Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Hope everyone has a blessed Christmas!
 





Love, The Wards

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Our Growing Family

                          In May, our crazy little family of four will turn into a family of FIVE!

To get everyone up to speed... Mid-September I started feeling off. I was hungry all the time and when I wasn't hungry I wanted to sleep. My stomach always felt unsettled, but thankfully never nauseous. I was late, but I didn't tell Josh, I waited until the coming Saturday and took a pregnancy test as soon as I woke up. I was 99.9% certain the test was going to be positive and it was. Josh was cooking breakfast and I texted him a picture of the test. I didn't want the girls knowing yet since they cannot keep a secret, so I couldn't go running through the house like a crazy woman screaming. Anyways, when he finally checked his phone had had a very confused look on his face until I told him I just took that test, then it was instant smiles.
When we told Lillian and Claire about a month later, they were so excited about becoming big sisters, but made it very clear they want a baby sister, not a crazy baby boy. They love telling everyone they see that there is a baby in mommy's tummy and they are going to be big sisters.
At 8 weeks I had an ultrasound and there is just one baby this time. There was no way I would have been able to wait until my 20 week ultrasound to find out, especially with the speed my belly is growing this time around. I am 16 weeks now and my official due date is May 26th, Memorial Day.
A quick story before I head off to bed for the night. I have an app on my phone that gives me weekly updates, far different than the book I paged through when I was pregnant with Lillian and Claire. Anyways, the app told me this week that baby can now hear and make out sounds. I told this to the girls yesterday, they already love talking to baby. Well, last night they both put their faces really close to my stomach and kept telling baby they love him. (Yes, they want a sister, but baby is always referred to as he/him in our home) Lillian last night said, "Baby, I love you, but please be a girl and not a boy." I am scared how they might react if baby does end up being a boy. They will still love him to bits, but it might take a little more warming up.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Preschool and Heartache

Last month Josh took the girls in for the Dial-4 screening. They went through this screening process with the school district last October and that was when we were told for the first time they have  severe speech delay. This October after their screening, we were told they qualify for the school districts early childhood program and they will be starting pre-k next Monday (December 2nd). They will no longer meet with their speech therapist twice a week, instead they will receive assistance daily in their classroom. They will attend preschool 4 days a week for 3 hours each afternoon.
I am so grateful they will get to have this experience and they will benefit so much from all of the extra therapy time, but with it also comes a lot more mama guilt. I've posted before that I hate being away from Lillian and Claire so much during the week. I have missed out on so much with them over the last 4 months since I have started back to work. I have not been able to take them to any of their speech appointment, I actually have never even met their current speech therapist, Josh takes them most days. This past week though has been even more difficult for me, I cried myself to sleep one night last week because I would not be there to drop them off or pick them up from their first day of pre-k. I won't be the one making sure their shoes are on the correct feet or their hair isn't a complete mess. I won't be the one double checking backpacks or taking pictures of them as they walk into their classroom for the first time. Instead, I will be sitting in my office and counting down the hours until I get pick them up and hope they tell me about their day. Unfortunately, Josh will also be working so he won't be able to do these things either. We are lucky and have found a wonderful babysitter for the girls, they love her and so do we. She will be the one dropping them off for their first day on Monday and after that they will start taking the bus most days (which is also very scary to me).
Josh was with them today for their last speech session with their therapist. He was with them today to meet their teachers and see their classrooms. It breaks my heart that I am missing out on all of this, especially when it is because of a job that I don't fully enjoy. We're not even going to get into that one. I think this blog is slowly a pity party of one. I promise my next post will be much more exciting and not such a downer.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Pumpkin Patch 2013

In the beginning of October, yes I am a slacker and it has taken me a month to post, we took a family trip to the pumpkin patch. The girls had a blast playing on the climbers, "riding" the barrel horses, going down slides, feeding goats and rabbits, swinging, and of course picking out the perfect pumpkin.
Here are just a few of the pictures I took while we were there. It was the first chilly day of the fall season and the wind was in full force, but we still had a blast. I think it helps we went with some wonderful friends and their adorable baby girl.
 




Don't let their goofy faces fool you. Lillian and Claire had a blast and were not too excited about having to sit still so I could take their picture. To the left of them there was a small barn with animals that needed their attention and on their right was a slide that was calling their name to go down. Having to sit and smile for a picture was not on their list of things they felt like doing at the time.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

New to Me Cabinet

 
For more than 6 months now I have been in search for the perfect cabinet to use as extra storage in our kitchen. Actually, it has probably been closer to a year. Since we didn't have a ton of money extra to spend on a large piece of furniture, I knew I was going to need to keep an eye out on Craigslist, thrift shops and rummage sales for a piece that I could give a new life to. Finally after months of searching, by luck, I came across a fabulous solid wood cabinet and hutch on one of those fun Facebook garage sale pages. Does your community have one? I have found some great deals on our without having to leave my couch. Anyways, one evening I was scrolling through tons of photos of junk and came across my perfect piece at a newly reduced price. Perfect! The next day after some heavy lifting (very little done by me) I had a new piece of furniture taking up space in my garage. I don't have the space in my house for the top hutch cabinet, but the bottom half was perfect, well almost. 
 
 I had plenty of ideas of what I wanted to do. I had colors in mind and new hardware in mind, I just had to find the time to actually start sanding and painting this very old and grimy cabinet. The morning finally came when the girls were gone and Josh was working. I dug out the sander, turned on some music and did my thing. The color I ended up choosing is called Seal Bark, it is a lovely shade of gray and will look even more perfect once I can find the motivation to paint my kitchen and get new curtains. I loved my pale yellow and burgundy colors when we moved into our home 7 years ago, but I am ready for it to be gone now. My style over the years has changed and I am slowly transforming one room at a time.
Hopefully this fall I will find the time to repaint my kitchen. There are so many small spots and way too many corners, I know this will be a huge job and seeing as I am the only one who paints in the house, it's going to take another day of the house being empty and that doesn't happen very often.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

A Working Mom

      I have been back to work for 5 weeks now and it has really been taking a toll on our family and the life we are used to. I have worked almost continuously since Lillian and Claire have been born, but this is the first time in 3 years since I have worked full time outside of our home.
    I am enjoying my job, but our evenings always seem packed full and bedtime gets pushed much later than it should most nights. Those three hours from when I walk out of the doors at work and until bedtime flies by. I run to pick the girls up from the sitter, rush home to try and make a decent dinner, eat, clean up dinner, spend a little bit of family time together and then it is time to get Lillian and Claire ready for bed.
    We do get a lot more snuggle time in during those short evenings treasure those minutes we do have as a family. I wish more than anything I could stay home or I could find something part time that would allow me to have more time with Lillian and Claire, especially since this is their last year before the start kindergarten.
   Claire broke my heart tonight while we were in the car. She said, "mommy, do you think you could ask your boss for a stay home day so you can spend it with us?"
    This evening when I got home for work I sat and snuggled with the girls and chatted with them while Josh worked on dinner. He asked if I could come into the kitchen to help for a minute. Lillian refused to let go of me, she said, "I need snuggles now because I didn't get to snuggle you this morning."
   The wave bye every morning while I pull away from our house, the sitters or grandma's, depending where they are that day. The days they are home, they come running down to the garage as soon as they hear the garage door open and most of the time I am not even out of the car yet.
   I miss my girls. I feel blessed that I was able to spend be a part of so much their first four years, but now I feel like I am missing out on so much. I am no longer the one taking them to speech therapy twice a week, taking them to the playground or play dates, I am not the one working on their letters or getting covered in glue and glitter while crafting with them. I spend my day sitting at my desk and looking at my picture of them missing them and wishing I with them.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Smile

Lillian and Claire love the song "Smile" by Uncle Kracker. They have the song on their pad computers and they turn the volume as high as it goes and will sing along. Right before I took these videos, I was sitting in the living room and they were belting it out singing every word. Once the camera turned on they sang softly and didn't sing as much as they danced. If you notice at the end of the first video, you can see how they lined up some Barbie's and other toys to be their audience.
 
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Saturday, September 14, 2013

Lakeland Family Camp

   Every year at the end of August our church goes to camp for a weekend. After hearing about it every since we started attending Lakeland, Josh and I decided this year the girls are old enough that we all could enjoy it together and so we went.
   Friday after I got out of work, Josh had the car all loaded up and we met up with our Pro Deo caravan buddies for dinner and then the hour trek west into Kansas. That first night we arrived with enough time to unload and head to the meeting room/chapel for the opening night events. We headed back to our cabin to make our beds, layer on the bug spray and grab some flash lights before walking over to the camp fire for s'mores. We ate some delicious treats and headed back to our cabin. At this point it was already an hour and a half past the girls usual bed time and because of their slight s'more sugar high, they were away playing in bed until 11:30pm.
  Saturday morning brought a bright shining sun and two very excited little girls ready to explore camp. Before each meal everyone met in chapel for a devotional and prayer. I loved the community it brought and sharing this time with Lillian and Claire since during our usual Sunday service they are in their classroom at church. After breakfast we explored the camp grounds, the girls climbed rocks, ran through the fields trying to keep up with the big boys playing Frisbee and even did a craft project before getting their swimsuits on for the day.

  This was our view from the back of our cabin. The buildings you seen on the other side of the lake are more cabins. Each cabin has 4 rooms with two sets of bunk beds in each room. Down stairs is a large community room and the bathrooms. Lillian and Claire shared a bottom bunk, Josh slept on the other bottom bunk and I was the lucky one who climbed up to the top.  
   At camp there are a ton of water activities. They have a pool with a diving board.
A huge water slide!
 

Claire got board while Josh was waiting for his turn to go down the slide. I am not a fan (actually, I am scared) of water slides and Lillian ad Claire were unsure about going down. Since the line was long and it would not have been fun for them to make it to the top and chicken out, Josh went down by himself.
He made it!
After lunch Josh played in the ultimate Frisbee game and paint balled, so Lillian, Claire and myself hung out with friends and they loved riding their scooters in the back of the cabin. It was a beautiful weekend and we spent almost all of the daylight hours outside enjoying it.

After paintball ended, Josh and some of the other adults took their turn on the blob. The picture kind of explains it all, but you jump off the platform onto this giant air inflated pillow type thing. You can't see him very well, but there is a teenage boy at the end of this blob on the red stripe, when the jumping person lands they other person gets launched up and sometimes off into the lake. After Josh jumped a few times we took the girls out in one of the paddle boats, but those things are not built to have extra passengers, so it was a short trip before heading back to the dock.
Lillian, Claire and many of the other little kiddos became obsessed with these bag worms. They were all over some of the shrubs by the dinning hall, so of course my bug loving girls had to check them out.
We skipped the Saturday night bonfire and spent some time hanging out just the four of us at the cabin blowing bubbles, coloring with sidewalk chalk, riding scooters again, and enjoying the beautiful evening.
                                     

 
Sunday ended our weekend at camp, but before we left we had church with some fantastic worship, I think even Josh started to sing along at one point, which he never does. Lillian and Claire were sad to leave, but as long as Josh has off, next we year plan on returning.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Happy Sunday!

I told them I wanted just one picture of them both smiling and looking at me. This is what I got.
 




In other news. I start me new job tomorrow and I am really excited about this opportunity, but extremely nervous to work outside of the home full time again. I haven't done this since the girls were a year old, so this is will be a huge life change for everyone.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Faces

When Lillian and Claire were babies, I could spend hours just staring at their sweet little faces. I studied every freckle, dimple and crease they had. Seeing their faces would brighten up my day instantly. It's funny, that hasn't changed at all. I still catch myself staring at them while they are intently playing a game, coloring a picture or mesmerized watching something on the tv. I have noticed the faint freckles they have developed across their cheeks and noses this summer after spending endless hours playing outside. I notice scars and for the life of me, I cannot figure out when exactly they get them. We tend to have a lot of cuts, scrapes and bruises with these two girls. Seeing their bright smiles and goofy grins helps me push through all the stress and craziness that comes along with life. I love these girls and their sweet little faces.
 





Thursday, August 8, 2013

New Dresses


Over a month ago I was asked to make an adult maxi dress for someone and I was nervous and hesitant, but eventually said I would give it a try. I had never made any sort of adult clothing before and really had no idea what I was doing. I have a very limited experience sewing with knits, but it isn't so bad. When I was ordered fabric for the requested dress, I decided to go ahead and order some fabric to try and make myself a dress as well, after all, I have wanted a long black maxi dress, but couldn't find one that I really liked at a price I was willing to pay. I also found some adorable fabric on clearance and bought a yard to make dresses for Lillian and Claire.
While I was waiting on the fabric to arrive, the shipping took forever, I went to town researching on Pinterest how others went about making their own maxi dresses. I found a handful of ideas from various tutorials and tried my best. Now, if you know me and my sewing ways, you know by now that I don't really like to use patterns. For some reason patterns seem to make sewing difficult for me. I like to look at ideas and various inspirations and wing it. Sometimes this works for me and other times it doesn't. Thankfully, this time I seemed to have success with all four dresses I made.
The first dress I made was using this beautiful emerald green and black chevron knit fabric, I loved it. I unfortunately do not have a picture of that dress to share. I did try the dress on, but since I was making it for someone else it wasn't my size, so the photos don't do it any justice.
Next I made my own dress. I wanted solid black so it is something I can wear year after year and not have to worry about the print going out of style and I can pair it with anything. I had learned a few tricks from the first dress that this second one went together a little easier and their wasn't as much guessing going on. I had to go back and make adjustments and shorten it a little bit and I will have to shorten it a little bit more, but over all, I love it and it is extremely comfortable.
The third and forth dresses I made where a bit more challenging since these were for Lillian and Claire and I really had no idea what I was doing, but again crossed my fingers and hoped they would be presentable. Luckily, the girls think anything I make for them is beautiful, so that takes some pressure off. I, again, searched Pinterest and looked through many, many tutorials and took ideas from all of them. Their dresses are slightly different, but not by much. Claire has more of a tank style dress and Lillian has little flutter sleeves on hers. I had the main fabric, but didn't have a clue what I was going to use to edge the neckline and arm holes. I ended up cutting up one of the girls old shirts that had some stains on the chest and it worked perfectly for what I needed. As far as a pattern, I took one of their tank tops out of their closet and traced around adding in some seem allowances to get a rough shape for the top of their dress. For the bottom, I started with the width I needed at the waist and flared it out a little as I cut. This is pretty much the part where I cross my fingers, because I was just guessing on what to do. I cut all of my pieces the night before I was going to sew and then in a few hours the following afternoon I whipped together these adorable dresses. Lillian and Claire love their dresses and I love seeing them dance around the yard wearing them. 
 
 



Of course there are flaws in all of the dresses, but I think I am the only one who really notices them, so I won't point them out on here. You might be able to spot an obvious one or two yourselves.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Spray Park

We've now taken the girls twice to a local spray park this summer and they love it. It is fun because we have taken them each the past three summers. The first summer, they refused to run through the water and get wet, they just ran around the outside of the spray area enjoying watching the other kids. Last summer, Claire eventually ran through the water and got wet, but Lillian had little interest and instead splashed in a puddle. This summer, they were both a little timid on their first trip, but eventually Claire ran in and got all wet and Lillian followed some time later. When we went for the second time this summer, they both ran right into the water and loved getting wet. It still took Lillian a little bit longer to get her head wet, but she takes after me a little bit like that, I don't mind getting my body wet when swimming, but I don't like putting my head underwater unless necessary, never have.
They have cups in pictures, because just running through water isn't enough. Apparently it is a thing at the spray park, you need a cup to fill with water and throw at the others around you. We actually had a great time our second trip because it was slightly cooler and since it started raining on our way there the park was nearly empty. The rain did stop right before we arrived.
 







Thursday, July 25, 2013

Claire

For several months now we have been having some urination issues with Claire. It start back in April, Claire would be playing and dancing and then all of a sudden drop to the floor with an urgency of needing to go to the bathroom and trying to hold it. We thought it might have been a UTI, but there was no fever or pain for her, just that urgency and frequency. After a few weeks we took her into the pediatrician. It was torture trying to get her to give a urine sample, she is stubborn and would not let go of the urine. The tests came back negative for a UTI and the doctor said he thinks it is something called Dysfunctional Voiding and that tends to go away after a few weeks. She had a few good days where she was accident free and we thought maybe we were finally done with it, but it didn't last. The urgency, frequency and constant accidents started up again. Because of the way she was acting during this, we knew it was not behavioral, but it is still so hard not to get frustrated when your four year old who has been potty trained for two years has multiple accidents a day. We made another appointment with the pediatrician as soon as she started complaining about pain. This brought another negative UTI test and no answers. Because of our concerns our pediatrician sent in a referral for a urologist at Children's Mercy so we can hopefully figure out what is causing Claire this discomfort. Even if there is not pain, she should not need to urinate every 15 minutes and have that come out of no where. Unfortunately, they are backed up and we cannot be seen until September. Claire has usually one or two good days a week being accident free or only one accident. I really hope that when we finally have our appointment and more tests we are able to figure out what is causing her so much trouble.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Baby Shoes!

I have been busy making baby shoes again and I love it! I love spending time with my sewing machine and I love projects that come together in just a single sitting. Well, a single sitting if the girls are not home otherwise it can take twice as long with the many interruptions when they are supposed to have quiet time. Anyways, here are some I have made recently and I love all of them.  
 













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