Category Archives: Family

Things we worry about

When Ivalee was a baby, I was a typical first-time mom – worrying about every little thing and stressing every single decision as though the world would spin off its axis if I chose the wrong path. I’ve found that with Naomi, I’ve been able be a lot more low-key and stress less and thus enjoy her infancy more. She’s a good and easy baby too, so that helps.

She’s been a champion sleeper since the beginning. We’ve only had three sleepless nights with her in the nearly three months she’s been on the outside. (And two of those three nights were direct results of poor dietary choices I made during the preceding day.)

Last night marks one week of her sleeping through the night from 10:30/11ish to 11 on mornings I don’t have to work; 7 on mornings I do (when I wake her to feed before I drop her and Ivalee at my parents’).

She cluster-feeds like crazy in the evenings – squirreling away food for the Great Hibernation. I lay her down as soon as she appears to be nodding off. Then she wakes up 10, 11, 12 hours later. And after all that, I would expect her to wake up starving and angry. But that’s not been the case. She’s never fussy or anything. Always just laying there with her thumb in her mouth. It’s the craziest thing.

So naturally, my reaction is to assume something is wrong.


I have friends who are moms of new little ones who are having a hard time sleeping at night. So I feel guilty and silly complaining and worrying about how much Naomi is sleeping at night. Is there a point where it becomes a concern? I guess.

But she’s very healthy; she’s active and alert at certain points during the day; she’s got a healthy appetite; she’s doing new things all the time.

I’ve decided not to worry about it and enjoy the extra sleep I did not expect to be getting this early in the game. I just wanted to write this down so everyone can laugh with me about how I can take this huge parenting blessing and turn it into something to worry about.

Bless my heart.


Two Months


At two months, Naomi Kate:

is smiling at us frequently and responding to laughter with the widest grins.

receives a hundred kisses and hugs a day from her proud, loving big sister. “I wanna kiss her little feet!” she says every day.

is sleeping like a champ at night. 5-6 hour stretches are frequent. But even on the nights she is wake more often, she eats and goes right back to sleep. We’ve only had three sleepless nights with her so far, and two of them were because of things I had eaten that upset her tummy.

weighs 13 lbs. 5 oz. and is 23″ long – up from 8 lbs. 3 oz. at birth.

is the best Polk baby ever born in 2013.

She’s Not Ready to be a Princess

We have a bedtime routine with Ivalee that has always consisted of a story (or three) and a song before lights out, hugs, and kisses and one last “I love you”.

These days, she participates in the nighttime singing as much as we do. Most nights, she’s learned a few lines of a song from a Disney movie or a song from church and I’m able to help her with the rest. But recently she’s learned a song from a show that she watches at my mom’s house — Sofia the First. The first time she sang the song, I was amazed at how many of the lyrics she knew and sang correctly – even without prompting.

So the premise of the show is that Sofia’s mom is marrying the king and so Sofia is having to become a princess, even though she doesn’t feel ready. So she – in true Disney fashion – sings a song to that effect. And it is the sweetest song to hear Ivalee’s little voice singing.

Tonight, I’m sick with a cold and don’t have much of a singing voice, so I asked if she would sing the Sofia song for me. And I got teary as soon as she sang the first word. I’m not a crier, but this pregnancy is quickly changing that. I sat with her, listening as she sang this sweet little ballad with all her heart, tears dropping off my chin and the little songstress keeping on singing despite her weird Momma’s reaction.

So glad we get the chance to know what it’s like to have the love we have for our kiddo multiply with the addition of this next little one.

Party Day

Somehow we’re celebrating a third birthday this weekend. I’m dealing with that common parental confusion: “I don’t remember a time when you weren’t here, but I can’t believe you’ve been here this long!”

We had Iva’s birthday party yesterday at the Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry. Asked what she wanted for her birthday party, Iva said, “I wanna play at the pirate ship!” Since I couldn’t imagine building one in my backyard, we booked the museum. Best decision! She and her cousins and friends had a blast!! That place really is fantastic!

Cousin Wesley serving up some milk with a grilled cheese sandwich he made at the “deli”

Shopping for bananas.

Captain Iva’s got this under control.

With Baby Riley in the the dinghy.

Valentine’s 2012

My Valentine is on the road.
The new Explorers Club album comes out today, so they’re touring to promote it and sell lots of copies so they can make lots of money.

(Get it here. $4.99?! Seriously?! Pay for it three times. It’s worth it!)

This Valentine’s Day, he woke up in Groton, Connecticut at my sister’s house. I’m sure Wesley is loving having his Uncle Kyle over. And I hope that this is the last Valentine’s Day he wakes up at my sister’s house instead of mine. 🙂 (ba-doon-doon-tsss!)

 Before he left town, I was a very thoughtful wife and made these valentines for him.

And also before he left, I was a very FORGETFUL wife and left them on the kitchen counter. Lame.

Today is Ivalee’s class Valentine’s Party. We made these for her friends.

The Valentine’s Bag topper I made to dress-up the dollar store Valentine’s zip-lock baggies.

Her buddy, Marlee, came over last night to bake and decorate cookies.
So many sprinkles! So much fun!

And this morning, she walked her Puppy to class for the Valentine’s Party.


Y’all. I have a two year old. I shouldn’t be dealing with these issues yet. Give me at least a few more years!!

I blame Veggie Tales.

Specifically this story:

Iva got Sweetpea Beauty as a gift for Christmas and we’ve watched it a couple of times. (She loves the Silly Song more than the movie itself, I think, but that’s neither here nor there.)

I have some incomplete thoughts about Princesses and ’emphasizing beauty’ to a generation of girls that are inundated with not-so-subtle messages about where their worth lies.

  • On one hand, I see that cutting out Disney Princesses and all that they stand for would benefit in that it keeps you from having to deal with these types of issues … for a while.
  • And on the other hand, I think that’s the easy thing to do — to try to cut out someone else’s influence rather than being a parent whose voice is able to speak truth over the noise of the lies that your child is GOING to be told as they grow up.
  • Avoidance may serve to delay the tough work of affirming character and personality over beauty, but you won’t be able to avoid it forever. The message is pervasive.

All that said, it’s kind of obvious that the Sweetpea Beauty thing came as a response to these conflicts. So the point is to give young girls a lesson about how real beauty is inner-beauty and how The King loves us whether we’re pretty or ugly.

But my two year old is too young for the nuance of that lesson just now. So this is what’s happening: She stands in front of mirrors, looks at herself and then says to us, “I don’t feel pretty.” (See the above video at 3:10.)

This has happened three times now. And it is heartbreaking.

So we’re going to table the Sweetpea Beauty thing for a while, at least for a few months, until she’s able to understand the real lesson and not just quote the most heart-breaking line of the whole movie repeatedly. Right now when she says it, we just remove her from the room where the mirror is, emphatically say to her, “Your mommy and daddy think you are sooo pretty. And we love you!”

You guys, where is Abilene in my life? I need her to speak soft, quiet truths into my baby’s ear every day.

2011: Not a Total Failure After All

In 2011, my resolutions were that I wanted to:

  • Eat better / Cook more. There’s a scientific way to measure this, I suppose, but I have not done such a study. So in a very UN-scientific manner, Kyle and I agree that this one was met. I wanted to cut out the majority of processed foods, and I have done that. (Thank you to Trader Joe’s for coming to our area and helping me to meet this goal in a cost-efficient manner.)
  • Read more books. Well, in a sense, I have certainly been reading more lately. But not in the way this resolution was intended. Ivalee looooves reading books, and she loves to read the same books over and over again. So I’ve read a lot of books intended for the 2-6 year range.

    But … I’m going to say that I failed on this one. I read zero complete books this year. (Is that even possible?! I guess so. :hangs head in shame:) I have started three and they are all still on my bedside table, filed under “I’ll get to it one day.”

    BUT, I have discovered audiobooks. And I LISTENED to Tina Fey’s “Bossypants”. I’m still not quite done with it yet, but it’s hilarious and I’ve enjoyed it a lot so far. And I can listen to audiobooks and knit at the same time. Which brings us to …

  • Knit more. Check, and CHECK! I have added a link to my ravelry page in the bar to the left. Check it out if you’re curious to see the exhaustive list. I didn’t make a project listing for every single project I completed this year, but I did for most of them. And, for professional crafters, I’m sure my list for the year is comparable to their list for, like, a month. But I’m quite pleased with my progress, given that it’s “just a hobby”.

photo (4)

I made ten or eleven hats from this pattern this year. I’ve sold several and given a few away as gifts. They’re beautiful and work up pretty quickly.

photo (5)

I made five ribbed beanies …

annie's slouch hat

… four knitted slouch hats …

A trio of monsters

monster lovin'

… three knitted monsters …

Riley's Owl Hat

… and this Owl Beanie for Riley. And several other things. And that is all much, much more than I thought I’d be able to do. So … WIN!

  • Make time for more Me Time. Even when I wrote this, I knew I sounded / was being very selfish. My justification for the matter was that (Boys Beware: I’m about to mention something related to boobs.) I nursed Ivalee for 16 months and she weaned herself on January 1. This wasn’t something I planned. It just happened. And when it did, it was a little bit like, “Whoa!! I don’t have a baby-baby any more! FREEEEEDOOOOMMMMM!!!” (Insert note here about how that was the best thing for her as a young one and I would do it again / WILL do it again if we are blessed to have more children in the future. Continuing on … )

    This year, Kyle allowed me several occasions to carve out some Me Time and I am so grateful to have had those moments. We have alternating “Nights Off” on Thursday evenings. For me, these turn into Coffee Nights with the Girls. Nights in the bed with a knitting project and a movie. Just a night off from having to do the dishes, and going to bed early. This has turned out to be very beneficial for my mental health. 🙂

    And Ivalee has really enjoyed spending some overnight time with her grandparents this year on a few occasions. One weekend in particular, her Dee Dee (Kyle’s mom) came to visit and when she was leaving, Ivalee was having none of it. So Dee Dee took her home with her for the night. Kyle had a band thing going on that night, so I packed up my iPhone/ear buds and went to Starbucks with a free coffee coupon a friend had given me. I sat and knitted for hours. Glorious hours of nothingness. (Amanda, you couldn’t have known how MUCH I would enjoy that free coffee coupon when you casually said, “Hey, I’ve got this thing. You want it?” that night at church.)

    Another major element of this is carving out some US time for me and Kyle.  We’ve had a couple of memorable date nights this year and even spent two nights in Columbia back in June at a conference. We got to spend two nights in a cushy hotel, enjoy a surprisingly delicious dinner at a hole-in-the-wall Kyle had eaten at once before, two great breakfasts at the hotel, and just … get away.  We’ve spent a few weekends in Greenville with our buddies.

Ok, so … I feel a little encouraged based on this evaluation. 2011 was a bit of a downer in a lot of ways. But it’s had some high-notes. And 2012 is looking up. I’m feeling hopeful and I like a fresh-start. So here’s hoping …