Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Mother's Day 2015

I have a love-hate relationship with Mother's Day. While I enjoy {finally} being able to celebrate it as a mother, I haven't forgotten how hard it was every year for me when we were waiting for our babies. There are many people in my life that I know are still waiting, so those friends are always heavy on my heart on Mother's Day. 

At one time, I was close with someone who had lost their mother when they were a teenager. Mother's Day was always super hard for her, as well. So, I know it's not just those of us who have first-hand experience with infertility that suffer on Mother's Day. It's also difficult for those who have lost their own mother or even children. Every holiday can be like this, but I just remember how terrible Mother's Day used to be for me, so I still feel those emotions strongly.

Despite all of this, I do try to keep a positive attitude throughout the day and celebrate it with loved ones. Our tradition is to go to my parents' house for the weekend so I can spend the day with my own mom. We've done this for several years, but this year was different. Having babies two at a time is a game changer. We've always traveled when our babies were very small, but we just didn't feel ready for it this year. I missed so much being with my mom for the weekend, but it was just wasn't what was best for us this time. 

This year, we were invited to a little Mother's Day celebration at Chris's sister's house on May 9th (the Saturday before actual Mother's Day). We spent that morning putting the finishing touches on a few handcrafted gifts for my mom, Chris's grandma, and me, then headed over to Chris's sister's house to spend the afternoon. 

Meme with Abby, Zeke, and Brooke:

We had lunch and just enjoyed each other's company for a few hours.

Meme with Brooke, Chris with Brecklyn, and Grandpa:

Grandma holding Brooke and Chris holding Brecklyn:

Grandma with {a fussy} Brooke and Grandpa with Brecklyn:

Grandpa isn't one to hold babies much, so it was cute that he was holding Brecklyn for several minutes :-)

Sweet photo of Grandma and Brecklyn:

Grandma and Grandpa with our little crew:

All the grandchildren on Chris's side of the family: Abby holding Brooke, Zeke holding Brecklyn, Brianna, and Brenson

While the babies are much easier to take places now than they were even a few weeks ago, we still weren't able to stay long. With it being afternoon, it was right during their nap time, so they were being a little fussy. They each did sleep for just about 30 minutes which helped their dispositions, but we try not to push them too hard.

The next morning, we got up and ready earlier than usual so that we'd have time for photos and gifts. Sunday mornings can get a bit hectic around our house, but we had plenty of time to fit everything in this day.

Brianna, Momma, and Bren:

Brooke, Momma, and Brecklyn:

Just the girls . . . Bren had a pretty bad attitude about taking pictures this day :-(

It's always fun to have a little pile of gifts to open :-). A few years ago, Chris and I started having the children write in a book for us for Mother's/Father's Day instead of doing cards. The purple book you see in this photo is my book they write in each year. We both LOVE this idea! I adore having their words, writing, coloring, stickers, etc all in one place to look at whenever I want. I'm sure it will just get better as the years go by!

Here I am with my gifts . . . a couple pairs of shoes, a new watch, an amethyst ring (since all my babies were born in February AND purple is my favorite color, it makes jewelry shopping easy), some socks to go with my new shoes, and several bottles of hand soap.

About a week before Mother's Day, Brenson was talking to me one evening and just blurted out one of the gifts they had gotten me. When he quickly realized what he had done, he was so embarrassed that he ran away crying. I felt so bad for the little guy, but it was so cute that I just laughed and laughed. He's such a sensitive little man, and he was really upset with himself for letting the "secret" slip out.

It's always hard for me to know what to get people like Chris's Grandma for holidays. I found this idea on Pinterest where you use paint to put your child's footprint on a flower pot, then turn them into butterflies. I thought it was a super cute idea, so we did a flower pot for Grandma and one for me. Let me tell you, it was a MESS painting on each child's foot then stamping it on the flower pot, but I adore how it turned out! Such a treasure to me!

I used a Sharpie to draw the body of the butterfly and to write each child's name on their footprints. These are Brianna's:

I also wrote the year in Sharpie.

You can just imagine how difficult it was to get a 3 month old to cooperate with this project! It took both Chris and I to get it accomplished, and it still didn't turn out perfect. These are Brooke's footprints:


And, Brecklyn's:

As much as I love the flower pot and am thankful for the other gifts, my true gift is that of being a mom to my little crew. It's a gift that I wasn't sure I'd ever be able to experience. It's a gift I waited for years to receive. It's a gift sent straight from God above. I can't express enough how having these babies is nothing short of a dream-come-true.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Monday Randoms and Ramblings

Hi, everyone! Another week has begun, so I thought I'd do a post with some random thoughts and favorite pictures from last week. 

Last Friday, Brianna completed her first full week of school. She is loving it so much. Generally, she's not what I'd call a morning person . . . just meaning that she likes to sleep in (later than Brenson, for sure) and can be a little cranky if we have to wake her. Ever since school started, she has jumped out of bed on her own just so eager to get dressed and ready to go. She's so adorable during drop-off. She jumps right out of the car and walks into school like she owns the place. The music teacher stands outside and directs traffic every morning, and one morning he had his hands up signaling for the cars in the drop-off line to stop so a few kids could cross the parking lot. Brianna walked by him and high-fived his raised hands! Haha.
On Thursday, Bri came home from school and told me that a girl said a bad word to her. I was pretty nervous, but as it turns out the girl just said, "dumb". Apparently, this girl doesn't get along with anyone in the class, and according to Brianna she is in trouble quite a bit. I feel for the little girl . . . she probably just needs lots of hugs and some boundaries. Anyhow, Brianna relates to me that the troubled girl approached Brianna and another little girl in the class after they made an art project and told them that their art papers were dumb. Now, Brianna is pretty feisty, so I've been a little nervous about how she'd handle someone not being nice at school. I asked Brianna what she did when troubled girl called her paper dumb, and Brianna said, "I was just silent and stared at her until she looked away. I didn't say a word." Lol. I am glad Brianna isn't intimidated by other kids, but I'm also very glad she didn't hit her! We have prayed for troubled girl that she can start making better choices and make a few friends. 

We are still adjusting to our new schedule and routine. The main problem is that we have to pick Brianna up from school right during the middle of nap time. Bren has adjusted fairly well and quickly, but the babies are struggling. 

One really great thing about Brianna being in school is that I get one-on-one time with Brenson during the babies' morning nap. Of all the children, he probably gets the least one-on-one time with me simply because Brianna by nature demands a lot of attention, and the babies obviously require a greater amount of attention right now. This makes me sad for him, but now we have time each day to spend together. We are both loving this! 

At three years old, I personally believe most learning should come through exploration and play. However, I have started taking about 30 to 45 minutes each day to have a bit of structured learning time with Brenson. And - no surprise - he loves it. I've decided to do a "letter day" a few times a week where we choose a letter to explore and "study". Last week, we had A day. 

He made an A using our Lite Bright!

We also made an A using stickers and stamps.

Then, he practiced writing A on a small marker board.

We also sculpted As out of Play-doh. Bren loves to sculpt and build, so this was right up his alley.

After creating a big A, he took it apart and created several little As.

Finally, we went on an A scavenger hunt finding and collecting objects that begin with A.

Here he is with his A loot . . . airplane, apple, Apple Cider Vinegar, anchor, album, and A paper.

We also had a B day last week. 

His favorite part was the B scavenger hunt! He found LOTS of objects that begin with B! After our scavenger hunt, we headed to Taco Bueno for lunch and ate bean burritos :-).

The other day, Bren was playing with something he isn't permitted to touch. I walked in the room just in time to see him drop the off-limits object. As this happened, he looked up at me with the most innocent little face and soft voice and said, "Momma, you're so pretty." Hahaha! They learn so young how to work a woman! 

On Thursday, the babies had their 6 month photo shoot. We were planning to do at least part of the shoot outside, but we ended up having a big thunderstorm. We carried on with an inside session, and I'm so excited to see how the photos came out. After returning home, I put them down for their morning nap (and they were ready . . . smiling for the camera wore them smooth out!), and Bren and I decided to bake cookies.

I love how he's double-fisting the cookie dough . . . beater in one hand, spatula in the other!

He said, "Mom, this is so fun!" several times while we were mixing up the dough. His future wife will thank me for teaching him to cook!

Miss Brooke Ellie had a little bit of a tough weekend. I thought she was dealing with some allergies as she was sneezing quite a bit and had watery eyes, runny nose, etc. However, she also had a fever yesterday (low-grade), so maybe it's teething? Who knows. What I do know is that she's been pretty miserable. Saturday night, she woke up struggling to breathe. I woke Chris so he could help me suction her nose and mouth (one of us has to hold her hands while the other suctions). She ended up getting choked on the excessive mucous and puked ALL over our bed, herself, and Chris (we had her in our room so as not to wake Brecklyn). It smelled TERRIBLE. So, there I was at 4am giving Brooke a bath in the kitchen sink while Chris took a quick shower. Then, we had to change the sheets on our bed. UGH. 

So, so pitiful :-(. The hair, however, is as awesome as ever :-)!

We've found that Brooke is super sensitive when she doesn't feel well. Every loud noise (and let's face it, our house is nothing BUT loud noise, ha!) has her startled and showing her pout lip. Poor baby girl . . . such a sad little cute pout. 

The girls are almost 7 months old, but it still surprises me how much attention we get when we're in public. People just make a big deal over twins. I don't fully understand this as I know a lot of families with twins, and I see them out and about all the time. Regardless, they draw tons of attention, and people say/ask the funniest things. Today, we went to the library where a gentleman was asking me 100 questions about the girls (which I generally don't mind . . . it's kinda fun to talk to people as long as they're not being super negative about having two babies). Then he said, "A boy and a girl, right?" Below is a picture from today to show you how they were dressed.

We've actually gotten that question a lot, and I always wonder who they think is the boy? My girls are pretty much always wearing a headband when we are out in public, yet they still get mistaken for boy/girl twins. One day, someone said something about them being a boy and a girl, and after I corrected them, they said, "Oh, well one has a black bow in their hair so that made me think it was a boy." Hahaha, really? I don't know about you, but I don't generally (EVER) put a bow in my son's hair . . . regardless of the color! I should do a post just about all the funny things people have said to me about the twins. 

Okay, enough chatter for today. I've got to get dinner prepped. Happy Monday!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Baby Jack, The Weekend, and Other Ramblings

This week began Brianna's first full week of school. We're all still trying to adjust to this new routine and rigid schedule. We've always kept a schedule, but it's different for me to have to constantly think about being in town for pick up and Brianna's earlier bedtime (she's going to bed a full hour earlier than before). Also, we tend to travel on a whim quite a bit, but that will have to come to an end. It's just a change in mindset. 

Brecklyn and Brooke have been missing their biggest sister during the day. They will often get up from nap and just look around the house, and I think they're looking for her! Pick up happens right during their afternoon nap (2:45pm), so we've had to adjust their schedule quite a bit. They're doing okay, but still trying to fully transition to the new schedule.

I've had several comments about how my days must be a little easier now that I only have three at home instead four. The truth is, Brianna is such a huge help to me that sometimes it is harder without her! She's so good to soothe babies and run to get me anything I need. Bren wants to help, but crying babies stress him out a good bit. The other day, Brecklyn was crying because she had fallen over. I was nursing Brooke so I asked Bren to please set Brecklyn back up. He tried, but she was wiggling and crying, and he finally said, "I can't handle this!" Haha! Poor guy.

I would say that right now the transition of having Brianna gone all day has been the hardest on Bren. He's kind of acted like he doesn't know what to do with himself without her here. Yesterday was better, and we've been praying that things will continue to improve. I am getting more one-on-one time with him, and I think we're both loving that.

My dear friend, Kendall, had a baby boy toward the end of July. Brianna had been begging to go meet him, so early last week (before school started) we paid a visit to their house. Miss Bri was thrilled to hold sweet baby Jack.

As you all know, Chris and I struggled with infertility for years before finally being blessed with babies. Kendall and her husband, Wes, also dealt with infertility, so Kendall and I were in the trenches together for several years. It's incredible and such a testament to our glorious God when we look at our combined crew of SEVEN sweet babies, knowing where He brought us from. Love these sweeties!

*Sidenote* - Every photo in this post was taken with a phone. My hands always seem to be full, so grabbing my phone is just so much easier than using my big camera. However, I'm always a little disappointed in the photos since they tend to be blurry, foggy, discolored, etc. It's nice to have the photos on my phone because I often text them to Chris throughout the day or put them on social media, but I need to be better about using the big camera!

A few days after Jack was born, my friend, Angie, and I went to visit Kendall and the kiddos. This was my first time meeting and holding him. He was about five days old. Eeeep!

I mean, seriously!

I was also able to spend some time with Kendall's twin girls who are 2 1/2. I helped with bedtime, so I got to read them a few stories. They are such sweeties!

Holding Mr. Jack was giving me some serious baby fever . . . and isn't that ridiculous??? I mean, I currently have TWO babies! For those of you who are "done", does the baby fever ever go away or will I always feel a little twinge when I hold a newborn?

Sweet, sleepy Jack:

This post is kind of all over the place, but writing about Jack made me think of these photos. At the end of June, Amy, Angie, Kendall, and I all got together for a night to celebrate Kendall's growing family (I think she was about 36 weeks pregnant in these photos). We all have our own families and responsibilities, so getting together is challenging but we had such a great night! 

We got mani/pedis,

went to eat at a hibatchi grill,

went to Hobby Lobby (Ha! Kendall and I were just so happy to be shopping without children . . . things have sure changed!),

then hit up The Melting Pot for dessert. 

We've all been friends for over 10 years, so we've seen many life changes.

I think we would all agree though, the friendship continues to get sweeter and sweeter.

I think I originally sat down to post about this past weekend. Apparently, I'm taking the long way around *grin*.

Our Saturday consisted of grocery shopping, house cleaning, and a fun little back to school bash at Ross & Tia's house. I didn't have my camera with me (just too many other things to think about right now), but we had a good time eating BBQ, playing outside, and visiting.

Sunday morning, I had all the kids dressed in coordinating outfits, so I wanted some photos. The babies didn't feel like smiling, but I think it's cute anyway.

You can see how thrilled the big kids were to be taking photos. Brenson especially has been less than cooperative lately with photos. I'll be honest . . . that doesn't really work for me!

They generally do better if they're posing with Daddy. I'm not sure why this is?

After church on Sunday, we went to Chris's sister's house to celebrate his parents' birthdays. They both have August birthdays, so it worked out perfectly.

Chris's grandma with Brecklyn and Brooke:

Meme with Brecklyn and Brooke:

Our niece, Abby, with Brooke and Brecklyn:

Abby is so good with the babies! It's cute to see her with them, and I think we see a babysitter in our future :-).

Brooke and Meme . . . Miss Brooke was smiling the whole afternoon even though she was missing her nap!

There is a neighborhood park close to Chris's sister's house, so Chris, Meme, and I took the kids down there to play. 


The babies in a swing together just melts my heart. HOW am I so blessed to have TWO babies?!?

We did separate them into different swings for a while. They liked it both ways!

Miss Breckles was very sleepy, but enjoyed swinging anyway.

Brecklyn and Meme:

*Sidenote* - our weather has been ridiculously nice for August. I think the high on Sunday was in the 80s. We generally still have three digit temps at this point in the summer, so we are soaking up this cooler weather!

Abby was so good to grab our kids' hands while they were walking across the street.

Sunday was Meme's actual birthday, so I wanted a photo of her with her six grandchildren. I thought this came out pretty cute!

I hope everyone is having a great start to their week so far!