Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The one that's super mushy

A is 9 months old and just so big but at night I nurse him and he intentionally rolls out of my arms and snuggles into my sheets and falls asleep. And I sit in the dark looking at him and he's just my heart laying there. 

And his brother? He's snuggled into bed with a hue pillow, a blanket, and about twenty stuffed animals. So rough and tumble all day long and often a struggle to get into bed, but once he's there heis all soft and cuddly again. 

My heart has to get bigger every day to try to contain the love for these two.  

Saturday, September 21, 2013

The one of a bunch of random

I have drafts of newsletters for A but need to add pictures so they'll be around sometime or another. 

I think everything is set to start nursing school in Oct! A couple of things to tie up still but it's coming together. The biggie is daycare for the boys but I have some things in the works and am just keeping my fingers crossed. 

There's been a lot of judgy posts on Facebook lately and I mostly wonder what it's like to know everything with such certainty. Or mostly that you're right and everyone is wrong. I think about issues carefully and look at different viewpoints and can still see the other side after I've lands someplace. It's how I'm wired. Others aren't wired that way but it still confounds me. 

I can't believe A is 9 months old and I haven't bought any formula. He's had bottles but they're so few and far between that I've just used samples. That wasn't really my plan! But it's worked out well. I don't know if I'll be able to breast feed him at night and on the weekends after school starts. At a year I would be getting him to just milk anyway though so I'm not worried or feeling guilty. Just trying to be flexible. 

I miss writing. 

Friday, September 13, 2013

the one about the gym

K and I recently got gym memberships and I've been going fairly often. I have significant weight loss goals that I hope to make a large dent in by the time my birthday rolls around again next year, but realistically won't be completely done by then. The time is going to go by and I figure at least I've started. It's been about six weeks and I'm about 19 pounds down. The child care at the gym will only take A for an hour, which was kind of initially disappointing. But only having an hour is probably why I've been able to be so consistent. I do cardio for at least 35 minutes and then most of the time lift weights for a little bit too. It's kind of discouraging to be able to see better muscle definition but still have so much weight to lose, but if I keep at it, it'll get better.

I feel better. I feel stronger and somehow leaner even though my workout pants from the days of yore are just now starting to fit decently. I feel somewhat accomplished in getting the boys out of the house and being able to wrangle both of them back into the car after working out. It's getting easier to do cardio and it's not scary to bump up the time a little bit and go longer.

Although I've wanted to lose weight for awhile, I've still basically felt okay about myself. I love my hair and how blue my eyes are. And I don't have a lot of clothes, but what I have is good enough for now at least. After I gave birth to S and had gone through that entire high risk pregnancy and emergency c-section and breast-feeding struggle and had this gorgeous baby to show for all of it, I stopped worrying about what my thighs looked like in my swim suit. My husband thinks I'm beautiful and I just let myself believe it when he says it or that he really means it when he grabs my butt as I walk by. I want to be healthier and active alongside my sons and be able to show them by example how to be strong and have goals and reach them. 

I'm getting there. When I met with a personal trainer at the gym, he said that working out is really only 20% of it and what you eat and drink is 80%. I'm working on making better food choices. I think starting school will really help because I'll need to pack stuff to eat five days a week. When I'm at home all day with the boys and running around the house or whatever, I end up just grabbing things to eat and not making the best choices all of the time because I just realized I'm STARVING and need something to eat immediately. I've stopped buying some things and tried to make healthy things easy to grab from the fridge. I'm okay with it going slowly because I know if I drop Dr. Pepper and everything fried and chocolate all at once, I won't be able to stick with it. But if I go slowly and add in more veggies and replace Dr. Pepper with iced tea and still hang on to chocolate, I'll be able to keep on keeping on.

So here's to being able to buy really cute clothes in a year! And really truly keep up with my two little boys. Because really. They are already so freaking active!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

the one where I'm thinking at the end of a long day

First time trying a post on my phone, so we'll see how this goes...

I went to a funeral this morning. I had only briefly met the deceased but the way he lived his life shaped many friends of mine and those friends have greatly impacted me and my family. I hugged my friend Stacy this morning and she looked at her father-in-law's casket and said, "I can't believe this is my life right now." And that's why I went. Because I can't believe this is her life right now either. No one my age really thinks their parents are going anywhere but none of us have a guarantee of tomorrow. This was a horrid car accident and unfair and these are good people who are grieving. 

Because K has an unreliable work schedule, I do tons of stuff by myself. Me and the boys handle things and I'm glad for the help when I can go grocery shopping with K but am not upset that's it's usually me by myself. But sometimes I really need him. It catches me off guard because I've been so fiercely independent my entire life and I'm string and capable. This morning though, I ached for him to be with me. I felt a little melodramatic but still just really didn't want to be walking in by myself. 

When I was in the hospital after having given birth to A and my blood pressure was high and my doctor told me it would be at least one more day but likely more and K was at home with S, I desperately wanted him with me. There wasn't anything he could have done. It's probable his snoring would have interrupted my sleep. Sometimes when he's physically near, I don't feel as much of a burden. I can release some of the stress, fear, sadness, uncertainty, etc because I know he's got my back. 

And I'm thankful that means he will hold down the fort while I have a girl's night out and be startled when I come home at 830 because he assumed it would be at least 10. The baby cried and cried when he woke up and I wasn't there and K couldn't find the chicken nuggets S wanted for dinner and bed time was a mess but he didn't tell me any of it until well after both boys were asleep. I am so grateful for good friends, laughter, margaritas, serious chats, and relaxing. And I am ridiculously thankful that after that I get to come home to my guys. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

newsletter month 7

Dear Asher,

Happy seven months!

When Samson was six months old, we got a family picture. We decided to do the same thing with you. Between various viruses and whatnot and Daddy's work schedule, we almost made it. We got family pictures the day you were officially seven months old! I'm so glad to have an official portrait of us as a family of four. It feels like we've been the four of us for ages and ages even though it's really just been under a year.

You are sitting up on your own and quite content to sit on the floor with toys nearby. I love this! You are still a very snuggly little guy but it is so nice to let you sit and play. Your brother is sometimes very into playing with you and sometimes very annoyed that you are interested in his toys. I suspect this is how things will be for quite some time to come. You, however, simply adore him at all times. If he comes up with it, you think it's a good idea.

We checked you into Kid City for the first time at church! You didn't object and by the time we picked you up, all the volunteers in your room had fallen in love with you. Asher, your smile is just amazing. You are such a happy little baby and you have a way of making everyone around you a little happier, even if just for a few minutes. I hope this never changes. And I hope it's never a burden to you. Let your joyful heart shine through without regard to how others feel about it.

Despite your default happiness, you are a very expressive little guy. You hate the flash on the camera and we've managed to accidentally capture hysterical grumpiness from you. I think you're going to have a lot to say and expressions to match all of it!

You got to go swimming in Grandma and Papa's pool for the first time this past month, too! I covered you in sunscreen, insisted you wear a hat, put you in one of their life preserver suits, and you got to sit in a floaty whale and you completely loved it all. You splashed heartily, you loved zooming from person to person, and then you laid your little head back on the headrest of that whale and chilled like it was your job. I think if it had been a little quieter, you would have happily taken a nap right there, floating in the pool. I also started putting Samson in the tub first and getting his hair washed, and then putting you in the tub with him. You both love this. You will start flapping your arms as I lower you down into the water and splash and splash until I take you out again.


You are always on the move and interested in everything going on around you. You won't stay still, even for a diaper change or for a quick face wipe. And lately, I've even had to tuck your arms in and rock you to sleep because even when you can barely keep your eyes open, you don't want to miss what's going on around you. I feel a little like that sometimes with you. Every time I pick you up, you seem a little bit bigger, a little bit more confident in holding your own. I'm so excited to see you grow up and get to talk to you and hear what you have to say. But these moments with your skin like butter and you cuddling into my shoulder and you wanting me to hold you close and sing to you, they can't go slowly enough for me to properly memorize them all. After I give you a bath and then feed you and you smell like clean baby with milky breath, it's just magic. You're big for your age, you're determined, you're curious, and you are already personable. But, remember to just be your age. Just be where you are sometimes. Don't get so far ahead of yourself that you miss the right here and right now. It'll never be just like this again.

Seven months! I'm so excited to see what this month brings. I love you, sunshine.


Saturday, June 22, 2013

the one where i'm lonely

I read this really lovely piece about being in the valley. About being a mama that reads blogs and news articles and Facebook and Twitter and longs to participate in conversations but feeling woefully unqualified to speak up. That's where I am right now. I see pictures of friends of mine hanging out together and seeing people going on vacations and reading news stories that I care about and want to mention but not having the time to investigate more and have a well informed opinion so I just stay quiet. I'm jealous. I am on the outside looking in.

And for good reason, these two little boys that I've been entrusted with need me to pay more attention to them than to most everything else right now. It's a season I'm in. I won't always be wiping multiple butts at home all day and repeating myself five thousand times or carrying one child while the other tries to climb up my legs. My house won't always be so messy I'm terribly embarrassed to even ask for help in tackling projects. I will miss little feet running down the hallway making as much noise as they can possibly make and little arms raised in the air waiting to be picked up.

I know all of this.

But it's still hard to be in this spot sometimes. I miss sleep. I miss having lengthy conversations with my husband. I miss having something to talk about that doesn't have to do with my children. My biggest interaction with people outside of my house is usually church and we haven't been in a month. First the house flooded and we were overwhelmed with trying to quickly clean it up before mold could really set in. And then everyone (except K) has been sick.

So many people have such bigger problems than this. I recently read that all our loneliness is only an illusion. I think it's true, but only if you speak up so you can hear that someone else has been in your shoes. Or is in your shoes. Or just wants you to put your shoes on so you can go for a walk with them for a minute and not be sitting in the same old lonely spot.

I'll be studying for an entrance exam to nursing school and applying for scholarships and financial aid soon. That will all be very good. And at some point, the pinkeye and the colds and the coughing and the scarlet fever all have to go away, right?

newsletter month 6, just a smidge late!

Dear Asher,

Six months old today and making feel like you are hardly a little baby any more! That's silly, of course, but at the same time your first year is just flying by. You are almost 21 pounds of almost pure happiness and I hope it's a very long time before you stop letting me kiss your cheeks bunches and bunches of times every day.

You are a little bit mischievous, son! You are constantly grabbing my hair and taking it out of my ponytail or whatever hastily fashioned up do I've got and smiling the whole time. You sweetly smile as you grab my glasses right off my face and wave them around wildly. I think these are things most babies do, but it gives you a particular glint to your eye that makes me suspect this is an aspect of your personality we are only just beginning to see.

This past month, we started trying out some solids. Technically solids, at least. Rice cereal, peas, green beans, and squash have been eaten so far and you are fairly interested in it all. Really, trying out some baby food has made you much more interested in what I'm eating. You will pull my hands to you so whatever is in my hand can go in your mouth. Not food just yet since we're making sure to look out for allergies and reactions, but I would imagine it won't be long before most of my plate ends up in front of you!

Another first has been you being sick. Somehow a crazy virus invaded our house. It started with Samson having pink eye and a cold. Then I got the cold and you got pink eye. I took you to the doctor because you had a really bad diaper rash and we also discovered an ear infection! You shared the pink eye with me and I shared the cough I had with you. And that cough settled deep into your little chest. We went back to the doctor and you had a hearty amount of wheezing and got a breathing treatment in the office to see how you would tolerate it. Funnily enough, you are the first baby your doctor has seen that didn't scream and cry during the nebulizer treatment! You smiled away and looked around and were quite content to sit in my lap breathing in the mist. We took home a nebulizer and hope that it was a one time use kind of thing and we can put it all back in the box and up in one of the closets. Time will tell on that. About the third treatment, you weren't so happy about it anymore. And then a couple after that, you realized it really was helping and you helped me hold your mask on. Maybe as you get older, you'll get Daddy's immune system. He still hasn't been sick despite the three of us battling germs mightily!

So, sweet baby, it's been an eventful month. Inbetween the rain and thunder, the illnesses, and the doctor visits, there have been plenty of kisses and giggling. You don't stay still very long for anyone. I lay you down for a diaper change and you immediately flip over. Everything is going by so fast, I just want it to all slow down. I want to make sure to show you to enjoy where you are and not focus too much on what's coming up or how you wish things were. It took me at least thirty years to get there and I hope it doesn't take you quite as long. I know you want to play with Samson and do everything he's doing. You will, sweet baby. You two will have all kinds of adventures together and likely get in trouble together too. In the meantime, let me keep cuddling you and making you laugh with silly noises and funny faces. Let me show you brand new foods like apples and sweet potatoes and chicken so later on we can cook pad thai and carne guisada and mashed potatoes together. Let Daddy hold you on his lap and marvel at how fair and soft as butter your skin is. Later he'll show you how to fish and you'll go camping together. There is so much to come! But right now, you are six whole months old. You're my Asher baby. That won't ever really change, but I won't say it out loud as much as I do now.

Love, Mama

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

the one where i mention a quick thing

I got home at 9:45 pm and didn't get S in bed until 10:15. It took another half hour to get A fed and settled. I got a quick shower and I'm about to get in bed at about 11:45 pm. I am really very truly tired. A didn't do well with being with my mom rather than me. But, it was still worth it to have dinner with a group of mama friends who are amazing women who encourage me and make me feel normal. I haven't seen them in a very long time! Hopefully our next get together isn't too far away!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

the one where i take it way back yo

I've had various blogs for a very long time. I used to write lengthy posts on a near daily basis and I was so angsty and definitely an over-sharer. It's weird because now, I have basically zero time to write and I'm much more mature in my need to tell everyone everything running through my head and the stories I have to share are so very much more interesting. I really do think if I wrote a fictionalized version of various time periods and situations from my life in the past six or so years, it could be a best seller. So tonight since both my boys are asleep and my guy isn't home from work yet, since I've showered, since I've looked at my messy living room and decided I just can't deal with it tonight, I'm going to ramble out some thoughts until I get interrupted. Just like I used to, once upon a time.

It's Mother's Day tomorrow. I'm so grateful to have a mom that I get to celebrate with. The older I get and the more people I meet, it seems the rarer it becomes for people my age to have moms they get to celebrate things with for a huge variety of reasons. My mom and I have not always gotten along and still misunderstand each other sometimes, but we love each other and I am so glad I get to share my journey as a mom with her. K asked me what I wanted and I said I just really want to sleep in. Or take a long nap. And I really mean it. He actually has to work so because I have a policy of not catering to crazy on my Mother's Day, me and the boys are going to my parents house where we will eat ridiculously good food and laugh and I will leave with two over tired boys.

Incidently, I hate that spending time on Facebook and Twitter has made me have to carefully re-read my sentences to make sure I actually used the right to/too/two and whatever else. I need to get back into reading well written books more than I read anything else.

K and I got to go to this celebration of the Mayor of San Antonio's mother on Friday night. She really is an incredible lady and deserving of such a celebration. But the reason we got to go is because there was a mural unveiling in her honor that will be at a restaurant downtown (Pico De Gallo) and the artist is actually K's uncle. It was a building dedication for part of the new San Antonio Texas A&M campus too and there were a lot of important people there. I got a new dress and I got K a new shirt and tie and we took time and care getting ready and it was our first real date since A was born four months ago and it was so lovely! It was an art show where I actually knew the artist (he asked me how the boys were doing which proves that somehow I think), I got to shake hands with a congressman as we entered, there was really delicious food (I couldn't have picked a better spread, honestly), there was alcohol, and I was with my husband. Before we even left the house, I decided I was going to have an excellent night. I wasn't going to worry about what I looked like because I was excited about my dress and my husband told me I was gorgeous and I decided to just believe him. I decided to not worry about things said or unsaid by any of my in-laws. I decided that my parents could handle it if A literally cried the entire time he was at their house. And I decided that I deserved a few hours to just enjoy K again, just the two of us. So when we walked into the building and I saw Joaquin Castro, I walked right up to him, shook his hand, and said, "Nice to see you, Congressman." It was such a great night! I am such a nerd at heart and something I truly enjoy is hearing a good speech, especially live. Julian Castro can give an excellent speech, and I was right there in the room. It was during his speech, but technically the mayor and a former speaker at the Democratic National Convention thanked me for all the hard work I do as a mom. I'm going to go ahead and take that and keep it in my pocket.

Especially because last night, after I fed my hungry hungry baby for the third time (as he adamantly refused to take a bottle) and finally fell asleep, my three year old woke up crying so hard it took at least half an hour for me to understand what he wanted and then about another half an hour to get him calm and back in bed and quiet. And then it took another hour to get my baby back to sleep because he was so happy everyone was awake that he just wanted to play. I love being a mom. It is hard work, but it's good work. But three years in, one of the absolute hardest things and something I have not improved at much is being startled awake and having to immediately take care of someone and also have grace and patience in that moment.

I am so very tired. I really severely miss sleeping. It's getting better. I think A will calm down again in a little bit and sleep in bigger chunks at night again. I'm just so very tired. I'm blessed and I love my family fiercely. Being a mom of a little and an itty bitty is no joke. A good night's sleep changes your world. I'll get to experience that again. Soon, I hope. When people ask if we're going to have another baby because we have two boys and maybe we'd like to try to have a girl, I just think about doing this again and I want to cry. I don't think I can sign up for it again. I love my two boys and it doesn't bother me in the least that I don't have a daughter. S farted tonight and immediately said, "Don't worry, Mommy, my butt is just making noises again." and I laughed heartily and was grateful there will probably always be fart discussions and jokes in my house. I think I was made to be a mom of two boys. These two boys. Also, hand on a Bible, I don't think I can handle going through year three more than twice. S is a freaking tornado.

I painted my nails for the thing on Friday and having purple nails makes everything more fun. Changing diapers is more glamorous with purple nails. Making dinner is more interesting with purple nails. Typing is more fun with purple nails. There's a really good coupon for nail polish right now so I might have to go back and pick up a few more colors and take some time every once in awhile to paint my nails. I think I also need to take some time and either get a really good short hair cut that's easy to style or set up some lessons with someone on how to do my hair up and cute. I always do the same thing. I put my hair in a ponytail and then smush it up against my head and bobby pin the crap out of it. It's messy and curly and I get a bunch of compliments but it's really simple and unelegant and uninspired. I'm glad I don't have to worry about teaching S and A how to do their hair for special occassions. I suspect that kind of talk will mostly center around making sure they shower on a regular basis. There was an episode of Parenthood last season where the dad told his pre-teen son to make sure to wash his pits, his butt, and his balls every day. That seems simple enough to remember and pass on.

And on that note, I'm going to see if we have any beer in the fridge. I don't know if I'm going to drink any, but I like to think about it sometimes. I'm so glad I've been able to breastfeed A and it's been going like gangbusters, but I think I've just got about another month in me. I'd like to feel like my whole body belongs to me again. Between the pregnancy and the breastfeeding, it's been a long time. I also miss drinking sometimes. For awhile, K and I would get in bed with a beer and share it as we talked about our days. I miss that. I think I just miss that whole scenario though. The opportunity to talk for awhile in bed without worrying about waking anyone up or getting enough sleep myself. We'll get back there.

So there you have it, a hearty ramble, old school Melissa style.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

newsletter: month four

Dear Asher,

You are my Sunshine Bear. You have a particular smile that is so big and wide that it just seems like sunshine is going to come pouring out of your mouth at any moment! You have a lot of little smiles too, but that sunshine one is killer. Daddy and I were talking the other day about how we might be in trouble if you find out how fantastic it is. As a teenager, I hope you don't ever think it's going to get you out of facing consequences with us!

Four months old and just about to go into size 9-12 month clothes. You have so many rolls and crevices that I actually talked to a few people about the best way to keep your skin from getting irritated! I'm still exclusively breast feeding you and I know it's not just me, but I can't help but look at you with all your chubby cuteness and how much you've grown since you were born and feel strangely proud that I've had such a hand in supporting it! I will try not to take credit for things you do, but I'm confident I will always look at you with a little awe that you came from me and Daddy.

You are a bit impatient with the whole part where you're a baby and not mobile just yet. You see your brother and your cousins running (or crawling) around and I can tell you're just DYING to get on the floor and keep up with everyone! You are strong and a little stubborn and very determined. It is not going to surprise me in the least to see you crawling soon. But for now, sweet baby, let me hold you close. There is so much time for you to run and tumble and scrape knees and jump off of too high pieces of furniture. FYI, I will always kiss you too many times on those luscious cheeks of yours. Always, even if I have to make you bend down so I can reach your face. 

We have had a bit of a heavy month with job upheaval and decision making that will impact the four of us for quite awhile. One thing that I was a little surprised by was how solidly I think of us as a family of four. I'm sure it's cliche or a little silly to say that I can't believe how much love flows in our house. In the midst of uncertainty about various things little babies never have to even think about, much less worry, our little unit of four is solid. Your brother is completely crazy about you, your dad and I are more in love now than ever before, and you are just so thoroughly loved. My goals for you and Samson are for you to each be God seekers who are healthy and productive members of society. I hope happiness falls in there too. But even more than that, may you always feel this much love in your life. The way you smile at each of us when we walk back into your vision line is amazing and it's not a smile you share with the world at large.

You are so happy and such a blessing. God really honored our name choice for you, Asher. I love you so much my heart has to grow a little each day to try to contain it all.

Happy four months!
Love, Mama

Thursday, March 28, 2013

the one that's just some of this and that

Just some of the random crap going on in my mind...

...I fought super hard to breastfeed S and was miserable while doing it because I never had a good supply. I had to supplement with formula from the get go and finally just switched to all formula when he was a little over four months old. My supply has been super great with A and outside of the first day and a half of his life, haven't had to give him any formula. But the spit up is never ending. I've cut out dairy, caffeine, and leafy greens to see no improvement in the spit up. I had to take my itty bitty for an ultrasound to determine if he needed surgery (which he thankfully doesn't). I have called and texted my cousin who is a relatively new (and completely awesome) lactation consultant and strange hours to ask for advice. I have rebuffed several people telling me to give up. And today, a little past three months in, I really started considering opening up some formula for him. He seemed so unhappy earlier today. I don't know what is best for him. I am thankful we got through the bulk of the flu season unscathed and I think breast feeding was a big help. My goal was just six months anyway because I just kind of want my body back to myself. June seems forever away at the moment. It is so much spit up... But he's happy and he's gaining weight and he has wet and poopy diapers so there's no medical reason to quit. I am thankful that my husband told me to make the decision I needed to make for me and for A and he would support it 100%. It's kind of dumb that it's such a thought process for me. It's deciding which way to feed A, not whether or not he's going to eat anymore.

...A has THE greatest smile. It is huge and it seems like sunshine is just going to pour out of his mouth. And he doesn't share that one with EVERYONE. Most people, yes. But I can tell he saves it for people he knows sometimes.

...The older I get, the quieter I find myself online regarding things like the Defense of Marriage Act. Not because I do not have a strong and what I think is a well thought out opinion, but because I'm not interested in vomiting up my thoughts anymore. I'd rather have a face to face conversation with someone so they know that I really am open to being friends even if we disagree about something and that I'm not just an opinionated asshole.

...I can't believe how much I love Netflix. We got a chunk of unexpected money last fall and put some in savings, went to Costco and stocked up our cabinets, and then splurged on two blu-ray players with wifi. Best splurge in awhile! I have watched a ridiculous amount of tv while feeding A late at night but I am so glad to be able to get rid of cable and still have some tv entertainment.

...It's been three years and I'm solidly comfortable in my role as a wife and with having changed my name. I don't feel awkward with referring to myself as either anymore. I don't think it actually took three years, but I just noticed it recently. I wish things were different with my inlaws but I still have hope we can be closer some day. Something about having the second baby made K very comfortable with my parents and calling them or talking to them without feeling like he has to talk to me first. I love that!

...I really like having two boys. My oldest is so funny! I love it when he cracks other people up too. I feel more validated in thinking he's awesome sauce that way. They adore each other and I'm glad for them to grow up together. I just hope I can do right by them as I raise them. 

Friday, March 15, 2013

newsletter: month 3

Dear Asher,

Three months and I feel like we are really getting to know each other. It's tricky how this whole motherhood thing works. I carried you for nine months and felt like I did a lot to actually take care of you before you joined us on the outside. But, I still had introduce myself to you when you were born. At first, it's all about eating and sleeping. Now you're more alert and interested in what's going on around you and I know you know me, Daddy, and Samson. There are a few other people in our lives that you also know and always have huge smiles for too. I'm so glad to get to see better and better pieces of who you really are!

Your name means happy and blessed and we 100% got that right for you. You smile with your whole body and often. You have an open mouth grin that is infectious and completely adorable. You are exclusively breastfed and have been spitting up A LOT. One of the questions that I've been asked several times is if you are in any apparent discomfort. That's the thing. You spit up so much that I have to change your clothes because they are just completely wet and then you grin at me.

That's not to say you don't cry. Sometimes I just have to hold you and talk softly in your ear while you cry because I'm not sure how to fix the problem. I know when you're tired at the end of the day, you need me to take you to the back of our house where it's dark and calm so you can finish winding down. I know that even a five minute bath with water I meant to be warmer will thoroughly soothe you. I know you like me to hold you close and jostle you a little when you're upset. I know you don't cry to just cry. There's some sort of an issue making you uncomfortable and I do my best to work fast and fix it for you.

You are my second born which means you'll get your fair share of hand me downs from your older brother. I'm making sure to get clothes that are new to you as well but some of the clothes I had for Samson are so freaking cute that I'm dressing you in them too. But you are going through them much faster than he did! The two of you have very different body types. We've already been given clothes for you that are based on your brother's interests and I want to do my best to always treat the two of you as complete individuals. Hopefully you'll grow up with feeling any pressure to like the things he does.

I am happy and blessed for having you in my life, Asher. I've officially known you for three months now and I'll never be the same person I was before you were born. I love you very much!


Friday, March 8, 2013

the one where i make meatloaf

We've made a concentrated effort to eat at home significantly more than we eat out anywhere. This is going well, for the most part. K picked up a few tacos on his way home last night and he ended up talking to one of the waitresses about breastfeeding and they said, "See you tomorrow!" so maybe it's not going as well as it should!

But, here's a fantastic recipe for meatloaf. Meatloaf is meaty and loafy so you kind of either like it or you don't. And everyone has a recipe they swear is more delicious than the one you normally eat. This is my version of that! It's based on The Pioneer Woman's Favorite Meatloaf. It's slightly modified to save a little cash and a little grease.


1 cup milk
4-6 slices of white bread (I use 4 of Texas Toast because I like making meatloaf sandwiches on Texas Toast with the leftovers)
1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground pork
1 heaping cup grated parmesan cheese
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
2 tsp garlic powder
1 bunch minced parsley
4 eggs, beaten

1 1/2 cups ketchup
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp dry mustard (or a squirt of yellow mustard)
Tabasco to taste


1. Preheat the oven to 350.
2.  Pour the milk over the slices of bread. Let sit for several minutes.
3. Add the meat, parmasan cheese, salt, pepper, garlic powder, parsley, and eggs to the bowl with the milk soaked bread. Mix together thoroughly. Clean hands work the best!
4. Form the mixture into a loaf and put it on a broiler pan.
5. Spread about 1/3 of the sauce on top. Bake for 45 minutes at 350. Spread an additional 1/3 of the sauce on top and bake 15 more minutes. Save the last 1/3 for dipping after the meatloaf is done.
6. Serve! It is delicious with something cheesy on the side or classic mashed potatoes too!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

the one that is a list of happy things

Some things making me happy this week...

...S is talking nonstop and his sentences are getting more complex and longer. I am endlessly amused by his "Guess what!"
...worth a separate mention, this conversation: Me: S, did you poop? S: No Mommy. I will do that later.
...A smiles and smiles and smiles oldest son and my youngest niece are becoming quite the cohorts. They should be nicer to each other sometimes, but luckily they start it equally.
...planning S's third birthday party! It's super tiny and probably the last year we can get away with having a meal with a bunch of adults for his party. Heh.
...K and I having a short state of the union conversation after a sermon about marriage. The state of our union is good!
...a date night (well, afternoon) on the calendar!
...Twitter (@meljamc)
...setting up a job where I'll be doing social media for a non-profit. The expectations are kind of high, but I really think I can meet them! And I get to do it from home in the middle of diapers and runny noses.
...a good two month check-up for A. His doctor said, "Oh, I just LOVE him!" That's music to a mama's ears!
...getting fitted for a super good quality nursing bra. Can't reccommend Nordstrom enough! I can't afford to actually shop there, but their customer service is outstanding. They got me all set up for my wedding and I can't tell you how relieved I am to have nursing bras that fit well on their way to my house!
...plans to go to a friend's house (a really fantastic friend) and watch some Friday Night Lights with a bunch of cool people coming up soon!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

newsletter: month 2

Sweet Asher Baby,

It's been two months and I think we are doing this family of four thing pretty well! You fit right in and the three of us completely adore you. I have to remind myself that although I'm comfortable being a mama to an itty bitty because I've done it once before, you are not the same person that your brother is. Some things will be the same, but a lot won't because you don't have the same personalities. I want both of you to feel free to be yourselves and not worry about what the other guy is doing. Right now that is hard sometimes. Bed time is basically awful. I'm either holding you and telling you that I have to put you down for a few minutes to take care of your brother, or I'm holding him and saying the same thing. I know we are all going to get better at this, but I'm hoping it's much sooner rather than later!

Anyway, you are much more alert now and I'm catching a better and better picture of your personality. For example, you love being held tight and snuggled for long periods of time but hate having a blanket on top of you. You have an amazing smile and share it fairly freely, but save the biggest ones for me and Daddy. You are kind of big for your age (almost 14 pounds this month!) and are strong and alert. You are cooing and making all kinds of other sounds and will "talk" to me. You LOVE baths--your whole little body calms down and after I get you dressed and let you sit in your bouncy chair, you stretch out and just sleep.

This month has been a big adventure of me taking you and your brother out and about by myself. We kind of holed up in the house for the most part to try to keep the flu at bay. I've had a tinge of worry since you were born about you getting sick and I just wanted to keep that away from you as long as possible. And so it begins... Mommy wanting to keep you nice and safe and protected at home! But Daddy works a lot and we need groceries, so out of the house we go. I'm still working out kinks and will probably come up with an excellent routine just in time for things to change again. You don't cry the WHOLE time anymore though, so at least that!

I am crazy about you, Asher. I'm so glad that I get to be yours and you are mine. One of my biggest hopes is that above all else you know that you are loved tremendously. By me, by Daddy, and by God. Looking towards the future and thinking about how to teach you to respect everyone just because they are fellow humans, how to be a productive member of society, and to be a God seeker is super daunting at the moment. When I'm in the midst of laundry and cooking and wrangling you and your brother, sometimes the days go by so slowly I can hardly stand it. But the weeks and months are flying by and I hope so hard that I don't miss anything while I'm in the middle of doing everything.

By the way, your hair is falling out in kind of an unfortunate pattern at the moment. Your hairline is receding greatly and the rest of your hair sticks straight up on its own, especially right after a bath. I am tempted to use the clippers to even it all out, but the hair you have right now is one of the softest things I've ever touched and I don't want to discard it hastily to never be able to touch it again. I'm looking forward to seeing what color your hair ends up being and your eyes, too. I suspect you'll have brown eyes because they are getting awfully dark to stay blue. But I will take it.
Your smiles start in your eyes and then slowly spread across your whole face. I hope that you approach life a little like that. Let new things start small and then let them spread across your whole being as you go along. No need to rush. No need to always meet other people's expectations. No need to take on more than you can handle.

I love you, Asher. Here's to another month of getting to know each other and plenty of snuggles and kisses.


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

the one where i make a list of happy things

Trying to get back into the swing of things online here! I have a list of happy things!

...the way A's hair stands straight up after I give him a bath. nails are long and strong.
...S just went to bed and is actually quiet in his room which is practically a miracle! living room is moving from embarrassingly messy to just plain messy.
...A gained 2 pounds in 2 weeks from breastfeeding alone!
...the way the boys' pediatrician genuinely cares about them.
...drinking gobs of water.
...carmex. new shower head making a 10 minute shower feel like a vacation. lots of really good food.
...I've already lost more weight than I gained while pregnant.
...plans to lose a gazillion more plans once I'm cleared to start exercising again in the works.
...Friday Night Lights
...getting nervous about the amount of baby clothes in the next few sizes and then opening up a box of a ton of clothes. So thankful for the ridiculous amount of clothes I have for A!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

newsletter: month 1

Dear Asher,

You are one month old today! It has been a wild and crazy time and I've wanted to sit down and really write for awhile now and am finally just carving out some time to do it. I have a lot to tell you about!

First of all, your name, sweet baby. Asher Gerald. Daddy and I waited until we found out you were a boy to start talking about names for you. I was very particular about what I wanted and Daddy was amused enough by my list of requirements to just let me try to make it happen. I wanted another Old Testament name (to go with Samson) but I didn't want it to sound like we were trying to raise an army. I didn't want it to start with the letter "S" or end with the "on" sound. I wanted it to be slightly uncommon but not so unique no one would remember it or be afraid to try to say it. I wanted it to be strong and solid so someday when all someone knows of you is on your resume, they still take you seriously. I found a list of Old Testament boy names someplace and "Asher" was on it and I loved it right away! It means happy and blessed. Daddy liked it alright and really liked the meaning. We stayed open to the possibility of another name that we liked popping up, but I really felt like it was your name right away.

At your first growth ultrasound, Dr. Schwope told us there was some mild concern about the placement of the umbilical cord because it wasn't exactly centered. She said we would just need to monitor you a little bit to make sure you were getting all the nutrients you needed. Then at your next growth ultrasound, when the baby is typically around one pound, the estimate of what you weighed was FOUR pounds. I figured you were pretty happy and blessed in there! Daddy said he thought God was honoring our name choice for you. And I told that story once to some friends at dinner but we kept your name basically a secret until the day you were born.

Gerald comes from my great-grandfather. He was my mom's dad's dad and he only just died this past summer. I have so many memories of him, from when I was just a little kid to introducing Daddy to him. He lived a tremendous life and was active until just months before he finally had to give in to COPD. I hope that when I get old, I get old like Granddaddy Hicks. I hope to hone my gardening skills to get close to his talents and know that Daddy will take you and your brother fishing. When he died this summer, both Daddy and I were surprised by how hard it hit us. We thought the best way to honor him and the relationships we had with him was to name our son after him. I know he'd be tickled about that and would have proudly told anyone who would listen that your middle name was his first name.

You were 10 lbs 13 oz and 22 inches tall at birth and born at 39 weeks. Through all the ultrasounds, I caught one glimpse of your handsome little face because all the other times you covered it with your hands or feet or sometimes both! It was very fitting that one of the very first pictures taken of you after being born you put your hand up on your face. I'll write about how you were born and our hospital stay at another time, but suffice it to say, it seems like I can't really do anything without ending up with a good story to tell after it's all done.

Something I absolutely love about you is that despite you being bigger than the average newborn, you curl up like a little roly poly baby when I pick you up and put you on my shoulder. You are so snuggly! I love holding you and breathing your baby smell in deep. You have a decent amount of the softest hair I've ever touched in my life. It's kind of dark brown right now and your eyes are mostly blue. I don't know that either is going to stay that color, but I can't wait to find out! You have chubby and velvety soft cheeks and are a long baby. Your torso, your legs, your fingers, your neck, everything is long. Your baby pictures look remarkably similar to my baby pictures, but at the same time I know you definitely have Daddy's chin. It's only been a month and you've already grown from fresh new baby into a handsome baby boy. Your hair might end up dark like Daddy's or lighter than mine, it might be straight or curly or somewhere inbetween. You might tower over us when you're done growing or you might just be the same height as me. You might use those long fingers to fill out a baseball glove or palm a basketball or play the guitar or write. Whatever you look like and whatever innate talents you have and skills you develop, I will always be ridiculously crazy about you.


You have an older brother, Samson, who is completely crazy about you. He just calls you "Baby" and talks to you when you cry and is very concerned when he doesn't know where you are. He likes to put too many blankets on you and runs to get a pacifier. He is excited to teach you how to play trains and trucks when you get older. You are very little to be smiling at people on purpose, but I saw you smile at Samson as he talked to you the other day and I really think it was genuine. I am excited and daunted to be raising brothers. I hope you two will be very good friends more often than the times that you annoy each other. I hope Samson always runs to find something to comfort you when you're upset and that you always smile at him even when it seems impossible. 

I will scoop you up in just a minute and kiss your head, just because I can. I'll wish for a little bit more sleep but be thrilled that you're my son and I'm your mama. I love you, Asher. Here's to your first month!

Love, Mama