Monday, November 30, 2015

Bye Bye Milkies

Two years, one month. Not at all what I set out to "do" but that's just how it worked out for us. Either way, Friday, November 13 was the last time my little girl had her milkies. Every day of her life, we'd had those quiet moments together so it was bittersweet to kiss them goodbye. If you would have asked me even when breastfeeding Troy, I would have said that's great other people like to breastfeed into toddlerhood, its just not for me. Things were just different with Cassidy from the get go. We had to fight to make this thing work in the beginning and once we got over that hump it never felt like we needed to stop until we did. That's just how parenting is in so many ways though, isn't it? You do something that feels right and you can't even explain it until all of a sudden its over and you're on to the next thing, never to go back to the way things were. I am so thankful for how things went and how they wrapped up that I will always look back on breastfeeding with such fond memories. 

Below, the last photo I have from a nursing session with her, about a month before we stopped. She would only nurse for a few moments just before nap and bedtime (most days) and then she'd either be ready to lay down or she'd pass out in my arms from time to time. I loved soaking in this sight for a few moments before placing her down and rushing on to the next thing :) I mean seriously, those eyelashes!?

One of the photos from her first 24 hours of our early breastfeeding sessions in the hospital. She did latch on right away no problem - it was several days later when our problems arose.

When she was about six months old, we were on a trip to Indy as a fam. Mike snapped this photo of me at 500 Acres park nursing her in this beautiful spot. I'll always remember that moment. My nursing relationship with her was simply uncomplicated and I just fed her discretely wherever and whenever she needed to. I was less concerned with what others thought and just followed my gut so many times.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Worn out - girls' morning

Cassidy and I continued our #girlsmorning tradition this week with some fun twists. A different workout schedule than normal this week led me to use my Y time on Friday morning to work instead of work OUT, so we got to have a pre-Y Starbucks trip together. She picked a snowman cookie to munch out and (slightly creepily) bit his hat, head, nose, etc. off and said "BYE BYE SNOWMAN" lol.

Obligatory "I'm drinking out of a red cup" post. Because, for reals. Seriously.

Later that morning, we had an appt at the infant cognition lab. I used to take Troy ALL the time as an infant and toddler and I still take him to the "next lab" up often. Cassidy hasn't participated in as many studies for whatever reason but we did this week.

I would walk anywhere with this girl...

Mike captioned this the "future city girl" post. Whatever you call it, I adore it. To think of the many years I walked up and down Wright Street in college and now get the privilege to do it with my kids. So thankful.

We went to get Troy from school and she laid down on the chairs outside the classroom while we waited for him to finish up. She was tired!

Last Curtis Orchard Trip of the Year

We went to pick up our holiday pie and the kids were stunned at the lack of activity at the orchard on this seemingly nice fall day. The goats and chickens were there to say hi to, but that was about it :/ They bid all the animals farewell and said a big "see ya next year!"

Future gymnast?

Maybe soon...

It DOES get easier...

The last couple weeks, there's been a noticeable shift around here. Pretty much since Cassidy's birthday, each day and each week has seemed to feel a little bit... um, easier!? While parenting will always be challenging in new and different ways I'm sure, the actual physical and mental demands of the stage we've been in seems to be transitioning of sorts. There have been so many moments where we're relaxed and enjoying time together. The kids are playing great together (a lot of the time.... not ALL of the time). Things are just, the only way I can describe it, is easier. I'll take it. Even if we go into a more challenging season again, this is bliss right now. I adore these two and cherish the opportunity to be there mom and be present for the subtle shifts in the day that remind me we're transitioning from one season to the next...

Another "whatever" video, a glimpse into life with Troy and Cassidy these days...

Ride Horsey!

Sandy the horse at Meijer is always good for some smiles. (Throwback to Troy enjoying the same one years ago!)

Ladies Night Out - Pottery Place

As an extension of my Vineyard Moms group leadership, I organized a ladies (not just moms) night out through church. We went to the Pottery Place in Champaign and had a big group! Everyone was working hard on their pieces (photo cred to Leah below).

I was so glad with how 95% of the food turned out. Nobody went hungry!

There's the 5% of the food I'm NOT happy with. Sams Club, you and your "baking safe trays". Pssssh. Bye bye cookie sheets. And my oven STILL smells like burnt plastic from time to time. At least the bacon/brie puffs that survived were AWESOME.

Rugbugs... with Daddy!

This time of year brings more time apart for our family than together typically, as its usually pretty travel-heavy for Mike. While that is definitely challenging in its own regard, he is GREAT about taking off some Fridays/afternoons when he IS in town to make the most of our time here. This afternoon was one of those days. And we all went to the Y for an afternoon of Rugbugs and more!

Troy getting an assist from Daddy on the balance beam.

Cassidy rounding up all the hula hoops in the place :)

We love you Daddy! Thanks for always taking the time off to be with us!

Dressed for Success

Troy is mostly a Batman tshirt/swishy pants kind of guy. But every now and then he wants to wear "worker man" clothes like Daddy. This day was one of those. Right down to the shoes. He was looking pretty studly walking out the door :)

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

"You're getting to be a real house maker, Cass!"

One of my less exciting posts, all the moms who've gone before me tell me to take lots of videos just of the "every day" stuff. Yesterday the kids were playing in the basement and didn't notice me slyly set up my phone to film them. This is them. Just playing. Being brother and sister. 

Our Deer and Our Fireplace

It was a particularly peaceful weekend morning on the prairie when the deer were throwing a party out back (side note - we've seen several of them out there every single morning since then which makes me so happy!)

Early morning frost deer...

After watching the deer, Mike brought in some fresh cut firewood and we had our very first fire in the fireplace.

The kids were totally mesmerized :) Can't wait for many more!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Shirt Nostalgia

I've never been terribly sentimental with the kids' clothing and just have a small container of some of the things like their hospital "going home" outfits, some handmade items, and other particularly special things. Since we give away things as soon as they outgrow them, I realize that even though I'm not *terribly* sentimental, I do have some "awww" moments as I'm sorting through their things. This gets less and less as they get older but I had two such moments in going through Troy's closet recently.

This black hooded sweatshirt. One of the first "big kid" items I can remember Troy wearing and loving last spring. We got a lot of use out of it but it got stuck on his head last time he wore it. Time to move it on...

Troy at track meet in Bloomington, IN in spring of 2014 :) 

It was such a big deal to find an item that gave a nod to track and field in the mall that I had to pick it up when I found it quite some time ago.

I thought it was something I picked up when he was three last year, but turns out we've had it since before Cass was born. Case in point, this pic from around the time I was 41 weeks pregnant with her, taken at Mike's office. 

Saturday, November 7, 2015

"Night, night, babies"

Part of bedtime routine is to tuck in Cassidy's two babies and then she says "my turn!" Here she is giving her babies their nightly huggies before she begs for 100 of asks for one of her own.

School Project - Jonah and the whale

Props to Troy's teachers this year. He has brought home some REALLY cool projects. This clothespin "Jonah and the whale" project was great. And helped him tell the story to Cassidy later on that day :)

Mahomet staples

With Mike home for the day, the kids and I decided to show him some of "Mahomet's best" with a visit to our local museum and library. Cassidy introduced Daddy to creepy ol' Abe Lincoln... at a distance of course.

Troy schooled Daddy on the various different animal signs on the wall.

Shocker, Cassidy found somewhere to color.

Soon everyone joined her...

Afterwards, we took our token piece of mail and IDs over to the library to become official Mahomet library card-carriers. Troy got his FIRST library card, too!

I like to move it/Let It Go Mashup

Just an average car ride with these two. My favorite comes at the end when Troy says, "Cass can you stop that let it go?"

For the record, I wasn't "aiming" at them while driving. I merely turned the camera on to record their voices and kept trucking along. 

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

ABC time

Troy is working on writing his capital letters. We had a pretty solid chunk of time at the table where he was "locked in" and willing to work. I constantly pray over my kids and their schooling, especially the many hours of hard work they'll put in at the classroom and at home to learn. Seeing his interest grow in some of these typical "school" activities is exciting for me!

Here's the end result! The ones with the stars are the ones he did. "C" and "S" proved to be the most difficult for him in this particular session.

Cassidy "helped" by playing with food stickers galore. My kids LOVE the Melissa and Doug sticker pads and we get tons of use out of them since they come with so many stickers. Love M & D!

Shout-out to all my homeschooling friends! That is some TOUGH work, ladies, especially when another little one is in need of some attention. Props to you!

Welcome, November

Well, I'll take this kind of segway into November any year! This week has been absolutely GORGEOUS. So much so that we've been outside a ton (even more than normal, if possible). We visited the botanical gardens near our home on the way to church a few days ago. Note to self - probably don't take kids to the woods the day after rain before church again. Oh well! They do sure love the dirt!

This one is a fav of mine :) Just off adventuring!

They're quite the pair, these two :)

I love the smiles behind this moment that you can't necessarily see. This is the photo that prompted me to call for a haircut ASAP though. Out.of.control :)

Of course my children would want to climb the hill to the top of the waterfall and check out the mechanism that powers the thing.

A happy boy in nature!