Wednesday, February 29, 2012

My Baby–You Ain’t a Baby No Mo



My little girl, you are 18 months old today. 


I’m having trouble letting that number sink in.


You weigh 25 pounds.  Just yesterday you were 7 lbs. 15 oz.


You are 33 inches long. You were 20.


Your vocabulary is exploding every day. 

Some of your favorite words?

Mommy (I just had to put myself first didn’t I?)




Bye Bye






Gock (Sock)

All done


You refuse to crawl up the stairs anymore.  You put both hands against the wall and pull yourself up each one.  I walk behind you so closely, but don’t touch you.  Letting your wings spread little Butterfly.


I know this is so a Mom thing, but the smell of you is intoxicating

It will just catch me throughout the day.  You’ll come close or I’ll be doing your laundry, or whatever it may be, and I breathe you in.  It is this sweetness.  Truly.  It’s like you’re made of pure sugar.


Your disposition is the best.

You have been the easiest child these past 18 months. 

We lay you down to sleep – you sleep.

You laugh easily.

You smile freely.

Your brothers push you around – you don’t push back. (Although that is beginning to change Ms. Sass!)


You are loved.





Your Daddy and I pray for guidance each day as we raise you.

Even in these days when you’re thrilled with a cup of apple juice, a bowl of pudding, or a hug from your dollie.

Because we know the days won’t always stay this simple.

Your problems won’t always be so easy to fix.

You may not always be quite so laid back…


A snow day calls for bandannas and pig tales

I love you Adelyn Verree.  My daughter.

What a huge blessing and responsibility your Father and I have been given.

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Contents of My Brain

This could get scary. Smile

Sadly though, there just isn’t a whole lot going on up there today.

I am eagerly anticipating our first true snow storm of the season.  They’re saying that tomorrow up to 18 inches of the white stuff may fall upon this little blue house in the middle of our little town in our cold little state, even though my friends in Virginia are experiencing temps near 70 and are already breaking out the swimsuits and sunscreen.  (I’m not jealous. I’m not jealous. I’m not jealous.)

After my daughter wakes from her nap we are headed to the craft store and grocery store to buy some supplies, junk food, and ingredients for a healthy soup. It’s all about balance I say.  I have a list of things I hope to accomplish in the next two days while I’m stuck at home and I am so excited about it!  We’ll see how much gets done.

Chris is in Alaska this week attending a conference.  He sent pictures yesterday of a sled dog competition he was able to watch.  He was having a good time. I wasn’t quite so zealous to tag along with him on this trip!  My Dad took the boys today to head to their house for a few days to whether out the weather.  That’s fun to type. Is it just as much fun to read? 

So, it’s girls time here. 

We’re headed out for some barbeque tonight to start things off right.

This morning my dear father, who turns 64 fabulous years old today, spent his time coming down here to help me take three little rascals to the dentist. 

February 20122

They all had staggering appointment times, and I wasn’t sure how I would juggle leaving a child or two unattended in the waiting room, so it was great to have some extra hands.

This was a new dentist for all the kids, and Adelyn’s first visit.  This is the place where Chris and I go, so we thought it would be nice to have the whole family at the same  place.  I love this place.  This past summer they were offering a deal for new patients to get a free electronic toothbrush.  That was the main draw for Chris and I.  They also give a $25 gift card for each person you refer to their clinic.  So three children = shopping spree!  (They said it was legit, and even gave me the cards and the idea, so I’m not experiencing too much guilt over this one!)

Adelyn was not so sure about that dentist, as you can see from the pic above.  She did end up giving him a high five before we left though, so I guess you could say she came around.

The boys did great.  They loved those glasses and going for a ride in the big chair.  Cool stuff.  Their teeth both look great however two things need to happen:

1. Begin flossing.

2. Stop sucking thumbs.


This should be fun.  The flossing thing – not a big deal…just need to work it in to our routine and have them lay still for a few minutes.

The sucking thing.  Nooooot going to be fun.  The boys love their “bookies” (burp cloth).  When they have their bookie they have their thumb in their mouth. Simple as that.  So the solution should also be just as simple right?  Take away bookies, no thumb sucking.  I think we’ll do it in baby steps. We’ll start with just allowing them to have their bookies in bed.  Right now they go with them everywhere.  In the car, downstairs to play, to nap, etc.  They don’t use them all that often during the day, but it seems like it is a security for them to know they are there.  I would love to hear advice from any of you who have been there/done that with thumb sucking or pacifiers or something similar.  Is it best to just go cold turkey?  Mail the bookies off to China or Santa Claus or something?

February 20123

After the dentist we ran some errands and then took Bapa to a birthday lunch at IHOP.  Who doesn’t love IHOP?  It was really nice and they even gave Bapa a huge hot fudge sundae to celebrate.  As you can imagine we needed five spoons on hand to share that!  The only mishap came at the end when I went up to pay and left Grandpa in charge of the rest.  From the front of the restaurant I heard my child scream and cry.  It wasn’t an “I’m hurt” scream.  More of an “I’m annoyed” cry, so without even investigating I knew that Bapa could handle it. Smile  I like to share my children like that.  Upon returning to the table I discovered that the fight was over some scraps of food that were left on the table and who was going to eat them.  This older couple sitting nearby (Gray haired people at IHOP?  That doesn’t usually happen does it? Smile), was glancing over at us smiling.  I apologized for the distraction.  They just laughed and said it was fun to sit there and watch Bapa blush and want to crawl under the table.  My Dad told them they should have come over to help.  They said that it was much more fun to just sit back and watch!  Been there, done that I guess!

Isn’t my Dad just the most handsome man?  He is such a gentle, kind soul.  He has such a giving heart and truly LOVES my children (and me I think too!  And my Mom And my brothers. And his other grandchildren.  Okay, this man just loves a lot!).  They know it too.  They run to home with no abandon, arms open, smiles spread wide, soaking him in.  Adelyn says hi to him every time he enters a room.  When he leaves she puts her little hands up and says, “Where Bapa?”  I love you Dad!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

A Breath of Fresh Air

Playing Outside

Getting ready to go outside takes up the same amount of time that we actually stay outside and play.  However, no pictures are taken of the preparations, as these two hands are full of mittens, hats, coats, boots, snow pants, tissues wiping runny noses, and boy’s little waists who keep trying to run away.  As I pull my hair back out of my eyes, I find myself questioning if it is even worth it. We could just stay in and wait for spring…but once we get out there…that fresh air is good for all of us. Smile

I must also note that within seconds of opening the garage door, Adelyn took off for the end of the driveway, where there is this huge puddle of melting, icy slush.  I was fumbling around with bringing the garbage can in and couldn’t reach her in time.  She planted face first right in to the middle of the puddle.  Can you just imagine it?  This puffy little girl – completely marshmallow from head to toe, sprawled out and soaking wet.  I scooped her up and she just laughed and laughed.  Her brothers and I laughed right along with her!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


I am just a tad bit excited that I won my first ever blog giveaway! 

This drawing came from Kelly over at Carsen’s Courage.  Kelly and I went to high school together, but being a few years apart we didn’t connect much in school.  I actually hung out a lot more with her older brother! However, I am SO thankful that our paths have stumbled across each other now.  She is an inspiration to me.  Her blog is heartfelt, authentic, and compassionate.  The world as she used to know it has been shaken these past few years, and she has been on an incredible journey of growth, stretching, and unconditional love that is so uplifting to read about.

Thank you Kelly for my new Thirty-One bag!  I love it!  I love it enough that I just had to take a few pictures of myself posing with it to share with you all.  Ha! 




Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Valentine’s Day





I did so not ask them to do that in the last picture.  Don’t even ask me what in the world these affectionate brothers were doing! (Grayson left, Ethan right)





The gift the kids gave their Daddy for his birthday/Valentines.  Came off Pinterest!


There are many memories.  But I’ll tell you the one I like to think of best of all.  It’s just a homely everyday thing, but to me it is the happiest of them all.  It is evening time here in the old house and the supper is cooking and the table is set for the whole family.  It hurts a mother, Laura, when the plates begin to be taken away one by one.  First there are seven and then six and then five…and on down to a single plate.  So I like to think of the table set for the whole family at supper time.  The robins are singing in the cottonwoods and the late afternoon sun is shining across the floor.  Will, your grandfather is coming in to supper…and the children are all playing out in the yard.  I can hear their voices and happy laughter. 

- A Lantern In Her Hand – Bess Streeter Aldrich

Life is a gift.  A beautiful gift.  And yet how often do I catch myself searching for greener grass.  Questioning my position, my decisions, my role in life.  Looking at others around me who are working, obtaining additional degrees, volunteering in all types of organizations, traveling the world, and feeling like I don’t quite match up.  I’m just a Mom.

I fight to find time to keep up with current events, keep on top of what is happening in the political realm, foreign affairs,  the world outside these doors.  I have often laughed with friends that I feel like my mind is becoming mush since I have endured two pregnancies and am now raising my three children.  Just last night while getting ready for bed Chris noticed a spot on my arm and asked me what it was.  “An owie.” I replied.  An owie?  Seriously?  I just had to laugh. 

I think about what I may want to do with myself when my children start school.  Will I return to the classroom?  Will I be wanted in a classroom?  Is there something else that I am to be doing instead?  Another passion that I should invest in?  Go back to school perhaps? These years can easily be seen as a time of reinventing.  It’s a wonderful opportunity, and yet completely overwhelming.  Most days I barely have time to grab a shower let alone figure out what I want to do career wise in a few years!

There are two other things I want to mention along with this.  My brain is going in a few different directions – so we’ll see what gets spilled out on this keyboard…

First of all, I don’t want to be influenced by society, or by what society thinks I should do.  I do not want to feel like I have to be a successful business woman in order to feel like a successful person.  I want to believe in my value and worth as a person no matter what I am doing.  I want to value and love myself for what I am doing right now, in these days, in the grime and grit that comes along with it.  As I prepare the meals, and clean the home, and change the diapers, and make the beds, and read the stories, and squeeze the squishy bodies of my children.  I know without a doubt that where I am right now is exactly where I need to be.  I am essential. I am valued.  I am needed. That doesn’t always make it easy or pleasant.  There are some days where I am so lonesome for my classroom.  Daily lunch with my friends.  The chance every morning to shower and actually dress in something other than blue jeans! 


There are days like today where I am whopped upside the head with the realization of how fleeting this life is.  How quickly this time with my young children home with me will pass.  My daughter is going to be 18 months old at the end of this month.  I still look at her and I see my baby, but she really isn’t anymore. She runs.  She talks. She climbs.  She attempts to do everything her brothers do.  How quickly will I blink and see that my baby is a woman?

Days like today where I stopped my check off list and instead pulled out our video camera to capture the boys dancing together in the living room. 

Moments like today when I was tucking Grayson in for his nap.  He wrapped his tiny arms around my neck, pulled me down to him, whispered in my ear, “I love you Mommy!” and then planted his lips on mine.  Completely out of the blue.  Just tender, pure love.

Nights like tonight where I lingered in Adelyn’s rocking chair a little longer than I usually do.  Where her chubby little cheeked face looked in to mine, those big blue eyes sparkling, as I asked her to find things on Mommy’s face.  Mommy’s eyes.  Mommy’s ears.  Mommy’s mouth.  She smiled and giggled.  Especially upon finding Mommy’s mouth and getting her finger nibbled on.  Precious little pajama footed girl.  Tiny curls spilling out all over her little head.  Squishy, squirmy, warm little body. 

Just this afternoon I finished the book I quoted above.  A beautiful story about the life of an average woman.  A woman who started out a girl, and how quickly her life passed before her eyes.  The story took place long ago and yet I was able to find myself sharing so many similarities with the main character, Abbie. 

The book has called to mind so often my own mother, my grandmothers, and the mothers that have gone on before them.  So many of the same battles.  The same questions.  The same insecurities.  I think of my Grandma’s fragile hands before her death.  How I held those hands, caressed them, and thought about all that they had done.  Every child they had held, every meal they had prepared, every weed they had pulled, every gift they had wrapped, every hug they had given. 

How I wish in some ways that I could freeze time.  Stop it right in this moment where my children are all asleep under this same roof.  Where their problems are as small as their frames.  Where my husband is here on the couch beside me.  Healthy, young, head of dark hair, handsome, full of life and zeal at 33 years of age.  This period of time where I can call up my parents on the phone anytime I want and know that their voice will greet me on the other end.

I guess all this to say, life is complicated.  There aren’t any easy answers.  Life isn’t black and white.  There are things along the way that are going to have to be given up,  sacrifices made, dreams set aside.  But yet at the same time the gains are immeasurable.  I know this.  The past 32 years of my life have not turned out exactly as I had planned or envisioned. So many of those surprises amazing, a few hard…  I know that the future holds the same uncertainty.

When my hands are withered and worn. When my body is frail and feeble. What will my story be? What is going to matter to me then? What will I be holding on to? What memories will I cherish?

I don’t fully know.  And so I hold on today.  We plan and hope for the future.  I hold my chin high, grasp the hands of the ones I love that surround me, and head in to tomorrow.

Sunday, February 12, 2012



I love these moments.


When they’re all getting along.  Smiling and laughing together…


I love how they are truly each other's best friends and playmates for this season in their lives.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Awww Nuts

When Ethan and Grayson were about 18 months old I was eating a cracker with PB on it.  I gave them both the tiniest little bit, and within minutes the skin around Ethan’s mouth began to develop hives.  I slightly panicked, but just kept a very close eye on him.  The hives subsided after about 30 minutes and I never fed them peanut butter again.

I finally brought them in to an allergist yesterday to finally get to the bottom of this once and for all.  Were they or were they not allergic?  I truly thought the answer would be no.  I am certain they have been in some contact with peanuts over the past few years, even if they were not ingested.  The doctor did a skin test on the boys


With a pen he drew a – , a + , and a P for peanut butter (although as you can see above – instead of a P, Grayson wanted a square!)

He then injected some histamine by the + sign and some peanut allergen at the P (or square Winking smile).  At the – sign he injected some sort of negative liquid that should not have a response in a typical person.  In the boys there was no reaction at all at the – spot, but the + spot and the peanut spot both had quite a severe reaction.  I was shocked!

After the injection the doctor said we would wait ten minutes and check the results. I checked the boys arms after just a minute or two and already it was quite raised and bumpy.

After ten minutes the doctor examined their arm and declared that both boys are indeed allergic to peanuts.

A blood test was given to see how allergic they are.  We should get the results of that blood test sometime today or early next week.

We will now have to have Epi Pens on hand just in case. 

It is all just so new and a lot to take in, but at the same time it could be so many other things, so we are truly just thankful.  Thankful also that it didn’t take a reaction for us to discover that they were allergic. 

They will go back in yearly to have blood drawn.  Our hope is that their numbers will go down and eventually they may outgrow this reaction.

When I explained it to the boys Grayson said, “It’s no big deal Mommy.  I don’t like peanut butter anyhow.”

Monday, February 6, 2012


I love my sons.  The way they constantly need to jump off of and over everything in their path.  And how they ask their daddy to “wrestle me please!”.  The way they are drawn to dirt and balls and trucks and playing football (They hold the ball, hurdle some obstacles laying on the ground and then fly in to their beanbags and say, “42, 42, set hut!”) But also their sensitive sides.  The adoring full cheese grin I get from Grayson sometimes and the tender back scratch I got from Ethan last night while brushing teeth.



there is just something about being the Mommy to a little girl.


A little girl whose hair is now long enough to pull back in to the cutest little pig tails I have ever stinkin seen.


I could weep thinking about how sweet and tender and gentle this little girl of mine is.


Her tiny little voice…

Her sweet giggle…


I feel like I have been given this extra special little gift.  Our little cherry on the top. 

I love having a daughter.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Cali Continued

Friday afternoon we lounged by the hotel pool and napped, read, and soaked in the hot tub.  That evening we ate dinner at a little Italian dive downtown and then went to see a show called Mixtape.  It was all about the 80’s, and even though I was only 1 when the 80’s began, I was still able to enjoy so many of the songs and jokes of this decade.  It was really entertaining!  Chris had bought the tickets as a Christmas gift.  He got us seats front and center.  I have never been so close to the action before!  I was afraid of being spit on! Loved it!  I caught myself chair dancing a couple times.  Especially for “Jessie’s Girl”, “Faithfully”, and “Thriller”!  One guy even came out singing “Old Time Rock and Roll” in his tighty whities, just like Tom Cruise in Risky Business.  Front row really was something for that!  Yikes! Smile


This was taken on our hike at Torrey Pines

Saturday we woke up early and went to Coronado.  Truly one of my favorite places on Earth so far I think.  There was just something so magical and serene about it.  It almost just seemed too perfect.  The streets so clean.  The sunshine so warm.  The lawns so perfectly manicured.  The homes so beautiful.  It was amazing.  Breathtaking.   I think I’ll just take this or this I suppose. Smile  The beach was so nice.  We hung out there for awhile and then just strolled along the coast with our toes (just the tips) in the water.  It was pretty cold!  We had lunch at a place there called the Night and Day Café.  A little hole in the wall.  Amazing food.  Completely horrible for you, but oh so good.  I had an omelet and Chris had a burger. 


Chris at La Jolla

That evening we met up with Chris’s coworker Roger, his wife Jess, and their baby girl Lila.  We went to The Fish Market for dinner.  It’s located right downtown San Diego along the harbor.  We didn’t have any trouble getting filled up that night!

Sunday morning Chris and I woke up early (Every morning we were up by 7.  For some reason we just couldn’t, or wouldn’t, sleep in!  Sad isn’t it?)  We went walking near our hotel along the water and then had some breakfast out together.  After breakfast we came back and decided that we just had to lay out by the pool one more time before check out.  Smile  We checked out of there and checked in to the next hotel where the conference was held, which was the Manchester Grand Hyatt, downtown. 


The view from our room.

After check in we got cleaned up, and then were able to use another Christmas present, two tickets to the San Diego symphony.  I had never been to a live symphony before and we both really enjoyed the experience.  It was family day, so there were many children around, which was hard (not because of their noise, but because of how it made me miss mine all that much more!).  One of the songs that they played was composed by a man sitting directly in front of us.  After they finished playing the house lights came on and the man stood up.  That was pretty neat!

We grabbed some sushi that night, and that was about it for Sunday!

Monday was my alone day. Sad smile  Chris had to get back to the grind.  I took it in stride and actually stayed in bed a bit later that morning.  After I woke up I went to the gym and worked out, showered, took a LONG time getting ready (because I usually never get the chance!), and then went shopping for souvenirs at some shops behind the hotel in an area called Seaport Village.  That afternoon an old friend, Liz, came and picked me up and we went to lunch.  We met through theater back in high school and were fellow dancers in The Music Man production when I was a freshman.  We stayed close throughout the rest of high school and even in to college.  For a period of time when I lived home and worked when I was 19 we were the best of friends.  We were together nearly every day and really enjoyed each other's company.    Anyhow – throughout these past years we have somewhat lost contact between me getting married and having three children, and her still living the free, single life!  She just recently moved from MN to California and it was so much fun to spend time with her on CA soil!  We had a great time and I really enjoyed catching up again.  That evening Chris and I walked around the Gaslamp District downtown and struggled deciding where to eat our final meal.  We finally decided on some Indian food and it did not disappoint.  The walk back to the hotel was a bit sad for me.  Knowing that I had to get up early the next morning and head back home, away from Chris, was hard for me.  After spending all of those days together, selfishly soaking him up all to myself, it was hard to go back to the hectic schedules of life where I don’t have abundant one on one time with him!

The next morning I woke at 4, caught a taxi at 4:30, and headed to the airport.  My taxi driver was waaaay too talkative for that time of the morning, and spent the entire ten minute ride to the airport trying to convince me to move to another country “for just a few years” to save enough money to retire by the time I was forty.  When I told him that I had three children to raise and couldn’t just jet off to another country he laughed, snorted, and then said, “Well it’s your life, not mine.   Have fun working til you’re 90!”  And on that high note, I left his cab.

I bought myself  a coffee, a piece of banana bread, and I boarded the plane.  Ready to return to my kiddos again…

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

And She’s Back!

Ahhhh….that was nice.

As fast as it comes it’s over – but it was all I was hoping for.

A chance to just relax.

To put the world aside for a few days and just soak in the sun and my husband.

I loved San Diego.  I had been through the area before but had never spent much time there.  There is just something about basking in the sun, being completely enveloped in warmth…it was just so exhilarating.  I didn’t even realize I was craving it until I had the opportunity to soak some in!

Chris and I crammed a lot in to our few days there, but at the same time both felt like we weren’t running the entire time either.  

When we arrived on Thursday the first thing we were greeted with was flashing lights and an order to exit the airport as there was a reported fire.  We had to head outside to the sunshine and palm trees (bummer).  It didn’t take long before we were allowed to re-enter the building, but in the mess of having to shut things down the conveyer belts for the baggage were having a difficult time turning back on, so we had to wait about 45 minutes for our bags to arrive.  That was the biggest headache of our entire day of travel though, so I would say it wasn’t any big deal.

We got our rental car and checked in to our hotel, which we booked on Hotwire.  It was a beautiful place – but certainly didn’t come with many free amenities. Smile  Parking alone was $32 a night.  Maybe I’m just a country bumpkin, but that seemed a tad bit high to me!  Our rental alone was only $16 a day!

That night we went to a restaurant recommended to us by the rental car agent.  It was called Café Coyote and was located in Old Town San Diego.  The food was amazing.  Chris and I both said that we felt it was the most authentic Mexican food we had ever eaten..

We spent Friday north of the city in the area of La Jolla and the Torrey Pines State Park.  We were able to hike on trails right on the cliffs alongside the ocean.  We then went to La Jolla where we ate lunch at an outdoor café called Cody’s.  After lunch we walked along the water and saw a bunch of seals that had come up on shore to sun themselves.

More to come…but my head needs to hit the pillow.

Most of the pictures from the beginning of the trip are on Chris’s computer, so I will get them transferred and on here “soon.”



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