15 Months… an update

It’s time for an update on The Bean… because it’s been a while. 3 months to be exact.

I’m not sure why 15 months seems like a significant age worth documenting, but maybe it’s just that 13 and 14 don’t sound all that “big”. 15 months allows me to split up Keelin’s 2nd year into 4 major updates which, to be totally honest, is a great break from the weekly updates that I dedicated myself to in her first year. Let’s get right to it because… well… she’s a growing girl, and this may take a while.

upcloseandpersonal

Vocabulary – aka the road to becoming a talk show host
At 12 months Keelin was sitting pretty with the basics; mama {sometimes} dada {all the time}, giggling, and random babble. Now at 15 we’re still prominent with ‘dada’ seeing as how it tends to be the default for everything that doesn’t have a name yet. It’s still adorable. I’m still jealous. There ya have it. She will say ‘mama’ from time to time, especially when she’s mad at me for not letting her have what she wants. Yes, we’ve entered into tantrum world… more on that later.

But by-far her favorite word would have to be ‘doggie’. I was unaware that ‘doggie’ has a wide variety of pronunciations, but my dear child has gone through just about all of them. Doooogie, dowgeeee, duggie {victory}, etc. Holy crap she loves those dogs and loves even more that she knows what to call them. Again, it’s adorable.

But that’s not the only animal-themed bit of vocab she has in her alphabet soup. She will ‘woof’ like the doggies which generally comes out as a forced ‘f’ sound and is accompanied by the cutest curly lipped pucker you’ve ever seen. Props to Biscuit the dog for assisting in that skill. She’s also mastered the ‘ish’ part of ‘fish’ and knows exactly where they are in the house. She’ll see a photo of a fish in a book, point to it, whisper ‘ish’ and look over at the aquarium. Genius I tell you. We are still working on ‘cat’ but from time to time when I’m being completely foolish recreating animal noises she will let out the sweetest ‘maaa’ in an attempt to meow. Yes, my heart breaks a little each time she does it.

She’s a big-time giggler and will mimic our laughs…which I’m currently trying to utilize to help teach her what monkeys say. She also loves saying ‘hi da’ whenever Z comes home from work or goes into her room after a nap. Add that to her love of singing, which she does just about any time we have music {with vocals} playing and she’s always chatting up a storm. But her most recent discovery is the word ‘bubble’. Z’s dad is a clown with the Big Apple Clown Care Unit that visits sick children in hospitals. A few days ago he came over after work and brought his back of tricks which included bubbles. She loved them, the dogs went ape-shiz, and by the end of the day she was giving us a muffled form of ‘baba’. Since then she’s decided that bubble can ONLY be said with the assistance of her finger so as soon as you ask her to say it she brings her hand to her mouth and strums her lips while she talks. What a cheater.

Let’s Get Physical
People are constantly telling me that Keelin looks exactly like her daddy. To which I generally respond, “Yes, if I didn’t push her out myself I would wonder if she was mine”. But now that she’s become this awesome little person I’m seeing more and more of myself {did I just call myself awesome?} in her actions. Especially the dancing. Watch out SYTYCD Season 29! Keelin loves to flap her arms, twist her torso, and rock her hips back and forth. We were watching SNL on Hulu the other day and she  was busting out some sweet moves to one of Justin Timberlake’s latest tunes. Of course this make’s me oober happy and allows me to daydream about her first dance recital and the perfectly pink tutu she’ll no-doubt spill chocolate milk on during rehearsal week. Le sigh. Here’s a little snippet of her dancing – pardon my shaky camera, I was trying to dance with her!

How else is she rocking her physical fitness? Climbing. Lots of climbing. The stairs have been a breeze for a while now so instead of crawling up them she’s insisting on WALKING up them. She hangs on to the railings and steps up each stair. She hasn’t quite captured the fact that her upper body SHOULD be in line with her feet as she’s going up, but that doesn’t stop her. She gets herself into a stunning diagonal {head hanging down over the lower steps of course, because this mama needs more things to give her a heart attack} and some how releases one of her hands to find the next rung up so she cal recover her balance and do it all again with the next step. Needless to say one of us is ALWAYS a step behind her and it takes a really long time to get upstairs.

She’s also gotten pretty great at butt-scooting down the stairs. She prefers to be holding one of our hands during the journey, which I’m totally fine with, but it also takes forever because our steps are slatted and she likes looking back through them to see who is downstairs.
And we officially have a couch-climber. Apparently her daddy taught her one day when I was out of the house. Of course. I’m surprised she hasn’t really tried to climb up anything else. Maybe subconsciously knows that the couch is nice and soft so it’s safer when she throws her face into the cushion.

But I have to say that one of my favorite new physical quirks is learning how to ‘pound it’. She’s been a high-fiver for a while now and just for fun we tried to get her to fist-bump. She wasn’t really into it at first until one day a few weeks ago when our neighbor came over to babysit while I kicked butt at a consignment sale. Keelin had woken up from her nap and was playing with her new toys when I gave ‘pound it’ one more shot. All of a sudden she formed her hand into a loose fist, made a broken wrist, and held it out for contact. What was even cuter was the way she lifted her shoulder to her ear to help lift her hand up. In case you were at all curious, yes, we make her do it all the time. And she loves it. Here’s proof.

Too Toothy
We are up to 12 teeth and counting. It’s a nice even spread with one molar on each side, top and bottom, and four spread across the front, top and bottom.

Mama’s Little Helper
One of Keelin’s new favorite past-times is to help Z or I empty the dishwasher.  What started out as her grabbing at the dishes and us telling her to put them down, turned into her picking the dishes up and handing them to us. Smart little stinker working around the ‘no’ command so she can keep touching the plates. She can obviously only reach the bottom rack so it’s minimal assistance, but it’s definitely a foreshadow of the future when she is big enough to help out more around the house and even help with future little siblings.

Defiance
For your sake and mine I’ll save this category for another post because, lets face it, toddlers aren’t the best with discipline starting out.

buddy fruit mishap

oh boy

Snuggle Bug
Keelin has gotten super snuggly lately. She’ll reach up like she wants to be held but when we pick her up she’ll grab hold of our necks and press her cheek against ours. If that’s not sweet enough she’ll pat the back of our heads with her tiny hands, as if to mimic us when we are comforting her. She loves pulling us in while she’s up on the changing table too.

Firsts
There have been plenty of firsts in the last 3 months, most of which I’ve already mentioned {climbing down steps, climbing up on the couch, etc.} but Keelin also had her first ride on a swing

swinging

and had her first haircut! I wish I could have waited a little longer but her poor little bangs were hanging down in her eyes. And since she’s really good at pulling every matter of hair accessory out of her hair, it was time. She did pretty well, didn’t really cry but squirmed all over the place. Z and I thought she looked like a little french girl afterwards so we lovingly call her Mon Petite every now and then.

first haircut

To keep you from a full day of reading I’ll cut it here. Those were the major updates from the last 3 months and I can’t wait to see what the next 3 have in store!
Happy 15 months mon petite! You are so loved.

Until next time…

Link UP Week: Sew Cute Tuesday

link up week

What the what? Three posts in one day? Yes, believe it folks… linking up has ignited an uncontrollable fire.  But this is that last link party of the day, I promise. I hadn’t originally intended on doing another but when I found this blog and party I decided it had to be done. Especially since I’d been meaning to share a project that will fit in perfectly with the theme!

Better Off Thread

Welcome to Sew Cute Tuesday hosted by Better Off Thread {hello adorable blog name}. It’s all about sewing or craft projects and it’s about time I shared one that I did back before Christmas. The hubs and I were trying to budget our spending for the holiday and I wanted to make something special for my new nephew, Spencer. I already had the fabric, snagged a few extra rolls of ribbon, and was on my way to making a sweet lovie {tag blanket} for my sweet love!

His nursery has a nautical-lighthouse theme so I wanted to do something along those lines and I decided to use the fishy fabric from Keelin’s 42 week onesie shoot. I had just bought some grey pop-dot fabric for the quilt I have still yet to finish, and decided it was the perfect soft back the blanket needed. I measured and cut the fabric to match and pinned them with the ‘right’ sides facing one another. You should know that I’m a terrible seamstress so my technique is terrible and probably WRONG in the grand scheme of things… but it gets the job done. In the photo below you can also see that I measured out 1/2″ on each edge to help guide me on the sewing machine… yeah, rookie.

tag blanket

I then placed the ribbon tags where I wanted them. I didn’t make any particular symmetry, just wanted enough on each side for him to really grab onto. Remove the pins in the area where you plan on placing a ribbon tag and slide between your pieces of fabric, making sure the end of the ribbon is lined up with the edge of the blanket.

tag blanket

Replace the pins {through the ribbon} and head to the sewing machine.

tag blanket

I assume since you found me on a sewing blog you can basically decipher the rest. I assume since you found me on a sewing blog you can basically decipher the rest. If not, sew each edge completely, making crisp, 90 degree corners. Leave a hole about 1″ to 1 1/2″ so you can flip the blanket right-side-out. I used the tip of my scissors to lightly press in each corner to make sure they were fully inverted. Close the hole and admire the cuteness.

tag blanket

It was a lot of fun to make and even more fun to see in a picture with my nephew!

tag blanket

Hopefully in the next week or so I can link up again to share progress on Keelin’s onesie fabric quilt. It does exist, and there has been progress… but it’s definitely not done. If you have a fun sewing project worth sharing, make sure you join the link party with Better Off Thread!

Until next time…

Link UP Week: Trendy Tot Tuesday

link up week

Welcome to day 3 of link UP week!
Forgive me for only posting ONE link up yesterday… this past weekend was a little nuts and this week is going to be even MORE nuts. On Friday, as we waited for my parents to get here for a long weekend visit, we found out that Z booked a roll on the new NBC series, Revolution. He is currently filming in Wilmington {probably on set as we speak} and I’m playing single mom for the week. I may be looney tunes by the end of it all! But enough about me, on to the next link up!

My college friend and fellow mom-blogger Melanie at Career Desires to Bottles and Diapers gave me the heads up about this awesome NEW link up. I was hoping to find and help promote a brand new link up so I’m so thankful she passed this along! It’s called Trendy Tot Tuesday hosted by Kelly at Mrs. In Training, Megan at Table for Three, and Lindsay at Baby Mama Drama.

Trendy Tot Tuesday

This will be a chance to talk about kid’s style, and pretty much anything goes.  Pictures of your cutie, talking about their style (that you buy and dress them in, ahem!), a Polyvore board, linking to the new kid’s line at the Gap – anything!  All ages welcome, from you sweet pregnant mamas stocking up a closet to the teenagers that probably pick all their own stuff out now.

Sounds like fun! Let’s get to it!

When it comes to Keelin’s wardrobe, I learned early on how AMAZING consignment shopping is. Especially for mommy and daddy’s wallet. Before she was born I had to stop myself from filling my cart with the cutest Gap, Carter’s, and FAO Schwartz fashions. I discovered that I’m not a big “color” specific shopper {aka Keelin’s closet isn’t overrun with pink} but instead I prefer bright and fun colors… hence my love of Carter’s! But like I said before, dressing your kid like a supermodel can be a major strain on the bank account so we rely a lot on seasonal sales and consignment shops. I decided to use this first Trendy Tot Tuesday to put a spotlight on the outfits Keelin wears all the time, and show some of the adorable digs I wish she had.

FAVS:

  • The first is my go-to party outfit. Keelin wore it for her 1st birthday and some of her 1 year photos and I’m so in love with the sweet flowers and matching skirt. They were both a gift from my first baby shower and are both from Arizona.
  • Next is a super sweet Carter’s outfit perfect for chilly weather. The hooded sweater has a fun swirl pattern and silver glitter buttons, and the grey stretch leggins {terrible picture, I apologize} have matching buttons. Adorable.
  • The third is a representation of my FAVORITE article of clothing… overalls. We love OshKosh denim overalls but anything goes. The one in the photo is an adorable romper that Z’s mother knit her. Homemade clothes are ABSOLUTELY the best.

Now onto some adorable “dream” digs.
My guilty pleasure is scoping out Facebook, Gap, and Etsy for adorable outfits. Seriously if I could stock her closet with nothing but Gap and WAHM-made outfits, I would. We probably wouldn’t have a house to put the closet in, but she’d certainly be stylin’!

  • First is an adorable white Scalloped eyelet dress from Gap Kids. I’ll take one in every color please- and do they come in my size?
  • Next is a sweet Love U Dress/Tunic from Bleu Bird Designs. I LOVE all the colors and the rustic patchwork!
  • 3rd  is a dress and ballet slipper set from BabyBlushBoutique. Remember them from the fantastic giveaway they hosted? Love all of her custom designs.
  • 4th is a Green zigzag bishop dress from Marjorie’s Daughter. This company is actually owned my by gal pal’s aunt and her smocked dresses are beyond precious and she’s currently having a sale on Zulily! Check it out!
  • 5th is a Limpopo Bandana Ruffle Tunic from Tea Collection. Bright colors, sweet ruffles, love love love!
  • And last is pretty much the sweetest thing I’ve ever seen – Hill farm blue vintage romper from ju ju Creations. Killing me.

Well there you have it! Some of my favorite outfits in Keelin’s arsenal and a list of dresses you are more than welcome to purchase and send her/me. :)

Thanks so much to the gracious hosts for coming up with such a fun link up! I’ll definitely be joining in again!

Until next time… 

The mind is a mysterious beast

This is something I’ve wanted to write about for quite some time and I’m finally in a place where I’m OK to at least talk about it. It’s on the heavy-side, so forgive me for starting off your week on such a sullen note. I’m sure some of you can {unfortunately} relate to this experience, so I thought it was time to release the word vomit.

The mind is a mysterious beast.

I’ve been unlucky enough to face the scary and debilitating truth of someone you love “losing” their mind. I’m not talking about going to crazy-town after making a pit-stop in looney-ville. That’s an entirely different story.
I’m talking about losing the parts of your mind that make you who you are.
I’m talking about losing the memories and experiences that have formed your life and your place in it.
I’m talking about walking around the home you’ve lived in for over 50 years, without the ability to recognize that it’s your ‘home’.
Old age, dementia, Alzheimer’s… no matter what you call it or how it’s ‘clinically’ diagnosed… it sucks.

My maternal grandmother was always a fun-loving, active, silly, talented, and sophisticated inspiration. She was a brilliant painter, seamstress, and cook, made the world’s best dinner rolls and cinnamon buns, and always insisted you enjoyed seconds at dinner. But unfortunately, she doesn’t remember all of those wonderful attributes and it’s truly heartbreaking to sit and wonder where that person has gone. The mind is a mysterious beast.

2-3 years ago we started to see signs that something beyond just ‘getting older’ was affecting her memory. Things beyond just forgetting the date or now realizing that you’ve now told your husband the same story three times {heck, I do that}. Now, the same person who loved celebrating {and never forgot} my birthday because she remembered me running around telling everyone it was on “JOON TWELF”, now has to ask “Who is this?” when she looks at my wedding picture. The same person whose beautiful paintings are hanging on the walls of my home, my parent’s home, and my brother’s home {to name a few} now is amazed when she learns that she is the one who painted them. The same person who would smile and talk me through things as I watched in amazement while she made her famous cinnamon buns now can’t remember how to make breakfast.
What happened? Where did she go? Did she disappear completely or is she still in there somewhere wondering why everything is different now?

From time to time we will see glimpses of her humor or specs of remembrance from her childhood that remind us she is still the same Gamma.
When we ask her what flavor of cake she wants, and she responds with “both” as if we are silly for even asking.
When she looks at a side table in the living room and says, “You know who made this? My daddy made this.”
Those are the moment when we see the woman she used to be. Perhaps still is, but she’s unable to get out.

The mind is a mysterious beast.

Because things have progressed {or regressed, in this case} so quickly, it’s been difficult to wrap my head around it all. It’s hard to really understand how someone who was always on the move, whether it was cooking, walking around the neighborhood, or just cleaning up around the house, now sleeps the majority of the day. It’s impossible to understand how the person who was so excited to hear from me when I called her on her birthday last year, probably wouldn’t know who she was talking to if I talked to her today. It’s not fair that the home I remember LOVING to visit during the summer as a child is now just a house, since 1/2 of the duo that made it so bright and joyful can no longer take care of it, or herself.

It’s hard.
It’s impossible.
It’s not fair.
The mind is a mysterious beast.

I probably sound like a broken record to those of you who have dealt with this, or are currently dealing with it, in your family.  My husband’s grandmother has been slowly ‘losing her mind’ for many, many years now and while a part of me wishes I could have known her when she was the happy-go-lucky grandmother he remembers {there are still glimpses of that person too – she has the best sense of humor}, the other part is thankful I didn’t have to watch the disappearance from the start. She never really knew who I was, so I don’t get the same heartache when she shows me the Christmas present that I made her and asks, “Did you see this? Isn’t this nice?” That doesn’t mean the heartache was never there, or isn’t still in some way, but the circumstances have allowed his family to adapt to things more gradually, so the difficulty can be buffered with laughter and a sense that this is now ‘the norm’.

I’m not there yet.

I don’t know if I will ever be there. It’s actually kind of impossible to imagine a time when I’ll be okay with it all. I’ve gotten to a point where I can avoid tears when my mom calls to update me on the latest thing she’s forgotten, but then again I’m currently writing this with giant puddles in my eyes, making it very difficult to see my spelling errors, so what does that say about my level of “being ok”?

The mind is a mysterious beast for sure, and the idea of not having full control over your own is terrifying. This kind of thing is often passed down through the generations by the women of the family, so will my mother and I suffer the same fate? Will Keelin decades from now? Dear God, I hope not.
Is there a way to prevent it from happening all together, or at least get a few more ‘good’ years in before the disappearing act begins? Do ‘brain teasers’ and memory games really make a difference? Should I eat less chocolate, drink less sweat tea, spend less times staring at a computer screen? Who knows.

All I know is that I’m not okay. Not yet. And I miss my grandmother.

Until next time…

My Dolphin Friend

Some of you may not know, but my hubs works at the Georgia Aquarium as a performer in their Dolphin Tales show. No, he doesn’t swim with dolphins. No, he’s not actually a dolphin himself. No, he never actually touches the water – unless you count the splashes the dolphins shoot at him trying to get his attention. YES, he uses his gorgeous voice to narrate the show in melodious majesty! If you are ever up for an aquarium visit, be sure you see the show. It’s great for kids and you’ll probably end up feeling like one yourself!

So about a week ago Keelin and I went with Z to work for two major reasons. 1. So Keelin could see her daddy in the show {which she loved btw.} 2. To participate in a “Dolphin Interaction” .

Let me lay out this “Dolphin Interaction” for you real quick. We {all three of us} got to go behind the scenes of the Dolphin Tales show and INTERACT with one of the dolphins! Touch them, give commands for behaviors, play ball, etc. Now, hubs and I never got a honeymoon {accepting donations} so we don’t have photos of water splashing up our noses as we hang on to the dorsal fin of a swimming dolphin in some beautifully tropical and touristy location. Zip. Zilch. Nada.
But, now thanks to Z’s job and the fantastic trainers at the Georgia Aquarium, we do have these… Everyone, I’d like you to meet Lily!

We had a wonderful time and yes, my face in the photo holding Lily’s lateral fins explains my feeling the whole time. Giddy, giddy, giddy. Keelin was a little skeptical at first and wasn’t a huge fan of being that close to the pool but she was fascinated by Lily! Every time she would get close to us Keelin would say, “Oohhhh” and point. Adorable. Honestly this kid has one charmed life… just over a year old and she’s touched a dolphin. I couldn’t have asked for a better day spending time with my sweet family. We snapped many more pictures around the aquarium but far too many to post in one blog! I’ll try to share some later and will put a few favorites on Facebook {do you like my page… cause you should}!

Have you ever done one of the touristy dolphin interactions while on vacation? Were you giddy like a child?

Until next time…

Guest Blog: Sarah the Supermom

A little less than a year ago I learned that a friend of my brother and sister-in-law’s, lives quite close to us. I had seen photos of them together out in California so I was surprised and excited to see she was on this side of the country, and even in the same state! Through some stalking browsing on Facebook, I learned that she not only had a beautiful little girl, but twins on the way! So, being the creeper that I am I reached out to her, explained the connection, and made it known that I had every intention of continuing to stalk her adorable family, and hoped that we could some day have an official meeting. That was some months ago and now that the twins are here I decided this mama’s baby-wrangling expertise would be perfect for the blog. I asked her to write about what it’s like being a mother of three {under the age of 2} and she was awesome enough to oblige with this wonderful glimpse into her heart.
She’s a God-fearing mama, who credits everything to the love and sacrifice of Christ, with a cool, calm, and collected head on her shoulders, taking things one day at a time. If you are not a religious person, or a mother for that matter, I encourage you to read anyway. I think her sense of serenity for all that life throws at us could be an inspiration to just about anyone.
Plus her name is also Sarah {I don’t discriminate against ‘h-ers’} so she’s double-y awesome. Enjoy!

Elmers

Photo from The Black Sheep Studio

Everyone is asleep!  And by everyone, I mean my 16 month old daughter Vivien, and my 4 month old twins: Elijah and Evelyn.  They are all listening to lullabies and enjoying their mid afternoon naps.

On a perfect day, simultaneous sleeping can happen up to three times.  And it does happen some days.  These are the moments when my mind races through the zillion things that I have dreamt of achieving hoping to settle on one that I may accomplish before someone wakes up.  I am being taught to get in my Bible.  It’s hard though. Sometimes I can only read a verse or two before my mind is swept away into the thoughts of “Is that a baby?  Wait, when was the last time the twins ate?  When was the last time I changed Elijah/Evelyn/Vivien’s diaper?  I should probably run downstairs and unload the dishes and throw in that second load of laundry for today. Speaking of which, have a washed the diapers today? Oh!  I forgot my tea in the microwave! What in THE WORLD is on my shirt?!  Is that dried pesto, or dried poop?!”

Quieting my mind!  What an exercise!

I bet you think that I am going to lament having no time to myself?  That all good wives and mothers must take tons of time for themselves?  Or maybe that I will bemoan the busyness that is my life? No way. In fact, I love stewarding the blessings that The Lord has given us…in a healthy way.

Let me explain “healthy”.  I love my life.  I believe it is because Jesus gave me life about 8 years ago.  As in, set me free from sin and shame.  The way He protected me, stood by me, was so miraculous that I almost have no choice but to worship His Holy Name.  I believe His plan for me involves ownership of me, so I am set free from the bondage of control.  That nasty Mommy idol.  Please learn this.  Before you may attempt any practical incorporation in your life, you must grasp this truth.  If you don’t, you will set yourself up for all sorts of selfish idolatry…

Now, if you think three kids under two is crazy, try this on for size:  I have been married for 2 years and 4 months to the love of my life, Jonathan.  Ours was a whirlwind courtship.  Jonathan and I met and were married in about 4 1/2 months.  Because we were so aware that The Lord had made us for each other, the thoughts of starting a family came easy.  We thought we might perhaps spend some time alone that first year, but The Lord had other plans for us (and that’s another post entirely).  We conceived our daughter the third month we were married.  The twins came four months after her birth.  They are exactly one year and one day apart.  WOW!   And we’ll have as many as The Lord gives us.  Yep.  The Lord is still guiding us and growing us in that area- Hallelujah!

Not only did we have kids quickly, my husband changed careers, we bought our first house (and are fixing it up), and we experienced a few deaths in the family.  It has been a full two plus years, but we believe that things that are known to be the sources of much stress have brought us together in a deeper way that we might have ever been able to achieve had it been different.

In a word: Expectations.
We had to define ours.  Quickly.  And we continue to redefine as we grow.
If I am unhappy in my circumstance, is it because my expectations are wrong?  Probably.  At the very least, they could be the right expectations said to your husband (friend, etc.) poorly.

Are you being incredibly selfish with what God has so freely given you.  I remind myself: I am not my own.  I was bought with a price- Jesus’s blood- and in accepting that, I live for Him.  Am I content in that?  (Hint:  I believe that is a life long discipline…)

Okay, great.  Thanks.  What does that mean practically?

Well, before I begin telling you what it looks like for ME, for US at the Elmer house, please let me encourage you to seek The Lord in prayer for YOUR home.  What does He have for you?

In my world, I find that saying “No” to things is my number one weapon to protecting my sanity and preserving my family integrity.  It gets crazy around here, people.  CRAAAAZY.  I have three under two years of age.  My days ZIP by. Most days I congratulate myself if the twins have had their proper intake of milk (yes, I am nursing twins), Vivien has eaten, been bathed, not stabbed out any of the babies eyes, at least read one book, taken a few naps, and I have kept up my food/water intake.  Woo hoo!  Anything after that is a bonus!  And I love getting through other things by structuring my time well.

The Internet.  That time sucker!  Surfing the internet can really make you feel productive, yet at the same time produce a schizophrenia most unsettling…”Why am I on here, again? Ohhhh, yes.  I wanted to look up which radio station in Atlanta plays Focus on the Family programs.  How did I get to pictures of AJ McCarron’s tattoo?!”  Gosh, with just a few clicks you can immerse yourselves in so many projects for Christ that all have good intentions, but are not FOR YOU.  I could spend a week reading blog after blog after blog from this Christian woman, or that one encouraging me in one way or the other.  Why not pare that down and spend my time with The Lord instead.  Yes?  Do you need encouragement?  Invite a friend over that encourages you and that will pray with you.

How about those friendships? I’ll put it out there:  you can only have a few friendships in your life that are close.  The friend or friends that know your heart, your daily routines, the work that Christ is doing in you and your family.  Please choose these wisely.  You may have many people who you know, and maybe people who you want to get to know better, but a true friendship requires investment.  After your spouse, who should be your very best friend, who are you investing in?  And who are you allowing to invest in you?

What do my children see when they look at their mommy?  Am I buried in my iPhone?  Am I unavailable?  Am I TOO available?  Am I constantly referring to the latest parenting trends, reading blogs and parenting books?  Some foundational help is good as first time parents, but these things need balance.

You must set up a guard in your life, creating balance.  Lean on that still, small voice.  If you can’t see where you need help, ask someone you trust to help you.

And finally, can you hear The Lord calling you?  I don’t know about you, but with three small children, a large home, and the pressures that can come along with it, we have officially divorced a lot of noise around here.  Right now, it is so quiet in my home that I can hear the dryer turning, the rain outside my window falling, and most importantly: my thoughts.

A handful of years ago, I read a book called “Ministry in the Image of God”.  Most of it has left me now, but I will never forget the heart of Jesus he conveyed about the Son of God’s mission here.  He emphasized His obedience to God in His private fellowship.  In this, Jesus knew what God was asking Him to do everyday, all of the time.

Am I living in such a way that I can hear God’s plan for me everyday?  Have I carved out time for Him in order to get my instructions for the day? for the week?  Have I asked Him to lead me?

Last spring I was beginning to feel the pressures that Mommies can place on other Mommies.  It is almost inevitable, whether it is self-created or from an outside source.  My daughter was 11 months and she still wasn’t crawling (even typing that sentence snaps me into reality— what a dumb thing to dwell on!)  I had to start guarding my thoughts.  The worldly answers started pouring in:  “Perhaps she has a developmental delay and needs therapy?  Are you not working with her enough?  Could she have a birth defect?”  And it goes on…I won’t belabor the negatives, but encourage you.  I started desperately asking The Lord to guard those thoughts.  Those negative, intellectually idolatrous thoughts.  And in no time, the Holy Spirit spoke to my thirsty Mom’s heart:  “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”  John 14:27 (I went to look up the reference then and there!)  How thankful I was that I had studied that verse many, many years ago and The Lord brought it to memory!

“…not as THE WORLD gives…” Is the world your source of peace?  I believe it can be, very quickly.  It creeps in ever so slowly.  Fight to have Him be your peace.  He will show you, as He is your Father that loves you, just as He is showing me.

I love to remind myself that The Lord will allow me to deepen my relationship with Him as much as I am willing.  He pursues me.  Am I giving Him everything in my prayers and in my heart everyday?

Someone is crying…yes, I think that all day long everyday.  *Sigh* I’m so glad we could spend this short time together, it’s back to the wonderful and challenging world of mothering now.  How thankful I feel that God has seen it fit to bless me in this.  Have a sweet day in Jesus!!!

A HUGE thank you to Sarah for sharing this little glimpse into her life and heart as she follows her faith through the wonderful adventure of motherhood. If you know someone {even if it’s yourself} who would like to share their parenting endeavors, please let me know! I love reading about other mommy adventures!

Until next time…

FIFTY-TWOsie aka ONE YEARsie

One year ago today, at exactly 9:38 am, a beautifully magnificent, true blessing from God, albeit totally slimy, baby girl was born. She was absolutely perfect and completely filled the hearts of her parents in a way they never thought possible. Here she is today.

52 weeks

What a goof ball. This little stinker is still filling our hearts with more joy, laughter, and fun than we could have ever imagined. On the one hand it feels like she’s been here much more than just a year, and on the other it’s hard to believe it’s gone by so quickly. Last night as we were going to bed my mom {Gammie and Granddaddy are visiting!} looked at Z and said, “Now don’t come waking me up at midnight telling me it’s time to go to the hospital.” Crazy. Totally, insanely, unbelievable crazy, that it was a full 365 days ago that we took the first step on that final stretch to becoming parents.  {Yes, I realize I’ve already linked to Keelin’s birth story twice and we’re only about 180 words into the post. I can’t promise you won’t see another link before you’re finished reading. If you are new to the blog and haven’t read it yet, please feel free. It was an experience I will never forget and means enough to me that I’m proud to share it with you all}.  I’ve learned more in the last year than I ever imagined. From my faith and patience, to understanding more about myself and my dreams, I can honestly say that 2012 {and 4 1/2 days in 2011} has given me more tid bits of knowledge and full-on slaps to the face than the 24 years before it combined. People talk about having calling to certain careers and paths, this is my calling. Mommyhood. I feel completely undeserving, especially when this sweet and innocent little person runs at me with her arms held out and buries her head in my unacceptably bony shoulder, but so incredibly thankful that God chose me to be a mother. Not just a mother, her mother.

Alright enough reminiscing {see… gotcha again!}… this is STILL a weekly onesie post after all. The final weekly onesie post, to be more specific!

This has been a fantastic week filled with fun, family, traditions, and toys! Christmas {all 3-parts of it} was absolutely wonderful and Keelin has had a blast. We woke up Christmas morning and celebrated the holiday with just the three of us. It was quiet, and quaint, and simply wonderful. Keelin wasn’t all that interested in unwrapping her presents until we got to her EleFUN ball popper! As soon as she got a peek of it from behind the wrapping paper she perked right up and went to town trying to free it from the gift wrap shackles. Once Z and I figured out how to put the thing together {seriously Playskool} it was on like Donkey Kong. Alright, it wasn’t THAT exciting, but she did pick up on the fact that pushing the giant red button would result in fun elephant noises, music, and a rainbow of flying plastic balls. Fun city people! After our little family celebration Z had to go to work and sing to two PACKED houses {who knew that many people would be at the aquarium on Christmas day!} but the Bean and I enjoyed the afternoon together picking up, lounging around, and playing with our toys. The hubs got me a HOT PINK forever lazy… so it was quite the comfy day. Once he returned home it was off to Go Go and Grandpa Gizmo’s house for Christmas part deux. More gifts, more food, more family, more fun. Keelin even took a ride on her new rocking horse elephant.  Yes, rocking ELEPHANT. It’s amazing. She spent the majority of the night walking back and forth over the “speed bump” in the floor {where the kitchen turns into the living room} and trying to snatch my glass of Bailey’s. She was one tuckered out little lady.

This morning we both slept in {poor Z had to get up early for a 4-show day at work} and spent the majority of the day prepping for Gammie and Granddaddy’s visit! Clean house, organized {mostly} guest room closet, our LAST onesie pic snapped *tear*, cookies displayed in an overly inviting manner… please resist the urge to come hang at my house. My parents arrived in the early evening and Christmas part 3 commenced. MORE gifts… of which she was completely interested in… more food, a roaring fire, farting boston terriers, lots of laughs, and a ton of love. Doesn’t get much better than this… except I would have liked to exchange the farting boston terriers for my brother, sister-in-law, and nephew. Farting or not… they were are missed. Last year really spoiled us.

Tomorrow we will celebrate Keelin’s birthday with some close family and friends {for which I am way behind in preparing for… operation party planning is officially ON} and I’m hoping my heart can handle more of these wonderful blessings. I’ve always loved this time of year but seriously… I’m swelling over here. :)

Happy Birthday beautiful girl. You have blessed our lives in more ways that you will ever know!
We had THE MOST FUN during this last photo shoot, and although most of them turned out blurry, there’s no denying Keelin had as much fun as I did. Here are a few favorites from today… and then a year comparison of newborn, 3 month, 6 month, 9 month and 12 month pics. Don’t forget to check out the weekly onesie page to look back at the full year’s worth of weekly pictures. I will miss scanning through all the photos from each shoot but I have to admit it will be nice not having to make sure her fabric and white onesies are prepped and ready each week. Farewell weekly photoshoots.

52_week_fun

 

year_progressionUntil next time…

 

The Santa Struggle

Disclaimer… This post may or may not question the existence of a magical man in a red suit who shows up on Christmas eve and eats all your cookies. If your kids like to read over your shoulder… you may want to kick them out of the room.

There are some things that I just didn’t think about when we found out we were going to be parents. Obviously there was plenty of excitement and uncertainty, thoughts about finances, who he/she was going to look like, and how different our lives are going to be… that’s all to be expected. But the one thing that I didn’t really think about was what kind of a role Santa would play in my kids’ childhood. I know some moms-to-be think about these kinds of things but to be totally honest it never really crossed my mind until recently when I started seeing some of my mommy-friends posting photos on Facebook of their little one’s sitting on Santa’s lap for the first time.

This time last year the hubs and I obviously weren’t thinking about whether or not we were going to make it to see Santa… considering our main thoughts were something closer to “get OUT of my bellay!” But now that we celebrating our first Christmas as a family of 3, we’ve got to ask ourselves if we’re going to ‘play along’ with the mystery of Santa Claus or live the next years of our lives braced for the phone calls and hate emails from parents of classmates who “heard from the Pierce child” that Santa isn’t real. Eeep!

First we looked at how much of a roll Santa played in our own childhoods.

I have an utterly terrible memory {seriously I think sometime between high school and 2012 I must have run into an MIB who totally flashy-thinged me because my childhood recollection is toast} but I do recall being really excited when ‘Santa’ brought me that hot pink Barbie camper with “working” grill and  fold out cabana. It was only later that I learned my mother spend hours putting that piece of crap together while Santa was nowhere to be found. What’s up with that Claus? Anyway. My brother and I did the sit on Santa’s lap thing a few times… definitely not every year. And I don’t even really remember the time when I ‘learned’ that Santa wasn’t real… I don’t know if it was something I learned or just realized. I think my parents had fun with it and let us enjoy the magic of it all but they were always very clear on the real meaning of Christmas, both in the biblical sense and in terms of the holiday NOT being about what presence we got. So if I can’t say that Santa’s ‘existence’ really had that great of an effect on my life, should it be that important that my kids believe in him at all? Ponder, ponder, ponder.

As for Z’s upbringing, his parents were very upfront with he and his brother about Santa not being real. No shenanigans in that family {and coming from two mimes, that says a lot!}. They didn’t want either of them expecting that some fat man in a velour suit was going to get them exactly what they wanted for Christmas and, much like my parents, really strived to make sure they understood the real reason to celebrate – the birth of Christ. They did make sure to tell both of them not to go off and spoil it for the other kids who did believe… which Z ignored on a number of occasions. Yeah, he was THAT KID.

So… what does a Christian {and Catholic to boot} family, who grew up with slightly different Santa experiences, who want to make sure they maintain the true spirit of Christmas for their children, while still having fun DO when it comes to Jolly Old St. Nick?

YOU TELL ME! We’re still figuring out the details. It’s highly unlikely that Keelin will even remember this Christmas so we’ve got some time to finalize our Santa-Plan but here’s what we’ve got so far…

#1 at Christmas for us is, without a doubt, understanding our faith’s reason for celebrating. We are Christians, we believe in the miracle birth of Christ, we use Christmas to celebrate that event. Plain and simple, that is what Christmas is about for us. As long as our kids understand that, you could say that the rest is just extra fun stuff, right?

I think the story of Santa Claus, with the reindeer and the sled and the Ho’s {I mean…}, and the big-fat-jelly-belly, is sweet and totally fine to incorporate into a child’s Christmas experience. I STILL love reading “Twas the Night Before Christmas”, signing “From Santa” on gifts, and watching all the fun Santa-Christmas movies. It’s festive, spirited, light-hearted, and FUN. We’re definitely going to make sure our kids know the original story of St. Nicholas too – where the common story of Santa Claus is said to have originated. There is far too much Santa out in the world to try to ignore it all together. Plus, how lame would that be?!

I DON’T think the idea of Santa should be used as a way to make kids behave. It’s one thing to joke about getting coal in your stocking if your kids are being particularly pesky {I still do that with friends and family today} but I’ve been witness to a mother GOING OFF on her kid mid-supermarket telling them with all sincerity {and intent to frighten} that Santa is not going to bring them ANYTHING because of their awful behavior. Seriously I think I saw steam coming out of her ears and her eyes were definitely set to LASER mode. I’ll admit her kid was being  a little demon but I want my children to behave properly because they know it’s the right way to act, not because I threaten them with fewer toys at Christmas. Just doesn’t seem right. And if Santa were real I don’t think he would appreciate you making him out to be the bad guy like that. Tisk.

So do we say, “Hey kids… there’s this guy named Santa Claus we’d like you to know about. The story books say he shimmy’s down chimneys on Christmas Eve to deliver gifts to every little girl and boy. He’ also has magical flying reindeer, and perfect no-blush-necessary cheeks. He’s not real, even though some children think he is, so just go along with it when they talk about him at school, and know that it’s all in fun when you come back home. Ok?”  Maybe. It’s upfront, simply put, lets them know we’re all about enjoying the legend for the STORY that it is, but set on knowing the truth from the get-go.

At the end of the day as long as my kids know the real meaning of Christmas, and don’t go around being the jerks that spoil the ‘magic’ for everyone else, I don’t think there’s any reason to ignore the story of Santa. Just be clear on its truth and appreciate it for the fun that it brings to the holiday.

What do you think. Any parents juggling a similar issue? Did I lose you all when I started an 8th paragraph? How did Santa impact your childhood?

FIFTY-ONEsie

51 weeks

There were SO MANY fun photos to choose from this week but the hubs helped me decide on this one. My flamingo-loving aunt was sweet enough to give me this fabric and I knew I wanted to save it for her Christmas post. Check out those sweet Santa hats! I realize that next week is Christmas {AH, Christmas} but I wanted the 52 week fabric to be in celebration of her birthday. SO… consider this our Christmas celebration fabric!

I’m a little bit in denial this week considering we only have one more weekly onesie post left. Yes, next week will be the LAST weekly onesie post… le sigh. I’ll have to come up with something else to get me over hump day! Seriously I don’t know what to do with myself, but I can’t deny I’m a little relieved that I don’t have to buy 52 more yards of fabric for this project {sorry future kids, we’ll do something a little more friendly on our bank account when you come along}. Thankfully I have all the past fabrics left over to put toward theKeenBean! Now if I can just have nothing to do all day BUT play with fun fabrics.

I wanted to give a big shout out and thanks to everyone who participated in Blogger Day of Silence yesterday as a way to honor the tragedy of Sandy Hook Elementary. I’ve been struggling with whether or not to write my thoughts out on what happened Friday, and I’m still on the fence. There are so many personal and emotional feelings that I don’t know if sharing them is something I’m able to do… or if I could even express myself adequately. Still contemplating… But anyway, I truly  loved seeing so many blogs displaying the support button. I’m so thankful to be part of such a caring community of writers and creative minds.

Alright, moving on to the latest developments in baby {almost toddler} land. I think I’ve shared that we are learning the work ‘NO’ in our house which has been more comical than anything else. Literally. Keelin usually laughs when we say ‘No’. What a goof. Well now that she’s into EVERYTHING I’ve decided she’s going to think her name is actually ‘Keelin-No’. My mom always used to say that about me when I was little. My name may as well have been ‘Sara-No’ with everything I was getting myself into. I guess it’s true what they say about your kids paying you back for all the crap you put your parents through when you were little. It’s alright. I’ll take it. Just as long as I remember that it will all come back to her when she has children of her own! Ha. I realize that I’ve been telling you that Keelin is into everything but without a real example you can’t quite understand the full extent of it. Allow me to take you back to last night in the Pierce kitchen:
Keelin’s high chair has a soft basket underneath it where I keep her bibs and wash cloths. She hasn’t really paid them much attention until last night when she realized that soft basket was like her very own amusement park. At first she was just pulling everything out of the basket and onto the floor. It was cute, I was busy. I didn’t stop it. Then I noticed she was patting the swinging door on the trashcan. Not the first time {don’t worry, I clean that lid like crazy knowing she finds it fascinating} so I didn’t think much of it. Then I look again and she is standing next to the trashcan, with a bib in one hand, and her other hand on the lid. I put two and two together, walked over to the trash can and proceeded to pull 6… count em 6… formerly clean bibs out of the trash can. Some of them buried below things I’d just thrown away so who knows how long she’d been at it! Boy oh boy, she certainly is learning! I had to call the hubs in for reinforcements while I finished making dinner because she couldn’t get over how fun it was to pull her bibs out of the basket and throw them away. I called my mom last night and told her about it and she just laughed and said “She’s a little Sara… just like you when you were a kid”. Quite frankly I don’t know what she’s talking about. I was an angel. I don’t know why I’m worried about coming up with things to write about once the weekly onesies are done… she gives me plenty to talk about!

I’m happy to announce I got all of my Christmas gifts shipped, Christmas cards addressed {mailing them today}, and I have every intention of checking the final items off my list this afternoon! After that it’s full on gift wrapping and cookie baking mode! Even managed to snag a HUGE bundle of Christmas cookie cutters for 70% off at JoAnn Fabric yesterday. WOOT

Until next time…

OH, and since Keelin’s birthday is next Thursday I’ll be postponing her final onesie pic until then! I can’t believe it’s already here!

FIFTYsie

50 weeks

It feels so strange that our little bitty is into the 50’s in her weekly onesie count, and even more strange that I’m finally getting to use the Christmas fabric I bought LAST YEAR. I got some Christmas-y fabric about a month before Keelin was born, being that I was CONVINCED she was going to arrive before Christmas. It didn’t feel right using it after the holiday so I decided to keep it around for this year. Keelin is obviously loving her fabric this week as I was able to snap a relatively clear pic mid-giggle.

Things have gotten quite festive here in the Pierce household. Along with the tiny stash of decorations I bust out each year, we got our Christmas tree up! Keelin was in total awe and stood in front of it pointing and babbling away. It was as if she was describing it’s GLORY to me. Definitely a memory I will never forget. She seemed to be more interested in the tree itself than all the lights and sparkles from the ornaments… that was until she noticed some ornaments that had yet to be hung that were in reaching distance. Our evening of tree decorating was partnered with trying to catch our little thief mid-snatch. Seriously. Klepto.

On the walking front,  The Bean is still pitter pattering all over the house, running laps around the couch, sneaking into the kitchen when mom and dad are not looking, and stealing anything she can get her hands on. I love that this has become the norm. This is SUCH a fun age! Crawling is still a thing of the past except for when she needs to get her hands on something to pull up. She CAN  stand up on her own but prefers to have a little support. I think it’s because 98% of the time she has something {stolen} in one or both of her hands and it’s a little more tricky to find her balance as she stands. So she’ll crawl over to something nearby… which is often one of the dogs… and give herself a little support. But the solo-stand is happening more often so I have a feeling that pulling up will soon be a thing of the past too.

By far my FAVORITE new thing is that Keelin gives kisses. She’s such an affectionate, snuggly little girl and because her mama is always smoochin on her cheeks, she’s started joining in. If you make a kiss noise at her or actually ask her for ‘kisses’ she will open her mouth, stick out her tongue, and lean toward you for the sweetest, sloppiest, messiest, full-of-love kiss you’ll ever have. It is beyond adorable and I can’t get enough.

But enough about us… what’s up with you. Have you given/received any super sloppy kisses lately? Or maybe stood in awe of the majesty of your Christmas tree? What’s up folks?

Until next time…