Tuesday, August 31, 2010

On a lighter note...

Thank you all for your kindness, encouragement and support in my last post. Just the process of sharing my struggles alone has been so cathartic and healing as has reading and rereading of each of your comments. I really can't express how grateful I am, especially for the prayers!

But, I also can't stand to have such a downer of a post at the top of my blog anymore. So, here's a couple of things for your viewing pleasure --

At story time at our local library last week, the librarian played this short video:

Now that you have that song stuck in your head and that your kids keep begging to watch the video over and over and over again, please don't hate me!

And for a little dose of cuteness:

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Because no post is truly complete without a picture of Clara!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The post I keep putting off

I've been wanting to write a post about my postpartum struggles for quite a long time now, but I always chicken out. Once I sit down at the computer with time to write, I start getting scared and end up wasting my time just clicking mindlessly around the internet.

I always appreciate reading posts by women who honestly talk about their struggles. These women sharing their hearts and exposing their weaknesses are such an inspiration! They let me know that I am not alone. I am not weak. I am not inadequate. I've always wanted to do the same for other women on my blog.

But something always holds me back.

Part of it is that I don't want to post something that is nothing more than a gripe session; nor do I want my blog to be full of negativity. I want to celebrate the great blessings God has given me! But, the fact is, growth only happens when we struggle, not when we're sailing along blissfully and contentedly. And, the postpartum periods of my last two pregnancies have been times of intense struggle with so much of my energy being consumed by just keeping my head above water, that I don't know if I'm really growing any in the process.

I've never felt so out of control in my life. I'm so tired of feeling angry, frustrated and overwhelmed almost all the time. I'm not a happy mother to my children. I'm not a pleasant wife to my husband. There is so. much. guilt.

Ugh! This is so hard to write! My eyes are filling with tears (again!) as I type this. It hurts.

I pray that God will make some good come of all this bad. I pray that my children will forget the angry mommy and will only retain the happy memories. I pray that my husband will continue to have patience with me. I pray for balance. I pray for the ability to distinguish between wants and needs. I pray for wisdom and perspective.

I continue to hope and trust in the Lord. At least this depression has not deprived me of that.

And, I continue to thank God for my many blessings and for the deep down Joy that has not abandoned me despite all the pain.

I am slowly getting my smile back; and, my laugh has surprised me a time of two with an unexpected appearance. Things will get better. They are getting better. This is just a season and it, too, shall pass.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Clara's new toothy smile

She cut 6 teeth in a little over a week. Her entire smile/face/look changed so quickly that sometimes I think I hardly recognize her!


She's almost 8 months old now.


Sigh... they grow up so fast...

Friday, August 20, 2010

7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 10)


Yesterday was the first day of school! This summer went so incredibly fast it almost feels like we never had one. We've slipped back into the normal school routine like we never left it -- and it feels good.

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Can I just say that I love our kids school? Cause I do! Of course it is far from perfect, but it has been such a blessing in our lives. I love the teachers and principal that care, the small class sizes, that there are only two classes per grade, that God is talked about all day long, that they start the day with both a prayer and the pledge, I could go on and on. Eric is on the school board so we get a rare glimpse behind the scenes and that knowledge has assured me even more that my kids are in a good place.


I'm still loving my new elliptical! Right now I'm focusing on creating a habit of exercise rather than intensely pursuing fitness, but I'm already seeing results. I've lost 3 pounds (every little bit counts!) and my knees feel so much better. I had some injuries to my knees during high school and regular exercise definitely reduces their lingering effects.


I'm reading a new book: Love & Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs. The premise is that women most desperately need love while men's greatest need is respect; but, neither men nor women are very good at supplying those needs in a way their spouse understands. I'll be sure to report back when I've finished it!


Elizabeth is toothless! Well, she's missing her top front teeth at least. She lost the first one months ago and there is still no sign of a permanent tooth and the second one popped out the day before yesterday. I have a feeling her smile is going to have a giant hole in it for quite awhile!

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It's still blazing hot here in Texas, but we've started doing some fall gardening. Our fall tomatoes and squash are planted and I added some zinnias to our front flower bed that will probably last into December. I'm really starting to look forward to the cooler weather, baking, more time outside playing and tending to the garden that fall promises.

How I love bubbly bokeh!

Prettiness in a pot


And, finally, a couple more pictures because you know that I can't help but share. Here are my girls (before Elizabeth lost her second front tooth):

My girls

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Be sure to head over to Conversion Diary for more Quick Takes!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Playing with light

While we were on vacation in July, there was a night when I did not sleep well. Between Clara waking up and the rats making scratching noises in the ceiling and who knows what else making all kinds of crazy noises outside, I did not sleep much at all and almost cheered the rising of the sun because that meant the long, long night was over. I was up before everyone else in the house (we stayed in a house with 20 of our relatives) and so I went out and sat by the lake in the quiet and watched the sun come up. It was glorious! I think I was up for a full hour or so before Eric and Clara joined me. (That never happens normally. Eric is an early bird and is regularly up hours before I am. He voluntarily sets his alarm for 5:00 am everyday. That's nuts!)

By now the sun was well over the horizon so I went and grabbed my camera and snapped a few pics of my sleepy eyed daughter and husband. I've seen some gorgeous portraits on flickr that were taken facing directly into the sun, which creates some dramatic sun flare. I thought I would try the technique myself.

My husband & baby

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I don't know if technically I did it right because it required a lot of photoshop work to make these pictures look decent. But I kind of like the effect.

Here's one more shot taken in the beautiful early morning light, but this time without the flare.

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What do you think? Do you like the dramatic, sun flare style of portraiture?

Friday, August 13, 2010

Another Clara mirror picture

Clara is long overdue for some more mirror pictures (see her entire collection here and here). But, it's been getting harder to take these pics. For one thing, she is getting so big that it is much harder to get both of us in the frame. It amazes me how tiny she was in the first few pictures I took! Here's a reminder so you don't have to click through to the link:

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Clara at 5 days old

Here she is now -

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Clara at 7 months

I'm also having trouble getting sharp photos. I can't imagine why, but I seem to be getting much more blurring from camera shake.

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Oh, yeah. That's the reason! Clara now grabs at anything and everything in her reach and tries to eat it. Including cameras!

She's also recently cut 6 new teeth (in a little over a week!), is now sitting and can army crawl like nobody's business.

I can't believe how fast she is growing up!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Catching up #6: New Toys

Eric and I have recently decided to reevaluate our priorities (something about having a new baby in the house always tends to lead to these type of discussions ;). One thing we decided was that we need to make the time for exercise.

The exercise bike that I've used fairly regularly for the last ten years is wearing out. Eric has tried a number of different exercise routines: walking, running, working out at a gym, etc. He's figured out that his favorite form of exercise is using an elliptical but that it would be so much easier to do it at home instead of at the gym.

So, we bit the bullet and bought an elliptical machine. When Eric bought it the penny pincher in me about had a cow. He sent me an email saying he had found an awesome deal on a high quality machine for $400. Only I read the email wrong. It actually said that the elliptical was $400 off, not $400 total.

Now that I'm no longer having heart palpitations from the cost, I'm loving the elliptical! It's so smooth, gives me a great workout, and I love watching the calories burned counter go up and up throughout the workout. It's a really great motivator to push just a little harder.

Our other new toy is a Roku instant video player. We've been watching all kinds of documentaries, movies, kids shows and TV shows instantly through Netflix. I totally love it! We don't have cable or satellite, so I love the access to content from the History Channel and National Geographic Channel. We are a houseful of nerds so I think our instant queue is filled with every documentary on space or NASA that was ever made!

But, it's also allows me to watch my latest guilty pleasure. I've just finished Season 1 of The Office and am now plowing through Season 2. This show is hilarious! And, who couldn't love the relationship between Jim and Pam. It's too sweet! Since the big kids aren't here this week it's been nice to be able to put on an episode so the house isn't so quiet. The only problem is I'm becoming an addict. If I go for more than just a few hours without seeing an episode I start to get the shakes!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Catching up #5: Gustin

Gustin. There is so much to love about this little boy. He laughter is contagious and his syntax is too adorable: "Not I don't like it, Mama!" He so loves his baby sister and can make her laugh like no one else. He's energetic, passionate and intelligent.

He's also very confident and afraid of nothing. Those are great qualities in life in general but a terrifying combination around a swimming pool. He thinks he know how to swim. But he actually doesn't. Not even close. Freaks. Mommy. Out!

He also has a bit of a stubborn streak. We've been potty training for the last month (this is my third attempt in the last year to potty train him) and he still has a long way to go. I so want to give up again, but Eric's been (daily) encouraging me to stick with it. I'm so weary of cleaning up accidents. But he'll get there. Eventually. Right?

In the mean time the battle training continues.

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I feel the same way Little Mister.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Catching up #4: Miss Clara

Clara reached another milestone last week.

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She got her first tooth!

See, you can see it... right...

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... there!

She's the first of my children to get a first tooth on top. In fact, I think she'll have 4 top teeth before she ever gets a bottom one. The next three top ones are all lined up and ready to make their debut any day now.

Something else about Little Miss Clara - I think she may be our very first extrovert.

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This little girl absolutely adores attention and constantly smiles at and flirts with anyone who will look her way.

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She also loves to make us laugh. She will sit and wait for someone to look at her and then as soon as they do, she will do something to try to make them laugh. If she succeeds, she'll continue doing her act for as long as she has an audience. She has quite of collection of different squeals at her disposal as well as her daddy's favorite: the cat sneeze. I wish I could catch it on video because it is too funny. She makes a sound that is exactly like a cat sneezing and it always cracks us up. I think she could go on for hours!

Catching up #3: Birthday Party

Elizabeth's 6th birthday party was last weekend (less than 48 hours after returning from vacation, not the best planning on my part). We kept it simple; a backyard party with sprinklers, kiddie pool, bubbles, water balloons and take out pizza.

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All the activities and set up had to be simple, though, because her birthday cake was not.

Elizabeth and I combed through Bakerella's website and she picked Hello Kitty cake pops for her party. They are completely precious but also very tedious and time consuming to make. My attempt is not nearly as neat as Bakerella's, but my six-year-old approved and that's all that matters.

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Cake pops in progress.

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The finished product.

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Aren't they too cute?!

In the end it really was worth all the work. Elizabeth had a fantastic day and so did all her little friends and the smiles on her face were priceless!

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Elizabeth and her best friend.

Happy birthday, Sweetie!