Sunday, March 29, 2015

The Day She Wore White


Awaiting outside our front door stood a handsome man, carrying a single red rose for his beautiful date. He looked nervous but excited as he stood patiently, waiting for the girl he so loved to answer the door.

She giggled excitedly, her blonde curls bouncing and her blue eyes twinkling as she skipped to the door to greet her date. 

Her nails were painted the palest of pinks, as was the lip gloss she wore for the special occasion. Her hair was adorned with delicate white flowers, matching the angelic dress she wore. She seemed to float to the door as she went to greet the first man she had ever loved. 

Her daddy. 


They started their evening at a local restaraunt before heading to the dance, where she twirled and jumped and pranced and laughed, chasing bubbles and sipping juice out of a purple tea cup. 

She danced with her daddy. 

He danced with his baby girl. 


She wore white to their first dance together...  

...the same color she'll wear one day, when he gives her away.  

Friday, March 27, 2015

Coffee Date Friday: Freakin' Weekend Edition

You guys. It's the freakin' weekend, and I am wooooorn out. I think all my hub's travel has finally caught up with me as well as having a *challenging* week with my littlest Lu. Whew. So. Let's make mine a venti with an extra shot as we catch up on our weekly (virtual) coffee date. 

How are YOU? What's new? Anything fun and exciting to share? Whelp. Just a few things I wanted to share from this week that are close to my heart: 

...that I loved having both my Momma and Momma "in law" in town a few days during the week/end last week. I am lucky to have these two amazing women in my life, and my kiddos' lives, and we had an awesome time together chatting, chatting, and chatting some more; playing with kiddos; and rooting on our favorite teeball players. I even got to sneak out for a little girlfriend time at the ol' Pure Barre studio. It was great, and I so appreciated their company and help. I am one lucky Momma. 

...that Harrison's first birthday invitations have been mailed and party planning/prepping is underway. How, how, HOW is this day so fast approaching?!

...that we enjoyed warmer temps and sunny skies this week, having ice cream for lunch in our cute little town center one day and enjoying backyard picnics outside others. Playing "Sly Fox" (thanks, Peppa Pig, for the fun game idea) and "What Time Is It, Mr. Wolf?" in the front yard one afternoon and pushing babies in strollers during walks with friends another.  Climbing trees, smelling flowers, swinging and running and playing. We <3 Spring. 

...that last but not least, my baby boy turned 11 months old this week. Ohmyheart. He has it--that's for sure. Harrison is the only baby of my three that I've been home with full-time since birth. In many ways, it's been like being a first time momma as far as having to figure things out (nap schedules, feeding schedules, transitions, etc.). For that reason, I feel like I really know him better as a baby. It has challenged me as a momma. But. I also feel so proud when he and I accomplish new things together. We have been really struggling with self-feeding (that's another post for another day). But. At exactly 11 months old, he finally fed himself for the first time. I cried--I was so proud of him. He has done it a couple times since then but still prefers me to feed him. We'll keep working on it together. Regardless, I am so proud of the progress we've made. And when I feed him, he has a great appetite! Some of his favorites include banana bread and blueberry muffins, guacamole, yogurt, spaghetti, pizza, and bananas.  

Other things Harrison has accomplished over the last month? Well, he climbed our steep stairs for the first time at exactly 11 months. He continues to be really great at independent play. One of my favorite things to do is just sit quietly in the playroom, watching him play and explore and learn. He is also awesome at mimicking sounds and words. In addition to "dada" and "mama" (which he says all the time now!), he has said "up" and "ball." He is discovering new consonant sounds each day, and I love hearing his sweet voice. 

Harrison's personality is also starting to emerge: He is bashful and loving, headstrong and sweet. He can have a bit of a temper one minute and then be laughing like crazy the next. He loves to bury his little massive hands paws between his tummy and mine when I pick him up out of his crib each morning and will often shyly bury his face in my shoulder when meeting someone new. He has been SO snuggly this month: he will often spot me across the room and will stop what he's doing, crawl over, snuggle up against me, and suck his thumb for a few moments before returning to what he was doing. And yes, he now sucks his thumb regularly when tired. I'm not gonna lie: I love it. He is also (finally!) teething. He has little under-gum tooth nubs all over the bottom of his mouth, yet no teeth have broken through yet. Maybe by next month? 

He also has SEVERE separation anxiety. As in, I can be in the same room and if he can't see me, he will lose it. And let me tell you, he has the shrillest, loudest scream/cry of any baby I have ever met in my entire life. Pierces the ear drums. This is really hard and allows me very little time where I am not in direct eyesight of my littlest throughout the day. But I just soak it up and realize it won't be like this for long. And have I ever mentioned that his favorite place in the world is my left hip. I just may keep him there forever. <3

Harrison loves to throw balls, dance, cruise, stand independently, and play with the kitchen in the playroom. He is a superfast crawler and is thisclose to walking. He also jumps like crazy in the doorway jumper, which has been extremely helpful since my hub as been traveling so much this month--it means momma can take a shower while simultaneously watching baby. ;)

I just can't wrap my brain around the fact that my last baby will be 1 year old next month. Oh, how I adore this little boy:

So, that's that. We have no big plans this weekend, which I am thrilled about seeing as how we have lots and lots of busy weekends coming up over the next couple months. Aside from getting a long over-due haircut and color, planting a few pretty Spring blooms in our window boxes, and keeping the church nursery on Sunday, we are plan-free and quite happy about it! I hope yours is as relaxing or busy as you want it to be. :) Have a good one!

P.S. Until last night, I was STILL in first place in both of my March Madness brackets. Currently? I dropped to second to last place in both. Yikes! Hoping for a turn around this weekend so I can bring home the dolla, dolla bills, y'all. ;)

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Play Ball!

I wasn't sure if she would like it.

She is three after all.

She is sweet and stubborn and shy and friendly all at the same time. Would she like it? Would she let go of my hand once we arrived and join her team? Would she learn as she went? Would she remember what she practiced with her Daddy? Would she have fun?

Yes. The answer to all of the above, is yes.

My girl loved her first day of teeball.

We quickly dressed into her new uniform when we arrived at the field, and without a moment of hesitation, she joined her coaches and her teammates, where she immediately learned the correct direction to run the bases. She ran hard but in her own precious, dainty way, smiling all the while.

Next was batting practice and throwing and catching practice before the actual "game" began.

And while there were certainly moments when that "threenager" 'tude surfaced...

...she had a ball.

And had quite the cheering section.

Go #3! Go Knights!

He's been practicing with his daddy for months. 

Hitting small, pitched ping pong balls to help prepare him for the bigger baseballs that would be pitched his way once the season began. 

Learning how to step into his throw in order to fire straight, accurate, well-fielded balls. 

It paid off. 

He was two for two in his first coach's pitch game. 

He threw three long, straight, perfectly grounded balls from his shortstop position to first base. 

He ran hard. He played hard. He had a blast with his teammates and friends. 

He was so proud of his loud cheering section, waving excitedly to his fans upon making it to second, and then third, base and giving an enthusiastic thumbs up to us each of the two times he scored. 

He high-fived the opposing team at the end of the game before joining his own to celebrate a job well done.  

He was amazing. And I was so proud of my baseball-loving boy.

Go #6! Go Riverdogs!


The dugout hangouts. The chain-link fence viewing. The smell of freshly cut grass. The arms-around-the-shoulders moments. The sound of the bat connecting with the ball. The twinkle in the eyes after reaching home plate. The "Keep your eye on the ball" encouragement and the "Great hit, buddy!" cheers. The hands-on-the-knees fielding stance. The post-game snacks. The red-mud stained pants. The smiles, the joy, the innocence. Well. I'm pretty sure it's what childhood is made of. 

Friday, March 20, 2015

Coffee Date Friday: Registration Edition

Can I get a big, fat fist bump that it's Friday? 'Cause shooooey, am I glad to see the weekend. Even though my hub is gone until Sunday, I am so lucky to have had my momma "in law" here yesterday, today, and tomorrow, as well as my momma here for the weekend, to help me out with my trio. And good thing, 'cause we have a day of teeball game-ing, birthday partying, and Pure Barre sweating coming our way tomorrow, in addition to soaking up lots of beautiful sunshine. Whew! I know I'm ready. So is this girl:

That being said, during our coffee today, I would want to hear about how YOU manage things when your hub is away for extended periods of time. Can I get an Amen that sometimes it truly feels as though it takes a village? Anywho, I'd also want to hear about your plans for the weekend and whether you'd be spending any time outdoors? Anything else new with you? Here's what's been up with my little fam and me since our last coffee date:

...that last Friday my girl started back to gymnastics after taking a year (wow! that went by fast!) off. You see, until she turned 3, the only gymnastics classes available were the momma and me classes, which were great fun, until I was 7 months pregnant and trying to lift her 95th percentile frame up onto beams and bars. And then, our Harrison entered the world, which meant I still couldn't lift that little frame since I always had our littlest guy in tow. But now? Now she's 3, and she has aged into the momma-free class. We were referred to an awesome gym that we tried out last Friday morning, and she LOVED it! I was so proud of my girl. It usually takes her awhile to warm up, and while she was a little shy the first 10 minutes or so, she walked right into the huge, colorful, amazing gym with her new coach and did so great! So, if you need us Friday mornings from here on out, we'll be at Gym Fit, me smiling from ear to ear from behind the large observation window and her, gingerly crossing the beam and flipping over the uneven bars. :)  

...that Banks and Raleigh both have their first teeball games of the season tomorrow. After a few team practices for Banks, and lots of hitting/throwing/catching practices with Daddy for both in the backyard, I think both my lil' athletes are ready to hit the field! Go Knights! Go Riverdogs!

...that, as I blogged about before, my little Harrison was hired by Buy Buy Baby to shoot an ad for a diaper changing pad. He did great at his photo shoot (which was almost 5 months ago!), and last week, I spotted a very familiar face on the Buy Buy Baby website! I mean, I could just bite into those sweet thighs. I've only seen the photo on the website catalog so far, but you can bet your bottom dollar I'll be looking for his sweet smile in every circular that comes in the mail in 2015. 

 ...that one of my awesome sisters brightened my day the other day when she sent me the sweetest surprise in the mail. Cupcake in a jar? Never gets old. Cupcake with Guinness just in time for St. Patty's Day while my hub is away? Definitely never gets old.

...that last, but certainly not least, I registered my first baby, the one who made me a momma, for kindergarten yesterday. There may or may not have been tears (mine not his). How in the world am I going to send him off to elementary school in just a few short months? I am so very thankful my Banks has a September birthday, as it has allowed us an extra year together before he enters formal schooling. But. You know what? I'm still not ready. But he is. And he is so, so excited. I am so very proud of my kind-hearted, smart, energetic, caring, inquisitive, insightful little boy. I know I am going to have to let go so I can watch him soar. But. I am so thankful I have a whole summer with him to look forward to first.

And with that, I would wish you a warm, sunny, happy weekend, filled with the ones you love doing things you love. Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!

P.S. MARCH MADNESS: I am currently in first place in both of my bracket pools! Update on my status coming next week, as the tourney continues. Come on, boys. Momma wants to bring home the bacon! 


Monday, March 16, 2015

What I Didn't Know Then

I am now 5.5 years into this parenting gig. I have raised three babies--one of whom will enter toddlerhood when he turns one next month; one of whom is in the middle of the oh-so-invigorating threenager phase; one of whom turns five and a half (that half is a big deal) next week and will start kindergarten in the Fall. 

I have come a long way over the last 5.5 years. In the beginning, I knew nothing, aside from what I soaked in from every parenting book, magazine, blog, email, and article I could get my hands on. Those things were great for surface-level parenting: breastfeeding, sleep schedules and training, teething, treatment of acid reflux, sleep regression, growth spurts, medication recommendations, transitioning to solids, achievement of developmental milestones, pumping and freezing and thawing, and on and on and on. You get the gist. Because you've read them, too. 


It's a deeper comprehension of mommahood I have learned over the last 5.5 years that I think is so important for us mommas to know, experience, and understand. It's what I know today that I wish I could have told myself 5.5 years ago. Things I didn't learn from reading those books and magazines and blogs and articles. Things I learned because I lived them.

What I didn't know then was that...

...the days are long but the years are short. Sometimes, by the end of the day, I am D.O.N.E.  momma-ing. On particularly challenging days, I have likely refereed 1,962 sibling arguments, wrestled through 897 diaper changes, vacuumed under my kitchen table 762 times, cleaned 425 spills, wiped 237 hineys, and been bitten 94 times while nursing. On those days, I have probably had "company" for every single one of my own potty breaks, eaten every meal standing up, loaded and unloaded the washing machine 8 times with an 18-pound baby on my hip, and hauled everyone into and out of carseats more times than I have sat down myself. I am especially tired at the end of *those* days. You know, the ones where you look at your watch and can.not.believe. it is only 3:13 pm. Those days are looooooong. But you know what? All of a sudden, I blinked and I am now registering my baby, the one I was just cradling in my arms on the Labor & Delivery floor of Northside Hospital, for kindergarten. 

So. I lie in silence in the playroom, hearing the tick-tock, tick-tock, of the wall clock, saying not a word while watching them play. Trying to memorize the size of their bodies, the inflection of their voices, the sparkle in their eyes. Because soon, all too soon, I will long for these days, even these loooooong days, when nothing else in the world was more important than watching them grow with each passing tick-tock, tick-tock of that ever-moving clock.

...this too shall pass. At the same time, those moments that you could stand to do without on *those* days will pass. I promise they will. Take it from a momma who survived an acid-refluxed, protein-allergy-ed newborn (read: screaming many, many hours for many, many days for many, many months) while managing 4- and 2-year-olds with a traveling hub. That season passed. My sanity almost did, too, but alas, I survived. You will, too. 

...put in the effort. Turn off the television. Put down your phone. Put away the movies during errand-running. Close your computer. Instead? Be present with your children. Help them cultivate their creativity and quench their innate desire for learning by taking away readily available, and overused, technology. Play with them. Pretend with them. Be with them. Let them lead. You follow. See where they take you. Pull out board games. Pull out books. Pull out costumes. Read with them. Talk with them. Listen to them. Observe them. Make them your priority. I promise you, I absolutely PROMISE you, you will never, ever regret investing your time and energy and attention in your children. If they ask you to play, then play. Because one day? One day, they'll stop asking. So play with them while they still want you to. I guarantee you that no status updates nor viral articles nor Instagram photos nor flash sales are more important than the little eyes that are watching you, pleading for you, while you scroll on your phone. Put in the effort to be a good parent. It's a choice you will never, ever regret.'s okay to be in survival mode. In other words, sometimes you need a movie day. Sometimes you're sick or they're sick or you've been up all night or you are pregnant or you have a new baby or you're just absolutely exhausted. And that's okay. If it means a movie marathon day, then a movie marathon is! If it means cereal for dinner, than cereal it is! If it means paper plates instead of dishes, then paper plates it is! If it means pajamas all day, then pajamas it is! Stop judging yourself. You're doing a great job! Cut yourself some slack. And then wake up tomorrow and turn off the movies and start anew. 

...admit when you make mistakes. Admit it to yourself. Admit it your spouse. Admit it to your children. Kneel down. Look them in the eye. Apologize. Explain that we ALL make mistakes and that's okay because we learn from them. And then? Learn from them. And try to do better next time.

...forgive yourself. You know that whole mistake thing? Well, forgive yourself for them. You aren't perfect. Don't try to be. Just try to do better next time. 

...the greatest moments are often the simplest. My hub and I were recently talking about our favorite moment from the last six months. Without hesitation, I knew my answer: one night in December when all five of us were lying together on the playroom floor, watching a movie. Other contenders? Painting my daughter's fingernails. Playing board games with my oldest son. Nursing my youngest son in the stillness and quiet of the morning. Praying together each morning on the way to school. These moments are simple. These moments are HOME to me. They are what I'll treasure when I think of the last six months. Focus on the little moments. They are often the most fulfilling. 

...say yes. When people offer to help, say yes. When you are invited for nights out, say yes. Say yes to playdates. Say yes to date nights. Say yes to kid-free nights. Say yes to weekends away. Say yes to new things. Say yes to new people. Just say yes. You deserve it. Everyone needs a break sometimes and that doesn't make you a bad momma. It makes you a wise one. 

...make time for yourself. You give most of you to others, most of the day, most days. Take time for you. You are important, too. Treat yourself that way. Pamper yourself every once in awhile. Paint your nails. Get your haircut. Go yourself. Make your health a priority--not just by staying on top of your own dental and physical health appointments. But also? Take care of your body. Exercise and eat well. You want to be a strong momma. An energized momma. So walk the neighborhood or join a gym or pop in a 20-minute workout DVD during naptime or hit up some fitness classes. You'll feel better and stronger and healthier, which makes for a better and stronger and healthier momma. And what a beautiful example for your children. But also? Indulge sometimes! Enjoy the dessert. Drink the wine. Don't feel guilty. what you want them to do. Stop telling them what you want them to do all the time. Model it for them. Show them. They will mimic you. Be a good model for them to mimic. 

...say I love you. Over and over again. They are listening. They are watching. Tell them. As soon as you see them in the wee hours of the morning. When you tuck them in at night. And everywhere in between: While driving in the car. When passing them in the hallway. When dropping them off for school. When picking them up for school. While pushing them in the swing. When walking the neighborhood. While putting on jammies. When brushing their hair. Tell them. You can't tell them enough.

...tell them you are proud of them. As much as possible. But just as important? Mean it. Watch their self-esteem soar. They are listening. They are watching. Tell them. You can't tell them enough. can't be good at everything. The gist of one of my favorite sermons of all time (fist bump to you, Andy Stanley) was this: there's no win in comparison. Stop comparing yourself to the momma on your left and the momma on your right. You are you. Be the best you that you can be. For example, me? I cannot cook. This is not a secret nor a surprise. I can heat the heck out of a Stouffer's lasagna. But cook? My hub drew the short straw for that one when it came to his bride. I am also terrible at interior design when it comes to grown-up spaces. Case in point? We've lived in our home for 2.5 years, and do you know what's in our Master? Furniture. A television. That's it. No pictures, no decor. Not a single throw pillow. No rug. No nothin'. But. You know what I can do? Bake. And decorate children's spaces. So. I watch others be good cooks and beauiful interior designers. And I high-five them. And then I offer to bake for them and I lovingly admire the rooms I have decorated for my children. I can't be good at everything. Neither can you. Thank goodness. Because what a boring world that would be. emotion in front of them. It's okay for them to see you happy and sad and mad and frustrated. Those are called emotions. We all have them. They need to see them. Label your feelings to them. Help them identify them. Help them to understand why you feel the way you do when you do. Because you know what? Then they'll learn to do that, too. And that's important.

...hold their hands when they ask you to. One day will be the last day they will ever ask to hold your hand. That day may be tomorrow. So. Hold their hands today. 

But. Here's another secret. Perhaps the greatest lesson I've learned so far: 

Mommahood is a journey. It's a learn-as-you-go kind of gig. To me, this is the unspoken beauty of mommahood. What a beautiful education I've received over the last 5.5 years. And now, I await the new lessons with eyes wide open, ears wide open, and heart wide open. Let's see what lessons the next 5.5 years bring...