Monday, November 5, 2012

on the road again

"Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."  ~Ferris Beuller
That Ferris, he was on to something. Life has been indeed moving rather fast .

Shortly after my last post, we made this big, huge, enormous decision that we needed to move. For multiple reasons, really. Which I could spend an entire blog post or two explaining. But nobody really cares as much as I do, right? Basically, life here isn't working on so many levels and I've been LONELY for far too long. I've tried REALLY HARD to make friends here over the past 3 years specifically and it just isn't happening. I'm sick of driving an hour plus to see our existing friends, who are WONDERFUL and AWESOME and sad that my kids don't really get the chance to know their kids well enough.

Any how.

We made the decision to move. We drove multiple areas of Dallas proper and some various suburbs. Researched school districts, home values, average days on the market for each area, etc. I really spent a LOT of time making sure I didn't make the mistake of picking another location that isolated us from friends that could make us happy and options to make life easier on us both.

After a lot of talking and praying, we opted for a small suburb on the opposite side of town. Close to my hometown, so I am VERY familiar with the area. Where my best friend (!!!!!!!) and several other friends and family members live. And where the schools are rated VERY well, the people are incredibly nice and there is a somewhat "small town" feel. Really, I cannot overrate the value of living within 2 miles from my best friend. There is no one in the world I consider family more than her and we have lived an hour apart from each other for at least 8 years now. THIS IS LIFE CHANGING for me.

We figured that we could put a contract on a new house to be built in the spring, ready in early summer and prayed that at some point in the next 6 months our house would sell. We met with a builder, looked at home sites and plans and got really excited about what could possibly be for us.

Then we put our house on the market.

And got a full priced offer the same day.

I almost fell out of my chair when our realtor called us with the news. No negotiating, no waiting, no drama at all. The buyer wanted the house ASAP and was extremely poised with amazing financing and cash to use as a down payment.

The end.

We signed the contract. We close next week.

So we were suddenly left with less than 4 weeks to figure out what on EARTH WE WERE GOING TO DO!!! In usual fashion the husband had a long business trip scheduled, the kids were both sick with a MAJOR stomach virus and I was left to rush through trying to figure things out, field home showings that were still happening, clean up puke, look at houses, line up movers, start packing... Really. It is ridiculous what has gone down in the past 3 weeks.

We found a spec home that is under construction by a builder I am crazy about and both loved it. It will be done some time in December (hopefully early!) and we have to float around living temporarily for about a month until such time as it is done. Our plan isn't perfect and I know it is going to be hard not having a place to call home with 2 smalls kids and living out of boxes for a month but eh? We are so beyond words excited. I can not wait.

Keep us in your prayers!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

how to fail while really trying not to...

Things at which I REALLY suck:

1) Blogging
2) Commenting on blogs
3) Just saying "no" to double stuff oreos.

HI, friends!! How are ya? Long time, no read?

Yea. I've discovered that when you think you can "do it all?" You really kinda can't. Not sure why it has taken me so long to figure out that one person cannot do everything and be successful at anything. But... lesson has been painfully learned a lot the past few months.


1) The baby is HUGE. Gigantic. Enormous. A real live person. She took her first unassisted steps in August while we were in Destin (she was about 13 months) but it took her until the past 2 weeks to really decide walking is what the cool kids are doing. She has gotten pretty good! Her personality is just busting out at the seams, too. This child is FUNNY and knows how to work it. She blows kisses, waves and climbs anything that will stay still long enough. The girl is ornery and in to EVERYTHING. She says "hi, mama, dada, play, ball, milk, night night and lovey." Her tummy seems to be getting better but I still find that any hard core cow's milk products like milk, butter or cheese just aren't tolerated well. I went mean mommy and quit the formula cold turkey this week. I'm just sick of buying it! But she's eating enough solid food and doing pretty well with soymilk and soy yogurt, so I think she's ready. She is still a skinny little peanut, weighed in at just shy of 21 lbs at her last sick visit but she's definitely TALL for her age. I have to buy 18 mo size shirts and onesies for length but she seems ok in 12 mo size pants. Any bigger and she is SWIMMING in them. She has a mouthful of teeth and every single one was PAINFUL for us all as they made their entrance. I cannot believe she is already 14 months old! She and her big sister are BFFE. I'm watching them pull every shoe they own out of the closet as I type.

2) Little L is not so very little anymore. She is fully every inch of 3.5 years old. The girl just never stops talking. She has SO MUCH to say. Most of the time it is nice, funny, witty or insightful things. I'm beginning to notice, though, that she is also coming out with some not so nice things. We are ever learning and changing and dealing with this, though. She also tells MANY tall tales and crazy stories but she is incredibly smart. Learning to deal with the fact that she is smart enough to lie to me now is taking some patience on my part! Her heart is so sweet, though. So very sweet. She is doing great in mother's day out and she comes home with lots of stories. We also enrolled her in a tap, ballet and tumbling class once a week and she seems to love it so far, too. She took her flumist like a big girl with no drama this year. She is wearing size 4 GIRLS or XS (no more toddler clothes!!!) and size 10 in little kid's shoes. Her favorite movies right now are LiloandStitch and The LittleMermaid (both of which I watch at least 100 times a week) and she is just obsessed with barbie dolls, princesses and ponies. Bedtime has turned in to a real headache and she rarely takes naps anymore. The child eats enough snacks to be a teenage boy but picks at her food at meals and then asks for strawberry ice cream and candy every single day. The past month she has been saying "I want it for CRISSMASS, MOMMY PLEASE" to every toy advertisement and catalog that has crossed our steps. The child is a MASTER at bargaining. She picks out her own clothes every day (usually a dress) and asks to wear her dance clothes and tap shoes almost every morning. I have not seen her suck her thumb in almost a month, praise THE LORD.

3) I ran my first official half marathon this weekend. My training got derailed TWICE before hand as I got incredibly sick with that nasty stomach virus and I fractured another toe (after having broken one 3 years ago which also totally derailed me from half marathon training!). BUT. I didn't let those things STOP ME this year and I just had to train harder. I also started having some knee issues 2 weeks before but I just slowed my pace down drastically while training and ended up finishing the actual race much faster than I anticipated. I felt great and I am SO PROUD of myself for doing it. I registered for another half in December and part of me is thinking I could totally manage a full marathon someday. I just have time find the time to train...

4) TIME. I just never have enough. Between the kids and work and all the other things that come along with life like cooking, cleaning, church, laundry, grocery shopping, family, friends.... I have never felt more spread thin in all my life. I feel like I am always running late to everything or forgetting to do something important. I'm not sure how things got so out of control but here I am. And most days I feel like something really needs to change but I cannot ever seem to determine what the something is.

5) Our 7th wedding anniversary is on Monday. I cannot believe it has been 7 years. We really wanted to get a weekend away but it wasn't meant to be so we have plans for a LOVELY dinner at the same restaurant we ate at on our wedding night this Saturday evening. I desperately need some time alone with my man. I realized this week that we've only had ONE NIGHT away from our kids together since L was born. It just isn't good for a marriage. We aren't struggling by any means but there is a strain there and we both need TIME TOGETHER. But, again, I'm at that "something needs to change" point but not sure what to do about it. Our babysitting situation is (and has always been) just painfully bad. And that, my friends, is out of my control.

6) Change. If you aren't getting it, the theme for my life right now? Something needs to change. I feel like I have been in this place before but I cannot figure out how to break free and just move ahead. And part of me just feels like I am supposed to ride this one out and suck it up for longer. I HATE THAT FEELING. But it is ultimately all out of my control. Right?

You stuck out this post so I'm adding some photos. Love you all!

Monday, August 27, 2012

thirty three

It is my birthday.

The funny thing about birthdays is how they are so very much just another day. Sometimes with cake and presents, if you are so blessed.

I spent a lot of time in bed this weekend because a very, incredibly mean and nasty stomach virus made the rounds through my house late last week. And I ended up in the hospital hooked up to an IV after 9 nonstop hours of vomiting.


Apparently, the variety of stomach virus my kids bring home to me carry some level of toxicity that my poor system specifically cannot handle. So, after 2 bags of fluids and the miracle of zo.fran pushed through a poorly placed IV by a very nice nurse who must have failed phlebotomy 101, I spent the entire weekend in bed recuperating with my two sweet girls.

And I thought a lot about past birthdays and how very little I remember about the simple majority of them. I definitely do not remember gifts for the most part. Funny how that works, right? You want some specific thing SOOOOOO BADLY at any given time and then you get it and totally forget that's what you got within a matter of 12 months. (Unless you were fortunate enough to get a car or something for your 16th birthday, which I did not. But, yes, I'd indeed have remembered something like that.) At least that's the way it is for me.

But today has been not unlike any other Monday of my life. I get up, I feed children, I change diapers and wipe faces. I answer work emails, I drink coffee, I start laundry and I put away dishes. I pick up toys and I chase the dog away from the crumbs on the kitchen floor. I frantically try to push out work while the baby is dangling her tongue out of her mouth and forcefully doing her best to press the bright and shiny power button on my laptop. I break up fights over toys, I clean milk off a chair and I wash my hands for the 80th time before lunch has even begun. I toast bread, break up cheese, shake formula and wash sippy cups. I pick up a crying baby, I answer 1000 questions about mermaids and dinosaurs and I hit the dryer restart button for the second time because I just don't have time to fold it now.

I know at some point that I won't remember much about this birthday. Probably that I gifted the Metho.dist health care system with $1000 for a poorly placed IV (high deductible insurance plan for the win!). Maybe the card that my oldest daughter wrote all the letters of her name in (not in order yet). Hopefully a lovely dinner with my family OUTSIDE of my home and my cursed cooking skills.

This is life. This is motherhood. Sometimes I don't realize how much things have changed in 3 years and other times I stop to look around and find myself in awe of how little of my life remains the same as it was before they were here. And tomorrow I will wake up and start the 1st day of my 34th year and do it all over again.

And I wouldn't have it any other way.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012


So, somehow, you are 1 year old.
I'm not sure how we got here but even now it has been almost 2 weeks since your birthday and I am still left scratching my head in amazement at just how quickly your sweet little life has flown. We spent so many long, excruciating days and nights together when you first joined us... I remember thinking that I would be exhausted and frazzled forever. The day when you cried THE ENTIRE DAY and I tried every single thing in the book of tricks from feeding you, to a car ride, to rocking, to walking with you... but you still cried and did not nap FOR ONE SINGLE SECOND that day. But, of course, it passed. One day a the switch just flipped and you started sleeping like a dream and smiling more than crying. Things were definitely tough with you and I have felt myself change more in the past year than any other of my life. Humility, patience, tolerance, faith, sacrifice, self awareness... all of these things have been vastly increased inside of me since this time last year. You've made me such a better person and mother. I am so incredibly thankful God chose you to be ours.

I remember the first night I was alone with you in the hospital. We had already been there for 2 nights with your daddy and he simply HAD to leave the third night to be with you sister at home. I felt so alone, sad and GUILTY. Guilty for not loving you like I loved your sister. I felt very sad and like an utter failure that I couldn't make you stop crying. I had no idea what you were going through and I also had no idea how much I would connect with you over the coming months. I was the only person you seemed to trust (still am, often times!) and how many times I heard your cry and came to your rescue and felt you instantly relax in my arms. Many nights you slept snuggled up to me in bed, even though I swore I'd never sleep with a baby and the stern warnings of books and doctors alike surrounded me, and while I never actually "slept" a lick I remember just staring at your sweet face and wondering who you would be as you grew.

Watching you turn from a little blob in to the sweet, silly, snugly and strong willed personality that you are today has been such a joy. I love watching you sleep, snuggled up to your lovey while on your tummy and breathing deeply. I really love watching you and your big sister play and laugh and talk in your own special sister language. You're certainly quick to cry but at the same time so quick to smile and laugh and very happy to be in mommy's arms. You are surprisingly brave and fearless and I regularly find you JUST ABOUT to get in serious trouble or hurt yourself. In fact, taking my eyes off of you is really just never wise at this point. I always wondered if I'd be gutsy enough to stick my finger down a choking child's throat and boy, have you ever taught me that I will do ANYTHING in a moment of mommy adrenaline.

I'm not sure I even remember what life was like before you at this point. I often marvel that I must have had a ridiculous amount of time on my hands because you have redefined motherhood and time management for me. I think that you will always be my baby. We have this special kind of bond that I've never known. I sometimes feel like I know you better than I've ever known anyone in my life. I am so excited to see what your next year holds.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

life at almost 1 year post baby

So, hi there! I just realized it has been over a month since I posted here, so yea, BLOG FAIL. But life is moving at a rapid pace and somehow it gets honestly seems to get faster every day. However, I believe many updates are in order.


Baby S is going to be ONE YEAR OLD next week. HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE?! I'm really struggling to come to terms with this as it seems like just yesterday she was a wee little, not sleeping and crying all night, every night. If the first 6 months were on slow-mo from all the drama we dealt with, then the last 6 months have been on super crazy fast warp speed. She is doing great! Her personality is hilarious and so constantly unlike her big sister in any way. She is VERY sensitive and dependent but at the same time incredibly strong willed and ornery. I say often that I feel like she's designed like what I'd expect a boy to be. She's completely fearless and curious and gets in to every single thing she can, making massive messes and chaos all over my house. I couldn't tell you how long she is or how much she weighs, but I think she's definitely caught up to 50% or greater in that department. She's mostly wearing 12-18 month size clothes and carrying her around is giving me some serious arm muscles. Sleep is still going great, she made the 2-1 nap transition just fine on her own about a month ago and eating is getting better every day. I've still not braved any raw dairy products, but I've given her bread and other snacks that have milk and soy listed in the ingredients lists. We don't seem to notice any problems in her from them. She LOVES bread, flour tortillas, waffles, graham crackers, cereal, oatmeal and WATER. My little carbohydrate junkie! I decided to just go cold turkey with the bottles and put her on formula in a sippy cup at her 11 month birthday and she's done amazingly well. She has actually lost interest in formula and is wayyyyyy more in to real FOOD. I am so glad we've finally progressed in this department and am eager to get the go ahead to try real cows' milk products after her pedi gives us the green light. I AM going to let her have some cake at her 1st birthday party next weekend. What is a birthday without cake??!! We are doing a cook out and swimming, it'll be a real blast.


As quickly as summer MDO started, it ends next week. Little L has had so much fun this summer. Swim lesson were a total BOMB, she refused to cooperate with the instructor, but we made the best of it. She is at least comfortable now in the pool in her puddle jumper and on noodles ALONE (we are still just at the side of the pool or in with her) without gripping one of us to death with fear. We have spent so much time outside this summer, I actually have a TAN in spite of my deeply thick layers of zinc oxide I slather on every day. I have made it a point to try and think of lots of fun things for us to do this summer and it has been lovely. Baby S is old enough now to sit at a restaurant and we've been doing regular patio dinners at some of our favorite spots on the weekends. I also took Little L to see a movie, JUST THE TWO OF US, yesterday and she was so excited and hasn't stopped talking about it since. I cannot believe how big this child is. She has strong opinions about what she likes and doesn't like but she is just the sweetest child and is kind to everyone. I love her heart, in fact it makes ME want to be a better person. Her prayers are so sweet and innocent, full of nothing but thanks to God and the smallest thing like a pink straw in a surprise cup of chocolate milk sends her OVER THE MOON with glee. She is really a little person now, there's simply no hint of baby left at this point.


I feel like I am finally learning how to be the most effective employee, wife, house cleaner, mom and individual with 2 children that I can be. It really has taken me this long to find the proper balance. And truth be told? Most days I am in a dirty ball cap and smelly running clothes and my showers are quite a bit more spaced out than they should be. The teachers at church don't even recognize me when I show up in real clothes with my hair down and styled. If this is what it takes to make all the other stuff work, though, that's ok by me. Exercise is my thing, I'm getting it in as much as I can and I am loving it. I don't think my house is ever ALL clean at the same time, but I'm managing to get the downstairs and upstairs separately fully clean at least once a week to 2 weeks. Laundry is figured out, grocery shopping and meals have fallen in to a schedule and things just seem to flow for the best part of the week. I certainly have days that crash and burn and there are times when I cannot even SEE the carpet in the playroom but I am doing my best to take it all in stride and just start each day anew. I think the thing about having 2 children that has shocked me the most is the amount of MESS they produce and the constant need for attention. I strive to do my best and not seek perfection out of myself or them. Life has really gotten so much better for us all since I dialed back my expectations in this department. We are happy and blessed and often laugh when something goes wrong and instead of getting mad or cry, we simply say "It happens!"


Vacation to the beach is in one month. I simply cannot wait. I need it more than words can say.


I hope everyone is well. I have a gazillion blog comments to catch up on, but I will. Promise. And here are some photos from the first half of our summer. :)

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

where fore art thou, emerald coast?

Top of the order today: I just booked a condo in Destin for August. I am so thrilled!!! My husband insists that a week at the beach with 2 small children is going to be a brutal experience but I disagree completely. I searched rental properties for hours and found one that is a first floor end unit, walks out to the beach and has direct access to a pool. I think it is going to be a SUPERB week. I love, love, LOVE this part of Florida, it is my favorite beach in all of the US. If anyone has any child friendly activities in that area to recommend, THEN PLEASE DO. :)  (And please pray for no hurricanes but thank you, Lord, for travel insurance.)


This last week has been H-A-R-D. I thought that baby S was just teething, but it seems she is going through a huge wave of MOMMY specific separation anxiety. She cannot bear for me to leave her sight for even a moment. I get the death grip if I even try to put her in her carseat. After almost 5 solid months of a flawless 2-nap-a-day plus easy bedtime schedule, she is refusing naps and fighting bedtime with all her might. I have to stay in the room for up to an hour each time to convince her it is ok to go to sleep and she'll only concede to 1 short nap a day, if at all. She wakes up from said single nap PIPING HOT MAD that I am not in the room. We had to lower the crib to the bottom setting because I was convinced she was going to rocket herself out of the thing, hurtling towards the floor in her fury.


She has 2 new top teeth. Though they aren't the middle top 2, they are the next pair out, so she looks like she has little fangs. And she grinds her bottom 2 across the new top 2 and the sound makes my blood curdle.


I get FAR less done in any day without 2 full 2 hour naps from the baby. She's only doing a single 1-1.5 hour nap in the afternoon and she requires my attention ALL DAY EVERY DAY. I cannot leave a room or take my eyes off of her for a second, she is in to everything and anything and she is climbing and falling non-stop. I wish I could call in some reinforcements but I don't have any. I am so tired by the end of every day, I fall in to bed and crash. I love my kids. I love being with them and having the opportunity to work from home. I have to say that lately, my tank is just out of gas. I'm sure that this, too, shall pass.


Summer Mother's Day Out started yesterday. THANK YOU, GOD.


Little L is going to start semi-private swim lessons here at our house with one of our neighbor's kids this month. It is more expensive than going to a swim school but the idea of having the instructor come HERE and teaching her in our pool makes me pleased as punch. I'm not a strong swimmer and considering we own a pool, it is of the utmost importance to me that my kids can swim well. We installed a safety fence around the pool early this year, but I still have nightmares about one of them falling in and drowning all the time.


I think if I could do it all over again, I wouldn't have bought a house with a pool filled backyard. I love the house but I've really been loathing that pool this year. I cannot change it but I am just throwing it out there that the next house we buy will not have a back yard that is all pool, if any pool at all. It is funny how priorities shift over time.


I have a very good friend that I've known since elementary school who just got engaged and is planning a spring wedding next year. She has asked me to be a bridesmaid and for the girls to serve as her flower girls. I am really looking forward to it.


Someone is going to be a year old in 6 weeks. SIX WEEKS. HOW IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE?!?!?!


Wednesday, May 30, 2012


1) Why does almost every mainstream animated movie have a dead or dying parent involved in the story line?

2) I love going outside but it has become SUCH A PAIN since we have small kids. My girls are so incredibly fair and I am constantly terrified of them getting sunburned and the sunblock application process is such a tremendously time consuming (albeit completely worthy) ordeal and I sometimes ask myself IS IT WORTH IT or should I just put on a movie? More often then not, yes, it is worth it, but I seriously dread the whole thing every time. My poor children get red from being outside for just a few minutes so sunblock is never optional. Plus, there is the whole thing about how sunblocks that contain anything with the suffix "benzone" are the REASON for the rise in melanoma as opposed to the decline, so I am meticulous to use zinc oxide product only on them and I wish it came in spray form but I have yet to find one.

3) I am also a bug MAGNET and for some reason I get bit by something every single time I step out my door. I am currently sporting at least 3 bites that I believe to be mosquito and I have a huge spider bite from almost a month ago that is taking an eternity to heal. I must be delicious?

4) I just bought new running shoes like 3 months ago but I really don't like them. I can't return them at this point because it took me a while to figure out how much I don't like them and I HATE that I wasted $100 on them. I really want to go to one of those fancy stores that hooks your feet up to a computer and tests your actual running to pick the perfect shoe for you. Can someone explain to my husband why I need this after having just spent $100 on shoes? I'm planning on running at least 2 half marathons in the fall, maybe I can convince him...

5) My average mile pace for short runs when I first got back to running seriously in February was just shy of 10 min/mile and I am presently at the 8:20-8:30/mile mark and I am so proud of myself. I think my long runs are going to stay around the 8:48-9:00/mile area and I'm thrilled with that, too. This might not be fast to some people but it is MY personal best.

6) I accidentally requested my husband's ex-girlfriend as a friend on FB. She accepted. This whole situation is very, VERY strange. But isn't that the whole point of FB, to make life exceptionally weird and awkward?

7) Everyone is talking about the 50 Shades book and while I don't judge anyone for the choices they make, I am not interested in reading it. I've felt convicted to really keep smut out of my life and I find it odd that a book that is basically porn.ography in word has been so socially accepted and talked about by women of all ages. And I think since SO many women are talking about it, it is drawing in women that normally wouldn't have any interest. This article that my sweet friend Jill recently shared seems to hit the nail on the head. Plus for me? My time is so precious these days and I'm painfully selective as to how I spend it.

8) We cannot decide if or where we should take our family vacation this year. We went to the gulf coast for a wedding in early May and it was just such a BEATING to be away from home with an infant and a toddler. If it was just Little L, it would be a no brainer to go spend a week at the beach or Disney but really, what do you do with a baby on vacation? It is all the stress of regular life at home except away from all the usual comforts, right? Am I just being negative? I really want a vacation but I just don't know if I can handle it right now. Or if it would be worth the expense.

9) I need to make dinner. And give baths. And pull the laundry out of the dryer... and finish some work stuff... And with that, I hope you all have a marvelous summer evening. ;)  (JUNE!!! IT IS ALMOST JUNE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

radio silence

I'm alive! I swear!! Been a bit MIA in this realm lately, but I assure you all is well.

Updates, updates?

Firstly, baby S had her 9 month well check like, oh, a month ago or so. (Uh, she'll be 10 months old later this week--le sigh) Anyways. The appointment was a mixed bag, so to speak. Her pediatrician freaked out a bit when I told her that she wasn't crawling on hands and knees yet (she's been army crawling for a while, though) so she handed me this GIGANTIC, ridiculous development survey to fill out and I rushed to fill it out and, well, you know the story. The baby failed, or rather was deemed "borderline delayed" in several categories. Truthfully, I think I blew the survey because the questions were so absurd and were the types of things I would never pay attention to in my child and they asked the same question in different ways several times and BLAST IT ALL, I HATE THAT. She gave me a huge stack of things I should do with the baby to bring her up to speed. I glanced over it and have tried some of the more natural ones but really? The baby is FINE. She is fine. There is nothing wrong with her at all. She has just started showing interest in for real crawling this week... she was getting around GREAT crawling with her belly dragging on the ground so I just think she had no incentive to learn the "official" way to crawl. Little L never army crawled at all, so this whole stage was unfamiliar to me. Otherwise, she's feeding herself puffs, drinking water from a cup, finally showing interest in solids and totally within normal percentiles on weight again. (18.5 lbs at last check). She's been working on 4 upper teeth for weeks, is sleeping great in spite of it all and she's just perfect. She waves, claps, babbles "mama" and "baba" and is working on pulling herself up on anything that won't give way to her push. If she's not flashing a gigantic smile, she's wailing and throwing a fit about something or trying to catch the dog and grab his tail or knock over a stack of blocks her sister carefully arranged. IGNITING A FIRE STORM. Life for that baby? Is grand.

Little L has hit a wave of really bad behavior. People warned me 2 had nothing on 3 and all though I was holding out hope my precious child would again be an exception (really, that child has been a dream since she was born), she no longer is. She's exhibiting all kind of "not like her" behavior, lying, blaming things on the baby, directly disobeying, having meltdowns at the drop of a hat and being just downright rude and hurtful to myself and her daddy at times. We are dealing. Time outs only work so well when you are at the third one of the day and I am tired of taking toys away or threatening to withhold treats from her. I need creative parenting ideas. Got any? I really still think she's likely better than a lot of other 3 years out there in the world, but this is so HARD for me because it is so foreign right now. And when she's not on the warpath and being sweet? OH IS SHE EVER SWEET. She's adorable and hilarious and the things that come out of her mouth keep us giggling.

And me? I am just as busy as ever, finding that now the baby is in everything and needs GOBS AND GOBS of attention and often refuses one or both naps every day, my life is HARD. Way harder than ever, really. But at the same time, so good. I've been working out a TON. You name it. Boot camp, running, spin classes. If I can get my hiney out of bed at 5:00 AM and get to it, I've been doing it. I feel amazing. I'm not losing any weight really, but I'm feeling so much more tone and strong and my "happy" size clothes fit me great. My marriage is rock solid. My job is going really well. The weather is perfect. I love my church and I am REALLY loving The Story series.

I'm so thankful for everything in my life.

For those of you that don't know Jen, which I'm sure most of you do, please keep her in your prayers. My heart is broken for her. In fact, she and Ainsley have been the thing in the back of my mind/heart all these months since baby S was born that reminded me that NO MATTER WHAT drama we were dealing with, be it MSPI, nonstop screaming, sleepless nights, etc, nothing in my life was tougher than the battle Jen was fighting. And every time she posted a picture of Ainsley's beautiful, smiling face, it somehow made the world seem like a happier place for that moment. Every breath she took was a blessing and I know that Jen would have done absolutely anything for her. Just the thought of losing one of my children gives me a tight feeling of despair in my chest, I simply cannot imagine the agony of the reality of losing 2. One before she ever took her first breath and the other after almost 17 months of fighting every single day.

Treasure every single day, friends. Tomorrow is not promised.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

goings on & 9 months

I survived the week of being dreadfully sick and home alone with 2 kids while my husband was on the beach. And I came back from the whole thing even stronger somehow. My running has really kicked up a notch and I feel AMAZING. I don't know why this is, but I'm not complaining.

The baby is NINE MONTHS OLD today. Time flies! She has had swollen gums for a few days and I noticed today that she magically cut one of her top middle teeth already, without much hullabaloo. I have to say, after all the troubles of the first 6 months with her it seems like life has just been so easy for her lately. She sleeps 11-12 hours straight through every night (couldn't tell you the last time she woke me up in the middle of the night--praise GOD) and she's just so happy. Don't get me wrong, she can be a real drama queen when she gets mad, but usually a quick scoop from mama's arms will solve any wrong. She's still on the same formula and I've been introducing more pureed solids in along with her stand by favorites like oatmeal and bananas. I scored some dairy and soy free puffs at the store this week (am SO THANKFUL there are good companies that make these things and GER.BER can BITE ME, they have so much processed crap in their foods) and she seems to like them, though she has NO idea how to get them from the high chair to her mouth on her own. As for development, the child has changed in leaps and bounds the past few weeks. She literally went from this little blob lying in the same spot on the floor to a fast moving, army crawling machine. I cannot keep up with her, you can see the smoke trails behind her when I turn my back from setting her down. I am not sure how to contain her just yet, the house is so big for a wee baby and I worry about her getting stuck somewhere or getting herself in trouble. (or eating dust bunnies off the floor, which I have seen her try to do already) She isn't pulling up much yet (THANKFULLY) but I am sure these milestone are not far off for her. The ladies in the church nursery laugh about how fast she can move from one end of the room to the next and how she always manages to just turn up behind you grabbing at your ankle when you aren't paying attention! I'm not sure when she'll figure out she can get up on her knees, but she seems to be getting around just fine dragging herself on her belly. Her arm muscles have got to be crazy strong! She's also just started waving and clapping her hands. A random man waved at her at the store the other day and she had the most SHOCKED look on her face as she waved back. Like "oh! other people do this, too!" It was adorable and it made that little old man's day.

We've also been dealing with the new world of defensive parenting. I was just going blissfully along enjoying the fact that the 2 girls got along so well and Little L was SO SWEET to her sister and then one day, baby S dragged herself over to L and yanked a toy out of her hand. And L pushed her to get it back and... you know the rest of the story. I grew up with 2 younger brothers so I know all about sibling woes, but I've never parented 2 quarreling children and had to teach much about SHARING. So this is new to me. And exhausting. "Don't push your sister." "Stop being greedy." "Be KIND." "Share." And the baby doesn't get it because, you know, she'll just play with anything she can get her chubby little hands on and this drives Little L absolutely mad. I actually watched as Little L defensively perused to playroom this week to pick up every toy she didn't want S to play with and put up on shelves out of her reach. Which would be acceptable if they were only L's toys, but several of them were BABY toys, too.

Parenting, phase 2?

The husband and I are trying to plan a little make-up trip for the 2 of us to Vegas at some point this year. We are at the mercy of grandparents who have full time jobs and busy schedules, so I am not sure when we'll be able to recreate the perfect little set up where we have time to get away but it is my mission to make it happen. We need it... we haven't had a real trip alone together in almost 5 years. (and sadly, I'm ashamed to admit we haven't even been on an alone date in 7 months---SEVEN MONTHS) We had been thinking about a big family trip at some point this year, but have decided to wait until next year to do that. I think it'll be easier to travel to Disney when the baby is on a one nap a day schedule instead of two and we'd rather save up to fly all 4 of us instead of driving anyways. There are a few little travel events here and there throughout the year, so we'll just make the best of those.

That's about all the interesting I have to share. I'm slowly catching up on blogs and commenting. With the week of sick and work and LIFE in general, I've gotten so behind. But know I am still following along and doing my best to keep up with you all!! Hope everyone is doing well!

Friday, April 13, 2012

best laid plans

For a while after my husband told me about this trip to Puerto Rico and I was feeling uncertain about leaving the baby behind so soon, I wondered what it would be like for me to be left behind with the kids while he just went without me.

Well, now I know.

This week didn't exactly go as planned, to say the least. Saturday night, my throat started burning badly. I assumed it was allergies (as this has been my worst allergy season yet) and got very little sleep that night. I woke up Easter morning without a voice and feeling awful. I powered through the day but by the time my dear friend who was supposed to watch the girls came over to spend some time with us, I knew that I wasn't exactly improving. We were scheduled to leave Tuesday morning and I spent Monday trying to tidy up the house, stock the pantry with groceries, finish the girls' laundry and tie up loose work ends. I had a mani/pedi scheduled at 4:30 and I was still unable to speak and felt incredibly hot and exhausted the entire time I sat in the chair. By the time I got home, I knew I needed to direct myself to an urgent care clinic to make sure this was just allergies and nothing more. I wasn't interested in testing the Puerto Rican healthcare system and after 3 terrible sinus infections in the past few months, I couldn't imagine myself stranded out of the country without access to a doctor I trusted and blessed antibiotics.

So there I was, at 8:30 PM after putting the girls in baths and bed, doing web check-in for the nearest clinic, and telling myself "If it is only just allergies, there is no reason to question going on this trip. Just go and drink cocktails and recover from the miserableness on the beach." And I kept telling myself that over and over. It was only just allergies and I was about to waste $200 on a stupid visit to a stupid urgent care clinic late in the evening when I should be packing.

Only when the doctor stepped back in the room after performing a strep culture ("stupid strep culture will likely cost me $30 only to come back negative") to casually inform me that it was positive, I felt like I literally heard tires screeching on pavement. I was supposed to be on a plane in less than 7 hours and I was just informed I had flipping strep throat. WHAT 32 YEAR OLD GROWN UP GETS STREP THROAT IN APRIL?!?!?!?!?!

Then it really hit me that there was a good chance the girls would have it. And I thought about my sweet friend who was coming to watch them for the latter half of the trip and how I would feel if I was her, showing up to some one's house and managing their 2 sick children, one only 8 months old. Managing a sick baby is AWFUL, I can only imagine how awful managing a sick baby that isn't yours must be. At that, I knew I couldn't do it. It wasn't fair to anyone.


I listened to him pack while I tossed and coughed and sweat from my fever uncomfortably, and then next thing I knew he was kissing me goodbye at 3:30 AM and that was that. He was gone off to a tropical island and I was left home alone with 2 kids and no voice and a big bottle of amoxycillin to keep me company.

I feel awful for him, too. He spent the entire week alone on the beach in a 5 star resort with a bunch of married couples and received his award, alone. I kind of want to cry when I think about it, actually. Knowing that he wanted nothing more than for me to be there with him. I would have been awful company. I felt so sick for the first 2 days he was gone and then yesterday I suffered one of the worst migraine headaches I think I've had in years. I didn't open the blinds or acknowledge the outside world existed until around 5:00 when I knew I absolutely had no choice but to go get a can of formula for the baby and dinner for myself and the big one.

The only bright spot in my week was the fact I had nothing but time to read. My best friend e-loaned me the entire HungerGames trilogy and I devoured all 3 books in less than 3 days. I never get time to read anymore and I'm obsessive with a good book so it kept me plenty occupied and distracted from being too sad about the state of things.

I could whine and moan and complain about how much the whole week sucks but deep down inside I suspect there was a valuable reason I didn't make it on this trip. I'm not sure if something would have happened it I had gone but I'm just accepting the fact I'll never know and dreaming of the next time we have the opportunity to sneak off on vacation alone together.

I sure can't wait to see his face.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

swirling thoughts

1) We leave for our trip in less than 2 weeks.... how the heck did that creep up so rapidly? I am simultaneously excited and terrified. I just try to imagine myself leaving for the airport early that morning (like 3:45 AM for reals... early flight, to say the least) and walking out on my sleeping kiddos and being just ripped apart on the insides with angst. I know that they will be fine. I know that I will be fine. I just kinda want it all to get here and be over with so it is a positive memory in the past rather than an anxious reality looming in the future.

2) My husband has loosened up the purse strings enough to let me do some awesome clothes shopping for the trip and I have been having FUN with that. After having had a baby and really buckling down on diet and losing some weight, new clothes have been much needed. I even found a swimsuit this weekend! A one piece, yes, but its cute so whatever. I'm 30 something with 2 kids, I don't need to wear a bikini to feel good about myself, yes?

3) The J.Crew spring catalog is my total obsession right now. If I had a blank check, I could do some serious damage.

4) We're debating whether or not we want to take our good camera on our trip, the Canon DSL. I mean, I want good photos yes, but do I want to carry that gargantuan thing around for just the two of us the whole time? I dunno. He thinks we should just take our iPhones and call it a day. I have a 5 year old slim point and shoot Sony Cybershot but haven't used it in years and I remember just HATING that thing because the photos were always blurry or the lighting situation was weird. What would you do?

5) I'm also trying to think of a bunch of fun prizes to leave behind for the people who are watching the girls to give over the course of our time away. I am thinking of doing some new movies, books and toys for Little L. I don't have a clue of anything to do for the baby because, well, she's a baby. And really? She just wants to be held and fed most of the time and she's all smiles.

6) This free trip is obviously costing us a bit more money than we had anticipated. HA.

7) I still can't believe I'm leaving my kids for 4 days in less than 2 weeks.

8) I told my husband I wasn't leaving them for this trip without a will. What's that you say, a WILL? "You mean, you don't have one of those?" No. We don't. My husband really doesn't like to broach the topic of death and it has always been a horribly touchy subject in this house. It took me to late last year to finally convince him that life insurance policies were not negotiable and the entire process of lab work, medical history and the bazillion questions they ask you in order to underwrite those policies just about killed him in and of itself. And I think part of this is that he hasn't want to put to pen and paper who would we would leave our children to should this happen, because his family will be incredibly offended that they weren't chosen (they shouldn't be, not a single one them is in a position to manage 2 small children) and I suspect he never wanted to answer the question if it was asked. But I think that ridiculous drama like that PALES in comparison to the idea of leaving to kids alone left to be argued over and swirling in uncertainty.

9) I don't like to think about any of this stuff either but the older I get, the more "in touch" I am with the fact that these things simply happen. A guy from my hometown died in a skiing accident 2 weeks ago while on spring break with his family. Yes, that really happened. And I don't even know him well and I have vague memories of his wife being from my childhood church also, but I see her FB updates and I think to myself how completely life shattering this must have been for her and their 2 small children. And, really? I tear up to put myself in her shoes. Because I think I would be utterly LOST without my husband. He's truly my best friend and he makes my world go round and in a perfect world, I don't want my girls to know a life without him or me. But this isn't a perfect world.

10) Reality sucks but God is good and faithful and I remind myself daily that he works together in all things for the GOOD of those that love him and are called according to his purpose.

I got off on quite a tangent there, sorry. Mortality has been a bit of a sore spot for me lately and I had to get it off my chest. Bless you all!!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

8 new things, including a perfect heart

1) I found myself in a pediatric cardiologist's office yesterday. I didn't tell anyone we were going except for my 2 closest friends and my dad and his wife. It isn't that I thought we were going to get bad news, but I felt very guarded about the whole thing for some reason. At Little L's 3 year well check, her pediatrician noticed her lips were blue and asked if she'd eaten blueberries for breakfast. I said no and that her lips have always turned blue when she's cold (it was rather chilly and rainy the day of her appointment). I could tell she was quietly concerned by it and told me she wanted to "think/read on that over the next few days" and get back to me. Her office called the following week with a referral to a Cook Children's pediatric cardiologist for an EKG and echo cardiogram and I was kind of stunned silent. When I mentioned it to my dad, he commented that his sister (aka my favorite aunt) had been diagnosed with a valve defect at the age of 3 and had to have open heart surgery to correct. I just prayed about it all and stepped in to the office with a pretty calm, collected sense of peace. Her EKG and exam by the doctor were so good that he didn't even feel the need to do the echo. EXHALE. The blue lips are probably because she is so fair and tends to show coloration more than the average kid... I've been able to see most of her veins since she was born. I was relieved, to say the least.

2) Have I said lately how beyond thankful I am to have healthy children?

3) Baby S barfed ALL OVER me last night. She had been acting weird all day, fussy and not really interested in eating, and I was just fighting with her to take a bottle and as I turned her around to burp her she started making this weird gagging sound and then BOOM! Barf all over me, the couch, the blanket, the floor. Amazingly, she got none on herself. I was certain she'd wake up hungry in the middle of the night, but she didn't. She still seems off.... but no fever, generally acting normal and smiling, so????????? Babies.

4) I got the bikini and cover up I ordered and, um, NO. The bikini was too revealing (seriously, no one wants to see the crack of my derriere) and the cover up made me look enormous. I returned it all and ordered a one piece from another site and got it next day and? Um, definitely NO. I am going to the beach in 3 weeks and have no swimwear but whatever. I'll try to go shopping this week. I think that online swimsuit shopping has got to be the dumbest thing I have ever tried to do. OF COURSE I have to try 500 on before I settle on 1 that is the least awful.

5) I did order this dress yesterday and it appears to have practically sold out in less than 24 hours since they posted it.

6) The soreness from all the working out has passed. I feel like I've been doing nothing but running the past 2 weeks. I also started counting calories hard core with my best friend this week. She sent me an app for my iPhone and now I'm doing the usual obsessing bit that I always do anytime I start counting calories. Did you know that in order for me to lose 1.5 lbs a week I can only consume 1200 net calories per day but for my husband to do the same he can have 2100? I enjoy being a girl but sheesh. 1200 calories is like bread and water, literally.

7) I'm hungry.

8) I'm making this pulled pork recipe for dinner tonight. Alison the Great gave it to me when I was struggling to find things to eat several months ago (during the heights of my MSPI desperation) and it has become a staple in our monthly meals. It is SO GOOD. It sounds kinda weird and "seriously?" when you first hear it, but it is RIDICULOUSLY easy and YUM. It is even Little L approved ("mom, this isn't yucky!") and I serve it with buns, onions and jalapenos for the sandwich and then roasted red potatoes and corn. Try it, you'll like it!

I hope you are all having a WONDERFUL week. I have been having a TON of "I love my husband and kids SO MUCH, how did I get so blessed? MY HEART COULD BURST!" feelings this week. I don't ever want to take one second for granted and I wish that feeling for EVERY person in the world.


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

7 quick things

1) Little L is on "spring break" from her MDO program this week and OH MY did I totally forget what it was like to have 2 kids without a break all week. HARD. I had to take the both of them grocery shopping with me today and guess what? NEVER AGAIN. It is pure chaos, I cannot handle the management of two tiny humans plus the responsibility of a long grocery list. Nuh-uh, no way. J is taking off tomorrow so we can take them to the zoo, though. (barring rain or something Texas-y like that)

2) I ordered a bikini for Puerto Rico.

Truthfully, I hate bikinis and I know I don't look great in them but I have never found a one piece that makes me feel good either. And my husband requested bikini. So. Bikini. (Oh and never you worry, I did procure a coverup, TOO)

I foresee myself spending little time in just the bikini and mostly wearing this adorable coverup over said bikini. I do keep a photo of the bikini on my iPhone for motivation to run/exercise every day, though. I gained 5 lbs since I relaxed from the MSPI diet and I am fairly certain all 5 are located square in my gut.

3) Did I mention I am exercising every day? Well, since last Thursday at least. So. About a week-ish of solid routine under my belt. We got the treadmill working (for what it is worth, it turned out to be an issue with the electrical wiring in the room it is in, NOT a treadmill problem) and I took myself out to buy new running shoes because I had put 500+ miles on my old pair and noticed my knee was aching in them anytime I ran the past few months. I also started back up with The.30.Day.Shred and seriously? It is no joke. I've done a lot of gym classes, bootcamps, etc over the years and that video hangs up there with the best of them.

4) I am extremely sore.

5) The baby is all of the sudden HUGE!!!! As in, I am really shocked at how big. She's pretty much sitting up all on her own (with the occasional face plant and screaming fest, naturally) and much to my chagrin, she is fitting just perfectly in all those 12 month size clothes that I JUST ordered for her. (I was hoping that stuff would last us through her birthday in July at least... HA). I haven't a clue what she weighs or how long she is, but I do know that she just looks so big and is getting ridiculously heavy to hold for long stretches of time. Which, of course, is how she likes to roll... in my arms... a lot of the time.

6) We started The Story at church last week and I am really loving it so far. It is basically the bible but written like a novel. It is a cool perspective and a great way for someone who is unfamiliar with the bible to jump in and learn. We also bought the little kid's version of it for Little L and and it is the special book we read one chapter from every Sunday night. Memories are made of this...

7) I've been cooking like CRAZY lately, trying to get back on a good grocery budget and add some new things to our repertoire. I'm not a great cook but I am a GREAT recipe follower, assuming the recipe speaks in regular human speak, not chef speak. (seriously, I looked at the Julia Child's cookbook once and shrunk back in to my hole of nothingness) ANYWAYS. Alicia posted this link last week and I tried 2 of the recipes from week one and they were both pretty darn good. I did the baked pesto chicken and the chili coke roast; the pesto chicken ESPECIALLY took big praise at the dinner table from both the regular diners here. I swapped out the french bread for a cesar salad and we ate like kings. YUM. I am planning to try a few new recipes from this site each week. I am going to post the winners here because I LOVE getting good recipes endorsed by people I actually know.

8) I have plans for a GIRLS NIGHT OUT on Friday and I could DIE, literally, just DIE FROM EXCITEMENT. We haven't left the kids with a sitter in almost 7 months and I haven't had a night out on my own in longer than I can remember. My best friend and I are going to have sushi! I haven't had sushi since before I got pregnant with S, so.... a year and a half plus? I can.not.wait.


Friday, March 9, 2012

Now that you are 3...


39.5" tall
34 lbs 2 oz
Size 4 clothes, or XS; Size 9.5 shoes

The Three Year Questionniare
(An idea borrowed from Alison the Great, I asked L all of these questions and recorded her responses and will do this every year she is a willing participant!! Most of these things she had an IMMEDIATE answer for, a few took her a bit of thinking and then on the holiday one I had to explain what a "holiday" was and give her options to choose from.)

1) What is your favorite color?

2) What is your favorite toy?

3) What is your favorite fruit?

4) What is your favorite TV show?

5) What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch?
Cars S'getti O's with meatballs

6) What is your favorite outfit?
Sleeping Beauty costume

7) What is your favorite game?
Hide and seek

8) What is your favorite snack?
Nutrigrain bars

9) What is your favorite animal?
A lion (ROAR, thrown in for good measure)

10) What is your favorite song?
E-I-E-I-O (aka Old MacDonald)

11) What is your favorite book?

12) Who is your best friend?
Libby (from MDO)

13) What is your favorite cereal?
Fruit Loops (mom, I want fruit loops right now)

14) What is your favorite thing to do outside?
Go to the park

15) What is your favorite drink?

16) What is your favorite holiday?

17) What do you like to take to bed with you at night?

18) What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?
Sausage and eggs

19) What do you want for dinner on your birthday?
CAKE (duh)

20) What do you want to be when you grow up?
Princess. Or a doctor. (both answers completely acceptable!)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

the three

My little L is 3 years old.

I was with her every single one of those 1095 days (save the 3 nights I was in the hospital for baby S's birth). There are days when it feels like I am beyond aware of every single one of those minutes we've spent together and then there are days when I can hardly fathom how she went from being a tiny little newborn to the strong willed, outspoken, independent person that she is today.

I'm not the best mother in the world. My creativity is lacking and I know we watch more TV than we should and there are days when my patience has run dry and I'm too quick to heat up spaghetti oh's and let you wear your pajamas all day. There are days when you plead with me to let you play outside and I spend too much time wrapped up in work to get around to it and other days when I blow off work entirely just to take you to the mall to ride the carousel horses and eat cookies.

I never fully filled out the baby book. I started with the best intentions and I have milestone dates, weights, lengths and things you've said jotted down in notepads, stored in old blogs, added to the notes section of my phone and some I've sure have just gone forgotten. I've taken more photos and videos of you than anyone will EVER care to see (much to the dismay of all my facebook friends, I'm sure) but I've done a terrible job of organizing them or printing them to a book or burning a cd of compiled video for you. I fear our computer will croak someday and I'll lose them all and regret not having been better at managing them. Snippets of our days, our biggest and smallest moments together... trying desperately to capture and cling to what I can as you grow in warp speed. I find my memory is just awful and now that there are two of you, I struggle to remember who from what.

You're so independent. You don't need help doing anything and you make sure we know it. If I start to help with something, you'll stop me and make a point to start the whole process over so that I see just how ridiculous it was of me to try in the first place. You can dress yourself, brush your own teeth, make your own lunchbox, wash your own hands and clean up after yourself. You are kind and thoughtful and incredibly creative. You make up stories and songs and love to dance and laugh and make everyone else around you laugh, too. There are times when you are wild, loud and crazy but at the same time you are reserved and not quick to leap without looking first. You think through your decisions and choices and rarely act brash or bold but you are willing to try new things and give new experiences, foods and people a chance.

The one thing we learned about you this last year that we didn't know before is what an AMAZING big sister you are. I was so worried you'd be jealous or feel abandonded but you surprised us with neither reaction. You are quick to help and always eager to give your sister a toy or a kiss. You 2 speak a language that no one else understands and I know that regardless of what happens in life, you'll always have each other. I pray the innocence and love that you share now as you just look at one another and smile will last a lifetime.

What I don't think you'll ever know is how profoundly you have changed my life. Before you, my life was my own and I was far too selfish for my own good. There are moments in life that change a person so deeply that they never, ever return to being the same... and you, my first miracle, were truly one of the biggest of those moments for me. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't thank God for that fluke cycle when everything seemed to go so wrong but ultimately each event went so right. I cannot even think of where we'd be if that cycle had failed because there is not one single ounce of me that cares to know.

It never occurred to me when I was younger how a birthday was the end of a year instead of the beginning. Your third year was pretty magical for me and I am watching you fondly as we start the fourth, hoping time will find a way to slow down but knowing that it only gets faster as it goes. Regardless of how big you get, I hope you know that you'll always be my first baby love, sweet girl.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012


7 months and the wonderful baby

Baby S turned 7 months old and it is as if she is a whole new person. She just seems huge all of the sudden. I had to bump her up to size 4 diapers (!!!!!!!!!!!!) and she's looking mighty snug in her 9 month sleepers so I ordered a handful (ahem, BOATLOAD) of cute spring-y and summer-y 12 month size clothes. Formula is still going well. She is presently sick with snot and coughing GALORE. Again. I feel like she is healthy for 2 weeks and sick for 2 weeks and this is just the ever present pattern in our home. For a while I was feeling all sheepish and this is the price for formula feeding because, you know, Little L was NEVER sick as a wee baby and I totally attributed so much of that to the fact she nursed until 12 months.... but then I started noticing that even my mom friends who were still nursing their babies were ALSO fighting lots of sickness right now. And these said babies all have older siblings.... and then... my a-ha moment, of course. It is the big kids who are walking germ pools that are quite likely the source of most of this sickness drama. That and the blooming pear trees and flowers and grass all over the joint causing allergies and sinus infections. Why can't little babies take zy.rtec or clari.tin? I DIGRESS. Otherwise, the baby is marvelous. She is hilarious, in fact, with loads and loads of precious personality. She is eating some solids, namely oatmeal, apples, sweet potatoes, banana, squash and she's exploring her interest of water from a sippy cup. I'll take that as just fine for now. No tummy issues, still on prev.acid and probiotics, and doing really well. Still sleeping 12 hours at night (unless she wakes up to cough out a lung while sick) and taking 2 naps a day. She is one adorable little munchkin who has figured out exactly how to look at the monitor camera in her room and cry "MAMA" in the most pathetic little voice when she absolutely cannot stand to be away from me anymore. She babbles only "mama" and "baba" so far, but those MAMA's are so perfectly timed that I kinda think she knows exactly what she's saying. (Maybe because I ALWAYS respond???) I get HUGE open mouth kisses on a regular basis, she loves to be held, gives enormous neck hugs and loves rolling around on the floor with her toys. She is doing great big push ups and sort of showing interest in getting on her knees and ALMOST able to sit up on her own. I think she's actually going to be a slow mover in the crawling/walking department like her sister was and friend, I AM OK WITH THAT. Take your time, baby girl. My world with a mobile baby is a terrifying thought right now.

Birthday party

I'm struggling to wrap my mind around the idea that someone is going to be 3 years old on Sunday. How is it possible?!?!?! I cannot believe how fast the last year went and the amount of change that took place. She is SO EXCITED for her party and has been having "play" parties with all her stuffed friends in her playroom upstairs. I hear her singing "happy birthday" multiple times a day and find that the party hat rotates from friend to friend. Her party is at the most dreaded place in all of the universe to adults. I'm sure her friend's parents hate my guts but the fact that there is NO STRESS to have my house spotless and food planned and decorations attended to, etc, is simply MARVELOUS. Today I went and bought favors for 12 children. TWELVE!!! HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE? I don't really even know how we know that many kids, though most of them are admittedly our friends' children. But there's one girl from "school" coming, 2 neighbor kids, a cousin and her 2 very best friends in all the world in that count. (aka MY best friend's kids--she has no choice BUT for those kids to her her 2 very best friends!) When I invited all those kids, I figured surely at least a third would decline. Only 1 kid cannot make it.  And can I just rant that birthday party favors are like the most expensive after thought to party planning ever? When did favors even become customary anyways? I never had birthday parties as a child, they were totally a luxury my parents could not afford. I think that's probably why I tend to go overboard on birthday planning in general, too. Luckily, I think my husband gets this because he never says a word. Anyways. I bought princess stuff for the girls and Cars stuff for the boys. Little L loves both so everyone wins. In fact? She helped me pick everything out today. I cannot believe she is old enough to have so much say in these things. Sigh.

The Treadmill

Oh the freaking treadmill. Up front, we were incredibly torn between 2 models. And they were sold at two different stores. After agonizing and hours of web research from personal reviews (yea, we're those people), we finally settled on one from Sears. They offered free delivery and set up with it, so that part of the deal kinda pushed us over the edge. They delivered it Monday. Delivery dudes carried it upstairs (no small feat, our stairs bend and are NOT moving friendly) and one guy set it up and plugged it in to see if everything worked properly. All of the sudden, the fire alarm starts going off in the house. We are both running around room to room frantically trying to find smoke, the baby is screaming, Little L is screaming and holding her ears, the dog is barking... We couldn't find anything. And as if magic, it abruptly stops. We both shrugged our shoulders, delivery dude comes downstairs and then takes off in his truck. Well. We went upstairs to check the treadmill out and the moment I hit "start" to get going on the thing, what do you think happened? Dang fire alarm went off again... and the moment I hit "stop," it stopped. We were dumbfounded. It wasn't when you turned the power on/off, ONLY when you turned on the actual motor. There wasn't even time for smoke to hit the air if it were smoking. After some research, we discovered that hard-wired smoke detectors are a real nuisance and can be set off by all kind of power surges. So J called the treadmill manufacturer who said that there was probably something wrong with the motor causing the surge and to call Sears to replace it..... (yes, there is an end to this story) and those turkeys at Sears were USELESS. The store manager was downright rude to poor J and he never gets mad over anything. Long.story.short. We are letting Sears pick the thing back up and ordered the other treadmill we were torn on originally from the other retailer. J just wants to prove a point and punish Sears. So hopefully by the end of this week? I'll have a freaking treadmill.

The trip

I need that treadmill because I have to be in swimwear within less than 6 weeks. In front of the president of my husband's company. Yes, we booked the trip. My parents are going to watch the girls the first 2 days and an AWESOME friend of ours (you know who you are!!!) is going to stay with them the other 2 days. We are truly so blessed with wonderful, helpful and trustworthy people in our life. I am still totally dreading leaving the baby but... you know.... I'll deal with it when we get there.

Other stuff

Today I caught sight of myself in a mirror at the store and I saw that I had baby snot all over the front of my shirt and a good 3" of roots that need to be highlighted. I also have terrible coffee stains on my teeth and could use a mani/pedi like you wouldn't believe. At some point later in the day, Little L told me "mama, you so beautiful..." unprompted. No idea how she knew I needed that. My new skincare regimen is about a week in and so far? I am rather pleased. I can feel a big difference and my sweet husband touched my face last night and commented on how soft/smooth my skin felt. I'm going to say it was money well spent.

Well. I am rather tired and cannot think of a witty ending here.... so? The end. :)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


Today, I feel infinitely better than I have in weeks. My attitude has been just awful this month and I am so disappointed in myself. It just reminds me that if I cannot change my situation then I absolutely have to change my attitude. And after some prayer and thinking and evaluating my personal situation, I feel like I have come to some resolution about how to pick myself up and GET BACK to a more joyful and peaceful place in my life. ME TIME. Giving myself a certain amount of attention and allowing me to be ME and take some of my constant focus off my kids, house, work, etc, to just simply be an individual.

1) I HAVE to set aside completely quiet time with God each day. I was cramming those moments in when I could, simply missing some days, and often times doing them in the midst of chaos on the sofa with both kids playing on the floor next to me. A complete distraction and not the right way to do my "quiet time" at all. I have decided I am going to go to bed earlier and get up before everyone instead of just groggily rolling out of bed when I hear them rustling around at 7 AM. I am not a fan of getting up at 6 AM, but I NEED IT. And I remember when I figured this out with Little L, it changed my life. Necessary change.

2) RUNNING. I have only been able to run sporadically since S was born and it isn't working. I am an avid outdoor runner. It is all I have done for 3 years. But leaving the house with 2 kids hasn't been an option. Plus so many days it is dark at 6AM or too cold, rainy or TOO HOT. My husband offered to buy me a treadmill months ago, but I had such a hard time spending the money on something so selfish. After months of stewing on it and watching each day pass by without a run, I finally agreed it was something I simply needed to do. So this weekend that sweet man bought me one. It gets delivered on Monday. My legs are literally twitching with excitement.

3) So, there's that. Every morning, I am going to get up early and run and do bible study before the kids even stir.

4) If you've ever exercised first thing in the AM, then you know it is HARD to drag yourself out of bed for it... but once you have it done? It changes the entire course of your day. I even tell my husband that I need to "go run the mean out of me" sometimes. It just changes my attitude about everything. There is such a level of patience it affords me that life without it doesn't.

5) I got online and bought myself skin care products last week. I haven't had the opportunity to change up my skin care routine in, oh, 10+ years? I've been using the same orange neutrogen.a face wash and their basic moisturizer since I was in my early 20's. And let's face it. 32 is not 22. I'm getting wrinkles and sun damage is really starting to show. I don't have the time (or money) for a facial or even a good thorough visit with a dermatologist, so I decided it was ok to just buy some new stuff and work on feeling better about that part of me. I bought a new face soap and toner, day time tinted moisturizer with SPF, night time wrinkle moisturizer, night eye cream and a really strong moisturizer for my ANGRY bottle washing hands. I cannot stand going to the store and looking at all the options or being scrutinized by the ladies at the makeup counter at a department store, so I took some time, read reviews and ordered it all from the privacy of my home in my PJ's. I am annoyingly excited about this.

6) I went ahead and signed Little L up for the church's summer mother's day out program. It is basically just the same thing she's doing now but runs through mid-July. I wasn't sure if we should spend the money but my work schedule isn't changing just because "summer" is rolling around and she is doing SO GREAT in that program. Learning, making friends, etc. I am so glad my husband was on board with this decision. Gives me my Tuesdays and Thursdays with just 1 child for almost the entire year. So we'll only have 6 weeks this year of 5 days a week together full time. I can do that and we'll try to plan our family vacation during that time instead of in the fall like we were originally thinking.

7) I am 95% sure I am going to Puerto Rico with my husband. We have some amazing people who have offered to watch the girls and I am praying through those decisions right now to make sure we leave them with the right person and do not burden anyone too much. I honestly could so easily tell my husband to just go without me and stay home with my girls but honestly? Why is it SO EASY for me to put my kids before my husband like that? He is my #1 earthly priority and it means SO MUCH to him for me to be there in support of him and enjoying time alone together for the first real time in 3 years. I owe it to him to make this happen. Pray for me... I get a little anxious thinking about leaving the baby so soon, but I know it is the proper decision. 3 nights away is nothing in the grand scheme of things.

8) Speaking of the baby, she was dedicated at church this weekend. I told Little L we were "giving sister back to God" and she gave me a sad look and said she did not want us to give sister to anyone.

9) Oh, and speaking of the baby, she turned 7 months old on Sunday (also the 7 year anniversary of the day my sweet man asked me to marry him--what a day!). AND my little L turns 3 years old in less than 2 weeks. I cannot believe ANY OF THIS.

Hope you are all blessed today! And choosing JOY!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

to retract

I totally wish to retract my blog post from yesterday. Because I read it back today and it was sooooooo incredibly whiny and all "POOR SAD ME AND MY AWFUL LIFE WITH MY FREE VACATION CONUNDRUM AND TRAVELING HUSBAND WHO HAS A MARVELOUS JOB WAH WAH WAH."

I make it a personal policy to not be a whiner or one who complains over social media, especially over problems that aren't by most people's standard's, in fact, problems.

So, retraction accepted?

You see, I have discovered that life with 2 small children is just a whole darn lot harder than I ever anticipated. And my husband's traveling schedule has been unusually heavy the past 6 weeks and all this alone time has allowed frustration to brew and bubble up inside of me and I guess it just happened to spill over here... and in the face of some of the unsuspecting friends who have emailed, called, and/or texted me lately.

I LOVE having 2 kids. I really do. But almost 7 months in, looking back from where we were before we had the baby?

It's darn hard.

Even when he's not traveling, J has simply been working a ton here at home and I find myself outnumbered by children more often than not. When there was just 1, she could spend some time playing alone or nap or SOMETHING to give me peace and quiet for brief stretches throughout my day. So rarely does it ever happen now that they are both quiet or undemanding at the same time. In fact, Little L has pretty much stopped taking naps all together within the past month and she is talking ALL THE TIME. Often times, I am fielding work phone calls with one child yammering away about needing something in the background and a baby wailing over the monitor. Even when we are both "on" and managing the kids together, it is still kind of crazy how we each have one little person to give our attenton to and we are never really getting any individual "alone" time in any given day.

But it could be worse. So, so much worse.

I think I put a ton of emphasis on all of my stress and frustration revolving around the diet-breastfeeding v. formula-non sleeping, non napping, constantly crying baby and I expected my life to just magically go back to at least resembling the awesome way it was pre-baby when we got all that mess sorted. But, DUH. That wasn't the case. Because a baby is so much more work than she's not, especially this one. She isn't independent like her sister was, she needs and wants constant attention. And now that we toss the whole mess of bottle washing, solids introduction, constant diaper changing on top of the existing needs of the child who was always here (well, not really, technically just shy of only 3 years of existence, but it DOES feel like always at this point), I am ridiculous BUSY every day. I eat every meal late, I forget to drink water, my hands are ANGRY at me for all the bottle washing and I have totally hit the point of rarely even running a brush through my hair each day, never mind such niceties like makeup or lip gloss. HAR!

But on the flip side? I simply love these girls. I mean I truly, deeply adore them to my CORE. I always just knew I'd love having another child but I couldn't have imagined how much and how differently I would love her. And the love of seeing the two of them together? It is amazing. The baby just adores her sister and laughs and squeals at her allllll the time. They face each other in the back of the van and I swear some days they just sit back there quietly smiling at each other for the entire drive wherever we are going. And we spend so much time together having dance parties or huddled around the kitchen (L in her chair, S in her high chair and me usually standing at the island) just giggling and listening to music or eating snacks. I'll often leave Little L in the family room "in charge" of watching S (I am really just within eye shot, but it makes her feel important) and come back to finding them side by side on the floor holding hands.

The tough days are tough for sure, but in every day there is so much good.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

bring on the stress

Begin, begin... where do I begin.

* Business travel. I HATE IT. And it is running our lives right now. I cannot express how unbelievably hard it is to play the role of a single work-at-home-parent-to-two. Just the girls and I alone for multiple days, not much other human interaction... it could make a person go kinda crazy. Mornings and nights especially are just SO HARD. I try not to complain about it to him too much because, well, there's just nothing he can do about it. But really, a huge part of me just wants to WHINE. And it isn't that I think he's off on vacation enjoying himself, right? Yet somehow it is hard not to feel kinda jealous when I'm fighting to wrangle 2 children down to bed only to know I have 2 hours of work waiting for me while he's staying at a nice hotel (with ROOM SERVICE, MAIDS, NO CRYING CHILDREN!) enjoying a steak dinner with wine and ADULT CONVERSATION.

* My family (the one that I was born in to, not the one I made). Oh, my poor, sad, miserable family. It isn't appropriate to go in to too many details but I have two grown brothers who are just a HUGE mess right now. And these are the kinds of messes that spill over in to everyone else's life, especially my dad's and definitely mine. I spend a lot of time worrying and praying for both of them and every day seems like SURELY SOMETHING HAS TO CHANGE OR GET BETTER? But it hasn't happened. Today I said to God "I honestly don't know what to pray for with them anymore. So, please, your will just be done right now." I'm not sure if I've ever hit that place in prayer before now.

* To further push this family drama in to my life, my dad and his wife are our only babysitter. We have been unable to rely on them at all in the past few months because of all of this nonsense with my brothers. One or both of them are regularly staying in their home and really, I'm not comfortable with my kids being around them. So sure, they could come to our house and watch them. But they both work full time and are dealing with the brother crap full time, too, so it just seems wrong to ask them to please watch our small, very needy children on top of all that exhausting MESS they are dealing with on a daily basis. So you know what that means? We haven't been alone without our kids since our wedding anniversary last year. OCTOBER 1st. In fact, as I think about it, that was the one and only time we left both kids alone with them to go out on a date. I was too afraid to leave baby S with anyone since she was such drama. And now I'm just not really sure what to do about this... but it is putting a definite strain on my marriage. We're doing ok but, you know, married couples just need time alone. Outside of the house. To talk about things other than Nemo and Rapunzel.

* Rolling right along... my wonderful, amazing, loyal, hard-working husband won this fantastically HUGE company award last week. Really, it's a BIG FRIGGIN DEAL. I am so proud of him and I know he is humble but SO HONORED. Because this is the kind of designation people carry around with them and put on their resumes, it is well known in his industry. Well. In conjunction with said award, which is bestowed upon about 200 people each year (out of 65,000 employees), he won a trip. Not just any trip, either. A FIRST CLASS ALL THE WAY, 5-star resort  (for 4 days during the work week) in Puerto Rico trip. For two. (His company politely assumes the winner would want to take their spouse with them to a gorgeous beach) It is a very executive type trip with scheduled events and spa days and such and, well, basically NOT CHILD FRIENDLY in any way. HAHAHAHA. And we have no idea what we are going to do. Because we realistically don't have any family to leave our 2 children with that long and who else can you expect to watch your 2 kids for 3 nights? Plus there's the whole fact that the baby will only be about 9 months by that time and I am asking myself if I can even fathom leaving her for that long? But then there's my husband (who is going to take this awesome trip with or without me, by the way), who wants nothing more than for me to take this trip with him. And my head wants to explode because I have no idea what to do.

Yes, I realize my problems aren't the worst problems in the world. And things have been much harder in the past, for sure. But at the moment, when I figured I would find some PEACE and rest after the whole food-sleep-drama with Baby S, I feel myself just riddled with angst and stress. I am doing my best to overcome it and just trust that things will work out as they should, but... you know, easier said than done.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

love is patient

Early this evening as I sat downstairs at my laptop, attempting to cram in 15 minutes of work while S was catnapping and I was preparing to have to rush through a bottle, oatmeal and 2 bedtimes, Little L was upstairs in her playroom quietly emptying the entire contents of a bottle of hand lotion out on herself, her toys, the carpet, the walls and any other nearby surface.

I was blissfully unaware until she appeared next to me, covered from head to toe in a thick, white substance and smelling like a blend of almond and up-to-no-good. It took me a moment to realize what had happened and then I casually noticed the trail she'd brought down the stairwell and tile with her.


I picked her up and carried her upstairs to survey the damage and frustratingly asked "Why did you do this?" (we've had the talk about this particular bottle of lotion before--the only one in the house within her reach--and she always knew it was to be given by mommy only) She simply looked at me blankly and said "I dunno." She sat there quietly and watched as I cleaned the mess up and obediently followed me to her bathroom for a bath, pajamas and early bedtime with no story. I received a meek apology and no arguments or contention about being put to bed an hour early.

Last week a friend of ours posted a picture on FB of her 3 year old child next to a "reward chart" and stickers for certain tasks she did around the house. I actually laughed out loud as I read the chart, snickering to myself that most of those things are tasks I've simply expected Little L to do without question or reward since she was old enough to walk.  And then I checked myself for being judgmental of another parent and asked myself "Am I too hard on my daughter?" My husband, who is also friends with this person on FB, also happened to see that picture a few days later and of his own will mentioned it to me. I asked him if he thought I was too hard on Little L and he paused and answered "sometimes."

It was a moment of awareness for me. One that has been building and coming for a matter of weeks. I'm not necessarily a mean, bossy slave driver or expect this child to be performing quadratic equations at the ripe old age of 3, but rather I do NOT expect her to do some of the frustrating 3 year old things that often come out of her. And then I get REALLY frustrated and bothered when she does act like she, by nature, should. She's slow and incredibly picky about everything being "just so" and I am always in a hurry to get everywhere. I DETEST being late. In fact, it is one of life's greatest stresses for me. And I am constantly stressing to her how much we are running late or how difficult she is making the process of getting out the door by insisting that SHE put her shoes on herself when I can do it 4 times faster.

I was recently doing a bible study in 1 Corinthians and came across a footnote in my bible regarding love "being patient." The gist was basically that often times we get irritated by others and that irritable treatment of other people is always wrong, even if the feeling isn't necessarily sinful. Most irritability in our lives stems from a love of perfection; a desire that we have to make sure everything in our lives runs perfectly or in accordance with our own, individual preferences. I cannot summarize the next part, it was too poignant for me....
"Those who are easily irritated need to remember that perfection exists only in God. We need to love Him and our fellow Christians, not the visions we have for perfection here on earth."
This was simply a footnote in my bible and it REALLY hit me. HARD. I've been really convicted by this lately, in SO MANY areas of my life. Especially with my children and my husband. Also with my friends, family and even strangers. People in traffic driving slow in the fast lane or people who ask me too many questions in the elevator or people who don't think the way I think. I am often SO quick to be irritated by others and I really need to work on this part of my spirit.

Instead of getting extremely angry over the lotion thing tonight I apologized to her for leaving a bottle of lotion within her reach. I explained to her that I set boundaries for her in order to keep her from getting herself in to trouble. I told her she was being punished with an early bedtime and no story for breaking my rules but that I loved her very much and I hope tomorrow will be a day without her getting in to any trouble.

Do I think there's any chance of that? Nah, not really. But I am going to work really hard on not getting so irritated with her for doing the things a 3 year old will do and I will give her more credit for the wonderfully obedient things she does of her own accord without receiving reward or praise. Because I know the coming year is going to be a real challenge for us both.