Sunday, July 31

When It's Not What You Thought It Would Be

My childhood dream: Go to college, find a tall and handsome man to marry, and stay home with the multitude of beautiful children we'd create.  We'd live in a house in the suburbs, I'd be a perfect housewife complete with delicious meals on the table every night, we'd say our prayers as a family and live a long life.

So far, my dream isn't too far from the truth!  Well, the "perfect housewife" part is always a work in progress. ;-)  God has blessed me in more ways than I can count, and it's unbelievable to me that He would give me all I asked.

But there are days, weeks, or sometimes even months when I think, "This can't possibly be what God had in mind when He created man and woman!"

I remember thinking that I could have this perfect little (well, big!) family.  I knew I'd have to discipline children at some point, but never in a million years did I imagine motherhood would be so difficult.  No one prepared me for this.

I knew motherhood was a blessing, but I didn't know there would be days when I thought it was a curse.  I knew my fertility was a gift, but never did I think it was a gift I wouldn't want.  I knew God had a plan for families, and that our path to heaven was best traveled together, but I didn't know that some days I'd feel certain I'd missed my calling to become a cloistered nun!

I was wondering, why didn't I realize it would be so difficult?  How could I help prepare the next generation of mothers for the fact that motherhood is not all over-sized girly bows and trendy boy mohawks?  More than a coordinated nursery and shelves lined with toys and books?

I wondered, if anyone had told me how much I'd be unappreciated, pushed around, ignored, or hollered at, would it have changed my mind? 

Absolutely not.

The process of creating and carrying a child is the closest I've ever been to God.  Actually creating a person and asking God to breath life into him... Giving my body for a person the way Jesus gave His precious body for me... serving my children and listening to the bickering and fussing the way God grants me grace when all I do is whine and complain to Him...

It's not easy, but maybe that's the way He intended it to be.  Maybe the sleepless nights are meant to help us mothers grow in prayer- afterall, aren't we crying out to God to just let the baby fall asleep already?  Maybe cleaning up potty accident after potty accident all day long is a way to humble ourselves.  Maybe postpartum depression is our 40 days in the desert with the devil.

I hate that there are days when I truly wonder if I am fulfilling God's plan for my life, since I think surely this isn't the path for me to heaven.  After all the sinning I do in a single day just staying home with my children, wouldn't I have been better off in a convent???  Then I remember... Three little souls.  Three souls that were entrusted to me, no one else.  Three souls that were meant for all of eternity for me.  They're not in my life to make me crazy, they're not in my life on accident.  God gave them to me because He know that I was the best Mother for them, in all of time and space, that I would be their one and only mother.

As I consider my advice to women about to marry and embark on motherhood, I think my best advice would be to remember those words.  Serving your children will be your path to heaven, and you were always meant to be their one and only mother.  There are many beautiful moments to be had in motherhood, hopefully many more than less, but even during the worst of times the Plan hasn't changed.  They're still meant for you, and you're still meant for them.  I think if mothers remember that, the rest somehow falls into place.

Thursday, July 28

Reading

I just LOVE this age.  Everything that ever stressed me out while he was a baby is suddenly forgiven when he looks at me and gives me his big grin.  It melts me.  It makes me laugh, smile, and cry all at the same time.  He walks around the house and finds me around the corner, laughs, then runs away.  Best game ever.

Sunday, July 24

Pirates and Cardinals

No, I'm not talking about baseball teams!  Our themes over the past couple of weeks have been pirates and cardinals- as in the people and the birds!  We've checked out lots of pirate books, which was a completely new thing for my kids since we haven't really "done" pirates before.  They were pretty tame books, and it gave us the chance to talk about stealing and other silly pirate things (like saying "Argh!" and swinging your fist!).  Beth drew a pirate on her magna-doodle:

I liked it. :-)  The next week we talked a lot about cardinals since every morning we watch them eat at our homemade bird feeder.  We love watching the "Daddy Cardinals" and the "Mommy Cardinals," even sometimes we see a "Teenager Cardinal."  We've seen them feed each other, watched the males chase each other off and dance around the backyard, and tried to give some of them names since some of them have pretty distinguishing markings (like Baldy, who is missing some feathers on top of his head!).


Not sure who this guy was, he looks young but not like a young cardinal?

We watched some youtube videos of birds feeding their young, babies hatching from eggs, and an older male feeding a younger bird.  We checked out lots of books on birds and chickens, and here is the drawing Beth did of a Daddy and two babies:

(I didn't have the heart to mention they didn't have beaks, I think the Daddy's big smile makes up for his lack of a beak!)
This week we're going to study some geography!  We have friends and family all over the country, a giant United States puzzle that Beth is really great at (I'm pretty sure she knows where the states go better than I do), and we're going to talk about good behavior on road trips. ;-)

Thursday, July 21

Around Our House

I have so many projects I want to do around my house, I feel like I'm getting antsy!  Maybe writing it down here will help me organize my thoughts, and maybe I can get some good ideas from y'all. :-)

We have our recessed lights and two pendants installed in our kitchen, they've been completed for a month or so now and it's so nice having light in the kitchen!  The next step won't come for awhile, since it's an expensive step- moving the plumbing, new countertops, new backsplash.  Like, probably not until next year.  Honestly it's probably a good thing that we have to wait because I still don't feel like I'm completely sure of what I want to do in my kitchen.  I haven't really defined my "style" yet, and I flip-flop between a Mediterranean feel and a contemporary country feel.  I think I'd be happy with either style, really, but of course I have to consider the flow of the rest of the house!

Tuesday, July 19

Friday, July 15

Beach Photos

On Sunday the 10th, we drove to the beach for a quick day trip.  (I was having withdrawals since my family was on their annual trip, and we couldn't make it this year!)  We packed up food, a blue pop-up tent, fresh water, a change of clothes, and toys galore! 

Beth and Luke were the perfect age for the beach.  No worries about seaweed, sand or saltwater, just lots of giggles even when a wave knocked them down.  We built sand castles, let the wind blow bubbles through our wands, flew kites, ate and drank a lot, played on a blow-up lounger, and went out in the "deep" water with Daddy to jump the waves.  Jack made us laugh because we kept him under the tent as much as possible, but every so often he'd take off crawling toward the water, and even once he got in the water he'd just keep going!  I wonder where he thought he was going?  He absolutely loved the water!

Lame

Wow, so I'm down to blogging once a week now?  Pretty sad!  Since I've launched my new business as a doula, I now have to divide my available evening time between my personal blog and my work blog.  That, in addition to my evening workouts (I go to the gym at night after the kids go to bed so I don't have to put them in the daycare), chores, and just relaxing with my husband means my blog is the first thing to go!

This summer has been so busy!  We haven't traveled much in July, one long weekend to Grandma and Grandpa's house for the 4th of July, but we've stayed BUSY BUSY BUSY!  We've had so many playdates, library trips, catching up with old friends, and a daytrip to the beach!  In fact, today is the first day we have plans to stay home and do absolutely nothing.  Well, one little errand to get ready for our anniversary tomorrow. :-)

A few things, in summary...

Beth is reading!  I mean, she's been reading short words for awhile now, but I think she's starting to feel more confident in her skills.  We've been doing lessons from Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, and it really gets them reading quickly.  She's also begging me for a dollhouse, it seems that every playdate we go on there's a big gorgeous dollhouse, and Beth notices!  Her birthday is so far away so I've started keeping my eyes on Craigslist. 

Luke talks ALL THE TIME.  He's been talking well for months now, but he narrates his every move throughout the day.  It's funny but my house is definitely never quiet!  He's also making observations that crack us up, usually once or twice a day he'll make me literally laugh out loud at the silly stuff he says.  (I wish I had an example but I'm braindead right now.)  He's also starting to express fears, which is different.  I don't remember Beth ever being afraid of anything, but Luke will tell me about the things he doesn't like, like the shadows in his bedroom at night or Swiper the sneaky fox! He's also giving us lots of attitude, and his temper escalates quite quickly if he's not getting his way.  There's lots of yelling "No!" "I don't want to!" or "No Ma'am Mommy!"  He slaps his thighs in anger and I try to lighten the mood by asking him if he's singing "A Sailor Went to Sea" because in that song you slap your thighs to the words.  That usually gets him laughing!

Jack is walking very well now, by the end of every days he's walking just as much as he is crawling!  I'm also trying to teach him to "woof" like a doggy, but he's still not talking yet.  He babbles and chats a lot, but no Mama or Dada yet, not meaningful anyway.  He will say woof though!  He's also very passionate, getting angry if one of his older siblings steals his toy away!

Ryan and I are just busy.  Tomorrow is our 6th wedding anniversary!  We'll be staying home since our "babysitters" are out of town, enjoying some take-out fajitas after the kids go to bed!  Ryan's job is still wonderful, and tonight I have my first meeting with a potential client who found me through Google. That makes me happy. :-)  We've nearly completed Phase 1 of our kitchen renovation, which was lighting.  The new lights are in but the contractor we hired to do it all hasn't done a very good job of texturing the patch from the old light, and has sort of disappeared on us, not returning our calls.  :-/  Needless to say, we'll be hiring someone else for Phase 2, which won't be happening for a long time!

Sadly, I have no photos to share right now as I haven't uploaded any since Independence Day!  Would you believe me if I said I'd try to upload them soon?  Ha!

Saturday, July 9

Creating Art

Finger paints on canvas, created by Beth and Luke for Daddy's new office.

Tuesday, July 5

Chilling

Recently, I've been making honest efforts to become more relaxed about life.  I tend to be a very Type A perfectionist and it's just not such a good thing.  It's not all bad, but as I've gotten older and added more children to the family I think in some ways it's gotten worse!

So, I'm slowly trying to let go of the little things. I let them play in the fountains a few days ago after a quick outing near our local mall.  I knew I had no towels, no sippy cups full of cold water, no change of clothes.  But, to my surprise, we survived!  Best of all, the kids had a blast and were so excited to go.

Saturday, July 2

Mornings Outside

Usually mornings are a challenge for me- the frantic rush to pour orange juice and water, heat frozen waffles or oatmeal, mix baby cereal and fruit, and serve everything at once so I can sit and feed Jack...Not to forget my coffee.  Usually there's quite a bit of noise as everyone is absolutely famished, ha!

Friday, July 1

Jack's Birthday Party

His cake, made by me!  The "dirt" was a cake that I destroyed by trying to flip it before it cooled off, so I crumbled it up and put fake bugs in it!  I don't recall telling anyone I was making a "Very Hungry Caterpillar" cake, but Jack received a lot of Eric Carle books as presents, including a copy of this book which we didn't own!
 
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