Friday, January 31, 2014

Happy birthday, Hudson!

How is it possible?? Three already! I can not believe my sweet boy is turning three tomorrow.  I typically have a pretty good memory.  I often remember the most insignificant details of something to which Andrew always says, "How do you remember that?" And then lots of those big moments, I have trouble remembering all the important, little details I want so desperately to remember.  Andrew and I's wedding day- huge chunks are blurry.  I chalk that up to the fact that there was so much love in that one day that it overwhelmed my ability to tune into all the details of the day.

But the day Hudson was born, the day that forever changed me, I remember ever so vividly.  It was a Monday and I had arranged to take the day off because I was going into the hospital at midnight to be induced.  I figured I should rest (read: check, recheck, and check again that we had everything ready) since I heard labor could be a doozy.  Little did Andrew and I know that the blizzard of the decade (seriously) was coming.  So at noon my doctor's office called and said to head into the hospital at around 6 or 7.  (Very relaxed).  Andrew came home, we watched the weather to see if we needed to make the drive sooner (Hudson was born in Bloomington) or if we could wait until closer to check in time.  (You would think I was checking into a resort).

Well we waited and made the drive and arrived safely.  I got all hooked up, dressed in my gorgeous gown (HA!) and to my surprise, Doctor came in to my room to break my water.  I thought that was happening later in the evening but nope! We got the show started! I also had two nurses, one was a student (I think) who was young and gorgeous.  I immediately set myself up to dislike her but she was the sweetest thing and I knew I just couldn't dislike her.  She was a doll.

I remember Andrew being surprised at my ability to watch the Bachelor (that's right) and Facebook creep will having some pretty big contractions.

I remember the water break aftermath that still puts Andrew and I in stitches.

I remember telling our parents there was no need to come up that night and having my parents bust in my room at 2 AM because they didn't want to miss anything. (Thanks, Mom! Our sweet nurse showed them the family waiting area so maybe I could rest before labor picked up)

I recall all the times the nurses came in and we were told that my progress was S-L-O-W.  

I remember, after 17-18 hours of labor, Doctor coming in and discussing with us a c-section.  I asked him to give it to me straight. If waiting a little longer would help. I already knew the answer.

I remember him joining hands with Andrew and I and praying peace over us, guidance over himself in the operating room, and for the birth of our sweet boy to be joyous.  All with tears streaming down my face.

I remember that Andrew was oddly excited about the fact that he got to wear scrubs! HA!

But more than anything, I remember the first time I saw our sweet guy.  The baby that made me a mommy.  That made our family fill more complete.  That taught me what unconditional love meant in one glance.  That showed me exactly how it felt to, without hesitation, know I would give up my life for his.

These past three years have been a wild ride.  Hudson, you have taught me more in those three years than I have ever learned in my lifetime.  You had my whole heart the minute I laid eyes on you and your gorgeous head of hair! You were all of my best wishes coming true.  You made me a mommy, the one thing I wanted to be my whole life.

You are so so smart.  You amaze your daddy and I with what you know.  You have an uncanny memory.  You can remember the smallest details of a day and will bring them up weeks later with perfect memory.

You love music.  You love to sing.  You love to draw and paint.

You love books.  You could look at books for hours.  You love to be read to. I love sharing stories with you.  I love how you laugh at funny things and say the words you know along with me. You love to work on your letters.

You love playing outside. Going on walks, to the park, to the pool. Playing in the sprinklers, with chalk or bubbles.  

You have a fierce sense of justice.  You want everything to be fair.  You want everything to be right.  And in your sweet three year old world, that often means you don't always get your way.

You have been the biggest helper. You can do so many big boy things. So much has changed this past year making you big.

You are the best big brother.  You are kind to Beau (most of the time).  You are protective of him.

You tell mommy and daddy often how much you love us.  It blesses my heart to hear those words come out of your mouth so often.

You love your friends.  You talk about them often.

You love sweets; cupcakes especially.

Your excitement over little treats gives your daddy and I joy.  I love to watch you jump and down and cheer.

I pray that you continue to grow and learn.  I pray that you always feel our love for you.  I pray you know that God's love for you is even greater.  I pray that you never lose your strong will and that God uses that to guide you for His purpose for your life.

We love you so very much, Hudson.  Happy 3rd birthday! I can't wait to see what this next year has in store!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Small moments


It is Wednesday night.  My goal was to post on both blogs three times a week, striving to get them up in the morning when I get my reading and some work done.  (I blog here about my fitness and health journey)  Today totally got the best of me.  I was off schedule all day. But it's ok.  I soaked up lots of sweet moments with my boys.

~I made them pizza for lunch.  I never make homemade pizza for lunch.  Hudson thought it was the best treat.

~We ventured out on this warm day (high 36) to choose sundae toppings for Hudson's birthday dessert this Saturday.  He choose some good ones.  I am not sure who is looking forward to that treat more in our sweet-loving family of four.

~The boys and I put magnetic letters on the fridge and Hudson told me all the letters he knew.

~I read books to Beau on my with Hudson cuddled into my side.  I am amazed at what Hudson can pick up from illustrations and how he is already wondering aloud what will happen next.  (Be still my former teaching heart!)

~I dozed on the couch for 15 minutes this afternoon before Hudson got up from his nap.  I can't really remember the last time I allowed myself to do that!

~I ticked Beau until his belly laugh was so big I couldn't tickle him any more because I was laughing to hard.

~I sat back and watch my boys begin to dance and squeal when they heard the garage door open signaling "Daddy's home!!"

~We snuggled the boys after bath until Beau went to bed.  Then wrapped up the night with games and books, just Hudson, Andrew and I.

I have laundry and cleaning to do.  I didn't workout at my usual time.  My dishwasher still needs ran and I am sure the crock pot needs scrubbed.  But this day, this day is one I want to remember.  All those small moments are ones that can sometimes pass in a blur.  Yet those sweet moments, those little day to day activities that sometimes get passed over in importance of bigger events in our minds, those are the moments that our life happens.

Monday, January 27, 2014

A date with my Hud

At the beginning of January I took some time to sit down and write out my goals for the year.  Over the past six months I have learned how crucial it is to see those goals on paper, to make a plan to achieve them.  My list included goals for me personally and my spiritual walk, goals that related to our family's finances, to my business and also to my roles as a wife and  mother. 

One goal that I wrote down was to spend special 1:1 time with each boy.  I can recall both of my parents taking me out on different occasions growing up.  We would go putt putt, or to a movie, or to get ice cream, or even just run an errand, me and them.  It was such a wonderful time.  Time that I treasured because I had their full attention.  Time that they were focused solely on me, my thoughts.  They didn't have to share their attention with my brothers or things at home.  I knew that this was something I wanted to, needed to do with my boys. Especially Hudson.  Being that he is almost three and has shared Andrew and I with Beau from such a young age, I know how much he loves that time with just us.  

This Saturday we were out as a family purchasing decorations and some things for Hudson's third birthday.  We took an impromptu trip back to Decatur.  Since we were in town, and we would have someone to watch Beau (plus some things to do since Pittsfield is quite small) I decided to see if Andrew's mom would keep Beau so I could go on a date with Hudson.  

He and I ran to Target to make some returns, look at the toys, talk about what he wanted for his birthday and comment on how many girl toys there were.  After searching the home section, with less enthusiasm from Hud, we headed to Panera to continue our date.  I told Hudson that he could pick a treat from their dessert section.  He was a quick decision maker.  Literally, I did not even get through all the items he could choose from before I heard, "I want dat tuptake please!" Our boy loves him some cupcakes.  If you want to work your way into his heart, share a cupcake with him.  And by share I mean give him the whole thing and watch him enjoy it and look at you lovingly. He also got a chocolate milk (thank you Panera for always having organic so I feel only half as bad about the sugar) And this mama treated herself to a non-fat hot chocolate.  It was lovely.  

We sat together I got to hear him tell me how yummy his cupcake was. (He choose "be-nilla wif be-nilla icing and a purple heart!") He told me about how excited he was for his birthday and how we couldn't wait to see his friends, which he then listed.  As he talked I imagined all our future dates.  I prayed silently that this sweet boy would always open up to me.  That he would always want to share his heart with me.  That I would raise him to love time with his dad and I.  I prayed that he would grow in kindness.  That God would grow him into a man who is humble, a man with integrity.  

We finished our treats and made our way to the car.  He kept saying "dat was a great date."  I couldn't agree more.  

Friday, January 24, 2014

#brucebrood2014 Week2/3

Hey everyone!  Since I was a week behind blogging our daily photos I thought I would combine week's two and three so we would be on track for next week! ;)  And this little project, although fun--is kind of HARD! I try to consciously put my phone down when with the boys but at the same time desperately need it to catch some of those sweet moments.  #potdproblems

Anyway, here is a look back on what the Bruce brood has been up to!
Day 7- pretending to have an indoor BBQ. Can you tell we are over the cold in this house?

Day 8- dancing to Frozen on the iPad.  We have HUGE fans in this house.

Day 9- "I may not always hit my mouth but I am using a fork!"

Day 11- Camp out in the basement with the tent! Dad is so much fun :)

Day 12- playing on the last mound of snow. (Little did we know that it would be freezing for the next two weeks straight.)

Day 14- playtime and puzzles with this sweet guy!

Day 15- I never want them to grow out of footie jammies.  Melt. My. Heart

Day 16- his towel is his cape and he is "super duper!!"

Day 17- air mattress, blankets, pillows and snacks.  The boys were loving this movie night!

Check back in with us next week or keep up with us daily on #brucebrood2014!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

My boys

Boys. I love 'em. I grew up the only girl in my family and have always pictured myself having a daughter just because my relationship with my mom is awesome but oh my gosh-- no one ever really told me how much fun being a mom of boys is!

They are so fun, funny and uniquely different.  Every day those boys do things or say things (Hudson) that I always want to remember.

Hudson seems to be such the typical first born.  He is very organized and neat.  He likes order.  He is stubborn and definitely wants to be in control.  (I think that is birth order combined with a strong dose of being almost three!)  He is such an advocate of fairness and rules but all according to his own terms.  All of these things I love, even though they are so trying at times.  He also has a super tender heart and aims to please and achieve whatever is asked of him.

He has been really into superheros lately, and, thanks to Dad, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  It is fun to see him become more imaginative in his play and use blankies and pillows as swords, lassos, and capes.

Hudson definitely desires to be heard.  He has an opinion and wants to make it known.  It can come across as argumentative so we are trying to find that balance of allowing him to speak his peace but in a way that is respectful.  Gosh-parenting is work!! I always that the first year is the easiest because essentially you are just keeping them alive.  Feedings, baths, routines; that is a cake walk.  Then after they turn and their personalities begin to develop you actually have to start molding them, even more intentionally than ever!

Beau is so very different than Hud.  He is the quintessential second born.  Chalk it up to Andrew and I being more at ease with the parenting thing, or this whole birth order business having some credibility, but Beau is easy going.  He goes with the flow.  He wakes up smiling and goes to nap and bed smiling.  He is a lover; such a cuddle bug.  As he gets into his second year (seriously almost 15 months already??) his personality is definitely showing through.  He likes to make us laugh and oh my can he get angry! But within seconds, Beau can be calmed down and happy, completely forgetting what was just an issue.  Although Beau doesn't say a lot (mama, dada, ba (ball) his receptive language is strong.  He can follow directions and is starting to help with little things.

These two totally have my heart.  I am so so blessed to be their mama.  I know I won't remember every detail as vividly as I want to one day but goodness sake I hope I never forget the precious images that are imprinted so deep in my mind and heart.  I am so thankful for this little space to document the happenings of our lives, of our family and the opportunity to share them with our family and friends.


Saturday, January 18, 2014

Is it spring yet?

It is mid-January in the Midwest.  It has been extremely cold.  We have had beautiful snows and horrible ice so far this winter.  And my boys are driving me CRAZY!! Not really; I love every minute I get to spend with them but oh my word, cabin fever is taking it's toll!

I think Hudson asks to go outside daily.  And believe me, we have bundled up and trekked outside for our share of errands and just to run around for a bit.  But when the temperature is in the teens and the wind chill makes it feel even colder, this mama is NOT going outside.  It is during these winter months that I truly believe God has a plan to somehow move this family south....waaaayyyy Texas.

About mid-November Andrew and I put our plan of finishing the basement into action. Our fathers and Andrew labored one weekend in Novemeber then a few more weeks and weekends in December.  They added walls, drywall, walled in our stairs, painted, put in lights and a ceiling.  One side is a little more finished than the other.  Our stairs come down the center.  The other side is far large ride on toys and our workout area.  I am so thankful grateful beyond ecstatic to have this new play space.  It has seriously helped the sanity factor in all this indoor play.  It is also a huge plus to have open space being the mom of two very active, rambunctious boys! HA!

Besides playing with toys, board games, puzzles, we have had play-dough fun, some art fun, and, let's be honest, some movie fun!

Here is the thing...I LIVE in the Midwest.  This weather could go on for MONTHS!!! (insert me crying. And by crying, I mean weeping!) What do you mama's do with your kiddos during the winter months to keep them busy and happy and to keep yourself from going batty?! I would love to hear!

Friday, January 17, 2014

#brucebrood2014 Week 1

So last year one of the blogs I followed took a picture every day of something going on in her life or her family's life.  I thought what an amazing little scrapbook to look back on.  So this year I am doing the same.  If you follow me on instagram you can see all the pictures as they happen by searching #brucebrood2014.

Day 1- Snuggling this big boy hanging out at home on New Year's Day.  I can't wait to see what excitement comes our way in 2014. 

Day 2- the boys wanted to play in the snow and it finally wasn't below freezing.  It was fun but we only lasted about 25 minutes before heading back in to warm up.  Look at their little marshmallow bodies!! 

Day 3- Some days you just have to skip the table and have an indoor picnic. I made homemade pizza and we watched a movie together.  We are ready for spring!!!

Day 4- a warmer day for outside play. Do you wanna build a snowman? Any one else's kiddos obsessed with Frozen? 

Day 5- These boys melt my heart.  Snuggling in for a Bee Movie.  We had never seen it and Hudson loved it.  Aunt Rachel hit a home run with this Christmas gift! :)

Day 6- Being indoors can make for some cabin fever.  So naps were skipped and we vegged out with a little popcorn and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.  

Check out the blog next week to see what the Bruce's are up to! 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Goals or resolutions

Over the past few months, if you have followed the blog at all, you know our family went through some big changes.  Andrew took a new position which led us to selling our home, moving to a new town, and me becoming a stay at home mommy.  One thing I haven't talked about is a very big, personal change that has occurred in my own life.

I am so blessed to be at home with my boys every day.  It was something that I always desired and planned on doing; but in my own time.  When this move happened, the idea of finding a new job, in a new school most likely a new grade, moving, and trying to find daycare for the boys was just TOO MUCH.  In a way it forced me to hang up my teaching hat.  (I say that with absolutely no bitterness, just a bit of truth about the situation.)  And as much as I had longed to stay home, the feeling of not working, of not having a purpose that defined me outside of my role as a wife and mother, and the idea of not contributing financially was very overwhelming, and in truth, a little depressing.

I get so much joy out of being Andrew's wife, Hudson and Beau's mommy, a friend, a daughter, a sister.  But teaching... it gave me that place that wasn't wrapped up in what I did or who I was for others.  It was a place that I was known on my abilities to do a job, and to do it well. I was scared that I would lose that piece of me that loved to be creative, to interact with others; a passion to do something well.  Yet everywhere I looked, I could not find something that allowed me to stay home and earn an income that I could also be passionate about.

I am the type of person who has to have a personal investment in what I am doing.  I have to believe in it.  It has to hit me in my core.  Otherwise, it won't stick.  It would be a phase.

As Andrew and I spent the weeks apart, I could slowly feel myself not focusing on me.  I was focusing on the boys, the house, packing, bills, nursing Beau, paperwork for closing, and all sorts of other things. I didn't like that feeling.  I didn't like how I looked.  I was 6 and 1/2 months post Beau and still didn't feel like I fit in my skin.  So I decided to dedicate nap time to me.  Every day when the boys went down for nap, I worked out.  You see, months prior, I connected with a friend who was getting really fit and so healthy and I knew I wanted that.  I purchased some DVDs from her called Brazil Butt Lift. I began doing them in January and got really great results.  She was a coach through Beachbody (a company I knew like nothing about) but she held me accountable to work out daily.  I asked for assistance again but this time I went a little deeper.  I asked her about coaching.  She was staying home, helping others (people like ME!) get healthier, fitter, happier, and earning an income.  She took the time to explain to me the business, how she was connected through a team, connected me to another successful coach who discussed the reservations I had (because I had LOTS!).  But I knew.  Have you ever had the feeling deep down, when you hear about something, or learn of an opportunity- you just know that it is what you are supposed to do? What you are waiting for?  That was the feeling I had.

So two weeks in to my fitness journey, still feeling uncomfortable in my own skin, still retraining myself to eat better and make the time to eat (I skipped a lot of meals because I was just too busy), I became a coach.  I was not the ideal picture of health or fitness.  I was no expert.  But I vowed to myself that I would do the work, show others it could be done, and if they reached out to me, I would help them find their way too!

Two months passed really quickly.  That is how long my workout program was.  Two months.  I did it 6 days a week when the boys were napping or after they went to bed.  Over those two months I became happier.  I woke up feeling more energized.  I was more focused throughout the day.  I slept better.  I grew confident in my body again.  No it wasn't perfect.  I still had loose skin from two pregnancies and 2 c-sections, and stretch marks, and scars.  But I didn't care.

So what does this have to do with goals and resolutions? I was a girl that had made resolutions for so  many years.  In high school I always resolved to lose a few more pounds, get into a smaller size.  In college, I said I would workout every day, eat right.  But what did I really do? I quit. I gave up.  I ate poorly.  I tried crash diets, pills, not eating...EVERYTHING!!!  I wanted to be thin for all the wrong reasons; trying all the wrong things. I had joined gyms and quit.  My weight yo-yo'd.  When pregnant, I didn't make the wisest choices believing that pregnancy was a free pass from exercise and eating right.  (I'm a smart girl, I knew better.)

I can look back at years and years of pictures that I said I would change, that I would "resolve" to change, and I never did.

So why did this resolution stick? Because it wasn't a resolution this time.  It was a goal.  What I learned is that before, I dreamed of being skinny.  But I didn't have a plan.  I didn't know how to achieve it. But then my dream changed; it shifted.  I didn't desire to be skinny.  I desired to be healthy.  To live a long, full life with my family.  You see a goal is still a dream.  But it is a dream with a deadline and a plan of action to make it happen.

Not only that, but because I followed my gut, my heart, what I know now is my CALLING, I got to become part of this amazing team. This team that heard my goal and said, "You'll get there.  We will HELP you get there."  How amazing is that? My desire to help others ended up changing my life.  It helped me.  That sad, overwhelming feeling of being lost without a bigger purpose- GONE! God truly directed my path to becoming a coach.  To becoming someone who focused on herself so she could better serve others.

So let me ask you? Did you make goals or resolutions this year?
Mid June to Mid August with Brazil Butt Lift
Size 10 to a size 2