Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The good life

I am so lucky to have...

- My job; I couldn't ask for a better place to work -

- The cozy feeling of our Christmasy house -

- Stretchy black maternity/yoga pants -

- Leah's kisses -

- Starbucks Eggnog lattes -

- A husband who braved the cold to put our lights up, as he does every year -

- A daughter who is ridiculously excited to see me after work -

- Left-over pumpkin pie -

- How the Grinch Stole Christmas

-  The Parade of Lights on Saturday! -

- Leah's ornament, complete with LMS 2010, hanging next to my Santa ornament, MM '86 -

- Family photos coming in the mail -

- Snuggles (albeit at 4am - still worth it!) from a cuddly baby -

- A beautiful, blessed life -

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Oh Christmas Tree

When I unwrapped it this year, it was an odd feeling.  It honestly seems like we JUST bought this for our Christmas tree:

I can't believe that a whole year has gone by since we bought this!

Yet this year, I was hanging something else:

A brand-new ornament hangs on the tree.  We're so happy to have a brand-new (to my surprise, she's well on her way to being not-quite-so-brand-new) baby celebrate the holidays with!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

With a thankful prayer and a grateful heart

Leah's FIRST Thanksgiving:

Included breakfast for the baby

A little walking around with Daddy

Breakfast for mommy and daddy, from which Leah was able to mooch her first taste of hasbrown and egg

We watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade, which my sister and her BRAND NEW FIANCE (!) were actually attending.  (A big congratulations to Auntie Kelsey and soon-to-be-Uncle Garett!)

The table was set

The guests arrived

We all dressed for dinner

The turkey was carved

A wonderful meal was eaten!  Even Leah got to try a few new things... like mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, jello, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie.  She LOVED the pie!

We are thankful for our abundant blessings, wonderful friends, and (most especially) our little family!


When the turkey had been served, and all the pie consumed, I stood, perhaps a little uncomfortably after all the food, staring out the window after our first Thanksgiving in our new house.

It was 2007, and I couldn't help but feel any more grateful.

Then, something blowing in the breeze on our deck caught my eye.  It was large and mis-shapen, and I couldn't identify it.

It was a corn hat. 

Perched atop a Nebraska flag. 

On our deck. 

At midnight. 

And I knew that the culprits had to be our Husker-loving neighbors two houses over, since the rivalry game between CU and Nebraska is always the day after Thanksgiving. 

This year, while we were still playing Apples to Apples in the basement with our guests on Thanksgiving night, our neighbors were doing this:

Oh, and there was more. 

Nebraska golf club covers on the car antennas.  Big Red shirts on the windows.  Casey took it down before I could snap pictures of it. 

Needless to say, we figured that a little retaliation was in order...

It was the last CU/Nebraska rivalry game, perhaps ever, since the Buffs are going to the PAC 12 and the Huskers are going to the Big 10.  I feel good that we gave the game a good send-off. 

Besides, conference rivals or no, the Husker fans still live two houses over...

{Now if I'd only written this post yesterday so the question of whether or not we would win was still up in the air.  We didn't.}

Wednesday, November 24, 2010



...Wells up inside me.  Wants to burst out of my heart like a supernova. 


Who would have imagined 10 years ago that this could be my life?  Who could have imagined two years ago that there was so much joy, still undiscovered and untapped, waiting for me? 

Who knew so much of me could change in an instant? 

Who knew I could look at the world so differently? 

That girl.  She's a miracle

Wishing you and all the blessings in your life a Happy Thanksgiving!


My beautiful daughter,

Today, I caught you standing up in your crib for the first time.  You were so proud of yourself!  You did the adorable little shaky-rocky dance you do so well, and absolutely beamed up at me. 

I cried.

I couldn't help it!  You are growing up so fast, it is just incredible to your daddy and me how fast time suddenly seems to be going.  You just keep forging ahead - independent, brave, and strong - while I selfishly long for time to slow down so you can stay my little pumpkin forever. 

Every day you amaze me a little more. 

I love you forever, and I am so proud of you big girl!


Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Every now and again when I look down, it catches the light just right, and it hits me all over again:

I love my wedding rings! 
(Is that shallow?)

I love what they symbolize. 

I love that someone took the time to pick them out for me - like the man who did the picking, they are just exactly right for me; the same ones I would have selected for myself. 

I love that he took the time to save up to buy them. 

I love that he was so excited to give them to me, he couldn't wait and proposed while I was in my jammies folding laundry. 

And, on those occassions when they hit the light, I love the way they sparkle on my finger. 

Hey, every girl needs a little bling!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Fight night

So many of the things that I write down, I do so because those memories are very dear to me.

I also do it in the hope that someday, Leah will have a record of just how much her parents loved her, and just how hard we worked to give her a life that is beautiful, happy, and full.

In that spirit, I have to document something not quite as happy.  Casey and I had a fight.  A BIG one.  Not the yelling, screaming at each other kind (typically, we don't do that anyway), the kind that's worse - the kind where I went to bed in the guest room.  The kind where I felt so frustrated, I just needed a break. 

I love my husband.  I adore him!  We are usually extremely good at working together to set priorities and kick butt when it comes to getting things accomplished.

We're struggling - really struggling - since Leah was born to get on the same page in terms of priorities and accomplishing everything that there is to get done in a day or week. 

Once upon a time before I was pregnant, I did a great many things around the house.  In fact, I take huge pride in being able to manage the household.  Our house was spotless.  Our drawers were clean; our baseboards were clean; our drapes were washed regularly.  The laundry always got done and put away.  The flowers were planted neatly.  The dogs were groomed; the windows washed.  The bills were always paid on time, and the budget was always perfectly balanced.  The menus were always planned and the grocery shopping was taken care of.  Parties were planned - complete with themes, matching food and decor, and it was something that I not only enjoyed, but relished taking care of. 

Enter pregnant Melissa.  Enter pregnant, working Melissa.  Enter new-mom Melissa.  Enter sleep-deprived, mommy-mode, working teacher Melissa.

My side of the story is that I struggle with maintaining the quality of our lives in addition to taking on everything that has to do with Leah, which - more often than not - falls to me. 

Eight months after Leah was born, it is an issue that we not only still haven't resolved, it's an issue that makes me so frustrated and feel so overwhelmed with that it sends me to bed in the guest room.  Not a good solution, I know. 

I recount this story in the hopes that our children will know that marriage, having a family, having jobs, having a life... it's a hard business!!  When Leah goes through this - as I hope and pray she will, because it means she has all the amazing blessings Casey and I have been given - I want her to know that she is not alone. 

I also want her to know that her parents struggled, and in that struggle, we find strength.  That we're not perfect, but we're always willing to work for the sake of each other and the sake of our family.  I want her to know that it's WORTH working out, even when it's hard. 

We will get there.  I know that this is not going to overcome us.  I am lucky in knowing that neither of us is going anywhere, and both of us are willing to take accountability where it needs to be taken, say I'm sorry where apologies need to be given, and make it work.

For that reason, I know I have married the best, most awesome man.     

Here is one little tool that we are finding helpful.  I like it because I see myself - flaws and all - in it.  I think Casey does, too, which makes it that much more useful in getting us unstuck.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Girl Talk

Today, I'm grateful for...


For a variety of reasons, I haven't seen my dear friend Jessica for several weeks.  Today, we got together for coffee and a little shopping, and it reminded me that I am so lucky to have her! 

I seriously love this lady.  She's there for that much needed girl talk, she always gives great advice,  and we just plain have fun together.  Plus, she keeps me from shoplifting by putting items in the stroller while browsing and completely forgetting they're there (yes, I have done this on more than one occassion, and it probably won't be the last time.  No, I have never actually accidentally stolen anything - thankfully!).  Girlfriends are the best!

And... for the sake of posterity and documentation, she is getting quite a little belly!  Just about to enter her second trimester, that baby is growing big and strong!  I can't wait to share life's next - and biggest - adventure with her!

Friday, November 19, 2010

If she's anything like me

If she's anything like me...

- She'll love to read -

- She will watch Disney movies almost exclusively until she's a teenager -

- She'll enjoy doing her homework, and will always raise her hand in class -

- She will never have a cigarette -

- Music will move inside her soul like nothing else can -

- She won't be afraid of what other people think of her... mostly -

- She will always wish for curly hair -

- She'll stand up fiercely for what she believes is right -

- She will never keep her room clean -

- She'll sing in the shower, and in the car -

- She will cry over a boy... okay, more than one -

- She'll love God with all her heart, soul and mind -

- She'll have a few great friends, and a lot who come and go -

- She'll be a huge perfectionist -

- She will try to see the good in others, and be kind with her words -

- She will fight with her mom (gulp) -

- She'll take risks, but only the kind that involve auditioning for something -

- She'll be overscheduled all the time -

- She'll adore her teachers -

- She'll be ready to go when it's time to leave (double gulp) -

- She will find someone who loves her and makes all her dreams come true -

- She'll be lucky enough to be a mommy -

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Gratitude looks like

In our house, here is what gratitude looks like:
Our walking girl...

Impromptu toys...

A basket full of REAL toys...

Belly kisses...

A little girl who's THIS BIG!!!!

Yours, oh Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the

majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours.
Yours, oh Lord, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all.
                                                       - 1 Chronicals 29:11

Saturday, November 13, 2010

In Vogue


The open-mouth, slobber-dripping-down-my-face, sucking-on-every-piece-of-me-she-can-reach kind of kisses.  That's love - from her for giving them, and from me for receiving them.

They're back, and I adore them.

I laughed and laughed tonight as I was sitting in the rocking chair attempting her bedtime routine.  Instead of cuddling and getting sleepy, she was sending me into hysterics with a funny, shaky, rocking dance that included tons of sloppy kisses. 

I sure do love that baby. 

Friday, November 12, 2010

Every step I take...

8 months and 2 days...

Oh my!  Watch out, world!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thank you, Veterans

Don't be misled. 

It's not that I don't appreciate the heroic actions of those who sacrafice for our country.  I am grateful to live in America!

But I was also grateful that I had the opportunity to stay home with Leah today because our babysitter is a veteran, so she closes her doors on this particular holiday.  With Casey out of town, we had no one to watch the baby on this chilly Thursday, so I took the day off to stay home with her. 

It was a lovely day! 

It snowed this morning, so the baby got to wear her Snowman jammies for the first time.  We had a yummy breakfast of pears, and I appreciated just how big she is getting when I took this picture:

 It wasn't all that long ago when her little legs stuck out like stumps, rather than actually hanging over the edge of her high chair!

Leah hung out with me in the kitchen while I emptied the dishwasher, did dishes and made her apples.  We also tried on a beautiful crochet hat from grandma!  Fits like a charm!  We definitely DID NOT dance in the kitchen to Christmas music (in case you're reading this, Daddy!  I know it's not Thanksgiving yet, so we certainly wouldn't break our deal by turning the holiday music on early!).

We got bundled up and ran a few errands. 

We crawled around on the floor, played with toys, especially this purple croc; we watched The Wiggles; we took a nap (okay, Leah took a nap.  Mommy wrote a quiz).  It was wonderful to be home with her and get to take part in all the fun things she does!  She is growing up so quickly, it is just amazing!  I treasure any opportunity to be home to watch. 

Grateful for the snow.
Grateful for the snoman pajamas.
Grateful for the pears.
Grateful for the purple croc.
Grateful for the hat grandma worked hard on.
Grateful for dancing in the kitchen while Leah amuses herself in the high chair.
Grateful for the men and women willing to defend our country rather than dancing with their babies.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Return of Tummy Time

When Leah was first born, my absolute favorite thing to do was to lay on my back, tummy to tummy with the baby.  Casey and I fondly came to refer to this as "tummy time." 

It was The Best

Casey and I practically fought over who would get tummy time on a daily basis.  Okay, so maybe that's a slight exaggeration, but not by much. 

Sadly, Leah's love of tummy time was short-lived.  I don't remember exactly when it stopped, but eventually she wanted more independence.  She still loved to snuggle, but she was not content to fall asleep on our chests anymore. 


Over the last week, when I bring her to bed with me at 4 am (yes, that's when she has been waking up - gag) for her morning feeding, I've been trying to get her to go back to sleep so that her whole schedule won't be ruined.  One day, I put her on my chest, tummy to tummy with me, and the sweet little pumpkin fell right to sleep.  It was absolute heaven. 

I've been taking full advantage of it.  Every morning after nursing; in the afternoons on the occassions that she needs a nap; in the evenings while I'm rocking her.  I adore tummy time. 

In the midst of a busy day, in the midst of the stress of the rest of life, it is a little slice of perfect peace for just Leah and me. 

Today, I am thankful for the return of tummy time.

Eight is Great!

Can it be that today, our baby is 8 months old?

Things about Monkey at 8 months:

*Motors around quite easily.  Although she hasn't exactly mastered the "traditional" crawl on all fours, she crawls along just fine on her belly.  She's dying to explore the rest of the house; mom is kind of limiting her fun at this point.

*Has tried a number of foods, and we have yet to find one she doesn't like.  She is an eating machine, and often eats 2 icecubes of food, plus half a banana or 1/4 avocado!  Foods tried include:
- Butternut squash
- Carrots
- Avocado
- Apples
- Pears
- Watermelon
- Banana
- Sweet potato
- Broccoli
- Cauliflower
- Tomato
- Peas
- Potato
- Cheese
- Green onion
- Cupcake frosting (whoops!)
- Chocolate (on purpose; it wasn't received very well)
I think her favorite is pears.  She's such a good little eater, though, it can be hard to tell!

*Still has no teeth.  I can't imagine when those little biters are going to pop through.

*Still has no hair, although she is getting there.
Our little hurricane head

*Recognizes a variety of words, including her name, look, let go, kiss, The Wiggles (of course!), hungry, I love you, gimme five, hi, and bye. 

*Crawls to her toy baskets and pulls them over to play.

*Goes down easily for bed and naps, and sleeps through the night about 95% of the time from 7 pm to at least 4:30 (usually longer, but this has been the trend for a few weeks now)

*Still has an aversion to strangers, and would rather hang with Mommy and Daddy above anyone else.

*Nurses (or gets a bottle when I'm at work) 5 times a day.  Did I mention that she is well fed?

*Sticks out her tongue and blows raspberries. 

*Absolutely soaks herself in drool!

*Waves hello and byebye (although usually not without a LOT of prompting)

*Gives five.

*Loves to make us laugh!

*Gives the best hugs.

*Is adored, cherished, treasured, and loved to pieces by her parents.  We can't believe how fast these last 8 months have gone!  What in the world did we do before this beautiful little girl?!

**I finally discovered the secret to getting the pictures to post properly: DON'T rotate them.  Yup.  Leave them sideways, and they post properly.  Adjust them in the file, and they wind up going the wrong way on the blog.  Who knew?!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

More than just a roof

My Halloween decorations are still up.

Yep.  This year, we're that house.  Of course, it's still kind of appropriate, seeing as many of them didn't get put up until Halloween day to begin with - so at least they're getting some use.  With Casey out of town this weekend, there were a few things I just didn't get to. 

But regardless of my poor housekeeping, I have to appreciate just how lucky I am to have the opportunity to neglect my holiday decorations to begin with... 

In other words, today I am grateful for this house.
Casey and I bought the house nearly four years ago as the first step in our new life together.  I instantly loved the neighborhood the moment I drove in.  I came to look at another house that was for sale, and I vividly remember driving through on a bright sunny day in September.  Neighbors were outside washing their cars, kids were drawing on the sidewalk with chalk... it was perfect.

The house I came to look at was clearly out of our price range.  As I drove through the neighborhood, another "For Sale" sign caught my eye.  I got out and approached the house, and was told by a passing neighbor that it was a foreclosure.  It was the perfect opportunity! 

Casey and I came back to look at the house, which, inside, was an absolute disaster.  Structurally, the house was perfect, but it needed a LOT of TLC!  I remember seeing only potential.

We spent the first year retouching every single surface of the house: new carpets, new hardwood floors, new paint, painting the cabinets, new sod in the backyard, new light fixtures, new front door... it was a massive undertaking.  It was also an amazing opportunity for Casey and I, and I can't imagine being more grateful.  We came to discover that we can rely on each other for anything; the two of us together are an unstoppable whole.  What neither can accomplish separately, we accomplish easily together. 

It is a lesson we have both come to rely on, particularly since Leah was born. 
Notice the blue tape?  This was in July... we moved in in January.  Let's just say there was a LOT to do!

Casey replacing the hideous carpet in October

Hooray for our beautiful floors!

Roses from my beautiful rose bush

Flowers in the summer, pumpkins in the fall, snow in the winter.  I love it.

Refinishing the deck.  Next to laying sod, this was my least favorite job!

I LOVE our home!  I love that I picked out and designed every surface.  I love that my husband and I worked together to make it a home.

I know that we can't stay here forever, but whatever our lives bring, this will always be our first house.  It will always be the place where we got engaged, the place we came after our wedding, the place where we brought our daughter home.  A home that Casey and I built together.

I changed my font at thecutestblogontheblock.com