Friday, June 28, 2013

sunny days

Yesterday's weather was perfect: not too hot, not too cool, and NOT RAINY. Yippee!
Don't get me wrong, I like rainstorms. A lot. But not being able to shoo the kids into the backyard whenever necessary was really cramping my style.

Graham started truly crawling this past weekend.
In one day he went from moving approximately one foot in a backward direction only to crawling about the entire house.
When we would go outside before, I would put him on a big blanket in the grass and he stayed put.
That is no longer the case. This guy is on the move!

Yesterday was the first time that he felt grass, like really felt it.
And he loved it.
He just laid there in the shade running his fingers through the blades of grass over and over.
It was so sweet.
As an adult you forget that all the little everyday things in life were once a new, cool discovery.
About twenty minutes later he emerged from his relaxation coma and realized he could move around.
Leaves were tasted and dirt was consumed.
 Just a boy and his puppy, watching the world go by.
The girls were outside too, fighting over who got to swing first.

This is what I get when I ask Bailey to "give me your good smile."
Umm... good effort?

Avery might wait her turn, but she is going to let you know she isn't all that happy about it.
All the dirt was washed off come bath time, and the girls donned their new shirts - advertising their Aunt Justy's massage therapy business. 
If you ask Bailey, it is a "dress." 
And she is basically right. They are a bit on the big side.
But I think it's cute.
It reminds me of all the oversized t-shirts I preferred to sleep in as a kid {although I did make an exception for a sweet Ariel nightgown}. 
The girls love their new "dresses." Thanks Aunt Justy!
And while I am mentioning it, check out my sister's business Total BodyWorks if you are in our area and want an awesome massage at a great price.
She is seriously the best!

Monday, June 24, 2013

cuddle bugs

With Jared and Bailey gone to Colorado for an extended weekend with Jared's mom, it's just been me and the two younger kiddos around here.

And wouldn't you know, each day one would sleep in until 8 while the other got up early.

Sunday morning it was Graham.
He woke up at 6:30 for an early morning eating sesh, so I plopped him into bed with me to allow myself some time to slowly come around.
After a while he just wanted to coo and gurgle and say "da-da da-da da-da" over and over.
My phone was nearby so I snapped a quick pic.
My phone is far from smart so yes, the photo is very low-quality.

Avery was my early one this morning.
I released her from her room after hearing her pitiful pleas, and she climbed up into bed with me. This girl loves her covers.

With Bailey gone for a few days, I feel like I have had much more one-on-one time with each of my other two. The morning snuggles have been a nice way to wake up, as opposed to Avery's usual screaming of "I want breakfast! I need milk!" within 10 seconds of awakening.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

5 thoughts

from this weekend:

1) Never ever - no matter how many people are there to help - take your 2 year-old to a museum. You are inevitably going to shout "Don't touch that!" and "Come back here!" over and over until you are completely hoarse.

2) Just because there is one less child and one less husband around the house doesn't mean that I will be any more productive or go to bed any earlier. It only means that there is half the normal amount of whining, and I have to cook dinner.

3) Puppy training sucks. I am so over it. How do I get the message into his fluffy little head that it is not okay to pee outside 4 separate times with me and then come inside and promptly pee on the floor again? Seriously, he is like an old man with BPH.

4) With the help of a step-by-step blog complete with tutorials, my hair just might have a chance at getting styled once in a while, like it was today. And the style wasn't a ponytail for once - a miracle!

5) All carpet cleaning sprays are not created equal. Especially when it comes to cleaning an orange-colored poop stain 6 inches in diameter from a certain little boy. Oh, and the carpet is beige. Sweet.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Zoo Day

We visited the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha yesterday. The forecast sounded great, so we packed up our stuff and headed out.
In actuality, it was raining right when we got there. We hung out in the jungle for a while to wait it out, which worked out fine. It ended up being a beautiful day for the zoo.

Overall the kids did really well.
And having Aunt Fe there made a difference too.
Since there was so much to do and see, the whining was at an all-time low.
Yay for our sanity!

We took a couple of breaks so I could feed Graham, but he actually was so busy checking things out, he didn't want to stop and eat much. He loves being in the stroller as long as it's moving, so he took a nice nap or two.

The kids loved the aquarium, Graham included.
Everything is so bright and colorful; it really draws in their attention.
Plus seeing sharks swimming overhead is always cool.

It was fun to see them so excited and captivated by all the different animals - animals we look at in books and talk about, but usually don't see in person.
It amazes me to see the connections they make too: a crab was Sebastian from the Little Mermaid, every colorful, slightly orange-ish fish was Nemo, and a roaring jaguar was Simba (sure whatever, close enough).
And yes, my kids really enjoy their Disney movies...
The girls' highlights:
Bailey: the lions
Avery: "Baby goats! Baby goats!"

Sunday, June 16, 2013

To my own daddy

Happy 29th Father's Day, Dad.

I love this picture, of a dad - my dad - meeting his firstborn child.
I love the feeling of awe you can clearly see on my dad's face.
The studying of a new baby, this thing you have helped create.
Suddenly the world has just changed.

No longer just livestock to feed, there is now a hungry little baby demanding food.

And oh so many special moments to share and memories to create,

snow banks to play in,

and tractor rides to take.

My parents didn't have a lot of money when we were growing up. The farm crisis hit when I was only a year or two old, and things were tight. Looking back now at pictures I can see it: a house that was badly needing paint and our old car complete with rust spots.

The important thing is that I never felt it. I never felt like I was missing out.
And it is because I wasn't.
My parents worked hard to make sure we had everything that was truly important. And we had more than enough of all of those things.

There were birthday parties with cakes my mom baked herself and gifts under the Christmas tree. My dad insisted we have a pool, even if my mom wasn't thrilled. We took family vacations (ugh, Minnesota, again?!). We ate supper as a family every single night and talked around the dinner table. We laughed.
My dad taught me the value of hard work by making my sisters and me walk/ride beans for an entire summer to earn an original Playstation game console.

He taught me compassion by being respectful and kind to others, especially those with disabilities.

He taught me how to stand up for myself, which I did when I punched a bully in the face in 5th grade. (My proudest detention.)

He taught me to look for the good in other people just as he always does.

He taught me some really great swear words during all our sessions of hog-loading.

He encouraged and helped me develop my own opinions during all our lively debates. (My mom likes to call them arguments.)

He taught me that the little things matter when he got so excited over opening his birthday and Father's Day cards.

He taught me the value of a dollar by paying me with a can of pop after hours of pitching hog manure.

By loving my mom, he showed me the kind of love all girls deserve.

I have seen my dad's strength.
And a time or two I have seen him vulnerable, unsure of how to make things right.
I admire him much more for those times of brokenness - letting me see his emotions and his heart.
And partly because of that, I know I can count on my dad; he is going to show up when I need him.
Maybe not on time... but he will be there. And he will try his best to make things right.

Thank you Dad. 
Thanks for playing farm with us on the living room floor.
Thanks for always swimming with us at the lake or in the pool (bonus points for throwing us in the air).
Thanks for giving us wide open space in the country to run free and explore.
Thanks for getting to know our friends (Hello, Jeff-dance anyone?!) and letting our house be a place we loved to hang out.
Thanks for giving us just enough freedom so that we never felt the urge to rebel.

Thanks for letting me be my own person, for holding your tongue when I moved away to Kansas at the age of 20- even though I know you thought I had lost my damn mind.
Thanks for still "debating" with me. You know I love a good political discussion.
And finally -
thanks for being Papa to my kids, the kind of grandpa that takes them for tractor rides and buys them all kinds of auction-find trikes and toys. Just like you did for me.

I love you.
Happy Father's Day.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

tomorrow night. without kids.

Tomorrow night Jared and I will be leaving our children - all three! - in the hands of my highly-qualified {*fingers crossed*} sister Justy.

We didn't get to celebrate our anniversary this past weekend. At all.
In fact, Jared had to work at 6 pm so he made us a nice dinner before he left for work, which meant we ate at like 5:15. Yeah, just a tad bit early for me...
The meal was delicious.
The company - not so much.

Jared scarfed his meal and promptly ditched me to go do whatever it was he had to do before work.
Avery, who loves to eat 24/7, decided she was not in the mood for food. So she was climbing out of her seat, giving short bursts of her trademark ear-piercing scream, and attempting to stab the dog with her spoon.
Bailey on the other hand was insistent that Barney was on the TV (he was not), and she needed to go watch him that instant.
Graham, meanwhile, was uncharacteristically whiny on my lap while I attempted to eat a bite in between commands that the girls come back to their seats. (They did not.)
Happy anniversary!

So now that Mr. G has achieved his newest and most long-awaited skill, Jared and I are free to leave our home and eat a meal without at least one child for the first time since Graham's birth almost 7 months ago.
Praise Jesus, hallelujah!

I am thinking a calorie ridden meal and a bottle of wine are in my near future.
Can't wait.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Happy 5th

Oh how the years fly by...

Five years ago we were partying like nobody's business.





Cheers to five years.

Happy anniversary, love. ♥

Thursday, June 6, 2013

A tiny trim with tears

If you know me, you know I have been obsessed with Graham's hair.
It is unruly, slightly curly, and just plain crazy.
But it has also been getting pretty long. Like almost two inches down his back long. Seriously, no exaggeration.

Jared made the impromptu decision that today was the day:
haircut time.

Now, if he had wanted to deal with rational Vanessa, he should have gone about things a different way. Like talk to me the day before, discuss the benefits, give me some time to prepare...
Instead, he got over-the-top emotional mommy Vanessa.

I freaked at the mention of it. And I freaked some more when Jared entered the room with scissors.
He meant business.

I realized, somewhere in the rational part of my brain, that Graham would look a little more presentable with just a tiny little trim. Just around the ears.
So we prepared for the big cut.

I am not ashamed (okay, maybe just a tad bit ashamed) to say that I cried.
Yes, I cried over my son's first haircut.
I cried because I am not ready for my baby to be needing a haircut - meaning I am not ready for my baby to be BIG enough to actually need a haircut. Because that means he is growing up, and I sort of want to just freeze him in this stage.
It makes me sad to think that he will soon no longer want to cuddle with me and nurse before bed. Before I know it he will be running behind his sisters, singing "Twinkle Twinkle"  softly to himself at bedtime, and insisting "Me do!" every chance he gets.
I want to savor these days now - just as they are- and pretend they are going to last and last.
Because I know they won't.

So, before I weep myself into another puddle: the pictures.


I know he looks cute with it cut {and so grown up!}, but I am going to miss his crazy hair.
My baby looks a little less like a baby now.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

taking a break

Just last night in the middle of a heated game of Monopoly, my sister Justy held up her phone. She was showing me a Facebook post that we both knew was ridiculous. This person is just a hot mess -making horrible, life-altering decisions that affect other people -and just loves to go online posting like he/she is this outstanding person/parent/family member. Basically just wanting even more attention.
It is annoying. And it made me angry.

Seriously, am I getting myself pissed off by looking at Facebook?
In a word: Yes.
I am honestly getting pissed off by browsing my newsfeed.

It's apparently time for a break.

So as of today, I am taking a week off.
I am something of an addict when it comes to Facebook. I am not on it all day long, but whenever I am sitting in the recliner feeding Graham without much else to do, I fire up the Ipad and browse away. I know way more than I ever cared to know about the same 15 people that are constantly posting. And Facebook isn't improving the quality of my life if I am getting worked up by immature people I would never want to deal with in person.

In fact, I think there are a lot of ways that Facebook is not helping people.
Facebook has become the new vehicle for keepin' up with the Joneses.
While it isn't true for everybody, most of us have probably felt that way at one time or another while assessing the lives of our online friends.
I can't be the only one, right?
You are going through a break-up.
Thank God I have never broken up with a boyfriend in the Facebook era.
Come on! Seriously, it has to be so hard!
Even if you were the dumper and not the dumpee, you still have this sick desire to want to know what the other person is up to. Before Facebook you would have had to have gotten info from mutual friends or run into each other somewhere. Time and distance were your friends. Not hearing from him or seeing him around would help you get over it all much more quickly.
You can {quite easily} become a super stalker.
You can check out his new girlfriend, see photos of him out having way more fun than you are, look at a log of all the places he was tagged... It's non-stop.
And it's in real-time!
For example, you happen to be at home alone on a Saturday night watching The Notebook and log onto Facebook. Bam! there he is. You see him tagged in a photo out at the bar doing a shot with a hot chick on his lap.  Instant dagger to the self-esteem!
Even if you take the healthier route and delete him, you can quite easily ask your friends and family members for info in a weak moment, because odds are they didn't delete him.
Breaking up is hard to do.
But it probably feels damn near impossible with Facebook.
Then there are the friends who have the opposite life as you.
Most days I am happy and content. I have a great husband and three happy, healthy children. But let me tell you, there are times when I look at Facebook and see my single friends out there living it up, and I momentarily wish I could get a refund on my family life - just for a day.
I see their vacation photos, complete with bikini clad bodies sipping a drink on a warm beach. Then I look down at my nursing tank and lounge pants from the Gap and take in the sights and sounds of my children momentarily fighting over a book. What sane person doesn't occasionally wish they were the one laying on the beach with no cares in the world?
That being said,
some people feel the opposite way.
They see their married friends celebrating anniversaries and having children and wish that was their lives. Those same skinny, single people are some times wishing for a house filled with kids, even if there are nasty diapers that come along with them. Or what about couples suffering through infertility that would give anything to have a baby of their own? How sucky it must be to log onto Facebook and be bombarded with everyone's new baby photos.
And more recently for me, there is mommy guilt.
You just got done putting your kid in time-out (again) and are picking up your kids' toys for the ten thousandth time that day. A while later you log onto Facebook to see all these posts highlighting how amazing your friends are as parents.
Kids that love naps.
Arts and craft projects.
Picture after picture of healthy lunches featuring every food group...
Some days I feel it's a win if they actually eat some chicken nuggets and don't spend a solid ten minutes trying to bite each other. 
It's hard to be happy with your own life when constantly comparing it to others'. It's part of life -  other people have things you want.
But with Facebook, you honestly log on every time to be reminded of that:
This person has lost 20 pounds.
That girl got a new car.
Mr. Muscles ran his 10th marathon.
So-and-so's rich husband took her on a European vacation.
That guy landed a dream job.
And you are happy for these people.
Okay, scratch that.
In actuality, I am happy for my close friends and family. When something happens in their lives, I want to celebrate with them.
The rest - I some times have a pang of jealousy {Who doesn't want to be able to afford a European vacation?} and usually not much else.
Don't get me wrong - I do love Facebook.
I like seeing happy pictures of my friends' cute kids, getting a laugh from a funny status, and reading links to interesting articles I might not have ever seen otherwise.
But for the next week, I am not going to miss the comparisons I some times make between myself and other people.  My life is my own, and I am happy with it, even if Facebook occasionally makes me feel like I am missing out.