Sunday, June 26, 2011

What's in a Name?

My baby's name is Evangeline Rae Jacobs. For right now, since her name is longer than she is, we call her Evie. We think it's a beautiful name, but it surprises me how often people will ask if I got it from the Disney movie The Princess and the Frog. The answer is NO. Or they'll ask if I got it from the Nanny McPhee movie. Also NO. Come on, people--I'm not going to name my child after a Disney movie! I want to explain where Evie's name does come from, and why we chose it, because each part of it means something special to me.

Evangeline is a gorgeous name of elegance and sophistication for when she's an adult, and can be shortened to the cute bouncy name Evie while she's still cute and little.

It is actually the name of a poem by Henry W. Longfellow. I grew up playing the game Authors, which is like Go Fish, except with 4 real "books" that you collect from each author. When Todd and I got married, I already had several names picked out for my children. I wanted them to be four syllables, begin with a vowel, and contain an "exotic" letter: Alexander, Elizabeth, Olivia, etc. However, Todd already had a nephew named Alexander, and he hated the name Olivia. That left me only Elizabeth, which isn't a pattern all by itself. Then, I remembered the name Evangeline that I'd spent my entire childhood hearing, and I thought it was beautiful. Sadly, the movie The Princess and the Frog came out after I'd picked out my baby's name but before I actually had her. I still haven't read Longfellow's poem, but it is on my list for this summer.

Ev-, the first part of Evie's name, is a salute to Mother Eve. This past year, I've learned so much about her, and have come to really respect and love who she is. I'm also beginning to relate to her a little bit, and I feel that the best way to honor her is to name my beloved daughter after her, at least in part.

-angel-, the middle part, is how I feel about my little girl: she is an angel straight from Heaven. She brings such peace and joy to my heart. Because of her sweet spirit, I can't help but know that God lives and that he loves me enough to trust me with the special gift of being her Mommy.

-ine, the last part of her name, is a diminutive, used to convey both a smallness of and affection for the person. And I certainly feel great affection for her small self!

Rae hints at sunshine and cheer. In fact, I refer to Evie as my little Rae of Sunshine and sing sunny songs to her like You Are my Sunshine, and My Girl. Her little smile is a beam of pure light into my heart, and it warms me more than the real sun does.

That name took longer to find. We wanted something short to go with her long first name, but nothing seemed to work. I tried Belle, but Todd thought that it sounded snooty. Finally, after months of fruitless searching, I was browsing on Facebook, and came across the name of a good friend of mine from when I was in middle school and early high school: Camie Rae Lott. I put the whole name together, and it sounded pretty good to me. I suggested it to Todd, and he really liked it too.

Jacobs is our last name, a name given to us by my sweet husband. As she grows up, Evie will be able to wear her Daddy's name and know that she always belongs to our family. And, even after she gets married and gets a new last name, she will still be our precious daughter--sealed to us for eternity.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

3 Months Old!

Today, Evie is three months old! I have very mixed feelings about this: on one hand, I feel like I've known her forever, and it's hard for me to remember life when she wasn't in it. On the other hand, the time has flown by so fast that it seems like just days ago that we brought her into our family. She is constantly growing and learning new things and I'm excited about each new accomplishment, but part of my mind keeps shrieking, "Wait! Slow down! I can't keep up; I still want to hold and snuggle my tiny baby!" She still likes to snuggle, but now she also wants to get up and explore her ever-growing little world. Despite that small pang I can't quite quell, I love watching Evie grow up and become her own little self--a personality that becomes more pronounced all the time.

For instance, we've learned that Evie likes lions. We've decorated her entire "nursery" in an adorable jungle theme (post is pending) covered in lions, elephants, monkeys, giraffes, etc. One day I was rocking/burping her, and she got really interested in the miniature animals on the burp cloth. I started pointing to the different animals and saying their names for her, but she was most interested in the lion and hardly gave the others a second glance. She just kept staring at the lion until she was done burping and wanted to play instead. Ever since, she's paid particular attention to the larger lions on her blankets. Also, I'm currently reading The Chronicles of Narnia to her. We started with The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, and when we got to the part when Aslan gets killed, she got REALLY upset. Then, as soon as he came back in the next chapter, she calmed right down again, and let me finish the story in peace. Now, I'm reading Prince Caspian, and she hasn't seemed too interested for the majority of the book so far, but we're getting to the part when Aslan shows up, and she's been perking up a little more. Last of all, when we were visiting Colorado last month, Todd and I went to dinner with Margot and John, leaving the baby with Todd's other sister, Jenette. While she was there, she seemed really fascinated by a red and black toy lion rattle that belongs to Jenette's little girl, Julia. In a gesture of touching generosity, Julia gave Evie the toy to keep, and it still helps calm her down when she gets a little cranky.

Another thing that NEVER fails to cheer Evie up is the song "I've Been Working on the Railroad." I don't know why, but if I start singing it, she'll calm down until the end of the song. If she's still grumpy enough, she'll start crying again once the song is done, but not if I start it over. We have no idea why she loves that song so much; I didn't sing it at all while I was pregnant or even in the hospital. I just started singing songs out of the Reader's Digest Children's Songbook one night when she was a couple of weeks old, and that song did the trick. Lately, I've started singing "Rubber Ducky" to her during bathtime and she thinks it's funny when Mommy quacks like a ducky. She also thinks it's funny when I say the word "booty" while I'm changing her diaper, especially if I use the phrase, "Your booty is ewww!"

Recently, I've discovered that Evie loves her fuzzy blankie. She didn't show much interest in it until a couple of weeks ago, but now it has become our own private game. She likes it when I cover her face with it and then flip it off really quickly, similar to peek-a-boo, but even just stroking her cheek with the soft fabric can make her smile. When she's in the cradle and I'm out cooking or something, she loves it when I pile the blanket all on top of her tummy so she can kick it off for a while before I have to come back in and pile it on top of her again. That way, she can also grab the edges of it and bring it to her mouth so she can suck/chew on it, which she thinks is lots of fun.

Speaking of her cradle, she's learning to sleep in it without much complaint, and has even started sleeping through the night. And when she wakes up, she's all smiles. Evie is turning out to be a morning person, which she did NOT get from me. But even I, when confronted by an adorably grinning baby, can't help but admit that mornings have their perks. One morning in particular, I heard little babbling noises as Evie talked to herself. When I opened my eyes, the first thing I saw was a pair of dark eyes lined up perfectly with the bars of her cradle, and those eyes immediately crinkled into a huge grin. She spent the next ten or fifteen minutes smiling at me and telling me little jokes and stories before deciding that she was hungry.

It is fairly gratifying for both Todd and me that Evie is able to recognize us now, even when being held by someone else, and to prefer us over everyone else. She knows who her Mommy and Daddy are and is able to follow us with her eyes now, even across the room. We can usually get her to smile at us, too, when nobody else can. Sometimes she's a Daddy's girl, and sometimes she wants Mommy, but very rarely does she want anyone else. Although a couple of weeks ago, I was talking to my mom on the phone, and I put the phone to Evie's ear so she could hear her Nonna's voice. At first, she looked really confused and turned her head to see where the noise was coming from. But then she started smiling as her Nonna told her how much she was loved. She also sometimes smiles at herself in videos and pictures, but mirrors disturb her, I discovered yesterday.

Just a week or so ago, Evie learned to roll over. Todd was doing the dishes and I was playing with her, but I put her on her tummy so I could go to the bathroom. When I got back, she was on her back. I got the camera and put her back on her tummy. After a couple of minutes, she rolled over again, and I was able to catch the moment on camera! A few days later, she did it again for Todd. She's been having trouble the past couple of days, but I know she'll eventually remember how to do it again.

Evie is such a smart little girl, and she's learning so fast that it seems like she's doing something new every time I turn around. It's hard for me to keep track of everything, so I probably forgot some of the cute things she does lately, but I do know that it's fun to watch her becoming her own little person and figuring out what she likes. She always has her eyes wide open, soaking everything in. Just in the past three months she's learned so much, and she's taught me some important things too. And as she grows, so does our love for her!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Crafty Mommy?

Lately, I've been trying to be crafty and creative (despite being wholly out of my depth) because I want to do everything "right" with Evie. I've been trying my hand at several different things for her, and have become a "Jack-of-all-trades, master of none" type person. Next week, when I visit my mom in Idaho, we're going to work on a baby book for Evie, and I hope that turns out well. But here are my attempts at creativity thus far:

First of all, I got this cross-stitch pattern for my 16th birthday, but I mostly only worked on it during General Conferences, to keep my eyes and hands busy. When we found out we were expecting Evie, I decided I'd better get cracking on it, because I wanted to get it done before the baby came. I went from only having Noah and part of the sea serpents done, to finishing it all in about 9 months. I was a month late, but that was because I couldn't find the gray Wisper thread I needed for the second Yeti. However, it is now completely finished, and I just need to wash it, mount it, and frame it. Hooray!

Next, we have Todd's Father's Day presents. Since we're moving in just over two weeks (and we'll both be gone for at least half of that), I gave him his presents today so that he could at least look at them for a couple of days before packing/moving them. One thing he got was a framed picture of Evie. When we were in Colorado, his sister Jenette took me to get pictures taken of the baby. We got multiple sizes of this picture, which was our favorite, all for $10, and the Father's Day card picture was a promotional freebie. Then I took a salt-dough cast of Evie's two month-sized hand so that he can forever remember how little her hands are! The paint kind of warped the cast, but oh well.

For his card, I rediscovered my computer's Paint program, and had fun making this picture of our family. Then, on the inside, I held Evie's hand and "helped" her sign her name on Daddy's card. On the top, I put crayons in her hands and let her scribble with them to make her own picture for Daddy. She's still not coordinated enough to actually grasp the crayons yet, but it was fun! I've been so excited for weeks to give Todd his Father's Day presents, and he loved them!

Yesterday, I played in my Paint program again, and drew this picture of Evie. I'm obviously no artist, so I'm both impressed by how it turned out, as well as a little depressed. Apparently, my program was set to save my pictures as Jpeg files, which compressed them and made them fuzzy, but I'm too discouraged to do the whole thing over, so it shall remain a floating head forever.

Last of all, in my Creative Writing class last semester, we had to write a couple of poems, and one form we tried was the villanelle. That format is HARD!! My initial attempt was about chocolate, and somehow it ended up being about rage and murder. Todd was shocked: he kept saying, "Wait. YOU, a WOMAN, wrote a poem about CHOCOLATE, and it ended up being depressing? How did that happen?!" No idea. But everyone else's poems were depressing too, so maybe the format just lends itself to depressing poetry. However, in the middle of the night, I had two lines running through my head. The syllable count was right, so I had to get up at 2 in the morning to write it down before I lost it. I guess that my love for my (at that point, still unborn) baby saved this poem from being depressing. After she was born, I had to tweak it slightly so that it fit her better, but this is my finished product:

Precious Baby
Smoky brown eyes and a cute button nose:
That nose is all mine, but she's got Daddy's chin.
Ten little fingers and ten little toes

Ever increasing, my love for her flows;
I ask myself daily, "What did I do to win
Those smoky brown eyes and a cute button nose?"

Fingers curled 'round mine as she drifts in a doze,
Feet kick at the blanket she's wrapped snugly in:
Ten little fingers and ten little toes.

Her fluffy dark hair is just begging for bows
And I melt at the sight of her toothless grin,
Smoky brown eyes, and a cute button nose.

It's quicker than lightning, the rate that she grows
Her elbows, her belly, her head, knees, and shins,
Ten little fingers, and ten little toes.

Her own baby's the cutest, every new mother knows.
But mine is so perfect it is almost a sin--
With smoky brown eyes and a cute button nose,
Ten little fingers, and ten little toes.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Bipolar Baby

Last night, before I went to bed, I was holding Evie and turning off my computer. I'd exited out of all the windows I had opened and finally got down to my desktop background which is this picture of Evie:

Evie suddenly stared really intently at that picture. She started talking to her other self and reached out to the computer screen. Then, when the picture didn't talk back or even look at her, she got upset and began fussing. So, just to see what would happen, I turned on this older video of her, in which she looks at the camera and smiles and laughs.

She watched that video of herself and broke into a huge grin when her video self smiled at her. Evie laughed at the computer screen until the video was ended. Then, she smiled at Todd and me, until out of nowhere her smile melted in one second flat. Her whole face crumpled and she started crying for no reason at all. I faced her towards Todd and, between one cry and the next, she brightened up and beamed at her daddy. Then, a moment later, she was crying again. Poor little girl was so tired that she had no idea what she was feeling. She flitted from one emotion to the next so fast that she even confused herself. Meanwhile, as we put her to bed, Todd and I were laughing about our little bipolar baby, whose feelings are bigger than she is!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Gallbladder Issues

Alas, not all is fun and games. Both while we were up in Idaho for Evie's blessing, and while we were in Colorado for Todd's birthday and orchestra auditions, I had severe gallbladder attacks. They started a couple of weeks after Evie was born. The Relief Society sisters brought me dinners, and the first night my visiting teacher brought me Little Caesars pizza. That night, I woke up with what I thought was bad heartburn. I'd started having heartburn during my pregnancy, so I had a bottle of Tums on my bedside table, but they didn't help. I tried sitting up and drinking water, but it still didn't help. Finally I had to run to the bathroom and throw up, which finally made me feel better. The attacks got steadily worse until the night before we came home from Idaho. I woke up at 4 in the morning with excruciating "heartburn" pain in my chest and back. Todd and I were sleeping on a futon, so I thought maybe I just needed to crack my back, but I couldn't. In the bathroom, I hurt so bad that I was crying. I'd thrown up, but it didn't make me feel any better this time, and I was scared. I crawled onto my old twin mattress in my sister's room and finally fell asleep. The next morning, when I told my mom what had happened, she told me it sounded like when she had gallstones and had to have her gallbladder removed. Todd and my dad gave me a blessing so the pain wouldn't return until we got home and were able to deal with it. When we got home, I researched gallbladder disease, and sure enough I had every symptom exactly as they were described on several sites. And, funnily enough, pregnancy hormones can cause gallbladder disease, but no doctor ever mentioned it to me. Nice of them, right? When we went to Colorado for Todd's trombone auditions, we got there the day before his birthday, which is May 14th. Three days later at 3 in the morning on the 17th, I had the worst attack yet. It hurt so bad that Todd took me to the emergency room. His sister Margot and her husband, John, were nice enough to keep an eye on Evie while we were gone. By the time we got to the hospital, I didn't hurt anymore, but since I mentioned chest pain when I was admitted to the hospital, they automatically did an EKG on me. I figured that I shouldn't tell them that it was a gallbladder problem, because I've noticed that doctors don't like self-diagnoses. But I did mention gallbladder disease when they asked for family medical history. Then I had my first X-Ray (dentists don't count) which didn't reveal anything, followed by my first CT scan. I have to be honest: I've always been a healthy person, so all of these tests really scared me. The doctor walked in and told me that my heart was fine. I'd kind of figured so, but after all of the blood pressure issues with the last part of my pregnancy, it was still nice to know. Then he told me that I was perfectly healthy, except that I had some "sludge" in my gallbladder. When I asked what I could do to help it, he prescribed me some Percocet and left. The nurse came in and I asked her what I could do to help it, and she told me that I should have a bland diet, because spicy and/or fatty foods can aggravate the gallbladder and make it act up. But when I asked her how long I needed to have a bland diet for, she told me to ask my primary care provider when I got home. These people were sooo helpful. So I left the hospital 3 hours after I got there, in exactly the same condition I was in when I walked in. The only difference was that I ran up a huge bill for some expensive equipment that told me what I already knew: my gallbladder sucks now. At least I didn't need surgery to remove it, and I don't have gallstones. Yet. And at least Medicaid covered the huge bill, once I got home and found my card. Since then, I've only had one attack, and it wasn't nearly as bad. I think I'm starting to pick up on a pattern of how they operate. But for now, I'm just avoiding tacos...

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

My First Mother's Day

Last month, I got to celebrate my first Mother's Day as a mommy to my little sweetheart! That morning before church, she gave me a present: an entire morning full of smiles, the first time that I'd seen her smile while she was awake. Then she slept through all three hours of church and was a good girl for the rest of the day. In our ward, instead of giving all the mothers the stereotypical half-dead carnation, we got two thick pretzels dipped in caramel and milk chocolate and drizzled with white chocolate. While I made dinner (pork roast, mashed potatoes, and gravy), I called my mom to wish her a happy Mother's Day. Then my brother called me, which I thought was very sweet of him. After dinner, Todd gave me his present: a pint of Ben & Jerry's Karamel Sutra ice cream, which is the best ice cream in the world! Half of it is caramel flavored ice cream and the other half is chocolate ice cream with fudge chips in it. Down the center is a solid core of caramel an inch in diameter. I'd already eaten one of my pretzels, but I dipped the other one in my ice cream and it was a fabulous flavor explosion of chocolate and caramel!! I ate the entire pint in one sitting, and didn't even feel bad about it. Although I did give Todd a spoonful or two.

While I was savoring my ice cream and pretzel, Todd put in the LDS version of Pride and Prejudice, which is my favorite movie. Then he put the baby to bed and went to bed himself. When I went in to join him a little bit later, I found a homemade card on my pillow. It was so cute that I almost cried, although when I told Todd about it the next morning he was slightly disappointed that I didn't actually cry. Silly man. I love him, though. And, of course, I love my little sweetie and I'm so glad I got to celebrate being her mommy!