on being proud

I think about moments that my mom has been proud of us. Getting into college, learning to ride a bike, hitting our first homeruns, getting the lead in the school play, finally learning our times tables, getting married, having babies, etc. As I was "cleaning" the other day, I stumbled upon my baby book and found this picture.

First of all, my mom is a fox. Second of all, this is ME NOW. Holding her third baby, which is myself, while the other two are near. She's having to tell Steve (my Eliza) to be gentle with the baby, and she's probably asking Jack (my Avery) to get mom a burp cloth please! This is my mom doing what I do every day. You think of your mom a certain way. I don't think of her as having babies, like this picture shows, I think of her as the full of life dynamic teacher and doting grandma that she is today. Of course I know that she was in this stage before, the stage of babies, but I know her differently. 

So, being proud. I'm a very proud mom. I walk about town with my girls proudly. I push them in the double wide, and wear the baby on my chest with pride. I gladly accept compliments on how cute they are, and I smile when people say I have my hands full. I feel so unimportant when I'm walking without them, not that people need to feel important when they go walking or shopping, but when I have them with me, I walk a little taller. 

Now, Ivy. Sweet Ivy Marie. She really gets this proud mom thing in me going. She works so hard to do things that I know are difficult for her. She smiles the whole time while she wears her eye patch. She's trying to move her neck more and is relatively compliant with her therapy. Avery and Eliza met millstones with ease, and typical timeliness. Ivy has to work harder to meet those, but darn that kid, she does. She's 5 months old and has already taught me to work harder in things that are challenging in my life. This picture I took of her the other day and there are so many details to it that amaze me, and without boring details about her "conditions" this is a milestone in itself. And in Ivy fashion, a grin that could solve world peace. 

I felt so deeply proud of her in this moment. And truth be told, I'm writing this with tears streaming down my face, and one might think, "She's sitting in a bumbo? This is tear worthy?" Yes, it is. 

To my point, which there is one, my mom had proud moments like this with us. Little moments that in the perspective of our lives now seem like nothing, but I know my mom holds them near to her heart. As I will always hold this picture in a special place; my proud mom folder of my heart. The pride is not in myself, because it surpasses my understanding and ability what happens daily in my house with my girls; what they do, how they grow and develop. It comes down to this, I'm proud that I get to watch them and that I know them. That I'm fortunate enough to guide them on their journey, side by side (by side, by side...) And sweet Ivy's journey is just beginning and she is a fun and tender ride. 

And soon, these three little girls will be hitting all the proud mom moments like riding bikes, getting into college, and having babies of their own. Let's hope I'm not still blogging about it, because that would just be weird. 



ten on ten // april

 grab a bagel on our way to school

 can't change a diaper without an audience

 Avery singing to Ivy, "let it go"

 summer shoes

 water table season
and Eliza's face

 my little boo snack 

 "hey peanut, keep the water in the table."

 tilling his fields

 Ivy's blues, not to be confused with Blue Ivy
(which has NO connection to naming her Ivy)

auntie snuggles in the sun

ten on ten button


frozen, you guys

I grew up watching Disney movies, especially Beauty and the Beast. I think I turned out pretty good, the whole princess needs a man thing didn't really affect me, even though Ken is quite charming like a prince. Derp derp. But Ken was reading The Little Mermaid to the girls the other night, and you know when you're reading a book to your kids and you "accidentally" skip pages and only read about 5 words on a page that has like a hundred? I was feeding Ivy and I heard Ken start to do this, "and then he was on the beach, and then she was there and then it's over." Ha! That night Ken told me he's not down with all this princess stuff, to which I responded, "Babe, Belle like loves books and wasn't really a princess but a compassionate, sacrificial woman who really loved her dad, sooooo, does that count?" Ken replied that it's okay. And then I go, "BUT YOU HAVEN'T SEEN FROZEN YET!!!"

And that's when I just went on and on about a movie that has just the best story of true love: sister love. We all know that I'm an observer of sister love day in and day out. When Avery's school had a movie night, they showed Frozen and it was the first time I had seen it. We were outside all sitting on blankets, and all these sweet little kids were singing along. Really, when Let It Go started all you heard were the sweetest sounds of soft songbirds, and then after it was over they went back to running a muck, but during that song, I teared up, and I'm fairly certain others moms did too.

We then had to get it, so we have it on our iTunes and when the girls get to watch TV, or "a show" we  watch Frozen in parts. I have a video of Avery singing Let It Go that I'm sure will be viewed years from now and I won't know what to do with myself.

I love that this movie tells of story of true love through sacrifice. That's our love story with Jesus, that he gave his life for us, sacrificed everything so that we could live. In this, Elsa separates herself from her sister Anna because of fear of hurting her, which was out of love, and then at the end, Anna's curse, or whatever, was broken when she stepped in front of Elsa when Hans was trying to strike her (Elsa) with a dagger. The movie ends with everything resolving not because a prince kissed the helpless girl, but because of the bond of sisterhood. Throw in the fact that Let It Go is sung by Adelle Dazeem Idina Menzel, my all time favorite (RENT, Wicked??!!), this movie is quickly becoming my favorite.

What prompted me to write this was this morning was special. Avery quietly tippy toed from her room around 7 to find me on the couch with Ivy, trying to find a few more minutes of sleep, and Avery whispered in her ear, "I love you Ivy," and kissed her on the cheek. Then, when the baby found some rest, Eliza woke up and when I went to get her she said, "Where Ya Ya?" (Meaning where's Avery) and I picked her up and she squirmed out of my arms and ran to Avery, giving her a bear hug. Then when Avery went to school, Eliza walked to the door and said, "Bye Ya ya, I laaa you!" This does not happen often, but today it did. And today I was so thankful to have my daughters so close in age, and more specifically, to have them in THIS stage now.

And a little added bonus. Ken was looking through our big box of pictures last night, and we found these little diddys. Our friends were over and they thought some were our kids, but really, just us as babies.

That's a baby Ken right there, looking JUST like Ivy. 

 That's a baby Melanie looking a lot like Eliza. 
Eliza also looks a lot like Ken's sister Julie's baby pictures. 

But the winner goes to toddler Melanie looking IDENTICAL to Avery. I mean, crazy!

Moral of the story: watch Frozen and make babies to look like you. 


DIY: coconut oil face creme

I have been loving coconut oil these days. Buy me a ticket for the bandwagon because this stuff is great. I bought this big thing of it from Costco and I have used it for cooking, in my coffee, as diaper cream for Ivy, as cream for Ivy's cradle cap, and on my face at night. I love the way my skin feels in the morning, but it was a little, well, as you would expect, oily. So I made my own little creme to make it more like lotion and less like oil. I googled a few different things and came up with this concoction. It took 10 minutes to make, while the kids were finishing their breakfast. 

I decided to use just what I had on hand. Coconut oil (1 cup), aloe vera and vitamin E (10 capsules) and peppermint essential oil (a few drops). I got the aloe vera capsules at the grocery store and I would use one of my face at night. You can use any essential oil you have, but I had peppermint when a friend gave it to me to help with my migraines.

The consistency of this stuff is odd, so I mixed it in my kitchen aid mixer for about 10 minutes to whip it, whip it good.

If you've ever eaten dinner at our house, you'll most likely drink out of a mason jar, or another reused jar because that's just what we do. I started getting this great sauce and I love the jar, so I cleaned out one of them, for this creme. Note: clean that jar A LOT. The top of this jar still has the remnant of curry chicken. Oh well… 

I added the other two things and whipped it more until it looked like frosting. 

See how nice that looks? I read that if you keep it in temperature cooler than 75 degrees, it will stay creamy like this. 

I was carrying my large coconut oil jar around from kitchen to bathroom to Ivy's changing table and it doesn't really fit anywhere, so now it fits right next to my face soap. It's the little things. 

The use your super cool label maker and you have yourself face creme forever! My favorite is the peppermint smell, it's refreshing. The combination of coconut and peppermint is delicious too. If I didn't have serious bags under my eyes due to newborn sleep patterns, I'd show you a picture of my face, but, you know, just take my word for it. This stuff is great. I was spending about $40 of face lotion about twice a year, and this is way more than I'll use probably in a whole year. And it saves me a trip to the mall. And is was pretty much free because I had everything. WIN, WIN, WIN!

So what cooking products are you putting on your face? Have you been using coconut oil?
Has is changed your life?

Happy Monday, friends.


motherhood, and things

…so I'll be talking about being a mom, again. (cue close window.)
Avery snapped this little diddy of me yesterday, and I feel like it says a lot. A mom, in the same outfit she wore the day before, and probably the day prior. Sidenote: I see a lot of mom's on fancy blogs describing their mom style and I'm like, do you actually HAVE kids? Because if what I'm wearing can't be spit up on, peanut butter smeared on, or saturated with baby drool, then I'm not going to wear it. So basically, Target is my jam. Anyway, go ahead moms with style, this mom is just keeping it real, and comfortable. Back to this picture. My eyes are squinting for any cars in the distance as I attempt to cross the street with the three in tow. Ivy strapped to my chest, per her usual, with a binkie hanging from the strap of the ergo carrier, diaper bag (that i'm obsessed with) thrown over my shoulder, conserve kicks that are slip on, cause, you know. Toddler in hand, and the old one taking my picture? Well, she likes to do that. So she takes this picture, without me posing, in the moment. In a mom moment. And, while you might see just a picture, I see a portrait of just who I want to be: a shepherd. 

I was making dinner the other day, tacos, just the way my mom used to make, and pandora was playing, and of course the station was "broadway showstoppers" and sure enough, "don't rain on my parade" came on. I mean, you've heard this, yes? BARBARA!! I'm frying tortillas, (in coconut oil!!) folding them into taco shells, Ivy is sitting in her bouncer wearing her patch, and the bigs are analyzing the map on the wall. Sure, they're standing on their chairs which I don't prefer, but Avery was explaining to Eliza that Russia is trying to take Ukraine. 

It was all in all, a great start to the evening. It felt content to have everyone happy at the same time. 

And the smoke alarm goes off. 

And that's how I feel most of the time in this journey of finding myself as a mom. Everything will be great, kids are happy, naps are happening, toys and books are being shared, toddlers are using the potty, tears are far from their eyes, and then, out of no where, babies will wake up mad, toddlers will poop on the floor (and maybe walk in it, and then walk around the house), sisters will throw elbows, and once loved foods are suddenly akin to poison. So mom goes from happy to annoyed quite quickly. I can go from feeling like a queen, and then the smoke alarm goes off. 

I know that this is how it is for me. For some moms, it not might be so up and down, but for this household of estrogen, it's how it is. Ken deals with this all very well, but most of the day is me and them and I try my hardest to make my reign over this kingdom one that is happy to come home to, and one were the citizens are turning into caring people who love the Lord. 

We heard a talk once from a friend of our pastor's about parenting. He asked the crowd, if I asked your kids what's the most important thing to your mom, or dad, what would they say? After I had delivered my 38th "be quiet, your sister is sleeping" of the day, I was reminded of this talk. Avery would probably say, "My mom just wants us to be quiet." When my heart of hearts is that she would say, "My mom wants us to love Jesus, because he loves us." Like a ton of bricks that hit me, and I thought, is that the most important thing to ME right now? No, actually. It is that they are quiet because I would really like Ivy to sleep. These small tasks in my day become the most important thing to me, and I ignore, or over look the most important thing I'm doing here: shepherding the hearts of my sweet daughters, who the Lord GAVE to us, to raise them to KNOW HIM. Of course, obedience and respect is tied into that, so telling my girls to be quiet is not a bad thing, but it's can't be the ONLY thing. Oh me oh my. What a HUGE thing that we get to do, but it can be so hard sometimes. Survival becomes my mantra, where shepherding falls behind. 

So who knows where I'm going with this, but this week the smoke alarm went off too many times. I found myself overly grateful for a moment and then highly agitated the next. I wish that it weren't so, that grace would pour from my heart for my children, my sweet daughters. I am an open book, or blog rather. I like to share my heart, my trials and triumphs because I would hate for a mom to feel like she's the only one on a roller coaster. I'll end with this, a favorite quote of mine, by a favorite president (of course); Only if you have been in the deepest valley, can you ever know how magnificent it is to be on the highest mountain.- Richard Nixon (or as I like to call him, Tricky Dicky) 

So here's to the valley moments, so that we can enjoy the view from the mountain tops. 
And then there are pictures, of course. 
(I'm in a few more than usual, so, you're welcome.)
Never a solo tummy time for this little one. 
(Avery took this too, and well, I'm a mess of emotions about it.)

happy weekend friends! 


a thursday night folding onesies

…and other wild adventures of a mom. 

An early bed time was in order for the day. Mom was on the phone with insurance companies, mortgage companies, trying to figure out this language of escrow, so much so that her head hurt and she maybe dished up a few sassy comments to a customer service representative, who was less than gracious. Mom learned, after talking to grandpa in California that insurance rates in New Orleans are of the highest in the country, due mainly to that saucy minx named Katrina. All the well known insurance companies think dating New Orleans would be too risky, fearful that the city's crazy ex girlfriend, Katrina may return, with a vengeance. That's how insurance makes sense to Mom after hours of grandpa spelling it out in laymen's terms. 

While on the phone, Mom thought all her cherubs were sleeping sweetly for their regularly scheduled nap time, but just as an operator connected her to a living person (for Mom does NOT like automated, not one bit) the little tiny awoke very upset. Mom thought this was a brief startle that would result in the commencment of more sleep, but this was not the case. So Mom carried on with the rep, with a crying 4month old in the background, so tensions were high. It took very little for Mom to get upset. Mom even said to the lady, "Don't talk to me like I'm an idiot." A manager from the company is calling Mom on Monday. 

Mom raced to the back of the house to get the baby, and she was upset that her call was not productive and that her baby wasn't sleeping. She approached the baby and was soon standing directly above. And the baby knew what the Mom needed; a squeal of delight and a smile that could solve world peace, and the Mom felt good. Tired, a tad stressed, but good. 

And so, that night around 7:30 when all the children were asleep, Mom decided to sort through the bin of clothes that reside near the baby's "room" (also known as a pacnplay, a changing pad on Mom's dresser, and an old bookshelf with stacks of clothes, blankets, and diapers in the corner of Mom and Dads room.) She did her nightly chores; preparing the house for another day. Making bottles for the baby, placing yogurt cups at low reach for the 3 year old in the fridge, filling Nalgenes for Dad and sippy cups for the kids, setting the coffee so that 6 cups would be ready fresh at 6am, and wiping down all the counter tops. She bent over to pick up various Little People that were scattered about the house, laid face down on the ground to retrieve the books that made their way under the couch, and racked her brains putting together puzzles that were spilling out of the cabinet. Once the clutter was gone, Mom looked around and took a deep breath. 

Mom really wanted some chocolate chip cookies that night, but she gave up sugar for lent, so she brewed some tea. She heated the water on the stove, not the microwave because when everything you do in a day is rushed, it's nice to have to wait, to pause. As the water was getting hot, Mom organized the 3 year old's coloring corner and was amazed to see that there were stacks of little drawings she had made, all of the family. Little stick figures of babies and parents in varied colors. All with long arms connecting them together, always. Mom felt pleased with her daughter's view of her family. 

The tea was ready, and Parenthood was on the TV so Mom opened the bins of clothes, sat on the ground and started to sort. She took out the things that were never worn by any of the girls during their newborn stage and put them in a bag to give away. She then made a pile of everything sized 0-3 months, because her little tiny one has already grown out of them. She then sorted sleepers and onesies. She then started to cry, as one does when they fold clothes. 

Mom found the light pink onesie that a dear friend embroidered for the oldest daughter. One that was so special because it was one of the first baby gifts the Mom ever received. Mom was taken back to when her now 3 year old wore it, and remembers how hard that newborn stage was for the new Mom, and how she remembers feeling overwhelmed and clueless. She remembers her daughter wearing it and screaming her head off in her arms. Mom then found another tiny onesie, from the first time her baby fell asleep on her chest, which was a rare thing for the oldest one. She remembers how she felt when that happened, when she found twenty minutes of calm with her baby, when she wasn't fearful of making a mistake because the baby was happily sleeping to the sound of her heartbeat. 
Mom held these two onesies to her heart, and smelled them hoping to find that newborn smell somewhere in the fibers of the cotton, but alas, they were no longer. She held them out in front of her amazed that her 40 pound 3 year old fit into such a tiny piece of clothing. She folded them, and set them aside. 

Mom then unfolded an even tinier onesie, one that fit the second daughter's much smaller newborn body than the oldest. A simple white onesie that Mom painted for her baby. It reads, "It IS a WONDERFUL Life" and her heart raced back to when she first dressed her week old baby in it. She remembers how snugly her second baby was, and how she would nap in the Moms lap after she nursed. And then the older sister would always be near, touching her sister's toes. This second daughter was a very good baby to Mom. She ate, slept and rarely cried. She was a tiny little baby and wore her newborn clothes longer than her sister did. When Mom found this onesie, she has to remind herself that her feisty, terrible-twos toddler was once a helpless little babe and that she grew up far too quickly for the Mom's liking, and that Mom should be more patient with her middle one.

And just now being added to the bin of cotton memories are the onesies Mom made for current baby. She made a stencil of Louisiana paying homage to their state, and she remembers what happened only 4 months ago- the first time she nursed the baby when her milk came in and the baby was full. It was a huge moment for the mom, as nursing is quite the struggle for her. She also remembered when Dad laid on the floor next to baby and baby stared at him for the longest time. This onesie won't even snap closed on her baby now, which made her so sad that she too, was growing up so fast.

And so the Mom folded each onesie and put them with the others and packed them away for hopefully another day, far from today, when another baby will join the family.

The Mom felt overwhelmed with the stress of the day, exhausted from interrupted sleep, and wondered the last time she wore make up, but she was extremely happy. These onesies marked a rite of passage for her. She brought home three babies and somehow managed to keep them safe and healthy. How, she's not entirely clear. But grateful she remains. While Thursday nights are often spent out, doing fun things, living. This Mom is having the time of her life, folding onesies. 


a freeze frame

Before Ivy was born, I did a little update of the girls- likes, dislikes, milestones, and the like to serve as a memory of them at that time. That was half a year ago and much has changed, mainly the addition of a little one. So, here we go!

"the bubby"
  • Avery is 3 1/2 years old.
  • Avery loves drawing pictures of "the whole family" and provides stick figures that are spot on.
  • Avery has a musical ear in that she hears a song a few times and knows it by heart.
  • Avery can count to 12 really well, but from 12-20 it's a little messy. 13 seems to challenge her.
  • Avery is a master parade watcher.
  • Avery still takes a nap, and sleeps well most of the time at night. 
  • Avery loves Jesus and is beginning to understand his sacrifice on the cross.
  • Avery is developing quite the sense of humor. Her big joke is calling people by different names, or last night when she was wearing her Abe Lincoln shirt (pictured above) our friend asked, who's on your shirt? Avery goes, "George Washington!" and laughs. 
  • Avery prays every night for our neighbors and for Ivy's head. 
  • Avery's picky eating habits are rapidly improving and she's trying new things, things that are green! Imagine that! 
  • Avery is feisty at times and earns time outs, but thankfully after her time out is over, she'll apologize for whatever she did wrong (hit Eliza, throw a toy, talk back, etc.) 
  • Every night, before Avery goes to bed, regardless if I'm in the room or not, she'll say, "To the moon mom!" and will wait for me to say it back. 
  • Avery is very compassionate and shows empathy when people are hurt. 
  • Avery often goes, out of the blue, "You know what Mom? I love you."

  • Eliza is a few months away from turning 2 years old. 
  • Eliza loves eating everything, but has recently made the connection that guacamole is made from avocados, and she would eat a whole one if you offered it. 
  • Eliza no longer takes a bottle, and is off formula. She can handle milk now, and drinks it from a sippy cup. (For a while her stomach couldn't tolerate milk, and she loved her bottle before her naps.)
  • Eliza says A LOT, whether we understand it all, that's another story.
  • She loves naming the family: "mama, dadeee, EYE-ee (Ivy), E-lyla (Eliza), and ya ya (Avery)".
  • She ways, "I laa you!" (I love you)
  • Eliza loves to wear socks and put on everyone else's shoes.
  • Eliza winks and says cheeeee when she's smiles.
  • Eliza still sucks on her two middle fingers on her left hand when tired or concentrating. 
  • Eliza can get lost in books for a while, but tends to leave opened books laying all over the floors of the house. She'll revisit them throughout the day. 
  • Eliza takes a long nap and sleeps very well through the night. 
  • Eliza has the best curly hair.
  • Eliza still wears diapers (and hates getting them changed) and sleeps in a crib.
  • Eliza mimics everything that Avery does, good and bad. 
  • Eliza loves dogs, and spends a lot of time on the porch yelling at them with excitement.   
  • Eliza does not like when people leave our house.
  • Eliza insists that we pray before every meal by putting her hands out to be held. She'll wait till everyone is seated at the table, and will say "amen" when it's over. 
  • Eliza loves to be near Ivy at all times. 

"chee-wee / newbie / love bug / the little one"
(still working on one)

  • Ivy is 4 months old.
  • Ivy is in the 90% for all growth measurements. 
  • Ivy wears 6 month clothes.
  • Ivy is so happy and smiley. 
  • Ivy drools pretty much all the time. 
  • Ivy blows bubbles a lot as well.
  • Ivy likes to sleep with blankets on her face, and occasionally with her thumb in her mouth.
  • Ivy likes to have her fingers in her mouth when she's awake.
  • Ivy has coronal suture synostosis, torticollis, and amplyopia in her right eye. (google it :)
  • Ivy gets treatment and will have surgery to correct all those things.
  • Ivy wears a eye patch for an hour a day.
  • Ivy doesn't seem to care about the above mentioned things she was born with. :)
  • Ivy is a great napper, and becoming a good night sleeper. 
  • When Ivy does wake in the night, she's happy, so it's hard to be upset about waking up at 3 in the morning. 
  • Ivy loves to be sung to.  
  • Ivy is my most snuggly baby.
  • Ivy likes to be worn in an ergo carrier or a wrap. 
  • Ivy makes me feel like the greatest person in the world. 
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