Friday, December 19, 2014

When you sleep dear babies...

I feel very grateful to have had more time to blog in the past few days than in the past month or two. It's good for me. It helps me process and gain perspective. This is Jeremy's last day of work before the Christmas break and I am so looking forward to family time as well as the opportunity to sneak off for some me time and finally getting to finish some projects that have been simmering on the back burner for way too long, not to mention getting my hair cut so I can stop this Rapunzel impression!

I have to be careful that I don't over schedule the time we have and end up more tired and flustered than usual but I also don't want to have it pass by without having done anything. Tonight, while we begin wrapping presents, we are going to work on a list of things we want to do as a family as well as a few things each of us wants to do individually so we have at least something to aim for and a way to manage expectations during this Christmas break.

I am starting to see the light in regards to the kids taking longer naps. It is just so amazing what I can get done if they sleep well.

During Nora's morning nap (she woke after 30 mins but quickly went back after a few mins of rocking and slept almost another hour) I felt as though I accomplished SO much!

I sorted and put on laundry, I made mince pies, I wrote the final Christmas cards, I finished putting together some Christmas presents from the kids that we'd been working on, I caught up on email and I even had something to eat and got dressed and put on makeup...seriously, what did I do with all my time before I had kids?! I certainly was never this efficient. It feels so good!!

I mentioned wrapping presents. This is slightly daunting to me. I do most of our shopping for the holidays and I do a good job of shopping for friends and family in the UK and getting things packed up and sent out to arrive before Christmas but that kind of feels like it steals my momentum for the rest of the season! I have boxes of packages, numerous bags all full of lovely gifts which need to be wrapped and given out or put under the tree. I'm even helping Santa wrap his presents this year so I have a lot still to do. I am going to enlist Jeremy's help but I don't want him digging around int here and discovering his presents so it will have to be closely monitored helping!

In the good old days, we would make mulled wine, put on Christmas music and wrap presents in front of the fire. This year we will do it as quietly as humanly possible so as not to wake the kids and just aim to finish as fast as we can! We will save the drinking for once we are done :)

Not being in our own space this year has been tough on this Christmas loving gal. I have tried to keep some traditions and of course, with the children being so young we are still figuring out what those are anyway, but it's still not the same. I am eager to make Christmas a magical day for the children, and for us as we celebrate this wonderful holiday with Nora for the first time!

Having some quiet time during that day while they nap has more simply meant time for me to think. To plan, to dream, to pray, to read. Not lots of each, but some and more than I have managed in a long time. It makes me a better person, and in turn a better mummy and a better wife. 

I just hope they nap well on Christmas day so we can all accomplish a good nap too :)

Only 6 more sleeps...eeek!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

sibling struggles and sleep woes

Some days, like today, I am able to tell within the first ten minutes of being awake that it's going to be a doozy. I swear, some days Levi wakes up determined to kick/push/sit on/ snatch toys away from and generally be mean to Nora. It is interspersed with sweet acts of kindness and even some genuine repentance but his impulse control is out of whack and he just can't seem to help himself.

On days such as this I hear that booming voice in my head confirming what an awful parent I am that I have no control over my toddler and honestly, in some ways I feel like that voice is right. I feel at a loss some times about how to parent, how to discipline, which method to follow and struggling to be consistent while I am trying to figure out what works is exhausting. Not to mention in the moment, I am comforting a sad baby girl and in the few minutes that often takes, Levi has forgotten the whole incident and is asking for a snack. I would relish the luxury to have a couple of hours with Jeremy and some parenting books or better some parents we trust to bounce ideas around, but in the moment I feel very alone and like I am failing miserably.

Add to the chaos a baby girl who is offended by the very idea of sleeping anywhere but in your arms and it only adds to the dooziness!! I am not against rocking babies to sleep, I did it for the first year and a half with Levi and it was a sweet bonding time so I am truly not against it if it worked but she doesn't transfer the way he used to after succumbing to sleep and so she pops right back up out of what seemed to be a dead sleep only now the edge is off her tiredness and she's far from wanting to go back. Today after a long while of trying to settle her, which included a poopy diaper change to only add to the problem, I decided enough was enough. Levi was sleeping and I had things I wanted to accomplish so I set her gently in the pack and play; clean diaper, full tummy, pacifier in mouth. She didn't appreciate my effort. She stood and yelled and screamed like I was pinching her. I went back every few minutes to remind her I loved her, that she could do this, and to lay her down but it didn't matter. She was not going to sleep. She was determined to stand and scream until she was rescued. After some time of this, she woke Levi, who was in the other room with a closed door and a noise maker on, and he was sobbing "Mummy, can you help her please?" Poor kid.  Poor baby. Poor me!

I got her up and she lasted another few hours before I tried to rock her again at which time she feel right to sleep and stayed that way when I put her in her crib. It was a short 30 minute nap, which I am sure she was not ready to wake up from but shes not learned to re-settle herself so she was up. Not terrible because it was almost time for dinner but still. I thought naps were supposed to leave you feeling refreshed?!

The weight of her not sleeping and the reality that our own space might be necessary for any real progress to be made is heavy on me. I want to be helping her but today I wasn't helping anyone. She is just the loudest baby I have ever met so we might have to put her in the garden if we anticipate more such antics and don't want her to wake Levi up! Just kidding - of course I would never put her in the garden but you get the idea. Even in our space, we have a situation that will need thought and attention and I feel empty of any time or energy to do any thinking about any sort of strategy!

This morning, Levi, Nora and I went to the library and to visit some reindeer that have moved in down the road for the holiday season. It was such a sweet time. A break from the crazy and the heavy. Time alone with the kiddos to just be and play and watch them experience the world. It was amazing. And its moments like that that can make the rest of it manageable. It encourages me that I can have happy times with the children and that we can laugh together. I know these early years with little ones can feel like the trenches some days and I certainly understand that but I am eager on days such as today to seek out the joy. Albeit fleeting sometimes. To hold on to the hope of changing negative behaviours when it seems all I do is correct over and over to no avail. I'm eager to be present today in all the challenges. I refuse to be overwhelmed, I know the enemy would love that. It's hard work but it's the best job ever, and it's possible when and only when I am not in it alone. Jeremy is by my side, but God is carrying us both. Our family is in his hands. In Him we can overcome and with His love, patience and grace it is possible that we can shape the little ones he has entrusted to us into people that reflect him to the world. Please Jesus! What a reminder this advent season as I find myself whispering so many times a day, "Come, Lord Jesus!"

I'm tired. I am worn out and sleep deprived. But I am choosing to find joy and hold on tight to it!!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Dear Nora - Ten months old (one day late!)

Dear Nora,

Baby girl, as I write this you are snuggled to sleep on your Grandpa's chest. He has become an expert at getting you to sleep and you just love him to pieces. He discovered your love for rocking and he has used it to his advantage in lulling you to sleep. You LOVE to rock, you crawl over to the little rocking chair and hold the arms with one hand on each and rock at it, telling us clearly that you would like someone to sit you on it. Once seated, you sit back and a big smile comes across you face as you let the motion soothe you. It's precious.

You also love the rocking horse for the same reason I think. You hold on tightly and rock back and forwards, laughing and smiling. Even when it goes a bit fast for mummy's liking you squeal and enjoy!

Playing has been a huge new milestone for you over the past month. You have mastered the game pf peekaboo, lifting things in front of your face and moving them, over and over as you laugh. It's pretty cute. You have also started to play chase with anyone who will come after you. You crawl away and every few seconds, stop and look behind you and laugh as a way to entice the follower to keep chasing. You love it and are pretty quick on your hands and knees too!!

Your Daddy has just loved seeing how much you love to horse around, just like your brother. I often see him running past holding you as you both chase Levi or get chased by him your little arms and legs kicking and flailing with excitement. Or I hear the squeals when Daddy is helping you "boom" on the bed and join in Levi's favourite past time of throwing himself on piles of pillows. You are just so happy to be included in the fun.

You certainly have a personality big enough that you are still growing into it. With each passing month we see a little more but I am just falling in love over and over with this sweet little, feisty, funny girl who is emerging.

Your second tooth made an appearance and is now catching up to the first, giving you two white peaks in your front bottom gum.

You have been through the ringer this month with a nasty cold and pretty sever congestion. We had a visit the doctor and even urgent care to get you checked out and make sure there wasn't an ear infection or something else going on because you were so sad and frantic for a couple of nights. I think you were just experiencing sinus pain and couple with teething too you were a mess. Poor you. You are on the mend now but still chewing and drooling so the teething thing might be around for a while yet. You have a strong aversion to the saline nasal drops and the snot sucker and anyone listening would think we were killing you or something because your screams were epic, but your recovery is also impressive and you seem very forgiving too :)

You have recently developed a desire to hold matching objects in each hand and can often be seen gripping two coasters, or the play salt and pepper shakers. We have wondered of you are figuring out your balance as you possibly start to think about walking? Who knows, but it is sweet to see!

You are becomming slightly less of a challenge to change and diaper with this newly discovered love of the double fisting toy old. You still roll away a lot but you manage to be distracted a slightly larger percentage of the time now which I am so happy about!

Your napping has improved this month too which I am so so happy about. You are consistently taking a morning nap around 9 for about an hour or so and then later in the afternoon are taking a longer almost 2 hour nap around 12.30 or 1. It's so good for you and seem genuinely rested after you wake up. Sadly, our living situation means you are often woken by an over enthusiastic and loud big brother but you are a pretty good sport about it. Night time is still tough. You are still in bed with us most of the night and up a few times nursing. With your cold to its been tough to get good sleep but I am so hopeful that the saying "sleep begets sleep" will hold true and as you get more consistent sleep in the day it will help you sleep better at night.

We cannot believe that we are about to celebrate your first Christmas, it feels as though you have been around long enough that this can't be your first, but I clearly remember by huge belly this time last year! It is magical to see the wonder in your eyes as you look at the twinkle lights and the decorations everywhere. I am not sure how much you will get the flurry of Christmas day activities but I am sure you will love time with friends and family. You are warming up to new faces much more quickly these days but you save the best snuggles for me and I'm ok with that!

Love you so much, Happy ten months baby girl,

Mama x

Monday, December 8, 2014

'tis the season to be sick!

Holy smokes, this post is brought to you surrounded by scrunched kleenex. i have a nasty cold, congestion the whole nine yards and Nora has it even worse. I am actually concerned she may have an ear infection. Have to see how tonight goes but we might be heading to the doctor in the morning. Ugh.

Thankfully, Levi is feeling better after his third cold in as many weeks. The middle cold included his very own trip to the doctor for a sinus infection. He bounced back after a short course of antibiotics only to come down a couple of days later with the same cold as little N and I. Poor kid, he's been through the ringer. However, now he is better and full of energy and needing entertainment and exercise. That would be very tricky with Nora and I being under the weather if we were not still living with Jeremy's parents who have been a couple of life savers!!

I am hoping I get more sleep tonight than last night. It's been a rough go. Jeremy has been traveling a lot the past month and left Sunday morning for a four day training in Florida. The days are ful of support but at night its me solo with the kids and its exhausting.

I'm excited that the kids might start to feel better soon so we can finally get out to do some fun things during this fun holiday!! Being home most of the past month we have had to get creative about keeping people busy.

Levi and Grandma made cookies. The kids have spent many  hours riding the rocking horse, we have read a huge percentage of the local library and watched our share of Thomas the tank engine and Caillou (Levi's current faves) Its so tough when you are in confinement. I am sure the kids have eaten more sugar in the past few weeks than the months that preceded them.

Here are a couple of picture from our recent adventures. I love this time of year...apart from the colds!! Keep washing those hands, people. It's a minefield of germs out there.

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.


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