Sunday, December 29, 2013


*Pictures aren't going to reflect the text, and just warning: they are all of Elyse. Not because I love her more, but because she's the only kid I had this weekend!*

So Friday night I took down the tree, and yesterday I put away all of the rest of the decorations and found homes for all the things that didn't have homes yet. I actually like to take down the tree by myself. Not because it's easier without little hands trying to "help", but because I like to reflect and wonder.

Okay. Maybe not having "help" does help.

I thought about what life was like last time I took down the tree. I remember being hopeful. Wondering how my family would change. Wondering what my Christmas card would look like this year. Wondering what new things the kids would be doing and how they would grow this year.

Well, my family did change. Not nearly in the way that I thought- I thought if there was to be a new mouth to feed, it would belong to someone a little more masculine, about 6 times taller and 15 time heavier. I thought my son would be starting kindergarten and my daughter would be having the best time at Cindy's as the reigning princess.  

why three outfits with the same leggings? because due to leaky diapers, this girl needed three onesies in about 5 hours.

Ahhh. That's the problem with "wondering" isn't it. You get little nuggets of expectations that you didn't even realize you had, and then poof! Life happens, plans change, and you just keep on going. 

So. My Christmas card didn't have all the faces that I thought it would. I never dreamed that it would double as a birth announcement.

But holy moly, I'm so glad that this is the face that's there. I mean come on! Look at her! I would have never in a million years pictured that face and now I have no idea what I'd do without it. Luke didn't start kindergarten. He is KILLING it at jr. kindergarten though, which is exactly what should happen when you are exactly where you need to be. Evan is the reigning princess at Cindy's, now complete with her own little court.

So now it's time to wonder about the year that is coming upon us. How will my family change this year? What will happen to us? What kinds of adventures does 2014 hold for each of us? Will I have the same job? Will we need a new car? Am I finally going to patch the cracks in the sheet rock from getting the foundation fixed and repaint? (okay. that last one is a little specific. but I need to do this, people!)

I'm trying hard not to have too many expectations. I've been thinking a lot lately about how I'm letting God use me, and I've kinda come to the conclusion that I'm not. It's what happens when you have too many plans for yourself. So this control freak is going to try and let go. I know, I KNOW, that God has the very best planned for me and is just waiting for me to trust Him in it. It's time that I actually live out what I claim to believe. So here's to 2014, people. I'm ready if you are.


Saturday, December 28, 2013

Christmas 2013

Christmas for the kids and I started Monday (the 23rd). We didn't get to go to Colorado City for that Christmas over the weekend due to Evan's flu/RSV. 

Oh, did I not mention that before?

Yes, my sweet middle girl was diagnosed with flu AND RSV on Friday. If you are keeping track, that means Elyse was sick with RSV the weekend before and Evan was sick this past weekend. It knocked us out of the family trip and we were locked inside all weekend. Obviously I couldn't take her to church on Sunday, so we haven't been in a month. I KNOW this is the longest time in my life that I haven't been to church and it feels really really odd. Anyway, as bummed as we were to not be able to go to CCity, we had a nice weekend at home gearing up for Christmas.

Monday night we went over to Grandmother's for Christmas with that side of the family. Nothing big, no production, just family siting around with take-out bbq and a few presents. Low key and I liked it!

Ever the curious one, we found Evan in Grandmother's makeup at one point, and I was thoroughly convinced she'd break half the house before we left. 

Christmas Eve is always Christmas with Mom and Dad. We go out to dinner in our Christmas outfits (of which we got a ton of pictures, but they are all on Mom's camera and I still haven' even seen them!) and then back to their house for presents and dessert. The big kids had a great time, and I did manage to get one picture of Elyse- she slept through the entire thing and didn't even wake up to see what was in her stocking or presents. She was none too impressed with her new sunglasses.

Then we came home (already loaded with new delights) and got ready for Santa. The bigs wrote him a letter (which I helped translate)...

and then it was time for new Christmas jammies.

I've already given up on trying to get the "perfect" picture of all three of them together. At first Elyse was mad that she was put down and not being held. Plus Evan wouldn't give a real smile. Then by the time Elyse got a paci and calmed down, Evan was done with the camera. (oh, and thankfully Macaroni Grill was handing out chocolate chip cookies after dinner that we could save for Santa. Otherwise he was getting bowl of banana pudding from Nana's house.)

It didn't matter though. Santa still came! I know there is a giant debate on whether or not Santa is a tradition we should perpetuate, but I love it. There is something so sacred and special about being able to participate in a secret that so many have passed down. I love being able to do something magical for my kids. And magical it was. The marble maze that Santa brought for Luke is the only thing he asked him for when we went to visit. I couldn't wait to see the look on his face!

Christmas morning was fun as always. Evan got into it more than she did last year, obviously, but she is still two. She was much more concerned with unwrapping the presents than what was actually inside so she didn't get too dramatic with her reactions. Luke on the other hand, was so fun to watch.

As soon as we were done unwrapping, Evan wanted to put on her new dress up clothes (please don't anyone tell her that the dress is a size 5/6). She pranced around, rather well in those heels I might add, declaring herself a princess and letting us know how pretty she was. Makes me so glad I could give her that feeling.

And not to be left out, Elyse was there. She did have a stocking. But she has such a cough still from the RSV that it wiped her completely out. From between the 24th and the 26th, she was awake for MAYBE a total of 2 hours TOTAL. She literally slept through the entire holiday. But that's okay. She's only 2 months anyway. ;) 

We didn't go any where the whole day on the 25th. This is quite honestly the first time EVER that my kids have been home all day on Christmas. Even before we had kids, the Carver Christmas has always been in the afternoon of the 25th, so I've always been gone. After the divorce Cody would come get them and take them out there, but this year it was moved to today. Luke had such a great time tearing into all of his new play things, wanting to build it all in one afternoon!

I'm so thankful that we were all healthy and blessed for Christmas. We talked a lot about why the day was actually celebrated, and I hope that my kids remember that it's not about what you get but whom you serve.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

From my family to your's, have a blessed day!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Two Months

My dear Elyse,

You are two months old! Technically two months and a week, but who's counting.

Oh wait. I am.

I'm a week late on this because last weekend was the weekend you got so sick. And those were not pictures I wished to remember. Thursday I stayed home with your sickie sister (and you!) and was able to get some pictures. So glad I didn't wait until's super dark and rainy today. 

So what's been going on this month? Well, as far as I can guess,  you're up to about 10 lbs and 22 inches. (no 2 month well checks right now due to an insurance hiccup). You wear a size 1 diaper and size 0-3 month clothes. Actually, you are more in between size newborn and 0-3. The newborn items you have are a little short, but the 0-3 is baggy in the waist. You belly and cheeks are getting so pudgy! No thunder thighs yet though. Ha!

Your sleeping and eating haven't changed too much. You nurse every 2-3 hours when you are with me and take 2 bottles while I'm at work. Nights are getting a little better- you fluctuate from sleeping 4-6 hours at a time. Naps during the day are getting a little more regular, but you still sleep soooooo much! If this is any indication of how you are as a teenager we better watch out!

One of the things I have loved watching you develope is your little voice. You and I will sit for awhile and I can tell you are working so hard to get your voice say something. Then when your little coo comes out you smile. I LOVE IT. And you are starting to smile more and more. SUCH a joy to watch. And your neck is getting so strong! You almost have complete control over your head.

Elyse, you cannot imagine how much you are loved. I am not the only one who can't get enough of you. Luke asks daily to sit and talk with you, hold you, asks me to talk to you. He wants to make sure you are getting plenty of attention and every night gives you a hug and a kiss before he goes to bed. Evan loves you so much too. She gets very concerned when you cry (even when I'm changing your diaper she will tell me "Momma da baby cwying") and likes to engage you when ya'll are in the back seat of the car. 

And your daddy loves you so much too. He did NOT like you being sick. He worried about you, stayed with you when I had to go out one evening, and didn't give it a second thought when I told him you needed to go to the emergency room. You, little girl, are LOVED.

As for me? I can't get enough of my sweet baby. This is such a sweet time. You are still my leeettle baby, still so cuddly, still perfectly content in my arms. I just adore you and hate with everything in me that I can't be with you and your siblings every day while I'm at work. After all, you are the first baby to not only sleep in my room with me, but you've migrated from you cradle to having your own side of my bed. And I couldn't be happier to have you as my bed mate.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Elyse- the sickie

Oi. So the last few days have been a wee bit crazy. Wednesday night I skipped church to supervise the installation of my newest appliance.
Isn't she pretty? I bet you've never said that about a microwave before. And it only took Dad and Jacob two hours to do! (That's not a complaint, I'm VUUUUUUURY thankful that they were able to do it safely and nothing got broken and that it fit. I say safely because after it was all said and done we realized that you are supposed to turn the breaker off first. Whoops!)
Thursday night was Luke's Christmas program. I wish I could upload the video of his class singing their song. Luke is the ONLY. ONE. doing hand motions. Very animated hand motions, I might add. I have no idea where he gets his stage presence. Friday night was small group, where we had a pot luck dinner and white elephant gift exchange. Seeing what everyone brought just confirmed the fact (again) that I love my friends. We laughed so hard. And my middle girl kept me on my toes too. I let Evan go in real panties, and she did great on telling me she needed to go potty. (which she may or may not have stopped up at one point.) For whatever reason, there was a time that Mikah didn't have on a shirt and she promptly asked him "Why you have on no shut?" The next thing I knew she was walking out of the room with HER shirt off too. I guess it's never too early to have the "we leave our shirts on when we are in other people's houses/playing with our friends/there are boys around" talk.
I also didn't have a very happy camper on my hands.
cute baby scowls at you

 Thursday Elyse had a slight little cough, and Friday it was more pronounced with a stuffy nose. But she didn't have fever and she was eating/sleeping just fine, so I let it go. I did talk to the pediatrician's nurse Friday morning to confirm there wasn't really anything we could do and to make an appointment for Luke (he's got an ear infection). Friday night she was coughing more heavily, but nothing else had changed. Saturday morning was productive- got my house cleaned- and Saturday afternoon I took the kids over to Mom's so they could spend the night. Why? Because Saturday night was the office Christmas party! As soon as I pulled Elyse out of her car seat at Mom's, she had a coughing fit so hard she threw up everything I'd just fed her, all over Mom's kitchen floor. I felt bad, but I knew it was mostly from all the mucus and she'd be okay. After all, I was picking her back up after the party, and surely in a handful of hours things wouldn't tank.

shae and my annual Christmas party photo, this year being photo bombed by her coming-in-April son
Jacob didn't come to the party and stayed with Elyse at Mom and Dad's while I was gone. She started coughing more and after he gave her a bottle she threw all of that up too. By the time I got there she had calmed down, so we took her home and around midnight tried to get some sleep.
right when we got home from the hospital
She woke me up at 2, but wouldn't nurse, then woke me up again at 3:15. She still wouldn't nurse and was feeling warm. I took her temp and it was 101.7- WELL over the 100.4 they say to bring babies in for. We immediately took her to the ER where they tested her for flu, RSV, and took xrays for pneumonia. The RSV was the only thing that came back positive. They gave us the option to have her admitted for observation or take her home and keep a close eye on her at home. I chose to take her home, and by 6:00 AM we were finally able to leave. THANK GOODNESS Mom had kept the big kids over night. They took them to church, to lunch, and then back to their house for the rest of the day so I could rest. I slept from 6:30-10, when Elyse woke up to eat, then held my baby on the couch for most of the rest of the afternoon. She didn't nurse well all day, but did have a wet diaper, so at least she was getting something.
sleeping off the sickies 
When Mom ran a sandwich by for me for lunch she told me that when Luke found out at breakfast that Elyse was sick he immediately said they needed to pray for her, which was followed by him saying a prayer "for Jesus to heal her".  Oh my heart, I cried. That boys pushes me to the limits sometimes, but his heart is so good.

By the time 10:30 rolled around last night my Lysie Ann decided she'd had enough sleep over the last few days and was ready to party. She partied so hard that at 11:15 she puked all over my bed (mere minutes after this picture was taken), forcing me to do a grand sheet change, all the way down to the mattress cover. Have you ever tried to sleep without a mattress cover? Yuck. I find it gross. Anyway, by midnight I was so tired I fell asleep with her still awake beside me. Thankfully she didn't have any coughing fits through the night and she didn't wake up to nurse until 5:30.

The doctor said we still have a couple of days where the RSV can turn ugly, but she's done remarkable. It's no coincidence either. I put on facebook that my girlie needed prayers, which have come in in droves and are being heard. I've said it before and I'll say it again...I am SO BLESSED to have the support around my little family that I do!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Holidays are coming and iced in

So two of the last things I go to do on my maternity leave was attend Luke's Thanksgiving feast (a first for me! I've never been able to go to this one, just his Christmas parties!) and go visit Santa. (I also realize I never posted Halloween pictures. So sorry.)
I could tell he was really excited for me to be there at his feast, he kept showing me things and wanting to share his food with me. The feast was on a Friday, which is the day that Elyse's grandparents come and visit her. They stayed at the house with both girls, so I was able to go and focus just on Luke. Not something that happens a whole lot these days.

Santa! This is actually the best Santa picture I've ever gotten. Sure Evan isn't really smiling, but Luke doesn't have his scary smile on, and the girls are DARLING in their matching outfits. I had one of the "elves" take a family picture of us before we left. Evan still isn't smiling. Luke doesn't like to stand too close: he's got a rather large personal bubble space. Elyse isn't falling out of my arms, I promise. But I love this picture and the fact that I didn't know Santa had popped into it until I looked at the camera.

And I am unashamed to reveal that I put up my Christmas tree well before Thanksgiving. Like, the week before. I've said it before, I truly feel like putting it up actually makes Thanksgiving MORE festive. I LOVE it! The kids were with their dad on Thanksgiving, so that morning I had us do thanksgivings at breakfast before they left. Evan piped up that we should hold hands and say a pray. Luke jumped at the chance to say it, and it included thanking God for being our hero and rescuing us. *cue momma tears* I am so thankful for these sweet tender hearted children of mine and I pray that they always are for the God who IS our hero and rescuer!
So, I worked two days last week, and then Thursday night a giant winter storm came in. It went from temps in the 70's to below freezing. Thursday I left work early due to sleet, and when we got to the house that afternoon, we didn't leave again until Monday afternoon. That is a looooooong time to solo parenting. I called it marathon parenting. The kids were troopers though. We watched lots of movies, played, and I got out my sewing machine. I felt bad because in the last few weeks I've actually had several people request sewing projects from me, but I had to turn them down due to lack of time. Plus the cradle is in the spot where the sewing machine used to be, so setting it up on the dining room table has cause quite the clutter. But I needed something to distract me from the bickering that was going on. ;) The only real hiccup in our 4 day entrapment was the fact that my microwave died. Three minutes in to cooking baked potatoes for dinner Thursday night, it just....died. No spark. No funny noises. No beeping. Just.....stopped. Not having the time to properly bake them in the oven, I had to scramble for dinner (pancakes), and have been using the oven and stove ever since. Monday night Dad took me to Home Depot for a new one, and hopefully he'll be able to finish mounting it tonight (yes, it's an over-the-range microwave, which I now know are MUCH more expensive than countertop ones. yay!)
Luke is such a funny kid. I managed to get one of the funny things he said while we were home post on Facebook: "Mom, I don't think I want to eat treats anymore since they don't help us grow. I'll just go ahead and try to eat my chocolate Santa that is up on top of the fridge." And he also tries to boss Evan around. Which doesn't work out very well: "Luke was telling Evan that she could only have one cinnamon roll for breakfast and he could have two. When she inevitably tattled, I tried to get her to see that what he says isn't the final word by gently asking her who was in charge. "Nana's phone." Uh, excuse me? When I corrected her and told her I was in charge, and that I was the one who said how many cinnamon rolls she got, Luke shouts "I'm so cross at you!" Happy day 2 of cabin fever!"
Elyse slept a lot through our time (surprise surprise) at home. When we woke up Friday morning to a white world the kids wanted to go out in it, of course. They lasted all of 5 minutes in the cold, especially once they realized it was not snow- just straight ice.
Tummy time! When she is actually awake, I do try to make her do a little exercise. My sweet 8 week old is getting so strong!
It was cold. I couldn't bear the thought of this sweet yawning girl all alone in the freezing dark. Soooo.... I let her sleep with me. It had NOTHING to do with the fact that this way I also didn't have to get out of bed to nurse her in the middle of the night. :)
Two of the things I worked on. I put my house shoe next to the quilt top for size reference, and if you look closely I put Elyse's name on the top of it. I bought batting and backing yesterday, so I should have it completed soon! It's made of flannel, something I've never worked with before, and it's my first ever quilt. Exited for it!
This cardboard rocket has been in Luke's closet from last Christmas, I believe. I knew it would be huge so I'd procrastinated on putting it up. Well, day 3 made me cave, and the kids LOVED it. Unfortunately they loved it a little TOO much and it made their selfish sides come out. After a couple of hours they were fighting hard core over it. Monday morning I finally had to disassemble it and put the whole thing in time out because I couldn't handing the fighting anymore.
Monday this girl finally got a bath. She's done so well lately on not spitting up as much, so she wasn't really stinky and I hated to get her wet in such cold weather. But, Monday I couldn't handle the greasy hair anymore and we just got it done. She smelled so good! But, that only lasted a few hours. Yesterday morning I woke up and she had spit up in the night (which was all in her hair) and then right before I loaded everyone up to go to Cindy's she projectile vomited everywhere. Boooooo.
I not only got out my sewing machine, but Monday I got out the camera. These are taken with my phone of the back of the camera, hopefully one day I'll take the time to upload them!
And finally....Monday afternoon:

We were free! Not really. It was so stinking cold and still really icy in places, but we busted out of the house with Nana and went to the movies to see Frozen. It was SOOOO cute. I thought it was both girls' first movie, but Ashley gently reminded me later that Evan's first movie was a Harry Potter movie. Where she exploded out of her diaper at the beginning of it and I sat there with poop on me. Only a mom, amiright? Maybe it's more telling of how much I love HP...... Anyway, let the record stand that Luke's first movie was Mama Mia, Evan's was Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, and Elyse's was Frozen. That's one for the baby books, eh?