Thursday, May 26, 2011

birds, bubbles, and laughter...

Isabella and I have had a lot of fun this week watching the baby birds who are living in one of our front bushes. Well, actually it was living there until I had a sudden impulse to trim the bushes and scared them away. Trust me, I feel bad about it. Especially after I spent two days watching the mother robin tirelessly find bugs and worms for her little yeah, I connected with the bird, and we had a chat about how exhausting it is to always feed your kids, and they're always wanting more, and more, and more. But now she's holding a grudge because she had the most perfect and beautiful nest in our bush and just like that...poof!...she has to build a new one. I can only imagine how tired she is.

The birds have motivated Isaac to attempt to stand...

A couple nights ago all I wanted was for Isabella to go to bed. She was crabby and was falling to the floor crying about everything and she repeatedly asked me to blow bubbles with her outside and I kept saying no because I just really wanted her to go to bed. Finally I realized how unreasonable I was being and accepted the fact that she wasn't going to fall asleep at 8:30 p.m. like other magical children. So we blew bubbles, and I realized I was being a dumb and selfish mom by not giving in. It was all worth it just see how excited she and Isaac were over floating soap...

Isaac looks like a Nervous Nelly. I don't know why he always hold his leg up like that.

He's mastered smiling with his pacifier in his mouth...that takes skill.

Yesterday I realized that Isaac's foot has outgrown the palm of my hand.

The other thing that has made both of my children ridiculously happy: a pack of spiral straws that cost two dollars from Bed Bath and Beyond...

What Isabella doesn't know won't hurt her! Isaac felt like he hit the jackpot when he discovered Isabella's wand just waiting for him to play with while she took a nap...



"Mommy, I'm going out on the porch to make mud pies! See you later!"

I'm not kidding, she's spent hours mixing dirt and water, collecting more dirt, and pouring from one bucket to the next. All of this from the girl who wouldn't let a drop of food or paint or marker or anything else for that matter touch her skin or clothing. 

I promise she has other shoes.

Tired girl...

Isaac's all about waving at himself...

He's also all about sticking out his tongue...

Have I told you, I just love this girl so much...

Quotes from Isabella:

--Isaac loves taking a bath and he loves splashing. Isabella on the other hand, does not like splashing and does not like water on her face...
"Isaac, ISAAC, ISAAC STOP it!!"
"Isabella, please don't yell at your brother."
"But he's just splashing me and ruining this day the Lord has made." 

"Isaac, spell BIRD...obviously no response from Isaac...M-A-C."
"Isabella, that's not how you spell bird."
"Yes it is, it's just a different kind of bird."

"Bud, I just love you SO much!" 

"Mommy, did you know there's music in the air?"
"That's right! The birds, bugs, and trees all make music!"

"Daddy, you need to take this flower to work with you so that you can think of me."

"Everywhere I go people take pictures of me!"

Last week Isabella walked out of her room and proudly announced: 
"Mommy! I just found my favorite pair of underwear!"

"I prayed so daddy could fight Bowser."

A prayer in the car today:
"Lord, just make the storm go away so we can be safe."

"Isabella, why are you staring at me?"
"Oh, well, I was just checking to see if there are lots of dirty spiders on your face." Obviously.


13. Isabella on the porch making bird noises
14. heavy whipping cream making sauces extra special
15. Walter home for dinner
16. praying as a family
17. Isaac's curly hair
18. freshly mowed grass
19. the smell of dinner cooking
20. Isabella's prayers
21. kissing Walter
22. Isabella's conversations with Stella
23. Isaac pretending to talk on the phone (he presses the phone against his eye)
24. vacuum cleaners
25. seedlings peeking out of dirt
26. baby birds learning to fly
27. watching Isabella dance

Monday, May 23, 2011

Six years...

That's how long we've been married. Six years. Before I got married I thought that people who'd been married for six years were really old and really smart. Well, I'm definitely not old and definitely smarter in some ways and dumber in others. In the words of the un-sleep sleep study people, my college degree is invalidated since I haven't slept in a very long time and if you asked me to analyze a piece a literature I'd probably sound like an idiot. Oh well.

So anyway, Saturday was our anniversary and Isabella kept asking us if we were going to dance. No, in order for that to happen a really weird force would have to overtake your father because he refuses to dance...and if he did end up dancing I would probably pee my pants from laughing so hard. It actually turned out to be a very productive day. I decided to take my chances and risk my life to clean my car and the refrigerator. I'm shocked a wild animal didn't jump out and attack me. You don't even want to know all of the crap I pulled out of my car. Yeah, actually I'm too embarrassed to say, so let's just move on...

After risking my life cleaning, Walter insisted that I take a nap because let me tell you, one thing I didn't have six years ago was giant circles under my eyes. Well, I don't know how many years of sleep it will take to rid myself of these circles, so that's where some quality foundation comes to the rescue.

Maybe once a year I actually want to look, wear a dress nice. Isabella is always asking me why I don't want to wear a "most beautiful dress or skirt" like her. So I thought I would put on a dress for our dinner date, but I couldn't fine the one dress I own. Okay, plan B, a cute shirt my sister gave to me, which was already causing technical difficulties because it had a cute belt around the middle and I seriously couldn't figure the thing out. Well, when I thought I had it and Walter said it looked nice, a button popped off. Let me assure you, my voluptuous top half was not busting out of it...ugh, why is it so hard to find something cute to wear?! 

Well, it all worked out and a friend came over to watch the kids and we gladly and readily handed them over to her...thanks Michelle!

Before dinner we went to a park for a walk and an attempt to get a picture of the two of us together. We talked about how we've stuck together through some pretty rough stuff over the past year; how we couldn't imagine doing it without each other and as always, we're best friends and always have been. Probably a couple times a year we have an impromptu "marriage evaluation." It usually goes something like, is there anything I can do to be a better wife/husband. There are always things we need to work on and we don't always see eye to eye, but we always make it work.

My anniversary present this year:

day after sleep study...

-Walter, can you please get my pillow for me from the car. I forgot to bring it in.
-If you get it for me, it can be my anniversary present!

 The first picture is actually from October, and the next ones are from Saturday but they didn't really turn out.

(Walter really wants to kiss me in this one!)

Happy Anniversary! I love you!

12. Isabella spending countless hours on the porch making mud pies
13. clean sheets
14. Isaac learning to put the triangle in the shape sorter
15. Stella checking to make sure we brought both of her babies (Isaac and Isabella) home after we've been gone
16. Stella letting me know Isaac is awake
17. freshly ground coffee beans

Sunday, May 22, 2011

failed sleep study...

Isaac's ENT suggested we have a sleep study done and I reluctantly decided to follow through with it. I say reluctantly because I almost cancelled it several times. The truth of the matter is, I already know he doesn't sleep so what's the point. But I thought if nothing else, it would show if his jerking and snoring and restlessness is the cause of his lack of sleep instead of just being calorie intake, which is what everyone else is saying. Well, turns out it was pointless. 

Last Thursday, we packed everything up, I'd gotten Isabella all geared up and excited for a sleepover at my parent's house, and the only thing left to do was give Isaac a suppository. Too much information? Well, it's actually a pretty big part of this story. Isabella's been into hiding things lately. This includes, my mom's honey, which she hid in a corner by the hall closet and they found it a week later after much searching, Isaac's medicine, Isaac's food after I put it on the table and turn around to put his bib on, and last but not least, the box of suppositories. So I hunted and hunted and finally called my mom to see if she could pick some up for me so that I wouldn't have to get both kids out of the car in order to purchase one item. 

By this time I knew that I was going to have to wait until after Isaac's OT appointment to make him poop. So his belly was already full of poop and then he ate a bunch at OT and then we got back in the car and drove to our hang out spot so that we could wait until his sleep study appointment. I picked him up out of his car seat and he threw up all over me...nice. Clearly, he needed to poop and now we both smelled disgusting. Well, after the magic suppository, he pooped four times and lost half of his body weight (just kidding) and was happy as a clam, but I still smelled bad and was looking forward to getting to the sleep study so that I could change into my pajamas. Of course I only brought my grandpa's giant sweat shirt, that I stole, I mean, borrowed, the last time I was in Columbus, so that wouldn't go very well with the rest of my outfit. 

Finally, it was time to head to the sleep study place and as I pulled into a seemingly abandoned parking deck and building, I was starting to feel a little uneasy about the whole thing. Add to that, the shady elevator, and the two police officers who greeted me at the entrance of this deserted Cleveland Clinic building (seriously, you guys need a new location for your sleep study). We headed down a dark hall to a cruddy elevator and were taken to yet another deserted floor, where a man eventually greeted us and took us back to our room. As the tech was getting us situated he asked if Isaac "is a good sleeper." Um, I'm confused, would we be here if he was a good sleeper??? Weird. 

Eventually another tech came in the room and they started to hook Isaac up to a billion electrodes and a couple straps around his chest and then the glow worm thing on his toe (very official name) and apparently, that wasn't all of it because they were then planning to stick this long pronged thing in his nose with a hook that would go in his mouth...yet again, what planet are we on? The last I checked, no child on earth would tolerate such a thing. They assured me that other children let them do this...mmmhmm. They attempted to put it in place while he was awake and quickly said, "we'll come back after he falls asleep." Okay, sure, I'm positive that will work. 

Sure enough, about five minutes after he'd finally fallen asleep, at 11:00 p.m. they came in and tried to put this thing in his nose and mouth. If you think it worked you must live on the same planet as these crazy people. As you can imagine, unless you live on the crazy person planet, Isaac was screaming, thrashing about, arching, and pulling out the wires...exactly what they told me not to let him do. Yeah, that's right, they told me to not let my thirteen month old touch the very colorful and tempting wires. Okay, no problem. 

So I said, "that's enough, we're not doing the nose thing. He's hooked up to all of this other stuff, surely you can get something out of all of that."

Tech girl: "Are you saying you want to end the study?"
Me: "No, I'm saying he's not going to tolerate the thing in his nose and mouth. He needs to nurse and have his pacifier throughout the night, clearly that is not going to work with the nose thing."
Tech girl: "Well, we have to have the nose thing in, otherwise the study is invalidated."
Me: "So you're telling me that will all of this stuff he's hooked up to, the most important part is the nose piece?"
Tech girl: "Yes."
Me: "Well that's ridiculous. We're not doing that. I'll sign whatever consent form you want me to sign but we're not doing that."
Tech girl: "So you're cancelling the study."
Me: "I'm not cancelling the study, I don't want that put in his nose and mouth. What do you want me to sign?"
Tech girl: "Well, we have it on video that you're refusing."
Me: "Okay, fine."

They left and a few minutes later....

Tech girl: "The doctor is on the phone and would like to speak with you."
Me: "Okay, that's fine."

So, I talked with the doctor and ultimately decided we were ending the study. So at midnight they unhooked Isaac and he was a sticky mess and we were kicked out and thankfully escorted to our car by a police officer because this was a very lovely part of Cleveland. 

Seeing Isaac like this was quite unnerving and brought back way too many memories of this....

My main coping mechanism throughout this adventure was to just laugh. And at one point I couldn't stop laughing. Awkwardly enough, this happened while they were hooking Isaac up and wrapping up his head and I was laughing to the point of was all just too much. 


Thank you to everyone who decided to participate in the One Thousand Gifts challenge. I'm going to add a page to my blog and share them. 

6. lazy Sunday mornings
7. the silly things Isabella says
8. clean counters
9. Isaac's blue eyes
10. Walter's hand in mine
11. Isaac learning to point

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Eucharisteo. A challenge for you and for me...

I think there's a lot of unhappy people in the world. How could there not be--with tornadoes and tsunamis, death of loved ones, medical conditions that can't be beat and that doesn't include the day to day stuff. The stuff that makes you worry about tomorrow when really, tomorrow doesn't even exist. You never know, tomorrow may never happen. When you think of it that way, or at least when I think of it that way, all of this worry seems pointless. And it's definitely getting in the way of living the day that we have. I spend a lot of time thinking about Isaac, planning his next appointment, figuring out where we're going to go from here, gearing up for the next feeding, which may or may not be pleasant. On top of that, I don't think I've had three hours of consecutive sleep since Isaac was born. It's rough. And sometimes I lose perspective. I lose perspective about what I have to be thankful for; I lose perspective about why we have to go to all of this trouble just to feed Isaac; I lose perspective in that I forget that this won't last forever. 

As I mentioned last week, I'm reading a really great book. I literally can't stop thinking about this book and it's changing and enhancing the way that I think about my life and my daily goal to live in the moment. The book is called, One Thousand Gifts: a dare to live fully right where you are by Ann Voskamp. As a photographer, I see life in pictures. It sounds weird, but I'm almost always framing a shot in my head. It's kind of like if you've ever played a video game for one too many hours and then you dream you're in the video game. I've always thought, if only I could travel somewhere really beautiful so that I could take really beautiful pictures. That's crazy! Because I have that here and now, and all I have to do is step out my back door.

I didn't know what reviewers were talking about when they said that a lens made "creamy bokeh", well, I know what bokeh is, but creamy, really? Until I bought a pro lens. This my friends, is creamy...

So back to this book. The author has been through some pretty rough stuff and grieved some heavy losses and she's on a journey of living in the moment and of living a life of thankfulness despite all of the crap that's happened and in turn letting that thankfulness teach you how to get closer to God. C.S. Lewis wrote that "If you think of this world as a place intended simply for our happiness, you find it quite intolerable: think of it as a place of training and correction and it's not so bad." Bottom line, each one of us has something to be thankful for  

Voscamp writes:

For years, I have pulled the covers up over my head, dreading to begin another day I'd be bound to just wreck. Years, I lie listening to the taunt of names wringing off my interior walls, ones from the past that never drifted far and away: Loser. Mess. Failure. They are signs nailed overhead, nailed through me, naming me. [...] I wake to self hatred. To the wrestle to get it all done, the relentless anxiety that I am failing. Always, the failing. I yell at the children, fester with bitterness, forget doctor appointments, lose library books, live selfishly, skip prayer, complain, go to bed too late, neglect cleaning the toilets. I live tired. Afraid. Anxious. Weary. Years, I feel it in the veins, the pulsing of ruptured hopes. Would I ever be enough, find enough, do enough? 

Throughout the following pages she discovers what we need to grasp before we can fully live...

The act of sacrificing thank offerings to God--even for the bread and cup of cost, for cancer and crucifixion--this prepares the way for God to show us His fullest salvation from bitter, anagry, resentful lives and from all sin that estranges us from Him. At the Eucharist, Christ breaks His heart to heal ours--Christ, the complete accomplishment of our salvation. And the miracle eucharisteo never ends: thanksgiving is what precedes the miracle of that salvation being fully worked out in our lives. Thanksgiving--giving thanks in everything--is what prepares the way for salvation's whole restoration. Our salvation in Christ is real, yet the completeness of that salvation is not fully realized in a life until the life realizes the need to give thanks. In everything?

Yes, "in everything". A friend suggested to Voscamp that she make a list of one thousand things she is thankful for. Through this seemingly trivial task, Voskamp learned that the act of writing down the list and savoring the every day that she may have passed up if she weren't making her list, led her to receive God's gifts and drive out discontent. Furthermore, "life change comes when we receive life with thanks and ask for nothing to change." 

With all of that said, here's my challenge for you and for me: let's write our own lists of one thousands gifts. I know, it may sound like a lot, but we don't have to do it all at once. I'll share my daily lists in my blog posts and if you want to participate, you can send an email to me, leave a comment on the blog, or a comment on Facebook. I can start a blog page that includes our lists. I have no idea how long it will take but I think it will be fun! 

1. fluffy white clouds
2. dogwood blooms
3. burying my head in Stella's fur
4. isabella's laugh
5. sun rays breaking through the clouds

And what I'm really thankful for at the moment, is that Isaac finally fell asleep. We're at his sleep study right now and in a few minutes come in a stick this thing up his nose and then he'll wake up. What kind of sleep study is that? 

Sweet dreams and happy list making!


yep, they just got here, so sleep should end..right about now...

Friday, May 13, 2011

one day at a time...

At the moment I'm feeling particularly discouraged with Isaac's feeding issues. Yes, we've made some really fabulous progress and he's steadily gaining. But feeding him this week really sucked because he didn't want any part in it and that makes my day quite unpleasant. Walter's also been working extremely long hours so the kids and I have been on our own quite a bit the last couple weeks.

On a happier note, Isaac is up to 14 pounds 13 ounces! And the drool is still at a minimum which has cut back on his laundry--always a good thing. Trying to focus on the positive.

My friend has a rototiller and thankfully offered to rototill our garden--thank you Linda and Michael, it looks amazing! Isabella and I have spent a fair amount of time in the dirt. We've only done this in spurts because Isaac doesn't think it's nearly as fun as we do.

Until about a year ago, Stella wasn't afraid of storms. Now she shakes like a leaf throughout the whole thing and imagine a forty pound, long haired fur ball trying to curl up in my lap...yeah, it doesn't work out so well. The other day, she was so scared she had to go to the bathroom with me. 

The Akron Symphony perfromed a children's concert this week so we joined a friend and enjoyed the show! Here's Isabella and Kendall showing off their dance moves...

At one point I said to Isabella, "do you see that girl is wearing ballet slippers?" And she nodded her head with the cutest little grin and because I'm such a sappy mom, I got tears in my eyes because man does that girl love ballet. I sent in her ballet registration for the fall class and I'm planning on getting ballet slippers for her birthday present. I expect that she will be very excited!


While we were planting I heard some kids in our woods and was quite angry. And because I'm a first-born child, bossiness comes with my nature and I have no problem yelling at people who are doing something they shouldn't. So of course I ran after them and yelled that they'd better not come back or I'd call the police (and send my dog after them).

By the way, yes, Isabella's hair looks greasy and disgusting. Don't worry, I washed it, which caused a lot of screaming. So much screaming that Isaac just sat with a look of awe on his face. Mom, I need you to cut her hair!!!

Isabella and I agreed that it's much easier to work in the garden while barefoot.

As many of you know, I'm working on getting my photography business up and running. It's exciting but also a lot of work! I'll let you know when my website is ready but until then, if you're interested in spring or summer pictures of your kids and/or family, send an email, message me on Facebook, or leave a comment on the blog and I'll get in touch with you!

I'm excited about my next blog post because I have challenge for all of my readers...until next time...