Archive for the ‘Love’ Category

  • Snow Days, Rest Days

    Date: 2015.03.04 | Category: Dogs, Family, Health, Home, Life, Love, Mark, Me, Norah, Pregnancy, Sarah | Response: 1

    Snow in Louisiana is a rare and funny thing – especially when A) the forecasters are actually right and it happens and B) it lasts more than one day. Both of those things happened last week and I noticed that people’s reactions were something like this:

    Day 1: SNOW! SNOW! SNOW! (ok, so it’s mostly ice) but cancel all the things and let’s stay home and party. No school! Yay! Also let’s take a million pictures and go outside in inappropriate clothing because none of us are prepared for this! Also, let’s update everyone and let them know where it’s snowing!

    Day 2: A much more muted celebration, yay – no work, no school, but really I’m tired of being stuck inside with my kids, can’t we all get back to normal tomorrow?

    Day 3: Real snow! It’s beautiful! But seriously, I’m over it. Please melt and go away and bring me 75-degree weather. Grumble grumble, complain, complain.

    My take? I loved it – all three days of it from ice, to slush to real snow. I loved being at home with my family. Yes, it had its trying moments, but there is something so wonderful about an unplanned vacation. Perhaps it’s the homebody in me, or maybe getting outside long enough to watch Mark and Sarah pelt each other with snowballs and build a giant snowman satiated my need to get out of the house, but I was in heaven.

    The stay at home gave me some much needed time to move Norah’s things into Sarah’s closet and get the twins’ things set up in a closet together – a big task that I had had no clue when I’d be able to accomplish. (And don’t worry, I mostly stayed off my feet, sitting in the closet organizing, folding, stacking and yelling for Mark to come move heavy boxes for me). We also cleaned bedrooms (in the same sitting and directing fashion).

    But, most importantly, whenever I felt tired or worn out, I could crawl onto a couch and put my feet up. And guess what? I had very minimal contractions and physically felt so much better.

    The girls played church, put on elaborate dancing and singing performances and generally enjoyed the heck out of themselves. I lounged on the couch and drank coffee while I watched them perform.

    Of course it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows, but the unexpected break was a blessing. And when Sarah told me Thursday morning that she was ready to get up, get dressed and go see her friends that day, I applauded her good attitude.

  • The Retreat

    Date: 2015.01.12 | Category: Family, Health, Holidays, Life, Love, Mark, Me, OMG YAY!, Travel | Response: 2

    My husband is notoriously difficult to shop for.  He likes tools… none of which I could even begin to pick out.

    Leading up to Christmas this year, we were beginning to prepare our three bedroom house for the addition of two more people. We have been cleaning out and purging what we can to make room. Everything has been attacked: from the girls’ rooms, to our closet, to our garage and office. We still have a way to go, but we are making room.

    So, for Christmas this year, I decided to do a little something different for Mark. I had read several blog posts and talked to a few people about the importance of setting aside time specifically for you and your spouse. It’s so incredibly hard to do with small children. Their needs always come first, and with both of us working full time, we feel like we should spend all of our free time with our children. And by the time bedtime rolls around, we are either both working some more, or retreating to our own selfish creature comforts.

    So, this year for Christmas, I decided to give Mark a retreat: a night away from everything dedicated to just the two of us. I made sure the girls would have a place to stay overnight with their Nana, then I booked a night at a Bed and Breakfast in Natchitoches. It was far enough out of town where we would be going away, but close enough that we could easily get back home if we needed to.

    I put a lot of research into where we would stay and eat during our short getaway, and even wrote and illustrated (with crayons!) a poem to give to him on Christmas Eve.

    This past Friday was the big day. After a week back of trying to get the girls back into their post-Christmas routine, we were ready. We counted down the days, then the hours.

    At go time, we drove down to Natchitoches to Queen Anne Bed and Breakfast.

    This place was AMAZING. It was an old house owned by a Civil War veteran. After being handed down to family members through the years, the couple who own it now bought it and completely renovated it. There are several gorgeous rooms to stay in, each with their own unique and beautiful features. I opted for the Garden Room with the giant bed and jacuzzi tub (of course). Because it was their off season, we were the only ones there, and we had the whole place to ourselves.

    After bringing our bag in, we headed out to dinner. I polled Facebook, and learned that one of the newer restaurants, Maglieaux’s on the Cane, was supposed to be delicious. Mark put all the planning in my hands, and we were both so pleased with our candlelit Louisiana seafood dinner. We had crawfish cornbread, Caesar salads, seafood stuffed mushrooms and chicken, and white chocolate bread pudding. Every single course was perfect. And, best of all, we got to sit and eat without having to feed anyone else or cut anyone’s food up. Win!

    Being the old homebodies that we are, we left dinner and went straight back to our room (after stopping by their kitchen for a couple of complimentary drinks). You know how most of the time staying in a bed besides your own isn’t all that great? Well this bed was lush. King-sized, pillow-topped, with tons of pillows. And that jacuzzi tub! I don’t think I would have gotten out of it ever if we didn’t have a check out time.

    I was so thrilled that I could stay up as late as I wanted with no repercussions… but fell asleep at 10:30 anyway, because that bed.

    We slept until 7:30 the next morning and got to wake up, lounge around and talk without anyone crawling in between us or digging their cold little toenails into our legs.

    Breakfast was served in the dining room at 8:30, and we wandered down to the kindest lady who was prepping a huge breakfast just for the two of us. The china was finely set, the coffee and juice were amazing, and oh. that. food.


    Raspberry croissant bread pudding for first course breakfast? Yes, please!

    The second course was Southwestern style and included eggs, grits, tomatoes and an English muffin. Later, when I asked Mark what his favorite part of the getaway was, he immediately and without hesitation said BREAKFAST.

    Following breakfast we checked out and strolled a little down by the Cane River and through downtown before heading back.

    That trip was more than I hoped it would be. We (mostly) put away technology, and just spent time completely relaxing and enjoying ourselves together as a married couple. We talked and laughed and sat in comfortable silence. We felt recharged and rested. It was good for our souls and our sanity.

    Immediately we started talking about when we could do it again. Who knows? Maybe we can divide up our four children for our anniversary and slip away in the fall. If not, I already know what I want Santa to put in my stocking next year – and next time it will be for two nights.

    If you live in the area, I can not recommend Queen Anne Bed and Breakfast enough. It’s extremely affordable and beautiful. The food is delicious and the hospitality exquisite. And even if you’re not in the area, I can’t recommend taking a retreat for you and your spouse enough. We love our children with all our hearts, but sometimes it is best to put one another first.

  • The Surprise: Part 2

    Date: 2014.11.03 | Category: Baby, Family, Health, Home, Life, Love, Mark, Me, Pregnancy, Weirdness, Whoops | Response: 3

    I wrote this post about a week after we found out we were expecting twins. I know that this post may sound a little doom and gloom, but rest assured we are very happy and excited now… nearly two months after the fact. Still though, it never hurts to keep us in your prayers. Many of these worries still plague us!

    *****

    After we learned that we were unexpectedly expecting again, Mark and I settled into a state of disbelief and shock that manifested itself in a few different ways.

    I had to start acting pregnant again for one.  After previous progesterone problems with Sarah and Norah, I immediately had to have blood work done and schedule my first appointment. And then there was that whole not drinking wine thing and heating up my lunch meat again. The blood work came back and confirmed the pregnancy and things started getting real.

    Mark and I battled with worry. How would we provide for an additional child? We needed to get bunk beds for the big girls. Norah was only ELEVEN MONTHS OLD!  How was I going to tell work after not even a year back from maternity leave?

    All these questions continued to bounce around in our heads when we went in for our first OB visit. After filling out paperwork and saying hi to all my “old friends” at the office, we went in for our first ultrasound that would both confirm the pregnancy without any doubt and give us an idea of the baby’s due date.

    As we prepared for the ultrasound, I told the tech how I had always wanted three children, but we just weren’t prepared for it to happen so soon. She stared at the screen and said, “Well, what about four?”

    My heart dropped and I started to shake. Sure enough, up on the screen were two very distinct little babies, each in their own yolk sack with little heartbeats fluttering away.


    Our first ultrasound

    I cannot adequately explain the shock that went through my body. I yelled, “Holy shit!” very loudly and I think I scared the tech, though she laughed good-naturedly.  Mark sort of half laughed and we held hands and stared as she checked each baby and explained that they were fraternal twins (not identical), which is the very best situation for twins because they each have their own nutrition sources. There was a chance, of course, that one twin could dominate and we could lose one, but they both were the exact same size and both had good heart rates and looked very healthy.

    As we left the ultrasound room, we were the last people left in the waiting room. The ladies at the front desk were joking a little about “seeing us again so soon,” when I told them about the twins. The news drew a massive crowd of nurses and workers. “How old is your baby?” “How old is your oldest?” “Oh my gosh that’s going to be a lot of work.”  I continued to shake.

    We went to see our doctor from there.

    I love our OB. She delivered both my girls and has a very good sense of humor and is very direct about everything. She has been a great fit for us and knows us very well.

    She came in, turned the lights off and in a very calm voice said, “It’s going to be ok.”

    “You say that so calmly,” I said. “That’s because I don’t have to take them home,” she said and smiled.

    She then started explaining what we are looking at as far as the pregnancy goes. We would be getting an ultrasound every doctor’s visit and going to the doctor a lot more frequently. We would be seeing a high-risk pregnancy doctor. We went over past pregnancy history and she took a big sigh of relief.

    “I know you probably don’t want to hear this right now,” she said, “But you’re the perfect candidate for twins. You are tall, which will give them more room to grow and hopefully allow you to carry them longer. You’re young, you had two healthy pregnancies before and you have a stable family environment.” She was right, of course, but I just couldn’t process it all.

    We got home and told Mark’s mom who didn’t believe us until we handed over the ultrasound picture. She picked up congratulatory dinner for us. I could barely eat a bite, but Mark managed to eat like six pieces of chicken, all the sides and two biscuits. During dinner Norah started this fake choking thing she does to get attention. It completely freaked me out. Then she started laughing at me when I panicked and I broke into a horrific sob right there at the dinner table… and then ran to the bathroom and hurled.

    The number of emotions racing through me were unbelievable. I was terrified. How in the heck were we going to pay for childcare for FOUR children? Would we need to get a bigger house? We definitely needed two bigger cars… and then two of EVERYTHING – two carseats, two cribs, two highchairs and OH MY GOSH I would have FOUR children ages four and under.  I was a shaking, rattling mess. I called my family later that evening and they were amazing. They lifted my spirits and reminded me of the awesome support network I’m surrounded by in town. My mom and my youngest sister are both teachers and don’t work during the summer and they will be ready and willing to help.

    I’m not going to lie, it took me nearly a full week to be truly happy about the news. I found myself driving Sarah to school and simultaneously freaking out and then sobbing with joy.

    Here I was, the girl who was suppose to need help to conceive children, accidentally pregnant with twins while I had a 3-year-old and 11-month-old at home. It was insanity. It was a blessing.  It was a miracle.

    I can honestly say now that Mark and I are overjoyed. Yes, we are still worried about paying for four children and providing all that they need. Yes, I am worried about their health and welfare already. But, I truly believe that after all the trouble we had conceiving Norah, that the fact that we’re having twins is no fluke. Our babies may be a surprise, but they are a gift from God and we are ready, willing and excited to take up this gift and do our absolute best.

  • The Surprise: Part 1

    Date: 2014.10.31 | Category: Baby, Family, Health, Home, Life, Love, Mark, Me, Pregnancy, Whoops | Response: 9

    I originally wrote this post a week after we found out we were expecting again in the first few days of September (before I knew the WHOLE story). I know I’ve been absent from blogging for a while, but sometimes when something like this is so life consuming and you’re not ready to share, it’s difficult to stare at that blank screen and write. So with this, get ready for my stream of ramblings to start up again!

    *****

    I need to write this down now, while the memory of that day still clings to me.

    But before I tell you about that day, let me tell you about the few days leading up to it. On Sunday I had been at my parents house hanging out with my family, celebrating my sister’s graduation with her Master’s degree and drinking a couple of glasses of wine. My heart started racing of its own accord, something not unfamiliar to me, but also something that hadn’t happened in a long time. I got it under control and chalked it up to the alcohol and sleep deprivation.

    Monday I went to my Piyo class, and during the sections of the class where we moved up and down, constantly changing elevation, my heart again started speeding out of control. I chalked it up to the elevation changes – even though I’ve been doing that class for a few months without any other problems before.

    Tuesday I went to lunch with my friend Angela, and we started talking about hormone changes, and I thought, “Oh that must be it, my cycle is about to start and that must be what’s causing these heart issues.”

    After lunch I checked my calendar to see when I was supposed to start and realized that I was very late – eight days late in fact. And then I remembered the last time my heart took off racing all the time: when I found out I was pregnant with Norah.

    I drove to the store and bought a two pack of pregnancy tests, but didn’t take them. Those things are kind of pricey and I didn’t want to waste one. I went home and put them in the cabinet and then settled down to a fun evening with my best friend who was in town for a few days. We drank wine, watched our girls play and had a great time. Shortly after she left that evening, Mark and I started arguing. Honestly I can’t even remember what it was about now, but that evening we had a long talk and he mentioned my short fuse and extreme impatience. I confessed to him then that I was worried because my cycle was late and my heart had been racing. He comforted me and reassured me that this wasn’t completely unusual and he was sure everything would be fine.

    Still though I couldn’t sleep. I tossed and turned and worried all night. Finally at 5:30 that morning, I decided I needed the reassurance of that little negative sign so I could get on with my day without fretting.

    I went to the bathroom, took the test and watched as the positive sign immediately showed up. I sat there in a state of shock muttering not a few profanities. Finally, 15 minutes later I pulled myself together and went back into the bedroom. I told Mark I needed to turn on the lamp and handed over the test. His immediate response was a disbelieving and reverent, “No way.” Then he immediately broke out into a huge grin. And me? Well I burst into tears and started sobbing.

    It’s hard to describe what I was feeling at that moment, but I’ll take a stab at it. For one, I was in complete and utter shock. I have always wanted three children, but I did not expect them to be quite so close together. Norah was only 11 months old and still nursing after all. We had so much trouble conceiving Norah, that I figured when we did get ready to try for a third, we would have to prepare ourselves for another year-long journey of months of hope and disappointment. I had even prayed about it and come to complete acceptance and happiness with having two children. In fact, part of me already felt like we were done. God had given us these two amazing little girls and we felt complete; we were happy. We had even started planning a big family trip for 2015.

    And then there was the overwhelming feeling of having three, THREE children ages four and under, with two very much still in diapers. How could we possibly manage it strategically, mentally and financially?

    And then there was a feeling of complete and overwhelming amazement and disbelief. I was told, after all, many years ago that conceiving children would be difficult and we would likely need assistance. And here we were, despite the fact that we were actively avoiding pregnancy, pregnant so quickly with a THIRD baby.

    Mark gazed up at me in that early morning hour as we sat alone in our bed, grinning at me and said, “It’s a miracle.” And truly, it is.

    I pulled myself together as best I could and, in a daze, took Sarah to school. I stayed for morning assembly where I learned that it was the feast day of Saint Monica, the mother of Saint Augustine. During morning prayer, all the children said a prayer for their mothers and all mothers. I felt my knees get a little wobbly. Following an inner call to go to Mass, I stayed for the school Mass that morning. The priest started by telling all the children who Saint Monica was and how she prayed desperately for her son and asked that the children pray for all mothers everywhere who are worried and in distress.

    If anyone was looking, I’m sure they were wondering why that crazy lady standing by herself had tears running down her cheeks for most of Mass. But I left there with a new perspective and a stronger feeling of joy. And though I’ve existed in a state of shock and disbelief for a week now and continue to worry about logistics and finances, I am so very thankful, so very blessed and so very happy.

    We will, I pray, welcome our third baby to this world in April of 2015. Here’s to the start of another great adventure.

  • Seven Years and Getting Stronger

    Date: 2014.10.20 | Category: Family, Life, Love, Mark, Me | Response: 2

    Today Mark and I celebrate our seventh wedding anniversary (and a little over 11 years as a couple).

    When we got engaged, I pictured our lives together in that hazy romantic “happily ever after” way that I imagine many young girls do. We would almost always be happy and infatuated with each other, and children, when they came later, would bolster up our love and everything would be magic.

    In some ways my initial. starry-eyed idea of marriage still holds true. I am still madly in love with my husband, and children have definitely added to our marriage, making us stronger in our love for one another.

    What I didn’t realize back then is that the reason our love would be stronger (helped along by our children) is because we would have to fight for it more. It’s hard to make time for your spouse when you’re up to your eyeballs in sleep deprivation, breastfeeding and the millions of other needs of tiny people. But, especially after Norah, we learned that we had to fight for our time together. Where there’s a will, there’s a way, and the more we fought for and made time for one another, the more our children have seen that love bloom in our family and responded accordingly.

    Are we perfect? Ha! No. I mean we still occasionally argue over laundry, groceries and discipline of our children. But, even in the worst of our arguments, we always  find a way to draw back together, communicate and tighten our bond.

    Sometimes, especially at night, my mind will wander to Mark and what a perfect fit he is for me and it amazes me. He works so hard to help support our family, loves our children in a way that makes me love him even more, and still says things that surprise me. When he picked me up from the airport after we went to Pittsburgh, he said, “I am one lucky guy to have such a beautiful, thin woman waving to me out the airport window.” (He got bonus points for adding the “thin” in there, ha!)

    He still hugs me and holds me at surprising times, and I had to learn to stop shying away from that in an attempt to take care of everyone else. Mark and I take care of each other. When life and work get tough, we are there for one another. Sometimes we may not say or do the right things for one another, but I always know he is on my team and I will always be on his.

    Forever is a long time to commit to another person, and sometimes that can be difficult, but most of the time Mark and I are great roommates, best friends and a very happy to be husband and wife. Seven is a good number, and I hope that we are blessed enough to experience many more years together.

    I love you Mark. Happy Anniversary!

  • Norah is One

    Date: 2014.09.23 | Category: Baby, Birthday, Family, Home, Life, Love, Mark, Me, Norah, OMG YAY!, Sarah | Response: 3

    Norah’s first birthday was Saturday.

    My baby is one.

    There, I said it.

    Emotionally, I’ve had a little bit of a tough time with her birthday. Sure, she’s not technically different from one day to the next, but it is so hard for me to believe that it’s been a full year since the day she was born – a day that feels like a few months ago.

    Norah’s first year of life started out crazy. In the weeks before she was born I was in a car accident that landed my 9-month-pregnant self in the hospital. We were both ok, fortunately, but that was our first time getting to know the labor and delivery staff.  False labor provided us with a second opportunity to meet the staff,  and then real labor three days before my scheduled c-section sent us back in a third time.

    Norah came roaring into the world, and, as we soon discovered, it was a premonition of things to come.

    Norah’s first 3+ months of life were extremely difficult. While she napped well during the day, at 9pm every night she roared to life in a state of unabated fury until sometime around 3am. Mark and I were miserable, sleep-deprived, angry human beings. Sarah asked for “quiet” for Christmas. I didn’t think we’d survive… until Norah found her thumb and then the heavens opened and the angels burst forth singing. Our baby started to sleep.

    In the following months, we saw that she continued to have a very hot and cold personality. She’s either the most glowing, relaxed happy baby, or she is a screaming, angry beast. We lovingly refer to her as Jekyll and Hyde. Nighttime continues to be a problem. She will still wake up for short periods of time most nights, but she’s learned to self soothe and go back to sleep pretty quickly.

    Despite all that though, she has an amazing and beautiful joyful side.

    Our baby girl is up for almost anything (except maybe extended, tight hugs from her sister). She continues to be a great eater and always has an easy and contagious smile and  cackle.

    The day before she turned one, she decided it was high time to put her legs to good use and started walking in small spurts around the house. She still prefers to crawl, but if she has food in her hands, you better believe she’s not going to get it dirty by crawling with it.

    At one year Norah is our prankster. She will fake choke at the dinner table to get attention. And when I say fake choke, I mean full on holding breath and turning purple business until I start to panic and then she bursts out laughing.

    At one she will play with her sister. Just this past weekend I was laid up on the couch not feeling well and both girls wandered off into Sarah’s room. I heard lots of laughter from both girls and asked Mark to go investigate. They were both in Sarah’s princess pop-up castle tent, alternately playing peek-a-boo and sharing toys, absolutely delighted by each other’s company.

    Norah’s favorite thing on the planet (besides ice cream) is being on the trampoline. When we put her on there, she hurls her little body all over the place, even doing flips, and laughing while she flies into the air.

    Mark, Sarah and I all love to do things to get her to laugh, and she always loves and rewards our efforts. Whenever she smiles, her little nose scrunches up and she bares all 9.5 of her little teeth in a huge grin. Her smile reminds me so much of my little sister Shannon.

    Norah is a spectacular little person, and despite our rough start, she has more than made up for it with her sparkling and silly personality.

    We all love her so very much, and having her in our lives this past year has been an amazing blessing.

    Happy Birthday sweet Norah bean! We love you!

  • Mermaid Day

    Date: 2014.05.27 | Category: Baby, Family, Holidays, Home, Life, Love, Mark, Norah, Sarah | Response: 10

    Day to day life can make having fun, quality family time tough. After a full day of work, evenings are often spent cooking and doing dishes, eating together, cleaning up and then, if we’re lucky, we will spend 30-45 minutes playing outside or cuddled up on the couch together. And weekends? Well that’s when I have to try to tackle the mountain of laundry that I’m never really caught up on (how did adding one more kid increase laundry by that much?!), do our grocery shopping and visit with friends and family. Sure we get some spare moments together, but I always feel the pressure to clean/do laundry/grocery shop/do dishes, etc. So when we get an unexpected day off, it’s like a family staycation, a gift, the excuse I need to step away from the chores and just enjoy our family.

    This morning I told Sarah that she wasn’t going to school today because it was Memorial Day. Her response? “Yay! It’s Mermaid Day!”

    Mark and I both laughed. But then my wheels started spinning. I’m always looking for fun ways to engage with my girls and I thought Mermaid Day would be the perfect way to spend our lagniappe day together.

    So what does one do on Mermaid Day?

    Well for one we painted our toenails “mermaid purple,” according to Sarah, while we watched Sofia and the Floating Palace (a mermaid movie).

    From there, we went to the Dollar Tree where we spent $10 on mermaid goodies…

    including the biggest hit of the day, mermaid hair.

    There was a sandwich shaped like a castle and whale crackers for lunch.

    Then the girls put on their mermaid swimsuits and took to the water, splashing happily and trying out Sarah’s birthday princess slip and slide.

    After snacks and rest, we opened up the Dollar Store mermaid book and printed  Little Mermaid coloring sheets off the Internet. (Side note: During our mermaid coloring I learned that Sarah can color in the lines now – who knew? I’m impressed!) We also completed a mermaid puzzle.

    We spent most of the evening outside. The weather was perfect – low 80’s and overcast. I prepped dinner and Mark grilled it. The girls ran, jumped and played.

    And then we ended Mermaid Day with mermaid pajamas!

    I looked at Mark tonight when we were sitting down with our girls and said, “I know I am a really huge nerd for doing all this, but I really enjoyed it and I think Sarah did too.” He assured me that I was not a nerd (ha!) and told me how much he enjoyed it as well.

    It was so nice to spend the whole day playing with my girls, soaking up all their love, smiles and laughter. And they thoroughly wore us out, too.

    Memorial Day always makes me think about my great uncle Thomas “Mix,” who was in the Army during WWII and loved the beach. In fact, I still occasionally dream about him and he is always at the beach in my dreams. Something tells me that he would appreciate Mermaid Day coinciding with Memorial Day.

  • Happy Birthday Mark!

    Date: 2014.04.23 | Category: Birthday, Family, Life, Love, Mark, Me, Norah, Sarah | Response: 3

    Today I get to celebrate the birthday of my best friend, my husband. Last night, while I was thinking about his birthday, I realized that this is the tenth of his birthdays we’ve spent together. Ten times I’ve sung for him and celebrated another year of his life.

    The first time we were still newly infatuated with one another, another time we were newly weds. Then Sarah came and helped us celebrate those birthdays, once when she was less than two weeks old. And this year Norah joined the celebration.

    Sarah was so excited about her daddy’s birthday this year that I let her pick out a card for him. She emphatically chose one with a pink mermaid and dolphin on it with wishes for the Birthday Girl. She wouldn’t be dissuaded and could not wait to give it to her daddy this morning. He loved it, of course. She also took great joy in thwacking Mark in his still sleeping face with her present for him – a CD and a box of twinkies.

    Norah also gave her daddy a special gift – loudly and proudly yelling out her first word, “Da da!” over and over again. Mark beamed and so did I.

    I gave him a new ice tea maker, an extra pitcher, some tea and the second Walking Dead book – all of which he loved.

    Birthdays are different now – no celebrations at the Blind Tiger during happy hour. Instead Mark and I got to enjoy lunch together, chowing down on burgers at the Twisted Root (which was really great, by the way).

    Last night I asked Mark, “So, how does your last night as a 36-year-old feel?”

    He said, “No different really. I still have my beautiful wife by my side and my two sweet little girls.”

    We are all about family these days, and though our sleep may be continually interrupted and it’s harder to find time to go out for a drink, I am so thankful that we get to celebrate another birthday together, for the tenth time.

    Mark is a special guy, and on his birthday especially, I’m so happy and proud that he’s my guy.

    Happy Birthday Mark! I love you.

  • Three

    Date: 2014.04.11 | Category: Birthday, Family, Life, Love, Me, Sarah, Toddler Time | Response: 10

    Oh Sarah Girl.

    It’s April again and that means you’re officially another year older. Three is weird because, in a way, I feel like you turned three months ago when we brought your sister home and you suddenly grew up. You started talking all the time, became braver, listened better to us and became aware of your sister and her moods and occasionally even wanted to take care of her.

    But that was two and this is three.

    Three is silly conversations and repeating phrases. It’s telling me that you “fell like a giant” when you were pushed and how you love to play blocks and paint at school each day. Three is singing memorized songs out loud and off key, but we don’t mind. “Let It Go” is your theme song, your mantra, and it’s something we all try to do.

    Three can be bossy. “Mama turn that light on. I want crackers. I can’t reach my sunglasses, give them to me!” But it’s also learning consequences, rewards and manners.

    Three is learning how to say no without saying no: “Not now mama, maybe tomorrow.”

    Three is potty trained and independent. It’s determination and stubbornness. It’s tantrums and giggles. It’s teasing and playing games.

    Three is huge imagination. A towel is a cape, a bandana is a princess dress, a bucket is a castle and blocks are an ice cream cone. There are plays and games and we are all players to the roles you assign us. “I’m Anna and you’re Elsa mama. Daddy’s the reindeer and Sister is the snowman.”

    Three is dancing and running and jumping for joy. It’s dressing up and doing hair and already asking for “purple eyes” (makeup). Three is insanely stubborn about outfits, always wanting to wear “soft pants” (leggings).

    My girl, you’ve been coming into your own all year, and it’s easy to see how you got here. You love warm hugs (like the snowman) and are so generous with kisses and “I love you’s.” You love to build things and let out raucous giggles.

    I love every moment (even the tough ones). I don’t know what the future has in store for us, but you are a bright member of our family team and I am so very glad and so very thankful that you’re my daughter.

    Happy Birthday my little love.

    Sarah’s 3rd Birthday from Jessica on Vimeo.

  • Saturday, Saturday

    Date: 2014.03.26 | Category: Baby, Birthday, Family, Friends, Home, Life, Love, Mark, Me, Norah, OMG YAY!, Sarah, Toddler Time | Response: 3

    I feel like my last few posts have been a bit of a downer, so let me tell you about some of the really great things going on, because there are so many!

    This past weekend was so wonderful.  On Saturday we went to a birthday party for two of Sarah’s best buddies. The twins live right down the street from us and had an awesome cowboy birthday party.

    Sheriff Sarah was thrilled with her cowgirl outfit. (Pardon our concrete floors – we’re having new ones installed Monday).

    There were pony rides that went really well… until the pony actually started moving.

    There was a petting zoo of goats…

    And bunnies and chickens.

    There was an awesome set up for photos, though Norah was unimpressed.

    Also, cupcakes!

    That night continued to improve.

    Mark and I finally had a night out with just the two of us – the first in months.

    We started out at The Blind Tiger, our old haunt back before kids that serves up great food and beer. We knew the bartender and the owner and had a great time kicking back and enjoying ourselves. They had Abita Strawberry on tap – a local and seasonal favorite, which made the evening that much better.

    From there we left to go see  the Elton John in concert. I won free tickets from our local newspaper to go to the show – something amazing in and of itself.

    The show was so good. He played for three hours straight, singing tons of hits. They had a camera on his hands so the audience could watch him play piano. He was full of energy and knew how to work the crowd.

    And check out that crazy chandelier that kept changing colors and moving all around. Truly an amazing and fun show.

    We got home late, but we had a great time. Thanks to my mom for watching the girls for us and allowing us some much needed down time.