Wednesday, December 2, 2015

When Are You Going to Have Another Baby?

Titus is 3.5 years old and Haddie is 1.5 years old and we have reached the point when people start asking us, "soooo.... Are you thinking about having another baby?" I get it, I really do, because we have always wanted a third and it's about the time that conversation begins (and the time that feeling in my momma heart starts to think a baby sounds cute and squishy and doable again). But the thing I can't get out of my mind, the thought that chases me down and grows into a softball size lump in my chest is this: I'm not ready to have another baby because I'm not ready for my first baby to grow up. 

We have been discussing timelines and birth orders and relationships between siblings... (All of which only matters slightly since we probably won't actually be able to "schedule" when we get pregnant, I trust that God is bigger than any Type A plan I might come up with). But if I'm being honest, like 'don't-like-to-say-it-outloud-because-it-hurts-me honest,' I struggle with the timeline discussion because it always goes like this: "well if we had a baby in X amount of time, then Haddie would be X old and Titus would be X old." There are a lot of practicals that go into this 'distance between siblings' discussion (as a SAHM, can I handle 3 at home? Will Haddie be potty trained? Am I getting enough sleep currently to even consider adding an infant?) But one of my main struggles in fully committing to a third is that honestly the idea of Titus being old enough to go to school kills me and make me want to crawl into his bed every single night and sleep there forever. 

Right now we're in this sweet spot; he can communicate and obey (if he's in the right mood), play independently, he's an incredibly sweet and protective big brother and most importantly to his mommy, he thinks I've hung the moon. Every machine he builds, every "marble city" he imagines, every bedtimes story he dreams up, he's always begging me to participate in. But in just 18 more months (oh my, literally felt chest pains typing that, ugly cry about to begin) he will start school and spend more waking hours with someone else rather than me. All of his excited exclamations and creative thoughts and funny observations, those won't be exclusively mine anymore. And it kills me because even on the hardest days, that's MY baby.

So what does this have to do with the possibility of baby #3? I guess in some far off corner of my mind that is usually buried under rationality and practicality, I'm putting off thinking of baby #3 because I'm hoping baby #1 (and baby #2 when she stop feeling like a baby) will just stay little forever and always be more excited to see me than anyone else on the earth. It's easy to be in denial about how quickly your kids are growing up. But when you sign up for another pregnancy, you commit to a very firm 9 month timeline in which you know exactly what will happen: everyone, mommy, baby in utero, and older siblings, will get bigger and older. You can't help but shift attention to the newest arrival that will require so much of your time and energy in the beginning, which inevitably divides what you can offer to those around you. 

If there has been one phrase I've caught myself saying lately it's this: motherhood is weird. It's honestly such a melting pot of emotions, ranging from "I'm about to pull my hair out if you jump on my head/stomach/leg one more time" to "that giggle you've had since you were a baby will forever undo me- never, ever change." It's weird. It's everything and all the things, happening in the very same moment. You can't dissect it and you can't control it, it's an unconditional heart-bursting love while also being a crazy strong desire to be be selfish and left alone (especially when you need to use the bathroom). 

But this I know, I have less than a year and a half left with my first baby (whether we have a new baby or not) and I get to choose what those days look like. As much as I'd like to say otherwise, I'm sure some of those moments will be impatient and frustrated and angry. But my hope is that what my sweet baby boy remembers are the days when his mommy climbed under the covers at naptime and read him book after book and tickled him until neither of us could breathe anymore. That the picture in his mind would be of me building hundreds of marble towers with him and clapping and cheering when we finally got it right. That the soundtrack playing in his dreams would be daddy's record player blaring Christmas music while we dance like uncoordinated fools in the living room. 

To my forever baby; I love you to the moon and back, to infinity and beyond, forever and ever. Once day you will grow up and maybe be a big brother to many, but you will always be the first to capture my heart in a way I didn't know was even possible. 

Psalm 113:9
He gives the barren woman a home, making her the joyous mother of children. Praise the Lord!

{Photos courtesy Courtney Halligan Photography}

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Haddie Mae: 1.5 years old

Dear Haddie,
At 1.5 years old...

  • You weigh 23 pounds and are in the 25th percentile for height (up from 15!) and in the 50th for weight. Bigger than brother was at this age! But still a little thing :)
  • You wear size 4 diapers and 18 month clothes (still 12m in pants)
  • You sleep from about 7:30pm-6:45am and take one nap at 1pm (usually 2 hours). For the most part you are easy to put down and fall right to sleep
  • You love condiments and dipping, you get really mad if we eat chips and salsa but don't offer you any salsa
  • You are very adventurous! Not much phases you when it comes to climbing, sliding, or any other playground activity. You will climb up tall slides that Titus won't even go down and just go for it without even blinking!
  • You HATE having your teeth brushed
  • You love waving at strangers, but you don't really want anyone to talk to you. Such a flirt!
  • You call your pacifier your "ba" and you like to carry around 2-3 at any given time. You also go to sleep with one in your mouth and one in your hand (plus a couple more in the crib!). Generally, we are trying to keep the pacis to bedtime, sick days, or car rides.
  • One of your favorite activities right now is opening drawers and pulling things out. You like stacking cups, emptying toy bins, playing in my makeup drawer. Anything you can explore, you will!
  • You love playing in the backyard and especially love the slide we have. You also recently learned how to jump on the trampoline
  • You have started saying so many words! Cat, dog, Bosco, momma, dada, bubba, Nanay, Mimmy, Mamaw, mine, more, down, please, thank you, moo, ROAR!, wheee!, uh-oh, bye bye, hello...
  • You started going to Mother's Day Out two mornings a week so I can work on Etsy orders and they say you have a great time! Sometimes you get upset when I drop you off, but you are always playing and happy when I pick you up
  • You walk around "talking" on my cell phone saying the cutest little gibberish
  • Your love to paint, draw, color, stamp... anything crafty (and messy, of course!)
  • You are not phased when it comes to fit throwing. You threw a 20 minute fit on our walk yesterday because the neighborhood cat didn't want to play with you.
  • You love giving me kisses, but not nearly as much as I love receiving them!
  • You like to pretend to eat my toes and then I gasp and you giggle hysterically 
  • We change your clothes probably 3 times a day because you are ALWAYS dirty, either with food or literal dirt
  • You pretend to write things on Titus' writing board just like he does and then you "tell me" all about what you wrote (a lot of very concentrated gibberish)
  • You still hate vegetables but you will eat pickles and baby food pouches. Some of your favorite foods are cheese sticks, pizza, crackers (basically any bread or carbs), bananas, waffles, apples, yogurt, and meat
  • You love your Dada and get excited every time he walks in the door, I think you will be a Daddy's girl
  • You never want to hold my hand except if you really need help going downhill or something. Other than that you are Miss Independent! 
Haddie Mae, you are the best. You are hilarious, sweet, adventurous, flexible, laid back, independent, sassy, and just plain adorable. You love your brother and ask for him as soon as your light is on in the morning, but you also know how to stand up for yourself and push him or runaway when he is picking on you (that's your red hair coming out!). You are a cuddler by nature and love to sit with mommy or daddy and just curl up for a bit. I love rocking you to bed at night because you lay down on my chest and stroke your blanket while I sing you hymns, I think I could live in that moment forever. We are so incredibly grateful for your sweet smile and loving spirit, I don't know what we would do without you. We love you so much, Baby Love!

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Titus: 3.5 years

Dear Titus,
At 3.5 years old...

  • You weigh 30 pounds and wear 3T clothes, although they are still pretty big on you
  • You like to ask me questions you know the answer to just so that I will say, "I don't know Titus, why does _________?" and then you will tell me.
  • Sleep is a battle. Now that you are potty trained you use that as an excuse to get out of bed. We have been fighting you for sleep for the last few months, you are so stubborn! 
  • You have started skipping the occasional nap which is so sad for me. Both because it means you're growing and because it means I'm losing my mommy time :) But most days you take a nap around 1:30 for an hour or so.
  • You are so proud of being potty trained and you wouldn't wear pull-ups at night time even at the beginning.
  • You love going to Mother's Day Out ("School"), and you said your favorite part is playing with play-doh
  • You are very concerned about stoplights. You alert me what color it is when we pull up and panic when I turn right on red (how do you describe that legal maneuver to a 3 year old?!)
  • You are actually very concerned about rules in general. I hear a lot of, "no Haddie, we don't eat rocks." or  "No Haddie, we don't touch the lamp, you could break it." You are definitely my firstborn rule follower. It is not uncommon for you to correct other kids too!
  • We have worked a lot on "having a happy heart" instead of a bad attitude and Daddy showed you what your face looks like when you throw a fit (mean eyebrows) vs. what your face looks like when you are happy (happy eyebrows). You LOVED this little trick (daddy's best parenting move to date!) and frequently tell other kids to have "happy eyebwows" when they are throwing fits
  • You really have gotten so much better in the areas of respect and discipline. Generally speaking, you have transitioned into an easier phase of obedience. It definitely took some hard work and growing pains to get us there, but I am so thankful of how much you are trying to do the right thing.
  • You really like "writing songs" on your writing board (sort of like music notes) and then singing them to me. When you are finished singing it to me you will say, "do you remember it? Sing it back to me." And I never do it right!
  • You are currently obsessed with a marble erector set that we bought you. Every day you want to build new marble runs but you get really frustrated when it doesn't work the very first time you try it
  • You are an easy laugher just like your daddy. I have prayed so many times that you would have a joyful heart just like him and I love how you both find the fun in little things.
  • We are really working on not freaking out and throwing a fit when something doesn't go right. I will hear you screaming from the other room and assume you have broken a bone and when I get there I'll realize that you couldn't get your Q to look right on your board.
  • Your favorite activity is playing "Gater Gowf," you ask to go play like 5 days a week
  • You are somewhat of a picky eater, but you will never turn down a burger, pizza, PB&J, pickles, or string cheese. Right now you are obsessed with eating tomatoes!
  • Your favorite book right now is called The Prince Won't Go to Bed
  • When Haddie wakes up in the morning you are the first one in her room and tell me "I can't get her out of the crib because I'm too stwong" (because when you've tried to "get her out" before you just ended up squeezing and squishing her in the crib)
  • You have learned to say a lot of the words you used to say incorrectly which makes me so sad because I loved your baby lisp! But you still say "bwu-yew" for W, which makes me smile every single time
  • You are really interested in the solar system right now
  • You love to hold my hand when we are walking or go places or even when we are just watching TV. You also ask me to give you a hundred kisses before you go to bed at night
  • We recently started reading I'll Love You Forever and you will whisper in my ear when I tuck you in, "I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, as long as I'm living, my Mommy you'll be." Definitely makes me cry!
I couldn't dream of a better big brother for Haddie than you, Titus. You are so protective and sweet and considerate of her. You hate to hear her cry and when she gets hurt you will hug her or give her your favorite toy or put her paci in her mouth. You're adorable together and you say she is your best friend. Every time you hug her I think my heart might burst! But even outside of being a big brother, you are just such a wonderful little boy. I love how much you are concerned for everyone's safety and every single thought that comes out of your brain makes me laugh or feel impressed that you could even imagine it up. You are also stubborn and fiesty and passionate (I describe you as "emotionally vibrant" because everything you feel you FEEL), and all of it makes me feel so incredibly blessed that God chose me to be your mommy. Seriously, I don't say that lightly. I look around some days and can't even fathom how I got so lucky to be yours forever. I love you to the moon and back, to infinity and beyond, forever and ever.

Friday, August 14, 2015

A Prayer for My Son

Today has been one of those days. From the moment he woke up my three year old was unsatisfied and disobedient. He didn't want anything I suggested for breakfast, slow and distracted when picking up toys so we could go to Mother's Day Out, followed by kicking and screaming in his car seat.

After school I took him to Target to get a birthday present with his gift card and he cried and yelled at me the majority of the time. On the way to the car he hit his baby sister for no reason and then melted down when he got scolded. I knew he needed some positive attention but if we could just make it home first...

Then comes the biggest battle of all, nap time. Yelling and crying and demanding of longer cuddles and more stories... My skin was crawling to get out of there before I let my frustration get the best of me. So I did what has to happen sometimes, I kissed him and told him I loved him then tucked him in before leaving the room. I could tell he wanted me to stay longer and was still a little upset, but I had already used up all my parenting energy.

I went to my own room and sat down on my bed and started venting to the Lord about how hard being a mom is sometimes. I feel like I'm constantly failing, constantly needing to be better, more patient, more fun. But in the midst of my pity-party I realized that I'm focusing on the wrong things. My kids won't remember the times I snapped at them or the tone in my voice when they weren't listening, they'll remember the moments I loved them, which is a majority of our moments. They'll remember how I laid in bed with them and sang hymns before they went to sleep. Or the times I bought him popcorn at Target and let him share my drink. And the countless silly faces I made at him in the rear view mirror to try and make him giggle. In the long run, it will be our shared joy, not my weak moments of impatience, that will become his best memories.

So I went back in his room where he was still somewhat tearful and I climbed into my big three year old's bed with a renewed energy. He looked up at me and in his sweet little voice said, "mama, hold me like a baby." So I did. And I fell in love with my baby all over again. I held him and gently brushed the hair out of his face with my fingers. He held my hand and I watched his eyes start to flutter as he fought the inevitable heaviness of sleep. I took his hand in my hand and when his fingers curled around mine I let my prayers wash over his sweet little body. Teach him to be truly loving to those around him. Let him stand up for others and never make anyone feel small. Allow him to be patient instead of angry. Grow him into a man of character. But most importantly, teach him to love YOU, Jesus. Share with him Your irresistible grace.

And then it was time for my own prayers. Please make me more gracious. Make me patient and forgiving. Remind me of his tender spirit when the anger and frustration starts to rise up inside of me. Make me kinder, overwhelmed by my love for him and not my frustration. Allow me to soak in these moments, take advantage of this closing window where he still wants to fall asleep wrapped in my arms. And most of all, remind me to be forgiving of myself; his memories of childhood will not be my sigh of exasperation or my snappiness when he disobeyed for the hundredth time, but it will be moments like this where I loved him when he needed it most.


Monday, July 20, 2015

Kids updates- Summer 2015

Now that Haddie is over a year I will just be doing a few updates on the kids every year. Although I feel like they still change every month!

Dear Haddie,
At 1 year and 3 months you...

  • You weigh 21 pounds, since you started walking you seem a little taller and leaner. I am already missing that chubby baby!
  • You wear size 4 diapers and 12-18 month clothes (they are still a little big sometimes). You also have very tiny feet!
  • You sleep from about 7:30pm-6:45am and are transitioning from 2 naps (usually at 10 and 2:30) to one nap (at 1pm). If you take one nap it's usually 2-2.5 hours long.
  • You love the bath, but you HATE the bath if it's too close to your bedtime. Mostly because you freak out when we take you out of the bath.
  • Are just coming out of a SUPER clingy phase. You are still pretty shy around new people, but for a little bit there you would cry if the greeter at Walmart even said hi to you.
  • When you go to sleep at night or for naps you insist on taking random objects with you, like a rubber duck, shoes, a toothbrush, a shirt you found on the ground...
  • You love both baby dolls and dirt equally. You play with your tulle skirts and put bows in your own hair, but you also won't hesitate to go and roll around in the yard with big brother.
  • You are obsessed with books, way more than Titus ever was. You follow me around the house carrying books and screaming at me until I sit down and read it to you.
  • You definitely have the music in you! Anytime you hear a song (or even Daddy playing the piano from the other room) you start bobbing and dancing.
  • Every morning when I pull you out of your crib, you insist on going over and picking out a pair of shoes. I can't even change your diaper or jammies until we have selected your shoes for the day.
  • Your favorite toys are really just whatever you see Titus playing with, his etch-a-sketch, the ipad, a helicopter with flashing lights. But you also love baby dolls and stuffed animals.
  • Speaking of pacifiers, you still love them and we always have a couple with us at all times.
  • You are generally very easy and happy UNLESS you don't get your way, like when I have to close the fridge so you don't pull all the food out. You will lay on the floor and SOB like someone ran over you.
  • You love waving bye-bye but still don't talk much. You say cat, dog, ball, mama and a few other random words, but those aren't always consistent. You can sign for "more" and "all done" and are very proud of yourself when you do.
  • You want to be outside all the time
  • You love clapping for yourself when you do something well
  • Your favorite activity is making a mess :) But really, you love pulling all the food out of the shelves or fridge, books and toys out of their storage, and throwing out all the kleenex or toilet paper when given the chance (you also like to put your hands in the toilet, yuck)
  • You still hate vegetables and only get good nutrients through baby veggie pouches
  • You will sit and cuddle and watch tv with me which I love, Titus would never do that as a baby!

Dear Titus,
At 3 year and 3 months you...

  • You weigh 29 pounds and wear 2T clothes (although the pants can still be a little long and big around the waist)
  • You sleep from about 9pm-6:45am with one nap in the afternoon (usually around 1:30-2) and nap for about 1.5 hours.
  • Speaking of sleep... You hate it! No matter what time we put you down for the night, it typically we put you down around 8:30 and it takes you about an hour to stop coming out of your room and actually stay in bed and go to sleep.
  • We potty trained right after your 3rd birthday and it was scary easy! I think because we didn't rush it you were way more ready, and so you basically potty trained yourself. It took about a month for you to get the hang of going #2 in the potty, but now you never have an accident!
  • You are FUNNY. You tell the funniest stories and Daddy and I laugh at all the little thoughts you share with us.
  • You are still very cautious, even more cautious than Haddie.
  • You don't like loud noises and you sometimes get overwhelmed by large groups if it's chaotic. But a little alone time fixes you right up!
  • You love your sister and you are very protective over her. If she is crying you start crying and you yell at me to help Haddie.
  • But sometimes she also drives you crazy, especially when she is trying to play with what you're playing with. This usually ends in her getting pushed to the floor and you going to time out.
  • Speaking of time out... Discipline has been a bit of a challenge lately. You are incredibly strong willed and stubborn, and not much affects you. Time out doesn't seem to phase you and spankings don't always work either. Lately the best thing has been to make you go to your room for 10-15 minutes, really making you miss out on all the family fun seems to be the only thing that gets your attention.
  • Your favorite game to play with Haddie is to throw her paci across the room and have her go get it, basically fetch but with your baby sister instead of a dog :)
  • You like to say, "You're the guy" anytime you are giving out orders. For example, I'll say, "I think Haddie needs a new diaper" and you will say, "you're the guy," meaning it's MY job to do it.
  • You love watching almost any sport on tv with daddy
  • Your favorite shows are Team Umizoomi and Curious George
  • You are currently in a phase where you don't want to take a bath almost ever
  • We have started working on reading and spelling because that is your favorite activity (you like to spell all kinds of words on your magnetic writing board)
  • Your favorite book is Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and we've read it enough that you have memorized it and you now "read it" to yourself

Just this week I was telling Daddy how much fun it can be to play with both of you during the day. Not every day is easy, in fact most are probably more effort than they are reward by 5pm. BUT it's all worth it for the days when you are both behaving and making me laugh and loving on each other. Being your mommy is so fun! You will just look at each other in the backseat of the car and start laughing, it's like you have a secret sibling inside joke that only the two of you know. You really are best friends and play together much more often than you get upset with each other. I hope you are always this close and bring each other more joy than you can keep inside. I love you to the moon and back, to infinity and beyond, forever and ever.