My Favorite Part of the Week...
Friday night is it for me... It's perfection. I look forward to Friday night with great anticipation all week long. That night that fills me with such happiness, sometimes I even feel downright giddy! On Friday night I know the week is over, behind me, and I have the entire weekend stretched out in front of me. None of it is spent yet because Friday is technically a work day but you still have the freedom of the weekend.

If Daniel and I had the ability to go out on a date every week (wouldn't that be Heaven!!) I would definitely choose it to be Friday night. Now, if choosing what to do and where to go could be just as easy! Doggone, but if we don't have the hardest time with that!

What is your favorite day of the week?
It Nearly Broke My Heart
I'm so not dramatic or anything...

Eliza checked out her crib for the first time yesterday. And Mama didn't like it one bit.

She just looks horribly uncomfortable to me. Wouldn't you agree?
Oh, you think, from the looks of it anyways, that she doesn't seem to like it at all and should never be laid down in the crib again. She should always sleep right next to her mama?

Yup, that what I thought too.

There are times I wish Daniel and I could just pack it all up and head home. But, I have to make myself let that wish go. We've chosen a different path for our life; one path I certainly didn't see myself taking. Growing up I never really gave any thought to moving from home. Yet at this point, the prospect of ever settling back into a life lived in that town is very slim. While I am happy in our deliberately chosen way, at times I deeply long for home and the comfort it affords me.

We were home-ish this weekend, staying with my grandparents who live about two hours from my hometown. I spent the early part of my life in those small towns around my grandparents house, and when combined with the time from the many visits we made, it is as familiar to me as my hometown. Huge amounts of memories washed over me as we drove the hills and roads that I lived my life around for twenty years. My heart ached as I remembered burying my twin brothers. I was just a tiny girl but I remember kneeling on the grass in the front yard looking at the tiny wooden boxes their remains rested in.
It was amazing to me what I could remember just from looking at a house, or driving past a certain road. There is so much of my life built into those little towns tucked in the hills of New York.
I wonder if my children will ever wish they had that type of life, the kind that is fully steeped in memories of a life lived in one place, rather than the nomadic type we are living in the military.

But here we are, promised to the Air Force for four more years with the intention of staying in as long as they will let us, because this life we are living is good with so much to offer. We have great, amazing benefits, our life will never be dull by any means, and we can take part in opportunities that we could never afford for our family should we not be a part of the Air Force.
Yet, even in knowing all this, my heart longs for the friends I have known for all of my life, the church I grew up in, a house where we can live out our days as a family, driving the roads I know like the back of my hand, having established relationships that I won't have to say good-bye to.

Will we ever wish that we had chosen a different way - the stable, live in one house forever way? The kind where we can have our kids grow up with their grandparents close by, and have friends we call Aunt and Uncle because our families are that close? Will we ever regret this life lived first for our country, second for our family?

How I wish I had all the answers sometimes.
Like Water off a Duck's Back
So I'm walking around the track at the gym tonight. I've got Eliza strapped to my chest in the Moby wrap and I'm bee-boppin' along. I'm not walking too slow, I'm keeping a good pace when I hear someone coming up from behind. No big deal because I'm walking on the inside lane and there is a passing lane to my left. A man slowly passes me, also walking. But then, get this.... he literally cuts me off. Like I had to slow down. In a hurry. Otherwise I would've stepped on his heels.

Uh huh.

No, I am not joking.

I actually didn't know you could cut someone off while walking around the track at the gym. I understand people cut other people off while driving, but walking?! I was flabbergasted. And it wasn't like there was anyone coming up behind him in the passing lane. He simply cut me off.


It just wasn't right. Laughable, yes. But not right.

Now that I've written this to you all, I can let it go. Like water off a duck's back, baby.
99 years holding 5 weeks
This weekend Daniel and I took the kids to my Grammie Chips and Poppie's house for Eliza's dedication, our yearly family get-together, celebration for GrandDaddy's birthday, as well as celebrating my Great-Grandma Vera and GrandDaddy's anniversary.

Did you get all that?!

What an amazing family I have and what a privilege for our children. We had in one room two great-great Grandparents, four great-grandparents, four grandparents, an aunt and uncle, and Daniel and me. It was a blessing to be able to dedication our little Eliza with all those people that we love best present. How I wish that we had a video camera - I could really kick myself for not making that a priority. (Daniel wants to buy this one - it' s pretty much perfect for us at this stage in our lives.) It was a really special time and a great memory for Daniel and I to have. I only wish her other Oma and Great-Grandma along with my brothers could have been able to be with us as well.

This is my GrandDaddy holding Eliza - he would have held her all night if she hadn't started crying. It meant so much for Daniel and I to see her in the arms of her great-great grandfather. He has been deaf since he was a young boy but you know what, love doesn't need to have ears that work to be felt or shown. GrandDaddy could not love our Eliza any more. And neither could we.
Our Base List
Today was the day we had to have our list of the five bases we were given a choice of, in order of our preference. Daniel and I hashed and re-hashed this subject.... Did it really matter what order they were in, because honestly they are going to send us where they want to send us? How much effort should we put into investigating each place because four of the bases we won't actually be going to? Hot vs. cold? What was more important - housing or location? On and on it went.

Yesterday late afternoon we sent in the final draft. It's out of our hands now. Daniel thinks we are on the bottom of the pack for preferences since overseas returnee's get first pick, then someone else (can't remember who right now) and then us. We are both pretty terrified that the Air Force is going to send us to Minot. We drove through Minot on our way from Alaska to Grand Forks, North Dakota. Uggg. We've done the North Dakota thing. We went into Recruiting to get out of North Dakota! Daniel is pretty stressed out over the possibility of being sent back there. We really just want to go somewhere we've never been before. Is that too much to ask? I think not.

Here is our list in order of preference:

Mountain Home AFB, Idaho

Cannon AFB, New Mexico

Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota

McGuire AFB, New Jersey

Minot should be here, in last place, but Daniel wouldn't even put it on our list. I support that decision wholeheartedly. Not that it's non-existence in our list actually makes it non-existent in the computer they use. Shucks, huh.

So, there was a lot of thought put into this list. Lots of give and take. It's amazing how you can test the maturity of a marriage by having to make a list like this. Our results would be stellar - there was only one teary conversation (by me, of course) but that was only because I was overwhelmed by all of life, and talking about North Dakota was just too much at that point. I got over it quick.

The Air Force will let us know on the 15th of February where they have decided to send us.

I hate the waiting game. It pretty much rots.
Okay, Okay. I'll post more baby pictures. Stop twisting my arm, already.
Aren't these shoes the cutest thing you ever seen?

Wait, that's not possible.

The baby in the background takes that title.

Eliza just doesn't like Judah kisses. I am unable to understand why. I can't get enough of them.

Daniel and I are hoping she responds to all boys attempts to kiss her in this manner until she's at least 45 years old.

Because I love pictures of babies yawning. Especially my baby.
My Day So Far
Nuzzled awake by a still sleepy baby girl

Bask in the glow of Eliza's smile

Crawl out of bed and immediately look for breakfast

Nurse Eliza while eating homemade bread with peanut butter

Swallow ten pills in one big gulp

Laugh at silly pictures from high school that a friend put up on Facebook

Wake up a happy four year old

Unwrap two "presents" given by Eve to me

Wake up a happy two year old boy

Throw open curtains - enjoy sun in my face

Lay the two children in diapers side by side, give them clean bums and clean clothes

Make waffles... realize that Wow! Everyone is excited for waffles!

Smoothie time

Look at clock, calculate how much time I have to get everyone out the door in time for preschool


Shift into high gear

Make a special snack for Eve to take to preschool

Lay baby down to sleep

Realize that I have one of "those" babies. The kind that only cries when she's hungry or tired. Finally..... it's my turn to have one.

Change my outfit three times. Give up

Nurse baby

Herd everyone to the van

Growl when I realize my cell phone is dead... way dead

Catch only one red light on the way to pre-school

Wave good-bye to an ecstatic girl who adores school

Walk down the aisles of the health food store smiling into familiar friendly faces

Stand in front of the rows of vegetables in the freezer section of the store, rack my brain to remember the ingredients in Brittany's recipe

Veto going to the Salvation Army... just too tired

Smile into my husband's face when we stop for an quick visit

Weigh myself and discover I've lost three pounds

Laugh at the "Rent a husband" truck I drive behind on the way home

Find happiness from a real letter in my mailbox

Lay children side by side again for a changing. Wish I was momentarily deaf as I listen to them cry in unison.

Tuck a very sleepy boy into bed for rest time

Kiss the soft head of Eliza as she sleeps in my arms

Eat lunch at three o'clock and realize why I'm ravenous

Sit and listen to sweet silence
A Silly Game
Eeeewww! Boys have cooties!!

Daniel and I like to play a game we call: "If I could eat anything right now it would be...."

The problem is Daniel left at the crack of dawn to go work out (regardless of the fact that last week while trying to get that 100th pull-up in, he fell five feet off a pull-up bar right onto his hip and killed it. ) which that means he's not here to play our silly game with me.

But you are! Oh, lucky, lucky you.

So, what would you eat right now if you could eat anything?

I would eat a big hot fudge sundae with a gooey brownie plopped right in the middle of it. Extra fudge, please.

In alternate realities I'm not very health-minded, you know.
The Experience
I did it - it's over - and I am so glad. What you ask? The post-pregnancy going to the store to buy jeans experience.


Can we collectively groan?

I just know everyone hates that experience as much as I do. And if you don't because Whammo! you fit back into your pre-pregnancy clothes immediately, then ssshhhhh I don't want to hear it. I might throw up a little.

I took myself to Plato's closet, which is where I buy nearly all of my clothes. If you don't have this store, I feel for you. It's totally awesome. I have so much fun (usually) shopping when I go there.

There I stood, in front of the racks and racks of jeans and wondered... what size am I? I know I'm not even close to the size I was pre-pregnancy - I am realistic like that - so what the heck size am I? I have these wide hips that haven't settled back into place and are throwing me way off.
Finally I guessed a size and dove into the hundreds of pairs of jeans trying to find a style I liked. The kind with sparkles, or studs, bleach or appropriately places tears was what I was looking for.... stop laughing! I like jeans with character and interest. Like everyone else I'm loving the dark wash trouser, but boooooring! And so grown up! I have nice normal jeans for the occasions that call for that, but for everyday... give me some sparkle!

I must add that normally I abhor any spandex in my jean - I loathe it with tremendous amounts of loathe. But in the post-pregnancy jean finding experience, it is a good, good thing. Give me a little bit of stretch, baby!

I don't even know how many times I made the trek into the dressing room, but it was a whole lot. I did my best to not let myself get depressed. My highly scientific approach was making faces at myself in the mirror every time a pair didn't fit. Doing that would make me giggle and I'd move on to the next pair. I kind of wish I had brought someone with me so we could've laughed together. Oh well, I was the crazy giggling woman in the big dressing room on the end.

I eventually, after arm loads and arm loads of jeans, found a pair. I'm positive the girls whose job it was to put the refused clothes away breathed a sigh of relief. I was keeping them busy! One pair of jeans was all I bought; a boring dark wash jean, but it felt like victory to me.

Next time, let's hope there will be much less face making in the mirror.

That poor mirror. It will probably never be the same.
Our/My Diet
Okay, our diet... Some of you are going to think we are just plain crazy, some of you may think it sounds interesting. It's different, it's who we are, and it's good - for us.

To fully explain my "nursing diet" I must tell you what our regular diet looks like because they are so closely tied. Our diet sounds simple when you say it out loud or read it, as you are doing here. It is basically this: we choose not to eat any refined sugar or MSG, and avoid foods with preservatives or nitrates/nitrites in them. We also do mostly organic everything. This is because we want to give our kids the best start we can afford to. Sounds simple, but it becomes tricky at times. It has become like a game to me now though.

I know some of you are going to have questions so here we go....

Okay, what's refined sugar? Refined sugar is most commonly seen in the form of white table sugar. It is also known as (high fructose) corn syrup, organic sugar, cane sugar, evaporated cane sugar/syrup, and Florida crystals. Although I may have missed a few others. What we do eat is called Turbinado/Demerara sugar, also known as raw cane sugar. I can make pretty much anything anyone else can make with this sugar. I use it in the same ratio as white sugar. I think it has more flavor than white because of the molasses that has been left intact.

Now, what is MSG? MSG is monosodium glutamate. MSG is made from a glutamate (found in nearly every type of protein rich food) which is an amino acid. It is converted into a white, salty powder and added to foods to enhance the flavor. It hasn't been proven that MSG has any long term effects on your body but have been linked to short term effects that include headaches, fatigue, nausea, and most recently thought to cause eye damage. There are more or less effects depending on who you talk with. Wikipedia has a fairly good, non-biased article on MSG. Basically, all in all, it is an additive we choose to avoid. MSG is also known as autolyzed yeast extract, hydrolyzed protein, yeast extract, seasoning, flavorings along with others. But those are the most common.

The preservatives and nitrates/nitrites are found mainly in processed meats like deli meat, beef jerky, and hotdogs, and pickles. I am sure there are more but I am trying to give you the general idea here.

So, sounds easy enough right? It's actually kind of tricky because an enormous amount of food in the grocery store - outside of the health food section - has something in it we choose not to eat. And I am totally okay with this. It is our choice; no one is making us eat this way. We happen to think it is a good way to live, and should it cost us a bit more money or perhaps some aggravation in eating out, then so be it. It is our choice and we understand the ramifications.

That is our overall diet - we try not to be too crazy but I guess to a lot of people we are. Normal is so overrated. (smile)

Now for my "nursing diet".... As I mentioned in an earlier post this is where I remove dairy products, chocolate and coffee. I remove chocolate and regular coffee because of the caffeine element, and dairy because of colic issues, gas for the baby, and spitting up.

I usually remove the dairy for the first few months, or until the baby's digestive system is a bit more mature. After about three to four months I slowly incorporate dairy back in, watching to see if their system can handle it or not. I have chosen not to give up butter this time because honestly, I love butter. My world is a much happier place when butter is in it!

I don't have any huge secrets to give you with the non-dairy diet. The biggest thing I do is use non-sweetened soymilk to cook and bake with in place of regular milk. Doing this allows me to make and eat most foods that I would normally prepare for my family. I just eat something completely different if there is cheese involved because, quite frankly, there is no good substitute for cheese.

I wish I had more help for you. I (we)eat simply, with lots of protein, fresh vegetables and fruit.

And look forward with great anticipation to the day when I can eat copious amounts of chocolate.

Uggg, I didn't want to write all of this. Our dietary decisions put some people on the defensive and I hate that. But, like I tell Eve all the time... everyone gets to make their own choices!

And aren't we all glad for that.
Sunday Pictures

In the Wee Morning Hours...
I nursed Eliza and we cuddled. I enjoyed watching the sun slowly fill the room with it's cheery freshness. But mostly I just enjoyed Eliza.

My Poor Baby

Who knew a three week old could get a cold. They can and Eliza did. Poor baby is feeling so out of it. All day she had watery eyes, a stuffy little nose, and she sneezed nearly a thousand times. She didn't want to leave our arms. She needed to be held all day long. There could be worse things, right!

Eve and Judah have valiantly been fighting off a cold - and doing quite well, actually. Judah had one day of a slightly runny nose, Eve has had nothing but a couple of sneezes. But a couple of days ago Judah, in all of his sweetness, gave Eliza a kiss square on the mouth. Now, she has the cold. I've been pumping Eve and Judah with zinc religiously, so they are fine, but Daniel has it. Sharing is caring....

I informed Daniel today that I can not get sick. Period.

He said:

"Well, if you get sick then you get sick!"

But I said again:

"No, I can not get sick! I can't take care of everybody and be sick as well. "

He thought about that for a moment and then responded:

"You do realize that means you can never get sick because you're the mom!"

Exactly! Moms aren't allowed to get sick. End of discussion. No, the world won't stop spinning if the mom gets sick, it just turns into that crazy wobbly spin like that of a top towards the end of it's magnificent twirling on your floor.

Basically, things get ugly.

So, to help prevent that ugliness I ate raw, chopped up garlic twice today because my mom said it would help keep me well. And I trust the woman - she raised us and rarely got sick. But, let me tell you... Eeeeewww! It had better be worth it!
I've been eating a whole lot of these with an oil based salad dressing. I have other suggestions, but only one hand right now. When I have two hands free I will explain my diet.
Squeaky Clean
Today we had bath time for Eliza, and since she is the first of my babies who enjoys the water we have so much fun bathing her.

I had plenty of very enthusiastic help this morning, somewhat misplaced at times, but nonetheless it was enthusiastic. Such is life with a four year old and a two year old. Eliza will get use to it, I am sure.

Eliza just completely chilled the whole time. Never a peep from her. She just laid back and took it all in. What a girl, right!

**If you are interested in participating in the Valentine's Day Blog-fest I am hosting, let me know in the comment section of the post below!
A Rainbow on His Head

What a way to eat his pre-breakfast, breakfast. With a rainbow on his head.

I'm a little lost for a post right now, it's the lack of REM.... Anything you want to know?

One more thing....
I was thinking of hosting a Valentines Day blog-fest for the stories of how you each met your Beloved. I have had several people ask me for Daniel and my story and thought this might be a fun way to celebrate the day of loooove. Besides, I'm kind of shy and if you all are sharing your story as well I might not feel so bashful.

Let me know!!
Three Weeks Old
Eliza is such a ray of sunshine

A sleepy ray of sunshine

Our beautiful ray of sleeping sunshine

I'm contemplating having Daniel bring Eliza's crib upstairs so he can set it up in our room. But, I am waffling. I love sleeping with her curled up next to me, her little body so secure next to mine. Nursing is a breeze as I can get her all into position and then fall back to sleep. I love seeing her face first thing in the morning, feeling her soft breath on my face, and hearing her sweet sleepy baby sounds. The only thing that makes me want to put her to sleep in her crib is knowing she will sleep better without the jostling of two other adult bodies in bed with her.

Oh.... there will be plenty of time for her to sleep in her beautiful (and free - a hilarious story for another day) crib. I think I will keep her right next to me awhile longer.
About that list....
Remember how I was so excited about the list of our base "choices"? Well, the list came out today. Yay! Not.

Here are our "choices":

Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota

Minot AFB, North Dakota

Mountain Home AFB, Idaho

Cannon AFB, New Mexico

McGuire AFB, New Jersey

I try and be optimistic about life as a whole, though some times are harder than others. This is one of those really hard times for me. I had hopes of a moderate climate, with a great city near by where I could take Eve to the symphony, have good shopping - a Whole Foods near by, perhaps, and a generally great place to live.

Oh, that sound you hear.... it's my dreams dying.

Okay, all you military people, tell me why I should love these places. Good luck.

The Air Force will let us know in a month where they will be sending us.

p.s. I'll chipper up soon - I'm still processing....
And the songs swirl around in my head

All sorts of songs swirl around in my head when I look at this picture.... Like: "Isn't she lovely... isn't she wonderful." Or: "Baby love, my baby love...." Or: "Baby baby, I'm taken with the notion..." Or: " Butterfly kisses after bedtime prayers, sticking little white flowers all up in her hair..."

Eliza still hasn't smiled at Daniel, on purpose or with her eyes open, and I long for her to. I want him to see the way her eyes sparkle right before she smiles. There isn't anything quite like it in the world. She did laugh the other morning in her sleep and Daniel heard that. It was such a beautiful sound. I lay there for as long as I could stay awake wondering what she was laughing at. I never did figure it out.

Eliza is growing and changing... starting to get chubby, staying awake for longer periods of time, and beginning to interact some with us. It is amazing to have a baby in the house again, she brings so much joy, so much love and happiness. And quite a bit of stinkiness as well.

Just keepin' it real....
A Discovery!
I discovered something yesterday.... it was amazing. And it made me ever so happy. I was looking in the mirror - with clothes on - and I decided to check out my tummy.... to see if it was decreasing in size. You know you've done that too - don't even pretend you haven't. And I noticed that I have a waist. A waist! That part of my body that curves in - it's above my hips. Holy cow! I haven't had a waist in so stinkin' long. I had forgotten that I could even have one anymore! Of course, my tummy is still pouchy and when I bend over there is a roll BUT I have a waist. I am thrilled! Can you tell?

But I am not so thrilled that my major sweet tooth is getting denied. Since I choose not to eat dairy, chocolate or drink coffee when nursing, at least for the first few months, that cuts out a whole lot of my daily intake of food. Like we're talking major food groups here. Sure, it's good for weight loss and my baby has a much easier time with digestion but..... I sure miss chocolate and my steaming cup of coffee with loads of honey and milk. Let's not even venture into the cheese missing because I might cry.

But as Daniel says: "All for love, baby. All for love"
"Whatchoo talkin bout Willis?"
What's up Willis?

I don't know why but I call Eliza "Willis" all the time. Poor girl is going to grow up thinking her name is "Willis" rather than beautiful Eliza.... but I just can't stop myself.

It's: "Whatchoo lookin' at Willis" or "Whatchoo talkin bout Willis" or "Is that so, Willis?"

Seriously, I have a sickness.

Just thought I should pass this little golden nugget of useless information your way.

What are some nicknames you have for your kids?

Hopefully you don't call your sweet little girl Willis, like me.

I can hear the therapy bills ringing up as I write this....

Big stretch!
A Thrift Store Find
Three dollars at the little thrift store down the street. Heck yeah, people! I have been looking for a unique set of dishes to mix with a white set (that I don't have yet), and last night was the night.

These dishes are so different and interesting! I love them. It is - amazingly enough - a set of eight, except for the bowls. There are only seven of them but I can deal.

I am a happy, happy girl!
she makes me smile

she makes me giggle

and he makes me snort
Poor Judah...Poor Me

"Mama, Judah doesn't like to hear the word no either."

Seriously child, who does?

We were suppose to have in our hot little hands today the list of bases we get to "choose" from with regards to where we will move next. But we heard the lovely little two letter word "No" instead. We have to wait until next Wednesday to see the list. In one sense I was mad. Hopping mad. We've been counting down the days for a couple of months now - ever since we knew the date of the list coming out. But on the other hand I feel like we've been waiting for so stinkin' long to know if we are even allowed to be released from recruiting that what's another week?
Thankfully, the date of when they tell us where we will be moving to hasn't changed. I must say I am quite glad we don't own a house since the amount of time between finding out where we are going and actually moving is minimal. As in we could be moving within 45 days. I can't imagine how stressful trying to sell a house within that time frame would be. I am going to have enough stress trying to keep the hearts of two small children from breaking because we are leaving the only home they have ever known. And leaving their friends besides.... This military life is not for the faint of heart.
Daniel and I are excited, yet sad. We have been in Vermont for four years now, which has given us time to really put down some roots. Our house is filled to the brim with memories. We moved in with Eve not being one years old and we will leave with two additional children who were birthed within these walls. Here we have cried tears of great sorrow and tears of great joy. This home has been good to us, we will all miss it very much. But both Daniel and I look on our future with an enormous amount of hope and excitement. We can't wait to put the heartache Vermont has been marked by in our rear view mirror - I want to get to the point where I only remember the good parts of having lived in this beautiful state.
So, next Wednesday (cross your fingers and toes with me!) will be the beginning of the end. And I am ready!

The Babies

So tell me... who looks like who?

I think the Eve and Eliza look a lot alike, but Eve's face seems wider. They have the same lips and nose, though. Judah... he looks like Judah, I don't think he looked like the girls do as babies. He had a serious schnoz on him when he was born - had us a little worried for awhile. It's amazing to me just how different he looks now. Don't you think?

Thank You!
My sweet friend Michelle from Big Blueberry Eyes sent Eliza a gift! Thank you so much Michelle! My favorite part of opening the gift was seeing Judah's face when he opened the card. It is the type of card that has a song inside that plays when you open it up. He was totally shocked at first, but as you can see he LOVED it! He opened and shut that card all morning long.
Thanks again Michelle for your gifts - I am sure the bow will look beautiful in both the girls hair and the towel is just too stinkin' cute!
My Simplified Life
You know, the thing about a schedule is that you actually have to follow it for it to work. So far, the last two days have not been spent following my very simple, realistic, and with lots of room for error schedule. It's been blown out of the water. And I, surprisingly, have been okay with that.

When I came up with this particular "general" schedule I did so with my sanity in mind. For my sanity I need a schedule... at least guidelines to tell me how my day is going to look. I don't do well with unstructured time. I hate looking back on my day and thinking - what the heck did I actually do today?! But, I do understand every day comes with it's own set of challenges - I have three children four and under - I need to be flexible. So today I didn't even pay attention to that sheet of paper. I didn't feel like it. I slept until I woke up, I ate a stack of pancakes with the kids, danced around the livingroom with the baby and Eve to "Liza Jane", went on a walk and laughed with the kids as they jumped in every single puddle (and kicked myself for not bringing the camera!!), talked with the neighbors who came barreling out of their houses to see the baby, answered a thousand questions from Eve regarding the "Classic" who is Dolly Parton( I love youtube!)...

"Do Classics get married, Mama?"

"Classics are very beautiful, aren't they Mama?"

"Why did the Classic hug that man?"

My day today has been filled to the brim with unscheduled life and I have enjoyed it very much. So while I firmly believe that for me having a schedule - albeit a loose one - is a very good thing, I need to be able to take life as it comes. Because sometimes watching my daughter sing her heart out to "Liza Jane" using a baster for a microphone could very well be the best part of my day. And that isn't on my schedule anywhere.

Meet David and Sam

These are my brothers... my very, very goofy brothers. Okay, so we're all goofy but they just aren't as pretty as me so their goofiness stands out more. Ha! David is on the left - he's a giant. Sam is on the right and he's, well, Sam.

The reason for this post is for me to moan and groan about how much I miss my brother David. He's active duty Air Force, like us, and stationed in Okinawa, Japan so I never get to see him. And I really miss him. A lot. Right now he's deployed to parts unknown, or at least not talked about in an open forum like this, working on jets. And I wish he wasn't. I wish he was sitting in my living room having a beer with Daniel, playing with the kids, cuddling the new baby, and I could be feeding him good home-cooked food. And I might tickle him every once in awhile just so I could hear his squeaky laugh.

I got an e-mail from him this morning and he sounds like he's doing really good, but the conditions he' s living in are... eh, not so good. As in camping type of conditions. And the food is horrid he says. I have a big bowl of meat marinating away in my fridge for beef jerky that has his name on it. And I might make up some caramel popcorn if I am feeling especially energized. It is his birthday in a few days, not that it would get to him in time, but the thought.... that's what counts right? If anyone would like his address to send him some goodies or a card just click on that e-mail me button on the left column of our blog and let me know. He's going to be there for awhile.

So, my dear brother whom I tortured for many, many years, I love you! I miss you! Eve misses you! Daniel misses you! Be safe! Come home and visit, would ya already! And bring me some of those beautiful Japanese dishes and a bottle of pineapple wine, pretty please!
Two Weeks

I find it hard to believe it has been two weeks already. How the time has flown. I look at Eliza's face and my heart clenches up with a deep love for her. I feel such joy simply in being her mother. And then, as if today her two week birthday could get any better - Eliza smiled at me. She was staring in my eyes, I was telling her how much I love her and she smiled. A big open mouthed, deeply dimpled smile. My heart soared.

I love hearing Judah say her name "Baby Liza Dove" as he calls her, to see him kiss her face and stroke her head. Eve is the perfect big sister - protective and loving, always on the alert, letting me know when Eliza needs a diaper change or if she starts to cry. She is convinced that Eliza says "hi" to her and I am loathe to correct her, so I don't.

There's a whole lot of love in our house. Daniel and I are deeper in love, it's amazing how having a baby does that, and the love the kids have for Eliza spills over to each other. It's a wonderful sight to see. Just so you know everything is not perfect - life continues to be life - but truly, I am so content. I simply can not think of a better way to describe how I feel at this point in my life. Content, satisfied, happy, rich. These are all words that I would use to tell you how I see myself. I am taking life a little slower, more determined, and with a greater appreciation for all that has been so generously given to me. I have loved every moment of these two weeks I have shared with Eliza. She's my beautiful reminder of God's love for me.
Monday is the Day
All the adoration and constant passing between many sets of loving arms at church today wore this girl out!

Tomorrow it begins. The war against my post-pregnancy body. I have learned, since giving birth to two other children, that my body hates me post-partum. What I have found is that while I don't gain a lot of weight during my pregnancy my body likes to put on the weight afterwards. How depressing is that?!

But I am determined that this time will be different. Because I am feeling nearly back to normal and my hormones are staying quite even - haven't shed a tear since I gave birth, and no bluesy feelings thanks to taking St. John's Wort, Chaste Tree and a couple of other supplements I get from a company called Standard Process - I am able to get back to my regular exercise routine of walking. I am so excited! My mom made me a Moby wrap which is where Eliza will go, while the other two will be in the double stroller. I have a three - sometimes four- mile route I have been walking religiously since Judah was about 5 months old - with the exception of these last few months. I am totally set to go!

I am really looking forward to getting back to my healthy normal weight, and doing it in a way I know works good for me. After I had Judah I kicked my own butt,( I had gained a lot of weight post-partum) and though it took me four months, I got to a really great place with my weight. What a huge victory it was for me! I am looking forward to being back in that place again, because besides wanting to be healthy, I just really miss my clothes.

So, if you see a red-headed woman plowing through the Vermont snow in the dead of winter with a double stroller stroller and a very determined look on her face, you'll know it's me.

January of last year
Peanut Butter Honey Milk Balls: A Recipe Especially for Kids
Though this is a very kid friendly recipe, I might secretly want to hoard them all for myself and never, ever share. But, since I do love my children, I share. If you are so inclined you can even have your kids help you make them. Eve helped me the other night and had a lot of fun. These peanut butter balls are a great source of protein and is easy to bring along for a snack on the go.

Honey Milk Balls

1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 cup dry milk powder
1 cup uncooked rolled oats

Mix it all together well. Shape into small balls.
Refrigerate. Makes about 2 dozen.

Variations: I sometimes use quick oats instead of the rolled oats. I also really love to chop up chocolate chips ( carob for the kids) and mix them in. The kids LOVE that! And sometimes I like to roll the balls in crushed graham crackers - makes them especially yummy! Enjoy!


She's Irresistible
Who can resist a baby girl in strawberry pants? Not anyone I know. They were drawn to Eliza like flies to honey. Me too.

Good-bye Mom...Hello 2008

My mom leaves tomorrow. And there is great fear in my heart. Will I be able to do this? I know I will be able to survive, but will I be able to accomplish it all well? I don't want to let my kids down by being grumpy from lack of sleep, or not have the energy to do the simple things like playing with them or perhaps even making dinner. Going to the store by myself with the kids... oh glory, that thought is just too much right now. Reality is coming and I face it with much fear and trepidation. But yet I am kind of excited too. I want and need to prove to myself that I can indeed do this. It may not always be pretty but I will accomplish it.
My mom has worked her can off while she's been here to make the transition easier. She's made meals- as in 84 of Barb's burritos for Daniel- along with many other meals to help me out on those tough days. She's done laundry and dishes and just generally taken care of us. It has been WONDERFUL. But it has to end.

We have four more months here, where Daniel usually works until 7:30 or 8 o'clock at night in a very stressful environment - that schedule and stress, I know, will slowly ruin me now with the three kids. It was exhausting enough with the two. But he recently committed to me to come home much earlier.... I only hope he really can. It's amazing the difference in knowing he'll be coming home a couple of hours earlier can make on my outlook. In my humble and non-official Air Force opinion he deserves a few months of not having to nearly kill himself - after four years of this job I think he should be able to ease up a bit. Except I don't know if he even remembers how to not work like a horse anymore. What I do know is his work ethic is incredible. But exhausting.

So, tomorrow my new year begins..... it holds a new baby, a major move, a girl entering kindergarten (oh my heart!), a husband starting a new job. So many huge life changes. I think I may need to "up" my sense of humor.... I have a feeling I am really going to need it.

Only by God's grace will I be victorious.
Using Words
Grumpy Eve

Eve has been a leeeeetle bit, shall we say, grumpy lately. I've seen a lot of grumpy faces, some sulking, and a bit of an attitude in the last week or so. This is so unlike my happy girl. But, we did just have a major life change so it is understandable. Last night Daniel and I sat down and had a talk with her. The faces, and general grumpiness needed to stop. We explained to her that it was okay to be grumpy, and it's okay to be mad or sad. We all feel this things at some point. But she needed to use words to tell us how she was feeling. We were thorough in our talk but left her room wondering if any of it got through to her.

Today I heard this from her after she was denied getting to do something she wanted to do:

"Mama, I'm having a rough day."

I gently corrected her saying that she was actually not having a rough day, she just didn't like to hear the word "no".

"But Mama, I really am having a tough day."

At least it was words, right?

Later she gave me one of her grumpy faces. I reminded her to use words. She came back into the livingroom a minute later and said:

"Mama, I'm feeling sad"

Yay! So much better! We could talk and I could empathize.

And a few more minutes later I hear her say:

"Mi-Mi, I'm feeling funny!"

Leaps and bounds in the right direction!

I think it is an important skill to teach my kids - using words. It will serve them well in their growing up and adult years. We want our kids to always be able to talk to us, and creating those communication skills and relationship starts now.

All I've heard from Judah today is:

"Ahshew, Mama" followed by a thumb sucking snuggle on my leg.

Translated: Love you, Mama
Pictures (Titles are not my strong point)
I don't know if you already know this, but in the case that you were unaware, please let me enlighten you... the breath of a baby one week and one day old is the sweetest smell on God's green earth.

"Does anyone notice that I have my eyes open?! Oh, and if you find my eyelashes or my eyebrows anywhere could you kindly give them back to me. I seem to have misplaced them."

Judah gave me the window of .45 second in which to take his picture with Eliza before saying: "Ahhh done, Mama!" and quickly exiting the scene.

I'm still flabbergasted that it took me a week to get a bow on Eliza's head. I adore baby girls with a bow... it completes my girl. I wish I had a box full of them; since I have just this one (for now) you can bet her outfits will be rotating around this bow's certain shade of pink.
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