two years...

It's been two years since Piper lost her twin sister, Tuesday.  At just over two years old, Tuesday died of cancer.  Her mom hasn't held her in 24 months. Her twin has celebrated two birthdays alone.
Breaks my heart.
I'm thinking of you tonight,
I am so sorry.


Reading: Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult and Family Circle & Marie Claire magazines.

Looking forward to: Mine and Josh's weekend getaway to the coast. I can't wait!

Stressing about: How we will pay the bills this month. Having two weeks off in December is fun... until the paycheck a month later is two weeks short. Eek!

Craving: Panda Express Orange Chicken and a Sprite

Wanting: to buy books.  I love new books.

Proud of myself for: being able to let go of control of some things.

Wearing: Old Navy yoga pants, a borrowed pregnancy shirt & a Columbia fleece.

Avoiding: The pile of sheets I need to go through & fold. And the laundry. And the mess in my room.  Oh, and the closet in the living room. 

Sick of: drama.

Learning: about myself.

Suffering from:  Anxiety & panic attacks.  They are occurring more and more often.  I just wish I could get a handle on them.

Struggling with: parenting/disciplining the boys.  They are just at each others' throats lately, wrestling all the time, tantruming over every tiny thing and wanting to be independent.

Overcoming: Depression.  It was pretty bad in early December and I am doing much better, thankfully.  Between counseling, some behavior changes, and my no longer being sick or nauseous, I am on my way back to being me.

Hoping to: be able to stay home with my kids next year.

Excited for: this summer- a new baby, a double third-birthday party, fourth of July, swimming, camping & so much more to look forward to.

Relieved by: the results of our recent ultrasound. Babyham looks totally healthy.

Splurging on: Carter's clothes for Logan, Jack & Babyham. They were having sales like nuts (40%, BOGO and an additional 20% cause I had a coupon!) and everything is so super cute!

Thanks, Emily, for the survey. :)



 So you may have noticed my new background. I am all set for Valentine's Day this year.  I may not have lots of money, I may not be a SAHM like I want, and I may not live in a great place (or even an okay place), but the one thing I do have is plenty of love.  I have love to give, and I have so much love given to me.  Just tonight as I was tucking Logan in, Jack came up behind me and said, "I'm rubbing your back, mommy."  These boys melt me!

 Josh and I are currently planning a weekend getaway (thank you everyone involved in helping watch the kiddos!!!) and we are so super-duper excited. A chance to get away, just the two of us, for some much needed respite, and maybe even a full nights' sleep! Just the knowledge of the trip is helping me get through each day.  Knowing that soon I will have a quiet afternoon to read a book or take a nap has stretched my patience and put a smile on my face.
And trust me, I needed a smile today- I woke up at 4:43am to my children jumping on their beds, up for the day; then I went back into our room to turn the fan up (it has to be loud to block out our obnoxious children) so Josh could keep sleeping, but it was dark in there and I thwacked my head on the bassinet so hard that the sound woke Josh up and I proceeded to bawl while he held my hand until the throbbing died down; then I received an e-mail that said that my property management company did not smell any problem in my bathroom (they came out Friday afternoon after some work was completed under the house and rendered our bathroom useless due to the toxic chemical smell that was present) and that they did not plan on doing anything to address said problem since they didn't believe one existed; and then I discovered I hurt one of my friends' feelings unbeknownst to me and as I recounted the situation I discovered my mistake... And this was all before 8:30am.  Most of you were probably not even up yet.
(Thank God my dad was, as I called him sobbing while the boys ate breakfast.) 

 So, smiling... I need to do more of it. And planning this weekend retreat is doing the trick.  I even got my February magazines, and they are setting the tone for our trip.  I got a "Date Night Cheat Sheet" that lists fun questions to ask your spouse while you are out together that do not revolve around work or children. My favorites?
  • How would you spent $10,000,000?
  • If you could try any job for a year, what would it be?
  • What part of life would you want to relive?
  • What would you do if you had only ten years left to live?
I also came across an interesting article on soul mates.  I am pretty romantic, so I thought I believed in soul mates. Then I read this:
"Two thirds of Americans believe in soul mates.  Those believers are 150% more likely to divorce than people who think there could be more than one right person for them.  It seems contradictory, but those who hold an overly romanticized view of marriage may think they're with the wrong person if things get rough.  Reality check: Every relationship takes work, and even someone who's "perfect" for you will drive you nuts sometimes!"  (Redbook February 2011) 
It was good to read. To hear that when things are rough, that just means that things are real.  Feels good.

 So does the little boy jumping around in my belly. He's really a mover and a shaker, and I am so enjoying it. Now that I am not nauseous or sick, I have really been able to focus on the fact that there is a real live little baby in there, just waiting for June when he can make his debut.  I wonder what he will look like- is it possible Josh & I combine to only make Jack & Logan look-alikes? I also wonder what his personality will be like, and what it will be like to have only one child at each various stage.  I wonder how I will possibly love another kid as much as I love the boys.  I always hated when moms would say that on "Bringing Home Baby" on TLC. They would have this four year old and they'd go on and on about how they were just worried about how the baby would impact the older kid and about how they couldn't imagine possibly  having that same kind of love for a new baby, and I always thought they were such idiots. Well, I am an idiot. 
I am so worried about how Logan & Jack will respond to their baby brother, how it will change the family dynamics and if I will really, truly love him like I love them. I can't imagine it. I know that I will, but I can't imagine it.

 So there you have it.
My Saturday night thoughts on love.
Here's hoping February holds
{lots of love}
for you & yours!


My "Super" Survey

1. Based on your performance this past week in whatever you do, what would have been your Superhero name?
"Detail Oriented Woman" Lame, I know. But true. Especially at work!!!

2. This week what has been super terrific and what has been super lame?
SUPER TERRIFIC: Planning a weekend getaway with my husband for next week!
SUPER LAME: The boys waking up at 4:30am.

3. Which of Superwoman's abilities would've been the most useful this week?
The ability to be in two places at once. Not sure if she can do that, but it would have been very helpful!

4. What do you most expect will be super fun this weekend?
My boss gave me her massage for tomorrow morning. I can't wait!!!

5. What are your thoughts on the upcoming Super Bowl?
It's going to be super for Josh, and not so super for me!


Thankful Thursday

 I am thankful today was sunny!

 I am thankful my children are able bodied.

 I am thankful that I can feed & dress the boys.

 I am thankful that I felt productive at work today.

 I am thankful for the beauty of nature.

 I am thankful for chocolate!

 I am thankful for the opportunity to sing
"You Are My Sunshine"
to Jack each night.

 I am thankful to have Josh as my partner.

 I am thankful for the giggles I hear as I chase Logan down the hall.

 And for all the funny moments that get me through the day.
(*Here Logan is closing his eyes cause "it's too sunny, mommy!")


133 weeks

"You could be waiting for a day that won't come,
And you could be so much more than you've become.
And I have found my feet 257 weeks,
But you could be waiting for a day that won't come...

You could be waiting for your life to begin,
And you could be so much more than you've been.
And I have found my feet 257 weeks,
You could be waiting for your life to begin.

And it's so sad,
You're so good and I'm so bad!
But you won't see me wasting the best thing I've ever had.

And it's such a shame,
That I can't tell you anything!
You won't hear me still you endear me now!

Hard to see past the window facing forward looking back,
Over years spent tracing wondering how you left your track.
Underwater breathing burns your lungs and breaks your back,
  But you could be waiting right here for a day that won't come."

-Nine Days

I listened to this album from high school today and the lyrics totally spoke to me. The day I am waiting for may never come.  Being a stay at home mom, my dream, may never come true. This is something I really need to work on getting over. Even as I write this I have trouble believing it. But I have spent the last 133 weeks waiting for that dream to come true. I wouldn't say my life has been on hold all that time, but I would say that there are days I haven't lived to the fullest.  Days that I have been just waiting for my life to begin.  But my life has begun. It's here. Right now. With my husband and my children. With my students at work.  With my family.

This emotional journey I have been on for the last five 
months has been full of ups and downs. 
Some things I've learned? 
The things I know for sure?

I can be a good mom even if I work.
I am loved.
My kids don't care how I look, only how I feel.
It's easier to give in to the sadness than to fight against it.
It's harder to watch your spouse feel lost than it is to be the one feeling lost.
Music speaks to me.
No one else has walked in my shoes.
 I know what is best for my children.
I would do anything for them.
Even if that means being without them some of the time.
I love my  husband.
It can always be worse.
Stress is cumulative.
Sometimes distance is necessary.
Breathing helps.
You're never too old to sleep with a bubba.
Everyone needs a good hug now and then.
A good book really is a great escape.
I adore my boys.
They are my only priority.
Guilty pleasures can bring joy.
I heart my Ipod.  
Girlfriends are necessary.  
I miss the sunshine.

It will return.
I will, too. 

Baby Name List

I am looking for both feedback & suggestions for a name for our beloved Babyham.  

(Here's a little background on the name "Babyham"- I work in a special needs class with students who have autism, Down Syndrome, and other types of mental handicaps. We had a new little girl last year who had Down Syndrome and she called me "Mommyham" instead of "Cunningham" like the other kids.  Then for sharing one Friday I brought in one of my favorite pictures of Logan & I. 
She took one look at it and goes, "Aww, Babyham!"  
The nickname stuck for the boys and I have even sought out a new URL for my blogspot for when the baby is born that is called Babyham Blessings.)


This is by no means complete, but these are the names we have come across and not rejected.  Middle names we've been mulling over include Nathaniel after Josh's favorite cousin and Joel which is my grandmothers' brothers' name.

Let me know what you think of this list and what your idea of the perfect name would be for Babyham.  I am open to ALL suggestions, as I know that when the right name comes along I will feel it in my bones, just like I did with Logan & Jack.

Can't wait to read your ideas!



(The boys were a chocolatey mess after dessert, so we went straight from the table to bath time- hence the dirty bubs!)
 Things around here have been better. Or at least I have been better.  I am no longer nauseous. I haven't been sick in weeks. And I am (finally!) getting excited for the baby.  Now if we could just find a name for him!
Now for the real reason you're reading this:
 Logan is in the height of tantrum throwing, but is also becoming more aware of others' feelings. If he senses that I am upset (read: angry) he says in the most syrupy sweet two year old voice, "Hi, mommy!"  He melts me with his hugs and spontaneous kisses.  He has also been more aware of Jack's feelings. When he hurts Jack or Jack gets injured he runs to the fridge to get the "Nemo" cold pack for him. Or he finds Jack's Santa Bear and gives it to him. It makes for proud mommy moments, that's for sure.
In addition to understanding our feelings, he is growing more and more successful at potty training. He isn't as scared of going on the potty and LOVES the special treats (chocolate kisses) he gets when he does it.  He runs out, down the hallway shouting, "I pooped! I pooped!"  So precious to see that excitement on his face!

 Jack is in a pretty tender phase right now. He's discovering there is a lot to be afraid of in this big world, and I'm having to teach him that I will take care of him.  He is afraid of the dark, monsters under the bed, Ninja turtles and workers of any kind coming into the house.  I have to repeat to him, "You don't have to be afraid. Mommy will take care of you."  He will still cry & tremble, but he doesn't completely melt down.
He is also aware of others' feelings and he will ask, "Mommy are you happy at me?" when I am upset with Logan for misbehavior. I smile and say, "Yes, because you are following directions."  Then Logan will pipe up saying, "I following directions, mommy!" Gotta love that.

They have both been teething all four two-year molars and I think that may be what's responsible for our early morning rising the last month. They've been waking up around 4am (for the day!) off and on since before Christmas.  We've made a few changes to their room and they've slept until after 5am for about a week.  Mentally there is something about waking up in the 4's versus waking up in the 5's that makes that extra hour seem very, very important.  So I am hoping this continues to improve.

 I am going to try and be more present on my blog like I used to be. I am getting there. It's hard when your emotions are a jumbled mess and your life is a jumbled mess to sit down and make coherent thoughts appear on the page.  But I am sure it will just continue to get easier for me.  Lord knows I have a hundred pictures I need to share with you all! So let the blogging begin... again!


{big brothers}



{brotherly love}

Jack & Logan
(love Jack's smile in this one)

Jack & Logan
(love Logan's smile in this one)

This one is my mom's favorite.


It's a...

 {little brother}

 We had our second ultrasound this morning. At the first one, the baby was dancing all around, and we were told it was just one baby.  Despite this, I was holding my breath as I lay on the table today and the tech spread the warm gel on my belly.
She put the wand on my belly, and I was pleased to see only one little baby again.

 As I informed her I had a twin pregnancy previously, and was relieved to see only one baby this time, she said she could tell us the sex.  She said, "It's a boy," and she moved the wand over his boy parts.
When I saw that it was a boy, I thought, "Yeah, that feels right." I feel relieved to be having another boy, since I have done boys before, and I am excited for the boys to have another brother. 

 Here's his cute little piggies!
From what I could see, the baby looks completely healthy.  He has all his limbs & his measurement for his age was pretty much right on. I am due June 12th, and he's measuring as being due June 9th. Just perfect.

Profile pic of him kissing his placenta- so cute!

Jack was happy to hear it's a boy. Last night when I asked him what he wanted, he told me he wanted a brother. With a penis.  Logan was much less specific. He said just a baby.  So not only are Josh and I pleased, but Logan & Jack's wishes have been satisfied as well!


Rest! Wait! Pray!

"Don't let your eyes get used to darkness.
The light is coming soon.
Don't let your heart get used to sadness.
Put your hope in what is true.

No matter how the wind may blow,
it cannot shake the sun.
Lay your sorrows on the ground,
it's time to come back home.

When the future seems uncertain,
like the coming of a storm,
Your loving Father carries His children
when they can't walk anymore.

No matter how the wind may blow,
it cannot shake the sun.
Lay your sorrows on the ground,
it's time to come back home."

-JJ Heller

This song has been a source of hope to me for many  months. I put it on when I am feeling quite hopeless and alone. I listened every day on the way to work when I first lost my sidekick Lisa D.  I needed the comfort the words provided. Particularly being carried when I can't walk anymore.  
I listened today because it's Sunday. And Sundays are hard. They are bittersweet for me. I am so overjoyed to be home with my boys for another day, it's my day to sleep in, and we usually just hang out at home which I love.  But it's also the day before I have to go back to work. Which means Sunday night is all about prep for the following week. Laundry, dishes, tidying up the house, packing the diaper bag & my lunch...

 I am not myself lately. I am sure you loyal readers have surmised as much. I hardly blog anymore (compared to how often I used to blog), I rarely get out the camera to capture my boys' adorable moments, and I am just not the ray of sunshine I believe myself to have been at one point.  I am struggling with what I assume is depression and what I know is anxiety.  I am still having a hard time believing/accepting that I am pregnant. And it's making me feel so guilty.  I want to be excited for this baby, but I am so nervous.  For its health, for the impact on our family, for having three children...  Being so sick (with colds & whatnot) along with my nausea and exhaustion is making it even more difficult.

Then on top of that is the fact that I am still working. I feel like a broken record: I hate working. I want to be a stay-at-home mom. I want Josh to be able to find full time work. I want to be with those boys full time.  I miss them.
I am trying to trust God and believe that it's going to happen in His time. But lately with my hormones so out of whack, I've been having trouble holding onto hope.  I fear that this is how it will always be. We will always live in this crappy house, we will always be broke, and I will never be a stay-at-home mom like I always dreamed.
When I get to feeling really low, I try to pray, talk to Josh or read either my "Blessings" book (a collection of inspirations) or the bible.  Recently I read this article in my Blessings book:
"Are insurmountable problems about to do you in? Are you nearly overwhelmed with difficulties, emergencies, and trials of all kinds? These may be divinely appointed instruments for the Holy Spirit to use in your life. It could take days or even weeks, but if you are patient and willing to find out how God plans to use your current struggles, they can become an avenue for spiritual growth.  Problems can turn into possibilities. Tribulations can become a blessing that God could get to you in no other way.
Bring all your problems to the Lord. Hold them up to Him in prayer.  Sit quietly and wait for him to work. Your restless fretting accomplishes nothing. Rest! Wait! Pray! Do nothing that you are not thoroughly convinced in your spirit he is leading you to do. Give God a chance to work. The insurmountable problems that you face today will become God's opportunity to reveal His love and grace to you as you have never known before."
And so I prayed.
And now I wait...

 I believe that I am on the edge of a breakdown. I have cried every day for about two weeks. I struggle to enjoy anything except Jack & Logan.  And going to work feels like it is literally killing me. That's not to say that it's my actual job that is the problem- it's not. I love my students, I love the staff, I love being in the school setting.  It's leaving Jack & Logan behind. It's waking up and having them ask, "Mommy's going to work today?"  It's the tantrums when I finally get home.  It's not ever feeling that I have enough time. To play, to hug, to laugh. Not to mention in which to do the laundry & housekeeping. Or spend time with my husband. 
And although I am dying to stay home, I just can't see a way to make it happen.  I keep stewing on it. Hoping I will see a way.  Hoping He will find a way, make a way. My heart says, "Just quit.  Be home. It will all work out." But my brain says, "Be responsible. You have a family to provide for.  The future is uncertain."  I am so torn.  I wish I knew for certain what God wants. Does He want me to be patient and wait for Josh to find a job first? Or does He want me to take a leap of faith? Until the answer is clear, I will hold off on any decision making.

Next week is full of appointments that may make some things a little more clear for me.  Monday will be my first counseling appointment. Since I am pregnant, I would like to avoid medication as the solution for my anxiety & depression.  So I am going to see if I can't learn a few different coping mechanisms for the meantime.  
And Wednesday is both my ultrasound (where we will find out the sex of the baby) and my second doctor appointment. I was supposed to have one over Christmas break, but the doctor had an emergency c-section, so it was canceled.  I have so many questions for her.  First and foremost, I want the results of the ultrasound- is the baby okay?  Then I want to know if my insomnia, cuh-razy (!!!) dreams and continuing severe exhaustion are normal.  I also want to know if my back pain (which today has been unbearable) is from the pregnancy or something else.  I would also like her to wave her magic wand and make my nausea go away. Or something like that.
Here's hoping!


my sweetheart

I love my husband.

More than that, I respect him, I have fun with him, I like him, I laugh with him and I cherish him.  The last few months, as you all know, have been pretty rough for me.  Josh has been there, by my side, through all of it.

He has woken up with the boys every morning so I could sleep; he has gone grocery shopping, done the cooking, the dishes, bath time & bedtime; he has held me as I've cried, and comforted me as I confessed all my fears about the future. He has been amazing.  He has made late night runs for ice cream (hey, I'm pregnant!) and last Monday he didn't have a sub job, so he surprised me with a living room makeover. He re-painted it (in the color I had mentioned) and rearranged all the furniture so the boys could have more floor space for play time.

I feel so lucky that nearly eleven years later, I am still in love.  He continues to meet & exceed my needs.  He takes on the challenges of parenting with such gusto, and he thinks nothing of doing everything around the house if I'm not up to it.  I can't imagine traveling this road without him. I can't imagine parenting Logan & Jack without his humor to get us through the worst tantrums & the biggest messes. I can't imagine surviving this pregnancy without him allowing me to sleep whenever I need & fetching the current foods I am craving. I can't imagine coming home to an empty house with no one to pour my heart out to each day.

"Remember, we all stumble, every one of us.  
That's why it's a comfort to go hand in hand." 
~E. Kimbrough

Thank you, Josh, for holding my hand.
I love you.


Family Love

I adore my dear mother,
I adore my dear father, too;
No one loves me as much
As they know how to love me.

When I sleep, they keep watch over me;
When I cry they are sad with me;
When I laugh they smile with me;
My laugh is sunshine for them.

They tenderly teach me
To be happy and nice.
My father does his best for me;
My mother prays always for me.

I adore my dear mother,
I adore my dear father, too.
No one loves me as much
As they know how to love me.

-Amado Ruiz de Nervo

Christmas 2010

Christmas this year was  magical.  Between the amazing generosity of our friends (& strangers!) and our families, the day was filled to the brim with gifts, laughs & happy memories.
Christmas morning, as always, was spent with the Cunningham's, having our annual Christmas breakfast.
 Then we tackled our pile of gifts. Word of the boys' love of Thomas the Train got out and they were spoiled with Thomas lunch boxes, wall decor, tracks & trains.  They also got their first Scooters. They LOVE their scooters.
 Gustav also loves Thomas. Here he is with his daddy signing "train."
 After breakfast with the Cunningham's, we came home and the boys & I took naps.  Then we freshened up and headed to the Raatz' household for dinner. Here Jack is cheesing it up for the camera.
 Photo op:
Sweet brother hugs!
 And kisses!
 Jack signing "music" because Logan was playing with Nanny's CD player.
 Logan's "cheese" face. 
Love it!
{PS- Thanks again for the outfits, mom. I love the cords & sweaters!}
 Ferris was not feeling well on Christmas.  Roxanne took him to the doctor the next day and the poor little guy had an ear infection.  :(
The boys love to color at Nanny's house.  This time was funny because they were standing so that left-handed Logan kept elbowing right-handed Jack. I had to help them swap places so they could have some elbow room.
 Our entire families were there at both Breakfast and Dinner, which was so nice. We got a pic of the Raatz clan, courtesy of Dallas' friend Taylor who was along for dinner.
{Megan & Dallas; Shauna, Isaiah & Dalton; my parents (Marilynn & Barry) in back; Me, Jack, Josh & Logan; Roxanne, Ferris & Blake.}
 My favorite gift:
This years top gift was a surprise. It's a framed list of all the reasons Josh loves me, along with a photo of us, and a photo of our boys. Two of my favorite reasons?
I love that the little notes you put in my lunch
I love that you need all the covers to stay warm
(He knows me well!)
Shelly, Jack, Logan & Josh
Overall, our Christmas was really lovely, and we all felt overwhelmed by the generosity of those around us.  But above all, it was so nice to spend the day with our families.  This year especially I was thankful to be here celebrating with them.