Monday, November 28, 2011

'Tis the Season

Well, the holidays are officially in full swing and I can hardly believe it! We had a great Thanksgiving and I had hoped to take more pictures yesterday but that proved to be hard to do when I realized that I left my camera at home. Oh well.

On Thursday our day started with a visit from Uncle David and Auntie Jenny. We Skyped with my parents and it was nice to have a little chat. After D & J left we went and had a low key meal with Brett's parents, two siblings and two nieces. I made a turkey breast in the crockpot that turned out really yummy. Only four of us ate turkey (the rest are vegetarians) so I didn't want to hassle with a whole huge turkey. The breast was a great alternative and turned out yummy (thank you

On Friday I woke up not feeling well and I don't think it was from eating too much. I really didn't eat more then normal on Thursday. I had woken up a couple times in the night feeling nauseous and in the morning I felt worse. Brett had to go into his work for a half day so he took Emersyn over to his mom's house so I could try to get some extra rest which was nice. After some more sleep, I felt a lot better and got ready. I went to get a couple things at the store and then headed back over to my in-law's for a birthday party for my niece. Friday night Brett and I went on a date. And by date I mean we went shopping for a new washing machine and to the Olive Garden. We are so old and suburban. :) We found a killer deal on a washing machine, praise the Lord. It gets mixed reviews though and that's kind of concerning. Ugh. Still need to research and make a FINAL decision. We bought it but can change our mind if needed. One thing is for SURE, I am sick of not having a washing machine. I have gone to my in-law's twice to do laundry and that's not the most convenient thing. Hauling two kids plus baskets of laundry is not fun. The washing machine that we bought is 3-4 weeks back ordered too. Lovely. Oh well, we'll survive. Luckily my kids have a lot of clothes. Unfortunately this is not the case for their parents. ;)

On Saturday Brett went and watched the Civil War which took up a big part of the day. When he got home he did get some Christmas decorations up outside and I was able to get some indoor cleaning done. We hoped to get our tree up but ran out of time.

Yesterday we went to church in the morning and then down to Albany for Thanksgiving with Brett's Dad's side of the family. It was nice to see people we hadn't seen in a long time and Emersyn got to play with some of Brett's older cousins which was cute. We stayed longer then I wanted to and then Ems fell asleep on the way home and slept from 7:30-8:30 which made me a little nervous for her bedtime. She stayed up until 10 once we got home and then woke up at 8 this morning. She'll probably take a good nap today but I'll most likely be at my in-law's doing laundry so I won't get to reap the full benefits of her nap while she sleeps there.

I've got a fun but busy week ahead. Tomorrow night we're taking a meal to a new mama and hanging out with them in the evening which will be fun. It's always fun watching first time parents and encouraging them. Sometimes you just need to hear that you're doing a great job, ya know? Wednesday night Emersyn's preschool program at church is having a movie night and Brett and I are going to help out. Thursday night we are going to the dress rehearsal for our church's big Christmas concert. I want Ems to be able to see the concert but I don't think she'd sit through the real thing so the rehearsal is a great alternative. Friday night I'm hoping to get to a friend's Christmas party but I'm not sure what Brett's work schedule is going to look like that evening. His schedule can vary depending on what time of year it is and I don't think he's going to get off early enough for me to attend but I'm hoping!

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving!!!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

So thankful

Thanksgiving Day 2011

We are having such a great Thanksgiving weekend so far! On Monday or Tuesday I'll have pictures to post. I didn't take near as many as I should have on Thanksgiving but we still have a celebration to go to tomorrow where several of Brett's extended family will be meeting Everett for the first time so hopefully we get more pictures then! :)

There are a few things I'm especially thankful for. First, my in-laws have been so great about keeping Emersyn for us on dates or when I have things I need to do that are just easier with one kid. Also, I've been doing laundry at their house for the last couple weeks (just a few times) and that is a blessing versus sitting at a laundromat. We got a really great washing machine yesterday on Black Friday but the bad news is, it's 3-4 weeks back ordered. UGH!

I'm thankful for my strong willed, creative, always singing, beautiful, and hilarious 3 year old. She makes me laugh every single day and I am so so thankful to be her mama.

I'm thankful for my smiley bright eyed baby boy that slept for TEN hours last night. We all went to bed at 11pm and woke up at 9am this morning. It felt amazing to get that much sleep and a big reason for that was because Emersyn spent the night with Nana and Papa (and apparently slept in until 10am, holy cow). We've had a tiring last few days, that's for sure.

I'm thankful for my hard working husband that provides for our family and loves me and our kids. We drove by a Starbucks last night that we once spent ALL night talking at waaaay back when we were just friends. Happy memories.

I'm thankful for my friends that encourage, love and support me unconditionally.

I'm thankful for my parents in MN who are forking out big bucks to come spend the holidays with us. It's so expensive to fly this time of year but their family is a priority so they make it happen. They get here in 2.5 weeks and we're so excited to see them! The kids have changed so much since we saw them last in August for Everett's arrival.

I'm thankful for Emersyn's preschool who is instilling great values in her and helping her grow into a sweet little girl.

I'm thankful for a church that allows me to be stretched and grow through ministry opportunities and for providing a place for me to raise my kids to love the Lord and his people.

These are just a few of the things I'm thankful for today.....

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Three Months

Everett David, you are three months old today!

I am falling more and more in love with you each day. You are absolutely the sweetest baby boy in the world and I'm so happy to call you mine. You are definitely a mama's boy and I LOVE IT!!

You have started teething, or at least I am pretty sure you have. You've started chomping on your hands and drooling a lot. Your sister cut her first tooth sometime around 4 months so I guess you are going to be on a similar schedule at least initially.

You've started giggling a little bit and it's so darn cute. You are ticklish and love being talked to. You are hardly ever fussy and when you are, it's easy to console you with eating or putting you down to sleep. You don't sleep in your crib yet, mama likes having you near and being able to listen to you breathe at night. You sleep in the pack and play in our room and I'm not sure when you will make the transition to your room. I think I might miss you too much!!

You like to nap in your swing downstairs all snuggled up with your blanket. Your favorite way to fall asleep is with the blanket all up in your face and sometimes you pull it over your head which I am not a fan of because it's not safe. You love to be cozy and buried.

You sleep great in your car seat. When we take Ems to preschool you will often stay asleep the entire time we are out which makes it so nice and easy for mama to run errands, read at Starbucks, etc. You will often go more hours between feedings if you're snoozing in your seat.

I love getting you dressed, especially for church. You have several little man outfits and you are just SO handsome, I can't get over it.

You LOVE TV! Not that I let you watch a ton of it but sometimes if I put a cooking show on, you just stare at it like you can't get enough. You like shows with music too, like "The Sing Off".

When other mommies ask me how long you sleep, I usually try to change the subject because I just don't have the heart to tell them how amazing of a sleeper you are. You go to sleep around 11pm and wake up around 8am. If Mommy is tired, it is my own fault for not getting to bed on time! A lot of our friends that hang out with you ask me, "is he always this chill?" and the answer is YES!

Everett, Mommy loves you so much. I am so happy to be your mama and get to watch you grow into a little boy. It's going too fast already but I'm determined to savor every minute with you and your sister.

I cannot wait to celebrate your first Thanksgiving tomorrow. I didn't have any idea you would be joining us this time last year. ;) I am so so thankful for YOU little man.


Friday, November 18, 2011

Fun but not relaxing :)

A few weeks ago I went on a little getaway with a friend and our FOUR kids. :) Several months ago my friend Sarah asked if I wanted to go with her to central Oregon to redeem a LivingSocial deal that she had purchased and been unable to use. She said we could take our boys, relax in the deluxe suite by the fire, maybe get some pedicures, etc. It sounded blissful and of course I said YES YES YES, I would LOVE to go!!!!

A couple weeks before we were to leave, she called me and suggested that we bring our girls with us.

Really? Hmmm. Well........I suppose.....

It's not that I don't adore my daughter, because I do. And it's not like I didn't want her to go with us, I just thought it would be SO different then if we just took the babies. Like, a lot more work different. Sarah really really wanted to take them though so I agreed (and secretly prayed she would change her mind, ha!!). I knew that we would have a good time, it just wouldn't be as relaxing as I might have liked.

I got to thinking though and our trip is a lot like parenting in general. It's a whole heck of a lot of fun but far far far from *relaxing*. Parenting takes effort. God didn't bless me with these kiddos to just hang out with and then send on their way once they turn 18. He gave me them to invest my time, love, energy and finances (right?!) in while they are still *mine*.

We had a great trip and priceless memories were created. I am so blessed to have a friend with kiddos so close in age to mine and everywhere we went, people would ask "did you plan to have kids so close in age". Sarah and I used to walk through the mall and people would ask us the same thing with our girls. Fun memories and still more yet to be made.

Everett and Benjamin. They are seriously the sweetest boys EVER.

The girls LOVED this statue of a chipmunk in our room. Emersyn named her Mary and we talked about Mary during the whole trip. It was funny.

Keeping her baby warm. It was VERY chilly!!

My beautiful babies on the shore of Suttle Lake.

Lifelong friends!!

Ellie and Ems at their first playdate, Ems was 11 weeks and Ellie was 7 weeks. I looked at this picture info and ironically, it was three years ago TODAY!

I feel like I have been so blessed with easy babies. (Knock on wood, I know Everett is still young). People see how old Everett is and comment on how tired I must be but if I'm tired, it's my own fault. My kid sleeps 8-9 hours a night, I cannot complain. The preschool age though is by far the most challenging age that I have experienced. But again, parenting is fun but not relaxing. I have been married for 8 years now and it has FLOWN by. I've been a mama for 3 years and again, it has gone by faster then I ever imagined it could. I am so burdened to pray that my parenting years won't fly by and yield no fruit. I am notorious for living vicariously through anticipating the future. I'll think to myself, "I really need to start working on reading more bible stories to Ems" or "I need to be better at taking pictures of Everett" and just thinking those thoughts almost makes me feel better to the point of then forgetting to follow through with what I planned. I don't know if that makes sense but I've been that way my entire life. I always have an excuse. It used to be "when I have a house of my own, I'll be more organized" or "when I lose weight I'll be more involved or confident". And in the meantime, time ticks on whether I like it or not and whether I achieve anything or not. But now, it's not just me that's affected, it's these two precious children that have been entrusted into my care. In my worst nightmares, I look at my teenagers and think, why didn't I take the time to invest in your future when I had the chance?

My daughter is a special little girl I a believe that God is going to use her to be a leader. However, there are times when I am dealing with a situation and I see the ugly things in myself shining through in her. Recently, she has become rather easily angered and it's like she'll go from zero to raging mad in no time. She gets frustrated with things easily and often times she's tired and that leads to aggression which pretty much brands her with a scarlet letter on her forehead as a child that hits or pushes. I am not saying that those behaviors are acceptable, because they aren't but more often then not, I project my own insecurities in parenting onto her and my pride is the one that issues a punishment, not my heart. I worry more about what other moms think of me versus what I know is right in my heart.

An equation that I have a tough time accepting sometimes is that good parenting doesn't equal perfect children. And also, making a poor choice doesn't equal a naughty child, it's a naughty action. Yesterday I had a rough day with Emersyn and she did something that made me really mad because she knew better and it upset me. I do my best not to parent in anger though, that is something I am very aware of in my life. I took some deep breaths and proceeded to head home. When we got into the house I had a discussion and told Emersyn, "you ARE a sweet girl and mommy will always love you. you just made a bad choice and because of that, you have a consequence. I know you can make a better choice next time" and that was that. No grudges. No further guilt. Emersyn IS a good girl and she deserves a mom that will have her back at all times, not just when she is being sweet and loving. That is always the hope of course, but even at her ornery times she is just as *good* as when she is on her best behavior.

Emersyn is my reminder of how much I need Jesus these days. And I am grateful to her for that and promise to do my best for her. Sometimes I have to remind myself, "YOU'RE the one who wanted to be a full time stay at home mom!!". I'm telling you, the working world is a piece of cake compared to parenting. For reals.

I'm rambling I know, but hey, it's my blog. I can do that. :)

I'll leave you all with a picture of my amazingly sweet and cute baby boy. I could literally black out from joy every time I look at this. My heart is overwhelmed with gratitude to God for giving me this precious precious boy.

Monday, November 14, 2011

It could happen....

For the past several months I have been witnessing one of my dear friends go through a terrible terrible tragedy in her life. Her husband has decided that he doesn't want to be her husband anymore. They have two kids; her daughter is a month younger then Emersyn and her son is five days older then Everett. Due to a variety of circumstances that I am not at liberty to go into, initially I was hopeful that this could eventually work out and that the marriage could be restored. I'm still praying for a miracle but at this point, it's looking very unlikely as he has decided to proceed with the divorce.

I have cried many tears for my friend and felt my heart literally aching inside my chest for her and her children. Life is so unfair sometimes and my friend is an incredible woman. I've been called to a new level of friendship through this experience and have prayed and interceded on her behalf more then I ever have for anyone else. There's nothing I can do for her except pray and love on her through texts, messages, and playdates. She lives about an hour from me so it's not always easy to get together. I feel so at a loss sometimes. How do you help a friend with this sort of need? Sure, I could show up at her door with a casserole but what she truly needs, a restored marriage, I cannot give her. And it breaks my heart.

Through this experience, my faith has grown. This whole nightmare started before our sons were born and I've been there each step of the way with her. I've watched her go through the various stages of grief and yet, her faith has never wavered. I think when someone goes through something so awful, you take comfort in thinking "that could never happen to me". I am certain that before this experience, my friend would have said the same thing. Her and her husband were a solid couple, involved in their church, lots of friends in the community, etc. I used to think that couples that ended in divorce had to just have ignored red flags in their marriages and that it for sure could have been prevented. Now, I'm not so sure...

What I've learned in all of this is that despite my *best efforts*, this could in fact happen to me. My husband is a wonderful man and I am thankful everyday to be his wife. But the simple truth is that he is human. Does this mean that I should just abandon the maintenance of my marriage? Absolutely fact, since this whole situation has happened I have tried actively to be a better wife, less nagging, more praising, etc. But if my entire existence is based on being Brett's wife, I am setting myself up for disappointment. Brett cannot meet all my needs or be my everything. I must rely on my relationship with my heavenly Father to do that for me.

I don't worry about this happening to me, let's be clear on that. And if Brett were to read this, he might initially be offended because of how much he loves me and I don't doubt that for a second. But I really feel the Lord urging me towards a deeper relationship with Him through this trial with my friend and while focusing on being an excellent wife and mother IS important, those things are a natural fruit of abiding in HIM daily.

I love my children, my husband and my life. It's easy for me to dive headfirst into life and not think about any my own personal walk with the Lord. However, I don't want to end up as a middle aged mom who's kids are grown and I seemingly have nothing left to live for. My own personal faith is the most important thing and out of that, my ability to be excellent in all that I do is attained.

If you think about it, please say a prayer for my dear friend and for me too....I long to be the best support that I can be to her.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Catching up!

Blogging become daunting when you are soooo far behind! But, instead of trying to get totally caught up and letting that intimidate me, I'd rather just let you know what we've been up to lately and go from there.

I am so in love with my two children. Again, it's not getting any easier but it's getting better and more and more fun. Everett has started interacting more, smiling, and has totally stolen my heart. Emersyn is doing well in preschool and I'm pretty sure she thinks her life is a musical. She is constantly singing songs, both real and made up.

Highlights of the last few weeks:

*I've tried some new recipes! I made THESE enchiladas for Brett's birthday, THIS cheesecake for his dessert, THIS soup last night {Pioneer Woman's Chicken Tortilla Soup}, and also THESE chocolate chip pumpkin cookies (which turned out more like muffin tops and if you make them, be sure to test them before you remove them from the oven. My first batch had to be tossed because they were undercooked).

*Everett had his two month old appointment! He weighs 12lbs 12oz (63rd percentile) and is 25 inches long (94th percentile). Emersyn was 12lbs even and 24 1/4 inches at two months. He is a healthy boy with the exception of some dry skin issues. My poor baby had a really bad rash on his face last Monday due to dry skin. He didn't get lotioned up on his face after a bath on Sunday and for kids with dry skin, this is a big no no. It was my fault, Brett had given him a bath and I forgot to remind him. Anyways, on Monday I texted a picture to our amazing pediatrician that goes to our church. She told me to use 1% hydrocortisone and vaseline and after three days of twice daily treatment, his face is as good as new praise the LORD! Now I'm being extremely diligent with his moisturizing routine and it's working.

*I'm loving my book that I am reading right now, "What Women Fear" by Angie Smith. I've got some great blog posts floating around in my head about what I'm reading and maybe someday I'll actually be able to type them out. :)

*I am really looking forward to the holidays. We have some really fun activities planned and then on December 14th my parents get into town! I can't believe how quickly Thanksgiving will be here. Oh I have so much to be thankful for.

*My women's retreat planning is going great and I am so happy about the wonderful committee that I am working with. It's going to be a great event.

*I've started watching a 5 month old on Wednesdays all day while his mommy and daddy work. It's SO much fun! Yes, it's a lot of work but it's a rewarding kind of work. It will only get more and more fun as Tanner and Everett get older and eventually can play together. This extra money helps our budget too. Right now preschool is affordable but I've got to start saving for next year when it jumps up quite a bit for us I want to have a cushion saved up. The first day that I watched Tanner I felt like super mom. I was able to get all three kids to sleep for about 90 minutes and I got a chance to write up notes for a meeting I was having that night, bake cookies, clean up and take a shower. I seriously felt like a rock star. The second time I watched him I wasn't as productive but that's not a big deal. I shouldn't expect to be productive at all when I've got two babies in the house and a toddler. Ems is so helpful too, loves playing with Tanner and giving him and Everett their binkies.

It's so hard to keep up with pictures on my blog sometimes but I am good about posting them on Facebook. If we're not Facebook friends, we should be so send me your profile and I'll friend you. :) (Since I post so many pics and info on FB, I've made is pretty private so I don't think you'll find me if you look).

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween/Harvest Traditions

When Emersyn's first Halloween came around, I thought of no better place to show her off then her great grandparents nursing homes in Albany. Albany is about an hour and a half away from our house so we don't get down there as much as we should but for the last four years, we have made sure to get down there each Halloween.

My precious little Mickey and Minnie

Great Grandma Stanton who just celebrated her 95th birthday!

Great Grandma Jensen

I can't get over how old Emersyn looks in this picture!!

We had lunch at Grandma Stanton's retirement home and she was so happy to parade the kids around to each table at the cafeteria. I loved seeing the elderly people's faces light up when they saw my little ones. One precious lady remembered when we first brought Emersyn down in her ladybug costume. We had lunch and visited for a bit before heading over to Grandma Jensen's. Unfortunately, Grandma Jensen is suffering from some memory loss so I'm not even sure she will remember that we came but it was special nonetheless.

We left Albany and headed home. Emersyn fell asleep in the car which was great timing because we wanted to carve pumpkins when we got home. This was our first time carving pumpkins since having kids, can you believe it? We just always run out of time every ear for some reason. This year we were determined to do it and we made it, just barely by one night!

Everett got bored. :)

Awfully proud of herself!

The finished product!

On Halloween night we decided to take Emersyn trick or treating for the first time. I was undecided about trick or treating for awhile but then last year we got home from Albany when there were so many kids out and it just looked like a really fun community activity. Before Ems went out, we got to hand out candy to some of our neighbors and it was a lot of fun.

Ems went trick or treating with her little bestie. Her mom made her Jessie costume, isn't it darling?? Emersyn's costume was homemade too, though not by me, ha! Brett's mom made the skirt and then she just wore a black turtleneck and black leggings. I got the Minnie ears on sale at the Disney store for $5, score!!

Ready to trick or treat!

Everett's costume was a little bit of a splurge. I have always "made" Emersyn's costume with the exception of her very first one so I decided to cough up the $17 for Everett's costume and I am so glad I did. How adorable is he??!

Oh my word I am so in love with this boy!!!

We had such a great Halloween/Harvest time! Emersyn got to wear her costume to school today too.

And now I'll leave you with a collage of my sweet girls past costumes.... :)

(click to make bigger)