Monday, October 28, 2013

Case of the Bleghs


That is truly the only adjective I can muster up for today. 

For this entire household. 

It's Monday.
The weekend is over. 
The weather is gloom-mcdoom.
And Lyla hasn't been this needy/fussy/angry since the oh-so-memorable colic days.

Even Gabe, who is {almost annoyingly} never ever grumpy, has been a somber Sam. 

It's funny. 
The weather never used to have an affect on me. 
Of course I love sunshine. 
Warm rays do something to my soul, as I have uncontrollable urges to do things like sing Pocketful of Sunshine at the top of my lungs with the windows down. 
But I've never minded rain. Or clouds. Or even cold winter evenings.
So, I never really related when people would talk about how dreary weather put them in a funk. 
Or how friends would go into hibernation and give in to the winter blues come November. 

I would just make some soup, pop in a DVD, and put on my leopard Snuggie.  

However, the older I've gotten, the more I've found myself suddenly caring about the weather.
I catch myself checking the weather in the mornings and *gasp* talking about it in conversation. 
{Much like the general demographic in, say, a nursing home.}
It controls my plan of action for the day. 
And even has dibbs on my mood. 

The jerk. 

So today's chilly, overcast forecast didn't quite lift me out of my Sunday-Night-Blue slump. 

The weather even affected Chunkin. 
Well, the weather and the fact that she cut 1 tooth this morning and is working on THREE back molars. {She already cut one molar about a month ago, and this thing looks like it belongs to a 35 year old man. I kid you not. And I can see the sharp white tips just ready to poke through the surface any day now on a couple of others.} 

Not to mention she's getting over her first tummy bug. 

Oh. And it didn't help that she got a bloody lip tonight after hitting her head on the dining room bench.
Guess how she got that bloody lip?
Oh it was because she got so excited when I walked into the room that she lost her balance and smacked her lip on the bench. 

On the bright side, all this misery for Chunkin has made her desperate for her mama. 
In fact, I think she's forgotten every word in her little one-year-old vocabulary. 
Except for ma-maaaa.  

And I don't mind one bit. 

She clung to me the entire weekend. 
Would not let me put her down for one second. 
Or screaming would immediately ensue.

But Gabe was amazing, as usual.
He would give me some reprieve for a bit by entertaining and snuggling Miss Beans. 
Make her laugh, even. 
But the moment I walked into the room, she would start crying.
Like she suddenly remembered she was tired, hungry, sick, or sad. 

Thanks to these monster molars and tummy troubles, we didn't get much sleep.
She woke in the middle of the night for a couple of nights, and would only go back to sleep if we rocked her. 
It was quite possibly one of the saddest, yet sweetest, things I've ever experienced. 

She would cry. One of us would go in her room. She would be sitting in her crib sucking her thumb while whimpering. Then lift her little arms out. The moment we went to pick her up, she would jump into our arms and wrap her arms and legs as tightly as her sick little body would allow her. 

Poor little thing. 

This weekend was definitely a tough one. 

It was chock-full of tears, tantrums, and meltdowns.
I was able to accomplish about 20% of my to-do list. 
And that's only because I busted out the Moby. 
Which, by the way, is not at all meant for a  20 lb. fourteen month old. 

Needless to say.
There were definitely moments where I lost bits and pieces of my sanity. 
But I've also never felt more like a mama. 
Never felt so in my element. 

I mean. 
I am absolutely sure that this is what I was put here to do. 
This is my purpose. 

To be a MOM.

I love every tough moment. 
Every little tear.

Because I get to wipe those tears. 
And snuggle away the pain.

And I have to remember that. 
Especially when I'm feeling rather...blah. 

Here's to hoping for a new day tomorrow.
And for sunshine. 
And Chunkin smiles. 
And Tuesday. 
{Which is no longer Monday.}

Good riddance, Case of the Bleghs.

Friday, October 25, 2013

The Patch

A mama's always got to trust her gut.
It's that God-given gift of intuition.
That most often times turns out to be correct.

I took Lyla to the doctor this morning.
Simply based on a gut feeling.
And a couple of more-than-usual fussy days.

But knowing that the weekend was quickly approaching, a decision needed to be made.
So I packed up the car and drove to the doctor.
And felt quite ridiculous when they went through all the preliminary check-in questions, to which I answered "no" on almost all.

Granted Ly has had a low-grade fever for going on 3 days now.
And she's just
Waking up every hour of the night.
Desperate to be held and snuggled.
And downright moody.

So I thought I'd take her in just to rule out an ear infection.

Instead, we walked away with a double diagnosis.
Her first-ever tummy bug.
And three 2-year molars that have decided to try to cut through.

Double whammy.

And pathetic, miserable baby.
Yes. I said baby.
To which I will refer to her every time she feels like this.
Now and forever.

This explains a lot of her behavior over the last week and a half.
Including her case of the grumpies at the pumpkin patch last weekend.
Where she refused to smile the entire time.
It was quite windy, she still can't walk which has really been frustrating her, and she *unbeknownst to us* wasn't feeling well.

And let me backspace for a moment.
She did crack one itty-bitty smile that day.
The moment we got in the car to go home.
Her favorite attraction this year, for sure.

Sadly, she had a case of the grumpies at last year's patch visit as well.
That was when she had hit her peak with colic.

Maybe the third time will be a charm next year?

Despite a clingy, cranky babe, we still had a great time.
We went to Walter's again this year. Best patch in this area by far!
We were with wonderful friends and their kiddos.
Ly got to pet the donkey and the goats.
We didn't get a pumpkin this year.
But we did get our signature pumpkin patch field pic.

Which in the end, is all that really matters.
I kid, I kid.
*Sort of*

And for funsies, here's a Friday Flashback to last year's trip to the patch.

Here's to hoping next year is nothing but smiles!

Thursday, October 24, 2013


Every once in awhile, I think about making my blog completely private. 
Not even open to friends and family.
Just me.

Of course I won't do that.
I have become part of such a wonderful little community through blogging.

It crosses my mind from time to time.

I simply don't want to lose sight of why I blog in the first place.
Which is truly to document life. To look back and remember my exact *raw* feelings I had at a given point in time. To remember the everyday details of life with my family. To vent, purge and celebrate. And to scratch my writing itch, of course.

But with having a public blog, I have to be acutely aware that it is public.
So I often find myself backspacing *a lot*.
Aware that I may offend some.
Or simply share too much information.
Or worst of all, portray perfection.

Sometimes, I feel like a fraud.

Like I paint a picture of my easy, perfect, happy-happy-happy life.

Mmm. Not perfect.

Like today, I was going to blog about our trip to the pumpkin patch. Just like every other blogger. You know, pics of pumpkins and babies and perfectly styled fall outfits. But, it just didn't feel right today. Other things are on my mind and in my heart. And when my heart speaks, my brain listens. Because my heart rules the roost around here.

But, trust me.
The pumpkin patch post is still coming.
Who do you think I am?

Instead, today is about transparency.

I don't want to confuse transparency with complaining.
This is not a post to talk about all the things that are wrong with my life and poor, poor me.
Because, honest to goodness, when I take a step back, my life really is pretty close to perfect.
But my life is also very real.

And I want to tell an accurate story.
You know, be relatable.
Not a unicorn.

I internally cringe when I run into acquaintances, they tell me they read my blog, and proceed to gush about how Lyla is the happiest baby they've ever seen, or how my house should be in a magazine, or how cool to live such an exciting life, or how I really must be Super Mom.

I literally cringe.

Because absolutely none of that is true.

Last week for example.
Lyla was cranky, clingy, and irritable.
Even at the {gasp} pumpkin patch.
She didn't want to be put down.
Did not crack a smile even once.
And fussed if we moved her the wrong way.

Last night, she was so cranky, we put her to bed at 6:00.
Then she woke up crying, sometimes screaming, about 10 times throughout the night.
She wouldn't go back to sleep without being rocked.
And today, we are absolute zombies.

Teething, perhaps?
{The infamous scapegoat excuse that gets blamed for every little "wah" and fuss.}

And she's been throwing actual tantrums.
If we don't get her shirt on fast enough, if Samson takes her toy, if we don't get that banana from counter to plate in .5 seconds gosh-darnit, there is an all-out melt-down.
In her defense (and to make me feel better), I just got an e-mail from Baby Center saying that toddlers at this age are really starting to understand their independence. But when they're limited by things like being able to communicate what they want or *ahem* being unable to walk, they get mad.
Perfect timing, Baby Center. I needed that!

So that adorable, smiley toddler that I post pictures of all the time?
She's a real toddler.
Pinkie swears.

And Lyla's not the only one who has meltdowns around here.
I recently had myself an adult tantrum.
Because we were home for all of 5 minutes last weekend.
Got back into town late Sunday night from a day trip to KC.
Just enough time to pack lunches, iron clothes, pack Lyla's bag, put away laundry, prepare a crockpot, and go to bed.
We started off our week with a 5:30 a.m. blaring alarm and the usual whirlwind Monday morning routine.
And our week hasn't seemed to slow down for 1 minute since.
Not to mention neither Gabe nor I have slept more than 5 or 6 hours every night this week.
Recipe for adult tantrum, for sure.

Or let's go ahead and just talk about the house, shall we.
First of all, any pictures you see are typically in our living room or Lyla's bedroom.
The only completely "finished" rooms in the house.
From the moment we moved in, it seems like we've had something to fix. And when somethings needs-a-fixin, all the fun cosmetic stuff that you want to change gets shoved to the side.
Like wanting to replace the disgusting tile that was grouted-over-grout-over grout in our kitchen and dining room. {Seriously. What were the previous owners thinking?}

And until about two weeks ago, all home projects were completely put on hold after having Lyla.
Gabe and I finally had a little pow-wow and created an excel spreadsheet splitting up his and hers house projects. {Now, how jealous are you of the exciting lives we lead?}
It is a slow, slow process being a working mom and dad.
However we are trying to hop back on the get-this-house-in-order band wagon.

And finally, a little share about my recent and very real feelings.
Feelings that I try very hard not to dwell on.
Or have at all.

But feelings are feelings.

Lately, I have been having feelings of regret.
And falling into the trap of "If only..."

"If only" is a bad, bad place to be.

I am a very firm believer in "everything happens for a reason".
And I am 100% confident that God is in control.
Of everything.
But I also believe we have been given the ability to make choices.

And many of those choices begin the domino effect of how life unfolds.

Without going into too many details, I have been feeling lately like I made a poor choice.
The choice to leave a stable, successful, and enjoyable career years ago.
To pursue a dream and go back to school.
To become a teacher.
Only to then leave teaching.
And subsequently leave our family in debt.

Debt that has made it so that I am unable to stay home.
Or unable to save as much money as we'd like for things we want.
Like college, travel, or another house.

Not to mention that I left a solid career to become a teacher. A career where I found enjoyment and success. With good-luck-finding-those-anywhere-else benefits, strong financial stability, and professional experiences that helped define my adult outlook, skills, and interests.

Luckily these feelings of regret are usually fleeting.
But very real feelings nonetheless.

Because I also know that had I not pursued teaching, I always would have wondered, hoped, and dreamed.
Without teaching, I wouldn't have met other teachers who have turned into some of my best friends.
I wouldn't have worked with students who gave me a purpose each morning.
I wouldn't have developed essential skills like juggling approximately 4,500 things at once.
I wouldn't have experienced one of the hardest years to date. Which alternatively wouldn't have allowed me to truly appreciate every moment I have with my daughter.

I must say, I rocked teaching in my two short years.
Gave 100% of myself all day, everyday.
And absolutely thrived in the art of teaching.

I still believe I am a teacher through and through.
I'm just finding other ways to channel that desire and ability.

But, that doesn't mean I don't sometimes wonder what if...

So this is me being real.
And sharing for the sake of transparency. :)

Bottom line.
My blog is a pretty accurate reflection of who I am and what my life entails.
If you know me, you know that I really am a bubbly person who loves being around people and who loves life in general.
But that doesn't mean my life doesn't encounter reality.

In fact, as I leave you with a smiling picture of my daughter who is very much indeed not smiling at the moment, I will be tending to the overflowing sink and doghair-infested baseboards.
On my day off.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

14 Months

14 Months Old: 10/19/13

19 pounds, 13 ounces and 29.1 inches

Fourteen of the sweetest months of my life. 

And I'm just going to go ahead and say it. 
This month has been the best yet. 
And yes. 
I will say it next month too. 

It's been quite exciting to see actual family relationships blossom.
While I feel that there is nothing like this tight-knit mother-daughter relationship we share, your dad would say your father-daughter relationship is arguably the best.

Your communication skills continue to develop significantly, and I feel like we have each other figured out. *Most of the time.* We each have our special places within the family. You need me for certain things, and you prefer your dad for others. When you're feeling especially needy or under-the-weather, you let the whole world know you want your mama. But when you're feeling playful and mischievous, you want absolutely no one but your dad. 

We fall deeper in love with you every day. 
Cliche as it may be, it's the honest truth.

Some noteworthy happenings this month...
  • You make your father one big puddle of mush. Daily. Everything you do he just looks at me and says, She's just the sweetest. But it's like there's straight up syrup in your bloodstream this month. You show affection for Sam and Sienna by gently patting them as they walk by. You reach your little arms out as far as they can go so you dad or I can pick you up. Then you hug us and put your head on our shoulders. You willingly give kisses. Especially to your mom. You'll be in the middle of working hard on playing, and you'll stop, look up at me, and plant a giant kiss right on my lips. *Swoon*
  • Speaking of affection, you've reached a stage that I've been eagerly anticipating! You l.o.v.e. your baby. I mean, love. You like to take her everywhere you go. You love to kiss her and rock her. You share her with Sam. You put her in special little places like under the coffee table. But the best is in the mornings, before you can even open your little eyes, you kiss your baby and hold her out for me to kiss her too. *Swoon...again*
  • You get the biggest kick out of playing make-believe. Well, that's what I call it. But you pretend to "eat", "drink", and "cook". You'll take little cups and "drink" from them while making the cutest little slurping sounds. Then you give your cup to me so that I can "drink" too. And you "eat" off the coffee table and "cook" with your big pot and spoon while Mama's in the kitchen. Little mini-me. 
  • It is so cool to watch your communication skills develop. Especially your understanding. If you are in another room, and we say Lyla come here. You do it. If we start putting on your shoes or if a car drives by, you wave and say bye-bye. If you see or hear a dog you say ruff-ruff. But I think the most remarkable is your association with things that are "bad". Like the nose-sucker. You really hate that thing. Whenever you see it, you get the saddest little look and say uh-oh. Or when you slipped and hit your head on the edge of the dresser, you sniffled, made a sad face, and pointed to that same dresser and said uh-ohhhh.
  • You love playing games this month. Especially with your grandparents. You love Buster-Brown with Gi-Gi and the blinking game with Gramps. And you think it's downright hilarious when your stuffed animals talk and dance with you. Which speaking of dance, I am not kidding, you have such rhythm. You absolutely love to dance!!! Tu-Tu's and pointe shoes can't come soon enough!
  • According to Baby Center, you've reached two social milestones this month. Both are adorable - parallel play and playing "fetch". Parallel play is when you "play" with other toddlers your age by playing right next to one another, but not actually together. I first noticed it with your little buddy Cal. You were both so entertained while playing right next to each other. And you've been playing "fetch" for awhile - it's your favorite. It's when you have an object and you "share" it with someone. And in return you want them to share it back with you. It is your little way of socializing. So cute. 
  • You talk all.the.time. You especially love to point to objects and name them, often special Lyla words. But your favorite real words this month are uh-ohdad, and ruff-ruff, and you just started saying thank you! At first I didn't believe it until you kept saying it every time we gave you something.  And apparently you've been saying it at GiGi's to which she always responds You're welcome. You've also started repeating me when we see a lion or tiger by saying roarrr and after you swallow a bite of food you say Mmmm. My favorite though is your sweet little take eww, said in the softest little girl voice. 
  • Speaking of being a girl, your favorite thing of all time at the moment is Mommy's closet. You love "organizing" my shoes and trying to put them on your feet. That's my girl!
  • You are a tiny little thing. Still haven't hit 20 pounds yet, but we are at the 40th percentile which your doctor is happy about. You wear size 6-12 months still and even some 9 month clothes. But I recently bought all 18 month jackets, etc. so you have plenty of room for growth this winter. You wear a size 3 diaper and a size 2 shoe. Your feet aren't big enough to be toddler size, so many of the shoe options don't have rubber on the soles to help you walk. So we go barefoot a lot. And you have 6 teeth, including one back bottom molar, another molar on the way, and one cutting as we speak. So just about 7 total. 
  • You may not be walking like many other babes your age, but you sure are a movin. You're crawling, squatting, cruising, and even climbing stairs. You try to stand independently by very quickly letting go of the couch, but only for a few seconds. It's so funny because you throw your hands up, try to catch your balance and then immediately grab the couch again. We surpassed your PT goals last month, which you were supposed to meet by 15 months. So we are ahead of the game. I have a feeling we are still a ways out from walking, but you might surprise me. Either way, we're so proud of you!

**And Happy Birthday to my not-yet-30, handsome younger husband. I love you. Chunkin sure knows how to steal the limelight. **

Friday, October 18, 2013

Baby #2. {No. I'm not pregnant}

I'm terrible at making decisions.

I actually make quite good decisions.

Rather, I struggle with confidence in my decisions.
As I often ponder and mull.
Go back and forth.
Discuss with a friend or two.
Then make sure to get a third and fourth opinion.
Until I finally reach a decision.
And then typically change my mind.

This drives most who love me absolutely bonkers.

I simply don't like options.
Because I like too many things.
A friend once accused me of having style identity confusion when trying to figure out how to decorate my house.

In fact, I'd rather go to the grocery store and have only one option for everything.
You can only imagine how I feel when I browse Pinterest.
And places like Babies R Us or Ikea?
Outright sends me into cardiac arrest.

This lack of confidence in my decision-making abilities is further perpetuated by the amount of information and *often unsolicited* advice thrown at you while pregnant.
Cry it out or attachment parenting. 
Breastfeed or formula feed.
Stay at home, work from home, part-time or full-time.

The differing options and opinions are downright maddening.

This is why I once *literally* hurled my Babywise and Healthy Sleep Habits books across the living room.
I was getting conflicting information.
*Not to mention I hadn't slept in 7 weeks.*
So the only logical thing for me at the time was to chuck both books across the room.
The sound they made as they crashed onto the wood floors was oh-so-satisfying.

Decision made.

It only gets worse when you actually have the baby.
Because all mamas do things differently.
And even though we try not to, we sometimes look at others and think, Man, I would never let my kid ____________.
Until you yourself are in that situation.
And what do you know?
You're doing exactly what you said you would never do as a mother.

Don't lie.
You know you've {even if it was unintentional} judged critiqued someone else's parenting style.
You put your baby in a crib the first night? 
You mean to tell me you let your baby wear Target brand diapers?
You gave your baby a pacifier before she was 4 weeks old?

There really is no silver bullet in parenting.
We all know that.
Because there are so many ways to go about reaching the same end goal.
Which is, of course, to raise a healthy, independent, caring, and successful little human.

So after all those decisions to make during pregnancy.
Then even-more overwhelming decisions you're bombarded with during your baby's first year.
*I recently described the first year of Lyla's life as a year of survival while simply trying to keep your baby alive and your sanity nearby.*

You are welcomed with the next big decision.

That may not even be on your personal radar.
But there's no avoiding the question from everyone around you.
And the fact that approximately 97% of your friends are pregnant.

So when are you going to start trying for #2?

Holy heavens.
Is anyone else out there experiencing a larger than life baby boom?

I thought my year of 13 weddings was bad.
However, it has officially been topped by the year of one million pregnancies.

I'd be lying if I said every time a new friend announced her pregnancy {which so far has been averaging about every 5 days for the past several months} I didn't feel a slight twinge of baby fever.
In fact.
If I'm completely honest, I had *major* baby fever about 5 or 6 months ago.

Until life finally got easy again.
Really easy.
And actually normal.
We are having such a fun time with this age.
And we love giving all of our attention to Lyla.
And just Lyla.

For right now at least.

Because things are so calm and wonderful at the moment, Gabe sometimes mentions the appeal of having an only child.
That way our hearts are not divided.
I, however, immediately and completely squash the thought.
As I am an only child.
And I do not want Lyla to be an only child.
*God-willing of course*

At any rate.
I don't think our family will quite feel complete until we have another.
I actually understand why some families have 5 or 6 kids.
The thought of a large family seems so appealing.
Because there is nothing like parenthood.
Especially during the newbie stage.
And this stage too.
And word on the street is that every stage just gets better and better.

But Gabe reminds me that as appealing as it may be to have a large clan, the two of us aren't quite cut out for a large family.

And it's true.
We like things simple.
And clean.
And easy-ish.

But many times, God has plans in store that aren't necessarily our plans.
And I try to remember that.
He is in control.
Wholly and completely.

That being said.
Our plans are to enjoy and freeze-frame this exact moment.
With our one and only sweet little lady.

So although #2 is on the radar.
We're wanting to hang on to easy.
For just a bit longer.

Ly, however, keeps reminding us that she is in fact ready to be a big sis. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

This Tradition's a Keeper

I'm a big sucker.

A sucker for memories.
And traditions.

I could seriously relive memories over and over again for the rest of my life.
A memory sucker.
And as such, I've been the resident historian for my family for as long as I can remember.

I'm pretty sure I've kept a journal of some sort since the day I started using a pencil.
You know.
The days of little gripper writing helpers.
{Mine was purple with sparkles.}
All in the hopes of capturing every detail of each day.

And I've taken pictures since I was a wee thing.
I have boxes and boxes of negatives and photographs.
Going all the way back to fifth grade.
When I used to take my little disposable Kodaks with me everywhere.
For the sake of documenting life.
And memories.

So when we moved a couple thousand miles away, starting a blog was the clear and obvious thing to do.
To help keep our families in the loop.
And to document all the fun we were about to embark on.

That was in 2008.

Things have changed *a little* since then.
So, I thought the ol' blog should reflect life's recent changes.
It needed a bit of an updated facelift.

So welcome to my new and improved blog design!
You witness the fabulous handiwork of my sweet good-at-everything-she-does blog bestie, Aliya.
Aliya is seriously the coolest person I've never met.
We both started our blogs around the same time back in the day.
And have kept in touch ever since.

Love this girl.
And love my new blog design.
It's so perfect.
So me.

So in honor of my new memory-capturing blog.
And in light of the fall season and it's magnetic pull toward creating family traditions, I'd like to share a new one.

This past weekend, we hosted a Garage-Gate Pumpkin Painting Party.

Gabe e-mailed me a couple weeks ago mentioning something about really wanting to hook up our big screen tv in the garage so we could eat some burgers and watch the KSU game. I mean isn't that what you do when the weather is so nice outside?

The idea started as just something unique and fun for Gabe, Ly, and I to do as a family. Until we started brainstorming. Suddenly, it turned into an all-out tailgate with pumpkin-painting in the driveway for friends and their kiddos.

This was right up a memory-lover's alley.

And boy-oh-boy.
Gabe's idea lived up to its full potential.
Complete with grilling in the driveway, friends and their tots, tailgate snacks, camping chairs, the K-State game, and $50.00 worth of art supplies to paint pumpkins.
It was even the first outing for a couple of our friends since they had their sweet little baby-man only two short weeks ago.
And an added bonus was the kick-booty weather.
It was seriously uh-mazing.

And the pumpkin painting?
I've never seen have so much fun.
Polka dots, glitter, and metallics, oh my!
Ly loved painting her pumpkin with Grams.
So much that she threw a yep-we're-entering-toddlerdom fit when we took her pumpkin away.
She had paint and glitter from head to toe.
In fact.
I'm still finding glitter in her cloth diapers.
But so worth it.

We were so sad when the night had to come to an end.
{Which just-so-happened to be 1:00 a.m., pizza delivery, headlamp, and outdoor scary movie included}.

Good times had by all.

Can't wait to do it again next year.