Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Bad back. Good life.

In the early hours of Monday morning when I was nursing Nora is a slightly strange position I tweaked my back; a pinched nerve or something that made my back spasm and my arm and hard get pins and needles. I managed to rouse J without waking up Levi who was between us, and he was able to get me into a position to feed Nora before she was too desperate and noisy -  she is sooo easy going! However, the following hours were painful and it was clear I was not going to be able to lift the kids so taking care of them on my own was not possible. My fabulous in-laws were able to come and save the day by hanging out with the kids and I until J got home from work so that I could rest and didn't have to lift the babies. It meant I had a slower day than usual and I had time to take a step back and ponder life.

And I realised how far we have come. How far I have come.

The insanity of two babies in 18 months is still a daily reality for our family but the fog has well and truly lifted. The good days far outweigh the rough ones now. I take the kids by myself to the playground, the spray park and to playdates with barely a second thought. I feel confident in my ability to meet the needs of both of my children and trust that my instincts will give me what I need to be a good mum.

I am incredibly blessed to have such a strong community of friends who continue to rally around me and hold Nora or watch Levi while we are together so I don't feel so frazzled. I am learning again and again that it's ok to ask for help and to accept it when it's offered. I see when I am lacking and how beautifully and graciously these women step in, often without a word, just when my anxiety is rising. [Thank you from the bottom of my heart if you are reading this and you know I am talking about you]

I want to remember so many of the details of life night now; I want to stop the clock and just bottle it;

How Levi's favourite foods right now are cucumber and pickled beets and he can't get enough of them.

How Nora grabs at my shirt with one hand and strokes my back with the other as she nurses.

How Levi always declares, "Mummy's pretty" if I put on a dress. Including my night dress.

How Nora was obsessed with swiping at and grabbing our name tag stickers in church but how shocked and disgusted she was when they got stuck to her hands!

How Levi mixed up some of the things we had been talking about through the day to say with confidence, "Salt and Pepper make purple" (Colour mixing and pairs that go together)

Those are just to name a few.

I live a beautiful and messy life. My kids are beautiful and my house is messy - see what I did there?! ha ha! Seriously, I am learning. I am a work in progress.

As our Pastor talked about on Sunday, I need to fight against the resistance in my life to get from the place I am to get to the place I want to be. I have a renewed sense of purpose. A goal to reach. Multiple goals actually; a husband to love and make time for, 2 babies to love and care for daily, relationships to invest in and 20lbs to lose. But busyness and fear are the things allowing me to resist the changes I need to make these the priorities I desire them to be.

Seeing this with new eyes gives me hope for change. Hope that these days are just the continuation of the beauty of life unfolding.

I feel so blessed. Life is good.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Dear Nora - Five Months Old

Dear Nora

Sissy Poo,
Noo noo
Missy Moo,
Missy May,
Spitty Cent, (yes, I am particularly proud of this one)
Toots Mcghee,

This month has been such a busy one for you,. It has been a joy to see you growing up; mastering new skills and changing before our very eyes.

The biggest change this month is your rolling. You are so quick now to flip yourself from your back to your belly that changing your bum is much more of a challenge! You enjoy being on your belly for the most part, lifting your head so well and looking around pushing up on your arms and looking like you could crawl any second - I hope you save that milestone for a while longer though. You are not such a pro at rolling back though so at night you are waking yourself up because you have flipped over but don't want to sleep on you front. When you cry out, Daddy and I take turns flipping you back and replacing your pacifier. Speaking of, your pink elephant pacifier (Ela Phantagne) is a trusted companion still. You pull on her legs and squeeze them to comfort yourself when you are sleepy.

Just a few days ago your top front tooth cut. It's still too far up to see anything but at least it makes the drooling make sense! You have been so drooly and drippy! I guess we know why now.

You have grown so much that you are too big for your bassinet and we have moved you into the pack and play at the foot of our bed. I cannot wait to decorate a room and make a space for you of your very own but we are hoping to move soon and want to wait until we are in our new house to do that. You will get a real crib at that point, I promise, but I will certainly miss having you so close. You are such a snuggle bug and I confess after your first feed at night I still usually keep you in bed with us. I have especially dne this recently with your wee hours of the night constant feeding//chewing :) Again, your tooth appearing makes more sense of this too.

Your laugh is so stinkin' cute,  I can hardly handle it. You giggle the most when Daddy is blowing raspberries on your belly and your giggles often turn to gurgles which is too much. You always grab hold of our hair when we blow on your belly and you think that's pretty funny too!

You are a pro at grabbing for your toys and can successfully get your pacifier in your mouth with minimal effort now. Your other toys take a bashing as you swipe at them and your little feet kick, kick, kick as you get excited.

You have really found your voice this month, cooing and chatting and getting louder and louder. You can certainly demand attention and you like to save your loudest squeals for when we are out to dinner somewhere. Perhaps you are just wanting to join in with all the hubbub. Whatever the reason, I sure love to hear you.

You are so eager to watch Levi playing and are so quick to forgive his efforts to over love you. You are his biggest fan, and he thinks you are fab too. First thing in the morning when he comes into our room, his first question is always about where you are. I know you want to be playing with him and getting into everything just like he does. I pray that you will be the best of friends in the years ahead.

You make us laugh with how far you strain your neck to catch a glimpse of the TV if its on. Levi watches a show or two as he is waking up after nap and I have to put you somewhere that you cannot see the screen or block you. You are determined and get frustrated when we turn you away from facing it! I like that you have some spice about you, baby girl. You know what you want and what you like and are good at letting us know :)

Love you so much my sweet snuggly girl, looking forward to all that's ahead.

Mama x

Friday, July 11, 2014

Dear Levi - Twenty three months old

Holy smokes Kiddo, you are one month away from your second birthday. Crazy.

You are such a ball of energy Mr.Man. You continue to struggle to sleep whole nights in your big boy bed, but have started to more routinely come into our room around 5.30am just needing some extra snuggles to get you to sleep for another hour and a half or so. Once you are awake you will abruptly shove your Dad and in the sleepiest voice ever say, "Milk please Daddy" Indicating your desire for your morning cup of milk. (You still have 4 big cups of milk each day - not sure if/when we should we will be having to cut that back, it certainly doesn't seem to affect your appetite). I'm not sure how this became Daddy's job but I don't mind :) Then you sit propped up on the pillow and drink while you wake up. You usually have the greatest bedhead and you are simply delicious at this time of day. As Daddy gets ready for work you and I often read some books in bed and have a slow start to the day.

However once you are up you are up. Full steam ahead.

You love, love, love the park and being outside. You are brave and love to climb on playground equipment. You enjoying running with a ball across the fields and kicking balls into any soccer goals you come across.

Your language continue to develop at a pace that astounds us. You are now more consistency referring to yourself as "I" rather than "Levi." It makes me a little sad. You are also trying to figure out tenses in speech. Yesterday we had this conversation,

"Look at that mummy, I catched it"
"Good job Bud, You caught it! Do you want me to throw it so you can catch it again"
"No, I want to caught it again"

Ha ha! You are certainly good at sharing your opinions and requests.

Your role play has just gone crazy too. You get your card and your wallet and head off in your car to the store. When I asked you the other day what you were going to get you said, "peanuts and crackerjacks" Your love of baseball influences every area of life :)

You are constantly making us cups of tea and coffee in your stacking cups and have started using the rings of you sorter as lids. But you often knock the cups over "by accident" and loudly declare, "Oh no, the coffee spilled EVERYWHERE!"

More and more we are reminded that you are aware of the conversations we are having. Last night at dinner we were talking about how and when we might want to start helping you learn to read and learn letters when you piped up, "L.E.V.I" We asked what does that spell? And you say proudly, "Levi!" and then start singing the alphabet song. You are a sponge. Every time we write your name we say the letters out loud and recently we bought you a set of train cars that are the letters of your name so you have heard it and can parrot it but then to go into the alphabet song shows that you understand that letters are in the alphabet. Of course, you don't really understand the letters you are singing but I hope/fear it won't be long!

As you experience the  world your understanding can sometimes be so funny. I will never forget the disappointment on your face after I told your daddy I was just going to "jump" in the shower. You poked around the shower door and said, "Hi mummy" and then when you realised I was not jumping at all and you were very vocal about how sad this made you. You certainly love to jump. We went to the local gymnastics gymnasium for their free gym time the other day and you just had the best time climbing and jumping on everything. I think we will be back!! Your bed is another plave you love to jump - with an audience specially!

You continue to love recycle trucks, and construction trucks of every kind. You love sports and balls and running.

Below is a picture of you in the sand pit from earlier this week with the dump truck. You were happily playing and digging and pushing it for ages. Until you had to share it with another little boy. Sharing is certainly not easy for you and you can be handsy when you get frustrated, angry or protective over a toy. Its a tough lesson to learn, but we continue to guide and discipline you as you work through this stage. Poor Nora can sometimes bear the brunt of this behaviour but most of the time you are just wanting to hug and kiss her, roll with her (often ending on her) and have her watch you when you are doing something special. She is your biggest fan and forgives quickly.

I could say so much more, I know there is a lot of stories I am already forgetting. You are growing and changing so much. As much as you are enjoying the word "no" (that 'no no' bird likes to hang out around you a lot these days) you are the cutest and sweetest and snuggliest little guy too. You drive me nuts, you melt my heart and you make me cry with laughter. I wouldn't change you for the world my little man.

Love you,
Mama xx

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Parenting in between the raindrops

Last night I worked on the ecliptical that has been collecting dust in our garage since Nora was conceived. It felt so good and it seemed to spur me on to a good can-do attitude this morning.
The sun was shining through the kitchen  window as Levi helped me make us a smoothie for breakfast but I had heard the weather report was for scattered showers so I knew the sun would be gone soon.
Once everyone was fed I gathered up a stupid amount of stuff 'just incase' packed the kids in the car and headed to our local park. We usually walk but with the weather being what it was I didn't want to get caught in a shower. Levi took some convincing that we were actually going to the park when he was being packed into his car seat, but somehow I persuaded him to let me do up his buckle and we headed out.
Nora has been consistently sleeping for a few hours in the morning so I anticipated being able to be hands on with Levi. Of course she decided to be on the 10 minute cat nap program so it was a more stressful than I had expected but we managed to have fun.
I had taken a towel to wipe off all the equipment which was soaked from the nights rainstorm (a few mummy points, right?) Levi had a blast "runnin and jumpin" his new favourite past time.
I managed to pacify Nora enough to feel lime I wasn't a terrible parent for bring her out on this somewhat blustery day.
Then our friends met us to play at the park for a little while too. Levi loved having friends to play with and his squeals and laughter were balm to my stress filled heart. 
We managed an hour of outside time before the heavens opened. Thankfully we were already getting in the car so no one got too wet. That's the fun of living where we do.
The guilt of putting Levi's needs ahead of Nora's is still heavy on my heart. She took a while to finally settle and is sleeping hard now as I type. Hoping to get some good playtime in with her once she wakes up.
After lunch and a clean bum (for Levi!), Levi and I went up to his room, read a couple of stories, sang a few songs. I had to go and respond to Nora who had woken up crying, so I left Levi and he managed to put himself to sleep! Small victories.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

About to get crazy

We have finally settled into some sort of routine as a family of 4. I am still careful about the tings I commit to  when I have the babies by myself, but am getting more and more confident as the months go by and the kids get bigger. So of course, moving house is the next thing we are going to tackle?! What:?!

I know, I know, maybe it's not the best timing but honestly, we have never done things in an order or in a timeline that seems practical so it's in keeping with our family tradition, I guess!

Personally, I am looking forward to finding a new forever" home, with a back yard that we can use so Levi can be outside to his heart's content and I can empty my living room of some of the bigger toys and some of his fleet of vehicles. I am excited to find the space our kids will remember as the place they grew up, and the rooms they will remember as their own.

In the same thought, I get so sad about the reality of leaving this house. The place where we came home to as a married couple, the place we brought our babies home to and all the memories in between. Every room holds such wonderful memories of times shared with friends and family and I will be so sad to leave, even though we are prayerfully anticipating something that works better with us. Especially because in this market we will be selling and leaving to somewhere temporary before we (God willing) find something new. That's a daunting prospect. That and the packing. Ugh, the packing!! Good grief, even the thoguth of that fills me with dread.

I am trying to have a good attitude about it and see it as a possibility to de-clutter. I refuse to take junk with us. If we haven't used it since we have been in this house, its gone. All those unpacked boxes in the attic are toast. Plus just the clutter that accumulates, I am so, so determined not to fill our new space like we have this time.

We are finishing off our bathroom remodel and then it's go. go. go!!

Pray for us! :)

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Dear Nora - Four months old


You are getting so big! Growing and changing every day. You are a delight.

You have started drooling like a champ, I have never seen anyone get their shirt wet all the way down to their belly button before but you manage it with ease most days. I think we might start to see some teeth making an appearance soon. You just love when I rub your gums with my finger and your eyes kinda glaze over  as a big smile appears on you face :)

You are desperate to roll! You don't really love tummy time at the moment and you usually spit up when we do it, but when you lay on your back under your playgym you are starting to really want to flip yourself over.

You have started talking so much this month, cooing and gurgling and shouting, its a joy to hear. Even though that too can seem to make you spit up. All those throat muscles don't quite understand what you are making them do.

You and Levi have started really loving on each other too. You smile and talk for him more easily than anyone else. When he is in the room your bright eyes follow his every move and when he snuggles you or kisses you you just smile and coo. It warms my heart to see.

You have grown so much. Weighing in at your appointment yesterday at 14lbs exactly (50%) and in the 90% for height. You are well and truly into size 3-6 months now and even some of them are a bit snug so we have pulled out some 6 month clothes too.

You are still a great sleeper. We have started putting you down to bed between 7 and 8pm but I am thinking we might need to make it earlier. You wake a couple of time at night ti nurse once around 1am and then again at around 4 or 5am before waking around 7am for the day. However, with your brother disturbing your sleep sometimes its more frequent. You are outgrowing your bassinet too and soon we will ahev to transfer you to a pack and play while we figure out a permanent space.

You are still very ticklish and you laugh and laugh, it's so cute and especially when it makes you gurgle. You make yourself laugh a lot when you are on your playmat, kicking your feet and batting at the dangling toys until you find one you can get into your mouth which makes you even more excited.

Love you snuggle bug,

Mama x

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Dear Levi - twenty two months old

Sweet Levi Rhys,

Every month you change so much it's hard to keep up!

This month you have been trying to figure out if you want to be a big boy or a baby. For the most part, with your "big boy bed" and your increasing need to be independent you refer to yourself as a "big boy". Its pretty adorable even when it is your remark to let us know you want to do something by yourself; drinking from a glass or cup with no lid, putting on shoes, helping make dinner, riding your bike etc. Other times you still want to be the baby; every time you fall you will lay there saying "mummy pick up Levi" and refusing to get up yourself for accept help from anyone else, or times when you want to be carried. The times when I am holding Nora and I manage to haul you onto my other hip you look at me with the biggest smile and exclaim "two babies!"

I am sure it is confusing to find your place, your whole world changed when your little sister arrived and you have truly done a remarkable job adjusting. You are my big boy and my baby. You can be both.

You still struggle to stay in your bed through the night and most nights you end up in with us. You make yourself quite comfortable I must say, which means your Dad and I don't/ We are strategising to come up with a plan to teach you to stay put but its hard when we know this is a transition that is a big deal for such a young kid such as you are. At the moment we lay with you at nap time and bed time until you fall asleep. You usually still ask us to "rub the back" while we lay and usually we oblige - its a tough life :)

You are so funny, and have a great sense of humor. You are starting to find more and more things that make you laugh without any encouragement from us. The other day we discovered a new episode of Kipper on the On Demand section of our cable TV and it has him riding a bike - see below - so you wanted to watch it and at one point he puts on too much oil and the handle bars pull out and you cracked up laughing. We have watched it since and you laughed at the same part. I am not sure what you find so hilarious but I find your laughter so precious. I love to see your face light up.

You LOVE to ride your little balance bike. Your helmet perched on your head and off you go. Daddy used to hold you but now you tell him you are a big boy and you want to do it without his help. You are starting to steer with the handle bars and even life your feet to cruise a little every now and then. Its been fun to watch you discover this new ability and see how the extra inches you seem to have grown in the past couple of months have given you more ability in this area. Your have such determination when you want to do something and I am so proud of you!

Your emotions still sometimes get the best of you and we have been giving bats and balls time outs as you misuse them. You understand the rules but I can see certain things being too tempting in the moment. Sharing and turn taking continues to be an area you struggle as do all your friends of the same age. Sometimes, especially if its throwing and catching, or kicking a ball back and forward you can be enticed into a game but it can be a challenge.

You have taken to picking me flowers when you are at the park or pass by a patch of grass with daisys and dandilions, I get so many bouquets now! What a lucky mama I am!

Your imagination has just exploded this past month and your role play has become common practice around here. I love how you lift up your shirt and pretend to nurse your lovey, or how you are constantly making us cups of tea and coffee in your stacking cups (someone get this half British kid a tea set, STAT!) I love that you "go shopping" or go to work, taking your tools with you of course :) I am pretty sure that you think that's what Daddy does all day because he says he's 'going to work' when he leaves in the morning and then on the weekends he lets you "work" with him remodelling the bathroom.

You are hard work sweet child of mine but work every minute of it. I love you so much.

Love Mama x


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