31 January 2007

Hey, what is going on here?

Poor Sasha. I think she expected her first taste of cereal and applesauce to be much more thrilling. She's almost 7 months old now. The time has crept up on me. How can this be happening? When she has the ability to stop time, with her first smile, her first roll, her first time sitting up? Who is this toe mouthing, "da-da" repeating, chubby legged, dough-y knuckled doll looking up at me?
Really wasn't that taken just yesterday?
I hope I never forget the way she imitates my mouth moving or my eyes blinking. I hope I'll always be able to picture her with her whole fist in her mouth. I hope the memory of my nose against the back of her downy, scrunchy neck never fades away. Nor the sweet, sweet smell of her soft, perfectly round head.
I have already packed away some of her things... so tiny and perfect.
And I know that before long she will be running away from me, giggling and needing me less. Yes, the very same screaming, colicky, wonder-eyed, toothless, bundled child from yesterday.
To quote Anna Quindlen, "I want to throw the lariat of my love and my arms around her and say: Stay still."

30 January 2007


I've been fiddling around with my template, so some of you may have been alerted to some updated posts from long ago. I've created a new section in my sidebar for things I have made and shared already, but readded some pictures that had gotten deleted. Eventually I will create a separate crafty blog, but for now they'll be kept itemized in my sidebar. I've also FINALLY alphabetized my blogroll, and updated/cleaned up my other sidebar items. Now I can finally live up to my self-proclaimed neat freak status out here in bloggy land. And I'm sure you'll all sleep better at night. Enjoy the changes!

PS - The "Share the Love" blog awards are back... I've been nominated in "The Most Inspiring", "Blogger You'd Most Like to Meet" and "Blog You'll Never Stop Reading" categories. Thank you for the nominations. I am giddy with excitement! And for those who are new to the contest, get the details here.

25 January 2007

I almost missed...

...my blogiversary! I was over at Emlouisa's and realized we share nearly the same blog birthdays. It's 10:45 at night, so I don't have a whole lot of time to wax philosophical here. Let's just say that blogging has opened up a whole new world for me. It has helped me develop a love for writing. And my readers are my inspiration! So thank you for getting me here and keeping me going!

Since Emlousia loves me so much, she shouldn't mind my stealing her idea here. I'm posting a link to one of my/your favorite posts from each month that I've blogged. And hopefully you'll enjoy reminiscing with me enough that you'll go back and read through a few of them!

January - "This Woman's Work" http://accordingtolei.blogspot.com/2006/01/this-womans-work.html
February - "Slang" http://accordingtolei.blogspot.com/2006/02/slang.html
March - "Only the Strong Survive" http://accordingtolei.blogspot.com/2006/03/only-strong-survive.html
April - "High Expectations" http://accordingtolei.blogspot.com/2006/04/high-expectations.html
May - "How preterm labor is like unto a concerto" http://accordingtolei.blogspot.com/2006/05/how-preterm-labor-is-like-unto.html
June - "Early to bed, and early to rise, makes a mother healthy, wealthy and wise" http://accordingtolei.blogspot.com/2006/06/early-to-bed-and-early-to-rise-makes.html
July - "The bathroom - Man's portal into another world" http://accordingtolei.blogspot.com/2006/07/bathroom-mans-portal-into-another.html
August - "MOD Monday - Sometimes effort alone is enough..." http://accordingtolei.blogspot.com/2006/08/moral-of-day-monday_28.html
September - "MOD Monday - Moms are brave..." http://accordingtolei.blogspot.com/2006/09/moral-of-day-monday_18.html
October - "Mortifying Mommy Moments" http://accordingtolei.blogspot.com/2006/10/mortifying-mommy-moments.html
November - "Simulation terminated, simulation terminated..." http://accordingtolei.blogspot.com/2006/11/simulation-terminated-simulation.html
December - "Gesu Bambino, my Christmas present to all of you" http://accordingtolei.blogspot.com/2006/12/gesu-bambino.html

23 January 2007

It's not easy being in charge

Life is full of some pretty harsh realities. Realities that require us to come out waving our white flag - sometimes in desperation, sometimes in humility, sometimes against our will. I've learned to surrender to a lot of things in my short existence as a mom. I've made the practical decisions that I know will bring me joy in the long run, but don't always make me happy right now. There is a time and a season for all things. I chose and was chosen to be this right now and just like any other challenge I've encountered in my life, I want to do it well and with a happy heart.

That doesn't mean I don't want to whine once in a while. My kids have been sick and sick again. And I've been sick. And I am sick of sickly people! I swear if my husband gets this...

Anyway, they say that unless Mama's happy, nobody's happy. Mothers set the tone. But there are bound to be days when we don't want to put on a happy face for everyone else's sake. We just want to be what we are that day - tired or indifferent or frustrated or emotional or whatever. But we don't want to lose control either. So we trudge along and wonder where our compensation is. The truth is there are few moments of uplift in our lives that don't come as a result of sacrifice. We may simply have to go through the motions some days, but it will catch up with us, refill our determination and commitment and help us catch up with joy again.

There is so much pressure when you're the one in charge. Everything seems to fall back on you, not all of it good. And when you're doing the best you possibly can that gets frustrating. It seems that the times we most need to have mellow, there is chaos. The times we most need to have quiet, there is noise. The times we most need to have calm, there is contention. The refiner's fire entered again and again and again... "Is there a curse on my house?!" comes the cry.

My time for me will return. A time when surrendering will come to an end and my children will go out and be their own amazing individuals. And then irony will rare her head, and I will miss caring for my sick children. I will miss putting together the train set over and over. I will miss answering the same questions time and time again. I will miss the cute little pouts and the obsession with tugging on my hair. I will miss handprints on my windows. I won't miss laundry! But there are a lot of things, difficult things, that I have and will continue to surrender to, only to turn around one day and think, "That was one of the most challenging times, but the most enlightening time and the sweetest time of my life."

17 January 2007

It's lovely weather...

... for a whole lotta compromise! It rarely gets this cold in Texas. Today's high was 30. Schools are closed. Roads are closed. TxDOT had run out of sand sometime yesterday and the worst of the weather came today. In our battle with cabin fever, many allowances have been made around here. Breakfast in the living room. Making up funny songs about our booties. Spending all day in our jammies. More than a fair share of candy from the stockings. Forts under the "nice furniture".

Now, so that I might not abandon all the rules in order to save my sanity, can we have our warm weather back? Puh-lease???

11 January 2007

I am alive and well

...and tired. We got home from our Christmas vacation this week. I'll tell you all about it - the good and the bad.

The good version:
We left Wednesday morning with presents, snow wear and lots of yummy car food in tow. The kids were hooked up with a DVD player and books and coloring pencils. My husband and I were able to talk to one another uninterrupted in the front seat (except when it came time to feed Sasha). I got to read. A book. A real book. It was a wonderful, beautiful, scenic drive.

When we arrived at my husband's childhood home we were doted with gifts and with love. It had been a long time since we'd had Christmas with family, so we really got spoiled. It seems that there is a significant increase in the number of gifts you get when there are no shipping costs involved. :)

Our second day there I got to have brunch with a few of my favorite bloggers and friends. Among them were Char (our gracious host), Val, DYM, Jane, Sabra, Olivia, and Meadow. Sadly, Miss Stephanie could not make it. And I'm still getting over it.

For New Year's Eve we ate millions of delectable hors d'oeuvres and chatted with extended family guests. Who knew mingling could be so fun? Of course, I took the next day to sleep in and relax. And save up my energy for shopping on the day after that! The girls, my mother-in-law, and I hit 2 of my favortie stores... Gymboree (which yes, I realize is not indigenous to Utah, but I wanted in on that smashing sale!) and Hip and Humble. There was also a quest for baci rolls at a fabulous bakery in town, which was sadly closed.

The kids had their fun in the snow the last couple days we were there... we took them and their cousin sledding. They built a big snowman, made snow angels and had snowball fights. I took about 300 pictures of them, many of which turned out very well - everyone smiling.

We enjoyed Mom's prime rib, pot pie and wassail (served on 3 different occasions, not together :P).

We also visited some of my family, who owns a beautiful home with a very large theater room, which the children really enjoyed. And I got to see my brother, his wife and their 3 month old off to California for an internship.

Our last night there, my husband and I went out. On a date. With FREE babysitting. Ka-ching! We decided to try the Citris Grill. Which was so mmmmmmmmmmm... I had the grilled salmon and he had the pot roast.

It finally came time to leave for home. We were sad, but ready. Mom sent us off with cinnamon bears, Great Harvest bread and some of her delicious homemade strawberry jam. Had a pecan pie fit in our cooler, we'd have taken that as well!

Some pictures:
The bad version (and sadly - the longer, more detailed version):
We left Wednesday morning with a car so full you could hardly see out the rear window. I got to listen to my husband complain incessantly about the number of shoes that were packed, among other things. "We can do laundry while we're there, you know." Which really means "My mom can do our laundry while we're there, you know."

It took a while for the kids to get settled and stop asking "Where are we?" (to which you'd better have an answer... and if there isn't one, and you're somewhere between Waco and whatever comes after Waco, you make one up) and "What's for lunch/dinner/breakfast?"

Our second day of driving we were making pretty good time. Until we got to Rock Springs. At which point we entered the setup to a scene from some horrifying winter flick, I was sure. We lost count of the number of overturned semis we saw off the side of the road. We began counting water bottles and I located all the blankets and coats should we have been left there to die. And wodnered which of my children would be willing to breastfeed, if necessary. Alas, we pulled off the freeway and decided to stay the night in a hotel. There were just a few hours of driving to complete in the morning.

And we did. So we arrived 15 hours later than planned, but in better spirits.

That night my sister-in-law brought her youngest over to welcome us. I hadn't seen my niece since her blessing, and we all know how much a child can change in a year. I was thrilled to see her in all her sweet toddlerness!

The following day my SIL called and told us her oldest child had been throwing up all night long. Oh no, I thought... the kids were so excited to play with her! And playing was going to be a staple in our vacation. But they were just going to have to wait a couple days. Bummer!

Well, a couple days turned into all week as my SIL contracted the bug in the process. It was then that she linked it back to her youngest, who'd thrown up on Christmas night. And had been in contact with our children the night we arrived.

Fast forward to New Year's Day when Drew threw up. Joy to the world! And leaked diarrhea everywhere. Hark the Herald Angels Sing! Needless to say, he spent the rest of his vacation under a blanket, in the basement, in front of the tv, with a bucket beside him, while dh and I traded hours staring at him.

As we watched the weather forecast throughout the week, it became increasingly obvious that we'd need to leave a day earlier than we'd originally planned. There was another storm blowing in and we wanted nothing to do with it! So Wednesday night, after Drew seemed to be feeling better, we made a whirlwind trip out to see some of my family and hurried back to exchange gifts with my husband's brother and fiancee, who'd just gotten back into town. My SIL's family was finally feeling better too, so they came over as well and we snapped pictures of the kids and tried to make up for lost time.

We stayed up late packing so we could leave first thing in the morning. At which point Drew throws up again. And then snow began to fall. And fall. Several hours before expected. And we realized we'd be extending the trip rather than shortening it.

That night on our date, before we even had a chance to order dessert, we got a call from Mom saying that Jonah had thrown up. All is calm, all is bright! We rushed home to find him sacked out in the basement lying exactly as Drew had just nights before.

The next day we had to leave. It was the weekend and my husband had no more vacation days left (plus, we had overstayed our welcome). We had exactly the number of days we needed to get home. We were mostly packed, so getting ready to leave the next morning was a breeze. Thank goodness.

Jonah made it through the night only throwing up once, but we got to wake up to the sound of Sasha heaving in her pack-n-play. Glo-oooo-o-oooo-o-oooo-oria! Still we piled into the car. And as if it wasn't full enough when we arrived, we had to cram in buckets, rags, and paper towels for the much anticipated vomit fest.

An hour into the trip Jonah already needed a change of clothes. Another hour goes by, I wanted to change clothes (thanks to Sasha, bless her heart), but dh encouraged me to "use a wet wipe". And so the day goes, stopping again and again. Our grand total of driving mileage that first day? 300.

Everyone was grateful for a place to lie down for the night and we splurged on a nice hotel. I think we deserved it. Throughout the night I fed Sasha in small increments... 2 minutes every half hour is about all she could tolerate. And when she didn't want anything, I hand expressed into a cup. And watched for signs of dehydration. And learned that I hand express pretty well, but that bruised feeling boobs the following day is not so pleasant. Some good that big fluffy, comfortable, expensive bed did me, lol!

Day two, we continued on in our routine of puking, stopping, changing, deoderizing the car and anti-bacterializing our hands. The only highlight of which was that Jonah actually made it into the bucket! Woot! And my husband actually let me change clothes as poor Sasha did not (make it in the bucket). I had to fight for it, though. The clean clothing. The conversation went something like this: "Honey, pull over, I need to change." "Can't you just wipe it off?" "No, I've had these clothes on since yesterday afternoon anyway. They're dirty." "What about yesterday's clothes? They should be dry by now." "Um, they were still puked on. I just want clean clothes, please." "Well, if I can reach one of my shirts here, how about you just wear that over what you have on." "NO, I JUST WANT CLEAN CLOTHES, PLEASE!" What's a girl gotta do to not turn heads, er noses, at every rest stop in America? Sheesh!

At this point we were just over halfway home. My husband called in for a comp day and we chilled in another nice, comfy hotel room for the night.

Things finally began looking up. Sure, my son hadn't eaten a thing in over 2 days and was looking pretty gaunt. I was terribly engorged. But nobody had thrown up in 12 hours or so, so I considered that a positive sign.

We plummeted through New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas and rolled into our driveway around 8:30pm at night. We'd made up for almost half of our trip that day, which was a considerable improvement in driving time!

So yes, there were some highs and many lows to our winter vacation. But when we got home, we realized that half of us had stayed healthy and we'd made it home safely, sans ice and snow. It would really have helped if I'd remembered these small positive things on the road. I lost my cool more times than I care to admit. But hindsight is often the keenest. And I am grateful to at least have that!