Thursday, December 29, 2011

Sharing a Give Away

I have never linked to another page's giveaway before, but I am really impressed by this giveaway and figured it's a great way to share - also, I may blog future giveaways and promo codes in order to share the love with other mommies.

But, The Leaky Boob is having this giveaway of TWO awesome diaper bags. And, well, to call them diaper bags is actually offensive since they're way better than awesome! The Leaky Boob is partnering with Ness bags to give away 2 gorgeous bags for mommy. And, heck, even if you're not a mommy, it's a great bag and I wouldn't fault you for entering either.

You can enter twice - and only twice - now through January 2nd. Hey, if you win, let me know. So I can come to your house and steal it. I mean, so I can congratulate you!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Crying It Out

So, recently Psychology Today posted this article about crying it out and blames all sorts of adult mental health issues on parents who choose do follow Dr. Ferber's methods of what he calls "sleep training" and "self-soothing". I actually read a book called Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child when Gage was first born - recommended by our pediatrician. So, needless to say, I have done my research and have my own "experiment" happily running around at home. Let me launch into what will probably make you mad.

I was really incensed by the article in Psychology Today, and was equally PLEASED with this article on Shine as a sort of response. One important thing to pull from this second article "Even Dr. Richard Ferber, whose sleep-training method is commonly called the Cry It Out Method, says that he never intended parents to completely ignore their babies nighttime tears."

There's a term called "gradual extinction" that is used in sleep training/self-soothing. It basically means that once your child is "of age" - let's say 6 months, just to be generous (The "Sleep Habits" book says you can start training around 4 months - gestationally - which means if your baby was born three weeks early, please add three weeks to the 16 week age of 4 months) - you can put them to bed, after a normal bedtime routine which should take about 30 minutes or what we called "bath, bottle, bedtime". You spend time prepping your baby for sleep. Turn down the lights, take them to their room, nurse/bottle feed them - make something thats personal to you and your child that helps them wind down for the day. We still do a routine - bath, cup of milk, read books, bed for Gage. He knows that its time to relax and get ready for sleep.

STEP 1: So, bedtime routine and then you lay them in their beds and tell them goodnight. Here's where your baby will likely start crying - after 5 minutes, you can return to their room, soothe them WITHOUT PICKING THEM UP. Rub their belly, or back or whatever. And, then leave. Maybe they'll cry again - this time wait 10 minutes. And, return to soothe, but without picking them up. Repeat the process adding 5 minutes each time. I can honestly say, it took less than a week to get Gage to go to sleep without crying.

STEP 2: During the night, your child will wake up. Just like adults do. We all have sleep patterns. You wake up, roll over, and go back to sleep, right?  If they're 6 months old and your pediatrician hasn't specifically told you to keep feeding your baby at night due to low weight, etc. then you will start training your baby to be able to accomplish that same task - roll over and go back to sleep. Step 2 can take more time than step 1, of course.

Each author (Ferber & Weissbluth) specifically points out the use of COMMON SENSE and something most moms have - Maternal Instinct. As a parent, you can tell the difference in your baby's cries. "Protest crying" is what they do when you put them to bed clean, fed and burped. You know if something is wrong with your kid and they're crying because they really need something. There's also references to sickness, changes like moving, vacation, etc. Nothing about parenting is black and white. But, somehow, people seem to think we mean to dump our kids in their bed and close the door, and go enjoy our lives (and sleep) til morning.

I hate the criticism that comes from parents who don't allow their children to sleep well and sleep enough. P.S. What kind of sex life do you really have if your kid keeps you up all the time, and/or sleeps in your bed all the time? Parenting is a huge responsibility, but so is balancing being a parent with being a spouse, being a friend, being a person.

My son is outgoing, independent, very smart, has a great memory, he's not anxious, he doesn't feel abandoned, and he's a great sleeper. Our relationship isn't lacking because I didn't get up with him every single time he cried over the last year and a half (presuming you started at 6 months) during the night. In fact, he's very affectionate and sweet. He plays by himself and with other children extremely well.

I won't take credit for everything - no, I firmly believe that the advice I received through the books I read helped me raise a child who is well-rested and will therefore NOT suffer from ADHD, social anxieties or require Prozac; at least not because he didn't get enough sleep, or because I "forced" him to self-soothe at an age appropriate stage. (Disclaimer - those are all symptoms/issues named by Darcia Narvaez in the Shine article)

And, guess what?! You may find this apalling, but I am having ANOTHER kid and I will do the EXACT same thing with him. You can thank me when my kid isn't screaming at the grocery store because he's tired. And you can be jealous that I get to sleep through the night too.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Gage - Twenty Four Month Letter

Dear Captain Underpants,
You are TWO! This is where we have another celebration commemorating our survival of another year! We made it! It was such an awesome year for you as a person, and such a year of changes. I went back to work, and it broke my heart because I missed you so much. Then you started THRIVING at the babysitter's house and I realized that it takes a village to raise a child because that's what benefits THE CHILD the most. Getting you out, socializing, learning new things, growing close to friends outside of our family - you've just sprouted into a little boy with so much excitement for life.

This past month you've officially switched to big boy underwear. You're wearing diapers at night at at naptime, but doing REALLY well when you're awake. You let us know you've got to go, and then don't feel too embarrassed about announcing it out loud in public when you've successfully gone. It's very cute...for now. I have decided I'm going to have to carry around some antibacterial wipes for the bathroom. I'm so grossed out by putting your sweet little bottom on the toilets out in public that I am willing to wipe down a public toilet with germ killing wipes beforehand.

You're asking questions and explaining things in complete sentences now. You've been watching Toy Story 3 repeatedly over the last two or three weeks. I see Toy Story 1 & 2 showing up under the Christmas tree this year. My favorite quote this month: Your daddy was trying to play with you while you were sitting in the big chair and you said "No, Daddy. I watching Woody." You also refer to him as "Daddy Curtis" if you don't get his attention the first couple of times with just "Daddy". Quite hilarious.

We decided to get you a big boy bed this Christmas and Aunt Suzanne and Uncle Dean generously bought it for you. Now, we're just hoping to find some sheets and a bedding set that you'll like and rearrange the furniture in your room to allow for the twin sized bed. Your dad really wanted to get you a super fun toddler bed, but I'm too practical for that and convinced him that you'll be happier with the bigger bed and awesome sheets that we can change out each week. (What, you change your sheets more often than weekly? If there's no pee-pee in the bed, I don't change them more often than that.) I just know we need to get you out of the crib sooner rather than later so you don't feel like we stole it for the new baby. Out of sight, out of mind for a few months.

You've started being a bit more rambunctious and rowdy since you've turned two. But, you're still so sweet. One morning on the way to My's house, I heard you singing "Rock-a-bye Baby" and I looked back and you were rocking a football. Such a perfect combination of little boy and sweetness.

I can't believe you're two. And, I keep thinking it can't get any more fun than this, but it does. We are constantly impressed by you. You do so much to make us proud. I know you're going to be a great big brother and I can't wait for your little brother to meet you.

Happy Birthday, sweet boy!

Love, Mommy

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Gage - Twenty Three Month Letter

Dear Little Fuzzy Head,
Ok, I will admit it, I put of posting this letter to you because, well, I saw the 23 months and panicked. It made the fact that you're about to be two a little too real. But, let's not get ahead of ourselves. There's a lot to share about your accomplishments this month.

First of all, you're doing SO GREAT with potty training. You're telling us when you need to poop, most of the time. You're not as consistent with telling us you need to potty, but if you can master the pooping first, I won't mind. We are really proud of your success so far.

Secondly, you have started using complete sentences pretty much all the time. Especially when you like something or want something that we have. The other day, we were out of fruit snacks, and I was going to the store to get milk and a few other things, and you said "Mommy go buy fruit snacks". We laughed pretty hard at your thought process.

You sort of understand that I have a baby in my tummy, but you haven't figured out that not everyone else does too. You also understand more than I realize about getting into trouble, and staying out of it. You think it's funny to say "yes" when I ask if you want a spanking. I finally sat you down and explained to you that if you said yes, then I was going to start giving them every time you said yes. Then I asked if you wanted a spanking and you said "no". GOTCHA! You little smart alec, you!

You are just full of excitement and words and interest in life. You're ridiculously smart, I swear. I'm not just talking as a mom here. I know what other kids your age are like. I've done a lot of working with kids in my day. You're very bright, a fast learner, and great to talk to. That's a big change: we can actually have conversations with you now. You are somewhat reasonable too. If we explain something to you, you are pretty good about going with the flow til you can get what you want.

We're so proud of you. I miss you so much because you're doing all these big kid things and making me wish you were just a little bit more of a baby still. I will say that you're good at cuddling now. You like to sit and read books - no, you LOVE TO READ BOOKS - and cuddle to watch Dora. You sing a lot. Since I love to sing, it makes me proud to hear you. You currently will sing the chorus to Taylor Swift's "Mean" with me. We don't actually sing the part about getting hit, but you performed it like a little star at Thanksgiving this year, much to my delight.

I cannot accept the fact that you're about to be TWO. I can't. You're still my squishy cheeked little Baby Big Head, even though your new buzzed haircut makes you look twice as tall and ready for college. You're super awesome,Gage! We couldn't love you more!


Friday, November 4, 2011

14 weeks

I know what you're wondering...where's the sonogram pictures?! Well, funny story, actually. As I may have hinted at before, this baby was a little bit of a surprise. We were planning on starting to try for another baby in December. Mostly because my health insurance at this job kicked in on Nov 1st. So, while I've been carefully taking care of myself - this ain't my first rodeo - I haven't seen my OB yet. It just didn't make sense to throw that wrench into the cogs. Why see the doctor before my insurance kicked in, and then deal with trying to make sure they cover everything like they're suppose to. Because we have an HMO, I actually have to have a referral from our primary care doctor to see the OB. Pregnancy has to be confirmed before seeing that "specialist". I don't really mind going jumping through those hoops. I actually have great coverage with the insurance, and won't have much of anything to pay out of pocket for this whole pregnancy/delivery. But, alas, I had to wait til the insurance kicked in to see the doctor. I'm seeing her today. And hopefully squeezing in an appt with the OB next week. They already know I'm pregnant, and said to call them if I had any problems at all before my actual appointment. I love their office.

The nausea has gotten so much better. I'm so thankful. That was so rough. I guess maybe it's just because I've always hated being nauseous. I was never the kind of person who could throw up easily to get rid of the nausea either. My mom use to try and gross me out to help me puke and feel better, and I never could. It's my cast iron stomach. The thing about pregnancy nausea...throwing up doesn't make it go away. Unless you puke up a baby. Which I don't recommend, nor do I think is humanly possible. Heartburn has been an almost all day occurrence, but again, MUCH BETTER THAN NAUSEA.

The baby is actually the size of a peach now, and I recall that we found out Gage was a boy around 16 weeks. So, it shouldn't be long before we know what we're having. Amusing piece of information: We have a total of 5 pregnancies at my office. Two other girls here are, and then the wives of 2 male employees are. Plus me. And, so far, there are 2 boys and 2 girls expected. So, I am the tie breaker. GO TEAM BABY BOY!!!!!

We should be seeing the baby in the next week or so, and I will definitely share pics once we have them. Because everyone loves looking at those alien lumps in black and white and pretending they're so cute when they really just look weird. I'm secretly terrified there're TWO kids in there. I don't know why. Maybe because one healthy baby is just another notch on my belt. TWO babies would send me into a spiral of tears and general panic. And, I don't have any real fears that the baby isn't healthy or growing just fine. The nausea and other symptoms are actually good signs of a healthy pregnancy. But bad nausea can mean a girl, or multiple babies. Plus, I am a little fluffy for not being even 4 months yet. Of course, I didn't start out a size 0 like I did the first time, coming from teaching classes at the gym and being younger and healthier. Trust me, a baby at 24 and a baby at 27 feels very different. And, wow, for a second there, I felt really young! Curtis will likely be 36 when this baby is born, since it's due beginning of May and his birthday is May 13th. It's very possible this baby will make it past his birthday.

I'm sure he's rolling his eyes and thanking me for reminding him of HOW OLD HE'S GETTING!!!!! I promise to throw you a really huge 40th birthday party, sweetheart!! (P.S. My husband is in incredible shape from how hard he works. He's probably healthier than most men my age anyway. And much hotter too!!) Now that Curtis is thoroughly embarrassed, I'll move along with the rest of my day.

Hope you guys have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Gage's 22 Month Letter

Oh, my poor child, I have a confession to make to the world. You're nearly two years old (I know, right, I want to tell myself "you just shut yer damn mouth with them dirty awful words!") and I have been secretly letting you have a bottle at bedtime. And, wait for it...a bottle in the middle of the night. My excuse: you're my baby and it's the only time you'll really sit still and cuddle. Except that part is not true anymore. Yes, you're my baby, but you're definitely into the cuddling, sitting on my lap stage now. So, here's how we arrived at this embarrassing moment in life.

You started sleeping through the night - and by sleeping through the night, I mean that you would sleep until about 5:30 and then wake up like that's a NORMAL TIME TO WAKE UP - around 6 months old. You'd wake up super early, but I could give you a bottle, put you in bed with me, and you'd sleep until a more decent hour. Well, around 10 1/2 months old, you were teething, and got those nasty pointy teeth right next to the big ones in the middle that have the same adorable gap your dad has. You got an ear infection and were up with fever a lot at night, and you weren't eating much duing the day, so you were drinking a lot more milk and I started giving you bottles when you woke up at night to soothe you back to sleep since you never believed in the Power of The Binky.

Well, dear, here we are ONE WHOLE YEAR later. You've consistently woken up and requested a bottle since. And, I being the softy that I am, would oblige you. Again, you haven't been really into cuddling up until the past couple of months, so it was an excuse to hold you and sing to you and kiss your cheeks and smell your head. Now, let me go ahead and explain to the internet, that I am FULLY AWARE that this is a parenting "no-no". I mean, who wakes up at 2am to give their 18 month old a bottle? CRAZY PEOPLE. That's who!!

But, as everyone around here know, and you do too, Gage, we are having another baby. And, that kinda helps me loosen up on the treating you like an infant and letting you be the big boy that you are. This also means I am forcing you to give up the bottle. If I wasn't pregnant, I'm sure I'd be hitting the bottle right now. It breaks my heart to force you to transition, but I know in the long run, it will keep you from being as jealous of the new baby and it will also allow me to sleep through the night for a few months before I have another newborn constantly requesting my boob at 12, 2, 4, and 6am.

You've done OK so far. And, by so far, I mean it's been two nights of no bottle. We started the "no bottle" deal three nights ago, but when you woke up at 2am the first night, I sorta forgot and came into your room with a warm bottle of milk and you probably thought that the evil lady who had taken over your mother at bedtime was gone and your wonderful, loving, bottle-bearing mommy was back. The 2nd night was rough because I refused the bottle and brought you a cup of cold milk instead. You told me to get out. I let you fuss and moan for a while and then you finally went back to sleep. Last night, I tried a new method. You have this little Toy Story sport top water bottle - it's like the kind we use to get with our bicycles that had a little metal holder and typically coordinated with the color of the bike - and I offered you milk in THAT at bedtime. You seemed ok with it. And, when you woke up at 5:15 this morning - yep, you didn't wake up at 2am for milk that you knew I wouldn't bring - I told you it was still "night night" and offered you the Toy Story bottle. You got pissed and told me to get out again, but then you said "hold it?" and I gave it to you and left your room. You talked to yourself about how horrible of a mother I am, and eventually went back to sleep.

Now, it did cross my mind that there may be a milk disaster in your room this morning, but when you woke up and I came into your room, you had very smartly set the bottle in the corner of your crib where it wouldn't spill. You're a freakin' genius, kid!

Really, though, I know we'll get through this. We have to. You're almost two and its embarrassing for both of us that you're drinking a bottle of milk at 2am. My goal is for you to never drink from a bottle again. Until you're old enough to consume alcoholic beverages, and, then enjoy responsibly my dear!

On to the amazing things you're doing now. You are learning SO MUCH at daycare. You know about 70% of the alphabet. You can sing the whole thing, but some parts are more sound than letters. Some letters are very clear, and I am a very proud mommy! You are counting things "one-two" and you randomly counted to seven this past week. You know ALL your body parts - including wrists and ankles and shoulders - and pretty much all the animals and their sounds. You're doing better with colors. As opposed to calling everything "yellow" like you were doing for a while.

You say "I love you, Mommy" to me first. You grab my face and kiss me. You give excellent hugs. You apologize when you do something you shouldn't. Sometimes you apologize for us, like when you expect an apology for being bumped into. You have such an understanding of words and ideas and actions. You've got enough personality for three children. You're such a blast, Gage. You're more and more fun everyday. You make life so much fun and so much more worth living. Your dad and I love you to the moon and back and can't wait for you to have a sibling to play with and get into trouble with. You're truly an awesome person. I'll take a little credit for that.

Love, Mommy

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

8 weeks (well, and a half)

So, I did not manage to post at the end of last week since I was pretty much feeling like I might die. Seriously. WORST NAUSEA EVER. I think this baby is a girl. I know I said it, and I will say it again. I've even read that if you've got pretty bad nausea, it tends to be a girl baking in there. I was not this miserable with my first pregnancy. As I am approaching 9 weeks, I have not had much relief. Although, the first half of last week was a beating. I'm glad to have SOME relief. Thank you, yes, I enjoy being a baby and complaining on my OWN BLOG.

As it happens, I had a jury summons and had to show up for jury duty this past Monday. Equally amusing: a friend from MOPS was there as well. What are the odds we both have jury duty on the same day in the same court? As most patriotic Americans, Curtis immediately gives me ideas on how to get out of being selected for actual jury sitting. I shrugged it off, and just figured if it was meant to be, then I suppose I would do my civic duty and be done with it. I did however, come up with a list of :

12 Ways to Ensure You Won't Be Selected for the Jury
  1. Throw up in the middle of jury selection - this was a very real possibility for me
  2. Wear something overtly Anti-Government. Like this charming top. Don't Tread on Me T-Shirt
  3. Wear something overtly Religious. Like this one.
Jesus Christ - The Only Superhero
4. Visibly act like you recognize the defendant (i.e. wave excitedly) and then quickly try to cover your "recognition" by "playing it cool".
5. Snore. Loudly.
6. When asked if you have any personal beliefs that may keep you from being able to make an unbiased, fact-based, decision reply with "Oh, no. I'm just happy my husband let me out of the house this month. I love the fall weather!"
7. Refer to the Judge as "Your Majesty" instead of "Your Honor".
8. Occasionally sneak a sip from a flask containing something NON-alcoholic. Who knows the difference?
9. If asked ANY sort of question, always answer with "I could really use the $6 I'll get if I'm selected."
10. Any racist comment will do. Especially if it's about your own race.
11. When asked if you have any personal beliefs that may keep you from being able to make an unbiased, fact-based, decision reply with "I feel that women should not be judged as harshly as men in the courts".
12. If asked if there's any conflict of interest raise your hand and say "Um, I'm pretty sure I slept with that guy/girl over there" and point in the general direction of everyone else.

*I did NOT use any of these tactics to get out of jury duty.

I'm going to the eye doctor this Saturday and should hopefully be picking out some new stylish frames. Yep, I am skipping out on contacts for a few months. I feel like it makes more sense since I'm sure once this baby gets here I will be throwing on my glasses at all times of the night and not seeing at night is super inconvenient when you're changing diapers. Wish me happy shopping on that. I bought a Groupon a few weeks back and it includes a $200 credit toward a complete set of glasses. I'm cheap enough that I will find a pair for less than that amount. And they will hate me for it. :)

Here's to less nausea next week!

Monday, September 19, 2011

7 weeks

This past week I've been even MORE tired (who thought that was possible?) and I fell asleep in the new (to us) Lazy Boy recliner Curtis brought home for me. There's a lot of perks with Curtis's job. One of them being that customers give us stuff all the time. Usually it's cookies or something random. But, Curtis has been working with this one customer for a while, designing a custom garage door for her, and she finally got it approved by her HOA (how annoying, by the way. HOA's are a joke!) and settled on a design she liked, and Curtis installed it last Friday. Let's just say that typically people who do custom designed doors for their homes have a little money to spare. And, she decided to get rid of this really cute green plaid Lazy Boy women's recliner. Curtis asked if he could have it, and she just gave it to him. There's nothing wrong with the chair. She was just done with it. He brought it home, we rearranged our living room, and I now have my own recliner.

And, let me say, my pregnant body appreciates it already. Even though I don't really look I've been told. Curtis told me I haven't gained any weight, to which I replied by lifting my shirt and showing him "the two muffins I made for you this morning" muffin top I had going on. I realized pretty quickly that while I may not have put on much weight, my rear end is not a size 2 anymore. I had to put the 2's away around the same time I found out I was pregnant.

I have definitely been battling all day long nausea and have a hard time eating because nothing really sounds good until I am STARVING. I've had hot dogs for dinner the past two night, and my poor husband agreed to eat Hot Pockets for dinner last night because I just couldn't muster the desire to eat, let alone come up with anything to cook since I'm not really hungry at dinner time.

Saturday morning my mom came up here, and we did some shopping (I needed new flats. I am not waddling around my huge office building in heels) and had lunch at In & Out Burger. A first for both of us. The burgers were good - some special sauce they have - and the fries were under done for my preferences. Of course, that didn't stop me from shoveling them into my face. Gage pretty much ate fries, a sprite, and my chocolate shake for lunch. That kid gets plenty of protein through out the week, so I figure french fries are just fine for lunch once in a while. I definitely enjoy hanging out with my mom. As an only child, she and I were always close as I was growing up, and we make a point to see each other regularly.

We also went to meet my mother in law and sister in law and her daughter in Sherman yesterday to get the cousins together to play. We took them to an indoor bounce house place that also had one of those huge hamster crawl through tubes and stuff. Also, arcade games. (and violently played air hockey - I'm not cut out to play air hockey against a member of the Avary blood line. they're a little scary!) The kids (and adults) all had a ton of fun. And, Curtis was definitely enjoying himself playing in the bounce houses. He actually asked his sister to video him running and jumping up over the side of the bounce house that was an obstacle course.
(note: this morning Curtis told me he was sore all over - I do NOT wonder why). I found some of the climbing to be a little nauseating, but all together fun. Gage tripped over a woman's foot while he was cutting in front of her to catch up to Grandma and bonked his little head. He has a bump in the middle of his forehead. Other than that, we all survived. Exhausted.

I am ridiculously tired with this pregnancy and I still think it's just because with the first one, I didn't have a toddler to take care of too. Thank God Gage can climb into the car by himself if I allow him the time to do it. And, he can climb into his high chair with a little help to make sure he doesn't fall over.

And oh my gosh, can I just say that I am not emotionally stable enough to watch all those military homecoming surprise videos floating around. They did a mini segment on the news this weekend and I was crying about 2 minutes into it.

Also, if anyone wants a large, but very loveable puppy whom we refer to as Mimi, let me know. She's driving me bonkers! I think it would be a LOT less annoying if we had carpets and I didn't have to hear her clackety-clacking down the hall at 3am. That dog is making me crazy at night. And, I SWEAR she knows when the alarm is about to go off, and insists on waking me up about 10-15 minutes beforehand. Again, free to a good home!

Chubby blonde diapered child NOT free to a good home. :) But, you can see how good Mimi is with children.
Another week down, and like a BILLION to go. I'll just be happy not being nauseous all day. I do think this baby might be a girl. Because only a girl would be this mean to her mom so early on in life. And, I don't remember feeling this way with Gage.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Gage 21 Month Letter

Dear "Mine!", You just turned 21 months old last week and it's crazy to think that you'll be 2 in just a couple of months. How the heck did that happen? We only JUST celebrated your first birthday!

You have really adjusted well to the new daycare you're at. You love playing with your friends "K" and "M". You, obviously, were drawn to K first, since she's an older woman. They are 3 yr old twins, one boy and one girl. You really seem to have picked up a friendship with M and I've seen him make you laugh really hard. You also don't care to be picked up when it's time to go home most of the time.

You've learned a LOT so far. You have a word of the day, and you remember several in a row. You have also been saying "mine!" a lot, which I understand is because you're now in a more sharing situation. But, kid, I HATE THAT WORD. It's just not nice hearing it from your mouth every 3.8 seconds. And, you're also incredibly fond of saying "no". I realize that has a lot to do with your age and how you're learning about the world. But, again, super annoying after a while.

Other than that, you're proving to be incredibly smart and a very fast learner. You pat my tummy and say "baby" since we explained that's where the baby is. You ask questions and you make your requests pretty clear. And, of course, throw a royal fit when you don't get what you want. We try not to pay too much attention to the fits, and try to focus on positive attention, and making sure you feel like we're paying attention when you say something or follow along with you when you say "um on!" and beckon with your little hand. I do love following you around the house to see what it is that you're excited enough about to show us.

 You've discovered just how much fun it is to play with the baby powder if I am stupid enough to leave it ANYWHERE CLOSE to where you can reach it. Let me just tell you that your room will probably smell like a fresh baby's bottom until we move out. There's only so much you can do to clean that mess up. Perhaps this would be the time to splurge on having a house cleaner come visit for a couple of hours. If only...

You LOVE to help. You have been helping me feed the dogs by bringing Mimi's bowl and helping me scoop food into it, and even carrying it back to where she likes to eat. (out of the kitchen, away from the little terrorist dogs). You throw away trash. You like ti put things back where they belong. You even clean up your toys if I am very specific about where to put them. Yesterday I asked you to put your books back into the dump truck (you like pushing them around in it) and not only did you pick them all up, you pushed the truck back into your room. I was very proud.

You still love to dance, and still use it as a way to distract us from getting on to you about something you shouldn't be doing. Of course, we're not THAT dumb, but it is awfully cute that you try. (I am 100% certain that you get this character trait from your dad.) You have stopped eating like a Hoover, and more like a kid who eats regular meals. You definitely were all over my dinner plate last night, picking shredded cheese off of my chili dog and calling it rice.

You love lotion and if I put some on you, you always help rub it in. I am looking forward to taking advantage of this by letting you help me rub lotion on my belly as it grows and gets all itchy. You're really getting big, and I think I am loving it more and more every day now. We are so proud of how smart you are. And how much fun you can be. I am personally very proud of your vocabulary, as I can take a lot of the credit for it.

Gage, you're outrageous!

Love, Mommy

Friday, September 9, 2011

6 Weeks

While I feel that I did a fairly good job of writing about my experience as a new mother AFTER my first pregnancy, I wish that I had charted my maternity a little better. Because, guess what, some hilarious and also really sad shit went down when I was pregnant with Gage.

I guess that I will just draw comparisons as I go along with this pregnancy. So far, we found out just about the same time as we did with Gage. I'm a pretty meticulous tracker of my cycle, and I am also pretty aware of my body. We found out April 1, 2009 I was expecting Gage and was due Dec 5 2009. This time, we found out on August 29th (well, the 30th officially with that disgusting pregnancy test I peed on that's on my Facebook profile picture) and I believe this baby is due May 5th. We're VERY SCHEDULED HERE! Both times, right between 4 & 5 weeks. It does make the pregnancy seem longer, since you know the WHOLE TIME. Not like "Whoa, surprise I'm already 12 weeks along and I had no idea!" Of course, I noticed Monday morning that I was looking a little fluffy in the belly, but contributed that to possible pre-period bloating.

This week I've had "the pregnancy hungries" "the pregnancy bitchies" and I believe as of yesterday, I may have already suffered "the pregnancy labotamy". Ya know, that whole the-baby-stole-your-brain and you honestly forget what you just stood up to do. Until you realize you're about to pee your pants, and then it's "OH THATS WHY I'M STANDING HERE".

Also, let me say that I can tell a very large difference in how often and how much of an emergency it is to use the bathroom this pregnancy. Like, the ability to wait has disappeared. If it hits me that I gotta go, then I'm not waiting. Unless, of course, I want to pee my pants.

The crazy dreams have started. One this week wherein I am single, not pregnant and dating that ugly actor Jason Segel from "How I Met Your Mother". Because I obviously couldn't dream about dating Hugh Jackman, or Taylor Lautner - both of which, I now realize, have played wolf characters in popular movies. Please, analyze THAT ONE for me! Anyway, I woke up feeling awkward and disappointed that I dreamed about an ugly dude.

I've also felt more nausea this week. As in, I almost opened my car door to puke at a red light. And I distinctly remember only throwing up twice with Gage. I don't remember how bad the actual nausea was.

I've definitely been tired. I've definitely been crazy annoyed by everything and everyone at different points in the day. And, the SMELLS. UGH! I was just telling my best friend, Jennifer, who is about 14-15 weeks along in her first pregnancty, about the sense of smell during pregnancy. Like how it made me sick to my stomach to smell Lysol and cigarette smoke. And how everything smells like meat or something equally awkward. And, then I found out I'm pregnant and the sensitivity to smell hits me like a ton of dirty diapers.

Let me say this, if I walk into your house or you run into me at the store and I'm making offended faces, it's probably not because you smell or your house smells like dog pee. It's just that I can smell your hairspray and your Scentsy candle is a little too strong for my pregnant nose. Thankfully, I have not had any aversion to the way Curtis smells. Or Gage. I love to smell his chubby neck still. Curtis still smells like he always does. Yummy.

So, here we are at the beginning of this journey. Wow. That was corny. On to the pizza buffet!!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

How We Celebrated the Drought

I cannot, of course, lead with something incredibly obvious in my title. If you're reading this, then you most likely saw my link on Facebook and followed it here to read all the gory details. Ok, not gory exactly.

Anyway, here's how Baby #2 came to be (this is not your biology lesson of the day).

We've had the baby fever for a while now. I blame it on Gage getting big and on all my pregnant friends announcing their babies on the way. Curtis has always wanted to have the babies close together so they can have a friend at school. I also wanted to be done with having babies by 30 so I can get back into teaching classes at the gym permanently. With no breaks after having kids and then having to get back into shape AGAIN. I'll just stay squishy til I'm done pushing out kids.

So, we had been planning and talking about TRYING (because it's different to try vs. not really worry about if you get pregnant or not) to conceive at the end of this year. I will admit that I haven't taken birth control in about a year, so we weren't exactly practicing "safe sex" like they teach in school. It's a crap shoot when you play the game that way. Curtis said we should name this baby Bullseye because we've learned how fertile it seems we are.

So, baby number two is on the way!!! I had the craziest pregnancy test drama this time around. On a Monday, I decided to buy a two pack of tests and came home and took one. The "pregnancy line" was incredibly faint, so I wasn't convinced. Curtis, of course, jumped on the computer and started researching. His conclusion "everything I've read says that if there's a line at all, even a faint one, it means you're pregnant." To which I replied, "yeah, I don't think so. I'll take another in the morning". It IS pretty much a myth that you should take a test in the morning. You're either pregnant or not. That statement kind of negates my unbelief about my own pregnancy.

So, test #2 at 5:45am was a dud. Like a completely NON working test. The control line didnt show up or anything. Of course, that was not something I could tolerate. So, I took a shower, got dressed and drove to the store at 6:15 in the morning to buy another 2 pack of tests. This time I just buy what's cheaper and ignore national brands, since that's what gave me a dud test anyway.
Of course, I get to the store, and have to go to the customer service desk and have someone paged to come over and get me a test from behind the counter - why are they locked up along side the condoms and cigarettes? And, I get in line where the older lady cashier decides to converse with me about my purchase while two men stand in line behind me waiting to buy their gatorades.

Nosey Cashier: "Is this for you?"
Me: "Who the hell do you think I'm buying a test for at 6am?" Ok, well that's what I THOUGHT to myself. My actual reply was to nod my head yes.
NC: "Oh, do you want to be?"
Me: (is she effing serious?!?) "Well, yes, I guess so. We already have a one year old at home."
NC: "Oh, well then yes." Like me already having a kid made it make sense that I would want another one.

I leave and I am thinking how RUDE people are. And, of course, being pregnant means that everyone has an opinion or question to ask. Mostly an opinion. I have already had someone be rude about my pregnancy test being on Facebook. Hey, it's MY FACEBOOK. That's what's so great about it. I may run something past Curtis now and then if I am concerned about its level of appropriateness. But, if he's unconcerned, then I'm good. He's pretty damn conservative, so if he OK's it, then you might as well figure it's safe for the whole family. But, I digress from the pregnancy test excitement...

So, I get home with my tests and of course, I don't have to pee. But Curtis insists that I try again before work. Let's just say those test results were inconclusive.

Forward to 9:30am at work. I sneak a test in my pocket (because carrying my purse to the bathroom reminds me of being a teenager on my period in high school. It's painfully obvious that I am needing to carry a tampon but too embarrassed to palm it to the loo) and again, have some freaking issue! This time, the control line didnt completely appear, and so again I felt that the test was inconclusive. At this point, I am wondering if I really am pregnant or not, and waiting for the tell tale signs of NOT being pregnant to show up. I decide to wait until Friday and take another test if there have been no further developments.

That evening, I go on some rampage in an argument with Curtis wherein I tell him that I am NOT cooking dinner for him since I am not really hungry and Gage can eat a hotdog and yogurt for dinner and be happy. He proceeds to get my car keys and get in my car, to which I respond by whisper screaming at him so the neighbors can't hear. Of course, I end up asking him where he's going and he says KFC and I remember they have a pretty good deal on a bucket of chicken and sides for $10. So, I volunteer that we all get in the car and ride together. (yes, that crazy mood swing should have been enough to convince me)

While we're waiting in the drive thru, Curtis says "Hey, do you want to get a pregnancy test while we're out" and I shrug and say sure. We've already spent $20 on 4 tests that proved nothing, so I decide to get the kind that says words. Like "pregnant" or "not pregnant" or "stop eating pizza".

Well, if you're here from my Facebook link, then I am sure you've already seen how that test turned out. :) And if it bothers you that I have something posted on my FB that I peed on, then PLEASE STOP READING MY BLOG! I assure you there's so much MORE offensive material that I will come up with over the next 9 months. You probably can't handle it.

This baby is due May 5, 2012. Yes, please feel free to cheer "Cinco De Mayo!" much like my husband and my best friend both did.

We are very excited, and I'm a little mind boggled that we will now have TWO children to warp... I meant MOLD into wonderful human beings. I'm thinking I will be a bit more laid back with this one. I won't be having any crazy baby shower. However, I may decide to have a get together over dinner with some girlfriends or something. If this baby is a girl, I will be happy to accept any directions you have that comes with raising a daughter. Unless, of course, I don't ask for your advice or opinion. Because Lord knows I will hear enough of those over the next 9 months!

Congratulations to Gage! We think he will be an incredibly helpful and wonderful big brother.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Gage: 19 & 20 Months Letter

Dear Little Acorn,
We have had a whirlwind past couple of months. I've been adjusting to a new job. You've been totally awesome. You now have all your teeth in. Even your cute little canines. It's weird to see you running around like a toddler now. And, it seems like every month I always talk about how you're NOT A BABY ANYMORE. But, I think it's true now. You are starting to use almost complete sentences. You sing "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" pretty clearly. You're ridiculously smart. I'm not the only one who thinks that either. You genuinely surprise me with the things you know or say.

You can finally say "school bus" correctly. But, you're new non-sensical word is yogurt. You pronounce it to something that sounds like "wee day". You were saying it one afternoon and your dad had no idea what you were asking for. And, then we went to the store the next day and as I was unpacking the groceries, you said "wee day!" and pointed to the yogurt. Mystery solved!
You tell us when you're tired. You say "hungry" and climb into your high chair. You love to get on our bed and roll around and have us throw you onto it.

You've been staying the night with your Uncle Scott & Aunt Miranda after she keeps you on Fridays during the day. You're always pissed when you come home. I think it's because they let you have your own bag of chips and don't make you go to bed at 7. They are crazy about you and they were both sad to see you leave this morning after a long TWO night stay. Yep, you stayed from Thursday morning to Saturday morning this week. It was kinda hard on me, but you're always in good hands and I know you have a blast over there.

On Monday, you'll be starting at a new in home daycare that's on the way to my work. Meaning, I get to see you in the mornings a little more and drop you off at the babysitter every day. They use the Little Acorn curriculum, hence you're my little acorn this letter. There are some 4 yr olds and two kids around your age there. I think you'll have a blast with all the new friends. You're very social and didn't waste any time running around their house checking out all the toys and stuff when we went there to interview. I'm just trusting that you'll do well like you always seem to.

You're drinking out of an open cup well. You can feed yourself "wee day" without TOO much mess. Of course, I still strip you if I let you feed yourself. And, I very rarely feed you anymore. You're too dang independent for that! You like to sit on the potty and then get in the bathtub and pee. At least you're aware of the process. Heck, I pee in the shower too. All that warm water...

You're wearing 2T clothes now. They're a little big, but 18 months look a little silly on you sometimes. You growl and show us your muscles. You are doing well with animal sounds and recognition. You pretend to count, and if I say ONE, you'll say TWO. Even when I am giving you a countdown to a spanking. Which brings me to...yes we spank you. Trust me, kid, you need it sometimes. You LOVE to say NO. You love to be your own little independent self. And, I DO love that about you. I don't think I can deal with a whiny, needy kid. That sounds horrible, right? It's called being real, kiddo. I'm going to teach you to be that way too.

I miss you when I'm at work. I really do. But, there's a lot of good that can come from it too. It's just a phase of life that we'll get through. You're an incredible little person. I am always so proud of you...except for when you pick your nose at the grocery store. I find that rather embarrassing.

I love you to the moon and back, sweet baby boy!
Love, Mommy

Saturday, July 30, 2011

WTH Happened to July?

Well, the last time I posted, I was about to start a new job. And, I think I even promised to update you after the first week. So, I'm either a liar, or really busy. Let's go with busy since I pride myself on my honesty.
So, I've been at this new job for about 5 weeks. It's 100 times better than the last job. And, the fact they they're paying me more is a definite factor. Gage has still been going to Miss Chris, and my sister in law's houses during the week. I miss him a lot, of course. Curtis is working hard, and July is always a slow month for us, and that's probably a blessing since it's been 100 degrees every damn day this month.
However, we are in a transition because Gage is going to start full time daycare at FBC Plano on August 15th (that is, once I get his paperwork turned in...). I'm a little sad about him being officially in "school" every day. But, I know it's a great opportunity for him to play with friends his age, learn stuff, do stuff, have a set routine. And, they're like 90 seconds from our house. Can't even hate on that! I sorta skipped Gage's 19 month letter, so I will combine the letter for months 19 & 20 next weekend.You can get a full update on his antics then...
So, I don't hate my job, business could be a little better - but we're continuously trusting the Lord for new customers - it's really hot all the time right now, and Gage is getting so big it's seriously making me want another baby. But, that will be next year, Lord willing. I want the baby, don't really want to go through being pregnant. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the pregnancy with Gage. But, I hate being tired and moody all the time. (this is where Curtis would comment that I'm moody and tired all the time now) I don't think I can chase a toddler and be pregnant and work full time and not lose my mind right now.
Well, we have a couple friends coming over tonight, and I have to clean up around here...story of my life. Cleaning.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

About to get "dooced"

That's not even close to what you're thinking, I assure you. is a blog that I love and is actually the blog that inspired me to start this one. You should stop by and read it. Heather is as unapologetic as I wish I could be. She grew up Mormon (is no longer a practicing one) and she isn't afraid to talk about poop. That's my fair warning. But, her website became the thing that caused her to lose her full time office job. Hence, "dooced" came to mean getting fired for your blog. It was a question on Jeopardy last year, so that's about as legit as it gets.

Anyway, I took today off work. I hate that job. Let me tell you, getting paid $10/hr to do something so incredibly pointless is a joke. The service they offer, property preservation, is a fine one. But, there's just a lot of moving around, "cross-training" and basic disorganization that gets to me. Also, working with 15-20 females gets hormonal. Everyone has an issue with someone. And, it's not doing something I've done before, so I'm not super great at it, not very fast at producing the required documents, and that makes me feel like a loser. So, getting paid $10/hr to feel like a loser and not really make any decent friends because they keep moving people around (and firing people who suck at their job).

Enter: A NEW JOB!! Man, the Lord knows my heart and prepares a way for me. My sweet friends helped me find a new job, getting paid more (see: I can pay my Gage watching ladies a little closer to what they deserve - but how can you put a price on excellent childcare? YOU CANT!) and working as an administrative assistant in an office where I can wear high heels and not jeans. I'm just glad for something that should be a lot more enjoyable and better pay and eventual benefits with a great sounding company. I'm starting tomorrow. Yep, tomorrow. That means I've got to let this current place know I'm leaving, while still managing to swing by and collect my desk of snacks and my picture of Gage from my desk. I've gotta time that perfectly.

So, instead of getting fired for bitching about this job that sucks, it looks like God had prepared everything in advance so that I could start a new job at a place that I will stay and not hate. With just one day off between working. It's a nice day off too. Spending time with my little man and getting to see my big man as soon as he's done working today.

If ya gotta work, you'd better like what you do. Curtis works his butt off - seriously that man has NO fat on his body. He's also ridiculously strong and a great kisser...oh wait, I digress - but he loves his job. He says he's living his dream, working for himself. He's got a 5 year plan. He's even talking about having TWO more kids if the business gets to where he hopes it will. I reminded him that if we had money for two more kids, then we'd better have money to put my body back into it's original glory like when he met me. :)

I feel like the Lord is blessing our way...I'm meaning more that we are inside of God's will for us and we are enjoying His favor. "It's been a hard year, but we're climbing out of the rubble," That's not my lyric so I won't take credit. Sara Groves' album with this song was the soundtrack to my life when I first met Curtis.

I'm just beside myself with excitement about this change. And, glad I don't have to jeopardize my job by writing on the internet about how much I hate it.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Life's a....

Well, I will let you finish that for yourself since my husband prefers to censor my language so that everyone thinks I'm a nice girl.

This week has been the most bizarre week I think we've had in as long as I can remember. On Tuesday Curtis found out that a customer/friend had passed away from a heart attack less than a day after Curtis had spent almost two hours talking and hanging out with him making arrangements to fix his garage door. Blindsided. We were shocked and really saddened by this loss because although he didn't know him for long, Curtis really liked Joe. He was an older, incredible Christian man who had spent time praying with Curtis and just talking about life, much like an older brother in Christ would do.

Then, I get an email wherein I am told that I am a liar, that I've made up things that happened in my childhood. That the things that have shaped my entire life were figments of my imagination. I was just dumbfounded. I wish I could say that I was outraged, but really I just felt sorry for the person. If they can deny their part in ruining my childhood, then they're the ones who need help. Because I have moved on with my life. I had to deal with it, decide to make decisions as an adult and choose healing. And, their exit from my life means little to me.

Curtis has been incredibly busy this week with work. He's probably had a record week since we've completely branched out on our own. God is certainly blessing our business.

I've adjusted to working full time, I suppose. I miss my sweet Chunky Monkey. I feel like he's getting big and growing up behind my back. He's showing his smarts by using new words every single day. Curtis has been talking to me more and more about having another baby. I definitely want to add to our family. I just want to make sure we've got the best timing possible given the financial situation. I know, I know. There's never ENOUGH money to have another baby. But, having health insurance with maternity coverage would greatly help the situation!

I am just ready for this week to be over...

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Gage: Eighteen Month Letter

I only THOUGHT you were repeating everything we said. You now CLEARLY repeat everything we say. I called across the room to get your dad's attention the other day by saying "Honey" and you immediately starting calling him Honey. There's still some things you don't quite have figured out yet, but you say them consistently. Like "fan" is "wah". And "school bus" is "scoo-ti".

Here's the part I couldn't bear to open with: I went back to work this past week. I started a new job last Tuesday. You've been playing at Miss Chris's house 3 days and Uncle Scott & Aunt Miranda's house the other two. You haven't had any tears or separation issues with me dropping you off. I am very proud that you're so well adjusted, but part of me wishes you missed me at least a little.

You really are getting bigger every day. You just got your first hair cut with the buzzers and you held still and totally loved it. You look a lot more like a little boy and less like a baby though and it makes me sad. I think it helps me adjust to being away from you though. Being a toddler makes you seem more capable of handling it. Who am I kidding? I think I'm the one who is handling it the worst.

In fact, I'm not that motivated to write this're EIGHTEEN months old...that's a year and a half. And it's gone by so quickly. I think about you while I'm at work. I try and decide what you're doing based on what time it is. I miss your chunkies. I think about gobbling your cheeks. You're such a litle sweetheart and you're so smart.

You've started getting more beligerent this past month. You're so stubborn and we've had to step up with our discipline and rules and follow through. Translation: you've been getting more spankings. Judge not, people. Spare the rod and spoil the child. Maybe that's why your kids a brat all the time. Well, that, or they don't get enough sleep.

Gage, you're just more and more of your own little person each month. There has been a fine tuning of your skills this past month. You speak more clearly. You understand us more. You are incredibly smart because you very obviously understand things that we say and ask you. You really love to help us. Of course, sometimes that means you close the fridge and push hard when I am standing there trying to pour you some juice. And, that's annoying. But, I get that you want to help by closing the door.

You're very concerned with certain routines that we do. You like to shut the door and turn off your own light when I take you into your room to go to sleep at night. You like to close the back door when the dogs come inside. You like to ask for cookies for breakfast.

I'm really close to wanting to give you a sibling. I miss your cuddly babyness. I love how you're growing into a little boy with so much personality and energy and life. You would love a baby. You've been really sweet around other babies. And you're very gentle and you like to touch their toes.

This letter is pretty much depressing for me. I don't feel like facing the fact that you're already a year and a half old. Stop growing up!!!!


Sunday, May 29, 2011

What exhausts me the most...

So,it's been crazy at home with my beloved soul mate and our precious offspring...and three dogs and our recent decision to move the dining table into the office and the computer desk into the living room. We decided it was easier to stay on top of marketing and business with the computer in the room we spend the most time. It annoyed me to have Curtis be in the 3rd bedroom we used as an office on the computer while I wrestled the 4 creatures underfoot.

We've spent a ridiculous amount of time together over the past few weeks since it's been slow going with new business. Let me just say, I am learning to fake being nice to even my husband some days. I know he doesn't love ALL the quality time we've had either...except he doesn't yet know how to fake being nice.

What exhausts me the most is the non=stop juggling of everything at once.Grocery shopping is no longer a time to hang out alone...Curtis wants to get out of the house too. Peeing has never been a solo event for me, but it's now an Avary family reunion every time I sit down. And, here I thought that with my husband home more, I would shower more...well, cross that off the list of things I thought would be different. I think I shower my defense, so does he! Awesome. No worries about baby #2 showing up sooner than we plan.

The thing that balances it all out is that we are DOING SOMETHING. For ourselves and for our future. We're working to leave something behind that counts. A business for our children to have and continue if they choose to.


This past week, I was suppose to go to a sort of working interview for a part time job on Wednesday morning. After a lot of agonizing, I decided to turn it down and did not go to the interview because it sounded great, but part time would not have been as beneficial to us as I had hoped. So, when I should have been at the interview, I ended up getting a phone call from a recruiter about a job I had applied for through their job posting site. She set up an interview with me for Friday morning.

I drove downtown to meet her at her office about a job with their client in Allen. That's how it works. You have to meet them first, and then they send your resume, and you hopefully go for a second interview at the actual office where you'll work. And, I did have one. I went that same afternoon and met with HR, and a direct manager, and they hired me on the spot. I could tell they liked me, and I really liked them too. They had two positions available, and they even asked me which I would prefer since they felt I would be a good fit. And, here's the kicker: I think my experience in the home repair service industry with our garage door repair business helped me the most. They liked that I had experience negotiating and getting bids for home repairs.

The Lord made it pretty obvious to me at that moment. The peace I had been looking for about working was evident. It's SO close to home. I have made arrangements for Baby Gage to be cared for by two people I absolutely love (Brittany, and my sister in law Miranda). They're taking a couple of days a piece so that no one gets stuck with our bundle of energy every single day. It's a lot to ask, I feel. He can be pretty difficult sometimes. What am I saying? ALL THE TIME. He's at 100% ALL DAY LONG. He doesn't do anything halfway. HE'S EXHAUSTING!

But, I digress (of course, every conversation or blog from me is just a bunch of rabbit chasing bunched together to seem like a flowing experience). Everything is ready to go. Except I'm a little sad because I've been with my baby since he was born. I think he's at an age where he's old enough to be away from me for a while every day. He's incredibly social and loves his friends and family. I just feel at peace about it. Health insurance after about 90 days sounds great too. Baby #2 anyone? :)

So, I'm going back to work. I feel good about it. I have lots of new fun stuff for Gage like new forks and spoons and Disney tupperware for his lunches. He's going to have a blast playing. And, I am going to rock this new job, our business will grow exponentially, and we will spend our time thanking Jesus for all He's done in our lives.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

It's All Cyclical

Last year around this time I was going back to work. I went to work one day, and decided I couldn't leave my precious 5 month old baby.You can read about it here.
It's not lost on me that even though that last post was on a Monday, that the DATE IS EXACTLY THE SAME AS TODAY'S DATE. Cue The Twilight Zone theme song.

This time around, we've launched out on our own with our Garage Door Repair Business and Curtis is working for only himself. We've been making a lot of advancements growing our business, but it's still a little stressful. And, it would be nice if we had some more capital to help get things going strong. Also, I would love to have reasonably priced health insurance for all of us instead of just Gage. Thank the Lord we've all been well.

So, I decided to start looking for a job and posted my updated resume online. Basically, I'm thinking about going back to work, again. This time, however, I am not going to chicken out and quit after one day. I was suppose to have an interview for a job that's doing EXACTLY what I did before I had Gage and started being a stay at home mommy. But, in one day's time, the girl who was leaving decided to stay and therefore they no longer needed a replacement.

So, I spent our last MOPS meeting in tears thinking it was my last MOPS meeting ever, and I could've been not so stressed out. Because, yes, I am still looking for a job, but it's not like it's starting Monday.

I will definitely miss my big boy. But, he's a lot bigger now. He will be staying with Brittany (and Hannah & Noah) to play while we work - and I couldn't be happier with that option. She takes the kids places, and has more motherhood experience than I do. So, it's pretty ideal. And Gage LOVES them.

But, business has picked up a little (as in people are calling because there for about a week we didn't get any calls and I wondered if my phone was broken. It was like being in high school and waiting for that boy to call. Yes, I did a little bit of that. I mostly had a serious boyfriend after the age of 15 so I wasn't heartsick sitting by the phone a whole lot) and I feel a smidgen better. I know it's about trusting God, and battling Satan's attacks, but that doesn't make it all that simple to handle each and every day.

I certainly have thought and even said to Curtis "I am at the edge of what I can handle right now." Of course, God won't bring us to something that He won't go through with us. Knowing the outcome sure would make things more manageable. I have a frustratingly good memory and I have that constant voice in my head that quotes Scripture in the middle of my fears and doubts. I have a verse or bible based song lyric for just about anything one might struggle with in life. And it's on a record that plays the appropriate phrase at the most opportune time. Perhaps that's what we call the Holy Spirit at work.

So, it's mid-May and I'm thinking about working. And, I would love a part time job. Of course, a full time job with benefits would be acceptable. However, I am simply unclear as to what God's plan is in all of this. All I know is God is God and I am NOT.

I have little to no insight as to what I should be doing. All I know is that I am going to TRY and find a job and the Lord knows if I get an offer that I will take it. So, I am trusting Him to not let anyone offer me a job if that's not what I am suppose to do. And praying for wisdom and inspiration for growing our business and getting customers. And, praying for peace.

Just do me a favor. If you live in the metroplex and you have a garage door or opener related issue...CALL ME!!!!!!! 214-228-1316

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Gage: Seventeen Month Letter

Dear Wild-ling,

Your 17 months of life coincides with Mother's Day this year. This is officially my second Mother's Day, though technically it's my third because I knew I was pregnant with you in May of 2009. Today you were pretty much as good as I could have hoped for. You slept til 8am (such a great gift in and of itself!!) and we went to church, had lunch, and you took a good afternoon nap for me. You are so wild and crazy these days that it makes up for the horrendous fits you're throwing when you don't get your way. So, here's what's new with you.

You now have 12 teeth completely in. I can see your little canines are slowly coming in on the bottom because your little gums are swollen and you had a bit of a fever last weekend before the gums really started looking painful. I imagine they'll be here by your next letter.

You are starting to thin down a little and really look more like a boy and less like a baby. My, God, the WORDS!!! The words you're saying. You repeat everything now. You said "love you" the first time this week when your dad and I were exchanging "goodbye's" and "i love you's" as he left for work one morning. Today I got you to slowly repeat "Happy Mommy Day" to me, one word at a time. You also said "Happy Grandma Day" to my mom when we called to say Happy Mother's Day to her.

You also repeated "Shit" 5 or 6 times in the kitchen after I let it slip in front of you. We've decided to ignore it and not make a big deal of it as we learned our lesson about reacting to things we don't really want you to do again and again, especially in public. (Because sometime in the last month you were slapping your legs in the bath tub, and then starting slapping your little package and I was so surprised that I think my reaction got your attention and you ran around the house after your bath slapping your whole crotch while we tried not to cringe or laugh.)

I can't even begin to list all the words you know and things you can say. You know lots of animals,and you're learning their sounds. You like to "count" or "spell" things as we count your toes or spell words you understand when you're around. Like when I tell your dad I don't want you to know I left your "b-l-a-n-k-i-e" at home and I hope you don't notice. Your version of counting is pointing and making different sounds as you touch each object or thing. And the abc's and spelling are similar. You're just repeating the idea of different sounds in song or rhythm.

I sat you on your little potty chair for the first time this week. You have been trying to back up to the toilet and sit when I say I have to go to the bathroom and you follow me in there. And you say "potty", you're aware of being wet, and you tell me when you're poopy.

You are getting much more difficult to manage. This mostly means we are having to discipline you more than ever. I get it though. You're part me, and part your dad. The odds are stacked against you in the stubborn department. Thank God there's two of us and only one of you!

But, in the same measure of you being difficult, you're also growing sweeter. You love to give kisses and cuddle more. You're quick to give a kiss if you accidently hurt me or I act upset with how you're treating me. You love to play with us and by yourself.

We've taken you to play in the water a couple of times now, and you're just ridculously happy by it. I know I will be taking you as often as I can to play at the splash pads and pool.

I think you're pretty damn smart. I know I'm your mom, but other people comment on your vocabulary and I am constantly surprised by what you recognize and remember, I swear the weirdest thing happened today at lunch. We went to Panera for my lunch choice. The one that your grandma and I took you to several months ago. Like before you turned one. Today we walked in the door and you took off and walked right up to the same table we had sat at inside of Panera with your grandma. I was pretty shocked. You walked through and around several tables and then walked right up to the table and stopped like you knew where we were going. It was bizarre, kiddo.

Your dad and I have launched off on our own now and he's working for himself. That means that all the work he gets comes from my marketing skills and people's word of mouth advertising. This scares me pretty badly at certain moments. It's really stressful, and I should apologize to you for all the yelling that's been going on here at home lately. But, your dad is so motivated and he tells you all the time that we are building a future for you so that you can take over the business and run it or sell it for a profit someday. Just one less thing for you to have to worry about. Your dad says he doesn't want you to have to struggle and work hard for things like we've had to. He just wants you to have the choice to have a part of our family business. A successful one. I just want to be able to pay for your college and maybe have a nice house for you to grow up in. One that you won't be embarrassed to have friends over to. And, if I think about being a little more shallow for a minute, I wouldn't mind having time and money for the gym and tanning and the spa every now and again.

Sweet boy, everything we do is so much about you. We want this to be successful for your future. We care so much for you and you're such a special gift from God. You're the light in my cloudy days. You really are my little sunshine. Your innocence reminds me to slow down and appreciate the world as it is. You teach me how to be an example for you. You are so very loved and I can't imagine life any other way than being your mommy and being married to your daddy. Things will alway get tough in life, but I know we are trying to teach you that you can rest in Jesus and always find peace and comfort, even if we aren't there with you.

I can't believe next month you'll be a year and a half old. I might skip that letter and have two shots of tequila to numb the pain of losing my baby to childhood. I pray you'll stay sweet and carefree for as long as you want. I know your dad and I had to grow up a little too quickly in some ways and I want you to be a kid and enjoy it for a very long time. Don't grow up too fast, little man.

We love you more than you'll ever know, Gage.

Love, Mommy

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Serious Saturday

As pretty much everyone who has any connection to the modern world knows, yesterday was Good Friday. We spent the day with my grandparents (Gage's great-grandparents) and we had the best day we've had in a while. In all the craziness that's been going on the past two weeks, it was a nice change to spend the day with family.

We took Gage to see the Easter Bunny, and ironically, he cried BEFORE we saw the Bunny because I wouldn't let him down to run over to the Bunny. He REALLY wanted to see him, and when he did, he was just so sweet sitting there, patting the Bunny's hand and leg saying "bunny". And, he kissed the Bunny on the cheek. So, I'd say our visit was a success. This was his first time, because there's no way I was sitting my 4 month old baby on the same lap that every other germy kid had sat on last year. But, with all the dirt eating, nose picking, and letting the dogs lick his mouth over the past year, I figure he's built up his immunity enough for the onslaught of those germs. Generally, it was a great day and we all went to bed happy and exhausted.

I mentioned how growing up I always found it odd that we call it "Good Friday" when there was nothing GOOD about it. My grandmother was quick to insert that being forgiven for all our sins because of the death of Christ was pretty good news to her. Of course, we all agreed.

It inevitably makes me think of how hopeless this Saturday was for everyone who had been following Christ, and hearing Him predict His death and subsequent Resurrection, must have been.
Was He really dead? Would He really come back to life? Was there anything that they could do? My faith would have been shaken. And, many of these followers were so terrified they denied even knowing Christ. Peter denied him THREE times on this day. Peter, the one on which He said He would build His church. There must have been a collective holding of breath on this first Saturday.

There's a song by my favorite band of all time, Caedmon's Call where he sings

"It's like the long Saturday between Your death and the rising day, when no one wrote a word, wondered is this the end?"

I never thought a whole lot about this day before I heard that song several years ago. So, while you're running around, getting last minute Easter Sunday supplies (like basket stuffings, and whatever kitchen item you forgot), taking your kids to egg hunts at your local church, think about what today must have been like. We take a lot of time lamenting the beating and crucifixion of our Savior. And, we of course, celebrate His Resurrection on Sunday. But, what makes Sunday so celebratory is this long Saturday. This hopeless day. That's what makes the hope He brings so important. He died. For you. Like a criminal. Scorned like a murderer. Mocked as a phony Messiah. Buried like a pauper. Denied like a stranger.


Saturday, April 16, 2011

No time for THAT!

Following up on my last post, I have done some soul searching over the last few days because, well, sheesh, everything is in upheaval it seems. I feel like God is shaking my shoulder reminding me that He's there. I think when you get arrogant in the face of your Creator, He has a way of reminding you He's God and we're not. Mediocrity isn't what we're called to. The higher calling we have as believers is exactly that: Higher. But, it's about His righteousness, not our self righteousness. We boast in Christ or we don't boast at all. His strength is made perfect in our weakness.

Who wants to admit that they're simply an ungrateful wretch? Reality is that we were all saved by Amazing Grace WHILE WE WERE YET SINNERS. Yesterday I was reminded of how much I live my life for myself. Wondering what should I do for me? Wrong road to wander down in my mind.

I think I have drawn my conclusions fairly quickly although I have to say I didn't make it easy on myself: My heart's desire has always been to be a stay at home wife and mother. I've always enjoyed certain writing. Hello blog people, that's why I am here - But, after I got a 2 year college degree while working almost full time, and then taking a little time off from school and trying to go back and get a Bachelor's degree, I had my "aha! moment". I was walking across the DBU campus and I thought, "I don't want this. All I want is to be a stay at home mommy, and everyone knows NO AMOUNT OF SCHOOL can prepare you for that career!"

Within the next month, I withdrew from my classes, quit my job, we all suffered the loss of a dear friend. And, I met my husband. I could stop right there and make the point enough.

Right after Curtis read my last blog, he called me and then text messaged me to say he disagreed and thinks I do NOT suck at being a wife and mom. But, the deal is, I KNOW I can put more effort into my family. I KNOW I can offer more, do more, love more, give more. I've been selfish and resentful at times at losing the "me" and "myself". I know it sucks to have less time for yourself, but I also know if I say I need it, Curtis is always ready to make sure I get it.

I'd like to blame being an only child. It's always been all about me. I have to admit to myself, though, that being a 26 year old woman, I have figured out it's not all about me. To be real, it's all about Christ. And, when you truly center your life, mind, heart, thoughts, energy and self around HIM, your perspective changes. Your reality changes.

When you're busy living your life outside of God's will, you're not going to find happiness, and you'll certainly find no peace. So, what am I going to do with my time? Devote myself to my family and our business. It's that damn simple. Stop searching when there's nothing else to be found. Find True Rest. That's what I've got time for. So, it's Spring here. New life is budding and the old deadness of Winter has passed on.

P.S. We totally got a great deal on using a timeshare for camping, of all things. It's like having a membership to a country club where we can camp and still swim in a pool and go horseback riding and lots of other junk. They, of course, wanted to sell us a 2b/2b timeshare condo, but I SAID I CAN'T BE SOLD ANYTHING I DON'T WANT. And, I got exactly what we wanted. A great place to camp out in East Texas with an indoor waterpark and a spa onsite. And, of course, the FREE 5 DAY CRUISE they promised for sitting through the ordeal. I felt slightly guilty when the salesman realized I wasn't buying the whole package. He lost his poker face for a minute. But, hey, I pride myself on being un-sellable. Who wants Gage for a week while we soak up the Mexican sun??

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

To everything there is a season

As you all know, I have been watching Hannah and Noah for the past 6 months, and that is coming to a close. Tomorrow is my last day watching them. Gage is going to be bummed he's not seeing his best friends every day, and I am going to be bored out of my skull if I just sit at home the days we're not at MDO anymore.

So, I have been mulling over some ideas as to what I can do with my free-er time now. I know, you're all thinking I should just go ahead and pursue my calling as a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader, but I wouldn't want to make all those girls feel terrible about themselves after they see my sexy moves and my stretch marks.

I know my dear hubby would love for me to pour all my time and energy into promoting our Garage Door Repair business...or maybe just actually keeping our house clean and the laundry put away. I can respect that. I also know that I have untapped blogging potential. Why don't you guys do whatever it is that people do to make blogs popular. I would love to sit here and type away and entertain the masses for money. Like, if blogging could say, pay a mortgage on a house for us, then I think I could feel successful enough. I could be happy with that amount of blogging success. But, I don't want to make stuff, or provide you with awesome tips on how to do great things. I want to just purely entertain with my perspective on life and how I share my life of mild instanity.

Last night, I was in the bedroom putting away/hanging up laundry and Curtis asks me from the living room what I'm doing. The answer is obvious "Effing livin' the life, babe! I'm folding laundry." I think he was slightly offended. Whoops. I forgot I'm suppose to be basking in the glow of Pine Sol and Tide. TRUST ME WHEN I SAY THIS: The first thing I would do with my blogging income would be to hire a maid and send all my laundry to a full service laundromat. I've looked into the laundry deal. $1/lb for wash/dry/fold/hang on hangers you provide. In by 10am, ready by the afternoon.

Of course, if I had a small laundromat in my home, I would happily take care of it myself. I'd like to have two washers and two dryers and a table to fold laundry on with a long bar to hang clothes on above it. And either a small flat screen or a small stereo setup. And, then enough children to put it all away for me. Yep. Because my one year old throws trash away more consistently than my husband. So, I'm guessing children are more maleable. Funny how my grown ass man doesn't want to be bossed around. Who would've thought such a thing were true?

So, a time for everything. A time to be a stay at home mommy. A time to write a blog. A time to drink wine and soak my feet in mint bubble bath. A time to work full time? Doing something I love...yes. Getting so involved I can't be a good wife and mother...well, I suck enough at both those things often enough that I don't need something to take away from that.

I'd like to teach again. At the gym. I miss TurboKick and sweating and trying to not breath heavily or curse into the headset microphone while I teach. But, I feel out of shape and out of the loop. Two years away from teaching has caused the initial anxiety of not being able to teach well enough to build and keep a class going to return. And, guys, stuff changes with time. Two years is a lifetime when you're in a constantly changing industry like group fitness. And man do you have to work your way up from the bottom. Rookies start slow. I try to not think about how much I love the gym and how much I want to be back in the middle of it. It just takes so long to make any money at it. You have to build your class schedule as you prove you're a worthy teacher. I'm cool with that. I started filling in and was eventually teaching 15 classes a week by time I left. It's decent money, you get super sexy, free/discounted gym memberships for your family members, childcare for your brat when you teach...I know this September is the next Certification day that I'd like to attend. I know there's a lot of opportunity out there. I know I can get back into the TurboKick world, eventhough I think that's what's changed the most in the past two years. I just have to wait until September. And, that's 5 months away.

There's subbing at the Weekday School at FBC Plano. I turned in my application for that today. So, pending an interview and passing my background check - cross your fingers, I've got a shady past folks what with all my youth group functions and church camps I was a part of - I can be added to the call list there. MDO breaks for the summer. So, once the end of May gets here, I will probably lose what little of my mind I have left if I don't find something.

Let me say this one thing that will make a lot of people mad: I feel like I am too smart to just be a stay at home mommy without doing something extra with my brain. Great for you if you love just being with your're probably not reading this because you got offended when I talked about my PPD issues last spring. God gave me a lot of thinking power, and if I can't use it for the good of mankind - ya know, other than raising a really awesome kid who people seem to think has the sun shining out of his butt - well, I might as well stop showering and have about 5 more kids and never leave the house again. Don't ask me how I plan to get pregnant 5 more times if I stop showering. Curtis isn't that desperate.

I guess it's like what my friend said a couple of weeks ago: "What's my purpose here as a mom as my kid gets older and doesn't need me so much?" (I'd like to add that, I personally feel my kid doesn't want to listen to me as much, so has therefore decided to not need me as much. I blame the Avary blood in his veins.)

So, what season will it be then?

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Gage Sixteen Month Letter

Dear Early Morning Maniac,

Well, son, you have made it to 16 months. I use to wonder if we would make it to 16 weeks, so I think we've managed a pretty huge accomplishment. There is a lot you've been up to this month, so I decided to not be such a slacker mom and combine your monthly letters this time.

You have so many words now, but you haven't put together any real sentences. Your vocabulary seems to have doubled in the last month. You say objects, some names (we won't say whose you can and cannot say), concepts (like eat, and hot) and... can fart on command. Yep. And, I swear, I don't think your dad has worked with you in secret on this; aside from him pointing and laughing and drawing attention to your farting when it happens. You farted in the tub last week and it surprised me and I asked you if you "tooted" and your response was to pause, lean a little to one side, and reproduce the fart. And sometimes you grunt and I see your belly tighten up like you're trying to fart.

The only positive thing about this, is at least you know what to do to poop. You understand the biology of making yourself "go". I am also proud because you have a concept of when you go potty too. Whenever I first put you in the bath, you like to stand and get use to the water. I have been splashing your legs and belly with warm water to get you to sit down, but inevitably it makes you pee. So, now when you get in the tub, I splash you and you watch your little pee pee until you go potty. So, you're aware of "going". (And, yes, you pee into your bath water. What's 3 tablespoons in 5 gallons? You're not drinking the water)

You're walking into school with me now. No stroller, no holding hands. You just follow along. Now if only you'd figure out how to make me a good latte in the mornings. You throw trash away. You wash your parts in the bathtub after I squirt soap into your hands. You bring things back and forth so your dad and I don't have to stress ourselves with getting off our butts.

The hardest/best thing is that you're big enough that you go places with daddy now. Without me. This week he took you 3 times to go hang out and do boy stuff while I stayed home. You LOVE your dad. You guys are really two peas in a pod. I love how much you two look alike and you're even starting to act more like him as you get older. I say this is 50/50 on being a good thing. :)

You got your second haircut yesterday. It's amazing how much more like a big boy you look without a mullet. Ok, it wasn't a mullet, but your hair was crazy shaggy. I decided you needed a haircut before all the spring pictures start with Easter and bluebonnets and all that. I took you to the Cool Cuts 4 Kids and you got to sit in a Taxi and watch Veggie Tales during the hair cut.

You still love being outside. You will stand at the door and say "ah-side" repeatedly until I say no or open the door. Of course, if I say no, then you usually throw a fit....

Also another great talent you've honed: throwing fits. You scream, spit, become dead weight, and bite yourself on the arm. I let you do your thing, but if you spit at me, or swing at me, I spank your diapered butt. You always look so surprised...and I'm surprised you're so shocked. I know it hurts your feelings more than your bottom. But, hey, it hurts my feelings when you hit me in the face. I think you're just about able to understand a time out...and I'm just about ready to put you in one.

You're such a sweet little boy most of the time, but you're stubborn as a mule. You get it from both of us...your dad told me "He's an Avary. We're just going to have to wake up every day and put our boxing gloves on." But. you're so sweet too. You give hugs and kissies to your friends at the dogs and you love babies. You're a good sleeper still, but we have GOT to get you weaned from waking up at 4am for a bottle. Yes, people, I still give him a bottle of milk at night. My game plan is this...after this next week (since I am watching Hannah and Noah one more week) you and I are going to have to get some tough love and you're going to cry it out when you wake up at night. You have put yourself to sleep for almost a year with minimal fussing and lots of chatting with yourself. You might make peeps at night, but you put yourself back to sleep. Then, come 4-4:30 you're squawking for a bottle. You're a hefty 26lbs, kid. You can make it 12 hours without a snack.

I think you just get more and more fun as you get bigger. But, it's still a little sad as you grow. I have figured out that's part of the territory that comes with being a parent. You get big and we're so proud as you make new accomplishments, but it's hard to watch you need us less.

We love you so much, and you're the best kid a mommy and daddy could ask for.

Love, Mommy

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Gage Fourteen/Fifteen Month Letter

Dear Wolfgang Munsterman,
First of all, your dad randomly called you that for a full day last week, and I have no idea why, but, hey I needed another nickname for this letter. So, here we are.

Over the last two months, you might have noticed that I skipped writing you every single month...partly because the developments are a little less on a month to month basis, and mostly because I am just that busy chasing your insanely energetic body everywere.

First of all, let me say THE CLIMBING. Oh,the climbing. You are such a little climber monkey and you're starting to scare me a little bit. You love to stand on the chair next to your bed where I sit and cuddle with you during your bedtime bottle of milk and climb over the rail of your crib and flip into the bed. You can only do that if the side is down (yes we have a crib with a side that lowers eventhough I'm sure there was a recall on most brands of them - we like to live on the edge). And I don't let you even attempt to get OUT of the crib, because I'm sure after you successfully do it once, what very little peace of mind I have will be gone.
You also seem to enjoy climbing into the dining room chairs. And, I have no real problem with that, except that you then feel entitled to climb all over the dining room TABLE. The Ethan Allen solid dark cherry one that cost more than my anesthesiologist bill from your birth.

You want to feed yourself with UTENSILS now. And, while I was fine handing you a spoon to scoop thick foods, I was a little wary of handing you a fork...but you've done really well, and I am proud of you. Because as cute as your messy hand feeding is, I prefer to see you eating in this slightly more civilized fashion. Especially at restaurants.

You have been bit by your friend a couple of times, and we all felt really bad for you. But, this past couple of weeks, you have, unfortunately, evened the score and bit him as well. The last time you bit him, I bit your arm so hard I felt a little guilty later. You haven't bitten anyone but yourself since. Which brings me to....

You've JUST started biting your own hand when you get frustrated. You have really turned on the temper tantrums in the past month, and your anger level seems to be rising. I know you're getting old enough to want your own way, and know what you want, but not quite old enough to express it clearly. Or even very well. When you bite your hand, I take it and gently say "no bite. kissies!" and give your hand several kisses. I am trying to teach you to say "I'm MAD" when you're having a tantrum. Maybe you'll figure out the meaning and be able to express your frustration more soon. Sometimes you're just being a brat, but there are times when we can tell you're genuinely frustrated and just want to be able to say "it" whatever "it" is that's bothering you. Great segue into...

All the things you're saying now. Here's a list of what we can brainstorm and think of:
Noah (NoNo)
Hannah - much more clearly now
Papa (for Grandpa Gary)
Meyme (Baby)
Night Night
Red Bull

And, I think there are some I left off that you've been using for a while, and I'm sure there are some that I can't remember. The point is: you're talking a LOT. You still ramble incoherently (quite similar to myself in fact) and don't really put sentences together, but we're super proud. People have commented on how clearly to say the words that you use. Meaning, not just your parents know what you're saying.

You are so funny and love to laugh and do silly things that make us laugh. You give kisses and almost give real hugs now. But, you still don't care to be restrained much. You can throw a ball and have started kicking a ball occasionally. You can climb and slide at the park. You love the bath tub and will blow bubbles with your face in the water and lay on your tummy and float around if I get the water level high enough for you.

You're starting to be a little pickier about food, and have completely quit baby food and cereal. It made me sad when you started to refuse your cereal. You HAVE been eating it for almost a year now though...

You are such a joy, even with your new attitude problems. Your top molars are almost in, and your bottom gums look swollen. Awesome for all of us! More teeth. :)

I love you with all my mommy heart and I will always do whatever it takes to make sure your world is safe. Your daddy and I are so proud of you and couldn't be happier or more blessed than we are to have such a sweet, energetic, awesome little monster like you for our precious baby.

Love, Mommy