Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Our Little World

Dear Cheeks, Peepers, and Squeak,


I discovered this picture yesterday, and it stopped me in my tracks. I sent it to your daddy immediately with the caption, "What happened to these babies!?" 

See you are growing everyday. A little bigger, a little smarter, a little sassier, yet a little sweeter. You are changing constantly, and I don't realize it. So I am pressing pause on today. I know I often don't find the time to write in this blog like I once did, but I want to remember everything about these precious days. 

So what do these days look like? Your daddy and I are up often during the night. Someone needs to eat, someone had a bad dream, someone fell asleep in the other's bed, someone needs a diaper change or to go to the bathroom. We are tired...very tired. I often find myself wiping make-up away under my eye only to realize that it is not mascara, but these new dark circles that don't go away. Sometimes I look at my bed and want to cry because I am so tired, yet very needed.

You are always learning and saying something hilarious, or profound, or asking an inquisitive question. It makes me wonder where it came from and reminds me to watch my own tongue and actions. 

You are making friends and this excites me. Whether it is Mae Stanley who gives a sweet smile to a stranger, Gaines who is shy at first (which makes me giggle because you are NOT shy at all at home), or Woody who loves to tell everyone, "Hello! How are you today? (you are your father's child.)" Your hearts have changed mine. You make me want to be a better person. You make me see people and interact with them.

We are busy. We go, go, go. There is school, church, choir, and soon-to-be baseball. There are naps in cars and nursing in parking lots. I can feed a baby in my arm while tossing chicken nuggets a toddler. I am amazing at changing a toddlers diaper while standing in the backseat. And oh, that backseat. Nothing makes me happier than to look behind me and see my babies in a row. And when you brothers sing and sister coos along with you I know God has given me a slice of Heaven. I tend to drive a little slower or let a car cut me off. So thank you for reminding me to be a little kinder.

Sometimes we stop the go, go, go. Sometimes we stay in our pajamas. We eat PB&Js for breakfast and spend hours playing play doh, or trains, or school. We race cars and build with Legos. We spell words and sing silly songs and dance to loud music. There is beauty in doing nothing because that is when the good something happens.

Sometimes we all get on the ground and stare at the smallest Harvard. Mae Stanley, you adore your brothers. Boys, you adore your sister and even though you sometimes fight, you adore each other. You sleep in the same room, and most nights, in the same twin bed. You two are so different, yet you love each other so much. Maybe you should show the rest of the world that you don't always have to agree with everything about someone to find them spectacular. 

Stay-at-home moms often feel unappreciated. I'll admit, when I first became one I was almost disappointed I didn't have an annual review. I wanted someone to tell me I was doing a good job. I wanted someone to be impressed that I got a tough stain out an outfit, that I saved money at the grocery store, that I got you to eat a vegetable. Maybe no one notices that I will take you to the doctor with every sniffle, that I research sleep patterns and the top preschools. I don't earn a blue ribbon for taking you to the park when I am tired or letting you eat the last piece of cake. But now, I don't mind. You three are my greatest accomplishment. I am so proud of you, so I must be doing something right. Right? Right.

Not everyday is sunshine and rainbows. I feel guilty because we eat too much fast food and watch too much TV some days. The house is often a mess and laundry piles up. I send in store-bought cookies for your parties, and sometimes, I completely forget to send anything at all. I forget to remind you of the importance of doing for others. I wish I would lose the baby weight, and then feel guilty for being vain and not appreciating the body that brought you into this world. I run our of patience, and I yell and come down on you way too hard. I cry. I get mad at myself. Sometimes, I can't even muster out a prayer. I just say, "Jesus." I have to ask for God's forgiveness a lot. I have to ask for your daddy's forgiveness, and often your forgiveness. But I want you to remember this too. Know my faults and shortcomings. In these moments, you will witness the beautiful grace that Christ gives to us. 

But despite it all, we are happy. We laugh a lot. Our days are special. I am so lucky to have you. And I hope that one, day, when you look through this blog and all the pictures of you when you were younger, you can remember. I love you forever.

And now, basically a January/ first of February photo dump...

So silly
A "snow storm" was coming so we prepared

...but there wasn't much snow. We still had fun.


Brooks had to fly out of town, and the boys became very concerned that there wasn't a "daddy" at home. They insisted that they would be Daddy and help me. They did Daddy-sort of things like help me with the baby, and most importantly, wear ugly caps.

The next morning, Gaines loaned his hat to Mae Stanley

But Woody wore one proudly. 



Woody was pretending to be Gaines's baby

Mae Stanley's preferred late afternoon nap



They sleep like puppies.
And Gaines drools a lot

Don't be fooled.
The crib sleeping was short-lived.

Gaines thought that since she was in the crib, he could move in to the Rock'n'Play


Mae Stanley got very sick

But thankfully, she is feeling better!

Car naps for the win!






Still working on the bottle, but not loving it


Whew! All done!

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Mae Stanley- Three Months


I. Can't. Even.
Heart-Eyed Emojis times a zillion







Mae Stanley Facts
  • Weight: 13 lbs
  • Diaper Size: 2
  • Clothing Size: 3-6 months
  • Sleep: I am starting to see a routine. She naps and sleeps in her Rock'n'Play (we have made changes in this area, but I am trying to stay true to what she mastered by three months!) She likes to be swaddled...but not too tight. Her naps are anywhere from 20 minutes-an hour. She usually stays awake an hour and a half before she is ready for another nap. She goes to bed between 9 and 10 on most nights. The longest stretch she has done at night in 7.5 hours. I'm not complaining!
  • Eat: Every 3-3.5 hours. She still won't take a bottle....awesome.
  • Likes: Momma, Daddy, when her brothers talk to her, snuggles, her playmat, dolls, her fist
  • Dislikes: Carseat, dirty diapers (hates them), bottles, people sneezing
  • This baby is such a buttercup. She smiles all the time and has started laughing.
  • Her little thighs are starting to get rolls and I adore her dimple knuckles
  • Her eyes are BIG and blue like her brothers. Her hair is light brown. Poor Sister has an epic bald spot in back.
  • We kinda follow a Mom's on Call schedule...but kinda not. I feel that we are working towards a better schedule. I just don't think I will ever be one of those mommas that can get their baby on a schedule...and I am okay with that.
  • We are all still so incredibly, madly in love with our girl.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Trip to the Zoo

One day over Christmas break, we met up with our friends, Alyssa and Watts at the zoo. Alyssa is once of my favorite people. She is so positive and upbeat. The boys adore Watts as well.

I was a little nervous about how I would do in such a crowded place with all the kiddos. I ended up having to park on the street and walk to the zoo, but I made the boys ride in the double Bob and wore Mae Stanley in the Baby Bjorn. Once we got in, I let the boys walk around, and it was nice to have the stroller hold the bags.




Ugh. The smell.



After the train, we rode the Merry-Go-Round. It was a little stressful because Woody wanted to sit on the bench and Gaines wanted to ride an animal. Of course all the animals in front of the bench were taken. Alyssa got Watts on an animal right behind the bench and told me she would keep an eye on Woody. Then I couldn't get Gaines on his animal with Mae Stanley strapped to me. Once the ride started, Gaines freaked out and was trying to get off/hold on to me. We all decided that was exhausting and we needed to go home and sleep! Everyone took a great nap though and decided it was a very fun day!


(Except Momma got a parking ticket for parking illegally on the street. Weak.)

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Christmas 2016

I'm behind. I know.

You guys, Christmas was so wonderful. I knew Christmas would be awesome watching the boys get the gifts they have long been asking for, but having Woody sing Christmas songs and retell the nativity was the absolute best. 

Christmas Eve

I love being in Atlanta for Christmas Eve. It is so special going to Christmas Eve service at Peachtree. This year, Woody was going to be singing at the 10:00am service. I didn't take pictures. I was so proud and too lost in the moment to think about getting my phone out for pictures. I was so proud of him for learning all the songs and singing so well. He had quite the fan club as well. Not only were Brooks, Gaines, Mae Stanley, and I there, but Nana, Gran, Mimi, Papa, Aunt Savanna, and Uncle Jake came as well.

Once it was finished, Mimi and Papa took Gaines home and the rest of us ate a quick lunch because we had to get back so Mae Stanley could be Jesus in the 1:00pm service. I was so proud! I think I told everyone in Atlanta she was going to play Jesus. She did so great too. She slept the whole time, which was hard because the orchestra was loud. Sometimes she would throw up her arms, but she didn't cry the entire time. 

I cried. Sue me. 



Once we got home, we got ready to host Christmas Eve for Brooks's family. I ordered dinner from Whole Foods again, but no fire trucks this year. Then we exchanged family gifts. Again, having too much fun and forgot to take pictures, but here is a picture of our table ready to host 11 people.


Christmas Morning we saw what Santa brought! The boys were so excited!



We then headed to church. The nursery staff had the day off (which, duh, I should have known!), so we had to take the boys in with us. We sat in the back of the balcony so we wouldn't disturb anyone. The boys were being so sweet and wanted us to hold them while we sang Christmas songs. It was one of my favorite parts of this Christmas. It was special to be in church on Christmas with my family. Then looking down at sweet, Baby Mae Stanley and thinking about Mary holding Baby Jesus. 

I cried. Again. The pews should have tissues.

We then drove to Maridelle's for some lunch and a little more time with our family.

Exhausted.

As a child, December 26 was the most depressing day. It was like the magic was gone. But not now. Woody still sings all of the Christmas songs. He also still knows all the lines from his class's version of The Nativity Story. He refuses to let me put up the Fisher Price Nativity Set. And maybe he has a point. Maybe I should do a better job of remind myself to "Don't Be Afraid! You're gonna have a baby," and to sing about the angels rejoicing. 

“For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.”
Isaiah 9:6




Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Jingle Jingle

This my be the longest post ever. Sorry, not sorry.

It is December and has been for 21 days! We are getting into the Christmas spirit...
Well, maybe we need some warming up...

So let's go see....

SANTA!
Please look at how proud Woody is <3

Three Happy Kiddos!

Woody is asking for: a Paw Patrol Pup House, On-the-go Numbers set, and a backpack like Daddy's
Gaines is asking for: the last toy he saw on TV Paw Patrol Jungle set and Super Wing toys

She is asking for peace on earth...

Or maybe for her brothers to not wrestle so close to her



Geez Mom, if you're going to make us take pictures, can you make sure they are in focus!?

Aunt Savanna and Uncle Jake babysat while we did some Christmas shopping. Gaines is quite the fan.

But then he remembers that he is two and hasn't had a tantrum in thirty minutes

Going to her third birthday party in two weeks!

Post-nap hair

Saint Woody asleep with his devotional and bible


Everything was going well until everything wasn't. One Tuesday, I was about to pick up the boys from preschool and I felt so sick. I felt like I had the flu, but without the cold symptoms. It hurt to move. Sweet Brooks came home, but was about to fly out of town, so my amazing parents drove up to help out. By the time they got here on Wednesday, I was doing better and felt bad they had come over. However, Thursday I woke up with full-blown mastitis. Ugh. I couldn't have made it without them!

When Mommy is sick, you get to wear two pajama shirts, make a total mess, and cover yourself in stickers!


When Mommy feels better, she goes on a crazy cleaning spree and throws out 1/3 of your toys!





I was so excited to go to Woody's Class Christmas program, as well as both of the boys' parties. Woody has really loved church choir this year and had been singing the songs from his music class at school for weeks.
Baby Sister wearing her festive outfit from Mimi




Blogger is being weird with my videos, but he did so good! I am proud of how he is coming out of his shell and becoming more comfortable with unfamiliar situations.

At his class party, he told me to leave as soon as I got there. Typical. I did manage to get a picture of him. (Of course, when I showed him this picture last weekend, he said, "Oh, that is me at my party, and I cried because you left me." Cue momma tears! I felt so bad!)


At Gaines's party, His class was so cute with their festive antlers!

My three Christmas cookies
Yum yum yum

He really is an 80 year old in a 4 year old's body

Last weekend we traveled to Alabama to celebrate Christmas with my family. On Saturday, it was just my parents, siblings, nieces, nephew, and us. The boys were so excited to see their cousins. Gaines was being extra silly, so I had to snap some pictures.



You can see more pictures on Sister's blog here

Ready for Sunday!

On Sunday, aunt and uncle, grandmother, cousins, and their families joined us. I only see them a few times a year, and it is always extra special.

My precious Maw-Maw with her TEN great grandchildren (and #11 is on the way!)


After we said our good-byes, we left the boys with the Harvards for some special Christmas fun with Mimi and Papa. They have been busy...


...making cookies (and biscuits and banana bread!)

...Visiting Bass Pro Shop (and the actual zoo)...


...going to four different parks...


... more Bass Pro Shop (and adding things to their Christmas wish lists)...

...and beating Mimi at card games!

But oh my goodness, I miss them!
Thankfully they come home tomorrow.

Mae Stanley and I have had a lot of bonding time. She is the happiest baby on the block!


My friend, Alyssa, gave her a little Christmas doll in her goody bag from her son's birthday party. Mae Stanley loves it! She looks for it, and it can always get a smile from her.


Holding her baby <3

We've done quite a bit of shopping.
Shopping with a sleeping baby is a tad easier than with a two and four year old!

And we are trying to learn to take a bottle. 
We are on our third type of bottle.
Mae Stanley = Not Impressed

Our Christmas Card 2016

Even with all the craziness of December...travel, parties, sickness, and shopping, Woody says it best- "It's Baby Jesus's Birthday!" Don't get me wrong, he is VERY in to Santa and VERY in to what Santa is going to bring him. But sometimes, he says the sweetest things that are a reminder about the wonderful gift of a tiny baby who was sent to be the Savior of this world. Our world is very broken. It is easy to turn a blind eye to the hardships, because the pain seems to big to face. But this baby. This baby that was born in a manger came to save this broken world. He is bigger than all the pain, hurt, and sadness. He is the Healer, the Joy, the Prince of Peace. He is the best gift we could ever receive. 

I hope you and your families have a very Merry Christmas.



             



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