Saturday, March 31, 2012

On having dogs

Before we had kids, Chuck and I had dogs we treated like kids. I worried about them. I made sure they were eating the right food, getting the right amount of exercise and were being cuddled lots. Their well-being was very important to me and I treated them like the family I thought they were. Chuck and I bought each other birthday cards from the dogs. We read books about dogs. We took lots of pictures of the dogs. In short, they were my babies.

And then I had a baby. You know, a human one. I knew this human child would change my feelings about the dogs, but I don't think I realized how much those feelings would change.

After having Jade, the dogs went from being exercised daily to being exercised whenever I could fit it in. Sometimes this was daily, sometimes it was monthly. When Belle tried to cuddle with me on the couch at night, I would indulge her for a few minutes before pushing her away. I made sure they ate, but it was rarely at a consistent time anymore. I told Chuck to play with them when he was home because I felt bad for them. I wanted to kill them numerous times when they ate Jade's books (yes, books- our dogs eat books). I cursed them daily when picking up dog hair (ok, I did that before I had kids too). I loved watching Jade play with them and laugh at them. 

Since Piper, our poor dogs have become so deprived it's hard to describe. I told Chuck to start feeding them and letting them outside before he left for work because I couldn't do it anymore. I never let Belle cuddle with me because I have someone touching me and at the end of the day, I just want some space. I have half-wished that one of our children would develop allergies to them so that I would have an excuse to get rid of them. I have to remind myself on a daily basis that I like dogs and want my kids to be raised with dogs. I know that in a couple years, I'm going to be glad we still have dogs, but right now it's hard to see them as anything other than more work and a way to get lots of "wow you're a crazy lady" looks when I'm on a walk.

Today, Chuck is meeting his parents to hand the dogs off. They will be keeping them until we get settled in Oklahoma. It will make things so much easier while showing the house and his parents are nice enough to take both of them!

I'm hoping this time gives me some time to miss my dogs, but I must admit the first (and so far only) sad thought I'd had about them leaving came yesterday when I realized that Piper will be starting solids while they're gone and I'm gonna have to clean up all that food off the floor myself.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Piper grows up- 3 & 4 months

Piper girl-

Mama apologizes that you didn't have a dedicated letter for 3 months. Rest assured that mama and daddy had a life long before you remember your life and that life got ridiculously busy and in trying to actually enjoy it, I didn't have time to document it.

The last two months of your life have been quite busy. Your great-grandpa passed away and as a result of that, you took your first road trip. You were able to meet your Auntie Beth and Uncle Chris and Grandpa B. Everyone was so happy to meet you and you just smiled and cooed and talked to everyone, which was so much fun.

We also found out that we're moving. You don't actually care at this point in time, but it makes my mama heart a little sad that you won't remember anything about Virginia. I doubt your sister will either, but we have tons of pictures of her doing things here that she'll be able to see later. You, on the other hand, will only be 6 months old when we leave and haven't exactly done a whole lot of fun activities. Well, you're there, but you're just hanging out in your carseat or the ring sling :)

The older you get, the more easygoing and happy you become. You enjoy playing on your activity mat and are just starting to reach out to grab those fun toys. You love to stand up on mama or daddy's lap and talk to us. You are such a social, fun baby and our little conversations always bring a smile to my heart.

You decided to stop rolling over for almost a month, but started again yesterday. You're also getting fairly close to rolling from back to belly, but your arm keeps getting in the way and I don't think you're quite aware that it's attached to you yet :)

You still just love your sister. Jade will come up and say "Hi Piper" and you give her the biggest smile. It is so sweet to watch and I cannot wait to see the two of you become best friends and have fun adventures together.

We went to the doctor today and discovered that you are still fairly average (huge for our family!)
Weight: 13 pounds, 3 ounces- 50% (compared to Jade being 12 lbs, 2 ozs)
Height: 24 inches- right below 50% (same as Jade)
Head circumference: 16 inches- right below 50% (don't know what Jade was)

You are wearing the same clothes your sister was when she was crawling around, and I'll admit it's a little strange for me. I keep expecting you to move!

I love you so much Piper girl and it's really been a great couple months. We have a lot in store the next few months as well with company coming to town and the move coming! It'll be crazy good :)

lots of love,

3 months:

With no one close by

With mama close by

My favorite- the photo shoot wore her out :)

And 4 months:

Saturday, March 24, 2012


My favorite TV show ever is Gilmore Girls. Not just in a "I'll catch it if it's on" kind of way, but in a "I DVR the re-runs and watch them every day even though I've seen every episode I don't even know how many times" kind of way. I've decided that it's absolutely impossible for me to get sick of the show. When ABC Family decided to *gasp* stop airing the reruns for a few months, I busted out my DVDs and continued to watch the show When Chuck and I were dating, he was required to watch all 7 seasons and to admit some sort of affinity for the show. If he failed this test, I would not have married him. Ok, maybe I would have, I'm not that crazy.

In one episode, Lorelai, the main character (and yes that is where Piper's middle name comes from- awesome name, awesome show- you can't go wrong) is about to have the trial run of her inn. She has been dreaming for years and years of opening her own inn, but of course on the day it's about to happen she's nervous and scared. In the moments before the guests arrive, she looks at her daughter (also named Lorelai, nicknamed Rory) and says, "I've changed my mind. I wanna be a ballerina." 

The other day, I said these words regarding my own life. I'm sure I was in the middle of a crying baby and fit-throwing toddler or something along those lines. I texted them to my friend Jessica, who is perhaps the only person that would get the quote without any prompting and then repeated them to Chuck later, who definitely did not get it without any prompting (despite my best efforts, Chuck has no desire to watch Gilmore over and over). In the moment, it was supposed to be something funny. I was in a moment of "oh my goodness, I would like to run away now" and saying "I want to be a ballerina" made me laugh. Not only is the actual image of me being a ballerina hilarious, but the thought of me quitting is hilarious. Moms don't get to quit. 

Yesterday, I read a blog post (that I cannot find again despite searching for the last 15 minutes) about a mom at a birthday party exclaiming that they didn't want to be their kids parent anymore. The dad writing the post was horrified, but no one else seemed to be, which horrified him even more. The thing that struck me about the comment was that it was said within earshot of kids. I'm not sure if the particular kid was within earshot, but does it really matter? At a kid's birthday party, I can assume that the kids that were within earshot would know the child in question and that the comment might get back to them.

Now call me crazy, but despite having those moments, I would never say anything like that around my kids. Only... I did. 

Granted, my ballerina comment is on the opposite end of the spectrum than "I don't want to be my kid's mom anymore". But they are on the same spectrum. And that's not good. Words have power, and while I will not deny myself the freakout moments that keep me as sane as possible, I need to watch what I say in front of my kids. I used to wonder how much Jade was comprehending. Those doubts have been dispelled in the past couple months. Not only does she know words that I have no recollection of saying, much less teaching her, but she copies my mannerisms and phrases unceasingly. She might stare at me with a blank face, but she gets it. That little brain of hers is constantly working and learning.

My kids might grow up saying that they were raised in a slightly dysfunctional house by a slightly dysfunctional mother, but I never want them to say that they were unwanted. I never want them to feel unwanted. While having two babies at the same time was never my dream, I wouldn't trade it for the world. I love my girls more than I love my life, tantrums and poop and all. And I want them to know that. I want them to know, without a doubt, that they are valued and treasured and loved. That they are a blessing in my life unlike any other. 

I would never claim to be able to love my kids like God loves us, but that's the goal, right? I know that no matter how ugly and crappy and selfishly I'm acting, that God loves me. That He sees beyond the mess into my heart and loves me so much, even in that crappy moment, the He sent His Son to save me. I want my kids to know, that even when they're acting in a crappy, ugly way, that I love them. That I treasure them. 

Words are powerful. I want to speak life into my family and our home. I want my kids to remember scripture being prayed over them, not me screaming that "I'm over it". I want to remember that words can shape attitudes, and remain positive even on the worst of days. I want to say happy things until I am happy. I want to remember the power of words and use that power to uplift my family and those around me. I will never be the perfect mother that I had an image of in my head, but I can sure as heck try to always be a positive mother. A Godly mother. A welcoming mother. Some days I will fail. But life's all in the journey, no?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The longest week ever

Is it really just Wednesday? Honestly, the way this week is going I wouldn't be surprised if someone told me it was April already.

If I was fair, it hasn't been a horrible week. I've been able to run some errands without anyone dying, the weather has been magnificent (other than this morning!) and Chuck's been home at a decent time every day. But for some reason, I am just in a funk. I don't know if it's the upcoming move, the severe sleep deprivation, the defiant toddler, or a combination of the three. Ok, it's a combination of the three.

Some days, I find myself staring at Jade saying "where in the world did my sweet baby go?". Luckily, we are mostly past the hitting phase, but the absolute refusal to do anything I ask is getting old. I bribe her into getting in the car by telling her that we're going to see her friend Abigail. I have no idea how I'm ever going to get her in the car in Oklahoma, since I doubt Abigail's parents are up for moving across the country for my convenience. Maybe if I wasn't so tired, I would have more patience. Or if Piper wasn't normally screaming because she's hungry or something while I'm attempting to be patient with Jade. Either way, I'm having a very hard time handling the tantrums when I honestly feel like having a tantrum myself.

There's nothing like being a mother to help you identify your own weaknesses. I have always had a difficult time controlling my anger. Writing and running have always been my outlets. I'm trying to continue to do those things, but making it to the gym is difficult and Piper is still too little to run with. I rarely make time to really journal anymore, so most of my writing is here, which is why you guys are reading rants that perhaps I should just keep to myself.

Anyways, it's just very difficult to teach your toddler how to handle their anger when you aren't that great at controlling your own anger. I've put myself in time out today, but I think I need about a 2-day long time out to really recover my sanity.

I had a picture in my mind of how I would be as a mom. I am not living up to that image. Does anyone ever live up to those pictures in their heads? I'm supposed to be patient. And loving. Modeling good behavior. Clean. Preparing healthy meals. There's supposed to be structured learning time. Sigh. Maybe when they're 5 and 6 and someone else is handling them the majority of the day, I'll have the ability to be the mom that I want to be.

Until then, I'll just pray for God's grace to cover my weaknesses. That, despite all of my flaws, they'll grow up to be well-adjusted adults and not be sitting in therapy talking about how often I messed up. My goodness, what would I do without His grace? How anyone parents without relying on Him is beyond me.

/End rant.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Best-est friends ever

Sometimes, I sit down to write and it just flows. Today was not one of those days, but I refused to have another day without a new post. So, my friends, I'm sorry, but you're just gonna have to deal :)

I won't lie, sometimes I feel lonely. Moving has its advantages, but making super-close friends isn't one of them. I have no problems finding people to do things with, but finding people that I am really able to completely open myself up to is a different story. I don't know if it's me being too reserved (me? reserved? right) or my tendency to talk A LOT about RANDOM CRAP when I meet new people that hinders relationships. Back in college, I had several (ok, like 8... or 9) people tell me that I intimidated them. This baffles me completely because I have no idea what about myself intimidates people, but whatever. In Alaska, I tended to be more reserved until I found my "token" civilian friend that I did truly open up to.

Honestly, I'm generally afraid that people can't handle me. I'm a tough pill. Chuck frequently refers to me as "his little conundrum". The depression? People don't get that. That I'm better, but still have bad days sometimes. That I can be very social, but I rarely like crowds. That I treasure my time to myself, but also desperately need to get out of the house and see people. And then I write things like this and think "that can't be that weird". I sometimes think that I just think that I'm weird and I'm really not, but I want to feel special so I keep saying that I am. Got that?

I find that most people keep a veil around their lives, and even though I would love to take mine down, I need someone else to do it first. Maybe they need me to do it first. But I never quite get there... just when I'm about to open up, I close down again for one reason or another and the relationship never reaches the level that it could. I open up so much more easily on paper, but writing notes isn't as cool now as it was in middle school.

But these girls?

Well, it's just different. We've known each other forever. And despite the fact that only two of us still live in the town we grew up in, we've not only managed to keep in touch, but to deepen our friendship. I half want to go through and tell you why each one of them is so awesome, but I really don't think anyone cares. But I will say this- even though I sometimes feel lonely... because of the distance and such, I know that I am never alone in my struggles. That I have prayer warriors knocking on the door of Heaven with me and even for me when I'm too weary to knock on that door myself.

We had such a sweet visit while they were in town and an amazing time of fellowship and prayer where we truly opened up, bared souls and lifted needs to our Father. So even though moving to Oklahoma is a bit scary, I know that my girls in Georgia (and Tennessee!) will always be there for me. We always make it a priority to be there for each other (like driving 12 hours to meet a new baby, for instance) and I know that each of them is just a phone call away.

And I went off on some tangents there, but I'm gonna hit publish anyways. It'll just have to be ok...

Friday, March 16, 2012

My computer has been reclaimed

Chuck has (finally) finished grad school, and the proper owner of the laptop (that would be me) has been reinstated. This means two things- one, I can start blogging again and two, I can attempt to upload pictures onto my computer without worrying that it will crash and Chuck will not have a computer to do his work on.

I have genuinely missed blogging the past month or so. I am horrible about documenting my girls' lives anywhere but here and I feel like without this blog a lot of the little details are missed. As I am not a scrapbooking, baby-book keeping mama, this little space is where our life is recorded.

I feel like a TON has happened since my last post: My bestest friends visited for President's Day weekend, Piper was 3 months on Feb 20th (which means she'll be 4 months on Tuesday... looks like a joint 3/4 month post!), Chuck's grandfather passed away after a long, healthy life and the four of us traveled to Indiana for his funeral, and Chuck and I celebrated our first real anniversary.

First real anniversary, you ask? That's right, we were married on leap day! We think we're pretty awesome and feel super special when a leap day rolls around. Chuck had an amazing weekend planned for the two of us, with a trip to a bed and breakfast (Piper in tow). His parents were going to fly in to keep Jade and we were going to go see Beauty in the Beast in 3D (my favorite Disney movie- he found a theater still playing it just a couple hours away!). Unfortunately, Great Grandpa B passed away right before the magnificent weekend was supposed to occur, so instead we drove to Indiana with two babies. We were able to sneak away for a movie while we were there and I think Chuck should still get massive props for the amazing plan :)

It was a sad reason for a trip, but a great trip. Jade hadn't seen her Benbow side of the family since Christmas 2010 and Grandpa B, Uncle Chris and Auntie Beth hadn't even met Piper yet and it was so nice to be able to see everyone and to see Jade really bond with them. I'm not sure when we would have made it to Indiana without the need to be there and I'm grateful for the time we were able to spend with family.

While we were still in recovery mode from the Indiana trip (I'm sure you can imagine that a trip that included a12-hour drive with two under two wasn't all rainbows and butterflies), we got some HUGE news from the great folks at the Air Force Personnel Center. We're moving. In June. This was incredibly unexpected... we had been told to anticipate being here 4 years so we hadn't been preparing at all. While this news is met with a lot of excitement, it has also been met with a lot of "what the crap?" from both of us. We'll be going to Tinker AFB in Oklahoma City. Oklahoma isn't exactly a place I'm dying to move to, but Chuck's been there before and I know we will have a great community of friends. I've moved enough now that I know that each new location brings new friends and great memories. So far, I've been able to focus on that, and not on the fact that I'm leaving good friends here. The main concern at the moment is getting the house ready to be put on the market... we've rented a storage unit, hired a realtor, had painters come out to give us estimates for painting the outside of the house, and de-cluttered two rooms in the house. We still have a lot left to do before April 1st, which is when the house will be listed, but it's a doable amount of stuff and I think the house will look great when it's done. If you think of us, please be praying for the sale of the house. That the Lord has set aside a buyer and that buyer is being prepared for the house. That we'll get a decent price and not leave this house with regret that we did more home improvements than we should have. That it will sell quickly and we won't be tied up with the mortgage while looking for a place to live in Oklahoma.

Whew, that was a long paragraph. But I feel like you guys are all caught up. There should be many pictures to come and posting should be on a more regular basis now!