Sunday, December 20, 2009

Holiday Happenings

It's been a while since I posted! We've had a busy busy house here!

Reagan is finally done with school and we are SO happy that she gets three weeks off so we can enjoy some quality family time together.  During her third week off we are planning a trip to Seaworld because we figure most folks will be back in school by then.

We got our tree and decorated it! Sorry no pictures of it decorated yet, but here's one of my wonderful husband securing it to the stand.

I finished shopping! Yay!

I got all the Christmas cards out! Here are my two favorites:

Santa came by our neighborhood (or as the girls of his helpers), and handed out candy canes.  Funny enough, Reagan couldn't remember anything she wanted for Christmas, but Skylar started giving him "the list."  I can't wait to see their faces on Christmas morning when they open gifts!!

I was able to get almost everything wrapped because Reagan and Skylar are spending a few days with my parents.  We forgot how easy it was to have just one child.  We even went out to dinner and it was so quiet I was able to eat and enjoy my meal.

Bailey has been doing MUCH better with her toddler bed.  She is napping in it now and she is sleeping MOST of the night in it.  She usually wakes once.  If we don't hear her right away, she just runs into our room and climbs into our bed. We'll get that one figured out soon!

Mom's birthday is tomorrow so we're going out tonight with them and walking around a neighborhood known for their Christmas light display (and I'm making a dark chocolate cake!).

Into the home stretch for Christmas!

I hope your "week before Christmas" is blessed!!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Not So Silent Nights

This kid.

I love that sweet face.  Her kisses and snuggles make me melt.  But it's not all sugar and spice.  I think the Lord knew what He was doing when He made her our third.  If she had been our first, she probably would have been an only child (funny enough, B's mom says the same thing about him).

She can destroy a room in less than ten seconds (which is how she got the nickname Hurricane Bailey).

If she's not happy, you know (it's hard to miss the screaming at the top of her lungs).

She literally doesn't stop eating.  She should weigh 40 pounds or more with how much she consumes, but she doesn't stop moving either, so she's still only 21 pounds.

She started climbing before she could walk.

Most recently......
She has decided she hates naps and bedtime.  It used to be so easy.  If you put her in bed, she would lie down, say nigh-night, blow you a kiss, and go to sleep.  Gone are those days.

Now she protests every nap and every night.  One night last week, we "battled" it out until almost 2am.  She was finally asleep in her bed and I went back to my bed, only to have her wake up screaming at 4am.  This momma's tired.  It's only been complicated by the fact that she has discovered how to climb out of her crib.  Two nights ago, her bedtime "fussing" turned into an all out "cry for help" so I ran into her room to find her hanging on the outside of her crib (two inches from the ground...but she didn't know that).  I helped her down and she spent the rest of the night in our bed (her favorite place to be).  She made it quite clear that we needed to turn her crib into a toddler bed.  I was hopeful that she would love the "new bed" but that was not the case.  Now, her entire schedule is off.  She falls asleep out of exhaustion at random times.  In random places.  Like sitting up in our bed. Or in her highchair.  Or the couch.

I'm hoping we can get back into a routine soon.  I miss my sleep.  And my bed.  She's lucky she's so cute. :D

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The gift of music

When my dad was little, his parents purchased an upright piano for him to learn how to play.  He spent a few years in lessons, but then the piano just sat for a while.  I remember going to my grandparents house and "playing" with the piano.  When I was old enough, my grandparents gave me their upright piano and I started taking lessons.  They were not cheap and when we hit some hard times financially, my piano lessons were the first to go.  So, it has been sitting at my parents house.  For years.  The girls have "played" with it, much like I did when I was little.

When we moved 7 months ago, the piano came with us.  Reagan would sit and "freestyle" for long periods of time, so we wanted to encourage her love of the piano by getting professional lessons.  She started in September (just three months ago), and had her first recital last weekend.  I was so proud I cried.

She was SO nervous! She kept telling me that she felt like her legs were shaking (they probably were!).  She played a duet with her teacher and it was beautiful.  She is so glad to have it behind her, but I'm so proud of what she has accomplished thus far.  Her teacher says she has a natural gift with music.  (I knew it!).

I love that she is learning something other than academics, and even more grateful that our lovely piano has someone to play it the way it was meant to be played.

Baileys cheese grin

Waiting for her turn to play

Here is a link to the video of her very first recital song, "Jolly Old St. Nicholas."
Reagan's Recital Video
(Blogger isn't letting me upload a video so hopefully you can access it through facebook)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Get out!

I've been told numerous times that it's important to go on "dates" with your husband.  I think it's equally as important to get away overnight without kids.  With little ones (especially nursing ones), it's not always easy to carve out the time.  It's not that my husband and I don't love spending time together, it's just not always easy to put our needs ahead of our children.  In the parenting class that we took at church while we were expecting Reagan, they said one statement that has always stuck with me:
"To be a good mother, you must be a good wife" and the same is true for men, "to be a good dad, you must be a good husband."

Some might see that as archaic. I don't.  It basically says that I CANNOT neglect my role as a wife, if I'm going to succeed as a mother.  Sometimes moms (and dads) just need to get out of the house.  Alone. In the chaos of life with kids, it's easy to get tired and not connect with your spouse.  You forget to say "I love you."  The only hands you hold are your children's in a parking lot.

When we lived with my mom and dad, we tried to go out and eat occasionally, but then my mom got sick and it was harder to find a sitter.  Plus, I've been either pregnant or nursing for 5 years, so that's hampered our attempts.  :D Honestly (and sadly), it just wasn't a priority.

So it had been a long time since we had even had a meal together, and almost FIVE years since we had gone away overnight.

But, I'm no longer nursing (Yay!), and my mom is healed (Praise God!), and she only lives 45 minutes away.  So, in the midst of trying to figure out a good gift for my husband's birthday (that happened to fall ON Thanksgiving this year), I had the brilliant idea to surprise him with a weekend away since he would have Friday off anyway.

My dad helped us secure a hotel with his timeshare rewards, and my mom agreed to come stay all weekend at our house.  I told him that we were going out for dinner in Newport Beach the day after Thanksgiving to celebrate his birthday.

My mom arrived on Friday morning (and of course we had to hit a few Black Friday sales), and then Brian went to get new tires on his car.  He wanted to get the tires done before we drove all the way down to the beach.  It worked out perfectly.  While he was getting new tires, I packed our bags.  I threw them in the garage under a blanket and did my hair and makeup.  When he got home, he said he needed to shower quickly before we left for dinner.  While he was showering, I took the bags from the garage and put them in the trunk.  We said good bye to the girls (and I grabbed his phone charger on the sly and shoved it in my purse) and took off for "dinner."  After we got to our hotel, I told him that I wasn't taking him to dinner at the Marriott, but that we were staying all weekend. He was completely surprised!

We had dinner at a very nice Italian restaurant on the water, and realized that we were done eating in less than ten minutes. It's amazing how quickly a meal goes when you don't have children with you!

The funniest part of the weekend was that we watched two movies in the hotel and they were both kid movies!

Even though things weren't "perfect" (gotta love the untimely arrival of Aunt Florence), it was nice to just exhale and enjoy each other's company.

We drank coffee in the morning, and walked around the beach.

We held hands.

We had uninterrupted conversations.

It was a weekend of rest, and we decided we would not wait five more years to get away again.  We came home refreshed and ready to be parents again.

The girls had a great weekend with Yaya and she loved the quality time with them.  It was a win-win situation all the way around!

If you haven't been out with your husband in a while, make it a priority.  You won't regret it.

The view from the lobby

This tree was not there the day we checked in but they transformed the lobby while we were there!
It was so beautiful and made me want to head home and start decorating!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Ba-bye Binky, Hello Disneyland!

A few months back, Skylar said she was ready for her binkies to go away.  Yaya (my mom) had promised her that if she gave up her binkies, she would take her to Disneyland as a reward.  Skylar asked if Reagan could go along too so mom and I decided that we would make it a girls trip (well, a girls over two trip since we left Bailey with Daddy).  We decided to go the weekend before Thanksgiving since it would be decorated for Christmas but not crazy busy yet.

We left early on Friday morning and checked into the Disneyland Hotel! Then, we rode the monorail over to Disneyland.

This is the tree in Downtown Disney on the way to the monorail.

We had a fantastic day with the girls! They loved seeing Tinkerbell, eating ice cream, and shopping!

(yaya and the girls with the sun in their eyes!)

They got a little tired and hungry so we took the monorail back to the hotel and had a nice lunch and some rest time.  They got their second wind and we went back to the park.  Oddly enough, one of their favorite parts was playing at Goofy's house in his "yard."  There are a bunch of those soft climbing structures (like they have at our mall).  My mom and I were laughing about it, because they can play on those things anytime, but they had a blast because they were "free" to just play and not wait in line or hold someone's hand.

As we were walking back from Toontown (and Goofy's house) we realized that the Christmas parade (LOVE that they still call it a Christmas parade) was starting so we grabbed a spot next to Small World to watch.  Skylar fell asleep while waiting.  So sweet.

She woke up just as the princesses were passing and two of them even waved at her and blew her a kiss.  It was the highlight of her day!

Skylar on Small World ride

Reagan on the monorail (her favorite part).

We were there until almost 9pm and then decided to head back to the hotel to watch the fireworks from our balcony.  It was so fun! We sipped hot chocolate and covered up with a blanket.  The hotel has a "fireworks" channel that you tune into so you can hear the music that goes with the fireworks.

The next day we had breakfast with the characters, then shopped around Downtown Disney and headed home.

The girls with Jasmine

It was a great trip filled with memories! I'm so glad the girls had a fun time, but even more glad the binkies are gone from this house!

My babies are growing up.....

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

This time of year!

It's been "one of those days" all week.  

I feel like a broken record lately.  "Don't touch that."  "Put your shoes away please."  "Who emptied the DVD drawer again!?" "No, you may not have another snack.  I'm making dinner."  "Turn the tv off."  "Who gave the baby markers?!" "Is your homework done?" "Wasn't this room JUST picked up?!"  "Did you hear what I JUST said?!"  "How in the WORLD did you climb OUT of your crib?!"

Some days feel like it would be more productive to just bang my head on a wall.  I know that we have made the decision for me to stay home, and deal with all the sacrifices that come with that.  It's for the greater good of the girls.  It's just that some days it doesn't feel like it's for MY greater good.   At the end of the day, I'm spent.  I have nothing left to give.  I know that feeling is not unique to SAHMs.  Working moms must feel like they have even less to give.  

Christmas seems to add a whole different layer too.  This week (even though we're only halfway through), I was lamenting about how much I needed to get done.  I have tons of gifts to buy (and praying money starts growing on trees), decorations to put out, a tree to buy and decorate, Christmas cards and letters to finish, cookies to bake, and memories to make.  It's easy to feel overwhelmed.  

Just when I start to feel defeated (and tired and cranky), it seems like the Lord sends me a little perspective.  He doesn't require me to do any of those things on my to-do list.  He just wants me to be with my blessings and cherish them for what they are.

There are plenty of folks that would love to have my to-do list if it means that they wouldn't have to sit in a hospital next to their sick child (like a friend of mine), or watch a loved one deal with a terminal illness (another friend of mine), or watch a marriage crumble (another friend of mine), or wonder how to pay for gifts because of unemployment (another friend), or even have children to celebrate the wonder of the holidays with (yes, another friend), or ache from losing a child (another friend).  



This season I will count my blessings.  Even the ones that don't seem like it.  The baby is showing us she's not a baby anymore.  She climbed out of her crib (more than once), and is talking non stop, as well as "asserting" herself more.  I am thankful that she's healthy, bright, and obviously agile.  Skylar wants every toy in every commercial, and even the "as seen on tv" items that are not toys.  But I'm thankful she lacks nothing and has few cares in the world. Reagan has lists of things she wants to do over her Christmas break.  More lists.  But I'm thankful she loves Christmas as much as I do, and wants to spend time with her family.  

I am truly thankful for this time of the year.  With the hustle and bustle and long lists of things to do, I am still reminded that the greatest gift of all was given in the humblest of conditions.  A baby born in a stable.  There were no icicle lights, Christmas cards, or trees.  

My blessings are many, my burdens are few.  I'm praying the same for each of you.


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