Thursday, October 31, 2013

Creative Projects

Spare time?  What is that?!  I have too many ideas and too little time.  But first, I need to tie up loose ends and finish projects that have been on my 'to do' for too long.

1. Finish my quilt
It's gonna happen.  I mean, I can feel it.  I decided for some really odd reason to HAND sew this quilt together so it's been sitting on a quilting loom for the past 2 years+  But I am trying to be faithful and quilt a few squares a day and I'm determined to get this baby finished before another REAL baby enters the scene.

2. Finish the boys' baby books
P.s. who invented these things? I actually secretly loathe them.  They give me no flexibility and I feel like I have to conform to whatever the headings and titles and questions are.  I mean, do my boys care when they got each tooth?  Or what their horoscope says for them?  But I always felt a little sad that my baby book wasn't completed (Mom, I totally understand why it never got done by the way!).  So I've finished those but for this next baby I've got to come up with a new plan.  What does everyone else do for 'baby books?'

3. Photo book for 2012.  
Yes, that's right, I'm a year behind.  Don't rub it in.  At this point I've only just gone through all our pictures from the year and selected my favourites and tentatively made January.  This is going to take some serious dedication to complete.  Digital cameras make for TOO many photos to choose from, does anyone else have this problem?  [aka 6 photos of essentially the exact same thing X a billion photos from the year.  I have uploaded over 1200 photos for this book and they are my favourites?  I have a problem...]

4. Birthday planning
It is birthday season in this household.  All four of our birthdays land in the next 3 months (clearly, we should have planned that better).  Toby's birthday is gonna be a train themed affair and Silas is going to have a baking party.  I'm excited to craft, brainstorm and buy but I'm trying to be thrifty with cost and extravagant with creativity which is not an easy feat.  

5. Advent!
I know, Halloween JUST finished but I'm excited to celebrate Advent with my kids again. There will be a few little gifties and a few creative projects but I also want to make sure to celebrate Christ and togetherness.  I'm breaking out in cold sweats thinking that it's already almost November and I haven't started but I'm the one who wants to do this, so I have to just chill out.  Last year I made the actual boxes so this year I just get to fill them!  So excited.

6. Christmas cards?
Ummmmm.  I dunno.  I love doing them but I've simplified and simplified and simplified and now it's just a photo in an envelope like the rest of the western world.  Can't help it, there's just not much time left.  Remember when I hand made every card?  Stamped and glued and hand-wrote over 250 every. year?  Maybe by 2025 I'll be back there but for's a photo, which by the way we haven't even taken yet.  Yikes.

What creative projects are you up to?

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

A Letter to the Little

I have my 20 week ultrasound coming up in two short weeks.  I couldn't be more eager to find out if it's a little miss or little mister currently residing in my belly.  

I don't, in fact, understand how people can wait and be surprised.  I need to mentally prepare.  Not that the gender tells you anything, I suppose. Silas loves baking and he is no less a boy than the average and I, myself was more or less a tomboy.  Somehow, though, I just want to know.

But until I know, here's a few thoughts for him or her:

Little Mister:
I think it's time I take some wise mom's advice (she had 6 boys), and get ripped.  I'm not kidding.  With the addition of your strong little arms I want to be strong enough for you: to pick you up when you've fallen off your bike, to manhandle you off the couch when the wrestling is over, and despite my short stature, for you to know safety within strong boundaries.  Not that I'm hoping you're a fighter, but the reality is that you have two bigger brothers: get your helmet on.  I hope that I can teach you about how to be strong, courageous, and take a stand, but to lean first towards kindness and compassion.  I want to teach you that life is an adventure and the world is yours to explore, but you don't have to trample over others to do it.   I want to be your biggest cheerleader but not just sit on the sidelines and watch, I want to be adventuring with you.  But I also want to teach you that you don't have to be afraid to be still and calm and that emotions don't need to be scary or feminine- I want you to feel safe to express yourself.

I hope and pray that you bring your brothers together in a way that I can't: that there will be a camaraderie and companionship between you boys that is built on respect, admiration and love (not competitiveness). I hope and pray you bring much joy and laughter to our home, and a new perspective that teaches the rest of us.  You are loved, you are welcomed, this home has room for one more boy and I didn't want a girl more than you- I just wanted YOU.

Little Miss:
I can't quite imagine you and I'm mostly afraid of you.  So far my Mommy skills include: learning to wrestle, run, throw and kick, tackle and tumble.  I don't know as much how to be gentle, soft, and tender.  I don't often have to flesh out feelings or consider the innuendos and nuances of my facial expressions.  But I will learn.  I hope that I can be a safe place to run with your emotions and fears, dreams and disappointments- or at least, that I can point you to the One who knows you even better than I ever will. I want to be able to teach you that being a woman is a marvelous and precious thing.  We can be strong and graceful, beautiful and mysterious, rough and tumble and caring.  I want you to, most of all, be confident in our love for you, your uniqueness and divine purpose, and in your place in this family.  I hope and pray you never doubt your worthiness of God's love and no matter what anyone in this world tells you or what you think the mirror tells you: you are beautiful and worth knowing.

I pray that you will bring peace in a new way to our home.  A new calm, a new balance.  I hope you never feel left out from your brothers- but that they will treasure and protect you as much as you respect and admire them. I can't wait to be best friends one day and Lord willing, chat about all the little things in life and all the big things too.  I plan on learning a lot from you, little lady.  How to be more carefree, how to be more cheerful, how to enjoy life more, how to do hair (?) and delight in womanly things.  You are lovely and you are welcome here in our home of boys: a beauty and a light already.

For both:
 I can't promise you I'll be more patient or wiser with you than when I first set out on this journey as a parent, but I can promise you that I won't give up.  I will fall down on my knees often, out of fear, desperation and sheer dependence on our only hope (Christ himself), but with His help, I'll get back up.  And I will continue to choose to be your Mom even when I am overwhelmed, run-down, and afraid.  With Christ, all things are possible and even though I don't know how to be your Mom, I trust He'll show me.

p.s. I love you and can't wait to know you

Sunday, October 20, 2013


"Does nothing ever stay the same, does everything change?"
Transitions are the name of the game with small children.  Nothing stays the same. Milk to solids, naps to no-naps, diapers to underwear, strider bike to pedal bike, crib to bed... and so it goes.  It never ends. 

We are in the middle of a series of new transitions for our kids.  I realize, in the middle of it, that I'm simply impatient.  I was comfortable with the old and I want the new, but I don't want to go through the transition. Can Toby simply GO to Sunday school and not need us to spend increasingly less time there with him? Could Silas please stop getting so frustrated on his pedal bike and just get it already?  Could Toby just be completely potty trained so we don't have to go through the multi-stage process of the training?

I am so impatient.  I walk fast, I talk fast, I am efficient and I like getting things done.  Check.  I don't like the incremental, step-by-step that most processes take.  My whole life I have been like this: I am the hare who just wants to get there. I am no tortoise.  Slow and steady wins the race?  What kind of moral of the story is that? No thanks.  Practice makes perfect?  Nah- I just want to get better right now.

And so I've become the impatient bystander to my kid's transitions: hurrying them along, rushing through the motions, expecting outcomes that should not yet be expected.  The kicker?  I am frustrating my children and myself.  

This is especially the case with Silas.  It took us well over a year to fully potty train him.  It was a small form of torture.  He wants to be the one to decide the when and how of transitions he makes.  He is cautious, and he gets frustrated easily so requires much patience, repetition and encouragement.  And then there I am: cajoling, hurrying, and quick to get angry about the process this is taking.  I am the annoying kid in the car saying "Are we there yet?!"

But yet here we are: potty training Toby, trying to teach Silas to ride a pedal bike and Toby to ride a strider bike, getting Toby to sleep in a big-boy bed, getting both boys to sleep in the same room, getting Silas adjusted to pre-school, and getting Silas to be more independent with dressing and undressing himself.

Transitions are the trenches of character development for me and I don't like them.  Patience?  Diligence to the task? The grind and monotonous ambition of growth and learning?

Yuck, yuck, and yuck.

[We need to go through all these stages with another baby?  My ways are doomed...]  

And even though I hate it, I couldn't be more pleased.  It's about time that this girl learned how to be okay with discipline, commitment to a task, and endurance.  I plan on being a marathoner in the department of motherhood and it's gonna take some training but I'm willing.  

God change me to be more patient as you help me foster change in my children! [And get it done quickly, won't you?  By tomorrow would be good.  Or next week, I'm okay with that too...]

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Third Pregnancy

I'm 16 weeks pregnant now.  I'm sure by this point in my first pregnancy I had posted 100 blog posts about all the finer points of pregnancy symptoms.   Even better, I had posted what size the baby was such as a 'lemon' or a 'measuring tape' or 'duck' sized. I was dreaming names, buying baby necessities, planning the room, [insert 'the sound of music' soundtrack here].

This time?  Well, it's my third time.  I am marveling more at certain things, desperately pleading with time to go a bit slower, and the MOST thankful I've been to pass the first trimester.  Most days I actually forget that I'm pregnant and then wonder why in the world I'm shaking and weak-kneed [because I haven't eaten in 6 hours] and why I'm huffing and puffing [because I climbed the stairs].

But, in case this baby accuses me some day of being negligent in recording what the experience of pregnancy was like with him/her, [if it's a 'he,' I kinda doubt he'll care...I mean, has any male you've ever known EVER asked his Mom what it was like being pregnant with him?] I thought I'd give a quick update:

I'm starting to feel the baby move.  At first I wasn't sure, but now those familiar flutters are present and I couldn't be more relieved and grateful.  Grateful to feel life stirring, thankful to know that this life is growing and excited about enjoying this miraculous feeling all over again.

Nausea is better, but still not totally gone. Blast.  

Sweets are out.  Oddly, every other day in the history of my life I have craved dark chocolate like the air I breathe.  However, this pregnancy the thought of sweet things turns my stomach.  Give me cheese, even better- give me cheese fondu, give me salted something but please keep the chocolate away.  I don't think I've reached for it once. Bizarre. 

I don't even bother with regular clothes.  Not that I'm "Gi-massive" [to quote Silas] but honestly, I'm so glad to be back in stretched topped jeans that I don't even care if I'm making some fashion-faux-pas.

I'm more anxious.  I mean, I'm trying not to be.  But, the reality of the fact that I have two healthy children and that this is a fact I have largely taken so, so for granted, has me really feeling the vulnerability of having another child.  The numbers of people I know who this isn't a reality for is increasing and I realize just how a child's health must never, never, never be un-appreciated.  Not that I'm planning on the sky to fall on us, but I realize the weight of many parents' suffering and don't want to act like a 'healthy' child is entitled to me.  I have yet to have my 20 week ultrasound too which is always a bit nerve-wracking.  May God give us grace for whatever lay ahead and a love for this child however he/she comes.

Okay, I'll admit it, I'm kind of rooting for a girl.  However, I'm trying my darndest to 'plan for' and 'set my mind on' a boy so that I'm not disappointed.  NOT THAT HAVING THREE BOYS would be a disappointment.  It would be a continued adventure and I love the lifestyle that having boys pushes me to have.  However, I'm less certain I physically want to have any more, so kind of want to pass on SOME of my womanly wisdom (?) to a girl. Or maybe, just maybe, I want ONE of my children to REALLY appreciate what I've gone through to be their Mom.  Ya know?  [There is a lot that is assumed here, but I certainly know that girls tend to be a lot closer to their Moms once they too become Moms].  And yes, we will find out what gender we're having, unless by some hand of heaven we cannot find out and then I'll be silently tortured for 5 more months.

The jury's still out, but I'm leaning heavily towards a planned C-section.  One side of my heart is so totally disappointed, but the other part is relieved.  No more self-induced pressure to have the natural delivery that I so admire.  No more beating myself up at another of my body's failings.  I will probably still see the v-bac specialists and seek out one more opinion but I think I know what they're already going to maybe I'll say it for them: my body might not be able to deliver babies on its own.

I realize I've forgotten most everything about having a newborn.  It just gets so normal and lovely to put the boys to bed at 8 pm, for them to feed themselves, and to not have to worry about nursing, naps, etc.  But, alas, this lifestyle shall return to us.  I am determined to enjoy this newborn stage even more than Toby's and so....

The lists are already forming of what needs to be done before this child:
  • the quilt just has to get done.  People, it's been over 4 years. 
  • baby books need to be done for the other two
  • our family photo yearbooks are 2 years behind [fascinating how time continues to march on and pictures continue to be taken but yearbooks are still left un-made!]
  • Silas and Toby need to consistently sleep in the same room
  • If I'm gonna do it all, Toby needs to make the leap and potty train.  He already tells me quite often, and loves enjoying sitting on the can, and he can sit himself on the big potty [if he fell in, it might be seriously dangerous cause he's so tiny] but I need to actually get up the gutso to put him in underwear.  But tell me, when, oh when is a good time for this?!  When I'm driving to and from preschool?  But it's now or months after the baby is born and I'm thinking now might be a better time.
  • My oven needs to be cleaned.  Can you believe this fact is keeping me up at night?  
  • My whole house needs to be sorted, and things discarded.  Like- the large freezer in our garage that hasn't worked for months?  Or the mattress on our boys' floor that we haven't taken to the dump?  Yikes.
Okay, I'll stop.  But nothing has me making lists more than having a baby.

Monday, October 7, 2013

The Real World

Sometimes we convince ourselves that the world of the internet is actually real, don't we? Our life can be captured so perfectly with cameras- but we only take the shots we want to.  Case in point:

It was a lovely fall morning: crisp, rainy, a bit dreary.  We had invited friends to do some fall crafts.  What was I picturing in my mind?  Hot coffee, warm & spicy starbucks pumpkin bread, beautiful pinterest button tree decorating, quiet gluing and painting, thoughtful conversation, and a cozy delightful morning.

{Forget that this endeavor was going to involve a 1.5 year old, two 2-year-old twins and my 3.5 year old}. 

This is what I was picturing:
See how I did that?  I took pictures BEFORE children were involved.  BEFORE.  See how I set the stage? The children were conveniently outside the room watching Bob while I got ready for our visitors.  Looks like it's real, right?  Tricky, tricky.  

But what this morning REALLY looked like was:
interrupted conversations
children throwing glitter pieces on the floor
an incident with a sharpie and our dining room table
potpourri flying
a toddler finding my stool softeners and deciding to give them a try (turns out they taste awful)
cold coffee
blown out candles
potty runs
glue on table tops
mixed up craft supplies
crying, gnashing of get the point

But hey, it was memorable, and the kids made a craft (which was the point right?):


I have to laugh.  Cause this morning was an exact snapshot of life as a parent.  "Best laid plans" and the reality to follow...  I think 3 years ago I would have had a meltdown, or a fit, or fallen apart at the seems to see my precious morning go to the riot squad. However, I think I've grown {insert self applause here}.  I'm learned to go with the flow, and remind my expectations that they don't really belong in this chaotic world. Kids are messy, every day is an adventure, and real life happens in a sea of interruptions and imperfections. And without those things, where would good stories come from? 

But, I'll keep pretending, like the rest of this culture that in fact, I did exactly what I set out to do this cozy fall morning and made a pinterest-worthy craft.  {But, you'll know the truth, and so will I.  This craft was a barely-pulled-off miracle in a morning full of mishaps and disasters!}

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