Thursday, July 18

The Little Things

the little things...

teaching Ava and Molly how to play hide and seek.
a two hour phone conversation with my kindred spirit.
buffalo chicken quinoa for dinner.
a shiny sink.
stacks of books from lunchtime reading.

these are gifts. blessings.
things that do my heart so much good.

life isn't all goals and plans and dreams.
life isn't all work and bills and to-do lists.

life is lollipops after you eat your broccoli.

it's painted piggy toes.

it's sitting around the kitchen table
and enjoying conversations with the ones that once upon a time were in your belly
and the one that once upon a time was just a high school crush.

it's wagon rides and first swims in puddle jumpers.

it's permanent markings on a brand new chalkboard where peppa pig went skating.

it's blankies and sucked thumbs and nap time thunderstorms.

it's applesauce on the chair from little girls who are perfecting their use of a spoon
and a small green pea placed directly in the monkey's mouth on the placemat.

it's the joyful screams of daddy's name when he walks through the door
and the twinkle twinkle little stars before bed.

it's so easy to forget
that these things, these named little things, are in fact not little things.
these ARE the things.
the things that create passion and laughter and joy.
the things that teach us about grace and love and beauty.

yes. we will always have goals and dreams and a plan for the future.
we will always have big things on our minds. on our plates. on our hearts.
we just can't forget to take time to live in the real life right now things.
the beautiful. the simple. the warm.
the things from which life is made.
the so-not-little-in-any-way little things.

Wednesday, June 5

One of Those Days

Today was one of those days where motherhood overwhelmed me.

I used to be afraid to say it,
to even think it,
lest it make me appear to be inadequate, insufficient, ungrateful. 

but if I'm going to be very honest about our day,
messes and tears and life were spilling out all over the place
and not anything I could do or say or be seemed to be the right thing
and I second guessed and got frustrated with myself
for not figuring out the world of toddlers in one day.

Admitting all of this was something once upon a time I would never do.
But I've realized that no matter how thankful you are for your little life and your little family
you will have days where you just feel overwhelmed by the job set before you
and that's okay.
It doesn't make you any less of a mother,
or any less grateful for the blessings given to you.

And I just kind of wanted to say it
in case anyone else had a day like that too.

Just know, you aren't alone.
There are at least two of us now
and just maybe a few more, too.

Wednesday, March 27

"nap" time

As soon as I opened the door to the girls' room,
It quickly became apparent to me that I was living one of a mom's worst nightmares.
A first for many babies (one that some never do- you lucky moms, you)
and a rite of passage
to rigged pajamas and closer watches on the monitor.

My dear little Molly was in her bed naked.
During her two hour and thirty minutes of "napping",
she certainly had accomplished a lot.

Her first time unzipping her sleep sack (and allll the way down).
Her first time taking of her clothes.
And her very first time taking off her diaper.

And then, like any normal toddler would do,
she decided that her newfound naked freedom wasn't enough
but decided to become an artist of sorts
and smear the contents of her diaper all over her bed. blankies. bumper. sheet.
even beloved Minnie got a good helping.

"Molly- what did you do???"

"Diapa."

"Yes. I see that. Why did you take your diaper off??"

"Seep sack."

"Yes. I see you unzipped that. You made a really big mess. Are you supposed to take your diaper off?"

"Yeah."

"Well, no. You're not. Now come here and let Mommy clean you off."

And I proceeded to clean her off, telling her in my very best calm-but-with-big-Mommy-eyes voice that we can't take off our clothes and diaper because it makes a very big mess.

I finished cleaning her off and stood her up.

"Molly-- what did Mommy say? You can't take off your diaper, right?"

She looked at me with a twinkle in her eye (those of you that have been around Molly long enough know what I'm talking about-- she has this very specific, very cute, very silly twinkle).

"Diapa dance."

And I kid you not, she started to dance with happy feet and arms in the air
to "Diaper Dance", a beloved song around here from "Baby Singing Time."

Clearly, my meaningful talk with my almost two year old was slightly less than successful.

I started assessing the damages done to her bed
and suddenly, she stopped dancing and came over to me from behind.
"Hi, Mommy!" she said, throwing her arms around my neck.

"Hi, baby. We can't take off our diaper, okay?"

And I turned to look at her
and my busy bee was already happily off to her next adventure
and that was the end of that.

And really, it was the end of that.
Because tonight, that little girl's sleep sack is going on backwards.

Monday, March 11

I'm glad you were born. I'm glad you are mine.

I met him when he was just 16.
Handsome as all get out and way cooler than me.

God brought us together one year later
(and maybe I got a little cooler too... I did have new vans sneakers that year)
and we've been in love ever since.

It feels like we've been through it all together already
and we kind of have.

I was in an american history class and he sat behind me.
We became study buddies and I've never enjoyed american history more in my life.
But the timing wasn't quite right for the two of us
and we left school that year just as friends.

Summer happened and we grew up a little bit
and I got those awesome sneakers.
And suddenly, we were spending a lot of time together.
And then somewhere along the way, love happened.
And it never left.

And love is hard sometimes.
When one goes to college and the other is still in high school.
When you run out of minutes on your 1,000 minute calling card and it's only October.
When you're in two different worlds at the same time.

But eventually, everyone grows up a little bit more
and then you get engaged
and married.
and fat.
well, he didn't. but I did.
I was happy and in love and grew three sizes too big.
Kind of like the Grinch but kind of not because I didn't grow big on Christmas spirit
but on too many pizzas and jelly beans.

And we cut back on the pizza and jelly beans
but not on love.
When you're in love, it just keeps growing.
And ours certainly did.
And quite honestly,
even though those days were filled with long hours at work and lots of studying,
those first few years were filled with laughter, fun, and sunshine.

And then came some really hard roads.
broken baby dreams and a broken neck.
Where sometimes, we would just sit on the couch together,
quiet because it hurt to talk, sometimes even to breathe.

And when you go through the great times with your soul mate, life is good.
But when you go through the hard times together, life is still good.
We leaned on our faith and leaned on each other
and at the end of each day, I was still laying next to him. He was God's gift to me.
If God hadn't blessed me with one more thing, I was still abundantly blessed.

And now we have two little girls and I couldn't imagine a better dad.
Even after a busy day at work, he comes home and plays with the girls like it's a Saturday morning.
They adore their daddy. They are as in love with him as I am
and I pray they grow up to be just like him. clever. intuitive. sweet. selfless. Christlike.

He is smart. He could win any lego contest or "who wants to be a millionaire".
He is kind. I'm not sure he knows how to yell.
He is helpful. Changes poopy diapers. Cleans the garage. Never forgets to take out the trash.
He loves the Lord. He loves me. He loves our girls.
He helps me when I struggle. He gives me advice.
He doesn't get mad if I cry over silly things.
He supports my crazy sewing/exercise/eating/crafting/whatever else pops in my brain endeavors.

I have known him for almost half of his life
and each day I know him, I fall in love with him more.

And today, he is 30.
He deserves a medal for all that he does
and a crown for all that he is.
And he isn't one to toot his own horn
so I thought I'd take a minute and toot it for him.

I love you, Dan.
Thanks for being the greatest study buddy, boyfriend, fiancee, husband, and dad ever.
Thanks for loving me even when I'm hard to love.
Thanks for trying new paleo recipes with me even though you sometimes hate them.
Thanks for unloading the dishwasher before work if we forgot the night before.
Thanks for being the greatest Dad to our girls and teaching them how to play Legos.
Thanks for letting me dig in the Ben and Jerry's for the Heath Bar chunks
and for leaving surprises in my car for me to find on hard days.
Thanks for going on crazy adventures and fun vacations with me
and for letting me pick the music on the journey,
even when it's sometimes not John Mayer and is P!nk instead.

And thanks for letting me be the one to celebrate you today.
Of all the things we've shared together,
our love is my favorite.
Happy, happy birthday.
I'm glad you were born.
I'm glad you are mine.


Sunday, February 24

Letter to my Little Ones

Dear Ava and Molly,

Oh little girls.
If I could only stop time right here.
To just breath in for a little while longer
this stage of "little",
because the bigger you get,
the more the "little" fades away.

I just want to soak in the "omomomo-p" of your alphabet,
and the way you run crookedly because you haven't quite mastered it yet,
and how you pick up food with your fingers and place it on your fork before you eat it
with your eyebrows furrowed because you are concentrating so hard.
How you say "book-a-read, book-a-read" over and over until Mommy sits down and reads
and how you always back up into my lap and plop down to listen.

We've already left the days of your first da-da,
the broken in half Cheerios,
your first spoon fed meal of pears,
and walking for the first time with your alligator walker.

Those days were just here, little girls, they were just. here.
Momma blinked and they were gone.
And I'm afraid that these moments that I'm capturing now
will be gone as quick as the ones before them.

I write about time a lot, I know.
But, as your momma, I can't stop thinking about it.
And I realize that these moments that I want to pause
wouldn't have happened if I had hit "pause" sooner
and as I know I wouldn't have wanted to miss today and the days surrounding it,
I know in my heart that I don't want to miss the days to come either.

So, little girls, I won't be sad that I can't press pause.
I will just continue to open the door knob to your room each morning,
turn on the light and pick you up, smell your sweet skin,
and feel your warm cheeks on my lips as I kiss them good morning.
Each morning when I go into your room,
I will continue to tell myself to remember.
To remember this kiss. this hug.
To remember that you, Ava and Molly, will only be this age today. This minute. This moment.
That today is the only today we have. Tomorrow, today will be yesterday.

It's not a sad thing to grow up. Not for you and not for me.
Growing up means learning your ABC's, writing your name, writing your first essay.
These are all exciting things.
And it's amazing to think that it also means that one day,
you will be perched on your sofa like I am now,
writing a letter to your little ones that will probably be similar to this one
because time stops for no one....
but that's okay. Time must go on.

Just try and remember to not look backward and forward too much
and forget to look and see and do in the day you are in.
There is beauty right there. Grace there. Blessings there. Love there.
And while time doesn't stop moving,
it never moves too fast if you remember to be right where you are.

Mommy

Monday, February 4

The Trek to Terminal B

Today is exactly a month since we made our voyage to Orlando
and I think I am finally ready to describe our journey
through the Philadelphia airport
with two toddlers
four carry ons
two strollers
two backpacks holding two carseats
and 300 pounds of luggage.

I can tell you
it's probably similar to someone who climbs Mt Everest
or swims across the Atlantic
or runs a marathon backwards and barefoot.

I sort of wanted a medal
but more than that, I wanted the biggest Diet Pepsi someone could bring me
and a place I could lay down and sleep. and maybe die.
Kidding. But just about the dying part. Not the sleeping part and certainly not the Diet Pepsi part.

Here is the one tip I leave you with
for when you are traveling through the airport
with little ones and their things attached to every limb on your body.
And no, this tip isn't about how to keep your toddler from crying on the airplane
or how to pack efficiently for your voyage
because I haven't figured out those yet.

Here is my tip.
Wear fitted pants.
Not the comfy jeans.
You know the jeans I'm talking about right?
They are a little baggy and hug your hips loosely
and don't look amazing but for how they feel, they are totally worth wearing anyway.

Through the airport, my job was to push the double stroller
that was carrying two toddlers and two carry ons
and also wear the giant backback
that looked like it was holding my pet elephant
but in fact, was holding a carseat.

And while I am only a couple pounds shy away from my pre pregnancy weight,
my middle looks kind of like I'm wearing a small inner tube underneath my clothes
(slight dramatization perhaps but it's how I feel sometimes)
and I'm pretty sure people are wondering why I'm always tsunami ready.
I truly believe that my body is holding onto this middle fat
because it has trust issues with me after I asked it to hold 13.5 pounds of baby
and is worried I may ask it to do it again and wants to be prepared.

So picture me walking through the airport,
wearing my oh so comfy and loose fitting jeans,
pushing two toddlers and their carry ons
and holding a carseat on my back.
I tried to keep good posture in the beginning and look like super mom
but before long,
I looked like I was not in fact moving to Florida as super mom
but moving for my newest roll in Disney World as the Hunchback of Notre Dame.
true story.

And as I'm hunch backing along on my long trek to Terminal B
(which I'm pretty sure is about 38 miles from security)
and feeling closer and closer to waving down a nearby airplane to fly me to my terminal,
my stupid comfy pants started falling down.
And then my shirt started riding up.
And that dreaded middle that I try my hardest to conceal
with scarves and spanx and such
was out for the whole traveling world to see.

I tried to pull stuff down and up and back down again
but it was useless.
People were running and shielding their eyes
and buying travel blankets from the airport store to cover me with.
Ok. That's a lie.
But I wouldn't have minded a travel blanket or two or twenty.

And by the time we got to our terminal,
I was so sweaty and stressed and mortified
that the screaming that started to occur
by one toddler who's name rhymes with Jolly
and was literally the opposite of jolly
didn't even phase me.

That sweet little baby sobbed down the jetway
and onto the plane
and into her carseat
and out of her carseat and into Mommy's arms.
It got so intense that the people in front of us decided to move seats.
And I don't blame them.
Between the hysterics from Molly
and the fact that Ava decided at that moment
that she had an obsession with kicking things
and would.not.stop.kicking.the.seats.not.even.for.toys.snacks.promises.of.a.pony.
I almost moved seats too.
just kidding.
sort of.

Are you laughing?
I hope so.
Because I am.
Maybe not then,
but now? Sure. It's funny.
And one for the baby books.
Because I write in the baby books every day.
Lie.
That was a lie.
Sorry. I don't really write in the baby books every day. Or ever anymore.
I just wanted to see if I said it if it made it true. or made me super mom.
It didn't.

Oh... and please erase the inner tube picture from your mind.
I'm working on it.
In fact, I made a goal,
It is my final weight loss goal
before my goal of
don't-ever-justify-that-much-pizza-again-i-know-you-had-twins-but-you-still-can't-eat-pizza-like-that-mode
otherwise known as "maintenance mode"
which I am determined to get to and live in forever and ever amen.
It helps that there is not a good pizza place around here.
and I'm allllmost halfway to meeting my goal and it tastes so good.

Speaking of taste. and Diet Pepsi.
I have basically cut Diet Pepsi from my life.
Like I have one a week instead of one (or two) a day.
I actually feel better and less hungry and it's been a lot easier than I thought it was going to be.
and now I pretty much never crave it
and actually choose water or seltzer with a splash of apple cider vinegar and some ginger.

So just think,
one month ago I was a diet pepsi addict with falling down pants and airport walking problems
and now I'm a water drinking, fitted pant, a little lighter, Florida resident.
I know you're proud.

Thursday, January 24

Three Cheers for Molly

We went to story hour today
at our quaint little library
on our tree-lined main street that I just adore.

Molly, as you may or may not know,
has been... apprehensive (to put it lightly)
of being anywhere but attached to my leg
while we are out.

Today, however,
about halfway into story hour,
Molly jumped up and ran to the center of the room where some other toddlers were.
She gave me a big smile
and I almost cried
because I was so proud of her
and also, (let's be real here),
a break from the hip attachment is nice.

Something I love about my Ava...
Ava acts as a little mommy to Molly and it's quite adorable.
The other day, during nap time,
I watched on the monitor while Molly was doing little bursts of screams.
(not crying screaming, just silly screaming).
Ava popped up too and right away held her finger up to her lips.
"Shh Mo-ee. Shh. No no no. Shh. Shh. No."
My heart.

Well today, Molly ran up to be closer to the action
and Ava watched her for a minute.
She then busted out of my arms and ran up too,
and started patting Molly really fast with her hands,
doing a happy dance with her feet,
and grinning from ear to ear.
She didn't care about the story or seem to notice anyone else,
and truly was just excited for Molly.
It seemed as if, in her own toddler-mommy way,
Ava was cheering Molly on.

In fact, I'd like to believe she was saying,
"Molly! Great job! Keep it up! You should try this in nursery on Sunday!"

And maybe she was saying that and maybe she wasn't ;),
but as you can see in this picture,
she certainly loves her sister
and I couldn't help but just feel warm all over
thinking that they will always have each other rooting for them.


Tuesday, January 22

A Strawberry Danish Broken in Two

it is one of those moments
as you are finishing a stroll through the mall.
it feels lonely, yet not quiet,
because the babies are crying
and judgmental eyes lay on you from every corner.
"you don't know my story"
you want to tell them.
"we just moved here and don't have our stuff.
the girls are getting over a cold
and daddy is 2,150 miles away on a business trip.
and beyond that, we are stir crazy wherever we are
because the apartment feels small
but the stroller isn't much better.

and the mommy you strive to be
is lost in emotions of overwhelmingness and sadness and stress.
you forget that bad days are allowed and just feel guilty
because God has blessed you with so much and how dare you feel sad.

and suddenly, you find yourself standing at the dead end of the mall
in a panera bread
blankly staring at the menu
while the girls cry to "eat" and "out" and "more".

and you love being a mom, their mom.
and normally, you would whip out your bag of mommy tricks
to help subdue those cries of "eat" and "out" and "more".
but today, the diaper bag seems to only be filled with snotty tissues and empty pouches
and you have nothing to help them.
quite frankly, you just want to cry alongside of them
because today is feeling like a really hard day.
you miss your life, your stuff, your friends.

and as you stand there in panera bread,
you start feeding yourself more mommy guilt
because how can you not keep it together at the mall
and why did you not bring better toys and more snacks
and how do you not know how to help your children stop crying?

and then suddenly, you snap out of the overwhelmed daze you find yourself in
as a sweet bakery worker comes up to your stroller with sympathetic eyes and says
"they can eat sweets?"
and you realize she had taken a strawberry danish from the bakery,
broken it in half, wrapped the two halves in paper,
and has knelt down by your stroller.

you humbly shake your head yes and feel the tears brimming
as the woman hands your crying toddlers a piece of bread to calm their tears.
it works and works also for your soul
as it allows you to take a breath and refocus.

and finally, you order a half grilled cheese/half tuna fish
and an iced tea.
and you only say thank you
but you say it in a way to mean
not just thank you for the sandwich
but for not judging and for sharing kindness and bread instead.

"I can remember those days" she says
and you know she means the hard ones
because she remembers those days came too
and while it was all good, it was also sometimes not.

and that's all she says.
she doesn't try to tell you to enjoy it while you can
because she knows you already know that.
she knows that right now all you really need is to not be judged,
but to be loved and extended grace instead.

and just like that, a strawberry danish and a kind stranger turns your whole day around
and you leave Panera Bread not only with a full belly,
but a full heart too.

Monday, January 21

Props to Apple Once Again!

were you thinking that I just stunk as a blogger again?
not so.
my beloved computer was hating on me big time
and made it impossible for me to get on here.

my computer has been broken for the past few months.
after twenty minutes or so, it would freeze. 
but I lived with it and just kept rebooting it. 

but since we came to Florida, 
my computer became brooooooken.
like, I couldn't use it for more than 2 minutes without it freezing. 
which isn't good for shopping or blogging or researching.

anyway, you may remember the post that I wrote many moons ago about Apple.
not the fruit. the computer.
though I actually like apples a lot now
thanks to my new found discovery of the goodness of all things "real food".
but that's for another post.

my beloved Apple people helped me again.
i truly will love them forever.
like take them on vacation and put their picture on the mantel love them forever.

Dan took my four year old MacBook Pro to the Apple store on Saturday
where they diagnosed it for free (bad hard drive).
my husband put in a new hard drive on Sunday.
but it still didn't work.
so we took it back to the Apple store today
where they diagnosed the new problem. for free. again. and fixed it there.
while comping the labor and only charging us for one $15 part.

grand total for the whole kit and caboodle: $90.
and we thought I was going to need a new computer.
relief beyond relief.

and as a bonus, this blog can get the show on the road (again).
because blogging on your phone stinks big time (for real).
and it just wasn't working as well (hence why no new posts).
but now my computer, and thus my blog, is back up and running.

now it's time for a snack.
which happens to be apples.
with cheese. and honey.
and it's awesome. and you should try it.
and next time you need a computer,
you should buy a Mac.

Thursday, January 10

We've Moved!

We have moved into our new temporary living place. Yay!
Let's just say that it's better in every way.
I could go on and on about how horrible it was,
but let's put the past in the past
and talk about

Wednesday, January 9

Hello!

This blog has taken a backseat for awhile.
We were busy with stuff like.... moving to Florida.
Just stuff like that.
No big deal.
(hahahahahahaha).
Have you ever flown on an airplane to Florida with toddlers before?
It's not something I'd suggest doing for fun.
But more on that later.

And here we are!
In Florida!

It hasn't sunk in yet.
Between the 82 degree weather
and trips to Disney,
this still feels like a vacation.
We feel very blessed to be here.
We miss our dear sweet family and friends already
so much.
so much.
so much.
But we are embracing this change
and trying to jump right into this adventure that God gave us.

I'm been thinking about this blog a lot lately.
I've been posting a ton on Facebook
but have decided to shift a lot of it to the blog
and post more here.
I feel like I'm facebook-newsfeed-overloading
and facebook is too tempting for me to go on and post all day.
Plus, I miss the journaling aspect of blogging.

So if you are here,
and want to read about our adventures big and small,
you can subscribe on the right
by clicking the blue "join this site" button
and then you can choose to be emailed when I post
or just put it on your google reader
or whatever you want to do.

We are in temporary living right now
and are moving to a different temporary living place tomorrow
because of, ahem, some dirt.
And by some I mean
"75 lysol wipes later and I gave up before the second bathroom and just shut the door" dirt.

But that's okay.
Dirt doesn't hurt- it just ruins the bottoms of your socks.
(my mantra while living here for a week- I know- it's catchy- soon every fortune cookie writer will want that one).

And the girls and I have taken full advantage of where we are
and went to Epcot today
where they even held hands for awhile
and took mommy on the Finding Nemo ride
that had a moving escalator type thing
which should have a sign on it that says "do not walk on this carrying twins".
Come on Disney-- get on that.
I'm sure it would be relevant to many.
I can't be the only mother who carried her twins on an omnimover
(the fancy name for the escalator-ish walkway)
to get on a ride she had never even been on before but decided to try it by herself with twins.
Right?

Well, either way, here are some pictures from our day.

Really Mom? You want to try and walk us in these single strollers, again?"


Holding hands. 


All wiped out from our fun morning (minnie too).