Monday, April 29, 2013

Are you ready to potty?

No real potties were used in the taking of this photograph :)
As our little girl keeps getting bigger, we recently decided to get her a potty! I am not expecting much right now, but I wanted to go ahead and have it so we could talk about the potty, read books about the potty, and just get used to it being in the bathroom. I purchased a clean, sanitized trainer potty at the TC garage sale....she was SO EXCITED to sit on it when I brought it home. She kept sitting on it with her clothes on so I finally decided to try to give her some diaper-free experience on it.

Oh, man. She thinks she is so cool sitting on that potty. She wants to "try" several times a day (it helps that she gets a mini M&M just for sitting there). So far we've had 2 successful tinkles!!! I know it's not much, but each time she goes we are one step closer to not having to pay for or change diapers. The first time I actually didn't realize she had done anything until she turned around and stuck her hand in it. That's what soap is for  :)

For now we are keeping it in the downstairs bathroom because it makes the most sense to have it right by the playroom. Eventually I want to get another one for her bathroom upstairs but I am hoping that if we wait a while we can go straight for the seat that just fits over the big potty. Those are much easier to clean :)  The one we are using downstairs is a 3-in-1 where it can be a little potty or a potty seat with a step stool and she actually likes to try putting the seat on the big potty so I'm really hoping we are headed more in that direction.

Since she's still pretty young (almost 20 months) my plan right now is to just do what she feels comfortable with. If she wants to try to sit there, great. If not, it's not that big of a deal. Most of what I've read says that kids can be more consistent and have more control when they turn 2. I would love for her to be potty trained by her 2nd birthday but I realize that if that doesn't happen she will be fine. Most of us learn to use the potty eventually :)

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Our Weekend in iPhone Pics {4.28.13}

Well I guess it's been over a month since I did a weekend in iPhone pics, so here ya' go! Most of our weekend was spent outdoors enjoying the beautiful weather. The weatherman had originally predicted rain for most of the weekend but that absolutely never happened! Also I stocked up on summer clothes for Eva at the Trophy Club garage sale last weekend, so I am getting the fun of dressing her up in her new outfits. #toddlerstyle
Friday evening we grilled out over at our friends' house. They have 2 little girls and a baby boy, and the other couple that joined us has 3 little girls, one of which is a week younger than Eva. All together that's 6 sweet girls and 1 baby boy!  As you can tell by the pic-stiched photo above, they were in constant motion! {Eva is the one in the swing} We had so much fun. All the little girls played together so well and kept each other pretty entertained while the adults got to eat and have good conversation on the back porch. I love fun outdoor evenings!
Saturday morning our church hosted a women's brunch/conference in Keller. I was so happy that my mom drove all the way up to go with me! I was honored when they asked me to speak and I hope I was able to encourage all my friends there! Two of our high school girls also got to speak and they did a great job :) They are so beautiful! 
Saturday evening we went to the Denton Arts & Jazz Festival. Ooohhh, how I love walking around listening to music. Before we left I made it my goal to see at least one friend there - and we saw the Pirtle Family, my bff Ashley Gatta and her husband, and a former teacher co-worker. This was definitely an event where the backpack leash came in handy - Eva was pretty good about holding my hand when she wanted to walk but it kept her from running away. #dontjudge
Sunday we went to church all morning, came home and took naps, and then played on Eva's new slide! Some friends from church have outgrown this toddler slide and they lovingly passed it on to Eva. She really enjoys playing on it!
She also likes to make me and Ryan go down the slide - we may be a bit too big for it. My legs look incredibly long in this picture! #imreallyshort
And then we played the game where she puts a blanket on her head....she stands perfectly still and I'm pretty sure that for an instant she really believes we can't see her. Then she laughs soooo much when she takes the blanket off. I just want her to stay like this forever!

That's all from us. I will leave you with this awesome cheese-ball grin. Have a great week!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Nursing No More

* Disclaimer: This post is about breastfeeding. If this topic makes you uncomfortable feel free to close out this post and check back another day :)

When my mom first asked me if I thought I would nurse my baby when she was born my answer was, "Sure. I'll give it a try." I knew all the benefits of breast milk and I knew that it would save money on formula. I didn't know how much I would totally love it.

Thankfully, nursing Eva came fairly easy to me. I know this isn't the case for all moms, and let me make it clear that I don't hold any judgement towards moms who decide not to nurse. You know your body, you know your baby, you know your life - make the choice that works best for your family! There was only one terrible night/morning where my milk came simultaneously with the longest night of bringing newborn Eva home from the hospital. Lots and lots of tears. Other than that my nursing journey has been pretty amazing. I had originally planned on breastfeeding Eva until she hit the one year mark....but when that time snuck up on us I felt strongly that neither her nor I was ready to despite my feelings that people might judge me for nursing longer I kept with it....I followed my own advice and did what was best for us! I didn't set a definite "finish line" but figured that I might as well nurse through the winter for immunity sake (to keep Eva healthier). For any new moms reading this, keep in mind that nursing a toddler isn't at all like nursing a newborn. Newborns take forever, toddlers less than 15 minutes.  I even continued night feedings until she was 15 months old. It was tiring but completely worth it in my opinion. Over the past 4 months I began gradually dropping feedings. First the night time one, then the 2nd nap one (which timed out perfectly with her transition to 1 nap), then the other nap one, until I was finally down to just 2 feedings a day - one in the morning and one right before bedtime.

Then about 6 weeks ago my body started to feel weird. I was completely exhausted. I was super emotional. I had headaches. And I was extremely nauseous. NOPE - I am NOT pregnant. But my body sure was acting that way! I was pretty sure that I wasn't pregnant throughout all this time, but it felt so much like what I remember my first trimester feeling like. What? I did some research and read some information that suggested that after a prolonged time of nursing a women's hormones can potentionally get so out of whack that you experience these symptoms. Not common enough to be shared among women, but I did find other people who have had similar experiences. So why am I sharing all this? So that other women will realize that they aren't losing their mind! When you are pretty sure that you aren't pregnant but your body feels so abnormal it makes you kind of nutty.

Anyway, so in the middle of all this craziness it occurs to me that probably the best way to get my body back to normal is to stop breastfeeding. That nursing my toddler is no longer what is best for my family, because my family needed me to be able to function. Realizing this was so hard and made me cry a lot (it probably didn't help that I was already so emotional). I knew that I didn't want to nurse Eva forever and probably would have stopped around this time anyway. It's just hard to acknowledge that it's time to make such a huge change and to know that I was the one who had to initiate it.

I gave myself a day to make sure that I was doing the right thing and then I stopped nursing her at night. I was going to be out a few nights that week anyway so it made the most sense to drop that feeding first. Oh, it was so hard to put Eva down. She would ask for milk and I'd have to just tell her that it was all gone. I did give her a sippy cup of water and I still spent lots of time snuggling with her before bed. She accepted it but seemed so sad. After the 3rd night or so she cried a few times. Then a week later I stopped nursing her in the morning. That was even harder for her, probably because she realized that we were done. She has always woken up and asked to nurse right away so it was heartbreaking for me to tell her we couldn't. She cried. I cried. As the days went on it did get better. I tell her all the time that I'm so proud of her and I love her. I remind her that even though the milk is all gone that I'm still right here.

Update: I actually wrote this post a couple of weeks ago. I waited to share it because I was hoping that at this point I could say that my theory that everything was related to breastfeeding would be more accurately proven. I honestly still feel the same way so I could be completely wrong that everything is related. I've been to the doctor to have some tests done to make sure that I definitely wasn't pregnant (I'm NOT) and to check for other things like thyroid or liver problems. So far, no great answers. I really think it's probably hormonal but can't figure out what is causing everything. Prayers appreciated!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

"Eat More Chicken"....she thinks not.

She may be a Princess, but the Queen sets the menu around here. 

Eva has always been a decent eater. From the time we started giving her pureed fruits and veggies she's been pretty good about eating what we offer her. I also try to not make too big of a deal out of what she chooses to eat. For each meal I offer her a couple of choices on her tray and she can eat what she likes. I figure as long as they are healthy and she has an overall balance of foods in her diet, it's not that big of a deal. I also don't make her eat everything because I want her to learn to eat until she is full and then stop. (More of us grown-ups need that skill....) Yes, if I know she hasn't eaten very much  I will try to get her to eat a few more bites, but I don't force it. When there is a food that she doesn't seem to "like" I will encourage her to try a few bites. If she eats it, great, and if not I just try again. I try not to let there be foods in my mind that I think, "Oh she doesn't like that. I can't make that anymore." It took her lots and lots of tries before she decided to eat eggs. And for most meals, she eats what we eat.

Which brings us to chicken. Over and over again she is not interested in chicken. What???? Umm, somebody might want to let her know that her mother will be cooking chicken every week for the rest of the time she lives with us. She really likes sausage (which I rarely cook), she likes beef, she will eat a little bit of fish (especially salmon), and turkey and ham are fine....but chicken? No way. She will try a few bites but usually spits it out. And my most delicious meals are all based around chicken! Chicken spaghetti, chicken pot pie, chicken puffs, bbq chicken sandwiches, chicken enchiladas,chicken tenders. I even let her try some Chick-fil-a nuggets and she refused to eat them. I've tried letting her dip the chicken (she's big into dipping), but even that didn't work. What toddler would rather eat broccoli and peas than chicken? Oh, well. I know she won't starve. She will get protein from other foods. I will keep making my favorite meals. And there will be more chicken nuggets for me.

On the other hand, she does like to "cook" chicken in mama's pots :)
 I actually walked into the kitchen to see this.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Bara Baptism

This morning after our church services we had a baptism ceremony. Originally only one girl was planning to get baptized and we ended up having 5 more people decide to join her! How awesome is that?!?! 
This is our new friend Beth that started coming to Bara only a few months ago. Her love for Jesus and desire to know God more is so evident. I was so excited to see her get baptized!!!!
Hugs all around! Baptism is a joyful thing to be celebrated!!!!! 
This is our friend Jake. I think Jake's face shows how cold that water was. Yikes! Don't worry, we had towels waiting.
I taught Sunday school for the pre-k class and thankfully we got to take our kiddos outside for the baptism. We had talked about the story of John the Baptist baptizing Jesus and we talked about how some people were getting friend's little girl got a bit confused and thought that she was going to have to be baptized...she told her mom that she loved Jesus but didn't want to get "sanitized" today :) Speaking of my Sunday school lesson, I saw the photo below that somebody had taken on my camera and was immediately reminded of the following verse:
After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him
Matthew 3:16

Wow. Can you imagine what that would have been like to be standing there when Jesus was baptized? To hear God publicly, audibly affirm that Jesus was His Son? Think on that.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

One day, but not today.

This has been a heavy week in our country. It's easy to start to feel discouraged and to feel your heart breaking for those who are suffering. So today I decided to make today an extra special day for me and Eva.

One day she will have to get dressed and put on professional clothing....but today she stayed in her jammies all morning.

One day she will know the realities of living in a fallen world...but today we watched silly sing-along movies.

One day she will have to share my attention....but today it was just me and her, all morning long.

One day I will have to clean and do errands...but today we just played.

One day she will jump out of the car door when I drop her off...but today she laughed as I smothered her in kisses and hugs.

One day she will need to eat healthy I think we'll make some cookies.

One day she will make her own decisions about she was sweetly cuddled in my arms, patting my back as we prayed together for the people we know who need prayer.  

One day she will have a busy schedule full of school and activities....but today it was only full of finger painting and toys.

One day she won't think that I'm the coolest person to hang out with....but today she was perfectly content to sit in my laps and read stories.

Are you crying yet? Because I am...but at least they are tears of JOY!  Praying for everyone who is hurting this week and for the people we love.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Day at the Zoo

Monday we took a family day to all visit the Fort Worth Zoo together! Ryan has worked so much the past month (well, the past 3 years....) so it was nice to get an extra day to laugh and play together. 
We actually got to the zoo in we were there waiting for the gates to open. Eva had a little pre-zoo snack and then we were the fifth family in the gate. Woo-hoo! We beat those school crowds! I will brag that we picked the best day to go to the zoo. The weather was warm but breezy most of the time and I bet there were a lot less field trips on a Monday than there would have been on a Friday (when we would have normally tried to go). And I'm glad we waited until Eva was actually big enough to enjoy it (yet young enough to get in for free!). We planned this day well.
The first stop at the zoo should always be the flamingos! Why do I like these birds so much? Maybe because they're pink or can stand on one leg? Maybe because they like to be in the water? 
Then we saw the gorillas. Gorillas are also one of my favorite animals - they are just so fascinating to me! At one point we were watching a big male gorilla through the glass and Eva was so happy! Then the gorilla pounded his big fist on the glass and we all screamed. There was another little boy standing there with us and he looked up and said, "I really hope that gorilla doesn't fart." #funniestzooquote
Look at those beautiful blue eyes! And how stinkin' cute is that floppy sun hat? My mom had bought it for her last year but it was too big then, so today was her first chance to wear it. 
Next stop, the giraffes. Isn't it funny how when you visit the zoo you have a sudden desire to take photos of every single animal? We've all seen these animals but you feel like you have to take tons of photos of them. I won't bore you by posting photos of each one, just the highlights. Feel free to Google "zoo animal pictures" if you desire to see more animals :) 
Okay but I do have to include these photos of the female chimpanzees. From left to right: the mama is nursing her baby, another baby is playing with the mama's bottom while she is trying to eat, and a baby is riding around on a mama's back while she goes about her day. I'm pretty sure every mom out there can relate to these chimpanzees!
This photo isn't great but it shows the white tiger. This beautiful tiger was also right up by the glass...until a dumb field trip kid banged on the window and growled at it....which made the tiger stand up and attack the window to growl at the kid....which made all the other kids cry....and then the tiger went away. #controlthatkid
The zoo was 100% more fun because Ryan was there. Eva was glued to him the whole time. When she wasn't walking or in the stroller, she wanted Ryan to carry her. I'm so happy we could all enjoy this day together.
Don't judge us, we put her on the backpack leash for part of the day. Let's be honest, our child is a runner. She loves to go-go-go. I don't want people to look at us and scowl, but I also don't want to lose my child. She really, really loves wearing the backpack part (for those of you that follow me on Instagram you can see tons of photos where she has on her backpack around the house). She does not love the leash but does a pretty good job, especially when we use positive distractions to help her be motivated to walk in the same direction we are. The leash attaches to the underside of the backpack so she really doesn't feel the difference unless she tries to run in the opposite direction...then she falls down. I know one day she will learn to stay near us - we are definitely working on that - but until then this is a viable option. 
Watching the elephants! Towards the end of our visit we walked back through the African habitats because those animals are the best. We also visited the snake building but Ryan refused to be photographed with any of them. Ironically he was the one who wanted to visit that part of the zoo. He has a love/hate relationship with snakes. He loves to learn about them but passionately hates them. Did I mention we saw a random medium-size snake that was slithering across the sidewalk? I'm surprised he didn't have a heart attack.
To wrap up the day we stopped at the zoo cafe for an ice cream cone. Perfect when you are hot and sweaty.
This is what the one of the gorillas looked like on our way out - just like a tired human after a long, hot day. This is what Eva looked like after being in the car for only one minute. Can you blame her?

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Live Like Josh 4.14

Over a year ago I wrote a post about my own experience of redeeming the time and today I lived through that same truth again. This morning we gathered at our church, Bara Church, to celebrate life in the one year memorial service for Josh Hernandez. I shared briefly about Josh in another post, but for those who aren't familiar, Josh was a Senior last year at Byron Nelson High School here in Trophy Club. He was killed on April 14th, 2012 in a car accident. He was known for loving people and loving Jesus. The LLJ Foundation has been set up in memory of him. His story hasn't been forgotten by our community....everywhere you go people are wearing bright blue Live Like Josh tshirts and "LLJ" is a popular sight to see across town. We even heard about Josh's story when we were at our former church last year. So in honor of Josh and his family, our church wanted to open our doors for people to come and celebrate the life of this student.  
The service began with a video of Josh. It is very emotional to watch footage filled with the life of somebody who was so clearly loved. You might have expected this service to be sad, as we were all remembering a life that was cut short......
But it was absolutely filled with JOY! Josh's twin brother, Jesse, is an intern at Bara. And today, one year from the day he was with his brother in his final moments, Jesse stood up and preached. He spoke about the truth of finding joy through the pain. WOW. This was phenomenal. Jesse didn't sugar coat it. He didn't lie and say " I love God so everything is now perfect." No, he was honest...he shared about the days of feeling numb....the times he was far from God....the struggles he walked through even this past week as the date approached. And then he shared about the realness of God....the BLESSING of having a relationship with Jesus Christ....the ability to stand on the truth that God is always with us....the STRENGTH that he found not in himself, but in a God who loves him and has never left him. He had Josh's door from their home on stage and used it to share how God is always waiting for us to walk through the door to him....we can choose to close that door and fight through pain on our own, or we can choose Him.
Last Sunday we had gathered to pray that tons of students came and WOAH was God faithful to answer that prayer. We had almost 700 people there!!! You bet that our God is faithful!!!!
At the end of his message Jesse talked the brokenness that is within us...the need for something more...the need for Jesus to come and redeem us. We had over 100 people come down and put their faith in Jesus!!!! I have honestly prayed for revival for this community for so long. I've spent days and days and days asking for God to do awesome things in this community that will show more people the truth about who HE is and how HE loves us. 
Ryan and I got to pray and hug and love on the students that came down. I love seeing tears of joy and the sweetness of knowing Jesus for the first time.
We even had 2 students that we had served with at Redeemer come because they knew Josh. It was awesome to get to pray with them and hear about their lives now. Still praying for these friends!
And then we celebrated! Christianity is not about achieving salvation through a rigid set of rules...the church is about the JOY and LOVE and CELEBRATION that comes when you realize that you need a Savior and that putting your faith in Jesus is what brings healing and wholeness to our lives. The church is about a community that cares for each other and encourages each other. What an amazing day.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.
James 1: 2-5

We desire to live like Josh...because he lived like Jesus.

Monday, April 8, 2013

My imperfect Insta-Life.

Recently my blog friend Kati wrote a post about how easy the importance of being real...of showing others that there is more to your life than the cuteness of your kids posted on Instagram. She also linked into the article, Stop Instagramming Your Perfect Life, which is a very interesting topic. Like tons of people, I have an Instagram that I use to post photos of the highlights of our day. I love taking photos to remember the good moments {did you read my post yesterday???}; and I'm thankful for technology that allows me to share these moments with friends and family. But let me assure you that there are plenty of non-funny, unglamorous, frustrating moments that go on behind the scenes. Plenty of toddler meltdowns...trips to the grocery store in sweats and minimal makeup... piles of laundry...dirty dishes....things that are not exactly news worthy.  After reading the above article, I think it's important that moms be honest about the fact that our lives can be fully blessed and fully realistic at the same time. That doesn't mean that I'll start posting pics of the boring parts of my life (you're welcome) but hopefully it encourages others to know that it's okay when not every moment of their day is cute or fun. What matters most is that mama's are out in the real world living in the real moments with their real children. There is a time to post the pic of your baby taking their first steps, and a time to put down the camera so that you can be fully present in that moment that you won't get to relive again. There is a time to post the funny sayings of your child on facebook, and a time to just sit in the middle of the floor and laugh with them.

Social media is great. Being connected and sharing life with friends and family is fun. But it's way too true that our babies grow up faster than we can believe. I just want to try to be more intentional to be fully in the moment. And now I shall publish this post to facebook. #irony

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Step Out From Behind the Lens

Have you ever found yourself not wanting to be in a photo? As a mom it's much easier to take a million of the precious child in front of you and opt not to be in them. But then I come across photos like this one of my grandparents holding me on my first Easter. They look so beauitful and joyful! Maybe not picture perfect in a model sort of way, but perfect in a capturing the moment way. I can hear my Grammy's laugh when I look at this photo.

It's photos like this that are a reminder that it's important to step our from behind the lens. That a lack of shower or makeup, an extra few pounds, or a face that is aging shouldn't stop anyone from being in a photo, at least some of the time. Just like I want to remember each stage and season of Eva's life, I was her to be able to see that I was there too. I want her to see what her grandparents and great-grandparents looked like at her Easter's when she was little. I want her to see the laughter on her grandmother's beautiful faces. So the next time somebody wants you to be in the photo remember that it's about so much more than your perception of how you look in the moment. A few awesome examples:

Me, right before I was wheeled into the ER for my c-section with Eva. No make up. Hours of labor. Crazy tangled hair. But I remember that excitement of knowing my baby was about to be here and that's what I see in this photo.
Eva and Mallory with their great-grandmother, Mamaw on their first Thanksgiving. Can't you just feel how tightly and lovingly she was holding those sweet little girls? I bet her heart was so happy in that moment!
Eva and my Dad. My Dad may be a bit camera shy but you can see that they are both laughing and enjoying each other in this moment! I can flash back to seeing them wrestling and giggling on our playroom floor.

Take more photos :)