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!


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.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

tales of summer

The dishwasher hums through its daily cycle of work and I can hear the sound of Eisley sleeping soundly from the living room: her claimed sleepover spot.  Luca sleepy sighs beside me and the house has this sleepy aura of summery bliss.

I had every intention of detailing the weekend of Meredith's wedding, but I was pulling off a rather significant life facade and got slightly sidetracked with a lengthy list of to dos (and lies).  Maybe I will manufacture the minutes to make it happen before the details slip.

 Luca and I flew to Texas last weekend, a surprise to one of my favorite people in the world.  I loved my little travel buddy and he was up for most anything, except for the hotel shower - who can blame him?  We spent a really hot few days shopping and eating and frequenting Target and Starbucks.

I talk to Rebecca about everything, everything.  She knows my life story and every one of my day stories.  I seek her advice on important life decisions like nail polish colors and Starbucks drinks.    Not talking to her about my plans was harder than I imagined, and I tried my hardest not to lie until she pinned me on a few things.  I'm fairly sure the slight untruths are forgiven.

We spent this weekend with family and a whole lot of friends, plus a side of calories.  Like a lot.  (hard to see pictured: skillet cookie that was basically destroyed).

The girls often ask to hold Luca - Eisley will say, "Can Luca snuggle me?"  He doesn't sit still with them for long, but he does love books (and hair), and he finds them absolutely mesmerizing.

some catch up things that I don't want to forget:

this sweet group of friends that I get to do life with - I am so thankful for them!

 This girl makes me so proud - I mostly can't believe she's mine! She did so great in her dance recital last weekend.  Her second tooth gave way to childhood and she sent it off to wherever tooth fairies take teeth.

 Luca's first time in our pool - he people-watched and then fell asleep.

This kiddo figured out how to pull up this week and now it's old news, he is a master!  We joke about knocking him over because he is seven months old and I'm not ready for this!  He is so curious, he doesn't even have time to watch what he's doing; I think this is just the beginning of a boy-themed circus in our house.

and a couple of patriotic Eisleyisms:

United States of America: "Lion States of America"

"Mom, that's me on the America go round (merry-go-round)."

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

real life

It has been weeks since Luca has slept well.  My mind feels like mud and my patience is low - not a great way to start out the summer, and most especially the summer where I feel like I'm making up for last year's lost summer (also known as: the summer I spent in bed thanks to pregnancy).

Yesterday, after another horrible night, I wrote down the nitty gritty details of Luca's day.  I still am not sure, but I hope I have pinned it to tummy troubles which aren't uncommon for him.  And the timeline of recent, not - coincides with the introduction of solid foods.  Every nap was fought, and seemed less than worth it at a whopping forty minutes each.  My nerves were frazzled and I felt like a failure.  My baby was unhappy and I didn't know why, my other kids received unfair portions of a short temper that stemmed from frustration and exhaustion.  Bed time came and went that left me with a messy house, a mystery rash, a mosquito bite that would swell my eye shut, and a lot of regrets. I may have entertained the idea of a solo hotel stay. 

Last night, he had probiotics right before bed, slept until 5 this morning, ate and went back to sleep.  Can you hear the angels singing?  My mind was made of HALLELUJAHs at just 11:30 last night when he had been sleeping for two hours in which I did my best imitation of a statue, not daring to move.

I spent quiet time with coffee, uninterrupted breakfast, my bible, and some mom inspiration this morning while my kids all played together and my baby wasn't screaming for me.  I feel renewed, grateful for little victories, and inspired to allow mom guilt to be a thing of yesterday.

little moments that bring joy.

My house is clean, I'm armed with encouragement (and coffee, of course), my kids are happy and loved.  Today is a new day, and one that offers forgiveness and grace.  I will love my family, savor the moments and know that I'm not required to make up for lost time.  The world has a whole lot to offer, but inside of our little home is my favorite, safe and uncomplicated haven.

Things that have inspired me recently:

Women in the Word - I can't wait to start each morning with SRT - I have studied with them for a few years now, and enjoy the bravery, inspiration, and truth about Jesus.

Slow Parenting - I read this last weekend and caught myself saying, "Come on, hurry!" within the hour.  Savor the moments, they are all special.

Start anew, today. - I could spend hours reading her blog entries.  Meaningful, honest, and great foundations for a wholesome, family-centered life.

Monday, May 25, 2015

dear luca

sweet boy,

Two days late, but Aunt Moo and you have a special connection with dates.  She got engaged the 23rd and wanted to get married on the 23rd too, so we were in the middle of wedding festivities this weekend.

You are seven months old!  Very shortly after I posted your six month letter, you got your first tooth, began crawling, very sadly, took your first tumble (from your high chair - a hard lesson learned for me, the scariest moment of my life!), and started foods.  You now have two teeth and are a master at getting to where you want.  You are a wobbly sitter because there is so much to see. You are 18 pounds (31st percentile) and 27 inches long (37th percentile).

Just yesterday, we wrapped up our weekend with family and you mastered the adorable art of waving (at yourself).  You are still practicing on fans, lights, and anyone that might catch you willing to perform.

You are also making concrete connections - so fun to watch.  You can drop your pacifier, and look for it.  You can also grab it and bring it to your mouth.  You hear the girls down the hall and you are off to find them.  You know where Kirby the dog likes to lay, and you always look for him there.

People marvel at your smiles - the most common question we get about you aside from how it is with three kiddos or our first boy is Is he always this happy?  You are.  And I joke to them that you owe me after such an awful pregnancy, but the thing is - that time in my life is a blur now and it feels so right for you to fit right into our family.

Your sisters are crazy about you and the feeling is mutual.  You love to touch their faces and their hair, and you light up when you hear them near.  It's fun to watch your relationships develop differently with each of them.

We started foods this month, and it's new territory for both of us.  We ditched the pureed foods this go (your sisters never loved them) and went for the baby led weaning.  You have had apple, banana, pear, watermelon, carrot, rice, toast, tortilla, macaroni noodles, cheese, and crackers.  You are doing well at trying, and you are figuring out various textures and what to do when you get a bite in your mouth.

Favorites things at the moment: door stoppers (BOING!), sisters, dogs, walks, music, watermelon, rice, and remotes.

My favorite things at the moment: your chubby feet, wispy duck fluff hair, the way you smile always, even when whining, your snuggles, the way you turn your head in after charming someone - a little shy.

I can't believe we are closer to your first birthday than we are to your birth.  Life is an adventure with you, and you are such a treasured part of our family.  You are the sweetest, happiest baby and we are so crazy about you!

Love you to the moon and back!


Sunday, May 10, 2015

mother's day 2015

I got lost in a sea of old pictures this morning - I can't believe most of them are so far gone, some tucked away permanently while others have been forgotten.  Thousands and thousands of life's snapshots as proof of time's transforming abilities with wispy curls making their way into buns, chubby, toddling feet modeling a variety of shoes and those newborn pictures adding a doting sibling, and then two.  The lives that once bloomed within my very body are the lives that now sing and run and read and snuggle.

It's hard for me to believe this was my seventh year being celebrated as a mom.  I am living my childhood dream and it doesn't feel real.  I never heard people talk about how hard it would be, but I never heard them talk about the ease of it all either.  But, boy am I learning to find the beauty in every single bit of it.

Just tonight, we went to dinner with my mom.  We ordered our food and then Luca decided nothing was going to make him happy, so we left.  I sat in the car while my food sat with everyone else at the table.  I wasn't upset or frustrated or wondering why it was today of all days.  Instead, we found fun places for pictures, we figured out how to eat saltines and slime them everywhere, and we inspected tree leaves.  It was unexpected time spent with just my baby and I loved it.

I don't know of a job that would evoke a wider range of emotional capacity, but I'm thankful for the humbling and very raw nature of it all.  And I am ever so thankful for the string of women that inspire me to be a better mom, the friends that love my babies like their own, the people that advise me, and the moms that came before me.  

Happy Mother's Day!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

things of the moment

The weather outside seems perfect for too much coffee, a book read cover to cover, and some DVR catchup, maybe possibly with a side of thin mints.  But I have little people which means it will probably mean too much coffee, a Disney movie, and snuggles and a thin mint in the bathroom.

It seems to give the fireplace a sense of purpose today - perhaps one last hurrah before the heat of summer settles and it's out of a job until fall.

We are rapidly winding down the school year and penciling in our summer plans.  My sister gets married at the end of this month which is highly anticipated and the reason I shouldn't be eating any thin mints.  I'm ready for the after party in which the details of florists and cake flavors and color schemes are a memory.

Yesterday, as I sat getting my hair done (which you know ranks right up there with a solo trip to Target) I thought of how many details of life haven't been penned and later become lost in the days swiftly passing.  I am in a chaotic season of life with a never-ending list of gratefulness.  I have the best friends, the sweetest family moments, entirely too much laundry and a whole list of small things that bring me smiles.  I want to remember them!

-I chopped my hair in February which was probably fairly self-explanatory with pictures.  It was nine inches and a self defense move for tiny, grabbing fingers.

-Luca got his first tooth and began crawling the weekend after he turned six months old.  He also decided to have the biggest blow out known to mom and take a tumble out of his high chair within the week - not that I want to remember that, but I will for the rest of my life.  The images in my head are still on a repeating reel and I am horrified by the idea that it could have been much worse.

-Eisley has imaginary animals that fit perfectly into the palm of her hand.  We began with very detailed descriptions of her dog: Lucy, black and pink, wore shoes, and chewed gum.  Holding Lucy with her hands cupped together began interfering with daily activities such as eating and getting dressed.  She also told me she sank in the bathtub.  Lucy hasn't been around as much lately.  But she will suddenly say things like, "Watch out for my baby tiger!" as her hands are cupped together.

-Eisley recently stumbled across a potential eternal hardship as we drove in the car.  "What if there is no food and we can't go to the park in Heaven?"  I wish that completed my list of worries.

-Ruby loves to read, and she has moved onto books that are much more difficult than the beginner books that started this adventure.  I hope she always loves it as much as she does now.  She loves to read Pete the Cat and his Four Groovy Buttons, but she often surprises me with reading a sign or a poster.

-Luca is about as charming as he could possibly be.  People stop to ask me if he always smiles (yes.) and I rarely have him if my friends are around.  He is so loved, he has no idea, and yet he always looks as though he has the world in his hands.  He is such a joy to our family.

We went to the zoo this weekend where Eisley displayed her bravery around chipmunks.  I'm positive she would have picked one up and taken it home had I not stopped her.  The girls also fed giraffes and an elephant (banana peel and all!) which was a fun experience.  We marveled at the resemblance between the baby orangutan and Luca and later discovered they are six days apart in age.  Both seemed to favor climbing, stroking faces, and pulling hair.  Mama orangutan seemed to one up me with her state of relaxation.

I recently redid my table after months of consideration.  One week before hosting a bridal shower which was great motivation and a little bit of stress.

We have decided that nice furniture will come later in life, and while this table was our favorite when we bought it, it has seen it's share of playdough, markers, and day-old yogurt.  I love end result and put less than $100 into it to spruce it up!

that time a group of mamas jumped into the pit, took a photo, and barely got out.

Here's to more documenting between the big moments, because I know one day, these memories won't be as concrete as they are now.

And more thin mint.

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