Sunday, February 27, 2011

progress ...

Yesterday my partner in crime came to the urgent realization that BGL will be here in as little as 10 weeks (if she has the same cooking time as her brother).

So, this is what my husband did between the hours of noon and 10:00 last night:
1)  Removed the futon from the office and moved it to the attic.
2)  Moved the treadmill and weight bench into the office to clear out BGL's room.
3)  Scraped the popcorn ceiling in BGL's room
4)  Removed the old intercom system from the wall and successfully patched the ugly hole left in its place.
5)  Removed all baseboards, window trim and door trim.
6)  Covered the carpet and window in plastic.

BGL's room (Before)

Yes, someone actually painted the room THAT PINK!

The Office/Workout Room


Lovely ... isn't it?

And it seems our offspring has the same passion for banging a hammer as me and Shaun.  Nathan quickly recovered from the tummy bug he had yesterday to help.
Notice Nathan wearing his protective eye-wear ...

But no shoes ...

Now Shaun is in the garage sanding the trim to prepare it for painting and reinstalling.  And this afternoon, once the boy wakes up from his nap, he's going to spray the walls and ceiling with texture.



Can I just say ... the.man.rocks! 


In the meantime, since my "condition" prevents me from partaking in any of the manual labor, I am busily planning the perfect nursery ...

The fabrics and paint color for the room ...
The various blankets ...

Don't worry folks, this is just the tip of the iceberg!  I will continue to update accordingly on all the happenings in preparing the nest for the new princess as I know all of you are just as anxious as I am to see the end result!



Saturday, February 26, 2011

Control the Controllables

Today's lesson is centered on focusing what can and cannot be controlled. 

How many can truly say "I am happy"? 
How many can say "I am content"? 
How many can say "I am satisfied"?

And how many find faults in life?  Have a tendency to say "I would be happier if________ was different"?

It is so easy in life to blame our unhappiness and dissatisfaction on other people or things.  How often is the object of your unhappiness and dissatisfaction those who are closest to you? 
How many have said:
"Life would be better if my husband would clean up his mess"
OR
"I would be in a much better mood if the baby actually slept through the night"

ME!  ME!  ME!  I have said these things plus many, MANY more ... way too many times.

When I feel myself getting into this "blame others" rut, I have to take a step back and realize one huge truth to the situation ... I can only control the controllables.   

And the only true controllable is ME.

As much as I work to guide my husband and teach him to clean up his mess, in the end, I have no control over him.  He is his own person and I have to remind myself that he's the person I chose to marry ... messes and all!

The same goes for Nathan.  Yes, he's only 2 1/2, but he is still his own little person in his own little body.  Neither of which I can control.  My job in life as his mother is to teach and guide him (hmm ... notice a pattern in the words I use to describe my husband and son?!) to do the right things.  But, in the end, I cannot control him.

Which brings me back to what I can control:  ME. 
I can control how I respond to what I cannot control.  

When I come home from a long day at work and see the house is messy, it is up to me to select the best response. 
a)      I can get irritated and yell at Shaun for not picking up. 
b)      Or I can be passive/aggressive (my absolute favorite) and make an elaborate scene of huffing and puffing around in front of him picking up the toys and mess ... intentionally walking in front of the TV 50 times ... making sure that every groan I exhale as I bend over my big belly is noted in his mind.  All the while, I know he's choosing his response ... which is to do nothing.  And who could blame him?  Responding to my passive/aggressive actions would just reinforce them.
c)      Or I can take a step back and remind myself that he too had a long day at work and ask him if he would help me pick up.  (9 times out of 10, he will help with no complaint.)

It is so easy to lose focus on this principle and blame my anger and frustration on others when in actuality, the anger and frustration is a result of my reaction.  

I used to be so frustrated and upset with my life and was the first to point the finger at my work, my husband, my dog.   I pretty much blamed everyone else for everything.  I spent the better part of my day feeling this way.  I knew I needed a change.  My life couldn't continue on this downward, unhappy spiral.  I felt lost.  But how could things change when I had no control over what made me so angry?

One day, I read an article about a woman who was unhappy with her husband and his attitude towards her and their marriage.  She sought counseling and the counselor told her to spend 1 week focusing solely on how she treated her husband.  The counselor instructed this woman to treat her husband exactly like she wanted him to treat her and to put on blinders and ignore any of the things he did that she didn't like. 

After reading this, I decided to challenge myself with the same exercise and that was a turning point in my life and my happiness.  By simply shifting my thought process and living by The Golden Rule, my marriage improved within a month.  After much soul searching, I realized how far reaching this experiment could go.   

This lesson strengthened the foundation of where my life is now.  I felt like my eyes were opened to a whole new world.  That's when the fundamental principle hit me in the face:. I can only control myself and my happiness.

So, I challenge anyone who reads this to spend one week (or even ONE DAY) and don't focus on your frustrations with other people.  Turn your attention inward and focus on your response and reaction to those frustrations.  Consciously remind yourself that you can't change those around you.  You can only change yourself.  You might be surprised with the outcome …

P.S. Please let me know if you do take on this challenge as I would love to know what you thought of it.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Random Thoughts (2/25/11)

Random Thoughts … by Becky Leverett

  1. I am going to punch the next person who says: Wow!  You’re big!  (No Joke!  I’m 6 ½ months pregnant!  I should be big!)
  2. Why are straw sizes not standardized?  The straw I got in the snack shop at work is so dinky compared to the straws from Chick Fil A.
  3. Sock Monkeys are kind of scary looking.
  4. Apparently my pregnancy has renewed my fear of going down escalators.
  5. Why do people say “Cheese” when taking pictures??  Why not “Tomato” or “Salad” or something more healthy than cheese?
  6. My favorite prayer is The Serenity Prayer.  I keep a copy of it taped to my computer at work.
  7. I think I finally picked the fabric for the baby’s room … I think …
  8. I have never seen a brown highlighter.
  9. If you list the first letter of every month, July, August, September, October, November spell J-A-S-O-N.
  10. Do any of you remember playing “Oregon Trail” growing up?  That was the highlight of Mrs. Reichenstein’s computer class growing up!

Written at 4:23 in 7 minutes

Saturday, February 19, 2011

it's mine ...

A Toddler's Creed
by T. Berry Brazelton

If I want it, it's mine.
If I give it to you and change my mind later, it's mine.
If I can take it away from you, it's mine.
If I had it a little while ago, it's mine.
If it's mine, it will never belong to anybody else, no matter what.
If we are building something together, all the pieces are mine.
If it looks just like mine, it's mine.


This was posted by one of my girlfriends and I was compelled to share it with you!  With my angel Nathan halfway through his second year of life, this poem has special meaning to me!  He’s full swing in “MINE” mode! 

Here’s a list of the recent “MINE’s” we heard come out of Nathan’s mouth:
“My Monkey”
“My Binkie”
“My Daddy”
“My Comter” (computer)
“My Rug” (referring to the area rug in the living room)
“My Dinosaur”
“My Phone” (to MY phone)
“My Car” (to MY car)
“My Bad Dog” (to Sissy)
“My Cookie”
“My Mook” (milk)
“My Frigerter” (refrigerator)
"My Camra" (camera)

With each “MINE”, there is usually one of three responses from me and Shaun.

Response 1:  We correct him when he tries to claim things that aren’t his (i.e. MY phone) and take the said object away.  This option will usually result in some sort of temper tantrum that I struggle to not laugh at.

Response 2:  We reply with “Yes Nathan, that is you _______ (insert object here).  But you will need to share when your baby sister gets here”. 
Nathan:  My Daddy!
Me: Yes, that is your Daddy.  But you will have to share Daddy with your little sister.  Ok?
Nathan:  No!  My Daddy!
Me: That’s right.  He IS your Daddy!  But he will be your sister’s Daddy too.
Nathan: No! No! NO!  He my Daddy!!!!  (he’s getting slightly upset at this point)
Me: Ok, fine.  He’s your Daddy!
Nathan: Thanks Ma!
Me: You’re welcome Nathan.
(It’s all about picking your battles!  At least he said “Thank you”!)
  

Response 3:  We laugh hysterically!  This is the normal response when the “MINE” is more outlandish (i.e. the fridge and area rug).  This is also my favorite response since this rarely ends with anything other than a sweet smile from MY NATHAN!!!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Random Thoughts (2/18/11)

Random Thoughts … By Becky Leverett
Written in 5 minutes …

1)       My left ankle is more swollen than my right ankle
2)       Why is Walmart’s store brand called “Equate” … that’s not a good brand name.  Equate means “equal to” and you would think the brand would want to be “better than”
3)       Who made the tradition of shoving cake in your spouse’s face during the wedding reception?  I bet there are a TON of brides who want to punch him in the face!
4)       I still don’t understand how an ultrasound works.
5)       Did you know the state reptile for Texas is the Horned Frog?  And the Texas state (small) mammal is the Armadillo? 
6)       I’ve never seen a live armadillo … they’ve always been dead on the side of the highway.
7)       The person who invented deodorant is a genius!
8)       Why are baby chickens and rabbits the icons for Easter? 
9)       Why are the ear buds and charging cord for the iPhone white?  It would be prettier if they were black.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

it's about the journey ...

It was Sunday, February 13th ... the weather was perfect ... bluebird sky and 65 degrees with a slight wind coming out of the south.  North Texas was plagued for 2 weeks with record breaking cold temperatures and 2 ice storms.  Needless to say, the Leverett house was suffering from some major cabin fever!

Our Sunday chores were complete by 2:00 so the three of us piled into the grime covered Altima for a Sunday roadtrip.


No responsibilities.  
No particular place to be.  
Just a lazy Sunday afternoon.
Who could ask for more?

First stop:  Fuel for the car and Fuel for our bellies!



While heading up Preston Road, Shaun randomly asks "Where's Krugerville?"  We have no idea where or what Krugerville is but type it into the TomTom.
Hmmm ... 30 miles away ...

Second stop: Krugerville



There's really nothing in Krugerville ... lots of cows and horses.  After Krugerville, we puddle west through Ponder and ponder where to go next ...

Third stop: Lake Ray Roberts (aka "Ray Bob")


Shaun and I spent many, many lazy Sundays on Ray Bob fishing before Nathan came along.  Being there made me tear up.  I miss that peace and bond that Shaun and I share and can't wait to share the same with Nathan someday.  Ray Bob was the highlight for Nathan ... he threw rocks.  Lots and lots of rocks!

But there's only so many rocks to throw so we pile back in the car in search of the next adventure.  We head through Krum and go south; that's when we saw it.  The beautiful red, oval shaped sign that is so rare in Plano.  We heard the angels singing in the background and knew we had to stop!  DQ!  A Blizzard to a pregnant woman is comparable to oxygen and water!  It is a necessity.

Fourth stop: Dairy Queen




This spur of the moment adventure reminded me that life is truly all about the journey, not the destination.  Just like the stages in life, each stop on Sunday's journey was new and exciting.  Sometimes the next stop is better than the previous stop and other times, you feel like the trip was a waste.  Our trip reminded me that the most important things in life aren't a destination.  The most important things in my life were right there, taking the journey with me!  The journey is so much more fulfilling with them by my side!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

My Friends (Part IV)

The last three girls are our Northern Beauties!

Caroline ... Our Canadian Fly Girl!  We live vicariously through Caro as she is a flight attendant and travels to some wonderful locations!  But, since her name begins with a "C", she of course, is pregnant and not working.  She lives in beautiful Montreal with her husband, Kels and adorable son, Noah.  Their little girl is due at the end of February.
Putting poor Noah to work already!

Oh mama!!  Can't wait to see this little girl!



Amanda ... Miss Priss!  She is the youngest of the bunch and just as sweet as she is sassy!  She lives in Michigan with her husband Paul and "mini-me" Maddie.  Amanda shares her passion of everything girly with her little girl!  Bows, ruffles and fingernail polish (she is my "go-to" person in case BGL is super girly!)  I swear, both hers and Maddie's wardrobe will put a celebrities' to shame!
Amanda and "Amanda Jr!"
And just because she had a super fab-o wedding dress!!!



Buffy ... The Snow Bunny!  Buffy lives in Minnesota (pronounced "minn-eh-SO-tuh") with her husband Chad and spunky boy, Brady.  She had the pleasure of being a stay at home mom for the first 18 months of Brady's life and recently rejoined the full time working population.  It was rough at first, but she found a way to balance her work, being a good mom, having her "me" time and keeping a house ... it's called "little sleep"!

Buffy and Brady in their winter wonderland!
 
And those are my wonderful friends from around the world!! 

I love to imagine us all meeting up some day! 
The original plan was to meet this June or July, but those plans are on the back burner now since so many of us are in process of procreating and will have itty-bitty babies at home.  As of right now, the meeting is just a dream!

Unless, of course, someone super important reads this blog and realizes how our stories would make an awesome topic for a talk show. (Ahem ... Ellen DeGeneres ... )

Friday, February 4, 2011

Lessons of Love ...

As previously mentioned, my parent's have been married for 39 years ...
that equals to 2028 weeks ...
14,235 days ...
341,640 hours ...
28,498,400 minutes ... 



That is a LONG time to be with the same person by your side day in and day out.  My parent's set an amazing example of what a marriage is about and they instilled in me and my brothers that marriage is hard work and it takes 2 people to make it last.

I feel they passed on some amazing lessons in love ...

Lesson 1: Love is a choice.  
When Shaun popped "the question" I made the choice to say "yes".  Then at the altar on my wedding day, the vows were read and I made the choice to say "I do".  I made the conscious choice to "love" Shaun.  There are days when I have to remind myself that I chose him and I choose to love him ... in good times and bad, in sickness and health, till death do us part.  Likewise, there are days when I have to remind Shaun that he chose to love me.  (giggle, giggle)
My advice to keep this choice fresh in your mind is to say "I love you" ... this phrase can never be said too often.  I think the more I tell Shaun I love him, the easier it is to remind myself of my choice to love him.
This same lesson can be applied to the love you have for a child ... there have been days when I'm at my wits end with Nathan and have to tell myself: "I love you ... even though it just took you 30 seconds to wreck this room I spent the past 30  minutes cleaning".

“It is difficult for some people to accept that love is a choice. This seems to run counter to the generally accepted theory of romantic love which expounds that love is inborn and as such requires no more than to accept it.”  ~Leo F. Buscaglia


Lesson 2:  You can't be good parents if you're not a good couple.  
Every Saturday night was "date night" for my Mama and Daddy.  They valued every second they had together ... even more when me and my brothers spent the evening at Gram's house.  The bottom line with this lesson is "don't take your spouse for granted" - love them like you want to be loved, respect them like you want to be respected, show them the affection that you would want shown you.
Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.                      ~1 Thessalonians 5:11 
Lesson 3: Never be indiffernt.
A favorite Mama-ism of mine is "Indifference, more than hate, kills Love".  Those words couldn't be more true in every aspect of my life.  Indifference shows a lack of emotion ... I would rather someone tell me "I hate you" than ignore me.  This is especially true when it comes to the bond of marriage.  It is one thing to intentionally be emotionless in the work place, but never be emotionless when it relates to your spouse or family.  As soon as the indifference makes an entrance, the passion will make an exit.
“Indifference may not wreck a man's life at any one turn, but it will destroy him with a kind of dry-rot in the long run”  ~Bliss Carman

Thursday, February 3, 2011

My Friends (Part III)

Since we've met, we've been through:

12 pregnancies (Countless pregnancy tests)
3 miscarriages
4 births
2 weddings
0 divorces
9 car accidents (we're not bad drivers!!!)
1 Homebirth
40+ birthday parties for the kids


Between the 15 of us, we've been married 17 times and gave birth to 24 babies

DeeDee ... Our Nordic Queen!  DeeDee met the man of her dreams but she lived in California and he lived in Norway.  So she did what any logical woman in love would do, she followed her heart and now lives in Norway with her 2 precious kids, devoted husband and her mother-in-law!  Sweet Brita Karolina shares Nathan's birthday and little Kjell was born this past July.
This is what she calls home ... absolutely beautiful!

Sweet BK loves her little brother!


Laura ... The Mama with a Cause!!  She and her husband Taylor live in Mississippi with their 2 kids (Henry and Liza).   She is a true pioneer in a world of progress!  This family lives without a TV!!  And, the most amazing thing of all, she gave birth to sweet Liza in her own bed ... by choice!!!  All of us begged her to stream the birth over the internet so we could all be there, but I guess there are some boundaries you just don't cross!  And she has a great blog where she speaks passionately about her family.
First family picture after Liza was born (in THAT bed!!!)

Courtney ... Mrs. Personality!  She lives in Georgia with her husband, Aaron and they have Claire ... a little girl who is just as energetic as Nathan!  Courtney is pregnant with their second baby and is due in July.  I'm hoping the baby arrives on the 4th of July and they name him (or her) a patriotic name.  Courtney also is also an amazing seamstress and has made outfits or bedding for most of the mamas in this group.
 **I'm sure you are noticing a pattern here ... basically if the name begins with a C (or B), then that woman is pregnant!

Poor Claire (I love this pic!!)
Bedding Courtney made for Liza's crib.


Julee ... Little Miss Outdoorsy!  She and her husband Jason have 2 sweet boys, Jackson and Eli.  The boys are three and a half years apart and are starting to show their brotherly love by fighting!  Needless to say, it's going to be a loud house for the next 14 years or so.  Julee is another Washington-ite and is surrounded by some beautiful scenery and this family takes advantage of it by camping when the rainy weather permits.  Also, she and Courtney swear they are going to be on The Amazing Race someday!
Julee (and Eli) on one of their many camping trips.

 As mentioned above in the stats, this group has been through a lot together!  Our pregnancies brought us together and the babies in heaven brought us closer.  Several of these ladies survived a horrible experience that no mama should ever have to go through.  They lost their sweet babies before they ever had a chance to meet them.  In the (almost) 2 years we have been friends, 3 miscarriages took place and each one was more devastating than the last.  I have not personally had a miscarriage, but it is still a very personal thing to me since it effected these women I love so much.  Each of the these women are (or are being) blessed with a rainbow baby (baby born after a miscarriage "they are the rainbow after the rain"). 



Tuesday, February 1, 2011

How to spend an ice day ....

You gotta love Texas weather!  It was sunny and 70 all weekend and this morning we woke up to sleet, ice and 18 degrees!  Needless to say, we had an "ice" day today! 

"How exactly does one spend an 'ice' day?" you ask ...

Play with Play-Doh!

Yay!

Stare out the window at the snow.

Look at Mama and wonder why we're not playing out in the snow.

Look at the snow from a different window ...

And still wonder why we're not out playing in the snow.


Help Mama by putting my pants on all by myself

(yes, that is a PJ shirt he's wearing as pants) 
Silly Nathan!!!

We also take fun videos ...
We sent this to Uncle Andy ...

And this one went to Daddy!

Notice the wardrobe changes throughout the day!  The pink bunny bath robe is mine!

I want to know ...how do you spend your snow (or "ice") days?!

My Friends (Part II)

You may be wondering ... how did this group of women come together?  Well, there's a website called babycenter.com that is dedicated to all things pertaining to babies.  We all visited this website often when we were pregnant with our toddlers as it is a wonderful resource.  Our first encounter was on a message board dedicated to "August '08 Babies".  Around June '09, "bibliofile" (aka Caryn) started a silly post and we all quickly joined in to comment.    It was fun getting to know the real "funkythickburger" (aka Laura) and "krazygirl" (aka Rebecca) and finding the real meaning as to why "bsobol" suddenly became "justmrsjohnson" (aka Buffy)!  This same post grew to over 570 pages and 1000 postings.  Over the next few months, the friendship grew and we decided to take our relationship to the next level.  We started a group on Facebook and the rest is history!

Holly ... Sweet Holly!  She is the feminine touch in a houseful of boys!  She has the patience of a saint and is a devoted wife to Mitch, and mama to 2 year old Luke and 4 month old Keiran.  She is passionate about raising her family in a strong Christian home and probably has every single Imagination Movers episode memorized!  She also has a great blog http://musiccitymommy.com/




Cute Luke!

Baby Keiran!


Randi ... The Energizer Bunny!  Randi lives in Mississippi, is married to Chris and they have spunky little Rylee!  Rylee has 3 older siblings who dote on her like crazy!!  Randi is proof positive that having children keep you young because she has had 4 kids (ranging in age 20 to 2) and can run circles around the rest of us!



Randi and Rylee on the left (with Laura and Henry)

And yes, that is Rylee's closet!  I'm so jealous!


Claudia ... Spicey and Feisty!  She transplanted to the US from the Dominican Republic and I am so happy she stayed!!  She currently lives in NY with her husband, and daughter Julia.  She is pregnant with her second child and is due around the first of June.  I applaud her for waiting until the baby is born to see if it is a girl or boy, but the suspense is killing me!  Claudia and I have met each other too when work has shipped me off to NY.
Claudia (and Courtney)

Me and Claudia with a TALL cross dresser in NY.


Caryn ... Mrs. Caryn!  Mrs. Caryn!  She is a natural born leader as evidenced by her creating this gang of mamas!  She's also a teacher and decided to marry a teacher and does an amazing job of teaching her sweet toddler, Ethan.  She lives in Colorado and is currently baking her second child too (our due dates are 1 day apart!)

Caryn and Ethan on the right (with Cindy and Carter)



We are a true sisterhood and support each other through all things ... good and bad.  Poor Holly didn't have the best time while she was pregnant with her littlest man, Keiran,   After her second (or was it third) trip to the ER in hopes that Baby K was on his way, she was at her wits end.  She was downright miserable and on the verge of hopelessness!  Since none of us live close enough to Holly to physically be there for support, we all joined together and showed our love for her by tying ribbons around our wrists.  The ribbons stayed on until Keiran came out!
Me

Buffy

Caroline

Caryn

Chelle

Cindy

Claudia

Courtney (and Claire)

DeeDee

Julee

Randi

Amanda
Holly told her family about what we were doing and they all joined in too!

Holly, her husband and her mom