Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Leggings Dilemma!

So. This morning.

I awoke at 5:30 to a bawling four year old, telling me about a horrible dream he had. I groggily rolled out of bed and gave him a hug, pulled on some leggings, a dolman sweater (the same one I wore yesterday) over the tank top I slept in, and then stumbled into the bathroom to brush my teeth. Cub came in behind me, wiping his eyes, and asked if he could use my potty. I yawned and nodded and he walked into the potty room (water closet?) and came back out and said he couldn't use it, because there was toilet paper in it. 

For reals.

So, I flushed the potty.

Which promptly overflowed onto the floor.

All before 7:00am.


I hung my head, threw some towels on the floor, hoisted a pajama-clad Cub onto my hip, and headed out the door to get some coffee. A quiet drive and some yummy caffeine (and a now happy, chatty Cub) were exactly the remedy I needed. I quickly cleaned up the floor, woke up my husband, fed the kids, dressed Cub and Lydia, and threw on some mascara and my coat and headed out the door to take them to their 8:00am doctor's appointment.

I realized at the doctor's office that I was still wearing my leggings.

Now. A few months ago, if you had asked me my opinion on wearing leggings as pants in public, I would have said a resounding NO. They're TIGHT! GROSS!


As I sat there, I realized my tank top (yes, the one I slept in) was long enough to cover ... you know. Cover what it needed to. And my dolman sweater (yes, the one I wore yesterday) was nice and baggy. And my coat was chunky. And, my boots were tall, so all in all, not much of my legs were exposed.

Plus, these leggings are thick and not like tights-leggings. 

When I walked in the door after coming home from the doctor, I asked my hubby to take a quick picture of me so I could write a post about leggings. So. This is me about fifteen minutes ago, ha ha: 

And now I ask you: Are leggings okay to wear in public? I am starting to lean towards "yes", under certain circumstances ... especially on a morning like this morning. Will I wear them for a dinner out? No (unless I'm wearing a tunic or something). But for running errands, mopping up toilet water, etc., I actually don't mind them as much as I used to.

Now. What do YOU think?? Yay, or nay?

Have a lovely day!

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Mantle.

I recently redid my mantle and hesitated putting up pics because the decor isn't exactly fall-ish. I mean, I typically make my mantle a seasonal one, but I was so excited to execute a certain idea that I completely overlooked the fact that it is, in fact, FALL, and that perhaps I should incorporate it somehow. 

So, I tossed the pumpkin Cub picked from the pumpkin patch up there and voila! My mantle is seasonal once again.


As for there rest of the design, there's a little story. I recently saw some shelving belonging to a friend of mine that had (what seemed to be) random items on display. However, the closer I looked, the more I realized that the objects somehow related to different aspects of her family's life and, essentially, told their story. I absolutely loved that idea and tried to figure out a way to incorporate it in my own home. I find that I get caught up in decor for the sake of decor-I typically assume that family pictures are the best way to make a home personal. But the idea of making the decor personal as well, in a less obvious way, is appealing and, really, pretty fun.

My hubby loves cycling and I found this beauty on clearance. Perfect!

I do photography as a little side business and I was thrilled when my Mom lent me her old Canon to display. It's a classic! The "B" is the first initial of my last name and the canvas is one I painted when Lydia was a newborn. It says "Choose Joy Today". I very easily get caught up in motherhood as the source of my identity. This gentle reminder of the source of my joy, God's love for me and the identity I have in Christ, is good news to me every time I read it.

The peonies are from a quaint little antique store that my friend and I visited a few years ago when Cub was a baby. I have so many fun memories from that trip and these flowers remind me of her friendship. And the Route 66 sign ... I love it! Part of Route 66 runs through our city. And, my first half marathon will be The Route 66 Marathon, so the "Get Your Kicks on Route 66" is totally fitting. The candle stands are from the wedding of a dear friend that also served as a reunion for some of my closest lifelong friends. There are really wonderful memories attached to those!

I've had the crazy flowers for a while and I love them because they remind me of the fields and wildflowers around our house. Bringing a little of the outside, inside. :)

There you have it! I know, it is probably mostly underwhelming, but I love the things it represents for our family and our lives. Our story on display.

Have a lovely day!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Mom's Wuh-Tweet.

When I told Naomi I was writing a blog post about my new Mom retreat, she looked incredulously at me and asked, "What's a wuh-tweet??"

A wuh-tweet is a nook that belongs to Mommy and only Mommy (okay, and Daddy) and does not involve TOYS.

Our house is busy. Our lives are busy. The bustle of kids and baby and dinner and errands and cleaning ... it's a whirlwind. And my house is evidence of that! Before I had kids, I always said that the toys would have to be contained to one room (he he). This was, of course, before I had three kids right in a row, where toy containment is the least of my troubles. Each room has a designated toy spot, don't get me wrong, but I started to see the toys and baby things spilling into our bedroom, too.

And it's understandable. Lydia lived in our room for four months and occasionally naps in the pack 'n play in there. But I found myself feeling a little .... claustrophobic. I was having difficulty relaxing in my own house, if that makes sense.

So, we set up some rules and made a wish list.

The rules: No toys in Mom and Dad's room or the guest room. The wish list: A cozy nook where Mom (and Dad) can relax, read, and unwind. I mean, don't get me wrong--the kids climb in bed with us every morning and I will, inevitably, trip over a wayward Magna Doodle on my way to the bathroom at some point. But, I at least wanted a designated space, just for me. For us. A grown-up spot. I cut out a picture I found in a magazine that looked exactly like the nook I was imagining, and taped it to my computer. 

And this weekend, after much drilling, assembling, allen-wrenching, and organizing ... my wish came true. My hubby was out of town and it was just me, my bedroom, and some power tools.

This is our master bedroom "before". This picture was also taken "before" Lydia was born. So, add in a pack 'n play and some wet wipes (which have now been moved to the guest room). And, of course, imagine that it's actually lived in. So ... before:

And, after!

A wuh-tweet! A real Mom wuh-tweet! This is now the view from our bed. Neutrals and coziness. Love.

My original intent was to blow up a copy of our marriage license (like, huge) and have it framed, but when I found that we already had this copy, I went ahead and used it instead. I decoupaged it to foam board.

The fireplace is a funny story. The picture I had of my dream "Mom Nook" had a white fireplace that I loved. The other day I happened upon Big Lots to look for a rug and oh my goodness, they had fireplaces! And not only did they have fireplaces, but they had THIS fireplace, which is pretty much exactly like the one I've been dreaming of. I hauled that thing home, thrashed the box open in the van (it was too heavy to lift), carried in each piece, and assembled that thing in an hour. I was ecstatic. It is, essentially, a glorified space heater (or not, you can have the "flames" without heat!) and I love it. I LOVE it. Ambience, y'all.

Le sigh.

I spend my evenings in this chair. Relaxing. Amazing.

There you have it: The Mom Wuh-tweet. It is absolutely the best wish list thing ever. I love having my own designated space, in our bedroom, that is just for us. Perfect.

Have a lovely day!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Cub is Growing "Up"!

Cub turned four. 

I can't believe it.

I mean, I REMEMBER turning four years old! It kind of feels like the official jump from toddlerhood to big-kid-hood. Wow.

For Cub's party, I wanted to utilize some of the paper lanterns I had used for Naomi's garden party birthday party last summer. Paper lanterns are fun and bright and I knew Cub would want them at his party, too. The day before his birthday, it hit me: An "Up" party with paper lantern balloons! "Up" is one of Caleb's favorite movies (ours, too) and I was so excited to elaborate on the idea. My Mom always put up our party decorations the night before our birthday and I've carried on the tradition. Phew, I don't know how she did it--I was TIRED--but it turned out great and Cub was so excited!

The house is a pressed-cardboard house from Hobby Lobby ($5.99, then 50% off, woot) and I painted it to match the real "Up" house as best as I could. So fun!

I pinned the paper lanterns to the ceiling using fishing wire and push-pins, and then attached long strands of jute rope.


(Over the bar...)

(Mini-lanterns/balloons for the mantle ...)

(Even the chalkboard in the living room participated! :))

My husband and I couldn't stop laughing when we saw the finished product. It was just so fun and we knew Cub would love it! For the party food, I decided to name each item after a theme or character in the movie. We had "Muntz Munch" (Chex mix), "Paradise Falls Punch", "Shady Oaks Apples and Dip", "Dug's Dogs" (Lil' smokies), and more.

And, one of the best parts ...

My parents dressed up like Carl and Ellie Frederickson! They were a big hit and Cub was totally stoked. I love it.

This is a framer.

After that, there were presents to open!

Little sister was eager to help, of course.

Caleb is obsessed with flashlights right now, so Uncle Andrew pinned a small flashlight onto a Carhart ball cap. Cub loved it.

Pajamas make it official. Four!

Another obsession: Garbage trucks. Oh my word, we talk about garbage trucks ALL THE TIME. So, G-Ma found one. And it is Caleb's new favorite thing in the whole world.

Lots of presents from aunts and uncles and grandparents. It was such a special party!

Caleb requested a "sprinkle cake" for his birthday and our local grocery store had these on sale--how perfect! He was thrilled with the sprinkles and I was thrilled that it was already made. :)

Oh my goodness, the cuteness. The hat, the cake, the garbage truck, the cuffed jeans ... love my little boy.

And, of course, the evening ended with some glow-stick fun.

Our family of five celebrating our big kid turning four! 

A fun party with our favorite big brother. Happy Birthday, Cub.

Have a lovely day!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Running, Breastfeeding, Oh My!

I've received a few Facebook messages asking me what it's been like to exercise whilst breastfeeding, so I decided to sum up my experience here as a bit of a sounding board for those folks.

Okay. Some important things to note here: I was not an exercise-a-holic while I was pregnant. I went to Zumba once a week and took walks here and there, and that was all. It definitely helped during my pregnancy (I had more energy this time around!), but it wasn't like I was clocking miles a few hours before going into labor. I'm a big fan of, what's it called ... laziness? Whilst pregnant? So I did exercise a little, but not a lot.


I say that to clarify that I really started working out and working hard after the baby was born, so it's not like my body just eased back into the shape it was in before I got pregnant. Because I wasn't really in shape before I got pregnant. And I'm only clarifying that because there's nothing more frustrating than reading about someone's post-baby workout only to find out they're basically body builders and have never really been out of shape. That can be hard to relate to when you are in the throes of postpartum, wanting to work out but not exactly knowing where to start. So, just take encouragement when I tell you that everything I will be explaining here has only existed since Lydia was born. Not before.

Seven months.

I cross-train twice a week with my friend Alyson, who I've mentioned before. By "cross-train" I simply mean boot camp-ish body sculpt-ish weight training and toning, with some cardio. Twice a week, for an hour. When Lydia was about four months old, I started the C25K program (Couch to 5k) in prep for a 5k race I was planning on running. I love this program because it mixes walking and jogging to start and is actually achievable. Love it. I started slow and then ... I broke my toe. Remember that? OW. Then, as my toe healed, I discovered my milk supply had started to decrease. Lydia's pediatrician suggested that it was most likely dehydration (and maybe hormonal change). Since the summer temps were just starting to swelter, I knew hydration would be a big issue with exercise. So, I chose to stop running and only cross-train. I knew that if I continued to build muscle then it would be easier on me once I started running again.

I started drinking three liters of water a day and put running on the back burner. Which, honestly, wasn't that hard, since it was SWELTERING outside. My milk production stabilized and Lydia continued to grow, over the next two months. Then we had a random cooler weekend in August, so I went out for a jog and ran three miles. My thought process had been right--while running was by no means "easy", I could tell that the weight training had helped. It was too hot the next weekend, so I stayed put and didn't run. Then the next weekend, I added another mile. And continued to cross-train with Alyson. The next weekend I added another mile. And then another.

All while pushing the baby I am continuing to breastfeed. She's done great. A week and a half ago I ran eight miles. That's INSANE for someone like me. I've never been a runner. Ever. I played volleyball in high school so I wouldn't HAVE to run. Um, or catch. Anyway. There are no running glory days I can reminisce about. This is my first time, in my life, to do any of this.


1) Stay hydrated. Stay hydrated stay hydrated stay hydrated. And then drink some more.

2) Be sure to give your body a full workout. If you plan on running, don't only run. My friend enlightened me to the fact that the muscles used in running only get a forward-backwards type of workout. Do some kind of cross-training or exercise to work your muscles laterally, too. This is a big reason why running can cause so much injury. Keep the exercise evenly distributed. If your milk supply starts to slow, slow your work outs. Focus on strengthening the body that just birthed life! And do it at a pace that respects that body.

3) I'll say it again: Start slow. I am a slow runner. My brother, in all of his awesomeness, runs eight minute miles. HA! I am minutes and minutes behind that. But, it doesn't matter. A good friend of mine told me, "Don't think about time, just think about distance". She's right. I started at the very beginning. Couch to 5k, two miles, twice a week, with two days of cross-training. Now I am running one three mile run and one long run (my next is nine miles, eek), plus two days of cross-training. I have to wake up early to get it done and it's taken me seven months to get there. Start at the beginning. Listen to your body.

4) And, when it comes to postpartum exercise in general, set a goal. Goals are great. Set a goal and make it public. I'm running a half marathon in a month (gulp). Just typing that makes me want to bust out laughing. The thought of me running a half marathon is just funny. I'm so not a runner! But, for me, I have to have a goal, so I can see a light at the end of the  tunnel. And make it public. I have an app that works as a GPS while I'm running and then posts my final mileage on Facebook. Making your goals public puts more pressure on yourself to actually achieve them. If people find it annoying that you post about it, then okay. Who really cares what people on Facebook think, anyway?

5) Just get out there and do it. Walk to the end of your driveway and back. Then walk to the end of your street and back the next day. Then maybe walk around the block. It will be one more block than you walked the day before. You just have to start somewhere! When I started running, I would just run around our 5-acre property. In the grass, in one big circle, over and over. Just work with what you've got and find what works best for you. Be it Zumba, walking, whatever. Find your thing and go with it!

I hope that helps!

Have a lovely day, friends.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Goosey Tuesday.

As I'm sitting at my computer, attempting to drum up some clever blog fodder, I find myself at a bit of a standstill. Uh, here, check out the geese that were in my front yard this morning! >Insert Picture< And there they are! The geese!

Actually, the geese were pretty cool. They took us by surprise, soaring overhead out of nowhere before spreading open their huge wings and floating into the yard. Cub had just finished getting ready for school, so we bundled up and sat on the front stoop to watch the geese wander around the yard. They meandered about, pushing at the soft, cool earth with their beaks, when suddenly one of them stuck its neck straight and tall and gave a commanding "HONK!" The other geese immediately waddled towards him until they formed a line, with the commanding goose at the front. He led his followers around the yard, giving a bold "HONK!" every few seconds. He was the only goose that made noise--the rest followed silently, in a neat and tidy row, obeying their leader. I saw another flock of geese in the neighbors yard, and wondered if the leader wanted to keep his crew in order to help everyone stay organized. You know, in case of a waterfowl rumble.

I couldn't help but be reminded of my own little crew as I watched all of this unfold in my yard. I often refer to my kiddos as my "ducklings" and it's a pretty true description-I, the Mama, leading the charge, and they, my followers, staying close. I sympathized with that leader goose!

Cub thought the whole thing was pretty cool, and I was thankful for that pause in our morning, with my my buddy and I. He turns four on Thursday and I'm kind of in denial. 

Have a lovely day, friends.

Friday, October 5, 2012


On Monday last week, I visited my hometown and ran into an old friend at the park. She had her two adorable toddler boys in tow and was glowing with the last few weeks of pregnancy. When I asked her if she was excited about the arrival of her third little duckling, she admitted that the idea of three kiddos was a little scary, but yes, she was excited. With wide eyes I gushed about how wonderful it was, how she would do great, etc.

And I really meant every word. I did.

Yesterday morning was hilarious at our house. After a brutal beating from my friend, Alyson, (doesn't "brutal beating" sound more original than "workout"?) at 5:15am, I tip-toed into the house at 6:15, hoping the baby was still asleep ... and she wasn't. She was in a full force holler, ready to EAT. I snuck into the girls' room, swooped her out of her crib, rushed her to my room in the dark, and fed her. She took her sweet time eating (which I really don't mind, especially in the mornings ... love that snuggle time!) and when she finished I rushed into the guest room where my husband had fallen asleep working the night before, handed him the baby as he groggily woke up, and jumped in the guest room shower to rinse off. Naomi walked in as soon as I stepped out and I could see she had wet through her pajamas. So I rushed to her room, grabbed clean clothes, rushed back to the guest room (all while my hair is dripping wet), rinsed her in the shower, dressed her, rushed back to her room, stripped her bed, threw the sheets and her dirty clothes into the washing machine and started it, rushed back to the guest room with a diaper for my husband to change Lydia, ran into my closet to put on sweats (with a hole in the knee--classy!) and a t-shirt, and as I hurriedly blow-dried my hair, Cub came in with a cereal bar he wanted to eat, so I unwrapped it for him (the wrapper is still on our bathroom counter), dried my hair to al dente, checked the clock, and saw that it was now 7:20, and we were supposed to be at the kids' great-grandfather's for breakfast at 7:30. I scooped up the girls, flung my purse over my shoulder, yelled what-Cub-needs-to-take-to-school instructions over my shoulder for my husband, and the girls and I were off. We had pancakes, talked with PawPaw, and made it home at 9:00, where I sat down (really sat down) for the first time since 4:45, over four hours earlier.

I hadn't sat down since waking up. Oy, was I exhausted.

And really, every morning is pretty exhausting.

This morning I fed the baby in the girls' room in the dark and Naomi wanted to sit on my lap while I did so. Then Cub came in and wanted to snuggle, so I balanced a nursing baby, a squirmy toddler, and a sleepy big kid on my lap, my head resting on the toddler's head, breathing in the sweet scent of her hair, as I dozed on and off. An armful of love and the most perfect way to start a day. Maybe it started earlier than I would have wanted, but the day has to start at some point, right? And snuggling my three loves was really a great way to do it. And it was a nutty morning in its own right after the snuggling--getting the kids fed, the dishwasher unloaded and loaded, changing the baby's diaper, taking the toddler to the potty, helping the big kid get dressed ... it was two hours before I had a chance to get dressed (and even then it was, again, in sweatpants, score)!

My life is busy. And it is, at times, chaotic. I used to think that Moms with chaotic lives must have bad children (HA! Pre-Mom Katie THOUGHT SHE KNEW EVERYTHING), but now that I live in it, I realize that it's the circumstances that make it busy. The kids are just really little and still need me for most things. Even with extensive planning on my part, there are always unexpected things (like, say, a dead bunny in the dining room) that put my day into a tail spin. But there are moments where it settles. Sweet moments. Moments where I'm laying on the floor with the baby, as she coos and wraps her tiny fingers around my own, or when I crawl into bed with Cub at nap time and he reaches his hand behind his back to feel if I'm still there, or when a blonde-headed blue-eyed sassy Mouse asks me to paint her "fingah-naiws" (fingernails, for those who don't speak Mouse). And I don't always live in sweatpants. My teal pants have made several appearances and there are days where I feel coiffed and girly. Love it. But I just as much love the dance my little crew and I perform every day, passing from one partner to another, filling this sippy cup, changing that diaper, opening that cereal bar, tickling this tummy, kissing that cheek ... those moments in the dark, when my arms and my heart are full.

For nap time today, as Naomi Mouse draped her blanket over her head and toddled down the hallway to her room, I saw how small she really is. And I choked up thinking that she will soon be very big. I can't wait to watch my children grow, and become. But I really do want to relish these days, too, even if it means messy ponytails and hole-y sweatpants for me.

Because, soon, they won't fit so easily in my arms.

So, precious friend that I ran into at the park, there will be chaos. There will be dried toothpaste on the floor and cookie crumbs under the couch. You will want just one minute, just ONE minute to yourself, alone. And you might lock yourself in the bathroom with a square of dark chocolate to get it.


There will be moments of sweet perfection, too.

And you will be ready, and you will do great.

Have a lovely day.