Tuesday, November 30, 2010


We dedicated Joy on Sunday.  It doesn't seem long since we dedicated William.  I take my responsibilities as a mother very seriously.  I want to see my children grow to be responsible, caring adults who fear God.  I want them to be healthy and full of joy (no pun intended).  I recently read a blog that was titled "I don't want my kids to be happy," and it was about the fleeting happiness based on things and circumstances as opposed to the internal peace and joy that comes from being content and resting in God's plan.  There is so much teaching and nuturing and disciplining coming in the years ahead, and I pray that God will lead me and help me to raise my children.

I tend to by a very by-the-book type of person, but I quickly learned after William was born to be very intuitive as a mother.  The "book" may say one thing, but if I feel that's not what my child needs, I'm not going to do it because I know my children, and a random author doesn't.  I've learned that I'm not going to do everything perfectly, but that's ok.  I'm learning and growing just as much as my kids are.

Just as the title of my blog says, it's just day by day, spending time with my kids, loving them, and helping them to grow.  And I've dedicated myself to raise them in a Christian home and teach them about the Lord, praying that one day they will each come to know Christ as their Lord and Savior and follow Him.

Friday, November 26, 2010


Thanksgiving is over.  I think it's safe to say it was a success.  All the food came out on time and nothing was burnt.  Aunt Carol's cheeseball was a big hit, like always.  I really liked how the mashed potatoes came out, and they were the most last minute and least thought-out food on the table.

There is definitely some pride involved in how well everything came out.  It was my first time doing a big Thanksgiving dinner on my own (my dad walked me through it last year), and everything went so well.  Mostly, I'm just glad that everyone seemed to enjoy it and have a good time.  My in-laws were all here.  There's a definite nerve factor there; I wanted everything to be great for them.  But of course, I don't think they really cared; they just wanted to play with the grandbabies.  Not that they didn't appreciate it (they did, after all, clean my kitchen for me), but who can blame them for wanting to just enjoy those precious babies?

And the babies love Lola and Opah.  Opah can get them smiling, and Lola has a knack for soothing and putting them to sleep.  It was great to be able to hand Joy off to them and not worry while I was in the kitchen preparing dinner.

Now I'm sitting, drinking a cup of hot tea with honey for my sore throat, and reflecting over the past few days.  It's been good.  I'm ready for Christmas decorations now.  The Christmas season is my favorite time of year.  Omar came up with the great idea that maybe Adam, Erin, and Titus can help us decorate the tree when they stay over tomorrow evening.  We just love that little family. I actually got to hold Titus yesterday, and he was telling me all kinds of stories.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving Prep

We are well on our way towards Thanksgiving dinner now.  Last night, I made the cranberry-orange relish, hardboiled the eggs (they will become deviled eggs), and baked the chocolate cake that will be turned into a Fudge Lover's Strawberry Truffle Cake by Thursday.

Of course, it's not all going without a few hiccups.  Tonight, I was going to bake my apple pie, but my mom was making the crust and didn't get it done.  So I have to put that off until tomorrow night.  Tonight, I made my cheeseballs and the sweet onion dip that I'm taking to work for the potluck tomorrow.

I'm just trying to stay focused and positive.  I seem to be a little absent-minded lately.  Yesterday, I took the nipples for Joy's bottles to work with me; the daycare called me and I had to leave work to take them.  On Saturday, I'm pretty sure I forgot to use shampoo when I took my shower; there's no way my hair was that greasy on Sunday morning if I had actually washed it.  Oh, and I almost forgot to take the turkey out of the freezer yesterday.

Tomorrow, I will get off work as early as possible, because I need to come home to clean the house and do a lot of prep work.  I will be working on stuffing, appetizers and desserts tomorrow.

I'm very excited about Thanksgiving; it will be great to have so many Howards here.  Erin is bringing orange rolls and sweet potato casserole, and Adam is bringing a pumpkin cream pie.  Yummy!

Friday, November 19, 2010

A New Determination

I'm typing this while I'm pumping.  I usually try to avoid such intimate details, but if you don't like it, don't read it.  Just a heads up, this entire post is about breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding was such a struggle with William.  In the end, we only made it about 2 1/2 months before switching over to formula.  I was so determined to work harder this time; my goal for Joy is at least 6 months.

It started out great.  Dr. McNulty keeps saying that some one forgot to tell Joy that she was a preemie.  She nursed great from the start, and gained so much weight that she's on a normal growth curve already.  Even when I first came back to work, she was still eating well, and I was pumping 3 to 4oz at a time.  And I've really enjoyed breastfeeding this time around: the time bonding with Joy, the convenience of always being able to feed her without hauling bottles around, and the savings by not buying formula.  I've been more comfortable with nursing outside of the home this time by buying a good nursing wrap and only nursing on one side so that I don't have to juggle things around so much; it's made it easier, because I don't feel trapped at home feeding my baby.

Slowly, though, my milk supply has seemed to be tapering off.  This last week, most of my bottles have only been about 2 or 2 1/2 oz.  I emailed a friend who breastfed her daughter while working fulltime, and I learned that her milk supply dried up 2 months after returning to work.  I was so discouraged after hearing that last night.

But today, since we were having a slow day at work, I got online and started doing some research.  I found  a great website called workandpump.com that has so many great tips and advice for continuing breastfeeding while working.  So I've set up a new plan of attack, and now I'm feeling super-motivated and excited to try to hit that 6 month goal.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


We rearranged the whole house last night.  A couple bookshelves moved upstairs. We broke down the playpen for the time being; and I think we're going to put a board across the top of the changing table and use it for shelves in the kitchen. The piano moved into the kitchen (which actually looks really nice with the picture overhead; but we need to get a rug for underneath and curtains for the windows or it will echo too much).  And we opened up the living room/office area into one wide open space.  It all looks really great. 

Omar and I have slowly been working on actually getting our house put together the way we want it.  I'm really feeling motivated now.  I want to start getting rid of some stuff.  (Anyone need a bassinet?)  And I want to get more pictures hung on the walls (which reminds me, we have yet to get a good picture of our family of 4). I want to get our dining rooms chairs reupholstered.  I want a cute decoration for the front door (almost time to put up a wreath).  This would be a lot easier if we had money.

We usually can't really get working on anything until the kids go to bed, so then we're usually up until midnight, and so tired the next day.  But it feels so good to see the progress we're making.

Monday, November 15, 2010


It's one of those nights that I don't get to eat until after 8, after the kids are in bed.  Luckily, Joy actually went to bed at the same time as William, and Omar put my plate in the microwave so I could reheat it easily.

I'm tired tonight.  I want to just lay down and relax, and it makes me feel even more tired to realize that when I get up from this computer, I still have to clean the kitchen, wash the bottles, and take a shower before I can be done for the night.  Sometimes it's so wearing to look down the road and just see this same thing going on, every night, for many months: put the kids to bed, clean the kitchen, wash bottles, do laundry.  I feel like I never get any time to myself to just relax.

I have to remind myself that I need to be more selfless; I need to be a servant.  And it starts in my home, taking care of my husband and kids.  The smiles and kisses I get in return make it worthwhile to spend my time trying to create a happy home.

Sometimes it's just hard to remember that.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Weird Schedules

Today has been kind of weird; both my kids got on weird schedules somehow.  They both took really long naps this afternoon.  At the same time!  That never happens.  Omar and I both got naps, too, then woke up and didn't know what to do, because our kids were still asleep.

William is making some progress with his potty training.  He started off really well yesterday, but had a couple accidents this morning.  He took a three hour nap this afternoon; Omar had to go in and wake him up at around 5:15.  William woke up with a dry diaper, so we knew he really needed to go, but he was still sleepy and cranky and just being obstinate.  So we offered a candy if he would go pee on the potty, and he lit up with a smile and ran into the bathroom and did his business.  Yes, we bribed our child.  He got a lollipop.

Joy did not sleep much this morning at church, so she also fell asleep before two and took a three hour nap. I don't know why other people always have so much trouble putting my kids to sleep; it's not like I cuddle them and do special tricks: for her nap this afternoon, I just laid Joy down in the crib awake with her pacifier, and she went to sleep. She overslept her normal feeding time by a whole hour, so she woke up really cranky and hungry.  She stretched out her times between feedings a couple times today, so that she actually dropped a whole feeding.  She's gone to sleep now, but I'm not sure if she'll wake back up to squeeze in that last feeding or sleep her 5-7 hours now like usual.  She was really fussy this evening, and it was her "my tummy is hurting" cry.  So I gave her some Mylicon, and 5 minutes and several burps later, she was sleeping peacefully.

Choir practice was good tonight.  I haven't really had much time to work on this cantata, but I'm picking up the alto parts.  I feel like my ear has really improved, and Omar said he could teach me some things to improve my voice, like how to hold my notes steady and stuff.  I'd really like that, because I love to sing, but I know I'm not a naturally gifted singer.

On a more serious note, today has been kind of frustrating because we seem to have lost our direction.  For so long, Omar and I were so sure we knew where God was calling us and what He wanted us to do.  Now, it doesn't seem so clear anymore.  I'm not sure what comes next. I guess the kids aren't the only ones who lost track of the schedule.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Let's Get Started

I have been inspired by my sister Erin to try blogging.  I used to do Xanga for a while, and a few notes on Facebook.  Yesterday at work, I got so bored that I started reading through all my old Facebook messages with Erin since the babies were born.  And I realized that I really enjoyed being able to read back through some of that stuff, because some of it is already getting fuzzy.  And then today, Erin sent me the link to her new blog that she has started again, and I read through that and decided I should give it a try.

I don't have a lot of free time, but I'm going to try to keep this up to date. Probably with a lot of cute stories about William and Joy.  They grow so quickly; I don't want to forget these experiences.