Monday, December 29, 2008

come and gone

I feel like we missed Christmas, somehow. First, Rachel got a terrible cold--her second since Carly was born, and also her second since she was about 18 months old! I don't know how she has managed to stay sick now, of all times, but she has, and she can't seem to shake the cough and runny nose, even though she's better. She was probably well enough to handle our Christmas rounds, but then Carly and I woke up sick on Christmas Eve! I noticed Carly's congestion the day before, but hoped I was just being over-sensitive to her little grunty noises. She ended up with a nasty-sounding cough and belabored breathing. SCARY! I have a couple of friends who have babies who stay sick with one thing or another (you know who you are!), and I don't know how they deal with it! I guess it's true that the Lord only gives us what we can handle, because I am such a wimp. Jarrad did end up taking Rachel to his family's Christmas at his Grandma's house on Christmas Eve, but we sat out the rest of the celebrations last week. I was the sickest I've been in years, and my wonderful husband, who is on "vacation" right now, waited on me hand and foot, while keeping Rachel thoroughly entertained and happy (albeit, a little messier than usual). When I finally snapped out of the haze yesterday, I looked around and could not believe the condition of our home. What happened around here?? It is messy and dirty, and a bit overwhelming to think of all the chores that need doing, but I'll write it off for now, and hope for a little grace from any visitors we may have in the coming days.

And little Carly? After two reassuring visits to the pediatrician's office (a place I usually try very hard to avoid), she is getting better. Apparently RSV, which causes bronchiolitis, in babies, is going around. The doc says the emergency rooms have been full of infants needing oxygen because of it!! It's a good thing that I was sick too, since my body was producing antibodies that she got through my breastmilk, and that was probably be enough to keep Carly in the clear, according to her pediatrician. Phew! I think it's amazing how God designed my body to cope and help my baby cope with a virus like this.

Here are some pictures from our boring Christmas (notice Rachel at Jarrad's grandma's house...yes, those are ALL her presents). Although I was really sad to miss our family gatherings (I'm pretty sure I've never missed mine), it actually was a really sweet time for us to be together as just our little family, excusing ourselves from any activity other than just being a family. It was nice to reflect on the season and what we really celebrate this time of year, instead of rushing from place to place being inundated with stuff we probably never needed in the first place.

(Also of our family = none, pictures of our pretty Christmas tree = none, pictures of either parent with either daughter = none. Pitiful, I know. We really need to try harder with the sentimental stuff...maybe we'll try to recreate some of these moments tomorrow.)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

keeping me busy

I don't have much excuse for not blogging. I've felt bogged down by the season, I guess--trying to get everything squared away for our six (yes, six) family get-togethers. In the meantime, we have at least been snapping photos, even if I've failed to post any. Here are three of my favs from the past three weeks. The first is a picture of the first time we ventured outside to play (okay, and older pic, but still worth commemorating). Rachel is on her second cold since Carly was born (my Rachel, who had not been sick at ALL since before she turned 2--in JUNE), so we've been kind of a mess around here. So the three of us have felt housebound (I'm not very adventurous with my babies anyway), and it was starting to show on my big girl. She kept saying, "Mommy, I want to go somewhere." So we spent 15 minutes outside playing that day. It was cold, and she was ready to come inside. Carly was bundled and snug as a bug in the sling, and the crisp air made her still and calm. It's also been hard to keep my snotty big girl out of Carly's face, and I gave it up, since I don't want to discourage her too much from loving on her little sister. Carly has stayed well, and I'm hoping that won't change. Do babies this tiny get colds? I feel like I'm rambling, so, without further adieu...

Friday, November 28, 2008

i hate diapers

Brace yourself, because it doesn't get any funnier than this: Carly (3 weeks old) is peeing and pooping in the potty. I laugh every single time, but it's true. Let's back up a little, shall we?...

I started sitting Rachel on the potty when she was very young (7 months old) after reading up on a method called "Elimination Communication" or EC. Unfortunately, as I read, I realized I had waited too late to really start, so what I did with Rachel was more like potty teaching; I taught her that peepee and poopy belongs in the potty, and she eventually got it.

I was excited (albeit skeptical) to try true EC when Carly arrived. It's a simple concept with a few books on the subject--none of which I've read. Anyway, if you've ever been around a newborn, you know how obviously and frequently they "eliminate." So, from the beginning, I've been making a sound (I chose to whisper "keekeekee") every time she goes.

Yesterday afternoon, I checked her diaper because I assumed it would be wet, and, when it was still clean, I decided to give EC a whirl. I held her over the potty and made the noise several times. AND WOULD YOU BELIEVE THAT SHE WENT??? She peed AND pooped! Woah. Since then, I've managed to catch about half her pees and poops this way, including twice before her two feedings in the middle of the night. HA! It's been more than a day, and, while I'm not ready to say for sure that it's not mere coincidence, it really does seem that she responds to the sound. Amazing. Hilarious. I hope it lasts.

Monday, November 24, 2008

still in love

sisters forever...whether they like it or not...

Sunday, November 16, 2008

love at first sight

Three days after Carly's birth, we received a home visit from our midwife. She checked my vitals and gave Carly the once-over before she commenced with the dreaded PKU test.

I had myself geared up for the test. It's a long, sad time of squeezing blood from baby's heel. The have to fill up five circles on their test page, and it has to soak through each circle (the page is made of cardstock). It's awful. When we had Rachel, they did the test while she was staying in the hospital nursery, so we didn't have to witness it at all. But I was ready to be grateful to be able to hold my girl and comfort her as much as possible, and nurse her as soon as it was over. I reminded myself that it's a necessary test and how valuable it is. I was ready.

Or, at least, I thought I was ready. Carly reacted as expected, and it was difficult. What I had not anticipated was Rachel's reaction. She cried through the whole thing. She kept repeating, through her tears, "I want Baby Sister to be haaaaaappy." I cried...such empathy and compassion for her sister, whom she'd only met the day before.

Rachel has had nothing but sweetness for our little Carly from the time we brought her home. It has blessed my heart to see how much she loves her. A friend pointed out to me that Rachel will never remember life without Carly. What a sweet thought. I can't wait to see how God shapes their hearts as they learn so many of life's lessons together. I'm so happy for these two little girls.

Monday, November 10, 2008

a baby story

I wasn't prepared for this.

But then, who is? Bringing home a newborn for the second time sounded easy enough. After all, I know what to expect this time. I know not to panic when she goes through the various strange but short-lived stages of changing sleep cycles and feeding habits. I didn't plan to be so worried.

But I am. It is unbelievable how I can worry so. I was not anticipating the wave of emotions that would accompany this new little one: fear that I can't take care of her adequately, guilt that her big sister suddenly cannot have all my attention, and dread at the thought of figuring out how to care for all three of us once things are supposed to be back to 'normal.' How do people do this?

But they do. And I will. I just want so much to do it well.

Carly Britt came on November 4, 2008--an historic election day in our country. My labor was almost identical to my labor with my firstborn, Rachel. As with Rachel, contractions stirred me from my slumber around 2:45am. I timed them, and, although they were mild, they were frequent. The first time around, I woke Jarrad almost immediately, and he jumped out of bed and started dancing around, excited to meet our little girl. This time, I got up and scurried around putting the finishing touches on each element of planning for the day. I did wake Jarrad, who grunted and grinned, called his dad (who lives 3 hours away), rolled over and went back to sleep. My contractions continued with regularity, but did not get much stronger. With Rachel, I remember these same contractions feeling painful, but this time, having already experienced what was to come, I knew to go about my business. By 4:30am with Rachel, we had called the doc and convinced her we needed to be admitted for labor and delivery, but that left us with a very long day of very slow progress. This time, I went back to sleep at 4:30am for almost an hour, and was discouraged to wake up and find that the contractions had almost disappeared. I was determined not to rest again until this baby came. Not wishing to spend that frustrating day walking around a birthing facility, but convinced things would move along much quicker this time, Jarrad and I finalized arrangements for Rachel and made our way to the mall.

We walked. We walked and we walked. We had lunch and we walked. We rested on a bench, had a milkshake, and walked. Almost four hours ticked away. My contractions were getting vaguely stronger, but not regular. We were exhausted, and I was beginning to feel defeated. So we returned home around 4:30pm to get some rest.

Aunt KiKi came around 6:00pm to pick up Rachel for a sleepover. By the time she got to our house, my contractions had suddenly become frequent and debilitating. It was time--finally.

We rushed to the birth center, where a midwife and nurse were waiting. They had already filled the tub, as I desired a water birth. Things progressed so quickly--we arrived at 6:30pm, and Carly was born at 8:30pm. Almost identically, the end went very quickly with Rachel, too. With Rachel, though, the doctor had not yet arrived at the hospital when I was suddenly ready to push. Rachel was born at 8:43pm, and I had an episiotomy and third degree tears, resulting in a lot of stitches and a two-week recovery. At the birth center, the midwife talked me through the pushing stage. She told me that I would be much more likely to tear again because the scar tissue is just not as strong as the original tissue, and that I should focus on letting the contractions do the work. She talked me through each contraction, and I was able to exercise enough control that I didn't need even the first stitch this time.

So, Rachel was born at 8:43pm, and Carly at 8:30pm. Although Rachel was born on her due date, and Carly was 7 days late, my two girls weighed the same: 7lb 12oz. Bizarre. The difference? Rachel was born with the tiniest bit of fuzzy red hair, but our Carly's fuzz is quite a bit darker. Rachel has looked like her father and her PopPop from the beginning, but tiny Carly already favors me and my family. These two girls will probably scarcely look related. My thought is that this is a good thing--maybe they will be less likely to be compared to one another if they look so different. I already know that my love is not split equally between the two, but is, rather, quite impossibly doubled.

These two long days of labor that I experienced with my girls has done one more amazing thing: made me love my husband even more. He is the most wonderful man, who knew all the right things to say and do with each passing moment and each intense contraction. Both times, I remember being completely focused on the hard work of labor and on him. He was the only one I could hear--he even had to repeat everything the midwife said as she talked me through to the end. I was unaware of the others in the room (there were several this time around), and I wanted his touch and his voice only. I am still in awe at how close we feel after working together to bring our babies into this world. He still looks at me like I have accomplished the impossible, and I imagine him to be the strongest, most perfect man alive. I am so grateful.

This process of labor is so moving to me. It is perfectly laid out in such a way that my body instinctively knew what to do. Our Creator created a miracle in this, and I am so blessed to have experienced it twice.

Here is a sampling from Carly's first pictures. It's hard to believe that she was barely 12 hours old when we took her home. BubbleShare: Share photos - Find great Clip Art Images.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

halloween sans baby

First of all, the cute little Baby Ticker at the top of my page now just serves as a reminder that I am PAST DUE. But I'm trying to remind myself that we have a little time to take it easy before she arrives, and to be grateful for every second of peace and quiet I have for now. It's going to get crazy any day now! I am terribly uncomfortable, and I am really anxious to meet our little girl and give her a name, but other than that, I really cannot complain. I have been blessed with two uneventful pregnancies, and I am so thankful for that!

One of the bonuses of Baby Sister still being in her cushy little home is that I got to go to the mall for Trick-or-Treating with Daddy and Rachel. It was going to be a special Daddy-Daughter night, and I was planning to be home with Baby, but we got to go as a family instead! It is unfortunate that Baby has two very cute Halloween bodysuits that she won't get to wear, though. At the suggestion of a friend, I dressed her up anyway. We got lots of points and chuckles. Rachel was Little Red Riding Hood, and her best friend Wolfie was her Big Bad Wolf. I checked out a really simple (and not-scary) version of Little Red Riding Hood at the library this week, and we've been reading it every day. Rachel was very excited to get dressed up, and even agreed to TWO ponytails like Red Riding Hood has in the book. On a side-note, I was very proud of myself for making the basket liner to go in her Easter basket for her costume

I took Rachel to the mall last year and she had such a fun time. I didn't remember it being too terribly crowded, but I remembered terribly WRONG. It was a mad-house! We will not be doing that again. I guess I failed to consider that 16-month-old Rachel stayed content sitting in front of the candy store sorting a big bucket of gum, and then helping hand out candy the whole night. We never even ventured into the big part of the mall last year. It was almost unnerving how crowded it was this time. I was very thankful to have Jarrad there!

On the pregnancy side of things, I will be going back to see the midwife on Monday. They will give me some sort of stress test to be sure it's safe to continue. I think 42 weeks is the max they will let me go, and then they will try one drug-free option to get things started before ultimately sending me to the hospital to be induced with Pitocin. I will be really out-done if I end up in the hospital to have this little girl. I have been looking forward to trying a water birth and being in a home setting, letting my mother-in-law catch the baby, and just generally being supported in a different kind of way. I am trusting God that she will come how she comes, though, and I'm trying not to get stressed out about it...anxiety can't possibly help move things along.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

spring cleaning

Well, it's not spring, but I've got this nesting thing down to a science, thanks to the help of so many people. PopPop and Uma came this week and helped get our spare room in order (the room that's always been full of junk and has never been used as a functional space). It's like having an addition put on our house! I have my sewing machine set up in there, two brand new bookshelves (compliments of PopPop and Uma) and the guest bed, and there's room left for Rachel to play too! I am really excited, and relieved to have a place for the moms to stay after Baby Sister arrives. My daddy (Poppy) came today and aerated and over-seeded our yard using the riding lawn mower we borrowed from our neighbor, Mr. Henry. My dear husband has been working on remodeling the girls' upstairs bathroom, AND we got new carpet upstairs. My friend who owns the maid business where I was office manager several years ago sent a team of maids over to clean recently, which motivated Jarrad and me to go through a lot of JUNK that had been cluttering up our various extra areas, so the house feels all ready! Another friend kept Rachel Monday morning while I ran some errands, including getting my car cleaned and Rachel's seat moved over to make room for the second carseat that will need to squeeze back there. I love fall and have always associated it with going back to campus, to be near my love, Jarrad. We met and fell in love in the fall, and that's such a sweet memory. I am excited to share this time with a new memory of having our second little girl, choosing her name, and settling down to life with her. Next fall will be full of all of the familiar nostalgia with the added excitement of this little girl's first birthday. I can't wait to meet her!

Now...where's this baby??

Sunday, October 19, 2008


Rachel keeps me laughing most days, but I usually have a hard time explaining what she's done to crack me up so much. Her antics are hard to put into words, I guess. But this afternoon, after happily accepting me in her father's stead, I managed to confuse the poor girl, leaving me in stitches:

  • Mommy (finding a matchbox car): Here, Rachel--you can play with this.
  • Rachel: Where's this from? Where's this from, Mommy?
  • Mommy: I think maybe that was Daddy's from when he was a boy.
  • Rachel (looking at the car, then at Mommy): He's a girl now?

HA! It still makes me laugh...


Maybe it's the hormones from being soooo pregnant, but I'm feeling a little hurt today. This morning, Jarrad went early to church to help set things up, so I went in Rachel's room when she woke up. Although Jarrad has been the first to her bedside more often lately, it is still I who usually greets her in the morning. Today, she woke up happy, and was talking and singing, and I went in with a big smile and happy, "Good morning, Sweet Girl!" Rachel burst into tears. "I WANT DAAAADDY!" It took some consolation and promises that we'd see him at church before she was content with just raggedy ole Mommy.

Right now, she's been in her room for naptime for a little less than two hours. She's been yelling "DAAAAAADDY" for almost 45 minutes, taking breaks here and there to sing or talk to her friends, and occasionally specifying, "not Mommy--DAAAAAADDY."


Saturday, October 18, 2008

rachel goes to the museum

We are very blessed to live so close to most of our families. Rachel is surrounded by grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins, and she just loves them all so much. It is also most helpful to have them all around. Their visits are a great distraction for me and for Rachel, and they willingly babysit regularly.

Last Saturday, Aunt Julie took Rachel to the museum for a fun morning of bonding. They saw butterflies and pigs, chickens, and bears. Rachel was most impressed with the train ride, though, and the plush butterfly and personalized "Rachel" mug she brought home. She's been dragging her butterfly, cup, and Wolfie (another new addition to her friends) around all week and refusing to sleep without them.

Thank you, Aunt Julie, for the free morning for Mommy.

Saturday night, Aunt Mamber babysat so Jarrad and I could attend an appreciation dinner for a friend. We called it a "date" and had a great time, and Rachel appreciated her special time with Aunt Mamber. Rachel also got a fun visit from her cousin, Tyler, this week. Rachel tried her best to boss him around, but he just kept looking at me and saying, "What's she doing?" He was really funny to pick up toys and hold them really close instead of playing with them, and he'd come running to me saying Rachel was going to take the toy, even when she was on the other side of the room. Once, he was holding a toy tightly and running around in a circle around our kitchen island. Rachel was watching, and she asked me, "Where's he going?" I said, "I don't know, Rachel." So she started following, which prompted him to immediately say, "Ahh! She's chasing me!" I couldn't stop laughing all morning.

We just love our family.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

a new day, a new post...finally

Rachel is full of ideas and opinions these days, and, almost always, I can curb her little desires by pointing out potential conflicts or consequences. Lucky for me, she accepts reasoning pretty well, and does not usually insist on the impossible (or inconvenient). For example, today, I told her we could go to the park for a few minutes and play on the playground, but when we got there, it had started to rain. Although it wasn't raining hard, and although she was disappointed and tried to negotiate with me, she ultimately returned to the car without a fight.

A common reason she can't do this or that during the day is that she's too little ("I wanna drive, Mommy." "You want to drive? But you're too short!"), and she's okay with that. Sometimes it's that she's too big ("Don't sit in the bouncy seat, Rachel; that's for babies"), and she does not argue.

Tonight, the silly little thing found a tiny newborn diaper in one of her drawers (she has a couple she uses when she plays with her dolls). She said she wanted to "put it on..."

  • Rachel: Wanna wear it, Mommy.
  • Mommy: Rachel, you don't even wear diapers anymore. You're too big! You are a big girl who wears undies!
  • Rachel (as she tugs the diaper between her legs): Wanna try, Mommy.
  • Mommy: No, honey, you are too big for that.
  • Rachel goes over to her light switch, attempts to flip the switch to turn off the light, grunting dramatically.
  • Rachel: Can't reach it, Mommy. I'm not big yet. I'm little.
Touche, Little Girl. Touche.

Friday, October 3, 2008

singin' the blues

I have been a completely uninspired blogger of late. Rachel has so much personality these days, and I feel so brain-dead that I can't seem to put her little personality into words for a blog. I hope it will come back to me soon...

I did want to point out one unbelievable thing (to me, anyway): Jarrad and I hit double-digits today. 10 years ago--TEN--we went on our first official date. Woah. We're getting old. Ten years ago, I was barely 18 and he was 19, and he took me to Chili's and to hear a friend of his play the blues at a cute little bookstore/coffee shop. He introduced me to intimate live music and Stewart's Orange Cream Soda that night, and, although it took me a while to come around, I really did start to fall in love with him then. He was so sweet and boyish, with his big blue eyes and James Dean-like wardrobe. I heard Jarrad play the blues a few weeks later at another hole-in-the-wall down the road from the site of our first date, and can I just say's nothing like a cute boy playing soulful music. Chili's became a fav date for us throughout college, and he eventually proposed to me there, almost three years later. Remembering my college years is equivalent to remembering that season when we were so carefree and in love, and I wouldn't trade that experience for anything in the world. In fact, I'd relive it several times over if I could!

Anyway, sorry to all you Rachel-followers who are mostly waiting for another blog about our little are a few pics to keep you afloat...

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

musings by rachel

Ohhhh, Rachel...

We have been reading The Big Picture Story Bible before nap and bedtime, and Rachel has loved it! I have enjoyed it, too, because it really gives an overview of the story of Jesus and the grace God brought to humanity through His son. Anyway, I was discussing with Rachel that the Bible says that everyone who loves Jesus will be in heaven one day. She thoughtfully inquired, "Take toy?" Well, what would heaven be like without toys, eh??

And yesterday, my girl, who insists on doing everything, "my byself," was sitting on the floor, bare-bottomed, trying to get her undies on, when she calmly grabbed her left ankle, pulled her foot up, said, "spank spank," and smacked the bottom of her foot. She repeated this on her right foot. I was watching from behind, so I sat down by her and asked, "Rachel, what was that? Why did you do that?" She stayed focused on her task, but mumbled something about her feet not going in the holes of her undies. Oh, brother!

As my mom always says, kids are a "laugh a minute!"

Thursday, August 28, 2008


A friend of mine emailed me last week requesting that I guest-author an entry about potty training for the Prayer of Hannah blog, an informational blog written by five devoted mommies. I was super-flattered to be asked, and I had such fun recounting the thought processes that drove our potty training choices. Thank you, Christina, for the opportunity to write!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


For memory's sake, here is Rachel's current show-off routine:

  1. one somersault
  2. one split
  3. jumping several times (perhaps saying, "hibbit, hibbit!")
  4. running in circles
  5. crawling in circles
  6. repeat

Thursday, August 21, 2008

i uv ooo

When I left Rachel in her room for nap time today, she played happily [and loudly] for several minutes before falling asleep, which is not unusual. Today, however, she added a new twist: in the middle of her play, she started sweetly yelling, "MOOOOMMY! MOMMY! MOOOOOOMMY! I UV OOO, MOMMY! I UV OOO!" As she probably predicted in her mind, I melted when I heard it. I did, however, resist the desire to go snuggle her to pieces, which disappointed her into her more usual pre-sleep whine. Still, it made me feel pretty warm and fuzzy...

Here is sweet Rachel, enjoying one of MY yummy, gourmet chocolate birthday cupcakes baked by Ms. Lynn. She was pretty Stokked. ;)

Monday, August 18, 2008

to the beach and beyond

Since my last post, we've had a most relaxing family vacation at the beach, Rachel's first real experience. We went last year, but she was still just so enthralled to be walking and independent, that she mostly walked circles on the beach, in our condo, and wherever else we were. She hardly noticed the water and the sand last year, but this year, she was fascinated by all of it. She loved swimming, especially in the pool, where she figured out how to slowly get herself around with the aid of her swimmies and nothing else. "Rachel do it by yourself" was her catch phrase for the week, and she did: she jumped in, she swam, she dug holes in the sand, and she collected seashells, all "by yourself."

I theorize that this vacation will go down in history as our easiest because we had three of us hanging out with just 2-year-old Rachel all week (GiGi came with us), and sweet, young, innocent Rachel was perfectly content to play and enjoy her surroundings at all times. When she wanted to go from the ocean to the pool, we went, and when she wanted Daddy to play with her, he did. Next year, and forevermore, she will have to share everything. And I'm sure that, just when we think it should get easier--when the kids are old enough to kind of take care of themselves--they'll start getting grand, conflicting ideas of all the things they'd rather be doing. One will want Daddy to come to the pool, while one will refuse to leave the beach, and another will just want to go inside for lunch, or maybe off to the local beach junk store. And so, in honor of the most relaxing vacation ever, a video by Daddy...

Sunday, August 3, 2008

bags & bellies

I have had an itch to sew lately, but the room that houses my sewing machine is a disaster. While Jarrad was home and occupying Rachel yesterday afternoon, I cleared a path, and last night, as soon as my little precious baby went to bed, I hopped online to find a bag I could make out of an upholstery remnant I bought a long long time ago. Here is the finished product. It was SO much fun! I used this tutorial, and I think I'm going to modify the dimensions a bit and make a good sized diaper bag for our next baby. I also might venture into making some fitted diapers soon too, but we'll see!

As for Rachel, here is a better picture of her post-haircut style. See her bouncy little curls in the back?? I love it! She isn't exactly showing them off in the picture--she was turning from the camera so I couldn't take her picture. Silly are some random funny Rachel sayings:

  • "Calm down, Mommy."
  • "One more cookie, Mommy--that's all."
  • "Bother you, bother you," (when her undies are riding up)
  • (After singing an unknown song with unintelligible lyrics), "Know that song, Mommy?"
  • "Ohhhh, how cuuuute!"
  • "Spiderweb, eat the 'squitos. STAY OUTSIDE!"

As for the new baby...well...she's a'growin.' I hate this picture of me, but, in case you were wanting to see, here's my big baby belly, at almost 28 weeks (my hair is at 7 weeks; I had to sadly cancel my appointment last week because Rachel was sick). Rachel is fascinated by it, and is constantly asking to "see Mommy's baby." She talks to my belly, hugs it, kisses it. She says, "snuggle heeeeer," and then rubs her nose on my belly button. It's nice that she's so interested. When we ask her "What should we name our new baby, Rachel?" she always replies, "Baby Sister!" Not much help, but cute, all the same.

Friday, August 1, 2008

cut the hair

I kept it kind of hush hush because I wasn't sure I'd go through with it--Rachel got her first haircut this afternoon! The bottom of the back was getting so long and wispy, and her whole head kinda looked like it had feathers on it sometimes. Sooooo...she got a haircut. And now, her little curls are curlier and bouncier, and I feel good about the decision. I'll have to take a better after picture, but, honestly, it doesn't look much different...

A word about the title of this post: When I go for a haircut, my friend Theresa often comes over to babysit Rachel while I'm gone. For days after, whenever I am getting ready to go anywhere, Rachel asks, "Mommy cut the hair?" I haven't had a haircut in 6 weeks, though, and she's talking much better now. She is more accurate when she describes her own experience today as a "haircut."

Thursday, July 31, 2008


Rachel had a cold at the beginning of the week, but it didn't phase her for long. By Tuesday night, she was bouncing off the walls because she felt so much better. Four nights with the humidifier, and she is almost a well baby--except that she's been playing with her left ear a lot too. When she got up from her nap this afternoon, she started complaining about it, and I started to worry. I said to her, "Should I take you to the doctor, Rachel?" "UH HUH! Go to the doctor!!" She was very excited at the suggestion. So I called for a sick appointment (I sure wish I had one of those look-down-your-ear contraptions at home), and we were in the office within 30 minutes. I talked to her all the way there, and while we were waiting in the tiny room. She kept mentioning getting a poke (as if she was excited about the possibility), but I corrected her and said there would be no poke this time. "The doctor will probably listen to your heart, look in your mouth and your nose, and in your ears." I tugged on each body part and got close to "see," for practice. We went through the scenario several times before the doctor arrived. Sure enough, as promised, the doctor started with her stethoscope and listened to Rachel's heart. Rachel sat perfectly still. Then, the doctor peeked in Rachel's ears, and declared them perfect. She put the tongue depressor in Rachel's mouth and confirmed that she is cutting her two-year molars, and that is the source of her discomfort.

I was relieved, and I thanked the doctor for the good news, and she left the room. Rachel froze, looked at me, and said, "NOOOOOOSE!!" She was poking at the tip of her nose with her finger and running for the door. "Oh, Rachel, the doctor didn't look in your nose, huh? Can I look in your nose?" "Noooo," she replied, "doctor do it!!" I distracted her so we didn't have to call the doctor to return for a nose examination.

Two-year-olds forget NOTHING and hear EVERYTHING!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

daddy highlight

Jarrad is a most wonderful husband and daddy. He takes care of all our budgeting and bill-paying (among many other hubby/daddy responsibilities). In the last two years (since starting our family, i.e. adding more mouths to feed), he's taken on what is almost a second job: couponing. It's not a hobby for him--although he does enjoy saving money--it is serious business. He collects multiple copies of coupon fliers from the Sunday paper, and he has devised quite a system of organization to optimize our savings. I've recently become his lackey, of sorts; he tells me what to clip, and I clip and clip and clip. The most intense time is, of course, when one of the grocery stores does triple coupon weekend. It is three days of coupon-mania around here, and it usually overtakes our kitchen and dining room. Jarrad likes to keep all his receipts, and he tries to zero out almost every order, surveying his success at the end of the three days. His other habit is to stack up all his spoils and take inventory at the end, usually gathering up the [free] items we won't use and giving them away to people who share their coupons with us. It's a big rush for him, and it is so fun for me for two reasons: 1-I don't do much grocery shopping any more! many mommies can say that?? and 2-Jarrad always brings home some fun, unexpected treats (my most recent fav is the M&M ice cream bars...yum).

I can't remember the ratio of grocery value to money spent, but for these items in the picture, I can guarantee it was a heck of a lot to not much! I'm so proud of my hard-working hubby!

Sunday, July 27, 2008


Last week, I took Rachel for a long-anticipated visit with my Grandma Mae (Rachel Mae is named after my two grandmothers). It is a long drive to get there--2.5 hours--and spending the night isn't really an option, because we don't want to wear Grandma out too much, so Rachel was looking at a solid 5 hours strapped in the car seat. I was dreading the drive, but I talked to Rachel a lot about it the day before, and she was really excited about going to Grandma's house. She seemed to actually get the being-in-a-car-a-really-long-time thing for the first time, because she was an angel the whole day, in the car and at Grandma's house. She even took a good nap in "Grandma's biiiig bed." When I got home, a good friend told me she was praying for us and our trip all day, and I really felt it! Here are some pics from our trip... BubbleShare: Share photos - Powered by BubbleShare

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

superintendent rachel

We were driving around town today, and Rachel, noticing a construction site, had the following to say:

"LOOK-at-that-mess. On the corner. Boys makin' the mess. Boys cleeeean up. Yucky yucky yucky. Yucky shirt. Yucky pants too. Boys cleeeean up. Silly boys."

Sunday, July 13, 2008

love this girl

Rachel has been doing so well in her new room and her new bed, and she still is so excited about the whole deal. When people come over, she jumps up and down and begs them to come upstairs to see her biiiig room and her biiiig bed. We've started calling her old room "the baby's room," so I think we should be good and ready for this new little girl to take over in there. And the icing on the cake is that she's been sleeping a little longer, a little happier and waking up in a better mood than she was in her crib. What a blessing!

The funniest thing to me is how she's dealt with sleeptimes. At first, she didn't want to sleep under the covers, so I didn't try to "tuck her in" when it was time to sleep. I knew she'd get up and roam around probably anyway, and she seemed so swallowed up in that big bed, so what's the point? But after only a few nights, Rachel started tucking herself in. Now when I leave the room, she usually follows me to the door with an obligatory/courtesy whine/fuss, but quickly retreats into her room to play, read, and chit chat with her little friends. Fairly quickly, she climbs on her bed (if she's not there already), pulls back her covers, tucks herself in, and rests her little head on her pillow, falling asleep quickly. She also usually stays in her bed when she wakes up, and she just plays happily with whatever toys are left there from the night before. She'll eventually call "Mooooommy, MOOOOOmmy!" and I'll go upstairs to be greeted with a big silly smile, sweet hugs, and even sweeter kisses.

cute moment

Rachel gets more and more fun to watch as she plays. Lately, she's been doing a lot of "shopping," pushing her cart around and around and around, collecting various items to "take it to the store." She usually has her little green beany baby bear in the child seat, and he usually takes a potty break or two along the way, and he also occasionally gets a spank spank. She also loves to bathe her little animals, and pretend to lotion them after.

But her favorite thing right now is that I've begun letting her help me wash dishes. She sits on the counter by the sink, and I direct her to turn the water on and off for rinsing. I let the dishes drain and air dry, so we always come back later and she sits there again, pulling each dish out of the drain rack for me to put away. She loves these little chores!

Here's a picture of Rachel having a snack at the huge kiddie pool we went to last week. She had such a great time!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

big move--that's a wrap

As of this morning, I am fairly confident in saying that Rachel has successfully moved to sleeping full-time in her big bed! Last night and tonight, I made a point to go straight downstairs after our bedtime routine, so that she had to put herself to bed, which she did! It occurred to us that the previous night or two, she seemed most upset to find I had left after she'd fallen asleep. So, when she woke up in the middle of the night, the first thing she did was go check where I had "fallen" asleep, only to find a vacant spot, which was difficult to see I guess. Last night, though, she woke up and cried some, called for us, but then went back to sleep fairly easily. She stirred another time, but I don't think she even bothered to get out of bed that time. She's doing great at naptime as well, and her nap has become exactly what it was in the crib (just over 1 hour, waking up fairly content, but a little whiny).

And now, looking back, this really was not a difficult transition for Rachel after all. It was a little difficult for me, and my back is paying for all the naps and nights spent lying on the floor waiting for her to fall asleep, but, overall, it was about as easy as I guess we could expect it to be.

I am super proud of my baby girl, and she seems super proud of herself. I hope our next little girl is as agreeable! I really can't wait to see what her personality will be.

So here's the rundown of the strategy I used to get Rachel in the big bed/new room (mostly for my own future reference):

  • Talked it up for several days before the move.
  • Helped her move her toys to her new room after her last nap in the crib.
  • Let her play on her new bed before the move.
  • Stayed with her and lay my head on the bed until she fell asleep for two sleeptimes. Put her in her crib to go back to sleep upon waking in the night.
  • "Slept" on her big bear on the floor just beneath her bed until she fell asleep for two sleeptimes. Put her in her crib to go back to sleep upon waking in the night.
  • "Slept" on her big bear, moving farther from her bed and closer to the door each time for ~five sleeptimes. Put her in her crib to go back to sleep upon waking in the night.
  • "Slept" on her big bear outside her door (there's a gate on her door) until she fell asleep for two sleeptimes. Put her in her crib to go back to sleep upon waking in the night.
  • Left the bear in her room, and read a book in the hallway outside her room with my back to her until she fell asleep for 2 sleeptimes. Put her in her crib to go back to sleep upon waking in the night.
  • Went away immediately after bedtime routine, and did not return until morning, even upon waking in the night.
  • Rewarded with a popsicle when she slept all night in her bed for 3 nights.
  • Promised to reward with a sticker chart now that she seems confident.

All of this, of course, came with lots of conversation. I let her know exactly what my plan was, step-by-step, to try to avoid any surprises on her end. I try not to "trick" Rachel when I can avoid it, so I told her each night that I stayed, that I would only be staying until she fell asleep. She still seemed sad to find me gone, but at least she wasn't betrayed, I guess. We also talked a lot about the big bear, and the popsicles. Another thought I had was that I wanted her to get used to being in charge of her own bedtime, so, even when I stayed with her, I truly pretended to be sound asleep, allowing her to get up and play and do whatever until she was ready to go to sleep. Otherwise, I could see the future of me running up and down the stairs and policing her every move, which is not what I want to be doing. I don't mind sneaking in and clearing toys from her bed after she's asleep--that seems much less stressful to me--and I just write it off as her winding down process.

Anyway, these last few posts have been pretty boring, probably, but this was a fun problem-solving exercise for me, and I wanted to document it for future reference (how many kids will I be transitioning??...who knows?).

Since you've made it this far, here are three recent pics of Rachel. Serious Rachel Rachel with her birthday present from Aunt blows bubbles!

Rachel's piggy tails! I love it!!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

big move part 2

Rachel begged to sleep in her new bed at naptime yesterday, so I decided we'd give it another try, resigning myself to stay in the room with her until she fell asleep. She finally did, and she took a longer-than-usual 1.5-hour nap! I was very excited, and she seemed proud of the move. Last night, it took her a long time to fall asleep, but she did great until she woke up scared around 2:00am. In an effort to get some sleep, I stuck her back in the crib to fall asleep on her own while I stumbled back to my own slumber. She seemed happy enough with the arrangement, and didn't complain this morning either.

I wasn't sure what today would bring, though, since we were planning a three-day visit with my parents. I talked up the pack and play like it should be fun to sleep there at MiMi and Poppy's, and she was satisfied with that. However, it has been quite some time since she's slept in a pack and play, and, to my dismay, she climbed in and out with no hesitation. So, at naptime, out she came, and back I put her, and out she came, and back I put her, until finally MiMi lay down with her. She slept, but for only less than an hour. Poppy set up the toddler bed they have, and that's where Rachel is sleeping now (after I stayed in the room with her and tucked her in when she finally fell asleep).

I knew I'm in for several days of having to stay with her until she's confident and used to the new bed (it is really big, and it's in a new room, besides), and I know the trasition to follow will probably be difficult. This is definitely the hardest transitions we've made to date; Rachel has handled the others like a champ (which probably lead to my over-confidence leading to this one). One fun thing coming from it, though, is being able to experience her winding down process in person. I love listening on the baby monitor as she plays and sings and talks to herself until she falls asleep, and I've often wished for a video monitor so I could really witness what's going on in there. It's really a funny few minutes, so I guess it's not so bad after all.

But I do hope she adjusts easily and quickly, and I hope I haven't thrown her into this too soon (although the pack and play incident today would suggest that the transition was quite inevitable). It definitely seems there's no turning back now...

Monday, June 23, 2008

big move

I tried to move Rachel to a big bed tonight. We've been prepping her new room for a week and a half, and after her nap today, she and I moved her toys and clothes, and played there for most of the afternoon. I've been talking it up, and she seemed excited.

But she's happily asleep in her crib now, after a brief attempt at the big bed. She changed her mind quickly when I got up to leave her there, and she didn't even stay long enough for me to make it out of the room. Poor, abandoned Rachel. I felt horrible for even trying, because she seemed pretty shaken up by the whole experiece.

Oh well...I guess we'll revisit this idea in a few more weeks.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

rachel 2.0

Today is our big girl's birthday! It's hard to believe how fast these last 2 years have gone by, and it's even harder to remember what our lives were like before our first pride and joy showed up. She has changed our lives in so many wonderful ways that we couldn't have predicted...we've even said we wish we would have started having kids sooner. I would not trade my current job for any job in the world!

For milestone-marking purposes, here's a list of a few of Rachel's best tricks and catch phrases:

  • thinks she can reach anything if she stands on her step stool
  • ends most phrases with "oooKAY?"
  • finds "buggies" everywhere, and walks us through the process of disposing of each bug (even those that end up being a little piece of fuzz)
  • enjoys being copied ("do dis, Mommy, do dis.")
  • has a great imagination (yesterday, she made a train with her blocks, and it went through a tunnel I had made, which I intended to be a house)
  • with a damp cloth, she will clean everything
  • loves to "wash" dishes
  • helps with laundry, including folding
  • has finally grown hair long enough for a tiny sprig-like pony-tail, which she has suddenly deemed a necessity, driving her to tears when it comes out
  • suddenly enjoys testing limits, including, but not limited to, grabbing at faces and hitting
  • is quite good at jumping, a skill she has been perfecting for several months
  • pulls out all the stops to show off for familiar friends and family, leaving her hyper for the rest of the day
  • definitely favors her left hand. the world will seem so backward to her.
  • appreciates chit chat--i often get this request (especially in the car), "Mommy, talk."

I may add more later, as things come to me. Rachel's big birthday bash is Saturday afternoon, with just the family. I am excited for her!!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

ponytails, sprinklers, foam houses, and school

Rachel's hair is really getting long[ish] now! At least, it's long enough for her to complain when it drapes into her eyes. She has even requested a bow once or twice! A couple times this week, I was able to convince her to let me put her hair in a little ponytail, right on top of her head (it's the only option so far). We never made it out anywhere with the ponytail, but she wore it around the house for as much as an hour at a time before yanking it out. Progress, still!

It's been so so so hot this week that we haven't wanted to venture outside much (well, I haven't wanted to, but Rachel probably wouldn't have minded). Our [new] grass is even beginning to turn brown, so Jarrad hooked up the sprinkler yesterday. for some excitement, we slipped on Rachel's swimsuit and sunhat, slathered her with sunblock, and headed outside to enjoy the fun. Rachel couldn't decide how she felt. She mostly wanted to be held, so I ran with her through the sprinkler several times, and then Daddy did the same. She did walk around by herself some, but it was usually short-lived. She went back and forth from squealing with delight to saying, "no no no water, no water." Such fun!

non-toy toy of the day

Jarrad bought some new doors for our laundry room area, and Rachel loved playing with the big pieces of foam packaging. Her favorite was when we propped it up like a little tent, with the tissue paper from the box draped on top to add to her privacy. What fun!

first homeschool project

I am really looking forward to teaching my children, whether we ended up choosing to homeschool or not. I think I would LOVE to homeschool, though. Here Rachel's first 'official' project. We worked on this collage together. We flipped through magazines, and Rachel told me which pictures to cut. We then gathered all the little pictures, and she told me where to glue them on the paper (with a little guidance from me). When we were all finished, she was SO proud! She kept saying, "Daddy love it." I told her we were making it so Daddy could hang it up at work, but she wouldn't give it to him. She was excited to show him, but she would not let it out of her sight. She likes it to hang on our dishwasher (our fridge doesn't take magnets). I'll have to admit, I was pretty proud too.

Monday, June 2, 2008

silly little one

Rachel (pointing to Mommy's shirt and pants): Change clothes.

Mommy: No, Rachel. Mommy isn't going to change clothes.

Rachel: Mm hmm. Change clothes. Mommy change clothes.

Mommy: No, Rachel. I'm not going to change clothes right now.

Rachel licks Mommy's shirt.

Rachel (pointing to wet spot on shirt): Mommy change clothes.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

mountain oasis

Jarrad and I were invited to a wedding over the weekend, which was conveniently located just minutes from PopPop and Uma's house. We had a lovely couple of days. Rachel ran PopPop and Uma ragged, and, likewise, Rachel was run ragged, too. PopPop and Uma live in the mountains, in the most perfect spot in the best little neghborhood, with a little duck pond right in the middle and a big creek running right under their bedroom window. They've carved out a little oasis behind their home, with a deck and a small garden, and a little pebble yard. It looks like it's right out of a magazine, and it feels like a vacation every time we go.

While there, Rachel fed ducks, watered flowers, went for a ride on the paddle boat, and went to a party in PopPop and Uma's neighborhood. What fun!

non-toy toy of the day

Although PopPop and Uma have some toys they've bought for their house, and although we brought toys with us, Rachel spent most of her time playing with the box from the portable crib PopPop and Uma bought for Rachel's visit. First, it was a bed. Rachel requested a pillow and blanket, and pretended to snore, holding Sleepy Elmo and Blanky tight. Then, it made a the most wonderful house. She invited all her friends (stuffed animals) to join her, and then threw them all out again. She moved everyone in and out many times, even at times demanding that they individually ask permission to enter (she sometimes answered, "no" to their requests, to which her friends responded with dramatic crying, delighting Rachel. She picked up each one, hugged, patted its back, and declared it, "happy" before tossing it in the pile with the others). It then became an empty sandbox of sorts, when she asked to take it outside to play in the pebbles. Uma gave Rachel several containers--bowls, cups, and spoons--and Rachel had the time of her life, sitting in the box, pouring pebbles, serving pebble soup, and sipping pebble tea. Later, the box became a sliding board, and each of her friends (stuffed animals) got a turn sliding down to Uma and PopPop. Rachel cackled, and eventually convinced Uma to let her "slide" down too. By the end of our time there, the box was completely worn out, as I'm pretty sure everyone else was too.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

happy mommy's day

Jarrad and I have long sworn off non-holidays like Valentine's Day, but there's something a little special about Mother's Day. I guess it's because there's just something special about a mommy. I think I have the best mommy there ever was. She taught me to take care of myself and to think for myself. She taught me to view the world through the Truth, and to filter everything--everything--through that, regardless of whatever is popular at the moment. She taught me that God doesn't change, and that I can trust in that timeless Truth, and in His son, Jesus Christ, who was the Truth, in the flesh, fulfilling the prophesies of hundreds of years before.

I pray that I can be that kind of mother to Rachel. I don't want to just love her. I don't want to just teach her to enjoy life. I don't want to just make her well-behaved. I want her to follow the Truth, and to value truth, and to live out truth in her life by trusting in Christ. I know I can't do any of this, but praise God that I can trust in Him to lead me through it, and to show me the way amidst the many mistakes I have made and will make.

I love being a mommy.

strange moment

On a less-serious note, Tia Milli came for a visit this weekend, and witnessed Rachel's wit at its best. In preparation for bedtime last night, we escorted Rachel upstairs and sat her on the potty, where she went poopy, as hoped. She looked down and commented, "poopy in there." We agreed with her. Then, Rachel got a sly grin on her face, and she said, "eat poopy." "What Rachel?" "Eat poopy!" she repeated, grinning. "Eat POOPY??? Eww Rachel!" Delighted at my reaction, she repeated her new catch phrase several times, and then she put her fingers to her mouth and made munching noises, then swallowed, and showed us her tongue, saying, "all gone." GROSS. I tried to explain to her that these are things that boys usually talk about, not us girls, but she just kept repeating, "eat poopy."

While most of Rachel's vocabulary includes imitations of my own vocabulary, I can assure you that I have never--never--said, "eat poopy." That is a Rachel original.

I love being a mommy.