Thursday, December 28, 2017

Collins: Two Months

  • You are in the 5th percentile for weight (9.5lbs) and the 10th percentile for height. The doctor says you are perfectly healthy just very petite!
  • You were nursing for 45 minutes and still seemed hungry afterward so I moved to exclusively pumping and giving bottles to make sure you were getting enough milk. We supplement with formula and you seem to do just fine with it.
  • You started smiling at 8 weeks and it’s precious!
  • You have a really quiet cry. 
  • You find the ceiling fan in every room we walk into. 
  • You have started to be interested in the toys that hang off your baby bouncer
  • You sometimes need to eat in a quiet, dark place or else you get distracted.
  • Most nights your bedtime routine starts around 7:30/8. You were waking up so often that we started putting you in the swing and you sleep there til about 9/10 and take another bottle, then sleep in the swing (motion off) until around 4 when you wake up to eat. You sleep the rest of the night in the rock n' play and wake up around 8 for the day.
  • You only really nap in the swing and they’re only catnaps, usually 30-45 minutes.
  • You still hate your car seat, although if we don’t stop moving and your paci is in you will fall asleep eventually.
  • When you’re having a hard time falling asleep you like to nuzzle your face into the crook of my arm.
  • When you’re really hungry you put your hands in your mouth and I have to battle you to let the bottle in.
  • You got your first cold this week and have had a lot of trouble sleeping and eating. You also got your two month shots and absolutely lost your mind! I’ve never seen you cry so hard and be so mad.
  • You like to sleep in the “wings” sleep sack that allows your arms to be up by your face.

This has been a month of exciting firsts and also exhausting challenges. We had your first Thanksgiving and Christmas and while you didn't have any idea it was happening, we were glad to have you with us for the holidays this year! Nursing has not gone as expected, it's been a very stressful and unsuccessful journey this time. But luckily, by baby #3 I know that expectations are everything, and I have set my bar pretty low so it's all going to be just fine :) We love every precious, high-maintenance bit of you!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Dear Collins,
At one month old...

  • You weigh 8.2lbs, which is two pounds more than when you were born!
  • You have graduated from premie clothes and are fitting perfectly in newborn sizes.
  • You nurse every 2.5-3 hours during the day for about 30 minutes. You still get very sleepy while nursing so the process often takes 45 minutes because we do a lot of burping and changing diapers to keep you awake.
  • You usually cluster feed in the evenings, eating every hour and a half from 5-9.
  • You don't like to fall asleep for naps or bed at night.
  • The only place you like to nap is in the baby bjorn, as soon as I put you in and walk around the house with you, you fall dead asleep.
  • At night time you often fight going to sleep for an hour (sometimes two), but once you go to sleep you stay asleep! You usually do at least a 5 hour stretch and last night you slept for 7 straight hours!
  • Even when you are fighting sleep you aren't much of a crier, more of a whiner. You will fidget and whine and make random loud noises, but thankfully, you rarely ever full on cry.
  • You use a paci to fall asleep during the day but spit it out after you fall asleep. You don't need it to go back to sleep at night.
  • You sleep in the rock n' play at night time.
  • You HATE your car seat. You cry the whole time you're in it unless your paci is in
  • When we put you by the Christmas tree you lay very still and stare at it. You do the same thing on our bed when I turn the ceiling fan on.
  • You have started making some cooing noises the past couple of days.
  • For the most part we hang out at home because it's easier to manage your long nursing sessions. We've been to church once and you slept through the whole thing (in the baby bjorn, of course).
  • You don't seem to have any major problems with reflux but you are a major spitter upper. You also get hiccups ALL the time while nursing which you don't like and makes it hard to eat.
  • Your brother and sister love you very much! Sometimes too much, they are always in your face.
  • You seem very concerned and confused when you get a bath, but you don't seem to dislike it. You do hate being taken out of the bath, no matter how hot the room is you don't like the change in temperature. You generally only get upset when you are cold.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Haddie: 3 1/2 Year Update

Dear Haddie,
At three and a half years old...
    • You weigh about 35lbs and are pretty average height and weight for your age, although you are petite and thin.
    • You are a very picky eater, it's our biggest battle with you. Your favorites foods are banana, yogurt, cheese, and basically any type of cracker or chip.
    • You are very dramatic when you don't get your way, there is a lot of wailing and tears involved, although the tears magically dry up as soon as you get your way.
    • You get so excited about the little things, I love seeing the joy you have in life!
    • Your favorite activities are playing with play-doh and anything that you can make into friends. You will literally take plastic eggs and make them into a mommy egg and a baby egg and then play pretend with them.
    • You love baby Collins a whole lot, sometimes way too much. You try to pick her up (she's only 4 weeks old!), want to hold her at all times (you get really jealous when anyone else is holding her), and are constantly getting reminded not to touch her face or pacifiers.
    • You hate getting in trouble but you also like to push the boundaries
    • You sneak into Titus' room and wake him up almost every morning. You also ask to sleep in his bed at night but then you won't go to sleep!
    • You love all things princessy and girly- you only want to wear dresses
    • You are very affectionate and love to hold hands or randomly give big hugs just because you're happy
    • You love My Little Pony and PJ Masks (You were Owlet, a girl superhero from PJM for halloween this year)
    • You do funny little dance moves randomly to make us laugh. In fact, you love to do lots of little things to get a laugh out of people.
    • Your hair has finally grown back enough to look like an actual hairstyle and it's really cute
    • When you go to the bathroom you ask me to close the door so you can have some "price-acy"
    • You tell me all the time, "Mommy, you're my bestest friend."

Friday, November 24, 2017

Titus 5 1/2 year update

Dear Titus,
At five and a half years old...
  • You weigh just under 40lbs and are still very small for your age (in the 5-10th percentile for height)
  • You LOVE kindergarten! I was a little nervous about it this summer, but you are thriving with the routine of it all
  • Everyone at school loves you, especially the older kids. I joke that you are the Butterfield Elementary Mascot
  • You have gotten much better at learning to use words when you are upset, except with your sister who you still usually just hit or push when you're angry
  • You love to make books using construction paper and a three hole punch. Sometimes you will ask us how to spell words but a lot of times the whole book consists of words like "No!" "OK!" and other small words you can spell on your own.
  • You like to do the same activities at home that you do at school (math stations, which word doesn't belong, etc.)
  • Your favorite Encore class is PE
  • You are a really good big brother to Baby Collins. You talk to her sweetly and know not to touch her face or hands.
  • You love drawing with chalk in the driveway. Usually it's either marble mazes or writing numbers (sometimes you'll just write all the way to 100 because you can)
  • You still don't have much of an interest in sports. Daddy wanted to get you to play catch but you weren't into it, so he showed you a video on hand-eye coordination and now you like to play catch (except you say "let's play hand eye coordination!")
  • You do like to play dodge ball upstairs or make up games like throwing a ball into a laundry basket
  • For breakfast you like to eat a waffle with nutella or cheerios. If you had it your way, you'd eat a Wendy's cheeseburger for every meal. Your favorite halloween candy was Kit Kat Bars.
  • You went to a Razorback football game with Daddy and loved it. Now you ask to go to every game and get upset when you can't.
  • We were doing gymnastics which you were very good at, but since school started you got too tired and frustrated doing it after school so we're taking a break.
  • You love poop jokes.
  • You and Haddie are extremely competitive and want whatever the other person has. One day while you were at school I took Haddie to McDonald's for lunch and you have never let me live down how unfair it was that she got a Happy Meal and you didn't.
  • Most nights you go to sleep by 8:00 and would sleep til 6:30-7 if Haddie would let you, but she usually comes into your room by 6:30 and wakes you up for the day
  • We taught you the word defiant this month because you decided you want to be in charge and started saying the opposite of whatever we say just because you can
  • When Haddie says something that doesn't make sense you and I will catch each other's eye and start giggling (I love this so much!)

Friday, April 21, 2017

Thoughts on 30: Who Was that Woman in the Pictures?

Eight years ago I was in full-on wedding preparation mode. With just a couple weeks left until our wedding, I got my first professional makeover. I walked out of Sephora with products I absolutely loved, new techniques I’d never heard of, and a lot less money in my bank account. As years went by, I finished grad school, started a new job, then eventually had two babies and became a stay at home mom. With so much going on, makeup (and hair and clothes) became a much lower priority and I stopped putting much thought into what I was buying and instead just grabbed whatever was quickest and cheapest. 

But then a weird thing started to happen. When I saw photos of myself, I would have this moment of surprise and disorientation almost every time because the image didn’t look like how I felt. Anyone ever had this moment? At the time, my kids were 3 and 1 and I hadn't taken much time for myself since starting our family. And the thing was, it wasn't that I was having a pity party over the way I looked. It was just that I would look at the photo of that moment, and I would remember exactly how I felt and what I was saying and doing, and those feelings were never frumpy or lost or forgotten like the way I often felt I looked. Inside I felt young and bright eyed and like my life was full of wonderful surprises and joys, and it was bizarre to feel like I didn't seen that in myself in a still shot.

So I decided to make a change. And hear me say this: I truly believe your physical body is not what defines you. Even at my most out of shape or least trendy, I was always witty and smart and kind and no amount of exterior change could take that away from me. But I also decided there was nothing wrong with enjoying the fun things that come along with being a girl. I was confident in who I was because I was confident in who made me, but now I was ready to look in the mirror and see the girl I felt like I was inside, the girl who had been lost while focusing on everyone else but herself.

So I got more serious about having a healthier diet and regular exercise. I went and got a new haircut and started researching makeup. I had no idea what contouring was or a beauty blender sponge or even what shade I should pick in anything. And it bears repeating, the hair and makeup were not what made me me, but I was having SO much fun learning and playing around with the options and doing something that was just for me.

I went back to the basics, and in this case, that meant a lot of Google research and Youtube videos (which is so fun, but you will get sucked in for DAYS watching those makeup tutorials). I wrote all about the products that were a part of my beauty evolution here, you can read it to see all the ones I love the very most. But most importantly, I realized this journey was only a little about the products and a lot about taking the time to invest in myself and the things I enjoyed. My makeup looks better now, but more importantly, when I see pictures of myself I see the joy and energy that I am experiencing at the time. The photos feel like me, like how I see myself.

So take heart, my friends! It's never too late to start over and it's never selfish to spend a little time on yourself.


Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Compliment Worthy Crockpot Meals

Hey friends! I've started a new adventure writing some fun blogs for Aisle9, a website with tons of quick tips and fun articles, with some especially good stuff for women! I was writing down some of my compliment winning crockpot meals to give to a friend as a wedding gift, and decided that enough people asked me for the recipes it just made sense for it to be my first blog. So if you'd like to check it out, the link is below! I'll be posting more articles in the future on all kinds of topics, like hair and beauty, cooking, workouts, gift guides, decorating and crafts, parenting... the list goes on!

Stay tuned and take a peek!

Five Compliment Worthy Crockpot Recipes for Busy Moms

Photo via Damn Delicious

Thursday, February 23, 2017

A Season for Everything

Do you ever feel like you just have so much on your plate you don't even know where to begin? As a mom of toddlers, I feel like I'm constantly forgetting things and dropping the ball. But every parent who's a life stage ahead of me says you shouldn't expect for it to slow down; kids grow bigger and they get busier. The big picture can be overwhelming, I don't even always know what to tackle first on my to-do list. The questions start swarming in my head and I feel like I need 50 hours in a day instead of 24. 

Am I teaching my kids good character?  Do I participate enough in my husband's ministry job? Should I play a more active role in our church? Am I exercising enough? Am I eating healthy enough? Will God allow us to have another baby? If we can even get pregnant, how tight will our budget be with three kids while I'm staying home? Should I go back to work? Should we sign the kids up for sports already? Should I lead a small group? Am I teaching my kids about volunteering and serving others? Should I continue pursuing a career in graphic design after the kids are in school? Or do something with more of a steady income? When will I have time to finish all these house projects? Am I modeling how deal with hard things to my kids? What am I doing with the specific gifts God has given me? What are we going to do about the broken dishwasher? Should I be discipling more young women? How are we going to pay this bill? Am I meeting my husband's needs? Have I even seen him much this week or have things been too crazy? What even are my needs right now? When will I have time to do all this laundry and clean the house? HOW WILL I FIND TIME FOR ALL THESE THINGS??

Spinning, spinning, spinning.

So many questions, so many directions. And then it hits me, I'll never be able to solve all those questions and problems in a given week/month/year. But here's a question I can focus on:

What is my God-given purpose in THIS season? 
For each of us, this is different. For all of us, it's important. 

Some of you may have read that and known IMMEDIATELY what your God-given purpose is in this season. Some of you may have had a lightbulb moment that this is exactly why you feel so lost, you're unsure of what task you should be focusing on. Both of those are ok. Now is when you allow yourself time to think it over.
For me, once I posed the question and cleared out the clutter in my mind, it was pretty clear. I feel very peaceful about being home with my kids, that is a very specific role and list of duties that I can nail down. For this season, I need to focus on helping Titus learn to express his emotions in a healthy way and how to problem solve instead of exploding. He's having way fewer of his out-of-control tantrums, and I really believe that is happening because I've been home with him and his life is consistent. This is my purpose.

God gave me that little boy and knew I would make a great mommy for him, that I could handle the outbursts and love him through it; that I could calm him down and bring him comfort like no one else. This is my purpose. 

That when he wants to start screaming because he's unable to put into words how he feels, he needs me to look him in the eyes and explain things to him in an adult manner that most people don't use for kids, because he's unique and it works for him. This is my purpose. 

To tie shoes and brush hair and cut up apples because sometimes, you're too small to do things on your own. This is my purpose. 

To sit down with my kids and tickle them and teach them that joy can trump all other emotions if you let it. This is my purpose. 

To empower my little girl to be more than pretty by showering her with compliments about how she's smart and funny and silly and sweet and brave. This is my purpose. 

To teach them that sometimes, life isn't all about you. They don't know how much I serve them now, but one day they will look back and realize the sacrifices I have made (just like I did with my mom) and that sometimes loving someone means putting their needs first. This is my purpose. 

That's mine. Yours is yours. None is better, none is worse. There are so many things I could be doing or focusing on. But when you try to juggle them all, no one person or thing gets your full ability. I feel so much clearer when I let the other things fall away and lean into my purpose in this stage.

There will come a time for all the rest, because there is a season for everything. A season for laughter and dancing, a season for mourning and tears. A season for hard work and a season for respite. A season for speaking many words and a season for speaking few while we hear others instead. A season for health and a season where your body doesn't act or look how you want. A season for serving others and a season for recognizing your own needs. A season for your anger and a season for offering forgiveness. A season for pushing through trials and a season for relishing the good days. A season of recognition and a season of humble selflessness. A season for independence and a season for vulnerability. A season to celebrate new life and a season to let go in death. A season to cry out in anguish and a season to cry out in praise.

But not all of those have to be accomplished all at once.

For me, this is a season of service, sacrifice, and nurturing. Realizing my God-given purpose for this season doesn't make all of those other questions magically disappear. And it definitely doesn't mean there won't be a season in the future where my God-given purpose is directed at one of them. But it does make me feel washed over in grace to know I can focus on the task at hand and set a more realistic bar for what is expected of me.