October 31, 2008

What's Your 'Stume?

Change is in the air. I'm talking about some good new things happening at 5 Minutes For Parenting, as well as explaining why or why not my kids may or may not go trick-or-treating.

And in case you missed it, here's a sneak peek at my costume.

October 30, 2008

I'm Like MacGyver With A Pipe Cleaner

I'm giving you a sneak peek at my costume for tomorrow...

October 29, 2008

Under The Covers

As open as I seem to be, there are many things I keep private about my life.

Something that took place today has my heart brimming with thankfulness and hope. Although I choose to not say more than that, I just had to share.

Many moments of the past few years have earned preservation here within my words and punctuations.

But for now, this one... I'm keeping this for myself.

October 28, 2008

Moving On

I was going through old boxes of the boys' clothes, putting away summer things and seeing what they had to wear for winter (it's already snowed here!) and I found a huge box of 3T items that will now fit Gray.

I was surprised at my reaction- there were two winter coats, plenty of jeans and sweaters- all enough to get him through the winter without buying anything new. I should be excited.

But these were the clothes Noah wore during the most difficult times of our lives. The shirt he was wearing the day before his first seizure. YES I REMEMBER.

I remember it all. As much as I've tried to forget it, a mother can never forget that.

For this very reason is why I've saved so many of these things at all. In a way they are my touchstone- look how far we've come.

I haven't decided if I will let Gray wear some of these things. I'm a big girl and it's been over four years, but sometimes painful memories can be hard to shake. Maybe I should go easy on myself. Maybe I just shouldn't go there at all.

These things. Maybe these things can stay in the box for a little while longer.

October 27, 2008

Belle Of The Ball

Tonight Ivy went to her first Gala with Mommy & Daddy. Dolled up in a cute pink dress and tights and all of a sudden I had a stomach drop moment- dressing her and overcome by all the pink! oh so much pink!

I catch myself blinking and trying to make sense of it... is this really real? I have a daughter and she is just the sweetest soul. She likes me. And I like her. A whole lot.

When we go places, she attracts smiles and coos and glistening wrinkled eyes from old people.

At home, she adds the the icing and pink sprinkles to our already delicious cake. We had a pretty good party going on before she arrived. And she is truly the belle of our ball.

Ivy LaRue- 6 weeks old

Alright, alright! She can be seen in the pink dress here.

October 26, 2008

Release Me

I am still in awe of this new baby.

When I speak to her, I feel she really truly listens. Her deep blue eyes take in my every word. Maybe it's the look on my face that is so interesting.

All I care about is that she knows she is loved.

I watch her fall asleep so innocently and so vulnerable- there in my arms while I just stare at this sleeping beauty.

If someone stared at me while I slept I am pretty sure I would not like it.

But I cradle her and she rests. Her body completely given up to me. I can feel her surrender. The peace.

And how good this makes me feel- to know
she knows I will take care of her. I will love her. And everything will be ok.

To feel her
let go and let me. A lesson again my children teach me... as I am a child, too. A reminder to let go already. And just let God.

October 25, 2008

Coming To You Live

Tomorrow night (Sunday at 9 PM CST) I'll be on the MumsCast at Blog Talk Radio. I'd love for you to call in or get online for the chat during the show- you do need to register real quick before you can chat, I think, so do that now!

This is a great time if you have a babywearing question or really anything else you'd like to ask me.

And feel free to ask away here, too!

October 24, 2008

It's Time For A Change

Ivy and I just took the longest nap all snuggled up on my bed.

She has been smiling at the boys all day. SMILING!

I am getting all soap boxy over at 5 Minutes For Parenting today.
Probably something we know but don't want to hear.

And this is just about as political as you'll see me willing to get on the blog right about now:

But I encourage you to instead use code ABWdiapers for $10 off your first order so that I can get a little perk from your purchase!

You know how much in love I am with Ivy? One of my favorite things ever is to change her diaper. If only I could take a picture of her nakedness and the rolls on her thighs- oh my goodness I wish I could- but I just don't want to embarrass her permanently online forever someday.

And I am hoping I haven't already.


I love that Diapers.com sells cloth diapers as well as eco-friendly disposables... and they have super fast shipping. (I know this because I often order at the very last minute.) Remember to use my code-
ABWdiapers and I'll be forever grateful!

And if you are in the voting mood and want me to tell you who to vote for... how about me?

October 23, 2008

Those Hannah Montana Wigs Are Just Freaky

We have never really participated in Halloween with the kids before, but do love a good costume party.

Yesterday the boys came home begging to go to Halloween Night at school and since it was going to be just me & them at home by ourselves anyway, and because I've been feeling convicted about saying no to them for far too much and yes to everyone else,
I thought why not?

I can dress the kids up, take all four into a crowded school by myself- I've got it covered.

What was I thinking?

Do you know how many little boys exactly Carter's size came as Obi Wan Kenobi, too? And don't get me started about the Hannah Montanas. Those wigs are freaky. I'm just saying.

It went pretty well. Thank goodness for the sling. Ivy slept the entire time. Gray's dino costume lasted much longer than I expected. Long enough even for a quick picture with all their friends. It was right before that Kodak moment that I had to turn my head to hide the tears.

Tears on Halloween Night.

I've just se
en Noah come so far, and to see friends run up to him excited that he was there... putting their arms around him. If you could have just seen his eyes and smile light up the entire place.

There wasn't one bit of darkness to be found.

And to watch Carter... the second he entered the school his arms went up and he was saying hey! to every child and adult there. He knew everyone. He would compliment their costume and make sure they knew he was glad to see them. And I could just see Carter, my little class president- pointing his shooter finger and giving a wink as he walked through the halls.

Grayson has no fear, and his Tyrannosaurus Rex impersonation even made a little girl jump, to his delight. He would find every single child there that was his size or smaller and go right up to their face and growl.

I said sorry a lot.

We learned about static electricity...

Carter: This robe is giving me the shocks.

We learned that the brain and the intestines look alike according to Noah's body drawing. (Don't you just love the glasses?). And they do. Quite an interesting gut-brain connection, I say.

I learned that saying yes more to the kids for the right things is quite fulfilling.

Awesome, actually.

Just Keeping It Real...

So, I am not even going to go into explaining. Just watch my vlog from the car, and you'll also get two treats in one because I am including that as my "before" hair picture. And all that background noise? All from inside my car.

And here's the after...

twitter me- I'm babysteph & subscribe to me here

October 22, 2008


This week's Samantha Who? offered up wise advice:

A rocket has to go 25,000 miles an hour to get into orbit... that's a lot of force, keeping us right where we are. So, go ahead and tell your daughter to reach for the stars. Just, give her a break if she falls a little short.

And the same for you, my friends.

October 21, 2008

The 5 Week Plea For Amnesty

Ivy turned five weeks already. I weighed her yesterday and she's 12 lbs! I love it.

This marks the time when I'm finally ready to get my act together. I'm putting on makeup. Wearing "normal" clothes. (Do not assume that means non-maternity. It just means non-pajama.) I'm not as embarrassed to leave the house. And I'm getting a new hair style tomorrow. (I plan to keep it long but you want to take bets on me deciding to chop it all off at the last minute? I've been known to do that.)

So now, some letters of apology.

Dear Friends & Family,

As I am crawling out of the new baby haze, please forgive me of my forgetfulness if I've not sent a proper thank you note for the lovely baby gifts. And I probably have written to you over and over in my mind at 3 am many nights, but I have no idea where a pen is in this house.

Dear Bathroom Floors,

I know you are used to neglect and utter disregard, but this is the longest I've ignored you and in a house with four males I am asking you from the bottom of my heart to hang in there just a little bit longer. And if you could pretty-please start repelling stray pee that would help immensely.

Dear Eyebrows,

What a fright I had when I finally gave myself a really good look in the mirror today. Why didn't you say something before? I am so so so sorry.

Dear Belly,

Ok. I'm begging you for mercy. What the heck are you hanging around for? You were cute for a while but it's definitely time for us to part ways.

I do hope you all understand, as I've been caught in the gaze of a beautiful little baby girl for the past several weeks and it's just been heavenly. Cut me some slack? Mwah! You're the best.

Love, Steph

October 20, 2008

The View From Here

My view for so very long was all wrapped up here. From above the big belly and all about what was inside.

And now my eyes gaze upon the purest of pure, made in the most Perfect image, nursing at my breast, secure and certain of my love, as this crazy world goes on around us.

Yesterday I stepped outside and looked up. When was the last time you really observed the sky? It's a lot to take in... it goes on forever. It has stories to tell. It's so big and will make you realize just how small you are.
And also how real. And alive.

But really we're just walking around Someone Else's brushstrokes.

As much as I tend to think it is, this life is not all about me.

October 19, 2008


We do everything together.

October 18, 2008


When is the last time you had a really good stretch? Not a little yawn and arm to the ceiling stretch but a full-on lie on the bed and extend your legs and arms out as far as they will reach stretch?

It feels good.

Ivy reminds me to do it every day.

My post at Chicago Moms Blog has nothing to do with this but you can go read it anyway.

And while I'm on display you might as well twitter me here and subscribe to me here.

October 17, 2008

Quiet Down, Cobwebs!

I came across this video yesterday taken just an hour or so after Ivy was born. We were there on my bed and my midwife had just turned on the lights for the first time to check her out, and we took her first pictures.

Just one month ago.

Why does it have to go so very fast?

Yet, as I look at each one of my children I love who they are becoming and I have only experienced this life and this parenting thing getting better and better as time goes by.

But for now, let me rock her a little longer. I pray I can hold on to this sweet babyness as long as I can, because it certainly won't keep.

October 16, 2008

Two Heads Are Better Than One

Artwork by Noah

October 15, 2008

She Has A Sling Named After Her!

Today Ivy is one month old! I have decided to vlog each month, so you can see me talking about her first doctor visit and showing off my sweet growing girl here.

And also, as I mention in the video, you might recognize some purty faces and fabulous slings here.

Also, if you are subscribed to my feed via Bloglines, I think you might need to re-subscribe. Or subscribe via the rss button to the left.

They Have Equipment To Clean That Up

Carter had a field trip to the zoo and came bounding off the bus excited to tell me about the lions! And they had bald eagles but they looked like REGULAR eagles! And they even had a goat!

But the most exciting thing (and his most detailed story of all)
was when Katrina threw up on the bus.

Did she get it on anyone?

No- they have equipment to clean that up, he told me matter of factly. They sprinkled a can and it sucked it away!
Then we ate our sack lunch.

Good to know.

October 12, 2008

There Seems To Be A Problem

I don't want to put my baby down.

I just want to hold her and rock her all day long.

And you'd think, me, the babywearer would have this covered... well, I'd rather do nothing else but give her constant snuggles and kisses.

So I pretty much do.

And if I do lay her down, I just want to take pictures of her sweetness.

This means I am a little behind on some things. But for good reason, of course.

I'll have an awesome Method giveaway for you all soon.

And I've finally posted over here about what I'm doing right. Mmm hmm. I'm a good Mom and I know it.

Can We Start Over?

I like new.

My new baby girl is still very much new. And very much girl.

Today is not only a new day, but the beginning of a whole new week, and for me, some fresh perspective.

I'd like to start over.

Photo by Beth.

October 11, 2008


When we decided on the name we joked about my (not so funny) hospital stay early in the pregnancy and how I had to have IV fluids for dehydration.

Then my friend
Mary Beth reminded me that the roman numeral for four is IV and our fourth child is named Ivy. I love this!

And in case you missed it, listen to us singing her lullaby here.

Photo by Ashlee Allen.
Outfit by Tiny Sprouts.

October 10, 2008


When Noah was just a baby and I would rock him in his nursery- right about the time that I was hit square in the head (and heart) with the realization of just what type of sacrifice was made for us when God sent His Son to die for us- (I still can't even fully fathom it, and am not sure I could do it), I would sing to him a song I made up.

Oh how I love Noah, he's my little boy

Oh how I love Noah, he is my pride and joy

Oh how I love Noah, what a good boy is he
Oh how I love Noah, he means so much to me

And for each child I would sing this song. In the womb, and then in my arms. And as they got older, they would sing with me.

Every single night of my pregnancy a chorus of three little boys would sing to their baby sister in my belly:

Oh how I love Ivy, she's my little girl

Oh how I love Ivy, she dances and she twirls

Oh how I love Ivy, what a good girl is she

Oh how I love Ivy, she means so much to me

And if you'd like to hear this tune, we are singing it for you here.

Love Is...

Love is...

doing the dishes at 5 am even before reading her post at 5 Minutes For Parenting today.


Love is...

letting him do the dishes even though you are awake nursing the baby and hear him, and want so badly to tell him he doesn't have to. But you still let him.

He helps keep my head above water.

Photo originally by Kim Grove

October 9, 2008

A Methodical Tease

I can't wait to tell you about the party.

Me & my crazy friends pictured: Mom, Jen, Beth, & Arianne. And I think there are more of these photo booth pics floating around in the blogosphere somewhere...

(click on photo for larger view)

When I Think Of Your Kisses My Mind See-Saws

Today we celebrate nine years of marriage.

And the ten year anniversary of our first date.

We live in the same house. Hold the same hands. And love with the same hearts.

Only now our home is fuller. Our hands hold on tighter. And our hearts more in love than the very beginning.


October 8, 2008

About That Bow Thing

So, you know how, back when I was pregnant, I thought I would not be into bows and frills with my daughter? It's just not me. I couldn't get into it. Didn't see it happening. But this past Saturday I found myself in a panic preparing for our first Sunday at church as a family of six. I so desperately needed a bow for Ivy's hair. I was overcoming a horrible tooth infection and all hopped up on Tylenol 3 so I slept away most of the day. But I kept waking at short intervals to lament about needing to get out to find her a bow even though I could hardly keep my head up.

The boutiques nearby closed by the time I was out of my stupor. So, that evening my Dad drove me to Target and I got Ivy two packs of bows. And a pink outfit. And a pink sweater.

And suddenly all was right with the world.

I have a daughter.

It is awesome.

October 7, 2008


About four years ago my husband and I felt a little tug on our hearts that it was time to have another baby. We had always known we wanted more children, and at the time had our two sweet boys Noah & Carter. But, we were also recovering from one of the biggest struggles and heartaches we'd ever face as Noah was overcoming epilepsy and on a very tiring and difficult treatment.

I remember the talks that we just couldn't have another one for a long time- maybe not until Noah was off his diet and we knew he was going to be ok. Maybe never. His illness caused so many setbacks for us and I was mad our son had to suffer like that, furious that we all had to go through it, and I resented it for affecting our family plans.

We had to consider if I was mentally and physically strong to be pregnant, care for Noah, and manage his diet... and we had to face the fears that our next child could have Doose Syndrome, too. So many 'what ifs', but we both knew it was time. It was time to take back our desires, remove ourselves. from survivor mode and get ready for battle. We were
n't going to let those stupid seizures win. We were actually going to go on with our lives.

Shortly after our decision, a new life was growing in my body. From the very beginning it was like an experiment of sorts. After all we'd been through with Noah, we wanted to do everything completely different with this next baby.

Pretty much the opposite of how we parented before was called Attachment Parenting. We fell right into place. It worked. And it made so much sense.

Three years ago today, Grayson was born. Just like most mothers, whether they live the AP lifestyle or not, our bond was instant. I wasn't going to let him go.

Some Moms wear their babies out of convenience, or necessity. I wear mine to keep them closer to my heart.

I'm not saying that parenting this way made us perfect- because if anything I think it has magnified our flaws and weaknesses. But it has made us more aware. We show up for life, when our name is called; we are present.

Join the Babywearing Bloggers blogroll here.

This month is Attachment Parenting month, dedicated to the importance of giving our children presence.

October 6, 2008

Adventures In Babysitting

I was so certain I'd have an event-filled post sure to dazzle you this morning, but I'm coming up with nothing.

You see, last night Arianne & I watched Beth's precious children while she and her husband went out for the evening. If you love Beth like we do, then being around her kids is almost too much. They are just too sweet and perfect.

Thus, no funny foibles to write about today, other than an explosive diaper or two by one of my own, she shall not be named as to prevent future embarrassment (I'll just say it wasn't Arianne) (and when I say it was explosive, that's an understatement) ...Beth's children are now possibly scarred for life.

One thing I must say I was looking forward to with a daughter was the whole not getting peed on when changing diapers. Um, maybe Ivy didn't get the memo?

She's three weeks today, folks. Can you believe it? And yes, I know I've written that with each week-mark, but still. We seem to be lingering in the "get to know you" stage and the love at first sight thing has not worn off. Just when I think it's not possible, I fall in love with her more and more everyday. Even when she pees on me.

October 5, 2008


Guess who the judge is for this month's Write Away Contest at Scribbit?

The topic is "Ghosts" but you do not have to celebrate Halloween or believe in apparitions to participate. Take it wherever you'd like.

I hope you'll join in... can't wait to read all the entries!

And if you do enjoy the tricks and treats of October 31st, be sure to check out the Mama Speaks Halloween Guide with some awesome goodies to be won!

P.S. Do you notice something mysteriously vanished from Noah's smile?

October 4, 2008

The Babies

It was almost midnight, we were a little loopy, but we had to get it on tape. Ivy meets Asher for the first time and is already giving him the silent treatment.

Listen closely for the voices of Sarah, Beth, & Arianne in the background.

Maiden Voyage

Ivy and I had our first night out last night. I drove like a granny. I was too nervous to even turn on the radio. And she is a perfect car-rider already, in her cute pink carseat (a gift from Graco- thank you!) (And p.s. I recommend you subscribe to their blog and comment.)

It was also the first time I had to pack the diaper bag- you can see us getting ready on video here at Newbaby.com.

And stay tuned- Ivy met her future husband for the very first time and I got it on video. It's a whole lot of babies and bloggers. You don't want to miss it.

October 3, 2008

In The Meantime

I know I've "been here" lately, not appearing to miss a beat, but my mind is off somewhere else, a bit of a la la land, in a transition of sorts- probably still finding it's place from me being pregnant to not, Mom to three to Mom to four, someone who sleeps to someone who would like to sleep, and so on.

I'm floating. Still have my head in the clouds but I will have to say that sometimes feeling the firm ground beneath your feet is just as nice.

My days are scattered and still a bit fuzzy. I'm feeling my way through and so far think I'm doing a pretty fine job. I never want to put the baby down, and so, I don't. We can be found quite attached at any given time and I will make no excuses about that.

Having her close, she keeps me centered. She's that balance I need right now, possibly so that I don't tip over.

And even if I am unsure of just where I am right now, or where I will land, I have my arms full and my heart satisfied.

One place you can find me is talking more about this In Between time over at 5 Minutes For Parenting today.

Photo by Carrington.

October 2, 2008

Bring It On!

Yesterday hubby emailed me:

I already love Ivy enough to do this...

October 1, 2008

I Am Super Mom

Last night hubby came home and took the baby from my arms. They snuggled up and took a little nap.

And I hopped in the car and went to the Starbucks drive thru.

I was back home within ten minutes, but it was a breather. I was then able to take more time for myself and ate dinner in quiet with no one strapped to me or biting my leg.

I allowed myself to be ok with the fact that I felt like a failure one day, refused to feel guilty for doing so, and then realized that I am super mom. My children tell me so all the time! The proof is hanging on the fridge, scribbled in scrappy spiral notebooks, and sparkling in their eyes.

I am Noah, Carter, Gray, and Ivy's Mom.

And that is super.

Photo by Beth