Thursday, August 27, 2009

Quick Takes


My brother and sister-in-law welcome their 3rd child, and first little BOY, Scott Brian Jr.! He's just SO sweet, cute, and tiny! Of course, at 7lbs, 5 ozs he's a good healthy size. It's just that next to my 8 month old... well, we moms are quick to forget just how tiny they enter the world. He's precious and we are proud to have the cutest newborn as our nephew and neighbor.


Wednesday evening I had a wonderful ladies' night out with some dear friends. We saw Julie and Julia which was really cute. I recommend it, as it was lighthearted and fun with a sweet storyline. I will admit it would never have been my choice, and I am happy we saw it. One thing I really liked was the old-fashioned "fade-out" scenes - a very much in-love husband and wife start kissing and cuddling and the the light turns off. No offensive graphics, just the suggestion of marital love. I appreciate that simple choice that just contributed to this movie's sweetness. Looking for a refreshingly uplifting story? I'll give it a few stars :)


Bella is turning into an incredibly observant child and sometimes responds with a sensitivity that shocks me. I was having a *cough* rough day earlier this week and sat down and covered my face for a quick moment. Bella runs over to me, throws her arms around me and says "Don't worry, Mommy. I'm here, it's ok." Talk about an attitude 180 degree attitude change.


A friend from college with whom I keep in touch via Facebook is considering signing out, citing her lack of housework and participation with her children as her reason. I understand. It has been a huge distraction many days to "just check in for a few minutes" when I really should be giving the kids full attention. There have been times when say, the baby is carefully, painstakingly removing all wipes from the tub and the toddler is, say, using all of them to wipe her own bottom. I am not going to quit Facebook because having friends all over the country is it an easy way to keep in touch. I am interested how others time-manage their computer. I've settled into a better pattern which seems to work for me and my kids, but I'm still open to suggestions.


As I mentioned last week, I have been trying to do a better job at taking care of myself first thing in the morning. Life has improved dramatically. One day this week I was having a miserable, emotional, impatient day and it hit me - I had not eaten a well-balanced breakfast. I had eaten a granola bar and did not feel hungry, but my mood was out of control. Lesson learned, I hope.


Potty-training successes: 1 day completely dry, including nap! The very next day found me doing a lot of carpet cleaning. *sigh* oh well. It's coming along and she's doing great consistently getting better, but it is not a 24-48 hr process. I'll get over it.


Anastasia is sleeping great, eating great, growing well, and developing quite a temper. I'm shocked. I have no idea where she gets that. When Bella hit the separation awareness and screamed for me whenever I set her down or walked away, I worked on it gradually like is generally recommended - talk to her, show her you're still there, but don't actually pick her up again. It worked beautifully and she learned she could chase after me to find me again. Anastasia starts screaming and immediately Bella runs to make her happy. It warms my heart and works beautifully, and Anastasia is no closer to entertaining herself or falling asleep for naps than she was a few months ago. I guess that's the beauty of siblings!


Happy weekend!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Quick Takes

Yes, we're back in short story mode. But hey, at least I'm writing something!

We are back on track with potty-training, thankfully! Bella has been doing amazing, but then we had a few frustrating days. I'm not on a time-schedule, so I shouldn't care, but it's challenging when you think there is at least one thing in life moving along smoothly and... But now we're back to gross consumption of chocolate. Bella is getting rewards, too, don't worry.

Speaking of chocolate, I have found my new favorite guilty indulgence. Hershey Kisses dipped in peanut butter. Yup, right out of the jar.
Gee, I don't understand why I've stopped losing weight. I mean, it's low-fat peanut butter!

I love sandboxes! I consider them one of the necessary toys of childhood. They are great for exploring texture, non-structured play, coordination, and imagination.

I have discovered a simple way to set my day up for success - are you ready for this earth-shattering discovery? Take care of myself first thing in the morning. You never saw that coming, now did you? Most days I was barely managing to get my own teeth brushed let alone eat before 9am. I have 3 things I MUST do within an hour of waking, and they surprised me. 1) Drink 12-24 ozs of water. 2) Eat a real breakfast - not a granola bar, not a handful of cheerios. Eat a normal breakfast. 3) Drink my cup of coffee. I feel all comforted and ready after my Cup O' Joe. Since I have made these 3 things my morning priority I have felt SO much better throughout the rest of our morning routine.

This is a little girl NOT showing me her 2 bottom teeth. They are the source of much drama around here the past 2 days. At least, that's what I'm blaming.

We have been swimming a lot lately which is great. It probably has a lot to do with the great membership program at our pool - show up whenever we want and stay as late as we want, bring as many friends as we can, free usage of the grill and margarita machine, playmates for the girls, and more often than not the hosts cook dinner for us. That's what we get when my folks have the pool! Yay!

I have 40 lbs of chicken breasts in my freezer. That's what happens when a good friend lets you know of a $1.49/lb sale. I also have 15 lbs of super-lean ground beef in that same freezer, thanks to the $1.99/lb reason. When you are planning around a budget you simply can't ignore that kind of opportunity. So, anyone who has great recipes for chicken breasts or ground beef, please feel free to let me know. I think we're set for the winter at this rate. This downside to this is that I can't find a darn thing thanks to how stuffed my freezer is. If you read a headline about a woman bludgeoned to death by a cascade of frozen meat, I was simply looking for dinner.

We've been getting a lot more sleep in this household as of late! We started the Ferber Method with Anastasia at the beginning of the week, and she responded great. I love it because I get to sleep with earplugs until the pre-agreed upon time when Patrick wakes me to feed her. She's been over-shooting our expectations each night, up to this morning when I slept until 5:45!!! Then I pull her into bed and we fall asleep together while she nurses. I am one happy woman. What was that? Could it be a brain cell waking up?


Go visit JEN @ Conversion Diary for her weekly Quick Takes.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

A Girl on the Move

These were all taken within a few minutes.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Eternal Fruit

"Lord, give our bodies restful sleep and let the work we have done today bear fruit in eternal life."
~Liturgy of the Hours, Night Prayer

This really struck a chord with me the other night after a particularly exhausting day. There are days when it seems my whole life is nothing more than diapers and cleaning up toys and washing the dishes. It can easily become frustrating if I lose sight, even for a moment, that this is the blessed vocation to which I have been called. I am raising saints. That's really what this is all about, and if I can perform the daily tasks with the joy of realizing this is the gift with which God has blessed me, it certainly goes easier.

The flip side to this is the challenge to make my days count. Am I living my life as a prayer to glorify God? Are my daily happenings working to build the kingdom of heaven?

I think I will edit this quote slightly and post it by my sink and let it become a morning offering, too.
"Lord, let the work I do today bear fruit in eternal life."

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Time Marches On - but not for everyone

Last week we visited my Nana for the first time *shame* since Anastasia was born. Over the winter was never a good time due to the cold-flu season and weak little immune systems for the both of them. As warm weather came around life became full of excuses, but the truth is - it's hard. It's heart-wrenching to look at a face once full of strength and command and see a vacant gaze of someone living in world outside of time. It's challenging to converse almost completely one-sided about happy memories that she no longer has.

What is not difficult is the immeasurable joy that the little ones bring just by being there. Nana does not recognize us until we address her in familiar terms, and she certainly does not know who these sweet babies are, but she knows they make her happy. This aged face which just a moment ago had no expression is suddenly filled with the radiance of motherhood as she holds the baby and sings a familiar tune with the toddler. She does not walk anymore, she needs help feeding herself, but she knows to rock a baby and gently shush a cry. She doesn't know where she lives or who comes to see her, but she knows she is a mother and responds with the same gentleness and affection of her young mothering days.

I am resolved to see her more often. It is not about if she remembers me or my visit - it's about allowing my daughters to bring her those moments of joy. I am simply a witness to a bond of Love and an experience of Joy that surpasses the human tongue.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Goings-On Around These Parts

Life is in fast-forward in our home these days! It started when someone had the nerve to tell Anastasia that she was 8 months old. Until then we were both under the impression that she was just a tiny (but not-so-tiny, really) baby - a little infant that only needed to be held and snuggled and pampered. And then, someone told her that she was getting bigger.

This is her standing. By herself, no help needed.

Bella, in the meantime, has decided that diapers are no longer a fashion statement, and that M&Ms are proof that God loves us. Between 10-15 times a day I hear the elated, proud, LOUD statement "I going peeing!" It's a good sound, unless it's followed by "I going peeing all over." We're at a pretty high success rate given the newness of it all. We're already on our second bag of M&Ms! Of course, just as many times a day I have to remind myself that full grown adults do not get treats for the toddler going pee in the potty.
Funny Story: I bought, a while ago, a regular, nondescript potty chair. Bella liked it until this past weekend, when we had a visit from our dear friends with their twin 3-year-old boys. Smart people that they are, they came armed with their boys' own potty seat, which happened to be a little more exciting than ours. "LOOK!!!! *gasp* LOOOOOK Mama! I have new FROGGY potty!!! *laughter*" All weekend that was the only potty she would use. When John tried to sneak it out of the house the morning of their departure Bella ran after him exclaiming "Where you going with my froggy potty???" That evening found us at Walmart.

Anastasia is crawling with gusto, pulling herself to standing, reaching out for everything, and bruising up her face often. She loves the newfound mobility and freedom, and squeals with delight as she "chases" after Bella. Big Sister in turn loves this attention and continues to do her best to make Anastasia giggle. When Anastasia falls, which happens a lot, Bella can be seen running to comfort her and tell her "I know, it's alright baby." Of course before I have a chance to swoon over this beautiful affection I end up having to say things like "get your foot out of your sister's mouth" and "I asked you not to put toys on her head" and "I'm proud that you know that color but you still can't take it away from her."

Sweet, Precious, Quiet Anastasia is... not so quiet these days. Or nights, rather. So we've moved her crib into Bella's room and are starting the "one of us needs to sleep through the night and it will help if you decide to, also" process. I was really resistant at first thinking she really hasn't found anything to self-soothe other than, well, ME - but then I had forgotten that she sings herself to sleep. Seriously - she will settle into this monotone hum until she falls asleep. We'll see how long Bella thinks this is cute of her new roommate. Once Anastasia gets words I have a feeling the new phrase of the day will be "stop singing and go to sleep, you two!"

So what do you think - is a haircut in order? I'll keep the polls open for a few days before posting the new pictures. Of course, it will take me that long to correct the imperfections that come from trying to cut a toddler's hair at home.