Life in January

Good morning! Yes, I’m still here. :) It’s good to see you, too!

It’s the beginning of a new year, a new month.. May you enjoy this fresh start and gain clarity in what you’ll be striving for this year. After an encouraging coffee date with girlfriends last night, and with more coffee in my hand this morning (heehee) I have some major pondering to do… primarily, how to simplify the whole resolution process into maybe one or two words I’d like to see manifested in my life. Like, “thoughtful.” Or “patient.” An overall theme applied to all the little everyday things. I read a quote the other day that I just loved:

“May the way I look at you, the way I speak with you, and the way I treat you, reflect the truth that… I have loved you since forever.”

I thought, yes… This what I want my husband and kids to feel, looking back on our life together. Friends, too. It’s in the little, everyday things, words, glances, sighs that either warm up or alienate the people around us. An example from my life…

Motherhood has taught me many things, is constantly teaching me, and one of the biggest lessons I keep revisiting is that frustration is around every corner–how do I love fully even in frustration? I think it has to do with choosing my responses carefully, not just reacting. This is an art, I’m convinced. The worst thing I’ve felt this last year in parenting is going to bed knowing I made poor choices regarding my kids that day.

It always happens at night, when I peek in on them sleeping and they’re all warm and snoozy and huggable and angelic. I forget the constant honking on the harmonica, after I asked them to stop 20 times, or how they tried pouring the gallon of milk themselves. I’ll realize I didn’t get as creative as I could’ve to deflate a situation, I got mad instead. Or I was a total stickler about something that really doesn’t matter a hill of beans, and it exasperated my girls. Moments like that, where your instant reactions are instantly reflected on their little faces, only to float in your mind in the dark hours later, accusing you of poor mothering. I know it won’t ever be perfect, but I want to strive for Better.  Thanks be to God, who will help me with this! And other moms, dear friends I truly cherish and laugh hard with.  I’m grateful we don’t have to mother alone.

I have a few specific, fun things I’d like to do this year too… but they are going to be completely secret. If I was really brave, maybe I would ask my husband to guess what my resolutions were at the end of this year, if he had noticed changes… :)

Recently :: January 

We are still in newish-baby mode, but are slowly venturing into a new routine for our family. I am loving it, despite exhaustion and memory loss. Ha.

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> Eli. Pure joy, this boy. He is almost 4 months old, growing fast, and loves his mama. And sisters (little mamas). And daddy. He likes to fill daddy in on our day when he gets home. The boy smiles at everything, everyone. He soaks in life, his eyes focusing intently on whatever is in front of him. He lifts his whole upper body and legs when he’s on his tummy. He kicks socks and blankets off his legs, every time–he looks like a little cricket when he does this. Aww. He’s sporting a handsome ring of baldness around his head above his ears, which only a mama could love. And if you talk to him, he’ll usually respond with “ahhh” or “ohh,” but in the last couple of days, has added “Ggggah” to the mix. Eloquent, this one. Oh! And Olivia totally made him laugh when she was twirling around like a loon the other day… She will always be able to say she was the first to make him laugh (without squishing him, which is usually my method…).

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> Instagram. Part of the reason why I’ve been way lax in blogging is because I have been loving Instagram. Post a picture, add a quip, boom, sharing your life. I’m following foodies, yarn shops, knitters, friends… it’s wonderful. Quick snapsnots of their lives is such a fun way to share. So if it’s slow here, check my instagram

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> Siblings. Just to add to the above… Now having three little siblings in the house is one of my favorite things. I am fascinated by how the Lord has taken a fear of mine (yup, the thought of three kids was hard to imagine, so He made it a reality!), and has turned it into the biggest blessing I’ve known. Liv and Natalie are two peas in a pod, most of the time, and I pray it always continues this way, beyond the bumps in the road they’ll face.

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They both help me take care of Eli, and enjoy being big sisters. Especially Natalie; she’s like Eli’s little personal bouncer, eager to protect him but also constantly tempted to smush him in hugs herself. She is no doubt the best pacifier-finder in the house; her record is 100% so far. I love knowing I can count on her when Eli is fussing.  I’m dreaming of dressing them up as the 3 Amigos someday…. and then posting on Instagram, of course. ;)

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(Thanks to Jen Honeycutt Photography for these awesome 3 month photos of Eli!)

 

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eli: one month

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Hi there. Since my last post, I now have two little cardigans and a little bowtie of a boy, all scrunchy and new and sweet. He mostly just sleeps right now, which either makes things easy (ah, only two other kiddos to chase), or hard (him deciding he needs to eat right NOW, just as I was heading out the door). He is a very mellow baby.  I’ve only heard him downright wail twice thus far: once in the car when we drove around looking at leaves (potentially the altitude difference?), and the one time we’ve tried to give him a bottle. No thanks, no sir, nice try.

I both love and am hesitant about new experiences because you just never know how you’re going to feel about things, and when. Having a third child was something that tried to sink in over 9 months, but didn’t fully begin to hit me until I was in labor, and my feelings surprised me. Sure, I had been a pretty steady mix of Anxious and Excited, but I didn’t expect the Calm.  Doing all of it again–timing contractions and feeling the depth of the pain and then finally cuddling that teeny, warm little body–brought out the peace of familiarity in me. I’ve been here before, I know these ropes. 

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When he was born, the nurses and staff left us for an hour for skin-to-skin time, and the magic of a newborn filled that room to the brim. It’s something that soaks into your bones, and I love talking with other moms because all of those little details you shouldn’t be able to remember are as crisp and tactile as they ever were. If that’s not magic, I don’t know what is. So to feel that again, for this final time, gave me a calm and a reminder that I knew what I was doing–or that I could at least muster up enough confidence to assure myself that I would learn what I didn’t yet know.

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Being in the hospital for a couple of days doting on baby with your adorably exhausted husband (glasses, no contacts, cowlicked hair, soft t-shirts and hoodies) is also magical. Reality is waiting at the door, but for the meantime, you’re in sweet seclusion, adjusting to Baby while the world rolls on.

I knew once we stepped foot in our house, I’d be juggling right away. Juggling emotions, juggling three kids now, juggling priorities. The girls have been great–no jealous streaks (yet), but lots and lots of “help.” Well, help AND “help.” I spent the first week keeping Natalie at bay because she was completely in love at first sight, and would be by Eli’s side (i.e. on his face) constantly if I didn’t gently distract her away. Sometimes her feelings would get hurt, which was really sad, but she’s doing much better now (she checks in every 10 minutes now instead of every 2). But this takes energy! I was quickly worn out by that while being thankful she was so excited about it all. Emotionally, I was holding up, but knew a breakdown was on its way at some point, as it always is with hormones and childbearing and changes in general.

 

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My first tears came our first night home, which is also typical–that time in sweet seclusion is vastly different than being in your own home without reinforcements (helpful nurses!). He peed through all of the outifts that fit him; he peeds on himself. He peed on his blankets. I was wrapping him in 6-month sized clothes and crying because I felt like I had let him down by running out of newborn sizes. (Isn’t this funny in retrospect? So not funny at the time!) Nursing also hurt like no other at this point, as did the contractions that happen that first week. It sounds bad–and was hard–but I wouldn’t call it a breakdown.

The third week, I came down with mastitis. Pain, flu-like symptoms, and R going back to work were a trifecta for an explosion. I knew it was coming, but I didn’t expect it to come along with so many other issues! I cried off and on for a couple of days about alllll sorts of random things, and then cried again when I realized how hard it is for me to ask others for help and to let them in when I’m having a hard time.  Change and hard times reveal so much, don’t they? And hormones magnify it all like crazy.

Whew. Four weeks came, the infection cleared, and as soon as I began to feel more like myself, the calm began to come back. I’m still having what I would call shaky days, or sensitive days, but over it all I am beyond happy Eli is here and I can touch my toes again and go upstairs without getting winded. Right now, I’m  having the most trouble getting anywhere on time with three, and sleep is still a major issue we’re accepting, but we’re wondering what life was like without Eli, and we can’t remember.  Natalie is smitten, and so am I.

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Dissonance is what I feel often times, but not negatively per se–I tend to want to carry on as it was before, but it never will be the same, and that’s a good thing.  I never dreamed I’d be a mommy to three cute little crazies, but here I am, and I’m learning all about motherhood, womanhood, and sisterhood as I go. I couldn’t do this without other kind, funny, generous women in my life. So thank you, you. I’m sure other people feel this way, but I always so dearly want things to be as they were, and as I get older, I’m learning to let that mindset go and enjoy the moment, and hope for what’s to come. But it’s incredible how deeply ingrained this desire is in me.

Good things are in store for us when we’re able to accept change and grow in it, see the joy in it. I’ve been thinking a lot about how we are not consumed–God’s mercies are new every morning, and great is His faithfulness (Lam. 3:23). I look forward to sunlight in the bedroom every morning, even through bleary eyes. Especially through bleary eyes! That phrase has stayed with me: I am not consumed. I can handle this today! Or I can at least cry while I’m handling it, right?

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At one month (~5 weeks), Eli is:

– Sleeping, sleeping, and sleeping.

– Pooping, pooping, pooping some more, and peeing (but not on us anymore, we’re wise now!)

– Smiling! This boy smiles a lot, and I don’t think it’s due to gas (said every mom ever).

– Still scrunching his legs up when you change him, or put him on your shoulder. Love.

– Eating every two hours, round the clock. I feel like he has a wonky schedule due to our activities (preschool, MOPS, etc), so I’m slowly figuring out naps and such, but food is consistent. Especially after that mastitis nightmare, ugh.

– A “Babywise” baby. We used this method with the other two (eat, play, sleep to help with nighttime sleep), and I’m loosely doing this with Eli, which has helped me keep my sanity in beginning a schedule of sorts…

– Enjoying bathtime! The boy loves to get his hair washed.

And so far, being a mom of three kids means:

– Coffee. Less than normal due to feeding Eli, but it is still a morning staple and one I look forward to daily. Me.so.tired.

– Being way too tired for creative time (& blogging, sadly), but that doesn’t stop me from dreaming about being crafty. Nursing time usually = Pinterest. Yup, it’s still my favorite social media outlet.

– Constantly coming up with a strategy of how to get all of us out of the house to be wherever on time, praying it works and really trying not to worry if it doesn’t :)

– A leeettle more TV than normal for the older two, as well as having them play outside whenever they can. (Grateful for this beautiful fall weather!)

– Thanking, hugging, and thanking again friends and family who have brought food. THANK YOU. Truly a lifesaver.

– I need to improve my multitasking skills. Bigtime. Right now I’m totally in scatterbrain mode; waiting to upgrade to Awesome Mombot status. I am outnumbered, but hopefully not out-clevered (hi, new word).

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Hmm. They kinda look like they’re plotting something here, don’t they?