Thursday, June 24, 2010

God Gives You What You Need...

We are so excited about welcoming
another baby GIRL
in early November.
sure will be lucky to have Addison as her big sister.

Yesterday was the big ultrasound day, and my heart was filled with all of the hopes, dreams, fears, and anxiety that comes with seeing your baby for the first time. In my experiences with friends and family, I have learned to not take anything for granted--especially the health of a precious child in the womb. Unfortunately, and ashamedly, I am usually distracted by fear in the preceding days. Thankfully, this time, with the Lord's help, I was better able to submit those thoughts to Him. It was still a long few days before... :)

I know that people say things and throw preferential desires out there, but at the core of every mother's, every parent's desire is the simple prayer for a healthy child. I truly believe this. My prayer during this pregnancy has been for another healthy child and for God to give Addison the sibling that she needs as well as the child that he chooses for Patrick and me to raise to glorify Him.

All I have known as an individual is the joy of having a sister, a built-in playmate/best friend. I adore my sis, and I knew that I would love for Addison to get to experience that same joy. On my husband's side, he had the experience of both a brother and a sister, and I wistfully desired that for Addison too. We do not know what the final picture of our earthly family will look like, and we try to approach our growing family blessing by blessing. God graciously blessed us with Addison, and he found favor with us in blessing us with this second child.

I cannot express the overwhelming joy that came when we saw our daughter on that screen yesterday. The same joy that I know would have been there if we were seeing a son. However, with this joy came an unbelievable sense of peace that THIS is the child that God chose for us. He is so good.

So, now comes the fun part of officially preparing for baby Ansley. A couple of weeks ago we confirmed her name selection. Lying in bed one night feeling the baby move, Patrick said, "Kris, this baby needs a name." What followed was a fun and agreeable discussion. We love A names for little girls, and Ansley was one that we had thrown out there when naming Addison. Carolina is special to us for several reasons. I lived in Charleston the summer after my sophomore year of college with 3 of my high school best friends. It was a transforming, magical experience. Sounds dramatic, I know, but I learned a lot about what I wanted my life to be like while living there. It is also special to Patrick and me as a couple because it is where we spent our 6 month honeymoon vacation. Thirdly, when Patrick was traveling for work last summer, he spent 18 weeks in North Carolina. Addison took her first plane ride with me to visit her daddy there, and we made such special memories. We are excited to give our daughter this name. We also love that our girls will have the same initials. Plus, English teachers and alliteration go hand in hand. (We equally loved our boy name too, but this now just feels so right!)

I have loved Addison's nursery, and I am excited that with just a few minor changes, I can turn it into Ansley's nursery. Now, I also have the go-ahead and freedom to plunge full-force into decorating Addison's big-girl room! It's off to a cute start.

In addition to decorating, Patrick and I have some reading to do. I'm starting my mother's day gift from my mom, Bringing up Girls. Patrick is rereading Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters. We are humbled and honored that God has entrusted us with daughters to raise.

We are just giddy with excitement, and we hope we cherish these 4+ months of waiting and preparing.

P.S. Little Ansley was a WILD CHILD. She hardly stopped moving, and she's already long. Her legs were measuring late October!!! November 8th is my due date, but my c-section has not been scheduled yet.

Thanks for all of your prayers and encouragement.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Recipe Review

At the bottom of my last post, I wrote about new recipes I was going to try out for dinner that I got from May's Southern Living. Both were out-of-this-world in the delicious category, and I am so glad I tried them. It was quite the convoluted culinary experience though, involving many non-staple items and lots of dicing and chopping. Patrick went on and on about how delectable everything tasted, and I had to break the news that the harsh reality was that they were once-a-summer type dishes. (Good thing we have leftovers for tonight!) The first dish I made was this: (Click on title for a link to the recipe.)

Black Beans and Coconut Lime Rice:
This is categorized as a main dish, but I made it as a side to the coconut chicken.

Favorite Parts:
Mangoes, Mangoes, Mangoes... The recipe suggests topping the dish with chopped radishes and jalepeno peppers, diced mangoes, and lime wedges. Since there was a poblano pepper in the bean mixture and yellow and green onions as well, I opted for the mangoes option, and they did not disappoint.

Least Favorite Parts:
ALL the prep work
  • zesting the lime
  • toasting the coconut
  • chopping cilantro
  • chopping poblano pepper
  • chopping the small yellow onion and 2 small green onions
(Probably this was even more of a nuisance to me because my William Sonoma usually AWESOME vegetable chopper kept getting jammed...)

Was the taste of the end product worth it??? TOTALLY. But I recommend saving it for a special night.

For our main dish I made Coconut Chicken. This involved dirtying up 3 prep bowls, but the rest of the steps and ingredients were simple. Serving it with honey mustard sauce made it even more yummy, and this would be an easy one to do more regularly. Happy cooking and eating!

Monday, June 14, 2010

What's for lunch?

My little water fish and I spent our morning in the backyard playing in our redneck baby pool, complete with Addison's water table and our beach ball sprinkler:I was feeling too tired and hot to load up the wagon and head to the neighborhood pool, so this was our alternative, and she wore herself out. We had so much fun that time snuck up on us, and before we knew it, it was time for lunch. I made a batch of pimento cheese yesterday, and we enjoyed grilled pimento cheese and tomato sandwiches (always a summer craving of mine because sometimes when it is so hot, it's hard to come up with something tasty...), but I wanted to save the leftovers for a picnic with Patrick tomorrow.

We're grilled cheese and pb&j'ed out, so I made these tasty and healthy creations from a weight watchers recipe years ago in Auburn. Here you go:

English Muffin Pizzas
English Muffins
Pasta Sauce (or marinara or pizza or anything you have on hand)
Low moisture/ part skim milk mozzarella cheese
Turkey pepperonis

Bake at 350 for 5 minutes to thoroughly heat. Broil for an additional minute to make sure the cheese is good and melted. Enjoy! (For you points counters out there, this recipe is a total of 5 points.)

Addison gobbled hers up completely and has been napping soundly for over 2 hours now!
On the menu for tonight: Coconut Chicken with Black Beans and Coconut-Lime Rice, a recipe from May's Southern Living, test driven and recommended by my friend April. If I remember, I'll try to take a picture of it and report back tomorrow.

Swim Lessons

Saturday was Swim Lesson #2 for Addy-belle. This time we brought along Daddy so he could document the event. She still has a love-hate relationship with the water--"love" when she can do what she wants to do and "hate" when she has to float on her back. We are making progress, and here are a few pics.

Friday, June 11, 2010

TV or no TV in the bedroom...? question of the week

This is not my bedroom... sigh. I do love interior brick walls anywhere in a home though. Rather, this photo came from an entry on Belle Maison.

We are currently thinking about striking our tv watching for the summer. (which in our definition means not being glued to it--read: our DVR--for hours on end. every. night. We are fine with the occasional Dora or Sesame Street for Addison and will still "hulu" Friday Night Lights, of course. And the background noise of The Today Show or Sports Center will not hinder our focus. I know, I know, exceptions, exceptions... For us, this is still a sacrifice.)

What lead to this decision was our overdose of shows this past year and feeling so stressed out to catch up on our DVR all the time that there was no time left for our other forms of entertainment: reading, listening to music, TALKING...

For us, watching some tv is a form of bonding--we claim that we got engaged to 24; we watched the 1st season of LOST during a mutual sickness that left us couchbound during the first few months of marriage; we both love college football and basketball; the Masters (Mickelson's first win) was the first thing we ever saw on HD.

Our discipline has been compromised, and we have decided--rather impulsively although hopefully wisely--that we would go to the other extreme and cancel our HD package. Yep. We are back to basic cable. We made this decision in an attempt to simplify our lives, change some saving/spending plans we have, and make time for more meaningful kinds of entertainment. When Football Season rolls around and Fall premieres start, we may be singing a different tune.

We recently rearranged our living room when we received a new-to-us leather chair and ottomon, and we have found ourselves enjoying this room that we've dubbed "The Cove" more this week than we have in the 3 years we have lived here. Our nice tvs are upstairs in the Rec Room and in our bedroom. We've thought about selling the tv we have in here, but we are sitting on it for a little bit... so many changes so fast. :)

That said, it leads me to the question I'm now contemplating...

Should we keep our tv in the bedroom or remove it?

I like it for the following reasons:
1)I like to listen to/watch the weather, news, Today Show while I get ready in the mornings.
2) I LOVE to fall asleep to movies.

I think we should move it for other reasons:
1) I fall asleep while watch our DVR'ed shows (not an issue anymore) and then am stressed to catch up the next day.
2) If I don't fall asleep, I (and Patrick) stay up WAY too late.

I've read articles here about healthy marriages and bedroom tvs and here about Feng Shui. I've thought through the logistics of our home's layout and where I picture us spending our time once Addison moves to her "big girl" room (right next to the rec/play room). Now I'm just sitting on it some more. I'd welcome any thoughts/opinions/ideas.

Otherwise, we've had a pretty low key week--pool and playground Monday, storytime with Addison and Savannah on Tuesday with the afternoon spent helping out Linds with Sawyer and housework, my 18 wk checkup Wednesday and lunch with Patrick, the zoo yesterday with Lia and her girls, and local errands and relaxing today. We're trying to plan a getaway at the end of summer to use some free airline tickets and celebrate our upcoming 5th anniversary, but we're running out of luck and time with flights and ideas. Here are some pics from the zoo:

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Recent Mommy Reads

***This one's just for the ladies. Sorry, Dad and Steven.***

My mom takes Redbook Magazine, and she recently brought me two articles to read about parenting. I'll link them on here for you to read if your interests are piqued. I'll also share my thoughts on them.

The first was about breastfeeding and was titled, "No, You Don't Have to Breastfeed." This controversial article (just read some of the reader's comments after...) relays one woman's journey that lead her to unapologetically bottle feed her child. She weighs the pros and cons while honestly expounding on her unpopular, albeit personal, decision.

While I am a breastfeeding advocate, I also believe that what defines a good mother does not come from her nipples of milk and honey. We are culturally defined by so many "social norms" that henpeck us into feeling like we have to do things a certain way. In our day and age, breastfeeding is that norm, and, unfortunately, it just doesn't work for everyone... What about the mom who's baby is losing weight? The baby with food allergies to everything? The mom of the lazy eater? The mom who is so stressed out with older kids that she's just not making any milk?

Almost every mom I know who chose to nurse her child went through some obstacle and made decisions along the way about when to stop, when to supplement, etc. For me, it was Addison's milk allergy and the drastic changes I was forced to make to my own diet. Was it worth it to continue??? Almost every woman has a story of mastitis, cracked nipples, diminishing supply, you name it... and the mom's who don't brag about their three years of spiritual bonding while nursing their child(ren), staring into their eyes, muckety muck. (Sorry for the overgeneralization.)

Unfortunately, another of our societal norms is the "misery loving company" mantra... I remember one of the first questions I got from friends, family, total strangers... was "Are you nursing? Pause... (in a borderline look of worry/condescension) How's it going?" First. Like it's any of their business. Second. Do you want me to share my battle stories to make yourself feel better, or do you really care?

No matter the decision a mom makes, she feels some sort of guilt and judgment. Some combination of selfishness and selflessness. And it doesn't matter how long or short or not at all that they nursed. Someone will ask "how it's going" and respond with some look of chagrin.

Like I said before, I am an advocate of breastfeeding. It worked for me and Addison, and my dietary sacrifices were worth it to me for the goal that I set for myself. (I will NEVER forget how good my first piece of EXTRA CHEESE pizza was for me or how much I savored every gulp of cow's milk with my chocolate chip cookies the night that my breasts were officially emancipated.) I will try to nurse this second child for a time, taking it feeding by feeding, day by day, and I hope and pray that I make the best decision for my child and my whole family and that caring about my family's well-being will be what defines me as a good mom.

Mostly, I just hope that I will not succumb to the expectations of others and that I will be GENTLE with myself...

Still with me?

OK, the second article was a bit more sentimental and reflective. It was titled: "Letting Go of Your Kids, Little By Little." The author describes the stages of a child's transition from dependence to independence and the little benchmarks along the way.

This article made me cry. It also made me understand why people keep having children. I've mentioned in a previous post that the idea of "growing up" has always been an emotional one for me. As an imaginative child, I prayed that the time would pass slow and that I would not have to grow up. Maybe it was some sort of Peter Pan syndrome--I don't know. As a mother, I have those same thoughts. With each milestone that Addison reaches, I am filled with awe and pride and love and wonder... mixed with a little sadness and sentimentality. I desire for her to be an independent soul (which she totally is) with hopes and dreams. I want to help her learn to love and serve, to work hard, to reach her goals. Yet, I feel myself wanting to hold onto these sweet days where her "Mommy, what' that?" and "Look, Mommy!" and "I'm Mommy's little girl." and "Hold you, Mommy!" phrases keep her my little girl for as long as possible.

This article put parenting into perspective for me. It made me so thankful for this opportunity and responsibility, and it made me want to cherish moments. Each moment. Especially the hard ones.

If you read these articles (or even if you don't), I'd love to hear your thoughts on these topics.

Happy Thursday!

Sunday, June 06, 2010

A fun-filled week!

Whew! It's been nice to have today to catch our breath and regroup. We had a filled-to-the-brim week last week, and we are loving summer. This post is going to be a recap in words and pictures...

We started the summer reading program at the library on Tuesday. We go there on Tuesdays for story time and crafts, and Addison loves it! To complete the program, we have to read 15 minutes a day for 4 weeks--a total of 300 minutes. The book-lover-nerd I am began doing these reading programs at a young age too, but as you can see from the pictures below, I am not having to pull any teeth to get this little one interested in reading. In fact, we are well into the 2nd week's worth of 75 minutes!
In the mornings, after her naps, when I'm putting her laundry away, and of course, at night, Addison pulls herself into the rocker and pulls books off her shelf, saying, "I read books! Oh boy!" I LOVE it!

We also went to 2 water play days with friends--one group from our class at church and the other with my school mommy friends. Addison had a blast at both! Unfortunately I don't have picture's from Laura Beth's house because I ambitiously took both Savannah and Addison to this one. They were both so good and obedient and sweet, but they were also equally adventurous, and I did not relax for a minute. There were these moms just relaxing watching their kids play, and I just laughed to myself, thinking "one day..." because at one point I saw Addison going head first down a waterslide (to which she replied, once she caught her breath, "That hurt me! I do it AGAIN!" Sigh...) and Savannah--across the yard--halfway up a ladder to a tree house, yelling for me, "Kiki, can you get me down from here????" Like I said, both girls were great, and I made sure to compliment them. Savannah told Lindsay when she woke up from her nap, "I'm a good girl, Mommy. I'm a sweetheart." She is!

The second day, we went to Jen and Jackson's house. He had been asking his mommy where "Addison Crawford" was, and so she got the kiddos together. I had so much fun with Jen, Karen, Wren, and Sue Alice while Addison played with Jack, Olivia, Micah, and Brecken. We all oohed over sweet Rowan napping in the sun, and Jen fed us the best chicken salad--a close competitor with Meredee's and Puffy Muffin.

We celebrated Maggie's 4th Birthday--that I almost forgot--on Friday, and Addison and I went to Pet Smart to pick out a present for her. A sang the Birthday song over and over all the way there and back!

We had my parents over for dinner to thank my dad for being our fabulous CPA and as a send off for their Greece trip. I made my tomato pie from last summer, and oh, the goodness of it...

Addison and I went to swimming lessons on Saturday. During the Saturdays in June, A and I are taking the "Mommy and Tot" lessons with Wren and Olivia. As much as a fish as she's been, she was a little hesitant in the "big pool." Every new activity began with a "No, No, No..." until she warmed up to it. I was glad that her buddy Olivia was there because for everyone of A's "No's," Olivia was squealing, "Yeah, yeah!" It was adorable.

Saturday night my favorite guy and I got together with some of my favorite friends and their guys to celebrate another friend's wedding. We have so much fun together, and it doesn't matter where we go, we like to shut the place down. I'm so thankful for them and for ending my fully fulfilling week with them!
Heather, me, Jen, Angie. This is me 1 day shy of 18 weeks prego--yeah, I know I'm really popping out fast this second time around...

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Little girl love...

These 2 cousins sure do love each other. All day Monday, they kept talking about getting to see each other at the America party. It's refreshing to see such pure love, and we are excited about them growing up together!

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Hope deferred...

In my quiet time today, my heart lead me to a familiar verse...

"Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life." ~Proverbs 13:12

This verse is one that I have prayed many times for friends and hopes for parenthood and being blessed with children--fertility and adoption and the waiting process, love and dating with the desire for marriage, job searches and changes and fulfillment, etc... I have definitely prayed this verse for myself when I am hoping a life dream of my own will be realized. I wonder, though, if I am praying it in the right way... Are my longings the Lord's longings? I know my ways are not his ways... If I am praying in the right spirit, will he align my longings with His? I do believe that His desire for us is that our greatest hope is in Him, and so how does that translate into/relate to/connect wuth our earthy--albeit spiritually earthly--desires? So much over-thinking sometimes! In all of my theological literature, I cannot find much specificity.

I wish that King Solomon would have laid out the complete context sometimes; other times I am satisfied with this sweet morsel. I just want my prayer of the verse to be pure and real and realized.

Hope is a wonderful motivator, but longings fulfilled are sweet to the soul indeed. I pray the same for you and your hopes today!