I (Heart) Their Faces

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I found this post hanging out in my drafts folder Friday. I think I never published it because I wasn’t sure it was complete or I was afraid I might be chastised. Three plus years later … it’s interesting to reflect on.

Some days I still have trouble telling people I’m a stay-at-home mom. But as the years have gone by, I’ve realized it’s by far the greatest gift I’ve ever been given! For our family, it works out well.

Some days I fantasize about going back to work just so I can sit still without anyone climbing on me for a few hours. But truly, I love being with my little people and don’t have any desire to ever go back to a 40-hour workweek.

I wrote this January 3, 2011.

____________

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From the beginning of 2010 to the end, this sweet little face has been my job, my every day.

One year ago today was my last day at my much-loved job in Nashville. While I don’t miss the hierarchy of working for a big company, the meetings, or the 7:30 a.m. start time, I do miss my coworkers and the ministry-work I did.

I still feel that loss of identity that comes with no longer working full-time some days. I introduce myself as a freelance writer and editor and almost never as a stay-at-home mom. Despite the fact that it is all I ever wanted to do, my entire life.

Fifteen days ago, I got to see another face for the first time.

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Oh, I love these precious faces of my babies.

In 2011, I hope they will continue to humble me to the point where I don’t care what people think when I say I stay at home.

This post inspired by I Heart Faces.

Five Minute Friday: Laundry

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October 10, 2009

 

I remember the moments sorting through trash bags of hand-me-downs on the floor of my first baby’s nursery, before she was even born.

I cradled each onesie and pair of pants in my hands, wondering what this tiny creature growing inside me would look like, smell like, feel like. How awe-inspiring that she would actually come out of my body, wear these tiny things.

I loved washing them, letting them fluff in the dryer, and even though I couldn’t use detergent with scent they still smelled clean, fresh, and full of promise. I teared up over sleepers, precious with pink flowers and white puppies. I accumulated more clothes than she could have worn and then gave it away by the bagful when she outgrew it.

Her clothes are so much bigger now. Socks with beads that click-clack, jean dresses, zebra stripes, so much pink. Disney princess tops she wears again and again and again. The one pair of jeans – no button, no zipper, no snap – that she will allow to grace her nonexistent hips.

She turns 5 next week. And I still want to zip her up in fleece pajamas and hold her in my lap. Tell her to stop sassing, stop fighting, stop being so very old and be my baby again. Let me smell your head, touch your cheek in wonder, and cry just a little over the wonder of a first child.

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See all kind of musings on laundry at Five Minute Friday this week. 

Be Our Guest: Libbie’s Beauty and the Beast 4th Birthday Party

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First, we’re just going to choose to ignore the fact that this party was over 9 months ago and I haven’t written about it yet. That’s what pregnancy and a baby will do to me. But when my pal Sara at Happy Brown House wrote about her son Asher’s 1st birthday almost a year later … I felt like I had permission to still post this!

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My invitations took entirely too much time, as I tried to “design” them myself. I used this picture of Libbie and Belle from our Disney trip in 2011. And they said something like “Be Our Guest at Libbie’s 4th Birthday Party” with all the pertinent information. (They also said it was optional to dress like your favorite prince or princess, which concerned my grandmother. She was worried I expected her to come in a ballgown. Snort.)

If I had to do it over again, I would just buy something cute off Etsy like this. My time and agony spent over something so ridiculous was not worth any money I saved by creating and printing them myself.

DECOR

 

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  • I made this board with pictures of Libbie’s fourth year. It is just a piece of white foam board with pink tulle glued to it. I used a sparkly letter L, some scrapbook princess pieces, and Beauty and the Beast characters cut out from a Disney brochure to decorate it. It says “Little Beauty” in scrapbooking stickers at the bottom.
  • We had yellow streamers hanging near the food.
  • I made a Lumiere out of egg cartons, cardboard tubes, and an old granola bar box. TRUST ME, I AM NOT CRAFTY ENOUGH FOR THIS. It took way too long and I promise I will never be that insane again.
  • My mom and I hacked something we saw on Etsy for the centerpiece. It’s a yellow bucket from Hobby Lobby filled with flower foam. We then made the dress and the mirror to go in it along with a fake rose. The dress and the mirror were taped on to skewers so they would stay in the foam.

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ACTIVITIES

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(This is Libbie’s friend Ethan with Tiffany from Stuff Parents Need and her daughter, Darah!)

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My cousin Brianne with David, the “pi-yate.”

  • As kids and parents entered, we showed them to the crown-making station. These were kits from Hobby Lobby. Even the boys liked making crowns.
  • (By the way, I had told the boy-moms that since Libbie’s birthday is so close to Halloween, the boys could just wear their Halloween costumes if they wanted to dress up! They were all Jake from Jake and the Neverland Pirates. Ha!)
  • I made homemade yellow playdough with glitter to play with on another table, along with Beauty and the Beast coloring pages and crayons.
  • We had a TV playing the movie (pretty quietly) for the duration of the party.
  • My sister dressed as Belle and read the kids stories from fairytale storybooks we have.

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(I had such a little baby bump! Hard to believe that baby is 5 months old now.)

FOOD

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I went for a French food theme. (Also, things I tried to make and gave up on: Cogsworth Cupcakes, Edible Teacups.) What I did make:

  • Vanilla cupcakes (these are the best!) with homemade buttercream and rose decorations
  • Tangy Baked Brie with French bread
  • fruit with dip and relish tray
  • assorted mini savory pastries (frozen and heated up), including mini quiches and spinach puffs
  • croissants with ham and cheese and condiments
  • coffee, juice boxes, and sodas (the party was at 10 a.m., so coffee was a necessity!)
  • I used a mixture of black and white (similar to these) and turquoise paper plates and napkins and plastic silverware.

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Our favor bags were filled with little playdoughs, candy, and other trinkets. My mom bought lollipop toppers from Etsy and then we forgot to put those suckers in the bags! Oops!

My mom cut out, colored, and decorated all of the dresses on these bags. She said she would never do this for anyone except Libbie!

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It was a fantastic party, but it was a LOT of work and I can’t see myself doing something quite so elaborate any time in the near future. In fact, Libbie tried to tell me this year her party was going to be in the same room with a different princess. I informed her that this year her party was going to be Mommy and Daddy at home with some cake. We don’t get big parties every year!

 

Slightly Frightening

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jessieandlibbie

 

When I posted this on Facebook, it appeared that I’m not the only person scared at how much Libbie and I look alike. It’s sort of crazy! Granted she’s stayed blonde much longer than I did … but otherwise, she’s my carbon copy.

Her vivid imagination is also reminiscent of my own as a child (and, well, I still have it!). I’m never quite sure if she’s telling me something that actually happened or something she’s made up in her head. Her pretend play is vivid and lovely.

(Also, I was bemused when yesterday in the span of five minutes she took her baby to the “nursing room” and pretended to breastfeed her, then put the baby in a “sling.” Not to mention the soothing words she said to the baby doll are awful similar to the things her momma says to Baby Joshua. Hello, are our kids watching us? YES.)

It’s unnerving to realize how similar Libbie is to me – in looks, personality, creativity. I will say she’s an extrovert, whereas I think I’ve always been introverted (or maybe that was just a product of moving to Virginia and being overweight? I don’t know.). It makes me even more determined to help her avoid the issues I’ve dealt with my whole life.

Do you have any “carbon copy” kiddos? 

Blood: 2, Jessie: 0

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“Life's most urgent question is: What are you doing for others?”
source: vanhookc

We had a pretty lovely day: a playdate with some friends up in the Great Metropolis of Soddy-Daisy; lunch at Burger King (yeah, yeah); naps for all three kids after Joshua nursed and cuddled while I watched Call the Midwife on Netflix; I actually swept and mopped our kitchen floor and the kids’ bathroom [MIRACLE]; and Libbie won in two exciting rounds of Go Fish.

So all is fine and dandy in the house of Vanderbilt. Until David starts asking to use the Thomas the Train potty and Libbie starts trying to climb the blinds in the living room. Somewhere in this chaos, Mr. V griped at Libbie about her antics and she went off to her room.

Where apparently she tried to climb the blinds in there instead.

And then came running out wailing with a deep gash in her left leg. I nearly passed out when I saw how deep it was and went into full-out Mommy Panic. AND HOW THE HECK DID SHE GET A GASH THAT DEEP IN HER LEG?

Oh, let me tell you. We’ve had some framed pictures and art in her room sitting against the heating unit while we decided where to hang them. It appears sometime when she and David were doing battle with the curtains (as shown by the crooked curtain rod – argh) one of the pictures fell over and the glass broke in the frame. Not that they bothered to tell us this nor had we noticed it. (I’m assuming it was probably today. Because wouldn’t I notice large shards of glass sticking out of a picture? WOULD I??)

So whilst trying to climb on her heating unit to get to the blinds on her own window – after being reprimanded about doing the same thing in the living room – Libbie sliced her leg on a shard of glass sticking out from the picture.

We’ll call it a draw between whose fault this one was, ours or the kid’s.

So three-and-a-half hours later, we finally got back from urgent care. The nurse only gave me a small eyebrow raise when I told her how the injury happened.  Libbie got three stitches and a good tale for her teachers at Mother’s Day Out tomorrow.

I just hope she doesn’t mention the vagrant glass in her bedroom. Or how Mommy just runs around in panicked circles while Daddy actually takes care of it when there’s an emergency. (Pretty much the same thing happened when David tried to slice off his pinky finger in October.)

So, yeah. How was your day? Visit any urgent cares lately?

Libbie, Four.

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She’s 4, and she’s big but she’s little.

She thinks she’s plenty big to brush her own teeth (including putting on globs of oh-my-so-expensive-flouride-free toothpaste), get her own snacks (spaghetti noodles on the floor), cut and paste and paint to her heart’s content. (Mess. Oh. The mess.)

She’s a little schizophrenic lately. Some mornings she wakes up cheery, cleans up her bedroom before pouncing in our bed with a huge smile and curly bedhead. She’s happy to cuddle and read.

Other days – today, for instance – cuddles and hugs dissolve into screaming fits, temper tantrums, an absolute lack of obedience, provocation of the little man, and Mommy and Daddy nearing insanity.

Oh, Madame Strong-Willed Child. I don’t think your mommy was quite prepared for this journey. I am loving the sweet days we see now and then. I love reading and kisses and honestly, the painting and play-dough messes don’t bother me that much.

But the mean-spirited taunts at David … the absolute refusal to obey … the willfulness that makes you play through rest time each and every day even though you’re tired and we both know it … they make Mommy stop and wonder and cry and pray.

Will it always be a battle? Will we ever truly figure it out? Or is this is a parade to preteendom, never to end? Because in my impregnated, exhausted, mother-to-almost-3 state, I don’t have that much fight left in me.

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