Thursday, May 31, 2012

Precious Moments

Tonight I quietly opened the door to Bailey and Avery's room, delicately climbed over the baby gate, and snuck inside. I tiptoed across the floor and crept up to Bailey's bed.

I found our girl sprawled out in bed on top of the covers. I decided to tuck her in and reached under the sheets to find her trusty Bun-Bun. Instead I found something else. Tucked inside her bed was every single book from the bookcase in her room. Apparently someone wasn't tired and was in need a little night time reading session. I extracted stack after stack of books from her bed so that I could tuck our baby up under the covers. In her sleepy state she grabbed my hand and held it close to her as she turned on her side and cuddled into her warm bed.

It's sweet little moments like this that really make me feel like a mom.

I feel like a mom plenty of other times too. {Time-outs and midnight feedings just don't make me as nostalgic.} Tucking my sleepy child into bed at night is something I always imagined myself doing - long before I was ever pregnant. It seems so simple, so sweet, so loving. And I am learning to treasure those times, even if I have to sneak into her dark room to steal a sweet quiet moment with her. Because as she is showing us so very often these days, she is getting bigger by the second. She has opinions and attitude and someday soon she won't frequently yell out demands for Mommy and Daddy's hugs and kisses.

For now she can whine and scream and cry all she wants during her waking hours. But at 10 o'clock at night, her mom will quietly sneak in and visit the sweet little girl who is growing up way too fast.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

15 Things I will never apologize for

I saw this on some other blogs, in response to a magazine article featuring Miranda Lambert and the 15 things she won't apologize for, and I am going to steal it. It took me about a week to write these down as they randomly came to me. So here they are in no particular order.

  1. My dislike of smoking. I just don't get it. It smells horrible, you look silly doing it, and it's expensive to boot. And honestly, the last words I think of when I see someone smoking are classy, sophisticated, and smart. Just sayin'.
  2. The Young & The Restless. At this point, I have invested like 15+ years into this show; I am not going to stop now. I don't have to watch every episode and sometimes I skip through parts. I already know what Victor is going to say anyway, All right?
  3. Breastfeeding/pumping. My baby needs to eat. If you don't like it, please feel free to not stare at me or the blanket that is completely covering my child. And I am pretty positive I never apologized for taking my government allotted 15 minute breaks twice a day at work to pump. It was my right by law. And the person(s) who didn't like it just added it to their long, long list of things to incessantly bitch about.
  4. Defending my family and friends. Yeah, some of us might do stupid things, and there are times when I might think the same thing. I might even say it out loud. But it is definitely not okay for you to.
  5. Working part-time. When you have kids, sometimes going to work is actually more like your day off.
  6. Being the mean parents that make their kids go to bed. I know there are lots of different methods out there... we just put them down and it worked. Maybe we're just lucky. Or maybe we are just strong-willed enough not to cave at every little whimper. Or maybe I have a heart of stone. Whatever the answer, I get a full night's sleep every single night. Heaven.
  7. Drinking too much and dancing around like a crazy person with my friends (I am thinking of you, Kate Clifton). As long as no tequila or tears are involved, it's all good.
  8. Saying "no". I am asked to pick up a day at work and I don't want to: No.  Yep, it can be that easy.
  9. My love for food. All kinds. And I usually have to finish my plate - a hard-to-break habit from growing up with my father. Is it any wonder I married someone who loves to cook?
  10. My opinions. I can't stand hearing people say racist or homophobic things. Can't. Stand. It. There have been occasions where things were said and it would have caused a bigger scene for me to say something in response, so I have stayed mum. But those times are becoming few and far between. I have begun to more readily voice my dislike and intolerance for someone to say things like that in my presence. Think it all you want, but just keep your mouth shut. Your intolerance doesn't have to be my issue.
  11. Drinking Diet Mountain Dew. {DMD to some.} I gave it up for almost a year while I nursed Avery, but somehow it is creeping its way back into my life again.
  12. Going a bit overboard on the organizational stuff. Most nights I have to do the dishes and pick up all the girls' toys before I can even think of going to bed. Otherwise I just know they are laying there, waiting for me tomorrow. And I can't stand that feeling.
  13. Not caring about having a designer purse or brand-new car or ridiculously expensive shoes. To even think about a normal person spending $300+ on a Coach diaper bag of all things makes me roll my eyes. I just don't care.
  14. How many children we have. Yeah, I know they are close in age. But I am the one paying for them, so we will do as we please. (Although on a side note, this is quite possibly the final bambino anyway.)
  15. My lack of sports knowledge. I watch sports. I understand the games and most of the rules, but I basically know zero players. That is what I have jock sisters for.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Our weekend

The girls and I started off our weekend on Saturday morning at the Gala Day's parade in Lytton.  Bailey got really into the candy collecting thing. So much so that when we tried to empty her overflowing bucket into the stroller, she freaked out and began frantically collecting it from the stroller rather than from the street.  Apparently that really set her off because this is the only picture I could get from her:


Doesn't her facial expression just scream "I love parades!"  ??

Avery sat back all relaxed and enjoyed the views from her stroller - as long as some Goldfish snacks were within reach. As soon as the candy was collected, she busied herself with trying to sneakily steal a tootsie roll and eat it without me noticing. {Unsuccessfully I might add.}



Later that afternoon after a lunch consisting of hot dogs, nachos and pie, Bailey went on her first carnival rides. She had already mastered the Bouncing Barn (are we in Iowa or what?) and it was time to move on to the elephants. The elephants moved up and down as they went around in a circle and I was chosen to ride along.  Grandpa Jeff even went for a ride on the elephants at Bailey's insistance. Unfortunately, there are no photos to document this momentous occasion because Avery passed out in the double stroller and we couldn't reach the camera stored underneath. She napped and missed the kiddie races, which is okay. She totally would have showed up the other crawlers and made them feel bad. Let me tell ya, when Sister puts her head down and really throws it into high gear, there is no catching that crawling machine.


On Sunday afternoon we loaded up in the car and headed for Omaha. We met up at Fe's house and hung out. We did the usual: laughed, ate, and slept. It was a short visit, but after the way both girls behaved while we were at the restaurant Sunday night, everyone was probably okay with that.

And speaking of laughs, Fe had the season finale of American Idol recorded. She wanted to show us a particular part of the show that she thought we might like. And like we did. More like we were all laughing so hard we had tears in our eyes. It's Jennifer Holliday singing a song with the runner-up Idol contestant Jessica. In case you missed it, here it is. And it's hilarious. [You probably need the full-screen version to get the full effect.]


My favorite is the end when the camera is zoomed in on the Idol contestant Jessica and Jennifer Holliday sticks her head in the shot and makes the most ridiculous face. Seriously - while I was watching it, I felt like it was a skit off Saturday Night Live or something. And what adds to the performance (besides the fact that she makes the funniest faces I have ever seen) is that her wig looks like it is going to up and fly off her head with one more shake. I had no idea who Jennifer Holliday was before, but now I am sure I won't forget anytime soon.


Monday morning we went to the Henry Doorly Zoo with Beaner. We had the double stroller loaded down with a cooler of drinks and a diaper bag full of snacks. It was crowded, which we expected since it was Memorial Day and the weather was supposed to be beautiful. We hadn't been to the zoo for 2 years. The last time we went was when Bailey was about 6 or 7 months old, so we were overdue. Both girls enjoyed themselves, Bailey especially. On the drive down to Omaha we practiced the names of all the animals we would see at the zoo. Jah-raff, ell-phants, zebb-rah, lion, piggies...  (Yes, my child thought we were going to see pigs at the zoo.) She was getting pretty good. So what if we didn't see elephants and I don't even think they have zebras. She was pumped to see any animal at all. 


She liked the petting zoo almost as much as her daddy did. And really, mini goats are freaking adorable. (And while it looks like she is about to backhand this poor little goat, I promise that no animals were abused by us during our time at the zoo.)


The favorite area for both girls was the aquarium. Bailey loved running back and forth chasing after the same penguin as it swam from wall to wall. I don't have many pictures from the zoo because we brought our smaller, lower-quality camera and many just didn't turn out well, but I will post a couple anyway.


Bailey was mesmerized by the jellyfish and would have stood in front of their aquariums all day if we would have let her. 


Avery just looked and looked at all the brightly colored fish swimming in front of her. From time to time she would stick out a chubby little finger and point to one as it swam in front of her. (Pointing is our newest trick.) There was also some excited gibberish being said too.  

After a long day of walking and pushing a heavy stroller, we were all pooped. I think the family picture we took adequately shows the kinds of moods the girls were in.

Avery = sucking her thumb.  Bailey = whiny crying. 
Basically summing up why nap time is crucial for small children.

We had a good trip to the zoo and are very thankful Aunt Beaner was there to lend her amazing teacher skills (aka patience with whiny small children).  Plus she also took turns pushing our heavy stroller.  :)  And while it was nice to get out and have plans for the weekend, it was also just as nice to get home, put the kids to bed, and plop down on the couch last night.


Friday, May 25, 2012

My laugh of the week

All I can say is...


Thank God her hair isn't red too.
Because Ronald McDonald would have some serious competition.




Hairstyle by Jared
Photography by Vanessa


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Summer!

It's just around the corner. And I am getting excited. It's such a great excuse to get out and make plans to do fun things.

This weekend Jared has a whole 3 days off. Yippee! While he is sleeping off Friday's overnight shift, the girls and I will be going to the Gala Day's parade in Lytton. I haven't been in a few years. And in all actuality, it might be small and low on the excitement, but I haven't ever taken the girls to one, so it will be fun for us no matter what.  There is a carnival there, so the plan is to buy a few tickets and let Bailey have the exotic experience that is dirty carnival rides and funnel cake.

When I was little we always attended the parade on Saturday morning and afterward my mom would pack a picnic and we would go eat our lunch in the park. Grandma Joyce and Grandpa Ronnie were usually in attendance too. After eating we could play on the swings and jungle gym, which was sort of a big deal for girls that lived in the country and never really played at a park outside of school. We would spend the afternoon using up the last of our ride tickets, hanging out with our friends, and laughing at some of the carnies that clearly believed in bathing once a month whether they needed it or not.

On Sunday we are planning a trip to Omaha to see Fe and Beaner before visiting the Henry Doorly Zoo on Monday. I am highly anticipating this trip - not so much because I am a big animal freak or anything - but because I know how excited Bailey is going to be to see the animals. She looks at her picture books and points out the elephants and giraffes and zebras and lions. {She also does a heck of a roar! for said lion.} I am just imagining the look on her face when she sees and points to a real-life lion in amazement. Hopefully Avery enjoys herself as much as any 12 month-old can. If not, the stroller can be a nice nap locale for her.

I am also gearing up for summer and the water it brings. I am hoping to spend quite a few days with the girls at the baby pool. Both girls have their swimming suits lined up (Thanks Gramma Cathy!) and my newly-ordered maternity one is in the mail. Both girls love the water at bath time, so I am betting the same will be true of pool time. If not, I have a few pool toys up my sleeve to entice them... I will also be sure to pack the Little Swimmers this time. No one was too thrilled with Bailey's Kim Kardashian impression last year (okay, maybe I was):

Baby Got Back!


Afternoons at the lake are also in our future. Bailey is the proud new owner of some sporty looking water-wings. {I am interested to see how well that goes...} I also found a baby floatie device that we can plop Avery in. We are all set for some water adventures!

As a kid we spent many a Sunday afternoon with my mom's family: boating, eating grilled hotdogs and scotcharoos, and chasing each other off the dock at Treeman Park. I hope our kids experience the same simple pleasures of processed meat, sunshine, and accidental mouthfuls of lake water.  Although at this rate, we might need to recruit some "cousins" for them to play with.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Blogging

I like having a blog. It's kinda fun.

I like logging in to see that people have visited my site and read the things I posted. I like to see comments.  Love comments.  I am pretty sure every blogger gets excited about comments - at least at first. It's also a small little thrill with every new follower you get. Bonus points if you don't know them in real life. {And if you like to read my site, feel free to join. Trust me, I won't think it's creepy.} It's one thing to have your mom and best friend following you, but if a random person is following you, you must be somewhat entertaining, right?

Blogging is a more personal, in-depth version of Facebook in a way.
I can post pictures of my kids with the stories behind them.
I can voice my views on subjects without pushing them on others - like this one I had to get off my chest. {Because it's my blog, and if you don't like it, feel free to not read it.}
I can post big news about the newest addition to our family.

I wish I would have started blogging earlier. I thought about it back when I was pregnant with Bailey. But at the time I didn't think I would have much to write about. (Umm... can you say "wrong"?)

The whole process of expecting a baby with a cleft lip and palate - and the tremendous amount of pregnancy hormone-induced worrying I put myself through - would have filled pages. Our experiences with the process of trial and error for feedings and selecting a surgeon and the actual surgeries themselves might have been helpful to other parents out there going through the exact same things.
It's a scary time as a mom: you worry about how others will treat your baby, how you will feel once you see her (FYI - you couldn't care less), how she will handle the surgeries, how YOU will handle the surgeries... It might not have been extremely entertaining reading, but it would have helped me air my grief at the loss of a "perfect" baby and it would have been rewarding to write that post after her birth that said, "Wow, my worry was such a waste of time."

All that being said, I realize I am not some amazing professional writer with awesome photos and sweet computer skills. {This person is. If you like reading blogs, hers is one to follow.} Quite frankly, it was a challenge for me to even update the sidebar photos of our kids. [But seriously, why can't you just upload a photo straight to it?! Clearly I so do not understand anything tech related.] I have been meaning to update my header with photos that are actually from the current year, but I haven't quite mastered that yet. And by that I mean I haven't even attempted...

Oh well. The site itself might not be the most impressive thing you've ever seen, but at least I keep my spelling and grammatical errors to a minimum. At least I hope. The whole there/their/they're thing really gets me annoyed. {It's not that tough people! Figure it out!} I enjoy blogging and the little hobby it has become. I like sharing a little bit of our world with the rest of you. I hope you enjoy it too.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Solko: Party of Five

Yep, that's right. You read correctly...

Party of Five.

Introducing Solko Baby #3

baby at 9 week ultrasound a few weeks ago


And to the most common first question we've been asked {"Are you kidding?!"}, the answer is:
No, we aren't kidding.
There is really a baby brewing in there.
(And for anyone who has seen me lately, you can probably tell. But in my defense, this is Baby #3 after all.)

And to the other question people are probably thinking and just kind enough not to ask out loud {"Are you crazy?!"}, the answer is most likely Yes.
But we tend to just go for it. [Kind of like: Graduate, get married, move, honeymoon, and start new jobs within the same month.]  
Apparently it's our M.O. 

 Baby #3's due date is November 27th or December 4th - depending on whether you put stock into the whole dating-by-ultrasound route. Regardless, baby will not make it to December  due to me being a type 1 diabetic. (Most high-risk OBs won't let diabetic pregos go past 39 weeks.) Plus if Baby #3 is anything like the first two, he/she will aim for an early appearance. 

We are planning on another surprise, just like Bailey was. We had a hard time picking girl names the last time around, so maybe we will be spared from choosing a third time and this one will be a boy... Although if Jared is as lucky as my dad was, I won't be holding my breath... But in the end, I would be delighted with a healthy baby who doesn't require any type of NICU stay.

So far I have been feeling great. No morning sickness and only minor mood swings (although I may be in denial - ask Justy if you want an honest opinion).  My only real symptom is fatigue, which I have just as bad as I did with Bailey. I have also experienced cravings for the first time ever. LOVE me some Wendy's dollar menu items. And it's a very good thing the nearest Wendy's is 30 minutes away.

I can't complain about the first trimester; it's treated me well. But since I get the privilege of checking my blood sugar like 10 times a day and enduring twice weekly non-stress tests starting at 32 weeks, I deserve a symptom-free pregnancy. Right? ;)
 
 
Overall, we are excited to be adding another baby into our already chaotic lives. I have had a few moments of "What the hell were we thinking?!" here and there, especially when all I want to do is nap and Bailey has other plans {like covering her room in diaper cream}. But I know when November rolls around, we will be happy.
Deliriously tired, but happy.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Everyday laughs

The other night I was sitting in the recliner with Bailey on my lap using a flashcard app on the Ipad. This particular one was about clothing. A picture would pop up with the word underneath and Bailey said what it was out loud.


The first one was a pair of jeans.
Pants! she said with confidence.

The next was a baby bonnet.
Hat!

The following one was tennis shoes.
Shoes!

The next item was this picture:


Bailey looked at me thoughtfully and concentrated. Then as it finally came to her she exclaimed
PAPA!

I thought it was pretty creative and technically correct, so I accepted it as an answer. Apparently even Bailey knows that flannel is synonymous with Jeff Ellis.



Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day


Happy Mother's Day to all the special ladies in my life:
grandmas, mothers-in-law, a step-grandma-in-law, all my mommy friends, and especially my very own mom.

Mom and me at my wedding

Thank you Mom, for all that you have done and still do every day.
Thank you for working so hard to give all four of us girls the best life possible.
Thank you for giving me three sisters that have become my best friends. 
Thank you for home cooked meals every night around the supper table.
Thank you for never sweating the small stuff {you're a pro at that}.
Thank you for a house filled with laughter.
Thank you for a childhood out in the country many people would be envious of:
building forts, riding crashing 4-wheelers (and 3 wheelers and go-carts...), loading pigs, walking gravel roads, wading in the creek, riding beans...
[Okay, so maybe no one would be envious of the bean riding part.]

Thank you for being my mom.

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Last year on Mother's Day I was served breakfast in bed {courtesy of The Nebraska Medical Center food service} and later that morning we brought Avery home from the hospital. Today is hopefully going to be a much more low-key Mother's Day...

This morning I spent a few precious minutes in bed cuddling with my three favorite people. And in all reality it was about 30 seconds of cuddling and another 10 minutes of WWE-style wrestling as both girls were flailing and flopping over each other. It was still sweet.

Later I am taking the girls to church. Then we will come back to a delicious brunch prepared by my wonderful husband, which we will enjoy with my mom and my grandma Joyce. (And my grandpa and Dad too.)



And on a totally different note, everyone should celebrate Mother's Day in the classiest way possible (not at all) by checking out the Mother Lover Video from Saturday Night Live a few years back.

It makes me laugh every single time. I think I almost peed the first time I watched it. And the 10 times I hit rewind on the DVR to watch it again and again.

{Side Note: Definitely don't click if you can't handle humor involving an occasional F-bomb. But just be aware you are totally missing out.}


Happy Mother's Day to all you mothers out there!

 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Avery's 1st Birthday

Happy Birthday to ....





We celebrated Avery's 1st birthday on Sunday afternoon with family, gathered around our table, eating grilled hotdogs and salads.

A very low key affair for sure.




The birthday girl was on her best behavior, even when all the attention got a little overwhelming.

She patiently awaited her cake.


But when it got in front of her - watch out!
There was no timidly-poking-at-it stuff. She went for it...


with both hands.


I think she was legitimately trying to eat the entire cake.
Thankfully she stopped before that happened.

{She did leave a few crumbs behind.}

Present opening was also a hit.


Oddly, she enjoyed closely inspecting all the cute clothes she received. She kept throwing them in the air over and over. And then she chewed on some tags and tried to eat some wrapping paper. And then tissue paper, which is her favorite.  
All in a good day's work.

She particularly liked the bright colors of the pants.

Bailey got to play the part of official gift-delivery-lady (or something like that).
Whatever.   It kept her entertained.

{Clearly she is happy with her very important job.}


Birthday Girl was far too busy to take a picture with her parents, but we made her anyway.
We would have included Bailey, but at the time she was stripping off her clothes and running around the house. Quite the entertainer, obviously.
That girl loves to strip.
{And I am sincerely hoping that is not something I can say 15 years from now.}







The day was filled with lots of hugs and kisses and laughs and love.


And even some sisterly love.
(Awwww!)



Happy 1st Birthday Avery Josephine!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Happy 1st Birthday to our baby girl, Avery Josephine!


One year ago today our little Mama's girl was born.
{note to self: be careful what you wish for}


You make every day better with your smiles and slobbery open-mouthed kisses.

It melts by heart to watch you playing and laughing alongside your big sister.

You have been a blessing and we love you so very, very much.


Thursday, May 3, 2012

The last month in pictures

It's been a while, so I thought I would post photos of what our life has looked like over the past few weeks.

We put in a garden in the backyard.
And by "we" I really mean that Jared, my dad, and my grandpa Ronnie put in a garden in the backyard. I did supervise though. {Someone has to stop the kids from playing under the skid loader.}

Here's the hubby hard at work.


And Grandpa Ronnie,
who likes to use his machinery to (and I quote) "tear some shit up." 
Unfortunately he already tore up the disgusting, overgrown bushes that surrounded the house last fall, so he had to settle for moving some dirt instead.



Bailey was distracted from all the action by playing in her new sandbox. New meaning new to her and sandbox really meaning an old piece of junk my dad found that he filled with sand. But hey, it kept her happy and entertained. Oh, and dirty. Did I mention dirty?

She really dug in and got after it. Sister knows her way around some sand.



We had a few nice days to go outside.  For Easter my parents bought the girls a Little Tikes swing for the front yard. Bailey has gotten plenty of use out of it already. Almost daily she puts on her shoes and stands at the front door yelling "swing! swing!"


The one time I put Avery in it, Bailey stood there and pitched a fit until I took Avery out and put her in instead.
Ehh, oh well.

Avery wasn't that into it anyway. There were way more fun things to do out in the yard, like covering yourself with mud and attempting to eat rocks. 
[success with both, I might add.]



My mom has been working a few Sundays this month, leaving my poor, helpless dad at home without food. (Try to suppress your eye rolling.) So he has been our guest for a couple Sunday dinners. This has given him some extra chances to coax Avery into liking him. Her tolerance is almost bordering on genuine approval lately.

{And I will have you note that my dad is rocking the Jay Leno jean-on-jean look.}


This weekend will be busy with activity. I am throwing a purse party at our house on Saturday afternoon. We are going to have chocolately snacks - and wine per Justina's demands - and buy cute purses that we absolutely need.  Jared's mom is arriving late Saturday afternoon to spend a few days with us.
Then Sunday is Avery's first birthday!

We are celebrating by inviting family to grill out, eat cake, and watch Avery open presents. And seeing as I wrapped Avery's gifts this week just to find Bailey unwrapping them about ten minutes later, I know a certain someone who will open them if Avery isn't up for the challenge.