Wednesday, May 4, 2016

To all Non-Disney Princess Moms

Today I woke up to the little grunts of Sam restlessly waking up and Luke crawling onto the bed and gluing his body as closely to mine as he could. I felt a little disoriented because a strange dream had just been interrupted and it left me feeling off and weird. 

I wanted space, but I turned on mothering.

I tried to steal a few inches of space from Luke and wished him a happy morning. I gathered a tiny bit of energy and pulled fussy Sam onto the bed with us. It had been a night of many interruptions, and I felt every bit of it. Josh came in and gave Sam his medicine and then I nursed him while Luke played next me. The best word to describe him was squirrelly: Except, this squirrel wasn't collecting nuts--he was driving his momma nuts. Toddler legs everywhere, his face pressed up against his brother's head, his hands grabbing things, and his little blue airplane zooming into restricted airspace.

I grumbled at him and made a half-hearted disciplinary effort after his airplane made a sharp landing on Sam. I was annoyed, and I had only been awake for ten minutes. Thankfully, he hopped out of bed to grab some cereal with Josh, and I had a few moments of just me and the little guy.

Josh brought in our morning coffee, and we had our new normal morning coffee routine--some sipping, some chatting, some baby soothing, some toddler corralling, and a lot of wondering what happened to those quiet mornings.

The morning continued to include a lot of toddler whining, a baby who seemed a little less chummy than usual, and a lot of me feeling like I was scraping the bottom of my "nice mom" barrel.

I knew before having kids that my kids wouldn't be perfect or behave perfectly. But I think I always imagined that I would be a "Disney Princess" version of a mom.

My day would start with singing birds and routine--not smelly, morning diapers and trying to negotiate a breakfast menu with a dissatisfied, but unpaying, customer.

I would always meet my kids at eye-level, and they would melt into big puddle of obedience because they couldn't help it after seeing the kindness of my eyes--not find myself with hands on the hips and eyes simmering with frustration and annoyance. Or, heaven help me, that my child would still disobey me after I spoke to him with such sweet words and kindness.

Of course, my patience would be an abounding, and even if I did lose my cool, well, my kiddos would certainly never know.

I really believed this--not really that it would always be so, but that it mostly would be.

And then I became a mom. And I learned that motherhood for me is certainly not singing birds, and fairy godmothers, or sleeping for any extended period of time. Ha!

Especially with two kids (one being that magical age of 3), I often feel a little like I'm always catching up and trying to keep up. I sometimes just want to find a tiny corner of space and just be untouched for five minutes. I want to find the magical bean that gives toddlers their persistence and eat it myself. I hope to make it to the end of the day without feeling like a grumpy, frazzled momma, but I hardly do.

But here's the thing--this gig, this motherhood thing, this role of daily giving up self and teaching, and washing, and feeding, and loving--it's better than singing birds, and quiet mornings, and fairy godmothers and sleeping until your love wakes you up with a kiss (and a cup of coffee).

It's hard to beat that toddler voice saying, "mommy, sit with me and rub my back"--and even when you wish for five minutes of alone time, you grab your nursing baby and sit there. And you see it--you see that tiny person relax and wind down because you are there.


And when the baby who has just finished milking you for all you're worth sports a smile that says, "hey mom, I like you," you forget that it's two in the morning.

As Mother's Day approaches, I can't help but feel the enormity of this role. I can't tell you that I always find it easy. Because, honestly, it's the hardest thing I've ever done.

But I can tell you that even on the worst days, even on the days that I wonder who decided I was cut out for this, you couldn't convince me it's not worth it.

Because baby smiles, and toddler snuggles, and listening to the word "disobedience" come out of your toddlers mouth sounding like "dibedence," and tiny hands grabbing your shirt while you nurse, and joyful "roars," and crumbs on the floors--it's the stuff of this season and it's fleeting. It's downright hard, but it's worth it.

It's worth it because it's gospel-living. It teaches me selflessness in its rawest form and love in its deepest. It reminds me daily of of my need for Jesus--and my need to share Jesus.

My kids might not always have a mom who is singing with the birds or blissfully happy at all hours of the day, but they do have a mom who loves Jesus. And at the end of the day, that's what I want them to know and remember.

Or maybe they'll just remember me as a crazy mom who would pray out loud about spilled cocoa powder and patience ;)

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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Dear Luke on your Third Birthday

Today, you are three.

How can that I be?

Just a blink ago they placed you in my arms. Just a blink ago they said, "Here is your son!"

My son. My sweet, sweet boy.

I loved you when they placed you in my arms. But, I love you deeper now.

You were such a sweet and happy baby.

And quite chubby

But somehow we've zipped past the drooling, and chubby thighs, babbling, and toddling--and arrived here: toddlerhood.

Even now, you are shedding even your "toddlerness" and I see more and more of a growing boy. A boy who loves dirt like worms like dirt. A boy who is tender and wild in the same minute. A boy who is clever and creative. A boy who says "googd" instead of "good," "yogo" instead of "Yoda," and "capapipper" instead of "caterpillar." A boy who is bossy and persistent. A boy who loves his bedtime cuddles and kisses.

You certainly keep us on our toes as we navigate how to best love and teach you during your determined and difficult moments--because, you know, you are three and seem to have those moments a lot.

One of my favorite parts of you is your creativity and imagination--I love finding piles of leaves that you've collected for your dinosaur or towers being built on airplanes. Somedays, we have a roaring dinosaur stomping around the living room or diggers digging out dirt at a construction site in our front flower bed. You make cupcakes with play dough and letters with blocks.

You are the world's fastest "around the table" runner and the coolest dancer. You love your little brother--even if you still are trying to navigate what in the world just happened to your life and whether Sam is really here to stay.

Kiddo--you have the bluest eyes and the sweetest smile. You love to laugh and giggle--and you do it a lot. You have a thing for matchbox cars and tiny plastic dinosaurs. We read the same darn books during nap time and bedtime for weeks (until I hide them from you because I can literally not read them one.more.time)

You take baking seriously and eating even more so. Living on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches is your jam. However, eating hot dogs, mac + cheese, and yogurt for the rest of your life would probably also work for you ;) You've mastered the selfie and taking 4,000 pictures in two seconds on my phone. Recently, you also mastered the toilet (for the most part) and proudly wear your Star Wars underwear. There's always dirt in your fingernails and smudges on your face. You have approximately 300 silly faces and rotate them out daily. Your energy and persistence drives me batty somedays, but I still love those parts of you.

Luke, I absolutely love being your momma and watching you grow--and growing right alongside you. I'm glad your my first little guy. And whether you want to be or not--you always will be.


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Monday, April 18, 2016

Dear Samuel {Three Months}

Dear Mr. Samuel,

Do you know that you are such a bright spot, little one? Everyday--your daddy, Luke, and I love getting to squish your chubby thighs, get you to smile, and see more and more of your personality develop.

Right now, I spend a lot of my day lugging your 15 (plus!) pound body around because you really aren't a fan of being left on your own unless you are sleeping. Unlike your brother, you like to make sure that we are watching you and with you all the time. If fact, even if I try to check my email on my phone, you get squeaky and fussy until you are getting 100% of the attention again.

Yes, this can be a bit demanding at times, but on the other hand, you are just so darn cute and fun to be with. You just started to giggle (sometimes just when we smile at you) and it's really the best. Generally, you are simply so happy, smiley, and social.

Even just last week when you had to spend the night in the hospital (thanks to giving your momma and doctors a scare when they put you under for a procedure), you were making friends with all your sweet nurses. Even when you are hooked up and getting poked, you are still our happy, little guy. PS. Don't scare us like that again, okay. I know the nurses are cute, but hanging in the hospital is not our favorite.

You still don't really care to roll over or be on your back. You kinda tolerate hanging out on your tummy but not for too long. You do, however, like it when we hold you standing up and you do lots of arm waving and bouncing. I look forward to when you are a little bit bigger and you can play in all the fun bouncy toys :)

Do you know what your favorite things are right now? Your hands, getting held and smiled at, little tickles on your collarbone, watching your brother, your daddy's voice, eating, and getting held some more ;)

You still aren't sleeping through the night, but you are getting closer (most nights) and can do a decent stretch. Right after you have your middle-of-the night snack, you fall right back to sleep so that makes it much easier on momma (so thank you!)

All in all, you really are a great baby--even when you get a little dramatic when we are two inches away from you!

Kiddo, smook'ums, baby boy, Sammy, Sam the Ham--we love you.


Sam may be a chunk, but he's not as rolly-polly as Luke was at 3 months. 

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