My life is complete

Friday, June 22 was Evelyn’s actual due date and two of the best things in the world happened. We brought Evelyn home from the hospital so we could finally be a family of four in our own place! Such a relief to have my tiny girl back with me. Caleb also finally came home. He had been with Zach’s parents and then my friend Ann and his buddy Lukan since Sunday! Zach and I both missed our boy so much. But the best thing next to having all four of us under one roof was that finally, after many many months of hoping, wishing, and coaxing, Caleb finally said, “Love you!” This Mama’s heart is full to bursting. It grew like the Grinch’s to twice its normal size.


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Guess Who is Here?!

Evelyn Elizabeth entered our world on a beautiful Monday, June 18, 2012! Weighing in at 6lb 10oz and 19.5in long she is bigger than Caleb was and nearly identical to my own birth stats! Head full of dark hair, mommy’s lips and ears and hooray daddy’s nose.



Crazy crazy birth story to come! Once I get my doula’s notes I’m going to get right on it!

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Time to go. . .

Well y’all, we are going on 6 hours of fairly consistent 7-10+ contractions an hour! After sewing up my last custom order for awhile, a pedicure this morning, lunch with Zach, and a quick stop at home for Caleb and supplies I have been laboring at my mom’s house up the road. My amazing sister in law, Colleen, is down from Dallas to be our doula. Good thing she decided to come in yesterday! Gotta love her intuition. Zach came home from the wedding he was shooting with Luxe Films and we are starting to make preparations for heading to the birth center!

I won’t be posting again for a bit but there is the Twitter feed to the right (almost to the bottom if on your phone) or you can follow @ArtsyFamily. This has been a much calmer process so far so I’m hoping I can tweet a bit, but I make no promises! Don’t be upset I’m not Tweeting up a storm since Zach and I will be just a smidge occupied.

Hopefully next post will be a picture of our new baby girl! All prayers appreciated!

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titles are pointless sometimes . . .

As I laid in bed this morning it hit me, it was 8:15am and a year ago you were still here. Well, medically you were still here but I think Mom, Bob and I all knew you weren’t really there anymore. This realization hit like a load of bricks. I couldn’t move. I could barely breathe. My entire body had turned to cement and there was no way I could budge even a toe. It’s been a year and I still don’t know why you’re gone. I still don’t understand why on earth God would take you from us, from me. I know heaven is supposed to be just unfathomably amazing, so I understand why you’d get there and never want to leave. You have the best common sense of anyone I know. Street smarts says if you find a good thing, keep it! I know God has already used your passing to His glory and to be honest that’s the only thing ‘good’ I can see in all of this. Just two days later at your memorial at least 6 or 7, by my count and probably more, came to know the man who you found to be the true Messiah. It was the only bright spot in that entire wretched day. Knowing that you’d made an impact so much in these lives that when Garrett made the offer to those willing and ready, many accepted.

Despite that fact, I remain selfish. I remain a little girl, broken-hearted, that her Daddy is no longer here. Wondering why I only got to have you for 25 years when it could’ve, and should’ve in my opinion, been many more. Sure, they were the best 25 years a girl could ever ask for or imagine, but that doesn’t mean I was ready to give them up! I wasn’t ready. I’m not ready. Maybe I never will be. I don’t know and I can’t know that, not right now. I still see a granite blue Silverado or a green Expedition and double check to see if it’s you. I know it isn’t. But I have to check. Just in case. I often expect to hear the garage door at the house open, then the door, and the sound of your boots and scraping paws as Angel excitedly bombards you. But you aren’t. You won’t be coming through that door. Instead, you’re waiting on me, Mom, and Bob. I’m sure when we get there you’ll be thinking “Gee, that was fast!” but for us it is such a long time.

Enjoying chocolate cake, pretty much the embodiment of you.

A year has flown by and yet seemed like an eternity. This post was how I felt a year ago and how I will always feel about the amazing person you are, Dad. Glenn Allen Martin, 56 years on this earth, 25 in my life, and forever in my heart. I love you, Daddy. . .

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V-Day & Caleb’s Dictionary

Hmmmm, interesting math?

I know most of you know this already, but since I never formally announced the news on here, we are expecting baby #2! We used the above photo taken by my dear friend, Hannah Bunker, to announce to our families at my birthday dinner back in October. Everyone loved the photo so much that NO ONE paid attention to the overall big picture “Zach + Barbie + Caleb = 4”. Thankfully, we had Caleb wearing his new Big Brother shirt I had made under his button down. He did a Superman style reveal and then everyone understood!

October 11, 2011 - Definitely positive!

Both Zach and I were SO excited to find out another baby was on the way, especially so soon after miscarrying. Definitely helped to ease the blow of that loss. I was really happy to have very positive tests show up quickly without having to squint, turn, and reexamine to see a second line, or as we web momma’s call it, a BFP (BigFatPositive). After having a ‘laptop’ ultrasound at about 6/7wks my due date was determined to be June 22, 2012 and it hasn’t changed since! Caleb will be just shy of 2 when the baby arrives. 2 Under 2 for a month until the Terrible Twos start! Thankfully (?) Caleb has already started that in a way with little tantrums and being overly stubborn here and there. I’m glad it’s not like a light switch thus far. I don’t think I could handle a sudden change to Terror Child with a tiny baby to care for too!

January 19, 2012 - It's a Girl!

We had our ‘Big Ultrasound’ on January 19 and it very clearly and easily showed that our baby is a GIRL! We are both very, very excited. We had prayed and hoped for a girl next for several months before we even thought about actually attempting another. I have to admit that watching my friend’s daughter, Mikayla, a few times cemented that for us. She is so cuddly and sweet that Zach fell in love with the idea of having a Daddy’s Girl around. And really, what man doesn’t when there is an adorable little girl clinging to your neck making you want to call in sick to work?!

Little baby foot - all 5 phalanges

At this point you are probably wondering why on earth I have titled the post ‘V-Day’ and haven’t mentioned a thing about Valentines Day. Well, while our Valentines and 2nd Anniversary were both amazing, I’m talking about a different kind of V-Day that doesn’t necessarily happen in February. Today I am 25 weeks into my pregnancy. In the world of crazy online moms we call today V-Day because it is the time when a baby is first viable outside of the safety net of it’s mother’s womb. Clearly, this would be very early and with the help of many medical technologies, but it is another milestone we preggos like to celebrate. Viability Day! Granted, earlier delivered babies can and have survived before 25 weeks, but at 25 weeks there is a decent decrease in the chance of life changing delays and handicaps such as blindness, deafness, and mental abilities. Due to the fact that I miscarried right before this pregnancy, and that it was my second miscarriage, I’ve been a pretty paranoid momma this entire time. Each ultrasound that shows a healthy baby and each belly measurement that puts me ‘on track’ for my due date is like a major sigh of relief. I seriously considered buying a home doppler to listen to her heartbeat any time I wanted because I was THAT nervous. Was, I still AM nervous. It is a daily battle to give it up to the Lord that He has his hand on me and our daughter and that she will be born full-term without complications. It’s like an extra mantra I add in to my prayers about delivery.


Now for a Caleb update! WOO! He is 19 months and going strong of course. He is finally ON all three growth curves, though still very low percentile for weight. Fine by me but it does cause a problem keeping his pants up when he isn’t wearing a cloth diaper. The kid has no bum and his waist is about a 6 month clothing size. He is too tall of course, needing a 12 month at least in length. Obviously this is a dilemma. Baby belts don’t really exist so much in the retail world. Between myself and my MacGyver husband we decided a dog collar that buckles for a small ankle-biter dog just might work. After an $8 trip to Petsmart we have discovered this works great! Just a blank nylon collar is working wonders as a belt. They have leather too for those dressy occasions! Caleb has become much more cuddly as of late which we are eating up. He has a very sweet personality, wanting to make sure those around him are ok or happy. One morning at breakfast I asked him to ‘bump it’ with me as he likes to do. He refused several times. I made a very sad face and put my head down as if crying. When I looked up again he was looking at me, fist out ready to bump, and his classic “hmm?” It was possibly the sweetest thing he has done to date.

TCU Game December 3, 2012

"I love Horned Frog football!"

Back in December we took a short trip to DFW to go to the final TCU game of the regular season. We were lucky enough to stay and visit with my brother and his family. I LOVE having them closer than DC! It felt weird being at the game without Dad, but I think we have started a new family tradition. Caleb LOVED the experience. He started shouting when we entered the stadium and bouncing in our arms. It was awesome to see him so excited about a new experience, especially one so close to my heart. We tailgated with some former coworkers of my Dad’s, the people who were part of the reason I even ended up going to TCU. When we were inside watching the game Caleb enjoyed watching the game intently and especially the crowd’s reactions and cheers. Made me pretty darn happy that my little guy is a cheering Horned Frog! I am hoping we can attend a game for the 2012 season, TCUs first in the Big XII conference. Not only will the stadium be fully redone, but we’ll have new and better rivals to face! It will be interesting with a tiny baby, but I did happen to buy a ringsling in a lovely shade of purple that should be perfect for the occasion.

Caleb has quite a few words these days. Some come and go and others he says constantly. It is frustrating that we KNOW he can say milk, but any drink is ‘jus’, but I know the word will reappear at some point along with plenty of others who go on vacation from his daily use. I thought I’d include an abridged dictionary of Caleb’s version of words. It is funny how other kid’s words seem strange to you when they mispronounce them, but your own kid’s words just become second nature.
“Boppy” – monkey; his best friend who gets frequent baths in the washing machine. All monkeys are Boppy.

“Dut” – truck; my brother and SIL got Caleb four CAT trucks for Christmas and he adores them!

“Batpat” – backpack; we have a bag from the hospital actually that was full of formula. I used to store my pump in there on the go. Caleb has adopted it as his own

“Beeeeeee” – sheep; He loves the stuffed sheep in his room, but mostly Timmy of Timmy Time. He’s also started ‘baa-ing’ along when he sees a sheep. Adorable.

“Hone” – phone; I have no clue how he knows there is an ‘h’ in phone but he is choosing the make the p silent instead. He carries around his ‘hone’ and tells us to ‘call’ someone. He also carries on short phone conversations

“Hoosh” – shoes; he LOVES his shoes, but mostly everyone elses. Caleb loves to take your shoes, sometimes off your feet, and try to walk in them. He recently pulled a pump off the shelf at Naturalizer and placed his Converse sneakered foot right in to give it a test run.

Hopefully I will be able to post a BIT more often. Shouldn’t be hard as I haven’t set the bar too high here. Aim low, I always say. Ok, not really but I’m trying to not be too hard on myself. It’s been a tough pregnancy so far and blogging wasn’t topping my list of priorities as much as attempting to eat enough calories to make it to tomorrow. Until next time….

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Grief for Dummies (apologies to the book since it likely exists)

Last week I had the honor to be a guest poster on my friend’s fantastic blog while she vacationed. Below is the post I sent her. I’ve added in some photos as well! Be sure to check out Building Our Story. Censie has great reviews of baby products, giveaways, and entertaining stories. Give it a read!

Dad and tiny Caleb in the NICU

This year so far has been probably the toughest of my life. Some might look at all that I am blessed with and think, what on earth could be so bad about her life? That is because grief is not something we wear on the outside. There isn’t a scar that people see across a room. There is no sign or mark above my head plainly informing the world of all I deal with daily. I still dress in stylish clothes, fix my hair, and spend time with friends. I laugh a lot and I cry a lot too (which if you know me is entirely normal).
But what most cannot, and some will not, see about me is that I am living in a season of intense grief. On March 17, 2011, after 18 days in the ICU, my dad died of acute renal failure stemming from viral pneumonia. He was 56 and healthy as a horse. This completely blew my family out of the water. No one, not even his doctors expected this outcome.

I am the definition of a Daddy’s Girl. I have rarely ever been truly angry at my dad, though I’m sure I was often a challenge for him! While in many ways I am like my mom, in personality and other innate character attributes I am exactly like my dad. He understands me in ways others cannot. I don’t even always have to fully explain, Dad just ‘gets’ it. We used to talk daily, often multiple times a day because one or the other of us would think of something to call about, creating yet another 30 second phone call before we forgot. Having that type of relationship so quickly and permanently ripped from my life is something I will likely never get over. At 25 years old I was not ready to deal with this. I still had another 20 years before it was time to start prepping myself for that eventuality. Yet here I am, dealing with the death of my Daddy and trying to be a good wife, mom, friend, and daughter. It is a lot to juggle, believe me.

Sadly this is not the only grief I’ve had to deal with lately. I also recently found out that I was pregnant, only to miscarry a week later. This is my second baby that I won’t meet in this life. It stuns me that I am a mother of three but I’ve only met one, my son Caleb. Losing a parent is devastating. Losing a child is different yet equally life-changing. Both types of grief are something that the vast majority of people have no clue how to deal with.

August 29, 2011 - Lil pea here and now gone

It isn’t their fault. If you haven’t been through this type of grief, losing someone so very close to you, you just won’t understand. At the same time, in our culture we don’t talk about grief. Growing up no one teaches you what to say to someone who is grieving or how to act. Most people are just winging it. I’ve been there. I’ve been the one who was winging it and now I look back and pray that I didn’t cause additional pain to those I know who were dealing with the death of a loved one.

Now I’m on the other side. I am the one that people awkwardly spit out condolences at all the while I can tell they are wanting to run the other way. We don’t like dealing with grief and death. Chin up, sweep it under the rug, move on. So, based on my experiences and those of people I know, I am going to share a quick and easy Do’s and Don’ts of dealing with others’ grief.

Don’t . . .
1. Say, “Everything happens for a reason,” “God knows what He is doing”, or especially “God’s timing is not our timing.”

Each of these, especially if it is someone dealing with a miscarriage or stillbirth, come off as rude and insensitive. Sure, they sound good and just what they teach in Sunday School, but to someone who just lost a baby all they will be thinking is, “Really? God had a reason for my baby to die instead of living a full life? He planned this to teach me something because His Plan is better than mine?” All I could think when people told me that about my miscarriage was that MY God would never take a baby’s life. And He doesn’t. It happens, sure, but He didn’t cause it any more than I did. He will use the experience to teach me and strengthen me, but God did not cause my baby’s death just to teach me a lesson.

2. Say how tragic it is. Clearly, death is always tragic. It is heartbreaking and heartwrenching. Anyone who keeps lamenting on about how awful, terrible, horrible, and tragic it is should expect that the grieving person they are talking to will have a look of disgust and a strong desire to dropkick you across the room. Nothing worse for the person who is truly upset to have to listen to someone yammering on about how sad THEY think it is. Really? Shut. Up. I promise the grieving person is fully aware of the situation and just how ‘tragic’ it is.

3. Say you understand. Unless you have lost a parent, spouse, baby, best friend, whatever the situation is, you DO. NOT. UNDERSTAND. But you know what? That is okay. No one expects you to understand what you haven’t experienced. However, claiming that you understand what the grieving person is going through will only cause them to feel as though you are trying to one-up them in the life sucks department. Remember this: empathy is being able to understand and identify with what a person is going through. Sympathy is feelings of sorrow and sadness for someone else’s misfortune. If you haven’t experienced it, you have sympathy for the person. Don’t try to empathize and make them feel as though their grief is less important…aka don’t make it about YOU.

4. Expect me to spill my guts to you if we have never been close. Our level of friendship will not change from acquaintance to BFFs just because someone died. When deep in the throes of grief, those whom you are closest to are the ones you want around. Those who typically are good in small doses or have never been someone you consider your inner circle you typically want far, far away. In short: the people you would usually want to spend time with are the ONLY ones you want around and the people that kind of annoy you normally now make you want to pull out your hair and yell profanities in foreign languages.

5. Expect me to answer my phone, emails, or texts, and do not get angry and offended when I don’t. As soon as the Great Tragedy that is death occurs, the grieving one is flooded with phone calls, emails, flowers, visitors, etc. and it all becomes very overwhelming. First, they are dealing with the death of someone they love and now they are being contacted en masse by everyone they know via every type of communication device. It is simply too much to handle. People fall through the cracks because too much is happening. Do not take it personally and turn it into drama of your own. Likely they either turned off their phone or were so inundated by people that they couldn’t keep up. (When I finally checked Facebook after Dad died I had over 100 notifications….I closed my laptop and slowly backed away).

6. Expect me to call you. If you want to spend time with me, keep calling or texting me because I’m just a bit busy dealing with this new feeling of intense sadness while trying to do day-to-day basics. It isn’t that the grieving person doesn’t want to see you, their good friend, they are just not going to remember to call, or for that matter who it was who said to call. And really, would you?

Do . . .
1. Say how much this sucks. . . Because it DOES. Period. No getting around it. Losing someone special in your life sucks hardcore. Another great thing to say is, “I’m so sorry you are going through this.” If you care about the grieving person at all, you are sorry they are experiencing this hardship. It makes much more sense than saying a plain “I’m sorry” because unless you killed the person, it isn’t your fault and the apology doesn’t do anything.
2. Offer to spend time together. Coffee, dinner, going to the movies. Just because someone is sad doesn’t mean they want to constantly dwell on it. In fact, it is good to get out for a change of scenery and to do something other than sit around in your pj’s surrounded by a mountain of snotballs, bawling your eyes out.

3. Offer to help with meals and normal daily basics. While not everyone completely shuts down in times of grief, usually basic things like eating are not top priority, especially if you have to cook it yourself. In addition to meals, things like laundry, cleaning the house, or even walking the dog can be a HUGE help and relief. Simple daily tasks can seem insurmountable and overwhelming while dealing with the newness of death.

4. Make them laugh! It may seem inappropriate but I promise it isn’t! Even if they start to cry again after a good laugh, that is ok. That short burst of happiness and endorphins as you laugh really brings relief from grieving and is refreshing, even if short-lived.

5. Keep calling, sending thoughtful notes, etc. after the hub-bub of the death and services have died down. So many people think to do and send things when everything first happens. Often so much that you read a ton of cards but later have no idea what they said or remember so-and-so sent it. But then the funeral is over, family goes home, and the weeks pass on. The life of the non-grieving person moves on  and returns to normal while the people deeply affected are just settling in to the realities of their loss. My mom had several people who continued to send her cards in the mail in the weeks and months after Dad died. Just cute and thoughtful little notes to brighten her day and remind her she isn’t alone. I had an amazing group of ladies who sent me all manner of gifts and cards in the weeks after Dad’s death. I had some other friends, too, who sent cards later on that I actually had the presence of mind to read and appreciate. It was nice to know I wasn’t forgotten. I had a friend who was grieving tell me how everyone left her alone to heal but then she felt abandoned. Just a quick call, email, or note in the mail does wonders for the spirit!

6. Talk to me about the person I lost. Obviously for a miscarriage this is a bit harder to do. They never got the opportunity to know their little baby and thus stems a large portion of their grief. But even with a miscarriage it is ok to talk about it, if they are willing. For other situations it helps tremendously to share favorite stories and memories about the person they lost. It keeps them alive and brings back memories they may have forgotten.

I hope this has been an informative and somewhat entertaining tutorial on how to help those you know who are dealing with a loss in their life. I could think of many more things to do or not do, but I’m probably about to lose your attention. I think I’ve covered the main ones that tend to drive me nuts. Don’t misunderstand, the thought really does count. Your friends who are grieving will truly appreciate that you at least tried, since many don’t, but they will love and be grateful for you all the more if you can use some of these helpful hints. Grief changes your perspective on life and people. You do not want to be ‘that guy’ that made it worse. You’ll never escape it in their mind…


Filed under Baby, Faith, Family, Grief

Mr. Clean Giraffe – Or how I learned to stop smelling and clean his butt

Today’s post is about a giraffe. A sweet, fluffy, adorable giraffe that often hangs with Caleb in his crib. Said giraffe has been banished to the laundry room for a month or so now. No, he didn’t bite or hit, he was an innocent bystander. A helpless victim of a horrible incident. In short, he got ralphed on. Yup, I said it. My child hurled all over his crib in his sleep, leaving us a lovely find in the morning. Thanks to my Rockin’ Green detergent the sheets, clothes, bumper all came out clean and fresh.

No-longer-fluffy and now-very-smelly giraffe could not be submerged in the wash, so surface scrubbing was the only option. I sniffed once, to make sure where the ick was since it had dried and blended cleverly in with the drool spots, and then proceeded to wash with warm water and soap at the kitchen sink. Result: giraffe’s butt still stank like a week old diaper. A few days later I did the same thing. Yup, even down to the sniffing because I thought maybe the air out had helped. Nope. Same awful stench. Round 2 wash with warm water and soap. Result: now giraffe’s butt smelled like a week old diaper that someone attempted to perfume with honey.

After relaying the Plight of the Giraffe to my mom, a sympathetic giraffe-lover, she suggested baking soda. Baking soda! AHA! It soaks up smells and is gentle, except when mixed with vinegar of course (VOOOOOOLCANO!). She suggested that the giraffe was probably clean now but that the smell had settled in the stuffing and fur fibers. Yum. After her advice I put off cleaning the giraffe yet again. Don’t ask me why, I just did. A few days ago I finally got around to giving the baking soda a try. I dumped some into a small bowl and mixed with water to create a paste. I then pasted giraffe’s booty, tail, legs, etc. in a generous helping of the salve. This was actually pretty fun. I felt like a medicine woman concocting pastes and ointments to save the world, or in this case, save the giraffe from his own smelly bum.

After a few minutes of sitting to really soak in the baking soda, or I suppose to let the baking soda soak up the stink, I washed giraffe’s booty off. This was messy and took some effort since baking soda likes to stay behind a bit. I let giraffe dry for a few minutes in the dryer and then set him to air dry once again. Result: Clean smelling giraffe, tush and all! Finally, a success for this poor, abandoned animal. He could once again resume his proper place in the Court of the Crib. Now because I let him air dry his fluff was a bit more spiked. Today I used my blow dryer with diffuser to refluff and unspike his fur. Now giraffe not only smells nice, but he looks good, too!

Reunited and it feels so good!

Did you know that baking soda can be used for a lot of things around the house? Not only does it help you bake cookies and keep the smells out of the fridge, but it can be used in a large variety of ways to cheaply and effectively clean all around the house! Check out these helpful tips from Arm&Hammer’s website.

  • Got a stinky drain/sink? Pour baking soda down the drain while running warm water.
  • Need to freshen your carpets? Sprinkle baking soda, let sit for 15min, then vacuum away! I suspect too, that for a stain you could make a magic carpet healing salve, er paste, with the baking soda, scrub a little, let it sit, then vacuum it away.
  • Clean your entire kitchen with a damp sponge and baking soda, including the sink, appliances, and counters!
  • Run out of Dawn? Soak dishes in hot water and baking soda for 15 minutes, then wipe away the grease and grime!
  • To clean baby toys, mix 4 tablespoons baking soda with a quart of warm water, then rinse. A much better option to me than bleach!
  • Did little Johnny draw his latest masterpiece on your wall? Make a paste with baking soda and water to gently scrub away his canvas for tomorrow’s work of art.
  • Pamper yourself! Mix 3 parts baking soda with 1 part water and gently scrub to exfoliate away dead skin and bring on the youthful glow. Even gentle enough for daily use!

These are only a few of the hundreds of uses for baking soda. Check them out on Arm&Hammer’s site. The thing that attracts me most to using baking soda for cleaning certain things, especially baby-prone things, is that it is chemical free and generally safe. While there are warnings on the box about using baking soda orally on a full stomach or giving it to children under the age of 5, I suspect that a small amount would not be cause for calling poison control. Dog gifts, juice and coffee stains typically have to be cleaned from the rug while Caleb is awake. I hate this because he cannot touch the Resolve on the floor beneath that tempting soaked paper towel. From now on I will try baking soda instead so I don’t have to live in fear that Caleb will end up sick, thereby causing more stains to be cleaned (haha), or worse, dead, from using baking soda on the carpet. You don’t have to use much and any small amount that he might get in his mouth before I catch him would likely produce nothing more than a strange look on his face from the salty taste.

Have you used baking soda in a non-conventional way? Please, share with the class! Give some of these tips a try and let me know how they work out for you and your family. I’m very interested to see if I was the only one living under a rock about baking soda’s many powerful skills.


Filed under Baby, Caleb, Family, Household tips