Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Let's Play Catchup

A visit from my grandparents, my little guy looking all grown up, peanut butter cake (recipe here), tree decorating, big daddy and a little baby, matching sweaters, and a bonus Christmas song by my favorite toddler.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Nin and June

This post has been a long time coming. It's one that as I write, I have to make sure to use just the right words so as to perfectly portray what I see and the story behind it. The real reason for this post is a love story. A love between a granddaughter and grandmother, a granddaughter and a great grandmother, and especially the love between a husband and his precious wife. The kind of love that was more prevalent 50 years ago than it is today

I discovered this love, or at least a sentiment of it, in August of this year. My family was moving down to Bakersfield, California from Eastern Idaho. Because it was about a thousand miles, we broke it into 3 days of travelling. The last leg of our journey began in Sacramento where my grandparents live part time. Over a year ago, my great grandmother June passed away. Her health had been failing for years and she was under almost constant supervision by my grandparents (her daughter and son-in-law) who had a house an hour away in Napa. They took care of her for years until she joined my grandfather in Spring of last year. My grandparents will continue to go back and forth between their home and my grandmother's until the house eventually goes up for sale. 

We stayed 2 days in Sacramento to visit and catch up. I see my grandparents about twice a year and they're some of my favorite people in the world. Before we left, my grandma brought something out of her bedroom. A large wooden box which she opened and proceeded to tell me about. It was a four-tiered wooden sewing box given to my great grandma June by her husband as a token of his love.

On the inside was something I could have only dreamed of. I spent the next half hour pulling items out of the box and turning them over in my hands, my heart feeling excited and nostalgic. The box was full of my grandmother's old sewing supplies. Everything from old wooden spools of thread in a rainbow of colors, to zippers cut from worn out clothes of the family. There were needle kits, buttons, Velcro, patches, anything the vintage modern-day woman could possibly want for her sewing collection. 

 I love the old fashioned integrity of this company. "Should it be faulty in anyway, we will reimburse you for the reasonable cost of your labor and all materials used in making the article on which it is applied." 

Apparently these were given away at businesses such as insurance companies?

 A collection of buttons from outgrown outfits, extras from projects, and those that 
caught my grandmother's eye in a 1920's drugstore. 

There were at least a hundred spools of thread. Brimming with sentimental value. As I handled everything, I thought of my grandmother and her family zipping, buttoning and sewing. What were they wearing for school pictures? How did their buttons break off? What was my grandmother's favorite thing to wear?

When I reached the end of the box, my eyes immediately filled with tears. Laying quietly at the bottom was the most precious piece of family history. A short sweet card attached to the sewing box when it was given as a gift. "To my honey. From Nin." Even though I knew what the answer probably was, I asked my grandma anyway. "Who's Nin?" "That's grandpa. He got that nickname from his baby sister and it stuck." My heart melted. A simple and sweet love note from my grandfather to his sweetheart. 

In remembrance of my grandfather, Einer (Nin) and his love, June, I've started an etsy shop. It isn't stocked yet, but keep your eyes open for the grand opening. Her sewing box, along with their love story is my inspiration. As I sew, I hope the incredible seamstress in Grandma June will somehow come out in me.

I am reminded of the poem by John Donne,

No man is an island,

Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.

Everything we do is connected to our ancestors and our posterity. We must live every day knowing that what we do affects people of our day and exponentially those of the future. By choosing to do good with all we have been given, our legacy becomes something to be admired for generations to come.

Monday, November 4, 2013

When I grow up...

When I was a little girl, my daddy was the best. I was a shameless daddy's girl. There are few things that can have as much influence on a little lady's confidence more than how her daddy treats her. He would comb my hair gently, make sure I brushed my teeth, and be my loving confidant as we walked to school every morning.

If I knew anything more than that he loved me, it was that he was so proud to be my daddy. I remember reading [his car magazines] in front of his friends so that they could see how smart I was. He believed I could do anything that I put my mind to and so did I.

I've often wondered what career I would choose if I had chosen to work full time. I have come to realize that I wouldn't be happy just doing one thing. If I had all the time in the world I would be...

A ballerina.

When I met my mother (that's a story for another time), I was about to start fourth grade. Once the school year began and I made some friends, my mom asked if I wanted to join a dance team or have some sort of extracurricular activity (because there are so many for 4th graders!) Almost every friend that I had met so far was on a dance team and had been since kindergarten. I thought I would be in a beginning class with a bunch of 6 year-olds so I told my mom I didn't want to. What I secretly wanted to do though was take a ballet class. I discovered my love of ballet movements one summer on the back porch, listening to a movie soundtrack. If I could go back, I jump at the opportunity to wear pink slippers and learn to be graceful. (Something I am currently lacking in.) Even now, I can't wait until I'm in one place long enough to join a ballet class- even if it's with brave little girls 20 years younger than me.

A dentist.

You know that weird kid in school who would go to the bathroom and come back with a tooth in hand? That was always me. Beyond that, I found myself trying to convince other kids to let me pull their teeth- always assuring them that it wouldn't hurt, but they would feel a slight, quick pinch. I was always disappointed when someone would agree to let me pull their tooth out and then once I had the damp, brown paper towel in hand, they would chicken out before I could touch their practically-falling-out tooth. May seem weird, but I still have a small desire to be a dentist.

A photographer.

Even before I took my first photography class in college, I felt like I had a good idea for taking pictures. I bought my first camera when I was 17 at the only store in town- Walmart. Even though I paid over $300 for it, it was only 5 megapixels. Cameras have come a long way since then and now I have my eye on a beautiful DSLR camera that will probably take years of savings to finally purchase. My college roommates and I would have frequent photo shoots where we would vainly takes hundreds of pictures of each other wherever we went. [No matter how I word that sentence, it sounds wrong.] I love taking pictures of my kids, but I get frustrated when they don't turn out just perfect.

A teacher.

I didn't always think it would be fun to teach school, but I've had a change of heart. Knowing how much my teachers influenced me and changed my life as a kid [probably more than the average child], I think teaching is one of the worst paid best jobs you could possibly have. I don't know if anybody besides moms and dads have such great influence over future generations as do teachers. I would want to teach elementary school. Perhaps 3rd grade. They're at an age where they still adore their teacher, but they're entering a new phase of thinking and reasoning. I am sure it would be fascinating to observe children in their creative spheres and at such a close level. This is actually something I'm working on for the future. I am planning on staying home with my children before they go to school, so I don't know exactly how it will work out, but someday I will be a teacher.

And last but not really the last...

An entrepreneur.

I have a burning desire to be an entrepreneur. Or as some call it, a "momtrepreneur." Creating something and seeing it grow is so fulfilling. Isn't progress what life is all about? It's just so exciting to have the prospect of success and failure, learning and growing, finding something you're good at and improving upon it until you're a pro. The process of becoming a successful business owner is fascinating to be. Be on the lookout for a blog post in the next month about the beginnings of my new Etsy shop. I'm so excited to finally get it up and running!

I guess the great thing about being a mom is that I can be creative with my time and pursue other interests besides adoring these cute kids. I don't have to be away from home and pursue a full time career. I can just have a million part-time pursuits. Except maybe the dentist thing. I won't be pulling teeth in my free time. Because that would just be strange.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The lights are on...

but nobody's home. Recently [read: ever since having a baby] I catch myself staring blankly at the wall, the dresser, or a running faucet for longer than is acceptable in a normal human being. I feel like part of my brain has seeped slowly out of my ear. Perhaps it was used to create and feed 2 human beings. I hear that can really take it out of ya. Anyway, despite being 24, I feel like my body has aged double in the last 3 years. I'm not complaining- I'd do anything for those 2 beautiful babies; I'm just observing the gradual, yet sudden and drastic toll that being an adult can take on a woman.

Now that I've got that out of way, the real reason for my post is to reminisce on the beauty and bliss that is my life. I can't believe how lucky I am to have ended up with such sweet kids!

Not to mention a devoted husband who listens to me complain, encourages my dreaming, talks me through every thought, and loves to hold me at the end of the day. The picture above captures Bakersfield pretty well. Mostly dessert with spots of green and random oil pumps placed around the city.

The family recently made it out to Murray Family Farms for a little pumpkin patch fun. We jumped on a giant rubber pillow, picked 4 cute tiny pumpkins, and made our way through the apple orchard where Levi took a bite out of at least 10 different apples.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

It's a morning kind of afternoon

Today is one of those days when you realize at about lunch time, that you haven't gotten out of bed yet. To be fair, we've had some pretty productive days around here lately. Besides the occasional breakdown, I'm actually pretty happy about life. Sometimes I feel redundant thanking God for the same things every day. Levi's kisses, Matt's "old man" hair, long talks with my husband... but this is the "stuff" of my days and I couldn't be happier.

In case most of you missed it (probably because I didn't mention anything), we live in California now. Bakersfield. We're 2 hours from just about everything. Disneyland, the beach, Yosemite. A couple of weeks ago we attempted to go to the beach and ended up staying long enough to get sand stuck in every place and for Levi to fall in the water. So about 10 minutes.

My favorite part about living here is just how close everything is. Trader Joe's is .09 miles down the street, along with every other grocery store imaginable. Which is basically all I need. I now understand how kids must feel when their parents leave them in the car when they go to the store. I did everything but throw a fit when we first moved here and Jason went into Trader Joe's without me while I nursed the baby in the car. Oh the sacrifices you love to make to be a mom... and I do love them.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Rants of a crazy mom

Dream: Sitting in Starbucks drinking a passion tea lemonade, hair done perfectly, recently dyed, cute boots, a nice leather bag, a deep sigh of peace... while I write about, oh I don't know, things people do who don't have any kids. Like climbing mountains or a day at the spa. Something like that.

Reality: Still in what I wore all day yesterday, covered in remnants of every meal my toddler has eaten in the last 48 hours (and every meal I haven't) and a baby on my lap. The other is in bed, which is how I found a minute to write this post. I'm drinking water to keep up with my nursing and eating a banana to try to make up for my lack of energy- which has been my companion since I got pregnant 2 months after we got married. Which was 2.5 years ago. This is my life. This is reality.

I know... you're welcome to forward this post to your friends who don't have kids so that they can leave nasty comments below. Here's a little disclaimer for the craziness of my post. I have a right to get stuff off my chest. My kids are the biggest blessing in the world and I would NOT trade them for absolutely anything. So stop with the guilt-inducing negative comments. Thanks. We now return to your regularly scheduled program.

In case you don't remember what that was... I was just thinking about how nice it would be to keep the house clean for more than an hour, to get out of the grocery store with my nerves still in tact, and to wake up like a normal person, shower, eat, get myself dressed...

Honestly, I'm just trying to find the balance. I need something besides pb&j and dirty diapers. Just a quick break to breathe and sleep. The kinda funny thing about it is that every time my husband tells me to go ahead and take a break, I can't be away from these beautiful babies for more than an hour without missing them. And even though I feel like a hermit who can't seem to finish unpacking moving boxes, my babies give me purpose. They make my life worth living. And I know someday I'll be grateful that I was allowed to not get dressed for days at a time because when they were finally asleep there was no point to getting dressed. I'll be sad that they're growing up and becoming independent. Sigh... we always want what we can't have, don't we?

I've tried listening to my own advice and philosophical blabbering to my husband. The ones about how I don't care what anybody thinks and "it's not an easy job, but someone's got to do it." Some days those just don't cut it though. Some days you have so much to do, that rather than trying to accomplish just a few tasks on your list and feel good about it, you shut down and watch The Vampire Diaries all day long. And then you feel lazy so you kick your butt into gear and make it look like you didn't lose it while your husband was gone at work. Tell me I'm not the only who feels like this. I'm just being honest here. Let's not pretend that we're the only ones who aren't perfect. You know Mrs. Sally Lipstick is faking it too. And sometimes we succeed at faking it because it makes us feel more normal.

Ok, you've heard enough from me. My toddler is screaming from his crib. Adios.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Baby Matt: Welcome to the Family

Who doesn't love a good birth story? And they're all good. It amazes me how different every pregnancy and birth experience is. My pregnancy was a beautiful and fortunately uneventful 9 months of a miracle. I put myself in the "easy pregnancy" category. As great and complaint-free as my pregnancy was, labor was no picnic. I don't think anybody likes labor until it's over.

This time we opted to give birth in a birth center in a small town just a few minutes from Rexburg. The ride over to the birth center was cliche down to my husband honking at people to move out of the way (on a one-lane construction zone highway) and yelling at them, "She's having a baby!!!" while placing his hands in front of him cradling an imaginary belly. I was sitting in the passenger seat huffing and puffing and praying for people to just let us pass.

I guess I'm getting a little ahead of myself... everything really started 2 weeks before Matt was due. It was a Wednesday night and I'd been having steady contractions for 6 hours. They weren't painful yet, but were getting closer together and more uncomfortable by the hour. I called my midwife and told her what was going on and she said that she's see me in a few hours. I was excited and hopeful so we packed our bags, picked up some things at the grocery store, and got ready to have a baby! By 9 pm the contractions had completely stopped and I was beyond frustrated. I went to bed, hoping that things would pick back up in the morning.

Two weeks passed and I kept waiting for something to happen, each day getting more and more frustrated with my lack of progression. Finally, on Matt's due date (June 3rd) I had the midwife sweep my membranes. They sent me home in early labor at 3 pm and we got ready (again) to have a baby! Once again, 9 o'clock came around and my labor completely stopped. I called my midwife and she tried to reassure me with stories of moms who pick up labor in the morning. I wasn't very hopeful.

The next morning, I woke up and got in the shower at 7 am only to get out 15 minutes later in full on active labor. The contractions were coming hard and fast and I knew that this time they weren't slowing down. After a call to midwife and an intense car ride, we got to the birth center at 8 o'clock. The next few hours are a bit of a blur for me, mostly because I've tried to forget. All I can say is that I hate labor. At one point I just stopped fighting and let the pain take over my body. I was a little disappointed in myself for losing control and not doing as well as I hoped. In fact, I think i was a bit of a pansy. Around noon, the midwife checked my and informed me that I was finally at a 10. She said that if I felt like pushing, I could push. I didn't feel like pushing, but I tried anyway. After I changed positions and stood at the edge of the bed, I asked her to break my water. From there, it was all downhill. The next contraction, I couldn't help but push. And as soon as I felt that urge, I knew the end was near and I put everything I had into getting that baby to come out. Just two pushes later, he was out! They set him on my back and moved me to the bed where I could hold him.

They laid baby Matt on my chest and a rush of relief swept over me. It was over. I didn't have to writhe in pain through one more contraction. I was finally holding my baby and I was not planning on putting myself through that again for a few more years. I just held him for a couple of hours and basked in the joy and relief of it all. Once again, I had done the hardest thing a woman can do. I had finished my 9-month masterpiece and had endured the final agonizing hours, only to be rewarded with the most precious little man I could imagine. I sighed in relief so many times, always exclaiming, "I'm so glad it's over!"

When they finally weighed my little guy, he was 7 pounds, 14 ounces and 21 inches long. He was the most perfect thing. I thought from the minute I saw him that he looked even more like his dad than Levi did. Now we've been home for almost 2 weeks and had an incredible recovery. We couldn't be more blessed. I am humbled that he is so healthy and perfect because I know that so many people a burdened with the worries of a premature or unhealthy child. We couldn't be happier with the new addition to our family. Welcome to the world, Matthew Kent Horlacher!

 He's getting cuter!

 Levi loves giving baby Matt kisses

 He held his hand the whole way home from the birth center. My heart melted...

 7 pounds, 14 ounces (his brother was 6.9)

 Pretty excited to be a big brother :)

This one is so sweet... I love how big Jason's hand is compared to tiny baby Matt's.