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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

taking notes



Things I have learned since school begun:

Ridiculous o'clock is a horrible time to assess the mopping job beneath the table because the sunshine doesn't lie.

It's pretty easy - too easy - to shop at places when I'm down one kid.  There's something about Ruby that makes Eisley very...touchy and giggly so a trip to Hobby Lobby turns into this thing where they dance and I cringe while I imagine all of the fragile, innocent things they twirl by, and they dance some more and then through gritted teeth for the 700th time, I say HANDS BEHIND YOUR BACK; DON'T EVEN LOOK AT EACH OTHER!

So, where was I going with this?  Hobby Lobby.  Target.  Been there a few times with two kids and it feels like a vacation.

The pick up situation is a little sticky. So sticky, in fact, that in order to be perfectly prepared and on time, I have routed myself to the nearest Starbucks for the proper fuel. Constantly.

The first day of school, I was so excited to pick her up and hear about everything they had done.  She hopped into the car with a wide, but tired smile, and the very first thing she said to me was, "Mom, can I finish my lunch?"  In that moment, I slipped on a pair of sunglasses and let the pent up tears spill. 

--

Onto other life things.

Last weekend, we made homemade noodles, used basil from our garden to make amazing pesto, and then we heard angels sing and I said every weekend should be a noodle weekend - we were all in the kitchen and it was just a fun family memory.


 This garden thing?  I'm a total rookie, but have enjoyed the results, and think maybe I'll need to add a few more things to my lineup for next year.  And somehow convince my husband we need to move and get chickens, because why not? 

 these aren't my own produce but the outcome was amazing.  (recipe here)

First birthday and Disney planning are underway, that thing where I imagine I have loads of free time and the ability to sew outfits right up has happened again which means: fabric collecting, and my schedule has officially transitioned from swimming dates to football and school functions.  Pumpkin spice is around the corner - I may have already lit some festive candles.

Luca took a step on Monday - he is about to figure out this walking thing.  I thought my life was crazy before as he tears apart cabinet contents, grabs cords, and man handles books like a professional- I think we're in for it.

My sister moves closer to us next week - excited is an understatement.  Skillet cookies, movies, and DIY until you collapse in a fit of laughter: here we come!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

dear luca





my luca love,

You aren't so little anymore; very toddler-ish and very busy.  You aren't quite walking, but you are getting close - you can push your toy across the room and you can stand unassisted for lengthy amounts of time. You weigh 20.2 pounds (26th percentile) and you are 28 inches tall (17th percentile).

Your tooth tally is up to four, almost five.  The third one on the top is about to break through.  Your second top front tooth came through with a bit of drama - a blister, which should be unsurprising since you have been throwing us for loops since day one.  Thankfully, that has resolved and your tiny teeth look great!  The biting, however, has been a battle.  I'm hoping when your teeth stop hurting that you will stop because I think we all may have scars at the end of this.

We had a good run with the makeshift living room barricades.  You just climb right over them, so we now rearrange furniture each morning in order to keep you contained.  You have had a good amount of fits over your frustration at this - also a new development.  You also have started voicing your displeasure at being unable to explore in various public places (mostly gymnastics and ballet; both floors crawling with things I can only imagine).




You are still really attached to me; I still make mad dashes with my head ducked behind things to avoid being caught (and subsequently yelled at).  You mostly spend your days attached to me and I love that - I sneak away to make meals and do laundry, and much to your horror, to take showers.

You have really started "talking" this month - a lot of conversational sounding babbles.  You definitely say GO!  And I'm fairly certain you have said - hi, hello, and yeah - but I can't get you to repeat them much.  You have babbled many other syllables (ma and da both made the list, but they are without meaning so far).  You can sign more - we're slowly working on some other basic ones.

And in typical little boy fashion (I'm only assuming), you find it hilarious for me to tell you that you stink.  "Gross!" sends you into hysterical fits of giggles.



Your sleep has been better (knock on ALL THE WOOD), and you seem to have accepted riding in the car (which we do a lot of).  You take two really great naps each day, and you go to bed between 8 and 9.  I usually take these breaks to tip-toe run through the house accomplishing various things that are impossible while you are awake.  You always wake up with a sleepy, sweet smile - ready to snuggle for a minute, and then you're off to explore where you left off before your nap.

Life sure is crazy with you here, but we couldn't imagine it any different with our sweet, smiley, little entertainer.  We are all so crazy about you!


You recently tried spaghetti and loved it.  I loved the fistfuls of noodles and your slurping noise with your proud smile. 


I love you to the moon!!

XOXO,
Mama

getting this picture was a huge circus/wrestling match/joke - whatever you would like to say.  Hence your displeased expression and the toy car I bribed you with.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

as you start school





To my precious Ruby,


I have a few more days of denial; you start first grade this week which hardly seems possible.  This seems like real school in a way that kindergarten did not, and suddenly I'm wondering if I have properly prepared you to be a shining light.

In recent years, motherhood has delivered forgotten memories to the front porch of my mind - things of all sorts, but something in particular has taken up residence and I feel my chance to address it lies with paying my knowledge and heartache forward to save you from feeling this way.

I went to elementary school and junior high with a particular boy that still yanks on my heartstrings.  He had yellow blonde hair and a starring-role face of a Norman Rockwell illustration.  I can imagine the way his whole face smiled and I can see the serious look of concentration when he was called on in class; his cheeks glowed pink, his lips pursed shut.  I can see the clothes he wore and the way his hair was sweetly parted to one side.  Worst of all, I can see the way my peers treated him, and the way I never stood up for him.  Without being outwardly mean, I was just as bad as those who were as I chose to never make it better.

I wish I had made him feel loved, noticed even.  I wish I had taken the time to say hello to him and to get to know him.  I wish I would have told him how nice he looked on those days that he looked so proud of his ragged button down shirt.  I wish I would have told him how impressively quick he was when he ran, especially in his cowboy boots!  I wish I had chosen bravery and kindness in favor of what my friends might have thought about me befriending him.

I think motherhood has this funny way of seeing life through a wide array of different lenses.  While some lenses offer child-like innocence and magic, this one lives up to a sad truth.  One that hurts my mama heart and one that I hope you never experience.  This is one of the worst nightmares in the big book of motherhood, and something I know his mother would have given anything to change.

---

Know this, sweet one:

As the school bell rings, you walk into that school with your head held high and your heart open wide.  You are the same person there as you are at home.  You are loved, you are gracious, you are kind, and you are special.  And so is every single one of your peers.  You will never regret being nice, and you never know how much you may brighten someone's day.

May you always find butterflies and roly-polies magical.

May you spot the rainbows in life just as you love to do in the stream of hose water.

May you see the good in everyone.

May you always smile at the face in the mirror just as you do now.

May you always be a gracious winner and a pleasant loser.

May you always laugh.

May you celebrate the differences.

May you use your many gifts to make this world a brighter place, and may you never lose sight of the important things.

I love you to the moon!
Now run into this world and work your magic!

Love,
Mom

{I recently tried to find this guy with not a whole lot of luck.  I did contact a family member in hopes of connecting so that I could formally apologize all these years later and to tell him that he is loved and worthy.  I plan to keep trying to reach him!}

Thursday, July 23, 2015

dear luca



sweet boy,

Here it is, a big milestone of sorts - at least in my head.  Nine months.  You have been in our family on the outside for the same amount of time that I was pregnant with you, back when I was pregnant for twelve million years (tomorrow, will be the exact same duration: 39 weeks, 1 day).  You weigh in at 19.2 pounds (23rd percentile).

I have started looking at themes for your big birthday bash.  This can't be happening!

You are all over the place - I guessed 10 months for walking, so we'll see how this all plays out.  You are quick at crawling and now play that really funny game of crawling at impressive rates of speed when I tell you I am after you.

It took foreveeeer, but your first top tooth finally broke through a few days ago.  When it comes to sleep, all bets have been off the table for the last several weeks.  And it just so seems that you take your best naps when we are late to get somewhere.  Naps have strengthened my ninja rolling to Olympic-level perfection.




You love to eat, and I don't think we have discovered anything you won't eat.  Recently, you stole a rather strong raw onion off of my plate and ate the whole thing!  You love pasta and watermelon quite a bit, and you recently tried a lemon, a pickle, homemade pizzas, and strawberries.

You learned to clap this month, and you can now clap on command.  It's so fun to watch you process verbal cues - we are working on some sign language now, too.  You mimic the screaming your sisters do and you can RAWR!  You have been experimenting with your voice and babbling with various syllables.



Some of my favorite things about you -

the smiles, all the time.  Even through the whining.

The way you bury your head into me when someone talks to you, still smiling.

The way you take your best naps at the pool.

The way you light up when you hear your sisters.

The way you open your mouth when I take a drink or a bite of food.

Your chubby, chubby feet.

My very thing about you is your sense of humor.  You know you are funny, and you enjoy making people laugh.  You hear laughter and add your own sweet little laugh into the mix.

You seem to be our first baby that we think twice about outings with - I have never seen someone so busy and so curious, which evidently makes sitting in high chairs (and grocery carts, and on laps) extraordinarily painful because you can't stand the thought of missing anything in the world around you!

You have been such an amazing addition to our family - life seems so different now, and so completely perfect!  We are so crazy about you, and blessed to watch you grow!

Love you to the moon!

XOXO,
Mama




Friday, July 10, 2015

a slow down



 This is the best day! 
-Ruby,  upon learning the art of braiding

Two weeks ago, we set out on a summer adventure.  Car was full, snacks in tow, husband in the driver's seat, and I had a good book to sweep me away.  I put my phone away, and I read 400 pages in peace and without distraction.  This began as a silent boycott for AT&T and the fact that we were nearly over our shared data usage (again) despite various measures to avoid that.

It turned into something else entirely.

Several months ago, I ordered Hands Free Mama after discovering some of her blog posts.  The book arrived, I noted the fun cover and tucked it away for a time when I could devote the appropriate time and undivided attention.  I liked what she had to say, but was intimidated to confront the guilt of old habits grown strong by a bed-ridden pregnancy and now, nursing.

I wish I had started the book sooner; it's a gently inspiring read about slowing down in this fast-paced world by turning away the temptation to be absorbed by others' lives.  I circled and underlined and read and reread.  Jimmy and I both took away so many things from her honest perspective, I feel like I want to shout to the world about it - the people eating in a restaurant with noses buried in brilliant screens, the moms that sit on the park benches, phone in hand, and miss their children's pure joy.  The ones at stop lights (or not!!) that can't put their phone if an open moment arrives.  I have been there before, replying to a forgotten text or checking email.  Just this week, my phone sat quiet and unreachable as I drove.  I stopped at a light and saw a woman bring two homeless men ice cold waters from the nearby gas station.  It reminded me of the love that gets overlooked in the world, something I need to be reminded of often.  And I could have easily missed that.




 Life slowed down as technology made its escape, as we spent a week with friends, family, Power Wheels, and foods that don't make the grocery cut at home.  We spent time with my grandma and grandpa, and I left with an overwhelming sense of peace and thankfulness.  Just a few months ago, I contemplated the circumstances under which or if I would ever see them again.


There's something magical about the smells of summer, the places to run alongside the dreams in your imagination, the sticky popsicles, the cousin get togethers, and the s'mores.  Oh, the s'mores.  Time seems to stand still, just for a moment; I wish I could bottle it up and keep it on a shelf forever and ever.




Our little adventure held firsts for everyone - orange soda (I know.) A ride on the swing and a tea party for Luca.  Fireworks, American flag pizzas, fish feeding and frogging for Jimmy. And of course the summer staples we know and love: dress up, campfires, fishing, sweet cousins, plenty of lemonade, late-night snacks and bed time stories, kitties, sand, vintage toys, and a whole lot of love and laughter.

This slow life?  It's one I want to keep.  The way the girls collapse into their beds and barely make contact with the pillow before the snores begin.  Their heat-inspired wispy curls, their sticky mouths and chalky feet, they way they light up at the mention of ice cream. 

I'm so thankful. 





Tuesday, June 23, 2015

dear luca






Luca Love,

Eight months old - you are sprawled across my lap resisting sleep, charming the socks off of me (a frequent thing) with the way you keep reaching your chubby little hand up to be kissed, pacifier crooked from the smiles.  I always kiss your sweet hand, but sometimes, it turns into tickles on the backs of your arms or neck and it always ends in giggles. 

You are a busy boy these days, and always curious.  You weigh 18.8 pounds (29th percentile) and you are 27.75 inches long (43rd percentile). You are fairly certain you should be walking around and have gone to the appropriate lengths to begin doing so.  You pull up very easily now - something you first started eleven days ago.

It's like a life-sized game of Mouse Trap to keep you in an area where you can find limited trouble.  You love shredding magazines, attempting to destroy the fireplace cover, opening cabinets, and Eisley's teeny tiny toys. 

Now that you are up and scooting along things, nothing is safe. And we have already had to lock up cabinets, a new territory for us.



You recently decided to scream in protest at baths, so a sink bath happened and you found it magical.  Everything within 15 feet shared in the magic.

Your timing with bath-hating is a little unfortunate with the way you destroy your food.  This month, you have really enjoyed cucumbers, apples, blueberries, and lettuce.

Your sleep continues to be unpredictable and I'm afraid to say one word about it out loud because I always jinx something.  We have played around with routines, clothing, blankets, and just about everything I can think of in attempt to help.  I'm hopeful for consistent sleep before three years old (like Eisley).

You are a mama's boy - I have been known to crawl through areas that I am at risk of being in your line of sight if I am not quite done doing something, otherwise you scream your protests about me being without you. 

This month, you took your first airplane ride and were an angel; you definitely prefer traveling when not in your car seat.

You went swimming for the first time this month, too.  You enjoyed watching people and were as still as I have ever seen you.  You ended up taking a nap in the pool!




We love you, sweet bubba!

XOXO,
Mama
 








Thursday, June 18, 2015

shape of a mother

 Once upon a time I wrote something about my outward appearance after nearly ninety-two weeks of pregnancy.  I wrote this, and while I whole-heartedly believed every word I typed, I was still wading through a pool of unknown transformation within my self to believe the hype and promotions about loving your body.

I have since added an additional thirty-nine weeks of pregnancy, another family member, chapters upon chapters of life and love and wisdom.  And further body transformation.  Aside from well over one hundred months of growing humans (!!), I have provided somewhere close to 12,000 meals with this body;  I should very well expect that it's different now.



Here I am, minus 95 percent of the baby weight and most of my clothes don't fit.  My jeans don't pull over my hips, and some can't even be convinced to move past the thighs.  I'm still wearing my forgiveness jeans - the ones I bought with full intention to wear for approximately two weeks until the baby weight just melted off and my body returned to the identity it held at about 17 years of age.

Do you know what wouldn't fit right into my 17 year old self?  My heart.  I can't imagine trading my now self for my then self in hopes of being more beautiful in the eyes of a society weighed down with airbrushes, photo editing programs, and unrealistic perceptions.  I owe it to my children to appreciate my body, to celebrate it.  I owe it to myself to be realistic, and I owe it to society to be above the hype of false perfection.  Wouldn't it be amazing if the mama at the pool that embraced her body wasn't an internet sensation?

I have a little bump, and though my babies are now on the other side of that bump, the remaining evidence of my powerful body will travel with me forever.

Sometimes, I still lovingly refer to it as elephant skin.  Sometimes, I still have to remind myself of the three beautiful reasons my jeans don't fit, and sometimes I struggle with comparison to society's impossible standards.  But this much I know: my worth in this world is hardly determined by the shape of my body.
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