Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Smiley.

A few smiles captured by Harry, the iPhone.




I just can't get enough.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

His baby girl


This picture brings me such joy. Like crazy stupid blubbery joy.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Welcoming Jenson Reed

Exactly six weeks after we welcomed Harper Lynn into this world, my cousin's baby, Jenson Reed, arrived.

My cousin's family lives a mile away, thus our families are together often. With the addition of Jenson, there are now five little ones under three years old.

We are so blessed by these precious children.

Sweet, sweet Jenson

Lovin' on Jenson

MoMo with the babies, Harper and Jenson

The brood: Harper, Henry, Jake, Jenson, and Ella

Thank you, Lord, for these darling miracles!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Hugs.


When we asked Henry to give his sister a hug, this is what he did.

All I can say is, Holy cuteness!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Non-Maternal Instincts

I wrote this post yesterday afternoon.

Nonmaternal Instinct

I screamed this morning.

For no good reason other than I wanted to scream. I needed to scream.

Because as of 10:00 this morning, I was certifiably going crazy. Like off-my-rocker send-me-to-the-asylum crazy.

Have you ever felt that way? It's a terrible feeling. Actually, it helped me to empathize with people who really are insane. Like diagnosably insane. I think I just made that word up. Diagnosably. Use it anytime you like. You're welcome.

Anyway, this morning was rough. Ugh. Mom FAIL. Jesus Save Us All. R-O-U-G-H.

From 7am, when the kids woke me up, to 10am, when I screamed, the following mess ensued:
  • Two dirty diapers.
  • Two hungry kids (requiring me to quickly throw something together for Henry so that I could assume my position on the couch to nurse Harper).
  • Violently vomiting baby - crap spewing out of her nose, and all - requiring a bath on the spot and an emergency load of laundry (Baby throw-up is one of the most horrible smells. I can't tolerate it. Never have. The soiled items could not wait until later.)
  • Poopy toddler. Another diaper change.
  • And since Harper emptied her belly, she needed nursed again. Back to the couch.
  • CHALLENGING toddler. Henry insisted on getting into anything and everything - cable box, blinds, outlets, matchbox cars across t.v., dog food, I could go on-and-on.
  • So I literally was running around the house, disciplining Henry one handed while cradling Harper who was latched on. I can only imagine what that looked like.
  • Henry pooped again. Bath this time. Very necessary considering his poop was F-U-N-K-Y.
  • And as I plopped Henry in the tub, Harper wailed and wailed because she was not done eating nor did she appreciate me putting her down.
  • After a quick bath, I snatched Harper back up, latched her on, and found Henry banging on the pantry door (Translation: I want snack).
  • I gave him his favorite, marshmallows, because his sugar consumption was the least of my concerns at that point.
  • Rather than eating the marshmallows, Henry mushed them all up so that they were sticking between his fingers. Once again, time to unlatch Harper. This time so that I could clean up sticky fingers.
  • As I was returning to clean up the rest of the marshmallows (Henry had thrown them across the floor), Harper began wailing and Henry began whining because I was throwing the remaining marshmallows down the sink.
  • AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!
Yes, that is when I screamed. I had to. It was either scream or walk out of the house. Seriously, I was front-door bound.

But the screaming didn't help. Not that much, anyway. Rather it released something totally unexpected. Tears.

There I was, standing between a wailing baby and a whining toddler, with tears streaming down my face. Ugh.

Mom Fail.

But the tears provoked something that I should have done a long time ago. Prayer. I had not called out to God once during my three hours of hell.

So I prayed. Nothing pretty. Nothing eloquent. Just a desperate and tear-stained, "Oh Lord. Please help. Please. Give me sanity. Give me strength. Give me what I need to survive this day. And give me what I need to show my children love. Please."

It wasn't instant. I still had two unhappy children. But in time, things calmed down. And in time, I calmed down.

And for no other reason than that we have a merciful God, my day got better. It really did. Who knows if things really got better or if my attitude simply changed, probably a bit of both, but I was humbled as I realized that my three hours of mom hell were simply a part of my blessed life. Seriously.

Later, I sat with my son cuddled under one arm and my daughter nursing on my other side, gazing into each of their beautiful eyes, thanking God for giving me two beautiful babies who are totally worth it.

Can you hear me screaming now?

Because I am.

Blessed. I am so blessed.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Truckin'


While in McConnlesville over the weekend, Henry's dream came true.

He became the proud driver of a BIG RIG SEMI TRUCK!

Seriously, what boy doesn't love trucks? And I mean BIG trucks?

Henry LOVES trucks. Loves them. And we are so blessed because Henry's Uncle Joe is a truck driver. Thus Henry gets to play with big trucks anytime he wants!

Seriously, does this kid look like he's having fun, or what?


Thanks, Uncle Joe! You are the coolest.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I think he likes her.




Whaddya think, how long before he turns on her?

Monday, September 21, 2009

The blessings of . . . mastitis?!

Warning: Dad, if you are reading this, Stop Now. I know that you would like to believe that we ordered an infant from a cabbage patch, and a stork conveniently delivered a baby girl to our home nine months later, and with a sprinkling of water and a dose of sunshine, she thrived and grew and blossomed into a delightful garden flower. But let me remind you of the time we saw the equine students artificially inseminate a horse or the many times we witnessed the cows in the milking parlor on your aunt's farm. Because the conception, survival, and nurturing of your grandchildren involves most of the same principles also witnessed in the animal kingdom. And that includes the crusty, dried-up leftover umbilical cord that took weeks to part from Harper's darling navel. It's still oozing, by the way. You've been warned.

Breast-feeding. I know, I know, it's a beautiful thing. I, the proud milk-bearing mother of my sweet gift from God, have the honor and privilege of bonding with my daughter in a unique way. I, sore-chested and well-endowed, am the sole provider for my baby girl's health and crucial weight gain. I, crack-nippled and oh-so-saggy, am chained to my daughter's cry or an obnoxious breast-pumping device every 2-3 hours around the clock. And as if all that wasn't glamorous enough, the exhausting efforts of my upper-half ultimately led to a terror that left me bedridden and downright ugly for most of a week.

Mastitis.

It sounds like the title of a cult horror flick, doesn't it?

But this is real life horror, y'all. Mastitis takes precious bonding between mother and child and turns it into a painful, aching, infected, and downright dreadful experience.

But thanks to the magic of forty green capsules and the grace of the good Lord, my mastitis was blasted from my body in a week's time. Thank you, Jesus!

But guess what? And you won't believe what I am about to say. The mastitis turned out to be a blessing.

Yes, I said a blessing. In all seriousness, I learned a lot about nursing because of the infection. You see, I was required to nurse through the mastitis, and in an effort to rid my body of the infection for good, I revisited my grad school days and hopped on the research train. I read and read and read about nursing, latching, milk supply, and anything else related to da boob. Forget La Leche League, I am a breast-feeding extraordinaire!

Now there is no guarantee that the mastitis will never return, but I now have a much better idea of how to prevent it. And if I suspect that I am getting a blocked duct, I have an arsenal of weapons for nipping it in the bud before it gets worse.

And because my dad is a dad and wants to remedy all my problems, even those that have nothing to do with carburetors or accelerator pumps, he did offer me some help through all this. (It's important to note that my Dad has an extensive background in agricultural sciences.) But because he would never speak to me directly about issues concerning my upper-half, he called my mom and had her deliver the following information. First he assured me that cows often get mastitis. Then he went on to say that farmers often treat the cows with a warm compress and medication (medication that he even offered to get for me, implying that I could take cow pills?)

Thanks, Dad. That really helped. As if I didn't already feel like a first-rate dairy cow. Now I might as well sprout udders and wait, what's that?

Moo.

Friday, September 18, 2009

The 21st Century Babysitter


Y'all are good. Indeed, Henry has been spending an embarrassing number of hours in front of the television since his baby sister arrived.

And as if that wasn't bad enough, Henry becomes entranced by the television's electronic glow, drawing him within inches of the screen.

I can hear my mother, "That's so bad for his eyes."

And I'm sure it is.

But we are talking survival, y'all. Survival! And right now, this 21st century babysitter is helping us get through the transition.

Fortunately, life with two kids is getting easier, and we are getting out of the house more. But I'm not making any promises. Winter is around the corner, and as the thermostat drops, I imagine my son will be transfixed and drooling once again.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Yes, that's drool hanging from his chin.

Since the arrival of his sister, this poor kid has been doing a lot of this:


Can you guess what he's doing?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Too cute for his own good

Henry has a new game. And it drives me right nutty. Not only does it make me crazy, but I'm certain we'll be paying for it when we see our next electric bill.




But it's hard to be frustrated with this cute boy - looking stinkin' adorable in nothing but his blue jeans.

I could just squeeze his cuteness.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Poking her eyes out?

Because the weather is delicious, and because we are all finally feeling better, we have been spending more time enjoying the splendid outdoors.

Yesterday we walked the bike path, and as I pushed both kids in the stroller, Harper began to fuss. As she became louder, Henry became curious, and I noticed him peek over to Harper's side of the stroller. And then I noticed his hand reach over to her side. I surely thought he was poking her eyes out because Henry is a boy, and boy's think eyeballs are cool.

I slowed the stroller down so that I could see what was going on. As I walked around to the front of the stroller, I realized that Harper was calming down. I then noticed something that I could hardly believe.


He was holding her hand!

I think my reaction, in the middle of the bike path, was to shout, "Oh my Heavens!" I could not contain myself. He was holding her hand!

And I kid you not, people, as we continued on our walk, my little boy would not let go of his sister's hand.

Please, Lord, tell me this is a metaphor for their future as brother and sister.

And if not, dear Lord, please protect my daughter's eyeballs.

Monday, September 14, 2009

A Blessed Month

Both pictures: Harper at one month old.


It has been a blessed month, indeed.

Though it has taken us the entire month to get healthy, we have experienced so much joy as a result of our growing family.

And I mean growing! Harper continues to gain weight, and as I look back at Henry's baby book, I find that they weighed exactly the same amount at the end of each week. Not to mention, their features remain extremely similar (As evidenced by this picture of Henry at one month old).


Thanks to all of our dear friends and family for helping us to survive this challenging yet wonderful transition. And thank you, Lord, for allowing it all to be.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Go Bucks!


This was taken when Henry was four months old. It was his first time in The Shoe.

Just an adorable reminder to GO BUCKEYES!!!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

My children survived . . .

. . . And I only turned to chocolate once!

Yesterday was my FIRST day completely alone, with both children, the entire day. (Minus when my amazing sister stopped by to bring me lunch. Have I mentioned that my sister is amazing?)

I thought I'd share a progress report, of sorts, because I'm praying that I make progress. Oh, and I really like lists.

Accomplishments:
  • Changed diapers when they needed to be changed rather than when I got to them.
  • Bathed my daughter.
  • Made breakfast and lunch for my son (toast and pb&j, respectively - though simple, it required more than simply opening up something pre-packaged. Which means I made them.)
  • Nursed endlessly.
  • Drank more water than I did caffeine.
  • Managed a 30-minute nap for myself.
  • Let the dog out.
  • Let the dog back in.
  • Wiped my son's snotty nose more times than I can count.
  • Tidied up the kitchen (including loading the dishwasher).
  • Opened ALL the mail (I haven't opened mail in a week - there was a lot of mail.)
  • Responded to about a dozen emails.
  • Posted to my blog.
  • Took a shower.
  • Brushed my teeth.
  • Carted both kids and myself to my mom's house for dinner.
Areas for improvement:
  • Bathe my son.
  • Shower before 5pm.
  • Brush my teeth before 5pm.
  • Wipe my son's snotty nose MORE (I could not keep up with all his snot!)
  • Pay the bills - I opened a lot of bills (This is an easy one to procrastinate.)
  • Clean something (The entire house is a HOT mess!)
  • Laundry.
  • Less cartoons.
  • Less cartoons.
  • Less cartoons.
  • Make dinner.
  • Get out of the house to do something enriching with my son.
  • Exercise.
  • Pray.
  • Give thanks.
  • Pray.
So, those of you with multiple children, how long before I can expect this to be ONE list? Ever?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

So what does he think of her?


Now that I have two children, people frequently ask me, "What does Henry think of Harper?"

And my simple response is usually, "He really doesn't mind her."

And that's the truth.

In fact, when he comes downstairs in the morning and sees her resting, he grins and walks up to her, pointing at her face or her toes. Often he'll want to touch her eyes and her nose, and we usually let him, reminding him to be gentle. (Jaeger has been a blessing in teaching this lesson. We have always encouraged Henry to be gentle with Jaeger, and Henry knows exactly what that means.)

After a minute of pointing and gently poking, Henry usually wanders off as Harper is clearly less exciting than climbing in the toy box.

Though he doesn't mind Harper, he LOVES her baby gear. Several times a day I will find Henry playing with her swing - pressing the buttons and pushing the chair. Additionally, he spends a lot of time with her bouncy seat. It also has buttons for pushing, and occasionally he will store toys in the cupped seat.

But just today I witnessed a new phenomenon that doesn't necessarily come with having two children, rather it comes with having a son. As Harper slept beautifully and peacefully in her seat, Henry took his Matchbox car and ran it over her swaddled lil' body. I watched, a bit shocked that he just turned his baby sister into a racetrack.

I must give him props for creativity. There is no doubt that this boy has one heck of an imagination. And he is ALL boy. I'm simply praying that he doesn't use her as a pounding surface as his latest obsession is taking his play golf club and whacking the walls, tables, and anything else that stands in his way.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Mastitis!

I'm suffering from mastitis. For those unfamiliar with mastitis, it is an infection of the breast tissue that causes pain, swelling, and redness of the breast (sorry for the graphic description, but that's what it is).

And I can assure you, it is painful. I also suffered a fever and flu-like symptoms which is common in women with this infection. And in case you are wondering how one gets mastitis, well, unless you are nursing, you probably don't have to worry about it.

I have a call into my doctor - if it doesn't start to improve, I'll most likely go on an antibiotic. In the meantime, the best treatment is to continue nursing. Ideally, the infection will clear up on its own, but many women end up on an antibiotic.

If you could say a prayer for me, I would greatly appreciate it. Nursing is painful, and when I have the fever and aches, it's difficult for me to do much of anything. Matt has been wonderful although he continues to suffer through his crud. Our house is a hot mess! I pray that we can all turn a corner soon allowing us to better enjoy our sweet lil' family.

Monday, September 7, 2009

LOVE.


They melt my heart.

Friday, September 4, 2009

The Crud

The Crud took over our house last week. Actually, it started three weeks ago when I was in the hospital delivering Harper, and it never left. It started with Henry who had croup, he recovered, and then he caught a fever and a cold. Harper is congested. Matt has been suffering a cold for two weeks. And the crud finally snuck up and snatched me just a few days ago. Fortunately we are all s-l-o-w-l-y on the mend - thank you, Jesus - but it's been a rocky couple of weeks.

We ended up at the pediatrician's on Thursday, and fortunately the crud was only mildly cruel to my children. The doc was not overly concerned saying that unless their symptoms changed, the crud will run it's course in time.

Actually, the trip to the doc was slightly traumatizing. They took Harper's temperature rectally! She did NOT like it. And I did NOT like watching it. Poor baby girl. Can't medical science come up with a better way to take my itty bitty girl's temperature? Geesh.

Oh, and speaking of itty bitty, Harper weighed in at 8 pounds, 6 ounces. That's my girl!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Not her momma's rolls


As I tell my daughter each time I nurse her, suck away, sweet darlin'. This momma has some rolls to lose, and my baby girl has some fattening up to do!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Two years ago . . .

You said forever, I will, and cherish.

You made me smile from deep within my soul.

You made me feel beautiful, secure, and inspired.

But did you know that you would challenge me to be tender and patient?

Did you know that you would give my heart reason to stretch and expand beyond measure?

Did you know that we could inspire such beauty?

Two years ago, did you know that you would bless me with family, passion, delight, and humility?


Never would I have imagined how God was going to bless our marriage. Never.

I WILL forever cherish these blessings. And be grateful.