Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Small Price to Pay

To have a couple of hours of uninterrupted packing time...

I let Chloe wreak havoc in every corner of our house.

She did a really good job; maybe went a little overboard.

The mess I had to clean up afterwards was well worth it. We're packed. Except for me. 

I should get started on that...

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

32 Weeks: I Got the Joy

I wasn't originally planning on posting a picture of my belly, but I thought I'd go ahead since I've only posted a couple of them. Plus I want you to be prepared for what you're going to see when we come home. Baby Lash is doing really well. I had an ultrasound last week and everything looks great. I couldn't wait to get another look at her precious face, but the little turkey had her legs over her face the entire time. She wouldn't budge, no matter how hard the ultrasound tech hit my stomach with the wand. Oh well, I was able to see her face really well at 25 weeks and she's looks a lot like the stinker that's crawling on my lap right now. I can't wait to meet this little girl!!

I can't believe that Christmas is this week, and I cannot believe that we are coming home!!! We are so excited to see our family and friends. We've been looking forward to this for so long and can't wait for the 16 hour car ride tomorrow. Well, maybe we're not looking forward to the car ride, but we're excited for the end result. 

I've been planning what we're packing for months, and I have an excel spreadsheet that has six sheets full of detailed planning. Yes, I love spreadsheets and yes, I'm a huge dork. Yesterday and today was meant to be full of laundry, cleaning, packing and last minute errands. Sunday morning, my plans were thwarted when Chloe got her first fever. Poor, little baby. She was so miserable! After calling the doctor, Tylenol, a bath, comfy PJs, a cool wash cloth on the forehead, and falling asleep in my arms on the couch, I broke down. I called my mom bawling. After telling me I was doing the right things, giving me some advice, and convincing me that Chloe would make it through, I felt a lot better. I know that you want your mom when you're sick, but nobody tells you that you want your mom when your baby is sick!

Needless to say, I haven't been able to get a whole lot accomplished. The past couple of days have been spent with a monkey baby attached to me, with nothing else on the agenda. I have to admit that I've loved the cuddling. I love the fact that I'm needed. I love the fact that today is going to be the busiest day ever. I love that she's feeling better and is back to her little independent self. I love that we'll be headed home tomorrow. What else can I say? I got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart. Where?

See you in Oklahoma!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

So what do you do when your mom puts you in baby prison, and won't let you out no matter how much you whine and cry and beg? You...
Strike a pose.
Strike a pose.
Vogue, vogue, vogue.
Vogue, vogue, vogue.
Come on, vogue.
Let your body move to the music. Move to the music.
Hey, hey, hey.
Come on, vogue.
Let your body go with the flow. Go with the flow.
You know you can do it.
Lyrics courtesy of the Madonna of yesteryear. 
Not the British-accented, veiny-armed, Madonna of today.

Cuteness courtesy of the biggest ham you'll ever meet.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Photography Friday

Here's my entry for Mandy's Photography Friday contest. The assignment is to enter your favorite black and white. 

I love this photo for a couple of reasons. This quilt was given to Chloe by my mom before she was born. Embroidered on each of the four sides, is my grandmother's name, Coeta Starr, my mother's name, Deborah Starr, my name, Morgandi Starr, and of course, Chloe Starr. Very meaningful, to say the least. The second reason I love this photo so much is how her little feet make it seem as though she's escaping. 

Any critiques on editing this black and white are welcome. I'm very new to this and would love to learn more!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

How to Bake a Ham with a Crazy-Haired Monster

You can tell what kind of day Chloe is having by her hair. Most days her hair stays nice and she stays nice, but there are days when her hair turns crazy. She turns into a mad woman. And I practice patience while breathing deeply. 

Just look at the pictures below. Her hair. It was one of those days. After a morning of crying, fussiness, and a general bad attitude, I ran through the laundry list of things that could be wrong. Is she teething? Does her stomach hurt? Is she tired? Is she hungry? Is she bored? Does she hate me? Is she running a fever? Is it the flu? Is it a cold? Does she think I'm a bad mom? Does she hate her outfit? Does she hate my outfit? Could she really hate me? After running through a gamut of tests, I decided that she was just having a bad day (with a hint of hatred towards me) and that I just needed to go about things.  

So I put my $8 ham from Aldi in the crockpot, and realized that the ham was too big. While pushing and shoving the ham into the crockpot, Chloe lost it. Lost it like I've never seen.  

Knowing that I needed to figure out the ham situation, and feeling a little desperate, I put Chloe in her seat on the kitchen counter. I handed her a wooden spoon to play with which she tossed on the ground immediately. After a few moments, she reached behind her to find a pear. A Harry & David's pear. At first I thought I should take it away (mainly because I wanted to eat it myself). But she turned quiet. The pear was clean. She put it in her mouth. I retrieved the stem and watched. Slowly but surely, she gummed her way through the skin of the pear.

I plucked away the flesh as she tore it away. 

She worked on it. And worked on it. And worked on it. Sucking out the juices and pulp.

She almost ate the whole pear. By herself. 

And she was so happy. And quiet. And I had a chance to beat the ham into submission. And there were no tears. 
Until I took it away. 

Please don't call DHS on me. I realize she could have choked on it. But I was right there the whole time. And she was quiet. And proud, I might add. And I'm a very watchful mom. She's never pulled down a lamp onto herself, or used an outlet cover as a pacifier, or busted her face on the kitchen floor, or nearly choked on a ginormous flaxseed oil vitamin. Never, ever, ever. 

One more thing. This is exactly what her hair looked like when we picked her up from her Bible class last Sunday. She looked insane, her hair was sticking out everywhere, and she had a busted lip. I believe they blacklisted her. 

And another thing, the mangled and beaten ham turned out great. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Hard Hitting Journalism

So.... I've been tired lately. Really, really tired. My body is starting to feel the wear and tear that comes with pregnancy and I've probably been pushing myself a little too hard. I go and go and go during the day, and I don't sit down to take a break. It hit me hard last night, and Jason made me promise that I would start relaxing a little bit during Chloe's afternoon nap. 

And now, I'm sitting on the couch, relaxing. I turned on the TV, which I rarely do, and started watching "Tyra". Oh dear Lord, help me. The show is about people who eat strange things. 

May I introduce, Toilet Paper Girl. And strangely enough, Toilet Paper Girl...the girl who eats a roll of toilet paper a day...comes off way more normal than the host of the show.

This is a serious condition, I'm sure, but that's not what's keeping me watching. It's Tyra's hard-hitting questions. Let me just rattle off a short list. 

Is the toilet paper scented?
Does it taste like marshmallows?
How full are you afterward?
What brand do you like?
Do you eat toilet paper while you go number one and number two?
So you mean that you sit on the toilet and eat TOILET PAPER WHILE YOU GO NUMBER ONE AND NUMBER TWO? (Can you just imagine Tyra's facial expression?) 

This is precisely why I don't turn on the TV during the day. Nothing but trash. But I'm still sitting here watching. Maybe this is why is she still has a TV show. You can't help but watch the crazy. 

Monday, December 14, 2009

A Letter to My Thighs

Dear Thighs;

Yes, I'm talking to you down there. I don't know if we've ever formally met, but I think you know who I am. I'm writing you this letter because I feel there are a few things we need to discuss. 

First of all, let me tell you how much I appreciate you. You've allowed me to do things in my life that I love. Mainly, running. I haven't always liked you because I'm a silly girl, but now I've come to appreciate your athleticism, your shapeliness, and your strength. I accept you for how you are. 

Let me get down to it. We need to talk about this whole pregnancy thing. You really enjoyed the first one, and now you are REALLY enjoying this one. I need to make something clear. Just because I'm pregnant, does not mean that you can become pregnant too. I'm not meaning to hurt your feelings, but you've expanded. Like really expanded. I think that someone's been feeding you doughnuts and ice cream on the sly. 

I feel like I need to give you a little pep talk. So here it goes. We're going to continue running. I know you hate it. I can tell you hate it by the soreness, the chafing, and the way my running shorts ride up ever so uncomfortably on our runs. Your subtle, yet painful protests have been heard. But your requests to stop will not be met. 

Here's the way I look at it. We have 9 more weeks until this baby should be here. Let's keep it up. Let's not allow this pregnancy cause us to explode more than we already have (except for in the belly region, of course). We can do it! 

Thanks for all of your hard work,


P.S. Not to scare you, but remember when we ran that little half-marathon in 2007? 
(Arriving home after the Chicago Half-Marathon in 2007. I wore that disgustingly sweaty outfit, along with the medal all day. I was too proud to take it off. That's just plain gross.)

Well, we're gonna run another one at the end of May. Yes, this May. As in May 2010. And training is scheduled to start one week after my due date. Sorry. It might be in your best interest to stay mildly in shape during this pregnancy so that the training doesn't kill us both. Enjoy your pregnant days while you can, but tell whoever is feeding you doughnuts and ice cream to stop it. I really can't afford to buy a new pair of larger maternity jeans. Thanks!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

If Only

My firstborn. 

The happiness and joy she brings into my life. When I look at her I feel so much. How can I not? She's a little miracle. 

Lately, there have been times when I look at her and feel a little tinge of guilt. I thought we'd have a little more time it just being the two of us. It's not that I feel guilty about having another baby. There's plenty of love to go around. I think I just wish that I could somehow explain things to her.

I want to get inside her little brain and speak to her in a language that she can perfectly understand. If I could, I would explain how much I love her. Explain to her how she's changed me in every way possible. Explain to her that I will feel the same about her regardless of how our family grows. Explain to her that a sister is a great thing. That I have one, and they're not so bad. As a matter of fact, they usually become your best friend. At least mine did. Explain to her that no matter how busy things become or how my full attention for her may become compromised in her eyes, that I know her. 

That I know her every breath, every sigh, every tear, every laugh, every smile.

Perfectly attuned. 

If only.
I carry your heart with me. I carry it in my heart. I am never without it. Anywhere I go, you go my dear. -E.E. Cummings

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A Blog is not a Baby Book.

9 Months:

Chloe turned 9 months old yesterday. She had her well-visit this morning and is doing great. Her doctor said that she is right on target and then called her a feisty little thing. I couldn't agree with her more.

I'm posting her stats merely due to the fact that I need to remember these things for when I fill out her baby book, which is currently collecting dust in a drawer somewhere. I have to keep reminding myself that a blog does not count for a baby book. A blog does not count for a baby book. A blog does not count for a baby book. One of these days it will sink in.

Height: 27 inches
Weight: 20 pounds, 1 ounce

Here are a few things she likes to do: 
-Pull herself up to standing.
-Walk, with help.
-Listen to music.
-Look at my Vogue magazines. I'm proud.
-Say ma-ma, da-da, and ba-ba directly.
-Growl. I never said she was completely normal.
-Read books. 
-Eat anything and everything. Especially things that I don't get vacuumed--paper, dirt, dust,      hairballs. But she mainly eats veggies, fruit, meat, cheese.
-Feed herself.
-Give kisses.
-Play independently. But loves playing with mom and dad. Especially dad.
-Be tickled.
-Play with other babies and kids.

Someday, when she asks to see her baby book, I predict this will happen. I will hand her her baby book, and it will be completely blank, except for this note.

Dear Chloe,

I am sorry. For the story of your life, please visit 


Your Mom

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

I Finally Got It

The point of buying a nice camera was to take great pictures of our family. Important pictures. Like Halloween pictures, and birthday pictures, and Christmas pictures. 

Oh, Christmas pictures. They have become the bane of my existence. I wake up at 3:30 every morning panicking about Christmas pictures. It has taken three photo shoot attempts, three different weekends, three different outfits, three different locations and multiple threats of taking her to a photography studio. I'm mainly to blame. I've had quite the learning curve with the camera. Amateur doesn't even begin to describe it. But I can also blame my little stinker. She loves the camera at home. I pull that thing out and she starts posing. No joke. But when it's important-like an actual photo shoot, she wants nothing to do with it.

She spends the time licking her jacket:

Biting her bottom lip:

And her favorite pose of all time. Bawling, uncontrollably:

But this weekend, I finally got it. Beautiful pictures. She was actually (somewhat) looking at the camera, and she was smiling. Relief. Maybe I can finally stop waking up with panic attacks.

I can't show you the pictures yet. We're saving them for Christmas. But I can tell you that they all include a tutu that looks like it puked up my daughter. And it couldn't be any cuter. 

Monday, December 7, 2009

Is there anything cuter than chunky, baby thighs? 

I'm beginning to think not. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Opening Mail

First of all, is it really December? DECEMBER? I'm still stuck in October somewhere.

I got a letter in the mail from my delivering hospital the other day. I had a near panic attack.

At first, I thought it was a bill for 5 million dollars worth of blood work. 

Then what was actually inside made feel light headed, wobbly, sweaty, and made my face turn red. 

Pre-registration forms. For Labor and Delivery. To have a baby. A real baby. A baby they expect me to birth.

But I still have 11 more weeks until my due date. That's still like 5 months away, right? And don't they know that my babies like to gestate for at least 48 weeks?

Oh well. I'll fill it out and send it in. And I'll feel light headed, wobbly, sweaty, and my face will be red the entire time. 

So I guess I'm having a baby, ya'll. 

And in conclusion to Sunday's overly dramatic post...

I chose sanity.

Thank you for all of your comments. You were all so encouraging and gave me the confidence to make the choice that was best for us. Sometimes my perfectionistic and headstrong attitude blows things out of proportion. I have a new paci deadline. Age 12. That way I won't be disappointed, right?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Night The Lights Went Out in Georgia

Okay, so maybe it's mid-morning. No lights have been turned out. And I live in Ohio, but whatever. I will forever consider this day, 'The Night The Lights Went Out in Georgia Day.'
I hate the pacifier. And before I go on, I pass no judgement on any child using a pacifier. Well, maybe if they show up on the first day of kindergarten with one, but everyone else is safe. I have learned, as a mother, that passing judgement is an open invitation for the thing you judge, to happen to you. So I just don't do it. I hate the pacifier because it has caused me so much mental angst. The day I put it in her mouth, my first thought was, 'when am I going to take it away from her, how will I do it, etc?' Mental Angst. 

At first I decided I would take it away at 3 months. Then we moved from Chicago to Cleveland and she was having trouble adjusting to her new environment. Paci needed. Then I got knocked up and became as sick as a dog. Paci needed. Then we weened her from the paci during the day, but she needs it to sleep at night. Paci needed. And now I've decided I'll take it away from her after Christmas. We are traveling to Oklahoma over the holiday break. 18 hours in a car without a paci? Paci needed.

But my bottom line has always been this: The day we lose all of her pacis is the day that she no longer gets it. I refuse to buy anymore of them.

Today is that day.

The past couple of days I have noticed a decrease in our paci supply. We've gone from 3, to 2, to 1. And I went to put her down for a nap this morning and couldn't find any. I've searched high and low, scrapped around, cried, curled up in a ball and cried in the corner, and I still can't find any.

My choice was this. I had to get ready for church, she needed a nap, and there was not a paci in sight. I let her cry it out. And it wasn't as bad as I thought. 15 minutes after a lot of anguished crying, she fell asleep. 

So, here's where I need your help. I will inevitably end up finding one of the missing pacis. Do I tough it out? Never let her have another one again? Or do I stick with my 'after Christmas' policy. 

Please give me some advice if you've ever been at this crossroads, or if you're going through it now.  There is also an open invitation for you to visit me in Cleveland if you think I should take it away. We even have our guest bed in her bedroom. So you'll get to wake up with her, do a few loads of laundry, and wash our dishes. Any takers? And if you are judging me for even giving my daughter a paci in the first place, I do not want to hear from you.

Who would've ever thought a piece of plastic would give me a near heart attack? I need some support, people.

And if you were wondering, you're right. It is true that I have been doing my best Reba McEntire impression all morning.

Here's your one chance Fancy don't let me dooooowwwwn

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


A blog post titled Thankful around Thanksgiving. Who would've thunk it? I'm just that original.

Well...cliche or not, I am so very thankful for all that God has blessed me with. I am incredibly thankful for our family and friends who have been so supportive while we have been away from home. We are so excited to move back home in a few months!

Of course, I am thankful for this little goober. I really don't have to say much else. She's all I blog about (which reminds me that I need to get a life), so you know how I feel about her. She has enriched our lives in unimaginable ways, and we love and cherish her so much.

I am so thankful for this little goober as well. An unexpected surprise, but a huge blessing all the same. I cannot wait to meet her! We already love her so much and we can't wait to see her precious face. We pray that God continues to bless this pregnancy and this sweet girl.

And he will kill me for posting another picture of him, but I just can't help myself. Plus, embarrassing him is what I consider, part of my wifely duties. 

I don't say this often enough, but I am so thankful for my husband.

I talk all the time about being a mom, and the trials, tribulations, and joys that accompany motherhood. But rarely do I give credit to this guy. He is amazing. He has worked and continues to work so hard for our family. He puts in incredibly long days, comes home, and is 100% committed to Chloe and me. Even on those days when I basically toss Chloe at him and run for the hills the second he walks in the door, he doesn't complain.

He is an amazing dad. Chloe beams when she is with him. She always looks at me with such pride when he is holding her. I know that he will continue to be a wonderful example for her as she grows up. I am so thankful that my child and future children have such a wonderful dad. That is the one thing I want for them. For them to know that there dad loves them.

Just look at her face. Can't you just see how much she loves him?

And last but not least, I'm thankful for my maternity jeans and husband's shirts for supporting my ever expanding belly and rear-end throughout the last haul of my pregnancy. I don't know how I'd make it without you and your stretchy, stretchy, wonderfully forgiving fabrics.
I hope that all of you have an abundant and blessed Thanksgiving Day!

May you have many, many things to be thankful and grateful for in your lives.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Forever Changed

There's an Aldi literally a block away from where we live.
I've never been. I didn't really know what it was. Didn't even really know it was a grocery store. I knew they had random odds and ends of things, but I just didn't know what was in store.

In an attempt to spend as little as possible on our weekly groceries, I travel once a week, 15 miles, to the nearest Super Wal-Mart. I always try to spend no more than $40.

Yesterday, I just didn't feel like trekking all the way to Wal-Mart. It was cold and rainy and dark, and I just didn't want to go. So I decided to go to Aldi. A whole whopping block away. I packed up my reusable shopping bags, because I'm just good like that, and headed that way.

What I found knocked my socks off. I don't think I was actually wearing socks to begin with, but I was super impressed. I expected to find staples, but I didn't expect to find everything on my list. I didn't have a quarter to get a shopping cart, so I carried about 60 lbs of groceries on my shoulders, in my shopping bags, while pushing Chloe in her stroller around the store.

Well, guess how much I spent on a week's worth of groceries? 



It doesn't get much better than that. I love Aldi. I'm never going anywhere else again.

But next time I'll bring a quarter for a cart. Carrying around all of that weight on my shoulders made me feel like my baby was going to fall out. Maybe not the wisest move while 7 months pregnant.

If you've never been (which you've probably been going there for years. I'm just always wayyyyyy behind on things like this) you should go!

Friday, November 20, 2009

What can I say? She loves me.

What is this little girl holding in her hot little hand? Proof of how much she loves me. 

Chloe is into everything. While I was getting dressed the other day, she was rifling through some baskets in my room and she found the photo posted below. One of my favorite photos of the two of us. Favorite for a couple of reasons. Reason One- Swaddled Chloe. I can't tell you how much I love swaddled babies. Makes me excited to hold my next little girl. Reason Two- I apologize because I'm going to brag. I think I look pretty decent for having a two week old. My hair's fixed, makeup is on, and I'm wearing a cute outfit. I remember this day very clearly. It was about 2:00 in the afternoon and my mom said, "Go take a shower and get dressed. You'll feel better." I still crack up about that comment. I must've looked pretty rough. But she was right, as mothers normally are, I felt better. 

At first, I was going to take it away from her, but decided against it. She was staring at the photo, smiling, laughing, and talking to the picture. How sweet, I thought, she must be excited to see a picture of the two of us. I bet it's comforting to her, to hold a picture of her mama. I continued to let her hold it and figured as long as she wasn't ripping it apart and choking on it, it wouldn't cause any harm.

This lasted for about 2 minutes. I watched in horror as she crumpled up the photo, chewed on it, crumpled it up again, and threw it down. Then she proceeded to stomp on it. 

Then she left it. Just plain abandoned the crumpled, mangled photo of the two of us. 

As she went to play with a stack of clean diapers, I walked over to the photo and laughed at myself. I felt pretty silly thinking that she comprehended a picture of me.

Obviously she equates playing with a photo of me to playing with a stack of diapers.

Thanks Chloe. I love you too. Actually I really do. 

Afterthought: This post, especially the first picture, made me think of one of my favorite Ray LaMontagne songs, "Jolene." It reminded me of my favorite lyric from this song...

"A picture of you, holding a picture of me"

Here's the video. If you haven't heard the song, you must. It's beautiful.