Thursday, July 28, 2011

Thoughts on motherhood - the early years

I've written this post in my head four times today and each time it was diifferent all depending on the amount of food on the floor at that time. The 3rd blog in my head came immediatly after I had a "screamout" as a dear friend just called it over the phone. You know....when you join the high pitched octaves roaring through the house and then you apologize for the rest of the night for acting like the very two year old you were "nerved" with? Please tell me you know. I can say I've only done this twice {yet} so please don't think anything too negative about me. The good news is it really does help you to feel a little better in those 10 seconds when everything stops except my own (dulled down) whine. Luckily, the three of us (because the big boy is at the Braves game) ended the night on high notes and full tummys. Who doesn't use ice cream as bribery and a source of forgiveness after dissappointing behavior in front of your kids?

Anyway, the gist of the blog went like this.....My life right now is slightly lonely. I fear saying that because I have a few very dear friends - like sister type friends - that could probably argue their loneliness isn't even comparable as they wait for Mr. Right to snatch them up but it is true.... It's just a differnt type of lonely that I've ever known. Brad always reminds me that I have on average 2-3 instances a day that I am surrounded by other moms with little kids but as I experienced today as two of my favorite friends came over to "catch up" and play......there is no real conversation when there are 6 people under 3 feet tall roaming around and certainly little time to feel known.

Trust me, I'm not whining - but making note of the state of the house right now. As a mom of young ones you spend 95% of the day talking but not necessarily being heard. Unfortunately when my husband finally gets home I am so done with talking that I'd rather sit in silence and give my mouth a break. Now, I know so many of yall read these little weekly anecdotes and updates on this blog and I know most of yall never comment and I'm okay with that - but today I might need a little "AMEN!" Yes, the daily life of a stay at home mom is entertaining and I do not think there is a more touching thing in the world than listening to your 2 year old tell you "where Jesus lives" or watching a blue eyed 1 year old heart throb smile at you as you walk in to get him from a nap. But that doesn't mean that this lifestyle is all loliipops and bubbles. This. Is. Hard. Stuff.

But I know these are the years that will shape the woman I am becoming. True, I didn't know humans were able to be this selfless. And I'm not tooting my own horn either. Any mother, especially one who has stepped aside from a career in order to wipe the mouths and bottoms of babies - knows that there is just no have to be selfless even if it isn't done {always} with the best of intentions. I also didn't know people could be this exhasuted and still do normal things - like pay bills or fold laundry. No wonder my running shorts ended up in the freezer yesterday! But I also didn't know I could feel this proud either. So, yes, the days are hard and they are a little lonely right now but I know this is just a season and I know soon I will be begging for some "lonely" time in a few years when the talking really doesn't stop. I am sure a "screamout" won't work in those days as I'll have a little more explaining to do.......

Slightly lonely in the ATL (but knowing it's only temporary.....)
To pass our afternoon time today we went to throw pennies in the fountain at Perimeter Mall. For real.
I'm getting pretty desperate aren't I? Monday we went to story time at Barnes and Noble, yesterday we went to the library and then to the Hippo Hopp which is basically a warehouse where kids can somehwat safely run around. Monday we did another trip to Ikea to pass the minutes. It's funny because I saw many of the same women at each of these places this's like m just trying to stay out of the heat and stay alive! Needless to say, I can' t promise that one of us didn't end up in the fountain today. And it wasn't on accident......ha! I do love these little boys and their non-stop-adventures.

But look who I caught trying to hold hands on the way home after nearly throwing each other in the mall fountain moments before? Precious.

Monday, July 25, 2011

A few firsts from the weekend

We are coming off of one of my favorite weekends to date - the wedding weekend of my little brother. I learned that if I want to learn how to go back to sleep I just need to stay out like I'm 22 two nights in a row and maybe dance like the world is ending for the majority of those hours awake. Y'all, I can happily say for the first time in months I was tired sleepy tired - not just wired and exhausted like usual. If I could act like I just graduated college at night and then get my mommy face on during the days I think I could beat this thing! This was one of the FIRST times in two plus years that I really enjoyed myself. I didn't call home to check on the boys who were in the best hands with their South Georgia grandparents. And I actually didn't really think about them and I am okay with that. I don't think they thought much of me either for the 48 hours we were gone so I just let go and enjoyed being with my whole entire family in our favorite college town....Athens! Brad and I drove home in silence and not because of any silly tiff but because we both just wanted to take in every last minute of quiet. We decided we need an overnight break about every 6 weeks without the little people in order to really rejuvenate. Hold us to it!

But as much as the weekend away was so much fun - it was a treat to come home to two excited little boys. They were both in their chairs when we walked in eating one of about 5 dozen peaches my in-laws brought straight from Peach county, Ga! With full mouths and sticky hands they both squealed when we walked in the door. I will have to say that that was such a joy for me. I may not have missed them but that moment certainly reminded me of the fun that I do miss out on while I am away.

This morning I noticed William's FIRST tooth. Yes, he is 3 weeks shy of being one and he just cut his first tooth. I secretly think his timing is perfect as someone has been protecting me from the little sleep I do get by not allowing a baby's teething habits to interfere with my few hours. You can barely see the little thing but if you get anywhere near his mouth he will remind you that it is there. He has a bite for a little guy!
And then yesterday I caught Brooks' FIRST business conversation on the phone. This was completely unscripted or rehearsed and maybe the best laugh we've had in awhile.

Monday, July 18, 2011

11 things about the 11 month old

1) He is G-O-O-F-Y! Often he looks like he just swallowed a fly which I find amusing. If its not that face then he has his "I am analyzing you" face which sharply turns into shrieking laughter. His expressions are pretty obvious....nothing mysterious about him.
2) He will eat a pork chop if I let him. I don't know another human that would sit and consume food for so much time straight. No breaks or he gets a little feisty. I've turned to cucumbers, lemons, and celery so he can atleast get his fix for food without the calories.
3)He adores his big brother and even if that same big brother just ripped a car out of his hands and had pushed him backwards he still crawl/chases him all over the house.
4)He falls down every single day. I don't care if I never sat him down he would still find a way to bang his head on a tree or something. I want what his head is made of because it is durable!
5)He can wear anything from a 6 month onsie with his name on it (thanks to Emilie) or an 18 month Kissie Kissie outfit (my favorite!) His belly needs a bigger size but his horizontally challenged legs need the 6 month stuff.
6)He is a speed crawler and even swifter on a set of stairs. Awesome.
7)He is standing for a minute or so at a time and then falls to his padded bottom to get to the next place. I have a feeling he will be taking those first steps soon and I am not ready for it one bit!
8)He is easy going and a delightful baby. God knew we would need a "pass" this go around since we would have other big things to face. Thank you!
9)He STILL doesn't even have the peep of a tooth. But he'll still take the pork chop if I let him.
10)He has had a few shy moments lately where he will lay his head on my shoulder when a stranger is talking to him. I secretly love it.
11)He is the perfect piece to our family. He is my buddy, he is Brooks best friend, and he adds the perfect quirky dynamic to our foursome. Though I am hopeful that him turning one will bring about a little relief in our daily lives (maybe more sleep? maybe one less thing to carry around?) I still don't want to let the "baby" go. He seems 6 months younger than B did at this time and I think unless it is for legal reasons I will still call him my baby. He certainly makes having babies a joy!

One month to go.....

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Thank goodness for an iphone!

Or I wouldn't have a memory of these boys in these young days. Everything happens so quickly and as expected - as soon as I grab any sort of camera or camera-phone the moment has gone and someone is upset. Luckily, I can sneak in a few photos throughout the day with these two-on-the-move-nonstop-tornados that I call my children. Here are a few lately....
{The caption under most of these would read "uh oh"}

Monday, July 11, 2011

I surely thought

People died after this little sleep.
But I guess they don't. So, here we are. We made a trip to the library today. If I thought insomnia was scary - talk about a real live library! Thanks to and Barnes and Noble I hadn't stepped into one of these since high school. Dewey decimal system, anybody? Anybody? We also made a trip to Target and I even let Brooks navigate the aisles himself. There are many things that just don't matter when you're tired and "perfect behavior" isn't one of them.

I feel like we are just floating through this summer, making the most of the scorching hot days all the while waiting on a miracle or Jesus to come back. Seriously, those are about my only two options when it comes to getting back to sleep. I am having so much fun with the boys as we explore every free and kid friendly activity in the city. And I really do believe that one day I'll be enjoying the lazy days of summer with a little more rest under my belt. Oh, I just can't wait for that day!

Throughout our fun little morning activities I have to repeat things in my head so my mind doesn't wonder to the dark side....sleep centers, psychophysiological insomnia, sleep spindles, and cognitive behavioral therapy...oh my! Instead, I have been thinking through this verse and really focusing on each word and what types of things that come to mind when I picture the word. I don't know what you may be going through right now but I can imagine so much of our stress these days is exacerbated by our ability to focus on the worst outcome. Try thinking through these words and as hokey as this sounds-imagine swallowing them. Did I lose you? Really, it helps really "take in" the sweeter things in life.

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things. What comes to mind for you?

Friday, July 8, 2011

Excuse me while I get a little dramatic

Wednesday marked a very big day in my timeline. The day before I had had the epiphany that I had been waiting for for a year now. The timing was odd and completely unexpected. Which is how I know it had nothing to do with me but all to do with a living God who knows me and has been there each long night holding my hand.

I guess it went how most pivitol moments in one's life seem to go. There was nothing unusual about the afternoon and it wasn't even what I would call rock bottom. I think I have hit that multiple times over the last half year and each time I thought, surely, the next day would be a whole new day...on a path to recovery. But like I would never have expected, something spoke to me on a normal really spoke to me and I fully believe it will be the climax of this long saga over sleep.

I was walking with the boys and I got this feeling that I should follow my gut and get rid of every medicine bottle in my house. I've had this thought everyday but it never carried enough force to allow me to take the next step. It's not about the medicine as I fully believe God is the author of medicine and many people dear to me have been helped with medicine. It was about trust - a trust that I had never quite known. I had been listening to a sermon from my church on my ipod and Andy Stanley was talking about how smart society has become. We think we have figured out God, he was saying. I am paraphrasing but he was talking about infertility and how we have figured out how to mimic conception and now many children are born because of this discovery. He wasn't against modern technology he was just stating that it has caused us to not think so highly about God. If we can figure out how he does things then he doesn't seem that big anyway, right? This resonated with me at a level that only one other theory has in my life. That's another story for another day. This whole time I have wanted to have a real encounter with this God I talk about all the time. I didn't want to just report that I had found a medicine to wash it all away even though that isn't a bad option, too. I just really knew that God wanted to show off with me. This one belief had made every minute that I am awake at night and every minute that I have felt like a zero during the day worth it.

So Tuesday I literally threw away the 17 medicine bottles that had been floating around my house. Many of them had never been opened and most of them had only one less tablet. That was all it took with each one to push me closer and closer to true despair. There is nothing like losing your pride, trusting some doctors, hoping in a medicine, and then having it only exacerbate the problem and make you feel worse the next morning to deteriorate one's hope.

I didn't throw out the medicine knowing that I would sleep that night. I just knew I didn't care anymore about sleep. I have said this all along but I finally felt it - and it felt like no other physical or emotional feeling I have ever felt. I was feeling completely dependent on someone else for my every need. If I didn't sleep - God would give me the strength to handle the day. If I never got better - it was for a reason. And just like I thought - I didn't sleep great that night but I slept for 4 hours on my own for the first time this calendar year. The next night I got 4 more and then last night I got 5 under me. It doesn't mind feels so clear. I feel like myself again. I was dancing in the kitchen this morning to nothing better than the Wiggles while the boys ate oatmeal. This in itself is a huge feat. It has been months since I've caught myself dancing subcouciously or even humming to a song. I had been too preoccupied with finding a solution. Luckily the solution found me.

I don't expect the next several weeks and months to be all "and they lived happily ever after.....her and her big God." I really don't. Each night is still hard and I literally have to prepare myself for bed time like I am going into war. Earplugs - check. A fresh book that I won't finish in the night - check. Curtains fully closed - got it. The whole scene is pretty entertaining. But I am confident that each day that I get further and further away from having 15 different chemicals lingering in my body and each day that I give more and more of my fear over to the Lord I will begin to feel recovered. This sounds so crazy - but I can actually taste the night that I get back into our king sized bed at the same time with Brad and I fall asleep while he is praying like I used to. Believe it or not - our first two dates I spent asleep on his shoulder in a movie theater! I'm not sure why he asked me out again but obviously there was something about the old-relaxed me. She'll be back...I can picture it now.

I don't even know that this is how the story ends - she threw out her medicine bottles and was saved!Afterall, I don't take medicine for a headache but that doesn't mean I don't get them everyday. And like I said, this isn't about the decision to go drug-free in my fight for my life back - it is a decision about my genuine faith in our God. And thankfully, just as I made the decision to hand it all over - He had already made the decision to help me. It is all about timing and a year of waiting may have been all He needed.

I know this sounds needy, but please continue to encourage me and be excited with me when I get 3 hours of sleep. I have known this whole time that I was supposed to be pretty vulnerable with this whole battle and therefore I have been...even on the most public of places. This may sound arrogant but I feel like this journey has been a group-thing and I literally would not have made it out of January had I not the support of so many friends, family, and strangers alike. I hope you feel the power of your prayers because they have been heard...

I can't wait to fully enjoy the first weekend in many months with my three boys. I have been waiting to be able to say that...

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

William: Definition

*My camera is still broken so iphone photos are all we have of the monsters! Sorry...

Under the picture posted a few days ago there didn't necessarily need to be any caption. Like I said, enough said. But in the rare case that his sly smile made you think that he was an angel from the sky - I thought I might do a little correcting. My favorite thing about having children yet isn't hearing them say my name or tell my they "wuv me 'dis much" or watching them run down the driveway like it's the most fun thing one could ever, it is far better. It is watching them interact with each other. I know I am bias but I am so grateful to have more than one child. I couldn't imagine never seeing my child be a sibling to someone. My most prized moments come when B-man rubs W's head and says "it's otay, budder" after he had "unintentionally" knocked him down. Or hearing the nursery workers at the gym tell me that B comforted W while I was away. But then I also get to see the way W looks at B as if he is the biggest, coolest, most fun boy in the world. W chases B all around the house and he squeals when he even gets near him. Oh, and then B will run into W's room after a morning nap exclaiming "Good mornin budder!!" I love it!

Anyway, lately as I have watched the two interact it has become clear to me how entirely different they are from eachother. I always refer to them as a unit ... the boys...but in these last few weeks the little-fat-man as we call him (he's okay with me) has taken on a life of his own and he will let everyone know about it! Goodness, I am going to love (and be challenged by) this boys spirit!

So here is a definition of William, our plump little fireball....

But he has a soft side and in the last few weeks when we first go somewhere in public he will lay his little head on my shoulder as if he is wanting someone to think he is shy {scratch that - his head is huuuge but it is still sweet.} Of course, seconds later he is wiggling out of my hands to go find the nearest wire or hammer or piece of glass. I had it easy the first go round....B was interested in books and trees! Help me!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A really really fabulous day

I woke up this morning (which implies I fell asleep) and I knew this was truly "my" day. It was the first morning I have started off sans a headache in the "J" months. And the lack of aching in my head lasted the whole day! I just did a cartwheel at that news. Yall, I honestly didn't know it felt soooo good to not have pain behind the eyes and around the top of my neck all day! Brad left our staycation house for work this morning and the boys and I enjoyed a life of luxury in someone else's home the whole day!

After a lazy morning we came home to a picnic in the backyard and then while the boys napped I did the unthinkable - NOTHING! Seriously, I floated in the pool while reading my latest mindless novel for nearly 2 hours drinking and Anry-Palmer until we had some company over to swim. I spent half of the morning talking to myself, or God, rather, just thanking Him for one really good-normal kind of day. I think I logged over 6 hours of sleep last night and though I may have had to swallow a pill to get that - it was worth it!

I really think God gave me this day to give me enough hope to get to the next really good day. I am so thankful for this glimpse of our reality....the boys are really very fun right now. They are always saying something new or doing something for the first time. My camera is broken right now and that was truly the worst part of today....not being able to capture the first time Brooks jumped in the pool and swam by himself (or with flotation assistance I mean) and the way William cackled this afternoon when Brad walked in the door. These days are so rich, each one of them. I know that I am missing so much by spending so many of my days exhausted and preoccupied with the "S" word so it was such a treat today to get to snuggle with the boys and tell them over and over how much fun they are to me.

My heart is stuffed to the max right now with gratitude and joy. I think I might hold my breath and keep it all in so it won't go away. It just feels too good to feel normal.....

Friday, July 1, 2011

It's truly not me

I'll probably lose the other half of my readers with the post and receive even fewer phone calls next week but I'll take the consequences. I know fewer and fewer posts have been flooded with colorful pictures of lively babies. That's unfortunate because that is what is happening over here - color and vibrancy....if you focus on the two blessings on unstable legs. Thank God for those little hands and feet. I would have been in a weird hospital months ago had I not those boys to take care of me everyday. They make me laugh even after I've spent 7-10 hours tossing on a couch just hoping to atleast have my brain shut off for an hour on any given night. They keep my mind busy when it wants to go through every possible conceivable option again as to why sleep has become so unnatural to me. Mostly, they give me a hope each day that one day I will feel well enough to be the mom I want to be for them. Though a majority of the doctors I have seen would blame what has happened to my sleep on some deficiency in my body due to 2 back to back pregnancies - I just laugh that suggestion off. God knew what He was doing when he gave me two little people to help pull me through the hardest year of my life. Because of them I can not ultimately lose hope.

Well, because of them and that other thing called grace. I get grace this year. I have had seasons in the past where I really "felt" grace. I felt like I was feeling things I didn't deserve to feel....acceptance, love, and forgiveness despite what I had to offer. There was so much of me that needed worked on in the beginning of marriage. I was (and still am unfortunately) critical of the silliest things. I can better recognize my critical spirit but it's still there. Yet I felt so undeserving of someones unconditional love despite my ickyness. If grace is getting something that you don't earn or buy or even deserve then I have been covered in it these first years of marriage. Grace will break you when you finally accept a really good way.

But in this season of life I can say that God's grace and strength have kept me going. I don't say that in a hokey-Baptist kinda way. Like, in a very real way. Every morning after I struggled the night away in the living room I wonder how I might begin to even care for a young child and every morning now for a year rather my eyes haven't closed or I'd experienced a miraculous 5.5 hours of medicated sleep God has given me enough to make the most of the day with the boys. I've yet to really lose my patience. It did happen once in the car last week when everyone was upset and I just figured I had more reason to be upset than anyone so I plugged my ears and screamed as loud as I possibly could. The crying in the back stopped and then my heart was flooded with shame. The boys looked very vulnerable and shocked. I spent the rest of the afternoon apologizing profusely and crying anytime either of their big eyes looked up to me for guidance. But other than that I am amazed how I much patience has come out of me during this journey - it is truly not me but grace.

And while a headache ensues each night of sleeplessness, somehow I have been able to accept those and the aching eyes that come and still get the boys and I out for an activity. Of course, after I've spent the night awake in the house the only thing I want the next day is to be out of the house but the thought of getting out with two dependent human beings often makes me want to crawl in a ball on the floor and just shut down. But we do always get out of the house and we have even had some pretty fun days....learning about bugs and how to swim in a pool and how to play in a fountain. I'm so grateful for the energy that is truly not my own. While much of this year has been a blur I do feel like I have been able to enjoy their milestones and create an inseparable bond with them. That is truly not my own strength, but again, God's.

Most of all, God has been the glue in this family - especially our marriage. If a marriage can not only survive but thrive through unexpected moves, pregnancies, and job changes...all in less than 4 years then I am confident we can withstand a multitude of stresses to come. This "thing" has changed our perspective eternally. We have truly suffered together this year. My heart aches as B leaves each morning with a look on his face of helplessness. He knows he can't fix this illness. He knows he has to leave me with the two boys and he knows my heart breaks again each morning after a bad night. But I think he trusts that it is truly not me pulling through this time. We have both witnessed the strong hand of the Lord who salvages each day and gives us a hope that maybe the next day I'll feel a little better.

I was reading in a book I read every morning a few days ago. The entry for June 27th was writing about Ephesians 3:16 where it says "with power through his Spirit in {my} inner being." The commentary then says "And the strength He gives is continuous, for He is a source of power I cannot exhaust."

I am so grateful that even when my power has "pooped out" there is nothing that can come my way - no matter how "chronic" it may be - that can exhaust His power. God's grace has given us joy, hope, laughter, and relaxation this year when I wouldn't have deemed that possible. What a real blessing. Now were off to make the most of this day with energy that is truly not my own.