Tuesday, 10/21/14

Watching her blossom….

I’ve loved watching Ainsley come out of her shell this fall. Let me explain. For the past 3 years, the girls have gone door-to-door selling Girl Scout nuts/candy and cookies for their two annual fundraisers. Natalie always brings home the flier and makes it her goal to sell the top incentive amount – $1500. Seriously, she’s all about selling for the first few nights and has to practically drag Ainsley out with her (I’ve insisted they share all their sales up til now). This year, Natalie has been kindof meh about the whole thing. She wanted to sell some, but puh-lease – $1500? No way, Jose. No, this year, it’s Ainsley who’s gung-ho, dragging Nat out and about trying to get her to sell. My Ains, who typically only wants to sell enough to get the first stuffed animal on the list came home with the goal of the $1500 mark.

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Mind you, we typically sell about $250 per girl no matter what their goal is.

Natalie sold her $250. She’s done, literally and figuratively. She’s traveling with her dad these next two weeks and the sale is over at the end of this week.

Ainsley has sold $511 worth. What? For starters, when Natalie didn’t want to go to some of the houses, I allowed her to sit in the car while Ainsley made those sales on her own. I decided this year they’re old enough to figure out what they want to sell and I didn’t want one to be hindered by the other… no matter who wanted to do the selling in that moment. Secondly, Ainsley’s still home this week, so we went selling again last night. She does NOT want to stop!

We talked last night about her goal…. how $1500 might be stretching it with only 5 nights left to sell. AND we’re running out of houses in our neighborhood!  She agreed and revised her goal to $800.  Again – this is a child who has only ever really sold $250. The fun part is she’s only $300 away from her goal. I actually think it’s doable if I can find another neighborhood without a selling Girl Scout. Oh the things we do for these kids to encourage leadership, goal setting, and business skills!

Anyone out there want to help a precious Girl Scout make her goal? She’s selling nuts/candy (which you can have shipped to you), or better yet, she’s also selling magazine subscriptions and photo books (similar to Shutterfly or Snapfish) both of which make great Christmas presents. Email me if you want the link and her troop info. Meanwhile, I’ll be out driving around the Burgh watching a little girl sell her heart out.

Thursday, 10/9/14

Dump

I don’t know where to start. It’s been weeks since I’ve sat down to write consistently. It’s almost as if my brain has maple syrup in it, making my synapses stick… before allowing the neurons to speed on to where they were intended to go. Practically I’m in “get it done” mode. Ryan goes to preschool every afternoon and Piper sleeps for about 1 hr of it… during that hour I frantically try to wade through the projects (and by projects I don’t mean fun ones!) that have piled up over the last few months. I think I’ve almost dug down to the bottom of the summer pile. Whoot! Whoot!

Meanwhile I have thoughts streaming – almost steadily – through my brain.. processing everything I’ve been confronting since early August…. well, really since the Spring. It just came on so slow, I didn’t realize the snowball until I was hit full in the face with it.

I’m realizing things about myself at such a rate that I hardly have time to process before my brain jumps to the next. I’ve forgotten half my “epiphanies”, although I do think knowing them has changed my behavior so at least I’ve got that part down.

If I had a gazillion free hours, I’d sit and journal and think and pray myself through this mess, but I don’t. I have very little time to reflect so it comes to me in waves throughout my days of laundry, dishes, errands, paperwork, and child-rearing.

Truth be told, the heaviness that was so prevalent during August has lessened a bit as the task master in me focuses on the “Okay, now that you know that, what now?”  What’s next? What should I do? That’s always been me and hasn’t changed the slightest.

The only thing keeping me sane is regular exercise, a focused few minutes each day with God and my Bible, and my kids.  Onward and upward!

Tuesday, 10/7/14

Piper – 10 months

I can’t believe it’s been another month. We’ve been on the go this month and as the fourth child, Piper is dragged to all sorts of things (as are all the others!).  Here she is playing with Natalie while we wait to be called back for an x-ray on Natalie’s ankle.

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She’s still pulling up and cruising – getting into things and making more messes. She especially loves her bath toys.

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She’s a total wiggle-worm… and can hardly sit still for a minute. She’s constantly turning in her seat, either to get a better view or to gnaw on the seat back. Teething much?

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While she still won’t take a bottle, it’s getting harder to nurse her as she’s easily distracted. I’m looking forward to the 12-month mark when we can start to try things other than formula. I have a feeling this isn’t going to be an easy process though.

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I’ve been starting her drinking from a shot glass. We start ‘em young in this house. Kidding, of course. The truth is I read somewhere shot glasses are a perfect transition for a baby to a real cup as they are small (less spillage, easy to hold) and are hard to break. Piper LOVES drinking water from “her” cup. Granted, she gets water all over her front, but hey, all in good time, right?

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She’s just plain cute. What can I say?

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Stats – 17 lbs., still waking up 2-3 times per night, eating lots of table food, Loves Cheerios and spaghetti, obsessed with Taurus the cat. Has a signing vocabulary of one – her own modified sign for “more” which looks more like the sign for milk, but I’ll take it for now.

 

Thursday, 10/2/14

Piper’s Eye

Piper is definitely the cutest thing since baby kittens; however, she’s always had problems with gunky eyes (much like kittens now that I think of it). Both her tear ducts were blocked when she was born. We’ve spent countless hours massaging, washing, and uncrusting her eyes. (with a blocked tear duct, the tears have no where to drain so they backup in the duct and often end up infected and goopy. Yuck!)  Her right duct opened up right around her 6-month mark, but her left eye was adamant on staying blocked.

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I frequently ask the kids if Piper is awake or asleep when we’re driving in the car (the scheduler in me just has to know). Once Ryan responded, “One eye is awake.”

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This morning, we went in to have a little surgical procedure where they open the tear duct with a tiny wire. The doctor said he definitely felt the resistance of a membrane that he then popped. Hopefully all will be good from now on. She’s on eye drops for the next week to clear up the infection from the backed up tears. After that, we should be good to go.

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Monday, 9/29/14

Gettin’ my fix on. {Stitch Fix #6}

I was super excited last week when a Stitch Fix arrived on my front step.

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With the cooler fall weather coming, it has me in the mood to add a few things to my wardrobe. I had been trying to spruce things up before getting pregnant with Piper, and now that I’m getting back to my pre-baby size, I’m ready to get going again.  As someone who put off shopping with kids for YEARS, Stitch Fix is a great way to bring the store to me…. it’s so much easier trying everything on while the babes are sleeping/at school, than dragging infants and preschoolers to the store. It just is. And since this is my stage of life right now, I’m rolling with punches. All that to say, I couldn’t wait to try everything on. I took a look at the first item and thought, “Yep, I can do this.”

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First item up is this peasant top with dark purple embroidery.

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I think it’s cute and it adds a sweet bohemian piece to my closet. Next up is this v-neck tank.

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I’m not a big fan. It’s a little boxy and reminds me of something my mom wore when I was a kid. I’m passing on this one. My stylist suggested pairing it with a little chevon skirt that was included.

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The skirt is a little small in the waist so it’s going back. And I’m a little iffy if it’s cute anyway.

These dark green cords hit the mark. Unfortunately, I just bought a pair of dark green jeans a month ago… I actually like the texture of the cords better, but I’ve already worn the jeans so they’re staying and the cords are going. Being that I bought the exact same color and fit of pants that my stylist sent me made my day. Could it be I’m getting better at this style-thing?

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Last, but not least, is this asymmetrical zip cardigan. I was torn on this one…

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Henry does not love it, and while I don’t always dress for him, it’s nice to have pieces in my closet that he at least likes!  However, I thought it paired really well with my black striped tee and green pants. So it’s staying. I live enough of my life with him at work that I’ll have plenty of places to wear it.

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What do we think of it zipped?

I have one more fix scheduled for the fall/winter to see if I can round things out a bit. Have you tried Stitch Fix yet? Let me know if you liked it. Or if you’re curious, click on the picture below to see what it’s all about. Here’s my first fix which explains how the whole process works.

 

Wednesday, 9/24/14

Lately

I’ve been all over the map lately. Very emotional. Very busy. Very distracted… just very. Some days I feel great and others I’m processing all day… things from the past that affect how I live the now. Here are a few of the things I’ve been up to.

Reading this.

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I’m learning so much about myself and how my growing up experiences taught me how to communicate or how not to… this book is helping me put into perspective some healthy boundaries. I’ve said before, there’s a difference between having a voice and being a bull in a china shop. I’m striving for balance. I’ve found the content of Boundaries in Marriage very insightful and enlightening.

Also reading this:

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My sister found this online devotional. It’s helping me stay on a reading plan. I’m liking it although I have to be honest, I fell a bit behind over the weekend and am catching up. I ordered the journal and think it’s a good supplement to the online devotional; however, it’s costly for the amount of time you spend using it ($21 for a 2 wk study… yikes!)

Henry had a guys night on Saturday. I made the food and enjoyed the leftovers (I love good party leftovers!). We made bacon wrapped dates with goat cheese and jalapeno dip among other things. Yummy!

Keeping up with these folks:

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Ryan is so cute with the Pirates. He LOVES them. He comes down every morning and says, “Where’s your phone. I want to ask who won the game last night.”   Then he asks when the next one is..

Ryan: When do the Pirates play a game?
Siri: The Pirates play the Braves tonight at 7:35 eastern standard time.
Ryan: Fank you.
Siri: No problem.

The first morning Siri talked back to him he came to me and said, “Who’s in your phone?”  I told him it was a computer. He said, “But who’s talking?”  I explained again it was a computer talking.  These kids… they have no idea they’re living in the cartoon “The Jetsons.”

Too bad I don’t have a Rosey to do all my work.

Wednesday, 9/17/14

Happy Hump Day.

I posted the other day that Piper is doing a little better at night, sleeping until my wake up time of 5 am then going back to sleep for a few hours. Hahahahahaha!  I posted that and then true to every-kid-form, she changed her mind. For the past two days, she’s gotten up at 4 am. Which to my body signals it’s time to get up. But it’s not, I tell you, it’s NOT! My adrenaline says, “ooh, 6 hrs, time to get up,” and my brain says, “Nooooo, I want seven hrs.”

Anyway, let’s let that dead horse lie and move on to food. One of my favorite subjects.

When you’re up at 4 am by 9 you’re pretty much ready for lunch and a nap. It’s a shame McDonald’s doesn’t serve double cheeseburgers before 11. Between Insanity, nursing, and getting up before the sun, I’m ravenous. One can only eat so many eggs and trail mix (separately, not together, because eeewww).

Speaking of eggs and trail mix, I’m having so much fun dressing Piper. Girl’s hair and clothes are so much more fun than boys. Sorry. It’s a fact. She has the cutest little denim jeggins that I’m having fun pairing with adorable tops…. It’s a shame really. This child has no idea how cute she is.

Clothes brings me to the weirdest thing to happen to me today – - I came home from dropping the girls at school and hung up my jean jacket (just a second, my phone’s ringing. I think it’s the 1980s) I have a t-shirt on and was a little chilly without my jacket so I grabbed a grey sweater that was hanging in the closet. As I did so, I immediately, and I mean immediately, thought of Mr. Rogers hanging up his coat every day to put on his sweater. I felt like I should break out into song, “It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood, a beautiful day for a neighbor….”  And it is a beautiful sunny day in the Burgh….. I then noticed there’s a hole in the elbow of my sweater, which explained everything about Mr. Rogers having elbow patches on his.

Welp, enough of this banter. I’ve got people to see and places to go. Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, 9/16/14

There is no where I can go that is too far.

If I say, “Surely the darkness will overwhelm me, And the light around me will be night.” Even the darkness is not dark to Thee, And the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to Thee.”

Psalm 139:11-12

 

The other weekend we lost Ryan. We had some friends up and between the two couples we have 7 kids. Somehow in the transfer from playing at the park and walking across the parking lot to a restaurant, we forgot Ryan. (I actually thought he was with us the whole time and walked back to the park, but he informed me that we left him there. Poor boy!)

At some point while waiting for our table, I realized I hadn’t seen Ryan for quite some time. 10 minutes?  At least. I turned to my friend Katie and said, “Where’s Ryan?” We immediately began looking.

I walked to the edge of the patio and looked down at the older children who were studying the lily pads growing at the water’s edge. No Ryan. I called to them to ask if he’d been with them. Negative.

For a split second I looked at the five children playing by the pond, thinking about how I would have to leave them by the water’s edge without supervision to look for my son. A split second – and then I turned and walked very fast through the restaurant looking at every table for his sweet little face. Seeing if perhaps he was standing with elbow propped on a table, his chin in his hands watching his beloved Pirates on one of the tvs. He wasn’t there.

I made my way from the front of the place to the back. There was no sign of little boy blue. Henry and Kevin were at the bar watching the game. I asked if they’d see him. The look on Henry’s face told me “no.” His look of concern mirrored the seriousness in my own face as I searched every nook and cranny around the bar.

Bathrooms. We split up looking in each and met out front, my chest tightening with every minute. No little boy. Without many words, just phrases like, “Nothing.” We split again. I retraced my steps back through the restaurant to the back patio and by the water. I scanned the lake praying I wouldn’t see him in the water.  Back out to the front, to the parking lot, hoping to spot his little white shirt bobbing through the cars. I thought about calling the police.

“Leighann! Katie’s got him!” Kevin yelled. He was weaving through the cars coming from the park where we’d just been playing. Ryan was at the park and Katie had him. That’s all I had to know for my heart to find peace. He’d been found!

As I had raced through the restaurant I couldn’t help but think of how Jesus leaves the 99 sheep safely grazing to search out the one who is lost (Matthew 18:12). I wonder if he has a split-second thought as he scans the safe ones, wondering as He turns to search if one of these will find themselves in trouble. If He does, I’m sure like me He only hesitates for second as His concern for the lost one drives His every action.  He is compelled to find the one who is wandering. Compelled by love.

And then this morning I read this and it brought it all together for me, “If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will overwhelm me, and the light around me will be night.’ Even the darkness is not dark to Thee, and the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to Thee.”   And the verse before these: “And thy right hand will lay hold of me.”

It hit me afresh. Even in the darkest places, whether they be the depths of sin or the depths of despair, God is not afraid to go there to rescue me. Darkness doesn’t cause him anxiety like it does us. There’s nowhere I can sink to that the right hand of God can’t reach to pull me out. Hallelujah. Praise the King. He will sit with me in the darkness and lead me out when I’m ready to grasp His hand. Waiting ever so patiently, the Father is always there.  For you and for me.

Monday, 9/15/14

Searching for balance

Yeah. So remember the first two relaxing days of school?

I’m glad I took some time to relax.

To give you perspective, I’ve been involved with 10 healthcare (from therapists to doctors) appointments in the last 10 business days. This doesn’t count the 2 eye doctor checkups the girls had on Saturday. I sent my husband out of utter fear of me curling up into the fetal position and rocking back in forth at being asked to sign one more HIPA form.

I also attended two back-to-school nights at the elementary school.

It’s been a little crazy. Not gonna lie.

My goal has been to steal a few minutes for myself each day to gain a little perspective and create some balance in my stress levels. This hasn’t happened much in these second two weeks of school and I feel it.  Many days while the kids are at school (or even in summer time) I spend very little time breathing and more time doing childcare and running a household – something that is so difficult to explain to someone who’s never done it before. Honestly, it’s hard to explain to me AND I’M DOING IT!  It takes time to get everything done. Consider that if I’ve spent time at 10 appointments, I’ve made phone calls to set each of these appointments up. And I’ve loaded the car with at least 2 kids if not 4 to travel to and from these appointments. This does not include anything else.

I’m going to try to get back in balance this week. Starting today. There are only 2 appointments on the calendar so far this week. Yay!

 

Friday, 9/12/14

Lost ….

Ryan lost his first tooth. I’m pretty sure it was August 21. A Thursday. He came to me that morning with an open mouth and said, “Look.”  I had no frame of reference so I peered into his open mouth and said, “What?”

That’s when he took his little finger and wiggled his little tooth. Not just a little back and forth…it was very, very lose. I was aghast!  Did you hit your mouth on something? Did someone hit you? What in the world caused this little five-and-a-half-year-old who has completed every milestone behind his older siblings lose a tooth at least 6 months before any of my other children?

As we were eating dinner that night he gave a little “Oh!” and spit his tooth into his hand. Then held it up for all to see…. “my tooth!!”

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So yeah, it’s gone. And his adult one is already growing in. The kids realized all our kids are missing teeth in one way or another!