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 :)