The Trenches

“You’re in the trenches.” I’ve heard this phrase many times in the last year, and I’ve not really known what to make of it until recently. It is typically used to refer to parents who have multiples under the age … Continue reading

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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Routine Significance.

Wake up. Brew coffee. Turn on children’s show. Pour cereal. Pour coffee.

Get dressed. Walk the dog. Go to the library, or grocery store, or coffee shop, or play date.

Lunch. Clean up. Read books. Nap/quiet time (or attempt one at least). Afternoon snack. Daddy’s home.

Play. Make dinner. Clean up. Laundry. Play. Bedtime routine. Try to get toddler to stay in bed. Crash on couch. Stumble to bed an hour or so later.

Repeat.

Fellow parents, do you ever feel like you’re just trudging through the day, going through the motions, like a song stuck on repeat? I have been feeling that way a lot lately. I know kids thrive on routine, so I try to stick to a basic one, and it’s true–the days that we are off kilter from our normal “schedule” are just not as successful. But my goodness, sometimes I just don’t feel like my days are significant.

I recently joined a church group for moms, recommended to me by a friend. I had tried one last year, and unfortunately due to prior commitments, I couldn’t go. This year, it worked out in my favor, and in Judah’s. During our first lesson, one of the leaders stood up and reminded us moms that what we are doing, where we are right in the trenches of diapers, toys, crafts, and endless amounts of laundry and clean up, these are some of the most valuable days. Yes, we may have paused careers or are shuffling wild schedules in an attempt to balance work and home life. Yes, we may feel like who we were prior to kids is totally lost, and seems impossible to get back. But what we’re doing right now matters. It’s important. It’s significant.

I don’t like looking at motherhood as a “job.” It’s not something that you go to every day and clock out of at five. Parenting another human being is an extreme privilege, and hearing that message was such a good reminder of that principle for me. What I’m doing might seem mundane right now. Gone are the days of spontaneous dates with my husband. I choose my wardrobe based on practicality and comfort over the latest fashions. The highlight of my week is typically our usual Target run. This is my life right now. And just as my kiddo is getting more independent and things like actually eating a hot dinner are occurring more frequently, I’m about to buckle down and add even more craziness to life in just a few short weeks.

But let me repeat what I heard: Parents, what you are doing daily, the investment you’re making in your kids, the time you take to play with them after a long day at the office, the 50th load of laundry that week, and the 800th dish you have washed, they are meaningful. You are investing in the lives of these little humans, and that is something more valuable than you can ever imagine. So don’t be discouraged by the mundane. Embrace this stage of life and bask in the importance of the routine–the work you are doing matters. It is significant. You are significant.

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 🙂

Second Baby Blues

I’m pretty sure my pregnancy hormones have been kicking into overdrive the last few days. I’ve got all the signs: I feel terribly fat and bloated, I’m getting kind of weepy (enter the crying at sappy commercials stage of life), and I had a burst of nesting energy so fierce that I painted our daughter’s nursery while my son was at a morning playdate. Yep…hormones.

But there’s another kind of emotion I’ve been dealing with the last few days, and I’m not entirely sure what to call it or what to do with it. I am over the moon about adding a baby to our family. We’ve tried for so long to make this happen and have experienced such heartbreak throughout the process, and I just know this time around is the perfect time for our daughter to join us. I’m also so excited about Judah being a big brother. He’s just going to be fantastic. He already talks to her, asks about her every day, and has readily taken to the fact that baby girl is taking over his “toy bedroom” when she gets here. He’s even discussed playing trucks with her.

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Yesterday, as we were sitting out on the porch together, talking about airplanes, I just paused and looked at my beautiful boy and welled up with tears. It’s been just the three of us for the past three years. He’s all we know. Every day when Kyle is at work, it’s just me and my boy. He has gotten me through the loss of three children, given me the drive to work to provide for my family when I just wanted to be playing cars with my kiddo, and he brings happiness to my life that nothing else can.

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I know that everything will be beyond wonderful when baby girl comes, but it’s been a little overwhelming for me to count down the weeks of pregnancy and also know that I’m counting down the days left with just Judah. The time that we’ve been blessed with to parent him has been indescribable. I know adding another will only enhance it, but sometimes it just seems so daunting.

Am I crazy here? Did any of you other moms out there experience this? Well, for now, I’m just embracing these emotions and using them to soak up and savor each moment I have just the three of us. We cannot wait for our baby to arrive, but I’m also okay with dragging out these last precious moments a little longer (although in about 17 weeks I might just be screaming from the rooftops: “get this kid outta me!”).

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Motherhood Lately

Motherhood lately has been a pretty big guilt trip that I’m putting myself through. I’ve been short on patience where it’s been needed most. Slow to sympathize when it’s been requested. Motherhood lately has been the struggle to find that balance between surviving the day, and embracing it. It’s been difficult to look forward to going to yet another park or splash pad, or playing yet another game of car racing. Motherhood lately has been barely holding on and hoping for ten minutes of silence where I can change over the laundry, or do a few dishes. Motherhood lately has been kind of gray.

This summer has been a mix. It’s been mostly great, but there has been a cloud that’s slowly creeping in. We’ve had a steady busyness of visitors and activities, and still more to come. Our family has strengthened existing friendships, formed new ones, and assessed others that were maybe not what we thought. We’ve found ourselves a pretty solid family away from family, and we’ve felt so much love this summer. We’ve had visits from dear friends from far away and from my parents, and an upcoming vacation with Kyle’s entire family. We celebrated our beautiful boy’s third birthday. Not to mention we’ve finally made it through the first trimester of a new pregnancy. These events have left us feeling blessed and loved.

But despite all of this amazingness, motherhood lately has been a struggle for me. Everyone has their seasons, the highs and the lows, and I’m kind of in a slump right now. So, instead of constantly beating myself up about it, I’m attempting to cleanse that “I’m a half-assed mom” feeling through writing and hoping to start fresh.

Judah has been pretty fantastic. We’ve had tons of transitions and events this summer, as described, and through it all he’s been extremely tolerant and pleasant. Kyle and I were worried that all these guests and activities would make for one sleep deprived, fit-throwing child, but he’s surpassed our expectations and has proven he’s pretty much amazing and that we need to give him more credit where credit is due. I on the other hand, have not had this great of a report.

I’ve been in my first trimester for most of the summer, which means I was feeling sick, very anxious given our history, and pretty lethargic. Luckily, all these things are now starting to pass. However, dealing with this plus an energetic toddler can really take it out of you.

I’ve been getting down on myself lately because the place where I “work” (ha) hasn’t really been requesting a lot from me lately, which scares me for our bank account. I’ve also been going a little bit crazy…I haven’t been away from Judah this entire summer, except for that one time I had a doctor’s appointment and asked a friend to watch him while I had my annual pap smear. Just what you want to do with an hour to yourself, right?

It’s been a tricky time for me and Kyle too. Not being away from Judah also means not having husband/wife time. Kyle has been working so hard this summer to provide for our family. I am SO proud of that man. He has worked crappy job after crappy job so that our bills are paid and I can be home to raise our kids. It’s one of the biggest testaments to how much he loves this family. Though he’s finally starting to map out a career plan, thanks to the works of God, this summer has been no exception to that crappy job cycle that he’s just barely breaking out of. Though we are thankful for the work he has, I still think it’s okay to think it’s kind of sucky sometimes.

Kyle has been working on a roofing crew this summer with the school system. Physical labor is difficult, and roofing in the summer is like slow torture. Not to mention, Kyle isn’t used to physical labor, which makes it even an even more difficult adjustment, but throw in a heat wave where it hasn’t been below 90 degrees in at least a month, and it’s just brutal. Needless to say, upon leaving the house at the crack of dawn and working in the heat for the better part of the day, without fault, he comes home every afternoon completely whipped out. He’s basically a walking zombie from Monday through about Saturday afternoon when he finally get some much needed rest. So, while he’s out in the heat, breaking his back for a meager paycheck to help with my lack of work from my “employer,”  that leaves me basically being a single mom.

Sure, I only have one kid to feed, potty train, and entertain at the moment, but it’s still hard. Sometimes, mommy needs her breaks. And sometimes I really just want to talk with my husband and hang out with him. But currently, it’s not an option. I know it will be over soon, and I can finally see that light at the end of the tunnel. But despite this summer of being surrounded by wonderful friends and family, it’s also been a little bit lonely. And sometimes I feel very much like I’m kind of half-assing the whole mom thing. There are moments where I just want silence, and Judah wants to reiterate every thought that passes through his brain. There are times when I want to sift through my email for five minutes, and just can’t because I’m being bombarded with cars, and trucks, and monster noises. There is laundry to be done, dishes to be washed, floors to be vacuumed, and beds to be made, and I don’t have the energy to do it.

Motherhood lately has been a trial, but it’s one that will only make me stronger in the end. I love my little boy to pieces, and I adore my husband and the way he fights to provide for our family. So, to all you other parents out there struggling to stay standing in this summer heat wave–solidarity.

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Judah’s First Birthday In Photos

Judah has been one for almost a month now and I still can’t believe it. (Click here to read about his birth.)  Here are a few snaps from his first birthday party a few weeks ago. Happy weekend!

The set up. It was rainy, so we had to improvise, but it worked out well. Thanks to Judah's grandparents for letting us use their garage!

The set up. It was rainy, so we had to improvise, but it worked out well. Thanks to Judah’s grandparents for letting us use their garage!

We opted for pie instead of cake- the theme was Judah's favorite things and these are all his favorite fruits.

We opted for pie instead of cake- the theme was Judah’s favorite things and these are all his favorite fruits.

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Birthday tradition- sparklers, since he was SO close to being a firecracker baby

Birthday tradition- sparklers, since he was SO close to being a firecracker baby

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Birthday Boy!

Birthday Boy!

The cake has been spotted

The cake has been spotted

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Dominated.

Dominated.

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Friends

Friends

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Happy Birthday, Judah! We love you!

Happy Birthday, Judah! We love you!