Monday, August 25, 2008

Fun with Friends

I was thinking about our recent trip to Cali. We were out there for 10 days which I think is the longest amount of time I have spent in NP since I graduated college 10 years ago. Since we were there I did have a good amount of time to kick it with some old friends. Here are some highlights...

First I was able to meet my best friend, Erica's (hopefully) new son. Of course I took pictures of him, but cannot post them because of confidentiality. They are fostering to adopt and have an adorable little 6 month old. If all goes well they will be able to begin adoption in October, and so far all seems to be going well. It is about as certain as things get in the foster system. He is a cutie pie and Hadleigh just loved playing with him. Apart from spending time with her little boy, Erica and I also had a fun time watching the Olympics together. We were literally screaming while we watched Lezak swim the race of his life to win the gold in the 4x100 relay. Erica and I both used to swim that relay together, so it brought back some memories.

I had two oppostunities to kick it with my old bud Em. She brought her kiddos- Shalom and Brother over to play with my girls. Her kids are hilarious! On a different evening we were able to go out for coffee. Who knew that NP now has like 7 starbucks? One problem...they close at 9...??? Anyway, it was fun to talk about old times and new times.

I was able to see my old bud Laura, and we went out for Greek food...again...who knew that NP had become so diverse in just 10 years. We shut the place down too. The last time we had kicked it was actually when she visited us in Germany. Before that all of my fun memories are from our crazy trip to Romania 10 years. She said it was the trip of her life...which was encouraging. I think there is only one other person from that team who had a good time. However all of my good memories from that dramatic trip are wrapped up in her and Colleen. Thanks rock!

Lastly, my good and oldest friend, Sar came up with her two girlies. Sar and I have almost identicl lives...except that she got married at 22 and me not so much. Oh yea, and I lived in Germany and she not so much. Oh yea, and she lives in the OC...and I definitely do not. =) Other than that, we are like the same person. Her daughter, Annie is 3 months older than Hadleigh, and Jill is 3 days older than Annelise. I was pretty bitter about Jill coming before Annelise did...I was due a week before her...however all is fair when talking about a baby. So, Sar brought up Annie and Jill and we headed down to our little park with my whole family. Unfortunately my little miss HC was in a pretty foul mood...but after about 45 minutes decided Annie was cool and that she wanted to play with her. I also had to keep Annelise away from Jill, because Annelise had a raging sinus infection...blah! I know you are looking at the pictures wondering how Annie can only be 3 months older than HC. I promise she is...Annie was born a girl...she was never a baby!

Here is Chris and Rubie with Annelise and Jill...hmm...I think they look well with twins!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

More on Cali

I will note here that while our trip out to Cali was difficult, it was not nearly as painful as I thought it would be. Apart from the travel I was very nervous about the girls sleep. A 3 hour time change can be painful! Hadleigh has a very strong internal clock and is a very scheduled child...though a little more flexible than she was as a baby. The thought of getting up at 2.30am for the day just did not sound appealing.

Fortunately Annelise did amazing! The first night she woke up at 4, I fed her, put her back down and she slept until 6. That was the only night she woke up. And to think I was actually afraid to sleep with her! I should have been more worried about Hadleigh. Most of the mornings I had to tell her to lay down, as she was often up bouncing around the room at 4. A couple mornings I woke up to find her face in my face..."hi mama!" Hilarious! Overall they did a fabulous job and although I am still recovering a bit, I would definitely do it again.

It was so fun to see the girls with my parents- Papa and Nana, and my brother and sister-in-law...Uncle Chris and Aunt Rubie. Hadleigh had lots of hugs and kisses for everyone and would exclaim when someone would enter the room/house. "There's a papa," she would say...or "NANA!" I think being with so many people helped push her a bit out of her shy-tendency. The other day Jess came over to watch the girls for us. Usually Hadleigh talks about Jess, but as soon as she sees her, she turns away and acts shy. This particular night she started yelling, "Jess! Jess!" and then jumped up, ran over and gave her a hug. We were both shocked.

We had a fun, fairly relaxing time. My parents live in the same house that I grew up in, which is just a block away from a small park with a large green, a nice, new playground. It is near the foot of Old Boney (the second tallest mountain in the world...everyone knows that Mt. Everest is the tallest). Every afternoon we would stroll down to the park and enjoy a nice swing and slide time before hitting dinner and bath. Mom also blew up the hippo pool and let HC and Annelise splash around.

My parents took us to Garden of the Worlds, which is a cool little park that has fountains, and different gardens...rose, Japanese, etc. I think it is fairly new, in the last 5 years. We also went to Tierra Rejada which is a local farm. Hadleigh was able to put a baby pig, goats, ducks, chickens, etc. I don't have any pictures from that...must rely on Uncle Chris to send a couple to me.

Dad and Mom were shocked by Annelise, not only how big she has gotten, but how different her demeaner is. What a different baby from 4 months ago! She just loved getting hugs and kisses from Papa and Nana.

I have one more post, but you can see we had a lot of fun with family while were gone.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Once Again

My fav confession brings it home again! This weekend Dave and I are participating in Living in Grace. It is a conference that all Mission to the World missionaries go through, as well as staff. I took it 7 years ago, and it really changed the way I think about God, and myself. Intown is doing the conference for all of its leaders (although it is abbreviated from its original format). It was Living in Grace that first introduced me to the Heidelberg Confession. Here is Question 60.

Q. 60 How are you right with God?
A. Only by true faith in Jesus Christ.
[1] Although my conscience accuses me that I have grievously sinned
against all God's commandments, have never kept any of them,[2] and am still inclined to all evil,[3] yet God, without any merit of my own,[4] out of mere grace,[5] imputes to me the perfect satisfaction, righteousness, and holiness of Christ.[6] He grants these to me as if I had never had nor committed any sin, and as if I myself had accomplished all the obedience which Christ has rendered for me,[7] if only I accept this gift with a believing heart.[8]

[1] Rom. 3:21-28; Gal. 2:16; Eph. 2:8, 9; Phil. 3:8-11.
[2] Rom. 3:9, 10.
[3] Rom. 7:23.
[4] Deut. 9:6; Ezek. 36:22; Tit. 3:4, 5.
[5] Rom. 3:24; Eph. 2:8.
[6] Rom. 4:3-5; II Cor. 5:17-19; I John 2:1, 2.
[7] Rom. 4:24, 25; II Cor. 5:21.
[8] John 3:18; Acts 16:30, 31; Rom. 3:22.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Frog

The idea of taking the girls out to Cali by myself originated when Dave decided he was going to go to Haiti with a buddy on a dental mission trip. The thought of staying home for 10 days alone with the crazies was a bit much for me (remember Annelise used to be crazy), so somehow I thought traveling out to CA with them to visit my folks might be a better option. A couple months ago Dave decided not to go on the trip, but I had already planted the idea in my family's mind, so it was hard to go back on it.

I psyched myself out and survived the trip out there. Fortunately Annelise has chilled a bit, so she did well on the 4+ hour flight. I managed to keep HC occupied by allowing her to watch the Muppet Movie 1.5 times. Please note that flying with 2 young children is not all it is cracked up to be. I strolled through security with my double stroller, Hadleigh's carseat on my back like a backpack, and my carry-on on my wrist. Security was, what it always is...quickly take out all liquids: read bottles, sippy cups, tylenol, yogurt, applesauce and many other food items that might be needed on the trip, throw in tray...remember the portable DVD player before security guard yells at you. Remove everyone's shoes, including your own. Put carseat through xray machine while also holding baby in arms and another baby hanging on your leg...and somehow fold up stroller and convince security guard dude that it will not fit through xray and to ahnd check it. Walk pack up in some sensible way all the things you just unpacked, put all shoes back on, unlock stroller, put carseat back on back...calm all children down and walk to the elevator and to the train where you cram on, saying excuse me (like a broken record) and try not to side-swipe people with the enormous carseat that is strapped to your back/butt. Fortunately I had some people help me along the way, and managed to get the steward to carry the carseat onto the plane for me...don't know how I would have managed that on my own.

The main point is that we made it to CA in a fairly sane state of mind.

My dad has thing with frogs. For as long as I can remember whenever we would get a present of some sort he would always say something about it being a frog. This became a family joke and my brothers and I began to buy him little frogs, so he now has quite a collection. Last year when he had his gall bladder surgery the ladies at the church office got him this frog that sings, "You're Unbelievable" while shaking his hips. One of dad's fav frogs is a stuffed Kermit which has velcro on his hands and feet. This enables him to be placed in many different positions. Someone gave this to Dad some 20 years ago when he was in the hospital, and I always remember it hanging on the trapeze that sits over his bed.

Hadleigh fell in love with Kermit (especially since she loves the Muppets) and you can see how she would walk around with him. She asked for him to be placed like this. So CUTE!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Just when you thought that absolutely nothing was going on in our lives, here is a post to prove otherwise!

I took the crazies out to Cali to visit the fam and for Annelise to meet the infamous Uncle Chris and Aunt Rubie...they are SO famous they are INfamous. Probably more on that later, but for now I wanted to let you know what my crazy man was up to while we were gone. Here are some pictures followed by a list.
This picture is of our living room before and then after.

Yes! There is a new door! There are a couple odd things about our house, which is the house of unfinished projects. The previous owners turned the garage into a 4th bedroom and 4th bathroom, and then added a new garage onto the front of the old garage. There are a couple of quirky things about this addition. The first is that they never added vents, so there is no ac or heat to this room. The second is that to get from the house to the garage you walk from the dining room, into a hall, into the 4th bedroom, into a storage room, into the garage. That is a LOT of doors to have to pass through. We decided a new door was necessary, so Dave cut out this door int he living room. Now to get to the garage you can walk from the living room into the storage room, into the garage. YEA! Dave even moved and rewired the electric so that when you walk into the living room from the garage you can turn on a light. YEA! Oh, did I mention that he also had to be extra careful about lead paint. Welcome to all houses built before 1978! He wore his little special mask and plastic covering...yea!

The picture above is where Dave widened the door of our 4th bathroom. He opened it up about 6 inches, which also required moving the electric. He did a fabulous job and now we are one step closer to having a handicapped accessible bathroom.

After Dave did these two projects he was in a dilemma...should he mud and completely finish the project...OR...tackle those last pesky boxes that if left on my own I would never get to. YEA! He tackled the boxes and now my bedroom is beautiful and box free. He hung the beautiful curtains he made for me on our first Christmas, bought this fun little shelving thing for me to use as a make-shift dresser, organized my closet...amazing! He also organized the man-room getting things out of boxes and cleared off the desk that has papers that will not end. He hung the last roman shade in HC's room and the curtains in the living room...all around a great job.

He also managed to fish and golf and get lots of sleep. More on the fun with the girls in CA later. For now we are glad to be home and working on getting on the correct time zone.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Miss Hadleigh Claire is 29 Months

Next month the little miss will be 2.5 years old! Wowee, she is getting SO big. I suppose every age comes with its fun and challenges. Being the Mama of a 29 month old and a 9 month old certainly humbles me a LOT, and drives me to ask for lots of wisdom and grace...but that is probably a post for another day.

Still a great sleeper, Hadleigh is going to bed around 6.30pm and waking up around 7 or 7.30am. In the afternoon she might stay up in her room for 4 hours! That is insane. She does not sleep the entire time, but so enjoys being in her bed in her room. Her bed is covered with stuffed animals who all have names. If one is missing it is noticed immediately and all is not well until we have found "monkey" or "white bear". When she is not sleeping she enjoys playing with her animals in her bed. Yesterday morning I went to get her up and she kindly commanded me to leave her alone because she was not quite ready to get up. A couple weeks ago I was putting her to be and moved one of her animals from between the wall and her matress and she immediately corrected me, put giraffe back in the crack and informed me that giraffe was taking a bath. It is so fun to see her little imagination take shape.

Associated with being sleep/rooms/bed is the fact that HC has now figured out she can get out of bed when she wants. Yesterday I was down feeding Annelise breakfast when I thought I heard footsteps down the hall. I convinced myself that HC was just banging her bed against the wall, but when I turned the corner she was coming down the stairs. This concerns me a little, but so far she has only gotten out of bed in the morning. Here's to hoping that she does not abuse this new found power.

Sharing. Ah yes, what 2 year old does not struggle with this concept? HC is no different. Fortunately for her, she has a sister that daily brings up this subject and gives us an opportunity to practice taking turns. I am sure once Annelise begins to crawl it will become even more fun!

HC is not the most verbal child, so communicating sometimes becomes a problem. It is so hard not to know what your child wants, and it leads to frustration on both sides. We are trying to teach her to ask for help and to use words to explain what she needs. She has become better at this, and I know with time and more vocabulary this will only improve.

I have realized that I need to be more gracious in my treatment of the little miss and view our interactions as a training time, as opposed to a power struggle. For example, she cannot even say please everytime she wants something, so I always remind her. If my child cannot even say please why in the world would I think that she will come the first time I call her, or obey immediately, or always say "yes, ma'am". Apparently "No" is the standard response to anything you ask a 2 year old, even if the answer is "yes". This drives me nutso because I think it is so disrespectful. HOwever I have realized that getting angry about it does little good, so I gently remind her that the correct response is, "Yes, ma'am" and I figure one of these days she will catch on.

The other day the girls were playing and I was washing dishes and I heard Hadleigh reading to Annelise. It was so sweet to see HC sitting next to Annelise explaining all the pictures and telling her the general story..."the caterpillar ate a strawberry, and oh cake, happy birthday cake! yummy, orange, oh see the sun baby?"

Miss HC loves the pool. We have so much fun going! She loves jumping and dunking and blowing bubbles and "swimming" to Dada and to Mama.

Friends are a very important part of the little Miss' life. She asks to see them daily and every night runs through a list of her friends as we pray for them by name. In the fall she will begin preschool 2 days a week which will enable her to see her friends more often. We have had such a wonderful summer so far that I feel a little sad about school starting. However I know she has such a fun time and it is a wonderful outlet for her, so I know she will be happy to begin.

She has had a recent obsession with her Aunt Rubie (Wubie). She talks about her often, and I will see her looking out the window pointing, as if she has just seen Aunt Wubie. She cannot seem to remember Uncle Chris, but we are working on it.

I am trying to think of what else to say. She is crazy, hilarious, and so much fun to be around. I love my big girl!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008


A couple things.

1. One thing that made my transition harder was this Wonder Woman complex I have. I want to do everything, and I want to do everything well. Best mom, wife, friend, hostess, house cleaner, etc. I want everyone to think I can do it all, find the best deal at the grocery store, cook a great meal, keep the house clean, finish my Bible study. It was an impossible feat for me. Once Christmas arrived and I realized I was far from being out of the woods, my standard of a good day was everyone alive at the end of the day. If I had more normal expectations it might have been easier for me. I was nervous about my transition, especially given the age of Hadleigh, but I was sure I would be fine. I knew I would handle it and handle it well. After the first month, survival seemed more important than anything else, though my expectations died hard.

2. My poor thumb is in pain. After living with my wonderful green kitchen for a couple weeks I decided that we definitely needed to paint the family room (which flows into the kitchen as the house is split level). We looked at paint chips on Saturday and with the help of Angie and Lisa picked a wonderful yellowish-gold color. Dave picked up the paint on Sunday and I went to work. Painting wood paneling is not very fun. Last night I took a small brush and painted in the grooves around the room. My fingers kept going numb (guess I was not holding the brush correctly), but I think it is finished. I'll post a couple pics when I have cleaned up and moved the furniture back in place.

3. Yesterday before Hadleigh's nap she was asking to pray. We usually pray before she goes to sleep at night so it was a little unusual, but not uncharacteristic of her. She kept saying "Pray Jopee, Pray Jopee". It was an odd request. She usually will ask to pray for one of her animals, like the crazy life-like frog she received after attending a recent birthday party. Anyway, I had to tell her that I had NO idea what she wanted to pray about, but she was insistent. It then all clicked. She wanted to pray for Joe P. Joe P and his family used to attend our church and are dear friends with some of our dear friends. Last fall Joe P was diagnosed with a brain tumor. A couple weeks ago Hadleigh and I began praying for him together. It is so sweet to see how she will remember and brings up things for us to pray for. so, Joe P and family, the little miss is praying for you!

4. Hadleigh has several special friends, and one of them is Brennan. Brennan is the son of John and Brea, who I have known for going on 10 years, and Brennan and Hadleigh are 6 weeks apart in age. Brea had an early morning errand to run yesterday, so Brennan came and spent the night. Originally we wanted HAdleigh and Brennan to sleep in the same room, Hadleigh in her bed and Brennan in her crib. After listening to them play and giggle for an hour (also having to go up a couple times because Hadleigh was jumping on the bed landed on the floor), we moved Hadleigh into another room. They woke up yesterday morning happy and enjoyed spending the morning playing. When Brea arrived to pick him up she suggested that Brennan give Hadleigh a hug. They hugged, which is the cutest thing ever! And then Brea asked him to hug Hadleigh again because it was SO cute and this time after the hug, he leaned in and gave her a kiss! I mean, he cocked his head to one side and went in for the kill. Wow! I even felt a little uncomfortable. Watch out for Brennan, he is an animal!

Monday, August 04, 2008

Life with Two

It is probably best that I have waited to truly post about my transition from one to two kiddos. Life seems to have settled down and we are more into a routine, so it does not seem so intense as a few months ago.

There is just no way around it, the transition from 1-2 is hard. I have yet to talk to a mom who would say anything different. It is a different transition than from 0-1, and I am counting on this being the worst transition, most of the moms I have talked to said after 2, you are golden. Even our friends who have 5+ kiddos have said 1-2 is the worst. Yea! We have survived.

I know everyone has their own experience with babies, children and family. There are so many factors that play into this, temperament (of both baby and parent), life experience, and life situation- as in moving, switching jobs/other life transitions.

For me, the transition to mom was an easy jump. I do not particularly know why...Hadleigh wasa relatively easy baby (though she had her moments...I am remembering the crying fest she had when we drove from Salzburg back home...6 hour drive of insanity). Dave was around and helpful, and he doesn't tolerate odd behavior from me. He tends to be calm and rationale, and I tend toward worrying. He HATES it if I have an "irrational" fear (boogieman under the bed anyone?). Not only that, I think I do have a personality that can be laid back...occasionally. I also think that I did not have time to be concerned with what may/may not be wrong with Hadleigh. The month she was born the soldiers from Baumholder were moved from Kuwait into Iraq...there were a lot more important things to think/deal with than an occasional runny nose or whatever it may have been that made me worry.

My friend, Mike was the head nurse in our clinic and one time asked me why he hadn't seen me in the clinic with Hadleigh. He was shocked when I told him I had only gone in for my wellness appointments. Apparently first time moms are usually in there a lot.

So, given our experience with Hadleigh, I think we both thought the transition to two would be fine...even though the girls were going to be about 19 months apart (well...more like 20 months when Annelise finally came). Haha...Annelise blew all theories out of the water. She was born mad. I remember while I was in the hospital she would turn purple when she cried. Yikes!

I think it is hard to really tell the temperament of a baby in the first 4-6 weeks. I mean, they are all psycho and you just have to live through it. But once she was still psycho as we hit 7, 8, 10 weeks...that was when panic really set in.

I could not put her down. I literally had to hold her around the clock. I feel exhausted just thinking about it. I remember getting her to sleep in my arms and then putting her down in the bed. She would immediately wake up. It was so difficult. I tell you what, I did not struggle with post-partum depression, but...I had some pretty crazy thoughts during those first 4 months. I understand.
I think one of the hardest things during that time was feeling so alone. Thankfully Dave was around, but with no family close by it was really difficult. That was one of the first times I thought that having some family around would have been helpful. I felt tied and locked into being with Annelise all the time. I did not feel like I could leave her with just anyone, and hated to even think about asking someont to watch my crazy baby. Hey...anyone wanna sit in my living room and hold a crying baby for 2 hours? I felt guilty and so I didn't ask for a lot of help. ANd honestly, who could have helped me? I was nursing so much and Annelise would refuse to take a bottle, so it was just really hard.
I don't want anyone to think that I didn't have any help, because I did. My mom came for 2 weeks to help, Dave's mom came down for a couple days each week for several weeks. We had meals brought to us 3 times a week for 2 months. And we had random crazies who offered to hold crazy Annelise. Like Courtney who held her for 2 hours so we could go out for Valentine's Day and Lisa who held her for 3 hours while we went looking for houses. We never would have made it without these things.

Life has slowly returned to normal, it just seems really slow. I am sure that house hunting, buying a home, and moving had nothing to do with our transition either! =) I know some people have a freak-out moment as they buy their first home, I was just SO relieved to find a home and get a room for Annelise that I had no freak-out moments. Thank the Lord for separate rooms for the crazies!
Anyway, in the middle of all the drama with Annelise, I also had to tend to a 20 month old who needed some special tlc and attention. She still needed her diaper changed, and snacks, and books read. I remember often having to tell Hadleigh to pull it together because I just could not deal with 2 crying babies. She had to grow up fast!

Life is a bit more exciting with two girls, things take more time, and are a bit more complicated. Now we have to juggle two naps and schedules and personalities. I just can't always so the things I want to do because it is impossible, though I have managed to figure out how to do a lot of things with the two girls.

We love to go walking, thanks for Lisa who is letting us borrow her double jogger. I love to take the girls to the pool and have a great system that allows us to be in the big pool. We still have family fun day and love doing fun things around Atlanta, like the zoo, the nature center, the High, park, etc. Trips to the grocery store are more manageable, and despite the girls disdain for roadtrips we have still managed to make it to TN a number of times. Soon I will be flying out to California with the girls. That should be an interesting adventure, but I am hoping/praying for lots of helpful people along the way.

I love having two girlies, even though it is insane. It is fun to see Hadleigh and Annelise play and interact. It is fun to see them entertain each other and love each other. I am glad we are entering into a more normal schedule, and that our transition from 1-2 is about over. Yea for two!

Friday, August 01, 2008

The Elf is 9 Months

Tomorrow my little elf, Annelise will be 9 months old. Isn't she so cute? We have had a fabulous month with lots of fun and not lots of drama.

Sleep continues to be more productive and regular, which is a blessing. I count on her taking a morning nap and an afternoon nap, and she will sleep 12 hours through the night. We start early, with a 5.30 wake-up call, she eats and then sits and plays with Dada while I take a shower. She and I have some good quality time before her morning nap, which is usually around 7.30 and will last 1-2 hours. As soon as she wakes up we are ready to hit the streets and party. Noon brings her second nap and again she will sleep 1-2 hours, with an occasional 3 hour stretch (very occasional). And then to sleep at 6. I am still nursing every 2-3 hours, and she eats 3 square meals of solids. Some of her favorites are peach, cheese, macaroni, yogurt and avocado, and asparagus and sweet potato. Yummy!
Sporting 8 teeth she loves to chomp on anything she can get her hands on, toys, paper, food, wood chips, curtain rods, etc. She is clapping, grabbing, shaking, and has also learned how to push big sis' hand away. =) No crawling yet, but she rolls and creeps to get where she wants to go. When not rolling around she enjoys sitting within reach of things she can put in her mouth.

She loves sitting in the stroller and going for walks, sitting in her pool floaty and relaxing at the pool, sitting in the swing next to HC at the park, or in her high chair awaiting her next cheerios or slice of peach.

She is making lots of new friends in nursery, and they LOVE walking her up and down the hall until we arrive back. She apparently is happy as long as she is not stuck in the room. She is recognizing voices these days, so as soon as she hears me or Dave she FREAKS out until we are able to grab her. Annelise also has lots of friends in our community group. When she is up everyone wants a piece of her. Recently she has had fun kicking it with Amy and Christina while I ran errands.
Annelise is also looking forward to this month when she will meet her infamous Uncle Chris and Aunt Rubie, and have a visit with Papa Froggy and Nana Patti.
This sums up our little elf.