Thursday, May 31, 2012

Cute & Clever

I was getting Maggie dressed yesterday morning when I noticed, for the first time, the little tag on the front of her shirt.


And, I was like, "YES! Exactly! She IS Cute & Clever."

Now, normally, I prefer clothes without words on them for my kids. For no good reason, really. The things they write on them just seem either underwhelming or obvious.

"Mommy Loves Me!" Um, duh. Of course she does. Look at you!
"Daddy's Little Guy" Let's hope so, right? Otherwise, daddy's gonna be piiiiissed.
"Adorable" Adorable? Really? Do we really need to write 'adorable' on the baby that is so OVER THE TOP adorable that he/she causes a hormone flux in any child-bearing-age women within a 5 mile radius?

It just seems silly, is all. (Also, let the babies speak for themselves! Power to the people!)

But for some reason, Cute & Clever really did it for me.

Perhaps because Carter's brand, has gone the extra mile to recognize BOTH my daughters beauty AND her burgeoning clever baby brain.

See??? She found her feet! So clever!

And, duh, so cute.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Watch The Rain


I'm pretty sure that it was supposed to be the APRIL showers that bring MAY flowers. So what's up with these torrential May downpours we've been having?

Not that I'm complaining. Henry likes to watch the rain, which I much prefer over him watching TV. Plus, more opportunities to hear him say 'funder.'

FUNDER!!!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Things About This Weekend

Things About This Weekend,
Provided In Bullet Point Fashion,
Because I Am So Tired And Do Not Think That I Can Make Paragraphs Happen,
But I Also Do Not Want To Leave My Gagillions Of Fans Hanging,
That's Right, I Said Gagillion:

1. It worked! They got married! HOORAY!

2. My kids did not ruin anything important! HOORAY!

3. In fact, both children were shockingly well-behaved at the reception, despite the fact that we kept them out hours and hours past their bedtime. Maggie was passed around to many friends and family, because she is cuter than a puppy, and then fell asleep for the rest of the night in the Moby Wrap. Win. Henry danced his little baby heart out with his Daddy. Double Win.

4. I like false eyelashes. I look so awake and pretty with them.

5. I did not take pictures at the wedding or reception. I was busy. BUT, there was a photographer! You can pay people to take pictures these days! So pictures were taken! And, eventually, I will show you them.  SPOILER ALERT: MC was lovely. And hot.

6. We drove home late last night (hence the being too tired to write in paragraphs) and both kids fell asleep within the first 30 minutes AND stayed asleep the entire time AND there was no traffic. A MEMORIAL DAY MIRACLE!

7. There were sparklers at the reception. Henry has discovered that he loves fire. Consider this your public service announcement.

8. Let's review point #1 again, shall we? They got married! It worked! My baby sister is married. Holy Cowbells.

9. I did not even cry at the ceremony!!! I was a little teary, but no cry-crying. Which is wonderful, because I am not a pretty crier. But, all that waterproof eye makeup! For nothing!

10. I am sorry that there are no pictures in this post. See: so tired. See: #5.

11. I am glad to be home.

12. I cannot wait until they get back from the honeymoon.

13. Ethiopian food is DEEEELICIOUS. Dan's family served it at the rehearsal dinner. I plan to eat more of it soon.

14. I can't think of anything else. 14 is a weird number to end on. It's ending anyway. See you tomorrow. I think I'm going to take teenytiny little nap while the kids are napping. Maybe. We'll see. First, I have to...

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Thursday, May 24, 2012

THIS WEEKEND!


This weekend starts TODAY.

I am posting from somewhere along I-95, heading up to Northern Virginia to start celebrating THIS:
It's Mary Catherine's wedding!!! 

(Now For A Bunch of Annoying Side Notes: 

1. Poor Mary, she looks kind of exhausted in that picture. It was the night of her Bachelorette Shindig and she was so tietie. (tired.) But the hat! The hat must be immortalized!

2. Also, a glimpse of the future:
 
Wha?? Noooooooooo! 

3. This is a picture of both of my sister-in-laws. 

Aren't they pretty?!?! I know. My brothers got lucky. Also, that's Whit peeking out of Lauren's little pouch. I know, you want to kiss him so bad, don't you? Me too.

End Side Notes.)

So, THIS WEDDING!

We're going! We're on the way! I have a dress! David has his groomsman clothes! The kids have clean and respectable looking outfits to wear! I have a hair appointment! David has brewed over 250 bottles of beer to serve at the reception! (Did you know that was a his secret hobby? It is a DELICIOUS hobby. I highly recommend encouraging your own husbands to pick it up.) The maid-of-honor toast is written! I plan to carry a jumbo-sized box of tissues up the aisle with me! Don't worry, I'll hide it in my bouquet!

What I'm trying to say is, WE ARE READY.

I'll be back on Tuesday. I'll probably have some pictures or something. If you think about it, pray that our children don't, you know, ruin anything important.

Hope your Memorial Day weekend is splendid (and weddingy!)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Childhood

I told him to show me his sad face.

This probably means that he's had a pretty happy childhood so far, right?

Either that, or I should do a better job of explaining emotions to him...

(Also, THOSE EYELASHES.)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Her Grand Scheme


Oh, hey Mama!

What?

Oh no, I'm cool. Woke up, busted out of my swaddle, flipped over, and now I'm just talking to my zebra.

Yeah, yeah, go back to whatever you were doing. I'll yell if I need you.

Oh, hey, before you go, meant to tell you- I got my first tooth yesterday! Sorry, I forgot to warn you that was coming by changing my eating habits, sleeping patterns, or general disposition, LIKE ANY NORMAL BABY MIGHT DO IF SOMETHING SHARP AND POINTY WAS POKING THROUGH THEIR TENDER MOUTH SKIN.

You know, I'm just not into all that drama.

Plus, I want like a million brothers and sisters, so I'm trying to convince you & Dad that it's a good idea by being The World's Most Perfect And Stress Free Baby!

Whadda ya think? Is it working??

Monday, May 21, 2012

It's a Burden To Be Loved This Much

Maggie is a very cute kid.

In fact, she's a bit of a celebrity in our house.
 

And, understandably, she has a lot of fans.


Of COURSE she loves them. But, sometimes...

they can get a little out of hand.
 

And don't even get her started on her paparazzi mother.

To be honest, sometimes, it's a burden to be loved this much.

She bears it well though, don't you think?

Friday, May 18, 2012

Remember This

Dear Future Rachel,

Hey there. I hope that one day this letter finds you sitting on a beach next to David, without a hungry baby, whining toddler, or laundry basket in sight. Ahh. Drink it in for me, would you?

There some stuff going on here that I thought you might want to remember one day, when the only butt you're responsible for wiping is your own. Things here are difficult and exhausting, but lovely too. Henry is 2 and Maggie is 5 1/2 months. (Remember when Henry was 5 months old?!?! Crazy.) They are both cute beyond belief. I've posted lots of pictures to help you remember these days, but here are a few things that just can't be captured in a photo. Some of them seem mundane, but I worry that one day the things that I thought were mundane and commonplace will be precious, but lost to a shady memory. So, just in case, here you go:

Maggie has learned to roll over both ways, and has been doing it for a while, but STILL, every time she flips from her front onto her back she looks TOTALLY BEWILDERED, as if she has NO IDEA how she got there. It's hilarious. Every time.

Henry's new obsession is Thomas the Train cartoons. Except only the new ones where the train is fully animated. If you accidentally turn on the other ones he says "Dis not da funny one. Want da funny Thomas."

When Maggie is hungry, she has taken to trying to latch onto whatever patch of skin on you she can reach. Your, arm, cheek, leg, neck, whatever is available. Girl's gonna give you a hickey if you're not careful.

Henry has learned that without eye contact, there is nothing. When he's talking to you, and you're answering absentmindedly, he holds your cheeks with his hands and says, "Mama, I talkin!" It's painfully adorable.

Maggie has learned how to make a motorboat, "bbbbbbt," noise with her mouth. She loves it. It produces a lot of saliva. She can do it for a LONG time. It's a messy form of entertainment, but you don't care because SHE IS ENTERTAINING HERSELF WITHOUT YOU. Win. She's also really into smacking her lips. It probably goes without saying, but just in case, SHE IS SO FREAKING CUTE.

Henry calls thunder 'funder.' Because of this, you pray for rainstorms everyday. FUNNNNNder!

Maggie is your sous chef. Every night at about 5:30 she is done, done, D.O.N.E. with all of her usual forms of entertainment and insists upon being rightnexttohermamathankyouverymuch. So, you spend from 5:30-6:30 every night with Maggie strapped to your chest in a baby sling while finishing dinner preparations. Sometimes it is difficult to get things done this way. Secretly, you kind of love it.

Henry has had some trouble with nightmares/night terrors in over the past months. It is very sad and scary and I bet you would rather forget about it BUT, there are 2 very cute things that have come of it. Let's focus on those, shall we? Every night when Henry goes to bed he insists that you or David pray with him that he will have "no bad dreams, only good dreams." His confidence in that little prayer is beautiful. In the morning, he announces "no bad dweams!" Sweet, right? BUT, here's the real winner. Every morning, every SINGLE morning, David and Henry have this conversation:
D: Hey Hank, what did you dream about?
H: Bears.
D: Oh yeah? What were they doing?
H: Payin' baseball.

Every. Single. Morning. And we have NO IDEA WHY HE SAYS THAT! Where did that come from?!?! Is that REALLY what he dreams about every night?!?! Bears?? Playing baseball??? Whaaa? So great.

When Maggie wakes up from her naps, she squirms and wiggles until she has totally broken free of her swaddle, then she cranes her head around until she finds her pacifier, which fell out sometime while she was sleeping, grabs it and begins to nomnom on it. Most of the time I know she is awake because I hear grunting, chewing, and gurgling noises over the monitor. She wakes up INCREDIBLY happy. As soon as you peer into her crib, she breaks out into a grin so big and warm it could end winter.

Whenever Henry is pretending to talk on the phone, he pretends that he is talking to Nuncle Frank. Why, I do not know. Frank, you should feel honored.

Maggie is in a phase where she loves faces. If you get close enough, her palms are on your cheeks like there are magnets in there. Between that and Henry turning your face to make you listen, there are a LOT of grubby hands on your face these days. Remember that you loved it. Loved. It.

When you go grocery shopping, Henry is into it. He especially is into the produce section, and spends the whole time there suggesting purchases.
"How 'bout boccoli, Mama? How 'bout dat?
How 'bout peaws, Mama? How 'bout dat?
How 'bout badanas, Mama? How 'bout dat?
How 'bout carrots, Mama? How 'bout dat?
How 'bout booberries, Mama? How 'bout dat?"
So, you are buying a lot of extra produce these days. What? It's good for you.

There is one song in particular that you are singing a lot these days. "I'm in the Lord's Army." It started with Henry. It's on a song DVD that he has and he loves it and asks you to sing it with him a lot. Like... a whooooole lot. Then, a couple weeks ago you were on a short road trip to Charlottesville with Maggie and she started freaking out in the backseat. The usual stuff wasn't working, paci, bouncing the seat, etc. So, out of desperation you started singing Lord's Army. IT WORKED. She stopped crying. But, here's the kicker; it was the ONLY song that worked. You tried to switch to other songs and NOPE, she'd start crying again. But as long as it was Lord's Army she was happy. Let's just say at the end of that trip, you never wanted to hear that song again. Ever. Unfortunately, you have not only heard it since then, but have also sung it since then. A lot. A whoooooooole lot.

So, there you have it. Just a little snapshot of life with the kids now. It's hard. It's beautiful. It's moving really fast. Just remember this: They were really that small & cute. You were really that tired. And most of the time everyone was really, really, really that happy.

Love,
Rachel

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Makeover!

Last night when I SHOULD have been in bed, I started tinkering around with the layout stuff in blogger. I was trying to make the font more readable- bigger, clearer, that sort of thing.

Then, accidentally, it was three hours later, and I really, REALLY, REEEEEEEALLLLLLLLY should have been in bed, but instead I had a whole new layout! Tabs! A Search bar! A little button to subscribe to posts by email! And, whoops, my own URL! The blog was so pretty and organized and fancy-looking! And I didn't even feel tired! (Yet.) The only thing that really stumped me was somehow I messed up my blogroll and can't figure out how to fix it. Another project for another day, I think. But still! The blog! So pretty! So organized! So fancy!

If only other areas of my life were so organized and fancy looking... ANY other area of my life, to be honest.

Oh, well. Maybe tonight when I'm supposed to be in bed, I'll get the urge to start 'tinkering around' with cleaning the bathrooms. HA. Ha.

I hope that you enjoy the blog's new fancypants makeover, but more importantly, I hope that you are all SUPER proud of me for figuring out how to do all this stuff BY MYSELF and, most impressively, for surviving today on an inappropriately small amount of sleep. (YAAAAWN)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Broccoli

A couple of nights ago, I was making dinner and Henry wanted to help. He always wants to help. So, I let him pull a chair over to stand on, gave him a sharp knife, some raw meat, a pot of boiling water and told him to go to town!

KIDDING, kidding, kidding. I really gave him a baking sheet and a bag of broccoli and then gave him this TOTALLY AGE APPROPRIATE task: "Here Henry, we're going to make roasted broccoli. Take the pieces out of this bag one at a time and put them on the pan, and then we'll put them in the oven."

Just then, I hear Maggie starting to stir in her crib, so I leave him to his industrious broccoli task and go get her. She has a SERIOUS diaper, so I change her before going back into the kitchen.

When I return to the kitchen, there is Henry, on his chair with a baking sheet full of broccoli. Hooray! He's a culinary genius! What a kid!

"Great job!" I chirped. "You did so well! You filled up the whole..."

Then I got closer. He HAD filled up the whole pan.

And every single piece of broccoli had one hearty bite taken out of it.


YUM!

I suppose I should just be glad he likes vegetables, yes?

(We totally ate the whole pan anyway. In case you were wondering how we roll. With the punches, friends, with the punches.)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Common Ground

ANNOUNCEMENT!
We have found common ground!

The long-pursued activity that unites flailing boys with dainty girls: it's Ring Around The Rosey!!!

The girls LOVE to sing and dance and Henry LOVES to hurl his body at the floor. A winwin! And, it requires little to no involvement from me! A winwinWIIIIIIIIIN.




And, judging by his face in some of those pictures, I'm preeeetty sure he's not hating the singing and dancing part all that much either. Just sayin'.

Monday, May 14, 2012

A Weak Mother

Should I talk about Mother's Day?

Mother's Day is hard. Because, the secret is, I don't think I'm a very good mother.

I mean, sure. I have my moments. Some days I am kind and patient and fun and encouraging. But more days I am tired and crabby. I snap and grumble and give of myself begrudgingly. I resent interruptions and neediness and the natural immaturity of childhood.

Participating in a day to celebrate mothers makes me feel a little bit like a fake. I have never been good at receiving compliments, but compliments that I know deep down are not true... that, I'm really not good at.

I wish I was a better mother. Better at balancing work and play. Better at calming instead of inciting. More generous. More patient. More wise. More than what I am.

On Mother's Day, I feel my lack. Really, really feel it. It seems like it should be called (Good) Mother's Day. Celebrated by all those who have SUCCEEDED at motherhood. Let's celebrate my mom!  Yours too! They're awesome! But not me. I'm barely keeping my head above water. It feels like someone's trying to hand me a medal at the 3rd mile of the marathon. "I'm dying here, keep your stupid medal, give me some water or one of those weird gel packs instead. I'm never gonna make it to the end of this thing!"

It puts me, again, on my knees. Hoping that what I can give and who I am will be enough. That what I have will be sufficient for my children. Praying that Christ will fill in the gaps for them. That He will work a loaves & fishes kind of miracle with my meager efforts. That they will feel his love when mine falls short. His mercy when mine is lacking. His truth when mine rings hollow.

And I know that I'm not alone in these feelings. My closest (and more honest) friends lower their heads with me and whisper of their own feelings of shame and guilt. The riptides of insecurity and doubt that tug relentlessly at our ankles, threatening to tow us out to sea. That we look at our children and feel simultaneously overcome with love and with fear. That our own inadequacy looms so large sometimes that it blots out the light. That we LOVE being mothers, so how in the world are we so BAD at it?

Our inescapable weakness is the secret that we've buried under playdates and crafts and bravado and trips to the library and private lessons and bragging and bold magazine covers. (cough, Time, cough.)

So if you, like me, sit in the wake of Mother's Day feeling a more than a little overwhelmed, not only with the tasks that are waiting to be done, but with the children who need you so desperately; if your cup runneth over, not only with blessings, but with a nice fat dollop of guilt; if that Mother's Day nap you took yesterday feels like a barely a drop in your sleep-deficit bucket, then take heart.

Take heart first of all, that you are not alone. And, secondly, take heart in the knowledge that your weaknesses and failings and shortcomings may be the best gift you can give to your children.

Because, get THIS:

1 Corinthians 12: 9-10
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me... For when I am weak, then I am strong.

 I've been finding a lot of heart in that lately. Hope you do too.

Oh, and Happy (belated) Mother's Day! To all the strong mothers, and us weak ones too.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Best Toy


Maggie has spoken. The best toy is actually the BASKET that the toys are kept IN.

Let's all just remember this the next time we're tempted to buy a baby toy: those things are for suckers & grandparents.

Says the woman who cannot leave Target without a (small! cheap! so cute!) toy in the cart. I'm telling you, the Dollar Spot was invented for dopes like me.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Royalty


They've always been demanding, but it makes SO much more sense now that I realize I've been dealing with royalty.



Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Some Big Shoes To Fill

I wear a 9.5 size shoe.
They've got their work cut out for them if they want to fill those shoes.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

It Is Nice To Be A Girl

Reason # 287972 Why It Is Nice To Be A Girl:
BRIDAL SHOWERS.

Especially if it's your sister's shower.
Especially if you get to help throw it.
Especially if your mom & grandma & sisters & precious nephew will be there.
Especially if it's at a GORGEOUS vineyard in Charlottesville.
Especially if the food is to die for.
Especially if you get to see your little sister looking THIS happy:













"It's way, way better to be girl," I whispered to Maggie as we sat in the grape-scented sunshine, taking one last photograph of the day, of four generations of women. She put the hem of her dress in her mouth and smiled at me.

I think that means she agrees.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Supine & Extremely Happy

It is naptime. All four children are asleep.

I had planned to organize and upload a bunch of pictures today, and then write a witty blog post to go with them.

Then I  decided it would be better for all of us if I laid on the couch, ate a fudgesicle, and watched an episode of Bones on Hulu.

I am so sorry to have let you down.

Please know, however, that at this moment, I am most likely supine and extremely happy.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Go Zoo Taday?

 We went to the zoo a few weekends ago when we had a free Saturday. I do not know how we managed to have a free Saturday. It was like magic. I want another one.

Here's Henry & David in front of the squirrel monkeys. The pictures don't really capture it, but Henry was having an absolute freakout-of-joy at the monkey exhibit. If you look closely you can see that he is clutching the hem of his shirt, which he had been yanking up and down as he bounced and shrieked "I see a monkey! I see anoder one! ANODER ONE! DADA, MO MONKEYS OVA DERE!" David is crouching next to him to ensure that he does not hurl his body through the glass in an attempt to be one with the monkeys. He is an excellent father.

This is me and Maggie. See how happy I look? That is because I had not yet realized that I would be asked every subsequent day after this day if we could "Go zoo taday? Pullease?"
 There were also snowcones. I mean, it's no monkey, but it was pretty good.
 And Maggie. Sweet Maggie. Zonked out in the stroller like the dream baby that she is.
When Henry asks me every morning if we can "go zoo taday?" I usually distract him by asking him to tell me what animals he liked seeing the best at the zoo.

"Monkeys, giwwafes, ewephant, tiga, beaw, snakes- SSSSSSS, fwoggies..."

By the time he's done, thirty minutes later, he's usually forgotten why he even started listing animals in the first place. WIN! I'm like a scam artist. Who only deals with toddlers.