A Treasure Worth Fighting For (Part 3 of 3)

Check out Part 1 and Part 2 if you missed them… ¬†ūüôā

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Despite the humor and sweet moments of parenthood, there are patches that are really¬†tough. ¬†I think the lack of sleep and personal time doesn’t help matters any. ¬†We’re only human after all, and each of us has a breaking point.

During those long days, it can be hard to see the big picture.  To remember that being a mom is precious and that moments with our little ones are all too fleeting.  Because right here and now, hours feel long.  Patience is running low.  Anxiety levels are flaring.  And exhaustion is taking its toll on your body.

Everything hurts, including your feelings.

You’ve cleaned up poop and pee, dealt with tantrums, utilized the time-out chair, and wiped down toddler-science-experiments-gone-wrong one too many times.

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There was one moment in particular – a couple of weeks ago – that I just wondered how we were going to get through this. ¬†Like, was I really cut out to be a mom to two littles? ¬†The house looked like a bomb went off. ¬†Everything was a mess and needed scrubbing, never mind tidying. ¬†¬†The cats were vomiting up hairballs. ¬†Nate was working a charter, so he wouldn’t be home until very late… ¬†Brady was innocently, yet quite successfully, destroying things in his effort to explore and play. ¬†And when I tried to guide him elsewhere, he’d angrily yell back and refuse to find satisfaction in the other activities I offered.¬†¬†(It was obvious to me that he was acting out due to wanting my attention, but¬†Kaitlyn¬†was having a rough morning and wouldn’t stop fussing. ¬†So I wasn’t able to hold him close the way he wanted to be, which resulted in toddler tantrums and mommy guilt).

I just sat in the middle of our home and wanted to throw my hands up in defeat. ¬†I wanted to admit to the world that I didn’t have this. ¬†I had no idea what I was doing. ¬†I was in over my head, and I wasn’t prepared to gently raise a strong-willed son and an emotional baby girl. ¬†My patience was at an all-time low! ¬†And, I’m not proud to admit, my attitude (and raised voice) was reflecting all the frustration and anxiety that I felt inside.

I just needed everyone to cooperate and to cooperate now!  Mommy was DONE!

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Then I received news that a dear friend of mine had passed the night before from cancer. ¬†And suddenly, everything was put into perspective for me. ¬†When you watch a family lose their mother, you are reminded of what truly matters and just how precious each day with your children truly is. ¬†I took in the chaos around me – the noise and the mess – and I realized just how blessed I am to have it. ¬†All those dirty dishes… ¬†The dust bunnies clinging to the bookcase… ¬†The toddler who needs a little bit more patience and a loving hand… ¬†The infant who stares up at me with such adoring eyes…

I will not have these forever, but I do have them now.

At the funeral of my friend, her son oh-so-eloquently spoke about the things that made his mother truly special. ¬†And never once did “a spotless house” or “keeping it all together” came up. ¬†He talked about her amazing laugh, her love of Christmas, activities they did as a family, and her always ¬†being there for him and his sister.

And honestly, that’s one of the greatest impacts she had on my life. ¬†Her love of being a mom. ¬†I don’t know that I’ve ever met a woman who never once complained about being a mother or a wife. ¬†She always told me that her goal in life was to enjoy every stage with her children, and she really did. ¬†She was proud of them – and her husband – beyond words, and she loved them without measure. ¬†To hear her talk about marriage or motherhood was to hear her brag about her soulmate or kids.

That always stuck with me and has been a challenge and a goal for me too. ¬†That despite the craziness and the chaos, I want to enjoy each stage. ¬†Because even if each stage moving forward does seem to get a little easier, the stage behind it is gone forever. ¬†I can never get it back, so it’s up to me to live in the moment now.

These kiddo’s? ¬†They’re treasures worth fighting for. ¬†They’re worth the sleepless nights, the waking up early, the never-ending struggle to keep life organized… They’re worth every bit of it.

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I’m not saying that I haven’t still had bad days. ¬†(Last week, in particular, was pretty tough). ¬†I’m not saying that we should ignore just how hard being a mom is sometimes and pretend that life is always sunshine and roses. ¬†(I’m a firm believer in being real with each other, because we¬†all¬†go through tough patches and need the encouragement of others). ¬†But¬†I also firmly believe that – despite the craziness of mom life – we can strive to flourish in the joy that God provides. ¬†We can grow and learn to parent with patience and love. ¬†We can choose to find beauty in every single day, overlooking the clutter to see the sparkle.

I am so thankful to God that I have my two kiddo’s. ¬†And although these recent days have been hard (because we moms ALL have those days), I want to try even harder to rise above and to not only treasure these moments, but to let my children see that I’m treasuring the moments.

That I’m’ treasuring them.

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A Treasure Worth Fighting For (Part 2 of 3)

For Part One, click HERE!

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Raising a child in the way he should go really is the perfect setting for a comedy series. ¬†Sometimes, amidst the chaos, it’s hard to see the humor at first. ¬†But it’s usually there after you get over the initial frustration or anxiety. ¬†I think God planned it that way… ¬†He knew that being a parent would be hard, so He decided to make kids funny.

I often describe Brady as being a bull in a china shop. ¬†More times than not, he isn’t destructive out of malice or ill-will. ¬†He’s just a little too curious and strong for his own good. ¬†(I’m pretty sure that my little boy is going to become an inventor or engineer one day, because he would much rather take something apart then play with it. He’s oh-so-intrigued as to how that item works and couldn’t care less that mommy and daddy have absolutely no idea how to put this item back together once it’s been dissembled).

I’m pretty sure there’s a reason why Curious George is his favorite cartoon character… ¬†If the bathroom door is left open, he’ll be caught covered in soap suds (from ankles up to his chin). ¬†He likes to push the kitchen chairs up to the sink, so that he can ‘do the dishes’. ¬†Which results in water absolutely¬†everywhere. ¬†He hides TV remotes, tosses cell phones through cat doors leading to the basement, plays with cat water and dumps it over the floor, opens the freezer and tries to help himself to icecream or frozen peas, and turns on every light switch in the house. ¬†The kid is just into absolutely¬†everything, which is fun when I’m focused on a crying infant. ¬†ūüėČ

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Case in point…

Two nights ago, I had thought that I’d get a head start to dinner for the following night, so I placed a chicken into a pot of water to boil. ¬†An hour and a half later, I checked my meat with a thermometer; and it only said that the chicken was 96 degrees. ¬†It obviously wasn’t done, since chicken needs to reach 165 degrees Farenheit, so I added another fifteen minutes to the buzzer. ¬†Well, I boiled that chicken until it was leathery and inedible before realizing that there is a tiny button on the thermometer that can change the temp from Fahrenheit to Celsius. ¬†(Yeah, I’ll give you one guess as to who curiously pushed that button and ruined dinner…).

That same night, I was playing outside with Brady when I noticed a white, article of clothing lying between the front bushes. ¬†I walked closer to investigate and saw other clothes scattered about, including women’s underwear. ¬†Once the wife of a Corrections Officer, always the wife of a Corrections Officer. ¬†My first thought was, “Is this some type of gang marking?” ¬†I’m literally freaking out for a moment, as I’m trying to figure out why there is clothes (and intimate clothes at that) lining the front of my house.

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Then Brady proudly came marching up to me and exclaimed, “I throwed that!”

I suddenly remembered Nate having to punish him for pushing against the window screen, and I realized that Brady had gone back and finished the job… ¬†He pushed against the bottom of the screen until it detached from the rim of the window and then proceeded to throw my clean laundry outside. ¬†I honestly have no idea how long my underwear was hanging from the front bushes.

(…to be continued)

 

 

A Treasure Worth Fighting For (Part 1 of 3)

Let me set the scene…

Colicky baby is screaming¬†at the top of her lungs¬†in the stroller, despite all attempts to appease her. ¬†Toddler is sitting in the middle of a cold, campground road, yelling that he’s mad and that he won’t take another step until mommy and daddy let him go swimming in the lake. ¬†(We’re mean like that and wouldn’t let Brady swim due to the “High bacteria count, please do not swim,” signs. ¬†Apparently, he doesn’t care if he might grow a third arm due to splashing in contaminated waters…).

And mommy and daddy are just standing there, taking in the chaos in front of them and wondering how it all came to this.

Nate says: ¬†“Where would we be right now if we didn’t have kids?”

I reply, after sighing: ¬†“Probably sitting on a beach in Hawaii. ¬†I’d be SO sunburnt right now from laying out in the sun too long.”

Nate nods in agreement and says: ¬†“I’d have eaten too much of my delicious, southwestern omelet and homefries for breakfast, so I’d be feeling sick.”

Me: ¬†“That time-change on the flight over to the islands is really exhausting.”

Nate: ¬†“Palm trees are so overrated.”

I say: ¬†“Yeah, we’d be really miserable sitting over there in Hawaii if we didn’t have kids!”

We were being tongue-in-cheek, of course, and had our laugh before collecting our children and trying to bring order back to the moment. ¬†(Then again, as you already know if you’re a parent, getting everything and everyone in order is basically impossible. ¬†Still, you can’t fault us for trying).

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As parents, we all have those days. ¬†Sure, Nate and I love our kids with every single ounce of our being. ¬†We live for them and – quite honestly – we’d die for them. ¬†And although we’re one step away from the brink of insanity, we really wouldn’t change a thing. ¬†Because now that we’ve met them, we need¬†them! ¬†The love we feel for these two precious children is never-ending and too big to put into words. ¬†And we realize that they are worth every single moment of pull-your-hair out frustration.

But even though there are those days, there are obviously better days too.  Fun days.  Days filled with giggles, and snuggles, and memorable adventures.

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If I’m going to be completely honest though, as I always am here on my blog, it’s been tough these past couple of weeks (hence my inability to blog much these days. ¬†In my defense, I also haven’t been showering much either. ¬†So I promise that this little corner of the internet hasn’t been the only thing neglected recently. ¬†If I can blog once a week, and shower most¬†days, then I’m doing pretty good)!

My little dude has – as of late – decided that he is allergic to sleep. ¬†And he hates it with every fiber of his being. ¬†This is after MONTHS of him happily falling asleep the minute we’d put him to bed (which was, as I’m sure you can guess, quite amazing).¬† Before now, we’d just put him to bed, and he’d sleep all night long (with the occasional sleep regression that messed things up, of course). ¬†Never once did I have to follow a specific bedtime routine.

But yet here I am, now Googling how to help your toddler fall alseep in ten easy steps.

These days, we put him into his bed, and he’s sliding off of it like a slug before we’ve had the chance to close the door behind us. ¬†This goes on for a good hour past his bed time, because apparently sleep is overrated.

I thought that I was a patient person, and then¬†this. ¬†I have suddenly lost my one hour of free time during the day (since he also insists on crawling into bed with me and Nate at 5am every morning, just half an hour before we need to get up for the day). ¬†I am now Googling how to be a joyful mom amidst great suffering. ¬†Guys, I am SO tired it hurts. ¬†And I am SO in need of some me-time, but it’s just not happening these days.

Jesus, please take the wheel!

Brady is also suddenly struggling¬†big time¬†with having to share his mommy and daddy now that there’s an infant sister in the house. ¬†Tantrums and anger and outbursts have become commonplace, and it’s been a confusing time for all of us to navigate.

Oh thank goodness for the humorous moments! ¬†ūüôā

(…to be continued)

 

 

The Postpartum Life

You did it! After nine months of swollen ankles, ridiculous food aversions and cravings, uncomfortable waddling,  sleeping with a man-sized pillow that your husband was strangely jealous of, comparing your growing stomach to fruits and vegetables, and trying to believe friends when they complimented you on your beautiful glow, you delivered a precious, healthy baby.  Just as the books had predicted, the journey to grow your family had been just that.

A journey.

There were ups.  There were downs.  There was laughter.  Anticipation.  There were tears of joy.  Tears of sadness.  And tears without really any particular reason (because pregnancy hormones have absolutely no mercy).

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But after it’s all said and done – no matter how difficult that journey was – you would do it all over again. ¬†Nothing can prepare you for the love you feel when meeting your precious, squishy baby for the first time. ¬†It was ALL worth it!

What I quickly realized, however, was that the birth of a child doesn’t necessarily mean the end of your pregnancy journey. ¬†There is that one final chapter. ¬†The conclusion, so to speak… ¬†Because there is a postpartum journey as well, and it’s almost just as fun.

And by fun, I mean that it too includes all the ups.  And downs.  And laughter.  And tears.

Except this time around, you don’t get to wear cute T-shirts with whimsical sayings. ¬†Like “Retired watermelon smuggler.” Or “I grew my tribe, and I’m still recovering.” ¬†Or “It took me nine months to grow this belly, and I like icecream too much to lose it any faster than that. ¬†So don’t judge me.”

 

Yeahhhh, that last one is kind of wordy. ¬†Maybe I’ll save it for the postpartum greeting card line.

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But seriously, there are weeks of physical recovery and adjusting to changes in your body. ¬†And then once you finally start to feel like yourself again, the hormones go crazy and your hair starts to fall out. ¬†Postpartum hair loss is pretty much a kick-me-when-I’m-down situation and adds insult to injury. ¬†But on the flip side, it does take your mind off of the fact that none of your clothes fit quite right.


 

Speaking of hormones…

Let me take a break from my usual tongue-in cheek humor for one moment and talk about post-partum depression. ¬†It is absolutely no joke at all, and it affects so many new moms. ¬†I – in a sense – woke up from it after three months and couldn’t believe that I had missed all that precious time with my newborn. ¬†I had such disconnect from her in the beginning and there was such a cloud of darkness and defeat over me.

I thank God that I had so much love and support surrounding me when I was traveling that difficult road! ¬†I didn’t even have a severe case of it, but it was enough to make my journey to recovery really hard.



Okay, enough serious talk… ¬†I just had to throw that out there, because postpartum depression is such a cruel reality for many women. ¬†But now let’s talk about something less difficult…

Like constipation.

HA! ¬†Oh man, post-partum constipation is no joke either, especially if you’ve had a C-section. ¬†Seriously, if you’re going to have a planned surgery, still take the Lamaze class, because you’ll need the focused breathing to survive your first poop. ¬†I had a friend buy me stool softener as a gift before I went into the hospital; and I had laughed, thinking it was a gag gift. ¬†After my C-section, her present was the best mommy gift in my house.

“Dear friend, thank you for the stool softener. ¬†I think it may have saved my life.”

Before Brady was born, I hadn’t realized that the postpartum stage is just as much an experience as pregnancy can be; but I was more prepared for it this time. ¬†There is so much going on during the recovery, never mind the fact that you aren’t getting any sleep. ¬†It can be so easy to feel overwhelmed. ¬†And alone. ¬†(Even ugly, inadequate, unqualified, and just plain exhausted).

And as women, we so often overlook this part of the journey. ¬†There aren’t tshirts, and cards, and post-partum parties. ¬†We don’t even really talk about it much.

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And in reality, that’s all we really need. ¬†Someone to talk it over with. ¬†Support. ¬†Encouragement. ¬†Assurance that everything we’re experiencing is normal and that it really will get better one day. ¬†It will get easier.

One day, we’ll actually sleep through the night. ¬†And not have leaky breasts. ¬†And we’ll maybe even go to the store without looking like the extra from a zombie movie.

Maybe we need to stop trying to be brave ALL the time, so that others coming after us can see that it is hard. ¬†But that they too can get through it if we all stick together. ¬†God created us women to be oh-so-strong. ¬†But we’re definitely stronger together.

And – like pregnancy – the postpartum experience can be tough at times. ¬†But it helps knowing that – also like pregnancy – it’s worth it. ¬†And there will be a light at the end of the tunnel. ¬†ūüôā

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What’s your best postpartum advice – or encouragement – for a new mom or mom-to-be?

 

 

Three Things!

I’m Backkkkkkkkk!!!!! ¬† ¬†ūüôā

Gosh, I’ve missed blogging SO much. ¬†For my first blog post in weeks, I decided to try my hand at this fun, ‚Äúthree things‚ÄĚ survey going around the blog world! ¬†ūüôā ¬†I’m keeping it light – and not too wordy – today.

Anyone else want to play along?


 

Three Foods I Could Never Give Up.  
1.  Cheese
2.  Chocolate
3.  Cupcakes.  (Especially since I love decorating them just as I much eating them)!

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Three Favorite Beverages                                                                                                               1.   Peppermint Mocha Coffee
2.   Iced tea
3. ¬†Fruit Punch ¬†(My mom thought I’d outgrow it, but I’ve been obsessed since the age of six. ¬†HA!)

Three great books I’ve read this year
I don’t have time to read much these days, but I just did finish reading¬†The Nightingale. ¬†It has definitely made my top ten list of current, favorite books. ¬†It’s set in WWII and is devastating, and beautiful, and captivating, and maybe even life-changing. ¬†Such a good book!

Three movies I could watch over and over again
1.  Bride Wars
2. Kate and Leopold
3. The Help

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Three places I want to visit inside the US
1. San Francisco, CA
2. Montana
3. Hawaii (maybe one of the larger islands this time)

Three most often used beauty products
1. Paula’s Choice Earth Sourced Antioxidant Enriched Natural Moisturizer¬†
2. Covergirl Perfect Point Plus Eyeliner
3. Barepro pressed Powder Foundation

Three places I want to visit outside the US
1.  Quebec City, Canada
2. Australia
3. Italy

Three things I always have with me
1. My phone
2. My camera
3. My wallet

Three things that are always in my car
1. Toddler snacks
2. Diapers and wipes
3. Children sing-along cd’s

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Three most recent calls were from / to
1. My mom
2. My friend Liz
3. My sister Sarah

Three dream jobs
1. Professional blogger
2. Cupcake decorator
3. Photographer (although I’m not¬†that¬†good at photography yet. ¬†Not even close. ¬†But in my dreams, I could be. ¬†Ha, ha)!

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What are some of your answers to this survey?

Be Back SOON!

Hi Friends!

I thought that I’d be back to blogging this month; ¬†but now that I’m finally finding my mom-of-two footing, I’m trying to find a schedule and organization that fits our new normal. ¬†And honestly, now that I’ve recovered physically and mentally from childbirth, I’m just having fun being a mom. ¬†I’m enjoying both of my kiddos sooooo much!

Nate has the next two weeks off from work, so we’ve planned a ‘staycation’ of sorts. ¬†Although we aren’t going anywhere on vacay this year, we¬†have¬†planned some fun day trips that we can enjoy as a family.

So I’ll be back in September for SURE, and I’ll have lots to blog about. ¬†ūüôā

I hope you’re all enjoying your summer!!! ¬†What have you been up to?

‘See’ you soon,

Nicole

Blog Break

I went back and forth SO many times as to whether not I should do this, because I’ll miss blogging SO much.  But I have decided to take the month of July off from writing.

I really want to take a break from social media in general, to be honest.  I want to focus on making memories and really spending quality time with my kiddo’s.  I want to focus on mentally slowing down as much as possible and just embracing a slower-paced summer (or as slow-paced as one can be if they have two little ones).  ūüôā

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I’d also like to take out my good camera and to play with that when I can. 

Summer really is for simple momentsÔľĆand I want to spend as little time as possible behind a screen.

I will continue to update Instagram (because I love capturing memories too much), so you can follow me there!  ūüôā  And I WILL be back in August.  I love this little blog… AND all of you.  

I`ll kick off my blog posts in August with a day-in-the-life post!! AND I`m working on a helpful tips for moms post tooÔľĆbecause I`m learning some helpful tips and tricks aping the way.

I know I haven’t been writing much anyway lately, but I don’t even want to feel tempted to take out my laptop.  This girl needs to give her eyes a break from the screen.

Maybe I’ll even read a real book instead of reading on my phone!  ūüôā

I hope you all have a wonderful summer!!!  ‘See’ you in August!

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