better than...

I haven't been writing much.
Like really writing.

I used to have my students write nearly every.single.day and I burned it into their brains that If you write every day you get better at writing every day. And I would write with them. And I would ache to write.

I want that ache to continue because it is something I enjoy. It is a gift I have been given. Brent has been pushing me and encouraging me to write more and see what God might do with it.

And, so I don't just write about ice cream cake every day on this blog, I found a really great site where a teacher has posted some really unique and thought provoking prompts. [www.writingprompts.tumblr] I may use some of these to get me back in the writing game a bit. We will see what time two babies and softball season allow.

For today, a quick one:

Wendell Berry said: 
Better than any argument is to rise at dawn and pick dew-wet red berries in a cup. 

So I say:

Better than any fear is the grasp of a grandparent's hand, wrinkled with wisdom and time.

Better than any party is the laughter of your child, ringing in your ears.

Better than any food is the taste of springtime bursting through the dead of winter.

Better than any worry is the feel of thunder in your chest.

Better than any distress is the loud quiet of solitude and rest.

Better than any unfulfilled dream is the hope of trusting you are still under construction.

Better than any scent is the embrace, quiet and warm and trusting, of the one you first loved.

Better than any victory is the soft smell of her head as it sinks into your chest, fast asleep.

Better than any memory is the waking to an eager new day.

What would you add ? 

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what makes a day better

You know how somedays are just ordinary and you may eat breakfast, do what you do, slurp down lunch, do what you do, then have some supper, do what you do, then go to bed?

And then you know how other days you get to eat ice cream cake? And you know how those days that you get to eat ice cream cake are SO MUCH better?

There are very few things in life better than Dairy Queen ice cream cake for a celebration. Am I right? The answer is obviously yes.

My first birthday after we were married, Brent surprised me at school with an ice cream cake. At 9 in the morning because that was my planning period. Ice cream cake at 9 in the morning? Best idea he ever had.

We try to think of any reason to have ice cream cake in my family. Birthdays are the obvious go-to times.

But there are lots of other times you can convince others to partake of an ice cream cake if you're creative. Retirement party? Of course. Just completed a tri-athalon? Better get a cake. Had a baby? Definite cake time. Won a state championship? Cake! Cake! Cake!

But keep going. You can do even better than that! Groundhog's Day. Celebrating changing the oil in your car. First day of deer season. ICE CREAM CAKE!!!

Your neighbor's friend's half birthday.
The first day you can wear sandals in the spring.
When your son gets his driver's license.
When your daughter says "Mommy" for the first time.
When you wake up to your alarm without hitting the snooze once!

Also, the more gel-frosting the better.
Also, don't be one of those people that eats it in layers. Just don't.

 Are you seriously asking, "What is the point of this blog post?"
The point is ICE CREAM CAKE.
That is all.

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what has changed

Today when I had to use the restroom,  I had this thought:
Obviously life changes in BIG ways when you have children, but it also changes in a million little ways that you eventually forget were ever not normal for you and they become second nature. 
Yes, I think in run-on-ish sentences. Don't we all?

So here are a few of those millions of little ways my life has changed since March 23, 2012:

- I rarely set an alarm because MOST days my kids will wake me up well-before I need to be anywhere. 
- A "productive day" happens when I get both kids asleep at the same time for naps and bedtime. Bonus if they have both gotten a bath at some point during the day. Triple bonus if I had a chance to vacuum and/or do a load of laundry. 
- I don't shut the bathroom door. Ever. It's always open. And when I'm at someone else's house, I almost forget to close the door every.single.time. 
- Multi-tasking while driving has become even more necessary [and dangerous]. 
- I sing WAY more. 
- I make WAY more animal sounds and hand gestures. Okay. Maybe not the hand gestures. I did that before kids too. 
- Getting myself "ready" for the day, even if I have to get "dressed up" for something, is way less important and I have to stop what I'm doing about ten times. It's amazing I haven't ever left the house with only one set of eyelashes properly masacara-ed [yet]. 
- I worry more about having fruits and vegetables around. 
- I wear functional shoes. 
- I wipe up WAY more bodily fluids. 
- I sometimes go days before I remember I haven't even gotten the mail. 
- Did I mention I never shut the bathroom door? 
- When I'm away from my own children and I hear a baby cry, I automatically think it is my child, and then remember they aren't with me. 
- I light more candles because, you know, the bodily fluids. 
- I write less but document more. 
- I get many, many, many more hugs and smiles and sloppy kisses.
- I color and create more. 
- I laugh more. 
- I cry more. 
- I hurt and fear in ways I never knew possible. 
- I dream in ways I never knew possible. 
- I am so excited to sleep. [Okay, probably hasn't changed much]
- I never knew I could get so happy to see a baby poop [both my kiddos have been constipated as babies]
-I often don't turn the radio on in the car when I'm by myself.
- I eat a lot more animal crackers. 
- I find trips to the grocery store or visits to the doctor by myself cathartic. 

But mostly my life has changed because
I feel like my heart is beating in two different little bodies. 

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four months of Becks

month ONE
month TWO
month THREE

she always clenches her little feet and toes together like this

Weight: This is why I waited a couple days to post; I was waiting for Becks' official appointment so I could report: 12.68 lbs. Let's go ahead and call it 13, shall we? 

Clothes and Diapers: We are all over the place with clothes. Some 0-3 stuff, mostly 3 month, a few small 6 month stuff that fits her loosely. She's still in size 1 diapers, but I think size 2 will happen soon-ish. And might I add here, I have yet to buy a single diaper for her? People were so generous at our showers back in the spring and every time we run out I simply go to the closet and get another package. It's incredible. I have a couple packages left, and this blessing is not lost on me, so thank you for those that have contributed. 

Eating: Still can't complain here. She eats 5 times a day. The late one is already seeming more and more unnecessary for her, which seems crazy. I'm a little hesitant to drop to 4 already, so we will stick at 5 for awhile. She is having to take more bottles now that softball has picked up, and she likes her bottles very warm and if the temperature doesn't suit her she lets you know. If it gets the least bit cool, Brent has to reheat it. I hate the word diva, but… [I wrote this about 4 days ago: so UPDATE: she is fighting the bottle completely now! We are working on some solutions to this, I'll update soon but it's been a bit stressful]

Sleeping: She started to fight the swaddle and would break free and wake herself up, or she would get really mad and wake herself up. So we decided to set her free! About a week ago we started to just swaddle her legs and gave her a "magic" blanket like Blythe's. We went through a rough day and a half. The night was, well, we didn't sleep. But the next night? The next night Becks proved she is amazing yet again and she slept! Partially unswaddled! Her morning nap is usually less than an hour, but her afternoon nap is 2-3 hours. Her evening nap is a half hour to an hour. And then she goes down for the night after 7….before 9. Somewhere in there. Depends on our day. She has started waking up at 4 every morning, but we can usually settle her back in and she sleeps until 7/8. 

Blythe on right at 5.5 months. I don't see much resemblance in this one. 

accomplishments/ Things to note:

\she likes her pacifier again [usually-- unless we have recently tried to give her a bottle, then she refuses it]
\ she smiles much more willingly now, and immediately smiles at Brent 
\ she laughed for the first time at Blythe when Blythe was saying, "Ya-ba-dab-a- dooo!" to her
\ Rolled from back to stomach for first time on August 25th.
\ Rolled from stomach to back on August 28th.
\ I still won't say she's "rolling over". It takes a lot of coaxing.
\ She and her sister are getting along very well with Katie, their babysitter that comes for about an hour everyday during softball season
\ favorite story: at her doctor's appointment: Blythe had to come with us and I was a little concerned about how she would react to Becks getting her shots. I warned her that they would makes Becks cry a little, but that she could help her feel better. As soon as the nurse gave her the shots [I'm always amazed at how quickly they can do it!], Becks started screaming, tiny little tears trying to push out from her squeezed lids. Blythe popped right over, took her hand, and started singing, "Stop your crying, it will be alright. Just take my hand and hold it tight. I will protect you from all around. I will be with you, don't you cry..." The sheer velocity of that moment about knocked me over. I've never been one to cry when my kids get shots, but I about lost all control when those little hands intertwined in my lap. 

It is non-stop affection from Blythe. "No, mama. Don't feed her!  I need to kiss her!"

Joan let me borrow this sweet bonnet and outfit from Brent's sister's old stuff. 

This picture is dark but I still think it is precious

her eyes kill me! 

left to right, top to bottom: one month, two months, three months, four months

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I know I haven't blogged a lot recently, but here are some things that have been keeping me a little busy lately:

Obviously these lovely ladies. 

Blythe is almost 2 and half. I love this age. It is exhausting and frustrating and trying but I LOVE this age. I want her to stay 2 and a half forever. 

Becks is growing and changing everyday it seems. Look for her 4 month update next week! 4 MONTHS?!

 I had a friend ask me to paint a picture for her new office. She moves around a lot and has worked in FOURTEEN different locations. She gave me all the locations, said she was thinking something with a map, gave me a quote and some colors and let me run with it! It was fairly time consuming but it was fun to have a project:

Obviously softball is underway again. I guess this officially means our state run is over.

I am also popping in to sub for my little homeschooling family from time to time.

And I have had the pleasure of getting to take more pictures for some beautiful seniors. I actually took Hannah's late last spring. I was lucky enough to get to teach her and coach her for a couple years. She is wonderful-- truly, truly wonderful. And, may I just add: we took these the day after prom. She got approximately 3 hours of sleep and didn't even wash her hair. And girls everywhere are jealous, for reals:

And then there was Avree. Oh my sweet Avree. I babysat this beauty when she was just a tiny thing, and my heart has forever been attached. I'm not going to lie, when she asked if I would take her senior pictures I wanted to say, "NO BECAUSE YOU CAN NEVER GROW UP!" But I figured that was futile so I gave in. And those killer green eyes? Are you kidding me? They were not retouched AT ALL. And again, girls everywhere are jealous.

AND THEN, because I cannot get any luckier, Avree's friend Melissa asked me to do her pictures. I'm glad I said yes because this long-legged model showed up!  This was the first photo shoot I've done where I haven't known my subject before hand, and she could not have been sweeter or more laid-back. And do I even need to say it? Those long legs? Girls everywhere are jealous:

**she was a trooper. It was about 4 million degrees and the bugs were nasty, but when I said, "Hey, lie in this incredibly itchy grass," she did it!

 I also took some pictures of two incredibly cute little boys, one of which just turned TWO. But I those pictures are on my other computer so they will have to wait.

And that, my dear friends, is what I have been up to these days.

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