January 29, 2010

Feeling: Guilty

I dropped Jack off with my mom this afternoon for a weekend of fun with grandma and grandpa. Jack and I were alone in the car on the way and he was really quiet. I asked him if he was excited and he said, "Yeah." About a minute later he said, "Stop getting rid of me."

"Wait, what did you say?"

"I don't want you to get rid of me anymore."

I don't know if he said anything after that, because all I could hear was the sound of my heart breaking inside of my chest. He didn't sound upset, and he wasn't cranky. He just sounded sad.

Of course, I explained to him that I loved him and would never get rid of him. I told him that he would have so much fun with grandma and I wouldn't be able to wait to see him again on Sunday.

I'm sure it's nothing. He was tired and and needed a nap. And when he saw grandma, he was nothing but excited to go to her house. But I thought back over the last two weeks and I've dropped him off with other people more in the last two weeks than I have in his entire life combined. Up until now, babysitters have always come to him, or he's gone to his grandma's house. Even in the summer when he's with a babysitter all day, he comes with us to work and stays there all day while we work.

It's definitely got me thinking.

January 27, 2010

Dear Ben, Month 4

Dear Ben,

You're a dream! I know that merely typing these words means you'll likely have 6 teeth pop out in the next two days, rendering you inconsolable, but it has to be shared. You are such a joy. Your squeals and babbles and giggles seem to have a calming effect on my anxiety that works better than any prescription medicine ever could.

You are 18 pounds, which makes you my small baby (though you are 1/2 inch longer than your brother was at this age)! You still fit in your carrier, which is thrilling to me. You roll yourself all over and when Jack's playing with you on the floor, you arch your back and try to lunge yourself after him when he moves. I think over the course of the next few months, he'll be the impetus for you to start crawling. You love to be on your belly and usually end up rolling to your belly to sleep. Your favorite position is sitting, though we have to stay close because you tip fairly easily.

This month, you have learned to L-O-V-E your big brother. Your face lights up when you first hear his voice in the morning and you're all smiles when he plays with you . . . but honestly, you're usually all smiles. When he's around though, there's a sparkle in your eye and you look excited to see what he'll do next. Jack sometimes yells and is a little more rough than he should be, but he's learning. The other day, I was telling Jack that when you're crying, he should try to comfort you. A little while later, I heard you fussing and Jack patted your head and said, "Comfort, Ben, comfort." He really does love you.

I pray almost daily that you two will be close. I hope that you will grow to love each other as brothers and as friends and that your relationship is one that you will both value deeply.

Over this last month, we celebrated the one year anniversary of when I found out I was pregnant with you. I went back and read all of the posts from a year ago . . . I remembered the feeling of excitement I had when I first saw two lines appear. When we found out we were pregnant with Jack we were ecstatic. But this was a different kind of excited. It was a combination of excitement and shock . . . it took our breath away.

I love you so much, Ben. I love it that you're such a happy baby, but even if tomorrow you wake up fussy and difficult, I'll love you just as much!


January 24, 2010


Before we had kids, I used to love weekends. Well, the weekends we had off at least. We slept in, there was no schedule, no agenda . . . we just enjoyed the down time. I dreaded Monday mornings.

But now, on Sunday nights I look forward to Monday morning. The weekends throw everything off a little. We don't get to sleep in, it's harder to keep a schedule and I feel a little aimless. I think that this might be a sign that I'm getting old. Maybe.

I've been struggling to get a schedule into place since Ben was born, but I think we finally have it. Kelsey went back up north to school this winter, so we're trying something new. We have mostly sitters lined up, but part of our new arrangement involves Jack going to day care at a friend's house three mornings a week.

I was nervous about taking Jack to day care because whenever we talked about it, he'd say, "Will you stay and play with me?" But I kid you not, we walked into the house for the first time and he headed straight to the toy room and never looked back. He seems to have fun with the other kids there and usually cries when he has to leave, so I guess that's a good sign.

We've been passing around ANOTHER virus this week, but I think we're nearing the end of it. My fingers are crossed that tomorrow will be the first day of 2010 that all four of us are healthy.

January 22, 2010

Look what I did yesterday . . .

Jack was sleeping while I took these photos. This morning, he wandered into my office while I was looking through them for a few to post and, of course, all he could focus on was that Eli was HOLDING HIS TRAIN. We're working on the whole "sharing" thing.

We had fun and a great lunch with Jeanette and Eli yesterday . . . here's a quick preview for them.

January 18, 2010

Bad words, rolling and breastfeeding

Congratulations to Jodi for being the first person to babysit for BOTH of my boys at the same time and living to tell about it. It's not that I was worried she wouldn't be able to handle it. I was just worried that Jack wouldn't be able to handle having her attention shared by Bennett. But everything seemed to go well and I'm glad she's available to watch them regularly!

Jack continues to be a challenge at times. It comes and goes. One some days, he's the sweetest, most obedient little boy you'll ever meet. And on others . . . watch out! Nap time and bed time prove to be the most difficult.

We had a family movie night on Saturday night and we were so excited to watch Toy Story with him. He had never seen it and it had been more years than I can count since I had. We let him pick out a snack, we put Ben to bed and popped the VHS in the VCR. I honestly couldn't believe how many times they said "stupid," "idiot" and "shut up" In that movie. So it was no surprise that Jack spent most of "nap time" yesterday in his room yelling "stupid" and "shut up." The funny thing (if there's anything funny about your toddler screaming that for two hours) is that he doesn't know what either of those things means. He just knows they're "bad words." He knows he's not supposed to say them. So, for now, we're just ignoring it and hoping that not getting a reaction from us will cause him to lose interest.

Bennett, on the other hand, is a dream. Well, as long as we don't leave the house. With Jack, we used to look for reasons to take him out because he was so much happier when he wasn't cooped up at home. Ben loves to be at home and gets cranky if we are elsewhere for too long. He's going to have to get used to it when we hit the summer, I suppose.

He rolls pretty well now . . . tummy to back and back to tummy. Oddly enough, rolling from back to tummy comes much more easily to him than tummy to back. I was browsing facebook doing something very important the other day and heard him calling for help because he had rolled himself off of his playmat, across the floor and had his feet half-lodged under the couch. Whoops. When I asked him what he was doing, he just grinned and waited for me to rescue him.

As long as he's not tired or hungry, he's SO happy. He's such a good sleeper, and in retrospect, I think Jack could have been too, if he hadn't been our first child. We're A LOT better at the sleep thing now than we used to be.

Sadly, it seems that my breastfeeding days are numbered. With Ben being sick last week, he ate a lot less than usual and slept through the night so much that my milk supply dropped quickly and drastically. And then we followed that my my flu-like mystery illness that kept me from eating or drinking much for two days and it dwindled even more. I've been feeding him every 1 - 2 hours and pumping like a maniac for days trying to increase the supply, and using my stockpile of frozen milk to help when I have nothing to offer. It's been a little emotional for me and I'll continue to try until I have nothing left, but I'm worried that day will be here soon.

January 13, 2010

Things bloggers should never do

There are a couple of things bloggers should never do . . . and I did two of them.

First, I wrote about how we were "on the mend." What was I thinking? The boys are both healthy now, but I woke up in the wee hours of Monday morning and was throwing up. By the evening, I had a fever. I still don't know what it was.

Second, I mentioned that Bennett was sleeping 11 - 12 hour stretches at night. Again, what ON EARTH was I thinking? He was up every 2 - 3 hours over the last two nights. I think it was partly because I had only consumed saltine crackers and water all day and my milk supply was low. And, it was partly because I mentioned it on my blog.

So, at some point between throwing up and shivering in bed with chills, I made the (really difficult) decision yesterday to shut the shop down for a few days. Maybe a week. We'll see. I just needed some time to get well, get my boys well and get things in order around the house. And, there was a project I'm working on at work that took up my days and evenings, so I've been able to work on that without distraction. Also, I really needed to take a shower.

So, I won't mention that I'm feeling much better or that Bennett went to bed tonight pretty well. I'll just say that I'm hoping for the best for the next few days.

January 12, 2010

A new toy . . .

Ben can no longer sit and play in his bouncy seat as well as he used to, which is a bummer because that was a great place for him to hang out while I was making dinner or attending to Jack. He fusses if the safety strap is buckled because it fits uncomfortably around his round little belly. But without it he can pretty much arch his back and roll right out of it if left unattended for more than a few seconds. Exhibit A:

I was reading Sarah's blog and saw a picture of her little guy in his exersaucer and I was thinking about how I needed to get ours back from the people who have it. Then it hit me that we have a jumpy-seat-thingy (technically speaking) that Jack received as a gift on his first Christmas. He sat in it once and never again because he was already crawling and had already surpassed its weight limit (insert debbie downer noise here). It was like getting a brand new toy . . . but better because it was already paid for and already assembled!

So, a little over a week ago we pulled that out of the depths of our basement storage closet and, my goodness, Bennett LOVES it. It's done for me what the bouncy seat did a month or two ago. I once again have blocks of 20 minutes or so that he'll play in it without getting fussy. It's funny to watch him turn himself around in it without really knowing how he's doing it. It plays music whenever he bounces and when you watch him playing by himself, he will smirk a little when the music starts.

When I look at these pictures, I can't believe how much he's changed in JUST over a week

January 11, 2010


OK, so not too many people want to play our little game, but we did it anyway. You can see mine here and Heather's here. I'd love to link to you, but I haven't seen any other posts today. If you participated, leave your link in the comments or e-mail me. Or, if you just want someone to post your photos for you, contact Heather through her blog.

For next Monday, the word is . . .

Industrious . . . diligent, busy, hard-working. Ready, go!

January 10, 2010

On the upswing

Both boys are on the mend. Jack's fever lasted 5 days and broke for the last time on Wednesday. Bennett never had a fever, but his coughing got so bad that he threw up everything he ate from Thursday around lunchtime through Friday morning. So, we took him to the doctor on Friday afternoon.

They gave him an albuterol breathing treatment in the office and the good news/bad news is that he responded well to it. Plus, he had a really bad ear infection so he's on an antibiotic, which is killing me. He's so little! Jack's never been on an antibiotic . . . actually, now that I think of it, I think the only prescription medicine Jack's ever had is diaper rash cream.

So, this is new to us. The doctor said he was actually surprised that Ben hasn't been fussy because his ear was so bad. I had a history of childhood athsma, and Kyle has a history of chronic ear infection. I haven't stopped praying that this is an isolated incident and that he won't develop those issues.

So, we've been giving Ben his regular breathing treatments and he's clearing up nicely. He's been sleeping quite a bit. He hasn't really been fussy, but we've noticed that he's smiling and playing more today. He's still a snotty mess, but we're hopefully on the upswing.

January 9, 2010

Birth announcement

I don't think I ever shared Ben's birth announcement, so here you go!



January 7, 2010


Last Friday, Jack developed a fever that lasted through yesterday. It's been anywhere from 100 - 103 degrees and has been accompanied by a nasty-sounding cough. When Jack's feverish, it often brings nightmares and causes us to be up with him multiple times a night.

And of course, the week that Jack doesn't sleep well, Ben starts sleeping 11 - 12 hour stretches. I stopped waking him up to eat at midnight thinking that he'd probably start waking at 1 or 2 again, but lo and behold, he slept right through.

Kyle and I both stayed home on Tuesday since both of the boys were sick . . . which was a little sad because it was supposed to be Kelsey's last time babysitting for Jack before she heads off to school (HUGE bummer there . . . but new arrangements are starting to fall into place). It was kind of nice to have a day at home that we hadn't planned to have because I feel like for the first time since Ben was born, our house is back to a livable condition. It's not completely clean or organized, but it no longer stresses me out.

Ben has Jack's cough but no fever (yet). He has slept all but 2 hours since he woke up at 7 this morning. I've been able to get a lot done, but I hate hearing him coughing and hacking through the monitor. We haven't visited the doctor, because I haven't seen any signs that this is anything that won't pass on it's own, but I saw someone post on facebook about their child having an ear infection and I wonder if I should have had that checked out. Jack's never had an ear infection, so I'm not even sure what to look for.

The WORST part of the boys and their coughs is that they both have gagged themselves to the point of throwing up several times. Like, projectile vomit. The first time it happened, Jack walked up to me and said, "I got somefing on the carpet."

"What did you get on the carpet, Jack?" I feared the worst.

"Frow up."


On a different note . . . my nickname for Bennett this week has been "scarface" because of all of the little scratches he has. It doesn't matter how far down we cut his fingernails, he still manages to get himself. We tried putting socks over his hands, but he wouldn't settle down in his crib like he usually does when I did that.

January 6, 2010

Dear Jack, Month 31

Dear Jack,

You can stomp away, shout "IT'S NOT FAIR!" and slam your door in a way that puts any teenager to shame. It's one of your favorite things (among others) to yell at us when you're upset or frustrated. I'm not sure that you know what it means and I have absolutely no idea where you picked it up.

If Ben's crying and you want him to stop, you stomp away grumbling, "That's not fair." If I put you in time out, you shout, "IT'S NOT FAIR THAT I BE IN TIME OUT!" If I ask you to pick up your toys, or I say that no, you cannot watch a television show . . . it's often greeted with "THAT'S NOT FAIR, MOMMY!"

I will admit that during times like these, you make me worry about what your teenage years will be like.

You're right, though. Life's not fair. Bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad people. It's just the way life is. And it doesn't get any better when you become an adult.

To top it off, you're an oldest child, so you'll likely be the victim of unfairness many times more than your brother. I give you permission right now to complain about it all you want. You can get it off of your chest and let us know exactly what you think.

But don't forget that sometimes the unfairness works to your advantage. Unfortunately, we don't always get exactly what we've earned and deserve in life. And fortunately, we don't always get exactly what we've earned and deserve in life. Does that make sense?

When you're disobedient, and I forgive you, you're getting what you don't deserve. When I yell at you out of frustration and fatigue and you later give me hugs and tell me that I'm forgiven, I'm getting what I don't deserve. Technically, none of this is fair.

And ultimately, Jack, consider who we really are. We're sinners. Compared to God, we're filthy. We're wretched. Because of our sin against Him and our unfaithfulness to Him, we deserve is death.

But we haven't been cast aside and left to die. Love and justice met at the cross in a way that the world had never seen before. God loves us so much that he sent Jesus to die in our place. By the grace of God we were the recipients of the ultimate act of unfairness. I can't completely wrap my head around the enormity of what happened on the cross, but I do know that it wasn't fair. It was love.

I pray every day that as you grow, you'll gain an increased awareness of this love so that when you see things in life that are unfair, you'll remember to thank God that we don't always get what we deserve.


January 5, 2010

Wanna play a game?

If you ever visited my neglected photo-a-day blog, you might remember that my friend, Heather, and I did a color series. Meaning, we took a picture each day for a week reflecting the chosen color of the day.

Anyway, we're going to do it again. . . but with a twist. She found this website and thought it was a cool idea, so we're going to try it. I'm so thankful to her for this little creative push I'm getting.

We're looking for people who will play along! It's for ANYONE who just likes to take photos. . . whether you use an SLR, a point and shoot . . . or shoot, even your camera phone, you can play along! If you'd like to take part, leave a comment here or send me an e-mail and let me know so that I can check your blog to see what you did! If you know of someone who might want to play along, send them this link. I'll make sure you get a list of links, too, so that you can see what others came up with.

The word for the week is "remember." Photos should be posted next Monday. You can post one photo, or a two or three-photo spread.

Happy photographing!

January 2, 2010

Best of 2009

Here's my third annual "best of."

The last two years, I had such a hard time deciding, so this year, I just linked to the posts with the highest number of comments each month. They're not necessarily the ones I would have chosen, but they are the ones about which people had the most to say. You'll see that there are a couple of months with ties, so I included them both.

May (2)
July (2)

And if you're really bored, you could check out the best of 2007 and the best of 2008.