Thankful for REST

Forgive me readers, for I’ve sinned – my plans to update this blog almost everyday haven’t really happened lately. But things WILL go back to normal, promise! I’m just getting over this weird constant headache that’s kept me from thinking straight in the past week or so. Not sure what it is (maybe a cold? Or just exhaustion?). All I know is that I needed a mental break BAD. So I gave myself a little bit of a blog vacation.

Thanksgiving couldn’t have come at a better time. With 3 kids, you don’t have the luxury to be overwhelmed. Each of them NEED you to be 100% present for their every mood. In result, my head was about to explode. Still sort of is, but after a nice family day (including a nap at the in-laws), I’m finally on the road to recovery.

Thank you, Jesus, for my MIL’s wonderful cooking skills

Our contribution – what was supposed to be orange velvet cupcakes (but still turned out red)…link for recipe on the Things I Dare Cook page soon!

Thank you, Jesus, also for kids’ tables

How cute is he with an apron?

Holly had a good time too (with the miniature daddy in the background lol)

These moments to stop and smell the turkey helped me process how much God has made me grow, and how much more growth I know He still has for me. It’s a very exciting thought, but also daunting – I sense He wants me to be braver and more mature than ever before. Each step in motherhood, as my kids grow, or each step further in writing requires that I let go. Of old fears, old concepts, old comfort zones. As I get older, I feel more and more like He’s pushing me for something new.

Our best attempt at newest portrait for Christmas card – couldn’t get the kids to not hide their faces

Speaking of new, we’re loving the uncharacteristically cool Texas weather. The other day we went to Chick-Fill-A all bundled up and it was awesome (oh the little joys of motherhood :).

They look even more squeezable in cozy sweaters

Playing with Minnie Mouse (love how my nursing cover looks like a scarf)

What about you, what were you thankful for yesterday?

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Melissa & Andrew-isms

I got attacked by FIRE ANTS taking this picture. Please hand over the Mother of The Year award. Or a spa certificate will do.

Melissa lying down, while Andrew pokes her: I don’t want to play! I want to rest! Rest is fun!

Andrew: Rest??

Melissa: *sighs* I already said that.

Andrew: Aah said that??

—–

Me: Andrew, you’re our sweet, special, wonderful boy.

Melissa: And handsome!

——

Yesterday, I posted this on Facebook:

“If you come into my house and it smells like detergent, it’s not that I’m a clean freak – it’s that I have crazy kids who reached for the dish soap and emptied it over the living room floor. One breakdown (mine) and 2 very clean kids later, I’m DONE. Thanksgiving, where art thou??”

Today, we actually had to block the affected area, since not all the gunk has come off yet. Might need our carpet cleaner (though it’s fake-wood laminate).

Me: You can’t play over there because yesterday you guys made a mess, remember?

Smarty-pants Melissa: Yeah, I remember you and I got mad at Andrew. 

Me: No, Missy, this was your fault. I know you’re the one who got the soap. Andrew can’t reach that far.

Melissa: But mommy, it’s my job! 

—-

Me to Holly: This is your big brother Andrew and that is your big sister Melissa.

Andrew (points to me): And mommy!

I’m so relieved of how much he loves her, because I thought there’d be youngest-sibbling-rivalry. But whenever I hold her close to him, he goes, “aww cute!” and rubs her head/gives her a kiss or a toy. And if she’s crying, he goes, “oh no! baby crying!”

—-

Me getting up from snuggling with Andrew: “I have to go get Holly. Do you know that I love you?”

Andrew: *smiles* I know.

—-

Melissa was ecstatic when I let her hold Holly in her lap. Andrew went right behind pointing to his chest: “My turn! My turn! My turn!” Poor Holly had to be passed around (with my assistance, of course) from an oversized toddler and a giggly preschooler a few times, until I had enough. But I think she enjoyed it.

—–

Today’s Cute Moments:

– Hide & seek. They counted together and Andrew hid behind my legs. Then Melissa would “find” him as they both screamed.

– After hide & seek, they held hands and danced around singing “we wish you a merry christmas” (Melissa led it, and Andrew completed the last vowels).

– After that, they asked for spoons and walked around saying they were making soup. When they hid into their toy tent, there was bound to be some screaming.

Melissa: “Mommy! Tell Andrew not to eat me!”

Me: “Andrew, don’t eat Melissa, she’s not food.”

The things you find yourself saying :).

Sisters

At Holly’s 4D ultrasound pics she already looked like Melissa’s twin. Now she still sort of does, but with her own very unique personality. I’ve never had a baby who looked so ready to have a conversation.

3-month-old Melissa

3-month-old Holly

3-month-old Melissa & I

3-month-old Holly & I

See how alert she is? With either of the other kids, I never felt like I “knew” them as soon as I’ve been able to  with Holly. She coos, coos, coos like completing a sentence. And her coos have intonations (“aaah?” or “aaah!!”).

Reminds me of watching TV at the hospital right before my c-section, and there was this weather girl who I could tell had a big personality just by the lively way she said each word. Call me crazy, but right then, I had a feeling that Holly would be like that. A beautiful girl with a LOT to say :).

Melissa can be talkative too, but tends to be hesitant at first. She’s a delicate girl, and while Holly’s also sensitive (yes, I can tell that from a baby – an ultra expressive one), she’s far more outspoken. And she doesn’t even speak yet! With the other kids at this age, I was curious about how their voice would be like. In Holly’s case, I already know.

Right now, Miss Chatty is going, “pooh! hey! aaah!”, which translated must mean, “get off the computer mommy!”

Sister love

Hush Kids, My Imaginary Babies Are Crying

I think a writer’s mind is more overpopulated than others. It’s way too hard for us to let go of whatever story is cooking up in our heads.

Now, this is hard enough when you’re making up your own stories. Imagine if you just signed up to Netflix and discovered it has ALL the episodes for Once Upon a Time and Hart of Dixie (my latest obsessions). **major minute-long gasp** If I let myself (or didn’t have kids), I’d never go back to the real world.

But that’s the great thing about having kids: they FORCE you out of your cocoon. It’s healthy for me, because I tend to get too into fiction, made up by me or others. I imagine anyone with a creative job might struggle with the same. Once something excites you, it’s like a drug: you can’t wait to be done with boring actual conversations and go back to your imaginary friends. You worry about them and become addicted to trying to guess what might happen.

I wonder if that’s why God gave me 3 kids so early in life. They’re my little alarm clocks; I have no choice but to wake up. To live and embrace the joys of the moment. Like when Andrew and Melissa want to “bond” with Holly – by shaking her hands, her swing, and if I don’t watch it, her head.

They think she’s a toy

Speaking of her, I’d better go feed my littlest but no less loud alarm clock… Which is how I end most of my posts (whether I say so or not :).

Top Five Time!

It’s been an EXHAUSTING week, but a great one too. Here are some highlights (in participation with Lauren Elizabeth‘s High Five for Friday):

5. New Boots IMG_0950

Aren’t these cute?? Please ignore Brobee (Yo Gaba Gaba character toy) passed out in the background.

Hart of Dixie’s characters make the old-lady look work

4. New favorite shows: Once Upon a Time, Once Upon a Time in Wonderland & Hart at Dixie – I love you, Hulu! When David suggested we cancel cable to save and just have you, I confess I wanted to throw your little box out the window. Now I realize how hypnotized I’ve been by reality TV shows. Who knew there were quality FICTION shows out there? As a writer, I used to say that I NEEDED to follow reality crap for the sake of people-watching. Now I still see the value in that, but nothing substitutes GOOD writing. Because sometimes reality just isn’t as interesting.

3. I’m doing Kerastraight tomorrow! For who’s never heard of it, this is a hair  treatment that uses keratin (amazing protein) for straightening. I feel like I’ve been dating straight hair for a bit now, and even though it’s been a whirlwind romance  of just 3 and a half months (since Holly was born), we’re ready to marry :).

2. Holly’s still sleeping through the night. Can’t believe this is lasting!! Sometimes I even get lucky and she naps decently during the day. But even when she doesn’t, I try to count my blessings. No more 3 o’clock feedings. Aaa-lleluia.

1. Today’s hubby’s birthday! 31In my single days, I made a list of the ideal man. He’d be strong, but sensitive; tall, with light eyes; easy to talk to, and even have a nice voice. I showed it to my mom, and she said, “where will you find such an angel?” Well, I did! Another thing I prayed for is that he’d be close to my age (I was never too impressed with either older or younger guys). My hubby turns 30 today, just about 7 months before me. Is God a good listener or what?? :) Let this be a testimony to all who read this and haven’t found ” the one” – don’t be afraid to ask for specifics, because He might very well surprise you!

Now you’re it – what’s your week’s top 5?

Where are my babies??

Andrew likes to play in his old car seat (and as shown, is in awe of big sis)

They seem to be disappearing into thin air. The only recognizable one is Holly – sort of. Because she acts way too toddler-y for her 3 months of age.

I’m still processing the fact that Andrew’s not my baby anymore. I grab him as he tries to run by me and attack him with kisses. More often than not, he likes it. But as his legs and his will get stronger, he’s figuring out quickly he’s a boy, and not mommy’s cuddly baby. It’s been a tough transition for me. At least the process has trained him to give hugs and kisses – which he proudly gives both his sisters (Holly’s a little startled by this giant head leaning against her, but I can tell she almost smiles).

Melissa’s already 4, so with her it’s the opposite – I have to remind myself she is, in many ways, still a baby (or still want to be babied). She’s just so smart and tall that I’ve already gotten used to seeing her as a girl. There was a quick phase (probably a growth spurt) that she’d SCREAM whenever I tried to cuddle with her. Now maybe she’s finally used to being a girl too, since she’s becoming more affectionate everyday. And more talkative. We have to not only hug her, but tell a story, answer questions, talk about the big mysteries of life…

Now Holly – the only TRUE baby – is so full of facial expressions that always half expect her to say something. Speaking of which, now she’s yelling – as in cooing “Aaaaah! Aaah!” furiously – for me to get her. Because, you know, crying is for babies :).

Kids & Faith

LOVE her profile – as well as her heart :)

Even if I do a million things wrong as a mom, I try to get at least 2 things across: that they’re always loved by me and God. That’s why I tell them “I love you” every minute (which I’m sure they’ll be annoyed at in their teens), and whenever possible try to make them aware of God. Before meals, I say, “Thank you Jesus for this food. In Jesus’ name…?” The kids know to say “A-men.” :) It’s the cutest thing. And I loved it that last Thursday, when Melissa was playing picnic with Andrew, she said it just like I do.

Speaking of that day, it’d FINALLY gotten cold (rare for TX), so much that Melissa was convinced it was going to snow. Poor thing, she’s like me – the one thing I wish we had was snow. I’m from Brazil, so such a thing is even more magical to me than for the typical american.

Anyway, Friday morning she was disappointed.”Who took the snow away?”, she asked. I told her no one did. She went: “I think God did. God sat on his chair and told Jesus to take the snow away [paraphrasing – she rambled a bit :)]. Why did God take the snow away?” I told her, “maybe He didn’t give us snow because it has to be super cold. Snow is pretty to look at, but is super cold, and we could get sicky.” She smiled and seemed satisfied. I love how she’s already embraced the concept of God as a person, even though she can’t understand much yet.

Another cute fact – we use this toddler Bible to have a family devotional whenever we’re not completely desperate to put them to bed (which doesn’t happen often enough). Melissa’s gotten so into it, she likes to read it on the potty lol. It’s the only way she’ll go #2 :).

Hope you’re having a good inspirational Sunday! I’m writing this post ahead of time (it’s Friday now) so I can have a true day of rest (or as much as I can with 3 kiddos). Take it easy too and make sure to leave a comment!

This Week’s High Five

straus

Participating on High Five for Friday at Lauren Elizabeth’s blog again! So here we go:

5. Straus European Style Yogurt. We discovered this at Sprouts and I’m totally spoiled by it. It does NOT taste like any plain yogurt I ever had. Actually, the other day we were out of it so I ate another regular plain yogurt (which I used to enjoy) and it tasted disgusting. Not even honey helped! Just a watery mess. Not sure what this “european style” stuff means, but it gives the consistency of sorbet. That’s the only way I can describe it – melting sorbet. Hmmm, just thinking about it is making me want a cup.

4. Starbuck’s Hazelnut Latte. It all started last Sunday, when we walked into church and it smelled DELICIOUS. The candles ministry or whatever had done a good job! The scent was so Autumn-y and yummy, I joked that I wanted to eat the church lol. It planted the craving seed in me, so the next time we went to a Starbucks, I had the brilliance to order a Latte with Hazelnut pumped into it. Oh. My. LORD. The Hazelnut angels definitely sing to me everything I take a sip. And you know, even though chocolate will always be my first love, we’re going through some problems now due to this food-poisoning event. I’d eaten a lot of chocolate that day, so I guess now my body’s slightly traumatized – though yes, I still do eat it daily, just less and not the same kind I used to before. The result is that the amazing Hazelnut Latte, with skim milk BUT with whip (hey, better than whip AND whole milk :) has taken the place in my heart that has been occupied by hot chocolate for several years.

3. I’m going to buy boots today!! I’m so excited it’s embarrassing. Totally shows how I don’t get out much. Besides, if you’ve known me and my sneakers-only tendencies, you know this is major progress. I just need to find something that’s cute and put together, but not uncomfortable. So tonight the whole family is heading to the mall (ohh Shangri-la) so that daddy can drive the kids around in the double stroller while mommy goes shoe-hunting. First stop will, of course, be Payless (they really should pay me for all the advertising I do). And one of their cute & cheap purses may or may not be thrown in the process.

2. Holly’s sleeping through the night. The reason why this isn’t #1 is that, surprisingly, it’s made my days SO much more exhausting. When she’d wake up at night, she’d take a long nap in the afternoon – like 3 hours long. Now, I’m lucky if she lets me have lunch. More often than not I have to eat with the “soothing” (NOT) sound of her screaming in the swing. So yeah, I’m sleeping more (yay), but getting much less me-time during the day (boo).

1. Melissa and I are buddies. I know you’re not supposed to just try to be buddies with your kids, but something has shifted in my relationship with my 4-year-old. She’s always been a dramatic one, but now I feel like I can get through to her better. I understand that a lot of times she cries/screams not to be defiant, but because she’s sad that I’m upset with her. As soon as I make it clear I’m not angry (even if I am lol), but explain calmly what needs to be done, she’s the most obedient girl in the world. Her vocabulary is also expanding by the second, so I love having funny talks with her. Like the time she asked, “can I have some money?” I told her she didn’t need it yet because now mom and dad take care of her. Then she goes: “how do I get some money?” Then I explained that people need to work to get money. Such a mature conversation that I didn’t expect to have so soon! :)

Andrew’s also been growing up adorably, by the way. He tells me he loves me a lot (“I ow you! I ow you!”) – probably because I do it to him, so I’ve trained him well.

What about you – what were your favorite things this week? I’d love to know!

The Un-Frumping Project

With this much on my plate, the least I deserve is frizz-free hair! :)

I imagine most people, after having a 3rd child, would care less about their appearance. The opposite has happened to me. I blame the hospital staff who, when telling me how to prepare for my scheduled c-section, forbid me to use any hair product. Such a concept could not fit into my curly head, so I was FORCED to get a blow dry. Hence the beginning of the madness.

Who would’ve known I’d become the kind of person that owns a blow drier, a flat iron AND a curling one (for the ends)?? All my life I’d had ONE product – conditioner. Real heavy duty kind, that I’d use to beat the mane into submission. Now, besides tools (gosh, I can’t stand my own high-maintenance talk), I also need an oil + a keratin spray for the styling. Once I’m done, I attack myself with this TALL spray can called “The Shaper”, which claimed to be the highest selling one (I later found another can that said the same thing. Regardless, it works). I mean, who am I??

Maybe part of what’s driving this surge of vanity is that realization that Holly is my last baby, so I’m slowly coming out of the “just a mom” identity (even though no one is “just” a mom, but you get what I’m saying). Or maybe being close to 30 is making me more adventurous about trying new things. All I know is that it’s become an escape from thinking of diapers or separating toddler fights all day. The work on myself reminds me, “I exist.”

So if I post here about something frivolous, like a lipstick, don’t judge. I’ll be invariably covered in spit up at some point in the day, so at least give me that.

Party, Party, Party, Crash

Every year I tell myself, “never again.” Then a couple of days later I’m already planning the next one. What’s WRONG with me?? I’ve never been the “hostess with the mostess”. When we looked for a house, I didn’t even care much for an open kitchen, for the simple fact that I’m a mental wreck when I cook. The more people come in, the more I panic, realizing I can’t possibly carry on a conversation and know what I’m doing at the same time. I envy people who can do it, but that’s not me.

Why, then, do I insist in making stuff every time we have a birthday?? I sure do cook a lot for someone who doesn’t like to cook! This time I felt like I didn’t have much choice – both Melissa and Andrew have been having random allergic reactions, so I was afraid to just pick up any pre-packaged party food. The Brazilian Pastries were already approved – and plus, there was something meaningful about introducing a treat from my childhood into my kids’ lives.

“4” ones were filled with beef & cheese

“Heart” ones had chicken

Birthday girl approves! Love her “should I be smiling now?” face lol

Andrew ate most of them – just sat there and asked for more all night

Meaningful. I think that’s my problem. I’m too attached to the “meaning” of things. Food from the grocery store doesn’t have much meaning, does it? Even though we did get the ice cream cake from H-E-B – THANK GOD Melissa asked for it, or else I would’ve been stuck doing cupcakes too (we had a Walmart regular cake on her last birthday and it was meh).

On top of the cake, the infamous skates-shaped chocolates made from chocolate chips

Held by auntie Esther, Holly watched everything intently, probably taking notes for her party :)

There was one eye-opening moment, when I had to sit away from everybody to nurse, and realized people were still having fun. Surprise, surprise – I didn’t need to be running around like a crazy person for the party to function. I could just sit, breathe, and nurse.

That’s been another one of my problems: the misconception that I had to spend a whole party getting things done, fixing things, and of course looking like I was having a grand ol’ time, when I really wasn’t. Now I’ve learned that a BIG part of throwing a party is allowing myself to enjoy it. To stop obsessing. And to listen to my happy birthday girl, not nearly as shy as she was in other birthdays. As I worried if she’d freak out about kids playing with her toys, she came to me smiling and said, “I’m talking to my friends.” It made my day. I responded, “Yes, you do have a lot of friends.” And I couldn’t be prouder of well my Little Miss Social is growing up.

Favorite gift – first fishing pole from fisherman uncle Joe

Happy girl…what more can you ask for? :)