Monday, July 14, 2014

12 on the 12th(ish)

I'm only 2 days late, and really, this blog would be completely neglected if I had to be on time.
1. Whooping cough sucks. 2. Sparklers are fun! 3. I have about 100 of these blondie selfies on my phone right now. 4. Sprinklers are the best thing for a hot day. 5. The Crimson Spoon cookbook is quickly becoming my favorite. 6. Photoshoot with Auntie Angela. 7.Cougar Kids Camp is where it's at! 8. My adorable running coaches. 9. Of course Nora's favorite lovey is Sissy's dolly. 10. Princess Lana waiting for the 4th of July parade to start. 11. Let the Canning Begin! 12. Yes, my house really does look like that some days.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

12 on the......Whatever, we're 10 Days Late

Nora's Dedication Day * Toe painting instead of finger painting * Birthday awesome-ness * Garden-fresh radishes * Matching shirts and sister loves * Jumping Nora * Fishing * Duathlon * Sweet potatoes and confusion * Chubby baby makes me smile * Tire and truck issues do not make me smile * Some days you just need an umbrella.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

12 on the 12th (I know, it's really the 13th, but I'm trying.)

Bacon cinnamon rolls * Mother's Day flowers * Nora gets bundled up in the mornings * Lana's bright flower car for Cubbies drive-in night * Girls Night while Dan was working the Snoop Dog concert * Lana the Springtime Princess in her flower tiara * Nora, our blue-eyed beauty * Raising carnivores since 2009 * Me and my babies on Mother's Day * Lana was all smiles and a big thumbs up for getting an award on the last day of AWANA.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

To Nora on her 4-Month Birthday

Dear Nora,

Oh my goodness Sweet Girl, today you are 4 whole months old! It is trite and cliche to say, but I will say it anyway - the time simply flies by. It really does seem like only yesterday we were bringing you home as a wee newborn, and now, here you are, babbling, laughing, making your desires known, and growing growing GROWING.

Let's talk about your growing for a minute, shall we? At your 4-month check-up with the Good Doctor, you weighed in at 15 lbs, 7 oz. and 25.5 inches long, putting you in the 95th percentile for both weight and length. Wow, just wow is all I can say. When I think back to your first three weeks and the frustration and tears spent trying to get you to eat correctly and gain weight, all I can be is grateful for this complete turnaround. Your delicious cheeks, perfectly round tummy, thigh rolls, and wrist dimples are all proof that we're doing something right. It's probably no coincidence that as your eating and weight increased, so did your hours of sleep, making a tired Mommy and Daddy very, very happy.

As you've grown in size, your funny little personality has started to develop too. When you greet me in the morning with a smile, my heart simply fills to bursting. And when you look at me with a wide, open mouth, you make it perfectly clear that you'd like to eat now, thank-you-very-much. You've done that for several weeks now and it cracks me up. You just know that the Mommy will feed you as much as you want, and all you have to do is open your mouth in my general direction. Smart girl!

Don't get me started on your smiles and laughter. Really, two of my very favorite things at the moment. Pretty much if someone is engaging you (Mommy, Daddy, but especially big sister) you are smiling. I think you're going to be a little social butterfly like your big sis, as you love talking and babbling to others, and also seem to really enjoy when they answer back. You've recently started laughing and squealing. Usually this happens when you know milk is coming your way but hasn't quite hit your lips yet, making me laugh as well. You also laugh and squeal when you're full and feeling good and someone is tickling you, eating your delicious cheeks, or making silly faces at you. Your sweet baby laughs are the happiest music I've ever heard. Indeed baby laughs cover a multitude of sins.

It's so fun to see how much you've changed in these past 4 months. I know the next 4 will bring even more growth and change and I'm excited to see more bits and pieces of who you are. Know this always, dear Nora Johanna, you are loved and cherished more that you can imagine. Your Daddy and I longed for you before we knew you were on your way, and we were so, so excited this time last year when we learned I was pregnant. A year ago you were a little bundle of rapidly growing cells, but you were already known and already loved. Daddy and I are so glad we get to be your parents and so grateful you are our daughter.

Love you always,

Monday, April 21, 2014

12 on the 12th (or 21st, because we're cool like that)

Yikes! The ONE thing I committed to do on this poor little blog got forgotten this month. I guess better late than never?

Visiting my parents and playing with their new puppy, Callie * First Kamiak Butte hike of the year * Taking the girls out for a quick stroller run * Campus on the Run 5k with friends * Visiting Cousin Cody * Lana figured out how to take selfies on my phone * Nora and Lana in their fancy dresses for pictures * Mommy-Lana silly selfies * Eye doctor visit for the big girl * Adorable, delicious Nora pudgemuffin * Chocolate chip cookie dough cake * Lana's dream car *

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Sister Photo Shoot

Last week I took Lana and Nora in for their first "sister photo shoot." They've each had their photos taken separately (Lana has many, many times) but this was a first for the two of them together. I figured as long as Nora had a full tummy and a clean diaper, she'd be happy. Lana happily becomes a trained model (or camera ham, your choice) once the camera comes out, so I figured she'd be fine too.

I don't know if my mom had the same thoughts nearly thirty (30! GASP!) years ago when she took me and my baby sister in for pictures. She scrubbed us up good, bribed us with lollipops to hold still for hair curling, and I'm sure employed every trick in the parenting handbook (speaking of which, I misplaced my copy, can I borrow yours?) to get us to look presentable and behave. Back in the days before digital photography, the Olan Mills photographer didn't have the luxury of snapping 200 shots to ensure he got a handful of usable pictures and instead used his own bag of tricks (puppets, silly faces, promises of candy, peek-a-boo, and bubbles) to get kids to do his bidding.

Despite all that, baby sister Jen and I did take some cute pictures, didn't we?

My little-girl she-mullet is, ah, interesting, but I would pay good money for those natural highlights and lowlights right now. Even though they're quite dated, I also still love those dresses. (In fact, if the navy blue one that Jen is wearing is still around anywhere, I'll take it and have Nora wear it in a year or so. If I recall correctly my corduroy jumper had to be tossed when it fell apart.)

And here we are, our faces glowing in the light of sisterly love and affection (or in the light of candy and bribery, I don't really remember).

My mom had us do individual pictures too. I was told to sit up straight, look over here, and smile. Easy peasy. Now, where's my lollipop?

The photographer's bag of tricks had to come out for this shot of baby sister Jen. He knew what all parents quickly learn - kids love bubbles. They crazy fierce love bubbles, and Jen was no exception. Plus it made for a very cute picture.

To be fair to sister Jen, she did sit for an adorable, bubble free picture as well. She just had the biggest blue eyes, didn't she? And don't you just want to squeeze those delicious cheeks?

And now thirty (30! GASP!) years later, my girls have their own photo shoot story to tell. (With fewer bubbles.)
(This photo was taken with my phone in between the pro working. We haven't gotten the official pictures back yet. Yes, all grandmas will be getting one in the mail shortly.)

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

March: 12 on the 12th

Whew! Where did the last month go?

(Click on pictures for larger view.)
Sweet baby Pudgemuffin snuggles * The ridiculous number of items I pack out of the house in the mornings * T (for turtle) day at the library * Mount Saint Laundry * Chopping off of the locks, before and after (I don't know why the after looks so auburn. I promise, it's blonder in person.) * Cupcakes * Baby smiles and jazz hands * Sister loves * Fancy breakfast * Snow play * Daddy-Daughter snow plow

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Maternity Leave: By the Numbers

Tomorrow I head back to work full-time. The weeks and days just flew by, which is funny because some nights I thought lasted forever. Here's a by-the-numbers summary.

10: Number of weeks I took off work after having Nora

174: Times Lana belted out, "Let it go! Let it go!"
1,800,321: Times I thought this baby was the dearest, sweetest wee thing I had ever seen in my whole life.

9: Number of Pioneer Woman recipes made
10: Number of kale salads eaten (not enough to counteract the effects of above recipes)
9: Freezer meals waiting and ready for those days when making a from-scratch dinner just 'aint happening.

55: Episodes of Property Brothers and Love It or List It watched on HGTV.

489: Reasons why Lana is, and will continue to be, an absolutely terrific big sister.
2: Number of custom-made Seahawks beanies we had made for the girls to wear before the Superbowl.

3: Visits to the lactation nurse to get the whole feeding-the-baby thing down
90: Percentile category Nora is now in for weight
95: Percentile category Nora is now in for length
0: Percent I am now worried about her not eating and gaining enough : )

75: Number of times Lana asked to play outside in snowy/rainy/windy/crazy weather.
45: Times I gave in and let her.
0: Complaints Lana had about being cold.

15: Number of visitors we had. They came mostly to see Nora, but that didn't stop Lana from commandeering them for her own use.

0.5: Times I cleaned my house as thoroughly as I wanted to.

9: Trips to the Colfax Library for story time. (Rabbits on R day and turtles on T day. Pretty neat-o stuff.)

8: Weeks before Nora slept through the night.
10: Hours she slept last night
1: Sleepy 3 AM selfie I just had to take to record this fleeting time in our lives.

6: Times in snowed and accumulated.
8: Times Lana wanted to go out and plow with Daddy.
4: Times Dan actually did need to plow.

5: Days before Lana was completely and totally in love with her baby sister.
100: Times per day Lana tells Nora how cute and sweet she is.
1000: Times per day I am so grateful and feel so blessed to have these two daughters.

65: Episodes of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Sofia the First, Doc McStuffins, Henry Hugglemonster, and Sheriff Callie's Wild West Lana watched while I fed Nora, cooked food, took a 22 minute nap, or cleaned a bathroom.
7: Grown-up movies I watched in 15-20 minute increments.

12: Inches I cut off my hair.
40: Hours per week I'll be working again starting tomorrow.
25: Percent confident I'll get the hang of working full-time, loving on my family, getting dinner on the table, and being on-time to anything in the near future. Hopefully this confidence percentage increases over time.
100: Percent sure everyone will get lots of extra hugs and snuggles from me this week!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Throwback Thursday: FFA

(Opening side note: I've been accused of not blogging much since the baby was born. True story, although I did spend all last month catching up. If you want to see baby pictures, car crash pictures, etc, etc, just go back a few posts - it's all there. I'll try to do better moving forward, but well, I'm making no promises.)

It's National FFA Week, or so my FFA-involved friends on Facebook tell me. I like to think every week is FFA week because this is an organization that I very much appreciate and benefited greatly from.

FFA was a HUGE part of my high school years. Sure, I wore the blue jacket when I showed livestock at fairs and shows, but that was just the tip of the proverbial FFA iceberg for me.
(Respect the blue jacket. Every spring when the state FFA convention comes to campus, I get a bit crazy checking out how the kids are wearing their trademark blue corduroy jackets. I often want to scream "ZIP IT UP OR TAKE IT OFF" to complete strangers, but dang it, wear it right or don't wear it at all.)

Being a part of the National FFA Organization taught me many skills in high school that now, as a 34-year old adult, I still use.

Service to others was just a part of our chapter's core values and thus became one of my core values as well. Serving at banquets, cleaning up at camp, putting together and delivering Thanksgiving baskets, helping younger members with their animals, hauling hay, you name it, if someone needed help with it, there was usually an FFA member there. It was ingrained in us from freshman year that if something needs to be done, there is someone to do it, and there's rarely a reason to keep it from being me.
(In my defense, I don't know that anyone can make a white rubber apron and sweaty forehead look good.)

We also worked. Hard.
A lot of the service projects we took on got us sweaty and gross. Working outside was often hot and uncomfortable, but we did it anyway. As a group, we pretty much abhorred whining, so complainers learned to hide their discomfort quickly. It was usually nice to be surrounded by friends and to all do a job together, but it was still work. Individual projects were a lot of work too. Record books rarely balanced out correctly the first time through, putting together profit-and-loss statements for income-generating projects was tedious and tiresome, researching topics for the extemporaneous speaking contest took hours and hours, memorizing the creed, making banquet arrangements, halter-breaking a steer, nursing a calf back to health, building a fence, and repairing a grain bin all took time and lots of hard work. They were all jobs that needed to get done, and like it or not, complain about it or be content, you had to do them.
(A dark and grainy picture of me receiving my State FFA Degree. I stood on stage for maybe 2 minutes, but this represented a culmination of 4 years worth of work.)

Teamwork was also stressed. In high school there are so many cliques and groups. Girls are mean, boys are jerks. But when we put on our blue jackets, all of that crap had to go away if we wanted to be successful. I was on the officer team for two years, and I didn't always like the other kids I was serving with. Some probably didn't like me either, but we worked together and got along anyway. I learned that it's not being fake to set aside differences and work with someone you really don't like; it's being mature and acting like an adult to put the team's goals ahead of personal squabbles.
(Our officer team during a group speaking competition. (Yes, that is me doing my best Barker Beauty impersonation.) No, we didn't all like each other, but we wanted to compete well, so we momentarily got over our petty differences and worked together to win.)

Thank you National FFA Organization! I hope your week in the spotlight is grand and glorious. You gave me some great memories and skills that I rely on today. In a few short years, I'll be happy to introduce you to my daughters and will proudly help them into their blue jackets.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

12 on the 12th: February

Go Seahawks! Visits from Great-Grandma Carol and Uncle Kasey and Aunt Christina. Playing in the snow. Matching jammies. Sweet baby. Silly Big girl.

(click on photos to for larger view.)