Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Willful

Brooke is seriously such a good little girl. She is the type of kid that is totally fine on her own if you have to clean the house or make dinner. She rarely makes large messes and if she does, she is SO concerned about it until it's cleaned up. She is kind to others, generally speaking, and she is so nurturing to her little sister. Most of the time she is completely compliant but that will of hers is what gets her in trouble! Man, that girl is STUBBORN.

Lately Brooke's will has been shining through in the area of using the potty. She is completely potty trained... even for nap time and bedtime and she never, ever has accidents. However, she is playing this new trick on me where she hold her pee for hours on end and REFUSES to go. The other day, for example, she woke up at 8 after 13 hours of sleep of sleep and would not go potty until 11 when I MADE her go. She kicked and screamed the whole way to the potty and when we go there, she sat there for 5 minutes saying, "I won't go!" Finally she gave in and peed like a race horse. All throughout the day she will play this trick on me... Even when she is obviously showing me that she has to go by doing "the potty dance."

This whole situation bother me for many different reason. First of all, it's obviously willful disobedience and defiance, which we totally do NOT find acceptable in our home! Second, I'm concerned about her getting bladder infections. It's so not good for you to hold your pee for that long! The girl drinks A LOT so I know that she is holding in a lot of pee. Yikes! I made many attempts at resolving this problem but to no avail. It's kind of a touchy matter because I don't want her to get so mad at me that she pees her pants. This is a tough one!

My Brookie... I love her so very, very much! The joy she gives me is incredible but these challenges she gives me are insane! Just when I thought I had seen it all... Lol!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

7 Amazing Months

My littlest princess is 7 months old today! Her life has added such a special dimension to our family and she truly lights up my whole world. It's amazing how much more love I have in my life because of that precious little girl! Here are some pictures of her today...



Friday, December 25, 2009

A Very Merry Christmas!!!

I guess I kind of took an unannounced hiatus from blogging this week. We just had WAY too much going on that sitting behind a computer was not feasible. Here's what's been going on:

*Sick Girls-

Late Monday night the girls randomly woke up with 104 degree fevers (give or take a few points of a degree). Adrienne woke up first at 10:30 and then Brooke woke up around 11. Little did I know that 4 horrible hours of screaming would come from Adrienne. We were up until after 2 when John finally came home during his shift and put her to sleep. It was the night from you-know-where!

The next morning both girls were running high fevers and after the last fever ordeal that occurred in early November, I was NOT waiting to get them seen by a doctor.
Sure enough, both girls checked out fine as far as ears and lungs were concerned and he said that it was probably just their colds that they had mixed with a virus of some sort. Because Adrienne is so little still he wanted to rule out pneumonia and meningitis so he sent her for blood work. I was fortunate to have my dad there to help me but it turned out to be quite the exhausting ordeal... After trekking the girls (car seat, blankets, diaper bag, coats, and all) through the hospital to get to the lab and then back out to the car, the lab called and said that her blood had clotted so they had to redraw it. Not only did the poor baby have to be poked again but we had to lug them back into the hospital. When it was all said and done, we were there for over 3 hours. Me oh my!!

The final result was that Adrienne's blood work looked great (thank God) and the next morning, both girls were completely fine. All three of us have been battling colds but I think that we're finally all starting to feel a little bit better!

*Christmas Eve

Because of how John's days off fell we saved the majority of our shopping for Christmas Eve. Surprisingly, the mall was dead and there were LOTS of amazing deals. We got an early start on it, which I credit much of our success to. John and I went our separate ways so we could finish shopping for one another and I had withdrawn some cash from the ATM. After spending not even half of the two hundred bucks that I took out, we headed out to the car to head to Wal Mart. That's when I realized that I had LOST the remaining money:-( I was crushed and really frustrated and kind of nervous to tell John about what I had done. When I told him he just hugged me and told me that someone else must have needed it worse than us. What a man! I DO NOT deserve him... Not even one bit!

That night we had a beautiful candlelit ceremony at church where we sang Christmas carols and read the Christmas story. It was such an intimate and special time to celebrate our Savior's birthday! Hearing the scriptures that tell the amazing story of Jesus' birth will never, ever grow old to me!

Even though both of our families were having parties that night we decided to go home and enjoy just our small immediate family and have some alone time. We got fun appetizers... Buffalo wings, potato wedges, and mozzarella sticks and watched a Christmas movie while eating them. It was just a wonderful night!

*Christmas Day

We had an amazing day today! Our Christmas day was the same as it has been for the past years... We wake up and have a nice quiet breakfast (that John makes!) and open our gifts and stockings. After a bit we head out to John's grandma's and exchange gifts with John's large extended family. Next, we go to my parents' house for Christmas with that side of the family and we have a big lunch around 3 or so. Lastly, we head to John's parents' house and exchange gifts with his parents and siblings. It really is a crazy day but Christmas wouldn't be the same if we didn't get to spend it with all of the people we love!

We came home with over $400 in gift cards and a car and trunk so full of presents, toys, and clothes that we seriously barely got it all home. It's amazing how many people love us and wanted to shower us with gifts. I am blown away year after year.

Now that this holiday season is coming to a close, I'm sad. I wish that the joys and festivities didn't have to go away and that this season didn't have to end! Life is so wonderful and we have so many awesome things to look forwards to so I guess it's not so bad. Besides, Christmas will be here again before we know it!

I hope that everyone else had as wonderful of a Christmas as my family and I did. God bless you all!

Oh yes, and if you're lucky, pictures will be posted SOON!!!!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas in Brooke's Eyes

While this is Brooke's third Christmas, in many ways I feel like it's her first. She is finally old enough to take it all in and soak it up to the fullest and there has been no greater joy for me than watching her. She is truly amazed by it all... The lights, the tree, the decorations, the gifts, etc.. But most importantly, she's knows that Christmas is Jesus' birthday and that that's why we really celebrate. I love it!

To go in to our town there's a bridge that has rows of street lights on either side. For Christmas they put big light-up snowflakes and ribbons on them and every single time we see them, Brooke is fascinated. She never gets sick of looking at them. Ever. She says now, "Mommy, look, those are decorations for Jesus' birthday!" It's so adorable!

Of course, Brooke already has a materialistic side to her... She knows exactly what she wants for Christmas and she continually reminds us. Right now all she seems to talk about is getting a highchair for her baby dolls. She says, "Mommy, my babies need a highchair so I don't have to uses Rage's (Adrienne) anymore." Lol! That was the first thing we marked off of our shopping list but she has no clue. It is SO MUCH FUN!! We have gotten her several nice things but we have refrained from going hog wild to avoid deviating from the true meaning of the holiday. Also, she has LOTS of family and gets LOTS of gifts. It's insane, actually.

I love watching Christmas in my daughter's eyes because each Christmas carol, every house adorned with lights, and every decked out Christmas tree are noteworthy to her. She has yet to realize the hustle and bustle of the season that so easily steals the joys of Christmas from so many adults. In the few remaining days of this magical season, I am aiming to be more like her and open my eyes to the beauty and wonder that is right before my eyes!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Bored Senseless

I am so BORED! John is working a school dance tonight from 7-10 and then he has to be at work for his regular shift at 11. I miss him SO BAD but the extra cash around Christmas time is definitely nice. To add to that, Brooke is spending tonight with my parents. She is my little chatterbox and she always keeps me occupied so it's way too quiet without her! I just put Adrienne down for the night and so I'm trying to figure out what the heck I'm going to do with myself for the next 4 hours or so.

It was hilarious because I was wrapping presents tonight and Adrienne kept trying to scoot to get the paper. More times than not she succeeded and ripped the paper and I had to pry it out of her hands before she ate it. That didn't go over too well with her! She hasn't quite mastered the army crawl yet but she kind of kicks and inches forward a little bit. She's only semi-mobile at this point and that is just fine with me!

I feel so behind on Christmas preparations this year. I have yet to get Adrienne or John a single thing and Brooke's stocking still isn't even started. I love to shower my family with gifts, but to be honest, the commercialism of Christmas really bums me out. I hate feeling stressed about the money that we're spending and I would rather just be able to celebrate the season without the added pressure of gifts. I don't know about you, but that sounds like a much more peaceful and relaxing way to celebrate Jesus' birthday!

Nothing else is new around here with us. We've been so busy over the last couple of days because John was off. Tonight is his first night back which stink but we're REALLY happy because he has Christmas Eve off and then doesn't have to go to work until 11 on Christmas night. We got pretty lucky, didn't we?

Well, I'm going to go do some work out of the house and try to find a movie to watch. I'm out!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Teaching Humility

The other day my brother-in-law, Luke, told Brooke that she was beautiful. She looked at him and said, "Yes I am!" No matter what compliment that you give my daughter, she agrees with you... Even if you're a complete stranger. The other day the cashier at the grocery store told her how pretty she was and she mumbled, "Yes I'm pretty." Lol

While I want my daughter to be confident and know that she is beautiful, special, talented, etc... I do NOT want her to be too confident. I want her to be humble and to know that she isn't perfect and that she does lack in certain areas. Sad but true!

I had been telling Brooke over and over again that when someone compliments her that you're not really supposed to say, "Yes I am." She just laughed and joked with me about it. I finally sat down with her and explained to her that it's much nicer to say, "Thank you! That's a nice compliment," whenever someone says something nice about her. Now she walks around saying. "Thank you! That's a good compliment!" It's so hilarious listening to her say it, too! It's so funny because now we all shower her with compliments over and over to see if she'll say it and I think she's got it down pat!

It's such a massive responsibility to raise a little lady (or 2!), isn't it? While at Brooke's age it might be cute for her to agree with the compliments she receives, it's not teaching her a thing about humility. Whenever she latches on to one of my lessons on life, I am so encouraged! I'm trying to mold her into a woman of God and each step in that direction makes me smile! :-)

Monday, December 14, 2009

"Family Tree"

John and I were on a long car ride the other day so we were listening to some music. We came across the song, "Family Tree," by Darryl Worley and it made me laugh! We talk about having another baby a lot and the lyrics seemed to fit our recent conversations. It's a country song and it's a little more twangy than I like but the funny words more than make up for it! I hope they make you laugh as hard as we did.

Dancin' in the living room cuttin' up a rug
Dancin' with a baby looks more like a hug
Livin' in a house made of saw mill wood
"Roll over Beethoven" never sounded so good

Come on baby, baby let's go
Where we get the money honey I don't know
One more baby's alright by me
We'll just add another limb to the family tree

Well raising up babies is our new sport
You're one day late and I'm a dollar short
Now maybe it was planned maybe it was a goof
But a cat just has to dance on a hot tin roof

Come on baby, baby let's go
Where we get the money honey I don't know
One more baby's alright by me
We'll just add another limb to the family tree

Well the lawnmower's broken, the tax is due
And if I find another tick I'm gonna come unglued
We got hand me down clothes, hand me down shoes
We got the big belly momma here we go again blues

Come on baby, baby let's go
Where we get the money honey I don't know
One more baby's alright by me
We'll just add another limb to the family tree

Baby, whoa, whoa let's go
Where we get the money I don't know
One more baby alright's by me
It's alright, it's alright now baby
We'll just add another limb to the family tree
Oh we'll just add another limb to the family tree
We'll just add another limb to the family tree


Hmmm.. Suddenly I'm much more inspired to "add another limb to our family tree." Are you???

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Christmas Festivites

John has been off all weekend and we've been having so much fun together! Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end and I just sent him out to work:-( Bummer!

We went to a Christmas party at John's dad's work on Saturday and here are some pictures of my precious family...

My sweet Adrienne


The girls with John's parents


Adrienne and me


Our family minus Brooke


Brooke got this guitar at the party


John and Adrienne at church this morning


My beautiful Brooke

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A True Lover of Food

We just recently started Adrienne on baby foods and I'm amazed at how much she loves to eat! Brooke was a HORRIBLE eater and still is but you can just shovel it in Adrienne's mouth. Dinner time has kind of become a little more stressful now that she eats because she cries in between bites. You can't feed the girl fast enough! Lol

She was only only cereal for 2 weeks... First rice cereal and then oatmeal. Just a week ago I started her on sweet potatoes, which are a big hit. I'm thinking tomorrow that we'll move on to carrots and I'm excited for her reaction. Feeding a baby solids is not so fresh on my brain from Brooke's babyhood so it's kind of hard to remember what to give her and when. It's amazing how much stuff you throw out of your brain when you don't use it!

We have started to give Adrienne a few Cheerios in the morning during our breakfast because I'm not quite so sure if she should have two feedings a day yet and she FREAKS when you eat without her. She loves them and it keeps her extremely happy! She can't quite put them in her mouth yet but she's getting pretty good at picking them up!

So, if all things continue to go at this pace, hopefully I'll have a daughter that will eat more than macaroni and cheese, chicken nuggets, cereal, and beans. Lol! One can hope, right??

For fun, here are some recent pictures of my beauties...

My dad put her in the sink. What are grandpas for??


Brooke insisted on wearing her sunglasses to lunch the other day. She is ALL girl!


Adrienne's first Cheerio:

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Happy Birthday, Babe!

Today is my wonderful husband's birthday!! I love him so much and any day that celebrates him is just fine with me:-)

I said this last week on my birthday, but I hate how "adult" birthday work out! Lol! The poor guy worked all night last night and got home an hour late because there was a nasty snow storm that hit. I felt so sad thinking of him in that cold, dark patrol car all alone for 8 hours ON HIS BIRTHDAY but he assures me that he really was okay. I worry about silly things! :-) After eating a huge breakfast that I made him, he got about 6 hours of sleep. When he woke up we did presents and I made him the dinner of his choice... Bacon cheeseburgers and french fries. Nothing fancy but that's what my man wanted so that's exactly what he got! We then had to rush out of the house and head to church for the Wednesday night service. John helps teach a class so it's not like we really could have stayed home if we had wanted to. Now, he's headed back to work. I tried so hard to make his day special for him but I really didn't have much time with him to do so. :-(

There are not words to describe just how very much I John. He is seriously everything that I need in a husband! He is the calm when I'm the storm and he keeps me in check. I'm kind of the crazy, impulsive, scatter-brained one in this relationship and I so depend on his level head and sound mind. I have the utmost respect for my husband and I know that he would do anything in the universe for me. On top of being an incredible husband to me, he's the best daddy you'll ever find and our girls are crazy about him. He is an overall faithful, Godly man and I am so thankful that he picked ME! I don't think I could love him more if I tried! :-)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Struggling with the Struggle

I have been feeling perpetually discouraged and exhaustion over Brooke lately, to be completely honest. She and I go head to head on just about everything and it seriously wears me down after a while. It's increasingly more difficult for me when I see her giving John NO attitude and obeying him completely. He's a great dad and I'm happy over their amazing relationship but it sometimes makes me feel sad that she's not that same kid for me.

Brooke's a great kid. Really. She's kind hearted and loving. She's amazing with her sister and it's obvious that she adores her. She's helpful (MOST of the time). In this short time, she has gone from being not potty trained to being 100 perfect potty trained.. Even staying dry at night and for naps. She is compliant when it comes to most things and I often hear from others how sweet she is. Yes, my Brookie is all of the above things. However, she gives me an attitude about everything.

Just this morning she had a fit because I told her it was time to leave the house. She freaked out, said she wouldn't go, and then started screaming. This would be manageable if it was an isolated incident but these types of things happen ALL DAY LONG. Her latest thing is telling me, "No, cuz I'm gonna be afraid," whenever she's asked to do something. Another popular excuse is, "No thanks. Not now cuz my X hurts." (Insert any imaginable body part for X, by the way)

I'm also struggling because when other people are around, it's like I don't exist. We were at my in-law's house for another joint birthday part for John and me and once she saw her relatives, it's like I was seriously not there. Anytime I would try to talk to her or get her to do something (like put her PJ's on before leaving) she would either ignore me or flip out. I know that she sees me so often and that I shouldn't take it personally, but it's hard to have your child treat you like that when you live and breathe for them.

I'm not sure why she's resisting ME so much lately. Is it simply her age and only a short phase that will pass as quickly as it started? Is it her adjusting to Adrienne's permanence now that she's starting to be awake more and more interactive? Or is it what I fear the most... That Brooke and I will just clash for the rest of our lives? I know that I'm probably going to be the stern parent while John will be the fun, easy-going parent, which is fine. I'm just concerned that she and I will butt heads on everything. Some parents mesh differently with different kids. One thing that I have to realize is that I'm not here to be Brooke's friend and I'm not here to seek her approval.. I'm here to be her mom and whether she appreciates it or not, that's my number 1 purpose in her life.

I have tried so hard to focus more special attention on Brooke lately. We have done countless activities together during Adrienne's nap or after she's down for the night. Despite my efforts, I have not noticed any change in her behavior towards me and it just stinks! Hopefully she'll snap out of this soon?

I knew that parenting was a difficult job but I didn't realize just HOW difficult it was until Brooke started this recent phase. I fear that it only gets harder?? They sure are worth it, though... Despite it all!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Birthday Details

Yesterday was my birthday and my family made sure that I had a special day! Although, I must admit, once you're a mom, birthdays aren't quite the same as they were prior to motherhood. You learn that life actually still goes on on your birthday... Diapers need to be changed, beds needs to be made, children need to be fed, etc...

My mom and my sister took me out for my birthday lunch yesterday. Al and I have 4 kids aged 3 and under between the 2 of us so it was hectic but it was lots of fun! We have awesome, awesome kids so that always helps.

I cannot believe how my husband spoiled me for my birthday. Oh my word! While I was at lunch he ran out and bought me a dozen red roses. They are so beautiful and they are the perfect centerpiece for my dining room table! Later in the afternoon, after Brooke woke up from her nap, we opened gifts. He gave me two precious cards (one from the girls and one from him) and then I had one gift to open. It was a picture frame that I had been wanting and I was really happy to get it! John then went on to apologize that I didn't have much to open and he told me that dinner and the movie were my main gift. I was totally fine with that because I don't need a lot of gifts to feel loved! Then he started to prod me about what I would be wearing for dinner and how I should dress up. I was a little confused because we were just going to the Olive Garden... not a 5 star restaurant! Then he pulled the most amazing diamond stud earrings out of his pocket and said, "Well, you're going to need something to match these!" I was shocked and completely blown away by his thoughtfulness and generosity! I seriously have the best husband ever!! :-)

Our date last night was HEAVEN. Dinner was so relaxed and we enjoyed the uninterrupted conversation so much. It was so wonderful to be able to focus on one another 100 percent. After dinner, we went to see Blind Side, which is definitely a must see for you all! The best part? Our girls did great!!!! Adrienne took her milk just fine out of her sippy cup, which was a major relief! I had pumped almost 20 ounces for her and she drank 5. Lol! I'm such a Jew!! :-) Both girls were asleep when we got in and they didn't wake up until after 9 this morning. I'm really encouraged to know that we can do dates just fine without Adrienne going hungry. It's kind of liberating!

All in all, my birthday was wonderful! On Sunday John's family is having a joint birthday party for both of us so I sill have that to look forward to on top of everything else. I have the best family!!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A Recap...

The last couple of days have been absolutely wonderful! John has been off since Sunday night and we have used the time to get ready for Christmas. I have loved all of this quality family time so much!

On Sunday night Brooke and John went on a date to do some shopping for my birthday present. It was nice for those two to have some time alone and I also enjoyed some one-on-one time with my Adrienne. It was a nice quiet night for me here at home and I actually got a lot of work done. Adrienne stayed by my side while I cleaned out her closet and she was great company!

Later that night John and I made a gingerbread house with Brooke and we had a blast together! It was really nice because Adrienne was already in bed for the night and we were able to give Brookie some extra-special attention. I think that it's really good for her to be the center of attention every once in a while. It was so much fun watching Brooke decorate her house and cram lots of candy in her mouth. She's hilarious!

Yesterday the girls had a doctor appointments. Brooke's was to re-check her ears after that awful infection and thankfully it's all cleared up now! The doctor said that there was just a tiny bit of residual fluid but that's normal. Adrienne's appointment was for her 6-month well visit. She weighed in at 17 pounds, 7 ounces and she was 26.5 inches long. She's getting so big! For comparison's sake, Brooke was 17 pounds, 9 ounces at that age so they are very close in size.

Last night we went to Alison's (my sister) house and had an awesome time over there with her sweet little family. It was a blast! When we got home we put on some Christmas shows and then decorated our house and tree (that we had gotten earlier that day). Adrienne slept through that, as well, so we had some more special time with Brooke. It was such a fun night and our house is looking very festive now!

Tonight we had a joint birthday party for John and me at my parents' house. My birthday is tomorrow and John's is a week from tomorrow so we just had one big party. It was a great night with my family and we walked away with some generous and thoughtful gifts. I love my family!! :-)

Tomorrow is the BIG NIGHT!! I'm so excited for my night out with John. I'm a little nervous to leave Adrienne for the first time but I think she'll do okay. I have tons and tons of frozen breast milk and a sippy cup that she takes well so I know that she shouldn't go hungry. I'm also leaving her in capable hands!

Alrighty, I'm off to go pump some more milk for tomorrow night and hopefully get some rest!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Mommy's Getting OUT!

I am so excited that I can hardly contain myself!!!!! Wednesday is my birthday and when John asked what I wanted, I told him that the most amazing thing in the universe would be to go out to dinner with him... ALONE! I haven't been out in over 6now and even though the girls are awesome, I am extremely eager to have a date with my husband! This will be my first real break since Adrienne was born but it's just a small price to pay to breastfeed her.

I had been missing the motor to my breast pump since we moved last April and I didn't think I could pump enough milk to sustain Adrienne while we were gone. Because of that, I was just going to feed her before we left, leave her with her cereal, and then kind of hurry back. As luck would have it, about 2 weeks ago I was cleaning out Brooke's toy room and in the bottom of her toy box I FOUND THE MOTOR!!!! Now my wonderful breast pump is back and in working order and I have been stocking up the freezer with milk for Miss Adrienne. It's good to have on hand anyways but I'm mostly excited that I'll have enough to leave her some while we're away on Wednesday night. We just started her on a soft spout sippy cup with some water in it (mainly to occupy her at dinner) and she LOVES it. She's never taken a bottle so I think she'll drink the expressed milk just fine out of that.

After dinner, John and I are going to head home and put the girls to bed and then head back out to the movies!!!!!!!! John's sister is going to sit here for us and I think I could kiss her feet for doing so. Lol! Again,I haven't been out baby free for over 6 months now so this is HUGE!! Adrienne sleeps through the night but I'm going to make sure I pump extra milk just in case she wakes up for some odd reason.

I cannot wait to dress up and get out with my husband. It's been a long time coming and it's going to be absolutely wonderful!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Half Way to A Year

Dearest Adrienne,

Today you are 6 months old! Each month I am amazed at how quickly the time is flying. I wish that I could freeze time and soak up every essence of your babyhood because I know that soon you will be grown.

The thing that I love the most about you is how content you are. You rarely fuss or complain when mommy has to put you down to make dinner or to take care of Sissy. You always occupy yourself just fine and you seem to have lots of fun doing so. Our home is filled with your squeals and laughter on a regular basis and it gives me so much joy to hear how happy you are!

You are a little bit of a "late bloomer" but that is another one of your most endearing qualities. In the short 6 months that you have been here, you have taken your time achieving milestones. You are more of a social butterfly than an explorer.. Just like your mama!! It was only a week ago that finally figured out how to roll from your back to your belly but now that you have mastered that, you are starting to get around pretty well. I think that life is about to get a lot more crazy (and fun!) now that you are moving around a litte bit more.

I love our nursing time together. As you eat, I have a hard time keeping you focused because you like to stop and chat with me or smile at me. I wouldn't have it any other way though! You just started this new silly habit of hitting me over and over again while you eat and it's just so goofy. I am so privileged to be the only one who can feed you!

I can tell already that you and Brookie are going to be the best of friends. The way you hang on her every word and laugh at her constantly just melts my heart. Aunt Alison was my very best friend growing up (and now!) and I am so excited that you will have a big sister just like I did. Brooke adores you and she thinks it's pretty cool that you are a part of our lives.

These first months of you life, Miss Adrienne, have been so precious to me. Having you as my daughter has been nothing but an honor. I am so thankful that God placed you in our family and I am so excited to watch you grow. Never forget how loved you are, baby!

With all my love,
Mommy

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

I had such an amazing Thanksgiving today! I'm not sure that it could have gone any smoother or that I could have enjoyed myself any more than I did.

The girls and I started our day by meeting my mom and sister at McDonald's for breakfast. It's been a long-standing tradition and it was nice to be able to spend some time with them in the morning because we didn't share Thanksgiving dinner together. We usually do Thanksgiving with John's family and Christmas dinner with my family. It really works out well for everyone and just makes the holidays less stressful.

When we got home from our little outing this morning, Patty (John's mom) came over to help me with the girls while I cooked and cleaned. She and I had a wonderful day together and I seriously don't think I could have done it without her help. The girls love her, so that's a HUGE help, and she was an enormous help in the kitchen. It was just a great day of preparation!

The food turned out perfectly... Yes, even that darn turkey. It sure did give me a scare but hey, it kept it interesting there for a while! I can't think of one thing that didn't turn out just as I had intended for it to and it's safe to say that nobody left hungry!

Adrienne will be 6 months old tomorrow (which is unbelievable!) and we were going to wait to give her her first rice cereal until then but because Thanksgiving fell only one day short of her half-year birthday, we fed her today for the first time instead. It's funny because after slaving over a hot stove all day you would think that I would have been eager to eat but I was more excited to feed Miss Adrienne. That was probably the highlight of my day! She devoured her cereal and absolutely loved it! She even cried in between bites because I wasn't feeding her fast enough. Lol! My camera is broken so I wasn't able to capture any pictures, which made me SO sad, but there will be other times for that, I guess! She was absolutely precious and giving her first food on such a special day was really awesome. I can't wait to feed her again tomorrow!

At the end of such an incredible day, I sit here in awe over how good God is. He has blessed my family and me beyond measure and if I had to tell you what I was thankful for, you would need a couple of hours to listen to me because I could go on and on. John, Brooke, and Adrienne are my entire universe but we also have so many others in our lives that we could not live without and I am so thankful for that. I am so extremely grateful that our girls will grow up with both sets of grandparents and countless aunts, uncles and cousins that all live close by. We have so much love and support!

I hope that everyone else had as wonderful of a Thanksgiving as my family and I did. Life is so good!! :-)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

My Wonderful Man

Whenever I have a massive task ahead of me (such as cooking Thanksgiving dinner for 20), I'll admit, I can be pretty hyper. I'm not a very focused person so in my efforts to get the job done, I can very easily walk all over the people that I love... Especially the person who I love the most- John. I might not directly say mean things to him, but my whole attitude must completely put him on edge. I snap into crazy mode and race around the house from task to task and before I know, I have about 75 different things that I'm working on all at once!

Our Thanksgiving preparations took an interesting turn of events tonight when we came home from church and found our 24 pound turkey to still be frozen. After a week of thawing, you would think that it would be good to go, but NO. That's apparently too much to ask. I'm thankful that it's not completely frozen, but it's definitely got a ways to go before I can successfully remove the crap out of the middle. This, to me, is a cataclysmic event to have occur the night before I host 20 hungry people! I was freaking out and absolutely frazzled when we made this discovery and my wonderful husband put his arms around me and said, "Baby, it's okay. The turkey will be fine!" He didn't freak out with me or get upset.. He just listened and reassured me.

John had to be at work tonight by 11 and being his first night back for the rotation, he really, really needed the rest to get through night. However, he gave that all up for me and put himself to work around the house. Because I'm neurotic and freakish about the house being tidy for company, I had decided early in the week that it would be a good idea to steam clean the carpets. We didn't get to it until tonight and instead of saying to me, "Gee, Jillian, that's a huge undertaking the night before Thanksgiving, especially with a frozen turkey on our hands," John spent two hours cleaning the carpets. I insisted on taking over for him, but he would hear nothing of it

After John left from work, I ran upstairs to put some laundry away and on our dresser mirror was a Post-It note that he had left for me. He just left me a little message about how much he loves me and how the turkey would be fine. It's like he read my mind and KNEW that darn turkey would be constantly on my mind!

He just got out of shift briefing and he called to tell me that he would be stopping at the grocery store in the morning to get some last minute things that I forgot about. Who really wants to go to the grocery store after being up all night? Not me! What a good man I have!! :-) On top of that, he's only sleeping until noon tomorrow, so he's going to be running on very little sleep. Why? Because he loves me and searches endlessly for ways to help me.

When I'm frantic, John is calm. When I'm irrational (which is often), he's completely rational. He's that voice of reason for me that I simply cannot be for myself. He keeps my life in perspective for me and when I need a little reminder to slow down and enjoy life, he lovingly and gently gives it to me. We are polar opposites and without him, I'm not sure how I would get through life! I am so thankful that God gave me a husband who makes up for my many weaknesses. He balances me out in a way that I could have never dreamed of. Only HE could somehow get me to believe that this turkey ordeal isn't quite the end of the world!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Thanksgiving Plans

Wow, I'm so excited because I updated the editor setting on my Blogger account and now I have all of these wonderful new (to me) features! What could be better??


Anyways, the real reason behind my post today is not to brag on Blogger, as awesome at it may be, but to get my mind in gear for Thanksgiving. I have so much to do to prepare and it's only three days away. Yikes! As I said a couple of posts ago, we're hosting 18 people at my house (like we did last year) so I definitely have my work cut out for me.


I must confess, this year I'm a little anxious about how it's all going to work out. John has to work 11-7 the night before Thanksgiving and he also has to go in that night. John is incredible and extremely sacrificial when it comes to his sleep time and he said that he's going to get up around noon to help out. I don't want him to have to do that, though! The man needs his sleep for work that night. However, if he doesn't, I'll single-handedly be cooking for the masses AND caring for our two  young children! I like to pretend that I'm Super Mom sometimes (HA!) but I'm not THAT super, in reality!


So, here's what on the menu:
  • Turkey (obviously)! This bird is 24 pounds so it's going to be a lot of effort to get it in the oven!
  • Homemade stuffing with dried cranberries and apples. Yummy! It's kind of my signature Thanksgiving dish.
  • Cranberry sauce.. I opted for canned because apparently that's what everyone likes best anyways.
  • Strawberry Jello Pretzel Salad - I hate to make this but everyone raves about it at every family gathering and I don't want to disappoint my guests!
  • Candied yams
  • Various veggies- Creamed cauliflower, broccoli, corn, and brussel sprouts (my favorite!!)
  • Mashed potatoes with homemade gravy
  • Yeast rolls (that taste pretty close to Texas Road House's, if I do say so myself). I'm also going to be making a whipped cinnamon sugar butter to pair with these. It just sounds festive to me.
  • Homemade applesauce that I already made and froze. All I have to do it is thaw it, warm it up, and sprinkle some cinnamon on it.
  • For dessert, my only responsibilties are to make coconut custard pies. I was going to make apple pies, cheesecakes, pumpkin pies,  and a chocolate pie but Patty (my mother-in-law) insisted on doing something. I didn't want to have to trouble anyone and I love making pies,  but as I said earlier, I have A LOT on my plate with John having to work.
  • We are also having some light appetizers such a cheese, crackers, pepperoni and a nice veggie tray. Last year we went ALL out with tons of hot appetizers and stuff but we threw so much of it away. We opted to save the money and go light on starters this year.
Am I missing anything?? Getting that list out on paper made me feel so much better because I just realized that there really isn't all THAT much to do. It will all come together.. It always does! I just like to stress about it in the mean time:-)


Does anyone else have any exciting Thanksgiving plans?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

For All You Police Wives

I recently came across an awesome website that lists blog after blog of police wives. It has been wonderful to read some of their post and see that other people really do know what it's like to have a husband in law enforcement! So, without further ado, I thought I would just do a post on our journey through law enforcement. Here goes nothing!

John and I started dating when I was still in high school. He's three years older than me so he was already in college studying criminal justice. His lifelong ambition had always been to become a cop and as a young and crazily in love teenager, that sounded pretty darn sexy to me! I'll never forget meeting a cop's wife at Red Lobster (where I worked as a waitress at the time) and I was raving to her that my boyfriend wanted to be a cop. She said, "Oh honey, you do NOT want to marry a cop. Search around for someone else!" Needless to say, her words of "caution" were of absolutely NO significance to me!

John had taken the civil service test and received a good grade and he had also successfully completed the physical fitness exam. However, as many of you know, the whole hiring process took what seemed like an eternity! It was almost a year before he heard anything from any of the agencies that he had applied to... And it happened to be 3 days before our wedding when he finally did! They called him in for an interview and while he was on the phone with me raving about how wonderful it went, they called him back and offered him the job. Talk about exciting!! He was hired that Wednesday, we were married that Saturday, he left for our honeymoon as a Coca Cola Merchandiser and returned a cop. It was just crazy how quickly everything changed in our lives!

The academy started shortly after we had settled in as a married couple and it was really, really tough on a new marriage. I wasn't used to seeing the man I love under such immense pressure and strain. Man, they worked him so hard in the academy! As if the PT (Physical Training) alone didn't wipe him out enough, there were also so many other aspects of the academy such as studying, shooting, and field training that were added to his plate. Somewhere in the middle of the academy, in June of '06, we found out that we were expecting our oldest daughter, Brooke. I had a special dinner prepared to tell John of the great news and he walked in the door and threw up everywhere. It was during DT (Defensive training) and he had come home with such a horrible headache that he got sick. It wasn't quite the romantic celebration I had planned! Lol! Anyways, long story short, it was a tough 6 months and we were NOT sad when it was over!

After the academy, real life as a police wife started... The weird hours, the adjustment to having a husband who was putting his life in danger, and getting used to an altogether new routine and lifestyle. During the academy John had normal hours (8-4) and he never had to work holidays, nights, or weekends, but the first shift they threw him on when he had complete his training was the dreaded evening shift (3 PM to 11 PM). That was so hard for us to adjust to, especially after the luxury of the academy's hours! We got through, though. We always do!

A few short weeks after John was on the road he experienced his first fatal accident. To respect my husband's sensitivity to this issue, I'll be brief when I discuss this, but it was really tough on him. He was a rookie cop ready to take on the world (I'm sure!) and he was the first on scene to a terrible accident where a teenage girl was killed while her boyfriend, who had been driving, was still alive. As if that wasn't enough, he even had to go to her autopsy the next day and it was just A LOT for him to take in. That's when I realized that the years ahead of me of supporting my police officer husband would take much wisdom, understanding, and compassion on my part. It was NOT going to be easy or quite as "sexy," as I once thought.

John has been a cop for almost 4 years now and I would like to say that my endeavor to adjust to his career has always been easy, but I would be lying if I did! We have experienced absolutely NO stability because his schedule keeps getting switched. Every time we adjust to a new schedule, sure enough, it changes. I'm still fearful for him while he's working. Right now he's on the night shift and there are nights when I go to bed scared to death that he won't come home. My heart also pounds when he comes home late or when I can't get a hold of him for extended periods of time. He has also experienced more than his fair share of horrible situations and I am still learning on what he needs for me when he experiencing those tough situations. He vows to never bring work home but at times I feel as though that's detrimental to his thought processes and I really think that he needs to be able to get his feelings out!

I am SO PROUD of my man. Being a police wife is not easy but it is so rewarding to know that I am supporting my husband as he does what he has always set out to do! And besides, he sure does look pretty nice in that uniform:-)

Friday, November 20, 2009

WAY Too Many Clothes!

I'm extremely tidy, as far as my house goes. I tend to have all of the laundry done, the floors mopped, carpets vacuumed, furniture dusted, beds made, dishes washed, etc... But, I do have to confess, I am also one of the most unorganized people I know. You may walk in my house and think that it looks clean but just don't open up my cabinets or look in my closets. All bets are off if you do!

I am started to feel really frustrated by my lack of organization with the girls' clothes. I'm telling you, I have more little pink and purple clothes than you can possibly even begin to imagine. When we just had Brooke I could manage the bins of clothing and keep decent track of them, but right now, it's complete chaos in that department. The problem is that the girls were born in different seasons so my large plastic bin that once housed Brooke's newborn/0-3 bin is now overflowing because I had to add Adrienne's clothes from a completely different season. It's also hard because our house doesn't have a whole lot of storage space so the girls' closets don't have much room left in them for huge bins of cloths!

Another thing that frustrates me is that Brooke can still wear all of last year's dresses and shirts (just not pants because she got taller) so instead of simply having this year's wardrobe to work with, I have last year's wardrobe out still. Each of my girls has a CRAZY selection of clothes. Don't get me wrong, I love it, but knowing how to keep all of these clothes organized and stored properly is beyond me.

I'm also thinking that if Adrienne had been a boy then this whole process wouldn't have been as frustrating... That way I could have completely started from scratch and I wouldn't have had to worry about the existing boxes that we have. This is so much work! She's so worth it thought and I'm SUPER glad she's a girl:-) Heaven help me if baby #3 is a girl, though, because then I'm REALLY going to be overwhelmed with pink clothes. Lol

Does anyone have a magic system for storing/organizing baby clothes??? Something... anything.. has to be better than what I'm doing now!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Mommies Have Feelings, Too!

I know that this is totally stupid but I'm just being completely honest... Brooke made me so sad tonight:-( John was putting her to bed (as he always does) and they were enjoying their usual routine of putting money in Brooke's piggy bank, reading a story, praying, and singing 3 songs. I heard them laughing and giggling so I went into Brooke's room to join in on the fun. She got a weird look on her face and started to fuss a little bit so I asked her what was wrong. She looked at me and said, "Could you, um, get out of here?" I was cramping her style:-( She didn't want me to be a part of her nighttime routine. Only DADDY can do that.

There are so many times that I feel like I'm like the last person on Brooke's list. She's a daddy's girl through and through and if there's grandparent around (remember, she has 4 within close proximity), forget about it. She always wants me when she's sick or hurt, which should make me feel good, but all bets are off when nothing's wrong with her. Lol

I was talking to Alison about all of this and she reassured me a lot. She said that as moms, we're always worrying about the ins and outs of our children's care- What they eat, if they've brushed their teeth, if their hair is fixed, if they've gotten a nap, etc... Because of that, we don't always get to be that super fun parent like Daddy. I'm with Brooke ALL THE TIME and obviously John has to work so she's not with him as much. That probably makes Daddy a little bit more cool than me, huh?

I am SO thankful that John is such an attentive and amazing father. I really and truly am. I love his help with the girls and I could sit back for hours listening to Brooke cackle as John wrestles with her. It's priceless. Somehow, though, I feel like that old fuddy duddy mom who just ruins the party.

Again, I know that it's silly to let a 2.5 year old dictate my emotions but I'm human! I'm still her mommy and nothing will ever change that. And besides, next week she just may decided that she's MY girl again! Lol

Monday, November 16, 2009

Fear and Pain

I don't get Brooke lately. It's comical because she's either petrified of something or complaining of her latest ailment. I'm not sure where all of these new feelings are coming from but I am bound and determined to help her get past them!

Here are her latest fears:

*Riding in the car... Especially when there's a pothole, rough road, steep hill, or sharp turn. It's not always easy have to reach back for her little hand as she insists that I hold it!

*Taking a bath. This one baffles me because she's always fine after she gets in the tub and becomes acclimated with it. Whenever I tell her that bath time is coming she cries and says, "Cuz I'm afraid of the bath." Lol

*Her toy room. She has massive room that is specifically for her toys and it is worth absolutely nothing because now she's afraid to go in there. I asked her what the problem was and said, "Cuz there's a monkey." We took the plastic toy monkey out and put him on the deck (Because she asked for him to be put outside) but the other day when it started to rain she got very upset and asked us to bring him back in. So, now that the monkey is back in, we've come full circle. I spend a lot of time playing with her in there and she seems to be okay as long as I "pave the way" for her, but she will not go in there and play independently lately.

*All of her stuffed animals. She's had me rid her room of all the things that she used to snuggle with while she slept. How odd is that? I put a bunch of them in her closet and now she freaks out if the closet door is opened while she's trying to go to sleep.

*Washing her hands. Yes, you read that correctly. One time we were at McDonald's using the bathroom and when I went to hold her up to the counter to wash her hands I accidentally hurt her by hitting her leg on the wall. Now she associates that with washing her hands and it's an argument for us every single time. I feel so bad about that!

As for Brooke's mile long list of things that hurt her, she complains that her "fung" (tongue) hurts and we have no idea why. She also says that her bottom hurts, her hair hurts, her finger hurts, and her teeth hurt. The only that apparently doesn't hurt is her ear. Lol! Hmmm... It's hilarious because every 5 seconds she's coming up to me with a new pain and all I have to say is, "Here honey, have a drink," and that seems to do the trick almost everytime. Lol!

This is definitely an age that is filled with many challenges, I would say. It keeps things interesting, I guess! I'm wonder what she'll be afraid of in the morning?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Returning to Normal

It has been a slow transition from sick to healthy in our home but I think it's safe to say that things are almost normal again! YAY! Brooke woke up Wednesday fever-free but was still miserable, sleepy, and she wouldn't eat. Thursday she was a little bit better and it's only been uphill from there. Thank you, Lord! As for me, I feel great.. Maybe a little bit sleepy from it all, but I feel as healthy as I can be!

I am so happy for Brooke because she got to go to the Sight and Sound Christmas show with my parents and her cousin, Nathan. My parents have had this planned since April so when she got sick last week, I was a little bit worried that she would have to miss out. Thankfully she was well enough to go, though! They left yesterday morning and went to the show and stayed in a hotel and she should be home within a couple of hours. I was a little bit anxious about her going just because she's been SO sick, but obviously I trust my parents to care for her... After all, they raised ME and I'm not so bad! Lol! My mom said that she was laughing and singing and running around just like old times and that put a huge smile on my face when I heard that:-)

John has been off since Wednesday morning so when he goes back in tonight, it's going to be so sad. I have enjoyed having him home SO VERY MUCH and it's never, ever the same without him here. We're loving the new schedule though, even if it means that we're apart at night. Having him home for dinner and bedtime is a more than fair trade off.

We're hosting Thanksgiving for John's family (about 20 people) again this year and I'm really looking forward to it. His family always draws names for Christmas gifts(because they have a large extended family) but John and I aren't participating in that this year... We're going to give Thanksgiving dinner as our gift to everyone! I can't wait to make it extra special for everyone and for them to just be able to come and relax. I just started my shopping for that this week and I will feel much better when that aspect of it is all out of the way.

Alrighty, it's time to go clean up this house. It kind of looks like a cyclone hit it after everyone being so sick!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Never-Ending Sickness

I have not had time to sit behind the computer lately because Brooke has been extremely, extremely sick. Since my last post on Friday, things have only gotten worse and it has been quite the ordeal. She has been running a fever since Friday morning at 1:20 and it was up to 104.7 at its highest. Even though we rotate Motrin and Tylenol, her fever never breaks.. It only lowers to maybe 100.5 if we're lucky.

When this all started out I assumed that it was the virus that's been spreading like wild fire. After Brooke had a horrible night's sleep on Friday, however, I gave the doctor a call because I was deeply concerned about her high, high fever. The nurse that I spoke to said that they absolutely did NOT need to see her because it sounded like she had the flu and there's nothing they can do to fix that. I was satisfied with that because, like I said, the flu (among other bugs) has been going around. This theory was also proved more to me when I became sick on Saturday night. I had an awful headache, fever, cold-like symptoms, and a cough. Adrienne also had caught the cold part of this sickness, too:-(

Well, after bumming around on the couch for a few days, I have started to feel decent. My fever isn't continual and if it comes back, it's low-grade. Brooke, on the other hand, has continued to run at least a 103 degree fever and she has been extremely miserable, lethargic, and grumpy. She won't eat anything at all and I have to fight with her to drink. When she woke up still so sick this morning I called the doctor back. Her condition just didn't set well with me. The nurse on the phone, once again, reassured me that it was "just the flu" and that it can last sometimes for 7-10 days. I told her that I was worried that maybe it was a bacterial infection that she could be treated for like an ear infection or something. She replied, "Well, has she complained of her ear hurting?" I explained to her that she was 2 and that's not always a very accurate barometer of what's really going on with her. She kept trying to tell me that the flu would go away eventually and that I should just give her plenty of fluids and medicine. I said, "I understand that but my daughter needs to be seen. Something's wrong." She finally listened to me and she scheduled us an appointment.

Lo and behold, on top of the cold/flu/virus (they're not exactly sure which one)Brooke has, as the doctor put, a severe ear infection. She literally gasped when she looked into her ear. Then she had me look in Brooke's ear and she showed me that there was a bulging bubble of puss. MY POOR BABY! The doctor put her on an extremely aggressive dose of antibiotic and I'm thankful that I've already got a dose in her. I'm hoping that tomorrow she starts to show some improvement.

I'm filled with so many emotions right now. First all, I feel guilty. I hate that I listened to those people who told me not to bring her in. I'm also deeply saddened to think of the excruciating pain my girl must have been feeling all this time without anyone knowing. It brings tears to my eyes to think about it. It just makes me so angry how that nurse handled this. If I hadn't of put my foot down, my daughter would still be nowhere near on the road to recovery. My daughter has not moved from the couch since Friday and has been more sick than anyone ever deserves to be and I just can't get over how this could have been avoided.

I'm still under the weather myself and I'm completely exhausted and emotionally and physically zapped. Please say a prayer for us that Brooke would wake up markedly better in the morning and that I would start to regain some energy as well. Thank you so much!

Doesn't she break your heart?? :-(

Friday, November 6, 2009

Poor Brooke:-(

Wow, it's been a really long day. It all started this morning at 1:30 when Brooke woke up with a 103.4 degree fever. Luckily she took some medicine and fell back asleep until 9:30. At that point, her fever was only 100.5, even though medicine had completely worn off, and she was her regular happy self.

Things were really pretty normal with Brooke.... Until about 1. She started to get really grumpy and miserable and just wanted to be held. From that point on, her fever has hovered around 102-103 for the entire day. I have been rotating Tylenol and Motrin and I gave her a bath but I have yet to break the fever. I feel so bad for her! Because John's schedule is all out of whack he somehow ended up with last night and tonight off and I am SO thankful that he has been around to help because she has really only wanted her daddy all day. He is such a help, too. Let me tell ya! My husband is wonderful:-)

I actually have tears in my eyes right now because Brooke just went to bed with a 102degree fever:-( She had Motrin at 3:30 so she can't have any more of that until 9:30 and she had Tylenol at 7 so she can't have that until 11. I would have liked to have kept Brooke up super later to give her the 9:30 dose of medicine but she was asking us to go to bed. She needs to rest so badly and she must have really felt awful to ask to lay down. I've been going into her room very frequently to check on her and I'm just praying that that fever breaks. My poor princess!

I was going to take her to the doctor this morning but there's a virus going around and I'm pretty sure that's what she's got. Even if she has the flu they aren't going to be able to do anything of her so I figured that I would just keep her away from the doctor's office and all the germs. If she was showing signs of dehydration or anything, I would obviously bring her right in. It's always so hard to know how to properly deal with these things, isn't it?

Despite the sickness, it really has been a nice day at home. We've all been bumming around and playing with toys and stuff. It's nice to just simply be together as a family. I made homemade cream of potato soup that was to die for, too!

Alrighty, I'm going to go relax with John and watch a movie. Something tells me that we'll have a visitor in our bed before the night is over. If you think of Brookie, please say a prayer for her! Thank you:-)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

And So It Begins...

John wasn't supposed to start his new schedule until tomorrow night but his sergeant called him and he has to start tonight:-( I think that the first couple of nights are going to be the most difficult so I guess it's best to just get them over with.

Right now I keep thinking to myself, "If John was on that other shift, he would be coming home in less than an hour." BUT, I can't think like that because if he was on the other shift, he also would have missed a nice night at home with us tonight, too. It's a trade off and I know that I just need to keep a good attitude about it. I KNOW we can do this and I KNOW we have made it work in the past and I just need to focus on that.

In other news, I think my Brookie is getting sick:-( She just started today with a nasty cough and runny nose so I'm HOPING it's just a cold but she's been coughing pretty bad since we put her to bed. We decided to stay home from church tonight to not get other people sick and so she could rest. I love going to church and I feel like it's important to be there but not at the expense of getting people sick. Even though we missed being at church, we had a really nice lazy night at home and I made breakfast for dinner. I love it!

Well, that about sums it up for today. I'm off to go send my husband out the door. I can almost guarantee that it will be a long night for me as I HATE sleeping without him. I know, I know.. We'll adjust.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Change is Always Coming

I'm learning that being a cop's wife means that life is just going to be inconsistent. As soon as I become comfortable with a new schedule, it's guaranteed to change. I don't especially like change and I don't feel as though I do great with it but I really am learning to just roll with the punches and do the best that I can do for my family.

With that being said, you guessed it... John's schedule is going to be changing again as of Thursday night. In a few days, he will be working nights again (11 P.M. to 7 A.M.). Any of you who follow my blog regularly know that we like this shift far better than the evening shift because we get lots more family time together. However, the transition to this shift is very difficult. For starters, John gets nasty headaches and is continually tired for a couple of months as his circadian rhythm is out of whack. It's also hard because with him getting home at 7:30 in the mornings, the girls and I will probably forgo our morning snuggling/cartoon time in our bed so he can sleep. Earlier mornings for them will probably screw up our nap time routine as well. The thing that will be the hardest, in my mind, is learning to sleep without John again and not freaking out over stupid noises while he's at work.

I suppose that I could do myself a favor though and focus on the positives.... We will eat dinner together as a family every night. I can't wait to actually get to cook for my husband regularly again! I enjoy that responsibility. I'm also excited to have quiet nights together at home just doing nothing. I have missed that! It will also be great because I won't be left to do the bedtime routine with the girls by myself anymore. Thank goodness for that!

I know that this change is going to ultimately be for the good but right now, I'm a little apprehensive. I just need to take it one step at a time though, right?

Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Ladybug and the Cupcake

I don't really get into Halloween and I don't like the ghosts, witches, goblins and all of that. I do, however, like dressing the girls up! Adrienne wore Brooke's ladybug costume from when she was a baby and John's aunt made Brooke an ingenious cupcake costume. John's family came over and his parents and I switched off between taking Brooke trick-or-treating and passing out candy at home with Adrienne. I got the best of both worlds and we all had a great night! Here are some pictures of the girls...




Friday, October 30, 2009

Date Night

John and I haven't had a date together for over 5 months now. I've never left Adrienne (except briefly to run to the doctor) and that's just one of the prices you pay to breastfeed. I wouldn't have it any other way, though! I love my girls so much but I have been extremely eager to get out with John. Because we can't really go out right now, I brought a date to our home!

Last night after we put the girls to bed, I made us the NICEST dinner! I made rib eye steaks, grilled garlic shrimp skewers, Parmesan risotto (which was tons of fun to make!), cheddar biscuits (that taste just like Red Lobster's), and steamed broccoli. We set the table, lit some candles, and turned off all other distractions. We're working through the book, Trading Places, by Les and Leslie Parrot (which is a must read, by the way!) and we went over the questions from our workbooks that go with our reading. While we're always spending time with one another and doing things together, I felt like last night was genuine, quality time that really counted for something. Life is so busy and full of so many things to occupy us and it's nice to shut to rest of the world off from time to time!

I feel so refreshed. I think that late night date dinners at home are going to become more frequent around this house!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

5 Months Old!

Sometimes I feel like I should always celebrate Adrienne's birthday on the 28Th of each month instead of the 27Th. Whenever I remember May 27Th, I think of the anguish I felt as I couldn't even meet my baby who was taken from me so quickly. I think of how she was hooked up to an IV and struggling to breathe yet I didn't have the strength to get out of my bed and meet her. Talk about guilt. I think of how I finally got to meet her that night and not only did I not get to nurse her, but I was only able to hold her briefly before the alarm sounded saying her oxygen levels were dipping. It wasn't really the birthday that I had planned for her at all. However, I'm so blessed because May 28Th did come (after what seemed like years of waiting) and my precious little girl is now perfectly healthy. I know that many might look at me and think that I'm selfish or stupid to still feel sad about that because she's totally fine now, but I'm still a human and I still kind of relive those emotions every month when I think about Adrienne's birth.

So, in honor of the big 5-month-old, let me do a little recap on Miss Adrienne and what she's like:

She enjoys: Being on her belly, standing up and looking all around, sucking her thumb, and being put over your shoulder. She's a true daddy's girl it seems and she just lights up whenever she looks at him. That makes two daddy's girls! Darn it! Lol

She doesn't like: Loud noises or anything that startles her. She gets scared very easily and doesn't take it too well. She also doesn't particularly enjoy riding in the car.

Her temperament is: Easy-going, social, content, and goofy. I LOVE her personality and each day I uncover new elements about her to enjoy.

Her favorite pastimes: Sitting in her bouncy seat or laying on her play mat

I am so enjoying watching my daughter grow! I think with the second baby it's just a tad bit more exciting for me because I am anticipating things to come, whereas the first time around, I didn't really know what to expect. I am so thankful that Adrienne is a part of our lives and I feel so privileged to be her mommy!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Motherhood Isn't for the Weak

I confess, I'm sitting behind this computer tonight feeling very discouraged, defeated, and like a complete and total failure. Our day today was pretty much a train wreck from the minute Brooke woke up and it really only went downhill from there. I feel like a sub par mom that I couldn't "fix" Brooke and that I couldn't get us back on track.

It really all started last night when Brooke refused to go to sleep. She was in her bed from 8:30 to midnight wide awake. First she was happy and singing and to me, that's fine. We all need some time to unwind. That escalated to screaming hysterically, kicking walls, and yelling, "I'm not going to bed. I won't take a nap!" Another excuse that she frequently used was, "But I have to go potty." Yeah, I only fell for that about 3 times. Lol! After many, many measures of discipline, she fell asleep around 11:45. When she woke up at 7:45 this morning, I KNEW she would be miserable because 8 hours of sleep is simply not enough for a little girl who usually gets 12+.

We spent our morning at home and Brooke was overall grumpy and non-compliant. At breakfast, she was hysterical because she wanted eggs and pancakes and cereal. I told her that I wasn't going to give her cereal with eggs and pancakes and she didn't appreciate that too much. Things got really dicey, however, when I went to get her dressed for the day. First of all, she refused to come when I called her (which is obviously NOT acceptable) and threw herself on the floor. I then encouraged her to go to the potty because she hadn't been in a while and she again, threw herself on the floor. John came in and made her sit on the potty (after spankings and everything else) and she still outright refused to even try and kept repeatedly thrashing and screaming. We disciplined her over and over and she still claimed that she didn't have to go potty. When John sent her over to say she was sorry to me for her behavior, she came over to me and wouldn't apologize. As I picked her up to deal with her, she said, "I'm going to pee pee on you." We were literally two feet from her potty and two seconds previous to this episode she had sat on the potty, but before I could say another word, she peed all over me and her fresh set of clothes. I wanted to scream/cry/freak out and then some.

After many other instances, we determined that putting her down for nap at 12 (as opposed to 1) would be best for everyone. She fell instantly to sleep like we knew she would. Adrienne slept from 11-2 so John and I really, really enjoyed those couple of peaceful hours together. Believe me. Brooke woke up at 2 and seemed pretty happy and her attitude at that point really was much better.

Then... Bedtime came. Tonight she pulled the same antics as last night. She screamed until 11 and she seemed unaffected by any form of discipline that I inflicted upon her. I just don't know what to do anymore. I'm truly at my wits end with bedtime. Tonight she was legitimately tired yet she would not give in for anything. When I went in to check on her, she was at the end of her bed folded in half and her pillows were all thrown off the bed. I just stared at her tiny little body in that big bed and cried. Even though I know that her upsetment was caused by her disobedience, I felt so sad that she had to go to bed so sad and angry.

Thankfully most days aren't like this. Brooke is really a great little girl and very rarely do I feel as broken up about motherhood as I do today. I know that I should do myself a favor and put this day behind us, but I'll be honest, I'm so fearful that tomorrow will be the same way and I'm completely and utterly exhausted and frazzled. When Brooke was a baby, I would have never looked into those big blue, innocent eyes and thought that being her mother could really be this difficult. I really thought I was a good mom but today, I'm questioning whether or not that's true:-(

Sunday, October 25, 2009

What a Weird Day!

Sunday mornings. For many, those words mean sleeping in, watching cartoons in bed, having a big family breakfast, taking things kind of slow. For me, however, they mean run, run, run and move, move, move. Because I play the piano and sing in our church's praise and worship team, I have to be at church on Sunday mornings to practice at 8:15. I get up at 7 and get myself together and then I wake up the girls and get them all prettied up in their Sunday dresses, tights, and bows. For us, it's a mega rush to get out the door by 8 but I love being able to play the piano so much that I do it.

This morning was nice because John was going to keep both girls home with him while I went to practice. I still got up early and got them ready and dressed because he worked late and I like for him to be able to sleep a little bit longer. Anyways, I headed off to worship practice and got there right now time. I'm always super happy when that happens!

The routine from here on out is always that John takes Brooke to the grocery store where they pick me out a bagel and her a doughnut and chocolate milk and bring it to church to eat. They used to go to McDonald's for pancakes but they switched it up a bit. This morning, they came out of the grocery store and John informed that Brooke had thrown up everywhere. Nice, huh?

Assuming that my daughter was coming down with a horrible stomach bug, we all went home. I was feeling particularly bummed because not only would I not be able to play the piano, which is something I look forward to every week, but John had to work a 12today (3 hours early) so I knew it would be a long day. I was also a little disappointed because both girls were wearing new dresses and happened to look extra precious (Of course!) and I always enjoy showing them off.

When we got home, Brooke ate us out of house and home and was completely fine the rest of the day. No throw up, no diarrhea... Nothing. She laughed, she played, and she was 100 percent Brooke. Isn't that so odd?

I attend a Bible study at church on Sunday nights but I couldn't bring Brooke, who had thrown up that morning, to the church nursery. Even though I really felt as though it was a fluke thing, I didn't think that it would be fair to the other kids. My mom so graciously offered to watch her while I went to Bible study, even though she would have liked to have gone herself. I am so blessed to have a mom who is willing to do that for me! The break we heavenly and I was truly appreciative. I didn't envision myself getting out tonight but I did!

Hopefully the throw up does make a mysterious reappearance in the morning. But, as I'm coming to realize, with motherhood, you always need to expect the unexpected. Lol! Wish me luck...

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Catching Up

We have been crazy busy over the last couple of days. John was off on Thursday and Friday so we got lots accomplished together as a family. To avoid a long, disorganized, random post, I'm going to just do bullets. It's easier that way!

Potty Training-

Brooke has become a true champ when it comes to using the potty! We just carry on with our normal life now... grocery shopping, errands, visiting family members, church, etc.. and she has NO accidents. She's not afraid of public toilets anymore and she doesn't even wear Pull Ups or rubber pantie covers when we're out. Very impressive! That being said, we have one problem... Poo poo. She's like TERRIFIED to go poop on the potty and she has yet to do so. Thankfully, she's regular so if she's going to go she'll go in the mornings before we're out and about. All you potty training pros out there... Do you have any advice for me?? This is one final hurdle to get us through to the finish line!

New Freezer!

My parents had a freezer in their garage and they offered it to us! John and his brother went to pick it up on Thursday and they scrubbed it down... Inside and out. It looks brand new and it's so awesome to have it! I'm actually able to see all of the frozen meats that we have and I'm amazed at how much easier it has made my life! It's fully stocked with lots and lots of flour, butter, frozen veggies, and any kind of meat imaginable. Having it should truly help me in my quest to save us money on our grocery bill. The possibilities are endless!

Adrienne

My baby has become so much more active over the last couple of days or so. She's insane! She rolls from front to back and back to front... Just not on demand quite yet! :-) She's hilarious because she's staring to blow raspberries so she always has spit on her face (which I wipe off constantly) and she has learned to take her socks off. She loves to reach for things and grab at things and put them in her mouth. My sleepy little infant and has woken up BIG TIME! She gets on her knees like she's going to crawl and I'm hoping that that's a ways up the road. I'm not sure if I'm quite ready for her to be mobile!

Everything is going beautifully in our little world and I have no complaints:-) This time of year is my absolute favorite so that definitely makes it all the better!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Jarring and Canning?

I have the urge to learn how to jar and can some of our foods. I make homemade applesauce that is to die for (if I do say so myself!) and I was thinking that there's no reason why I can't learn to jar it so we can enjoy it all year long. While apples are available year round and it's quick and easy to prepare, it would be that much better if I could make it now while apples are super, super cheap. I was also thinking that it would be a great thing to give as gifts in Christmas baskets.

Another thing that I was thinking I could jar is my homemade salsa. I love making it and it's so, so, so much better than the nasty jar stuff but it's a pain to get the food processor and everything out for one measly batch. If I made that in bulk and put it into jas it would be so nice to have on hand for parties and/or gift baskets.

The possibilities are endless, really... Spaghetti sauce? Vegetables? This could be a really fun hobby for me and I'm ALWAYS looking for things to do in my spare time.

Then, there's the negative Jillian I have to battle... Part of me thinks that I won't be any good at it or that I'll do it wrong and make people sick from somehow letting bacteria grow in it. Also, I wonder if all of the mason jars and stuff are really expensive? I think I also need a special boiling pot to boil the jars in, too. I can't imagine that it would really be THAT much money though.

Have any of you ever had any experience with this sort of thing? If so, please give me your insight! I want to try it so bad!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Bargains are BLISS!

With a little bit of encouragement from my sister, I have become addicted to getting bargains on groceries and other household items. Prior to this whole coupon/bargain/saving money addiction, I would pretty much put whatever in my shopping cart without even thinking twice about how much things cost. I would go to various stores in search of cheaper foods if I happened to notice something in the sales guides, but I certainly wasn't clipping coupons and planning out my visits before each shopping trip.

My favorite store as of late is CVS. I'm telling you, people, you can save so much money there. They have these wonderful things called Extra Care Bucks that they give you when you buy certain products (that vary from week to week) and it makes it fun to see how much money you can save! Today I got 3 things of Advil, 1 Chapstick, 1 Glade Sense N' Spray starter kit, 1 Glad Reed Diffuser, 1 Robitussin, 4 12 packs of Diet Coke, and Revlon blush and eye shadow all for a grand total of $17 (I also used almost $20 worth of coupons that I printed online) with 3 bucks back at the end. I made 4 separate purchases to take advantage of my Extra Care Bucks that I had earned from some of those products (a total of $24) and left there spending a minimal amount of money. Normally I wouldn't have spent that much but there were no coupons for the soda and I had to pay a deposit on all of that. Overall, it was still a great bargain! I was able to splurge on some makeup that would have been pretty expensive otherwise.

Next, I headed to Price Chopper where I got 88 dollars worth of groceries for 40 dollars!!!!!! I got free Clorox bleach, 3 free packages of Steamfresh vegetables and free Airwick air freshener. Amongst the free stuff, I also got some mega bargains- Tide for 4 dollars (I got 2 bottles!) and 8 boxes of General Mills cereal for a grand total of $2.70. I got a bunch of other stuff there that was priced well, too, but those were my best deals.

I am having so much fun saving my family money and am going to strive to be a better home economist. This is definitely a learning experience for me but I'm just trying to do my part! I might as well enjoy doing it, right?

*As a totally unrelated side note, I just want to brag on Brooke really quick. She was ACCIDENT FREE today and I'm so proud of her! She wore panties to gymnastics, during our shopping trips, out to lunch to McDonald's, and to my parents' house tonight. By golly, I think she's got it!

Monday, October 19, 2009

More Potty Talk

Over the last couple of days, potty training has taken a turn for the better with Brooke! I'm seriously on top of the world because of it and I dare say that this is IT with her. I better be sure not to get too hopeful of that, though, in case she digresses.

It really all started yesterday morning when she declared that she was wearing panties to church and NOT a Pull Up. I honestly had no idea what to do.. Was I supposed to let her wear panties and risk lots of accidents and frustration on her both? Or was I supposed to argue with her and not even give her an opportunity to succeed? I called my sister and the first words out of my mouth were, "I don't know what to do!" Lol! After talking about it, I ended up letting Brooke wear her panties to church and she stayed dry the ENTIRE morning!! She even let people know when she had to go. It was truly amazing! We had a special lunch after the regular service and Brooke was approaching nap time and eating when she had her first accident. It really wasn't that bad though... Thanks to the plastic pantie covers that Alison brought for us! After that, though, she had no more accidents the rest of the day. What a champ!

This morning we got off to a rough start. During breakfast Brooke peed but immediately said, "Ugh oh!" like she knew it was wrong. We also had another issue with poop because she tried to get to the bathroom but didn't quite make it in time. She was making an honest effort though! After that, however, the day got better and better! Once we got into our groove, the accidents were non-existent! I'm super impressed because I put her in a Pull Up for her nap and she woke up completely dry and then she used the potty immediately after waking up. As she played this afternoon, she got up whenever she needed to go pee pee without me even prompting her to do so! Tonight we watched a Christmas movie in my bed to celebrate her success and she didn't even have any accidents during that whole time. She's amazing!

Tomorrow we're going to gymnastics and I'm not quite sure what I'm going to do about that. I had thought about taking a week off just to kind of figure this potty training stuff out but I don't want to take something away from her that she loves so much. Life must go on, right? She's doing great but when we're out and about there's not telling what she'll do at this point. I'm still kind of nervous about all of that...

Things are looking up! I am SO PROUD of Brooke and how quickly she has caught on to all of this. We can do this after all!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Adventures in Potty Training

The potty training saga continues and let me tell you, it's getting old! After several of you commented and told that when Brooke was ready that she would pick it up, I decided to stop stressing about it. However, over the last couple of days we've been talking a lot about potty training and this morning she actually asked to wear her Elmo panties. I wasn't going to say no so I went with it. Here's how the day went...

*She was dry from 9-11:30 and went pee pee on the potty twice. At that point, I thought that she just might be getting the hang of it and I was VERY excited!

*Today was John's day off and we had some essential errands to run so we left the house. Brooke wanted to wear her panties but I suggested a Pull Up. After some coaxing, she was fine with that. When we got to our first stop (the grocery store) she said that she needed to use the potty. After rushing back to the store's bathroom she saw the big potty and said, "I want MY toilet mommy!" I said, "Brooke, you're going to have to use that big potty. I promise it won't be scary!" At that point she told me that she would just hold it. Whatever... I didn't want to make a big production and traumatize her so I just let it go.

*When we got home, the Pull Up was moderately wet but I didn't really let that get me down. We switched right back to panties and she used the potty once and then stayed dry for another hour or so.

*Then... The accidents started happening for the rest of the night. The first accident was my fault because I was upstairs putting laundry away while she was playing downstairs. I forgot that I really do need to be on top of her at all times throughout this. The second accident happened about 2 minutes after she had sat on the potty and said she didn't have to go. That one CRUSHED me. The last accident happened while she was eating dessert. Who could blame her... Dessert or potty? Hmm...

When it was finally bedtime, I think John and I were both relieved that the potty training was done for the day. This is SO MUCH WORK. Holy cow! I love having kids but so far, this has been the worst part of parenting.

So, all you experienced mamas out there, I have some questions...

1. What do I do when we go out? She's petrified of big toilets and I'm not sure how we'll ever be able to go places when she's fully trained.

2. Do you have any tricks for getting your child to actually go on the potty when you know their bladder is full? Remember how I said that she went in her pants like two minutes after "trying." Is there a special trick to help with that?

3. Obviously I can't put her in panties while we're out and about now... Are Pull Ups too much like diapers to really do the trick?

I HATE POTTY TRAINING. But... I love my little girl:-) It can only get better, right??

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Looking Back

There are times in life when things are tough. We are often hit with curveballs and are forced to face things that we would much rather not. I'm not sure exactly what verse or scripture says this, but I know that the Bible says to write down the things that Lord does for you so that you can look back on them and be encouraged.

As I remember back to this date exactly a year, I am reminded of how God has blessed my family and provided for us in the midst of a very scary, uncertain time. To sumarize, I was newly pregnant with Adrienne and I started to have some bleeding that morning. After crying and worrying and being very afraid, we went to the doctor only to find her precious heart beating. I'll never get that miraculous moment because through the fear, my faith was greatly increased.

I am so thankful for Adrienne and that she is here safely... Through it all!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

"Leaving it Up to God"

I just watched the TLC showing of Anna and Josh Duggar's baby being born. It was a beautiful birth... The kind of birth that I have always wanted, actually, and it was great to watch.

Prior to the baby's birth in the episode the couple was asked how many children they wanted to have and they said, "We're leaving it up to God." Here's my deal... I know that God is sovereign and His will will be done. I absolutely believe that and I'm not trying to dispute that in any way, shape, or form. However, can we take that sovereignty one step too far and not think for ourselves? Here are a couple of examples- If we believe that God will protect us while we're riding in the car, then why do we wear seat belts? If we believe that God will provide for our needs, why do we save and/or make money? If we believe that God already knows who will accept Him or not, then why do we witness? If we believe that our health is in God's hands, why do we see doctors? Those are all comical thoughts, right? Why do some say that with birth control though?

I am not ridiculing the Duggar's (or anyone else with large families) but I'm just questioning the whole train of thinking. I, for one, absolutely believe in birth control and I don't think that by taking it that I am telling God to butt out of my family planning. John and I are praying about our family size and we are willing to be done having babies but we are also willing to have more kids if that's God's plan. In my eyes, not using any form of birth control is doing it completely backwards.

Don't get me wrong, large families are great. I don't think that it's wrong to have lots and lot of kids... I just don't think that there should be any pressure (religious or otherwise) to make lots of babies. Those who opt to plan their families this way are not more holy than me and I am no holier than them for my point of view.

The bottom line is that yes, God is sovereign, but also, He made us to be intellectual, emotional, and thinking beings. I entrust my family size to Him completely and I submit wholeheartedly to His guidance. While I'm "leaving it up to God," I'm also going to apply some practical thinking and, for the time being, delay the growth of my family!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Apples Galore!

John's mom has been buying me tons and tons of apples lately. We love to eat them plain or with peanut butter (Brooke's favorite) or to make homemade applesauce, but mostly, I love to bake with them! I find that the fact that they rot is my motivation because I do NOT want to waste them.

The first thing I "mastered" this year was homemade apple pie. I had always wanted to learn how to make homemade pies but I assumed that it would be too hard for me. I was wrong! Believe it or not, I'm semi-decent at making them and they actually look kind of pretty when I'm done with them! I love to make pies for our home because John loves them but I also have like to bake pies to bless others. My mom works full time and was having dinner company the other night. To relieve the burden from her, I delivered a warm baked apple pie for her and her company. I have also baked for some neighbors that we have and they seem to appreciate my efforts!

After making apple pies got a little old, I started to move on to apple dumplings. I really love making these because they require you to measure and be precise... Which is again, something that I never thought I could do. Now that I've made them a couple of times, they're effortless and I LOVE making them!

A couple of weeks ago I made apple crisp for one of John's co-workers. I had said on Facebook that I was making apple crisp and this guy and his wife both said it was their favorite so the next day I dropped some off on their doorstep. It gave me so much joy to actually be able to do something nice for these people!

Tonight I made homemade cinnamon apple muffins. Patty (John's mom) makes them all the time and they are to die for. I am still amazed at how easy they were and how delicious they taste. I also brought some of those over to the neighbors and was very proud.

Sometimes I feel like as a stay-at-home-mom that I can't do much to bless others or like I'm so busy with my girls that I'm not much help to anyone, but little things like baking have helped me realize that I'm not useless. I intend and hope to continue to reach out of my comfort zone to find projects like this around the home. What's next... Knitting? That just might be stretching it!