the girls in october

Melody, you will turn three years old in two months. We have been talking about your birthday party almost everyday. The plan is to do a ball theme with a polka dot cake. Your fascination with balls is still at an all time high. A few weeks ago we were at the park taking a walk when community soccer games began. We stopped the stroller to watch through the chain link fence. You sat upright in your side of the stoller and watched with perfect attention. You immediately said, "I want to kick that soccer ball too!" I told you that you'd have to wait until you were older. A few minutes passed and you said, "Mommy, am I older yet?"

Other new discoveries include the stars, moon, ice cream cones and corndogs. You love to go outside at night and looked at the stars while we sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star to you. You get very excited when you find the faint moon in the sky during the day time. MOMMY! LOOK! THERE'S THE MOON! OVER THERE! LOOK LOOK! While eating your first ice cream cone you were full of giddy joy, probably the most happiness you've ever experienced. It was so much fun for you that I wanted to start giving you ice cream cones everyday. You said, "Look, there is the ice cream in there. It is COLD. And there is the cracker park on the outside. It tastes like a cracker and is CRUNCHY." (You use the word 'park' instead of 'part.')


Leah, you will turn one in about three weeks. I cannot believe this is about to happen. Yesterday we went to a gift shop in Siloam to buy you a nice Jellycat brand stuffed animal. Melody received one as a newborn from a DaySpring friend. It is a panda and it's her favorite stuffed animal. I realized that you don't have anything that is really "yours" so I thought a nice stuffed animal for your birthday would be a good place to start. Grammie decided it will be from her, but of course I wanted to pick it out for you. We bought the penguin and the clerk took about 20 minutes to wrap it up for you. During that time I told your big sister to not touch anything 1045 times. You are the easy one these days. Except at night. Last week you slept all the way through 5 times in a row. I felt like a new woman! I got up with daddy every morning at 6am and the week was easier and happy for me. You started crawling last Thursday and after that the sleeping through the night ended. Now you're waking up twice a night. Dragging myself from sleep to get up and go to you is so hard. But once I'm up, I enjoy our middle of the night moments together. Maybe you just want more mama time and that's the only way for you to get it.

I worry about you because I don't give you as much attention as I would like. You love your DVDs so much that it is tempting to let you watch too many of them. We play games together on the floor. I stack up a wooden ABC block tower and you shyly knock it over with a grimace on your face. Then I do it again and you knock it over faster. Soon, I can't build the towers fast enough because you are so crazily distructive. You smile and giggle when I say, "Hey!" in response to the downed towers.

You are MUCH LOUDER than your sister. When you get mad and scream it sounds like someone dropped you or broke your leg. I used to rush into the room when I'd hear you screaming like that. I'd say, "What happened?!" to Grammie or daddy as they changed your diaper or dressed you. Now I know that nothing probably happened... that is just you! It makes me wonder what type of two year old you are going to be?! You seem to be more sensitive and more stubborn than Melody. Perhaps you are going to take after your mommy instead of your daddy.


Leah's nine month letter

Dear Leah,
Early this morning around 3:30am (I can never remember the exact time) I was rocking you in the polka dot glider in your dimly lit room. Moments before you had guzzled 8oz of formula as you always do during your night time feeding. I lifted you from the feeding position and pulled you close to my chest. Your fuzzy head settled heavily on top of my shoulder. Your long toes spread apart like a fan, as your feet felt for a place to rest. Your body relaxed and you drifted back to sleep within seconds. This middle of the night time together is my favorite time with you. The house is silent and dark and we are uninterrupted. We slowly rock back and forth and I soak up the moment in my half-awake state.

You love to clap. You have not figured out how to do it by yourself yet, but we have a fun time doing it together. We sit face to face and I clap first. Your mouth opens wide and a massive grin spreads across your face. After a few claps I take your hands and clap them together for you. This sends jolts of joy through your entire body. You can barely contain yourself. Bursts of giggles erupt from your belly and you laugh and laugh and laugh. I stop and you ponder what to do next, trying to figure out how to clap independently. You bang on my belly with both hands, as if saying, "Let's do it again!"

You and Melody are starting to play together. You lay side by side on a quilt on the living room floor or in the bathtub. Melody mimics your full body kicks. Her body is long and thin compared to your rollie-pollie tummy and legs. Sometimes you want a ball or a bear and she insists that you want something different because it's the toy she wants to play with. Soon you'll be too smart for her manipulative toy switching.

You sit up like a pro now and I don't have to worry about you falling over anymore. You're trying to figure out how to crawl. You scoot backward instead of forward and usually end up stuck halfway underneath the couch or coffee table. You enjoy watching movies with your sister and no one can make you laugh like her silly shrieking can.



a fun friday morning

We've been home a lot this week because the girls both have a cold. I've attempted to catch up on laundry and cook some good meals as well as watch a couple movies. I saw Catch and Release and Dream Girls. They were both okay; good movies to watch by myself during the day as I folded clothes, held babies and played with playdoh. I hit the pause buttom about 100 during each movie to fetch a bottle, answer the phone, talk to a toddler, rescue a baby from scooting backward under the coffee table and so on.

When Friday morning rolled around I was hoping to go to our weekly playgroup. But the runny noses were still with us, so I decided against it. Normally it wouldn't be a big deal, but two of the playgroup mamas are within weeks of their due dates and no one wants to get a fullterm pregnant friend sick with a cold. Can you imagine dealing with a cold DURING labor?

I shuffled around the house in my pjs, unsure of what to do. Stay home and work on things around here? Go to the mall? The pool? The park? Anything outside was a hands down no. It's the hottest week of the summer, so far. The mall was out because I am pretty sure the kids area there is where Melody got the infamous cold in the first place. (This is the cold that has spread to the whole playgroup. Sorry guys!)

Finally I decided to load everyone up in the truck (it has better AC than the car) and see where we ended up. I had a feeling garage sales would be the order of the day. We ended up having a wonderful time. Melody and I chatted the whole way to Fayetteville while Leah took a nap. Mel and I have REAL conversations these days. It's crazy. Today she saw a wagon and said,

"Remember when my got hurt in the wagon?
At Anna's house...in the backyard.
My cried... Jason stopped the wagon... he kiss it.
Then my got in the wagon again.
My got hurt in the wagon."

The crazy thing is, this incident happend LAST summer when Melody was just 19 or 20 months old. (!) I was floored. I kept asking her questions about it and I'm fairly sure it was the only time she's ever been in a wagon.

We went to McDonalds where I bought an iced coffee. They are pretty good. Especially for $1.66. Then we drove around looking for garage sales. It was a very successful shopping time. I bought Melody books, colorful plastic bowls for her kitchen, a kite, a music box from 1983, and a puzzle. For myself I bought a $15 quilt, a couple vintage linens, two homemade aprons (also vintage), and a DVD (Meet the Fockers). My most exciting purchase of the morning was a piece of stained glass that is perfect for our living room. It's about 8x10 inches and is orange and blue of a flower. It was marked $!0 which I was totally going to pay.

Then the lady said, "Oh you can have this for $5."


I love garage sales because it's like you're doing the people a FAVOR to buy their stuff for next to nothing. They just want to get rid of it. Of course there is the occasional sale where people are trying to get $30 for a fushia prom dress from 1991.

We came home just in time for me and Melody to NOT get into a fight. When I push our outings too long, the 30 minute drive home is a nightmare. Maybe that's why I've been annoyed about living in the country lately. I should just come home sooner everytime we're out and about so that we're not pulling each other's hair our by the time we reach our country lane.


cleanup or stay up?

Melody has a fascination with balls. It began a long time ago and everyone who knows her is aware of it. Every time we go to playgroup, she makes a beeline to the first type of ball she sees. For the next two hours she clutches this precious treasure and refuses to play with anything else. Balloons are the only object that can top a ball.

So I guess I shouldn't have been surprised the other day when our Number One disaster (to date) involed balls. She informed me that she had made a big mess in the living room. Upon entering the room, I spied marble sized, peanut butter colored balls all over the rug. I stepped closer with a look of suspition on my face and in an instant the smell of poop filled my nostrills.

"MELODY! Did you get poop our of your diaper?!"

"My made a mess Mommy!!" She informed me with glee. Then she added, "YUCKY!!!"

"That's right, it's yucky...." I replied and continued muttering all sorts of things about just how yucky it really was. Then I stopped. I realized she had most likely TOUCHED the poop. Her diaper was still on, so I assume she reached inside and removed the balls of poop one and a time. They were scattered all over the room. I had been talking on the phone in the neighboring kitchen. I thought I was keeping an eye on her, but obviously it wasn't enough. I stood there unsure of how to proceed. Then I saw Melody take her hand and wipe it across her face, under her leaky faucet nose. I sprang into action, "Don't touch your nose! Let's go wash you NOW."

The hot water hand and face washing that followed involved levels of tears and shrieking and dismay that a spanking could never match. After she was cleaned up, I had the fun job of hunting down all the marbles of poop in the living room. I grabbed a paper towell and a plastic walmart bag and got to work. Thankfully, her poop is always on the constipated side, so it was easy to handle. (EW!) After using three paper towels and picking up about 12 balls of poop I thought I was finished. The room still reeked so I decided to vacuum the rug. I moved the coffee table and found MORE marbles of poop. Nice.

It is a story fell out of my mouth the instant Chad walked in the door from work that evening. I couldn't even wait until he had finished eating to give him all the nasty details. He just kept shaking his head and closing his eyes. That same night Leah was up with a cold. We only slept about three hours. The next morning I felt 100 years old and decided that I'd rather pick up poop than stay up all night with a sick baby any day of the week. Although when these are one's choices, one realizes quickly why God made babies and toddlers so cute and lovey.



Life has changed so much for us since Chad started his new job. It’s been about three weeks and our old life is already a foggy memory. There are things I miss and things I’m excited about. The thing I miss the most of spending so much quality time with Chad. I miss leisurely breakfasts where we work together in the kitchen and then sat down together to eat and talk. These days we still eat breakfast together but it’s about 3 hours earlier, I’m barely awake, and he’s already thinking about work. Thus, there's not much talking going on.

Another big change is that I’m not doing freelance design work anymore. I miss it and I’m also relieved to be free of it. I got a call from DaySpring the other day. They were looking for someone to do a fast track project. I was both happy and sad to say no thanks. I miss the thrill of getting work, the dressing up and going to meet with people about projects, and having a reason to walk away from parenting and household duties for a couple hours with no guilt. I do not miss the pressure of deadlines, uncertainty of more jobs, horrible health insurance, and computer/font problems.

Because I’m not hanging out with Chad or working, I have more time to hang out with other stay at home moms. This opportunity is a good thing. This week I have spent time at the park and the library with other moms and their kids. Melody has enjoyed it too. This morning after an last minute bath (she soaked through her diaper last night) she was standing on the bathroom mat, naked and dripping wet.

I said, “Let’s go to your room now…”

She replied, “But I want to go to Fayetteville!!”

“We will go to Fayetteville, but we have to put some clothes on you first.”

Perhaps she could sense my urgency to get out of the house. We dressed her quickly and got the heck out of here. Our outing to the yarn store, the library and the health food store went well. On the way home she said, “I ready to be home now. I want to see Montana.” (Our dog.)


back in the saddle again

Life for the Mathis family has been turned upsidedown. A few weeks ago Chad got a phone call from a business person in residential construction. It was a Sunday evening and we had no idea the conversation would lead to Chad being employed again. Several phone calls and interviews later we are back in the saddle as a "normal" family. Chad goes to work everyday and I stay home with the girls.

Being thrown back into stay at home mom land has it's ups and downs. The ups include being able to spend more time with my other stay at home mom friends again. (Although this hasn't happened much yet.) Other ups include good health insurance and a steady income. The downside has a longer list. Time as a family has taken a huge hit. Chad is lucky if he's able to see the girls for more than two hours a day. He's in charge of a subdivsion that is a hour and fifteen minutes from our house. Long work days combined with drive time equal little time leftover for being at home.

Chad's return to the working world was an agonizing deicsion for us to make. The past five months have been a dream come true. We were able to spend everyday together. We enjoyed late breakfasts together. Somedays we'd wake up at 8:30 and say, "Let's go out to breakfast today." Most days he'd work outside on the land clearing brush or chopping firewood while I tended to the house. It was kinda like a Little House on the Prairie scenerio. When freelance came to me, he'd take over the house and the girls so I could work. I'd split my work time between home and coffee shops with wireless internet. I joined Curves because I had the freedom to leave the girls with him anytime to go exercise. I went to Walmart with one kid or no kids because he was available to watch them.

So, when this job opportunity came, we were unable to take it without feeling like someone had died. Our 'year of jubilee' was over. We felt gloomy and sad. We sat and stared at the walls as the new reality sunk in. Although we didn't talk to Melody about it directly, she knew what was going on. The morning of Chad's first day of work she woke up early, in time to see him before he left the house. Her first words that day were, "I don't want daddy to go to work."

Chad has just completed his first week of work. We are slowing getting back into the routine of 'normal' life. Toward the end of the day I start to feel like "What do I do with Leah?" I used to be able to hand her over to Chad so I could cook dinner or fold clothes. Now I have to figure out a way to do it all. I am using the sling again. She is big enough to sit on my hip now, which is comfortable for both of us.

The afternoons are the hardest part of the day for me. Starting around 2:00 I feel lost and sad. I wander around looking for motivation and purpose. I feel agitated and lonely and irritable. Sometimes a second dose of coffee helps me escape this funk, but I'm not satisfied with that for a solution. I want to enjoy my days at home with the girls. The mornings are great. If I could just carry that momentum though the rest of the day, I'd be doing great. I am trying view this challenging time of my life to an opportunity for spiritual growth. In the dire hours of the day I want to call out to Jesus for strength and help. For me to grow closer to God is one of the good things that could come out of this abrupt change in our lives.


5am wake up call

Once or twice a week Leah wakes up around 5:00am. She lays next to me in the bed with her eyes wide open. She smiles hugely and kicks the sheets with a jabbing motion. I try to cox her to go back to sleep by patting her bottom, jiggling her body, nursing her, etc. The list continues. Each attempt fails. Instead she becomes even more animated. She coos and laughs at the idea of any more sleep. It is torturous and silly to attempt sleep with such a wildly awake neighbor, so we get up.

This morning I stumbled into the kitchen with coffee on my mind. It's the next best thing to sleep at 5:00am. Before getting a new pot brewing, I spilled yesterday's damp grounds all over the floor. The paper towell roll was empty and the broom gone from it's pantry hook. (We're at my mom-in-law's right now. The house is devastated after last weekend's wedding. We've been to tired to clean things up. The wedding was at the house.) Who whould have thought making coffee could be such a chore? During it all, Leah sat wide-eyed in her Bumbo seat on the counter.

I started to perk up after eight ounces of coffee with cream and a runny fried egg on jellied toast. (I was tempted to eat leftover wedding cake for breakfast. Self control won the 5am battle but we'll see what happens the rest of the day.) I resituated Leah and myself at the laptop -- she still in her blessed bumbo seat. I did a little email and read a few blogs. After twenty minutes Leah let out a mild whine. I reached for her sweet six month old body and held her close. Within one minute she was out cold... sound asleep with her face directly in my shoulder. I don't know how she breathes like that. Her sleeping body slumped against me, exhausted from our early morning adventures. I held her for a few minutes thinking, "This early morning routine isn't so bad after all." I was able to spend some sweet time with my happy baby. I had my coffee. Now I'm the only one awake in a large quiet house. (It feels like I'm the only one up in the region. No matter house many times we visit, I cannot get used to the midwest. The vast crop fields make me feel isolated.)

Even though getting out of bed at 5:00am would never be my choice, it usually turns out to be a blessing in diguise, as do so many other things related to caring for a baby.


weekend with old friends

The girls are napping. (I love it when they nap at the same time!) Chad went to Tulsa to take our Oregon friends to the airport. The house is strangely quiet after a weekend of hustle and bustle. Friday night there were eleven people sleeping here. Every bed was full, plus some floor space (sorry Dan). To top it off, the two college students were on an air mattress on the screened-in back porch.

Chad are I are the happiest when we have a house full of friends. We anticipated the weekend with Walmart trips, meal prep, and lists of chores. The house looked it’s best when everyone arrived. I was tired from all the work, but completely happy to sit and visit and catch up.

We met Dan’s fiancĂ©, Erin for the first time. They will be married in a month. Seeing them together reminded me of my own engagement. I had forgotten about every moment together being consumed with touch. Holding hands, rubbing knees, leaning on each other. I had to smile every time I noticed it. Now my days are full of a different kind of touch. Bald baby head on my shoulder and sticky toddler hands tugging at my pant leg. It is fun to remember the days of engagement anticipation and it is equally rewarding to realize how far we’ve come from that place.

We did many old school days things with our friends. Memories multiplied as we gathered around a bonfire at Lincoln Lake, recalling cliff jumping, throwing boulders into the water, eating ant-covered donuts, and wondering who might hook up with who. (Now we know!) The next day 12 of us went to Twin Falls to grill burgers. I was insane with worry, trying to keep Melody away from the edge of the rocks. At one point I said panicky in a loud voice, “Where is Melody? Where is Melody?! Where is MELODY?!!” My friend Beck turned around to reveal that Melody was in her arms, out of my view. I took some deep breaths and tried to relax. We watched Dan and Matt jump off the falls and Melody discovered she could throw rocks in the water. She busied herself with this activity for the rest of the outing.

Sunday morning everyone gathered at our place for an informal baby dedication for Leah and Abbie Mae. Chad and I took turns holding Leah during the time. I felt proud and humbled and joyful to recognize the blessing God has given to us. We talked about the Old Testament story of how Hannah dedicated Samuel to the Lord. It is a story I happened to read a few days ago. I guess God is reminding me that Leah is His. This truth gives me chills and makes me want to take the best possible care of our little Leah. I’m so thankful for her.

I am also thankful for my college friends. Our relationships have passed the test of time despite the fact that we live all over the country. I thank God for each of them, including Dan’s bride. Welcome to the group Erin!


leah's five month letter

Dear Leah,
Tomorrow you will be five months old. Tonight I swaddled you in a size two diaper for the first time. You're little body is a mere 12.5 pounds. You are full of sweet personality. You squeal and growl with gusto. Your big sister makes you smile and stare. She enjoys talking to you. When you get upset she mimicks mommy's sing-songy voice by saying "Toe-Tay Leah." ("It's okay Leah.") Melody also enjoys sharing her toys with you. Sometimes I glance your way and discover a ball or teddy bear nestled next to your head as you sit contentedly in your swing. You should know that these toys are your sister's favorites and she delights in giving them to you.

You still sleep with mommy and daddy at night. We didn't expect to have you in the bed with us for so long, but night time is when you do most of your nursing. During the day we give you two or three bottles of formula to help you grow. I fear you will stop nursing sooner if we stop co-sleeping at night, so in our bed you stay. Last night I had trouble falling asleep. I rested on my side and stared at your beautiful sleeping face. Your flawless skin is softer than possible. When I touch your face, my senses can barely comprehend that anything is there.

I often wear you in a sling during the day. Sometimes you fall asleep on me as I move around the house to cook and clean. Today the four of us went for a walk on the land. It was a damp, cool day and you nestled close to my chest as we walked. Melody walked between mommy and daddy and said "Good girl, Chad" to daddy when he cut down a branch on the trail. By the time we got back to the house, you were sleeping soundly next to my heart. I took a deep breath and felt so lucky to have you in my arms.




Last week I stumbled upon a local toy store that is going out of business. I felt sad for the owners, who wore defeated expressions. At the same time, I was thrilled to find shelves full of merchandise marked 50% off. I spent $60 and walked out with three bags full of goodies for the girls. The loot included, Melissa & Doug art supplies*, large white easel paper rolls, a genuine purple playground ball, wooden beads, wooden puzzles, wooden sewing templates, 100 colorful blocks, and a few other things.

I'm the most excited about the art supplies. They include finger paint, crayons, stamps, ink pads, and paper. Within a couple days of the purchases I lured Melody to the kitchen table with the promise of something new to play with. Her eyes danced with excitement as she climbed into the booster seat and saw the plastic container of bright crayons for the first time. I taped a 3 foot section of the thick white easel paper to the area of table within her reach and let her loose. She scribbled back and forth with yelps of glee, saying the colors as fast as she could, "Purple! Yellow! Red...!"

I felt a surge of pride as I watched her play. Memories of my own childhood rushed through my senses. As a child I spent hours knealing at the coffee table coloring. I'd beg my parents to color with me. My dad gave in often. I remember squirming with delight as he joined me on the floor beside the coffee table. He would color one page and say, "Okay. That's enough for me." The minutes of joined coloring would be over in a flash. In later years I'd lament about how he didn't color wtih me for long enough. My mom informed me that he actually colored with me for long amounts of time. I believe her because to this day, when I sit down to do anything creative (especially involving color), the clock stops and I can work for hours without realizing it. In fact, a few weeks ago I saw down at my laptop to do some work. In my hand was a piece of Dove dark chocolate. I absent-mindedly set it down next to the computer. TWO HOURS LATER I looked down and it was still sitting there, untouched. But back to Melody...

For the past few days we've been coloring together. I say, "Do you want me to make a polka dot?"

She responds, "Okay. Red."

"Here you go. Here's a red polka dot for Melody!"

"Nice. I like it! Again. Blue!"

After a section of multi-colored polka dots forms, I say, "How about a triangle?" and we proceed. Soon the table top is covered with shapes, fruit, trees, rainbows, hearts, numbers, letters, and other elementary items. I look at the clock and realize that 45 minutes has passed in a flash. Some things never change. I hope in the years to come she and Leah enjoy art as much as I do.

* By the way, I love crayons by the Melissa & Doug brand. They are great for kids for a few reasons. They are triangular which means they do not roll all over the place. Also, they are not covered in paper so no peeling is necessary. And finally, they are much stronger than typical crayons which means they don't break all the time. I love them!


fun days & hard days

Melody is sick again. She has rubbed her nose/face raw due to a runny/itchy nose. She whines, "Nose hurts." about a million times a day. Sometimes she asks me to kiss it. She is in the stage where kissing things makes them 'better.' It's tricky to kiss a crusty nose without gagging. I try.

Last week we had two wonderful days in a row. Melody played with her toys, sang to Leah, helped me with chores and was in a delightful mood all day long. Leah is in the fun four month old mode. She coos and squirms but does not roll over yet. She loves her swing and bouncy seat. She laughs and squeals nonstop. In the midst of those happy days I felt like I could have many more children. Things were glowy.

Then Melody developed her 4th cold of the season. In a matter of 12 hours she was whiny, crying, touchy, needy, upset, inconsolable and difficult. She does not eat or sleep or play. She just wants to be held. It's hard to hold a two year old all day long when you have a four month old. All of the sudden, the idea of MORE kids is crazy!

The upside to everything is the weather. It's been like California weather here. We spent a few hours at the park today. Leah and I have pink cheeks from the sunshine. I will have to be very careful with her milky white skin. It will not handle the sun the same way Melody's golden skin does. Leah has my fair complextion.


leah milestones

Four months is one of my favorites places in the first year of a baby's life. Leah is stealing my heart everyday. I'm feeling more at ease about her weight for two reasons... she started taking bottles again!! After about a month of rejecting the bottle, she's willing to drink from it again. I've been giving her 3 or 4 ounces of formula each evening. After only 4 days of supplementing, she's gained 4 ounces!!! She is now 11 pounds!!! I'm so happy.

We've also begun the adventure of cloth diapers. My friend, Crystal, lent us her newborn stash (thank you, Crys!) and we're trying them out. My initial reason for wanting to try cloth was to save money. As I'm using them, many other reasons are developing. I like putting something so soft on my baby. I didn't realize how harsh and abrasive disposable diapers feel until I began using these wonderfully soft cotten diapers. Another reaon I feel good about it is the environment. I don't tend to be a "green" person, but I am mindful of how much gasoline I use and how much diaper trash we've been making. It's a huge amount with two in diapers!

We're still very new at this cloth diaper thing. I've only done one load of wash so far. (Actually three... to wash them well I'm told to do three cycles of washing. One cold, one hot, another cold.) I plan to hang them on a line in the sun to dry them. We've pretty much stopped using our dryer to save on the electric bill. The days are warm and sunny enough to hang dry clothes. Mel is my helper by handing me clothes pins while I hang the clothes.

One of the things I love about the 4 month stage is smiles. Leah is full of smiles for us. Little shy smiles. Open mouth grins of glee. Giggly, jittery, excited smiles. Slow, sleepy, goofy grins. Each one melts my heart. It is good to be past the three month mark. Some people refer to the first three months as the fourth trimester. It is a hard time for all, but especially for the mama. Nursing every hour and a half is tedious and night time wears one down quickly. I was super lucky to have outtles of help from family, friends, and my stay-at-home husband. Almost everyday I ask myself how single moms do this mothering thing.

I'm happy to be blogging again. I decided to just dive back in. All along I knew I didn't want to stop blogging, but I was not able to give it the time or energy I used to. I love to make my posts into stories. I like writing, reading, and rereading the posts before I am finished. But right now all that is not possible. I will be more free with my thoughts and less picky about my subject matter. It feels good to be back.


photo stress and leah's size

Melody and Leah are scheduled to have professional photos taken this weekend. Ever since I made the appointment a few days ago, I've been stressed out about what they will wear. If they are in a photo together I want their outfits to coordinate... not necessarily match, but work together. Melody has an adorable dress by Mini Boden (UK brand) that I bought on ebay awhile back. It is floral. I usually stick with solids for photos but this dress is the perfect for a spring photo.

Leah does not have many clothes and none of them will work with this floral dress of Melody's. Leah wears comfy one-piece outfits most of the time right now. I don't like putting babies in jeans or overalls until they start moving around. I find pants annoying at this stage because they ride up too high or fall off. Yesterday Leah was wearing a pair of 3-6 month jeans. Chad held her up above his head and the jeans fell off her skinny body!!

Which brings me to another topic of stress... her size. Yesterday I had a terrible day. It was one of the worst days I've never had, in fact! I cried and moped and frowned all day long. I could not pull myself from the pit. I went to Fayetteville but it didn't pull me out of my funk. We had dinner with wonderful friends but that did not pull me out of my funk either. As we drove home in the dark I told Chad I was so thankful for a new day tomorrow.

Today has been better. I was pretty upset about Leah again this morning and then she drank a few ounces of formula from a bottle!!! My mom had the magic touch I guess because Leah has been rejecting bottles from us for over a month. She has gained only 1 ounce in about 3 weeks. She has a wellbaby checkup next week and I am anxious for the doctor to see her and tell me what he thinks. I've been willing/ready to supplement for weeks, but she would spit out anything from an eyedropper, etc. She is four months old and weighs just 10 lbs / 12 oz. (But she is 25-26 inches long!!!)

Having a low milk supply is so frustrating. I feed her every hour and a half and she still sucks on her hands all the time. POOR BABY! I'm so so so so so relieved that she drank from the bottle today. I gave her another 4 ounces of formula this evening and she did fine with that too. I have hope again.


sick winter

I could barely remember what a head cold felt like until this year. Let me start a the beginning. I've had numerous ailments this winter. I will recap them for you...

When Leah was five weeks old I started feeling the symptoms of a urinary tract infection (UTI). I am prone to these, especially if I drink too much coffee. Being a new mom of two, coffee quickly became my best friend. Some days I accidentally drank more coffee than water. This is a big no-no for me. I tried to kick the infection myself with natural stuff like cranberry extract and lots of water. I told myself that I'd go to the doctor when/if I got a fever. Ten days of mild symptoms passed with no fever. Finally a fever hit me full force. By the time I got in to see the doctor it was at 103. I was miserable and the infection was bad. I started antibiotics that did not work because the infection was too strong. They gave me a shot. It worked and I started feeling better. I was very relieved because I was fearing IV antibiotics (which I've had once before for a UTI).

Days after my UTI saga I got poison ivy. I had planted some tulip bulbs in the jungle of our front yard. My ungloved hands were exposed. Since I'm breastfeeding, the rash spread right to my breasts making me more miserable than I can describe. To top things off, we were in Illnios with the inlaws for Christmas so I had to wear a bra during it all. Awful. Leah and Melody did not get the poison ivy. Whew!

Soon after that I developed thrush (from the antibiotics). OWIE! I nursed through it with much wincing and flinching. I took myself off white flour and sugar (no coke!) and started eating plain Dannon for breakfast and lunch. Being off fast food, sugar, and cokes was not that hard. Whole grains and healthy food tasted good and I felt better than I have in a long time despite the annoying thrush. (Unfortunately I'm craving crap food again.)

We had an all night scream fest with Leah after I put an undiluted drop of grapefruit seed extract in her mouth. Dumb mommy; poor baby. I didn't know it would cause such a reactio. She had gas and mouth-pain all night. The next day she slept for 7 hours!

The thrush healed just in time for the world's worst head cold to begin. It lasted for 12 days. I went through boxes and boxes of tissue. I was in the midst of a huge freelance project during the cold. In the midst of it, I was attempting to breastfeed Leah every hour and a half because she was not gaining enough weight.

The horrible cold was the last of my ailments. Since then, both girls have had the flu. (!) I was spared somehow, despite the fact that I slept in bed with Melody through the worst of her illness. There is nothing more sad than a toddler with fever. She would say "Toe hurts." "Finger hurts." "Nose hurts." "Hair hurts." I'd kiss each painful area and she'd move to the next. Poor baby... everything hurt!

We are finally starting to feel like a healthy family again. I feel hopeful for spring time. I hope we never have such a sick winter again!!


three months

It is March. I can't believe it. 2007 is flying by. The past three months have been a blur. We've experienced a lot of change this year, starting with our brand new baby, Leah. She turned four months a couple of days ago. She's very different from Melody, although they share a few similarities. One of these is their size. Leah is little. I often refer to her as our Little Leah. She's almost 11 lbs now. This puts her in the 5th percentile for weight. She's long though, and at 25 inches is in the 95th percentile. Her middle swims in outfits while her ankles and feet dangle below the hemline. I worry about her weight a lot. We have a wellbaby checkup scheduled for next week. I'm looking forward to hearing what the doctor has to say.

Another huge change for us this year is Chad's job situation. He was laid off in December. (!) The residential housing market is very slow. His company overbuilt last year and they had to shut down the construction side of the company. We were not surprised by the lay-off. We actually welcomed it because we were ready for a change. I made a few calls and quickly acquired some freelance work. January and February were a blur of work and breastfeeding. Chad held down the fort and cared for the girls while I worked my tail off. The jobs were on the fast track and paid well. I missed hanging out with my mom friends and shopping the after Christmas sales, but having our family of four together on a daily basis was worth the sacrifice.

For the past couple of weeks I've been without freelance work. We've enjoyed perpetual days off marked with breaskfasts at 9am, walks on our land, doing chores together, and simply being together. It's like a dream. Both of us have been hesitant to fully embrace it for fear that it is too good to be true. As the three month mark passes we're finally allowing things to sink in. We are so happy.