Dear Bethany,

It’s okay.

It’s okay that your dishes from four days ago are still in the sink.  The ones in the dishwasher are clean, and we all know you’ll get to them eventually. You have not one, but two dirty crockpots? No problem. At least you used them at some point.

It’s totally fine that you haven’t dusted in a while. Little children are still running in and out of your house, so even if you did, no one would notice anyway. Don’t worry about the fact that you haven’t done you or your husband’s laundry in so long that he had to wear old underwear to work. He rallies for you and is proud that at least the kids have clean clothes.

And speaking of your awesome husband, it’s no big deal that you haven’t shaved your legs in a significantly long time. He’s also cool with it that you didn’t get the opportunity to shower today because your schedule and children were both slightly crazy. He’s watched you birth babies, and still finds you sexy. Honestly, there’s not really too much beyond that which will make you physically unattractive to him.

It’s not the end of the world that your child, after over a year of efforts, still will not always poop when he has to. This too, shall pass. Don’t stress over the amount of times you have to say, “stop making fart sounds,” “no, we are not talking about poop right now,” or “for the love, put your shoes on!”

You had canned soup for dinner last night? No big deal. A little processed crap never hurt anybody. At least you saved $20 and opted out on going through the McDonald’s drive through for the 85th time this year.

Don’t feel bad that you forgot to pack diapers for your daughter today when you dropped her off in the nursery and she ended up needing a diaper change and had to be put in a diaper much to small for all that junk inside that trunk. She survived, and the nursery workers have extra diapers just for moms like you.

You’re doing great. You’ve got this. Mom power and all that hoopla to you. Because you know what? Sometimes the stars align, your baby takes a long nap, your oldest is actually quiet during “quiet time,” and you get to clean your kitchen and listen to Kaleo at the same time. And, after that the heavens open and it’s 65 and sunny on an Oregon November day and you can get outside with your littles and rake the entire backyard with a 20 pound baby on your back. And despite being hit with a rake over a dozen times by a certain four year old who is very slowly learning spacial awareness, you got the entire yard raked and your kids got some precious vitamin D. Then, your babies entertain one another long enough for you to punch out this letter to yourself.

Don’t worry, mama. If you don’t get it done today, it will be waiting tomorrow, or the next day, or even the day after that.

You are capable.

Sincerely,

Yourself.

 

Dear Second Child

My mom didn’t make my baby book until I asked for one for my 12th birthday. I always thought, “how could she not make me a baby book?” Not to mention there was this cross stitch picture she made for my sister, amongst other things.

Mom, I get it now. And thank you for making me one for my 12th birthday.

Dear Second Child,

I love you just as much as your older sibling. I promise I do. Yes, I did a baby book for your brother’s first year of life, carefully and joyfully documenting each month and putting it together in a beautiful album. Yes, you are five months old now, and no, I have not purchased your album yet. But rest assured, I’ve got all your important moments documented in my Instagram account. Yep…

Yes, we have video footage of your brother’s developmental milestones. And, to be fair, we do have attempts at yours…they are just marred by a certain three year old waving his hands in front of the camera or crazily chatting over your precious cooing sounds.

No, I did not have your crib bedding specially made. I got you a blanket at Babies R Us and used the rest of your brother’s old hand me down bedding.

Yes, most of your clothes (okay, all of your clothes) are freebies because I realize now that babies grow so fast and I’m not wasting my money on brand new outfits that you will wear for approximately five minutes. Don’t worry, if you’re anything like me, we will make up for lost new outfits later in life.

Yes, I cloth diapered your brother’s little baby bottom, but honey–ain’t nobody got time for that amount of laundry these days. Disposable diapers have served you well and will continue to do so.

I often let your brother nap in my arms as much as possible. I’m afraid I don’t have that luxury with you. You see, the longer I hold you, the more I risk you being woken up by a certain three almost four year old who is bashing his cars and Hulk smashing everything. I save a little extra snuggle time for you every night before I put you to bed for two reasons. One, because I love to have that time just you and I (and daddy is home to help keep child number one under control ;)) and two, because I often fall asleep right along with you out of sheer exhaustion.

We have made it a point to write letters to both you and your brother to give to you when you’re older. You do have some…just not as many. We will catch up, I promise.

Oh second child, my love for you is not any less than it is for your brother. It’s just that your brother doesn’t nap, and you don’t sleep at night, so it’s all I can do to make sure everyone is clothed, fed, and safe. This too shall pass, and hopefully by the time you are 12, I will have purchased your baby album.

Don’t take it personally. Someday if you have babies of your own, you will understand, much like I am now understanding. I love you deeply, and you have completed our family in the best way possible. And I promise you, I will print photos of you soon. At least by the time you’re old enough to know whether or not there are pictures of you on the wall. IMG_0778

 

 

 

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So…what do you do all day?

This is a question that I, as a stay at home parent have been asked before. Seriously. And yes, the person who asked it did leave my presence with their head attached to their body by the grace of God. … Continue reading

Life With Two

So…I can’t really stay away from my blog. It’s just so therapeutic for me. There has been SO much change in our lives since my last post, but I will catch you up on that another day. Shortly stated, life is good right now. SO good.

Many people have asked how things are going with two. So far so good. We love our Lennon girl something fierce. But, in an effort to remain “real” here’s a story for you about our morning so far which pretty much sums up what our days with two are really like. Let me preface this story first by saying that yes, our days are crazier now, but our family is more complete than it has ever been. I wouldn’t trade these days for anything…most of the time…or if margaritas are involve. I also fully acknowledge that I am a complete spaz. Moving on.

Lennon dislikes the car/ carseat a lot, so most of our drives are accompanied with screaming. We’ve all learned to tolerate this and she usually wears herself out into a sleep at some point. Today, on our way home from our mom’s group we had a few errands to run, and Lennon was semi holding it together so we pushed forward and spent more time in the car.

As we continued on in our journey home, Lennon began to lose it pretty badly. Lennon, much like her brother and much against the continued efforts of her parents, is not a napper. In her first weeks of life when typical newborns sleep a majority of the day, our lovely daughter would remain awake for 10 hour stretches at a time, with a short five or ten minute snooze every few hours. No, this is not an exaggeration. But, she sleeps like a champ at night, so we deal. Anyway, I knew her urgency in crying was due to needing a nap, along with her general hatred of the car.

We arrived home and all bets were off. Lennon was sweating and red as a beet. I not only had to get her out of the car, but also the bulky diaper bag (and honestly, I never use that thing, why I bring it along is beyond my comprehension) our coats, so many tiny crafts my son had made in his class that he for some reason cannot carry, and I also needed to unbuckle his carseat, which is freaking impossible to do with one hand…thank you Britax. Phew.

I loaded up as much as I could then got us to the front door, screaming baby in tow. Currently, our garage door isn’t working, so I had to drop everything and find my keys that I hastily threw in some random pocket of the diaper bag when I got out of the car.  Thankfully, it was not rainy today.

After I managed to dig out the keys, our 60 pound dog comes barreling out to greet us, slamming the carseat into my knees and almost knocking over poor Judah. Lennon is just totally gone at this point. I hurriedly drop everything to save her from her carseat. While I’m trying desperately to unbuckle her as quickly as I can, Judah tells me the dog has thrown up all over the rug in the living room. Fantastic. However, the screaming baby wins every time, so the puke will have to wait.

I go to nurse her and lay her down for a nap. Again, the baby does not sleep, as per usual. Instead, she lays in her crib for a bit while I run to make lunch for Judah who is getting close to a meltdown of his own (“my tummy is rumbling forever!”) from having to wait so long on his sister. And by so long I mean five minutes. I finally appease his appetite with a yogurt and PB&J. By this time, an overtired Lennon is totally gone and screaming in her crib. I run to console her. Giving in to the fact that she just won’t nap, I bring her out into the kitchen and encourage Judah to finish his sandwich that he so desperately needed, of which he has taken two bites…of course.

Time passes and I’m flipping from consoling the tired baby to convincing the preschooler that quiet time is a requirement every day for mommy’s sanity. Finally the stars align and Judah agrees he can build some legos in his room and Lennon is finally content. I set her in her bouncer and make lunch for myself. After this, just when I’m about to take that first bite (isn’t it always at that time parents?) she loses it again because at this point, she’s beyond overtired. I nurse her, she spits up everywhere, we both change clothes.

I finally rock Lennon into a stupor, but, every time her eyes close, Judah comes out of his room to ask me to separate legos that he is working on and we have to start the rocking and bouncing all over again. At this point, I’m about 30 seconds from banning all legos forever.

Lennon finally calms down again, enough for me to put her down and try to tidy up the disaster that is surrounding our front door from when we got home. Upon doing so, I walk into the living room and see the dog’s puke everywhere that I had forgotten about. At this point, it’s been two hours since Judah first told me about it.

Cue crying baby and another few lego pieces that are impossibly fastened together. “These are the days of our lives.”

 

Fall Things

My last posts have been kind of heavy and have caused some controversy, SO….let me just say, I’m sorry if I offend anyone with what I write on here. But at the same time I’m not. This is my little internet space to express my thoughts, and to honestly keep it real. There is too much out there that is fake or “just the highlights” that it can be a little discouraging when you look at your own life and realize you’re not “keeping up with the Jones'” as much as you hoped (and no, I’m not referring to my sister and her family 😉 ). When I started this blog, it was a place for me to be real, to not sugar coat things, and to celebrate both the highs and the lows. Right now, my family is in a bit of a valley, but that’s okay. They happen, it’s a part of life, and I think the valleys only add to the highlights in the end.

So, just know going forward that I normally filter myself quite a bit in my every day life, but this is my one space that I simply don’t. And, right now, I’ve seen far more good come from it than bad, so my blog will continue.

However, because my last posts have been a little gloomy, I thought I’d reassure my readers that we are in fact enjoying many aspects of life. And we are especially soaking up this Fall season. Isn’t Fall just the best? We’ve been lucky to participate in so many Fallish activities this year and I thought I’d share some photos with you all.

Apple Picking

Judah and I got to sneak away and do some apple picking at our favorite little orchard. Judah ate about ten apples while we were there, and we ended up leaving with five gallons. It was the perfect amount for canning a few quarts of apple sauce, making a couple pies, whipping up some apple cinnamon french toast, and of course eating the extras with peanut butter and honey.

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We’ve also managed to enjoy some time with friends. Though Fall is often busy, we’ve been lucky enough to snag a few moments with some of the people (both big and small) that we love so much. Needless to say, the imaginations have been running wild and always…safety first 😉

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The weather has been so nice here this season. We have been able to still reap some warmth from the summer sun, but our mornings usually start out nice and brisk and our evenings end with a great chill in the air. It’s wonderful to still be able to play outdoors and not feel like we’re melting into a puddle.

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Who doesn’t love a fresh Fall haircut? I’m practicing my hand at the DIY haircut and was pretty proud of myself for pulling off a semi-decent at home do for my kiddo.

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We also celebrated our favorite man’s 30th birthday!! We have a tradition, stollen by Kelle Hampton, where Judah gets a set amount of money and can choose whatever he wants to gift his dad with each year. I love the idea of giving him the choice to decide what he thinks Kyle will enjoy most. Right now it’s pretty toy oriented, but it’s fun to see the extra thought he puts into things as the years progress. This year’s loot included two light sabres, a monster truck, and play dough.

We also had our annual visit to the pumpkin patch this past weekend. And…as I was going through my photos I realized I didn’t take any of Judah actually in the pumpkin patch…woops! But, we did leave with four killer pumpkins which are sitting outside our front door.

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We’ve also gotten Judah’s “big boy room” finished and are almost done with baby girl’s nursery, which will be coming up in a future post.

I hope you and your families are enjoying this Fall season! After all, it’s the start of the most wonderful time of the year 🙂

Dinner Time

Wow. You guys, I am terrible at blogging these days. Terrible. But, I’ve been enjoying life outside of the internet, so can you really blame me? Anyway….today’s post is dedicated to meal sharing. It’s something both Kyle and I hold near and dear, and it’s played a pretty significant role in our lives.

I first learned about the joys that come with hospitality from a really young age. My dad pastored a small community church for a few years while I was growing up. Looking back, I can’t really remember any Sunday after church that my parents didn’t prepare a huge spread for a table filled with people. To me, it was normal–expected even–to have a large group of strangers over for dinner at least once every week.

Sharing a meal brings community. I was reminded of this just over the weekend. I turned 28 on the 21, and that day is pretty rough for me. Not because I’m slowly approaching 30, but because of the significance of my 27th birthday. But what could make a tainted birthday a little better? Sharing a meal with friends.

*Photos are courtesy of the lovely Jen B.*

Our dinner of ribs, cucumber salad, baked beans, and fresh salad.

Our dinner of ribs, cucumber salad, baked beans, and fresh salad.

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Some of my favorite people, missing Jen B who is snapping the photo. These friends are true gems. I can’t even begin to describe it.

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The chef and the hostess. He’s a pretty hot lookin’ griller isn’t he?

 

To Kyle and I, our friends are an extension of family. We live thousands of miles from both sides of our families, so we’ve learned to adopt some close friends in the area to fill that void. Until rapid travel is possible, it’s just what we need to do. And one of our favorite ways to connect with people is by sharing a meal. I think we would host someone almost every day. I love to cook big, hearty meals, and Kyle is becoming quite the master griller, so between the two of us, we’ll get you full 🙂

But it’s not about the food. It’s what happens around it. We laugh, we tell stories, we build relationships. I think too many of us don’t take sharing a meal seriously. Our society is pretty busy, so actually sitting down for a proper meal isn’t always something we prioritize. Well, I’m going to challenge you on that. Make it a priority. Even if it’s once a week that you make a full dinner and sit with your family. Then take it a step further, invite someone else over. No one cares if your table is perfect. No one will mind if you cook a terrible meal (I have done that before, and we all had a good laugh over it). In fact, you can even ask everyone to bring a dish to pass. What sharing a meal is about is building community. Whether it’s over grilled cheese sandwiches or a big juicy steak, it really doesn’t matter.

So, who are you going to share your table with?

Life and other random things.

Obviously I’ve been pretty inconsistent in my blogging lately. Truth be told, I’m just not exactly sure what I want to do with this space. I realized that previously I mostly used it as a venting outlet, with occasional family updates. I think it’s what I needed last year, so thanks to all of you who read my rants 😉 Any suggestions moving forward, I’ll take ’em.

This year, Kyle and I have deemed it our “stress free” year…if that’s possible. So far, so good…minus the whole losing of the job thing, which has made us stress a little bit about the old bank account. But, it has also provided us the ever-present opportunity to put our faith in God to provide for us, and he has not failed.

Some of our house projects have been put on hold because of our temporary financial hiccup, but it’s kind of been a good lesson. It’s allowed us to live just right where we are, right now, and be grateful for the many abundant blessings we do have. Instead of focusing on “oh, we need this and it will be so much better,” we’re saying, “hey, this is awesome about our space, and I love it.” I know for me, it’s really helped me to appreciate the little space we call home, and the potential it has to blossom even more in the future.

So, some updates. Kyle has recently started working at an elementary school in an autism room. He is really enjoying his job, the school schedule, and those little k-2 kiddos that he gets to work with every day. Getting to this point has been nothing short of God’s work in our lives. Seriously. Going from wanting to be a college RD to working in an elementary school has been quite a ride, but looking back, you can see the divine hand that led him there. We are so thankful for this opportunity for Kyle. Thank you to everyone who has been faithfully praying for us and for Kyle in his job search.

The “terrible two’s.” We are in those right now, but honestly, they are not so terrible at all. I know, I know…just wait until he’s three, but whatever. Judah is a blast. Growing quickly, saying the funniest things, and he is just the sweetest, most generous kid I know. What two year old freely offers his coveted Easter M&M’s to his parents (and dog)?? *Swoon*

Zoo carousel.

  Zoo carousel.

Judah's "cheese!" face.

Judah’s “cheese!” face.

Makeup time. He's a beaut.

Makeup time. He’s a beaut.

Super into legos these days.

Super into legos these days.

Friends :)

Friends 🙂

I have been finding a new appreciation for being a stay-at-home mom. After I was laid off from my job, I realized how much I depended on that title. I was so offended by the question, “so what do you do all day?” when people would find out I stayed at home. So to be able to say, “I’m a writer” when asked my occupation took away all the insecurities of simply, “being a mom,” Wait…simply being a mom?? Isn’t that important enough? Yes. Definitely. I still write some freelance pieces here and there, but I’m finding new joy and new confidence in this whole, I’m a stay-at-home mom thing. I love being able to take frequent walks in my neighborhood with Judah and our dog, Quincy (we got rid of the puppy, sadly, but it was just too much. We opted to adopt a 5 year old retriever Chinook mix and he is the bee’s knees).

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I also love being able to do yoga with Judah, actively play with him and be all there, instead of worrying about my time to meet my next deadline or make sure I’m not missing an important email. And, it’s been nice to slowly build friendships with some other mammas in the area.

We’re ready to start our first small garden this month, which we are all excited and anxious about. If it bombs, there’s always next year and the farmer’s market, right?

Hope everyone had a fantastic Easter weekend. I know we did!

The Red House

So, a few weeks ago, we bought ourselves a house. Judah calls it “the red house.” It’s a bit of a project, but it’s in a great neighborhood where quite frankly, we couldn’t afford anything but a little project. And, our family is a little quirky, so it suits us well.

After seven moves in five years, a house is oh so welcome. We haven’t gotten everything finished…obviously…but we were able to make a few updates to the house prior to moving in, thanks to a connection to the seller. (You rock, Charles!)

But before we get to the photos, I have some people to thank for our first huge adult purchase. It’s never easy to move, but it’s especially hard when you don’t have family close by to help out. Thank goodness for great friends, right? So, thank you to Kyle’s parents for making it even possible, to the Geer family for never hesitating to watch Judah, help us paint, assist with moving, and clearing out all our boxes, to Alex and Harvey for always letting Judah come over to play while we were taking care of the house, and to Charles for thinking of us for our home and answering all of our questions no matter what day of the week.

Okay, here’s the first set of pictures. And my apologies, you have to deal with really crappy iphone pictures. We still have some work to go, but this is the first room in our house that is almost near completion.

This is our living room/ dining room before:

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It was a hard call, but we decided to purchase the house minus those creepy dolls by the door. I know…I’m already experiencing some buyers remorse about it.

Charming huh? Here’s what we did:

Replaced the carpet with a laminent floor, removed the wood stove, painted the room a light blue/grey.

Here’s the after:

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Sorry, my panorama skills are clearly not up to par.

 

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Still to go in this room are a wall decor like a photo wall (behind the Christmas tree), painted dining room chairs, and curtains. I think it’s a pretty good transformation so far though.

Stay tuned for more renovations to come…although they will be much later…our budget is pretty tapped for the time being, if you know what I mean.

Oh, and we also added this gem. Meet Lucy. She’s a German Shepherd/Lab mix, and Judah is (mostly) over the moon about her. However, she just pooped all over the bathroom floor, so she’s lucky we haven’t renovated that space yet 😉

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