Monday, October 4, 2010

Friendships


As a little girl, making friends always came rather easy for me. I naturally found a way to fit in with everyone, and though always seeming to be in that awkward stage, most kids seemed to enjoy my company. I would gravitate to those who always played hopscotch, calling them my besties, and then a few months later switch to those who spend most time on the monkey bars.  And so on and so forth.  All the while feeling connected and rooted in meaningful friendships.

As I have grown up, it amazes me how much more difficult it is to create those meaningful friendships even though there is so much more to share and relate.  Sure, there is time to build those friendships as school, social activities and sometimes part-time jobs are all centered around yourself and time to enjoy other people and those friendships.  Life is conveniently "all about you" and you are able to do as you please.

As a woman, friendships are particularly important for encouraging and building up as we surf, sometimes muddle, through this thing we call life.  And yet, this is the time we tend to forget about outside friendships, totally consumed with the title of employee/mom/wife, too exhausted to think of anything more.

For too long, I have operated in this mode.  Hanging on tightly to old friendships, and trying to create new friendships stuck between the superficial and deep friendship level with never enough time to get anywhere.

Recently, I had a chance to go to a conference with a bunch of ladies I respect and admire for many different reasons.  I am humbled to be included in their desire to put forth an effort in creating an accountability community full of encouragement and truth.  With time as our only challenge, eventually we hope to finally find those childhood frienships that once came so easily.

I am so thankful for all who choose to pour into my life and allow me to call them friend. 


Saturday, August 28, 2010

Over using "love?"



I can hear it now: "I totally LOVE these earings!" escaping a cute, fourteen year old girls mouth.  Rolling my eyes slightly, with an adoring grin on my face, I would secretly wonder how she will react when "love" is truly the appropriate verb to use in a situation.  Unfortunately, we all know that this particular verb IS over used thus losing its luster.

But then again, have you ever been around a toddler (girl)? Toddlers are a unique blend of life where everything is new and amazing, and all emotions and belifs are genuine; running through the core, no questions asked.   For example, my daughter truly believes she is a princess and that someday she WILL live in Jesus' castle. Because of this belief she knows and loves the idea that Jesus knows and loves her. And yet, in the same breathe she will explain to you, with the same sincerity, how much she loves Peanut Butter and Grape Jelly sandwiches. Looking at her face, you can not tell a difference in emotion between the two.

Other things she loves:

daddy

hair clips

cheese rollups at Taco Bell

hugging (aka choking) her sister

Barney

going to church

her snuggly bed

mommy

"her" pool

wal-mart and sam's club

singing "Jesus loves the little children"

coloring with her markers

Disney Princess stickers

chocolate

yo-gret (aka yogurt)

...and the list goes on....

My question is, so when does the innocence turn into an avenue for eye rolling? Maybe when the mood swings get more intense...I guess it is something to look forward to.  :)   

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Monkey Business


We have been blessed, the last few years, with tickets to our local zoo, being the highlight of our summer for many reasons. Each trip has so many fun memories, but as Mia gets older it is fun to see her interact with the animals she sees, communicate where she wants to go next, and continue to talk about her trip for weeks to come.

We had been talking about going to the zoo for a week, each day bringing tears to her precious face with realization that today was not THE day. So, when Saturday morning rolled around, I was bursting at the seams to spill the beans, congratulating her on waiting so patiently for this day to finally arrive. I had to wait until breakfast was finished, or the poor girl wouldn't eat anything, and give myself a good time frame so she wouldn't feel like she was "getting ready" forever just to leave. Finally it came...

"Do you want to wear your Nike shoes or your Converse shoes today for the zoo?" I said, trying to hide a grin with a twinkle in my eye.

Head quickly turning in my direction, she cocked her head with a don't-mess-with-me look on her face, "the zoo. it's TODAY?!"

She was beside herself. With just her sleep shirt and panties on, she went darting up the stairs to get her socks and "Uncle Nate" shoes. I busted her bubble slightly when I pointed out that she need shorts on and a new shirt, but we dodged that explosion with continual comments about all the amazing animals she was going to see.


The trip was amazing, full of "What's next, Mommy!" and "Hurry! Let's go see ___!" It was a true highlight with pictures and memories that will be treasured forever. She even rode a horse... ("The black one, mommy. NOT the brown one.") continually pointing out to us that she was such a big girl.


To this day, I still have a little voice that says "Mommy. Let's talk zoo animals. Remember?"

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

bandaids instead of kisses


I remember it like it was yesterday.

Wait. It was just yesterday; yesterday was when the world was just as it should be in this mommy's eyes.  I'm talking about those beautiful days when my naive little girl believed that mommy was so perfectly magical that even her most tender kisses could heal the most horrific of ouchies.  "Mommy kiss it!" was music to my ears as I'd scoop her up into  my arms and smother her with the appropriate number of kisses...and then some!

Then it happened. The scene played out as normal. A small tumble at stage left; mommy waiting at stage right,  on her knees arms opened in a "find refuge here" stance; a horrified "mommy kiss it" creeping through the sobs just as rehearsed numorous times before. But then, someone changed the ending...

"IT STILL HURTS!!!" came tumbling out of precious little lips, leading  way for sobs to turn into whaling!

As of that wasn't enough, her outburts was followed by "please get me a bandaid to fix it?"

Now, I'm no doctor but I thoroughly assessed the situation and found no blood, puncture wounds or excess skin that would naturally warrant the use of a bandaid.  Thus I came to two conclusions with the situation.

One. My lips...nor anything else about me...do not hold special healing, or other amazing, powers.

Two. My daughter continues to learn reality more quickly that I have given her permission for.

S.a.d.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Ebates

I'm sure that many of you in the blogging world already participate in efforts such as couponing and online shopping. Have you heard that you can get paid to shop though?!!

Ebates is an online site that gives you coupons and deals for thousands of stores and then actually gives you cash back for using their site. Sounds too good to be true, right?! It's not. Get great deals on anything you need and then get paid to to do. Interested? Check it out!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Oops!


Let me preface by saying that I love being a mom and would never change that fact no matter how much money you offered.

That being said, I said something naughty.  Quote: "I can't listen to the interns talk. They have too much fun while I go home, be a mom and go to bed abnormally early for a 26 year old only to start over again the next day." Bad Erin. Bad.

You see, we have these college interns who work with us through the summer and every night they are doing something fun, spilling their exciting details the next day. Monday mornings are the best as they visually paint pictures of their grand weekend adventures and escapades.  As I listen, a wave of green washes over me making it difficult to not make faces or snyde remarks due to the obvious jealousy.

Wow. Hello? Are we in middle school again? I don't understand my feelings, and am now frustrated at the comment that escaped my mouth. Feeling guilty, and overly full from "foot in mouth disease,"  I feel as though I need to explain myself.

I love my life; the babies, the cooking, the cleaning, the run of the mill schedules are all essential and enjoyable to everyday life. BUT there are days where I wish I could atleast remember the fun, carefree spirit I was before. Spur of the moment road trips, random weekend plans, ever changing budget plans so I could afford that cute shirt all sound energizing at times. Thus, I wish I wouldn't have taken that time for granted while it was here. I wouldn't choose to go back, it just sounds freeing at times.

With that being said, I have learned my lesson and choose to not take this time of life for granted either. Times may be challenging, exhausting or down right uneventful, but I still love the ride. And let's be honest, one day I will be looking back at this moment with a "remember when" attitude.

Don't judge me.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

It's not fair



Look at my beautiful girls. Though a perfect picture pose meant to stir the heart of any warm hearted being, it was not staged. My girls genuinely love each other, and I am captivated by them. Absolutely adore them.

Mia is 2 1/2 years old full of attitude and unexpected emotional turns.  She will have you in stitches over the littlest phrase and frustrate you over an extended punishment because of an exercised strong-willed attitude. She will sweet talk you with "please may I" and "thank you oh so much" while flashing her gorgeous blues. Mostly, you will adore the way she seeks after her little sister's attention because she loves her uncontrollably.

Lilia is quickly nearing 7 months old as the growth curve of knowledge is exponentially rapid. She is sitting up by herself, rolling all over the house as a convenient mode of transportation, and lighting up a room with her beautiful smile. She eats 3 solid food meals each day with formula snacks along the way and is finally sleeping through the night. Her eyes are constantly searching the room for her sister, watching Mia flit and float in every which direction. She giggles and belly laughs at Mia's silly sounds and antics, all while enjoying her days best when in her very own home. 

My girls are the best which is why I stand by my next comment. "It isn't fair." I dont understand why, even with a "nothing passes me by" mentality, I can feel like everything is flying warp speed. My girls are growing up before my eyes and though I am thankful for the past stages and excited for what is to come, I don't want  them to be gone one day as though it was just a dream. But we are busy day to day as we hurry out the door for another day apart only to cram in some sort of evening routine to bring us back together.  It is moving too fast.  My fear of realizing this so early on? It will most likely only continue to speed up and I don't have money, or the emotional strength, for Prom dresses just yet.

It's not fair.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Sleepy Baby


At three months, Mia was sleeping through the night for the most part, and though I know each child is different, at six months I still cannot get Lilia on a consistent night time routine. Her day time routine is fairly set, to the extreme, where she will let you know if you aren't following it for some reason. For a week her daytime routine seemed to be the cure as she slept each night through; now it's a guessing game as to what odd time awakings today will bring. In fact, the last two nights she has been up every two hours.  She doesn't need anything particular when I hear her sweet voice come filtering through the monitor. Instead, she is cheerful, talking and grinning as if to say "Good morning! Time to wake up."

Sometimes she wants to rock back to sleep, other times a soft kiss good night and a fresh go at her paci will suffice. No matter the extent of the visit, she's still awake and I am awake as well (if you call fumbling around delirious, awake.)

I am at a loss as to what to try next. If anyone has some creative ideas I will excitedly welcome them, as this full time working mommy of two is exhausted!

Monday, June 14, 2010

two going on sixteen



Anyone who has grown up around children knows what "two" means.  But until you experience the "are you KIDDING ME/you are SO adorable" mood swings of a two year old blonde little girl, you really do not understand the reality of two. 

I am adoring this stage Mia's at.  As she experiences and learns, I stand on the side lines, mouth agape, taking it all in.  My fun loving, energetic princess astounds me as she proudly shouts her abc's, quickly rehearses counting to 10, and continues dialogue like you wouldn't believe.  Never a dull moment, she keeps me laughing with statments similar to:

"Mommy, you can't ride the swings. only Mia.  They are too dangerous."


"yay! look at my big poopy!"

"good-MORNING Lilia. i missed you!!"

"lets go dynamo!"

"mommy, don't leave me!! promise?!"

"i'm going to work, mommy. gonna get married."

"i want to be a teacher. i will teach about whales, girraffs, and trains"

"aww. they are so cute. horses are my favorite"

Even if I could better record it all, it is impossible to keep track of all the phrases and actions that keep life interesting with my two year old. 

I adore her.

Monday, April 5, 2010

He is risen!!

A three day weekend always opens the flood gates of excitement to a full time, outside of the home, working mother. The reason for the extra time is even more exhilarating as the visions of new traditions and opportunities to explain truth to my children dance through my head.

Friday morning brought new adventures as Casey woke up and instructed us to get ready and get in the car. We were on our way, with only Casey knowing the path, excited and full of anticipation for what the day held.

A leisurely drive through the mountain pass, brought lunch in CaƱon City, a drive into a snow buried St. Elmo and property searching in Salida. A lovely time in the car telling stories, dreaming and enjoying each other's company. Mia w as impressed with the amount of water the seamed to copy-cat the road we drove on and was constantly on the lookout for any four legged creature: horses, big horn sheep, cows, etc. Eventually our precious daughter needed a potty break. Pulling into a quaint dude ranch, we said hello to the horses and then pulled up to the office to give Mia her well-deserved break. As I eagerly freed the girls from their back seat cages, the trunk popped open revealing all of Casey's secrets.

SURPRISE!

Casey had planned a night away in a quaint little cabin, hidden away by Mt. Princeton, and isolated from normal day life. With a roaring fire in the life size fireplace, we snuggled in for a relaxing evening.

It was a perfect getaway for our lovely family! Thank you, handsome husband!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Blessings



My world...this life the Lord has given me...constantly astounds me. Wouldn't you want to pinch yourself if you looked at these beautiful faces on a daily basis?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

My mommy claws came out...

"As a soft whimpering escaped through the baby monitor speaker, a soft sunlight awoke us as it beaded through the bedroom shades. In true morning breath fashion, I greeted my husband with a kiss, slipped on my slippers and went to retrieve a restless Lilia. With Mia sleeping soundly in her room, the three of us tiptoed down the stairs, reminiscing about the past evening. Friends, brownies and movies. What could be better?

Rounding the corner into the kitchen we stopped. Horrified. The door to the garage, normally locked, was standing agape with the actual garage door wide open exposing all our unwanted garbage and extra needed things.

Fear set in. And as Casey quickened pace throughout the house, I began searching for items that may have made their way out the door. I started up stairs. Our room...clear. Lilia's room...clear. I opened Mia's door, and there in her bed lay an empty blanket. No lump in the sheets. No little blond head poking out from under the covers. Completely empty.

My stomach hit my throat, and as I opened my mouth to scream, nothing escaped! I ran down the stairs. Dizzy. Faint. Blinded by the tears.

I collided with Casey's chest and as my body collapsed to the floor, I squeaked 'They. took. her. My baby! She's gone!'

The room was spinning as Casey ran up the stairs screaming Mia's name. Seconds turned into minutes. Minutes into eternity until a cell phone ring broke the silence. Casey answered with a hasty hello only to be greeted by a frightened 'Daddy? Daddy!?'

Click. Dial Tone..."

Awaking with crusty tears down my cheeks and sweat beaded on my forehead, I panicked, and began planning how I could always keep the girls right next to me. Breathe. Breathe...

My heartbeat made its way back to a resting state and then I checked on my darling girls, sound asleep in what I still consider a safe haven, and as I made my way back to bed, I began to try and convince the paranoia away.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The artist in my house

As I entered the house from the garage, my husband greeted me with an over sized bundle of Mia's bedding carefully balanced in his arms. The look on his face said it all, though he quickly began to tell me that Mia's poop was all over the room and that I needed to help him.

Shocked, and quite amused that my husband had found himself in this situation, I climbed the stairs. The sound of splashing caught my ears as Mia had hastily been placed in the tub as the only sane option of cleaning her up. I looked around her bedroom amazed at the artwork that carefully decorated all the pretty parts of her room and as Casey began the story, I grabbed the cleaning elements hoping to erase the traces of creative license littering the carpeted floor, bookcases, chair and door frames.

Carefully articulated, Casey began:
"I was downstairs feeding Lilia when I heard Mia start crying. 'Great,' I thought, 'She had an accident.' I put Lilia down and headed upstairs. As I opened the door, there was Mia, tears streaming down her face, with a whole pile clutched in her hand. I panicked and as I looked around the room I thought 'What in the world was she trying to do?'"

I chuckled to myself, not wanting encourage such behavior, but honestly seeing the humor in the whole situation! I knew once it was all cleaned up, Casey would see the humor too, but in the moment he was definitely irritated (another humor point for me.)

Ahh, yes...potty training a two year old! Never a dull moment!

Monday, March 22, 2010

my Lilia



isn't she lovely

inside and out?

a sweet, gentle spirit

flows through those eyes

longing for arms.

embrace. touch.

content to relax

slightly behind the scenes

eager to smile

at any kind word thats brought.

she coos and she grins

come play, she beckons.

simply offer a warm embrace

and her world will be complete

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Extreme potty training



After a handful of tries only resulting in Mia being too lazy to continue, we are finally not messing around. Diapers have been thrown out, princess treats are strategically placed for easy access, and the many pairs of panties are stocked in her cute white dresser drawers.  We recently came to the conclusion that if we didn't do something extreme this process would be dragged out for a long time. 

For weeks, Mia has been:

1. giving us a play by play about all that was happening below the diaper

2. waking up dry from bedtime and naps

3. taking of her own diaper, handing it to one of us and asking to be changed.

The girl is ready (whether she wants to  be or not)!!

So, we cut her off...from diapers, that is, and everything else padded (pull ups and such)...and dropped her straight into big girl world.  It's definitley not for the faint of heart or those who refuse to clean up potty all over the floor, but she is doing it and doing it with excellence!

Go Mia!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

So now you are 2...



My beautiful Mia,

Staring into your chubby little face on March 4, 2008, my heart flip-flopped with amazement that the Lord has blessed me with you for a short time in your life. Your helpless body and beautiful eyes captured my heart as my mind eagerly filled with all the "what" questions I could think of.

What color will her hair be?
What kind of personality has the Lord created within you?
What will you choose to eat above anything else?
What will you think of your mommy?
What will be your first word?

And the questions went on and on as my heart fell more and more in love with you.

Today you turn two and I wonder, in amazement, where the time has gone. Already you are changing before my eyes as you throw a football with your daddy dressed up in all your pretty things. You are coloring with intent, helping "clean" around the house, and mimicking my every move. You carry your pink purse with such elegance while talking on your phone to all that are dear to you. No one goes unnoticed in your world, as your love for all is packed into the most precious of hugs ready to give to anyone who will receive.

You light up our lives Mia Bella and I love you so much. I hope this birthday is as special as you are expecting, and I pray that we have many more.

Love, Mommy

Friday, February 19, 2010

Headed back to work...

As I expected, maternity leave just flew by. Life as a mother of two, under the age of two, is crazy, chaotic and beautiful, thus making life just whip past you at 100 mph. I feel like the 8 weeks of isolation with just my girls accomplished nothing of significance to anyone except those precious beauties who hopefully soaked up the memory making moments that encompassed our time together. Other than that, nothing was done.
  • I was not able to get Lilia on a consistent schedule so it could match Mia's more closely
  • As of a week ago I was not able to loose any more weight from my one week postpartum appointment
  • I did not get all the organizing, cleaning and decorating done that I had hoped too
  • I did not scrapbook, memory record, take many pictures or blog

There just didn't seem to be time for anything else other than just doing life together. So, how do I plan on going back to another full time job? Today it seems impossible as I frantically try to arrange babysitter information, schedules, work clothes that will actually fit me right now, and gather together a brain that will actually be ready for the "real" world.

I realize in just a few weeks it will be old hat and I will be back to juggling all the different balls and handling each with ease, but right now the weight of the uncertain and the fear of adjustment weighs heavy. Lord, please help me.

On a brighter note...I will have Internet so I should be able to blog more often :)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Family Pictures

Within a few weeks after Lilia was born, we were blessed to have Photography by Cristy take pictures of our new precious baby and our family. There are so many things I adore about Cristy. Her beautiful spirit makes every session a joy as she relates in life and all its beauties. Not too mention that her artistic eye is both breathtaking and real as she captures all the joy within the split seconds of the day. Check out her website for the moments that make your life beautiful.

Here are a few pictures of our family in action. Try and adore them as much as I do :)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

and then there were two...

Lilia Amy Gerster

December 29, 2009

10:06 AM

8 Lbs 20.75 inches



The story:
Months prior, we had scheduled to be induced on December 29th at 8:00 PM. December 23rd came, I wrapped up things at work and got ready for Christmas and maternity leave. As Christmas came and went, we got more and more eager thinking "maybe it will happen tonight" fully knowing (in the deepest part of my mind) that the 29th would be the day.

At 3:00 AM on December 29th, I woke up with a sharp contraction. WOW! It took my breath away. From there I began timing them, but with only a slight consistency to them, I just wasn't sure. My moaning must have been pretty dramatic because it woke Casey about 45 minutes later. For another hour we "watched" the contractions, Casey rubbed my back and helped with my breathing as the intensity continued but the length between varied dramatically. Then, it came; a contraction that made me feel like I needed to push. I looked at Casey and said, "We need to go now!"

We added the last minute things to our bags and then woke Mia up to take her to Grandmama and Papa's. Even though it was 5:00 AM, Mia was so hyper as she chanted "Lilia! Born! Soon!" It made my mommy heart smile so big as we anticipated our new little addition!

After dropping Mia off, we arrived at the hospital at about 6:00 AM. I was a definite keeper in triage as a checked in at 4 cm and couldn't talk through the contractions when they hit. Labor and Delivery was really busy that day, so we waited for about 45 minutes to get a room. Once my room was ready, the got me up to walk over there. After pausing once for a contraction, my water broke and left a trail from where I was walking. Let me just say, it was nice to get back in my bed.

Because I was progressing so quickly, they decided to give me my epidural right away. At this time I was at 5 cm and the intensity of the contractions continued to grow. However, because my contractions still weren't consistent, the gave me a small dose of pitocin to "jump start it" as my doctor put it. My epidural went well, but after they gave it to me I started having problems breathing and my blood pressure started going down drastically. They ended up needing to give me ephedrine for my blood pressure because it wouldn't stay at a normal rate, and they put me on oxygen.

The intensity of my contractions continued, though I could only feel the pressure through the epidural. About 45 minutes later, I had a contraction that made my body feel like it needed to push. My doctor checked me and I was already at 9.5 cm.

Five minutes later it was time to push. Taking my time, we started delivering Lilia. Ten minutes later she entered the world! What a precious time it is when they put your baby on your chest and you see the sweet face for the first time.

Though very healthy, she was dramatically quieter than Mia, much like I had expected after her performances (or lack there of) within the womb. She aced all her tests and performed magically on her urine and bowel movement performances, so we were able to go home in the afternoon the next day.

Because of the H1N1 going around right now, Mia was unable to visit us at the hospital, so her first introduction was at home when Grandmama brought her in. The scream of excitement still echo in my ear as she ran toward Lilia exclaiming "Lilia. Here!" There was so much joy in our house that day! What a beautiful memory.