Friday, September 28, 2012

Letting Go

Ever since Olivia and Claire came into our family, I knew this day might come.  

When I received the notification from their CPS worker, my heart plummeted.  My mind raced with emotions from anger, sadness, fear and helplessness.  Logically, I keep telling myself what I heard in training, these are children of the State but my heart would tell me otherwise.

To me, they were my daughters even if I never carried them for 9 months or shared the same last name.  I was the one who wiped their tears when they hurt and slept on floor by their bed during their night terrors. To me, I love them just as much as my own biological children.  Letting our girls go and return back to their biological environment was so hard for us to do but we have no choice, we have to do what the court has ordered and have faith that all that everyone who was involved is doing what is best for the girls and their future.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Learning by song

Growing up I remember those classes with the fun teachers that encouraged silly sayings or rhymes in order to help learn a concept.  In music class as a fifth grader, I remember learning “The 50 States that Rhyme.”  It was the best way to learn all 50 states in alphabetical order!  To this day, I can still sing that song which certainly comes in handy when playing any sort of trivia game that asks questions about states. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Single Motherhood

As a young girl who was obsessed with Barbies and playing house, I knew how much I wanted to be a Mother one day.  As a teenager moving into young adulthood as a total girlie girl, I not only wanted to be a Mother but I wanted to have a little girl.  I graduated from nursing school and lived the single life...wahoo, was that a great experience!  By the time I reached my late 20s and having just returned from my 10-year high school reunion, I realized it was time to settle down.  I took one last travel nurse assignment to Austin where I met the father of my one and only child.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Travel with a baby

Shelby just turned seven months old and we are about to complete her fourth trip on an airplane!  My parents are in Northeast Arkansas and they cannot survive without seeing Miss Shelby at least once a month, so we have been alternating us flying up and then my parents coming down here for a visit.

Now that my daughter is a seasoned traveler, I thought I would share some tips that I have learned navigating airport travel with an infant:

Monday, September 24, 2012

Bringing Up Daddy

A couple of days ago, I called my husband to tell him I was running a little late after work and asked what he was doing. “Hanging out in Will’s room,” he tells me.

This is actually not an uncommon occurrence since our unborn son’s room has started to take shape. I’ve come home to find him lying on the floor with pillows (and the four-legged children). When asked what he is doing, he says “waiting for Will.”

Friday, September 21, 2012

18 months old

Elliot just hit the 18-month milestone. In some ways it’s difficult to believe that my little guy has been a part of my life for 1.5 years, but in other ways I feel like I have lived every single second of that time. A friend recently summed it up quite nicely – with a toddler the “moment to moment” time seems to be excruciatingly slow, but “big picture” time seems to fly by.

 What’s funny, although I am enjoying every moment of his development, I feel I am always looking forward to the next milestone. But then when we finally get to that milestone, I am already ready for the next one.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

How to get your family ready for church

Been there, done that. Been there, done that.

How do you get your family out the door? On days you're trying to get them to school and yourself to work? I sometimes think I could conserve my energy if I just had a looped recording I could play of myself saying "put your shoes on, brush your teeth, eat your breakfast and don't forget your glasses".

The instructions below were written by a friend of mine years ago, but they sound oh so familiar to my mornings. How about yours? Any tips of your own?

How to get your family ready for church:

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Extracurriculars Equal Extra Work for Mommy

Evidently when you have a four year old you are thrown into the world of mandatory extracurricular activities.

I know my child doesn’t have to play soccer or take gymnastics lessons but I obviously have a hard time telling her no.

That said, as a full-time working mother of two our life only works on a schedule and I’m quickly learning that our life of busy is just beginning. My family’s routine is a well-oiled machine until things change.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Milestone birthdays

My son Brandon is celebrating a milestone. He’s turning 21. It’s hard to believe, but as I look back on the years, I can easily remember many of those milestone birthdays. You know the ones — the first birthday, of course that’s huge, but I think that one is more for the parents than the child because you can celebrate the fact that you’ve made it through sleepless nights, teething, that first fever and endless trips and calls to your pediatrician.

The next big birthday is when they reach the double-digits and turn ten. Brandon’s tenth birthday was probably one of my favorites because it was one of the more memorable parties, more about that later.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Blogging on Bed Rest

It is official: I’m letting go.

At 26 weeks pregnant carrying twin baby girls, I’m afraid I haven’t got a choice.

This week marks my third week of being on doctor prescribed ‘homebound’ status, and to sum it up: I haven't gone completely crazy, as of yet.  My days are filled with cooking shows and premium movie channels and surprisingly, I have started to make a to-do list each night for the next day as a reminder for what I could do to fill my time.  I’m not on strict bed rest (fingers crossed it will never come down to that.) and so this means that I can be up and about, sit at the computer, make myself a sandwich - just not out running errands, on my feet for long periods of time, or driving myself anywhere.

Friday, September 14, 2012

The Terrible Twos Are Almost Over! That Means Relief Is in Sight, Right?

I know, I know. Wishful thinking. In truth, we probably haven’t hit the worst of it. But honestly, with my daughter, Lucy, that’s kind of hard to imagine. And really, I blame Ethan, my 7-year-old. It’s totally his fault that he was such an easy-going toddler and had us duped, thinking that we had this parenting thing down. But then Lucy came along. And really, right from the beginning it was like she set out to blow that premise completely out of the water. And, as my husband and I are both first-borns, whose temperaments lean (at least as children) more on my son’s side of things--we just don’t know what to do with our independent, strong-willed, stubborn, downright FIERCE little girl.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Is that a bite mark?!

Every time my daughter goes off to daycare, I send up a prayer so that her hours away from me will be safe and pleasant. But a couple of months ago, one particular day was far from pleasant.  My daughter became an innocent victim of an attack that unfortunately happens often at daycare.

After work one day, I went to pick up my daughter from daycare, which is a part of my regular routine. I entered her classroom, and one of the daycare providers said, “Nandi had an accident today, and you need to sign a form.” I’m thinking she messed up her clothes from a leaky diaper – but no, it was worse than that. When I rushed over to my child, her back was turned toward me, so I called her name and she turned around. Looking at her chubby cheeks, I almost started to cry. Her left cheek was slightly swollen and red, with two bite marks that had broken the skin. She looked happy and relieved to see me, and all I could do was pick her up and wrap her in my arms.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Mom needs a raise

My son lost his tie for school and is now in the process of paying me for the new one we had to buy. He is earning 25 cents per chore until he gets to $14. He’s been doing well at the chores I’ve given him, and I’m proud of how he’s stepped up. I had to laugh at a discussion we had Sunday night—he had the opportunity to earn a quarter by tidying up the living room.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Baking up an Entrepreneur

As parents, we all want to see our children happy even if it means indulging in their interests at the expense of our own comfort.

My daughter has really developed a passion for baking and has mentioned to anyone with ears who will listen that her dream is to become a chef. Because of this, we have become regular viewers of just about every cooking/baking show currently on Food Network as well as one of her favorites from TLC, “The Cake Boss.”

Over the summer we decided to indulge her passion and center some of the summer’s activities around her love baking. After doing a little research, I found Kids’ University that was offered at a local college and among the many classes was a Petite Pastry Chef course. I immediately enrolled her! For one whole week, she was the personification of Buddy Valastro himself.  She learned how to make things like strawberry shortcake, apple pie and fondant from scratch and was really proud to bring home her tasty treats each night.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Troubled sleeping arrangements

When my second (and final) child started sleeping through the night, I thought it would be smooth sailing, as far as sleeping goes, until my kids reached the age where my husband and I would have to worry about them sneaking out at night.

Miles in his baby bed. Allie in her big-girl bed. Mommy and Daddy in our bed. Spanky Mae, our pug, in her dog bed, which is right outside our bedroom door.

Friday, September 7, 2012

The floor bed: an update

sleepy head
I get a lot of questions from friends and family about how Jake’s crib-less nursery is working for us.

A floor bed, popular in the Montessori world, is basically a crib mattress on the floor instead of in a crib. The idea is that it gives the child more freedom to view and explore surroundings. (Montessori is all about independence and exploration.)

Sounds very visually appealing, right? While I was pregnant, nesting, and longingly perusing the beautiful nursery furniture displays at baby stores, I struggled with the idea of this and how it would look in Jake’s room. But now? I don’t really think twice about its unusualness until I’m asked about it. And then it’s like, oh yeah, I kind of forgot how weird this seems to other people.

The theory of a floor bed is all well and good, but how practical is it in use?

Thursday, September 6, 2012

In The Family (Car) Way

Some things just aren’t as grand in real life as they are when you picture them as a kid. Parenting, for instance, has a lot more gross-out, hair-pulling, heavy-sighing moments than I thought it would as a na├»ve young(er) adult – you know, pre-parenting. Car buying is the same way!

We’ve just been through the process of going from one car payment (the hubby’s) to two. For 10 years, I drove a Ford Escape. It was the first car I bought for myself (with help from Dad for the down payment) out of college. It took us to Houston many times, Brownwood several times, even Colorado once (where I like to think it, along with Bryan’s smart driving, saved our lives – but that’s another story). That truck gave us some great memories. It went through three windshields, two liftgates, many tires and even one wheel (see the above comment about it saving our lives). It gave us 10 years and almost 140,000 miles… and five years with only one car payment.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

After the Struggle: Pregnancy after Infertility

I stood in the middle of Wal-Mart shaking, choking back tears, and trying not to throw up. I can only imagine what my fellow shoppers thought of me as I reached for the box of pregnancy tests.

If they had been in my head, they would have known the anxiety and terror I was feeling. I did not want to buy these tests but at the same time, I wanted nothing more in the world for my suspicions to be confirmed.

My journey to that Wal-Mart aisle was over two years in the making. Approximately 36 failed cycles, countless negative pregnancy tests, fertility testing, and repeated pain and heartbreak led to this mess of a woman buying a simple box of pregnancy tests.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Cracking the case of the unhappies

Every good mystery seems to start on a dark and stormy night, right?

Aptly so, we welcomed our youngest little boy into the world one night last winter. Dark? Check. Stormy? You betcha. And from the moment he arrived, Jackson has been our loveable little mystery.

Don’t get me wrong – I adore our sweet boy, but realistically speaking, Jack was a bit of a screamer, wasn’t a fan of sleeping and generally never seemed like he knew what he wanted. So, we set out to figure that out for him.

Monday, September 3, 2012

The day that changed my life

Labor Day 2012 will make it (almost) two years since my life changed.

On Labor Day 2010 (Sept 6th) we had wonderful plans to spend the holiday with good friends and their kids.  We had major plans for a tennis match, BBQ, and some swimming.  We were to play our tennis match early to beat the heat and get a jump start on the rest of our festivities.  My husband and I are a competitive couple, and the friends we were playing against are as well.  So as I tied up my laces on my tennis shoes, I was psyching myself up for the game.