M & J Monday

Said the mother sheep to her children,
"I love you as much as the grass on the hill."
Said the mother mouse to her children, 
"I love you as much as the grain in the mill."
Said the mother goat to her children,
"I love you as much as the mountain is steep."
Said the mother whale to her children,
"I love you as much as the ocean is deep."
Now listen, children of mine, while the stars shine above,
I love you as much as a mother can love.
Excerpt from I Love You As Much...
Laura Krauss Melmed

Happy Monday!


The So. Much. Fun. Edition

This is the first week in what feels like ages that we are finally back to our regular routine. Scott has been home all week (and the Hallelujah Chorus rang out), and life has resumed to its regular pace. Though we're back on track, we have managed to pack in some pretty great stuff.

1. Time with Grandma and Grandpa!
We were fortunate to have Grandma and Grandpa Macke here at the beginning of the week. While they were here they took Marcus out for some special one-on-one time. 
That included trips to the California Science Center.
There was a stop at the botanical garden to check out a Lego exhibit. 
Even a trip to the water to throw rocks.
Julia wasn't left out of the mix!
The kids loved the time with Grandma and Grandpa, and I loved the extra help!

2. Newly acquired playground skills!
The monkey bars!
Pumping on his own! 
I cannot tell you how thrilled I am that this child can finally swing on his own accord. 

3. TWO napping babes!
I don't know how it even happened, but this week I managed to get BOTH kids to nap at the same time - two days in a row! Keep in mind, Marcus hasn't napped in ages. I think he's going through a growth spurt.

4. Julia is everywhere!
No one is out of her reach any more.

5. Did I mention Scott is home?!

Have a stellar weekend!


Confessions Pt. II

After a riveting round one of confessions a couple weeks back I thought why stop the fun? So, back at it we are with another round...
  • I. am. SO. over. answering. "WHY?" If it's asked once a day it's asked a bazillion times a day.
  • Along with, "why," Marcus has gotten into the habit of asking, "WHAT?" When I know he's clearly heard me the first three times.
    "Marcus, can you please pick up your toys?"
    "Marcus, can you please pick up your toys?"
  • I'm not a Bieber fan. But that song, "Love Yourself"? While I can't relate to the words at. all. I love the song.
  • I can't believe I'm admitting this... I found a gray hair! What in the actual hell.
  • Sleep training has derailed. Like, big, big BIG time. We are back at it and the past few nights have been nothing short of hell. I've come to the conclusion I breed non-sleepers.
  • Monday I felt unbelievably ill. Thank goodness my in-laws were in town and took Marcus out exploring for the day. I, on the other hand, literally plopped down next to Julia on her play mat and remained that way for much of the day.
  • While the full illness has subsided I've felt queasy/nauseous ever since. It's all very reminiscent of the morning sickness I had with Julia... But, it's not that - I've already checked. If things don't change in the next few days we'll re-evaluate... *deep breaths*
There you have it, round two is in the books.

The weekend is in sight. A to the Men!


M & J Monday

In the green of the grass... 
In the smell of the sea... 
In the clouds floating by at the top of a tree...
In the sound crickets make at the end of the day...
"You are loved,
you are loved,
you are loved," 
they all say.

Happy Monday


The Grandparents Visit, Take II, Edition

We've gone yet another week with Scott away for work. This month has been nothing short of madness, but we're surviving and making it work. My hat goes off to military families. I don't know how you do it, and I'm in awe of your strength.

That said, we called in reinforcement this week to help out while Scott is away.

This leads us right into this week's highlights...

1. Grandma and Grandpa Macke are here!!
It has been nothing short of a blessing to have TWO extra sets of hands to help with the kiddos (and the dog) this week. 

2. One on One Time!
While both kids are receiving copious amounts of one-on-one time, Marcus is really benefiting as Julia is (literally) attached to me most of the day. Going into this month knowing Scott would be gone so much, my biggest worry was how I would be able to give both my kids the time and attention they deserve. Thankfully we have some pretty amazing grandparents who relieved that worry.
With all the help and attention we've all been getting I'm not sure we're willing to send Grandma and Grandpa home!

3. This.
The little lady had her first swing experience. 
It's safe to say she enjoyed it.

4. Surprise!
Scott was originally supposed to be out of town for two weeks - we weren't expecting him home until the 28th of this month. Lucky for us, he'll be home Sunday morning! We cannot wait.

5. Have a great weekend!


More Than Giving Up

We hovered above our plates at the restaurant. Scott and I both shoveling in our food. Our window of well behaved children was a small one, and we both knew it. As I was forking in my veggie lasagna and Scott his shrimp pasta - because it was Friday, and Lent - we were both trying to keep the kids fed, entertained, and tantrum-free.

Throughout our whirlwind of an attempt at a family dinner I noticed two older gentleman at a table very near ours. They both occasionally would glance our way and give small nods of the head and knowing smiles. As if to say, "We've been there before, we understand." Thankfully, our kids hadn't (yet) thrown any food or shed any tears. But, somehow, these two older men seemed to know our situation. We were a family of four, just trying to have a civilized meal together, and trying to teach our kids how to behave in public (and mostly succeeding).

As I was nearing the end of my dish - still piping hot - I was bouncing Julia on my knee. She was getting fussy (even though I'd thrown the white flag and nursed her right there at our table - sorry not sorry). Her little whimpers were turning louder and more frantic. That peaceful window was about to slam shut. 

I took one last gulp of my sangria, knowing there wasn't any chance I'd actually get to finish it, and started packing Julia into the stroller. As I began to stand the two gentlemen were finishing up their meal. One of the men leaned close to us, flashed the sweetest smile and said, "You have a beautiful family." I couldn't help but beam. We'd avoided a scene in public and collected a compliment. 

Outside, Julia and I walked laps around a fountain, waiting for Scott and Marcus to finish their meals. It wasn't too much after I'd left the table that both my guys exited the restaurant. I was shocked at how quickly they had finished, and how fast they had paid the tab. 

Scott came closer, a look of disbelief on his face. He said, "You will never believe what just happened to us." My mind started to race, surely this wasn't going to be good. But he continued, "Those two men picked up our bill. The whole thing." And I couldn't believe it. I was shocked. Nothing like that had ever happened to us.

As we walked to the car we were both stunned. Scott turned to me and said, "We've been looking for something to do together during Lent this year. I think this is it. This was our sign. We're supposed to pay it forward. The next time we can, we should pay for a family's dinner. This is such a great start to Lent." 

I couldn't have agreed more. 

Now, I'm asking anyone who is reading this, have you challenged yourself this Lenten season?

What if... the next time you are in the Starbucks line you pick up the coffee of the frazzled mother behind you who is desperate for that cup of caffeine goodness to get her through the morning. 

What if... the next time you're out to eat, you see a family who is desperate for a family meal together - even if it means one parent has to walk laps around the restaurant to keep a baby from crying - you pick up their meal? 

What if one little gesture makes someone's day?

What if we all paid it forward this season?


M & J Monday

I loved you yesterday.
I loved you still.
I always have.
I always will.
Happy (Belated Valentine's Day) Monday!


The Grandma Visits Edition

It's been a week! For 10 days the kids and I were without Scott thanks to some out of town work obligations he had. To say we were excited to have him back home would be a gross understatement. However, we were so fortunate that most of those days were not spent without extra help. My mom flew in from Iowa for a hefty portion of the time Scott was away.

That leads me to our highlights from the past week.

We are so, so lucky to have our families come and visit us as often as they do. Living 1600 miles from family isn't easy, but the sure do everything they can to help us out when it's possible.

While Grandma was here...

2. PJ Day at School!
I remember these kinds of dress up days at school as a kid, and I loved them. I'm also pretty sure the jammies Marcus was sporting came from Grandma, so it seemed appropriate he wore them on PJ day.

We made a Disney trip with Grandma in tow (and I'm kicking myself for not taking any photos of her with the kids there!). And my goodness, what a change from the last few times we'd been. Prior, Marcus had exactly zero interest in the park. This time? LOVED IT!! We went on more rides this past trip than the three trips before it - combined! My mom was a saint and rode rides with Marcus while I hung out with Julia, and then we would switch and she kept Julia entertained while I rode rides with the little man. Our main objective was to see the 60th Anniversary fireworks. But, OF COURSE it was too windy for those to happen, so we didn't see a single firework. Guess we'll just have to go back again soon!

4. Savoring the moments.
Because of the extra help of Grandma I was able to savor little moments with my kids that might have otherwise gone by the wayside in the hustle of simply trying to survive 10 days without Scott. One of those moments was holding Julia after she nursed. One minute she was giggling and cooing, the next she was dozing in my arms. These moments are fleeting, and I'm thankful I didn't miss such a soft and tender moment with my littlest.

It's finally here! Have a good one!


Picture Perfect Project {{2}} - A Closer Look

Month two of the the Picture Perfect Project is upon us!

Admitedly I had a tough time finding inspiration for this month. I had zero ideas or direction and was at a loss for quite some time.

A trip to the water was just what I needed to inspire me.

The coast and beach are gorgeous, but it's rare that we ever take a good, close look at what's surrounding us.

One warm, sunny afternoon I brought my mom and kids to the water and did a bit of exploring. I wanted to capture all the little things that often are overlooked.

The big picture looked like this. 

But upon further inspection...
Sand in scalloped formation, made by the tide that rushed out.

Tiny coral of all colors under the sun dotted the sand.

Tube coral was found forever cemented in sea sediment.

I had no idea what these tiny volcanic creations were. But they were securely planted in the sediment, and look like something found on a far away planet.

A star fish was half exposed, and clung fiercely to a rock.

An open anemone was covered in tiny shells, coral, sand, and sea glass.

After a little poke of the finger, the anemone closed up.

The wavy arms of a green anemone, wide open, full color on display, surrounded by the purple hues of other sea plants left me in awe and wonder.

But this... A dried out urchin, perched within the tentacles of an anemone... By far my favorite find of all.

But the absolute, most precious sight? When I looked up from all the sea life under my lens...
Grandma and Marcus enjoying the salty, sweet air. 

Linking up with some lovely ladies for the second edition of the Picture Perfect Project.


Julia || 6 Months

Sweet Baby Girl,

Where to even begin? It's so cliche, but I can't even wrap my mind around the idea that you are already six months old. A whole half year. It's gone so fast. Too fast. I'm tearing up just thinking about how quickly the time just slips through our fingers.
If we're being honest, this month was kind of a rough one for us all. I firmly believe you're teething, yet your teeth have zero interest in actually breaking through. You've been much more fussy than you've ever been, and often times seemed to have been uncomfortable or in pain. You couldn't escape a nasty cold your brother so kindly shared with you, so runny noses and icky coughs have been lingering.
We finally bit the bullet and started a little sleep training. The first week was rough (like reeeeally rough), and you were less than thrilled with the idea of going to bed around 7:00. However, after some work with the Ferber method, it rarely takes you longer than 5-15 minutes of crying and you're out. Generally, you'll sleep for 6-7 hours before you're up and ready for a quick nursing session. Six to seven hours sounds great, until it's realized that means it's still only about 1:30AM. After the early morning session you typically sleep till about 6:30. I'm patiently waiting for the day/night that you sleep right on through. Your naps continue to be all over the place, and rarely will you nap for more than a 45 minute stretch.
This is the first month we've been able to exclusively nurse, and I can't even express how much this thrills me! You tend to want to eat every 2-3 hours. We also introduced rice cereal, pureed carrots, and pureed peas this month. All of which you seemed eager to try. You'll eat the rice and peas, but the carrots you absolutely devour. I have a sneaky suspicion you're going to be my good eater.

You are rolling and pivoting like a pro. If I place you on your play mat you immediately flip to your tummy. You love reaching for your toys, and if you can get your hands on something (anything!) it immediately goes in to your mouth. You are doing mini push-ups and propping yourself up to see the world around you. We're still working on the whole sitting business. You're not much good at it, and don't seem too terribly interested in getting that skill mastered.
If you're placed in your bouncy/exersaucer thing you'll hang out for a handful of minutes, but it's by no means your favorite place to play.

Twinkle Twinkle is your jam, and on more than one occasion I've had to sing it over and over again to keep you calm.

Thankfully you're getting better about being in the car seat. You still object when initially placed in the seat, but typically you settle in and just enjoy the ride.

Marcus is your best buddy. He can make you smile and laugh like no one else. When you hear his voice you are immediately drawn to him. I love how much you love him, and he you.

Your smile is the best. When your smile is real big your get the cutest crinkle in your nose.
Sometimes, if we're really lucky, your smile will give way to that adorable little dimple that tends to hide. Your giggle is infectious, and is the sweetest sound around. When your dad comes home from work you immediately light up when you see him. My heart melts every time.
Little Dolly, you're pretty amazing. It's crazy to think you've been here six short months, yet it feels like you've been apart of our family forever. Thank you for being ours.

Happy Half Birthday, Peanut!

I love you to the moon and back. Twice.


Height:: 27 inches (90th percentile)
Weight:: 14.05 pounds (25th percentile) - you're long and lean, little lady!
Teeth:: None
Clothes:: 6-9 month
Diapers:: Pampers Size 2
Nicknames: Jules (though Scott insist I not call her that - sorry, it's happening), Dolly, Peanut

Just for fun, a little side-by-side of both babes at 6 months:
Marcus was 28 inches long and 21 pounds (7 pounds more than Julia), and he already had two teeth!