Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Tired Mommy Chronicles, Part III: CIO and "Married Time" :)

Hmmm....lots has happened since my last post. After the last non-successful attempt at CIO we gave it a couple days break and had her back in bed with us. She'd had a runny nose and was sneezing and it's definitely not right to start CIO when a baby is sick at all. Tuesday she seemed much better and had no illness symptoms. She passed out on me around 7:30pm and I went to place her in her crib. As is her usual the second I laid her down flat she woke up and started screaming. Oh dear, here we go again! We gave it 15 minutes and then Craig went in to offer her pacifier. She was too upset and wouldn't even take it. Another 15 minutes and then I went in to check on her. As I was in there talking to her and singing to her she projectile vomited! It flew out of her mouth and then her breathing stopped for a moment as more was in her throat. I sat her up quickly and the rest came out. Oh. My. Gosh. So then it was an impromptu bathtime and no way in heck we were going to make her cry again that night. She slept happily in bed with us, again. So, while this is all going on and CIO seems to be a dismal failure I've had this little gut nudge that something is off. Maybe her ears again? So yesterday morning I called her pediatrician and they got us in that day. I was totally right, poor little bugger has a double ear infection. I asked if we could just do garlic mullein oil so the ped took a closer look. Unfortunately, there was no movement and also puss was starting to build :( Past the garlic oil stage. Bummer. She's now on 5 days of Zithromax. So, the ear infection explains possibly why she hates laying flat. I'm glad I trusted my gut and had stopped doing CIO with her. Poor baby! Our pediatrician recommended waiting at least 5 days for the meds to clear her ears and then try CIO just at naptime. Feed, burp and change her and then put her in her crib. Let her cry til she falls asleep. She suggested waiting a month to do CIO at nighttime as she just doesn't seem emotionally ready. Ps. I love my ped. She suppports homebirths, breastfeeding, and hasn't given me any crap about the fact that little Evie has had zero vaccinations :)

There was a post today on the Facebook page EDD and the mom was saying her scenario with her 4 month old that only sleeps if she's with mom, day and night. Sound familier? Um, yeah. Most of the commenters said how awful CIO is and that it's child abuse. Even saying that mother's who do CIO become dull to the needs of their children and that the child is harmed for life and may become agressive or withdrawn. I take offense to that! I did CIO with Eliana and she is one of the gentlest, sweetest children I know. She also sleeps 12-14 hours at night every night :) I believe that each child is different and as mothers we need to do what we believe in our heart is best for them. My little Evangeline is such a mommy's girl. She is very sensitive to where I am and cries when I leave the room. She needs the security of knowing her mommy and 'food source' is right near her. However, that doesn't mean she needs to sleep in my bed for the next 2 years. We're on a CIO "pause" and will try again in a month. Our ped said to give it a 3 night trial. If the 3rd night is better than the 1st, then continue, baby should be going to sleep with no tears in about a week. If the 3rd night is worse than the 1st, take a break and give it another month. There are a lot of way to get a baby to go to sleep. I will not talk harshly about the mother that has 5 kids in her bed and that same mother should not talk harshly about the mother who does not want 5 kids in her bed. Right?

One topic that no one writes about but has a lot to do with babies and their sleep habits is, how the heck do mommy and daddy have 'married time' (hehe) when baby will only sleep in the nook of mommy's arm? Yup, we're talking sex and I brought it up :) The marriage relationship is hugely important as is our husbands knowing they are special to us. My husband takes a huge backseat whenever we have a kid and that's pretty normal. Having a baby is all consuming. That being said I don't think our husbands should be relegated to a whole different car (if we're speaking in automobile analogies). Know what I mean? We're in this together and we need to be a team. It's not me and the baby against him. So, talking to other mommies I've asked, "what do you do, how you still have sex when baby will only sleep with you!?"
Put baby in a swing for a little while
Put baby in a carseat on the floor near the bed (hey, they won't remember it)
Once baby is passed out slide your arm out and go be 'married' in another room
ETC ETC ETC

So yes, we are all being crazy together and trying to appease our precious little bundles of joy! :) They are completely worth it, it's not even a question, but we still need to find those moments of fun and sanity while life is in the crazy newborn/infant stage :)

I'll also add that my little one is 18lbs 2oz (110 percentile)! And has officially doubled her 9lb 1oz birth weight. She is also 25 1/4 inches (75-90 percentile). She is huge! And totally perfect. It's nearly impossible to overfeed a breastfed baby and she doesn't nurse all that often anyhow. Her head is 17 1/4 inches (90 percentile) which is so big but I guess when you consider her head at birth was 14 3/4 inches (I know, I'm amazing, lol) it makes sense. She's a big, chubby, cuddly, gorgeous girl!

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Tired Mommy Chronicles, Part II

Ok, so after that first very successful Cry It Out night I thought we were heading to nights of blissful sleep for all of us. It was not to be. Each night she cried the same (if not longer!) and started waking more during the night. *Sigh*. Last night was horrible. She cried for 45 minutes and wasn't about to give up so I went in to calm her, nurse her, and rock her. Then she cried another 40 minutes. What gives??? After that Craig and I decided she'd be back in our bed at least for the night. She woke a few times, but just to nurse and went right back to sleep.

Evie is very social. She is also a definite mama's girl. When she falls asleep in my arms (which is her preferred method) she'll wake a few times just to check that I'm there. As soon as she sees me she smiles and drifts back off to sleep. Cute, right? Yes, and also sort of annoying. It's not possible for me to hold her every second that she is asleep and this is where the issue is. In her perfect world I would always hold her and she'd never need to sleep alone...but that is just unrealistic and driving me to insanity.

We aren't sure if she's just not ready for CIO or if that method won't work for her. It worked beautifully for Eliana who was only 16 weeks. Within a matter of days she slept awesome. Evie, who is almost 17 weeks, is still giving me a run for my money! I just don't see how to get out of this chaos with her. I enjoyed having my bed back, but not at the expense of her crying for 1 1/2 hours every night. Poor baby :( Most of the CIO material out there says let them cry for 15 or so minutes and if they aren't asleep yet, go calm them and repeat that. What baby cries asleep after a mere 15 minutes? Certainly not a child of mine. I guess I'm feeling a little hopeless that CIO didn't work and that I'm still not getting any sleep. Why it worked that first night and none of the nights after that I don't know.

She'll be going to the dr soon for her 4 month appointment and I'm going to ask for some ideas and what she thinks is going on. The other thing is that Evie was sneezing a ton yesterday so I wonder if she's getting a cold or something.

And yes, I know, I signed up for this. I have to admit that when someone without children says how tired and exhausted they are my first thought is ,"you don't even know the meaning of the word tired!" My most tired night pre-kids doesn't even compare to now.  This is a slow sort of torture. Every night you get worn down more and then occasionally you get a 8 or 9 hour stretch (which you try to take advantage of if the other kids are also asleep) so you get your hopes up that it's going to get better and then the next night it's back to no sleep. Torture! And yet somehow the little munchkin's seem happy and well rested the next day.

Alright, that's all for now. My 2 girls are awake and chatty. It's as if they have a built in caffeine drip :)

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Tired Mommy Chronicles

I have been extremely sleep challenged lately. That's the life of a mother, right? Although, sometimes I think to myself, "how is this so hard? How do other mothers manage without falling asleep at the table while their 2 year old eats dinner?Am I just not cut out for this?" I know that sounds harsh, but when exhaustion comes into play and I can barely muster the words to say, "time for bed Elly", it makes me wonder how a mother is supposed to do this.
Two night ago Evangeline was up til 1am. Then up again at 5 and then we were up for the day at 7. I got about 5 (maybe) hours of sleep. Then it was on to our mom's group for 3 1/2 hours and then the normal daily stuff like lunch, naps, playing, cleaning, dinner, etc. I was majorly struggling. I fell asleep nursing on the couch around 6:15 and just told Craig to put Elly down for bed. Evie fell asleep and I put her down around 7pm. I made a beeline for my bed hoping to catch up on 4 months of little sleep. Within 15 minutes Evie was crying...and that was our routine for the next hour and a half. I'd get her asleep and then as soon I made it into my bed, she was up. So frustrating! Around 8:40 I decided to just see what would happen if I let her cry for a while. *Gasp* I know that sounds horrible and goes against all my 'attachment parenting' friends, but I was not about to be going in to calm her all night in 15 minute increments. I was starting to lose my mind! So, she cried. And cried. Then quieted for a while. Then cried again. On and off for about 40 minutes. It sounded like a mad cry, like "how dare you mother not come in here and talk to me!" Then after 40 minutes she magically drifted off to sleep for, get this, 9 hours. I didn't hear from her again til 6am. So now I'm thinking, "hmm, is that the ticket? Does she just need to cry for a while?"

We did CIO with Eliana at 16 weeks to the day. The first night she cried about 40 minutes and then it was less every day until after less than a week she drifted off to sleep without a tear. Somehow this time around I didn't want to do that. I've felt like Evie is still so little and since I haven't had to deal with colic with her (thank you Jesus), I'm not sick of her yet :) BUT, I am sick of being tired. I need to be me again. I hate not having energy to play with Eliana and that it's a struggle in my head just to talk nicely to her- that's how tired I am! So I guess last night was sort of an experiment. And it worked. Very interesting! I will add that Evie was not hungry, did not have a dirty diaper, and her room temperature was good. I had been snuggling and loving on her ALL day. She just wouldn't sleep. I figured if her crying sounded sad or hungry or hurt I would go get her, but it just sounded mad and mad won't hurt her. But a mom that is too tired to raise her kids, that will!

I'm not sure what I'll do tonight. That's the question of the day I suppose. Very interesting that by allowing her to cry and 'self soothe' she was able to sleep all night, huh?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Moving updates (is there an emoticon for tired)?

I was going to blog an update tomorrow, but realized I better just do it now or it might not happen.

We got keys Friday morning around 11am :) Craig hauled several loads in his truck and I went to the house to see what I could start. There was a bit of a problem that I found as I started looking around....the house was dirty. Food (or coffee or who the heck knows what it was) stains on the walls and doors, fingerprints on walls and doors, human and dog hairs on doors, walls, baseboards, carpet, etc. The kitchen had food residue and crumbs everywhere. One cupboard looked like someone made sloppy Joe's and splattered a spoon of it and then just left it. The blinds were all dusty and almost every room had cobwebs in it. I spent a good hour cleaning while Evangeline was sleeping. Then my mom got there and informed me as formal longtime landlord that a new tenant should not have to clean any of that stuff upon moving in. Ohhhh, I see. Hmmm. Well that's interesting. We had the moving truck and helpers lined up for 9am the next morning, so basically the ball was rolling and not about to stop. My mom and I walked around and kept noticing more things, like toothpaste dried up after dripping down the bathroom wall. Ew. Windows hadn't been cleaned, baseboards and walls were dirty, showers were full of scum, you name it. So my mom called the property manager and he came out an hour later and agreed with us; things were not up to par. It was a fair share of stress and frustration and by 9pm Friday night a cleaning company had been lined up for the next morning (paid for by the landlords). The cleaner came at 7am with 2 workers and they stayed for at least 5 hours, I lost track of time. They worked SO hard. Cathy from Tidbits cleaning was awesome (she's in Poulsbo). She agreed with me that things were not done and definitely shouldn't have passed a move-out inspection. Why things were left like that for us I have no idea, but I'm very grateful that a cleaning company could make it over on such short notice and get the house ready. There is no way I could've done the work of 3 people with 2 babies and let's face it- I shouldn't have to! The landlords felt really bad and I appreciate them allowing the cleaners to come remedy the situation. Cathy and her workers were our angels!

Saturday was a back breaking day for us and our faithful worker bees. Craig, my dad, and Josh Sawicki worked SO hard. Those guys pretty much pulled a 12 hour day only stopping to eat pizza real quick. I think the UHaul was 26 ft and they about filled it. I got teary last night thinking how hard our friends and family have been working to help us. I'm sure there's a million other things Josh and my dad could've been doing on a beautiful, sunny Saturday- but they worked their tails off to help us move and no amount of Thank You's can cover that. @Amber- give Josh a free pass this week and lots of love, Craig says he worked super hard :)

And of course my work horse husband has been pulling all nighters all week getting things ready and then maybe getting a couple hours of sleep each night. Since I haven't been living with him since last Tuesday (at my mom's with the girls during transition) I'm not so sure he's been eating either :(

I was blessed to not only have fun company during the day yesterday, but willing hands and happy hearts to help unload and put things away; Amber, Gracie, Mellissa, Kelsey, Barb, and my mom. They worked extremely hard. I'm sure every one of them was sore last night. At one point we all looked out the window to see Barb pushing Gracie on the tire swing and Alivia on a trike and Kelsey pushing Eliana on another trike. It was precious. I thought, "that's exactly what I wanted to happen in that yard." :)

My mom has been pulling very long days with me. She pretty much got the kitchen all put together today. Kelsey and I got the girls rooms unpacked today and my bedroom is getting there. I'm so thankful for parents that now live 5 minutes away and are willing and able to put in hard work for us. I wish I could buy everyone something to say thank you for helping us. I know nothing is expected and that's good I guess since I can't buy stuff anyway, haha, but I am just so grateful. Moving is so much work and you forget that until you move! The last time Craig and I moved was in early 2006. We'd been married 8 months and didn't have much stuff and certainly didn't have any kids living with us :)

I'm not gonna lie, moving with a 2 year old and 3 month old is tricky. I can't just buckle down and unpack for 6 straight hours. I have to keep an eye on Elly, which is a challenge in a huge home I'm learning. And then I have to keep Evie happy and stop to nurse her whenever needed. I am grateful to be breastfeeding though. I can't imagine trying to keep up on bottles and all that junk amidst moving. Evie has been a very good baby. Yesterday she just had a brief moment of screaming and was otherwise quite wonderful during the day. Things are a little funky with Eliana. The lack of structure and routine is starting to show. She's not listening very well and a bit moody. But hey, this is a huge life change, I expected a bit of fall out. Things will get back to normal in a matter of time.

On a cheerful note (if this blog sounds sad it's just cuz I'm SO tired), the living room is darling. All the pieces I have been finding here and there came together exactly like I hoped they would. DanaLee's stuff looks awesome and I totally love the couch I found on craigslist for $75. Pictures will come soon hopefully. I need a break in this chaos to download and all that.
The china hutch friends gave us a couple years ago is finally on display with my great grandmothers tea cups and the piano has found it's new home!!! The funky green WWII hutch is perfect in the kitchen. The dining room table I grew up with has a new home in my kitchen and the formal dining set my grandparents gave us is in the dining room :) Many family dinners were held around that table. I'm honored that our family trusts us with these special pieces. I love having things in my home that have stories, history, character, and come from people I love so much.

There is much to do still, but I'm trying to take life one box at a time lest I have a meltdown :) I hear the basement is out of control and so I haven't even looked down there. It appears I might be single handedly supplying all needed items for the Moms and More Rummage Sale on April 16th (at CKA in Poulsbo). Like that plug??? haha, but honestly I am sorting through things as I open boxes and am getting rid of things we don't use or need. Many boxes have been in our basement for the last 5 years so I don't even know what we have. Craig's accident happened 4 months after we bought our house and life stood still. A lot of things just stayed in boxes and then we didn't have room for them anyhow. I'm very curious what things will turn up during the unpacking. I did find my old white sweatshirt that says "I heart Craig" on the back :) I wore that the morning of my wedding to get my hair done.

Tonight should be my last night at my mom's house. The plan is to pack up all my stuff from here and head to the new house in the morning- for good. I'm looking forward to seeing my husband more. I've hardly seen him for a whole week! And of course, we'll be steadily unpacking.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

8pm, Thursday night. Sitting on the bed in the guestroom at my parents house watching American Idol and missing my hubs. Evie is asleep next to me and Eliana is asleep in another room.

I am hoping to go visit Dreamland in a few minutes but I want to make sure Evie is really down for the count. The last couple days have been pretty rough with her. Last night she was screaming her head off til 11pm and then still woke up every 1 1/2 hours the whole night. I keep remembering how she consistently slept 5-7 hour stretches prior to getting sick in February and I miss those days. It gets old constantly running at 30%. My energy, positive attitude, patience with the girls, affection for my husband, excitement about moving- all take a huge toll when I am so tired. I'm just surviving and trying to 'get through' the day and I don't like living like that. I know this is a phase as it almost always is with children, but nonetheless it's a rough phase. Please Lord, help my little Evangeline to sleep better at night. Please!

Tomorrow morning we sign our lease at 10am. Craig has been working like a mad man to get everything ready. I haven't seen the house since Tuesday morning but I imagine it's all just boxes now. I'm a little anxious to see how everything is going to come together as there is so much work to do this weekend, but I have total faith in my husband that he'll do whatever needs to be done to get it finished.  He has moved A LOT in his life, unfortunately, so moving is nothing new to him.

I'm hoping to take lots of pictures this weekend and thank you in advance to dear friends that have offered their time and energy to help us get everything done. Saturday will be a busy party!

~I also want to insert a huge congratulations to 2 friends who have welcomed babies into their lives and hearts this week. One born last Sunday and one born today (on his mama's birthday). Babies are a huge blessing, no matter how tired and crazy they make us!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Cool Finds

Well, slight change of plans. Elly has stopped napping again. After thinking it through I've realized it's probably to do with the fact that our house is all packed up and she's reacting to our stress. And then Evie has stopped sleeping at night. I mean, seriously, I was up til after 3am last night with her and then up again at 5, 7, 8, and 9:30. It was torture! I'm exhausted. SO, last night around 11pm we decided I should pack up the rest of my stuff and head to my mom's with the girls. We all need sleep and Eliana needs to be somewhere that is not just a tiny space filled with boxes and change. Grammy's house is a constant and sure enough I'm sitting here at Grammy's and Eliana has been asleep for the last 2 hours. So wow, last night was my last night in the old house. Crazy. I'm so tired I'm not really able to process it honestly, but I will eventually. I mean, tired doesn't even say it. I'm a zombie.

Craig will be packing up the rest of our stuff and living on Digiorno's and we'll meet Friday morning to sign the lease. Then moving begins!!! I just can't wait. I have NEVER had a house with a 'linen closet' or a 'coat closet' or more than one bathroom. This is huge and wonderous change for us :)

I wanted to share some cool finds I've gotten for the new house. Once we're moved I can take pictures of the rest- like the perfect designer couch I found for $75 :)
I love cobalt glass. Cobalt is probably my favorite color. This large vase was about $3 at Second Seasons in Poulsbo. It'll look great on our dining room table.

This cool green chair is solid wood painted a seafoamy color. It was only $35 at DanaLee's in Port Orchard. Might go in our living room or in a guest bedroom (wow, I'll have guest bedrooms for the first time in my life!)

The two white lamps and larger black one are from DanaLee's also ($15). Cool, old lamps :)

I call these 'stacking books'. Obviously my lamps are different heights, so you use cool, old vintage books under the lamps to make them even. The top one still has it's paper cover on it, but just take that off and it's a cool seafoamy color. I found several books from the 1940's about all the famous composers. They were 2 for $3.50 at Second Seasons in Poulsbo.

Alright, lots more finds to post later as I'm working on getting furniture and things for a house at the cheapest price possible. Craigslist is my friend! :)
In our current little house we have 1 couch and 1 awful, old loveseat and that's about it. Going from 760 sq ft to 2500 is a big change and we needed some furniture. It's amazing how much neat stuff I've found for SO cheap. Stay tuned.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

It's moving week!

Well, here it is: the week of the big move! We get keys Friday, can you believe it? Thursday night will be my last night EVER in this little place. We've been here just over 5 years, which is about double how long we thought we'd be here, but at least we get out :) We packed a lot today and are seeing progress but the more you pack the more you realize there is to pack, ya know? I got all my clothes and the girls clothes packed and pretty much all the non perishable food items. We're getting there, box by box.

It's sort of nervewracking to move. I'm not sure why, but it is. I feel a little anxious not knowing where things are. That's a little OCD I guess, but it's the truth. I'll be wanting to unpack asap I'm sure just to be able to feel that everything has a place and everything is in it's place. Like today I thought about sending a thank you card I forgot to do months ago and realized my thank you cards are packed already. And then I thought about trying a new recipe for pumpkin mac n cheese tomorrow night but realized I told Craig to go ahead and pack all my casserole dishes. I will definitely want things unpacked quick! It's looking like Evie will get some quality time in her Baby Bjorn so I can be hands free to get things done.

Eliana is excited to move to our new, big house. When I ask her about it she says, YAY!!! Last night she went and found a small box and started running around grabbing her things and putting them in her box, "this can come and this can come. Baby's rocky can come and my froggy boots can come. This can come and my baby can come. etc." LOL. So cute.

Evangeline is 14 1/2 weeks already. She is still huge and getting bigger by the day. She's so yummy and has the most delicious smelling skin. She likes to sit up (while supported) and is starting to try to roll over. However her belly has been getting in the way :) She still gets up quite a bit at night. Some times it's only 3 times and I'm thankful and other days, and more frequently, it's 5 or 6 times or I lose count and I wake up in the morning feeling as if I haven't slept at all. She is in our bed and sometimes in her bassinet. I'm hoping and praying that once she is in her own room she'll start to sleep better. It was that way with Eliana, so we'll see. I don't expect her to sleep 12 hours on her own already, but when she wakes up at 2, 3:30, 5, 6, 7:15 and then 8 I start to feel like I'm going crazy. Let a mama sleep girl! I know this is a temporary time and I'm trying to just keep that in mind and have grace for her.

I haven't talked much about nursing, but I'll add that now at almost 15 weeks things are a piece of cake. She latches no problem and we don't really have to think about it. Considering I was told I had inverted nipples and needed a shield to feed Eliana, I'd say we're doing quite well :) No shields or formula and my girl is a chunk!
One thing I haven't tried with her is pumping and bottle feeding. I'm hoping to try once we're moved (since the pump and bottles are packed) and see if she'll take a bottle from Craig. I'm supposed to go to a bridal shower dinner in a few weeks and I'm not sure how they'll all feel about a baby coming along. Although if she won't take a bottle I'll have no choice. It's not that big of a deal really. I may have missed the boat by waiting so long to try.  Eliana would never take a bottle and we tried starting at a few weeks with her. I believe I might a lipase problem. It has to do with the fats in the milk and when they are cold and then heated they change flavors and get a metal-y taste. You can google it and get tons of info, but I think that's the gist. Yeah I know that's lazy blogging, but Evie is asleep on my lap right now and it's already 11pm, so I'm gonna be lazy :)

Anyway, I'm off to bed and hoping Evie will let me sleep tonight. This week is going to be busy! And maybe emotional I think. Even though we've wanted to move for the last 3 years, this house still has a lot of memories. It's the first home we bought, it's where I nursed Craig back to health (not literally, hehe) after his accident, it's where we brought both our babies home to, it's where we got and also buried our sweet Shih Tzu, Maxie.....there's a lot of emotions in all of that. Weird. Lots to process!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Sisters!

Evie at 5 1/2 weeks wearing a 6 month onesie
Elly at 18 weeks in the same onesie and it fits about the same!

Evie at 6 weeks 


Elly in the same onesie at 14 weeks
Evie doing tummy time at 13 weeks at left and Elly I think was 4 months on the right.

Evie at 10 1/2 weeks on the left and Elly at 11 weeks on the right.

Friday, March 4, 2011

The crap in our closets...

Oh  my goodness, yesterday was crazy. Evangeline is normally pretty easy going and happy, but yesterday it was like someone took my baby and gave me a screaming, miserable one! I had a meeting at 11 and she screamed for at least half of it. Then I went to lunch and she cried a bit there before passing out. Then I went to my mom's and she screamed a lot there. Then she screamed on the way home (and I cried right a long with her) and some more at home. I finally got her to sleep and she woke up 30 minutes later screaming and whimpering and seemed to be in a lot of pain. It freaked us out. We debated taking her to ER. I just didn't know what to do. After 10 minutes of the screaming and writhing in pain she calmed and I put her in her swing to play. The rest of the night was OK.
It was just a really awful day. I was SO exhausted. I still don't really know what was going on with her. It was so weird. I thought maybe she was bothered by the beans I had with my Mexican lunch, but that wouldn't explain the screaming during my meeting which was before lunch. So strange. Praise the Lord she has been back to her normal, happy self today!

Evie is such a gem. When she smiles her entire face lights up and she scrunches her little nose. That's my fave :) She even giggles for me and seems to like when I tickle her. She is just so precious. I don't want to miss this young stage, but I'm also excited to see what she looks and acts like in a couple years. I was looking at pics of Eliana at this age and was surprised to see how different they look. Eliana had much lighter coloring and was also much smaller. There's a 6 month onesie that Evie has to squeeze into and 3/6 month pants that don't fit anymore and Eliana was wearing them in an 18 week photo (Evie is 13 weeks)!

Eliana is almost 2 1/2 and she is so fun. She's talking like crazy and has such a fun personality. Today I overheard her talking on her play phone to my mom, "Hi Grammy. Draw babies and owls? I did a big poo poo. It's stinky!" LOL. First I laughed at the content of her phone call and then I was amazed at how many words she said. What a smart girl :)

Change of subject :)

I talked to my dad in California for about an hour this morning and it was a good, deep conversation. He mentioned how when he was a kid that his dad would show up and play daddy for a day and then disappear for 5 years and then show up and play daddy and disappear again. He didn't want to be a dad and my dad and his siblings suffered. Now as an adult he has a relationship with my 83 year old grandpa, but it took years to get there.
I just found it insightful and sad at the same time being that history repeated itself with my dad and my brother and me. There was a weekend when I was 12 and I was scheduled to sing a special at church, which is sort of amazing considering I was so young and it was a huge church. My dad was supposed to be in town that weekend and come hear me sing. That would've been the first time he ever heard me sing (despite me having solos since 1st grade). Well, it was shortly before church started and I starting feeling SO sick. It was stress. I was so anxious that he would show and hear me sing and equally anxious that he wouldn't show and wouldn't hear me sing. As was typical of my childhood he didn't end up showing up but I sang anyway. I remember wearing my cream colored lace dress and feeling so nervous and hoping my dad would love my singing and be proud of me and watching the back of the church for him to show up, but he never did. I felt so unimportant. As a little girl you think, "what is wrong with me that my dad doesn't want to be around me or hear me sing?" And as my dad said this morning on the phone, "that's the crap we put in our closet and carry around with us our whole life." So true.

Unfortunately, the hurts that happen in our childhood do get carried around with us. They are part of who we are and they shape us. Craig has seen the hurts I've had to deal with and he wants better for our girls. I've told him how for me growing up without a dad that hugged me or told me I was pretty or took me to the movies or anything....I needed and looked for that approval elsewhere. It was God and being busy with youth group that kept me from getting in more trouble than I did. Craig gets that and really doesn't want our girls looking for love from men other than him or their husband. I want my girls to be able to hug their daddy anytime and not feel weird about it and I want them to hear how beautiful and smart and talented they are from their daddy. To know that they have his approval just by being who they are. And I know that if they ever sing at church they won't have to nervously scan the back of the building hoping he is there. Daddy and mommy will be sitting together in the front proudly watching and silently cheering them on.

Fast forward about 8 years and it was the night before I was to be competing in the Miss Poulsbo Pageant (local level of the Miss America Pageant). I prayed and said,"God, if I don't win, I'll go on tour with the Continentals." Well, I got 1st runner up, which in the pageant world is just a nice way to say "You didn't win! 2nd place!" :) I made that 'deal' I guess because I wasn't sure I wanted to leave my family, friends, and boyfriend behind. But I needed a change and space from the unhealthy relationship I was in and God made it happen.

I went on a 3 month singing tour with the Continentals a few months after that pageant. We did 1-3 shows a day with full set up and tear down. We had choreography and it was awesome. I was blessed to be the Assistant Director and a lead vocalist. Our tour took us to nearly every state in America. We only missed several like Maine, Florida, Hawaii, and Alaska. Anyway, while on tour I struggled with my importance and who I was. One night we were in New Hampshire, I think, and we did our show at a smallish church. Afterwards this handsome guy who I think was a pastor there (???) came up to me and warmly and slowly said, "you were captivating." It wasn't like he was hitting on me or anything weird, it was like it was God saying it to me. It was as if God said, "I think you are amazing. On a stage full of talented performers, you stand out, you are important, you are enough."

Ironically, it ended up being a Continentals concert where my dad heard and saw me perform for the first time. We did a show about 40 minutes from where he lives and he and my step-mom came and watched and I even got to stay the night at their house. So cool. Full circle. The story isn't over though. My dad and I continue to build our relationship and I believe it's valuable both for healing for myself and for him. My God is a God of second chances and I hope I don't stand in His way.