Friday, December 27, 2013

Simply Having a Wonderful (but pukey) Christmas Time

Seems I should post the obligatory Christmas entry. But I'm not feeling very festive.

Our week started out a little strangely with Levi having some sort of tummy bug (his first) and us learning to clean up sick in large quantities. Gross. Not quite the festivities we were anticipating as we thought ahead to the events of Christmas week. However, I am very thankful that Jeremy was at home to help with clean up - its certainly a two person job to clear up and take care of a toddler with the stomach flu, or food poising, or whatever it was, because there is no warning! Levi seemed to be on a mission to puke on the carpet in as many rooms as possible. Thankfully we have a friend who has loaned us a carpet shampooer to do some deep cleaning in the worst hit areas and get rid of the lingering odor.

Christmas Eve and Christmas day passed with much joy and delight as we celebrated with family and observed Levi's little face light up with each gift he opened. We had to stagger his presents because we didn't want him to get too overstimulated and he did a great job and was very spoiled and had a thoroughly wonderful time.

Jeremy had lead worship at our church's Christmas eve service and then we headed to the in-laws to spend the night so we could all wake up in the same house Christmas morning - as we packed up the car we realised that this would not be possible or more truthfully not worth the effort for many years to come as we fill the car with presents that will be coming home with us after they are unwrapped, not to mention all the "spend the night stuff" that we cart for one baby - with two it will be ridiculous - and I don't even think we take that much! All that to say, we might have to start having people stay with us on Christmas Eve soon.

Sadly, the festivities have been slightly overshadowed by the stomach virus or whatever it is that has been plaguing the family since. My Sister-in-law was unwell Christmas night and Jeremy got really sick yesterday afternoon, and his Dad was unwell too. His Mom and I have been anticipating the worst and praying for the best in terms of us catching it too. So far so good. I think. I say, "I think" because this afternoon I have started to feel a little off - so I continue to pray that it doesn't turn into anything more substantial, [Sidenote - I have taken full advantage of FB through this season of sick and am beyond thankful fro the prayers and good thoughts that have been offered up on our behalf, not to mention the practical offers of help that continue to be given. We have the best friends and family, I swear]
Just as we thought we were heading towards healing, as Levi was going to bed tonight, he began to throw up again. Over and over. We are all in our third pair of pajamas. Jeremy is feeling well enough to help (again, thank you Jesus!) so he settled him to sleep as I sat on the loo seat, leaning over the tub and using the diaper sprayer to rinse oFf the nastiness from jammies, sleep sacks, a lovey, and our clothes as well as blankets and random other things that had got caught in the crossfire. I was so close to tears, worried for my sweet baby and wanting him to feel well, scared because I haven't been feeling well this afternoon and honestly since this thing started I have been anticipating catching something (I have a total puke phobia) so that's another stresser and just carrying that and this enormous baby girl, as well as being solo on duty the past 24 hour taking care of Levi and Jeremy, I'm exhausted. Totally at the end of myself.

Tonight when I heard Jeremy call me, I knew from his tone of voice that Levi had been sick. I wanted to run away. I wanted to quit. Just for a little while. Of course, I ran (or wobbled) up to help out. It's amazing how sick can be so gross most the time but when your baby holds his arms out for you when he is unwell it just doesn't seem to matter and you scoop them up with no regard for yourself or your own clothes at all :) I should say, for me this is a huge deal because as I mentioned me and puke are mortal enemies. So far, Levi's pukes have still been fairly milk based (TMI?) so it might be a different story in the future.

So here we are. Levi's in bed (Please Jesus be healing his poor little body), first load of many in the washer. I'm sipping water trying to relax and sty hopeful I won't get sick, and Jeremy who is feeling somewhat back to normal, made himself waffles for dinner and is currently using the borrowed carpet cleaner to work on an area from the first time around. Geesh!

Lord, I am not sure what you are teaching me, but I am exhausted and needing a break. Please bring healing to our home. Supernatural healing for Levi, continued healing for Jeremy and continued protection for me. Sustain me please.

I think a tough pill to swallow in this whole thing is that we were so excited to have Jeremy's holiday time off as a family. We didn't have big plans but a few ideas, and we wanted to take the days as they came just enjoying being a family as well as catching up with some dear neglected friends. Having germs, especially nasty ones like this makes that impossible.

So I am trying to find a good attitude. Trying to trust it all to Jesus. And trying to get some rest when I can but so hoping next week will be better!

Here are just a couple of Christmas Day pictures. That wonderful time when no one was feeling sick and we celebrated Jesus coming to earth as a baby. O holy night!

Enjoying Christmas dinner
Trying out his new basketball hoop in his new car slippers!
Loving the train set
Cars work on here too!!

I hope you all had a happy and healthy holiday time!

Friday, December 20, 2013

First snow of the winter (almost)

So technically it's not winter until tomorrow but I think this can count :)

Yesterday I had thought I had heard that it might snow, I had wanted to check the weather before going to bed but it slipped my mind, so this morning when Jeremy got up to get Levi's bottle and eagerly reported that it had snowed I was so excited. A special festive surprise.

We only had about an inch on the ground at the time and although it was still falling it wasn't cold enough for it to stay around for long. It felt like a lot of effort to get Levi ready for snow play - especially since I didn't think wither of us would be up for staying outside for very long, but I knew I would kick myself if I let my own lack of enthusiasm for snow play get in the way of seeing Levi's face when he was out there.

So we found the snow boots (that I am so glad I picked up for a steal at the consignment sale this fall) Put them on over his onesie PJ's and topped it of with his fleece and a waterproof jacket as well as his heavy duty hat. He does have little mittens but they are not his favourite thing in the world and they are woolen so once he touched anything they would be wet anyway so we skipped those. He has grown into the boots at the perfect time and he was really steady on his feet even when the ground was slippery or the snow covered grass was uneven.

It was 8am or a little before and we were having our snow adventure :)

I had wondered if he would be timid because the get-up he was wearing might be uncomfortable or if he was hot or cold but he LOVED every second and kept "running" all over the place. i had to keep grabbing before he headed off our front lawn and onto the street. Everything was covered in snow so you couldn't easily see where the end was - not that I think he would have cared anyway, running away is one of his newest favourite games and its often accompanied by him yelling, "no, no, no, no" his new favourite word :) He is 16 months and he's really good at it :)

So it's now afternoon and the snow has pretty much gone. Now we know how much our little snow bunny loves the white stuff we may have to plan a trip to the mountains this holiday break so we can introduce him to the sled.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Sharing is SO hard to learn!

It is not a shocking revelation that Seattle is a wet place to be for the winter months. While I enjoy aspects the cold and wet winter months; bubbling pots of soup on the stove, snuggling under blankets, dark afternoons - maybe it's weird but I truly enjoy the dullness of the weather this half of the year. I think it really makes me appreciate the beauty of the late spring, summer and early fall here. Its so different then; full of colour and outside activity.

As Levi gets older and busier our house can seem to get very small very quickly. We have a great space, it's not about that, it's more about his energy level.

The cold wet weather makes me want to hunker down, put a Christmas movie on TV and drink some hot chocolate. Sadly, this isn't going to cut it in terms of entertainment for Levi. It is hard to be outside for any length of time because it's cold and often wet. Park equipment is wet and needs to be toweled off before it can be used and little hands get so cold so fast. I try to walk places when I can with Levi snuggled and warm in the stroller and while its good to get me moving and get him some fresh air he doesn't get to run off any of his energy.

We are blessed to live in a city that recognizes this issue and makes lots of spaces available for kids to get exercise during these colder months. The local community centers re open in the mornings, from 9.30 to 11.30 or 12.30. Different gyms are open different days and some of them are busier than others but its such a wonderful thing to have them for Levi to run around. They have tons of toy cars and tricycles, they have pop up tents and tunnels, slides and rockers, balls and small basketball hoops (Levi's current obsession) as well as play kitchens and pretend food. Pretty much catering to little kids of all play preferences :)

We usually head to the play gym about twice a week, trying to hit up two different places. Levi runs around non stop, on and off bikes and cars, bouncing balls, climbing slides and generally having a fabulous time until we come home and he crashes hard for his nap!

More recently, he is finding other kids more of a struggle to get along with. He has always been social but he used to be very easy going, if someone took a toy from him he'd just find something else to play with. If a kid was playing with a toy that he thought looked interesting, he could find something equally as interesting to amuse himself.

Not so much anymore. His recent basket ball obsession means that he likes to play with the basket ball and the small "ooop" to put it in. He likes to hold onto the ball and doesn't appreciate when another child wants to use"his" ball. This morning a little boy older than him had got a hold of the basketball he was coveting and was just walking around with it. Levi kept going up to him and hitting it out of his hands!! The bigger boy did nothing to stop him - I wish he had - but time after time I returned it to the holder and told Levi it was the other boys' turn. Levi changed tactics and ran to the kids hoop pointing out that the boy was supposed to put the ball in the hoop! He was getting more and more infuriated that the boy was just holding the ball!! When it was finally his turn again, (the other kid found something else to walk around holding) Levi ran around like he had won a prize. That part was cute. The stuff beforehand was frustrating.I love that Levi has passion, but I want to teach him to be a good friend. I know sharing and taking turns are difficult things to learn - heaven knows, its still hard for me sometimes, but when I ask Levi in my jolliest voice to throw the ball to another child because its only fair to share and he says"no, no, no" and runs off with it on sits down with a grumpy look on his face, I am at a loss.

Ugh! Hoping that I can be consistent with how I handle these situations and praying for wisdom to guide and shape this little guy.

Have any of you mama s got any tips about how you handled this situation or helped your little ones learn to share? Would love to hear from you!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Traditions, traditions, 'tis the season

Oh, how I love the Advent season!! The build up to Christmas seem to really start once the traditions begin. We are blessed with friends who plan the most lovely events so my lack of party hosting doesn't effect us negatively :)

Having Levi with us certainly makes it more interesting. Coming and going around nap times and making sure that we have enough diapers or food to make sure he has lunch or dinner at the right time as well as the right toys to keep him amused. :) Lots more to think about and keep track of than in previous years I think we started the day with the diaper bag, a food bag and one with entertainment along with the box of ginger cookies I had made for the cookie exchange that was our second port of call.

We started the day with breakfast at the Christmas movie marathon that starts early and goes late. In previous years I have managed almost all the movies but this year, we managed one and a trivia game in between. Levi's little buddy was there too so the two of them made fast work of finding lots to get into while being the cutest of distractions from "The Grinch who stole Christmas" :)

I am not sure that movie watching and 16 month old babies are the best combination but it was fun to see some friends that we haven't got to see in a while - some since last years marathon!
Most people wear PJ's to this event, its fun to snuggle under a blanket for the viewing but this year Levi was the only one of us who did. We were going straight to another event and if I'm honest, my sleep attire this pregnancy is far from festive and not socially appropriate so that sealed the deal!

Then onto The cookie exchange our dear friends Tim and Sarah host, and Levi gets to see another favourite buddy, Henry. They we both so cute in their vests! Perfect for the celebration.  And when it was nap time we headed out with a huge pile of cookie and treat loot! Delicious. As Levi slept, Jeremy and I drank tea, and made a good head way with the treat consumption. 

After the nap we headed back to the movies for Levi to cause a little more chaos and to catch Home Alone 2 (one of my very favourites).

All in all a fabulous and festive day. Christmas is comin' folks, there is no denying it :)

[In his Christmas jammies at the movie marathon]

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Dear Levi - 16 months old

Another month of changes, another month closer to being a big brother and another month growing up and away from being my baby!!

You have started to experiment with two syllable words. You managed "basket" "ball" the other day and "tractor" is another favourite. You mention it every time we go to the grocery store because through the autumn time they have an old tractor our side with the pumpkins and hay bales but it went away with the season change and every time we pull into the car park you start saying "brrrum" bye bye" "tractor" "ut oh", and then for a few hours afterwards and at random times through the day as it crosses your mind! You are really starting to remember things and process life.

I think some of that is why your separation anxiety continues to be an issue. You have been willing and ok to stay in the nursery at church again without tears but with your Daddy travelling so much this autumn I think you have become a little unsettled at home when he is gone. He only has this current trip sweet boy and then its the three of us together for the holiday and on until your sister arrives! (Although you also love that Grandma and Grandpa have been coming to stay while he is gone, they are a very close second to your Daddy).

You have started to want to be on my hip at all times which can be exhausting. I am sure that as my belly grows and as your Daddy and I begin to anticipate the arrival of your sister you are picking up on all the changes happening in your safe place even though you can't express your anxieties in words I think your actions are saying it loud and clear. After some reading up on the subject, I also think your night time waking is to do with your seperation anxiety so we have tried to be more understanding when you cry out :)

You have been sleeping through some of the time and when you are in our bed you have started sleeping later so that is at least a step in the right direction. You don't know it yet, but we might have plans to look more closely at this issue when Daddy is off over the Christmas holidays and we can take turns to nap duringthe day if we ned too from being up with you at night!

You have also started to do this delightful expression when we tell you things like, "lets' go and look at the Christmas lights" or "Let's go and see if there is football on TV" you suck in air and purse your lips together and your eyes get big and bright and you say "oooh". Even when its something really mundane, you seem so excited by the prospect we are presenting! You just make life more enjoyable sweet boy, it's that simple.

You have also become so sweet when you are giving hugs and kisses, you always accompany the gesture with a sigh. When your Daddy travels and we Skype with him you love to kiss the screen or try to throw him the ball you are playing with. You also LOVE to Skype with "Nana" and "Granna" (Grandad) and often point to the "pooter" (laptop computer) and ask for "Nana" so we give them a call and you show them your new tricks and toys.

You continue to consider your socks your nemesis and step out of them in a hot minute. Pretty much every day Daddy comes home to you wearing just one of them!

You have started to play more with your building blocks you love your medical kit and especially taking temperatures with the "beep beep" (thermometer) and listening for heartbeats with the stethoscope. You listen to Mummy's heartbeat and the baby's which is just adorable!

Ok, the more I am writing the more I am thinking I should include, so I am going to stop here. And to think, I thought this would be a tough month to write about. As I read over this, its really no wonder I'm exhausted :)

Big hugs to you bugger boo - onto your seventeenth month of life we go

Love Mama xx

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Day 8 - Wisdom

Levi is napping, he slept so well last night waking up bright and cheerful at 7am (possibly because he had slept so badly the past two nights). This meant that even after playing hard in the nursery at church, including charming the new volunteer as well as giving some love to his faves and looking cute as pie in his festive attire, not to mention a stop at Target on the way home to pick up a copy of our Christmas picture to go in the frame in our hallway, he didn't fall asleep until almost 1pm - an hour and a half later than usual!! He went down fine and truth be told I would love it if his nap moved to this time so it's nice to see what life might be like with a full nights sleep, a descent wake up time, a full morning of play and a great afternoon nap :)

Just made some lunch and am watching the Seahawks vs. the 49ers while I eat before starting some serious revision fro my final tomorrow. Prayers for the math to stay in my brain for at least the next 24 hours would be really appreciated!! Here I come, lines and inequalities to graph - not hiding from em now!

For church I put Levi in a darling and festive ourfit, pieces of which we were loaned by friends and then a red sweater vest I picked up in the Old Navy sales. Perfection.  And wise :) Note that the word of today is WISDOM - It was not the Seahawk outfit that would have been adorned if Daddy had not already left for a business trip when you got dressed :) However, I will make sure that Levi is representing the 12th man when he wakes up. And as Levi's little buddy Jonah says, "Go Hawks!"

I feel as though I have been living my life very much in the shadow of school the past few months. I have thought, "when school is over I will start arranging to have people over again" or, "when school is over I will get back on top of keeping the house in order", when when school is out I will work on Levi's sleep/getting rid of Levi's bottle/reducing Levi's milk intake etc". You get the point. I feel a burden of guilt and a little despair that I haven't found a way to do  life well and still find time to study and get the grade I need - I see people all around me doing it, yet I struggle with a sensation of feeling almost paralyzed with the weight of an overwhelming "to do" list.

So now we are here, in less than 24 hours I will be done for the quarter. And I am looking ahead to how in the world I am going to take my last three classes with not one but two babies to take care of, and how can I make changes to make school more than a burden, and something that doesn't take so much away from my family because honestly, the quarters I have been in school since having Levi have been the driest times in our marriage in pretty much every way. We survive but we have some rebuilding and reconnecting to do once finals are over. I don't want it to be like that in the future.

I originally planned to take just one quarter off to have our baby girl, and bite the bullet to start back in class for Spring quarter...after talking about it with Jeremy I am starting to see that for the sake of myself, and my family, I need to take more time. There is no rush. I have time to get these credits but I cannot get back these early months and years with our children. I can't get a redo as their early understanding of the world forms. I want to enjoy, to be present and to have them grow up in a place of community where they have other adults that they see often and who know and love them. School just got pushed out of my priority list, I starting tomorrow, I will take a whole year off to fully embrace all there is to being a wife and a mum. It's like the best Christmas present and its coming early -  I might not sleep tonight!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Day 4 - Time

I failed to take a picture today - but imagine the scene, Levi in the stroller, me, armfuls of red and white wrapped packages standing in line for AGES in a crowded post office as the afternoon sky began to darken. Click!


In the post office, time can seem to stand still. I had waited until I had all my packages ready to go to England before I took the plunge and stood in the festive line to mail our gifts. I knew it would be cringe-worthy! Mailing things internationally means they have to manually input everything into the computer which takes FOREVER! USPS, there must be a more efficient system?!

Anyway, 40 minutes later and everything is heading on its way across the ocean ready to be put under Christmas trees :) What a lovely feeling to cross that off the list. Now I just have to shop for friends and family here...I need a few days to get over the Post Office experience before I venture to the mall :)

This post is short and sweet but I leave you with a couple of pictures from the maternity shoot that we did this weekend. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Advent in pictures 2013

I saw an idea on FB to take a photo a day through the advent season, the site gave a word for each day to be interpreted through the pictures. Until my class is over I am not sure how on top of this I will be (and honestly, even after that!) but I love the idea off taking time to contemplate the themes of this season and capturing them in my life.

1. GO

2. BOUND (So technically I didn't take this picture, but it is one that shows the word for the day - our little busy guy, ready to be bounding, not wanting to pose for pics! - From the maternity shoot we did with Katy Leet @ katy Leet Photography)


Monday, December 2, 2013

And onto Christmas

I hope you all had a fantastic Thanksgiving. I can't believe the holiday is already over! This year there is no slow descent into Christmas because of the way the way the dates fell we are already into December and the jingle bells can be heard all around.

We put up our tree and decorations on Saturday in time for having friends over for dinner. Levi was fascinated by the tree and especially delighted by the lights. We have sparse decorations hanging this year, partly because our ball obsessed little tyke would not be able to control himself around the baubles and the wire hooks are sharp so we decided not to tempt him. We have some cloth and wooden ornaments hanging, all kid friendly if they somehow find their way into little hands - or mouths!

I love the buzz of anticipation which surrounds this Advent time of year. It seems only fitting as we wait to celebrate the birth of Jesus. I look forward to cookie exchanges and visiting neighbourhood light displays. I hope that in years to come we will develop more traditions that Levi and our baby girl will come to associate with this time of year but for this year, we are going to keep it simple. Levi is not a fan of the cold and he still goes to bed so early that many of the traditions are outside the realm of possibility for this year anyway,

I'm working my way down our Christmas shopping list - thankful for online shopping these days!

I am so close to the end of my class I can almost taste it! I have an online quiz to take tonight, one more piece of homework to hand in a final on campus next Monday! I cannot wait to be done. I feel as though I can regain some of my life. I may have dropped most social activities since the quarter started and look forward to making plans, and seeing friends.

Thismorning we spent a few hours at a great local cafe called Mosaic that has a kids play area with a door so parents can connect while kids play but without having to run off and catch little ones mid sentence :) Well, almost! Levi needed help up the little slide and needed to be rescued from falling off the little train table he insisted on climbing on over and over. He passed out in the car on the way home, and he usually transfers pretty well but he was so out that I even changed his diaper and put on comfy pants for him to sleep in as well as taking off his fleece over his head and he didn't move.

This afternoon - 
We are heading to the grocery store - usually our Monday morning adventure but we postponed to have our playdate. Then tonight, watching the Seahawk game and taking my quiz for school and finalising our Christmas card template.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving (eve)

It's Thaksgiving eve. For the past few years with have celebrated this night with a dinner with our dear friends, but Jeremy was feeling feverish and flu-y last night and Levi had a fever so to be on the safe side we cancelled so as not to pass on any potential germies.

Today Jeremy felt a little better but still not great and Levi has still been extremely emotional all day and not quite himself, so unfortunately there was not going back at the last minute and sayong, "c'mon over". It's sad.

I hate to cancel especially around the holidays because I love the idea of traditions, and having Levi grow up with certain events and people as a part of his holiday celebrations. Assuming all is well tomorrow, we will participate in another tradition of a Thanksgiving morning walk with a group of other special friends and while it doesn't make up for missing tonight, it is my silver lining.

I love to cook, that's not a new revelation, but usually for the holidays I go crazy overboard with the dishes I am bringing to dinner. This year, I was intentional to chose menu items that didn't take too much effort but were still tasty. On Monday during Levi's nap I made the Butternut Bisque that will be the starter (Thanks Martha Stewart), and today while Levi was slumbering I concocted a spiced cherry pie for dessert -  the house smells fabulous! Plus, it means all I have left to work on tomorrow is a garlic green beans which involve minimal effort so I can actually spend time with the family outside of the kitchen which will be fun0 not to mention splitting up my "on my feet" time which has recently been an issue. Seems baby girl is not a fan of her mother being upright for long periods of time, and will make this known. It will also be helpful as Levi has been super clingy and wanting to be on my hip all the time since not feeling well the past few days. Luckily, Grandpa and Grandma are well loved and will be a huge distraction I am sure, it gives me more of an opportunity to sit with him if he needs that mama time without feeling like I needed to be working on some culinary masterpiece :)

I love this holiday, especially because it feels as though I get an extra Christmas almost. Only this is a Christmas without all the hustle and bustle of presents. Its like a pre-Christmas, getting us in the mood for the start of Advent and all the anticipation the month of December holds.

This year I bought Levi a book called "What's Thanksgiving all about" It's a cute book explaining that its not all about the parades, the football games and the turkey but unfortunately, our little football fan refers to it as the "football" book, so we may have to work on more explanation next year :)

Today, I was laying on the couch with my feet up, enjoying Jeremy's early arrival home from work and just watched him ad Levi building crazy tall towers with the blocks and laughing as they tumbled over. The fireplace was burning in the background and I took a deep breath, feeling our little girl wriggling around inside me as I did. I almost couldn't contain the thankfulness in my heart. 

Happy Thanksgiving to friends and loved ones near and far - even the British ones :)  I am thankful for each and every one of you and for the gift you are in our lives. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Early Starts

I have never been a natural early riser. I can get up and find a good attitude pretty quickly, but left to my own devices I would still be in the land of nod well past anything socially acceptable. Before Levi, Jeremy and I regularly started out weekends at 11am on a Saturday.

Parenthood has changed all that.

Levi is an early riser. When he sleeps through the night he can go 6.30pm-6.30am but recently both pieces of that sentence have been irregular. He is sleeping through much more frequently than he was a few weeks ago but since daylight savings, he is going to sleep better 6.30 and 7pm, which is 7.30 to 8pm as was. However, instead of sleeping to 6.15 or 6.30am like the routine we had come to know, he is waking between 5.30 and 6am -YAWN!! Oh my goodness, its painful. He went through a 5.30am wake up period for about a month this summer and it was rough, but because he was sleeping through consistently and taking 2 naps I could catch up on my sleep at one of his naps times during the day and we made it work. Now with him down to one nap a day and with it being inconsistent in length, as well as very inconsistent sleeping through the night I am exhausted with these early starts.

I'm so thankful that Jeremy is prepared to take on half the burden. He understands that pregnancy and watching a toddler all day is just as tiring as his job.

We used to take turns to get up with Levi and take him downstairs so the other one could go back to sleep. In more recent times, we have recognised that a) its really almost impossible to go back to sleep when you only have another 45 minutes to sleep and b) Levi may well fall back asleep after his bottle if we stay in the dark and quiet of our bedroom, so we have taken to bringing him in with us for bottle and snuggles. He sometimes falls back asleep for up to an hour.

If he doesn't go back to sleep he will often snuggle quietly for a while before starting to chatter and wanting to play. We have embraced these family times even though they are early because we realise we don't have that many of them. Levi's early to bed means little time together in the evenings so the morning adds some more quality time for our family.

Levi starts talking right away about football and touch downs, but quickly moves to climbing over Jeremy to get to his night stand and reaching to turn on the clock radio for music and "dancin' He then shakes his little bum ad wiggles and waves his arms like its a party. Our time continues with him walking around our room wearing our shoes - he's ust figured out how to keep them on his feet as he walks and he proudly clomps around.

He has become quite the towel boy and I genuinely miss his service when there is no one to pass me my towel as I step out of the shower! He also enjoys his turn with our electric toothbrush and my hairbrush. He has become very skilled at climbing in and out of the bathtub unassisted and so he can often be found playing in there while we get ready.

It means I am often out running errands or starting playdates with other mums of early risers earlier in my day than I would have anticipated but it can help me to start the day productively. It often kick starts the rest of the day too which is a good thing. I am often pretty useless by about 3 or 4 pm but by then, Levi is quite content to be home and playing with his toys, or reading stories with me until dinner so I can hang out primarily on the couch without much guilt.

Parenting is all about rolling with the punches, and an adjusted schedule is only the tip of the iceberg, but its one I am finding the silver lining to. I mean, who wouldn't be happy to get up to this smiling face? :)

Monday, November 11, 2013

Dear Levi - Fifteen Months Old

Dear Levi,

This has been another month of crazy development. I cannot believe how much you have grown and changed in the past 31 days.

The most noticeable has been in your increasing communication. While much of what you say continues to be incomprehensible to most people beyond our immediate family, that is changing slowly and as your pronunciation becomes clearer your vocabulary is increasing daily. You have mastered "stuck" and like to call for help often to get out of predicaments that you often put yourself in on purpose. Still hearing your little voice calling us, usually gets us running to save you, while you smile at us, knowing that you have wrapped us around your little finger :)

You also enjoy words to do with "football" like, "Hawk" when you see the Seattle Seahawk logo. This also includes "teevee" as you point to the remote and encourage us to turn on the television to see a football game. Your recent fascination with the television has certainly been convicting for me and we have not had it on during the day at all while you are awake. The weekends can still find us watching football games but I hope that your growing obsession with the sport can be contained with this limited exposure. The fall out from that decision however, has meant that you assume there is always football on the TV, because in your recent experience that is all you have seen :)

Your sleep at night is not quite back to consistent full nights, but it seems to be getting better (no thanks to daylight savings who threw a spanner in the works for a day or four). However, this not sleeping through started when your upper molars both decided to poke through at the same time, and today I notice bulging bottom gums which tell me your bottom ones are on their way too. Hoping they are not as painful for you, sweet boy. You have become such a snuggler in the morning. When you wake up we hear your little voice babbling, usually about "football" at first before you start calling for "Mama" and "Dada". You come into our bed for your first bottle of the day, you take it as you snuggle with us and you are so sweet. And as soon as its done you are off and running, full of enthusiasm for the day ahead. You especially enjoy turning on the radio on Daddy's clock to hear the music and start "dancy" (dancing) this includes your new signature move waving your pointer fingers as you wiggle.

Speaking of sleep, a new favourite game is to put our pillows on the floor and get your lovies and a blanket and tell us "ni ni" (night night) as you lay your head down, pretending to sleep. Then you pop up and  beam as we tell you "good morning sunshine" just like we do when you really wake up from sleep.

You have also started pushing boundaries much more as your understanding of the world grows. No longer can we tell ourselves you are unaware of what you are doing. You know full well when we tell you "no" or "stop" that you can make the choice to be obedient or not and its a toss up to which you decide :) We have had to be firm and practice consistency for follow through when we are asking you to do something and you refuse. It's a learning curve for all of us, but your Daddy and I really want you to grow up knowing that there are boundaries and that you don't always just get to do what you want to. It's not a lesson any of us enjoy sweet one, but its necessary.

You are quick to bounce back from any confrontation, and we still chose to use distraction as much as any other form of discipline, but sometimes wehn you are looking at us and smiling as you do something you know youa re not allowed to do, we have to take a step back and remember that your heart is not to drive us crazy it's simply fun to you. You certainly have a mischievous spirit and a sense of humor larger than your size :)

You have also entered into a phase of being quite a mummy's boy, and also our first experience of you having any kind of separation anxiety. I was called out of MOPS last week as well as church this morning because you were having a tough time. You love to play with the other kids as long as I am in eye shot. I hope it's a short phase for both our sakes.

This has been a month of new finds and watching you enjoy life and the world you with even more energy and joy. From the toilet paper middle trumpets - your instrument of choice, to sharing snacks with your stuffed animals you are a light in my life.

I love you so much and as exhausted as I am most nights when my head hits the pillow, I wouldn't trade being your mother for anything in the world. You continue to be everything I dreamed of and more.

Happy 15 months~

Love mama x

Here you are this weekend enjoying some quality Dad time with snacks during the Seahawk game.

Friday, November 8, 2013

"Stuck" and other Friday thoughts

It's Friday. I am feeling refreshed after two full nights sleep in a row and especially after last night when Levi slept 6.30pm-6.30am. He woke up very chipper as did I. It is amazing what a good nights sleep can do for this mamas outlook :)

Levi's new favourite thing is to get "stuck". Maybe it's because it's a new word for him and he like to show off. Perhaps ten times already he has called out "Mama, stuck!" and I have looked around to find him in a predicament like this one -

It also happened with him head first in a turned over laundry basket as well as a few other strange places. He cracks me up.

Baby girl continues to grow and I swear she has the hiccups 23 hours a day. Because she has been scaring us a little with her heart arrhythmia we have got to see her a bunch recently on scans. We even got a few video clips on a cd which I cherish. We are still praying that her heart rights itself but I guess time will tell.

Levi and I ran a quick errand to return something  the mall earlier and I walked by the kids play area which was hoppin'. I guess its the place to be right when the mall opens. Maybe everyone thinks its going to be empty then? They are wrong. Still, there were lots of moms my age there with multiple kids, bigger ones climbing and running on the equipment and smaller ones in carriers or carseats. There were some obvious play dates happening and all these mums looked adorable. So put together. Not overdressed but just cute. That kind of effortless look that actually, usually takes a little planning to get together. Lots of them even had earring or other accessories. It was 10am and they looked great, sipping on Starbucks with multiple kids - also not in jammies. For a moment I was in complete awe and then as I passed the storefront and saw my reflection, I saw that I too looked pretty cute for a Friday at the mall,a nd looking at my baby\boy in his cuteness, my own Starbucks cup in the stroller caddy full of mocha goodness and I took a breath, I could be friends with these ladies or I could be here on a play date with my own wonderful and cute friends. It gave me hope that with 2 babies life won't be over. It will be crazy and busy, yes, for sure, but there will be play dates and time with friends. This will continue to be my life - I will just have less arms and a bigger diaper bag - oh and a huge stroller - a fact that hit me as I one handedly whipped up our city mini into the back of the car before we left for home. Those days will be over :)

Speaking of the mall, not only was there Christmas music playing but we had to walk passed Father Christmas in his grotto. All set up for pictures. Already. Its not even mid-November yet people, who takes kids to see Santa in November? No judgement, I am seriously just curious.

It's the end of another week. Looking forward to some fun family times this weekend. Wishing you all a great weekend too :)

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Spoke too soon

I guess my daylight savings post was a bit premature. Levi has been struggling with late nights, late naps, and very early mornings. He has been exhausted poor little guy. Essentially his schedule has moved to match up with time as much as possible but his napping has been earlier because he's been going to bed at 6pm (7pm in his body) but getting up at 5 (6am in his body - and mine!) So he is over tired and falling asleep before his usual nap time but then never having time to catch up.

Today we had MOPS (mothers of pre schoolers) where he goes in the nursery with two sweet ladies who love him and a few little buddies his age. He usually loves and is more than happy to trot off without me to play with trains but today he was already ready for a nap when we arrived as as I set him down he burst into really sad tears and when I picked him up he just lay his head on my shoulder. After a few minutes I offered him a bottle and  after a few sips he saw the trains and he was off. I hoped that he woudl be able to hold it together because he would be distracted. I had already told the staff that I planned to listen to the speaker but leave before the discussion and pick him up early so he could nap before he got too tired but I did ask that if he got upset to come and get me because I knew I was pushing him and I didn't want him to struggle and then develop a fear of the nursery for the future.

I wish he would have had a fun time but I am glad that they brought him to me because he was super upset and having a rough time. He had stopped crying but his little tear-stained face and deep breathing was like a punch to my mama's heart. He quickly snuggled onto my lap and took the remainder of his bottle almost fallig asleep right there.

I left soon after so he could sleep and he fell asleep about 3 minutes into the car ride home. Sadly, I changed his diaper when we got home and it disturbed him enough that he couldn't settle back to sleep. Lesson learned because he usually transfers great.

In the end I stopped fighting it, brought him down and gave him lunch, read books quietly and then tried again an hour later. He was still struggling so I just put him in the crib and walked away. I needed to sit a few minutes (I had been having contractions and pressure again yesterday and my doctor warned me to keep off my feet as much as possible. Two rounds of rocking him to sleep would not have been what he had in mind!) Our video monitor has a two way speaker on it and in my frustration as I watched him pop up and start chattering away I said, "Levi Rhys lay down  in your crib and go to sleep" I have done this before and usauslly he will lay down for a few seconds but this time I watched him lay down but he stayed there and took a nap. Thank you Lord!! Certainly an answer to prayer for this exhausted mother.

So now we just have to figure out the rest of our day. I can hear him stirring. We have a friend heading over later which is always nice but Jeremy is working late so I have bedtime duty alone. Hoping he adjusts soon because this is exhausting, and even though he has been sleeping through the night again it doesn't feel like a good nights sleep when we have to get up at 5! :)

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Happy Daylight Savings to us!

Levi gave us the best gift this morning, 2 gifts really. Firstly, we all woke up when we heard him chattering - over the monitor- because he slept ALL night in his bed, and secondly, when we looked at the clock expecting to see we were in the 5 o'clock hour due to the time change, but instead we saw 6.20am. Not only did he sleep through, but he slept an extra hour! (and yes, we did have to double check that the clock was showing the right time!)

At least I should start the week a little more rested.

So many thoughts in my head - more to come soon.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Ordinary Beautiful.

Here I am, it's 7.30pm, Levi has been asleep for a while and Jeremy and I are eating dinner and watching one of our favourite shows.

Its the end of one of the days that makes it all worth while.

It wasn't a special day but it was one that just worked. It was the type of day that I long for since I became a mum. They can seem few and far between sometimes. They have seemed especially few and far between in the past couple of weeks with sickness and all the other stuff that's been on our plates so it made today stand out even more.

First of all Levi slept through the night again - hopefully this is the beginning of a return to the trend of all night sleep for all of us! The day started with a very early (6.45AM check in) for my follow up ultra sound to see baby girl. She behaved well and we got some sweet profile pics. They did see a slight murmur or something in her heartbeat but I won't find out until my doctors appointment tomorrow if the vascular specialist recommends further investigation. They said her heart is physically perfect but the blip was consistent so they wanted to watch it. They said it could be nothing so we are not going to worry until we know if we need to - but we are praying for sure!

Jeremy was able to go in a little late to work and watch Levi and our little guy just adored the extra time with Dada. He was quite sad to wave goodbye as Daddy went to work after mummy got home.

Then I crosed off an errand to Coatco for Juice, bread, Cliff Bars and eggs, that of course turned into Juice, bread, Cliff Bars, eggs, cute Christmas jammies for Levi, and chocolate covered almonds. Still not too bad and we were in and out in 35 minutes. Levi totally crashed on the way home which is about an hour earlier than he has been going down but he was obviously tired out from playing hard with Dad in the morning.

So home, to put the baby in his crib, put away the groceries and eat some early lunch while keeping my feet up for a bit. I c aught up on some blogs and did a bit on online Christmas shopping or at least browsing and planning.

Then after Levi woke up and ate a little, we headed out to spend some time with our dear friends before their afternoon naps time. Levi had missed his buddy Henry - we have been very anti social trying to keep our germs to ourselves - and I had missed Henry's mummy and hanging out with her :)

On the way home we stopped at Target for a couple of home essentials we had run out of and hten we headed back to the house.

Levi and I spent the rest of our day playing with the big boxes from Costco (Levi's favourite part of shopping) we snuggled on the couch and read stories, we laughed at some silliness and games we were making up.Then he chowed down on Minestrone soup and fruit for dinner which is a small victory but one that felt big in the moment. His cold has been making him quite the picky-pants so I am glad to see that might be easing as his cold ends.

Hearing Levi ending his day squealing with delight in the bath while Daddy and he splash about just warms my heart. 

It was a simple day. Nothing out of the ordinary. But in it's every-day-ness it felt beautiful. I can do this. We can do this. Hoping for more of the same tomorrow :)

Hoping that you can all find beauty in the ordinary today; make time to see the good and celebrate the small victories.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Fun and Infuriating

That is how I would describe Levi recently. He has certainly turned a corner where he is "speaking" more. He has many more words that are becoming clearer but he is also using his signs to tel us what he wants - sometimes what he needs, but mostly just what he wants :)

We have moved into the stags of running away crying and throwing himself on the floor when he is told no, ir when we take something away from him that he wants. We have child locks on lots of drawers and cupboards but he still likes to explore and as he gets taller and more skilled he goes beyond our childproofing efforts and gets into all sorts of things. Its a tough balance and I struggle to know where to draw a line between wanting to teach him to hear and understand the word "no", and the reality that if we didn't have any child locks it would take hours to get ready in the morning not to mention having the extra help to keep him protected from the things that are in some of our cupboards. He has just learned to open flip lids on containers like sunscreen so its a while new world of crazy when he gets into some cupboards.

We went to the zoo this morning with the other mums from my MOPS table and all their kids. It is certainly a boy heavy crowd, with just one little lady in amongst all the boys. Levi loves all the big kids and he has such an adventurous spirit that playing all together in the playgrounds he wants to do everything they are doing. Its kinda of exhausting to watch him but he just has the biggest smile on his face its worth it :)

It's certainly not easy to parent him out and about any more because he is so busy and wants to be active beyond his skill level! I am feeling like Jeremy and I need to regroup and discuss strategy. I am not someone to shy away from saying no in public at the risk of a major toddler melt down. I am happy to do what it takes to give Levi opportunities to explore the world but I am just as if not more eager to teach him boundaries, to be obedient and be a good listener.

I want to pull out "The wonder of Boys" and read over it again as it related to early discipline, and I also heard about another book on the radio station this morning that sounded interesting, not sure when I am going to get to all this reading, though :)

So as of today, life parenting Levi is fun and infuriating...and Levi himself is the same. At the zoo this morning, Levi was all over the place following the big kids and not happy about being in the stroller for any length of time but he was also super cute saying "ni ni" (night, night) to the sleeping "bow bear" (brown bears) and making fishy faces at the fish, and squealing with delight as the penguins swam by. He was also really taken by the cute otter statues in the exhibit, hugging them and even picking their noses!! (Boys!)

Monday, October 28, 2013

Happy to leave it behind

Geesh, I can't believe it's Monday again.

Last week was a doozie. Jeremy was away for work for four days and it seemed as though as soon as he left, the craziness really began.

At my doctors appointment on Monday, I was diagnosed with having some early contractions and told to take it really easy - not picking up Levi much, staying off my feet - sure, that's easy while I am solo parenting.

My in-laws were very sweet and moved in for a few days to help out with Levi so I could rest as much as possible and I so appreciated their support - especially when Tuesday at 3am rolled around.

The barking started over the monitor and I realised it was Levi coughing! He had had some minor cold symptoms for a day or two but nothing to write home about. But this was new. He was truly miserable and the cough was diagnosed as croup when we went to the pediatrician later that day. So much for staying off my feet!

The week continued with an important maths test for me that I had to do on campus and that I didn't have a ton of time to study for with everything that went on. I feel blessed by a friend who had come to watch Levi to let me study as well as my in-laws who were also able to give me a break to get some revision under my belt. Still I certainly felt the support and prayers of my community as I sat the test and was able to answer all the questions and ended up with an 89% - not too shabby )

The worry of the contractions, and the anxiety of a sick baby on top of the dreaded math test and weekly homework and especially carrying the weight of all of the above solo, I was exhausted by Wednesday! I swear it was the longest week ever!

Test over, Levi on the mend (slowly) and contractions easing have made the week ahead a much brighter prospect )

Plus, the silver lining of the stressful week was the beautiful weekend. Filled with wedding activities as our dear friends, Josh and Anjie celebrated their marriage. This included and mani/pedi for me as well as lots of girl time and even having my hair done which was SO relaxing and helped me feel pretty for the first time in a long time!! Even though I was not allowed to dance at the reception because of the potential for contractions, it was still a fabulous, beautiful and fun day.

Ok - back to life, Levi just woke up from his nap, but I wanted to record the misery of last week so I can remember how blessed I was by the support of my community and also be reminded that I am stronger than I think!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Friday night (high)lights

While date nights are important for a marriage - and something Jeremy and I have not been good at carving out time for to this point - I confess that family date nights have become a very special part of life.

It's Friday night, and we have got into a habit of getting take out to relieve me of cooking duty. With Levi's early bedtime it can be hard to eat out for dinner, but tonight Jeremy called to say he would be home a little early so we made a plan to go out for dinner as a family. It would delay Levi's bedtime until about 7.30pm, almost an hour after he would usually be down, but he had naped well and if he is eating and in public he generally rises to the occasion.

We headed out to Red Robin, not the healthiest choice but close by, fast service, and somewhere our loud little guy will be more than tolerated :) In was a loud evening, no one even blinked when Levi expressed his excitement over his balloon or squealed with delight when his meal arrived. Nor did anyone give us the stink eye when we left quite the mess under our table - and compared tot he families around us, we were a dream in that department: :)

I was actually pleasantly surprised by the kid meal options available. We are just starting to hit the point where Levi needs his own meal if we eat out. Usually he just has bites from our plates but his growing appetite is starting to leave one of us, usually me, with a hungry tummy. We are also often faced with not wanting to spend money to buy him regular entree, but when the "kids meal" options are mac and cheese, chicken nuggets or pizza it can be a necessity. Honestly, it's no wonder that there is such an issue with childhood obesity in this country when there is no expectation that kids will eat real food and only offer them junk. At Red robin however, there were a lot of options that included pasta and tomato sauce and grilled chicken. You could also pick a side, which could be carrot sticks, steamed broccoli or fruit salad as well as the obligatory fries.

We got Levi the pasta with fruit salad and he chowed down. Pasta is his favourite! He made a glorious mess but our server was so gracious about it.

In a totally hyppocritical move, Jeremy and I had burgers and fries - and we did share a couple with Levi after he pleaded, but he was content with his meal :)

It was a lovely evening, a truly enjoyable time together. Eating out is finally getting less frantic. If Levi is eating, he's happy. And J and I can actually have a conversation as well as engaging our bubs, who is eager to talk and join in the conversation. I'm just drinking in this time of us being a family of three. It's beautiful and sweet and a dream come true. I can't believe this is actually my life. I know it will be an adjustment when our little lady shows up, I'm sure there are many more sweet moments ahead but for now I am drinking it in.

[Sidenote: I read this article this week about how kids are healthier when they eat the same food as their parents, even if they don't eat together. It basically says that when parents make a separate meal for their children, they often resort to unhealthier options like processed or frozen foods. So far, Levi eats what we have for the most part, mostly because I am lazy, and this means I am only cooking one meal and then can reheat for him or for us depending when I cook. Levi eats much earlier than us because he goes to bed so early.]

Monday, October 14, 2013

Kitchen confessions

Something needs to change because each day this is what we are faced with when we try to find anything in our pantry...

I am not brave enough to expose my freezer. But let your minds go to a dark place, because that's what its like.
It used to be so beautiful and organised, but probably since Levi arrived, it has never been the same :)

Fairly quickly I got back into the swing of weekly meal planning/shopping for the week and this helps me to know each day what I am making and lets me be able to set out meat to defrost or chop a bunch of onion at once do divide up for a couple of meals. However, I now make my lists in more of a hurry and (clearly) do not do a good job at eating through our freezer and pantry.

The majority of the groceries we purchase each week are fresh produce and as a side note, I set myself a challenge of not buying more than we can or will eat during the week because I was so tired of having to throw fruit and veggies away or have them molding in the fridge. And I am happy to say that since starting to buy less a few weeks ago there has been next to no throw away so yay me!

So now onto my next shopping challenge...eating through the food we already have and supplementing with fresh produce only as much as possible. This will mean more time for planning - but hopefully less time shopping. I have less energy to be creative but I might have to dust off those skills to make up some dishes.

I have a passion to eat well and to make good food for my family, even more so now we have kiddos. Levi and this little miss have been exposed to a wide variety of foods on the inside (as well as a little Mcdonalds when the craving hit, just to be totally transparent with you all). Levi is pretty adventurous when it comes to food and I like to see him trying new things. I am hopeful this will continue as he grows older too.

I believe it will be easier to create healthy meals if the kitchen is more organised not to mention saving money and not wasting food I have forgotten about.

So I am taking back my kitchen...starting with washing my fridge because again, in attempt to be fully transparent, besides washing out veggie drawers a few times, it's been FOREVER since that's happened.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Dear Levi - 14 months

Dear Levi,

You are a busy boy. It takes you about ten minutes (if that) to pull out every toy you have from the shelves and bins in the living room and spread them around the room...or rooms. I am often finding toys in strange spots around the house and it leaves me wondering when on earth you were playing there?

You middle name, Rhys, means"enthusiasm for life" and with every month that passes, this aspect of your personality shines through more and more. (As a side note, we are searching for a middle name for your sister that means, "sleeps through the night".)

From the time you were just a few months old, I faithfully signed to you the words. "more". "please", "thank you", "help" and "all done". You seemed to start understanding what I was saying, but you never really took to signing back. Until two weeks ago that it, when all of a sudden out of nowhere you became Helen Keller. When you get stuck you pat your chest (help) while you say something that sounds a little like "help". You say "more" all the time and don't understand that it is a request that can still be denied when it comes to treats or snacks - at you are so stinkin' cute when you do it that I have the hardest time helping you learn that lesson, running to get you more of whatever you are asking for with little extra persuasion. Plus, you have picked up a ton of the signs from some books that we borrowed from the library, you especially like to say "apple" which is hilarious because we hardly ever eat apples - you seem to like them more now you can ask for them yourself!

You have started to say "thank you" with your words, and often without prompting when you are given something. It makes me very proud to see your sweet manners developing. I hope we can foster a true heart of thankfulness in you as you grow.

Your agility and motor skills are also developing. At the park, you have mastered climbing up and sliding down the slide and you squeal with delight as you do it. You have also become expert at climbing in and out of your toy car and on and off your little motorbike toy.  You are eager to walk up and especially down the stairs and not crawl. You stepped down the bottom two steps today totally on your own not even holding onto the heart was in my mouth as I watched from higher on the stair case unable to reach you before you took the step off!

You enjoy mimicking the world around you. You have a toy - that's actually a remote control - but you use it like its a cell phone, holding it up to your ear and chatting away. You love to sit on the couch next to me or Daddy and read books or watch the football game :)

Your fascination with the toilet and all things bathroom continues and we have even put toilet locks to deter you in some bathrooms. You can pull out the toilet roll or lift the toilet brush high above your head in just seconds if we turn away.  You have also continued to empty out any cupboards or drawers that are not locked. We were forced to put locks on the cupboard of our hutch where we keep the paper plates because you took delight in throwing them ALL OVER the dining room floor. The first time you tried to open it after we had put the lock on, you turned to me and signed help as you told me "stuck, stuck"! Yes, little man, it's stuck. No longer to be opened by your little fingers!

Now you are officially a one nap a day-er, we have even more time to have adventures - and even less for me to keep up with the housework, but I appreciate your enthusiasm to help with chores, especially laundry :)

Love you so much little man. Hoping those molars come through very soon so we can all start sleeping more soundly at night time.

Happy 14 months - I can't believe how big you are getting!!

Love Mama xx

Signing help

On your phone!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Half way there

I am 20 weeks pregnant, which means our baby girl will be here in less time than I have been pregnant.


Baby girl is moving and kicking, coming alive as I lay down at night - just like her brother did - but so far Jeremy has not been able to feel her. I think the movement feels much stronger when its on the inside of you because I swear that he should be able to feel her! Hopefully soon.
Saturday was the Seattle Families of Multiples sale here, it happens twice a year and I just love it! I am all about the bargains and these sales are primarily how we clothe Levi - we are also blessed to have friends with slightly older boys so we get to borrow hand me downs too. I love to dress Levi in cute outfits but I don't like how expensive outfits at the store can be. I hardly ever buy full price items now. In fact i could probably tell you exactly which of Levi's clothes were not sale or consignment and I can tell you because I fell in love with them and went back and forth in my mind about whether I should or shouldn't do it!

At the sales I have tried to buy ahead for the next size and season. I did such a good job at the spring sale however, Levi is covered for his 18month wardrobe, many of the things he still has to grow in to, so we should be good for a while. However, watch out mamas at the 18-24 month rack at the April sale - I'm bringing my game face) Its getting harder to find good quality pieces in good conditions at the sales for boys, I think it's because boys really wear their clothes as toddlers and not that many survive :) We might have to rely more on trips to Good Will or Value Village in the nicer parts of town in a few more years.

Girls clothes however so not seem to reduce in quantity as the ages get higher. I guess girls have more clothes? However, I am picky even when I buy second hand. I don't buy anything stained or over worn. And I think that Levi is a great poster child for cuteness on a budget.

I can;t wait to have a little girl to dress. It will be something new. Tights and headbands and not just hats as fun extras :) We stocked up on some newborn basics for baby girl at the sale, but I couldn't get much more because I want to meet her and see what she looks like before I stock up. We are again fortunate to have friends who have given and loaned us hand me downs - friends with very similar style to me - so I am thrilled that as we find our feet she will already be well dressed. We did manage to find some outfits and pieces that were not pink or purple; a cute pair of brown flowered cords, and a tan and white striped sweater, a denim belted tunic and a pale green duck print outfit. However, pink rules the school for sure. And I'm ok with that.

It's still so hard to really imagine having another baby in the house.I'm hoping in a few more weeks once we hit the 24 wek marker we will begin to put some plans into action for this little lady, figuring out strollers and second cribs etc. Answering questions such as where she will be sleeping and such :) Our plans to move in the next year are certainly going to be crimping my nesting instincts because we are not planning to set up a nursery here. We will have some sort of dresser or changing unit in Levis room, or possibly ours to house her clothes but the really fun decorating will have to wait :)

Here we are at 20 weeks.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Getting more sparkly around here...

A few weeks ago we took a new blood test that actually takes genetic material from the baby (crazy?!) and then today we had our 19 week scan which only served to confirm what the blood work told us...we are having a little GIRL!! Levi is going to have a baby sister!!

It's about to get a lot more sparkly around here, not to mention the influx of pink that I am sure she is about to happen. I'm not complaining, in fact, it's the opposite. I m thrilled.

It's 2 for 2 for my mother's intuition so far :) I had a strong sense it was a girl from early on, but didn't want to put too much stock in it in case it was a boy. I would have been just a thrilled to be having a boy so I didn't want to "pick sides" and end up disappointed when either outcome would have been just as beautiful!

I think it will take some time to really get used to the idea, but it's one that I am more than willing to get used to this idea!

[In other (almost as exciting) news Levi remembered how to sleep through the night again last night and in fine form he slept 6.20pm - 6.20am. Not a peep in between. It was so blissful and I was so tired that I slept right through, not even getting up to pee which is why when I finally did wake up my bladder was about to burst! I am not sure if it had anything to do with the amber teething necklace that he wore all day yesterday and slept in, but I'm not willing to take it off him to find out - plus it looks cute on him and doesn't seem to bother him at all.]

Here is just a little shot of Levi happily shopping for his little sister :)

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Grateful, even through the dripping!

It wasn't even 9pm, I had been in bed for over an hour. I got PJ'd up after Levi's first wake up - 20 minutes after he went down for the night. For his benefit as well as mine I'm glad to say that he didn't made a peep after that until 2am, a marked improvement on the night before. Jeremy was out of town overnight for work so I had no reservations at all about bringing Levi into bed at that point. I hate sleeping alone anyway even though a big part of me hoped he would wake me bright and early in the morning having slept all the way through :)

I was reminded the other day by my sweet friend Joanna, (she's the person I want to be like when I grow up) that in the midst of the not sleeping and the exhaustion of this season I should look for moments that fill my heart with gratitude. I know I am blessed. I have a faithful and gentle husband, a beautiful baby boy and a home to keep me safe and warm. How easily it fades to the background when lack of sleep is involved but how much life improves when we stop and choose to see the good.

Yesterday Levi struggled to be the happy little man we have come to know and love because of his teeth and possible cold - whatever is going on with him - he was dripping from every orifice and his eyes were bloodshot. I watched the beauty in this little life. I totally missed writing a 13 month update for him, but after intentionally looking for things that make my heart grateful, I couldn't help but just melt at a few things he is doing right now so I suppose this will cover both of those things.

Firstly, through his sneezes and sniffs, his little voice is emerging. More and more each day it seems like he is picking up new sounds and "words". He has a very small vocab of words that are actually identifiable by anyone other than me but its growing and hes becoming clearer. He says, "balloon" and "football" and on that theme "touch down", "peek boo". It's adorable! He also "talks" more in general and I cannot wait to know more of what he is saying. He makes his feelings very clear through non-verbal methods but still, I love his little voice :)

He is also starting to say "mama" and "dada" with specificity. He points to me and says, "mama" and then points to himself and wants me to say, "Levi", he does the same with Jeremy, saying "dada" he likes to point over and over and is starting to put together names and what or who they represent. I love to see his little mind grasping concepts of the world around him.

He is also killing me with how he wafts his hand and scrunches his face in disgust saying "pee ooh" when he hears someone farting. Mostly Jeremy of course :) We have done it to him when he has a poopy diaper but now he associated it with toots too and will let us know when he is the culprit as well as reprimanding us if we do it - or if he thinks we do. Yesterday as I rocked him to sleep for his nap, my tummy rumbled because I hadn't had breakfast and he lifted his head off my shoulder and gave me the look and the waft :)

Man, this kid is my joy and delight even on days like today when I am exhausted, and completely out of energy, he continues to make my heart swell with gratitude to the God who gave him to us.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Sleep where art thou? and the kindness of friends

The rough nights continue in our house. Levi's teeth are really bugging him and he has been ending up in our bed a lit the past week. Two nights ago was a doozie and we thought that had to be the worst of it but turns out last night was its older, meaner, brother. Levi is half asleep through it all, tossing and turning and moaning and chewing on his lovie or his hand. We have given him medicine which can seem to help for a little while to soothe him but its certainly not a miracle cure.

After sucha  bad night we both took a nap this morning but after 45 minutes for him and about 15 (maybe) for me, he woke up all sorts of sad :( I rocked him in the glider for a while and he in his drowsy, half asleep cuteness showed clearly he was not ready to wake up so I kept rocking and rubbing his back and eventually brought him (again) into our bed so i could rest too and he could be elevated on a pillow since the clear teething snots are making it hard for him to sleep flat. He crashed but I was wide awake and quietly and carefully got up and dressed. He is still sleeping, an hour later - thank goodness!! He needs it!

I al thankful for 5 minutes to work on some homework and catch up on my blogs and things that make me feel human. Hoping a little retail therapy getting some birthday presents bought and seeing friends possibly for lunch can help to life this day out of its sleepy teething blues.

When I woke up this morning the devotional that was waiting in my email was about loving our friends in deed not just word. I felt very encouraged, even in my tired state to find a way to bless oneof my friends today. I thought God must be teaching me to rely on his strength when my own is failing me, and while I am still looking for an opportunity and am eager to see that lesson unfold in my life, it also brought an acute awareness to the ways in which deeds have been done to me in kindness and friendship over the past few days.

Yesterday, I had a sweet friend bring by a meal for us, and then run an errand for me on her one day off so I could stay home and rest, and then this morning, I received so much encouragement from other mums and friends on FB about our little teether that helped me feel so much less alone in the exhaustion of everything. I also had another friend get in touch willing to pick up and drop by a teething necklace after she read on FB what we were going through. I am unbelievably blessed and encouraged and even more I am inspired by the beautiful hearts around me to seek out opportunities to bless others in small and big ways as I see them arise. It can be easy to think I don't have time, but sacrificing a little time to do a deed of kindness can mean the world - as I am so thankful to be in the midst of first hand.

In reference to y previous post, the bridal shower went off without a hitch and what a joy to celebrate the love of two such lovely people and after the fun of Sunday was over, Monday morning brought with it the first day of fall quarter and my first math class since I lived in England and called it "maths". And with that, I should get on with same studying while he's still asleep so I don't get behind before the quarter has even started.

Have you heard the one about the pregnant lady who was caring full time for a busy 13 month old and took on a math class, yeah, it's a bad joke really. One equation I can do is this, pregnancy brain + mummy brain = one tough class :)

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

About to get all kinds of crazy

We have been blessed that Levi has been sleeping through the night for a few months now. It's funny how quickly you can get used to that sort of rest again :) The past few nights Levi has been waking up in the middle of the night and really struggling to settle again. The first night as I rocked him he would fall asleep but then as soon as I put him down he would wake up and be so upset. I began to feel like I was on the verge of falling asleep right there in the rocker so I brought him back to bed with us here he tossed ad turned in a fretful sleep but only when connected to me. I tried to roll over once h was settled but he scooched right over and settled back. Needless to say, the slight pregnancy insomnia I have been experiencing was nothing compared to that night.

The next night we get up and gave him medicine to try and help him, but he still was up over and over not settling until the wee hours.

Last night, J and I were so tired that when he cried out we just brought him straight in with us. He once again managed to take over the whole bed leaving J and I with little sleep. Gravity is not a friend of a pregnant lady when you are fighting for room on the edge of a bed!

It's been exhausting to say the least, and I am hoping that the insomnia and Levi will let me sleep long and deeply tonight. We gave him some ibuprofen before putting him down so I hope that the endless chewing that has been happening today can be quieted tonight. Poor babe.

He struggles so badly with teething. I have no idea when the nest little pointer will actually pop through or which one it will be but poor kid he is paying in advance for the chance to eat steak one day.

This recent (and potentially continuing) lack of sleep does not bode well for the coming days and weeks with all that's on my plate. I am throwing a bridal shower this weekend fro my dear friend Anjie, and then have a bachelorette event and of course her wedding to look forward to in the next month or so, I am also starting to take an essential math class for my Associates degree (only 3 more classes after this one!) I am also involved in a big event for the Missionary Care team that I am on which will take place in early November. Not to mention that whole taking care of a one year old, growing a person, and keeping everyone fed while trying to keep the dust in our house to a dull roar and the laundry to a sociably acceptable pile :) It's going to be busy, but that's life, right?

Let's hope and pray sleep finds us so we don't all go totally crazy!

Friday, September 13, 2013

So this is 35

Today I celebrate turning 35. As I sit here and contemplate life today I can;t help but smile. When I turned 30, I was yet to meet Jeremy, my position with YWAM was uncertain and therefore my ability to stay in the US was also up in the air. I had an opportunity to uproot and head to South Africa to work with a fabulous organisation and was feeling torn about what my next steps would be. With so many decisions facing me, my desire to be married came strong and in waves that caused me to cry out to God over and over, "when is it my turn?" I wanted a mate to help me with all the decisions and be with me in the fall out of my choices. I mourned the life I wanted, the husband, the 2.4 children, the white picket fence, and I took a deep breath as I surrendered once again to God's will and tried to step out into what he was calling me into.

My decision to go to Africa or find a way to stay here in Seattle weighed heavily and I prayed with my small group leader and her husband to seek the Lord.  truly felt as though He placed the decision in my hands. After much soul searching, I decided that the city that had stolen my heart all those years before was home and was where I needed to be. Little did I know how much God would bless my decision.

Sitting here today at 35 I feel as though life has been on the upswing ever since.

I am married to a wonderful man who woke me up with my favourite Earl Grey Lea latte, some chocolate and the sweetest card as well as a rendition of Happy Birthday which was made even cuter as Levi beamed looking between us enjoying the celebration but without any idea what was going on!

Levi gave me sweet cuddles and has been a delight all day - plus he did a nasty poop early this morning when Jeremy was watching him, so that was a special present I didn't have to deal with :)

I have been flooded with emails, FB comments, texts and phone calls as well as having a friend stop by with beautiful flowers and getting to visit with my friend Jillian and her sweet not quite 2 month old little guy. It's been a love fest. I feel so blessed.

My life at 35 is a dream come true. My sweet baby boy is napping upstairs my second baby is growing strong in my belly and my sweet husband will be home from work soon so we can go out for dinner as a family at my favourite restaurant.

I'm undeserving but I am so thankful to an ever loving and faithful God for the life I have today. It may not be perfect in the world's eyes but I see that God is using this life to draw me closer to Him and mold me into someone who looks more and more like Him.

Here's to 35 - Happy I made it this far and excited for all this year will hold!

Here is a picture of me and my boy at the beach last week - yes, it was windy!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

The days in His book

Taking a quick break to capture some of the special moments of the past few days. We are on vacation with Jeremy's family for a few days on the Oregon coast. It's been a special time, full of sweet moments especially as Levi interacts with his Grandparents and Auntie who have a mutual appreciation society going on.

Watching the sunrise and sunsets from our condo the past few days I am reminded that each day is a gift. That we do not have a guarantee that we will see tomorrow and I want to cherish each and every moment of life to the full.

This intentional appreciation has been difficult in the past couple of months. The nausea of this pregnancy has faded but the complete and sometimes painful exhaustion remains, with only a few days of reprieve so far. My husband is amazing and for him I am truly thankful - when he is home in the mornings, evenings and on the weekends he does more than his share of the parenting and household chores but the tiredness has made my days drag, and time with Levi less enjoyable than I desire. Watching him this weekend with our family has been a joy as I have watched him be so loved on and laugh so hard as he is so completely enjoyed but it also makes me sad that I have not worked harder to ensure more of his days have been like that when its just him and I.

And being here, watching him embrace every chance to play and explore (to the point of wearing himself out totally by the end of the day!) I am reminded we don't know how many days have been written for him either. This is not to be a morbid thought, it's simply a reality, and I simply don't want to waste the days we have. He sees every new morning as a time to be joyful and thankful; a time to have adventures and learn new things and I want to be more like him.

With Levi sleeping so well at night these days, my evenings have become a time of more predictable space and I need to work a devotion or Bible Study in. I have let these evening hours be absorbed by the TV and "relaxing" but I have not felt more relaxed so I am hoping that being more intentional  with this time can bring some true peace and rest to this tired Mama. 

I have a Bible verse copied out onto my fridge (which is at home and of course my internet searches here have come up blank but I will include it when I find it!) which says, my interpretation, that the effort you put into life will be returned to you in equal measure. I enjoy this constant reminder to more fully give myself to those around me, my husband and son especially. God is watching my actions, he sees the effort I put in. There is grace to cover when my body fails me but when I chose to be lazy he see that too.

The past few days have been beautiful. I have had time to nap during the day and had opportunities to be fully and completely present with Levi and with our family. Here are just a few of the precious memories I don't want to forget.

* How you overcame your fear to gleefully splash in the waves at the beach, eyes closed, body bent over just hitting the water with both hands with all your might and giggling.

* How you loved to dig the sand and dump it on top of your head :)

* How you love to snuggle with Grandma to read stories or play the game on her phone with such concentration.

* How you laughed when Auntie put the cola box on your head - for a few minutes and then flatly refused to let us do it again. You are not a performing monkey.

* How you love to copy Grandpa by getting the tall broom out of the closet and going out to the deck and sweeping for ages!!

* How you loved to make faces against the glass in the door.

* How you are always so happy to see Mable the dog and even try to say her name!

* How you have slept in the pack and play in our room and how I have heard your sweet gentle snores anytime I have woken up at night.

* How you are so intent on chasing the seagulls :) (see below!)

Thank you little man for being the vessel God chose to use today to remind me to embrace every opportunity to really live. I love your passionate spirit and I can't wait to see where it takes you!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Looking back - and forward...

I spent a long time last night reading through my posts from this time last year. It was so special to be able to read about how those first days, weeks and months really were. The fuzzy feelings are easy to recall but the tough times while easier to forget are just as important to remember, especially as I support friends in those early days. It was also really special to read some of the details about Levi that I had forgotten.

I realised how much I want to get back into regular blogging not just because it is good for my soul to process life this way, but also because it helps me see clearly the way God is working in my life. In those early days I read about the way God answered my prayers; longer stretches of sleep at night was a certain one :) I also read about the ways our friends and community were the hand and feet of Jesus when we needed extras! I would love to be able to have posts about this season to look back on.

Days are busy. They start early.
By the time you go down for your first nap at around 9am I am exhausted. There is always a list of chores that I plan to get done but I usually spend the time on the couch. It's been a tough first trimester. Baby number 2 is using up any reserves I have from caring for Levi. The exhaustion has been much harder to deal with than the morning sickness which thankfully spared me its wrath this time around and only sent its backup players.

Levi is still taking 4 bottles a day and I have slacked on transitioning him to cow's milk but I am hoping that today's the day. My plan is to warm 2oz of cows milk to room temp and offer it in the bottle. If he takes it, great. If he doesn't I will mix it in with 6oz of formula and see if he will take the concoction. Once we have moved to the new milk we can tackle the bottle issue and work on weaning him to a cup.

My belly is continuing to grow at what is for me a startling rate. I am getting worried about the weight gain of this pregnancy as I am already squeezing into maternity clothes from last time, especially pants. My rear will certainly take some work to reduce after February!

I am starting to get more and more excited about this new baby however, the shock has worn off, the nerves have subsided to a dull roar and I actually have real hope that this is our next 'hold in your arms' baby. Reading through my blog reminded me how awe inspiring those early moments are days are. How precious of a journey it is to get to know your baby more and more each day, to discover their likes and dislikes, figuring out how they like to be rocked or soothed and generally just leanring who they are. Those are the experiences that draw you in to want to have more babies :)

I just made a good dinner, a quinoa dish that it really tasty and provided some good nutrition for me and the bubs. Makes me feel good. Levi is pretty much eating what we do these days. So he has left over quinoa, broccoli for dinner tomorrow. I think he'll like it, it's got a little zesty kick which seems to go over well with him. I feel like a good mum today.


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