Monday, April 25, 2011

Party Time!

This weekend we had a co-birthday party for Eli and Norah since their birthdays fall only 10 days apart from each other. We had planned to have the whole thing outside so the kids could run around and burn off energy and the adults could christen the new deck with the first party, but unfortunately incessant rain kept us all cooped up indoors. We had 20 adults and 14 children here and that is only counting immediate family members, my friends.  We are more than blessed to have such a large, loving family to dote on our children and make them feel special always, and extra special on their big days. I wanted to share a few of my favorite pictures from the party. Thank you Chris and Rebecca for snapping these photos while I ran around in a blur of hosting activity.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Happy Birthday Eli!

Today Eli is 3 years old. Its the weirdest thing because last night when I kissed him goodnight he was only 2, and today he woke-up a whole year older. He asked me this morning, "mom are you sad that I'm not your baby anymore? Cause' Jesus can make you happy." Am I that transparent?

I keep a baby book for each of the kids. Eli's is a scrapbook that I lovingly and painstakingly spent hours creating; cutting up dozens of cutesy papers with fancy scissors and working hard to coordinate each page with a theme. As you can probably guess, I got a little smarter when Norah came along and purchased a ready made baby book that just has fill-in-the-blank questions and "place photo here" spots. I'm really not a big fan of either option because I forgot to write down most of Eli's baby milestones in his book and Norah's skips around and has a way-too-unorganized layout for this organizationally obsessive mind.  And neither of them have a place for me to write down the Birth Day story. So, I thought I would take a few minutes on each of their birthdays this year to write down those moments that I don't want to forget, just in case in 10 years when one of them asks me "what time was I born mom?" I wont have to say something like "uh, mid morning honey."
  So please feel free to stop reading here.... heck I probably would if I weren't the star of this story.
 Just kidding, I was only the co-star.

Eli's Birth Story

I was induced at 39 weeks due to low amniotic fluid. We had to be at the hospital at 5am on April 21st , 2008 to get the induction process going. I was so nervous but more than excited to find out if we were having a girl or a boy because we were going to be surprised. If we had a girl her name was going to be Faith and our boy name was Elijah. We had a really peaceful day in our hospital room reading and napping and visiting with the occasional visitor who stopped in. Things just went really smoothly. I got my epidural early and felt nothing except for the rare pressure of a hard contraction, which was painless. My L&D nurse was actually a friend I graduated from nursing school with and she was 8 months pregnant also and just amazing to us. I was sneaking bites of Cheez-its throughout the day because I was starving and forbidden from eating anything except popsicles until after the birth. Please people, is that really necessary?John was paranoid about me breaking the rules and was getting on me that we were going to get caught, but after I shot him a look with the evil eye he backed right off and let me to enjoy my crackers.  At 4:45pm I was ready to start pushing and things went quickly from there. At 5:06pm I was holding my son in my arms. I'll never forget the moment when John looked at the baby and announced to me "Its a boy!" You just couldn't beat the sound of pride in his voice and I cherish that moment so. I'll never forget that the song When We All Get To Heaven by Carmen happened to be playing on our ipod as I was pushing, and our doctor walked in the room and said "Hey, what a great tune" as he began to hum along. I'll never forget that the first thing I begged for and promptly scarfed down not an hour after birth was a #1 combo from Wendys with a large Diet Coke, and then immediately regretted it. I'll never forget that moment at 3am in the hospital trying to figure out how to feed my baby, when the reality of exhaustion, overwhelming responsibility, and fear crashed into me like a 10 ton truck and I began to weep. The sweet night nurse sat with me for a while and reassured me that yes, these feelings were normal, and yes, I was going to be a great mom.  She was such a Godsend that woman. And the rest is history...

Dear Eli,

Happy 3rd birthday my little man! Although its so hard to choose just one, I think my favorite quality about you is your tender heart. Even at 3, you are compassionate and care so much for others and I am very proud of that in you. I know that God has something really special planned for a gentle heart like yours, and I pray that we can continue to foster and grow this within you. Your laugh is infectious and your joy brings smiles to all those who know you. More than anything, I pray that you will grow to love Jesus and live your life unashamed for Him. Our God is a big God, so keep on dreaming big. Anything is possible for your life.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Hop Hop Hop

This weekend, while John and I enjoyed a lovely adult get-away to Indianapolis for a friend's wedding, my sister and brother-in-law graciously kept our children for us. Thank you Kim and Kevin! While there, Eli apparently became fascinated by the fact that his cousin Callie, who is 4, knows how to hop on one foot. And he's been trying to hop around the house ever since we got home. His heart is definitely in it, but unfortunately those major muscle motor skills just haven't fully developed yet. We have just been laughing our heads off around here watching his attempts.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Is it possible?

Dare we get our hopes up? Could spring finally here?
 I hear birds chirping at my window every morning...
 I smell fresh cut grass as lawn mowers fire up all over the neighborhood...
 I see kids playing outside with flip-flops on and no winter coats...
 I feel dirt on my fingers as I plant (and re-plant) my vegetable seeds in their tiny pots....
And I pray that I have tucked my bulky winter boots to the far corner of the closet for the Very. Last. Time.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Mix Master

If I ever come across a genie in a bottle I already know that one of my wishes will be for a soundtrack to accompany my life. That there will always be music playing in perfect tune with the highs and lows of my day. I'd wish for that, and a personal hair and make-up stylist to be waiting for me in my bathroom every morning so I can drink coffee and catch up on the latest US Weekly current events. Ahh, it would be grand.

A few weeks ago when I was knee-deep in repainting the office, I found my collection of CD's stashed away underneath our desk. When I put the room back together, instead of replacing them there, I stuck them in my car so I could listen to all of my old favorites. And ever since, every drive I take has become a trip down memory lane. Before Ipods and MP3 players were all the rage, I used to pride myself on making a mean mixed CD. I made them for myself, for my friends, and for my sisters. Music is totally therapy for me so I have mixes made to cover every emotion and for every occasion. For example, the short list of CD titles includes...

The Feel Better Mix (aka the break-up mix)
Songs to Cry With
Ride to Work Mix
The Long Drive Home Mix
Party Mix
Morning Mix
Morning Mix Vol 2
Pure Country Lovin' Mix
Alum Creek Mix
Praise and Worship Vol 1, 2, 3, and 4 mix
Songs that Make me Happy Mix
Cool-down Mix
Date Night Mix
I love Celine Mix
God Bless America Mix
Random Mix
Love Songs 
Love Songs Vol 2
Love Songs Vol 3
Ultimate Love Songs mix
Angry Mix
Running Mix
Rachel Mix
Rachel's Awesome Pop Mix
Oldies But Goodies Mix

And the list goes on and on and on. I love how you can not hear a favorite song for 10 years and yet when you hear it again you remember every single word to perfection, even the extra
"yeah's" and "uh-huhs". And it takes you right back to the time when that song really meant something to you and you can remember all those emotions again like it was yesterday.  I cannot listen to the Dixie Chicks Wide Open Spaces CD without remembering how much I loved driving to high school with my sisters, blasting our music and stopping at McDonald's to get Cappuccinos and breakfast burritos on the way. Or when Aerosmith croons I don't Want To Miss A Thing I am 18 again watching Armageddon with John and he's telling me he loves me for the first time so unexpectedly. And even with those first few beats of Lose Yourself, (the one and only Eminem song that I have ever liked) I can see myself pounding the pavement, running the mile loop around the UC campus again and again while I trained for my first marathon and played this song on repeat so I wouldn't quit. I don't think I would have completed it without that song. And I still get goosebumps when I play the mix of our wedding music and I remember how it felt to stand there with my dad and see John so overcome with emotion waiting for me at the end of the isle and the beginning of our new life. Music is powerful, at least it is to me. I used to tell John when we were dating,"If you want to know what kind of mood I'm in, just pay attention to the mix I'm listening to." And I think that still holds true today. 

Friday, April 1, 2011

Happy 11 Months Norah!

I cannot believe we are only one month away from Norah's birthday.Wasn't I just praying that I would go into labor like 5 minutes ago?

As we suspected, Norah is starting to walk now and venture out on her feet. She's really been gaining confidence in the past few days and is just as pleased as punch with herself when she manages to maneuver a short distance. She spends her days cruising around the walls of the house saying "mama mama mama" and cracks herself up with every new noise she figures out how to make. She is a great sleeper, a fantastic eater, and is looking more like John every day. She cries every time I run upstairs to get something, so even though she may look nothing like me, I certainly know she loves her mama. What a joyful baby girl, we are so blessed!

A few walking tidbits...