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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Valentines Cards, easy peasy--but cute & fun.

I fully admit that when the letter came home to tell us about the preschool valentines party, I *might* have got a little excited. I mean, let's be honest--some of these fun little things are what I dreamed about when becoming a mom. I'm sure in five years I'll be kicking myself for saying that--but for now? I really, really like it.

I like getting the chance to use the craftiness in me. And also? Her class is small. So 9 Valentines Day cards? Easy. Now, when the days of 20+ students in a class happen, will I do this? Well, we shall see.

It all started with this picture.


I just knew it would be fun to use. So then I asked my photoshop savvy husband to put it in a heart shape for me (I know, I suck). I already had picked out little dinosaurs and ring bubbles (from walmart), and knew I wanted to incorporate them, but, I hadn't figured out how. 

After deciding to use something with the cliche "DINO-mite" and something with "blowing kisses", I went to work.

I made a design in picmonkey.com (seriously, so easy), and then printed them on cardstock. I cut them out, then with a dab of hot glue applied either the dinosaur figurine or the bubbles. (I'm fully aware girls like dinosaurs, too--but I let Eme decide on what she wanted, so I'm okay with that.)

I really wanted to incorporate SOME candy. Come on, it's Valentines day. So, I put them in little goodie bags with some oversized smarties, and tied off with yarn. The names of the kids are on the back ;)

I then realized the teachers names were on the list, too. Fail. I had enough bubble rings to make her two female teachers the lady-valentine, buttttt----decided it would take a few extra seconds to set them apart. As you can see above, I ended up using Pixy Stix and a little catchy phrase (okay, the only thing I could think of using the word "stix" in it--a little far? maybe?)

To be honest, I had a whole bag of Pixy Stix in my pantry already. So that's the only reason I used them. I think it turned out kind of fun, anyway.

***

I don't know why, but there's just something about making things for "her class" that really makes me finally feel like WHOA I'M A MOM. I know, I know. It's just preschool. But still. 

Just wanted to share, because they are so easy and you could do something simple like this, too!

xoxo

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Almost at the half.

Her laughs. Her coo's. Her silly smile. Her lashes. Her wispy bangs. Those wiggly toes. And legs that don't.stop.jumping. The chunky thighs. And scratchy finger nails. The overflowing cheeks. The ankle rolls. Her high pitched squeals. The eyes that light up when she notices you across the room. 

I love all of her, so much. I just can't believe that in a few days, she's been here for half a year. 




I know I'm behind on month posts, but to be honest? I'm okay with that. She's perfect. She's loved. She knows & feels that whether I write an update with her diaper size and weight, or not. 

Thank you for changing me, baby girl. For stretching me. For helping me realize to slow down. For all the moments you just look in my eyes and make me feel like the most awesome mom ever. 

Little Lucy girl, you're loved.

***

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Where I out myself. I'm human and sometimes it's yucky.

I tend to function really quite well on very little sleep. My husband may beg to differ, but often I'm told I look so well rested, too well rested, in fact, for having a baby who hates sleep. I want to just smile politely and say oh thank you, but normally I reply with something like, Oh it's the makeup. Thank GOD for makeup.  Because let's be honest. Momma don't sleep. And that's the truth. So thank God for cover-up.

My baby sleep cycle emotions go something like this: I have a newborn, I'm in bliss. I could care less about sleep. I just love my squishy newborn so much! Pure glee. I don't mind the lack of sleep because look! I just made this little beauty! Then, a few months in, I start realizing how many days have stacked up where I've gotten very little rest, and I start to feel gypped. Why couldn't Lucy be one of those babies who sleeps 8+ hours a night? You know, where you read facebook statuses proclaiming My baby slept 12 hours straight at 6 weeks old! and you want to promptly punch them in the face and also go sob in a corner. I move on from my pity party fast though, because, well, my kid is cute. So I won in that department. Then, more time passes, and I am just so used to waking up in 2 (sometimes less, sometimes more) hour increments, that I really just don't know, nor remember what life with good sleep was like. I'm totally fine with it. In the morning there's always coffee, and so there's that. 

But, last night was a struggle night. After laying my head down for the fifty millionth 3rd time, after Lucy was already up 4 hours past her bedtime, after doing the tip-toe-dance of leaving her room, finally thinking it was it, only to have her awaken again and again and again. I was annoyed. I admit, I was. 

At one point, getting out of my warm bed for the umpteenth time, I remember huffing something to the effect of, "How did I get so unlucky......!", when I promptly stopped myself dead.in.my.tracks. I think hearing myself say that out loud? Was a gut-check.

Ew. Katie. Just, ew. 

I'm not kidding. I felt the statement come out of my mouth like word vomit. So fast I could hardly catch it. And no one was even around to hear it, since my husband was snoozing blissfully and it was 1am. Immediately, IMMEDIATELY, I stopped myself and thought UNLUCKY, KATIE? Are you kidding

I seriously had to stop and pray for forgiveness right that second. Because no matter how 'unlucky' I felt in that second, how 'inconvenienced' I felt, the feelings of jealousy that may creep up about the blissfully sleeping newborns out there, I am anything but unlucky. 

I try, really, to live in a state of gratitude about this place in life I am in. Being content and happy and knowing that in a flash my babies won't be babies anymore, and trying so hard to soak it all in. I'm not trying to be cliche, but everyone with older kids tells me don't blink. Or they say how much they miss the days of little sleep and messy houses because their babies needed them. And sometimes, I admit, in the wee hours of the night my nasty, fleshly feelings come out. And so I'm outing myself here. Because no one heard me last night. No one. But I did. And I didn't like it. And I'm coming clean.

I'm incredibly blessed, whether my baby likes sleep or not. That fact doesn't change anything.

After I got Lucy that time, I patted her, I rocked her--we both fell asleep in the rocker for a little bit. And there was nothing unlucky about that.....not at all.

***

Monday, January 21, 2013

Little souls.

Last night I had this genius* idea to come back here, pour my heart and soul into this blog, a post full of my favorite photos, one per month....where I'd write about all the beauty in life and blah blah blah.

And, well. If you look, you can see how THAT went. I got as far as April. I skipped February by accident. I really can't pick my favorite photo of the week, let alone in one month, that is impossible, absolutely impossible for me. So my epic post quickly became a dud, and you know what? I don't really care.

Look. This is me. I can't even pick 12 photos, let alone label them beautifully, and for the love, I skipped February. Idiot.

Going through some old photos was really fun for me though. But it also felt, so...weird. More than half of 2012 I was a mother to just one kid. I mean, the other one was inside me, yea, but, you know, didn't require boogers being wiped. And yet, as I looked at all these photos, just a family of 3, or just of Emeline, I felt like someone was missing. Lucy was missing. 

I look back with fondness on my time of being a mom to just one. I do. I mean, oh the spur-of-the-moment trips we went on. It's true, I would bring my camera out on more outings, capture more beautiful pictures, walk around the pond more, be the cool mom, getting ICEE's at random times of day, or stopping for ice cream (hello pregnancy cravings). Emeline and I had countless adventures together.

But we're a family of four now. I'm a momma to two. Lucy is a gift. Such a fun, chubby little adorable, giggly gift. Both arms are occupied at all times. Errands aren't the same. But we're finding our groove. We are finally finding our groove and I think I've totally settled into this. I'm feeling better, all around. I love my two precious babies more than words can say.

So as I looked back at those pictures I couldn't help but feel like, wow, this isn't my whole family. Lucy wasn't in them. And it felt, in a way, incomplete. Even though in those moments of frozen time, in those images, I felt so complete. I felt like just Emeline & Declan were my whole wide world, my whole heart, walking around in flesh. And yet now, I know different. Another little soul was about to capture my heart.

If anything, 2012 taught me just how much my heart can grow. How beautiful and miraculous the gift of siblings truly is. How beautiful the sister bond can be. Witnessing it everyday is seriously one of my greatest joys. I've learned how amazingly well I can function on little sleep. How much I love coffee. How important family is. That I have the greatest husband on the planet for me. How much growing I've done, and how much more I have left to do.



Oh little souls, thanks for making me feel more complete.

*not genius

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

When you're not quite sure how to talk about it.

I feel like I keep coming in here every once in a while and dropping a doozy of a post on you. A big, heartfelt, deep-type post. I don't know when, or if I'll ever get back to my freestyle-happy-go-lucky-blog-about-my-girls-with-pretty-pictures-thing. Maybe I will. Heck, it could happen tomorrow if the bug bites. But right now I'm still just, you know, sort of around. I do want to say, though--thank you. Really. The true, heartfelt, meaningful comments I got on my last post were amazing. And the emails. This time, there were (a lot more) emails. And you made me feel loved, needed and wanted in this little blog community. So thanks.

Today though? I want to dedicate an entire post to my dad. I want to preface this first by saying that I asked permission from both him and my momma to do this, as I only have the utmost respect and love for them.

***

About two years ago at our family vacation it started to become really clear to us that my Daddy was having some issues. Mainly with recalling things, being a little repetitive, and some confusion with the new surroundings at our beach house. It was then that the entire family began to worry a little more seriously about my dads health. You see, outwardly--he is healthy and looks it. He eats well, he exercises. He shed a lot of excess weight years ago and has done a really great job keeping it off. 

I don't talk much about this here, but my dad is a very successful entrepreneur. He is, at his core, an amazing businessman. He built an incredible business out of nothing but a little idea. He is the smartest man I know. He is talented. So talented. An amazing public speaker. A loving and tenderhearted grandfather. A loyal and trusting husband. He dedicated the last 40 years of his life to the volunteer fire industry, where he served his community with no hesitation. Where he spent weekends training and teaching new firefighters, or taking new courses. He spent the last 16 years being in some sort of Fire Chief role at his department. He is such a natural leader at heart.

But mostly, he's a family man. He loves us all so well. 


After we began to see those issues with my Dad, my mom and him consulted the best doctors and started a series of testing to get to the bottom of what we were dealing with. Our world was rocked when my young, passionate, hardworking, amazing businessman of a daddy was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimers disease at only 57 years old. 

gulp. this is the part where I choke back tears...


This has been my families burden to carry for the last year and a half. It has been a load. Fear, pain, having good days, bad days, seeing declines, going on trips on a whim because we need to, we have to, creating memories, just being together a lot, whatever. I am so glad to have an awesome family that loves well and cares, and while we're a work in progress, we've been there for one another, and mostly for my Dad. We're so grateful for pastors and close friends who have been there this last year in supporting our family and helping to lighten to the load when no one else knew what was going on.

In the last week my Dad has made the official announcements of his diagnosis publicly to both his entire business and his fire department, with his family by his side. It's just necessary as it becomes more noticeable and for people to be aware, sensitive and understanding of what's going on. 

He has been so strong and amazing through it all. Doing this is NOT an easy thing to do, yet he did it with dignity. He has stepped down from being an official "officer" in his fire department, but was honored with the "Chief Emeritus" title for his long time service, commitment, and passion to help others. I had tears in my eyes seeing him honored in that way, in the way he deserved, at the ceremony last Thursday.


As a daughter, I could not be more proud of my daddy. For the way he is handling all of this. For all his success in his life and willingness to serve and love and volunteer in the ways that he has. For the incredible person he is. The seriously amazing, out-of-this-world Pop Pop he is to my girls and his other grandchildren. It brings tears to my eyes just thinking about that. And my mom? Well she is amazing, simply put. While this has all been, admittedly, the hardest on her, she is a rock and I'm so grateful for their love and her support to my dad when he needs it most.

It's no secret that there is a challenging road ahead for my family and for my dad. But we just can't go there yet. Because we're too busy enjoying this time with him. Right here. Right now. In this moment.

For now, though--you can pray for him, for us. 

****


Friday, January 4, 2013

The contemplative state of my brain WRITE* now.

I just put both girls down for a nap and my house is an absolute and utter disaster. Typically after I do the dance of putting both girls down, I come downstairs, let out an exasperated sigh (come on, it's hard work), sit on the couch for 3 minutes, and then decide to straighten up everything.

I just simply cannot focus, or feel relaxed with STUFF EVERYWHERE. I've always been wired like that. In college, whenever I had a big test to study for, you'd know because I'd have to clean my room so I could study well. Something about a tidy space helps me focus. Except not right now.

Every time when I go to pick up the remnants of breakfast and lunch, put the coffee pot away, go lose another finger while spray painting yet another thing in the frigid cold, all I can think of are words. Words, words, words that I need to write. That I don't know how to write. That I've been thinking about, pondering, for the last month. With no real clarity which is why it's been pretty silent here. Lifeless.

You see, I'm starting to finally realize that I am, in fact, a writer. I don't care if that's a term linked to having fancy books in print, or taking book tours, signing autographs, or whatever. That's not what I mean for me. But I am a writer. And hell, I'll even say that with confidence. It's an outlet for me to share, express, talk, just get out of my head for a hot second and let it out. And after spending the last 4 days redo'ing everything in my house, spraying painting more random shelves than I can count, re-arranging more furniture, crafting yet another bunting for the love, I am realizing that since I've shut down this outlet, it's leaking. It's leaking out in the form of antique-white-spray-painted crap all over my house. In crafts. In whatever. Because I haven't been using it  in the way I used to when I would write.

See, honestly? When people have asked why I've stopped writing, when I'll come back, what triggered this pause, which, let's be honest--hasn't ever happened here in years-- I just didn't have an answer. Sure, I can give a few little odds & ends here and there--but dude, I'm so contemplative. About it all. I wish I still had that feeling of writing without being inhibited, but I don't. I really don't. And I hate that so much. 

I'm a human and I'm struggling with being judged. With my children being judged. With what I put out there, why I'm putting it out there, that I kind of just want to be a lone blogger again--with no scrutiny. No mean texts swarming around about you. No hidden sarcasm and pokes and prods at your character and who you are. But I know that doesn't exist. We live in a world where everyone has an opinion. And their opinion may be that they just don't like me. I want to stomp my feet and whine and cry to my mom because I don't know why anyone would dislike me and wahhhhh. But I know that people just don't always mesh. And that's okay. You don't have to mesh with me, or like what I write about. Seriously, free yourself. Stop reading. I've done that with many (most) blogs this month and it has been absolutely liberating. I don't say that to be mean, but I've had to take a cold, hard look at where I spend my time. Who I invest in. Who and what I want to read. And so I've done that and seriously--don't waste your time with people who bring you down or make you roll your eyes.

Really.

Life is too short for that.

And so here I am. Still not really sure what I'm doing. If I'm doing. When I'm doing. How much I'll be doing

I'm wrestling with many different ideas of what I want to do. How much I want my babies out there. How I accurately portray that this isn't a job for me, it's not a means for money, I could care less about popularity or getting myself out there, seriously. It's simply something I just like to do. Rather, I used to love it. Write. I so desperately want to come off as genuine, because I am, and I can say that with utmost confidence. But I'm still struggling with what to do. Or where to go. 

I still can't even fully put into words everything I'm really wanting to say. But basically. I'm contemplating, and I'm here, kind of.

Thank you to those of you who have emailed me this last month, I'm not gonna lie and say I had hundreds of emails or something, people begging me to come back, I didn't. The few that came meant a ton to me. So thank you.

*totally on purpose