Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Letting Go... a Little.

If there is one thing I've learned in mama-hood, it's that all mamas do it differently.

Formula, breastmilk, co-sleep, rock to sleep, cry it out, cloth diapers, Pampers/Huggies/Luvs, make baby food, buy baby food, skip baby food, organic food, Cheetos, juice, no juice...

Lucky for me, I am surrounded by so many amazing mamas, mamas who I frequently ask for advice and opinions and input.  And what I usually do is take said advice from all those mamas, using little bits from each one, doing what works for my family and my children.

Because every family, every child is different.

But you know who is also different?

Every mama.

We have different instincts.  Different guts telling is what is okay and what is not.  Different things that pull on our heartstrings.  Different situations that challenge us.  Different scenarios that cause us insane amounts of worry.

And what I've come to learn in the 4.5 years of being a mama?

That's okay.

It's okay to be different than other mamas you know, okay to want to do things differently, okay to feel differently about how you approach mama-hood.

Ever since CK was born, I have been a worrying mama.  The type of mama who had a hard time being away from her baby.  The type of mama who didn't have a bone in her body that wanted to spend time away from her daughter, who didn't even go away for a night with her husband, sans bambino, until her daughter was almost two years old.

And you know what?  

That's okay.

To all of those people who eye-rolled, who said YOU NEED TO GO AWAY, who couldn't believe that's how I approached motherhood... it was what worked for me, what felt right for me and my little crew.

And to those mamas who have opportunities to spend time away from your kiddos and are okay with it and - gasp - enjoy it - I think that's GREAT!  Because that's what feels okay, what feels right, what works for you and your little crew.

And it goes beyond just spending time away from your kids.  For example, some mamas hover.  Some mamas sit and relax and watch their kids try and fail and try again, maybe even getting a few boo boos along the way.

I like to think that I'm somewhere inbetween the hover-ers and the relax-ers, probably leaning more on the side of hover-er.  However, I'd also like to think that in my 4.5 years of trying to figure out how in the world to be a mama, I'm becoming more and more relaxed.

Probably because I now have a son who pretty much forces me to have to let go and take lots and lots and LOTS of deep breaths.

I think I'm learning that I can't always be right there for them - I won't always be there holding their hands.  I remember after CK was born, I had this moment of panic, like.. HOW IN THE WORLD DO PEOPLE LET THEIR CHILDREN GO TO COLLEGE!?  CK IS NEVER GOING TO COLLEGE, SHE'S NEVER LEAVING THIS HOUSE WITHOUT ME.

Now obviously that's not true, but I just couldn't imagine how you, I guess, let go of them.

Clearly I'm not ready to ship my kids off to Harvard quite yet, but what I am ready to do is let go a little.  To take a step back, let them fall down, get a scraped knee, learn on their own.

One of my dear friends said something at our bible study group a few weeks ago that sticks with me, something I will always, always hold near and dear to my heart.

This is God's child.

These children are God's children.

My children are God's children.

He has so graciously given them to me to love with all my heart while they're here on Earth, but they are his.  So I can do that - I can love them with all my heart and try to teach them and nourish them and protect them - but I have to trust His plan for them and His plans for their lives.

So, as I still take everyday as a day to learn how in the world to be a mama - and most days I still fail miserably - I am trying with all my might to take a step back, to let them be, to let them experience, to let them feel, to let them live.

To love them and hug them and teach them and discipline them and learn from them.

And then to give them their wings, and let them fly.


Friday, May 20, 2016

Hello, Summer!

Hello, Summer!

Hello, end of 3k preschool and time that is going by way too quickly.

Hello, lazy mornings, no rushing to make the car line, and wearing pajamas into the afternoon.

Hello, hours spent in the backyard, barefoot... sweaty and laughing and flush-cheeked.

Hello, neighborhood walks and bike rides.

Hello, day after day spent at the pool.

Hello, water balloon fights, slip 'n sliding, and sprinklers.

Hello, quality sibling time, and no more "bye bye sissy!" on preschool days.

Hello, exhaustion and deep breaths and praying for patience and probably more and more and more timeouts.

Hello, spur of the moment trips to the zoo and picnics and lemonade stands.

Hello, the smell of the grill at dinnertime.

Hello, playdates with best friends.

Hello, beach.

Hello, sunscreen and bug spray and freshly-painted toes.

Hello, ice cream and sno-cones and popsicles.

Hello, summer bucket list.  We have high hopes of crossing off everything!  We cannot wait to have days of fun plans and days of no plans, busy days and lazy days, and days of soaking in our last summer as a family of four.  <3

Friday, May 13, 2016

More-Than-Five on Friday!

Can I get a HALLELUJAH, it's FRIDAY!

Because whew, what a week.

--The week started with a bang Monday morning when E woke up extra early, screaming and crying and screaming some more.  This is completely unlike our little guy, and when I walked into his room the smell hit me like a ton of bricks.  Without going into too much disgusting detail, let's just say the morning started with a bath for him, followed by a shower for me, followed by throwing away his pajamas, soaking and cleaning his bedding, and a full wipe-down of every crib slat.  We're not sure what was going on, but the rest of the week (until yesterday) I dealt with a fussy, clingy, constantly-crying, always-unhappy Everette.  So yes, PRAISE FRIDAY.  Good news is he seems to be back to his normal self, and we are all so glad!!

--Also?  CK got strep again last week... the third time since December.  Which means conversations have started about a possible tonsillectomy.  We're all hopeful that her throat will calm itself now that school is coming to a close... after two sets of tubes and an adenoidectomy, we do NOT want to have to take her tonsils out!

--And speaking of school coming to a close - I can smell and feel and taste and hear summer!! CK's last day of 3k preschool is Wednesday, and then we will welcome summer with open arms!  So, so excited to spend more time with my girl, soak in days at the pool, take our crew on our yearly beach trip with my side of the family, and watch CK try new things at a few camps this summer!

--This is a little belated, but I had such a great Mother's Day weekend!  Saturday I spent all day just me and the girl who made me a mama - her last soccer game, fun at our tiny town's Mayfest celebration, and snuggling on the couch eating boiled peanuts while watching Annie.  And then Sunday included a family breakfast at IHOP, a solo grocery trip, a nap, taking my baby bump for a run around the neighborhood, and grilling out cheeseburgers in our backyard.  The icing on the cake?  A surprise spa gift certificate from my hubby!  Yippee!!

--And this is a lot belated, but I also had a wonderful birthday weekend!  We traveled to NC to visit my sis and her family and also attend my cousin's wedding.  T and my sister made sure I felt special turning 33 (!), and the wedding was beautiful and such a fun gathering of most all of my extended family.  

--And now, let me please introduce you to one of the most precious newborns I have EVER seen:
My little sister had her baby boy, Finn!  I love him so much already and cannot wait to get my hands on him.  She was a rockstar during her labor and delivery, and my newest nephew made a pretty rapid entrance into our lives (and our hearts) on Cinco de Mayo.  We're so excited to have you on this side, sweet Finn!

--I'm finally getting into the Snapchat game!  I'd love if you wanted to follow our shenanigans (jmpeele) and I'd love to follow you back... I think it's such a fun way to peak into each others worlds!!

--I am in love with this article about kids and summer.

--I'm also in love with this tiny foot, which I got to see at another ultrasound we had a week and a half ago... <3

--You guys, the month of June is cRaZy for us!  I'm enjoying a sort of slow May right now, because I know in a few weeks things are going to be nonstop!!

--We officially started a chore chart and allowance with CK and so far, it's been great.  I bought this one, and right now we're focusing on three tasks - feeding our dog Bailey, making her bed, and keeping her room clean.  So far, girl has been rocking it!  If she does all of her tasks everyday of the week, she gets $1 on Saturdays for an allowance.  I can't believe she's old enough to earn an allowance!!

--Lately, my pregnant appetite wants Laffy Taffy and the same breakfast every morning - 2 scrambled eggs and 2 pieces of turkey bacon.  Oh, and I have to have an apple pretty much everyday.

--And lately, my pregnant body has been packing on the lbs (see:  SEVEN POUNDS IN ONE MONTH).  Y'all, I swear I don't eat all day long.  And I exercise (walk/jog 2.5-3 miles and lift weights almost every single day).  I know my body likes to put on pounds while pregnant - it did the same with both CK and E - but whew I had some sticker shock when I saw that recent weight gain at the doc!

--And one more pregnancy update - my hip and leg pain at night has been almost unbearable!  Another thing that I'm used to while with child, but it makes me toss and turn and toss some more, all.night.long.

--You guys, my Fitbit broke, again.  This is, I think, my fifth one?  Every time it breaks I swear I'm done with it for good, but then I call customer service and they immediately overnight me a new one for free.  So I keep on Fitbit'ing.  One day I really want to get the new Fitbit (which is like a Garmin), and one day I really really want to get an actual Garmin.  One day!

And with that, cheers to a weekend of a few plans (but not too many!), lazy mornings, kids playing barefoot in the backyard, and soaking up lots of time with our little family of four.  <3 Have a good one!

Thursday, May 5, 2016

One point Five

My ball-loving, always-climbing, skinned-knee, cowlicked-hair, 90mph little boy is eighteen months old today!

It has been a wild and crazy and chaotic and beautiful and challenging and exhausting and amazing year and a half, and I am just so completely in love with my son. <3

He talks with a baby lisp and it is my favorite.  

He uses a fork now and thinks he's big stuff!!  And he does pretty well eating a variety of foods... some of his favorites include muffins, raspberries (and pretty much all fruit), pizza, hot dogs, avocado, applesauce - the list goes on and on!

He is ALL BOY.  So different from CK, which is so interesting to me!  He is messy, loves to dig in the dirt, always has skinned knees, climbs anything and everything, is obsessed with footballs/basketballs/soccer balls, and never.stops.moving.  He is his daddy's mini-me!  He plays hard, but sleeps hard, too.  He loves to go "night night" and I hope that never changes! And he still sucks the first two fingers on his left hand when he sleeps.

His eyes aren't quite as brown as CK's - they have a little more greenish to them - and his left eye is a different color than his right.

And his hair?  Ooooooh his hair.  He has about seven cowlicks, with the worst being front and center.  People always ask me, "What are you going to do about his hair?"  Y'all.  I have no clue.  Bless his heart.

He talks.  A LOT.  In fact, everywhere we go people comment on his verbal skills and how he never stops talking.  He and his big sister are exactly alike in this way!  One word he says over, and over, and over again?  "Sizza!"  After weeks and weeks of deliberating, we now know he's saying, "What is that?" as he inquires about any and everything.  He wants you to tell him the name of everything in the room!

He would brush his teeth all day everyday if I'd let him, constantly dumps over Bailey's water bowl, and is obsessed with the vacuum.

But his most favorite pastime in the whole wide world?  Anything that involves his big sister.  Their relationship is the best, and I could sit and watch them together for hours.

Man I am so lucky.

Everette Lawrence,
Happy Half Birthday!  You bring so much joy to our family, and we are all absolutely smitten with you.  You keep me one my toes while keeping me wrapped around your finger, and I thank God everyday for giving you to me.  I love you with all my heart and soul, and will spend everyday of your life making sure you know that.
Mommy <3

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

I Remember the Days I Prayed for What I Have Now

After we'd left the house to run errands this morning, I realized I'd forgotten to put the stroller in the car.  I was far enough away from home that I couldn't go back to get it, especially since we were running late (because CK couldn't get the seam on her sock to lay flat).  I didn't want E to miss his haircut appointment, so I decided I'd be brave enough to run all of our errands sans the toddler restraining device stroller.

After his haircut, we were Walgreens-bound.  The damage?  A broken perfume bottle, many containers of of Vitamin C rolling around on the ground, and a bite out of an un-purchased Milky Way (that was eventually purchased).

Next up?  Staples.  After Walgreens I had decided this was the last stop I had in me.  At one point both kids had handfuls of Sharpies and were running around the store giggling furiously, with E missing a shoe (that was later discovered on the aisle with the bubble wrap).

We all arrived home hungry and cranky, so I sent the kids to play in the backyard while I made lunch.  Within minutes I looked out of the window and noticed that E was barefoot in the grass and had something questionable in his hand.

Dog poop.

He had a handful of Bailey's poop, and upon further investigation both feet were also completely covered.

I swear I had looked down for like two minutes to cut a peanut butter and jelly sandwich INTO RECTANGLES PLEASE and E had found a pile of poop and played in it like it was a mud puddle.

I got him inside and cleaned him up (while holding my breath... I can't even describe how awful it was) and before I finished drying him off, CK comes inside and says, sheepishly, "Mama... come look and see what happened."

I go out onto the back porch and our outdoor ottoman is ripped wide open.  Not a huge loss, since it came from Target a few years ago.... but the dang thing was filled with these tiny little styrofoam balls that were now everywhere.  One wind gust later and they were all over the backyard and inside every little nook and cranny of our deck.  I rushed inside to get our dustbuster and get back outside to see that E has managed to get a fistful into his mouth.

Y'all, I kid you not.  All of this happened before noon today.

Did I lose my cool at all during this ridiculous morning?  Yes, yes I did.  I raised my voice when I shouldn't have, was too short with the kids when I should've been more patient.  But, in my head I kept repeating a quote a dear friend recently shared with me:

I remember the days I prayed for what I have now.

It is not lost on me that two and a half years ago I would've done just about anything to be chasing around a four-year-old AND a wild toddler with another baby growing in my belly.  If you would've told me back then that I'd be four months away from being a mama of three, I wouldn't have believed you.
I remember the days I prayed for what I have now.

I remember trying to get pregnant with CK, month after month, wondering if I'd ever get to be a mom.  Knowing my whole life I had dreamed of having a baby, of having babieS... and worrying every second of everyday that it may never happen.
I remember the days I prayed for what I have now.

If you come over to my house on any given day, there will be toys EVERYWHERE.  My house will be clean-ish - you won't find too many dust bunnies, the floors will have been recently vacuumed and mopped, and rarely if ever will you find dishes in the sink... But there will likely be baby dolls strewn all around, a random sock here or there, shoes not put away, crayons left on the table, and a few crumbs left on the highchair from breakfast.  And I'm getting to a point in my life that I know it's okay.  That I don't have to apologize for the mess, for our constant state of disarray, how we're always a traveling circus.  That this is my now - a toy-filled, loud, messy house, a struggle to be anywhere on time, a tantrum in Kroger.  
This is not to say that I don't have days (like today) where I want to wave the white flag, disappear for awhile, cry, take a long, long nap, eat all the chocolate.  But I am trying to be more aware of just how incredibly blessed I am to have two healthy children in this beautifully chaotic house, and one rolling around inside of my belly.

Because more often than not, I feel like I'm going to wake up and this will all be a dream.  A too-good-to-be-true dream... dog poop and screaming in Staples and crunched up Cheerios and all.

One day these moments - the big and the small, the quiet and the loud, the hard and the joyful, the challenging and the amazing - they'll be memories.  Our house will be too quiet, too clean, too empty.  And I will always, always be on time.

So today?  Today I'm working really hard on embracing this beautiful chaos and loving it from top to bottom, always remembering the day I prayed with all my might for the incredible blessings I have now. <3