Friday, November 9, 2012

It's the most wonderful time of the year!

The holidays are the one [and believe me the only] time I wish both of our entire families all lived in the same Currier & Ives town.  Trying to navigate the waters of who goes to whose house when and brings what food where and mom's gluten allergy and this person doesn't like meat and let's draw names and no I don't want a gift card and if someone buys us another ornament I'm going to scream.

I can't breathe.

I didn't grow up near family. We all had to either travel to another state or grandparents had to come to us. Cousin reunions didn't happen. I have a slew of cousins I've only seen twice. Kathryn has never met my brother, and only seen her aunt and cousin once. She's seen her great grandparents less than 5 times. She only sees my parents when they make the sacrifice to travel here when they have free time [usually my mom by herself--Dad has only seen K 3 times this year] because we don't have a vehicle for me to travel with to see them.

We "have" to stay home on Christmas Eve because we have a service at our church that we "have" to be at. We wouldn't want to miss it, though, because it is really, really cool. And so it works out perfectly that we get to wake up at our own house on Christmas day because we are already here. Then the next day we drive to NC to see my family. This year, hopefully, my brother and his family will get to come too so our little girls can play together.  They are only 3 months apart.

I am really excited to start decorating. It's hard not to jump the gun, but we've got spirit YES WE DO! We are seriously putting our lights up tomorrow because this is the token warm November weekend. We won't turn them on for a couple of weeks still, but at least they'll be up. My favorite part about the start to the season is choosing the ways we will give to others. We hope to live that way all year, but especially this time of year when so many folks are having a hard time. I would rather Kathryn have 2 presents and another kid have 2 presents than Kathryn have 4 presents and another kid have none. It is our goal as parents to teach Kathryn the gospel, and that starts with teaching her that she is not the point. It's not about any of us.

We are taking part in Operation Christmas Child as well as picking out some things from the Samaritan's Purse gift catalog to give to others a world away. I'm also excited to go shopping for our local crisis pregnancy center as they are in great need.

In the midst of all the excitement, travel, expense, and frustration...will you put others ahead of yourself this season? Forty percent of American spending happens between now and the end of the year. Let's do something good with our money.

Thursday, November 1, 2012


We had a great Halloween! Last year we brought her home from the hospital on Halloween...
...and this year we had a little Pocahontas!

We had a fun day. We made pumpkin shaped mini pumpkin pies to take to Daddy's office. Then we went to the dollar tree to spend some of her birthday money. She picked out pipe cleaners, foam shapes, and colored pom poms. ;) I used some of the foam to make her headband for her costume. Praise the Lamb, she took a looooong nap. I had to wake her up to eat dinner super fast so we could get to church for Eats & Treats. She had so much fun observing the festivities but it was stinkin' cold! We didn't stay long but when we got home she was in no hurry to take her costume off so she stayed in it for a while. A couple friends came by for cider and then we finally were able to get her bathed. She was hopped up on animal crackers & mommy's milk! I bet you didn't know Pocahontas wore a tutu. Kathryn loved her costume and didn't pull any part of it off. She did so good and we can't wait til next year!


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Happy First Birthday!

Our little pumpkin had her first birthday on Sunday! What a difference a year makes.

I always heard people say that when you have kids time will really fly, and that is so true. This has been the fastest year of my life. Maybe it's because everything seemed to take forever when I was pregnant. I was going through photos from the last year [which are so NOT organized] for her birthday slideshow and I was looking at some from about 5 months ago thinking that it had just happened. I suspect that will happen a lot for the rest of my life.
We've learned a lot in the last year. I've learned that I'm the mommy and I know best, with daddy at a close second. No one else's opinions really matter. I've learned that sometimes you have to hurt other peoples' feelings to put your child first. When someone tells you to put a needle in your NIPPLE [of all places] to help the milk come out, they probably won't have any other helpful advice and you should not talk to them. I've learned the night goes a lot better when she sleeps with us. Most of all I've learned that I really don't know anything at all and the only thing that can sustain me is seeking the Lord's guidance in parenting.
The first few days that we had Kathryn home, I cried a lot. I was overcome with emotion, gratitude, and love. The weight of her tiny life just crushed me. Things are a lot easier now, though, and thankfully I don't cry as much.
Being a mom is the best thing ever. We've had hard times, sure. There were the dark days when she wouldn't take naps or sleep more than 5 or 6 hours at night [and certainly not without waking often]. There are the times, still, when she wakes e.v.e.r.y.h.o.u.r because her teeth hurt. The early days when she needed to eat every 20 minutes and I felt like a dairy cow. I didn't even wear a shirt, just my robe. But then there are the times she gives kisses, laughs, and helps me with the laundry that are so much fun. I wouldn't trade a second of this life for anything else.
So here's the stats:
According to my calculations, she's 18.6 lbs and 29 inches long.
She spent her eleventh month learning to walk. She's moved on to running.
She will eat anything, especially if it's on someone else's plate.
The dog is her best friend.
She has 4 teeth and more on the way. Remind me to buy more ibuprofen. For me, not her.
She is trying to use a sippy cup for water but can't quite figure it out. She's good with a cup, but still nurses 12-15 times a day. We love breastfeeding in this house.
Here are a couple pictures from her party.

Happy birthday, baby. Mommy and Daddy love you more.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Running for my life

Normal women with normal bodies gain weight when they're pregnant. Science says the "normal" weight gain range for my body was 15-20 pounds. Well, if you multiply that by 3 you'll end up with what I weighed almost exactly a year ago when I gave birth to my 6lb 14oz daughter. If you're keeping up with the math, adding in the weight of amniotic fluid, etc, I had about 40 pounds to lose. I lost 26 in the first 2 weeks but had pretty much stayed the same for much of the past year. Kathryn breastfeeds like a champ but unlike what I'd been told, the pounds did not just "melt away". Liars.

They say that it should take you about as long to lose the baby weight as it did for you to gain it. They also say that the safe range for weight loss while nursing [in order to keep your supply up] is about a pound a month.  I'm going with the latter because I'm nursing and it's important to me to continue that for hopefully another year.  I honestly am not worried about my diet because I eat whole, nutritious foods that I prepare myself most of the time and don't think I consume more calories that I should. Although, I probably do eat too many cookies.

About 3 months ago I decided too get more serious about exercise.  For several months prior, Kathryn and I had logged a lot of miles on her jogging stroller just walking. But it was time to step up my game. That's when I started running. I run 3 times per week and take an hour of really intense step aerobics 2 times per week. I'm not sure what spurred it on. One good reason is that I have an entire wardrobe of clothes that I haven't been able to wear since long before Kathryn came along.  I'm not sure what happened. I just got comfortable being a "little bit overweight".

I can't tell you how much weight I've lost because our scale is broken. But what I do know is that I can finally stop wearing my maternity jeans. My t-shirts are really loose. The buttons on my cardigans aren't screaming for dear life as they try to stay in the button holes. It's a great feeling. Yes, being sore, the good kind of sore, and physically worn out is a really great feeling.

I'm doing a program called "Run for God", which is similar to couch to 5K. In about a month I'm going to run a 5K. I can't believe I'm saying that because I was the person who always hated running. It seemed so boring and let's face it, it's hard. I thought only skinny girls with flat chests ran. Not a busty girl like me. I mean what in the world can I buy to hold these things back? [By the way, I'm still looking for a great sports bra.]

Not that I have already obained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus...I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Phillipians 3: 12&14

I read those verses today--the whole passage actually--and thought a lot about my running. I don't know if I'm taking this out of context or not, but I think it applies. I was never perfect, and after childbirth that included a c-section, my tummy will never be the same, my breasts are going to be weird probably forever, and it will only get worse when I have baby #2. But I do believe that God calls us to take control of our bodies and in finding what works for me [running] I am achieving the goal of being all I can be for His glory. What good am I if I die before I can complete the calling in my life because of my laziness?

If you're reading this and you think you can't do it, think again. Don't listen to those voices in your head. You will achieve what you work for, not what you wish for or put off until tomorrow. If it's not absolutely the hardest thing you've done, you're not working hard enough.   Don't take the easy way out that will leave you in worse shape than before. Actually work for it.

One of the things that I've been afraid of since becoming a mom is that something would happen to me and cause Kathryn to have to grow up without her mommy. Maybe that's paranoid, but I feel better knowing that if something happened such as cancer I would be in the best shape to take it on. Ultimately my trust is in God but that doesn't mean that I can just sit on the couch. If you want to lose weight or improve yourself in some way, just do it.

It feels great. And you can be so proud of yourself.  I'll let you know how the 5K goes.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Kathryn's First Fall

Officially she was with us for part of last fall, but we didn't take her on any hayrides or let her sit on the porch with our pumpkins.  So here's some of our recent activities in photos. We've been enjoying our favorite time of year! I think it's her favorite, too.

Spending the day at Huber's Farm

 Her first hayride.
 Helping Daddy find the perfect pumpkin.
 He found it!

 She had to have her own tiny pumpkin.
 Ending the day at The Comfy Cow & trying her first ice cream. Pumpkin, of course!
Around the House 
 Above, she seems to be pondering somethig, perhaps "The Great Pumpkin"?
 Trying to pick up her big pumpkin at church.

 As you can see, she really likes to sit next to the pumpkins.
Around the Kirtley Home


Wednesday, October 10, 2012


I thought I had experienced most of the joys in life, until I fed my child spaghetti.  It was, by far, the messiest she has been while eating a meal but it was definitely the funniest.