Monday, November 4, 2013

Catching up. August, September and October.

I hate that! You are already stressing about being behind on blogging, thinking you've got 2 months to talk about when in fact, you have THREE! That's a whole quarter of a year that has gone by in an absolute blink. So here it is in a nutshell:

August: Our big news in August was sending Audrey and Madison to school. We went to "meet the teacher" and got to meet Ms. Cindy and Ms. Lisa and play with all the toys! They go once a week and Rusty and I pretend we only have 1 kid for a few hours! Haha. The first few drop offs were really hard for Madison (and mommy!). Now they both LOVE going to school and drop offs are painless. They ask about going to school and their teachers throughout the week :) To view our pictures, click here!

September: This month was pretty awesome considering we went on vacation! We booked our Disney cruise on our last one when I was 17 weeks pregnant with Elana! First, we spent 2 nights at the Lowes Royal Pacific hotel. We spent time at the parks and hung out by the pool. Then our 4 night Disney cruise was a dream! We were joined by my in-laws, dad, sister and cousins and their daughter. When we got home, it was time for my 10 year reunion. It was fun to catch up with old friends and people watch! You can see more pictures here.

October: This is a fun month for us! We did lots of things for Halloween this year! We started off with a trip to SeaWorld's Spooktacular. The kids didn't really "get" the trick or treating part but it was fun to see the exhibits and get the kids all dressed up!! Then of course we had to make the trip to the pumpkin patch. This was our 3rd year going and by far the most fun! The kids had a great time running around and picking out their pumpkins :) On the actual Halloween, I took the kids to my friend's neighborhood for trick or treating. Audrey was terrified by a little boy in our group dressed in a scary mask. Poor thing! But overall it was fun walking around in the dark collecting candy! Not to forget, our little Elana turned ONE this month. Mom hosted her party the weekend after the big day. On her actual birth-day we took her to Grammy's indoor playplace for a special treat! Pictures here.

As of my last entry, Audrey wasn't giving us much trouble in the scheme of things. Lately she has been a challenge! I think she and Madison are taking turns driving me crazy :) I try to remind myself that this is a phase that every kid goes through and has to go through to learn about the world. It's almost like you can see the wheels turning, "if I do this, what will happen? how much can I get away with?" So I try to be as consistent as possible with my disciple, trying to find that fine balance in parenthood where you get your child to behave without squashing their spirit. Most of the time, she wants things done in a certain way or in a certain order. Can't fault her for that...hehe. A little too much like her mother!! Anyway, lots of NOs and I DON'T WANT TOs happening around here but usually nothing a little time-out doesn't fix! Rusty and I always call her Dr. Jekyll/ Mr. Hyde because she can be raging one moment and sweet as pie the next! Overall she is a good girl and loves her mama. You can still find me carting her around in the Boba from time to time when she needs a little extra attention. It's a rare day that she naps but that's ok because she usually just plays and sings quietly in her room while Madison naps (or they play together and destroy..haha). We have had many special moments during the nap hour when Madison and Elana are napping and Audrey "helps" get dinner fixed or with some baking. She is becoming an independent little lady and never fails to bust out with something crazy/funny. Now I understand why people always say "kids say the darndest things!" 

Madison, who had been our "difficult" child for a few months with the boundary testing has become the more mellow of the two. She goes with the flow most days and is helpful more often than not. When I need a "special helper" I always ask Madison. She is very good at following directions :) She always helps pick up the dirty clothes and put them in the hamper and is very good at picking up toys or putting those puzzles together that come with a million pieces. We have made amazing strides with the potty training. One week before the cruise, the girls decided they wanted to wear underwear. So we went with it, a little apprehensive just before vacation but they did GREAT! Madison was certainly the ring-leader in this situation and pushed Audrey into being ready. As of today, Madison only wears a pull-up at night. She pees and poops in the potty all day and even naps without accidents. We are SO proud of these two! One of the most precious thing she does right now is, just before I close the door at nap and bedtime she says, "Mommy, I love you SOO much!" It warms my heart!

It's so hard to believe our sweet girl is one! She is truly a joy in our lives! Most of the time she is happy, easy going and self-entertaining. She likes to point and grunts at everything, wanting to know the words. She gets the biggest smile on her face and giggles over seemingly nothing. This age is so precious!! We even made it the full year of breastfeeding. I'm so happy and proud that she never had to have any formula and I had pumped not only enough milk for her, but also had stored a freezer full of milk and donated to 5 other babies! Now that she's one, she still nurses through the day but not as much. She's a busy little thing and doesn't like to be slowed down :) It is nice to get that special cuddle time. I'm not sure how long we'll go but I think I'll leave that up to her. One thing is for sure, she thinks she is a long lost triplet to Audrey and Madison. Anything they do, she tries to do! Whenever she does something she knows is a big girl thing she gets the biggest smile on her face. Always so pleased with herself! Her latest thing is being obsessed with shoes! She found the basket of shoes I keep in her dresser and will go there, choose a shoe (or two!) and bring it to me to put on her. Then she runs around the house looking so happy. Crazy little girl. She is such a blessing <3 p="">
Rusty: I can't imagine how he must feel living with 4 women (and a female dog!) but he does it well! He is a great daddy and is always helpful to me around the house. They have been very short at work lately so he's been doing some overtime trying to fill in. Overall he is happy with work and especially happy now that Halloween Horror nights is over :) In his "spare time" he likes to work on his mustang. hahahahaha. Oh I'm sorry....did I say something about spare time....

Shelby: I'm holding steady working one day a week (at my paid job!) I would like to work more but that time will come. For now I'm (mostly) enjoying being at home with my babies. The work is exhausting between keeping 3 kids under 3 happy, fed, clean, the house clean-ish, the dog fed, the laundry done, the checkbook balanced, the grocery shopping done, the projects completed, and the list goes on. October was incredibly busy and November is going to be even more so. There are some days I feel completely overwhelmed and over my head and other days not so much. Trying hard to focus on one day at a time. Every time I look at my girls they look older. I'm constantly criticizing the job I'm doing as their mother and hope with all my heart that I am giving them the happy childhood they deserve. There are days that they are so terribly whiney and irritable that I'm not sure I can make it though the day and other times that they are so incredibly sweet it fills my heart with happiness. I never imagined motherhood could be this way. Such a constant roller coaster ride of emotions. I am so blessed to be able to be home with them and watch them grow up. I wonder about the kind of children/teenagers/young women they will become. I guess only time will tell and for now, I'm going to try taking this one day at a time.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

June and July

Catch up time! In June, Rusty turned the big 3-0!!! We celebrated by renting a convertible mustang, getting a massage and spending a day at the beach. It was great to kick back and relax for a day. So glad I chose such a great birthday gift for us him. :) We also spent time with friends for a kid-free dinner out. It was so nice to catch up without time-outs and kid duty interfering! This month we also enjoyed taking the kids to the beach and our preschool co-op made a visit to the Oviedo fire station.

Not much to report in July. I was able to pick up a few extra shifts at work since Grandma is off work for the summer so we laid low. The highlight of the month was our fun trip to the science center! We went with a group of friends and their kids and are looking forward to purchasing a membership sometime in the near future. It was so fun to watch the kids see things they had never seen before! Audrey and Madison talked about the "dinosaur at the science center" and "pushing the button to make the dinosaur move" for a solid week.

In July we also transitioned the girls to toddler beds. Oh boy. Double trouble is an understatement. Everything in their room is locked and tethered down, everything removed except essentials in order to make it as boring as possible in hopes that they will nap/sleep/not destroy my house. If I said it's been a zoo, that would be an understatement. It sounds like a teenage slumber party in there at naptime everyday! At night, they screamed bloody murder for the first 2 weeks and demanded I "put it back." It being the crib rail. We seem to be settling down, finally. Madison occasionally falls asleep on the floor at naptime but Audrey has not slept except for bedtime when she falls exhausted into bed! There's been poop hiding, mattress tossing and who knows what else. But you know what? I don't sleep in a crib and everything is ok. Someday they will grow out of the shenanigans (I hope.)

Everyone loves a good poop story, so here it is: The girls had taken off their diapers during "nap". I found poop smudged on the mattress, the bed frame and Audrey's shirt. But no poop. Audrey's seemingly clean diaper was sitting on the changing table. I found the mystery poop in 2 separate dresser drawers (despite drawer locks). I thought that was it. Then the next morning, Madison kept saying "Audrey poop" and pointing under the dresser. Another mystery turd found. Good news? I figured out where the lingering poop smell was coming from!

Madison is our little wild child! She's always one step ahead, hands everywhere and into everything! Since my last post she has become VERY verbal and is now speaking in full sentences. We were so worried when she was almost 2 and hardly saying any words when our pediatrician told us to enjoy it. Soon she would be chatting our ears off. Boy was he right! She sings song, can carry on a conversation, count to 15 and can recognize most letters and colors. Right now her favorite color is BLUE! and her favorite song is Mary Had a Little Lamb. It's the most highly requested tune in the house! Play dough is also a favorite right now! She is still a major daddy's girl and asks for him all the time when he is at work. As crazy as she can be, she is also incredibly sweet at times. She asks me all the time when we are sitting down to eat "mommy, is it good?" If Elana is crying she runs over, pets her head and says "It's ok baby!" Funny how things you say and do get mirrored back to you :)
Audrey is our little emotional child. She's great at independent play, doesn't really get into things or tear the house apart (unless she is Madison's partner in crime). But oh my, don't take something she is playing with, had played with or is thinking about playing with. Don't touch her chair, her cup, her dolly, her blanket, her bed, and please, don't push her down the slide because an emotional meltdown will occur! Oh, and don't sing in the car either, gah! One of her favorite things to do right now is help mommy fix dinner. If she sees me fixing food in the kitchen she begs for the chair to stand on so she can help. I usually have her help me when (if) Madison naps. It's fun to have a little 1 on 1 time with her once in awhile. We usually juice, make smoothies, or something else useful to prepping dinner. She is also getting very good at recognizing colors and letters and is always singing some tune. She also LOVES to paint and make hand prints (and mistakenly used a marker one day as lip gloss!)

Elana is our little sweetheart (for now). She is generally very happy and smiley and is great at self entertainment! She's all over the place and climbing. Oh the climbing. If she gets on the couch, she will pull herself up on the counter top bordering the kitchen. We had to turn her crib backwards because she almost climbed out one day. She has learned how to turn the Elmo chairs around, throw out the toys in her way, and climb on up! She's taken a few nasty spills and I feel pretty lucky she hasn't really injured herself from all the craziness I've witnessed! We spend a lot of time playing outside and she's ALL OVER the back yard, chasing Audrey and Madison, exploring or just looking for mischief! We joke that she's going to be the most mischievous of them all, I mean she's learning from the best right?! As charming as she is, she's got that spark of naughty in her shining through already. If she's doing something she isn't supposed to, she'll give you a huge stinker smirk! She is still a major mama's girl but is starting to give daddy the time of day once in awhile :) A few days ago she even took her first steps! I can't believe my little baby is starting to toddle around. Happy but sad feelings all mixed in one.
August brings some new changes to our routine. The big girls will start a new preschool one day a week. I'm sure it will be an adjustment for them but I'm hoping they love it as much as they loved their last school! The rest of the month, I'm sure I'll be scrambling to get ready for our Disney cruise in September. Who knew so much planning could go into a 4 night vacation?!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

April and May

The past two months (years?!) have been very busy for the Joneses! In April we celebrated Audrey and Madison's second, time flies!! We actually hosted parties two weeks in a row! It just so happened that none of the friends with kids could make it to the original party date so we just had two parties, one with kids and one without. It was really great getting together with family and friends to celebrate our two special little girls :)

We did end up finishing our home improvement projects. Rusty (with a little help) was able to install all of our new fence in two weekends. We also added a new shed to the backyard and got some great "build ins" for storage in our dining area. I'm still getting all the decorative stuff figured out, pictures, etc. but it's all up and organized! That was quite a feat!

We also survived a month of daddy working mandatory overtime to get ready for the new ride, Transformers, to open at Universal Studios. We are so glad to have him home more!! As for me, I'm still working once a week at the hospital and it seems to be working out well. It's great to be able to stay home with my girls!

Madison is still a very happy kid, still mischevious and pretends not to hear you when you correct her but overall good :) She has just started to sing some parts of songs which is new! She is getting very good at puzzles. We did our first "real" puzzle had 4 pieces and she put it together over and over kept her entertained a good 45 minutes! I was very impressed! She is also SO good with Elana...she shares everything with her except her blankie..hehe. She is always interacting with her and can get her to smile and laugh easier than anyone! Lately she has been OBSESSED with the vacuum. I'm not sure what it is. She's terrified of it and asks if you are going to vacuum all the time. Anytime we tidy up she automatically thinks it's because I'm going to use it! I'm puzzled. She is also fascinated by the frogs and the lizards in the backyard. She has this cute little gasp when she sees them :) We have a tree frog that likes to hang out under the grill cover and she always goes there and looks for him and if she sees him *gasp* HI FROGGY. HI HI HIII FROGGY!!!!

Elana is ALL OVER the place! She started scooting around at 5 months and now she crawls everywhere and pulls up on everything! She has even stood on her own. not holding onto anything. I am so amazed by her! She also started on solids just before her 6 month "birthday." This kid will eat anything you put in front of her with ease! Avocado slices, broccoli, asparagus, carrots, green beans, quartered grapes, puffs, cantaloupe, apples, chicken even. There isn't a food I've found that she DOESN'T like...except maybe tart blueberries! Of course, we introduced her to solids via 'baby led weaning' and I liked that approach with the big girls but Elana has seemed to have much more success, earlier. She's a bit of a mama's girl and is going through a mommy clingy phase right now but that's ok. Most times when this happens I just toss her on my back and carry her around in my Boba until she gets bored and wants to crawl around..haha. We still have lots of work to do in the sleep department. She's still up 1-3 times in the night to nurse, although, I'm not in a rush to cut these out because she's probably our last but 7 months of sleep deprivation is wearing!

Audrey is quite the little stinker these days! It's a rare day if she takes a nap in the afternoon. Like, once every 2 weeks or so! So, I usually let her have quiet time from 2-3:30 or so. She'll usually call for me when she's over quiet time...ha. Luckily Madison can sleep through most anything! She will play quietly until it's time to go get Madison about 4:30 or so. It's a good time for us to play one on one (or for me to finish getting dinner ready!) Audrey is a very verbal child and most days amazes me speaking in full sentences! She also loves to sing and knows the lyrics to lots of children's rhymes...she sings a lot with Grandma! We are just getting over almost 2 weeks of sickness at the house and we've been watching way too much Mikey Mouse Clubhouse. Let me tell you, she knows the theme song start to finish and the words to the episodes. She stands in front of the TV and randomly just starts talking along with Mickey! How crazy!
Speaking of Mickey! Our cruise is in a few short months (3) but who's counting? When we booked this cruise I was just 17 weeks pregnant with Elana and thought about how great it would be that the girls would be 'big girls' at 2 1/2 years old and the baby would be 11 months. Yes, and now that it's approaching I'm getting very nervous about how sleeping arrangements are going to work, naptime, potty training, meal time, etc. etc. etc. Hopefully it will be a vacation to remember (in a good way!)
In June, Rusty turns 30!!!!! I have a special day date planned with him and I can't wait!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

February and March

Ok, this is long over due. If there's anyone that still reads this thing, here you go!

Life. Is. Busy. OMG, I wish time could just slow down for a little bit (please!) Not only are my babies growing up but there are lots of things to do. Besides maintaining the house and trying to keep some sort of order we are undertaking several big home improvement projects at once. New fence, new shed, new built in bookcases and maybe, eventually, a new toilet in the guest bath are in order. Did I mention we are drowning in regular, everyday tasks? Who's great idea was this? I can't even point the finger at my wonderful spouse because everyone knows it was MINE! God love him for putting up with me!

Besides the busy factor, life is good. The girls are behaving a bit better these days and I think we owe it to time outs. Elana is also becoming easier to manage as she is able to sit up, look around and entertain herself for moments here and there. Two days a week the big girls get out of the house and get some brain stimulation. One day is their official preschool day from 9-12 and the other is our co-op preschool group. It's great to get out and be with other mommies once a week! Other than the usual routine there haven't been any exciting outings besides two trips to SeaWorld. Guess that's what we get for being a family with 3 under 2 (guess we can't say that anymore though!) We also had our FIRST sick visit to the doctor when Audrey had an ear infection!

Besides the ear infection, Audrey has been doing well. We've had a major language explosion in this house! She now speaks in full sentences and is constantly chattering throughout the day! It isn't always easy to understand her but SHE knows what she's saying! She is a strong willed little thing and tests limits often. She doesn't like to be dirty (yucky toes!) and if she ever gets a hold of a wash cloth, she likes to wipe down the table. At the very end of March, she started cutting her incisors (finally). We've been waiting on those to pop through for awhile now. We are still struggling to get her to eat veggies but will usually eat the rest of her meal. If she sleeps at nap time, it's a real treat. Most days she just has quiet time while Madison naps but it makes bedtime easy. She's come to insist on routine (rock you! night light and a kiss good night for sissy). I love that the kiss each other before bed and "sign" I love you. So precious. I hope I never forget it!!

Madison is a happy little thing. She is also starting to verbalize a lot more. Her language is not quite as clear as Audrey's but she's getting there! Some of her favorite things to say right now are 'lawnmower' and 'vacuum.' Her 'lawnmower' sounds a lot like 'mommy' so I always think she is greeting me when I come home from the grocery store but really she's just letting us know the lawnmower is still in the garage! She continues to be a great eater and napper and even has enough hair for a ponytail and pig tails!!! One of her favorite things is putting puzzles together...she is getting really good! You can tell her mind is always spinning and working through how things work. Not to mention she is a little mother to Elana. She is always wanting to wipe the baby's face or bring her toys or her sippy cup. It's really sweet to see her love her little sister so much! Madison is a great helper to mommy too. She is always the first to 'help' with chores like emptying the dryer or picking up.

Elana is such a sweet baby! She has really advanced tremendously since my last post. She now sits up by herself and crawls. Yes....she is only 5 months old and crawling. I guess I got spoiled with Audrey and Madison not crawling until 10 months Elana seems to be growing up so much faster. Overall, she has a great temperament as long as she is clean, fed and has something to play with. She is content to watch the big girls run around the house and gives them the biggest smiles first thing in the morning. Especially Madison, they are buddies!!! She even gave us 2 nights where she slept all the way through the night. It was like a little piece of heaven (after my heart started beating again after waking up wondering why it was light outside already and if she was still breathing in there!) The nights following those have not quite been so blissful but one day I won't get my early morning snuggles so I try to remember that through the sleep deprivation.

Of course, the month of April holds the BIG 2 birthday!!! I can't believe it's been two years already.

Thursday, February 7, 2013


Luckily, January was a bit less hectic than December! Rusty and I were able to get away (with baby in tow) one night to the Royal Pacific resort. We went to dinner at Outback then to the hotel. We slept on and off until almost 11am! It was short and sweet and much needed.

The following weekend I returned to work. It went well and I'm glad to be back. As much as I love to stay home with my kids and be "mom" you start to feel like you are loosing a piece of your identity. It's nice to be a professional and use the other side of my brain one day a week :) So grateful that I have a job that allows me such flexibility...nursing is the perfect profession for mommies!

Although I'm finally back making some money, it's half of what I was making before Elana came along. So we are back on a tight budget, Dave Ramsey style. It feels good to get back on track and even though things are tighter than they were, we are comfortable. Living this way makes you so much more mindful about each dollar you spend. I've started shopping smarter at the grocery store, clipping coupons and eating out less. I've also (ambitiously) started making some shirts for the girls instead of buying. Really? Like I have time for that, but it is a good outlet for me. Crafting has taken a back seat the last few years!!!

The girls started preschool this month at the First Congregational Church in Winter Park. I'm so glad to be able to have a place for them to grow and learn in so many areas! Audrey could care less if I'm there or not but Madison is very shy and gets upset when I leave. It only lasts a few minutes (thankfully) and when I come back they are hugging their teacher Ms. Sue! They do this every Friday from 9-12 except when they are sick which seems to be all. the. time.

In other major news, we've started time out in our house. Joy. They can no longer be re-directed to avoid confrontations, temper tantrums are getting plain ridiculous and the hitting and pinching is at an all time high. Welcome to toddlerhood! The time-outs have seemed to help with some of these behavior problems but it certainly makes the house LOUD at times, if you know what I mean!

Madison is our drama queen. Lots of temper tantrums, throwing herself on the ground, screaming and kicking. She pinches and pushes Audrey and is always taking her toys. On the other hand, she LOVES her sister! Every time I give them a drink, she tells me "sissy!" takes the first cup and runs it over to Audrey. Every time! So sweet! She remains a great eater and napper (thank god!)

Audrey is very social and did well the the transition to school. At home, she's a clinger! She loves her momma! And oh my, she is a chatter bug! Talk, talk, talk. She's saying something all the time but we can't always understand. Her newest thing is to say "No, uh-uh." Charming. We are also struggling on and off with nap times and lately she has decided that she doesn't want to eat much other than bread and fruit. Carb queen!

Elana is becoming much more aware and likes to watch her big sisters run around the house. We got our first giggles this month also :) She has rolled over back to front and front to back. She now reaches for toys and lets you know when something is not to her liking. Thankfully, she is better about taking a bottle now! Rusty figured out a trick: she has to be in her swing, with the mobile running and the white noise on. I guess it's just distracting enough...? She is still up several times in the night and I'm hoping that this month she starts taking some longer stretches of sleep!!! Here's hoping.

In February, we are looking forward to starting our co-op with 5 other mommy-baby pairs. We all take turns "teaching" a lesson at our house. I'll be teaching the letter "D" later in the month.

Thursday, January 3, 2013


Well, that was a doozie. As fun as December was, I'm glad it's over! This year we went to go see Santa earlier in the month, and earlier in the day (compared to last year). It still resulted in a one hour + wait time but we also added another child, a meltdown and a good poop story!

"Today we saw Santa. Waited an hour in line at lunch/naptime. Meltdown began and intensified as we approached Santa. As we walk our semi-traumatized kids back to the car Rusty tells me he smells poop. He explains it must be one of ours because the smell is following us. We get to the car and discover the guilty party (Madison). The ...poop exploded out of her diaper, is all over the inside of her dress and smeared all over the stroller. As rusty gags, his mom and I clean her up and strip her naked in the downtown Disney parking lot. Then I start feeding Elana so we can head home. Halfway thru I go to change her diaper only to discover IT is overflowing, all over the inside of HER dress and now, puddled up in my lap. {Insert more gagging} You know it's a true story bc there is no way I could have made that up. Moral of the story? When things go wrong, laugh. A lot. (And don't trust those disposables,ugh!)"

Towards the middle of the month my sister moved home from college (for good!) and Nolan came home on leave from the Army. He deploys to Afghanistan this month (January) so needless to say, we've had fun visiting with both of them!! The rest of the days leading up until Christmas were spent, well, getting ready for Christmas! Staying up late, wrapping gifts, making gifts, and a bit of online retail therapy (guilty!)

Speaking of Christmas. It was fun. I feel like it was the girls' first Christmas because last year, they didn't really realize it was a special day. This year I was actually giddy wondering what the girls' faces would look like Christmas morning. Paige came over to help me get all the gifts out so that it would all be ready for A&M. I'll have to admit I even enjoyed shopping for gifts for them. As much stuff as I knew they were going to be getting, I couldn't help but want that selfish satisfaction of seeing the happiness on their face as they saw their gifts. We actually had 3 days of Christmas. Eve day we went to mom's for brunch. We had a feast and it was delicious!!! Christmas day we opened gifts in the morning, Grandma and Grandpa came around lunch (more presents!) and then we went to Rusty's grandparents and then came home exhausted! The next morning we met Dad for brunch at Keke' of our favorite places to eat then watched MIB3 as the big girls napped.

Our 3 little ladies continue to blossom. Madison is starting to use more and more words everyday. Some of her favorite words this month are: poop, shoes, apples, outside, dirt, sissy and baby. Poop and baby are the 2 most frequently spoken words in this house! Baby because they just LOVE Elana. Madison is our little scout...whenever we go out to the backyard she immediately seeks out all of Layla's turds and stands there until you come pick them up with the scooper. She stands there the whole time saying "poop, poop, poop, poop" over and over again. I'm sure our neighbors get a kick out of our conversations. I'm usually saying "Madison, get off of there!" or "don't put that in your mouth! Yuck!" She took a pretty hard fall off her little slide today. I mean, I heard her hit the ground but it didn't even phase her...just up and off to her next adventure. She's always got some scratch, bruise or bug bite on her. She is one tough chick! Another one of Madison's favorite things to do is point out body parts, especially on the baby, especially her eyes. But she is obsessed with belly buttons, especially Tia's because it has a ring in it. She is always yanking up Paige's shirt and pointing at her belly button!!

Audrey is a chatty Kathy, OMG! Her favorite phrase lately is "I see you!" It's amazing what they pick up and you don't even realize you say things until they get repeated back to you. We actually call her our little parrot because she repeats EVERYTHING. When reading a story, she'll say the last word of each phrase. And they have all the books memorized, by the way. If the next page says something about toes, they are pointing to their toes before I even turn the page. She is also starting to grasp the concept of sharing. She will give Madison food off her plate and say "sissy, share." But when she has a toy she is playing with that Madison wants she'll start saying "share! share! share! share!" Meaning, I understand this is 'our' toy but right now it is MINE and YOU have to share with ME! We'll keep working on this one...Not to mention everything in our house is on repeat. She will repeat "shirt on" until you put on her shirt at which time she begins repeating "pants on." It drives you (me) a little batty when you are in the middle of dressing your other child but it's interesting to hear what's going on inside their head! Sometimes she says to me "daddy gone, work" hours after Rusty has left for work. Another thing she has just started doing is coming up to you saying "hug" or "kiss" and then giving you a hug or kiss. So, so sweet.

Elana is becoming a little more predictable everyday. She is starting to fall into a routine and we are both learning! She is awake more often during the day and is a very easy going baby MOST of the time. Now that I think about it, we kind of have stations for her. Her Bumbo is on the kitchen table (I know, bad mommy!) But that is where she sits while we eat our meals. She is in her bouncy seat if she's awake during big girl nap time and I'm cooking or cleaning in the kitchen. The rest of the time she is content to have tummy time (yes, she actually enjoys tummy time!) or lay on her back and watch the girls run back and forth. One thing we are still struggling with is getting her to take a bottle. She's taken every ounce of milk straight from the tap since birth...unless you count the milk that's dripped into her mouth while she's refusing the bottle! It's amazing how you forget all that the second she flashes that huge smile at you and starts cooing. She is SO smiley, I really am enjoying this stage!

Rusty is tired. He gets up everyday with the big girls and gets them breakfast. Then he does whatever I have planned for the around 1pm heads off to work! He gets home late in the evening. He's like me, tired but happy. We reminisce often about the days of sleeping in. A distant memory...ha!

As for me, I'm returning to work this month! I have a huge to-do list to take care of before that happens but it's looking like the middle of the month. I'm looking forward to it and dreading it all at the same time. I think I'm a better mom when I can get out, talk to other adults and use the 'other' side of my brain. Other than that, I'm more tired than ever, I look like hell, an emotional roller coaster at times but I'm happier than I've ever been. My husband is kind and understanding, helpful, and an awesome dad; my kids are healthy (my kids! I have 3 kids!) and happy...most of the time. I'm a mom that gets to raise my kids, working one day a week. It's everything I've ever wanted in life and I am so very, very thankful.

In January we'll be staying at one of the Universal hotels as a little get away. We'll be taking the baby as she can't quite be away from her moo cow for that long yet but heck, having one kid is practically a vacation at this point! Hopefully we'll be getting to SeaWorld again soon as one of my Christmas gifts was an annual pass. Check in next month for more updates :)