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,