Thursday, January 31, 2013

This Is Three

My boy is turning three tomorrow. Three.

For some reason, I see the turning from age two to age three as a quick sweep of all things baby. Simply gone. Vanished. Just like that. All of the small things that used to whisper baby, they are fading oh so quickly, melting away before my very eyes. That little baby face of his, it's being replaced with features that are more mature. That round baby belly that just last summer protruded over his swim trucks, it has thinned out & he is growing into the slender, muscular frame of a little boy. He's different. He looks different. He's growing up. His baby-ness is drifting further & further away, nearly gone as I type this. Three brings a whole new ballgame to town. Three has "kid" written all over it.

Three is independence. It is "No, I." {also known as "I'll do it myself."}

Three is a newfound love for Legos.

Three is imagination.

Three is dramatic & over the top. It is tantrums that make a momma's head spin.

Three is unsolicited I love you's.

Three is waking up to a little face at the side of my bed each morning.

Three is a mind that absorbs every bit of it's surroundings.

Three is funny.

Three is tender & needs to be "carried like a baby" up the stairs to bed each night.

Three is the question "Why?" a dozen times a day.

Three is a ninja kick off the couch.

Three is a scattered mess of action figures strewn across the house--Buzz Lightyear, Batman, Spiderman & the bad guys--which usually consist of weird McDonald's happymeal figurines that nobody has heard of.

Three is the alphabet & a chuckle because he sings "QRS, QRV" instead of "QRS, TUV".

Three is making new friends easily by marching right up & saying hello.

Three is action-packed & full of energy.

Three is a series of run on sentences that take great big gasps of air in order to complete.

Three is anything with wheels--motorcycles, cars, planes, trains, tractors, scooters, bikes, Power Wheels, ATV's, dirt bikes.

Three is being mindful of every word that rattles off my tongue, selecting my tone, being careful of my countenance--for it is being soaked up like a sponge & will be mimicked, repeated & replayed down the road.

Three is a peek into the kid that will soon be.

If I know my boy the way I think I do, I'm pretty sure that three is going to be an adventure. And even though it's my nature to want to dig my heels in & hold onto that little two year old hand for ever & ever, keeping his baby-ness frozen in time, another part of me burns with excitement-- to see his adventurous little life unfolding before my very eyes. He is the neatest kid & watching him grow up is one of the sweetest honors & privileges I have been blessed with in this life.

So today I will watch intently, his every move. I will listen to his funny sayings. I will try & memorize the small traces of the two year old that still linger in his being. I will carry him like a baby up the stairs to his bed tonight & when I sneak into his room for one last peek, I'll kiss & hug & tuck him in tight.  I'll watch the way he lays on his side, clutching Monkey close to him, while his left thumb falls loosely out the side of his mouth. I'll stand a little longer than I usually do, trying desperately to etch the very moment into my mind. And knowing me, I'll probably feel a small sinking in my heart, followed by a tear or two. I'll whisper one final good-bye to two & wait for morning when the great big shout of celebration will wake us, announcing...

This is Three.

February first marks a day of celebration in this house. And celebrate, we will.

Daddy's already started blowing up the balloons. That's my cue to get going on the streamers. 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Lulla Cate {Eight Months Old}

This girl is a hot mess.

There's just no sugar coating it, people. She is putting this ol' momma through the ringer. At only eight months old, she has come & nabbed up the Most Stubborn Chick title right out of my hands. And let me tell ya something-- she is owning that title like a little boss. 

She cries-- a lot. Like, every second of the day that she's not sleeping or being held. And no, she's not in pain. No, she's not hungry. No, she's not teething. No. No. No. She's rotten. Plain & simple. 

And if the regular I'm ticked off you'd better come pick me up cry isn't working quickly enough, girlfriend has discovered a new cry that that'll do the trick in a hurry--one that sounds like she is being physically harmed in the worst of ways. It's bad. And now that she's discovered it, there's no turning back. It's her go-to cry--even for the smallest of offenses. The other night a friend I went to college with, & her family {who Lulla had never met before} came over for dinner. When my friend spoke to Lulla, Lulla let the poor girl have it with the most blood curdling cry you've ever heard. How dare anyone speak to her?! Just the other evening, Jett let out a squeal that startled little sister & you guessed it--full on let loose of the lungs session. And the worst part of this cry? It makes Jett cry. Today Little Miss tipped over from a sitting position & that upset her royally, resulting in the usual gasping for air wailing bit. Before I even had a chance to pick her up & remedy the situation, Jett breaks into full tears & melt down of his own. When I asked Jett what was wrong, his reply-- "Sissy is scaring me!" Oh, mercy me. 

She's no easy baby. She's not laid back like everyone said the second child is supposed to be. She stands my nerves on end daily with that stubborn crying. And while I complain about it, while I laugh at the sweet red headed lady at the grocery store who says every single time we come in, how she could just take Lulla home with her, {all the while I'm thinking, Ha! You'd bring her back in a flash!}, while I get absolutely nothing done all day long except for making a dent in my couch by holding her--I just can't help but love this little stinker with all that I am.  

She's a mess, alright. But she's my mess. And I love her. Oh, how I love her.  And when she isn't crying with every ounce of might she's got in her, here's what she's doing at eight months old:

*Sitting up completely on her own.  Now, that doesn't mean I can go & leave her sitting by herself. Oh, no. I must sit with her. Because when she's all done, she throws herself backward--with force. I think it's her way of keeping Momma on a short leash.

*Her stranger anxiety is getting better. As in, she doesn't greet her grandparents & other familiar faces with a pouty bottom lip anymore. She smiles & laughs with them. She lets them hold her. She doesn't watch Momma's every move while she isn't in my arms.  She is making big strides, this one.

*She is coming around to the idea of baby food. For the first few weeks, girlfriend was not having it. She gagged. She cried. She pursed her lips. I tried fruits, veggies, cereals--she wanted no part of any of it. So I stopped trying to force it down her & we took a break from solids. Instead of stressing the both of us out, I figured the best thing I can do is follow her lead. She'll let me know when she's ready. I recently started introducing it again & she is slowly showing more interest--as long as she is the one holding the spoon, that is. Pears seem to be the fave for now. Pears, it is. 

*She waves hello & goodbye. At first I thought it was a fluke, but after a few times I realized she knows exactly what she's doing. She lights up & waves that little hand & gets so proud of herself when she does it. It is incredibly precious.

*Until just the past week or so, if she needed to get somewhere, she figured out she could roll & roll & roll until she reached it. But just here recently, she has begun stretching those chunky legs out & using her toes to push. She grunts. She reaches. Then she gets ticked & cries because she isn't going anywhere quick. Little does she know just how much progress she really is making. She'll be moving & shaking before we know it.  

*Brother is still the apple of her eye. She pulls his hair. She yanks his clothes. She laughs from the belly up when he walks into the room. She just can't get enough of him. And I can't get enough of that. 

She's feisty & stubborn, dramatic & over the top. And in all honesty, I wouldn't have her any other way.

Well, just a smidge less crying could be nice. But other than that, we'll keep her just the way she is.


And since I missed a seven month old post--here's a pic of miss Lulla Beans at seven months:

Who, me? Stirrin' up trouble? 

Friday, January 18, 2013


Jared & I finally, just last night, sat down & listed out the projects we want to get busy working on in our new home--a few things we want to spruce up & change to make this house a little more ours. Brighter, fresher paint colors throughout, a new master bedroom makeover, granite counter tops in the kitchen, a switcheroo that will move our laundry room upstairs & make the existing one a walk in pantry. 

Problem is, all of these jobs-- they're big--& they aren't going to just happen overnight. They're going to take lots of time & lots of money until we actually see them one by one, get checked off the list. And that's okay. I like to work towards results. I like long term goals. I like the feeling of seeing our hard work pay off in the end. I'm good with that. 

But I was needing a little something to get me out of my This-doesn't-feel-like-"home" funk. I was needing immediate gratification. 

So I did what I always do when I need some right now results.

I got my craft on.

X & O style, baby.

Valentine mantle: 
The X is from Hobby Lobby--It came unfinished & I painted it white--took about five minutes. Close enough to immediate for me!

The O is one of those straw wreaths that is covered in plastic {found in the greenery section at Hobby Lobby}. I found the cheapest red yarn I could & wrapped & wrapped & wrapped until it was completely covered. Ta-da!

I made the banner with burlap {I swear the stuff breeds. I have an unending pile of burlap in my craft room & I have no idea how it keeps growing}, red paint, jute string & hot glue. No sewing necessary. Right now results--that's what I'm talkin' about.

The mailboxes were inspiration from The Anderson Family Crew. I had the mailboxes from last year--they came from the Target dollar section--I bought a whole bunch of them...not sure if I thought at the time I'd be having like thirteen kids or something, but I bought a whole crapload of them. Four of them came in handy, anyways. I picked up the candle holders at Goodwill & Hobby Lobby & brought em' home & gave them a couple coats of black spray paint {Don't worry if you suck at spray painting--I do too. You can't tell unless you look really close}. I used my Cricut to cut out the letters, but you could easily use stickers, too.

Our annual Valentine tree. I love this little tree. It's pink. It's dripping in hearts. It makes me smile.

That husband of mine--he's still in the business of leaving love notes everyday. And he's just recently started doing it for Jett, too. Oh goodness, talk about an excited little boy come morning time. Jett searches around until he finds his yellow post it & proceeds to have me read it to him--again--& again--& again. By evening, he can recite word for word what it had said. It is so incredibly sweet. 

So since we're all about love notes around here, I figured we needed a love note station--a place where we can write back & forth to one another. I took an old frame that wasn't being used, sanded it down, painted it a pretty pop of color & there ya go--a little love note waiting to happen. It's already been used every single day since I put it out. I quite like it.  {And don't ask me where in the world I got January 20th. I took this photo two days ago--on the 16th. Whatever. Leave me alone.}

Remember this guy? What a meatball! And remember that xo shirt I made for him to wear? 

Well, I'm at it again. I had felt stashed in a drawer, a spool of yarn, some leftover fabric-- I figured surely there is something I can whip up. We shall see...

Whatta ya little craft session worked like a charm. I'm out of my funk. And now, I think I'll just sit right here in my cozy chair, with my festive feet kicked up & enjoy the view of the fruits of my labor.

Happy Friday


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

House On Kenwood

It was nothing fancy. It had cheap builder's grade carpet & gaudy brass fixtures. The linoleum was long overdue for an upgrade to tile & the back deck was begging for a new stain job. The cabinets were oak & from the day I laid eyes on them, I wanted to paint them white--but just never mustered up the courage.

It's funny, now that the house on Kenwood isn't ours anymore, those projects around the house that seemed to loom over my head & drive me absolutely nuts at times--they've come to mean nothing at all. Instead, when I picture that split level house with gray siding & black shutters, when I reflect to the place we called home for more than ten years, I see so much more...

I see Jared, calling me up at ten o'clock at night after he'd just looked at the house on Kenwood for the first time. For months we had been casually looking at houses & what we could afford was nothing more than--well,  junk.  I was in my last year of college & Jared was just a few months into his new entry level career, making our price range for homes pretty skimpy. But to my surprise, the call on this particular Fall evening was different than all the previous ones. Instead of the usual, "It was okay." or "Oh, you would have been so grossed out at the one I looked at today", I actually heard excitement. The house on Kenwood had just gone on the market, was only two years old, exactly the style we loved & was at a price {in our range} that our realtor knew wouldn't last until even the next morning. So Jared & his parents took a trip at ten o'clock that night to look at the house. After a quick call from Jared saying, "This is it, babe. I wish you could see it. You just have to trust me. It will be perfect for us. You'll love it.", he signed papers that night & by the weekend, we got the phone call saying it was ours. He was right. It was perfect for us. And I loved it at first sight.

I see a picture perfect engagement. It was November & I knew in my heart a proposal was on the horizon. I expected he'd be popping the question in the Spring--right around my birthday & just before my college graduation. We'd talked about marriage--about kids--about our future together. He had just bought a house. It was the obvious next step in our relationship. But honestly, it was the last thing I expected on this particular Friday night. When I pulled up to the house, Jared had the garage door open for me. This was typical of Jared--to make sure I'm all taken care of & I hardly thought anything of it. As I jumped out of my Jeep & began unloading my bags, I did, however, take note that he wasn't coming out to help me with my things. This was not typical of Jared. We'd been doing the long distance relationship thing for a year & a half at this point & come Friday night, we were always so eager to see each other. He was always usually busting down the door to get to me. I just figured maybe he didn't hear me pull in so I gathered my stuff & went in through the downstairs entry. It was a split entry house so all I could see were the first set of steps before me. I was greeted with ribbons of pink & in front of me dangled a card on one of the ribbons. I could see a few balloons sprinkled on the steps & landing up above, but I had yet to figure out he was up to something big. This kind of thing wasn't out of the ordinary for Jared. He's a hopeless romantic & has always done little things to surprise me. This was my first trip from school to the house on my own {every other time I had driven over with him} & I just assumed he was trying to make it special for me. Trying to welcome me "home" for the first time.  But then I pulled the card from the ribbon & begin to read:

Holly, we've been together for x amount of days, x amount of hours, x amount of minutes...

{Sorry, it's been a long time & I can't remember the exact numbers he had figured up & written out}. At this point, my hands began shaking & I knew. I was paralyzed. I could only stand still as still can be & shout from the bottom of the stairs, "Jared?!?!" He encouraged me to come on upstairs & as I did, I took in the view around me--hundreds & hundreds of pink balloons, candles lining every window sill, twinkle lights strung all over the every inch of the floor. He had no living room furniture just yet, so there was a lot of ground to cover--& it was completely covered--in pink, twinkly, beautiful perfectness. In the corner of the room he stood with flowers & a tiny little box in his hand. Moments later he was asking me to be his wife & I was saying, "Yes!" 

I see waking up one morning just a few days before our wedding to find the little flower bed around our birch tree out front, full of pink petunias. I had no clue where they had come from. I called Jared-- he didn't know, either. Come to find out, our neighbor, Melinda, had planted them as a pre-wedding present to us. To this day, I find that gesture to be one of the sweetest I have ever known. And every Spring following that first one, just as soon as the weather began to softly shift, I'd carefully choose the perkiest pink petunias I could find at the the flower nursery. I would take them home along with a bag of potting soil & spend an entire Saturday morning & afternoon under that birch tree, planting to my hearts desire. Those pink petunias were a so special to me--a reminder of precious neighbors. A reminder of the blessed day of our marriage.  

I see two little baby nurseries. One a soft hue of blue & the other a calm shade of cream. Jett's newborn outfit hanging on a hook in the corner & Lulla's baby tiara on a shelf above the changing table. I see countless nights spent rocking my babies close to my chest & the daydreams I envisioned as I gazed upon their angelic sleeping faces. The first days. The beginning of life as three...& then as four. Those little nurseries hold so many memories.

I see my pear tree in the back right corner of the yard--the one Jared & Jett planted for me for my very first Mother's Day & ended up killing that first year {who knew a tree could get TOO much water?}. But Jared replaced it with a new one & this one grew & bloomed & changed a beautiful shade of red in the Fall. I loved that tree. I got excited to see when had grown as tall as the fence line, when new branches began sprouting out, when tiny pears started to form. It was my tree & it held so much meaning to me.

I see driveway parties with our neighbors. Driveway parties were never planned, but there seemed to be something about a kiddie pool in the summer & a fire pit in the Fall that baited our neighbors-- hook, line & sinker-- to join us with their bag chairs for an entire evening on the front drive. We covered all sorts of subjects ranging from potty training to politics, but no matter the topic, we never had a dull evening lacking laughter. Neighbors became friends & friends became family on that driveway.

I see a cold, empty house--my last memory of the house on Kenwood. We went as a family just one final time to do a quick walk through & to say good-bye to the home that had served us well for so many years.  It was cold & dark & bare & as we looked around, it was impossible to find even a glimpse of us there anymore. I sat on the floor of the living room with Lulla & Jared held Jett in his arms.  As I looked up at the two of them, I noticed tears in Jett's eyes. His voice cracked as he said to us, "I sad. I want to go." At that point, the tears I'd been choking back from the moment I walked through the door bursted into hot streams down my face & I reassured Jett that it was okay to feel sad, that I feel sad, too. Honestly, I was right there with him--I wanted to just go. To get out of the house that was nothing more than just a skeleton of the home it once was. We got in the car, shut the garage to leave the house on Kenwood for the very last time & my heart ached with a pain that ran deep.

To be honest, leaving that home has been a little bit of a challenge for me--especially that first week. Our new home didn't feel like home yet & I found myself yearning to just go back to my little house on Kenwood. I wanted to shop at my usual little grocery store & I wanted to call my neighbor over for a coffee. I looked around at our new house which seemed much too big, with it's bare walls in colors of brown, medium brown & dark brown {I cannot wait to get a splash of color up in here} & I became overwhelmed at the fear that maybe it would never feel like home, not in the way the house on Kenwood did, anyways. All I could see was a place that didn't look like us. It mirrored the same skeleton of a home that had me bursting into tears just days prior & I was terrified I would never settle in. But lo & behold, the sun rose one morning & I had a strange pep in my step. At about the week & a half to two week mark, I started to make a turn for the better. I lit a candle, put up a photo of the kids, sprinkled some throw pillows on the couch & spouted off to the brown, medium brown & dark brown walls, "You & me? We're gonna tango here soon."

Jared says I'm a processor--that it takes me time to sort things out in my head--especially when it comes to the big scary, hairy word--change. He sensed my unsettledness without me ever uttering a word to him, but he knew also that as soon as I had time to process everything in my own time, that I'd come around. He's right. And I am just so thankful that he never questioned my brief periods of doubt as ungratefulness or unhappiness. He gets me & I am so glad he does.

Our house on Kenwood, it holds some of the most beautiful moments of our lives & one day down the road, when my heart isn't so sore to the touch, I'll be able to drive by it with a smile. I'll tell our kids about the evenings spent playing in that backyard & the unforgettable afternoons of walking through the door when bringing them home from the hospital.

But for right now, there are paint colors to pick out, family photos to hang on the walls, personal touches to be sprinkled here & there, neighbors to be greeted & most of all--memories to be made.

There's a house just dying to become a home--our home.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Christmas Catch-all

It was twinkly & bright, merry & magical--for the most part.

I vowed when I found out that we would be moving on December 27th, that I wouldn't let the move overshadow Christmas. I wanted to be caught up in carrying out favorite traditions--like baking sugar cookies & laying by the fire watching Christmas movies--not packing boxes & staring at bare walls. Jared put up lights on the outside of the house knowing full well that they'd have to be taken down the day following Christmas. And I spruced up the house the way I always do, even though I knew it would be short lived. We decided we weren't going to skimp on the details of Christmas 2012.

A Christmas Catch-all:

Crown Center Christmas with our great friends.
We ate greasy burgers at Fritz's, followed by watching our littles frolic & play underneath a heaven of twinkle lights. We had plans for ice skating but the kids could have cared less about it & chose rather, to jump & play atop the oversized wooden toys in the courtyard. Each of our children cried when it was time to leave & Jared & I, we couldn't help but smile. 'Cause when the kids cry at closing know it's been a good time.

Christmas chevron.
If you're the type to shudder at matchy-matchy-ness, you may want to look away now. I've got to coordinate their holiday clothing while I can still get away with it.

Family {heart}.

Christmas Eve.
We bake cookies. We crank carols. We put  Christmas Vacation & Elf  on repeat. We roll dough for cinnamon rolls. We deliver treats to neighbors. We snuggle into new jammies. And it is so, so good. Christmas Eve will forever be my favorite day of the entire Christmas season.

Cookies for Santa

I'm pretty sure these cinnamon rolls have become Jared's favorite part of Christmas. The man stands by the oven waiting for the timer to sound & before I even have time to whip up the icing, he has already polished off an entire pan. No lie.

This kid has no shame. He is so trying to snag Santa's cookie. Busted.

 Annual Christmas Eve jammies

Santa was here. 

Christmas morning.
The sleepy eyes. The anticipation. The bubbly excitement. I love being a momma--especially on Christmas morning.

Santa came through--with a piano.

And this photo because his wicked bedhead makes me laugh.

 Jared trying out his new Keurig

Lulla & her new dolly

 A "Super-Jett" costume

There were times our Christmas season got hectic. Scratch that. There were times it got down right crazy & I felt like the weight of the world was pressing on my chest. It was a lot--trying to be in the Christmas moments all while loading boxes & batting away the reminder that everything in our little comfort zone was about to be turned upside down, changed forever.

But we did it. And I may not be posting my Christmas blog until January 11th because it was indeed such an insane whirlwind of a time, but what matters is that I'm posting it. That amidst the busy-ness, the I'm-so-overwhelmed-I-feel-like-I-can't-breathe, chaotic times--there are still twinkly, bright, merry & magical memories to scribble into our memory book.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Settling In

Hiya! I can't write at length tonight but I did want to pop in & give a quick hello.

Goodness, it's been forever & ever since I've opened up happenings of our home on this here laptop. It turns out that moving out of our home & into a new one just two days after Christmas can prove to be a tad overwhelming. It has been physically & {at times} emotionally taxing. But we are settling in. Into a beautiful new home. Into a fresh new year. Into our old familiar routines.

I'll fill you in on everything, promise. Our Christmas, the big move, my reflection of the past 365 days, goals for 2013--I'll cover it all. Just bear with me. 

Be back in a few.