Thursday, March 2, 2017

Dear Nora - 3 years old

Nora girl,

Happy third birthday.

How quickly the years have passed. I am not sure when you turned from that scrunchy faced little baby to the beautiful little girl you are today, but as I look at you quietly crafting, or playing imagination games; shopping around the house with your baby and your cart, or singing in your band, it almost takes my breath away. You are amazing and while I am not sure how we got here, I am beyond thankful for you and it's thrilling to see all you are becoming.

You are certainly a challenge as your independent spirit emerges more and more and your ability to do all you desire on your own is not always where you want it to be. So frustrating! You are learning to use words to explain your frustrations but find it hard to accept help when you are so desperate to do it yourself. I try to employ a softly softly approach and let you ask for help when you get to that place but its so hard to watch you struggle through this crazy time of life.

You are still taking your Music Together music class once a week with teacher Miss Sarah and recently you have been participating more and more in class and singing your little heart out. You love to wear your floaty dresses and skirts so you can twirl away to the music and you are getting really good at echoing back rhythm patterns and singing in key - you must get that from your Daddy! ha ha! It's a highlight of your week and you especially enjoy when Grandma takes you and you go and get a croissant and chocolate milk at Starbucks afterwards. I think you love sharing your special class with Grandma who is a favourite of yours too.

You have some crazy crafting skills little lady, you have been able to use scissors proficiently for a while now and sit for hours cutting out and sticking and punching shapes and drawing and painting. Your creations have taken over the house and while you need to be convinced to ever use the back of a piece of paper of one that has a small rip or is imperfect in another minute way, you certainly enjoy the creative process and it's so fun to watch your skills growing. You are beginning to draw people and objects which are easy to recognise and you really enjoy someone sitting and drawing with you. With so many little ones to take care of I wish I had more time to just sit and create with you but I treasure the time we do share.

You are doing a great job at settling yourself to sleep at night after mummy and Daddy say goodnight and you sleep most nights straight through in your own room. We are very grateful! You haven't napped consistently for about 6 months but maybe once a week you just cant fight the afternoon tireds and give in to sleep. It seems to catch you up enough for the next week or so but it reminds me that for all the ways you are growing up, there are still some ways you are so small.

You love to play make believe. You play house with your babies and the play kitchen and enjoy playing withe the shopping cart picking up your extensive list from around the house. When things start to go missing I often have to seek out a grocery bag that's been left in the playroom full of randomness.

You love to "wash a show". You are a slight telly addict so we are trying to help you have good boundaries but you love Paw Patrol and also most everything brother watches but you make it clear if something is too "cary" and you hide in the kitchen, half watching from behind the island! ha ha

You are very much still our water baby and even though taking all of you swimming in a pool is not something we have figure out doing regularly, you get to be in the hot tub a lot and considering how big you are it probably feel pool-like. You wear your puddle jumpers but are very comfortable without them - too comfortable really, and swim lessons are certainly in your near future!

You have been toilet trained for over six months and do a pretty good job at not having accidents but its hard for you when you are focused on something and suddenly HAVE to go. You are very independent in the bathroom though, of course.

You have an opinion about your clothes (about everything, really) but it leads to some fabulous outfit ensembles! ha ha

You are starting to get much more confident on your balance bike but you want to be whizzing around like your brother so you have even started trying to use the peddle bike but you are more cautious and intentional so you are building up comfort level on it. I am sure that this coming summer you'll take off when you have the opportunity to be out on it much more.

You are kind and so very tender hearted, still bothered by other peoples upset and even though you and your brother fight you are always the first one trying to make him happy if he is upset.
You are so very funny too, and take delight in laughing at your own silliness. Its a beautiful thing to hear.

You are a spicy, whirlwind and at the same time painfully shy. You are a cutie with a laugh that is contagious. You love your Daddy a lot. And you have done a great job adjusting to being a big sister, even though its hard to share mummy sometimes.

I hope you will always want to paint your nails with me, or be my sous chef for dinner. My precious girl, I love you so.

Happy birthday

Mama xx

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Dear Levi - 4 years old

Dear Levi,
I'm watching the Olympics in bed, exhausted from all the fun at your birthday party this afternoon, and I am remembering being in the hospital with you as a newborn infant watching it - How is that 4 years ago?!

You continue to be so full of enthusiasm for life, a ball of energy that doesn't stop from morning until night unless you can be persuaded to sit and watch a show on the TV. You love life and your passion is so contagious.

You have big emotions and are still trying to figure out how to process them in that little 4 year old body of yours. You and Nora are the best of friends but she is the one that can push your buttons like no other. You try so hard to be patient but sometimes your 4 gets the better of you.

You have recently discovered the Cars movies and it's your new favourite thing. You know all the names and have played pretend non stop with the cars we gave you for your birthday.

We have also entered the Lego years. You are just starting to be able to put together the little pieces and are even following the instructions with some help. I love to watch you build and create.  You are so creative Mr.Man, you come up with all kinds of great inventions.

You are so social and love your friends well. Until recently, you had such a hard time sharing even with your closest buddies, but something clicked, and you have grown up SO much in that area now. You are enjoying playdates for the friends that you see and not just the toys you can play with. It's special to see you choosing friends and asking specifically to get together with certain friends now.

You are still very athletic, you love bats and balls, you love to run and play at the playground - you just figured out the monkey bars and you are so proud of yourself! You are a keen bike rider and even though you only have 12 inch wheels, you peddle fast enough to keep up with your older friends on their bigger bikes. Its humorous to see your little legs going so fast but you just love it.

You are starting to ask lots of questions about the world; about planets and the solar system, about where you live and how its different than other places and you have really enjoyed reading books this summer set across the globe. You were taken by one called Rain school, set in Chad, Africa where the kids had to first re build their washed away school house. It's so far from the life you know but you are eager to know about the world and I hope and pray that God will use that curiosity in some really cool way in the future.

You can now get undressed and dressed by yourself but shoes give you trouble and you like to wear your underwear backwards so you can see the pictures on the back. So independent, but you still have to be encouraged to use these new skills.

You make us laugh all the time with your jokes and ideas. You have recently discovered mooning and have used it on some pretty hilarious occasions. It's hard to discourage something so funny, but I know we will live to regret it :)

You got another baby sister this year, and you love on her so much, sometimes a little too much, but you are always so eager to hold her and take care of her. She saves her biggest smiles for you and is very forgiving for the too big kisses you sometimes plant on her. You even give her your lovey when she is sad which shows how deeply you love her..

Most nights you are still ending up in our bedroom. After you wake up to pee you need to feel safe and like to snuggle, even if you end up in the cot bed next to ours after you are asleep - you just like to be with other people. We are working on it, but we understand your desire to be with us, and honestly, we like waking up to your face.

So my precious boy, this is a note to you so remember how fantastic you were as a new 4 year old.

I love you so very much and even though you are growing up so fast and I would like it to slow down, I want to see what the coming year will hold for you,

Love you
Mama x

Friday, July 15, 2016

Dear Hazel - Two months old

Hazel Marie, Hazey girl, or Levi's nickname for you, Haze,

You have been here for two whole months, that's crazy! Where are the days going?!

You are such a sweetheart and your smiles and chatter are so precious to wake up to and make the early starts something to (almost) look forward to :)

Your hair is still looking pretty red and your eyes have stayed steel blue. You are a beauty.

You spend most of the day sleeping and eating, but you are so awake during your alert time. You are starting to enjoy being on the playmat and kick your legs with excitement and you smile and chatter to the baby you see smiling back in the mirror.

You are holding your head up with great skill now, and when we carry you, you are busy looking around and taking in the world around you.

You sleep well at night time only getting up once usually and I am truly grateful, we might even have to put up your crib soon so you can have a safe space to lay during the day. You have a much harder time sleeping during the day for any length of time at home, but you manage ok in your car seat. Your siblings cannot walk by you without kissing you or hugging you, even if you are trying to sleep! You are very gracious with them usually giving them smiles for a while before you get fed up.

You are a constant drooler and have your hands in your mouth all the time, sucking on your fingers, I think once you find your thumb there will be no stopping you.

Your little tummy is still having a hard time with some of the things I am eating and you can toot like a grown man which makes us all laugh. All apart from you, you are uncomfortable but after you have relieved yourself you always smile.

You have started to grip things with your fingers and I love seeing your hand wrapped around my finger. You like to hold tightly and have me pull you to sit up. You are very proud of this new skill and it often ends in big smiles.

You are now fitting 3 months clothes but I don't think you will be for much longer. You are a long little lady and I think we will be moving up a size soon for much of your wardrobe,

You are liking the carriers and the sling which is great so I have hands for taking care of the others at the same time as you. I  like to feel you breathing as you sleep snuggled close to me, and looking down to see the top of your head, feeling the softness of your hair on my skin. It my fave too and I am so blessed you like it.

You are easy going and laid back. You are fascinated by your siblings but not afraid to make it known when you have had enough of their kisses and attention. I am excited to see how your relationships grow and form as you grow up together.

We love you so much baby girl, please stay little for a little while longer :)

Mama x

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Dear Hazel - One month old

Dear Hazel,

Happy one month of life baby girl. What a delight you are. You have such a sweet and gentle spirit and we just can't imagine not having you in our family.

You have been working hard to smile and you are so very, very close! It's so fun to see you figuring out how your face can move. And I am desperate to see you smiling!

You have the biggest most beautiful eyes and they are still a deep steel blue. You watch everything. You are starting to track so well with your eyes and I know you are taking in your world. I'm sure you are seeing me at my best and my worst but I hope you know how much I love you, and that you will bear with me until I figure this mum-of-three-little-ones thing out. I want the best for you, and for your siblings and it's hard to know how to best do that but I am committed to doing my best and I hope that even in your earliest memories, you will know my heart.

You are so very loved, not just by me and your Dad but your brother and sister just adore you. You certainly endure their non-stop hugs and kisses and snuggles and you graciously fall back asleep after they have woken you for the third time in 20 minutes because they just couldn't walk by you without a kiss! We are working on setting you up a safe space to sleep with a working video monitor so you can get better rest but as of today, you don't seem too bothered by it.

You have such an easy going personality. You get mad when you are hungry but have figured out nursing quickly and are a champ. You sleep for 3 and 4 hour stretches at night, sometimes as long as 5 and you are the snuggly-ist little bug when you sleep. I am pretty sure that you are going to be a tummy sleeper because you already end up on your side every time you sleep. I also think that you are going to be a thumb sucker. You do take a pacifier sometimes but are just as content sucking your hand.

You seem totally confused by bathtime. Your little feet kick in the water but you still seem to be forming an opinion about whether you are enjoying it or not! I love to snuggle you in your towel and see your hair get so fuzzy when its dried!

Your hair is still strawberry blonde but unlike your siblings, it is still straight. You don't seem to be losing much of it yet, but time will tell I guess.

You have some tummy issues and my diet seems to have a huge impact on you. I am still trying to work out exactly what bothers you but so far I think too much dairy, dark chocolate and leafy greens are things you are not a fan of. (I'm sacrificially cutting back or cutting out these things from my life but on broken sleep, the chocolate is especially hard) Your little face screws up as you wriggle and jiggle and girl, you have the most incredibly loud toots I have ever heard from a baby!! Eventually you poop and life is good again but I feel so sad that you are so uncomfortable. You are such a content little lady most the time that these instances of pain and discomfort is heartbreaking.

You still spend most of your days sleeping. I love this stage of your life but I am also eager for you to be awake more so I can get to know you better!

Monday, June 6, 2016

Melting. Ugh.

It was close to 90 degrees in Seattle today. We have had a few random days of crazy hot weather like this through the spring and honestly, it makes me nervous for the summer. I love being able to be outside; beach days and spray parks, play parks and picnic dinners, but I like to those things in 70ish degree heat. As the temperatures creep up and up, my kids and I all start to wilt. This manifests in them being horrible to one another, lots of crying ad whining, me losing my temper too much and all of us just being generally in a bad mood. We end up having mandatory movie afternoons to keep everyone still and indoors. Indoors where there is no air conditioning because, well, "this is Seattle and we only have a few of those crazy hot days a year and it doesn't warrant air conditioning." This felt like a valid reason for the first few years I lived here but in more recent years, has NOT been true in the slightest and I lost count of the hours spent mall walking and doing grocery shopping just to take advantage of the cool air. Thankfully, we now have multiple friends who do have a/c in their homes and are generous to share but that doesn't help us at night time. Our single room air conditioning unit just doesn't cut it when we and the kids (at least start off) sleeping in different rooms. We may be making an investment fairly soon.

Our sweet baby girl, 4 weeks old today, was seriously unhappy today. We started out running errands together, just her and I and she was the perfect shopping companion, sleeping soundly in her car seat and then in the Moby wrap while we navigated Target and Costco. However, on our return to the house, she was super unsettled and wanted to nurse all afternoon/evening. She struggled to settle to sleep for a nap at all this afternoon and became more and more frantic as the day wore on. I became more and more defeated.

There is nothing sadder than holding your screaming infant, not knowing exactly what is wrong and not being able to fix it. She kept looking up at me with her huge blue eyes, glassy from crying, pleading with me to do something to make her feel better, but clearly I wasn't doing what she needed. I just snuggled her, and my mum snuggled her to give me a break. We changed diapers and I nursed her when she indicated that might help, and we rocked her and let her kick on the floor. I truly think she was just hot and overheated and was just thirsty or possible had a headache or something.

She finally passed out on me around 8pm after many laps around the kitchen and as I type is asleep on my chest and letting me drink a (small) glass of wine, because let's be honest, its that kind of night. She is finally sleeping hard and I am not moving her.

This is Levi's last week of pre school. I cannot believe the year has gone by so fast. He has had a blast, and grown so much since the fall. I am so proud of him. Even though he can be a stinker sometimes, his heart is good. I am eager for a summer schedule to start for us. I anticipate slower, more relaxed mornings to give me time to figure out some new routines for us. I would really like to teach the older kids to be more independent in getting themselves up and dressed and ready in the mornings, and I think that having time at that time of day will allow for that without frustration.
Perhaps by the time Levi starts school again in the fall we will have figured out how to get all of us up and ready?! We will certainly hope and pray that is the case. 

The one positive about the heat is that the kids want to be out in the pool a lot meaning they are in few clothes, swimsuits or just plain naked for a lot of the day and so it has cut down the number of fights I have had to have with Nora to change her diaper. She is happy to sit on the potty and pee for the cost of just 2 mini m'n'm's a time and I am super excited for her to really embrace potty training this summer!

[Sidenote - when I arrived at Costco this morning, 20 minutes after they opened, the lady who bought the last $400.00 air conditioning unit was on her way out of the store. Apparently, we are not the only family who struggle in this heat. I am just so very thankful I am no longer pregnant because I honestly think it would have made me cry to be so uncomfortable and so hot and the same time. Blessing to all of my pregnant friends who survived the past couple of days. ]

Friday, May 27, 2016

2 weeks (and a few days!)

If I thought finding time to blog with two littles was a challenge, with three I am anticipating it will be really tough but at the same time I desperately want to record this season of life. I already see God's hand threading themes of grace in my heart and I trust that even in this totally overwhelming moment of life I am learning and growing in ways I may not fully see for a long time.

Our sweet baby girl was born via scheduled c section as planned and we have been falling in love with her more and more every day of the last 2 weeks. It's already hard to remember a time without her.

L & N have been doing a fabulous job adjusting, but certainly have been needing more mummy time than before and acting out in other ways to get attention when they are not feeling seen, or are feeling insecure or one of the other million other things their little hearts must be feeling. I am trying to have patience and extend more grace to them even through the sleep deprivation and sore nipples of the first weeks of new babying. I am so grateful for family and friends supporting us in practical ways and praying for all of us in this time of transition.

My parents have been here since a few days before Hazel was born and are here another few weeks before they abandon me and leave me to parent my own children ALL. BY. MYSELF (!) They have been beyond helpful and my easy recovery from surgery is certainly in huge part thanks to them and the gift they gave me to be able to really rest and take it easy for these first couple of weeks by taking care of the kids and also taking on the preschool run for Levi, Nora's music class as well as keeping the house running; cooking, shopping, laundry etc. I am not sure what I would have done without them but I don't expect I would have had the sweet times I have had to get to know our precious new baby (without guilt) because I would have been stressing about making sure there were clean clothes and food in the fridge. I am forever thankful.

Not to mention,

I find myself in tears thinking about the days when they leave. L will be done with preschool for the year so I won't have to figure out getting all of us up and out of the house on time until the fall but it could also mean long days and weeks of no schedule to get us doing anything out of the house. I know I need to get playdates on the calendar, regular ones when possible. I'm also trying to figure out the finances to see if we can get some help a couple of times a week, a baby sitter to help out and give me a break or take the older kids out, or even just a mother's helper to be able to come with me to the beach or the park with the kids so I can feel more confident about being out and about with all three kiddos. It just feels like too much.

So in this time, early days with three, I am eager to live in the moment. Embrace the newness and beauty of our precious Hazel, dig deep into myself to find the energy to parent L&N well and wisely and compassionately as they transition and not wish away the craziness. Soon Hazel will be sleeping more and be in more of a routine - routine is how I function and has worked well for the first two so I hope we will see it do the same for Miss H - The older kids will also get older, and life will eventually fall into a new normal. Until then each of our kiddos will come upon new milestones, conquer more feats of daring, overcome challenges and learn new things about themselves and the world. I refuse to miss those things. I will not let fear or anxiety about how I am coping steal the space to notice and be present in those moments.

So for tonight, as I see my big boy really needing some focused, individual mummy attention I am eager to take an opportunity to have an ice cream date or something with him over the long weekend. I'm going to cherish nursing my baby to sleep knowing she will be the last, and I as I plan to paint Nora's nails because since I had mine done she has been so eager to talk all about it, I breathe in and breathe out.

This is how I will survive.

Breathing in and out. Letting go of my ideas of what life should look like, and embracing what is. letting go of my comparison and being fully who I am as a wife and a mother and standing in a giant pool of grace as I do.

Repeating over and over, "I am enough"

Because I am. In Christ. I am enough to parent these three precious babes. Thank the Lord!

Two weeks (and a few days) in and many, many more to go!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

On the eve of three

I just settled Levi to sleep for the last time before baby sister #2 arrives in our lives. It was a bitter sweet moment as I realised just how big he is. No longer my baby at all.

I can't get up in his loft bed to read books with my giant belly so I sat on the floor and he sat with me in what's left of my lap. He pulled over a blanket, "Mummy, I brought this over for us to share". Melt my heart sweet boy, when did you become so grown up?!

The story you selected is a favourite of yours, it's a tad gross, but quite funny at the same time. It's about a little mole who gets pooped on when he sticks his head out of his mole hill, and then his search to find out who did it. At the end you turned to me with a very serious look on your face and said, "You know what Mummy? If someone ever pooped on your head, I would help you find out who it was." Nice to feel you are already protecting your mother, I'll take it :)

Then your little face just lit up as we talked a little more about the details of the days ahead. You are just so excited to meet your baby sister. I know you will make a great big brother again this time around. I am sure we will have some bumps in the road, but you have a good heart and a caring nature and I think being the age you are will give you the opportunity to really shine in your big brother role.

Jeremy put Nora to bed tonight. I think she only threw one or two (serious) tantrums during that process. She has been having a really hard time with life in the past few days. So much emotion, so many tantrums and tears, so much of a struggle to just hear "no" or not have things go the way she thinks they should. I am not sure if the timing is just coincidence or it's her little way of processing the changes she knows are coming but really are too much for her little self to comprehend. She is challenging my patience and yet, breaking my heart at the same time. I want her to know she is loved and safe and that none of that is going to change. The next few days with me and Jeremy being gone will likely be hardest on her sweet spirit, but with all her grandparents around I hope she can have lots of fun too.

I keep looking around the house as if I am never returning, trying to drink in exactly how everything looks because it does truly feel like when we come home everything will be different.

Jeremy keeps asking me what we still need to cross off the list to be ready for tomorrow. I want to stick my head in the sand and pretend it's not happening because the reality is scary. The reality of my surgery, and even more the reality of having a third little one to care for when I only have two arms!

There are piles of half finished tasks all over the house where I have tried and failed to get a project done and the layers of dust and such in our house are something I never anticipated I would let evolve but over time cleaning has fallen to the back of my mind and certainly my priorities and I fear my house will never be clean the way I like it ever again.

I can feel my anxiety build and am hopeful that I can get a good nights rest so that I can sleep off some of it. Also because I cant eat or drink after midnight and I know I am going to be so very uncomfortable complying with that rule.

I don't know when this became my life. When did we go from not knowing if we would ever have biological babies, to being pregnant with our third? This pregnancy felt like it lasted forever and also went by in a heartbeat. I cannot believe we are 39 weeks tomorrow. The end of the road, the final gig of the farewell pregnancy tour, seriously, this is my life?!

It is appropriate that it's mother's day today in the U.S. I have had time to contemplate the gift and blessing that my children are to me, and be reminded that this life is something generously bestowed on me. I do not take this responsibility lightly. I know that my tired heart sometimes needs to be encouraged to be more thankful for even the more trying aspects of motherhood, because it IS such a beautiful and precious gift.

Tonight I go to sleep for the last time as a mother to two. Tomorrow is the start of a new season for our family. I am excited and terrified in equal measure but so thankful to my husband, and family as well as a strong community of friends who we have to support us, help us, and especially believe in us, as we adjust.

Ok baby girl, just a few more hours and we're coming for you!!


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