5 Years In A Blink…

Five years ago I was on bed rest. I spent my days searching the internet for all of the information I could find about what it was like to have a baby…two babies. Not only was the thought of raising these two children scary, so was the thought of physically bringing them into the world. I wanted to know everything about both, so I could be fully prepared. I was so incredibly terrified, and felt so absolutely alone. I wanted my mom. Someone who had been there, who knew what it was like and who could tell me it was going to be okay. Sure, I had people telling me that, but they weren’t my mom. As I researched, I made myself more terrified. The unknown was so much for me to take in. I’m planner and I’m ocd…I like controlling outcomes. And this was probably one of the most uncontrolled, uninformed situations I had ever experienced. And to say it was overwhelming was an understatement.

I used to sit there and think, “Okay, when I’m dropping them off at daycare, I’ll load them up in the stroller and take them in that way. That will be the easiest.” These are thoughts that I was literally planning in my head, and losing sleep over, prior to them even being born. And now…I laugh at those moms who use the stroller to take their kid (ONE kid) into daycare. (I’m sorry if that’s you. : \) That was a mentally prepared plan that was never executed. I carried a carrier on each arm and lugged the diaper bag over a shoulder.

But there was no amount of research or preparation that could prepare me for how life changing the entire experience was. I quickly learned that there is no preparing or planning. There is no perfection, you simply learn to go with the flow. But simply that was not. All of my compulsions and tendencies to be a neat freak, were gone. All of my worries about getting the dishes done or doing the next load of laundry were an afterthought. Once those boys were here, it was literally sink or swim. And that first year of their life was brutal. It was exhausting and overwhelming and gone in a blur. There is very little of it that I remember. Truly. I was a zombie. Sleep was precious and very short lived.

The first 4 or 5 months they ate at 5, 8, 11 and 2….every three hours. Feeding each of them, burping them, changing their diaper, getting them back to sleep and then pumping, took about 2 hours. That left about an hour to sleep until the process started over again. Brutal. It was brutal. It was exhausting and overwhelming and again, I felt completely alone. I wanted my mom. Fortunately there was very little time to take it all in and really think about what was (or wasn’t) going on. I was a robot.

Slowly, I grew accustomed to the new “normal.” Things started to become routine. I got used to the lack of sleep and I started to become less of a zombie. We’d go for walks in the neighborhood daily, but that was about the extent of our journeys just the three of us. I was afraid to go out in public with the two of them alone. What if one of them cried…or worse, what if they both did? Funny how that’s changed. My husband has never had a problem taking them both out alone, but that definitely took longer for me.

So now, as I sit here and reflect on the 5 years that have passed, I realize what a different person I am and how much those two little blessings have changed me, made me a better person. I worry less (Sure, I still worry, but it’s a lot less than what it used to be.) and love more. I’ve learned that less can be more with kids. They enjoy the simple things in life. Blowing bubbles, playing in water, taking walks…it doesn’t have to be extreme, and they have fun. Raising kids is the hardest, most rewarding experience you can ever have. When someone compliments us on their behavior, or how well they listen or they use manners, I can’t help but smile. It’s the highest compliment anyone could ever give. I thought naming them was hard. I mean, that’s something they’re going to have for a lifetime! It shapes them and molds them. But the reality is, raising them is obviously the hardest part. That is a legacy we’re raising. Those little beings are our future. I mean, no pressure at all, right?! While they are learning and growing, and becoming better people, so am I. And I’m thankful for every second of life I spend with them. Even those moments when I want to pull my hair because they just destroyed a clean room, or are fighting and picking on each other…because those moments won’t last forever. Those moments are precious and deserve to be cherished. Soak it all in. Because life is gone in the blink of an eye. Those little men turn 5 on Saturday and I feel like it was just yesterday they were entering this crazy world.

What was I thinking?!

Don’t ever try to paint when you’re home alone with 3 young children. Just don’t. It’s never a good idea. P.S…Pay the extra money for the paint + primer high cover paint. You’ll thank yourself. P.P.S….Don’t ask the childrens’ opinion on the final product. It doesn’t count anyway.

Where’s my wine?!

Soak it all in….

As I sit here and rock this napping baby, all I can think about are the hundreds of other things I should be doing (laundry, dishes, cleaning, painting….). And then I feel guilty. These are the moments that matter…that are gone in the blink of an eye. So, I’m going to soak this moment up. I’m going to enjoy the quiet and watch my baby sleep. Because it won’t be long and she’ll be an independent,  sassy teenager.#lifeistooshort #babiesdontstaybabies #itstooquiet

To Serve and to Protect

 

I’m sad today. And I’m scared. Scared for my family, and ultimately the fate of this country. A little 4 year old girl just watched someone who she should be taught is a protector, and hero, take the life of an (assumed) innocent man. As a police officer, you know when you sign up for that job, your life is in danger. That’s a given. You know that you may get a gun pulled on you, you may get in a gun battle and you may get shot. That is what you sign up for. You also pledge to serve and protect. That’s what we, as a country, need our officers to do. And what that means is being selfless. It means putting the needs of citizens ahead of your own. It means communicating, and establishing respect so that citizens know, you don’t want to harm them, rather help them. And it means doing just that….helping, not harming. That little 4 year old girl watched an innocent man get shot 4 times, and then sat beside her mom and said, “It’s ok. I’m right here with you,” as her mom cried, yelled and screamed at the injustice she just witnessed. That little girl knows how to serve and protect.

From Red, With Love

This picture warms my heart. For so many reasons. “Mr. Duck” has been in our family much longer than Pink. He was Red’s best friend, second only to Blue. He was Red’s source of comfort, and has traveled everywhere with him. In a sense, he’s been another child. Every vacation, every grocery store trip, every bedtime ritual…Mr Duck has been there.  It was only recently that Red began leaving him home on outings, and not always remembering him at bedtime.  The other night, Red decided it was time to pass on Mr. Duck to Pink. He handed her Mr. Duck and said, “He be your best friend now, Pink.” What a bittersweet moment for this mama. At first it saddened me, because I realized my little babe isn’t so little anymore. Instead, he’s growing up, and learning to experience life without the crutch he’s always turned to. But yet, I couldn’t be more proud of that little guy. He’s the most unselfish, kind little kid I’ve ever met. He loves his sister more than anything.   And watching his love for her, and his compassion to make her happy, makes my heart so full. I have to think that one of the greatest  accomplishments a parent could ever experience is raising an unselfish, good hearted kid. Pink is lucky to have her big brother. And if her relationship with Mr. Duck is anything like her brother’s was, she’s going to be very lucky to have him also. So far, I think it’s safe to say, she’s pretty content.

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Goodnight My Little Monsters…

Four years ago, they were half way across the hospital from me. I’d held Blue once, for about one minute, and was only able to look at Red through the glass. I laid in my hospital bed that night, so excited they were finally here, but so worried about what was to come. Four years later, as I lay in bed, cuddling with the monsters, not much has changed. I’m so excited they’re here, but am still so worried about what’s to come. I can’t imagine that’s ever going to change. I think, maybe, that’s just part of being a mother. And loving someone more than you ever thought possible. I watch them sleep and wish I could protect them from this scary world, keep them innocent and naive forever.  I know that’s not possible. So, I’ll continue to worry about the future, about this crazy world we live in, and how I can hold on to every last second of innocence with these two creatures God has blessed me with.

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It continues..

I was once told that there would always be a “next stage,” and it would typically be just as challenging as the one before.  That was definitely not the most optimistic advice, but probably the most honest and realistic.  And so far, I’ve found it to be very true.  I thought the newborn phase of little sleep was terrible.  I thought it “could only get better.”  And, in all fairness, it did.  For about two weeks.  The sleep extended to about 6 hours straight and I was so happy with that.  I felt human again.  And then we were hit with the teething stage.  Holy cow!  It is by far worse than the newborn stage.  If these stage don’t get any better, I’m not sure I want to experience crawling or walking, talking or the teenage years.  I thought I’d learned a great deal of patience in these past few months.  But I’m learning, I’ve got a long way to go.