Friday, April 11, 2014

week wrap up

Hello again!  So much has been happening lately. 

Emmy has been insisting she say the prayer at the dinner table most nights.  Hearing her talk to our heavenly father about us is just the sweetest sound and makes our hearts so happy.

I worked at the hospital on Sunday and was able to attend a party for the NICU graduates.  I got to see my old coworkers and some of the kids that I took care of as babies.  One in particular was the first preemie I ever cared for.  He was born at 26 weeks and weighed 1 pound 10 ounces.  That was almost seven years ago and today he is a perfectly healthy little guy.  

 Here we are in 2008

And six years later, and a few pounds that have been gained by both of us (ha)...
This was such an amazing experience to see him after so long.  Even though he didn't know me, his parents and I sat around reminiscing about the scary and happy times when he was in the NICU.  I LOVE being a nurse.

 Then last night I got to go out for 4 hours by myself to do something just for me.  Caleb finished his last final that morning and I left him with some pumped milk for Elly and got the heck out of dodge.  It was glorious.  I got a pedicure, went shopping and had dinner with some MOPS ladies.  It was so needed and I was very thankful to my husband for being willing to take care of everything after 6 days of critical testing.

 Lately, since the weather has been so fantastic, the girls and I eat lunch outside.  They both love it and it is nicer than being stuck inside and its free.  While being outside, we've all been playing around.  Elly eats grass, Emmy waters the plants, and I take photos.

And today we decided to take an impromptu trip to the beach. It was disastrous and comical at the same time.  Chilly, windy, sandy, and all of those combined with a baby and a toddler and trying to put up a tent is just counterproductive, but on the way home Caleb and I just laughed at the circumstances and then Caleb said that this would be the times that our children remember and that we were making memories (since the girls had no idea how crazy the day was).

Here is Elly during her first ever beach visit.  I'd say she was a happy girl!

I love making these memories with our little family.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Cousination 2014

Last week I spent four days with my two girls, six nieces, and one nephew.  It was a fun and exhausting four days.  I took some photos randomly throughout the chaos, some with my camera and some with my sister in law's camera, so I don't have all the photos I took during the stay, but I'd like to share some of the fun we had.  

Emmy LOVES being with her cousins.  That's even how she addresses them in large groups.  She doesn't say "Hey guys..." she says, "Hey cousins!"  It is cute and amusing.  

My second niece, Laurel brought a make up case with her and Emmy thought it was the coolest thing and this was the result...

This is Lidia.  She was born three months after Emmy and is so funny.  I love how silly she is and the sly smile she gives after she knows she's been silly.   I'm also extremely jealous of her long, dark, thick hair.

 Little Lidi was so in love with baby Elly.  I mean, just look at that smile!

Then there's Liya.  A very independent yet soft-hearted little lady.  A kid that can get along with anyone and not to mention is so beautiful!

Of course, you all know the baby of nine kids, Elana.  She loved all the attention and was pretty exhausted after the "cousination" too!

Abby was the youngest of the Wilkes grandkids until Elly was born.  She is so full of life.  Everything is so exciting to her and it makes her such a joy to be around!  I love to hear her elated voice say "Hey Aunt Kaawa" when she sees me.

 You can see the enthusiasm for life in her face during an Easter egg hunt we had for the kids.

Liya and Laurel.  Laurel is into gymnastics, and is quite good.  Emmy really looks up to her and tries to mimic the gymnastic moves that Laurel does.

And then there's Anna.  My curly haired tomboy.  She is our "free spirit" and such a sharer.  She loves Emmy and Emmy LOVES her.  

While the kids were in town, Caleb was able to do a fly over so the kids could see him in action doing what he loves.  They all yelled as he flew by, even though he couldn't hear, he was able to see them running around like crazy!


I love being a mom, but I was an aunt first and the moms of these seven children are my parenting role models.  I love spending time with them and seeing my kids becoming best friends with these amazing children. 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

A Confession

I have been wanting to write a post like this for a while now.  Actually, I have written it many times, but have never posted due to fear.  Fear that I would come across as pitiful and unappreciative.

I'm very depressed.  I will always have depression, and everyone goes through highs and lows during their life, but I was extremely down for a long time and was not a nice person to anyone around me or myself during that time.  Since then, I've been taking antidepressants, and have gone to counseling.  The combination has helped dramatically, but that doesn't guard against the inevitable highs and lows of life. 

After Elana's birth, I hit a low, and it hasn't stopped since.  I feel like everything I do is wrong.
I'm not a good mother, wife, daughter, sister, child of God, photographer, friend.  I feel like I have no real friendships that or that I actually allow my friends to know me.  I think I do this because I pushed a lot of friends away when I was depressed in college.  I know life gets in the way of continuing certain relationships, but I long for a friend who knows me well enough to see that when I'm having a hard time and actually try to help. 

But then I think, if I have no friends willing to do this for me, does this mean I'm not a good friend? 

There are so many aspects of my life that I'm not the person I thought I would be.  I'm not "put together" like I thought I would be; having a clean and clutter free home, take my kids to the park and play dates every other day, have patience that mirrors God's (lol right?!), the list goes on and on.

The truth is, I feel alone.  Like I have no one I can count on.  How does someone start a relationship like that at my age?

I need to find Kayla again.  I need a vacation, a friend, more time, motivation... But most of all I know that I need God.  I know He is there when no one else is.  He is there when I fail and when I feel like I'm not enough or stressed to my max.  And I do believe that He allows the lows to remind us that we are no in control and that we do need Him.  All the time.

So, this is not a pity party post.  This is for me to get my thoughts out and ask for prayers.  I can't just sit back and wait for God to make my life better.  I have to act on what He has given me and know that I am constantly blessed by him.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

When did I grow up?

Yesterday I attended my first MOPS meeting and I was talking to a few of the other moms when I was asked, "how many kids do you have?"

As I answered, "two" I thought, wow, that sounds so grown up.  So adult like.  I'm a wife, a mother, a friend.  I mean, people depend on me.  It is my job to pay bills, make sure my kids get fed wholesome food, that they have clean clothes and linens, clean the house, make sure we have a stocked kitchen, the list goes on.  I love this life I have, but for some reason I've just felt so "adult" lately.  It is intimidating to have so much responsibility. 

Sometimes I really just want to sleep until 10, workout, watch trashy tv, have a spic and span house, get a pedicure, go shopping, work three 12-hr shifts in a row without feeling guilty or homesick, dress up  and go on a date with my hubby or out with the girls without having to get a sitter, pee without company, take a nap,eat chocolate in peace, have disposable funds, I could go on and on.  However, apparently from this list, if I didn't have kids, I'd be a well groomed, well dressed, 800lb woman with a pretty boring life. 

However, as I do love being a mom and embrace all of my responsibilities with purpose (most of the time) I do think it is beneficial to have "me" time.  To know who I am without the "mom" title. Photography helps give me a creative outlet, but I'm in need of some R&R.  A massage, pedicure, highlights, or heck, let's just go with the basics of a full night of sleep and an uninterrupted shower.

Until then, I'll keep  enjoying my everyday, which looks like this:

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Favorite Baby Items

I decided to list some of my favorite baby items and a couple that I wish I had.  

The Safe Sippy 2-in-1 Sippy to Straw Bottle

I don't really have a review on this one yet.  I just purchased it from Amazon.

So, these are pretty self explanatory and, in my opinion, priceless.  If you don't have kids, they could be somewhat of a nuisance, but for the peace of mind that they provide, I'm all for it. 

So, I don't actually own this...yet.  I'm still thinking about it.  My friend, Liz, actually mentioned how helpful something like this would be when our first kids were babies, and as I think back on last summer and the time I spent waiting for the car to cool down before Emmy would get in her car seat, I'm beginning to think the $7 investment might be worth it.

I love these mesh food feeders for babies.  There are actually a lot of versions on the market, but Emmy really loved them and Elana has tried it a couple of times and done well.

For the cute newborn onesies that baby only gets to wear a handful of times...  Onesie extenders.  Genius!

This is something I'd love but think it completely unnecessary!  I've always loved to bike and think the versatility is useful, but I'm not fond of the price tag.

I've seen this on pinterest before and looked into it.  Now that Elana is starting to eat more and I'm not a fan of nursing in public (I'm just not that good at it), this is a perfect alternative to feeding her on the run.

And, my most favorite baby item... The MobiCam, or any video monitor.  We didn't have one until Emmy turned two, but I won't ever go back.  I love that I can see if Elana is crying because she has flung the blanket over her head or because she is just fighting sleep, and I can talk to Emmalyn while she is in her room from the monitor.  Caleb even liked messing with Emmy before she realized we could see her, fun times. 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

It was a good day

After an entire day of waiting, looking out the window longingly, and checking hourly, we finally got snow.  Not a lot, but enough to have some fun with.  

I was woken up last Wednesday by Emmy leaning over me and saying, "Mama, it did snow at our house!  Come on.   I hava show you!"

She was so excited.  We waited until about 9:30am to venture outside.  Emmy and daddy played and constructed their snowmen until about 11, when Emmy decided she was too cold and wanted to go inside.  Then, after some lunch and a rest we went back out for another couple of hours "sledding" SC redneck style with an empty clothes basket.  

After dinner, Caleb set up the fire pit and we made smores for dessert.  It was such a good day with our little family.  That night, no one had any trouble going to sleep.

Now, where's spring?

Monday, January 27, 2014

SAHM vs WM - My Two Cents

I'm a stay at home mom.  I enjoy being a SAHM.  I have not always been a SAHM and it bugged me on a daily basis.  I would feel sick to my stomach going to work.  Not that I didn't like my job, but because I ached to be with Emmy.  This is not the case for every mom. 

I was at a play date yesterday with a working mom.  She mentioned this video.  Granted, it is a heartwarming short film about how sweet motherhood is and taking care of kids day in and day out is tedious and not for everyone, but do SAHM think that working moms don't do the same things on a daily basis that we do?  I mean, we all love our children and just because one mom stays home or goes to work doesn't mean that any one of us love our kids any less.

I feel like there is a war going on between SAHM and WM (working moms) that doesn't need to be happening and it is kind of sad that the judging is happening when all we should be doing is concentrating on raising our children to the best of our ability and building each other up.

We all have sleepless nights, we all play nurse to a sick child, we all discipline for unacceptable behavior, we all feed our children, we play with our kids, and teach them our values.  No one of us should be idolizing our way of life and judging others for not choosing our lifestyle. 

I don't know about other moms, but I'm just trying to stay sane on a daily basis.

There are videos of working moms too.  Like this one (it is long and I skipped through some parts, but it does show that working moms are no less "mom" than SAHMs.

I just want to reiterate that we are called "mom" and whether we stay home or work (in any sense) our responsibilities are the same and taking care of our kids should be our highest priority.
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