Sunday, January 29, 2012

Thank You Rosalie! (And a Side Note About the Camel)

This is Cadence’s Christmas present from “Megan” (a.k.a. Rosalie) – a Sweet Shop playhouse. It is awesome. Cadence loves it. Need we say more? Well… yeah, cause it has some pretty cool details ;)

The door that swings open and shut. The sign on the front that can be turned around to say open or closed. The windows you can actually see through, but have mesh to keep the frames from getting stretched out by toddlers pulling on them. The curtains and lollipops (which Cadence licks with alarming regularity). The ice cream cones and cupcakes that can be pulled off and put back on for pretending or matching fun.

Thank you Rosalie!

Now for the camel. The other day I was working in the kitchen while Cadence rearranged her magnetic manger scene (thank you LTD Commodities for your clearance section!), when I hear…

“Mama, look! The wise man is riding camel! Look out wise man – camels SPIT! Pth! Pth!”

Friday, January 27, 2012

Miracles and Wonders

To someone who doesn't have kids, this is not going to sound like a big deal. In fact, it might sound downright pathetic. And to those few lucky parents whose kids always sleep like they're "supposed" to... it will sound the same way. But. I am not among those two groups. And so this topic has taken on gargantuan proportions in my life. I keep telling myself I won't obsess about it. But, when you get so little of something so important, you tend to think about it a lot.


This month I have had less sleep than I have ever had in my entire life. Less than when Cadence was born. Less even than when James was born.
It started a little after midnight on the 3rd. Cadence woke up wimpering. I went in to see what was wrong, and found her limp and burning up. Over the next two weeks my longest night included four disjointed hours of sleep. Yikes.

But, we're better now. We were better a week-and-a-half ago. Unfortunately, my children seemed to have forgotten how to sleep. It was like they needed to make up lost playtime, lost fussing time, lost everything time. They needed me to hold them all. the. time. Naptime found all three of us enconsed in the recliner in Cadence's room, crying. That's right. Mama cried because she was tired and couldn't sleep. Cadence cried because she was tired and couldn't sleep. James cried because he was tired and couldn't sleep. At bedtime, it took us hours to get from bath to bed, and then more hours to get to sleep. It was usually well after eleven before both kids were asleep. And of course, the later they were up, the earlier they were up. It was awful. Miserable. Something had to give, and I was afraid it was going to be my spirit.

So I started praying. I prayed desperately all last week. I prayed for me - Lord, give me wisdom. Give me strength. Show me what needs to change so my babies can sleep. So they can be happy, and so I can get the rest I need to care for them. I prayed for my babies - Lord, give my babies rest. Let them sleep so they can be happy.

And you know what? Just as He has, every single time I have called on Him, God answered my prayer.

Sunday He planted a seed in my mind. One of the other young mothers mentioned they had been walking every day and I thought - we must do that. Every day, we must go outside, get fresh air and sunshine, let us breathe, get some exercise.

Monday morning the other seed came. My sister said maybe it would help to streamline our routine. So I thought - and sure enough, our routine was not purposeful. It was a meandering three hour path in the general direction of nowhere.

So. Every single day this week we have started one and a half hours before I want Cadence to go to sleep for her nap. I turn on play music, and we all run and jump and play in the living room for about half an hour. Then I direct Cadence in her cleanup, helping as needed. Then I offer James milk, bundle us all up, and head out the door. We walk the loop around our block, letting Cadence get down on the less busy street. Twice I've wound up carrying James in the sling, but he loves our walk too. As soon as we get back, we sit on the couch together. Cadence eats a snack and I read her books while James goes to sleep, then I immediately take Cadence to her room and put her to sleep.

Then at bedtime we go straight from bath to four stories, read by Daddy, to devotions, to prayer, to talking in the recliner, to sleep. No delays. No playing between bath and devotions. No endless requests for more stories. No conniving Daddy into playing in the bedroom after talking because he missed Cadence during the day.

I have to be diligent to make sure there are no pauses, no chances to get sidetracked, no sneaky playtimes. It's hard work. It takes more concentration than I'm use to. But...

It has worked. God has given me wisdom to know what to do, strength to play and walk when I would rather just sit and watch, and given my babies the rest they so desperately need.

Last week I spent naptime holding my babies while they cried. This week I've spent naptime doing things like cleaning house, getting some much needed Bible study... yesterday I even took a thirty minute nap.

Miracles and wonders. They may not always be big. They may not always be obvious to others. But,  they still happen!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A New Day

I was desolate, discouraged and depressed. Life seemed drear and the suffering for my little ones unending. After two weeks of sick babies, right on the heels of Christmas crazies, I was beginning to think I was not cut out to be a mother of two. I looked back and wondered - where did my happy babies go? I missed seeing them play. I missed not hearing them cry all day and night.

Today, I am filled with hope and encouragement. Today, my babies are playing, laughing, and chuckling at each other. Today, God gives me life and joy.

Time Flies

Just yesterday I was planning Cadence's second birthday party. Surely, surely it has only been a few days. There is no possible way time has gone by so fast! Yet, there are signs it has.


Last year she had no clue I was planning her birthday party. This year, it is marked on her calendar, she is counting down the days, and she is giving me detailed instructions on how her party will be. "I need an oval cake. Pink! A pink cake! I want farm animals - a pig, a duck, a cow, and a horse. I will be the farmer. I will wear mine pink boots and farmer hat. I need pink cloth, napkins, plates, and cups. I want presents! I will blow out candles! It's almost my birthday! I will be three!"
A year ago, Cadence was all soft and squishy, not chubby by any means, but cuddly. Now, she is all graceful limbs, always moving, always dancing, with long arms that wrap all around you and overrun you with love when she hugs you. A year ago, she was still my little baby, nursed to sleep, and swaddled. Now, she is a big girl in so many ways - she goes to sleep on her own, plumps her pillow and announces "Let me get more comfortable!" when you tell her to lie still in bed.
A year ago, Cadence was quiet and shy in public, even around family. She didn't talk all that much, although her vocabulary was picking up. She signed quite a bit, with her cute little hands and her long, long fingers. Now, Cadence is front and center at get-togethers, always yelling and being goofy. People say things like "I just love her little voice!" and grin down at her as if she is so precious. And I must say, we agree. Because that is one thing that will never change. Cadence will always be precious. She will always be my sweet baby girl, my love, my darling.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Last Round of December - I Promise :D

This wasn't technically his first time to eat, but it was ONE of the firsts... he loves food. He throws fits if he doesn't get food. Now. And if you stop feeding him (like when I ran out of refried beans snitched off my burrito - that really was his very first food) before he's ready, he throws an even bigger tantrum. He doesn't, however, like boring old baby cereal. Oh no, he wants GOOD stuff.

Ain't she cute? This is the famous "towel with a hat" that she so desperately wanted for Christmas.

"I finally rolled over!!!!"

The whole family leaned over to grin at him for his feat - and yes, I did finally find places for all those toys scattered everywhere. Thank goodness, they were driving me bonkers with no home.

At the very end of the year we took family pictures and sibling pictures. This is my favorite - and pretty much sums up life with these two. Full. of. Energy. FUN!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

It's Been A While

In fact, it's been over a year. Wowzers. I had no idea it had been that long. But, I finally wrote another post on my book blog :) It's not exactly chock (is that a word?) of ideas, but it does review a couple of my all-time favorite books. Granted, I have about a hundres all-time favorite books. But still...

Not Your Average Simpering Princess

Christmas in Tulsa

Wowzers, this crew was fun and crazy. Cadence was excited about playing with JoJo, Uncle Alex, and 'mine new friends from Thanksgiving fist'

We opened gifts pretty much as soon as we got there, after a thankfully quick and uneventful trip.

JoJo is so cute - that's a wad of gum in his mouth, a boy after my own heart!

I finally gave up on getting a good picture of these guys. Either Josh would bling, or James would look away, or one of them would be making a wierd face. So here, you get one of Josh blinking and James looking down.

Cadence and Alex are inseperable (at time, much to Alex's dismay :D). I am so glad they have each other - they seem to connect straight from the heart!

Backpack from Auntie, which she didn't really ever want to take off. Ever.
Playing with Echo. Can you believe how big these kids are getting? Alex and Echo should be Cadence's size.

Echo is holding Cadence, Sarah is leaning into them. The one in the middle is Montreal, a friend of Matt's, then Alex, then David.

Ha! This was so funny - Cadence was DETERMINED to walk the dog on the leash... and Baby Girl just kinda looked around like, huh, is there something attatched to me collar? Cadence pulled and pulled, and coaxed and demanded, and Baby Girl never even noticed the puny little tugs. Cadence wound up trailing along beside her holding the leash.
Sarah was rather taken with the baby, although only in little spurts, true to little girl fashion :) I vaguely remember being totally repulsed by the mere thought of sitting still long enough for someone to put a baby in my lap at that age.

Gramma and Cadence
What is it with baths in the sink? She spent the whole trip begging to take yet another bath.

I'm telling you... these two....

Hehe... I couldn't resist the cute little bottom sticking up in the air!
Eating in the kitchen so we don't have to walk the whole ten steps to the dining room :)

I still love the way she sits.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Christmas at Grandma Chancellor's and with Tony's Family

Sigh. This boy is a social butterfly. He grumped and fussed all morning long, and as soon as we walked in and he saw all the people he started grinning and chuckling.  All evening, if he started to get fussy, I just passed him off to someone new and he started grinning again.

The guitar Cadence always latches onto as soon as we walk in the door. It's older than Tony, but apparently it still has a strong appeal to toddlers. Cadence was so excited the next day when she got one of her own :)

42. Don't they look enthralled? It must have been such an exciting round.

It's like Where's Waldo. Where's Cadence???
James got to go first, because he's the youngest. We were joking about it not lasting the year - it never does - and now it is confirmed. I'm not saying who - and NO speculating, because I won't answer!!! (But no, it's not us)

Cadence loved all her gifts, and yelled really loud who they were from. Then she would look at me, giggle, and say, "I yelled really loud." She was particularly excited that this hat came with gloves.

Then she opened the pillow. Wow. Who knew the kid loved pillows????

She snuck off to help Uncle Dwight, and was firmly insinuated on his lap before either of her parents noticed. He waved us off when we went to get her, so she got to open HIS presents too.

James shirt, designed by Mama, paid for by Daddy. It says "Mr. Huff and Puff - I'll cry your house down"
He wouldn't get his hands out of the way for a good picture, so I gave up and took a picture of his chubby little feet instead. I'm happy I did - I love feet :)

Cadence's shirt, designed by Mama, paid for by Daddy. It's an excavator (which she excitedly proclaimed as soon as she opened it) and says "Scoooop, DUMP!"

Cadence helping James open his gifts at Nana and Pa-pa's house.

Cadence opening her gifts at Nana and Pa-pa's house.

Friday, January 6, 2012

December and Christmas at Our House

He finally likes his playmat... until he gets frustrated from pulling and not being able to get it in his mouth!

Swing me so I see my striped tights Daddy!

Is this every babies favorite game? Both ours have loved feeling Daddy's scruffies.

He can pull the frog... much sooner than Cadence, who was always too busy with the snail.

"hmmm... now how did I just do that?"

Wild fun. At least, Cadence's hair is having wild fun. The rest of them probably are too. I dunno. I guess you'd have to ask the baby doll.

A little quirk from my mother - shaping the pancakes into letters and shapes. Cadence loved it. She ate two whole pancakes Christmas Eve, just because she couldn't decide between the  C and the candy cane.

Christmas Eve PJ's! We did our Christmas Saturday, so technically it was not Christmas Eve - but it was for us :)
More Christmas Eve PJ's

Yes, I am one of THOSE mothers. The kind who force their kids to take their picture together. Whether they like it or not. But I don't expect them to smile on command - and good thing, because James was ready for bed, NOW!

"Christmas" morning at our house :)

I've been playing with my various photo editing software - not sure I always like the results, but also not sure what went wrong. I thought I would go ahead and post these pictures - feel free to give feedback :)
Passing out presents. She knew which ones belonged to which people, so she did most of the handing out this year - good things happen when you learn to read your family member's names :)

James enjoyed the spectacle of Cadence's gifts about as much as he enjoyed his own gifts. Tony accidentally made it really easy to get a good picture of all their gifts, by neatly piling them in front as they opened. It was great.

James' turn!

My turn- and yes, the cheap little camera was one of her gifts. She loves it :)
Tony's turn!
The frame Cadence painted for Tony. He took it to work this week, and the picture sparked lots of comments about James needing to go on a diet :D