Monday, December 10, 2012

Advent in our house

Growing up, I had about 5,000 Christmas traditions. You might think I'm exaggerating, but Chuck would assure you I am not. And I am equally attached to each of these traditions... none of them is negotiable. Christmas is such a special time of year that everything can become a tradition, even the most mundane thing. So of course I have put a lot of thought into what I want to become traditions in my house. Some things were no brainers- each girl will have a Hallmark series Christmas ornament, and they will each have their own (small) tree. But others were more difficult. How are we going to teach Jade (and Piper, when she's old enough) the *real* meaning of Christmas? How will we balance Santa and the commercialism that comes with Christmas with Christ's birth and giving?

We are doing Santa with the girls... I have no issue with people that don't, or with people that do. I totally think you can have a Christ-centered Christmas and still believe in Santa. That's what we hope to do in our home... teach the girls that this is a magical time of year because of the birth of Christ and that we celebrate that by giving to others... and receiving graciously.

One of the ways that we are making sure Jade knows this time of year is special is the Advent calendar. I grew up doing Advent in my church (we were Methodist), but haven't gone to a church that celebrated it since then. But I figure that since it's basically just a countdown to Christmas that it's something that we could easily do in our home on a daily basis. Last year, I bought the printable Advent calendar from Naptime Diaries. I read her blog and love all of her prints! Instead of buying a new one every year, I laminated it so that we could re-use it every year and just adjust the activities based on the ages of the girls.

Right now, we have them all hanging up and we flip over a new card every day. Jade knows that we are counting down to Jesus' birthday and really enjoys flipping the card over. We then read a passage from the Bible- I am using this list. Honestly, it's completely over Jade's head and she accordingly doesn't care about it at all. But I don't really care- I think it's important to read the "real" Bible to her sometimes and I know she's getting the Christmas story in other ways. 

After we read our verse, I tell her what our special Advent activity is for the day. Some days, it's a small gift, but most of the time it's some sort of activity. Making cookies and delivering them to the neighbors is one activity. This weekend she was supposed to go on a date with Chuck (which she normally loves) but she said no, so we all went to Barnes and Noble and read books and got some hot chocolate. I'm being pretty flexible, because some days are just crazy and I don't get the activity done, but so far we're doing pretty well and she's enjoying it.

Also, at bedtime every night, we're letting her unwrap a Christmas book and reading that one to her. Most of our Christmas books are about the real Christmas story, so we're starting our day with the Advent verses and ending them with a book about Christmas.

So that's how we're "doing" Advent and Christmas here. I am loving sharing this time of year with her now that's she's old enough to really start to "get" it.

I finally added Piper's picture and stats to her one-year post if you're interested.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Social media

Generally speaking, I'm a big fan of social media. Moving as much as I do, it really comes in handy for keeping in touch with family and friends and I truly love reading blogs and getting a peek into other people's lives.

Despite all the good that comes with facebook and instagram and blogs, there can be definite bad as well. People tend to put their best foot forward so to speak. Most people don't take pictures of the piles of laundry, screaming babies, and soap scum in the shower. Which makes it really easy to think that everyone else has a squeaky clean, perfect life and your life is just awful.

But it's not true. No one's life is perfect, they just choose to only show you the good side. That's not the way I operate. I don't think it's a bad thing to show the good. It's incredibly important to focus on the good moments in your days. To hold on to those moments when things aren't so good. To really recognize all the things you have to be thankful for. I just like to be more balanced myself, to show you the good and the bad. Hopefully this shows people that while I'm not "super mom", I'm also not a horrible mom.

Yesterday? Had more ups and downs than most roller-coasters. And honestly, had more downs than ups. However, it would be really easy to show you just the good:

Piper's all smiles while eating her breakfast.

Advent: day 4

Making cookies for the neighbors.

"It's stirring for us, mama!"

Looks like a pretty good day, right? Right. And I am infinitely glad to have these pictures. But I also have these:
Morning nap boycott.

Afternoon nap boycott (yes, my hair is wet).

The face I was staring at the majority of the day. This was when I had the audacity to walk into the playroom and suggest we play there.

See? So please, realize that no one's life is perfect. And even if they're posting pictures of their happy kid baking cookies, they could be having a horrible day. So just focus on the good, but realize you are not alone in the bad. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Re-entering life

The past week has been a doozy. Doozy. That doesn't pull up a spell-check line. Huh. Sometimes the things that *are* real words surprise me.


Piper sick. Jade sick. Me sick. Chuck sick. Family in town. Thanksgiving dinner. Lots of missed activities. Traditions skipped.

It makes me a not-nice person. I pray and pray "God help me to keep being a nice person." It's still hard. Hard to be patient when you just want to lay down and groan. Hard to cuddle when you need to be cuddled. Hard to be a good mama when you just want your mama.

So yeah. I'm constantly learning things about myself. Learning what I can handle and when I just need to walk away. Learning when I need extra support. And somehow, I have recently learned that without consistent time to myself, I become a beast to be around. How am I 28-years old and just figuring that out?

In a way, it makes me happy. Learning about myself, learning how to pamper myself and when to say "suck it up, Erin". Makes me feel like I'm actually growing up. Most of the time, I still feel like a teenager. When I hear people say "that lady" and realize they're talking about me, I still do a double-take. But it's so nice to realize that I'm growing. Not physically (please God, not physically!!), but spiritually, emotionally. It's so nice that God cares so much about me that He's helping me to learn more about myself. He's showing me where I'm strong and where I need some work. He's helping me through this time, which has been a bit tough with it's isolation.

I look forward to looking back on myself in 10 years and thinking "look how much I've learned!" It's amazing that I know myself better now than I ever have, but I will know even more in 10 years and even more in 20. I love that God cares so much- it overwhelms me. His love is overwhelming in such an awesome kind of way.

There's no point to this post, just some ramblings to let y'all know that I'm still alive and still have thoughts sloshing around up in my brain.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Piper grows up- 1 year

Piper girl,

I find myself unexpectedly sentimental as I sit to write this letter. I'm not sure if it's because you're the second kid or what, but I am much more aware this time. Trying to soak it in, savor it. You are, unfortunately, very sick at the moment. You have a ridiculously bad cold and an ear infection in both ears and have cried and coughed so much in the last few days that your voice is hoarse and scratchy. It breaks my mama heart to see you like this, but it has given me the chance to cuddle with you so much more than normal and I'm trying to enjoy every minute of it. Although I will admit that when I've rocked you for an hour and you still scream the second I put you down, I don't enjoy that.

Yesterday, you turned one. It feels like you have been a part of our family forever, and I cannot picture myself without you. So much has happened in your short life that it makes it feel like you've always been here. We went to Indiana, then to Georgia and Alabama, and then moved to Oklahoma and lived in a hotel for a ridiculously long 5 weeks. You have changed so much just in the 5 months we've lived here- going from not being able to sit up by yourself to on the verge of walking. You used to hate being worn and now you love it. You have such a fun little personality. You love to dance and love to laugh. I hope that you never lose your fun-loving personality.

You have very recently started doing a very ridiculously cute head swaying as part of your dancing and it cracks me up every time. If your sister laughs, you laugh and you get so excited when she crawls around and you can follow her. She loves to sing "Jesus Loves Me" to you whenever you're crying, and the majority of the time, it gets you to calm down. You love your sister.

They all love you at the church nursery and at MOPS because they say you are super easy going and lots of fun. Apparently, you also share your toys with the other babies, which I find adorable. They also commented that you love music and actually pat your legs to the beat of the music, which is "very impressive". That proves that you are your daddy's baby, because sometimes mama still can't find the beat.

You have taken a few unassisted steps, and I know that if you wanted to walk, you could, but you are choosing not to. I did not expect you to be so cautious, but I am not complaining. At this rate, you'll walk around the same time your sister did and be really good at it when you start, which saves mama lots of headaches chasing you around and picking you up when you fall!

We took you to the doctor yesterday. It was supposed to be your well-child visit, but became a sick-child one. You were right at 19 pounds fully clothed. You still have plenty of room to grow in your 9-12 month clothes, and could probably wear 6-9 month pants if it weren't for the cloth diapers. Apparently you have short legs and a longer torso :) You have little feet like the rest of the family, and have plenty of room in your 3-6 month robeez.

You love to eat- even with this cold, your appetite has not waned. You're not huge on chicken, but like other meats just fine. You pretty much eat whatever I put in front of you, although you like fruit the most- grapes the most of all. You still nurse all the time and I know that we're nowhere close to weaning, and I'm just fine with that.

You are waving and clapping consistently, but are still working on pointing. You still only say "mama" consistently, and basically never say it unless you're crying and want me. Your daddy and I both heard you say "Jade" once, but haven't heard it again. As much as your sister talks, I'm not pushing you to talk more. I encourage it, of course, but you talk all the time even though you're not using real words. You manage to get your point across, and that's good enough for me for now.

We all love you so much, sweet girl. You bring a smile to my face constantly and I can't wait to see what's in store for you.

Lots of love,

1-year stats:
Weight- 19 lbs 4 ozs- 19%
Height- 29 inches- 28%

Compared to Jade.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Eight days a week- 9 November 12

One of the blogs I read just did a "typical day" post and I realized I haven't done one since Piper was born. Shame on me! I wish I had documented more of the chaotic days back when Piper was younger. So, I said "I'll do it tomorrow!" Friday wasn't exactly typical because Chuck was actually home a good bit, so just balance that out with Thursday when he left at 7 and got home at midnight! And yes, I realize this is insanely long. You can just look at the pictures if you want :)

3 am- Piper wakes up. She does not sound happy. I convince Chuck to get up and give her some ibuprofen and to try to get her to settle even though he's only been home a few hours. I am not a nice person at 3 am.

5:30 am- Awake again. This time I go in and nurse her, despite the fact she's supposed to be night weaned. When I come into the room, Jade sits up and says "good morning, mama!" I make sure she knows that she's supposed to stay in bed until her nightlight goes off (it's on a timer that goes off at 6:30). She lays down but continues to talk to me. Piper nurses for-ev-er. I finally pull her off at 5:50, sing to her a bit and lay her down. She fusses but then quiets down.

6 am- I talk to Chuck for a bit, listen to my kids "talking" to each other and realize that if I don't get up now, I won't get any time to myself because apparently neither one of them is going back to sleep. I pull myself out of bed around 6:10, make my coffee and sit down to read my Bible. Sometimes I do this while the girls are eating breakfast because I just can't make it out of bed.

6:22- Piper is now crying. Sigh. I thought I had until 6:30. I ask Chuck if he'll go sit in the room with them until 6:30 so that I can finish my "quiet" time. He agrees even though he doesn't have to be at work until noon today since he didn't land until super late yesterday. He's a good guy :)

6:30- Everyone comes out. I take Piper and tell Jade it's time to sit on the potty. Chuck offers to hold Piper while I go with Jade, so I hand her off and she screams like we've killed her. So Chuck and I switch. I nurse Piper while Chuck helps Jade go potty and get dressed. After this, Chuck goes back to bed and I fix breakfast for myself and the girls. When I sit down at the table, I check facebook on my phone and find out my mom has been in the ER most of the night and is going to have gallbladder surgery today. I call my dad and he says they didn't want to call me because it was late. Some stellar communication skills we have.

Piper practicing her wave while I'm turning on Mickey for Jade.
7:00- Everyone is done eating. Jade gets to watch an episode of Mickey after breakfast, so I get that going and Piper and I go to get dressed. Piper "brushes" her teeth while I get ready for the day. I realize I can't remember the last time I washed my hair but decide I really don't care and pull it back into a ponytail. Then I get Piper dressed. When Mickey is over, I strap Piper to my back and Jade goes to the potty, brushes her teeth and we fix her hair. After this ordeal is over (today it took her about 20 minutes to do those things- she just kept stalling), we get the dogs on their leashes and head out for a walk.

Getting Piper dressed can be challenging.
All ready for our walk!
"Mama, I'm a baby!"
Riding her trike, flanked by two dogs.
8:40- Back from our walk. I nurse Piper and lay her down, tell Chuck she's in bed, sit Jade on the potty and she and I leave for a book club that some of the moms at my MOPS table just started. Today is our first week and I'm excited! Normally I'll be bringing both kids, but I'm taking advantage of Chuck being home half the day! Going places with one kid is super easy now, which I find hilarious because when I only had one kid I thought it was hard (and it was)! It's all perspective.

9-11- We chit chat for a while, and then talk about the book. We were supposed to read two chapters, but the host and I are the only ones that actually did. I wind up having to leave early because I need to get home so that Chuck can leave. I'm looking forward to our next meeting and hoping everyone will come prepared!

11:30- Home! I nurse Piper while Chuck plays with Jade for a few minutes, then he leaves for work and I fix lunch for myself and the girls. Jade gets a sunbutter and jelly sandwich, some cheese and some applesauce. Piper gets graham crackers with sunbutter, cheese and some of the carrots off my plate. Jade only eats 1/4 of her sandwich, which has me wondering if she's sick because she normally devours it. I have some leftovers. I am definitely not one of those moms that "forgets" to eat. If I "forget" to eat, I start to shake and then pass out. I eat a lot. Like 3 big meals and multiple snacks a day. And this is not just because I'm breastfeeding, I've always been like this :) Please don't ask me why I don't weigh 500 pounds, I do not know.

12-12:30- Playtime! We head to the playroom and play for a bit before naptime. Jade keeps putting a bucket on her head and finds it hilarious. She then finds a pumpkin headband and keeps saying "Piper pumpkin Piper pumpkin" over and over again and then dissolving into giggles. She's cracking me up. I also get a text letting me know that mom has gone back for her surgery.

12:30- Piper crawls over to me and lays her head down on my lap which means it's NAP TIME! Not gonna lie, I definitely look forward to this time. We all crawl (don't ask) to the bathroom for Jade to potty and then head to their room for naptime. I turn on the white noise machine then hand Jade her pull up and change Piper's diaper. She screams like I am trying to kill her and flails around like a fish out of water. Then I sit in the chair and nurse her while Jade changes into her pull up and gets her pants back on. She then gets into bed and reads to herself while I'm singing to Piper. When Piper's done nursing, I sing for a second and then lay her down and go over to Jade's bed. Then I sing to Jade and say a prayer and leave the room. Sometimes we read a book before naptime, but not every day. I leave their room at about 12:40 and pray they both go to sleep then sit down at the computer to work on this post.

Dark picture, but you can make out how many books Jade thinks it's necessary to have in bed.

1:00- I've gotten lunch cleaned up, made up the bed and folded a load of clothes. I peek in the girls' room and see a sleeping Jade and hear nothing from Piper (can't see her from the door when she's laying down). I decide to make my third cup of coffee of the day (trying to cut back to two cups and failing) and watch a little TV since my house is actually clean and I'm caught up on laundry. I stir in my cream and sugar and Piper starts crying. Weird. I wait a second. Crying escalates. I assume she's pooped. Sigh, set coffee down.

Go to her room and pick her up. I don't smell poop. She is soaked. Weird. There's no way her diaper has leaked at this point and she is SOAKED. And then I realize that although I don't smell poop, I do smell something... tea tree oil. From my wipe solution that I use on the cloth wipes. Apparently she could reach the wipes container, which was full of water. Awesome. She's soaked. Her blanket is soaked. Her blanky is soaked. Her stuffed animal is soaked. Her sheets are soaked. And I have to fix all of this while being quiet so as not to wake Jade. This is when I would like them to have separate rooms, but I refuse to give up my guest room and I like my small house! I leave the room, get her changed, hand her the remote (her second favorite off-limits item after my phone) and go back to her room to change everything. Thankfully Jade is passed out and I'm able to get everything taken care of without waking her up. Then I go get Piper, get her settled back down and lay her down. She fusses for a minute and then she's quiet. Sigh. That was easy :) It's now 1:30, and I sit on the couch again.

2:00- Realize I should do something productive, and clean the girls bathroom. Switch Piper's sheets from the washer to the dryer (so much for being caught up on laundry!) and straighten up around the house.

2:30- Piper's awake. She obviously didn't sleep long enough, and is acting pretty grumpy, but we play for a while until Jade comes out of the room around 3:15. Jade instantly asks to use her new finger paints. I lose my mind and say yes and then realize there's no way Jade will paint by herself or Piper will play by herself.  So that means they both need to paint. Um... Piper painting? This will be a first. It's too windy out to do it outside, so I push the kitchen table over, vacuum up the dog hair, tape butcher paper to the floor, change my clothes, change their clothes and sit them on the paper. Turns out, Jade wants a napkin every two seconds because she doesn't want her hands to be dirty and Piper thinks the paint tastes *really* good and she wants to crawl over the house with it all over her hands. 15 minutes of setup and 7 minutes of painting... then bath time!

3:45- I get a text from Chuck telling me that he's on the way home. Now, before y'all think I'm spoiled, this is not normal but I'm certainly not complaining! The girls are in the tub having fun playing, so I sit on the floor on the bathroom and relax for a few. I have paint all over me but figure I'll take a shower when Chuck gets home. Get them both out of the tub and get them dressed. Jade then asks to watch Mickey, so she watches TV and I throw some more, paint-covered laundry in while Piper entertains herself. And then I find her standing in Jade's rocking chair pulling markers off the edge of Chuck's keyboard. Awesome. And it's 4:30 and Chuck is home! I ask him to change the sheets on Jade's bed and jump in the shower. My dad texts to let me know mom is back in her room and doing fine.

"Would you like some markers?"
5:00- Piper is a flipping grumpy, tired disaster. I start cooking dinner. If Chuck wasn't home, I would strap Piper to my back and that normally keeps her happy. Tonight, they play in the play room while I cook. I heard her fussing some, but not too much. I talk to my mom while I'm cooking dinner- she sounds fine, just really tired.

6:00- Dinner is ready. The recipe said it would take 25 minutes and it took me 50. But it was good! And Jade ate! Hallelujah! She has eaten dinner two nights in a row- that's a new record! While we were eating I decide that Jade and I need a movie night since there's no way Piper will make it until 7 and that means we can get it started a little earlier than normal and not have to keep Jade up quite as late. I ask her what she wants to watch and she says Cinderella. I am not surprised. I tell Chuck that Piper can reach the wipes container from her crib and to make sure we keep things out of reach and he said "yeah, I noticed that a few weeks ago and started putting things farther away from her." Well, thanks Chuck, for sharing that information.

6:30- All done eating, I ask Chuck to clean the girls up (they get messy when they eat!) and get them in their jammies while I frantically try to clean the kitchen. Normally bathtime is after dinner, but we took care of that earlier today:) I knew I wouldn't want to do dishes after watching a movie, and I managed to get them done before we started! Jade comes out and starts running in circles around the family room saying "we're gonna watch Cinderella!" I think she's excited :) So I finish the dishes, nurse Piper, read her a story, sing to her and put her in bed. I walk out of her room around 6:45, hear a couple peeps and then all is quiet. You would think she would be adjusted to the time change by now but apparently not.

Chuck finally makes an appearance in the pictures making some popcorn.

Waiting patiently for the movie to start.


We pop some popcorn and the three of us snuggle on the couch and watch Cinderella. Chuck and I both start to fall asleep. It's not even 8:00. When the movie ends, Jade picks Chuck to put her in bed, so he says a prayer with her and leaves the room. We usually read a story before bedtime, but she was already up late and was obviously tired so it got skipped tonight.

At this point, I planned to do a couple things around the house but literally feel so tired I can't seem to move so I don't do anything. Thrilling, I know :) Considering how much Piper's been awake lately and how I turn into a grumpy, horrible person when I don't get enough sleep, I consider going to bed early part of the way I take care of my family. I work on this post a bit and then decide I'll add the pictures tomorrow. I'm in bed by 10 and then up to do it all over again!

Thursday, November 8, 2012


This is one of those posts that is beginning with a random thought circling around in my head. I have no idea if this will come out as a coherent thought, or if it will be a bunch of gibberish. So I guess we'll find out together :) I plan to just type and hit publish, so forgive me for typos and any other errors you find.

I keep hearing, over and over that so-and-so doesn't "deserve" something.

"That person on the corner doesn't deserve any of my hard-earned money."

"My husband never cleans up, so he doesn't deserve me to cook for him."

Or, conversely, that someone does deserve something.

"I deserve to relax during naptime because my kids are driving me crazy."

"I deserve that night out because I never get time to myself."

... and it goes on and on.

Now I'm not saying that all of those things are *bad* things. I'm just saying that I think we have it all wrong. The fact is, no one deserves anything. No one. We all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God. All of us. So we're all adulterers, murderers, gossipers, slanderers. All of us.

And then there's this wonderful thing called Grace. Grace that none of us deserve. Grace that no one has done anything to earn. Grace that God lavishes upon us anyways.

So who cares if your husband is a bad husband? Be a good wife anyways.  Who cares what the person on the corner is going to do with the money you give them? Give it anyways. Your kids driving you nuts? Serve them by keeping a clean home anyways. Never get any time to yourself? Be joyful anyways.

I hope this goes without saying, but I am definitely talking to myself as well as I'm writing this. This morning I found myself losing my patience over and over again and praying for grace and patience over and over again. Some days I am so weary that I long for a trip to get coffee by myself like some people long for Hawaiian vacations. But I am trying very hard to rid myself of the sense of entitlement that I sometimes bring to my prayers. To live my life humbly, not haughtily.  Because I am very, very blessed.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Miss Jade- age 2.5

Ok, I know I already wrote a letter but I have to do this too :)

*Talks all.the.time. All the time.

*Goes through phases where she absolutely hates the bath. I realize hate is a strong word, but it might not be strong enough. Despise, maybe? She screams bloody murder like we're trying to kill her and then two weeks later she loves it again. Makes no sense.

First day of MDO

*Just started actually pretending to be the person she's dressed up as. If she's in her Rapunzel dress, she insists I call her Rapunzel and not Jade.

*We listened to the same CD in the car for about 3 months- Veggie Tales Lyle the Kindly Viking. So glad we've moved past that one.

*Is now rear-facing in her carseat again. She doesn't seem to mind and mama feels much better about how safe she is.

*Has a tricycle (that has a push handle) that she can pedal herself, although she still needs some help steering.

*Loves to take care of and wear her baby dolls.

*Can say her bedtime prayer (from this book) and her mealtime prayer all by herself.

*Fully thinks a band-aid and kiss from mom fixes every booboo.

*Hates slides. Hates. We're working on being brave and how it's ok to be scared but we still have to try. It's not a fun process.

Wearing a leotard for the first time. We couldn't get her to put the book down :)

*Loves to walk Belle.

*Is doing really well with potty training. She still sleeps in pull ups, but the rest of the time she's in underwear. I wouldn't call her "done" but she's doing a whole lot better than I anticipated.

*She still asks me what I'm doing pretty consistently, although not as much as when she turned two. She mostly now will just say "Mama, mama, mama" over and over for no reason.

*Can get herself fully dressed, although she still needs help sometimes.

*Is learning what we do on different days of the week. Monday is MDO, Tuesday gymnastics, etc.

*Is very shy/skeptical of strangers but has no problems going into childcare.

*Very possessive of Piper. If someone else (other than me or Chuck) is holding her, she gets upset.

*Beyond picky. She eats either oatmeal or cereal with yogurt for breakfast every day. Sandwich with fruit and maybe apple sauce or cheese for lunch. And for dinner, she basically never eats. It doesn't matter what I make, if it's something she liked the week/month/whatever before, the second she sees it she says "no, I don't like it" and pushes it away. I have completely given up on it because even when I make things she does like, half the time she refuses to eat it. We make her sit at the table with us while we eat so that she doesn't think meal time is play time, but I'm not going to make her eat because honestly it just isn't worth the energy and fight. Obviously, she's not that hungry. She's been like this for about a year now and I just pray that eventually she grows out of it because it truly drives me crazy.

*Knows all her letters and the sound they make.

*Has officially been declared left-handed like her mama (pretty sure I knew this when she turned 2, but I didn't write it down).

*Can finally jump, and can do a pretty awesome forward roll thanks to gymnastics.

I love this kid :)

Thursday, November 1, 2012


It's 10:15 at night, and although for most people that's not very late, for me it is. Pathetic, I know. Pathetic or not, I'm tired but didn't want to go to bed without posting some pictures from halloween.

Yesterday was Jade's first time trick or treating. Last year, she did a trunk or treat at our church but didn't even know what candy was and just chewed on the outside of the packages because they made fun crinkly noises. The actual night of halloween, I just let her pass out candy with me, which she had fun with.

But man, did she love trick or treating yesterday. I really didn't expect to go to very many houses- she was walking and I thought she would get tired, or cold, or something, but after about the 8th house she said "I LIKE trick or treating" in this really excited voice and we just couldn't turn around. I honestly don't know that she's ever volunteered information that she likes something. I generally have to prompt her: "Jade, was that fun?" "Yes mama, lots of fun." But "I LIKE trick or treating" was all on her own.

She was super brave and would even go up to houses by herself if there were other kids there. If she had to knock on the door, mama or daddy had to go with her because she can't quite knock loudly enough :)

This year, the girls were a butterfly and a ladybug. I enjoyed deciding what they would be and just being able to tell Jade "you're gonna be a butterfly!" with an excited voice so that she would think it was the best thing ever. I don't expect it to work again next year.

Oh, and Piper was just along for the ride last night. Chuck didn't want me to wear her because "no one will be able to tell she's a ladybug", so he carried her the whole way crazy guy.

Letter to Jade

Miss Jade,

You are now officially two and a half years old. Even as I type that, I can't believe it. It seems like just yesterday that you turned two, but as I look back at pictures and the things I wrote about you then I realize just how much has changed.

You have adjusted so well to Oklahoma. You still occasionally ask about your friends in Virginia, but you're asking about friends here more and more. They love you at Mothers' Day Out and at church. The ladies at MDO especially love to tell me how sweet and smart you are. I definitely agree :)

You have become such a good big sister. There have been some difficulties now that Piper is moving more and showing her opinions more and more, but ultimately, you love your sister and show her that every day. It's not uncommon at all for you to sing "Jesus loves me" for Piper if we're in the car and she's fussing. She almost always stops crying when you sing to her and you get so excited because you "made Piper feel better".

Every day, I realize how much like me you are and how difficult that makes it to be your mama sometimes. I have no doubt that we will continue to butt heads as you grow older and I pray that you will always know that your daddy (both earthly and Heavenly) is there for you when you're upset with mama :) I also pray, constantly, that I will do a good job of training you up in the Lord. That your stubbornness, and temper can be reigned in for good. This is something that I'm also working on in myself!

You seem to be having a little problem with the concept of becoming a "big girl", no doubt because you see the attention Piper gets because she's a baby. Some days you declare that you are also a baby and crawl everywhere and tell me you need to wear a diaper. Other days, you proudly act like the big girl that you are. It confused me at first, and then I realized that of course it's scary to start doing new things and I know that you'll adjust soon.

We've started spending a bit more time at home, which has given us time to do some crafts here. I feel bad that I didn't do anything with you sooner, because you really enjoy it. You also loving "helping" mama cook dinner.

One of your favorite things is to put on your Rapunzel dress and dance. If we are home, there's about a 50% chance you'll be in either your Minnie dress of your Rapunzel dress. It's adorable :)

Speaking of Minnie, you STILL love to watch Mickey Mouse. I'm still waiting on you to get sick of it, but it just hasn't happened. You generally watch one episode in the morning after breakfast and one after you wake up from your nap.

One of my favorite things about you is how much you love books. You "read" them constantly, you sleep with them, you always grab one before you get out of bed and come to our room in the morning. I am constantly amazed at how many of your books you have memorized. You bring them to me about 5,000 times a day for me to read to you. I love it and truly hope that the joy you find in books never fades.

You are becoming such a beautiful little person and I am amazed every day by how much I love you. God's got big things in store for you, little one, and I can't wait to see where life takes you.

Lots of love,

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The state of things

I hate to leave you guys hanging after a post like last week's. I received quite a few emails/messages in response to the post and it is always so nice to know that I'm not alone. Turns out, Jade is getting her molars at the moment and I'm sure that (combined with her recovery from the virus) has something to do with her recent behavior.

I've always been a big fan of finding the cause of the behavior as opposed to just correcting the behavior. Of course, I address the behavior but I try to really think through things instead of just saying "you're being bad! Go to time out!" I know that if I'm angry with Chuck over something, I want him to find out why I'm angry and either apologize or tell me his side of things. I do not want him to say "you're acting stupid, I'm just going to ignore you now."

Sometimes I find that my way "works", other times I think it would be way easier just to spank her and tell her to shape up. But honestly, that's just not the way I parent. So last week, after I vented my way through my blog post, I planned some fun activities for just Jade and I to do. We painted, we played with the sensory tub, we made dinner, we played with play doh. We've done a lot of practicing gymnastics and running around the backyard to make sure she's burning all her energy. Saturday, Chuck took her out on a "date" for doughnuts. All things to help her realize how special she is to us. And I've found that just by consciously making that effort to spend one-on-one time with her, her behavior improves dramatically.

Now don't get me wrong, things have not been perfect around here. She's still throwing tantrums. I'm still losing my temper. She's still being sent to time out. It's just not happening quite as much as it was last week.

God has really been showing me *why* He wanted me at home more and on the road less. All of those things I've been listing up there that I've been doing with Jade? Never would have happened if I was still running every morning and running errands every afternoon. She and I are reading her Bible every day during her sister's afternoon nap. I'm finding time during the day to really invest in my kids and I'm loving that.

However, I'm still struggling. I love running. I really do- it helps me stay sane and healthy. And as a person who's struggled with depression and anxiety, I don't say that lightly. It's always been an important part of me taking care of myself, and I know that taking care of myself is super important. God's been so faithful to provide me with the energy and patience that I generally gain from running, but I'm still antsy. Wanting to get back out there, just not finding the right solution. Right now my choices are: run in the afternoon after naptime, and run errands after the kids are asleep, or wake up and run at 5 am. And besides just not wanting to wake up at 5 am, I'm just not entirely sure that's safe. So I'm praying and waiting, hoping a solution makes itself apparent soon.

Thank you guys for caring- sometimes I feel like I'm mainly writing to myself, and it's nice to get little notes that tell me I'm not.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Piper grows up- 11 months


You've now been 11 months old for a week (ok, a week and 2 days..) and I can hardly believe it. It seems so surreal to say that you're almost one and to think that very soon, I will have a one-year old and a two-year old.

This month has been full of lots of change. I am now confident that you are saying "mama", although you never bother to actually say it to me. So far, that's your only "real" word and I can't wait until we know what you're saying more often because you talk a lot!

You are standing on your own more and more and I am fairly confident that if you wanted to walk, you could. Your balance is really good, but even if I try to hold your hands and get you to take a step, you just sit down. However, you love the walker wagon and walk just fine behind it. At this point, if you walked tomorrow I wouldn't be surprised and I also wouldn't be surprised if you waited until you're 14-months old. I figure you'll do it when you're ready :)

I feel pretty confident saying that your daddy and your sister are your 2 favorite people and that I'm a very close third. You want mama for her milk, but you love to play with daddy and your sister can get you to smile and laugh a whole lot more easily than anyone else can. You do very well in the nursery at church and at MOPS- they all comment on how sweet and independent you are, but you also crawl into their laps and cuddle with them when you get sleepy, which I'll admit makes mama jealous because you're not much for snuggles!

Overall, your sleep improved this month but is still far from perfect. Recently, you seem to think that between 4:30-5 am is the perfect time to wake up for the day. Needless to say, no one else in the house agrees and we're all hoping you change your mind soon.

Your 8th tooth is FINALLY here and I'm hoping that the grumps that came along with it will be gone soon.

You love being worn, and I probably wear you more now than I did 4 months ago. Most nights these days, daddy isn't home when I start to make dinner, so you're on my back and sister is "helping". I also wear you most days when we walk the dogs and if we run any errands at all.

You love to clap and do it all the time. You are starting to wave and have also started to sign milk. Although, honestly, your wave and the sign for milk look very similar. But when we tell you to wave, you stick your hand out and sign milk and other than that, you only sign milk when your nursing and your hand is usually close to your face.

Speaking of nursing, you LOVE to nurse. Seriously, if I kept track I'd say it's around 10 times a day, sometimes less, sometimes more.This makes me a bit nervous because we're leaving you with grandmama and grandpapa for 4 nights in December, but we'll figure it out.

You are actually getting *less* smiley as you get older, which is something I didn't expect. You are still a very happy baby, but you used to smile at everyone we saw and now you're starting to grow more suspicious of people and just kind of stare at them. But you still smile MUCH more readily than your sister did.

I just got the 9-12 month clothes out of the attic because your 9 month stuff was getting to short. So you're not a big girl, but you sure do seem like one to me :)

Mama loves you so much, sweet girl, and I can't wait to see what you become.

Lots of love,

* compared to Jade at 11-months

** very happily writing this post from my new MacBook Pro. Adding that picture was incredibly easy!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The plague and the possessed child

Last week, I was taken down by a stomach virus that made me yearn for my mama and the cool washcloths she always put on the back of my neck when I was puking. Friday included an emergency visit to the pediatrician because Jade's temp was holding steady at 96.3 and "that's not good" (quote from the nurse practitioner). She turned out to be fine, just inflicted with the same virus her mama had, but with the benefit of having a stomach of steel. While she was fine, that 30 minutes outside the house wore me out so much that the highlight of our afternoon was me laying on the floor in my bedroom groaning while my two children played with bottles of fingernail polish.

Chuck did an amazing job of keeping things running around here, but after I felt better it still took about 2 days to get this house looking like I hadn't had a stomach virus and now I'm truly just exhausted.

Jade is going through a... phase. And while I love her more than I can possibly describe, right now I have to say that I don't like her. Her attitude has quickly become one of a 15-year-old: she doesn't like that, doesn't want to do that, doesn't have to obey me, can't do this, etc. This has been distressing on so many levels, mainly because I want to know where my happy kid is! I feel like I'm in totally over my head and worry that she's still going to be acting like this when she is 15 and begin to feel like a failure.

This week also brought a wonderful sermon at church that was given along with a 7-day challenge to "always pray, always be joyful, and always be grateful". Can I just say that I am failing that challenge? Prayers are uttered continuously, but I have not always been grateful and certainly haven't been joyful.

I am, of course, grateful for my children. It's just maintaining an attitude of gratitude in my daily life that is so difficult. Being grateful when Jade's throwing a tantrum on the side of the road because I won't let her walk Belle home instead of riding her bike. Being grateful when she takes a short nap and then (purposefully) wakes her sister up as well. Being grateful when she smears peanut butter all over the table when I leave the room to change Piper's diaper. Yeah, not so grateful then.

Unfortunately, it's also pretty hard to exhibit an attitude of joy in those times as well. I want my kids to grow up thinking of our home as a happy place, a comfortable place. I'm praying Jade will remember us cuddling on the couch reading her Bible story this morning and not the 5 times she's been in time out today.

So I am failing. But I am trying. And I'm just going to keep trying. Because being prayerful, joyful and grateful are things that are worth trying for. God has given me the tools to be those things even in the worst of times, and I certainly can now. But I could use some prayers, friends. Because this isn't easy, and I am one tired, overwhelmed mama.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


Things have been a bit "heavy" around here lately so I thought I would try to lighten things up a bit ;)

By the way, the lack of pictures lately is not an intentional thing, it is a "my computer is almost 5 years old and it's slowly dying" thing. Technically, I could still be posting them, it just takes forever and I don't have the patience for it currently. Soon enough, I will have a new computer. Seriously.

Jade is going through such a fun stage lately. She has the ability to push my buttons like no other, but she can also make me laugh faster than anyone else. I have a feeling that's normal for a two-year-old.

We have her signed up for gymnastics right now and honestly it's fairly hilarious. We signed her up because she is SO clumsy and couldn't even jump before this class. She can now jump, but it's still funny to watch her next to the other kids, who were all signed up because their parents couldn't get them to STOP jumping. But she has fun, and that's what counts. I figure if she's still scared of half the stuff after another 9-week session, we'll switch her over to dance classes- which don't have a scary pit of foam that my kid will not slide into.

Piper is crawling everywhere QUICKLY and has started to stand on her own more and more. She keeps giving me this evil little grin that says "I'm gonna do it, I'm gonna walk" and then she sits back down.

Jade is still obsessed with Mickey. You think she'd get sick of it eventually, but she's not there yet. She watches it every day.

Piper has started doing this ridiculous thing while she's nursing that consists of her trying to put HER foot in MY mouth. She finds it hilarious.

We are working on potty training with Jade and can I just say that it's truly not any fun? I mean, not that I expected it to be, but now my suspicions are confirmed.

I am beyond sick of politics and the mean side it brings out in people.

We had some 9-month pictures taken of Piper at Penney's and they are SO CUTE. It's so funny how different Jade and Piper are because I distinctly remember crying after Jade's 9-month pictures because we couldn't get her to smile and Piper was just a little ham.

I still cannot park in our garage. Sometimes this makes me feel like a failure.

Chuck has started flying again, which is great (he's a happier person when he flies) but the schedule can truly be brutal. Gotta get used to doing solo bedtime again.

I finally set a date for Piper's birthday party. Now I just have to plan it. And, ya know, execute that plan.

I am now one of the leaders of my babywearing group and am working on becoming a certified babywearing educator. I'm excited!

We have found a new church home. But it doesn't feel like home yet, still working on that.

My mother in law is amazing and is taking some vacation from work and coming to visit soon to give me a little time to refresh.

I am addicted to sweet tea. And coffee. Both good for me.

I haven't run in 2 weeks, which is driving me crazy, but giving me a lot of time with my kids. Gotta work on finding that balance now... as if it actually exists.

My dogs are driving me crazy. Chewing things, misbehaving, etc. And the thing is: it's not their fault. I simply don't have the time to exercise them and give them what they need. If Chuck doesn't start walking them before work, they might disappear in the middle of the night sometime. Just joking. Mostly.

Jade has started a Mother's Day Out program once a week and is doing really well and enjoying it.

I miss my family and cannot wait to go home for Christmas. Chuck and I are also doing a little getaway while we're over there *just the two of us*. I'm nervous about leaving Piper, but excited as well.

And I think that's enough randomness for now.

Monday, October 15, 2012


"I have learned the secret to be content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want." Philippians 4:12

The last few weeks, God's been showing me a lot of things in my heart that aren't very pretty. A big one that's been in the spotlight is my discontentment. If I'm at home too much, I go stir crazy. When I go out with both kids, I wind up stressed and frustrated. When I run, I feel guilty. When I don't run, I feel lazy (and a little crazy). I'm angry that I can't just go out and buy a new computer because mine no longer really meets my "needs". I need a haircut, but I don't have a babysitter to watch the kids so that I can go get one. The list goes on and on.

One of my biggest issues currently is my wardrobe. It's no secret that pregnancy is not easy on the body. Or that before I got pregnant, I was in the Air Force. So a lot of my civilian clothes (which, you know, is all I wear now) are from college. Or even before. I graduated from college 6 years ago. I bought some clothes in Alaska, but not many everyday type things. I bought hiking clothes, running clothes, and stuff to wear to church. Too bad I don't go hiking too much these days and my church clothes no longer fit because my body has changed so much. I have 8 pairs of jeans in 4 different sizes, but my only pair of "regular" (ie: not skinny or dressy) jeans that currently fit have huge holes in the knees now from wearing them so much. I told Chuck yesterday that I either need to lose 5 more pounds or gain about 10, because then I would have some clothes to wear.

I was getting so angry trying to get ready for church yesterday. So, so angry. I changed clothes no less than 7 times and I was griping that I can't just go shopping. That even though we have money for me to go and buy a few things, it is so hard to find something that fits that I need a large chunk of time to do it and I never have a large chunk of time to myself. Then I was getting mad that I don't have someone that can watch the girls. And thinking of the people I know that live close to family and have no idea how lucky they are that they have people that they trust to watch their kids (normally for free!) whenever they want.

Honestly, I was grumpy for a while. On the way to church (in my dress and Converse tennis shoes...), dropping the girls off in the nursery, and while the service was starting. The worship band was starting to play and I was standing there sipping my coffee looking around at how nicely everyone else was dressed. At how everyone in this town can afford $200 boots and how they obviously had unlimited time to get ready because their hair and makeup was perfect and blah blah blah.

And then God said "woah". As in "woah, Erin, your heart looks dirty and nasty and you're supposed to be worshiping the God of the universe". And I realized that I was singing along with the worship band. Don't even know what I was singing, but I was singing as I was looking around jealous of everyone around me. And there is something very, very wrong with that. So I prayed, over and over again, that I would be able to focus on what's really important. On the worship of the Lord, not the worship of the world.

I would love to say that my heart was immediately transformed and that I no longer want a new pair of boots or jeans without holes or a haircut. But that's not the case. I am not nearly as awesome as Paul. I am not content no matter the situation. But I'm more aware that I need to be. Trying to focus on all of my blessings and not my wants. Trying to recognize that many of the things that I think I need are just wants.

So I'm going to try to focus on being thankful for what I have and stop griping about what I don't. Try to be content no matter the situation and circumstances I am in. And hopefully I'll start living and acting like the blessed person that I am.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Rest- part 2

"Be still and know that I am God" Psalm 46:10

I really feel like that's what God's asking of me right now. Some days it's going ok, and some days it's... not. Last week, Chuck was home (yay!) and it was still a crazy, exhausting week that had me on my knees crying more than I would like to admit. Piper has been sick and grumpy, Jade has been not napping and grumpy and defiant (wonderful combination), and I've been trying to stay home?? I mean really, is this perfect timing? No. It's not.

One day last week, I was on the floor in my closet crying out to God that he was asking too much of me. If he wants me to slow down and reflect on Him more, couldn't He at least get my kids to stop NEEDING so much. I mean geez. And obviously now it seems ridiculous to even say that, but when you're trying to breastfeed a crying, sick baby and help your two-year-old wipe after going potty at the same time, it doesn't seem that ridiculous.

Sunday night was particularly bad. Jade woke up at 6 am that day and still didn't nap. By dinner time, she was a disaster. A disaster I tell you. She declared that she didn't want her dinner (no surprise there, pretty sure the kid eats dinner about one night a week). I said "ok, but you still have to sit here while everyone else eats". I'm not gonna force my kid to eat, but she is going to know that dinnertime does not equal playtime. Well she lost it. I told her that if she tried to get down one more time, she would be going to bed. She got down. Commence screaming for the next hour and a half.

An hour in, I went to Panera. Chuck could handle her from then on out and if I didn't leave, I was liable to kill someone. And let me tell you, there is nothing that will make you feel desperate if it's not sitting at Panera crying over your coffee and journal. I only got a few "what's her problem" looks from college students.

But ya know what? I think that's God's point with all of this. He wants me to be desperate. To not be able to take another step without asking for His help. To always remember that He is in charge and that even being at home with two "difficult" children is a blessing that I should be thankful for. It's a major paradigm shift in my thought process. I mean, of course I know that my kids are a blessing, but do I always act like that? Do they always feel like they are a blessing in my life? Probably not.

So this post doesn't have any nice conclusion. But that's life. I'm still in the trenches of all this. Still trying to figure out what God's trying to teach me and move forward in His will.

Friday, October 5, 2012


Two months ago, if you had asked me if my girls looked alike I would have said "absolutely not. Jade looks like me and Piper looks like Chuck." Then I started to notice some things. Mainly, that Piper didn't look that much like Chuck. And then I started to look at old pictures of Jade. And let me just say, I was wrong. Very wrong. They look a LOT alike.

First, I just want to say that I know a lot of people think that Jade looks like Chuck. And while I'm not saying that she doesn't, I'm saying that she looks a lot like me and I don't think Chuck and I really look alike... so yeah. Not sure what that means, other than you can think what you want to think, but this is what I think :)

Their eyes and mouths are shaped a little differently, but sometimes Piper looks at me and I think "holy smokes, that's Jade." Chuck and I have started writing dates on the back of pictures... and realized that moving a lot will have advantages because if it's a baby in Oklahoma, it's Piper... if it's a baby in Virginia, it's Jade. That'll help :)

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


It's amazing to me that we always think that we know what is best for us, when really God knows what's best for us and sometimes we're so blind and stupid that in order for Him to show us what we need to do, He has to whack us upside the head.

Or in my case, let me listen to a certain 10-month-old scream for a mile on a run that I just had to take, despite the fact that both of my children were clearly tired and melting down before I left the house.

Now don't get me wrong, I am NOT saying that running when you have kids is bad. In fact, I give running a huge amount of credit towards my mostly-sane state. I'm not even saying that you shouldn't run when your kids are grumpy, because I often run simply *because* my kids are grumpy. I'm simply saying that when the Holy Spirit is prodding your spirit, maybe you should listen. Go figure.

We're doing a bit of potty training and sleep training in these parts. Piper's night wakings were so inconsistent that we *knew* she was capable of sleeping for longer stretches, so Chuck is working with her at night (gently, for the record- never gonna be a fan of cry-it-out). Jade is quite possibly ready to be completely potty trained and I haven't even tried before now because our lives have just been too chaotic. The "problem" with both of these things is that they require a lot of consistency and a bit of a routine. Piper has very rarely had a morning nap at home in her crib because I can't stand sitting at home all day long and that's what I would wind up doing if I let her take a morning nap because morning nap would run into lunch which would run into Jade's nap.

Up until now, that's been working fine. And probably will be fine again in the future. But right now, with us trying to teach her how to sleep and when to sleep it would probably be helpful if I wasn't carting her all over town for a run and errands each morning. And Jade? Well, I haven't been willing to attempt potty training on the go yet, so she's been about half (more so?) in diapers and half in underwear and I *know* that potty training is going to take longer this way.

I kept telling people "if I had to stay at home all the time for potty training I would go crazy!"

And then it occurred to me, yesterday on my run in fact, that maybe that's a problem. Staying home for a week with only myself and my kids for company should not be the end of the world. I'm sure that for some people it would actually be a welcome break. But ya see, my mind can be a scary place. I've always had issues with over-analyzing everything and then spiraling into a depression that I have a difficult time digging myself out of. But I'm 28 folks... when am I going to be able to move past that? When am I going to be able to spend a day at home in my jammies and not think "oh no, I wasn't productive today, I must be getting depressed again, should I go back on medication?"

I mean really, doesn't that just sound a bit crazy?

So really, I don't know the answer. But I feel the Lord urging me to slow down, to take the time to really invest in my kids and to find other ways to maintain my sanity. I can still run in the late afternoon after the kiddos have napped (lots of crock pot meals in our future...) for a while until we get this sleep thing figured out. I can do my grocery shopping after bedtime because (for the time being at least) my husband will be home every night. So I'll still get out, which is good. But I am going to resist the urge to run in the mornings and take a cue from the falling leaves and cool(er) weather and slow down a bit. Stay home with my kids and pour into them what they need right now. I won't lie, it won't be easy for me, but I believe it will force me to turn to the Father to pour into me, so that I can pour into them. To stop relying on myself to be able to do everything and to recognize that God's word can help me to feel free even when I might be "trapped" inside my house.

We'll see how it goes :)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Piper grows up- 10 months


Mama is sad that I never wrote your 9-month letter OR took your 9-month pictures. Please know that I do love you. Really. It's just this whole moving with two kids thing has been a bit time-consuming

You are doing so well and are becoming such a fun little person. You are crawling everywhere and exploring. You pull up constantly and are starting to let go and stand on your own more and more. You started clapping this month and think it's so much fun. You've also waved a couple times, although not consistently.

You talk *all* the time, although you're not speaking real words yet. The only time when I think you might be actually saying "mama" is when you're crawling around the house saying it. I *think* you're looking for me. However, you have yet to say "mama" while looking at me, so for now I'm just saying that you're not talking yet. You do however make tons of noises. Loudly. I don't know if you're just trying to remind us that you're here or what, but man you are loud. It's hilarious. Your laugh is also priceless... a deep little cackle. Your sister still gets you to laugh the easiest, but you laugh for mama and daddy sometimes too :)

We got the dogs back this month and they are proving to be just as enthralling to you as they were to your sister. They are both so patient with you as you poke their eyes, pull their ears, and crawl all over them. We're working on gentle touch, but we're still working on that with your sister so I suppose it'll come with time!

You have gotten a LOT of teeth. You now have 7 and I know number 8 will be here soon. That's made for some rough nights and cranky days, but things seem to be getting better.

You're learning how to use a cup and still nurse throughout the day and a few times at night, although we're trying to cut the night time feedings down to one. I couldn't tell you how often you nurse, but you're a much bigger nurser than your sister ever was- which honestly, I love. You love eating, but are already proving to be a bit pickier than your sister was at this point. I officially have 2 fruit eaters on my hands, but neither one of you will touch a vegetable. I'm choosing not to worry about it. You devour pretty much everything else we give you. We did discover that you're allergic to eggs, but thankfully it's just when they're by themselves, not when they're cooked into things. Hopefully you'll outgrow that!

You love your daddy. I mean love. One day when he came through the front door, I honestly thought I was going to drop you because you FLUNG yourself out of my arms to him. I nurse you at night and then say Jade's bedtime prayer with her and daddy sings to you. You calm down much faster for him than you do for me :)

We've been babywearing bunches in the last couple months. As long as I'm moving, you're pretty happy and apparently smile at pretty much everyone we pass.

We've been running most every day and although you're not too happy with me when I make you get out of your carseat (thus limiting your morning nap to about 10 minutes) you're happy while I'm running and like to play at the playground with your sister afterwards. You LOVE to swing.

Mama loves you so much and I can't believe how close you're getting to being one!

Lots of kisses,

9-month stats:
weight- 17 lbs, 2 ozs- 20%
height- 25.5 in- 3%
head- 43.5 cm- 30%
proving once again that I have no idea what a big baby is

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Two months...

So it's been two months since I've posted. I never intended to take a break from blogging, but as life got crazy, priorities shifted and this fell off the bottom of the "to do" list. Honestly, I'm angry with myself about it. Despite (because of?) the crazy-ness of life, I always need to take time to sit back and reflect and this is one of my main methods of doing that.

Thankfully, I have been consistent with my other tried-and-true methods of staying sane and I have not, in fact, lost my mind completely as I have sworn I was about to do many, many times during this move.

Note to self: do *lots* of research before hiring a moving company. And that's all I'm going to say about that.

The house is slowly coming together. Sunday we actually unpacked all of our pictures and hung some of them up. I'd call that the finishing touches. If we could get the claims settled with the doofus moving company (oops, I said something else) and actually move the broken furniture out of the office area and get all that settled, I'd call us good to go. And the garage doesn't count as part of the house, in case you were wondering. Who needs to park in there anyways?

God has been faithful during this time of chaos. I stumbled across a new running partner at the playground and she's provided the very needed motivation to get out the door every morning and push 60 pounds for 2.5+ miles. He has sent a couple friends for Jade and it has stopped the "mama, where's Abigail?" questions I was getting multiple times a day. He is sending Chuck and I through quite the journey with our marriage (more on that to come- not quite ready to share), and directed our paths to a church on the day they started their series on restoring broken and struggling relationships. He is always good.

Now that I feel like things are settling a bit, I feel like I can renew my commitment to the blog and you guys will start to see me around consistently again. Piper's 10-month post will be tomorrow (please ignore the fact that she never had a 9-month post) and after that, I don't know what's coming. But that's all part of the fun.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Winding down...

We are, thankfully, winding down our stay in the hotel. We move out in the morning and should be getting our household goods delivered Monday.

In honor of hotel living, here is a list of things that I miss about normal life:

1. My straightener. I am over my "curly" hair and am really not sure why I didn't pack it.
2. Decent saline solution as opposed to my travel bottle.
3. My wardrobe. Sick of the 5 shirts that I packed.
4. Dishwasher.
5. Comfortable bed.
6. The blanket I like to curl up on the couch with.
7. My teddy bear that I still try to sneak on mine and Chuck's bed.
8. Gilmore Girls... didn't bring a single DVD and I'm pretty sure I'm going through withdrawals.
9. Our regular infant bathtub... as opposed to Piper face planting in the water or floating away in the bumbo.
10. A stocked kitchen that actually gives you space to cook.
11. Space, in general.
12. A sense of normalcy.

And, to be fair, the "good" side, a list of things that I'll miss about hotel living:

1. Chuck being around so much.
2. Chuck letting me sleep in almost every morning.
3. Cleaning up takes about 3 seconds.
4. I can do all of our laundry at the same time if I get lucky and there's multiple open machines.
5. Not cooking. I have gotten sick of eating out but since I don't really like cooking, I know I'll look back on that and miss it :)
6. It's easier to watch two kids when there's nowhere for them to go.

That's all I can come up with. Considering I have all but despised our time here, I'll call half a good number :)

And so that you guys can have a visual of where we've been living for 5 weeks, here ya go. Two of these were taken the day we got here... we did move the coffee table against the ac so that the girls would have a little bit of room to play. Either way, they get the point across: this place is *small*.

Our room... if we needed to get into the closet or dresser, we had to put the pack n play on the bed. There is even less room on the other side and the foot of the bed (maybe a foot or so?)

Like I said, we pushed the coffee table back and we stood Jade's mattress up against the wall during the day.

The rest of the place... to my right is the kitchen table, and then you can see the stove, sink and refrigerator. Bathroom is at the end.

And that's the entire thing. It was... a little cramped and I am beyond excited to be getting out of this place in the morning!!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Piper grows up- 8 months

Piper girl,

I never thought I'd be writing another monthly update from the hotel room. Yet, here I am, sitting on the very uncomfortable couch the AF has provided us with.

We've been in this room for 5 weeks now. In those 5 weeks, you have gone from only being able to sit when we sat you up to sitting, crawling, pulling up, and cruising. It's ridiculous. I can already tell that you are going to be much more adventurous than your sister and I think I have a climber on my hands. You still hate to bend, so you spend most of your time standing holding onto the couch. Your crawl is also a bit different... you crawl on your hands and feet most of the time, although you do use your knees some as well. Either way, you get wherever you want to go.

We're moving into our house on Friday and I can just see you crawling to all the different rooms to check everything out. But mostly, I picture you following your sister. I am amazed by how much I already see a bond with the two of you. Jade can make you laugh more quickly than anyone else and I love nothing more than to watch you cracking up at her. You're already trying to follow her everywhere, but in these close quarters that basically means that she's stepping on your hands and feet a lot. You also like to take her books and chew on them, which she does not appreciate :)

You still just have the two bottom teeth, but I keep thinking the top teeth will be here any day. Luckily, you have not had any more ear infections this month... I'm sure the chiropractor has something to do with that! I'm pretty sure you weigh 1,000 pounds at this point, but we'll get a more accurate weight at your 9-month appointment. With a yet to be determined pediatrician.

You officially love food. You enjoy eating all of your meals with the family and I can't even remember how many foods you've tried in the past month. But I will say that I didn't think it was possible to be messier than Jade, but you have achieved it. Luckily we'll get the dogs back soon and they'll take care of most of the clean up!

You are starting to babble more and more and I can't wait to have little conversations with you :) One of my favorite things that you do is wrinkle up your nose and do this snort laugh thing. It's impossible to describe, but it's absolutely hilarious and just melts my heart.

I love to kiss your bald baby head and act like I'm eating your cheeks.

You are seriously the most adorable, chubby baby ever and I'm so glad you're mine.

lots of love,

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Birthday re-do

Chuck's birthday is June 17th, which this year also happened to be Father's Day. Really, it should have been an all day "yay for Chuck" fest, but in reality it was spent driving from Richmond to some town in West Virginia, sleeping in a hotel with 2 kids in said town, and then doing it all over again the next day. Not exactly a day of celebration. Although, he did get to ride in his (quiet) truck the whole day.

My birthday was Monday. I never dreamed that we'd still be in the hotel on my birthday. I also never dreamed that I would wake up with a 102 degree temp the day before my birthday and still be fever-y, achy and awful feeling on my birthday.

So Chuck and I have declared August 18th as our birthday re-do day. Now the goal is to find a babysitter before then!

Friday, July 13, 2012


Bedtime was a bit rough around here last night. Chuck was at baseball practice, so I was solo-ing it. Generally not a big deal, but Jade needed a little extra... coaxing (diplomatic way of putting it) than normal. I put her in bed, 5 seconds later she was at the door telling me I needed to change her diaper. I pulled her out of the room faster than you can say "poop" so as not to wake Piper. Checked her diaper. No poop. She told me she wanted to go on the potty. I put her on the potty. She leans forward, hands in chin and says "so mom, how you doing?"

I laugh. She giggles. She gets off the potty because by then we have both realized she's just stalling. Back to bed. Asks me to sing "sunshine". Asks me to sing "Jesus loves me". Ask me to sing "another song?" 

My patience is wearing thin. She gives me a big hug and I keep singing. Who knows how long she'll appreciate my voice? I don't give it much longer. 

I stop singing. Tell her I should go. She says "stay in bed mama?" I realize there is nothing more  important in that moment than laying with her. She grabs my hand, kisses it like I do hers. Tries to roll over with my hand still in hers. It hurts. She giggles.

I ask her if she had a good day. She informs me that Abigail's in Virginia. My eyes well with tears as I say, for the 5,000th time since moving here, that "yes, Abigail's in Virginia". She then says "new friends in Oklahoma" and it's nice to know that she is listening and the repetition is paying off. 

I try to treasure every moment. Burn this memory in my brain. Remember her sweet breath, messy curls, little hands, peeling stickers that she won't let me take off. I need these sweet moments to hold on to when she's screaming "no mama! no obey you!" When I am weary from sleep deprivation and emotional fatigue.

She asks me for Mickey. I hand him to her, she tells me goodnight. I take this as my cue to leave...give her a kiss and walk out of the room. Standing in the doorway, staring at my two girls my heart is more full than I ever thought possible. I walk from the room, beginning to cry. Asking God for more... more patience, more rest, more wisdom. More ways to help them feel safe and secure in this world that is so unsafe and insecure.

I tell myself I'm doing the best I can. Giving them all I can. But it's not true. I fail-daily. I'm selfish- daily. So I resolve, again, to start over. Start fresh. Tomorrow is a new day. And ya know what? If I lose my patience in the first 5 minutes of being awake, the next 5 minutes are a new 5 minutes. What better way to show my girls that we all need forgiveness than by showing them that mama's not perfect?

But right now, I choose to remember my sweet girl, clutching her blanky and my hand. Curling her back into me and showing me, in every way she knows how, that she loves me. And I pray to God that she knows how much I love her back.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The drive... Part Two

And some more photos of the drive... as you can see, we tried to break up the trip with "fun" as much as possible and that definitely made it better for everyone!

Swimming in the hotel pool

"All by myself!"

Jade said that Elmo needed a snack

Very LITTLE state sign that was incredibly hard to get a picture of.

10 minutes after crossing the OK state line, I stopped to nurse Piper and she did this. In the middle of a State Trooper parking lot. With nowhere to lay her down and no bathroom. We went through about 50 wipes. 

And we made it. For the record, we did ask someone to take a picture of all four of us. They took the camera, posed us, say "ok!" and then handed the camera back with no pictures taken. Apparently they didn't press the button down all the way.

Whew. And now I declare myself "caught up".