Saturday, July 30, 2011

Look Quickly

Look quickly.

Which one is the doll?

This happy girl is the human baby, and she's ready to go swimming!!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Front Porch

Well, Emilie has survived her first home reno project. You know we couldn't stay out of Home Depot for too long. We went back at it to DIY our front porch renovation.

You know how I've talked about that list of ugly, ugly eye sores when we first moved in? This front porch was definitely on the list. When we first moved in the front porch was carpeted. That's right- carpet- on a front porch. Naturally, we ripped that out straight away. The previous owners had a riser built on the front porch because they were short. Gone. Ripped that out too. What we were left with was a non carpeted, non risen, but still ugly as sin, front porch. And it stayed that way for almost two years.

Under the carpet was a concrete floor in pretty good shape, except that it had been painted a terrible color. It took a little elbow grease to get the carpet adhesive off in the spot where the carpet hadn't been on the riser, but after we (read: Jason) did that, we had a blank (and ugly) slate.

Aside from lightening up the walls (it's actually two colors, but I'm not sure you can see that clearly in the picture), I knew I wanted to paint the floor a sideways checkerboard pattern, to make a diamond affect. Jason either really loves me, or really loves math, because it literally took algebra and geometry skills to get those diamonds the right size, and all taped off. I think his exact words were, "Honey, I love you; but I'd don't care how nicely you ask, I'll never do this again."

It was worth it though. I love the end result. I still want to add a few more pieces of furniture, but you know, it's all about the dolla bills ya'll. Soon enough.

The porch is the perfect spot to sit in the Spring and the Fall, and is the perfect respite from the mosquitoes!

One more look at the before and after:

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Thank You

Marin loves the show Little Einsteins. I try to only let her watch one show a day, but she watches it enough that I have the theme song memorized. At the end they sing, "Let's give a hand, and hear it for the team!" I was singing this the other day, (oh yeah, it happens all the time- often even long after the show is over) and realized I should give a hand to my "team", or at least those people and things that make my life a little easier. If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes an army to raise two and take a dog along for the ride.

Thank you, Geneva Cleaners for offering a Car Hop service to pick up and drop off my dry cleaning. Seriously amazing to not have to haul two hot and sticky babies- one in a 20 pound car seat, one insistent on traveling with no less than three dolls- plus 15 dirty smelly husband shirts into the store. Literally, this service makes me smile. If only I could do this everywhere.

Thank you, Costco for making carts with a respectable handlebar height. Why must I bend over the cart at Jewel? The Costco carts are nearly a dream to push.

Speaking of Jewel... thank you to the nice lady behind me in line the other day. As Emilie screamed her head off from her car seat in the cart surrounded by groceries and I frantically dug things out of the cart and threw them onto the checkout belt, the nice lady behind me in line said, "I know it probably seems loud to you, but that is the sweetest little cry." A sympathetic "I've been there" smile from a mom instantly negates all of the mean glances from well, just about everyone else in the store. Including the 21 year old bagger who literally said to me, "Um, I think it's nap time!"

Thank you, expensive hose. Almost the best advice regarding lawn care that I ever received: Don't skimp on the hose. I am thankful for heeding this advice every time I coil our hose up into tight uniform circles. The old one that was a jumbled messy ball of rubber seriously stressed me out.

Thank you, grill for making summer cooking basically effortless. This is how I prepare summer dinners: set the meat out to thaw in the morning, cook up some veggies as a side, possibly a salad and some fruit, and when Jason gets home he throws it on the grill, I pour us a glass of wine, and we sit outside recapping our day. I. LOVE. SUMMER!!!

After dinner, way too many nights we take a walk to get ice cream, or i-c-e as we have taken to calling it in our house, since we have to spell it in front of Marin so she doesn't demand it. And after we've spelled i-c-e, we pretty much know what the other is talking about, so we never bother to spell out the rest. Thank you, breastfeeding, for allowing me to burn 500 extra calories to compensate for the absolutely glutenous amount of i-c-e that I have consumed this summer. And thank you, Grahams, for your delicious homemade ice cream, without which I am pretty sure I would not be function.

Thank you, swimming pool. You are the only way we have beat the summer heat. Even baby Emilie finds you refreshing. Additional nod of thanks for having a zero depth edge, so I don't have to worry quite as much that Marin will jump to her death as soon as we arrive. Double bonus for all the kid friendly activities so we can stay for hours at a time and not get bored, and triple bonus for having fun things for mom, too, so when dad joins us on the weekends, I am able to sneak away for a ride down the slides.

Thank you splash park, for providing a great way to mix it up. Your highest scoring points are that you open early and that you are free.

I have mentioned it before here, but seriously, thank you to the inventor of the baby swing and velcro swaddles. Without you, Emilie would not sleep. We swaddle her up like a little burrito, just like we did with Marin, and Emilie instantly falls asleep and sleeps through the night most nights. The swing, is the only way I can type this blog and eat dinner without a baby on my lap.

Thank you playdates, from bringing the mess to someone else's home.

Thank you to Jason, for working so hard so that we can have this life. And thank you to Caleigh, our babysitter, for working so hard so we can enjoy
this life.

Thank you Grandma Aunts. For your loving arms.

I don't say it enough, but thank you to my parents, for helping watching the kids more than most grandparents, I'm sure, so that we can do most of what we do. You are so awesome. Lindsay, too- you have never once said no when we have asked you. Thank you to Jake and Katy, for loving my children as if they were your own.

Last but not least, thank you God, for the daily blessings of my family.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Emilie- Two Months Old!

Two Months Stats:
11 lbs. 8 oz.
23 1/2 inches

Two months have gone quickly by, and yet, it's hard to believe that Emilie has only been in the world for that short of a time.

She's all smiles these days, and I wish I had a good picture of her sweet smile for this months chair with the bear photo, but she just wasn't totally amused by my undressing, redressing and posing her this afternoon. Emilie is a happy little sweetheart, and remains to be laid back and go with the often crazy flow of our lives. She loves to swing in her little swing, bounce in her bouncer and go for walks in her buggy. Much like Marin, she loves music, always quieting down when her soft musical toys are played. She loves her mobile in her crib, smiling up at the moon and stars as they go around and around. She still spends the night sleeping with us in the bassinet in our room, but she slept through the night for the first time last night (woo-hoo!!) so once that becomes consistent, she'll probably move across the hall to her room.

We love to give her sweet little snuggles, and she especially likes to snuggle in close to our chest and curl up her little legs. She ends most of her days on an incline on daddy's lap, and many nights, this puts her right to sleep. She loves to watch Marin and Norah, and likes to be right with all the action. I think we might have another party girl on our hands! :) Lookout world!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Everyday life with my girls...

Although life seems to be a constant, "Are-you-hungry?-Do-you-have-to-go-potty?-Have-you-been-fed (the dog)?-Careful-around-the-baby, sweetheart.-Is-your-diaper-wet?-How-do-you-ask-nicely?-Do-you-have-to-go-outside (again, the dog)?- Please-take-your-shoes-off-on-the-couch.- No-you-may-not-have-a-cookie-for-breakfast.- Hi-baby-girl!- We-don't-throw-food.- Off-the-couch (once again, to the dog)!" string of days, life is grand!

Time is flying by, and both girls are growing too quickly. My mom will often remind me, "You want them to grown; you want them to thrive." But when I put on Marin's size 8 shoes, or look down at Emilie's long legs stretched off my lap, I can't help but want to freeze time just a little bit. Ever since we brought Emilie home, Marin has seemed about ten years old to me. All of the sudden I realized how big she is and how much she has learned. She gets her own snacks from the pantry. She orders at a restaurant for herself saying, "I'd liiiiike milk and mac n' cheese, please." She can count to 14, skipping a few numbers in between, and she sings the ABC's hilariously. She can put on her own shoes, although not always on the right feet. She loves golf (although she sometimes calls it baseball), and she knows the words to the Illinois Alma Mater. (Her version goes, "Hail Orange and Blue! Hail Illitoy! Hail Ala Maer, So true, so true!") Yesterday, very matter-of-factly, Marin told me, "I a big girl; don't hold me like a baby." She wasn't trying to be defiant, she was just telling me, "I can do it myself." My heart broke into a million pieces when I realized she was right. She's growing up. Today she came down from her nap without any pants on. When I asked her where they were she told me that she had to go potty so she went. When I went to investigate I realized she had gone all by herself. Now, I also found some poop on the floor, so she's not quite ready to leave my side for good...

Marin is definitely my little helper. She greets Emilie every morning with a sweet, "Good morning, Baby Emmie!" and a hug and a kiss. She wants to "help you" when I change Emilie's diaper, and often she breast feeds her dolly beside me as I fed Emilie. She has named all of her dollies Baby Emmie and carries them with her everywhere.

Marin's other love of the summer is swimming. She LOVES the pool. We put on our "soup-soups" (swimming suits) and I put Emilie in a waterproof baby carrier I bought for the pool, and Marin jumps in off the side for hours. She lines up on the side of the pool in the four-feet deep end with the eight year olds, and yells to me, "You ready, mom?!" When I confirm I'm ready, she shouts, "One! Two! Three!" and jumps way out from the edge and kicks her little legs to the top, only to say, "I wanna do it again!" She has little interest in the more age appropriate turtle and crab in the baby end that she loved last year. Instead she wants to go down the kiddie slide "all by myself!" and flies down the slide dousing herself in water. She walks around the pool ducking under the water joyfully shouting, "I go under water! I a fishy!!!!" Her weekday swimming lessons with me are over, but she still has two more sessions of Saturday lessons with Jason. I think it's the favorite part of her whole week to ride her bike with daddy to swim lessons.

We spend our days together going for walks in the stroller. Emilie rides in the buggy, and Marin rides behind on her buggy board that she calls a "skateboard". How she knows what a skateboard is, is beyond us, but if that's what it will take to get her to be excited about it, then "skateboard" it is! As we walk, Marin leads the way by pointing, "'Dis way, Mommy!" At the end of every day, after our prayers, I ask her to name something that she is thankful for. She makes me so proud by almost always naming people we've spent the day with, rather than things.

My heart runs over with love every time I see Marin making Emilie smile, or when she says, "It's okay Baby Emmie" when she cries. These are the days, no matter how quickly they fly by, that I hope I will always remember.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

A Letter to Emilie

Dear Emilie,

I'm not always pretty these days. Most days I have spit up over my shoulder and often in my hair- which is in a pony tail so often that it is permanently crinkled from the rubber band. I shower every other day if I'm lucky. Yet you smile a huge sweet smile at me every morning all the same and instantly, I feel like a supermodel. Thank you. For the gift of being your mommy. And for not being old enough to discriminate based on poorly matched, ill fitting outfits.

We spend a lot of time together, but perhaps my favorite time with you is while you eat. These are the times that I stop almost all together to soak you in; to recognize how big you are getting; to compliment your sweet features, and to tell you how proud I am at all you've learned in just eight short weeks. Late at night (or early in the morning) when the house is quiet and still, I can hear the rhythmic sound that you made when you eat. Sometimes in those hours I hold you on my chest a little while after you are full, just to watch you sleep and hear you breathing in and out so softly. I love to gently touch your checks as they fill with air. Most times you strain your neck as if to say, "Let me sleep, mom!" but I love to touch your soft skin and take in your sweet smell.

We're going to have fun, mommy and her girls. We'll play dolls, and dress up and sing songs and paint our toe nails and drive daddy crazy. I'm fairly certain that Marin is determined to teach you everything she knows, and when you are both older, we'll laugh about it all over lunch and when you're much older, a few glasses of wine.

I'm going to try very hard not to make you feel like the second child. I promise not to act like I've seen it all before. I know everything you do will be extraordinary, and I promise to tell you just that. I promise not to make you wear too many hand me downs. You have my word that you will not have to wear your sister's prom dress to homecoming the following year. But you will have to share a bathroom and I can tell you right now that it is my expectation that you do so peacefully.

I will try to not compare you to your sister, but if I do, please know that it's only because up to this point, that's all I know. I promise to let you each have your own voice- and to listen to it. I promise to let you each pick a book to read before bedtime. I promise to not be too tired to do all of your favorite voices.

I can't wait to witness your and Marin's sisterly bond form and grow. I hope that when you're old enough to get together on your own, you'll invite me along a few times. I hope you love and value each other and always say that you are sorry shortly after you fight about clothes or the amount of hot water. I know it will sometimes be hard, but you'll make me proud when you share your toys with one another and play like girlfriends.

Watching you grow is amazing. You are so beautiful and sweet. I love you so very, very much. You may never know just exactly how much I love you and your sister, no matter how many times I tell you. But I hope you know that my love for you is endless and abundant. I am your greatest fan, your advocate. I will always be in your corner; if you are wrong I will gently teach you what is right. It is a great pleasure to be your mommy. I am in awe of you every day. I can't wait to see what you will become. I am certain that you will leave the world a better place.

Welcome, my love. Enjoy.


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Our Third First Date

The first being well, our first date, the second being our first date after Marin was born; Jason and I had our third first date (first date after Emilie was born) on Friday night.

My mom and dad agreed to clear their schedule, put on clothes that could be spit up on without worry, and hunker down to watch the girls so that Jason and I could enjoy a night out on the town. And when my mom said, "Take your time; enjoy yourselves." we did, by stayed out past midnight. It seemed like a great idea, until the 2am feeding when I deliriously fed Emilie and silently cursed myself for not crawling into bed earlier.

But c'est la vie, we had a fabulous night together. I'm a lucky gal to be married to that boy, and the night was a perfect reminder. And yes, you know that regardless of the fact that it was our first time out together without the girls in a long time, we talked about them at length. But only long enough for each of us to reiterate how blessed we are to have this life.

We sat outside and had a glass of wine on the patio of a wine shop, and listened to a live guitarist. Then we ate dinner at a tiny little no-way-could-you-ever-take-your-kids-here fabulous restaurant where we shared many small plates and enjoyed suggested wine pairings. I put on what Marin calls "fancy shoes" and a skirt that requires dry cleaning; a large diversion from my usual t-shirt and shorts. If it weren't for the words "You should have seen this other thing they did...." spilling from my lips every minute, you may not have known I was a mom at all.

I am so grateful for my life! And for my mom and dad living close enough and being brave enough so that Jason and I could enjoy each other without bouncing a baby on our laps, or lulling one back to sleep by rocking a stroller back and forth.

Friday, July 1, 2011

What's In A Name- Emilie Mae

We've heard them all; from "old fashioned" sounding to "country". So why Emilie Mae? We think it is feminine and classic, but just a little different. Most of all, it is a name with a special meaning to us. Like we did for Marin Jane, here is the breakdown of the name we chose for our sweet Emilie Mae.

Emilie: This was a "new" name for us. As in, it wasn't even on the list of names we considered for Marin. I really like Kiera, and was totally sure that would be our girl name for a long time. Then Jason decided that he didn't like it with Patterson. He thought that Kiera Patterson sounded too Chicago. At first I fought him on it, but the more he said it, that became all I could hear. Wah-wuh. We couldn't agree on many names. I also liked Greta. Jason's response to that suggestion was, "You mean like Hansel and Greta?" Cue the quick lesson in Children's Literature, please. I also liked Emery which Jason said sounded too country club and Rory which he hated all together. (Please don't be offended if these are any of your children or relatives names. Jason is a wonderful man, but he doesn't always have the best taste in everything. ;)). I really liked Emerson, but you just can't have an Emerson Patterson. Somehow one of us threw out Emilie, we both liked it, and it stuck. We talked about whether to spell it Emily or Emilie, and we decided we liked the ie better. It is just a little different, and for some reason just feels like an entirely different name than Emily to me. I know that sounds crazy, but to me it just does. We have a dear friend, Emilie, so that's really the first we had heard of spelling it with an ie. Thanks Emilie, for letting us have your name. :) A lot of people have also asked the origin, and yes, it is French. It's actually a very common name in France. That really didn't have any play into why we chose it. I'm so glad we did choose Emilie, as soon as we met her, it seemed to fit her.

Mae: Mae was Jason's mom's middle name. This was really important to us to honor his mom by choosing Mae as the middle name. This was never debated. No matter how much the first name was discussed, we always knew that Mae would be the middle name. I asked Jason if he wanted to use Mae as the first name, and he didn't, so we didn't. This picture on the left is an infant Jason with his mom, Laura Mae. It's one of my favorite pictures. And yes, Jason and Lindsay look just like her. Although I never knew Laura, I have really tried to make a point of getting to know about her by asking Jason's dad and aunts. From what everyone agrees, she was fun, energetic, happy, sweet, loving, talented, and kind. And she loved her kids. What better person to name your child after? I promise my children will always know about Laura. It is my very true hope that the stories of her fun, special spirit are passed on to them, and that they live their lives with as much luster and kindness as she did.

So there you have it. Emilie Mae. And we think it's just perfect for our little angel.

Oh, and no, we're still not telling what the boy's name is, just in case a little brother is ever in the cards for Marin and Emilie. And yes, it is the same boys name that we had picked out had Marin been a boy.