Imagine my surprise when I saw this guy walk out of my bathroom the other night. This was a facial hair decision I did not get a vote in. Thankfully, it was short lived & I'm happy to report that my husband is restored to his former handsomeness.

In other Luke news, it's fantasy football time. Which is the one and only time of the year that luke needs to know his email address. Last year his [patient] friend Robert set him up an email account. 365 days later, Luke is unable to recall his email. He texted Robert to see if Robert knew it. Nope. Luke kept throwing out options of things he thought it might be. Finally he asked:

Are you sure there's not a www. before it???


"I Play My Piano"

For the grandparents :)

Jo & Bay

My two favorite kids:

First family snapshot- 2 days old!

Just hanging in bed

Baylor's Peeps

Baylor has had a steady stream of visitors- and while I haven't done a perfect job of getting pics of him with his fans, I have gotten quite a few!

The Keels

Auntie Naomee:

Grandma Jo:

Lexee- (Jo has told Baylor lots of good things about how wonderful and fun Lee-Lee is!)

Aunt Liz- who earns lots of points for getting choked up over my son. THAT is the way into a mommies heart!

Isn't my husband dashing?


Aunt Laurie- who gets the award for longest drive (9 hours!) to see this baby!


Richard & Christina:
From 2011-08-08

Big cousins Christina & Cassandra:
From 2011-08-08

LOTS of cousins!

Uncle Bart- this is funny b/c I didn't take a pic of him holding Baylor- just Jo! Oops!

My 84 year old Nannie- with her first great-grand son-- the first boy born into the Stephens family in 27 years!

Aunt Linda & Cousin Julia (who introduced Jo to painting & piano playing!)

Jo-Ho Ho Ho~

When Jo was born in May of 2009 I bought her a stocking kit, to craftily sew on the long winter nights preceding her first Christmas. Well let me tell you- her first and second Christmases passed with only a handful of sequins as progress. Thank you AUNT LAURIE for taking over graciously and finishing the most elaborate Christmas stocking to ever deck my halls! Jo loves it, and it will be part of her Christmas memories for her entire life! Love you Aunt Laurie!

Rachel's Shower!

The Hamilton crew put on a beautiful shower for Rachel, my 8th sister-to-be! Rachel is beautiful & lovely & is a perfect match for Chris & the kids. Here are some pics from the day, thanks to Melissa who faithfully acted as patty's photographer stand in!
Soon to join the ranks of the Mrs. Middlebrooks'!

About to open a Victoria's Secret box- we cannot show you what was in it ;)

She had to chew bubble gum for every question about Chris she answered wrong- good thing she knows him pretty well :)

Beautiful momma & beautiful daughter!

New family!


Luke: On Childbirth

Tonight I overheard Luke talking to his friend Robert, who is going to be a daddy sometime in the next 2 weeks. It will be Robert's first baby, so he called Luke for some tips. I only regret not staking out the conversation more carefully. In between cooking dinner, here's what I heard Luke say. And I'm NOT making this up. You might think, "Oh Michelle, Luke didn't REALLY say that, you're just trying to be funny." And while I may sometimes take minor liberties in my account of real life events, these quotes are 100% accurate:

"It's not go time when you think it is. If the water breaks you don't need to rush to the hospital because then you'll just be sitting there all day."
---Right, because all labors are exactly 24 hours in duration and there is no variation, and under no circumstances are children ever born in cars or on freeways with men driving cars at a leisurely pace while the wife screams at him to hurry up.

"If you're going to get an epidural, just do it. Don't try & do it natural and suffer through 4 hours of pain before finally giving up. Michelle made me go to all these kum-baya birth classes & we had to watch videos and practice mediation & all that crap, and after 3 hrs (with Jo) she was dropping f-bombs & demanding the epidural."
---Yes I did make Luke go through a natural child birth class when we were prego with Jo. But I held out for TWELVE hours, and only dropped 1 f-bomb. Baylor's birth was much quicker, and there were no f-bombs.

"They lose their sense of humor when they're in labor, but after the epidural you can pretty much say whatever you want."
----Ok, that one is accurate.

"Is she having any contractions? Oh good! Well that means you're getting close!"
---Yep. Totally true. If you're having contractions your child could arrive anywhere between 30 minutes from now and 6 months. I guess "CLOSE" is relative?

"You know the saying, 'Don't tell me about the labor pains, just show me the baby'? That seems like it would fit but it doesn't go over real well."

I really, really wish I could tell you how Luke described the female anatomy while the baby is being delivered, but I cannot. That would be entirely inappropriate, and way too graphic. Luke is so grossed out by this process that he sat in the chair at the head of the bed behind his mom, who faithfully held my hand and encouraged me while pushing. Luke is super unimpressed with the miracle of life.


random pics

a few pictures:
Jo's "goodnight" pic from last night. Daddy's don't know about clips for bangs very well, nor do they observe mommy-instituted bed times!

I picked out the outfit, but DADDY picked out/allowed the shoes- hot pink fur lined mules...naturally

Baylor & I at his birthday party:


baylor's visit to the hospital

Saturday we were at a brunch & noticed Baylor was BLUE! I jumped up to grab him, laid him down on his back, and he started to get color back in his face very quickly. He was VERY blue- not just blue lips, but blue HEAD. Super scary, but thankfully he pinkened right up & showed no other signs of distress. We hopped in the car & took him straight to Emanuel.

The short story is this: Baylor seems to be doing fine. It could have been the position he was in or a virus in his chest, or any host of other fluke to scary reasons. It has not happened again, but because his chest xray indicated he may be fighting a virus & the fact that his oxygen levels were getting kind of low, we're here for a second night.

So Baylor is getting his due pomp & circumstance upon entry into this world, and Jo is getting some serious Daddy time:



I cannot describe this feeling of contentment!

I woke up at 12:30 this morning & decided I had either lost control of all bodily functions or my water broke. Of course there was no sleeping after that, so I got up, showered, made oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, coffee, worked for a little bit & then woke up Luke & called in reinforcements around 4am.

The cookies were divine. Since we're at the hospital 3 blocks from home Luke just left to go get me my cookies. And probably to get caught up on whatever breaking ESPN news has occurred in the last 12 hours :)

Sara & Lexee arrived on the scene to stay with Jo, and Luke & I made the quick trip to the hospital.

I had a contraction in the ER lobby, which I'm sure provided all sorts of entertainment for the few people in there. Then we walked to the maternity wing, got checked in, and found out I was a whopping 3.5 cm into this process. No bueno. I requested the epidural, endeavored to be kind to the nurses, and thanks to a little vocalization (I get now why cats have annoying yowls and meows) got some sort of tide-me-over IV drug. It made me feel high as a kite, and took the edge off the contractions. Having had little to no experience with recreational iv narcotics (ok, NO experience), this was a rather interesting adventure. I got very tired and loopy. When Ash showed up, I had to talk to her with my eyes closed because I felt that tired.

And then the blessed epidural. Ah, thank you Lord for medical provisions. It really makes me appreciate my sis & m.i.l. all the more- both of whom labored with NO drugs. Man. They are tough mommas!

So- after the epidural we waited another 2 hours & then BAM! Time to push push push!

Jo required 3 hrs of pushing, this little kiddo evacuated in a quick 15, much to the delight of his momma- and his daddy, who elected to sit in a chair next to my head- as far away as humanly possible from the crime scene.

It was so cool- I got to take my slimy, squirmy, guck-covered baby in my arms and discover that he was in fact a HE--- so neat to be able to tell Luke, "you have a SON!" What a super amazing feeling- until I kissed him on his head & remembered he was indeed slimy, squirmy and guck-covered. Quickly remedied with a few towels though ;)

So we named this little guy Baylor, though not necessarily for the University. I heard the name originally in "The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood" and fell in love with the name & character years ago. It was one of the few names we could agree on, and was further accentuated by a "unique" middle name: Blitz. I should probably google that - it means something about when the defensive line rushes the offense unexpectedly on the football field. Or something like that. It is not a reference to beer, or as commonly suspected, "Blitzen" the reindeer. If you can believe this, "Blitz" was Luke's idea- not mine. But fine by me- it sounds just fine to me.

Stats: Baylor is 21 inches long, weighed 7 lbs 9 oz, and was born at 8:44 am. ON HIS DUE DATE.

Did you catch that? Both Jo & Baylor were born on their actual due dates. This brings me an unfathomable amount of self righteous pride and feelings of superiority. :)

Here's the before pic- right as we were leaving to the hospital this morning:

Here's the after:

And here's the one pic that landed on my camera today so far without me in it looking not so great or Baylor's little man parts which I prefer not to broadcast across the internet!


Unending Joy

Luke is traumatized by screaming toddlers, so he really REALLY doesn't want to take jo to her swim lessons while I'm recovering from childbirth. My mother in law & dad are not put off by screaming toddlers, so they're going to tag team swim time. My dad hadn't been swimming with Jo before, so a few weeks ago we met at the pool to show him the ropes. There's a water slide there. People go down it with toddlers all the time. Here's how a normal adult takes a child down the water slide:

And then there's my dad- who took the slide like he was competing in an olympic luge event. He is laying flat on his back with legs and limbs in for reduced friction and maximum speed - all the while with poor traumatized jo on his tummy. Jo will never ask to go down the slide again. This video brings me unending joy- I laugh so hard I cry.

Jo got over it, obviously.
From 2011-07-23