Five Years Old, Five Years of Motherhood

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On the journey of motherhood, I find myself feeling a strange combination of insecure and yet content about 75% of the time.  The other 25% would be those pure joy moments when everything’s going right.

Actually, it’s probably more like 85% and 15%…

Just when I think I’m getting the hang of things, I’m not.  I fully believe the only thing that makes a mother more “qualified” isn’t how “well behaved” her kids are or how perfect she looks or how many books she’s read, but her security in the knowledge that: no one knows what they’re doing.  Not one single person.  We all make our best guesses and do a little research and tout our knowledge, somewhat in the hopes of helping someone else. But really, mostly to feel more secure.  Parenting teaches us a lot and it all starts with that first child.

I’ve been online, in social media since college, but I didn’t really dip my toes in until having my first baby.  I started a blog, set up a twitter account, and started sharing my struggles and opinions.  Oh the opinions of a first time mom a few months in… even a year or two in.  I kinda wish I could go back in time to sit that mamma down and tell her to calm the heck down.  Just because your baby slept a little more that afternoon is no reason to call the doctor and go to Children’s Hospital (yes, I really did that!).  A little pumped breast milk down the drain isn’t really the end of the world, though it is pretty sad.  Cry-it-out vs co-sleeping/bed-sharing are not the only two options and regardless of how you choose to sleep-train (if at all), eventually your child will get it (and yes, before college).  The world is not black and white and every child really is so incredibly different.

So much has changed in the 5 years since I had my first baby, Dylan.  Some days it feels like yesterday and others a lifetime ago.  He made me a mommy and he’s taught me more than any experience or other person, aside from my own parents.  Ever.  In his disobedience, he’s taught me a lot about myself.  I never really thought about what it must have been like to parent me, until he came along.

Thank you mom and dad!

He’s also strengthened my faith and helped me to draw closer to God.  Through him, I’ve seen so many of my own strengths and weaknesses and realized how disobedient, demanding, and ungrateful I can be as a child of God.  I’ve also come to accept and appreciate who I am more through him because, if I don’t love myself, how can I love him?

I’ve learned a lot through each child, but Dylan’s been through the ringer with me.  We’re on his 5 house, he just turned 5, and we’ve been here for a year.  This is Wyatt’s second house and I doubt he remembers the first.  Dylan was my little buddy when I was still figuring all my stuff out.  And I had a lot to figure out.  All at once.  Poor kid.

Dylan turned 5 years old, two weeks ago.  It completely snuck up on me with Naomi’s birth, then Thanksgiving, then Christmas and the New Year.  Excuses, excuses.  We had some cake with family on his actual birthday, but we ended up scheduling his party for the end of the month.  I don’t think he needs a party for every birthday, but this is a big one, right?  Plus, he brings so much joy to this family, I’m so excited to celebrate him!

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Let me tell you a little bit about this beautiful boy. He:

  • loves God
  • loves to help anyone and everyone
  • thinks superheroes are pretty awesome
  • has so much self-confidence, it blows me away
  • lights up the room when he’s happy and brings in storm clouds when he’s not
  • has imaginary friends he calls his “football friends”, whom he talks to on his Power Ranger phone
  • isn’t really into watching sports and mixes all the sports up, calling basketball football and vice versa, but he loves his Broncos ;)
  • has seemingly never-ending energy and some pretty impressive moves when he dances
  • could be confused with a monkey some days
  • enjoys collecting shells from the beach (last summer) and rocks when we go on walks
  • is completely in love with his baby sister and is great at helping her calm down when I can’t get to her fast enough
  • loves to play with and help his brother, when they aren’t fighting
  • loves animals and could spend all day running around with our dogs

 

I Blinked And Now She’s Two Months Old

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It’s so hard not to start a milestone based post with, “where did the time go?” or “it’s hard to believe it’s already been …”.  Aaand, it’s equally as hard to write anything with three kids.  This one short post has been an all day, 5 minutes at a time, project.

But seriously, where has the time gone?  You know?

Really, some days, I feel like my first baby was born yesterday and Dylan will start kindergarten this year. It’s ALL just zipping on by!

Naomi was born a little over two months ago and I really don’t know where the time went.  She’s changed so much in such a ridiculously short time.

It’s amazing to watch my baby girl change and become more aware of her surroundings.  She’s so strong and, let me tell you, this girl is growing!  She’s so tall, she’s already close to outgrowing 3-6 month clothing.  We just had her 2 month appointment on Monday and she’s literally off the chart in height at 25″ long and in the 90th percentile for weight at 13.1 lbs.  The boys were both like that, too, so it’s not a huge surprise.

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Lately, she’s been smiling, cooing, and “talking” a lot.  She loves to be out and interact with people, but she does get overwhelmed and seems to enjoy quiet time at home, too.  She’s not too into toys yet, but she loves to move her arms and kick her legs.  She’s the best little cuddler and I have a very hard time putting her down.  When I have to put her down, however, she’s usually very laid back.  She cries only when she really needs something and I almost never have trouble figuring out the problem.

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The most amazing thing to me is what a different child she is than my boys already.  It’s hard to say why.  I mean, so many things are different this time, so which came first, the chicken or the egg?

I’ve always suspected having a girl would be different than having boys from birth, but I also know third children are often very different than their siblings.  Not that my first two are all that similar…

As far as the differences between boys and girls, I know they’re very different in the preschool years.  Nearly everyday, I see my boys race around, unable to sit still for more than 5 minutes, while their female friends sit long enough to finish a whole, entire craft or meal.  I don’t know, however, if some of the differences I’m seeing in Naomi at this point (ie an extra hour between nursing sessions and longer periods of sleep at night) can be attributed to her being a baby girl or if they’re more representative of her position as baby #3, her personality, or my present-day demeanor as a mom.

I do know I’m different as a mom now.  I’m a completely different person than I was only a few years ago.  I’ve seen and experienced a lot of pain in the last two years and I know without a shadow of a doubt how blessed I am to have another healthy baby.  I don’t let myself forget the worth of each moment I get with each of my children and I’m determined to soak it all in.  I know how fast infancy slips away and I will not rush a second of it.  I don’t care if she falls asleep on me more times than she sleeps in her crib.  I don’t care if she gets too used to sleeping in my bed.  I know that all too soon, she’ll be pushing me away to go play with her friends.

I guess it doesn’t really matter why this baby girl is such a different experience for me.  All that matters is, she’s another very special, perfect little addition to our family!

And the boys are ready for little girl playtime!

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Oh, and she looks a little bit like them ;)

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Our Heart’s Desire

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Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you your heart’s desires. (Psalm 37:4 NLT)

A month ago Wednesday, we welcomed our beautiful daughter, Naomi Elisabeth into this world and our family.  We’ve prayed for each of our children and she was most definitely the answer to many prayers.  We needed some more estrogen around here!  OK, all joking aside, I’ve always wanted sons and I’ve always wanted a daughter.  I love my boys and the connection they have with their dad, each other, and me.  I love their sweet and protective natures.  I’ve also yearned for the different connection a mother and daughter share and for my husband to have a daddy’s little girl.

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I’ve had Psalm 37:4 on my mind a lot lately.  I’m sleep deprived and slightly distracted (because, eek, I have three kids now!), so there’s a chance my thoughts will not translate well…

Following God isn’t something Christians do for a reward.  We have our reward after this life regardless of what we do here and, often, it’s the most faithful people who face the most awful situations.  It’s what’s in our heart that matters.  Love covers a multitude of sins and nothing we do matters if we don’t have love.  We’ll face heartbreak and hardship regardless of how “good” we are as God’s children because, I believe, this world and this life aren’t the end-all and be-all of our existence.  Our struggles and blessings here shape us to become part of the story that speaks of God’s glory and only God knows what we really need.

One question I’ve heard over and over for years is: why do bad things happen to good people?  I’m not sure I can give an answer that will make sense to someone who doesn’t believe what I do.  God is my father.  He made me and knew my name before I was born, as he does yours.  He loves us more than anyone else does.  He gave us our strengths and weaknesses and he wants us to have what’s good.  It will look and feel different than what we think we need and want, but it will be good for us and for His plan.  It’s bigger than you and me and yet, it will be exactly what we need to become the best versions of ourselves.

I’ve had my share of struggles and I’ve had an abundance of blessings.  I’ve made many mistakes and I’ve followed my own less-than-godly desires too many times.  There have been a million and one things I’ve thought I wanted over the years, but the greatest desire of my heart?  I’m pretty sure that’s motherhood.

When I was little, I couldn’t wait to grow up and have babies.  Strangely enough, I’ve never really been a “baby person”.  I have, however, always mothered whomever I sensed needed me and I always new I’d love my children with all my heart.  No matter how much I thought I wanted worldly success after college, I always knew, I would ultimately give up career for my family.  At my core, what my heart wanted the most (and what I had no idea would challenge and shape me the most) was to become a mother by whatever means; whether biological or adopted.  I believe God placed that yearning in my heart early on.

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What a challenge it has been.  I had no idea how much sacrifice would be involved.  I had no idea how hard it would be for me to come to terms with my new life after kids.  I’ve heard it more times than I can count, but I never really believed it I guess.  I knew it wouldn’t be all about me, but that’s a lot easier said than done.

I think that’s the reason this verse has stuck with me.  It’s a reminder that God’s answered my prayers even though I didn’t deserve it.  It’s a reminder that no matter how frustrated I am that I’m up all night with a baby or my boys are fighting again or my two year old refuses to stay in his room at night, they are the greatest blessings of my life.  In all honesty, my kids frustrate me on a daily basis.  The boys whine and scream about things that I don’t understand.  They insist on doing things themselves only to decide they need help when it’s the least convenient (I wonder where they got that from?  I never do that! hehe).  They play on top of each other and fight constantly because, what’s personal space?  My baby basically won’t sleep anywhere but on top of me, which I simultaneously do and don’t love.  No matter how much sacrifice this life demands, it’s so much more fulfilling than life without them.  My life as a mom, who barely gets a quiet moment to think, is worth more than any amount of notoriety or material things.

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So, no matter how crazy things get around here, I pray I always remember God is listening, my life is so special, and my children are such amazing gifts.

At the speed of life

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Often it feels like life happens at the speed of light.  There are moments of waiting, followed by moments of blur.   The blur, being the seasons of life where time goes so fast it’s difficult to stay in the present and take it all in.

Today’s a sick day for us.  D stayed home from school with a fever, which kind of forced me to slow down and think about our life.  About a year ago, following a year of waiting, we began a time of blur.  We had spent the year praying for contentment or direction if we weren’t meant to stay.  The only response we got for a while was, “wait”.  Then, one day, it all changed, just as I was beginning to get comfortable where we were.  Pretty much literally, all within a day.  But I’ve already talked about that and our {leap of faith} before.

Yesterday, I realized it was about a year ago that our journey began.  I was struck both by how fast time has gone by and, yet, how it feels like it all started a lifetime ago.  It really just amazes me how much can happen in a year.  One year ago, this coming weekend, we came out to look at houses and we were in our new house a little more than a month after that.  Here I sit with our very sweet, well behaved 11 month old boxer puppy by my side, approaching one year in this house AND expecting a baby girl before that anniversary even arrives.

Really?!  How is it possible that it’s only been a year?

This pregnancy, and even this last trimester, feels like it’s going by so fast.

I clearly remember my first pregnancy.  I had a full-time corporate job to keep me busy, but it still felt like the longest 9 months of my life.  I spent every.single.day planning for his arrival in some way.  By the time my third trimester rolled around, I had nothing left to do but wait for him and work.  I didn’t even go past my due date, but I still agonized over the wait.  My second pregnancy went much faster and we were much less settled, but the third trimester was still slow.  I was uncomfortable in my body, which I hadn’t taken the best care of really, and I was anxious about my second birth and first home birth.  I had no idea if W’s birth would go faster than my first birth, an idea that terrified me considering how quickly things happened the first time, and I knew, first hand, the amount of work that would go into delivering my baby.  I spent so much time thinking and worrying about the future, I wasn’t living in the present and time felt like it was at a standstill.

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I’m so excited to meet our baby girl!  I think about what she’ll look like and what snuggling her will feel like before bed each night and when my eyes open each morning.  Time is going by so much faster as I try to focus on being mommy to my two boys each day, on top of the weekly activities and obligations I have lined up.  I’m excited about her birth, but I’m focused on the day-to-day.  I have amazingly generous clothing donations from friends and a beautiful nursery that’s come together in pieces, which my mom worked very hard to finish up for me last week.  There are still some things we’ll need, like a new monitor since the one we had broke, and I still need to organize her closet so I can actually find the right size clothing when I’m a sleep deprived zombie in the first few months weeks.  Deep down, though, I know none of that really matters.  All she really needs are my love, milk, diapers, and clothing… well and a carseat if we ever want to leave the house.  We are definitely covered in all those areas.

I am so blessed to have an amazing example of motherhood in my life.  She’s the reason I’m not worried about getting everything done.  My mother’s presence in my life reminds me what’s important on a daily basis, especially after a close friend lost her mom recently.  Like my friend’s mom, my mom has always loved us fiercely and given to us without reservation.  I’m a spoiled brat who never fully appreciated the amount of self-sacrifice and surrender that required until recently AND I’m finally trying to learn from her.  It’s easy to give to the people who recognize you for it, but it’s a lot harder to give everything to your family when they barely even notice and then give what’s left to anyone else who needs you.  We struggled financially for much of my young life, as many young families do, but my mom worked so hard to make sure we had everything we needed.  She used all the time and resources at her disposal to make dress-up and Halloween costumes for us from scratch.  She never hesitated to give us her time and love and she still doesn’t.

I want to be like her.

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There’s never enough time.  Whether in a season of waiting or blur, in the grand scheme of things time will always go by faster than we like.  What matters is that we fill the time we do have with love.  The transitions between the lulls and the chaos are quick and if I don’t slow down and take the time to soak it all in and make room just to give love, I’m going to miss too much.  I vow, here and now, to do a better job of slowing down.  I want to not only remember our life, but really experience all of it, so I don’t miss the beauty in the crazy moments this season of life brings.

Most of all, I want to make sure my kids look back one day and remember how much love their mommy always had for them, like I do.

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