Life in January

Good morning! Yes, I’m still here. :) It’s good to see you, too!

It’s the beginning of a new year, a new month.. May you enjoy this fresh start and gain clarity in what you’ll be striving for this year. After an encouraging coffee date with girlfriends last night, and with more coffee in my hand this morning (heehee) I have some major pondering to do… primarily, how to simplify the whole resolution process into maybe one or two words I’d like to see manifested in my life. Like, “thoughtful.” Or “patient.” An overall theme applied to all the little everyday things. I read a quote the other day that I just loved:

“May the way I look at you, the way I speak with you, and the way I treat you, reflect the truth that… I have loved you since forever.”

I thought, yes… This what I want my husband and kids to feel, looking back on our life together. Friends, too. It’s in the little, everyday things, words, glances, sighs that either warm up or alienate the people around us. An example from my life…

Motherhood has taught me many things, is constantly teaching me, and one of the biggest lessons I keep revisiting is that frustration is around every corner–how do I love fully even in frustration? I think it has to do with choosing my responses carefully, not just reacting. This is an art, I’m convinced. The worst thing I’ve felt this last year in parenting is going to bed knowing I made poor choices regarding my kids that day.

It always happens at night, when I peek in on them sleeping and they’re all warm and snoozy and huggable and angelic. I forget the constant honking on the harmonica, after I asked them to stop 20 times, or how they tried pouring the gallon of milk themselves. I’ll realize I didn’t get as creative as I could’ve to deflate a situation, I got mad instead. Or I was a total stickler about something that really doesn’t matter a hill of beans, and it exasperated my girls. Moments like that, where your instant reactions are instantly reflected on their little faces, only to float in your mind in the dark hours later, accusing you of poor mothering. I know it won’t ever be perfect, but I want to strive for Better.  Thanks be to God, who will help me with this! And other moms, dear friends I truly cherish and laugh hard with.  I’m grateful we don’t have to mother alone.

I have a few specific, fun things I’d like to do this year too… but they are going to be completely secret. If I was really brave, maybe I would ask my husband to guess what my resolutions were at the end of this year, if he had noticed changes… :)

Recently :: January 

We are still in newish-baby mode, but are slowly venturing into a new routine for our family. I am loving it, despite exhaustion and memory loss. Ha.

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> Eli. Pure joy, this boy. He is almost 4 months old, growing fast, and loves his mama. And sisters (little mamas). And daddy. He likes to fill daddy in on our day when he gets home. The boy smiles at everything, everyone. He soaks in life, his eyes focusing intently on whatever is in front of him. He lifts his whole upper body and legs when he’s on his tummy. He kicks socks and blankets off his legs, every time–he looks like a little cricket when he does this. Aww. He’s sporting a handsome ring of baldness around his head above his ears, which only a mama could love. And if you talk to him, he’ll usually respond with “ahhh” or “ohh,” but in the last couple of days, has added “Ggggah” to the mix. Eloquent, this one. Oh! And Olivia totally made him laugh when she was twirling around like a loon the other day… She will always be able to say she was the first to make him laugh (without squishing him, which is usually my method…).

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> Instagram. Part of the reason why I’ve been way lax in blogging is because I have been loving Instagram. Post a picture, add a quip, boom, sharing your life. I’m following foodies, yarn shops, knitters, friends… it’s wonderful. Quick snapsnots of their lives is such a fun way to share. So if it’s slow here, check my instagram

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> Siblings. Just to add to the above… Now having three little siblings in the house is one of my favorite things. I am fascinated by how the Lord has taken a fear of mine (yup, the thought of three kids was hard to imagine, so He made it a reality!), and has turned it into the biggest blessing I’ve known. Liv and Natalie are two peas in a pod, most of the time, and I pray it always continues this way, beyond the bumps in the road they’ll face.

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They both help me take care of Eli, and enjoy being big sisters. Especially Natalie; she’s like Eli’s little personal bouncer, eager to protect him but also constantly tempted to smush him in hugs herself. She is no doubt the best pacifier-finder in the house; her record is 100% so far. I love knowing I can count on her when Eli is fussing.  I’m dreaming of dressing them up as the 3 Amigos someday…. and then posting on Instagram, of course. ;)

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(Thanks to Jen Honeycutt Photography for these awesome 3 month photos of Eli!)

 

An Instagram Summer

Summer is in full swing. The girls love to “paint” the house with sidewalk chalk, or help mommy out by filling their Easter baskets with weeds. They run from sprinklers to the pool to the playground, to lining rocks up carefully on the railroad tie in the backyard, to nonchalantly pouring water from a play water bin over each other’s heads when the other isn’t looking. Screaming happens, but laughing usually isn’t far behind (as long as they get even; Liv is learning what “even steven” means).

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The main downside to summertime, according to Natalie, would be moths; despite my reassurance that all they do is fly, she’s very distrustful of them and tattles to whoever will listen about what they are doing, where, and when.  Daddy is often the one retrieved to get rid of them, and with a watchful Natalie eye; I think she wonders why he lets them go outside–squishing would be permanent, right?

In the evening, my girls go to bed fresh from a bath, hair dark, damp and cool, and I love smelling fresh children after hot, grimy afternoons, as fun as it is to get dirty. We tuck them in before it’s fully dark, and they recharge their toddler-batteries for more playtime the next day. I wish I had toddler batteries… Every morning now begins with, “Where are we going today, Mommy?”

(They are disappointed if I say we are staying home, unless Frozen or Tangled are in the lineup of Things to Do.)

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I am loving these days, this season with talkative little girls before the Boy arrives, and I’m also finding myself beginning to teeter on the edge of uncomfortableness… the wonderful and dreadful third trimester, full of waddling and shortness of breath and asking my 4-year-old to retrieve everything I seem to drop these days. “It’s cause you can’t touch your toes, huh Mommy?” she says. “I’ll help you.” Liv has affectionately nicknamed our baby RolyPoly.

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Roly is growing steadily and moving constantly, much more than either of my girls did. He’s our “frog gunslinging cowboy”–another name he earned yesterday, when he kicked his legs simultaneously into my ribs at the same time, one on each side. Made me laugh. If he’s not doing that, he’s going “pew pew pew” with his little gunslinger hands near my hips when I sit. Oh, he’s going to liven up our lives, and I can’t wait to meet him.

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Instagram has been a fun outlet lately; it’s just so easy to share little snippets of life without much explanation… which isn’t my usual style (look at this post, right?), but it’s been a fun medium to play with. I realized I should probably keep up with the blog a little, especially while I still have some free time before baby comes. I believe in photos in blog posts, so thank you, my Instgram feed, for punctuating this one!

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Aside from waddling, I’m also entering that phase in pregnancy where you begin to realize things are changing. And for the better, of course! A new little person to love, what beats that?

But I felt this way before Natalie was born, too–that gentle concern that how things are right now, between the four of us, will never be replicated. I’m excited, and a little sad at the same time.  Yeah, crying has been happening at random times, and I happily blame hormones… but I’m also thankful to process everything and store it away in my heart as we move forward. It will always be there–and, if anything, being pregnant again (and finally) has reopened memories saved before Olivia and Natalie’s birth, little lockets full of treasures, just for me. Tears are a good thing, a deep thing. Being a mother is no easy feat!