Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Morning

As I sit at my computer, I am looking out the window at the back two acres and all I see is blowing snow and black tree trunks. The sun is trying to shine through the snow clouds, but is only managing to make a bright glow.
We had a blizzard here last night, literally, and the first real one I have ever been old enough to encounter. It was amazing to see, and a little scary. On the radar last night you could see it headed toward us and there were reports of people already without power. It started as rain, turned to sleet, and then became snow around 5 or 6pm. I was hanging around the house with Ken and the girls and people were saying it was going to be bad, but I wasn't convinced.
Then around 7pm we decided to walk next door to watch a movie and the wind was so gusty and blowing snow everywhere already, and I thought, 'wow, that is some nasty wind'.
By 9 there was over 2 inches on the ground, and the wind was still howling, and I decided to go to bed.
It was hard to sleep though because you could hear the wind blowing and the city lights were reflecting off the snow clouds hanging so low, which created a bright orange glow that came through our closed blinds all night long.
I woke up around midnight to check on the baby and looked out the window to see the snow, and was shocked that I could barely see the road from our window.
Usually it is quite clear to see the road, even at night because of the big street lamps, but with the blowing snow, it was only an orange glow from the direction where the street was....eeek. Then I noticed that my husband was gone....double eeek, he works third shift, and so I felt sick knowing that he was driving out in this weather. So I found a flash light and kept it by my bed in case the power went out and my phone, in case my husband called, although thinking now, I don't know what I would have done to help him had he called.
But we made it thru the night. My husband made it home safe and sound, and slept maybe 2 hours in bed with me before he got up to start plowing the driveway.
We live on a hill, and so he hadn't been able to get the van back up the drive and had instead left it across the road, stuck. We also had guests planning to come early for Christmas morning for fluffy french toast and some games. Well, they are still not here and I can totally understand why. It is dreadful out, and not worth risking one's neck to come for french toast.
So I am sitting and drinking my coffee and looking out the window. In the background noise, I can hear my husband plowing the driveway with the tractor and my 8 week old snoring in her bassinet. What a merry Christmas, so peaceful, so beautiful and white.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Christmas Decorating in Under 30 minutes!

Well, the babies were all asleep and my husband was without any pressing preoccupation, so I got him to help me bring up the boxes of Christmas 'stuff' and our tiny little tree. Then, he made himself scarce by going outside to read, and I flashed into Holiday Decorating Mode or HDM, and cleared a spot, set the tree up and decorated it, then proceeded to set up all my little Christmas figurines and such all over the house and take down all the non-Christmas stuff and pack it away.

When I was finished I looked at the clock, saw that less than 30 min. had passed and so I treated myself to a second cup of coffee for the day. Babies were all still asleep, and I was finished. What an amazing and wonderful thing.
Isn't it pretty! Look next to it, all my Christmas presents wrapped and ready to go. I've been done with Christmas shopping since the middle of October. For some reason, I had myself convinced that my life would somehow be over after having my second child, so I hurried and did anything that I didn't feel I would get accomplished once my new bundle of joy came.
Well, that little joy is here now in the form of Kalei Nicole, and my life goes on. In fact, with the Grandma's here to help watch babies, and me not carrying an extra 20 lbs on the front of me, I might have had an easier time Christmas shopping had I waited. Oh well, it is nice to have it done.
Now, for the rest of the day my plans include drinking hot chocolate, watching the movie 'Elf' and snuggling with my girls. Well, actually, the weather here is over 60 degrees, which is much warmer than it has been, so maybe I will opt for chocolate milk instead!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Baby School

Well, my parents visit is about over and so soon I will have to learn how to function with two babies on my own again. Not that Ken isn't a help, but to have constant adult company throughout the day has been such a blessing, and Kinsey has been loving the extra attention.

Soon, reality will have to come back to the Brooks house, where momma is home a lot, alone with the two babies, and juggling their various needs throughout the day. Where she is stuck talking to an almost two year old and looking on facebook for most of her contact with the adult world. A place where the laundry piles up and she will eventually have to do it because her mother won't be here to wash a load daily. Where after a sleepless night with baby Kalei, momma will still have to function without the hope of the grandparents coming to take over.
So, with all of these realities about to hit again, I am determined to start Kalei in her first big lesson, one that has been delayed with all the company we have had. She has been held and rocked to sleep almost since birth, and has already come to demand it at bed time. She also won't take a pacifier which makes her more of a challenge to put to bed than her big sister Kinsey was as a newborn.
My plan of action - take a week with the knowledge that I will not sleep well, and work on putting Kalei to bed before she is asleep each night. Teaching self-soothing, as much as possible at this point. We did this with Kinsey and it was a big help.

The steps include, changing Kalei's diaper, wrapping her up like a burrito, rocking her in the cradle position until her eyes start to close a bit, and then put her to bed before she is totally asleep. Let her lay in her bed until she inevitably gets fussy, and then pick her up, rock her a bit more and then try again to lay her down before she is fully asleep. Repeat until she is comfortable being in her bed and able to sooth herself fully to sleep.
Extra challenge Kalei poses is the no-paci thing, which made this training a lot easier when I did it with Kinsey. It was an instant cue that it was almost time to sleep and a comfort to Kinsey as well, and we do not have such an obvious cue for miss Kalei. Hence the diaper change, tight wrap burrito and cradle hold - those are the sleeping cues I will try to use for miss Kalei - anyone of the praying sort - pray for me and Kalei this coming week. Also pray for Ken that he will be able to sleep through most of this training at night. :-)
Allowing Kalei a hand to suck on may also be a cue we will resort to, although I am greatly apposed to thumb sucking on the grounds that when we eventually want to break her of the habit there is no way to actually remove her thumb....
Baby training starts at 0800 hrs Monday, November 30th.

Friday, November 13, 2009

The New Girl in Our Lives!

Her name is Kalei Nicole Brooks, and she came to us three days earlier than expected, on October 31st, 2009! She was a whole 7lbs. and 19.5 inches long with lots of dark hair and little ears plastered to her head. Now that she has been with us almost two weeks, I have also discovered that she has a dimple, and so I am investigating which side of our family that comes from since I can't think of anyone with a dimple in our immediate family.
Besides investigating family resemblances though, she has been a treat to take care of...such a good nurser, hardly cries at all, only when she wants to come to bed with me at night, and she still sleeps most of the day. Kinsey is actually still my main occupation.

She loves her little sister, but at the same time has become somewhat 'needy' of mommy time. I, being sensitive to this, decided to plan a little outing with just me and Kinsey yesterday, but at not quite 2 years old, I think the meaning of the trip was lost to her. She slept in the car on the way there and had more fun trying to fasten her own seat belt in the cart at walmart.
I bought her some construction paper, but of course she doesn't know what that is yet, so that wasn't exciting, and then I had to come home before Kalei needed to eat again.
To say the least my love trip to walmart for Kinsey's sake was a flop and she would have probably benefited just as much if we had stayed home and played outside... oh well, next time that is what we will do.
One thing she will benefit from very soon is my mom coming to visit. She has planned enough little presents that Kinsey will get one everyday while she is here! To give you a clue she will be here almost three weeks. Wow, that is a lot of little gifts.
Today is my birthday too, so I will be getting some presents here very soon! I love it when my mom comes to visit!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

New Phones and Fudge

Wow, I had a great day today even though I still have a kick boxer residing in my midsection. First, I went to this really cheesy health fair thing that I was invited to attend by the local Crisis Pregnancy Center.
I drug a new pregnant friend along with me so that I didn't have to attend alone, and boy am I glad I did. It turns out it was not even geared toward pregnant women's health, but just health in general and we stayed about an hour so I could get my free bag of baby goodies.
Was it worth it, you ask? I guess so, I was in good company, I got a bunch of gender neutral stuff for my new baby, and I got to learn more about Asthma than I ever knew before.
Then it was home to a Kinsey ready for bed, and a hubby also ready for his nap time, so I put the little one down and escaped to..... Verizon, where I had them transfer my phone number to the total cool phone my mom gave me, like, eight months ago. I tell you, this is the slickest phone I have ever owned, and they transferred all my photos and contacts for free, so the whole adventure didn't cost me a thing, except that they talked me into a 2G photo memory chip so I can transfer photos from phone to computer in one easy step.
Considering that I have over 200 photos already cataloging the first two years of Kinsey's life on my phone, it will be nice to be able to easily and quickly transfer those to the computer and print some of them. Those candid shots that only a cell phone can catch are some of my favorites.
Next, it was home to relax a bit and then clean up my kitchen before taking on the fun-ness of making peanut butter fudge. That's right, I made fudge, and for the first time in my life I think I actually did it right.
Last year around this time I tried for the 4th time in my life to make it and it was another flop, so for Christmas my hubby got me a candy thermometer! So today I watched that thermometer like a hawk, and I think I may have success with this batch. It is still in the fridge cooling some more, but at least when I touch it, it doesn't smoosh around like the consistency of room temperature butter.
Finally, as an end of the day bonus, my liquid iron supplement arrived and so tonight I can take it and begin the process of boosting my iron and energy before the baby arrives.
Whew, if only every day was like this. So many good things. Tomorrow will be good too though. Have lots planned....

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Hungry and in a Hurry...

As a pregnant woman these days, I am almost always 'sort of' hungry, and yet, I am desperate for my naps in the afternoon. So by the time I get up and get my kitchen clean I sometimes have a hard time finding something fast to cook.
Most of the week my meals are planned out to the 't', but on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday nights my husband skips his evening meal, and so I am highly encouraged to come up with 'no cook' meals, or to finish far enough in advance that the house no longer smells amazing when he comes home.
So this is often the dilemma. I want hot, wholesome meals these days, stick to your ribs sorts, otherwise I wake up hungry in the middle of the night. All of this to say, that I have found several recipes in the last few weeks that are fast, 30 min. or less of total prep/cook time, use ingredients that I typically have on hand, are 2 year old friendly and reheat nicely.
Here is my list I've started that I wanted to share with other busy moms:
Easy Chicken Noodle Soup
Baked Potato Soup
Quick Tuna Casserole (easily converts to easy chicken casserole)
Tex-Mex Beef 'n Potatoes (a bit longer - 45min.)

If you would like the recipes for any of these, let me know and I'll post it in it's entirety. These have become staples in my meal planning for the next few weeks, especially since the weather has been so cool. Soup just sounds good all the time!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Bigger & Bigger

So about a month ago I was thinking to myself, 'self, I am not nearly as big as I was with Kinsey, so maybe I won't get as big this time, maybe I will stay smaller and my hips won't hurt as bad and I will sleep better...'

Ha! Not so fast, pregnant woman, my belly is growing fast now. Growing baby is kicking it into overdrive and the stretch marks I had hoped to avoid this time have appeared. Thank goodness they don't itch yet, that is just miserable.
Still, I am anticipating the arrival of this baby so badly, and I am quickly running out of projects to distract me from dwelling on it. I call people when I have nothing to say, I get on facebook when I have nothing to post, I lay on the couch when I'm not particularly tired, and I walk into the kitchen and open the fridge when I'm not hungry. I guess it is just boredom too, but still, I feel desperate for something to occupy my time to make it seemingly pass faster.
One thing that is occupying my time is my almost two year old, Kinsey, who at least 10 times a day asks to go outside, but it is so cold and she has a runny nose already, I am loath to do so. She just doesn't have a concept yet of cold weather, and even when her little lips are quivering in the cold fall breeze, she doesn't want to come inside.
How do you explain to her that cold equals that quivering lip and a chance to be sick?

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Thoughts of a Pregnant Woman

So I don't know if these are typical thoughts for a woman who is 9 months pregnant, but I have a sneaking suspicion that they are not. Oh no, I'm sure the Lord does not bring books like 'Hearts of Fire' to very many pregnant women to read in their final trimester.
I found the book at a garage sale and knew I was suppose to read it. It's by Voice of the Martyrs, but it is about 8 women around the world who have faced persecution and heartache because of their love and devotion the Jesus.
On top of that, I have been having a lot of contractions. Not painful yet, but very real and very uncomfortable, and I live in a church community that puts a lot of focus on the end times and the events that will lead up to the end of the age.
Well in Matthew 24:7-8, the Bible talks about what the birth pains will look like to some extent, 'there will be famines and earthquakes', but then it goes on to say in Matthew 24:9-10, 'Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of Me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other.'
So here I am, nine months pregnant, feeling just the beginnings of birth pains, or practice birth pains, and reading a book on persecution of Christians. And some of the women in the book were betrayed or turned in by their own fellowships because the people themselves were to afraid to be persecuted, so they testified against their own.
It is a hard read most days, but the Lord has been using it I think to remove from me an immaturity and romantic view of what the end times will look like for me. In my early understanding of the end, I actually felt excited to think that I could be a martyr for Christ, because they get all the choice spots in Heaven. Yet now, having had the Lord revealing the reality to me, I am sobered and it is causing me to count the cost.
I have babies, I have a husband, and those things could be taken from me, so what would be my hearts response to the Lord if the unthinkable happened? It is a hard question, but I am glad to say that my heart is still saying 'yes' to the Lord.
Just as I would not choose to end the birth pains that I am having now, because they are a necessary step in bringing forth this beautiful baby within me, nor would I choose to end the birth pains that will lead up to the return of Christ. No matter what happens, Christ is worth it all, and although the 'global' birth pains may be harder to endure than anything I have ever experienced in my life, I would not choose to skip it, for it is necessary to bring back my Beloved Bridegroom.
So those are my thoughts of late, and I thought I would share the journey of reality that the Lord has been taking me on. When the end comes, it will be hard for Christians, especially Christian mothers, but it will be so worth it!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

I'm Back!

Well, I am back I think to the blogspot reality. I was gone for almost a year, and in that time I tried facebook, which I have come to decide is a total waste of my time. I don't like reading about people drinking their coffee or where they are going to dinner. I want to read more interesting things, things that reflect more of the person that I am reading about and what they are interested in.
So I have come back to blogspot and I plan to keep up with it this time. If I can spend half the time on here that I spend on FB, then I should be able to keep family and friends more updated on daily life here in Kansas City.
The only thing blogspot doesn't have that FB has is farmville, which might be a good thing in the long run...

Friendship Bread Explosion

So if anyone has ever gotten one of the Cinnamon Bread/Friendship Bread starters that smells a lot like yeast in a gallon zip lock baggie, then you probably also got the instructions that say much the bag, and some of them even say, let air out of the bag daily.

Well I have done many, many of these starters i my day and I know the drill, and yet somehow yesterday I forgot to let the air out. What resulted was not a complete surprise, but still a total mess and the end of my starter. I will now have to bum another starter off of a friend and take better care next time to let all the air out.

Attached is a picture I took with my phone - it was quite a sight to wake up to, with what looked like vomit all over my counter top. Yum - but trust me, if you haven't tried it, it tastes better than it looks in this picture. :-)