Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Day & Night... months later

This little one, she's usually quiet. She hates being cold. She doesn't like having her feet covered. She sleeps on her side. She loves warm water. She hates change when she's already content.
This one, she is always talking. She loves running through cold sprinklers and playing in pool. She likes big fuzzy blankets that cover her from head to toe. She sleeps sprawled out in one of 30 different positions that can make 37 inches of human cover an ENTIRE queen sized bed. She loves playing in the bath so long the water gets cold. She is a state of constant change/ perpetual adventure and constant motion.
My girls they keep us on our toes. Then again we did buy the big one skates all on our perhaps we just like being on our toes.
But it's so cute when she says Skapes instead of skates... how could we not?
And the baby...she's just all sorts of cuddly lately. She may grow out of that someday so I am enjoying it as much as I can...
Plus it's so cute when she giggles when she knows you're gonna lay down with her in bed... how could you not?

Monday, September 27, 2010

To Layla at 3 Years Old

Ohh Laylabug,
At your 3rd birthday party we all gathered around the cake and sang "happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear layla bug happy birthday to you" and then you puckered up and attempted to blow out your # 3 candle (and then blew it out with help from your friends/papa)... it took all of 3 seconds for you to stick one finger up in the air over your hair and yell "ONE MORE TIME"... and we did... one more time... because who can walk away from such a beautiful request for celebration of life. One more song, one more candle, one more hug, one more kiss, one more silly dance, one more minute to cuddle in the morning, one more moment to marvel at what a beautiful little sense of what you love you have already developed.
I hope that your vivacious nature never tames itself. I hope that you always have enough joy and confidence to throw your hands in the air and scream at life "ONE MORE TIME".
You're smart, funny, imaginative, alert, confident and oh so loving. If this is the path you manage to stay on for your life you will be one of the most brilliantly beautiful people I've ever known (both inside and out).
I hope you are always this sassy. I hope you are always this honest. I hope your love is always this pure and that your heart stays open to loving every person you know well. I hope that you never learn what it is to doubt yourself for no reason and that you always love the image of beauty that God has created your body & soul to be. I hope that you know what you want and you go get it and that if you ever find that you don't know what you want you're not afraid to try a few things out and see where you land. I hope you have a give um' hell least when it really counts.
Daddy is your favorite person on earth. I think the official earth ranking tally is Daddy, Nannie, Mommy, PopPop and then Anyah. In fact I think Daddy would be your favorite thing on the whole planet, except you discovered Doggies...and now he has to settle for a close second. You love Doggies. You get that Doggy love thing from Nannie. Just like you got your sense of adventure from your Daddy and your love of the kitchen from your mommy.
You are developing into your own little person now and while you take little bits of each of us. You are already uniquely you. You love chocolate milk, movies with music in them, finding letters/numbers/shapes in random places (signs, etc), dancing, playing outside, water, running as fast as you can, playing doggies, playing in the mud, books, flash cards, blocks, trains and drumming. Oh boy the drumming, that's another thing you got from Daddy. You dislike green beans/peas, watermelon, hot concrete in bare feet (who doesn't), the sound of wind outside your window, cats, being forced to sit still, tight clothing, long periods of silence (you talk, talk, talk which I suppose I must admit you got from me), people who put things away in the wrong place, time out, having your hair brushed and having to go home from the park early. Then there are the things that you are still feeling out of which I suppose you haven't decided if the pro's outway the con's on. Much to her relief Anyah just came off that list. You've decided you like having a baby sister. Although having to share blankies and pillows-- that part is just ridiculous.
Tonight your Daddy had to work late. Usually Daddy puts you to bed but tonight because he isn't here I had to struggle with putting both you and your sister to sleep. As I took you into your room to put on your jammies Anyah (or Awnie Sister as you call her) woke up and began to cry in the other room. Your tiny little urgency light bulb went off and you took off like a rocket to her side.
"Oh sister, don't cry" you told her as you patted her tummy (which she hates by the way unless you're the one doing it) and attempted to (a little zealously) stick a bottle in her mouth. You're so protective of her all the sudden. It's like the sibling instinct kicked in with your 3 year birthday. Suddenly, making her laugh or making her stop crying are a top priority for you several times a day.
I can't wait to see what sort of a big sister you are. As brilliant and awesome as you are just as an independent and wonderful little person, I am amazed by watching you grow into someone who learns about having relationships with other people. You're very empathetic for a 3 year old.
In the beginning people compare things about little kids. There is this long list of milestones you check off one by one (she rolls, she stands, she walks) and they tell you that those things are important. Then your child gets a little bigger and there is a list of things to learn and you watch (the list of colors, words, numbers, letters, shapes), an endless supply of vocabulary words will tumble out of your toddler and people will tell you that those things are important. And they are...
But, me... I personally think that now we are getting to the important part of your life, little bug, that part where we nurture you're loving acceptance of others, your sense of adventure, your development of personality, your use of the skills God gave you. Now, that part where we start to see who you will really be. Well that's the important part... and it's the longest part of this adventure.
There is a W. Feather quote I have always loved that says "One way to get the most out of life is to look upon it as an adventure" and I think you're life, little girl, is going to be very full. Because you view every moment, every game, even nap time as an adventure unfolding right before your very eyes. Any life that filled with excitement, wonder and your Mommy & Daddy's give um hell attitude is going to explode across the horizon for you some day.
And no matter if you succeed, or if you fail. No matter if you take the short path or the long one. Even if you get confused some day on what blessings really matter or what life lessons shouldn't be toyed with... we will always love you. We will love you in ways undescribable with grace unimaginable because you will always be our baby... so we'll help you in any way we can and if that doesn't work (no matter how old you are) Mommy plans to just look you in the eyes, throw her hand in the air over her head and yell "ONE MORE TIME" because it worked pretty well the first time she saw you do it.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Crazy Times

When this posts I'll be at work. I'll be at least knee deep in ringing phone lines, paperwork, forms and computer databases. It's my life. I accept that sometimes I'll have to work when I don't want to be there.

On Saturdays, my little people stay with Daddy or Nannie (depending on the weekend) and I trudge off to miss the best parts of the day. My body says sleep in (even though it hasn't really done that since we had kids) and my mind says leave on your jammies but instead I drag myself from the land of silly socks and songs sung by cartoon characters dancing next to giant primary colored shapes...and I get the job done. I'm even able to say with reasonable confidence that I am pretty good at going to work.

But, I am better at being home. So earlier this month I was offered the opportunity to take a job change and flip our entire existence up side down. I discussed it with my husband. I discussed it with my mom (Nannie Playcare) and then I jumped in with both feet...

And my new job will work all night long. It will be exciting, new, and better paying. I'll come home in the morning (wearing jeans & crazy socks-no more dress code) and I'll eat breakfast and snuggle my babies. Then I'll take a nap, or two, or maybe three if I can swing it.

But I'll be home if someone needs me. I'll see Anyah's first steps and I'll get to take Layla to dance. I'll still be tired. I'll still be working. I'll still be mommy and wife and employee every single day. But I won't be trudging off during the best part of the day.

I'm blessed that I'll have people helping me get through it so I can sleep if I need to or take a break if I need to. I'm also blessed that I know I get have an adventure in every day life... one that someone will actually pay me to go on.

So the question gets asked daily. How can a mom of two little kids go to graveyard shift? The answer: How could I not take the opportunity to give my children more of me...even a sleepy me... if that was an option.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Wild Ones

I've never been fond of people telling me what to do. I've always been stubborn. I've always walked my own path, while beating my own drum and usually singing something at the top of my lungs. It's in my nature. I tell it like it is.
It's in her nature. The way her hair ends up in a wild frenzy 10 minutes after you brush it out. The way she drums on every surface around her, how she makes up songs with words that sound perfect to her own little ears. She's stubborn. She stands in her own path, a hand on each hip and tells you exactly what she thinks about what you're trying to do to.
I don't stop her from expressing it, the wild side, because I know penting it up will only make the urge to let it out twice as compelling and that release is twice as dangerous. I don't hush her or tell her that what she fills isn't valid.

If she says she is sad. Then she is sad, whether she should be or not is irrelevant because she is.
If she is happy, then she must be happy and who am I to tell her the face of happiness doesn't dance around in the walmart wearing shoes on the wrong feet.
It's important to me as a mom that she know I respect who she chooses to be. And while part of my job is to teach her to be mindful and respectful of others when it's appropriate I also take huge responsibility in teaching her to be mindful and respectful of her own nature so that hopefully someday she won't feel ashamed of the silly, smart and confident person she's growing into.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

To Anyah @ 5 Months Old

My Little Anyah Bean,

You hear people talk about their children sometimes...they will say... it is like she's wise beyond her years... like she's been here before. You are that baby. My little people watcher. My quiet one. The snuggler. The baby who knows exactly how to get people to relax. The baby who just knows when things are not okay, or when they are going to be.
I was worried when I went back to work that we would lose some of our closeness but you light up every day when I come home and it makes me feel loved. You do your best baby gymnastics to try and flip yourself around to see me and you proceed to cry every time I leave your sight until the next day when I leave for work. It warms my heart the way you grin ear to ear when you know your whining and pleading has broken my resolve and I am in fact going to take you upstairs where it is quiet and let you roll around on the bed while playing with my hands and my hair.
You still love a lot of the same things... watching your sister play, pears, bananas, your own toes, purple elephant, jingle baby, sleeping next to mommy, warm baths, the wind chimes, breezes in the trees, snuggling, watching people, and sleeping while riding in the car. You've added a few things though... rolling over (your a big fan of the process but not the actual landing on your tummy), trying to grab the spoon before it gets into your mouth, the jumperoo (bounce bounce bounce), singing songs, and watching the puppy be crazy.
Your dislike list...well it's smaller but it's still the same stuff... cold in any form, loud/sudden noises, rollercoaster type games (you don't like moving too fast), the exersaucer, laying on your tummy. New to the list...peas and green beans... you're just like your dad on that one. It's ok though, there are lots of vegetables in this world and as long as you try them all... mommy has no food rules.
Right now you're crashed out on the couch which is amazing for many reasons, (1) it's not nap time, (2) your sister is singing at full blast and dancing to the Huffalump Halloween movie, (3) you don't normally sleep on the couch but mainly (4) I am typing something. Good Lord Child if you could calm down about the Anyah vs the Laptop battle I would greatly appreciate it. I guess you're so observant you've figured out when the laptop is out someone (mommy) is going to ignore you. But, geez, the instant freak out makes it hard to get pictures of your adorableness up on the website for your family who lives in other states.
This month you and your sister became BFF's. That's probably mommy's favorite change so far. I was worried there for awhile that she was going to resent you forever but alas Tuesday while I was getting ready for work you woke up and Layla had already moved into Daddy's spot because she accidently woke up when he left the house. So I went into the bedroom fully expecting her to be torturing you and making you cry. I must say I was shocked that instead she had pulled your blanket back up and stuck your bottle in your mouth. When I walked in she said "sister a crying, I fixed it, you go now". So I finished getting ready for work. You were quite smitten with her helping you out with your wake up process.
Halloween is coming and when it does there will be much love for your puggy little legs sticking our from your pumpkin costume. You have the cutest little thighs. Your long and tall though so your still going to be a very stemy pumpkin. A watchful and curious pumpkin, for sure, because you've already taken a lot of interest in the Halloween decorations I put up around the house to welcome Autumn (and entertain your sister). The thought of you and your sister sharing holidays from now on makes me happy.
Dennis Waitley says “Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace and gratitude” and that is what your daddy and I are trying to teach you and your sister about life. But, I have a feeling that you already know that... something in the way you watch the people you love. I guess only time will tell that story.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

7 Random Things

1) I got a promotion and just about everything currently dealing with my job will change in November, thusly, so will our ENTIRE lives.

2) Layla is starved for attention and totally regretting being a big sister. Plus, she hates that I went back to work. So now... she's acting out in the usual ways... sigh.
3) I have a Dr's appointment on Wednesday regarding MRI follow-up which I really wish I could reschedule because I have so much that needs to get done this week.
4) Layla's party on Sunday... it's going to be EPIC... you know why? Because her Mommy and Daddy love a challenge.
5) I blogged 4 pages of photos to the girls site tonight, which *almost* got me caught up to the end of August.
6) Anyah rolls over more in her sleep than any baby I've ever met. It keeps me on my toes when I should be snoring.
7) I don't have time for a real post but I do have time for really cute kids...see...I attached you forgive me right?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Shapes & Colors

Layla learns almost everything she sees on TV. Which means we are very selective about what we let her watch. We do let her watch most learning shows though. She just recently discovered Blue's Clues. She loves Blue because he's a puppy. She can watch him at Nannie's House on TV, at our house on DVD and in desperate times when distraction is needed we have been known to let her check out an episode on someone's YouTube iPhone application.

Blue's Clues has taught Layla a lot. The DVD we have is on shapes and colors. She now knows about 14 colors and all her shapes. (She knew about 6 colors before and 4 shapes)

So this week we have spent a lot of time looking for shapes in every day situations. The ball is a circle. The sandwich is a triangle. The blocks are a square. Eggs are ovals. You get the point...shapes...they're everywhere.

Then I got this idea. Let's make cookies that are shapes and we can mix frosting like Blue mixes colors on Blue's Clues. I said it on Saturday, by Sunday morning it was all Layla could talk about.

Layla helped me count the scoops of ingredients and mix, mix, mix.

We used a tupperware to make squares and triangles (cut in half). We used biscuit cutters to make circles. I own a star and a heart cookie cutter. We used the circle to make crescents and the parts left over to make ovals. Then Layla cut up some rectangles out of other shapes.

I made 3 colors of frosting. Red, blue and yellow which we then mixed to make orange, green and purple.

Good times.

She frosted all the cookies but 1 herself. And they are tasty. Yummy tasty. I love learning with food.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


This cutie... she's got the tooth thing going on... it's a good thing she's cute because let me tell you...people who never sleep during the nightime...they are not amusing.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

On Puppies, Birthdays & Adult Life

First things first, Layla's party is a puppy theme, because as you can see, she is still totally into pretending to be a puppy. She even licked Anyah... who has informed me...she is not scarred for life. Good times.

The birthday party invites didn't go out until Monday because mommy has a J-O-B and sometimes she doesn't have the time/money to run to the post office and buy a gazillion stamps. We never mail anything. I don't own stamps. It's 2010, the only reason Layla knows what a letter looks like is because Blue's Clues gets mail.

Today was my day to sign up for health insurance benefits and like every adult before me I got to weigh the difference between PPO and HMO. After that was done I had to fight the moral dilema between double insurancing or just having Jon's health insurance and my dental/vision. I went with option two because 1) my MRI was good and 2) I don't plan on having more kids. So for now we'll have one insurance like everyone else.

This week is schedule bidding at my work. On the 18th of October my work is changing their hours and everyone is bidding for new work schedules based on a rank determined by all sorts of things. My rank is pretty not awesome due to having a baby and being sick from having a baby. That's ok. There are no awful schedules just different ones then my first pick. I'll adapt. It's crazy stressful to think about change for me though so I am dealing with that part...poorly.

Anyah has decided that she doesn't like to be put down this week. Something about her mouth being invaded by giant teeth...honestly I didn't hear the exact explaination she was giving me because it sounded like SCREAM whine whine whimper SCREAM. Poor kid...

And that is that... 2 days down on the oh so normal work week.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Another Monday

This week will be a long one at my house. Jon works Monday through Thursday (long days every day). I work Monday through Saturday (a long week because of rotation). Despite the long work weeks we have a shockingly rare week with nothing out of the ordinary planned.
There will be dinners to make, baths to splash around in, clothes to fold and dishes to clean. You know... we'll be adults living the dream life... being parents...holding down jobs... watching TV at night before bed and feeding our addiction to scrolling through the internet on our iPhones.
Maybe this week I'll finally have time to get some pictures up on the girls website. Maybe this week I can actually try a new recipe or actually read a chapter of the book I bought in April and have yet to crack open. Or maybe... just maybe... I'll slip off into the quiet moments watching my girls learn to love each other, watching Autumn come to the Central Valley, watching each day roll into the next until finally it is Sunday and I can snuggle with my girls in bed in the morning.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


So back in October I was pregnant and sick...very you might well remember. I was so sick that I ended up with pneumonia by the end of winter. I was dizzy all the time and they told me it was probably an inner ear infection. I was ok with that diagnosis because dude I was pregnant and sick.
Then as the pregnancy got worse my vision kept getting worse and worse. Eventually, I started having vertigo and depth perception issues. I had preeclampsia and I was sick again so when they told me it was pregnancy related and that I was going on bed-rest I was ok with that.
Then I had a baby and my blood pressure went down and I got new glasses to correct my vision...but still I was haunted by the vertigo. I was on a cruise ship no one else was on. I was never dizzy... I am never dizzy. I was never light headed...I am never light headed. But I am very subject to spells of vertigo. That earthquake that only I's annoying.

By the time Anyah was 4 months old. I went to Anyah's check up and I mentioned it again to my Doctor. Doctors don't like it when you have vertigo for long periods of time, especially with loss of vision and loss of hearing only on one side. My left ear has always had worse hearing than my right.

So he checked me for all the chemical things... diabetes, thyroid, cancer, etc. When those results came back clear I got the news that I was going to need to have an MRI.

The Doctor was worried it was a tumor on or near my inner ear. He thought it might be a balance disorder or mineire's disease or perhaps even something like MS that affects your vision. He scared the shit out of me with maybe's and I agreed to the MRI.
I spent an hour last week in a tube listening to whirls and clicks and thunks while strapped down to a little table.
My Doctor is AWESOME and got the results back to me a day and a half later.
It's not my brain it's my eyes.
I am losing vision in only one eye. With that loss of vision I am losing depth perception, night vision and because one eye hasn't learned to give up the ghost... it's screwing with my life. Eventually I'll lose enough vision that I will have to choose between being pretty much blind in one eye or have corrective surgery.
Until then it's a party cruise around here...the boats a rocking...
But it's not a tumor and that alone makes whatever else they tell me is AWESOME.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

It's Gonna Be Fun

I'm running late getting out her birthday party invites. I'm running late booking the bounce house. I'm running late on getting favors together...

But you know what?

It's going to be EPIC! Because she's two and she's gonna be three. When you're three... any party where there will be cake, bouncing, people you love and hot dogs... EPIC!

So what if the week before her birthday I'll have to run around like a crazy person. So what if financially this isn't ideal for the adults...

So what...


After all, you only do it once...


Four years ago I got married...well four years and a few days... because I am running late getting this posted.
Four years ago I got married. Then we had two crazy kids. We learned a lot in four years. We learned what we are patient with and what we have no tolerance for. We learned that love feels much different than it looks on Wednesday night after a full day at work and an evening with the kids.
The thing about being married is that it isn't going to be perfect. We don't always agree. We don't always have the energy we did before we got all wrapped up in adult life. But in four years, you know what, we've still only ever had one real fight. We still end each day with an "I love you" and we are stronger as a pair then we would have ever been as two single people out in this world.

We've changed homes, finances, plans and and lots (and I do mean LOTS) of diapers. We've opened ourselves up to plenty of new experiences and we've held the outside back with nothing more than a give um hell attitude and a lot of respect for our other half.
So we've made it four years and it's still only the beginning of a great adventure... but I can honestly say if I have to go on a life long adventure... I am glad he's going to be the one driving my car.

Growing Up Together

I was insistent that there had to be two. I was sure their life would be more...better...safer... if there were two of them. It's amazing watching your children grow up. Watching them determine what they like, and seeing what they don't like. It's brilliantly entertaining to see them start to learn the limits of what they will and will not do. I am amazed by the way my girls are the same, the ways they are different.
I wonder about the places they will go. I wonder about the things they will do. I watch with eager anticipation as they experience a world that I thought I knew. I watch as they teach me things I didn't know I didn't know. I see things anew through their love and grace. And I grow up with them...even though there was once a time I thought I was all grown up.

Monday, September 06, 2010

In the last week

Layla finally decided that having a little sister is mildly entertaining. Her sudden interest in tickling, feeding, helping, playing, tormenting, attempting to carry and soothing the baby is down right adorable.
This change in perception seems to be brought on by the fact that the tides have settled from Mommy going back to work and Layla is finally over the 'jealousies'... but also by the fact that Anyah has jumped a few development milestones of her own in the last week making her much more interactive, able to play sitting up or standing for longer periods of time and all around more pleasant about her play time on the floor.
Helper Layla has had a few traumatic big sister experiences... she tried baby food and gagged, for example. But, she's decided that tickles and kisses get her just as much attention as Anyah and so she's spreading the love on pretty thick.
The last two weekends we haven't gotten to do much on our to-do list. Jon's birthday resulted in the adults going out twice while Nannie stayed home with teething Anyah and sick Layla (bless her heart. We missed Kylie's birthday and then this weekend we ran to the Fall Festival where I experienced the most trying 3 minutes of my life and resulted in 2 days of recovery time here at home. I did manage to get some great pictures of my mom with the kids at the parade (it was her BIRTHDAY). Good thing it was Labor Day weekend and I had an extra day to try and put myself back together... but I ended up canceling all my plans on Monday because emotionally it was draining.
I'm still super nervous about the MRI this week. Our Anniversary is 2 days away and probably will get some sort of honorable attempt at adults going out to dinner after payday on Friday. Going back to work full time is trying emotionally and physically just like it was last time only this time I have a toddler, a health issue and we're financially stretched thin so it's all about STRESS and SCHEDULING here at the Jeffery house. Jon's being a trouper about the fact that I talk his ear off several times a day in an anxiety riddled mess.
Good times.
No really, some of it is really good times.
You appreciate them more when you have to find them wading knee deep through bullshit.