Friday, February 28, 2014

Olive Says...

O: "Can I have a cookie after lunch?"
Me: "You can share one with Silas after lunch."
O: "But I can have the big piece and Silas can have the little piece."
Me: "I think you can split it 50/50."
O: "...Yeeeah, but I'll have the big 50 and Silas can have the small 50."

O: ...[Sigh.]
Me: "What's wrong?"
O: ...[Dramatic sigh.] "Well, Mom, I'm nervous."
Me: ......."Why?"
O: "Because I'm bad a lot."

O: "I just love Cinderella."
Me: "Why do you love Cinderella so much?"
O: "Because of the step-sisters. I just love those beautiful step-sisters."
Me: ............................

Other things worth noting and remembering about Olive at the moment:

She got a VTech digital camera for Christmas, and we recently realized she has been recording her favorite movies in 30 second increments on it so she can re-watch them secretly in bed.

She (and Silas) are obsessed with "The Music Man" soundtrack, and listening to Olive belt out "Til There Was You" off-key is something I wish everyone could experience at least once in their life.

She's really not kidding about loving "Cinderella." She asks me for wet rags all the time so she can get into character by scrubbing the kitchen floor on her hands and knees (while wearing no less than four layers of dress up clothes. And a construction-paper tiara.) 

Thursday, February 27, 2014

I Remember...

These days don't seem all that long ago...

^ Me with Olive, at 5 or 6 weeks. A baby with a baby, that's what. ^

...and I remember these days like they were just yesterday...

 And now...

I just can't get over the weirdness and craziness and wonderfulness of it.

I love these guys.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

I Wish I Knew

If I could only go back and give my 22-year-old-new-mom self a pep talk... 

I would tell her stop comparing her birth, her recovery, her baby girl to her friends' stories and babies. 

I would tell her to just breathe baby Olive in like she was the last baby she would ever have. 

I would tell her that yes, she might be that person that all the Facebook memes demonize, who had an epidural, gave up on breastfeeding after 6 weeks and never co-slept with her infant - but that her formula-fed baby will grow up to be a beautiful, healthy four year old with an imagination the size of Texas, who is reading chapter books and writing stories and putting together 200 piece puzzles...and all the worrying and stressing and comparing will be such a huge waste of precious time. 

I would tell her that the instinct that God gave her is a powerful thing, and that she should trust it more.

I would tell her to not take what others say so personally. Everyone has free parenting advice and they'll always be eager to share it, and it's not necessarily an attack on you. Take everything with a grain of salt and carry on...

I would tell her to accept help when help is offered. It doesn't mean you can't handle everything. It doesn't mean you are a failure. It doesn't mean you are going to look weak. In the end, it really just means extra moments for you to just gaze at your beautiful baby and memorize every little detail about her. 

I would tell her to please not join any of these stupid, political "camps" we mothers like to set up to divide us, especially in our online worlds. (What'up with that, ladies?)  Holding to a specific parenting philosophy is fine and well (and it's fan-flipping-tastic if it works great for you and your kids!) but if it becomes more important to you than loving the other women in your life who are struggling or who are choosing a different path for themselves and their families, then priorities need reevaluating. Pronto.

I would tell her to love and cherish her husband. Always. I would tell her there will be a lot of times where choosing to love her husband will be hard, but that it will always always always be the right choice.

I would tell her that it's totally ok to talk to the doctor when the baby blues get to be too overwhelming. I would tell her there is no shame in asking for help. And I would tell her that talking to the doctor doesn't automatically mean it's time for a prescription - sometimes talking to the doctor means getting referred to a good counselor or just getting good common-sense advice like: take a little a time off once in a while and get your nails done, or take yourself out for a coffee. Sometimes the little things will make a huge difference.

I would tell her that one day, she will be hit with the reality that these days are much too brief. The sadness and bittersweetness of it will overwhelm her. So breathe that baby girl in... Memorize the littlest details and feelings and store them up in a safe, forever place in your heart, because the saying is true: "babies don't keep."

Monday, February 24, 2014

8 / 52

Portraits of my children once a week for a year.

Olive Evangeline - She's a creature of habits and routines. Rice Chex for breakfast and a peanut butter sandwich for lunch [practically] every single day. 

Silas Benjamin - One of his "jobs" is putting all the coffee K-cups into their carousel. 

Oona Caroline - She's very social lately, and is much more liberal with her smiles. 

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Alien Planet

Nothing better than waking up on a Saturday to blue skies and sunshine. It called for the first iced coffees of the year (yeah, it's still only 20-something outside,) and a drive up to Grand Haven to check out the frozen lakeshore.

With all the polar vortexes, arctic blasts and what have you this winter, Lake Michigan got a lot of ice coverage in the last few months - much more than last winter. 

The pictures don't do the weirdness of the sight justice. It's an amazingly vast landscape of ice upon ice upon ice... 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Friday Stills

1. My three babies. I love them, and I love that they love each other (most of the time...) // 2. Lake Macatawa at twilight, frozen over. It's one of my favorite places - it's beautiful in every season. // 3. Oona in her most favorite chair. // 4. I've been making an effort to eat more mindfully the last couple of weeks. I've been making a lot of meat/veggie frittatas to have on hand for quick easy breakfasts and lunches. 

Another week gone by. This was a busy one. Lots of doctors appointments and errands and getting odds and ends together for an upcoming trip to NC. Oona was 6 weeks on Thursday, and that night she slept her first 6 hour stretch! The weather's been insane. In one week we had a very bad snowstorm, then temperatures in the 40s, then rain and 40mph winds, and now we're preparing for another "arctic blast." Darn you, Michigan! NC had better be warm and sunny for us the whole time we are there!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014


I am tired of this winter. I am tired of snow and days on end without sunshine. I am tired of this hard, albeit temporary time of still not being 100% back to my old self. I am tired of being tired...

After every birth I have a little bout with the "baby blues." With Olive and Silas it presented itself more as anxiety, but this time around I just cry. A lot. It embarrasses me. It makes me want to stay far away from people, even my husband and kids. And there's not anything even wrong - that's what makes it so frustrating. It's all so weirdly physical and out of my control. Part of me wants so much to be able to talk it all out, either to friends/family or even here on my own little personal soap-box-of-a-blog, but it's all so awkward, isn't it? Anyway, it's hard for me to be creative when I'm in a bit of a funk, so this space may be dull for little while.

On a lighter note...

We've followed this recipe maybe a few too many times this month? THE best use for snow. :)

Speaking of snow, this picture of Michigan is pretty amazing! 

I could (should!) devote a whole post to these jeans. I live in them, and they make me feel great. I am waiting for another sale so I can add these to my collection. What an amazing color.

Does anyone else not so secretly love shopping the mens section at Target? This tee and this tee!

7 / 52

Portraits of my children one a week for a year.

Olive - waiting for supper

Silas - keeps us laughing

Oona - likes going for car rides

Friday, February 14, 2014

The Epic Valentines Day of 2014 Post!

Alternately titled: "Good Intentions Go Wrong."

So...Valentines Day. If you didn't already know, V-Day is one thing when you are dating or newly married and a whole other thing when you've got a 4 year old, a 22 month old and an infant and you permanently smell like spit-up.

Nevertheless - I'm a fool-for-all-things-red-and-pink who likes to commemorate the silly day anyway, and decided to give Matt the gift of some cute printed pictures of our three offspring. (Thanks Target, for the photobooth props and inspiration! No, this is not a sponsored post but it would be nice if it were! Wink wink!)

So that was the good intention. Things started going south the minute we started getting ready for our photoshoot. 

Silas was not feeling it. At all. He refused to hold the props the right way and when we tried turning them the right way he'd immediately toss them on the floor.

There's Silas trying to get into a shot that I don't want him to be in...

...Here's Silas crying real, giant tear drops because his mother asked him to hold pink and red things and pose for silly pictures. The inhumanity...

...Here's Aunt Grace (who is an evil genius) breaking out the big guns to coax Silas into sitting still for 2 minutes so I could get a whopping TWO decent pictures (out of about 500...)

And now, here are a bunch of out takes for your viewing pleasure...

...And of course we couldn't call it quits without torturing the poor baby for a bit...

Do you have any idea how exhausted this little project left me? I was a shattered, haggard old woman by the time we wrapped this up. Never again, I tell you... Well, maybe in ten years, when they can actually take direction we'll give it another go.

Happy Valentine's Day, everybody!