Wednesday, September 14, 2011

September 15

Age four has proved to be a difficult one for myself and Little One.  Why ... How come ... but mom ... He is getting smarter.   He is learning at a rate I am having difficulty keeping up with.   He is a thinker, articulate, but mostly inquisitive.  Today he asked me why we can't see God.

After seven years of biblical and theological training you would think I had a good answer to this question. After all, I knew something like it was coming ... this little one's mind is way beyond his years.   So like any good Bible student I went into how God is a spirit.  How God is everywhere.   How God lives within our hearts when we believe in who He is and who His son is.   Little One listened, but he wasn't buying it. So he asked me again, 'Why can't I see God mommy?'.  At a loss for words I went for the honest approach ... 'I don't know.   I don't understand God, Little One.' 

All day his question and my answer have been eating at me, and when I looked at the calendar this evening I realized why.  It is almost September 15 ... 

For most of us 9/11 is a stormy cloud that hovers over this week.  We remember where we were, what we were doing, who we were with, and how we felt when we heard the news.  I am no different, however, there is a darker cloud hovering over my heart this week.   Eleven years ago I lost my friend.   I lost my mentor.   I lost my voice of sanity during a difficult time.  For eleven years I have sought a way to describe what I lost on that day; but today, Little One's question gave me words to describe it.  I lost a picture and influence of God in my life.    No my friend was not God, nor would he want to be thought of like that, but he reflected God's spirit at a time in my life when I desperately needed it.  

It's ironic I think ... that at that precise moment in my life where God seemed the furthest ... that in the midst of doubting His goodness, His love, His mercy and justice, He would take away the one thing that kept me interested in it: my friend.   Then I think about that more, and realize it's actually not that ironic.   What better way to "see" God than to experience Him, but we can't experience Him when we think we see Him.   Humanity clouds the perfect picture that He is ... like those mirrors you see at carnivals that distort your image.  We are created in His image, but are not a perfect representation. 

Tomorrow, if Little One asks again, I will tell him God is meant to be experienced not seen.   God is meant to be encountered not touched.  God is meant to be and co-exist within us.  Perhaps I will come up with more age appropriate language for a four year old, but while I am chatting with him I will be thinking and missing my friend.  I will be remembering his side hugs, shoulder squeezes, and how he used to call me ... little one.  Most importantly, I will be remembering my experience of God because of his life, and even more so because of his death. SHBSY


Saturday, May 28, 2011

Happy Birthday Little Two!

I can't believe it ... my little one is turning ONE! As cliche as this sounds, it seems like yesterday I was running around our tiny apartment baking Little One's birthday cake, getting goodie bags ready and hoping those really strong contractions every 6 minutes were NOT real labor! But they were ... and Little Two surprised us all by coming a month early. Little Two, here is your story ...

After Little One came into the world most people probably thought I would never do that again. It was miserable ... every single part. The pregnancy (during my first year of grad school) consisted of spending time in the hospital on IV's from the horrible morning sickness, many trips to the hospital in the middle of the night to stop contractions, and finally bed rest for the last 9 weeks. The delivery (the first night of our vacation in another state!) was a nightmare that I will tell you more about around Little One's birthday. To say the least, Husband and I were traumatized ... for months. So why (only 4 months later) did I feel the urge for another one??? I have no idea, except that I love being a mom. I love holding my little ones, caring for them, and watching them experience life ... and one was simply not enough. So husband and I waited until I was healthy enough to be pregnant again and one brisk fall morning we found out another little one was going to be joining our family at the end of June!

My pregnancy with Little Two was very similar to Little One's ... although I figured out how to keep some food in me, and thus, avoided the hospital until the 3rd trimester! For months my mornings consisted of waking up, sick, getting Little One and myself ready for the day, and at some point in the midst of all that, Little One would accompany me in the bathroom and put his hand on my shoulder (while I was throwing up) and say, 'It's ok mama ... it's ok'.

It's odd, I know, but those were sweet moments that I will forever treasure. Weeks and months went by. I thought, 'hey I may actually make it without bed rest!' Silly me because around 32 weeks Little Two thought it would be fun to try and come out, and the next 4 weeks consisted of bed rest and medication to keep him inside. Yeah, bed rest with an almost 3 year old running around ... difficult would be an understatement! But we survived and made it to the very exciting 36 week mark!

I remember that morning vividly. It was beautiful! I was so excited that the weather was going to be nice for the next few days so that Little One's birthday party (which I planned early so that Little Two's birth would not interfere) would be perfect! Games outside, cake, ice cream and all his little friends playing together. I should have known my plan would not work out because that morning I woke up feeling funny. I couldn't put my finger on it, but I felt funny. I had a hard time eating breakfast and then around 9 the contractions started, and they started STRONG! 'NO!!! Little One's party!' was the first thought that entered my head ... so of course I quickly began making his birthday cake, putting goodie bags together and packing a hospital bag.


Finally, around 2 pm Husband and I went to the hospital to find out that yes, Little Two was making his arrival today. Quickly we called family, my mom book a flight, and the next thing I knew I was prepped and in the OR. Up to this point, I was pretty proud of myself ... I hadn't freaked out yet! Not that I had forgotten Little One's birth experience, but so far I was calm, cool and collected ... until they brought me into the OR, and then I fell apart. It all came back to me and tears just poured down my cheeks. As hard I as tried to stop them, they just kept coming. I was so scared. What if it all happens again, but this time, I don't survive ... and Husband is left alone with our two boys?

It was like the doctors and midwife could read my mind. The instant they saw me crying they knew the perfect things to say to calm me down. They assured me they were not going to let this be a repeat experience. They knew what they were doing, they took extra precautions, and they kept a closer eye on me during recovery. They were right: no complications ... everything went as smooth as possible! Praise the LORD!



Little Two came out screaming and peeing all over the place! Clearly his lungs were fine, and when I first saw him I could not believe how different he looked from Little One! He's got his own sweet little face and personality and I could not be a happier or prouder mom :)

Monday, May 23, 2011

OurLittleThings Etsy Shop

Welcome to OurLittleThings!  It is my little shop over at Etsy where I get to create sweet little things for those little people in our lives.  Come check out my little things! 

Right now I have some of my burp cloth selections up, BUT I am also making snugglies (soft blankets baby LOVE to snuggle with about 12" by 12"), minky blankets with satin binding, and specially crafted baby bedding per your request!  Can't find that special bedding or blankets for your little one? Send me a message over at OurLittleThings's site with your special requests!



Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Laundry

I have been fighting this for weeks ... that is, switching Little Two's clothing.  I should have done this weeks ago.  Poor Little Two!  He has begun to resemble Gus Gus from Cinderella with his shirts popping up over his belly while his pants have either transformed into capris or the snap refuses to snap.  He looks like quite the trend setter I tell you :)

You are probably asking, 'Why the laziness girl??', or thinking to yourself, 'dude, get the little one some new clothes!'.  I completely understand those sentiments, I do, its just ... I can't bring myself to acknowledge that my sweet little one is actually turning One!  He is changing from my teeny tiny little one we brought home into a crazy, happy, babbling toddler (who gets into EVERYTHING!).   Where did the time go?

As I fold these clothes it seems like yesterday Little One was running around in these polo shirts and overalls.   Memories of outside play dates, meeting new friends, and the joys of a teetering toddler not knowing which way he is going to fall flood my thoughts.  I miss those moments.

This probably seems silly (and maybe it is), but I think many moms feel a sense of loss as we put away clothes that no longer fit and pull out bigger ones knowing all too quickly those will become too small.  It is recognizing a stage of life (albeit short) is over, that our little ones are growing up, that they are one step closer to moving out and time is quickly moving on.   If only it would stand still so I could treasure my baby little ones for just a bit longer ... 



Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day



Driving me back and forth to practice, meets, friends' houses, etc.
Making my favorite dinners on my birthday
Chatting with me on phone during the day when I desperately needed some adult conversation
 Holding my hand while I was in labor with Little One, and then taking care of him when I was too sick to
Watching Diagnosis Murder together at night
 Making New York such a great home even though our family was a thousand miles away
 Being able to talk my anxiety down like no one else
Watching me do flips off woodpiles, our pool and swing set ... and not yelling at me
Getting up with me in the middle of the night when I was sick or scared
You brought me into this world and gave me life ... 




 ... thank you!









Friday, April 15, 2011

Hesed

It was about a week ago, Sunday to be exact, that something occurred to me: no matter how many things I do wrong or how many times I mess up, Little Two continues to love me. Amazing ...

In staying home that morning I thought I was being a wise mother ... prudent even.   After all, Little Two was sick (again!) and missing a nap was most certainly out of the question.  This poor little one needed as much sleep as possible to get over all the colds, stomach viruses, RSV and mono that have plagued him all winter long.  Thus, Little Two and I stayed home so he could nap while Husband took Little One to church and Sunday School.   The morning seemed to be off to a good start: Husband and Little One were up, ready and off to where they needed to be (on time I might add) while I put Little Two down for nap and rested myself (thank you Little Two for sharing a rather miserable stomach bug).

After Little Two woke up from his nap, I ingeniously barricaded him in his little nook while I finished getting ready to meet Husband and Little One.  Now, moms understand it is nearly impossible to get ready with a mobile and curious little one crawling around, which is why barricading him in his nook with toys was simply genius.   However, after a few cries (parents of more than one little one will attest that after the first one you just don't run over as quickly when they cry) I went in to check on him and saw he had pushed the coffee table over just enough so that the sharp corner was sticking into his room instead of behind the wall, and just under that corner of the table was a block he desperately wanted.  Putting two and two together, I realized he had repeatedly hit the middle of his forehead on the point in pursuit of the block.  Strike one.

Being the sympathetic and wise mother that I am, I brought Little Two into our room and shut the door to protect him from the steep stairs which were just on the other side.   My back was literally turned for 5 seconds, but when I looked back, the door was open and all I saw was one of Little Two's feet ... briefly.   Little Two was now doing the luge head first (I guess that makes it the skeleton) down our stairs, heading right for the wall and front door.   My heart stopped and I froze as I watched him fall/bounce down and then finally flip onto his back at the bottom.  Strike Two and it was only ten o'clock in the morning.

As I held my screaming little one (while thanking God he was screaming and moving), it occurred to me that even though it was my fault Little Two did the skeleton down the stairs and had bruises on his forehead, he still wanted and needed comfort from me.   Often times I hear people talking about how being a parent has allowed them to understand how much God loves us ... that is very true and I, too, have experienced that ... but in this moment, while Little Two was holding on to me, I felt this unconditional love completely free from judgment that I most definitely did not deserve that morning.  In that moment I was not the parent loving my little ones as God loves us; instead, I was the imperfect little one receiving the perfect loving kindness God bestows on us.


Monday, April 11, 2011

A New England Winter wonderland?

I think it is the weather.   All the snow.  All the cold.  All the insideness.  It makes even the best of us go crazy.    There is only so far to run inside an apartment.    By January the rooms seem to shrink, the ceiling gets a little bit lower, and my history in Firefox is filled with links for homes in North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas.   For those of you who do not understand what a New England winter is like, I would tell you it is something worth experiencing, but NOT with two boys under three and a half in a small apartment!

There is just nowhere to go in the winter that does not require A LOT of effort: bundling up Little One and Little Two (and myself), going out in the cold (and I mean cold!), snow, and ice that just seems to grow exponentially for months at a time.   It gets depressing really.  You turn on the news and hear there is yet another blizzard looming ahead.  Little One hears the word 'snow' and immediately begs to go outside.  I say no (at first) but then think, 'you know, I forget what it looks like outside, why not?'.   So, thus begins the process of getting warm clothes, snow pants, boots, hats, gloves, and coats on my little ones ... only to promptly turn around and march back up the stairs because Little One says its too cold outside.  

Days continue to come and go.  Then all of a sudden its above 40 degrees again!  I see patches of green, and there is rain instead of snow!   Life is exciting ... soon the weather will be warm.   Husband and I will be taking Little One and Two to the beach, having cook outs and doing all of our favorite summer things.  My sanity will return and I won't understand why some people do not want to live in New England :)

In the midst of all the bleak wintery days I watched something magical happen.  I saw a friendship develop between Little One and Little Two.  I watched as Little Two began to interact with the world around him, as Little Two began to recognize his big brother and squeal when Little One would come into the room.   I watched Little One learned to comfort Little Two, share his toys (yes even his CARS!) and make him laugh.   Nothing brightens a gloomy wintery day like watching Little Two and Little One wrestle and giggle together.  I guess there is something special about being stuck inside for months at a time ...

video

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Questions!




Knowing myself as well as I do, I think sometimes I am going to need inspiration for posts, and what better inspiration than your questions!  I love hearing what people think (or ask in this case) ... so ... look over to the right side of the blog towards the bottom and submit a question and I will answer.


We're waiting ... :)

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Who cares ...

Sundays are days we all relax and don't do much.  It's a day without cleaning, laundry and work.   We enjoy time together without the burden of 'getting things done', and I like that.  One of my favorite things is sitting down in the evening (little ones asleep!) and watching TV.   Tonight I am watching Secret Millionaire, and while the wife is talking about people she met with HIV she said something profound. "Often times I was distracted about how people became infected with HIV, but who cares??"

Who cares? Who cares how people end up where they are.   Who cares if they are different.   They are people, real people, with real pain and real needs.   Isn't it easier to justify not helping because of how they contributed to their situation?  Isn't easier to look down on them ... after all, it's their own fault right?  I am ashamed to admit those thoughts have gone through my head.   That I judge other people before I hear their story.  That I think I'm better for some reason. 

What if we stopped caring about why.  What if we said 'who cares' about their past decisions and loved the person standing in front of us?  What if we smiled instead of walking the opposite way?  What if we taught our children to serve instead of expecting to be served?  What if we had compassion on those around us instead of being afraid of our differences?

I think our world would be a better place.  I think we would see past skin color and clothing, and into someone's heart and realize that it looks a lot like our own: broken.  We are all broken in one way or another.  We all need help and a kind word now and then.  That is what I want to teach my little ones.  I want them to say who cares.  I want them to help other people and be kind to them because they are people, real people with real pain and real needs.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Life as we know it ...

I took a personal day this afternoon.  Usually during nap time I am cleaning the house, making dinner, working on sewing projects, paying bills, etc., but this afternoon I decided to stop, sit and watch a movie: Life as we know it.   I'd seen the previews.  I knew it was a chick flick, but I thought it would be mindless.   It ended up being anything but mindless.  You see, the whole basis of the movie was that parents die and leave their infant daughter in the care of their best friends.   While there was a great deal of humor ('cause who doesn't laugh watching someone learn to change a diaper for the first time!), I couldn't stop seeing Little One and Little Two's faces.

I pictured someone telling Little One Mommy and Daddy wouldn't be coming home.  That Mommy and Daddy had died and he wouldn't see us again.   I pictured Little Two screaming because he was waiting for me to nurse him.    I heard them crying for mommy and daddy, but we weren't there.  

That is one of a parent's worst fears: to die and leave our little ones at the mercy of someone else.   Little Two would be okay, in fact, after awhile he probably wouldn't remember us, but Little One would be devastated.   He would understand enough to know Husband and I were not coming back, but he wouldn't understand why.  He would be confused, scared, and the thought of him being afraid and his world shaken like that literally brings tears to my eyes.    So I begin to think.   Who would be the best people to care for my little ones?  Do we have EVERYTHING all set if that were to happen?   Why have I not made an in case we die folder that spells EVERYTHING out?? I mean EVERYTHING!  What they eat, when they nap, favorite toys, what comforts them, doctor and family's numbers ... everything I can possibly think of to make the most horrific transition just a little bit easier.

Husband and I are organized, we plan, we are in control.  We prepare for parent-teacher conferences, write down our questions for the doctor, and leave detailed instructions for babysitters.  We take our role seriously, and that is good, but at what point do we, as parents, have to let go?    To trust that if something happened to us the guardians (we picked) for Little One and Little Two would also have their best interests at heart.   That another mother would love my little ones as much as I do.  That other parents would raise our children just as well as we would, but perhaps differently, and that differently is okay.  That despite all the scenarios I've dreamed up in my mind, my little ones would be okay. 

The thing is, when we love our little ones as much as we do we can't help worrying.  We can't help over planning, and it is nearly impossible to 'let go'.   So we write out schedules, leave numbers, have meals planned, and encourage our little ones to find comfort and security in things outside of ourselves ... sometimes ... all the while, desperately trying to remember we are not the only people who love our little ones dearly, and that the God who entrusted them to us in the first place will take care of them if He calls us home before our time.

Monday, March 14, 2011

I love you more than ...

 


Little One and I have a game we play every night before bed.   I say 'I love you more than ... peanut butter and jelly!' and he responds 'I love you more than ... ICE CREAM!' and we go back and forth, back and forth.  Today, however, was a terrible no good very bad day and I did not feel like playing that game before bed!  Little One pushed every boundary and button possible ... and he knew it.   I contemplated hiding in the corner and just surrendering to these crazy little ones until their Dad got home.  It's amazing how they know exactly what will drive us crazy! 

You would think, 'It's just a baby and a three years old, how difficult can that be? Just play with cars and trucks and let them jump on you, right?'  WRONG!  First they just get silly.  That I can handle, but that is how they wear you down.  They push the limits with the silliness and soon I am saying 'Don't take that from your brother!  Stop taking your clothes off!   No you cannot jump on the furniture!'  This is where the frustration begins to build.  Then the next thing I know laundry piles are towers being knocked over, toys are flying in the air, Little One is catapulting himself from one couch to the other, and Little Two is sitting in the midst of the chaos laughing so hard I am sure he is mocking me.   At this point I am no longer laughing at the silliness ... I am wanting to glue Little One's bum on a chair so he can't move and I can recover some sort of authority in this Lord of the Flies moment!

But what actually happens bothers me.   My little ones have succeeded in pushing my buttons to the point where I get angry.   I am tired of saying no.  I am tired of pulling Little Two off the bookshelf or away from the TV.  I am tired of putting the couch back together and tripping over toys, but more importantly, I hate that in losing my patience I want out of my home today, and to skip my precious game with Little One at bedtime.    In my frustration (and lack of patience) I valued neat and orderly over my little ones.   I lost sight of the humor that is a three year old running around in nothing but their CARS underwear with a pink penguin in their mouth, a 9 month old's mischievous smile, and the brotherly bonding taking place during the chaos.  While I did not thoroughly enjoy this day my two little ones most definitely did, and because of my little getaway this afternoon (thank you husband!) I can tell Little One that I love him more than peanut butter and jelly in the morning ...

Friday, March 4, 2011

No one was stirring, not even a mouse ...

Wouldn't you know our little apartment is perfectly quiet.   Three boys sound asleep (and snoring in their respective rooms I might add).  Me ... not so much.   Even though my mommy immune system finally gave in to the virus going around our home, and I haven't had more then 5 hours of consistent sleep in the past two weeks, my brain will not stop.    Most nights I'm asleep within 30 minutes of my head hitting the pillow, but there are other nights where I cannot turn my brain off.  Tonight is one of those ...

I have this slight tendency to worry about hypothetical situations.  Actually, that would be the biggest understatement of a century.  Anxiety is a daily battle.   Its like walking on the edge of a cliff; one wrong move and you're tumbling out of control with no possibility of stopping.  I worry someone will break in.   I worry Husband will get into a car accident coming home from work and dinner will be interrupted by a Police officer at our door.   I worry Little One will be made fun of at school, sit by himself at lunch, or be snatched by some creep when my back is turned for a split second.   I worry Little Two will stop breathing in his sleep and I will go in one morning to a lifeless little body.   I worry every little cold or virus that comes through our home is just a precursor to a more serious and life threatening illness.  I worry I will 'mess up' and forever scar my little ones sending them into years of therapy.   I worry ... 

Part of me recognizes that is part of being a mom: to worry.   Perhaps in some ways it is.  As parents we have to think about every little detail; we are, after all, in charge of their safety.   We should worry about strangers at the playground or fevers of 102.    But where does healthy worry start and ridiculous worry end?  I can't control bullies at school or stay up all night every night making sure they don't stop breathing.   I can't promise I will never make parenting mistakes.  In fact I will, and probably already have, made many.

Where is the magical in between?  Where is the perfect balance of worrying and letting go?  (And why don't parenting books figure it our for you!)  I have no idea, and I am still relatively new at this ... but I hope my little ones know my worry, and perhaps, over protectiveness at times, comes out of my indescribable love for them.   They are, after all, my most precious little ones ...

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Swimming

I feel adrenaline pumping through my body.  My heart is beating fast.  I have butterflies in my stomach.  I'm concentrating on taking long deep breaths and I realize I'm rolling my ankles and wrists as I wait.  For those who know me, no I am not about to mount the balance beam, step up on the blocks, or walk up the diving board.  This time it is not my turn.   I am on the other side.  I am a coach; however, the nerves are almost worse.   Now I pace the pool deck, tap my clipboard and have a stopwatch in hand.

What athletes don't realize is how much coaches invest in them.   We live and breath the sport.   We agonize over line ups, replay races over and over in our head, analyze splits, research the best tapers, and spend hours writing practices designed to get the most out of them.  We put our heart in each and every one of our athletes.   We go through the ups and downs with them.  We rejoice in their success and are heartbroken with them in their failures.    We are their biggest cheerleaders.  We believe when they don't.  We learn what makes them tick; when to push, when to pull back and when to encourage.  It is a lot like parenting, except we do not inherently love them. 

Our love for our athletes grows with time.  They come in as freshman, totally clueless to what the next four years will hold.  Immature, but full of life and excitement.  They make us laugh, but sometimes we seriously wonder if they will ever grow up :)  Then we watch them change year by year ... and by the time they are seniors we have come to respect them.   We've seen them work hard, push through pain, and come out on top.   Our athletes become like our children and we would do anything for them ...

Sleep


Sleep.  It's a four letter word to many parents. (Yes I know it has five letters!) As I'm here writing Little Two is sleeping.   The sweet serenity that is nap time is upon us today.  Often I peak in to watch him and am constantly amazed at how peaceful little ones are while they sleep.   Little One used to sleep with his butt up in the air and knees nicely tucked beneath him or in a little ball on his side, while Little Two likes to sleep all spread out.  Arms stretch as far as possible to either side with his head against one side of the crib while his feet touch the other, blankets snuggled all around and over him ... 
 ... Sleep ... I miss it.  It's not that I don't get to sleep now, but it's that I don't get to sleep when I want to sleep.  In fact, I don't get to do most things when I want.   Instead, my opportunities to get things done during the day or do something I want to do are determined by the two little ones running and crawling around between my legs.    I think that is the hardest thing to adjust during parenthood: Life is not your own.   Life revolves around the needs of my little ones.   I can not go to the store when I prefer.   I can not stay up late, because I can not sleep in.   And it never fails, when I have A LOT to do before a certain time ... they do not sleep.     

As I think about the hardest part of adjusting into parenthood, it is not the lack of sleep (although that is difficult too), but its the forced lifestyle of selflessness.   When we become parents our thoughts are first about our children.   What do they need?  How can I help them?  When do they need to eat or sleep?  What do they like to eat?  We rearrange our schedules for naps, eat meals at absurd times of day.   We cut off crusts of sandwiches, peel the skin off apples, grocery shop at night after they are in bed, and figure out how to do laundry in between naps so they can sleep with their favorite blanket.   All of this is well and good, but I struggle to figure out where myself begins and parenting ends.   As a mom, I am only as good as the person I am outside of my little ones.   My life in many ways revolves around my little ones, but in many other ways it does not.   My mom said it best: "Our little ones are the most welcome guests in our home" ... they do not run the home.    Selflessness is essential in succeeding as parents, but it becomes meaningless when our sanity is not preserved and that requires a little bit of selfishness. 




Monday, February 21, 2011

Perspective

It is crazy in our little apartment today.   Snow is blowing around outside.  The laundry is piled way past the top of the laundry basket.  Toys are everywhere.   Dishes all over the kitchen.  Beds unmade ... and Little Two is sound asleep while Little One is sitting in front of the TV before lunch.  That never happens!   But today my perspective has been put in check.    As I look around at the tornado that has come through our home, my friend is holding her one week old little one for the last time.

She is hugging her.  Taking in her sweet newborn smells.   Singing and reading to her.  Listening to her soft noises.  That is what moms do.   In the beginning we can't get enough of our little ones.   They can do no wrong.   Sleepless nights don't bother us.    We get excited when they poop and pee.   We don't realize we are covered with spit up.   Why do we forget those feelings as they get older?    

As our little ones get older baby things become less cute.   They become mobile and our job becomes more difficult.   We can't just put them down with a toy because 5 minutes later they will be on the other side of the room pulling books off the shelves or making their way up the stairs. They begin talking and our job becomes infinitely more difficult!  At first we are amazed they are even forming words at all, and then those few words form sentences and paragraphs that challenge our authority and sanity.  

It's not really that baby things become less cute.   That is just what we tell ourselves.  It's that our little ones, our precious little ones, become more independent and that is scary.   Even though we, as parents, hope to raise independent little ones, we secretly hope a part of them will stay little forever.    We hope in some ways they will always need us, because in very real ways we need them.   Our little ones are our hearts walking around outside of our body.   The more they grow up, the less we can protect them, and we feel helpless.   When our little ones are babies we are in control.

But today I am reminded that really isn't true.   I am not in control.  I have never been in control.   My little ones are really not my little ones.  They are entrusted to me by their creator and God.   It is when I think about my friend holding her sweet daughter today that I am reminded of who my little ones really belong to.  At the end of the day they are sustained by God's power and protection, not my own.   At the end of the day they are God's precious little ones that He loans out to us for a short while ...

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

5 Minutes

A lot needed to get done today.  Laundry, cake cookies for the swim team, cleaning, meeting, practice, and packing up two little ones plus us for the weekend.    Most of these things had been accomplished, but I still had a long way to go and I am tired and bedtime ALONE is staring me straight in the face.  I quickly got pajamas on both little ones, teeth brushed and then Little One asked the dreaded question.  "Will you read me a book?"  UGG! I was SO close!  I almost had Little One in bed before he remembered!  I took a deep breath and sat down on the couch while Little One ran to get a book.   One book; I can do this.

As I sat down begrudgingly to read one of his favorite Thomas books (which seemed longer than usual tonight), Little One curled up next to me, wrapped his arms around my arm and then rested his head on my shoulder and looked up at me with a smile from ear to ear.   My heart sank at the realization that I almost missed this moment.   I tried to trade it in for an extra 5 minutes of packing!    That makes me sick to my stomach.   Since when are my "tasks" more important than a proper bedtime routine.    Since when are my "tasks" more important than a special moment with my little one.   These moments will not last forever.   Soon I am going to become the uncool mother.   Soon Little One is no longer going to want  to spend time with me, let alone snuggle and read stories.  Soon my little ones are going to be grown up and I am going to wonder where all the time went.    I hope and pray I don't trade it in to pack, do dishes or clean the bathroom.   Those tasks can wait 5 minutes while I cherish a snuggle with my little ones.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

This Afternoon ...

Sunlight is shining through our living room window.  A fresh cup of hot green tea is sitting next to me on the coffee table, and I am snuggled up on the couch with my favorite blanket and computer on my lap.  Lunch is finished: dishes cleaned up and put in dishwasher, Little One is happily content beginning "Feet off the Floor Time", but this peaceful serenity every mother looks forward to in the afternoon is ruined.  I am in a battle of the wills with Little Two.   I told you he was passionate, but I failed to mention how stubborn he is.   He still has not figured out that Mommy will ALWAYS win these battles of the will.  It is not because I enjoy hearing him cry; in fact, it often makes me cry.   It is that I know something Little Two does not.   I  know he has been sick and the best thing he can do is sleep to get better, and right now it is nap time not play time.  

It is in these moments I wonder why I believe it is so important to stay home with my little ones; why a parent cares for their little ones like no one else can, and why little ones so desperately need their parents.  It's because no one has as much invested in them or knows them as well as we do. 

I, like most mothers, sacrificed my body to bring my little ones into the world.   Every day when I threw up I thought of them inside and knew they were ok because of what I was enduring.   With all the hours of labor, hours of pushing, and finally hours of surgery, I knew I was one step closer to giving them life.  That is what I have invested in my children: Life.  Their healthy life is more important than all the throwing up, all the nausea, and all the pain.  All that misery pales in comparison to the incredible miracle I've held in my arms at the end.


It's the little things that show how much they love and need us.   It's the way they won't let go of your finger.  How they burrow right under your chin when they are tired.   The smile that lights up their face when they see you. The hug that knocks you down when you pick them up from school. It's when they come sit on your lap just to tell you they love you.  We know their favorite foods, toys, and clothes.  We know what scares them and what makes them laugh.

Only parents know which animal needs to be in their bed at night, or which blanket they NEED to sleep with.   Only parents know the exact spot to tickle their back, in their armpit or under their chin.   Only parents read the stories with the silly voices and make their oatmeal just right.   Only parents cut their peanut butter and jelly sandwiches the right way, and make them feel perfectly safe in our arms... 

Right now Little Two is quietly sleeping, and in a couple hours when he wakes up he will not remember this afternoon's lesson: Mommy knows best.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Hello, my name is ...

It only seems appropriate to introduce my little family, because how can you understand my thoughts, struggles and joys without knowing the little ones who contribute to them? 

I'd like to introduce you first to Little One.   He is 100% boy!  Cars, trains, and trucks comprise most of his day ... as well as mine :)  He has the kind of cheeks that beg to be pinched.   His smile is still pure and innocent, although there is an unmistakably mischievous twinkle in his eye.    He gets more and more rambunctious the longer his hair gets, but in the midst of chaos he takes comfort in our daily schedule.   He likes routines and quiet days. He has precise ways his cars should be lined up, where each and every stuffed animal gets tucked in, and what PJ's he will wear to bed each night.   He is tender-hearted and crazy at the same time.  He is my firstborn, my sweet and sensitive little boy.

Next is Little Two.   He is 8 1/2 months and just one big stinker ... in fact, we call him chunky monkey because in 8 months he went from 5lbs to 17lbs!   Little Two has a belly laugh that will bring down the house.   He is on the verge of crawling, and has perfected the worm as his mode of transformation right now.   His smile is infectious, his hair is spiky and his little dance (which includes shaking his head from side to side and up and down) he does at meals and to fall asleep at night never cease to crack me up.  It doesn't matter what something is ... it must be in his mouth.   He is passionate, but is never happier when he is in my arms.  I love how he "needs" to bury his head in his blankets to fall asleep and how fascinated he is with his fingers and toes! He is my baby, my silly little snuggle bug.

These are my precious darlings, my babies, my little treasures.   They have brought more joy, giggles, fear, frustration, and exhaustion into our lives than my husband and I could ever have known.  But it has been worth every tear, every laugh, and every trip to the ER.  Right now life is perfect.  I have my boys (including my husband!) and life could not be sweeter.