October 5, 2016

Babies Grown Up- On Nursing No More

We have been wanting to wean Isaac for some time. We had our ten year anniversary this summer and were unable to get away due to it. I've been torn. I want to be "free" but nursing is such a precious thing and this is my last baby... Then Isaac began to bite (again) this last week. Two nights before last he bit a little, presumably from discomfort in his ears or new molars coming in, and I yelped "no" and he took a huge breath and wailed and wailed.

After this he sat up and cuddled his lion and averted his eyes. I comforted him and welcomed him back to no avail, which is quite unusual since he's typically an avid nurser. The next day he did the same. And again today. I tried one last time and he wouldn't even look at me and only cuddled his lion and looked away.

 Part of me is weeping over it (how sad!). And part of me knows I should take this opportunity. Weaning can be so difficult. Claire was rather easy but Sophie lingered and would cry miserably for weeks and even months after and I would have to refuse her again and again breaking my (and her heart) each time. So... A little boy happily going without and cuddling his lion, even though it's out of fear of getting in trouble, is something I have to "latch" on to.

So for the first time in six years I am neither pregnant or breastfeeding...

(dramatic pause).

It's the dawn of a new era!

I'm both excited and terrifyingly sad. Motherhood has been such melancholic sweetness of painfully blissful proportions.

August 5, 2016

Little Boy

Little boy. Good grief you're so sweet. I just want to freeze this day in time and cuddle you and love on you. You are so sweet!

I want to remember how your personality is coming through.

You are obssessed with climbing into chairs and sitting so big and proud like your sisters. You like to color like your sisters. And you smile so big!! When I point the camera at you, you give a big cheesy smile!!

The other day you were playing in the little cozy coupe in the backyard. I was reading a text above you and when I looked down you were giving me this cheesy smile thinking I was taking a picture!! So I did.

And tonight you climbed up in this chair and call, "Mama!!!  Mama!!!" and when I look you leaned over and focused so hard and colored so hard.

Here's you..

You LOVE affirmation. You just glow and beam.
You LOVE music and bopping around.
You like your people. You don't like to be alone. You want your momma and your sisters around.
You aren't crazy about new people... we feel like right now you're an introvert (who knows how long that will last).
You are cautious. You still won't walk. You stand and play (and slap your belly!) and you cruise around but you will NOT take more than one or two steps. You are not one for taking risks or chances. It's actually pretty fascinating!

We love you sweet thing!

August 4, 2016

Meal Planning- One crock pot at a time

I'm back on the meal planning train. I've literally dusted off my crock pot and am back to the races.

Here's what on tap for the days ahead:

Thai Beef
Spinach Lasagna
Pork Carnitas
Salsa or Ranch Chicken
Pork Tenderloin
Breakfast Casserole (hash browns, eggs, cheese and sausage)
Breakfast oatmeal

July 18, 2016

Number One Turns Five

Five years. How long I've had the honor of struggling, shrugging, and settling into this role.

Five years. The numbers of years I have woken up and said good morning to this little face.

Five years that I have gotten to know this sweet, silly, intense and wonderful person.

 Three years of her being a wonderful big sister. Smiling at little sister's antics, hugging her and wanting to play with her every minute.

One year of having a little brother to coddle, kiss and say, "I'm so glad God gave him to us!" "He's the cutest baby ever!" She somehow even magically knows the right thing to say, when looking at a precious new baby she whispers, "He's cute- but not as cute as our baby."

Claire, you have an emotional barometer and can feel the tension, joy, excitement and pause in a room.

You want to please, succeed at school, and have affirmation from those around her.

Her fifth birthday she asked for a Paw Patrol party. We invited a small group of friends and met at a new splash pad north of town. Nan came by with a gift, and Papa and Lolo met us there. The storm clouds shut down the splash pad but the kids loved it anyway! They played, ran, slid, played on the playground and the clouds kept us all cool.
We love you Claire! I'm excited for what this Claire has to offer!

July 4, 2016

What I Want- Processing

I want to bake and cook confidently and with no stress before my children.

I want to keep a well run and peaceful home.

I want to conduct my own in depth studies rather than always reading other people's.

I want to read all of the books I have lined up and stacked up around me.

I want to find peace, calm and creativity in our home.

I want to introduce my children to music and creativity.

I want to learn new languages and new words.

I want to learn to play an instrument.

I want to camp as a family.

I want to weekend trip.

I want to enjoy every last drop out of this season of life.

I want to homeschool effectively and enjoyably.

I want to cut out excess distraction.

I want to know in calmness and certainty who I am and not who I think people want me to be.

I want to quit surviving.

Number Two Turns Three

Dearest Soph,
At this time three years ago I was laboring calmly in bed not knowing that within a few hours we would screech up to the hospital almost too late.

You came into the world so smoothly, with barely a cry and a double rainbow outside our window early on the fourth of July.

Tonight you lay exhausted, never napping, always waking early and living with a zest for life. We just came back from a quick weekend trip to the hill country for a wedding. We did splash pads, visited your grandpa and moved slowly as a family of five.

And today you turn three!!

This is the first year you are embracing birthdays. Every time we mention it you say, "My birthday party!!!" and jump up and down with glee.

You want a birthday cake and your "frenz" and most especially your "teacha" to be here. I'm afraid we will feel the first pains of a holiday birthday tomorrow as most people are still traveling.

Oh girl.. you are a joy!! You live life with such exuberance it's impossible to contain.

You say, "Why?!" about every. single. little. thing. You copy Claire even in (especially in?) her disobedience.

You always get undressed outside.

You can't talk quietly.

You don't pronounce "S" and say "fitting"(spitting), "faking" (spanking). When you are frustrated with Claire you call her sternly by her full name. The other day she hit you after I was certain you were provoking her. You came to me crying and I said, "Why do you think she did that?" And without missing a beat you said, "Because she's MEAN!"

( I'd like to clarify here how much you both adore one another and how amazingly you get along.. which is what made this even funnier.)

You love doll houses and big expressions. You don't like being out of control, or being overly wet or new situations.

You say, "Why you say, '________'?" and repeat a phrase that was just said, complete with tone and facial expression.

You love nothing more than your sister.

We love you so so much. You are a bright light in our family!!!

Happy birthday Sophie!

(Your second birthday).

June 15, 2016

First dentist visit and so much joy

This past Monday was Claire's first dentist visit. I always assumed certain things would be momentous parenting moments: Kindergarten graduation, riding a bike, driving  car, prom.. but I never expected the full blown, heart tugging moments that have jumped up and grabbed me.

Take for instance Claire's first ballet class. It took me completely by surprise how my heart was filled with joy over-brimming and I couldn't have been more proud- with her little bun, and her chin ducked down in concentration, tongue in her cheek, trying to focus so hard and to do every little thing the teacher told her.

I about passed out from glee!

And again this week another experience rivaled it both in joy and in the surprise of the depth of pride it brought me.

We've had Claire's first dentist appointment on the books for a while. I've been talking to her about it and what she might expect.

A month ago I gave Claire her first hair "cut" (trim) and as I was cutting Claire said, "Save some for the dentist!"...

So clearly she was thinking about the visit a lot but was also confused as to what would really happen there.

For the record, I had told her some day she would sit in a chair and a woman would wash her hair and cut it. And perhaps the big special chair of dentistry just melded with hair cutting.

Fast forward to Monday. I got a sitter, and Sophie howled with sorrow that she couldn't come. I saw a little glimpse into Claire's heart as she got down by Sophie and said, "Sophie, the dentist isn't all fun... it's actually a little scary."  Which sobered Sophie up quite nicely and she was then quite content to wish us well as we left without her and little brother.

As we pulled up at the dentist I told Claire she would need to walk in to the office and the big desk and say her full name and that she had an appointment.

She straightened her little back, and as solemnly as she could walked up to the front desk and almost inaudibly said her full name.

The receptionists all "ahhed" in unison and commented on her serious face.

I took the clipboard and sat to fill in her information and Claire asked me no less than 5 times if she could do it. Finally, at the end, I handed her the clip board with the pen dangling by a light chain, and she said and oh so carefully wrote her name in scrawling, big overlooping letters and then straight as an arrow walked the clipboard back up to the receptionists, turned on a dime and went and sat in a chair to peruse a magazine.

The receptionists all commented on how cute and passed the clipboard around to look at how she wrote her own name.

At last our hygenist came out to call Claire. Claire asked if she could go alone. The answer was no, I would be going with her (such a big girl now!). I could see her eyeing Jill's (the hygensist's) neon pink smock with glee and wonder. It was neon pink and almost seemed to be glowing.

Maybe what brought me such joy was seeing her interact with the world for the first time on her own. Her joy, reserve, courage and brazen curiosity. And in it all seeing myself at the core.

She climbed up into the large dentist chair at first timidly but as soon as she felt the soft leather the sheer joy of adventure overrode any fear (again, like mom). She let Miss Jill show her the tools (Mr. Squirt and Mr. Thirsty) and let her count her teeth then clean them.

She even opened as widely as she could so the dentist could "count" her teeth too (check them).

I was simultaneously overflowing with pride and joy while also so shocked at the depth of emotion in such a mundane moment.

Parenting.. full of surprises!

June 5, 2016

From Sun Up...

From sun up til sun down in this season of life I'm worn out.

Unlike my working years I'm not stressed. I enjoy my life. I don't go to bed with the insomnia a weighty tomorrow threw at me.

But my hours and days are chaotic. A beautiful chaos of "sliddering" snakes on the living room floor, tu-tus, chocolate smeared hands and warm hugs. But chaos just the same.

I'm not stressed but I'm overwhelmed. Overwhelmed at the prospect of how quickly life is moving and of how deeply I could be messing it all up.

All while underneath I feel a quiet peace that we're doing it the best we can which must be right.

This week my sister and brother in law found out he has cancer.. horrible, insidious, unforgiving and merciless. And like a dainty little top their entire worlds have been thrown upside down.

My two year old didn't stop ignoring me, my four year old didn't stop her chatter, and the baby didn't stop screaming. But I sat in stunned silence and thought that it could be me tomorrow, my baby today, my husband next week.... Gone. Chained up to chemicals and a future no one can read. The light airiness that today is a gift filled my mind and made it swim.

One by one I caught my little people and held their warm little bodies in a hug as long as they would allow.

Today is a gift. From sun up til sundown. With all of the chaos and overwhelming imperfection in between. It's a gift and it won't always be here.

I sat there watching my children and I felt my exhaustion and my overwhelmed spinning mind and thought what a gift... to be worried about such simple, trite things. What a gift to have no pain so I can feel my exhaustion as though it's something big.

What a gift...

* Please pray for my sister, brother in law and their children... There are no sufficient words when worlds begin to unravel.

June 4, 2016

So Much To Say

I've just been craving to blog... Life has been crazy lately with a lot of personal family stuff going on... Family sickness and big change. It's all a long story and while I would love to write about it to remember it, I don't feel like they are my stories to tell... The short of it is my grandparents are in a nursing home now three hours away (where they've never lived and no family lives), and my brother in law (my sister's husband) started chemo today for a cancer they only learned about three days ago.

I want to talk to you about some books I've read, insights I've gained, weaknesses I've discovered, and parenting memories. We've called poison control in the past month for too much flouride tooth paste, and had some unforunate hydrocoritzone smearing and some sunblock smearing.

I met a little elderly friend while visiting my brother in law in the ER. She was a patient as well and my heart broke for her.. alone in a city she didn't know, and not sure of the year much less why she was there (it was a broken hand- and the assisted living sent her along in a taxi to the ER...). Needless to say she's a new friend and I will be taking the kids to see her.

The biggest news of all is the news I am not wanting to share.. that I am the most reluctant, hesitant, unconfident and least likely homeschooling mom for the next year. But it's there.. and it's happening. My reasons are plentiful and my doubt is abundant.. but my certainty in doing it for this season is stronger than my fear, idols and uncertainty.

Maybe, just maybe, if I get bold and drop my fear of being judged I will write more about it.

But I just had to share this much... I just had to get this all off my chest and out of my mind.

I'm reading Codependent No More because apparently codepedency isn't weakness and neediness as I thought but is basically ME. Wanting to control others, feeling like I'm responsible for their comfort and happiness etc. (insert mind blown picture/emoji here). I'm also reading And Baby Makes Three by Gottman about how your marriage changes after baby. Because apparently, feeling like you're alone or it's just your marriage isn't healthy. Parenting is just a new season (and a hard one at times!), it's all consuming and it changes you. It's a new phase. And we are planning on rocking it!! As soon as I finish this book... (ha).

Isaac First Birthday- 12 months old

My little baby boy is one year old! And just like that, in the blink of an eye, the cliche is true. Time flies. It all goes so quickly.
Sleepy party boy.

Sweet little Isaac, this last month you have just blossomed into a little person/boy before our very eyes.

On your actual birthday we had our final gospel community at some friends' house with a shrimp boil.  I brought cupcakes for everyone and a big cookie cake that said happy birthday and a candle. We all sang to you and you dug in and I didn't get one picture. #sorryboutthat

Nan gave you a big green tractor that actually drives but for the time being that will stay in the garage and a pirate rocking ship. Aunt Bessie sent you a little tinker shop that makes noise. We got you a superman "figurine" and a Captain America t-shirt. About a week later Papa and Lolo came with a cake (chocolate with blue frosting) and you got a little red car from the movie cars. You immediately got on it and started trying to scoot around happily.

You are a happy boy. Most days you only get one nap because we are going places with the girls but you would prefer two. You sleep through the night and pull up everywhere. Just last week you started climbing! Up on the girls bed, giggling the whole way. Hiking your leg up on the hearth/piano bench/ you name it. You rock yourself on your pirate ship and just fall off head first and crawl away when done. You bang on your sisters' doll house, chase them around, and yell if they are in their room with the door closed.

You crawl around the backyard scraping up your knees and getting muddy but as happy as you can be. You like being swung high, big hugs, and lots of food. You eat black beans and absolutely anything else we will give you but you are NOT a fan of your crackers being broken in half or of cow's milk.

You still nurse about three times a day and you are partial to your momma.

If you can, you will grab a bunch of Sophie's hair since you think it looks like fun (she is NOT a fan of this). The girls are smitten with you and declare you are the cutest baby in the whole world.

You can say "mama", "ada" (and once "DADDY!"), "aight aight" (night night), bye and your very favorite "is" (this). You bark like a dog and love to read usborne touchy feely books and Dear Zoo.

I love your sweet hugs most of all.
blurry but sooo cute!

We love you sweet boy!

Happy birthday!!

(18lbs and 30 inches).
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