My Granny’s Lap

My grandmother’s lap was always my safe haven.  Her arms were peaceful, loving, comforting.  She was my solace when my young eyes had seen more than they should.

I’d climb up on the arm of her chair with a book and she’d read to me for however long I wanted.  I’d trace my fingers over her freckles and ask almost daily about her mother’s ring with all the pretty stones.  She’d tell me about each one and whose stone was whose.

In hot summer months I’d sit at her knees while she french ‘platted’ my hair.  She’d tell me how her mother used to do the same for her.  When the summer thunderstorms started kicking up, she would turn off all the power reminding us that her house wasn’t grounded.  She’d make my sister and I sit in the middle of the living room away from the windows.  We’d sit on opposite ends of the room and push a car or roll a ball back and forth.  While we waited for the storm to pass, she’d tell us the same ghost stories her parents had told her.  My favorite was about her daddy walking home one rainy night.  He’d hear horse hooves and light a match to see and just before the wind and rain would snuff them out, he’d see ghostly horses that weren’t really there.  My grandma could tell a story like no one else, she always had me captivated.  She’d end each ghost story by saying, “Now that’s the truth,” and she was serious.  We’d beg for this stories time and time again and as the years passed and she was no longer able to tell them, my heart ached and longed for them once more.

When the summer heat got the best of us, she’s freeze cherry koolaid in pop bottles and we’d suck and slurp them all day long.  Whether it was while helping her string and snap beans, or just playing around her house, those frozen cherry koolaids are to this day the taste of summertime for me.  There will never be a better summer time treat.

My grandmother taught me the importance of housework and motherhood.  She taught me there was value in taking care of what you have and putting work before play.  She also taught me the importance of an afternoon treat after all that work.  I still remember her ever-present Diet Riet Cola and there was always an abundance of snack cakes.  I admittedly still go into their kitchen hoping there’s a raisin cream cake to bring back a taste of childhood.

My grandmother could be stern, but she was also gentle and loving.  She loved to call her church friends in the afternoons and talk the hours away.  She especially enjoyed it when company would stop by and she could have a nice long chat.

Caring for others was what she did for as long as I can remember, and becoming a stay at home mother taught me what hard work that truly is.  She never made us feel as though we wore her down, although I’m sure we often tried her patience.  Her house was always open, as were her arms.

I am deeply saddened that I will never again be able to climb up on her lap and have her tell me a story.  But I am ever grateful that the babies I, and other family members, have lost will now have Granny’s lap to climb onto.  I know she’ll love them in all the ways we physically cannot.  And one day, I will finally get to see her holding them as I wish she could’ve on this earth.

What Makes A Family?

There’s always been a lot of talk about what makes a family.  Now that times are changing and more people are coming to realize that the traditional components of a nuclear family are not what we once thought they were, the view of what makes up a family is changing too.

I believe the most important component to any family is love.  Without love, support, and compassion a group of people who live together is just a group, not a family.  Family loves you without conditions and provides support when you are struggling.  They offer compassion and try their best to be understanding of each other’s goals.  When a member of the family, or the family as a whole, is faced with an obstacle, true families stick together and persevere.

The type of people involved have nothing to do with who makes up the family.  It could easily be two men, two women, siblings, even friends.  There could be children, or not.  Children could be biological, adopted, or blended from past marriages.  There could be legal documents binding the members together, or not.  The family could own their home – or they could rent.  They may even live with extended family to make up a bigger family unit.

What Makes A Family
What families don’t do is judge and criticize.  A family is not a unit who puts you down and makes you feel bad about yourself.  A family unit is not cruel and their love for you does not depend on the life choices you make.  Sure, families who love and support you want the best for you.  They don’t want you to make bad decisions that lead to a bad life.  But choices like who you choose to marry (in healthy, non-abusive relationships) are not put down or judged.  Things like sexual preference, race, religion, and politics are not taken into consideration.  The character of one’s heart and the content of the soul are what matter.

So what is a family?  It’s love. Support. Guidance. Acceptance. A hug when words don’t suffice.  A shoulder to lean on when life throws a curveball you weren’t ready for.  Family is realizing that life is not perfect but as long as you have each other, it’s doable.  Even enjoyable and can be pure happiness. Family is a group of people who make you want to be better, not just for yourself,  but for those you love.  Family pushes you to try new things when you’re scared and they offer to catch you when you stumble.

Simply put, family is love.  What/who makes up your family?

Strength in Grief

Strength in GriefI’ve gone through the grief process associated with miscarriage several times now.  Each time is a bit different and as my maturity and life changes, the process changes a bit too.  It’s never easy and for someone like myself who feels things deeply, it can be overwhelming and feel devastating.

The loss of a child who had just started to grow within your womb is a hard one to understand for those who have not been through it.  People often have no idea how to express their concerns or feelings of empathy.  Some of your family and friends just ignore it almost entirely because they don’t want to upset you.  Others will do little things to comfort you or just be there while you vent.  This can be a double-edged sword because you need to talk about the loss, but are sometimes relieved when no one forces you to.

When you reach that ever looming stage of anger, you can be surprised who you direct that anger towards.  There can be a maddening rage over anyone whose pregnant, recently had a baby, or those who just ignored your loss all together.  You can direct your anger towards yourself and the body you feel failed your baby.  You will at some point likely cast anger on your spouse, wondering why they don’t feel or express their anger, frustration, and pain the same way you do.  It’s all normal, and it’s okay to feel these things.  They way you direct your anger, hurt, and loss is the most important aspect.

For me, I can sometimes wallow in my pain for weeks.  I’ll let myself fall into a depression that I lose all strength to climb out of.  Laying on the couch, not really watching whatever happens to be on the television.  No desire to eat, feel, or talk.  Just numb to life and what is going on in it.  Or I will switch into overdrive staying constantly occupied with something, anything, to take my mind off the pain.

The trouble with overdrive mode is that you crash…hard.  All the physical exertion to avoid the mental pain leads to exhaustion both physically and mentally.  I stayed in overdrive this time, until I crashed.  Dead tired, just so exhausted mentally and physically.  It hit me late last week and I couldn’t distract myself anymore.  I’d been crying in the shower, over the washer, anywhere I was alone.  And suddenly, crying was all I could do.  My empty womb was all I could think about.  The idea that I may never carry another child successfully hit me hard.  As I sorted through my children’s closets and packed away outgrown clothes I realized that there might not be another child to wear them.  Still, I folded them neatly, labeled the bin with the size and contents, and added them to the ever-growing stash of outgrown baby things in my basement.

I grieved, and then I decided to push forward because those clothes were not going to go unworn.  That currently unused crib, rocker, swing, and all those bins of baby clothes would be worn again.  I had prayed on it, thought about it, talked about it, and it was going to happen somehow.

While I may be quite experienced in dealing with the grief of a lost child, it has created a strength and determination in me that did not exist before.  If I want something, I figure out a way to make it happen.  While the number of children I have lost is higher than the number of children I have living, I really don’t give up.  To me, that means I have yet another angel looking over my family.  Another little miracle worker to make the impossible happen and to bring forth more happiness and light in our lives.

The healing that takes place after miscarriage is often a long process.  Your body often heals long before your heart.  You’ll go through days where you’re okay and you’ll go through days where you need to let yourself grieve and process all the emotions that have been thrust upon you.  It isn’t a road with a clear path and the outcome can often be surprising.

What I’ve learned is that you have to let yourself feel it all to heal.  It’s messy and it’s often scary, but in the end, you’ll come out okay.  You’ll likely be changed, but you can work to use it to your advantage instead of letting it consume you.

How Being a Stay-At-Home-Mom Is Different Than I Imagined

Being A SAHM Is Different Than I ImaginedBefore I became a stay-at-home parent I had my own preconceived notions about what being one meant.  I assumed that laundry was always caught up, houses clean, and there was a bit of leisure time once everything for the children was done.  Clearly, I had never been alone in a home with an infant or toddler before.  While some of my uneducated guesses did ring true, many did not.  Here are the ways that my life as a stay-at-home mom is much different from what I imagined.

  1. Cleaning My Home
    Before I had my first son, I could get away with cleaning the house about once a week.  We’d fill up the dishwasher  a couple times a week and I might have to run the vacuüm twice.  I only really had to mop maybe once a month.  In short, we weren’t really home enough to mess the house up much so it more or less stayed clean all the time.
    When I brought my newborn home, I was amazed at how many bottles he went through in a day and how long it took me to clean them. I was washing bottles in the morning and at night, mountains of bottles.  Our breastfeeding plans didn’t work out and I hated all this bottle washing.  There were also burp cloths littered all over the living room, his bed room.  He wasn’t even able to crawl or sit up, but he was already changing my tidy home into a messy one that I couldn’t keep up with.

    When he was a bigger baby, my house did stay remarkably clean until I got pregnant with his brother and was almost too sick to move from the couch for the first several months. Now that I have a toddler and a preschooler, hahaha.  Our house is clean, it isn’t always tidy.

  2. Laundry
    Honestly speaking, this one didn’t change much for me when I first became aS AHM because I was no longer washing my work clothes and my ‘normal’ clothes.  The babies laundry sort of took the place of my work clothes so the laundry was more or less the same.  I did laundry on Fridays or Saturdays and didn’t do it again for a week.  When I started cloth diapering my son at fifteen months, I added in a load of diapers 3 or 4 times a week.

    Then we brought home our second baby and wow.  I don’t know how that changed the laundry dynamic so dramatically, but I now do laundry at least every other day.  There is one thing I will say, our laundry room always smells like fresh laundry.  It isn’t always wrinkle free and my husband now has to pitch in and put a lot of it away, but at least we’re not suffocating under mountains of dirty clothes the way we did in the first few weeks as parents of two.

  3. Utility Bills
    I had no idea that our energy and water usage would increase so dramatically.  Sure, part of that is adding extra humans to your household.  The other part is that now you’re home almost all the time.  My house used to sit empty for nine or ten hours every day.  It is almost never empty now.  Toilets get used more, sinks, appliances.  Our house is certainly lived in now.
  4. Groceries
    I was never one to eat out a lot while at work. I’d pack my breakfast, lunch, and a few snacks.  I worked an hour away from home which meant a two-hour drive daily so I was away from home for about 12-13 hours every single day.  I packed a lot of quick things – cheap, processed things.  I didn’t enjoy eating those things so staying home has allowed me to get back to real food.  Real foods cost more, and we’re feeding more people now.  So, obviously, our grocery bills went up.

    We also spend more on things like hand soap and toilet paper.  The toilet paper was crazy to me at first, I couldn’t figure out why we were going through it 2-3 times faster than before.  You don’t realize how much time you spend at work vs. home and how that even affects how much toilet paper your house goes through.

  5. Downtime
    I assumed being a SAHM would mean I’d get a few more hours of downtime every week.  Time to relax, unwind. Oh man guys, this one slapped me in the face.  Before children, despite working full-time and commuting 10 hours a week, I had a lot of downtime and didn’t realize it.  My husband and I would spend Sundays lounging around the house after a night out on Fridays and Saturdays.  We had a lot of fun, and a lot of lazy Sundays.

    I have not had real downtime since before I went into labor with my son.  In fact, labor was my last downtime.  Seriously, it was the last time I didn’t have something I HAD to be doing chore or kid wise.  Any hobby I do now is multi-tasked with cooking dinner or caring for my children.  Date-nights are few and far between.  And I sit through them thinking oh no, I forgot to tell them where this is.  Oh crap, I left laundry in the washer.  Did I remember to fill up the cat’s bowl?  I mean seriously, there isn’t downtime as a SAHM.  If there is, you’re using it to budget or clean out the kid’s closet.

  6. Money
    Obviously, your finances change in a big way when you quit your job, forfeiting half your income.  I assumed that it was going to be hard.  And at times it has been.  However, if I had continued to work, all but about $200 a month would’ve went towards daycare and my 10 hour weekly commute.  Much of that would have also went into car maintenance.  Our finances were going to change either way and $200 a month wasn’t worth me only seeing my son for a couple of hours a day for me.  By the time I had a second child, I would have paid to work.

    So yes, we have far less money coming in, but we have become better with our money.  We have learned what we can live without and how that often improves our lives instead of hurting it.  We are so rich in love and happiness, we don’t need ‘things’.  Becoming a SAHM taught me a lot about money.  We learned to budget, coupon, thrift/clearance shop, and enjoy the simpler things instead of always wanting a new material possession.  I enjoy what we have learned about money, but never dreamed that being a SAHM would benefit us in this way.

  7. Motherhood
    I did not plan to be a SAHM when I gave birth.  It wasn’t until my son was a few weeks old that I sat down to do the numbers and realized that it might be a better suited option.  I had never dreamed I could be a SAHM.  When a coworker or friend told me they were going to quit their job and stay home, I’d always think, “Well,that must be nice”.  I pictured my children in daycare, and me spending all my free time with them.  I saw them learning at daycare and playing at home.  I thought SAHMs must spend all day doing ‘lessons’ and have a little preschool set up in their homes.  Maybe some SAHMs do this, and I commend them.

    My children spend much of their days playing.  I do formalized lessons with my preschooler once or twice a day, but much of their learning is through play.  We read, do flashcards, learn shapes, but we don’t have ‘school’.  I pictured myself as the mother who was always doing crafts and learning activities, perhaps bouncing through play groups, but it isn’t me.  I am not the mother I pictured.  Sure, we do some of those things.  But we don’t do them all the time.  Some days I am just trying to float and not drown in all my responsibilities as mother, wife, sister, daughter, friend.

    I’m not one of those super moms.  I’m a normal mom.  I love my kids, I want the best for them, and I do my best to give them a good foundation.  I value lessons in love, support, and acceptance far more than lessons in math and science.  Reading to my children while I snuggle them is one of my favorite things.  There is no chalkboard in my kitchen as I imagined.  There is a tidy box of workbooks, flash cards, and boxes full of crafts that we don’t touch every day.  I’m not the mother I envisioned, but I don’t hate the mother that I have become.

  8. Meals
    I assumed that stay-at-home parents prepared nice meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  I thought, hey, they’re home, they have the time.  Oh boy.  Why didn’t any of these SAHPs that I knew warn me?  They probably enjoyed watching me those first few months as I struggled to get my teeth brushed and find time to get out of pajamas (it didn’t always happen).  I did prepare nice meals when I had one infant.  Once he got more mobile it got challenging.

    Once I was pregnant, had a toddler, and sick as a dog, I’m not sure I cooked a ‘nice’ meal for months.  My husband handled dinner while I tried to eat anything that wouldn’t leave me sick.  Some nights I cook something nice and some nights we do easy.  My kids prefer cereal for breakfast.  And their favorite lunch time fare includes things like peanut butter crackers, grilled cheese, and chicken nuggets.  I can do fresh-baked breads, stews, and decadent desserts.  Alas, I forgot that SAHPs have KIDS, who normally prefer something simpler.

  9. Friends
    The hardest part of staying home for me is friends.  I feel like I never see mine and I lost so many when I stopped working.  It stung and hurt like hell to see friendships melting away into nothing.  I cried many tears and then I realized there wasn’t much I could do except try to reconnect or just let it go.  I thought staying home meant I would have more time to spend with them.  I do, but they’re at work.  And I can’t cart my kids around to concerts or drag them out on Friday nights.  Sure, I can get a sitter now and again.  I cannot predict a fever or a sitter cancelling.  People without kids don’t always get that.  I miss my friends.  I miss concerts, late nights just talking.  I miss messaging back and forth at work, having friends over for sporting events, just because, or just laughing over dumb things that don’t matter.  I would love for these people to come back into our lives and realize we’re not that different from our pre-kid days, in fact we’re way more laid back and fun.  We still listen to loud music, enjoy concerts, and yes, I still have a potty mouth and a sense of humor.  I miss being more than someone’s mother…

    The flip side of this is the amazing mom friends I have made.  They are fiercely supportive and caring.  While most of our chatting is done online, they are a lifeline I didn’t know I needed.  They have seen me through late night fevers, nursing troubles, postpartum blues, depression, and anxiety.  I never expected to form these bonds and friendships with these women, many whom I’ve never met in person, but I am grateful that I did.

  10. Family
    Naturally, your view of family changes when you have children.  I think I had a close family before I had children and started staying home, but my open schedule has allowed me the freedom to grow closer to my family.  I have bonds with them I didn’t have before.  I can swing by for lunch dates, pop in on their days off, or have a little day trip that I never could’ve done without lots of planning while I worked.  I didn’t fully expect or anticipate how much closer we’d grow.  My extended family is amazing.  My children are so loved and cherished.  And I feel as though I could never repay all the kindness and support my extended family has offered to my little family.
  11. View of Self
    I never realized how much my view of myself would change as a SAHM. I thought I would just be blissfully happy to spend my days in my home with my children.  There have been times that I felt worthless.  I have gone through periods where I felt like my lack of financial contribution and professional status meant I didn’t mean much to anyone.  I have been reminded of all that I do contribute and do to keep our family running and happy.  It has taken time for me to see this and value myself and what I do.

    I have a confidence in myself I did not before.  I also know that I have limits and imperfections like everyone.  I know that my value is not tied to how much money I make or what job title I have.  That’s a lesson I probably didn’t know I needed, but it has changed my view of the world and myself.

  12. My Marriage
    I am amazed at how much my marriage has grown and changed in the last few years.  Parts of becoming a SAHM were very hard on my marriage – the stress of changing finances and becoming parents can be tough.  There have been dark moments and difficult arguments.  There has also been growth and positive change.  I am even more amazed at how we’ve matured and grown closer.  I love my husband more fiercely now than I did before.  There is no doubt in my mind that I can happily spend forever with him.  We’re more honest, open, and closer than we were.  Parenthood and the changing dynamics of our family fixed something I didn’t know was broken.

Whether parents work or stay-at-home, their lives change.  Each time you bring a new child home, get a new job, even change working hours, your family changes and grows.  Change can be scary, but it can also be beautiful.  I’m supportive of parents who work and stay home.  Both offer challenges and rewards that have to be tailored to each family’s needs.  I’m blessed to have found the balance that works for my own family and to be thriving in our little corner of happiness.

True Intimacy

BondI’ve been with my husband for what feels like a long time now.  We know each other.  In fact, I’d almost say we know it all at this point.  There are few stories left unshared and to my knowledge, no quirks left uncovered.  One zigs, the other zags to fill the gap.  It’s a nice place.

In the beginning of most relationships there is caution and tension.  You never want to reveal too much at once.  You do the ‘romantic’ things.  Unplanned weekend getaways, dinner, movies, flowers…Some of these things carry over into marriage, maybe even some carry on if you choose to have kids.  And then one day, you discover a closeness you didn’t have before.

This happened more slowly than I would’ve imagined for me.  I honestly didn’t realize we could be closer.  It just happened.  My husband has seen me go through sickness, health, better and worse.  He’s experienced these same things, we’ve experienced it all together.

PadcicleThere was a time when I was uncomfortable talking about some things with my husband.  I didn’t want to discuss all of childbirth with him so I didn’t.  The talk of waters breaking grossed him out…once upon a time before he was officially ‘daddy’.  He was there through my labors and deliveries.  He held our ‘slime’ covered newborns, even helped me nurse when I lamented that you needed three hands to pull it off.  Somewhere between being afraid to talk about the graphic details of birth and actually being in the midst of it, walls came down.  When you reach a point where you can say out loud that your vagina hurts and your husband just goes and gets another padcicle (those are a thing, postpartum mamas probably know), that’s a whole other kind of love.  Romantic?  No, but it is certainly love.

What parenthood CAN do for spouses is almost miraculous.  You’re sense of shame disappears and a bond forms.  A bond not only between you and baby – between you, baby, and your spouse.  You are partners now, in more than a marriage.  You’re partners in the running of your family.  You probably weren’t wholly immature before you had kids.  I don’t care if you were 20 or 40 when they came, they will mature you.  You’ll start to talk in sing-song voices, but you’ll have little time for movie nights or arguments about which band is better.  Going to bed before 10 won’t be so crazy anymore.  You’ll be what you once called ‘old’.

InvestedYour roles in parenthood will make intimacy difficult at times.  Your children won’t care that you planned this night for weeks.  Tonight is going to be the one night out of months that they will not sleep.  If they see you hold hands, they’ll often get right in the middle because they want to hold both your hands.  And that’s okay, it’s good.  If they see you kiss and you’re lucky, they’ll want a kiss.  Or they’ll be older and just say,  “Ewwww.”  Yes, intimacy is different, but can mean so much more.  When your partner can look at you and tell what’s wrong without words, it’s nice.

Closeness and intimacy (in the true sense, not just the carnal) don’t happen overnight.  It’s an ever-evolving process.  It takes happiness, defeat, and the gamut of emotions and life experiences.  To be ‘in love’ isn’t enough.  To be immersed in your lives together, fully invested emotionally, physically, and mentally…that’s the key.  And that was our ticket to bringing down walls and experiencing our piece of happiness.

This Is Life

We are in potty training mode at my house…It’s not the first time, nor will it be the last.

Yesterday  was spent cleaning literal pee and poop off my floors, chairs, couches.  We did have some successes and my son found much pride in those.  I was angry and frustrated much of the day and I was exhausted, left feeling defeated.

I woke up with tight sore shoulders, tension pulling at my temples – reminders that I let the stress get the better of me yesterday.  Potty training, messes, fights over toys, fifteen calls back and forth between pharmacy and doctor, a week of waiting to get a simple refill…and it still hadn’t been done.   I didn’t want today to be full of ‘annoyances’ or fights like yesterday.  And as I was bent over picking up dirty towels, my youngest son stood over me.  Thick beautiful lashes framing those soft, baby blue eyes.  Little crinkles in the corners as he smiled big and wide.  He was happy.  He was toddling around in his pajamas, waiting for a diaper change, and he was happy.  I smiled back at him, his happiness pooling into my own chest and filling my own heart.  Warmth that starts from deep within and pulls you out of your own trivial worry and frustration.

ThisIsLifeClothes and diapers were changed.  A minor whining event over not getting pants with a reminder that it’s easier to potty without them.  More phone calls and finally success.  I jokingly stick my tongue out at the boys as I pour their cereal into their cheery colored ‘fishy’ bowls.  They giggle and cackle because mommy is being silly.  Their laughter is worth more than money.  It permeates your soul.  It breaks apart the bars I place over my own heart so often.  It reminds me that life CAN be simple.  You don’t have to worry because everything important is right here and it is safe.  It is happy.  You are doing GOOD.

I easily get caught up in what I don’t like about my day.  I let it take over my mood and I often miss the happy parts that have been laid out for my taking.  Dishes and laundry end up trumping block towers more often than I care to admit.  But if I take just a few moments, I see their happiness.   Pure and simple delight in the simple things of life.

I take a step back, and I immerse myself in their innocence and their happiness.  There is nothing extraordinary in the every day…except that those moments will be worth more than any sum of money when they’re gone.  This is life.  This is my joy…

I’m Unplugging

I’ve spent much of my children’s lives documenting as many ‘memories’ as I can. Photos here, videos there, little snippets of their daily lives.  I’ve shared many of these things with family and friends, and some publicly.  I love to share my kids.

But lately, I’ve felt the need to pull back.  To take them out of the spotlight a bit.  I feel like so much of our identities are public now.  And it’s not all good.  Sharing with our closest family members may be innocent.  But if they share a photo of my children innocently on Facebook, and then someone else shares it, well I never know who ended up with it.  That is scary.

There are photos of my kids sprinkled through my blog.  I often hesitate before posting pictures.  I know what’s here is public. And even if I ‘delete’ the photo, it’s out there for good.  It’s hard to know what we’re okay with for the sake of education, support, etc…and where to draw the line for privacy.

MissingOutThere’s a part of me that often wants to take our lives totally offline.  To give up internet, a crazy habit of texting every single thing, a constant need to be ‘plugged in’.  It wasn’t so long ago that I spent a childhood devoid of internet and cell phones.  We played outside, we played indoors, all sorts of imaginative games completely absent of technology other than electricity.  It was a happy time for me.

Don’t get me wrong.  Anyone who knows me well knows I am a technology junky.  I can spend hours on the internet, tablet, etc. and be quite happy.  Yet when I do, I feel I’m missing out.  I’m missing life.  While I’m documenting what has happened, I’ve missed what is happening.

I don’t make resolutions. You won’t find me swearing off junk food, TV, and probably not the internet.  But I do know when my life needs adjustment.  I’ve been slowly leaving behind this social network or that for the last several months.  I’ve simplified what time I do spend online in hopes to find a happy medium.

So you’ll still find me blogging away as long as it makes me happy.  For the time being, I am no longer sewing to sell items.  I haven’t been for a bit now and I don’t want to be.  There is too much time, procedure, and effort for that to be good for me now.  I’m sewing for happiness, for my family, for myself.  In hopes to help others.  I’m blogging for myself and in hopes that something I write or share helps someone else in even a small way.

So what are my goals for the upcoming year?  To be present.  To be with my kids instead of documenting them.  To unplug enough to not miss the internet if I go a day or two without it. To not take a tablet on vacation and pray the hotel has internet access.  To be free…and happier.

Why, I might even grow a garden this year ;).

Sewing Inspiration

I wasn’t able to share most of the Christmas gifts I made before Christmas as I didn’t want the recipients to see them. Since they’ve all been opened, I can share now.  Here are a few of the things I made this holiday season.  And since Christmas was chaotic, I forgot to snap photos of many of the others before I wrapped them up.

Always reading, always learning reversible table runner. Made from selvedge scraps.

Always reading, always learning reversible table runner. Made from selvage scraps.

Date Night Clutch

Date Night Clutch

Christmas Pillows

Christmas Pillows

Pretty Princess Strawberry Pop Crochet Scarf

Pretty Princess Strawberry Pop Crochet Scarf

ChristmasPJs

Putting off Tomorrow

My husband and I have a habit of putting things off because we have plans to do X, Y, and Z.  The problem with that is that when X, Y, or Z has no determined date or doesn’t happen, we’ve put off what could’ve been a lot of fun.

My children received a swing set from their Grammi for Christmas this year.  We had talked about buying them one many times and kept saying, “Let’s just wait until we move.”  The only problem with that is that our house isn’t even listed for sale and our move date/year hasn’t even been determined.  We want to move back home, but it’s going to take some time.  So, Grammi bought the swing set, we bought a trampoline, and the boys are thrilled.

LifetobeLivedSeeing their happiness as they played on the swing set taught me a lesson.  There is so much we have put off ‘because we plan to move’.  We have made every effort not to put down permanent roots and it has probably cost us some happiness.  I mentioned to my husband that it might be nice to plant some fruit trees behind the swing set or some sweet-smelling rose bushes. Perhaps put up a small backyard fence.  Again came the ever-present “But what about when we move?”  This time I was prepared.

So what if we move? So what if we put down these roots and we enjoy a pretty yard, a swing set, fruitful trees?  So what if we only enjoy them a short time before we have to deconstruct or say goodbye?  We can enjoy them NOW.  We can make our lives beautiful and rich and not think about ‘what if’.  My sons are not thinking about what happens to our swing set if we move.  It doesn’t matter what happens in a few weeks, months, years to them. What matters is that there is fun to be had now.  There are memories to make.  There is a life to be lived.  And so, we are going to live it and soak every drop of joy from it.

Enjoy what you have and where you are today.  There is time to worry about what happens tomorrow while it’s happening.  Don’t let living in dreams get in the way of your actually living the life you have been handed.  We are blessed with beauty and happiness in our lives now.  I don’t want to put that on hold for what beauty and happiness lies in the future.

Leaving Babyhood

Sweet Brenan. Just six days into his journey.

Sweet Brenan. Just six days into his journey.

There was a baby or toddler in a crib in my home for a continuous 3 years and 7 days.  Yesterday, that ended.  My youngest son graduated to the transitional setup of his crib.  And it makes me very sad.

With my oldest son, we had several failed attempts to transition him before he permanently moved to a toddler bed around 22 months old.  Then little brother took over the crib.  Now little brother, at not quite 17 months, transitioned in one day. Not a fight, not a tear. *sigh*

I’ve mentioned before that I feel like I rushed through my oldest son’s ‘infancy’ and those early wobbly toddler months. I enjoyed them thoroughly, but being a new mom I was always waiting for ‘what’s next’.  I haven’t done that with my youngest. I don’t think about milestones and when he’s going to hit them, it all sneaks up on me.  One second I’m enjoying cuddles with a squishy baby, the next second he’s telling me he won’t eat without a fork.

Hey there handsome!

Hey there handsome!

I want to cling to his baby days so badly.  With my oldest, I knew I was ready for my second child before was even one.  With nineteen months between the two of them, I really love how close they are.  I’m not ready for my third yet.  It’s not because I feel overwhelmed or worry about having them so close together. It’s just a feeling. Our family is complete for now.  I do want a third, I just want to wait for when the time feels right.

Knowing that another baby likely won’t grace our crib for a few years is bittersweet. My children have both been sleeping through the night for well over a year. I haven’t washed a bottle in almost seven months.  Baby food is long gone.  I don’t get to buy tiny outfits now, it’s all toddler stuff.  But I enjoy one son who always talks to me about everything and one who is starting to pick up lots of words.  They both like to help me cook.  I get two little boys who play chase, tag, and ask me to read 100 times a day.  I can let them play independently for a small amount of time.

Ah...I knew the end of crib days were near when they started 'sleepovers'.

Ah…I knew the end of crib days were near when they started ‘sleepovers’.

I’m embracing motherhood and all these ‘stages’.  They’re best enjoyed when you don’t even realize what stage you’re in or what’s coming.  I will still be that mother who is a crying, blubbering mess on the first day of school.  I will be so sad to see them leaving our little nest even for a few hours.  I will be told to enjoy the freedom…and perhaps I will.  Likely I will sift through photos and stare at the clock.  Arrive an hour early and be the first one in the pick up line.  I will pray they had fun, made a friend. And I will hang on their every word as they tell me all about.

The days fly by…enjoy them.