Category Archives: motherhood

treats.

I haven’t been very good about blogging the past couple days. And even now, my computer is dead and I’m too lazy to plug it in (winning) so I’m writing this post on my phone.

Please forgive me?

If nothing else, please take this modest offering of my dear child in his Halloween costume all dressed up for his school’s Trunk or Treat. (He was Spider-Man, of course.)

He didn’t want to put the costume on at first, and so Dan and I were certain he would demand that it be taken off after a few minutes, but on the contrary — he loved it!

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He even kept the mask on!

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He happened to love it SO much that I had to pry it off of him while he cried so he could take a bath and get ready for bed.

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A hero never sleeps, I suppose. :)

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little victories.

I just got done reading this article about who Supermom is (it’s click bait, certainly, so I’m sure you can figure it out). And, as a mom, of course it resonated with me.

I think the reason there is so much pressure put on moms (on dads, too, but to a lesser degree) is that there really is a lot at stake. I mean, you’re shaping a human being. The decisions you make each day have a direct effect on the person entrusted in your care and will inevitably contribute to conversations had in a comfy chair in a therapist’s office years later.

In the day-to-day of motherhood, each day brings with it the little failures — the tantrums, the times you lose your patience and raise your voice, the times your kid wakes up in his crib before you and, when you finally hear him, it’s after a poopsplosion, etc. And because the stakes are so high, it’s easy to focus in on those little failures and deduce that you’re doing a really horrible job.

Yayyyyy… :\

But just like in everything, the fact is that sometimes you nail it, and sometimes you don’t. So why not focus on the times you nail it?

As our weekend is winding down, I gotta say *brushes shoulders off* this weekend, we nailed it.

That is, we are currently celebrating a few small victories in our house. Notably:

  • Dax’s lunch was comprised COMPLETELY of vegetables yesterday. And he asked for more! (So what if it was just cucumbers? Baby steps.)
  • He now understands reasoning, so instead of completely freaking out and throwing the dinner I make him, he allows me to bribe him to eat his dinner with things like animal crackers and marshmallows. It’s not perfect, but I’d rather him have a belly full of real food and marshmallows than going hungry like he had been.
  • He has learned how to actually kiss. And I would venture to say that there are few things better than the feeling of little tiny toddler lips on your cheek. Ugh. So perfect!

So yeah. It’s been a good one. :)

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what matters.

Being that Sundays are the start of my week (yay ministry!) Fridays are the start of my weekend. I like to try and do all the chores that have gone unnoticed throughout the busyness of the week on Fridays so that Saturdays can be reserved for fun things.

Being that I’ve been nursing a sick child back to health, this week’s chores have not just slipped under the radar; they’ve multiplied. Frustrated by the state of my house, I was scrubbing my kitchen counters with more vigor and anger than I usually do. Over the scratchy sounds of the scrub brush on our plastic-y countertops, I heard a tiny voice in the other room.

“Mama, puzzle.”

“Be right there, bud.”

“Mama, help.”

“In a minute, love. Just gotta finish cleaning this kitchen.”

“Mama, puzzle?”

And then I stopped and thought to myself.

In ten years, am I going to wish I spent more time keeping my house clean? Or am I going to desperately wish I just had one more afternoon with my two-year-old and a puzzle on a not-so vacuumed floor?

So I dropped the scrub brush and headed into the other room to find my boy.

“Do you wanna do this puzzle with Mama?”

“YEAH!” he shouted as he plopped his diaper-padded butt down on the floor with a squish.

Oh my heart. My heart, my heart, my heart.

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open letter to my son on his second birthday.

Dear Dax, 

A year ago, you woke up completely unaware of what was awaiting you — a house filled with family and friends who traveled near and far just to fawn all over newly-one-year-old you. 

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You managed to conquer over-stimulation, a late nap, and even melted cupcakes (baked from scratch by your culinary-inept mother) to have a pretty awesome day. 

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And just like that, your second year of life started, and today, almost as quickly as it got here, it ended. It is your second birthday! You’ve been bumbling around on this planet for two whole years! It doesn’t seem very long to you, but I can barely remember life without you. Of course, purely biologically speaking, half of you actually was inside my body ever since the day I was born so really, you HAVE been here with me all this time.

Not even a month after your first birthday your dad and I had the biggest scare of our lives as your parents when you suffered a febrile seizure. Thankfully, I’m sure you don’t remember The Worst Tuesday but I’ll never forget it. The image of you seizing in my arms will never leave my memory and each and every day I am so unbelievably grateful that it was a relatively minor issue. And ever since that day, we know that if you ever have a fever we need to be diligent in treating it so we avoid a recurrence. That was the hardest lesson for me to learn this year, for sure. 

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A late bloomer like your mama, you didn’t walk until you were 15 months old. Part of that is my fault, I guess, for this reason: I knew that once you started walking, there was no turning back. With the knowledge of this skill, you’d go from “baby” to “toddler” and, just like that, you’d be off. And so I did my best to keep you in my arms as much as possible to delay that monumental milestone, but I could only do so for so long. Now, those fears I had have been realized. You are no longer my baby. You are my very independent toddler who prefers walking (running) to being pushed in a stroller, carried, or worn thankyouverymuch. 

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And while it is a bit sad for me to say goodbye to those precious baby months, it has been so fun to see you explore this world on your own. Like in the above picture, for example: you can just barely see a bandage over your left eye, which shows how brave and adventurous you’ve become since learning how to walk. You’re still your mostly-cautious and analytical self, but sometimes you can get a bit excited and accidents happen. I deeply cherish those times you let me hold your hand as we carefully take it all on together.

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You had your second Christmas this year but since you weren’t eating solid food the year before, you finally got to participate in your family’s tradition of eating waffles on Christmas morning. You seemed to like them a little bit and I, because I’m an emotional time bomb, cried.

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At your 18-month checkup, the doctors had me fill out a form answering questions about your verbal abilities, social skills, and motor skills. I was so proud when the doctor told me that you scored above average in all those areas! I mean, your father and I know how smart you are. But having a doctor affirm it resulted in some serious high fives.

You’re so smart, Dax. So stinkin’ smart. 

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When you turned one, you could only say a few words — “dada”, “nana”, and “mama”. But now, with your first birthday far behind you, you can say so many things; from types of food, to manners (“peez” for “please” and “deeyew!” for “thank you!”), to all your letters and numbers (though, to be fair, “W” is still hard to say and you still believe that 6 is actually 9 but we’re working on it), to our friends’ names (Grandma is “G-G”, Molly is “Mayee”, Casey is “Zee”, and Savannah is “Nuh” just to name a few), to places and things, your vocabulary is growing each and every day!

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You also say “no” a lot which, I’m told, is to be expected at your age. It can be cute sometimes but it also gives me heaps of opportunities to refine my patience. And let me just use this letter to tell you thanks for that. Even in frustration, my sweet boy, you are making me a better person everyday. 

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So, I have to confess something: The American Academy of Pediatrics says that children should not watch any television before the age of two. 

I’m sorry to inform you now that your father and I didn’t meet that timeline. You watch TV everyday. Sometimes pretty close to your face. Sorry.

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Your favorite shows are currently, “Curious George,” “Super WHY!”, “Dinosaur Train”, and basically anything else on PBS. While I guess we kind of failed as parents in this regard, I’ll say that it has been so fun to see you fall in love with these characters. I’m pretty sure you have a crush on Princess Pea, which is a great choice but I hate to break it to you now that royalty rarely ever marry commoners unless you’re smokin’ hot like Kate Middleton. Not that you aren’t incredibly handsome. I’m just here to help you manage expectations.

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Even though you look a lot like I did when I was your age (minus your bow ties) there is one way in which you are distinctly your father’s child: your love of sleep (or “ni-ni”, as we call it). While you’re down to only one nap a day, that one nap usually lasts about four hours and you usually (bad dreams notwithstanding) sleep through the night until about 8:00 AM. I gotta tell you — you’ve set the bar pretty high for any future siblings. I’m certain we won’t be blessed with a great sleeper like you twice in a row. Please never ever ever doubt my gratitude for this trait you’ve inherited.

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Nap time 6 months and 23 months

While there seems to be a million things that have changed since the day you were born, there are still some things that are the same. Your pacifier is the biggest one. You are very attached to that thing. Even more than you used to be, I think, because now you prefer to have not one, but at least two of them with you in your crib. Sometimes three. I’ve capitalized on this by teaching you how to count them. You excitedly shout, “TWO!” when you have one for each hand and it’s obvious that you’re very proud of yourself. 

You also still nurse a couple times a day. Some days I feel like you’re just about weaned, but you’ll surprise me by jumping on my lap and asking for milk. As much as I wish I was ready to be done, I’m not. So I don’t push it. Mostly because it usually results in some pretty great snuggles.

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This year you have taught me more about myself than any class, life experience, or book could teach me. Not only are you in your “terrible twos” and thus teaching me the true meaning of grace and forgiveness and patience, but you’re also teaching me so much about love and trust. Without even realizing it, Dax, you are teaching me each and every day what it means to be your biggest supporter and also your gentlest corrector. You’re teaching me that mistakes don’t equal failure and that failure doesn’t equal being unloved. You’re teaching me that not only is it okay to not be perfect, but it is preferred. Messy is best because messy is real. 

Today you are two and that’s truer than true. There is no one around who is two-er than you. 

I love you, Bubs. Happy birthday!

Love, 

Mama.

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second chances.

This week I had to write a blog for my job about the idea of forgiveness — namely the difficulty of forgiving ourselves — and, I think, when I wrote it I sounded like I knew what I was talking about.

Check it out and let me know what you think. I’ll wait.

Then this weekend happened and my husband and I got into a fight that started because I don’t know how to give myself a break. The biggest reason that sucks is because it put me into a funk too strong to break through to blog.

So today, on this quiet Sunday, I am grateful for second chances and for a husband whose memory is so bad that he only has to remember the most recent chance he gave me to get this wife thing right.

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wine.

Today I am grateful for end-of-the-day glasses of wine.

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Baby boy has been fighting a fever for a week now and over the past couple days has developed a wet cough which I’m hoping means we’re nearing the end of that business. Even still, he’s pretty high spirited, perfectly content to spend his days crawling and pulling up and pointing at things and babbling about them and walking and falling and getting up again, all while I’m frantically checking his head and trying to remember, Was it Tylenol or Ibuprofen that I last gave him? And how many hours has it been? Has enough time passed to be safe? Is he going to have another seizure if I don’t stick to a strict schedule? Is he okay is he okay IS HE OKAY?!?

He’s fine. And at the end of the day, when he’s in bed sleeping like an angel, wine reminds me of that. He’s fine. I’m fine.

We’re fine.

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the weekend and some gardens.

So, uh, it appears as though trying to write a blog each day in November has been a bit more difficult than I’d hoped it would be. Not because I don’t have things for which I am grateful, but because when I stumble across some free time I’d much rather do any and all things instead of sitting down at my computer. Things like go for a walk, read a book, catch up on schoolwork episodes of How I Met Your Mother, New Girl and The Mindy Project.

So forgive me as I shove four (??!?!?!) days’ worth of gratitudes into one blog post.

It was a glorious weekend which started with a Friday that Dan and I accidentally got to spend together for a bit. Fridays are Dan’s day off and I work onsite, so he gets to spend the day with Dax while I get work done and roam the city freely. However, I got done with work around lunch time which gave Dan and me a few hours to spend together before I went out for a GIRLS NIGHT!

Yeah! That happened!

Then, on Saturday, we slept in (!!!) till 9:30 (!!! again) and then lounged around watching Martha Bakes and Martha’s Cooking School on PBS until we were so desperate for delicious food that we ran out and splurged on our favorite barbecue place in town. (Oh yes, we’ve only lived here since May but our duty as good, proper, southern people was to find good barbecue ASAP.)

Sunday was a long day for all of us, which is not unheard of for those of us who work in ministry, but even still, we all stayed relatively uncranky and got to bed at a decent hour. I even got to enjoy a glass of wine while Dan and I watched an episode of Star Trek for our seminary class! (Yeah don’t ask.)

So all in all, it was a great weekend, each day teeming with gratitudes.

And then there was today. Today a dear friend of mine and her two kids took Dax and I to the Botanical Gardens. This was our second time going together but the last time we went Dax was still a stroller-bound infant. This time we started out in the stroller, but we didn’t end there. Once I finally got up the nerve, I set him free. And there he went, the wobbly little toddler, doing all but dragging me all over the place. He even face-planted on the sidewalk once, only to barely whimper for a few seconds before taking off again.

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And my chest heaved with the heartache of a proud mother watching her tiny baby step in the background of history to make way for a child. It was so very bittersweet.

At the moment he is, quite literally, walking all over the house pointing at things and babbling about them, some incomprehensible language only he understands and I wish to, and I can’t help but smile.

And I am grateful.

 

 

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