Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Musings

I apologize for the length of time that has passed since my last blog entry. I am grateful to those who read my blog (cuz really it's quite a self serving enterprise;) and I was surprised at just WHO read my blog as I've been getting quite a few "You haven't blogged in a while" comments. Yesterday, my friend Bobbi said, "Kim, Dec. 7, that is your last blog entry; what's up?" Okay- so I am blogging.

The truth is there is good reason that I haven't blogged. The Christmas season is chaos. Every year I say, "we are going to keep the season simple and peaceful" and every year I find it incredibly difficult to do! Since becoming a mom, I feel even MORE determined to make Christmas a time my children remember as a joyful SEASON not just a fun-filled day of presents. I am making efforts to be present with my children from baking to craft making to just playing. I have intentionally cut out the non-essentials- blogging is one of those. In general, I've tried to just be on the computer less. Sure, I have "time" after my kids are in bed, but honestly, being "on" all day and accomplishing all the Christmas "to dos" is exhausting!

We are leaving for Aspen, Co tomorrow. Sounds glamorous, doesn't it? Aspen is beautiful so I am not complaining really, but we've learned traveling over Christmas with small children is just difficult. You can't bring all the presents, it's SO much work to pack and get ready, etc. I think this is the last year we'll do this for a while, even if it means celebrating with Marc's family has to happen a different day. It just isn't "peaceful". Thankfully, we are flying. But even then- with the weather this week I have to pack a carry-on of kid food and such because we have a lay over in Nebraska. The airport in Lincoln apparently has one coffee shop...if we get stuck there because of weather we need to be prepared...so we have extra clothes, food, diapers, activities ready. My mind is working overtime keeping it all together;)

For the most part our bags are packed and my house is clean. We are hoping to build a snowman this afternoon when Marc gets home. Life is good, it really is. It just takes effort to keep it that way!

Merry Christmas to each of you; I do pray your season has been joyful!

Monday, December 7, 2009

I suppose there ARE worse things I could pass on...

Ava came out of her room today and had changed into leggings and a t-shirt. She said, "I am a mom and these are my pajamas. I am going to sleep with my husband now, so don't wake me up."

This is funny for a couple reasons. The first is that Ava's favorite pajamas are a satin nightgown that my mom made her. She also has ballet PJs, etc. She has never slept in a t-shirt and leggings. She totally called me out. I sleep in sweats and a t-shirt ALL the time. I guess she thinks this is normal mom attire. I wasn't about to get into marriage talks with her. Hopefully, she'll be a better wife than me and keep her "pretty pajama preference" when she gets married;) Thankfully, Marc loves me even with my preference for comfort over style;)

The second reason it is hilarious is because she said so emphatically, "don't wake me up." Kids are such a mirror. I realized that since I've been pregnant every day when it is nap time I tell her, "It's fine if you don't sleep, but you need to stay in your room for rest time. I am going to sleep in my room, do not wake me up." I guess it's made an impression!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

If you were a fly in my living room last night....

Kim: Ava, come on, honey, it's late. Climb up on the couch so we can do our Advent Book.
Ava: Just a minute mommy, I have to itch my bum.
(Kim gives her a silly look.)
Ava: I like to scratch it when it's itchy and then I like to smell it.

I started laughing so hard I couldn't even get the "that is gross and impolite" out of my mouth. Her complete honesty and innocence literally made me laugh to the point of tears. How entirely gross and yet utterly hilarious. I am SOOO reminding her of that when she is 16 and think she is oh so cool...

(Oh and don't worry- she DID have to wash her hands:)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Baby Brain

Baby brain is, according to my book, not a real phenomenon. The What to Expect lady says (basically) pregnant ladies forget things because they are self-absorbed.Let me tell you, this made me laugh and laugh hard. A mom with two other children and a husband has no time to be self-absorbed,but nonetheless, my brain in not functioning well at all. I am quite sure I could be certified as an idiot;)

Monday, I ordered Peapod (a grocery delivery service) to save myself the headache of grocery shopping this week. I tried hard to remember what we needed and even double checked myself 'cause I know my mind is less than stellar at the moment. When it didn't arrive on time, despite their reputation for timeliness I called their customer service number. It turns out, I had my OLD address entered. Poor driver was ringing a buzzer at our old condo wondering who would order grocies and then not be home to recieve him. He was kind enough to drive them to our home at the end of his route. He was so nice, I didn't dare tell him that we have lived in THIS house almost TWO years!

One would think I would learn from such a mistake, apparently not- this is where you just may agree that I have reached "idiot" status. Tonight, I was to recieve on order from Dinner By Design. I'd taken advantage of an amazing groupon and gotten a great deal of 6 frozen meals and 3 sides. Their food is TOP quality and saves times on those crazy days. Anywho- by 7 it hadn't arrived. Marc joked, "Maybe you gave them the wrong address again." Couldn't be, could it? Sure enough, they had our wrong address. Granted this time, it was because last time I ordered from them it was when we lived in Chicago and I didn't update it when ordering, but you'd THINK I would have double checked after yesterdays debacle? OH MY! They haven't called me back yet, I am not so certain they'll be quite as nice as the Peapod guy. I effectively sent them down into the city in rush hour..when they are located in a suburb north of here. How do you apologize for that?

I don't care what my book says, my brain cells are disappearing; I am quite sure of it. Now, off to check all my online Christmas orders...who know where I sent them too?!

Boys, Boys, Boys...

My son is undeniably adorable. He is just cute. We get lots of attention when we are out and people just seem to adore him. I wouldn't say his cuteness is a problem, really. I do love his chubby little face and belly laugh, but these precious features really are disguising quite a monster;) He seems destructive to his core. He will empty out anything he possibly can, faster than one could possibly imagine. Seemingly, he dumps, just to dump. Yesterday I went to the bathroom. I was gone MAYBE 2 mintues, during which he dumped a full box of Cheez Its on the floor, not to eat, but just to stomp on and crush. My cleaning lady was here on Monday, but my kitchen looks like it needs a mop again already. Looking at my Family Room at the moment, you'd think we hadn't picked up in weeks; it was picked up last night.


He apparently does NOT have a good understanding of the word, "No!" I have to move him about 20 times from forbidden actions (like opening the oven) before he finally quits returning to them. He walks around and hits "off-limits items", like the oven, lamps, the flat screen TV, and says, "No, No, No, No" and then laughs. AYE!

I also think he is going to probably end up with some major injuries in the near future. He climbs on everything he possibly can and has even taken to MOVING the little plastic kid chairs around the living room enabling him to climb higher. I don't even know of any good "house friendly" climbling toys! I take the cushions off the couch and put them on the floor to he can climb on the cushions and then the couch and fall without totally hurting himself, but it doesn't seem to be enough for my little adventurer. (Because of his asthma, I am keeping him OUT of Gymboree for Flu Season;P ) Anyone have any ideas?


I love this little guy, but he is exhausting and I am sure he is taking years off my life with his shenanigans;)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Conservative or not...too cute;)

Ava had trouble going to bed tonight. She's so flippin' adorable it's hard to get mad at her. She comes up with the CUTEST excuses for being out of bed; "I just wanted to tell you that I turned my night light on; we forgot at bedtime and I don't want you to worry about me."

When she came out of her room for the third time tonight I was just about to put on my angry voice and threaten a consequence when she noticed the TV and said, "Hey, that looks like the Prisoner of the United States, right?" I barely contained my laugh and told her, "He probably feels like a prisoner sometimes, but he's called the President of the United States, remember?." She replied, "Oh, Right! The Present to the United States, like I get presents for Christmas." I may be a Conservative, but such a statement is way to cute too correct. He is still at the beginning of his term, I pray he does turn out to be a present to the United States.:)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Hurt Feelings

I have been doing pretty well sickness wise. Yesterday was a horrible day and I am always exhausted but overall, doing much less of the vomiting and such- which is to me the worst of it. This morning, however, I was in the kitchen making my kids breakfast and out of no where I start gagging and had to make a mad dash to the bathroom. Just at the point of my initial gag, Ava asked me a question. I, of course, could not respond. She asked again louder and then ran after me to the bathroom chatting away. It actually took her quite a few seconds to realize I was hurled over the toilet and her initial question (to be honest I completely forget what it was) turned into, "Mommy are you throwing up?" She must have asked me that five times and then moved on to, "Mommy remember when I threw up in my bed before?" and then when she still didn't get an answer proceeded to tell me that I was hurting her feelings.

Once I collected myself, I was able to give hugs and explain that I wasn't trying to ignore her but I need space when I am sick and I just can't talk then. I was kind externally, but let me say for the record what I was saying inside, "LEAVE ME ALONE! HAVE YOU EVERY TIRED TO VOMIT AND TALK SIMUTANEOUSLY? I DIDN'T THINK SO." I guess ultimately when you are sick you want someone to feel badly for you...probalby are never going to get that from a three year old...so I spent a few moment feeling sorry for myself and now I'll gag down a banana and move on.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The bewitching hours...

I swear someone stops time at our house between 4 and 6pm. The rest of the day moves by at a relatively steady pace. Then late afternoon/evening comes and the clocks just don't CHANGE on minute intervals, I am quite sure. Time drags along as I drag my son along hanging on my leg while I attempt to get dinner on the table. When will the phone call come that reinforcements are on there way? Poor Marc if he happens to leave 5 minutes late from work because let me tell you 5 minutes at this time of day may as well be 5 hours.

I love being a stay at home mom but I think I'd like to find a job from 4-6pm every day even if the salary does no more than cover the childcare I'd need during the time. Anyone hiring? Anyone want to babysit 5 days a week from 4-6? Perhaps along with all the bills going through congress, we should add one in called "Stay at Home Moms Relief Act" and provide stay at home moms with help from 4-6 every day. I'd pay more taxes for that one;) (Can you you just IMAGINE what my congresswoman would do if I called her with that idea?:)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Dilemma

I just had a great nap- an almost two hour, GREAT nap. It felt SOOO amazingly good, but instead of waking up spry, I just want to preserve rest time. I am sitting here on the couch resting. My children are also awake, but I am making every effort to remain silent at this end of the house. Perhaps if they think I am still asleep, they will lay around a little longer too. Phin could actually use a longer nap since he skipped his morning one and Ava? well, she could read more books or something. It just feels so good to sit unbothered. I wonder how long I could stretch this time? I first have to block out the guilty "you are ignoring your children's wake up calls" whispering in my ear, but if I can manage to ignore that, how long could this last? Will Ava stay in her room? Will she go in Phin's? Would he just fall back asleep? He never really cries...how long would we have to leave him until he actually got upset and started crying. Hmmmm...

Interesting question, since at this very moment my daughter has opened her door. She has not left her room yet but is singing a made up song. I would gather that she is nude looking in the mirror cuz she's singing "vagina girl, tummy girl, belly button girl." Oh my! I can only imagine what a mess her room is if she's taken to dressing and undressing in there....

Now, Phin is calling "Aya! Aya!" (that is his word for Ava). Instead of answering, she is singing "Vagina girl" even louder. Oh my word, if I creep around with a video camera this song is CERTAIN to be good blackmail material for later. Of course, then she might here my footsteps and know I am awake. Oh the dilemma's in the life of a mother!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

My diamonds

I had a touch and go sort of day. I was proud of myself through pushing through some pretty crap moments and fighting to make today a good one. Not only was I fighting my exhausted and nauseated body today; today I was fighting my son. I have a one year old terror on my hands. Let me tell you, my son is adorable. His face captures hearts whereever we go. He is just cute and he gets lots of attention, but apparently he doesn't get his fill. He ALWAYS needs to have my attention at home. He if often clinging to my leg and has learned to say "UP" though he talks very little otherwise. He also seems to think it is funny to get a huge reaction out of me. He definitely knows how to make sure I "pay" for taking a minute to myself to use the restroom or take a shower. Today he unloaded my dishwasher not once but twice and also stopped it when I tried to run it this evening. The locking mechanism on my oven and dishwasher are useless as Mr. Phin has figured out how to unlock them. It is apparently hilarious to open the dishwasher and just throw dishes on the floor before crawling away. It must be hilarious because he laughs a deep belly laugh when I sigh in exhaustion at the sight. What a booger!

We adore our son and we hope to raise him to have a sense of humor but save his shenanigans for appropriate times...like when mommy is in the mood for nonsense;) One thing I am sure of, he'll be a gentleman and a servant, just like his papa. My touch and go day is ending on a high note because of my hubby who is driving across town to get me a peice of pie...cuz I saw some on the food network that looked yummy. Food is supposed to be the way to a man's heart but when a pregnant nauseated woman sees someting that looks appetizing- nothing beats having that craving met. Yes, I have Phineas- a diamond in the rough, who is still closer to the "coal" stage of the process and I have my hubby who is a diamond of great color and clarity;)

YAY!

We officially have a healthy little bean a growin';) We had an ultrasound yesterday (I'll scan in pic's later when I have a moment) and saw a very strong little heart beat, a cute little body and large head and little tiny weeny arms and legs. Our offspring was kind enough to even move his/her arms and allow us to pretend he/she waved;)


We told Ava "officially" this morning and she's thrilled. She keeps saying, "I can't believe you got a baby in there mommy!" Very sweet reaction! She also keeps saying, "That's why you are sick, right mommy? I am sorry that baby makes you sick." Then when I told her SHE made me VERY sick and that I threw up almost everything I ate when I was pregnant with her and not just every few days, but every time I ate, she found it hilarious. So now she has wanted me to tell her three times about "how I made you throwed up." I don't know why that is such a badge of honor, but whatever....


My doctor said I was 8 week 5 days pregnant as of yesterday. Then she said my due date was 6/12 according to her wheel. The nurse was a little confused by that date and the date the computer gave her and it seemed slightly off to me. This morning I counted out to 40 weeks and it is 6/17....so I left a message with the doctor (she's a good friend;) to check. 6/17 is just weird cuz Ava was due 3/16 and born 3/17, Phin was due 10/17 (but was late) and now 6/17...seems crazy consistent;) Not that a few days matters at that point....but it all has to make sense in my head;)


Anywho- I am glad to be ever closer to less nausea and vomitting and more energy....second trimester couldn't get here soon enough;) Yesterday I had the first good day I've had in a while and to have moments of feeling normal was absolutely refreshing. I got a few things done and just reveled in being able to eat better yesterday. I felt like a decent mom to my kids and I think my husband was glad that I was able to entertain a full conversation and stay engaged;) Today is back to the yucko stomach and tiredness, but I am hopeful there'll be more days like yesterday ahead.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Blog...Schmogg

Lately I am a bump on a log...well on the couch, actually. I have never and I mean NEVER been so tired in my entire life. I can hardly keep food down, nothing tastes good even when I do eat, and I feel abso-flippin-lutely horrible. Oh, and did I mention that I have to take care of two children. AHHH! I just don't feel like doing anything, but lying in bed isn't really an option on most days;P

This weekend my parents and sister took the children, which is one of the best gifts EVER. I was pretty sure by this evening I'd feel rested and energized to start the week, but the honest truth is I am about to cry. Do I really have to be mom again tomorrow? AHHH! We do what we have to do, right? I KNOW that logically, but right now I am having quite a nice pity party;) I have so little energy that though I do miss my children's adorable little faces, I don't want them to come home. That's terrible ,isn't it? But that is the truth at the moment....instead of being rejuvinated by this wonderful break, I am feeling anxious about it's rapidly approaching end. Thank GOD, he gives us strength when we are weak, cuz right now I am in desperate need.

So there is my pity party and now I am done. I have really cute kids and I will somehow keep them alive this week even if they watch a little too much TV and my house starts to get a bit messy and dirty. This season will pass, we will survive...

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Hair Today, but maybe be not tomorrow!

I was in desperate need of a hair cut and such. My highlights had grown out so much that I was embarrassed to wear my hair down. Unfortunately I didn't make it a priority to get it done, so I was almost sheepish going in today; I was sure someone would say, "Girl, you KNOW you should have been in a couple months ago!"

In prepping for todays hair appointment, I had quite a chat with myself. I always get really great haircuts. The problem is, I hate to blow dry and straighten my hair. I hate it. This leads to my trademark hairstyle- a pony tail. When I went in today, I said to Natalie, "I need something wash and go; what can we do with my waves?" She said, "waves? Kim, you have straight up curly hair." I was kind of surprised, though I have noticed increased kinks and waves with each pregnancy. Today she cut it into a curly style and defused it. I am freakin'. I can't believe this is my natural hair. I don't know if I'll keep doing it curly; the syle she gave me can still be straightened...and I am afraid I might still resort to the pony.

My hubby thinks it's great to wear the hair God gave me. I am not so sure. Honest comments more than welcome...oh and please excuse the pale face; I don't like to take time for makeup either. Any spare time and I rather grab a really good book:P (I think my sisters wonder where this LaPine girl came from!)



(This is a terrible angle, but I am snappin' myself and not too good at it, obviously!)
Addendum- so, I can't do it- I feel like a 12 year old. My hair ended up in a pony tail by the evening and I'm going to try this cut straight tomorrow. We'll see...

Friday, October 30, 2009

Halloween....hmmmm

Tomorrow is Halloween. I love seeing my kids dressed up. Is there anything cuter than a little kid in a cute costume. The deserve candy- they are so darn tootin' adorable. The truth is though I am really struggling with Halloween this year. My opinion up to this point is that I didn't want to celebrate the evil aspects of Halloween, but I also didn't want my kid to stick out like a sore thumb, if he or she was the only kid not participating, not getting a piece of candy in their lunch, not talking about dressing up. I was always allowed to go trick or treating and I looked forward to it every year. It was never about anything evil just about fun and candy; a day all about candy, what could be better to a child?

I am really struggling with the concept of Halloween today, however. I find it is HARD to KEEP it innocent for my child. Ava is 3 1/2. She is in the middle of the stage of "Nightmares"; she loses a lot of sleep cuz of these crazy nuisances! If the holiday were just about "fun", it shouldn't have to be a concern. Instead, I have to worry about decorations in every store we enter. Is it just me or have Halloween decorations gotten scarier? We can't even get a craft a Michael's without passing grotesque and scary displays. It quite honestly infuriates me. I can't drive down the major street to my house without having to try to distract Ava from the scary costumed people trying to lure people into the seasonal Halloween stores that have seeminly sprung up in droves.

Today Ava had ballet. Her instructor was dressed cute in a cat costume. Ballet should be a perfectly "safe" place to take your child. Today, however, it was all about Halloween. Is it cute for three year olds to dance to Thriller, I am not sure?! They were to pretend they were ghosts. My child said she was afraid of ghosts and was told "it was just pretend". Here is the problem, I am lying to my child if I tell her ghosts aren't real. See I believe there is plenty of evil that we cannot see. I believe that ARE evil spirits. I have taken care of patients, when working as a nurse, who were members of the Church of Satan and let me tell you they were VERY frightening people. Evil DOES exist and I don't see the humor in celebrating it and pretending it doesn't. But am I going to say to my three year old, "Actually ghosts are real". NO, instead I did my best to protect my child. Unfortunately today that meant keeping her back when the rest of her ballet class went through a "Haunted House". It was supposed to not be scarry, but I peaked in and some of the pictures would keep her up for weeks. I just don't get why as a christian I have to be so careful to be PC, to not assume someone celebrates Christmas or Easter, but God forbid anyone give equal consideration to the fact that as a Christian I don't think it is funny to celebrate witches, ghosts, or demons.

My faith aside- my kid gets scared. Why do people scare three year olds? Why is that okay? Why is that funny? Does no one remember waking from a nightmare and having to drum up every couragous bone in your body just to walk through the dark to your parents room/ to safety? I am just frustrated....F-R-U-S-T-R-A-T-E-D! Should I hide my children away for the month of October? It seems it is getting scarier and scarier every year. Our poor children are exposed to severed heads, blood, and gore as toddlers just by driving down the street. How can we expect children to maintain any innocence?! We wouldn't let them watch horror films, but it's hard to keep them from viewing decor in a neighbors yard! Why are we surprised that children in our society are numb to violence and gore?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Confession

I hate to admit it but being in the first trimester of pregnancy is like having 12 weeks of PMS, atleast that is how it always is for me. I find myself easily anxious, easily annoyed, and very irritable. This doesn't bode well for those who are forced to live in the same home as I live in. My poor husband is very helpful at the moment, but forbid the moment he eases up or doesn't finish a job. I get annoyed. I should just be thankful that he did the dishes, right? Instead, all I see is the nonstick pans he sets to "soak". Granted this little habit of his is annoying after nine years of marriage, but a pregnant Kim has trouble just letting it go. I find that one little jab slipping out from my lips. I should just wear a sandwich board for the next few weeks that says, "I am sorry."

My children fare a little better externally. I don't say mean things to them, though I HAVE found myself raising my voice at Ava. (Her lack of listening really gets my dander up. OOOOOH Boy!) For the most part though, they don't realize that I am flippin' annoyed by them at various points in the day. This evening, my poor son was not feeling well. He got a couple shots yesterday and so he's running a low grade fever today. On one hand I do feel great compassion for him, but after carrying around a whiny 30 lb. one year old for a couple hours, one can't help but count the minutes until bedtime. It was work getting him down tonight and I'm pretty sure I may have uttered "Good Riddance" as I left his darkened bedroom.

I think God knows I can't handle much at the moment because fortunately all three family members have taken turns annoying me and they have also taken turns charming me. Should they all gang up in annoying mode I might lose it. I am just not a nice person at the moment. I can't help but think of the passage in Romans where Paul talks about "doing the things he doesn't want to do." I want to be carefree and joyous yet I find myself tired and annoyed. Oh the joys of sinful nature;P I am weak and there's no denying it at times like this.

OH family, forgive my weakness. Thank you for you help, Marco and for your total obliviousness to my discomfort, Ava and Phin:). I'm prayin' for more strength to bite my tongue and find more joy in the chaos. In the meantime, we can adopt the motto "This too shall pass." It applies to my nausea and exhaustion as well as my irritability, but it also applies to the added work for Marc and the mommy who has a little less interest in playing pocket dollies and blowing on bellies.

a bit too tired...

I have so much to blog about, I suppose, but so little energy to do it;) I am T-I-R-E-D! Long before this little teeny baby was developping inside and sapping all my doggone energy, I had signed up and agreed to far too many things in October.
I was stressed looking at my calendar when I was in top form, so I don't even know what to call the feeling I got when looking at my calendar after finding out I was pregnant! I am happy we made it through, actually! Truth be told I would NOT have made it through at all except for my husband- who literally picked up ALL my slack and then some.
He deserves a bit of an ego stroke! He has been amazing- give him a cape and tights folks, cuz he is definitely a superhero. (Last Friday he sent me to bed at 8, saying I looked "awful", and he stayed up cleaning and prepping for Phin's first birthday...see? a hero.)


Anywho- I have a lot of cute pictures from the past few days, so in lieu of writing I am just going to give you little peeks into the cuteness of my children....
THURSDAY 10/22- I visited Ava's preschool class:
Here is Ava "play acting" the book A Stubborn Pumpkin with her class. Because it was her "special day" (ie. mom was in the class room), she was the pumpkin.
Here is Ava with her other teacher, Miss McCrary. She will draw the pumpkin, but first is working with Miss McCrary to examine all aspects of the pumpkin. First she noted it was a circle and then drew a circle, then she noticed the lines down the pumpkin and drew them, finally she drew the stem before painting it orange and green. It was so interesting to see how you teach art to a three year old.
Here is Ava with her two buddies at the art station. All three are into drawing rainbows and tracing their hands. It was cute to watch them each earnestly coloring away.
SATURDAY: Phin's First Birthday party.

Phin's Auntie Katie made him a very special birthday shirt.


He is ONE:)

Here is Phin's "Giraffe" cake before he had his hands on it and in it.

And....After;)
SATURDAY AFTERNOON- Birthing Class comes over for Halloween Party. (We still get together about once a month with our birthing class from our pregnancy with Ava- we've known them almost 4 years now!)


No doubt about it- they are NO longer babies;)

MONDAY- While still recovering from our weekend, Phin had his first Spaghetti experience;)

He was one HAPPY little boy!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Happy Birthday, Munchy!


Today is my baby boy's FIRST BIRTHDAY! Where does time go? So cliche, I KNOW!, but seriously, one can't help but be amazed that he is already one year old. He is on the verge of toddlerhood! AH! Am I ready of a toddler boy?
It's amazing to think back over the ups and downs of the past year. First, I love and hate to think about his birth. The actual labor wasn't bad, but in transition I got the chills and was shaking uncontrollably. I was literally vomitting repeatedly as I was pushing. I have never in my life felt so helpless. I couldn't tell if I was pushing effectively or not and I was quite sure it would never end. When he finally did come out, it seemed like forever until I could hold him; I cried as they held him up and couldn't reconcile their "he is a BIG baby" comments with how tiny and helpless he looked to me;)

Finally, he was in my arms. Is there anything more precious than holding that little baby for the first time? AHHH! I could die just remembering. That little helpless, wide eyed face taking in his mommy's face with wonder and amazement. SERIOUSLY, I am not a person who become easily verklempt, but this is one thing that brings tears to my eyes repeatedly. It wasn't long before they had to take my little blessing away because my ol' uterus wasn't contracting. (Let's insert note here- if this ever happens to you- be prepared for a long haul. The medicine they give you to contract causes not just the uterus muscles to contract but the intestinal muscles as well. You have to just sit on a bed pan while water runs out your bum. I cried. It was awful and uncontrollable and again I thought it would never end. If you experience this, all I can tell you is that is does end....eventually.)

The first few months of Phin life were the hardest thing I have ever experienced. I look back now and I have no clue how I survived. In hindsight, perhaps he was colicky- I had to hold him much of the evening; the sling became a good friend. The nights were the true test of endurance. He woke up repeatedly. I have no idea how I functioned- solely by the grace of God. About 4 1/2 month in, I literally ended up weeping on my knees in the living room as I listened to him cry begging God for mercy and an answer. Rose, the "sleep nurse", was an answer to prayer. I was prepared to pay her a LOT of money, but instead FOR FREE, she spoke with me over the phone and gave use some things to try. Soon- no more boob for baby at night, no mommy either. My dear husband took over night time duty and he apparently wasn't so appealing. Thank God my baby boy learned to sleep. I learned God really is there in the trenches.

Today my son is pure delight. He's still a mama's boy, which drives me crazy when I need to get something done, but otherwise he is just a charmer. He has a smile that is contagious and a delightful, silly personality. He's pretty easy going. He sleeps like a CHAMP!!! He is huge and strong. I am so proud of him. He is walking more and more, though still predominantly crawling, and he is a climbing. Tonight he took a dive off the bed before Marc could catch him and I just know we have many such incidents in our future. He does NOT sit still and is curious and persistent if he sees something he finds interesting. He is fearless. We will probably be in the ER a time a two;)

We didn't do much to celebrate his birthday today- he'll have the little party and cake on Saturday. He got Mac and Cheese for dinner, which he loves and we sang to him. Ava drew him a picture, but he's still clueless. The highlight of his day was chasing the vacuum cleaner (he LOVES to try to climb on it while we are vacuuming). Yessirree, he has no idea today is a major milestone, but we know. We have not just survived, we are thriving. We could every day he's been in our lives a blessing- even the sleepless nights. As with my daughter, my children constantly teach me more about myself and about God and I look forward to spending many many years with this little boy!

Thank you, God, for Phineas Sinclair.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Out of the Mouths of Babes...

There is a children's song based on a parable in the bible called "The Wise Man Built His House Upon the Rock". It compares two men- one who builds his house upon the sand and one who builds on the Rock. When the storm comes, the house on the sand falls down and the house on the rock stands firm. It is an illustration about life, if we build our life upon Truth- the Rock of Ages, Jesus Christ, we can weather the storms that come our way, but if we just have religion with no depth, we will fall apart when trials come.

Ava has been loving this song of late and she has her own version that I just adore. It makes me smile every time she sings it! She says instead of "The wise man built his house upong the rock", "The wise man built his house upon the cross." It has brought the song to new life for me and reminds me every time I hear her sing it that I want my life built on nothing less and nothing more than the Cross of Jesus.

I think she really understands the meaning of this song and so to her these words make more sense and to say it warms my heart is an understatement;)

Monday, October 19, 2009

My mental murmurings

I am pregnant. It is a big "no, no" to tell you that because I am only five weeks along. My husband and I aren't really status quo folks though. I am processing a lot right now, what better place to do it than on a blog that the whole world can read. :)

I am excited to be pregnant. I actually like pregnancy once I get past week 20 or so. You know the sex of the baby and by that time I have been done puking (I am not one of those lucky "vomit only in first trimester" people. Pregnancy is the only time my stomach is ever firm and I have always just really loved the pregnant body. Plus after nursing two kids, I'm looking forward to having my boobs take on shape once again.

I am excited to have a third baby. I love my kids immensly and have learned to embrace the chaos that sometimes exists in our home. I would love for Ava to have a sister or Phin to have a brother. I'd love to see an even different charming combination of Marc and me, and get to experience partaking in God's work of creation.

I am also flippin' terrified. I have had two miscarriages. When you have only had two births, as well, you are just as familiar with the feeling of realizing you lost your baby as you are with the feeling of giving birth. I get a sick feeling in my stomach every time I change or go to the bathroom, so fearful that I may see blood and know history is repeating itself. In order to cope, I kind of disconnect from the whole thing and don't remember I am even pregnant until I try to eat and feel nauseated all over.

I can't even let myself think too much about what will happen if we have a baby like Phin was. Our life was so difficult for five months. I literally look back and wonder how I survived. If you have never had a long stretch of sleep deprivation, just trust me- it is excruciating. Phin used to wake up 6 or so times a night. When you live on sleep stretches that are an hour and a half long at most, you really are barely living. There's no way to prepare yourself for that and it is solely by God's mercy that we survived. I have to trust that He'll carry us through again if we have to walk that road, but I can't even bring myself to imagine that road could actually be ahead once again.

I also get freaked out about having THREE kids to manage. I am doing okay with two. I like my life. We are in a good groove. What are we thinking by adding a third munchkin to the mix! Are we INSANE?! We will be outnumbered!! I can only imagine that the occasonal bad day will come with increasing frequency. And what about babysitters? Is it hard to find a sitter to watch three kids? How much do you have to pay someone to take that on? Will we ever get alone time again?

See? Processing a lot and I imagine we will be processing a lot for a long, long time...atleast in a few weeks we'll hopefully get to see a strong quick little heart beat. That will go a long way to appease my mind...

Sometimes all you can do is laugh- whether it's appropriate or not

My daughter has a little cold. Sometimes feeling a little under the weather can set her through the roof emotionally. What an exciting evening we have had. Thank goodness my husband is home for this round of toddler tantrumania! The truth is it might have nothing to do with her cold and everything to do with the fact that baby brother is getting loads of attention for his every increasing walking skills. Whatever the causing factor the result is pure insanity...

Believe it or flippin' not, my dear daughter pulled the "water over baby brothers head" trick AGAIN in the bathtub- this time when papa ran to grab Phin's towel and she didn't realize mom was peeking in. She seemed surprised and crushed to immediately have to get out of the tub, leaving one to wonder how adept her manipulation skills may be. She is a very smart little girl; I find it very hard to believe that she was surprised at this.

Bedtime only continued to be a bundle of fun for the padres. What is becoming difficult, actually, is not laughing. Her emotions get so out of control it truly is ab-so-lute-ly absurd. At one point she had come into the living room for the second time just weeping about how hungry she was. We were refusing food because she had refused to eat dinner, but upon talking decided to give her a cheesestick but let her know that if she missed dinner any other night she'd go to bed with that hungry feeling in her stomach. We told her to remember how she felt right now because that is a feeling she'd sleep with if this happened again in the future. I don't even know if she got the lesson because not one but BOTH of her parents busted out laughing when she said in response (while still wimpering), "Yes, that is very serious because if you don't eat food you get really, really hungry and it is NOT GOOD."

Aye yaye yaye- I could share more details, but the bottom line is parenting is tough stuff. It is so tough in fact that my husband just looked at me and said, "how can it only be 8 o'clock?" The drama is so exhausting ten minutes seems like ten hours. I've been told that the todder years prepare you for adolescence and I'm sitting her going "oh boy!" I hope I learn a lot right now cuz I sure couldn't handle this if she had a deeper vocab arsenal and was the same size as I am.

P.S. Mom and Papa, if you are reading this- "I am really, really sorry for putting you through many nights such as this both at three and at sixteen."

Thursday, October 15, 2009

When Bathtime is a bust....

Bathtime is usually a good time at our house, but today it seemed doomed from the start. Perhaps when a mom's reason for having bathtime is solely to waste time until bedtime, she is only asking for trouble!

First, Ava was determined that the water was too hot. It was SO lukewarm I worried it might not be warm enough, but it was "too hot" before she even touched it; she of course stood crying in it for like 5 minutes before just all of a sudden changing her tune, sitting down and playing. Now you may wonder, why I didn't just "let" her get out. I would have. She WANTED to be in the bath, but stood there crying. I stood there staring, wondering how much more irrational behavior would manifest itself before this overtired preschooler was tucked safely in bed.

Sure enough irrationality did strike again, soon Ava was mistreating her brother. He is teething, so he enjoys chewing on a good, wet washcloth. She kept pulling it out of his mouth and throwing it out of his reach. I made her stop, but within about a minute she found it equally as fun to bop him on the head. At that point she lost the priviledge of touching her brother. I knew the battle had begun when she didn't touch Phin but purposefully touched his bath seat and looked at me with a smirk- the kind of smirk you want to "wipe off her face". She received a warning of losing books at bedtime. We had a few minutes of peace during which time I received a phone call. My dear friend Bobbi was talking to me for all of two minutes when Ava decided to dump a very large and very full cup of water over her brother's head. My poor son sputtered for breath and blinked to restore his eyesight. Phin was crying, so while holding the phone with my chin, I leaned over to rescue him from the tub. Our brand new handset drop directly into the water and sunk straight to the bottom. I wrapped Phin in a towel and then rescued the phone. I wanted to dump my own head under water for reacting without using the brain God gave me! AHHHH! Knowing how frustrated my husband will be when he realizes we have to replace our phones yet again- I tried by best to salvage it by taking it apart, laying the battery aside and am hoping for the best. Needless to say, Ava did lose her books.

I dressed and lotioned my son and returned to the bathroom to get Ava out of the tub. I turned around to reach for her towel when my daughter again dumped a full glass of water- over the edge of the tub onto her dry and dressed brother and my bathroom floor. Let me just say she is very lucky that I was so stunned by her actions that it took me a couple seconds to register that it really happened. Then...mom took deep breath (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10!). She was put straight into bed (allowed only to change into her pajamas and brush her teeth.) Thankfully, it is apparently devastating to be put to bed before one's baby brother; Let's hope it's devastating enough to help her remember to have a little more self control and a little less defiance.

The only upside to having to mop my bathroom floor and rewash the bathroom rugs that were already washed TODAY is that now it is only 6:41 and both of my children are in bed. I don't even know what I'll do with myself! Bathtime was definitely a test in how much self control this mother possesses, but there is now a wonderful, peaceful silence...perhaps Bathtime wasn't such a bad idea after all!

Monday, October 12, 2009

"Oh be careful little mouth what you say..."

Some very close friends of our had a tragedy hit their family last week. Ava is quite attuned to the goings on and feelings experienced in our house. We think we are speaking safely in our room and she apparently overhears. She started asking questions about why her friend had to go on an airplane and what happened. I know enough to answer only the questions they ask. I just told her her friends uncle had an accident and he died. She seemed very satisfied with this answer initially, but as always, her mind kept working. She came back to me a little bit later and said, "Mommy, did that man died because he had a poop accident or a pee one?"

Oh my! Thank God she verbalized that question!...Can you just imagine a little kid walking around thinking you can die from going potty in your pants?!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

BRRRRRRRRRR

Saturday we had to fill in for my coleader of mom's group and "host" a family day at Johansen's Farm. I can't even tell you if I think it is worth a visit, though looking at our pictures, I have to admit it is probably a great outing. The problem Saturday was the FREEZING cold. My husband NEVER gets cold and said to me as we are leaving, "Now I know why you hate being cold. I am so miserable I feel agitated and angry." (Maybe now he'll quit turning down the heat on me!) My children, seemed oblivious to our discomfort and managed to thoroughly enjoy themselves. Most familes were wise enough to stay indoors, which allowed Phin opportunities to do activities usually untouched by one year olds; I am so addicted to "preserving memories" that I almost got frostbite on my hands as they were exposed to the elements for picture taking;)

When animals eat off my hands, it honestly kind of creeps me out, but I put on a brave face and do it. Ava seems to have no reservations whatso ever...she reaches right into their pens instead of waiting for them to lean out towards her hand, I was a little nervous she's lose a finger or something;)
Phin was lovin' be able to touch the pony and was completely uninterested in lookin up toward his papa for a picture;)

YES! Phin was allowed to play in the Bounce House;)
Okay- so being able to hold baby chicks, IS pretty cool.

The Pacifier Fairy

Ava is 3 1/2 and she was still sleeping with a pacifier. I regret not taking it away BEFORE Phin was born; I was sure she would suffer jealousy if she no longer had pacifiers but the new baby did. Of course, as "luck would have it", Phin never took a pacifier. I found ways to ease the guilt I felt as a mom: #1- she ONLY used them for sleeping, #2- she was a good sleeper, #3- the dentist said her teeth looked great, and #4- I read in "Sleeping Through The Night" that some children have the NEED to suck until age 4.

Upon starting preschool, however, I learned that Ava could do without it if needed. I did NOT send her with a paci to school and low and behold, she was able to sleep during rest time. Now, this was shocking to me because she literally sucked that paci ALL night long- not just briefly when falling asleep. I have heard that kids will give it up when ready, but with my kids I started to realize, she probably would not. We've been talking up the pacifier fairy for about 8 months, all ready and waiting for the day when our little girl said, "Tonight is the night I am putting them under my pillow." She hasn't seemed to move any closer to saying it. Tuesday I decided all of a sudden that I was going to "force" her to be ready. She had no school on TH and that would give her 7 nights to adjust before returning to school (in case she was sleeping poorly). I knew my word or Marc's wouldn't be enough, so I put a special letter for her in the mailbox. When she got the mail, she found one card address to HER. This is what it said:
Dear Ava-
You have grown up into such a beautiful, nice big girl. You are ready to leave you pacifiers behind! Please place them underneath your pillow. I will come and take them and give them to Tinkerbell to tinker with and make new wonderful things. In their place, I will leave you a special music box made JUST for you. It will even have your name on the top! See you soon!
Love-
The Pacifier Fairy

I drew a pacifier under the signature. Upon opening and seeing the pacifier, she immediately said, "I THINK IT'S FROM THE PACIFIER FAIRY!" We read it to her and to our relief she was excited. She had a few moment of angst, but was overall very thrilled to know she was ready.

We'd already made plans to make Pink cupcakes after Phin went to bed (we've been reading Pinkalicious) so I let her have one last "suck" with her pink paci.
We used it while we read stories and then under the pillow the whole lot went. We waved goodbye.
Our little girl slept until about 1 am when she ran into our room thrilled to annouce, "THE PACIFIER FAIRY CAME AND LEFT ME A MUSIC BOX, COME SEE!" It went very well!


Now the next few nights were a different story- she got extremely emotional and after a couple days overtired and therefore more emotional than we'd ever seen her! We had lots of hugs and even ended up letting her sleep in our room on night two, but by the fourth night, she no longer cried at bedtime or asked for pacifiers and has slept soundly since. YAY! We made it through our roughest transition yet...

Thursday, October 8, 2009

If anyone finds my daughter, please return her asap...

This afternoon and evening my daughter has seemed more like an Ogre than a child. She is overtired and has more emotion surging through her little body than she knows what to do with. We initially had temper tantrums at naptime because I said "no" to fruit snacks. I offered her a healthier alternative and got a full on temper tantrum in response. My friend Nicole was here picking up her children (we had a great double playdate this morning), and I had to step away THREE times to put her in her room. That was not only abnormal but so insane I had to just laugh about it. At that point I could laugh because I was sure she fall right asleep and wake her normal happy self. The problem- she did not sleep.

She came of out her room multiple times before finally staying in there until 3pm as instructed. She came out initally much improved in attitude and behavior, but it didn't last long. She was simply too tired to hold it together. We started bedtime at 6pm...6pm- no joke. It took us an hour to get her in bed. ONE FULL HOUR. We had a full on psychotic child. It was as if something overtook her. We had tempertantrums that we have NEVER seen. She feel asleep quickly once she kept her little bum in bed...I hope tomorrow is a bit better. I would like to LIKE to be with my daughter tomorrow. Today she must have KNOWN how awful she was asking because midway through a tantrum episode she calmed briefly and in tears asked, "do you still think I am cute, mommy?" It was asked in genuine concern....which did make her quite cute. Being three looked pretty darn rough today...but I guarantee mommy's was a little harder, then again mommy gets chocolate now....

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Well worth it;)

I am extremely glad that my head ruled my decision making today. Initially, waking the family a bit early from naps meant about 10 minutes of crying and grumping...not by Marc, but by the little girl whom we were TRYING to do something special for. We almost decided not to go, but had some compassion on her because we knew she was awakened from her beauty rest.

Thankfully, a few minutes into the car ride, she perked up and remained a perky pleasant little thing for the remainder of the day. We had an amazing time at Toy Story. The 3D took her a couple minutes to get used to. It was adorable to watch her try to catch snowflakes during previews or squeal with delight to see Cinderella's Castle "right" infront of her before the movie began. She wasn't too fond of Toy Story 1, however; she kept saying "I don't want them to touch me" and let's be honest Sid, the evil neighbor kid, is a little creepy, even in 2D. She actually has only read the book to Toy Story 1, but she did enjoy it enough to want to stay for number 2.

Watching Toystory 2, was just one of those times I HOPE I never forget. There sat Ava holding her Woody and Jesse dolls, clapping and giggling and talking to the screen (despite numerous "ssshh"s from her parents). She was in heaven. This is a movie she has seen ATLEAST 50 times, but experiencing it in 3D was like seeing it anew. It was WAY worth the grumpy 10 minutes and even surpassed the solitude of the naptime that was cut short. There is truly NOTHING like seeing your kid tinkled pink, full of joy, experiencing life to the fullest.

YEE HAW!

To do or not to do...THAT is my question.!

It's very quiet in our house. Everyone is napping, except me. I have to wake them up. We have a special outing planned for Ava; we are taking her to see the Toy Story 1&2 3D double feature. She is a Toy Story FANATIC. I know she is going to have a great time. In fact, we told her she had to go to sleep RIGHT away today so she could wake up in time to go and you have NEVER seen a three year old fall asleep so quickly. Despite knowing of the great fun we will have, however, I am at war with myself. Should I really wake them all up or scrap the plan and enjoy a few more minutes of peace?

These are the moments when you realize just how long a week you have had. I'm literally debating throwing away a movie afternoon for like 15 more minutes of solitude and peace. Insanity or just intense appreciation? Either way, I am known to follow my mind and not my heart so here I go to stir the pot and reignite the crazy flame of chaos that is so often burning in a home with small kiddos....

Friday, October 2, 2009

Yet Another Lesson in Motherhood

Every Friday evening I find myself a little tired. This week has been particularily emotinally draining because my son is in his "needy" phase and my daughter has been emotional. Oh it hasn't been without high points or laughter, of course. Phin has a smile that still melts your heart even when you are in the peak of frustration and just when you are starting to get really angry inside Ava will say something that makes laughter completely unavoidable. I am thankful for those moments, but still more thankful when my husband walks into the house on Friday afternoons. I really need to make him a t-shirt that proclaims, "Fear not! Reinforcement has arrived!"

My mom tells me I expect too much of my daughter. It's certainly true. I expect Ava to act older that she is. At times, I forget she's only three. She communicates with such "grown up" terminology that I need to remind myself she doesn't always REALLY get what she is saying. Today we had a DOUBLE playdate, with two friends coming over after ballet. Ava had decided she was NOT sharing her Barbie dress. (Now, let's not mention that she hasn't been playing with that dress and only took a special interest because she found out her friend J wanted to wear it.) It was her friend V's first visit to our home so on the way home from ballet I talked to her about being a friend who "loves at all times" and being a welcoming and inclusive host, etc. I suggested that she not only share her Barbie dress, but that she give it to Victoria to make her feel especially loved and welcome. Ava didn't like this idea and was just being selfish. I pointed out her selfish heart and said, "That disappoints me because I know you are not always selfish and usually kind to your friends." She did NOT care...she replied, "nope, I will just have a selfish heart, mom." AYE! What do you say to that? I was stunned and spiraled into crazy thinking, "oh no, my child will never love others." "Oh no! My child will never be empathetic or self aware."

Truly isn't the problem half with me? I want my daughter to be "the kind, loving one." If I am honest with myself I only want people to see Ava's good side. She is delightful and smart and funny. I want people to spend time with her and say, "what a great little girl." But if I don't ease up my expectations I am going to give her performance anxiety! She is three. She feels what she feels at the moment and can't imagine feeling otherwise. She is self-centered. She is imperfect...just like her mommy. I guess I am pushing her down the road of "people pleasing." YIKES!

Lesson #28371- "Don't try to have deep conversations with a three year old and then get hot and bothered when they don't react as an adult would. It can make you crazy now and lead to them being crazy later."

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

B-O-N-K-E-R-S

I am grumpy today. G-R-U-M-P-Y! I love my children, but today is a "I might go bonkers" day. My son is 11 months and I am terming this the "love-hate" stage. He is doing so many things that are just flippin' adorable: using sign language a bit, waving, giving high fives, finding his sister hilarious, playing "godzilla" at his train table. The problem is that this cuteness and pure annoying behavior is occuring simutaneously. He is at the "why dont' I cry every time mommy walks out of the room" AND when mom IS in the room "why don't I hang on her leg if she tries to do ANYTHING other that give me her undivided attention while I play" stage. These two stages happening at once lead to an emotional rollercoaster for me. One minute I am thinking "this kid is the CUTEST kid EVER" and the next I am thinking "if this little booger does not let go of my leg he just might get kicked." (caveat- I would never actually KICK my child- but that doesn' t mean I don't have that urge when he is hanging on my calf...don't judge me;P )

My daugher is doing her own emotional somersaults. She says HILARIOUS things. She does ADORABLE things like yesterday- she was muttering to herself on the way to school and I asked her what she was doing, she said, "Oh I am just praying for our days, mommy." She is very capable and can do many things on her own. Unfortunately, she is also experiencing complete emotional extremes. She can go from adorable to nightmare is 0.4 seconds flat....leaving her family in her wake looking at each other, saying "what the heck just happened!" I read books- I know what is going on: she struggling with getting older, but still feeling like she needs her mommy. She is going to school where everything is controlled, so she tries to challenge everything at home. BLAH, BLAH, BLAH! I guess that knowledge does help a parent have a bit of compassion and composure but truly it doesn't keep you from needing chocolate indulgences and a good scream yourself now and then.

I haven't been feeling great this week, as well. Monday Marc came home from work early so I could take a nap and a hot bath. I had to laugh when at the end of an AFTERNOON (not a DAY, mind you- an AFTERNOON!), he proclaimed "I am so glad I get to go to work tomorrow." You have to laugh so you don't cry. I love my kids, but tomorrow, you might find ME hanging on Marc's leg and whining "don't leave me!"

Yep- bonkers. I may go bonkers...though one could argue I'm already there;)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

People TYPICALLY throw shells away, right?

My sister just returned from atttending a funeral. She said something that really stuck with me. "I was reminded that our bodies really are just shells. Once the spirit is gone, we almost look plastic and so unlike ourselves." I know this to be true. How often have I left a funeral home after a viewing and thought "I could hardly recognize them". People really ARE much more than our exterior. WHO we are comes through in expressions, actions, personality and THAT is what people know and love. Peanuts have shells- they get thrown on the floor in restaurants. No one cares if they are misshapen or even ugly, they care if there are yummy peanuts inside!

It been really nagging at me today because I recently have been frustrated with the ups and downs of post pregnancy weight loss. It has been difficult for me to lose weight and to find time for work outs and such. It's hard to maintain motivation and push through to get back the "body" I want. What I realize today is that I've lost focus of what is important. Yes, we should be good stewards of the bodies we're given, but we should NOT define ourselves by it. My beauty is not based on how sexy the world thinks I am or on whether or not I took the time to blow dry my hair. I want to be beautiful on the inside. I want to be a blessing to others and to spend energy investing in what is important- eternity, others, love.

My body is just a shell; a shell that will die and disinigrate. My soul and spirit are really "who" I am. I want to invest my energies there!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Marc and I got married at twenty three. We had 500 dollars in our savings account and my grocery budget was a whopping $150/month. We were blissfully happy, but we were not swimming in cash. While we would have loved great furniture, we had to settle with making a hodge podge of items look somewhat attractive. At that time, I had dreams of someday affording new furniture. I was certain we'd arrive home from long days at work, unlock the front door of our home and walk into the pages of pottery barn magazine.

We did slowly purchase new items, but what my dreams failed to take into consideration was the arrival of children coinciding with our increasing income. The home I thought would look like magazine perfection is filled with....kids stuff.

When you have an infant, you can hide certain things and for a short time you have a sense of pride that YOU have managed to so smartly purchase just the right items so that when you want to hide them you can make your home looked like a baby has never been there. The problem is slowly you accumulate more stuff. You experience more christmases, more birthdays and while desperately try to declutter and get rid of what you can, you one day realize you are "that house".

We now have some great peices of furniture. I like them a lot, but they are overshadowed by a large princess play house, a pit of balls, a childrens craft table, a play kitchen and.....today's new addition- a very large train table (early birthday gift for Phin). We have very generous grandparents and very happy children, but I guess that House Beautiful won't be photographing here anytime soon.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

A restroom conversation

After Ava was acting a little grumpy, clining to mommy in restroom and therefore being slightly rude to her grandmother who is visiting and kindly suggested she wait outside with grammy so mommy can go potty on her own.

Me: Oh, looks like someone is grumpy. I know what that means, that means it is naptime! (and indeed it was 1pm, her typical naptime)

Ava: NO! you said we were going for ice cream after lunch, mommy.

Me: Well if you want to go for ice cream you better take those grumps and THROW them in this trashcan. (throwing motion towards trash can while speaking)

Ava (then COVERS HER MOUTH WITH HER HAND): No, I think I am going to keep them cuz, mommy, I might bump into something soon and then I want to whine.

Friday, September 18, 2009

A little sleep goes a LOOOONG way

My daughter has been sleeping rather poorly since starting preschool. She has been having nightmares; I don't know if they are related to the start of school or simply the fact that she is now three and a half- the exact age the books say nightmares and fears climax. The cause doesn't really matter, what does is the effect they are having on her quality of sleep! It's been a perfect storm. Great change and poor sleep are resulting in crabby kid with poor emotional control. It makes me wonder if God thinks I need to become more patient? I certainly am having to work hard to maintain my OWN emotional self control and keep perspective.

Handling these nightmare nights is yet a new stage of parenting and of wondering if you are helping or hurting the situation. It is yet another series of debates and discussion with my husband and myself about how to handle them. Should we let her sleep in our room? Should one of us sleep with her? If we do, will it become a habit that is impossible to break? Do you send a THREE year old back to sleep in the dark of night when she is obviously terrified?

Though I've questioned myself I've tried to take my own advice and trust my instincts even if I am not sure why the instincts are what they are. My husband has been gracious enough to also say, "I'll trust your instincts on this one" and even if he's questioned me in the middle of the night has come back in the morning to say, "Hey I think you made the right call." To make things even better, a good friend reinforced my decisions as good based on her experiences with her kids who have gone through but also outgrown this stage.

We let her sleep in our room, on the floor, if she's obviously afraid. We haven't allowed her to manipulate us into starting the night in our room. My friend assured me it wouldn't develop into a habit and indeed it hasn't. She hasn't had nightmares this week. It seems the allowing of her to feel safe when she is afraid has increased her security and therefore probably decreased her restless sleep state. She has slept soundly this week and thank GOD my sweet three year has returned. I mean even two weeks of the "child you fear you'll have" made me worry that our sweet princess was gone forever and I'd ruined our lives putting her in preschool.

Her sleeping better ALSO means WE'VE slept better...even with our stuffy heads and runny noses. I am reminded again never to take good sleep for granted- it is SOOO important; a necessary luxury. Oh sweet sleep, thank you for returning to our home!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Aneed for President- 2012?

Mom's don't get sick days. Have I blogged about that before? I've certainly griped about it a time or two. I propose instead of fighting about healthcare and proposing a program that will not work, our government refocus their effort on creating a new government program. This program could be called "Mother Relief Services" or something terrible like that. Moms could call in and our lovely tax dollars could be spent on sending relief workers to american homes, when a mom is sick or just needs a "mental health day". Should I start a petition? How many signatures would it take to get my congresswoman to take that up?

Seriously, this is one thing that I'll never get used to about motherhood. How do you adequately care for your children when you look like a walking Nyquil add- you know runny nose, watery eyes, zombie like body movements? How do you find energy to answer your toddler's "Whys" when your head feels like it's been overinflated with LEAD? I mean this just shouldn't be! I am quite sure it is not in the children's best interest to have such a caregiver! I mean God forbid an emergency occur that requires some sort of swift action or good mental accuity, because in such a state a mom simple cannot perform up to her superhero potential.

I have been in this rather sad sick, state since late afternoon yesterday. I definitely wasn't a sexy sight for Marc to behold when arriving home from work and I couldn't wait for the next nap or bedtime for my children. There are just days that would be best spent in bed...preferribly with someone rubbing your temples, bringing you hot tea and soup, and hey why not singing a lullaby or two. Yep, that is how things would be if I were president- which is probably why I am not;) So instead of leading the free world, I will lead my little hinney to bed because let's face it no one's comin' to rescue me tomorrow but my children WILL certainly be rearin' to go at 6 am.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Just huggin' a little tighter

A year ago today a couple from our church lost their little boy at 39 weeks of pregnancy. Desmond should be a year old today, instead they are faced with the year anniversary of his death. How are they getting through these days? I don't know if I could get out of bed. How do you find hope again?

I love to be sarcastic and make jokes about the frustrations of motherhood, but today all I can do is hug my kids a little tighter. We have no control. I can keep my children as safe and as healthy as possible but I have no control over their heart beat, I can't make them inhale and exhale. I know without a doubt that God is Sovereign and good; I know his heart breaks as he sees the pain M and E are experiencing- but how can one even make sense of the senseless? Oh that Jesus would return- this is such a broken and fallen world!

I have been profoundly changed by Desmond's death. I have lost two babies very early on in pregnancy and it was horrible. But who thinks loss is even a possibility when you are at the 39 week mark? I was 35 weeks pregnant when Desmond was still born. I had to chose fear or trust. I have to trust that whatever life throws my way God will carry me through; Life is painful.

Why am I so fortunate to have two beautiful children? I certainly don't know, but I do know "to whom much is given, much will be expected". Oh Lord, let me make the most of the days I have with them. Let me raise them to love and glorify you with their lives. Give me wisdom with discipline and help me to cherish them for the blessings they truly are. Lord help me not to lose sight of you when life is confusing and painful. Wrap your arms around M and E today and everyday. The pain of their loss is deeper than anything I can imagine- Please, Dear Heavenly Father, hold them tightly in the palm of your hand.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Unsolicited Advice for the Mommy to Be

My cousin-in-law (is that a word?) Heidi is going to be having a little baby girl very soon. I was very late checking in with her to see how she's doing. (How I wish my thoughts about doing things would transfer into actions like 90% of the time! The other 10% SHOULD stay somewhere in the desert of my brain because there aren't kind thoughts or actions and I prefer freedom to prison.) Now she has not asked me for all this advice; she frankly probably doesn't want it. This is why instead of sending an obnoxious TMI email, I am blogging. Something about seeing someone in a stage of life that I've been makes my brain go into OVERLOAD with advice. This happens at weddings, new babies, and now with people having number two babies. I KNOW that everyone is different and I certainly have learned every baby is different, but I still can't STOP the flow of "wisdom"....

1) Ignore those people who, with a condescending smile on their face, say, "Sleep now cuz you surely won't sleep when the baby comes." It may be true, but it's rude. What 8-9 month pregnant woman is sleeping? It only makes her anxious about not sleeping and further leads to even more insomnia. A woman at this stage of pregnancy does not need to add to her list of "things to worry about."

2) The is no way anyone can prepare you for how hard it is to PUSH a baby out of your body. The exhaustion that quickly ensues will shock you. You will want to scream, not just because of the ring of fire taking place around your vagina but because people keep telling you to "PUSH". You want to scream, "What do you think I have been doing? SHUT UP!" (really you'll want to use much filthier language)
Now why this comes as a shock to women is really uncertain. Logically, it can't be easy to push a bowling ball through a peg hole...so just know you'll never work so hard in your entire life.

3) Sleep when baby sleeps. Yes, this is important and yes you'll plan on doing it. But when your hormones are crazy- it is VERY hard to do. First, you'll cherish the time on your own, so you'll want to "do your own thing." Second, it's just hard sometimes to sleep- so try your best, but again don't "worry" about it. Logically know you WILL sleep again and you WILL somehow survive. Do your best to care for yourself, but don't let it make you anxious.

3b) Put your baby in the nursery while in the hospital. Everyone talks about sleeping in, but whoever told me to put the "oxygen mask" theory into effect here is one of my heros. Both my children slept in the nursery. They fed them ONE bottle and one only (skipping one feed) allowing me to sleep 6 or 7 hours in a row. (I had zero problems with nipple confusion and breast feeding.) Once you are home, this isn't an option- so take it while it is.

4) If you have one of the "easy" babies who sleep 6 hours at night the first week know that it is possible and you don't need to feel guilty. Those same babies WILL give you headaches for some other reason later in life, so take the gift they are giving you now.

5) If you have one of the "I WILL NEVER EVER EVER SLEEP" babies...cry, scream, enlist help, and vent about it lots. If someone won't listen, talk to someone else. It is hard. Of COURSE you'll make it, but sometimes everyone telling you that doesn't help in the moment. You just need to complain and have people HELP you. DO NOT be afraid to ask for or accept help...sleep deprivation can do crazy things to a person; let people help you avoid those crazy things;)

6) You WILL have crazy thoughts after having a baby. The way you know you AREN'T crazy is if you recognize that the thoughts ARE crazy. Something about hormones and sleep deprivation= insane thoughts...they are just thoughts, you are okay.

7) You will miss your husband. He'll be sitting right next to you and you'll miss him. Talk about it. He misses you to. It's just adjusting to change in life stage.

8) You may cry for lots of reasons or no reason at all for a couple weeks after baby is born. This is normal post-partum blues. As long as it is just the first couple weeks, don't worry. Let the tears flow- you can't control them even if you try. It is cleansing. If it goes past the first few weeks, check in with the doctor- there is no shame in getting help; there is shame in ignoring the need for help.

9) You do not have to answer to phone; You do not have to return calls. You can go out lots or you can never go out. Every mom is different. Do what feels best to YOU and it will make your adjustment much easier. Don't let others expectations of you rule your actions.

10) The best advice I ever give: TRUST your INSTINCTS. With time, you'll continue to realize how RIGHT they are! Books are awesome- they give you lots of insight and things to try, but also trust the gut God gave you! YOU'LL know your child best.

11) There may be times in re. to the above that you feel you don't have instincts at all- that's okay, maybe your husband does or maybe not. Just read a bit, talk to others, or a doctor- it will get figured out.

12) Take lots of moments to ABSORB motherhood. Stare at your baby intently. Breath deeply and inhale that baby scent that is gone before you're ready. Cherish the feeling of a sleeping newborn upon your chest. It's wonderful and they really do grow quickly.

13) Breastfeeding is a wonderful thing, but it is not necessarily easy. It may be and that is awesome, but MAKE sure to check in with a lactation consultant BEFORE you leave the hospital. Make sure you listen when they tell you about the babies "latch"-this is NOT an area to let slide. If you are lazy about this and let the baby nurse however he or she wants you will get sore, bleeding nipples and that, my friend, SUCKS. If you do get sore nipples- use Soothies- they help. (Oh, and it is okay to be mildly horrified by how large your breasts and nipples become. It IS weird. The worst part is that in a few weeks you'll forget what they looked like before...but don't worry after baby number one- they return pretty much to normal. Now...baby number two is a topic for another day...)

P.S.- The best breast pads are Lansinoh. The best pump is the advent one- it is amazing. The electronic is expensive and the Medela pump-in-style works well too. But if you are going for manual for traveling or whatever- Advent Manual get's SO much milk and does not hurt- everything else is CRAP and induces large amounts of pain.

P.S.S- introduce a bottle once a day by week two- just once a day won't hurt breast feeding. If you wait to long- it is a NiGHTMARE to get them to take a bottle. I know too many friends that were desperately trying every bottle on the shelf trying to get baby to take one before they returned to work;P

14) Your baby needs to sleep more than you think. You will have a happier, healthier baby if you learn their sleep cues and put them down in their "window". Sleep is something WORTH working at and for. You will at times feel like it is SO hard, but before you know it your baby is "sleep trained" and you are one happy mama. (Note- good habits, like putting them down awake can start in the beginning, but sleep training doesn't happen until lie 5 months or so- you'll know when you AND your baby are ready)

P.S. In the beginning, try to establish good habits, but not at the sake of your sleep or sanity.

15) It doesn't matter how someone else did something or when they did it- you'll know when you are ready.

16) You husband has really good insights on the situation. It may be SUPER annoying but sometimes it is worth trying what they are recommending. When we are entrenched in a situation sometimes it is hard to see how we are contributing to it:)

17) Find a good babysitter(s) and pay them well;)

18) Pray lots and know that God is with you in the mundane. Sacred parenting is my favorite parenting book- it isn't a guide, but he so eloquently articulated the feelings I've experienced. My favorite part is at the very end when he refers to Matthew 25:35 and 36. Who is hungrier than a newborn? Who is more a stranger than a child just entering the world? Who is more naked? What you have done to the least of these, Jesus says, you have done to HIM. He delights in your care for your little one!

I am sure lots of mommas can comment with more advice...my daughter is currently asking me to pay attention to her and as tempting as it is to continue to indulge my self-importance by touting more advice...I shall chose what is really important.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

My Emotions are on the first hill of the worlds biggest roller coaster....

I dropped off Ava for her first FULL day of preschool today. I am quite nervous to see how it goes...and I have quite a few hours to wait. I am realizing today how emotionally schizophrenic motherhood can be! I am THRILLED to have a bit of extra time at home. Phin still naps twice a day, so I'll have time to really spend with the Lord and time to get stuff done around the house. This feel luxurious and I am just enamored. At the same time, I have knots in my tummy wondering if Ava will do fine being at school ALL day. Will she nap? Will she miss us?

The past four or so days, she's been extremely emotional. We've dealt with temper tantrums and crying. This is not usual for Ava. She gets cranky when she's tired or sick, but neither seem to be the cause. It seems she is adjusting to change. Apparently, she has said, "I miss mommy." to Marc when I am just in another room. That makes me a little sad. I know I am a huge source of security for her at this age, so I wonder if knowing I am not going to be around two days makes her feel insecure? Last night we was excited about starting school, but then she said, "I don't like school. No, I do like school." Hmmm. Perhaps she likes it but is still uncomfortable with change? I am like that many times.

She thankfully was not emotional this morning. We had a completely stress free morning and she even got to play with her barbies for a few minutes before we had to leave. She sought out girls on the playground who she didn't know without any hesitation. She has good social skills and I was proud watching her. She'll be fine, I am sure.

Still, I sit here conflicted. Do other moms feel this way? I watched a mom in the nursery on Sunday, whose son is having SEVERE separation anxiety. I mean SCREAMING by the church gate, unwilling to let anything or anyone distract him. He wanted mommy. She left for a while and checked back. She tried staying a bit, but he wouldn't even play unless she was RIGHT by him. Now, I don't know how she was feeling, but I know I would be annoyed and actually a little angry, but at the same time feeling like sheltering and holding and lovin' on this little boy. I have been completely outraged with Ava's tantrums of late and at the same exact moment felt like I want to just hold her and take away all the emotions shes trying to juggle. Those two things are hard to reconcile in those moments of stress. AH! and I am supposed to teach my child how to juggle, handle her emotions?! Good thing she can't read my mind- what it do to her security to know I am actually just as out of control as she is?

Friday, September 4, 2009

Ava's take on the Sunrise

This morning Ava saw the sunrise.

She can running to me and said, "Mommy, did you see the beautiful sky?"
My response, "You saw the sky this MORNING?" (If had spoken my mind, my response would have been, "Um...no. Clearly I am still in bed and I would LIKE to be sleeping.)
Ava: "Yes, God took the kind of cloudy sky and made it whiter with some orange."
Me: "Ava, that is called the sunrise. Isn't that a cool thing?"
Ava: "I know and it was great. I saw the orange- that means my birthday will be here soon."

I hace NO idea why she thinks this means her birthday will be here soon, other than the fact that she went to a birthday party last weekend and currently for about a week after every birthday party she attends she starts to plan her next birthday party and decides what kind of present she wants. March is a long ways away, kiddo, but you keep thinking positively;)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

My Cup Runneth Over

I am a mom. Have you ever had a moment where that simple fact hits you like a ton of bricks? There have probably been moments where I feel the weight of the role is as heavy as a ton of bricks, but this was a wonderful moment- A moment of joy. I am a mother. I am so blessed and so fortunate.

At first I started down a prideful road and started thinking about how "good" of a mother I've become. It wasn't long before the Lord reminded me how many "bad" moments I've had. I AM proud to be a mother that lavishly loves her children and does a really good job much of the time, but the pride is not in my own abilities but in the fact that God is gracious enough to walk this journey with me.

I've shared with many a person that I had this idea in my head prior to being a mother of what a mother was. I suppose I thought that when they handed me my naked, crying newborn I'd instantly change into that person. The fact of the matter is motherhood doesn't change who you are at the core of your being. I am still me. Motherhood HAS however magnified every strength and weakness I have, it's magnified my talents and weaknesses. Motherhood forces you to either crumble under that magnification or grow. What I realized today is how much I've grown! God is good.

My little girl had her second day of preschool today. I watched her join in with absolute abandon and I was so proud of the delightful little girl I've been given. Simutaneously, I was able to see the baby boy in my arms watch the children playing on the playground; he was filled with delight. What a pleasure it is to raise these kids! GUSHY, HEART BURSTING moment of pride;) These are MY children and I am their MOMMY.

Motherhood is bliss and chaos all rolled into one. It is moments of sheer terror and elation experienced within seconds of each other. It is emotional. It is stressful. It is what it is. At first, I fought for control. (I am sure God had many a chuckle watching me strive to control the uncontrollable.) This year I have reached a new level of surrender. I am in a free fall and it is wonderful. "Let go and Let God." If mothers wore bumper stickers- that would be mine.

"I am a mother, hear me roar." Hear me laugh; Hear me cry. Hear me praise my King eternal for the wonderful priviledge in partaking in his creation, and in partnering with the most wonderful man in raising our children.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The First Day

Ava had her first day of preschool. It doesn't feel to a mom very much like pre- school. It feels like school and it makes you realize that your child is growing up!
I usually let Ava pick out her own clothes, or atleast don't argue with her with she has her own ideas about what matches and doesn't. Today, however, I was in scrapbook mom mode. It was all about the "PICTURE". Thankfully, Ava, loved her green apple skirt and apple tights and was even excited about my suggestion of pony tales. She did NOT like the plain navy shirt that looked ADORABLE with her skirt. You see her pink and blue striped shirt also has an apple on it, just like the skirt and tights. In her mind, no other shirt would suffice. I had her lay out her clothes last night so Marc was in on the process. Her papa, kindly reminded me that it might be better to have her in clothes SHE felt comfortable wearing than clothes that fit my idea of the "perfect" first day outfit. He was right; she looks cute no matter what so I didn't make a fuss. I even let her chose her Dora "crocs" when the brown Mary Janes would have been so much better for my picture;)

Ava's preschool breaks them in slowly. They divide the class into small groups and the kids attend in small groups for only one hour for their first day of preschool. Because it is a twenty minute ride up there, I had a sitter watch Phin since it also fell during his nap time. I asked her to come early and I took Ava out for a special breakfast. I had thought bagels would be a great idea; do you know what my child wanted? She wanted EGGS BENEDICT and pancakes. Now, this is what I usually order at our fav spot Walker Bros. She has sampled mine many a time, but it caught me QUITE off guard. A three year old already preferring Eggs Benedict...aye yaye yaye! She even said to me today, while enjoying each and every bit, "Mommy, can you making this sauce to put on my lunch." She has no clue what a fortunate little girl, she is!!! (But I love it too, so I guess I'll be looking for the "perfect" hollandaise recipe- suggestions appreciated.)

Anywho- I walked her up to meet her teacher and I have to laugh thinking of it. The kids were ALL fine, but as they walked inside quite a few mamas were not. It was quite a sight! Funny and totally understandable. They had a coffee time for the parents so I was fortunate enough to be able to meet some great parents and am excited to get to know them all over the next year. I LOVE our choice of preschool!!

Ava had an amazing day and is VERY excited to return. She has a half day on TH and then starts going full day twice a week next Tuesday. How strange and how wonderful all at the same time to see your child blossoming into this beautiful, funny young lady. She adores her teachers and I have to say I do too. It is obvious that they love the kids, their jobs, and Jesus. We are paying a bit to attend Christian Heritage but knowing my daughter is not just cared for but THRIVING is worth more than they could ever charge (though if anyone from CHA is reading this, please don't raise my tuition;).

Monday, August 31, 2009

Don't underestimate the power of a hungry boy

We've been having food issues with Phin lately. His molars are coming in, so I have just figured that once they cut through, he'll eat a bit better. I have to admit, however, that I question that assumption regularily. I don't know if he just doesn't like to sit still long enough to eat and if that is the case, should I just leave little piles of food all over the living room? (Wouldn't that make me mom of the year!? I mean who could put up with that nonsense?!) I don't know if he has oral or texture issues because he is forced to take an inhaler every day. In that case, would a food therapist be in our future. His eating isn't something I let myself dwell on or worry about to any extent because the boy could live off his own chub for atleast a year, I'm sure.

Tonight's dinner was initially not unlike any other night. Marc, Ava, and I were trying to eat while juggling encouraging Phin to eat the variety of food offered him. His dissatisfaction with being restrained in the high chair grew and grew as did the volume at with he expressed his dissatifaction. I got him out of the high chair to hold him long enough to finish my food and then planned to put him to bed. He kept attempting to grab my plate. I warded off his attempts about three times before being caught off guard. The little stinker wasn't actually grabbing at my plate- he wanted my chicken.


Turns out, perhaps he doesn't have eating issues after all. Perhaps he is just offended that I cut up his food into bite size peices; he thinks he is pretty big stuff after all. (To our astonishment, he did a great job gnawing on my chicken breast...I guess he'll be one of those kids that always want the chicken leg!)