Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Quirkier By the Day

I put Ellie to bed for a nap around 12:15. She didn't fall asleep right away like she usually does. She rolled around, talked, stood up, walked around her crib, played peekaboo with her blanket, jabbered, laughed....

I'm watching her on the monitor, thinking at any moment she will tire herself out and fall asleep.

I looked at the clock at 1:30 and she was still wide awake. Not crying. Not asking for me. Just not sleeping.

So, I walked into her room around 1:35 to tell her to lay down and go to sleep. I opened the door, she looked at me, smiled, and said "Hi, Mommy! It Stink!"

She had pooped.

I changed her diaper, laid her back in her crib, she said "night night, Mommy!" and she immediately went to sleep.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Get Ready to be Bored

I have been staring at a blinking cursor for about 10 minutes. I get up, walk away, come back, and it's still there. Blinking cursor. WRITE SOMETHING, it says to me. And I have nothing to write. Which is weird. Because I love writing. But sometimes, the words won't come. Which is weird. Because I have so many words. Ask anyone that knows me. My words, they are abundant.

So, what am I doing right now? I'm sitting at my kitchen table, typing these words. Ellie is sitting in her high chair, eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. It's a little too early for her to be eating lunch, but it's a Friday and I am fresh out of creative activities for her and she is asking for "Nummy Nummies!" (her word for food) so I gave in. There is a load of laundry going as I am washing the sheets for our weekend guests. Grant is playing in a golf tournament this weekend and his playing partner lives on the other side of town so he is staying with us for the weekend. And, his gorgeous, hilarious wife will be joining him. And she happens to be my college roommate for 3 years and one of my top 10 favorite people in the whole wide world, so we will have fun. We like to eat food together which is one of our favorite pastimes. 

We're even planning a double date night without Ellie for Saturday night so that we can have adult conversation and I don't have to spend my entire meal coming up with fun distractions for a toddler that would very much like to walk around a restaurant unattended and unsupervised. 

And this has been the worst blog post in the history of all blog posts.

I'm such a fantastic writer!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

It's the Little Things

We are on day 5 of this little Ellie illness. Honestly, she seems to be feeling much better but we aren't taking any chances. I don't want to push her into a normal routine. It's so hard at this age - when they can't just TELL you if they hurt or if they are feeling less than 100%. So, in the meantime, we are giving her a few extra days to recuperate.

Aside from the doctor visit, I have not really left the house since Tuesday. We went to the doctor on Wednesday, and on Thursday Ellie and I got in the car and drove around for an hour so we could have a change of scenery, but other than that, we've been here. No park. No going on walks. Not even to the grocery store. So.... this weekend I was ready for a break.

On Saturday, I had the privilege of going to Books-a-Million in the Katy Mills Mall to have "The Antelope in the Living Room" signed by its fabulous author. Melanie Shankle wrote a sequel to "Sparkly Green Earrings" (both of these books are available on Amazon) and I am about 75% of the way through with it and I have laughed on every page. Seriously, if you are married or if you ever plan to be married, it's well worth the read. Anyways, she was having a book signing and I was determined to be there with or without Ellie. Melanie follows me on Instagram and was slightly disappointed that I didn't bring Ellie with me, but I think once she found out that flu germs would have accompanied her, she was just fine with my decision!

Our friends Ricky and Olga and their pumpkin baby girl, Blythe, are moving to Houston this Spring and have been in town for the last few weeks. Olga loved "Sparkly Green Earrings" so she came with me to have her book signed as well.

Here we are with the lady of the hour. (I wish you could see her sweater in all of its perfection.)

I'd like to go ahead and admit that I cropped the photo so closely on the left side because I had a wonky piece of hair sticking straight out and I just can't put that on the internet.

Melanie was so gracious and funny and chatted with us for a few minutes. I almost asked her to lunch. That would be weird, right?

Thankfully, Olga and I did go to lunch afterwards. We went to Chuy's and sat outside (can we just have a moment of praise about the weather warming up a bit?!) and shared chips, queso, and fajitas. God bless Texas. Neither of us had our children with us and after the week that I had, it was so, so nice to just sit and visit and not be worrying about temperatures and medicine.

And then we decided to pop into an Open House in my neighborhood and for a split second I think the realtor believed that me and Olga were a couple. And we got quite tickled about that.

Ellie has been begging to go outside. While we aren't quite ready to take her to a playground, we did decide to load her up last night and put her in a stroller to take a walk around the mall. She loved it and it was the most exercise I've had in days. Power walking, eating in a food court, and topping it off with the Great American Cookie Company. That's my kind of work out!

And, to top it all off, we skipped church this morning (bummer) so we don't get other babies sick, but Grant stayed at the house with Ellie while I took an early morning HEB trip all by myself. It was glorious. And then I stopped at Starbucks on my way home.

Basically, I'm super giddy about a morning with a friend, power walking through a mall without buying anything, and grocery shopping by myself. Anything is better than sitting on a couch holding a sick baby while watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse for the umpteenth time.

Except the holding the baby thing isn't all that bad. That's actually pretty gosh darn sweet. Or, as Goofy would say, "Gawrsh!"


Friday, February 14, 2014

We Made it to Friday but Just Barely

Well. This week has gone differently than I thought it would.

In summary: Ellie has/had the flu.

The last 3 days have been filled with laundry, 104 degree fevers, a toddler in our bed, prescription medicines, low appetites, not a lot of sleep, and sweet snuggles with a sicky girl.

There really is nothing more pitiful and sad than a baby with a 104 degree fever. To add to the sadness, in the wee hours of Wednesday morning, I had what was probably the most scary moment of parenting thus far. I can't really type it all out as it is not something I want to relive but let's just say that in our marriage I am the one that freaks out and panics and Grant is the one who stays calm and then has his own freak out moment after everything subsides and calms down.

I am thoroughly exhausted, but also we are quite happy over here. Due to all the sickness, this week has been filled with lots of sweet together time as a family. Ellie has joined us in our bed many times this week during the middle of the night and is full of middle-of-the-night-greetings. "Hi! Hi Mommy! Mommy night-night? Shhh! MOMMY! MOMMY NIGHT NIGHT! Daddy night night, haha daddy. Daddy! Shhh DADDY NIGHT NIGHT!"

It's all so peaceful.

So now we are just waiting it out. We are hunkered down in this house and we are not going outside and I'm doing surprisingly okay. Yesterday we needed a change of scenery so we literally drove around for an hour. And then, last night, my dear sweet precious husband was coming home from a work event and on his way home he stopped and got me flowers, peanut M&M's (my fave) and takeout pasta. I mean really. He is the best there is.

Sadly, since all this started late Tuesday night, all my Valentines plans went out the window. I had no gift for my sweet little Ellie. I had nothing for my husband. No cookies or brownies or cute little presents for my people. I did put Ellie in pink pajamas cause it was really all I had on hand in this house. And Grant got her a Powerade Slush from Sonic this afternoon because we are trying to get some fluids in her and she hasn't been drinking so maybe the slush could be her Valentines treat? How sad.

Next year I'll have to step it up a notch.

Hopefully when I write my next blog, I'll have a healthy girl. Praying.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Just Trying to Make it to Friday

We are going to eat in every single meal this week. I went to the grocery store yesterday and stocked up. This was incredibly stressful as the store that I went to was having some kind of presentation with a free gift in the meat department so there was a woman with a microphone and 28 people with shopping carts blocking my access to chicken breasts. I might have given the woman with a microphone an ugly look. I'm sorry, but 5pm on a Sunday night is not the time to cause traffic jams in the Kroger.

Anyways, if all goes according to plan and I don't ruin any meals, we should be eating in for dinner until Friday night. Which is date night. And I will be getting an appetizer, entree, and a dessert at a restaurant that has yet to be decided. I am thrilled at all of the possibilities. 

Before we begin, I'd like to throw out a little disclaimer. Those of you who have been reading my blog for long know that I make no claims to be a healthy cook. These are high in carb, usually, and involve a lot of store-bought ingredients. If you're an organic, pure, fresh, healthy food lover than move on along. This ain't the place for you. 

Got it? Good.

Let's start with last night's dinner:

SUNDAY: Lasagna Cups with Salad - this is an interesting little dish that I stumbled upon a couple of years ago and we kinda love it. I'm hoping someday my Ellie will eat it and love it too.

MONDAY: Red Beans & Rice with Cornbread - when we lived in Louisiana, I quickly learned that it is a New Orleans tradition to serve Red Beans & Rice on Mondays. Don't ask me why. But every restaurant you go to has a standing Monday special of Red Beans & Rice. If I end up making it in our home, I usually serve it on a Monday. It's nice to give my husband a little taste of home! (This is in the crock pot as I type this. Smells delicious. I'm excited about this one.) Plus, it's a cold, rainy day so this should really hit the spot.

TUESDAY: Chicken Breasts, Green Beans & Potatoes - I found this recipe on Pinterest and have no idea how it will turn out. But I'm all about cooking everything all at one time. I'll let you know if we like it.

WEDNESDAY: Burgers. Why? Because the grocery bill was starting to get a bit high and we have frozen hamburger patties in the freezer. And all I had to buy was buns. And Grant can make them on the grill and give me a night off. So all I'll have to make is a side. Which will probably be a veggie of some kind. Not sure yet. Carrots, maybe? And baked potatoes? We'll see.

THURSDAY: Leftover night. Leftover Red Beans & Rice (if there's any left since we usually eat this for lunch) or maybe the leftover chicken. The world is your oyster. 

FRIDAY: Who knows?!?! We will go to a nice restaurant with a waiter and I will feel like a real live human. And Ellie will stay here with her precious grandparents that are coming in from New Orleans and we will be wild people and stay out past our bedtime. And we will eat all the food there is to eat! 

So this is my ever exciting, original, and not boring at all menu for the week. Except  what I really mean to say is that it's not exciting, not original, and really boring. 

Saturday, February 8, 2014

I'm Mostly Thinking About Pretzels Now

While watching the Winter Olympics this evening, a commercial come on our television screen that stopped us in our tracks.

Seriously, I was working on creating the biggest grocery list of my life (due to the fact that my dear sweet darling budget-conscious husband has declared that we will not be eating out ever at all between now and Friday so we best be stockin' up on all the foods) and Grant was reading emails and this commercial came on and we both looked up at the screen.

We didn't speak.

We didn't blink.

We just watched in stunned silence.

So basically it was one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen.

And I had many thoughts during the commercial but I said none of them out loud because I really felt like I needed to take it all in.

When it ended, Grant and I slowly turned towards one another, jaws dropped, and then we both in unison declared it added to the monster grocery list that I'm working on.

I have so many things I want to put it on.

Can it be melted and poured over things? Like popcorn? 

I'm so happy right now.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

No You Can Not Climb Into the Fireplace

Today was a hard day.

Ellie woke up in a bad mood, and she stayed that way for quite some time. She's throwing tantrums (she's 18 months old - so it's par for the course) and she can be demanding, uncooperative, difficult, and moody. She changes her mind from minute to minute, and she has no patience whatsoever. She wants to do things that are physically unsafe and when I tell her she can not due to the fact that she will bust her head open, she throws herself on the floor and screams and tells me no. There was a moment today that I did the obvious cry for help of a Facebook status: "I have a very passionate toddler. And she is winning."

Cause let's face it, sometimes I act tough and say "I AM THE BOSS" and then she kinda gives me that face. That face that says "uh huh, yeah... you keep telling yourself that, crazy red-headed lady."

However... even after all of that, even after the tantrums and the bad morning and the chaos, I can say that while today was a hard day, I can still say that it was a good day.

Tonight, Grant and I sat at the dinner table after Ellie went to bed and talked. (I told you in my last blog that we would be doing this more often, and we are!) We were talking about the fact that her 18 month appointment is tomorrow. They will measure her size and her physical development. The doctor will ask me some basic questions to make sure she is on target with all her milestones. Grant and I were discussing how smart she is, how funny she is.... and I shared with him that on a day like today, this child can make me so unbelievably infuriated but somehow, someway, within 8 seconds melt me into a puddle of sappy, sentimental goo.

I know it's cliche to say, but it's the truth. I get so impatient, and then she snaps me right back into the reality that she is wonderful. She's a toddler. She is trying to communicate and she doesn't understand the basic rules of life. She doesn't understand gravity and head injuries. She doesn't understand that ovens are hot and large bodies of water are dangerous. She doesn't know that parking lots are full of hazards and that when she wants to play with me at 7:05am I have not yet gone to the bathroom, brushed my teeth, or had coffee. She doesn't know that when it is 40 degrees outside we must put on socks, shoes, and a jacket before we go outside. She doesn't know. And she is trying to tell me something and I don't always comprehend what she's trying to say. She uses words like "no" "please" "more" and "down" but there are no subjects. Just verbs.

But when I think back on today, I think about her being on my hip and saying "One...." with that sly little grin, waiting for me to say "Two, THREE!" and jump. I think about her looking at me and saying "Mommy, Luh-loo!" (love you!) I think about her waking up from her nap (an hour early, mind you) and laying her head on my shoulder and patting my arm. I think about all the things she repeated, the way she furrows her eyebrows when she's really concentrating on her fine motor skills.... I think about the way she finds a leaf by the front door and brings it to me with a big smile like she's bringing me a precious gift. I remember the way she took all the animals out of Noah's ark and laid them down, covered them with a blanket and told them "night night babies". I think about the way she belly flops on the couch, then sits up and says "Ta Da!!!"

I think about the way she eats yogurt with a spoon and gets about 15% of it in her mouth. I think about the way she holds up the farmer puzzle piece from her farm puzzle and yells at the top of her lungs, "E-I-E-I-O!!!" I think about the way she stands at the door and says "door? outside? peez?" and does a little dance with her feet. And then I tell her we have to put on a jacket, so she throws herself on the floor, sobbing. Bless her heart, she doesn't understand why I make her life so difficult.

What I'm getting at in all of this, what I'm trying to say is that even our worst days... even the days that I'm telling her to "knock it off" and "I HEAR YOU" and "Mommy will help you in 30 seconds, but I NEED TO PEE"... even those days... the days of impatience from both mommy and child... those days are still filled with SUCH. JOY.

Motherhood is refining and redefining. It's taught me so much about selfishness and selflessness, peace and chaos. It's taught me about discipline and letting go. It's the hardest job I've ever had. (And I only have one kid. Holy moly.) It's also the most fun I've ever had.

Cause, I mean really... who else is going to listen to me sing show tunes all day and enthusiastically clap when I finish each song?

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Create a Date

Last night my husband and I did something crazy.

Something adventurous.

Something we haven't done in years.

We had a date at our own kitchen table.

It has been a crazy busy work week for my husband. Like, super intense and stressful. I get anxiety just looking at him. So he needed a break. And I needed to be with him, because I miss him. Because he's sweet and funny and handsome. I pretty much love him.

 So we were gonna go on a date night, but instead we decided to use the money we would have spent on a babysitter and dinner/movie and use it to go to the outlet malls to find some shoes that fit our sweet little girl's feet. (By the way, baby shoes are ridiculously expensive. Even at the outlet malls...even on sale.... especially for something this kid is going to wear for 3 months max. Ugh.) Also, each of us bought a new pair of jeans because it was buy one get one 50% off. And you just can't pass that up. HALF PRICE JEANS ARE A BLESSING. ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU FIND A CUT THAT US SHORT PEOPLE DON'T HAVE TO GET HEMMED. I DON'T KNOW WHY I'M STILL TYPING IN ALL CAPS.

Anyways, by the time we finished shopping, we were maxed out of our date night budget and Ellie was maxed out of her good mood (homegirl was DONE), so we headed home. We fed Ellie dinner, we bathed her, picked up the toys, cooked ourselves whatever we could find in the freezer/pantry (steaks and kraft macaroni and cheese, for the win!).... and then after Ellie Paige went to bed, the 2 of us sat at our kitchen table and had a date.

A look-into-each-other's-eyes-and-have-a-REAL-CONVERSATION kind of date.

We talked about work. We talked about goals for 2014. We talked about motivations and struggles. We talked about Ellie. We talked about finances. We talked about how we're thankful for one another. We talked about some logistical/scheduling things for the next few weeks. We talked about things we need from each other and things that we could do better as a couple. There were no phones allowed and we were absolutely focused on one another.

Y'all. It was GOOD. FOR. MY. SOUL.

We didn't fight. We just had a real discussion and I feel like we woke up as totally different people today.

It's so easy for us to eat dinner side by side on the couch because we are ready to veg out at the end of our days. He's been working and on the phone all day long, so he's ready to just sit and be quiet. And I've been dealing with a toddler all day so I'm ready to just lay down in the fetal position and rock back and forth while eating mass amounts of carbohydrates. So it's understandable that at the end of the work day we would rather just stare blankly into space. But we decided last night to make a point to sit down and TALK at least once a week. We can't wait for a proper date night to make it happen.... because sometimes that just doesn't happen for awhile. There's scheduling conflicts and Ellie has a cold and did you know babysitters are expensive?! Besides, we're finally realizing that we don't have to go OUT to dinner to sit down and have dinner with one another. (Yes, I'm sure that's pretty obvious but we're a bit slow, folks.) I'm sure other couples do this all the time, but it's a rarity for us and we are making it a point to make it a habit.

The point is, sometimes you just gotta start acting like grown ups.

Seven years into this whole marriage thing... and we're still figuring it out.