Thursday, July 13, 2017

Time is like sand. It's all over my car. Wait, that's not right...

Chloe cut another tooth today. And suddenly it feels like my children are slipping through my fingers. I've been told 68 million times to cherish this time because it goes by too quickly. And every time I respond "I know!" 

Because I do know. I look at Allie and she's a kid. Not a toddler anymore, that phase is long gone. She's a kid with thoughts and ideas and imagination and rebellion. She is beginning to slip away. What do I mean by that? Maddie is a toddler. She depends on me. She needs me to help her with so much (no matter how independent she insists she is). She still wants to cuddle and sit on my lap. She still needs me to get her food, open her granola bars, wash her hair. 

But Allie? She stands on her own two feet, so to speak. She gets her own food from the fridge, bathes herself, changes Chloe's diapers, dresses herself, does her own hair, the list could go on and on. She doesn't need me as much anymore and the more I see it, the more I grasp for it but the more it slips through my fingers like sand. 

Of course I want her to be independent and be able to take care of herself. But I don't want it. I already miss her dependence on me. 

And Chloe. The more desperately I want time to slow down so I can savor her baby-ness, the more it seems to flash before my eyes. She insists on pulling herself up to stand and is even starting to take steps while holding onto the coffee table and I'm just like "Who is this grown baby and where has my infant gone???" I miss those newborn snuggles and even though I know I held her as much as I could, it doesn't feel like enough. 

But what's a mom to do? Curl up into a ball and cry about it, that's what.

Monday, May 1, 2017


The girls are a few feet away entertaining Chloe while she sits in her Bumbo. I've just finished gathering receipts for the kitchen remodel and checking on our budget. I *hate* budgets. But such is life of a married woman/couple who wants to remain free of credit card debt. I've come a long way.

I don't have anything in particular to write about. Occasionally, I'll be thinking about something and then the thought will cross my mind "That would make a good blog post." and then just as quickly as the thought enters, it exits.

Because... life. With 3 kids. Who are growing at an alarmingly fast rate. Allie starts kindergarten this year. KINDERGARTEN. Maddie is learning ABC's and 123's. Chloe is sitting up and starting solids. Yep, I'm just a giant mess of emotions lately.

So, I took an unofficial break from my company. The spring is the slow season anyway as the weather warms up so it seemed like a good time to step away for a breather. That doesn't mean I stopped crocheting. I currently have 3 unfinished projects I'm working on (not including 2 others that I'm not working on and 1 more that I have yet to start). Such is life of anyone who knits/crochets.

We're slowly plugging away at the kitchen remodel. I learned how to drywall mud last week and it was strangely soothing to cover the grimy, greasy, multi-colored walls with fresh, clean drywall mud. We still have a few more coats of drywall to do, with sanding in between each, then prime, then paint. Then the cabinets can be built and installed and we will be a little closer to having a normal home again.

I'm pretty sure the girls have only ever known what it's like to live in an "in-between" stage. At our last house, we were remodeling for 2 years right up until we drove away in the moving truck. Literally. Brian had finished the last coat of paint on the door trim and then we loaded everyone up and drove away. Then for 6 months we lived in a teeny, tiny apartment with only half of our belongings and it. was. crammed. Now we're in a space twice the size (which isn't saying much) but everything is still chaotic.

There's holes in the ceiling (not like tiny little holes, like giant, gaping, I-can-fit-my-head-through-there-and-then-some holes), cardboard temporary flooring, the walls are patchy from where we removed termite damage and 70's mirrored squares. Our bathroom upstairs is the most done but still has a mint green, dented door which makes the white paint look a tinge green which drives me crazy. The girls' room has exposed screws from drywall that was screwed in the day before we moved in. Everything needs to be mudded, sanded, primed, then painted. We need to install lights in the bedrooms, close all the giant gaping holes in the walls and ceilings, install cabinets in the laundry room, and then there's a whole long boring list of little things that need to be done.

I'm thankful that we have a house. I'm excited for when it's a home. Moving to Oceanside was the scariest thing we have ever done but we have been so incredibly blessed here. But living in the midst of the chaos can be challenging. People keep commending me for tiling, drywalling, etc. The truth is, I push Brian to let me help because I want to have my home. I want to cook in my kitchen. I want to do dishes without a toilet blocking my way. I want to walk through my kitchen and not track concrete dust through the rest of the house. I want to enjoy a weekend at the beach instead of checking things off our to-do list. I want the girls to be able to play without worrying they'll pick up a driver and drill a screw into someone's head or throw their toys in the many gaping holes in our walls.

This is the hard part. This is the part where we have to persevere through the remodel. I know there will be a good part. Where we'll look back at this and marvel at how terrible the house used to look. That's what's keeping me going. That and okay fine there's a little part of me that secretly really enjoys this. Except the painting.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Sleep and other idols

Let's start with motherhood, shall we? Because it is my life. It is every waking minute of my day. It is what consumes my entire being, not just my physical body, but my emotions and mentality. Yesterday, Brian got home and we both laid on our bed and I told him about my day. I told him how I was exhausted mentally from parenting and disciplining rowdy toddlers who could just not. Get. Along.
We've been struggling with sleep lately and oddly enough, the 2 month old is not to blame. With the girls waking earlier and earlier (think Maddie running into our room at 4:45 am), I decided to implement a tip from several moms to keep the girls in bed until 7 am. Get a special clock, let them have books, tell them they need to stay in bed until 7. Sounds simple enough, right? Well, it wasn't.

After 2 weeks of it, this is what we had: me groggily stumbling from bed at 5 am, breaking up the fights, spending the next 2 hours refereeing and eventually being so frustrated and angry, I would let them out and the crankiness would just trickle through the rest of the day. I wasn't getting anything done except creating extra opportunities for my own anger to boil over. The rest of the day was spent with me constantly trying to control my anger and desperately failing.

Chloe has been sleeping 7-8 hour stretches the last few days so today I decided that instead of trying to keep the girls in their room and not at each other's throats, I would let them join me. I was able to sneak in a shower before they woke up at 6 and then they both came downstairs and read books quietly next to me while I read Jeremiah.

Now normally, I'm straining to keep my anger under control but today, I was able to correct and discipline without raising my voice or huffing and sighing with impatience seeping through every pore. It was exactly the kind of day I needed. Full of grace from the Lord. But it made me think.

I was so desperately trying to have my alone time (or to be honest, my sleep) which just wasn't working for us. Instead, the Lord showed me that my time with Him or whatever I'm doing will include little ones sitting at my feet or in my arms. This is my full time job. 24/7. No breaks. No vacations.

And isn't that part of my job as a mother? To show them that no matter the circumstances, I place a high priority on my relationship with God. Not a high priority on sleep or a clean house or being able to have "me" time.

I still think it's good to have time for myself, for my own sanity and even just to rejuvenate myself mentally and physically. But I don't think I'll look back on this 30 years from now and wish I had made more "me" time. I need just enough to be able to come back to creating a happy home for the people I love. I still have the dirty dishes and piles of clean laundry and bottoms to be wiped and babies to be fed. But there's joy knowing that this is the best thing I can do with my time and the most important job anyone could have. And I couldn't be more thankful that God has in His goodness entrusted me with these little ones.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Maddie Jane

You are my sensitive one. I know part of it is normal toddler emotions at your age but there's also a sweetness and compassion about you. You always cry when you listen to the Baa Baa Quartet from the Shaun the Sheep movie sing "Feels Like Summer" because you know it's the part where the baby sheep is sad and missing home. When it first happened, I could see you trying to hold it together so I scooped you in my arms and you just cried and kept saying "Baby... Sad... Crying..." I immediately teared up too -- obviously not for the sheep but because I could see compassion in your heart at such a young age.

It's not easy parenting #2. More often than not I lean on Allie because she's older and I require more patience and generosity from her. You are younger so in some ways, you get away with a lot. We're trying hard to curb this but also give you grace, just like we did with Allie.

But still... you get your way. Especially with Dad. One weepy look and he's handing over cookies for breakfast to you and your sister. I cringe to think how you'll use that as teenagers... :D

You look up to Allie in every. Single. Way. And more often than not, it's wanting whatever she has (which I'm sure frustrates her at times). If Allie is going to have pigtails, then that's how you want your hair. If Allie is playing with a play phone, then you want that phone and only that phone. If Allie is acting crazy and wild and bouncing off the walls, then you're right behind her.

Last night at dinner (which admittedly was at 8:30 p.m. so way past your normal dinner time. In fact, way past your bedtime...) you girls were sitting there giggling hysterically at each other. About nothing at all. I love that you're already bonding and building your sister relationship. Even if you drive each other crazy sometimes (like hearing Allie finally announce in frustration "Maddie! Stop following me!"). I gently reminded her that you love her so much (maybe even more than your parents?) and just want to be with her and play with her.

And of course we're in the "my do it" stage. You are such an independent little girl, it's funny/scary to me because I see so much of myself in you.

Things are so crazy in our lives right now. You will soon be removed from the position of youngest. We're moving to a new condo that's mid-renovation in 4 days. We are in the midst of packing our lives for the 4th time in our 6 years as a family and it's chaotic. I'm hoping that there will be a new normal soon. One where we aren't in the middle of a huge transition. With the new place, new baby, new(ish) hometown, new(ish) job for Brian, we've had such a whirlwind year.

And you, sweet girl. Your life is flashing before my eyes. I feel like I can barely remember you as a baby. You're growing so quickly it makes me sad. I just want to squeeze you and kiss you and keep you little forever. But since I can't, I'm going to write you these letters and capture these memories to look back on later. When you've grown so big, you no longer can nuzzle me as I carry you. When you're too old to want to climb up onto my lap just to make silly faces. When you have reached the stage of not needing me to be around, not missing me when I'm gone, not wanting me to be the only one to hold you. *Sigh... I don't look forward to those days so I'll do my best to soak up every moment with you now. <3 br="">

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Allie - 4 years old

I can't believe Allie is 4. I didn't cry the whole week. Not even when Facebook reminded me what I posted 4 years ago. She was so tiny and squishy. But I kept it together until Sunday rolled around. She moved up to the 4-5 yr old class and when she lined up without even looking back at me, it really hit me how grown up and independent she is. So of course I walked back into big church and immediately started crying into Brian's shoulder.

I remember there were moments where it felt so easy. She would sleep so much, at 5 days old we thought "This parenting thing is a piece of cake". And honestly, it was when she was that small. I still maintain that potty-training was the hardest thing I've ever had to do as a parent. It's between that and disciplining her. Those newborn days were so simple. *Sigh...

Sometimes when I see her sin come out, I can't help but feel like a failure as a parent. It's easy to blame yourself but it's also silly. I didn't put the sin in her heart. Yes, it's my job to teach her to be fighting it but she is not going to be perfect, no matter how hard I try. The moments that keep me going and encourage my heart the most are when I see the grace in her life. When she says "Yes, mommy" with a good attitude. When she lovingly helps Maddie instead of aggravating her. When she cleans all her toys quickly and efficiently and then says "Mom! Look! It's all clean!" with such joy. She's not even bragging, she's genuinely looking for the smile on my face and the hug I sweep her up in to thank her.

Oh Allie. Someday you'll be a mother. I can't even fathom that. Someday you won't need me to direct you anymore. You won't need the correction and instruction. You won't need me to tell you what's right and wrong. What's rude and polite. What's kind and unkind. I pray that you will lean as heavily on God's Word as I have. I pray that you don't attempt perfection but that you constantly repent. I pray that your eyes will be open to your sins. That you will be humble in correction. That you will be kind in your words and actions. That you will be submissive yet unwavering.

When you're a mother, you'll see I did the best I could. You'll see how imperfect I was. You'll see the mistakes and flaws but I think you will appreciate that I honestly gave it my best shot and prayed that God's grace would cover the abundance of shortcomings. And I hope that you will always come to me with your burdens. Mothers... we bear the burdens of our children even if they don't want it. But I hope I can always offer comfort, wisdom, and if nothing else, bring your burdens before the Lord on your behalf.

I'm so thankful for the last 4 years that you have been in our lives. It feels like you've been around forever and yet not that long. It also feels like you've been 4 forever because I can hardly remember you as a baby. You are growing so quickly into a young lady, I'm sure I'll blink and you'll be driving. It's a sad thing to see these years flying by but it also brings so much joy to see the Lord at work in your heart. I love you so fiercely.

Monday, August 29, 2016

How to style your coffee table: Mom's of toddlers edition

I saw the headline of an email from Lulu & Georgia today. "How to style your coffee table" it said. I didn't bother opening it. I laughed out loud and then decided it was enough to be a blog post.

Mom of Toddlers Edition

Mom Coffee Table

  1. Scribbles. Let's start with a good base. Your coffee table should already have some random crayon/color pencil/pen/marker scribbles on it. Please don't attempt this yourself - the true artist needs to shine here: your toddlers. It will be the start of layering items to break up the monotony.
  2. Snacks. Doesn't have to be goldfish crackers but that's the most basic snack that is easily spread around and solid orange will be a nice break from all the other colorful elements going on. 
  3. Obnoxiously colorful books. A favorite in our house for decorating the coffee table are Dr. Seuss books but you can also use any classic book, bonus points if it makes noises!
  4. Random clothing. This can be your clothing that your toddler was wearing moments ago or the outfit she had on earlier or the underwear she was wearing until her potty break and then ran away bottomless. If you have girls, you'll probably want to throw in some sort of princess attire to bring a feminine tone to the space. 
  5. Duplos. It doesn't have to be Duplos -- this is merely representative of any sort of colorful set of toys. Don't put the whole set here - you just need a few random pieces strewed haphazardly around. 
  6. Parts of a tea set. This is probably more geared towards moms of girl toddlers who often have tea parties -- I don't know, I've never had sons. Just make sure the set is missing one purple spoon that will drive you crazy every time you see it. We want a stressful item to bring sentimentality to the table. 
  7. Parts of other toys. This is usually kitchen items in our house but it can be whatever you want! This is where you get creative. Random pieces of a puzzle would be ideal as the final touch of chaos. 
  8. Stray art supplies. These should be leftover from letting your toddler decorate your table in step 1. You just need a few crayons (preferably broken with half the paper torn off) to add the finishing touch to your stylish coffee table. 
That's it! Once you have these items on your coffee table, it really sets the tone for the rest of the house and will show that your decor style is a really lived in, laid back style.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Life... a year ago?

I have had this post sitting in my drafts since last August. I suppose I could just change a few things and it would still be applicable today :D
  • We've had the songs (and corresponding motions) from VBS stuck in our heads all week. Allie was even pretending to be the Leader for lesson time. "Everyone feeling good today? Yeah? Okay! Let's talk about our verse for today!" It's a sweet reminder that her little head does retain all the lessons, verses, and stories that we tell her. Even if in the moment of sin, it doesn't seem like it. But aren't we all that way? Next item on the list: teach her the actual words to the songs so I'm not hearing "thenazing graaaace, the mazing loooooove" So close. 
  • Speaking of Allie, she'll be 4 in less than 2 weeks. I can't believe it. The only thing she keeps asking for is a birthday party and a trip to Disneyland. I'm sure we'll be able to work both of those out (especially before our passes expire). 
  • Brian has this Friday off and instead of getting started on the HUGE list of to-do at the new house, we're gonna take a half day and meet up with college friends in San Diego at the beach. Plus gearing up for a full day of work on Saturday! Those popcorn ceilings have got to GO.
  • Allie overcame her fear of the ocean. Great. The last time Brian took her out, I was basically holding my breath the whole time and I think my shoulders are still tense. She was wearing floaties but they went so far out. She loved it. I was dying. At least I still have one terrified of the water. Maybe I'll feel better when she knows how to swim. And I'm cursing myself for not enrolling her in swim lessons earlier. Being a mother is stressful in so many ways. Like if they're not already in danger of getting run over by a car or dying of pneumonia, let's add drowning to the list.