Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Being a big fish in a small pond

Lately I have been overcome by my own insignificance. There are so many people in this world, and I am only one of billions. Sometimes I think about high school and college. While there, I was a big fish in a small pond. I was a really good flute player in my high school band. I was always first chair, made region and all-state bands and for several years I was one of the drum majors of our high school marching band. I felt accomplished and proud of all my hard work.

Once I graduated high school, I went to a small college with the knowledge that I would have to start over. That school was not my first choice, though. I really wanted to go to the big state university in my home state, but I did not get accepted into the music school. That was very devastating for a long time, and sometimes, even now, something can trigger my sadness and disappointment that I did not have the opportunity to attend that school.

While at college I worked hard. I became a leader. I accomplished all the goals I had set out to accomplish and then some. Again, I was a big fish in a small pond. I felt on top of the world.

I went to a bigger school for my first year of graduate studies, and there were so many great flutists there. I was not one of the best, but I was still able to hold my own. Even though I was not the best, I performed at a respectable level. I was also one of the youngest even as a graduate student.

I did not finish obtaining my Master's degree at that school. I took a few years off to work, and I auditioned for another larger university, where I spent a year and a half to complete my Master's degree. I feel like I performed at an acceptable level, but no one ever knew who I was! There were so many people at that school that I never made a name for myself. Honestly, I didn't try. As soon as I was done with what I needed to finish, I went home to spend time with my husband and I did all my practicing and homework at home. I never had a social life with the people at school.

After graduation, we moved to my current town. We started going to church here, and I have made some good friends here. I mostly stay home with Lily, and I have a lot of time to think. I think about how I will never really change the world. I will never be a famous flutist. I will never cure cancer. I will never be well-known. I wonder, "Will I ever make a difference? Will I change lives for the better? Will I help people? Does it matter?"

With all this big fish in a small pond thinking I have been doing, and feeling pretty swallowed up in the big wide ocean that I am now a part of, I have been fantasizing about disabling my blog. I have thought about deleting my facebook account and my Twitter account. Basically, I have been thinking about unplugging from the internet. A lot. But something stops me. I know I said that I was going to go back to just blogging for fun, but it is a hard thing to do. I keep checking my blog stats and find that I do not get very much traffic. I have no idea how to increase traffic. I have no idea what to say that is interesting to others. I have looked up advice on how to be a good blogger and one piece of advice that pops up is, "Don't suck." Hmmm....okay. So, how can I not suck? I have been told that I have gotten better at writing the longer I have done this. The more I do this, the better I get. So, practice writing? That makes sense. At best, I usually get around to writing a blog post about once a week. That is not enough! What if I only practiced my flute one day a week. (Well, I do that now, but what about when I was in college?)  What if I only exercised one day a week or trained for a 5K one day a week? I would never get very good. I read an article recently that said you should ask yourself, "Would you read what you write?" I've been thinking about that a lot lately. There are so many good mommy bloggers out there. I am just one tiny little minnow in the Pacific Ocean. Would I read this if someone else wrote it? Probably not.

So how do I find out what people want to read? I follow some blogs that are very similar to mine. I follow some that are very specific to a certain topic such as birth, breastfeeding or parenting. Sometimes someone can go about their blogging life doing it for fun, and they write a really great post that ends up becoming viral. How in the world does that happen? Is it luck?

I have also heard to find your voice. What in the world is my voice? Apparently people can sniff out insincerity really easily, so how do I avoid being insincere?

This goes back to my I-want-to-be-good-if-I-am-gonna-do-something philosophy. Sure, flute was fun, but it wasn't enough to just be good at it. I had to be GREAT at it. I had to be a big fish. Even if it was in a small pond. If I am going to play flute, I want to be great. If I am going to be a wife and mom, I want to be great. If I am going to be a doula, I want to be great. If I am going to be a blogger, I want to be great. When I first started this thing, I just wanted a place to write about my family and post pictures. Well I can do that in my journal. Then I discovered that people share a lot of valuable information through blogs. Some people have lots of followers. I thought that was cool! So I started thinking about my life in a different way, "Oh, I could totally write a blog post about that!" And not a post where I just list things that happened, but a post on life lessons and concepts. Posts that not only share, but can teach something valuable.

But I have started fantasizing about quitting it all because I don't have the kind of brain where I can keep up with blogging in the way that I need to in order to be truly successful at it. And it makes me uncomfortable to leave something unfinished. It would make me feel really weird to just leave my blog out in cyberspace unfinished. I would want to completely erase its existence. I don't know why I feel that way, but if I am not going to do it, then it needs to cease to exist.

That is probably why I still hang on to it. After all, I wrote about so many things dear to my heart whether or not anyone else has benefited from it or even cared. I wrote about my pregnancy with Lily here. I wrote about holidays and giving birth and Lily growing and breastfeeding and all kinds of things in my life that are special to me. I told my husband that I have been contemplating shutting down my blog and he said, "I don't think you should do that." My husband is never one to tell me what I should or shouldn't do. In fact, was that the first time? Hmmm....he never said why he thinks I shouldn't do it, but he did say it.

I will say, though, in our family I am totally the big fish in our small little pond. My husband has been described as "reeking of love" for me. It's true. He's just oozing love for me. I have a wonderful and quiet assurance and confidence that I have a husband that loves me and I never have to worry about that. My daughter thinks the world of me. In fact, she's pretty possessive of me. I won't lie, I'm flattered by it. We had some friends over on Friday night, and one of their little boys who is ten months old started to pull himself to a standing position by pulling my pants. Lily saw him and pulled him off. Though I was embarrassed that she did that, because she has never done anything like that before, a part of me felt flattered that she didn't want any other babies touching her mama. And then our two crazy kitties. They always want to be on me somehow. They love me. My whole little family, they just love the heck out of me. So maybe I'll never change the world. Maybe I'll never cure cancer, or be a famous flutist, or write amazing blog posts, or be a well-known and respected doula, but in my little pond, in my little family, I change their world. In fact, I am their world. And that feels good.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Lily said mama!

I could hear Lily in her room waking up from her nap and she was saying, "Mamamamamamamama!!!" So I went in there, turned on the light and she said, "Hi Mama!"


I jumped up and down and so did she and we both jumped up and down together and said, "yay yay yay yay yay yay yay yay!"

And since then it's been, "Gibber gabber blah blah Mama. Tank you Mama. She she she gurgle gurgle Mama"

I am smiling the biggest smile I can possibly smile.


When we were saying our prayers to bless our dinner, Lily also folded her arms and bowed her head. She's so smart!!! She's learning so much! We were so impressed. We've been working with her, but I think seeing the bigger kids in nursery doing that is helping her to pick it up more.

Monday, January 23, 2012

There are no words

I "met" Tripp Roth on Thursday, January 12th. His mama called him, "The strongest boy I'll ever know."

Tripp died on Saturday, January 14th. His mama called him, "Heaven's little drummer boy."

Last night Robbie asked, "You know what makes me sad?"

Me: "What?"

Robbie: "Reading about Tripp Roth. It makes me cry. She just put things so sweetly."

Me: "I know. Poor baby. (Sigh) Poor mama. I don't know how people survive that."

Robbie: "They just do. They just put one foot in front of the other and just keep living."

Me: (Sigh)

Robbie: "He had a little Elmo that he liked to hold in his hand. Lily loves Elmo."

Me: (Sigh)

This morning I read her latest update. Choked down tears. No. Words.

I tried to say my morning prayers after Robbie left for work.

"Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you that Lily is alive.

Thank you that Lily is healthy.

(minutes pass)

I pray for peace and comfort for Tripp's mama.

(minutes pass)

I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen."

Going to go hug Lily really tight now.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Sometimes, motherhood is just plain hard

I can't do it anymore.

It never ends. 

Will I ever feel good again? 

I'm not cut out for this.

What made me think I could do this?

I'm so tired of being tired. 

Will I ever get used to this?

Will I ever get the hang of this?

Can't I ever go just one day without feeling guilty?

Have I already screwed up too much? 

Will I ever feel confident?

And I want to add another one to this?

This is just a sample of some of the negative thoughts I battle with my new calling as a mother. I've been at this for a little over 19 months and most of the time I am beginning to feel human again. I am able to banish these negative thoughts and bask in the glory of motherhood. However, some days, like today, I am just tired. Last night was a difficult night. I'm not sure why. After a thorough investigation, I've come to the conclusion that sometimes, some nights are just bad. Some nights babies just can't sleep. They want to sleep just as badly as their parents do, but they just can't. Maybe Lily couldn't turn her mind off. I've had nights like that.

Robbie and I headed to bed later than we should have like we do every night. Lily decided to wake up every hour. Starting at about 1:30 or so, I'd had enough, and in frustration, decided to punish her by making her watch Sesame Street All. Night. Long. How is that for fantastic parenting and rational thinking?

So we watched Sesame Street. Now that I think about it, you know those doctors that say you may as well just get up if you can't sleep? Yeah, that's what we were doing. Never mind that when I get in my sleep deprived mode, I really believe that my whole family is plotting to keep me from sleeping. They all want me to stay awake all the time. When I am at my most irrational, I truly believe this. Sometimes I even believe this after I feel as well rested as I ever get.

I napped during episodes while Lily watched. Episodes are about an hour long, so we made it through two episodes and five minutes of a third before Lily looked at me in despair, begging me to do something else, anything else, to help her sleep. So we tried snuggling and nursing again. The old stand by. It didn't work earlier in the night like it normally does, but that's all I know how to do. I thought she was finally ready for sleep, so at 4:06 am I trekked my tired body back to my bedroom, and as soon as my head hit the pillow and I snuggled with my blanket and husband, she started wailing her angry wail again. I started to cry. I rolled over to face away from my husband so my sniffles wouldn't wake him. I just let the tears flow, welcoming them like the old friends that they are, knowing that I needed the cleansing. Earlier in the day, I told Robbie that I needed to cry, but I couldn't. I've been on the verge of tears everyday for a few weeks. I needed to watch a sad movie or something, anything, to induce tears. I got my wish.

I cried and cried and Lily cried and cried and it seemed like an eternity, but it was probably five or ten minutes.

Robbie's alarms started to go off at 5am and I was too tired to ask him to turn them off. I slept in that place between waking and sleeping, too tired to do anything but just be. Robbie and I said our morning prayers and he left for work. I hobbled back to the bed, wishing that Lily would sleep for hours and hours but knowing she would probably wake up in an hour at best.

I kept waking up every hour on my own. 8:30am. 9:30am. 10:30am. The only thing that woke me up was feeling guilty that I was still asleep. Our neighborhood was quiet. Lily was snoozing soundly. Finally at almost 11am, Lily woke up. I started my day feeling guilty for the horrible night that we had.

I am still so tired. I am tired of feeling guilty. I am tired of not knowing what to do for my baby. I am tired of being tired. I know I should be thankful for a healthy and happy (goodness knows I hope she is happy and that I haven't screwed her up for life) baby. I am happy for my happy and healthy baby. I am thankful I can hold her in my arms, and I know there are mamas out there who wish for nights like the one I just had just so they can spend one more night with their precious babes. I am sure there are women out there who wish that after having a night like that, they could crawl back in the bed and sleep, even fitfully, until 11am. I know that I have plenty to be thankful for. It still doesn't stop the negative thoughts from coming. It still doesn't mean that motherhood doesn't take some getting used to. It still doesn't mean that some days aren't hard. Sometimes, motherhood is just plain hard. And some days, I am just too tired to think, "Yeah, but isn't it worth it?" Oh yeah. It is SO worth it. But some days, like today, I stop at, "Sometimes, motherhood is just plain hard." And that's okay.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Have you been loved enough?

Sidda with her mother
As I was nursing Lily this morning, I looked at her and wondered, "Have I loved you enough, baby girl? Have I hugged you and kissed you enough? Have I spent enough time playing with you?" Then I thought, "Is it even possible? Is it possible to love someone...enough?" 

I first heard this question when Sidda asked her father in the movie The Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood.
 Sidda's mother lost the true love of her life to war and ended up marrying the next guy who loved her. Going into that marriage, he knew she didn't love him the way she loved the man that died. He is quoted as saying he'd "rather play second fiddle than not play in the band at all." This man endured a life with a spouse who virtually hated him, a wife who experienced alcoholism and needed to be hospitalized, a wife who abandoned their family for a few days, and a wife who never recovered from losing her true love. He stood by her through it all and loved her anyway. So when Sidda asked her father, "Have you been loved enough?" He replied, "What's enough?"

Good question. I think about this scene from time to time. Robbie teases me about this movie, but there are some really thoughtful moments in it.

Sometimes I feel like I didn't get loved enough as a kid and it has spilled into my adult life. I try not to use my childhood as an excuse for my behavior now. I hate it when people use a rough childhood as an excuse to be horrible adults. I always hated it as a kid when people would excuse other kids' bad and disrespectful behavior because they didn't come from a two parent home. So? Lots of people come from a single parent home and know how to function. "I know how to behave," I would say. 

Because that was my situation, I spent a lot of time alone. I mean, a LOT! It's not as if my family blatantly didn't care, they just didn't have time to care. They worked. As I think back on high school, I don't remember eating dinner. What did we eat? I remember being alone a lot of the time and I don't remember there being very much to eat. Did I eat cereal? I don't remember. I just remember being alone. Always alone.

I worked hard in high school to be the best I could be, but there was no one to celebrate me. That was fine I suppose. I got used to it, and it didn't stop me from trying to be the best. 

Life finally stabilized for my mom and me when I started college. She finally married a man that truly made her happy. By then it was too late for me to really trust that anyone gave a crap about what I did. It didn't stop me from trying to succeed though. 

So I did well in college, and now I am done with college. Most of the time I stay home with Lily. I still play the flute, and I am working on doula certification. I still do things where I get that feeling of, "Hey look at me! Pay attention to me! I did something good!" I admit it. I'm a real approval junkie.

I am 28 years old and I still want people to notice me and celebrate me. I really do want to be liked and admired. I guess most people do, right. (Remember Meg from Little Women?) But this desire to be liked and admired, and even jealous of others who are obviously liked and admired, really embarrasses me. I should have grown out of that by now. It's not about me anymore. My time has come and gone. Now it's all about Lily. Which is great!!!

But that leads me back to my original point. I'm not sure I was loved enough when it was my time. I am sure my mom did her best and gave me as much love as she could. My dad doesn't get much of a mention because he got rid of me in middle school for a certain sum of money from my mom. He makes an appearance every few years, but he is NOT a part of my life. 

For me, I don't feel like I got loved enough during that crucial time in my life, and I feel as if it has spilled into my adult life. It drives me nuts that something from my childhood effects the way I feel as an adult. I really hate that. I feel so childish when I think about these things, and I am embarrassed when I feel that childish jealousy when I see someone else getting what I didn't get. 

Now, do I get loved enough now? Definitely! I don't feel even a smidge lacking in how much my husband loves me. And Lily! She loves me so much! I never imagined being THAT person to another human being. Robbie and I, well, we're just her everything!

I hope I can love her enough. 

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Why waking up at 5am hasn't sucked lately

My husband has been encouraging me to get up when he gets up to get my housework done before Lily gets up. "Then you'll have your whole day to do fun stuff, you'll be able to spend time with Lily. Plus, it's not like you're able to sleep anyway." True dat, yo! (Robbie taught me that.)

What typically happens at 5am is Robbie's evil stupid annoying bane of my existence alarms start going off every 2-3 minutes. Yes. Alarms. He has an old fashioned wind up ringy-dingy one. It's LOUD. Although he hasn't wound it up the past few days. He sets several alarms on his cell phone that each takes their turn going off in between each other. Thus what is ordinarily a 7-9 minute snooze on most alarms clocks turns into a 2-3 minute snooze with these multiple alarms set. GRRRR!!!! What I usually would try to do (when I wasn't running that morning) is sleep. Sleep until Lily would wake up. I would take every opportunity to sleep. However, that would leave me spending most days cleaning during Lily's nap time. That's why Robbie would say, "You can clean during that time when you can't sleep anyway, and then you could take a nap when Lily takes a nap." I would say, "Well, if YOU wouldn't snooze for an HOUR...." Ugh.

I thought about his proposal for awhile, and then I just decided, "Why not give this a shot this week?" since I was planning on starting the Couch to 5K program over again. The only time I can run during the week is early in the mornings while Robbie is still here. I figured since I was up anyway, and exercise wakes me up, I may as well clean after he leaves at 7am until I am either done or Lily wakes up. I have been following flylady for awhile now, so I really don't have all that much to do in the mornings to maintain our home. Plus I have been really doing a good job keeping up with the dishes this week or so. I noticed my father in law and his wife doing dishes together at the end of the day while we visited them during the holiday and I thought, "Yeah, I should be doing that. That's what real people do." Sometimes I feel like a rebellious teenager about this dishes sometimes. I keep up with them pretty well, but I'm not super awesome like those people who put the dish in the dishwasher as soon as they are done with it. Or those awesome people who clean up the breakfast dishes after, gasp, breakfast.

He says this week I have been giddy and "cool as a cucumber." I haven't really noticed a difference in the way I act, but I do feel more relaxed. I still hate getting up in the mornings. Hate it. I mean, why does it have to feel so unpleasant? But it really has been nice. Even that day that Lily kept my up from 2:55 am until 4:30 am.

So my schedule has been roughly this:

5am-alarms go off
6am-I finally tear my behind out of bed and go run or do pilates
7am-kiss Robbie good-bye and tidy up, say my prayers, read my scriptures, take a shower, AND blow dry my hair and apply makeup. What???? Makeup? Yes! I added that one today. I'm so proud!
9am-9:30am-Lily wakes up
9:30am-get Lily dressed and have breakfast
10am-play with Lily, play with Lily more, read a book and drink hot chocolate when Lily feels like playing by herself, play on my phone, play on the computer, etc.
3pm-play with Lily, same as above, maybe put dinner in the slow cooker
6pm- Robbie gets home, I start dinner
7:30pm-we sit down do dinner
8:00pm-get Lily ready for bed
8:30pm-Lily goes to bed, I do dishes and Robbie tidies the living room
9pm-hang out with Robbie until we feel tired and ready for bed

Now this is working so well and I am feeling so good because Lily is finally, for the past several weeks, sleeping through the night. And before she only had on night wake-up. She also isn't nursing as much. She's growing up. I am finally starting to feel human again, and this is why. I can do things like this. Not so long ago I felt like I was in a fog all the time and all I could think about was the next time I could go to sleep. Oh, and taking a multi-vitamin has seemed to give me more energy.

And maybe all this will change when I have to teach flute lessons again next week, though it shouldn't. Also, my evening schedule will have to go on without me when I have any kind of prenatal appointments or if I have to attend a birth. But once I have recovered from the birth, I can just get back into my routine.

I think Robbie is excited because I can say, "You were right, babe. This was a good idea. Brilliant, in fact. The best!"
Looooooove yoooou.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Angels Among Us

You know those stories you hear about where someone was in desperate need of a miracle and upon opening their door, they found exactly what they needed on their doorstep? You know the ones. The ones that never ever happen to you. The ones that you wish would happen to you. The ones that just don't happen to regular people.

Sit back. I have a story to tell. These things really do happen to regular people like me. And like you- regular people who are just trying to survive every day, living paycheck to paycheck, doing whatever they can to make ends meet; young mothers and fathers who are trying desperately to make sure they provide the best life they can for their little babes.

From time to time, I have been known to exclaim with frustration, "I just wish a miracle would fall out of the sky for us! I hear about these miracles that just fall out of the sky. We sure could use one right about now." This is the kind of statement that usually occurs when I look at the balance in my checkbook and I just have no idea how it's going to work out. How are we going to pay our bills? How are we going to eat? How are we going to pay for the gas it takes to earn the money we need to survive? How are we going to do this without accepting help from others, and how are we going to do this and maintain our independence? How are we going to hold our heads high as we admit to others that we just can't do it on our own?

I haven't asked for a miracle to fall out of the sky for awhile. Maybe that's why not one, not two, but several miracles happened to fall out of the sky for us. Angels were looking out for our family over this Christmas season. The Lord was able to provide for our family and used some very special people in order to carry out His will. I am so humbled that He thought about us,  noticed us and selected certain angels that would heed His promptings to help us. I used to hear people begin their miraculous stories with "I was humbled..." and thought, "Blah blah blah...what does the even mean? That would never happen to me anyway."

Now I know what that means. It's a mix of, "I really don't deserve this," and "I am so thankful to have it," with a dash of "What in the world did I do to deserve this?" and a pinch of "I hope I can do something to return the favor some day." It's a feeling of wanting to cry happy tears and hug whoever it is that is sitting closest to you at that moment. It's a warm glow of, well, humility. And gratitude.

So what happened, you ask? As we were climbing the steps to our apartment after returning home from our Christmas trip to visit family, we noticed a small envelope on our doorstep. We thought maybe my visiting teachers left a card there. Upon opening it, we found an unsigned card with a gift card that was for no small sum. Who in the world was it from? We have no idea! Robbie and I speculated and bounced ideas off of one another, but we just couldn't figure out who in the world would want to do something like that for us. I mean, us? Why? Of course, we did what any young married parents would do. We shared our gratitude on facebook, hoping that the mystery person would step forward or at least give us some sort of clue. At the very least, we hoped the mystery person would understand how grateful we were for their generous gift.

After I posted my status update, Robbie and I discussed some of the responses that we got on our way home from grocery shopping. Some related miracle stories of their own. Some told about the prayers they offered and the manner in which they were answered. I told Robbie, "Perhaps we should just pray, 'Heavenly Father, please provide for our needs. We do not know what they are, but You do. Please provide.'" I know it may sound silly, but I'm not sure if I've ever prayed that way. I try not to ask for too much, and I try to ask for things like, "Please help me be a good mom to Lily. Please help us to be safe." Those kinds of things. I don't usually ask for help with our tangible needs. Perhaps I should because we desperately need help with those things! Who better to ask for help than Heavenly Father?

After we unloaded our groceries, I checked the mail. In the mail, we received another unsigned card with a generous sum of cash in it. Who are these angels among us? I don't know! I received a generous gift card from my Aunt Stephani and Robbie received a generous check from a Bass Group that his dad is a part of. Just because. They sent it just because. I am so thankful that there are such thoughtful and generous people looking out for our family. I just wish I could return the favor somehow. Hopefully, one day, I will have the opportunity to be numbered among those angels among us and bless another family the way we have been blessed.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Christmas in Our Home Town

Yeah, yeah, I know it's New Years' Day. I know I'm a procrastinator. At least my Christmas decorations are packed away! Be warned: this is going to be a long one.

I started decorating for Christmas early in December, and like I knew I would, I didn't finish until a few days before. I'm not much of a decorator, so I really did my very best at putting some effort into making it look festive in our home. Additional decorations this year are from Dollar Tree. Yup. I'm stylin' over here.

Below is the bar of our kitchen counter. The little tree is from Target that I bought last Christmas. The little penguin is one of Lily's toys and I included our lone Christmas card. Don't worry. We received more after Christmas, and I have a post written about that which I haven't published yet.

I bought some garland, bows, strings of bells and little accent decorations to make this garland and one over our large center window in the living room. The picture isn't that great, but I was pretty proud of the fact that I bothered trying to make something in the first place.

I always like to have some sort of centerpiece on my dining room table even though we never ever ever ever eat in there.

 Flowers for the left end table
This is from last year-on our right end table

I believe I finished decorating on the Tuesday or Wednesday night before Christmas. I don't remember which night, but it wasn't long that we left on the Thursday before Christmas. 

Christmas Eve Eve Eve

Before we made it to my parents house where we were staying Thursday night, we decided to stop at the mall and do some Christmas shopping. We finished some, but we could not finish it before Lily's my timer went off. Yup. I was the first one who started to get overwhelmed with the Christmas shopping. Sad. 

We knew we had to make a stop at Plucker's while we were in town, but we had no idea they opened one in the parking lot of the mall! What a lucky night! My two loves decided to start a very serious project while waiting for our food to arrive. 

Christmas Eve Eve

The next day, Friday, did not go as planned at all. Not one little bit. We planned that Robbie would go do some shopping at the mall and pick up some last minute gifts and my mom, Lily and I would stop and buy Lily some black shoes and go to the Bass Pro Shop and get Lily's picture taken with Santa. This would happen before Lily's nap time. We planned it this way because both would take a couple of hours, right? We could get everything done at the same time and then make it over to the M family's house a little after lunch time and spend several hours before going home.

What happened was that when we arrived at the Bass Pro Shop, we were told that we had to get a fast pass and come back FOUR HOURS LATER with our fast pass. And this was after buying her shoes, showing up, and changing Lily out of her street clothes into her Christmas clothes, leggings and all mind you, in the back seat of my mom's Jeep. Then we walked to the building and was told, NOPE! Come back later. So we walked back to the Jeep and had to undress her again. I called Robbie to tell him that change of plans. Sigh. But we adapted and made it work.

There were a couple of reasons why this annoyed us. First was that we saw several of our friends with small children close to Lily's age post their Santa pictures on facebook and they were crying every time. Well that wasn't going to happen to our kid. Our kid was cooler than those kids. So we planned the Santa visit in the morning before Lily's nap when she was fresh and happy. Instead, we were going to have to squeeze in a visit with family and then go take our cranky and unnapped kid to take a picture with Santa. We knew it was a lost cause before we even went back.

But we held out hope that maybe....

just maybe....

our way cooler than most kid....

would take a good Santa picture.....

What do you think?


We've been told....

We'll laugh about this later. Much later.

Let's move on to Christmas Eve, shall we?

My parents planned a fantastic breakfast for Christmas Eve. This is one of the many reasons I love going home. Someone else cooks!

Lily helps Pyran flip pancakes

Makeshift high chair thanks to Pyran's ingenuity


After breakfast present wrapping

After spending half the day at my parent's house, we went to visit Robbie's half. Robbie's dad remarried earlier this year, and his wife was in the decorating business. I think that may be why I decided to make an effort at decorating this year, though I am no where near as talented as she is. And I do not have quite the budget to do stuff like that. 

Choo choo train

LSU tree-it's Louisiana y'all-it's required!

The big tree

The Men
From left to right:
Jay (my brother-in-law), Mr. Wendell (my-father-in-law), Chris C., Chris M. and Robbie (my husband)

We spent the night at Robbie's halfs' place that night and ventured to my parents' place the next morning. 


I've been wanting to get her one of these since she was born. 

She likes her See N' Say

Twins. Pyran must have picked this hoodie out. Dunno what makes me think that.

Lily's favorite gift. And it still is her very favorite gift.

The following picture has a story. A few months ago, back when I was running, I needed to buy new shoes. It was a symphony weekend, which means I dropped Lily off at home with my mom. Before I had to leave, my mom, Lily and I went shoe shopping. They had a sale on shoes, buy one get one half off. Well, the salesperson showed me these cute little Nikes that would be only $5 because of the sale. After much deliberation, silly I know, I decided to buy them for Lily. I showed them to Robbie when we got home and he said, "I'm jealous! I've never had a pair of Nikes." Well, of course my mom called to ask how Robbie liked the shoes and I told that story. My dad heard the story and said, "We have to get that boy his first pair of Nikes for Christmas!" I knew for months and actually kept the secret from Robbie.

Well here he is....

Robbie's first pair of Nikes. Dude can't make a serious smile for nothing.

Ha ha! Serious smile...

Later that night we traveled back to Robbie's folks' and spent the night. The next morning I wanted to take more pictures in Lily's Christmas clothes.

Pretty girl

Big belly laugh

Pretty girl. Pretty tree. She won't let go of that game!

We'll pretend it's a book...

My little elf

All things considered, it was a fantastic Christmas and probably one of the best ones yet. It had it's ups and downs, and a few headaches, but the best part were the Christmas miracles this year. There were some Christmas angels in our lives this year, and I can't wait to share those stories with you. I hope everyone's Christmas was as merry as ours!!!

Merry Belated Christmas!!!