Thursday, October 30, 2014

Daughter Moments

When my daughter grows up I want her to feel like her parent's loved her equally.  I hope she doesn't remember that time I became angry because I was too tired.  Or that time I was so sick she thought I was ignoring her.  Or that time I gave her a banana and she cried because she wanted a banana.  (Yeah, you read that last part correctly.)

life is rough

Recently I've noticed my daughter's STRONG need to do everything her way.  And her Mom to follow along.  The typical toddler stage in life.  (This mom is tired.)  There have been too many tears and fits.

Daddy's in the shower.
Apparently that's not okay.

So this mom has started a new strategy.  When that sweet toddler lets all her feelings out uncontrollably I am staying calm.  I pick her up and swing her around.  I sit her in my lap.  I cuddle her...

And in the sweetest voice I hear a soft voice say, "I love you Mommy."

It melts this Momma's heart.  In one moment the attitude went from quite the fit to cuddles, giggles, and words of affirmation.

Here are some posts and articles that encourage me these days.

This one encouraged my post today:

I LOVE this one.

**My post was posted before my husband was able to proof read or give his two cents.

Sunday, October 19, 2014


Thank you God for bringing me where I am today.  I would have never asked to be in this position but I'm so encouraged by your Truth.  Lately I've been doubting.  After I miscarried the only thing that kept me moving on was knowing You had a plan.  You are faithful.  You were faithful in my past and would be faithful in my future.  Then suddenly October hit.

The weather became wet.  I don't like that.  I stay inside cuddled in blankets, watching Elmo (thanks two-year old), and drinking soda to take off the headache.  I'm forced to warm up in sweatpants and sweaters and be around people.  It's good though.  It's healing.

some mornings I just want to boycott life

Father, I'm blessed by You.  Because as hard as October has been for me emotionally, I feel your presence.  On my knees, or laying on my pillow, drenched in tears, finding security in You alone.  Those who don't know You or can't find comfort in You I deeply fear for their struggles we all face in this life.  I could do NOTHING without You, Father.

October has been like a crashing wave.  As I hide behind the curtains (it's cold out there), I find my loneliness growing.  But it's not loneliness like one might think.  You see, I have a husband who desires communication, a daughter who WANTS everything, and church family along my side every step of the way.  I'm no longer in need of people to take away this void I feel.  

I want my babies.  My lost babies.

And no please, please don't tell me I need help with grieving.  Believe me.  I got that part down.  And please, please don't tell me I need help moving on.  Or what to do next.  I know what I'm doing next.

What I need is to know my body won't fail when we try again.

I need to know after weeks of sickness I won't lose another baby.

I won't have to give birth again without a baby to snuggle.

I fear I'll go the whole pregnancy just fine and lose it in the end.

I fear I'll never know what it would be like to have a son.

I fear if we have a daughter my husband won't get to teach a son how to live.

{We honestly don't care what gender we're blessed with next.}

I mourn my babies, but I also mourn the future.

I mourn forgotten heartbeats.

I mourn mommies who fear motherhood.

I mourn the months I lost and won't ever get back.

I mourn the stretchmarks each pregnancy gave me.  Each bath reminds me.  I only have one baby with me.

I mourn what could have been....

...and what never will be.

As I sat in church today I cried tears of surrender.

I had nothing left to give.  Nothing to offer.

Nothing I could do or say to Him that would be of worth.

I just gave up myself.

And the tears poured like a waterfall.

that's what I did in church.
or at least what I looked like in my head.
{thank google images}

As soon as I let go.  He had room to come in.

And my family will never be the same for it.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Ellie {24 months}

Sorry followers I've slowed down on blog posts.  Not intentionally, we just didn't have wifi at our house for awhile to save money, especially while we were getting the bathroom remodeling done.  You probably want a post all about that new bathroom, which I'll get on it as soon as I finish up what needs done first.

Like updates on Ellie. :)

The last time I wrote in detail about what she was up to was 16 months old, oops.  Since then there's been a few updates but nothing too detailed to look back on.

Obviously a lot has changed since then!!

*She uses walking, dancing, and running as her main source of mobility.  (Faster if she knows she's doing something naughty.)

*She talks nonstop and knows a LOT of words.  One day she started using a word that we didn't know she knew what it meant.  She's a lot smarter than we think!  Now we know she knows what we mean when we want her to obey.  That little stinker....

"Ellie, are you being a stinker?"

"Yeah, I be a stinker!"

*She's full on toddler.  She eats what she wants when she wants it (with restrictions obviously).  But if she wants to eat as much as Daddy she will, if she wants to be picky and not eat anything that's what she does!  Her new favorite phrase is "I WANT!"  and she screams it as loud as she can.  Oh, and the food on your plate is SO MUCH BETTER than what is on hers...even though it's the exact same thing.

*Her favorite songs are: Jesus Loves Me, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, and ABCs

*Her favorite TV show is Sesame Street.  So of course her second birthday was Sesame Street themed.  We let her watch it on weekdays every morning, because it gives me time to get my day going and lets Daddy leave without her complaint.  She knows every character on the show and calls them by name.  And to deal with Mommy guilt she has learned a lot from the show!  She has learned most of her alphabet and numbers!  And it starts the day off with a happier girl.  win-win!

*Every Wednesday morning she goes to Kindermusik here in Ames and LOVES it.  Some days are better than others but since it's a class for 18mo-3 year olds what else do you expect?  It has taught her to follow directions, listen to rhythm, she has a lot of the music memorized already, and it gets us out of the house.  As the weather gets colder it will be a good excuse for this homebody to be forced to get out.

Ellie's favorites....

-Food: ice cream, anything that can be dipped, broccoli (even raw!), fruit, lasagna, pizza (last night before bed she asked for it!), yogurt, shredded cheese (if I give her cheese sticks I break it up to look shredded so she will eat it), cheeseburgers, anything on Daddy's plate, cheese quesadillas, and chicken.

-Games/Activities: Dominoes, puzzles, peek-a-boo, hide and seek (but doesn't understand it yet), coloring, reading books, building towers, taking care of her baby dolls, singing, dancing, "watch" movies and cuddling, bubbles, play kitchen, helping Daddy outside, putting things in a container and taking it back out and back in again....

-Words/Phrases: "I want!", "Oh thank you!", "I love you", "You a nice helper", "oh yess!", "watch Elmo...", "Up pleassse!" "Oh hi Mommy, how you doing?/how are you?"

-"Playing with kids." we say that when we go to church to prepare her for getting dropped off at the nursery.  Over the summer she hit the stage of crying when we dropped her off.  Now that we attend ONE church and not searching it's been helpful.  Her life is more stable now.  Plus she really likes going now and gets excited about it.  It really blesses Jon and I to have a nondistracting moment in our week at church.  We really appreciate the workers who give up their Sunday mornings to bless us and other families.  I use to do that and I know the time and energy it takes. :)

Ellie's dislikes:

-Getting her hair washed.  She's better at bath time but doesn't understand leaning her head back.  Oh sweet baby.

-Having to wait for things if she wants things NOW.  (Oh my gosh!  She's a toddler you guys!  Imagine that!)

-If When Daddy leaves.  Even if it's just to go outside and she can't be with him.

-Lowes outings.  The best we can do is each parent has a cart.  one cart for purchases and one for Ellie and her toys and activities to try to keep her happy.  Oh and lots of snacks.

Ellie's typical daily schedue:

Wakes up around 8/8:30 (oh thank you Jesus for later morning wake up!  And that the 6am wake up was only a phase!)

Daddy gets up with her and feeds her breakfast. He turns on IPTV and walks out the door.

I come out and gets my own breakfast and cuddle with Ellie while watching Sesame Street.
Depending on the day it's just free time.
-Wednesday mornings are different (Daddy helps get Ellie dressed & ready to go.)  Leave house by 9:30am for Kindermusik.  Afterwards we run errands and return home in time for lunch.
Otherwise I try to get some laundry going and cleaning.  And in the mean time end up reading books, building towers or unloading the dishwasher.

Got her these PJs for her birthday

Lunch usually depends on when she's hungry again which is usually 11/11:30.
It's a simple meal and usually something she can have at her new little kid table in the living room.  You know toddlers. ;)  However some times she won't eat so I sit her up at our dining room table to help her focus on getting food in her.  I never force her to eat, unless I know she's hungry then I'll try a few bites.  After awhile lunch is just done otherwise it gets too close to nap time.

Nap is around 12:30/1, sometimes later on those unusual days.  Fresh diaper, sometimes a couple board books, or just straight to singing her three favorite songs, and then she leans over to crib.

How long does she nap?  She either goes short (50 mins-1.5 hours) or LONG (3-4 hours).  If she wakes up happily talking I have 15-20 mins to rush around and pick things up, take a quick shower, or switch laundry over.  Sometimes she falls back asleep on those short nap days, or it's just better to give her that time alone. :)  The first things she says when I walk in (and it MELTS my heart), "Well hi Mommy!  How are you?"

Once she's up and running around she usually wants a snack and if she doesn't ask for one I just give it anyways.  Because when I make dinner she's MAD by then if she's hungry.  Her snacks are usually crackers or fruit.  Something I can just set out and let her munch on whenever she's interested.

Late afternoon/evening I prep dinner and hope Ellie stays happy.  I try to get her busy with something she hasn't done for awhile or put on some music.

Dinner at 6pm.  Before her bedtime we try to have family time.  Ellie's bed time is usually around 8, sometimes closer to 9 depending on her nap and what we're up to.

Bed routine takes a little longer (especially with Daddy). :)  But in a sweet way.  She just has Daddy wrapped around her precious little fingers and curls. :)  We give her something to drink, read a couple books, and sing those songs again all in the peaceful surroundings of her dark bedroom.  And when I lay her down I tuck her in with a blanket and pray with her.

Those songs we sing to put her down.....

ABCs (she knows most of them)
Twinkle Twinkle Little Star (has it memorized and will sing with us)
Jesus Loves Me (I posted a video of her singing this on Facebook.  She smiles and sings it so well every night and before nap.)

*She sings those songs randomly throughout the day, and especially in the car if she's tired! :)

Well if you are still with me you got through our typical day!  Thanks for reading and being interested in Ellie's updates!  We are so thankful for her.  She brings so much JOY into our family.  I know I say it a lot but God knew what He was doing.  It's so true.  She is a little bit of both of us but with a stronger personality! :)  After two miscarriages I can now say without a doubt she was a blessing and God's gift to us.  While we were undeserving, God blessed us with this little life.  It's been a blessing to see her grow.

Now, if you have any tips of how to parent a strong-willed child just let us know! :)

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Take that, Pinterest!

Ellie turned two last weekend and we threw her a Sesame Street birthday party.  We invited family and some friends that live in our town.  When searching on Pinterest I found some cute, time consuming ideas for a birthday party and thought those people are crazy.  When your daughter is turning a young age she won't remember anything.  So what am I trying to prove to people when I throw a party for her?  I want it to look Pinterest-worthy of course!  So, go ahead and pin these great ideas!  I'm pretty sure we spent more time cleaning our house then planning the party.

I think that's the best way to do it.  But here is what we did.

Here's the cake.  It was so difficult.  I had to go to Hy-Vee three days before the party and tell them "Sesame Street themed, pastel colors (I don't like blue teeth), have it say Happy Birthday Ellie, and she's turning two."  Then the day of the party Jon had to go pick it up.  The nerve.

Then we had to decorate our table and Ellie's seating.  My mom has some Target washable table cloths with fun bright colors that match Sesame Street characters.  Boom.

That birthday sign I bought our first year of marriage for Jon's birthday.  Each letter matched the colors of the tablecloth.  Yep, pretend it was planned.  Those flowers I bought the night before the party.  I love a good excuse to buy fresh flowers!  The clear vase I bought at Stuff, Etc in Ankeny for 50 cents.  Red vases from Hobby Lobby a few years ago.  I called them Elmo vases. ;)  After picture was taken we tied a Sesame Street balloon to Ellie's chair.

We added our card table to the end of dinning room table to add more seating.  I love it how our house is so open and spacious in that way, but doesn't look too big when it's just our little family.

My parents got Ellie this little table and chairs for her birthday and they brought it already put together so it could be used right away!  I put down cheap, thin wrapping paper on it for fun.  I got the roll for 30 cents at Target on clearance, so of course I got three rolls.  It's too thin for good wrapping paper but I thought it would be fun for large paper coloring activities.  On the table I put a cup with crayons in it.  (Side note that cup is from my Grandma who passed away a few years ago.)  Sesame Street activity book from Target $1 section on the table for the kids to be entertained. :)  That's as Sesame Steet themed as it's going to get. :)

We set up another card table in the living room with another fun table cloth.  I put some older kid activity books on it as well with some crayons.  (Notice no markers.  I didn't want any kids to get any ideas without adults aware.)  My mom added a fun touch to the corners with her Pinterest-worthy bows.


In the living room I had a basket collection of all our Sesame Street books and toys.  A couple of the books are from the library.  Score.  Other books I got at Overflow for cheap (10 random books for $1).  Toys given to us for free from a friend.  Tickle me Elmo I got when I was young.  The little Elmo at Target for $5 months ago.

And then comes the eye-sore.  This piece of wood is hollow.  It use to have box of plants in it but we thought wasted space.  We took plants out and now waiting for our new countertop to come in.  Until then my mom helped us make this look better.  Today it still looks like that until the end of this month when counter comes in.  It's nice not to have a hole there.  We used this at the party for plates, silverware, and placing plates with cake on it. :)  Oh, and more of those corner bows.  The party was hoppin'!  Take that Pinterest! :)

The view from the kitchen.  To the left is where we put the cake and drinks.  If you look close you can see Sesame Street temp tattoos.  My mom picked them up from Nobbies along with Elmo, Cookie Monster & Big Bird plates and napkins.

We served appetizers and this is the only picture I have to show for it.  Oops.  I taped a Happy Birthday sign to a toothpick and stuck it in an apple. :)  It was red so boo-yah Elmo! :)  We served apples with homemade caramel dip, summer sausage, three kind of cheeses, and crackers tray, veggie tray, and put Goldfish crackers in a fish bowl. :)  Our drinks included leftover from Jon's birthday party a couple weeks ago of juice boxes and water bottles.

The party started at 3pm and I woke Ellie up after sleeping two hours.  The kids were playing in the kitchen and laughing.  We went in to find Ellie had gotten into her cake. ;)  So different from last year!!

funny girl <3
She gave us a two-year old hand print.

Half cake was chocolate, half vanilla
Once all our guests arrived we sang Happy Birthday!

Think what you want, but I think she's gorgeous.  And blew out her candle perfectly.  We even got it on video camera!  Thanks Daddy for having it ready in time and Uncle John for capturing it! :)

Next pictures of our guests......

our friend Megan and her daughter
(so bummed we didnt get one of Mike!) :(
Ellie's friend from our Connection Group
and the daughter's parents!
We love our Connection Group! :)

Opening presents....

My grandma, Ellie's cousin, and Jon's Mom
Happy Birthday girl!
Ellie got new movies!

My facial expression when I realize I threw off a Pinterest-worthy party!  Take that Pinterest!
Me & Jon's sister
Brother in law & Ellie's cousin Aviah

I was expecting all the cousins to "help" Ellie open gifts and completely surround her with overwhelming help.  However we didn't see any of that.  Perhaps two-year old gifts for girls are not as cool? :)

Ellie's cousins help put together her new gift
Ellie's oldest cousins from both sides hanging out
My dad & brother in law together.....

My mom capturing the first time I held Lily.
I love babies!
My dad's Mom
aka Grandma
My sister and her hubby, John
We like Johns in this family.
Cousins :)
"Ellie your party was exhausting!"
Friends coloring

While waiting for dinner Jon took the older kids outside for a game of Ultimate Frisbee while the adults kept the younger kids inside.  They played in the street.(Don't worry Liz, we kept Greyson inside!) :)

We ordered Pizza Pit for dinner.  I picked up 2L soda the night before.  I figured the adults could use some goodness at the end of the day. :)

Loving that table
Thank you everyone for coming to Ellie's birthday party to celebrate her!  We are so thankful the family made the drive and our Ames friends took the time out of their weekend.  Ellie has been a blessing to our family (if you know anything about our family story).  She is a joy and her excitement about life really makes day-to-life more fulfilling.  God knew what He was doing when He placed her in our lives.  She's learning new words daily and is the smartest, stubbornest two-year old I know. ;)

Next blog post will have to be all about her as a two year old!!
The end of our Pinterest-worthy, Sesame Street, two-year old birthday party!!