Friday, August 19, 2011

my present reality

I am usually a realist - not an optimist or a pessimist. Lately, though, I've been veering away from the middle and either dwelling in the land of pessimism or optimism. You, my blog readers, usually get to see Mrs. Optimist. I tend to blog on "good days" - days when my daughters take naps, when the crying is minimal, and my husband is home. I hardly ever blog on "bad days" - days when my husband is gone, my daughters skip their naps, and one spends a large part of her time in time-out. These "bad days" are often filled with tears, frantic calls to my husband or mom, and the simple prayers of life "please sleep," "please stop crying," and "please obey."

I'll be honest. The reality is:

  • Abigail is not a compliant child by nature. She willfully disobeys, especially when Hannah has a bad day and she's attention deprived. It is very difficult to discipline when Hannah is fussy all day long. I'm pretty sure I fail as a parent almost every hour.

  • Abigail is still having naptime accidents - everyday and sometimes on purpose. The whole potty process is still a struggle. She doesn't like to wipe and put her clothes back on afterwards. Usually, she either ends up crying, in time out, or both. Sigh.

  • Hannah has been VERY gassy and irritable. She wakes several times a night and has only gone 5+ hours between feedings a couple of times.

  • She does not sleep well during the day. I try the swing, sling, arms, rocking chair, pack n play, swaddle, no swaddle, name it.

  • The no dairy/coffee/caffeine isn't really working as well as I'd like. I really have no idea what's up. The nurse doesn't seem to think it's my milk, but it's got to be something, right?

  • So I'm left feeling like I should just stop eating all together and cut out corn, beans, broccoli, soy, dairy, sugar, spice,...the list goes on and on...

  •'s still a billion degrees down here in Texas. We're about to hit a summer record for most days over 100 degrees. I am anxiously awaiting cooler weather, so I can take my girls outside.

not to mention...

  • My husband travels close to 50% of the time - sometimes more and rarely less.

  • When he is home, he is stressed and consumed by work. He often has long evenings or dinner meetings when he's "home"

That's my reality. How do I respond to my reality? Good question. Sometimes I'm bitter and frustrated. Other times I am depressed and discouraged. I really do work hard to be thankful - thankful for a husband who loves me, two precious and beautiful girls, not to mention the God who rescued me from the grave and extends grace to me every day in spite of myself.

Someday I'll come out of this fog, and I pray I'm more like the Lord when that happens. Until then, I'm deep in the "mommy trenches of life".

Monday, August 15, 2011

a new photo challenge :)

Whew! It sure is hard to get a good picture of both of the girls.

So which one is your favorite?

"Mom, I think you've taken enough pictures!!"

happier girls

Rodney and I survived our 5 year wedding anniversary earlier this month. I say "survived" because our girls made our day a very memorable one. Rodney had been in Pennsylvania the three days leading up to our anniversary; they were some of my most challenging parenting days to date. Hannah was fussy, gassy, not sleeping well. And when the littlest one consumes more than 50% of my energy, the older one pushes the limits and skips her naps. Sigh. After many hours of crying, Hannah finally fell asleep around 4pm. We ordered take out Chinese and snuggled on the couch, enjoying a movie.

In many ways, it was a fitting 5 year anniversary celebration. At the end of a very LONG day, we laughed about our wedding, remembering how young and naive we were. Looking back we remembered how much we loved each other then and thanked God that we are are so blessed to love eachother even more now! I am so thankful that the Lord brought Rodney into my life. He is my best friend.

After several challenging days with a gassy, fussy baby, I decided to cut out dairy, chocolate and caffeine. Yes, this has been very difficult for me. I LOVE cheese, cappuccinos, milk, and Blue Bell ice cream. The two great benefits of cutting these foods out - a happy baby (the best benefit hands down) and post-partum weight loss (trying to look for the good in the situation). Hannah does seem less gassy and more content. So for the time being, I'm going to stick to a no dairy, chocolate, caffeine diet.

And since Hannah is happy and more content. so is Abigail:) Granted we still have our challenging days, and I most certainly have moments every day where I have to stop, breathe and send up a quick prayer to the Lord.

Here are some "happier" pictures of the girls.

By the way, I cut the butter and milk out of my cornbread recipe (subsituting canola oil and almond milk). The dairy-free cornbread made a nice addition to my chicken chili. I'm learning with some extra effort, dairy free is really quite manageable!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

lots of snuggle time

The past week flew by, and life with two girls grows easier by the day. I am thankful my husband is home from China, but his travel schedule I fear is back to what it was pre-Hannah. Abigail is becoming quite the grown up little helper, and I am thankful for her patience and comic relief, especially when Hannah is fussy (a given in the evenings). We spent a lot of time reading books and snuggling in bed while Rodney was away:)

In all honesty, it's easy to become frustrated and discouraged by Rodney's travel schedule. But I'm thankful when he is home and look for God's grace and blessings when he is away. Because when I look, I see that my days are full of his mercies, which are truly new every morning.

Hannah, will you have a flare for drama like your big sister?

Hannah is filling out and is starting to become quite a little chunk!

My girlfriend Sarah sent a couple of matching outfits for the girls. Silly me, I hadn't even begun to imagine how much fun it was going to be to dress not one but TWO little girls (who are quite adorable in my very biased opinion!).

the singer

I am thankful Abigail is such a mommy's girl; she sticks close by while I'm nursing Hannah. We keep busy and out of trouble by doing puzzles (like the cool giraffe puzzle daddy bought in China), singing songs and reading books!

a water bug

Abigail loves the water!

Quick translation: Abigail said, "I'm big sister!" And then she jumped into the pool:)