Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A little love for Lottie

Since little Miss Lottie is six weeks old, I feel it's an appropriate time to share a video. It's thrilling. It involves hiccups and bird calling.



Here's the actual smile.



I think I need to watch that one again (and again).

Friday, November 26, 2010

Gobble, Gobble!

Thanksgiving 2010


On Thanksgiving, my kitchen produced this.

Andrew and his brother Mike definitely contributed (see: sweet potatoes souffle and turkey) and kept my hands free of children. Even so, I couldn't help but have a

"Mommy, wow! I'm a big kid now!" type of moment.

As I ate, I realized that my attention was split between the turkey on my plate and the one on our playroom window. Was our attempt to convey the importance of gratitude a success? This month our morning (or whenever Eliza reminded me) would begin with a question.

"What are you thankful for?" Or, when searching for a response from Henry, I'd ask:

"What makes you happy?'

Here's what we were most thankful for in 2010:

Henry:
  • trains
  • waffles
  • Thomas
  • Mommy bugs
  • lizards
  • birds
  • peacocks
Eliza:
  • God
  • painting
  • friends
  • healthy bodies
  • presents
  • Mommy giving us a new baby
  • butterflies
  • our world
  • food
  • princesses
  • back pack
  • the oven
  • family
Mom:
  • healthy family
  • daddy's job
  • voting
  • daddy's help so I can sleep
  • a loving husband
  • beautiful weather
  • Eliza, Henry & Lottie
Dad:
  • Nana Marie's visit
  • help of friends
(** stay tuned for the post I'm going to force my husband to write detailing how thankful he is for his family...)
Other highlights from the day included
  1. Sharing the day (and weekend) with Uncle Mike. The kids are thrilled that he's here. I'm happy we have another day with him before he makes the drive home.
  2. The 20 minute heads-up I received that Andrew invited a co-worker to join us for dinner. Typical husband. I loved having extra company and watching my husband straighten up the house THAT FAST.
  3. Skyping with our families- except that part kind of sucked too. Sometimes its easier pretending your entire family isn't at your Mom's house celebrating without you. I ache more for my kids than myself.
  4. The Thanksgiving day nap.
  • Filling the Tupperware with leftovers.
  • And dessert. This was dessert.
(Nom, Nom, Nom!)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The comparison game.

Lottie:
Henry:

What do you think?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Stinky McStinkerson

It began with an unexpected tantrum. Our day was winding down. I'd just wrapped up (pun intended) bath time with the kids. It was up to their Daddy to dress them in their pajamas. Out of nowhere, our dear son screams out in protest.

"NO (oooooooooo)!" He hollers. "Not these jammies!" Andrew examines the recently purchased, properly sized, pair of footed fleece pajamas. They're brown, they're striped and the fuzzy football decal adds an extra sprinkling of cool.

As parents, you pick and choose your battles with your kids. There are days that I opt to avoid battle altogether. Instead, I simply (*gasp*) give in. And finally, when things are really hairy scary, I ditch the white flag of peace and run the other direction screaming,

"Retreat Ali, RETREAT!!"

I now return to the situation at hand. Andrew and I are both caught off guard at his resistance. Neither of us are amused. The idea of being confined into said pajamas horrifies him; which is a complete first. As I head for the exit, my husband heads for battle. I don't bother to find an alternative pair because my money is totally on Andrew. His face is full of determination as he confronts his wailing, irrational child. My attention is needed elsewhere, so I excuse myself.

Five minutes later, I'm reunited with the pair who are now peaceably reading stories. What do you know? There sits Henry, in his brown striped pajamas. Andrew leaves for Scouts as I finish up the bedtime routine. As I settle in to feed the baby, I hear footsteps upstairs. By the time I'm through burping Lottie, all is quiet. Whoever it was, has tucked them self back into bed.

The time finally arrives to put myself to bed (Oh, blessed hour of day). Andrew's home from Scouts and isn't far behind me. Walking into my room, my eyes quickly take in Henry's brown striped pajamas. They've been left in the precise spot where the father/son confrontation had taken place. My blurred by exhaustion memory confirms that Henry had indeed been wearing this pair of jammies when I'd kissed him goodnight.

I walk over to pick up the rejected pajamas. As I imagine my naked child asleep in his bed, I read the imaginary note from Henry. It reads:

"SUCKERS!"

Sure enough, Henry had put his nakey-self back in bed. The following night, he happily agrees to wear the pajamas. Who knows how long until his door was shut that he repeatedly stripped himself free. When I went in for my nightly check, I discovered...


Henry: 2
Andrew: 0

As an added bonus, he left us an unwanted present in his diaper. The following night, Andrew and I discuss the pajama saga while eating dinner. I know. Our nightly conversation is THAT stimulating. Full of a confidence that I felt was unwarranted, Andrew smugly states,

"I'm not worried." I look up in anticipation.

"The issue was discussed at work with a co-worker." I start giggling as I imagine how that conversation went. "The solution is simple. We zip him in backwards."

Genius.

Now that we have found an additional source for parental advice, I'm sending Andrew a list of questions to take to the water cooler. Is there anything you'd like me to add for your benefit? Let me know.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

One month old

Dear Lottie,

It's unanimous. We adore you!


Our world is brighter because of you.

Love,

Your family

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I blog because I'm a hobby-less woman.

Parenthood reached a new level of weird as I watched Eliza find her seat on the stand this past Sunday. It's strange to have a child old enough to participate in a primary program. I don't have a memory of taking my first steps or saying my first words but I definitely remember primary programs, the first day of preschool and the other milestones that Eliza continues to clear.
"Heavenly Father chose Jesus to help us return to heaven."
- her speaking part

"Mama, I have to go to the bathroom... RIGHT NOW!!"
- the words she whispered
mid-way through our program.


When do childhood memories begin? I wish I had a say as to which memories my children file away and more importantly, the ones that ought to be deleted; but I realize that the only thing I can control is myself. And to be honest, in recent days, I've found myself kneeling down and asking my children to forgive my harsh tone, the fact that dinner came from the freezer (again) and/or my slow response to their request/need.

Life has given me so much and at times I'm swallowed up by the guilt that I'm not worthy of these gifts or I give into a fear that life will balance out all this goodness with a horrific tragedy/trial of sorts. That mindset is not right. Tell me please. How do you overcome adversarial inspired fear?

To find my motherly peace, I'll continue to find that extra moment for Henry, pray for an increase of patience when Lottie's demands seem overwhelming and act on the impulse to join Eliza at the table for a jigsaw puzzle or craft. I'm thankful the parental task isn't mine alone. I love Andrew for willing hands that take over when I'm feeling burned out and for the attention he lends the kids when I'm ready to flush myself down the toilet.

More than that, I love that he shares in the delight that comes from watching our four year old sing her heart out during a primary program. I love the tone of voice he reserves specifically for Lottie as well as his shocked expression when she suddenly fills her diaper. I love his compassion for the sleeping toddler who has just rolled out of his bed and needs help finding his way back to his pillow.

As I observe the trials of family and friends, I feel heart sick. The perspective they lend me enables me to evaluate my responsibilities, repent and count each blessing. And while I feel helpless that I can not ease or remove their hardships, I offer my testimony that the Savior can and that developing and nurturing our personal relationship with Him is the best we can do.

I know my Savior Lives. That was the theme in Primary this year. Serving as the primary chorister has been so much fun (for lack of a better word). As challenging as it is to focus on the choir when you have your own little sunbeam participating, I have to say that the memory of last Sunday's program is one I'll always cherish.

As the children took their turn walking to the podium to give their speaking part, one four year old boy animatedly "shot down" each passerby with his make believe firearm; his accompanying sound effects were likewise memorable. Enjoyable as it was to watch him, the highlights for me were:
  1. Eliza's bright expression as she sang.
  2. The smile my husband offered as I led the congregation in a hymn. Which, I might add, was followed by another moment of absolute weird as I realized he was sitting with our TWO other children.
  3. The duet between the teachers and children. I was covered, head to toe, with goosebumps as the children sang out,

"I need your love
I need your light
to show me how to be like Jesus

The Savior's love
will light the path
to lead me safely home."

- Teacher, Do you love me?
Children's Songbook, pg. 178

Friday, November 12, 2010

And to think. Someday they'll be teenagers.

What a gift a sister is.

This is my sister, Ami.
September 2010

I call her "mini-me;"
even though I'm younger.
Bless her heart.
She had to share a room with a teenage me.

I was reading quotes on sisterhood.
Here are a few that reminded me of us.

If your sister is in a tearing hurry to go out and cannot catch your eye, she's wearing your best sweater. ~Pam Brown

A sister smiles when one tells one's stories - for she knows where the decoration has been added. ~Chris Montaigne

Sisters is probably the most competitive relationship within the family, but once the sisters are grown, it becomes the strongest relationship. ~Margaret Mead

What's the good of news if you haven't a sister to share it? ~Jenny DeVries

Sisters function as safety nets in a chaotic world simply by being there for each other.
~Carol Saline

Speaking of sisters,
My Mom's sister, Dawnie,
gave Lottie this outfit:


All blinged out.
I love it Dawnie!

Thank you for your thoughtful gift. It meant a lot.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

These days

Keeping in mind that Andrew was unable to read my last post in its entirety, I'll try to keep today's entry simple. I attribute his lack of perseverance to his own emotionally sensitive heart. The sadness he feels over our separation from ... okay, I'm obviously lying. It was hard for him to stomach. And I admit that having him stand downwind of all my cheese inspired sentiment is an unfair expectation.

Things have been pretty low key around here as we try to establish our new level of normal. Looking back though, our weekend was filled with familiar things.

Saturday morning with Bob Ross:

Saturday afternoon chores: Yard work.

Sunday afternoon naps:
Monday morning milestones:
Lottie is three weeks old! Falling in love with her has been a joy!

Fearing that I may put my spouse to sleep, I'll spare you (most of) the details of our nightly routine. While my family can testify that I'm not receiving my full dose of beauty sleep, I'm doing my best to accrue as many hours as possible. Since Charlotte wants to eat every three to four hours, we're usually in bed a little after nine. After the 5:00 a.m. feeding, I hand her off to Andrew who has slept a solid 7-8 hours. He puts her back to sleep which allows me to squeeze in two more hours.

This morning as I gently rouse my sleeping husband, he splutters:

"This arm!" With his eyes still closed, he motions toward it. "You know how I sleep weird on my arm?" Actually, I'm unaware of that personal habit; sounds like a problem to me. ;)

"Well it's still asleep." His tone implies that he's ashamed of its laziness. He continues,

"It needs a few minutes to wake up."

Patiently, Lottie and I waited, and snuggled, as we gave his "arm" the time it needed to fully wake up. You're welcome, Andrew. He may not always be chipper when I stir him from his slumber (can't say I blame him) but he's always sweet to send me an e-mail from work encouraging me to never hesitate to ask him to help. I love that man.

Darn. This is rapidly losing the simplistic nature I'd planned.

Returning to Monday.

Mischief Monday looked like this:

And while I've been concerned that Henry would suffer from his Mother's added distractions, it would seem by the amount of toilet paper he unraveled the other day that he's quickly learning to take advantage of it.

While my back was turned yesterday, Henry deposited a full bag of pretzels onto the floor. At full speed, Henry darts for his dump truck. After collecting it, he proceeds to run down the freshly strewn pile. The sound of the pretzel cracker turning to pretzel dust thrills him. I have to say that watching him dote on his baby sister and observing his gentle interactions with her makes his antics easily forgivable.

Friday, November 5, 2010

My version of Black Friday

At this moment, my sweet Mother is on a westbound plane.

Destination: Far away from my house.

Please excuse my redundancy, the sad tone of today's post and my lost ability to formulate proper sentences. I am so tired. So is Lottie.

And I miss my Mom.

I expected her departure would feel like this.

With her visits, I've learned that the last two days she's here are just plain sad. You can hear the plane's engine revving in the back of your mind as you realize her time's just about up. If I want a solid week of her being here, we need to schedule her trip for one week, plus two days. Yesterday, I blamed my mood on baby blues and feeling tired - and perhaps they were both contributing factors - but oh how my heart ached as I watched my Mom kiss Eliza and Henry goodnight; both of us not knowing when we'd see each other again.

Exiting Andrew's lap before his bedtime story was finished, Henry made his way to my Mom for a big squeeze.

"I want to come with you." He repeated to her over and over. Earlier in the evening, while making dinner together, Eliza insisted,

"Nana, you can come back to my house in four more sleeps. Okay?!" Watching her kiss the top of Lottie's freshly washed head, another batch of tears begin to spill. Lottie will be a completely different baby at their next reunion. I'm doing my best to keep it together in front of my kids but somehow, my mood is always on their radar.

Before tucking him in, Henry looked at me and asked,

"Are you going to cry, Mom?" Lucky for me, I got a flu shot yesterday. Pointing to my band-aid, I blamed my tearful expression on that hurt.

Now that I've fully dramatized my disaster-like state, I have to express my gratitude for the time we did have. This visit didn't involve a charming trip to Charleston, the beach or the musical, Wicked. It was simple, probably a little mundane but so incredibly appreciated by me and my family.

It began with a late night introduction.

And evolved into a week of first time errands, afternoon naps, play time with Eliza and Henry, doctor's appointments and lots of this.It was "thrilling" to report to family back home that her days involved a stop at the library, flu shots for the family, a trip to the grocery store and Lottie's two week doctor appointment
(For the record: she weighed 8 lbs.
She's gained over a pound
and grown an inch
since leaving the hospital.
What a good girl!)

Feeling ambitious, we kept Eliza home from preschool to spend a morning at Hearts of Clay. Getting our "crazy on" - we then headed to Costco for Christmas shopping and lunch.

I'd forgotten how awesome it is to nurse your baby in the front seat of your car. Thankfully, Lottie likes the car and is content as long as it is moving. Let's pray this continues.

Knowing I could take a daily time out was a sigh of mental relief. Sending me up to bed to tend to my wakeful child was another selfless act. Enduring the spit up and the additional pleasantries associated with a newborn adjusting to life with a functioning bowel system was also appreciated.
The giving continued each day as she'd hide a small gift for Eliza and Henry to find. Before offering them a clue to their presents, she reinforced how helpful and wonderful they are. I couldn't agree with her more. It was a highlight each day.

As for Lottie, I'm in love with the blanket she made her.


It's the polka dottie Lottie blanket.

Eliza and Henry sure basked in the glow of her attention: puzzles, stories, art projects, blocks, etc. With all that being said, you can probably understand my sadness. And while I'm having regular moments of, "Oh my heck, I have three kids" - the feelings I'm struggling with stem from the change that will occur between now and next time. I feel like I have to apologize to her, Andrew's parents, myself and my kids for the heartache we mutually share. I'm so sorry.

I love you Mom. Thank you for everything. Thankfully, this lot is all within arm's reach. And that's exactly how my morning has been spent. Henry and Lottie have been sharing lap time with their Mom. I'm looking forward to Eliza walking through the door in half an hour and taking her place in that rotation.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Happy Halloween!!

Heigh-ho, Heigh-ho, a trick-o-treating we will go!!

Every Snow White needs a Dopey.And a pumpkin.

Dopey found a pumpkin of his own too.

The cutest in the patch.

What's sweeter than our pumpkins full of Halloween candy?
Spending Halloween with Nana Marie
(who, by the way, is completely responsible
for Henry's adorable costume!)!!
Until next year!