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...


Friday, September 26, 2014

one whole month

yes, really. once again a month has flown by in a blur, and suddenly our newborn is not a complete newborn anymore. seriously crazy.

on a positive note - we're one month closer to getting back to normal sleep habits.

here's our one month old adele!


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

you're gonna miss this

all day today i've had trace adkins' song "you're gonna miss this" stuck in my head. i grew up listening to country music, and every once in a while a song like this just comes back out of nowhere. granted, it's completely appropriate for my time in life right now. especially the last verse. [about 2:10 into the song if you don't want to listen to all of it.]

i know that nostalgia plays into it. i know that rose-colored glasses apply when looking into the past. i know that studies have been done that show we don't remember the negative things accurately - we don't remember them being as bad as they were which is part of the reason why we have the saying "the good old days."

i know all of these things. i also know that i will miss this. i love watching keane as a big brother and watching him grow and learn at an amazing rate during this time of toddlerhood. i love it. i love how fast he's learning new words. i love that he loves to help. i love how curious he is. i love how much he loves being outside - despite the many many mosquito bites he acquires. i also miss him as a baby sometimes.

that's one thing i've learned more in parenthood than at any other time in my life. to be present. in the moment.

it's tough. really tough. we're usually planning for something else, and we often think back to times in the past. neither of these things is bad in and of itself, but they do make it tough to be in the moment and be present and enjoy life for what it is day in and day out.

and it's tough to stay in the moment at days and times when you are thankful that "this too shall pass." one day adele will sleep through the night. one day keane's teeth will actually come through. this time shall pass. this time of disjointed sleep and glazed over caffeinated existence. it will pass. in some ways i will miss it. in others, i am thankful.

but it's hard to live in the tension of that. to be thankful for where we are, and at the same time want to move past it.

it's hard to want to be present, but also have goals that don't involve my kids right now. it's a constant balancing act. i have to balance between realizing that there are things that just are not going to happen right now, and also not being comfortable with getting stuck in a tiny perspective - only seeing what is right in front of my face.

i want to keep looking forward and keep dreaming if for nothing else than to help my kids realize that it's always okay to dream. they need to know that it's a good thing to have goals and to work toward something.

they need to know that learning and growing are important. they need to know that they should always push themselves to learn more, and to grow because life is not fixed. they do not just have to take what they're given - they can learn and grow and strive and push. and i want to continue to push myself as well.

i don't want to get stuck just as i don't want them to get stuck.
we all get to live in the tension.

i don't always like the tension. i'm not always fond of it. truthfully, i thought at some point it would go away. but it won't. it doesn't. it's part of life.

i can learn to be at peace with the tension - embrace the tension of this world. the now and the not yet. the balancing act.

the fact that this too shall pass, and we'll miss these times. the times that are hard. the struggles that make us strong.

i can't say that i miss the struggles i've been through, but i am thankful for the growth and the strength that they've brought.

so wherever you are, and whatever you're doing. try to be thankful. try to use it for what it is.
[and i'll try to remember this too when i'm up feeding adele at 3 a.m....]

much love to you

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

another newborn chapter

sibling stare-down

newborn sleepy smiles

life with a newborn is amazing and wonderful and exhausting and maddening all at once. throw in an almost-two-year-old and it gets really crazy. truthfully, i'm sitting in the middle of my first day as just me with both kids. i'm beyond grateful that up until this point i've had help every day. and going into today, i was legitimately scared - especially since i'm not really supposed to do a whole lot of lifting keane. plus the fact that both of our kiddos are still pretty little, and have lots of much more urgent needs than my own, and often need someone at the same time, added to the "what the heck am i going to do if 'x' happens tomorrow?"

of course adele had slept decently the two nights prior, and keane has been a pretty good sleeper for his whole life. but last night. oh, good heavens. last night little miss forgot that she was supposed to go back to sleep after she woke up to eat and took her own sweet time falling asleep. like over an hour to fall asleep both times. during the "i'm going to fall asleep trying to get you to sleep" period that went on from her 5:30 feeding until she fell asleep around 7:15/7:30 i actually downloaded a white noise app to try to push her to dreamland. i think it worked, though i can't be sure that was the part that made a difference.

and keane. keane is getting his two year molars, and woke up crying at least 3 different times. and those were just the times that i heard him.

and peter had to be on a job site today which means he left even earlier than he normally does.

suffice it to say i made fully caffeinated coffee today.

thus far today the day part - as in the part after the sunrise - hasn't been too rough or too bad, but that also may have something to do with the fact that adele has decided that daytime is a more appropriate time to fall dead asleep right after eating and she has slept for more of the day than i anticipated. i'm not sure what that means for tonight, but for now, it is what it is. and it's probably a better transition for keane than her having long periods of awake time.

i also cheated this morning and let keane watch "cars" again. he loves it and asks to watch it daily. he doesn't get to watch it daily, nor does he sit still and watch the whole thing, but considering my mental capacity this morning i needed him to have a bit of a distraction while i waited for the coffee to kick in.

having a newborn is rough you guys. i know that anyone who has experienced newborn-dom knows this. and anyone who hasn't probably has an intellectual understanding of that fact as well. i really don't understand how single moms do it. and i have a much better understanding of why it really does take a village to raise a child.

the kids are not the only ones who need a village. parents need it too. and i've decided that the part of our culture that tells us we should be able to take everything on by ourselves, be completely independent - not needing other people at all, yada, yada, yada... that part is crap. pure unadulterated crap. because then we think there's something wrong with us when we do ask for help. like it speaks negatively about our person, or our character that we couldn't do it alone. but again: pure crap.

we were built for community. the fact that we shirk community more often may have something to do with the fact that we're more connected and lonelier than ever. but that's a whole different post - or maybe multiple posts, actually.

i digress.

i'm trying to enjoy this newborn time despite how hard it is. we may not do the newborn thing again - i don't know. we always talked about three kids, but planned to adopt the third. depending on which adoption route we take we may not do this part again. and while newborn-dom is both magical and horrible at different times and all at once; it is really hard to think that this may be our last go-round.

it's also crazy for me to think about where we were three years ago, compared to where we are now.

the sleeper that adele has on in the second photo above - the one with the ducks - i bought that when we were in the midst of "i don't know if we'll ever have a biological child." at that point it was my way of trusting that we would have a child to put into that newborn-sized garment one day. and now our second little newborn is wearing it. and while certain parts of newborn-dom really are very crappy and hard, at the end of the day i am still thankful that we get to experience them at all.

the hard things are what force us to grow and build character in us. peter reminded me of that last night when i was sitting there scared out of my wits thinking about what to expect from today. both of our children needing to learn patience, and that they are not the only individual who gets attention, or has needs; those are not bad things for them to learn.

they are hard things to learn - for all of us, but they are not bad things to learn.

and honestly, i hate it sometimes that i have to watch them learn the tough things. i hate watching keane hurt because his teeth are coming in, or because one of us put him to bed and left the room, but if he never hurts he will never learn that he can get through it, and become stronger for it, and that it will be okay.

i hate that he is in pain, even if it's momentary. but i would hate it more if he grew up without understanding that sometimes pain is necessary to get you to a better place. pain is necessary to growth.

and yes, i'm really just putting these things down as reminders to myself since keane is flipping out not wanting to go back to sleep right now. but 45 minutes is not enough of a nap for a not-yet-two-year-old, even if he is getting his 2 year molars. of course going in and putting orajel on his teeth may not have been the best decision since he started flipping out the moment i left.

ugh. parenting is tough. sometimes there's no right decision, and there's nothing you can do to make it better. especially since the baby needs to eat in 10 minutes, and getting him up will only result in a horribly crabby afternoon.
no right decision.

and i hate hearing him cry.

so, any prayers you want to say for us would be appreciated. prayers for sleep especially. sleep for all of us. and two year molars coming through soon. dear God, please.