Wednesday, May 7

Focusing on the "More"

I don't know why thinking about Ava and Molly turning three felt so hard for me. The sadness came on suddenly one day and for a while, I couldn't shake it. I started spending time mourning how quickly the time had actually gone (which I felt was multiplied by two babies at once), looking at old photographs, going through their newborn things, and wishing I had been successful in slowing down time even a little bit. I went as far as feeling regret that maybe I didn't enjoy the past three years as much as I could have, and that if I had documented it better, all those moments that went too quickly would in some way still be here with me. 

But as I spent more and more time focusing on the loss of the "little"ness and all the ways my girls had changed, I eventually started to realize something. Though their time as actual babies was gone, their little life in so many ways had only just begun. All the things that got lost along the way were replaced with greater things. The newborn cries turned into little "mamas" and "dadas", which in turn quickly became whispers in the dark, discussing our day and talking about love, family, and Jesus. The first wobbly steps disappeared into skips and runs, the outings in the stroller became dates of walking and holding hands, and the first crayon marks and scribbles turned into pictures of "Mommy- I drew a heart for you". 

I was at a crossroads. I could spend my days trying to scoop up the sands of time, mourning what I missed in capturing or mourning how time flew by, or I could spend it building sandcastles and new memories with my two big, intelligent, sweet, full of joy inside and out, almost three year olds. 

It's in the moments where we sing duets in the car, or I'm introduced as "my best friend, Mommy", or we bake or color or read together, that I realize that though life with actual babies may be over, the best is here and will continue to be the best, no matter how old my little girls get. That "life goes on" is reality and it's not a bad thing. Life moving forward means more time we have together. More stories read at bedtime, more cupcakes, more singing, more kisses. More walks, more giggles, more love, more memories. 

Moving forward as a mom, I am choosing to focus on the "more" instead of the "was", being present and soaking today in, because today brings gifts of silliness and make believe, whispers and giggles, love and life, in the form of two almost three year old girls. 

Thursday, July 18

The Little Things

the little things...

teaching Ava and Molly how to play hide and seek.
a two hour phone conversation with my kindred spirit.
buffalo chicken quinoa for dinner.
a shiny sink.
stacks of books from lunchtime reading.

these are gifts. blessings.
things that do my heart so much good.

life isn't all goals and plans and dreams.
life isn't all work and bills and to-do lists.

life is lollipops after you eat your broccoli.

it's painted piggy toes.

it's sitting around the kitchen table
and enjoying conversations with the ones that once upon a time were in your belly
and the one that once upon a time was just a high school crush.

it's wagon rides and first swims in puddle jumpers.

it's permanent markings on a brand new chalkboard where peppa pig went skating.

it's blankies and sucked thumbs and nap time thunderstorms.

it's applesauce on the chair from little girls who are perfecting their use of a spoon
and a small green pea placed directly in the monkey's mouth on the placemat.

it's the joyful screams of daddy's name when he walks through the door
and the twinkle twinkle little stars before bed.

it's so easy to forget
that these things, these named little things, are in fact not little things.
these ARE the things.
the things that create passion and laughter and joy.
the things that teach us about grace and love and beauty.

yes. we will always have goals and dreams and a plan for the future.
we will always have big things on our minds. on our plates. on our hearts.
we just can't forget to take time to live in the real life right now things.
the beautiful. the simple. the warm.
the things from which life is made.
the so-not-little-in-any-way little things.

Wednesday, June 5

One of Those Days

Today was one of those days where motherhood overwhelmed me.

I used to be afraid to say it,
to even think it,
lest it make me appear to be inadequate, insufficient, ungrateful. 

but if I'm going to be very honest about our day,
messes and tears and life were spilling out all over the place
and not anything I could do or say or be seemed to be the right thing
and I second guessed and got frustrated with myself
for not figuring out the world of toddlers in one day.

Admitting all of this was something once upon a time I would never do.
But I've realized that no matter how thankful you are for your little life and your little family
you will have days where you just feel overwhelmed by the job set before you
and that's okay.
It doesn't make you any less of a mother,
or any less grateful for the blessings given to you.

And I just kind of wanted to say it
in case anyone else had a day like that too.

Just know, you aren't alone.
There are at least two of us now
and just maybe a few more, too.

Wednesday, March 27

"nap" time

As soon as I opened the door to the girls' room,
It quickly became apparent to me that I was living one of a mom's worst nightmares.
A first for many babies (one that some never do- you lucky moms, you)
and a rite of passage
to rigged pajamas and closer watches on the monitor.

My dear little Molly was in her bed naked.
During her two hour and thirty minutes of "napping",
she certainly had accomplished a lot.

Her first time unzipping her sleep sack (and allll the way down).
Her first time taking of her clothes.
And her very first time taking off her diaper.

And then, like any normal toddler would do,
she decided that her newfound naked freedom wasn't enough
but decided to become an artist of sorts
and smear the contents of her diaper all over her bed. blankies. bumper. sheet.
even beloved Minnie got a good helping.

"Molly- what did you do???"


"Yes. I see that. Why did you take your diaper off??"

"Seep sack."

"Yes. I see you unzipped that. You made a really big mess. Are you supposed to take your diaper off?"


"Well, no. You're not. Now come here and let Mommy clean you off."

And I proceeded to clean her off, telling her in my very best calm-but-with-big-Mommy-eyes voice that we can't take off our clothes and diaper because it makes a very big mess.

I finished cleaning her off and stood her up.

"Molly-- what did Mommy say? You can't take off your diaper, right?"

She looked at me with a twinkle in her eye (those of you that have been around Molly long enough know what I'm talking about-- she has this very specific, very cute, very silly twinkle).

"Diapa dance."

And I kid you not, she started to dance with happy feet and arms in the air
to "Diaper Dance", a beloved song around here from "Baby Singing Time."

Clearly, my meaningful talk with my almost two year old was slightly less than successful.

I started assessing the damages done to her bed
and suddenly, she stopped dancing and came over to me from behind.
"Hi, Mommy!" she said, throwing her arms around my neck.

"Hi, baby. We can't take off our diaper, okay?"

And I turned to look at her
and my busy bee was already happily off to her next adventure
and that was the end of that.

And really, it was the end of that.
Because tonight, that little girl's sleep sack is going on backwards.

Monday, March 11

I'm glad you were born. I'm glad you are mine.

I met him when he was just 16.
Handsome as all get out and way cooler than me.

God brought us together one year later
(and maybe I got a little cooler too... I did have new vans sneakers that year)
and we've been in love ever since.

It feels like we've been through it all together already
and we kind of have.

I was in an american history class and he sat behind me.
We became study buddies and I've never enjoyed american history more in my life.
But the timing wasn't quite right for the two of us
and we left school that year just as friends.

Summer happened and we grew up a little bit
and I got those awesome sneakers.
And suddenly, we were spending a lot of time together.
And then somewhere along the way, love happened.
And it never left.

And love is hard sometimes.
When one goes to college and the other is still in high school.
When you run out of minutes on your 1,000 minute calling card and it's only October.
When you're in two different worlds at the same time.

But eventually, everyone grows up a little bit more
and then you get engaged
and married.
and fat.
well, he didn't. but I did.
I was happy and in love and grew three sizes too big.
Kind of like the Grinch but kind of not because I didn't grow big on Christmas spirit
but on too many pizzas and jelly beans.

And we cut back on the pizza and jelly beans
but not on love.
When you're in love, it just keeps growing.
And ours certainly did.
And quite honestly,
even though those days were filled with long hours at work and lots of studying,
those first few years were filled with laughter, fun, and sunshine.

And then came some really hard roads.
broken baby dreams and a broken neck.
Where sometimes, we would just sit on the couch together,
quiet because it hurt to talk, sometimes even to breathe.

And when you go through the great times with your soul mate, life is good.
But when you go through the hard times together, life is still good.
We leaned on our faith and leaned on each other
and at the end of each day, I was still laying next to him. He was God's gift to me.
If God hadn't blessed me with one more thing, I was still abundantly blessed.

And now we have two little girls and I couldn't imagine a better dad.
Even after a busy day at work, he comes home and plays with the girls like it's a Saturday morning.
They adore their daddy. They are as in love with him as I am
and I pray they grow up to be just like him. clever. intuitive. sweet. selfless. Christlike.

He is smart. He could win any lego contest or "who wants to be a millionaire".
He is kind. I'm not sure he knows how to yell.
He is helpful. Changes poopy diapers. Cleans the garage. Never forgets to take out the trash.
He loves the Lord. He loves me. He loves our girls.
He helps me when I struggle. He gives me advice.
He doesn't get mad if I cry over silly things.
He supports my crazy sewing/exercise/eating/crafting/whatever else pops in my brain endeavors.

I have known him for almost half of his life
and each day I know him, I fall in love with him more.

And today, he is 30.
He deserves a medal for all that he does
and a crown for all that he is.
And he isn't one to toot his own horn
so I thought I'd take a minute and toot it for him.

I love you, Dan.
Thanks for being the greatest study buddy, boyfriend, fiancee, husband, and dad ever.
Thanks for loving me even when I'm hard to love.
Thanks for trying new paleo recipes with me even though you sometimes hate them.
Thanks for unloading the dishwasher before work if we forgot the night before.
Thanks for being the greatest Dad to our girls and teaching them how to play Legos.
Thanks for letting me dig in the Ben and Jerry's for the Heath Bar chunks
and for leaving surprises in my car for me to find on hard days.
Thanks for going on crazy adventures and fun vacations with me
and for letting me pick the music on the journey,
even when it's sometimes not John Mayer and is P!nk instead.

And thanks for letting me be the one to celebrate you today.
Of all the things we've shared together,
our love is my favorite.
Happy, happy birthday.
I'm glad you were born.
I'm glad you are mine.