A Small Victory Amidst a Hard Few Weeks

I am always unsure of how much detail I want to share on my blog.

Seasoned readers will remember that I used to refer to my children and my husband by nicknames rather than their first names.  Though I have decided that using first names is okay, I still tend to be cautious with how much I share on my blog about our personal lives.

I hadn’t been sharing that my husband’s mother had been fighting cancer for almost two years.  It hadn’t seemed a necessary detail, so I withheld it.  I had also worried about over-sharing someone else’s information; afterall, it wasn’t my disease.

I wish I could share that my mother-in-law is in remission, but I cannot.  Instead I will share with you that she met our Lord Jesus this week.  It was a long, hard struggle for her, my father-in-law, and every close family member, especially in the last few weeks of her life.

It has been overwhelming at times; we have stayed at my sister-in-law’s house several times in the past few weeks, close friends have been watching our girls, and we have been burning the candle on both ends.  We talked, cried, laughed, and cared for my mother-in-law as one family.

We came home to discover there were some house repairs that could not be put off any longer.  This was just the icing on the cake for us.

I kept telling my husband all week:  “I am weary.”

And I was.  I had the energy each night to really only pray for the spirit and strength to get up the next day and do it all over again.

Today was probably the first day in almost a month that I stayed home with my girls by myself.  It was a normal day.  It was hard to settle both kids back into their normal routine, not to mention the fact that my body would just rather sleep.

This evening, when the sweet sweet hour of bedtime was nearly approaching, my firstborn gave me a good scare:

She has recently learned how to open our front door, and has, on occasion, walked out onto the porch.  While tending to her sister, I didn’t see nor hear Madeline, and so I began to call out to her.  I walked throughout the house, but couldn’t see her.  I opened the front door and called for her.  No answer.

She is two.

After calling out for her a few more times I heard her little voice behind me in the hallway.

“I here, Mommy.”

Her pants and underpants were around her ankles.

“Madeline pee pee potty.”

I went into the bathroom to check, and sure enough, my little girl went into the bathroom on her own.  She pulled down her pants and undies, went to the potty, and managed to wipe herself.

Then she proceeded to deposit some bath toys into her potty.

But that is besides the point.

This little girl of mine is growing so quickly.  Right before my eyes.

God showed me today that although it has been a hard month, a hard couple of months, and I am weary, I must continue.  Life goes on.  I have two girls that need to be raised, and I am the best woman for the job.  (Or at least that’s what I am led to believe.)

The Scary Things Toddlers Say

Lately Ryan has been reading some things on the internet where people share some of the scary things their children have said.
We have experienced a few of our own with the Bits, since she has quite a vocabulary nowadays. For example, on a recent car ride with just daddy, Madeline continually shouted, “Bug! Chair! Daddy! Bug!” while Ryan was driving. Needless to say he was terrified. Because, really, how much information can you get out of a toddler? One would love to know what kind of bug, or how big is it? Or is it crawling towards my face? But all he could get out of Madeline was “bug”, “chair”, and “daddy”.
Another instance involved part of Bitsy’s new nighttime routine. I usually read a book to the girls, and while I nurse Clara, Madeline will continue to look at the book. Sometimes she will keep it in bed with her until after I leave the room. Usually I have no problem with that, until I heard this come out of her mouth one morning:
“Madeline eat book.”
“Oh, would you like to read a book while you eat breakfast, Madeline?”
“No, Madeline EAT book.”
Then I looked and realized she had literally taken a bite out of the book. Perhaps she got hungry?
This morning, though, while I was changing the girls and getting them ready for the day, Madeline said perhaps the scariest thing I have heard her say to this day:
“Madeline eat Clara Bean.”
Please, Child, no. You’ve only got one sister. Don’t EAT her!

Both Feet in, But Not Saturated

Being a stay at home mom is exactly what I thought it would be.
But it is also nothing like I thought it would be.
Just over a year ago I fantasized about how wonderful it would be when Beard would go to work everyday, leaving me and Madeline behind to play, have fun, and of course, keep a super clean, tidy house. He would, of course, come home to a fantastic home cooked meal.
For those of you that are stay at home moms, you are giggling a little bit.
Or laughing at my (e-)face.
I was right, Beard would go to work everyday, but he leaves me home with two very needy little girls, plus a whiny pitbull.
(Did you think that was possible? I didn’t.)
My girls are not especially needy for an infant and a toddler, but compared to myself, they sure require a lot of care. They are both still in diapers, and neither can prepare their own meals. Madeline occasionally “forgets” how to use a fork and spoon, requiring me to feed her.
My girls need to be played with and cuddled and read to, as well as bathed, soothed, carried, and put down for naps and bedtime.
I knew all of these things before taking this job.
What I didn’t realize was how much time and energy these tasks can actually take. This is literally the ultimate full time job.

But that, friends, is not what I am struggling with today, or in the last several months. I don’t mind doing the work of motherhood, until it completely absorbs me.
Motherhood is one of those jobs that just sucks you right in. Baby is born and you dive in head first. You spend most of your time with your baby, you read about baby care and baby milestones, you talk to other moms (oh heck, anyone who will listen) about your baby.
A once perfectly normal adult woman because a baby-obsessed freak.
And, honestly, it happens to so many mothers.
I find myself now two babies deep. Stacked on top of each other, that would be about waist level. And that, folks, is a pretty good interpretation about how I feel most days. I am wading through babies, having a hard time maintaining myself.

I was once a young woman who proclaimed herself as a nerd. A book-loving freak. I ran for fun, loved to cook, and played guitar. I was a hopeless romantic, constantly trying to one-up my husband with super cute, silly surprises.
It’s easy to forget these things about my former self when I have the constant care of babies to worry about.
Sometimes I feel I am completely saturated by my job. Motherhood has soaked me through, and there is no other woman left.
These are my worst days. The days when I feel like a cow, maid, cook, and servant.
What I am striving for, though, is just to have both feet in.
I want to work hard at my mothering (and my housekeeping!), but I don’t want it to define me. It is just a part of me.
Because 18 years from now, my girls will be adults. They may be in college or holding full time jobs. They may even be considering moving out.
(But hopefully not until 20+ years from now.)
If I saturate myself in caring for and raising these girls, when they leave I will have nothing.
No hobbies, no passions, no marriage.

So today, for those of you reading that are stay at home moms, or are considering staying at home in the future, I pray you keep this in mind.
Strive to not become saturated in your motherhood.
Instead, try your hardest, work to the best of your ability, but at the end of the day, try to maintain the woman you were before.

Spontaneity

100_2529My children crack me up.  I suppose they have to, otherwise my job would be oh so boring, wouldn’t it?

Our little Squish Bean likes to sit on the couch and supervise life in our house.  The other day, I plopped her in her favorite spot so she could monitor both household happenings, as well as the crazy neighborhood dogs in our front yard.  I snuck into the kitchen to work on some laundry and came back to find the Bits reading to Clara.

And by reading, I mean “reading”.

But still.

And here I was worried she would have a hard time adjusting to having a sister.

It turns out, all she wanted was someone to read to and teach things to.  And Clara is willing to do both.

100_2530In other news, today is Food Waste Friday:

100_2531We have unfortunately wasted about half a heart of celery, as well as about 1/4 of a head of cabbage this week.  And, a very small amount of yogurt.

(It just looks like that is a full jar of yogurt, but in fact, there was less than 1/4 cup in there; the sides were just coated.  Regardless, old yogurt = smelly yogurt.)

With these items dumped, our fridge is free of old, unusable items.

It also looks painfully empty.  Good thing I go shopping soon!

FoodWasteFriday

 

Happy Easter from Us!

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I know I’m a little late on that.  I have to apologize for the blogging hiatus; we all took a trip up to New Jersey to visit my side of the family and meet our newest family members.  If I am given permission by my sister and brother I might just post pictures of their daughter and son, respectively, that were both just born in January.  Easter, by the way, was a Baby Fest, as my sister put it.

Some of us enjoyed the festivities:

100_2480Others were none too pleased with the day:

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And of course, no trip would be complete without one fun anecdote:

Ryan and I were able to sneak away for a dinner out just for the two of us.  We aim to have a weekly date, and we weren’t willing to give it up for the week we were visiting family.

Especially not when there were so many willing and eager babysitters around.

Anyway, the hubs took me to what used to be my favorite Mexican restaurant, and we had a grand old time playing cards, eating burritos, and just laughing.  During our card game, I played a sly move, to which Ryan’s response was flaring his nostrils.

(I really should have photographed the nostril flaring; it’s amazing what that man can do with his nose.)

It was the most exaggerated nostril flare I had ever seen, and I called him out on it.  I asked if he was trying to suck all the oxygen out of the room.

To which my dear husband responds:

“I can’t; there are too many plants in here.”

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the Silly Beard Moment of the Week.

100_2462This picture blows my mind.  For several reasons.

1.  This is what I remember my little Madeline as:

100_1083 100_1086Look familiar?  I’ll remind you:

100_2383Yup.  Sometimes I’m afraid I won’t be able to tell these girls apart when they are closer in size.

But another reason this original photo blows my mind:

100_2464That girl managed to eat a strawberry, while sitting on the counter, in a tutu, without getting strawberry on her shirt.

That, my friends, is how you know your children are growing up. 🙂