Monday, January 28, 2013

Not My Best Day

 Today is definitely a "survival" day as a mom. The girls are both draining crazy amounts of snot. They are needy and whiny and demanding attention constantly. I'm very thankful that it's not any worse and no one has the flu, but I didn't sleep very well last night, so I'm tired and cranky and impatient.

I just finished spanking Bella for something that wasn't really spank-worthy, so I felt really bad and tried to hug/hold her, but she pushed me away and said I wasn't allowed to touch her because I wasn't her boss. 

Take a deep breath and say a prayer...

Bella won't stop asking questions, and if she's said "Mama, look!" once, she's said it fifty times. Okay, maybe forty times, but it was all in a 30-minute period, so it seemed like a hundred! The eldest little human also has super-fun mood swings when she's sick, so one minute she's being defiant, then she wants to sit in your lap, then she's crying because you said she couldn't have cake, and finally, she's begging for you to play with her in the playroom.

Every seasoned mother would tell me that some days are just like this and I have to remember that it will pass, but that's really hard to think about when you're smack dab in the middle of it and you just need to whine. So this was my whine...

My friend, Emily, is really good at remembering to be thankful for all of the little moments, and as I'm writing this, I'm thinking of her and what she would say. I know she has her rough days, too, but I feel like she would be thinking of the Connecticut shooting and thanking God that her babies are safe in her house and in her arms. 

That doesn't mean it's always easy, and it doesn't change the fact that sometimes it feels really good to be brutally honest and cranky, but I am thankful for the little things like being able to stay at home when my children feel awful. 

However, if anyone just really feels like babysitting two sick kids all day tomorrow, you know who to call!

We've Made It Nine Months!

We have a whole lot of snot going on over here, but Evelyn is still smiling at least half the time, so I took some pictures.

Snotty nose, dark circles, and bed head. This could describe all three of us girls right now.

Playing peek-a-boo. See? Smiling half the time!

Her smile just makes my day better. This is such a great view of her little teeth, too!

Playing with the big lips from Bella's Mr. Potato Head set. I would love to say that I sprayed the toy with Lysol as soon as she was done with it, but ummmm...

In the last month, she has started clapping, saying "ma-ma-ma" and "da-da-da" while babbling, pulling up to a standing position, and laughing much more easily.

Oh! AND! (Drum roll, please...)

She is sucking her thumb!!! I know, right!? I have no idea why she suddenly decided this was something she wanted to do, but after 9 months, it has made bedtime so much nicer. When we lay her down in her crib, she grabs her duck, sucks her thumb (always her left one), and rolls over. Crazy kid.

Bella's Preschool Conference

I don't know why, but I was very nervous going into conference week. I went back and forth between feeling like I was going into the principal's office and feeling like conferences for a three-year old are pretty pointless. I was also nervous that I was going to feel the urge to defend Bella. (More on that later)

Afterwards, though, I felt like I got really good feedback on how Bella is adjusting in her classroom. I wasn't really worried about the academic side; we know Bella well enough that we're comfortable with what she knows and can do at this point. She's definitely not at the top of her class, and we're absolutely okay with that.

I was very curious about what Ms. Cheryl would say about her social interactions. Does she share? Is she sweet? Can she obey and follow instructions? We just went to a gymnastics birthday party for a little girl in Bella's class, and while 12 other children were sitting nicely and listening to instructions from the gymnastics instructor, Bella was crawling across the mat and whinnying like a horse. (I'm not making this up. I was dying.) I wasn't sure if this boded well for school.

Ms. Cheryl was wonderful! She praised Bella in a way that didn't make me feel like she was just saying it to make me happy. She said that Bella has matured matured by leaps and bounds in her ability to follow instructions and obey. She said Bella can follow steps in a game and wait her turn. I was also really encouraged with her report that Bella is sweet in class and shares. She doesn't do this great at home with Evelyn, so I wasn't sure what she'd be like with classmates.

I don't know if this picture will turn out, but it says that Bella can do most of the things she's presented with. Academically, she still needs to work on identifying all of her letters (she always switches "M" and "W") and her numbers (I think she gets confused with "6" and "9").

We talked a lot about Bella's impulse control. Or maybe, lack of impulse control. Cheryl said that if Bella sees Ms. Betty (her teacher from last year) walking down the hall, Bella will just run out the door to give her a hug. Obviously, this isn't the safest thing, and Bella needs to learn to obey and ask first. 

We're working on "obeying the first time" at home a lot, but we do a lot of reminding. And we've definitely experienced the lack of impulse control; I think it's just a little easier for me since I can be one-on-one, and her teachers have a class of 12. But Ms. Cheryl was very encouraging about the improvements Bella has made and how we can work on it together!

Check it out! Bella can write her name! It's very, very rough, but I had no idea she could do this! I think my favorite is her letter "B".

Clearly we need to work on cutting along a straight line! This was Bella's rectangle. At first, I just thought it was scrap paper until Ms. Cheryl asked if I wanted to take it home. Oops!

The conference went so great, and I loved getting to talk to Ms. Cheryl about the good parts and the "needs improvement" parts! 

It's still weird to say that the older Bella gets, the more protective I feel. When I was a teacher and we would have a student who was just so disrespectful and manipulative, I could never understand why a parent would come in and defend the child. Or even believe them over us! In a very small way, I am starting to understand that urge. I still don't agree with it and I'm hoping I'll be able to fight it if Bella is ever in that situation, but I definitely understand it more. 

And this was only Bella's three-year old conference with a teacher who loves her! Whew!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Our House Has A Yellow Door

I have wanted to paint our front door yellow for about a year now! I asked for paint supplies for Christmas, and my parents gave me a Home Depot gift card to use toward the door! Hooray!

This weekend seemed like a good time to tackle the project since the weather was going to be gorgeous and we had no big plans.

The "before"...We really didn't mind the black door (it's nice and classic), but the lights and hardware were our least favorite part. We don't love love the old brass color that seems to be everywhere in this house, but we didn't want to buy new sets, so my AMAZING husband suggested painting them. (I must be wearing off on him!)  

This was the point where I started to freak out and begged calmly asked Steve to reassure me that it was all going to be okay. I know any paint job takes multiple coats, but it's hard to remember that when your door looks like this!

One coat down and SWEET. BABY. MOSES. Luckily, my AMAZING husband (Are you sensing a theme? My man comes to the rescue a lot in the middle of my projects.) suggested we buy a few cans of yellow spray paint and do a base coat. Such a great idea! The base coat did a fantastic job of evening out the surface before painting two more coats of our actual color.

Our living room in the aftermath. We laid down a tarp and set the door up on bricks so that I could paint the edges.

Ta! Da! Doesn't it look amazing!?!

We painted all of the door's hardware black and painted the lights black, too. I saw the idea for the numbers online, and found ones I liked at Home Depot. A new door mat finished it off!

My "one day" additions will be a wreath and some sort of plant on either side of the door. Steve is totally my partner on these projects! Even if he's not standing right next to me, I can go find him and ask, "Okay, let me just talk this out for a sec..."

Next up in my dreams is our bedroom...

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Having Fun Being A Kid

Sometimes it's just fun to post pictures of the everyday stuff, so the girls will get to see what they did when they were little.

We built a Lego house for Bella's seal! She calls this her "baby girl". Which animal will be her baby girl tends to change frequently, but I love that she's calls them that!

Bella reacting to being told "no". (We still have our rough days.)

My Mr. Potato Head. Why, yes! His shoes and glasses DO match! Thank you for noticing!

Bella choosing the accessories for her "baby" Potato Head.

Evelyn destroying the Lego house in order to play with Bella's seal. Bella still has trouble sharing her toys with Evelyn, but we're working on it.

Our Potato Head couple! Bella wanted them to sit on the back of her bike so that she could show Daddy when he came home!

We had a fun week!

Evelyn's Pulling Up!

Look at our little shnoodle! Evelyn is getting so big and learning how to pull up on things. This basket on the fireplace is still pretty low, so she hasn't figured out how to pull straight up yet, but she's getting there!

I love how this picture really looks like she's checking out what's in the basket. She knows Bella's books are in there. She definitely gets "stuck" once she gets up, and it's funny to watch the process happen - she looks so excited when she finally reaches her goal, and then looks around for us like we should've known she would need help.

Bella's First Dentist Visit

It's 5:00 AM on Sunday morning. I've been wide awake and cleaning since 3:30, so I thought I'd take advantage of a quiet house and do a few blog posts.

We took Bella to her first teeth cleaning last Monday. I was nervous about how she'd react, but like so many other things with Bella lately, her age is really starting to play a positive role! She understands more and I can explain things to her ahead of time.

I'd been going back and forth on where to take her (our dentist? a pediatric dentist?) and finally decided to go to the office where Mel works because Bella's familiar with it. We meet Mel for lunch frequently, so Bella has met some of the hygienists and Doc (that's what we call the dentist).

Letting Lizzy count her teeth. I was going to just stand beside her, but the room was tight and I wanted to be able to help hold her hands, etc., so I just put her on my lap. She did so great! She let the hygienist clean and use her little tools without freaking out at all. 

Bella even did good when Doc came in and wanted to stick his hands in her mouth. I just kept whispering, "You're doing great. Obey Doc. You're doing great. Obey Doc."

Yay for Bella!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Just A Normal Weekend Over Here...

We had a very relaxed Saturday, but Sunday ended up being very "social" for us! It was our week off for the three-year olds, so we actually got to be in the church service. We ate lunch with friends after church, and since Sunday was Whitney's birthday, she and I got to go shopping all by ourselves! In our world, that's a miracle! 

We had big plans to go on a double date with Trey and Whitney for dinner, but one of their boys got sick and we had to cancel at the last minute. Steve and I decided to take advantage of a rare moment when we had a babysitter and go out on a date anyway! We got to take the motorcycle and go to Longhorn! We were really looking forward to some quiet time with Trey and Whitney, but it was still wonderful!

Some fun times in between...

Evelyn has been spending time in her pack 'n' play each day so that she is "corralled" for a brief period of time. On Saturday morning, she discovered the sensation of pressing her face up against the net.

Steve and I laughed for ten minutes at her faces! We must have been really tired.

She is pulling herself up on everything! She's been getting pretty good going up to her knees and just this week she figured how to go to feet! (And then she gets stuck up there.)

Steve was working on the motorcycle Wednesday afternoon, and Bella wanted to wear his bandana. 

Proof that Bella comes from a family that does not look effortlessly beautiful. We can clean up when we need to, but we definitely don't roll out of bed looking like a CoverGirl commercial. Bummer.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Little Princess-In-Training

Bella picked a weed flower out of the yard today, and when I laid her down for naps, she placed it on her chest, fluttered her eyelashes, and said, 

"Mama, I gonna put this in my hands like Sleepin' Booty, and Prince Phlip is gonna kiss me so I wake up!"

On my way to the door, she reminded me two more times that Prince Phillip was going to come and kiss her. Love her imagination!

In the meantime, Evelyn has figured out how to work up speed in her walker and then just coast with her feet dragging. It's pretty funny.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Little Humans

What's going on with our little humans lately?

Bella Cole, the "Kumquat"...
  • Bells is fascinated by being grown-up; she's always asking about what she'll be able to do when she's "older". Right now, she's looking forward to makeup, earrings, and holding the knife on her own.
  • Yesterday, she spilled her cereal in her lap, so I stripped her down and went upstairs to get new underwear and a new shirt. As I came back downstairs, I saw she was holding the front of her bottom, so I asked if she had to go tee-tee. She said, "No, Mama, it's just bubbles, see?" Then she spun around, stuck her naked bottom out towards me, and tooted. Eww.
  • Bella is getting to be a better eater in small doses.I'm trying to cut down on afternoon snacks, so that she'll actually eat dinner, and it seems to be working. She still won't touch green vegetables, but one day at a time...
  • So many other stories involving nakedness and bottoms, so little time.
Evelyn Scout, the "Squirt"...
  •  Evelyn has started babbling! It's so cute to hear little sounds! Right now, she's saying, "da-da-da" over and over. Steve's in seventh heaven! 
  • Her teeth have finally come through! Two little bottom teeth, right in the middle. Luckily, I haven't noticed too much while nursing.
  • People always tell you your children will be different, but you never know what to expect until you have the second one. Bella was the awesomest sleeper, and Little Miss E is the exact opposite! She's a pretty content baby overall, but she is not an easy sleeper, and I have a feeling she never will be. She's sleeping now for about 11 or 12 hours at night, which is wonderful, but she never goes down well. Never. It doesn't matter if it's naptime or at night, whether she's exhausted or still happy...she always cries when we lay her down. This might be totally normal, but Bella never cried; you handed her a lovey, she sucked her thumb, and done. Evelyn really likes her duck, and will always start chewing on the tag when we lay her down with it, but by the time we get to the door, she's crying. I'm used to it by now, but it's definitely different than what we were used to.
  • Evs is eating like a champ! She eats the homemade baby food as "dinner" and can nibble on apples or Cheerios. I can't believe how fast she's growing up!
  • When we picked her up from the nursery on Sunday, the worker told Steve that she is way too cute to be so serious!  It sounds weird to say, but it's true! She's such a happy and content baby, but she doesn't really laugh that often! And she spends a lot of time staring....lots of staring!
  • We're going to have to tell her one day about how often she choked on her own spit as a baby. Now that she's starting to eat solid food, it's kind of hard not to be on high alert!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

How To Makeover A Room In 24 Hours


I've wanted to change the laundry room for awhile now. We have about a dozen paint cans in our garage from other projects, so all I needed was an idea!

The shelving was so ugly and completely useless. The back wall held my "Wednesday" cards that Steve sent me every week during his MBA. They are a romantic reminder, but not great as a style choice.

I knew my Edward poster would probably not survive the makeover (tragic!), but I really wanted to install some nicer shelves to hold linens and cleaning supplies.


Yep, manicures are a total splurge for me, and I ended up getting one the morning before I started my project. In hindsight, kind of stupid.

My nails are so short! I have always bit my nails and it has been my goal throughout my entire adulthood to stop. Nothing has ever worked, but finally, in the last 6 months or so, I've been doing a ton better! They grew nice and pretty! But then December came, and I pretty much destroyed them. I am hoping a manicure and some pretty polish will motivate me to start over.



Luckily, Steve helped with this step, because I suck at spackling. Although, if any men ever read this, you should just be proud that I know the word "spackling".


I mean, really, is there anything cuter that naked babies getting a bath? The answer is "no".


Evelyn gets an extra picture, because she still smiles naturally for pictures instead of the creepy smile that toddlers always seem to do. No offense, Bells.


The best part about painting your laundry room is that you don't have to be careful about the surfaces that you know will be hid behind the washing machine. Well, you do if you're a professional, but not if you're me.


I'm pretty sure this picture will make my dad and father-in-law twitch just a little. Those men are masters at DIY, and there's no way they would leave a wall like this. Oh well.


I have never painted any sort of lines or special detailing on a wall and now I know why...I am way too impatient! I measured this out all by myself with a level, a ruler, and a pencil. And then I had to use painter's tape to make my lines. All I wanted to do was paint! But when you're painting dark blue over white, you can't exactly eye-ball it.


I decided to only "stripe" two of the main walls, so it wouldn't be too overwhelming.


I absolutely love it! We still have to put some shelves up, but that's not in the budget yet. I think we're going to leave the wall on the left just like it is, though. I LOVE IT...have I said that yet?



Friday, January 4, 2013

Mimi And Papa Moments

With everything that was going on during Christmas, it was wonderful for Mom and Dad to get some quality time with the girls, especially Bella since she's at such a great, interactive age! Papa took Bella on some shopping trips, and Bella and Mimi spent most of their time being in "big trouble". It was a lot of fun!

When we go down to Florida, Bella and Mimi have two favorite activities: finding and catching lizards, and picking tangerines off the tree.

Picking the perfect one from way up high!

As Bella would say, "Woo hoo!"

My parents have a little patio on the side of their house that is surrounded by trees, and Bella wanted to know which tree was hers (of course). Mimi let her pick out her favorite tree and Papa carved her name in the trunk!

Lucky for us, Papa is never without his pocket knife!

All done! Evelyn will get to pick hers one day, too!

I must have blocked this out of my memory, but my mom swears that Bella wasn't great with new people as a baby, so they're loving how well Evelyn does with them! She was the same way when Steve's parents were didn't take her long to warm up to them!

Some special, Great-Grandparent moments! Mel and I chatting with Grandma before Christmas dinner. Grandma wasn't steady enough to hold Evelyn, but Evelyn loved to coo at her.

Grandpa shmoozing with Evelyn...

Baby kisses! I know having my grandparents in the house added an extra element of stress, but it was really nice to have them around for the "everyday" things!

A few more snuggles before we had to leave for home!

Laughing with Papa on Christmas Eve while everyone else was on wrapping duty!

Goodbye kisses for Great-Grandma!