Tuesday, February 28, 2012

16 & 32

It is so incredibly hard for me to believe that this sweet little pea is going to be one year old in TWO DAYS! I know we say it and you hear it all the time but Oh.My.Word it flew by ~ way more so with Avery than with Kennedy. She is so sweet and smiley and lovable. I am just adoring every minute of watching her little personality develop. She and Kennedy couldn't be more opposite (seriously) so I'm just excited to see how this unfolds as the years go by. We thought Avery had changed so much in her looks that she really wasn't looking so much like Kennedy anymore and then we got out Kennedy's babybook over the weekend ~ they still TOTALLY look alike. Avery is pulling up on everything and cruising like it's her job so I'm pretty confident we'll have a walker soon!
Not this past weekend, but the weekend prior Janine and Josh came down to visit and Janine and I got to celebrate our birthdays together. We had such an awesome time with them (as we always do) and it was so good to spend some time with sweet little Keagan. He's changed so much since we saw him last and he's just a doll - ALL BOY ;). When Kennedy first saw him she said "Mom, he's gotten so big" and then she started baby talking him and saying "you can hold my blanket or hold my kitty cat if you want to". Precious!
Despite me trying my hardest to get Keagan and Avery playing together the two of them were so all over the place that it was a lost cause. I did get some cute pictures of Avery cheesing between outfit changes.
Aside from just enjoying Janine's company it was neat being together this time because we are both pregnant and not only both pregnant - we are both 16 weeks pregnant! She mentioned wanting to do belly pics while she was here (together) and I was like "Awesome please stand me - squatty little rotund Lindsy next to long and lean Janine" but then I decided I didn't care because it was all too cool to pass up a photo opp like this one:
It's just a really neat blessing that we are pregnant and due at the same time. I swear she was meant to be a Stewart sister and being pregnant at the same time is just another thing to draw us closer (which I truthfully didn't think was humanly possible). I love it!
I hope our kids love each other as much as we do and from the looks of it...they will:
We hired a sitter to watch the kids while we all went out to dinner at a local steakhouse. The meal was so amazing and we ate and laughed until it hurt and just had an awesome time. I couldn't have asked for a better birthday weekend.
On Sunday we met Abby and Jonathan for lunch. Abby is (ironically enough) pregnant and due the same EXACT week as Janine and I. I obviously have known that for a while, but when we were all sitting around the table for lunch and then posing for a picture afterwards together it was just so awesome - I mean, what are the chances?!  It's seriously once in a lifetime people! Love both of these girls and so thrilled we are all doing this together - just makes it even more special and fun!
No offense Abby, and I totally know and admit that I'm shorter - but it's super nice to have someone "on my level" in this picture and Janine - I didn't even notice til' I posted this that you're totally slouching: LOVE YOUR HEART! Rock that height sister - I wish I had some!
The next week Billie, Abby and Jes took me out for a birthday dinner at Copper River. The food was so yummy and they got me the sweetest and most thoughtful gifts - not to mention delicious cupcakes from Caramandas Bakery: yum! Jes is due any day now and Emalyn is still itty bitty so it was nice to just all get out and visit and have girlie time.
I've been thankful this year that I was born in 80'....makes it easier (now that I'm a Mom and birthdays aren't near as a big of a deal to me personally) to actually remember how old I am. Almost as hard as it is to believe Avery's almost one...equally hard to believe I just turned 32...wowsers! I'm feeling very blessed and thankful for all the lovin' I got for my birthday. Thirty two is looking like a good year - sure to be an exciting one...bring it on!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Life Lessons

I love that in each and every life stage - we as adults, and even more so as "believing adults" are learning lessons. I would say marriage was a doozie for me and then having Kennedy blew those "lessons" out of the water and we needed all new ones and since having Avery I feel like I'm in a constant phase of learning how to juggle it all. I'm so much calmer and more relaxed now than I used to be (I know some of you are probably thinking: yeah right! It's true - I'm still OCD and extremely particular, but I AM learning that I can't do it all..all the time). Exhibit A: a couple of weeks ago my schedule coupled with the needs of my family had us in a bit of a whirlwind around here and at some point I looked around my house and just had to laugh - clearly I wasn't "keeping up". I mean - these pictures are embarrassing for me to show you, but it also shows I've learned to let some things go:
dishes fill the sink
counter tops get covered in STUFF that hasn't been put away
laundry piles up
toys litter the house
and mini "play stations" get set up wherever you deem necessary to assist you in just getting out the door or completing an important task!
I'm trying hard to remind myself - it's a season...one that is not permanent but only temporary. Don't get me wrong - having a clean house ranks up there with a good workout and an amazing accessory in my book, but it pales in comparison to active, involved parenting and/or having a heart to heart discussion over lunch with a best friend. I feel certain what older and wiser Moms tell us is true: "your kids won't remember how clean your house was and your true friends won't remember whether your toilet was clean or not". Perspective! My life is about to get even more chaotic and I'm trying hard to focus my efforts where I want them to be - with people, extracurriculars and just within our home. It's hard for me to limit myself in any way because I just ADORE all things social, but the more I'm here with my family - the more I realize it's where I need to be most and all things involved WITH my little family deserves the most of me....the best of me. I'm not just talking about mentally either - I'm talking about the mundane things like dishes and laundry and bath time and ALL OF THE MOMMY/WIFE STUFF that we women repeat on a daily basis. So...my house is going to be a mess at times and I'm not always going to look super put together, but it's O.K. - for now ;)

Kennedy is changing so fast - she's just growing and becoming even more inquisitive (which I didn't even see as a possibility). She's asking more and more about heart matters and important things - I LOVE discussing that stuff with her and watching her "get it". She loves life and loves people and is just full of L.O.V.E. Tim took her recently to see Cat in the Hat at Raising Canes - it was a KET sponsored event we heard about on TV. I thought - these are the moments when I still see my little sweet pea Kennedy....
Then...this kind of thing happens and I feel like she jumps to 13. This is before church one Sunday - she picked this outfit out and thought she was SOMETHING ELSE (clearly). It cracked me up.
Such a ham!

She's all into dress up and dancing and lately she's been about saluting us when we ask her to look at the camera. Not sure what that is about but I think it's funny either way.

Seriously - I know we are going to see this face for years to come (I'm just happy in this particular instance it was out of silliness and she wasn't saying a long drawn out "Mooooooommmm" with it like I feel certain she will at some point). I mean...I'm not in denial...I know I'm only going to be cool for so long.
It just makes me want to soak up all the moments...the precious moments where we feel the smallness of her...the innocence and dependence. Moments like this where she insists she's not tired and wants to stay up with the grown ups and then this happens:

Because before I know it she's going to be old enough to date and not have "play dates" with her little friends. I want to soak up ever second - who cares if there's dishes in the sink!
Last week my sister sent me a text message saying she had just left her daughter (my first born niece's) middle school orientation. I sat there staring at my cell phone screen and just couldn't believe it. Now...it could be hormones but I just cried and cried - I just couldn't believe it. How was it time for that already? We were all just in her hospital room on Christmas morning taking her newborn scent in - it seems like just a few short years ago, where did the time go? I told my sister I was crying and she was like: "I know! I just sat there staring at her in my passenger seat thinking "how did we get here"? As Mom's - we are all going to have that moment, you know? I just want to soak it all in and treasure it before moments like that arrive! I don't want to be all Debbie Downer - I know those moments coming are a natural thing and truthfully I want to live in such a way NOW that when they come I'm ready, you know? I kept thinking - middle school - ick! After I cried and it all soaked in I thought: "she's ready though - they've poured into her and kept her involved in church and kept her surrounded by friends and she's participated in things she loves and is talented in and she's as ready as she'll ever be!". I want to be able to say with confidence that Tim and I have done what we needed to in order to prepare our kiddos for all the moments - no matter how bittersweet they may be.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

My Three Valentine's

We started our Valentine's celebration on Monday with heart-shaped pancake making. Kennedy and I did this last year and she loved it so I figured, why not keep it going? Knowing I had to work on Tuesday, we elected to make our VDay pancakes on Monday. It was just as much fun this year. The child loves a cookie cutter!

Ta-Da! I'm not sure what she did more of - eating scraps or cutting out Valentine shapes.
My 2nd sweet little Valentine woke up right as we were wrapping up so I figured we'd share our creation with her. She LOVES pancakes.
My overacheiving/alwaysorganized and onthe ball super thoughtful sisters sent Valentine's as they always do (I think I did it once *sigh*). Kennedy was super excited about finding out what was inside!
A little chef set: perfect for our afternoon of cake baking!
Oh yeah - no store bought stuff for Aunt C - it's HANDMADE. Love.it!
I'm not a huge Valentine's person necessarily, but I feel like as a Mom I'm shaping how to feel/what to do for and with holidays. So...we talked a lot about how much we love Daddy and how Valentine's is just a day to do something special for those we love to let them know how much we love and appreciate them. So..she helped me make him a cake. There are never enough sprinkles to be  had for this little one, so his cake was SUPER decorated!

Kennedy thoughtfully picked out his card (seriously: we were in the card aisle at Kroger for sweet forever!) She figured out that the cards for Dad's had markers behind them that started with "D"...pretty observant I thought. I had to steer her away from the musical cards that are like $7 a piece (craziness) but she was pretty pleased with this one because when she opened it, it was almost as big as she is.  
She carefully and thoughtfully penned she and her sisters names inside the card.
As soon as dinner was over, she wanted her Daddy to try the cake! We managed to convince her to have bath time and get sister down for bed first.
Love this picture!
Tuesday morning when she woke up she came straight out to see if she'd gotten anything for Valentine's! Her Daddy delivered and she was really happy with all of her little gifts. I told him the night before that I didn't want him to set the bar insanely high, but that he was going to be the one who shaped her expectations for Valentine's Day (no pressure Dad) so he ran out to add some things to her card and I'm glad he did because I just wanted her to not only feel loved but special and a little spoiled on Valentine's Day. ;-)

He bought Avery a little Valentine's sock monkey and although you cant tell in these pictures - she had a big ole' grin on her face. It was too cute!

The girls were dressed alike for school on Tuesday (little secret: I washed their outfits on Monday night and the re-wore them on Tuesday). Tim was initially planning to drive to WV Monday night for work and was going to stay with his parents and take the girls with him, so I dressed the girls in their Valentine's outfits on Monday in case they weren't with me on Tuesday. Well, no trip on Monday so I washed and dried their outfits so they could be festive on the ACTUAL holiday at school. I snapped these pictures before taking them.

The ONLY way I could get them both to look and be still was by holding a singing card (from their Nana and Pawpaw) over my head. Oh the things we do as Mommy's! They LOVE these cards and have been playing with them ever since they arrived. I have some video of it which is HILARIOUS, but I'll have to share it another day because we are having some video upload issues. Here are some pictures of them playing with the cards after the picture taking was over.

Kennedy was really into making her Valentine's gifts for her classmates. She helped me with each step - we were like our own little assembly line.
There was fun dip included in her treat bags and she'd never had any so she really wanted to try some. Of course she selected the blue flavor - why do kids always want blue?!
Hope everyone had a wonderful Valentine's Day - I know we sure did. I sure am thankful for my three Valentine's!