Tuesday, September 27, 2011


This morning I got a call from Mom just a little after 5:30 am.  Grandpappy, who is in the early stages of dementia, wasn’t responding to instruction.  When this happens he needs to be lifted by some one for his medicine, changing, bed making, etc.  I get the phone call when Dad is at work and Mom needs me to be the muscle.  It’s no big deal, but this was one of the late night/early morning calls where Corey was still at home so I could run out while Muffin slept.

And there, even in the mad dash to get to the place I first called home, I find a sense of freedom.  I have had a little person in the car for over a year now, and the tone of the drive is very calm and filled with baby banter back and forth.  Even if Corey and I go somewhere without her, not much is on in the background because we are chatting.

So at 5:45 am, I rolled down the windows and cranked up the radio.  It was still dark outside and not many cars were out in our small rural town.  I felt like I was breaking the law, like I was 16, on my way home from a friend’s house in the early hours.  The morning dew making streaks across the front glass and my headlights the only ones lighting the road.  At this early hour I was energized, half singing and half shouting the lyrics to the music pumping out of the speakers.

When I reached Mom and Dad’s I was ready to get to work.  We had Grandpappy all fixed up and tucked back into bed in no time.  On my way back home I jammed out, until reaching our little town’s limits and turning the music down.  When I pulled into our gravel drive and looked at all the darkened windows, I felt myself transform back into Mommy.  I quietly unlocked the front door, took the baby monitor from my snoozing husband, and went downstairs to make a quiet cup of tea.

The entire morning made me realize just how far I’ve come, even if where we ended up was a 5-minute drive from where I started.
May 30th 2005

Monday, September 26, 2011

Nanny Lee Anne

This summer we have been so blessed to welcome a new little best friend for Muffin into our home.  During the week I have been watching a close family friend’s little bundle, and boy oh boy, he is just the sweetest!  At first I have to admit, before he came into our home I was hesitant about watching another little one, for a list of reasons:

  • We never found the perfect fit.  It was an idea Corey and I had tossed back and forth but we had never found that perfect match for our Muffin to have in a daily play buddy.

  • How could I possibly give enough attention to both my baby and the baby I am watching?  This was a very real concern; I didn’t want to shortchange either child.

But here is what I realized:

  • We found a perfect fit, the parents, the baby, the baby’s age, their proximity to our house…perfect.

  • I quickly found that I had over thought the whole “giving enough attention” thing.  I have two arms.  And it just so happens that they can hold two babies if need be.  Plus I was amazed at how different the little man is compared to Muffin, he is so independent, already wanting to be on the go, sit up, and crawl.  If he’s not trying to work on his motor skills he’s in his swing, and completely content there.  (There was never a simple solution for Muffin, so I have daily moments of “so this is what an easily pleased baby is like”.)

  • I love babies.

  • Muffin needed the sibling practice.  Our new household catch phrase is “easy touch” and she usually pulls her hands away to repeat, “eee-see”.  We now know the term “share” and the question “is that yours?” which typically means: I saw you take that, now put/give it back.

  • I can still get things done.  Having a little helper who shadows me on my daily chore rounds and helps place dropped or just out of reach toys back in little man’s grasp is a big help too.  I actually have moments were both are sleeping and I can either go into cleaning or crafting overdrive. (Crafting usually wins).
Basically, what it boils down to is that two babies keep you busy, but reward you just the same.  I love being a nanny and Muffin loves the company.  We have hectic days and amazingly peaceful days.  I look forward to the awesome friendship these two will have.  Most of my best friends are the ones I have kept from childhood.   Plus, I get to love, cuddle, and spoil two babies, and what crazy person wouldn’t love that!?

When Days Go By

This summer absolutely flew by!  And in our efforts to soak up every last moment of Summer 2011 that we could, I have been slacking in the blog department.  But in case you were wondering here are a few snapshots that sum up the latter part of our summer. Enjoy!
Posed as best we could for Corey to snap a photo

Took a few breathers here and there...some were unexpected...

We helped Aunt Katie study

We made sugar cookies in anticipation for fall

Hit the swings with Daddy

Mom and Dad were able to sneak off for a date night!

We went cruising in shopping carts

Stole kisses at every opportunity

Made Daddy proud
I hope your summer has been wonderful!  We are looking forward to the adventures fall will bring, football, heritage festivals, kettle corn, sweatshirt weather, and of course the changing of the leaves!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

When Things Aren't As They Seem

I was reading a forum where mothers were discussing how they dealt with rude comments made about their parenting and lifestyle choices.  Helping each other deal with people who made comments about things such as co-sleeping, breastfeeding, being stay at home moms, living frugally so they could remain stay at home moms, etc.  I had originally clicked the link to discuss my own experiences dealing with others who had made their opinions known about the choices we had made raising our family.  But then I started to look at the list of different comments, all stating different scenarios and conversations it hit me like a ton of bricks and I cringed: I have been guilty of some of these thoughtless comments, not necessarily always saying them aloud but thinking them.  What had originally started with my venting about the wrong committed against me, made me realize the wrong I had committed against others, even if only in my heart.

            Before my dear daughter was born, I knew I was going to breastfeed.  It was something that was drilled into me from my parents, to grandparents, and friends who already had lots of experience nursing (not to mention every baby book and doctor I came in contact with).  I of course did my own research and found that it was recommended and is the gold standard, but one thing that stood out in my mind was the AAP’s recommendation to nurse up to one year and then as long mutually desired after the first birthday.  As long as mutually desired?  I also had found lots of blogs and websites that promoted nursing until the child weans naturally and mothers sharing about nursing toddlers.  I was miffed.  So I started to ask close friends and family, just to make sure I hadn’t stumbled onto some kind of outspoken group of nursing activists. As luck would have it I have a lot of wonderful influences that shared their knowledge and I found that quite a few of them had also nursed until their babies were around age two.  But at the time I couldn’t appreciate it, it wasn’t until Muffin arrived that I understood why.  I actually said aloud “I can’t imagine nursing a toddler, that would be weird, once they can walk around?  I don’t think so.”  And wouldn’t you know it, after Muffin hit her first birthday I was still nursing.  And I’m still nursing her today, at fifteen months old. 

            You see, what I didn’t understand at the time was I really couldn’t possibly know until I was there.  It was easy for me to make that comment because I wasn’t looking at it through the eyes of a mother.  Your baby is always your baby.  And now I look back and kick myself for making that statement, I was clueless.  As educated as I had made myself on the subject, I lacked the experience.

            That got the wheels turning in my head.  When else have I had these naive notions?  How careless to quickly label situations and the people living in them.  If I am to remain authentic, I have to admit guilt.  In the past, before becoming a mom, even before becoming a wife, I know with certainty that I have made comments that are in complete contradiction to the way I have chosen to live my life and the path God has laid out.  We can’t assume to know answers or solutions from the outside looking in. 

“Peak performers see the ability to manage change as a necessity in fulfilling their missions” Charles Garfield
I hope that by changing the way I assess situations and others, will better help me live to fulfill His mission.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Our Vacation Together: Corolla, North Carolina

A week of preparation paid off, when Corey got home from work on Thursday we packed up the car and hit the road.  Six hours later around 11 o’clock at night we pulled into the driveway of our vacation getaway.  This amazing vacation for us and for so many other members of our family gifted by Muffin’s Maw Maw and Grandpa.  Because of their generosity we are not only able to have an extraordinary family vacation but to make vacation memories with loved ones we aren’t able to see as often as we would like.

            Muffin was fearless.  Her first time at the beach and able to run, she headed straight for the water.  She was also a shelling pro, able to comb the beach for her perfect shell to carry the entire time.  After watching her older toddler cousin playing in the sand she quickly learned how to dig, rake, poke, and squish piles of sand under the cool shadow of the umbrella with attention and help of adoring family members.

            Most mornings there were usually sunrise strolls with those who were able to roll out of their comfy beds in the early hours.  Followed by groups pairing off, in different combinations each day, to explore all of the relaxing activities Outer Banks had to offer.  Corey was able to jet ski with his younger brother while Muffin, Nana, Grandpap, and I window-shopped and ate ice cream.  The next morning Grandpap and I joined the boys and went kayaking, navigating canals in the marsh while Muffin took a nap with her Nana.  Muffin also got lots of playtime with her Aunt Nana and Uncle, Maw Maw and Grandpa, and her little cousin and his daddy.

            Dinnertime was awesome and is always my favorite part of every vacation.  No matter how groups scattered during the day, when dinnertime rolled around everyone gathered, held hands, said grace, and ate together at the dinner table.  It really is our prefect escape, we get our quiet little family moments, but we also share the memories we make with other family members we miss throughout the year.  And for us that’s what vacation is really all about: family memories. 

The destination helps provide the setting, but the people you share it with and the memories you make are the real souvenirs that you’ll keep far longer than the magnet on the fridge.
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