Wednesday, November 30, 2011

gets it

I often drive around composing blog posts in my head. I've had this one stuck up there for a week or so and there is this one sentence that I keep wanting to write.

 I'm so thankful to have a husband who "gets it"

 I didn't write a long Thanksgiving post about all the blessings in my life. There are many. So many. Too many for me to count or even think about all the time. But there is one thing that has stuck out to me over the past week. And that is how lucky Abby and Elizabeth are to have Kyle as a dad. He's a great dad.

 Maybe it's because I work with a population that doesn't always have the luxury of involved parents, or maybe it's because I've had several cases lately where the kids didn't have parents at all. For whatever the reason, it's been on my mind that I should publicly acknowledge Kyle's efforts.

 He gets that when he comes home from work, I need him to help me, even though he's tired.

 He gets that things work better when we both share the chores - he always helps me clean up or cook or take out the trash - I never have to ask him, he's always the one asking me what he can do to help. 

He gets that chasing and tickling Abby or letting Elizabeth lay on his chest and chew his nose are more important activities than checking his email.

 He gets that consistency is important. He's always consistent with our discipline rules. He doesn't lose his temper with the girls like I do sometimes.

 He gets that it is important for me (and him, too) to have the chance to be alone sometimes and to do things we enjoy (be it running, taking pictures, or flying around the country just for fun ;)

 He gets that being a dad means early mornings. He doesn't complain when Abby jumps on our bed at 5:45am asking if we've seen her Princess wand - is it in the dishwasher? Or maybe Elizabeth took it? Can you look for it daddy?

 He gets me. He knows the difference between when I'm tired and when I'm really hanging on by a thread. And he knows how to navigate both of those minefields effectively.

 He gets that the girls need his attention and presence and he gives it to them even when he'd rather be watching football.

 Overall, he just gets it. And I'm starting to get just how lucky we are to have such a dedicated and selfless and loving husband and daddy to call our own.

 Thank you Kyle for being great. Love you.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thanksgiving, etc

 Another Thanksgiving come and gone.  It was so wonderful to have the break from work - especially since Kyle also had a break.  It is rare that our vacations line up the same, so it was just really nice to have several days in a row to all spend together.

In years past, we've always joined other families for Thanksgiving, but this year - since we have Brittany and the girls, we thought we'd just do it ourselves.  To make matters more fun, Karen and a friend of hers came over as well.  It was, I suppose, the first time we've hosted a Thanksgiving meal.  I was excited about trying my hand at cooking the turkey all by meself (as Abby would say). 

Everything went well.  I spent the morning cleaning the house and cooking and watching the Macy's parade with Kyle and Abby.  The Macy's parade always makes me tear up because it is so nostalgic of my childhood - waking up on Thanksgiving morning and watching it with my siblings is a fond memory.  This year, I sat in front of our TV with Abby in my lap telling her "look Abby!  Santa is coming next, here he comes, do you see him?" And I (of course) had to hold back my own happy tears as I watched her face Light Up and excitedly say "Yes! I DO see him!  Hi Santa!"
I love this age.  

So, the rest of the day was great.  The bird came out well, the food was all tasty, and Karen came over dressed as a giant turkey - which added a unique dynamic to the dinner table. :)
my 1st turkey 

Karen, portraying an emotional moment.

We all enjoyed the meal and the company.  It was a nice time.

Because we thought it would be fun, we decided to also start potty training Abby on Thanksgiving.  She has resisted training for so long, and we've tried not to be pushy, but to be positive; to offer incentives, but not punishments, etc.  But, as she approaches 3, Kyle and I both felt she needed a little push.  This was the first chance we've had to be home for more than 2 days in a row, so we decided it was time to try it and see how it went.

Abby was telling us all the time "I can't go potty, we still have diapers"  So, Kyle and I hid all the diapers.  We then told her "Sorry!  We're all out."  She was Not happy about that.  She threw a little fit.  Then, she begged me to "pwease mommy, PWEASE can you go to the store and buy some more diapers? Pwease?"  So, 2 accidents later, she finally successfully went on the potty.  This was the first real time ever, so we made a BIG deal about it.  She got skittles, a prize from her treasure chest, stickers, lots of cheering and hugs and kisses. She stayed dry the rest of the day.  It was a much easier day than I thought it would be, all things considered.

The next day, she threw another fit about putting on panties, but she got over it quickly.  Only 1 accident that day (during nap time)

Every day since has been better and better.  She still puts up a small protest about putting on panties in the morning, but it's just a token whine, really.  I'm so proud of her.  We're no where near being "potty trained"  But, considering a week ago she had never really gone on her own, and this week she's had very few accidents and seeks out the potty when she needs it?  We're headed in the right direction.  It's a great start, if nothing else.

I'm out of time for now, thanks for reading.  Talk to y'all soon. :)

Here, have a cute picture of E

PS: I've noticed that sometimes my pictures get crazy on here.  My apologies - they always look normal when I post, but sometimes when I go back and look, they are really big or misplaced.  So, if that happens, feel free to tell me - and I'll fix it. Thanks.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

We Thank Thee

We Thank Thee
By: Ralph Waldo Emerson

For flowers that bloom about our feet,
Father, we thank Thee.
For tender grass so fresh, so sweet,
Father, we thank Thee.
For the song of bird and hum of bee,
For all things fair we hear or see,
Father in heaven, we thank Thee.

For blue of stream and blue of sky,
Father, we thank Thee.
For pleasant shade of branches high,
Father, we thank Thee.
For fragrant air and cooling breeze,
For beauty of the blooming trees,
Father in heaven, we thank Thee.

For this new morning with its light,
Father, we thank Thee.
For rest and shelter of the night,
Father, we thank Thee
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends,
Father in heaven, we thank Thee.

Monday, November 21, 2011


Another trip around the sun has come and gone - just like that.  I turned 29 on Saturday.  I feel like I should feel old, but I don't.  Maybe next year. ;)

I had a great day.  It was busy and exhausting, but great.  Saturday morning, the girls woke up at 6am like always.  Abby greeted me with a "Happy Birthday JoJo!" and I had to remind her that JoJo's birthday was a few days prior.  It's all very confusing for a 2 year old.  I tried convincing her that it was MY birthday, but she was quite distraught that I didn't have any cake.  She's 110% sure that you can't have a birthday without cake.

E woke me up with a little present - a teething necklace that I can wear, and she can chew.  It's grey - which is currently the color of her eyes.  E and I both liked it very much.

We all got up and got dressed and eventually made our way out of the house.  We walked down to Dunkies and had a birthday breakfast of coffee and treats.  We hopped on the train and headed into town.

We took the girls to the Children's museum, and Abby had the best time.  She was beaming the whole time we were there and it was so fun to watch her so excited about everything.  Even E could enjoy some of the things now.  We stayed for several hours before heading out for lunch.

There's a place right next to the museum called the Barking Crab that we've tried to go to several times before, but the waiting list is always 3 or 4 days long.  But, we thought we'd have better luck for lunch.  So we tried and it didn't take too long before we actually got a table.  The food was great and the girls held it together - despite it being past naptime now.

We decided it would be best to head home after that and give the girls some down time.  We got home around 3.  E slept on the train, but Abby was awake the whole time.  We relaxed for a little bit and decided to go grocery shopping....we were really low on, everything.  Grocery shopping is always a big ordeal, so it was nice to have Kyle and Brit join us - the more hands, the better.  While we were at the store, Abby reminded me that I needed a birthday cake (y'know, so that it could *officially* be my birthday)  I let her pick out some mini cupcakes and she was quite pleased with those.

And home we went again.  Poor Abby - she was exhausted and hungry and just worn out.  I asked her what she wanted for supper, and she said she wanted a cupcake.  I told her she could have a cupcake later - and she lost it.  It's not her fault.  It was *almost* comical, and most certainly predictable.  I went and got a cupcake out to put on her plate with her supper (hey, choose your battles)  She said, between sobs, that I needed a candle.  I looked for one, but could only find the one we used for Abby's birthday last year.  Eh - it was a 2, so it at least half worked.  I plopped the giant 2 on top of the mini cupcake and took it to Abby so she could help me blow it out.  She just screamed and cried the whole time.  The poor thing just couldn't pull it together.  She was SPENT.

Somehow, things calmed down and we got the girls fed and put to bed.  Whew.

But wait, there's more.

Kyle wanted to take me to dinner. I wasn't super hungry, so we just walked down the street for a drink and some appetizers.  It was nice.  After that, we walked down to the new yogurt shop where I think I had more toppings than yogurt.

By the time we got home, we were both ready to put our feet up.  We watched a little TV, and at midnight - we deemed the birthday over and declared it a day well spent.

I had several phone pics I wanted to add - I'll have to do it later, they're being too slow.  Here are a few from the museum.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

another thursday

There have been several times in the last few days that I've thought about blogging.  But, either I can't think of what to say or I fall asleep before I can say it.  Either way, I've given myself the bare minimum of once a week.  I hate that.  I hate that it's been a week since I've documented these girls and their antics...and how our life has been.  I mean, it's not that anything amazing happened or fact, It's exactly because nothing amazing happened that I want to write about it.  I'll forget these days too easily otherwise.  And, these days?  These days are good.  So good.  I know I'll miss them someday.

Anyway.  I just want you to know (blog? girls? world?) that I miss it - and I'm trying.

That said, let's move on.

I've been taking a lot of pictures lately.  It's exciting.  I did three shoots last weekend and have 2 inquiries in the scheduling process for the next week or two.  I know some friends of mine are going to let me do christmas pics in December, so that will be fun.  I've got 2 weddings already booked for next year.  Insane, I tell you.  And, while I'm over the moon excited about it all - It's also just unbelieveable that people WANT me to take their pictures.  I've learned so much this past year and grown a lot - I can't wait to see how much I can learn and grow in the next 12 months.  Anyway, I just really love it.  Sometimes, I'll search pinterest for photo inspiration, and I'll come across a photo that just inspires me to the point that I get chills and I get anxious for the chance to try it.  It makes me feel like a little kid again - that unbridled excitement.

In other "me" news - work has been busy, but good.  My testing caseload has been manageable, which has allowed me to spend more time on other projects and serve on other committees that are dealing with more district wide and systems changes.  I find it all very exciting to be a part of.  A decade down the road, maybe I can say I played some small roll in how things operate.  I very much enjoy being a part of the process.

The girls are great.  E is more fun every day.  Abby is increasingly awesome.  They rock.  E has continued to sleep through the night, so that's been nice.

I have two confessions.  The first is that I downloaded a song from Glee.  That, somehow, seems like it needs to be confessed.  Like, I need to acknowledge that I understand the music is largely robo-toned and stuff.  That's fine.  But the Rumor has it / Someone like you mashup?  I kinda love it.  The second confession I have is that I ordered a McRib sandwich today because I was curious.  It was awful.  AWFUL.  If you like those things?  Please, explain it to me.  Pickles and BBQ sauce with fake pork?  Ugh.  What was I thinking?  I dunno.  I'm glad I survived to warn others though.

This month is flying by - I can't seem to get a grip on it.

Ok, munchkinette needs me.  Have a great Thursday.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

little miss mae

I have a few seconds, so, allow me to ramble.  Let's update the world on E, shall we?  We call her E most of the time.  We call her Elizabeth a lot of the time.  We call her E-train quite frequently.  Little Miss Mae is one that Abby uses a lot - it's super cute and so southern.

So, here are a few updates on our little miss mae.

first swing the other day - LOVED it!

Abigail was the perfect sleeping baby when she was born.  It was awesome.  Elizabeth has not been a bad sleeper by any stretch of the imagination, but a few months ago - when she was underweight - we decided to resume night feedings.  We had previously stopped feeding her overnight, but, she wasn't sleeping through and she was crying for hours and, well, we figured maybe she was just hungry after all.  So - we started them again.  Sure enough - she started sleeping so much better.  But, she has been waking up once a night for that bottle ever since.  Well, two nights ago, she woke up, fussed for a few minutes, and quieted down.  No bottle.  Now, she woke up close to 5:30 - but I'm going to blame that on the time change.  I can't blame her for that...I was awake at 4:30 thinking "when is the baby gonna wake up?" and "it feels like morning."

Anyway.  She didn't need the bottle.  She's back on track with her weight.  Her 6 month appointment was the other day and she weighs 16.4 lbs and is 26.5 inches long.  50%.  So, those two things combined made me decide that we're not going back to the bottle.  I was ready for a night of crying it out last night as I had to wait for her to realize she wasn't going to get any food.

But?  She didn't.  She fussed for a few minutes around midnight, and made some noises around 1 - but she didn't cry.  She woke up around 5:40 (well, that's when I woke up and heard her...)  But she was making happy noises.  Kyle got her out of bed at 6.

On one hand - yay!  She slept through the night without a bottle and didn't even cry for hours on end!  On the other hand? I feel like it's 1) a fluke and 2) I wish she wouldn't think 5:30 was morning time.  I mean, I don't *really* care - I'm up then everyday anyway.  Just on principle.  It would be nice if my girls would sleep in...even if I can't.

Elizabeth is growing into a little person now.  She's at the fun stage.  She can sit on her own (with about 85% stability), so she can play with toys and interact and - it's just fun.  Of course, it is also the start of sibling tuffs.  We haven't really had any yet - but I can SEE them coming.  The other day, Abby took a toy away from Elizabeth and said "E's all done with this one"  Meanwhile, E is stretching her arms towards Abby and the toy saying "Eh! eh! duhduhduhduhdeeebabababa!"  It was comical - E wanitng the toy SO much and Abby very calmly stating that she was done playing with it.  Of course it had nothing to do with the fact that Abs wanted to play with it.  Of course not.  None.

Anyway, this will get fun - I'm looking forward to it.

What else?

Food?  Yes.  E likes food.  Like, kinda a lot.  Her first food was oatmeal, then sweet potatoes.  She's had green beans, broccoli, winter squash, pears, prunes, applesauce, banana, and avacado.  I'm not sure she has a favorite yet...I mixed pears and avacado the other day and she ate it up pretty fast, but she tends to eat all of whatever we give her at this point.

Yesterday was a fun first of both girls having the same breakfast.  Applesauce and a banana and milk(/formula).  Abby thinks it's hilarious when E eats the same food she's eating.

first time sitting in the cart!

I don't think I should probably even admit this on my blog - but for the sake of documentation, I'll put it right here in the middle of this long rambly post and maybe nobody will notice.  The other day - I turned my back on E for, I dunno, maybe 5 seconds?  8 seconds?  You get the idea.  I went to put one of Abby's shoes on the shelf and I heard a *THUD*  Three thoughts happened at the exact same moment.  1) "What did E throw off the kitchen island this time?"  2) "There was nothing on the kitchen island because I moved everything out of her reach" and 3) "That was Elizabeth"

I spun around and my stomach sank as I saw E on the floor - still in her bumbo.  She had pushed herself right off the edge of the kitchen island.  She was screaming (a good sign).  I whisked her away and checked her over.  No blood, no obviously broken things.  Huge bruise on her head.  I was shaking because how was I supposed to know if she was ok?  I held her and calmed her and kissed her and apologized a billion times.  I made her a bottle - she had 2 sips and fell asleep in my arms.  She was exhausted.  I was too scared to put her down, so I held her while she slept - all the while texting several friends for advice.  Big thanks to my nurse friend Kathy who calmed me down and my friends Billie Jo and Ricky who made me laugh by saying things like "We need to check for concussions - ask her a question and see if she answers correctly"

In short - she's fine.  She woke up 20 mins later from her nap happy as a clam.  Her bruise is almost gone, and I've decided to continue parenting despite that particular epic fail.  PSA: bumbos move.

see?  she was fiiiiiiiiine. 

Ok.  I'm out of time.  I'm off to start my long weekend!  Yay!  Thanks Veterans!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

little eagle

class of 2026, perhaps.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

just to remember

Sometimes, the most mundane of moments burns an impression on my brain and I know I'll remember that moment forever.  But, just in case, I want to write it down too.

Last Sunday, we were at church.  As we settled in and the service started, I pulled out Abby's coloring book and a small ziplock of crayons.  She happily stood and used the pew as a table to color on.

There is nothing particularly special about this moment, but I looked down at her and her hair was falling softly out of her ponytail and across her face.  She was concentrating hard trying to color just the numbers on this particular page.  Everything about her, in that moment, made me so proud to be her mom.  Again, not for any special reason - it just washed over me.

As if on cue, she looked up at me and just smiled.  I smiled back and kissed the top of her head while she flipped pages to find one with Mickey on it.  I just watched her color for a moment longer - my little lefty with her head slightly tilted to the side and her tongue peeking out while she worked her hardest to color Mickey's nose purple - and it all just made me happy.

Meanwhile, Elizabeth is snuggled in her carseat on my other side.  She's staring, unblinking, at the church ceiling, taking in the ornate decorations and colors, the shapes, the music - all of it.  Wide eyed and learning.  When she was done exploring the top of the church, she started looking around for something else to entertain her.  I locked eyes with her serious little face and we stared at each other for about 4 seconds until she broke out into this huge gummy grin and I laughed (quietly) and tickled her foot.

So, I don't know why, but that small chain of events just stuck with me.  I felt so content and happy and proud to have my girls on either side of me.  It was a good feeling.  I'm pretty fond of them both and how lucky am I to get to see them every day?  Pa-reety lucky me thinks.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween 2011

Another Halloween come and gone.  Ours went well.  

I convinced Abby - with the promise of an enormous lollipop - to put on her costume.  We kept things low key this year and used "costumes" that we had already.  Abby was a chef and Elizabeth, of course, was her cupcake.  

We did order Elizabeth's cupcake hat of Etsy.  I kinda love it. 

I can't remember now if I mentioned it - but Abby gouged her eyebrow the other night.  It was our first significant cut to my memory.  She probably could have gotten a stitch or two in it, but we opted for a butterfly strip because the other seemed 1) maybe not totally necessary and 2) traumatic.  All that to say - her war wound makes these pictures all that more memorable. 

look at my baby sitting up so well!

I'm not above bribery

We went and got Kyle from work and Abby didn't want to take OFF her chef outfit anymore - so she wore it the rest of the night.  Once we all got home and changed, we all went trick-or-treating.  Well, Elizabeth slept in the Ergo on daddy's chest - but Abby collected candy.

She has more inhibitions this year, and she only said "trick or treat!" once - while burying her face in her arm.  But, she did usually say thank you, and the second we stepped off the person's porch - she was all a-chatter about what candy she had scored.  We did our part to clean the neighborhood of suckers...her candy of choice.

We were out for about an hour.  We went down the street and back up and saw lots of other cute kids.  People loved Abby's costume and she enjoyed seeing the other people dressed up as well.  After seeing captain hook walk by, she declared that she wanted THAT costume next time.  We'll see...

We came home around 7 and dumped our her loot.  She unwrapped and tasted about 6 suckers at once and helped herself to about 5 pieces of various chocolates.  Hey, it's ok to overdo it one night a year.  Right? :)

I will say, she was a  BEAR to put down...but it's not like that was a surprise.  We were fully aware that would happen.  Nevertheless, I think it's safe to say she had a pretty great night.

 More memories made - check.

Oh, and I can't not add these precious pictures I snapped of Elizabeth after her naptime.  She's a much more willing subject at this age than Abby.  :)  My sugar sweet baby.

I hope everyone else had a great night too - may your Reeses PB cups have been plentiful and your orange and black candies few.