Archive for ‘life’

July 31st, 2013

being one

Our little Lilly turned ONE!

 birthday girl

We were lucky enough to be at a family reunion on Whidbey Island up by Seattle, so Lilly celebrated her birthday surrounded by family and the ocean.

Poor Lilly  was going through a particularly rough patch while we were there, so we mostly listened to Lilly cry (she got FOUR new teeth and was surrounded by strangers in a new place–not a good combo). I’m happy to say that after a few weeks of teeth, strangers, shots, bug bites we finally have happy Lilly again!

What one looks like on Lilly:

  • She says “Mom,” “Dad,” “Night Night,” and “Boo!” And she has her own grunt language so we always know exactly what she wants.
  • Lilly is VERY expressive. Between the grunts and the look on her face, we know how she feels.
  • She is all GIRL. She likes animals, cuddles, soft blankets, shoes, sparkly things, princesses, music, playing with my makeup, her hair getting done, and eating chocolate.
  • She has a fierceness to her. An intensity. She is bold and brave and opinionated. An adventurer.
  • Lilly has started to really blossom into a toddler; throwing her own diapers away, getting a cup out when she’s thirsty, going into the kitchen and standing by her chair for meals, putting her shoes on and standing by the front door, etc.
  • Shortly after her birthday, Lilly started WALKING. It’s seriously one of my favorite baby milestones. 
  • Even if he tortures her, she LOVES David. She goes after him everywhere he goes and always looks for him first when she wakes up. I love it!

photo (10)

June 3rd, 2013


We recently moved, requiring me to purge and pour over old papers at the bottom of boxes and stuffed in ratty folders. Papers that I don’t even recognize when I read, even though I wrote them. Papers that gave me goosebumps and made my heart pitter-patter with author pride. Man, I used to be good. Writing is an art, and I was an artist. And the reading. I used to READ. When I was done reading, I had thoughtful, insightful, colorful things to say. Write.

I have a disgusting number of ‘friends’ (as Facebook defines them) participating in big, important aspirations. They splash Facebook and Instagram with pictures and updates about grad schools, prestigious programs, important jobs, and worldly travels. Many are working toward fancy degrees at even fancier schools. They’ve earned big awards and got promoted in big jobs. They’ve literally traveled the world and shared photographs from places that might as well be fictional to me. They’re involved in world-changing research, writing at my “fantasy” job, and just signatures away from being doctors, lawyers, and Pulitzer Prize winners. Not to mention most of them are fit, tan, and effortlessly stylish.

Some days the most exciting part is when I find some chocolate I forgot about in the cupboard, my two year old goes potty in the toilet without me being in the bathroom, or Matt simply comes home. Yesterday (or it may have even been today) I ate some crackers that were so stale David wouldn’t eat them–and he eats crayons. Instead of fancy accessories I usually wear spit-up on my shirt and applesauce in my hair. I sweep the floor 42 times a day (only a mild exaggeration) and know all the words to the Thomas the Train opening song. My vocabulary now includes frequent uses of “let’s go potty,” “that’s not a hat,”  and “is that poop?”

But you know what else?

Most of my ambitious, successful friends aren’t married, and none of them have kids. They think they’re celebrating their youth and traveling to heaven on earth.

I’ve been to heaven on earth, it’s in the next room. Heaven on earth cuddles with a new stuffed bunny while he snores and coos in her sleep. Heaven on earth gives tiny hugs and big smiles. It smells like baby breath in my face at 3 am and feels like drooly kisses on my nose. Heaven on earth is being loved despite the mom-jeans and spit-up and getting long kisses goodnight. It’s pillow talk at midnight and makes me laugh until I cry. It’s having someone to make and share a lifetime of memories with. The 4,152 pictures and videos on my phone capturing giggles, songs, smiles and first steps trump any collection of pictures taken around the world, no matter how breathtaking or historical.

While I won’t be receiving any prestigious awards or getting promoted any time soon, I can cook dinner, talk on the phone, set the table, unload the dishwasher and put a kid on the toilet one-handed while bouncing a baby. I’m a master negotiator and gourmet chef. I can carry a toddler, baby in a baby carrier, and at least two bags of groceries up a flight of stairs without blinking an eye. Motherhood has given me the opportunity to discover new talents and skills. It’s forced me to stretch and grow in ways never possible sitting at a desk somewhere exotic writing incredible thoughts. I can say with confidence that I’ve learned more about life, death, and everything in between from my little corner than they have in all corners of the earth.

We live in a society that practically dismisses motherhood altogether; at the very least patronizes it. Even in conservative Indiana I get comments like, “So…what do you do all day?” Like, I couldn’t possibly have anything to occupy my time with. Or comments about how much I must miss “working.” I can’t deny that I like the taste of success and the sound of praise (that’s why I have a narcissistic blog I brag on). It makes me sad that my own writing and thinking is a little lack-luster compared to my pre-mom days. But what I’m doing is important, and very literally contributes to society.

Don’t get me wrong, what my friends are doing is important. And good. And noble. I hope for their success in everything they work toward. My friend who’s working on research on the cure for colds and cancer and other horrible diseases, I really hope she’s successful. I recognize that there is merit in traveling and learning about the world, and I hope to join them. Just not yet.

I’m not writing this to try and elevate myself above my friends making their way in the world, or as a statement of “moms work hard.” I’m not saying that I can’t be a good writer and a mom, I can if I prioritized it higher.

I’m writing to say this: What I do is important too, and brings me joy. And no one is *just* a mom.

“To be a mother is a woman’s greatest vocation in life. She is a partner with God. No being has a position of such power and influence. She holds in her hands the destiny of nations, for to her comes the responsibility and opportunity of molding the nations’ citizens.”

Spencer W. Kimball

I’m changing the world, just in a quieter way.


And those baby carriers are a lot heavier than they look.

May 21st, 2013

for the love


I know it’s almost cliche, but they grow up too fast!

Miss Lilly

Five things I’m loving about Lilly:

  1. She’s *almost* walking! She stands up and takes several steps a day, any day now she’ll just keep going and we’ll have another TODDLER.
  2. How she’s growing and blossoming all at once. Lilly interacts with us in a whole new way now; grabbing our hands to make us do something, raising cups to my lips to make me drink, holding my phone by my head and using the buttons, etc. If her hairbow falls out of her hair, she picks it up and tries to put it back in her hair. When she wants a kiss, she moves my face to give me one. Lilly makes the most hilarious facial expressions; we always know how she feels.
  3. The way she plays with my hair and wraps her arm around my neck when she eats. Lilly is so cuddly! She loves to rub soft blankets next to her face and give be hugs to stuffed animals. She likes to pull the throw pillows off the couch and lays on them on the floor.
  4. When she initiates a game of “peek-a-boo” with me. It’s so stinking cute!
  5. The way she gets excited to see David after a long separation (like an hour long nap). A few nights ago, Lilly crawled over to David and leaned in and gave him a big wet kiss. Pretty much the sweetest moment to ever happen.

 Mr D

Five things I’m loving about David:

  1. His talking! Seriously, he’s off the charts with his vocabulary, problem solving, memory, etc. It’s just nuts. I love that I can just talk to him–so much so that I often have to remind myself that he’s still only two and not much older. A couple weeks ago I found a ceramic decorative bird at TJ Maxx. David quickly adopted it, named it “Hypothesis,” and carried it around with him for the following week.
  2. David has been singing like crazy lately. And dancing. And drumming. And making instruments (he lined up some colored pencils and pretended they made a xylophone). His favorite songs are the alphabet, Twinkle Twinkle, I Am a Child of God, and “Dinosaur Train” (really, just the words Dinosaur and train sung over and over again while he bounces his foot like a mini Elvis).
  3. His sweetness. David is the sweetest kid there ever was. Since he was born, it’s usually the first or second thing people say about him–that he’s sweet (and then a comment on his blue eyes). Today while Lilly was napping, David and I just cuddled under a blanket and giggled and played.
  4. He goes to the bathroom completely on his own! He won’t even tell me he needs to go or make me come with him, he just gets up and goes into the bathroom. It’s SO nice to have him be independent. We still have to remind him sometimes, but for a majority of the day he goes all on his own.
  5. David is so helpful! He’ll bring me diapers for Lilly, throw things away, get his shoes, etc. By the end of the summer, I’m hoping he does shoes and the buckles on his car seat all on his own. We’re almost there with shoes already (or we were until I got him new ones).
March 3rd, 2013

ten things going on now

one Lilly is pulling herself up to stand pretty much everywhere these days. Her favorite perch is the toilet.


two I’ve been hoarding pictures on my phone. I NEED to post some. I have over 1,000 pictures on my phone and 55 videos. Lots of cute things happen, are photographed and that’s all the farther I get. Shame on me.


three Lilly is growing her first TWO teeth. I’m so excited about it! No really, I am. For a while I was starting to wonder if she’d still be toothless at her senior prom.


four David is a talking MACHINE. It’s constant. His funny thing this week: There is a baby Elmo illustration on the diaper box we recently got. David keeps telling me that it’s a “mammal wearing glasses.” I get such a kick out of it. Oh, and a week or so ago I was telling him about something I was working on, and he walks over to me and puts his hands on my cheeks and says, “Mommy, what are you talking about?”


five Up until this week, I’ve been a sewing machine. I need to post about my projects. I estimate that I completed over 20 projects in 2012, and I’m well on my way to surpassing that for 2013 (8 completed, and many more I’m eager to do).


six David is our junior paleontologist. He is obsessed with dinosaurs. He knows their names, what they eat, etc. As a result, I’ve been learning a lot too.


seven Lilly will lean on empty boxes and the legs of her high chair to walk for short periods of time.


eight David sings the alphabet all the way through all by himself. I’m not even going to beat around the bush: I’m super proud.


nine Going on right this second: Lilly really needs a nap.


ten Things developed kind of quickly and unexpectedly, but we find ourselves moving to a townhouse April 5. That’s 33 days away (I asked the internet). We’re really excited and I’ll write much more on it later.

I’ll leave you with one of the pictures I’ve been hoarding. Okay, two.


January 25th, 2013


Some of the little moments that make me smile.

The week before Christmas I was in the kitchen doing dishes while David and Lilly ‘played’ in the front room. Lilly started fussing out of tiredness and boredom, so David went over and laid down by her. Soon I was overhearing him explain to her that monsters and dinosaurs are only on TV (a similar explanation that I gave David not too long ago …). I thought it was sweet and funny that he thought she was crying because she was scared of monsters.

One night while getting ready for bed David was throwing a mega fit because we told him he couldn’t read more books because it was time for bed. I went in his room and pulled him onto my lap, and explained that he was crying because his body was saying he was tired and needed to go to sleep. We talked about it for a little bit, and then he suddenly sits up and thinks for a minute. Then he tells me with his little finger in front of his face, “My body says I need to read ONE more book!” Well played, buddy. Well played.

David found a box of “Mom’s” granola bars and really wanted one, it was lunchtime so I told him if he was hungry we needed to go make lunch. He asked for “one Mom’s ‘nola bars?” and I again told him that he couldn’t have “one” of Mom’s granola bars because we were going to eat lunch. He beamed at me and said, “Okay, TWO Mom’s ‘nola bars?” He does the same thing with books and movies, etc; ask for “one” more, when we say no, he’ll ask for TWO more. Silly kid.

David has learned the word “yet” but doesn’t use it right. One of his favorite uses: “It’s too late to go to bed yet!”

[Side note: One of our neighbors is singing at the TOP of his lungs. I can't tell where it's coming from ... it's very distracting ...]

David has started kissing his own boo-boos better. It’s pretty cute, people.

When David helps us say prayers, he’s started to throw his own things in too. Soon he’ll be saying prayers without any prompts at all. He likes to be thankful for Lilly, trains, “cereal time,” and outside.

I LOVE that they love each other.

November 30th, 2012

being grateful

I couldn’t let another November go by without a post (you know, like last year …). I’ve been super preoccupied with projects and holidays and more projects and preparing for more holidays that blogging has been on my farthest-back burner.

In a nutshell my feelings this November:

Grateful. Grateful for two beautiful, happy, healthy, darling, nearly-perfect children. Grateful for a loving, helpful, supportive, hard-working husband. Grateful for families. Grateful for holidays and the magic they bring. Grateful for parents. Grateful for every day. I’m just grateful.

On a completely unrelated note, my very first blog post was about a box of Twinkies. I haven’t had a Twinkie in ages, but I am more than a little bummed about the Hostess fiasco. Oh well, we need to eat more salad anyway.

October 11th, 2012

the 411 on potty training

Disclaimer: I’m not an expert and I’m not claiming to be one. I’ve never potty trained a child before, I’m just writing down what we’ve done and what we’re having success with on this new adventure so I can remember for next time. I won’t make any wild promises to others who read this; this is simply what I’ve done for those who are curious and have questions.

I read a few blog posts found via Pinterest about “potty training a child in one day.” While these posts contained helpful tips and advice, I ultimately decided that this wasn’t the right choice for David and me. I think trying to make a toddler make all the connections needed for potty training success in one day is a bit extreme, and you’re both just going to get burned out and frustrated by the end of the day. My method is slow and steady.

I approached potty training in three phases. Phase One: creating interest, Phase Two: active training, Phase Three: reinforcement.

Phase One

After David started showing a lot of the signs of being ready to be potty trained (telling me when his diaper was wet/poopy, becoming regular, etc), I started flushing his poop in the toilet. My hope with this was to show him what we use the toilet for and help get him excited and interested. We’d run to the bathroom and I’d dump his poop in the toilet and have him flush it. If he flushed his poop in the toilet he got an M&M candy. We did this for a couple weeks while we waited to see other signs of him being ready (staying dry for a couple hours at a time, including naps, etc). During this same time I made a big deal whenever I needed to go to the bathroom: “Mommy has use the toilet!” and run off to the bathroom. If he came into the bathroom while I was going, I’d tell him that Mommy uses the toilet because Mommy doesn’t wear diapers.

I took him to the store and helped him pick out a potty seat that sits on top of the regular toilet seat.* For an entire month I had him sit on the toilet once a day. I just had him sit; no expectation or pressure for him to go. At first he was a little timid and didn’t want to sit there. I’d smile and encourage him and tell him what a big boy he was. I’d have him sit for one song (Twinkle Twinkle, Popcorn Popping, etc) and then help him down telling him how proud I was of him for sitting on the toilet. Every time he sat on the toilet he got a smiley face sticker and an M&M.

By the end of the month, sitting on the toilet wasn’t scary for him anymore. I took him to the store and he picked out ‘big boy’ underwear. With some encouragement and the help of increased fluids and sitting longer than usual on the toilet, David went potty in the toilet. I made a HUGE deal about it and we called important people to tell them the big news (Daddy, Nana and Papa, etc). For going potty on the toilet he got a Cars sticker and a couple M&Ms. I encouraged him to try again the next day with success.

Phase Two

Since we have Lilly who needs attention too, I didn’t want to actively potty train David until there was a down week when there wasn’t a lot going on and I didn’t have to be anywhere and when I could get Matt’s help the first couple of days. For us, this time was immediately after his initial success of going potty in the toilet. Success is motivating, for both parent and child, so we were all excited to start.

After David got up in the morning we changed his diaper and put him in a pair of his ‘big boy’ underwear and explained that he’s a big boy and doesn’t wear diapers anymore and needs to go to potty in the toilet. I increased his fluids (gave him some Gatorade in his sippy) to increase our chances of having more success right off the bat to keep him motivated. I had him play with his toys on a cheap plastic tablecloth (in case of an accident so it wasn’t on our carpet). The first morning we had a few accidents in a row, naturally. He’d get wet and look at us concerned and we’d run him to the bathroom and sit him on the toilet. If he went, he got a Car sticker and M&Ms. After lunch we didn’t have any accidents until the evening when he got tired, Matt left, and I had to feed Lilly.

On day two he had one tiny leak in the morning before running to the bathroom and another accident in the evening. Seeing the pattern, on the third day I made sure he was on the toilet during the times he had accidents previous days: success, no accidents.

The key is to stay overly excited and encouraging and to go “try” when you think they need to go. I don’t always wait for David to tell me when he needs to go; in the afternoon he likes to play with his toys and “hold” it for as long as he possibly can. When it’s been a while since he’s gone and I can tell he’s starting to get uncomfortable, I have him sit on the toilet and sing songs until he goes. For some kids, distraction helps them relax and go. For David, he does better when I leave the bathroom briefly to get a drink, check on Lilly, etc. When David was listening, I’d tell Lilly what a big boy David was being and tell her that David didn’t wear diapers anymore. It seems silly, but it really helped David stay proud of himself.

Right before bed, we put David in a diaper. I didn’t want to buy pull-ups when we still had a few diapers left. In the five mornings we’ve been potty training, David has woken up dry three so I think in another week we may not even need diapers.

Phase Three

(We’re currently in this phase.) After several days of little or no accidents, he got a little less interested and started getting lazy. We busted out sparkly Cars stickers, stayed excited, and had him make more phone calls to share his success. After several accident-free days, it’s time to make some short outings to practice being away from home and build confidence. We got a foldable potty seat to use in public restrooms to make them less scary. I’ll let you know how it goes.

* The decision to use a potty seat that goes on a regular toilet instead of a toddler-size potty was personal preference (space saving) and in hopes of him not being timid of public restrooms when we leave home. 

October 6th, 2012


That’s how David often greets Lilly: “LillyLillyLilly.” (As he climbs on top of her to smother her. I mean, ‘hug’ her.) It’s caught on, I find myself calling her that more and more. We also call her Lils, Lilly Billy, and Lilly Bean. And Cute, because she’s cute.

People ask how David likes having a baby sister. He still crazy loves her. She’s starting to like him, too.























Lilly sitting alone on the couch being cute with her hands.













David finds her. Man, I love her facial expressions.













David pulling her off the couch by her ankles.


September 26th, 2012

chitter chatter

I have several posts that need posting, but I wanted to write down some funny things David’s been up to lately before I forget them.

When David holds up his toy camera, he says, “Cheese stick!” Some people say, “Say cheese!” when they take pictures, he’s just adapted it to something he understands better.

Instead of saying, “No, thank you,” David says, “No, please.”

On Matt’s birthday, he walked around saying, “Happy day! Happy day, Daddy!” Instead of, “Happy birthday, Daddy!”

His favorite phrases include:

  • “What’s that noise, Mommy?”
  • “Who’s that?” He assumes I know everyone, everywhere.
  • “What’s that?”
Since we’re always holding things up and asking him questions about it (“What color is the car?” etc), now David will make noises and then ask, “What’s that?” wanting us to guess what animal/truck/airplane/train sound he was making. It’s a pretty fun game.

Any time David talks on his toy phone (or anything he pretends is a phone), he talks to Sir Topham Hatt (from the Thomas the Tank Engine stories). Their conversations consist of “Yes sir,” “Okay sir,” “Bye sir,” and “Amen, sir.”

He’s pretty good at joining our adult conversations by chipping in at appropriate times with, “Oh, right,” or “I see,” or “Exactly,” or “Uh huh.”

Some of his books he can “read” now because he has each page memorized; or sing along to the songs they play.

He knows most shapes and colors now and is pretty obsessed with triangles; he sees triangles everywhere we go and points them out to me. His favorite breakfast is “triangle toast” (a slice of toast cut diagonally).

I was telling David that his shirt said, “I love my Papa.” He scoffed at me and said, “No, I love Mommy!” He said it in the sweetest way. He loves Papa, too and talks about him EVERY day since Nana and Papa visited after Lilly’s birth. Every day, multiple times. Every day for  almost three months I’ve heard, “Nana Papa go in black car.”

When David starts getting bored in the car, we sing “The Wheels on the Bus.” When he sings at home, every song has a very enthusiastic, “All through the town!” We were babysitting Lindsy’s six-month-old son, Klev, a few days ago, and when Klev would get fussy, David would go over and talk to him; ask him, “What are you doing, Klev?” A few times David went over and started singing the alphabet to him. David’s alphabet went a lot like, “ABC … truck … monkeys … H … Q … airplane … XYZ … Next … All through the town!!”

David has started really playing; his imagination bloomed overnight and now everything explodes (no idea where he got that), is an airplane, talks, etc. He’s also really friendly right now. David often says goodbye to trucks in the parking lot (or calls out very dramatically, “Nooo! Come back truck, come back!”). When he sees an airplane flying outside, he reaches up and pretends to grab it from the sky. He thinks every bug is a ladybug and has conversations with them, “How are you doing, ladybug?” “Sorry, ladybug.”

When he trips, he’ll immediately call out, “Fine!” before I can ask.

If Matt or I kneel on the floor David will run up behind us and wrap his arms around our necks and ask for a ride. He calls them “camel rides.” I think it’s hilarious that they’re not horsey rides.

And some pictures he took of us:


September 16th, 2012

man of the hour

I honestly feel sorry for all the other wives on the planet: there’s no way their husbands are as great as mine. No really, I’m serious.

Here’s proof.

  • Since David was born (so about two years now), Matt has made breakfast 70% of the time. I cannot tell you how many times I wake up to a warm breakfast waiting for me. At least three times a week.
  • Matt lets me sleep in as much as he can. He takes the morning shift with David while I catch some extra zzzs.
  • He gets up with David at night just as much as I do (if Lilly got up for more than a snack, he’d probably get up with her too; I know, it’s backwards).
  • Matt does the majority of David’s bedtime routine.
  • He frequently asks, “What can I do to help?” in a way that doesn’t imply he thinks I’m a failure at being a housewife.
  • He’s not addicted to video games. Apparently that’s an epidemic destroying marriages in our age group.
  • I’m positive that if I asked him right this second to rub my feet, he would. Not only would he do it, but he’d do it without making a face or grunting or sighing or anything. He might even smile.
  • He lets me do whatever I want. He claims that’s because I never want to do anything ridiculous …
  • Matt handles all things car and technology related. I’m grateful for this. I have no idea how anyone else manages to survive in this world without an in-house IT expert.
  • He knows A LOT (or maybe I don’t know much so I think he knows a lot …). I am always asking him random questions and he almost always has an answer.
  • He spoils me (if that wasn’t obvious from the rest of the list).
  • If I so much as hint about wanting to do something, he bends over backwards to try and make it happen. He goes above and beyond being “supportive.”
  • He has no problem dropping what he’s doing to help me (or come to my rescue). He recently stayed home from work for two days in a row while I was on my deathbed with a mastitis infection (I really was that miserable). If you know Matt, it’s a big deal, he doesn’t miss many days of work–including most holidays. He likes me that much.
  • He gave me a diamond necklace for our recent five year wedding anniversary. I mean, really.
  • He’s always leaving me nice notes or sending me texts/emails telling me he loves me.

I could go on and on for days, but I won’t. You get the picture: Matt’s the best.

He just came out of our room in his “pajamas” and asked, “Do you remember if we have a crowbar?” And put a hammer in my purse. I think I should go …