Living The Blessed Life...

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Just a Typical Day

Nothing exciting happened today unless you take into account random, loudly sang renditions of various songs alternated with moments of whiny, clinginess. No fever, no aches and pains, no runny noses, nothing pinpointable but Amelia just didn't feel all that great. Nothing major but enough to make her be a little "off" from her normal self. Well, sometimes. Other times she was bouncing off the walls. Kinda strange...

She's having a, shall we say, independent week. One in which she's decided it's cute to tell us she doesn't "have to" do this or that. I'm not impressed although I can take most of the responsibility for inadvertently teaching her that phrase. If there's some mundane task that doesn't matter whether or not she does, I'll say some version of, "you don't have to."

"Let's play with your blocks!"
She picks up crayons.
"Ok. We don't have to play with blocks. We'll color instead!"

So...there it is.

She also seems to mostly say it when "don't want to" would be more appropriate, but it still makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up while my mind is thinking, "Really? You don't HAVE to? Wanna bet?" lol

I try to pick my battles wisely but there have still been some times I've had to refresh her memory that I'm a little stubborn when I'm trying to make a point that matters to me. Manners? Yeah, you DO have to have those. Respect? That's pretty much a given as well. Brushing teeth, baths and general hygiene? We allllll have to. lol Staying seated while you eat? You know...I really don't care about this one and it drives David crazy. She's two. She has more energy than the Energizer Bunny and if she needs to stand up to eat, then more power to her. At least she's eating. I promise she will eventually learn to stay seated, and not even on my lap. Ha!

Eh, I don't know. I firmly believe in structure but not in all things. I want her to be able to be a kid, to truly enjoy her childhood, without feeling like a miniature adult while learning the fundamentals of what it means to be a good person so that she'll naturally mature into a respectful, happy adult. She's so articulate that it's sometimes easy to forget that she's really just a two year old pre-schooler.

We've been going to a new church for a few months now. We started putting her in the nursery but she never stays for long without crying for me. Never. I seriously have YET to hear an entire sermon, and although that part bugs me, I don't see the huge deal is that she's asking for me. I hate that she gets so hysterical at times but I'm not surprised that she wants me. She's always been this way with me and it's not like I'm keeping her isolated from others. I fear I may scream the next time someone says to me, "She just needs to be around other kids" or "you need to cut those apron strings" or any other variation of making me feel like a failure.


Common knowledge: Yes, she is attached to me. Yes, she spends the vast majority of her life with me. Yes, I realize I'm not the only interaction she needs.

What I know about my child: She does not like walking into groups, especially noisy, fast paced groups and is much better with one-on-one interaction. She does fine with "parallel play" beside another child or children. The more you force her, the less likely she is to do whatever it is you're expecting of her. She needs to walk in, step back and observe before delving in and she prefers to do that from the "safety" of my arms. She prefers consistency and familiarity. Once she warms up to her surroundings, she's usually good to go as long as she feels like it's on her own terms and people aren't trying to force her. She does MUCH better earlier in the day than later in the evening.

Honestly? Does she sound all that different from other 2 year olds? From most people?

Considering Amelia was born at 25 weeks, I'm not surprised that she shows some traits of hypersensitivity. Preemies are notorious for hypersensitivity and it's not something they all outgrow. I was born prematurely and have always be ultra sensitive to crowds, noises, sudden bright lights, and I feel things more intensely than what most people probably do. I was a nervous wreck while she was in the NICU because of all the alarms. I'm not projecting my own issues onto Amelia but I am a little more observant and understanding than maybe I would've been had I not experienced it on my own.

The irony? David is loud...abruptly loud. He goes from complete silence to making some random noise, scaring Amelia and me half to death. lol Just tonight, he quickly turned around and started making a strange monster noise to Amelia, a noise he's done a million times, but she wasn't expecting it. She screamed and came running to me, saying, "Daddy do?!" Translation: "What the heck is wrong with him?!" Bless her heart, he scared her so badly, she was shaking but he had JUST been playing with her, just not that loudly. lol

She gets excited about going to church because she's going to "sing songs and play." She's been asking for David's cousin's kids all week, wanting to see them. She just acts like she has no idea who these people are when we get there! lol She did really well at Thanksgiving because she was able to roam around AND the gathering took place earlier in the day. I'm really hoping the church nursery won't be such a big deal to her now that we'll be going on Sunday mornings instead of Saturday evenings. I'm crossing my fingers and praying at least! :)

Anyway, I encourage Amelia to play, explore, and become more independent. I'm just not going to NOT go to her when she needs me. Yes, I do think it's a "need" vs. a "want." I've said all along that I will never deny her when she asks for me, especially after the first time I held her and her stats became perfect as she settled against my skin. For that brief moment, I "fixed" her. I am her mother. I am her comfort. She won't always be like this. Haven't I said that a time or two over the last 2.5 years? LOL!

She is such a sweet, funny, energetic blessing. She watched an episode of Dora the other day where someone had a baby. Of course, now she's asking when "Mommy have a baby." That, my child, is the million dollar question!

I've had several requests for the link to the original Caringbridge journal so I will try to remember to put it at the end of each entry over here for a while. Things may not be as on-the-edge-of-your-seat exciting as they were while she was in the NICU but each moment is a gift from God that I never take for granted. Thank you to those of you that still read. ♥♥

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

I'm on a roll

"Aww, sweet Krimmas tree!!!!"

Two days in a row? I rock! :-p

While I became acquainted with my new BFF, Mickey, David and Amelia took a little trip into town. (Mickey is my new B&D Mouse Sander with which I see a lasting and meaningful relationship with. Get it? Mouse...Mickey...ha!) I dressed Amelia in a cute little romper and her pink and white coat. Next thing I knew, David was taking off her pink coat and exchanging it for her blue UNC Tar Heel hoodie. "Why," you ask? So "she could match Daddy," of course. Makes perfect sense to me...

Come to think of it, David's mom brought Amelia to church one Sunday morning wearing matching black dresses with white polka dots. I guess the apple didn't fall far from that tree! *grins*

When David and Amelia got back home, I was in her room spending time with Mickey. I heard, "Mommmmmmyyyyyyyyyy. Where ARE youuuuuuuu????"

She rounds the corner.

"Der you are! Awww, Mommy. So happy to see you!"

She runs down the hall, into her room and hugs my leg while telling me how happy she is to see me. *heart melt* This is honestly the sweetest child I've ever seen in my life! Have you met David or me? I seriously have NO idea where she gets it from...

Before running back to the living room to make sure David didn't disappear, Amelia hands me her shoes, then her socks and I looked down to realize she had unsnapped every single snap on legs of her jumper, creating a funky skirt/dress type of garment. Before I can say anything to David, he says, "Your daughter began to undress in Walmart. We were almost done, so I let her." You would've thought we were discussing the weather, but it's such a regular occurrence with her, we just weren't a bit surprised. She usually waits until she's in the car, though.

Although I'm sure it will come to no surprise to most of you that I'm already thinking of Amelia's birthday party coming up in May, you may be shocked to know that I think I've already decided on a "theme." Wouldn't a carnival/circus party - complete with bounce house, popcorn machine (Pawpaw Rusty has one of those!), cotton candy machine (I think Aunt Kristi got one of those for Christmas...hehe!), a photo booth (simple cardboard "booth" and someone to take the picture), hotdogs, and all sorts of stuff - be FUN for kids of all ages?!

I'm the first person to admit that Amelia couldn't possibly care less about the themes of her parties or if she even has a party. I don't do it for show or anything like that. I do it because I REALLLLLLLLLY love doing stuff like this and her birthday parties are the only chance I get to do it. The planning, the decorating, seeing how much of the decorations and supplies I can make instead of buy, it's all so much fun! I already have next year's "theme" picked out, then I guess she'll be old enough to come up with her own ideas. THAT'S going to be interesting!

On a more personal and emotional note, Amelia's birthday parties are, for me, a celebration of her life, of the very fact that she's even here. God has blessed us with this amazing little girl and I don't, for once second of ANY day, take that for granted. She is the reason God put me on this Earth and I am so very honored and grateful that He chose me to be her mother. I spent the first 32 years of my life feeling lost. I can remember asking my mom, at age 7, why I was here. What was my purpose?

I remember it as plain as day. I was sitting on the edge of a stunning, and oh-so-trendy avocado green bathtub while Mom applied her makeup and fixed her hair. (Show of hands - how many of you women have similar memories of meaningful conversations being discussed in the bathroom while your mom "got ready?") When my 7 year-old voice asked, "Who am I? Why was I born?" her hand stopped in midair, mouth open in the customary applying-your-mascara fashion, and she looked at me like I was from some other planet. I think it was then we realized I might be a little on the different side.

I doubt she remembers this conversation but I do because the next question I asked was in reference to the veins on the bottom of my tongue. I was convinced they held my tongue together but I wasn't quite sure how. She wasn't either.

It wasn't until our Miracle Girl was born that I had my answer. Well, to why I was born, not the tongue thing. I've often said that Motherhood is the only thing I've ever felt like I was truly good at, but you know, there are days I'm not so sure I'm even doing that right. I naively thought I had until at least 10 years age before my child developed the ability to roll her eyes and look at me as if she thinks I'm a complete moron. Ha! Wasn't I cute in all my innocence?

On to "Project Room" news:

She has a room. It's still a project. The end.

Thank you for checking in.

hehe! All 6 shelves have been sanded and applied three coats of primer. I'm letting the last coat dry overnight before giving them a light sanding and painting them in the same white trim color. For those taking notes, the trim color is called "Soft White." There might be a test later.

Before primer:

After 3 coats of primer:

They're not perfect nor showroom quality, but considering they're going to look like a really big ladder to a 2 year old, I'm not all that concerned. If I put them in any other room in the house for a photo wall (Nana - this would be GREAT for putting the grandkids' pictures in the hall like you mentioned!), I'll probably use better quality wood so that there aren't so many blemishes. I went the inexpensive route by using simple furring strips this time but I think they'll still look pretty awesome!

In between coats, I got a little bored:

Yep, that's going to be a much bigger pain in my butt than I initially thought. See? It's never, ever easy-peasy! LOL

This is where the shelves are going:

The door to the left is her closet. I still have to order her curtains so they won't be here in time for "Christmas."

Amelia came in while I was hammering down nails in the subfloor today, and as she always does, said, "Want to do it! Meeya do it!" I handed her the hammer and gave instruction to ONLY hit the floor. No walls, no doors, no bed, no toes, no nothing but the floor. "Understand?" "Yes ma'am." awwwwww!! So my little helper went to town, hammering away. My papaw would get the biggest kick out of her. She is so, SO much like I was at her age. Everything HE did, I wanted to do - and he usually let me, much like I do Amelia. He was a carpenter, so I grew up helping him fix stuff for Granny or build porches/decks. I think he would be proud of what Amelia and I are accomplishing in her room (and David, too!).

Do you ever miss somebody so much it makes your heart ache? Literally, not figuratively. That's how I feel when I miss my papaw. He's been gone almost 9 years now and I can still hear his voice telling the same old stories, singing and praying. I can smell his unique scent of sawdust and Juicy Fruit gum, and see his strong, weathered hands as they worked or as they lifted up to pray or wave at someone driving down the road. I sure wish Amelia could've known him as I knew him and I'd give almost anything to see him look at her as I imagine he must've looked at me a time or two.

On that note, I'm going to sign off. That's getting a little too emotional and I don't feel like being emotional. You know I have to be in the mood for that sort of thing!

I will take "real" pictures tomorrow. You of the reason you're even here. LOL That is, if she'll let me. This child that had a camera shoved in her face from the moment of birth almost, has become camera shy! That's just not going to work, so we'll see how it goes tomorrow.

Thank you for being here. ♥♥

Monday, January 2, 2012

Hiiii!!!! I'm not one to have New Year's resolutions but today seemed like the perfect day to start Amelia's journal again. Amelia came into her room the other day and picked up the binder of journal entries from when she was in the NICU and said, "Mommy, read pweeze." She sat between my legs on the floor and listened while I told the "story of Amelia." She didn't understand what I was saying but she knew it was about her.

I remember one journal entry written while she was in the hospital where I asked if, once the journal entries became further apart, if she'd realize it was because I was spending time with her, savoring every single moment. When I wrote that, I remember thinking I'd keep writing each day just as I had done for the weeks or months prior. Eh, not so much. Somewhere along the lines, I began to use Facebook as my journal, but it's just not the same. I enjoy having my memory refreshed about things I swore I'd never forget and I hope she'll appreciate reading about her and all her antics. :)

That said, this entry isn't so much about her as it is her room. If you don't read it, you won't miss anything important. If you do read it, you might wish you hadn't. ha!

If you've followed along for the last, whoa, almost THREE YEARS, you probably know what a bone of contention it's been for me to have not been able to "do" Amelia's room before she was born. I came to terms with the fact that there really wasn't much of anything I could've done any differently considering I was 18 weeks when we found out we were having a girl and then my water broke at 23 weeks.

I did manage to pick out her bedding, which arrived a day or two before I went into the hospital. Yay me!

With all intentions of creating the most amazing nursery EVER while she was in the NICU, I picked out the most beautiful shade of blue for the walls, fittingly called "Blue Booties" that matched her bedding perfectly. As you all know, I spent those three and a half months AT the hospital, either looking at or snuggling with our little miracle girl. Of course, when she came home, I continued to start at and hold her every possible second.

Sometime around her first birthday, or maybe it was her second, I abruptly changed THE color to a beautiful shade of turquoise called "Aqua Chiffon." I painted one corner of her room and kept it that way for the next year/year and a half. Apparently, I didn't like it as much as I thought I would.

Beautiful color. Just not what I was looking for.

A couple months ago, I had the bright idea to completely finish Amelia's room as part of her Christmas gifts/surprises. By "finish" I meant painting the walls, converting her crib to a toddler bed, and making room for her new toys and belongings that she would get at Christmas. Just imagine, fresh paint, bright trim, her very own white Christmas tree with sparkly ornaments and a room full of exciting, new things! What's not to love?! A coat of paint, unscrewing a few screws, going through the toy box and trading out some furniture? Easy-Peasy!


Nothing I do is "easy-peasy." I could complicate the simplest of tasks, all in the spirit of perfection. David says I'm too, um, "anal." I prefer to think of myself as detail oriented although my dear mother *cough* says I've always been "picky." Yes, they love me.

The first decision to be made was the paint color. Imagine David's surprise (ha!) when I went back to my original "Blue Booties" color. Bless his heart, he took the two gallons of blue paint we'd had sitting in the garage for the last couple years back to Lowe's to have it shook up, came home and never even hinted at saying, "I told you so." I cleared the room of everything but her bed and painted the room while Amelia stayed at Nana's. We love, love, love the color! David because it's "Carolina Blue" and me because I can throw as much pink in there as I want to and it not look like a Pepto Bismol factory exploded. Score!

Below, you'll see the Aqua Chiffon on the left and Blue Booties on the right.

Up goes the Christmas tree! Oh, wait. My white tree doesn't have lights and I can't find any lights with white cords. That's ok, Walmart had a prelit white tree. I'll just go pick it up. THREE Walmart's later and not a single prelit white tree to be found. I checked online and started calling the stores that had inventory listed. I found one 3o minutes away and it became mine! So...

Up goes the Christmas tree!

Amelia's special "ornament" for this year:

Oh dear. Do you see it? The contractor standard "antique white" on the trim just won't do. I'll have to slap a coat of white paint over that, you know, since I'm painting anyway. Off to Lowe's I go, arriving ten minutes before closing. That's PLENTY of time to grab a gallon of white paint and browse the mini-chandeliers while it's being mixed, right? It's just white paint...Who in their right mind came up with fifty-eleven-hundred shades of white?! With four minutes to spare, I tossed one of the random white paint chips I had collected in the span of minutes to the nice and falsely patient paint dude behind the counter. He mixed, I paid and was running out the door just as they locked them. Woohoo! I have white paint!

Paint that sat in Amelia's room for another two weeks before I could paint the trim. In the meantime, I find some plans for another "easy-peasy" and cheap project for the most perfect book shelves ever! Yes, everything is "the most...ever" when I get excited, but y'all know that by now. Christmas comes, wood is bought, drill breaks halfway through making shelves, trim is painted in the meantime, progress is being made.

That's right, I said Christmas came and we're still working on her room. Have you ever tried to paint, build, fix....BREATHE with a two year old helping every step of the way? Here's a little video to better describe the works of my little helper: (click on the words for video)

We had decided to wait to do our Christmas with the three of us until sometime after Christmas anyway since the day before, day of, and day after were completely booked and I didn't want to feel rushed. I want to be able to make a big deal about leaving cookies for Santa and carrots for Rudolph, make a special breakfast the next morning, open presents, watch "It's a Wonderful Life", play with toys and just spend time together without having to run here and there. I don't think it matters what day it's done as long as we do it. We love spending time with our extended families but we want to make our own traditions and special moments, too. :)

That said, we didn't intend to wait quite THIS long, but as I've mentioned, nothing is ever easy-peasy when I'm the mastermind. Trust me, Amelia has no idea that we've not had our Christmas, and honestly, it's probably better that we have waited because she STILL hasn't had the opportunity to play with everything she received from grandparents, aunts and uncles! We could go ahead and let her open her gifts but I think it'll be easier to wait until her room is set back up, with a place to put everything once it's opened. That way she can just play and enjoy! There really is a method to my madness. lol

A couple days after Christmas, I painted all the trim except for the baseboards. Our 2 bedrooms are the only rooms remaining with carpet and we intend to replace the carpet with some hard-surface flooring as soon as possible. No sense in fighting the carpet to paint the baseboards when we're going to be ripping up the carpet soon anyway. I'll just paint it when the carpet comes up.

*light bulb moment*

A couple years ago, Mom and I were at a consignment store that had a million and two brand new rag rugs for cheap, so I bought a huge one for Amelia's room for a whopping $12.00. Since I changed the paint color in her room, shall we say...more than once, I never used the rug.

David seemed to remember the rag rug being big enough to cover Amelia's entire floor, so hey, why not rip up the carpet in her room, leave the padding and tack strips, and use the rug as carpet. Awesome!

After the carpet was thrown out the window, Amelia and I stopped for a rousing rendition of"Simon Says." (Click on the words to take you to the video)

I painted the baseboards while David and Amelia took a nap and then I got to play with power tools while everything dried. Remember those shelves? You can take a peek at their awesomeness here. I must warn you, though. That site is highly addictive and may create the desire to build even in those that have no idea what the difference is between a flathead and a phillips head screwdriver.

As luck would have it, the drill broke halfway through the last shelf, but thankfully, David had a corded drill hidden in the garage somewhere. I have six shelves in total but I may only use 5 of them. I don't think I want to go quite as high as up the wall as they did, but I'll just have to see what works best when they're installed.

We get up this morning, eat breakfast and David goes to Amelia's room to lay the rug down on the floor. Oops. He remember incorrectly. It wasn't big enough to cover the floor. I giggled - with my inside voice, of course - because I've been wanting to paint the subfloors of at least one room ever since I saw it featured on a blog last year.

He groaned with his outside voice while I showed the proper amount of regret. The tack strips and padding are up, the staples are removed and the subfloors have been swept, shop-vac'd, wiped down and shop vac'd again while David and Amelia took their afternoon nap.

Thankfully, the rug does cover a huge part of her floor and since this is a temporary solution to a permanent issue, I doubt I'll fill in the seams and properly sand the subfloors before priming and painting them. Don't worry, they'll be smooth and perfectly safe for cute little toesies, but just not perfect. In other words, I'm attempting to let go of my, um, attention to detail just a little bit since it really doesn't matter in this instance. IF, and this is a huge IF, he actually likes it, I'll go back and fill the seams, sand, and seal it. If not, at least I got to try it out!

Once I get the floor done, we'll do Christmas. I can accessorize and all that fun stuff afterward, but I want to get the big stuff done while everything is cleared out. Depending on how long it takes the primer and paint to dry on the shelves and floor, I hope to be done in the next couple days. David can't help with a lot of the physical stuff but he does a great job of keeping Amelia happy and entertained while I get to "play." It works!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and are looking forward to an incredible year ahead. I'm excited to see what God has in store for our family and pray that it's a great year. I asked David what he would wish for for the upcoming year and he simply stated, "for things to keep getting better." I second that motion.

See y'all tomorrow! ♥