Saturday, December 10, 2011

Friday, December 9, 2011

A Very Glizty Christmas

Newsflash: Maggie is totally into GLUE. Last week it was scissors - which still terrifies me, but she is surprisingly precise and careful - but glue really takes the cake. Thanks to storytime at the library, she's been bugging me to get some for awhile. I finally caved when we went to Target last weekend. A trip to the dollar bins and two glue sticks later, I have now discovered something that can hold her attention as well as the television.

She and Gary (yes - I really had nothing to do with this craft other than purchasing the materials) spent literally ALL afternoon on Sunday bedazzling these little guys. (yes - I did just use the words "Gary" and "bedazzle" in the same sentence.)

It is, without a doubt, my favorite Christmas decoration of 2011. Although Toot and Puddle on the playroom tree are also up there.

Note to Santa: only .25 of the 2 glue sticks purchased still remain. I hope you shop at Costco.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


It's no secret that parenting changes your view of faith and faith changes your view of parenting.

Two years ago I vividly remember taking this picture during church (gasp!). I remember being overwhelmed watching tiny Maggie sleep as we sang, "The First Noel." She was so small and tiny and suddenly the humanity of the Baby Jesus became very real to me. The responsibility of parenting and raising our daughter to know Jesus personally also became very real to me. I will never forget that moment of her first Christmas.

Last year at this time I was approaching the stage of being Great With Child. Maggie and Gary and I were still living apart, and it was a very lonely, confusing time for me. I was having a hard time even remembering I was pregnant some days, let alone bonding with my baby. During our Women's Bible Study Christmas Brunch the speaker told about her own experience being pregnant during the Christmas season with...a son. Who knows why certain things touch you in different ways when you're pregnant (stupid hormones), but again, I vividly remember driving away that day overwhelmed with the anticipation of the season...of my pregnancy...of my son...and again brought the Christmas Story that much closer to home as I thought about Mary being pregnant with her own - God's own - son.

This year has been an entirely new Christmas experience. How FUN to introduce Christmas to a child...EVERYTHING is new to her. It's been very interesting to see what she picks up on - from what she sees on TV, to what others tell her, to what she sees around her (Christmas lights, huge blow up Santas, etc.), to what she hears in church, to what WE tell her and emphasize.

As I brought out the Christmas boxes this year, she was literally bursting with anticipation - and she had no idea what was even inside! Frankly, I never remember what I put in which boxes, and the first one I opened happened to hold our Nativity set. One of my vivid memories from this Christmas will be opening the box for one of the angels and Maggie (not knowing what I was opening) exclaimed, "But where is Baby Jesus??" Every box I opened after that she asked the same question. He was finally in the last one...and she was beaming as she put him and Mary on the shelf. Earlier I had purchased a Little People Nativity set for her and Howard to play with. I was going to wait a few days to bring it out, but seeing her excitement I just couldn't wait. She carried that little Baby Jesus under her arm all morning.

At night I've started reading the Christmas story (or parts of it) from her little children's Bible. Same story. Every night. She still asks for it. She also asks for "the Baby Jesus one" ("Away in a Manger") when I sing to her before bed. The past two nights she has sung the last few lines with me.

This is a lot of writing just to say that this Christmas what will stand out to me is not Maggie's experiences with presents or Santa or snow or cookies...but that it's her first true experience with JESUS. As I read her stories and sing her songs, I have realized (DUH) that teaching her about God sending his son to us as a tiny baby is the beginning of teaching her about the his great love for us and her salvation. Everything starts here.

This is by far the most meaningful Advent/Christmas season I have ever experienced in terms of reflecting on the True meaning and significance of this date. Even watching Howie looking at the lights or chewing on Joseph's head make me "treasure up all these things and ponder them in [my] heart."

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Cheap Labor

My cleaning ladies came today...whew!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Theology 101

In the car tonight:

"Where's Jesus?"
"You mean Baby Jesus?" (she spent most of the morning looking for the Baby Jesus from her nativity set that she lost)
"No, Big Jesus."
"Oh, um...he's right here with us!"
"But where is he?"
"Well he's right here with us in the car, you just can't see him."
"Oh. OK."
"Where's my rubberband?"

I also came downstairs this morning to find her reciting the Lord's Prayer to herself. (I know, I know, we're SO spiritual) In case you were wondering, the words go, "Forgive us our dance..." Is she the offspring of Wheaton people or what??

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Pajama Party!

After what has been the craziest of years, we decided to stay home for both holidays this year. I've been really looking forward to this week, planning all sorts of things we can do together as a family.

As things tend to go for us, Howie came down with an ear infection on Sunday night. And there went our outings and plans.

However, yesterday was a particularly rainy, gross day, and what do we love to do on rainy, gross days? Chick fil a, of course! (Maggie did request to have it for Thanksgiving, after all!)

We in fact ended up making two trips to Chick fil a yesterday, as Maggie didn't quite make it there the first time.

There was one other plan I had in mind that did not require a major outing or a brother...and considering her very late set nap due to the Chick Fil A episode, last night worked out perfectly for Maggie's first ever Pajama Party with Mom and Dad. She had no idea what was happening, but she was SO excited. Between handfuls of popcorn and chocolate chips as we watched "Finding Nemo," she would say, "Wow. This is a really fun show," and, "Guys, I love you so much!"

I think we could be convinced to do it again...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


I find my days with a two-year-old filled with almost constant conversation. I also find myself talking to her very frankly - as I would talk to any normal adult. Her incessant "what" and "where" questions seemed to be silenced the best when I give her the most succinct, truest answer.

Our conversations have been so random lately...we've discussed everything from full moons to speed limits to why chap stick only goes on your lips.

The other night she told Gary, "I'm not going to poop anymore because it smells smelly." If only this were a possibility.

Tonight she asked for a drink of water after I put her in her crib, which would normally be considered a total stall tactic, but since we had pizza for dinner, I gave her the benefit of the doubt. As I leaned against her crib and spaced out while I waited for her to drink her water (how does it take them so LONG to drink so LITTLE??), she looked up at me and asked,
"What you thinkin about, Momma?"
"I'm thinking about what kind of stuffing I should make for Thanksgiving."
"Oh. Hm. Let me think..."
"How bout Chick-fil-ick?"
"You know, that's a great idea!"
Again, if only this were a possibility.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

I Just Can't Win

Last night was the first night both kids slept through the night in 8 months. I, of course, was wide awake for an hour and a half.

That being said, I still feel like a new woman.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Baby Shopping

I think she picked a good one!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Aunt Melly

It was so much fun to see Maggie interact and begin to form relationships with some of my extended family members. In particular, Aunt Melanie was where all the Fun was happening.

Example A: The horse farm.

Example B:
This series of pictures may seem like a sweet lady singing and dancing with a toddler. But really they were doing the "No Way Dance" together. (Chanting "No way! No way! No way!" is the sound byte you're missing) Fortunately, I believe Maggie was convinced it was a game and not an act of defiance.

We Did It!

I feel as though we (I) are finally starting to emerge from the fog. Don't worry, it only took seven months. A month ago it was a rainy, gross Saturday and Gary and I couldn't face the thought of being cooped up in the house all afternoon, so we packed up the kids after Maggie's nap and headed up to the mall. It was a wonderfully fun afternoon as a family, full of great memories. As we sat down after the kids went to bed that night we both looked at each other wide eyed and said something to the effect of "We did it!" As in, we did something that normal people do on an everyday basis without melting down (parents or kids), and actually having fun instead of just completing a task and saying "Phew, that's over." It was revolutionary.

Two weeks later we set out on a little bigger venture as we traveled down to North Carolina to spend a long weekend with my grandparents and some of my extended family.

The result at the end of the trip was the same - a thrilling "We did it!"

Keeping with my M.O., I did not take nearly enough pictures. Fortunately my Uncle Doug supplemented a few...but there are still some significant people missing. Namely, Huge Papa.

On Saturday we went out to the farm that my Aunt Melanie and her husband Phil live and work at. It is without a doubt one of the most beautiful farms I have ever been to. They raise miniature horses and beagles (yes, this is a true story), and Maggie was just about in heaven.

Documentation that we were indeed all together:

Howie and his cheeks were quite the hit.

I have no idea what I'm telling Maggie here - likely to take her hands out of her mouth...a habit that we are not too keen on her forming.

That evening my Uncle Jon, his wife Maryam and their daughter Sophia joined us. Maggie truly loved having someone that enjoyed coloring, eating and watching TV as much as her.

Maggie loved helping Mamaw around the kitchen. And by helping I mean causing her more work. At least Mamaw knows what's been hiding in the back of her cupboards now.

It was all-in-all a great getaway. We are already looking forward to our next visit!

Monday, October 31, 2011

"It's Christmas!"

Maggie was a little confused at first with all of the Halloween festivities.

It did not take her long to warm up to the idea of walking door to door to get candy, though.

By the end of the evening she was yelling, "Happy, Happy Halloween!" every time a new group of kids came to the door. Then the older kids started coming, with not so fun costumes. After Scream and the Joker showed up, every time the door bell rang she would start, then say, "Maggie not go to door this time." I don't blame her.

Howie completely missed everything due to a late-set nap...which, considering the wet, cold weather, may not have been the worst thing.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Male Bonding

I'm sure this the first of many Sunday afternoons I'll find these two fixated on the tv together.

Friday, October 14, 2011


This is our pumpkin, Fred. Washable crayons have made him quite the hit. (Read: She was NOT a fan of the happy face I drew. He is now faceless.)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Baby vs. Grinch - Five and Six Months

If Howie had a report card for months five and six it would say, "Needs improvement."

He will probably develop a complex someday after reading this, but the truth must be told. The sweet, laid-back disposition he had in months three and four seemed to disappear, and he was as aggravated and disgruntled as we've ever seen him.

Fortunately due to his six-month doctor's visit, things seem to be getting a little more under control. Without going into details that will make you glaze over, we're re-trying reflux medicine, and letting him cry it out at night. I know what you are wondering and the answer is no, I do not miss the swaddle OR getting up 6-10 times a night. I am hoping that his seven and eight (??!) month report will reflect a dramatic change. The past week we already feel like our smiley, happy boy is returning.

We are slowly introducing cereal. He only likes it sometimes. And I only remember to give it to him sometimes.

For awhile I attributed his aggravation to thinking that he was just really anxious to be mobile/upright/part of the action. So we tried a johnny jump up. I'm pretty sure that Maggie likes it more than he does. This also resulted in Howie's first experience with a swing (which is what it is now called).

His real first swing:

The doctor claims that he is only in the 30% for weight and 85% for height, which makes you think that he would be a string bean...but his cheeks are so fat that sometimes I think they may burst when he smiles. And he has at least 10 mini rolls on the back of his thighs. Not to mention his feet - between the ankle roll and the toe rolls they are like little balloons. But oh, he is SO kissable!

He is basically sitting up on his own now. Still a little wobbly, but is gaining control by the day. I was really looking forward to this until today when I had him sitting with the boppy around him and he blew out a diaper. If he thinks that sitting up like everyone else will entitle him to what everyone else gets (coffee), he's sorely mistaken.

He has also started barrel-rolling. Which is keeping me on my toes. I keep forgetting that laying him on the bed or the ottoman are not good options anymore. Don't worry - he's only fallen off the ottoman once.

We call Uncle Paul the Baby Whisperer. He has the magic touch with H.

He chews on everything now. Fingers, toys, hair - really whatever he can get in his hands and pull into his mouth is fair game. His favorite teething item right now is his plug. Probably because it's always in his mouth.

I can't believe how big he's getting. His little personality pops out more and more each day. He is becoming so responsive.

Of all of his fussy moments, he LOVES being outside. Mainly laying on a blanket watching the leaves. Until his sister pounces on him.

He loves to "sing" and squeal and is still gooing and cooing all the time. Maggie thinks it's hilarious when he says "GEEE!" because we tell her he is saying "Ma-ggiieeeee!!!"

I feel like he has crossed the threshold to being a full-fledged baby. When the doctor told me he could start having a sippy cup my jaw dropped open. Then again, we WERE still swaddling him until last week...maybe we were cramping his style. I'm looking forward to watching him grow and develop over the next couple of months. He is SUCH a wonderful addition to our little family.