Sunday, July 31, 2016

Don't just take my word for it (Miss C, July 2016)

7-5-16: Charlotte is really improving at her handwriting! I am very excited for her! :-)

7-6-16: Charlotte had a lot of fun on the water slide this morning. She didn't want to get off the slide to come inside. She so funny!

7-11-16: Charlotte liked using a pink pail outside on the playground! She said she was pretending to "go on vacation to the beach!" Very smart and creative! :-)

7-12-16: Hula hoop hopping! Go Charlotte, go! :-) 

7-14-16: Charlotte loved using the special sprinkler we had outside during water day today, to fill up a divot in the ground with water, making a muddy puddle! We loved jumping into it when she had it all filled up! Hooray! :-)

7-19-16: Peepers, the giant turtle, was a hit! Charlotte wasn't afraid at all to touch his shell! :-)

7-22-16: Charlotte had her furry friend, Clifford helping her with art today! So funny! :-)

7-26-16: Charlotte was looking at the attendance sheet this morning and yelled " look that says Charlotte!!" She is so smart :)

7-27-16: Charlotte cracked me up during lunch today! When she saw she had broccoli, she immediately told me she doesn't like it. I tried to reassure her that broccoli helps us to be big and strong. After thinking about it a second or two, she said, "Well Ms. Liz...I already have big muscles, so I don't need that yucky broccoli. See here?" And with that, she made some muscles for me, and what a photo opp it was! LOL! :-)

7-29-16: My pretty princess decided to build her daddy a sun out of attribute blocks today. What a sweet girl you are, Charlotte! :-)

More cousin fun!

Have I mentioned we love the pool? We made a trip to Lexington to visit with my Mom's brothers and sisters, including our favorite Aunt Judy from Seattle, and had a ton of fun cooling off at the pool before heading to Gigi's to play and visit. We went to the neighborhood pool I went to growing up and it was fun to walk down memory lane ... and drive, because I made the girls humor me with a trip by my old house on the way : ) I loved that the kids could access the splash area during adult swim, because apparently sitting still at the pool is harder work than actually swimming : )

Cutest cousins award definitely goes to these three!

Saturday, July 30, 2016

It's a good thing she's cute

"Charlotte, are you making Mommy dinner?"

"NO! I am NOT making you dinner!!"

Small victory here is that her double "Anna from Frozen" French braids held up all day while she was at school, so I've got that going for me : )

Friday, July 29, 2016

Friday Funny

I love the honesty ... because we all do it!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Newspaper soup

As Anna was looking over my shoulder while I clipped coupons* a few weeks ago, we came up with the idea of cutting out all the pictures of food and making "soup" when Charlotte was up from her nap. I'm pretty sure they've done this at school, but I prefer to take credit for the idea : ) The girls love anything involving glue and scissors and had a blast choosing their "ingredients"; it was a fun and easy craft project that used something going into the recycle bin anyway!

* No, I'm not a "couponer", but I do like to look through our hard copy Sunday paper and clip coupons for anything we will use in the near future

Monday, July 25, 2016

Threenager support group

As sweet as she may be, Charlotte has given this pregnant mama a total run for her money the last few months and has worn me down in ways I didn't even know were possible. I've had more breakdowns than I can count, have raised my voice about things I never thought I'd have to verbalize, and have felt like a parental failure many times over.

I had a breakdown over the weekend when I couldn't get my children to rest at my Mom's house. Afterall we'd had a "calm" morning that included: fighting to get them dressed in Cincinnati to drive to Lexington; getting yelled at because the TV screen in the car wasn't in the exactly correct position; being told I didn't pack the right kind of snacks; not wanting to put sunscreen on; cleaning up poop in a swim diaper after which my child refused to let me wipe up and instead squatted and scooted her bare, poopy bottom on the floor of a public pool restroom; packing the wrong hairbrush; not letting them play for long enough; not giving them 10000 chances to prove they could nap together (I gave up at 5) ... the list could go on and on.

Most days I'm honestly surprised no one has called CPS on me.

Then I read this: To the Lady at the Pool Who Spoke Up During One of My Lowest Parenting Moments

And it couldn't have come at a better time. I'm doing my best most days, but it's HARD. I'm a million months pregnant and physically and mentally exhausted all.of.the.time. But it takes a village and I'm thankful for mine. Thank you to my Mom and to Mike for reminding me at my lowest (and usually when I'm ugly crying) that you support me and see that I'm trying. Thank you for verbalizing what I need to hear instead of assuming I know; words mean a lot at times like this and I hope I can provide the same support to the next Mama I see struggling.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

The name game

We've been pretty settled on a name for a while now, but always reserve the right to change up to the time we meet our babies, so I still find myself perusing our book of baby names from time to time. On this day, Miss C decided she needed to review as well; "here is is Mommy, Elsa Riley, that will be the baby's name!"

Charlottes name choices have included Charlotte, Anna, and now Elsa. Anna's choices have included Nala, Kiara, and now Riley. They go back and forth as to whether Elsa and Riley will be first name or middle : )

Friday, July 22, 2016

Friday funny

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Word(less) Wednesday

Princess PJs, a tiara, necklace, wand, and (fuzzy) shoestring ... just a regular old Saturday morning with Charlotte!

Friday, July 15, 2016

Friday funny

Related: I really miss wine!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Word(less) Wednesday

A rare meal where Miss Charlotte prefers sitting next to Daddy; she's the apple of his eye!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Partial potty success

Shortly after publishing this post, Anna spent most of the weekend with Gigi (my Mom) and Mike and I dedicated ourselves to getting our sassy and stubborn youngest child potty trained. We had treats, we downloaded apps, we cleared our schedules (and for me, mourned the loss of trips to the pool) and went all in. Within the first couple of hours we had a pee on the potty and I almost peed my own pants I was so excited. Charlotte did great the rest of the weekend and by Monday was in underwear and had no potty accidents at school. She was peeing like a champ. Pooping not so much; and we're still working on that, but life is all about small victories, and if we've learned anything about timing with her it's that she'll do it when she's ready and on her own time.

In the meantime I'd like to thank the Elmo Potty app and my old knees for getting me through lots of timing sitting on a stool waiting for the glorious sound of liquid hitting toilet water : )

Monday, July 11, 2016

Braids, bows, and slippers

Miss Charlotte is a fan of hair accessories: specific colored hair ties, clips, barettes, bows and headbands, and has started requesting styles other than her usual ponytail, including "pink tails" and "Elsa and Anna braids." I'm pretty sure anyone that can fashion a half decent french braid on a wiggly three year old diva deserves a medal, so I'm waiting for mine to arrive. 

The pictures below are from last week and my favorite part is when she decided she wanted to complete her outfit with slippers that I'm certain she's never worn. Such is life with an opinionate, sweet, and silly girl!

The braid and the happy girl!

Slippers complete the outfit!

And of course Anna needed to pose too : )
(It was her water day at school, hence the swim attire) 

Silly sisters!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Baby Bump: 33 weeks

I can't believe we'll be meeting our third baby girl in 7 weeks or less! Time is flying and we're busy making some final preparations for this life changing event. From what I remember, I feel about the same as I did with Anna and Charlotte at this point in pregnancy; extremely blessed to have this experience, but "over" being pregnant, and especially over being pregnant in the summer. I've heard from a couple of people just this past week that they can tell I'm having a girl because of the way I'm carrying and looking at the comparison pictures I'd have to say that I agree and think I've carried about the same with each girl; and I love the photo assistants I have this go-round : ) 

How Far Along: 33 weeks

Size of Baby: Approximately 4 3/4 pounds, about the size of a cantaloupe, and approximately  18  inches long; I'm having ultrasounds every visit and have had two in the last months; baby girl is measuring right on track and is estimated at about 50% for weight and height.

Movement: This baby girl is a just like her sisters, active mostly in the afternoon and evening and as soon as I sit or lay down with some really big belly-moving kicks and acrobatics.

Sleep:  Hit or miss, probably pregnancy average. 

Cravings:  Depends on the day and although I'm trying to stay active and stay within a reasonable weight gain, I'm at the point where I'm definitely indulging in foods I won't be post partum. Fried chicken and ice cream anyone? 

Symptoms: A lot more achy and a lot more swelling in my ankles and feet. In the evenings you can find me sporting compression knee highs (Mike sells these and has many samples to share) laying with my feet elevated and a fan cooling me. I'm HOT all the time and have given up on more than minimal makeup and can count on one hand the number of times I haven't worn my hair in a ponytail in the last few months. 

Best Moment This Week:  I've been able to get Mike and the girls over fast enough to feel some of the bigger kicking sessions and Anna loves to read about each week with me and ask how the baby is doing and growing almost daily : ) 

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Bumps and brushes

My friend, and former co-worker, Holly moved from Columbus to Cincinnati a few months ago and we've had a great time reconnecting; especially given the fact that we both have crazy children and we're due with babies within a couple of weeks of each other. I'd been itching to do something a little crafty and she was game for a painting session at Cheers to Art; thus the pregnant Picassos were born : ) We had a great time, despite the fact that I almost sweat to death, we couldn't enjoy libations other than water, and the stools were a bit hard to managed when front heavy; goes to show that with the right people you can have fun anywhere!

Friday, July 8, 2016

Friday funny

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Lighting bug whisperer

Charlotte is a lover of all animals, and a bit braver than her sister when it comes to getting up close and personal. And apparently she's a bit of a lightning bug whisperer as we found out in Pittsburgh over the 4th. Her little lightning bug friend, named Larry, would fly away, but found her way back to her time after time.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

A fun-filled fourth

We took our first official road trip in the minivan for the long fourth of July holiday weekend, venturing to Pittsburgh to see Grandma and Pap Pap. The girls loved using their headsets to listen to the audio from their movies and Mom and Dad enjoyed listening to our own tunes up front!

Although we packed and planned for a pool day, it was a little too chilly to take a dip, so the girls and Mike headed to a fun center close by and enjoyed climbing through the jungle gym, dodging dragons on the bumper boats, and getting slimed.

We were home in time for the actual fourth, but the weather in Cincinnati didn't cooperate either and it was cloudy, rainy, and cool most of the day, so we headed to the Newport Aquarium and enjoyed family nap time in the afternoon; not a horrible swap if you ask me : ) 

The best picture of the two I could get ... you win some, you lose some : ) 

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Making a wish

We met Bryan and Amy Boynton in our childbirth classes at Christ Hospital back in 2011 when Amy and I were both pregnant with our first child. We became friends over the course of the 4-class program and as it turned out, Amy and Bryan were also members of the church in Loveland we had just started attending; it seemed fate had a plan for us meeting!  

Later that year, we both welcomed healthy baby girls into our family and over the next two years continued to keep up with the Boytons through church and church functions. After Charlotte's birth in 2013 and a brief hiatus from Sunday services, I noticed that Ella was listed as a prayer request in the church bulletin. A basic e-mail to Amy to let her know we were praying for Ella was returned with the shocking news that Ella had been diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) just before her second birthday. She was a fighter though, and already on the second phase of her 2+ year treatment regime. I vividly recall the day I heard the news and later reading through Amy's Caring Bridge Journal entries and sobbing. How could this happen to someone so young and innocent? 

ALL is CLL's cousin leukemia, but I knew little about the diagnosis and treatment. After reading a bit and talking to a pediatric oncology friend, I learned that what was once a death sentence 40 years ago now has a 95% cure rate; mostly due to LLS-funded research! 

Ella has been SUCH a trooper and she's amazed us with the strength and bravery she's shown over the last three years! Ella finished 2+ years of chemo, steroids, and hospital stays last August and is considered to be in remission! Because she received the latest treatments available from Cincinnati Children's, I have high hopes that her remission will be considered a cure in a few years.

Ella and her family have taken their lemons and made lemonade and are now a big part of the LLS family. They've raised over $20,000 through participation in the Moms in Training program (Amy's run two 5Ks with a stroller in tow!) and Light the Night walks. Most recently Ella helped motivate the Cincinnati LLS Man and Woman of the Year candidates raise almost $1M as the honored girl of the year and she was the Cincinnati chapter's Light the Night honored hero in 2015. 

The Boyntons have also become active with the Make A Wish foundation and they were finally able to schedule their own trip through the foundation for this summer; all expenses paid and every detail coordinated to Disney World! I can't imagine a more deserving family or little hero! Part of the Make A Wish program includes a send off dinner and we were honored to be invited to Ella's a few weeks ago. A local Maggiano's hosted the entire meal and made it so special for everyone in attendance, even down to the fact that our servers were Cinderella and Snow White! It took our girls a bit to warm up to the special hostesses, but by the end of the evening they'd been on many trips and tours around the restaurant and grounds with them and even cozied up for a picture. We're making a big wish that Ella is cured and never has to worry about cancer again in her lifetime! 

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Me against the lobby

I'm not sure if I have any readers left out there, so this may be a safe place for me to vent, but apologies if I offend anyone with this post and my views ... which are just that, my own personal views.

I can't stay quiet any longer. I've long hovered between our two political parties and have leaned further left than right for most of the 19 years I've been able to vote. That said, over the last few years, and especially the last few months, I've just about given up on the Republican party and this election cycle and the recent rejection of four common-sense gun control policies by our Senate have about done me in.

I'm personally pro-life, but I certainly don't support someone else taking away my right to choose how I manage my own body; I support equal rights for ALL regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation, including marriage equality; I support responsible gun ownership, but would like to see responsible measures taken to ensure that background checks are universal and uniform, that guns aren't available to those that have no business owning a gun, and that assault weapons are used in combat situations only; I believe in freedom of religion, but do not feel that religious views have any place in government. I believe in common sense, humanity, and the rights of all. But then I turn on the news and hear about differing viewpoints and an appalled at what is coming out of our leaders mouths, how they are voting, and how easily they are swayed by money and lobbyists (I'm looking at you NRA!).

I sat at my computer last week and I got fired up; I tried to think of ways I can make a difference and make my political views matter. I started by e-mailing both my Senators; to one I shamed him for the way he voted against the gun control measures that 90% of the country supports; and to the other I commended him. To both I noted that I will "Remember in November." Being more vocal to our elected officials is part of the equation, but not all. The bigger part is living in a way that shows my beliefs in a loving and compassionate way such that maybe I'll help open the minds of others to a different, more common sense and compassionate way of thinking; to create a world that is full of more love, less hate, and equality. What causes are most important to you and how to do you support them? Maybe I'll join you!

You don't have to be with me, let's agree to disagree if needed, but let's also move toward a better future for our children, our country, and our world.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Friday funny