Wednesday, March 30, 2016

90% Full Of My Babies

My children are taking over my stream of consciousness during this sweet season of life. They're my go-to topic in my head, my conversations, and my passions. Almost everything is ABOUT THEM. Often I throw my free time at things that are very non-kids in the name of staying interesting, and I gravitate towards my friends who can not only relate to that mom-side, but also talk about something other than our kids! It's exactly where I want to be: relishing this time of being a mom of littles while keeping myself from drowning in the obsession. 

Then I tuck them in bed, find a quiet moment, and scroll through my phone pictures, BECAUSE I CAN'T QUIT THEM!

I remember this night from a while ago-I was working with Burl on some reading and Fern wanted to be included so I gave her a version as well. I emptied my patience bucket on this little session and wondered (for the 4,000 time) how moms actually homeschool! Teaching is not my gift.

We found a fun new playground with these fun double swings. Burl did well, but I dominated. 

Last minute, I decided to give the kids some Easter baskets: candy and a little lego set. Burl put his together before breakfast and literally carried it with him all day long. Anyone who came by got a detailed description of all it's little parts. I've never seen him love a toy more.

Baby sick days are pitiful. I hate it for them, but I love the snuggles. I got about three hours yesterday of sleeping Ridge time and I loved it. The days where he does this are fading quickly.

Part of my Easter dinner meal was a simple bunny cake, to which Burl decided needed some eyes. He told me, "I just poked my finger in there and made some eyes."

For 20 days, I ate salads for lunch everyday. I didn't get a crown or lose 20 pounds, but I felt better. I have kept up the trend and enjoy creating something different everyday. My absolute new favorite is: spring mix, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, blue cheese, and walnuts. The cheese and nuts were key!

Fern got invited to her second baby shower recently. The first thing she did was plan her outfit: which dress to wear. We got a picture with my mom on the way to our cars. Say hello to my thigh (hashtag dark meat).

Wednesdays are girls night out. I take Fern to children's choir (taught by her aunt), then we do something special. Buy gum, take her cousin to ice cream, eat at a restaurant, etc. These nights are a huge deal for Fern and the magically turn her into a better version of herself. It's adorable. On the way to the car one Wednesday, she asked, "what is it called when it's just girls? 'Girls going out?'"

Occasionally, I have the jewel of a day when I get to go by myself and pick up Burl from school. We usually stop of a treat on the way home and he talks and talks and talks. I remember on this day, he quizzed me on math and we played "guess the animal." I love his ramblings-he's got my gift/curse of external processing. 

Trusted her with my camera and watch her become free!

Who needs Disney World? Not Ridge. He loves a good empty dishwasher session!

Ridge loves to flop down and transition to a superman postion. He will hangout like it's totally normal to hold a baby like this. It cracks me up. (Note to self: buy some windex!)

We experienced our first Mega Party Store, where the money and time just drift away!

See? I'm drunk of little times of doing nothing special at all because BABIES. My babies. I love them. I don't want them to consume me, but they kind of do and I don't even care. 

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Plenty & Abundance At Dinner

This is the first time that I've been a part of a family that eats dinner together every night. Before my parents' divorce, I have a few memories of it. However it was nothing like the consistency that I have now. Over the years of my family now, we've evolved from taking the plates outside and eating in our laps to popping up the tiny table in our kitchen to now, taking everything to the dining room and filling the table with all these beautiful babies that we have. 

This particular Sunday night I baked a ham and made real food (a meal that it usually as casual as the weekend and kept very simple). It struck me-I snapped a picture on my phone during setup: I'm an adult in a family system that looks so much better than what I've known. It's beyond redemptive. It's beyond wonderful. It's beyond safe. It's so good. 

Making dinners for my husband, my children, our extended family, and our friends is my gift to them, but it's also the best gift to myself. While I enjoy it deeply, it also feels like walking on shaky ground. Holding goodness is new (and sometimes scary) to me. I've found much comfort in Paul's words in Philipians and pray that I may say the same thing one day: "Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing PLENTY and hunger, ABUNDANCE and need." (4:11-12)

Monday, March 14, 2016

Ridge's Walk Through The House

I love a good baby. I always have, and I'm assuming I always will. If that baby happens to be mine, then I don't know how to function from all the happy. Ridge is just that. He's enjoyed by everyone in this house, but he's especially doted on by his mama. I absorb every move that he makes, every new thing he does, and every smile he gives me throughout our days together. 

He is especially happy and especially smile-y. I'm 3-for-3 on chill babies, but Ridge wins Most Smiles. It's all he does. 

The other morning, as I was wiping his nose and dispensing Benadryl, we went for a walk around the house. He pushed the buggy, and I kept it from running away from him. He worked so hard, he had so much fun, and he threw down the gauntlet on cuteness. 

I know this is nothing special. He pushed the buggy through the house, but I love babies and I love every little thing they do. Pushing the buggy and kind-of walking through the house IS A VERY BIG DEAL!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Little Mommy On The Phone

So often being a parent gives us a reflection of who we are. Fern is definitely her own person, but I see her do things that I know she's picked up from me. The other day I heard her pretending to be on the phone, "She's not listening good today. Right now she's dancing on her tiptoes. Oh I'm sorry for your hard things. Sorry, sorry, sorry. I know, I know, I know." She's picked up that my phone calls usually involve telling cute kid stories and talking about hard things with my friends.

Another way she mirrors me is being a little mommy. She loves taking care of all her babies. She loves helping with Ridge and loving her own babies. Everyday she's tending to her dolls-feeding them, putting them to sleep, wearing them in a wrap, or talking sweetly to them. 

This week I told her that she's a great mama to her dolls, and she replied, "just like my book, Little Mommy!" She also knows what she's good at and a little proud about it, just like me (eek). This combo makes for several cute moments and stories (and I usually call someone and tell them about her). 

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

My Brother/Bend Trip

I love those vacations that reset my energy clock. I return home feeling great with renewed energy. This was not one of them. I crawled home exhausted and sore with an adventure hangover, but I loved every minute of it. 

Here's the deal: My trip to Bend, Oregon was packed full of exciting adventures, each day progressing in beautiful, new (to me) scenery. However, nothing topped the adventure of getting to know Daniel's new world. My brother has quickly fallen in love with that town, and it seems that he'll be out there for a while. Being the overbearing sister that I am, I HAD TO see it. I saw his places. I met his people. I explored his town. It was wonderful to see it all
Here's a detailed recap of my few days out there:

Day 1: Travel. It was nice to have time to myself to read and not be responsible for anyone else. By the time I got to Daniel's house, I had been up for 23 hours. That was intense. I got five hours of sleep then got the party started. 

Day 2: I woke up and was out of the house in five minutes. THAT NEVER HAPPENS THESE DAYS. I washed my face, threw a jacket over my nightgown, and ran out for coffee. We drove around and Daniel took me on a side of a hill with an incredible view. There were several snowcapped mountains looking down on Bend. It was breathtaking. 

Later, we went 4-wheeling down dirt roads to a smaller town nearby. We ran into a ranger and almost got $400 tickets for being on roads in the off season. I was sweaty from our encounter, but my brother told me  "the more run-ins you have with cops, the easier it gets." Clearly, I've been doing it all wrong. 

After dinner, we met some friends for nachos at an outside patio in 30 degree weather like that was normal for me. Crazy people. I tried to play it cool, but inside I was shutting down. Thankfully, we had to leave because we had to make it to some honky-tonk bar at 8:00 for line dancing lessons. This was great! Never in my life have I wanted to WATCH the dancing more than DO the dancing. These people were extremely good and I was wide eyed. 

Day 3: was our snowmobile day. I'm still reliving it in my head, because it was like nothing that I've done before. It was up there with snorkeling in the Red Sea, living in Mexico by myself, and visiting Israel, but it wasn't as epic as childbirth. I would easily pay the money again to have that much fun. 

After we got back, I made dinner for Daniel's teammates and we ate at his coach's house. Post dinner activities included acoustic Bieber and Eric Clapton. 

Day 4: I woke up in a lot of pain from the snowmobile, so I decided to go for a run to help. Running on vacation is stupid, but it was fun to run in his town and enjoy the views. 

After I got back, we went for coffee and brunch then headed to Smith Rock. The beauty that I saw there was like nothing I've seen before. (Similar to snowmobiling) I kept going on and on about how amazing the views were. By the time we were done, I told Daniel that I almost felt emotional over all the beauty. That got a laugh and "gosh you sound like Dad."

Once we returned we shared a bottle of local wine with his teammates and I got to talk to them more. I LOVED getting to talk to them, and I really wish I had more time to do it. Those girls are great! We carried our conversations to a Thai restaurant for some great food. My brother knew all the great places to eat-so great!

Day 5: Travel. I left early in the morning. At sunrise, I flew over the mountains that I enjoyed all week. That was breathtaking and somehow I ended up on the window seat for the flight. My face stayed pressed against the window for the entire ride, and helped keep the leave-my-brother tears at bay. It was a great ending to the trip.

In conclusion, I see a theme: I'm old and mushy and I don't get out much. The slightest bit of beauty makes me all weepy and such. Plus, I only explore eastern Tennessee these days. While there's great stuff to see here, leaving my timezone opens up my mom-world to some great things. My brother did such a wonderful job playing tour guide. Besides all the cool stuff we did, my absolute favorite part was getting to know Daniel's cool town. I can't wait to visit again!