Monday, October 24, 2016

long time no see (write?)


It's been awhile, huh? But I'd like to try and bring the blog back a little if we can. Life has been busy lately - we hit the ground running at the beginning of the school year and haven't slowed down since. I've been finding myself feeling a little off-kilter lately, not able to find my center and seemingly heading in five different directions all at once on any given day. In order to figure some of that out, I sat down on Friday, with paper and pencil in hand (I don't do well with keeping track of things with technology) and wrote out a list of all of my commitments. Guess how many there are?


And that doesn't even count my automatic top two of God and Family. And I didn't add the blog to it because I wasn't sure where we stood on it, though truth be told, I miss it a little bit and am going to try and write at least once a week. So really there are nineteen which works out well with my aversion to even numbers. Nineteen things that I want to give my time and energy to on a weekly or monthly basis. Most of them are work and church and school related, and as I looked over my list, the only thing on it that I wanted to give up was grocery shopping. Maybe this one doesn't seem like a "commitment" but since I have to drive 30 minutes to a decent grocery store and then spend anywhere from an hour to two hours shopping there and at a couple other stores, and then driving 30 minutes back home, it ends up being a big chunk of my time every week. So you know what I did? Yesterday I placed my first "ClickList" order through Kroger and tomorrow, between 10 and 11am, I will drive by the store in between my morning workout with my favorite boot camp girls and a lunch date with one of my favorite people, and I will NOT GET OUT OF MY CAR. They will bring the groceries to my car, put them in, charge my credit card only for the groceries (no charge for the shopping and delivery to the car!) and then I will drive away. It will probably take less than 10 minutes which will end up saving me at least a couple hours, but maybe more since I sometimes drive to several different stores to pick things up. WIN! This will give me more time in the day to work on both of my businesses (yes, I picked up another which I'm hoping I can tell you about sometime in the near future) and work on a couple certifications that I'm adding to the personal training (Youth Fitness and Group Training - I'm so excited!).

So hopefully I am on my way to figuring out how to consolidate my time away from home so that I can work a few more hours each day. Wish me luck!

Since it's been quite awhile since we've posted, I thought I'd just share a bunch of recent photos to catch us all up on what's been going on. Here they are, if you'd like to see...

Above, you will find pictures of the sweetest little baby boy, a weekend in Charlottesville, a weekend at the beach, a 40th birthday celebration at Camden Yards, the best grandparents on duty for a long weekend, brothers and sisters, girl cousins, boy cousins, a vacation in Charleston, and a family photo at a superhero birthday party. As you can see, our lives are full. Full of craziness and stress and decisions and new beginnings and running around like a chicken with our heads cut off. But they are also full of beautiful and amazing and lovely and hilarious and happy. I hope your days are full of the same, because as I've been reminded lately, if we didn't have the challenges, we wouldn't notice the joy.

Yesterday afternoon, while the boys were doing a booth sale for cub scouts and Annabel was drawing some pictures, and I was sitting next to her working on my ClickList order with a million other things running through my head, I made a decision. I closed the computer, picked up my sweet girl and carried her out to the trampoline where we spent an hour jumping and laying down looking up at the leaves and doing cartwheels and throwing all the acorns out so we didn't step on them. We laughed and talked and enjoyed the beautiful afternoon. And not once did I think of the studying I could have been doing or the house that needed to be cleaned or the overflowing recycle bins that needed to be loaded in the car or the emails I needed to send out. It was just what we both needed at the end of one busy week and the beginning of another. I hope that you can carve out an hour today for "trampoline time" with your family or maybe just by yourself. Don't miss these beautiful October days and nights with the fiery leaves and bright stars.

Wishing you a great week, my friends!

Friday, September 23, 2016

life with 2 littles & an update

We have been loving these last 2 months with Asher.  He is the sweetest little guy and recently started smiling which is such a treat.  His eyes are so bright and they just light up when he starts to smile.  It's the sweetest.  

There has certainly been a time of adjustment as we all get used to having a baby around but in between the tough times there are beautiful moments that make me the happiest mama.  I love how Sommer loves her brother and am so thankful that they have each other.  Just the other day I over heard her telling Asher that he is her best bud forever. (heart melting) <3  She also loves having a real live patient to work on instead of her baby dolls. ;o)


In my last post - way back in July, I shared that we had been told that Asher would have clubfoot at our 20 week ultrasound.  Then, when he was born the nurses and doctors at the hospital were a little hesitant to call it clubfoot.  We followed through with our orthopedic appointment in Philadelphia and were told that he had clubfoot and he was casted for 12 days.  I think that's where I left off...

After those 12 days in casts, we returned to our ortho. and had the casts removed.  His feet looked so great and were so flexible that our doctor gave Asher 2 weeks out of the casts before he would be seen again.  When we went back 2 weeks later, we were told that he does not have clubfoot!  We were really surprised, happy, unsure...his feet were and continue to be a little turned in and somewhat unique.   We decided to get a second opinion and after waiting almost a month, got in with Shriners.  Our doctor at Shriners was in agreement that Asher doesn't have clubfoot but did feel that because his foot turns in and bends at his arch, he should be treated.  Our little guy was fitted for boots that he will wear for a couple months to see if they help to straighten and flatten out his little feet.  

It is so hard for me to put these on him.

Our Sommer girl is off to preschool again this year and loves every minute of it!  She is so sweet and smart and reminds me often that next year she is going to Kindergarten and desperately wants to ride the bus like Annabel.  She's taking tumble dance at the Y and is just generally such a big girl.  It's amazing how big she seems to me since Asher was born. 

I just love these two so much and am so thankful to have 2 happy and healthy littles!

Monday, September 12, 2016

the end of an era

Hello! WeThree hope you'll forgive us for the complete radio silence here over the last couple of weeks. Between work, a new baby, and a new school year, we've sort of been up to our eyeballs in life :) Posting may be a little spotty here for a bit but be sure to follow us on Facebook for updates.

As I said, the new school year has begun, and this past Tuesday I sent my baby girl off to Kindergarten. I was nervous about how the morning would go. Both of my children had a very tough time going to preschool - when I dropped them off they would cry and the teachers would have to peel them off of me and I would have to run down the hallway away from them while they yelled, "Mama! Don't leave me!"


Traumatizing not only for them, but also for me.

Thankfully, Tommy didn't have any trouble going to Kindergarten. He headed off to class with not even so much as a backward glance, and although I did cry a little bit as I pushed one-year-old Annabel home from school in her stroller that first morning after dropping Tommy off, I soon buried those feelings underneath a pile of dishes and laundry and diapers as I continued to care for my young daughter. I didn't see it as an end because I still had work to do with number two.

And then I blinked, and it was her turn to go off to Kindergarten.

I worried about Annabel more than I did about Tommy. He was more independent at home, playing by himself more often than not. Annabel, on the other hand, is basically attached to me anytime we're together. She hates for me to even leave the house without her. (And maybe you remember this post that documented just how attached we really are.) So naturally, I worried. Would she be scared or nervous? Would she refuse to get on the bus? Would she cry and cling to me and not want to let go? I laid in bed the night before she went off to school and prayed hard that the next morning would go smoothly.

Amazingly, and oh so thankfully, my sweet girl woke up all smiles on Tuesday, jumped out of bed and said, "THIS IS THE BEST DAY EVER!" And I practically melted with relief. When the bus pulled up in front of our house, she gave me a huge hug, kissed me on the cheek and ran off to join her friends. It was exactly what I needed her to do and I'm so thankful that she is loving every minute of school so far.

As the bus pulled away with both of my children on it for the very first time, I stood there in the driveway.....alone.

I had already planned to run or walk every morning right after they got on the bus so I popped in my headphones, turned the music up and started running. And as I ran, I found myself reflecting.......

For seven of the last nine years, I have been at home full-time with my babies. Being a stay-at-home mom was the only job I ever truly wanted, and I am so incredibly thankful to my hard-working husband that I was able to be home with them when they were little. That said, staying home with kids can sometimes be difficult. There were many days where I felt lonely, overwhelmed, unprepared, bored, fed-up, and exhausted. There were days when I wished I could leave and go to work. There were days when I put them both down for a nap and sat on my bed and cried.

I know I'm not alone in this, and I know these feelings aren't limited to stay-at-home moms. Working moms feel all of these same things. We are not separated by our choices, and I am sick to death of all the comparisons that women make these days. It doesn't matter if you breast feed or bottle feed, crib sleep or co-sleep, sling carry or not, work full-time, part-time or stay home. If your child is fed, mostly clean (cause really, when are they ever completely clean?!), and LOVED, then we are WINNING at being moms. End of story. (And end of rant...and to use a popular phrase that I am decidedly not fond of but that actually works quite well in this instance: #sorrynotsorry. Look, I even did a hashtag!)

But for every hard day, there was a great day. For every frustrating day, there was a proud day. For every exhausting day, there was an energizing day. I loved it and I made sure to pay attention because everyone (EVERYONE) told me that it would go by so fast. Although I believed them, I didn't really think too much about it because I was busy and tired and drowning in laundry and toys and diapers and dishes all. day. long.

Then, just like that, nine years passed by in the blink of an eye and I was standing (running) on the other side of my tenure as a stay-at-home mom. And all these questions started floating through my mind...

Did I do enough?
Did I play enough?
Did I read enough?
Was I kind enough?
Did I teach them enough?
Did I prepare them enough?
Did I care enough?
Did I pray enough?
Did I laugh enough?
Did I discipline enough?
Did I love them enough?

Maybe those questions sound crazy knowing that I still have several more years before they leave the house, but while they were home with me, it was my job to lay the foundation that they would take out into the world. And those were the questions that passed through my mind as I watched the bus carry my babies off to school. Did I do enough to prepare them?

In all honesty, I don't really know what "enough" means for any of those questions, but I do know that I did my best. And that's really all I could do. That's all any of us can do. But there's something I want to tell you if you have little kids, whether you stay at home full-time or work part-time or if you go to work every single day. I want to tell you to ENJOY it. Enjoy all of it. The hugs, the tantrums, the kisses, the crying, the " I love you's," the "I'm not ever taking a nap again's," the play time, the food throwing, the food eating, the laughing, the fighting, the smiles, the crankiness, the sweetness, the book throwing, the book reading, the screaming, the singing, the craziness and the amazingness. In the ever-so-wise words of Darius Rucker, "It won't be like this for long."

He's totally right, as is every single person that ever told me that "it goes by so fast." I know you're probably sick of hearing that but let me just tell you one more time: IT GOES BY SO FAST! Every difficult phase your child goes through will be over before you know it and a new one will take it's place. Be thankful for every single day that you have with them and love them to the best of your ability. Teach them to be kind and open and honest. Teach them to pray hard and love well. And whatever you do, don't blink, because it'll be over before you know it.

Before I end this crazy long post (making up for the last two weeks all at once?!), let me assure you (and when I say "you," I mean my grandmother, mother and aunts :) ) that I am fine. Every end in life presents a perfect opportunity for reflection and that's what I've been doing. I'm looking forward to pouring more time and energy into making my business more of a full-time job, continuing to volunteer at our church, and running (jogging?) a few days a week with a couple new friends in our neighborhood. But I couldn't pass up the opportunity to share these thoughts with all the mamas out there in hopes that maybe it will help someone pause, take a deep breath, and continue on calmly, appreciating whatever age/stage/phase their child(ren) happen to be in at the moment. Enjoy it. It won't be like this for long.

Monday, August 22, 2016

this girl

Since our birthdays are exactly one month apart, Annabel and I decided to start a new tradition this summer that we've named, "Birthday Girls Day Out." For our first celebration we decided on cupcakes from Pearl's and then a pedicure. We had such a great time together but my favorite part of the afternoon came on the way home. We got in the car after eating giant cupcakes and getting polka dots and sparkles (I just got plain red but Annabel was much more adventurous) and started heading toward home when she suddenly said,"Mama, I am going to steal the ball from those footballers. Girls can play any sport they want and I am gonna play football. Do you like my polka dots?"

Oh this girl. She's the perfect mix of girlie and tomboy. I love how she refuses to wear anything besides a skirt or a dress and then wants to ride her two-wheeler as fast as she can down the street. I love that she wants to twirl around in a tutu and then play cars and legos with her brother. I love that she wants her nails painted with sparkles and polka dots and then declares that she's going to play football. How fortunate I am to get to watch her grow into the amazing person she's becoming.

We had so much fun on our first annual Birthday Girls Day Out and I'm already looking forward to next year. Happy five to my beautiful girl!

Monday, August 15, 2016

baby land

It feels like I blinked and we went from August 1 to August 15 just like that. I'm determined to continue to keep the "it's-time-to-start-thinking-about-school" thoughts out of my head for at least another week, but they have slowly been creeping into my mind a little more over the last couple days. We're planning to head to town sometime this week for new school shoes so we can at least cross that off of our list. Once that's done, I think the only thing to organize is a new method for school lunches. I'm hoping to prep a bunch of stuff on Sunday afternoons for easy packing all week. We'll see how long that lasts. Packing lunches is my least favorite chore. I may have to start making them pack their own this year!

Last week was our last full week away for the summer. Although I'm still hoping to sneak in one more day/weekend at the beach, we are done with our long trips. It's been a pretty low-key summer for us this year which was exactly what we all needed after a hectic end of the year last year. I'm looking forward to soaking up our down time before we jump back into the school year fun.

Since we hadn't been up to Pennsylvania for a visit in many many months, the kids and I hopped in the car and made the trip up to spend some time with family. I got to spend the ENTIRE WEEK with sweet baby Asher and I couldn't have been more excited. I had to wait 26 long days before I got to meet my new nephew and I was beyond ready to hold him and spend some quality time with him and Sommer and Dani. We had a great week with a mix of time with the big kids and time just with the baby. It was a great week and I'm already looking forward to our next visit in October! Here are some photos if you'd like to see.

Making s'mores

Pa went easy on Tommy in the beginning...

...and then couldn't come back! Tommy wins!

We love Bear and Uncle Robert!

Sweet boys

These kids love their GG!

Wishing you a great start to your week!

Monday, August 1, 2016

August 1

I don't know about you but our summer seems to be flying by. I can hardly believe that today is already the 1st day of August. We suddenly seem to be staring September and the first day of school right in the face, which I can assure you, is the LAST thing Tommy wants to see in his near future. Lucky for us, we have another whole month to soak up the lazy days of summer, including a few days at the lake and a whole week visiting our sweet new nephew and cousin, Asher Matthew! We're so excited!

Today, on this first day of August, the kids and I set out to get a jump on the back-to-school shopping so that it doesn't come down to the wire at the end of the month. In case you were wondering, this is what it takes to send a kid to 4th grade and Kindergarten:

Pictured above is exactly 3 pencil cases, 1 package of paper plates, 3 boxes of Kleenex, 1 box of baby wipes, 3 boxes of assorted ziploc bag sizes, 4 packs of dry erase markers, 1 three-ring binder, 2 boxes of markers, 1 box of colored pencils, 1 package of paints, 2 red pens, 3 boxes of erasers, 2 highlighters, 5 boxes of crayons, 6 sharpie markers, 1 package of index cards, 6 pocket folders, 7 composition notebooks, 2 one-subject notebooks, 3 packs of wide-ruled paper, 3 containers of chlorox wipes, 30 glue sticks, 2 bottles of glue, 3 pairs of scissors, 1 lunch box and two water bottles.

One hour and $150 later, we headed home from Target with our haul. It really makes me wonder how everyone can afford all of this stuff.

I managed to fit it all neatly into a few grocery bags and have them lined up behind the couch in the livingroom. Although I'm glad to have that chore out of the way, I plan on moving the bags to the closet for the next month so we don't have to be reminded every single day that school is coming. Though admittedly, I am looking forward to some cooler temperatures!

Happy August 1st to you! Hope your last month of summer is off to a great start!

Friday, July 29, 2016

Baby Boy!

I am super happy to report that we welcomed our little guy, Asher Matthew, to the world on 7/12/16.  He was born at 1:15am weighing in at 7lb 15 oz and 18 1/2in long.

 He is such a sweet little guy and we all love him to pieces.

I learned a huge lesson during this pregnancy and labor/delivery and that one thing is that no matter how much we plan and hope and expect something to go one way, in the end, we really don't have much control over it.  Especially when it comes to something like this.  When I first found out that I was pregnant I decided that this pregnancy was going to go much differently than my first.  To make a long story short, we had to switch from a midwife group to a regular OB, ended up having a bunch of extra ultrasounds and after about 20 hours of labor, ended up having a last minute c-section when my plan was to have an unmedicated labor with very minimal ultrasounds and was hoping for a much easier labor and delivery than I had with Sommer.  
We also found out at our 20 week ultrasound that our little guy would most likely be born with bilateral talipes (otherwise known as clubfoot - a congenital deformity (present at birth) in which the affected foot appears rotated internally at the ankle - the foot points down and inwards and the soles of the feet face each other.) and it was such a huge shock.  We were scared and had no idea what to expect but after doing some research, reading a few blogs of parents who have been through this whole thing and meeting with a great high risk doctor, we started to feel somewhat prepared.  We spent the rest of our pregnancy going to doctors appointments, having ultrasounds and trying to learn as much as we could about clubfoot.  I'm hoping to share our story with clubfoot here so that anyone who finds themselves facing this as well, might find a little comfort in knowing our experience as well.  

When we met our little guys on July 12, sure enough, he did have clubfoot and when he was 8 days old, we traveled to Philly to see our orthopedic doctor at CHOP.  Our doctor is trained in the Ponseti Method of treating clubfoot - something we familiarized ourselves with before he was born and that day, he had a cast put on each foot and leg to start his treatment.   Our ortho will become our new best friend as we will be seeing him weekly to get new casts put on until Asher is ready for the next step in treatment.  We were so excited to find out though, that Asher's feet are a very mild case of clubfoot and he may only require 3 or 4 sets of casts.  

 Our first few days with casts were a bit difficult as I'm sure they are quite uncomfortable for our little guy.  By now, he seems to be used to them and can lift them and move them around quite well.   We head back to Philly for our second set of casts on Monday and an updated idea of what his treatment looks like as we move forward.  I can't wait to see his little legs again after 12 days behind those casts!!

 Baby leg warmers have been amazing to cover the casts this week!

 We have loved these first 2 weeks with our little guy.  Sommer has been the best big sister to him and can not get enough of giving him kisses and singing to him.  We could all truly sit on the couch and snuggle with him all day. :o)  He is the best addition to our little family and I can't wait to share more of our adventures with two littles over the next weeks, months and years.