Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Finding Joy in Playing

I think one of my biggest concerns as Elyse continues to grow, is finding a good balance between playing with her and being productive around the house.  I'm not a natural "player".  I'm not a teacher.  I didn't grow up babysitting kids.  I don't have a naturally creative mind that dreams up crazy, exciting activities.  So the whole idea of playing with a small child is incredibly foreign to me, and more than once the little bit, ummm...or a lot, of anxiety has driven me to Pinterest searching for new activities for Elyse.  

I have my Wednesdays & Thursdays at home with Elyse, but many times those days include errands to run or appointments to meet or chores to do around the house.  As much as I hate to admit it, sometimes the playing part of being a mom kind of gets pushed to the back.  

I aspire to be like those moms who appear to be such "fun" moms because they come up with such fun playtime activities.  Or those moms who just let go and leave the load of laundry laying on the chair for an extra couple of hours or even extra days just because they are too busy "playing" with their kids.  But I'm realizing that it's not all about fun new activities.  It's just about being there, relaxing, and finding joy in the little things that bring her joy.  

I want to let go and let Elyse have a blast with painting, knowing that it's washable paint & will clean up so easily.  I want to just sit in the floor with her and watch as she moves from toy to toy...not truly engaging her at all moments, but simply just BEING there.  With no phone, no laptop, no television, no iPad, nothing but me and her.  I want to find that place where I'm finding the JOY in playing with her, instead of worrying about what's next on my to-do list and always counting down the minutes until naptime.  

And I'm getting there.  As I type this, there is a load of her laundry sitting in a chair that has been there since Sunday night, toys are filling the living room floor and I expect that the mess will get continuously worse as we got through the day.  Or at least I hope that's the case.  

Elyse won't be a little girl for long.  I mean it was only a few months ago that I was saying...Elyse won't be a baby for long, and she's already quickly moved from a baby to a full-blown toddler.  And so I want to treasure and find the joy in these simple moments when we can just sit and play, those times when she brings me Peek-A-Who for the 15th time in an hour to read, those times when she pulls all the hangers off the chair and brings them to me a few at a time...saying Thank You every time she hands few a few, those times when she walks around with a wet washcloth in her mouth because there is apparently there is something SO fascinating about a wet rag.  

I want to find the joy in the little things, and not be so worried about the little things that don't get done while I'm truly enjoying the childhood of my little girl.  
Today I'm linking up with Kelly's Korner, Blue Eyed Bride, Life in the Green House and Lil Light O' Mine for the Build 'Em Up Series.  

Monday, March 25, 2013

62 Things...

I subscribe to a daily newsletter from  It's a newsletter dedicated to us mommas who need a bit of encouragement each day and normally includes a heart-warming story or a devotional or maybe just a quick prayer for your life.  I don't take the time to read it every single day but several times there is just something that pops out to grab my attention. 
A couple of weeks ago was one of those particular days & I couldn't help but Pin the article to my "Hubby & Wifey" board on Pinterest.  You can find me HERE!
Well in the past several days I have had an unbelieve number of new followers for this particular board.  I'm not sure it's because of this one new pin, or what...but it's been kind of crazy to see how popular this one board has been.  Does anybody know how this happens?  I get at least 2-3 requests a day for this one board. 
Anyways, I decided that since it was so popular on Pinterest I would repost part of it here.  You can find the original article “62 Things to Say to Make Your Husband Feel Great” by Janel Breitenstein, over @ MomLife Today. 
62 Things to Say to Make Your Husband Feel Great
1. Thanks for doing that. It means a lot to me when you serve me in little ways like that.
2. I am such a different woman because of the way you _____ (love me, gently lead me, make me feel secure, etc.).

Click here to read more over @ MomLife Today!  I also highly recommend signing up for the daily newsletter, they have some great insight to share!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Our 1st "Spring" Weekend

I realize that in two days the weekend will be here, and I guess this one coming up is really the first official Spring weekend...but around here, it's going to feel anything BUT Springy!  However, we did get a nice little tease last weekend with some beautiful weather on Friday & Saturday before it turned ucky & cold again on Sunday.  

Elyse LOVES being outside, we are going to have so much fun playing with her and Bogey as the weather continues to warm up!  

Friday evening we invited Nick's parents over for burgers & fries and they were keeping our nephews for the night so they joined us as well!  Elyse LOVES her cousins so this was some great play time for them together.  

FYI: Picture Overload!  

Ummm...when did my baby become a little girl?!?

Clapping for Bogey bringing the ball back
Running away from Bogey

Checking out this grass stuff in her new jellies!

Jackson:  It's ok Baby Elyse!  Love it!  
Seriously, how does she does for so long?!?
He dad throw me the ball!
Thank you!  

Some dessert on the Big Green Egg!

A little "where's Elyse's belly?" action
First S'more...yumm!!
 On Saturday it was still fairly warm, so I packed a quick picnic and we headed to a nearby "farm-park."  It was actually a little cooler than a I thought so we ate our lunch in a hurry.  Rutledge Wilson Farm Park is maintained by our county park board and is a wide open space with a few cows, goats, sheep, and miniature pones, along with a fishing pond, and even an area where you can rent-out garden space to grow veggies for your family.  Several of our friends LOVE the farm, but we hadn't ever taken Elyse simply because she wasn't quite old enough to enjoy it.

However, I can definitely LOTS of trips here this summer when we need some fresh air!

She really didn't want to get down when we were near the animals...I think they were a little too close, and a little too big!  

Little Miss Independent!  

Saturday night we headed out for a family date night to Chick-fil-A and a stop at Toys R Us to check on some options for outdoor toys for Elyse!

Sunday the weather turned back cold and rainy but we all dressed up nice & springy in our green anyway!  We spent the afternoon just hanging out in the warmth of our house before heading to small group to finish up the weekend!  I'm so ready for these Spring temps to come here to stay!

Seriously, how is my baby not a baby anymore?!?!  
 Hope you all have a great weekend...there's actually snow in the forecast for us!  Seriously...snow on the 4th weekend of March!  Ughhh...come on Spring, let's do this already!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

prayer request

So I don't normally post things like this, but I just can't seem to shake a situation that has developed in the last 48 hours.

The wife of a good friend of my little brother's who also played golf with my husband in college, had been suffering from headaches recently. I'm honestly not sure how long.  Two days ago she woke up confused and ended up in the ER.  They ran an MRI and found what was probably the worst thing they could find...a 7 cm mass in the right front lobe of her brain.  They admitted her into the Neuro ICU and I'm really not knowledgeable enough or close enough to the situation to give any more details.  However, I do know that yesterday she became unresponsive and they had to drain fluid off her brain to avoid anymore swelling.

Thankfully she did come to last night, and then even more so this morning so they could quickly explain what was going on before she headed into have brain surgery this morning.  Brain surgery.  She can't be more than 27 years old and is having brain surgery as we speak.

As I type this, she is in an operating room just 20 minutes from here having dr's and nurses work to remove the tumor that is attacking her.

I honestly don't know her personally, but I know her husband & I'm in her exact life situation.  She's a wife, and a daughter, and a Child of the King, and a Mom.  Yeah, she has a baby boy at home who can't be more than 6 months old who I know she loves more than anything.

If you have a moment right now, will you pray for her & her family.  Pray that the doctor's hands would move quickly & efficiently, that God would guide there movements to remove all of the tumor, but also not damage more of her brain than necessary during the process, that once surgery is over she would still be herself with maybe only minor therapy needed, that the mass would be just that and not cancerous.  There are so many prayers right now, and they need all the help they can get.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us (Ephesians 3:20)

Monday, March 18, 2013

Elyse Love ~ 15 Months

Last Wednesday we went to the doctor for Elyse's 15 month checkup.  The appointment came at the perfect time because Elyse has started pouring fluids from her face again...drool & snot seem to be the fluids of choice, but the first few days even her eyes were watering!! 
Yeah, waiting was fine in the beginning...with her Cheerios & pacifier..

Weight/Height: Elyse weighs 20 lbs, 11 oz & is 31" long which puts her in the 20-25% for weight and the 75% for height.  We knew that she had grown quite a bit in height because she is reaching things that she hadn't been able to reach before...the world of child-proofing never ends! 

Clothes: As predicted, she is outgrowing clothes because of their length, not the width.  She is still wearing mostly 12-18 month clothes unless it's a one piece item; which we then move on to the 18-24 month size.  My mom went on a shopping spree last week & then I went on one yesterday with my MIL...a lot of what we bought was 18-24 months so she can wear it all through the summer.  She's also still in size 4 diapers & holding steady.   
Food:  Thank goodness for a great eater!  Elyse loves her food, and will at least TRY anything we put on her plate.  That doesn't mean that she won't promptly spit it out if she doesn't like it, but she also will reach for more if it's something that pleases her.  Breakfast normally consists of a scrambled egg, half a piece of toast, and fruit or if we're in a hurry we go for yogurt and some Cheerios.  Lunch just depends on the day, but normally she has a cheese quesadilla, grilled cheese, turkey/ham with cheese, or peanut butter & jelly.  She also LOVES chips so I have to really watch what kind of sides I eat with my meal.  For dinner she eats mainly whatever we are eating but still steers away from meat.  She's a green bean & pea lover so those are normally the veggies she eats.  She also has 2 snacks a day with Cheerios, Cheddar Bunnies, mini graham crackers, yogurt, banana, grapes, etc. 
We took LOTS of blurry baby photos!
We've also quickly learned that her hunger trigger is fast & furious...if Elyse sees you start working in the kitchen, she is READY to eat.  We're trying to use distraction to keep her satisfied until we can get a meal on the table, but unfortunately she sometimes just has to fuss awhile. 
Her hand is blurry, but I feel like she's pointing at herself and saying..."Who, me? What'd I do?!?"
Sleep: Elyse is a great sleeper, as long as she has her pacifiers.  On a normal night she goes down sometime between 7:30-8:00 and sleeps until 6:30-7:00; for the most part she is an 11 hour sleeper but occasionally she likes to wake up early (6:00 or so) and finishes her sleeping in bed with momma & daddy.  Yeah, we're softies but cudde time with her won't last forever!  She is also still taking 2 naps a day for a total of 2 1/2-3 hours.  We thought she was going to give up that first nap a week or so ago, but that was thankfully just a fluke! 

Activity:  This girl is BUSY!!!  She is everywhere and into everything and it brings me such joy!  When she's awake she just goes, goes, and goes some more; which is really why I think she sleeps so well for the most part.  She practically runs across the house sometimes, only tripping on a few occasions.  She is starting to want to crawl up on things so I'm thinking we'll have a climber very soon!  Ughhh!!  She's also a TOUGH girl, running into door frames, falling down...doesn't seem to phase her. 
Hey mom, how about I slide down off this table and get in the floor?!?
She loves to push around her cars and go VROOM, VROOM, VROOM; she loves to dance & twirl, &  she LOVES to go outside and see the puppies.  I can see A LOT of time outside in our future. 

Personality:  We are honestly so blessed.  Elyse has such an amazing personality & we just love to see it blossom and change each & every day.  She smiles & grins & giggles and it just fills our hearts with joy.  She also doesn't seem to know a stranger, and after a few moments will warm up to practically anyone.  We're so thankful that she hasn't dealt with much separation anxiety & actually LOVES going to play in the church nursery; makes us feel so much better about leaving her. 
Communication: Along the same lines as personality, Elyse is a TALKER!!  Someone asked me a few weeks ago if she was talking much, and I responded "Yes, but we don't understand much of it."  This person responded with, oh yeah, I bet she just jabbers all the time.  But honestly, it's not jabber.  And I know I'm her momma, but she speaks with such purpose and such intent some times.  She knows EXACTLY what she's saying, it just isn't perfectly clear to us.  She is saying Momma, Dadda, Papa, BoBo (Bogey the dog), Dog, Ball, Drink, Llama (For the book Llama, Llama) Book, Read, Bye Bye, Hi, Uh Oh, Gorilla (for Good Night Gorilla) and lots of other words that she's only said once or twice.  I fully expect her to just start piping off full paragraphs anytime. 
She still LOVES to read, and will even turn the pages & have the right rhythm when she reads certain books.  I love to see her sitting in her chair just reading away--it's absolutely precious. 
Inching ever so close to the forbidden cabinet...
~books. Llama Llama books are a favorite at our house, as are any book with flaps.  At Gigi's house she LOVES Goodnight Gorilla, and at Mamaw's house she goes straight for 8 Silly Monkeys!  It's so funny to see which books she's partial to each day...we definitely do a LOT of reading at our house! 
~Peek-A-Boo/Hide-N-Seek.  As she's gotten older and quicker on her feet, this game has become even more fun.  She is also definitely getting smarter & doesn't always fall for it when we try to run around the other side of the island.  She also loves to pull towels, rags, etc. out of the drawers, put them on her head and play long as it doesn't involve running into door frames (which has happened once!)
~lap-sitting.  She is so adorable when she turns around and starts to back her little booty up so she can sit in your lap.  She's missed a few times, so now she's a little more careful as she backs it up!   
~food. See above...if you're eating it, she wants it.  
What do you mean this is off limits?!?

 ~being tired.  When we're at home by ourselves, she seems to hit a wall and it's all over.  It's nice because we obviously know when it's time for bed, but I hate that sometimes she gets overtired. 
~hunger.  See above...don't make this girl wait for dinner, otherwise a full melt-down may ensue.  Of course, when she's hungry she'll eat almost anything!

Passed out after shots and no morning nap!  I just LOVE a little baby butt in the air! 
12-15 Month Milestones: 
 ~Molars...I think we've got 3/4 all the way in, and we're still waiting on the 4th...which will make 12 total teeth. 

Happy 15 months baby girl, you are becoming a little person before our eyes...and it's so exciting to watch you learn & develop!  We love you to pieces! 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

PB & J Joy

So I'm not really sure why, but only recently have we started offering Elyse peanut butter & jelly sandwiches for meals.  We are really working hard to only offer Elyse whatever the rest of us are eating, but there are times when I KNOW she won't eat whatever we're eating (she's not a huge beef ran right now which takes away a lot of meals we eat!), or at lunchtime when we're all eating sandwiches.  And PB & J has become a great, quick answer for us when we need her to eat!  She loves her PB&J sandwiches...and sometimes even enjoys rolling them up into a peanut butter, jelly, & bread ball!  Silly girl! 
Last Sunday we were feeding her dinner before going to small group & our little ham decided she would put on a little performance for us with her sandwich ball!  Thankfully my camera was nearby so I could capture it all on film! 

Yeah, I know...we're in BIG trouble...this girl has us wrapped her finger & is completely intwined in our hearts!