Saturday, December 31, 2011

Two Peas in a...


and in a basket

I swear, Abby does wear pants (ones that aren't her jammies).

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Truth About Santa

A few weeks ago, a friend asked, as her facebook status, How did you find out the truth about Santa?

Several people had commented. Despite the years that have passed, everyone can remember how it happened.

I remember my moment very distinctly. I had received a new bike for Christmas--from Santa. As tradition went, I headed over to my next-door-neighbors' house to check out their loot. When their mom asked me what I got for Christmas, I told her I got a bike. Her response, "Oh yeah, I saw your parents bring that home." I can still feel the disappointment. Being a pretty late believer, I had my suspicions but it was still devastating to know the truth.

Sadly, my poor husband never remembers believing in Santa. By the time he came around, the magic was lost--one of the sad disadvantages of being the youngest of 8 children.

We were kind of at odds about the Santa situation. Should we perpetuate the myth? Should we detract from the true meaning of Christmas? I tried to explain that Santa was more than the presents. He brings a joy to Christmas that can't be replicated. When I found out the truth, a part of me, a part of my childlike innocence died.

I saw this letter (maybe you've seen it floating around the internet) and it touched my heart. This is what Santa is all about.

Dear Lucy,

Thank you for your letter. You asked a very good question: “Are you Santa?”

I know you’ve wanted the answer to this question for a long time, and I’ve had to give it careful thought to know just what to say.

The answer is no. I am not Santa. There is no one Santa.

I am the person who fills your stockings with presents, though. I also choose and wrap the presents under the tree, the same way my mom did for me, and the same way her mom did for her. (And yes, Daddy helps, too.)

I imagine you will someday do this for your children, and I know you will love seeing them run down the stairs on Christmas morning. You will love seeing them sit under the tree, their small faces lit with Christmas lights.

This won’t make you Santa, though.

Santa is bigger than any person, and his work has gone on longer than any of us have lived. What he does is simple, but it is powerful. He teaches children how to have belief in something they can’t see or touch.

It’s a big job, and it’s an important one. Throughout your life, you will need this capacity to believe: in yourself, in your friends, in your talents and in your family. You’ll also need to believe in things you can’t measure or even hold in your hand. Here, I am talking about love, that great power that will light your life from the inside out, even during its darkest, coldest moments.

Santa is a teacher, and I have been his student, and now you know the secret of how he gets down all those chimneys on Christmas Eve: he has help from all the people whose hearts he’s filled with joy.

With full hearts, people like Daddy and me take our turns helping Santa do a job that would otherwise be impossible.

So, no. I am not Santa. Santa is love and magic and hope and happiness. I’m on his team, and now you are, too.

I love you and I always will.


Friday, December 9, 2011

Is it Enough?

I was reading to Abby from The Friend magazine today and we read a story called The Gift.

The story talks about a little girl, Sofia, who's family in quarantined after several of their farm animals die suddenly. Nobody is allowed to come to or leave their farm. When Christmas comes, they don't have any presents, decorations or special food for a nice meal.

Sofia's older brother surprises the family by setting up a beautiful nativity scene in the woods near their farm.

Sofia is touched by the beauty of this special surprise from her brother...

"And suddenly Sofia knew that it was [a Merry Christmas]. There would be no presents, no tree, and no special dinner. But there would always be the precious gift of the Savior. And that was enough."

I got emotional reading these words. We celebrate Christmas to remind us about the gift of the Savior but is the knowledge of this wonderful gift enough to make Christmas special?

Of course, there is nothing wrong with decorating our homes, visiting Santa, baking goodies and giving gifts. Sometimes though, we get so caught up in all of that that we forget what Christmas is really about.

I hope the knowledge of the precious gift of the Savior may bring all of us joy during this holiday season.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Mama called the doctor...

and the doctor and the doctor...

Several months ago, we noticed that the birthmark on Abby's tummy was looking a little bit unusual. It had a dark spot in the center and the edges were slightly darker than the rest. We showed it to her pediatrician who agreed it was, indeed, unusual looking. She referred us to a pediatric dermatologist for a better look. When I called to make an appointment, we couldn't get scheduled anywhere for almost 6 months. The pediatrician had told us not to be particularly concerned so we figured the 6 month wait would be fine. We finally took her to the appointment a few weeks ago. Because she is so young, the dermatologist decided that a punch biopsy would be the best course of action. On a side note, he gave us a prescription that FINALLY made Abby's eczema go away.

Last week, she had the biopsy. The dermatologist prescribed a topical numbing cream for us to put on the birthmark before the procedure. Once we were in the office, he gave Abby an injection so she couldn't feel the procedure. She cried a little but didn't wiggle. Sam held a book in front of her face while I read it to her so she couldn't see what was going on. It only took a few minutes. She ended up with one or two cool blue stitches. Seeing as she's so accident prone, it's amazing that these were her first stitches.

The day before her procedure, she started to have a bit of a runny nose and some discharge from her eye. The day of the procedure she had A LOT of discharge from her eyes and they were quite red--Pink Eye. We called the pediatrician and they prescribed some antibiotic eye drops, which have been working really well.

The day after the procedure, Abby woke up from her nap very grumpy. I couldn't figure out what her deal was until I noticed she was holding her ear and getting more irritable. I called the pediatrician again and they said there were no more appointments that day. She was really suffering so Sam took her over to a friend's house, who happens to be an ENT. He confirmed that she had an ear infection and wrote her a prescription for antibiotics. This was her first ear infection which is pretty amazing because her daddy and many of her cousins have suffered from chronic ear infections.

So, in 24 hours, she had pink eye, a biopsy and an ear infection. Our house has felt like a pharmacy administering all of her different creams and medications. At her 3-year well-visit yesterday, the doctor said her eye and ear are still infected but she is feeling pretty well so we just have to wait for the antibiotics to clear everything up.

We also received the results of her biopsy yesterday. They define her birthmark as a focal epithelial atypia. I would tell you to look it up on wikipedia, but it doesn't exist. The term essentially means there is no name for what she has. The skin cells are abnormal. They can't give any prediction of what the future holds because she is so young and it doesn't fit the mold of any condition. Our dermatologist has suggested we have the whole birthmark removed to prevent future concerns. She will have to be put out this time because it will be a more invasive procedure, which is scary for anyone, let alone a 3-year-old. I'm grateful though, because I know the diagnosis could have been worse.

I am so thankful for modern medicine and skilled doctors that can help my babies stay as healthy as possible.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Clara at 9 Months

I intended to be one of those awesome moms who takes a picture of their child in the same place once a month to watch them grow. Then, I was going to write little tidbits about milestones and developments. Well, you know what they say about the best laid plans...

Clara turned 9 months yesterday. She is hilarious and full of spunk.

She loves to eat "big people" food. We had a hard time getting her started on solids but now she'll happily eat anything. She learned her first sign--more! She may be a tiny little thing but she can sure put it down.

She is now almost exclusively bottle fed, much to my chagrin. She prefers real food to bottles. It's going to be a struggle to get her to drink her bottles for another 3 months.

She loves her big sister. They have fun dance parties and wrestling matches. They are good little roommates. I got Clara up yesterday morning and when Abby woke up she was upset that Clara wasn't in the room. She said, "Can you not get Clara out tomorrow?"

She is still behind in her gross motor skills but she can usually get where she wants to go with the combination of rolling and rotating. Her physical therapist still comes once a week and she seems pleased with her progress. We hope she can learn to crawl soon so she won't get so frustrated.

She has the cutest, cheesiest crinkle-nose grin and she knows when to lay it on.

She is a sweetheart and we love her to pieces, even if her favorite sound to make is DADADADA.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Michigan Thanksgiving

Sam's parents planned to be at his brother's house in Michigan for Thanksgiving so we decided to join them. In order to make the 10 hour drive worth it, Sam played hooky for a few days. We left the Friday before Thanksgiving. The girls did awesome in the car. I think they whine more in the car on the way to Target than they did on the long drive. They both took a good nap and then went to sleep at bedtime. We arrived around midnight and hit the hay.

The girls had lots of fun playing with their cousins. Abby loved having constant playmates and Clara enjoyed the constant attention.

Abby and Anders got along really well. They were constantly going on imaginary trips and picnics. I believe they were camping by the fire in this picture.

It was wonderful for the girls to spend time with grammy and grandpa. They haven't seen them for 8 months.

While we were cooking Thanksgiving dinner, Clara suddenly got uncharacteristically fussy. We looked over and saw that she had pushed herself under the entertainment center. Those wood floors made for much easier scooting.

The Thanksgiving meal was amazing. I keep dreaming about the delicious Brussels sprouts. MMMmm.

Clara tried turkey for the first time along with several over things (including whipped cream--thanks Uncle Mike.)

We made a bunch of pies. The ones I made weren't my best works. Oh well.

Abby loved the cats. She would follow them around whenever one came into sight.

Clara is such a cheese. Everyone was smitten by her sweet personality.

Before we left we took Abby to the park to play.

It was such a fun, relaxing week. We didn't even mind sleeping in twin beds. We were all really sad to go home.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Some days...

Some days I want to wake up whenever I feel like it.

Some days I want to wipe nobody's bum but my own.

Some days I want to eat a meal without little fingers picking off of my plate.

Some days I want to go to Target or the mall and stay there as long as I want.

Some days I want to watch only shows starring actual human beings.

Some days I want to sit on the couch and read all day.

Some days I want to lay out in the sunshine and fall asleep.

Some days I want to go for a walk without hefting the double stroller down the stairs.

Some days I want to clean the living room and have it stay that way for more than five minutes.

Some days I want to do something spontaneous with my husband.

And on those days, I have to remind myself that I hoped and prayed for these beautiful children.

I have to remember how incomplete my life was before they came along.

I have to look at their smiles and delight in their hugs and know that I will never find greater happiness than I do in being a mother.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Houston, We Have Internet!

We were going on day SIX of no Internet in our apartment. I've felt incomplete. Of course, it's hard being without e-mail, Facebook, blogs and Pinterest, but it's the random things that I want to look up that really felt strange. What's the weather going to be like today? What was the first Pez dispenser? Do you think the author of this book is a man or a woman? What movies are in the Redbox? What's the phone number of the Internet company so we can call and tell them our Internet is broken?

The guy just came and fixed it and I feel whole again.

My first instinct is to say, "Geez, it's so pathetic to be so dependent on the Internet." But in all honesty, I don't feel that way. I'll say it loud and proud, INTERNET, I LOVE YOU!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Wedding in Arizona

A few months ago, one of my dearest friends, Tatum, got engaged. As soon as the ring was on her finger, I started looking for plane tickets but I just didn't know if we could work it into the budget.

Fast forward a couple of weeks...I sent a gift for Tatum's bridal shower. It was, apparently, a hit. Everyone was crying. Maybe sometime I'll write about it. With the gift, I included a letter to the groom. After he read it, he sent me a message on facebook asking if there was any way I could make it work to be there for the ceremony. We mulled it over and decided we could do it, so I booked a flight for me and the girls.

We left the day after Abby's birthday, which was a little crazy. I didn't have time to pack the day before like I normally would because I was busy with the party preparations.

I was very nervous to travel with both girls by myself. I made it to my gate with all 3,000 of our bags, plus Clara's car seat with only the casualty of a sock. (Though I almost lost my driver's license and the girls' birth certificates. Thank goodness for nice, attentive strangers.)

Before getting on, I was told there were no empty seats on the plane. Dang! I knew if there was even one empty seat, it would be next to the lady with two children. I felt very blessed when an older man sat down next to me and said, "It's my lucky day!" He was a sweet grandpa. Abby even cuddled with him while Clara was sleeping. Unfortunately, Clara didn't do a whole lot of sleeping and Abby didn't sleep it all. Fortunately, they were very good girls. Busy, but good. The most challenging part was probably the two trips to the bathroom. As you know, those bathrooms aren't even big enough for Abby by herself, let alone Abby, me and Clara.

We got to my parents house, got the girls some dinner and put them to bed. They didn't sleep very well that night. Abby ended up in bed with me and they both woke up at 4:45 a.m. Hello biological clock! I was incredibly sore too. I'm talking top ten sorest times in my life. Who knew an airplane flight with two kiddos could do such a number on your body.

Abby really wanted to go swimming at Grammy's but the pool was too cold so we let her play in the jacuzzi. My dad just didn't turn the heat up so it was the perfect temperature for her.

The girls had so much fun playing with their grandparents and I enjoyed some "me" time, sitting on the couch reading. It was glorious.

Clara looked so cute sitting in the high chair. She's getting pretty good at picking up Cheerios.

Tatum didn't know I was coming to the wedding. Her fiance, Caleb, wanted to keep it a surprise. The day before the wedding, the girls and I showed up at the rehearsal to surprise her. My dad took the girls back home and I stuck around to hang out and help with the decorations.

The ceremony was beautiful, despite some wind. It was in Tatum's grandparent's backyard--a place full of memories for me. Tatum and I spent many afternoons playing and swimming and having parties there.

The girls stayed for the ceremony and then my parents took them home so I could spend the evening partying it up with my friends. I had a blast dancing and chatting. It made me feel like I was in high school.

I'm so glad I got to be there for Tatum's special day!

The flight home was perfect! There was an extra seat so I got to bring Clara's car seat on. She slept most of the flight while Abby and I played. Abby finally crashed with about 40 minutes left. When we landed, she was dead to the world. A nice guy carried her and put her in the stroller. She didn't wake up until Sam put her in the car and then went right back to sleep and slept until 8:30 a.m. I've decided travelling during the time change is a wonderful idea.

We missed our daddy and were so glad to get home to him.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Abby is 3

We headed to Arizona for a wedding the day after her birthday so I'm just getting around to this...

A week has past and I still can't believe I have a three-year-old. We love our Abby Drue so much.

She is hilarious. She keeps me laughing with her little-girl humor and her infectious smile.

She asks a lot of questions. She always wants to know who made things (Who made my table?-Daddy. Who made our house?-I don't know.) or who bought her toys and clothes (the answer is usually grammy).

She is so smart and loves to learn. We checked out a sign language movie from the library and after watching it two times she can show me all of the signs.

She is still pretty shy but usually warms up pretty quickly. She goes into giggle mode whenever someone talks to her and she is feeling shy.

She is a good helper. She always helps me clean the house. She loves to do dishes. She is quick to help me take care of Clara.

On her birthday, we let her open two presents before her nap. She doesn't sleep well when she's excited for something. Little did she know, there was a mountain of presents to open when she got up from her nap.

Aunt Merrick made her a cute dress. She wanted to wear it immediately.

I made her an apron and oven mitts. They went wonderfully with all of the new kitchen stuff she got.

She had a rainbow party. I got most of my inspiration from Pinterest. Who knew rainbow parties were all the rage? The kids colored and made rainbow necklaces out of Fruit Loops. The Fruit Loop bowl was also a popular place for tiny hands.

The food table turned out pretty great. I think my favorite were the chocolate dipped Oreos. Yum!

Throughout the course of the night, there were 57 people in our house. Thankfully, about half of them were small children. It was fun having so many people there to celebrate our little girl.

I made her a rainbow headband which looked lovely with the cool rainbow cupcakes.

After the party, Abby put her costume on so we could go trick-or-treating

It was such a fun day! We are so blessed to have such a wonderful little lady in our family!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Happy Halloween

October 31 has everything to do with our sweet, spunky first born and little to do with Halloween. So, I'll do a Halloween post today.

We had a bunch of errands to run today and just as we were ready to leave, I looked out the window and saw that it was snowing. The weather reports had predicted snow but I didn't think it was supposed to start until the evening.

When we got back from our errands, Abby was dying to play in the snow.

Because of the "dangerous" weather conditions, the Halloween party at the church was cancelled. The party was going to be a chili cook-off, and our friends had already made a big pot of chili, so they invited a bunch of people over for a mini-Halloween party.

We put our girls in their costumes and they sure looked cute!

Sam and I threw together last minute costumes because our orginal plans fell through. I was a reindeer. Sam was a stocking (a costume I have from a high school assembly). There's no picture of Sam in the stocking because he looks a little woozy in the only one I took.

It was a fun alternative to the big party but we're still pretty bummed it got cancelled.

As we speak, Abby is up way past bedtime sledding with daddy and the Flemings. Sometimes, staying up past bedtime to go sledding is just what a little girl needs.
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