Friday, November 20, 2015

Rediscovering My Love of Music

Before I had children music was one of my great loves.  When I was in high school I was obsessed with Pearl Jam, finding bootleg concert CDs in Oxford, England and pushing my way into its mosh pit in Charlotte.  Every season of my life is marked by a song or two, and when I hear the particular song, I'm taken back so quickly.  In the last three years, I guess I just haven't found the space to explore and enjoy new artists (or even old ones).  Last Saturday night my husband and I went to a concert of an artist I had never even heard of until recently.  I had only listened to one song pre-concert, so I did not really know what to expect.  And wow, it was like rediscovering a part of myself.  For almost two hours I sat still and just listened.  My favorite song of the night was called "Dancing in the Minefields," and it was the most perfect picture of marriage.  I cried.  I've never cried the first time I have heard a song, but Andrew Peterson nailed it in this song.  It was beautiful to hear my feelings so aptly described in music.  And that's a big part of music--hearing your feelings or experience described and shared by another person.

p.s. I'm grateful for my two children who are playing upstairs (without me).

Monday, July 20, 2015

Ella Kate is Two

Dear Ella Kate,

You bring so much energy and life to our family, and we were all excited to celebrate your second birthday last weekend. You were so happy all weekend long; I think you like being celebrated and surrounded by family, new toys, and cupcakes.

There are many things we love about you, and here are a few highlights: you're the best hugger. You wrap your arm tightly around my neck, and despite going at a fast speed most of the time, when you're tired, you cuddle.  You seem to make great pains to enunciate each word you say, and you will attempt any word and have for a year now. It's so fun to see someone so little say such big words, and sometimes you speak with such drama like when you say "monster" or "that's terrible mommy." Your giggles and smiles are wonderful. You're really verbal too, especially when your brother isn't around. You're now regularly saying sentences like "It's a sunny day mommy" or "That's funny Jackson."

You're still fearless and have joined Jackson for some his firsts (like climbing the ladder on the big kid playground). In fact, you mastered the scooter you guys got for Christmas before he did. Despite not fearing many things or animals, you're cautious when it comes to other humans and take a while to warm up to people. You're also determined and clever. A most recent example is when you pulled a chair into the kitchen and used it to climb onto the counter, so you could open a cabinet to get your pacifier. With two bouts of strep and three ear infections in six months (last winter/spring) plus your eczema, we let you soothe yourself with your pacifier a lot, and you developed a deep affection. In fact, yesterday when I gave your paci "for just one minute" you replied "God bless you."

You're a pretty great eater and would be even better if you did not parrot everything your brother does! If he says something is "yucky,"  you agree without even tasting the offensive food. But you still eat green beans by the handful, drink salsa with a chip, and love almost all fruits. Your voracious appetite is especially cute since you're still very small (although you're well above average in height), and you have a sweet tooth like me. You love swinging ("higher, higher") and are fearless and brave. We were at a birthday party and a neighbor told your cautious brother to "hit the pinata like your sister" because you aren't afraid to whack something and are already showing some athletic aptitude and interest. You like trying to do handstands and flips and love wrestling on the bed with your daddy. You have so much energy; it's a joy to watch you in action.

You are finally sleeping past 7:00 most mornings, and we had a few mornings recently past 8:00. You like your naps and have even tried to climb into the crib when tired. You nap from 1:30-3:30 or later, and it's not unusual for me to wake you. Bedtime is around 8:30.  You sleep with 2 blankets, a soft dolls, and 2 pacis. If I give you more than 2 pacis, it's a problem, and you let me know quickly.

Jackson is definitely your best friend, and you two play together a lot. You are a good little mama and carry your baby doll around while you bounce her and say "sssh sshhh." You enjoy coloring. You insist on "do it myself" and regularly drag chairs into the kitchen so you can see what I am doing. You're also not phased by spankings and time out and often say "I'm sorry" multiple times a day. You're a strong-willed little girl.

A few months ago I asked you if I should pray before bed or if you would like to do so, and for the first time you prayed and said "Dear Jeeeeessssuuus, abcdefgh, amen."  Needless to say, you bring so much joy and fun to our family, and we are thankful for you.

Much love,

Your mommy

Friday, March 13, 2015

Friday Funday

I am spending today in a continuing legal education course, so of course, I have no excuse not to blog! Thankfully Nilsa's Friday Funday provided me with an easy blogging template for the day.

The highlight of my week was the seven hour break I had yesterday! Both children have been sick and sleeping poorly since Sunday, and I've been exhausted and grumpy.  We haven't been able to go anywhere since one or both have had fevers (and I don't want to infect others) and it's been raining most days, so this week has felt loooooong.  So I was extra grateful that my in-laws planned a fun day with both children. I had lunch out with Blake, did chores, watched Blue Bloods, got a pedicure, and almost finished my library book.  Lovely!

The low point of my week was just seeing how grumpy I get when I don't get good nighttime sleep (so many night wakings) or breaks (because naps were a mess).  I love being a stay at home mom, but man, it's really hard when the kiddos are sick.

The best book/article I read was the library book I just finished: The Sins of the Father by Jeffrey Archer.

My favorite photograph I took was snapped with my Iphone (so not that great) of my son wearing only an apron and underoos, pretending to be a baker.

This week's workouts were limited to two runs of a little over a mile each plus some walking since I couldn't go to the gym (because kids had fevers).  Last week I tried two P90x classes and made it to the gym 3 times!  My goal is to be in shape by April 18 since Blake and I have registered for a 5k with friends.

The best money I spent was on my lunch date yesterday with my husband.

My weekend plans include a night out with friends tomorrow to celebrate a birthday and check out a new upscale bar and bowling alley.

p.s. I'm thankful both children seem to finally be fever free!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Jackson is Three!

Dear Jackson,

You've had an eventful few weeks.  A week before your birthday you took a fall down our outside stairs.  You busted your lip, bled and cried a lot, and ended up losing one of your two front teeth as a result.  You were fully recovered in less than 24 hours, but your father and I needed several more days to feel "normal."  You're such a careful and cautious child, so we were especially surprised that you were our first to incur such an injury.  While the incident was scary and sad, God's faithful provision for us was so evident. Our neighbor Kate (a former ER nurse) was at our house in under 5 minutes, and within 10 minutes we had a dentist and another nurse looking at your dangling tooth. We received all of that medical care, visited the dentist's office, and were back home in about 45 minutes. That night you went to your first sleepover with your Daddy, the Kean boys, and the Royal boys and had a blast. You were so thrilled to be going despite your injuries, and cabin was all you would say after your nap.

The word your Dad and I still use most often when talking about you is "joy."  You are so kind and loving, and the Lord is using you to teach me about what His love should look like.  Pretty incredible since you're only 3. For example, last night we went grocery shopping together. The bakery gives children free cookies, and your first question to the bakery lady was "Can I have a cookie for Ella Kate too?" (since she wasn't with us). When I put some broccoli in our cart you said "thank you for getting my broccoli mommy."  If I hand you a water when we're in the car, before you'll even take a sip you tell me that "Ella Kate needs a water too."  You almost always think of her before yourself.  You are also an encouragement to us saying things like "Ella Kate, I like your new dress;" "You're a good mama;" or "Great job" when I'm helping with a puzzle.

You love people and notice every little thing. For example, if you see someone for the first time in 6 weeks, and they're not wearing their glasses or Livestrong bracelet, you want to know where the missing item is.  Animals are some of your favorite toys, and thanks to your Grandma, you probably have about 100 very well-made animals, a stable/barn, and lots of wooden fencing.  You often say that the horses are your favorite, and they all have names--Traveler, Sandy, Valentine, etc.

Your typical day begins between 6:45 and 7:15. You wake up and quietly stay in your bed until we come to get you. I rely on our video monitor to know when you've woken. You've only ever gotten out of your "big boy bed" one time after a nap or night time sleep. You're such an obedient child. Most mornings we watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse (because it's Ella Kate's favorite) in my and daddy's bed for a little while as we wake up, and then we have breakfast.  You and Ella Kate usually play for a while, and a lot of days this winter we have just stuck around the house. You are content to just play at home and can be so imaginative with your toys, pretending blocks are cupcakes or necklaces are candy or water for your horses. Other days we may go to the gym, and you often don't want to leave the toys. You still love the Children's Museum and always looked forward to a class called Zumbini that we went to for a few months.  You like the library, Publix (free cookies:), and just about any other place we go.  You're just easy to please.

You like to know what to expect, and most days you eat broccoli, fruit (apple, cantaloupe, and strawberries are the regulars), and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch.  You nap from 1:30 until I wake you up around 3:30.  We eat an early dinner when your father gets home from work around 5:15, and you like to wrestle with him on the bed, play hide and go seek, and just play.  You also like watching television and get to watch a show before bedtime; you almost always choose Dora the Explorer.  Bedtime is at 8:30. Either your dad or I pray with you, sometimes read a book, and tuck you in with your blanket and puppy and octopus plus 3 books.  Yep, you insist on sleeping with your books.

You have an exciting year ahead.  We started potty training 6 days ago, and you're doing great. We are planning on swimming lessons this spring and maybe soccer too, and this weekend we are registering you for preschool for next fall! We are planning a beach trip for May, and you're going to be so excited. You love pretending to be at the beach and don't remember your first 2 trips since you weren't even 2 years old for either trip. I look forward to experiencing it all with you.

Much love,


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

My Old Blog Self :)

Over the last few weeks, I've had to look up several things on my blog. Yeah for an easily searchable journal! And tonight I ran across this gem in an old post about dating mishaps:

"And from what I have observed, once you have children, stories centering around bodily fluids and functions and sleeping habits become fascinating and appropriate to share with others, even large groups of acquaintances!"  

Oops, guilty. Maybe not with large groups of acquaintances, but it's amazing what seems appropriate to talk about when you're living with sleep deprivation at the hands of an infant.  Or maybe it doesn't even seem appropriate, but you're so weary, you're not even thinking about what is coming out of your mouth.  As I read some of my old posts, it makes me want to write now.  I hope I'll have them mental space and desire to do so soon.

p.s. I'm thankful for the glorious sunshine this week.