Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Big Changes

I've sat down several times over the last 6 months to try to put into words the journey that these last 4 years in seminary has been. I'm still not there. I need a little more time to fully reflect and heal from  these years of struggle and blessings.

God led us on quite the chase to figure out what was next for our family. He stirred up big things in our hearts. Some of those big things, I believe, are calls that will eventually be answered. Things that we still need to be prepared for, to rest up, and continue to listen for. For now, we are thrilled with the gift he is offering us.

Cody has taken a job at a great church in Scottsdale, Arizona. I'm excited to see his music and heart for worship continue to influence and serve the church. We will be surrounded by Cody's entire family, and for that we are ecstatic.

Along with all the excitement we have for this change we are also very much grieving the life we are leaving behind. Though we have not had family in town these last 4 years, our church, friends, and community have gone above and beyond to fill that gap for us. I cannot even begin to list the ways friends here have loved us and served us. The people here have taught Cody and me so much about ministry, relationships, and true service. I'm so sad to leave them but so thankful for the invaluable opportunity we've had to live life with them.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

A Day In the Life

Sometimes I feel like life is going by too fast, and I'm not going to be able to remember these sweet baby days. Life couldn't be more busy right now. Cody is working full-time and going to seminary full-time, and I'm staying home with both boys full-time and working part-time from home (my time is split between Dallas Moms Blog and City Moms Blog Network). We both LOVE all the things we are involved in, but it sure does make for busy, tired, and crazy schedules. I want to be able to document these days of diapers and tantrums before they are gone, so I can look back and remember the little details.

This is a typical day with Hayes (7 months) still not sleeping through the night and Kyler (2 yrs) not really close to potty training, but so sweet and so spicy.

6:45- Hayes is up for the day so we are too. Because Hayes still wakes up at least once (but 3 times tonight because of a lingering cold), I can't bring myself to start my day before he wakes up, but I so desperately want to. I long for the days of a full night of sleep and waking up 1.5 hour before the boys so I can have a peaceful quiet time, get an hour of work done, and enjoy every last drop of a warm cup of coffee.

7:15- Kyler is now awake and immediately asking for either barley or honey bunches of oats. We all eat breakfast together and I'm trying to clean up the kitchen as we go. Kyler asks for "cran-raisins" in his cereal and asks for mommy and daddy's cereal. The kid loves to mooch. Cody is home until about 8:30 so I get showered and ready for the day.

8:00- I respond to a few emails and get a good idea of what the work load will look like today. Kyler plays with his trains, I put Hayes down for a nap, get Kyler dressed, and pack up the diaper bag. I throw together something for dinner in the crock pot and set it on low. Hayes wakes up an hour later, I feed him, and we all load up in the car to go to a music class at Kidville.

9:30- Both boys sit in my lap and enjoy the music class. Kyler lights up at the part with the bubbles and dances around. After the music class is over, we walk over the gym area with some friends and Kyler plays with the kids while us mamas chat. Hayes is scooting everywhere and is determined to play, too.

11:00- We head home and Hayes falls asleep in the car. I carry him in and transfer him to the crib, success! I fix Kyler lunch and scrounge up some left-overs for me to eat. Kyler reminds me for the 3rd time already, "Kyler no nappin'".

12:00- Kyler starts to throw a fit after I change his diaper because he wants to put his pants on. I calm him down, and let him put his pants on. I assist him in pulling his pants over his diaper (cloth diapers are quite pouffy). Kyler picks out 3 books for us to read. He is trying to stall nap time by pointing to everything on every page and asking "what's dat?" in his sweet little high-pitched voice. After we read, I sing him his songs and before I can even start to talk about his day, he is reminding me "talk bout day!". We talk about his day, then he's demanding "pray" so we do and he lays down. He's not attached to any specific blanket or animal, so today he asks to sleep with "baby Duma" and turns over up against his crib. Don't be fooled, he's not napping yet.

12:30- I scram to my computer and start responding to emails and getting work done. After about 15 minutes of listening to Kyler talk and play, I go back into his room and sit with him and scratch his back. He settles down and falls asleep in his crib. Back to work for me.

1:30- Hayes is up and hungry. He nurses and is still hungry for food. I grab some frozen baby food that I made last week and throw it into a pot because our microwave is broken. Boo! Today he is eating butternut squash, green beans, and peaches....all combined. Good thing he is not picky...yet. I dance in the kitchen to make him laugh. Clapping is his favorite. After I feed him, I clean up the kitchen from Kyler's and my lunch earlier. Dinner is smelling good, I set out the rice I will have to cook later.

2:00- Hayes and I are playing on the floor and I'm running back and forth working on laundry, stuffing cloth diapers, and attempting to clean the bathroom. Hayes is having fun, but he doesn't like to do anything for too long. He kinda misses Kyler since he is his favorite entertainment.

2:30- Kyler is calling me and letting me know he needs his diaper changed. First thing he says when I walk into his room is "I get a chocolate cookie". Yes, I bribe him with cookies to take naps. He gets his diaper changed, savors his cookie, and plays with Hayes in his room. Everything that Hayes touches, Kyler immediately wants to play with. Oh the joys of teaching a 2 yr old to share.

3:00- Hayes is rubbing those little eyes, so I know it's time for a nap. The last afternoon nap is tricky, he always needs it, but sometimes it doesn't happen. Because it is usually the hardest, I put a video on for Kyler so he can sit (read: be safe) while I get Hayes down. I read Hayes 2 books and sing his songs. He just wants to play with my face and tug on my hair. I lay him down and after a few tries, he finally falls asleep. Maybe I leave the video on for 5 more minutes to check my email and get a quick task done. Then it's off and Kyler's running around.

4:00- Hayes is back up after a short cat-nap. The weather is nice so we al head outside to play. I push Hayes in the swing, which he loves, and Kyler is pretending to clean up after Duma like daddy does. He throws the ball for Duma and then asks to go for a wagon ride. He wants Hayes to go, too. Hayes struggles to sit still in the wagon but enjoys a slow ride around the backyard.

5:00- Cody is done and Kyler is running into the garage as soon as he hears him pull up. Both boys light up when they see him walk in. Cody takes the boys outside and I get some work done inside and finish up dinner.

5:30- Kyler sets the table (and insists on putting a placemat under Duma's bowls) and we all eat. Kyler eats about 1/3 of his dinner, which has been the norm for the last few months. I can't eat enough. Breastfeeding makes me hungry like none other!

6:00- We bathe the boys and Kyler sings his ABCs in the bath. He helps "wash" Hayes by pouring water on him. We get both boys in their jammies, read books, sing songs, talk about our day, and pray. Cody lays Kyler down and I take Hayes into his room to give him one last feeding. If we are really lucky, he'll go to bed easily.

7:00- On a perfect day, both boys are asleep. Some days, it takes a little more work on Hayes. Today is one of the days DTS students and spouses are allowed to work out at the Baylor Fitness Center, so I drive up to Baylor and get a quick work out in. I'm determined to get some sort of tone or muscle built back up. I'm around normal people, not just moms, this is weird. ;)

8:00- I'm back home....I meant it when I said quick work out. Cody's writing a paper so I sit down and get some work done. Before we know it, it's 10pm. After some Ben & Jerry's, we head to bed but are interrupted by Hayes. I feed him in hopes it will hold him off til morning. Ha.

11:00- We're in bed and chatting about our days. We could talk forever but we go to sleep knowing Hayes will be up soon. And he is, at 3am. We are so exhausted, but so so full of love and joy.

Sleep a few hours and wake up to do it all again. I definitely miss sleeping through the night, especially since Kyler spoiled us by sleeping through the night on his own at 11 weeks! That's okay, we know all babies are different and what worked for Kyler doesn't always work for Hayes. Our days are busy, but I honestly wouldn't want them any other way. I love these boys and all the opportunities God has given us.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

How Do I Look?

My blog got a makeover, as you can see. My sweet friend Erin designed this new look and installed it for me last week. I love it so much! It was pretty hard for me to envision how I wanted this little piece of the internet of mine to look, and she did a great job of coming up with something that I am proud to call my online home! Thank you Erin! And I loved how our late night texts would inevitably turn into compassionate rants about our lack of sleep from both of us having 2 kids 2 and under.

I'm excited to get back into the therapeutic rhythm of blogging. Lately I've been finding myself wanting to write about all kinds of things. Things I want to share about this roller coaster of faith I'm on, the occasional commentary on politics (gasp!), things I'm learning from being in ministry, and any other random thoughts that pop into my head and find their way onto a screen (remember when that sentence used to end in paper?).

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Surviving 2 Under 2

(see more photos of Hayes on KateLovePhotography)

I'm definitely no expert, but I like to think I've learned a few things from surviving the first few months of being a mom of 2 kids under 2 yrs. My boys are 19 months apart, so for a while there it really was like having 2 babies. Someone always needs to be fed, needs a nap, needs a diaper changed, and just needs YOU. Now I feel like my head is above water, and I just have one baby and one toddler. Although they are both still very needy and dependent on me, everything is getting much more manageable. Here are a few of my tips for surviving those first few months.

1. The first 3 (at least) months are pure survival mode. Don't plan to entertain guests, bring other people meals, or attend any big events. Everything is so unpredictable, that unless you have an army enlisted to help, not much else will get done.

2. Don't go anywhere for the first few weeks. This was very hard. I think because you are now stuck at home with 2 kids, you start to get that crazy feeling of needing to get out of the house even sooner. Resist the urge!! Even though you think you want to go to story time at the library, just wait a few more weeks! There are so many things that can and will go wrong the first fews weeks, it's best to just wait until you are more comfortable and have things a little more under control. Otherwise you end up with 2 crying/fit throwing babies in public, without enough arms, on the verge of tears yourself and you can't even wrangle yourself and kids to get to the car and go home (because again-not enough arms). Not that I'm speaking from experience or anything.... ha. There will be plenty of time to get out the house later. Just stay home for a while, it's best anyways for the kids have normal routines and the comfort of their own home.

3. Invest in some good baby carriers. I prefer the Moby wrap for newborns and the Ergo once they can hold their head up well. The Moby is particularly great for having 2 little ones because you can wear the newborn in such a way that really snuggles them in safe and secure that you can still bend down, pick up, and even carry the toddler at the same time. I never felt like I had to hold Hayes's little head up while I bent down to pick up Kyler. And the Ergo is great for when they get bigger because, in my opinion, it is the most comfortable and the best for your (and the baby's) back.

4. Have food easily accessible. With your hands so unbelievably full those first few weeks, eating and hunger is usually the last thing on your mind. I would literally forget to eat the entire day, and then end up having the shove my face the next few days to get my milk supply back up (which is totally possible btw-just eat a ton and drink a ton of water!). You won't have time to make great meals during the day, so keep the fridge stocked with ready to eat food. I like to keep a big tupperware of chicken salad in the fridge, energy balls, fruit salad....basically anything that you don't have to heat up, put together or prepare.

5. Dont' feel guilty about using the TV. I hardly ever let Kyler watch TV, but I have had to come to terms with it the last few months. It is safer to have Kyler sitting still in front of the TV while I rock Hayes to sleep in the dark nursery than to have him roaming around the house unsupervised. There are just still too many potentially dangerous situations for him to get into at this age.

6. Let your older child help. They may not actually be helping, but even if they are just standing next to you and "helping" you change a diaper, they aren't getting in trouble elsewhere. Kyler is great at rocking Hayes's car seat while I grab everything to get in the car. He also loves to help "wash" Hayes in the bath by rubbing a wash cloth on his feet in the tub. If they feel like they are helping you out, it makes them feel involved, appreciated, and valuable as an older sibling. It also keeps them occupied :) win win!

7. Teach your older child to climb into the car. This happened very early for me because I have such a small car. But you might be surprised how young a determined and independently-minded child can learn to do something. Kyler can walk to the car holding my hand, climb up into the car and into his car seat all while my hands are full with Hayes. This has been a huge life-saver since parking lots are so challenging with two little ones.

8. Try to maintain your routines. We have always had a great bedtime routine that we do for all Kyler's naps and at night. We sit in his chair, read 3 books, sing 3 songs, pray and lay him down. Since Hayes was born, there is about a 70% chance that he will begin screaming, need to eat, or need to be held right when it's time to do the bedtime routine. I never want Kyler to feel slighted, so even if I have to take care of Hayes and push Kyler's sleep back a little, I still always try to do the full routine. I always want Kyler to know we care about his needs just as much as Hayes....and a bedtime routine is a real need for him.

9. Remember that it DOES get better and easier! The first few months are the absolute hardest! Every week seems to get a little better so just hang in there.

Of course I am still learning and still struggling. If you have any tips or anything to add, please share :)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

NYC Baby!

We had an amazing opportunity to fly up to NYC and stay in a friend of a friend's apartment for a few days. Both boys were still under 2 (Kyler turned 2 the day after we flew back) so we decided to take them both with us while they're still free. Hayes would have had to come regardless (he goes where the milk goes), but I didn't want Kyler to miss out on all the fun. Yes, we spent 8 hours traveling in planes, airports, and cabs with 2 babies in our laps both days of traveling. We are slightly insane, but it was completely worth it. 

Since we only had a few days we decided not to do many touristy things and just experience the city...although we did walk the Brooklyn Bridge. We stayed in the upper west side in a super swank apartment. They have 2 young kids about the same ages as ours, so it was really cool to see how they live in such a small space and make it work. We explored Brooklyn, went to a museum, ate lots of yummy food, got lost in the subways, played and had a picnic in Central Park. It was so much fun and such a great memory for our family. We are so thankful for all the wonderful people God puts in our lives and blesses us with. People are way too generous to us and we are so humbled. 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

5 Months of Madness

How do you do a quick recap on 5 of the best/hardest months of your life? Well, ya don't. Consider this a small photo dump and a "hello, you still read? Sorry to keep you hanging, I'll try to blog more regularly" post. My sweet friend Erin is about to do a complete blog makeover for me, so I'm super excited about getting my thoughts (and photos, random DIY projects, etc.) jotted down here again. It's like therapy, and let's be honest, I need that more than ever right now ;)

Seriously these last 5 months have been amazing. It's so crazy when you fall in love with your first child and experience so much joy and fulfillment, and then you go and have another and realize there was even more room for love in that swelling heart of yours. I can't even begin to explain how blessed and undeserving I feel to mother these sweet boys. I'm overwhelmed with love and gratitude. 

At the same time, it's been impossibly hard. I've definitely had my share of meltdowns (by me!) while sobbing "how to other people doooo it" as I'm covered in poop and spit-up. Just being real here. 2 kids under 2 is just insane. It's finally getting better. Although Kyler is still very needy, he is getting much more able to do things on his own, such as climbing up into his car seat, staying close to me in public (sometimes), and just generally being a little better at listening. Oh boy am I excited for him to be out of diapers! Yes, I'm still cloth diapering both boys right now! 

Hayes is such a sweet little guy. He is pretty laid back and chill, but (just like Kyler was as a newborn) he is a bit of a sleep fighter. This is one thing that makes my days particularly hard....spending so much time rocking this guy to sleep several times a day, while Kyler roams wild. It's just madness. Unlike Kyler, he is not a breastfeeding crazed baby. He breastfeeds great, but he regulates himself strangely well and pretty much only nurses to eat. Kyler pretty much nursed 'round the clock. Hunger. Comfort. Leisure. All the time. Not Hayes, he's efficient...sometimes I wish he nursed more. I love that time with him. 

Kyler is unbelievably great with Hayes. I think he was just young enough to not have his world completely wrecked by the birth of a sibling. He acted out a little the first few weeks, but that was pretty much it. He has never showed any malice towards Hayes and is just so sweet and gentle with him. It is the most precious thing to watch. I can't wait for a few months when they are able to play a little more together. 

If you had told me 3 years ago I would have 2 babies, I would have never believed you. This was not the exact "plan" we had drawn up, but I am so so thankful this is our reality. My days are so physically, mentally, and emotionally demanding right now but I wouldn't want to spend them any other way. 

Next up- our trip to NYC. With both boys. We are wild. 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Hayes's Birth Story

I knew from the day that Kyler was born, I would from then on out have to have scheduled c-sections. Because Kyler was so low from me pushing for hours, they had to do an additional vertical incision on my uterus, which puts me at high risk for uterine rupture. I have always hated this fact. Kyler's birth was traumatic and the recovery was hell. Thankfully, this time was much better.

Everyone thought I would go into labor early. I walked around for 4 weeks being 3 cm dilated and fully effaced with lots of contractions. Somehow I made it to my scheduled date and went in for my c-section. This was the weirdest thing. Walking into L&D and getting prepped for surgery. Hair did, make-up on, and no contractions. I would have much preferred the alternative....but again, this is what was safest for me and baby.

When we got to L&D, they put us in a small room to get ready for the operating room. I got hooked up to an IV and received my epidural, which just like last time, hurt tremendously. How am I the only person that finds these extremely painful?!? Cody was able to be with me through this, but almost immediately after the epidural, they started wheeling me off to the OR for prep and Cody had to stay behind. Of course all my nerves and anxiety started getting the best of me as I am laying in a cold, bright room with doctors and nurses all around me. I will never get used to this. Finally, Cody was allowed to come in and be by my side. They started the surgery and not long after we heard the sweet words "we've got another little boy". We couldn't be happier. And somewhere between our tears we looked at each other and celebrated the fact that we could soon have bunk beds for our sweet boys :)

Since we hadn't found out the gender ahead of time, we hadn't totally decided on a name, and I didn't want to decide until I held him (which I couldn't do until in recovery). Cody got to hold the baby and keep him near my face as they finished up the surgery. Once they were all done, they wheeled us into recovery. Unlike Kyler who had to go straight to the nursery because of my fever from laboring, Hayes was able to go to recovery with me. I got to hold my little boy for the first time and immediately had skin-to-skin with him. I tried breastfeeding him for the first time (although he preferred to just sleep) and had the sweetest time bonding with him. It was incredible. This is when I knew he was a little Hayes. Hayes Davis. He is named after Cody's brother who's middle name is Davis. After we spent some good time together, family was able to come in and meet little Hayes. Unfortunately, Kyler was super super sick (this is a whole other crazy story) so he wasn't able to come up to the hospital at all.

I spent 3 nights in the hospital recovering. Family and friends were in and out and it was such a sweet time. It was so hard being away from Kyler for so long, but having that immediate bond with Hayes really helped. Had I not bonded with him right away, I think I would have been a mess the whole time missing Kyler. My poor mom caught what Kyler had (the flu), so my dad had to take care of Kyler and all the cleaning and cooking. He was amazing!

Being home so far has been great. Though I am still healing and definitely not 100% back to normal, recovery is going so much better this time. I'm not as emotional and I'm physically able to do so much more. Kyler has been adjusting so well. He shows interest in Hayes and tries to help out with him so much, it is so sweet. I can tell he has been a little guarded towards me (maybe for being away from him for so long, maybe for having this new baby attached to me so often) but it is getting better. It's been completely heart breaking to feel him being distant to me, but I think now that I am on my own (no more grandmas around) things will get better.

Overall, I am loving being a mom of two. These two boys are going to grow up and have so much fun together. I am so thankful for such a smoother delivery and so so thankful for my sweet boys.

Here are a few photos from these past weeks:

This was the night before I went into the hospital. 1 day before my due date.

Holding my baby for the first time.

Hayes had the cutest little red mark on the tip of his nose the first few days. It's so funny all the things that change those first few days.

Going home from the hospital. Little 6 lb 15 oz of him didn't fill out his little outfit.

Pretty much what he does all the time...

Hayes looks a lot like Kyler did as a newborn, but we definitely see differences. It's going to be so fun watching all the similarities and differences in these two little boys!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Maternity Photos

Check out Kate's blog to see the photos she took of me and my babies.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

A Place for Baby

I have finally finished the nursery! Being 3 cm dilated and 90% effaced already, I figured it was high time to prepare a place for this baby to sleep.
Setting up this room was super difficult to me. At first I thought it would so fun to decorate a gender neutral nursery....but as it got closer and closer to have the baby, my attitude just kinda evolved into "well if it's a girl I can change it up, and if it's a boy I'll just throw him in the room with Kyler". Not exactly the decorating mojo I needed. I also had the whole problem of needing to keep the bed in here for grandparents to stay. That gave me about a 1 inch clearance on either side of the rocking chair, but hey- it rocks!
*Apparently I am also challenged when it comes to taking decent pics. The lighting is all wack and doesn't really capture most of the true colors.

Here is what I like to call the "chaos corner". Everything is so close together, but it was really the only layout that worked.

I love the etsy print I got from here. I spray painted a thrift store frame yellow and popped it in. Both the tree art and the button K (K for Kimmel, not the first name) were made by dear friends. I'm not in love with the pillow selection. I sewed the cover for the one on the back-right, but the other two are susceptible to change at any minute.

I made the art above the crib with scrapbook paper and greetings cards a friend gave me. I already blogged about the mobile here, and I finally got it to hang somewhat even. I sewed the crib skirt (out of lovely Joel Dewberry fabric) and bought the aqua bed sheet from

The curtains were also sewn out of Joel Dewberry fabric. The little basket on the floor is hard to see, but it's made out of recycled newspaper and magazines and is super cute. It contains puzzles and other toys to keep Kyler occupied for when I want to be in there nursing the baby with the door shut.

This might be my favorite part of the nursery. We managed to transform my "cloffice" (as my sister named it) into a diaper changing nook. Cody's dad also installed some shelving underneath, so that is where all the clothes are stored. Yes, the back wall is still a shade of pink, we'll address that later if I produce a male. I love being able to see all my cloth diapers stacked up in fun colors (yay for 2 babies in cloth diapers, har har). The other side of the closet is storage and hanging clothes...which actually have zero hanging clothes right now :)

Now that I am done with the nursery, I should probably pack our bags and buy some newborn diapers. I will have some maternity pics to post in a few days so be sure to check back for those!

Saturday, December 31, 2011

I'm Having a Baby

Today it hit me. I'm almost 35 weeks. This time, when I was pregnant with Kyler, I had our hospital bags packed, clothes washed, nursery perfectly ready, bassinet waiting beside my bed, and everything else ready. Now, I have a "nursery" that is still doubling as my craft room/junk storage, newborn gear still in the attic, don't even have a bassinet yet, and I just shared our "emergency labor plan" with our key Kyler watchers. Needless to say, I am not prepared. It's a good thing all newborns really need is love and a boob. I definitely have that.

After this abrupt realization, I mentally slapped myself and got to work. I sewed some curtains for the baby's room, and then reminded myself once again I still have to clean out that closet. This is the closet that I turned into my craft/workstation a few years ago, seen here. Once I clean that out and turn it into a little changing station and get all the baby clothes, burp cloths, blankets etc., I will feel a lot better.

Since we all know the weekly belly pictures was a bust, let's just pretend this is the appropriate weekly photo and that I'm not standing in front of (and am as big as) a Christmas tree. This was about 34 weeks and if I look exhausted, it's because I am. All the time. I keep promising myself I will never be pregnant again when I have little ones. Chasing and hauling around a toddler all day when I'm this big is just so hard. Pregnancy is terrible on my back, so I feel like I've been hit by a truck every day by about 10 am. That's okay, it's totally worth it.

I would share some pictures of the baby's room in progress, but it's still such a mess right now. Those will come soon. Here are a few photos from our Christmas.