Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Toddler Story Time

A few weeks before Beck was born I started taking Harper to Toddler Story Time at the library. I thought it would be a good way to get us out of the house and that it could be something we would do together after the baby came.

She was only about 14 months old when we went to our first story time. We got there a few minutes early, grabbed a blanket, spread it on the floor and I very carefully lowered my hugely pregnant body down to the floor. She immediately bolted for the door. So I very awkwardly and with way too much effort got back up and chased her around the bookshelves and bribed her back into the room.

Then she sat and played with the contents of my purse while I sang stupid songs and repeated silly chants with the other moms. Harper wasn't the only crazy. One little girl immediately started screaming as soon as she sat down and her mom looked at me and said, "She thinks we're in nursery." Ha!

I thought she would get used to it but she never really did. On the last day, she used story time to practice gymnastics.

Please notice that the other kids in the background are doing puzzles together like they were supposed to. Welp, my child just does her own thing I guess. Can't fault her for that!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

3:00 am

I am ashamed for my behavior last night. For some reason sometimes at 3:00 am when I am woken from my crazy dreamland I turn into a monster and I behave in a less-than-patient manner towards that sweet babe of mine.

It should be noted that I have never been one to be nice to those who wake me. In high school I was a big napper. Early morning seminary combined with a grueling IB curriculum and subsequent mountains of homework (which were much more stressful than they needed to be thanks to my non-kickable procrastination habit and constant need for a new gentleman suitor) will do that to just about anyone. My siblings used to argue about whose turn it was to rouse me from my happy place because I behaved much like the cave from Aladdin. Only I wasn't as articulate as he was. The "who disturbs my slumber?" part was more of a hardly discernable "who-do-you-think-you-are-leave-me-alone-if-you-want-to-live" type grumble.

So it was with a heavy heart that I signed up for this gig called Motherhood. "Mom" was the only title I ever wanted, but I knew it would come at a very high price: Z's. Lots and lots of Z's.

As I expected, my sleep has been interrupted at best for the last 6 months straight. Six months is a very long time when we're talking about losing sleep. Sure, I used to pull all-nighters in high school to do projects at the last minute, and then in college to play with my roommates. But in those instances I always knew I could crash afterwards and sleep to my heart's content. When it comes to babies, however, no one knows when the sweet relief of sleeping all night long will reappear. Harper had it down pretty good at about five/six months.With Beck I had a bout of good luck right at two months where he slept for eight hours every night for a whole week. I thought I had arrived.

I thought wrong.

Here we are, two months later when babies are supposedly capable of sleeping 8, 10, even 12 hours straight and the most I get out of him is four. Four measly hours. This baby loves his mama.

I've been trying to teach him to sleep through the night for a few weeks now but it's not working. So last night I was out of patience. Every last ounce had been spent. My mantra in my all-too-frequent times of mothering weakness is to be kind and loving and gentle. I was none of those things at 3:00 this morning.

After the diaper was changed and the bottle was made and I was sitting in the rocking chair holding the daytime angel baby, I told my Heavenly Father for the 500th time that I can't do this anymore. I want so badly to exercise and get my body back in shape but that's next to impossible with my energy at the level it is. I told him I can't handle Beck's sleeping issues.

It was at this moment that something told me "He won't stay this way forever."

Soon he will be all grown and I will physically ache to hold him in my arms in the middle of the night. I will physically ache to have him need me the way he needs me now. I will physically ache to feel the way I feel now when he snuggles into my chest and falls into a deep slumber.

My body can wait a few months. Of course I will continue to try and exercise as much as possible, but any real dedication will come with time. Besides, my squishy tummy and extra voluptuous bum are badges of honor. I have birthed two children in a 15-month timespan. Some women would love to birth babies but they just can't. So I'll stop crying and whining about my extra fluff.

I went back to bed this morning around 4:00 and didn't fall asleep for at least an hour. To fight the insomnia I looked through the most recent pictures I had taken on my phone of my two little cuties. Even when I'm mad at them, I miss them.

When we were all up for the morning and Eric was long gone to work, my two babies and I laid in my bed, savoring the first light of the morning and the lingering warmth of the sheets. Harper was kissing on her brother and chattering away and I took a deep breath and knew that 3:00 am really isn't that big of a deal. An incessant "uhssat? uhssat?" (What's that?) from Harper brought me back to reality.

"Oh that's Brother's swaddling blanket. Here, let me show you."

I wrapped her up tight and she stretched that thing beyond its limit. And refused to get out of it. That visual reminder that babies grow faster than I can handle was all I needed. Sure, I still feel like a zombie most days and I have almost no energy, but I have my babies. They need me like no one has ever needed me before and I need that feeling.

Bring it on 3:00 am, bring it on! (and 11:00 pm, and 1:30 am, and 5:30 am, and 6:00 am....)

Friday, January 18, 2013


Harper is little Miss Personality. I mean she comes by it honestly so I can't say I'm too surprised about this. She is opinionated, headstrong, independent, dynamic, talkative, a quick learner, blah, blah, blah. I was expecting all of those things out of my offspring. But the quality that has surprised me in her is how incredibly kind and loving she is. This has happened completely on her own. I would never say that those are on my list of "strengths." I mean, I try to be kind and loving but it takes a concerted effort on my part.

Before Beck was born everyone told me how hard it was going to be for Harper to adjust. I was told that she would be angry and resentful and that she would go through a phase of not really liking me because I would be turning all my attention to the baby. I was so afraid for that boy to make his debut. Harper and I had a very sweet relationship, she adored me almost as much as I adored her. She would spontaneously love on me without me even asking her to and it melted my heart every time. I did not want that to change. 

So it was with a heavy heart that I left her in the care of her grandmother as I waddled to the car, taking stop-and-breathe breaks every 2 minutes. She would no longer be my only baby. I would no longer belong to just her. My time and attention would from that point on always be divided. 

The first time Harper came to the hospital to meet her new baby brother she combed his hair. It was equal parts hilarious and endearing. She saw my comb, picked it up, walked right over to Beck and started combing his hair. They've been buddies ever since. 

Each and every time he wakes up from a nap, Harper starts saying "brother" over and over again and baby talks to him as she purses her lips and slowly shakes her head from side to side. And immediately afterwards she insists on kissing him. She says "kiss" until I bring his little head to her level so she can plant a big, wet (and sometimes sticky) kiss all over him. It melts my heart every time. Sometimes we tell her to give him a kiss but she usually comes up with the idea all on her own. A couple weeks ago was my mom's birthday. I got the kids dressed and posed and starting snapping some pictures for her and without warning Harper just turned and started kissing him like she knew it would make us all swoon. 

All my fears have been put to rest as I have watched Harper fall effortlessly into her role as Sister. She has never once acted out in any display of jealousy or rage towards Beck or towards me. In fact I would have to say she has only become more loving and affectionate towards all of us since he was born. 

But her love and kindness doesn't end with us. She is actually quite affectionate towards complete strangers (so far only of the child variety). She'll walk right up to them and start pointing out their shoes and their jackets and their pants and whatever else she is in the mood to say and then she'll try to give them a hug. I have seen all sorts of reactions, from returned stranger affection to very hateful shoves. It breaks my heart to see her put herself out there and offer her own sort of friendship to other kids and to be rejected so quickly. (I can't help but feel that those behaviors are learned, not innate. I think babies are born with traits similar to their loving Heavenly Parents and had their environment not taught them otherwise they would retain those qualities forever.)

This summer I had the opportunity to nanny for a family in our ward that have three children, each with a very unique set of "special" needs. The middle child, a girl, has multiple seizures a day. Her mom took her to Omaha for 2 weeks to pick up a service dog, trained to help comfort her through those seizures and protect her from harm. The next week was spent in Ohio doing follow-up visits for the brain surgery she had undergone 6 months previously. So for 3 weeks I was put in charge of their youngest boy Jared. I don't know what the full story is on him and why he is the way that he is, but up until just a year or so ago (he is now 7) he was fed through a tube in his stomach. Now he drinks milk but that's all he eats. He has hearing aids, glasses, and wears braces on his feet. He had a kidney transplant when he was very young. I don't know exactly what level he is at cognitively but he is behind and he struggles coping when things don't go his way. He is prone to meltdowns. To ask him to tolerate my 14-month-old was a lot for him. He would get pretty upset with her sometimes and yell at her for things that bothered him. I understood that he just didn't understand her intentions. Anyway, it was a long, very challenging 3 weeks and I was worried that Harper might lash out at him and dish it right back. But she didn't. She just happily played alongside him and was excited to go back to his house day after day. 

This past week I was asked to babysit him again while his mom took his sister to the Mayo Clinic for more testing. I cannot tell you how happy I was to see how Harper lit up as he walked through the front door on Monday. She was giggling at him for the first 15 minutes and followed him around like his little shadow all week long. Every day was the same. Jared would come over and Harper would squeal in delight. He still didn't really love having her around but he was much more tolerant this time. 

Jared LOVES angry birds. In any variety. We happen to have some plush angry birds and I pulled them out for him to play with on Tuesday. Harper apparently noticed how much he loved them because the next day as soon as he got there, she went herself and got them out and brought them to him. She had been playing with her other toys before he got there, not interested at all in the birds. But upon his arrival she knew he would want to play with those birds so she went to find them. I was so touched by her thoughtfulness! I didn't know a 19-month-old had the capacity to think that way.

I hope Harper never trades in her sweetness for popularity or success. I can't fool myself into thinking that she'll always light up when I enter the room (everyone has to be a teenager for a few years) but I pray that her love for others never fades. 

If I keep hanging around this girl, I may have a few new valuable traits to add to my own list of "strengths."

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Sense of Humor Required

I have a funny story and some cute pictures to share. This is no guarantee that I will continue blogging or that it will be anything that can be considered "consistent," but I do like writing and sometimes I narrate blog posts in my mind. Maybe more of them will start to be published now that I have a good one to two hours of peace and quiet each afternoon while my beautiful babies take their naps.

I have not started my Christmas shopping. It is December 13th. This is pretty typical for me, however, it is not very smart considering I now have two children who can both be referred to as babies. Two babies. They are darling and they are fun, but they make things a little more challenging.

This, combined with the fact that I have been cooped up in the house all week with a case of the stomach flu and a special kind of infection that only nursing mothers can get, I decided today was the day I would begin my Christmas shopping. With two babies.

Old Navy was my first stop.

Usually when I arrive somewhere I do some quick math in my head as to when Beck ate last, when he will need to eat again, when Harper pooped last, when she will poop again and the equation tells me whether I need my diaper bag or not. I don't bring my diaper bag inside with me everywhere I go because I'm already carrying a 21 pound carseat on one arm and a 21 pound 18-month-old on the other with a purse slung over my shoulder and I figure if need be I can always run out to the car and grab it.

I walked in and got everyone situated into the cart and Harper immediately wanted out because she saw the dog statue. I tried to ignore her and headed back to the toddler section but she was still crying about wanting to get out and see the dog. So I let her down. She started making a bee-line for the front of the store because she somehow knew in her little brain exactly where the dog was and how to get back to him. {OK, I will concede for the sake of the other people in the store who are listening to my child's tantrum and we will go see the dog.} Luckily a few pats on his back was all she needed and I convinced her to come back and shop with me. The good part about going back to the front of the store was a nice worker woman was standing there this time telling me about the specials. Baby items were buy 3 get one free! {We're in business.}

Harper's section had some dang cute stuff and I was going a little nutso over the colored skinny jeans. Then Beck started fussing. Took him out. Still fussing. Now both babies were not in the cart but it was still somehow overflowing (carseats will do that to any cart) and I was still pushing it. I checked my handy dandy mommy app and realized it had been 2+ hours since Beck ate last. Due to the aforementioned special mommy infection, he was eating less at each feeding and getting hungry more frequently. {Shoot, no diaper bag.}

I checked the bathroom but it was not going to cut it as a feeding station. Trying to avoid going back out to the car for the diaper bag and subsequently the nursing cover, I took my cart full of crap and my two babies to the fitting rooms and asked the nice lady there, "I know this is kind of weird but can I feed my baby in a fitting room?"

Her response: "I have no idea," combined with a slightly annoyed look.

It was then that I noticed her purse and the fact that she was not an Old Navy employee. {So awesome.} I  apologized profusely and proceeded to let myself into a fitting room. The big handicapped one. Anyone with two babies and a cart full of crap is considered handicapped in my opinion.

I sat down and started feeding Beck and Harper was having fun checking herself out in the mirror and saying "You!" every time she caught her reflection. I was just laughing at her and regaining my composure and then she froze and grunted and squished her face. Crap. Literally. Harper pooped and still no diaper bag. {OK that's fine, I'll just have to go get it after all. No big deal.}

I continued doing my business and looked over just as Harper's sweet little hand reached up and grabbed the door handle and pulled it down and OPENED THE DOOR!!! Proud mommy moment right there: she opened the door for the first time! Not the most convenient of times as my you-know-what was in clear sight for all Old Navy shoppers to see but luckily no one was standing there and I managed to run over there and close it just in time.

{Crisis averted.}

I finished the feeding and we headed out to get the diaper bag. Harper was helping me "push" the cart while I carried Beck with one arm and steered with the other. Somehow we managed to make it to the front of the store and I realized Beck had puked all over both of us. Still no diaper bag... Which means no spit rag. {OK I'm just going to pretend that didn't happen for now.}

I parked the cart right by the door and left everything in it and picked up Harper and as I was heading out the door I told the nice worker woman who told me about the awesome specials that I would be right back. Then I took my two babies out into the frigid air with no jackets or blankets because I had left them in the cart. {I am such an awesome mom.}

We hurried back in and Harper again helped me push the cart all the way back to the bathroom. Halfway through changing her someone else tried to come in. I knew they were going to be waiting awhile but what can you do? I was handicapped after all. When I finished with Harper I bribed her with a granola bar and managed to get her back into the cart. I gave the woman waiting to use the restroom an apologetic smile... Harper's poopy diapers are not for the faint of heart. Eric can't handle them unless he's armed with a can of air freshener. She may have changed her mind about needing to use the restroom but I didn't stick around to find out.

I obviously could not pass up the deals and we had come all this way plus I actually put makeup on today so I did what any sane handicapped person would do: I continued shopping. After going a little crazy and then reigning myself in and making some cuts, I was ready to check out. Remember the granola bar? Well it was chocolate. And it was now all over Harper's hands and her cute little face. {Oh well... A girl's gotta eat. Plus she's quiet and happy.}

The cashier says hello followed by "Are you by chance Eric Bready's wife?" {Why yes, yes I am. Although I'm not sure he would want to claim me at this very moment. I look a little incompetent and bimbo-ish with my newborn covered in puke in my arm and my 18-month-old covered in chocolate holding the brand new clothes I'm about to buy.} "Yeah! Who are you?" I stumbled through the awkward conversation that followed, took my bag and receipt and headed towards the doors again.

It took me a good five minutes standing at the front doors trying to get Beck back into his carseat and getting Harper cleaned up and gathering up my cart full of crap all while new customers were walking in and probably wishing they hadn't. That nice worker woman who told me about the awesome specials was still there and just as I was about to leave she told me I was very brave with a sweet smile on her face.

Old Navy was my last stop.

Monday, May 14, 2012

For Posterity...

Just some pics for people who care

Friday, March 9, 2012

Today, I Feel Like Blogging

So I will. I really have no excuse not to blog. I mean, I am home all day with Harper. But I never feel like blogging so I just don't do it. I don't usually do things that I don't feel like doing. Like cleaning the bathroom... ugh I hate cleaning the bathroom. (But I promise I clean it... at least more often than I blog anyway!)

Anyway, tomorrow my baby girl will be 9 MONTHS OLD!!! That means I can say the whole she's-been-out-of-me-as-long-as-she-was-in-me thing. That's weird. I must admit that the out-of-me time has gone way faster than the in-me time did. Boy did I not love being pregnant. Plus now that she's out of me I get to enjoy her cuteness rather than imagine it, or in my case worry that she was going to come out ugly. And dang, my baby is CUTE. Oh my gosh and I'm not just talking about her chubby cheeks and squishy thighs. Her personality is so dang fun. This girl is hilarious and she definitely keeps us on our toes. She started crawling about a month or so ago and ever since then she is busy, busy, busy. She is always on the move and does not like to sit still. Which has made church rather exhausting. But she also has discovered her voice and she loves to hear it. She talks all day long and it's so fun! Our favorite is this awesome zombie noise that she makes. I don't know where she came up with it but she's been doing it for a few months now and it still makes us laugh every time. Only now when she does it I'm pretty sure she's doing it to get us to laugh at her. And when we do laugh, she copies us with this funny little fake laugh.

I'm pretty sure that aside from the cuteness thing, she's also very smart. She started making the "mama" sound a couple weeks ago. We had been trying to get her to say it for months and you wanna know when she finally decided to use it?? Well she and I were in Washington visiting my family and she decided to wake up in the middle of the night and I was trying my darndest to ignore her (not the easiest thing to do when the pack n play is 2 feet from my bed) and after several minutes of her kind of whining, she paused, and then I hear the saddest little "ma ma ma ma ma" you could ever imagine. It just about broke my heart. And of course it got me out of bed to get her and hold her... See what I mean? SMART! She waited for the most opportune moment to use those words in order to get the maximum benefit for herself. Ever since then she uses it when she's sad/wants something that I'm not giving her. It usually makes me give in. Oh boy are we in for trouble with this smartypants.

Enough chatter, let's just let some pictures do the talking, shall we?

Harper's first trip to Disneyland!! It was a pretty quick trip, but she had lots of fun.

Just eating some oatmeal and looking cute, as usual.

Hey little crawler!

Harper's first major owie. OK, it wasn't really that major. And it was much more traumatic for me than it was for her. She pulled my plugged-in phone off a shelf and it landed directly on her eye which bled on my white sweatshirt and I freaked out and felt like a horrible mom. It was bruised for a week or so but she recovered just fine.

Such a sweet girl!

Story time with Daddy! Don't be miss-led by the picture though... She doesn't really like story time all that much. Too much sitting, not enough moving.

Haha love that funny face! She's gonna be just like her daddy.

Just hammin' it up.

She is pro at sitting up after crawling around. She is not pro at avoiding sitting on things. It doesn't seem to bother her to have toys under her bum. Maybe it doesn't phase her thanks to the diaper padding.

Eating an orange. She LOVES oranges.

And this is the most recent picture of her... Somehow she got the sweet potatoes all over her face. Which just adds to the cuteness factor.

In other news.... I got my diploma in the mail! That was a pretty cool feeling. Eric took a picture of me when I first got it. I was wearing an apron and holding my baby on my hip. Classic? Yes. Cliche? Totally. But I wouldn't have it any other way! We'll be walking across that stage next month and it's going to be surreal. The end of an era for us. Eric picked up our caps and gowns the other day and I may have shed a tear or two when he brought them home. BYU has been good to me and it will be hard to leave. Even if we just go up north a few miles.

The next couple months will be bringing some big decisions our way. Maybe I'll update, but don't hold your breath. I don't want to be held accountable for anyone passing out or anything. :)

Friday, November 25, 2011

St. George

Welp, here's another post about Eric. But, I can't ONLY blog about Harper, right?? I don't have many picture for this event, but on October 1st, Eric ran the St. George marathon. Holy cow. THAT was an amazing thing to witness... All those marathoners running/walking/barely moving across the finish line. We saw so many people get right to the end and their legs just totally gave out. Their legs literally stopped functioning and it was all they could do to limp across the finish line. Eric didn't have much time to train after the half Iron Man, so the longest run he had ever done in his life up to this point was a half marathon. He felt really good through the whole race and was keeping a pace to finish at about 3 hours, 45 minutes. But then he became acquainted with mile 20 and slowed way down. He just did a run/walk combo for the next 4 miles and then was able to run the last 2 miles. He finished in about 4 hours, 18 minutes. He's not super thrilled with his time but I think it's pretty dang good considering the amount of training he was able to do. He already wanted to do another one as soon as he finished!

Harper seems to have one method of showing her support... by falling asleep. I couldn't believe she fell asleep in this position but it was so cute! She even slept through me cheering for all the racers.

Here comes Doug!!

And there he is!

My old seminary teacher also happened to be running this race. She used to talk about her marathons and running in seminary (I was lucky enough to have her as a Freshman AND a Senior) so it was really neat for me to see her crossing the finish line at one of her races. She totally rocked it and got a PR on this race! Pretty impressive considering she trains at sea level back in Vancouver and came to race somewhere around 2,000 feet higher.

Again, it was really inspiring to watch, but I don't think I'll ever run a marathon. It definitely takes a huge amount of desire and I just don't have that. 26.2 miles?? No thanks!!

Half Iron, Half Man, 100% Sexy

A half Iron Man people. Eric did a HALF IRON MAN. That's a 1.2 mile swim, a 56 mile bike ride and a 13.1 mile run. A total of 70.3 miles. He trained for it all summer and the big day was Saturday, August 27th. I must admit, I was a bit nervous about the whole thing... I didn't want him to overdo it and injure his back and I also didn't want him to fail (heaven forbid) and not finish and be super disappointed. But he did great and I was so impressed!!

Early in the morning waiting for the race to start. The guy on the right is Eric's good friend D Brack, who did the race last year and was the reason Eric signed up for it this year.

Eric, Jonathan and Doug just before the race started

The race start, transitions and finish were at Utah Lake. It was actually really pretty early in the morning and so serene

Random homeless guy that ran the race... Just kidding! This is Eric's friend Jonathan that Eric got to do the race with him. He's a BYU student but didn't shave ALL SUMMER and this was the result.

Gettin ready to go

Eric was most nervous about the swim... You can just see the anticipation on his face

What a sight it was to see all these crazy people getting in the water

And they're off!

Here's Eric coming out of the water. Eric did really great on the swim! He did have a small panic attack right as the swim started, but he was able to turn onto his back, regain his composure and then he rolled back over and got into a great groove. I was so nervous during the swim because it was impossible to tell who was who so I had no idea where he was or how he was doing. I knew how nervous he had been so I was just worried and seeing him come out towards the beginning of the wave of people was quite a relief!

Yeah! So pumped for the next leg!

Starting the bike portion

His number one fan was quite a trooper, hanging out all day outside. She slept for most of it.

Waiting for him to come in on the bike... The bike part took him the longest and it was KILLER. Every one of his 3 friends that were racing with him came in way before him on the bike and me and Kelly (Doug's wife) were kinda getting worried. He finally came in and just looked so beat. I felt horrible and honestly I didn't think he would finish. But he took off on the run and did so great on that portion!

Here he is coming into the finish line! Halfway through the run they loop through the park so I was able to see him at mile 6.5 and I jogged with him for about a quarter of a mile. He probably was most prepared for the run and it showed. He made up some great time and felt really good crossing the finish line.


Wow! What an accomplishment! I pretty much thought he was insane for wanting to do this race and I think I was more nervous about it than he was but it turned out to be such a great experience. He finished in just under 7 hours... Can you imagine doing intense exercise for that many hours STRAIGHT??!!? I'll never do one, but there were plenty of women participating and it was quite inspiring.