Tuesday, September 29, 2009

another reason I'm glad I married my husband

Today when I got up I found this on the kitchen table.

Sorry that it's kinda blurry, my camera isn't super duper with zoom. It says: "Amy, Hope you have a good day.  Thanks for all you do at home.  I love you, Chad".  He also had notes for the kids! Gotta love this kind of start to your day....
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Saturday, September 26, 2009

and to think she's only 6 ....

Yesterday I told Audrey that I would take her clothes shopping at the Limerick Outlets today.  I thought she would be really excited since I was always thrilled to go clothes shopping as a kid.   (hmm, some things never change ...) Anyway, she didn't say much, so when I said something to her about it again, she paused and said "Mommy ... I don't want to go shopping for clothes."  "Why not?" I asked.  "Well, I'm afraid you'll want me to buy clothes that I don't like."  I don't think I even had much of a clue about what clothes I "liked" at age 6, I just kind of wore what was in my drawer. 

So I assured her that we would only buy clothes that we could agree on (that is, clothes that she truly likes, and clothes that I think are appropriate for school and don't cost a fortune).

We came home with 3 pairs of what Audrey calls "comfy pants" (those cotton knit yoga-looking pants), one skirt, 3 tops, (all the clothes could be mixed and matched, so no morning arguments about what goes with what) and one pair of Skechers.  Audrey has no clue about brand names (thankfully) but she was thrilled with her skechers because they had sparkly stuff on them.  I think they were her favorite buy.  I was just thrilled that we could agree on some outfits and had not one argument about clothes.   We also, of course, had to buy a couple things for Chloe.  Audrey found a pair of little overalls that matched the skirt she bought so we had to get them so the girls could "match".  I also couldn't resist a cute outfit at the Carter's outlet.  I could literally buy everything in that store, it is all so stinkin' cute.  And Carter got a pair of skechers too since they were buy one, get one 1/2 off. 

Anyhow ... back to Audrey.  With this amount of negotiation over clothes at age 6, I am wondering what a shopping trip will be like in about 5 years!   I was already praying for patience the whole way up 422 ...

Friday, September 25, 2009

Silly boy!

This morning we were sitting at the breakfast table when Carter suddenly picked up and hugged his yogurt cup and said "Oh yogurt ... it's so good to see you!!"

He is just full of craziness lately. In the past week or so he has eaten cat food (twice), stuck his hand in the toilet, played in his sister's "makeup", dumped half a can of fish food into the fish tank, colored with marker on the ottoman, head-butted his baby sister ... all this from a kid who also is trying to sound out short words. You would think a kid who's smart enough to try that would know better than eating cat food, but ... you would be wrong.

What a silly little boy! Gotta keep an eye on him ALL the time now, but he sure is fun.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Dealing with discouragement

I have been doing a LOT of thinking about motherhood lately... probably because I just really feel in the thick of it. Sleeplessness, whining, temper tantrums, and attitude problems are all a part of what I deal with daily. And sometimes hourly. (And sometimes Mommy is the one with the attitude problem, sad to say ...)

Lately I have been having a very difficult time with Audrey. I don't want to go on and on about it, but just suffice it to say, there is a lot of limit-testing and attitude and disrespect and argumentativeness. I am trying not to let it hurt my feelings, but sometimes, honestly - it does. I love her so much and some days she just seems out to push my buttons. I do understand that she is going through a lot right now. She has a new baby sister, who takes away much of my attention, and Audrey is someone who needs a lot of attention. It's just kinda the way she is. Then, she just started "real" school and I know that learning all the rules and figuring out the way things work in a school setting requires a lot of emotional energy, despite the fact that she loves it. I also know that at this time of year her allergies always seem to be at their worst and they seem to make her irritable. So I try to take that all into account. Yet it is still very difficult.

Then Carter ... well, he's 2. Enough said.

Chloe is a newborn and I just love her to pieces, but I struggle with just wishing that she was a bit older. Okay, I just wish she would sleep through the night ... or at least for some longer periods of time. Mainly, I am just tired out with being up at night. And I don't do very well without enough sleep. But on the plus side ... she is one very happy and content baby. She only cries when she needs something, which isn't too often.

So ... all that to say, I've been feeling discouraged lately. My days are filled with very humble kinds of "work" and I struggle with feeling trapped in my house. I pray every day that I will be more patient ... and every day I feel like I fail. I ask for wisdom ... and I still feel clueless about how to handle the situation with Audrey. It is just uncharted territory for me right now. I myself am adjusting to how to be a mother of three.

Anyhow, I say all that because I had a revelation the other day. I know this is not earth-shattering, but I share it because perhaps it will encourage someone else too.

I was walking the kids to the bus stop. Audrey had run ahead and was walking with her friends, and I had Chloe in the baby bjorn, and was walking with Carter (actually, I was kind of dragging him along as he slowly walked behind me). And I actually thought to myself - "Maybe I'm just not cut out for this stay-at-home mom thing. Maybe my personality just isn't quite suited to this kind of work. Maybe I should have been a working mom and then I would look forward to all the time I got to spend with the kids rather than wondering what on earth I was going to do to occupy them (and myself) all day." [I'm embarrassed to say that that's what I was thinking because I love my kids so much. And I always wanted to be a stay-at-home mom. But I just am being honest about what ran through my head at that moment.] As a side note, I also believe that when we get discouraged, Satan likes to add to our doubt. And unfortunately in that moment I was not listening to truth, I was listening to the words of doubt running through my head.

However, in the next moment, I felt God whispering to my heart. He said this: "I will never give you a job without equipping you to do it." It felt like such a weight had been lifted right then and there. Why? Because I know this is the work God has given me to do right now, and He will help me to do it. I am not alone.

I also had many verses of scripture come to mind, like ...
* "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." - Philippians 4:13
* "He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it." - Philippians 1:6
* "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." - Ephesians 2:10
* "For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose." - Phil. 2:13
* "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him." - James 1:5

These verses have greatly encouraged me in the past few days. And I feel a renewed sense of hope and joy. Not because my circumstances have changed - because they haven't - but I KNOW this - I do not walk this life alone! God - yes, the one who created the universe - walks with me. He has given me these particular children because it is His good purpose for ME to raise them. And with His help - I can do it.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Down the shore

Yesterday we headed "down the shore"' as they say here on the east coast. This was our first trip to Ocean City this summer! Better late than never ... but we were a little busy this summer with other things. Okay, I didn't want to go to the beach in my nine-months-pregnant glory and then I didn't want to go with a brand new little baby either. So yesterday was the perfect day to go - high in the low 70's, sunny, and NOT crowded at this point in the season. It was only for the day but it was a lot of fun for all of us. A nice little getaway.

As we got down onto the beach, some kind of air show started up at the same time, and next thing we knew, F-16s were zooming by and circling us at top speed. Unfortunately we have no pictures of them (although they were traveling so quickly I doubt we would have gotten any good pics), but Chad whipped out the camcorder so we got a little of it on video. He used to dream of going to the Air Force Academy so he was really into it. The downside was the massive noise level. Next thing I knew, Chloe started wailing and then Audrey did too (she has never liked loud noises and they still seem to bother her). But soon other more quiet planes were flying by in cool formations and made fun designs in the sky. The kids liked this stuff much better and all the crying stopped. :)

Of course, a good part of the day was spent building sandcastles. And trying to keep Mr. Destructo (aka Carter) from knocking them down. Boys!

After a pizza dinner at Mack & Manco's we headed over to the rides - aka, the money pit.

I am cracking up that Chad is waving happily at the camera. Meanwhile, the kids are totally ignoring my attempts to get them to look.


It was such a day full of fun that all three of my kids fell asleep on the ride home. I know that sounds normal, but in this family it is unheard of!

I'm really glad we decided to go. I was initially not too excited about the prospect of dragging us all to the shore with a little baby and all ... but it was totally worth it. And as the kids get older, it will only get easier from here! Woo hoo!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Two Months Old

Miss Chloe is now two months old, actually 9 weeks today. (I guess "Miss Chloe" is becoming a nickname, for some reason I keep calling her that!) In some ways it has gone so slowly (probably the late nights contribute to that feeling) but in other ways it has blown right by. In any case, it feels like she has been a part of our family for a long time! We just love her to pieces. She is cute as a button and has a very contented little personality. Now if we could just get her to consistently sleep for some longer periods of time overnight ... well, she is only 2 months old. I know that one day she will sleep through the night!

Anyhow, this is what Chloe is up to these days -

* smiling, particularly when her belly is full or when someone sings to her ... and I like to think that she favors smiling at her mommy!
* cooing
* enjoying her swing
* NOT enjoying getting strapped into her car seat
* holding her head up pretty steadily for short periods of time
* finding her hands and sucking her thumb or fist
* trying to avoid head injuries from her brother & sister ...


Saturday, September 12, 2009

Miss Chloe smiles

Just a few photos to prove that she smiles ....

And just to prove that I exist ... (since Moms never seem to be photographed WITH their children since they're busy taking all the pictures!)

She's already waving off the paparazzi ... the parental paparazzi, that is.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A Night in the Life ...

Last week I gave you "a day in the life" ... well, now here you have "a night in the lfe" ...

Last night we got all the kids in bed by 8:15 pm. Including Chloe. It felt like some kind of miracle.

Then I made the fatal mistake. I said to Chad: "Can you believe it? ALL the kids are in bed by 8:15!"

This is how the rest of the night went.

8:15 pm - All kids in bed. Chloe was actually sleeping. (The night before she didn't go to sleep until 11 pm!)

8:15-9 pm - Audrey and Carter sing "Fresh Beat Band" tunes in their beds. Kind of cute. ("On guitar ... KIKI!"...)

9 pm - Audrey comes out of her room saying she's stuffy and asking for medicine. I tell her we'll wait a little while and see if she goes to sleep without it.

9:30 pm - Go in and give Audrey the medicine. All is quiet.

10:45 pm - Get Chloe up to feed her in hopes that she will sleep till at least 4 am.

11:15 pm - Go to bed.

2 - 2:30 am - Listen to Chloe (who is still sleeping in our room) scrunch around grunting in her bed while she tries to, um, pass gas and poop. Try to sleep. Pray that she doesn't really wake up and decide she wants to eat already. Realize that my throat is kind of sore. Chloe and I both fall asleep again. Chad continues to snore. (WHY is it that men never seem to hear these things??? Ugh.)

3:30 am - Chloe decides that she really wants to eat now. Only when I pick her up, her whole sleeper is soaked with pee. Vow to never buy Huggies again as Chloe screams her head off while I change her diaper AND sleeper. Feed baby. Put her back to bed. Wonder why my left ear is also aching. Start falling asleep again.

4 am - Carter wakes up crying. Carter is usually Chad's responsibility at night but since I am already still up from Chloe's feeding, I get up and deal with it. Of course, Chad is continuing to sleep away. Go in and realize that Carter is also soaking wet, as is his sheet. Vow to stop letting him have drinks after dinner. Change his diaper, pj's, and throw a clean sheet over the dirty one. Put him back to bed. Drag self back into bed and pray that Chloe sleeps in and that she doesn't get the cold that I seem to be getting.

4:30 am - Carter cries again, but just for a moment. But enough to wake me up again ...

6:50 am - Chloe wakes up and decides that she is hungry again. Get up to feed her. Three minutes later Carter wakes up and is calling. This time Chad actually hears him and gets him up.

And so my day begins...

So. If I am grouchy/irritable/glazed over/not making sense today .... you know why.

I think I need my coffee in an IV drip.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Guess who's 6?

On Monday, September 7th, Audrey turned SIX! We had a family party ... that is, with what family lives in the area. The rest of her family was celebrating with her in spirit!

I often ask the kids to hold up fingers to show how old they are for a photo .... this year we moved on to two hands.

Audrey got to pick what we had for dinner. She picked chicken nuggets ... so chicken nuggets it was.

Of course, one of her favorite parts was opening gifts.

She asked for a Hello Kitty cake...

Of course Carter was happy to chow down the cake. I think all he had for dinner was tortilla chips and a few strawberries. This would have really bugged me when Audrey was his age, but at this point ... well, there are bigger things to get bugged about.

Cake AND ice cream ... woo hoo!

This weekend she'll have a few friends over for a little party too. Oh the joy of being a kid!
Happy Birthday Baby Girl! We love you.