Life Snapshot – Halle 3.75 yrs, Reilly 2.5 yrs, Karis 7 mos

I have been thinking more about what my purpose for blogging is. I’ve realized that my primary goal is to document the things I am learning – about God, life, motherhood, marriage, etc – so that I will never forget all the ways God has been faithful to me AND so that my children can look back someday and see His provision and goodness in a way that is relevant to them.

I want to periodically give little ‘snapshots’ of life as it is in our home. Perhaps one day it will help my daughters when they become mothers and go through the same things. And I’m quite certain that it will encourage me as I look back and realize how God carried us through these times and brought us out on the other side a bit more like Jesus.

OUR DAY

Let me just say I am thankful for the principles of Babywise and the fact that I learned to set bedtime and wake up time for the girls when they were very young. Of course, when they were babies still nursing during the night I would feed them if they woke early, but then I’d put them right back in bed and wake them up later at our ‘desired wake time.’ For us, we’ve been on a 8:30 pm – 8:30 am schedule for quite a while. Reilly used to be an earlier riser by nature, but since she and Halle have started sharing a room she’s been content to stay in bed quietly until time to get up. In theory, I would like to get up before the girls so I can get a head start on the day, but I don’t usually do that. I am a sleeper…Josh will attest to that. When he goes in to work around 6 a.m., he always kisses me goodbye and I’m usually still comatose. 🙂

Okay, so if Karis is still sleeping around 8:30, I will get H & R up first. That is actually one of my favorite times of the day. I walk in with a cheerful “Good Morning!” and am greeted with happy smiles and “Good morning, Mommy!” Halle will usually then remind me of the routine. “Mommy, lets change our diapers (pull up for her), then we can get dressed, and then we can eat breakfast!” They are super excited when I get K up and practically attack her with hugs and head rubs. What a way to wake up for a baby! 🙂

Good morning! ha!

Good morning! ha!

So, diapers are changed (x3), breakfast if fixed (usually cereal, oatmeal, eggs, and/or fruit), and I nurse Karis. Some days I eat breakfast, but some days I don’t get a chance until they have snack time later. If I got up earlier, I could eat then…but honestly, I’d rather sleep. ha.

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Sometimes the girls will watch Super Why on PBS at 9, but lately they haven’t been interested so we just play.  We try to do a quick ‘chore time’ either right after breakfast, or as soon as K goes down for her morning nap at around 10. H & R will help me gather up dirty laundry, put away clean laundry, wash windows (their favorite – they love wiping the bubbles on the glass), do a quick pick up of the play room or dining room, or help put clothes in the washer/dryer.  Sometimes one or both of the girls will help willingly, sometimes not. On the non-cooperative days, I have to give a reminder that if you don’t help the ‘team’ you don’t get to play (ex: You cannot play with your puzzles until you do your part to help clean up). I try to stay very positive and talk about teamwork a lot, and we usually end up singing the theme song from WonderPets – “What’s gonna work? Teeeeamwork!” What’s gonna work? Teeeeamwork! Yay!” My expectations for ‘helping’ are not high. I just want willing helpers. Sometimes the windows end up with streaks and fingerprints even after the girls ‘wash’ them, but if they are doing it happily and trying to contribute, that’s ok!

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helping with laundry

Whatever time is left before 10:30 (snack time) is play time. H & R are really into imaginative play and pretending to be various characters from Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood usually. I love watching them play together and they really are peaceful most of the time. When there are scuffles, if Halle is the instigator I will usually ask, “Did ______ make her happy or sad/mad?” If she says sad/mad, then I will ask, “What should you have done instead?” And then we talk about a better solution. If Reilly is the instigator, there is a little less talk and I will usually just direct her to give the stolen toy back or play with something else.

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it is not unusual for someone to still be in jammies late in the morning

Snack time is at 10:30 – usually raisins, almonds, orange, or banana.

Okay – I will do this in three parts – morning/midday/evening. This is getting way too long.

Look-alike Cousins

It’s funny how some people perceive who your kids look like. Most people agree that Halle and Karis look like their Daddy. Well, it’s pretty hard to miss with Karis. 🙂 Once in a while, I will hear that Halle looks like me, but that is usually from people who don’t know Josh. I really don’t think any of my girls look alike, and neither does anyone in my close family. People who don’t know us as well sometimes used to say that Halle and Reilly looked alike, but honestly, I just don’t see it at all. To me they look completely different. I really don’t know if Reilly looks more like me or Josh. She actually resembles her cousin, Claire, more than anyone. I think those two could easily be mistaken for sisters.

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Claire (right) was a little over 2.5 when Reilly was born. That picture of her is from the day she (and her Mom, Dad, and brother) came to visit Reilly in the hospital when she was born. Reilly (left) had just turned 2 in this picture taken last fall. Not sure if I picked the best “look-alike” picture, but their similarities are quite striking to me. Below is a picture of the two of them together on Labor Day of 2012. Claire was 4.5 and Reilly not quite 2. (All the cousins were wading in the creek near our house, so that explains the nearly-naked Reilly and soaking-wet Claire)

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My girls are lucky to have a girl cousin close in age and not *too* far away (about 45 min). They so look forward to our visits with her and her family – as do we!

Endings & Beginnings

Ending: Reilly’s love affair with her pacifier.

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Beginning: Life as a “big girl” – though tonight when Josh tucked her in he said, “Reilly, you’re a big girl now, aren’t you?” She replied, “No, I’m a little girl.” I like that answer. 🙂

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I love the magic of the pacifier. But I hate what it takes to break the addiction! If it wasn’t weird for a 5 year old to sleep with a pacifier, or if it didn’t mess with her jaw alignment, I totally would have let her keep it longer. As soon as we bring out the blankie and paci at nap time or bedtime, she is as good as asleep. She could be bouncing off the walls 10 seconds earlier, but put that plug in her mouth and the blankie on my shoulder and she lays her little head down and snuggles me. No nap or bedtime battles for her. The paci is just her signal that it’s time.

I tried getting rid of it back in January. We talked about it, she understood, she agreed that she could sleep without it….that lasted about 5 minutes into nap time. Then the screaming and wailing ensued. For a LONG time. So I finally got her up and went on with our day. I was determined not to give the paci back. Bedtime rolled around and I thought, surely she will be so exhausted from having skipped her nap (which was a first ever) that she will just conk out pretty quickly. Nope. She screamed and cried for….a LONG time. No consoling, no reassurance of special treats for big girls in the morning….nothing would calm her down. So I caved. Gave the paci back and I kid you not, she was instantly happy and fell asleep within minutes.

This time, I worked up my resolve for a couple more months. Ha! Then I sent Halle to spend the night at my parents’ house so she wouldn’t have to endure the crying that was certain to come at bedtime (since they share a room). And rather than starting at nap time, we started at bedtime this go around. We talked about it all evening and *encouraged* (or bribed…?) her with the hope of chocolate chip pancakes and ice cream (actually smoothies but she doesn’t know the difference) for a reward in the morning. We praised her for being such a big girl and told her we were so proud of how brave she was, prayed with her for Jesus to help her sleep well, etc…

After I tucked her in last night, she started crying immediately after I left the room. Josh went in after about 15 minutes and held her for a few minutes, then tucked her back in. She cried for about 25 more minutes, then stopped abruptly and slept soundly for the next 11.5 hours.

She was so proud of herself in the morning and we made pancakes and smoothies and that was that. She hasn’t cried for nap time or bedtime today at all. I am so happy to have that behind us. I knew we needed to do it and it was hanging over my head for the past several months. I admit I will miss the paci-face and the way she talked with it in. 😦 We are now officially a paci-free household because Karis never got attached to it and didn’t use one at all past 3 months.

Reilly is such a gift to us. She is so spunky and funny. She makes us laugh all the time and has a smile that is contagious. She is smarter than a whip (what does that actually mean…is a whip smart?) and still seems like my little baby girl. I love watching her grow into a little girl and seeing her personality bloom.

And just for fun, here she is at 2 days old. *Sigh*

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Next up, potty training!

-Brit

Spring Fever

Like most fellow mid-westerners, we are so ready for Spring here! We had a lovely warm-ish day  last week so we all went out for a walk. We live in a nice, quiet neighborhood with very little traffic so the girls are free to run and walk alongside us when they want to.

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For the second lap, Halle wanted to ride, and looking at her so big in the jogger made me think back to when we took her for walks as a baby in the same stroller… *sigh.* She’ll be four in May.

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And Karis is going to experience her first ever Spring. 🙂 Possibly first steps, trying to eat grass, cute sun hats, bare toes and chubby legs.

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And LOTS of running around being silly!

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-Brit

A Prayer Answered :: He Bears Our Burdens

“Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.” Psalm 68:19

I was lying in bed last night when the Lord gave me a gentle, but vivid reminder of His care for me and His desire to carry my burdens. This may sound like a silly illustration – but hey, people in the Bible had some pretty weird dreams and visions too, right? In my mind, I saw a waiter with a serving tray with several dishes on it. I imagined Him handing me one thing at a time – at just the right time – when I needed to have it. A good waiter brings your drink, then your appetizer, then your main dish, then your dessert. He doesn’t just throw it all in your lap at one time.

I believe the Lord was telling me to give all my burdens (see this post from yesterday) to Him, and He would carry them for me. When the time comes for me to deal with a specific need (meal planning, child training, health issues, etc.), He will provide the way to do it and hand it back to me to implement. There is no need for me to carry everything at once. I was not made to bear that weight.

“Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.” Psalm 55:22

He wants me to give these burdens to Him. And how amazing that He will never let me fall. Instead of “fall,” other versions use terms like “be shaken,” “be moved,” or “give terror.” What a promise. I used to have a hard time with verses that referred to the ‘righteous’ because I didn’t know who could hold that title. Now I know that since Jesus holds the title, he bestows it upon me because I belong to Him. So there is no fear in failing, falling, being shaken, or given to terror.

As I am writing this all out, I’m remembering an email from my friend Rachel that I read just a few hours ago that speaks to this same idea. She shared some lovely words of encouragement with me. The author of the book she was reading suggested asking yourself two questions throughout the day.

  • What’s important right now?
  • What’s next?

I feel so encouraged when God teaches me and reassures me like this. He gave me a (sort of funny) visual picture of Him carrying my burdens until He gives them to me one at a time – with guidance and provision for handling them gracefully. Then He spoke again through words from a friend – giving me two concrete questions to keep me focused on this truth throughout the day.

So thank you, Jesus, for answered prayer. And thank you, Rachel, for being a messenger today. 🙂

-Brit

This is So Much Harder Than College

…being a wife and mother, that is. Let me be clear that the depth of beauty of motherhood and marriage is unrivaled by any other experience I’ve had in life. But it is so much harder, too.

My mind has never been more stretched. My intellect is being constantly challenged in every facet of a wife and mother’s concerns: health and nutrition, finances, organization, home efficiency, cooking, cleaning, scheduling, planning…oh, yes, and the children! Three kids to feed, dress, bathe, play with, laugh with, discipline, train, teach. Nothing could be more rewarding and it is absolutely where I want to be in life, but it is plain exhausting.

When I first became a mother, I remember feeling like I was getting “dumber.” Playing with one little baby all day and having hours of free time (nap time) that were mostly spent alone made me feel like I wasn’t being challenged. Sure, the early months of sleepless nights and terrible pain of nursing my little girl were hard, but not mentally stimulating. Goo goo-gaa gaa and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star can numb the mind a bit.

It’s three years later and I’m changing my tune.  I have never been more intellectually challenged (not to mention physically, emotionally, or spiritually) in my life. The topics that are bouncing around in my brain on any (every) given day are endless. Homeschooling plans, GAPS diet research (recipes, fermenting, food prep techniques), finding new sources for all the new kinds of food we’re eating, figuring out how to budget for it all, weaning Reilly off her pacifier, potty training, cloth diapering (bought them and have used them but not as much as I’d like), nap/night potty training Halle, laundry!, implementing chore time with the girls, scheduling appointments, softball lessons, church involvement, garden planning, starting solids for Karis, reading too many books at once, pondering/praying about a million things related to mothering these three girls, staying *calm* when dealing disobedient or whiny children, showing grace to them, being intentional about loving my husband, how to get back in shape, my aching back, hips, and feet, beginning stages of researching/planning for possibly building a house in the future, visiting family, planning get togethers with friends…..

Bless you if you read all the way through that list. That list was mostly for me. I’m thinking if I write it down, it will settle my mind a bit. have no doubt that I can thrive in this season of life and that the Lord is always working in me and will be faithful to complete the work He has begun. But I can still say it’s hard, right?