Monday, January 30, 2012

Piper's Pad

At the end of last semester Jackie told me that instead of finishing in December of 2012 as we'd thought, he didn't expect to graduate until May 2013. I'd sort of hinged a lot of things on being here only one more year. My thought was that I could handle our crappy mattress one more year and it wouldn't be so bad having Piper in our room for one more year and so on and so forth. But 18 MONTHS? That's a different story. Don't ask me why. (Because I don't know; I'm just crazy like that!)

So I decided to just lose our school room in favor of making Piper her own room. I moved all of our school supplies into our pantry beside our dining room area so now we can easily sit at the table and still have access to all of our school supplies. Then I started working on Piper's room!

I chose a jungle theme mainly because I couldn't find any owl-themed bedding that I liked that would fit our crib. I loved the colors in the bedding--pink and lime green and orange. I chose orange to be the wall color because it's one of my favorite colors. We ordered the matching border and Jackie put it up for me.

I got a couple of canvases and my friend, Amanda, showed me how to cover them with some cute zebra fabric and I embellished one with a shape I'd gotten at Hobby Lobby. Amanda also found that cute zebra print lampshade for me. I added some pom poms around the bottom just for a little extra pop.

I also found that cute little "P" at Hobby Lobby and used a 40% off coupon to get it. Yea!

The main reason I wanted to go to Hobby Lobby in the first place was to find the little wooden shapes like the one I embellished the canvas with. I'd seen a mobile on Etsy and knew I could make a version of it myself instead of dishing out the $30 for it. Unfortunately there isn't a Hobby Lobby near us but fortunately there was a restaurant near the one in Covington so Jackie suggested we go to that one! Worked for me. I got to get all of the supplies I needed for the mobile and I got a huge bacon cheeseburger to boot. ; )

On the wall beside the window I hung my free canvas from and a project idea that I'd seen on Pinterest: a button initial.

What did we do before Pinterest?!

The second night that Piper slept in her room she slept 6 hours straight which was the longest she'd ever slept in her little life. I *thought* that perhaps she simply loved her new room and had decided to start sleeping for her mama but no such luck. It must have been a fluke because she's back to her usually waking every 2-3 hours. I guess I'll sleep when I'm dead, right? = )

Ah, well. At least I get to go get her from her fabulous new room now! Oh and I'm on the look out for some sort of chair (ideally a rocker or glider) to go in the corner of her room so I could just sit in there and nurse her when she gets up. So to all my SWAP shopping/Goodwilling friends out there, let me know if you find a good deal somewhere!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Photo Friday

Saturday, January 21, 2012 Piper in her freshly painted room.

Sunday, January 22, 2012 Ryland playing waiter at Cafe Freret. Unfortunately his service was better than our actual server. 


Monday, January 23, 2012 Piper loves Jathan. I think the feeling is mutual. <3

Tuesday, January 24, 2012 Piper could only figure out how to crawl backwards. Frustration ensued

Wednesday, January 25, 2012 Weirdos waiting for the dermatologist.

Killing time before church at City Park.

Thursday, January 26, 2012 Footstool redo project. Forgot to take a "before" picture.

Friday, January 27, 2012 Having breakfast at the couch trying to keep the house clean for Showcase Housing.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

I Dream of Jeans (That Fit)

After I had Piper I longed to fit into my old jeans. It was my goal to lose enough weight to be able to wear them by the time the weather turned cold. Little did I know that I would NOT be able to wear them not because I hadn't lost enough weight but because I'd lost too much--they were now too big! I suppose it's a good problem to have but I did have a lot of good jeans in a particular size. One size too big.

Since I only had one good pair of jeans I decided I'd spend some of my Christmas money (I'm S-T-R-E-T--C-H-I-N-G it out!) on a new pair. Jackie suggested we hit the outlet stores in Gonzales and try to find a good deal. I tried on countless jeans at at least five different stores to no avail. I was not going to waste money on something that wasn't just right. The closest fit was at Old Navy. I like the Dreamer style because it fit properly in the waist and hip area without gaping open in the back. The only problem was that they don't carry the short style in stores; I would have to order it online.

I tried on different styles but I specifically stayed away from the skinny jeans because of a magazine article I'd read a few nights before. It was about finding the best jeans for your body. The first lady featured in the article was pear-shaped, like me, and had a penchant for tucking skinny jeans into boots which I think is totally cute--on some people. But it made her look kind of dumpy and I could see their point. She looked much better when they put her in a bootcut pair of jeans. I will stay away from skinny jeans, I decided.

Then I talked to my friend, Pam, who suggested I give her pair a try. She brought me two different pairs to try on. One of them only made it up to my mid-thigh before I decide not to find out how strong the thread was. I managed to wiggle into the other pair and wore it out Saturday night. I'm pretty sure I would need a size bigger than Pam but I didn't think they were too bad. A dark wash is supposed to elongate and I wore them with flats (pointy toe to, hopefully, elongate further) rather than boots. I also paired them with a busy printed top to help balance out my top and bottom portions. Hey, I haven't been watching What Not To Wear for nothing! ; )

So what do you guys think? I know that I'm not fat but I definitely do have more rounded hips and thighs than a lot of thin girls. (The horrible truth is that no matter what, you can't suck in your thighs!) I liked the thought of me in skinny jeans mainly because I was picturing how fabulous they look on another certain friend (who is probably 6 inches taller than me and a size or two smaller), ahem, Amanda, but I'm still not convinced they are the best fit for me.

And if I had some of my own I probably wouldn't wear them to eat at Five Guys again. Skinny jeans + bacon cheeseburger with everything on it and fries should not even be an equation. They should put "may cause intestinal discomfort" on the label or something.

Oh, and guess what? I ordered the Dreamer jeans from and when they arrived I found that they had sent the WRONG SIZE. AAAAAAAAAHHHHHH! I'm beginning to believe it's not meant for me to have new jeans! 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

One of THOSE Days.

Today has been one of those days. There have been several minor crises involving two little boys, hair, scissors, toilet water, and paint. And it's only 1 p.m.

I'd like to share some pearls of wisdom, to conclude with some inspirational anecdote, but I got nothing. I haven't been taking my own advice today. Maybe tomorrow. The question of the moment is to cry or not to cry.

EDIT: Okay, just as I was hitting publish I looked over to see Jathan seated at the table working on his handwriting. He had put his pencil in between his toes and was holding it up singing, "SUPER TOE!" Thank You, God, for comic relief. = P

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sanctity of Life Sunday

This morning at church I learned that today is Sanctity of Life Sunday, a day of recognition of the value of human life first instituted by Ronald Reagan. Our church flyer talked about it and shared the remarkable story of a young woman who has recently joined our church. Last year she found herself pregnant with her third child and made an appointment to have an abortion. God worked in several ways (including the closing of the abortion clinic) to save her unborn child who turned out to be a beautiful little girl that I got to see today. The baby's big sister is in Ryland's Sunday school class (where I'm a helper) and is so sweet. I feel so fortunate to have gotten to know this story; I know so many stories go unheard!

That's why I wanted to share a little bit of my story. 13 years ago I was 15 years old and pregnant. Of course it was heartbreaking to my parents and family. An abortion would have been completely acceptable, understandable, and even welcomed. And although I considered myself a Christian at that time, I was certainly an immature one at best. Still, something inside me knew that this being inside me--this "clump of cells"--was important. I loved her before I'd ever even seen her.

And then I saw her.

I was 8 or 9 weeks pregnant (well within the accepted time period when a woman can abort her baby). The blurry, black and white image flashed on the screen. I could clearly make out her little body with flailing arms and kicking legs and strong heartbeat. Emotion washed over me. I don't believe I'll forget that moment if I live 100 years. 

The last 13 years have not been easy. They have not been what I thought they would be. There have been many times when I've wanted to give up. I have made many, many mistakes (with more to come) as her mother. But there is no doubt in my mind that I got one thing right. I gave life a chance. And she changed my life forever. 

Thank You, God, for letting me in on this miracle.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Photo Friday

Saturday, January 14, 2012 We went shopping at the outlets in Gonzales. Piper shopped til she dropped.

Sunday, January 15, 2012 We missed church because of our sickly guys. Jackie was battling an upset stomach and Ryland had a terrible cough. I just had a big mess to clean up.

Monday, January 16, 2012 Everyone was feeling better so we went shopping (again). Ryland and Piper were happy to share a seat in the grocery cart.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012 After a year of working on it, I finally finished my crocheted rug! No, it shouldn't have taken that long but I didn't *actually* know how to crochet when I started it (it got unraveled several times) and there were some interruptions along the way. You know like, Piper. ; )

Another crafting accomplishment was this hand towel for the stove. I saw this design at a flea market in Alabama and thought, "I could do that!" It was impossibly easy. I love it!

 Wednesday, January 18, 2012 Piper loves bath time!

Thursday, January 19, 2012 Back to school (finally!). Turns out Jathan didn't forget all the stuff we learned last semester. Whew.

Friday, January 20, 2012 PE day! Jathan and Ryland both loved playing at PE today. 

Piper enjoyed cheering them on court side!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Photo Friday

And, look! It's even on Friday this time. = )

Saturday, January 7, 2012 Today, after many days of Ryland running around naked and pooping on the floor, the thought occurred to me to bribe him. We had a bag of suckers left over from Christmas; I pulled out the biggest, sugariest one and said, "Ryland, if you poop in the potty today, I'll give you THIS!" Later I happened to walk by the bathroom to see this sight. He did it! All by himself! Woo hoo!

On Saturday we also said goodbye to our Little Tikes table. It's been a great place to hang out and do preschool but we were running out of room for it and it's found a great new home in someone's back yard. Now I'm going to pretend I'm not dreaming of a *real* backyard. Sigh.

Sunday, January 8, 2012 It took Jathan 30 minutes in the Walmart toy aisle to choose what to spend his dollar on. This is what he chose. Totally worth it. 

Monday, January 9, 2012 Our old neighbor, Tim, got to come over tonight! I feared we might ruin his diet but he managed to say no to the cookies. The guys also watched the National Championship together on Jackie's laptop. Good thing they didn't miss much not getting to watch it on a big screen.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012 Today we celebrated Ryland's 2nd birthday! He thoroughly enjoyed his king cake and getting to play at BooKoo Bounce!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012 Guess who figured out that those doors open?!

Thursday, January 12, 2012 Have I ever told you that I love the SWAP shop. Here's today's swag...lots of clothes for Jathan!

Potty training wears Ryland out!

Friday, January 13, 2012 It's finally cold outside! Today we have a big pot of chili simmering on the stove for supper.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Moving the Bookshelf

Alternately titled: When One Expects Too Much From Cardboard and Particle Board

"Well that was harder than I expected it to be" is something I've been saying a lot of lately. Latest case in point? Keep reading.

I've been cleaning out our school room in order to make Piper a room. I'm super excited about this project because I've never had a nursery and I have great *colorful* plans. It hasn't been easy, however. As some of you know I have a craft addiction so I tend to save every little scrap of salvageable trash that might be transformed to treasure. Lots of things have gone to the SWAP shop. Lots of things have gone in the trash. And I've found a new home for lots of other things. Our pantry has become our school closet which I think is going to work out nicely. Almost everything has been cleared out of the school room--everything except two bookshelves. I'd decided to move them into the hall and reorganize them so that each kid would have a shelf for their books on the big bookshelf and the little bookshelf could hold educational toys. I only needed to scoot them a few feet. I've scooted our other bookshelf all over the apartment. Piece of cake, right? Yeah, you would think so.

Then I scooted. Maybe a foot. And the bookshelf started falling apart. The cardboard back apparently wasn't secured well enough to be moved so the shelf began leaning badly. Not good news considering I hadn't bothered to remove anything from the shelf and was there by myself (besides the kids). "Jathan, come quick!" I shouted. Then he held the shelf in place while I ran to get the staple gun. Fast forward a few dozen staples later and I scooted again. This time I got about two feet before the staples loosened and again the shelf started swaying. A few more staples should help, I thought. Then I scooted very carefully thinking I'd push it straight back instead of trying to walk it from side to side. Then I accidentally pushed on the cardboard backing. Then I had to start all over. I'm pretty sure it was at this point that I screamed  exclaimed loudly, "THIS IS RIDICULOUS." Our balcony door was open so I apologize to anyone who might have been alarmed outside. I'm not crazy. Well, I am, but not in any sort of dangerous way.

Any-way. Luckily I was fairly close to the wall I wanted it on by then and Jathan held it in place again while I ran for the hammer and some tacks. He leaned against one side while I tried to hold the other side and hammer at the same time. Finally I got it stable and in place. Then I noticed that I'd hammered it in place crooked. Lovely.

So now I have a crooked, but entirely stable bookshelf and a good reason not to buy furniture from Wal-mart anymore. ; )

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A Letter to Ryland on His 2nd Birthday

Dear Ryland,

Happy birthday! I hope you had a great day. I sure did enjoy celebrating it with you. It's hard to believe that two whole years have passed. In fact I looked down at my stomach today and remembered a special moment you and I had together a couple of years ago...

I snapped this one last photo of you in my tummy and tried hard to remember everything about the moment...the pure magic of feeling your little self move inside of me already full of spunk. I tried to picture what you would look like when you emerged, what you would look like as a boy. I even tried to imagine you as the wonderful man I know you're on you're way to becoming.

And today. I had a different sort of bracelet on my arm but it was for you, too. (And, hey, thank goodness I got a new outfit, huh?)

But it made me think back to your first breath when the doctor held you up for me to see.

And then when she placed you on my chest...

You were perfect and I loved you. I thanked God for you, for answering my prayer and sending you to be mine for a little while. I know it won't be long that you won't even fit in my arms because you're already so big! Today you wore a pull-up out and are doing such a great job potty training. Today you asked for Sprite at the restaurant and told the waitress, "Bye, Sweetie!" when she told you. Today you wouldn't ride in the buggy at the store but said, "I wanta walk." Today when Jathan asked you what you wanted for your birthday you said, "I want Mama," and, baby, you've got me. For now and for always.

Yes, today we took you out for a fabulous New Orleans birthday lunch.

You helped me eat my gumbo. Boy, do you love shrimp!

Our waitress really took up with you. She found out it was your birthday and brought you out some delicious bread pudding and sang to you, placing a ring of beads around your neck.

After you filled up on our beloved Nawlins food, we went to one of your favorite places.

You showed off your big boy bouncing skills and ran to and fro having an absolute blast!

After a while you guys got worn out so you chose a snack at the snack bar (cookies, of course!).

And that's when I sat down on the couch beside you watching your feed your own little self (and squirt your juice box everywhere) and thought back to that time in the hospital two years ago. You know what? You turned out to be even better than I imagined.

When we got home, you opened your presents but not before a quick picture. I'm pretty sure you were getting tired of all the picture-taking by then because you get blinking and saying, "LIGHT!" = )

One of your gifts was some Thomas the Tank Engine (this is the year of the choo choo for you) dinnerware which you then ate your supper off of. (More with the flashing.)

During supper you were such a big boy that you helped feed Piper. You got her to finish her food when she was totally through with Mama feeding her although I suspect you might have helped her empty her bowl in more ways than one.

Then after supper it was cake time! Since you love Cajun treats so much we got you a king cake. You quickly set to sneaking licks of the icing.

We sang Happy Birthday (you sang along, " TO YOU!")...

And then you dug in!

When you'd had your fill of icing cake, we all gathered around the TV to watch one of your presents, Finding Nemo. You sat beside me on the couch, bottomless with sprinkles stuck all over your shirt, and I attempted to mentally freeze time again. It didn't work but I held onto it so tightly that I did manage to leave an impression of it right there on my heart.

Thank you for a wonderful day, Ryland. Thank you for an exciting two years chock full of memories. Thank you for finally saying Mama instead of Dada all the time. Thank you for challenging me to be a better person: more patient, kinder, willing to slow down and say, "Yes." (Often, yes, let's make a mess.) Thank you for being you! May I always treasure who you are and whatever that brings, messes and all.

I love you,