December 28, 2010

Best Christmas Gift Ever!!

Our Christmas was SO perfect. My parents were in town, and we always have such a blast when they are around! They are so awesome with the boys and we end up having great conversations late into the night. It was hard to say goodbye to them yesterday... we pretty much moped around all day and tried to keep our mind off of the fact that they were driving back to Utah.

The boys had so much fun opening their gifts, and they were such polite, well-behaved gentlemen about it all, it made me a VERY proud mama.

I got Chris two sweaters, and he got me.... A NEW CAR.

I kid you not.

My sneaky hubby and my sneaky family pulled off the surprise of the century. Chris had been negotiating with the dealership for a over a week without me knowing it- they had gotten a pre-owned 2009 Mazda5 on their lot and called to let Chris know about it. (We've been researching and scouring for these cars for a few months now.) A few days before Christmas, he went and signed all the paperwork. Then, on Christmas Eve, Chris and my Dad went out on some last minute "errands" and picked up the car- leaving it at his parent's house over night.

On Christmas morning, my in-laws drove the car over to my house and parked it in the driveway where I couldn't see it from any of the windows. They attached a big huge red bow to it and we proceeded to have a lovely Christmas morning of opening gifts.

At the very end, we told Ezra he had one more big gift waiting in daddy's music room. (A Radio Flyer Big Wheels.) On top of the big wheels, Chris had attached a note addressed to me from Santa. I opened it up and it said, "Zoom Zoom! Put on a coat and go look outside!"

I just about died in that moment.

We all piled out of the house and there in the driveway was a beautiful blue Mazda that could comfortably fit my whole growing family inside of it! I couldn't stop jumping up and down, I was soooooo excited.

Now this baby can really be born because we have a car that we can all fit into! With room to spare!

Plus, it is so fun & easy to drive... it's zippy and gets great gas mileage compared to a big ol' huge minivan, and it still has the bonus of the sliding doors! I love it so much, it's kind of silly.

Needless to say, it was the best Christmas ever!!!!! :)

December 20, 2010

All I Want For Christmas is an Inflatable Donut to Perch Upon.

Oh, hey there blog! I... didn't see you there! How's... your mom?

I'm sorry I have disappeared the last week or maybe, ahem, two? I am in Christmas mode and have been getting everything ready for Saturday. SATURDAY!! I can't believe it's already almost Christmas! I am so excited!

Chris' sister Candace has been in town the last couple of days and it has been so amazing getting to see her and have great conversations with her about life and God and all the exciting things going on with her. She's entering into her final semester of nursing school... we are so proud! It's SO cool hearing her talk about all the crazy stuff she's learned. She's so passionate about it all and she just lights up when she talks about it. She's a smart cookie, and she's going to make an amazing nurse!!

One of the gifts she bought the boys was a gingerbread house, which, of course, was a HUGE hit. And it turned out so pretty!


Myer was sick a couple of weeks ago and then his fever came back again yesterday, so I took him in to the doctor to make sure there was nothing going on with his ears or throat or anything. He was all clear today, but his fever is making him feel a bit lousy and he hasn't been eating well for a while now. Why is this kid always such a mystery??? Maybe he's teething. Or it's a virus. Or his allergies? Or something else entirely? I wish I knew so I could help the dude. He's such a precious punkin.


As far as pregnancy goes, I am feeling really great! I will be 27 weeks on Wednesday, which means I am only ONE week away from my third trimester! Crazy beans. This baby will be here in no time. The latest developments are LOTS of hiccups (for baby) and a very sore tailbone (for mamma). I've injured my tailbone a few times in my life, and it seems to be more painful with each pregnancy. I'm pretty sure Myer re-injured it again when he was born, and it bothers me especially when the weather changes drastically.

I'm... a gimpy geezer. And I'm seriously contemplating asking for one of those little inflatable donuts to sit on for Christmas. hahaha.

December 6, 2010

My Child's Allergies - Six Months Later.

So, I had some errands to run today and I decided to start early so that Myer wouldn't fall asleep mid-grocery-store again, but by the time I pulled into the parking lot at the store, he was already OUT. It was 9:30AM.

I think he's coming down with something, which is sad, but then you add on top of that the worry of triggering his asthma and wheezing breathing treatments, and his refusing to eat for days on end, and suddenly little colds don't feel quite so little anymore. They feel like you're walking on a tightrope over a pool of hungry sharks with frickin' laser beams attached to their heads.

(Forgive me. I saw Austin Powers no less than 10 times in the theater way back in 1997, and ran to purchase the DVD on the day it was released. I was AM slightly obsessed.)

I've been meaning to touch base again with where we are at with Myer's allergies, and some of you have emailed me personally with similar situations in your own households- wondering what steps we've taken and what has worked for us or not. So, I thought I'd share all that with you guys now, even though I am not entirely confident in our approaches thus far...

Let me start by saying that I am no expert or doctor, these are just my personal findings mixed up with my gut instincts and I'm not making any kind of blanket statements here.

I have ALWAYS been a 'go with your gut feeling' kind of person, which has generally worked out great for me, except for when it doesn't, and then it's quite unfortunate because you don't have facts or research or doctors to pin any blame on, it pretty much all falls right back on YOU. And your lousy, blabber-mouthed gut. haha.

SO, after we took Myer to the allergist six months ago (holy moo it feels like it was years ago) I became completely and utterly overwhelmed. Suddenly I was told to change every single thing about my life and the life of my son. No more wheat, eggs, strawberries, peanuts, dust, carpets, drapes, animals, grass, pollen, or trees. Suddenly there were six perscriptions to be filled every month that cost us more than we were comfortably able to spend. Or to give. We were told he was asthmatic and needed epi-pens and rescue inhalers and blood tests.

I had always hoped that, if put in this kind of circumstance, I would magically transform into a supermom who stopped at nothing to find every answer and solve every discomfort that my son was feeling. I don't know, I guess I was expecting some sort of mega-strength to fall from the sky into my lap so that I could be the mom who CONQUERED and BEAT the problem for her son.

No such strength fell from the sky. These past six months have been hard for me, mainly because I have had to face the fact that I feel like I've failed quite a bit, and the guilt that I carry from that can be crushing at times.

We pulled Myer off of all the suspected food for about three months. We gave him the medicines. We tried to keep him indoors, tried to keep him from getting too overheated or sweaty which made his eczema flare up like no tomorrow.

Things were... a tiny bit better? Maybe?

But the effort of finding food that he would actually eat that didn't contain a suspected allergen was taking a toll on me. And the 'progress' that I was seeing was not outweighing the stress and tears and anxiety on my part. His skin was still itchy and raw in places, he still had an almost constant runny nose.

Add to this the fact that I started doing some research of my own and found out that those allergy tests that they give have 60% false positive rate, and I was pretty much convinced that I couldn't keep up this way of life knowing it was based on nothing much more solid than conjecture. On guessing. I was told that some of the foods that showed up positive on his tests could have been because he had eaten some of that food recently and it was 'still in his system'. I was quickly losing confidence in the information I'd been given.

Soooo, we slowly started re-introducing foods. We kept our eye on Myer for any reactions. There were no major changes.

Now, he is back to eating anything except peanuts. He is on an anti-histamine twice a day, and we give him Singul@ir and breathing treatments when he starts showing signs that he is coming down with something. (his asthmatic symptoms seem to be only triggered by him getting sick & congested.)

Other than that, we just try to manage his skin as best as we can. It still gets bad sometimes. Baths once or twice a day, patting him dry, and covering him with vaseline or aquafor seem to be the only things that help. We also have a steroid foam that we put on his spots when they get really bad, and we use a mild detergent on all his clothes.

To sum it up, we are pretty much living life as normal and just trying to manage the eczema. He is still pretty much always itchy somewhere on his body, but it isn't as intense as it once was-- when he used to thrash all night and not be able to sleep due to the all-over itching. There is something in me that feels like this is somehow not enough, that I have failed on some level, yet it seems to be working mostly OK for us for now. He sleeps well at night, he itches a bit during the days, and he is a happy, contented little guy for the most part.

This is what my gut has been telling me to do. To manage the skin as best I can, and go on living our lives.

I really do feel that pulling my son away from every single thing that might maybe cause a reaction in his skin will ultimately do him more harm than good. Of course, my biggest hope and prayer is that he will grow out of all of this and his skin will stop being so itchy and irritated all the time. And I feel that by allowing his body to be exposed to whatever it is that is causing his skin to be this way, he will have more of a fighting chance of doing that by building up immunities.

My next plan of action is to get him in to see a naturopath here in the city who has been able to help some of my friend's kids who have allergies. I figure it won't hurt to talk to someone else about all of this, and I feel like a less "medical" approach may be a better fit for my family.

Are there any of you out there who have had similar experiences with allergies and tests and doctors? Is there anything that helped you that I may not be thinking of or seeing? Talking about all of this really helps me, and I am definitely here for any of you who want to talk through it more as well... just shoot me an email any time or leave me a comment. You guys have been such a help and resource for me in all of this, and I really, really can't thank you enough!!

December 2, 2010

Same Pose, Different Clothes.

It's getting coooooold outside. woo hoo!!

I wore these outfits this last week:

I look like a cardboard cut-out. It's almost creepy how identical these poses are. haha.

I'm 24 weeks along now.

I have to keep getting my blood drawn every month during this pregnancy because my thyroid levels were so low at the beginning. I hate getting my blood drawn. But I like having the proper level of thyroid in my body for my growing babe, so I suppose it's worth it.

I'm glad I found out early on.

Two days in a row now I have needed to run errands and Myer has pulled this on me:

The audacity! Doesn't he know I have things I need to get done?!

Punk Biscuit.

It is taking all of my concentrated effort not to eat all the chocolate from his Advent calendar right now as payback. He'd never know the difference! He's not even two yet! He doesn't understand the concept of time! Me want chocolate!

I won't do it.

I promise.

I think.

December 1, 2010

Tell Kodak to Call Off the Search.

I was wandering around the mall yesterday, day THREE of my hunt for a long black jersey maxi skirt to wear through the winter (with warm tights and boots underneath) so that I don't have to go through the pregnancy pants fiasco again this year, when I stumbled into the yummy smelling Body Shop and discovered that they are having this amazing sale on their scented oils. Three for $12! They are usually $7.50 each. Thought I'd pass on the info for any of you who want to make your house smell Christmas-y this year without paying full price. Oh, how I love the cranberry one!

Also, this happened last night:

Ezra is pointing out all his favorite ornaments to his little brother. These boys are really beginning to bond lately, and it is pretty much the greatest thing I've ever gotten to experience as a mom. I gave birth to FRIENDS! So cool.

Here we have Ezra teaching Myer who all the key players in the nativity scene are. You know, baby Jesus, Jesus' mom and dad, the street, and the ever-important palm trees.

I thought about calling Kodak and letting them know they could just give up the search for that picture-perfect 'moment'. I found them right here in my living room.


November 28, 2010

23 Weeks.

It's the beginning of the season of Advent, the four Sundays before Christmas, and this is the third Advent that I have gotten to experience while being pregnant. It's been such a cool experience each and every time- remembering that God came to us as a baby and was carried by a woman... a woman very much like me, who lovingly caressed her growing belly and wondered at the WONDER of it all.

Pregnancy is amazing. Miraculous. In just nine short months, there is a new little person. Where there was nothing, there is suddenly someone... a person who is unique from any other person before it! And the fact that all of that energy and life and potential is wrapped up inside of me makes me feel humbled, yet so incredibly honored.

Ezra was asking me the other day about marriage and babies and at one point he said to me, "I wish I was a girl so I could carry a baby inside of me!"

And then, not even 10 seconds later, he said, "Or wait, never mind. I definitely want to be a boy because pushing the baby out hurts."

I laughed and told him he was a smart man, but inwardly I thanked God that I get to have such an intimate knowledge of the mystery of life. I have had no other experience that has taught me so much about Him, and for that fact alone the pain is more than worth it.

November 23, 2010


CareBear stare!

It seems like you always hear people talk about how incredibly difficult the transition from one to two children is, but I didn't find it to be all that problematic. The transition was very smooth and I kept waiting for the "Just You Wait" bomb to drop on my head, but it just never did.

In preparing myself for this third baby, however, I am feeling a wee bit anxious. I can not even stress to you all enough how NICE it was having a four year old by the time our second child came along. Ezra was potty trained! He was in preschool three days a week! He slept all night long with no interruptions! And he knew how to entertain himself well, playing with toys or computer games when I had my hands full with witty bitty Myer! It was GREAT. Peaceful, even.

But when I think of this new baby coming in just four short months, I can't help but feel that the "Just You Wait" bomb that I somehow avoided the first time around is on it's way- and right on target.

I am not naturally an anxious person, so this thought of "what is this going to BE like- a two year old AND a squeaky newborn at the same time??" feels like a weight that just won't go away, and probably won't go away until I am standing knee deep in the reality of it all.

Maybe everything will go smoothly again and all these fallout drills are for nothing!

I am a firm believer that your attitude can ultimately shape your experiences- meaning that if you enter into a situation with tons of expected anxiety and stress, your experience is more than likely going to be... stressful and full of anxiety! But if you enter into things with an attitude that believes the best until proven wrong, and even then is committed to just letting things go when there is no use clinging to them like deflated lifeboats, you are more likely to have a good experience.

So... basically... now I've gotten myself into this pickle of being all worried about BEING WORRIED and the subsequent WORRY that it will likely cause in the future.


Welcome to my head.

Tis' a silly place.

I think what I need is a good, old fashioned pep-talkin' to get my thoughts out of this worry-go-round.

So, tell me, all of you out there with kids who were a mere two years apart: How dost one surviveth? Is this worry largely unwarranted?

November 17, 2010

Ten Time Tested Toys for Two Year Olds!

I don't know about you guys, but I think that two year olds are a tricky bunch of monkey beans to shop for. It's hard to find REALLY GOOD toys out there that your two-ish year old will enjoy. I thought I'd put together a post of our time-tested favorites before the Holidays are upon us, just in case any of you were as stumped as I was the first time around!

one.Train boards. There is nothing better in my opinion! Both Ezra and Myer play with this still every single day. My husband actually made this one (stud muffin), but any kind of train board is guaranteed to bring hours of fun to your house!

two.Okay, pretty much any kind of train toy is a hit with two year old boys, I think. We have a couple of these 'Take Along Thomas' sets and Myer loves them!

three.Richard Scary. Enough said.

four.Once he figured out it was gross to eat, playdough became a staple item for my two year old! He loves to smoosh it and make snakes and cut it with plastic utensils.

five.This toy is INCREDIBLE. The boys play with it all the time-- you can build and create different space ships. It's not available anymore, but it has been replaced by this year's model which looks equally as fun!

six.Legos. My five year old plays with legos non-stop all day everyday, but my two year old can also join in the fun! He loves to play with the lego guys- putting different hats and pants and shirts on them and setting them up everywhere. Myer has never been the kind of kid that puts little toys or things in his mouth, but if your little one still does that, this option might be better for later on!

seven.Any of the Imaginext toys are awesome!! We have the dragon castle and the pirate ship, and these get played with ALL THE TIME by both my kids. I love it when you can find toys that older kids and younger kids can play with. Priceless.

eight.Little cars. We have a whole bucket of these things and I find them all over the house because the boys are always finding creative places to play with them. You can never have too many! :)

nine.This Little Einstein's Pat Pat Rocket toy was purchased by my parents for Ezra when he was two. It is a GREAT toy and is always zooming around the house somewhere. They don't sell them new anymore, but you can find a whole bunch of gently used ones on ebay!

The Cozy Coupe. I'm convinced Myer would live in this if we let him. This is also a time-tested favorite... both Ezra and Myer have gotten a lot of miles out of this little car! :)

Other favorites: Blocks, Coloring Books, Tricycles, Little People Playsets, Sticker Books, Puzzles, Magnetic Fridge Toys, Dump Trucks, and Bubbles!

I hope this gives you guys some ideas for your two-ish year olds out there! All these toys have been great for us because they have lasted for more than just one short season in our kid's lives- they've been played with for ages!


Okay-- so now it's your turn. Do you guys have any other ideas for the two-year-olds of the world? I need some fresh ideas for this year as well. What does/did your two year old love best?

November 13, 2010

On Hoping for a Girl (Take Two.)

(you can find Take One here.)

Chris took me out on a lunch date today and we ate at an extremely yummy pub here in town and ordered our favorite burgers. (The ones with over-easy eggs on them!) I love this place but find it hard to have any kind of meaningful conversation while I'm in there because there is gauranteed to be a 16 foot plasma screen with a football game on it no more than 6 inches from your face at all times.

After our bellies were full we wandered around the shopping center and came upon a cute little children's boutique store. We stumbled inside and I immediately gravitated towards all the cute little baby boy things on display. Airplane blankets and pirate onesies and octopus toys. I tried to hide in the little corner of boyishness because... because it's all that I know. I feel safe there. There's no chance of disillusionment there. Only stalwart practicality and probability. I was looking at clothes with robots on them but I was only seeing safety nets. And I just couldn't let go.

I was actively trying not to make eye-contact with any of the little girl dresses or hairbows or maryjane socks that filled the store with bright sparkly joy. I still have not been able to let my heart go there because I'm afraid the disappointment of not getting a girl will be greater if I let my hope wander off too far in those isles. The girlscout in me is holding the reigns tight. Preparedness! Probability! Practicality!

Then my husband makes me leap. OF COURSE.

He says, "Great boy stuff and all, but where are all the little dresses?"

It took some serious effort to follow him into the unknown jungle of ruffle tights and cardigans. I felt like the whole store knew we only had boys and didn't belong in the pink & purple isles.

But my husband has this way of living from his heart and before I knew it we were swooning over everything we saw. All the while I heard myself repeatedly trying to tell him that there was a 50% chance this wasn't going to happen this time, and that he had to be okay with that, but I also felt God asking me just to take a deep breath and let my hope free for a moment. Every fiber of my being was fighting it. And just when I was about to put my foot back down on that hope again, I looked up and saw that my husband was holding a little dress... and his eyes were full of tears.

This man has such a soft spot in his heart for a little girl that we can't even broach the subject without him getting weepy. This, of course, turns me into a blubbering mess and makes me fall in love with him more every single time. God has put this deep longing inside of my husband, and we know that it is there for a reason. We may not know how or when or if that hope will be fulfilled in this lifetime, but it's there and I don't want to keep trying to stifle it and shush it with my lame arse statistical probability all the time.

Of course we both will be THRILLED to have another boy and he will be loved beyond measure from his very first breath. That goes without saying! But there was something really beautiful about letting go today and shedding hopeful tears over little dresses in the middle of a boutique store with my husband.

It really was just a moment of trust for me. I have not been trusting the Lord with my hope. I have been trying to control it so that I can protect myself from disappointment. But God is asking me to trust Him even in the unknown, even if things don't go EXACTLY as I have them set up in my head, because he is GOOD! He knows our hearts, He knows what's best, and that's really ALL that I need to know. I don't need to control or manipulate my own feelings to protect myself, I can just live from the heart He's given me and feel safe in whatever outcome He sees fit to give.

So, yes, we are still hoping for a girl. But ultimately, as I was reminded today, my hope is anchored to something much, much Greater.

November 11, 2010

21 Weeks.

I can't believe that I have already passed the half way mark of this pregnancy. I feel like I was just peeing on a stick two nights ago! haha.

One change that I have noticed lately is that I am no longer forgetting that I am pregnant. Up until a few days ago, I would constantly forget. Like, 90% of the time. But now that I am feeling some really strong kicks and punches, and now that my belly is getting in the way of things like sleeping and buttoning pants and sitting up and scooching close to the dinner table, this baby is constantly on my mind.

With this comes the never ending hunt for names that obsessively takes over my brain when I am pregnant. We already have our girl name ready to go, but boy names are another story. Picking a name gets progressively harder with each kid because not only do you need to settle on a name that you like AND your husband likes AND has a good meaning AND goes with your last name AND isn't already taken by someone close to you AND isn't likely be the name of ten of his or her classmates, but now it has to mesh well with your other kid's names on top of all of that!

You see?

I obsess.

I feel great and am getting more and more excited to meet this little one with each day that goes by. My eyes have been starting to play tricks on me, where when I see my two boys together playing or coloring or whatever, I suddenly sense a missing presence and I can almost SEE a third child in the room and picture what they will be doing alongside their brothers someday. I must confess that my mind's eye usually puts little blonde pigtails on this mystery child, but there is still a VERY LARGE part of me that thinks this baby is another boy...

Only time will tell!

November 3, 2010

Seven Years (and two days) Ago.

baby chris and baby em.

I've been with the man for twelve years now (due to the interminable dating process we subjected ourselves to when we were hardly old enough to be trusted with driving cars) and still to this day I have moments- while I'm washing dishes at the sink or folding laundry- when I can't believe that we GOT our happy ending.

The journey to our wedding day was a struggle of epic proportions and I feel like it would be more apt to say that we limped down the isle rather than walked. But that moment when we said 'I do" was like a gut-wrenching battle cry of victory. Things trembled and things exploded in triumph.

And we all cried like babies.

We got married on the day after Halloween, which meant our rehearsal dinner fell on a night of masks and costumes. I never expected that the next seven years (and counting) would be a process of learning to remove all my layers of masks and disguises so that I could love and be loved in deeper ways. I'm reminded of that truth on every single anniversary... now as I am putting the kid's costumes back up in the closet after another year of festivites.

That's what marriage has been for me these past seven years...

A peeling away.

A baring of self.

A laying aside of armor.

What an intensely wonderful thing.

October 31, 2010

Fall Fashion - Sunday!

The end of Fall Fashion week is here, boo hoo!! Thank you guys so much for jumping in this week... it is the most encouraging thing when I am reminded that kindness still exists (abundantly!) on the internet, and I feel SO lucky to have such sweet readers like you all. I hope this week has encouraged you, too!

Here's my Sunday look for Halloween. I literally just started grabbing things that I had around the house as I was running out the door to go trick-or-treating, so I had no idea I was going to end up as Minnie until moments before we hit the pavement. haha.

It actually is really sweet that I ended up as Minnie, because my (SEVENTH) anniversary is tomorrow, and these Minnie ears played a part in my hubby & I's love story all that time ago. He asked me to marry him in front of the castle at Disneyland, (I bought these minnie ears on that trip!) and then we went there for a couple of nights on our way back home from our honeymoon a few months later.

What great memories!

Ezra was Darth Vader and the only thing Myer would let us put on him without freaking out was this cowboy hat. He also brought along his stick horse. hehe. Our neighbor friends joined us as pretty princesses. What a bunch! Trick-or-treating was so much fun.

Here are the boys with grandma & grandpa. Little stud muffins.

Again, thank you so much for taking this fashion week idea and making it something really great. I will be announcing the winner of the F21 giftcard within the next day or two!! Oh, I hope it is YOU! ;)

October 30, 2010

Fall Fashion - Saturday!

Ahhh! Bad Fashion Week Hostess! I am posting this link list three hours late today, I am so sorry. My littlest one has been really ill and I have not had a chance to get my Saturday post up until now.

Today is super casual. I need to go grocery shopping and take care of my wee one.

Scarf: thrifted
GAP Maternity top: borrowed
PJ Pants: JcPenny
Chuck Taylors: Converse Store

Tomorrow is the last day! :( I always hate when fashion weeks end! You guys have been amazing, I have really enjoyed "meeting" some of your beautiful faces!! Remember that tomorrow you can post your Halloween costume (if you have one) or your regular outfit, either way! I will do the drawing for the winner of the giftcard soon after that. Happy Saturday to you all!

October 29, 2010

Fall Fashion - Friday!

The ultrasound went great! We got little pictures of our booper to bring home with us, and we still don't know whether it's a boy or a girl! Yay us! :) That's some serious self-control. I usually don't even have enough self-control to stop myself from eating the WHOLE bag of lime flavored potato chips in one sitting. haha. (But really. I just can't stop once I start.)

Here's a little peak at our sweet one!:

Needless to say, we're in LOVE!


Here's my Friday outfit!

Isn't this shrug crazy beans? It looks like it was made from the pelts of 100 innocent teddy bears.

I love pieces that make people go, "Huh?!". I think that fashion should be FUN because... well, you only live ONCE, right?


Thank you guys for making this week such a blast so far. You guys are QUALITY.