December 5, 2008

525,600 minutes

i've been trying to write this post all week now, and every time i sit down i get too emotional. my baby boy celebrated his first birthday on monday. notice i didn't say that i celebrated. of course we had a party, but i feel more like i'm in mourning than anything else. where has the time gone? how is it that an entire year has gone by and i feel like it's been a matter of days?

it's odd how it can feel like he's been a part of our family forever, yet it also seems that just yesterday he was still growing inside of me. last christmas he was less than 4 weeks old. up all night and sleeping all day, and completely unaware of what was happening around him. this year is a real person- complete with talking, giggling, excitement over christmas decorations and almost walking on his own. i know by christmas morning he'll be waddling around independently getting into even more than he does now. of course i love watching him grow and learn and change, but i can't help but be sad that i'm losing my baby. i think the best way to cheer myself up and celebrate his first year is to post a few favorite pics and memories.
#1: the day he was born- god had blessed us beyond measure with another healthy, beautiful baby. i remember thinking it was appropriate that he came in december because he looked like a little elf baby. he had one pointy ear and was red as a christmas ball. #2: his relationship with lorelei- truly, we could not be more blessed by the way she adores her brother. not one moment of jealousy- she has been nothing but protective and loving to him from the very beginning, and he is crazy about her too!
#3: grins and giggles. his sweet laugh is so manly and contagious!

#4: best friends. here he is with cade (born in june) and hollyn (april)

#5: bath time- this was such fun before he started trying to stand up and climb out. notice the matching faux-hawks. #6: time with grandparents- here are the kids with grandaddy, who moved to hewitt with mimi in may. we now have all 3 amazing sets of grands in town, and we love them dearly!
#7: this face- kissing that sweet mouth is worth it- no matter how much drool i encounter.
#8: teeth- getting them is no fun, but they sure do make a sweet smile!
#9: family dedication- both kids were great on stage, and it's great to know people are praying for us as we teach our children about jesus.
#10: chunky monkey- i cherish every roll and crease on my precious boy, and this was even the theme for his birthday party!

happy birthday, baby!

November 26, 2008

a few of my favorite things

okay- i've been tagged at least twice now, and i need to get to it.

8 TV shows I love to watch:
1. house
2. one tree hill
3. how i met your mother
4. gray's anatomy
5. smallville
6. private practice
7. the office
8. friends- always!

8 favorite restaurants:
1. cheesecake factory
2. carino's
3. cheddars
4. schmaltz
5. on the border
6. chili's
7. logan's
8. little mexico (in temple)

8 things that happened today:
1. did some housework (don't ask me what- i've already forgotten)
2. went to the grocery store in the crazy thanksgiving rush
3. had lunch at my mom's
4. took everett to see mimi
5. took lorelei to see high school musical 3- and it was fabulous!
6. decorated cookies to look like turkeys
7. hung out with my in-laws and had lots of fun
8. shopped for a new free phone online

8 Things I am Looking Forward to:
1. everett's first birthday party
2. the wedding of my cousin wendy and her fiance' dave
3. returning to teaching middle or high school someday
4. christmas shopping, songs, eggnog and decorations
5. the birth of my nephew wallace in march
6. healthy babies for my sister and preggo friends
7. the days when each of my kids accept christ
8. the day i get to fall alseep at night without 2 baby monitors in my room

8 Things on My Wishlist:
1. lorelei completely getting past her sleep issues for good
2. a weekend away with jeremy
3. baby watwood #2
4. more time with my girlfriends
5. to take a cake decorating class
6. to slow time and be able to enjoy every minute of my kids' "babyhood"
7. a new fm transmitter for my ipod
8. new clothes that fit and don't have formula stains

***i have no one to tag b/c they have all been tagged already.

November 18, 2008

i'm so excited!

finally, after almost 4 years of being a mother, i'm going to be an aunt! twice! my brother and sister-in-law robert and leslie are getting ready to welcome a sweet baby boy in early march, and i can't wait. then, in june, my sister and brother-in-law stephanie and ryan will be having their first child as well.

leslie and robert

i'm just about to pop with excitement, and i'm saying multiple prayers a day for healthy pregnancies and babies. i have to say that i have selfishly decided that i might like it if steph and ryan have a girl so that lorelei won't be the only one in the family. i feel that i can safely announce my desire because the day my sister found out i was pregnant the first time she put in her request for a niece. she said she wouldn't know what to do with a boy. so- i suppose i'm returning the favor now. somebody really needs to wear all the frilly little clothes in have boxed up in my attic.

ryan, stephie and lorelei ( 2 yrs. ago)

being an aunt sounds great because you get to spoil the babies, cuddle them, then send them home with their parents. but- i must say that i have alot to live up to in this department. my kids have 3 aunts and 4 uncles, and they are all amazing. they go above and beyond in so many ways, and my children can't wait to see them any time they come to visit. i suppose their extra time, patience and consideration for lu and rett has come naturally to them because they just love them so much. praise the lord for that! so- i know i won't have a problem falling in love with these 2 babies, as the infatuation has already begun just from seeing ultrasound pictures. i guess the rest of the "aunting" will just fall into place once i get to kiss their little button noses and hear their giggles and gurgles.

i also have 3 other dear friends due in the month of june, so it will be a big month around here. here's to getting babies to love without having to endure pregnancy and childbirth!

November 6, 2008

a pirate's life for me

i'm on a blogging roll today. i'm about typed out, but i had to share pics of my halloween cuties before christmas gets here. here's my tinkerbelle chasing a butterfly with friend sophie (ariel):

and here's our captain hook:

almost doesn't count

my sweet friend kylie "photo tagged" me so long ago that i had to go to her archives to find the blog where she stated the instructions. i almost responded to the challenge immediately, but didn't get to it then- or in the next couple of weeks that followed.

so here i am. rising to the occasion. finally. whoever coined the phrase "better late than never" must have been thinking of me because on any given day i could say that about myself more than once. anyway, on with the show. the instructions were to go to your 6th picture photo, find the sixth picture, and write about it. then tag 5 other people. i have to admit that i am so unorganized that on my desktop alone there are actually 6 folders that contain some type of unsorted, random photos- so here's what i found:

i realize that this picture desperately needs to be cropped, but i don't know how to do that on here. stop laughing- i'm still new to the blogging scene. anyway, there is beautiful scenery in the background.

this was taken last april on pacific beach in san diego. although i haven't framed it- or even printed it for that matter- it is no doubt precious to me. first of all because of the subjects involved. seeing my sweet husband jeremy holding my precious blessing lorelei on her first ever trip to the beach just makes my heart flutter. i adore that man and all the ways that he enriches my life and the lives of our children with his presence. as i write this, he is working late and i am missing him. lorelei had such fun on the beach that day, but the water was so cold that it scared her. her daddy, her hero, wasn't going to let her miss the experience of standing in the ocean with the waves crashing around her- so he carried her. safe from the frigid water temperature and snug in her daddy's arms, she was having a great adventure.

i also love this memory because san diego has such a special place in my heart. if i could live anywhere other than here- or possibly manhattan- san diego would definitely be the place. we've been vacationing there since i was a small child, and the smell of the ocean water is like valium to my soul.

the final reason why this trip meant the world to me was because we were there for my sister's wedding. this was the second time she had gotten married. in the one year. to the same man. i know what you're thinking, "mandy, you got some 'splainin' to do." stephanie and ryan were married in a small, beautiful, backyard wedding in july of 2007. though they had planned to marry later that year in a ceremony filled with family and friends from across the globe, they decided to move the wedding up because ryan is an officer in the marines, and he was being deployed to iraq in august. her returned home safely (praise god!) 8 months later, and we traveled back to SD to be present as they celebrated their incredible love story with the wedding of their dreams.

everything about that trip was great fun, and i can't think of a better memory than one filled with the people i love, in a place that i love, experiencing new things and celebrating together! thanks for tagging me, kylie. and i now tag jill, alison, tiffany, kyna and the forrest family.

October 21, 2008

oh midway high forever

last weekend was my 10 year high school reunion. i was actually able to set fairly low expectations- thanks in part to the reflections in my last blog- and i have to say i was not disappointed. honestly, the highlight of the weekend was having so many of my friends here at one time. tiffany, one of my bff's since 3rd grade, and her sweet husband steven came and spent the whole weekend at our house while the kids were sleeping away with their grandparents. friday night before the football game 10 of us got together for pizza at my house and i just loved looking around the room seeing the faces of those who were so important to me in high school and remain the true staples of my life today. we were then off for a whirlwind weekend full of conversations with old friends. it was really fun to catch up and see how people were and what they are doing now. i have to say that there weren't many huge changes- at least not in the people who showed up. most people still looked about the same, but i did really enjoy seeing their children at the family picnic we had on saturday.

that night was the big event, and i enjoyed having a reason to get dressed up. there were people i definitely missed seeing, but for the most part i had 4 hours of fun while my dear husband endured 4 hours of slow torture. he was such a trooper, though. not one complaint all weekend. even when tif and i were up until 2:00 am both nights reliving our high school experience through year books, old pictures, and a box of notes i dug up at my mom's house.

did i mention in my last blog not only my tendency to idealize the future but also to romanticize the past? i mean, i love, love, love my life now as a wife and a mother, but it have to say that inside i still don't feel like a "gown-up." when lorelei was learning to speak, she couldn't say grown-up so she instead used the word "grumps." i've gotta say that the life i lived 10 years ago still feels like yesterday in some respects, and as much as i wouldn't ever trade what i have now to go back there, i don't know that i'm ready to be a "grump" either. =

so is there anything i really miss about high school? other than panther football season, of course? sure. i miss having my friends like tif, marc and alison a few streets away instead of out of reach for real daily contact. though i don't really miss the drama and insecurities that are common for teenagers, i do sometimes think of the freedom that i had then to make all the decisions (and mistakes) i wanted based solely on my emotions and the way i felt that day because they didn't affect anyone but me. i also know i was busy then, but my whole calendar was filled with things that i wanted to do instead of the busyness i have now that relates to cleaning, laundry and diaper changing.

the point is- it was fun acting like the 16 year old version of myself this weekend and catching up with people who made those times so turbulent and exciting, but today i am glad to wake up back in my current life filled with little voices, big smiles, a handsome husband and yes- even a diaper or two!

October 13, 2008

where the green grass grows

i am not a pessimist, an optimist or a realist. i am the worst kind of "ist" a person can be. i am an idealist. that means that i tend to build things up- like people, events or projects to be so grand in my mind that the real thing can never live up to my dream. then, i am ultimately disappointed and find myself often giving in to the "grass is always greener" way of thinking.

don't get me wrong... i always know that i am blessed and that my momentary struggles are nothing compared to those of most, but today is a day when i'm particularly thankful as i begin counting my blessings.

* this time last year, i was pregnant and miserable- looking like i swallowed the halloween pumpkin. but this year, i have the sweetest baby boy to show for it. last week, with a face full of yogurt, he looked right at me and muttered, "mama" for the first time! (see picture)
* this time last year, i had a sweet, smart 2 year old who was being tested for some terrifying medical conditions. but this year she is even sweeter and smarter, completely healed, and watching her take on the role of big sister in such a loving way has brought me enormous joy!
* this time last year, i was missing my sister and praying for my brother in law as he served in iraq. now i'm still missing them both but incredibly grateful that ryan came home safely and they have been reunited.
* my mom was constantly busy and stressed, and although usually surrounded by people i knew she was lonely. now, she is still quite busy and stressed for different reasons, but she's happier than i've seen her in a long time.
* my in-laws were in pflugerville and still waiting on a job transfer 3 years after they asked for it. now they live 5 minutes away, and we could not be happier to have so much time with them and the help they provide.

ok- you get the idea, but i'm just so thankful for all these answered prayers along with the fact that i have a great job, even better friends and the best family ever. thank you, jesus!

October 3, 2008

play that funky music

i cannot find the words to express the meaning that music has in my life. there are songs that make me weep either because of the way the lyrics are paired with the melody, or- more often- because of the memories that flood my mind each time i hear them. then there are songs that can lift my spirits and relax me no matter how bad my day has been, and songs that make me double over with laughter thinking about how i misheard the words the first time i heard them (like the JLo song that i thought said "think i want to drive your pants -i don't.)

so it has always brought me joy to see lorelei's love for music and ability to remember songs and carry a tune. one prayer i have for my children is that they will have nice enough voices that if they love to sing they don't have to wait until they are alone in their cars to belt out their favorite songs like their mommy does. i was always so disappointed with the fact that i could dance pretty well, had a love for musical theater, but didn't have the voice to take me beyond being a chorus girl. yep- i'm sure that my lack of vocal talent is the ONLY thing that came between me and broadway ;)

everett is still a bit young to show whether he will have such a passion for music, but this week i started to see a real connection. sweet rett is so busy these days, always pulling up and cruising around while holding on to furniture, and he just loves his mobility. therefore-- he has been very unhappy when strapped into his carseat lately. the entire time we are driving in the car, he is either crying, screaming, or hollering, "nana nana nana!"

so the other day while jeremy was driving, everett was wailing, and lorelei was covering her ears, i remembered something that worked while he was a newborn. i reached down and grabbed my rent soundtrack, popped it in, and started the song Seasons of Love. he heard the first note of the song, and he became silent. i've been doing it every day now, and it always works. only that song- but as soon as it begins, he calms down, gets quiet and turns his head to look out the window and relax. i love it! praise god it is a song i enjoy and not something that will get stuck in my head and keep me up at night like the 2 line songs sweet lulu sometimes sings like a broken record.

September 23, 2008

catching up with my munchkins

Everett James
AKA: Rett, Little Buddy, Pudge Rodriguez, Jamesy Boy
Age: 9 1/2 months
Height: 28 1/4 in.
Weight: 24 lbs.
Loves: eating (anything we'll give him), pulling up, "cruising,"
giggling, giving kisses, telephones, and finding trouble
Cutest Quirks: stubborn refusal to say "Mama," often gets stuck in strange places
Vices: cannot resist other people's toes, cords, or food he finds
on the floor, climbing
Favorite words: "DaDa," "Daddy," "Gandad," "Nana"

Lorelei Camille
AKA: LuLu, Lulabelle, Belle, Sweet Pete
Height: 36 in.
Weight: 30 lbs.
Age: 3 1/2 yrs.
Loves: light pink, friends, sleepovers with grandparents,
"Poke" (Poage) park, the "nuseum", movies, picnics on the floor
Cutest Quirks:puts ranch dressing on everything, insists on a new made up bedtime story from each parent every night, is the master of silly dance moves, watches herself
cry in the mirror
Vices: snacks and thumb sucking
Favorite words: "I'm hungry," and Knock-Knock jokes

Gotta love 'em!

September 19, 2008

nature or nurture?

first off, let me say that my kids are AMAZING. i love them so much, and i wouldn't change a thing about either of them.

my sweet lorelei recently started taking dance class, and it got me thinking about how so many parents want their children to grow up to be just like them. i am not one of those parents. i so often find myself hoping that my daughter will be able to find her own way and be her own person while learning to love jesus and follow his plan for her life.

so if she loves dance and wants to pursue it, i'll be there for every recital and competition. but- if she would rather play soccer, join the marching band or become an artist or accountant- i plan to be equally supportive. i just wonder how much of her already developing personality comes from genetics and how much she's picked up by living in our home.

like the fact that her teachers told me this week that when her bff sophie (pictured above) is out of school, lorelei plays only with the boys. when i asked her about it, she responded, "sophie is a girl, but otherwise i just like devin and kyle at school." no matter how much this may sound like me- i did NOT teach it to her.

or last halloween when she was 2 years old and i told her some of her friends were coming over. "we'll eat pizza and play," i said. and she quickly shot back, "and then parker will marry me in my minnie mouse skirt!" again- NOT my doing. sure we watch our share of cinderella and little mermaid around here, but i make sure to mix in an equal amount of bugs life and robin hood to keep the balance.

now, i admit that the day she looked at jeremy across the dinner table and commanded, "daddy, stop pushing my buttons,"- that was all me. i guess i just wonder how much of this stuff she's learning from my example and how much i'm just trying to fight genetics when she seems too emotional or stubborn.

luckily, she has picked up a few of her daddy's most admirable qualities like being extremely observant and having a memory like an elephant. about two days ago i was combing her hair and out of the blue she said, "hey mom- remember that day at swim lessons when hudson kept a bite of his dinner in his mouth the whole time? that was funny, huh?" that incident was in early june, and no one has mentioned it since. this girl remembers everything.

she got some of my good qualities, too. the kid can sing sone lyrics back to you after only hearing it once, and she is so maternal that she has never become jealous of her baby brother. so- next time i find myself worrying that she will make the same mistakes i do, or getting a bit weary from her endless banter and emotional melt downs- i'll just thank god for this precious, unique creation... and thank my mom-- once again-- for putting up with me all these years!

September 16, 2008

Everybody's doing it!

In recent weeks, I have become aware of the fact that most of my friends- especially the ones with kids- have all entered the world of blogging as a way to help friends and family keep up with their lives. I have never been one to give in easily to peer pressure. I mean, no matter how cool everyone thought the New Kids on the Block were, I didn't buy in to the boy band craze until N'SYNC came along with their real talent. And so- after much deliberation and procrastination- I have decided to jump on the bandwagon and become a blogger. Hopefully I'll have something interesting to say soon.