Saturday, May 31, 2008

chloe eats (sort of)

With her 7 month birthday just around the corner, you would think that Chloe would be well into eating her solid foods by now, enjoying a variety of foods in her daily menu, as opposed to exclusively eating Mommy's milk. I would assume so, too, especially since her sisters started eating solids at 5 months and never looked back. Chloe, on the other hand, has a different idea of how she wants to handle the whole "solid food" thing. That being, she wants nothing to do with them. Chloe knows that she's the baby of the family, and as the baby, she has rights. She always gets her way. Especially when she flashes that beautiful 6-tooth smile and says "Ma-ma" with her hands flapping in the air. I simply can't resist.

I decided to wait to introduce solids to Chloe until she was about 6 months old. She never showed much interest in it and I didn't feel the need to push it. The first few introductions were typical. Chloe grimacing and spitting and only wanting to play with the spoon. I took a little break and introduced the rice cereal again a few days later, only to get the same reaction. I continued this pattern for over a month, throwing in some bananas and carrots along the way, before I realized my attempts at feeding her baby food were completely futile. I decided to back off for a while and wait until she seemed more interested.

Yesterday, I was reading a pamphlet about 6 month old babies, and how, if they're able to sit on their own, they should be capable of eating finger foods. I'm not sure if this little tidbit of information was assuming the baby already eats baby food, but since Chloe had been sitting on her own for well over a month, I figured I might as well try it and see what happened. Better to try and fail then not try at all, right? We'll see if Chloe agrees...

I tore up a few pieces of whole wheat bread and placed them on her tray. She seemed very happy about the idea of trying something new....
She ever-so carefully picked a piece of bread up between her little pinchers and her expression changed...
Chloe thinks, "Mommy, I'm not really liking the texture of this bready, smushy thing in my hand..."
"...Do I really, really have to do this?"
"...Fine. I'll do it because I love you and because you said please."
Chloe chewing on her bread and thinking, "There. I did it. You happy? Because I'm not."

I guess the attempt at giving her bread was a failure of sorts. But I gave her little banana pieces and carrots for dinner and she actually really enjoyed them. I haven't decided if I'm going to continue giving her table food or just keep nursing for now. I'm sort of just going with the flow for now.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

marathon mommies: go!

It's time, ladies! Let's put on our running shoes and GO! Wait, wait, wait! I didn't mean NOW, I meant in a few days. Whew!

I've spent some time in recent days going through our local races, and because we're starting to train later in the "marathon season," I was too late in registering for a full marathon and wasn't able to get in this year. So instead I've registered for the only 1/2 marathon that I could find with available spots, and this 1/2 marathon is scheduled for September 6th.

Even though the 1/2 marathon is scheduled for September, I've decided to officially start training this Monday, June 2nd. I put together a training schedule and have used Google Calendar to outline everything. My Marathon Mommies calendar includes the training schedule, races and Fun Runs, and I welcome YOU to join me!

I do understand that we are all starting at various levels and before you start training you should be able to run for at least 30 minutes without stopping. Distance is not important right now. You just need to get your body used to running. Combinations of run/walks are great to use during pre-training because they ease your body into the exercise and minimizes the chance of experiencing a running injury. Once you're easily running a 30-minute mile, you can adjust the training schedule to meet your specific needs.

I'm currently scheduled and registered to run in 4 races this summer. 1 5k, 2 10k's and a 1/2 marathon. My first race, a 10k, is scheduled for June 21st, in Perham, MN. I know the summer months, particularly weekends, are especially busy for everyone, and we as MOMS already have enough on your plates. It's because of this, that I'll consider it a HUGE accomplishment if you can even run one race this summer. You can choose to run with me or pick your own race, depending on where you live and your summer calendar.

In doing this together, it's all about accountability. We need to hold each other accountable in our training, and encourage and support each other through all of this, because Lord knows, this won't be an easy task! I intend to write an accountability post every Monday, and in writing this post, will document how well (or not so well!) I did with training that week. I will also use this post as a time to vent my frustrations (as I'm sure I'll have a lot of them!) or document my successes (and I hope to have a lot of those, as well!)! My hope is that YOU will do the same, by posting a comment every week.

So, check out the Marathon Mommies calendar by clicking here. Training begins Monday and I have it scheduled to last through the 1/2 marathon, September 6th. To find out race information, just click on the link and that will give you an outline of the event and race details.

Before we begin this fun, yet challenging, task of training for a 1/2 marathon, I'll leave you with a quote from a very wise man.

"Anybody can do just about anything with himself (herself) that he (she) really wants to and makes his (her) mind to do. We are capable of greater than we realize."

marathon mommies: get set!

As we prepare to embark on our journey of training for a marathon together, I thought you'd find the following tips helpful:
  • First and foremost, invest in proper running gear. I say invest, because running gear isn't cheap, but it's well worth the money spent. There are all types of great running gear to get you through training.
    • Shoes. The first thing you’ll need is a new pair of running shoes. Without a good pair, you can expect lots of extra pains in your legs and lower back. If possible, visit a local specialty running store where you can typically get fitted by an avid runner who knows lots about running shoes. I personally shop at The Running Room and have been very happy with their customer service and the purchases I've made.
    • Clothing. Your running gear should always be comfortable. On days when the temperature is warmer than 65-70 degrees, you will want to wear shorts and a t-shirt. Leading manufacturers of running gear make shorts and shirts specifically designed to wick away moisture from your body. They are comfortable, look good, and make you feel like a runner. :) Short tights are a great way to prevent discomfort from legs rubbing together and can be worn under running shorts to prevent chafing.
    • Socks. Running socks are those that are designed to wick away moisture and help prevent blisters. Do not wear 100% cotton socks as cotton absorbs moisture and cause blisters to develop.
  • Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate! I can't stress enough the importance of drinking lots of fluid while training. Drinking water is best, but sports drinks are a good substitute to water, especially during the longer runs.
  • Stretching. Stretching and warming up are very important parts of training and should not be overlooked. Do it right after a run when your muscles are warm and loose. This will help you feel better after a run, improve your stride, and help to prevent injury. Within 15 minutes after every run, be sure to do the following stretches:
    • Calf Stretching
    • Quadriceps
    • Hamstrings
    • Groin area
    • Lower back and outer thighs
    • Inner Thighs
  • Nutrition. Nutrition is critical while training for a marathon or half marathon. Carbs, carbs, carbs! If you are on a low carb diet, then STOP. Carbohydrates provide the fuel for runners. Load up! Vitamins are highly recommended and will give you adequate supplies of the minerals your body needs. Take multi-vitamins daily as a supplement. Also, keep in mind you need plenty of calcium and iron. See the nutritional charts for the things you eat and make sure you are getting adequate amounts of both. Following are good sources of complex carbohydrates and protein:
    • Good Carbohydrates:

      Potatoes, yams, beans, peas, wheat bread, bananas, macaroni, spaghetti, cereal, raisins, apples, bagels, syrup, brown rice, corn, apples, carrots, root vegetables

    • Good Protein:

      Low fat milk, beans, green peas, lean beef, chicken, fish, eggs, cheese, yogurt, nuts, peanut butter, cottage cheese, tofu and soy product

Are you overwhelmed yet?!??!?!?!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

driving LIKE miss daisy

"Alright girlies, are you ready to roll?" I ask my daughters, all buckled up and sitting quietly in their carseats this afternoon.

"Yeah!" Ella and Britten answered in unison.

"But, Mommy?!" Ella says, "If you drive really slow, I'm going to tell you that you drive like a Grandma."

"What?!" Surprised by this comment, as I didn't recall ever using that term when talking about a slow driver.

"Daddy told me if you drive slow, you're a Grandma."

But of course.

Diclaimer: My husband's comment regarding slow drivers has nothing to do with his regard for the elderly. He really does love old people!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

marathon mommies: on your mark!

Don't think I forgot, ladies! I hit a rough patch last week, needing to take a break from exercising due to the string of migraines I was having, but I'm back and revving up for our marathon training! In fact, I did a little research today, putting together a training schedule and some race information, but I'm not quite ready to post about it yet. Hopefully soon, in the next day or two.

I'm so excited about the number of you interested in embarking on this fun adventure with me and look forward to working and training together, IRL (in real life) or through accountability, to obtain the goal of running a marathon. Whether you strive to run a 5k or a full marathon, each goal is the same and of equal importance!

So, just a quick note to let you know I'm working on it and you're not off the hook! :)

gut instinct

I should have trusted my instincts tonight. The deep down pull that told me I shouldn't do it. All odds were against me. I was single parenting three crabby girls, all of who were still recovering from a busy Memorial Day and little sleep the night before. The weather was cold and windy and I hadn't served dinner yet, so I had some very hungry munchkins on my hands. But despite it all, I thought we could still enjoy a night at the ballfields, watching Daddy play a little softball.

I stopped by Subway and bought dinner on the way and was prepared for the cooler weather, bringing layers of clothes and our trusty fleece blanket. Yes. We WOULD have a great time at the ballfields, all snuggled together cheering Daddy on...

Or not. We lasted less than one game. My girls were NOT happy campers and wouldn't let up about how cold they were. They kept screaming, whining and wriggling around, so that every time they moved, their blanket would fall off and thus continue the vicious cycle of keeping them cold. I wasn't upset with them but annoyed with myself for not trusting my motherly gut instinct to keep them home. Oh well. You can't win 'em all, I guess.

Oh, I almost forgot. I guess you CAN win 'em all if you're referring to my hubby's softball team! They won both of their games tonight, and apparently my husband played MUCH better his second game, without us there to distract him. I guess having us sit right next to the dugout, with Ella and Britten screaming and yelling at him every 3 seconds, was a little disconcerting. Not sure we'll be making more appearances at his softball games this season! :)

Here's a few photos as proof of our brief attendance at the game tonight:

Seconds before the picture was taken, Ella's face wore the exact same expression as Britten's. Don't let her smile fool you!

It was like pulling teeth to get them both to smile. I bribed them with a cookie. Look at their little noses, though. Both red from being cold. It WAS cold outside and I had no problem with leaving early.

I think I'll nickname Chloe "Old Faithful." She's was the only one NOT affected by the cold tonight and was so content hanging off of me. She'd of hung there all night if it was up to her!
Can you tell he was excited to have us there?!? He didn't put up a fight when I told we were leaving early. I wonder why! :)

Monday, May 26, 2008

a memorable memorial weekend

With our Memorial Weekend slowly coming to an end, I thought I'd take a moment and reflect on why our weekend was so memorable for our family.

It all began Friday afternoon. I had timed it I thought. If I left town with Chloe at exactly 2:45pm, I should be picking up my friend, Kristine, from work at precisely 3:45pm. Kristine is a good friend from high school and we were heading back to our hometown to finalize some last details for our 10-year Class Reunion. In the midst of packing and getting ready for a busy holiday weekend, I forgot to take a few things into consideration.

First, 2:45pm is the start of rush hour traffic. As a stay at home mom, I rarely drive through rush hour and had forgotten how ridiculously congested our freeway system becomes at that time of day. Second, it was Friday, and everyone leaves work early on Friday to head home. Third, and most important, it was a HOLIDAY WEEKEND and everyone and their mother were leaving town, heading north to a cabin or to visit relatives. I should have remembered those small, but very important details, when I agreed to pick Kristine up at 3:45pm. What should have taken 45 minutes to an hour at most to pick her up, took me almost 2 hours. Traffic never let up, even after picking her up, and the trip that should have lasted 3 hours ended up taking 5 1/2 hours.

Oh wait, you're probably wondering how Chloe managed through the stop-and-go traffic. She was an angel for the first 3 hours or so, until she woke up, that is. Once she was awake, I knew we were done for. I pulled over and fed her, but she wanted out of her car seat. She let me know this by proceeding to scream non-stop for the last 2 1/2 hours of the trip. I guess I can look on the bright side, though. The moment Chloe started screaming, traffic let up and we were able to breeze the rest of the way home. Kristine and I managed to have good conversation over Chloe's screaming and I'm grateful for that. It kept me sane, so thanks, Kristine!

It was a rough start to a good trip. Chloe and I stayed overnight with my parents and we spent some quality time together by eating pizza and watching a movie. I had my reunion committee the Saturday morning at 9:00am, followed by a quick visit to Great-Grandma's house, and then we were off again Saturday afternoon, heading back home. The trip home was much, much better, with Chloe sleeping all but 20 minutes of the 3 hour trip.

I made such a quick trip home because I had very special plans for Sunday. Plans I couldn't miss. Those plans included this little bundle...

Her name is Lillian Catherine and she is my goddaughter. She is the daughter of a dear friend, born just a few weeks ago. Lily was baptized on Sunday and I was honored to stand up with my friend and her beautiful family and take part in Lily's baptism. We enjoyed lunch at their home afterwards and I had so much snuggling her little 7 pound body. It made me almost want another one...Almost being the key word in that sentence. I'm mighty content with my little 17 pounder!

Monday was the day of anticipation for my older girls. We had BIG plans for today. It started early, at 9:45, by meeting my sister and her family in their hometown to watch the "big" Memorial parade. "Big" is an overstatement. A HUGE overstatement, actually. I can count on 1 hand the number of minutes the parade lasted. We were expecting floats, clowns, and most important of all, candy, but got none of the above. My girls were a little bummed...and really cold to boot.

I dressed them thinking it was going to be 75 degrees and sunny by the time the parade started, but on the drive over, the sky became cloudy and the temperature dropped 7 degrees (we have a temperature gauge in our car, hence the reason I knew this). I wasn't prepared for the cooler weather, so I didn't bring coats or sweatshirts or anything warm to wear. We were left with one fleece blanket to share among the family.

The moment the girls stepped out of the van, Ella asked, "Mommy, is it warmer where the parade is?!?"

"Not exactly, honey. This IS where the parade is."

I tried to cheer them up, I really did. It sort of worked, for Ella. Britten wasn't having it.
Chloe's always the easy one. Stick her in the warm, fleece carrier, give her her toes to play with, and she was good to go. She enjoyed every second of the 5 minute parade!

Ella had much more fun once the parade actually began. She stood tall and proud, covering her right hand over her heart, as the veterans with their American flags marched by. The picture above was Ella and her cousin, Evie, watching on as the boyscout troops made their way by us.

We continued our Memorial Day celebration by heading over to my sister's house for a BBQ after the "big" parade...

The girls are working hard to put together a Strawberry Shortcake puzzle before lunch. While the older girls are busy doing "older girl" stuff...

...The baby girl is busy doing "baby girl" stuff!

After lunch, while Owen and Chloe napped and the Mommy's relaxed on the deck, the Daddy's took the older three girls to the local Arboretum to wear off some energy.

Their wonderful afternoon abruptly ended when Britten took a nosedive onto a gravel walkway and scraped up both of her knees. In fact, the entire day came to an abrupt end after their trip to the arboretum as our entire family was deliriously tired from such a busy weekend. We headed home from my sister's house early this evening, with the intent to eat dinner and put our crabby EBC's to bed early. It was a good thought, if nothing else. I'm not sure if it was the busy day, the large consumption of sugar, or both (it was both, I'm sure of it), that wouldn't allow the girls to settle down. The bedtime routine lasted well over an hour tonight, with screams from every direction. They finally settled and fell asleep, after much coaxing and creative discipline. It's a wonder I have the energy to write this long post.

One thing's for sure. It was a memorable ending to a very memorable weekend.

Friday, May 23, 2008

a tale of two birdies

Ella came dashing into kitchen today, "Daddy, two of the eggs hatched! There's little red birdies in the nest!"

We've been anxiously awaiting the crackling birth of the three little birds for over a week! The mommy bird gave us front row seats by conveniently nesting their little home under our deck. For the past week or so, Ella and Britten have have made frequent visits to peer through the cracks of our deck floor boards, curious to see if the little blue eggs had hatched.

The girls were hesitant about going out to the deck because the Mommy bird would perch herself on our railing and scold them (or "scream at them," as Ella and Britten put it) for coming too close to her babies.
Could you really blame her, though? I'd be nervous, too, if I was her!

Every time the girls would make there way back to the house, I'd ask...

"Did they hatch yet?" And for the past week, I've been getting same response. "No, they haven't. Mommy, when will they hatch? Are the going to hatch soon?" It's hard to give an answer to that, because soon to a 2 and 4 year old translates to 5 minutes from when they asked.

But today, when Ella flew into the house from the deck, we knew something had changed from earlier this morning, when she made her first rounds to check on the babies and they still hadn't hadn't hatched. This time, the birds HAD HATCHED...Or more precisely, were hatching at. that. very. moment! My husband captured this... taking a picture through the 1/2 inch gap in our floorboards. Unbelievable. As you can imagine, the girls were thrilled to be first-hand witnesses to the miraculous birth of God's mini-creations! Needless to say, Mommy bird wasn't too thrilled we were there, but as far as I'm concerned, she can bug "bird" off and go eat some worms.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

marathon mommies

While running on the treadmill yesterday afternoon, I had a magnificent brainchild (This was moments before I started seeing spots in my vision, indicating I was getting another magnificent migraine. Counting today, because I've been having vision problems all morning, I've had symptoms resembling a migraine 4 times in 8 days. As you can imagine, I'm a little nervous as to why I'm having a string of migraines, or whatever it is, as I'm normally a really healthy person. I'm seeing a chiropractor this afternoon and my eye doctor tomorrow, so I'm hoping to get some answers or a solution to this annoying problem. Back to my brainchild).

I really enjoy running. Running is one of my favorite things to do. It's great exercise, a wonderful stress reliever and a prime opportunity to reflect on life and pray about things. I'm not a natural runner and didn't grow up competing in track or cross country. In fact, I despised running as a child and high schooler, and come track and field day, I'd make any excuse to get out of running in the relay races. I found I had an interest in running while in college and used it primarily as an outlet for an emotionally difficult time in my life. It sort of just stuck with me after that and I've been doing it ever since.

Like I said, I'm not a natural runner and still have to force myself to do it, knowing it's great for my mental and physical well-being. With such a busy plate, I try (try is the keyword) to at least run 3-4 times a week, usually 4 miles each run. I know it's not much, but it's all I really have time for and I still feel I'm working up to it with having a baby 6 months ago.

Since before I was married, I had a goal: To run a marathon. At the time, when I set this goal for myself, I was engaged and planning my wedding, going to school full time and also working a full time job. I was up to running 8-10 miles before I realized, with all the irons in the fire, I didn't have time or energy to meet that goal. Something needed to give, and training for a marathon was the only meaningless thing consuming my time. So I sadly set the goal aside, knowing someday, I'd still like to achieve it.

Over the course of the last 7 years, I've began training only to be disrupted by major life changes - pregnancy and having babies (good disruptions, don't you think?). Which brings me to today. I've achieved the dream of marrying a wonderful man and having three precious children. I love the life we've created for ourselves, but I find it all too easy to set my personal dreams and goals aside, figuring I'll have time for those sort of things later in life. Though my family will always be my main priority, it was that thought that spurred my brainchild.

What if, with proper priority and time management, I could set a goal, a rather BIG goal for myself, and with support from my husband, actually ACHIEVE this goal? I'm sure you can see where I'm going with this. If there was one thing I've wanted to do, one goal I have yet to achieve, it would be running a marathon! I'm not naive in thinking I could go out tomorrow and run a 26 mile race without killing myself. I know that it takes time, commitment and a whole lot of training to be able to accomplish a milestone like that. I would need to start a whole lot smaller than that...

And THAT, my dear fellow mommies, is where YOU come in! It seems, no matter what you do in life, whether it's trying to lose weight or going out for a cup of coffee, it's always easier and much more fun to do it with other people. I want to meet my goal of running a marathon someday, before my children are off to college, and was wondering if YOU would like to join me in this crazy and fun endeavor?!?!? Like I said, I'd start small, training for 5ks and such, and use those smaller milestones to work towards the bigger one.

I'm still in the initial stages of brainstorming ideas about this, but my first thought is this: I want anyone who is a MOM joining me on this adventure. We, as moms, deserve to take our OWN goals and health into consideration, not only those of our families, and accomplish something we never thought physically, mentally or emotionally possible. It doesn't matter where you're at, physically, or if you've ever ran a day in your life. Because like I keep saying, we'll start small.

If you're interested in joining me on this endeavor, please say so by posting a comment below. Once I've an idea of who's interested, I intend to put together and post training schedules, a weekly accountability post, a race schedule (5ks, 10ks, 1/2 marathons, etc), and figure out a monthly Fun Run schedule, where we can meet somewhere and do a longer run together. This plan is not limited to local mommies. I'm extending this invite to mommies around the nation, and you can tweak the plan as necessary to accommodate your current life and living situation. We'll all work and train together, encouraging and holding each other accountable along the way, to meet our ultimate goal: Run a full marathon - hopefully together.

We are the Marathon Mommies. Hear us roar.

Monday, May 19, 2008

super baby!

Husband leaves room with baby laying on the floor and 4 year old sister sitting on couch watching TV.

Moments later...

Husband comes back to room to find baby sitting on the couch watching TV with her 4 year old sister.

What's wrong with that picture?

It leaves me with one conclusion:

I have a baby with superpowers.

dare devil diva

See my little diva sitting ever so gracefully in our big maple tree?

Our little diva is really more of a dare devil, and as I've mentioned many times over, she's happiest when her adrenaline is pumping the hardest. I assure you, this is not a quality she inherited from her mother. I am not a risk taker and prefer my adrenaline to course through my veins at its normal, very slow pace. I was the child that always ended up screaming so hard on fair rides, the ride conductor was forced to stop the ride in fear I'd have a heart attack at the mere age of 5. Britten, by all means, takes after me when it come to rides. She does NOT like having her "belly tickle" or "feeling dizzy," as she refers to it. She much prefers riding like this:

Ella, on the other hand, has been nicknamed "Daddy's clone" for many reasons, not only because she looks like him, but because she has his creative passion and love for all things fast. I've learned, as her mother, to bite my lip and close my eyes, because like or not, she's doing what she does best. Taking risks and loving every minute of it:

As the sequence of the pictures show, Ella's smile gets bigger and bigger the further she drops. Wouldn't I be a bad mother if I attempted to prevent such bliss in my daughter's life?

As for me, I'll stay out of all things high (my husband, on the other hand, crawled way up in the maple tree, hence the birds eye view photo), safe and sound on the ground with my baby.

Here's to wondering what she'll end up like...
One thing's for sure...She LOVES the little belly rush she gets from swinging in her swing! She could swing all day long if I let her! I think I may have another little dare devil on my hands. YIKES!! Please pray for me (and my kids)!

Sunday, May 18, 2008


Peeking back at my calendar and the rundown of events and tasks I had accomplished over the week, it's no wonder I'm feeling so tired right now. It was a great week, though, and I feel good in knowing that we spent a lot of quality time with friends and family and a lot was accomplished around the house and with my side projects.

But I can't have 7 days straight without a little drama in my life. With 4 girls in our family, how can you expect less? My husband once compared the drama levels in our house to that of the Jerry Springer show. Since I've been away from my blog for a while, and I know you've missed my daily ramblings, I feel it only appropriate to document my week and share a little of my daily drama with you.

Monday was an all around good day. I brought my girls to the gym, as I do every Monday, so I could go to my yoga class. Due to my impatient nature, I don't particularly enjoy doing strengthening poses for hour, but I force myself to do it knowing I'll appreciate the workout when I'm done. One of the most irritating things about this class is listening to my instructor talk. She has a tendency, which I think in her mind is a relaxation technique, to drag out every third word of her sentences. If I typed out her sentences, they'd look something like this: "Take a deep bbbbbrrrreeeeaaaatttthhhhh," or "relax your hhhhhheeeeeaaaaddddd" or worse yet, "Hover in crocoddddiiiiillllleeee." To her credit, though, anything would annoy you while hovering in the crocodile. It's like the hardest position ever. Despite the annoying tendency, my instructor is the sweetest, most genuine person and even brought chocolate for us last week. Monday was a good day. Not a lot of drama.

Tuesday was my productive day, meeting with my friend, Erica, to discuss MOPS stuff. I'm spearheading a MOPS ministry at my church, starting in the fall, and Erica has graciously agreed to be the assistant Coordinator. I am thrilled beyond words to have her working with me and feel less stressed about everything. I also sent off numerous emails to church leaders and got myself and my office a little organized, so I felt really good about Tuesday. My husband almost forgot he played softball that night at 8 & 9:00pm, so at last minute, I was ditched at home on the couch. But it wasn't too bad, as it gave me an opportunity to catch up on The Office episodes I've missed. I love that show.

It's Wednesday and you know what that means. I'm off to my 12:00pm F.I.T. class. As always, it was an intense, but great workout. My friend, Erica, joined me as my guest at class and we had fun getting our butts kicked together. I'm always sore after F.I.T, but I must've done something unusual during class that day, because by late afternoon I had the worst cramp in my neck and this cramp has been a literal pain in my neck since. I'm not the type to take medicine lightly, especially while I'm nursing, but I've been popping extra-strength Tylenol everyday as it's the only way I can seem to function. The pain seems to be getting worse and is traveling down my shoulders now. I think I need to seek professional help. Believe me, I'm not being dramatic about this. It HURTS! Blasted F.I.T class!

We packed up the kids Wednesday afternoon and headed 45 minutes south to visit some good friends of ours. We hadn't seen them forever and we had fun hanging out and catching up on life. Chloe enjoyed playing with their son, Logan, who we determined she's going to marry someday.

By the time we left for home, the girls had crossed their thresholds from being a little sleepy to completely exhausted and beyond crabby. We ended our nice night by driving 45 minutes back home with three screaming girls and two massive headaches.

Thursday marked Ella's last day of preschool for the year. They had invited families to come share in their last day by watching a puppet show and having an ice cream social. It was a beautiful day and we had a great time as a family. As we were heading back to our van, Britten, who tends to be the clumsy one of the bunch, happened to fall face first on the concrete parking lot. She stood up screaming with a mouth full of rocks and scrapes all over her hands, elbows and knees. To top it off, Ella bumped her lip getting into the van and gave herself a bloody lip. Once again, we ended our nice morning together with screaming. Why does that always happen?

I was able to get out Thursday afternoon for a nice, long run, but the moment I walked in the door, I started seeing the flashes of light that indicated I was getting a migraine. My second migraine in a week, no less. Ugh! I was rendered useless from that moment on for the rest of the day. I did have a chance to online grocery shop that night, and you'd be happy to know I haven't made the broccoli mistake again.

Friday was an early morning. My husband's parents were coming for a visit and had agreed to watch the girls that night so I could attend my cousin's wedding. Because of my migraine the day before, I never had a chance to clean our house. Between cleaning and picking up groceries, I finished just in time to greet them at the door around 2:00pm. It was a nice afternoon, chit-chatting and hanging out on the deck with the girls. I left for the wedding a little later than I wanted, hit unexpected traffic trying to pick up my brother and ended up missing the wedding ceremony altogether because of it. I felt absolutely terrible and was near tears by the time I got to the church. My brother was laughing, because of course, men don't get it. We were almost late to the reception, too, thanks to Google maps.

Saturday was just as early as Friday, but this time it was thanks to Chloe. It gave me a little time to plan and organize for the baby shower I was attending later that morning. Though my husband was OUT of town for the weekend for work, his brother and wife were IN town from Chicago. They're expecting their first baby in July and we had their family shower this weekend. I offered to do the games, which was a harder task than I anticipated. For as many baby showers as I've hosted, I've never had to plan a game appropriate for ages 2-84. :) I packed up the girls, made a pit-stop at Target on the way to the shower, and arrived almost 20 minutes early. That, in itself, is a miracle. The shower was wonderful and was a reminder of how lucky I am to have married into such an amazing, loving and accepting family. I wish my husband could've been there, but such is life for my traveling man.

I spent Saturday night with my brother-in-law and sister-in-law, along with their spouses. They came over once I got the girls to bed, and we enjoyed a night of watching movies and eating homemade caramel popcorn.

And finally, Sunday. Today. I brought the girls to church and headed straight to my husband's grandparents for lunch following the service. It was the last hoorah before everyone headed back home. My husband's flight made it back just in time to spend an hour or two with his brother and wife and his parents. I'm glad he had some time with them, even it was just a couple hours.

I went back to church tonight, while my husband stayed home with the girls, to attend a 3 hour seminar about finding my talents and God-given spiritual gifts. It was a very insightful seminar and a nice, relaxing way to come down from my weekend. They even provided me with dinner at the seminar, so as you can imagine, I felt like I was on a date! 1/2 date, that is, because I was missing my other half.

Which leads me to now. 10:39pm on Sunday. I'm tired and I have a headache from my pinched nerve in my neck, but the house is quiet and I don't hear that very often around here. I'll finish this absurdly long post, that I'm sure you stopped reading about 5 paragraphs ago, and promise to never ramble on and on about such boring happenings.

Good Night!

Friday, May 16, 2008

dear blog

I am sorry for neglecting you this week. I know there are times when I go days without acknowledging you, giving you the attention you deserve, but as you must know, I am a very busy woman. My family takes priority and you have to understand that. I think about you often, at least several times a day, and feel really bad that I can't sit down and have some one-on-one time with you. I promise that things are slowing down in the next couple days and you and I can finally have the quality time together that we're both longing for. I have many, many thoughts that I want to share with you and dozens of pictures burning a hole in my camera. Please forgive me and know that you're in my thoughts. I love you and appreciate knowing that I can count on you. You are a very, very dear friend to me.

Your author and friend forever,

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

tag! i'm it, again!

As they say, the third time's a charm! I was tagged by my blogging friend, Lisa, who resides in Georgia and writes some of the funniest posts.

Because I did the "6 random things about myself" last week, I'll save you all from the hassle of leaving my site and only do the "6 words that describe ME."

1. I
2. Am
3. An
4. Utterly
5. Exhausted
6. Woman

Oh wait, did I do that wrong? Oh, I was supposed to write 6 adjectives that describe me. Sorry.

1. Friendly
2. Dedicated
3. Hard-working
4. Loyal
5. Talkative, if you get me around the right people. I can also clam up when put in situations where I feel awkward or uncomfortable.
6. Exhausted

Why was that so hard?

Sunday, May 11, 2008

what a day!

Today was a special day. Yes, it was Mother's Day and it was special for that reason, of course. I was showered with hugs and kisses, cards and flowers and everyone in my house acknowledged that I was the "Best Mom in the World!" But today wasn't about me. Today was about something much more important than me. Today was about her:

Family gathered. Friends gathered. Our church family gathered. They all gathered today to share a part in one of Chloe's most important babyhood experiences. Her dedication to the Lord. This is such an important event for her, and for us, as her parents. It's our moment to give Chloe back to Him, her Creator. To proclaim that we are dedicated to fulfill our purpose as her parents. and to teach her God's most important commandments. To teach her how to love God, above all, and to serve Him in all she does.

We stood on stage as a family, along with our Pastor, and he read aloud the life verse we chose for Chloe.

Colossians 3:23-24 "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the LORD CHRIST you are serving."

He also said a specific prayer for Chloe and for our family. It was a brief, but very special, moment for us. Aside from a little mischief on stage (you know the ol' saying, "a picture's worth a thousand words?" Look again. There's mischief all over this picture and that wasn't the worst of it), all went well.

What made the morning even more special is that Ella was specially asked to sing in a small choir for Mother's Day. They sang the song, "Open the Eyes of My Heart, Lord," and it was absolutely heart-melting to watch.

Ella was the youngest child by almost 2 years, though you wouldn't know it by looking at the picture because she's soooooo tall (I'm 5' 2" and born into a family where there's an average height of 5'3". She most definitely gets this trait from her Daddy's side of the family. We joke that she'll be taller than me by the time she's 8 years old)!

For being shy by nature, Ella was so comfortable on stage. She did such a wonderful job singing the song and I was so proud of her. There was a little nose picking and belly scratching, so I best be working with her on her stage etiquettes.

Lunch for our entire family (including grandparents, great-grandparents, uncles, aunts and one great-uncle) was at our house following the church service. We had a blast, grilling burgers and just hanging out. You wouldn't know we had any company at our house today because we don't have any pictures to prove it! You almost can't blame me, though. I was too busy taking pictures of HER...

Great-Grandma Arlene and Great-Grandpa Evans made Chloe's day by buying her some new, soft blocks to play with!

She'd work tirelessly at grabbing these blocks, and then plop her head down on top of the block once she'd get it in her hands. It would proceed to pop out of her little hands and the game would begin all over again.

She handled the day in stride and wore a smile all day long...between naps, that is!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

calling all readers update!

Update: THANK YOU to all who participated in helping me make a choice on which of these pictures I should print. It was very informative to read through the comments and I so appreciate you taking the time to help me make this difficult decision!

With that said, because I am SUCH an indecisive person and there were such varying opinions on the photos, I opted to print 2 pictures instead of 1. #1 & #3 were the top choices for most, and I'm glad, because in the end, they were MY favorite, too.

Thanks again, readers. You rock!

a day at the farm...and a little fitness, too

Yesterday was Ella's class trip to the farm. It was an event we'd been looking forward to for weeks! I had originally planned on going with her, but last minute, we decided that her Daddy should go with instead.* They needed some quality Daddy/Daugther time and they had so much fun spending the morning together!

Ella buddied up with her friend and neighbor, Tristan, who is also in the same preschool class with her. They're 6 days apart in age and could almost pass and brother and sister!

I'm not sure what she's looking at, because like I said, I wasn't there. But she sure is cute, isn't she?
I'm not sure the chicken looks to be enjoying herself...
...but the baby chick sure looks comfy!
It was a great day at the farm and beautiful weather to boot!

* While Daddy and Ella spent their morning at the farm, I spent my time working my tail feathers off in my 4th consecutive F.I.T. class. I know you were wondering if I made it back to the infamous class, and I'm sure you're also wondering if it's gotten any easier. The short answer is: NO. But I love it.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

six months ago...

...I was awoken from my sleep at 3:30am. I was in the middle of a really strong contraction. It seemed to come out of nowhere. I decided to get out of bed, without waking your Daddy, and go to the living room to time my contractions. Not even 4 minutes later, I was doubled over with another really strong contraction. Is this real labor? Should I call the doctor? Should I try to go back to sleep and wait it out? All of these thoughts were going through my mind only to be interrupted by yet another strong contraction!

At 3:39am I called the doctor. He told me, nonchalantly, that it may or may not be labor, but I should probably get my stuff together and come in to the hospital.

Within seconds of hanging up the phone, I was having another contraction. They were apart 3 minutes apart and I could hardly stand it. The previous morning, I had had my 40 week check-up and my doctor noted that I was 100% effaced and almost 4 cm dilated. Worried about the chances of labor going too quickly and delivering my baby at home (YIKES!), my doctor had scheduled me to have my water broken the very next morning at 6:30am. Apparently, you inherited my wonderful strong-willed and impatient qualities, because you were coming on your own terms!

Contractions were just too close together and things were moving too quickly that were forced to wake your sisters and bring them to the hospital with us. My dear friend, Amy, who had previously agreed to watch Ella and Britten, was gracious enough to meet us at the hospital and bring them back home.

By 4:30am I was checked into my room and finally able to relax (well, relax as much as you can when you're going through transition!) knowing I wasn't having YOU at home. I was in good hands with the staff at my hospital.

By 5:00am, my water still hadn't broken, and the doctor I had called, who was still at home at the time, still hadn't made it to the hospital. I was ready to push, but because the nurses couldn't break my water without the doctor present, I had to patiently breathe through my contractions until the doctor arrived at 5:20am (and believe me, that's not easy!).

Finally, 5:25am, everything was set to go! At 5:39am, we welcomed YOU, our beautiful little Chloe, into the world. Weighing 6 lbs 13 oz and 19 inches long, you were such a little peanut! And the head of hair you had! We just couldn't believe it! 6 months later, you still have every single strand on your head.

Two hours, to the exact minute, after calling my doctor (I confirmed this by looking at outgoing calls on my cell phone), you were here. In all your glory.

We love you, little girl! We are so blessed to have you in our lives! Happy 6 months, Chloe Jean!

PS. You must have a good sense of humor, too, because this morning, at EXACTLY 5:39am you woke up, ready to go! Just don't let that become a habit, you hear?!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

i've been tagged...AGAIN!

For the second time in 2 days, I've been tagged! You're going to learn wwwwaaaayyyy more about me than you ever thought you could!

Another blogging friend, who I hope to meet IRL and probably will at the next local GF concert, Sarah, tagged me. I told her I was up for the challenge, so here goes...again:

I am….....a mom, a wife, a daughter, a sister, an aunt to 6 beautiful nieces and nephews (and 2 more on the way!) and a friend to many, many wonderful people

I want..... warm weather, a vacation, a tan, and a big plate of chocolate chip cookies (this was Sarah's answer, but I'm not changing it!).

I wish..... my hair would stop falling out already! (you know, just one of those postpartum symptoms!)

I hate......the army of ants that are currently infesting our upstairs bathroom. I sprayed them with bleach, but that didn't seem to do the trick!

I miss.....going on spontaneous dates with my husband.

I fear......leaving my children and husband without a mom or a wife.

I feel........ exhausted and sick of being sick. I've keep catching cold after cold after cold...

I hear......... Ella singing to herself and Chloe crying in her crib. Bummer! She's up from her nap and now I have to put my computer aways! :)

I smell....... the vanilla candle that's burning in my kitchen.

I crave........ chocolate, specifically chocolate chip cookies. I also crave marshmallows and ice cream. Why can't I crave something healthy?!?

I search......the internet for any random question on my mind.

I wonder..... why Chloe won't nap for longer than 45 minutes at a time.

I regret.......never caring about school or my grades and only wanting to socialize.

I love...........God, my family, our yard, to exercise, good food, coffee, sleep, small town living (funny how I live in the city), to meet new people and experiencing life to its fullest.

I ache......... in my head. I've had a throbbing sinus infection (at least, I think it's a sinus infection) for days. I really should see a doctor, but who has time for a doctor?

I care........ about people in need. I wish I could help everyone that needs help, but I know that's impossible.

I always...... swear to myself that I won't let my laundry get out of control, but it always does. Always.

I am not…..a packrat. I never hang onto things if I don't need them. I hate clutter. I always throw things away, probably before I should. There's been many occasions where my husband has had to "dumpster dive" for stuff that had accidentally been thrown away.

I believe......... that there will be a day when everyone is forced to take responsibility for their actions. I look forward to that day.

I dance......... on rare occasion. I was not blessed with good dancing moves. :(

I sing............ around the house, in the shower, with my girls, but that's about it. Again, not blessed with a great singing voice. :(

I cry........... on rare occasion, but when I do, I'm a flubbering mess. It seems to happen at the worst moments, usually in front of a group of people. The topic of discussion usually involves children. I easily cry when talking about my children.

I don’t always........brush my teeth.

I fight........when I'm put on the defensive. I don't like feeling defensive, and when I do, I fight back. This is something I wish I could change about myself. I'm sure it'll always be a work in progress, like a lot of other things.

I write.......notes to myself all over everything. I can't seem to keep my "to-do" list on one sheet of paper.

I never.......let my kids eat McDonalds. (JUST KIDDING!!!!!) I wish I didn't, but I do...sometimes.

I Christmas music while working out. Not all the time, but a lot of the time!

I need.......... sunshine, lots of love, affirmation, sugar, a good workout, and a Caribou* to get me through the day (again, this was Sarah's answer with one little tweak - *Starbucks to Caribou. I guess we have a lot in common, Sarah!).

I am happy...... knowing that my WHOLE family is safe, healthy and loved.

Now I tag Beth & Brianna! You go girls!

attention, attention...calling all readers!

I need YOUR help! As I previously mentioned, my husband has taken a recent interest in photography and he is learning the ropes fast! It's wonderful, and I love that he's taking beautiful pictures of our girls, but now comes the hard part. I need to CHOOSE my favorite pictures for print, and considering I'm the most indecisive person in the world, I'm finding this to be a very challenging task...

That's where YOU come in. I've narrowed it down to 3 pictures of the two older girls. We intend to print a bunch of 4X6's, but I need to choose ONE of the following three for a larger print. I love them all and can't decide which is my favorite. Please help!

I've numbered each picture #1, #2, #3. Please respond in the comment section below with YOUR favorite number. I don't care who you are or whether you've ever commented on my blog before, YOU can make a difference! :)