Friday, November 26, 2010


Another must read by Ann - click HERE.

Whether Thanksgiving was a fun and celebratory time with those you love, or was difficult because of a wound, hardship, loss or suffering... I pray that we were all able to pull our nets in and count our fish at some point, and give thanks to God for what He has done and what He promises yet to do!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tell me you shed a tear when you first heard this song, too!

{ Never Grow Up }

Your little hands wrapped around my finger
And it's so quiet in the world tonight
Your little eyelids flutter cause you're dreaming
So I tuck you in
Turn on your favorite night light
To you everything's funny
You got nothing to regret
I'd give all I had, honey
If you could stay like that

Oh, darling don't you ever grow up
Don't you ever grow up
Just stay this little
Oh, darling don't you ever grow up
Don't you ever grow up
It can stay this simple

I won't let nobody hurt you
Won't let no one break your heart
And no one will desert you
Just try to never grow up, never grow up

You're in the car on the way to the movies
And you're mortified your mom's dropping you off
At fourteen there's just so much you can't do
And you can't wait to move out someday and call your own shots
But don't make her drop you off around the block
Remember that she's getting older too
And don't lose the way that you dance around in your PJ's getting ready for school

Oh, darling don't you ever grow up
Don't you ever grow up
Just stay this little

Oh, darling don't you ever grow up
Don't you ever grow up
It can stay this simple

And no one's ever burned you
Nothing's ever left you scarred
And even though you want to
Just try to never grow up

Take pictures in your mind of your childhood room
Memorize what it sounded like when your dad gets home
Remember the footsteps, remember the words said
And all your little brother's favorite songs

I just realized everything I have is someday gonna be gone

Oh, darling don't you ever grow up
Don't you ever grow up
Just stay this little
Oh, darling don't you ever grow up
Don't you ever grow up
It can stay this simple

- Taylor Swift

Monday, November 22, 2010


“Now suppose both death and hell were utterly defeated. Suppose the fight was fixed. Suppose God took you on a crystal ball trip into your future and you saw with indubitable certainty that despite everything — your sin, your smallness, your stupidity — you could have free for the asking your whole crazy heart’s deepest desire: heaven, eternal joy. Would you not return fearless and singing? What can earth do to you if you are guaranteed heaven? To fear the worst earthly loss would be like a millionaire fearing the loss of a penny — less, a scratch on a penny.”

Peter Kreeft

Saturday, November 20, 2010

I want to love the Zoo, but...

...there's just not much to love. (At this point in time, at least.)

We went to Brookfield Zoo on Veterans Day, 2 Thursdays ago, since Rob had the day off work and it was a free admission day.

Since Ellie doesn't walk yet, we have to bring a stroller. Which means in order to go inside any of the animal houses, we have to leave the stroller outside in the stroller parking area. Unattended. Translation: I end up hauling inside on my person anything of value, in addition to carrying Ellie. And then wondering, while looking at the animals, if someone is stealing our stroller! (Am I the only one who thinks about this? It drives me nuts.)

This last time we barely made it to the Monkey exhibit, our first stop, before Robbie was a melty mess. The monkeys distracted him from his 2 year old woes for about 30 minutes, but upon exiting the building he neither wanted to walk or be carried by daddy. So we hobbled over to the elephant area, where he played with a large wooden 2D elephant with a big tube/hose for a trunk. After deciding that this was not what we came to the Zoo to see, we tried to get him excited about seeing more living animals. You'd think we tried to cut his arm off.

He was a hot mess and we decided to cut our losses and head home. (We consoled ourselves by remembering that we paid nothing to get in!) But whoever designed the Zoo was brilliant, and no child is going to let you walk right past the enormous carousel by the entrance/exit area without at least one go-around. So we gave in and rode as a family. At least I got a few cute pictures of our ride!

Last year when we took Robbie to the Zoo, he came down with the stomach flu the next day and we passed it around our family for 2 weeks. We sort of expected it after he spent much of that visit sucking on every guard rail in sight before we could pry him off. This year, Ellie had the fever that led to her seizure the day after our Zoo trip. Call it coincidence, but I think we have a terrible track record of picking up illness at the Zoo.

Taking in the sights at the Zoo... I mean, totally distracted by a leaf even though there are wild animals everywhere. (Why not? And this would be why we go on free days.)

Ah... the infamous 2D elephant with hose-trunk. Much better than actually viewing the real thing around the corner.

Attempting to end the visit with happy children!

Somebody loves her daddy...

This face!

I love it when she pulls her serious face when something is supposed to be fun and exciting.

And I love it when she points her sweet little toes. Such a lady.

The Zoo. We may or may not be back anytime soon. The end.

Friday, November 19, 2010


The afternoons are long and chilly. Perfect for bundling up and playing in the driveway... for 10 minutes! It seemed like a lot of work to get them dressed just to head back inside, so we hopped in the car and drove around eating popcorn and watching for trains while watching The Polar Express (for the thousandth time).

As I gave this girl a bath earlier today, I was overcome with thankfulness.
Thankful that Rob and I are able to fill our babies' tummies each day with good food.
Thankful that I have the privilege of bathing them with warm, clean water whenever I want or need to.
Thankful for cozy beds and books and toys that help them develop and grow.
Thankful for winter coats and hats.
Thankful for the opportunity to raise them.

I am so thankful that we have one another.
Even when we are keeping each other awake at night!

All it takes is quieting my heart and really looking at my kids to be overcome by God's goodness towards us, and His many blessings.

Looking forward to a weekend of rest, soup, hot sandwiches, and lots of time with my favorite people!


There is a conspiracy going on against me laying down and sleeping or napping. Every time I try, someone starts to cry, takes their diaper off, drops their paci down the side of the bed, needs a drink, begs for 4th meal (that would be Robbie last night at 11pm!), or the phone rings. None of these things are happening until the moment I lay down and pull a blanket up and finally resign myself to rest.

For the last week, we have not slept through the night. And for the life of me I cannot get a nap in during the day. It's a little maddening. Probably more than just a little. I am so tired, emotional, frustrated with Robbie's tantrums and new habit of saying "Don't grab me!" or "Don't touch me, mom!", and am probably hormonal to boot (pregnancy will do that).

This morning as I showered and got ready for the day - the one perk to kids who won't go to bed on time or sleep through the night is that they sleep in! - I reminded myself that God's mercies are new every morning. That he promises to give us what we need to get through one day at a time. And I prayed for what I need most right now - patience and strength. Compassion for my kids when they demand everything I have, and the ability to give it to them cheerfully, out of love. To be sensitive to their needs first, when I want to focus on mine instead.

Although I am enjoying the results of everyone else's desire to get moving with the holiday celebrations (seasonal drinks, cinnamon treats and twinkle lights already strung up in trees), I'm not going there yet. We are in one day at a time mode. Maybe it's a blessing that I'm this tired and stretched thin leading up to the holidays. It could keep me from unnecessary activities or overfilling our schedule, it could help me remember how good and necessary it is sometimes to say no to things, it could help me remember that the advent season is one that is best spent meditating and dwelling on the fact that God came down to earth as a baby, and what is more important than that?

Maybe my forced daily dependence on Him right now is all a part of God's master plan (or conspiracy!?) to get me to stop and remember. To prioritize and focus. To think about changing the way we choose do things. To consider what the most important elements are of Thanksgiving and Christmas, and to make a plan not to miss those, and be ok with giving up the rest. To think about what I want my kids to learn by the ways we celebrate, and to put the time and energy into being intentional about making a plan that will sow seeds in their hearts and, Lord willing, one day bear fruit in their lives.

I'm going to fight for the next 2 months, as tired as I am, to not let all of the catalogues and stores and commercials shape the attitude of my heart or define the way things should be. They only invite greed, anxiety and comparison anyways. They never deliver on the false promises to create happiness and satisfaction. And I'm not sure I trust how 'harmless' it is (for any of us) as I think about my responsibility to shape my children's hearts and minds, and our family as a whole. Maybe individual acts in and of themselves (shopping, decorating, gatherings, gift exchanging, etc.) are not necessarily wrong or harmful, but the drive they can tend to create in us or the ways our hearts are enticed to pine for more... I think it's worth examining and being cautious about.

On a related note, I read THIS blog post by Ann yesterday, and it was so encouraging and challenging. These are the kinds of things I want to 'envy' more and be marked by... a quiet heart, honest living, ability to give up what everyone else is grabbing for, contentment, the strength to live out deep convictions, a bigger heart for the poor, the desire to give at every opportunity, wisdom, humility.

I love when she asks us, "Is it always this way, that a little child will lead them?"

I suppose mine are leading me back to daily dependence on the Father, and a new way of viewing and thinking about the holidays.

And that's all I have to say about being tired and thankful. For today.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


I have a lot of them to get off my chest. And I think it's so much more fun to read about what makes another friend human and flawed than why they think they have it all together.

So here you go. Enjoy my shortcomings and start feeling better about yourself riiiight... NOW.

*Sometimes I go to Whole Foods not to grocery shop but to dinner-shop. It's my lazy woman's way of putting a hot dinner together without cooking. I don't do it often, but when I do it's so nice.

*I crave fruit right now (it's about time... this baby was in danger of being created out of pasta and cheese and pastries!). And while some women splurge on expensive jeans or high end make up or spa treatments, I like to move things around in the grocery budget from time to time and splurge on organic, already-washed-and-sliced fruit. Again, from Whole Foods. I'm starting to dream about those tall containers of grapes and berries. It's bad.

*After Ellie's weekend health adventures (we'll call it), Robbie has become this little volcano of emotion ready to erupt at any given moment. He mainly struggles with the times I have to pay more attention to Ellie, hold her, give her medicine, etc. He will randomly throw a toy he's playing with out of nowhere, or stand up and look me in the eye and with a deadpan expression on his face, yank his paci out and throw it across the room. Often these little outbursts remind him of just how mad he still is that I up and left him Friday night with the neighbor (I'm guessing!?) and they escalate into full blown fits of anger or outright screaming for no reason. And after 5 days of repeated and varied forms of discipline for these behaviors, I have now resorted at times to flipping on Toy Story 3 to distract him from his inner torment. ;) Totally bad parenting, I realize, but desperate times and a tired mommy, you know? And this morning as he quoted much of the movie verbatim I was brought to a new level of shame. We're going on movie lock down. As soon as Ellie's rash goes away and she can stay awake for more than 3 hours during a given day. Then. For sure. Oh and did you catch in there that he has his paci again? And during the daytime? I'm winning mom of the year for SURE.

*I made a 9 lb ham for dinner last night, and the endless possibilities of what I can do with the leftovers is almost too much culinary excitement. I will now shamelessly ask you for your favorite ways to eat leftover spiral ham - recipes, ideas, anything. Leave me some love in the comments!

*I haven't left the house since Friday except to: take Ellie to the pediatrician, buy a new baby monitor, buy a new thermometer, do one massive grocery shopping trip, attend a moms event at church, go to bible study, and meet with a mentor of sorts for lunch. Although that sounds like a lot of getting out of the house, none of the trips lasted for more than 2 hours and I'm coming down with severe cabin fever that not even a baking session can cure. The kids are feeling it too and we need to get OUT of this house.

*In spite of my desire to get out of the house, I love that our calendar is nearly obligation-free for the rest of the month. There is something about having a 2 yr old, 1 yr old and baby in utero that is draining the life energy out of me. Apparently I'm not getting younger with each pregnancy.

*I'm channeling Paula Deen and cannot stop putting butter on everything. Even wanting to eat certain things for the simple fact that I could PUT butter on it. Muffins and any sort of toast in the morning are sometimes the only reason I am happy to get out of bed. I am going to hate myself for this next April.

*I'm getting crabby at my maternity clothes. As comfortable as elastic waist pants are, there's not much about them that makes you excited to put them on.

*Ellie has worn pajamas for the last 120 hours straight. That would be since Friday night. At least she's had 2 or 3 baths thrown in since then, and I am rotating her pj's at least once a day!

*Our video camera's digital memory is now totally full. We bought it just prior to Robbie's birth and I have yet to really figure out how to upload videos and file them properly onto our computer. And back them up. I've tried and it just doesn't seem like I'm doing it right, so I don't delete the files off of the camera. Time to figure it out.

*Ellie's bedroom mural still has the name we didn't chose for her chalked into it. I have yet to paint 5 little pink birds perched on a tree branch with the letters E L L I and E on their bellies to personalize her room. You know, 17 months after her birth, and just a few months before we move her out of the nursery and into Robbie's room. Aside from the fact that I have totally neglected her baby book, it's one of my larger embarrassments/failures as her mom (as far as things that don't really matter but do matter to us as moms!) and I hope she doesn't hold it against me when she gets older.

*I should be folding laundry but instead I'm blogging.

And with that, back to the land of productivity!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

She's doing fine. :)

Thanks so much for your sweet comments and concern for Ellie this weekend. I just wanted to post a little update that last night, while dressing Ellie for bed, we were able to figure out why she's been so sick. A pin-prick looking red rash appeared, covering her torso and now also her sweet face. Coupled with the swollen eyes and general lethargy, we know that she has Roseola. There's nothing you can do to treat it so we're waiting for it to simply run it's course. She has spent the last few days sleeping a lot, she's remained fever-free, and yesterday during the 3-4 hours she was awake, she only wanted to be on my lap or held for most of the time. No complaints here! We are thankful to have figured out what was making her sick, and now know that until her rash clears, we need to keep her away from other kids.

Robbie had this same illness when he was exactly Ellie's current age, and it was also the ONE time he's ever trembled and had jerky body movements during sleep in response to being feverish. He never seized, but I remember being on alert for it to happen then.

Not looking like herself at all right now! Poor girl.

Couch potato.

Hard to tell, but the rash covers her torso. It's pretty, right!? I get itchy just looking at her, but she's pretty unfazed by it.

Yesterday, I talked with another young mom I know from church whose daughter went through exactly what we went through with Ellie, just on Sunday night. While these seizures are really common and not alarming to doctors, they are horrible to experience as a mother. We both agreed that while our daughters seemed to be doing fine already, it was us (the moms) who were still recovering!

I came across this verse and it was a good reminder for me...

"I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord.” And he worshiped the Lord there." 1 Sam 1:27-29

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The day everything stopped

I took this picture an hour before Ellie stopped breathing.
We had a terrible Friday night.

My sweet girl had a fever from 4am on all day Friday, but it kept coming and going and I couldn't figure out why. She didn't seem sick otherwise. I called my friend Julie around 5pm when I realized that Ellie was not handling her fever very well after waking up from her afternoon nap burning up. She was beginning to tremble, and every now and then her legs would start to stiffen. Popsicles and cool cups of liquid weren't helping. I had a feeling we might be heading towards a febrile seizure, and Julie talked me through what her daughter went through when they experienced hers. Within 30 minutes of hanging up the phone, Ellie was seizing.

I was home alone with both kids, waiting for Rob to come home from work within the hour. Robbie sat watching Toy Story on tv as I dialed 911 and held Ellie who had begun to seize while she was in my arms. Somehow I carried her up to the living room, away from Robbie, while I was talking to the operator on the phone (more like yelling at them to hurry up the ambulance because my daughter was not breathing and had started to turn blue). When there was nothing more to say on the phone, I sat waiting with her in my arms for paramedics, praying that God would not take her from me but instead help her start to breathe again. It is the single worst moment of my life that stretched on for minutes that felt like hours. Not a good situation - to be completely helpless to do anything for your child, and to be alone.

When Ellie finally stopped seizing and took that first ragged breath, I laid her on the living room floor and opened the front door for the paramedics. Then I sat over her, talking to her and praying. Thinking please, God, protect her. I have no idea what to do. She was staring up into the air, not moving. I think the fire department got to us first, and there were 3 men there with me asking me about Ellie and what had happened, her medical history, etc. She started to moan and try to look around, and then seemed to fall asleep and wouldn't wake up even as she was nudged and talked to by the firemen. They put oxygen near her face. Shortly after that the paramedics came, and our foyer and living room were filled with so many people I have never seen before. One of our sweet neighbors appeared at our door and asked if I needed help, and I told her Robbie was still in the family room and could she sit with him? ( He was totally unaware and content with the video.) I called Rob as they strapped Ellie into a little baby stretcher and put the oxygen mask near her, and he was on his way home. Unnecessarily, I begged him to come home. But they were now telling me that Ellie would be taken to CDH (our hospital) and could I come to the ambulance?

I had texted my friend Julie somewhere in the middle of all this, and she was on her way over to help me with Robbie. But another neighbor (the one with kids that Robbie loves) came by just as the paramedics were getting Ellie ready for transport and offered to take Robbie to her house. He had begun to cling to me and cry once I tried to explain that I needed to go with Ellie to the doctor for a while, but perked up at the offer to go play next door. Away he went, in literally a diaper. I put pj's and a blankie in my neighbor's hand, and she took my son without question. So thankful for her in that moment of desperation.

Ellie was more alert in the ambulance as we made our way through rush hour traffic across town, and it seemed to take forever. The driver honked his horn (this scared Ellie but frankly I was happy that she was showing emotion) nearly the entire time as the roads were thick with cars at every intersection - I could see out the front and back of the ambulance and at one point we passed Julie on the road as I was talking to her on my cell explaining that I had to pass Robbie off to a neighbor so we could leave for CDH. And I kept thinking, how am I in an ambulance with my 16 month old? I always say a prayer when we come upon accidents or when we pull over for ambulances, and I hope others are doing that for us right now because I sure need it. You never know how someone's entire world is grinding to a halt inside of an ambulance, but it usually is in some way.

Ellie was beginning to be more responsive to me in the ride to the hospital, but still dazed and lethargic. The ER staff at CDH took wonderful care of her, and we discovered that her temperature was 104.5 when we arrived. They dosed her with Tylenol and Motrin right away, took a urine sample, and did chest Xrays. In between temperature checks and tests, she snuggled on my lap and watched Beauty and the Beast, burning a hole through my jeans with her hot little body. Rob got to us in the ER just minutes after we had been taken to a room, and I have never been so relieved. He stayed with us until it was clear Ellie would be ok and then left to retrieve Robbie from the neighbor's house, feed him dinner and put him to bed. I got to know the nurse who was attending to us, a single mom of a 4 year old boy who was born with so many problems that he's had surgeries all his life and is in a wheelchair. She tenderly cared for us even though my situation must have looked so simple from her perspective, and I asked her if I could pray with her before we left, for her and her son. (We did.)

They sent us home around 8/8:30pm after her fever broke and her temp was below 100, with instructions to keep her on rotating doses of Tylenol and Motrin for the next 24-48 hours, until she was fever free. No idea what her little body was trying to fight, but everything looked ok for the time being. We slept her in a pack and play next to my side of the bed and woke her every 3 hours through the night for medicine. She stayed cool overnight, but by Saturday afternoon it was clear we were not out of the woods. She woke up from a midday nap burning up again, and although I was planning to take her to the pediatrician for a follow up visit (per ER instructions) at 2pm, we headed over to the office early. She was beginning to get listless and her face was flushed, and I silently begged God to keep her from seizing again as I drove her to the doctor and then asked them to take us in early, which they immediately did. 103.5 temp, and more doses of Tylenol and Motrin from the nurses. Then we sat and waited for strep and flu test results. Negative. We left once her fever was down to 101 and she had perked up, calming my fears that she would seize again (I wanted to be near a dr/nurse if it happened again and asked to just wait it out there in the office, which they thought was a good idea). I was both frustrated and thankful to leave the office without any known reason for her temperature, the doctor assuring me that I was doing everything I could, and correctly, for her.
I laid her down for a nap once we got home, and a little over an hour later she woke up soaked with sweat and much cooler. The fever had broken. She ate some fruit and drank milk, and perked up again and played for a little while with red glassy eyes. I put her to bed in lightweight pjs and have been waking up every 3 hours to the minute to give her medicine to keep this fever from coming back.

Then Robbie choked on a pear while he was eating his dinner, and I nearly had a heart attack. Can I just get through ONE DAY before someone else stops breathing? Not my finest moment when I panicked and yelled at Rob to do something, dragging him into my overall feelings of helplessness and fear. I think we know I was more or less yelling at God - do you see what is going on here!? Make it stop. Let me get back to feeling like I can actually manage raising these children you've given to me, because right now they feel more like fragile ticking time bombs and I'm severely unequipped to do something as simple as keep. them. breathing.

And now it's 2:45am and all of this is keeping me from sleeping, so I'm popping Tums and blogging about the worst moment of my life to date instead. It was so much easier to trust God with my kids when nothing was wrong or threatening them, but after this weekend I'm wrestling with the fact that God has not promised physical protection or health to any of us, my kids included. I love Rob, Robbie and Ellie more than anything, and I love and trust God (I really do). But what's missing in between is a promise that this won't happen again, or worse. And for the first time I have experienced (to a certain degree) how much my heart would break to lose any one of them, and I'm not sure I can stand it.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I should charge admission...

The things coming out of Robbie's mouth recently have been precious, hilarious, and very thoughtful for his age (if his mother does say so herself - haha!)...

- "Don't forget the diaper bag, mommy!" {Anytime we leave the house or exit the van.}

- "Baby, I'm so glad you're here." {During a shopping trip, Robbie randomly asked to talk to the baby in my tummy. This is what he wanted to say.}

- "Mommy, don't forget to buckle me!" {Yelling, in a panic. Every time we pull out of the garage, even when he IS in fact buckled in. Apparently that ONE TIME I got all the way down the driveway before I realized I had forgotten to buckle him into his car seat really made an impression.}

- One morning Ellie laid her head down in the middle of the family room floor and started to suck her thumb out of exhaustion. I said out loud, "Aw, you poor girl!" and Robbie stopped playing with his trains, looked over at what was going on, and said "Put that poor girl in her cribby!".

- "I am going to play Candyland. ACTUALLY, I'm going to play trains!"

- "It's very good, indeed." {When we asked him if he liked his dinner one night. And no, we have never used the word indeed in normal conversation. Even our dorkiness has limits.}

- "R-O-B-B-I-E!" {How do you spell your name?}

- "I'm breaking the rules." {After chasing him back into his bed at night upon finding that he had gotten out.}

- "Robbie not do bummy drops on mommy - mommy has a baby in her tummy." {Thanks, bud. The baby thanks you, too.}

Hibernation preparations

Here are a few of my favorite cold weather recipes. They are simple, quick and very satisfying. Enjoy!


Pot Roast and Vegetables in the Crock Pot

1 large piece of beef (rump roast, etc.)
4-6 large carrots, peeled
1 lb potatoes, scrubbed clean (I love the mini Yukon Gold ones, also small new potatoes)
1 large yellow onion, quartered
1 package dry Lipton Onion Soup Mix
1 quart beef broth
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Dried parsley

1. Heat 1-2 Tbsp olive oil in the bottom of a nonstick skillet over med-high heat, and season both sides of beef with salt and pepper. Place beef in skillet and sear each side of the piece of meat, only turning once after the side is nice and golden brown. This locks in the juices before the beef cooks in the crock pot.

2. If you have crock pot liners (I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THEM and can only find them at Jewel...), line your crock pot. Place potatoes, onion and carrots in first, then place the beef on top of the vegetables.

3. Sprinkle the Lipton Onion Soup mix over the beef and vegetables. Pour the beef broth over all. Cover and cook on high 4-6 hours.

4. After beef and vegetables are done cooking, remove from crock pot and place on a serving platter. {*Get fancy tip: Sprinkle with dried parsley to make it pretty.} Remove the crock pot liner bag and pour the juices into a gravy boat or simple bowl. Add 1 Tbsp of flour to juices and stir, repeating as many times as necessary to achieve the desired thickness for gravy.

5. Serve meat, vegetables and gravy with a side of biscuits or cornbread and homemade applesauce. Yum!


Pumpkin Spice Latte

1 C double strength coffee (I like to use Starbucks Espresso Roast)
1/3 C half and half
1/3 C milk
2 Tbsp pure pumpkin
2 Tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp pumpkin spice
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Brew coffee as usual. In a saucepan over med-high heat, combine all ingredients except for vanilla extract and bring to a simmer. Do not boil! Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Pour into a large mug and top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon or more pumpkin spice. {*Get fancy tip: add a stick of cinnamon to the mug for stirring!} Makes one serving.

**No picture, I drank it too fast this morning. :)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

I'm feeling sort of brilliant.

I love sleep. I am one of those moms who functions best on 9-10 hours of sleep every night. HA! Not going to happen right now. But I just cannot bring myself to get up an hour earlier than my kids just to shower and get ready before they wake up. I'd rather put my dry shampoo to good use.

The consequences of my morning laziness have included not getting to shower until nap time, getting out of the shower to find one or both of the kids getting into trouble while I've tried to convince them to sit still and watch a kid's show on TV in our bedroom, and also angry babies who have laid awake in their cribs for too long while they wait for me to finish getting ready so that they can get up for the day. None of these are working for us.

So on the days that we actually have things to do and places to go in the mornings, I've found a new little routine that works for us. It's safe, everyone ends up bathing, and for the most part we're all happy at the end. Plus, I get to sleep as long as possible and the kids don't have to wait around for me to get ready.

How to get more sleep as a pregnant mom with a 2 yr old and a 1 yr old:

1. Wake up as soon as you hear the first child stirring in his/her bed.
2. Run to the shower, take your toothbrush with you. Don't linger.
3. Dress quickly; try to match your clothes, which are ideally clean. (No judgement if a washcloth is needed to move a shirt from the 'dirty' category to 'clean'.)
3. Bring all necessary tools for getting ready into the kids' bathroom, and start a bubble bath in the tub.
4. Dash to the kitchen, and fill a sippy cup for each child with milk. Fill 2 bowls with Cheerios.
5. Remove children from their beds, hopefully within 5-10 minutes of them waking up. Offer to trade them their clothes and soggy diapers for the sippys of milk, and deposit them into the tub.
6. Wash children first, then tell them they get to play in the tub for a few more minutes while mommy finishes getting ready at the sink.
7. Blowdry hair.
8. Remove kids from tub, and tell them that after they are diapered and dressed, if they sit nicely by the bathroom they can have a picnic breakfast.
9. Set kids up where you can still see them with their bowls of Cheerios, and finish getting ready / put on makeup.
10. Conquer another day.

This is sadly not the most perfect plan... I definitely spent a few extra minutes cleaning up spilled Cheerios. But it's much better than anything else I've tried! We were out the door this morning and had run 3 errands before lunch and nap time. And I wasn't afraid to run into anyone we knew. Haha.

How do YOU get ready in the morning with kids underfoot? I'd love to hear your suggestions and tricks of the trade. Comment away!

Monday, November 8, 2010

True to form

It's Monday morning and the flu is in our house. This time I am the lucky winner.

Taking care of two little ones while you're sick = exactly as fun as it sounds.

I think they sense my weakness today, because they're starting to join forces and conspire against me. Luckily I mustered just enough energy to walk the ring leader to time out.

When I returned to the littlest troublemaker who was yelling at the top of her lungs at no one in particular, I said gently "Sweetie, we don't yell...", and I could have sworn she gave me a dirty look! She looked up at me after quieting down, and held my gaze as she slowly turned her head away, dead serious. Oh my gosh. Hysterical.

Here's to hoping for an early (and long) nap time.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

October: wrestling the cloudy mirror

Oh October... You have turned out to be quite the mixed bag. But you have shown me what God says is true - that right now, I see things imperfectly as if I am looking at a cloudy mirror, but one day I will see everything with perfect clarity. I can't wait for the day.

There are so many things that I want to remember about this month that were either too little/brief/impossible to capture with my camera, or so monumental (and again, impossible) that a single image would never tell the entire story.

The beginning of the month brought on the second trimester of my third pregnancy. Sweet relief! Our refrigerator threatens to fall over for the amazing number of sugar cereals I have balanced on top of it. Around 5:00pm our house actually smells like DINNER again. And every morning I wake up and think about what I can bake from scratch that day. (Today's selection: Fresh Apple Cake.)

Not entirely unrelated, at my last OB appointment I discovered that I had gained a pound over the course of 4 days. That seemed noteworthy / kind of awesome / pretty mortifying. Luckily the nurses in the office are kind and their mothers taught them manners - they always just laugh with me as if they see that kind of thing every day. Ok, maybe they do. But I don't, and I will never get used to this part of being pregnant.

My consolation prize for the aforementioned humiliation was an ultrasound of our little one. See the new addition over on the left sidebar? The baby is growing on schedule, and my due date has been adjusted to April 9th which is pretty inconsequential. Everything is progressing just fine, but I will go back to CDH to have a level 2 ultrasound in a few weeks at the traditional 20/21/22 week mark for a more thorough exam of the baby.

Speaking of CDH (you like these smooth transitions, don't you!?), I felt like I spent a lot of time there this month. It was one of the surprises October held. Unfortunately not one minute of my time there was in the Mother-Baby wing, which is quite possibly one of my favorite places on earth. Since my dad spent a week fighting that infection in his arm as an in-patient we made our home-away-from-home in room 5300. The best moment of that week would have to be throwing a birthday party for my little sister in his hospital room, complete with presents, birthday cake, vending machine coffee (not as bad as this coffee snob would have thought), and a rousing game of hearts. Kelsey and I decided that it's only fair to let your elders win, especially when one of them is hooked up to an IV of pain medication. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. :)

In the middle of the month, one of my dear girlfriends walked through what I'm sure she would say was one of the darkest moments of her life. A tumor was discovered growing around her 4 year old daughter's spine, and within a week she found herself in the surgical waiting room at CDH with her husband and a few of us gathered around for support, waiting for the results of a biopsy of the tumor to chart the course of their immediate future, and let's be honest, lives. Praise God that the tumor ended up being benign, and completely removed without injury to her daughter's spine or heart! It really was a miracle, with clear signposts along the way that God had gone before them. It's an amazing story. But there were days that felt like years in between the initial identification of the tumor and the confirmed biopsy that were just terrifying for them - we were all pleading with God to spare them from pediatric cancer. He did, and we are so thankful.

As impossible as it is to forget to thank our Heavenly Father for things like the healing of my friend's sweet 4 year old daughter or the sparing of my dad's life and health after his accident, it is easy to overlook the blessings that God gives us every day. I'm keeping a list like many of you, called 30 days of Thankfulness, and each day of November I will write down something that I'm thankful for. Maybe I'll share it with you all at the end. If you want to do this too, just come up with 3 things you're thankful for and you're already caught up!

These didn't make the list, but Robbie used the big boy potty again this week (to poop! He likes to conquer the hardest parts of a task first, apparently.). Ellie has added a few more words to her vocabulary: Mommy (instead of mama), Ellie (pointing to herself), juice, tree, and is much more aware of the relationship of things to one another. Pointing to the TV power button and shaking her head at me saying 'No no!', pointing to her crib and saying 'Nah-night!', pointing to the door and asking me to 'Open!' and then go 'Bye-bye!', pointing to the wipes and pretending to wash her hands, acting like she is washing herself in the bath when I am cleaning something with a rag, etc.

Not making the thankful list is Ellie's new routine of waking up at 4am on the dot and not falling back to sleep without some assistance. I suspect some gastro-issues are to blame, but it is still frustrating. We work very hard in this house to sleep train our kids, and so far we've reaped the benefits of putting the time and hard work in early when the kids are little. This just doesn't add up though!! I am trying to gently remind Ellie that now is not the time to deprive her pregnant momma of much needed sleep, but she's not getting the message.

Also not making the list: one of the kids coming down with something EVERY MONDAY MORNING. I should just make a weekly standing appointment with our pediatrician (and never plan anything productive or social early in the week!). I know it doesn't make complete sense with incubation time periods, but I swear we walk out of the church nursery every Sunday with the virus-du-jour. This week Robbie woke up Monday complaining of a stiff neck and headache. When I tried to move him out of his bed, onto the couch, into the van to see the dr, basically ANYWHERE... he was hysterical. Just to be sure that we weren't dealing with meningitis I took him in for an exam, and we discovered swollen lymph nodes causing the stiff neck as well as an ear infection and his final molar cutting through the gums. He's finally perking up after a few doses of antibiotics and ibuprofin, and seems to have fought off whatever was trying to make him sick. I'm so thankful for good medical care.

Now they just need to come up with an antidote to Robbie's continued (although random) desire to paint his room with poop. Yeah... that happened again last week. He couldn't get to sleep, and we thought he was just reading books near his door which is blocked off with a baby gate. Turns out he was redecorating. And I did not care for his color choice. I did capture the carnage on video, for posterity's sake. One day we will laugh.

Yesterday I found him eating out of the sugar bowl, after having scaled the garbage can to get up on the kitchen counter. That was actually shocking. These are the (few and far between) moments that I envy families with bigger gaps between children. :) Overall I'm happy with our decisions though! We just have to get through these early years. Apparently sleep and safety is not guaranteed. I'm going to need a few straight jackets.

Here is what our Monday looked like... all day.

And our Tuesday.

Can I draw your attention to the fact that my 1 1/2 year old is ROCKING that bed head!?
Oh my.

Oh and this is only like 6 months late, but Ellie took 2 steps on her own yesterday shortly after the picture below was taken. She went from the couch to the foot stool / ottoman. She refused to repeat the performance. Typical. Her high school prom is going to be a pretty disappointing experience if she is still crawling around at that point.

And although we don't make a big fuss over Halloween, we can't ignore the opportunity to put our kids in freakishly adorable and fuzzy animal costumes. This year I found both costumes for $3.50 each at Babies R Us 2 1/2 weeks before Halloween! So Robbie was a cow, and Ellie was a giraffe.

Aunt Megan-an spent the day with us, which was SO fun. The kids decided upon arriving at Mima and Papa's house that they would rather play trains than trick or treat around the neighborhood. I wasn't going to argue with that. Halloween is just one of those holidays that I'm not anxious to ingrain in our kids. Thanksgiving? Yes. Christmas? We talk about baby Jesus being born so that he could grow up to die on the cross to save us from our sins all year long. Easter? Yes - but light on the bunny and heavy on the resurrection. Halloween doesn't really have any redeeming value outside of dressing up and having fun, and eating sweets in (hopefully) moderation. Haha, I sound so old and crummudgeony. (My blog, I get to make up words.)

From our family to yours... here's to hoping that October brought you many blessings, whether they were clear or tucked beneath whatever may have made it a difficult month for you.

"Now we see things imperfectly as in a cloudy mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely."

1 Corinthians 13:12 (NLT)

*Praise God, right!? I think that promise just jumped to the top of my 'Thankfulness' list.*

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A lot can change in 6 days

I'm a little behind on my blogging this month, but this morning I realized that retro blogging works for me. If I had posted these pictures and my thoughts from the day back on October 3rd, I probably would have told you that it started out as a beautiful fall day and turned into an afternoon of anxiety. It was the day my dad revealed his motorcycle to me. I didn't post these pictures then because I was still sorting out how I felt about it all.

But now? I'm so thankful for this day and the pictures I took. Because 6 days later Dad would have a serious accident on this motorcycle, and for a few hours in the emergency room we would all wonder what life was going to look like from there on out. It was all up in the air.

These images are a reminder to me of how much blessing God has poured out on my family. He gave us one another, and He knew on October 3rd that October 9th was coming. We continue to be grateful for my dad's healing and recovery, and most of all for God's protection over him. And I'm so grateful for my mom and dad.