Thursday, December 18, 2014

once more

[full disclosure: this post has been about 3 days in the making, so bear with me if the times of day referenced don't all make sense. it's safe to say most times of day are represented here... ]

i currently sit at my computer while both babes sleep. i'm finishing off the last of my morning coffee even though it's after lunch. and i'm listening to christmas music mostly to get the song from curious george's christmas movie out of my head.

keane has been waking up earlier for the last week or so. he used to sleep until 8 a.m. almost without fail. this morning i woke up around 7:15 to him singing jingle bells in his bed. i would have been awake already if it weren't for adele waking up at 2:15 with gas, and then deciding she was hungry. however, waking up to a 2 year old singing jingle bells is probably the best way to wake up. [or close to it, anyway.]

it's christmastime once more. but this is the first year keane really understands much of what's going on. and it's pretty great to see him explore and discover christmas with unknowing eyes.

thus far he mostly likes to play with his "tow mater" ornament, and his little people nativity set. he has also enjoyed the christmas spoils of an advent calendar that dispenses one tiny little cookie a day, and his tyke-sized snowman mug full of peppermint hot chocolate.

and the curious george christmas movie. of course.

he also likes lighting christmas-scented candles in the morning. and looking at the christmas lights when we walk or drive through the neighborhood after dark. and he has repeatedly tried to open the lone gift under the tree right now, which is actually for adele.

but it is so fun to experience the magic of christmas through the eyes of a small child who is basically seeing it all for the first time.

adele likes looking at the lights on the tree, but mostly just likes watching her big brother doing anything and everything. even if she's not consistently sleeping through the night yet, her napping throughout the day is getting a lot better, and most importantly, she's a happy little nugget.

at christmas it's so easy for me to get overwhelmed by everything i'm supposed to do, and everything that's supposed to happen. and even by how i'm supposed to feel. it's both easy to think about the ways i've been blessed, and incredibly difficult to focus on them when so much is trying to pull my focus and attention.

i have thoughts and ideas in my head of the way things are "supposed to" go, and when said things don't cooperate i'm disappointed. even if the "supposed to" things were completely unrealistic. this year i have dialed back. i have loosened my grip on the christmas reins. or tried to at least.

but that certainly doesn't make things perfect. today has been a bit rough. for starters keane fought me about what to eat for breakfast. then he dumped out his [thankfully dry] cheerios all over the couch. granted the only reason he had cheerios on the couch was because adele was on a weird schedule thanks to her middle of the night shenanigans last night and needed to eat at the end of his breakfast time.

then, he thought it'd be a good idea to get his curious george christmas dvd stuck in the dvd player.

this just encompasses the first 90 minutes of awake time this morning... but i'm not complaining. sure, it was a long day. sure, i had a mini meltdown when adele didn't want to eat this evening, and keane was simultaneously screaming because i wouldn't allow him to watch charlie brown. but i'm not complaining.

because we all have those days. and i would bet that those days happen a bit more frequently the closer we get to christmas because everyone is hopped up on emotions and stress and putting entirely too much weight on having the perfect gift for each and every person. or maybe just getting something at all for certain people.

so, no, i'm not complaining that i had one of those days. they happen.
and today, it happened.
it wasn't fun, but thankfully we kept pressing on, and had some great moments in the middle of the hard ones.

i didn't get much checked off of my to do list today. it's generally the type of day i feel worst about given my personality, and i do feel a bit crappy about it. but that doesn't mean there wasn't anything good in the midst of it.

we've had a few of those sorta rough days with some great moments built in over the course of this week. the longer i parent two little babes - i mean, almost 4 months is such a long time to be a parent of two, so clearly i'm full of wisdom on the subject - the more i realize that hard moments are part and parcel of every single day.

some days the balance shifts from great days with hard moments to hard days with great moments, but both are there every day.

yesterday i was utterly exhausted by the time peter got home from work, and he let me take a brief nap before i made dinner. and when it was time for me to get up he let keane come in to wake me.

my sweet boy crawled up on the bed, gently touched his forehead to mine, and whispered "wake up mommy."

and that moment is one i'll store away and remember as he gets bigger.

moments like that - or when adele looks up at me and breaks into a huge grin - those moments remind me what a great privilege it is to be a mom. every moment is not beautiful, but every moment is worth it. [some are not worth it until you look back later, but this too shall pass, and the "later" will come.]

there is so much more i could say right now, but i'll leave it there and attempt to wrap my husband's gifts before the babes wake up from their naps.

no matter where you are in your life this christmas i hope you remember that this too shall pass. if you're in a really good place - relish it. savor it and give thanks for it as much as you possibly can. don't let it simply pass you by. grab a hold of it.

and if you're in a hard place know that it won't last forever. even if it feels like it right now. it won't last forever.

no matter where you are in your life this christmas i hope that the love of God finds a way to grab a hold of you in the midst of this holiday season.


Monday, December 1, 2014

coming back

{found via pinterest}

it all comes back slowly, and life surges ahead in the meantime. slowly life goes back to normal - or really - life shifts to accommodate the new normal. my post-pregnancy midsection slowly takes the shape of my pre-pregnancy midsection. my running pace ever so slowly comes back down and more closely resembles the pace i used to run. [believe me, we're not there yet.]

it all happens slowly. slowly. it sneaks up on you.

suddenly the outside world has changed from summer to fall. slowly, and then all at once. the sunlight abandons this side of the world by dinnertime, and the clarity of the cold that sets in by dusk pushes our family indoors. the outside world is dark, but the inside of our house fills with dinner, and lego building, dance parties, and puzzles, bathtime, and bedtime stories.

suddenly the gorgeous leaves are mostly on the ground, and the smell of them turning colors has given way to the bite of frost on the grass in the morning.

suddenly the baby girl you just gave birth to is a smiling and interacting 3 month old. and 3 months is one quarter of a year. already. before we even realized it.

and that is the nature of life. it happens. it goes on. even if you don't realize it.

we're rounding out another year. a year that brought much change into our lives by way of a new house and a new baby.

you wouldn't know it's december if all you felt was the 75 degree temperature outside today, but i'm trying to think through christmas nonetheless.

adele's first thanksgiving is over. it passed quietly - a nice low-key day. she fell asleep in my arms during our thanksgiving dinner and we relaxed with peter's family for the majority of the day.

and right now both of our beautiful babes are asleep, though i doubt this break will last much longer. it rarely does.

peter is traveling today. he left early this morning and will return this evening. i'm debating if i want to venture out with both kiddos mostly because it seems a shame not to try on a 75 degree day.

slowly everything is coming back around. christmas too. it's like i have to figure out christmas all over again. what will it look like in this new house? what will it look like with two kids? and most importantly, what will it look like now that i've finally figured out there are plenty of things that are nice to do, but just aren't actually important for us to do?

sure it's a crazy time, and there are plenty of things still on the list, but there are plenty of things that aren't.

for the past few years i've realized that somehow the fun has been removed from this time of year, and i wasn't quite sure why. quite simply i think it's because i've had this picture in my head of everything i'm/we're supposed to do this time of year. and doing all of those things will somehow make it perfect, and yet, cramming so much into a month continually overwhelms me and prevents me from enjoying anything.

too often it's too much. so this year - after reading an article about simplifying the season - i'm dialing back.

we're going to make a list of what is actually important for us and our family, and nix everything else.

too often i let life spin out of control and i have to stop and recognize that i don't control a whole lot, but i need to do what i can to keep my sanity. i need to do what i can to enjoy life instead of survive it.

sure, having a two year old and a 3 month old means i'm still in survival mode on some days, but that's all the more reason to make other times less that way if i can.

a little bit of breathing room is coming back, and i'm welcoming it with open arms. the crispness of fall [today notwithstanding] gives a shot of fresh air to my lungs and reminds me to breathe deep and drink in the goodness of everything around me.

how was your thanksgiving?
what are you doing [or not doing] to bring the joy of christmas back this year?


Saturday, November 29, 2014

3 month baby!

just a quick post to say - our baby girl is now over 3 months old!

she's still not sleeping the whole way through the night, but is definitely improving. and she's a super cute, very smiley little girl.

some days i can't believe how fast it's going, and other days i feel like we're plodding along. the "going too fast" usually wins out though.

anyway, here's our happy little adele!

i hope you and yours had a happy thanksgiving!


Friday, November 14, 2014

it's not about the day

{found via pinterest}

my sister-in-law got married a few weeks ago. we all played small parts in the wedding. kelly and ben had a great day for their wedding, but kelly and ben's wedding was just one day out of their marriage. and the thing is - marriage is not about the wedding. it's just not about the day.

it's about every day.

many things in life work that way. we like to make big things about one tiny part, but really most things encompass a lot more than the one thing we make them about.

kids do not just happen to turn out one way or the other. raising kids is an ongoing thing. how they turn out usually has something to do with how their parents raised them - day in and day out. honestly, this one scares me the most...

certain days are proof that we've met a milestone, but the milestone isn't about the day that we reach it. the milestone is about all the days that help us reach it.

life is about the process.

we like to make it about the one day or the one thing, but life doesn't actually work that way no matter how much we wish it did.

many days i get caught up slogging through the day. and too often that's how i think of it too. i think of it as slogging.

i think of all of the things i haven't done that i'm "supposed to" do. i think of all of the people who are doing this whole mothering thing better than me. i think of how often i let keane watch tv, and how messy the house is, and how i have no time to read or write.

i think of all the ways i don't measure up. and really, how stupid is that?

why waste my days thinking about what i'm not doing, or what i can't do right now?

why is it not okay that my day is a win if i get dressed and everyone eats as much as they're supposed to? why do i beat myself up for letting sleep win out over getting up early? [especially since little miss is still eating in the middle of the night] why do i feel so guilty for letting keane cry a little bit before he goes to bed if there is nothing i can do to make it better? why feel guilty for not getting my daughter dressed in anything but a sleeper on many days, and for letting keane run around in his fire truck sleeper when we aren't leaving the house?

why does it matter?

day in and day out i have mini freak out sessions about things that don't make one d*** bit of difference in the grand scheme of things. seriously. no difference at all. and the ironic part of it is that those freak out sessions probably make me a worse parent, not a better one.

every passing day i become more and more sure that living a guilt-ridden life does nothing to enhance life or make it better.

it's funny, for the last few days i've been watching "everybody loves raymond" on amazon prime. and while it's more realistic about life as a stay at home mom than most shows, debra still gets dressed and puts makeup on every day. and the kids sit and play quietly, or get into things on a minimal level.

ha. ha. ha.

life doesn't work like a movie. or a tv show.

my daughter does not sleep on any sort of consistent schedule during the day - not for lack of trying to get her on a schedule from the day she was born. she has simply decided to do her own thing. i guess she comes by it honestly, but still. the inconsistency makes it tough to plan things...

this morning i was so tired that i started to put one of adele's diapers on keane when i changed him. i kept moving the diaper around wondering why in the world it wouldn't adjust how it normally does.

anyway, i guess it comes down to this as of late -- life feels like it's running on without me. but i'm sick of letting it. i'm sick of feeling guilty over things that have no bearing.

i need to prioritize and be okay with not accomplishing the things at the bottom of the list.

at the end of most days we take a family walk. keane goes in the backpack, adele goes in the baby bjorn, and bexley comes on his leash. we usually walk on the greenway by our house and we talk while keane grabs leaves from the trees we pass. he points out lights and benches and everything else he sees. adele looks around as much as she can and generally falls asleep before we get back. and i'm reminded that i have it pretty stinkin good.

and i remember that it's not about just one day.
this is life.
this is real life.

i'm not practicing for anything else. i haven't arrived. life is about a whole bunch of moments strung together. i probably won't ever get to a place where i think i have arrived because life keeps going until it doesn't.

and who cares what everyone else says is important? my job is not to be everything to everyone. i will not stand up in front of any other person at the end of my days. i will stand up in front of my God and he will judge the thoughts and intentions of my heart.

i don't think i'll ever stop striving to arrive until i've arrived on heaven's doorstep. life pushes us to believe that we never do enough. we keep chasing everything else because we all want to matter. and as a housewife, i don't always feel like i matter in the grand scheme of things.

but that's the part i miss. the "grand scheme of things" is so much bigger than this culture, and so much bigger than this world. and yet, the God of the universe speaks to me on my level. and the God of the universe says i matter even without striving.

he made me in his image, and at the end of the day i can rest in his grace.

this is not to say that i don't have goals and ambitions. but it is to say that whether i achieve those goals or not does not change who i am.

i am a child of God.

and walking with him is not about just one day. it's not just about the day i committed my life to following him. it's about daily walking with him. it's about him working in me and through me.

it's just not about the day.

it's not about the wedding; it's about the marriage.
it's about the relationship. it's about the commitment.
it's about how you live it out everyday, and what you do when you screw it up.
it's about living life everyday basking in the grace he so readily gives.

it's not about any one day.
it's about all of them put together.

i heard a quote once - i think annie dillard said it. "how we live our days is how we live our lives."

trust that your life is not just about a day, but know that your days do matter.


Monday, October 27, 2014

the last week

two months. two years. 
we come to both milestones this week.

adele is now 2 months old. and on friday keane turns 2.

this is the last week i technically have two babies. the last week of two kids under 2.
we even moved keane into a big boy bed last night. [it's a fire truck bed, and it's pretty fantastic. it helps that he likes playing in it even when he's not sleeping!]

i know that in many ways the fun is just beginning. truthfully though, part of me is scared for what comes next in keane's life. it seems easier to protect kids when they're little.

the older he gets the more autonomous he becomes. that is a good thing. but it also means he makes his own choices, and learns his own lessons.

he now wants to play more with other kids, and that is a good thing as well. but the older kids don't always want to play with him. that is hard to watch and to explain since he doesn't understand why. [it's hard for me to understand too since i think he's pretty much the greatest little guy ever.]

it is a tenuous line to walk as a parent - wanting to both protect your kid, and help him put himself out there because that is what's best for him. even if it means he takes a few knocks along the way.

no one is perfect. and i know that there will be times when i find myself on either end of the spectrum. sometimes my kids will be the ones that get left out, and despite our best efforts as parents sometimes they will be the ones leaving out others.

life can be brutal. some days and phases and instances are simply harder than others. and some are simply hard.

i hate seeing my kiddos hurt even if that hurt is necessary for growth. i hate seeing it; even if i have to allow it since i truly want the best for them.

milestones make me introspective in case you couldn't tell. they give me pause. in this case they make me look back and think - wow, how crazy is it that we've been parents for almost 2 years? how crazy is it that our little girl has been around for 2 months already? if you would have told me all this three years ago i would have called you a liar. three years ago i thought i just wasn't going to be able to have biological children. and now i kiss two of them every morning when they wake up.

my sister-in-law got married just over a week ago. and one of the many things we discussed prior to the wedding was the fact that you never quite feel old enough, or ready enough to be where you are. [and yes, there are exceptions that prove the rule...]

despite the fact that we struggled with infertility, and that according to my original plan i would have three kids by now, i don't really feel like i know what i'm doing.

i don't feel 30. i don't feel old enough to be 30. or to have two kids. or to have just celebrated 8 years of marriage.

i don't feel ready to parent a two year old. and to start figuring out things like preschool. and how to buy christmas presents now that he will remember them if i buy them while he's with me.

i don't even know how to go grocery shopping with both of them at once.

i know that these things will come with time. i know that at one time i felt "as ready as i could be" to
get married even though i didn't exactly know what that meant. i felt both ready for marriage, and like i was way too young for it. now the normalcy of marriage is staggering.

for the first 6 months or so of keane's life it still felt strange that i had a child. the words "my son" sounded strange to my ears despite how excited i was that they were true.

now our family being a family of four still seems strange. it seems strange that we have a son and a daughter.

i think that no matter how ready you are for something big - no matter what sort of due diligence you do - you're never as ready as you think you are. you're simply as ready as you can be having never had the experience before.

that thought both scares me and comforts me all at once. on one hand you're just never really ready for much. on the other hand, nobody is ever completely ready. no one has experienced what they've experienced until they've experienced it. [makes sense, right?] basically, most people feel just as lost as i do, if not more so.

we all like to think we have life figured out, but the truth is, we're all figuring it out as it goes. we're all piecing it together one step at a time.

the piece that i'm putting into place right now is letting go of having two babies, and moving into the next territory. moving into the next phase.

and while these moments with young kids can be more than a little challenging at times, i'm also confident that this next phase is going to be a good one. ready or not.

here's to two years and to two months.
here's to the last week.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


i've wanted to write a lot over the past few days, and i've actually gotten to write exactly zero times. and i hate that. i hate that i lost some of those things for good.

lately i've been feeling guilty a lot. and the ridiculous thing is that most of the things that eat away at me are probably not things i should feel guilty about. there are a lot of divisive things in the world. a lot of things that can turn you against others, and a lot of things that can turn you against yourself for no good reason.

honestly i often feel guilty for dreaming about having a career after my kids are older. i feel guilty for wondering what my life would look like if i chose a different path. i do not regret my decisions. sometimes i just wonder how things would have played out. 

i feel guilty for wanting time away. guilty for putting keane down in front of a tv show or a movie. guilty for watching too much tv myself while i try to comfort a fussy baby. i feel guilty for not making more time for my husband. guilty for wanting a break from my kids. guilty for wanting to work out more, and guilty for disliking my post-pregnancy body right now. i feel guilty for my house looking like a bomb went off. i feel guilty for leaving keane in his crib while i feed adele in the morning. or frankly, if he's not upset, for leaving keane in his crib while i try to catch just a little more shut-eye. 

i feel guilty for not finding a way to get out of the house more than i do with the kids because that means i rely on my introvert husband for much of my conversation. i feel guilty for not having written more thank you notes for the gifts we were given when adele was born. 

more often than not over the course of my day - i feel guilty.

i don't say all of this because i want you to tell me i shouldn't feel so guilty all of the time. 
i know that. 

i say it because i'm realizing more and more every day the extent to which the pressures of the culture we live in can really mess with you. 
or me, in this case.

i am grateful for many things, so please don't read this as a bitter diatribe raging against everything that surrounds me. i've just had a lot of time to think lately, and i've realized how much time i spend wishing i didn't feel so guilty about everything.

it doesn't mean nothing needs to change, or that i should never feel guilty about anything. but i also shouldn't feel guilty for everything.

there is undue pressure on people to "have everything" to "do it all" and i'm increasingly realizing how ridiculous that is.

i am both thrilled that i get to stay at home with my kids, and consistently frustrated that i cannot even go to the bathroom without leaving the door open most of the time.

when i write and when i stop and really think about life i realize that there are so many things that i want to do. and i have trouble remembering that every chapter looks a little bit different, and now is not the time to do everything all at once.

there really isn't a time to do everything all at once. and that is okay. or at least it should be okay.

i need to realize that i'm not good at everything, and reorder my expectations to fit where we are right now. it's hard to do that though. it's hard to wait for anything nowadays. most things happen so immediately that it's hard to imagine purposefully putting off something that you really want to do.

i'm not saying that it's not worth it to press it sometimes. sometimes something comes up and you push on through and make time for it because you can't pass up the opportunity. but often we press it without needing to, and we wonder why life is so crazy all the time.

too often i fly from too little to too much without stopping in the middle where there's actually a good life balance.

one day i hope i figure it out.

anyway, all of that to say that unnecessary guilt steals away life. we've only been given so much time on this earth. i don't know how much time i have left exactly, but i know i don't want to waste it.

here's to shrugging off the unnecessary guilt.


Thursday, October 9, 2014

busy times.

i feel like there's really not much to report as of late. just not much to say... life happens in the smallest little daily increments that most moments just don't seem all that important. plus, right now my life consists of taking care of two little lives, and not much else. i wish i had more time to write, more time to exercise, more time to cook and bake, more time to take walks and enjoy the outdoors - especially now that the leaves are changing.

our season of life takes precedence over all of those other things though. even though it's frustrating and overwhelming sometimes, i wouldn't change where we are. i love our kids. they change how life works. they make it so much more challenging, but they're fantastic. they're fantastic even when the middle of the night feedings are not. they're fantastic even when naps get cut short. even when grocery shopping must be done after keane has gone to bed instead of the middle of the day. and even when adele wakes up in the middle of my trying to take a shower. again.

peter helped [and helps] me adjust my perspective. i was exhausted and annoyed a few nights ago when adele just wouldn't sleep. the next day he reminded me that she's good. she may not be doing what we want her to do, but she's healthy, and growing, and good.

yes, i want her to get onto a schedule. yes, i want to get more sleep. true story on all counts. but it takes time. keane spoiled us with being a pretty good sleeper, and i didn't fully remember what it's like to have a new baby with all the middle of the night feedings, and the sleep training and the constant nursing. it is a demanding and exhausting process. it's a lot. truly. but it doesn't last forever.

and i just have to remind myself that it doesn't last forever. that we're currently six weeks closer to getting onto a more normal schedule, and that has to be okay. and it is okay. at certain times it feels more okay than others, but it is okay.

truthfully i feel like a bit of a slacker most of the time because the house is always a disaster zone, i've cooked maybe 3 dinners in the last six weeks, and getting out of my pajamas and into regular clothes does not happen anywhere close to daily right now. oh, and the bathrooms don't get cleaned, the floors do not get swept [except when keane "brushes" them], and i have gotten the vacuum out one time in the last six weeks. one time. and that was mostly because the dog tracked in a whole mess of junk from outside.

sure, right now i'm writing instead of cleaning, but to be fair writing keeps me sane. cleaning i don't care about so much. well, at least until i look around at how gross things are, and then [if i'm being honest] i'm ashamed that i let my family live like this. but something has to give, right?

that's what i tell myself anyway...