Friday, August 31, 2007

Ella's Stats

We always knew Ella was perfect, but it was nice to have the Dr. confirm it! We went for her 2 month well-baby check up today at the pediatrician's office, and here are Ella’s stats:

Height: 22 ½ inches (up from 21 1/2 inches on her 7/27/07 appointment)
Weight: 10 pounds 4 ounces (up from 7lbs 8 ounces on her 7/27/07 appointment)
Head Circumference: 15 1/8 inches (we forget what this was on her last appointment)

These states rank her in the 50th Percentile, which means that she’s exactly where she needs to be. The Dr. also said that Ella is doing a great job holding her head up and that most 4 month olds that don’t have as much control as Ella! See, I told you she was a perfect baby! The down side of the visit was that she got the first 2 of her long series of scheduled shots. Of course she screamed, but it only lasted long enough for us to get the bottle in her mouth. I think that considering all she’s gone through the shots weren’t that bad. Once she ate a little bit she quit crying and fell asleep.

This also marks the completion of my first week back at work. Next week will be the true test when everyone is back in town and Congress reconvenes. All in all, I made it through pretty well. It was exhausting and a couple of nights Joe covered all of Ella’s feedings so that I could get some additional rest. But I made it through and now I’m looking forward to a relaxing Friday night at home with the fam. During the day I call home several times just to make sure she’s ok, and of course I get worried when I call and hear her crying in the background. Joe is doing a great job at home with her.

On an unrelated note, today Joe and I found out that there is going to be a new Chipotle in the shopping center near our house. We were almost as excited about this as we were Ella’s Dr. visit! It was a great day!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Back to the old grind

Days back at work: 1
Tears shed: none, suprisingly
Phone calls home: 5
Emails home: 6
Times pictures were looked at: 20
Thoughts about Ella's sweet face: Countless

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Trip to NJ

This weekend marked another first. Ella’s first trip to the Garden State! We made our way up to NJ to visit Joe’s family and attend his sister, Katie’s baby shower. She and her husband Jarrod are having their first baby in October and we are excited for this new addition to the family. This will be the 3rd Murray born since May. Ella got to meet most of her Aunts and Uncles and cousins (we missed you Ellen and look forward to seeing you this fall). I think she was a bit overwhelmed. I tried to prepare her ahead of time by letting her know that there are a lot of Murrays (6 sisters, 1 brother, 5 brother-in-laws, 1 sister-in-law and 8 cousins), and that sometimes they get a little loud, but they are all wonderful people who just want to love her. Ella especially enjoyed meeting her cousin Edie who was born just 6 weeks before her. While close in age, they are not close in size since Edie weighs in at a whopping 17 pounds! Ella did well most of the time, but sometimes in the middle of a party she would have a melt down and just need some quiet time. Overall it was a great trip and I am so glad that they all got to meet Ella. She slept most of the ride up and all of the ride back, which was a total blessing!

It was also nice to meet so many people who have been praying for Ella. She has a large support system and we appreciate all of the continued prayers. Also, thanks to the Leppard’s for letting us crash at their place.

Grammy Janet, Joe’s mom, arrived Wednesday evening and I immediately put her to work. We got home and I said, “Would you mind cooking dinner?” For anyone that knows Janet, you know that this was not a problem (she loves to cook). From that moment on I officially turned over my kitchen! Now she is at the grocery store stocking up on dinner items. Joe will be at class at night, but I will reap the benefits of many hot, tasty dinners for the next few weeks.

This morning at church Joe’s softball team was presented with the championship trophy. Last year they were undefeated until the last game and had the championship ripped from their clutches, but this year they pulled through and came out on top! Way to go FBCA #2.

Ella is growing right before our very eyes! Joe and I have done our less than scientific methods of monitoring her weight and height, and according to our scale she weighs approximately 9 ½ pounds, and my sewing tape measure has her at almost 24 inches long. She has almost reached the end of her 0-3 month clothes and we are now ready to move on to the next size. I guess that means I need to go shopping, which really breaks my heart! :)

Tomorrow marks my first day back at work. While it is very bittersweet, I am comforted knowing that Ella will be home with her Daddy during the day. We decided that it is best for Ella if Joe stayed home with her during the day. While a bit sceptical in the beginning, he is now looking forward to being home with Joella.


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

A Weekend of Firsts

This past weekend was definitely a weekend of “firsts” for Ella. Besides going to the Nats-Mets game (where Joey’s Mets won) on Friday night, we went to Ella’s first baby shower (at least her first outside of the womb) on Saturday. Our friends Casey and Christy are having a little girl so we got to attend the shower for Christy. Ella did pretty good most of the day. She slept the entire drive there and the drive back, which was wonderful for me since it was about an hour away. And she slept for most of the gift opening and games. I was glad that she conducted herself so well.

Another first was our first Girls Night!!! Joe went to see the Mets v. Nats game (yes, two nights in a row) so Ella and I had a quiet night at home –just the girls. We watched a girly movie and ate pizza without guilt, and most of the time just laid on the floor and played.

The best first for the weekend was going to church! We missed being there and were excited to show everyone how much their prayers have paid off! Ella did great during the music and even cooed along with the solo. Then as the preaching began she got a bit fussy (no offense Pastor Don). I think she just wanted to get out of that car seat and see what was happening around her. Once she was up and able to look around she had a great time. I think she liked all of the attention for people coming up to her and saying hello. It was great showing her off and being able to share with everyone how God has shown his grace and mercy through this sweet baby.

Another very important first was going to lunch at Fuddruckers! Pretty much everyone from church goes to Fuddruckers for lunch, so it was important to get her broken in soon on the tradition. Unfortunately this was the end of Ella entertaining everyone and she got pretty cranky. Pat Brewton helped out a lot, and I was able to inhale my hamburger, but we ended up coming home and putting Ella to bed. Still, I think she enjoyed the outing.

Yesterday marked a first for Joe…it was his first day of 2nd Year Law school! Yes, classes began again, so he is back to the old grind. Now I have to get used to him not coming home until 10pm every night. By the end of last year I had forgotten how nice it was to have him home at night, but now I’ve gotten used to it and I’m not excited to make the adjustment back. I am so thankful that he took the summer off from class and spent the time with Joella and me.

Uncle Curby and Aunt Gina came over yesterday. They were on their way home from a long vacation to Texas and Wyoming. It was great visiting with them and Ella loved getting to know her Aunt and Uncle better.

This weekend did mark one very sad last. This is my last week home before I go back to work full-time (cue the tears). I love my job and there is a part of me that is really glad to get back to work, but I will miss being home with Ella and seeing her beautiful face whenever I want to. Luckily Joe will be home with her, so I know that she will be well taken care of. And Grammy Janet is coming into town to help us adjust to normal life with me at work and Joe in school. I know everything is going exactly the way God wants it too, and that makes going back to work easier. He has blessed me with a great job with great people.

Ella is quietly sleeping on the floor next to me, so I had better get some things done around the house. You know how it is with a baby around, everything else gets put on the back burner.


Saturday, August 18, 2007

And the Winner is...

Well, as you can see the winning outfit was the pink National's outfit, however, the winner of the game was the Mets, 6-2. Joe decided that the Nationals outfit was the way to go for a few reasons: 1) The last time she wore the Mets outfit everyone thought she was a boy, 2) The Nationals are the home team, and 3) It's pink. Of course she looked super cute. I think the game was a bit overwhelming for her. Joe and I thought of everything for her attending the game except one major detail...things can get really LOUD! During the second inning Easley hit a home run and the crowd went wild. This sent Ella into tears. Joe and I did what we always do...we stuck a bottle in her mouth. She handled the rest of the game really well and finished the bottle off. One of our friends from church works for the Nationals and he took us up to the adminstrative offices so I could use the bathroom up there to change Ella's diaper. The last thing I wanted to do was change her in one of the ballpark bathrooms. Thanks Aaron! Ella and I left after the 4th inning while Joe stayed to watch the rest of the game. All in all it was a fun night and I'm glad she had her first baseball experience. She is going to have to get used to the games because we love to go to them. We put a couple of pictures from the game in the "Pictures" folder. Check them out.

There is also a new picture of Ella in her green outfit, but the important thing to note is her adorable new socks. I just had to get them for her!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Still in the Learning Curve

Today started off with Ella waking up at 7:00 am to eat, right on schedule. Unfortunately, as Joe was trying to feed her she kept wincing and screaming. Joe looked in her mouth and saw the biggest blood blister right on the tip of her tongue. Poor Ella was hungry, but she was in too much pain to eat. We tried everything from using a medicine dropper to using a little cup to just squirting the milk in her mouth. We used this special oral rinse that is supposed to numb her mouth, and we just held her and rocked. After 3 hours we knew 2 things: 1) Our beautiful daughter was in a lot of pain, and 2) there was nothing we could do about it! That is the most helpless feeling I think either of us have ever had. We pondered all of our options and decided that we needed to pop the blister. Luckily we have all of this medical gear around, so we put a needle on the end of a syringe. Eventually Ella got so tuckered out from crying that she eventually drifted into sleep. During that time we gently pried her mouth open and I punctured the blister. I know what is going through your head, and that was exactly what was going through mine (even now I wonder what we were thinking). All we know is that it worked and the blister drained. She woke up and tried to eat again, but she was still in pain. We squirted enough milk in her mouth that her tummy at least got satisfied and she fell asleep once again. During her hour nap we prayed that God would heal her tongue enough for her to at least be able to eat. She woke up and now was the test…we put the bottle in her mouth and PTL (Praise the Lord) she was able to eat! She ate very cautiously, almost as though she knew that if she was too harsh there would be a lot of pain, but she ate and that is what matters. It was a rough morning, but thankfully that is over. This did cause Joe and me to wonder how things will be when I go back to work and he’s at home alone. Most of the time it takes 2 of us just to get things done.

Gi Gi went back to Wyoming yesterday morning. We miss her already! Luckily Grammy Janet comes into town next week. We are so lucky to have Grandparents that are able and willing to come help.

Friday night is a very important “first” for Ella. She will be attending her first baseball game…Mets vs. Nationals. The big dilemma we have is if she will wear her Mets outfit or her Nationals outfit. I want the Nationals outfit because its pink, but I have a feeling Joe will win and she will wear the Mets. My personal dilemma is that I LOVE the nachos with jalapeƱo’s on them, but I’m afraid the peppers will give Ella indigestion. I guess I can make this sacrifice for my precious daughter.

Before I sign off, let me quickly remind all of you that today is the Anniversary of Elvis’ death. 30 years ago the King went on to a better place. In honor of Him I am playing my Elvis CD’s for Ella, just hoping some of it will sink in. Luckily she has an Elvis diaper bag to remind her of this great (and cute) man. You Ain’t Nothin’ but a Hound Dog!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Weekend Update

Well, our precious baby is getting bigger and bigger right before our very eyes! She has fully developed 2 chins, and we believe that she is working on a third. She’s starting to smile at us, although sometimes she just gives us a blank stare, as if to say, “I don’t know what you want me to do.” Either smile or blank stare, her big blue eyes are so beautiful! The question now is, will they become Alexander blue or Murray blue?

We had an appointment with her Pediatric Dermatologist on Thursday and he was very impressed with the skin growth on her feet. He just kept looking at her foot and saying how she had full skin on the bottom. Joe and I knew her feet looked good, but it was nice to hear the affirmation from the Dr. The truth is that the bottom of her feet look almost normal! The top of her feet still have some work, and her left shin and knee still have some work to do, but all of it has progressed really well, and the fact that the bottom of her feet and her right knee are almost normal brings us a lot of promise that the rest of her legs will follow suit.

On another note, thank heaven for Gi Gi. My mom, Gale, has been in town for a week helping around the house and with Ella, and Joe and I are so appreciative! The other day Ella got this great idea to wake up at 4 am and just stay awake. Gi Gi arrived at 8 am and took over while Joe and I napped. This morning Ella was being very cooperative and slept in until 10 am, so while the 3 of us were up stairs sleeping, Gi Gi just watched TV, read and ate breakfast…I think she even washed the dishes. Joe especially likes that she makes the coffee in the morning. We have come to know first had the value of a loving family support system.

Friday afternoon we went to my office to show Ella off. Since its August recess a lot of people were gone, but we still had fun. She slept most of the time, but a few very special people caught a glimpse of her blue eyes. We told Ella that she had to go pick out her future office space. We just don’t know if she’ll be a Senator from Wyoming, New Jersey, Virginia or some other state. The next stop is to show her the White House where she’ll live someday.

This morning Gi Gi was reading the paper while she was holding Ella, and Ella was completely entranced by the big black headlines on the white paper. She just kept staring at the paper like she was reading right along with Gi Gi. Later today Aunt Katie and Uncle Jarrod are coming down to meet Her. They are having Ella’s cousin in October and she is very excited. She only has 3 months to be the youngest in the family, so we have to capitalize on that.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Ella's Room

Check out Ella's room by viewing the video on the right-hand side.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Life with Ella Bella

It has been a while since we have posted. We are now officially living with an infant, and life as we know it has changed forever! We love having our little girl home! She wakes us up in the middle of the night, which for some of you might seem like an inconvenience, but considering the alternative we are happy to get up and feed her.

Sleeping through the night has gotten easier as the days have passed. She usually wakes up every 3 to 4 hours. Joe and I have come up with a system where I take the early shift and he takes the late shift. Ella sleeps in a white bassinet with pink ribbon. She periodically grunts throughout the night, and I wake up an average of 15 times a night just to make sure she’s breathing. At first the bassinet was at the end of the bed so Joe and I would have to get up and walk over to make sure she was ok. We moved the bassinet to my side of the bed and it is rolled up right next to the bed so that all I have to do is reach my arm over and feel her tummy move up and down.

During the day we usually have one or 2 fits of crying that end up with Joe and I looking at each other with complete bewilderment. Neither of us knows how to fix the problem! We are getting better. We have learned that Ella likes to be propped up on our shoulder where she can look around and see what’s happening in the world. We have learned that she is the queen of 15-30 minute cat naps and just about the time you think she’s gone to sleep for hours, she wakes up ready to play. And the most important thing we have learned is that Ella LOVES to eat! A bottle will fix almost anything. I, as the mother and the provider of her food, had to learn the hard way that whatever I eat, Ella also eats. So when I loved that cranberry walnut tart and proceeded to eat most of it, Ella’s poor body didn’t respond to the dried cranberry’s very well and she had some pretty severe gas. Mom felt guilty for that one!

Our house has officially had a baby explosion. No one tells you that when you have a kid your house suddenly gets hit by a tornado! Luckily reinforcements arrived just in time (GiGi got here yesterday) so the kitchen is getting a much needed cleaning. She even washed our sheets, thankfully. Until last night we were sleeping on sheets that had been peed on, puked on and had milk spilled on them. It’s just coincidence that all of that was on Joe’s side of the bed :).

Now we’re trying to figure out what kind of schedule to get her on, when to start and exactly how to go about it. We’re new at this parenting thing, so I will be soliciting a lot of advice from all you parents out there.

On Thursday we went for a follow up visit with the Physical Therapist (PT), Occupational Therapist (OT) and wound specialist. They all are pleased with Ella’s progress in every way. The PT and OT said that she is developing just as a 6 week old should. We need to do some specific exercises with her toes, but other than that she’s all baby! The wound specialist said that her legs look good and are healing nicely. She still gets new blisters almost every day, that’s just how it is with EB, but Joe and I know how to take care of them to get them healed.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

A Popular Young Lady

Below, see the words of Congressman Joe Wilson (SC-02) on the floor of the United States House of Representatives:

Monday, July 23, 2007
Mr. WILSON of South Carolina. Madam
Speaker, today, I am happy to congratulate
Joseph and Kathryn Murray of Alexandria, Virginia,
on the birth of their beautiful baby girl.
Joella ‘‘Ella’’ Gale Murray was born on Thursday,
June 21, 2007, at 1:03 pm weighing 7
pounds 4 ounces and measuring 19 inches
long. Ella has been born into a loving home,
where she will be raised by parents who are
devoted to her well-being and bright future.
Her birth is a blessing.