here is our tree anxiously awaiting the little ones. each had three presents waiting for her!
i felt a little intimidated by the pictures on facebook of trees dwarfed by their stacks of presents but we stuck to our guns and the girls each got a scooter, a doll and a new pair of shoes! of course when we went to dallas the presents got a little out of control, but we are taking baby steps :)
you can see more of the pictures from our celebrations HERE
and yet my challenge starts in just 2 days. SEVEN. 7 foods for a month.
reducing one area of my life (food) to make room for another. it is ON. let's see what happens.
and of course there is a bottle of prosecco chilling in the fridge for celebrating 2012 before any of this actually begins :)
* i had a designated driver, thanks ALI! :)
the last advent candle is lit. advent is over. advent means 'waiting on the arrival of something important'. that is putting it lightly, don't you think?
as we sang a mix of christmas carols and modern songs a few lyrics stuck out to me. i was actually crying, which frankly isn't unusual these days. my emotions seem to run high lately.
our journey of redemption begins with a baby born into the humblest of circumstances.
listening to the bible story of jesus' birth for the millionth time a new thing stood out to me today. it says 'But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart.' oh who among us with a newborn hasn't spent time pondering things in her heart. running back over the way others love your baby and the little sweet moments of the day. i love to think of mary as a new first time mom enjoying the way her sweet baby smells and coo's and the adoring look on everyone's face meeting him for the first time.
the fiesta was born on mockingbird lane in dallas and consisted of my mom's famous iced sugar cookies (and no, you have no idea how good an iced sugar cookie can be until you have had one. they are legendary), a margarita machine, asundry paper mexican flowers, and a crockpot full of queso. it was always a time to visit with friends in the middle of winter break from school and it was ALWAYS a good time.
so many great stories and memories stem from the fiesta. boys came and went, but my girls were always constant! from jill's accidental phone call on the way home to arlington to my mom developing the film from her camera weeks after the fiesta to find pictures of me puking into the toilet late night, fiesta stories never cease to entertain.
the fiesta is still dearly missed and remembered by all who experienced it. kevin is still a little sad he never got to come since its last year was just before we met. he said the other day we should start it back up again, austin edition. maybe in a few years if i'm feeling brave :)
until then, rip fiesta. we loved you!
'distribute what we have. that all may taste and see'
easier said than done, right? what does that mean for us? ever feel like we've been missing the point?
i just turned the corner into our playroom and this is the sight i see:
yes that is mary (lily) and joseph (eve) and baby jesus (dora). after i took this and laughed pretty hard about it, they showed me their entrance to bethlehem on a donkey (rocking horse). in their version they mostly stumbled upon a baby and named it jesus. anyone want to school lily on childbirth? haha
lily is also talking in pseudo 'bible' talk saying things like 'and there were no toys in the inn for the baby to play with. and some were broughten to him by the three kings and all was perfect.' then her story really jumps the shark with a little 'and there were no cupcakes and the animals in the manger shared their cupcakes to celebrate the birthday'. goodness i love these girls.
sweet annie, you are one. my big one year-old girl. from the moment you took our family from an ellipses to an exclamation point i knew you were special. the joy you bring to everyone who crosses your path (save your sisters when trying to build a block tower that you are content to dismantle) is a blessing to be able to share with the world.
what an honor to have you as my daughter, my baby. i am also the youngest of three, my mom's baby. oh i never understood why she would pull me into her lap when i was over 5 feet tall and call me 'baby' and talk about how my bottom used to fit into the palm of her hand, but girl get ready for it. it is my turn.
your year has been a crazy one for this family and without you none of it would have been the same. our trip to the beach without your eyes of wonder? the christmas lights without your amazed stare? our late night guitar sessions without your bouncing dance? none of it would have been complete without annie.
you love dogs more than any other child we have had. you have finally (we hope) stopped spitting up 10x a day. you snuggle your doggy lovie blanket every night in your crib and you always ALWAYS wake up happy. you love fruit more than any other food and your first taste of cake at your party was a success.
thank you for my head 'bonks' every night. for your drooly giggly smile after you bonk me. thank you for your patience with your stretched thin mommy. thank you for loving your sisters and making it so easy for them to love you in return.
i love you annie.
things feel exciting but unsettled right now and i'm not so good at unsettled. i get what my sister and i refer to as 'the pit'. the pit is that feeling in your stomach when something just isn't right.
in the midst of other changes and the chaos that is life these days, my annie is turning one on tuesday. say it ain't so. the joy of my life is almost 365 days old. despite the craziness that having a third child has brought to our family (a friend once referred to the third child as 'sinking the family battleship')... i wouldn't trade susanna kathleen for the world. not for a single moment of peace and quiet. not for an easier trip to the grocery store. not for a hip suv instead of a minivan. nope. not a chance. she is ours, all ours and i thank God for her every step of the way.
lots of pictures to come this week hopefully!
and what strikes me about the approach is- it is an approach to life. year round. its not a special month of giving or a certain time of year to get involved in service. it is a lifestyle because that is who and what we are called to be.
this year i'm hoping to find little ways to change. small steps in the right direction. i honestly wanted to take a giant leap a few weeks ago but got paralyzed by the thoughts of the eye rolls when we told family we won't be doing gifts or the internal conflict of wanting my own traditions regardless of whether or not they really celebrate christ.
next year prepare yourself to give me a giant eye roll and i will prepare myself to not care what anyone else thinks.
#30- i am thankful for the past month of focusing on gratitude and now i'm ready to celebrate jesus' birth!
#29- i am thankful that my girls and i apologize to each other. they know mommy isn't perfect and when i apologize to them, i'm thankful they always say 'mommy i forgive you'
#28- i'm thankful for christmas music that helps me get in the holiday mood when its a balmy 74 degrees outside
#27- i'm thankful for my in-laws. they are wonderful loving people that enjoy the heck out of my kids (and vice versa)
#26- i'm thankful for my kids' preschool. they love their teachers, i love two mornings a week to get things accomplished!
#25- i'm thankful for my family- my parents, my sister and brother and all they entail. what a blessing it has been to be a donovan.
#24- i'm thankful for fabulous pre-made thanksgiving foods that save me from slaving in the kitchen all day when only one of the 5 of us cares much for turkey.
#23- i'm thankful to be at a point physically where i look in the mirror and see a familiar person looking back at me.
#22- i'm thankful for the simplicity and intricacy of a child's mind. explaining something complicated to a child is a difficult and wonderful thing.
#21- i'm thankful i went to baylor and met the great friends that i have been so lucky to know for the past 15 years
#20- i'm thankful for austin new church. i really can't believe how lucky we are to be a part of something inspirational that is changing lives- including mine.
#19- i am thankful for cozy beds and a good night's sleep
#18- i am thankful for music and how it transports you. especially thankful right now for the holiday variety- i can't wait for a month of nostalgic christmas tunes!
#17- i am thankful for access to healthy, fresh, affordable food. our family eats such great vegetarian variety and we consider ourselves lucky.
#16- i am thankful for our amazing teachers at mother's day out preschool. seeing amazing teachers loving your kids and your kids so excited about school days is a blessing.
#15- i am thankful for parents that made my childhood so special and now dote on their grandkids
#14- i am thankful for the look of excitement on lily's face when i told her i will be helping in her class for the thanksgiving feast
#13- i am thankful that the hardest parts of being a parent serve to only make me stronger, more aware, and more compassionate. in hindsight, of course ;)
#12- i am thankful for my husband. i know i already said this earlier in the week but i am. its worth saying twice.
#11- i am thankful for late night calls from familiar voices
#10- i am thankful for neighbors that enjoy really living life together!
#9- i am thankful for my girls' cousins. i didn't get to grow up being super close to my extended family and watching their love of their cousins grow is such a joy.
#8- i am more thankful than i can say for the partnership of my amazing husband. the way he supports me, cheers me on, and loves me changes my life on a daily basis.
#7- i am thankful for the way little minds think. they make me laugh more times a day than i can count.
#6- i am thankful for nyquil. the stuffy head, i'm so freaking tired and this cough is keeping me awake medicine.
#5- i am thankful that my kids show me the best of who i am and the worst of who i am. it is humbling and inspiring all at once.
#4- i am thankful for the childcare workers at our gym. they have known my kids for 4 years and i cherish my active time knowing my littles are well looked after.
#3- i am thankful that just when i think i know what to expect, there is a bend in the road and life changes again. it keeps me on my toes and on my knees.
#2- i am thankful for moments of quiet. the less often they happen, the more precious they become.
#1- i am thankful for the cold air in my lungs waking me up during my morning run
on the other hand, i love playing sports. we were pretty serious about it when i was a kid. i played pretty much any sport i was half interested in, and some i wasn't interested in at all. (my mom loves to reenact me as a 4 year old running down the soccer field feigning a stitch in my side trying to get the coach to take me out of the game). intramurals in college are still some of my favorite memories of all time.
every once in a while i start to wonder why i don't watch more sports... then i am reminded. i sat down this past weekend to watch the baylor v ou game at my parents' house. (they are definitely sports fans. my mom still checks in the paper every saturday to see if my old high school won their friday night football game).
within an hour i was anxious, screaming at the tv, convinced the bears were going to let me down like they have 4 gazillion times in the past. at one point i yelled so loud i was worried i might have woken up all 3 girls. then it hit me- this is why i don't watch sports. i can't handle it! i get WAY too invested and i am a terrible loser. so really i'm just saving myself and my family the trouble of having to deal with the insanity that would be me as a sports fan.
i will say, that was a great game and what a treat to get to see those boys so so proud of themselves after the win. i'm sure i'll get over my sports issues by the time the girls are in high school... right?
i'm writing it down because i never want to forget these moments.
me: lily do you know why we celebrate christmas?
lily: because its happy!
me: what is happy?
lily: its happy birthday to jesus!
me: that's right!! its jesus' birthday! do you know why i think jesus' birthday is so important to celebrate?
lily: because it is happy?
me: it is! it is happy. do you know why jesus is so special to me?
lily: because he is good.
me: yes, he is good. he was an amazing teacher.
lily: he taught us to be nice and not lie.
me: you're right! he sure did. he was God's son. do you know why he was born?
me: because God wants to be close to you. and sometimes we do things like lie or don't share and jesus came to help us be close to God even when we aren't good.
lily: i was good today! i shared!
me: you sure did! you did a great job of sharing today. you were very nice.
lily: sharks aren't nice.
me: you're right, sharks aren't always nice.
lily: can we never go to the beach again? what if a shark eats me?
me: i will do my best to not let a shark eat you.
lily: can we pray now? let's tell jesus happy almost birthday.
me: yes. we can pray now. i love you lily. more than you'll ever know. let's pray.
what i love about this video is two-part. first, of course my sweet annie learning a new skill is always so exciting. second, the squealing high-pitched cheers of the proudest big sisters around. in case you can't tell their voices apart it goes a little like this:
lily: yay! she's standing all by herself now!
eve: yay, annie!!!
lily: oh annie!!!
eve: can she do it again daddy?!
lily: she can walk by herself mommy!
she reminds me of.... me. i will have to ask my mom if her quirkiness is inherited from that young an age, but dad refers to me as the 'artsy fartsy' one so it comes from somewhere!
being different is something i cherish about all my kids- the things that make them unique are the things that make them who they are. it is so amazing to see each aspect of all 3 of them grow, change, and differentiate them from their peers and sisters. at the same time, as a kid being different can feel scary. at least it did to me. i definitely didn't always embrace the things that made me different.
choosing a unique voice from the pack has felt isolating to me in the past. i am sometimes afraid to say what i think or have a dissenting opinion because it does set you apart. and when you put your value in what others say or think about you, conforming is a pretty big deal. i didn't really want to be different.
lately that is changing for me. being set apart sounds... exciting. for the first time, choosing to do something different seems to be bonding me to people that really matter in my life instead of caring what 'the pack' thinks. i am anxious and excited for the upcoming year. i feel that life is changing and for once, that doesn't seem scary to me anymore. it seems invigorating.
my value isn't in what other people think and life is too short to put much stock in mass appeal :)
And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.
- Edward Everett Hale
we are taking the steps to head on our first mission trip in 2012. i will be doing some fundraisers on the bloom blog to raise the funds for us to go (about $4400 for the two of us).
it is all at once exciting & scary. like so many things in life, we have no idea where this might take us in the future, but we are open and answering 'yes' together.
until today. i headed into zumba and quickly scanned the faces around me to make sure there were no familiar faces (aka no one i know to make fun of my moves later). i was in the second row behind a group of 5 college girls wearing UT t-shirts. i predicted that they were lapsed drill team types and i would be shamed by their skills... i was wrong.
the class starts and there is no explanation of what to do. everyone in the class already knows the moves so i was just laughing a little at myself and following along as best i could. it was actually really fun, but admittedly not the best workout. so we get going and i immediately felt like drew barrymore in 'never been kissed'. i was this dorky older woman acting like an idiot with about 10x more enthusiasm than the college girls in front of me.
is this the new 'thing' for college girls? acting like nothing is exciting and you're not really trying to do anything? i swear i burn more calories reading than these girls did in zumba barely shuffling their feet. it was so strange! heck we even did the cabbage patch at one point and i almost told them to step aside, i was around when the cabbage patch was cool!
i think it is safe to say my girls would never fit in with this crowd. they can't even pretend to not get excited about just about anything. let's hope that never changes!
and for a taste of how idiotic i looked, here is one of the dances from today- straight from the teacher's youtube channel. haha!
perhaps you heard this week about the horrific injustice experienced by a toddler in china passed by over and over again in the street while dying. if you haven't, i don't suggest you look into it. i unfortunately read and watched the entire thing in disbelief and it got me down. to be honest, i was already a little down that day and it kinda threw me over the edge.
my sadness over the brokenness of our souls is hardly newsworthy but it has stuck with me this week.
fast forward to sunday morning. the leader of 'HELP' spoke about our initiatives in Haiti and showed lots of pictures to celebrate what has been done but also to talk about the need. the pervasive need just swallows me and paralyzes me and i found myself crying.
break my heart for what breaks yours.
we talked about the good samaritan. i would usually think 'yeah yeah, i know that story' but it hit me as he read luke 10 and i jotted down for kevin to read 'that toddler' and he nodded and whispered 'i just thought the same thing'. and so i just sat and cried.
i don't have a pretty package to wrap this up with a bow. i don't know what any of this means. my heart is broken and its breaking and i don't know what i can do or what God wants me to do. i just don't want to feel paralyzed by it anymore.
the first small step is our second annual garage sale for orphans next sunday, 30th. if you're in austin and have anything to donate, please email me. here is a picture of the home last year's donations were able to provide for over 30 of our sponsored orphans in haiti:
i asked 'what sweetheart??' and her response was "blah blah blah de friendship".
i said "eve, i dont understand."
she said slowly (for those of us clearly delayed to catch on) "frieeeeeeend shiiiiiiiip. you know, when you love someone and they love you back. and sharing."
lily responded "oh eve, you don't just share with your friends. you are supposed to share with everyone, even if they aren't your friends."
and i just sat there wondering when and why life ever gets more complicated than that.
this month alone i have already shot 22 families and have 6 more to go. my type a ridiculousness as it relates to work (in its completely limited capacity) means i am currently up to date on editing all of those sessions. which in turn means i could likely fall asleep this very instant...
it is encouraging to have so many people trusting me with the important job of taking their portraits, but discouraging to feel like you are not doing the best job at home during this busy season. i see others around me succeeding, failing, seeking and i am so frozen in place making sure none of the balls i have in the air fall- i can't even reach out to help them.
i've cried some tears this month. they were the first i have cried in really quite a long time. so long, i actually couldn't remember the last time i cried when someone asked me recently. heck, i cried some tears today!
all this to say, my apologies if it is quiet around here for a bit. just trying to keep the objects of my life that are in motion from colliding.
we still have our hard days, don't get me wrong. but all in all, four has been so much fun.
Lily cuddles, she loves, she draws, she storytells, she climbs, she NAPS!, she is the best version of herself.
it is so interesting to me that the response i get from nearly everyone when they meet my kids and realize how close in age they are is one part 'what were you thinking' and one part 'are you doing ok?'. so far, yes it is a little crazy, but at the same time, i get to experience so many stages of baby and toddlerdom all at once.
at least that is me looking on the bright side today, you may need to remind me of this tomorrow.
we were mimi-less. i predicted a total breakdown. thankfully kevin talked eve into believing annie wanted her to sleep with one of her lovies instead. i got home shortly after and dug up the spare mimi and crisis was averted.
in the two days mimi spent at e's house we got the following sequence of pictures chronicling her brief visit. eve absolutely loved seeing what mimi was up to until they were reunited...
it was bedtime tonight and i was tucking eve in and said goodnight when she dropped the bomb. 'mommy can you read me a story about jesus?'. for real? who can say 'no' to that??
i got in bed with her and i was reading eve the sermon on the mount when she interrupted me with randomness at least 3 times. i finally told her if she wasn't going to listen i would just say goodnight. she quieted down and i kept on reading. i was pretty sure she was falling asleep or zoned out when i said "consider the lilies of the field" and she yelled out "LILY!!! read that part again!!"
goodness i love that girl.
two days with no kids, no husbands, no distractions. just us talking about old stories and sharing new ones. it really is a gift to have time for us to reconnect and remember that no matter what life throws our way we have each other. these are the kind of friends that you might not be able to talk to for months at a time and when you do, it is as though no time has passed.
most of the weekend one or more of us looked like this at any given time:
i left the weekend feeling refreshed, like myself, and actually looking forward to seeing my littles and kevin. when i walked in the door and eve saw me, she reached her arms out and clasped her fists over and over as though to say 'let me get a hold of you!' it was a great feeling!
to my sweet friends- thank you. i love you.
we have found a real church home. we have been lucky enough to find not only friends, but community within that church home. people that care about each other, choose to connect every single week to support each other, and have a fabulous time laughing about life together.
there is something amazing about that. it means that when the storms do come and the happiness isn't hanging around our house, there are people who have chosen to invest themselves in our family and will be there for us and with us. people who love my kids. people who pray for my husband.
i have noticed lately that annie is at a bit of a loss when her crazy sisters aren't around. she is a social being. her days are filled with their laughter and tears and in the absence of those sounds, she isn't really sure what to do with herself. that was me- i had two crazy siblings very close in age running circles around me while i learned to crawl. i had a sister dragging me from room to room before i could walk to change my clothes.
my mom tells stories of me reaching my arms up to her, my eyes begging for some peace and quiet. she used to put me in my crib with the radio on and i was content to lay and listen. it was my break from the chaos. i still need those quiet alone moments, but like annie i need the companionship of community to really thrive.
i feel so blessed to have found just that in our little area of south austin. i am thankful.
m for mollie. or as my nieces say 'mahna'. we have no idea how mollie translates to 'mahna' for them, but when they are being particularly demanding they like to repeat my name and say 'mahna mahna!' which of course naturally led itself to the muppets...
so ruby and tess, i couldn't love you more. mahna mahna loves you!
happy freakin birthday.
i love how angelic she looks right up until eve calls custard the kitty 'my kitty'. thankfully we did a little better on the second take for my brother. seeing as this is pretty much classic eve, i decided it was the winner and just went with her crazy self.
i was having fun just being in the race atmosphere. chatting with others in my age group beforehand, getting everyone cheering in the water before the gun, encouraging others when you pass on the bike- it really felt awesome.
once my legs hit the ground i started really looking for my family. i couldn't wait to see lily and kevin. as i turned the first corner on the run i saw not only lily and kevin, but my sweet eve as well. it was such a surprise to see her and hearing lily's voice cheering so loud just choked me up. i was glad to have sunglasses on to hide the tears, but i kept on running!
finishing felt great and sharing it with kevin and my girls felt beyond amazing. they have already decided mommy should do another race next year :)
in a surprising turn of events the forecasted high for the day is an entire 20 degrees cooler than just last week. can i get an 'amen'??
after telling lily about the race that i'm doing i have been barraged by questions such as 'who is going to say 'ready, set, go'? and 'are you going to win?' and of course 'why aren't you going to win?'
i'm excited that kevin and lily will be there to see me huff and puff my way across the finish line. almost so much so that it eclipses my annoyance about being photographed in spandex.
i'll report back after the race. wish me luck!
this year, the scales tipped in my favor and we headed to south padre island with his family. you can see a bajillion pictures from our week HERE.
i saw a quote on pinterest yesterday that immediately rang true...
i have gone so far as to stalk ebay for mimi backups and paid a ridiculous sum for the security of a spare bunny. hey, a mom's gotta do what a mom's gotta do to keep the peace!
eve handed me her treasured bunny today and asked me 'you take mimi's picshure?' yes eve, i take mimi's picshure.
so far i have two girls that insist on wearing dresses. its all dresses all the time around here. i don't know if eve is just picking this up from lily or if i drew the short straw twice. (please oh PLEASE not three times!!)
so apart from refusing to wear their perfectly good shorts, skirts, shirts, and tanks- those unworn clothes somehow make their way into the laundry during early morning drawer rummaging or closet raiding. so i still somehow wash these clothes. and apart from washing i have to then fold, transport, and put them away. can you tell its pissing me off?
in addition to the manual labor, its the attitude portion of the clothing experience that is equally maddening. the sense of entitlement and preference, man oh man. remember when your mom said stuff like 'there are starving children in africa that would love to eat your broccoli'? that's pretty much me, except swap 'naked' for starving and 'eat your broccoli' with wear that outfit.
basically i'm going minimalist on their wardrobes. its about to be rationing- the likes not seen outside the soviet union. five dresses. laundry done twice a week. shorts/shirts on loan when the activity requires, to be returned and laundered promptly.
if this doesn't work i'm going to resort to uniforms. and i'm only halfway kidding.
back from the beach. back to life. back for a meeting at church about big changes. i can feel it. something is happening in our family.
i prayed a prayer that scared me the other day. letting go of control (or the illusion of such) is not in my repertoire. because i trust, because i want to learn to trust i will continue to pray it. the prayer that scared me.
god, move my family. move in us. change us. amen.
i have no idea when this phenomenon started in my family, but we thought it was hiLARious when we were growing up. no matter what was going on if someone else entered the house or the room one of us would whisper 'act like you're asleep!' and we'd all stop what we were doing and pretend to snooze.
it was the moments before the person realized you were all feigning sleep, trying to hold in your chuckles, that were the best. it started when we were younger but we still do it sometimes as adults.
yesterday lily was looking for me calling out my name and i was laying down with eve and kevin. i said 'act like you're asleep!' we all dropped our heads and our eyes and when lily found us and said 'heyyyy! you're not asleep!' we all giggled out of control.
really, its the little things in life that make me happy.
we started the day sleeping together (eve wasn't feeling so hot so i took lil to bed with me at 4:45). when you wake up with lily you wake up EARLY. i took advantage of that by taking her out for her 4 year photo shoot and we celebrated our success with a trip to the doughnut shop.
then my sister and i took lily to barton springs during 'nap time' for the littler kiddos. she was in hog heaven. i mean she was in her element completely and loving it. we swam, she jumped like a fish into that glorious 65 degree water, and we laid in the shade.
while erin and i were chatting she was dancing around behind us talking to herself, singing a bit, telling a story to no one in particular. so much so that when we got up to leave a big group of twenty somethings behind us broke out into spontaneous applause for their entertainment. i told lily they were clapping for her and that she should bow and she immediately struck a pose only lily could come up with that was half bow, half 'ta-daaaaa!'.
goodness i love that girl. i couldn't be more thankful for days like today. tomorrow we have another fun lily and mom outing planned- a princess train ride. lord be with us, i hope its a repeat of today's fun!
lily has a very strong personality (like her mom) which of course means we butt heads from time to time. okay, maybe its more often than i'd like. she challenges me like no other. just like any refining process, it can be pretty painful. the one thing she wants after a disagreement or difficult interaction? love and cuddles. she will show me forgiveness.
she will slow me down.
eve's nickname from time to time is 'lollygag central'. eve scoffs at instant rice and thinks shortcuts are for losers. she prefers to take the scenic view in life, which is good and well when you have the time but can seriously grate on your nerves. trying to get all 3 kids anywhere on time (because god forbid we be late) tends to turn into a lot of 'hurry up girls' and eve reminds me life isn't all about 'hurry up'. she will slow me down.
she will teach me joy.
everywhere we go, everyone we meet has one thing to say about annie (well after they admire her lovely hairdo)...'what a HAPPY baby'. annie is just plain happy. from the moment she wakes up to the last yawn, she is reveling in connections and the wonder of life. spit up on yourself? no worries- just play with the spit up! she has already helped me perk up in the midst of many less than stellar moments. she will teach me joy.
i have a lot to learn. thankfully i have three willing and able teachers with me every day.
sweet kevin got my tubes ready, my chain lubed, and gave me back my helmet he's been borrowing so i knew it was time to hit the road.
i walked out this morning in cycling gear and lily said 'whose shoes are those?' i said, 'they're mine.' and she said, 'no really, whose are they?'
thanks for the vote of confidence, lil.
i won't lie, i've never been the biggest fan of clips (for you non-cyclists out there i'm talking about the fancy shoes that fit into your pedals). so i coasted down the street without clipping in while i mostly whimpered to myself about not wanting to do this and right about then my pandora busted out with a little katy perry 'shut up and put your money where your mouth is'. i chuckled to myself, clipped in and hit the highway.
in the process i realized several things. perhaps my crotch was made of an industrial strength steel before children because O.M.Geeee. that seat is not nice. not nice at all. also, what kind of badass did i take myself for having the 'girl' gears on my bike removed? yes, that's right, i had the easy gear taken off my bike supposing i'd never need it. i was wrong. i need it.
another perk of living and riding southwest is the roadside carnage. i passed three deceased deer, which is probably more than my father will see in all of deer season this year since he tends to favor naps in the blinds to killing things. i forgot how generally unpleasant that can be.
all in all, it was an exercise in familiarity and at least i have that first ride under my belt. there are many more to come and frankly i'm looking forward to feeling less like an idiot and more like an athlete again!
four years ago at this very moment i was checking in to the hospital to have my first baby. i was a nervous nellie about so many things, terrified of the c-section i was heading for, worried about how i'd be as a mom, and really really anxious to just meet you already!
it was a rainy day and i had spent the last month or so swimming as much as possible to pass the hot july at 9 months pregnant. i waited all day long on pins and needles for my 5:30 surgery and just a few minutes past 5:30 i met you. i heard your cry and saw your face and i have never been the same.
you made me a mom. you are FOUR today. that means we have had roughly 1,400 days together. 1,400 good mornings, 1,400 good nights, and millions of kisses.
you are curious, LOUD, girly and determined. you have a little bit of attitude, but i secretly like that. your favorite color is pink. (dark pink to be specific) you are so interested in life and ask the best questions. you love love dressing like a princess and picking flowers. you ask me every day when spring is coming so that you can pick them on a daily basis again.
you love having long hair but hate having it brushed. your obsession with shoes (that you likely inherited from your dad or perhaps GaGa if it skips a generation) cracks me up. you often ask me to wear dresses or fancy shoes and i have to explain to you that mom just isn't that fancy :)
you love sharing your room with eve and get the biggest kick out of making your sisters laugh. you are truly becoming a little girl and are no longer my baby or toddler. i am so looking forward to this next year with you as we make our way towards FIVE.
happy birthday sweetness,
well that book pretty much is our day from 7-8:30pm. every. night. 'oh i need socks!' 'i need water!' 'i can't find blankie' and on...and on...
so i instituted a reward chart for lily and she earned a star every night she was quiet and non demanding after bedtime. she didn't have to go right to sleep, but couldn't wake eve up or ask for a million things.
her reward for earning five stars? 'fancy dinner' out with daddy! something she has actually been asking for since she saw him return home from a business trip wearing a suit.
she earned her fifth star this week so tonight was fancy dinner night!! she requested pancakes (her fav) and cake for dessert, so kevin took her to kerbey lane and they had a blast. he said she kept bouncing in her seat saying 'oh my gosh daddy! oh my gosh!! this is the BEST!'
here is a pic of them when heading out the door. she took one look at him and decided he needed a bowtie to be fancier :)
we had a very small luau in her honor yesterday complete with a poor man's homemade 'water slide' (and yes, i used water slide in quotes... trust me.) she had a blast and it was a perfectly sized get together and not overwhelming chaos. i'm a big fan of smaller parties!
after the party we all napped and went to the pool so lily and eve could show off their swimming skills to gaga & moon. i took lily on a little swim around the deep end of the pool telling her the story of the day she was born. she LOVED every minutes of it.
her cousins came over for a dinner of her favorite meal- pancakes! truly it was just a great celebration of our wonderful four year-old!
pictures (a LOT of them- you've been warned) are HERE
-john cusack, when asked who his hero was
i always knew i liked that guy. you keep holding that boombox over your head, john.
could someone send a message to my ovaries and let them know no matter how hard they try, their job is done? there is no extra credit at this point. really, you can take an early retirement as far as i'm concerned.
so now instead of looking like a soccer mom with a three-kid-pooch, i look like that mixed with a 14 year old in puberty. good times, hormones. good times.
thanks for having a good attitude about me asking you to share your lane. i hate that moment when i walk up to the pool and every lane is taken by a single swimmer knowing everyone is pretending to not see me. while others avoided eye contact and did flip turns, you let me jump right in your lane.
now i won't pretend i didn't see you eye my lack of swim cap and my old navy halter style suit. i'm not sure why you prefer round-robin sharing instead of just splitting the lane. i took one look at your speedo two piece and practical cap and figured it wouldn't be long before i embarrassed myself. i know all too well the polite 'tap' on the foot of someone wanting to swim circles around you. i swam masters, i get it.
i'm training for my first triathlon in five years. there was a time in my life when i couldn't have imagined five months without a race and five years seemed an impossibility. but here i am five years and three kids later and i'm getting back in the lane.
i guess its a sign that you're a competitive person when you find yourself not stopping to de-fog your goggles or pin back your bangs just to keep up with a complete stranger in your lane. what i didn't expect was that it would be me waiting behind you and not vice versa.
just when i started to pat myself on the back for hanging with you for over 1000 meters, you hopped out, donned your oakleys and i got a glimpse of your ridiculous 6 pack and man-arms. which most likely means this was your cool down after some hard core 5 hour workout. oh well, at least my workout can keep up with your cool down.
and lastly, thank you. if you hadn't been in that lane i probably would have swam half as much, half as fast.
she usually does it when i've left her too long in her high chair without food, but recently started doing it reciprocally.
the start of this summer was rocky. she preferred to sit on the side of the pool with just her feet in the water. if you tried to even hold her in the water she'd shake like a leaf. i don't know where the fear came from but it seemed like it might overshadow the whole summer.
then we went to dallas.
she took one look at her cousins' pool and dove in headfirst- literally. i was a bit worried that coming home she would revert back to her scardey cat ways, but she probably went down the slide today 15 times in a row!
for a few fun pictures go HERE to see the cousins in action. it was a great visit!
After all, you're the only one that knows what my heart sounds like from the inside.
i stumbled across that quote on pinterest (what an addiction by the way, all beautiful things i will never have the time or money to create in my life, but i can appreciate them nonetheless)
i have to say the last few weeks were tough ones. some of my hardest as a mom and some of the most humbling. i have just begun to really dig and i am determined to do better. you know when you're watching super nanny and the kids are so horrendously behaved and all you can think is 'that is totally the parents' fault!'? i'm feeling lately like some of this hardship is more about me than it is about the kiddos.
i just bought the book 'how we love our kids' and in the first chapter read "Kids have a natural knack for revealing the things we like least about ourselves. Even shortcomings we’re completely unaware of, things we deny, things we’ve successfully hidden for years. All of them suddenly begin to parade around your neat little life when you have children."
welcome to motherhood - aka you still have a lot of work to do on yourself and those gaps you are still trying to fill affect your children more than you want to admit.
even just since buying the book yesterday and deciding to be more present things have been better. goodness knows there are just some days when you don't have the energy or patience to sit down with a child who is crying because you made their lunch 'hot dog art' in the shape of a butterfly when they wanted a flower, but thankfully there are days like today when i DO have the energy for it. let's just hope these are the days they remember :)
i climbed into lily's bed as she was stirring from her nap and she half-smiled and said 'i love you mommy' with her eyes still closed. i knew at that moment the day was looking up.
i don't know if i just ignore it better some days than others or if they really whine that much more on bad days, but i'm one step away from thrusting a kabob skewer in my ear so that i don't have to hear it anymore.
i'm not my usual cheery self today. i feel defeated and at the same time like i have failed my children. they deserve a mom who doesn't lose her patience with them and who finds joy in spending time with them. i am just not finding joy in being a mom today.
it breaks my heart to think that i am the best mom they are going to have. they just deserve better. maybe a better mom wouldn't have to hear such unhappiness all day long because she is making her children happy. i don't know. what i do know is that i'm tired of crying at naptime because i am exhausted and dreading the moment when they wake up.
m: i mean its just now june
k: well we're halfway through june, its almost july
m: its not ALMOST july! its just now june!
k: mollie, tomorrow is the 20th.
m: no its not (checking calendar).... wow.
seriously i feel like this just about sums up the summer so far. how is it almost july?!
i have dubbed this year 'the summer we stayed home'. we do have plans for a quick trip to dallas and a week(end) at the beach in august but other than that we are at home most days all day long. it is just too hard to get anywhere with a tiny baby along for the ride. especially when that baby is going to demand a nap in her cozy crib within about an hour of waking :)
- eve got a fever, but managed to smile and charm her way through it. no shock there.
- lily got a fever, but managed to moan and groan her way through it. no shock there.
- annie slept through the night three days in a row. fingers crossed for her new habit.
- lily started quoting movies including using an affectation to her voice. perhaps she is my child after all.
- i quoted a movie to a friend on facebook essentially saying her daughter had a gigantic head and then hoped she would recognize the movie and not think i was a jerk. (i vacillated between feeling crappy she might not get it and thinking surely any sarcastic friend of mine was familiar with the complete works of mike myers. she got the joke. whew.)
- eve got a twin mattress and her instinctual reaction was to climb on board, snuggle under her duvet and call out 'oooh! cozycozycozycozy!'
- lily was allowed to go to the bathroom at the grocery store alone while i waited outside the main door with the cart and two children. we were greeted less than a minute later by a poor screaming child who had just been scared to death by autoflush.
well that about sums it up. other than trips to the gym and park, not much else is going on around here. kevin is at the lakehouse for a boys weekend and i'm just homebound with my sickos. this lady is going to need a trip to barton springs on sunday when he gets home. ahhhh an afternoon at barton springs. now that's almost worth being alone with 3 kids all weekend :)
he offered to take the girls to dallas for a week. of course my knee jerk reaction was 'no way'. you're too busy, too long for the girls to be away, excuses excuses.
what if. what if he did take the girls for a week for me to just RESET our life. what would i do?? what would you do? what would be on your list? i'm probably dreaming here, but visions of a stripped bare house, organized weeks of grocery lists, and freshly scrubbed base boards are dancing in my head...
i swear i can't make this stuff up. the stomach bug has burrowed its way back into our family circle again. darn bug!! it was my turn to pass it around this time and so far just lily has fallen victim after me. let's hope everyone else is spared.
seriously though, lily had some major swamp gas action happening last night and kevin and i were literally shaking trying not to laugh about it knowing if either of us lost it, we'd not only wake up the other children but likely hurt lily's feelings in a tender moment. poor sweet lily just did not feel good and it was all i could do to keep the chuckles inside once i saw kevin avert his eyes and bite his lip when the stench reached him.
i'm so glad i married a guy that i can laugh with about our child's flatulence at 1am (after she is back safely tucked into bed)
i think it is safe to say that if i'm afraid of anything, its death. not the dying part, the judgement part. so really a rapture doesn't solve much for me since it isn't the dying so much as the answering for myself that i'd like to skip.
there is a super cheesy song whose lyrics describe that moment as 'Will I dance for you Jesus, Or in awe of you be still? Will I stand in your presence, Or to my knees will I fall? Will I sing Halelluja, Will I be able to speak at all? I can only imagine'. i will just say that i can't imagine that moment, clearly. but when i try to i pretty much see myself as a blubbering crazy person who is apologizing profusely for largely being an asshole.
the other day i was reading a NY Times article about an artist living in west texas and i showed kevin the pictures of the house he has built and the gadgets he has invented to do things like wash laundry by riding on a bicycle- kevin asked 'so you want to go live off the grid now?' i laughed, but thinking about it later i thought definitively 'no way'. the last thing i want or need is to be even MORE focused on myself and secluded from others. being a mom of 3 under 4 is isolating enough.
it is my community that is keeping me afloat, headed in the right direction for that final day. not the ending, but the beginning. my sister keeps me sane. my friends keep me laughing. my church small group keeps me connected. my husband keeps me from running away. (haha, kidding... sort of). my husband keeps me feeling loved.
my kids.... my kids. my kids keep me close to God by creating situations where i need to apologize and ask for forgiveness. often. God bless 'em.
here's hoping these crazy people are wrong about tomorrow (and i am quite sure they are) but if they are right, i hope to see you there- hold my hand if you can. if they are wrong, maybe i can be in a place in 7 months of less fear. and while we are planning a better december, here's to a small first birthday party and a christmas full of spirit, not of credit card bills.
i'm not sure what we are going to do all summer but swim lessons are next week and hopefully we will be able to get in some quality pool time, cool off in the museums, and take a few fun trips. any suggestions or ideas to make the summer fly by are welcomed :)
i held my mom's hand in public... in high school. i waited on the steps of school scanning every car with anticipation excited to see her when she picked me up. to this day not much time passes between me putting my head in her lap.
so i will choose to live in denial that my children could ever feel differently of me and be thankful for my mom who showed me that its possible to be both a mother and later a close friend without compromise.
i love you mom! happy mother's day.
you are two. the last twenty four months of my life have been spent reveling in you. you are generous with your love, live life to the fullest, and are my wonderful girl.
you are pure sweetness to the core, but laced with a devilish obstinance that is sure to surface more and more in the coming year. when you climb into my lap to cuddle my heart leaps. i can't get enough of your affection. you hold my face in your hands before you kiss me and it makes me melt a little each time.
you are smart as a whip and adore your sisters. the way you live life with gusto is enviable and reminds me to throw caution to the wind a bit more often. you go with the flow- a trait that is more appreciated by this crazed mom than you may ever know. this year you went from being the one that shook things up at our house to my stable rock i could count on amidst the chaos.
you are a messy messy eater and laugh as you put a single raspberry on each finger before yelling out 'razz hands!'. you repeat everything I say- even when I say 'echo!' which tends to make others laugh.
your favorite things are your mimi (bunny blanket), juice & oatmeal, cakes of any sort, and being loved. i am one lucky mama to have you in my life.
happy birthday sweetness.
our first child was a terrible sleeper. had a suck sleep association which eventually led to wakings every 45min-1.5hours ALL NIGHT. ferber rocked our world in about 2 nights and since then she has slept ah-may-zing. she's nearly 4 and still sleeps great, takes naps, loves her bed.
my 2nd child was (and still is) an easy going dream. no sleep training necessary. i attributed this to my improved parenting skills ;)
then came annie. she's not a terrible sleeper. she was doing awesome there for a while- waking just once a night to nurse while sleeping 7:30pm-6am. then it all went to pot. for the past month she has been getting up about 4x a night. this doesn't work for several reasons which include the fact that i cannot be a zombie and work or take care of my children.
after a particularly hard week with very little sleep, we decided to reacquaint ourselves with dr. ferber and give it a shot. ONE night with ONE measly crying session that lasted less than 30 minutes (so really less than she has cried in the car at one time) was all it took. she woke up and cried out a few other times before going back to sleep. the 2nd night, she only nursed once. the third night, she only nursed once.in fact, tonight i woke up at 3:30 to the sounds of her coo'ing in her bed. so we've gone from screaming bloody murder 4x a night to waking once while rolling around pleasantly. i'll consider that a success thankyouverymuch.
the other improvement is naps. i have had to rock this child into a sleepy oblivion for 4 naps a day and now i am laying her down totally awake but calm and she's napping. i can't tell you how much this changes the game. trying to quietly rock a baby for 30 or more minutes at a time, four or more times a day when you have a toddler and a preschooler roaming your house can be a hard pill to swallow. i fully admit these are the complications of having so many kids, so young in age but its nice to know i won't have to emerge from a dark room to find my children putting on makeup in my bathroom anymore.
all this to say, ferber gets an awfully bad rap sometimes but frankly i'd give the guy a big kiss if i could. and now, i think i'll go get some more sleep :)
six years & three kids later i can't wait to go on a date with my husband tonight. i am married to such a wonderful friend, faithful partner, and someone i genuinely admire and adore. i love you, kevin!
you can continue this trip down memory lane with more pics on the photo blog :)
there are so many lovely memories of childhood that surround easter for me. i will always remember standing next to my mom wearing a gardenia corsage that my dad gave us every single year watching her cry as she sings 'christ the lord is risen today'. every year there was an easter egg hunt with hot pursuit of the 'dollar egg' by all three of us kids. i think we dyed eggs until i was 21 or so. (and i'm the youngest child!)
i was looking longingly at the smocked dresses in the girls' closet then i read a blog entry about the intention behind the big downtown celebration of passover instead of a traditional service. my favorite quote was "So between ages 0-32, I celebrated Easter the fun way: with bunnies, baskets, and expensive clothes. I mean, what better way to say “Jesus reigns” than dressing my preschooler in a $45 dress to show her off in the church lobby? (You’re welcome, Jesus. Be blessed.)"
it was enough to make me laugh and shake off my hang ups and decide that i guess i can get on board with this new way to celebrate that jesus proclaimed our freedom and showed us the full extent of his love. (you can read the whole blog entry HERE if you're interested)
now before you go calling me hippy dippy, be sure you hear that i know it is all about your intentions. neither celebration is right or wrong, and both are pointless when the message gets lost in the pomp and circumstance.
Sons of men and angels say, Alleluia!
Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!
Sing, ye heavens, and earth reply, Alleluia!
Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!
Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia!
Once he died our souls to save, Alleluia!
Where's thy victory, boasting grave? Alleluia!
Soar we now where Christ has led, Alleluia!
Following our exalted Head, Alleluia!
Made like him, like him we rise, Alleluia!
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia!
First, Lord: No tattoos. May neither Chinese symbol for truth nor Winnie-the-Pooh holding the FSU logo stain her tender haunches.
May she be Beautiful but not Damaged, for it’s the Damage that draws the creepy soccer coach’s eye, not the Beauty.
When the Crystal Meth is offered, May she remember the parents who cut her grapes in half And stick with Beer.
Guide her, protect her
When crossing the street, stepping onto boats, swimming in the ocean, swimming in pools, walking near pools, standing on the subway platform, crossing 86th Street, stepping off of boats, using mall restrooms, getting on and off escalators, driving on country roads while arguing, leaning on large windows, walking in parking lots, riding Ferris wheels, roller-coasters, log flumes, or anything called “Hell Drop,” “Tower of Torture,” or “The Death Spiral Rock ‘N Zero G Roll featuring Aerosmith,” and standing on any kind of balcony ever, anywhere, at any age.
Lead her away from Acting but not all the way to Finance. Something where she can make her own hours but still feel intellectually fulfilled and get outside sometimes And not have to wear high heels.
What would that be, Lord? Architecture? Midwifery? Golf course design? I’m asking You, because if I knew, I’d be doing it, Youdammit.
Grant her a Rough Patch from twelve to seventeen. Let her draw horses and be interested in Barbies for much too long, For childhood is short – a Tiger Flower blooming Magenta for one day – And adulthood is long and dry-humping in cars will wait.
And when she one day turns on me and calls me a Bitch in front of Hollister, Give me the strength, Lord, to yank her directly into a cab in front of her friends, For I will not have that Shit. I will not have it.
And should she choose to be a Mother one day, be my eyes, Lord, that I may see her, lying on a blanket on the floor at 4:50 A.M., all-at-once exhausted, bored, and in love with the little creature whose poop is leaking up its back.
“My mother did this for me once,” she will realize as she cleans feces off her baby’s neck. “My mother did this for me.” And the delayed gratitude will wash over her as it does each generation and she will make a Mental Note to call me. And she will forget. But I’ll know, because I peeped it with Your God eyes.
it is hard to believe that my genevieve joined us just 24 months ago, but she is officially 2. i kinda make a big deal about birthdays. ok actually, i kinda make a HUGE deal out of birthdays. i was looking forward all night to coming into eve's room in the morning to be the first to wish her a happy birthday. lily beat me to it.
i was enjoying my cup of coffee this morning with my mom when i heard it come across the monitor... lily's little voice singing her sister the birthday song. it was one of those 'grab your heart' moments when you feel the breath squeeze out of you because you can't believe you are lucky enough to have such sweet girls.
just yesterday when we were anticipating GaGa's arrival i had the girls outside and they were running with their arms askew calling out 'suuuuuuper sisters!' they never cease to amaze me. and of course these are the moments i choose to reflect on when other parts of the day include eve being dragged by her arm down the sidewalk by her grumpy big sis.
all in all eve had a fabulous day. her birthday party was small and perfection. she adored the petting zoo and the cupcakes, she was surrounded by friends & family, and had a giant smile on her face all morning. to me, that is a big success.
my girl- rollin' on the river ;)
it has taken me at least a month to get a series of her rolling, but here it is. my favorite is the third one- face meets carpet. there are more insanely adorable (if i do say so myself) pictures of her on the photo blog.
we were late to the 'terrible threes' game. heck, i don't think we even really hit the 'terrible twos' to be perfectly honest. really in the scheme of things lily is still an easy kid, but her new found desire to test every. single. boundary. is wearing on me.
what i have realized over and over again as a parent is that the challenges we have with our children are reflections of ourselves. our selfishness. our obstinance. our greed. really, just our brokenness.
i asked lily this morning to have compassion for her sister. after about half a second of calm she started demanding attention and more from me again (to put it in perspective she was crying about my iphone's crummy netflix connection while her sister was sweaty, half asleep, covered in urine, had just been catheterized twice, pricked for a blood test, and given an antibiotic shot). i nearly lost it. i won't lie. i was a degree away from my boiling point and then i saw it. me. in her.
how many times should my heart be breaking for someone and instead i am concerned only with myself? what unjust stories or situations do i encounter only to moments later make life all about ME again rather than justice. if i am disappointed and my patience is running thin, i should really be sad for myself and thankful for redemption.
nothing makes you NOT miss college days more than a night spent on a bathroom floor in a haze of heaving repeating to yourself 'this cannot last forever. it has to end at some point'. am i right?
so i start today on little sleep, home with three little ones who each have different needs, walking in circles with the baby in her room willing her to sleep for her first nap while praying something to the affect of 'really, God? surely we had bigger plans for my life?'
i need an attitude adjustment and that typically comes in a warm cup of coffee, however my trip to the pantry this morning yielded nothing of the sort. lily saw my dismay and patted my hand and said 'its okay mommy, you can have water for breakfast'. oh sweet lily, thanks for trying to make me feel better.
i realize this has turned into mostly a pity party. i just feel lately like my priorities and perspective are just off. and i don't know what will change that. for now i will have to be thankful for my family, our cozy shelter on a rainy day, and somehow figure out how to get my three to the grocery store for caffeine.
people, let it be known that my husband is very very particular about his jeans. i tried to edit the video of evidence but you can't really hear him anyway. darnit.
the sad part is, i am just now getting through the boxes of clothes that were returned to us after being on loan to my sister's twins and there is so much stuff and so little time that i finally found the box of my favorite newborn clothes that my girls wore and its too late. they are too small already to fit my growing susanna.
in a futile fashion i scooped them up and breathed in, but they only smelled like cardboard box. their moments to cuddle newborn skin and get swaddled up have passed. i pulled out the very first piece of newborn clothing i ever bought. in fact it was a gown i bought and gave to kevin to tell him we were pregnant with lily. i found the white footed pajamas made of the softest cotton i've ever felt that lily wore the day we came home from the hospital (once we changed her out of some ridiculous dress). i found the gown covered in moons and stars that eve, my 'little star', wore home from the hospital.
it really isn't about the clothes and contrary to most men's fears, it really isn't even about wanting another child. it is a realization that i have held my last newborn. when i see a pregnant woman with her big round belly, i'll smile in a memory instead of in hopefulness or anticipation. it is a letting go of a whole phase of life that in a lot of ways we are more than happy to see end- but also brought us some of the happiest days of our life.
before you know it i'm going to be the woman in the checkout line at the grocery store asking how old your baby is and saying 'well my baby graduates from high school this year'. of course you have to take this with a grain of salt knowing it is from the girl who cried her eyes out about school ending every year. i've never handled change or 'endings' well.
someone asked me not too long ago, if money were no object how many children would you want to have? my response- as many as i could fit into my house that wanted to be there! i'm not entirely convinced we're done becoming parents but i am quite sure we are done making babies. so with open arms and a happy heart full of the most wonderful memories i will keep packing up the tiniest clothes that my girls surely never were small enough to wear. and i will wait to see what God has for us next.