Friday, June 29, 2012

Love: Triplets.

No. I'm not pregnant with triplets. Ha ha.

I found pics of my big kids when they were five months old to compare to Lydia. I always thought she looked just like Caleb, but now I'm not sure. Either way, it was fun to see all of my babies at the same age and can I just say, time flies. As in, I blink and my five month old is three and the other one is two and I suddenly have a brand new five month old. Goodness gracious.

So, there you go, some baby yumminess to start your weekend off right.

Have a lovely weekend, friends.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Getting Crafty: Growth Charts!

Did I tell y'all that I dropped my iPhone in the toilet? No? Well, I did. Anyway. I consequently inherited my husband's old iPhone (first world problems, right, I know, lame) and the picture quality isn't as good, so don't mind the fuzzy noisy less-than quality pics displayed in this post. 

And don't drop your iPhone in the toilet.

So! Growth charts!

As I was measuring Cub the other day, I realized that the girls don't have their own growth charts. So I walked over to the computer and after some clicking around I was disappointed to discover that paper growth charts ran at around $20 while wooden or canvas growth charts ran at anywhere from $60 to $80. Hm. Not that my little ladies aren't worth it, but, you know. Let's be just a little thrifty here.

So, I loaded the crew in the car and headed to Hobby Lobby to pick up some supplies to make the charts myself. As I perused the aisles, I discovered some rolled cork board that had an adhesive backing, measuring at 48 inches tall, for five bucks. Perfect! I picked up a few other goodies and headed home.

Now. I have three kids. So, any craft I do has to be easy. And this one was. 

My supplies: Rolled cork with adhesive backing, hot glue gun, decals, letter, paint, measuring tape, sharpie. I already owned everything but the cork, the decals, and the letters, so the cost of this project was about ten bucks per chart. Sweet!

I unrolled the cork and weighted it down with two books at each end, and left it that way for a few hours to help it flatten. After the kiddos went to bed, I painted the cork board yellow. It turned out distressed-looking, which I like, but you could do two coats to make it more even, if you're more of a paint-looks-better-even kind of gal. I painted each of the letters (I made one for Naomi and will make one for Lydia when I get a chance ... someday ...) and hot glued them to the painted cork board. I kind of made the rest up as I went, adding a vine-y looking thing with the crocheted flower decals, and painting the measuring lines green. When everything was dry and finished, I peeled off the paper backing and stuck it to the wall. I hung it crooked the first time and had to peel it off the wall and re-stick it, and the paint on the wall was totally fine, so no worries there.


I love it. I might add ribbon to the top for a little something extra. And the cork may or may not hold up for a long time, so I may need to pin it to the wall. But I love how it turned out! It was a fun, easy project and Naomi loves it. Score!

Have a lovely day.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Lydia Jane: Five Months!

Dear Little Lydia Ladybug Buns,

You are now FIVE MONTHS OLD!

For some reason, this reality has hit Mama a little harder than the other months. It's so close to six months, which is almost half a year ... I just can't believe it! I feel like I blink and you're another month older. This month brought on so many changes, too, which makes me realize more that you are growing up quickly, my little Liddybug.

You are now officially sleeping through the night. Woot! You were still waking up for a feeding here and there, but now that has become the exception rather than the rule. You go to bed around 8:00 and sleep until 7:00 and it's wonderful! You've dropped your fourth nap and take three naps now--two long naps and one short catnap in the evening. You are still an avid thumb sucker and when we put you in bed, you find your thumb, roll to your side, and go to sleep.

You started solid food this month! Yay! After a couple weeks of oatmeal cereal (with some prunes, ew), I gave you applesauce for the first time. I know, I know, I'm supposed to start with green veggies ... I'll get there. We just had a tub of the organic stuff in our fridge and I gave into my temptation to give it to you! Sure enough, you were a huge fan. I need to get on the ball and start making your baby food. Phew! I just can't believe we're at that stage already!

Speaking of eating, you had to take a bottle for a full weekend while your Dadda and I went to Dallas with some friends. You did great, but I think it's safe to say you were missing me by the last day. And I was missing you! Pumping for that long is no fun and we were both happy to be reunited! I think you eat around 4-5 ounces per feeding. We are going to the doctor this week for your follow-up to make sure you've gained weight!

You are becoming more coordinated with your hands and feet. If I hand you a toy, you can hold on to it for a while instead of immediately dropping it. You also love to kick the toys on your floor gym and I've noticed that once you can tell you're kicking something, you just keep kicking it over and over again. You're so smart, Liddybug! You also roll to your stomach all the time and love to grab toys in front of you. But you aren't a fan of being on your stomach for too long--you inevitably spit up and then you're done!


You love the sound of your voice and your coos echo through our house. Your little voice is beginning to have inflection and I can tell you are mimicking the sounds of the voices you hear all day. You love to chit-chat with yourself and it's so cute to see you coo happily and then suddenly furrow your brow and gurgle gruffly. Hm. I wonder who you are impersonating there? :)

We love you, Liddybug. We are so proud you already. God gave us the sweetest of gifts in you.


Friday, June 22, 2012

Love: The Week.

Big girl had oatmeal cereal for the first time!

And the big sister turned TWO! I can't believe it.

We spent her big day doing fun free stuff--seeing a waterfall, visiting a fire station, and looking at the birds and fish at PetSmart. Way fun.

Birthday girl in her party dress.

Father's Day. All of our children look JUST like my husband. I've never put them side by side like this before ... wow, I have THREE kids! :)

Cub and Naomi decided to have a fireplace picnic, complete with blankets.

Naomi's Two Year Check-up! Twenty-four pounds and almost three feet tall. She's got her Dadda's long and lean genes!

Angry Bird Pizza. It's what's for dinner.

Sweet baby. Can't get enough of her sweetness.

I'm attempting a fedora this weekend. I'm not totally sure how I feel about it. We'll see.

Naomi swimming. She looks like a superhero. Captain Nerd Alert, maybe? ;) Those goggles crack me up!

Have a lovely weekend, friends.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: BRILLIANT!

Okay ... so it's not wordless. But it is AWESOME.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Bedtime Redemption.

Bedtime routine.

We sing songs, we read books, we say our prayers.


Why, after a harrowing day that includes several "teachable moments", windblown hair, and sticky messes ... why do we end it curled up in bed with a book?

(Especially when you can just climb into bed yourself and go to bed on your own?)

Because despite the day, whether it was good or bad or somewhere in between, you are still mine.

This is our time of redemption.

I love you.

No matter what.

We end the day with the things that are true, the things that matter: Love, forgiveness, quality time. We will end the day together because these are the things I want to linger in your mind as you close your eyes and fall asleep.

(Even if you are sent back to bed a few times before actually falling asleep ...)

I want to cover you with security that is warmer than your blankets. You are worthy, loved, and I enjoy you. Remember that, as I tuck you in and kiss your head. My singing might be a little flat if I'm tired, I might "accidentally" skip a few words in your book, and the prayers might be short ... but we will still do them, because they matter.

Because you matter.

And I love you.

To the moon and back.

Good night, sleep tight.

Friday, June 15, 2012


To our smiley, sassy, exuberant, hilarious little Mouse.

We love you more than you know.


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

On A Plane! On A Train! In the Dark! With A Shark!

We recently went to Sea World with the kids' grandparents and it made for some interesting breastfeeding experiences, to say the least! There wasn't time to pump, so I had to feed the baby wherever I could. With all of the breastfeeding buzz going on thanks to Time magazine's cover a few weeks ago, I couldn't help but laugh while I sat there in the dark corner of the shark exhibit, feeding my baby under a blanket. I'm "Mom enough"* to feed my baby with sharks ... but not without a cover-up! So funny.

Some other locations included the airplane, the airport, a curb next to Shamu stadium, and by the hotel pool. Onlookers were either oblivious or polite, which I appreciated--I never heard a negative remark. At one point I had to feed her on a stairwell and an older gentleman saw me and could tell I was a little embarrassed (I know, I shouldn't be, but I'm just that way anyway). He gave me the sweetest smile and nod and said in a sweet frail voice, "Precious baby you have there, sweetie."It was so kind of him to acknowledge me without making me feel awkward. I always use a cover-up, but the baby feet sticking out always give me away, too.

So, I have to know, where is the craziest place you've ever nursed your baby? Are you out there with it or do you prefer a cover-up?

Have a lovely day, friends!

*FYI--To avoid any confusion, I need to go ahead and assert that I don't believe that being "Mom enough" has anything to do with anything more than doing what's best for your kids and your family. Breastfeeding or bottle feeding, co-sleeping or crib-sleeping, to each your own. Let's drink to that with a Venti Caramel Mocha, shall we?

Lydia: Four Months!

This letter is two weeks overdue. It's safe to say we've been a little busy!

My Dearest Lydia Jane,

You are four months old! I can hardly believe it. 

It has been quite a month! You've definitely experienced the four month growth spurt that I remember with your brother and sister, with random increases in your appetite and sleep, which consequently cause your little routine to be all over the place! You slept through the night more nights this month than you ever have, which is much appreciated! You still wake up for that middle of the night feeding sometimes and I love our snuggly time together.

You are in the 87th percentile for your height ... and the 8th for your weight. YIKES. Don't get me wrong, little babies are the norm in our family, but you dropped from the 35th percentile to the 8th, which was cause for concern (read: Mama was borderline hysterical). The pediatrician asked if my milk supply had decreased at all and I didn't think that it had. However, it's apparently normal for a breastfeeding Mama's milk supply to change around three to four months, because this is the time frame when postpartum hormones begin to normalize (read: change). For example, my postpartum shedding has been in full-force, one of the best examples of hormonal change.

He suggested I drink at least two liters of water a day, so I started drinking three (your Mama is a worrywart). With working out and the hot weather upon us, I really need to keep up my hydration, since I'm responsible for hydrating two people! I pumped and took notes. You take 3-4 ounces per feeding and when I tried giving you more (in a bottle), you puked everywhere. Point taken. I called the pediatrician and told him what I had recorded and he said it sounded fine--but to be sure to keep my water intake up. So, I have. When I asked him if I needed to give up coffee, his response was, "I wouldn't do that to you!" He knows me well. One coffee drink a day ... and lots of water! You've been doing great! Phew. You had me scared, little Ladybug.

Okay let me go get another drink of water.


You smile all the time. Your whole face lights up and it's absolutely amazing. I can't help but squeal when I see it and your Dadda and I do a good job making idiots of ourselves whenever your little gummy grin begins to form. You love to be held and snuggled and oh, I absolutely take advantage of it. I can't get enough of your sweetness. You've found your voice, too, and love to squeal and giggle. Yep. You have my heart.

Your sleepy time routine is a simple one--I sing you a song (typically "You Are My Sunshine") while I rock you in my arms and then I lay you down. You smile and coo and eventually find your thumb and go to sleep. Way to go, baby. Yes, you are a bonified thumb-sucker, just like your big brother! I have to say, you're pretty good at falling asleep in random places, like your sister. When you're sleepy, you're ready for bed! You've made one big discovery this month: Your FEET! You love to grab your toes and put them in your mouth. So cute. You're working on that hand-eye coordination. It's so cute to see your serious concentration as your wobbly little arms reach for your wobbly toes ... and when you finally grab them, your eyes get so big! Victory! So sweet.

Baby girl, what an honor it is to be your Mama. Keep growing, my ladybug.


Sunday, June 10, 2012


A few weeks ago, we loaded the kids in the truck and set out for Sheboygan, Wisconsin, to visit my brother. This trip was a bit of a poignant one for a few reasons: Firstly, we had never taken a trip like this with just our little family of five, and, secondly, this was our first trip to visit them since they moved a couple years ago. 

The family. Lydia is behind me. This is right before we hit St. Louis ... and then tons of construction in Illinois, which turned a twelve hour trip into a sixteen hour trip. We lived to tell about it.

We were SO HAPPY to finally see this sign!

I won't bore you with every detail of the trip (I will, however, bore you with lots of pictures, HA!), but I will try to sum up the awesomeness of the trip. I love my brother. I love my sister-in-law. I love that my brother and I make the effort to see each other without my parents (I love my parents, but it's nice to hang out on our own, too). Sixteen hours on the road is pretty symbolic of that! My sister-in-law is one of my favorite people. Whenever we say goodbye, I always leave feeling inspired to be a better person. I love my nephews and my niece. The kids played so well together and we left with some really great memories. It was fantastic. And every bit of travel advice y'all gave me was much appreciated, from little gifts along the way to keeping every snacked-up and hydrated. The kids did so well on the trip--I kept my expectations low and was pleasantly surprised. They really rocked it. 

My SIL made homemade Oreos. That's right ... HOMEMADE OREOS. Heavenly goodness.

We visited a local children's museum, the library, and finished off the day with, of course, Johnsonville brats! Yum.

Uh ... a lot of my pictures are of food ... we had donuts at a local bakery and they were delicious. So fun.

And even more food ... the best fish and chips I've ever eaten, at the Duke of Devon pub. A date night with just the adults and it was one of the best times we've had together. My brother is funny. Sorry the picture is so blurry.

Dressed up for the date night. His shirt matched my purse, so it was worth documenting.

More amazing food made by my SIL--stuffed mushrooms, and mediterranean chicken on homemade pita bread. Yes, it was as good as it sounds!

Lake Michigan, at the beach. Beautiful sunny weather, so we buried our son in the sand. He didn't mind.

Pigtails and a pink tutu swimsuit makes for all kinds of cuteness.

Lydia's first beach trip! She slept.

My brother brought me a mocha from the aforementioned bakery. He knows me well. He's great.

Cousins at a local ice cream parlor. Love.

My brother and I with our babies strapped to us. We've grown up. Kind of.

Walking out to a lighthouse. It was COLD.

Photo-op at the lighthouse. I couldn't resist the red.

Family pictures by Lake Michigan. Lydia is slightly windblown.

Mama/Baby pictures. Isn't my SIL beautiful?

Naomi and the boys skipping rocks.

It was so great to experience a little bit of what life is like with my brother's family up in Wis-kahn-son. It was a beautiful trip and I'm excited to make it again! 

We were happy to see our driveway after the drive home.

Have a lovely day, friends.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Like Ships In The Night.

Whenever I sit down to write a post about marriage, I feel like I should precede the post with massive disclaimers, clarifying that my husband and I are doing just FINE, don't worry, we're all okay, etc.

So. Disclaimer disclaimer disclaimer.

I recently heard a song from Mat Kearney entitled "Ships In The Night". Give that link a click and have a listen. It's got a good beat. Anyway. As the lyrics reached my ear, my hand reached the volume knob and twisted it until the music filled the car. The chorus is what resonated with me:

Turn the lights down low
Walk these halls alone
We can feel so far
From so close

Like ships in the night
You keep passing me by
We're wasting time
Trying to prove who's right
And if it all goes crashing into the sea
If it's just you and me
Trying to find the light

Like ships in the night

In a music industry dominated by songs that make love appear as an idealistic fantasy, and fights appear as the death of relationships (in which both parties now hate each other), it's so refreshing to find a song that just honestly explains what conflict looks like in a healthy marriage.

My husband and I are navigating new territory, being the parents of three little ones. He works full-time and comes home and is a Dad full-time, while I'm consumed in all things child-rearing, meeting the constant needs of my constant companions ... constantly. The window of time for each other has narrowed immensely. It just comes with this season of life. We still make time for each other, it's just much less time than it has ever been.

And that makes things hard at times. Because if the only time you have alone is after a long day where you're both finally collapsing on the couch at 9:00, it can be hard to drum up the energy to even want to ask about their day, much less talk about yours. He worked. I worked. We're exhausted. Kiss. Goodnight.

Ideally, we'd light a candle and hold hands and stare deeply into each other's eyes and tell each other how much we appreciate all of the hard work the other one is doing. Instead, I'm scraping cereal bar off of my elbow while he's wringing bath water out of his shirt, and one of us will inevitably trip over a toy on our way to the couch. Some nights we're good about talking. Other nights ... we're just plain tired. And when there are several of those nights in a row, it gets tough. Marriage requires good communication. And that's tough when you find yourself too tired to talk. Too tired to invest. And so when a conflict does arise, it can be tough for us to really find the time to truly talk it out and fix it. Because life will keep tumbling forward whether we fix it or not.

I know I could click on Pinterest and find several chintzy links that could teach me how to "Be The Perfect Wife In Just Three Easy Steps! Squee!" ... but wow, is that all it is? Is it that black and white? Trust me, the majority of my classes in college dealt with counseling--I know the 1-2-3 step systems. But marriage, in my opinion, is so much more than that. It's a continual manifestation of the commitment that we made to each other in front of God and witnesses, a manifestation that is growing and evolving from the new experiences we encounter daily. I am not who I was when we got married, simply because I had not yet experienced the things that have made me who I am today. My personality is still the same, but my spirit, the invisible drive inside of me, has grown with each life change and, as this is true with my husband as well, our marriage has therefore needed to adapt.

And what makes that adaptation possible?


Egad, sacrifice.

I give all that I am, every day, to my gaggle of kids. I feed them, bathe them, play with them, meet their needs. But, when I step back and look at my husband, I find that I am not always so quick to acknowledge his needs. And why is that? Why is it easier, it seems, to give the kids attention? I love my husband more now than I ever have. And many times he simply acquiesces to what I want--like, say, when I beg to go on a family outing after he's had a grueling week at work. He'll agree because he loves us and he wants to make us happy, but am I really thinking about his needs? What gives? Why is it easier for me to think of the kids than it is to think of his needs?

Because the act of caring for my children is instinctual. They need me in order to live. The sacrifice of self to my children is automatic.

The sacrifice of self to my husband? It's a choice.

He does not need me to survive. He can pour his own bowl of cereal, dress himself. Shoot, he can even drive! It's easy for me to feel that he does not need me simply because I unintentionally categorize his needs into the same compartment as the needs of our children. Since he can meet those needs himself, I subconsciously back away and focus on meeting the needs of the little ones.

Read: He's alive, he's fine.

That conclusion, of course, is ridiculous. His needs are not the same needs as our children, DUH. But wow, it can be hard sometimes for me to realize that. All it takes is me going one step further. Even when I'm so tired, when I've been on-call from the moment my eyes popped open for the day until the moment the last little one is tucked into bed, I need muster up just a little more energy and give it to him. It might not be remarkable. It might not be with squealing giggles or witty banter. It might be as simple as sitting on the couch next to him, not sitting on the opposite couch, when we crash for two minutes before calling it a night. Leaning my head on his shoulder, lacing my fingers through his hand, and telling him I love him. And in the morning, when I do have a little more energy, it's making a conscious effort to pause amidst the busy breakfast to give him a kiss and bat my eyelashes before he heads out the door. It seems so small, but oh, at this stage of life, it's so very big. We adore our children. We couldn't ask for a better team. And our little team is on the go every minute. So taking the time amidst the swirling and wonderful chaos to show a small gesture of appreciation and love speaks volumes.

That little bit of sacrifice, thinking of what he needs when sometimes it's easier to focus on the needs of the more demanding little ones, is what keeps us going. I am still here for you. This crazy little phase? It will be over when we blink. I am with you.

When I say, "Let's do this together," I don't mean, "Let's do this my way."


We're both learning as we go--we're fairly new at this role of being outnumbered by our offspring. And I'm so glad we're learning it together.

When the kids are older and this nutty little stage has passed, we'll look back and remember the times where we felt like two ships in the night. When the waves crested and the wind blew and we were there, feeling slightly adrift but heading towards the same light. And we will be all the better for it, stronger when the storms come.

Have a lovely day.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Love: The Week!

Little Nomes walking the beach at Lake Michigan. The road trip to visit my brother was a huge success and so, so fun! They live a few blocks from the lake and it was actually warm enough on Sunday for us to go to the beach. Love. 

Me and Cub! I'm wearing a strapless maxi dress. I felt the need to clarify that, ha ha. :)

Okay. I'm a huge fan of my aviators. I love them. So, the plastic-y MTV-esque eighties mod sunglasses trend has not appealed to me AT ALL. I still can't wrap my mind around red frames. I guess this just means I'm old, or terrified of thinking that I'm trying to look thirteen. I found some at Target super cheap and tried them on. Based on the fact that I didn't HATE them, I decided to purchase them. The clear frames were not as audaciously intimidating as some of the others. 

(Note: When I presented my dilemma to a (teenage) friend of mine, she replied: "Um, I think they're just supposed to be fun."

I overanalyze my sunglasses.


I love historical fiction, especially when it involves foreign royalty, and this book about the last days of the Romanov imperial family is keeping me on the edge of my seat. My SIL, who grew up in Russia, lent it to me. Love it.

Speaking of my sister-in-law, she made these amazing homemade Oreos and let us eat a lot of them when we visited. HOLY COW. YUM. I will write a post about the trip soon!

Cub has been carrying this vile of fish tank water around all week. He thinks it's super cool. Kids are funny.

Grilled cheese, yum. Vermont Sharp Cheddar on Rudi's Sourdough, grilled with real butter. And a watermelon. Summertime, I love you.

Okay, seriously. Our Lydia Ladybug has her own ladybug romper. I mean, the cuteness. Ladybug buns!

My hair looks like this at the end of almost every day. This is a reason I cannot cut my hair short. I would miss the messy bun. I wish I could say I have some awesome way of styling it, but so far flipping my head upside down and twisting it into a rubberband and tucking in the fly-aways is the best technique I have! Humid days means the hair has to be up.

Have a lovely weekend, friends!