Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Dear Nora - 9 months old (A few days late)

Sweet Nora Girl,

Typing these to you has begun to prove way more difficult since your recent obsession with the lap top now means your fingers are eager to type along with me!!

Wasn't I just typing your letter for 8 months? Boy how the days are flying by! You have filled this month with new adventures and continued to fill our lives with love and laughter. You finally cut your bottom tooth which you were working so hard on for a week or so. You love to give us big gummy grins and now its so cute to see that little white tip peeking through.I anticipate it will not be long before there are more white tips joining it, with all the drooling you are doing.

You have mastered pulling yourself up to standing on the furniture and are starting to cruise around now. Your favourite game is to pull everything off the coffee table and drop it on the floor.

You also love to dance. When you hear music your little knees start bobbing and your hands start to clap.

You have become quite skilled at climbing the stairs thanks to your Grandpa's encouragement and he even had you going backwards down them the other day! It will still be a while before we let you do either way by yourself but its fun to see you so proud of yourself.

You started swimming lessons this month and have loved it. Bathtime is still the best time of the day for you so extra, extended time in the water is a real treat. You let the instructor take you and float on your back, kicking your legs and getting water in your face without a second thought. You are a little fish like your daddy and so brave!

You love to feed yourself and your favourite thing to much is pear slices and roasted sweet potato and you are also a big fan of goat cheese. However, there is not much you won't try and over all you are a great little eater. According to the doctor at your 9 month well visit you should now be eating three meals and two snacks along with your nursing through the day/night. I feel as a second child I have often missed meal times for you to this point, but now we are on a mission to get you fed! I know you are eager to eat so I want to be better at setting a schedule for you like we had for your brother. Get ready girlie, this will mean getting your naps on some kind of predictable schedule too. Just remember that we love you.

Your sense of humor is coming out more and more as you play games; pulling blankets over your face and pulling them down again, clapping toys together, chasing your brother around to name a few. You laugh and make sure we are all watching and then give us that gummy smile we all love so much.

You are in the 93rd percentile for height and 63rd for weight and you have been wearing 12 month clothes for a few weeks already. You are so tall. Just like me. I hope we can keep up with those legs of yours and I promise never to force you into ill-fitting tights. I hated those!

You are quick to let us know your opinion and not quiet about sharing how you feel. You shout and yell when you have finished eating and want out of the high chair. I sense that patience may be something we have to foster in you, sweet one. I also hope you will pick up a few signs so that telling us you are "all done" or want "more" don't have to be do dramatic :)

I love you so much and am so enjoying watching you learn and grow, you are amazing and such a gift.

I love you, Bubba-goo

Mama x

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Yuck and laughing

When you are a mummy, being sick changes. No more snuggling in bed all day drinking tea and watching crappy tv while you doze in and out and rest your way back to health. No, when you are sick and a mummy life carries on as normal every for the fact you are more aware of your proximity to the bathroom.

This afternoon, I started to feel a little off. Nothing major, just a little chilly but I chalked it up to the fact that Seattle had had a sudden drop in temps the past few days so it's just been colder. However, as the afternoon rolled on the chills became more uncomfortable and my stomach felt off too. Oh no, I thought, this could be bad...

As I took a pretty fast decline to yucky Ville our living situation and my in laws once again proved to be a saving grace.

At around 5 pm, I just had to lie down and close my eyes. Just for 5 minutes (it turned into 25) but I knew I could stand up for one more minute and I knew is need get make it th Hough bedtime with hit it. my in laws feed the kids dinner which at that moment I couldn't stand to be near, and got them bathed and ready for bed. HUGE gift.

As I felt the grossness descendingand gathering stream and before I rested, I switched over the diaper load to the dryer, hung the diaper shells to dry overnight, put in a second load that I made a mental note to throw in the dryer later (just in case I'm not up to full steam by tomorrow, everyone will have diapers, clothes and pajamas for tomorrow) then I sorted out jammies, nighttime diapers and milk for the kiddos so I could then collapse in the couch without moving for a while. [Sidenote: I'm pretty sure that's just how mum's cope with sickness, we get everyone else sorted and then let ourselves actually feel sick!]

Nora was having a tough time settling because she's teething and she just wants to chew on me all.night.long. However, with Jeremy gone Levi had been more emotional and needy the past few days and with me being absent from some of the bed time routine I knew he may need me to settle him so I said I'd be in once Nora was sleeping. He was fine with reading stories with grandpa until then but he was waiting for me and I knew it.

So at almost 830 pm, way past bedtime, I finally managed to settle her and take over.

Levi rolled over and in the smallest voice said, "Here's a Lovey for you mummy, he night make you "seel" better". He gave me his prized possession, and my heart melted a little. He continued by saying, "I'll just have kitty for myself, he's so soft. Mummy "seel" him. Kitty doesn't have a penis, he just has a tail"

Um, what?!!

Cue me trying not to move us out of this sleepy moment by laughing loudly but making the bed shake by suppressing it! Holy smokes!

I just love this boy and his curiosity for the world. Even though I feel like junk, I'm so thankful to have family who can help and so very thankful that I have kiddos that love me enough to power through with me on my rough days, forgive me my failures and make me laugh, hysterically all the time.

Hoping these yucky feelings are short-lived and that I keep any germs to myself.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Monday, Monday

It's been a while since I posted. Not much has happened, and yet so much has at the same time.

We found a house, put in an offer, ended up going back and forth and ultimately just didn't feel a peace to move forward. The house had a lot of the things we wanted but not everything and something was holding us back from signing on the dotted line.

The house had been on the market for months, and it just day there again shirt we had kind of walked away but not really. Having it on the back burner was exhausting and stressful, I needed to move on, draw the line and open my mind to something new. So I put out a fleece for God; that the house would go pending or be taken off the market before the weekend. If it was still there we would bite the bullet and say, yes.

The next day it went pending.

So we are back at square one. No prospects. Heading into a new season of the year, the holidays are just around the corner and the year is flying by. I confess, as much as I'm thankful that God answered, I'm also finding it hard not to be disappointed that we seem so far from our end point again. I trust that God had a different place in mind and that once we find it we will know why but it's a choice every day to find that trust and choose to move out of my pity party, and on to the possibilities that lay ahead.

The day to day has started to find it's own rhythm too. We are adjusting to life here on the east side :) We commute to some activities and some playdates close to where we used to live and hope to again soon, but it's about 40 minutes in the car and with naps to coordinate it doesn't really make sense for us to do it more than a couple of days a week so we pick our outings wisely.

We are embracing activities in our new community; story/song times at the local library, swim lessons at a local pool, the neighborhood playgrounds with new local friends, to name a few.

It's less than ideal. I see the children feeling unsettled, and all of us sleeping in one room is certainly not a situation which results in good sleep consistently for anyone, but we are making the most of it.

Kids are amazing. Resilient. Even in the temporary nature of this situation they are growing and changing every day. Nora's cutting teeth, learning to clap, standing by herself and finding her voice. Levi is growing in his understanding of the world, testing boundaries, building towers, loving all things trucks, and never walking when he can run.

Life goes on as we wait. Good is good all the time.

Monday, October 20, 2014

One child left behind

I am typing this from our hotel room in Half Moon Bay, California. Jeremy has a conference for work and Nora and I tagged along to enjoy some California sunshine. We left Levi with Jeremy's parents. We actually brought Levi to the same conference when he was only a few months old and it was in Florida, it was his first plane ride too.

When we were planning this trip I hadn't given too much thought to the part where I would wave goodbye to my boy and then not see him for three days! I was a mess in the car as we drove to the airport.

This morning, waking up and caring for Nora as I get ready for the day, I am missing him terribly. Its hard to enjoy the peace when it just feels too quiet. Nora is taking her first nap, and usually this is the time I finish getting ready myself and then have some delightful minutes with Levi, just him and I. We play trains or read books or color and its just a beautiful time to give him some one on one attention. Instead, today I am sitting, blogging, and missing him!

I know he will be having a great time with his grandparents. They have some really fun things planned and I am sure he will hardly know we are missing, but still.

The hotel here is so pretty. Its set up on the top of the cliffs looking out over the water. It has a beautiful patio area with cairns and outdoor couches to sit and sip on a cocktail as you look out at the ocean. Its amazing. Shame Jeremy has to be at the pesky conference, but I am glad we had most of the afternoon yesterday to enjoy it together before he had anything to attend.

It is always nice to have a break from the normal routine. And this is no different, especially as we have some big decisions to make regarding our house and a possible purchase soon. It feels like a positive thing to come away and have time and space to think. I hope we will return with a decision.

Life in a new house will mean finding a new normal, new routines, a new way of being as a family and especially for me of being with the kids alone again during the day. I have so appreciated Jeremy's parents help and extra hands during the day. Settling Nora for a nap, or taking one of the kids to an activity without having to so much prearranging is such a gift. I know we will find our way again, but it will be an adjustment for all of us. I confess I am slightly intimidated to solo parent into he day again. Before Nora was so much younger and did so much less, I suppose the same can be said for Levi too. They have both grown so much in the past few months.

Fitting everything that I need to into the day is a challenge and a giant balancing act but I am hopeful with some intentional planning I CAN figure it out without too many growing pains :) I just read a really interesting article by Bible Study Fellowship about introducing the concept of quiet times to you r kids, and the suggestion was that you took time in the day to do a quiet time, read your Bible, and so it in a way that encourages you kids to be quiet too and respect that its an important part of your day. For some reason the idea of doing my quiet time with my kids around was totally new to me. I think it could be a great piece to fit into our daily routine. First thing in the morning might not work but I can think of a few time slots that it really could be great. Plus. I know my days would go more smoothly with an injection of Jesus!

I feel as though this post is a little scrambled. I don't often have long periods of quiet to think and clearly there are many things on my mind, all mixing together. The most overriding one though is that I miss my biggest baby. I think I am going to sign off and call him :)

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Dear Nora - 8 months old (10/14)

Dear Nora,

This is a couple of days, late please forgive me. Life is a little crazy right now. We are still living with your Grandma and Grandpa while we look for a house. I am sorry that you haven't had your own room or your own space to learn to sleep and nap better because I think it would make you a bit happier during the day.

You have become a terrible napper. You can go whole days with just a few cat naps and then still not sleep great at night. Most often you take a nap of some description - between 20 minutes and an hour and a half, most commonly the shorter - in the morning around 9am and another one around 1pm. After that you fight it a bunch, and sometimes are just beside yourself by dinner time, unable to keep your eyes open to eat and taking an inappropriate nap at 5pm. Even then you go down pretty easily at night but then you are up a bunch and spend most of it in our bed just so we can get some sleep! I am beyond ready for you to figure that out but I am here to hold you and rock you and give you your pacifier until that day.

We don't have our baby gates here, but boy we need them! You are an expert crawler, getting where you want to be in a matter of seconds. You love to pull yourself to standing and then sit back down, over and over. You are getting braver, standing without holding on the furniture and when you have hands to hold you have started taking steps. It's so cute because you are so tiny!! Not content with that you have also mastered the stairs. You went into the hallway and your Grandpa said, "maybe in a month or two you can figure out how to do the" to which you responded by climbing up the whole flight without looking back.

You love to play with paper of any description and bat it around waving it wildly and laughing. Your favourite thing is the bath, you crawl into the bathroom as soon as you hear the water running and pull up to standing at the side of the bath, banging your hands on the edge in excitement. You and Levi take a bath together most nights and hands down it is your favourite time of each day. You splash and squeal and are not put off by water in your eyes or on your face, you just smile and smile.

Just in the past few days you have found your voice and started to really string sounds together, "ba ba" and "bub bub". Its so cute!! I am eager to hear that "ma ma" :) Even without words, you certainly make your opinion known; yelling loudly when you want to eat if you are sitting in the highchair, or screaming to let us know you are frustrated you can't get to something you want, or that your brother has taken a toy you were playing with and you'd like it back. You share your opinion freely and loudly throughout the day. You certainly are not as laid back as. We had imagined even your first few sleepy month soft life,  but I am glad that you let us know what you need.

You are such a goof ball too, making the funniest faces, scrunching up your face and snorting air our of your nose, or opening your gummy mouth (still no teeth to speak of) super wide and laughing. I love to see you start to find things so funny. I think you are going to have a fabulous sense of humor.

You are eating like a champ and you love your food. You pretty much eat all the pureed fruits and veggies offered even though its easy to see you have a sweet tooth, and now love to chomp on pieces of toast or scrambled eggs at breakfast time and hold slices of pear or banana and chew them. You are a master at getting the little puffs and yogurt drops in your mouth too.

You like to play the fake cough game, where you cough to get someone's attention and then if they cough back you reply, over and over.

You love music and often bounce along to your music toys or a cd. You have pretty good rhythm for a baby, little one. You just love to stand at your musical activity table or the little piano and make it make the music so you can dance!

Bubba Goo, your sweet kisses and the way you try to gnaw on my nose, melt my heart. I love you so much!

Happy 8 months, even though it's a little late I don't love you any less (pictures to be added shortly!)

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Being all here with one foot in the future

It's October already. In fact it's the middle of October. This year is flying. It will be Halloween, and Thanksgiving and even Christmas before we know it! Life with a baby and a toddler is crazy and unpredictable. Days have moments of delight and frustration in equal measure and I am trying to take time to take a deep breath and savor each day.

We are still living with my in-laws as we search for a new house. Its been a couple of months already and we are tired but trying to stay patient. We trust there is a home out there for us, at a price we are willing and able to afford so we remain prayerful about the whole situation.

Living about a 30 minute drive from where we used to has been challenging. I think it has been that way for me especially. I had established a wonderful community and filled our days with play-dates and fun activities but here I don't know anyone and I don't know the places to go or the things to do.  I had become pretty sad about the things I was missing and mourning the people we were not able to see on a regular basis at the moment.

Then one day last week I had a moment. A reminder from the Lord that this is the place we are at and it's not a mistake. Jeremiah 29:4 talks about planting gardens where you are, not waiting for the future to live. It's a verse that has guided me to be present in my circumstances on more than one occasion and again it worked to change my attitude.

I started engaging the other moms at the local park - we see the same families there every time we go and while I had chit-chatted I had kept my distance not really wanting to invest any time in new friendships. I opened up and as I did I found that they were really nice as a bonus were a fantastic resource for kid-friendly activities. I also spent some time googling and found a great farm/pumpkin patch that we went and explored last Wednesday and LOVED, it was a beautiful day and the kids had a blast. I have also found a few more things I want to try out in the coming weeks.

I found local swim lessons for Levi which would be for the month of November - I will wait to book these until we know for sure that we will be here, but it seems highly likely! Suddenly I am feeling as though there is not enough time to explore everything we want to before we get busy with a new house!

Levi turned 26 months yesterday and is certainly finding his toddler voice - it says "no" a lot - but most of the time he is a funny, inquisitive little man. He loves playing hide and seek and is even starting to understand how to play which is nice :) His imaginative play is remarkable and I truly cherish hearing his little voice play voices of his stuffed animals and to be let into his world in this way. He makes us laugh all the time and is generally a very happy little guy. He still takes a 1.5 - 2 hour nap in the afternoon and goes down around 8.30pm for the night. When he is awake he is full on energy. He still loves to be outside and could happily play at the park all day.

We are living as best we can in this time of transition. Jeremy and I have (finally) found our stride after a few rocky weeks and the kids are doing great all things considered. So for today we are embracing the beautiful things that we get to experience here. Watching the children and their grandparents is so special and Levi especially is having the time of his life with his best buddy, Grandpa and Nora is getting so comfortable with them its really sweet to see. She is such a mummy's girl and at night no one else will do - and she will loudly and dramatically let you know this is her opinion. This has felt very waring and I am ready to move through this time so I can leave the house in the evening without worry or guilt for the craziness I have left behind.

With all the happy things and all challenges, life overall is good. Very good. And while our future is exciting, for today we find peace and choose to see blessings where we are.

[Here are the kids at the pumpkin patch. So sweet!]

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

My plans, their needs, and God's grace

I just formally dropped my class. After just 48 hours of trying to balance being a student on top of a wife, a mom to 2 little ones and being displaced as we house hunt it was easy to see something had to give and it was a toss up between the class and my sanity because I wasn't prepared to let it be any of the other things.

I am not a quitter by nature. When things get tough I usually buckle down and persevere so it's hard to give myself s break when it comes to this decision but I feel such a sense of relief and peace since it was made that I trust it's the right thing.

Levi is 2, busy and raring to go always but needing my attention to keep a sense of normal in his unstable living situation. All the talk of impending change that he is exposed to impacts him and he enjoys routine which takes energy. He is pushing boundaries as every good 2 year old does and needs intentional one on one time as well as consistent discipline and consequences to his actions. It's exhausting to parent a toddler well but I enjoy my time with him so very much as I hear his little mind process the world. I don't want to miss it.

Nora at 7 months is moving and crawling and pulling up on furniture already. She is growing like a weed, needing to eat all the time. She is adjusting to sleeping in her crib after having co slept for most of her life to this point. With all of us sleeping on one room we have not been able to let her figure it out in the crib when she wakes up because she is LOUD when she is mad and we don't want her to wake Levi. She needs consistency. She needs to feel safe and it will take time and routine for her too. Talking about her feisty-ness, she is a mama's girl. During the day she can spend time with other people, take bottles and even settle to naps for her Grandpa or her Grandad , but in the evening she wants me. This made homework in the evening impossible, and really that is the only time that I would have consistently. 

The past two nights with poor Daddy trying to get Nora back to sleep while she yells at him and screams like shes dying have not been fun. I am not saying this is a healthy pattern, but its one that will take thought and time to change. Not easy to stay calm and make such plans with assignments for school due and the pressure that comes with that weighing on me.

There are story times at the library, swim lessons, MOPS, playdates, Levi potty training and asking constantly if I can play trains with him, plus Nora starting to pull herself up and take little steps as you hold her hands. They are both growing and changing so fast and there is so much I want to do with them. I don't want to miss it.

Plus, time with Jeremy is scarce as it is and spending precious time and energy solving linear equations felt ridiculous when my hubby was sitting next to me on the couch after I hadn't seen him all day but I still couldn't just catch up and hang out.

Last night I was in tears carrying the weight of all I had on my list. I felt like I couldn't do the things I wanted to do because I had to do school work which I felt obliged to do. Don't get me wrong, I want to finish school. I would love to get my AA and even a higher degree someday but its never been something I have particularly felt God point me towards. I believe he blessed my decision and used it for good, but as I poured out my heart last night I felt him say that I had the freedom to drop the class and come back to school things later, maybe much later. I hate leaving things unfinished but I had such a peace that this was the right and the best thing for our family.

Jeremy left for a work trip this morning and we snuck out kidfree this morning for coffee while his parents did breakfast duty at home. We talked more and decided I would pull out of the class today so I can be present for the kids and all the life things we have going on.

So I did it. I dropped the class and then I spent the morning playing with the kids. It was so much fun. I think the weight of this class has been looming over me for much longer than I realised. I suddenly felt free to make plans. To be excited abut pumpkin patches and making photo books from our vacation and decorating a new house (someday, if we ever find one) and to think about cooking delicious meals in my favourite season of the year - instead of having a heart to do these things but a sense of stress to how to fit them in or sorrow as I resigned myself to the fact that I wouldn't have time for them.

As I type this I am feeling more and more joy and peace. Sometimes it's truly about realising own limitations and recognising what we can and can't do. I can called to be a wife and mother and I am embracing the freedom to do those tasks well!!

 I'm off to pin on pinterest for a dream playroom now while the babies are napping!!

[But seriously, who wouldn't want to hang out with these goobers if they had a choice?!]


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