Friday, September 30, 2011

Interview with Brayden at 2.5

I saw this interview on another blog a while back and saved it till B was old enough to answer some of the questions. I still don't think he understands the questions (like what he wants to be when he grows up) but some of his answers are so cute I just couldn't wait to try it again.

What is your name? Brenden (this is how he says Brayden). 
How old are you? two (holds up 5 fingers)
What is your favorite color? orange and purple too
Who is your best friend? Avery & Paige
What is your favorite animal? elephant
What do you want to be when you grow-up? play football
What is your favorite Movie? Veggie Tales
What is your favorite book? Cheerios (he has a book that you put cheerios on the pictures)
What makes you happy? God
What makes you sad? When I cry
What is your favorite food to eat? 
What is your favorite song to sing? Elmo's World (the Elmo song)
What games do you like to play? basketball

Thursday, September 29, 2011

More Thoughts on Anger.

(If you've not read my other posts on anger, you can catch up HERE)
I finished my book on anger ("She's Gonna Blow" by Julie Ann Barnhill). I loved it. At times I wanted to laugh along with her. At times I wanted to cry because she stepped on too many toes. And overall I was encouraged. Encouraged because I felt like she wrote about things that I think all the time. Encouraged because now I know that I'm not the only mom who feels this way. Encouraged because she reminded me that this doesn't have to be my story. I don't have to be an angry mom. My outbursts don't define who I am; God does. And He makes EVERYTHING beautiful.

One of the biggest things I walked away from the book with is the fact that anger is secondary. Most times, anger is not the root of the problem... it tends to stem from something deeper. She addressed this at the beginning of the book, and throughout my readings I really started questioning WHY I get angry with my kids (and let's be honest, Drew gets a good blow up too sometimes). I really soul searched, and in that searching, I came up with these 3 things that I think really are the core to WHY I am "errupting" (as Barnhill calls it).
  • I'm impatient. Ask my husband, ask my close friends, ask the guy in front of me in the check out counter or behind me in traffic, I'm a VERY impatient person. It's not something I am proud of, it's something I recognize, and it's something that honestly I think I will struggle with until I bow at Jesus' feet. What's ironic is that for the past year I've been praying that God would grant me patience. The problem with asking God things like that is that he tends to give you homework, not just the answer to the problem. And my homework has been my kids :) 
  • I'm a perfectionist. This is one of those double edged swords in life. It means that as a type-A personality, I will work my hardest, try my best and want nothing but the best for everything I do. This also means that I will run myself ragged in my pursuit of perfection (which is vain to begin with, knowing that Christ was/is the only TRUE perfection this side of Heaven). This means I make my expectations of myself close to unattainable, it means I set my kids and husband up for failure, and all in all results in a big mess. Something Michelle Duggar said to us this past summer in our bible study was that we needed to let go of our rights. It's a fill in the blank. What do you feel like you have a right to? For me, I felt like I had a right for a clean house. This partly stemmed from my perfectionistic ways I think. And kids has changed that. I don't have to have (nor could I have even if I tried) a 100% clean house. It's just part of life. I don't have to be a super made up mom. It's where I'm at in life and I'm ok with that. One day I'll be able to shower more regularly and always wear makeup... for now, t-shirts and jeans are my friends :) I think the other thing I struggle with is how my kids act. I hate it when Brayden seems unruly in public. HATE it. But I think that I hate it MORE because of what I think people are thinking of me when everything is unraveling than the fact that he's unruly. A little skewed, I know, but it goes through my head.
  • I'm a control freak. This is probably the biggest thing, and if I had to say what accounts for 90% of the reasons I get angry and blow up. I am a control freak. I want to feel in control. I'm a planner... I like to know what's going on, what's happening and hate having any suspense or surprise in my life. If you have kids, you'll know what I mean when I say that being a parent is like a treasure hunt every minute. Life before kids was fairly predictable. Life with kids is far from it. YOu don't know when they'll wake up, if they'll like their breakfast, what they'll want to wear, if they'll be in a good mood or a bad mood, if they'll take a nap, or if they won't, if they'll choose to obey or if they won't. Just writing that sentence kind of made me tense. It bothers me so much that I can't control my kid. But that's the beauty in parenting. Realizing that we're not in control, and releasing that life to God. When I take a step back I realize that God doesn't want us to control our kids; if he did, I think he'd have made it a little easier for us to do it, don't you? The thing I CAN control is ME. I can control my attitude, I can control what I am giving to my kids as an environment. I need to release, and let God do the rest. The problem with that, obviously, is that it's easier said than done. 
SO... I "figured" this all out. What does it mean? It means that I am a broken person. That I need Jesus just as much as any other person on this earth. It means that I have a LOOONG way to go... but don't we all? I think it's a start. I think if anything that reading "She's Gonna Blow" made me take a realistic step back from my situation and look at myself long and hard, to dig to the bottom so that I can get back on top. The bottom line is that I love both of my boys (and Drew) fiercely. I want the BEST marriage I can have, and being the best wife will make that happen. I want to be the best mom. I don't want my boys to look back and remember their childhood with a mom who flys off the handle about every little nuance. I want them to remember the fun times at the park, the times we played tickle wars in the living room, and the times that I just sat and snuggled with them on the couch. Life's too short to be impatient about: spilled milk, spitting up, soap being squirted all over the bathroom, poop being smeared on the door handles (yes, it's happened)...... it happens. I need to accept that it happens and realize that in just a few short years it will all be a distant memory that oddly enough, I'll want back. I should note that me realizing all of this doesn't mean that things have miraculously gotten better overnight. I still blow... in fact, this afternoon had it's fair share of blow ups. But I see light. I see the moments where I am able to breath deeply and realize that me blowing up only makes the situation worse, and doesn't leave the fingerprint of a gracious Savior on the little lives around me. I heard a great quote today on the trailer for the new movie Courageous. The dad was talking to his son and he said "I know I didn't start well... but I want to finish well." That quote sums up where I'm at right now. I know that my start has had it's fair share of bumps and hiccups, but my intention is to finish well. Here's to finishing well...

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

"Wook, it's Charlotte."

The other day we were playing in the backyard when Brayden exclaimed "WOOK Momma!" It was an UBER emphatic "wook", so he caught my attention immediately. And when I realized what he was "wooking" at, I nearly dropped Connor right there in the grass and passed out from a heart attack.
I somehow maintained composure enough to get Brayden away from our eight legged backyard guest.

And ran and got my camera. True sign of a photog/blogger, right?! haha!

Just looking at these pictures gives me the creeps. I wanted to put something next to this so that there was a bit of perspective on how big it actually was. Huge, ginormous, massive... all words that come to mind.
I named her Charlotte. She was building her web on my child's playset. So unfortunately, Charlotte had to live a short life yesterday.

Yes. You read that right. After Charlotte had her glamor shots in my backyard, she met Jesus. I just couldn't try to catch her, release her, and then be forever haunted that someday Brayden would find her or her offspring and try to play with them. I know this probably makes me "ungreen" or something like that, but really, spiders just freak me out.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Girl's Weekend Pictures

If you missed my Girl's Trip, weekend in review, you can read it HERE. These are the pictures that go with that post... it's just taken me a little while to get them uploaded, edited and on to flickr.

a church that was near our hotel... when I laid out at the pool I could hear the bells chiming every so often.
just a building I thought looked cool (the Plaza in Kansas City has really cool architecture)
this was a neat seafood and steak restaurant.... we didn't eat there, but I just thought the roof was too cool to pass up a picture opportunity
Isn't this the coolest staircase ever? I thought it would have been a great place for a kid's portrait to be taken.
most of the buildings downtown had some sort of tile work built into the bricks.
watching the Hogs
I had to jump in a picture, just to prove I was there :)
the art festival was there this weekend too
more tile work that I thought was cool
they had a Mazaratti parked for people to drool over. It was so slick.
we sat outside on Sunday morning at the Cheesecake Factory. It was a bit chilly, and Cari snuggled up to the heater like it was her best friend. I kept giggling about it, so I decided to take a picture so I could remember :)
(never mind the fact that it looks like I used Vaseline to paste my hair down that morning) Love these girls... so grateful for good friends!

Monday, September 26, 2011

The New Old Little Table.

 (Don't forget I have a giveaway going on on my giveaway blog... today is the last day to enter for a $40 Sam's Club giftcard!)
Last month when my parents came to visit, Drew wrangled my dad in for a little project on an old table that Drew had when he was a young lad. It's a cute little table, but it was pretty abused (apparently the furniture abuse gene that Brayden has runs in the family). So I kind of begged Drew to at least do something that would make it a little more blendable with our furniture :) They sanded, added a few dowels to the chairs (Brayden even helped his Poppa widdle away on the dowel!), and then stained the table... and it looks PERFECT! Brayden LOVES it, and calls it his "new table." Here's some pictures from the process:

kind of a mess :)
probably getting bad ideas from Daddy's mishaps on the table :)
sanding it down
the little chairs- post sanding (notice the new dowel on the chair on the left...
Brayden and Poppa widdled that dowel down all on their own!

The finished product... doesn't it look great?! I love having a handyman as a husband :)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Weekend in Review: Girls Weekend!

Ahhh.... do you hear that? What? Yeah, me neither. That was the sound of me exhaling loudly after my weekend with my girlfriends. A weekend with just us girls, and most importantly: no children.*

*I should note that we all love our children dearly, however I have to be honest and say that a getaway to mentally refresh was much welcomed by all of us (if I can so speak for ALL of us.).

We left Northwest Arkansas early on Friday morning. My aunt and cousins agreed to take care of my boys while Drew worked a half day at work. She is a gem, for more reasons than just agreeing to watch my babies. Love you Aunt Kelly, Uncle Paul and girls! The weather was absolutely to die for... picture perfect. We arrived in Kansas City around lunchtime and went to eat a cool little burger place called Blanc. It had a really neat, modern atmosphere, and I ate the BEST salad EVER. We hit the town right after lunch. I was kind of a party pooper and dropped out of the shopping early because I was SO tired. Connor's been waking up at 5am, and I don't help things by staying up late. So I went back to the hotel by myself, parked myself by the heated pool and laid out and did my bible study. It was so refreshing because no one was there (well, there was one other lady there, but she was pretty quiet, so it was nice to be able to hear the wind-- not often I can say that-- haha!). We went out to a nice Italian restaurant later that night. After dinner we all went back to the hotel, got in our jammies and watched Bridesmaids. No one else had seen it, which was surprising to me since I had thought it was SO good when we saw it in theaters. We all laughed and then crashed after the movie... kind of made me feel old considering that back in college it was nothing for me to watch a movie, have it end at midnight and still feel like the night was young.

Saturday we all got up and headed to a local mall. I was in search for a white shirt (we're having family pictures made in a few weeks and I still hadn't found the shirt I needed). I found some great deals at baby Gap for the boys, and at the LAST store I visited I was able to find the shirt I was looking for... at Penney's of all places! Saturday afternoon most of us headed to a big sports bar and grill (they had 76 televisions... if that gives you an indication of the size of this place) to watch the Hogs game. When the girls arrived (I had to meet them there since I was shopping) the staff said all the Razorbacks were upstairs. The girls kind of thought that was weird the way they said that, but didn't really think anything more about it. When they got upstairs though, they realized that it was the local chapter of the Arkansas Alumni Association! It was probably close to 80 people there, ALL to watch the Hogs! SO fun! It wasn't fun,  however, watching the slaughtering that Bama laid on the Hogs. I am fearful that this season may be a long one. (insert frownie face). Saturday night we hadn't made dinner reservations. This probably wouldn't have been a HUGE problem on a regular night in Kansas City. However, we were there during a BIG art festival. The night of the Taylor Swift concet. AND Homecoming. SO.... places were booked. We ended up at a restaurant we never really even considered at first, and it ended up being so fun... and GOOD.

Sunday we headed to Cheesecake Factory before we left town. It was my first experience there and I have to say that I am a FAN. My omlette was good, even if it wasn't the one I had originally ordered (don't worry, the manager was awesome and took care of it for me). I also split a piece of their apple pie cheese cake. Kind of sounds weird, but oh my goodness, it was TO DIE FOR. After we filled ourselves silly we headed back home. After 3 days I can't say I was PINING away wanting to get home, but I was super happy to get a big hug from a certain little toddler. And there was a little baby here that was SO happy to see me, that when I put him down so I could get some things done before community group, he cried. Made my heart smile that he missed me so much (and BOTH dimples were showing if that is any indication as to how big he was smiling when he saw me enter the house). I love my boys more than anything. But I needed a mental break so that I can be a better mom. It was SOOOO good to get away with friends, and even more importantly to get some uninterrupted ME time. A BIG thanks to Drew for stepping up and taking care of the boys all weekend. He's such a good dad, and so supportive of me being able to do things to keep my sanity. I don't know what I'd do without him (and I have to admit that it feels kind of good knowing that he will be able to relate a bit more to me on those long days since he had to do it himself when I was gone). I took a bunch of pics when I was there, but obviously since I just got back tonight and had some babies to hug and community group to attend, the pictures took a back burner to other things. I'll get them uploaded this week and post them soon :) Hope everyone has a good week!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Roseola, Exhaustion and Sufficiency.

Remember last weekend when I said that Connor started acting sick? Well, it came back on Tuesday. With a vengence. Monday night he barely slept. Like, 15 minute spurts was all I could get out of him. Come Tuesday morning he started having diarrhea. Then he was pulling on his ears. I, with my super awesome mother telepathy I had, swore he had an ear infection. So off to the doctor we went, for what seemed like the 1245 appointment we've had with some sort of doctor over the past month. In walks Dr. R. We've never seen him before. He was a nice, and Brayden was being unusually compliant and sweet to him, so that was comforting to me. He looked Connor over, and said "yep. It's a virus." Ughhh. Fail on the mom telepathy. I was relieved that it wasn't his ears though. After noticing the rash all over his body, Dr. R said that Connor had a virus that ends in a rash. Some of you may know this as roseola. Apparently diarrhea is a symptom too (at least that's what my friend's whose babies have had this have told me), and I would like to say that diarrhea is the worst of it. Poor little Connor has just not been himself lately because his little bum is so chapped. So we've been doing a lot of airing out lately-- if you catch my drift... and hoping that it clears soon.

Connor's illness has left me exhausted and worn out. Even today as I type without a 2 year old begging to see the computer, Connor has screamed most of the morning (he's currently content munching on cheerios and bananas next to me.) This means that I can't do my usual household chores because I have to calm a sick baby. And while I relish in the rocking and the singing (especially when it's just one child to attend to and I don't have to worry about my two year old doing something life threatening),  there's only so much one can handle before hitting the "melting point." And I feel like I'm there. I'm there with a two and a half year old and a 10 month old-- two babies is hard, even if they aren't twins! I'm there with a husband who is working a full-time job and completing an MBA full time; don't get me wrong, Drew is a GREAT husband and father and he does everything in his might to do all he can for the family outside of work and school. But work and school eat up much of the time he has, so it's just not the same right now. I'm there with family far away and family drama adding to the stress. I'M THERE. This morning as I was folding laundry and starting to feel sorry for myself, I felt God breathe over me. Not in the literal sense, but I remembered a verse I have memorized, and it made my soul calm:

"But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. IICorinthians 12:9 (NIV)

So there you have it. I am exhausted and feel as though I am crumbling, but instead of having a pity party over here, I'm going to blog about it. And boast about it even, if that is possible. The Lord is sufficient. He provides all that I need, whether it be strength to wipe another raw bottom, or energy to chase after an ornery toddler. Thank you Jesus for your sweet, perfect-timing reminder.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Baby Cooper.

Remember when I celebrated baby Cooper and then we went to visit him in the hospital?

Well, I was scheduled to shoot his newborn pictures just a few days after he was born, but all hell broke loose with my health and I was in bed for a while due to an apparent kidney infection. Thankfully I peeled myself off the couch 9 days after he was born. These are my two faves from the shoot.


Funny story from the shoot: I always have the parents hold a small heater over the baby. It helps keep the baby super warm and (hopefully) asleep. Coop was undressed for most of the shoot, and at one point I looked down and he was peeing straight into the heater! We just had to laugh, and also sigh a little relief that nothing bad happened with liquid going straight into a plugged in electrical equipment!

And finally, right before I left I snapped this shot, and I think it's so sweet. Paige is such a sweet big sister!


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

10 Months (and 1 day).

Last night as I crawled into bed and sighed my daily sigh, I realized I had forgotten something very important. "What day is it?!" I frantically asked Drew. After checking his watch he groggily said "the 19th... why?" It was then that I knew I had done it. I had forgotten that it was my baby's 10 month birthday. Thankfully (I think) he'll forgive me. I mean, he looks like a forgiving little fellow wouldn't you say?

(in addition to be forgiving, he's also incredibly mischievous ;) )

I seriously can't believe that 10 months ago he was born. I feel like I've lived a long dream these past 10 months. The first several months, in all honesty, were lived in a fog. I have met or seen several people lately with 19 month olds and I think "wow, they have a BABY still." and then it hits me. That I had a 19 month old baby. AND a newborn. No wonder I was on the verge of post partum depression. Thankfully God is a gracious God, and I can honestly say that even though these past few months were not in MY plans, they were most definitely in God's, and I wouldn't change HIS plans for ANYTHING. Every time I hear Connor squeal, see him smile, or watch him learn or do something new, I just thank God for his little surprise life in our family (and let's be honest-- his life was no surprise to the great creator). So what is Connor up to at 10 months old?

he's ditched army crawling and is up on all fours.
I also find him screaming for help... stuck behind something. I find it mildly amusing and snap pictures instead of instantly rescuing him... #1 mom award, I know.
he is in L.O.V.E. with blowing raspberries. Him and Brayden actually have raspberry wars in the car. It's one of those things that is both cute and incredibly annoying.

  • sleeps from 7pm to 6:30am. he's been going through a phase where he sometimes wakes up around 5:45. I dread those mornings, and am crossing my fingers it's just a phase.
  • Takes 2 naps a day, about 1.5 hours each. 
  • He is in mostly 18 month clothes, although there are a few things that are 12 months that he still fits. 
  • Size 4 diapers, although I am contemplating moving him up to size 5 diapers at night since he's been soaking through the size 4's at night.
  • STILL has bad reflux. Don't worry, his doctor knows (I get so many comments asking me if his doctor knows that I feel like I should put that disclaimer out there), and we are working towards making decisions on what to do next. One of these includes a GI test to make sure that we're not missing anything. I have to say that for the first time in 10 months we are at a point where it's becoming a frustrating aspect of our lives. And I feel really bad for him because people that don't know about it, or that know about it and don't like it, kind of either freak out of keep him at arms distance. Makes me sad that he has to experience that just because of something he can't control. 
  • He is completely off of purees and totally on to finger foods. He loves eating like a big boy, and is hit or miss right now as I try to figure out things that he really likes. He LOVES grilled cheese, yogurt, cheese and turkey deli meat (and ofcourse, loves Chick-Fil-A. He IS my child). He's a sometimes fan of chopped green beans, and then is hit or miss with everything else-- sometimes he gobbles it up and sometimes he just kind of plays. 
  • He pulls up on things now, but not consistently. He is not one of those kids that seems adament to learn new things. I'm not really that worried about it, since that just means he's one step (no pun intended) closer to walking :) 
  • He's really not talking much. He'll babble some, but mainly likes to be an onlooker. He's a very observant baby. 
  • He's great at playing by himself. The other day while Brayden was at MDO, I was working in the kitchen and realized I hadn't heard C for a few minutes. I went to the front of the house to find Connor playing happily by himself in Brayden's room. 
He's incredibly cute. Not that you didn't know that already :) And in case you need a reminder...


Oh baby Connor. My Con Con. I love you so much my heart might explode. Thank you for bringing so much joy to our lives. Yes, life with two babies is hard, but I wouldn't trade you for ANYTHING on this earth. You have taught me so much about myself, so much about God and have made my life so much richer just by your presence. Happy 10 month (and 1 day-- because your mom's got mommy brain lately and totally forgot) birthday little guy!


Lazy Football Player.

When I was in college, it was inevitable that in nearly every class that I was in, a football player would arrive late. They have this sort of swagger about them when they walk. Not sure words can really describe it, so I won't even attempt. But it's a memory that's seared into my mind. That swagger walk, with baggy Razorback sweatpants and a white undershirt. People who went to U of A HAVE to know what I'm talking about. Anyways, fast forward 11 years later. I bought a mini Razorback sweatsuit for our own little football player. And he finally fits in it*.
*I am actually really bummed because when I bought it a year ago I didn't realize that the sweat shirt was mismatched sized from the pants, meaning the sweatshirt is almost too small and the pants are a little TOO baggy. Oh well. Thankfully I got it on clearance.

Anyways. When he tried it on the other day I had to chuckle. Because strutting around my living room was my own little lazy football player. Made me think of all of those days in class watching them come in... and now I have one. Although, I hope he doesn't take on the lazy part :)

singing the fight song
this picture pretty much sums up his personality. haha!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Weekend in Review: Pictures.

playing in the foam pit was not his fave. I can't say I don't blame him, since it's kind of hard to move around in those foam blocks.

bouncing with his buddy Philip

Go bonk!

jumping, jumping

he is growing up at super warp speed-- makes me SO sad!

trying to decide where he wants to explore :)

the boy is EVERYWHERE. And FASSST.

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