Wednesday, December 31, 2014

End of 2014...

I am glad to see 2014 go. There were a lot of good times it is true, yet it is marked by tragedy and trials as well.

The biggest trial that struck me personally was in the summer. In July we were surprised to discover a third little Blythe was on the way. This was great news and from the start we couldn't wait to meet our dear child. However a bitter edge quickly followed that joy. Morning sickness struck fast and it struck very hard.  I watched up close as my family suffered both through and because of me. Paden carried the extra burden of not only having a sick wife, but having an absent wife in all but body. I couldn't pick up my baby that just really needed to be held. I couldn't give my husband the embrace I knew he needed. I couldn't find amusement or joy in anything. I experienced depression that hung heavy and unyielding. I will never forget the first morning I felt well enough to sit up in a chair and hold a cup of coffee. I think I only took about three sips, but it was the first time that I had experienced even the smallest kind of pleasure in what seemed like forever and I almost cried.

Friends close to us have gone through much harder trials. One young friend was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of cancer and looks forward to painful and intense treatment. Another discovered cancer had returned after an all too brief respite. Then there is the tragedy you don't get over but simply must learn to live with. A friend lost their unborn child. A teenage girl was killed in a car wreck. And now this morning, on the last day of 2014, we wake to hear death has stolen a dear family friend after a sudden illness that hardly left his family time to say goodbye.

Because of sin our lives are plagued with tragedy and grief; the hardest being death. We are promised that God will one day wipe away those tears and that pain and death will no longer be a part of our lives. But when you are in the midst of these trials, it is almost impossible to feel the comfort of this future hope. We feel the pain, hurt, and loss and are swallowed up by it. All we can do is mourn with those who mourn, knowing nothing we do or say can heal what death has broken.

But Christ has promised to heal even what death breaks. We are carried through the trials and are given joy again though we may remain broken. We will sit and enjoy that cup of coffee. We will hold our babies and watch them learn to take their first steps and say their first words. We will enjoy the love of our spouses. The fellowship of good friends. The job promotion. The excitement of new opportunities. The long awaited vacation. The laughter of good company and wine. The beauty in life around us. The quiet evenings of a peaceful home. Although trials may leave us broken, God gives joys and promises to one day take away all pain and death.

So while at the end of 2014 I, along with so many others, mourn an untimely death, in faith I know I will begin 2015 comforted by Christ. Our brokenness will be healed and we will be given joys in the meantime.

This is the comfort of Christ.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Christmas 2014...

This year we spent Christmas up in Canada with my side of the family. It's fun watching the cousins get older and start to be able to play together. Dad decided to give Olivia and cousin Jeannie the experience of getting to make homemade ice cream. It was a pretty big hit.

There was lots of eating, gifts, and family making for a great Christmas. Then Olivia decided to come down with a case of croup Christmas night which then turned into bronchitis and now a hefty double ear infection. However, being the hearty trooper that she is, she is mostly just super excited to be allowed to watch Shaun the Sheep all day long. Hopefully now we that have antibiotics we'll have a healthy Olivia to ring in the New Year.

Meanwhile Paige is perfecting her walking skills and picking up some vocabulary. Since being home she has dedicated most of her time to walking around the house with a ball repeating "Ball. Ball." I think these past two days have been the happiest days of her life.

Here's to a future of blurry Paige photos.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Paige Turns One...

We are currently in Canada visiting the family for Christmas and today is Paige's first birthday.

This little, early Christmas bundle has done a lot of growing up over the past year and just started walking last week.

She is our passionate, chubby cheeked, daddy loving little girl. To celebrate I made our sugar loving child a chocolate bear cake.

"Why is everyone singing?"

Initially suspicious at first as per usual.

"Yum! Sugar!"

Happy birthday Paige!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Girls in Advent Dresses...

Advent season is a great excuse to get new dresses for the girls.

Taking a good picture of just Olivia is always easy. After I figured out my camera setting and added Paige to the mix, things quickly turned blurry. After taking many shots, here are the two successful ones.

This year I bought a chocolate advent calendar that Olivia looks forward to every morning. After getting her piece of chocolate she says "Christmas all done." At this point Christmas means chocolate. That's not a bad start I figure. 

Monday, December 1, 2014

Thanksgiving Week 2014...

Thanksgiving week was a good one this year. The week before we all succumbed to a stomach bug, to ensure we were extra thankful for good health this year.

Here are some highlights of our week.

 Paige learnt to draw on the doodle pad.

Then later taught Devon how to play ball.

We went on a Thanksgiving day walk and no one was left behind.

The meal of the week (and possibly the funnest of the year) was trying crawdads.

Now we are looking forward to the Christmas season!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Company Ready...

Apparently Facebook doesn't think much of my housekeeping skills. It's probably been peeking at the background of my photos. Today my newsfeed listed this article with the title "How to get your home ready for company in less than an hour".

I read it and got a good laugh. Obviously there were no kids factored into the equation. Little people under the age of two are universally good at two things: spreading germs and making messes. The article never mentioned picking up the scattered toys from the floor of every room, or wiping off baby fingerprints from every shiny surface, or getting that marker off the tabletop. Perhaps most importantly, there was no mention of how to find this elusive, uninterrupted hour in order to attempt this speed clean. If I really want to have a clean house, I start first thing in the morning. Everyday house life doesn't stop because company is coming. Kids still need to play, to be fed, and to be changed. I still have hours to put in for work and the grocery shopping doesn't do itself. And anything under two feet that you clean in the morning WILL have to be cleaned again during naptime and maybe one more time before the doorbell rings.

I am too social to let a thing like a clean house get in my way, and since even loading the dishwasher often leaves me in need of a sit-down (yes, I know I sound like i'm 100), I have become the queen of lowering my standards. During pregnancy I am tragically unapologetic for the disastrous state of my house. Those who have been inside our home these past few months have seen what happens when two little people run wild all day while I lay on the couch making a baby. It hasn't been pretty, but so far they keep coming back.

Many days it does bug me that the house is never clean. There are areas of the floor in our room I haven't seen since last spring. Yes, be shocked; I'm not proud of it, but that is the truth. One day I will raise my standards again and, although nobody will be taking pictures for pinterest, a clean house is something I might have on a regular basis. However, as long as my house is blessed with the noise and love of little ones, I'm pretty sure we will never be company ready in an hour. And that is not something to be sad about because this is what I've traded it for:

(Yes, Olivia is feeding Paige yogurt and yes, it got messy)

Saturday, November 8, 2014

What We Do...

One negative of a small town is the short options list of places to go when looking to get out of the house for a bit. Often we end up walking through the mall or visiting the local Goodwill. This last year the local Starbucks moved into it's own building outside of the mall so why not add it to our little list?

It is not a bad place to get a treat and keep a social toddler happy and a crabby baby entertained.

It's biggest draw might be the water cups and straws.

Olivia did some interpretive dancing to the Starbucks playlist before I got the camera out. Paden was embarrassed and asked Paige if she would ever to do things like that. Our guess is not likely. Having two girls who are so different is so much fun and I can't wait to find out how different/similar Blythe Baby Three will be!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Gender Reveal...

Thursday was finally the big day to find out if this third little Blythe is a boy or girl! Things have been more than a little crazy for Paden at work and he has been working long hours 6 days a week. In light of that, I had rescheduled the appointment multiple times to find a time he would be able to attend. To cut a long story short, after a lot of rescheduling (including three reschedules on the day of!) and Paden NOT being able to make it at the last minute, I FINALLY ended up in the ultrasound room with the two girls in tow. The girls were well behaved for the most part - until about halfway through when Paige decided the stroller was too boring.

All that to say, apparently we do girls well because it's another sister!

We are going to be a house full of girls!

Before the ultrasound we had a short list of names, but soon after getting home scrapped them. Then we had another name chosen, but now I am wavering on that. So apparently we need a little more time to settle on what exactly her name will be.

In the meantime, here are some pictures from Saturday night. The last Saturday of October, the local college puts on a fall carnival for the kids. The kids were too little to do much except for get an animal balloon, but it was a great excuse to make the girls look cute and be sure to get a really good night's sleep out of them.

Olivia couldn't wait to go to the "patty" (party).

The pumpkin is about to fall over and the ladybug's camera face is pretty scrunchy.

And a more candid moment with a jumping toddler and a baby not impressed with her hat.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Parenting at Its Best...

Some mornings (and by some I mean most these days) the house is a mess and I don't have the energy/will to do much about it. Sometimes on those morning I have a baby who is pretty crabby and doesn't stop crying until naptime. Some days the toddler feels like joining the joy with her own contribution of unhappiness.

But I have a nifty parenting trick.

Just such a happy morning dawned earlier this week, so after morning nap I loaded up the two munchkins and we headed to the local mall (aptly nick named "the small" due to its very limited size). I got a freshly baked pretzel while Paige got her tummy filled with some apple chicken goop.

Give Olivia a cup with a straw and water becomes quite the treat.

The world is a happier place when you are somewhere other than home apparently.

They place those giant teddy bears at toddler level on purpose. When I texted Paden the above picture, he responded saying he hoped I had gotten it for her.

Nope. Meanie Mom had her put it back without even glancing at the price tag.

By the time we got home it was naptime for the girls. Since going to the mall is hard work at nine months old I got a long nap out of the baby.


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Grandparents' Weekend....

This weekend at our house.

Olivia is still asking where puppy is. I suppose when you are 2 it is the one time you are allowed to love the puppy as much as grandpa and grandma.

In other news we are having a very warm October and although I keep dressing the girls in their cute fall clothes we really should be still wearing summer shorts. Yeah, I can't wait for fall already!

Also, our basement is a war zone. Paden has been tearing out walls and re shaping the whole area. Dad was down there helping him this weekend and Paden has quite a vision for what the end result will be. When it's done I will show it off.

Also, in a few weeks we get to find out if the girls get another sister or a brother! We better get serious about picking the name!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Fair and Nine Months...

The Latah County Fair was recently. Since Olivia is the animal kingdom's biggest fan, we took her over to see the animal barns Saturday morning.

There was some intense excitement as she crowed at all the chickens. It took a sharp eye to keep up with the little blonde blur running from one cage to the next.

I tried to get a picture capturing the high level of excitement that only a two year old can exhibit, but her usual willingness to please the camera was completely forgotten.

 Paige, on the other hand, was unimpressed. This was the only expression she wore the entire outing.

Knowing it would  be a big hit, I road the carousel with Olivia. It was not the wisest decision for someone with nausea and hyper sensitivity to motion sickness and I should have thought to send Paden with her. But Olivia was pretty thrilled and would have ridden it til the world ended. Unfortunately my stamina ran out before the hour did, but apparently it was enough excitement to make one toddler's day (the evidence is always in the nap length).

In other news, this baby girl just turned nine months old.

She crawls all over the house but doesn't appreciate discovering she is alone in a room she has just entered. Her favorite person in the world is her Dad. If he is holding her then even if the sky were falling all would be well.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Crawling Forward...

For the past week or more Paige has started crawling. Until today it was two crawls, a flying lunge forward, and a roll over to the desired location. Today something clicked and we are on the move from one end of the house to the other! The first spot Paige made her beeline to was Olivia's book corner. She has watched her big sister spend happy hours here and apparently concluded it is the best spot to hang out.

As soon as Olivia saw me taking a picture she decided Paige needed a hug.

I might need to invest in another baby gate but I have one very happy baby on my hands!

Timing couldn't have been more perfect. For the past week I have been almost consistently on my feet during the day. I just may be up for keeping tabs on a busy little crawler who is discovering the joys of putting everything in her mouth.

I am now in the second trimester and doing much better. A couple days ago I made myself the first cup of coffee I have been able to stomach in almost three months. Sitting upright and drinking that cup of coffee felt like the most luxurious and human thing I had ever done. To me it was a very important step toward regaining the feeling of being a normal person - something two months of being bed ridden had robbed me of. I still find my energy zapped by late if not early afternoon, but the ability to get up in the morning and function like a human being is so wonderful. Life is really great right now and I'm getting more and more excited about this new little Blythe. Paige isn't the only one finding the world a little brighter right now.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Family Pictures...

My cousin Emmy Lou happens to be a very talented photographer. While we were up in Canada, she was gracious enough to take our some family pictures. It was a gorgeous day and she got some beautiful shots. I thought I would share a sample of them.

Now I get to pick one to put up on the wall of family photos.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Blythe Baby Three....

So this is happening.

While up in Canada visiting family, we discovered we weren't going to remain a family of four much longer. Although this was not part of our tidy near-future plane, it was impossible not to be pretty excited about the news of the littlest Blythe. My fear was knowing in a short time morning sickness would hit and the rest of summer plans would probably be put on hold. Sure enough, it hit fast and hard and by the time we got home from our trip I was already calling the doctor's office for Zofran. Within a week of that I was couch ridden no matter how much zofran I took.

It was definitely hard going from a busy Mom of two and feeling like I could do needed to get done to dreading the moment I'd have to get off the couch and change a diaper. Even reading a book to Olivia would make the nausea come. Fortunately I have Emili here to help several days a week in the morning. She keeps this house in some semblance of order and Olivia is always excited when I tell her Emili is coming today.

But the good news is that I think the worst might be over. This last weekend I had several hours of the day where I was nausea free. I still was unable be on my feet very long at a time, but could read to Olivia without grabbing for a bucket. I even left the house for the first time going to the ultrasound appointment Monday. It's amazing how the simple things we do every day suddenly become a big deal when you haven't been able to do them for a month. I'm hopeful more good days are coming soon and can you think of a better reason to be sick?

Boy are we looking forward to March 2015!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Two cuties...

Lately I haven't put the effort into cute outfits which, let's face it, is half the fun of having two girls. Today I actually put them in matching, cute shirts and they looked so sisterly I just had to share a photo. They both seem to have a natural love of the camera and are very complying even though the littlest one was ready for her nap already.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Vacation in Canada...

A couple weeks ago we crammed our car full of mostly baby paraphernalia and hit the road for an 8 hour drive up to Canada. I was nervous about how pleasant the car ride would be. Our firstborn did the trip at the same age as Paige and there was a lot of screaming. Fortunately Paige seemed less concerned about the fact she was trapped in a carseat for a long period of time and we had a very pleasant ride there and back.

I must have been distracted because although my camera was packed with a full battery I forgot to take more than a small handful of pictures.

My parents have a large fenced in backyard and three dogs. Olivia thought this was a great arrangement.

Grandpa took her out to the garden where she got to pick berries with her great grandma.

 Paige had a favorite spot. Pretty sure she is asking us to get a porch swing in this picture.

My favorite picture of the week. (Although sadly blurry) My grandparents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary and all the great grandchild - seven girls and a boy - lined up for this picture. Jeannie did a great job of holding Paige and Olivia was pretty thrilled Aunt Sandy let her 'hold' Peter. I'm not sure that Peter was as thrilled.

It was a wonderful event. The entire family and many old friends were able to come together and celebrate my grandparent's wedding anniversary with them. Sadly I neglected to get a picture of grandma and grandpa, but here's one I stole from Tabitha where Grandma and Paige are meeting for the first time.

We meant to do a lot of things like see the zoo and take the girls to the ocean, but instead we spent most of the time quietly with the family. Which, if you think about it, a pretty great way to spend a vacation.