Monday, July 28, 2014

The End of 9 Stupid Mirrors.

It's okay, we thought it was weird, too. When we first looked at the house we stood in the kitchen, looked out the window at the beautiful yard and neighborhood... then hesitated, like really hesitated, because of the 300 sq/ft of awkwardness we were standing in. Don't you just love those mirrors? All nine of them? They're especially great when you're doing the dishes and you look up only to see yourself 2 feet wider covered in food splatters. Holy crap.

And thanks to my husband... here she is!

Dustin took out the cabinet to the left of the fridge and moved the wall over 2 feet, thus creating a spacious 5 foot opening to the kitchen instead of just a 3 foot opening (again, weird.). He demo-ed the mirrors, completely refinished and antiqued the cabinets, built a new wall, made an island, built and refinished the butcher block, patched the floors, installed the backsplash tile (that took me 7 trips to Home Depot and Marshal's Tile and Stone before finally deciding), and had one of our electrician friends pull new wire through our hot attic for the new lighting fixture. He also demo-ed the bi-fold door closet in the hallway where the washer/dryer used to be and added cabinets and a small built-in desk. The biggest difficulty of all was endured many trips to Real Deals, TJ Maxx, and Downeast Home with me... and who knows how many hours of looking at pictures of all sorts of kitchens on google after the kids went to bed. 
No wonder it took us 4 months.
Question: Wall paint suggestions? 

So there you have it. All of your wildest dreams really can come true. Especially when you marry a guy who apparently can do anything. Like, help me paint the kitchen... who knew, right?

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Growing up slow.

16 months. That's how old Lillie was when she finally decided to stand up and walk. It was instantaneous, as if she had been secretly practicing behind my back and waited until the precise time to show off in front of pretty much everybody in that church gym cultural hall. Well, technically she took her first steps at 12 months but then resorted to walking on her knees for the next 4, forcing us to readjust the budget for little white tights quite dramatically.

Oh how I wanted her to be one of those genius babies that crawls when before they even eat solid food and could speak in sentences by the time they reached their first Birthday. I bought toys that encouraged walking, I placed her toys just barely out of reach in hopes she would develop some intrinsic motivation to get that darned toy. I started reading her books when she was still in the womb. I spent her entire infant life wanting her to be the smartest, the fastest, the tallest, the first to catch on to the next biggest thing, and then worrying about it it if she wasn't.

Today, I am delighting in watching our 9 month old baby girl sit on the floor and chew on all her toys only taking minor breaks to babble at them or me. With subsequent babies, I don't want them to crawl or walk so quickly because that's evidence that they're not little babies anymore. She'll do it eventually. I know I will soon crave the days when all I have to do is open a window to hear Lillie and Jack squealing in the trees, inventing new games, or even squabbling about if it's even possible for Jack to be Spiderman when he grows up. Lillie's relentless practicing her violin downstairs, Jack stomping around the house in his cape, Chloe's ma-ma-ma-ma-ma's--it's the noise that makes me want to turn off this computer, look around, and take this slow, hot summer all in. Growing up slow, the 1950's kind of growing up slow, is my new ideal. They'll be forced to grow up fast soon enough when the world makes them.

She grew up good, she grew up slow, like American honey. -Lady Antebellum "American Honey"

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Deal with #3.

I've never been someone that needed convincing of the importance of motherhood. I think we all get it. Raising children is the most important thing we'll ever do in this life.... we only have 1/5th of our lives to raise children.... nobody ever says on their death bed's that they wished they had worked more... blah blah blah blah blah.

I remember watching a stand up thing by Bill Cosby when we were in Utah and had just our one little Lillie at the time. Just the three of us, living it up and taking a bazillion pictures on our Kodak Easyshare camera. I was offended beyond belief when Bill spouted out this:

Do you have children? How old are they? They're grown now, but how many did you have? Two? Okay, that qualifies. That qualifies, because a person with one child, I don't really call them a parent, because there are too many things left out. If you have just one child, there are too many things left out. For instance, if something's broken in the house, you have one child, you know who did it! See, you don't have to go through "I... I... I...". You know the child did it! Also, people with one child do not have to go through "Will you stop touching me?" I mean, if you got one child and the child is doing that, then you gotta take it away....

I was sitting next to Dustin secretly loathing this man who was telling me that having one child is easy and that it "doesn't count." Who was this guy anyway? My perfect baby who practically never cried and who was content with everything and everyone and who slept a solid 11 hours every night was still hard.  Well, I guess I see the humor in it now, 7 years later. I think that happens with every sequential baby, I guess. You look back and think about how easy it was to just have one baby. Then about how easy it was to just have two children and to drive everywhere in a 4-door sedan and take up a small portion of a church bench. But listen. Three children is different from 1 and 2 and has changed my outlook on motherhood, families, and self purpose altogether.

I never knew what lack of time was until sweet, little Chloe came. I haven't used my blow dryer in 2 1/2 weeks because I simply do not have time to take a shower AND blow dry my hair. It air dries, then about 7 hours later I frantically use my straightener to tame down the frizzy waves of bland brown nastiness to make it seem like I have all the time in the world. My makeup bag has been in the passenger seat of the car for months. Sometimes I almost leave the house without my bra. But really, like you can tell whether I wear one or not these days! And my house? HA!!!!! Between getting Lillie out the door for school, breakfast, feed the baby, get the whole family dressed, brush everyone's tiny little teeth, clean up from breakfast, feed the baby, start to unload the dishwasher, make lunch, get Lillie from the bus, clean up from lunch, help Lillie with homework, read a book to Jack, feed the baby, finish unloading the dishwasher, help the kids clean up their toys, start defrosting chicken for dinner, start putting dirty dishes in the dishwasher, sweep, check the mail, change a million more diapers, clean up more toys, continue putting more dishes in the dishwasher, then feed the baby.... the house looks the exact same as when Dustin left 9 hours earlier.

My life has turned from accomplishing large tasks that I can check off at the end of the day to more humbling, tiny moments that are much more impacting. I am their mother. They know I'm here for them and that I love them with all my heart. I'm here when Lillie get's off the bus and breaks into tears because she didn't have anyone to play with at recess that day. I'm here when Jack falls and needs a Band-aid or to help him get his foot unstuck from his laundry basket (that happened today). I'm here to respond to Chloe's little coos and sounds and to reassure her that when she needs me, she can trust that I'll always respond promptly with love and concern. I'm here to receive silly cards and pictures and laugh with them when they draw me a picture of Daddy wearing a tutu. My kids know I'm on their side. They hear me pray for them by name and see my smile when they wake up each morning. I'm no different than any other mother, we all do this. My life isn't glamorous and my bangs are long overgrown and I can't shop in odd number sizes anymore, but giving of your whole self to your family is more rewarding than what the rest of the world has to offer.

Three children changes everything. When I could still feel our third baby gently kicking me inside, I thought about what my life was going to be like with three. A midst the excitement, I had interrupting thoughts about how in the world I was suppose to get everything done that needed to be done and still find time to give each child enough attention. How was I ever going to go grocery shopping again, or go to the post office, read a book, or get to church on time? If I could go back, I would tell myself to not worry. Somehow there is time to do everything. You give up what is meaningless and what profits nothing of real, eternal value and you just do it. Sometimes that involves a can of Dr. Pepper and a box of thin mints you apparently ate all by yourself in two days, but you do it. 

I always want to love all of our children with my whole being and whole heart. I always want to overflow them with confidence and security. I want all three of our children to always know how much they were wanted and how many prayers and tears were offered to get them down here with us. I want our children to know how lucky we feel that we get to be their parents. I want to teach them, learn from them, celebrate with them, cry with them, and experience every tiny piece of life together. I clean our house to give our children a home that is clean, peaceful, and inviting of the spirit. I make dinners with broccoli and green beans so we can be healthy and live full, long lives. I try to teach our children about where they came from, who loves them, and how they can choose to make choices that lead to fulfilling happiness or misery. I braid their hair, teach them to read, take them to church, sing to them, and love, love, love them. There is an eternal purpose tucked back behind everything I do. I want to be with them forever.

Whether you have 1 baby, or 3, or 7, you do it all for them. So, thank you #3 for opening my eyes and teaching me what it's really all about.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Curse this Blessed Dress

First of all, this "Simplicity" brand of clothing patterns has a marketing strategy of pure deception. This project was nothing even close to anything deserving such a brand name. You bunch of liars. And I guess that in all fairness, I technically have never sewn anything real. But still. The stress of understanding that pattern jargon and sewing itty-bitty-tiny arm holes and hearing my mediocre sewing machine make scary loud dissonant sounds while it jammed up a bazillion times when I was attaching the gathered skirt to the bodice had to have taken years off of my life. At least months! I never knew I could feel such strong negative emotions towards a sewing machine. Or a dress. Or a company named "Simplicity."

But alas, thanks to the last minute rescuing help of my sister and mother, around midnight on Saturday night before the baby blessing, it was complete. And it even turned out beautiful, beautiful enough for Chloe's 8-pound beautiful self to wear.

So I changed a few things from the pattern--namely, the neck hole, the sleeves, the ruffled skirt, and the way it closes in the back. I also added a ribbon and coordinating broach to the front. I loved the way the tied up, almost corset-inspired bodice back turned out. I also learned that my machine can make button holes. I just love technology.
We polished off her look with a beautiful tiny baby bracelet made by her Aunt Dana and a headband that was similar to the applique on the front of the dress.
So as you can imagine, she looked dainty and perfect for her special day. 
Was it worth making the dress? I guess.
I'll post pics of her in it sometime when I have a chance!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Chloe's Nursery

I thought long and hard about how I wanted our baby's nursery to feel. I decided on simple, elegant, and heavenly--oh, and gender neutral. Dustin and I (let's be honest. It was mostly Dustin.) spent a weekend this Summer building and installing the custom wainscot, I painted the room a shade of gray named "anonymous" and we went from there. After Chloe was born, we were able to add a few light pink touches.  It's probably my favorite room in our home--which is good--means I spend hours upon hours each day and night rocking our baby in there.
Here is Chloe's crib quilt I finished at last! This "easy" quilting pattern turned out to be a real doozie.

Now she just needs to age a tad so she can sleep in there.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Eleven, Twelve, Thirteen.

Today is Chloe's official due date, holy cow. Time is going by fast. It's hard to believe our baby is almost 6 weeks old.
 Here are some pictures I snapped of her this afternoon on my phone:
Chloe is about 6 1/2 pounds now and is 20 inches long and definitely has blue eyes. She sleeps all day long but usually stays awake in the mornings for a couple of hours. She goes through about 8-9 newborn diapers each day and eats well. She's doing well with tummy-time and is tracking objects and people. She also seems to have a fairly mild temperament, so far! She lets out a cute little cry about once every three days or so.
Chloe loves taking warm baths, sleeping against our chests, and being swaddled up tight. She's been my easiest newborn. I love how tiny she still is and am really soaking in the time I have with her while she's still so snuggly and small. It's nice that we got a few extra weeks to get to know each other.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

The End of Month 10

 So, we did everything that everyone else did for Halloween-carved pumpkins, ate soup, asked strangers for candy.

Jack was Captain Hook, Lillie was a jellyfish, and Chloe was a baby skeleton.
Chloe and I stayed home and passed out candy to the cute kids in the neighborhood. All 15 of them. We also gave the teenagers super intense glares while dropping in a single piece of off-brand candy into their bags.

And to be brief in closing, Lillie has taken up another hobby. It's called "sewing." This is the dress she fashioned up to wear to church made entirely out of Afghanistan's. I mean afghans.