Wednesday, November 30, 2011


so grateful. so grateful for my good life and what i have. because i really do have it good. i'm grateful for a lot of things, but top 3 things i'm grateful for? here they are:

hank. the man. THE man. i'm grateful for him stepping up the plate and being there when i need him most. i'm grateful for his input, for our conversations, and for his help when i'm wrestling with a problem. i love his big arms that wrap around me and pull me close, making me feel safe from anything that might eat me alive. i'm grateful for how hard he works, and he does work hard to provide for us and give our little family such a wonderful and happy life. i'm grateful for the good dad that he is, and the way he plays with beth and obliges to her requests to dance or do things he probably never thought he'd do. but for his kid, he will. he'll do anything. he's an amazing dad and husband. love that guy.

beth. i fell in love with her all over again last week after taking the week off and being able to spend every second of every day with her. she is such a blast right now. we can actually communicate! (i'm incredibly grateful for communication.) we understand each other. she is learning and saying new words all the time, and it's like she turned into a little girl overnight. i'm grateful for her smile, for her cuddles, for the fact that she loves to be with me as much as i love to be with her, for her playfulness, and for her innately good heart. she loves to please, loves to laugh and tease, and be a part of everything that's going on. i'm grateful for our loud, funny moments and i'm grateful for our quiet ones. tonight as we were cuddling just before tucking her into bed (total success, by the way - we are golden), she whispered "knuckles" to me and held out her fist for me to hit back. she never moved her head from my shoulder as we knocked fists. i love moments like these and try so hard to permanently etch them in my mind. this girl is the light of my life. i am grateful for what she has brought and added to my soul.

and lastly, the new guy. i'm so excited and so ready for him to come. i can't imagine my heart being any more full, and worry that it's going to be split in half when he comes, but people tell me that your love just grows, it doesn't get taken away from one to go to another. that whole notion does nothing but get me stoked. i can hardly wait, and i'm so grateful that we've been blessed to have this little guy be a part of our family. i'm grateful that we've been entrusted with another one, and anxious for his arrival and the joy i know that will come with it.

it was good month. a good month to reflect on blessings and realize just how lucky we are and how good we have it. the perfect way to open up the holiday season - the happiest and most selfless time of year. hooray for these wonderful holidays!

Friday, November 25, 2011


night 1: seamless. amazing. didn't get up. didn't hear from her once. at all. it was incredible. wasn't sure if we just got lucky, or if we actually did something right.

night 2: she figured out that we couldn't just put her in her crib and leave. therefore, she was super hyper, wanted to play all night, and didn't go down until 10:30. (she usually goes down at 7:30). DESPITE, once she went down, we didn't hear from her all night, and though the night was quite short for her, i'm just grateful that she slept all the way through. she was, however, really tired and cranky the next day.

night 3: somewhat better, but by default i think. after a long, busy day, she fell asleep on the way home from my parents house at 8:30, and let me transfer her from the car to the bed without waking up. again, we were all lucky enough to sleep through the night with zero interruption. i was starting to get excited that we were onto something.

night 4: COMPLETE DISASTER. went down and stayed down after getting up just once (improvement at least); however, an hour after hank and i went to bed we heard her outside our door, trying to get in and then crying after not being successful. hank changed her diaper and back to bed she went.... for a little while. then she was back at our door, trying to get in. can't remember who got up with her that time, since it happened 6 MORE TIMES AFTER THAT! none of us got any sleep that night. it was stellar. and a perfect way to kick off our thanksgiving. NOT. it seemed we were just going farther and farther backwards and i was actually considering giving her the paci again, to let it do just that: pacify so i could get a little shut eye. i held strong though, and didn't give in. i was very nervous about night #5.

night 5: fantastic. went to bed, didn't get up once, slept all the way through the night. after the previous night, it was AMAZEBALLS. i was so grateful. SO grateful, you have no idea. i even went to bed at 9:00 as a precautionary measure in case were were going to have a repeat of the night before. that would have allowed me at least 3 hours of sleep before doing it all over again. that, and i was just that tired. but it wasn't a repeat. she didn't get up once. it was glorious.

night 6: well, the jury's still out. but so far so good. didn't get up after putting her down, and two hours later, she's still sleeping soundly. so i'm praying that it's finally caught on. i really hope so. i'm running out of nights where i can afford even shorter sleeping time before going back to work. tonight, i'm optimistic....

Sunday, November 20, 2011

this is huge


it's been 45 minutes since i put beth down for bed, and i haven't heard a thing since. not a peep, not a move, not a cry, not anything.

this is normal for her - she usually goes down with no problem and puts herself to sleep just fine. but tonight, i expected trouble.

explanation: last night was our last night in this:

and tonight, our first night in a big girl bed. (insert panicked deep breaths here)

we've been blessed with this girl and her sleeping habits, let me tell you. it's been a dream. sleeping through the night at 6 weeks, able to put herself to sleep without needing to be rocked by 10 weeks, and ever since has we've been able to just put her in her crib, and whether she's tired or not plays no role as she'll eventually just fall asleep when she's ready without making a sound.

but i didn't have my hopes up that tonight would be that easy. i'm still holding my breath... (been an hour now, though), and knocking on wood that i haven't jinxed it by posting this. not to mention we also put her to bed without the paci - another first. we figured we'd try killing two birds with one stone. (holding, holding) ...ask me again how it went in the morning.

but it was time. the little man is going to need the crib, and rather than wait until he comes to take it from her, i'd rather she be all settled in that new bed of hers for a couple months. so it worked out that tonight is the night. this is the week that it's all going down.

bye bye crib. hello big girl bed.

hello big girl. man, time flies....

Monday, November 14, 2011

some days are just hard

i'm just going to say it. some days are just really hard. and it's not that there's any huge or earth shattering reason why, but in the moment it seems like there are a hundred things that aren't going your way, and you just want to cry. because you just need to get it out.

today was one of those days. there wasn't any one major event that made it a rough day, it just feels like things (work, home, baby, etc) are piling up and i'm unable to keep up or be emotionally/mentally/physically capable of handling it all. so much of it is that i'm just so.dang.tired i think. after not really having slept in 7 months (pregnancy likes to mess with me that way) i'm just not me. i just don't have the energy i normally do. and heaven knows i just don't have the patience and drive i like to think i normally have. i'm worn out by 3:00 in the afternoon and so often getting through the rest of the day feels like such a struggle. it's terrible. i feel terrible. i feel like i'm not being the wife and mom i should be.

so after today's especially difficult-for-no-reason day (can i blame horomones???), i spent the drive home from work anxious and worried that it would be a long and hard night with beth, as it sometimes is. if i'm honest, i was dreading it. sometimes it's a fight to get her to want to come home with me from daycare (she sees me and screams and runs the other way... that's always awesome as a mom), sometimes she pushes away all the food i make for her for dinner, sometimes she cries when i tell her no or ask her to put something she shouldn't be playing with away, sometimes she pulls and tugs at me, begging me to carry her around everywhere and cries when i don't. and i just wasn't ready for it tonight. i just knew i couldn't handle it. i was on the verge of total meltdown. (which would be the first this time around, so really i'm doing pretty good, but still...) i was worried i wouldn't be able to breathe deep enough before lashing out at her, or losing it in front of her, or feeling like i'm the worst, most impatient mom ever.

tonight though, my prayers were answered. literally. days like today don't often turn out awesome, but somehow, some way it worked itself out today. beth was in a really good mood and we had the best night we've had in a while. she was so easy going tonight, so obedient, so funny, and actually ate everything i put in front of her. it was magical. hank was a total champ and suggested that we just order pizza which also helped ease my anxiety, and we all sat in the family room watching sponge bob, taking it easy and having a good time together. beth laid in her new favorite position (see below), would get up every few minutes to dance around the room or change her point of view, and hank and i laughed at how often she exclaimed that she wanted pizza in an actually very understandable and overly excited voice.

and now here i sit, with a giant mug of hot milk in front of me, putting on paper that i made it through another day. i made it through. sometimes i think, if i can get through days like today that seem insurmountable, i can make it through any day. (remind me of that later, okay guys? i'm sure i'll need it). in the end, i'm grateful for today. i'm grateful that my two hours with beth was smoother and better than it's been for a while. i'm grateful for an understanding husband who loves me despite my sometimes unfiltered emotion. i'm grateful for the quiet moments i have late at night to sort my thoughts and mellow out before taking on another day tomorrow. i'm grateful for the warm milk in my mug that always seems to calm my soul. and i'm grateful for the relaxing sounds of one james vincent mcmorrow. (if you haven't heard of him, at least try him on pandora - he's awesome). i'm grateful to have made it through another day like today.

head on the pillow, feet on the ottoman. HAS to be this way, and if so, she's golden.

if we're really into the show...

but most of the time, it's this:

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

i love the girl, BUT...

may i just share with you a scenario in which my love for her seems to flow a little less freely? (just a little...)

we had just finished in the bathtub and the girl was diaper-less, shall we say, as i was getting her clothes out to get her dressed. i had my back to her as i was looking in the closet and she was playing with her toys and books and talking to me as i was picking out a dress for church. suddenly she said, "oh no."

i should have known right then...

but i didn't. i just kept looking in the closet. 8 seconds later when i turned around to clothe her, she said it again, and then again. i looked down to discover what the "oh no" was all about.

yep friends, there it was. right on the floor. in a perfectly fresh, mustard brown, smelly heap with a few scraps strewn about. one of which i put my big toe in. my day turned to really super awesome right there in that moment.

guh-reat, i say to myself and look at her as she looks at me, saying "oh no" over and over, wondering how much trouble she is about to get into. poor girl, not really her fault, i realize, but still...! huge bummer.

now, let me interject with two comments here: 1) at least she knew she had done something that wasn't exactly supposed to happen. are we on our way to full on potty training? i'm not sure... but the fact that she knew she made a big mess means we're kind of on the right track right? and 2) poop, and messes such as these, are not nearly as devastating when it's your own kid. try to convince me of that before i had children and i would tell you you're nutso, but it's true. (not that it's pleasant either, i mean, come on. but let's be honest, it's not as bad. i mean, they're your kid. you can't get that mad.)

am i lucky to have gotten this far without any major prior accidents such as this? i don't know. maybe. don't really have anything to compare it to. but if i am, then well... i applaud myself for getting so far. maybe it's preparation for the next one. frankly, i hope i make it accident-free just as far with him too.


despite the accidents, i still love the girl.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

and so it begins...

that little censored light that sits atop the post at the end of my driveway turned on so early today. ugh. at 5:05pm dusk was starting to settle in and i noticed it was on. and so it will go, earlier and earlier each day, turning on even before i get home from work.

and now the countdown begins. the countdown to december 21 - winter solstice and the shortest day of the year. my love/hate feelings toward this day haven't changed much in years. hate it because my opportunity to breathe in that precious sunshine is so short that it's almost always missed, and love it because it means that the days only get longer from there on out. even if just by minutes, i know that we're climbing our way back toward longer days of sunshine and light and the blessing of being able to play more, do more, and see more with it.

yes friends, i love me some sunshine. i miss it during these darker hours...

Thursday, November 3, 2011


sweet october, how quickly you flew by! but thanks for the good weather and sunshine, the rich fall colors and crunchy leaves, the one snowstorm, and for giving us a perfect, warm halloween.

and yet, when i look back on it, it seems i can barely remember it. it went by so fast. i guess it's a good thing i blog so that i have some sort of documentation of our lives. otherwise i may forget everything.

here's what i did take note of this month:

beth's vocublary somehow tripled this month. she's starting to say words where i look at her and say "where did you learn that?" but my favorite thing about here lately is that she talks to me in full sentences. not english, mind you, oh no. it's all baby gibberish, but it's definitely full sentences. she will grab my attention by saying "mommy!" and of course i will say "yes beth?" and she will point to something or make some hand gesture while sharing her thoughts with me. and i just look at her totally clueless and say "what honey?" and she'll say the EXACT same thing. same gibberishy syllables. i mean, she's really trying to tell me something! that's when i just smile and say "okay, sweet pea". and she goes about her business, satisfied that i gave her the okay. it's so very amusing to me. so often i think, i would kill to get into that girl's brain. oh, and btw? she made me (yes, made me) put that peacock costume on her again tonight. she loves that thing! wore it around the whole house until i made her take it off so she could eat. can't get enough of it. i had to hide it later so that she would forget about it and we could give it back to the dear friends who lent it to us... crazy peacock costume.

hank has been working dilligently on the bronco. and he's made good progress friends. it's happening. and it's awesome. still needs a lot of work. but we are definitely making progress. she'll be ready and waiting for me to drive her on those early 70 degree days in march.

and i am just getting fatter. i don't dare say i'm uncomfortable yet (even though at times i am), because i still have over two months to go. so i try to remain positive. but i will say that i'm on the verge of uncomfortable. like, permanent uncomfortable. not there yet, but i am verging. i am really glad the holidays are coming up - they will surely keep me busy and in good spirits, and undoubtedly the time will go faster as it always does during this jolly time of year. (i think i may break out the christmas music soon... is that bad? i LOVE it!!!)

we also had a spectacular visit from grandma and grandpa van orden. they came out for a long weekend and we had the best time with them. beth was lovin all the love she was getting from them. and we loved that they could be here when it wasn't snowing and enjoy the fall with us. i so wish they were here more often...

and well, that about covers it. i am seriously looking forward to the coming months. thanksgiving and christmas are the absolute best as it's all about family, food, giving, and straight up jolliness. even in discomfort, one can't help but be in good spirits. it's the perfect precursor for that next addition to our little family.

signing off...

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

the hype was totally worth it

last night was THE BEST halloween i've had in a long, long time. it would probably seem so ordinary to everyone else - there really wasn't anything radically special about it. except that i got to watch beth take it in, figure it out, and have a really good time with it.

it turned out to be a beautiful night - around 60 degrees (snow again tonight though... ha!) so i put beth in her costume and we sat outside on the porch, breathing in the fresh air and waiting for the trick or treaters to come. she looked a bit confused in the beginning, but by the third or fourth group of kids, she was totally into it and would hand out the candy for me. she would kind of play in the yard in between groups of people, but when she saw anyone coming up the driveway she would run over to the candy basket sitting on the steps, grab two handfuls and wait anxiously for the different costumes to come close enough and open their bags for her to drop the candy in. then she would go back to spinning around in the grass or running through the leaves or singing. she got lots compliments from parents on her costume and she would say "thank you" and "bye bye" as they turned around and left. it was SO FUN to watch her eyes light up and get so excited every time someone new came our way.

about halfway through the night we had some friends stop by with their kids so i grabbed a tiny little bag for her and decided that we would hit the houses around us with them and give her a shot and getting some candy. the first house we went to was awesome - she was so confused when they tried to give her candy... she put it back in the bowl! she was sure she was supposed to be giving it away and not getting it. but it didn't take long for her to figure that one out either. she never even attempted the "trick or treat" phrase and would only throw out blank stares when i requested she say thank you - even to the people we knew - but she would at least say "bye bye" when we would turn to walk away and go on to the next.

we headed back home after about 6 houses and joined hank on the porch, but it was totally not over for her. she would grab my finger with her sticky hands (i may have let her have a starburst or two) and pull me up, then walk me down the driveway, and beg me to go to more houses, bright eyed, skip in step and all. of course i gave in.... how could i not?! so we'd go to one more house and then back home. repeat. repeat. finally it was late enough that it was time to go inside. to be honest, i was almost as reluctant as she was. but alas, it was time for bed.

the pictures are terrible. horrible! i know... but it's the best i could do with my little point and shoot that would allow them to turn out even remotely clear. i'm just glad i got some. i really wish i'd been able to get the whole dang night on video. i would post the entire 2 hour episode on youtube. it was that fun for me.

(the aforementioned bats/decor)

halloween is a hundred times better with kids. wow. like, a hundred times.