Sunday, March 2, 2014

for one of the first times

I often look forward to the next phase. Not necessarily wishing away the difficulties of a current phase, but just looking forward to what's next. Levi learning to read. Wendy learning to speak in full sentences. Stuff like that.

I find myself, for one of the first times, really not wanting this stage to end. Levi is growing up. I can't call him a toddler anymore. I guess he's a preschooler? But only for another year and a half! He's been potty trained a full year today. He's almost going to be four! But what's really got me by the throat right now is that this is his last year in MOPS (mother of preschoolers) with me. Next year he will be in preschool on Fridays when our meetings take place. He's been with me for three years now. The first, as a 14 month old, cryyyyyying for mommy. Then as a slightly surly two year old who would kind of cry and pout about being left. And this year as a three year old who wants to help me. We get to MOPS, and then he "helps" me drop off Wendy in her "baby classroom," then he helps me pick out my seat in the "mommy meeting." It is so sweet and makes me feel so special to have him as my helper. I love when we "sneaky sneak" past Wendy's room to make sure she isn't crying, as we go back to take Levi to his class. And I love it when Levi later asks me how my mommy meeting went. I don't want this time to end, but I know that Levi's last MOPS meeting will happen this May. He's been my buddy, my second appendage for almost four years now (more than four if you count the time in the womb when he really was all mine), and we're slowly beginning the process of separating from one another. It'll be another 14 years before he's maybe out of the house, but it's starting. I just hope and pray that even in our separateness, he still loves me and still wants to be mine in some way.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

"it gets better"

We hear this phrase a lot as moms. "Don't worry, it gets better." We hear it when we're bleary eyed, wondering if we'll ever get past the newborn sleep deprivation stage. We hear it when we don't think we can muster the courage to nurse that baby one more time. We hear it when we drop off our toddler at some childcare room and he screams as though you've just abandoned him. And those people are right, it does get better. Eventually they sleep through the night, they learn to eat real food, they understand that you'll be back.

But then sometimes people will give you some hard truth. "It gets harder." What?! What do you mean it gets harder?! They give you a little glimpse of what your schedule will look like with two kids playing eight hundred sports a piece. They say you'll wish your biggest issue is your kid throwing food off his high chair instead of whether he abides by curfew. You'll yearn for the days of sweet baby snuggles and the pitter patter of little feet.

Well, I choose "it gets better," and this is why. Even while decisions get more complicated and I learn every day just how impossible it is to control the actions of another human being, I am glad that my children are becoming their own people. This past weekend at church, I sit down in the pew next to my husband and 3-year-old son who are staying in service to watch the children's choir. A second after I sit and take my coat off, I feel a hand gently patting me on the back. At first I thought it was Andy greeting me. Then I realized it was my son. He wasn't asking for anything, he was simply saying hi to me in the sweetest way. A newborn doesn't do that. A one year old doesn't really do that either. He's growing out of those sweet innocent baby phases, but in place of that he's becoming a little person, one who chose to express love to me that morning just because. I love my memories of his baby years, but moments like this remind me why I choose to see the joy that comes with each new phase. I choose to believe that it does indeed get better.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

just some things

It's nearing the end of October. Two years ago, Levi was just almost ready to start walking without holding onto our hands. Last year, Wendy was a little gummy bear blob that had no choice but to nap on the go, sleep on the floor if we were busy playing in the basement. Now this year, is completely different. Wendy is practically running already. She thinks she can jump if she swings her arms high enough in the air. In fact, she can get both feet about an inch off the ground if she tries hard enough.

The popular things around our house right now are baseball (Levi bounces a ball against the wall and catches it with his glove, over and over again, and Wendy is even saying "bayball"), Veggie Tales and Tarzan soundtrack music. Wendy is an absolute hoot these days. Her little face is so expressive. She shifts her little eyes around when she knows she is being sneaky. She loves to wear my necklaces and her shoes. Levi is learning how to take turns with things like choosing what music we listen to, but it's a tough sell. Chloe is very much loved by Wendy. Even when we take a walk and see another dog, Wendy will possessively go over to Chloe and start petting and hugging her, as if to say "this here is my doggie."

The days are getting lighter later and darker sooner. We have less than one week until we move back our clocks one hour and we officially begin counting down how many days are left before the days begin to get longer again. In terms of weather or seasons, this is one of my least favorites because of the shortening daylight, but I do look forward to Thanksgiving and Christmastime. Christmas this year will be so fun with the two kids at these ages. I know that Levi already holds memories of what Christmas is like, so we are beginning to truly build up his bank of good memories.

How's that for a random little update?

Thursday, September 26, 2013

he's definitely my son

I'm beginning to realize how similar Levi and I are. I think I need to keep that in mind when we butt heads. It's like trying to win an argument with myself!

Anyway, Andy and I were discussing Thanksgiving plans, trying to talk through the idea of us hosting the meal at our house. Levi keeps piping up with his ideas for who we should invite. This is how our conversation goes:

"You know Levi, you are old enough this year, you are going to have to be in charge of something this year," I tell him.

"What's it going to be?" he asks me, with wide eyes.

I'm trying to come up with something on the fly. Perhaps he can be in charge of mashing potatoes or stirring the cranberry sauce. Andy suggests that he can set the table. That idea makes me cringe... it's not often I get to make my house look nice for a special occassion. I'd rather it not look like a preschooler set the table.

"I don't know yet, Levi. Do you have any ideas what you can do?" I turn the table back to him.

"I can make something!" he says. "I will build a new chair."

"Oh really?"

"Yes, with a high chair on it. And then I will build a new table. A big one. And I will build a new house. And a new tree!"

He's getting carried away. I know of no one else who gets carried away with grand to-do lists. Eh hmm... *thatwouldbeme*... eh hmm.

"Really? Do you think we should paint the house, too?" I ask.

"Yes! I will paint it yellow. And blue. And red and green. And I will build it all!" He looks triumphant now that he has a plan.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

preschooler logic

I almost titled this post "toddler logic," but then I stopped myself. Levi had his first day of preschool today. *gulp* He's a preschooler now!

So last night at dinner:

"Hey mommy, do you drink beer?"

"No, not really."

"Why not?" he asks with a sly look on his face.

"I don't really like it," I reply.

"Is it because you don't want to get that scratchy stuff on your face?" he asks.

"Yes, Levi, that's exactly why."

Apparently, drinking beer will give you a beard, just like daddy when he doesn't shave often enough.

Friday, August 9, 2013

levi's story to me

This morning, as I was getting Levi up from bed, he saw that I was wearing a very old T-shirt with beach chairs on it, one that I got when I was little. I told him about how I got it, and this is what happened next:

"Mommy, do you want to hear a story about when you were little and went to the beach?" he asks me.

"Sure!" I sit down on his bed.

"Once upon a time, when you were little, we put you in Wendy's... uh, my... car seat and we took you too the beach. And you played, and you dipped your toes in the water, and then it was time to eat. And we ate and ate. And then there was more. And then we put you back in the car and took you home. And then we got to the house.... That's it. Did you like your story?"

"Oh yes, Levi, I did!"


(Usually I'm the one who tells him stories about when he was a baby. This was a fun twist.)

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

realizing something about this fall

It's the middle of summer, one that I've really looked forward to for several reasons.
1. I'm not pregnant this time, sweating around in my giant maternity clothes.
2. I'm not recovering from a c-section, again, sweating as I make the effort to get my body moving again.
3. I'm not unpacking after having just moved into a house.

All these things I've done in summers past are lovely, wonderful, life-altering things, but they are things I prefer to do as few times as possible.

But back to my main point... In the middle of this unremarkable, and therefor very enjoyable, summer, I find myself thinking about the next autumn season. It's never been my favorite because as a child I didn't like the back to school anxiety. As an adult I don't like to day goodbye to long, hot days full of sunshine. The approach of the busy winter season sometimes makes me antsy too. I do like fall, for its own good things. Pumpkin muffins, wearing boots, Halloween, blankets, a return to my activities with MOPS and church bible studies. I'm now realizing how very different and wonderful this upcoming fall season will be. It's a sit back and enjoy season, not one that is full of anticipation, questioning or adjusting. Fall 2009 we dove into the process of starting the expansion of our family. Exciting, yes. Relaxing? No.

Fall 2010 we had a new baby in our family. I was beginning to hit my stride, but it was just so much newness all at once. Memorable and wonderful, yes. Peaceful and confident? No.

Fall 2011 we suddenly found ourselves thinking about baby #2 and the bigger house that we would require. We went into hyper overdrive, getting our house ready for sale, looking for a home. Made me want to giggle with anticipation and expectation for what the next year would behold? Yes. Carefree? No.

Fall 2012, we had the new baby and the new house. Life was good, we were on a new track. Each day was another lesson in finding out how to make our new normal work. I overcommitted to a few too many activities in response to my desire to have a new normal. I backed off a little. Go forth, assess, adjust. Go forth, assess, adjust. Watch toddler grow into a preschooler. Watch infant grow into a baby. Hold breath a little bit every time I tried something new, wondering if I'd have the kind of easy going baby that would just go along with being dragged around to other big kid activities. Let that breath out every time it worked or didn't work. Hard work and big rewards, yes. Total rest and trust in our new life? Not completely yet.

And now here we are, approaching fall 2013 and it feels really good. Yes, there are new things to give me that little skip of anticipation. Starting two days of preschool a week for Levi. Being on the leadership team with MOPS. Teaching Wendy how to talk. But I'm so excited for these things. I love how different each fall has been over the past four years and how they seem more and more special as I reflect on them.

And this ends my mid-summer's day contemplation on a season still one month and many swimming suit days away.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone. Not reviewed or edited for typos. Sorry about that.