Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Cake Smash

Let's pretend I wrote this post a month and a half ago, when my babies turned one.

The past year has gone by so incredibly fast. It seems like just yesterday we were waiting (not so) patiently for our little bundles of joy to arrive. I remember the hour-long drive to the hospital, knowing that the end of our child-free life was there. I remember the first night in the hospital, and the blur of sleepless nights that became the next five weeks. I remember their first smiles, first coos, first time rolling over. All like it was yesterday. And now my little bundles are 1.

I'm not particularly talented when it comes to throwing parties. I've never been good at decorations, themes etc. So we kept it simple. We had a small family party at my mom and dad's house with Minnie and Mickey Mouse cakes made by my super talented sister, Ashley. That was the second cake smash we had done. The first was after family pictures when they were 11 months old. But both cake smashes went about like this:

Charlie - mmm, that looks fun, I wonder what it feels like?
Caroline - I don't know what that is but it looks scary.
Charlie - wow it's really fun to squish in-between my fingers. I wonder if it tastes good?
Caroline - well it must be safe since Charlie is touching it.
Charlie - this is the best thing I have ever tasted! I think I'll shovel handfuls into my mouth as fast as possible. 
Caroline - (slowly poking her finger in) I'm not so sure about this.
Charlie - do you think they'll take it away before I eat the entire thing?
Caroline - (through tears) mom my finger is dirty!

I'm not kidding. Caroline barely even tasted it. And Charlie couldn't get enough. My mom took his Mickey cake away after he ate more than half of it. I am thoroughly convinced that if we had let him, he would have licked the plate clean. 

Silly kids. They are so different, and their little personalities crack me up. Here is a little of what they are up to lately:

Caroline is obsessed with ambulances. She walks around all day singing "wee oh wee oh wee oh." She loves to read books and her new favorite activity is bring a book to me, plopping down on my lap and then turning the pages while she jabbers nonsense and pretends to read the story to me. She likes most any food, but lately she has really been loving peaches, bell peppers, strawberries and pears. She is getting really good at expressing herself by pointing to what she wants and saying "want some!" which really sounds like "ant some." She really loves her shoes, and she associates putting shoes on with going outside. So she brings me a pair and says "shoe!" and then sits on my lap so I can put them on her. She also really likes to hold her shoes so half of the time after I put them on she takes on off and walks around the house with only one shoe on so she can carry the other one. She loves naptime and when I say "are you ready for a nap?" she runs into her room, grabs her blankie and tries to climb into her crib. She also loves giving things to people - she brings Charlie his blankie from his crib every morning after breakfast, and she picks up little tiny things on the floor and hands them to people. She loves waving at everything and gets really excited when people wave back. She has a spunky little personality that I love with all my heart.

Charlie has two favorite words: "no" and "ball." He thinks the word "no" is hilarious which makes it really hard to try and discipline him or keep him away from things. And he loves balls, particularly the ones that flash colorful lights when you bounce them. He knows how they works and he is really good at throwing them on the ground to make the lights come on. He has started trying to stack blocks together and when he is working on it he holds them up so close to his eyes and examines them thoroughly. I love the way he looks when he is concentrating so hard and figuring something out. He loves climbing on anything and everything, and although he knows how to get down safely, he prefers to dive head first. Both he and Caroline learned how to get down the stairs last week and now I can't keep them away. Charlie gets so excited to go up and down the stairs. His favorite game is to crawl up the stairs when he's not supposed to and crack up while I chase him. He starts laughing before he even gets to the stairs. I love his little sense of humor and that he is always laughing. Always. He loves playing peek-a-boo, loves swinging doors back and forth, and loves pulling every single book off of our entertainment center. He is so happy and content and he brings me so much joy.

In other news, we are counting down the 20 days left until I get to go to Missouri to bring Forrest back home. Yep, you read that right, 2-0. We're almost in the teens people! I'm a little excited if you can't tell. I am 17 weeks along, and my ultrasound is scheduled for the week after Forrest gets home. We've decided to keep the gender of our baby a SURPRISE since we already have a boy and a girl. Ah! I get so excited just thinking about it and wondering what our little miracle will be. The next three weeks will probably drag, but the time will pass. And then Forrest will be home and all will be right in my world again. 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Silver Lining

With my husband having been gone for five weeks now, I've realized that it's A LOT harder having him gone than I expected. Some days are good and ok, but some days are not. We really miss him, and I am literally counting down every single day until we get to see him again. Did I mention that it's hard to have him gone? 
In an effort to stay positive and keep myself out of a hole of self-pity, I've been trying to look at the bright side of things. The "silver lining" to being husband-less for 10 weeks. And it's a short list:

- Much less laundry, and no work shirts to iron (unless you count the 10 shirts that have been laying on our bedroom floor for the past 5 weeks that have been washed but need ironing..)

- We get to have a long distance romance told through love letters (actually, they usually go something like "Dear Forrest. I threw up 7 times today. Caroline bit Charlie on the face. Love Alfalfa." Not romantic)

- The Army pay is pretty decent. They pay for all sorts of extra things while your soldier is away, like "family separation." Almost makes up for him being gone. Almost.

- I've learned to do all sorts of things that I never would have tried to do before. Like how to change lighbulbs inside of fixtures that I didn't know how to open; how to take apart, clean, and reassemble my vacuum; and how the garbage doesn't magically take itself out to the dumpster - someone actually has to do physically do it! (I kid a little on that last one. But only a little.)

- I have lots of extra time to do yoga, put together puzzles, read and nap. Somehow I still don't have enough time to cook, clean, do laundry, shower or do my hair. 

That's about it. I told you it was a short list! Here's to hoping the next five weeks go faster than the first five.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

How He Works

When I was on the track team in college, I clearly remember making it to the half-way point in some incredibly difficult workouts and, despite our sheer exhaustion, a few of us bursting into an off-key rendition of Bon Jovi's "Livin on a Prayer." And that's how I'm feeling today - halfway there and living on a prayer. Forrest has been gone for 5 weeks, and in 35 days we get to see him again, hooray!

You know those days when you wake up early, feeling well-rested and refreshed, and everything goes right for you that day? Well today was not one of those days. I'm finally into my second trimester and I had been feeling much better lately. And then last night happened. It was a rough one filled with a lot of sickness and very little sleep (by me, not the babes. They did great). When I finally dragged myself out of bed I thought the day would be better, because it usually is. But it wasn't. What do you eat when you can't keep anything down? Usually my go-to is ice cream (I know - don't tell my midwife), but even that wasn't working today.

Enter amazing heaven-sent mother-in-law. She kindly checks on me often, and when she discovered I wasn't feeling well today she arrived with a full meal on hand, complete with still-warm-from-the-oven cookies. I couldn't eat much of it, but it was so kind and thoughtful and took the stress off of me to make dinner for the babes. And then as if that wasn't enough, she continued to wash my dishes, clean my kitchen, and pick up the living room. I know, she's incredible.

I am continually in awe of how in-tune with the Spirit people are. I had multiple offers for help today (many of which I gratefully accepted) and had some fresh bread delivered by a neighbor. It is such a testament to me that our Heavenly Father is aware of each of us and what we need, and he works to meet our needs through other people. I am so grateful for those people who have acted when I was in need, even when I wasn't aware of what I needed myself. People are good. And our Father in Heaven is so loving.

One time when I was a teenager, our family piled into my dad's car to make the 13 mile trek home from my grandparents' house. There were more of us than there were seatbelts, so my parents sat in the front and all the girls (I think there were only 4 of us) loaded into the back seat. It was a slightly foggy evening, but everything else seemed normal. The first half of the drive was quite uneventful. And by uneventful I mean that someone probably had their bum pinched, another likely suffered an attack from the tickle monster, and there may even have been a "full-moon" sighting. But let's stick to the facts. Four girls in the back seat makes for a fun time. As we rounded the corner into our little hometown, Ashley suddenly pushed Carlia's head down, opened and closed the car door quickly, and shouted, "Oh no, Carlia fell out of the car!" We all laughed, and my dad jokingly slammed on the brakes. I mean slammed on the brakes hard. So hard that my mom started giving him a hard time. And then the fog in front of us cleared, and less than 10 feet from where our car had skidded to a stop stood a giant black-as-night cow. Right in the middle of the road. There is absolutely no way that my dad could have or would have seen it if we had continued driving. The car went silent, and right then and there I became very aware that our Heavenly Father is aware of us, and that He works in mysterious ways.

I think the way the Spirit speaks to us is different from person to person and from situation to situation. In this case, Ashley and my dad may have been acting on impressions that they thought were silly at the time. But they didn't seem so silly as we sat looking at that cow that could have caused some serious harm to, if not killed, my family. I believe that as we live our lives in line with our Savior, our thoughts and the promptings of the Spirit become one. I am so grateful for those who have listened to their thoughts and the whispers and impressions of the Spirit to reach out to my little family when we've been in need. My point? Act. Always act. Even if the impression seems silly or you are afraid of what people will think. No bad can ever come of sending a text message, making a phone call, visiting a friend or taking a dinner. So go and do.