren't stronger, and they would even space out further if I was sitting down doing something. I didn't want to sit around the house all day, only to sit around the house all night. So we went and got a ton of little errands run in that one trip, and now I don't even have to think about them!! :)

When we got home, I finished some Christmas projects (I know, I know, but now I have a newborn, and when will I do these?). By the time my mom arrived at four'o'clock, my contractions had spaced out to twelve minutes apart and over a minute long if I was sitting down, but only six minutes apart and forty seconds long if I was up and about. And though the pain had not increased if I was walking around, they were pretty good when I was sitting down. In hindsight, I was probably entering into active labor, but I was distracted with the arrival of family members and last minute preparations for the hospital.

I didn't sit down for the next hour, and by the time my father, sister, and niece arrived, I had just had three contractions that were four minutes apart and about a minute long, and Bryan wanted to call the doctor. But I was not convinced, because I could still talk through them... usually. I definitely had to stop for each one and concentrate more and more on breathing through them. My appetite for pizza had also kicked in, so I was trying to get everyone to choose what they wanted and order already! I promised we would call as soon as I ate.

Plus, what if we were stuck at the hospital all night without a proper dinner?

When the pizza arrived, we each wolfed down a few pieces, and I talked to the doctor at 6:45. He seemed nonchalant, but told me to come on in to get checked out. Bryan packed the car, we got dressed to leave, and then I wanted to wait and say hello to our friends from small group who were stopping by to pick up the DVD for our study. They left around 7:15, and we told my mom and sister to wait and let us go get checked. No point in coming to sit around at the hospital if we were just going to be sent home, right?

As we drove, Bryan tried to maneuver the late traffic while calling his family to relay the same message. I was completely convinced we would not have progressed very far yet. We arrived at the hospital around 7:50, got into our room, and after completing the entire admitting process, I was finally checked around 8:15. I was 5-6 cm, so we promptly got on the phone to let everyone know we were not leaving, and it was possible that the baby may be born in the next two to three hours. Our nurse was very excited to hear we were planning a natural birth, and said she would go ahead and have the room ready for delivery when she heard about my birth experience with Lee.

By now, the contractions were pretty painful, though still about four minutes apart. Bryan ran to the car to get our bag, and I remember having one while I was in the room alone, and thinking that I hated having my contractions alone! But after four or five, we got into a groove, and I was thinking we would go for at least another hour this way, and I was really getting settled into this phase. The nurse came back in to do a few things around 8:40 or 8:45, and that's when my water broke...

Thursday, November 11, 2010


This is the first of two or three posts that will attempt to capture some of the events that led up to Katie Wilkes' arrival this past Wednesday. It is so hard (so fast) to remember anything, but I don't want to forget, because it was different from Lee's arrival in almost every way.

The week kicked off last Friday with four days of prelabor. Minor contractions on Friday afternoon increased in frequency during dinner, and had Bryan and me believing we may meet our little girl on Saturday sometime.

While we were putting Lee to bed, I snapped a shot of him on his last night of being an only child (or so I thought).

Bryan and I headed straight to our room and got our bags packed, a task we had been piddling around with for several days, only now we took it seriously. We talked about plans for possible scenarios, what the birth experience might be like this time around, and how our family was about to change. We also wondered if we would get much sleep before labor started.

We did. Saturday morning came uneventfully, though the contractions continued through the morning. To pass the time, we walked over to the Chomp N Stomp in Cabbagetown and enjoyed a chili lunch.

(I pulled these photos from

We each had a yummy popsicle from King of Pops while Lee played on the playground, visited with friends we ran into along the way, then headed home to hang out the rest of the afternoon. We got a few little house projects done, but already, we were starting to take this thing less seriously. We knew she was on the way, but now it felt like getting back to normal life was the way to go.

We went to church Sunday, and I woke up Monday for my weekly doctor's appointment, where I was told they couldn't even check me because the uterus was still so high. I was at least hoping to hear there had been some little progress, so this was disappointing, but I got over it and Monday night, we went by Whole Foods for me to get the remaining ingredients I needed for dinners the rest of the week.

Tuesday was KW's due date, so I felt it was time to bring the cradle into our room. Lee helped me move it, with a cute little pit stop in the den where he "worked on it" with his tools.

He has been so cute as we have gotten ready to welcome this little girl into our house and family. After we got the cradle placed, he brought all of his bedtime friends and put them inside, so she would have some friends of her own when she went to sleep!

And, this really was his last day of being an only child, though we did not know yet. When we went to bed Tuesday night, contractions were about the same, and we had no reason to think they were going to get stronger any time soon...

Monday, November 8, 2010

Second Piece (Closet for Two)

A quick pic of the second piece of furniture I painted to cram two little ones into our nursery, toys and all! Do I even need to point out that we have two clothes horses on our hands?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Mute Trick-or-Treat

This year, we headed over to Papa Bill's house for dinner and trick-or-treating. I didn't think to work with Lee much before Halloween on how everything was going to go down. I don't even know if he knew it was candy going into his bucket, but it certainly didn't take him long to figure out how to go up to the door, ring the doorbell, take his piece, then say he wanted one more. He did not, however, master the art of saying "Trick or treat!" or "Thank you" I have to work on that for next year!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Bryan and Lee have been playing a lot of Airplane! lately, a fun game Mommy cannot play while Katie Wilkes in still in the tummy. I question if I can play even without KW in the tummy, due to Lee's weight, strength, and stamina. We will see what I can do soon, I guess! I have made a lot of promises about what we will do after Katie Wilkes is out.