Sunday, November 4, 2012

"You're like superwoman!"

Let me preface this with I in no way shape or form think I'm a great or superior mother, I'm just Rachel. Twenty seven, five foot six, brown eyed, small town girl, wife to David, Jesus follower, stepmom to Brent, and mommy to 2 little princesses who happen to be 14 months apart.

So, when I hear, "you've got your hands full!" multiple times every time I leave my home, it kind of goes in one ear and out the other. I used to tell people that my hands are full, but my heart is more full! Now I just smile and try to move along...quickly! The last time I was out with all three, Brent finally told one couple who said it, "we've heard that three times!" It does get old, but it's hard not to notice us.

I took all three with me to vote yesterday. Anna in our Ergo carrier, Reagan in the stroller, Brent by my side. It went smoothly, they did well. We left and went to target, I left Anna in her carseat and snapped into the stroller, wore Reagan in the Ergo on my back (that carrier is worth twice its weight in gold), and Brent tagged along. In the parking lot I saw a mom struggling with her older baby (he was probably about 10 months old), she glanced my way, my toddler happily attached to me, my sleeping infant, and the cutest second grader skipping next to me. She had an amazed look on her face. She sighed heavily and said across the parking lot, "you are like superwoman!" I smiled sheepishly, and she yelled, "no, really!" I assured her it didn't always go so smoothly, but sometimes we try to leave the house. Her acknowledgement of the craziness I seem to keep under control made my day a little brighter. I am no superwoman, but I am incredibly blessed with very full hands!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

At the risk of sounding totally nuts...

I'll share this anyways. I had to take my well seeming children to the doctor today to find out they MAY have HFM, but shouldn't be contagious as long as they are fever free (and they have yet to run a fever).

Anyway, that's aggravating, but not so crazy. What is crazy is I think my children met their grandmother in the waiting room. My mother in law died 3 years ago this Christmas. The same year I married her most handsome son. She was funny, candid, witty, and real. I can't really say I know how I'd feel with her experience raising 5 boys watching over my mothering of her granddaughters, but I know she would be crazy about them. She was about their brother.

In the waiting room a lady with a broad toothy smile struck up a conversation with Reagan. Her smile, demeanor, even her voice was Faye's. She played with my little Reagan Faye. She told me she knew motherhood was hard, especially with such small ones, but as they grow it will get easier. She had that same candidness that my children's grandmother had. And for an instant, I felt like the lady who was the biggest cheerleader for my husband's and my relationship to succeed and grow, was sitting next to me. While it may seem crazy it is just what I needed as an exhausted mommy. I am deeply saddened that my girls won't know their daddy's mommy, but I do hope to share her character with them.

Friday, September 7, 2012

And so it goes...

I started back to work about 3 weeks ago. Everything has been going pretty well. Anna learned to gulp her bottle after a day and a half of refusals, Reagan got hand, foot and mouth on her second day, and I only cried the first two days back. Sounds fabulous, right?

In all seriousness, everything is okay. The babies miss us during the day and I'm up with one of them at least 3 times a night. More than anything, I'm pretty tired.

Reagan has grown to really enjoy school, and my husband says now drop off is easy. She leads the way to her classroom and waves to him. She loves playing with the baby dolls and outside time. Often she finds the mud, and I pick her up and she's had a necessary wardrobe change. Anna is such a happy baby. They all love her. A teacher from Reagan's old daycare is actually one of Anna's teachers now. She always is telling me what a great baby she is.

I have 20 extra special kindergartners. They make the time away pass pretty quickly, but keeping up with 11 wild boys and 9 energetic girls is contributing to my exhaustion for sure. Other than my little family though, there is nothing I enjoy more than the inner workings of a five year old's mind. They have it all figured out.

Getting into the routine has been tough and we have a few kinks to work out, but I am enjoying the weekends, the early morning snuggles, late nights with my babies. These times won't last forever. Might as well enjoy them. One day I will sttn (sleep through the night) again. I won't even know what to do with myself, it's been at least since December 2010!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Now that I'm a mom....

There are things I thought I wouldn't give up or things I thought I'd stop doing once I became a mommy. Now that I have two little girls that are going to look to me for guidance, I consciously think about all my choices.

Now that I'm a mommy, I don't think I will be tanning. After seeing my dad get a hunk of his nose carved out , my fair skin can stay fair. My girls will learn all too soon that they can bake without seeing their mommy do it. We will spray tan together!

Now that I'm a mommy, I skip the greasy fries. I'm not a crazy healthy food nut, but I will teach my gals it's about choices. Choose what is best based on what is in front of you. I'm not going to teach them to have to have special foods or dietary needs (though my big girl may anyway), but to just be smart about their food intake.

Now that I'm a mommy, I will have an adult drink from time to time. I'm not going to get wasted, but a glass of wine with dinner or a beer with my baby daddy is fine. I don't want my girls to see it as taboo to have a beverage, and I want them to learn that it is fine in moderation.

Now that I'm a mommy, I want my girls that I'm all about them, but the whole world isn't. Our church goes and volunteers at the local children's home. As soon as the girls are old enough, I want them to get their hands dirty in the work of helping others.

I'm sure there are lots of other new perspectives I will take as I become a more seasoned mommy, but Anna is done eating and Reagan needs a clean diaper! My day is about to get started in full force. Now that I'm a mommy, there is nothing in the world that comes close.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

My Little Sister... growing up.  I usually just post about the babies and me on here, and this is still about me (hey, isn't everything?), but it's more about life in general.  My baby sis is getting married in less than 2 months.  Crazy?! In the past three and a half years, I've become a wife, a stepmom, and momma of two, so I know life comes at you pretty fast.  I'm so excited for my sister, my friend, my boxing partner to embark on this fabulous journey.

Now, I'm working on her lingerie shower plans and her gift for her bridal shower this weekend.  As I get her gift together, I find myself tearing up a little.  Partly because it's a pretty sentimental gift, and it is reminding me of my life's blessings, and partly because she is going to be going through these amazing experiences soon!

I cannot wait for the festivities these next two months will hold (though traveling with two babies in tow leaves a little left to be desired).   What a really wonderful and exciting time for my beautiful sissy, the goregous bride to be!

We love you, sis, Auntie, and buddy!  We are so blessed to have you in our lives!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

This Crazy Life

It's official, I really stink at schedules.  I'm great at routines, but not schedules.  I think this flexibility is probably why I'm able to manage a kindergarten classroom and two children under the age of two.  My oldest child needs routines, but if I force her to do things at certain times, I end up with one very loud, ill child.  I can't handle crying it out, and for that reason, my sweet Reagan has went  down for her nap by riding in the car the past few days (unplanned, but that's just how it worked out). 

Because of this and a few other things, a little part of me is really excited to get back to work.  Mommy needs a routine too.  I'm all about the babies, but I've kind of lost myself a little.  I doubt I'll get it back completely ever until, well, never.  But I do look forward for a few hours a day to focus on something other than whose diaper I changed last, what to feed my very picky toddler for lunch, and which side I nursed my infant on last.

Lately, I have been having a really great time photographing my little Anna.  It's been something that I can do for fun, a little creativity, and it requires nothing other than my imagination, a sleeping baby (or two---somethings are impossible to do with a toddler running around), and whatever we have laying around the house.

Anna the Country Singer

Anna Climbing the Tree & Taking a Rest at the Top

Jumping on the Bed

Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love my girls, and I if I knew it were possible for our family, I would stay at home with them and LOVE IT, but because I know that being a working mother is a reality for me, I go in and do that job with my whole heart.  I feel like it must be God's will for our family for me to work outside our home.  My most important work is here, but I can enjoy my work too!  I'm a mommy ALL of the time, and a teacher for a few hours M-F ten months a year.  I love both of these fabulous jobs I've been blessed with.  Who knew though that two little people could wear me out more than 20 five year olds? What a crazy life!

Friday, June 29, 2012

15 months

My sweet big baby had her 15 month birthday yesterday.  That meant today we got to go in for her 15 month check up and a couple shots.  She did really awesome, making her momma really proud.

At Reagan's two month check up, a whole year ago, she was a fat chunk.  I loved her rolls for the record.  All that good mommy milk made her top the growth scales and she was a shorty.  Today is a much different story.  She is a VERY active girl, and because of that she was 20 lbs 10 oz making her in the 17th percentile in weight.  She took a growth spurt and jumped from the 20th percentile in height to the 68th.  She's a tall skinny model baby.  What's funny though, is that I still see her as my chunky girl.

She's is meeting all developmental markers well.  She uses a few words, hey and bye being her favorite!  She picks up things and carries them, she stacks blocks (in our house, she prefers bowls), and she self feeds (though not very successfully with utensils).  She is already exhibting her "spirited" personality with her bedtime refusal.  Her doctor gave me some reading material and the behaviors she's showing are very characteristic of two year olds... I"m not looking forward to those terrible twos!  We discussed bedtime at length, and when the doctor was telling me that we, as parents, take too much credit in being the child's safe place, that they can associate the crib as that safe place, Reagan shook her head, quite fervently, no.  It was as if she was saying, "uh-huh, my mom is my safe place."  We all found this quite amusing.

In just a couple weeks, Anna will be having her two month check up.  I am really dreading it; it helps that Reagan has taken her binkie.  It soothes her after those scary shots.  Anna isn't really the best at self soothing, either with a binke or a thumb.  She's just not into it.  We'll pray that she'll be just as tough as her sister was today.  I'm so in love with my fuzzy headed little girls.  I can't believe my babies are already 15 months and 6 weeks.  The time is flying!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Pinterest Inspired

I'm obsessed.  Pinning during feedings and pumping, while going on walks (Anna in the sling, Reagan in the stroller--it's a rare moment when I have a free hand...ha!), during naps, and after bedtime.  It's made me want to clean, decorate, photograph, and craft.  Here's a sampling of the Pinterest inspired ideas we've tried at home.  I've done a few projects with my school babies as well, but don't seem to chronicle it with photographs like I do with my kiddos at home. 

Fine Motor Skill Practice
Reagan loves pipe cleaners and as long as I'm near to play with her, I think there is nothing wrong with her playing with them.  We used a colander and put the pipe cleaners through and she'd pull them out and we'd repeat the process.  To keep a toddler entertained, it takes a lot.  She seemed to really enjoy this!  I would try to get her to sort them by color after she removed them, but that was a little advanced right now.  We'll build on this activity in the future.

Father's Day Crafts
 Brent made his daddy the cutest saw card.  Since my husband comes from a sawmill family, we felt the saw was very appropriate!  David really liked it.

We had to include the babies too, so I had an extra canvas left over from the 2 pack I bought we Reagan made my mom's mother's day gift.  With a little finger paint and mod podge, we made a gift from all three of his sweet kiddos for his office.

Mom's Day
Being two years pregnant and thinking I would have a newborn on Mother's Day, I almost forgot my mom.  Truthfully, I was hoping to get a picture of all the grandbabies for her, but since Anna had her own ideas about when she was to arrive, I ended up making a footprint canvas from Reagan for my mom.  Grandma loved it.

Finger Painting
We've tried several different times at finger painting, and surprisingly Brent really enjoys it still at 7. We did store bought paints in ziplock baggies.  It made for no bathtime afterwards which was a plus.  However it didn't hold Reagan's attention very long at all.  Brent wants to do it all the time though.  Which is kinda nice since he can gather the materials and do it himself. 

Yesterday we made our own finger paints.  With 4.5 cups of boiling water, 1 cup of cold water, and 2 cups of corn starch + a little food coloring we had our own unique goopy finger paint.  Brent really enjoyed making his own colors, and the coloring we bought at Target had a variety of colors you could make on the back of the package.  His favorite was chocolate moose.  It looked just like pudding.  Reagan loved the texture of the paint and making the paints look different by using a fork to paint.  The paint is thick so we had to let it dry overnight, but it drys to create a really neat 3-d effect.  Brent and I decided we may use it to create a landform map of his granddad's house since he has lots of ponds, it would be "more interesting" than just our street! 

Pinterest has really cute ideas for gifts.  Teacher Appreciation week was my first week of maternity leave, and I had no baby, so I actually got to see Reagan's teachers to give them their little token of our appreciation.  After being home with two babies, I have a new found appreciation for daycare teachers.  They make kindergarten look easy!  It also gave me a little time to prepare some ideas for Reagan's last day party, though I did have a baby by then to bring to celebrate summer with the toddlers. 

I'm currently working on a project I'm super excited about.  Hopefully it will turn out as anticipated.  This isn't a project with the kids, so I have to work on it in the little spare time I have.  Since it is a surprise, I'll have to post pictures later!  The babies are both sleeping (miracle!), so I'm going to attempt to work on it now.  I'm sure I need to be cleaning, but crafting is so much more fun!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Tired Doesn't Even Begin to Explain...

We've been two weeks at home: Reagan, Anna, Brent (on occasion) and me.  Oh my goodness, I never EVER knew what exhaustion was before.  I was really tired when I was at home with Reagan.  She wanted to nurse constantly, she was really super needy,and I was a first time mother who knew nothing about babies.  I thought I needed to watch her... Watch her sleep, suck her binkie, play in her gym.  I don't know what was going to happen if I didn't watch her, but I realized this time around, Anna wasn't going anywhere if I placed her in the pack 'n play or in the crib without my eyes on her. Now, I still can't take my eyes off of Reagan during her waking hours, but it's justified.  She's into EVERYTHING!

Our schedule is starting to fall into place.  I can't get the babies to nap at the same time, but if I do, I feel like I need to take advantage of that time with laundry, dishes, and cooking.  When Reagan is up, she usually needs a playmate, and right now that's me (unless Bubba is here!).  When Anna is up, she usually needs a diaper or a boobie, and guess what, that's me too.  Between all that neediness, I spend most of my days, reading board books, changing diapers, picking up cheerios, doing puzzles, feeding a baby (while checking e-mails, pinning ways to keep my toddler busy, and looking at Facebook), singing songs from Nick Jr. and Baby Signing Time, and dreaming of 5 consecutive hours of sleep.

However, I love being home with my girls and their Bubba.  It is the busiest I've ever been.  I'm beyond tired.  I am just trying to soak their smallness in.  I know in a few short months Anna won't need me in all her waking hours, Reagan will be able to vocalize with actual words her dissatisfaction with her 8 o'clock bedtime, and Brent will be back in school (so will I, but that's another post for another day) as a second grader.  These times are precious.  So despite the fact that I'm just depleted of energy, I know that this is a time that's fleeting.  It will be over all too soon.  There's much to look forward to, but I'm not wishing the present away.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Anna's Debut

Two and a half weeks ago we welcomed Anna Caroline into the world!  She never wanted to make her debut on her own, so at my 40 week checkup we scheduled my induction for Monday, May 14.  My blood pressure was a little elevated and with my history with Reagan, the doctor thought it would be better to go ahead instead of waiting on the baby to decide... She may never have!

On that rainy Monday after Mother's Day, we took Miss Reagan into to daycare and went to the hospital.  They took us upstairs and finally by 10 o'clock they started the pitocin.  By the second cup of chicken broth and David's lunch break around noon I was feeling some pretty strong contractions, so without hesitation, I got the epidural.  I thought about taking a nap, but by the time the nurse came in to check our progress around 4ish, it was to push.  Three sets of pushes, the doctor came in, and on the last push... TA DA! we had a baby. We had two names picked out prior to the baby's arrival, but once she was here we decided on Anna.  She's the spitting image of her daddy.  Anna weighed a tiny bit less and was a tiny bit shorter than her sister at 7 lbs. 5.5 oz and 20 3/4 inches.

Recovery was MUCH better this time.  I remember crying because I didn't want to ride home in the car after Reagan was born.  This time, I sent everyone home, I tended to Anna in the hospital alone and I felt great!  I was just so happy to hold this baby, this unplanned miracle in my arms.  She was absolutely perfect.  I enjoyed our private time in the quietness the hospital room.  And while there was no rest to be gotten, and it certainly wasn't home, I treasured those private alone moments.  With your second it's different.  I want my girls to have some personal time, and that is totally an effort, but it is important for me as it is for them.

I have loved my private moments with Anna as Reagan is finishing this month in daycare.  I hope that she will enjoy the time at home this summer and hopefully stay a little more healthy than she has in daycare.  Brent is looking forward to staying at home with us a couple days a week too.  He excitedly told me he'd look on Pinterest for some craft ideas for us. 

I'm incredibly blessed.  I have a husband who is absolutely crazy about our babies, a little boy who accepts me as his "other" mom, and two little girls who prefer my arms over any others (for now...Reagan is very quickly becoming a daddy's girl).  Now that Anna is finally here, I can't imagine how life was before her debut.  Our family feels complete.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Pregnancy Hormones!

I know I've talked a little about all the minor complications that my pregnancy with Reagan held.  The beginning was rough, the morning sickness lasted all day long forever, and the swelling and high blood pressure ended it.  It was not a fun ride at all. 

This pregnancy has be MUCH more pleasant.  I guess the Lord knew I couldn't chase around a growing baby/toddler and have a complicated pregnancy.  I never got morning sickness, so far, at 36 weeks, I haven't had any swelling, and I feel great other than the crowding around my lungs that are causing me a little trouble catching my breath.  My "baseball" belly as Reagan's daycare teacher is much more akin to a basketball, but for the most part, all my weight gain has been belly.  Someone asked me yesterday if I ate because I just didn't look big enough to be ready to deliver a baby, I eat, but I don't pig out... So I'm not that waddling pregnant lady who looks like she's have quints and delivers a 6 pound baby.  I am, however, waddling :)

Yet, I am much more emotional with baby number two.  EVERYTHING gets me.  I can't listen to the radio, watch TV, see a daddy and his little girl in the grocery store without getting all teary.  I heard "It Won't Be Like This for Long" this morning and I had to sit in my car and compose myself before I could go into work.  I watched a special on bipolar children on Discovery Health and I had to spend longer than I actually watched the show praying for those children and my own.  And yesterday in the grocery store I saw this little girl of about 3 shopping with her dad.  She was pushing one of the little carts and she looked up at her dad and said, "But daddy we aren't holding hands!  Why aren't we holding hands?"  He smiled at her and said because she had to push her cart.  It was the sweetest thing... I can just see Reagan shopping with her daddy the same way.  I can't even imagine how my love will grow as I share it with two.

Our house is going to be full of lots of fun girl hormones as the little ones grow, but it's also going to be filled with laughter, fingernail polish, daddy dates to the grocery store, hair bows, and good times I'm sure.  I hope one day I can share with my little girls all the love we've had for them since before they were here.   Despite the heartburn, the nausea,  the fear that each cough will cause you to pee your pants, and the hormones!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


I have had a lot of trouble getting motivated today.  I have had 3 days off this week for Spring Break (I am going in tomorrow and Friday for teacher workdays to prepare to be out for the remainder of the year when this baby arrives), and today is the only day that I've had no plans.  I let David and Brent take Reagan to daycare this morning, so for the first time in a year, I'm home alone.  While I miss my baby girl, I think I probably needed a break today.  I feel a little guilty for saying that, but I think it's probably important for my health (mental and physical--especially right now) that I take a little time just to breathe.

I need to be working on laundry and the nursery and take a trip to the grocery store.  Instead, I used a Shutterfly gift card and made Reagan's 1 year album and took a shower.  A LONG shower without hearing Reagan whining from her high chair outside the bathroom door, as I do most mornings, or hearing her yelling over the monitor to come get her out of her crib.  Again, I miss my girl, but who knew an uninterrupted shower would feel like a luxury!?

Today marks 36 weeks with baby girl number 2.  I'm getting so excited about meeting our newest little one.  I can't wait to raise my little girls.  I realized probably when Reagan was just a few days old, that being a mother is my most important work in life.  God has blessed me with a wonderful career and a faith that is strong.  He has also shown me that my work begins here at home.  I can't put other things (work, people, "stuff") before my children, and that realization is something I'm very grateful for.  In my own life I've seen so many children feel and left neglected, some that others would never notice that were being over looked, and I look at my blue eyed baby and my protruding belly and promise my girls that they won't be those children.

I'm pretty nervous about the responsibilities that two babies will bring, but I've been overwhelmed and nervous before with life events, and I've never been given anything I can't handle.  Yesterday, I was driving past my church and on one side of the sign it read, "God doesn't make mistakes," and on the other it read, "God provides for needs not wants." As I drove, I thought about the little kicker in my tummy.  I think she was a needed addition to our family.  A playmate for her sister, another companion for Brent, a little person to teach her mommy and daddy even more about true love.  While the timing certainly wasn't my own, I am sure it was in the plan.  As I worry about how we will provide for our family, I know that we may not have everything we want materially, but our needs will be met.  What we need more than anything is to grow our family in love. 

I think I may have found my motivation!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Shhh! Everyone's asleep!

My princess has been a co-sleeper since she was out of her Rock 'n Play Sleeper at about 4 months.  While I was nursing, it was more for convenience, especially after I went back to work.  Once she didn't need a late night feeding, it was because I (yes, me) missed her and liked having her close.  Plus, the split floor plan of our home seems to put a bit too much distance between our room and hers.

Lately, with my growing belly and just being overly uncomfortable (not to mention having to get up to potty a few times a night), I've been trying to get her to sleep in her crib.  I decided that I needed to trust God to keep her safe, there's nothing unsafe in the crib with her, and I needed to allow my body and the baby growing in my tummy as much restful sleep as possible.  This was NOT happening with a nearly one year old tossing and turning and kicking in the bed.  I never thought our king sized bed could feel so small.  So, Reagan's been sleeping in her crib half the night or so.  She wakes up usually around 12 or 1 and I hear her on the monitor, and I try (not too hard) to get her back to sleep, but most of the time she spends the rest of the night snuggled between Mommy and Daddy.  Last night she slept until 3:30 in her bed.  I checked on her around her usual wake up time, and she was snoozing away.  I think if I didn't work, I'd be a little better about getting her to complete the full night in her bed, but most nights during the week, I just don't have the energy to be up with her and then be teaching my kindergartners.  I'm proud of the progress we've both made lately!

Right now, Reagan's brother is happily tucked in his bed (and at 7, we're just now getting him to stay in his bed all night!), my husband is snoring from the couch, and Reagan is sleeping under her favorite muslin blanket in her crib.  Baby in my tummy is wide awake and my eyes are heavy.  I'm thinking about seeing how large the king sized bed feels with just me and my pregnant tummy in it!  In just a few short weeks our house will be a little more crowded, but so full of love.  It's a happy thought for this Mommy.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Birthdays and more!

So, I may very well be the worst blogger ever.  Being a working, pregnant mommy is probably the hardest thing I've ever done.  Managing time is not one of my greatest strengths and I tend to live in the moment and then try to figure out what I'm supposed to do later.  This has been great for spending time with Reagan and her brother, not so great for anything else.

Reagan's first birthday is 18 days away.  Inspired by Pinterest ideas, we're throwing a very small Hungry Caterpillar themed party.  I finally got around to working on the invites last night, which go through the entire story with Reagan as the main character.  She's our very hungry baby!  They are certainly homemade, but I think they are way cute. 

Reagan finally moved into the infant 2 classroom at daycare.  One of her teachers in the baby-baby class was very attached to her, and I think had a hard time letting her go.  What can I say, my baby is oh so lovable! She is an Olympic-speed crawler and will stand up by pulling up and let go now without falling, but NO she isn't walking.  I don't know how often we get asked the question, but she'll get there when she's ready, I'm sure.  We will be visiting an ENT in the next few weeks to check on Reagan's ears.  We're about out of winter, so hopefully if we're going to have to have anything done, it can wait for a little while.  I'm not ready for us to talk about any kind of hospital visit for my baby.  She never shows any signs of an infection, and at our check up yesterday, she didn't have one, but she keeps goop in her head all the time.  So does her brother though, but I'm the crazy mother that takes her to the doctor at the first sign of a booger, so we have really chronicled any aliment she's had.  I hope Reagan's baby sister will not have the sickies as much, and I hope she's a little easier going than my sweet girl (who is a very strong willed, spoiled rotten child!).

I'm excited about celebrating my little one's first birthday.  This year has flown by.  It has been full of surprises and milestones, all of which are help shaping me into the mother that I hope to be for all my babies--the big one, the spoiled one, and the new one.  It is really hard to even imagine how different her next birthday will be, but I'm looking forward to our family growing together.  We're incredibly blessed.

Happy Early Birthday Sweet Reagan!