Sunday, April 17, 2016

Brinley Claire

Sunday, April 3rd.

One of those days that will be stamped with SPECIAL and filed under Favorite Days of Life.

Months of anticipation transformed themselves into anxious moments; watching the minutes tick by and dutifully tracking contractions.  I feel incredibly thankful to have been the trusted keeper of minutes and ultimately to have been a part of the most incredible experience.

I've been here before, on the other (more painful) side.  Just short of 18 months ago, the roles were reversed.  I kept track of the time, made time pass with nervous laughter, and I was the one bringing life into this world.  It was interesting to note the things that changed when I switched roles in the delivery room, and even more interesting-- the things that didn't. 

Saturday was full of clock watching, some walking, some sushi, some pampering, and even some crying.  We analyzed the numbers in the possible birth dates for the 12th time in the last two weeks - something Meredith and I discovered we had in common. This would soon come up again as we guessed the exact minute that she would make her big debut.  Jimmy made everyone pancakes for dinner, and shortly after, a basketball game became background noise as contraction intensity was calculated.

Those early contractions filled my home with anxious and excited energy superior to that of Christmas morning.  I was far more anxious than I imagined (I tucked that away only for me to know).  We left for the hospital shortly before midnight - my mind raced in a thousand different directions.

Looking back, it seems like it was days and mere minutes all at once.  It was hard to watch my sister in pain, it was hard hearing the lack of progress at certain points, and it was hard being unable to do anything about it.

And despite that fact that parts were hard to watch, it was all sorts of beautiful.  My sister's husband was amazing - so involved and so supportive. We had Sam Smith Radio playing - the perfect soundtrack for the intensity, the anticipation, and the love and the laughter.  I will forever associate Sam Smith, Adele, and the like to my niece's sweet birthday.  There were jokes and laughter, snacks and coffee runs, and a whole lot of monitor watching woven right into all of the minutes.

As most normal people got ready to begin their Sunday, we had surpassed the 24 hours mark of being wide-eyed and wondering.  We were getting our breakfast and hoping for a positive progress report soon.

Beyond 9 am on Sunday, the news got better and better each time we received it.  The exhaustion transformed into energy; worried faces into smiles.

At 2:08 pm, my sister gave one last rock star push and sweet Brinley Claire showed her precious face.  A moment I will never, ever forget - her first breath, her perfect, tiny face, the way she stared at her mama for hours.

So many tears - I don't have words to adequately describe standing by Meredith's side as she fell in love at first sight.  It was all so surreal, so breathtaking.

Life is so, so precious.

Thursday, April 14, 2016


I'm wondering what sort of notarized official document needs to happen to divorce my house from the germs, because holy heck.  I am DONE.

Monday showed up with a delightful gift of strep for the second time in three weeks (Ruby).

Tuesday showed itself the door after leaving Luca with a faucet nose and a cough to match.

Wednesday was the day that I completely lost my mind with the sudden onset of drama - our poor little Dexter Dog has joined the germ party and has somehow picked up giardia.  It remains a mystery how he would have gotten this, but I can assure you from watching him, it's nothing anyone ever wants to have or to clean.  I spent yesterday juggling a sick baby, sick dog, and the complete routine of disinfecting the house (Jimmy did the yard).

And by golly, how could Thursday be left out of these shenanigans?!

Midnight brought puking from Luca.  Hours and hours and hours of puking.  Enough towels, bedding, and clothing for five loads of laundry.  And he isn't done.  I have literally never seen so much vomit, and you know how it is with a baby that has absolutely no concept of puking into something -- chasing the heaves with a cupped towel in hopes of saving everything around you.  Everything is calculated - how quickly can I move him away from all bedding, all carpet?  Analyzing every breath, in case its the onset of more throwing up.  He has had four baths at this point.  And that's been the minimum that I could get away with.

We have moved into painful territory in terms of the amount of Sesame Street that we have watched.

My couches are housing just about every towel and linen that I own.  Sadly, the washer is still running, and the laundry is not caught up.

I have not slept in two days.

And the puke.  Oh, the puke.

And if you could imagine the way a conversation (and by conversation, I mean 893 discussions) with a very busy boy about how we have to stay still on the pile of towels - you can imagine the resulting gray hairs.

Waving the white flag here.  Friday, you know what to do.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

one day

The smell of browned butter and the resulting cookies lingers in my kitchen.  There is an accompanying (but not complimentary) smell of chlorine-drenched pool towels.  The rain has slowed, but the smell is in my nostrils, like a permanent reminder that Spring is somewhere around here.

My house has signs of Tuesday all over it.  The aforementioned towels and other swim paraphernalia, the day's dishes, a load of laundry waiting to be escorted off to its proper place.  Baby toys strewn all over every square inch of the living room.  The Hobby Lobby evidence is positively incriminating, lying all over the counter.  I have a lengthy list of to dos and should be doings, but there's this overwhelming draw to just be.  Jimmy is gone, and so of course the opportunities are endless - Last night's Dancing with the Stars, more sewing, rekindled knitting romance, or maybe even a book.  Plus, those cookies that miraculously made it to the cookie phase of their delicious little lives.

My kids are fresh out of the baths and sound asleep just feet from me.  Aside from the thoughts of FREEDOM! my mind feels neatly compartmentalized and my heart feels full.  This is not always the case - for so much of the last seventeen months (without mentioning names, ahem.) I have been such a hot mess.  I forget the craziest things, remember the stupid things, and feel like I can pull myself to some semblance of presentable just in time to make myself five minutes late to wherever I am going.  And if I achieved anything further than clothes on my body, then you can be certain there are 29 shirts on the floor of my closet, makeup littering my bathroom counter, and what may look like a burglary through the rest of my home.

I don't know what has clicked into place, and I most certainly don't have it all figured out.  I mean, listen, my 17 month old sleeps in his infant seat because he absolutely will not stand for anything else.  You'd make money betting on me washing the same load of clothes more than once. Sometimes more than twice.  And sometimes I do my best impression of a monstery ogre just to get everyone out the door.

I don't have it all together, but I have this realization that life is such a short phase. With every passing day, I grow more aware of the things that really, truly matter. My grandpa turned 90 last week.  Ninety.  And while he remembers impressive bits from long ago, I know that so many things have slipped through the cracks.  Things that once brought smiles to his face, things that irritated the life out of him, and things he thought he may never forget.

One day, I won't sweep the floor 3 times a day.
I won't have tiny little people animatedly eating at my table.

One day, I won't be combing through closets with a flashlight to lay out the next day's clothes.
They'll have their own fashion opinion and the ability to form fashion conscience decisions without me.

One day, I won't rock a baby to sleep.  38 times before 10 pm.
He'll walk down the hall and crawl into bed himself and I'll see him in the morning.

One day, I won't spend every night fishing trains from beneath couches, placing Barbies in their homes, and neatly stacking books.
Our living room will be rid of toys.

One day, I'll have myself together and arrive at places early.
Because I won't have three people that need me to fetch snacks and search for shoes and brush unruly hairs into place.

One day, we won't be 30 minutes late for bedtime.
They won't ask me for one more book.

One day, I won't be driving the mom shuttle to school and ballet and swimming.
They'll drive themselves.

One day, Jimmy and I won't remember how we once mastered the art of rolling dice like quiet ninjas in a heated game of Yahtzee.
We won't have a precious, sleeping baby in our room.

One day, I won't be the center of their world.
They'll find other people to love and places to be.

One day, I won't have such a difficult decision with how to spend my free time, because I'll have enough of it and my babies will have grown.

So for now, I think there are cookies that need to be had, blessings to be counted, and laundry that can wait until tomorrow.

I'm thankful for the symbolic workload today, even when it's tedious and overwhelming.  There are blessings everywhere, neatly woven in the chaos.

Monday, March 7, 2016

it's March.

First of all - the nose situation is a chapter slammed shut.  My biopsy results showed a benign mass of tissue and my nose is nearly pain-free now.  I'm so thankful to move on from a very scary situation.


Secondly, we are days from meeting my precious niece - my sister asked me to take a few maternity photos.  She makes it look so good, she almost makes me want to be pregnant again.

gorgeous mama.


In other news, it's March now.  MARCH!  We are making plans for summer - girls trips and recitals and family get togethers.  Spring Break is upon us, and the end of the school year is in sight.  Hard to believe, since Christmas was basically yesterday.

I closed out February with a much needed girl's getaway with some precious friends.  Look, I know Disney Junior believes it's where the magic begins, but it's not.  The magic begins at the rental car place when you place yourself into a car a fraction the size of your family car, and wouldn't you know it, this one has ZERO cheerios flying around. Also not seen in tiny car: shoes without their mates, coloring books, tiaras, and naked barbies.  It was the first time I left Luca and I figured it might be the last (have we discussed the fact that he is 16 months old and still doesn't sleep?  Probably not, I'm too tired to get into it.)  He did sleep on his best behavior (which is still waking up several times - he just controlled the screaming part of it), so I think I might get to get away again sometime in the future!

The magic continued with Starbucks, an entire car ride without the word MOM! and then a weekend full of laughter and food and relaxation.  We hardly knew how to be without tiny people needing us.  There was some part of it that was very surreal - like a junior high style sleepover (there was Fuller House, Backstreet Boys, and hair dying involved, afterall!) but not.  I am so very thankful for these precious people to laugh with, cry with, and celebrate the little things along with the big ones with. 

Jimmy went golfing when I got home - we attempted a walk and then Eisley threw a fit over her bike after we made the long trek to the sidewalk in front of our next door neighbors.  

That's where the magic ended.


we take suckers with our haircuts around here - I have lost count on his haircuts now!  

Luca is practically climbing the curtains these days, and I think my poor heart has its work cut out.  This kid - yikes!  He is a busy little monkey, and I constantly feel as if I have no idea what I'm doing with this mom thing.


Things for the mind vault:

Eisley's obsession with the word "properette" which is actually the word proper.

Ruby's toothless smile - she is finally getting one of her top front teeth in, and I know she is going to look so different; just like she did when her tiny little baby teeth came in.
The way Jimmy and I stay up late to play yahtzee - being quiet with dice is a fun challenge.

My quiet mornings with Luca.  Luca loves Elmo - obsessed, really - and I can get quite a few things done while he eats breakfast and watches.  The mornings with the two of us feel slow and perfect. 

The way Luca fits perfectly into my lap, asking for books.

The sound of my girls singing in the car.

The way Ruby sometimes offers a compromise and does a little curtsy while speaking.



Thursday, March 3, 2016

Happy Birthday, Eisley!

To my sweet, sweet girl--

Eisley, you turn FIVE today!  I always imagine you to be about 18 months old, so as you could imagine, this seems quite shocking to me.  It's funny to imagine you then and imagine you now - some things are different, some things are very much the same, but it has been such a blessing to watch you blossom!

You came into this world and let everyone know how devastated you were over your eviction; you continue you make sure your opinions are heard, loud and clear, but you are more discreet around strangers.

Recently, you got a hole in your jeans at school, and I asked you about it.  Hours later, you said, "I can't stop worrying about this hole in my jeans!"  It was such a humorous, reflective moment for me because in that moment, I thought to myself "She is ME!" I have always known you and I are programmed very similarly, it makes parenting you fairly easy because I know how I am!  

You have the funniest facial expressions - most recently added to your repertoire, the eyebrow raising.  You pick up expressions and you still have your way of saying certain things (father/daughter dance will always be known as The Chicken Dance in our house), and I also happen to really love "swanwich."

You love to write and tell stories.  You love arts and crafts, and you love barbies.  You love tiny little objects that are easy to hoard in your collection of bags.  You love princesses and have a special place in your heart for stuffed animals.  Hundreds of them.

You also really love all animals, particularly horses, dogs and cats.  You just recently changed your future job dreams to veterinarian!

You are really easy to please and could easily entertain yourself with the simplest of things.  As long as there are snacks nearby - you ask for a snack approximately 189 times every single day.

I worried a little bit about making you a middle child, but you have taken the role and made it so perfectly fitting for you.  You love to play with Ruby, you are okay to play by yourself, and you are the best big sister to Luca!  You are such a great compliment to both of them.

You told me you could never stop growing even though I asked otherwise, and that you were most excited to turn five so maybe you could loose a tooth!

You love our family movie nights, you also love to watch Peppa Pig and Max and Ruby.  You enjoy playing Candy Land and we often have to search your collections of little things for the pieces.

You close out each day with your question quota met - somewhere in the 200s.  You keep me accountable for promises I made two years ago, and I love that about you!

I can't believe you are five today, it seems surreal and impossible.  It has been such an honor to be your mama for the last five years - the growth, the laughs, the love.  You are impossibly cute and so hilarious. 

We love you to the moon!


Thursday, February 11, 2016

the nose saga continues

The nose situation.

I had the bump in my nose surgically removed yesterday and I severely underestimated the accompanying pain.  On a scale of 1-10, it was a strong I'm probably going to die.  Seriously, had nose job ever been on my bucket list, it most certainly wouldn't be now.  Childbirth would have been preferred.  And the way that I can't move my mouth now - I'll probably keep botox off of my list too. And if I said that to you in person, it would sound like: "I'll frolly keet votox off of vy list too."  And then I would let my drink spill out of my mouth because I can no longer drink from a cup now, either.  I'm classy like that.

On a serious note, I am waiting for the pathology results, and hopefully this will be the last I deal with this situation.  It's scary to hear your doctor tell you that he has been in his line of work for a very long time and he has no clue what it might be.  Trust is something I'm working on.  That, and patience.  And not googling.  I'm ready to close this chapter of scary thoughts that interrupt my daily life.

I have been absolutely blown away with countless thoughtful messages that have just poured in.  Thoughts and prayers and requests to bring dinner and take kiddos.  I have the sweetest friends - friends I don't feel like I deserve, but I just feel empowered with their presence and their thoughtfulness.


I can't remember if I mentioned this or not, but Luca has had what I have suspected as a dairy sensitivity for months now.  It has been very obvious to me for many months, I think it became a conscious thought when he began eating table food.  He has been tested and is not actually allergic, but upon the doctor's advice, I took him off of absolutely every trace of dairy for two weeks to ensure it was indeed that (it was, he was a new kid).  This week, I have allowed him to eat some of it.  His sleeping is back to worse than newborn status.  So, we're done with that for quite awhile.

he may be cute, but there is no one cute enough to make up for regular all nighters.

The girls and Jimmy continued their tradition of father/daughter dances - it was Ruby's fourth year to go!  I hope they will continue this tradition long into the teenage years.  I hope they will always look up to him with such adoring smiles.  I hope they will always know how much he cherishes them, and that they find someone else who does the same. 

That's it (oh, and the baby shower - success! Details to come) - waiting on nose results, waiting for the pain to disappear, and trusting God that all will be well.

So many thanks to my unbelievable friends that have loved on me through a scary time!

Monday, February 1, 2016

embrace the chaos and some nose drama

I always imagine January to be this beautiful, calm month - the hustle and bustle over, life slowed down, probably sipping coffee while taking in the snowy landscape.  But not so snowy that life is complicated.

Here we are, January is over, and I feel like it mostly put me in a blender, turned it on and laughed its head off at me.  We started the year with a bloody bang - my nose wouldn't stop bleeding.  And it has done nothing but cause me issues since.  I have seen three doctors who are all equally perplexed, and I'm waiting for my insurance to approve the surgery to have it removed and sent to pathology.  I'm not thrilled at the circus this has been, but there is something slightly humorous about it all.

The schools became extra needy with various projects in January - costumes and family photo requests, show and tell, all about me posters.  KINDERGARTEN REGISTRATION (I can't even.)

And so much of this sprung up when I decided on a road trip with my little elmo-loving companion.  So a quick and simple road trip turned out to be an array of lists and instructions, followed by texting reminders to go hunt for various costume pieces.  And trial hairdo options for the husband to do his best at not sending tiny hobos to school while I was away.

Ruby asked for a sewing machine for Christmas and Aunt Sara and Uncle Phil delivered - I was so excited at this being on her wishlist.  This is a hobby that I can get behind!  She chose to make Luca a blanket for her first project, and has since decided she is "an awesome sewer!" and has a list of projects to make for just about everyone in her life.

Sorry, Jimmy, about the fabric bills.

 just because roses from the husband and baby straw faces - not much cuter.

My grandma is set to visit this week which is a big deal and such a treat - so we decided to plan Mere's shower around her arrival.  I also have a tea and two dances to coordinate this weekend.  Maybe after that the calm comes?  Doubtful.

So yes, shower things.  I have been busy crafting and buying ruffles and tulle and such.  I'm excited for this weekend, and also so excited for this sweet baby girl to arrive!

I'm crossing my fingers for fewer obligations and I'm also learning how to prioritize my time.  It's a work in progress, so for now, I'm embracing the chaos.

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