When Maggie was 9 days old, she had some special visitors. The Swager family came to visit and brought dinner. It's so nice to have family close by here in Missouri. It was great to get to visit with them, and Maggie was wide awake for the entire time. Dana's cousins, Lauren and Rebecca, set up a photo-shoot with Maggie and took some photos of Maggie that are just too adorable. They are so talented! Check out the rest of their work at alookthrulaurenslens.com (check out the "Newborn" gallery for the rest of Maggie's pictures).
Dana and I are very proud of our beautiful girl and wanted to share a few of her pictures...
Ok, so this one is pretty obvious and you hear it from every new parent--BUT IT'S TRUE! Just as soon as you remove a wet or dirty diaper, the kid will squirt/leak/blast something out all over the place! Maggie got me twice within 48 hours of coming home from the hospital. All I can say is that I'm glad she's a little girl or else I'd be repainting the walls!
#4--Baby will sleep when they should be awake, and be awake when they should be asleep
So, this one is pretty obvious too. You hear this all the time, but it's so different when you experience it firsthand. Needless to say, it is frustrating. Maggie has actually been an awesome baby as far as sleeping and napping, but she has picked her nights to be rebellious, and it's usually the worst night for mommy and daddy!
#3--Concern for your child is far greater than any other human need
In a mad rush to go the hospital on a Tuesday night, I had grabbed a pb & j sandwich for dinner. 2 days later I had a turkey sandwich and fries in the hospital cafeteria. I didn't eat, sleep, or use the restroom in the time between because I was so excited and concerned for my wife and our baby. Going without those things made me realize that there would be more times in the future that I would go without for the sake of my family. I learned the valuable lesson that Dana and Maggie will always come first.
#2--You will never find your wife more attractive and more amazing than in this season of life
Dana will tell you that pregnancy made her feel and look horrible, but she has always remained the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. I am so blessed to have such an amazing wife. Seeing her now with our daughter only multiplies all that I feel for her. It's an amazing process that God leads a couple through from being a dating couple to parents. At every stage of this process, we learn to love each other in a different and deeper way. I know that Maggie will be blessed in so many ways by having such an amazing mother.
#1--All the dirty diapers, crying, sleepless nights, & hospital bills are well worth it when your little girl falls asleep in your arms
It was a few days after Maggie's birth and after we were home that I finally sat down with her in my arms. I was overwhelmed in that moment with the amount of love that I had for her, and knew how much more God's love was for me. In that moment, I was speechless. There weren't really any thoughts on my mind, it was just a quiet moment that made me so aware of unconditional love. It was that moment that I will always remember. I'll forget about the lack of sleep, the smell of the diapers, and the pain that is caused by the inflated hospital bills. But I will never forget that moment.
We weren't sure about the green as we started to paint. It looked a lot like the green that you might see on a glow-in-the-dark toy! But it matched up really well with the bedding.
Dana got in on the painting too. We kept the windows open and fan going so that the fumes didn't get to her.
Here is a view of our bedding. We thought it was full of really fun colors and prints. I bet Maggie will love it!
Here is the view from the doorway. Dana is a decorator extraordinaire! She had a great idea to paint the butterflies and make them match the bedding. Then we found the letters and painted those pink with green dots.
Here is our dresser. We found the side table and the dresser at a flea market. A little bit of paint and some new hardware...viola!
Here is the view from beside the crib. Our bedding set came with the 3 art pieces, which fit nicely above the changing table. Jo-Jo loves the new room, especially the fuzzy pink rug!
We've had a lot of fun getting Maggie's room ready. Now we're just playing the waiting game. 3 more months!!
The last picture that we posted was Dana's "Baby Bump" at 15 weeks. Here is the "Baby Bump" at 20 weeks.
And 20 weeks means it's time to find out whether Baby Mo is a boy or girl. We found out two weeks ago that we're having a Girl! We had names pre-picked so Baby Mo is now Maggie Jane Morgan.
We have been spending a lot of time talking to Maggie and trying to get her to talk back to us. Last night she told us that she would love to get some presents from Babies R Us or Target. Lucky for us we registered there! (wink, wink)
*Gift cards & Cash are also accepted
We're still learning what to expect from day to day, but the baby bump has made an appearance. Even if it is only slightly, we had to share a photo. So here is the baby bump at 15 weeks.
We have also purchased all the furniture for the baby's room. We went the cheaper route and found some cool stuff off craigslist and at flea-markets. I have some sanding and painting to do, but it's gonna look great! I will post some pictures of that soon!
After going out on a couple of dates, we ate breakfast together at Denny's before she had to leave town. We had spent a lot of time with each other that week and were really growing on one another. I didn't want to go back to school and not have a picture to show everyone. So, we stopped at the store and bought a disposable camera. We sat in my truck before she had to leave and I filled the camera up with pictures of her and pictures of us!
Later that summer, we visited Albert Pike for a day. Dana had camped here as a kid with her family, and she loves this place. She was always telling me about it. We spent the whole day swimming, hiking, and picnicking. We will definitely go back with out kids one day.
This picture was from our first Valentine's Day together. We had been dating almost a year, and we had plans to have a dinner at a nice restaurant. As you can see, the weather did not like our plans. It snowed hard enough to cancel our dinner plans, but we spent the afternoon together playing in the snow and building a snowman in the front yard.
This picture was taking before we went to dinner at Ashley's in Downtown Little Rock for our 1 year anniversary. We had a really nice dinner, but we definitely didn't fit in with such a fancy crowd. I can still remember that night because she looked so amazing. And I was wondering how she'd put up with me for a year!
A few months later, I drove to El Dorado to ask for Dana's parents permission to ask her to marry me. I was planning on doing something elaborate later that summer and making it a really big deal. That was Saturday. At noon on Monday, I decided I was going to do it that night! I drove to Arkadelphia and surprised her with a ring. This was taken outside the chapel were we were engaged and later married. It was an amazing night. I still have to apologize to her though because it was in the middle of her finals!
13 months later, we got married in the same chapel. This was taken as we exited the church after the ceremony. For those that know me well, you can see that I've already shed the jacket and I'm unbuttoning the shirt! My wife looked amazing. When the chapel doors opened and she walked in...WOW! I can remember tearing up and realizing that I was such a blessed man.
This is us on the plane heading to the Poconos for our honeymoon. The resort was not all that the brochure made it out to be, but once again we found a way to make it fun and memorable. We found a lot of cool places to hike and visit.
This was our first "vacation". We took a trip to Atlanta and stayed in the Olympic Village (in the background). It was a really fun week to spend with her and just relax in such a cool place. I love spending time with her!
So...years later and here we are. I love my wife more than ever now, and I know that will continue to grow each day of the future. We are anticipating the newest family member to arrive in August, and I can't wait to add "wonderful mother" to the list of things I love about Dana! I never thought that someone could make me as happy as she has made me. My wife is a great friend, a great support and encourager, an inspiration to me, and she definitely is the love of my life.
Dana, I love you!
When the reality sank in, my mind went to work on thinking what it takes to be a great (or at least semi-good) dad. I was able to think about my dad and the other examples in my life and come up with a few goals that I could strive for. Here is what I expect of my role as “Dad”:
1. Never say, “Go ask your mother!”
Ok, I might say it whenever we get to math homework with fractions, but I will not minimize my involvement in his/her life. I want to be active and show interest in my child’s life. I want to be able to listen to their questions, thoughts, and dreams. I want to be able to show understanding when they are pondering the complex things of life like why is the sky blue, why does milk go sour, and why did Lisa Turtle never go out with Screech on Saved By the Bell!?!? We’ll probably never get an answer to the last one, but I still want to always be present and active in his/her life. I want my interest and love for my child to be a miniature example of God’s interest and love for them.
2. Remember that what I say matters, and what I do matters more
A large part of being interested in my son or daughter’s life means spending time listening to them, but my response is just as important. I hope I can always capitalize on teachable moments by speaking Biblical truth to my child. The Bible has so much to offer a child in the stages of development, so I want to be that influence that shares those truths at the appropriate times because what I say matters. Even more so, what I do matters. I hope that my child will listen to what I say. If he/she is anything like I was as a child, then he/she will be so hardheaded that most of what I say will just be a waste of breath! However, I know that two beady little eyes will closely watch every move I make. If I plan to speak truth to my child, then I better live it as well. As a dad, I want to always remember that my actions greatly influence my child.
3. Show my affection as clearly and often as possible
I want my relationship with my son or daughter to be full of affection. From the moment we found out that we would have a baby, I have had an overwhelming amount of love for him/her. I realize that the way I display my love for my child will influence the way that they show love to others. I think a dad should show his love through protecting and providing for the family. This is a huge statement for the whole family that builds trust. I also think that verbal and physical affirmations of love are very important. I want our relationship to have both. Even when the kid doesn’t want it, I will still be offering the hugs and “I love you’s!”
I’m sure that I will continue to think more and learn more over the next several months. I’m might be able to add to this list or rethink some of the thoughts. I do know that everything I say and do boils down to 1 thing—I want my child to have a relationship with Jesus Christ. Reggie Joiner, founder of The ReThink Group, has such a wise quote that I’ve heard him repeat at least a dozen times, he says, “100 years from now the only thing that will matter is a person’s relationship with Jesus Christ.” I understand my role as a father in this decision for my child. I want to be a great dad so that my child will see the awesome love of the Heavenly Father that was demonstrated through His Son at the cross.