I am loving this time of year....it's not too hot yet, and we can spend all day outside if we want. We've been grilling and eating outside some nights, and it has been so nice! The mosquitos are there (reminder to self: purchase bug zapper) but they aren't that bad yet. We just pull the tiny one's chair outside and she sits right with us. The older two are a little harder to feed outside....they just can't keep their mind on their food. On these nights outside, they "graze" more than anything...they are too busy playing on their playground, hitting the baseball off the tee, picking "flowers" (weeds, but we won't tell them that!) I am loving this time outside before it gets too unbearable to be out there!
Last week (before I got sick) we took the babies to the pool for the first swim of the year. They both LOVE the baby pool, and the husband was a good sport and got in with them even though it was COLD. I thought they would be happy splashing around in 18 inches of water for our first time....but Sis asked to get in the big pool. On went our new lifejacket things, and in the water they went. She is SO brave....jumping in off the side, and swimming out on her own. Bub is a little more cautious. He spent the whole time in the big pool guarding the steps. I am sure he will venture out into the pool later in the season....he just needs to get used to the idea first!
Baby has been busy this month!! All of a sudden, she has learned a bunch of new tricks! One day, I walked in to find her standing in her crib, and from that day on she pulled up on everything. A few days ago, she started cruising....trying SO hard to move her little self along the couch. This morning, she let go of the couch and actually stood by herself for a minute before she realized she wasn't holding on. As soon as she figured that out, she plopped down and cried her eyes out. Apparently, learning new tricks is very stressful. What's stressful for her mommy is making sure there aren't any tiny items laying around waiting to get stuffed into a baby mouth. Sometimes I let her roam around (while I follow) but for the most part we are keeping the baby cage up. It's just easier on everyone (twins included) if she is in a contained area. This month marked another first: sitting in the high chair to eat! I was putting her in the bumbo on the floor to feed her, but she is WAY too strong for that now! As soon as you get her situated in that thing, she twists and turns to the side and pops herself right out of it. The twins NEVER could do this, so I am thinking I have an acrobat or contortionist on my hands. Now, it's safer (and cleaner) for her to eat in the high chair. She's loving her baby food.....one box in the morning, one box in the afternoon, and two boxes at night. She is sort of trying to pick up little pieces of food we give her, but for the most part, she just wants to be fed with a spoon. Last week I gave her a cracker for the first time, which scared the life out of me....I kept thinking she was going to get a huge piece broken off and I would have to Heimlich my baby in EZ's....but no such drama ensued. She just gummed all over it happily...getting it all over herself and the floor.
She seems SO big this month....her two little tiny bottom teeth have come in. She says "Mama" and "Dada' and actually looks at us when she says it. She fake coughs every time she hears one of us cough. She dances and dances when you sing to her. The doctor said she was in the 50%th percentile in weight at her last visit, but her chunky little legs make her look bigger than that! She can still wear all her 9 month clothes, but I am buying 12 month stuff (and even some 18) from now on. I remember this age with the twins.....how I felt like they weren't really doing anything for a long time, and then all of a sudden (around ten months) they became totally different people! Livi is the same way.....up until this month, she was pretty happy sitting in one spot for awhile, but those days are GONE. I have a feeling this gate is going to be up in our house for a long time!
I am inspired to write this because of a post I just read on a friend's blog. Before babies, I used to keep a journal of things I was grateful for, and I wrote in it a lot. Let's be honest, writing in journals is a lot easier when you have no kiddos to take care of....now I'm too busy trying to BE grateful....I don't have time to write about it! Making this list isn't that easy....I made one a few years ago and it wasn't all that easy then....for some reason it's even harder now. At this point in my life, I guess I am more concerned with my babies....I could write you a list in half a second about what my KIDS love. I guess I spend so much time on them that I don't think much about what I love. (Besides them!) Of course, my love for them goes without saying, so I won't put it on the list.....Here are some other things I love:
-Being the only person in the house awake.
-anything that smells like lemons (see above)
-early evening (when Shawn gets home) when we are outside with our kids....it smells like grass, and it isn't too hot, and they are dirty and happy.
-taking a bath
-taking a bath alone. (Although it IS fun to have all the kids in the bath, too sometimes!)
-having friends over
-getting something done at the spa....pedicure, massage, facial- anything...I'll take it!
-redecorating/buying stuff for my house
-taking pictures (especially of my kids....I love thinking of how important those pictures will be to me later)
-mindless television (The Hills, American Idol, Grey's Anatomy) I could feel bad for watching these shows but I don't. I spend all day taking care of three people; I deserve to shut my brain off sometimes. Plus, I figure that I counteract the stupidity of the shows I watch by being well read.
-eating out (no cooking/cleaning for me)
-hearing my kids laugh, especially when they think something is really, really funny.
-good, uninterrupted conversations with close friends (these are few and far between these days!)
-the beach (Okay, more the "idea" of the beach....I'm not really in love with getting in the water!)
-being married to someone funny
How often do YOU (my readers) think about what you love or makes you grateful? Do any of us (moms especially) spend enough time remembering these things? If you're anything like me, I'm guessing the answer is no.....
With little bitty kids, I think we spend half our time wanting things to hurry along. Get shoes on, get in the car, get out of the car, get in the bath, etc, etc. The other half of the time, we spend looking at their chubby little selves and willing time to stop entirely so that they will always be this tiny. Thinking about things I love is just one way to slow down and remember to enjoy these days...that no matter how hectic things get, how much time I spend on needs other than my own, I am still somebody too. I am their mommy, yes (my favorite job) but there's another person in there.....I need to remember to pay attention to her sometimes, too!!
We have been lucky enough to have two fun playdates this week.....yesterday Livi was the center of attention! Leni and Allison's little boys LOVE babies, and they were all over her. She wasn't sure if she loved or hated all the attention. They were SO sweet to her.....holding her, giving her her bottle, burping her, picking her up. I think she was just glad someone was paying attention to her.
While Shawn bathes the twins in the hall bath, Livi gets her bath in the kitchen sink. The days we can enjoy this are numbered....she's already growing so much! For now, she loves the sink....especially when you run the faucet on her....she just splashes and splashes like it is the best thing ever!
We tried bathing her with the twins, but they are not exactly careful. There is too much wiggling and moving going on in that tub for this one. She was in danger of slipping the whole time, but you wouldn't have known it by looking at her...she thought she was the same size as them! As long as I can, I think this is how we'll do it.....especially since bathing her in the sink makes me feel like she is still tiny.
Everyone loves when Daddy comes home. He loves that everyone runs to the door hollering for him. Even the little one gets in on the action. She bops up and down and smiles when she sees him....it is so fun watching them figure out who their "people" are. He always makes time for them when he comes home...
We laugh because Livi is a daredevil...the wilder you play with her, the more she loves it!
I was going to run some things over to my Grandma's today.....but from the looks of things outside, maybe I should just stay put. It is DARK in this house....really dark. The picture doesn't do it justice because my camera is adjusting the light (which is normally a great thing!) The lamps are shutting on and off, and the TV is flickering, which is never a good sign. There is a tornado warning on TV, and that makes me nervous because I can never remember which one is worse: a tornado warning or a tornado watch. Plus, I just realized there are no rooms in this house without a window, so where are we supposed to go put a mattress on our head?
It's so dark in here we lost the baby once this morning. (oops)
For now, we are staying inside and not going anywhere.
It's time for play-doh!
I'm not even going to worry about the fact that they have mixed the red and blue tubs together.
Now that this little one is on the move, there's NOTHING she hasn't tried! And I mean NOTHING. She gets herself into all sorts of predicaments and contortions. She's at that stage of development where she can ALMOST pull up on things, which means she often gets herself into the plank position (illustrated below) and then cries because she can't get out of said position.
She LOVES the dog water, crawling outside when no one is looking, digging all the DVD's out of the TV cabinet, and sneaking off to the playroom to find her brother and sister. (Who scramble around picking up small objects when she crawls in...they are trained well!) She thinks lots of other stuff is fun, too....
Chewing on sandpaper (good idea, mom), crawling all over boxes, chewing on DVDs....and those are just this morning! She is a busy girl, and not happy to be "corralled" in the play yard like the twins were. (They didn't know there was a world outside of the corral. :) She went from barely crawling to getting into EVERYTHING in a matter of days!
I know, I know, I am officially the LAST person on the planet to jump on this bandwagon....but now that I'm on it, I can't stop! It all started with some hand-me-downs from some of our best friends the Maziurs, who have a little boy older than the twins....
I'll just come right out with it: I love, love, LOVE Crocs for my kids. (Still not for me, NEVER going to happen) Once I got over the fact that they are ugly, I realized how practical they are with kiddos. Step in dog poo outside? Hose them off! Stomp in mud puddles? Wash the in the sink! Pee your pants outside, soaking your shoes? Yep, just rinse the pee off! After realizing their perfect practicality for little ones, imagine my glee when I realized they don't have to be so ugly....(just the boy ones) They make them in all sorts of cute styles....Hayden now has both purple AND navy blue MARY JANE styles. They are almost attractive, which is wonderful since my kids love how easy they are to put on and insist on wearing them on outings. I have gotten over the fact that they look like shoes that belong to someone who loves water so much they refuse to shower....but only because they are SO easy. I just don't look at my kids feet much. Hayden's two pairs (bought on Ebay) came with little sets of Jibbitz. I told Cale, "Look buddy, we need to get you some Jibbitz, too!" to which he replied, "No, Mommy....I don't need no Shibbitz." which is clearly a Yiddish word meaning "cute plastic decorations for hideous new age plastic shoes". Okay, so maybe he feels the way I do about the shoes.....a good idea, but there's no need to go LOOKING at them.
I always, ALWAYS knew I wanted to be a mother....of course, back when I knew I wanted that, I wasn't really sure what that entailed. I didn't realize the love I would have for them.....or how much they would change my world. I never knew that you could think about someone other than yourself for an entire day, and not remember the last time you washed your hair. I didn't envision a time when I would still be in my pajamas at dinnertime, or put someone else's needs so, SO far ahead of my own. There are so many things I love about this job of mine:
-the "before bed" smell....part lavender body wash, part fabric softener from clean jammies.
-making them laugh (and I'll do some RIDICULOUS things to coax a laugh out of a baby!)
-soft baby skin.
-seeing their little tiny faces in the rearview mirror, especially when they are studying something outside the car and don't see me looking.
-how they are excited to see me, even if I've left the house for just an hour. (Even the tiny one bounces with glee when she sees me now....so fun!)
-how tiny their little bodies are.
-watching their eyes light up when they learn something new, or see something they've never seen before.
-seeing that they love books as much as I do.
-the ways they communicate love to me: running to find ME when they are hurt, telling me "I need a snuggle", reaching for me to hold them, patting me and smiling (this one is Livi's specialty)
-folding their tiny socks and underwear.
-seeing their sensitive little souls in action....being proud that they are potty training, empathetic to others, worried about someone else's feelings....
Oh, the worries...there are a lot of them. I worry about people hurting their feelings, and whether or not they will love school...I think about how badly I want them to find things they are good at and feel confidence in those things.....I think about the friends they will make someday, and how I desperately want God to put believers in their life that will influence them during the times where they choose one road or the other. I worry when I discipline them...am I doing it right? Am I always saying things that build them up? Am I showing them in my words and actions that being a good person, a kind person, is something wonderful to be, and making the "right" choice is a blessing, not a burden?
Of course, all these feelings are magnified right before bed....why is it that as I lay there trying to sleep, everything I have said and done that day feels like it is larger than life? In those moments, I am sometimes squished with guilt...did I say "I love you" enough that day? Did I do and say the right things? Did I make them feel not tolerated but adored? Did I listen enough to the important things they were telling me....whether it was about dinosaurs or something they saw outside? Those moments late at night aren't ALWAYS about guilt and worry....they are often spent thinking about how much love I have for them....and how that feeling is also magnified at night in the dark, when their little bodies are in their own beds. (okay, when two out of three of their little bodies are in their own beds) Now I finally understand why my mother couldn't go to bed until we were home, tucked in our own beds....the thought of MY own babies out in the world without me is too scary to think about now....but luckily I have lots of years before I have to worry about that.
As I look at these pictures, they make me smile.....to remember how I felt when they were taken is funny.....pregnant with twins (no IDEA what I was getting into!)....the first pictures ever taken of my three babies....(can any of my readers tell who is who??) With Livi, I knew so much more.....I KNEW how much I was going to love her, how much she was going to make me laugh, how important she would be, because the twins showed me all these things. Their delivery room scenario was much different. Three times the amount of people in the room, and I felt one basic emotion (for two reasons): Gratitude. They were healthy, and they were FINALLY out of my body! With Livi, I felt gratitude for her health....but it was much less about THAT moment (of her birth) and more about what I knew was to come....how much we were going to love her....who she was going to become.
I read this online and loved it....
It is a message from a mommy to her daughters, and it says so much about what I want for my babies....
"Don't worry about perfection in life, in looks or in love. It isn't attainable, and honestly, those perfect people never have any fun anyway. Always be you. After all, no one else can do it better. Read everything you can get your hands on. Never be afraid of making a mistake. Sometimes those mistakes lead you to the most magical places. Speaking of magic, believe in it. It's real and it's out there just waiting to be uncovered. When someone shows you who they really are, listen. Love with reckless abandon. Please don't hate me when you're 15. But if you do, I promise I'll still be waiting with open arms when you need me again. If you have the change, spare it. There is nothing cute about a bad boy. The only score you should keep track of is your credit. Take care of your skin. Be silly for as long as you possibly can. When you are old enough to have children of your own, watch them when they sleep. You will never feel more peace and love than in those moments. Amazing girlfriends are a necessity in life. Smile at strangers. Trust your gut. Find the kind of music that speaks to you and hold onto it for dear life. It will get you through the toughest of times. Wear your seatbelt. Playing dress up never gets old. Sing as loud as you can in the car whenever you feel the urge. I promise to always sing with you. Don't cheat. Create and capture your moments. Know that it's ok if you can't decide what you want to be when you grow up. Be everything. And most importantly, I gave you as a gift to each other. Cherish one another and be the best friends you were destined to be."
I have loved every minute of this journey to becoming a mother....okay, maybe not EVERY minute, because a C-section isn't exactly a day at the spa. Okay, and the first three months of pregnancy vomiting aren't too much fun, either. Other than that, it really HAS been the best three years of my life.....finding out I was expecting them, feeling them kick inside me (hard!), meeting them on their birthdays.....staring at them when they were eight weeks hold and feeling like I was kicked in the stomach when I realized how much I loved them....all of it. And just like the days of their birth, I feel gratitude today as well....for my own mother, who has practically parented my children as much as I have, and for these babies that made everything different for me.