Wednesday, October 26, 2011

What We Made Wednesdays

We get a little crafty around here at times, and it's mostly so I can have some structure to the mornings Carter's not in preschool. It's good times, these quiet mornings. Baby naps and we sit outside, creating, spilling, wiping up, just generally making messes.

But they're good messes. 

And so begins my new posting series, every Wednesday. Whether in the kitchen, or on the patio, it's what we made. 

Today we made thank you cards.

Carter thought this one was hilarious--he painted a pink sun, green branches, a blue tree trunk and brown flowers--his version of silly!

the stamp I used for the text

so proud!
I know family members will cherish these cards, and prefer them over store-bought. And, it reinforces the principle of gratitude and the importance of saying thank you!

What you'll need:

-any kind of paint, we used both acrylic and children's paint
-paper plates, for dollops of paint
-paper towels
-cup of water (for cleaning fingers between color changes)
-white note cards (found mine at Joann's, and used a coupon for 30% off)
-thank you stamp

Saturday, October 22, 2011

happy birthday, my baby

 It was someone's first birthday yesterday.

And I may have gotten a bit all Sandra Lee up in this place. For the first time this calendar year, I didn't care about what guests ate [we ordered pizza], and concern for tablescapes [there's a squiggly red line under that word right now--modern English doesn't even recognize it] drove me to JoAnns for three four consecutive days. And while I will shamelessly confess, right here, right now, that, yes, I will be pinning my own crafty pictures up on Pinterest and I that I just might be hoping that they get the heck repinned out of them, this party really was about my precious son, Walker.

don't let the smile fool you, he was crying .01 seconds later

just a little swipe

grandparents and uncles

It was a good thing, to pause and to celebrate. 

A week ago, I was swimming in angst, wondering how it could be that Walker was turning one, wondering if I had been truly present with this one, if I had been enough. With Carter, I felt like every morning was Christmas. I'd wake up, run into his room and excitedly scoop him up, flooded with the most amazing feelings. With Walker, well, it's been a bit more rocky. It's taken me longer to find my footing, to get my sea legs. After he was born, all I wanted to do was to crawl into a dark cave with him, to sleep and to nurse and to sleep some more, oblivious to the outside world and not needed by anyone.

But there was no cave for baby and me.

Another little one needed me this time and I had to be a Mommy to him too.

My marriage needed me also, and apparently, God thought my story of healing needed me as well. Unexpected issues cropped up this past year, real things that demanded focused and intentional work. But I didn't want to be needed by those things. I didn't want to be needed by anyone else. I wanted the honeymoon back, the honeymoon I got with my firstborn. Back then, my world revolved around Carter, my days and nights and naps and outings, and I felt entitled to have that with Walker. And when I realized it would be different this time, resentment lighted on my soul and stayed for a while. 

My world, my landscape, had changed and so would have to my expectations.

When the demands of motherhood quickly revealed to me that the days would not belong solely to the baby, I determined that the nights would. Baby Wise stayed in the garage, unmarked and unreferenced this time around. I didn't care about sleep scheduling--he'd sleep through the night soon enough and I decided that when he cried, I'd answer him. I rocked this one to sleep some nights and held him longer, maybe even spoiling him, as the threat goes, but I needed to be close. The nights were ours and he slept in my bed those first several weeks, against the AAP's recommendations, where I could see him, hear him, nurse him and hold him.

I found ways to steal back the wonder.

It went too fast this time, too. With Carter, I was anticipating every benchmark, every milestone. I knew exactly what he should be doing at exactly what point in his development. With Walker, I just let him be a baby and when he rolled over at two three months, I thought,

Well, that was early...Wait, was that early? 

Baby Wise was still in the garage.

So he rolled over, and then he scooted at five months and then he crawled and stood and signed "more" and said mama [only when he cries] and dada [always when he hears the door chime] and started sleeping through the night at ten months and learned to pull his diaper off last week, all the while endearing a three year old and almost-thirty year old to him, awakening the Mama Bear in me like no other with every, "isn't he a bit small for his age?" comment at the grocery store.

And then he turned one.

Just like that. 

There's no stopping this trajectory of life and no stopping this force of time that keeps rolling forward, with or without our permission, unaffected by our readiness or lack of it.

And so I stop and wonder, God, was I truly present? 

And for the moments I was not enough, can you, will you be, please?

I don't expect perfection of myself, as a mom. Just as I aim to love my children with a pure and selfless love, fully aware of how far I fall short, I also rest in the comfort that God can, and will, use my failures to show himself to these boys.

I aim for love, and not perfection, and pray that God fills in the gaps. 

But every now and then, something will get under my skin and I'll stay up four nights in a row till college-late hours painting white pom poms because they weren't sold in green, hot gluing brown pipe cleaners to caterpillar heads, gluing, cutting, scrapping, baking, piping,

because sometimes, you need tangible proof that you do enough for the second kid. Sometimes, love stops everything and puts life on hold for several days so that your son's first birthday can be called special by you, by your camera, by the memory you'll forever hold.

I love you, Walker. 

Happy First Birthday.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

jeans and jean ladies

This whole childbearing thing does a number on your wardrobe. There are entire bins in my garage of I've-Put-On-A-Little-But-We-Haven't-Announced-Yet clothes, the Yes-I'm-Pregnant clothes, and then there are the I-Swear-It's-Not-Twins clothes, which are really just two pairs of sweats because you're hibernating at this point, praying to not be another day overdue. By the time you can fit back into your pre-preggo clothes, it's been a while, entire seasons have passed, and styles have changed.

And the re-entrance to the world of fashion can be a bit shocking to the system.

Apparently, while I was focused on getting enough DHA for two, waddling after a rambunctious toddler, having a baby without drugs, googling "symptoms of post-partum depression," diving into an obsession with hippie food, and transitioning to motherhood of two children,

some things

out there

have changed.

Like socks, for instance.

They can be fluorescent now. And they can conspicuously peek through sandals, over boots, or over shoes that are not called shoes, they're called shooties. Target told me so.

And nothing is supposed to match, which really throws me off because how do I know if it works, or not? Are the colors in my outfits mismatching enough? How do we measure these things now?

I finally got on board with skinny jeans, right before Little One implanted himself in my uterus. Two years later, I'm back in the jeans market and

flares are back.

Flares? That's so 1995, which was a throwback then to 1975.

[Is that the point?]

It's a brave new world out there, and the water's cold.

Two days ago, I ventured out to the mall, determined that the Two Reasons I had detoured from the fun of dressing up would hold me back no longer, plus I had a new jogging stroller to try out.

A double jogging stroller.

I could only get so far back into Baby Gap before I started knocking down hot pink backpacks, which was a clear sign that I needed to go to Mommy Gap to find new jeans. I was a bit optimistic and should have held my guard up, at least a bit longer. Shopping for jeans, especially when hips have been stretched and shrunk and re-stretched should be regarded with trepidation.

Eight no's later, I tried to sneak through the men's section to avoid the overeager sales associate that could speak GapJeans as if it were a second language. She found me, cut me off between cardigans and hoodies.

"So, nothing worked?"

"Well," I stammered, "I wasn't really a fan of the fit."

"The fit of all of them?"

"They were just...really skinny. Like, really tight. Too tight for me."

          [Could I play off some conservative card here? Surely, she wouldn't counter that.]

"Well, you know, they stretch throughout the day. "

And then she went into her morning routine, the shower, the jeans fresh from the dryer waiting for her on the stool, the hair regimen, the necessary calisthenics to get the jeans on, and then

"by the time I walk out the door, they're perfect.

After all, you don't want saggy bottom jeans, do you? Next thing you know, Stacy and Clinton will be sitting you down and you'll be on What Not to Wear."

And that's what she did, friends. She pulled the trump card, the consummate fashion nightmare--

she threatened me with What Not To Wear.

What she should have known, though, is that I've had two kids. And that while this transition to motherhood of two, along with this dabbling in PPD, this obsessive compulsion I have with organic food, this mad crazy husband I'm addicted to, this Jesus-life I have deep inside my belly, this stretching and shrinking of an every-changing, childbearing body--while these are the very reasons I have just one pair of decent jeans to my name,

they are also are the very reasons someone who speaks, and threatens, in GapJeans for a living can no longer intimidate me.

I smiled, no-thanked-you, and awkwardly wheeled my monstrosity of a stroller around the scarfed mannequins and I was onto the next store, will resolute, new-jeans-mission still standing.

It was the first attempt in a long time, treading these unfamiliar waters of What to Wear, and while the perfect pair of jeans may still allude me, I was happy to come home with the discovery of something even better:

those Store Ladies don't scare me anymore.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

just perfect

Some weekends, you get up early and everyone's ready to go and you spend an hour at the Home Depot buying stuff for your dream veggie garden.

Some weekends, you come back home and babies nap real long and you get dirty with your little buddy outside, digging up sod.

Some weekends, Auburn plays better than expected and pulls out a win for the husband.

Some weekends, everything you're in charge of at church goes well and you're not stressed, friends are hugged, new friends are made, and God gets the attention he deserves.

Some weekends, you walk outside and decide it's too nice to be cooking at home and you pack up the boys, walk to a nearby restaurant, practice juggling invisible things,

watch your boys entertain each other,

and just generally enjoy life and the ones you love.

Some weekends are just perfect.