Thursday, May 29, 2014

Clearing something up

I wrote a post a few weeks ago called 'The good, the bad and the Ugly'. It was when J was gone for a few days and Levi was trying to transition his first few nights out of the crib. I was beyond sleep deprived and it was not pretty. It was an honest post but apparently someone read it and felt afraid for my kids calling me an abuser and telling me to get help.

I love that this blog is a public space. I have been blessed by some amazing friendships with people who I have met through this blog and through sharing the journey of faith, fertility struggles marriage and parenting. I enjoy this space I appreciate a place to vent and share and learn but the downside is being open to critique from people who do not really know me and make judgement. Its the crux of internet relationships right? You are only allowed to know what is given to you and tone etc can be misjudged or misunderstood - or information can be intentionally misleading.

[I am contemplating making the blog private to allow me to share without fear of judgement. People I know would have a password to read my posts. I go back and forth, guess we will see.]

I just felt as though I needed to clarify some things from that blog because not everyone reads comments. The anonymous commenter accused me of abusing my children because I yelled and because I admitted to swiping at Levi's leg. This behaviour is not something I consider "good parenting" I am not proud of it. I admitted fault to Levi and to my husband on the phone and asked for their forgiveness as I apologised. I may have lost my cool but I never lost control. My children were never in danger.

I have spent the morning with a knot in my belly after her initial comment. I feel so misunderstood, so misrepresented. But then those are my words, those were my actions, they are just a small, small part of who I am as a person and as a parent. I would never condone hitting children (this is not a comment on spanking, different issue not for this time or post) I never condone abusive language or violent yelling or screaming directed at a child. This is not what was happening in our home. I understand that the words I wrote in that post may have misrepresented events of that time but those who do know me or who have followed this blog for a while would be able to read them without concluding abuse.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Parenting through banana bread

It's 8.48pm and I am sitting on the couch with my feet up and having time to actually collect my thoughts. This season of life is so very full of, well, life but within it there seems to be so little time to reflect. I am worried the next couple of years will pass in a blur and I will miss all the lessons I could have learned on the way. In seasons of life such as this where I am stretched beyond myself I usually learn the most about who I am, and also about who God is as he reaches in with grace to make up the difference.

Today was a tough parenting day. Levi has been really acting out; throwing everything he happens to have in his hands at a moment of frustration (unfortunately for those around him who end up at the brunt of his frustration he has great aim and a lot of power behind him). He has also taken to slapping in frustration when corrected. Awesome.

I don't want him to be the kid no one wants to play with.

He is still transitioning to his bed which at this moment in times means naps are shorter as he wakes up after single sleep cycles, and at night he has been waking and disturbed. Sometimes ending up in our bed (see previous post to know how well that turns out!) So all in all, he is sleeping much less and of course this just decreases his ability to keep his emotions in check even more.

He is also still adjusting to Nora as she is more and more present in our day. She has gone from sleeping all the time to being awake and playful, needing more of my attention and taking focus from him. For the most part, he is so sweet with her and even though he is busy around her, any tears come from him giving too much lovin' with no bad intention. I think much of his behaviour is a call for attention. Not really a shocker but heartbreaking to see him act out.

I am not making excuses, his behaviour is unacceptable and he has to understand that. But being consistent in discipline is exhausting and complicated with an infant to care for. I feel as though I have let too much slide recently and given too much grace. I need to step up. Enforce time outs in a much more consistent way. Try to see his heart, and give positive attention as much as possible.

I am also eager to have more time for just the two of us. Because Nora is exclusively breast fed it can be easy for our family to pair off with her and me going one direction and J and Levi going in the other but we need to be more intentional for Levi and I to have adventures together. I am not sure exactly how or when but I am looking to have it be a regular thing.

After I put Nora down for the night and while J put Levi down I had some time to myself in the kitchen. I made kale chips for lunch and snacks tomorrow and also turned the 3 over ripe bananas on the counter into banana bread which is baking as I type. Sometimes the best way for me to process is to be creating something delicious at the same time.

Just having that hour or so to myself, to think, to pray, to reflect, I am feeling more committed to parenting my kiddos well, to loving my hubby and more certain of my need for God's grace. This may not be an easy time in our family but the effort of consistency is so worth it to help my kids develop good character and know they are loved, even in times when they struggle. I feel so blessed to know that my heavenly father is faithfully parenting me in the same way.

Friday, May 23, 2014

There were four in the bed...

Transitioning Levi to a bed after his crib climbing antics has been a tiring process. The toddler bed we borrowed just didn't work out for us. He would constantly roll off it, sometimes waking and other times not but it was easy to tell the lack of bars around the small mattress did not provide the security he wanted or needed to sleep.

So within a week, we went to having him sleep on a regular twin/single bed mattress. For now its on the floor so any rolling off would be less likely to disturb him. I was hoping the extra space on the mattress would hep him feel more secure because he sleeps ok in our bed on our mattress when he can stretch out, I suppose time will tell. [Side note: he looks so little in the twin bed, makes my heart warm to see he still is my little baby even though hes growing up fast]

The first night on the twin mattress he slept through until 5am when he woke up so sad and came in with the rest of us where we all slept until 7ish. Last night was a different story, at around midnight he was inconsolable and ended up in with us. He hasn't been napping quite as long as usual either because of the new bed situation, I assume, so he's generally sleeping less each day which is making him a real joy to parent too (!)

There is something wroong when the newborn in your household is getting the most sleep!

Nora still sleeps in her bassinet which sits on our bed waking just once or twice through the night - she goes down between 7 and 8pm. I think she would go earlier if we were home, we need to start respecting that more, but I confess since Levi started going to bed later and we have been able to go out to dinner or do things in the early evening its been so nice, I have been very resistant to go back to the early, early nights at home but I know we need to.

We are very fortunate to have the space to have a king bed but with the bassinet it can feel a little crowded. Add in the squirmy, stretch out all over and lay sideways almost 2 year old - did I mention he snores?! - and none of us are getting much sleep. Both J and I are nursing sore backs and aching bodies from having slept in the strangest positions to accomodate out=r off spring sleeping in with us.


We are ready for the bed transition to be over and for Levi to return to being an all night sleeper so we can be that too. Or at least J can and I can only have to worry about being up to feed the baby.

You don't realise why parents talk about sleep so much until you become a parent and realise how vital it is to harmonious family life!!

Heading to sleep now and hoping for a good long uninterrupted stretch! Goodnight to you all!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

The good, the bad, and the ugly

Jeremy was away on a work trip for the past few days and I have been pretty much solo with the kids. My sweet friend Maggie as given up her evenings to help me with bedtime and has stayed over to be there in an emergency for which I am beyond thankful but for the most part its been on me to make sure these little ones are clean and fed etc. It's been a wild ride and here are some high and low lights.

The Good

When we were ona walk and a guy jogged by without a shirt at which Levi piped up loudly, "Look! Man running nudie!"

The Bad 

He has taken to telling me "no"

The Ugly

His huge meltdowns when he doesn't get his way. Holy Smokes, hello toddlerhood!

The Good

This afternoon when Nora was on the playmat and Levi crawled in next to her and just snuggled as she chatted to him.

The Bad

Levi was frustrated when he was trying to "hold Nora" which involved him pullingat her when she was in her baby seat, and his reaction to me telling him no was so smack her hard on the head at which point she cried so hard it broke my heart.

The Ugly

The way I swiped at Levi's leg to.move him out the way and shouted in anger and the way he looked at me when I sat him hard on the floor and yelled that he was never to do that again.

The Good 

The way Levi started to refer to himself as a "big boy" when he does something I ask of him.

The Bad

Levi's growing up includes his crib climbing and inability or at least refusal to fall asleep alone. Making naps and bedtime long and stressful for everyone.

The Ugly

The way I raised my voice at him trying to get him to stay in the crib and lost my cool when he didn't. The way I haven't made a plan to help him transition to a bed if that is actually what we are doing and the guilt i feel because my lack of planning is having unpleasant consequences for us both.

 The Good

Jeremy comes home tomorrow

No bad or Ugly for that, it's just good news.

And the BEST

God's grace is constant and his mercies are new every morning. He forgives when I ask and hear my prayers when I call out in desperation. He is my ever present help in times of trouble and he renews my mind over and over. He is my Source and my Rock. With His help alone, I can hope to be something of the parent I desire to be.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Dear Nora - Three Months Old

My sweet, sweet girl,

I want to bottle you at this darling age. Your smile lights up a room. You make us work hard for a laugh but its so worth it.

You are loving time on the floor on your playmat and have a good old natter with yourself in the mirror. Your legs kick, kick, kick and your arms flap about as you get more and more excited.

You were starting to get more fussy in the evenings which I think was your way of requesting an earlier bedtime. Instead of just have you nap through the evening and coming to bed with us, we needed to start bath, books and bed just like we did with your brother, and give you a quiet, dark place to settle for the night. Since we started having you sleep between 8 and 8.30pm you have been sleeping 7 hours pretty consistently. Fabulous!

You have started to love the water at bathtime, kicking your feet and splashing as you shout and smile. You almost always give yourself the hiccups with all your happy chatter.

You came on the women's retreat with me and travelled all the way to Leavenworth falling asleep as we set off and waking up at the end of the trip both ways! You got lots of attention from all the other ladies and were a total star the whole time. I loved having some one on one with you.

You have discovered your hands and as you hold them in front of you you now bring them to your mouth and suck on them like no tomorrow. You have once or twice found your thumb which you were very happy about. I think you are going to be a thumbsucker just like I was once you get more control over your digits.

You have also started to grab at the toys on your rocker and bring them to your mouth. I cannot believe that you are growing up so fast and changing so quickly, discovering the world in a new and beautiful way.

You have officially been in 3 month clothes for a couple of weeks so I have had to say goodbye to more of my favourite little outfits as I pack them away.

Sorry that your schedule during the day seems so disrupted.  I am praying that we can figure out how to give you more of a routine with better naps in there to help you out. I am so thankful that you are flexible and easy going. You really are such a good baby.

I love you so much baby girl,

Love you xx

Here is Nora showing off her grasping skills holding the string of the balloon. She was pulling it up and down and so excited, kicking her legs and waving her arms - which of course made the balloon bounce again and start the whole hilarious situation over. And below, from her 3 month shoot :)

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

A taste of summer

Seems like Summer has come early to Seattle. A couple of weeks ago we had a run of days in the high 70's up to the 80's  and this week is the same. Levi is my outside boy. He just loved to be out running around, playing on bikes and throwing balls but with the weather heating up we can add water play into the mix and he's in heaven.

The downside is that he is my little blondie and his fair skin does not do well in the hot sun. Levi thankfully continues to be very compliant about wearing his sun hat, but I still have a hard time keeping him sun screened up. Our side deck and the strip of grass beside it that we call the back yard has no shade and gets bright, direct sun from about 11am until the evening. When I had leisure time to sit out in the sun and read and relax with an ice lolly or a cold Sangria the intense heat was fabulous but with these two babies its tough. I think we need to invest in some kind of shade to make our outside space work. It just makes me even more eager to find a new house soon, one with a back yard that has more space, even one that needs work but will be worth the investment. I ordered a kiddie pool online an am searching for canopy/tent options that don't cost a fortune to make the most of what we have. I will be searching yard sales and consignment scales for sand and water tables and an easel to add to the fun. Not to mention turning some of Levi's vehicle fleet into outside toys!

Thankfully, we have many sweet friends with yards like the one I covet and we have been fortunate to have spent the past two days out enjoying the morning sunshine with our friends.

Yesterday, Levi had a blast riding bikes in one friends yard, playing in their playhouse and shooting hoops in the basketball hoop and this morning we were playing out in another friend's paddling pool and jumping through their sprinkler. It's been hard to coax him back inside for lunch but he has certainly eaten a lot when I finally manage it. All that playing makes a kid hungry :)

And then there is Nora, sweet Nora who is too hot in the heat and too cool in the shade. I love these teeny baby days but I am looking forward to her being able to play more. By this age Levi had a fairly consistent schedule but she is carted around so much that she sleeps on an off and especially in the car. I feel bad for her. And again, I wonder how to balance the needs of both my babies.

I am hoping that in the coming weeks, when Levi can get some good playtime in our yard with my new additions, I hope that Nora can start getting good naps in and finding more of a regular schedule. Of course, in an ideal world this also leaves us a window in the morning to go out before lunchtime and Levi's nap too, I guess we will see. 

So thankful for sunny days and friends to play with, it certainly makes this crazy season more enjoyable!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Dear Levi - Twenty One Months Old

My, my, my, hello toddlerhood!

This has been quite the month for you my boy. We have seen the crazy emotions exploding in tantrums this month. Meltdown city! You are starting more and more to push boundaries when we tell you "no" or ask you to stop doing something. It's exhausting but I am praying that God equips us to shape you to be a man of character :)

As things have become tougher in parenting you in certain areas, they have also become more enjoyable in others. Your sense of humour is coming out in so many ways and its a joy to witness and you have us laughing all the time. Like the other night when we had friends to dinner, our friend Ben introduced himself to you and you took it in. Later when we were sitting down at dinner, you pointed to him and said, "Big Ben's chair" Your only association with the name Ben comes from all our indoctrination of all things England and from then on, he was "Big Ben" :)

Baseball season has given you a new obsession. You love to "it der ball wit der bat" You do it from morning to night and are excited to run the bases around the dining room table and receive high fives when you make a home run. You even count yourself, "strike one" when you swing and miss!You went to your first Mariner's game and you loved it! You met the Mariner Moose and gave him a high five which you are so proud about!

You have realised you can climb out of your crib and are a pro already, you seem to have super human strength and can pull yourself out, up onto your change table/dresser so your sleep sack does nothing to prevent your escapes. We are trying you in a borrowed toddler bed to see if you are really ready for a big boy bed - and if we are ready for you to be in one!

You now walk down the stairs with ease and you like to count as you go. You are really good at counting to 14 because that's how many stairs we have!

When you said, "Train tracks! Up in the sky!" To describe the power lines you could see.

Seattle kid, I opened the garage door when you were buckled facing backwards and your scrunched up eyes and face looked at me and said, "Mummy! Sunglasses!"

We celebrated your twenty first month and Mother's day on the same day. Here is a photo of us at the zoo. It was bright! ha ha


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