Monday, March 28, 2016

Are we nearly there yet?!

I am 33 weeks pregnant (I think...geesh it's hard to keep track this time around) and boy I am UN comfortable.

I am carrying this sweet girlie "normally" as opposed to breech which is how I carried my others for the majority of their belly time. I didn't know how lucky I was. Seriously. I am new to this kicking in my rib cage thing, and the heart burn. Don't get me started on the heartburn.

I shouldn't complain, for most of the day I am actually feeling pretty good. The sunshine creeping in to our days here in the PNW is helping for sure. I do get an energy low late afternoon, starting at 3 or 4pm I start to drag. Standing up to make dinner can be a challenge :) Plus it's the time of day when Levi and Nora are getting tired and hungry so they are getting hyper and just bugging each other (and by extension, me). The combination of the pregnant tireds and playing referee is a lot to take and I have resorted to making 4pm our regular TV time. Now the weather is better we are getting out a lot more in the early afternoon which helps them to sleep more soundly, but doesn't help them cope with that 4-5pm hour. so sitting snuggled on the couch to a slow going show is how we all need them to spend that time, and I feel less guilt because we have been out getting fresh air before that.

I am eager to meet this baby girl. Eager to get past the anticipation and dive head in to adjusting to reality. My parents are coming to stay to help out in those early weeks so I am also excited for the next few weeks to go by because they will be coming.

I am just ready to bite into our next chapter of life.

I am dizzy with the thought of drawing a line under the season of family building and settling firmly into life as a party of five.

I am beyond blessed with my lot. Overwhelmed with the goodness of the God I love and the way he has designed my life to be more than I could ever have anticipated. Exactly what I wanted, even though it has its crazy, stressful and painful moments and days, I see how its all being used to draw me closer to Him, and make me more like Him. I am being stretched and refined. Searching for joy along the way and finding it in the most surprising places.

The irony that life is just starting to feel "manageable" and "predictable" only weeks before we add another baby is not lost on me, but I am trying to embrace the beauty of that feeling;  the undeniable experience of answered prayers and living in such an amazing faith community. I know we are about to enter crazy town once again but I have hope that we will find a way to thrive.

I am entering this new season ready to admit when I am struggling and ask for help as soon as the feelings of anxiety and wanting to hide creep in. I am preparing my heart to be strong in the truth of who God says I am, and ready to shut down the lies before they take hold. There are a million details that I want to get in place before the baby arrives, but I have released them, trusting that what really needs to be done will be done and the rest will just fall into place in time. I am seeking out peace now, so I can draw from the well after baby gets here. (Baby who still has no name - that's a detail I would really love to be resolved soon, its probably the hardest detail to give up worrying about right now!)

So here we are. Counting down. Getting less comfortable by the day but trying to keep a good attitude. But seriously, baby girl, watching you rolling around in my belly is the most wonderful part of my days too. You are an unexpected dream come true and we haven't even met you yet. I cannot wait until you are in my arms, but please stay in there until you are fully baked and ready to greet us healthy and strong.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

More than muffins?

This afternoon, the kids and I baked pumpkin chocolate chip muffins. I have literally been wanting to do this since about September and not found the energy or motivation. I confess, I do not enjoy baking and cooking with my kids. I love to bake and cook, and I love the idea of including them but in all honesty it really stresses me out to actually have their "help". I feel like I need to be ten steps ahead of my kiddos always, but having them in the kitchen around things that are sharp, hot or messy means that just intensifies!

The flip side is that they LOVE to help and are so excited by what we make. They are growing up and I want to embrace the opportunity to share my love of the kitchen with them.

This felt like much more than making muffins.

I am still under the cloud of (self diagnosed) postpartum depression left from Nora. Some days are easier than others in that department, but once I admitted to myself that this had been a problem for a long time and that I faced the fact I was depressed and that it seemed to be surrounding caring for my kids since my daughter's birth, I can give myself more grace. I felt lazy. I felt like a dead beat mum, going through the motions with a smile on my face - sometimes - but feeling nothing but overwhelmed at every step. Even today, I am overwhelmed and anxious more than I am not. Small tasks with the kids can cause me to become frozen in fear, and weighed down by the darkness in my head. At which point I turn on a TV show for them and just feel guilty about my parenting ability.

Baking the muffins is one example of something I wanted to do, really wanted to do because I enjoy creating in the kitchen and wanted to try again with my kids, but I just couldn't muster the energy to do it.

And fitting it in to today of all days, three days into a four day stretch of solo parenting while J travels for work and I am so exhausted felt like even more of a win.

Physically I am spent. Carrying the worry and "on the clock 24/7" feeling is crazy. Not to mention the kids are not sleeping great at night and I don't have anyone to share that load with so I am getting so little sleep. The baby likes to party at night too so even she has been keeping me up!
During this solo week, I also had a dentist appointment for Levi to navigate  - that went great, he was a rock star. On the way out, I told him how proud of him I was and he said, "I think I am getting the hang of this" ha ha - And this morning, I had Nora's 2 year well child visit. -She screamed the entire time. I hate that she gets so very upset about doctor visits but I can't seem to calm her. - at least they are both over now but they take a toll on me emotionally for sure. You never want to see your kids anxious and my own anxiety issues just go crazy when I am carrying some for them too.

With all of that going on, and another long night ahead, not to mention another day and another bedtime before J gets home, it's even more exciting to me that the muffins were made.

I still lose my temper more than I want to. I get overwhelmed by the toddler emotions and the preschooler disobedience. I feel like I am failing. Losing control. Failing to discipline effectively. Failing to be kind. Raising my voice too much. Not communicating well. The list of parenting shortcomings is anything but short. Still, my kids went to bed clean, well fed, prayed over and told they were loved.

We all snuggled in my bed after their bath, and read books before snuggling down under the covers where they both fell asleep in my arms. Levi fell asleep first. his breathing becoming softer, and Nora followed a few minutes after, her head falling gently from my arm to the pillow beneath as she let sleep embrace her.

I am one blessed mother.

I fail every day  but every day I vow to not let it beat me, because every day I have success too. I bake muffins with both my kids; letting them break eggs into the bowl, measure and pour in ingredients, and even mix.  Their delight at helping and excitement to eat what they made was balm to my over tired heart. I did that. I was the mum that bakes with her kids.

I do have days when we read books more than we watch TV, and days when I feel as though I have loved my kids well through my words, actions and reactions more than I have fallen short.

Motherhood is hard and beautiful. Rewarding and exhausting. SO. WORTH. THE. EFFORT.

Today's success was about so much more than baking muffins, but it was also, certainly about baking those muffins. We will be having them for a special breakfast treat in the morning and I am already looking forward to the conversations I know it will spark as they remember how we made them together.

Hang in their mama's of little ones. Notice the goodness in the craziness and know we are all on this journey together. I hope you have a community supporting you that is as fabulous as the one I have been blessed with, and I encourage you to ask for help when you need it. Letting people know our needs is the way that we let people in and start to build relationships and community. It also open opportunities for us to serve others, even in our weakness and be God's hands and feet to one another.


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