Making Baby Steps Every Day

Hopefully in the right direction!

Big Plans

I’m writing to you a defeated Mama today. I got out of bed early to actually shower this morning and it ended up being frigid. I should have taken that as an indication for how the rest of my day would go…

There is so much that I want/need to do this week and let me tell you how much I’ve gotten done today. Nothing, nada, zilch, zip, zero. Peden, though needy, at least took her long afternoon nap, but let me tell you who didn’t: the even more needy two year-old.

Sleep deprived toddler + Daddy gone for work & class = lunatic Mommy

It’s days like today when all you can think about is how everything your kid does is annoying. And if you don’t have those days, you’re a better human being than I.

So now I’m just trying to convince my kid to go to sleep without his dad around (G keeps running and grabbing his shoes to “go” find him), sitting here stressed about everything I need to do, and bitter we aren’t getting a snowstorm so that Michael can stay home and give me a break.

Happy Monday, everyone. Some days just get the best of you, and today was one of them.


The Final Countdown

It hit me pretty hard in the past 24 hours that my time at home is coming to a close in two short weeks. Although I am blessed enough with a job with great flexibility, which means I get to be home with my babies for a good amount of the time, it’s still kind of depressing that someone else will be the one to play with them in the mornings.

In my minor panic over my dwindling time, I thought about everything I had set out to do during my three month hiatus from work. Some of these things I’ve accomplished, like watching Gilmore Girls from start to finish (very useful), making it through the holidays, and surviving the evil but necessary institute for school. I’m only 5/8 through “41,” and I really want to finish that before I go back! Today I made my list of my remaining goals, and I realize there is no way it’s all getting done.

This often happens to Michael and I. We always have these big plans for weekends between errands, activities, cooking and cleaning. But usually, we get about half of the stuff done we set out to do. Why? We are often just exhausted from the week, but mostly because we are simply enjoying our time together.

So, I’m writing this post to remind myself to slow down and enjoy the little time I have left. Today we went to the American Indian Museum with my brother and I’ve gotten next to nothing done otherwise. Tomorrow is suppose to be a snowy day, so maybe my list will get shorter… Or maybe I’ll just snuggle in with my babies!

Mommy Loves You

Last Friday I went to a mom’s connection group held at a church not too far away. It’s seemingly a lot like what I’ve heard MOPS is, and I was pretty optimistic about the good things that can come from attending.

But, the meeting started off a little differently this time, as the executive pastor of the church stepped to the front to speak. One of the moms from the church didn’t make it that morning because her life had been turned upside down the night before. She and her 14 year old daughter walked into their home to watch her ex-husband confronting her new husband, a confrontation that led to death. This woman’s ex shot and killed her husband outside her home, after luring the gunman away from the children and his wife.

Now, I don’t know this woman, but I was surrounded by many who do. No matter the relationship, we were all in tears. Could you possibly imagine? I’ve been telling so many what I heard about Friday morning, because I’m waiting for someone to respond with some sort of sense. Usually no one can even find words. Denise, the widow, created a Facebook page memoriam for her husband, in which she states that her husband took all the bullets to make sure she was safe, that he had laid his life down for her, as Christ did for the church. Completely unfathomable that this is a decision people in a country like ours still have to make.

My feelings after hearing of this incident are not too far from how I felt after the elementary school shooting in Newtown. We heard stories of administrators putting their life on the line for so many tiny humans, and teachers concerned about ethics still choosing to hug and kiss each of their students telling them they love them because that’s what children should hear before they die. And that resonated with me.

As an adult, we can’t even try and begin to make sense of so many tragic events. So when a child witnesses something horrific, there’s no way to explain it. But what children can understand is love. Before bed at night, we give Grier lots of kisses, and I say, “Mommy loves you.” G smiles and says, “Dada!” And Michael says, “Daddy loves you.” And then we proceed to go through his long list of favorite people that he spouts off, and when he says their name, we tell him that they love him.

There are just some things in this world that can never be explained, despite the books we read, classes we take, people we meet, or places we travel. So instead, we choose love. No explanation needed.

Not Enough Food

It would seem as of late that there quite possibly is not enough food in our house to keep the two-year old full. He seriously must be going through a growth spurt, because I am running out of snack options in between meals. Maybe he isn’t sitting down long enough for a meal, but it has to be more than that. Yesterday he ate everything in twos! Two cheese sticks, two clementines, two bowls of crackers… It goes on and on!

I can’t even imagine thinking about what he’ll be like in high school. Is there a certain mark that is typical to experience growth spurts? Is it every man for himself now?! Okay, I’ll stop with the dramatics. But honestly, have you ever felt like your tiny human was eating you out of house and home?!

Something Old, Something New

Since yesterday was the National Championship, and we were headed to a party to watch, I decided to make one of our (mostly Michael’s) favorite party foods: Buffalo Chicken Dip. It’s pretty easy, and super tasty, and here’s how to make it!

– 1.5 cups cooked & shredded chicken (we grilled it on our George Foreman and then shredded by hand.)
– 8 oz. cream cheese
– 1/2 cup ranch dressing
– 1/2 Buffalo Wing Sauce
– 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1. Cook & shred chicken
2. Add buffalo sauce in skillet over medium heat
3. Stir in cream cheese & ranch Dressing
4. Cook & stir until well-blended & warm
5. Mix in cheddar cheese
6. Pour into dish to serve, or into crock pot on warm to maintain temp. (we like to keep it warm.)

We were naturally trying to get a whole ton done between the time Michael got home from work with groceries, and the time we had to leave, so I was looking for a quick dinner solution. Enter this awesome recipe: Twenty-Minute Easy Tortellini Bake. Mamas,  discovering this recipe on Pinterest and actually making it was a come to Jesus kind of moment. It literally was everything the title says it is. Unlike other pasta dishes, this didn’t have any one step that required lots of prep or babysitting. I would just recommend that if you have a bigger family to double the recipe. This filled my 8×8 casserole dish, and was just about enough for us (with a little leftovers for lunch today). Seriously, try it. It’s kid friendly, easy, and I especially like anything with red sauce because I count it as a vegetable!

It’s Gameday!

Today marks a bittersweet day in the Lyons household… the last official day of college football season. Bitter because it’s over, sweet because The Ohio State Buckeyes are playing in the National Championship! Although I graduated from Pitt, I feel just as loyal to OSU – and I don’t think it’s a conflict of interest since they never play each other!

The first night I met Michael!
The first night I met Michael!

In case you didn’t know, Michael and I met at Ohio State when we were living on the same floor our freshman year. I spent hours upon hours sitting in his room talking with both he and his roommate Tyler, we would do our laundry together, and splurge for the occasional Potbelly’s milkshake. My first OSU football game actually was with Michael. He got the two of us tickets for homecoming against Michigan State. Unfortunately for both of us, I was in a relationship from back home, and after an awkward (yet totally plutonic) movie viewing of the Lord of the Rings the night before the game, I was FREAKING OUT because I knew how I felt toward Michael. So in a nutshell, I actually ditched him halfway through the football game and we didn’t talk for a couple weeks.

Eventually, I moved back home to begin my transfer journey, and it wouldn’t be until a couple years later that Michael and I would get back together. Ohio State Football games hold a special place in our relationship, not only for the comical story from freshman year, but all the great times we had going to games together later on.

Some specifics that come to mind:

  • The game the morning after we got engaged. I was way too pumped to stop looking at my ring.
  • Thanksgiving weekend where we watched the Pitt Backyard Brawl against WVU on the Friday in Pittsburgh, and drove to Columbus for the Michigan game on Saturday.
  • My mom’s Christmas gift of sending us down to New Orleans for the Sugar Bowl.
  • The Homecoming Wisconsin game the first year Michael was an alumni… because it was epic.
Michigan Game 2010
Michigan Game 2010

Anyways, I’m sad we couldn’t make it to either the Sugar Bowl or National Championship this year, but we’ll be cheering for them with some friends here in Virginia. #GoBucks

Pumping Perils

We’ve all heard it: breast is best. I realize it’s not for everyone, but I come from a pretty large family that has a high level of mamas who choose to nurse their babies. So, this seemed like a natural choice for me. Not to mention, formula is SO EXPENSIVE, and I didn’t want to find a way to budget that into our household spending when we were just starting off with G two years ago.

But let me tell you something, this week has put me to the test as a breastfeeding mama. Yesterday, an institute I have to attend for my master’s program, had meetings all day in downtown D.C. going from building to building from 9-5. I had absolutely no idea what I was going to do. And to top everything off, I realized the morning before I left, that my power adaptor wasn’t working for my pump, and had to rely completely on batteries. (Thankfully, I still had one more pump I could order for free from my insurance!)

So throughout my entire day, I only found one opportunity, and it was in the National AARP Headquarters’ women’s bathroom, as my colleagues came in and out on one of our breaks. Nothing made me more self conscious than standing in the handicap stall with my loud pump going for twenty minutes. It was all I could think about the entire day, and I’m not sure I’ve quite recovered. I don’t think any mama worries about anything more than making sure their baby doesn’t go hungry.

Nursing mama’s who aren’t home 24/7 with their babies, can I get an amen? I’m not writing this post to toot my own horn. Breastfeeding with my little P has been overwhelmingly trying both physically and emotionally. If I didn’t have a good support system, hadn’t spent so much time researching and reading about feeding my baby, and already gone 15 months with my first baby, I would have never stuck with this. The constant cleaning of supplies, packing every day, keeping track of what bottles should be used in which order, figuring out where/when you can pump, etc. etc. can absolutely wear a mama down, especially when she’s lacking sleep and trying to do everything under the sun on top of it all.

I know it may seem like I’m complaining a lot about something that no one is forcing me to do. But, breastfeeding is important to me. So, among my thankful list: rarely working in my office full-time, insurance that gives me my pumps for free, a supportive husband, a cooperative body, a flexible baby, and living in a world where everyone gets to choose what’s best for them and their tiny human!

In case you’re wondering, here are some of my favorite breastfeeding/pumping supplies:

4 Reasons You Won’t Be Seeing My Kids’ Faces On Here

At least not anytime soon…

Michael and I spent probably what ended up being hours discussing whether or not we wanted our kids to have their pictures posted on the internet. What originally sparked the discussion was that we honestly have some family members who we’ve purposely distanced ourselves from, yet they were still using these posts to act as if they know our children. As we discussed this more and more, we started realizing there were a whole handful of reasons why taking a break from posting pictures online seemed like the best choice for our family. And now you get to learn why!

  1. We assumed too much:
    Basically, when we were posting pictures of our kids on social media, we assumed that everyone who actually should be updated on our lives, would just know because it was there for them to see. This is such a poor assumption. Now, we are spending more time having personal communications with the nearest and dearest, which is way more fun anyways!
  2. It set a dangerous precedent:
    The amount of pictures/videos/posts of our kids was seemingly escalating, and not just by us. This sets a dangerous precedent, that meant anyone who interacted with my kids could just freely post their face on the internet without asking if it was okay. We just aren’t comfortable with their faces being a free-for-all for everyone’s social media.
  3. We were missing moments:
    Instead of trying and getting frustrated over snapping that perfect picture to immediately post it online, then anxiously wait and watch how many likes we get about how cute our kids are (and they are super cute!), we are enjoying the moments more and soaking in the time we actually have with our babies! We were giving Facebook the legitimacy of being how we validated moments in our lives, and that is just a poor way to approach social media.
  4. It was detracting from the safe place of our home:
    If our kids grow up while we are posting pictures of them all over, there’s going to be a point where they’re going to stop trusting us that not everything they do or say is going to become public information. How will our children want to genuinely spend time with us if they think every time we take a picture of one of their quirks it’s going to be put on Facebook that night? When I was little, I didn’t even like telling my parents what I was playing if I was in my room with my toys! I can’t imagine how I would feel if I was growing up in this social media era.

But, Emily! You’re starting a new blog! You’re writing about your kids’ lives in a completely public forum! True. Maybe that doesn’t make sense to you, but for now, this is how we’re rolling, and that’s our prerogative. Unfortunately, asking loved ones to keep pictures of our kids off of social media is never a fun conversation. So this is what’s working for us – who knows if it’s permanent or temporary. But hopefully my words can be interesting enough so that you don’t need to see cute faces to keep following this blog!

My Eyes Are Fixed

Welcome, welcome! This is the beginning of yet another one of the blogs I’ve started – and I’m hoping this is here to stay.

Two and a half years and two kids later, we’re still in the D.C. area. Honestly, we really don’t have any kind of solid idea of what the future holds. Scary? A little. Exciting? Of course. When people ask us what our plans are, I tell them we are done making plans. We do, however, set goals. Maybe this is partially because we have been burned so many times, and are not doing anything we thought we’d be doing had you asked us three years ago. But, I think part of that is because we are typical 20 somethings.

I used to believe that you decided what you wanted to do for the rest of your life in college, and that you’d be set from your first big-kid job for your career. And that was just about as naive as believing that college life at Ohio State was going to be the same as it is at Grove City College. Boy, was I wrong, which I realized my first weekend in Stradley Hall when one of the girls down the hall got roofied her first night out.

It seems that that people my age are constantly searching for the answers to these questions:
What am I actually good at? How do I get paid to do it? And how do I change the world doing it?

Michael and I are definitely still working through this, both as professional individuals, and as a team leading our family. I’d like to think that we’re good at raising our kids, and obviously aren’t going to be paid to raise them. BUT, I wholeheartedly believe that raising beautiful, loving, honest, compassionate and intelligent children to be great contributors to society is in fact one of the best ways we can change the world. Who knows what great things are in store for them!

So welcome to my new space, learning about our journey as we navigate this crazy world. Our eyes are set forward, fixed on the horizon, making goals rather than plans. Perspective is everything, and I’m excited to share mine.

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