Monday, January 5, 2015

I haven't blogged much since Zara was born. I still feel like we're adjusting to having 3 little ones in our house. For me, pregnancy number 3 and the following months have been the hardest of all of our pregnancy to postpartum times. I had a healthy but stressful pregnancy. I just really struggled to find rest, and have since she was born. Mix that with buying our first house, packing, moving, unpacking, and one of the busiest seasons Neal has ever had with work and I've spent a lot of  my days floundering. It's been challenging. There have been some really hard days/weeks. Anxiety. Lack of sleep. Fear. The list could go on. I am thankful for those who have faithfully checked up on me. There have also been some incredibly sweet moments. I am thankful for a husband who reminds me of the hope I have in Christ and that I can rest soundly in it.

Just before the holidays began Neal switched jobs. After we moved it very quickly became apparent that Caribou was no longer a healthy fit for our family. Simply put it was just too many hours for too little pay. His schedule was unreliable (understatement) and as I walked through the season I was in as a Mom we found that I needed more support at home. We are incredibly thankful for Neal's new job. He is home every evening and weekend. He has paid holidays. We know exactly when he'll be at work. Maybe best of all, his new job is very noncommittal, meaning he puts in his time and then doesn't have to worry about work once he's at home. This has been life changing for us. This is the first time since our wedding that Neal has had two days off in a row. Previously we had two options with his one day off. Either we could choose to rest well and then start the week still behind on various things that needed to get done. Or, we could choose to spend the day being productive and then start the new week still exhausted from the previous week. Weekends have been wonderful. It's been so nice to see Neal relax. I've watched his relationship with the kids become sweeter and we've experienced so much growth in our marriage. We are thankful.

Sometimes you don't notice the unhealthy aspects of your life until you aren't in the middle of them anymore. I don't know how we managed the past few years. I really don't. Neal was under an unhealthy amount of stress getting an unhealthy amount of sleep and working an unhealthy number of hours.  I was parenting on my own in a lot of ways. Funny enough, I didn't even realize how alone I was until Neal was able to stay home more. So now we transition. We've found that as we 'white knuckled' our way through certain areas of life over the past few years we let areas of hearts harden. We're learning a lot. In some ways we're relearning how to parent together. In some ways we're relearning how to be a couple. In a lot of ways we're relearning how to love Jesus. We're both enjoying the rest. We're still failing a lot. We're undoing some bad habits. We are thankful.

Can I say something? Something I've thought about recently is how I'm so quick to judge the validity of someones emotions based on how I perceive their circumstances. If I think they have what would make me happy it's so easy to invalidate their sadness, discontent etc. What a shame. We miss so much real and honest interaction when this is our response. There were so many times when I rationalized my way out of asking for help. I'm happily married to a wonderful man. I have three beautiful, healthy children. We are living the lives we've chosen. We have a beautiful home. We love where we live. We have food on our table and are able to pay our bills. We have wonderful friends. And on and on and on. I would list to myself all of the blessings in my life and somehow come to the conclusion that I had no reason to be sad or to have a hard time. That's ridiculous. I needed and need help. Daily. No matter how ridiculous our emotions are, we should have the freedom and safety to deal with them; to disregard what is unnecessary and to surrender and heal through what is valid.

Feeling as if our emotions, whatever they may be, are invalid easily translates to how we view other people. "Oh Sally has children that listen, perfect hair and her house is straight off of Pinterest...and she still complains. What a whiner. Who does she think she is. If I had her life I'd be smiling from ear to ear 24/7." Have you ever thought along those lines? Oh comparison is such a thief of joy. It steals our compassion, for each other and for ourselves. Sometimes having compassion for ourselves is harder than having it for others. We're so quick to assume we're the only ones struggling. This is  never true. In the past few months I've talked with multiple women about the harder parts of our Spring/Summer/Fall/Winter...okay year, and each time I've been given the same response, "Man. I'm so glad I'm not the only one. I was starting to think I was crazy."  This is heartbreaking. 

We. Are. All. In. The. Same. Boat.
Hang in there Mama. Days are long. Tempers flare sometimes. Smiles are weary and eyes are heavy. Hang in there. He is coming back. This is our greatest hope when we're so tired we can't see straight. This is our greatest hope when we are weak and failing. This is our greatest hope.

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment.
Revelation 21:1-6


It's been a while. Months go by and blogs go unwritten and now here I am with a lot to say ; ) 2014 flew by and as 2015 begins I really feel like I need to crawl into a hole and just process. First of all, in the midst of the flow of everyday life our little lady Zara has grown so much!

She's so sweet and snuggly. 
She keeps us laughing with her funny faces. 
She babbles all day long. 
She scoots around on her tummy. 
She plays happily with Selah and Maddox. 
She loves to eat! She'd rather use one of those squeeze pouches than be spoon fed and is very particular about nobody touching her food. 
She has the biggest cheesy smile. 
She likes to roam around the house and we find her under benches, playing in random corners or giggling behind doors. 
She liked laying under the Christmas tree and had fun trying to get the ornaments down. 
She just started saying Mama...more like a Mamamamamama sound when she wants me to pick her up but I'll take it. 
She is wearing 12-18 month clothing and size 4 diapers.
She sits pretty well but really doesn't care to stay that way for long.
We've noticed her eyes wandering a bit and we're wondering if she'll end up with glasses as well.
She has her two bottom teeth and her top two are just about through.

Unfortunately we're still battling for sleep. She's a lot like Selah in this sense. Maddox was a textbook 'cry it out' baby. He would fuss for a few minutes and then fall asleep on his own. That method worked for him. With our girls, that hasn't been the case. Zara's a great napper, there are zero issues there, but at night time she just wants to nurse. All. Night. Long. We'll get there eventually. With Selah I really believed I would never sleep again : ) At least this time around I have hope for rest in days to come. 


Friday, October 31, 2014

Where did this girl come from?

Last night she went to a little Halloween thing with our neighbors.
She was so excited to go without Mommy and Daddy.
She couldn't wait to be picked up so she sat outside on our front steps to wait.
Neal sat down with her and she looked up at him and said, "Dad how was work, oh wait, I mean, how was class?" 
After he answered she asked, "And how was that other thing?" 
"The bank?" Neal responded. 
"Yes, the bank. How was the bank Dad?"

I think she grew up over night. 


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

We love our home. We are learning to love our home. Not love like "we love tacos", "we love our new car" or "we love our new house". No. Love like greater has no man than this than he who lays his life down for his friend. Love like perfect love casts out all fear. Love from Jesus - because He is the only one who can change hearts, He is the only one who truly breaks down barriers, He is the only one who holds us together. I've never been more aware of my need for this love. 

It's been such an interesting few months for me. I grew up on the animals and all : ) I'm not a city girl, though I've liked to pretend I might be one over the years. There are a million places in the world that are more risky than where I live but it was still a massive adjustment for me and I still struggle with fear, especially if I'm home alone. But let's be real, what are we doing if we're not becoming more like Jesus? What are we doing if we're not depending on Him, abiding in Him, and seeking His presence? I'm not perfect at this but if I sit down and really think about it I'm thankful for an opportunity to see Jesus in a place where I never would have looked before. I'm thankful for an opportunity to have false mindsets challenged. I'm thankful for an opportunity to trust and abide. So often we think incorrect things without realizing it. I'm thankful for Jesus, the ever faithful, ever gentle, ever meek one who constantly loves and holds my heart as I learn to think, act and love differently. 

This is a beautiful place. These are beautiful people. Is it messy? Yes. But just because I can see the mess right in front of my face doesn't mean it's any worse than the mess that's hiding nicely behind pretty houses, picket fences, and "put together" families. I'm determined to love without fear, without judgement, without pretense, without condition. 


Thursday, August 28, 2014

Roly Poly Chub Chub. Zara Jayne. Chub Chub baby. We love her : ) 
She is so very sweet. 
At 5 months she… 
is wearing 6-9 month clothes
rolls around like a pro
stares at our food like a vulture
loves bath time
is smitten with Neal
things anything Selah and Maddox do is just hilarious, she's always giggling at them
has the chubbiest most wonderful thighs
is easy going most of the time
wakes up once or twice at night but in general sleeps great
loves to be outside and just stares at everything around her


Sunday, August 24, 2014

She's four. I can hardly believe she's so big. She's so adventurous, so girly, so wild and free. We love her so much. She teaches us how to be humble. She teaches us how to enjoy the simplest things. She teaches us how to laugh : ) She loves all things pink, getting dirty, and laughing with her friends. She kindly and gently cares for her brother and sister and is always willing to help Mommy. She's stubborn and feels each emotion fiercely and seriously. She's independent. She's strong. This year we've loved watching her ride her bike, learn how to be a good friend, share selflessly with her siblings, perfect her alphabet and counting skills and sing her little heart out whenever she so desires. She dances through her days and we are thankful for her goofy smile and crazy antics : )


Saturday, August 2, 2014

This little man is so great. We adore him. He's full of life and cuddles and craziness! He's such a big boy already, I can hardly believe it's been two years since we first saw his face. 

He's a tank. Super solid and built so differently than our string bean Selah.

He sweetly answers "nuffing" whenever I ask him what he's doing : )

In the last few months he's gone from calling Selah "Ya Ya" to "Say Sa" and now sometimes he actually says Selah. 

He loves to wrestle with Daddy.

His favorite pastimes in the car include yelling at me until I acknowledge that he saw an airplane or squealing with delight when he sees someone "building stuff".

He eats like a machine…so muuuucchhhhh foooooood.

Two of the most important items in our house are his blue blanket and his green water cup.

He is still so very snuggly. He still always wants to hold my hair. His two fingers are still always in his mouth.

He loves to pretend with Selah that they are riding horses, making pizza etc

He only has one volume. Loud. He is very offended if you ever ask him to be more quiet.

He talks. A lot. I'm constantly impressed with his vocabulary. Selah was still so quiet at 2 years old so it's new for us to have a little chatterbox on our hands.

He likes to read books…mostly he likes he rip books : (

He just loves Zara. He's super sweet with her…most of the time ; ) 

He's our tender one. Always asking if someone is okay, always quick to say "I love you" and offer a kiss or hug.

I love having a little boy. I love watching him with Neal. I love watching him grow. 

Two years old! Me oh my.