Friday, December 31, 2010

The Cleaning Experience

Cleaning the house each week with the girls home can be more than a chore, it can be an experience, it can be troublesome, it can be stressful, it can take ALL day.

But for me, I LOVE the smell of a clean house, and I LOVE to get organized. I will use bleach just so I can smell the cleanliness. I will use more cleaner just so the house is more fragrant. I like to disinfect. I want to be able to eat off the floors.

Today was not unlike any other cleaning day. I started out at about 10:00am and didn't finish until about 4:00pm!

So, why does it take so long?

Someone needs to be fed, someone needs a drink, someone needs the channel on the tv changed, someone needs a snack again, Ashlyn needs to be changed (from the explosion that you read about below), and then Ashlyn needs an impromptu bath, someone needs help with something, I need to break up a fight, I need to intervene and remind the girls to share, Ashlyn needs a bottle, I have to make a phone call, someone needs a band-aid, someone is being cute so I need to take pictures, I feel the need to procrastinate and check facebook, someone needs a snack again, and on and on and on.

Here is a better example: today while I was trying to vacuum, Ashlyn was screaming, Mariah was standing on the cord just to be funny, and Ambria was hanging on my leg and sitting on my foot because she thought I was some sort of fun carnival ride. (After a brief moment of frustration, I had to laugh, and I don't have pictures of this sight because I had my hands full).

Cleaning day can bring all sorts of fun...or headaches.

(Side note: I have come to realize that a clean house is not the same as a messy house).

Poo Happens

I got pooped on today.

It was an explosion like I have never seen...down Ashlyn's legs, on her socks, onto my pants, on my shirt, and even on the couch pillows.

Huggies, you let me down.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

On the Flip-Side

Having a three year old means a defiant, stubborn child one minute and a adorable, comical, sweetheart the next minute.

*Every day at naptime, as I close the bedroom door, Ambria shouts out, "I love you a million ka-pallion jajillion zazillion times!" (or whatever word she makes up to rhyme with million). Makes me smile every time.

*I gave her a glass of hot water after playing in the snow (she doesn't like hot chocolate, she likes cold chocolate) and as she drinks her hot water she says, "Mom, you are the best cooker ever!" Wow, if that is all I have to do to be a good cook, I'm in! I need to make my own recipe book!

*Ambria is also a little set in her ways and she likes only four chicken nuggets and when daddy gave her six chicken nuggets, she says under her breath in a polite quiet voice, "one, two, three, four, five, SIX...why do I have six chicken nuggets?" One day I put five nuggets on her plate and she refused the eat the fifth nugget (whether she was hungry for it or not). It is times like these, that I just chuckle at her individualism.

There are countless things that Ambria says and does every day that make me smile and I need to start writing them down.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

After the Lights Go Out

I wonder what kids think their parents do after they are tucked into bed?

Growing up, I remember a few instances when I stumbled downstairs after I was put to bed and my parents were eating nachos and watching Dynasty or Love Boat or something like that. So, I thought as a child, my mother MUST do this ALL the time. Yeah right! I am sure for my mom to be able to sit down and watch tv at a specific time and watch a specific television show consisted of much planning.

The following is a list of events and activities that occur after the lights go out in the kids' bedrooms and on any given night any combination of the items can be seen in our home...

wash the dishes, dry the dishes, wash bottles, make coffee for the next morning, tuck the kids in bed again, mix baby formula for the next day, pack Mariah's bag for school the next day (read papers, sign papers, pack a snack, pack library books, pack daily reader book, pack homework) get out school clothes, tuck the kids in bed again, do laundry, fold laundry, iron, straighten up the house, AND if any time and energy allows...return emails, blog, facebook and/or collapse on the couch and watch tv (and thank goodness for the DVR!!).

THAT is what I do after Mariah, Ambria, and Ashlyn are in bed.

(Added note: the list probably goes on and on but I don't have any more energy to think about what I do. I'm tired).

Say Cheese

I tell ya, Ambria LOVES the camera!
Are you beginning to see a pattern?

I need a little patience to deal with Ambria on a daily basis. For the most part, this defiant three-year old is great and has a comical personality....until you want/ask her to do something.

The game asks you to draw, I want to draw circles.
Please clean, I can't. I am too tired.
Please throw your trash, I can't.
Ambria, please sit up and smile for the camera...

I am sure there will be plenty more examples to come (or rather how we attempt to parent a independent three year old without getting gray hair). Prayers please. :)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Just the Right Size

Often, with the first snow, comes a scramble to find all the winter gear: the coats, hats, gloves, boots, and snow pants. And then comes a rush to the store after you find out you are in need of some of those items because the kiddos have outgrown it all.

Well, we had the coats, hats, boots, and gloves covered, but the snow pants...well, not so much. As the first snow lightly covered the ground, the girls wanted to go out and play so I went and hauled out the snow pants from storage. Mariah's still fit. Ambria's, well, it was one of those, "oh, just put them on, they will fit" moments. I was thinking, 'they will be ok for this winter.'

After the girls came in from the cold, I looked at the size of Ambria's purple snow pants.....12 MONTHS!! Hahahaha.

"Just put them on, they look fine!"

Friday, December 3, 2010

Challenging Three Year Old

Ambria doesn't like the camera, or rather she is going through some odd 3 year old stage.
*She ONLY talks to our immediate family.
*She HAS to be FIRST at everything (ie: going to the bathroom, brushing her teeth, getting in bed, and on and on and on).
*She HAS to sit in the MIDDLE of me and Mariah or whoever on the couch.
*She won't eat food if we call it "breakfast," "lunch," or "dinner." It has to be called a SNACK (so unknowingly, she gets chicken nuggets at roughly 5:00pm as a 'snack').
*And as stated before, she will NOT acknowledge the camera.

I love ya, my little, rebellious, social introverted, three year old!

Friday, November 26, 2010

It's 7:20pm and All Three Girls are in Bed

We have those days sometimes. You know when:
*The oldest child cops and attitude and throws a rare tantrum,
*The middle child flaunts her independence like it's nobody's business, and
*The there is no remedy to calm the screaming baby.

Yup, one of those days.

Three females with emotional flare-ups at the same time, on the same day, and probably in the same room (and probably when my husband is at work).

Mariah just keeps saying, "no, no, no, no" just to be obnoxious.
And I ask Ambria why she is crying and she responds between broken tears, "I don't know. I just can't stop crying."
And Ashlyn just cries even though is she has been fed, burped, changed, and is being held.

How do I get through these days?
Call it a weakness or a stress reliever or smart, but I look forward to the quiet evenings AFTER all the girls are in bed. I love my girls dearly, but some days I need some quiet relaxation.
*I think about watching what I want to watch on television (that doesn't consist of Dora or Caillou or any other favorite cartoon of the day)
*I think about laying on the couch by myself (or with my husband) without any kids climbing all over me, kneeing my ribs, and accidentally pulling my hair.
*I think about what snack (healthy or unhealthy) to eat without having to share with anyone else and no one elses drool on it.
*I think about staring at the computer researching/looking at absolutely nothing of importance without interruption of kids saying they need/want a snack every two seconds.
*I think about sitting in absolute silence IF I WANT TO, BECAUSE I CAN.

So, call it "me time" or what have you, but this how I get through the rough days.

The picture below is just classic, it doesn't even need explaining.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Way She Sees It

Every parent (including me) dreams of a happy and healthy child, perfect. It is difficult to admit when your child is not "perfect" or there is some sort of "defect." But, you see, this is how God made you/me/them and HE loves you/me/them unconditionally.

Well, Jerry and I have been noticing something going on with Little Miss Ashlyn's eyes and our doctor also noticed that something wasn't "perfect" with her eyes. At this point, we aren't totally sure what is wrong with her little, beautiful, peepers, (we don't think it is too serious but it is noticeable) but our prayer is that whatever it is, the doctors will be able to fix her eyes and make them "perfect." She will be going to a specialist in a few weeks so we will know more then. You see, God also made doctors.

Our hearts break a little and I feel like more and more people are staring at Ashlyn when she is out in public (this might be true or it might just be my sensitive mother's heart). Our biggest fear is that others would make fun of Ashlyn's eyes. We desire for Ashlyn to see clearly the world as God made it, in its true beauty, a thousand colors.

To my fault, I have only shared pictures of Ashlyn when her eyes look "normal." This brings tears to my eyes, because this is not true. I only want others to see the "best" in my children. My children are not perfect, and surprise, they never will be. My first instinct is to delete "imperfect" pictures.

I wonder if God does that? Probably not.

So, (deep breath, Jamie) here is a picture of OUR BEAUTIFUL DAUGHTER ASHLYN and we love her unconditionally (ok, I am crying a little)...

(pictures taken by Kirsten of KQConcepts)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

What's In a Name

I often get comments about how unique or unusual our girls' names are, especially from the older generation (if that matters, but the older folk are the people that comment most and the people our age, just take it in stride). This past week, while at the doctor's office with Ambria, the doctor (yes, he was older) commented on her name and asked how we came up with it and if the name has a special meaning.

Special meaning?! Why, yes. It is OUR daughter. To tell you the truth, I really don't think it has a "so-called" meaning like 'the one who loves much' or 'child with big heart' or 'I like cookies' or 'my parents are awesome.'

This is how we came up with the name Ambria: My husband has a cousin who has a daughter named Ambree. We liked that name but we wanted a name that ended with an 'ia' or 'a' so we added that to Ambree, and ta-da, AMBRIA!

We love the name, but more importantly, we love our daughter WITH that name. She is unique. She is one of kind. And that name has countless 'meanings.'

(Side Note: After we came up with the name Ambria, my husband called his cousin to get his approval. We didn't want to 'steal' their name. It is interesting when the families get together and there is an Ambree and an Ambria).

(Another Side Note: Spellcheck does not like the name Ambria).

Thursday, November 18, 2010

I'm Fat

My husband and I have started to foster a positive self-esteem, and we see the extreme importance of this at a young age. We want to accentuate positive qualities in our three girls on not only the outside, but inside characteristics as well: everything from how beautiful they are, their intelligence, their sense of humor, their pretty hair, when they are kind, when they share, etc... We want this kind of affirmation to start in the home so the girls are less likely to seek it out from others (aka boys) or at least this is our prayer.

This can actually be a challenge because we want the girls to feel/see how genuine we are when we give them a compliment, so we don't want to over exaggerate and praise them up and down every minute of the day. If there were constant praise, our fear would be that they would become numb to it and start to ignore the affirmation.

Ok yada yada, you get the picture.

So, yesterday I overheard a conversation Mariah was having with her cousin over the telephone. They were talking about eating lunch at school and Mariah mentioned how she gets breakfast at school too but she hasn't been eating it because she wants to be skinny like one of her classmates!! NO! Please no! Not my daughter. Not at such a young age. Please!

As my eyes start to fill with tears, I am a little beside myself because I don't know what to do. I don't know what to say. I pray that it isn't true. Mariah is a very slender child and you can see all of her ribs already. I was speechless.

I hate that Mariah compares herself to other girls. Ok, insert here all the societal crap about being skinny and beautiful, five million different types of diets and workout programs, etc etc. I am all for a healthy lifestyle, but Mariah IS SIX.

It is times like these that I want to keep Mariah and the other girls in a bubble.

(Side note: a year ago Mariah cut her own hair because she wanted to look just like one of her classmates...thus began my eye opening experience of having a positive self-esteem at a young age.)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Daddy's Girls

Not only did I have to adjust to having girls, my poor husband is right in the middle of estrogen central.

His days of watching football with the guys is now interrupted with girls dancing in front of the televsion with princess dresses. His nails get painted pink, and he learns the names of all the baby dolls. He is an amazing father and would/will do anything for his three/four girls. He has a fierce desire to protect.

What a good daddy!

It's A Girl

"It's a girl" was exclaimed on March 18, 2004, and Mariah Grace entered the world.

"It's a girl" was again said on March 21, 2007, and Ambria Faith came quickly booming into the world.

"It's a girl" was once again shouted on June 19, 2010, as Ashlyn Hope miraculously joined us as a family.

(Well, we did not find out the gender of the first two during the pregnancy, we chose to find out during the third pregnancy the gender of our, I guess "It's a Girl" was exclaimed actually four times if we want to get technical).

So, in come the loads and loads of pink and purple clothes. Pink blankets, pink bibs, pink everything. In come dozens of dolls, various hair do-dads, My Little Ponies, and even BARBIES!

Whoa! It took me a while to get used to, and even enjoy, all this feminine stuff in my own life, and now we have it times THREE. (Ok, ok, you can go on and on about gender roles and gender traditions, but I am not going to go there, my girls like pink more than blue and dolls more than GI Joe, although we do own 'such known boy toys' as cars and trains).

So, what does all this mean? Well, it means I have to learn how to put hair up, it means I have to play Barbies with my girls, it means I have to play 'beauty shop', it means the emotions are going to start flying---and FAST. It means we have four emotional females in the house. RUN!!

It didn't take me long for my motherly instincts to kick in, and having a girl was beyond joyous!

I am still amazed, humbled, blessed, and privileged to be the mother of three girls. I am so in love with my girls. I wouldn't have it any other way. At this point, I don't know anything about raising boys. I don't know how to relate to boys. I don't know how to play trucks with boys. I am grateful for Mariah, Ambria, and Ashlyn, and I am scared out of my mind to raise them. Parenting is beyond me. It is hard. This is where prayer comes in!!

I'm A Girl

Ok, let's state the obvious, that I am a female. Although this is factual, I have not always been comfortable in this skin. Growing up, I was more into dirt, climbing trees, and sports, than playing with Barbies, the color pink, and makeup. It took me almost 20 years to ditch the baggie sweatshirts and trade them in for more feminine styles. It took me almost 20 years to start wearing makeup (even though I owned my first makeup bag with 'real' makeup when I was 13).

So, there sat my makeup bag for 7 years. I would rather be playing sports.

I did own a few Barbies and I did play with dolls here and there, but it didn't take my older brother very long before he started setting my Barbies on fire and and cutting their hair, and I watched and laughed. (We didn't find this act gruesome, more entertaining that we were playing with fire and my parents were not aware of it). I also have an older sister, but she is five years older than me, so while she was out with her friends, I was digging for worms.

I hated pink and anything to do with pink.

So, that is why having not only one, not two, but THREE girls is a bit humorous in itself.

This blog is about attempting to raise these three, wonderful, glorious, blessings in this ever changing world. I do not have all the answers. These are just my experiences, my mistakes, my hopes, my struggles, and my joys of RAISING THREE GIRLS.

Here is a picture of my older sister, my older brother, and me as a baby.