Anxiety and Perspective

Anxiety. 

My anxiety is crippling. 
It’s devastating. 
It’s overwhelming. 
It’s consuming and mutilating. 

It’s also ridiculous. 

I used to think my depression was what kept me down. I blamed it for all the problems I experienced that effected me internally as well as socially. I’ve realized recently, while I do suffer from depression, my anxiety is the controlling disease. 

It strolls up and grabs me by the throat and holds until I feel like I can’t breathe, most times literally. I have days where I gasp for air because it’s all too much. And I don’t know how to control it or fight it or even avoid it. It sneaks up when I least expect it. My day can be going great and before I know it I’m covered in a blanket of anxiety and pretty soon I’m suffocating. 

Perspective. 

Some days I need it more than others. These days, where it feels like the sky has fallen and I’m crushed under it, perspective is the only thing that helps fight the anxiety (for me anyways). It is so necessary during these times. Gotta see the forest for the trees. I’m more of a trees for the forest kinda girl which makes some days really hard. 

I get so lost in the details no matter how teeny tiny and insignificant they may be. This adds to the panic of anxiety. It’s hard to put things where they need to go in your head and step back and see the big picture when you feel like the entire world has collapsed around you.

But you have to.

 
You fight it. 
Sometimes it takes a while. 
Sometimes it takes all your energy.
Sometimes you just go to sleep and (hopefully) it’s gone when you wake up.
 
Eventually, you feel relief. I’m sure it’s different for everyone. I can breathe easier. My mind stops spinning scenarios and stops making plans. It slows down. 

And perspective steps in. 

My girls.
My husband. 
My dog. 
My family. 
My job. 
My sanity. 

It’s all still there. It’s all ok. Nothing has changed. Nothing has happened. The people and things that matter are all still there. And as I relax I feel like I’ve run a marathon because of the stress that was put on my body. And I’ll go back to functioning. 

Hopefully, no one noticed my attack.
Hopefully, the rest of the day will be ok. 
Hopefully, it won’t happen again. 

But it will. 

Spring!!!

Spring is officially here! Believe it or not. And I am not about to let old moody Mother Nature kill my excitement. Yes, I realize it’s been cold and gross, and, yes, I am still wearing ugg boots and sweaters to work, but it is officially spring today and we are gonna celebrate all things spring. 

🌷🌷🌷

Rain boots (which we definitely need today😐)

Flowers

Pastels

Easter

Going to the zoo 

Sunshine 

Bubbles

Clouds (the good big fluffy kind)

Flip flops -cause those suckers are out as soon as it’s warm enough to not get frostbite. 

Puppy car rides (not pictures: her head out the window)

This little girl’s birthday

And this year – it means the beach!! Mattie’s never been, Ellabelle doesn’t remember going so it’s gonna be so much fun! 

🌷🌷🌷

Now, if only Mother Nature could get her act together give us some warm temps! ☀️

Resting and learning to rest

So, 2016 went out with a bang (or a surgery, same diff) and my 2017 started nice and slow. I literally slept for most of the first week. Pain pills and walking around the house like an old person kept me going. I hardly ate because I didn’t feel like it. When I was awake, I was depressed – depressed because I couldn’t hug my babies (like Matilda had to literally be kept away from me), I couldn’t spend time with my husband (cause I was so tired), I felt like I was failing as a mom and that I had failed myself somehow because my organ needed removed. None of this was true and Josh tried so hard to remind me of this. He did such an awesome job being a full time dad and taking care of a whiney sick wife. It was very hard on me because I hate just sitting around. It was also hard to do anything. So my body forced me to rest. I think it’s what I needed especially after Christmas. With being so busy almost everyday, maybe my body was just ready to take it easy. Funny how your body always seems to know.


We were both so relieved when I finally started feeling better on Friday, and on Saturday Oma watched the girls so Josh and I could go out for his birthday. We went down to Newport to eat at Joes Crab Shack because Josh loves seafood. The first thing that greeted us upon arrival was a firetruck. Josh pointed out this isn’t exactly the best sign at a restaurant you’re planning on eating at.


It was freezing, and the restaurant had a pipe burst. There was water flooding out of the bathrooms that a guy was trying to mop up. Thankfully, the kitchen was not affected. We had a nice quiet lunch, and Josh got him some mussels so he was a happy birthday boy.


When we got back my parents house to get the girls, Ellabelle had helped Oma bake a birthday cake for Josh. Ellabelle insisted it have strawberries on it. She then proceeded to pick off and eat every strawberry off the cake.


On Sunday, we went BW3s with my parents and Angie and Mike to celebrate Josh’s bday. The girls were awful as usual while out at a restaurant. However, they were both very happy to have a captive audience. Ellabelle ran back and forth around the table, and Mattie was unhappy because she wanted to run around too but was strapped into a high chair. Ellabelle threw a massive fit when we left because she was given a balloon by a table next to ours and she let it go almost as soon as she had it. She wanted another one and we were not about to ask the nice strangers for another so that mean the world was ending.
If you’re signed up for the Red Robin card, you get a free burger and so we went and got burgers for Josh’s birthday. We like to extend the birthdays around here. I’ve managed to stretch mine for a whole month before. Now, mind you, this was Monday. The first day back to work for me following my surgery as well as the first day of my “healthy lifestyle change.” I did not enjoy my salad for lunch and needed something fattening. Thankfully, I’ve been doing a lot better with the eating better and eating the right things when I do eat. That first day was rough though.


So, I came back to work and, while I was gone, I had received an invitation to my promotion ceremony. So I got to dress all nice and go to the Chief of Police’s staff meeting and he read a little thing about me and we took pictures and I got a certificate. It was all very exciting. Josh is jealous. He’s never been promoted so he’s never gotten to do this. He still makes more money than me so I’d rather have the cash then the certificate, but I get his point.


So I made it through my first week back fairly easily. I had a rough time with my incisions hurting, and I had to switch to yoga pants instead of work pants to help, but I pushed through. Martin Luther King Day was that next Monday. So, I took Ellabelle to see Moana in theaters. We went to one of those super fancy new theaters with the huge reclining leather chairs. She loved it and the icee and the movie.


She did super well during it. I thought she’d be a pain because this was my first movie with her and others who have taken her said she likes to talk and move around a lot, but she did great. Moana was absolutely adorable, and she loved it so much she’s getting the bluray for Valentine’s Day.
The next week ended in a down note – Donald Trump was inaugurated into the office of President. Hearing him referred to as president still makes my skin crawl every time. I’m still in denial about it, I guess. In an effort to help myself feel better about the world I’m raising two young girls in and to actually get out there and do something, I made Josh go to the local Women’s March.


He was reluctant at first, and not because he doesn’t support women’s rights. We got down there and the crowd was huge. It was amazing. Being surround by people who think like us and feel passionate about the same causes was something we needed. We live in a very conservative area and it’s so easy to feel lost and alone. Josh told me he was really glad I made him go. And we took the girls too. I wanted them to be a part of it even if they likely won’t remember it. Unfortunately, it looks it’s a fight they’ll be fighting along side me someday, but we have to start somewhere.


Ellabelle loved it because she thought she was in a parade.


After the march, I took Josh to his friends house, and he went off and had a guys night. So it was a girls night at the Hawkins House. We napped and hung out and made brownies and watched Lego Movie while we ate brownies.


We had a quiet morning the following day and then we went over to Oma and Opa’s house. Maisy had a puppy play date with her cousin Beanie. Maisy scared Beanie and chased her around the house at first, but eventually they both settled down. I don’t think they’ll be best buddies anytime soon, but at least they’ll be able to hang together in the future if necessary.

Josh and I both took our birthday holidays from work on the 27th. We literally slept all day since we were both so exhausted. We ran up to the Disney store though because I wanted to get Ellabelle’s Valentine’s Day gift because she wasn’t with us.
We all watched Big Hero 6 on the 28th. I’m not good at relaxing and sitting – especially for a movie. But I love my whole family being snuggled up on a couch. January’s was slow paced compared to December and even November. So I’m working hard on just being at home and being relaxed on weekend.


Ellabelle got her first library card. She was so excited. She picked out books for herself to check out, and she wants to go back to visit already. I’ve been trying to instill in my girls the love of reading, and so far so good.


Our month ended on a not so great note -Miss Ellabelle was sick. She had a bad cough and kept wanting to sleep on the couch which is way out of character. So Josh had to stay home with her. She’s doing better, but this crazy Ohio weather (mid-50s one day, snowing and 20s the next) is so hard on the girl’s sinuses anyways that it makes colds even worse.


My February is looking crazy on the calendar because there’s nothing planned. Sure, Valentine’s Day is in there, but my weekends are blank. I think I may be kinda happy about it. Like I said, I’m not good at doing nothing. So it’s a constant process to grow and slow down and just be. But I’m working on it. I want to be better. I want to learn to be more present. We spent most of the weekends in January at home. I was still healing, but it was nice to kinda hibernate. I love spending time with crazy girls. They keep things fun in the house even if they also keep it very loud and messy.

December 2❄️16

I love December. I don’t like the cold and the snow and ice that sometimes appears early in the winter season, but even among the chill that sets in outside, December still always feels warm. There’s people coming together and there’s watching Christmas movies under blankets and hot chocolate and elves popping around everyone’s houses and Christmas light. Yes, Christmas lights are my favorite. They are the best part of December. And they are literally everywhere. And I don’t discriminate. I love them all. Colorful, white, blue, icicle, blinking, musical, strands and shapes – if they glow softly in the night I’m in. I’ve tried very hard to stop and enjoy the lights in our house. I used to love coming home from school, plugging in the tree, turning on some Christmas songs, and doing my homework. I love sitting in the glow. It’s just warms my heart.


And with our December being jammed pack (by my own doing of course), I didn’t stop and enjoy the lights as much as I wish I had, but I did get some basking in.

Our busy, busy month started with an Ellabelle free weekend. She was originally suppose to spend the night at Auntie Ang’s in November, but it got pushed back til the first weekend in December. We dropped her off and headed off to enjoy quiet time (since she never stops talking). We stopped and had lunch at Logan’s to celebrate my promotion.


As we were finishing we got a call from Auntie Ang. Ellabelle had been jumping up and down in excitement and fell and bit her lip. She was bleeding on the inside and out so we paid and headed back. We switched out kids, leaving Matilda with Angie, and took Ellabelle to Children’s Hospital.


Luckily, she hadn’t bitten all the way through the lip. She baffled the doctor and the nurses because she managed to bite the inside and outside of her mouth somehow.


We took her back to Angie’s (which is the only thing EB had been worried about the entire hospital trip) and took Mattie home with us. We went and wrapped presents at Oma’s the next day for her, and Angie dropped Ellabelle off to us there, butttt not til after they went and saw the Christmas trains in their Christmas outfits. Ellabelle had so much fun with Angie, and it makes me so happy that Ellabelle is developing a relationship with her and that Mattie will have the opportunity as she grows as well.

Christmas magic continued when St. Nick came to visit us. He brought lots of fun things (a new Reindeer Bah for Mattie, light up Rudolph slippers for Ellabelle).


And while St. Nick and presents are fun, cookie day was the only thing Ellabelle could talk about since before Thanksgiving. So, I took off a Friday from work, and Oma and I baked cookies, just like we do every year. Our little helper was not as much help as I anticipated, but she still had so much fun. I baked from 7am til 5:30pm. My mom started and ended after me though. We baked so many cookies that I don’t even know how many dozens there were.

I made a Christmas Bucket List for us to complete and Ellabelle wasso excited about it. She would steal my notebook its written in and just look at it.


So, by cookie day, we had completed a few.


And our card this year:

Next on the list was Breakfast with Santa.


We had pancakes and sauage and the girls got to go talk to Santa. Mattie was not exactly convinced, but she held it together. Ellabelle just could not contain herself and poor Santa had no idea what she was rattling off to him.  

I took Ellabelle to see the ballet at Mason High School.


It was only an hour and a half so it kept her attention, and she loved it. She wants to do ballet now. She also squeals and yells when she sees a nutcracker anywhere now.

So, Mattie points and makes all kind of adorable baby noises when she see any sort of Christmas lights (I’ve obviously passed on the Christmas gene to this one). So, we knew she’d love going to see lots of lights.


Josh and I weren’t the impressed because it’s the same display every year, but listening to both girls chatter and point about all the different designs made it so much fun. We also went to visit Santaland afterwards. Mattie hated the puppet show and ran away from the walking talking Christmas tree. (“O! Christmas Me! O! Christmas Me!”) Both girls really liked the elf show especially since they both got to dance.

We went and saw Santa again so I could get a proper picture.

The line was really, really long, but we waited.

Ellabelle made an ornament while we waited. So she was pretty happy.


Once we got up to Santa, Mattie decided she still did not like this guy in the red suit. This time she let us all know. She cried and reached for me the entire time. The Santa was really rude as well and didn’t want to give Mattie a candy cane. However, we all survived and I got a crying kid picture.

Next thing on the bucket list was not Josh approved because, well, Josh is not so into holidays. He was definitely not into sitting on the floor and giving the girls chocolate to spill.


However, since he’s the Grinch married to Buddy the Elf, he was a good sport. The girls both really enjoyed the whole thing.

The weekend before Christmas we went and had our Christmas with Josh’s sisters family. Ellabelle adores her cousin Alex, and Mattie adores a captive audience. We had dinner and opened gifts and the girls passed out before we had hardly left the driveway on the ride home.

Our friend, Amy, graduated this December. She’s honestly amazing because she’s got 4 kids and still managed to rock the whole college thing. I can’t even get laundry put up with only two kids. We went to her graduation party to celebrate, but we didn’t get to stay long because Matilda was just being unruly. She’s getting more and more opinionated which I don’t approve of because she’s always been the sweet one. Ellabelle came out with an attitude, but Mattie has always been so go with the flow. I don’t like her “No!” to everything we say and her tantrums full on the floor. I’m hoping this is just a stage and will pass.

After the longest 5 days EVER, we made it through the work week and it was finally Christmas Eve! I stressed and stressed all week about getting last minute gifts and packing and wrapping and I almost made it not fun. However, Josh gave me a talking to and got me refocused on all the good that is Christmas. Sometimes I just get so caught up in prep and lists that I miss the big picture. And Christmas is all about the big picture.

We spent the day at my parent house so the girls could nap there. Christmas Eve is always at my parents house and it’s one of my favorite days of the year.


My moms side of the family is loud and fun and drinkers. I got a little overexcited and did a few too many shots.

Mattie was really excited about Lexi’s gifts
Josh and Lexi hanging out


Josh intentionally got drunk (“drunk enough I don’t have to help carry up presents [from the basement]”) and passed out well before we got everything upstairs.

 

He was a naughty boy, but at least he only smokes when he drinks.

As usual, we over did it on the gifts. Everyone went to bed around 12:30 and was ready for an exciting morning with the girls.

 

This gift was 100% for my kid. Not for me. Not at all.


Then the stomach bug appeared.

 

The calm before the storm

On the bed. On herself. On poor Auntie Ang. Ellabelle threw up three different times in the bed and used the bathroom on the floor of the bathroom once. Poor thing was so tired and cold and kept getting stripped and thrown in the shower. Mattie slept through most of it

 


but the rest of us were up and running around. Oma kept stripping sheets and starting laundry. Angie was cleaning herself up. Josh was showering Ellabelle. I was trying to find extra clothes. Finally, around 5:00am, Mattie woke up and we threw in the towel. We made Opa get up (he exclaimed, “Are you serious?!” when we told him he had to) and we opened presents before the sun came up. We were all tired but we made it through without only one more episode of stomach problems.

Hair style courtesy of the stomach bug
Tired babe and sick babe


After eating, Angie left and we all napped. We cancelled on Mamaw and Papaw just to be safe since we weren’t sure about Ellabelle’s stomach and we didn’t want to get anyone else sick. When we got home, we all went to be early.

 

The next day, Ellabelle was back to her normal self (thankfully). So I took her to the mall to spend her gift card.


The night of the 26th I thought I had caught the stomach bug from Ellabelle but it seemed to pass without much interference to my daily life.

So, Ellabelle took a nose dive off the couch on the 22nd, and she’d complained occasionally that her shoulder hurt. Now, she’s a bit overdramatic about most things so we didn’t really think twice about it. Until the bump showed up on her clavicle. After a call to her pediatrician, we were told to go to the ER for X-rays.

She has the smallest break that you can’t even see it on a regular X-ray. So she got a sling and wrap for a week which was suppose to immobilize her shoulder. Yeah, anyone with a 4 year old will tell you there’s no immobilizing them with just an ace bandage. Still we tried the best we could.

The 30th was Christmas with family friends. It was after work so we were tired, the girls were cranky, and I still didn’t feel a 100%. So we didn’t make it very long into the evening. Come to find out that night that the stomach bug was not what was wrong with me. Turns out it was my gallbladder being hateful.

Dark tunnels

There’s that old saying that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. So, in theory, if you keep moving forward, eventually the darkness with turn back to light. For a while, that light felt more like a train barreling towards us, and us running the opposite direction, back into the dark, just hoping it doesn’t catch up and annihilate us. And lately, there’s been no light at all. Just us…sitting in the dark…waiting…hoping…for something to guide us back out.

Well, today is the first Monday of the year. It’s the first day of the first work week of the year. It was also my first day at my new job. And I’m not gonna go on the typical “new year, new me, new possibilities, yah!” spiel. No, I’m still in the pitch black tunnel for the time being. There’s no big excitement for a new year and starting over and all that junk.

I was very lucky to spend 8 months at home with EB when she was a baby. We struggled, but I was happy otherwise with being the one my baby interacted with and grew with every day. I returned to work and worked at that job til EB was 15 months old. Then I was home with her for another 4 months. Next, I got a day time job with regular hours. That job was cut short because of pregnancy complications. I was devastated. It really tore me up that the place I had planned to spend at least a couple of years, if not long term, had to let me go simply because of policy reasons. I felt like I had failed. Hindsight, that job was probably going to end up being a dead end, and the silver lining of being unemployed was that when Matilda showed up, I got to be with her every day just like I did with EB.

Anyway, today was kinda a big deal. It was hard to leave the girls especially Mattie. EB has been to two different babysitters. She knows the drill. She understands that mommy has to go to work. Mattie, on the other hand, doesn’t know why mommy left her with some stranger today for 9 hours. It breaks my heart…and I’m sure it’s probably harder on me than her. I did drop them off like a champ though. In and out. No tears. No problems.

Work was a bit weird today because it was the monday back for everyone after a 4 day weekend, and it was busy. So, I was little lost in the shuffle which I totally get. There are suppose to be 4 people doing my job. Well, 1 is me, and I have no idea what I’m doing yet. 2 is a vacant position that they interviewed for today. 3 is a lady who was off today. And 4 is the woman training me who happened to be absolutely swamped because it was just her and me and I’m still completely useless.

The day went quickly though. I was so happy to get my girls and head home. I asked EB about her day and here’s her account:

“I eat lunch and I play with the boys. I fall down at the babysitters. The boys fought me. I watch spongebob squarepants. Snacks. I did that! Mattie rolled over. The boys hurt my feelings. They hurt my heart. I fall down and I got a batman sword. I used that! I hit everybody with the sword. That’s my job.”

Never found out what or how the boys hurt her feelings, but apparently she had a productive day. Hopefully, mine will be just as productive tomorrow. I get to go sit in on court cases and shadow some. I’m just happy to be contributing to this family in a job that has some longevity possible. It’s been such a rough past month. December was hard for us – Christmas not included. I tried to make sure the girls got the holiday memories and experiences they deserve. Otherwise, I’m so grateful for a new year, new job, and, hopefully, a new light at the end of the tunnel

(fine, a little optimism managed to sneak in there)

Better late than never – October and November

I love holidays. I blame my mother. She decorates for every single holiday. There is hardly a day in a calendar year where her house is not decorated (Those rare days being the switch between two holidays). It wasn’t until high school that I realized that this holiday obsession makes her weird. And when I say weird, I mean it in the best way possible. Josh thinks it’s crazy. He doesn’t understand the point of it all. It’s safe to say that his dad wasn’t hanging heart covered garland for Valentine’s day or covering the house in bunnies for Easter so it’s no surprise. To me, decorating for holidays is just part of the change of the seasons. And changing season themselves are reasons to celebrate.

I’ve been itching for fall this year. Summer was weird this year, wet and cool, and it was spent down and out for the most part. Between the healing cesarian incision and having a newborn, I wasn’t in the holiday mood (Sleep deprivation will do that to you). Don’t get me wrong, I obviously was into the specific holidays as they rolled around, but the decorations and the celebration of the season wasn’t there. It was as tired as Josh and I was. So, fall. I’ve been waiting for it – tights and moccasins and hats and football and changing leaves and crisp air and pumpkins and turkeys and costumes and hot cider and the list could go on and on.

Oh, and just for the record, my house was decorated in falling leaves and light up spider webs complete with glowing spiders and creepy gauze and tombstones and garlands with skulls and pumpkins and spiders for all of October.

To start the month, on October 1, I had a structured oral exam with the police department of Blue Ash. I didn’t think I did very well. They only hired for one position so I didn’t have my hopes up, but I did get invited back for an interview. I never heard anything back to I didn’t get selected. 😦 Oh well, that’s life.

Then we started our busy weekends of October with the return of one the best parts of fall – football.

10/3 – Alex’s band performance

Alex is Josh’s sister’s daughter, and she plays the flute in the band. We were going to try and go to one of her games in September, but it poured down rain and we didn’t want to take Mattie out in it. So we rescheduled and it was still wet and rainy. We arrived before the beginning of the game, and we were bundled up. It was cold! Luckily, Mattie was dress in long sleeves and pants, her jacket, a hat, inside of her mei tai carrier against my chest with my jacket around her exposed legs and a hood on the carrier and blanket. She was the only one of us that was warm. Ellabelle was excited though and the rain couldn’t dampen her spirits. She had been saying all week, “Go see Alex play music!” We only stayed to see her perform til the start of the game because it was so cold. We said our hellos and then went to Josh’s mom’s house for hot chocolate. IMG_0587

10/4 – Bengals game

Auntie Ang and Mike watched the girls so that Josh and I could go see the Bengals face off against the Kansas City Chiefs. I was a little worried for them because both girls together can be a bit of a handful. They did wonderful though, even letting us go out to dinner before we picked them up, but I could tell they were happy to have them leave. IMG_0601IMG_1071

Where Ellabelle watched the game
Where Ellabelle watched the game

As for the game, the streak has been broken, they WON! I have never seen a professional team win while at the game – the Reds, the Blue Jackets and both Bengals games I had been to. Well, third times a charm because they beat the Chiefs! It was an amazing and exciting game to get to see live. IMG_0614 IMG_0626IMG_0618IMG_0608

Lately Ellabelle has been wanting the match Mattie when I get them both dressed. So, besides the adorableness of tights and knee socks, theres also sister matching going on. 

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10/10 – Barn n Bunk Pumpkin Patch and Lisa’s 50th Birthday Party

I’ve been waiting and waiting (not so patiently) to take both of my girls to a pumpkin patch. We went to the same one we went to last year. We went through the corn maze, IMG_0876 IMG_0870

Ellabelle rode the train, IMG_0882

rode the tractor ride around the pumpkin field, IMG_0890

and checked out the pumpkins for sale. IMG_0923IMG_0931

We let Ellabelle pick out a pumpkin for her and one for Mattie. IMG_1290

A pumpkin patch is everything that is fall – all the smells (straw and cinnamon), all the sights (dying corn, which is kinda depressing if you think about it so don’t think too hard about it, and pumpkins), and the feels (both physically – baby wearing and rest your chin on her knit hat and carrying pumpkins by the stem – and emotionally – my heart swelling as Ellabelle jumps up and down when she finds the right pumpkin). IMG_0859 IMG_1044

After the pumpkin patch, we took Ellabelle and Mattie to spend the night at Mamaw and Papaw’s so we could go to Lisa’s birthday party. Ellabelle was over the moon about it. 

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We went to Django’s in Northside for dinner with everyone. The shrimp tacos are amazing. IMG_0936 IMG_1084

We went back to the neighborhood bar, The C&D, for about 2 hours. Josh and I sat and watched the first Iron Man at the bar. Everyone kept saying we were being anti-social, but it was crowded and watching a movie without someone screaming or throwing toys across the room was exactly what we love to do without our munchkins. We did get into the group before the party bus showed up and then once on the bus. It was a great time on the bus. What’s better than cruising and belting out some of your favorite songs with like 20 really awesome people? IMG_0945 IMG_0951

Josh dancing
Josh dancing

10/11 – Soccer

Ellabelle had a lot of fun at soccer. There were only 4 kids that showed up (out of 15?), and she loved the games they played. IMG_1085IMG_0971

10/12 – Job interview

I had a job interview bright and early on Monday morning. Poor daddy had to take the girls to work til I was done. The good news is I got the job! It’s part time and in the evenings making pretty decent money. I had to go take the drug test so it was almost noon before I saved daddy from the trouble twins. IMG_1086IMG_1087

10/17 – Trent spends the night and Alex’s band competition

We watched Trent Saturday into Sunday. Ellabelle was ecstatic to wake up and have “Cook” here (Her “Tr”s come out like “C”s). We went to watch Alex play with her high school band in a competition. We had no idea what to expect, but it was actually pretty cool to watch. Afterwards, we went to Marion’s and had pizza. Ellabelle was glued to Trent’s side the whole evening, and I know she was sad when he had to go home the next day. IMG_1134 IMG_1133 IMG_1135IMG_1155

10/18 – Last soccer practice of the year

Only 6 kids showed up, but it was a fun closure to Ellabelle’s first attempt at soccer. IMG_1218 IMG_1207 IMG_1215 IMG_1263

10/22 – Library craft day

Our library does craft days every month for kids ages 3-5. Ellabelle was ecstatic when we got there and there was a huge group of kids. The theme was trees, and they made two crafts, listened to a book about trees, and learned a fun song. 

We also carved pumpkins. Ellabelle painted her little one. IMG_1277 IMG_1279 IMG_1291

We carved the bigger pumpkins. Ellabelle hated the guts but loved the seeds. IMG_1578 IMG_1569 IMG_1575

She was terrified of them once we put them outside though IMG_1589

This is seriously as close as she'd get even in the daylight
This is seriously as close as she’d get even in the daylight

10/24 – Halloween Trick or Treat at the Library and Britnee’s wedding reception

The library had a not scary halloween event on Saturday morning. Ariel and Sleeping Beauty looked adorable. Ellabelle loved all the games, won a few prizes, and got some candy. We also checked out a few books about Halloween. IMG_1367

Mattie had fun too!
Mattie had fun too!

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Saturday night was 2nd cousin Britnee’s wedding reception. The wedding had been a week before in Florida, and they had a regular reception up here. Ellabelle had a blast! She loved dancing and being with her Auntie Ang and Mike. I, personally, love weddings. So, it was a great night. Josh was exhausted because he had worked 10 hour days at work before hand so him and Mattie weren’t as into it all as much as Bee and I were, but it was still a lot of fun. IMG_1513 IMG_1523

10/31 – Trick or Treating with Ellabelle’s “boys” and Lisa’s Halloween Party

We went trick or treating around our friend’s neighborhood because 1) no one gives out candy in our neighborhood and 2) Ellabelle loves seeing her boys. We rode in a golf cart which ended up being a great idea because of the little legs and the crowds. Ellabelle and Hudson trick or treated for the full two hours and scored a ton of candy. IMG_1722 IMG_1732 IMG_1723

We went to Lisa’s halloween party afterwards. Ellabelle played on Lisa’s iPad. Mattie was unhappy with Oma’s clown make up. Josh fell asleep (which happens every year somehow). IMG_1726

A few random pics:

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Aaannndddd . . . now November.

November has been crazy for us. I’ve been working every evening, and Josh has been working 10 hour days for overtime. Life has been beyond stressful financially which has taken a toll on us emotionally Our furnace had to be fixed. Our car is still in the process of being fixed. I’m honestly happy to see it go. I’m so excited about what December holds for us. But for now, November (mostly in pictures):

11/3 – We voted 12191195_10101061637981280_1725614924284367627_o

11/6 – Josh and I had our 9 year anniversary. We didn’t do anything, but its still worth noting. lol

11/7 – Thanksgiving Craft Day at the library

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11/8 – Out for Oma’s birthday

We ended up at Logan’s and it was yummy. 12208394_10101065048496580_3865265573986997796_n

11/15 – With my schedule at work, we had to put the Christmas decorations up early. We started by raking up the leaves to begin with. EB was daddy’s big helper.

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Ellabelle loved helping with the lights too. 12241462_10101069646272600_9203201950836428002_n 12243050_10101069676816390_2446718015103309887_n 12219388_10101069676911200_8521092962374019006_n 12208358_10101069109208880_602206747596361411_n12241404_10101069646292560_4791130334071619673_n

11/21 – We mailed the girls letters to Santa

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11/23 – Mattie’s 6 month check up

All 16lbs of my chunk is healthy and happy 12278964_10101074417810400_8566353417462208522_n

11/26 – Thanksgiving

We all matched!
We all matched!
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Great Grandma with her namesake and EB
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with Auntie Ang
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4 generations

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11/27 – Helped decorate Oma and Opa’s tree & Christopher Pop-in-kins came back

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September…finally

From May to the end of July, we are busy. Always. Like every day. It’s pretty nonstop. But August comes and things slow down, and it’s a nice welcome change. This year was no different. August came and went with little to report on. Oktoberfest slipped in there and that’s always fun, but it’s a pretty slow month compared to the 3 before it. Then September arrived. And it was crazy busy. More so than I expected. As previously reported, we went out for my birthday, we slipped in some pool visits before they closed it (try explaining to a 3 year old that its hot, but the pool closed all of a sudden), labor day weekend was busy with the park and the Reds game, but it just kept coming.

Not that being busy is bad. It’s not. Josh will tell you I don’t know how to relax, and that’s true. I like to have things planned and go and do, but that doesn’t mean I’m not exhausted at the end of the day too.

So, our September (from where we left off):

9/12 – Cincy Comicon

Josh volunteered in the morning, and the girls and I met him after. Ellabelle was dressed as the 11th doctor, and Mattie was a dalek (with her own whisk and plunger cause what’s a dalek without them?)

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We got some cool stuff and saw some awesome things. It’s always nice to be surrounded by your own (cough::nerds::cough) when normally people in Cincinnati aren’t the most welcoming of anything different.

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9/13 – Soccer with Mamaw, Papaw, and TrentIMG_9524 IMG_9522

9/18-9/19 – Mini-trip for my birthday

Josh surprised me with a trip to Northern Ohio for my birthday. We drove up and stayed in Port Clinton, OH for the night. IMG_9865

We spent Friday on Put-in-Bay, an island just off the shore of the mainland. You have to take a ferry to the island cause it’s the only way to get there. IMG_9908

Josh was so mesmerized by all the water. IMG_9948 IMG_9928 

He kept saying he thought all of Ohio looked like Cincinnati (metropolitan) or farmland. He had no idea there really was a beach in the state. The island was fun, but expensive. The only things we bought were all $1 on clearance. lol. Oh and drinks at the worlds longest bar. IMG_9910

We ate a restaurant back in Port Clinton for dinner called Crosswinds, and Josh is still talking about it. I got the rueben pizza, and it was ah-mazing! We’ve already copied the recipe here at home.

It was so good it deserves its own picture
It was so good it deserves its own picture

We also went and saw the Marblehead lighthouse before we left.  

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It was so beautiful up on the lake (even with the overcast). Josh has already said he can’t wait to go back.

It was so nice but so strange to be away from the girls. It was quiet, and we could talk to each other without being interrupted every other word, and we got to pick what we wanted to listen to on the radio! It was so nice.

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But, as moms do, I missed them like crazy and was so happy to see them when we got home. It was nice to get away for the night and recharge. It was definitely needed.

9/20 – Soccer with Oma, Jean, Auntie Ang, Mike, and Lisa 

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9/21 – Mattie’s 4 month check up

Oma took Ellabelle home with her after soccer on Sunday because I had to take Mattie to the doctor’s for her check up. She’s gained almost 3.5lbs and has grown over 2 inches. She looks chunky, but she’s in the 41 percentile for both height and weight so she’s proportionate. She got four shots and an oral vaccine, and she was not happy about any of it. 

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After I picked up Ellabelle from Oma’s, I had to run to Hobby Lobby. I told her if she was good that she could pick out anything she wanted. She always begs for candy so I figured that’s what she’d pick. Honestly, I thought she wouldn’t be good. She was extremely well behaved (bribes do work sometimes, I guess) and picked out a christmas tree. I tried to convince her that she wanted candy or a toy or art supplies, but no. So I ran with it. I got her lights and ornaments too. She loves her “sparkle tree” (because its too early to have a christmas tree out) IMG_0104

9/23 – Playground day

I took the girls to the playground per Ellabelle’s request. I had never attempted this alone before, and it was as hard as I expected. I wore Mattie, and Ellabelle insisted on wearing her Elsa dress.

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She kept saying she had to see Elsa and Anna at the playground and wailed about it as we left. I can’t believe she remembers going to see them at a playground over a year before and have no idea how she even got it in her head that we were going to go see them that day!

July 2014 - How does she remember this?!
July 2014 – How does she remember this?!

9/26 – Max’s birthday party, Cincinnati Rollergirls game, and Josh’s guys night.

Max’s party was over in Northern Kentucky. It was a monster themed party so I dressed Ellabelle up as a witch and out Mattie in her monster onesie and tutu. Problem was it was so windy that Ellabelle’s hat kept flying off. IMG_0362IMG_0379

There was food and games and a playground (which was Ellabelle’s favorite part). IMG_0365 IMG_0428IMG_0371

We got to see people we don’t get the chance to see very often which was really nice. I wish there was more time to fit more outings with friends in, but with only one income and two kids to hull around now it’s just become harder and harder.

After that we met Lisa at her house and met her two little kittens she’s taking care of. Ellabelle was in love cause she loves animals. We then went to the CRG game. It wasn’t at their usual facility (the Cincinnati Gardens), but I think it was more fun at this place. IMG_0429IMG_0389

Josh left halfway through the first game to head to Indiana for his guys night. That left me with both girls, but luckily Lisa loves helping out with them. Ellabelle got bored which is typical of a three year old. So, Lisa found some cones and she played with them.  IMG_0406

Halftime came and they had a dance competition for moms with sons and dads with daughters so Ellabelle and I couldn’t enter. That didn’t stop Ellabelle though. She ran out into the middle of the track and shook it off! She came back to me when the music stopped, and when the started it again she was gone. She got cheers from the stands as she ran back out. Sailor Scary, one of the rollergirls, went out and danced with her. IMG_0415IMG_0408

After halftime, Ellabelle kept trying to run back out on to the track because “I play rollergirls, mommy!!” I had to keep a super close eye on her. Once the game was over, I let Ellabelle finally “play” on the track (aka run around in circles).

I got them home and in bed with no problems which was a small triumph since it was my first time hauling them in and putting them to bed alone.

9/27 – Soccer and Aunt Naoma’s birthday party

Every Sunday we fight with Ellabelle to keep working the whole hour of soccer practice. She gets tired and wants to just sit and watch. 

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This practice was a full on battle. Josh got her to work for 30 mins, but then she came a laid down on the blanket I had out of Mattie. She was so tired from her no-nap busy day the day before that I didn’t blame her. IMG_0421

We had to be all the way in Germantown anyways so we left early. It’s a good thing we left early too because they ended the party an hour early so if we had stayed the whole time everyone might’ve been gone. Mattie got to meet her Great-Great Aunt. 12074849_10207813756091067_2054770987960855525_n

She was pretty cranky from her busy day the day before as well. So, it was ultimately a good thing that it ended early. We got to go home and rest before a busy week. IMG_0427

9/28 – Amy took a city test for Clerk Typist 3

Not much to report here. I took the test. Oma and Opa watched the girls. No results have been posted for it yet. IMG_0462IMG_0492

And now we’re into October (well into it, I’m afraid. I’ve been so behind on posting). We’ve been booked solid this month as well. I thought we might have a break to slow down before the madness of the holidays starts, but it looks like we’re gonna be busy until January at this point! I’ll update October’s madness at a later date, but here’s a little taste of the season to hold you over. IMG_9481

Of a Cincinnati Labor Day

Cincinnati is famous for it’s chili. The rest of the world looks at this crazy concoction of soupy meat chili piled on spaghetti with a mountain of shredded cheese on top and thinks we are out of our minds. But it’s delicious and comforting for those of us who have grown up on the southwestern banks of the Ohio River. Now those three layers – spaghetti, chili, cheese – are great on their own, but it’s when you put them together that it’s perfect – a trifecta of Cincinnati perfection. And that’s exactly what our Labor Day weekend was too. Each day of this holiday weekend was a perfect little package unto itself, but together the three days were a beautifully layered farewell to summer.

Saturday – We spent the morning at Great American Ballpark. Every baby born at Good Sam or Bethesda North Hospital gets a packet to be a Reds Rookie. So because Miss Matilda was welcomed at a Trihealth hospital we got to be involved with a pretty cool program before the game. We got there at 10:30, and we got all kinds of free goodies from the sponsors. Josh checked in for the competition I signed him up to compete in while the Ellabelle danced around to the music. Mr. Redlegs and Gapper showed up and we got to take our picture with them. IMG_8896

This may have been the highlight of the day for me because I love Gapper more than baseball. Plus, Gapper was very sweet and even kissed Mattie on the head. IMG_8894

Surprisingly, Ellabelle walked right up Mr. Redlegs and gave him a hug. She’s usually terrified of people dressed up (like Wooly Bully at the CRG games), but she was excited to see him.

We did a lot of sitting around and waiting because there were a lot of babies to get in and do everything. So, we had over two and a half hours before the game to burn. Josh competed in the Daddy Bottle Chugging contest. IMG_8902

He had to suck down a bottle of warm apple juice. Unfortunately, two of the guys cheated (one even ripped the nipple off to suck it down which was not the point of the game), and the judges decided to allow it because they never specifically said that you couldn’t do what they did. However, they had to follow the real rules during the second round. It’s ok though. Josh didn’t really want to chug a warm bottle a second time. IMG_8904

We walked around some. I took Mattie to the mommy suite, and it was amazing. I would’ve spent the whole game there if I could’ve. Plus, it was air conditioned. It was 90* the entire day, and we were stuck out in the open sunlight. We tried out best to hide out in the shade for a while. IMG_9046 Ellabelle did amazing considering the wait time. She kept trying to go towards the field and the seats because she wanted to watch “football.” I did attempt to correct her to begin with, but I gave up quickly. I mean, she calls tennis, golf, hockey, and basketball “football” too so it’s a losing battle. She played on the playground they have there for awhile and that kept her happy.

Eventually, we got to line up for the baby parade on the field. That was definitely a cool part of the experience too. IMG_8916

I remember being in grade school and getting to go on the field at Riverfront Stadium. So I’ve officially been on both fields now. Ellabelle seemed to actually enjoy it too. I was worried because for a three year old walking slowly in a straight line with a bunch of people is the equivalent of hell, but she was totally chill and kept up with us. IMG_9008IMG_8953

We headed to our seats after we made in back into the stadium, and it was awful! Let me tell you – drinks with no lids + a stroller + a hot and tired toddler + a 3 month old + two flights of stairs to get to the roughly 50 stairs up to seat + the unforgiving sun beating down = the most difficult endeavor since I went grocery shopping with kids alone. So, yes, we made it to our seats that ended up being right in the sun. Josh was ready to turn around and lug everything back down the stairs. Thankfully, an old man came over told us they had 5 seats but were only using 2 so we could come use them to get the baby out of the sun since they were up in the shade. We moved and got settled. Josh fed Mattie, and I tried to hydrate Ellabelle. IMG_9040

She sat with her fingers in her ears complaining that “football” is too loud. We were right under the speakers so I don’t blame her for that. We got Mattie’s picture taken with her first game certificate, and made it to the third inning. IMG_9031 That’s when I noticed that Ellabelle was shaking, and it was becoming more and more noticeable. So we decided that we needed to head out. We hydrated and napped once we got home because the sun had zapped all the life out of us, but it was such a special day that it was worth the heat.

That's us on the jumbotron! Josh is on the top left and you can see Mattie's tutu and me on the right!
That’s us on the jumbotron! Josh is on the top left and you can see Mattie’s tutu and me on the right!

Sunday – We woke up planning to clean, but there was a disturbance in the force, and we had to go to Target and check it out. To translate that out of nerd talk: the new Star Wars toys came out on Friday, and Josh was antsy to go see them. IMG_8849

We did make it home to clean (laundry is my nemesis), and, as a reward, Josh got to go to the Disney store to see the exclusive toys. Unfortunately, they were all out of our price range so he only got to look.

Model pose with the stormtrooper
Model pose with the stormtrooper

What was important was that we spent some quiet downtime as a family. It was a slow day with no set times to be anywhere. It was a nice change of pace since it seems like every day has something scheduled anymore.

Monday – Oma and Lisa invited Ellabelle and I to go to Smale Park. Mattie stayed home with daddy and watched him play video games all day. (Hey, it was his holiday. Whatever floats his boat.) Lisa brought along one of her friends kids, Ava, and Ellabelle was so excited to have a playmate. IMG_9101

We walked through the beautiful park and made our way to the water fountains. We decided to ride the carousel first because you can’t ride it once you’re wet.

We all rode the first time. Ellabelle wanted to ride a horsey, and we picked the Oktoberfest horse. IMG_9105 IMG_9110

Lisa rode the gorilla. Oma rode an Ohio River catfish. I thought the fish looked like it was made for a child rider, but Oma totally fit. IMG_9304

The second time on Ellabelle wanted to ride the Bengals tiger. I kept asking her, “What does a tiger say?”
“Roar!”
“What do you say?”
“Who Dey!” That’s my girl.

We played in the fountains after that. Even Oma participated which tells you just how hot it was! IMG_9172

My poor Ellabelle is so clumsy, and the water didn’t help. She wiped out twice. IMG_9303

The second time she fell backwards and hit her head on the ground. She stood up, weaved past Ava and Lisa, and found me. I hate to see her hurt, but it’s nice to feel like my independent girl needs me still. The tears were wiped away, and the boo boo was quickly forgotten.IMG_9174IMG_9159

We played on the playground after that. The girls loved the slide. They went up and down multiple times. Ellabelle had a hard time keeping up with Ava cause she’s just so much smaller. IMG_9222 IMG_9226

She found and liked the drums. She’s obsessed with playing the drums on everything (including the poor dog) so she definitely liked this feature at the playground. IMG_9228

There’s a bunch of exercise type stuff, and Ellabelle threw a fit when I wouldn’t let her run off with Ava. I wanted her to see the giant piano, but she was not impressed. That’s what happens when 3 year olds don’t get their much needed afternoon nap.IMG_9179 IMG_9180IMG_9182

We found another water area, and the girls loved that too.IMG_9192 IMG_9194 IMG_9196

There was just so much to see and do. Smale Park is definitely a place to go to spend the whole afternoon. My girl was worn out! IMG_9188

After we finally headed back from the park, Oma took us to Putz’s. Lisa had never been, and it was Ellabelle’s first time too. I got her an Ice Man, and I’m pretty sure she enjoyed it.

IMG_9232 Putz’s is one of those places that’s been around forever. I remember my dad always taking us there in his mustang when I was younger. It was somewhere we went with day camp too. So it was nice to share a place with a lot of memories with Ellabelle and my mom. IMG_9234

It was another hot day so we just laid around once we got home, but it was the prefect ending to our weekend.

Each day of the weekend was good on its own – baseball, family togetherness, water fun – but together they were perfect. Quiet bookended with Cincinnati activities. I love my city, and I love sharing it with Ellabelle and Mattie. Each layer perfect and Cincy filled. It was wonderful holiday weekend. IMG_9094

Busy July

July is always crazy busy for us. From beginning to end, there seems to be something always going on. This year, the month started with an event in downtown Hamilton called “Alive after 5!” It was superhero themed so the girls got to dress up, IMG_7368 and Ellabelle loved spending time with “her boys.”

First picture as a family of 4
First picture as a family of 4

Then came Independence Day which is always been a big deal for my family. IMG_7346

It’s a day filled with fun and whimsy at the Northside Parade followed by good food and company until dark where there are usually fireworks to close out the night. This year was Ellabelle’s first year to really experience and enjoy the parade. She was still a little too young to really get into it last year. She just knew it was loud and there was music she could dance to. This year she did pretty good at grabbing candy out of the street and enjoying the sights. IMG_7349-0 IMG_7347-0 Mattie was obviously too young to really enjoy it – being just shy of 6 weeks. We kept her in the shade, and she slept for the most part. IMG_7348

After that, we went to a family friends house. The evening there ended in fireworks which Mattie hated so Josh took her inside. Ellabelle soon joined them because she screamed and shook every time a firework exploded. IMG_7343IMG_7344  They watched Captain America instead which made Ellabelle very happy. IMG_7345

My cousin was in town so we went to a family gathering at Oma and Opa’s house on the 6th. Mattie got to meet her middle namesake and Great Grandma for the the first time.

Matilda Gayle and Virginia Gayle (Oma shares the middle name too)
Matilda Gayle and Virginia Gayle (Oma shares the middle name too)
4 generations
4 generations

Ellabelle got to run around and play with her older cousins. IMG_7337

Auntie Ang’s birthday is the 6th, but we went out to Outback to celebrate on the 7th. IMG_7334

I had my 6 week postpartum doctors appointment on the 10th and was cleared to get back into living. Lol. I can exercise and swim and lift Ellabelle again. That was a huge relief.

The next week was busy because, between Josh and I taking a city test in the middle of the day, there was party prep to be done. On the 18th, we went to the little one of Ellabelle’s boys birthday party. He turned four, and we went fossil hunting. Both daddy and Ellabelle loved it. IMG_6299 Daddy enjoyed looking for fossils, and Ellabelle enjoyed dumping out the bucket of fossils and putting sand and dirt in it instead. IMG_6311

The next day was Super Bees birthday party! IMG_6357

It was a huge mess because it was suppose to be at a water playground, but it was thundering and lightening the whole drive there. The park wasn’t even open yet and the manager told us it was likely it wouldn’t open. So after being told twice that we had to wait and see, I sent Josh up to talk to her, and we got our money refunded. We called everyone and had them meet us at a park by our house instead. It wasn’t at all what I pictured for her birthday. We told people who were from out of town not to come so we didn’t get to see them. It was hot and, of course, the sun came out about an hour after we got to the playground. However, Ellabelle had a blast playing on the playground, and, as far as she was concerned, it was a great party. I mean, it’s not often that all her favorite people are all together at once. IMG_6360 IMG_6367 IMG_6378

Then on that following Monday (the 20th), I had a job interview with the city for parking. It went horribly. However, I didn’t really want the job so maybe it was a good thing that it sucked so bad. Josh keeps telling me it was good practice for the next interview that really matters. Still, I like to be the best at things (ok, maybe everything) and not being picked so I could turn them down kinda stung a little.

Wednesday the 22nd was the biggest day of the month (IMO) – Super Bee turned 3! IMG_6479

I took Ellabelle out for her birthday somewhere special. I feel like it’s really important to have her know that this day is just as important to me as it is to her. So, I took her to Jumpzone in Florence. It’s a room filled with inflated jump houses and slides. 247107_10100982055784640_8631401270864668736_nShe had a blast. She loved the big slide. 11760324_10100982055849510_5515973536734133020_n

I was proud of her for going up and down all on her own because I figured she’d be too chicken. She insisted on going in a maze jump house, and she got stuck. She was screaming and crying and she smacked some kid in the face all while I couldn’t see her. Luckily, another mom noticed my panic and sent in her 8 year old to retrieve her. Once she was out, it took a little calming down, and we left. I had to wear Mattie the whole time and she was getting hot and I couldn’t really help Ellabelle climb up into things. So hindsight it wasn’t the best place to take a 2 month old and a 3 year old, but all Ellabelle seems to remember is the video of her laughing down the slide. 11700836_10100982055894420_2604684544595066686_n

After that, I got Ellabelle “nuggies” from McDonald’s, and we took Mattie to daddy’s work. Josh watched Mattie while I took Ellabelle down to Smale Park on the river. It is gorgeous down there, and Ellabelle had a blast in the fountains. imageimageimage She didn’t want to leave. However, we did eventually go home (after picking Mattie back up) and that night we went out for dinner with Oma and Opa and Auntie Ang at LaRosas because Ellabelle loves pizza! imageWe got Graeters on the way home to end a perfect birthday.

Since Ellabelle had a cookie at her birthday dinner and ice cream afterwards, we did her cake on the 23rd. image image She loved it because momma came through with the promised Opa blue cake with pink icing. image

The 25th we went to Newport, KY to Joe’s Crab Shack for Alex’s birthday. image Ellabelle had a blast spending time with her older cousin, and it was Mattie’s first trip to Kentucky. Then we took Ellabelle to Smale again. image image image Mattie even got in on the fun for a little bit. image Josh told me, “I’m glad you make me do things. I thought this was going to be awful,  and it was really fun.” Well, that’s my job.

The 28th was Opa’s birthday, and, since Oma was out of town in California, Auntie Ang and I wanted to take him out to celebrate. He, in turn, ended up adding another 5 people to the mix which was totally ok because he deserved a big turn out, and it was fun to have so many more people to celebrate our Opa. image

We closed out the month on July 31st with a visit to the place where this crazy life of ours all started – Northern Kentucky University. IMG_7191 Josh and I met here back in 2006 while we were both attending. It was so special to get to bring the girls here and share a part of our history with them. The campus is just beautiful, and they’ve done a lot of work since we were last here. IMG_7163

It was also fun to relive some old memories with my big kid. IMG_7227 IMG_7229

I also took the opportunity to let Ellabelle feed some of the campus ducks. She was very overwhelmed by their interest in the crackers she had and a little too slow – one of them managed to snap the cracker right out of her fingers! IMG_7215 She insists she doesn’t like ducks anymore because one “bite” her. lol

We also managed to find time to track down a few All-Star Game mustaches around town. 11755781_10100982058509180_1665827088653351765_n11760198_10100976165723370_402389492743174508_n 10986650_10100976166182450_7948083577032710314_n 11751725_10100984590465120_3212464898958661716_n11745898_10100984590510030_110127275082880717_n

Oh, and did I mention that on top of all of this, we’ve been potty training. Yes, our crazy Baby Bee is staying dry almost all day and most nights and has been promoted to big girl panties! She’s so proud, and so are we.

August is looking a little more calm which will be a welcomed change. Don’t get me wrong.  I love how crazy busy we are when those crazy busy days are with and in celebration of the people we love. But quiet is good also. image

Mattie’s Birth Story

May 19, 2015

We had a surprisingly calm morning before we headed to the hospital. Ellabelle and Maisy were already at my parents, and the cats were watered and fed.  IMG_3693_2

We arrived and parked and made our way into the hospital. They checked me in and sent me back to triage. Josh had to wait til I was changed to come back. They hooked me up to an IV and started tracking the baby.  Much to my surprise, I was having contractions. The nurses were surprised that I couldn’t feel them. We had to wait two hours while I got antibiotics and whatever other stuff that comes down through an IV before a csection. They had another csection scheduled before mine so the nurses came and went. Most of the time it was just Josh and me waiting and reading. They had him put on scrubs which I thought he looked mighty nice in.

Finally, they came and got me. I had to walk down the hallway to the operating room. It was big and bright and cold. I got up on the table and they had me sit hunched over a pillow so that they could do the spinal. That was honestly the worst part. I got three little pricks of local anesthetic and then he tried to administer the meds. However, I kept getting really bad pains in both of my legs. Finally, with some coaching from my doctor, I was relaxed enough that he got it in. It took another two pricks of anesthetic before that happened though. IMG_3705_2 Then I had to lay down and they put me on oxygen through the nose tube they use. They drapped me and I could feel them drawing on me. Finally, Josh got to join the party. He sat at my head. I was shocked at how quickly the medicine numbed me. Above me was a huge light, and, lucky me, I could see everything in the reflection.

They started working on opening my original incision, and the smell of the my flesh being open was, to quote Josh, “Literally the worse smell I’ve ever smelled!” He said he wanted to throw up. At 1:22pm, she was out and screaming (unlike her sister). IMG_3709 They told me what a perfect round head she had and took her to be cleaned off. Josh asked for permission to leave me and go see her which I told him to do. He took pictures and video while they worked on closing me up. My doctor told me everything inside of me looked great and healthy and that I should consider having more beautiful babies. It was uncomfortable while the doctors worked. I couldn’t exactly feel anything. I just knew I didn’t like it and wanted them to hurry up and get done.

Josh came back over and told me she was beautiful, and she had peed all over the nurses. Josh then proceeded to dance in the operating room. He left me again, and I tried to avoid looking up and seeing what they were doing. However, it was hard not to, and the only thing I remember vividly seeing was blood pouring out and the doctors sucking it up.

When Josh finally came back to me again, he let me know that they were worried because she had an irregular heartbeat. A pediatrician was coming to check her out. The ped told us that it wasn’t abnormal for it to happen with newborns, and he’d come back and check her the next day. While he was there checking on her, she managed to get his finger in her mouth (not sure if he offered or she took). It was the first indication of her love of the pacifier. IMG_3721_2

They finished cleaning her off, and Josh was finally able to come and sit and show me the little girl I had been waiting 9 months to meet. She was beautiful, and all I could think was she looked so much like her big sister. Josh handed her to me after they finished and moved me to my bed. From there, we were wheeled back to triage. I stuck my finger in her mouth because she was crying, and she calmed down. IMG_3729_2 The nurse asked if I though she was hungry and, based on the way she was trying to inhale my finger, I gave a confident, “Yes.” She ate her first bottle like a champ. IMG_3735_2 Josh held her for a bit before giving her back to me so we could be taken to our room. IMG_3736_2

After that it was all kind of a blur. We were wheeled to our room, and Josh began calling people. Oma and Opa got there first with the new big sister! I don’t think Ellabelle understood exactly what was going on. Oma helped introduce the two, IMG_3749 and Ellabelle gave Mattie the porcupine toy she picked out for her new sister. IMG_3759 The nurse came in and gave Mattie a bath, and she had Ellabelle scrub her head with the bar of soap. More people arrived, and Mattie got to meet her Papaw, Mamaw, and Trent, her Auntie Ang, grandma Viv, and Cathy who works at the same hospital. Tuesday night was pretty peaceful. We got some decent enough sleep. 

Wednesday was very quiet. I had to move around the room and try and get used to having legs again. We had no visitors, and just enjoyed the day with our Mattie girl. IMG_3816 The pediatrician came in and checked on Matilda’s heart sounds and said that she sounded just fine and gave her a clean bill of health. Josh had to go home for more clothes in the evening because I had stolen his tshirts. Mattie also had her routine tests and shot that day.

Thursday was an important day for us – May 21, 2015. Josh and I celebrated our 4 year wedding anniversary, and we got to take home our second baby. We were both discharged. IMG_3913 It took a while to get all the paper work signed off on, and we got her hospital pictures taken while we waited. 11289451_10100930637851590_241425357349601735_o Finally, after waiting patiently, they were ready to wheel us down to the lobby to go. IMG_3925 It was a much different experience than at Christ. They didn’t have to check that we had Mattie in her carseat correctly. They didn’t require me to hold her on my lap on the way down (I did anyways). It was just way more relaxed. We luckily got Mattie in the car with no carseat troubles (unlike her sister). We came home to a nice quiet house, and we slept as much as possible before Ellabelle came home the next day. IMG_3930