Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas

We hope everyone has a great holiday break, and we wish everybody a Merry Christmas and Happy new Year.

It's been an good year and in a couple short months, the Ballard family will be growing. Baby Fisher is doing great and on Monday he checked in at 2 pounds, 10 ounces. Here's a look at Fisher on the ultrasound:

We also got to do the 4-D ultrasound and the pictures came out great. Both Ashley and I were amazed at how much Fisher looks like Trace ... not so much when Trace was born, but Trace now. Check 'em out:

We even got to schedule Ashley's section. It was an exciting moment, and felt like a big milestone to get to pick your child's birthday. This is the day that he'll celebrate for the rest of his life. After Ashley and I threw around some dates early in March just to get a feel for how they sounded, we met with the nurse to put it down on the schedule. Turned out, it wasn't as tough a choice as we thought. We were given March 12 (Friday), March 15, 16 or 17 (Monday through Wednesday). Of course we went with the earliest date. So mark your calendar's, Baby Fisher is schedule to arrive March 12, 2010.

Since we're looking forward to what 2010 will bring, let's take a look back as this will be Trace's third Christmas. Here's Trace's Santa pictures through the years and a look at Trace and daddy topping the tree (artificial of course, my first "fake" tree):




Daddy and Trace topping the tree:

Friday, December 04, 2009

25 Weeks

We're more than halfway through our pregnancy and it's really gone by fast this time (not sure if Ashley would say the same since she's the one with the aches and pains). Being due at the beginning of the year (March) somehow doesn't seem as far away as being due in November or even July.

We had a doctor's appointment on Monday and everything is looking good. Baby Fisher's heart rate was 166 and we go back to the doctor in three weeks. We've also started seeing maternal fetal medicine and that visit before Thanksgiving went well too. They said that we'll use the last pregnancy with Trace as a blueprint and pretty much follow everything we did for him. We go back to them in three weeks.

After our next appointments, we start going to the doctor every two weeks, then its down the home stretch.

Last time I got my oil changed, I noted that by the time I'd need another oil change, we'd be close to having the baby. So now my boss gets a kick out of saying that we're just an oil change away from another baby.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Halloween '09

We had an eventful week full of Halloween fun! It all started Wednesday with Trace's party at daycare. He dressed up as Superman and then decided he wanted to wear a hat like his friend Addy, thankfully Ms. Heather let him borrow hers.

The party was lots of fun, complete with a pumpkin pizza and moonpie owls on a stick. Trace was the first to finish his!

Then it was off to Trick or Treat on Sorority Row! Trace was a little scared at first, but after he realized they put candy in his bag for saying "Trick or Treat" there was little hesitation. We actually had to keep him from taking candy from the bowls at some point. He decided later that he had enough of the Trick or Treating and wanted to dive right into the candy.

Sorority row was really fun. We saw so many cute costumes, so I have some ideas for next year! You can also check out some pictures on the LSU Web site, like this one:

Then on Saturday, we drove to Hammond to visit Ms. Heather's Pumpkin Patch. Trace loved it! They had a petting zoo with lots of animals, pony rides, face painting, pumpkin picking, decorating, tractor riding, oh and this big blob of a thing to jump on. I'm glad we went. It made for a great family day.

Then, it was on to the main event...our pastor's annual Halloweenie Roast! The kids met up for Trick or Treating around 6:00 and walked the neighborhood for treats. Ernie was a good sport and decided to dress up as Superman with Trace. Trace kept saying "Super Trace...da dada da!"

I dressed up as what was supposed to be a bubble gum "It's a Boy!" cigar, but I don't think most people got past the "It's a Boy" on my shirt. So for those of you who haven't heard...It's a boy. ;) And his name is Fisher Job Ballard. ;) ;)

After Trick or Treating, we roasted hot dogs & marshmellows and just sat by the fire. Trace loved playing with Josh's dog, Gilly, and hanging out with some of his favorite friends.

Monday, October 26, 2009

It's a ...

No we don't know what we're having yet, but this is the week that we have a chance to find out. On Wednesday, we'll have our first ultrasound after the "18th week" mark when you can find out the sex of the baby. So far, we've only had one ultrasound at the beginning of the pregnancy. So this second one is really exciting.

We debated back and forth for a bit about finding out the gender this time, but ultimately, we've given in and are eager to find out on Wednesday. Maybe not as eager as our moms are :) but we are still filling up with anticipation to learn what we're having. Plus we think it'll be easier to have 4 months or so to get Trace ready for the idea of having a baby brother/sister instead of him trying to understand that simply that we're having a baby. We'll get a DVD this time too, so we can show him the ultrasound and try to explain that the black and white blob on the screen will be his baby brother or sister. Definitely a full-proof plan; we'll see how it goes.

Everything's gone well with the pregnancy, except for us keeping up with the blog. We keep joking that this baby already has the middle child syndrome.

Last visit we brought Trace and he got to meet the lady who was the first person ever to see him, Dr. Harris. Trace was pretty good at the visit, but Ashley and I didn't really get a chance to pay attention to everything with the check up since we were occupied with him. The baby's heart rate was 150, which is about where it's been all pregnancy (upper 150s throughout). Some people say heart rate is an indicator of the baby's sex, but it's just a wive's tale. I guess we'll find out for sure this week.

I'm not really sure which way I'm leaning. Ashley said that if she had to put money on it, she'd say it was another boy. We'll be happy either way and can't wait to find out so we'll know if we need to unpack Trace's old clothes or start picking up some girl's stuff.

Congratulations goes out to our friends Brad and Michelle and John and Blair. Both of them welcomed their babies last week. Brad and Michelle welcomed a baby girl, Lily on Monday, Oct. 19, and John and Blair welcomed a baby boy, Elijah on Friday, Oct. 23. Everyone's doing great.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Potties, Pull-ups & M&M's

So, we have officially entered into the wonderful world of Potty Training. Trace came home from school one day about two weeks ago with a paper that said, "I used the potty today!" I was in shock. For some reason, I never thought it would begin this soon; but I was thrilled at the idea that this could happen. I think it would be one less stress on my brain to get him out of diapers before new baby comes. So, we praised him over and over for it, of course. I'm pretty sure I gave into every snack request he had for that evening, including his all-time favorite snack, M&M's! Soon after he caught on that this was something that really makes Mommy & Daddy happy. So to encourage him, I promised more M&M's if he used the potty again. Sure enough, he had another note the next day that he used the potty again. As promised, he got more M&M's. The next day not only did he use the potty, but he stayed dry all day! Everyday, he came home ready and waiting for his M&M's. *Sidenote, please don't think that we're relying on daycare to potty train our kid. Believe me, we've tried (without pushing) at home to encourage him to use the potty. We set up his own potty in his bathroom several months ago. We practice sitting on it every night before bath time while we read a book about potty training. We taught him how to "tuck everything in", to keep things pointed in the downward direction, and to wipe; but at home, he never seemed to want to "go", no matter how long we sat there. So I guess that's where my shock came in that he was willing to go at school. However, we soon discovered why... at school they have a REAL potty. The only difference is it's made for little ones, so it's a bit shorter. At home we began to try the big potty and we just held him as he went. Sure enough, it worked! We then decided to get one of those seat cushion covers so he wouldn't fall in. That seems to be going well. It's been about 2 weeks now and most days he comes home dry. He stays dry at home as long as we remember to ask him if he needs to go, but that's gonna take some discipline on our part for sure. His teacher seems to think he'll be wearing undies in no time, but I still have my doubts. For one, we've yet to have him poop in the potty, and I'm not willing to put him in underwear until we cross that bridge. Until then, we'll stick with the pull-ups, cause they seem to be working out just fine. We'll keep you posted on potty progress. In the meantime, if you see Trace, ask him about using the potty and be sure to tell him what a BIG BOY he is for doing so! :)

Monday, October 05, 2009

Gandparents Day

On September 17, Trace's Day Care welcomed the kids' grandparents for an open house/Grandparents Day celebration. Trace's Maw Maw and Pap and Great Grandmaw-maw (daddy's grandmaw) got to come up for the afternoon.

Trace loved showing off his new classroom, but seemed more excited to show us his tricycle riding skills when we got there. He rode around the playground area a few times before coming to see Maw Maw and Pap.

At the end of the day, all the grandparents got certificates from the Day Care (see pic above). Everyone had a great time, and Trace enjoyed having his Great Grandmaw-maw there too.

Here are a few more pictures from the day:

Mommy was waiting for us inside:

Trace and Pap share a cookie:

Trace and Maw Maw:

Four generations of the Ballard family:

Sunday, September 06, 2009

New Baby Ballard

So, most of you all know that Trace is going to be a Big Brother! Which means this blog is now going to be the Ballard family blog, rather than just Trace's...the first of many things he will come to learn to share. ;) I recently realized that this pregnancy is going by a lot faster than any other; well, because Trace just keeps us super busy! I also realized I hadn't posted a blog dedicated to New Baby Ballard yet; which makes me sad, because I don't want this baby to have middle child syndrome before he/she even makes it into the world. So, here's the latest news on New Baby Ballard:

We're currently 12 1/2 weeks pregnant, which means we're due on March 17th or St. Patty's Day! This due date brings a whole new meaning to March Madness in this house, because that is what I fear my life will look like with 2 children. However, I know the Lord had His hand in this all along; so I trust that He will provide & prepare us all for the new arrival.

As far as New Baby goes, he/she is doing just fine. We've had an 8 week & 12 week checkup and both times the heartrate was 152. So, boy or girl, we do know that he/she is consistant. I get a lot of questions about finding out the gender. However, we really haven't made a decision on that yet. We have an ultrasound at 18 weeks and can find out at that point, but are still unsure what we'll do. On one hand, we think another surprise would be fun; but on the other, we want to prepare Trace for what to expect as much as possible. So, we'll see. ;) But if you ask Trace, he says it's a girl and that he's going to be a "Big Sister"!

Another thing that I can tell you about this child is that he/she does love salty foods. If you know me, you know that I'm a sweets person; but the only foods that I crave are the really salty ones. I had my first glucose test this week, so we'll see how that goes. Prayers for me passing, cause I'm already a picky eater; and I can't imagine having to limit my carb intake.

Well, I think that's all the news we have for now, but we'll keep you posted on all the latest with New Baby. And don't worry, I'm sure we'll still have lots to say about Trace in the meantime. :) With him, there is never a dull moment. I'll leave you with the Trace funny of the day. Today as we were driving home from the Splash Park, he sang this song the whole way home: "Twinkle, twinkle little star; how I wonder what you PRETZELS!!! Up above the world so high, like a diamond in the PRETZELS!!!" Oh, how I wish could have caught it on tape. :)

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

First Family Vacation (Part 2 - San Antonio)

The second leg of our vacation was spending a few days at Aunt Robbie and Uncle Dave's in San Antonio and of course, a trip to Sea World.

Trace was excited to go to Sea World and kept saying he wanted to see the dolphins and the fish. So after meeting up with our friend Gabi and her family, we made it to Sea World, where the first stop was the dolphins.

Next we check out the shark tanks. Here's a shot of Trace and his new friend Ben checking everything out:

Next up was our first show of the day, the Sea Lions. Trace loved all the shows. He sat there attentive and followed all the action the entire time. This show was a mystery, where the sea lions help solve a big case over who stole all the fish:

Turns out it was the walrus the whole time:

Next up was a special treat, thanks to Gabi, who used to work at Sea World. We were treated to a back stage meet and greet with some of the actors from the show, including meeting a Sea Lion, Elrod. Now, if you ask Trace today if he petted the Sea Lion, he'll probably say yea, but he was actually terrified of it and wouldn't touch it. He clung onto to Ashley each time that we went near it.

It was cool being so close to the sea lions. I've never been that close to them before, and we got to see the trainers in action too. He would make Elrod yelp, he had him talk on someone's cell phone, smile for picture (see pic above) and even blow us kisses and wave bye.

A big thank you to Gabi for hooking us up with such a cool experience. We finished off the day at Sea World with a couple more shows, feeding an alligator, a visit to the splash park, lunch and popsicles, souvenir shopping and last but not least Shamu!

Feeding the gator:
Enjoying another show:
Splash Park:
Lunch and snacks:


Trace had a blast at Sea World, and we really utilized his new umbrella stroller. That was probably our best purchase on the whole trip. It helped Trace catch a good nap before we left the park.

We had dinner with Gabi and her family later that night at the Alamo Cafe, where Trace had his moments at the restaurant. Let's just say that there was a 3-year old, 2-year old, and a baby at the table and only one of them had to be taken outside the restaurant for a talkin' to. I won't name any names but it was the one who enjoys making high pitched yells in public places and whose name is often confused for Chase. It wasn't really a big deal and we had a good dinner with friends.

The next day, Aunt Robbie came home from work early to hang out with us. We decided to check out a little town called Gruene. It's a cool old time antique village with shopping, restaurants, and snacks along a river that's filled with people tubing. It's a cool place and I recommend checking it out if you're in the San Antonio area.

For lunch, we visited the Gristmill and had a nice view of the river from our outdoor seat.

After lunch it was off to shopping where we checked out the General Store (and everyone took the "Love Test." Ashley ended up with the highest score with Hot Stuff, while Aunt Robbie and I could only get to Passionate). Trace got his first cowboy hat and enjoyed a sucker while the ladies shopped and browsed the antiques.

First cowboy hat:

Trying on Indian feathers:

Enjoying his sucker while shopping:

Of course, falling asleep after and missing the toy store :(

The General Story Love Test and dessert:

Thanks again to Aunt Robbie and Uncle Dave for taking us in for a couple of days and showing us around Gruene. We had a great time.

For the last part of our trip, we drove back to Houston (stopping at Buckees along the way to get lunch, beef jerky and another sucker for Trace) and spent another night at Aunt Cookie and Uncle Jim's. Trace got to go to the park again and spent more time playing with Sandy and Zoey, this time with his allergy medication. We woke up the next day and headed for Baton Rouge. A quick stop at Ikea and lunch at Sonic, then we were on our way home.

It was a great vacation, and I know Trace will be able to look back in a few years and hopefully, remember all the fun we had on this trip.