...driving his car...

1:19 PM

...
I finally found a box to turn into a car for Gabe. We spent the morning cutting and coloring. Once it was complete, he spent close to two hours sitting in his car.

You ate an apple, talked on the phone, read a book. At one point, you had your feet dangling out the door with your hand resting out the side. I blinked and you were sixteen.


 Elephants make the best of friends.

This morning, you sat down and started reading the newspaper. It was precious, furrowed brow and all. You had your first cup of tea this week. You felt so old and loved to plunk your teabag before taking a sip.

One morning this week, you ran down stairs after waking up and yelled "my dad" as you literally threw yourself into his arms. That was quiet possibly the most beautiful thing.

The weather appears to be warming up next week, and I am ever glad. I am about out of ideas. We spent the week making construction paper people, buses, and bugs. I think your snow diet is down to only 5 gallons this week, one teaspoon at a time.
...


 
 

 

...8|52...

11:55 AM

...


 
 
 


gabe (2). We had a library date this week. They have a giant caterpillar that you carried around with another boy for a few minutes. You guys were precious. I love that you love books.

gianna (5mo). I am so thankful for my wrap. I love that I can hold you close and smell your hair. I love when you look up at me with those beautiful eyes. You are really starting to like rattles. I got a laugh from you this week. It might have made my month.
...

...it is the little things...

11:41 AM

 
 
You found an egg timer in the toyroom (no doubt from a board game). I couldn't believe how fascinated you were. I think you probably watched it for about twenty minutes, all told. I love how it is inherent to stress over finding toys to match development states (etc.) and in the end, you always find the best thing to play with. I love this imagination of yours.
 
 

 Those pouty lips. I am hoping your bottom two incisors pop out in the next few days (wishful thinking). Gabe loves to give you ice (teething ring). I love to catch glimpses of you staring at your perfect little hands.

We are getting back into the DIY/building phase. I guess we are gradually easing out of new baby survival mode. We are building a mud organizer in the garage. I need to get it puttied and primed this week, with the goal of painting it this weekend. I am really looking forward to having a place in the garage for the shoes/coats/gloves that winter brings. We picked up lumber for a desktop for our next project, converting two filing cabinets into a desk. I am really thankful for craigslist. We worked on the desktop on Sunday and only have the trim work left. I will then get it sanded and stained.
...

...7|52...

11:32 AM

...
 
 
 
gabe...(2)Building, building, building. Towers, cars, duplos, blocks. I have heard so many stories about legos from your dad's childhood. He spent countless hours dreaming and building. You are not too far behind. I love how similar you two are.
 

gianna...(5mo) Your feet are currently fascinating. Your teeth are incredibly troublesome. You started blowing raspberries this week. I still can't figure out who you look like.
...

...Ash Wednesday...

11:41 AM

...
The three of us went to an Ash Wednesday service as Steve went before work. He stopped back by on his way through and Gabe was very concerned with the ashes, "Uh oh...Uh oh."

We talked about it on the way to the church. Once there, I quietly mentioned to him that Gianna and I were going up to receive ashes from Fr. Don and asked if he wanted to come. He said no. So he stayed in the pew and we went up. When returned, he asked to go up. I kept repeating, "Are you sure? You want the cross on your forehead? Are you sure?"

"Yes..yes."

So some sweet lady let us cut back into the line. Just as Fr. Don was about making the sign, he started to get really upset. Big crocodile tears, and upset NOs erupted. He started to run away. Sweet boy. I felt so sorry for how upset he was (and for Fr. Don as he loves Gabe). We made it back to the pew in almost one piece, sans ashes. I received several Grandma nods of "I've been there."

Maybe next year.

...

...his baby girl...

11:30 AM

...

A shot from this weekend. I love her tufts of hair. He kept blowing in her face and she was perfectly content.There is something about a dad and his baby girl. The way she looks at him...my. She looks at him like I want to always look at him.

She started blowing raspberries this week. I can hardly believe she will be eating solid foods soon. Gabe can get her to laugh with almost anything. She has yet to do more than a chuckle for me. Instead, she gives me the largest smile possible. That little glisten in her eye.

She has recently started to kick her left leg when she nurses. Back.Forward.Back.Forward. Her teeth have been really hard on her this week. I miss all of the smiles.
...

...baking cookies...

11:34 AM

 
 
 
...
We made home made graham crackers today. We actually made the dough this weekend and it lived outside in a snow back as I didn't have any parchment paper.
 
We borrowed festive cookie cutters (a heart...and a horse) from our dear sweet neighbor as all I can find are my Christmas related cutters. Mixing might be one of his favorite things to do. "Me mix? Me Mix?"
 
After I rolled out the dough, he kept saying, "Uhoh...mess...me eat?"
 
Fortunately this was egg free as he stole several bites.
 
I love his embellishments on the horses. I told him they were saddles. I think those cookies are a perfect analogy for motherhood. Messy, beautiful, and perfect.
I wouldn't want it any other way.
 
We also made sugar cookies and we will frost them and take to dad's office tomorrow. I hope to send a care package to my Aunt/Uncle, as well.

...


...missing dad...

11:41 AM


...  
We spend hours upon hours coloring. I think more than half of your crayons are missing. However, there are several pieces of each one :).
 
You always have me draw something and then color right over it.
 
I have probably drawn 300 school buses of varying colors and sizes.
 
I am hoping you are artistic like your dad.
 
Dad was gone most of this week. This is the first week in the last year that you haven't seen him. Every morning, you run into our bedroom and yell "Dad! Dad!"
 
I keep telling you, "He will be home soon."
 
I have had many extra hours of cuddling because of it. You don't see him much during the week (as much as me...silly work), but those hours are so important.
 
I can't wait to watch your face as he walks through the door.
 
 


 

...my little engine...

11:00 PM

...
"Please..won't you please pull our train over the mountain? Our engine has broken down, and the boys and girls on the other side won't have any toys to play with or good food to eat unless you help us." Watty Piper

You love the little engine that could. We read it for the 1000 time today and you ran and grabbed your lion and this milk crate. It took me a while to figure out what you were doing. You would move around on the lion and then pull the carton into place.
You said you were the train. I found a leash and tied the crate to the lion. Oh, the squeals. 
 
You road around the kitchen for about twenty minutes. You ran and grabbed some toys and placed them in the lion. You would drive around the island, take them out, drive around, and then pick them up again. (Not pictured...the container of grapes you included)
 

 Love you, little man.
...

...06/52...

12:39 PM

...
 
 
 


 

gianna...5 months...Joy. That is how I would describe you. You will sit so still in your bouncer and then start jumping like mad. You give this big open mouth grin when your eyes lock with someone.
gabe...28 months... He loves reading a book and then finding his version of the subject. We read a book with a lion in it this morning. This was his trusty steed for the week.
...


...phones and bumbos...

11:31 AM

...
The weather has been quite blustery for the past two weeks. Fortunately, the 18 inches of snow we received last week are starting to disappear, thanks to two days of extreme heat (30s) this weekend. We haven't ventured out much to play as most of the snow was up to Gabe's hips and the stroller can't quite maneuver. Pity.
 
He hasn't completely tired of bowls of snow, but it is not to far off.
 
Gianna is finally enamored with her bouncer. I get really excited about having a partially mobile/mobile child. She also likes to sit in the bumbo and watch Gabe's antics.
 
Gabe has been pretending to be on the phone A LOT this week. At first, his phone was a domino. He would walk around with it in his hand and then quickly look at it, press one of the yellow dots and say, "Oh hey..." I get glimpses of what Steve was like at this age and I love it. He refers to it as his phone. Lately, his phone has become an empty eye shadow container that flips open. He loves to whip it open and put it to his ear.




 
Many days end with me wondering "what on earth did I do/accomplish today??" Some days, I have concrete lists of perhaps two loads of darks, vacuuming, errands. Most of our days consist of reading lots of books, coloring, playing outside when we can, baking, and painting. I try to just enjoy them and the moment before I blink and it will all be gone.
...

...balance...

11:01 AM

...
"He must increase; I must decrease." John 3:30

I think I consciously muttered that verse at least a dozen times...an hour...yesterday. 

My life changed directions two years ago, with the birth of our son. I had embarked on a new journey, where much servitude would be required. One where I would be required to give myself, every minute of the day. 

I chose that path.
Beth Erin Photography


"More book, more book?" His slobbery hands shoved another book back into my hands. I had read this one three times already. 

"Not right now, I need..." I needed a break. I wanted a break. I was running on fumes, three days of successive migraines, little sleep, children with faucets as noses. My fuse was short.

"Please." His eyes said it all. 

He needed me, which was beautiful. And hard.  Maybe it was just to click on facebook, check my email...I wanted one minute where I wasn't holding either child, where innocent demands weren't being barked. To breathe. The giving of self is so hard at times. Nap time left me contemplating this and praying for the grace to do better once they were up. 

"I am proud of you." My husband says this at least once a day. Then I often break down about how many times I wasn't as patient as I should have been. How I wasn't the best mom I could have been. How I..How I...

"Hey, mom." He draped his arms around my neck after his nap. I breathed him in. One minute at a time.

"He must increase; I must decrease."

I need to focus on that a bit more to get through my days. 

Beth Erin Photography
...



...How We Met...

6:29 AM

...
How we met stories. Engagement stories. Birth stories. 

I love a good story. Sadly, I am starting to forget the details. I loved my parents story. Here is ours:

It is sad to say that I don't quite remember Steve when we met for the first time. It was March of 2009. Fort Collins was pummeled with snow. My roommate, a fellow graduate student (engineering), and I decided to organize an impromptu sledding party. Classes were canceled, research could wait. We called our circle of friends, quite an eclectic mix of graduate students and FOCUS students, and headed out sledding. 

We sledded for a few hours and then many went back to our little yellow house for hot chocolate and $5 Hot-n-readys. I think most people stayed for a few hours. Apparently, I talked to Steve quite a bit. I honestly don't really remember him (which still bothers him ;)). I do know he had a beard (he promptly shaved) and an air compressor (vital as many of our inner-tubes were flat). 
Tour De Fat. Captain Morgan and Pippi Longstocking.

That was it. Everyone left. 

My roommate and I ran off and on together for the time we lived together. She then started running with a running group (organized by Steve, a grad student in her department). I was never able to go as it conflicted with my crazy research schedule. I finally made it one time, probably in April, and suggested we started running at 6AM. It worked! As weeks past, there was a constant flux of people that showed up for a run. We all would meet in a parking lot of a park and take off at our respective paces.  We usually met up at the end and planned the next run. Some days, there were 8 people, other days 3-4. 

That is all it ever was for about 5 months. We were both in relationships with other people at the time. We ran four days a week. Said good morning and have a good day.

As fall approached, (Steve's version) he found out via my roommate that I was no longer in a
Insane Race. 5 miles up and down a few cliffs.
relationship. The month of August arrived, and we found each other as the only two people who showed up for runs (isn't everyone up for a 6AM run on a Saturday??). I remember talking to my mom after several runs and she mentioned I spent a lot of time running with this guy. I shrugged it off and said we were just friends.

We did a run one Saturday morning at a grueling place called Devils Backbone. It was hot and hard. At the end of the run, exhausted, the two of us sat on a bench parking lot and talked for two hours. I will never forget how handsome he looked. His eyes. What I didn't realize, was that he had convinced the other constant runner to not show up. Sneaky. 

My phone rang that evening. It was Steve. I was an anxious wreck as I locked my self in the laundry room and sat on the dryer. He said something about "their" plans to the baseball game fell threw. He wanted to know if I wanted to go to the drive-in instead. I tried not to think anything of it but was panic stricken when he showed up at my house. Alone. But I convinced myself it wasn't a date. So we picked up a pizza and headed to the drive-in. The Fort Collins drive-in is what everyone does. A $5 double feature, tons of families, birthday parties. The first movie was stupid (chick flick; I was too embarrassed to admit that I watched it the week prior with a friend). He talked the whole time, interjecting "plot flaw," "this is stupid." I don't recommend the second movie as a first non-date/date movie. It wasn't exactly "family friendly." 

Hiking Grey Rock.
I should have started this with: I am naive. Almost too a fault. I went to the restroom during intermission, and when I returned, he had his arm around my seat...I didn't get it. I kept moving away from him, thinking I was reading into things. He was going to think I was being too forward. The movie finished and we talked until 1AM. He drove me home and I gave him a quick hug goodbye. I think I ended it with, "Thanks. I just got out of a relationship. Please take this really slow."

He didn't contact me for three days. Three.

I was livid. (Later he tells me something about me sending mixed signals. Take it slow, she says.). As August came to a close, we casually met a few times for my roommates going away parties. I then convinced myself that I theyy liked each other. The funny thing? She moved away and we kept hanging out. I still didn't get it.

Our first official date, according to him (I didn't think it was a date) was August 20. He made me dinner. We played cribbage and watched baseball. I was promptly swept off my feet.
Adamandemilyphotographers.

We spent the next few months running together, playing cribbage, hiked, watching bowling after Mass on Sundays, doing INSANE races. I am competitive as is he. We did a race in the Garden of the Gods. It quite possible ranked with labor. We ran a 10K at 10,000'. We ran a race in a blizzard. We pushed each other to try new things. We took walks, drank tea, went to the coldest NLDS game in history, became best friends.

We spent every waking/nonresearch/nonclass moment together. I took him home to meet my family over Thanksgiving. I went home with him over Christmas. We drove 38 hours in horrific weather. I didn't want it to end.

We were engaged ten days after we got back. That is another story.

My parents always said I did everything in fastforward. I move fast. We dated for four months; it seemed like ten years (NOT to him). Got engaged. I married my best friend. 

...

...today...

11:08 AM

...
making...leftovers for lunch. 

cooking...steak fajitas for dinner.

drinking...water. vanilla caramel tea.

reading...january Runner's World. My next 
batch of books await at the library. Lots of Dr. Seuss books.

wanting...my babies to be healthy.

looking...out the window at the swirling snow. gorgeous.


playing...cribbage with hubby in the evenings in front of a fire (last night).

sewing...My pinterest board is full of ideas, mostly outfits for little Miss.

wishing...for a reprieve in the weather.

enjoying...friendship from fellow moms.

waiting...I am really working on this. Nothing. 

building...a mudroom organizer for the garage. I can't wait for it to be finished.

loving...My husband. Really. I am so fortunate.

wearing...My running clothes. The treadmill and I had a date. Done.

looking...for airline tickets to MT!!















...Best Friends...

10:22 AM

...
We had a really eventful weekend. We went to Steve's annual company party, which is always  a lot of fun. It was my first date night in quite a while. We were really fortunate that the party was only 15 minutes from Uncle Brian's house. He and soon to be Aunt Kristi watched the kids for the evening. I rushed back to put them to bed and feed Gianna, but it all went well. We actually stayed out until 10PM. Crazy. I sadly didn't even get as much as a cell phone picture. But I will remember it. We were able to swing dance, one of my favorite things to do with him.

We drove back during a snow storm that ended up dumping close to 18" at our house. It is beautiful to look at, I must say. We haven't been able to enjoy it much, mostly due to sickness and the the chilly temperatures.

It has been really difficult to keep them away from each other. However, I am fairly certain he has the same virus she had. Yesterday, Gabe looked absolutely miserable. His eyes and nose were running like a faucet. He is constantly chewing on his fingers as his two year molars aren't in quite yet. I glanced into the den and notice them holding hands. They were gabbering in their respective languages.

We due, however, go through buckets and bowls of snow a day. He loves to use measuring teaspoons and eat it. Today was the first day he felt like doing anything other than cuddling and reading books. I did really enjoy the cuddles, but I am so thankful he is starting to feel better.

Gianna found her knees yesterday. I love when babies are at this stage.







...