Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Another Post for the Grandmas.

 Things to remember about Grace:

  • She uses the phrase “don’tcha fink” regularly.  “Don’tcha fink I’m a princess right now?”
  • She is a remarkable snuggler.
  • When she’s in trouble and thinks you might raise your voice she makes a nervous and barely audible, “Shh!”
  • She calls her plastic high heels "slippers."
  • She loves Life cereal.  This love has led to the following profound statements:
    •  “I love Life.”                
    • “I want my Life to be dry.”              
    • “Mom, my Life is finished.”
  • She helps me cook dinner just about every night.
  • She can buckle her own car seat.
  • 90% of the time her shoes are on the wrong feet if her shoes are on at all.
  • She believes strongly that shoes are for the walk to and from the car and will promptly remove them as soon as she has reached her destination whether it be home, church, nursery, the cart, the van, the park, the play place, the library, a friend’s house,  etc.
  • She doesn’t seem to prefer a coat either.
  • She will be offended if you go down to the basement without her.
  • She knows all the lyrics to the song she calls “Wondrin’ ” which is actually the opening song, “When Will My Life Begin?” in Tangled.
  • She also knows a majority of the lyrics to “Part of Your World.”
  • She sings dozens of songs a day and a made-up lyric is a good as the real thing.
  • She lives in an opera and sing-narrates her entire day.
  • She can turn anything into a person. For example, right now she is playing with the felt cutouts of gifts of the three kings and the gifts are introducing themselves to each other, discussing cows, exchanging pleasantries, and inviting each other to play.
  • She asks to be referred to as a different princess each day.  Today she is Aurora.
  • She calls me Your Majesty.

 Things to remember about Lillian:

  • She hugs and kisses my legs about 20 times a day.
  • If you are lucky, she’ll give you an open mouth kiss on the lips.
  • She growls herself to sleep.
  • All heightened emotions are expressed with shrill screams.
  • I thus affectionately refer to her as my Banshee Baby.
  • She is a climber.
  • She is also a faller-off of that which she climbs.
  • She also screams after she falls.
  • She has a complete fascination with Grace’s belly button and will tackle her in the bathtub to get a closer look.
  • She wants Paul to hold her the instant he comes in the door.
  • When she is sleepy, she is powerless to her Daddy’s warm hug and falls asleep almost instantly in his arms.
  • She loves books but is anything but gentle with them.
  • She is the reason the bottom three shelves of our bookcase are currently empty.
  • She empties the dishtowel drawer daily.
  • She will eat anything and everything.
  • She loves, loves, loves the contents of a trash can.
  • She initiated my third phone call to Poison Control last week when she fished blobs of raw chicken fat from the trash can and chewed on them a while. 
  • She is the reason our trashcan lives on top of a chair these days.
  • She exhibited zero signs of food poisoning.
  • She is thoroughly annoyed when you try to help her use sign language.   She seems to believe that screaming is sufficient communication.
  • She already has 8 teeth.
  • She birthed each and every one of them.
  • Her teething and her mother are not on good terms.
  • A favorite pastime is chewing on the strings of a hoodie.
  • She has an excellent cheezer face.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Body Image

A sleeping babe at the pool.
Last Saturday, we were getting ready to go swimming as a family and I looked at myself in the mirror while wearing my swimming suit and shouted, “Paul, I have a beautiful body.”  And a manly voice from the bathroom sink shouted, “Hell yeah, you do.”  (You’ll please pardon his emphatic response, he feels strongly about some things.)  And a little girl voice said from the living room, “And I have a beautiful body, too!  And Li-wian has a beautiful body.”   And that was a very proud moment. 

And for the record, I am not currently my most toned or thin or fit, though I am unusually tan.  I was just having one of those moments where I was comfortable in my own skin; grateful for its beauty and unapologetic of its scars.  I didn't see them except as puzzle pieces of a very beautiful and capable physical body.  And my children saw the same beauty in me and in themselves.  And I saw it in everyone else at the pool that day.  And that is good and that is right, I believe.  

Friday, July 5, 2013

When Change FEELS Like a Good Thing

Well, it’s been a few days.  We’ve had our daddy home every night for dinner, and with us every minute of every weekend.  Not literally but you get the point.  I guess the best word to describe our new life is relief.  What a relief to battle children at church with the help of my best friend.  What a relief to know when I can plan certain activities and when I can’t.  What a relief to have the hope of getting to bed a basically the same time every night (we’re still working on getting Grace fully on board with that one.)  What a relief to have a schedule.  What a relief to have a dinner time where manners can be reinforced by two parents instead of one.  What a relief to know when I can have long conversations with Paul so that we don’t feel the need to stay up all hours of the night.  What a relief for both of us to be able to relax at the same time.  What a relief to know when Paul will get to sleep.  What a relief to know I will not be the only example of gospel living the girls will see on a regular basis.  What a relief to be able to plan a day of complete laziness or absolute productivity together.  What a relief that there is so much growth potential for Paul in this very position.  What a relief to know which skills I must learn to cultivate on my own (like exercising with children under my feet) and which skills I can have help with (like rounding up children at the end of the day.)  It is a huge relief.  

We spent the first Fourth of July completely together for the first time in our dating and married lives.  That is 6 Fourth of July’s spent somewhat, somehow, apart.  But it is different now.   And I am so grateful that it is. 

And I guess a lesson that I have learned from all of this uncertainty that we entertained on a regular basis in this life so far is that, there is not much, if anything, that is certain.  For example, I am home now, but I don’t know for how long I will be able to do that.  Maybe I’ll never have to work outside my home again.  But in the meantime, because it’s not certain, it gives the moment a reality and a presence that maybe otherwise I would not have.

And everything, in everyone’s life is like that.  Uncertain, I mean.  But our life so far has taught me an awareness of that.

And that, is probably a gift.

Also, I’m tough.  I learned that, too.

Monday, July 1, 2013

For the Grandmas: An Update on the Littles

My babes
They grow and change so fast.  Here's my attempt to capture some of it before it's gone.
Love with Mom


  • At 1:30 in the morning when EVERYONE ELSE WAS ASLEEP IN THE ENTIRE CAMP, and as we are lying in a tent on basically the ground she yells, “This isn’t camping!  I didn’t ride a horse!” 
  • We never mentioned one thing about riding a horse while camping.
  • At a well-baby check for Lillian, we pulled up to the doctor’s office and Grace says, “Oh!  Are we going to see my baby dock-er"      “ Yes, but it’s Lillian’s turn today.”    “Oh.  Is she gonna borrow it?”
  • “Be nice to are-chudder!” = Be nice to each other.
  • If she is allowed to stay in the bath long enough, she will find a way to get to some out-of-reach hygiene product (i.e. shampoo, conditioner, baby wash…) and she will empty the entire bottle before you even know that she’s been too quiet for too long.
  • She loves her hair to be in one French Braid. 
  • If you use the wrong color of rubber band, she WILL come unglued.
  • Absolutely refuses to wear pants.  She is currently sleeping in a t-shirt and undies because her one night gown was dirty.
  • When hurt will asks for a rubber band.
  • She means band-aide.
  • She loves “fork oranges” which is the name she gave to mandarin oranges because she eats them with a fork.
  • She has gotten very good at asking for things politely.
  • Is pretty good at sharing and is working on Good Listening.
  • If the next door neighbor isn’t able to play, that is grounds for a severe melt down on the neighbor’s porch.  Every time.
  • Her idea of a hysterical joke is to tell me that she is a Princess and I am a King.

Sleeping in a sling at the temple

  • Is extremely opinionated.
  • Is fluent in growl and grunt and scream.
  • Growl and grunting= super happy Lillian. 
  • Has had her eager grunting conversation mistaken as a B.M.
  • Has two teeth.
  • Has an enormous open mouth smile.
  • Is super happy with other people until her mom walks into the room.
  • Loves to try to touch whatever her big sister is doing.
  • Pulls the blanket over her face to sleep every night.
  • Will command the attention of an entire Sunday School lesson with her grunting conversation.
  • Will command it again when she falls asleep during Sunday School and then snores loudly.
  • Sleeps through the night.
  • LOVES to be strapped to her Mommy in a sling.
  • Gets her legs caught between the slats on the crib every day.
  • Pounds her feet on the crib mattress for fun.
  • Is very excited by the plastic mat we have under our computer chair and slaps it with glee regularly.
  • Can only crawl backwards and pivot in circles.
  • Finds herself extremely frustrated that she can’t seem to move her body forward yet.

Growling at :43

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Too Much Information

Grace is complex.  As every child is.  You see, I held off potty training as long as I could but when the child woke up with dry diapers every morning, practically took herself to the bathroom, and though she did not change her own pants she removed the the soiled ones from her bum (sick), I decided I could put it off no longer.  So we bought a potty seat, a stool, a chart, some stickers, and some undies, and for two days she was absolutely flawless.  She’s going to be an easy one!  I thought.

Dead wrong.

After proving that she was capable, it became a small war to convince her that she should.  I tried everything: charts, treats, candy, stickers, small prizes, big prizes, no prizes, celebration phone calls to uncles and grandmas, praise, guilt, ignoring, undies, pull-ups, buck nekkid for DAYS, putting her back in diapers, consistency, enthusiasm, nonchalance, rationalization, compassion, natural consequences (superior diaper rash mixed with eczema) and then eventually—though I, too, have read all those same websites as every other mother—anger, then LOTS of anger, then tears because of the anger.   All to no avail. 

But I believe I can say after 5 long, super-gross months, Grace Sandra Grace Herrick(as she refers to herself) is officially potty trained.  The final nail in the coffin after FIVE MONTHS of civil war, you ask?  Making her clean up her own mess.  (Thank you, Mother.) Totally did the trick.  It was no longer interesting to see not only WHERE she could leave a mess, but what Mom’s reaction was going to be THIS time. She found out how  disgusting it was to clean up, how complicated it was for her two-year old motor skills to do it without creating more mess and getting on herself, and that no matter how long it took, or if her sister was screaming, she was going to do every bit of it.  And it was no longer worth it to continue to ignore the fact that she was PERFECTLY capable of performing this grown-up function.  Hallelujah.  Those were some of the grossest months of my life.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: In my own parenting experience, nothing has been as disgusting as potty training.

Thursday, April 11, 2013


Above: This is what I can make my life look like in pictures sometimes.
Below:  A story about what life is ACTUALLY like most times.

I was talking on the phone with Katie the other evening.  I was explaining that Grace was going through a challenging phase. Then I got off the phone, and a few minutes later had to call Katie back to explain to her exactly what “challenging” had just looked like.  This is basically what I told her.
I had taken Grace to the bathroom every 20 minutes for the last hour.  She did not once use the toilet.  We went outside.  I was on the phone.  A few minutes later, I see that while she is sitting outside under the neighbors front steps, she has mud all over her upper lip.  How strange.  Then I watched her pick up a plastic orange cup filled with dirt, bring it to her mouth and back down to her lap, and then begin chewing on something.
“Grace! Are you eating dirt?!?!”
“No, I’m drinking it.  And watching TV.  It’s my water.”
And sure enough, she was ingesting soil.  I grabbed her out of the dirt because what is cute at 9 months is not cute at 32.  On the way out of the dirt, I noticed she was also sitting in mud and had a bum covered in mud, but only in the spot where she would have just wet her pants.
Pee mud.   
So, Katie, that’s what I mean when I say challenging.

Friday, April 5, 2013

The Littlest of My Littles

·         Lillian is a chatty little thing
·         Lillian will share a huge, open-mouth smile with just about anyone who pays her attention
·         If she is crying she wants one of 5 things
o   Bottle
o   Nap
o   Pacifier
o   Swaddle
o   Cuddle
·         Quickest way to dry Lil’s tears is to swaddle her and pop in her bink
·         Lillian has a flat spot on the back-left side of her head
·         I can finally get her to sleep on other parts of her head so that maybe it’s not quite so flat forever
·         Her hair is straight, brown, and two inches long on the top of her head
·         It’s only ½ long on the sides
·          Her eyes are dark blue
·         She has deliciously chunky rolls all over her legs and arms
·         Lillian likes to sing
·         Lillian likes to be read to
·         She found her fists this week
·         She learned how to play with toys this week
·         Her favorite way to fall asleep is swaddled, bink-ied, and laying on the floor watching mom and Grace play
·         Lil likes raspberries and tickles on her neck
·         She is 25 inches long
·         Lillian is absolutely the most happy when she is in the bath
·         Lillian has already had 3 colds
·         Her preferred nick names are Lil (mom), Lil-lil(Grace), Lilly(Dad), and Chunka-Monka Bay-bey (Mom)
·         When Lil is sad, she rubs her feet together
·         Mostly, Lil is happy