worth remembering.

24 Mar

My dearest kiddos,

This weekend served as another reminder of so many reasons why I love being your mom. I cherish you both to a degree I can’t explain–the sweetness and joy you infuse into the daily are among God’s greatest gifts to me. I wish I could more tangibly tell you, and I pray that one day you’ll know this kind of love in your own hearts. To pour yourself out for your own children might be the only way, and so, if God wills it, I pray for your families and the love that God will lavish on you through them.

Henry, you bless your mama with your gentle attentiveness, your sensitive spirit, and a level of awareness and intellect that both frighten me and leave me awestruck on a daily basis. Yesterday morning, as you cuddled into my lap for the butterfly ballet, my heart expanded even more for you (if that’s possible), my dear. These days you are a whirlwind of energy–full of vigor and vibrance and a zest for exploration that is both catching and hard to match. But in that sacred hour, where we sat whispering together over frogs and skunks and fish and butterflies all dancing, you were so still and small and dependent on me…and every last bit was a memory I will keep close for ages. You were captivated, love. And captivated looks marvelous on you! I felt like I was able to let everything else fall away in that space. You and your delight were my only focus. Just Mama and Henry time, although we hadn’t planned it that way. It was perfect timing for my spirit, in a season where I so often feel distracted and divided in too many directions. Tonight, I am thanking God for your inquisitive mind, for your attention to detail and emotion, for your delight in simple beauty. And I’m thanking God for that slice of time with you…so dear to me as we turn the corner on your third birthday and the reminder that you are only moving forward, never back. I love you, HD.

Eloise, you are blossoming and sweet, and fiercely independent for seven months old. Despite your independent spirit, you and I have an unshakable connectedness between us from every angle. Your life and personality and perfect needs have held us closely together, save for a few hours here and there, since the day you were born. I will dare to say that the challenges we’ve faced together have made me love you even more. There’s a sacred element to the sacrifices I’ve been called to as your mama, and in part, I am reminded daily that God has ordained me for this life because of them–not in spite of them at all. Together with your brother, you are challenging me to live a life worthy of my calling, and I am beyond grateful for this.

Today, you learned what a bunny says. Now you scrunch up your tiny nose and sniff in the cutest little way and I melt. I am smitten with you. And tonight, as I rocked you and nursed you to sleep, you sang a little hum while drifting off–this beautiful little song all your own and your beautiful little face falling peacefully away from the contents of the day as we sat there in the dark. Me, admiring you. You are a light in this world, sweet girl. You and your brother, both. As I pray over you, I can’t help but consider the weight of this life and what you may face in it, and I want to shelter you from it even now…especially now. So instead, I commit to praying harder for you both. The Lord our God will hear me, and He will answer in His way. This brings me great comfort. I still can hardly believe sometimes that He has entrusted you both to me.

There are many days that feel hard for one reason or another, but in them and around them and between them lies this truth, that we are blessed in abundance. And you are both loved beyond description. No matter what the days bring, or how hard or tired or jaded we become in moments. No matter how much or how little I blog to remind you. Your mama loves you a crazy ton. An amazingly glorious, crazy ton. I pray that I will do what it takes to make sure you always know that deep in your hearts.

Thank you for a treasured weekend, my loves. You are more than my highest hopes.

to the moon and back,

your mama

reporting for duty ;)

9 Feb

It’s mid-February, and it’s been snowing. A lot. Like 115″ a lot. Every hint of green or formerly green or will-be-green-again-someday is buried. Shoveling and snow blowing are kind of like Olympic events around here, and most of us have forgotten what our yards look like. That being said, I do not want to write about snow. Quite frankly, I think it’s gotten enough attention already. So there’s my obligatory update on the weather–which should come as no surprise to most, being that it is mid-winter and we live in the Midwest.

Now, all winter banter aside, February is full of eventful things and we’re not even halfway thru the month. We’re just getting back from a lovely overnight in Chicago where we paid our annual visit to the Chicago Auto Show. Until last year, I’d never attended, but I’ll admit I’ve grown to like it quite easily. The boys (big and small) look forward to it so much. I couldn’t really resist going to watch them enjoy the fun! I picked my favorites again this year, but I’m not yet ready to admit what they are (although I did hint at an Airstream in my Instagram feed yesterday…).

This year, we wised up a bit and checked into the hotel adjacent to the show–perfect for this nursing mama and our two kiddos when we all needed to rest, plus, it afforded us the sense of a mini-getaway with some pool time and fun meals out in the city. It was refreshing to find a plethora of dairy-free options at the ready for dinner last night and lunch today. I didn’t have to try very hard to accommodate this new-for-me diet shift away from home. (More on my transition to a DF menu in a later post.) This particular trip to Chicago marked a few firsts for our little fam–our first hotel stay with Eloise in tow, her first dip in the pool (it was even warm and sunny where we lounged ;), and her first successful attempt at sitting up this morning. Of course, the car show with two kids in tow was a first, too. I’m so thankful for my Solly Baby Wrap, which kept E snug as a bug and close to mama while we wandered and she napped.

I feel like I’m missing a lot of documentation these days as I spend my time really focused on the kiddos and home life, with little margin for a whole lot else. Not a bad swap, certainly, but I do hope I’ll be able to look back on this season and remember some of the milestones I’ve not written down. In that vein, Henry is officially signed up for preschool as of Thursday (!), Eloise is suddenly rolling over (both directions) like a champ in the past week or so, we’re teething for sure, and H got his 9th (crazy!) haircut the other day. He is looking dapper and so old, with a third birthday right around the corner. Eloise will be six months old next week and starting table food, which will (hopefully) give this ’round-the-clock nursing woman a smallish break in the action. I know a daddy and big brother who are eager to help in this way, and I’m excited to employ willing hands :)

We’re all beyond anxious to get outside and enjoy walks and hikes and parks and such…cannot wait to take the kiddos out for morning coffee with just a stroller and spring jackets, or to push Eloise on the swings for the very first time. Still, there’s no shortage of activity to be had in the little blue house or in these days as we pass time thru the winter months. We wake up with plans and aspirations of things to do and explore every morning, falling short of our lists all of the time and better for learning daily how to go with the flow.

I do love that love is in the air as Valentine’s Day rounds the corner, and as I look forward to celebrating my three loves this week. The weekend together was a very good start, indeed.

rested in spirit, which may be a first in a while. grateful of all of this Grace,

mm

20140209-213807.jpg

20140209-213819.jpg

20140209-213825.jpg

20140209-214052.jpg

the new new year.

14 Jan

I showered at nap time today. Not E’s morning nap time, which may have seemed reasonable, but the 2 o’clock-ish, post-lunch nap time enjoyed by both children. In other words, I wore pajamas until the afternoon. Maybe this isn’t a big deal for some, but it’s kind of a challenging thing for me. I’m not one to need my coffee first thing before I’m ready to face the world (although it’s nice), but I do require a shower to set my day on the right path. Today was lost on me for so many reasons, and this morning’s course did not help matters much.

On the first of this month, I began writing a post to commemorate the new year…goals and hopes and a few themes I want to focus on in 2014. We were on our way to Christmas celebration number four, it was snowing like mad, and the kids has finally succumbed to sleep in the car. I was feeling all on top of things and enjoying charting out a bit for the months ahead, and then I somehow deleted over half of my post. By the time I collected my thoughts again and recovered the direction I wanted to take, we had arrived at our destination. I didn’t even dare attempt to write any further into that evening. It was 11pm or later before we all settled into rooms and unpacked enough to get the littles to bed.

It would have been good then for me to note the way the year was starting out, and to mentally prep myself a tad for the next week and a half to come. No one can really prepare you though, for a sick baby on a long car ride home in a blizzard, a storm that persists for three more days, or a bug that has your wee one down for the count for ten treacherous days in a row. The only thing for them to do would perhaps be to say, “This next little while is going to try you, and then it will try you again. Prepare for long days inside. Prepare to be crazily behind on sleep. Prepare to be puked on, over and over, until you think it’s not possible to be any more exhausted of it, and then smile and prepare some more. Oh, and hire someone to try to keep up with the laundry. In the middle of all of this, just know that your mama heart will break probably a thousand times for your babe, your two year old will naturally get squirrelly and climb walls, and at least one more of you will fall victim to the great and powerful virus of 2014 in some way or another. But have no fear. The God of the Universe will undergird you as you trip and stumble into the new year. I promise, He will.”

It’s true. The God of the Universe does not fail us, even when life feels a bit relentless, and when everything about days upon days feels tiresome and feudal and harsh. (And I’m not trying to be dramatic–there’s always more below the tip of the iceberg, you know. And I’m not trying to pretend others don’t have it far worse, either, just in case the disclaimer is necessary :) But it does take some steadfast faith to trust that He has us, especially when it feels like life is coming at us from all angles…and that’s what I’m angling for.

When I had some semblance of a new year’s post in the works, I was all enthralled with the sense I was getting–that this year would be about putting a stake in the ground. That this year I’d commit to words like rooted, planted, and firm. I still like these words for 2014. I like them a lot. I think they just might be taking shape in a way I hadn’t expected, which is to say that God is already helping me to exercise the practice of them in the daily. For this, I am grateful. I’m also relieved, despite my lack of shower before noon and the laundry piles still taunting from various dark corners around the house, that today our tiniest seems to have come out from under her recent, disheartening state. As such, I think I’ll declare today the second, first day of the year for our little family. January 14, 2014, here’s to you. And here’s to all of the ways you’ll help us to become more firmly established in Christ in the upcoming year.

rooted. planted. unwavering.
mm

four in. all in.

19 Dec

Four months ago this morning, I was suddenly in labor and rushing to the hospital (like we promised ourselves we wouldn’t do this time around :) to have our second baby. Very shortly thereafter, I was snuggling an adorably pink and very hungry little girl–the answer to many, many prayers and a great number of dreams as well. She had arrived. Since then, life has become doubly an exercise in choosing joy. Our baby girl is sweet, certainly. Not to mention cuddly to the ultimate degree, and attached to her mama like nothing else. For this I am
thankful and exhausted.

Because of tummy issues and swallowing troubles, we nurse in small quantities and around the clock, without a bottle in sight. Because of a tiny system and the adjustment of a little life into this crazy, scheduled world, we stay up at ungodly hours and wake up at challenging ones to start the next day. But in between, we smile and laugh and coo and admire our big brother, and we soak in all of the goodness that is an angelic-looking, doll- face of a baby named Eloise. This has not felt easy in any way, but worth it in every single one. And we’ve survived four months besides, which surely feels like an accomplishment–however small, when there’s also a very busy toddler running about the place.

Sometimes I feel like I’m not going to survive another long, long night, or like I can’t possibly stand for a feeding to go on any further. Sometimes I feel entirely alone, and as though there may never be a break for little old me (and then I get kind of real with myself and think, “Get a grip, Mama. You are fine, and more than fine and so blessed and lucky and privileged…”) and I put on my big girl pants and move along. However, I’d be lying if I said there was never any sulking in the moment.

Beyond the sulking, there is mostly joy–even if I have to dig hard to find it. It doesn’t take much to look around and see the blessings in obvious places. Two healthy children with lots of energy. Our warm and cozy house to raise them in. The fact that I am home, watching my children grow and not missing more than a few hours with them here and there. Of course, Eloise comes along everywhere for now, so in reality, I miss absolutely nothing of her at all–I have so much of what I prayed God would provide.

The days are imperfect, and so am I. I’m learning the art of embracing imperfection. I’m struggling, but learning to be ok with pj’s until noon sometimes, or with the house awry, or with life feeling disorderly and scrambled when it has to. Mostly, I’m clinging to the good, like the conversation between H and E this morning on the floor before breakfast, when she looks up at him, fussing, and he meets her exactly where a big brother should:

“It’s ok, Eloise. Don’t fuss. Your mommy will be right back to take care of you, and your big brother is here. And I will protect you from anything that scares you that you don’t like.”

Oh. My. Four months in and these two are thick as thieves, and I must be the absolute luckiest tired mama on the planet in that moment. It’s not so hard then. Not so strange to see things from a 30,000 foot view and to recognize the landscape. My kiddos. My responsibility. And also my privilege, my joy, my absolute honor and charge.

Thank you, Jesus, for four more months of desperately needing you. And for four more months of seeing your goodness in my arms and their faces, daily. Absolutely daily.

growing,
mm

you’re safe with me.

17 Nov

Dear Eloise,

Here you are, now twelve weeks old, and all this time I’m racking up mommy guilt like a pro because I’ve hardly written since you were born. It’s an amazing phenomenon, this mommy guilt thing, and I’m convinced it’s evil’s way of getting under my skin in this beautifully raw season. It’s true I’ve not written you much–and I regret not keeping up the way I did for your brother. But then…well, let’s just say there’s no benefit in keeping score.

Life with you is full to the full, Miss E. You, Henry and I keep ourselves busy every single day if nothing else. And when the day is done and H has long gone to bed, we keep on going, you and I–into the wee hours with our marathon snuggles and feeding sessions and cooing and tears. I didn’t imagine it this way, and yet, I can’t say how I did see us moving through these hours. Maybe with a little more sleep or a little more freedom to accomplish tasks and stay on top of things, I guess. I want you to know I’ve never been mad about this. Frustrated with circumstances in moments, sure. Worn down, yes. But never mad, and certainly not with you.

I want to be meeting all of your needs and imprinting a level of security for you that you’ll carry with you through childhood and into adulthood. If you need mama all but for the blessed and restorative hours you sleep each night, I’m yours. I hope you sense this in the care I’m giving as we learn each other more. You are always safe with me, no matter the day or hour. I pray this notion is woven into your heart.

As I type this evening, you are where you can be found nightly–asleep in my lap on the couch just waiting out the hours together. I’ve tried to tuck you in sooner, but it’s not your cup of tea. You want to be close, close, close, and I can’t deny you this at such a young age. It may be tiring, but it’s also lovely. And the things piled up around me are ones you’ll never remember…tasks I once saved for H’s bedtime that get little to no attention now. By this time, I thought we’d acclimate; we’d find a rhythm and be moving toward a schedule. I thought you’d be drinking bottles and I’d be back to work part time in a more substantial capacity than I am to date. I thought a lot of things and planned to be more present doing so much else, when really all I should have planned on for sure was you. I’m getting there.

Now, that’s what I do. I simply plan on you and your sweet brother who loves you, and together we move in and out of days like buoys, bobbing in a bouncy sea. Sometimes we’re admiring the horizon, sometimes just staying afloat, rarely longing for shore or something different than this. The thing is, you two are a high calling (and arguably the highest, while you’re growing), and the rest of what I feel called to or pulled toward will either wait for me or it won’t. I’m not neglecting anything on purpose. Just parenting you two with a purpose and working to shake off the mommy guilt for the rest. I’m almost over that, too, in a way. Because I’m not sure God could make it much clearer that you are the thing. That this is the thing. Your freedom to be who you are at this early stage and my freedom to love you to the utmost degree. And these are the things–the hours we keep all tucked in close, your deep dependency for now, this little family we have become, and all of the safety I can offer you. When the piles reach the ceiling in my mind and the world is pulling as it is wont to do, I pray that I will have been unwaveringly faithful to this.

you are loved, little one. so very, unbelievably loved.

mom

juggling lessons.

27 Oct

Thirty eight. The number of days that have passed since my last visit here to the blog. And I miss it–oh, do I miss it! But life has left little room for screen time these days, and I shouldn’t complain. Tomorrow our Eloise will be ten weeks old. Ten! I might as well be staring down her first birthday it’s so surreal. I feel like we’ve been in a vacuum, all of us, and Eloise is brand new and part of the furniture at the same time.

Nearly as much as we were attached pre-birth, E is still attached in every possible way. Unlike her brother, who was ready (and happier) to be in his own bed at four weeks, Eloise is still rooming in with us nightly. What’s more, she wants to be held. Held, held, held. Night and day. In and out of weeks. At every possible moment. I can’t blame her, being so little and all. In a way, it’s nice to be so needed and wanted by our little girl. I adore her. And it’s endearing and cuddly and beautiful and sweet, but sometimes, it’s just plain hard, too. Thing is: I know this is going to pass. One day, I’ll wake up and she’ll hardly need me at all. This will all feel like it was ages ago, and I’ll wish I could throw thing into reverse to be so connected to my baby girl again.

So. Our days have had some modifications. And I’ve had to recalculate my expectations–especially of myself and my capacity on most levels. Turns out I can only get so much done with one hand free. It also turns out that one hand free has become kind of a bonus. Like right now. It may take twice as long, but I can blog with one hand free. Excellent. I’ve discovered I can also brush my teeth, make meals (oh so very slowly), snuggle with Henry, make the bed, play with cars, and if I have absolutely have to, use the bathroom. So long as I can bounce or cradle or nurse a baby at the same time, we’re good to go.

I always envisioned being this expert baby-wearer who whipped up amazing meals and played with my kids and cleaned the whole house and managed a job–all while comforting the littlest of the family, hands free. Between two babies, I’ve tried and returned three wraps, given up on two slings, and decided the Ergo is only a true friend once we’re past the “infant insert” stage. Turns out I’m way more successful at baby carrying…building great upper arm strength while testing my neck, shoulders, patience and stamina for amazing lengths of time (and particularly between the hours of 8pm and 2am). Yes. I imagined something very different. But I wouldn’t trade our kiddos or this baby time for anything else, regardless.

Some days I wonder if I’m crazy for attempting to do things like keep up with cloth diapering or make handmade Halloween costumes for the kiddos in this one-handed season. Doing so means keeping wild hours and getting unbelievably crafty with my time management and juggling skills. It has also meant accepting help when it’s offered, coming to very real terms with imperfection, and learning way more about extending grace to myself and to others.

Am I the poster girl for having it all together as of late? Nope. Not really at all. But my family is well-loved, and Eloise is fed and comforted around the clock. And there’s still time to laugh with Henry and to celebrate motherhood and to sneak in a really quick shower, so for now, it’s good enough. My margins are smaller, but my heart feels bigger. I have room where I make it, which has caused me to get really real most days and to prioritize what matters most. For this reason, I’m back here typing one handed, so  years from now I can remember what this time in our lives felt like. And for the same reason there are dishes in the sink and the diapers are waiting…Henry’s Sid the Science Kid wig is nearly crocheted on the table next to me, the baby is in my lap cooing, thank you notes are piling up to express all of the beauty, the thoughtfulness, the gratitude for so many offered extra hands…

recalibrating daily,

mm

dear eloise.

19 Sep

Eloise Josephine,

One month ago today, you joined our family in person and made your birthday official. To date, August 19th, 2013 is one of the most spectacular days of my life. Thank you for making your mark on our hearts so marvelously that morning ;)

For the past month, you have changed the shape of our days and brightened the world just by being in it. Your sweet spirit and peaceful presence are notable–you love to snuggle and be tucked into my arms at all hours of the day. I look at you and wonder at the gift of a baby girl in our lives…no doubt the tiny person God intended for our family in this season that feels so full of mystery and change.

There’s so much I want to tell you about who you are already, and I owe you the tale of the day you were born. (We have magnificent photos of your birth and the precious hours after you arrived, too…) I wanted so much to have that for you now, but am recognizing the importance of having time with you more. I’ll work on your story, I promise, and you’ll have it before long. For now, you have your mama’s attention and lap and hours, and I couldn’t offer you better. I want you to feel warm and safe and settled as you acclimate to life here in the world…I think perhaps you miss the womb a bit, and I’m trying to acknowledge what makes you most comfortable for now as you grow into yourself. Truth be told, I loved having you tucked safely away just as much as I love having you right in front of me. I can’t believe a month has already gone by since we first set eyes on you. You’re such a precious, precious little girl.

Happy one month birthday, Eloise! Thank you for blessing our lives (and your mama’s heart) for the past thirty days. Here’s to thousands and thousands more!!

love overflowing,

mOm ;)

four weeks.

16 Sep

Whoops! This didn’t publish as planned when I wrote it. :(  A few days late, but the sentiment is the same…

There is just SO much to say as we reach this little milestone of four weeks with our sweet baby girl. I realize I haven’t even formally introduced her here yet, but it’s not for lack of intention, I promise! I’m writing tonight after days of wanting to record every sweet thing about our new babe–the thing is, each time I set out to write, there’s a need to attend to here. As much as I want to be recording precious memories for my kiddos to someday hold dear, I’m busy being mama to them right now (as I know any parent totally understands). This newborn season is so fleeting. And our toddler is very much a toddler. Both have different needs for time and energy at the moment that no blog could. When triaging the day, I’m so sad to say that writing rarely makes the cut for now.

As “the Button” nears her one month birthday this week, I’m plotting out her birth story post and excited to begin telling her tale a bit more in the days ahead. She is, as any child, a most perfect gift from The Lord–and although I may not say it as often as I’d like in a blog post, we are certainly celebrating her presence daily.

This has been a beautiful and most difficult season of parenting for me…learning a new baby while desiring to give my best to our first born is a tireless and, at times, overwhelming task. But I wouldn’t change it for anything. I am in love with both kiddos for new reasons every day. And I’m gleaning new tricks of the trade and levels of patience as I go–things that will undoubtedly come in handy in the days ahead!

I can hardly believe four weeks have gone by…in a whirlwind of visitors, cluster feeding growth spurts, a bout of illness, and a grand attempt at getting to know our little leading lady. In three days, when a month rolls around, I may be moved to tears at the thought that it’s already come and gone. For so long we anticipated her arrival, and now, we blink and she’s changing right before our eyes!

so much to be grateful for as I type, one handed, from my phone tonight. it’s a glorious thing to have so much love and so little sleep all at once ;) happy “four weeks,” eloise!

xo,
mm

every good and perfect gift.

31 Aug

Eloise is twelve days old today. Naturally, the past twelve days have been a mix of beauty, adjustment, re-entry, sleepiness, joy, challenge, and great blessing. We are acclimating to life as a family of four, and I, as a mama to two–two babes that God has entrusted to our care, and two who serve as an all day reminder of the responsibility God has placed on my life as a mother. I have never experienced a greater sense of calling, nor have I been more humbled by the way God has surrounded me with His presence and care.

For so long, I prayed over the details of my second labor and delivery, and for so long, I battled new fears and self doubt–all the while wanting desperately for God to be glorified in the process of His creation and design. Someday soon I’ll tell the story of all that God did to be present and to cover Eloise’s birth and my heart. For now, I’ll simply say that He is good, and that His love is palpable and accessible and wonderfully present these days. Ellie’s labor and delivery were just the very beginning of this humbling season…

I hardly know where to begin telling the post-birth chapter. We shared the news of our baby girl’s arrival, and love poured right on in from the very first minute. God has shown up in visits and prayers, in thoughtful gifts and wonderful, home-cooked meals. He has shown up in sweet, sweet times on our couch with dear friends as they meet Eloise, in overly-generous gestures of celebration and shared joy. He has been present in dishes washed, laundry done, vacuuming checked off the list. And most especially, He has cared for our hearts in the care of our sweet Henry. Family and friends have certainly not forgotten (and most definitely celebrated) H’s new, big brother status and the challenges that can come with such change. In turn, I have been blessed with the joy of watching our eldest enjoy others, and also with the gift of time for our new little one. Getting to know her with room enough to still snuggle our first munchkin has added peace to my heart.

I’ve learned a lot in twelve days, and I’ve had to realize over and over again that God’s overflow is something I can’t begin to measure. The cup and portion are simply too big. In the same ways that Henry has taught us so much about joy and laughter and discernment, I have a feeling that our new little lady has been delivered to us to teach us a new depth of love and a softness that our lives could all use. She brings with her a peaceful calm I can’t ignore. What gifts from The Lord!!

Before long, I’ll begin to write thank you notes and make a very feeble attempt to express our gratitude for all that God is doing through those around us. It will, no doubt, feel an insignificant gesture by comparison to the love we’ve witnessed these past few weeks. Even still, maybe God will doubly bless those who bless us. May it be so!

admiring God’s handiwork in the new life before me, and thanking Him over and over again for the gifts of love and friendship that have come along with ellie’s arrival,

one grateful mama

midnight snack.

29 Aug

Milk for you. Cheerios and blueberries for me. Just in case you ever wonder when we started having sleepovers–we didn’t wait one bit. You and me? We’re having a pajama party every night these days. Loving this snugly time with you when you’re just a bundle of scrunchy, warm love in my arms.

We pretty much exist in our own little world at this time of day–you, making sleepy-eyed faces at me and I, singing made up songs and trying to learn you in every move and detail. I’m fairly certain we get along alright so far. :)

loving you at every hour of the day and admiring your pretty little face,

your mama

20130829-003115.jpg

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 398 other followers

%d bloggers like this: