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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Our Thanksgiving 2014

With the Christmas season already upon us I wanted to share some pictures from Thanksgiving before everything turns red and green and silver (and pink and purple...) on the blog. :)

We drove to the gulf coast to visit with one of Andrew's cousins and her family Thanksgiving Day. There was no shortage of food (except for the key lime pie I made which disappeared very quickly), plenty of lively conversation and a generally relaxing time was had by all. I love visiting people's homes who have kids because my two have no shortage of playmates or toys to play with. And that was exactly the case this holiday. Andrew's cousin has three boys ages 10, 7 and 4. It was great because even the oldest boy had a grand playing with my two. They had a large trampoline out back and Lily and Reuben were drawn to it like bees to honey. Well...Reuben wasn't crazy about it at first but warmed up after a while. Lily played on it most of the afternoon into the evening. I couldn't get her off of it if I'd tried! That's why these pictures are a little Reuben heavy. Pinning Lily down for a decent photo was near impossible. In fact they were so occupied with playing that they barely ate a bite of dinner.

We didn't pack up to leave for the hour and a half trip home until about 9:30 that evening and despite the late hour Lily and Reuben still didn't want to go. Needless to say they were both asleep about 5 minutes down the road.

Sorry for the bad quality on some of these photos. I'm still learning about this whole photography thing (and editing thing too). Actually a few of these pictures weren't even taken by me. I found them on my camera later. Apparently someone had a little fun. :)

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Andrew's cousin Jazz and her dad (Andrew's uncle...duh).
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Andrew and I were declared the "fun adults" by his cousin's kids. I wonder why...
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This little guy was so adorable but I don't remember his name. Later on in the evening he let me pick him up and we had an animated discussion about trains.
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I couldn't do much to make this picture look good. I mean we look good of course but in a hazy, grainy sort of way. ;)
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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Recent News

I've been mostly absent from the blog the past month or two and there's a very good reason for it. On Monday, September 29 I took a test and found out I'm pregnant! Baby number 3 will be arriving either May 29th (according to my doctor's estimations going by the baby's size on the ultrasound) or June 10th (according to my estimations going by my cycle). We'd been trying for a month or two so seeing those two lines was much anticipated. Morning All day sickness hit me right on schedule about 2 days shy of my 5th week (I'm going by my calculations of my due date here). In some ways it seemed a lot worse this time and in other ways it didn't. With Lily I remember feeling queasy but I was in love with being pregnant for the first time (technically second time, but that's another story for another day) so I think part of me was also in love with feeling all of those nasty feelings. Weird right? Plus I was working at the time so I was busy and had other things to focus on. During my pregnancy with Reuben I also had a toddler to deal with, so although I wanted to lay on the couch all day long, I just couldn't, so I sucked it up and tried going about taking care of her and the house as best as possible. This time my little ones are 4.5 year old and almost 2.5 year old. Let's just say the month of October and the beginning of November were full of Thomas the Train and Handy Manny marathons while Mama tried to get an extra few winks in in the morning.

I had my first ultrasound November 18 and had the pleasure of taking Lily with me (Andrew had to work). She didn't like waiting for "like forever Mom!" in the waiting room but she loved seeing her new little brother or sister on the monitor. She was very solemn as usual about such things but pointed out its tiny little arm when she saw it and smiled slightly when the tech and I talked about the baby's heart beating. She kept staring at the monitor and when we left she carried the ultrasound picture in her hand the entire way home.

Meet Baby Serrano! No, we aren't naming it that. I asked Lily later on that night after we had the ultrasound what she wanted to name the baby and that's what she came up with. So until we hold you in our arms little one this is what you shall be known as.

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Another thing that hit me pretty early this time around was my expanding waistline. By week 8 I wanna say, I was having to leave the button on my jeans undone and slip on the Belly Band to keep them up. Thanksgiving Day I caved and put on a pair of maternity jeans. I haven't looked back since. Skirts though are my favorite thing to wear. I just need to see about getting a few more.

Needless to say we're all very excited about this pregnancy (I was more so when the "morning" sickness ended) and the realization that we'll have another baby to hold and love on soon. I don't exactly know where we're going to fit another person in this house no matter how tiny it is, but I'm sure we'll manage.

And now for the only belly shot of me so far. I've been very lax in taking maternity photos. Actually I've been very lax in taking photos period. But that's changing with the holidays here and our house getting cleaned up and decluttered. Its amazing how a messy house will prevent you from doing so many things. Oh and sorry about the blurriness. It was dark, we were busy looking for a Christmas tree so it was a spur of the moment snap.

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Monday, November 24, 2014

Conversations With My Daughter: The Animals For Dinner Edition...Or Not

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July 11
Lily: Little girls can't cut with the big knife without manners...without a customer helping...I mean without mommies supervising.

July 13
Mom: Waiting patiently?
Lily: Yup. But its pretty borin'.

July 14
Lily (pointing to a picture in her Little House book of Pa Ingalls carrying a gun to hunt with): What is that for?
(I explain what the gun is for)
Lily: But why does he have a gun to shoot aminals?
Mom: Because they need to eat. And see they are going to pick vegetables to eat too.
Lily: But they need to only pick vegetables to eat cause they don't shoot animals. They (the animals) don't like that!

July 27
Mom: After lunch you guys can go play outside!
Lily: I was thinking about doing that. To get some energy out.....And you can fart out there.

July 27
Lily: Ouch! Reuben hurt my spleen!

July 29
Lily: I wish we could go hunting for chickens. We could shoot them with a gun and pluck their feathers and then have chicken to eat.

August 1
Lily: Mommy! Don't wipe my tears away! Put them back.

August 8
Lily: You use your flashlight when you go hunting for deers to pet them.

August 15
Lily: Hey. do I have worm slobber on my hands? Cause I was catching worms at Marie's the other day.

August 22
Lily: Don't put that soup stuff on my rice. I just want plain rice. Cause I'm addicted to rice.

August 22
Lily: Mommy, your food is amazing! I love lentils. Reuben does too...apparently. He's ditching (digging) right in.

August 24
Lily: Mommy, you know, your son is beautiful.

September 7
Lily: I know what germs are! They're little fuzzy things!
Mom: They could be but its hard to see them cause they're pretty small.
Lily: No. I can see them with my big blue eyes!

September 19
Lily (snuggling with her mama): I'll make sure we'll always be together.

September 22
Lily: Mom there's a fly around his (Reuben's) diaper. And there's poop in there! Flies love poop!

September 29
Lily (hearing Reuben say "Jesus" from the other room which annoyed her): Reuben we're not going to heaven.

Monday, October 06, 2014

Crafting It Up

The crafting bug bit me hard recently. While pinning just one more sewing idea to my Pinterest board one day, I realized that my children are growing up so fast and won't always want to wear things handmade by me and so I had better actually make all those things for them to wear before they get to that point. Walking past and catching a glimpse of the ever growing, mile high pile of fabric in my armoire certainly adds to the lack-of-sewing guilt.

So in a determined mood last week, I pulled out the vintage 1976 White sewing machine that was handed down from Andrew's grandmother to his uncle who gave it to Andrew. I love this sewing machine. I am by no means a sewing expert but this machine is smooth and there's just something about using a hand-me-down versus a brand new machine. There's history there ya know? And now that I think of it, I've blogged about this before. And sadly that was the last time I used it too.

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After dusting off the (figurative) cobwebs, I followed this tutorial I found on Pinterest and made Lily a skirt. Its not perfect by any means but it was super easy (even with my changes to it) and she loves it. I recently won a giveaway on one of my favorite blogs, SouleMama, and received a gorgeous half yard bundle of Monaluna organic fabric. My first thought was to make a quilt out of it since its all from their under the sea collection and wouldn't that be so cute? A little something to cover up the kids' dolls maybe? Then I remembered how I peter out quickly on more in depth projects like that so I switched gears and had Lily pick out a fabric that she liked. We happened to be at Walmart the next day looking at fabric and she picked out the white with black dots saying she wanted it for her skirt too. I thought a tiered skirt would be doable so I picked out the red gingham and we left, both of us happy with our selections.

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When I finished the skirt I realized that I had made it a bit too short. I like them to reach to at least just under the knee and preferably an inch or so longer. So I had to remove the bottom panel and add a longer one. Its still cute. And Lily could care less. I made her a skirt. :)

In the spirit of trying to include more crafting of all kinds in our home-life, and because Lily asks to do "a project" almost every day, I set her up one afternoon with a home-made weaving loom and let her at it. I thought I had pinned the site I used to make the loom and directions on how to weave but I guess I didn't. Ah well.

She gave up about halfway through the project saying that she just didn't want to do it any more. And that's fine. It may not be her "thing." It may be a little advanced for her too. I think I'm going to ask her if I can finish it and then hang it as a collaborative effort. I really just want to use her loom. Seriously, its the cutest thing and there are some lovely weaving tutorials online.

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Next up on the craft to-do list is an autumn tree that the kids and I are planning to decorate with colored leaves. We also have pine cones I plan on making into a garland to hang. Bring on everything fall!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Thoughts on Little Boys Growing Up

Earlier this week I received an email from Andrew who was at work. The topic of the email is an issue that has been near and dear to my heart recently. I wasn't expecting this email from him and I had no idea that he had taken my disjointed, rather one-sided conversations about the issue to heart as well and had been thinking about what to do to fix the situation. As the (sometimes over-) emotional one in the relationship I often feel like I'm the only one who ever worries about these things. It was nice to hear the same concerns in his voice. Here's the email. Minus a few words meant only for me. :)
So I wanted to write a note about the kiddos. Now I hope I'm conveying this concept correctly but if not (and of course as always) feel free to discuss it with me (and I'm sure you are aware of it and all so let's not have that discussion).

So Lily was born a tiny, wrinkled, pooping machine. And we loved her and we knew she would be capable and awesome. Of course Reuben followed in those steps. And that is the problem. See, he is following Lily and we see that.

In other words, we don't see him as blazing his own trail. Lily gets to sit on the stove/counter while you make pancakes, but Reuben (often because he didn't get there first) is left standing. We don't see Reuben as being as capable as Lily because we see how capable Lily is and are "waiting" for Reuben to reach her level.

So I think that is why he is very frustrated so much. I know that we don't get down on his level and take time with him. I know that we don't teach him sign language (which he loves) any more. We just don't do the many things with Reuben that we did with Lily and I think we need to re-focus and re-evaluate our approach until we treat him like he is the first born also.

Do you know what I mean?
I stood there in my kitchen holding my phone in my hands and crying tears of joy. Yes. Yes I do know what he means. He gets it. He was able to put into words what I've been feeling but didn't quite know how to say. Something I couldn't quite put my finger on but knew something wasn't right. Something was missing.

I often reminisce about the time when Lily was really little. About 6 months old or so. We were living with Andrew's parents for the time being. They have a house in the country and we had two small rooms to ourselves. The door to the outside world was always open and we would often sit out there on a blanket, just the two of us, "talking" to each other, playing with blades of grass and laying on our backs watching the sun filter through the trees. We spent so much time together, just her and I.

I've never had that with Reuben. From the very beginning of his life he's had to share me with an older sister. There have been moments here and there where its just been him and I, but most of the time my attention is divided. He's always been content to play by himself or with his sister. He doesn't require a lot of attention. As a result I've always let him do his own thing and I've watched him grow into a capable little guy. But at the same time I would like to have those moments with him too and I don't know but maybe he feels the same but not knowing any different just goes along with things as usual. I want those moments though. Moments where we can just soak each other up, enjoying the small, insignificant details about each other. I know its not too late.

Another thing is I'm constantly comparing him to Lily, developmentally speaking. Ok, maybe constantly is a strong word, but the mentality of comparison is there. I've tried hard not to do it knowing full well that he will blossom in his own time. Usually it comes down to his speech. Lily was speaking in completely intelligible 4 word sentences at 18 months old. Reuben at 27 months old occasionally speaks in 3 word sentences that are sometimes difficult to decipher. Lily was also using her sign language well past 2 years old whereas Reuben has all but dropped his. I think because of all this I often look at him as less competent than Lily. He has a tough time conveying his needs and wants so I find myself doing things for him or guessing at what he needs (and sometimes getting it wrong) and not giving him the independence he wants.

Ever since reading that email I've been making a conscious effort to let Reuben do things first more often. Also making sure that he gets to try doing things on his own such as putting on his shoes instead of me quickly doing it so that we can get out the door faster. Lily gets herself dressed head to toe every morning but I find myself doing everything for Reuben. So this is going to be a change in mindset from "but he's my baby!" to realizing that he's a competent little boy who wants to do these things for himself. I need to step back and allow him the time and space to work on his own abilities. There probably won't be frustration free moments all around (at least not on my part) but its a step in direction of letting Reuben pave his own way.

I've also been working on fitting in moments during the day to focus on him whether its as simple as a secret smile meant only for him or sitting down, just the two of us, to read some of his favorite books. He may not completely understand what's going on, but I know he loves those special times and they mean so much to me.

Thank you Andrew for speaking "out loud" what was on my heart. I'm glad you understand.