Monday, October 20, 2014

One child left behind

I am typing this from our hotel room in Half Moon Bay, California. Jeremy has a conference for work and Nora and I tagged along to enjoy some California sunshine. We left Levi with Jeremy's parents. We actually brought Levi to the same conference when he was only a few months old and it was in Florida, it was his first plane ride too.

When we were planning this trip I hadn't given too much thought to the part where I would wave goodbye to my boy and then not see him for three days! I was a mess in the car as we drove to the airport.

This morning, waking up and caring for Nora as I get ready for the day, I am missing him terribly. Its hard to enjoy the peace when it just feels too quiet. Nora is taking her first nap, and usually this is the time I finish getting ready myself and then have some delightful minutes with Levi, just him and I. We play trains or read books or color and its just a beautiful time to give him some one on one attention. Instead, today I am sitting, blogging, and missing him!

I know he will be having a great time with his grandparents. They have some really fun things planned and I am sure he will hardly know we are missing, but still.

The hotel here is so pretty. Its set up on the top of the cliffs looking out over the water. It has a beautiful patio area with cairns and outdoor couches to sit and sip on a cocktail as you look out at the ocean. Its amazing. Shame Jeremy has to be at the pesky conference, but I am glad we had most of the afternoon yesterday to enjoy it together before he had anything to attend.

It is always nice to have a break from the normal routine. And this is no different, especially as we have some big decisions to make regarding our house and a possible purchase soon. It feels like a positive thing to come away and have time and space to think. I hope we will return with a decision.

Life in a new house will mean finding a new normal, new routines, a new way of being as a family and especially for me of being with the kids alone again during the day. I have so appreciated Jeremy's parents help and extra hands during the day. Settling Nora for a nap, or taking one of the kids to an activity without having to so much prearranging is such a gift. I know we will find our way again, but it will be an adjustment for all of us. I confess I am slightly intimidated to solo parent into he day again. Before Nora was so much younger and did so much less, I suppose the same can be said for Levi too. They have both grown so much in the past few months.

Fitting everything that I need to into the day is a challenge and a giant balancing act but I am hopeful with some intentional planning I CAN figure it out without too many growing pains :) I just read a really interesting article by Bible Study Fellowship about introducing the concept of quiet times to you r kids, and the suggestion was that you took time in the day to do a quiet time, read your Bible, and so it in a way that encourages you kids to be quiet too and respect that its an important part of your day. For some reason the idea of doing my quiet time with my kids around was totally new to me. I think it could be a great piece to fit into our daily routine. First thing in the morning might not work but I can think of a few time slots that it really could be great. Plus. I know my days would go more smoothly with an injection of Jesus!

I feel as though this post is a little scrambled. I don't often have long periods of quiet to think and clearly there are many things on my mind, all mixing together. The most overriding one though is that I miss my biggest baby. I think I am going to sign off and call him :)

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Dear Nora - 8 months old (10/14)

Dear Nora,

This is a couple of days, late please forgive me. Life is a little crazy right now. We are still living with your Grandma and Grandpa while we look for a house. I am sorry that you haven't had your own room or your own space to learn to sleep and nap better because I think it would make you a bit happier during the day.

You have become a terrible napper. You can go whole days with just a few cat naps and then still not sleep great at night. Most often you take a nap of some description - between 20 minutes and an hour and a half, most commonly the shorter - in the morning around 9am and another one around 1pm. After that you fight it a bunch, and sometimes are just beside yourself by dinner time, unable to keep your eyes open to eat and taking an inappropriate nap at 5pm. Even then you go down pretty easily at night but then you are up a bunch and spend most of it in our bed just so we can get some sleep! I am beyond ready for you to figure that out but I am here to hold you and rock you and give you your pacifier until that day.

We don't have our baby gates here, but boy we need them! You are an expert crawler, getting where you want to be in a matter of seconds. You love to pull yourself to standing and then sit back down, over and over. You are getting braver, standing without holding on the furniture and when you have hands to hold you have started taking steps. It's so cute because you are so tiny!! Not content with that you have also mastered the stairs. You went into the hallway and your Grandpa said, "maybe in a month or two you can figure out how to do the" to which you responded by climbing up the whole flight without looking back.

You love to play with paper of any description and bat it around waving it wildly and laughing. Your favourite thing is the bath, you crawl into the bathroom as soon as you hear the water running and pull up to standing at the side of the bath, banging your hands on the edge in excitement. You and Levi take a bath together most nights and hands down it is your favourite time of each day. You splash and squeal and are not put off by water in your eyes or on your face, you just smile and smile.

Just in the past few days you have found your voice and started to really string sounds together, "ba ba" and "bub bub". Its so cute!! I am eager to hear that "ma ma" :) Even without words, you certainly make your opinion known; yelling loudly when you want to eat if you are sitting in the highchair, or screaming to let us know you are frustrated you can't get to something you want, or that your brother has taken a toy you were playing with and you'd like it back. You share your opinion freely and loudly throughout the day. You certainly are not as laid back as. We had imagined even your first few sleepy month soft life,  but I am glad that you let us know what you need.

You are such a goof ball too, making the funniest faces, scrunching up your face and snorting air our of your nose, or opening your gummy mouth (still no teeth to speak of) super wide and laughing. I love to see you start to find things so funny. I think you are going to have a fabulous sense of humor.

You are eating like a champ and you love your food. You pretty much eat all the pureed fruits and veggies offered even though its easy to see you have a sweet tooth, and now love to chomp on pieces of toast or scrambled eggs at breakfast time and hold slices of pear or banana and chew them. You are a master at getting the little puffs and yogurt drops in your mouth too.

You like to play the fake cough game, where you cough to get someone's attention and then if they cough back you reply, over and over.

You love music and often bounce along to your music toys or a cd. You have pretty good rhythm for a baby, little one. You just love to stand at your musical activity table or the little piano and make it make the music so you can dance!

Bubba Goo, your sweet kisses and the way you try to gnaw on my nose, melt my heart. I love you so much!

Happy 8 months, even though it's a little late I don't love you any less (pictures to be added shortly!)

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Being all here with one foot in the future

It's October already. In fact it's the middle of October. This year is flying. It will be Halloween, and Thanksgiving and even Christmas before we know it! Life with a baby and a toddler is crazy and unpredictable. Days have moments of delight and frustration in equal measure and I am trying to take time to take a deep breath and savor each day.

We are still living with my in-laws as we search for a new house. Its been a couple of months already and we are tired but trying to stay patient. We trust there is a home out there for us, at a price we are willing and able to afford so we remain prayerful about the whole situation.

Living about a 30 minute drive from where we used to has been challenging. I think it has been that way for me especially. I had established a wonderful community and filled our days with play-dates and fun activities but here I don't know anyone and I don't know the places to go or the things to do.  I had become pretty sad about the things I was missing and mourning the people we were not able to see on a regular basis at the moment.

Then one day last week I had a moment. A reminder from the Lord that this is the place we are at and it's not a mistake. Jeremiah 29:4 talks about planting gardens where you are, not waiting for the future to live. It's a verse that has guided me to be present in my circumstances on more than one occasion and again it worked to change my attitude.

I started engaging the other moms at the local park - we see the same families there every time we go and while I had chit-chatted I had kept my distance not really wanting to invest any time in new friendships. I opened up and as I did I found that they were really nice as a bonus were a fantastic resource for kid-friendly activities. I also spent some time googling and found a great farm/pumpkin patch that we went and explored last Wednesday and LOVED, it was a beautiful day and the kids had a blast. I have also found a few more things I want to try out in the coming weeks.

I found local swim lessons for Levi which would be for the month of November - I will wait to book these until we know for sure that we will be here, but it seems highly likely! Suddenly I am feeling as though there is not enough time to explore everything we want to before we get busy with a new house!

Levi turned 26 months yesterday and is certainly finding his toddler voice - it says "no" a lot - but most of the time he is a funny, inquisitive little man. He loves playing hide and seek and is even starting to understand how to play which is nice :) His imaginative play is remarkable and I truly cherish hearing his little voice play voices of his stuffed animals and to be let into his world in this way. He makes us laugh all the time and is generally a very happy little guy. He still takes a 1.5 - 2 hour nap in the afternoon and goes down around 8.30pm for the night. When he is awake he is full on energy. He still loves to be outside and could happily play at the park all day.

We are living as best we can in this time of transition. Jeremy and I have (finally) found our stride after a few rocky weeks and the kids are doing great all things considered. So for today we are embracing the beautiful things that we get to experience here. Watching the children and their grandparents is so special and Levi especially is having the time of his life with his best buddy, Grandpa and Nora is getting so comfortable with them its really sweet to see. She is such a mummy's girl and at night no one else will do - and she will loudly and dramatically let you know this is her opinion. This has felt very waring and I am ready to move through this time so I can leave the house in the evening without worry or guilt for the craziness I have left behind.

With all the happy things and all challenges, life overall is good. Very good. And while our future is exciting, for today we find peace and choose to see blessings where we are.

[Here are the kids at the pumpkin patch. So sweet!]


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