Friday, March 10, 2017

Gonna Try Something New

Guys, I love to write. There's this ferocious beauty to bending the written word to your will. There's something sacred about recording life within prose. It's downright magical.

Ironically, I have the darnedest time sitting down to write anything of substance. I feel like I've been running on empty for awhile. My creativity has been lackluster.

Then one day I just sort of woke up. Actually, it was a text from Esquire highlighting two women's campaigns. One was for body positivity at any size or shape and the other was about having a healthy, strong, fit body. I realized that I don't want to settle. This idea that we have to passively accept our body the way it is can be freeing in some ways. I have Charcot Marie Toothe disease, but I love my body anyway. Still, I don't buy the idea that my body is optimal no matter how I treat it. I can love my body and strive to make it the better than before. I get ONE body and ONE life. I don't want to settle for a body or an imagination that's just on autopilot.

So, I've started going to the gym. I've started trying to find things that spark my creativity. I'm taking videos of my kids and putting them together into bite-size clips of their day. I'm taking more photos capturing the moments that matter. I'm taking some online photography courses.

I'm starting to feel that tingly feeling again. The one that says the world is full of wonder and magic.
It's a heady feeling.

Here is a short video from our day today. You can check out my YouTube channel in the future for snippets. Hope you enjoy a glimpse at our day.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Ellie Meets Some Horses

I try to take Ellie (and now Liam too) once or twice a year to visit my two sisters and my brother-in-law that all live in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex (DFW). Our latest visit a few weeks ago was full of noteworthy stuff (a stomach virus! Ellie meeting horses! Liam meeting his grandparents and great grandmother!). I decided to post about our trip a little at a time so that there's not an overload of information. If you get sick of reading about our trip to DFW, don't worry...our trip to Louisiana to visit E's family is coming up after this!

While we were visiting, my sister Jodi bought a gorgeous palomino mare named Summer. Jodi kept the pretty little mare for a few nights at her friend Maddie's horse facility until she could transport Summer to West Texas. Ellie was so excited that Jodi let us tag along to check on her new pony.

We stopped by the barn to say hello to Maddie's yearling Flynn and talk to the woman who was in charge of feeding the horses that week. Flynn was sweet for such a young guy. Ellie still talks about him and his toy apple!
 Next we marched on over to see Jodi's horse Summer. Ellie wasn't certain about Summer at first, but Jodi reassured her by showing her Summer's mane and letting Ellie pet Summer.
 Our last stop was the pasture on our way off the property. Maddie's little miniature horses were rather adorable and much more Ellie's size! She didn't seem nearly as intimidated by them as she was the larger horses.
Thanks for the fun time, Jodi! Ellie still talks about meeting the horses almost every day. She'll be begging to go again next time we head your way for a visit!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Meeting Your Best Friend

Meeting your best friend only happens once for most people, but if you consider your siblings to be your best friends then some people get a few opportunities! I remember very vividly meeting my little sister Jodi when I was only eighteen months old. My dad drove me to the hospital that was about an hour from our home in West Texas. I remember getting out of the car and holding his hand as we walked into the stark hospital building. We walked into the room and my mom was sitting in the bed with my little sister. After proper introductions, my parents let me sit in a chair and hold my new little sister. IT WAS AWESOME!

I really thought about meeting Jodi when I thought about how I wanted Ellie to meet Liam, but ultimately the crazy Texas storms that were rolling through Houston dictated their introduction. Esquire and I hired the lovely Crystal of Gilded Sun Photography to take photos of this special moment.

Since the flooding in April, we've been incredibly blessed by my aunt and uncle opening up their home to us while our house is being rebuilt. My wonderful aunt watched Ellie for us when we were at the hospital with Liam. We coordinated with Crystal to meet us at my aunt's house when we were released from the hospital. Esquire stayed in the car with Liam while I went in and loved on Ellie.

We called Esquire to bring in Liam and Ellie finally got to meet her little brother.

Just press play!

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Liam: The Calm

Liam has been a pleasant surprise even before he was born. I was horribly ill my entire pregnancy with Ellie. No one really seemed to understand how ill I was with her. I kept hearing “It’ll get better in the second trimester” and “Oh yeah, I had morning sickness and threw up a few times when I was pregnant too” but I had severe nausea all day every day. I threw up anywhere from one or two times a day on my REALLY good days but it wasn’t unusual to throw up ten to fifteen times on a lot of days. I struggled to keep any food or drink down. Thankfully, I had really understanding employers and Esquire was a really good nurse in the evenings.

Yawning...not crying!
I finally broke down and started taking Zofran in my second trimester. I had to call into work because I literally couldn’t move without throwing up. I couldn’t walk two steps without throwing up and I knew I wouldn’t make it through the ten-minute drive to the house where I was a nanny. Zofran was a game changer for me. While I still had lots of nausea and vomiting, I could manage to keep more things down and on the really bad days it seemed to take the edge off. Still, I was ill until the day I delivered my sweet little girl. As soon as she was born, I remember being like “BRING ME A CHEESEBURGER!”
My brother-in-law brought me a bean burrito from Taco Bell that I scarfed down like a starving street dog. Zero nausea! Hurray!

With Liam, I had what I would say was ridiculously mild morning sickness compared to Ellie. I think I threw up twice the whole time. During the second trimester, my nausea faded away and I was able to function like a normal human. It was glorious.

With Ellie, she would press her tiny little baby booty up against the side of my stomach and push with all her might. It got to be so painful that I started using ice packs on my stomach to make her uncomfortable so she would move out of that position. Liam was a dream. Calm, quiet, didn’t try any crazy gymnastics or circus routines.

My labor with Ellie was from 7 am to midnight. Liam was more like midnight to 6:30 am…and I wasn’t even sure it was “real labor” until around 2:00 am!

Ellie screamed bloody murder a large portion of the day for the first year of her life. Liam’s days are napping with small breaks to fuss quietly if his diaper is full or he’s hungry. 

Photo of Ellie courtesy of Gilded Sun Photography
It feels surreal. I was trying to prepare myself for another baby that cried and screamed nonstop, but this quiet little chipmunk is just what I needed. I loved Ellie as a baby (and even enjoyed her!), but I'm enjoying Liam's infancy so much more. I'm so grateful for this little guy!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Flood Post

I woke up that Monday morning to the soothing sounds of a rain storm. When Esquire came into the bedroom he was practically humming with energy. Since my sweet husband is not generally a morning person, his energy level didn’t make sense until he quickly showed me a photo of our slightly flooded street.

Ellie and I got up and marveled at the view from our front door for a few minutes, but it quickly became apparent that the water was rising at an alarming rate. Esquire told me to think about what was important enough to save if the house flooded. I started brainstorming and packing irreplaceable things like hard drives and hard copies of photos, certain toys of Ellie’s that she would be upset to lose, diapers, a couple of changes of clothes, and family heirlooms into bags that would be easy to carry.

We called E’s uncle who had his house flooded a few years ago during one of Houston’s big storms. He suggested elevating our couches using soup cans. We went to work putting cans under the feet of our couches, raising our coffee table and the wooden play kitchen set my father made on card tables or other tables with metal legs. Anything else we wanted to save, we put up as high up as we could on the kitchen table or built-in cabinets.

We were frequently checking the water level as it quickly crept closer to our house. It quickly went from this:

To this:

Esquire called his old roommate and the conversation as I heard it went something like this:

“Hey buddy. Did you ever buy those kayaks you were talking about?”
“Well, how would you like to use them to come rescue us?”
“No, seriously. No, your truck won’t make it. I’m actually not sure you can even get close enough to kayak in.”
“Okay, well if you can get here safely, we’d really appreciate it.”

Esquire’s buddy and his wife showed up about an hour and a half later and just in the nick of time. They kayaked up to our front door and we hauled their kayaks into the front hall. Water was already covering most of the living room and the hall leading from the back of the house to the living room.

The guys made about five trips down this waterway that used to be our street.

After they got all of our stuff out, Ellie and I waited with Hannah in her car while the men spent a few hours hauling stranded people out of their houses. This mother was stuck with a three year old and a week old baby while her husband was away at military training.

It ended up over the next few days rising to about a foot deep in parts of our house, but we were lucky compared to some of the other people in our neighborhood. Some houses had water three to four feet deep when we left on Monday. Ellie gets excited whenever she sees pictures of the kayaks. Thankfully, she seems to remember it as a great adventure.

Ellie visiting with Daddy while he takes a break from kayaking

Our house is undergoing a major renovation because of all the flood water. The type of water is considered Category Three (or Cat 3) water...which is basically sewage. I'm going to post pictures of the work soon. Our little house is going to be so gorgeous when it's finally finished!

We're so grateful for Blake and Hannah's superb kayak rescue service. I'm hoping it's the only time we'll need to be kayaked out of our house! Seriously...thank you, Blake and Hannah! You guys turned a potentially scary day into a funny story that we can share with a grin.
Blake and Hannah

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Father's Day

To My Dearest Husband on Father’s Day,

I’m writing you this open letter because I want to share with you some of the things that I’ve been thinking about lately and I want to share it with those that know you (either from this blog or in person) because I want them to know why I think you’ve become a great dad.

It’s no secret that I think you’re a much better dad today than when Ellie was first born. To be fair, I am a much better mother than I used to be too. Let’s call it “character development”. Hehe.
I’ve watched you become more selfless and loving towards Ellie over the course of the last two and a half years. Watching you now with Ellie and Liam, I’m so glad that I married you on that cool December night almost four years ago and so grateful that our plans to wait several years to have children were not realized.

One of the biggest things that I’ve noticed is how much patience you have now. You face things with a level head and a calm countenance much more often. Whether it’s because you understand the reasons and motives behind our darling kiddos shenanigans or because you think you have a shot at sainthood status, either way I’m glad that you can be the calm place far more often than when we started this parenting journey together.

You have become more intentional in your approach to parenting lately and I’m grateful every day for it. Parenting Ellie as an infant and young toddler seems a tad different than this little lady who is full of big words and bigger emotions. I’m glad that you’re aware of the important place you hold in her life and how your words and actions now will impact her entire life. It makes me so happy when you bring up the latest issue we’re dealing with and discuss what you think is a good solution. It lets me know that you are dedicated to being the best dad you can be to our kids.

Hand in hand with your intentionality comes an attitude of thoughtfulness towards Ellie in particular. She loves when you make her a blanket fort, take her swimming, take her for a ride with you in the “fun, fast, white car”, let her type on the computer so she can feel “big like Daddy”, or buy her a Frozen placemat because you know how much she loves Frozen. I love that you think about her happiness and spend the time to make great memories with her. I don’t think I have to tell you how much my heart melts watching you dance with her (especially to Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud” music video). I melt into a puddle just watching the way you two love each other’s company.

Happy Father’s Day. I’m so glad that Ellie and Liam get to call you Daddy.

All My Love,