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Saturday, September 29, 2012

Lucy, 2 Months Old.


Dear Lucy-girl,

You are two months old today, my love. It's insane how on one hand, I feel like you just got here, and on the other hand it feels like you've been around forever. I'm not sure what kind of mind tricks are going on, but whatever it is, we love you here

You are such a special, fun, huge part of our family. Little sister. Lucy girl. Luce. Baby Lucy. Baby Sister. Miss Lucy. Baby girl. You're called by one or all of the above in any given day, heck, hour

You're a tender, sweet, loving little thing. You are easy going. This month we've really started to find our rhythm with you. You're a bit more predictable with things and schedules. We know what you love and what you hate. You could care less now about diaper changes and getting naked (thank God that was just a phase), and you absolutely adore the bathtub now. Hip, hip, hooray! Bathtime is a fun time in this house. You sit in your bath chair right next to your sister and you watch her and smile from ear to ear.

Speaking of smiles, OH THE SMILES. It's the best part about Month Two! It brings so many smiles and coo's. And baby girl, you definitely can be chatty. The sounds that come out of your mouth are stinkin' adorable. It makes me melt every time. When you make your noises, your big sister always runs over to you and says, "Lucy's taw-kin to me, mom!!" It's so fun.


You love your swing. In fact, we're still not in any sort of crib-napping phase yet. We use the swing (and did with your sister, too), and you take the best, longest mid-day nap, ever. It's so great! Overlapping naptimes with your sister is a gift to me, so thanks for that ;) 

You love tummy time. In fact, the day you turned 7 weeks old you started rolling from belly to back multiple times. We were all there to see it, and Emeline cheered and squealed with delight for you!

You've gotten so big this month. You basically wore size 1 diapers for like a week, and I even pretty much breezed past size 2's because I was afraid to waste a box. I've given away bags of diapers so far, because you.just.keep.growing. I have you in 3's, and while big, they totally work. You'll be in them for a loooong time. You are wearing some 0-3 months, but MOSTLY 3 month and even some 3-6 month clothing. I'm so not used to a kid who wears clothes bigger than her 'age', since you're growing faster than your sister did. But it's kind of fun that you two are so different. I'll find out your height and weight Monday, and I guarantee it's going to blow your sisters 2 month stats of 11lbs 11oz out of the water.You're healthy and chubby, and I love it!
I mean, is this even the same baby?! Crazy changes this month. ;)
Speaking of healthy. You're still a great nurser. I'd say you eat about every 2-2.5 hours or so. At night you're still waking about 2x, but to be honest, I'm so sleepy I hardly keep track. You sleep in the co-sleeper next to me for the first 4'ish hours, and sometimes even a little longer than that. I typically pull you into bed with me for the last few hours of the morning. I love that time. And I'm a whole lot more laid back about all of this stuff the second time around. You'll get to your crib, I'm not worried about it.


Ah, also--you don't seem to hate the car as much. We have discovered you do, indeed, like a pacifier (again, unlike your sister), and during the day it helps keep you calm in the car, or during (some) naps, or when you're on edge with a feeding. At this point, you don't use it at night and I'm cool with that. 

You like to sit up and see the world. But you also still love to cuddle and fall asleep in our arms. I could stare at your sweet little face all day long. You are such a sweetie and I've loved the addition of you. It's been fun getting a few hours a week of alone time with you while big sis is at preschool. You're a light and a joy.

Happy two months sweet love.

Always,
Momma



Friday, September 28, 2012

Friday Things

Did you see yesterday afternoon's rah-rah post? I don't know why but when I get the urge to write, I must.write.now and so that's why it posted so late, and was probably missed by a ton. Feel free to take a gander now. And know that I love and appreciate all the encouragement, comments, emails, that many of you have sent along my way over the last few years. Truly.

I think I may be the only mom of the face of the planet who has not considered Halloween costume options yet. All I know is this...I do not want to get into hand making a costume like I did last year. Especially now since I have double the kids. And also, the whole sister thing? I mean, they could be something cute that goes together, you know? Ohmygosh, what should I do? Hellllppppppp.

This morning I got up all early (or what I thought was early), hoping to catch a little alone time, to sip my coffee in peace...and as I was creeping around the room trying not to wake Lucy, I grabbed Em's monitor to take downstairs. I took a peek at it, and she was up sitting in her bed, wide awake. Plan Fail. So I went into her room and said "Why are you up so early, missy?"...and she goes, "I no tired anymore, mom". Welp, if you say so, kid. Then, my dog proceeded to jump on my bed, waking Lucy. Therefore, a double plan fail. 

Speaking of which. We are MOM and DAD now, almost all the time. And it kills me a little every time she says it. I've corrected her. I told her she can call me momma or mommy. She goes, 'Otay, MOM'. She totally knows it bothers me that she's acting like a friggin' pre-teen already, so she continues on. *sob* She is going to give me a run for my money. 

Yesterday? Yesterday made me feel like a Rockstar Mom/Wife. It was pretty awesome. I have one of those days about once a....month? Yea. Once a month, if that. I made my family a legit breakfast, you know, bacon/eggs/toast/fruit. We were all home because Declan took off the morning to go to swim class with us. We did that. I nursed my other kid on-the-go (I've grown leaps & bounds in this area, for the record), during naptime I ran my first 5K post-Lucy (yeoowww!), took a shower, did my hair/makeup/dressed like a human being. I had dinner in the crockpot since 8am that morning, made all the sides, had dinner on the table by a decent time, helped with baths, and even managed to have a little girls night with my sister and a friend. It was an awesome day. I fear for today. It just cannot live up to yesterday. 

Does anyone know about the program, Girls on the Run? I am super pumped, because on Wednesday's I'm helping coach with my sister at a local elementary school. I get a few hours out, not in mom-mode, getting to do something for my community and that's really uplifting and fun for these girls. We had so much fun this past week. You even get in some exercise. And it reminded me why I liked that age (3rd-5th grade). This week we left with stickers all over us because of all the laps the girls ran that day. When I came home I'm pretty sure my 2 year old had a stroke out of pure happiness that was stickers all over her momma.

I have been drinking from a Christmas mug all year long. As in, every day. But for some reason today, when I took it out? I thought, Sweet! It's totally justified for me to use this now. Since, you know, Christmas is coming up, like, IN THREE MONTHS. 

You know my desk-kitchen area makeover? It's been the best thing ever. I sit here all the time, it keeps my kitchen table a lot more open, and I smile at it's cute presence in here daily. Best thing I've done around the house in a while.

Any awesome weekend plans? Anyone else feel like this week flew by....? Went crazy fast for me. 

....happy weekend!

**my favorite instagrams this week**











I'd say it's been one pretty good one.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

...and here comes the Rah!Rah!

A few years ago I used to be an eye-roller at All Things Weightloss.

My dad and brother were going through a phase where they were losing all sorts of weight. They are men, and so they basically made a small diet change and BAM! weight dropped off them. Just melted off really (stinkin' men). But anyway.

They started feeling good about themselves (as they should!), with the change, and I started to notice that the weight/exercise chatter crept into almost all our conversations, all!the!time! It was irritating back then. Super irritating. Why? Because I was overweight.

That's the truth.

I hated hearing anyone talk about weight loss, working out, getting fit, blah blah freaking blah when I was sitting on my butt doing nothing, and feeling unhappy about myself. I guess I felt some sort of inner turmoil. A conviction really. That ultimately I was the problem. I can only be mad at one person here, and that was myself (at the time). But yet I'd roll my eyes and be all, Do we REALLY have to hear about how you lost another 5lbs this week? 

Ultimately. Now? I can completely and utterly see that I was the one with the problem. Not them. They were proud of their accomplishments, and how far they'd come--and yet, in my own unhappiness with how I looked, I had a hard time being happy for them. Twisted, really. But the truth.

So now...I mean, it's different. I'm the one being rah-rah-get-it-gurlll about running, and fitness and weight loss.

And ultimately. I GET IT. I get it now. I'm proud of the weight I lost last year. I'm proud that I did it the old fashion way, good eating and exercise. I am. And I'm proud I'm going to do it again, and am working at it now. I'm proud that I'm running again. And I'm gonna post pictures on instagram after I just finished a good run because hell yea. And I know that's going to annoy people, and that's okay.

Because I get it. I really do. I've been there. I've been the annoyed party. I've been the eye-roller. I've been the, ohmygosh are you really talking about weight loss again thinker.

The thing is this. I know that to some people? It's motivating and not annoying. I admit that I'm more than motivated by social media when it comes to fitness--it's true. When I see one of my friends on a weight loss journey post a picture that she just ran X amount of miles, and I'm feeling like sitting on the couch at naptime? Suddenly I'm all, Dang if she did it, I should, too.

I can't tell you how many times I've been pushed on to keep working out. Ready to stop running and a Nike+ "cheer" comes through my headphones via facebook, and I'm all, Okay push it, go further, Katie, you got this.

Now that I've walked one weight loss & fitness journey, and am currently smack dab in the middle of another? I know how much it means to be encouraged. And I feel awful that selfishly I wasn't able to 'support' my brother and dad back then. Ultimately, it was my own issues coming out. But now? Now I know. I know how much it means to be cheered on, encouraged, how far a you've got this girl goes, and what-not.

I will always support my friends in this way. Always.

Just a few hours ago I got my butt on the treadmill and had intentions of running about 22 minutes. In fact, I didn't even plug a distance in because I didn't want to be 'locked in' in case I wanted out, man. Because my head was telling me, you hate running! Don't do this.

At about 1.75 miles in I knew I was getting close to stopping. A little over 2 miles was my 'goal' today, and I couldn't wait to stop. But for some reason, I just kept thing, how freaking awesome would it be if I JUST KEPT GOING and did a 5K today? I even thought about how fun it would be to get to say, YAY! First 5K post Lucy! and all that. I started thinking about the fact my baby hasn't hit her 2 month birthday yet, and ohmygosh, I could be back to 5K status before then....was it possible?

And then I got in the zone. And just.kept.going. And when I wanted to stop? I told myself how awesome I was. Yep, I totally did. Normally I have negative self talk, it's bad. But today? Nope. And dang-it, I ran that 5K and I did it strong.

I kept thinking of this sign I saw on facebook this week.

(source)
I can. and I will. I did.
So I will rah-rah all the live-long day, cheer you on, and encourage anyone I know in this journey. Because it takes work and dedication, and dang it, you deserve it. We deserve it. The end.

A win, then a fail.

Within a few days of sweet Lucy being home I was doing good. I'd taken some of her newborn photos, I even designed her sweet birth announcement, fixed it a million times, and finally loved it enough to get it printed.

Then, I had one hour out alone one afternoon where I ran from different printing facilities to test the quality and cardstock it'd be sent on. It was crazy because one place printed all yellow'ey, and another too washed out. So I brought them all home to have Declan help me pick the best quality.

So he did. And that's where it stopped.

I cut one, had it on my fridge and all, for weeks.

I never did get back out to get them printed and cut. And here we are. My baby turns 2 months old this week. I have no desire nor the time to print them, address them, pay for stamps, and do all that. I really thought I would, but I finally made the decision it's just not happening.

So basically? I fail.

It was a good effort. But that's about all it was.



Classic second child syndrome, I suppose. Sorry, Luce. Still love ya, girl. xoxo.

love,
momfail

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Being inspired? true life.

I had my coffee. I had a quiet morning, with both babies still asleep. The hum of the monitor keeping me company. A dark, overcast day. The dim under-cabinet lights on. And the shine of my laptop at the table. I was ready, inspired to write, and rearin' to go. I've been dying to write. Actually write. Not just post some pretty photos. About anything and everything. It is absolutely the way I deal with stress and anxiety and it soothes me. (Sidenote: I am a teeth clencher. When I'm stressed I feel it because I am clenching my teeth so hard I almost don't notice until I feel the pain. It's ridiculous. Whyyy.)

I even got up early today. I rarely do that these days. But I needed to. I needed to get up early and write whatever the heck came to my fingertips, alone, in peace, after kissing my husband and sending him off to work. One itty baby is in the middle of my queen sized bed asleep, the other in her teeny, tiny little toddler bed.

It felt like the perfect scenario to be inspired and write. So? I wrote...and wrote...and then it happened. In only 10 minutes, when I thought I'd definitely get at least an hour, heck, 45 minutes of alone time this morning, the little morning cries/whines came from the monitor.

My insides screamed "nooooooo, not just yet! but you went to bed so late last niiiiighttttt". But the inevitable was true. It was real morning time now. The ball was up and rolling, ready to go down the hill at full speed--because that's the kind of day we have. And I know that once Em is up, that's the official START to the day, if you know what I mean. I have to be on now. Like, really on. No more quiet moments for me. We've got breakfast, then preschool drop-off, then errands, then pick-up, then lunch, then nap, then I have to leave for Girls on the Run (which I'm volunteering for now), and then our weekly family dinner..and..and. You get it.

I left my laptop, with two measly paragraphs written, and on my walk up to her room I was praying it was a good morning. Sometimes she wakes up on the wrong side of the bed and it's all tears and woe-is-me. Some days? It's pure joy. Bliss. Exactly how I'd imagine a happy, peppy, little toddler wake-up to be. I popped the door open, peeked my head in, and got a HUGE smile from her. It was code for: I'm in a good mood mom, no need to proceed with caution.

Phew.

I sat on her bed, she hugged me. Then she whispered, "Lucy's sleeping mom, gotta be cry-it! (quiet), shhhh", and I told her that's right. Sister's asleep, so let's be quiet, and I smiled because, I wonder where she's heard that before? ;) I changed her. Got a few unprompted hugs and kisses, she insisted on bringing her dora-blanket down (as usual these days), and we trudged down to the kitchen together. I quickly got her milk, a waffle with peanut butter, and grapes together for her breakfast.

I sat back down.

And then? I lost it. I lost everything about that post. Not physically. But mentally. I just couldn't keep writing it. Nothing felt inspired about it anymore. Suddenly I was right smack in the middle of mom mode and it left. Flew the coop. I re-read it, and read it again, and thought What was I thinking? So I saved it and began another post.

The first sentence was awful. So I scratched that.

And then here we are now. This hodge-podgeness, a cup of coffee later, two awake little girls, and a hot-mess mom with a pulled muscle in her back donning her pink robe.

And that's where I go, true life, man. True life.

I guess there's always naptime.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

If this doesn't scream "Fall"....

...I don't know what does.

We visited the orchard on Sunday. We totally played Church hooky and went and spent some good family time together. We didn't get to do much together on Saturday as my hubby was out half the day helping his parents move/pack. So? We enjoyed our Sunday as if it were a Saturday. Pancake breakfast, a trip to the orchard, and a trip to the playground.

And it was good.

Consider the trip to the orchard documented. Check, check.





*****

Sigh. This time of year is so good. Too bad it turns to Winter too, too soon. Gotta soak it in.

Monday, September 24, 2012

A little kitchen-office DIY

Lately my kitchen table has been doubling as my office. It has been irritating me daily, because, ohmygosh if I have to move the laptops, paperwork, my notebook, camera, etc from the table ONE!MORE!TIME! before dinner I was gonna lose it.

But in this modest size townhouse we make do with what we can. I swear, we have had to utilize every square of inch of this house to make it properly work for this family of four plus a dog. This place felt huge when we bought it, but has shrunk with each addition to the family.

So back to this kitchen-office business.

I've needed a place to put my laptop, house my cords, more drawers and storage for mail/Emeline's craft stuff/my work stuff, and more. So a few months ago while Declan and I were yardsaling we came across this little desk for $15 bucks. Fifteen bucks? Put that sucker in my car, thankyouverymuch.

I had plans to redo it. To repaint it some crazy fun color. But when I FINALLY brought it up to my kitchen on Saturday, I realized I kind of like it like this. Although it's totally possible I'll change my mind and paint it turquoise or something, but we shall see. For NOW--it's staying as is.


It's cute, right? But once I brought it up, I realized this was going to be more of a project then I had anticipated. The entire wall above it needed to become something special...something fun.

Luckily my husband was out for the morning helping his parents move, and the 2 year old was with my parents, because even with just Lucy around, I still felt like I had all the time in the world to make my vision a reality.

After scouring my closets, garage, repurposing old frames, getting my spraypaint on, finding a free printable, making some quick "B" artwork, a quick sticky-gram project, and a little penant banner, I had a little kitchen office area that I'm not only proud of, but makes my heart happy.

Voila.





Soooo what do we think?

***

Friday, September 21, 2012

Friday Things.

Running Stuff

Sometimes I struggle between being all rah-rah! YAY! about running/exercising and then being a debbie downer. After yesterday's run (the 20 min straight on the Couch to 5K program, for those of you who know) I was TOTALLY on a runners high. Completely rah-rah. Super proud of myself and giving myself a moment because my baby is only 7 weeks old and I'm close to finishing the program and 2/3 of the way to my old running status, and hell yea! But a few hours later that feeling started to go away. And then I remembered how hard my run actually was, how many times I wanted to stop, and how I kind of dread my next run. HOW AWFUL IS THAT?

I have such a love/hate relationship with it. It's really bad. But I will tell you one thing--I will always, always, always encourage/like/comment on a picture/status/link of my friends' workout posts or whatever I see when it comes to this stuff. Because I know how much it helps to see you have support. I don't care if it sounds silly, it's totally true.

Preschool

There were a few of you who asked about how her first day went and how I did. I am proud to report that there were no tears, from either of us (honestly, I was the more likely party, just saying). Her teachers said she had a great day when I picked her up. She came running over to me all excited, and then TRIPPED. It was hysterical. She was totally fine. But it was pure excitement and then, those dang shoes on the stupid carpet. But she had a fabulous day.

It's been so fun hearing little bits of her day, though. All from her little comments she's been making I can basically piece her entire little 2 hour day together. I know that they read a kitty cat book during snack time and at some point during the book the kitty goes, "oh no!" and is "scared". I know what they had for snack, but that she requested something differently (typical). I know that the teacher must have yelled to her to "Come back Emeline!" because the playground was muddy. And must have said to her or the whole class, "no runnin'!" All through little bits and pieces, I've basically gathered up her whole day. She also has a friend she refers to as "Livia", which I must say, confuses me a tad, since I know the only other girl in her class' name is Vivienne. I wonder if she goes by a nickname?

Either way. She immediately said she wanted to "go back to preeeeKOOL!", and so we are indeed, going back. This morning, actually.

I'll call this a success.

Weekend

I used to be excited for the weekend to get out and go go go. But now that my weeks are very much go go go, I am kind of craving just staying home. I know that feeling will pass after a few hours, but for now I'm looking forward to some quiet at-home moments.

Although, I have to say, I wish we had some fantastic state fair or something awesome to attend, because I've been seeing pictures of all this goodness and I'm kind of craving some funnel cake, donning a hoodie, with my little family. I must consult google....

Any fun weekend plans for you?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

I'm not a fashion blogger but I kind of wanna be.


***
This Fall I've been a whole heck of a lot more self conscious about what I wear because of that whole having a baby thing. I'm in between jean sizes as I'm losing the baby weight, my you-know-what's are abnormally large, and the whole muffin-top-issue. 

Therefore I've been perusing Pinterest like it's my job, checking out the new Fall trends, trying to figure out how I can fit my body into these styles, look semi-decent, get out of my normal yoga pants & tank top attire and look, you know, presentable.

The one thing I have already proclaimed my love for multiple times is the fact that long, flowy tops are in. HALLELUJAH, thank you, God. They are perfect, I mean, PERFECT for me, in this odd in between stage, not clingy, and look ridiculously cute with a good pair of skinny jeans.

Now let's talk skinny jeans for a second. Clearly, they are still very much 'in' this Fall. You've all seen the pictures, with the leopard print flats, and long flowy top or sweater/cardigan. It's cute! In fact, I'm starting to think that a good pair of skinny jeans that fit me NOW may be a purchase I make to get me through the few months of awkward-in-between, so I can still be somewhat in style, you know?

Old Navy has these awesome Rockstar Jeans, that literally come in every shade of denim, including colors, and cords! 

These are some of my favorite:

If only my legs looked that good. Sigh.

But how awesome would these jeans look with flats? Or boots? And a tank top with a long open cardigan and a scarf? I'm starting to think a pair of these is a key to my Fall Wardrobe this year. Despite having to buy them a few sizes larger than normal, I think it's an investment I'm willing to make. 

So here's my basic take on Fall Fashion this year:

-a good pair of Old Navy Rockstar Jeans
-long, flowy tanks and basic layering tops
-cardigans, ones that can stay open, or button up depending on the look
-a chambray to pair with colored jeans
-a few poppy-colored/fun printed flats for a little statement
-scarves. scarves. scarves.
-can't forget a cute pair of earrings or a statement necklace

Overall, it seems like this year a good mix-n-match wardrobe is key. I'm down with that. Now, who wants to go shopping?

***
Check out the Fit for Fall Old Navy Fashion Show video here!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective, and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

***

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

I just can't even. This girl.




Yea. 

So basically she'll be able to get whatever she wants, always, with this cute face. Between the two of my girls, I'm in trouble.

***

sigh. :)

...and she's off.

note to self: expo board with a 2 1/2 year old=stupidity.
***
She was excited. We've been talking about it for days. "Enna-mine needs backpack. Ennamine go to school. Ennamine see my teacher Miss Karen! Yay! I go to school and see fwends!" On repeat. Every day. All day.

Me on the other hand? Partially excited, yes. But there is a bittersweetness to this whole school thing. My first girl, technically, is off--out of my care, out of the protection of 'home', and out in the (little preschool) world, so to speak. That's a little hard for me, not gonna lie, especially for someone who has trouble letting go.

The good part? Well she gets to branch out. And she gets to learn from someone other than me. And make friends. And play. And do big girl things away from her little sister and me, and, well--grow.

I can't lie, last night I flipped-flopped a lot. I had dreams about preschool. Nothing bad, just, dreams. I felt a little first-day-of-school nervous for her. It was weird. But I guess that's what mom's do. She woke up this morning and the first thing she talked about was school. I talked her through her entire day, what it would look like, because for my kid? Knowing what's coming is really good for her. She seemed super excited.

After our morning normal'ness--breakfast, getting dressed, taking photos that she totally didn't cooperate for, etc, we loaded in the car.

As I was driving that little road to the school I had this sudden urge to turn around and go right home, right now. I don't know why, but it was almost like that protective momma bear thing. I should keep her home longer. What am I doing? Is this even the right thing for her? And then I made myself keep driving and forget about it because A) my kid was so amped up about the first day, she'd probably kill me if I even did such a thing, and B) I've already processed through this a million times with multiple people, including my husband, my partner in this whole gig, and it was determined THIS WAS GOOD. For her, for us, we were gonna do it.

So I shut the thoughts down in my head and went right back to pumping my kid up about school!fun!yay!

The drop off went amazing. In fact, she really didn't even care to say goodbye to me. I guess I could be all boo-hoo-sad about that, but really? It helped make it easier. She went right to imaginary play with her friends and didn't look back.

I know it's silly. It's not like I'm sending her off to college. (PS: Did anyone see last weeks' Parenthood? I sobbed like a friggin' baby when they sent Haddie off to school. OH MY GOSH. My husband laughed at me, but I was literally, in complete hysterics.) But as I drove away and the car felt eerily quiet, I felt a little void. I did.

Right now, it's just me and my littlest girl at home. In a short hour and a half we'll pick up big sister and hopefully hear about how awesome her day was. Heck, by lunchtime I may even be dying for naptime. But all I know is for now, right this second, I miss her.

But I know it's good. And I'm so proud of her.



***

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

If you really knew me.

If you really knew me-

You'd know that I may come off shy at first in large groups, but I'm anything but shy. Especially with family.

You'd know that when I walk down the steps in the morning and see my living room straightened, pillows neat on the couch, blankets folded, even though it will look a wreck in 5 minutes? It makes me feel sane in that moment.

You'd know that I have only a handful of friends, who are each from different circles of life. So large group friend gatherings isn't really a thing for me, and I tend to hang out with them one on one. I'm okay with this.

You'd know I'd choose to hang out with my family any day of the week. Yes, I like them. No, love them. You already know the relationship I have with my sister, and my momma is the best, most supportive help to me. It truly means the world to me to have them.

You'd know I'm generally a home-body, but I also can itch to get out and about like no other.

You'd know I don't really like long day trips, they stress me out more than they should. I hate having to pack lunches and bags and make sure we have everything. I'd much prefer just a few hours and back home type of thing.

You'd know I feel proud of the nursing relationship I have had with both my kids (so far), but I'm still a very shy nurse-in-public'er.

You'd know that while I love me a snuggly baby, I also can't wait some days to just put her down, asleep somewhere, so I can have both hands free to do stuff.

You'd know that coffee only became my bff when I had kids. Before that? It was a pretty non-existent presence in my life.

You'd know that I tell my husband daily that we are done having kids, but in my heart I know that's not true at all.

You'd know that adult stuff...like banking, insurance, bills, etc....confuse the heck out of me. I don't like any of it, and I do what I can to understand best, and then I leave the rest up to my husband.

You'd know that the only reason I miss teaching is because of how cool some of my coworkers were and the camaraderie, but other than that? Meh. Okay, I miss the hugs of some of my favorite students, but that's about it.

You'd know that I really, truly do not like to cook, bake, clean (other than 'straighten'), and organizing/purging/etc sends chills up my spine. However? When I do any of the above, I feel like a million bucks afterwards.

You'd know that I find being in a car with two screaming babies (aka: my own children) to be complete and utter torture. It literally is one of the worst feelings, ever, like the walls of my car are caving in on me (dramatic much?). When everyone is peaceful? It is complete bliss.

You'd know how much I adore taking photos, but I like the post-processing best. Sorting through photos, picking my favorites, editing them, and posting them. That part I love.

You'd know that writing here is therapeutic to my soul, but yet I question every single day what I write, who reads this, will I be judged, and should I just shut this ship down because it's the internet. And my kids faces are on here. And am I doing them wrong. And, and, and. It's so hard to know what's right.

You'd know that my diaper bag is a complete and utter wreck.

That I loathe taking a shower simply because the getting ready 'after' part is so long and annoying.

That I don't ever get my hair done or spend money on luxuries like that (only box-dye, man), but I'll treat myself to a pedicure here and there.

That I'm perfectly okay with owning clothes mainly from Target and discount stores like Ross, TJ Maxx and Marshalls, and don't need anything name brand.

That buying shoes for myself is the last thing in the world I want to spend money on. I hate shoe shopping. I hate breaking in shoes. I hate shoes in general. I promise I'm still a girl.

That I crave a good, stay-at-home-morning like the best of 'em, but by afternoon I am wishing for sunshine.

***

Monday, September 17, 2012

Bye bye maternity leave.

The last six weeks I've been in nothing but newborn la-la land. Okay, and also 2-year-old world, but you know. I've not needed to know the day of the week. I've not needed to get out of my pajamas if I didn't feel like it. My kids could hang out in pj's all day, too. Heck. If we weren't going anywhere, then why not?

I often had no idea what the date was. I'd get surprised then excited by Facebook statuses saying it was Friday, because then it meant a weekend home with my Daddy. My house has been strewn with baby blankets. Pacifiers. Swaddles. Diapers. Wipes. Within an arms reach, anywhere, you can find all  the above items.

I let myself have that time on purpose. I knew I'd be sleep deprived (still am). I knew that adjusting to another person wouldn't be easy for me. I knew that I'd need some sort of time to just do nothing (ha, I'm laughing as I re-read this at 'nothing', because it's like A WHOLE LOT OF STUFF for being 'nothing'.) I took off from my Church duties, teaching Sunday school, setting up communion, and doing announcements. I wanted to be able to do nothing but focus on my babies.

So I did.

And then six weeks flew by in a flash. And last week I started back to work. And I've touched briefly on this before, but I work from home, however, a job that requires me to know the day of the week, check my emails throughout the day, and write coherently. One where one day a week I go in for a meeting, where I have to dress like a human, and talk to other adults, and not about brands of sippy cups or my child's sleep habits. You know.

And then Emeline started swim lessons last week. Where I have to pack us all up weekly (in the morning), with a load of swim gear in tow, and arrive, you know, ON TIME.

And then I went and signed her up for the 2.5 year preschool program at the school down the road. So, two days a week, sandwiched around swim class, I'll be dropping off and picking up my first baby girl at designated times. I'm certain my just-rolled-out-of-bed look isn't suitable for preschool dropoff (although I'm told otherwise ;)). Okay, it may be suitable for dropoff--but pickup?

ANYWAY.

That's four out of five days a week now that in the mornings I have to get me and a small herd of children ready and out of the house. Four days a week we don't get to linger in pj's. Four days a week I'll certainly lose my mind and never make it on time, anywhere.

My short and sweet little 'maternity leave' was nice, but it's back to reality, being timely, knowing what day it is, and heck, the date, too.

Bye bye maternity leave. Hello real life.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Keep Calm and Let Go

Do you ever just have that lingering uneasy, nervous, anxious feeling? Because I do. Right now, actually. I can kind of feel it in my throat. In my chest a little. I know the feeling. I'm learning what it means, slowly, but surely, in this motherhood journey.

It's the feeling of letting go.

I remember right after I had Emeline, I had this overwhelming sense of needing to protect her at all times. In my post-baby-hormonal state, I sat in the nursery chair, staring into my tender, sweet, newborn baby eyes and thought, how can I keep all the bad in the world away from her?

I cried, actually. Worrying that one day I'll have to let go. One day I'll have no idea what happens behind the closed doors at school. Who bullies her. How she's influenced. That a boy could break her heart. And it hurt because there's a part of me that wants to cling to her and keep her in a little tight bubble with all the happy!things!, always.

The rational side of me knows that wasn't possible, and even if it was, isn't necessarily the right way, anyway. But that's how I felt at the time.

Flash forward to now.

My sweet first newborn baby is now a toddler. A much more independent, social, chatty toddler. And little bit by bit I can see that I'm needing to let go, despite the anxious fight I can feel inside my chest.

No one ever told me that little things, like her first swim class alone with just the instructor (and not me beside her) was going to feel this big. Or that the opportunity to send her to a 2.5 year preschool program would cause such a conflict in my mind, when I know, ultimately, she'll thrive. No one told me that motherhood is such an emotional one. With the constant thought of, is this best for them? for us? for their future? 

Or maybe they did. And I just couldn't fully grasp it until I was there. Here. A mother. Making decisions and processing with my husband what's best for my kid. Like parents do. Feeling that anxious on-the-sidelines momma feel at swim class this morning. But I'm not in there to protect her. 

Pre-school, at this age. Is it best for her? Will she do ok? Will the kids be nice? Will she be nice? Who will help her on the swings? Will she be safe?

It's in all these little anxious moments that I hear a quiet whisper. When I allow my mind to shut the heck up for a few minutes, He whispers to me. I'm her protector, Katie. She's mine. I knit her together in your womb. I created her. I'm watching all the time. You're her earthly guardian, but I'm her ultimate guardian. Just chill out already, I've got this.

In the end, I know it's true. God appointed us to be these girls' parents here on earth. He did. But ultimately, we're His. They're His. And all I can do is remind myself of that.

***

I know one day when we're making really big decisions...filling out college applications, worrying about boyfriends, and best friend fights, all of this stuff will feel like pish-posh. But it isn't. In this moment, that isn't how it feels. As a momma I just want to do what's best for my kid. I also know, in the rational part of my brain, that I cannot keep her from hurt. I can't keep her from heartache. Heck, I can't keep her from falling on the playground and scraping her knee.

It's not possible.

Letting go for me is trusting God. Trusting that without me, in the pool, she'll be okay. Trusting that she'll thrive in a preschool environment two mornings a week. Trusting that she'll be taken care of.

Letting go is trusting.





Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Two v. one.

true life. 
I've been thinking about this for a while. This two kids versus one thing. It was one of those subjects that when I was a Mom to One, I often felt offended when I was told how "easy" I have it. Because in those difficult, new-to-me moments, it most definitely didn't feel easy. In fact, it often felt very challenging.

I swore I wouldn't be one of those one-uppers. I didn't want to be the person who said, "Oh, ha! Well you have just one kid? Just WAIT 'till you have two. You'll really never have time for a shower, then." Because I've been a victim of that, and it sucks.

I remember one time, pre-kids, pregnant with Emeline, I wrote a facebook status about having a busy week & being exhausted. It was one of those teacher-conferences weeks, lots of evening commitments, and dude, I was teaching all day and very pregnant. I WAS TIRED. And then, someone did it. Someone commented on my status with the Oh just you wait, you think you're tired now? thing, and it was awful. It made me feel awful. And kind of mad, honestly. They were much further along in life than me, a few kids, older kids, actually--and yea, I get it, you're tired. BUT SO WAS I.

Ultimately, those little snickery one-upper comments just invalidate someone's feelings. Feelings that are real, very real to them, you know? So I've tried to remain very conscious of this while making the transition to two kids. I told myself I didn't want to just fling off the cuff with statements like, "One was so easy!", because I knew that somewhere, a mom of one is thinking THIS IS SO HARD. And now, as a mom of two, my perspective is totally different. Just because it has to be different, mainly.

I think that in general, motherhood is trying and difficult at times and full of sleep deprivation, and newness, and a whole!'nother!person! which shouldn't be taken lightly, at all. For a first time mom, everything is NEW. So that almost makes it doubly hard. You're basically thrust into on-the-job-training with a screaming, crying person who demands you almost 24/7, and suddenly you're someones' sole nourishment, and whether they thrive or not is your responsibility. THAT can be hard, and slightly overwhelming, yea?

Is the transition from one to two kids hard? Yea. For me it was, and is. Does it mean that having one kid is suddenly "so easy"? Um, not at all.

And yea, I'm busier now than I was with just one. Yea, I have less time for me. Yea, errands are a little more difficult, and I'm worried about the well being of two instead of one. But it doesn't mean that I didn't feel busy with one, that I had tons of time for me, and that errands were easy with one kid, either. It's different.

And not only that, but I'm different. I have changed and grown as a mother. I've gone through this one time with another little person. In that regard, parts of the 2nd baby are almost easier. So much less of the unknown. More of a 'been there, done that' mentality, and much more roll-with-the-punches.

I've slipped up, I've said it before. I've probably invalidated someones feelings accidentally, and for that I'm sorry. Ultimately, I just want to be conscious and remember that when I had one kid, it was still challenging at times. It was still hard to find time for me. Going out running errands still felt like a rat race on some days. Being a mom was new, and it did come with lots of life lessons and difficult situations. It wasn't all peaches n' cream.

I'm just trying to remember that where we're all at, at these different paths along the journey--there are always feelings and emotions, and in those moments? Those feelings are valid, and so real. And perspective in life changes based on our personal situations.

My goal is to continue being mindful of this...and get better at it, too. Join me?

***

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

My girl.



I'm her mom, I gave birth to her, and still, often times I have to stop and think who is this kid talking at me in sentences? How did she get so old? So cool? So fun to be around? And so funny to boot? How did she go from a little baby to this. This talking, walking, acting-like-a-big-kid-person.

Sometimes I feel like I did a good job savoring all her littleness. I know that she's still little in perspective. In the grand scheme of things. But, whoa. Did I, really? Did I do a good job taking it all in?

Sometimes I'm amazed at the person she's becoming. What a tender heart I know she has. Even though we (often) have those moments of, holy-toddlerhood, I'm still kind of in awe of her soft heart. The way she's so gentle and kind with her little sister. The way she knows when she does something that may have hurt someone. The way she says sorry and wants to hug-it-out when something goes awry.

Sometimes we have our bad moments. The ones you hear about when people talk about toddlerhood, you know the ones. And then in the next fleeting moment, it's all over. Like it was just a blip on the radar, and really, mostly, we have so much fun together. The good days do overshadow the not-so-good ones. In the end, I wouldn't have it any other way.

She's mine. And I adore her. Silly, crazy, 2-year-old antics and all.

Monday, September 10, 2012

30th Birthday Gift

I posted a photo of this gift on instagram the other day, and a few people asked me to share more about it, so here I am.

I'd been scouring the interwebs to find a great gift idea for my sister's 30th for a few weeks now. I was having a hard time coming up with something completely original. I'm normally pretty good at that, but let's be honest--how often are ideas original in the age of Pinterest anyway? But, I digress.

My mom-brain was tapped out. So, I turned to Pinterest where I found a ca-ute idea that originated from this blog, here which had a basket full of "essentials" for the Young at Heart. Basically? Fun "childhood"-inspired boxes, filled with goodies, to help make you feel young again. Cute, huh? I thought so, too.

I wish this was my idea, but alas, I'm all about giving credit where credit is due, there's nothing more irritating than not being properly cited/sourced as inspiration---and Girl Grows Up gets all of it here. Thank you, miss. Thank you. (She has no idea who I am, by the way.)

ANYWAY.

So here it is. I'll break it down for you, don't worry.


I definitely changed it to make it my own a bit, from the original idea. I created all the "tags" and labels on ipiccy.com.

On the outside of the box it reads:

Essentials for the Young at Heart
Susan, now that you're 30 you may be wondering where the years went. Well, this "emergency" kit is filled with items to keep you young at heart.


The Boxes:
(The idea is that these are labeled with fun, childhood 'things', if that isn't clear :))


"Give Yourself a Makeover": In this box I filled it with Essie nail polishes, eyeshadow, lipstick and a gift certificate to her favorite nail salon. 

"Take a Bubble Bath": Filled with a candle, bath salts, and a loofa sponge. 

"Have a Slumber Party": I stuffed a cute pair of polka dot pj's in that box, if you can believe it ;)

"Play Dress-Up": New jewelry! This box had a few pairs of new earrings and bracelets.

"When all else fails, have a drink": Self explanatory--a bottle of wine, her favorite champagne, a skinnygirl cocktail, hey, a six pack would work :) You get the idea.

***

I found all the adorable little boxes at the dollar spot, along with the bigger container, too. Add some tissue paper, a sweet card, and fill it with all your friend/sister/wife etc's favorite things and it's a pretty fun, thoughtful gift. 

Thanks again for the gist of this idea, Pinterest & Girl Grows Up.



Sunday, September 9, 2012

Refreshed.

My sister turned 30 this weekend (yay! happy birthday sweet Susan!), and the one thing she wanted to do was take a weekend vacation...with everyone. I was all, Umm...do you know how loud and noisy and overwhelming this could be? Are you sure you want this for your 30th? Are you really sure? You only get one 30th birthday. And she, in her sweet way, was all, I love being with everyone, this is exactly what I want(ed)--it's fun for me. 

So it was pretty awesome getting to reap the benefits of her 30th birthday--a mini family vacation for all. My parents rented this amazing cottage-like house, decorated like it just stepped out of a Pottery Barn catalog, right on the bay. It was fabulous.

The weekend went a little like this:

Lots of noise from the Five under Five. Coffee sipping on the porch. Overlooking the Chesapeake early in the morning. Fishing and kayaking from the dock. Tickle fights. Baby cuddles. Hugging cousins. Bickering cousins. Late night bananagrams playing. 30th Birthday Celebrating. Couch snuggling. Mid-day napping. Beer drinking. Book reading. Tornado warnings. Fancy restaurant dining. Easy going breakfast-making & eating. Balloon tossing. Shell sorting. Grandparent loving. Lots of laying around.

Basically? A good, refreshing time.













***

Happy Birthday, sister. Thanks for letting us all crash your birthday and make lots of memories.


Thursday, September 6, 2012

"hang out with mommy!"

Right now I'm trying to forget how awfully little sleep I got last night, the fact that I ended up dozing off on the couch the wee hours of this morning, and that both children conspired against me to make sure I got as little sleep as possible the day we head off for a weekend vacation and momma needs to pack everything but the kitchen sink. And it justsohappens my husband forgot to make that extra 4 cups of coffee for my 2nd (and 3rd) mandatory Help Mom Function fix. I'll forgive him, and make it myself. 

But I digress.

Because I really want to talk about last night. The good part.

***

Last night after dinner I decided on a whim that there were some little errands I needed to do before our weekend away for my sisters 30th to make packing day (today) easier. 

It would have been easy-as-pie to do said errands alone. Leave the kids with my husband and run for the hills. But I decided that Emeline's recent behavior was all pointing to one thing: Girlfriend needed some one on one attention

A short 5 weeks ago she was the only little person in my everyday world. Everything was about her. We did all things together, non-stop, really. So, sometimes I have to stop and remember how much huge!change! this is for her, too. And honestly? I've missed my one on one time with her, too. 

So I asked her if she wanted to 'hang out with mommy for a special trip'....and of course, she was THRILLED. Anything with the word special? She's on board for. Always. (can't blame her) Also, I love that running errands to a 2 year old is special, I mean, honestly--we could learn a thing or two from these sweet, simple minded little creatures. They're definitely able to find the joy in the small things--the ones that become chores to us boring adults. But anyway...

We hopped in the car, I buckled her in with a kiss, and the only extra thing I had with me was my purse. It was glorious. We snapped a picture as she was cheering in the backseat, "I hang out with mommy! A special trip! YAY!" and we turned the music up. 

Lately our car rides with baby sister have been dreadful. She hates the car. It's pretty much the one place she screams incessantly as if she's being murdered. I have no idea why, but it certainly takes the fun aspect out of going anywhere (also, feel bad for me that we are traveling for a few hours this afternoon, with both kids....I need ear plugs. No. Really). 

It was within minutes, seconds, really that Emeline and I were having one of our signature car-dance-parties, complete with arm waving, car-seat dancing, full-on-yelling-the-words-loud, and passer-by'ers looking at you like WTF. But we didn't care. The smiles were plastered. I felt joy in my bones. I'm certain she did, too.

We must have ran to about 4 different places. I forgot the ease of just one semi-independent kid. I admit my perspective has changed since having another. How a quick unbuckle and you're off to go. No finagling huge diaper bags. No making sure you didn't forget the infant. Real conversations with a toddler who can chat back with you, and not having to worry about doing it all while shushing/tapping/calming an overtired baby, for example. It was undivided attention for my girl, and we both really, really needed it.

Her wit and humor made my night. Constantly being silly, saying adorable things, hugging me and kissing my cheeks saying, "I hang out with mommy, so much fun!" and making me so glad I didn't just go alone. 

I let her pick whatever she wanted from the dollar store for a 'special treat', and she picked the ugliest, I mean, prettiest, most obnoxious, I mean, adorable, purple sparkly pony I've ever seen. It made her smile and at that moment, for a buck, that's all that mattered. It made me smile on the inside. 

I had grand plans of stopping to get ice cream with her--something we've always deemed as a really special thing---but time go the best of us. I only had time to make a quick stop at a convenient store, but did that matter to her? Not even in the slightest bit. After all, she got a blue icee out of the deal. And I didn't even care about giving her all that sugar before bedtime, because, who cares, we don't get to do this much anymore. 

On our drive home, between our loud rocking-out-jam-sessions, she and I exchanged lots of sweet smiles. I'd look back and tickle her legs. I told her how special it was for mommy to hang out with Emeline alone. How much I love her, and what a big girl she is. How proud I was of her for being so well behaved out so late, and just how much I enjoyed being together. 

She acted as if she understood everything I was saying--and I honestly think she did. It didn't matter to her what we did together. The fact that we were running necessary errands for momma, boring stuff, really. It didn't matter that we could only hit up the convenient store instead of Dairy Queen--we were spending quality time together, and that's all that mattered. I could learn a thing or two from this girl, I'm telling you.

On the way home she told me she was going to tell daddy how much fun we had. And then quickly followed that up with...."and baby Lucy, and Mac-a-boy, too!"  Because we can't forget anyone, of course.

I smiled a ton last night. Everything about our time together was so pleasant, and undistracted, and really just so fun. 

Doing this kind of thing everyday with Emeline was my old normal. But since it's not anymore--it made it all the more special. 

It wasn't about what we did together--it was just about being together, and I was reminded of that last night. 

***

I don't know when I'll be back around here. Between going away tonight and then starting back to work on Monday, it might take a little bit to let the dust settle. But, we'll be back...eventually. 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Sweet Sisters

A friend of mine (hi sandi!) I used to teach with stopped by a few weeks ago with these adorable matching outfits and handmade tutu's for the girls. I knew, instantly of course, that these would be ridiculously cute in pictures. And yep, they were.

See for yourself ;)

sister wasn't having it.

***

I may sweat. They may cry (okay, only Lucy did a little)...but one day, I hope they appreciate that momma took pictures.

***

Happy Wednesday!