Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Carrying the changes

We have been living with J's parents for a week and a half. Our house went on the market yesterday and we are eagerly awaiting some offers so we can sell up and try to find our new home. A place that we hope to call home for many, many years to come - because I tell you, I'm not moving again anytime soon!

Levi and Nora have adjusted ok to the move. Levi displayed some anxiety as we were packing up the house and talking about moving to Grandma and Grandpa's house, but once we arrived he has been fine. Sleeping through the night in his own bed all night. Consistently. Prayers answered!! It may have something to do with the fact we are all sleeping in together in one room but I don't think he is even waking up, so I guess time will tell. I am sure that there will be some adjustment when we (some day) move into our new home but I hope it will be short lived. Nora is young enough that she is very flexible in her environment, but she is such a mama's girl that lots of people around wanting to hold her and play with her - let alone having the gall to try and put her to sleep - has been tough. She is much more sensitive than Levi and I am trying to figure out the most loving way to ease the transition for her. I see her separation anxiety too and with her still refusing a bottle we are joined at the hip much more than I would like. I am eager to be kind and yet, I am sure sure how to wean her from me just a little bit!!

My parents arrived for a visit the day we moved out so they have been staying with us at my in-laws (yes, we don't do things by half over here). We spent some days out of town which was a nice break for J and I from all the moving shenanigans and fun to show my folks some of the beautiful sights just over the mountains here in WA. The kids were hot in the crazy temps but we made use of the hotel pool and took frequent breaks in the a/c too so we all came out unscathed :)

We arrived home to Jeremy having to leave for a two day trip this week and more traveling in the weeks to come. Not that conducive to buying a house but hopefully by the time we are actually going to look at places his schedule will settle down some.

It feels heavy to try and carry the load of a mama in these seasons. I am struggling to find places for all of our stuff in a way that is not inconvenient to our beyond gracious hosts, trying to keep up with dishes and cleaning and laundry to keep the house in somewhat of an orderly state and keep my sanity (I forgot to mention the washing machine stopped working a few days ago so I have been trying to fit in laundrette runs to - so thankful that my parents just took a huge load of our dirties while the kiddos are sleeping to help out.

I'm aware that Lvi especially is in a state of adjustment and while he is doing a great job, he is also only 2 so I am trying to make life easy for him, discipline as necessary but also hold him in the midst of emotional outbursts that are simply a little guy trying to make sense of his changing world.

I haven't really had time to process the changes myself at all. I am so sad to be saying goodbye to a home that held so many firsts but at the moment I am too busy keeping up with the kids and learning what there is to do in our new but temporary neighborhood. I am not sure how long we will be here but with Nora's recently developed hatred of her car seat and my own fear of highway driving we won't be taking many trips to the west side so I want to make sure there are things to keep us busy here. I already know I will miss having a grocery store, and other shops at the bottom of the street...I guess unless we buy a house that has that too?! I enjoy learning about new places so I look forward to this piece of the puzzle even though it requires effort.

This post feels scattered, the half emptied suitcase all around me are screaming for my attention in these precious kid nap moments. [An epic addition to my daily schedule is that both kids want to take their midday naps at the same time and on a good day I get close to 2 hours of peace...a good day might happen once every week and the other days the overlapping naps mean I get 30 minutes, but I will take what I get and am working hard to get them more on the same schedule]

This is just a season. One that will pass quickly I'm sure. I want to embrace this special time with family and especially for the babies to have extra time with all their grandparents and to see all of us together sharing life. I am embracing the extra pairs of hands and hopeful that it can mean Jeremy and I can carve out some time for us. We need it.

I miss blogging. I miss this space and this community. I wanted to write. Even if it's not deep and meaningful. I long for time to think and process and share. I so badly want to find God's face in all of it, somedays it happens, others not, but I don't want to forget this time. This busy, crazy, beautiful season full of all the unknowns and endless potential. God is good all the time.

We are saying goodbye to one season, looking forward to the next and being present in the meantime all in a single breath.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Dear Nora - 6 months old

Dear Nora,

Sweet Nonnie girl, today we celebrate your half birthday. 6 whole months! In some ways it feels as though you have always been here but in others it feels like you just arrived and we are still getting to know you.

You have made it clear over and over that you are your own person. You like to be held, especially by me, and when you are tired or hungry you really let it be known that your preference is for mamas arms. It can be exhausting to feel as though I can't do anything without you, but I remind myself that this is such a short season of time and soon you will grow up and not need or want me in the same way, and then those cuddles seem even sweeter.

You are so so close to crawling it's not going to be long before things really change around here! You are so strong and lift yourself up onto your arms. You push up and then drop onto your belly and have your arms and legs waving frantically. You can turn yourself around on your tummy and you have just started to scoot backwards, I know crawling is not far away so I am appreciating every second of your less busy mobility.

You love, love, love your jumper and can finally use it without a blanket under your feet. You squeal and yell as you jump and you look at all the toys and lights. You can spin yourself around to make sure you can see everything that's going along.

You have fallen into more if a routine this past month, taking a good nap starting between 9 and 10am for about an hour and a half and then another one around 12.30 or 1pm for another hour or so and then you often get another half hour or 45 minute nap around 5pm and then go to bed between 7.30 and 8pm. You still wake once to eat at night but otherwise you sleep really well.

Your teeth are starting to come in and they have been bothering you a bunch and the drool has been tremendous! I hope they really cut soon so you can get some relief, but the one finger chewing is cute to see.

You startle easily and take some time to settle after such an assault! Even a smile or kind word in your direction can set you off if its unexpected. However, this doesn't stop you from being quite the dare devil and laughing hysterically when Daddy plays airplane with you or tickles you hard.

Food has been one of the biggest changes. You have eaten rice cereal, bananas, avocado, sweet potato and zucchini but your favourite is pears. You eat about 1Tbsp twice a day. You are starting to hold the mesh holder and are getting more skilled at getting it into your mouth, tonight I put some cold Honeydew melon which went over well, you also really enjoy your rice crackers and can get them and keep them in your mouth with ease. You are growing like a weed too and are in 6-9 month clothes, some of which are getting snug already!

I am loving your sweet personality as it is emerging and look forward to the months ahead.

You are my little snugglebug and I love you so very much,

Mama x

Monday, August 11, 2014

Dear Levi - 2 Years Old

Dear Levi,

I blinked and here we are celebrating your second birthday!! You are a joy and a delight sweet boy, you charm everyone you meet with your white blond hair, big brown eyes and cheeky grin.

Over the past year you have gone from being my baby boy to my best buddy. You talk all the time which your Daddy says you get from me, and I cant disagree. I love the simple times of chatting with you about the day or while we drive somewhere and you narrate what you see from the window and verbally process what you think we might be going to do and how the day may go. At night before bed you also love to talk all about your day. It's so special to hear the things that you remember and the events that you enjoyed - or didn't. You are your own little person and I am full to the brim with love and joy as your personality continues to develop.

You are a music lover, you and Rock and Roll Elmo, can often be found singing and dancing together. Sometimes you let Elmo have the drums or microphone, but most of the time you keep those for yourself to use. I love when you delicately play the xylophone and sing "Twinkle twinkle little star" and I really love to hear you make up songs. The other day you sang, "Riding in Grandma and Grandpa's car, brum, brum, brum" and then said, "mummy I made a song about riding in Grandma and Grandpa's car!" You were so proud of yourself! You also sing renditions of "All the single ladies" as well as "Bless the Lord O my Soul" with accompanying dance moves and clapping. You certainly enjoy a wide range of music, ha ha!

You make us laugh every day as you learn new words and phrases and try to slip them into everyday conversations. The other day at dinner you slid down the highchair and got stuck and cried out "Help! Anyone! Help!" We were all in stitches.

You are a big fan of the library and we go there often to get new books. You soon have new favourites and can recite them from memory after only a few reads.  You often ask us, "talk about this page" when you want to look in more detail at the pictures. It warms my heart when you snuggle up on my lap or at night time to listen to stories or sing songs.

You are very adventurous and would run around at the park or outside pretty much anywhere for as long as you are allowed.  You love to run and climb and recently have spent many hours swinging on the swings that Grandpa built in his backyard for you. It has been fun to watch you master certain play equipment over the past year. You are determined. You now have no fear about climbing to the top of the big slide and coming down, and you fly up the climbing wall too. You have the monkey bars in your sights but you are still a little short!

You love trucks and hammers and construction sites and have been in your element as we have renovated our bathrooms over the past few months. Grandpa let you bang nails with real hammers and you were really good at it!

You have become a big brother this year and you have certainly embraced the role. You have moments of loving a little too much but you have recently discovered that Nora is a constant and eager audience for everything you do and you do like to entertain the crowd!

You are a light in out lives little man, I'm beyond thankful that God saw fit to bring you into our family. We love you so much. Happy Second Birthday.

Love, Mama x

Here are a couple of pictures of you from your birthday party last weekend.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Boxes, boxes everywhere

Life with two babies is busy, even on the slowest of days but never ones to shy away from insanity we decided that we wanted to add moving house to our 'to do' list. This was never meant to be our forever house, we wanted to be here 3-5 years and its been 5 so it's in the plan but its no less work.

We want a place where we have a bigger backyard for the kids to play and one that can be seen from inside, Our current side yard is small and its not safe for Levi to play out alone because I can't see him. I have fantasies of a covered deck off our kitchen and a fenced backyard so he can play out on the nice days and even when its wet. In the PNW we have lots of overcast and damp days so usable outside space for those days could make a huge difference to our life :)

The dreams of a different layout which would make home an easier more workable space for us as  family, keep me motivated but packing up the house is no joke with the little ones around. The market in Seattle is great for buyers and property is flying off the shelves. This makes us hopeful that we can sell in a pretty short amount of time but the pressure to find something to buy in that time is too much so we decided to move into my in-laws so we can take our time while we look. And after this process, we are definitely looking for a forever property - I never want to move again!

We have enlisted the help of friends and family which has been making the packing process go faster but Levi has been having a tough time with all the changes and been SUPER emotional (yes, it needed the capital letters) so the days have felt very long. I am trying to give him extra grace because his world is changing and of course its unsettling but I am feeling totally at the end of myself by the time Jeremy gets home. It also means that nothing much gets done in the packing and moving department until after the kids are in bed. Still slowly but surely we are getting more in boxes ad less in cupbaords. I realized at breakfast today I had packed the toaster. Rookie mistake.\

Excited for the next week to be over, to be packed up and out of here. Ready for the new chapter to begin, for my kids to feel settled again and for an evening with my husband to be more than packing boxes.

When 'm feeling discouraged I start to redesign the kids rooms in my mind or search for new storage for our desired playroom online...silly I know but a ten minute distraction can be really motivating.

See you on the flip side - did I mention that we are throwing Levi a second birthday this weekend and that my parents fly in for a visit on Friday? I know, crazy. But life would be boring otherwise, right?!

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


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