Thursday, May 15, 2014

Brooks' Dedication

This past weekend was a special weekend for our family. Not only was it Mother's Day, but we also dedicated Brooks at church! Nana came down to spend the weekend with us.

She got to come with us to Brant's Mother's Day brunch at school!

Since Sunday was Mother's Day, we had a celebratory meal on Saturday night. Justin boiled crawfish all by himself for the first time and did great! Some of the best I'd ever had. I really feel bad for all of y'all who don't get to eat crawfish on a regular basis. There's nothing better.

Rain forced us to move the party to the garage. But it was still tasty and fun!

Sunday morning we dedicated Brooks. I'm happy to say that he was so good, even though he missed his morning nap. And of course looked just as precious as could be.

Spending Mother's Day with my Marm was such a treat for me!

Instead of presents, Justin and the boys got us tickets to a historic home tour in our town. Ok, it was more like I saw the event online, bought the tickets, and texted Justin to let him know what was going on, but whatever. It was still a great gift. We saw 9 historic houses in Old Mandeville. Some were absolutely awesome (this home below was one of our favorites), and some were so modernized you wouldn't have known they were even historic buildings (boo). The worst travesty I saw was someone bought a home built in the 1850s. In the 90s they renovated it and ripped out an original staircase, replacing it with a spiral carpeted staircase. My stomach hurts just typing that sentence!

This was the upstairs of the house pictured above. It was a little girl's dream! This picture is dark, but I seriously wanted to live up there.

Best. Mama. Ever. I love her so! Thanks for coming to visit us, Nana!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Week 3... on a roll!

Look, y'all! 3 weeks in a row of blogging! I need a prize! Sure, I'm just getting it in under the gun on a Friday afternoon, but it still counts!

It has been one of those weeks at our house. Brooks has totally forgotten everything he learned from sleep training last month and is back to waking up ALL. NIGHT. LONG. And it's not even like it used to be, where if I nursed him he'd go back to sleep. No, now he looks up at me in the dark with his big eyes and pulls my hair or wants me to STAND UP and bounce him to keep him quiet. Let's just say it's a good thing he's cute.

Since I've been spending all week in a sleep-deprived fog, I don't actually remember much of what's gone down recently.

 Boys before church last week. I heart matchy outfits.

I bought Brant the Chutes and Ladders game last week thinking he'd enjoy playing. What I didn't know was that I was unleashing a hidden beast. Y'all, this boy is the worst loser AND the worst winner I've known since... his father. The trash talk! Oh, the trash talk! And the tantrums if he loses! Oh my word! I was thinking I'd get him Candyland next, but forget that. We need to hold off on competition of any kind for a while. Makes me so glad we didn't sign him up for 4 year old tball!

Last Saturday Justin and I celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary. We celebrated with donuts in the morning and dinner that night. I called a couple sitters, but no one was available, so we ended up taking the boys with us. Brooks sat in a restaurant high chair for the first time ever! Goodbye, heavy bulky infant carseat!

My anniversary flowers. I love that Justin still respects the color scheme!

Big boy at dinner!

He's also started riding in the buggy at the grocery store. Clearly, he's thrilled.

I always say that the time when a baby can sit up alone but not yet crawl is the baby "sweet spot." Things like grocery shopping and baths get easier, but they still aren't technically mobile. 

Bathtime is also easier when I have my trusty helper. Well, maybe not easier. Definitely wetter and messier. :)

That's it for this week... here's hoping I've gotten some sleep before the next time I blog!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Brooks' 1st Crawfish Boil

Eeek! Tomorrow will be a week since I've blogged, and its going to be a very busy day. So I knew if I wanted to keep up with once a week I'd have to blog today! This is going to be a quick one because I'm exhausted and still have to dry my hair before I can go to bed. Miles to go before I sleep, indeed.

Last weekend was a fun one. I helped throw a shower for one of my best friends here that is having a baby in less than two months! Sadly, all the pictures are on her camera, but it was so nice to get out for a while with girlfriends and celebrate Greta and baby Evie!

Now that it's spring, we've finally been able to use the swing that Santa brought Brooks. I think he liked it!

I had to overcome my pride to post this picture, because our backyard is basically a weed jungle right now. My lawn guy needs to get his act together! (Ahem.)

I love dressing these boys up for church on Sundays and snapping pictures. Poor Brooks - he usually takes a nap around 9 or 9:30 every day, so church days are rough on him! He looks so grumpy in these pictures, but it's because he was exhausted.

I have no idea what happened, but apparently something in the driveway caught their attention!

Brooks ended up getting super fussy, but Brant kept cooperating! I've decided to grow his hair out a little, and I am loving it!

Big handsome guy 

After church we drove to our friends' house in Chalmette for a crawfish boil - Brooks' first! I had the most adorable shortall for him to wear, but sadly, he's already outgrown it. Never even got to put it on! Luckily, I had a backup outfit. Of course I did! 

Won't be long before he's peeling and eating them like a pro!

Cindy and Baby Brooks. It was her husband Travis' birthday celebration, and I could kick myself for not getting a picture with the birthday boy! They have two adorable girls, and Brant had a ball playing with Cam, their oldest. I had a ball shoving as much crawfish and birthday cake in my face as possible. 

Tried to get a family picture - this is the best we got.

Welp, I blogged. I get credit! Now night night, folks.

Friday, March 28, 2014


So, the last post on this blog was announcing that Brooks had been born. And then... radio silence. Sounds about right. Y'all, having two kids is HARD! But of course it's also wonderful. There just hasn't been much time for updating the ole blog when all my time seems to be consumed elsewhere. But - at the request (or demands) of my cousin David - I am going to really try to update this more often, hopefully once a week. We'll see. :)

Brooks on his 6 month birthday

So, Brooks is 6 months old now and is so much fun! At his 6 month well check he was 18 lbs, 15 oz, and 27 1/2 inches long. He wears mostly 9 month clothes now and a size 3 diaper. He goes to bed around 8 every night and sleeps until around 4 or 5, at which point I feed him, and he goes back to sleep until around 7 or 8. Sometimes he also wakes up between 1-3, but popping his paci back in and rubbing his back usually does the trick. If not, it's a long night. He takes 3 naps a day, and they can last anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours. (By the way, his good sleeping habits did NOT happen by accident. I learned the hard way what it's like to have a baby that never sleeps. Two words: sleep training. Judge me all you want, but we are now so much more rested and happy.) He nurses 6 times a day but seems to be moving towards 5 feedings a day, and he eats solids for lunch and supper. So far his favorites are sweet potatoes and all fruits. I can't believe what a battle green vegetables already are! He coughs and gags whenever I feed them to him, and I usually end up alternating them with something sweeter.

Making a mess with avocados

If Brooks is well-rested, he's the sweetest, most affectionate baby. But if he's tired - watch out! He loves to laugh at Brant. He just started sitting up yesterday and is already trying to scoot on his tummy, which I am not ready for at all! He also has figured out how to roll across the room to his toys. He has started going to the nursery at church and has loved it so far!

Both boys on their 6 month birthdays. It's funny to me how different they look but how they're doing the exact same pose!

Brant is such a great big brother. Any change in environment or routine can really throw him for a loop, but he adjusted to having a new baby more quickly and easily than Justin or me! We changed his preschool over Christmas break, and it has been a great experience. He loves his school and asks to go every day. Right now he goes 3 days a week, and he has OT on Thursdays. It's been exactly a year since we began taking him to therapy, and it has made a world of difference. (For anyone who may not know, Brant has been diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder. For a while our pediatrician was concerned that Brant might be on the autism spectrum as well, but he no longer believes that is the case, and Brant's therapists agree.) I can't say enough about his therapist and the group we go to - they are just phenomenal. They see Brant at his worst (when they are introducing something new), and they know exactly how to handle it and love him so much anyway. It's really been inspiring to me to see how much he's grown through therapy. We definitely still have hurdles to cross and have challenges, but nothing like it used to be.

Brant (and me!) at the Yes We Can fair at church last weekend

Brant's favorite things right now are Planes, Cars, Frozen, Charlie Brown, and football and baseball. He told me the other day that when he's going to be a Blue Angels pilot when he grows up and that Baby Brooks is going to play football when he grows up. He also told us recently that he wants to be a pizza delivery man, haha. So we'll see!

Making towers together

Solids seem to have done quite a number on Brooks' digestive system, so we've had to start giving him juice to get things moving. (Enjoying this, David?) Brant was super excited to give him his juice yesterday.

Well, gotta go... Brooks is up! Happy Weekend, y'all!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

New Addition

8 days ago, we welcomed Brooks Alton Varnum into the world. He was born on September 18, 2013 at 4:00 am after a three day labor. Just had to throw that in there, folks. He weighed 8 lbs 11 oz, almost a whole pound bigger than Brant, and was 20 inches long. We are so in love and are starting to settle into a routine as a family of four. I will try to blog soon with my labor story and also keep this updated with what's going on in our newly expanded family!

Brothers meeting for the first time


Monday, August 5, 2013

An Experiment

Growing up, I was definitely not someone you would call a neat freak. My room was usually messy. I can remember my mom asking me, "How can you sleep at night in such a mess?" and having no idea what she was talking about. My sloppiness followed me through college. My mom would clean my toilet when she would come visit out of sheer horror, and how my neat and uber-organized best friend Kristyn lived with me for so long without killing me is truly beyond me.

But something happened when I got married and lived in my own house. I started caring a lot more about what it looked like. It wasn't long before I knew exactly what my mom was talking about because I couldn't sleep well if there were dirty dishes in the sink. Having and maintaining a clean home became more and more important to me. When I worked, I would wake up on Saturdays and get the whole house clean. Is that not the greatest feeling in the world? I love that feeling when you know every single part of your house is clean.

Then I had a baby.

Instead of one marathon cleaning session a week, I started cleaning every day during my downtime. When Brant started crawling, I began vacuuming every single day because of Copper's dog hair. While I always thought it would be easier to maintain a clean home if I didn't work full time, it actually became more difficult because we were always at home and creating a mess of toys, food, etc. Not to mention I had my hands full taking care of a baby. There was definitely a learning curve, but eventually I got pretty used to maintaining a decent home in the midst of chaos.

Then I got pregnant again.

Now, there are pregnant people out there who sail through those 40 weeks with a smile on their face and nary a bit of cellulite on their legs. As a general rule, I am not friends with those people. Being pregnant is HARD, people. It is a blessing for sure, but it sure can suck the life out of you. I can't tell you how many times over the past few months I've looked around my house wanting to cry at how messy it was, but lacking the energy to actually get up and clean it. From about 20 to 28 weeks, I felt pretty good and got a lot done around the house, but other than that - my family has been living in squalor and filth. At least that's how it feels to me.

This morning I felt like the walls were closing in around me. I couldn't remember the last time I dusted. There was a sticky spot under the kitchen table that seemed as if it were mocking me. There were two overflowing baskets of clean but wrinkly laundry in my bedroom. I started folding clothes, and before I knew it, there was a 3 year old jumping on my bed and the nicely folded laundry. So I did what any rational and mature person would do. I got down on the floor and cried. This was made even worse by the fact that when I was on the floor, I could see tons of dog hair on my carpet and remembered I needed to vacuum.

My first thought was, "Screw our budget. I'm going to get a cleaning lady through the rest of the year, and I'll just stop going to Hobby Lobby." A likely story. But after I had a chance to calm down and pray, I realized what I really needed was some discipline and structure. I've tried to follow cleaning schedules before, but none of them worked, because none of them fit my needs exactly. So I looked at a few examples online during nap time and made my own.

So this is what I made. For the month of August, I am going to do my best to follow this schedule. If I miss a day for whatever reason, then I just do it on the following week. For the most part, my every morning chores are what I already do each day, but I added folding and putting away a load of laundry. I want to see if doing one load each day makes it feel more manageable or if it makes me feel like I'm constantly doing laundry. And now, instead of feeling overwhelmed at the dust and dog hair surrounding me, I just complete the task at hand and tackle whatever is next after a night of rest.

This might help me feel more in control of the madness surrounding me, or it might be one of those many projects that I begin and never see to completion. Time will tell. I'm also blessed that I have a husband who really helps me. I know that left to his own devices, he doesn't care all that much if the sink is empty and clean at bedtime or if the beds are made each day (you should have SEEN the apartment he shared with his brother back in his bachelor days), but he does it to help me and because he loves me. I added the verse from Luke at the bottom because so often I get "distracted with much serving." I'll be cleaning or ironing or whatever and become so resentful because my back and hips hurt so much or because I'm so tired. I want my house to be clean, but I'm not willing to pay the price of spending time with and loving on my family in order to accomplish that goal.

So anyway, that's my experiment for August. Can I stick to this and keep a clean house? Or will I keep crying on the floor while Brant jumps gleefully on folded clothes? I know you're all on the edge of your seat to find out!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Our baby has a name!

So, for anyone who doesn't know, we are having another boy! Yes, I was totally convinced we were having a girl, and yes, I was totally wrong. When we found out it was a boy, I was really stressed out about two things. How would I decorate his room, and what would we name him? It took me a couple of weeks to come up with a good nursery idea that I was excited about, but it took MONTHS for us to agree on a name. In fact, we just decided for good last Saturday. We were definitely naming the baby after my Grandpa in one way or another, and I really wanted to tell him in person. So during our last hour with my grandparents, Justin and I were texting each other under the table at Acme trying to decide on a name! 

Here he is at 14 weeks, when we found out he was a he!

I'm very excited that we are naming our baby boy Brooks Alton Varnum. Brooks is a name we both liked a lot (for totally separate reasons, but whatever works!), and Alton is Grandpa's first name. I love that he is named after one of the greatest men I have ever known. Now that we have our baby named, I can tell I'm getting more and more excited about having another little boy. I hope that Brant and Brooks grow up to be so close. I was so shocked when we found out we were having a boy, but my friend Kristi helped me put it in perspective. She suggested that maybe having a brother was a special blessing God had planned for Brant all along. And while this squeamish, indoorsy, clean-loving girly girl never ever ever thought she would be a boy mom, I know that if God has called me to mother these precious boys, He will also equip me to do so.

We have had a few more ultrasounds, one at 18 weeks and another at 20 weeks. Everything looks good, but one of his kidneys is slightly enlarged. We are continuing to monitor this throughout the pregnancy, and hopefully it will turn out to be a non-issue. For reasons I can't explain, I feel a total peace about his kidney. I know that God knows everything about Brooks already and that this kidney is totally known and taken care of by Him. Other than that, everything is great. I was VERY sick for the first 20 weeks but finally am feeling back to my normal self again. One thing I hate is my lack of energy. There's so much I want to do, but only so much energy and time in the day! I hate having to rest so often when I'm dying to do fun projects. Also, I take my glucose test in about three weeks. They say if you have gestational diabetes with one baby, you're more likely to have it with the next, so I'm trying to prepare myself for the worst. And speaking of the worst, being pregnant during the summer is just as horrible as I thought it would be. It is so dang hot, and I cannot stop sweating. It's gross. I eat a lot of popsicles and hang out at my friends' pools a lot. But it will all be worth it - in just a few months it will be fall, football season, and I will be holding my sweet Brooks in my arms! I can't wait!