Things I am loving...

Date night! Hallelujah! Never was I able to take colicky Loulie out at this age but Tad slept through the whole movie...
Begin Again--excellent movie and even better soundtrack. Loulie and I have been dancing to it All week...

Tad's alfalfa sprout...

Loulie's VBS performance Sunday night...

How much Loulie relishes being a big sister...

She can't keep her hands off him (I can't either for that matter). And the other day she said (in her gush voice) "It's impossible not to hug him, he's just so sugary."

Babies who sleep...
Family nap time...


My biggest problem...

I basically do this to Loulie at least once a month and poor Tad suffered the same scene at about 5am this morning...


Tad--One Week

I'm lying in bed rocking back and forth with sweet Tad pressed in close. I wish I could go back to sleep but I've found that staring at him is actually much more fulfilling. Besides, the advice "sleep when the baby sleeps" seems a little insane; like I have a switch that I can flip to immediately hit a deep REM cycle. And after being woken up 3 times in 6 hrs, my body has decided it's a new day. So here I sit in the morning twilight contemplating how I can smell like old milk and vomit while Taddycakes still maintains that sweet new baby smell. And though there is no sleep switch, there is a maternal switch that I believe the Holy Spirit controls. Because how did I go for years thinking more children would be a bad idea and now I hold the most perfect little blessing? It is God's timing and His will because I would have never gotten here on my own.
I told a friend today that all the things I worried about or didn't want to give up in having another baby seem so insignificant and ridiculous now. Once you are on baby time, life just seems to flow and you forget what it used to be like until you are there again--sleeping through the night, wearing old clothes, going out with your husband again. But until then, I am relishing this newborn stage even more so than I did with Loulie. I can't believe I already love him this much!

So here is a rundown on Tad's first week in the world...

on Tad: He's an angel! Basically, the antithesis of his sister, he sleeps all the time. When he is not sleeping, he's eating. The only thing I kind of hope for is some awake time where he is not crying and hunting for a boob. He lost 9 oz in his first week and then gained one back, making him 7lbs 2oz at one week. He doesn't really like quick movement (swing, vibrating chair, dancing) but just likes to be cuddled close to his mother. We've stuck pretty close to the house but Loulie and I did take him out to the beach for a quick stroll Friday evening. It was breezy and glorious and I look forward to a 1000 more beach walks with them. 

on Loulie: She is such a help and revels in finally being a Big Sister! She had a few moments after he was born of wanting to stick close and being kind of snippy to other caregivers. I think her occasional sassiness has more to do with almost turning 5 than with having a new brother. She initially didn't want to come to the hospital afraid of what I would look like and how they got the baby out. But once she discovered I have a lap again, she was okay. She's now just obsessed with breastfeeding and mimics me all day. on Me: I cannot believe that just one short week ago, I was miserably pregnant. While I do see pregnant women now and envy them seeing their baby for the first time, I miss NOTHING about being pregnant. It did take a few days for my rib to stop hurting and of course I am still healing but I feel great! It was beautiful outside yesterday so we took an hour walk. Nursing around the clock still hurts but less this go round and I basically inhale food when I get a chance. But I feel almost back to my old self.

on Friends: We have been so incredibly overwhelmed at the kindness of friends. My whole pregnancy, I was just showered with friends giving maternity clothes and hand me downs and praying for me and the baby. That has not stopped--friends have come to visit and brought meals and offered to take Loulie. It makes me want to be more intentional about helping friends. I used to not really understand the whole bring a meal thing--I mean why not just order take out, etc. But it really is the BEST gift when you are nursing a newborn on no sleep is to have friendly faces bring you a warm meal. Since I am not a very creative cook, I have on my to do list to master two meals to take to friends.

on Having Two: Everything people have said about having two children is a total lie! I will never know if it is having a boy or knowing this is my last baby, but I have already taken at least 1500 pictures. I refuse to put him down. Bert jokes that he has held him a cumulative of 2hrs. I spend a good majority of my day and night just looking at him. It doesn't really aggravate me when he cries. And I am about 1000 times more neurotic and protective. I was protective of Loulie but also didn't know better with her. I basically went along with my life as best I could, carting her everywhere. I have stayed much closer to home this time knowing that this is just a small window. I'm actually enjoying being at home and not having much expected of me. It's nice being in the bubble. I also don't have the hormone surge I was so scared of (knock on wood)--I'm really blissfully happy rather than sad or overwhelmed--I truly think this is God's protection. August us always a rough month for me so I am praying that this will continue.

I hope I can continue to update and stay on top of pictures, etc. Advantage of the second born--live and learn.
Bubbles, Tad, TaddlePup, TaddyCakes--I love you so much my heart might burst. Don't grow too fast on me (just enough to sleep through the night ;) )


Happy Birthday!

I haven't blogged much (well any) this year because it's been an unusual one but I couldn't let Bert's birthday go by without putting something "in the books" about his 43rd year. Mainly because it becomes more and more apparent every day what an amazing man I married.
He's selfless and hard working, loyal and kind, loving and never begrudged. He puts his family first always and never hesitates to meet our immediate needs. 
I could say a lot about Bert but there are 3 stories from this past year that I think speak volumes to the kind of man, father, husband and lover of Jesus that he is. Three stories that I think set him apart and make me so thankful that he is ours.
The first started early last fall. With Loulie in school every day this year, I thought I would have the time to take a women's class at church that I have been interested in for two years now. After signing up with several good friends, I found out that Loulie's release time would not give me a chance to finish the study and get back over to James Island in time to get her. I was frustrated but mostly just disappointed to miss the opportunity to spend time with friends and grow in the Lord. And without much thought and never a complaint, Bert started rescheduling his day every Wednesday so that he could pick Loulie up and the two of them could have a lunch date. I choke up every time I think of this--that he was willing to stop his work day to spend time with his daughter and take a responsibility off my plate so that I could do something for myself. I don't even think he realizes what a gift that was and what it spoke to both me and Loulie.
The second came in February. I was out of town on a women's retreat and it was Loulie's first school dance. She obviously had no expectations at the age of four and I simply reminded Bert to maybe dress up a little and show her how "dates" work. His only reply--"have fun, I've got this." Later that night I received a photo of Bert in full out tuxedo with Loulie holding a bouquet of pink roses. He told her to wait in her room while he ran around to knock on the front door. I know daddies all over the country do the whole daughter dance thing but I was just proud of Bert that night for planning it all on his own and making her feel so special.
The third is just a small story but I hung up the phone shocked with his selflessness. I had just a small meeting to attend a few weeks ago. WIth Loulie being so sick lately, it has been rare for me to get out for anything. Bert called and asked what it was I had planned that upcoming Thursday. I reminded him and he said okay. After badgering him for a few minutes as to why he wanted to know, he finally confessed that he had been invited to hear Willie Nelson and Allison Krauss in concert but was going to turn it down so that I could go to this simple dinner meeting. This is a guy who never goes out. Thankfully, my mother had just told me she was coming in town early and could hang with Loulie so we were both able to go to our events. But I couldn't believe he was willing to miss something so fun and such a rare opportunity so I wouldn't have to miss mine. 

When I tell the story of our dating, people always look at me a little shocked and then I kind of can't believe it myself--that I married someone after only knowing them a year and even then only seeing them on weekends. Let's just say it was a leap of faith. And after being married for 7 years, I'll confess there were several things that we didn't know, almost none of which have really mattered. The main thing that I never expected was what a wonderful husband and father Bert would grow to be. How I hit the jackpot 8 years ago and how 90% of the time I am so thankful for how well he loves us. It has been a mostly stressful, work concentrated year but there is absolutely no one I would rather go through it with the one God gave me. I am thankful every day for the relationship Bert has with Loulie and for the confidence he instills in her through his love. He asked me last night if I thought he would be a good "boy dad." I tell people all the time that though our sweet boy is an unexpected blessing, God's plan doesn't surprise me that much because if anyone will raise a good man, it will be Bert.
I guess he has never heard me say that which is the point of this post....

We love you, Husky Bear! And are absolutely thankful for all you do! Happy Birthday! Prayers for a wonderful and blessed year ahead!


January Reads

I've decided to stick to last year's goal of two books a month and hope to update each month on the blog. I've run into the the very first world problem of what to do with all our books. It would be lovely if I had an unlimited gift card to B&N and an entire wall of built in shelves but until then I'm checking out from the library and hoping to store good quotes and favorite reads here. I think this will work much better than my current method of stacking books in piles along my closet wall like a hermitted english professor. 

Sparkly Green Earrings

by Melanie Shankle
I don't read The Big Mama Blog but this book came highly recommended by several friends. I finished it in a few days. Honestly, I feel like I could have written this book. That is how closely parallelled I felt my life was to the author's--from her career in pharmaceuticals for the "flexible schedule" to the wacky home improvements to the one daughter family. I loved it and found it so funny and relateable. Luckily, she came out with a new one last month. 

The Duck Commander Family
by Willie Robertson
Anyone that knows me at all, knows how much I love to hear other's story. I'm fascinated by how people got where they are, what makes them tick, what drives them, etc. This family is pretty eccentric and has been in the midst of lots of controversy lately, but what I thought was going to be a cheesy was actually really sweet. It's obviously not written beautifully but the story of the Robertson boys growing up is fascinating and I can't not love a family that puts Jesus first and then their family second. I took away a few tidbits and enjoyed it overall.

The Fault in Our Stars
by John Green
I read this in about two nights while Bert was out of town this month after almost every 2013 reading list recommended it. Love, love, loved it! It was different and beautiful and the characters were so lovable. Though sad, it didn't leave you feeling weighted. The movie comes out this year which I doubt will do it justice so be sure to read it before then. I'm planning on going down the John Green list and have already picked up Looking for Alaska. I hope he isn't a one hot wonder because I would love another author to follow.

Love and Respect
by Emerson Eggerichs
This book came highly recommended by several people so our Bible study chose to read it this season. Meh. If you have never explored your husband's need for respect, then you might find it interesting but I have read other in depth studies on respect in relationships that I liked better. It brought up good discussion but I hard a hard time focusing on the actual writing and felt like the author used a lot of verbage for what could be a quick point.



I'm adding Cruise Director to my resume after this week (month really). We have already had a lot of days inside these past few weeks and then school has been cancelled today and tomorrow due to icy conditions. I have managed to entertain Loulie going on 12 hours without any internet or television! We have baked to the last of the flour, crafted with every supply available to us, done every possible yoga pose, listened to the Frozen soundtrack I lost count of how many times, made breakfast lunch and dinner from scratch, read, put on plays, done make overs and kept the home fires burning while Bert went to work.  Who says mothers don't do anything? (I'm referring to that lovely piece floating around the web titled "Stay at Home Mothers Don't do Anything")  I'll answer that since I haven't had my own mind to myself since about 7:30 this morning. Literally, I have moved from organizing one form of entertainment to the next minute by minute. My girl hates the cold as much as I do so inside it has been. Needless to say, I am exhausted. But a few times today, Loulie has looked at me and said "You are my favorite mama. I'm so glad you had me." or in one instance she looked at a picture and said "You are always such a pretty mama. I gone be like you when I get big." Talk about a rejuvenator. To even it out, I will admit that she also looked at me at one point and said "Are you going crazy?" Guess I don't have that great of a poker face because yes, I thanked God 100 times today that I live in Charleston and not Minnesota. How do all those northerners not go crazy?!
So we'll be back at it tomorrow. I am determined to style it up like Ralphie's brother and get a good walk in. Bert said some kids were sledding down Wappoo Cut today. I think it might be fun to walk somewhere that is normally too trafficky tomorrow so you might see us running down the middle of Folly or up the James Island Connector ;)
--We made these homemade pretzels tonight. Delicious! And quite a feat since I normally warm up Trader Joes or Whole Foods. They were a perfect little dinner with a side salad and different dips. I made cinnamon sugar for Bert and LB likes salted. I also saw a variation with rosemary that might be fun now that I have my herb garden from my mom for Christmas.
--In other news, our company sold a whopping 8 bags of ice today. What the what? If this weather keeps up, the Dashers might be homeless. Bert compared himself to Kristoff which was Frozen reference #4568 today.
--Speaking of Frozen references, it is all Loulie can talk about. The other day she was hiding in a rack at a store and told me that she had to hide her frozen powers from people so they couldn't see her. When she woke up this morning and Bert told her that the white on the ground wasn't snow but ice, she said "told you I had the power to freeze things." Ya'll, we're obsessed. Elsa is hosting a tea party at a local store in a few weeks. I CANNOT wait to surprise Loulie!
--One last thing in case you too are going nuts and need a little laugh. My friend sent me this video last night. There is so much truth in it, you have to laugh to not cry.
So I'm dreaming of warmer days and regularly scheduled programming but also enjoying this time at home making memories with my girl. From all the facebook and instagram pictures it seems like we are all doing the same. My heart goes out to all the kids stuck in Atlanta. I cannot imagine being away from Loulie over night or stuck on the highway. I'm thankful we live within running distance of Loulie's school. I know it's false security but I like knowing I can get to her in minutes if needed. Prayers lifted for all the families that didn't get to cozy up together tonight.


Their rendition of Goldilocks and the Three Bears


One Part Rest/ One Part Fun: A Week One Recap

This week has been the perfect combination of rest and entertainment. It is exactly what I wanted the last week of the year/ the second week of Christmas break to be. Although, I am still not ready for school to start back on Monday, I do always like getting back on a schedule. The irony of school is that the first few years of Loulie's life I just really wanted a few hours a week to get things accomplished. Now that she is in school (albeit only until 11:10), I really would love her being home with me almost all the time. She is so independent and fun and easy now.
We spent a lot of time this week sleeping in and staying in pajamas until the 4th hour of Today ended. We did experiments and crafts, made art and put together Lego sets for hours. We read our Christmas books for the last time before boxing them back up for next year. It was sweet and relaxing and fun. Now my home is a disaster with a Christmas tree still up, I haven't cooked a healthy dinner one night and I have only been to the gym once but you can slack on all these things when you know your child is only home one week and in a few days it's back to 6:30 wake up calls.

Bert and I went out New Year's Eve for the first time in 5 or 6 years. We kind of joked ahead of time that we may not really know what to do at a party without children anymore. It was a surprise party for a friend and ended up feeling a lot like a new year's eve in high school huddled around fire pits listening to a DJ. Bert even came home and heated up a frozen meal and then proceeded to fall asleep on the sofa fully clothed while watching Juno, just like a 19 year old. My sweet sister kept Loulie under the premise that if she went into labor, I would be there in 15 minutes. She texted me this picture of Loulie at 7:15 with the caption "Rocking New Years."

Unfortunately, this year we were not able to throw our annual Post Plunge New Year's Party. The beach house was rented and the whole day ended up being very anticlimactic. The weather was less than desirable, I forgot our costumes and when we arrived at the Plunge, I realized my camera battery was dead. I really hope that isn't an indication of the year ahead. We persevered through though. We still went despite botched plans and some friends threw a "Plan B" dinner where I made sure to stuff myself with collards. Loulie had a ball and we all decided if there was ever a year to play it low key that it was this one.

I started watching Girls this week. I usually have a few good books and a good show for those dreary January days and long nights. I picked Season One up from the library  and have to say that this show is the biggest disappointment so far. I find it so depressing and pretty gross yet somehow mildly entertaining.  Somehow by the end of episode 10, I was rooting for Hannah. And I know art, especially TV, is an exaggeration of reality but it kind of panics me that this is what life is like for 24 yr olds. Just gross! I miss the days of Carrie Bradshaw.
And in possibly the sweetest recollection of the week, Loulie has set up a sleeping bag and tent in her room outfitting it with about 5 Lego sets and a stack of books. She insists that Bridget sleeps with her and I can hear them through the monitor until late each night. Last night it was singing and tonight she read Bridget about 10 books before finally crashing. It's gotten to where Bridget waits in the tent during Loulie's bath and sometimes during the day.

All in all, it's been a good start to a new year. Back to the grind soon enough and I'll be paying the piper this weekend for all the sweets I've devoured over the holidays. And in usual fashion, I'm listing out things to look forward to after such a fun holiday. But I think a new nephew arriving this week is enough for now.

Happy New Year!