Thursday, January 8, 2015

day in, day out

{via klitzklein}

i'm going to shoot straight with you today. i feel like i'm running behind. truthfully i feel that way a lot of the time now, but the last few days have kicked the feeling into overdrive.

i'm still in my pajamas. both of my [napping] children are still wearing their pajamas. we stayed in our pajamas yesterday too. why? because there is a high of 28 degrees outside so we won't be venturing out today. and we're still playing catch up from our trip to pittsburgh last week.

we got home on monday evening and i still haven't unpacked my bags. the kids are unpacked. i also managed to get the house mostly in order by yesterday, but my bags full of clothes still sit next to my dresser. right next to the used-to-be folded laundry still in the basket from before our trip.

there are days when i relish this life. and there are other days when it's just hard. and the more i think about it the more i realize that every single stage of life will have moments that just suck, and other moments that will invoke a deep nostalgia when we look back on them. 

i go up and down the step to our entryway many times each day. you can get to the kitchen in our house by going up and down the step, or around through the dining room. more often than not, i choose the step. more often than not, keane chooses the dining room. he's still working on going up and down a step without holding on to anything so he usually forgoes the step. this means that we regularly go around in circles trying to find each other. 

day in and day out we go in circles. i suspect this will happen for a while. maybe even forever.

day in and day out i go in circles of varying degrees. 

keane wakes me up. we get breakfast. i make coffee. i feed adele. he plays. she smiles. she sleeps. i heat up my coffee again. i feed adele again. i heat up my coffee. i feed keane lunch. if i'm lucky they both sleep at the same time. i eat lunch. i clean up. or write. i finally finish my coffee. i sit their monitors next to each other and listen. she wakes up. i feed her. i have a little bit of time with my girl. keane wakes up. adele goes back to sleep. keane asks for a snack. i feed adele. peter gets home from work. i make dinner. peter plays with keane. adele sleeps. we eat dinner. i feed adele. we clean the kitchen. we play with the kids. we walk the dog. keane goes to bed. [and lately, gets out of bed, is put back in bed, gets out of bed, is put back in bed, gets out of bed and cracks the door, is put back in bed....] i feed adele. we talk. i put adele to sleep. then we sleep. adele wakes me up to eat. i feed her. i sleep.
keane wakes me up.

around and around we go again.

in the meantime i try to stay on top of laundry and keep the house relatively clean. [relative to an actual pig-sty - let's not kid ourselves.]

i have also been reading anne lamott's newest book small victories, and trying to improve my french learning through an app called duolingo. i pick up a magazine every now and then and make it about two sentences into an article before i'm interrupted by one of two little voices.

i think about running far more than i actually do it right now. i think about writing. i write great books in my head, but they rarely [okay, never] make it through the keys or pen onto anything that will last more than a millisecond.

when i read anne lamott i often start writing like her. i still have my voice, but i also like hers. and i sprinkle little bits of it into my own narrative. when i read her books i feel like we could be best friends because she's so honest about her life and i feel like i'm right there experiencing the moments with her. and i want to write that way. 

i want to have friends i've never met who know the story i'm living. 
day in, day out.

i want people to know who i am through my writing. who i really am. without pretense or excuses.

despite the circular nature of my days i do have goals for this year. i have running goals. house goals. goals to simplify. writing goals. work goals. goals about finances. goals for my kids. [calm down - these are not crazy vicarious hopes that i'm hanging on them, but more things like: getting adele to sleep through the night; and definitively teaching keane that it is imperative to his well-being for him to both stay in his bed after bedtime, and to not bite people.]

so i keep pressing on. day in, day out. 
moving the needle.

how is your beginning?


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

peace on earth, good will toward men


december 23rd is a strange day for me. christmas is so close you can almost taste it. but for me, december 23rd tastes bittersweet.

some years i think of it more than others.
some years it doesn't hit me until the end of the day.
some years there's melancholy mixed in with the hopefulness of christmas, and i don't know why until i look at the calendar.

i know i've written about this before. if you haven't been reading for long, and want to know the "why" you can find it here.

sixteen years ago my world changed forever.
and it is beyond strange that it has already been 16 years.

and i don't quite know why i feel the need to write about it again when i've written about it so many times before. i know that it sticks in my mind and my heart because of how my life has progressed from that point on.

i know that great people and horrible things can both change your life for the better. even if they have to collide with one another to do it.

i know that God is bigger than all of it. and he doesn't let us go.

it's easy to get lost this time of year. there are so many distractions. so many things that pull us away from where we want to be.

it's easy to mock the idea of "peace on earth, good will toward men" when people cut each other off in traffic trying to get where they want to go. and when stores are less than peaceful. when the stress of anything and everything bleeds out all over the people that you don't know so it doesn't taint the moods of the people you do know.

there are so many distractions.
so many hurts that get drummed up.
so many things we feel we have to do.

we feel what we do have just as much as who and what we don't have.

every year, on december 23rd, i'm reminded of a life well lived. but more than that, i'm reminded of a God who can take it all and redeem it. no matter what.

"then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
'God is not dead, nor doth he sleep;
the wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
with peace on earth, good will to men.'"
i heard the bells on Christmas day
by: henry wadsworth longfellow


Monday, December 22, 2014


{via the huffington post}

this morning i woke up around 7:35 to a little voice yelling "mommy". in my haze i thought - that doesn't sound like it's coming out of the monitor speaker next to me.
indeed, it was not.

no, that little voice was coming from the family room where my two year old stood holding an applesauce pouch that he wanted for breakfast.

now, it is not news to me that keane can get himself out of his bed. he has done that many times since we switched him from a crib to a bed. it is also not news to me that he can now turn the doorknob on his bedroom door and get out of his room. he has done that a few times in the course of the past week.

however, he normally makes enough noise in his bed before getting up that i meet him just outside of his door if he makes it out of his room at all.

not today though.

today, after i got him his pouch and was about to get the rest of breakfast going i noticed something resembling a stain on the carpet. at first i thought it was courtesy of the dog, but when i turned the light on to take a closer look i realized it wasn't a stain, but a whole lot of pepper. and that is when i started investigating.

i found the pepper shaker next to my cup of water on the landing of the stairs, along with some more pepper shaken out all over the windowsill on the landing.

i found the pantry door open, and some christmas cards pulled off of the refrigerator. the candle on the kitchen table had a napkin stuffed in it, which means someone had probably climbed on the table.

and a candle that normally sits on the dining room table had been moved to the bench that flanks the table, and also had a dusting of pepper in it.

and the tv remotes were scattered on the floor.

thankfully, the presents under the tree remained wrapped.

so, while it could have been a lot worse, keane and i had to have a little talk about the need to come into mommy's room and wake her up if he gets out of bed.

a little bit later in the morning - 5 minutes or so - he decided to start unwrapping uncle ben's present despite me telling him not to touch it. so he had to sit in time-out while adele screamed since she woke up abnormally early to eat. oh, and i also found a present from the dog -- puked up baby wipes in a wad on the carpet.

ah, the joys of life with kids [and animals]. days like this call for a whole lot of coffee. and staying in my pjs for an extra long time. and lots and lots of grace.

merry christmas one and all! [*wink*]


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.