Nov 26, 2011

give thanks, #5

I love Thanksgiving so much.  There's tons of delicious food, lots of family time, and no pressure to give presents. (not that I don't love presents, but getting everything ready for Christmas can be a little stressful!)  I like taking the time to deliberately stop and count my blessings.  Here are a few:

I am so thankful for my brother.  He is deploying with the National Guard right after the new year, and he was the catalyst for getting my whole family together for a holiday.  He has become such a mature, honorable, all-around good person, and I can't express how proud I am of him. 

I am thankful for my sister and her sweet little ones.  She drove four hours to visit us for Thanksgiving, which is quite an undertaking with three children six and under.  We don't get to see each other much because of the distance, and I was thrilled to spend some time with my nieces and nephew.  My house was full of children.

little girls in matching dresses
Cara and her favorite playmate, Brooklyn

I am so thankful for my mama, who helped me organize and cook, who cleaned when I was exhausted, who braved the crowds on Black Friday to help me find the perfect Christmas present for my hubby, who babysat so that PJ and I could go see Breaking Dawn (which we loved).

thanks, Grandmama!

I am so thankful that Bitsy came to visit today and went with us to IKEA.  She was there to celebrate Cara's first public excursion in big girl panties!  With no accidents!!  Hooray!!

yay for my big girl!

Nov 22, 2011

25 weeks

(Forgive me for the lame cell phone pics this week.   I promise to do better next time.)

I have to thank my hubby for cleaning up our bedroom and my child for smudging up the mirror

and there he is, growing up a storm

I went to visit my doctor yesterday, and he uttered the two most wonderful phrases that any pregnant woman could possibly hear: 
  1. (in response to my questions about the holy ton of Braxton-Hicks contractions I had over the weekend) "You probably need to rest more"
  2. "Your weight gain looks great"
Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems to me that my doctor just gave me explicit permission to lay on the couch and stuff my face with no guilt.  Consider it done.

Nov 20, 2011

give thanks, #4

I am a person who needs girlfriends.  I've been this way since before I can remember, and I was fortunate to find lasting groups of girlfriends in both high school and college.  We all go our separate ways, keeping in touch sporadically, but there are two that I've stuck to like glue, and I'm afraid they're never going to be able to get rid of me. (Seriously.  They both tried to move away, but I sucked them back. *cue evil laugh*)

Melissa and Jillian, I'm talking to you.

How could you NOT want to be BFFs with this

and this

These two brought me out of the depths of postpartum depression and keep me sane with a few dinner dates a month.  They make me laugh and cry, and they love my child.  There's really no greater friend than one who loves your child.  I am so thankful for the role they play in my life, and I'm pretty confident that my husband is too; he deals with a little less crazy because of them.

The three of us aren't big on Christmas or birthday presents, so I thought perhaps a Thanksgiving present would be more our style.  And so, I made BFF bags (also known as Go Anywhere Bags).

Picking out the fabric for these bags might be the most fun I've ever had (in terms of picking out fabric) because I found prints that truly suit these two personalities.  And it was on clearance.  :-)  Part of me wants to get all sentimental and sappy about exactly why these fabrics are perfect for my two friends, but I'll spare you.  They will know.

the "Melissa":

and the "Jillian":

Nov 18, 2011

give thanks, #3

I know my last post was a little sarcastic, perhaps even veering towards whining and complaining about pregnancy, but all joking aside, I am deeply thankful for healthy pregnancies.  I feel so blessed that we have already had one easy, healthy pregnancy that gave us our sweet baby girl, and I am continually amazed that pregnancy #2 has gone just as smoothly. 

I struggle a little to embrace and appreciate pregnancy because for me, it's hard to fully grasp until I have a babe in arms.  I typically enjoy the process of creating something as much as I love the finished product, like cooking or sewing.  I usually enjoy cooking dinner, especially when I am allowed a glass of wine :-), because it feels like a way to relax and unwind while also taking care of my family.  Sewing spurs my creative thinking; I like watching something beautiful come together before my eyes.  Of course, I also really enjoy eating delicious food and gloating over something I've made

Pregnancy seems different to me.  Maybe it's because it happens on the inside through a process of creation that I will never understand.  Maybe it's because I can't take credit for the finished product--I just stand in awe of it.  Maybe it's because I know that in the end, what was created was never mine, that I can't truly take ownership of it.  It was entrusted to me for a brief season to nurture, to teach, to love, and then release, in spite of how desperately I want to hold it close.  I am simply the vessel, the hands, the kisses, the words, but the physicality of those tasks is so much more to me.

Nov 16, 2011

24 weeks

I love these pants.  Old Navy's maternity pants were made just for me, I swear.  I'm sure the people around me are getting tired of seeing me in the same, oh, three pairs of pants every single day, but I dare someone to say something.  Someone probably should have said something about those flesh-colored shoes, but that's ok; I think the huffing and panting as I walk down the hall are scaring people away.  To those who googled "ate too much" and "dear self, get it together" and found my blog, I say "welcome."  I think you're in the right place.

pleated poppy

Nov 15, 2011

the past few days in instagram

this is how we roll when Cara takes a sick day

those eyelashes

love  them

love him

Christmas soup (super yummy)

Nov 12, 2011

modern toddlers or slack parents?

This morning, Cara spent 15 or 20 minutes snuggled up with me on the couch playing with my iphone.  I was excited to see that Starfall has an app for iphone, which is what she's playing in the pictures.  She picked up on how to manipulate the letters on the screen faster than I did, though there are a few things that still give her a little trouble, like dragging letters around the screen.  But, flipping pages or clicking on a letter is a piece of cake.

She really likes the iphone.  I mean, she really likes it.  I have to admit that I'm having a bit of an internal struggle about this.  It's not the reinforcing her letters and sounds that bothers me; it's the judgment.  There have been quite a few articles floating around the internets (like this NYT article and debate) about how bad too much screen time can be for toddlers, that they should be playing with three dimensional objects instead of staring at the screen.  The NYT debate is actually titled "Wired Kids, Negligent Parents?"  Whoa.  That's, um, some heavy judgment.  These screens are not going away.  Computers, smart phones, tablets, etc. are only going to become more and more integrated into our daily lives.  Parenting a two-year-old in 2011 is so different from parenting a two-year-old in 1985, and I am only expecting things to get more complicated.

So, am I a bad mom because I let Cara play a game on my iphone?  I can see how the game would really come in handy at restaurants when she's getting antsy or in the car on a long trip.  But what would other people think ?  (Let me take a moment to say that no, I don't really care what other people think, but I would like to avoid the death stares and "well-meaning" advice.)  Would they look at our two-year-old playing with her mommy's phone and see me as a slack, even negligent, parent?  Should I be resisting the the pull of technology and handing Cara another crayon to throw on the floor?  Or is okay for her to play games on Mommy's phone every now and then?

Nov 10, 2011

give thanks, #2

Yesterday was a long day.  We went through the usual rush-rush morning routine of coaxing the toddler to eat her oatmeal, throwing on some clothes, brushing teeth and hair, and desperately trying to get to work just a few minutes early.  My days at school are pretty nonstop as it is, but yesterday was my day to stay after school with the students who wanted to rewrite essays.  I never mind working with students outside of class; I find it almost more fulfilling than working with them in the context of the whole class.  It's also very encouraging to see them care enough about their work to stay after school to make it better.  However, it also means that I didn't leave school until 5:30 yesterday.

I always have a little twinge of guilt when I pick Cara up from school after 5.  I know she's having a blast with her teachers and her little friends.  They are usually playing outside or sometimes watching a movie or having a snack, but that little squeal of "MOMMY" and the big run over to hug me are the highlights of my afternoons. 

As I was leaving school yesterday at 5:30 (in the dark, I might add), I was turning over our typical daily routine in my head.  Do I spend enough time talking to my little girl?  Playing with her?  Listening to her?  Do I have any extra time to carve out for this?  We rush through the mornings, though sometimes we all eat our oatmeal together, and I often rush through the evenings too, trying to cook dinner, clean a little, give Cara a bath (though Daddy usually does this), read stories, say prayers, and go to sleep.  It seems like lately both PJ and I have Bible studies or meetings that we need to go to during the evenings, and while I see the infinite value in these things (I absolutely believe that a little time doing my own thing can save my sanity!), I also miss having my little family together or being there with them.  I found myself wishing for a few extra minutes to spend with my rapidly growing little girl and my sweet husband.

I'm quite certain that Someone was eavesdropping on the ramblings in my head because while I was cooking dinner, Cara wanted to color at the kitchen table.  PJ came home a few minutes later, and there we all were in the kitchen, talking about our days and our colors. 

After bath, Cara and I usually read a few books before she goes to bed, but she has been mesmerized by the magic of the holiday toy catalogs lately.  So, instead of books, we read the Target toy catalog last night.  Actually, she read it to me, naming everything she saw, pointing to the toys she liked, telling me which ones she wants and what she will do with them.

I need the scooter, Mommy.  I ride it to the castle.

Who's at the castle, baby?

Sleeping Beauty, Mommy.

You'd better talk to Grandaddy about a scooter for Christmas then.

Yeah, I talk to Grandaddy.  I need it for the road.

I'm so thankful for these moments of stopped time, when I can enjoy my family and just be.  No rushing, no worrying, no goal in mind.  Just us.

*Linking up with Becky and Casey*

my new toy

My hubby got me an iphone.  He's awesome.

Nov 8, 2011

23 weeks

I guess it's possible for me to call this a "What I Wore" post because I thought I was looking good when I put this on.  Pictures never lie though, especially when a girl is in desperate need of a haircut.

Week 23 has been a good one with quite a few high points:
  • The baby bear is working on some gymnastics.  I'm starting to feel big movements, the kind you can see from the outside.  Karate chops, somersaults, a few swift kicks, you know what I mean.  It's awesome.
  • My skirt still fits!  Granted, it's got an elastic waist, but as I am beginning to outgrow my favorite maternity jeans, this was definitely good news.  I also wore it here and here, back when I was much, much smaller.  Have I mentioned that a pregnant belly with a HUMAN in it blows my mind?  How is this even possible? 
  • Teacher superlatives came out at my school this week, and, how sweet, I won an award.  In my younger (childless) days, I won "Best Dressed" a few times, but this year, I was voted "Most Likely to be Mistaken for a Student." Glance up at that picture one more time, consider the irony, perhaps shake your head a bit, and have a good laugh. 

Nov 3, 2011

give thanks, #1

(Last year, I did a series of posts throughout November called "30 Days of Gratitude," which was one way that I adjusted my attitude and got myself into the holiday spirit.  I'm not sure I have the time/energy for daily posts this year, but I can't go through November without remembering how much I have to be thankful for!)

I absolutely love this season of my life.  PJ and I are both pretty busy these days, but it's a fulfilling kind of busy, one that leaves us tired but feeling accomplished.  PJ's new job is definitely more demanding than his previous job was, but I'm so proud of how hard he works.  He's a wonderful role model for Cara; her standards are going to be sky-high when it comes to choosing a prom date simply because her dad is an awesome man.  And as a husband, PJ has been so supportive and understanding for his crazy, pregnant wife.  Last night, I was absolutely exhausted and fell asleep on the couch right about the time that bath and bed time needed to start.  My hubby picked up the slack, no complaints.  He's wonderful about stepping up when I'm not on my A-game. 

I love having a two-year-old.  Her innocence and honesty inspire and delight me on a daily basis.  I hear all these horror stories about the terrible twos, and maybe we just got really lucky or maybe we're blinded by love, but Cara just seems to get cuter and sweeter as she gets older.  Motherhood can be a dirty job (especially when mommy has to clean poop out of the bathtub...), but hearing a sweet little voice say "thank you" will make any bitterness melt away.  (True story. Cara sat on the toilet while I cleaned the poop out of the bathtub and said, "Poopy nasty.  Thank you, Mommy" over and over.)  I think knowing Cara's days as our only child are numbered makes me appreciate those little moments even more.  Not that I particularly enjoy cleaning up poop, but that she's at an age where she can now express her feelings with hugs and kisses and "please" and "thank you." 

I am so thankful for this little family that God has given me to take care of.  Of course, I am looking forward to our newest little addition and the love he will bring into our hearts, but I also find so much happiness in the here and now. 

(Linking up with Becky at Rub Some Dirt On It)

Nov 1, 2011

22 weeks

(I don't feel right calling these posts "what I wore" anymore because what I wore isn't so's more about what I'm carrying around.  But, I will probably still link up cause it's just fun!)

I am such a different preggo than I was the first go around.  Obviously, I'm getting bigger faster (like I haven't complained and whined about that enough...), but I don't feel nearly as nervous as I did with Cara.  I have yet to pick up a pregnancy or childbirth book, I haven't worried as much about forbidden foods, and I have absolutely no idea what we are going to name this little boy.  With Cara, I was the exact opposite, devouring every pregnancy and childbirth book I could get my hands on, avoiding caffeine, lunch meat, and soft cheeses like they were poison, but the biggest difference is that name-thing.  Cara had a name the day we found out that she was a she, but I feel like this little boy's name is more of a mystery. 

Boys' names seem to come with more connotations and impressions to me.  He could sound stately and powerful or he could sound like a rock star, but what I really want is a name that works for both.  A stately, powerful rock star.  Then there's the possibility of adding a family connection to his name.  Or not.  We could continue the pattern and give him a C name to match his sister.  Or not.  And obviously, I have to avoid names of annoying/creepy/mean students, especially ones who are still burned into my memory seven years later.  There will be no Zacs in this house, ever.

So this little bear's name eludes me for now.  Good thing I still have 18 weeks or so to figure it out.
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