Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Dedicated to Our First Bite of Ham

We're long overdue some HAM, wouldn't you say?

Lately there have been many good moments, happy moments, beautiful-this-is-my-life moments. Then there have been the kids are crying, my patience is wearing thin,"I think I can! I think I can!" moments.

That second kind are the ones for which HAM tastes the best. Like country ham served atop a garden grown tomato, with just the right dollop of mayo, and in between two fluffy buttermilk biscuit halves. It makes you forget the hard and ask your girls to forgive the imperfect.

It tastes divine.

Like the way Hope is convinced we should not stop until we have five babies. How she reminds us repeatedly that one day she'll have to go off and find a new daddy (read: husband) so she can have five babies of her own with at least a big girl, a little girl, a big boy, and a little boy in the mix. How she still drools over Baby Alysse, grabs those chubby cheeks in her hands, and says, "I just love her! I JUST LOVE HER!" Or comes running when there are cries and hollers, "Don't worry; I'll shush her down!"

She likes to exaggerate numbers... if she hasn't done something in a while, she'll tell us that it hasn't been in 90 years. Negotiating skills are sure to include numbers too... you tell her she can have two, she'll bump it up to five in one sly move of the mouth. She loves to carry around foam letters and shout out their names and sounds as if it is the best game known to man, and nothing makes her happier than to fall asleep with either "Godly music" or Diego books on CD. I grin from ear to ear when she puts on this one specific dress and runs for her Daddy just to hear him say, "Ooh, Hope! You look so pretty!" Or when they go out to the picnic table to have tea and crackers so they can "have a talk." Best part is that she spits out the tea, only drinking it in the first place to feel big with him.

While at Target the other day a nice employee went out of his way to retrieve me one of the mama-jama carts fit for hauling three babies in and out of the spotted red aisles. While he made his way towards us in the heat Hope asked me why he was being so nice. Before I could answer she had her own reply, "Oh, he must have Jesus in his heart!"

We love to pick up board games in good condition from yard sales. Recently we scored an interactive Candyland game on DVD. Hope was desperate to try it out one morning, but I was in the middle of feeding Alysse and asked her to wait until I was finished. "But Mooom!!!" (not exactly my favorite phrase these days). "It says right here," (pointing to the directions), "play right away! I can't help it; that's what it says!"

Along those same lines it seems they go all Murphy's Law on me in that when I'm nursing the girls suddenly wrack their brains to come up with everything they ever wanted me to help them do. It was no exception one afternoon when Hope wanted a snack and Maddie needed help with fastening a favorite "going to the ball" dress. Frustrated that I could not immediately comply Hope shares, "I just wish you had three hands!"

And the sweet tea to that ham biscuit... while driving home the other day, I hear a voice pop up from waaay back in the third row. "Hey Mama, God just spoke to me." "Oh yeah? What did he say, sweetheart?" "He said it is good that we should all believe in Him!"

To think... H(ope) A(lysse) M(addie).

Never tasted so good.

Saturday, June 26, 2010


One of my favorite things about being a parent, about staying home with our girls is getting to witness all the firsts. The very first time you see her face, the first favorite book, the first smile, the first word, the first time holding her close during Sunday worship, the first time your eyes lock and you both know she understands just who you are, the first spit up all down your shoulder or poop up her back.

Those last two, I know... priceless. But I'm keeping it real here. Believe me, I have many a shirt and onesie that just scream... R---E--A---L! :)

Seriously though, I know how dear this is to my heart because my firstborn went ahead and upstaged "our plan" for my finishing out the school year by coming a month early. During this time I had a bittersweet moment when our sweet family friend who was keeping her called me at work. Went something like... "Katrina, you'll never guess!! Hope rolled over just now... TWICE!" I yahooed, hung up, and then cried because my own two eyes had missed it.

So it begins this third time around, this cherishing up all the firsts for our little Alysse Maribeth. Here are just a few we've managed to enjoy so far this summer...

First bath...
First fascination with all things dangly...
First trips to the Farmer's Markets and festivals...
First times being snuggled by grandparents...

First time in an itsy bitsy teeny weeny bathing suit, which almost resulted in nibbling her to death...
First time to see a sparkler from behind her eyelids...
First visits from aunties...
Which, of course, leads to first girls' nights even if her pedicure is to be postponed...
And her first time for posing in THE chair...
Month One

That's right, there are eleven more of these chair photos to go. However, I'm pretty sure I'll celebrate each and every one just like it's her first.
I also have a feeling that so will they.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

In Between

On Daddy's Day it began and ended for us in the way that all good days do... with a little something or other delicious. Preferably first served in bed...
And later under the dwindling sunlight in our backyard...
But in between... in between is where you find it really matters. In between is where it's hard and wonderful and glorious and nerve wracking. Because that's where you change endless diapers, soothe boo boos, sing at the top of your lungs, mediate disagreements, remind little hands to be gentle, blow bubbles and slurp homemade popsicles on a hot day, cover trees or faces in the backyard with finger paints for the fun of it. That was our Father's Day 2010, our first one to celebrate with four females to ooh and ahh over the one male who provides for us and keeps our family going strong.

So it also was during the week Daddy took off as I continue to heal. We took turns storing up a little extra rest, but at some point most afternoons we would load up the family and head out for a little fun or special adventure. Or we'd do something out of the ordinary from the comforts of home. There was a trip to the creek to discover all manner of crayfish, minnows, and bugs-- nature is Daddy's speciality. First picnics for Alysse. Twister and S'mores over the inaugural bonfire of the season. Park time as honorary explorers and farmer's markets and Smoothie King and sparkler ashes blown onto the drive as the week wound down.

You know. Lots and lots of the in-between.

Daddy lives for the in-between.

And we love that about him.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Scenes of Summer

At first I thought I'd never be able to continue blogging with the number of little people in our home, but Alysse and I have an occasional writing date here at the midnightish feeding hour. It keeps me awake and there's nothing like her sweet smell and milk coma grins to bring a little inspiration. Bottle her up and instantly cure writer's block, I guarantee it. :)

And speaking of bottling things up... isn't that the essence of summer? Forget the heat, the humidity, the sand and water and chalk dust gracing our floors. Forget those pesky flies (mostly because PopPop installed a screen door on his last visit-- hallelujah!) Forget the fact that these days I'm lucky to get out of my pjs by mid-afternoon... and by lucky I mean out of pjs and into some yoga pants.

Yep, I'm doing my best to forget it all.

'Cause like a trip down Michael's dollar aisle to load up on ways to spend hot mornings and heat storm afternoons... we've arrived.


I may be a little slower and less able to get all out and about for now, but that doesn't mean that we can't change up the scenery even if simply in our own backyard...
Do you see that bracelet on Maddie's arm? I gave that to her when I took her out for a special little lunch (almost two weeks ago), and she just recently took it off... sweet girl.

Truth is I'm only about to get slower once Joe is back to a full work week in a few days! For now I choose to wade in the refreshing river of De-Nile on that one.

So, back to summer... :)

Crazily enough, thanks to the generosity of friends, I really haven't had to cook dinner in a few weeks! Still, though, some favorites are popping up on the menu thanks to the abundance of fresh produce. Mmm... homemade strawberry popsicles, tacos loaded to the hilt, all manner of pasta salad, green salad, corn salad. Am I the only one who could make perfume out of freshly grown basil? I couldn't be more thrilled that we have several varieties thriving in our old, hand-me-down wine barrel out back especially since all the storms did a bit of damage to some of our other plants.
Here's to you June, July, and August. Let's make this a great one even if we're more home-bodied than usual... even if Alysse is taking me at my word on enjoying her baby-ness. She just loooves to be held!

I remind myself that all too soon she'll be joining her sisters in pictures like the ones above, and I'll be pining for these days at home when snuggling up to my chest or nuzzled in a baby wrap ranks number one on her list of favorites. In fact, I'm betting that next summer's scenes will probably reflect just that. Can you even imagine?

Happy summer, friends, however you might be spending it!

Saturday, June 5, 2010


Before our third little girl got here, the other Martins' women "worked" hard preparing for her arrival. Baking being at the top of the list for those of us that come up to my knee caps...
When PopPop and Nana brought the new big sisters up to the hospital, they ran down the corridor and jumped directly onto my bed. Lots of hands, hugs, kisses, knees... until finally I passed Alysse off to Nana for fear that Baby Girl would (literally!) be smothered with love. Especially after giving the gift of baby pandas on her very own birthday. I tell you what, she is one smart cupcake already.

Since arriving home, Hope has far exceeded our wildest expectations. She is over the moon in love with her newest sister. She is a big helper to me, always excited to bring diapers or wipes or a new outfit. Just the other day my mom caught Hope pausing on her way upstairs to pray out loud, "I thank my God for my new baby sister!" I had to choke back tears at a Memorial Day celebration as Hope pulled back my sling while earnestly and repeatedly shouting, "Look, look everyone! Baby Alysse, my sister! You gotta come look!!! She's boootiful!" It's like Christmas to her every morning when Hope discovers Alysse is still here and a bit of drama almost every night when we once again explain that Alysse is still too little to have an all night sleep over in the big girl bed.

Maddie Girl, on the other hand, isn't always exactly sure what to think. A little coming on two behavior mixed with a little passive jealousy, we're thinking... but we just keep loving on her and giving extra attention whenever we can. Still our only blonde headed babe has plenty of affection for her newest sister, and those moments of sweetness can simply take our breath away. We know that in time she and "Baby Weese" will be just fine, especially if the last several days of continuous forehead kisses are any indication.
Then there's Alysse, a calm and gentle soul pretty much only riled up by hunger so far. She sleeps through the steady stream of noise and excitement that is living in our household and has started to give us these sweet, little half grins as if to say, "I've already been with you all for nine months. I know how we roll; I'm good."

Though some recovery has been necessary on my part, this has been such a healing time of sharing life with all three of my girls... when they're cheesing or melting down or anywhere in between. With three girls three and under, we're sure to be anywhere along that spectrum at any given point during the day. :)
The third time... well it's a boatload of patience, love, hard work, grace, forgiveness, joy, and sisterly charm.

Lots and lots of sisterly charm.

Ah, me.... love.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Milk Coma

Lots of wordy posts, serious posts, mean-'em-with-all-my-heart posts here lately. This one can pretty much speak for itself. :)




We are so in love.