cartoons + long johns.

I had been hearing rumors that we were supposed to get snow overnight/this morning but I refused to engage and get my hopes up.  I’m part of the minority who loves winter and doesn’t count down to spring.  Not that I dread springtime I just love winter;  the soup, the snuggles, the early nights perfect for movies.  I was giddy when I saw the dusting of snow this morning and hoped their would be enough to play in by lunchtime.  Both kiddos have been fighting the funk for a week or two so cabin has set in hot and heavy.  The past couple days it feels like we’ve had cartoons on repeat, just taking intermissions for snacks or to use the “big boy potty”.  Noah and Haddie got snow suits for Christmas and this seemed like the perfect day to break them in.  I started rummaging through the mountain of laundry I did yesterday (but didn’t take time to fold and put away, story of my life) looking for the necessary supplies.  Ten minutes later I emerged with socks, sweat suits, hats and gloves.  I piled it all up in our bedroom and started rounding up the troops.  Haddie was less than impressed with the process.  Ever tried to put gloves on an octopus?  It’s fun.  She finally submitted herself to the process.

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Mostly.

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With both kiddos dressed we headed outside with a quick debated at the door about whether Dexter should join us or not.  We shouldn’t have bothered because his reluctance from earlier melted away and he bolted out the back door.

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Hadley was happier when she realized what all the fuss was about and decided the trauma of getting dressed may have been worth it after all.  Noah ran around saying how much he loved the snow, collecting it in a metal bowl.

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After 20 glorious minutes I started to worry about their coughs’ and, much to Noah’s dismay, we headed back inside.

When Noah gave up naptime (when his bink hit the road) I didn’t want books to get the boot, too.  After I got Haddie down Noah and I headed to the couch with five favorites.  At book four I noticed he was starting to sit extra still.  Halfway through book five he was breathing heavily.  I scooped him up and laid him down for the first time in weeks.  Could it be?!  Both kids asleep at the same time?!  False alarm.  Within 15 minutes they were both awake and crying, but it was fun while it lasted.  Back to cartoons we go.

a turtle marching through peanut butter.

Sometimes that’s what motherhood feels like. You spend hours upon hours washing the same pairs of big boy (or girl) underwear. Cleaning up the same set of stacking rings, Nerf bullets and flap books. Grilled cheese is cut into the same triangles and apple sauce is poured into one of four bowls. Wash, rinse, repeat. Honestly, sometimes you wonder if you’re getting anywhere. “Give that toy back to your sister.” “No, no, Haddie. We don’t play with the puppy’s toys.” “Ya’ll watch Veggies Tales for a minute while mommy checks the dryer.”

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But then, just as you’re about to board the crazy train, it happens. They reel you back in. “Mommy, you’re my fweind.” Or Haddie dancing when she sees me. It’s like they can sense it. When you’re about to start drinking wine at noon or throw back your fifth coke before lunch. The other day we were at my parents’ and Noah was playing with Brax (his cousin) and Baw (my dad) in the play room. Dad said the boys were playing and started to argue. Nothing major, but anyway, they started to argue.

Dad: Boys, let’s be nice.

Noah: Be ye kind to one nudur. Phesians 4:42

We’ve been working on a book of ABC verses. Obviously we haven’t gotten far because we’re still on B. The point is we’re getting somewhere. We’re making progress beyond where we were yesterday and, friends, so are you.

farewell to a bink: an epic tale.

We’ve finally come to the conclusion that it’s time to say farewell to Noah’s bink (aka pacifier).  I never dreamed that he would turn three before we escorted it to the trash but that’s what happened.  Last winter, before Haddie was born we realized that we would be transitioning him to a toddler bed, adding a sibling, moving, and getting rid of his beloved bink over the next few months.  We decided that was too much to ask of a little boy (who just turned two) so we prioritized and decided to space out the change.  Toddler bed first, then Haddie, then the big move, and finally bye-bye binkie.  Noah had started using the bink less, with a little encouragement, and we were down to bedtime, naptime, and church.

Yesterday I grabbed construction paper and tried to act excited as I explained the new plan to Noey and started drawing a “big boy chart.”  But plain and simple he wasn’t having it!  A nervous breakdown ensued so I decided to wait for backup.  When Joe got home we headed for Wal-Mart and I tried again.

Me: “Noey, when you have a happy sleep without your bink you get a sticker!  When you get 10 stickers you get to go to the Play-doh store (Wal-Mart) and get a new toy!”

Can’t you feel the excitement?

Noah:  “I’m feewing tiuwd.  I fink I need to take a happy sweep in the car for I won’t be tiuwd.”

At least he’s willing to try sleeping, but I’m not sure it counts if both eyes aren’t closed and you only “sleep” for 30 seconds—but moving on.  We grabbed what he needed from Wal-Mart and was able to keep concerned bink conversation to a minimum.  As we finished checking out Noah looked at the cashier.

Noah:  “I needs a stickew, pweeth.”

The cashier smiled and complied.

Noah: “I need ten stickews…”

Nice try, kiddo.

This morning Noah came staggering into our room when he woke up.

Noah:  “Whewes daddy?”

Me: “At work, buddy.  He’ll be home soon.”

Noah: “I puts my bink waaaay up high, in my cwoset for daddy won’t get it! And I wocked the doow!”

This might be harder than we thought.  Today I upped the anty and bought candy as a daily reward but I’m afraid I’m over estimating the power of gummy worms.

 

P.s. THE GUMMY WORMS WORKED! 🙂 8

 

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deck the halls.

For the past couple years we’ve gone to mom and dad’s to help decorate for Christmas.  Coupled with an ugly sweater contest it’s been the new way we kick off the Christmas season.  We all converge on mom and dads for dinner and decorating.  Over the past year the number of grandkids has more than doubled from 2 to 5 and with it, the noise level.  Kiddos running, crying and laughing.  Dad’s music blaring and dinner cooking—it’s glorious.  I love every chaotic minute we’re together.  Christmas has a way of combining the old with the new.  To be brutally honest, I don’t transition gracefully—at all.  But old decorations bind change to new traditions.  Mom and dad’s tree is full of ornaments we collected from years of vacations.  A saddle from our trip to Texas, a boat from Annapolis, a moose from Maine.  Then there are the less polished but equally loved homemade ornaments like macaroni necklaces or my brother’s handwritten note about him loving “Gob.”  Then there’s the snowman collection that goes on the cabinet given to my parents my my aunt and uncle, the santa clause moon that hangs on the bathroom door and my personal favorite, my great-grandmother’s nativity scene.  Back in the day it use to sit on Mamaw’s TV console.  I’m not sure what the original set included but as the years went by Mamaw added to the collection of animals who came to worship Jesus at His birth.  Among the ranks are suckling pigs, a duck with her ducklings, a turkey, and my personal favorite, a flying reindeer who has to be propped up in the garland.  The reindeer is at least twice as big as the horse and the cow and pigs are comparable but all creatures (great and small) were welcome in her collection.

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Fast forward a couple weeks and we were at my in-laws decorating.  I loved watching as boxes were being unpacked and hearing the stories of special ornaments or memories—including a cookie-filled santa ornament that was the favorite growing up.  With the tree decorated, my mother-in-law and I started to set up a Christmas village.  I was unpacking boxes filled with beautiful shops, churches, and carolers when  I came to the nativity scene.  Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, and some farm animals were first out of the box.  Apparently someone in their family expanded the scene too because soon a seal, a pair of polar bears, and an ark arrived on the scene.  With each addition Destiny and I got more and more tickled..  A couple pieces I had taken out were broken so we asked Josiah to super glue them while we moved on to something else.  I had forgotten about the repairs but before we left I could hear Destiny laughing from the other room.  I don’t know if he was an antler short or if he couldn’t get it to balance but one poor fool got the short end of the stick.  Ah, Joe strikes again.

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are you my neighbor?

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Well, I’ve turned into that creepy neighbor.  The one who watches out the window to see the comings and goings of the neighborhood.  I never considered myself a snoop but that’s what I’ve become.  When we bought our house there was a vacant lot next door, creating a buffer of sorts between us and the next road.  During the two years we rented this house the lot was sold and a house was being built.  When we moved back they were finishing it up (roof, siding, outside lights) and now it’s almost done.  Throughout the summer we’ve watched a string of contractors come and go as they finished their part of the project.  I’m not going to lie I’ve loved people watching and Noah has loved the variety of equipment and trucks he’s gotten to watch first hand.  But now they’ve started showing the half-finished house and it’s quickly becoming my favorite part.  The best vantage point in the house is our master bedroom, which is handy because that’s typically where Haddie and I spend a couple hours a day, during Noah’s nap (tips on coordinating nap schedules are greatly appreciated).  A couple afternoons a week cars circle around the cul de sac (do you still call it that if it’s at the beginning of the street?  Joe calls it a bulge which, to his credit, seems more accurate) and couples emerge.  By now I realize how creepy I sound, but when you’ve been flying solo all day with kids and  you live on a quiet street you get entertainment where you can.  Anyway, a couple emerges and I wait anxiously to see what our new neighbors might look like.  So far we’ve had a wide variety of lookers, young and old, kids and no kids, sometimes with an entire entourage of people.  No sold sign in the yard yet, so I guess we’re still waiting (yes, we, as if I have some investment in the property).  Until then I’ll be here, creepily peeking out the window at the next potential buyers like the old nosey lady I’m becoming.  Oh!  The appliance truck just pulled up, gotta run.

sentimental snotcicles.

Ever had an idea you saw going differently in your mind?  Yeah, me too.  We hadn’t updated our family pictures since Hadley’s newborn session.  I’m a strong believer in frequent family sessions, especially if you have small kiddos.  Maybe it’s the photographer in me but snapshots just don’t cut it all the time.  I was anxious to get a shot of all four of us before the year was out.  A month or so ago  I was obsessed with finding everybody outfits when work schedules and sick babies forced us to reschedule, twice.  When I chose our outfits it was a balmy 80 degrees so I didn’t give a second thought to us being too cool.  Ah, weather in Kentucky.  By the time we got around to finding a day, the temperature had dropped 55 degrees.  I wish I was kidding.

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Friend and fellow photog, Ashley, messaged me the morning of our session to warn me that another client’s lips had turned blue during her morning session.  Unfortunately for my crew, I was undeterred   I’m not usually a picture crazed momma but my eyes were focused on the prize.  So off we went.  Hats, coats, and a blanket loaded in to the trunk.  As I mentioned before, four and a half years ago Josiah and I said our “I dos” in a barn.  That evening we danced to Louis Armstrong under twinkle lights and enjoyed homemade ice cream and desserts on antique saucers.  It was my dream wedding.

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That Christmas Momma gave us a handmade quilt from all the cloth napkins from our wedding (pieced and cut to eliminate the stains).  Being the sentimental fool that I am, I grabbed the napkin blanket as we headed out the door.  I imagined us all snuggled under it, reminiscing about the wedding.  Dancing in the field beside the barn.  Or redoing a pose from our wedding.  Slow your roll there, Han.  When we got there I realized how severely I had underestimated the thermostat.  We had barely walked across the parking lot when I realized Noah was already shivering.  We threw our coats off long enough to attempt a family shot in all our new outfit glory but it was no use.  We finally decided a shot under the blanket was our best bet.  We huddled together for a few quick shots (like less than 5 minutes) and decided enough was enough.  We started to head for the car where Ashley picked up a few quick candids of our freezing family and off we went.

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I thanked the boys (Joe and Noah) for their cooperation and offered an Oreo peace-offering which they gladly accepted and promised not to hold a grudge.  Haddie didn’t demand much other than a warm bottle, and the promise to never do winter pictures again (at least that’s what I concluded from the frowns and pouting she did on the way home).  At least we gained some gems for our gallery wall, which is all this momma wanted anyway.

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Image Credit: Rainwater Photography

flours.

Last week the kiddos and I found ourselves bored.  I’m sure you’ve been there.  It’s been such a crazy-busy year that I didn’t see it coming but it happened.  The smoke cleared and there we were.  It happens to every SAHM (or so I hear).  Seasons of playfulness and adventure and seasons of…not so much.  Well there we were.  Right in the middle of the “not so much.”  Noah loves to play “waters.”  Ever since he could walk he has loved playing in the kitchen floor surround by pots and pans half-filled with water.  It started out when I was cooking.  He would drag pots and pans out on the floor with spoons and whisks like many kids before him.  Then the obsession began.  Anytime we would let him he would fill cups and bowls and “play waters.”  Pouring.  Scooping.  Dumping.  I considered it a nice mix of hand-eye coordination and mopping.  His interest had curved, only slightly but the washing machine was getting a well deserved break from the flood of towels.  That is, until last week when I decided to introduce him to the wonderful world of flour.  We grabbed cookie cutters, sifters, and spoons and started “baking.”  It was an instant hit, especially in the midst of an otherwise boring month.  Other Facebook and Instagram moms were hiking, biking, and pumpkin picking.  Not us.  We were thoroughly enjoying our cloud of “flours.”  It honestly looked like we were dusting the place for finger prints.  Flour footprints were all throughout the house but that’s nothing a Swiffer can’t fix.  When he tired of stirring flour we added water to make “gough.”  Then back to dry flour with a little strawberry oatmeal, small amounts of salt or other cheap spices.

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Early this week though I overplayed my hand.  We had our morning flour session, me and Noah making various goodies at the kitchen table and Haddie in her high chair laughing and eating “mum-mums.”  It was naptime so we loaded up and headed to Noah’s room to read a book.  The three of us typically start in Noah’s room with a book or two and a song (or two) and then Haddie and I go to her room for her bottle.  The books and songs complete, Haddie and I headed to her to rock.  Noah’s door creaked. Standing at the doorway bink in hand he tried to convince me he had already finished his “happy sleep.”  I told him to go back to his room to play and I’d be there shortly to tuck him in, again.  Haddie was a tough sale but I finally laid her down and headed for round two with Noey.  When I tiptoed out of her room I could hear him in the kitchen stirring.  I was trying to get my serious mom face ready as I rounded the corner to find him in the middle of the kitchen table.  The entire salt shaker (sprinkle) emptied into the bowl and “flours” dusted on his face like a bandit.  “What you doin’, Noey?”  He looked up at me proudly and said, “Hey, mommy.  I’m making dinner!”  His love of “flours” is waning so if you have any tips for indoor, winter fun I’d love to hear them!

 

*images courtesy of Rainwater Photography

Sunday, funday.

Every time I say “I shot my last session today” I feel silly because it seems another one comes along.  Anyway, I shot one of my last sessions this weekend.  Josiah and I have learned to squeeze in dates where we can (which is sometimes hard to do). My parents agreed to babysit so we could turn a work day into a mini-date (a skill most parents have perfected).  The day started off fairly uneventfully, stopping to get gas, a quick picture on SnapChat (we Snapchatted or Snapped Chat? Overthinking it? Definitely), and asking Siri to point us in the right direction.

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We were heading down the BG (Bluegrass Parkway) when I started getting antsy.  It’s happened before on longer trips (a vacation to Gulf Shores) but never day trips.  Bouncing, singing, and chattering weren’t doing the trick so I decided to channel my inner 3-year-old and ask Joe to talk to me.  He was less than impressed because he was midsentence when I asked.  Bless his sweet heart.  I finally settled in for the “trip” and decided to snap a few pictures.

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We arrived and photographed a handsome, smiling boy and after a couple hours loaded up to head home.  We were in the Wendy’s drive-thru (which has apparently become a tradition—it being our third trip and all) when Joe lets out a well-timed screech.  He’s pulled stunts like that before while we’re driving (typically when I’m checking my phone) and I’m always sure we’re headed for imminent danger.  I looked at his with the best glare I could muster.  “Sometimes it’s just fun to yell,” he said.  Fair enough.  We were between windows so I followed suit.  I’m sure they thought we were fresh off the funny farm, but then again there are worse things.  We grabbed our Jr. Bacon Cheeseburgers and turned toward home.  It started to sprinkle when a semi couldn’t decide if he wanted to pass us or not.  Joe morphed into someone resembling Clark Griswold.  I was thankful when we parted ways, though less dramatically than the Griswolds’ as the trucker sped off down the two lane road with Joe hollering a heartfelt goodbye (sarcasm abounds).  The kiddos were less than impressed with our arrival and greeted us with a rousing “I don’t wanna go home!”  Can’t hear that enough.  And that’s a wrap on our wild and crazy Sunday date. Stay tuned for other thrilling tales, maybe next time we’ll head to Goodwill or Taco Bell.  The possibilities are endless.

 

carseat driver.

Kids are like mirrors.  Not the cute, or flattering kind—at least not always.  Sometimes it’s more like the fun house mirror at the carnival.  Sometimes they repeat things you’ve said (or whispered) loud and proud.  And sometimes my kiddos are straight up bossy.  We recently moved about 40 minutes away from our family and church so a couple days a week we’re on the road.  Noah, being the ever helpful one, had a few tips for me while I was driving.  Enjoy a few of the gems from the past week.

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“Slow down, mommy.  You makin’ me newvous!”

Ok, sure.  Now we’re going 40mph in a 55mph.  People were less than impressed but at least Noah felt better.

“Honk at em, mommy!”

There’s not a lot to say.

Last night we were driving through McDonald’s to grab a drink on the way to the grocery—it’s never a good idea to take my crew into the grocery hungry (or thirsty).  We pulled up to the speaker and Noah says, “Hewow. Yeth, I need a buwger…no musard…no pickle……yeth…dus(just) a minit. (looks at us) You want a coke, mommy?”

He knows us well.  A coke for me and a burger with no pickle or mustard for Joe.  We might drive-thru too much….

failed attempts.

I’m sure you’ve seen them on Pinterest.  The “epic fails” ranging from baked treats to make-up tutorials.  I’ve had a few myself.  None that I cared to post on social media because let’s face it, I have enough live “epic fails” that I don’t feel the need to immortalize them online—usually.

My sister got married in February.  It was a beautiful romantic-industrial wedding.  I have only been in a handful of weddings so being the matron of honor was, well, quite an honor.

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I had given birth to Hadley 5 short weeks before so my nerves were compacted by breastfeeding schedules and new baby worries.  But the weekend was going swimmingly.  The factory was decorated beautifully, I didn’t fall during rehearsal and I was able to wear Haddie in a Solly Baby wrap for most of the evening.  All that was left was the speech at the rehearsal dinner.  I’m not one for public speaking.  Even though I talk a lot, speaking in front of large groups isn’t my thing.  I decided not to write my own speech for fear of navigating the line of funny + sweet, sappy + embarrassing.  I had attended a wedding last summer and the maid of honor used a portion of “Oh the Places You’ll Go.” It seemed like the perfect fit.  Josiah and I hung back at the factory so I could feed Haddie before dinner.  We walked out of the nursery and the security alarm started going off.  Even though we attend church there, instinct kicked in and we ran like we were the robbers it made us feel like. Strike One. I calmed my nerves and read the speech to Joe on the way.  We walked nonchalantly into dinner when our preacher’s wife waved me over.  “Did ya’ll happen to set off the alarm as you were leaving?”  My face turned 50 shades of red.  She laughed graciously and said they had talked to the police and it was all straighted out.  Police? Awesome.  Strike Two.  Dinner was delicious and before I knew it, it was time for the speeches.  The best man lived up to his name and read a beautiful  personal speech complete with trinkets to help them with their marriage.  Next up, Dr. Seuss.  I walked hesitantly onto the stage, yes, the stage.  I complimented the best man on his speech, thanked everyone for coming and unlocked my phone.  No signal.  Yep, no-stinking-signal!  It never occurred to me that I wouldn’t have signal in a church basement so I hadn’t even thought to screen shot the part I wanted to use.  I started looking around frantically until I saw Joe and told him it was gone.  Looking around apologetically I explained my phone didn’t have signal as others started pulling their phones out in a desperate attempt to help. No luck.  That’s when I started rambling.  “Um…well….I’m so glad you guys are getting married..and I went to this wedding and the maid of honor read from ‘Oh the Places You’ll Go…that’s what I was gonna read….you should get the book sometime…if you have time…it was super sweet…people cried…it was great…um…ok…love you guys…so glad you’re getting married…I was in a wreck this week…so this is par for the course…”  By the end I was half half shouting in a tone that resembled the Chipmunks.  I gave a halfhearted finger-gun wave and staggered defeated off stage.  Strike three.  If it had been a sitcom, like Friends, the music would have played and I would be sitting safely in the coffeehouse retelling the horrifying tale while I sipped a cappuccino. No such luck.  I hope somebody out there can relate? Please tell me I’m not the only one whose made a fool of herself in front of a roomful of people?  But there was a silver lining.  The next day, when the photographer wanted laughing shots all I had to say was “Remember my speech?” Ah, good times.

 

*images courtesy of Rainwater Photography