Friday, December 19, 2014

Worth Repeating / 02



Mommy: "Do you want to jump on Mommy?"

Emerson: "No. When the baby comes, then jump on Mommy...."
Mommy: "Do you want to jump on Daddy?"
Emerson: "No."
Mommy: "Do you want to jump on Royal?"
Emerson: "No...he's a little too big."


"Talk about.... Roh-Rah. You're a goooodddd can't run at Hobby Lobby."

"I love you so much, Roh-Rah. You the best dog in the world."


"That is gooooddd macaroni for my tummy. My tummy says 'oh, tank you, oh, tank you!'"


Jumping into Daddy's arms from a balance beam on the playground:

"I did it, I did it! I KNEW me could do it!"

"Aye, aye, Daddy!"


"God make my bed."


"Apple juice, sleep...that rhymes!"


"You make good pancakes, Mommy. (kiss for Mommy) That was a pancake kiss!"

Emerson's rendition of her nightly lullaby, with the lyrics "lullaby and goodnight, thy mother's delight....":
"Lullaby and goodnight, my mother's close-by...."

Looking for the Hornet mascot at football game: 
"Where is dat silly cricket...?" 
And then, "where is dat Jimminy Cricket....?"


Trying to sit on Mommy's lap with pregnant belly:

Mommy:"My tummy makes things a bit tricky!"
Emerson: "My tummy is...easier."

After following a bug on the road:
"The bug...moved a lil bit...and I...smushed him."


Mommy: "You are so special. There is no one just like you. Is your baby sister going to be just like you?"

Emerson: "I guess we'll have to see...."


Mommy: "Emerson, you're so cool."

Emerson: "I am...?"

Getting in and out of bed at bedtime:
Emerson: "My covers came off...."
Mommy: "Your sheet comes off when you sit up and get out of bed."
Emerson: "...So, that's why...."


Mommy: "Do you want Mommy or Daddy to read the book?"

Emerson: "Daddy. He's a good reader."


"I love spending time with you."



During early labor:

Mommy: "Mommy's tummy is hurting." 
Emerson: "I'll rub it for you. ... That feel better?"


Listening to a song on the radio:

"Uh-oh! This is my jam!"


Mommy: "Why did you get out of bed?"

Emerson: "Because me wanted to...."
Mommy: "Why did you want to?"
Emerson: "Because...I have to tell the tooth. I was running around, out of bed. I will never do that again. The...end. Big girls don't do that!"


Daddy: "Let's go watch The Three Musketeers! 'All for one, and one for...'"

Emerson: "...two!"


"Did you know, me your daughter?"


"I love her. Thanks, baby, for coming to our house."


After coming to the nursery very early in the morning, waking up Mommy from sleeping in the recliner overnight:

"I want you to go get a giant pickle and come back and read the Spot book in the baby's room. Can you do that plan?"

Playing with Play-Dough:
Emerson: "I made a 'hole' pizza!"
Mommy: "Is it made with love?"
Emerson: "It's made with play-dough, Mommy! It's not for real."

Having a conversation with herself:
"What's that?"
"A book, clapping."
"Can I have it?"


"It's okay, Brennan. Mommy takes good care of you."


Talking to the iPhone:

Siri: "I'm sorry. That isn't available without service."
Emerson: "Well, I was just playing with it."


Mommy: "Brennan has a dirty diaper."

Emerson: "Oh. That's a bummer."

Mommy: "You need to settle down. Be gentle and calm."
Emerson: "Gentle! That's what me going to be!"


Mommy: "Did Brennan wake you up?"

Emerson: "Yeah. She cries a lot. Do you know, she poops a lot, too?"

"She poops a lot. ... Is she pooping now?"

Playing with Daddy, searching for a watch for their costume:
Daddy: "Where is it?!"
Emerson: "Calm down, Daddy. Calm down. I believe it's in the closet!"


Giving Mommy Halloween costume suggestions:

"You can be a cat, or a dog, if you want to be real. Or, just be Mommy. Orrrrr...nothin'."



Emerson: "Do you want a bean 'prout?"

Mommy: "Yes, please."
Emerson: "No, first use your manners...."
Mommy: "May I please have a bean sprout?"
Emerson: "Okay. You may."


Cupping Mommy's breast while Brennan nurses:

"I'll hold it for you. So it doesn't spill."

"I just want to clean up a lil' bit."


Kissing Daddy goodnight:

Daddy: "Is it scratchy?"
Emerson: "Yeah. You need to mow your face."


"I'm just living the dream."


Mommy's doctor: "Do you know what presents you want for Christmas?"

Emerson: "No.... But, we will sing Christmas carols and see lights and have costumes!"

Listening to the radio in the van:
Mommy: "This song is about how God is always with us, and He is our friend."
Emerson: "Is that God singing?"


"You're part of our family, and we love you very much. Just the way you are! I'll draw you. ... There's you, Brennan!"


"Did you know we can have fun time, Brennan? And roar? Roarrrrr! And play together all day? Tag, you're it!"


"Rah make me laugh."


Mommy: "B is for...ball, and Brennan, and Bobby!"

Emerson: "Buh, buh...bathtub! Buh, buh...bubbles! Buh, buh...turkey!"


"Brennan tooted! I thought it was a motorcycle, but it was just Brennan...tooting."

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Brennan: Two Months

December 2, 2014

  • At your two-month (plus one day) doctor's appointment, you weighed 13 pounds, 6 ounces...only 4 ounces more than Emerson did at her two-month appointment! That's amazing to me. You are 1' 11.5", and growing perfectly healthily. What a blessing. 
  • You are still wearing size 0-3 month clothing, though the day is fast-approaching when I'll need to suck it up and put you into the 6 month size. Your pajamas especially are getting a bit snug, but I'm having a hard time with the idea of putting away these tiny clothes again....
  • We haven't started using cloth diapers yet. You're still wearing size 1 disposables.
  • You're beginning to really suck on your fingers, slobbering all over your little hands. 
  • When something gets your attention or you're startled somehow, you raise your eyebrows so high and your eyes get wide. I just love those little eyebrows of yours!
  • You have such a pitiful pout when you're sad...your lips purse and you just look truly pitiful. Pitiful and adorable, that is.
  • You seem so much more content than last month. Happy to just be, and really seeming to be settling into life in this big world. Between a happier digestive system and improved eyesight, things are really improving for you!
  • You seem to enjoy "snacking" though the day at this point, versus having big meals. Our nursing sessions are rather short...too many other things to focus on, it seems.
  • We've still been primarily sleeping on the couch, or in Mommy and Daddy's bed (with no pillows...or blankets...or Daddy....), but you're doing a great job sleeping. You've only been waking up once or twice during the night to nurse (usually around 12:30 a.m.  and 4:30 a.m.), and you fall back to sleep quickly. We're moving toward putting you in the crib to sleep at's a process, we've learned! And, you'll be ready when you're ready.
  • Thankfully, you are now much more accepting of being in your car seat than you were. You don't cry during even a short drive these days, and we appreciate that!
  • You really prefer to be held, or sitting up to watch the action around you. You want to move around if held, but you're more willing than you used to be to just lay long as you can be a part of things! Fair enough! 
  • Being on your changing table has always seemed to make you happy. You just like that spot, and we seem to get some of your happiest expressions when you're up there.
  • We put you in the bassinet and roll half of it under the kitchen table at dinnertime. You can see the light above the table and look up at Emerson, sitting in her high chair next to you. We all get to be together as a family around the table, and it makes me so excited for the days when you'll be in a seat of your own, joining in our discussion.
  • You watch your sister, and frequently follow her with your eyes. You know she's a good time! She's going to teach you a lot...and she is so ready to play with you! I love watching you two together. 
  • You've begun to smile! And, what a precious smile it is! We still have to work for it quite a bit, usually rubbing your lips with our fingers or playing with your cheeks to get a grin...but we're happy to do so. You melt our hearts!

You're growing so, so fast, and this time I get to hold you close,
cuddling and snuggling with you, is precious to me. 
You are cherished, and a perfect fit for our family. 
I love you more each day, Brennan. Truly.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Missing Jim

To anyone that knows me well, it's no surprise that I am a big fan of Jim Brickman. Ever since I was introduced to his piano music as a middle-schooler (let's face it, probably not his key demographic), I have been a fan...a "Brickmaniac", if you will. (Ha! I just made that up...& I don't think I'll say it again. It is quite awful.) His music played at my wedding, and in the delivery rooms when Emerson and Brennan were born, and listening to his music never ceases to be such an immediately calming, soothing experience for me. So, when I heard over the summer that he was coming to Springfield for another Christmas concert, I was thrilled. (Seeing his Christmas tour a couple of years ago was such a fun way to celebrate the holiday, and I have anticipated him coming back to town since then!) I knew I would have a two-month-old at home by the time early-December rolled around, but I told myself that it was do-able. That, one way or another, I'd be in attendance. And, frankly, looking forward to the occasion was an encouragement for many outing that I knew would be a rejuvenating, relaxing one for me during a time when I knew I'd need one.

But, when tickets went on sale in August (on my birthday, no less), I didn't buy them. And, the twenty other times I checked the website, selecting my ideal seats and getting excited about the event, something stopped me from ever making the purchase.

I think I knew in the back of my mind that it wouldn't be particularly feasible. And, I was right. Here we are, the day of the concert, and I still don't have tickets. I won't be going. The reality is that the timing is wrong; the girls need me in the evenings, and leaving them for the concert would not be in the best interest of the family. I know that staying with them is what I need to do, and because being "Mom" is my greatest joy, it's what (deep down!) I want to do, too.

But, in all honesty, I am truly sad to be missing out. Seriously, I'm really, really, bummed. It doesn't help my attitude that I have family members that will be going. I'm happy for them (because really, everyone needs Jim Brickman in their life), but I'm jealous. I'm downright green with envy, as embarrassing as that is to admit. Although it's not a quality I'm proud of, it's the truth. I wanted so badly to get out of the house, to have some peaceful time, doing something that would be special to me. 

But, as I reflected this morning about my bad attitude, I realized that my desire to do this, for ME, goes against everything this season (& this life) is about. It isn't about me. It's about giving, and serving, and loving others before myself. Motherhood certainly teaches that lesson again and again.

(With that said, I think there's a lot of value in the concept of taking care of yourself as a mom so you can better serve your family. And, really, going to this concert was less about having a fun Christmas outing, and more about doing something that would benefit my mental health. This definitely would've fit the bill...but I'll figure out something else to serve that purpose. Not that I'm in poor mental health.... You get it.)

I so want to be focused on the right things during this season of Advent. And, if missing a concert is what the Lord is using to reveal an area of sin (that is, too high an emphasis on self-desire), then so be it.

My mom is right. "There will be more Jim Brickman concerts." (Though it'll probably be a couple of years...and who knows what family life will look like then. But, here I go getting all Grinch-y again. I'll stop.) Life goes on. This event just wasn't meant to be.

So! I'm moving on to 'Plan B'. Tonight, I think we'll get the girls dressed in cozy pajamas and load up in the van with mugs of hot chocolate. And then, as we drive around town looking at Christmas lights, you'd better believe we'll be listening to a few of Mr. Brickman's Christmas CD's.

It won't be the same as being at Hammons Hall.... It could be even better. Actually, because I'll be with the ones I love the most, it absolutely will be.

I like to think that's what Jim would want.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Brennan: One Month

November 2, 2014
  • At your 2 week appointment, you weighed 9 lbs. 4 oz. You are a growing girl! I could tell that you felt heavier, and I wasn't wrong. I just have a feeling that you are going to grow quickly. More quickly than it seems Emerson did. More quickly than I'd like.
  • You have outgrown your newborn clothes and are now wearing the 0-3 month size. It is such fun seeing you wear outfits that your sister once wore. Fun for Mommy and Daddy, and for Emerson, too. 
  • You're wearing size 1 disposable diapers.
  • I get the distinct impression that you don't love being a baby, and that you're ready to join in on the fun that the rest of the family has. You seem frustrated by your immobility and, specifically, your inability to play with your big sister. All in due time, darling.
  • You continue to have a good appetite and have always eaten well. You latch quickly and seem to enjoy nursing. That makes me really happy. I know that I'm more confident and more easy-going about your frequency of eating, and that's nice, too. 
  • You have had some tummy trouble, though, which has led to lots of grunting and seemingly uncomfortable days. Your digestive system may still be figuring things out, or my diet is bothering you, or you're getting too much's hard to know what the problem is. You seem to be working through it, though.
  • But, goodness, you spit-up a lot. Whether it's because of your tummy issues or just your natural's taken some adjusting to! 
  • You are quite strong, leaning back from my chest when held and lifting your neck to see elsewhere. 
  • You definitely prefer to be held, and more specifically, held while standing up. Often, you'll awaken or express disapproval as soon as the person holding you sits down. 
  • We've slept together, with you on my chest, in the recliner in the nursery almost every night since you've been home. You awaken immediately when placed in your crib (and don't enjoy being swaddled), and in order for Mommy to get sleep, this has been easiest. For the past week or so, we've moved to the couch...but it's the same idea. You wake up to eat every three hours or so, and being with you already makes nursing and then getting you back to sleep much more tolerable. We have some work to do on your sleep habits, but we'll get there. 
  • You seem to really need stimulation of some sort now, and are usually not content to just sit. You want to be where the action is...which is tricky, because the action (read: Emerson) is on-the-go, and so, you must be, too. 
  • You are so alert, and that personality trait especially reminds us so much of Emerson. There will be much that is unique about you, Brennan, and we can't wait to discover those things that make you, YOU...but, we also find a lot of joy in seeing parts of Emerson's personality and spirit and demeanor unfolding in you. (And, physically, goodness you so resemble her right now! Quite amazing, really.)

I love you, Brennan Elizabeth.
You are a beauty, and a treasure, and getting to know you is such a gift. 
Thank you for all the joy you're bringing to our family, and to me. 
What fun you are! 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Family of Four

There have been so many moments I've wanted to capture in these early days at home with Brennan. Moments that I know I'll miss and will want to remember in years to come. My only complaint about this time with a new baby is that I have no way to bottle up this time.... These days are fleeting and oh, so precious.

But, I have made notes...words spoken, emotions felt, observations & reflections of this time. Here's hoping that they'll capture a bit of the beauty that we've experienced in welcoming a new life to our family.

Emerson's maturity....

We prepared Emerson as well as we knew how before Brennan was born. About how the hospital experience and time with grandparents could go (so many unknowns about the timeline of childbirth and all of the potential scenarios made that a challenge)...about what it means to have a new baby at home...about becoming a big sister. She was as ready as she could've been.

But, still, there were surprises. We asked a lot of her during a highly emotional time, and the girl responded with confidence & grace, patience & flexibility.

I could not be more proud of her....
As she stayed at home the night her sister was born, away from Mommy and Daddy for the first time.
As she came to the hospital to meet the new baby, unsure of what exactly was happening. (Oh, the thoughts that could've been going through her head. I can only imagine.)
As she went home with Daddy for night #2 away from Mom.
As she tenderly holds Brennan, genuinely concerned for her needs and lovingly offering her help as often as possible.

She is one special little girl, and is a natural in her new role. Being a big sister suits her, and I'm overwhelmed with excitement for the tender relationship those two girls will have.

Things Emerson said on the day we brought Brennan home from the hospital....

  • Shaking her hand as she held her in the hospital bed..."Nice to meet you, baby sister."
  • Proudly bringing a blanket with her to the hospital..."She will need it so she won't be cold."
  • Seeing Brennan's bandage on her ankle from lab work..."I hope she be okay...."
  • Hearing Brennan squeak..."She talking to me! You hear that, Mommy?"
  • Driving home from the hospital..."It's your house, too, Brennan! You'll have so much fun with us!"
  • Holding Brennan in Mommy and Daddy's bed while Mommy folded laundry....
    • "You're amazing."
    • "Is that com-bubble (comfortable) for her?" 
    • "I love you, Brennan. I love you, Brennan.... We took you home, to your new home."
    • " puts me in the mood...por food. You like that song? ABCD...."

Our first night at home together....

  • Emerson had a couple of unpredictable and stressful days. Time away from Mom, a new baby.... But, she was resilient. And, after a successful "sleepover" at home, just the two of them together, Daddy was quite proud! As he should've been. I will never forget the joy I felt looking out the hospital window just in time to see the two of them walking in the parking lot, hand in hand. When Emerson came to my room, she was refreshed and content and secure; all was well in her world again. What a happy morning! 
  • There were two car seats in the van on our way home from the hospital. Two. One for each of our children. Of which we now have two. TWO. 
  • As I unpacked the suitcase, Emerson wanted to hold Brennan on the Boppy in the bed. That was such an incredibly precious scene. Some of their first moments together, just the two of them as I watched from a distance. I couldn't type fast enough on my phone as I tried to record the tender, heartfelt conversation. The first of many such visits, I predict. Emerson is in love...a full of compassion and patience and tenderness. I had no doubt as I watched them that Brennan would be safe in her big sister's arms. They take my breath away.
  • The house was a mess when we came home, and there was lots of laundry to be done and suitcases to unpack and dinner to cook and two children to tend to. And I used the still-flowing adrenaline to my advantage and was bustling around the house trying to get it all done. (Plus, it felt great to be back home, as opposed to stuck in a hospital room.) I decided then and there that I was really going to like the scurry, the busyness and the projects that two children would bring. It feels right to be a mama of two.
  • I saw Emerson in Brennan. Particularly, her expression as she lifted her head off of my chest, pursing her lips with a furrowed brow. What fun it is already to enjoy memories of Emerson's infancy as I watch Brennan.
  • Emerson has been nothing short of a rockstar with the change and the unpredictability of the past 48 hours. And Brennan seems to be quite easygoing! Going with the family flow, fitting right in as we go about our normal activity. I'm so proud of both of these girls. And I don't think that'll be the last time I say that.
  • While Bobby went to get our food, I cooked macaroni for Emerson. And as I juggled Brennan in one arm and mixed the butter and milk into the noodles with the other, I thought for the first time, "oh, yeah, mother of two...I've got this." It felt, for lack of a better term, "legit". And, I loved it.
  • We had a steak dinner delivered to us on our first night home with Emerson. It was a feast and a real treat. But, this time, we had Sonic and macaroni on the couch, as we watched "monkey George" with our precious toddler, with our newborn sleeping peacefully beside us. Happy to all be together once again, home where we belong. That meal was just what we needed. I was teary and joyful. Steak dinners are great...but it just doesn't get better than this.
  • It was a perfect first night at home together. It felt right and it felt comfortable. Every night won't be like this, but I couldn't have asked for more for our first night together, and I'm grateful.

Reflections from the first few days....

  • Bobby and I know our individual roles as parents, and we have better expectations about what each of our children need from us.  We're functioning as a better team, with a more clear understanding of what we need from each other, too. 
  • We also understand our individual sleep needs, and the realities of nights with a newborn. The "shock" factor hasn't existed this time.
  • We are, simply, more confident and more self-assured than last time. And, we're enjoying the experience differently than before.
  • Bobby's role with Emerson has changed form, and they have been such wonderful playmates during his time at home. This is a shift that has been long-anticipated and highly-desired...and although it's so precious to see the trust & fun & companionship between them grow, it's admittedly a little hard for Mommy. I've had to miss out on their daily "adventures" to the zoo or the library or the park, which has made me sad...wishing I could be out of the house, and also knowing that I'm missing special time with Emerson, and one-on-one time with her. As her relationship with Bobby changes, my role in her life is changing form, too, and that's bittersweet. 

The verse mentioned during the church service we watched on our first morning at home with Brennan that made me teary....

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, 
who have been called according to his purpose. 
Romans 8:28

Perhaps the sweetest thing Bobby has ever said to me....

"I'm going to try to remember, and not take for granted, 
the fact that you just had a baby two days ago...
since you look like you're back to 100%."

Thursday, October 16, 2014


Today is Bobby's first day back to the office after nearly two weeks at home for paternity leave. And, I'm sad that he isn't here.

Not because I'll have less help with dishes and housework. (Though that's certainly true, and his help in those areas over the past couple of weeks has been substantial. He's amazing, and I'm grateful.)

Not because I won't be able to rest so easily mid-afternoon.

Not because I'll be on my own with two little girls during the day.

I'm bummed because this is the end of what has been two incredibly refreshing weeks at home as a family.

"Refreshing" is hardly what I envisioned when I pictured our first couple of weeks with a newborn. I imagined being in "survival mode", needing Bobby to deliver coffee to me each morning (which, admittedly, he has done quite regularly) just to keep me functional. And yet, this time was quite the opposite. Sure, we've been tired, but this time at home was more about enjoyment & togetherness & rejuvenation than mere survival.

Bobby's time off-work was shorter when Emerson was born, and between fewer days at home and the unfamiliarity of being new parents and the mental weariness that was a different experience. Beautiful and uniquely wonderful as we learned about parenthood! But, different. Those days were certainly precious, but they weren't what I would call "refreshing".

This time, besides the benefit of having sweet Emerson to entertain us, I think we both came into the experience with far more realistic expectations. Going in, we understood the reality of lack of sleep, and that spending the night in the nursery recliner is part of the game. (Which hasn't made being away from the flannel sheets in our bed easier, necessarily, but we haven't been shocked by the exhaustion that comes from many poor nights of sleep.) Our parenting roles are more clearly defined, and we are working better as a team. Bobby is more confident with a newborn this time around, and I think he better understands the reality that Brennan primarily needs me (read: my milk) in these early days. He's been able to focus his energy and attention on Emerson, and they have truly connected during this time. Daily "adventures" out and about together, and that night spent at home together while I was at the hospital, have been especially huge bonding experiences for the two of them. It's a big (beautiful) deal!

Bobby said it well when he expressed to my dad that, as much as we (really, really) enjoy our summer vacations and getaways, there's something to be said for having had this time at home, doing very little other than just enjoying the company of one another. I suppose that's where the idea of "stay-cations" came from. (Although, I don't know that that concept is necessarily appealing to us. Even if we were to stay home during vacation time, I think we'd be liable to want to DO things, out and about, and make it a "productive" time.) But, being at home with a newborn, whom we very much want to avoid exposing to germs unnecessarily, somewhat forced us to just home & still & together & rested. This was a time unlike any other that we've had as a family, and it was nothing short of refreshing.

Weekends are wonderful, but they are, as we all know, far too short. There are, more often than not, chores & errands & things to do that don't allow for much in the way of rest, much less uninterrupted family time.

So, the obvious answer to continue to enjoy these periods of rest is to have another baby right away so we can regularly have weeks of FMLA paid time together.

Kidding. (Sorry, Mom.)

In all seriousness, though, I do believe we'll be making a more conscious effort in the months ahead to be intentional about Bobby taking time-off on a regular basis, for the sole purpose of family togetherness.

We need to make it happen. It's absolutely worth it.

Bobby, I'm so grateful for the past two weeks. You are a rock, for me and for our girls. 
So much of Emerson's positive adjustment is a credit to your efforts and time with her. 
You are an incredible daddy; these girls don't yet know how blessed they are, but their mom does. 
I will treasure these precious days we've spent at home as a new family of four. 
Thank you for helping to make this time so special, and for loving us...for loving well. 
Your THREE girls love you so very much! xoxo

Friday, October 10, 2014

Introducing Brennan Elizabeth

At 8:37 p.m. on Thursday, October 2nd, 2014, Bobby and I met our daughter, Brennan Elizabeth. 
7 pounds, 8 ounces of God's handiwork...another perfect miracle! 

Brennan's birthday came a week earlier than we expected, so although her arrival came as a bit of a surprise, we were (of course) overjoyed just the same. We enjoyed the blessing of a (relatively) quick, non-medicated labor & a healthy delivery, and immediately experienced the most incredible feelings of new and abundant love for another child. God is faithful. 

Seeing these two little girls together has brought me immense and overwhelming joy, like none I've ever known before. Emerson's sweet words & gentle touches...her thoughtfulness & patience & flexibility...she is a natural and is thriving in her new role. To witness her growing love for her new baby sister is incredibly beautiful. These are truly precious days.

You are fiercely loved, Brennan Elizabeth. Welcome to our family!

Friday, September 19, 2014


It wasn't my best parenting moment. In fact, I was losing patience. I wasn't doing anything out of the ordinary for us; my exchange with Emerson wasn't unlike our conversations that take place all day long. But, as I worked to get her into her carseat in the library parking lot, I was, evidently, being watched.

She may have been a young high school student. She was wearing braces, riding in a vehicle driven by someone else. I didn't realize she was there, but as she waited (for me to move out of her way) to get into her van, she saw, and heard, my interaction with my little girl.

And then, "Is that your daughter? You sound like you're a really good mom."

She didn't have to say that. And, I suspect she has no idea about the weight of her encouraging words.

As often as I hear compliments on my mothering from my parents or my husband (and that is truly meaningful), there's something powerful about the words from a stranger that give such affirmation to the job that I'm doing. Those that know me, know me. I would hope that when they see my love for my daughter, it doesn't come as a big surprise. But, for strangers who know nothing about me, to witness love displayed through my words and actions in the brief time we cross paths, and to know something about me through that experience is uniquely special.

I don't know the girl's story, or what led her to comment. Did I remind her of her loving mom? Or, was she struck by the difference of my behavior compared to the example in her life? I know there are so many loving parents...but is harsh, hateful parenting what she is used to seeing in public? Based on my experiences as I watch other children and their parents at the park or at the store, I worry that that's perhaps the case.

I was caught off guard by her simple comment. I smiled and thanked her as she got into her car, but I wish I would've had my thoughts put together enough to explain that I'm only doing my best to try to show my daughter God's love, or at the very least, let her know how sweet that was of her to say and how much it meant to hear.

I didn't know that that young lady was watching, but I know Emerson is. I think often about the lessons she's learning about motherhood as she watches me. I know those lessons will only become more evident and pronounced in the years ahead. But, this encounter was a reminder that the way I parent is visible to more people than I may realize, and on the days that it seems that I'm not having a significant impact on making the world a better place...well, perhaps maybe I am.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Emerson: 26 Months

September 1, 2014

Pretend play
Playing and talking to self
Knowing songs
Re-telling books
Nightime doorway sleeping for mom
So verbal, multiple word sentences
Talking about baby, acting like baby, taking care of baby doll
Enjoying food again
Diaper change requests
"I just want to...."
"Okay? Okay!"
Quick reminders to not fuss and use good manners
Donut Man songs
"Take me out to the ballgame...."
"What... Why?"
Self-correcting fussing
Staying with grandma
Tooth brushing
Long hair

Worth Repeating



Noticing a dead baby bird that fell out of nest onto driveway:
Mommy: "It is sad. But, it's okay. God has a plan."
Emerson: (Enthusiastically, without skipping a beat) "What! Tell me!"



While kicking the back of the seat in the truck:
"I've got the moves, Mommy."


Looking at new iPad app:
"That's cool. That's cool. ... Cool, dude!"


"Bless you, mommy!"

Mommy: "This mattress is for the new baby. She'll need a place to sleep, don't you think?" ...
Emerson: "How bout there?"


Mommy: "Daddy wants to come to the zoo but he has to go to work."
Emerson: "Whomp, whomp, whomp...."

Handing Mommy an 'Oscar the Grouch' sticker: "You a good mommy."


Watching a little girl learn to ride a bike: 
Daddy: "You'll ride a bike like that!"
Mommy: "Someday!"
Emerson: (less confidently) "Somehow...."


Right after naptime, crawling out of bed:
"I got out. I'm so glad!"


Watching Mommy eat a baked potato:
"Big potato! When I'm bigger. I dink (drink) coffee and potato...when I bigger."

Came to living room to find Mommy after nap:
"I want to cuddle wiff you."

Looking out window:
Emerson: "I love trees...."
Mommy: "What do you love about the trees?"
Emerson: "Squirrels. They live in trees. And birds. ... (Big hug) Cuddle wiff my baby girl!"


Emerson: "Mommy, more pizza now!"
Daddy: "Emerson, how do you say it nicely?"
Emerson: "Yes, ma'am. ... Pizza, please."


Waking up at dark gas station on drive to Colorado:
"La-la rado?"

Mommy: "Emerson, look at the mountains!"
Emerson: "They're bigggg enough! Like, play dough!"


Grandpa: "Is that squirrel sleeping?"
Emerson: "No. Hibernating."

Getting out of bed in CO:
"Let's do this."

Finding bedroom door locked:
"Bummer, dude."



Mommy: "Say 'bye' to the mountains! Didn't God make some beautiful creation for us to enjoy? Mountains...and oceans...."

"And water
And cars
And houses
And trees
And baseball games
And cheese
And fish
And baseball games
And houses
And bath water
And dog's water
And stars
And clouds
And flags
And garbage
And dirt
And horses
And a horse
And Daddy...
How about...?
And Pooh
And Eeyore
And Piglet
And Christopher Robin
And Owl
And Rabbit
And Clifford
And pickles
And a movie
And Mommy
Ooh.... That's a lot of things....
I want a movie, please. I said please."


Looking in empty crib:
"No baby yet!"


Talking to Mommy/delaying naptime:
"I love my house. I love my big girl bed. I sleep there alllll night, and never ever get out. And never call Mommy. I love you so, so, so much...your knees, and your arms, and your hair, and your sunglasses, and your eyes...whew."


Mommy: "Look up at the leaves. Aren't they beautiful?"
Emerson: "Yes. God make."

Driving her Little Tikes car in the driveway, with hand to ear as if holding a phone:
"I on my way, I on my way."


Mommy: "I'm going to have some watermelon for a snack. Do you want watermelon?"
Emerson: "No...."
Mommy: "Do you have something else in mind for a snack?"
Emerson: "Yes. Power."


Mommy: "The title of this book is 'Pumpkin, Pumpkin'. Pumpkin starts with the letter P. The 'puh' sound. Like, p-umpkin, p-opcorn, p-laydough."
Emerson: "And, p-lease!"


Daddy on his iPad:
Emerson: "I love you so, so, so much, Daddy."
Daddy: "I love you, too, Emerson!"
Emerson: "Now he talks...!"


Mommy: "Should I go get more paper towels from the garage?"
Emerson: "No. You're still washing dishes."


Emerson: "I want to wash dishes with you."
(Mommy pauses, thinking.)
Emerson: "'Welllll...okay!' ... Do you want to say yes? 'Ummm...okay!'"


Mommy: "What do you want to eat?"
Emerson: "Gees."
Mommy: "Cheese?"
Emerson: "No, gees."
Mommy: "What's that?"
Emerson: "It's another word."


Emerson: "Daddy poops, Mommy poops, Emerson poops...."
Mommy: "Yes, everybody poops."
Emerson: "Royal poops, and God poops. (thoughtful pause) ... God poops?"
Mommy: "Maybe."
Emerson: "God poops...just a lil bit."

Monday, September 8, 2014

Pregnancy Ponderings

I am well-aware that there will, of course, be many things unique to our experience with baby #2. (Though I can't possibly pretend to know all of the ways in which they will be!) One of the first lessons in understanding that fact, I suppose, is the difference between my documentation of this pregnancy vs. the last. Aside from a few sporadic posts, my documentation via blogging & journaling & photography of my progress has been quite limited. I'm not happy with myself about that, but it is what it is.

There is the factor of time. I have less of it now than I did before Emerson was born. (Actually, I suppose I have precisely the same amount...just less of it to call my own. You get it.)

There is the factor of energy. I just don't have much of it by the time bedtime (blogging-time) comes around.

But, the largest factor is, perhaps, that that novelty of pregnancy has worn off, and this pregnancy has been so very normal and unremarkable, leaving little that seems "documentation worthy". And by "unremarkable", I don't at all intend to imply that it hasn't been incredible. By its very nature, pregnancy is nothing less than remarkable and I'm quite aware and in awe of the miracle occurring within me. But, in terms of normalcy, this pregnancy has been exactly that, with not a great deal of "newsworthiness".

I suppose I have come to expect that, now having had two incredibly healthy pregnancies. I am overwhelmingly grateful for that blessing, and don't want to take it for granted as a given. It is not.

There are certainly things to note about this pregnancy, however...things that set it apart and things I want to remember.
  • I definitely felt sick in the early months...but, not as sick as my first pregnancy. There was plenty of daily nausea, but far less actual vomiting. No complaints here.
  • I had a notable sweet tooth this time around. Whereas I remember craving (and I do use that term loosely) saltier food (pickles for days....) with Emerson, I have definitely preferred and enjoyed sugar during this pregnancy. Yes, I recognize the irony in my having to take a glucose tolerance test this time. 
  • The changes in my body happened far more quickly this time around, specifically in that my belly grew and I "showed" much earlier in the pregnancy. I enjoyed that, really. 
  • I've definitely had low energy, and frankly, less patience with that side effect than last time. It's been discouraging to force myself to slow down when I want to be playing and keeping up with Emerson. 
  • Feeling this baby move is incredible. I looked forward to that milestone, and it has not disappointed as being my favorite part of pregnancy. This little girl is quite active, and I can't recall Emerson's movements well-enough to know how they compare, except that Bobby and I neither one remember the movements being quite so forceful or as lengthy. When this little lady gets going, she really moves and grooves for a long time. I am very able to identify body parts this time around (or, at least I think I am) and can almost always find what is surely a fist or a foot directly underneath my belly button. 
  • My nerves related to labor and delivery this time aren't so much related to the uncertainty of the experience; I largely know to expect as far as that goes having done it once before. (Not pleasant to look forward to, except for knowing the joy that comes as a fruit of my labor!) This time, though, I'm fearful (and largely irrationally so) for the remote possibility that something goes wrong, and scared for Emerson and what that would mean for her. Like I said...irrational...unlikely...but the lingering fear is present. And, I know that that fearfulness isn't from the Lord, so I'm leaning on the spirit of power and courage that He has given. 
  • Without question, the discussion and growth and demonstrations of love on Emerson's part as she increasingly understands what's happening has been the most memorable part of this experience. She understands more now than she did 6 months ago about what having a baby join our family means, and the moments that she rubs my tummy and talks about her baby sister are so very precious. She carries around her bear or her doll, rocking and cuddling them and giving them "milk". All practice.... She knows that there is "a baby in Mommy's tummy", that "she's not ready yet, she's still growing"...and, that "she'll come out your bum". She is ready to be a big sister, and if the affection she shows to this little one now is any indication of what is to come after she is born, then I should just prepare for my heart to burst. 
  • It is becoming increasingly apparent that someone is missing in our family. Whereas it was once difficult to imagine another member joining the three of us, now we are more than ready for her to be here. She is, in so many ways, with us already...a part of so many thoughts and conversations and preparations. It's time for the fourth Phillips to join the family, and we are so anxious to finally meet her.

My due date is one month from today. Let the countdown begin continue!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Emerson: 25 Months

August 1, 2014

  • At your two-year check-up, you weighed 26 lbs. (40th percentile) and were 2'11'' (85th percentile). You are a healthy, strong, growing girl! You didn't cry at all during this appointment while Dr. J examined you, though you were certainly apprehensive of the new situation. (Dr. J "couldn't find" your ears, which you thought was quite entertaining. You had to show him where they were!) You got a little misty-eyed when you had to lay down for your tummy to be checked, but you were so brave. I was very proud of you, big girl.
  • You are primarily wearing 2T clothes. 
  • We turned your carseat around on your birthday, and you love it. I was quite adamant that we stick with waiting until you were two years old before switching your seat (for safety reasons), and we made it, which makes me happy. You really seem to enjoy riding in the new van, taking in all of the forward-facing sights and visiting with Mommy as we drive. 
  • We took the rails off of your bed. You feel like such a big girl in your "new bed", as you should!
  • When we're driving, you almost always request that we "listen to moogah" (music). We've begun playing a Mickey Mouse CD instead of country radio, because you are so very perceptive and don't miss much. So help me, little one, we are going to protect your innocence as long as we possibly can.... So, "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" and "The Green Grass Grows All Around and Around" it is...over, and over, and over.... You love it! (Except for the ones that you don't. "I don't like 'dat song." At least I don't have to guess!)
  • Your imagination continues to develop, and it's a fascinating thing to watch. No one has "taught" you how to pretend, but you know how to play and imagine. One of your latest favorite things to do is pretending to be puppy, often panting or begging or carrying around Royal's leash.
  • Grandpa has enjoyed teaching you a few phrases lately, including "da nabba" ("dag nabbit"), and "that's all folks". "What's up, doc?" was a natural progression which Daddy taught you.
  • Occasionally, you'll want to have a conversation, and you'll say "talk about....". You will frequently have something in mind that you want to expand upon, or this open-ended sentence serves as an invitation to the other person to come up with a topic to discuss. 
  • "And, wha-telse?" ("What else?"), you say, as you add to and continue a conversation.
  • "Whomp, whomp, whomp...." It always surprises and impresses us when you use it completely accurately after hearing something that is, in fact, a bummer. 
  • "How about...."
  • "I want (fill in the blank). Right nowwwww."
  • "Hold you me, Mommy!"
  • "Bless you!"
  • "Wha choo doin'?"
  • "Hey! Where Daddy go?"
  • "That's a good plan!"
  • "I don't know!"

Emerson, you are conversational, playful, thoughtful, and fun. 
It is a joy to be around you, and I cherish these precious days that we get to spend together.
I love you so deeply, baby girl. What a treasure you are!