February 28: I love...

Of course I couldn't finish out this series without a shout out to my oldest babe, my Addie. This girl wows me with her intelligence, her humor and her sweet demeanor every single day. 

With her fake burps at the table followed by a sly smile and an "Oh, excuse me!"
(our family spaghetti Valentine's Day dinner)

Or her hugging me so tight when I offer to get a bowl of popcorn saying,
"Mommy I love eating popcorn with you. That's so helpful!"
(outside during our gorgeous snow storm a few weeks ago--
it was still pretty warm out and the snow flakes were HUGE!)

And the way she puts Lena's pacifier back in her mouth when she fusses with a comforting,
"There you go, Lena. It's OK Sweetie."
(one of our many attempts at a Christmas Eve photo) 

Really there are probably about 100 times a day just like those when I feel this incredible burst of energy from my heart directed right at her and those gorgeous green eyes. In just a few short weeks, this girl of mine will be three years old. Three. My goodness.
It feels like only yesterday she was my tiny little bug...
Love, love, LOVE you Adrienne Ann!

To see what others have been loving this month, click on the button to the right.
Thank you Kerry for hosting such a fun theme!

{FPA} February 25: I love...

...unplanned snuggle time. This afternoon I abandoned my one personal goal of the day, to take a shower, in favor of holding my tiniest babe while she slept. Two things about that may appear a little sad.

One: I only had one personal goal for the day. If there's anything I've learned in staying home with kiddo's and a sickness that is making the rounds, it's don't get ahead of yourself and be realistic. A shower is a baby step to bigger things happening. If I get one, then maybe we can think about leaving the house for a small errand or I'll feel more motivated and energized for fun afternoon activities. If not, we're stuck with pajamas and stinky Mama all day, highly unlikely to channel extensive creativity or adventure and much more probable that we'll end up reaching for the good old stand-by of play dough until dinner time.

Two: Lena is still spoiled and sometimes won't lay down by herself for a nap. What can I tell you--this girl gets super fussy when she's tired (ahem... don't know where she gets that from). Sometimes rocking her and laying her down simply doesn't do the trick. OK, who am I kidding? It rarely does the trick. Today she was particularly cranky, mixed in with the trademark pulling knees into her chest, indicating tummy discomfort. After Addie was down for her nap, I tried laying on my bed with Miss. Lena's belly pressed against mine to relieve her pain, and I'll be darned if she didn't drift right off within a few minutes. Of course, any attempt made to slip out from under her and leave her to sleep alone was jinxed by immediate cries and jerking of limbs. So I did the only thing I could and that was surrender to her sweet snuggles and watch Zombieland while I smelled her hair and rubbed her back and feet. She doesn't know it yet, but that could very likely be the best nap of her life.

Under other circumstances I would try and make Lena tough it out and put her in a bouncy seat so I could get my shower and move on to other tasks in our day. But today nothing seemed as important as loving on my girl while she rested deeply, pausing the movie here and there just so I could stare at her. It was a good choice.

Any time I am gifted with uninterrupted snuggles with my girls, my mind wanders to think about a time that will come when they look to someone else for safety and closeness. Even though there is a part of me that knows no one else on this earth could love my babies the way their mommy does, my prayer today and every day, is that they can eventually (way far off into the future) find a partner who loves them in a crazy, unconditional, yet grounded way. Someone who will adore, respect, cherish, honor, challenge, admire and protect them... and hold them just for the joy of doing so.

What recurring prayer of yours is pressing on your heart today?

Here's how it works: Leave a prayer request in the comments on Friday's posts. It can be anything--something you are thankful for, a friend you are worried about, a desire from your heart... Anything. By leaving a comment you are also committing to pray for others who comment as well. We'll start fresh each week. That's it. You can even be anonymous if you wish.

Quick side note--Zombieland is hi-LAR-ious. I typically hate horror/zombie movies but this one is in a class all its own. My favorite part was every part with Woody Harrelson in it. Yep, I still love him even after all these years. He'll always be Woody Boyd to me.

February 23: I love...

...this soup. It's Emeril's smoked sausage, butternut squash and wild rice soup. Uh-Ma-Zing! A good friend made it for us about a month ago and since then I haven't been able to stop thinking about it. I mean, I crave this soup. The prep work is a little intense so it took some planning (I made the squash puree and rice one day, then put the soup together the next) but it is so very worth it.

In these last few weeks of cold weather, it's just the thing to keep me warm from the inside out. Delish! 

**Don't forget to click on the button to the right to see what others are loving this February.

February 22: I love...

...this girl. Sunday she turned six months old. That's right--six. months. old. What!? Everything seems to be going so much faster with her and I hate it. But I adore that I am more aware of the passage of time with this babe, my Lena. It makes me want to drink in every smidge of her babiness while I can. (She's very into sucking on her toes these days--the changing table one of our very favorite places.)

Even this last week, when she shared the contents of her stomach with me far more times than I ever needed in my life, there was this sweetness that I tried to cling to amidst the ick. She wanted to be held a lot and she wanted her mommy. She needed my comfort and to be close. My baby.

Sick kids are such a double-edged sword. In those moments when I find myself covered in grossness, selfishly wishing that I could feel clean or have a minute to myself, I am reminded of the knowledge that someday she'll be fifteen and telling me to stay out of her life. That I will miss this time something fierce and wish to have it back, ick and all.

I'm not one for quoting songs very often and certainly not those of a popular nature, but one day Addie and I were listening to her Taylor Swift album as we were playing. (Yes, it really is hers--a gift from Daddy and she loves it!) This song came on and when I really heard the words I felt a hole in the pit of my stomach and immediately jumped up to turn it off for fear that I would completely break down sobbing and scare my girls...

Your little hands wrapped around my finger
And it's so quiet in the world tonight
Your little eyelids flutter 'cause you're dreaming
So I tuck you in, turn on your favorite night light

To you, everything's funny
You got nothing to regret
I'd give all I have, honey
If you could stay like that

Oh, darling, don't you ever grow up,
don't you ever grow up
Just stay this little
Oh, darling, don't you ever grow up,
don't you ever grow up
It could stay this simple

I won't let nobody hurt you
Won't let no one break your heart
No, no one will desert you
Just try to never grow up, never grow up

~Never Grow Up, Taylor Swift~
find full lyrics here

The song goes on to talk about this baby turning 14 and then finally going off on her own to the big city. Seriously--breaks my heart. But it also reminds me in a very real way how precious these days are. Oh that Taylor Swift, she's a wise one.

Happy six month anniversary from the day you were born, sweet angel.
You'll always be our little snuggle bear.

Friday Pray Along

I had so many fun and interesting ideas for my I Love... posts this week. Stories about our Valentine's Day, an update on my thyroid, a break-down on cloth diapering and how we do it--maybe next week. Because for us, this week, there was another plan. A pukey plan. Pun intended.

Oh yes, Fred and Wilma have been at it again--my life savers, tumbling and soaking and extra rinsing the sick away. At least I hope it's away. We're getting there.

This winter seems as though it has been particularly brutal with all the little bugs and colds circulating around and around. That alone leaves me desperately waiting for spring, along with its open windows and fresh air, gently cleaning our space and the air that we breathe. I am SO looking forward to it.

In the meantime I pray for the little bodies that are building up strong immune systems one sneeze, cough, fever and yes, barf at a time. I also pray for the parents that are the recipients of said symptoms, the wipers of noses and soothers of sick babes. Please God, lead us swiftly to a healthy spring. Amen.

Won't you pray with me?

Here's how it works: Leave a prayer request in the comments on Friday's posts. It can be anything--something you are thankful for, a friend you are worried about, a desire from your heart... Anything. By leaving a comment you are also committing to pray for others who comment as well. We'll start fresh each week. That's it. You can even be anonymous if you wish.

February 14: I love...

...sister time. Before we know it, we'll hear plenty of: She's looking at me! I had it first! That's mine! She took it without asking! Stop it! Eehhhh! MOM!

But for now, our days are mostly filled with this:
Double love.

{FPA} February 11: I love...

...feeling tired. That may sound a bit strange, but after the last few months of not being able to feel exhausted in and of itself, it feels so good to be tired. That's all, just tired. Not tired and anxious and overwhelmed and scared. Just tired. Not tired and pissed off and irritated and worried. Nope, just tired. I love it.

Today we planned to play with friends in the morning and it fell through. I was sad, but we will reschedule and make time for us and our babes soon. We also had plans to attend a Valentine's Day party in the afternoon with a new group. I was nervous about the commitment at first, but another very sweet friend has been patiently inviting me to hang out with this bunch of mamas and their kiddo's for quite some time. So finally I agreed. Deep breath.

During Addie's nap (notice how it was only her nap--enter many Lena poo incidents mentioned in earlier post) I remembered I needed to have more blood drawn for a check-in with my Endocrinologist next week. Uh-oh. Two stops in one outing with both the kids? Could I do it? Another deep breath. Prayers. Yes.

So after Addie woke up, I packed up both the girls, gave Miss. Addie a good pep talk about seeing Mommy have her blood drops taken out to make sure I'm OK, and we were off. (There may have been a bribe for gum thrown in there as well... I'll never tell.) One step at a time, we made it into the diagnostic center to have my blood drops taken out. Not a tear was shed--success!

Then off to the party. I was surprised to find that I wasn't anxious at all. What would have typically sent my nerves up to the ceiling in the last few months actually left me feeling comforted--I was with other moms who have kids that cry, get into trouble, say silly things, play loudly and make messes. It was great. We stayed longer than we probably should have, but it was delightful. Addie was nervous at first, but ended up having a marvelous time prancing around in high heels and clip-on earrings. Success X's 2!!!

Curt had to work late so we came home to a quiet house and step-by-step I made it through the nighttime routines. Once again, normally this would have been a rough hill to climb alone. Tonight, it was no sweat. Step-by-step, one pair of pajamas at a time, we got there. I didn't feel my blood pressure rise once. Wow. A hat trick, my friends.

Here I am, at the end of a full day, feeling like I can barely keep my eyes open, tired to the bone. And I am smiling. I don't like to get my hopes up after I have a good day. It's easy to think--oh, this was a good one so I must be all better. Then if things come crashing down around me the next afternoon I feel like a failure. So I've come to accept that it's one day at a time. Yes, we've had a string of pretty good days in a row and my anxiety seems to be decreasing. Hopefully the blood drops will show that my levels are evening out (fingers and toes crossed). Even if they aren't, that's OK. We are making it, one day at a time.

My prayer this evening is gratitude for good friends. Friends who challenge me and see things I need that I don't see myself, who understand and don't need explanations, who make sure we accept help even when we're in denial and think we're OK on our own, who listen and give their support from a distance. We wouldn't have made it these last few months without them. Thankful doesn't even cover it.

What prayer do you have this February night?

Here's how it works: Leave a prayer request in the comments on Friday's posts. It can be anything--something you are thankful for, a friend you are worried about, a desire from your heart... Anything. By leaving a comment you are also committing to pray for others who comment as well. We'll start fresh each week. That's it. You can even be anonymous if you wish.

Its a comin'

Today's Friday pray along and I Love... post is on its way, but not perhaps until much later. My brain is running a little slow and nap time is running short thanks to a little babe who has saved up about 8,000 gallons of poo all to be unleashed at inopportune times, like when she should be napping. Three pairs of pants later I am afraid to ask if she is finished.

So for now I'm praying to make it through our marathon of an afternoon with clean hands. See you soon...

February 9: I love...

...a baby's first "solid" meal. The expressions on a baby's face when she has that first spoon of milky cereal thrust into her mouth are priceless: so raw, so natural, so hilarious. Lena was chomping at the bit, desperate to eat from a spoon, and had been for a month or so. When we finally decided it was time, she was obviously very excited. 

At first, I didn't think we would get that glorious ICK face because our girl was like--YEAH!!! I've been waiting for this my whole life!!!

But after a little while, I got the reaction I was waiting for.

Wait for it...


February 7: I love...

...snow. I know most of the country is sick of it right now, but for this northern girl at heart, the small amount we get here in Kentucky makes me oh so very happy.

When my fireplace looks like this:

And outside it looks like this: 

I can't help but smile and put a kettle of water on the stove. Because on perfectly snowy days, I need a mug of hot something in my hand all. day. long. 

{FPA} February 4: I love... mom. Last week, my mom offered to come down for a couple of days to help out and sneak in some time with her grand babies. Funny how it doesn't seem to matter how old you are, Mommy makes everything seem just a bit (and sometimes a whole lot) better. Her timing couldn't have been more perfect, as I had a thyroid nodule flare up (ahhh, doesn't that sound pleasant?) with pain radiating through my neck by the end of the day. She stepped right in to entertain my babes, rub my feet, watch a bad movie with me and lift my spirits in general.

She also taught us that a table full of shaving cream is perhaps the easiest way to pass time on a slow afternoon.

 Addie stayed enamored for at least 30 minutes and Mom sat with my girl and played until her fingers got all pruney from the wet, pillowy goodness. Then when it was all over, she took a dough scraper and scooped up all the mess in about three seconds. Genius!

Now Addie asks to play with shaving cream almost every day and I can easily cave into this latest craze. It's quick, easy, fun and it smells fantastic!

I just realized that my little Lena has sadly been left out of my posts lately. Here are some shots I took of her while the big kids were having all the fun. I tell you, I cannot get enough of this girl's cheeks.
Num, num, nummy!!!

So thank you, Mom! Thank you for taking the time to drive down to help give me a break. Thank you for loving my girls so deeply and for showing them the magic of a day with their Memere. Thank you for still taking care of your thirty-year-old baby. I'm thankful that even though we don't live as close to one another as I'd like, the time that we do spend together is rich with the building blocks of incredible memories for all of us. That is my prayer for this week--joyful prayers of gratitude for having a mother who continues to show me how it's done. I pray for all mothers of moms who work double time to take care of their kids and their kids' kids. And I pray for the moms who have gone to heaven before us and continue to care for us all in spirit from afar.

What is filling your heart this week?

Here's how it works: Leave a prayer request in the comments on Friday's posts. It can be anything--something you are thankful for, a friend you are worried about, a desire from your heart... Anything. By leaving a comment you are also committing to pray for others who comment as well. We'll start fresh each week. That's it. You can even be anonymous if you wish.

February 2: I Love...

...a good laugh. A story from our holidays that I've been wanting to share has found its time. Curt had to come home from my parents' house a few days early to return to work. I stayed up with the girls for some extra time with ma petite soeur before she and my brother-in-law had to fly down to the islands for eight more months. Curt said he was going to help out by taking care of some things at home while we were gone. Thing one: take down the Christmas tree.

The trouble with that was I have our ornaments stored in a super organized manner (imagine that). Yes, every ornament has its own box that is labeled as to what kind it is, what year it's from and in many cases, who gave it. This was far too overwhelming for a husband who poses questions like, "What in the hell is a 'snow baby'?"

He told me that he took the tree down but didn't put the ornaments away. Hmm... Curious. Well I found out what that meant when we came home. It seemed that Santa's gift to the girls (bean bag chairs) came in handy far earlier than anticipated.

Oh yes, that is every single ornament from our tree piled into the safety of a pink bean bag chair. Even the glitter ones. God love his heart.

**I decided to link up with Kerry for her "I Love..." series. Such a fantastic way to find some light throughout the sad, dreary month of February. Check out her delightful space to see who else is playing along.