Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

I love Thanksgiving.  Love it!  Most people know that my most ideal meal ever is turkey, mashed potatoes, corn, green bean casserole, and some good ol' pumpkin pie.  What can I say?  I LOVE comfort foods (it is one of the reasons that eating at The Cracker Barrel makes me so excited).

Obviously Thanksgiving is a lot about food and a lot about gratitude  I sure had enough food, and I have even more to be thankful for.  Today is a day we reflect on the blessings in our life and take a moment to step back and truly stop to say "thank you."

Today I am thankful for today.  Paul and I headed out to the East side of our state to visit his family.  I tend to be a nap Nazi and was having some anxiety about Evie's sleep schedule and whether or not she would be a complete disaster by the time church was over.  I also truly hate riding in the car with children for more than 45 minutes.  My kids are busy and most times I sit in angry jealousy of Paul who is busy driving while I am buckling and unbuckling to put in the pacifier, pick up the blankies, give the bottle, give the snacks, blah, blah, blah.  

Today, I am not thankful because our ride was easy breezy.  Nope, it was annoying and I was irritated, BUT I am beyond thankful that Evie took a quick little cat nap just long enough to make her last until church was done.  When we arrived, she woke up with a HUGE smile and was rested just enough to be happy, but not cranky.  Once we got into church I loved watching Belle run up to Paul's dad and give him the biggest hug.  She refused to go into nursery, until she saw her Bepa and gave him a big bear hug. 

After church we headed back to Paul's parents' house where Evie took a phenomenal nap (made this nap Nazi very happy)!  I also realized how easy Belle is and how quickly she is growing up.  She played so well, sat at the table so good with all of us during the "feast," and was quite low maintenance.  She played with her aunt and uncle, and loved on her Mema and Bepa.  Today was a great reminder to me that although the baby stage is cute and cuddly, it is hard work, and that it really is a few short years until children become fairly independent.  

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Today we celebrated Evie's 1st birthday with Paul's side of the family.  We sang happy birthday, opened gifts, and of course we watched as Evie has a good cupcake smash!  We also cheered today as we watched Evie take some real actual steps!  Recently, she has been taking a couple of steps and then falling to her knees, but today she moved and grooved right across the room!
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Don't mss with my cupcake.
After our amazing Thanksgiving meal, Paul and I headed to his grandma's new home.  Great Grandma LuLu (as Belle calls her) just moved here from San Francisco, and this past week she moved into her independent living apartment.  Tonight I spent a lot of one on one time with Mema.  We sat in her room talking about her thoughts about moving to Michigan (which she said is quite cold), and we talked about her brother, Bepa, her thoughts about this new place she lived, and laughed at the stories she was already telling about the people that lived there.  As I listened to her I wondered about her life. I wondered about everything she had been through and had seen in her 85+ years of life.  It made me think about all of the stories that the resident's must have that live there.  I don't spend a lot of time with elderly people, but my time with Mema tonight was so enjoyable, and so treasured.

On our way home tonight I soaked in the laughter of my girls in the backed seat, and Paul and I cracked up as Belle made sure to inform us that Evie just did a "juicy fart."  Love them.  

Overall, today was a day to be thankful, and we have so much to give thanks for.  I consider how much joy I had in watching my one year old start to walk, and then being able to have a great conversation with Mema who is in her late 80s.  I feel insanely blessed, and I am so thankful for the people I have in my life....young and old :-)  We have family on both sides of us that are involved, and that our girls LOVE to spend time with.  

Thanksgiving 2012 has been a blessing, and my heart is beyond full.  

Friday, November 16, 2012

Mommy Time Out

Today was one of those days with my girls that I could have bottled up and saved forever.  Nothing crazy happened, but we truly just enjoyed each other.

A week ago, this was not the case.  Last week Friday, Belle and I had one of our many fights over clothing, as well as just getting her moving.  We had had many mornings like this recently and I was becoming exhausted.  Belle is easily distracted (hmmm, I have NO idea where that comes from), and in the morning it takes a lot of prompting and reminders to get her dressed, her hair done, and just basically get herself together.  Sometimes just getting myself and the girls out the door makes me feel like I just ran a marathon by the time we are buckled and in the car.  I have begun to set a timer for Belle.  I tell her she has 3 minutes to get dressed and if it's not done by the time the timer goes off then she sits in time out.  This works okay, except when she disagrees with the outfits I pick out.  Then the fighting begins. 

Once it is certain we are going to be late, Belle still isn't dressed, Evie is getting into everything she can, and I am feeling frantic, angry, and irritated my really ugly mommy side comes out.  You all know what this means.  The yelling starts and the stomping begins, which makes Belle cry more, and then I get more mad because she is crying and not getting anything done.  The kicker is always when in the midst of her crying she trips and hurts herself--which means I now have to console her and I might hug her a little too tightly while clenching my teeth because it is helping me dispense my anger a little bit.

Ugh.  We have had too many of these mornings lately.  Last week I actually showed up at Body & Soul (late) and told my friend, Liz, that although it was 9:30 in the morning I was ready to start drinking.  If I felt like this, then how in the world was Belle feeling after her mother just screamed and yelled at her and we both ended up in the car crying on the way to our destination.  Needless to say, nothing is more humbling than apologizing to my three year old and her telling me "it's okay," and topping it off with a hug. 

I recently asked Belle what a "mommy" was, and she replied, "a mom gets mad at me when I pee my pants." Ugh. This was how she viewed me in that moment. I don't want her to remember me as the mom who raged when we were running late or screamed at her when she wet her pants. Now, don't get me wrong... I think it is more than okay for Belle to know that I am disappointed or upset at her. It's more or less that I need to convey this with much different actions than how I have been.

I have decided that something needed to change.  This past week has been loads better, but has taken some work.  I hate and despise being late anywhere.  It is by far one of my most anxiety producing pet peeves.  I really had to think through whether or not making it somewhere on time was worth all of the drama taking place in our heart.  Honestly, Belle is in preschool...why do I care so much if I am a bit late to PRESCHOOL?!?!  Showing up at church, Body & Soul, or MOPS late is so not a big deal!  Nobody cares if I walk in late, so why am I freaking out on my kid?  Honestly, the more yelling I do doesn't make us arrive somewhere any quicker.  It only helps me release my anger, but makes me feel like an awful mother in the end as I watch my three year old fall apart.

This past week at MOPS, Carolyn, one of our mentor moms read a devotional that hit me square between the eyes.  It talked about how we as moms will fail.  However, our children must always see our eyes light up when they walk into the room.  We must always make sure we let them know how much we love them and how precious they are to us.  We won't always get it right, but we must always try.

I have vowed to work on being more in control of my feelings of anger, disappointment, and beyond pissed offness.  Were there days we were running late this week? Yup.  Did it stress me out?  Oh, yes!  I just kept telling myself "it's okay, it's okay, it's not a big deal."  I know I am still going to have many instances where I need to give myself a "mommy time out," and I am going to have to ask forgiveness from my sweet girl.  I often have to remind myself that I am an adult and Belle has only been in this world 3 short years, so I need to get myself under control and chill out.

Belle and Evie are my favorite little people around and I never want to make them feel they are less than amazing and wonderful.  I never want them to feel like their mother is more interested in getting to church on time, than about their own feelings and self-worth.  I know we will have many hard days and I will fail again and again as a mom, but it will be those days that I teach my kids how to apologize and ask for forgiveness. 

Thank goodness children forgive so easily and love so big. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Happy 1st Birthday, Evelyn Joy!

Dear Evelyn Joy,

How in the world has a year gone by already?  I feel like it was just yesterday that I was waiting impatiently to go into labor to finally meet you.  It has been one amazing year with you and I cannot tell you enough how loved you are.  Each year I write down everything I don't want to forget about you this past year, and I have so been looking forward to my list of "Evie Favorites."  You, my girl, are a gem with more personality than I anticipated!

  1. You came into this world with a little surprise and drama by being an emergency c-section due to us finding out you were breech right when I was ready to push.  I wasn't quite prepared for that sort of delivery, but you were well worth it, and I really wouldn't change it.  It is part of your story :-)
  2. You know you have to be one special little girl to have been born on 11-11-11.  Your dad actually guessed this date all along.  He kept telling me he wanted you on the 11th, which I wasn't thrilled with because I was due on the 9th and didn't want to go over.  I'm happy I did :-)  I love the reaction I get from people when I tell them your birthdate.
  3. You have been a really laid back baby.  You only really cried when you were tired, hungry, or needing a diaper change.  You never had any AWFUL nights, and I was more than surprised with how much easier my mom instincts kicked in the second time around.
  4. You think you sister is HILARIOUS.  Belle can make you laugh and smile when I can't.  I will often tell her to make you laugh while we are in the car if you are crabbin', and most often she can do it no problem.
  5. Your hair.  You have had quite the head of hair since day one.  Your hair never fell out and just kept growing.  You have ended up with some curls on the side and on top--giving you the nickname "Cindy Lou Who."
  6. You sure have some baby blues.  Wow.  People comment on your eyes all the time, and it is obvious.  Those eyes of yours are crowd stoppers.
  7. When you don't get what you want you get SO mad.  You scream, and wave your arms. This just recently started happening.  It's nice to know you have some of your mom's fiestyness in ya, but it often drives me nuts too.  You can screech!
  8. You are one curious bugger!  Ever since you could crawl you have been into EVERYTHING.  You are interested in everything but toys.  You want to get into cupboards, purses, drawers, etc.  
  9. You won't keep any sort of bow or hat on your head.  As your mother who LOVES to crochet, this doesn't fair too well for me when I want to put cute hats on you that I have made.
  10. You have always been a great night sleeper, but not so much of a great napper.  I think you just truly enjoy being awake and in the know of what is happening.  Don't get me wrong-I LOVE that you sleep through the night, but I sure wish you wanted a bit more sleep during the day too.
  11. When you are mad you like to flail your arms and hit your head.  I can't help it, but I laugh a lot when you do this because it is hysterical to watch.
  12. Often when I have picked you up from nursery I have been told that you are their entertainment or the happiest baby there.  It makes me one proud mama.
  13. You have an infectious smile and laugh at everything.   It is soooo easy to get you belly laughing.
  14. You LOVE when people "chase" you.  If I crawl behind you or follow you up the stairs you stop to turn around and make sure I am still there.  Then you laugh and continue as fast as you can.
  15. You have always been the spitting image of your dad.  It is uncanny how much you look like your father...although the older you get the more you start to look like your sister, who looks like me.
  16. You got your top front teeth first and have this hysterical laugh where you show your teeth, close your eyes, and laugh through your nose.  It's my favorite. 
  17. THANKFULLY, you have hardly been sick this year.  This is extremely important because your dad and I missed our 30 day enrollment period to get you signed onto our insurance, therefore leaving you without health insurance for over a year.  Let this be the first lesson we teach you.  That 30 day enrollment period--VERY IMPORTANT.  
  18. You sure know how to snuggle.  I love nothing more than when I hold you and you lay your head right on me.  Belle never did this.  It melts my hear every single time.
  19. You HATE getting dressed or getting your diaper changed.  I truly think it is because you are just too busy playing to want to stop to get clothed.  Although, it may also be that you REALLY love being naked like your sister :-)
  20. You are so precious to us.  We could never imagine our lives without you.  You have been more amazing than we could have ever imagined!  I cannot wait to see how you keep growing, and your personality evolves.  You are such a gift from God and we are so thankful for you!
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