Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The baby Weight... uhg!!!

Two years, ago Martin found me crying in the closet. It was a Saturday morning, and I was trying to find something to wear. Nothing fit. William was only a couple months old, and it was getting too cold for my summer maternity clothes, besides the fact that I wanted desperately to be done with them! The frustration of it all mixed with my crazy hormones had me in a puddle on the floor, completely hopeless.
Then my sweet, good intention driven husband suggested we get some new clothes that would fit. To me that felt like more defeat. I wanted to fit into the clothes that were already in my closet, the clothes that belonged to my previous body. That however, couldn't possibly be a reality. The body I was in had other requirements. Constant access to the boobs, for one. Let's face it, not every shirt allows for that. Some of this was familiar, obviously. This was my third baby, it should be "old hat," right? Wrong. The emotions that came with dealing with all of this felt brand new, though I knew they would come and I knew the frustrations of nothing fitting, and wanting to be back to a size that fits into something with a waist. Still, the hopelessness was overwhelming.
Finally, I allowed Martin to coax me into going to a thrift store to look for something to wear. I felt too guilty buying new clothes for this weird in-between phase that my body was going through. This is by far the worst body phase. No longer looking cute pregnant, but kind of fat pregnant because the belly is still there and the extra pounds that have distributed themselves... everywhere haven't gone away.
The thrift store didn't really help. I actually felt more depressed, because I had to buy a size larger than I had ever bought before. I obviously couldn't shop in the maternity section anymore, so moving up in size was the only option. oy. that was tough! but I got through it. I guess I have always had some body issues, what woman doesn't?
On the good days, though, the days when I could stay in my sweats and recognize the beauty and the miracle of what my body had gone through, those were the days that got me through. I reminded myself that my body was strong, that for ten whole months it provided the perfect place for the little life that I now snuggled in my arms. The body that fit into nothing, also provided important nourishment all day long for the newest love in my life. After that, it was about giving myself grace and time. I let myself off the hook, forgot about what other people might be saying or thinking, and just loved being at home with my baby.

Eventually I started to fit into things again, but it has been a long, hard road. It has taken so much longer than it did with my other two! After Elijah, I hardly tried at all, and I was back to my high school weight before getting pregnant again with Owen. I guess, with each kid a little more weight hangs on to those hips and middle. After William, I stayed at the same weight that I was when he was six weeks old for nearly two years!

I wish I could go back in time and give myself advice. I guess that is why I am writing this post, and also in hopes of encouraging other women that it can be done, but it doesn't have to be done instantly! I would go back to that morning, that terrible morning when I felt like I would never again fit into anything, and I would sit next to myself and say, "you are a strong and beautiful mother, and you are exactly what you are suppose to be right now for your children." Sometimes, I think that is all we need to hear.
I think we also need to give each other a break. Why do we even think about making an effort to lose any weight in the first year after having a baby? I have found the best way to spend that year, is tackling all of those firsts with your baby, learning how to breastfeed, keep a sleep schedule, and your sanity. I wish that we didn't live in a society that cares so much about weight and appearances, because I too, am susceptible to it.

I am proud to say that two years later... I have decided to get my act together. About 6 weeks ago I changed my eating habits and I am on my way to a goal of health and fitness that I now feel is attainable. I have lost a few pounds, and I would love to sit next to that past self, and tell her the good news... just hang in there, two years from now you'll fit into those jeans, I promise!!! Ha ha ha!

Though some days we all feel bad about ourselves, that's only human, I think we can always encourage each other about our purpose, about the things that matter far more than fitting into a pair of jeans.  Wherever you are on your motherhood journey, I wish you luck, and hope you won't ever have a morning spent crying in the closet over your beautiful body that has given life to someone. but if you do, I want to let you know, that it's okay. And it only gets better.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Gift of Christmas (yes, I'm talking about Christmas in October)!

What is it about Christmas that makes us feel all warm and cheery? I saw a row full of "Christmas" at Target today, and it unexpectedly made me long for that time of year that is just around the corner. The wreaths and the mistletoe, the red and green everything, the sparkly letters spelling out "Joy" or "Peace," it all made me sigh with sentimental delight.

Then I thought about why I love Christmas so much. For me, it's the time when everything slows down, for once. In my family growing up, Christmas break was really the best time of year because we were ALL on Christmas break. My parents taught school, so our breaks, were there breaks. It was truly a time of relaxing for everyone.

Some nights we would stay up eating ice cream out of jam jars and watching a good family movie, or playing one of the new board games we got for Christmas. We could sleep in, or wake up early to watch some cartoons, but whatever we did, we were together. The years that it snowed, we would take advantage. We didn't have all the gear that my kids get the privilege of having. I remember layering socks and pants, and then using a garbage bag to slide around on the snow. New Mexico rarely had enough snow to make a snow man, but one year, we got so much snow our Labrador got lost jumping in it! We built tunnels in the snow that year!

What else is it about Christmas that warms our hearts? Christmas morning is the best! Now if you try to think back to all the Christmas mornings you've had, I bet you can't remember every single gift you have received, but I bet you can remember how you felt. It's not really about the presents, despite what my kids tell me, it's the faces all around the room lit up with joy and love, those same words I saw sparkling back at me in the store this morning. I remember that slowed pace of Christmas morning. For our family it was never a rushed thing with paper flying everywhere. We gave each person a turn to be the center of attention. For some reason this made it seem more special and important. I especially loved watching my dad give gifts to my mom. One year he got her a new comforter for their bed. I think she was surprised, and I will never forget the blissful look on her face, like, wow he got it right this year... I love him so much!

I love pretty much everything about Christmas. The movies that come on every year that I have seen a zillion times. The music, which I might be listening to as I am writing this. The decorations!!! The snow, that comes at just the right time in this part of the country. The cozy days with a warm cup of something... coffee, cider, oh the possibilities! And of course, the opportunities that arise. Sometimes it's just an opening to talk about the greatest story ever told - our Savior! Sometimes it's the opportunity to help someone who's heart has been softened by the season, Sometimes it's those priceless conversations with my kids that happen because of something going on, or something they have heard.

I love the old traditions of my family and the way we grew up having Christmas, but I also love making new traditions with my little family. Sometimes it's hard to balance that, and fit in a visit with all sides of the families too, but in any case I can't help feeling the glow when I see those little hints of Christmas start to pop up. Some of you probably feel quite the opposite, and that's okay too. I'm home alone right now, and no one knows I'm listening to Christmas music and fantasizing about skipping right over Halloween and Thanksgiving just to get to that little piece of peace.

Someday my kids will look back the way that I do now, not remembering the gifts of Christmas, but I think they will remember the Gift of Christmas, and that is what really stirs up longings in me.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Happy Eighth, Elijah!

This boy turned EIGHT, last Thursday! It's the same every year, it always feels impossible no matter which child it is, and no matter what age they are turning. Eight seems big to me. Now he's in a whole new age bracket... and only one age bracket away from the teenager one! Eek! You know, 8-12. It's a fun age bracket too, though. I was very excited to put some things together for his birthday, some of which he won't appreciate or fully enjoy until he is much older. But I feel like this age is the beginning of true independence. searching, and a journey into becoming a young adult. I wanted to help him start his journey off right through a few special gifts. 

This is him opening his lego tool. For a long time now he has been using his teeth to separate the blocks, which drives me crazy, so this is a brick separator tool.

This book (above) "The Dangerous Book For Boys," is awesome! Okay, I have been eyeing it for some time, and knew that I wanted it for my boys, but once I brought it home, I almost wanted to keep it for myself! It has a little bit of everything in it from science experiments, to adventure stories, to how to master morse code, and speak Navajo. It has key history stories about our country, games, and poems that every boy should memorize. I realize that it may be a little hefty for an 8-year-old, but I think as the years go on, he will really learn to love it!
So on the very first page, there is an essentials list... things that every boy should have. It gave me an idea to collect all of these things and put them together as a gift to go along with the book. Finding everything on that list was a little trickier than I had first thought, but I got it done, after searching all over town and online. We even found this special lock box, to store it all in. 

Here is what the box included: a swiss army knife (I was a little apprehensive about this one, but we figured since it will be locked up, and rules made, it would be okay), a compass, a flashlight, bandaids, a box of matches(again, I know giving matches to a little boy -eek-)! a handkerchief (I love the idea of this, and all of it really, being so traditional)  a needle and thread, and a marble shooter.
He was so excited about all of it! And really he is a very responsible kid. I'm more worried about his little brothers, hence the lock code on the box.

After we gave him his essentials kit, daddy had a special few words to say to him about what is truly essential and important in life. He read a verse from the Bible, and added it to Elijah's kit.

This is the face of getting something he actually asked for... you would never guess... an electric pencil sharpener. Yep, he's a little quirky. I guess all that manual labor of turning the pencil over and over was really getting him down!

This was sweet. Owen had drawn him a few pictures for his birthday, this is him explaining them. I think he drew Elijah as a panda or something. He really loves his brother.

Oh yeah, it's my birthday! There are way too many candles on that cake!!!Right?! He can't really be eight! Which, it's not really cake, it's egg-free, dairy-free pumpkin bread. I knew Elijah wouldn't mind, I made it so that William could have some, and I wouldn't have to make a separate one just so that he could have something to enjoy, due to his allergies.

He blew out all the candles. He's officially an eight year old!

So, the next night after his birthday, he got to have a camp-out sleepover with his best buds and their dads. I was tempted to stay and spy on them, but instead William and I stayed at parents house so they could have their boy bonding time without a nose-y mother hanging about.
They had a great time roasting marshmallows, and twinkies, I am told.And telling stories deep into the night, and whatever else boys do...
Ha ha ha!

Eight. Wow. I feel too young to have an eight year old, but it's true! I think he will remember this weekend forever. And the journey begins!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

September HIghlights!

It feels like September came and went with the breeze. It has flown by so quickly with busy-ness and life, that I can't believe we are about to welcome in October. It think it is my favorite month, weather wise, at least here in North Idaho. The mornings and evening are cool, and refreshing, and the afternoons are sunny and perfect for a bike ride or a little yard work. 
Since the month has gone by, so fast, I thought I would summarize a few of our favorite moments.

William is not the easiest one to get to sleep, so daddy usually gets tasked with that job while I read to the older two and put them to bed. On this particular night, however, I had put Will down, but he kept waking up, Martin had fallen asleep on the couch (we do have the most comfortable couch in the world), and I was trying to watch "Downton Abbey," so I asked Will if he wanted to lay down by daddy. He said "yes," and everyone was happy. What could be sweeter? He even gave daddy his baby to cuddle. I thought that was super funny.

Just before school started, I bought this new, very soft rug for our living room. It is everyone's favorite place to lay down. As soon as we got it all the boys couldn't helping laying on it. I especially love to catch William like this... Just relaxing looking through a book. It really does make the place more cozy!

One of the things I cherish, is my time with Owen before Elijah is home everyday. We get a few precious hours together... and it's our last year since next year he will be in 1st grade ALL day! We usually sit at the kitchen table for a while and chat, or work on a project. Many days he likes to go outside and explore. One afternoon, he found this praying mantis near one of our rose bushes, and spent nearly an hour playing with it. He made it a little home out of leaves and grass, he let it crawl all over him, and he talked to it. He is such a joy. 

I love this boy's baby blues! He cracks me up a lot these days as he is learning lots of new words everyday and trying them out. His latest one is sorry, which sounds more like "soddy." My favorite, though is when he says, "okay." He really draws out the "a-ay!" Adorable!

Okay... the pig race at the Spokane fair was pretty entertaining!

Here come those pigs!

William was ready to embrace them with open arms!

It wouldn't have been half as much fun without Papa... and Grandma too!

These bandits are always hanging around my place!

I love this one of Owen with daddy! He looks like he's really about to lasso him!

I couldn't resist having Martin hold up this prop! What fun we had at this photobooth!

 These awesome superhero cars were also at the fair.. so naturally, we needed a picture by them.
I particularly liked the cape for the superman car.

Picture day at school!!! Don't they look handsome?!

Owen looks so grown up here! They like to wait outside sometimes for their ride to school.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

September Changes

Goodbye Summer! Hello rhythm and routine! September is here, and for us that means the steady, sometimes chaotic pace of school begins! Today was Elijah and Owen's first day of school. Owen started kindergarten (sigh), and Elijah began second grade! They are both still at an age where this is as good as it gets! School is fun and exciting and they are eager to soak it up, every single ounce!

I like the change of pace. We've been very relaxed all Summer (duh, that's what Summer is for)!By the time September rolls around, I am anxious for structure! Morning routine charts, After school, and bedtime routine charts are in place! It feels good to follow a schedule again, and the boys really do well making their check-marks on their charts! Elijah especially loves seeing what he's done and what he still has left to accomplish. 

This time of year, more than any other, makes me think of my own changes and person goals. Some people do the traditional January new year resolutions, but to me it seems more natural now to make new goals when the year actually has it's biggest transition. For us that is when the school year begins. It has me thinking of what I want to do in the coming year.

The other reason I am thinking about changes and goals is that my 30th birthday is about one year away (and a couple months). I thought it would be fun and motivational to set a goal to achieve before then, or maybe a whole list.
For now here is what I have come up with:

I have always wanted to write a book, and I have worked a few ideas over the years. This summer, an idea stuck with me, and I would really like to see it to the end. My goal is to get the entire rough draft completed before my 30th!

Goal number two is to lose 30 pounds by my 30th!

If it comes down to choosing one over the other... I'm going to choose the book! Wish me luck as we embark on many adventures with this new school year!

Before we did hair cuts!

This mini chef made tacos for dinner tonight! He even cooked the meat!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

William's 2nd Birthday!

Two. TWO! Newborn to two is like a whirlwind of survival mode to relying on coffee to give you the energy you need to chase the piles of disaster around your house made by a little person with a short attention span.  People used to say "Those Terrible Twos," but there are so many things I love about two. Two is the time for exploring, acquiring some independence, yet mommy and daddy are still their whole world. 
I love that he stops his play to come "check on me." sometimes it's just for a hug, other times he wants a snack, or some other thing. The great thing about being a stay at home mom is, I can actually just play with him! I love that! I'm pretty chill about letting the house get messy. It's a lot more fun to sit and put together a train track so we can watch the little train go around, and hear the squeals of pure joy!
I love the adventure of this age. Trying new things are around every corner. Discovery and surprises. The simplicity of the freedom to run! the fresh air blowing in your your hair, which William actually gets concerned about.  We have a lot of wind here, and whenever we go outside, he looks around and points to his hair, like what is making my hair move? I love the curiosity, the possibilities, the simple enjoyment of something good. 
I guess those baby days are over for good! It makes me think of that book Love You Forever. We read it almost every night, if not more. "That baby grew and he grew and he grew. He grew until he was two years old...." Then it talks about all the naughty things the little two year old does, and the mom says, "This kid is driving me crazy!" But at night, she rocks him and sings the song Love you Forever. 
Sometimes I feel like the mom in this book. If you can make it through the day, they all look like angels when they are sleeping. Ha ha ha. 
...As long as I'm living my baby he'll be.

Happy 2nd Birthday Will!

William loved his cake!!!
He was so surprised I think that he actually got to have some cake!!! With all of his allergies, he really hasn't had very many things like this!
I loved William's reaction to the HUGE dragon Grandma and Papa got him for his birthday!!! He talks to it, feeds it. I'm not sure if he knows it's not real!
He also got a new Dr. Suess Book and the animal that goes with it!

Friday, August 22, 2014

"Cheers to Thirty Years"

Cheers To 30 Years: Martin's Surprise "Root Beer" Float Thirtieth Birthday Party!

I knew I wanted to do something special for Martin for his Thirtieth. Since I am very reserved I usually plan something that is just the two of us or the family, which is always fun too. But this year, I wanted to really make him feel like he was loved! I planned a "Root Beer Float" themed surprise party, that really surprised him!

My cover was that the party was for William, whose birthday is just one week after Martin's, and it worked way better than I thought! He had no leading suspicions! He still didn't believe the party was for him even after he came through the door, and we all said, "surprise!"

It was a good time! Just seeing his expression made it all worth it! The only down side, was that many people were out of town and couldn't make it for the party, so the numbers were not as many as they could have been.  However, my sister, Jenny, and her family were in town visiting and joined in on the fun!
I saved lots of jars, removed the labels, and they worked perfectly for the floats! 
I ordered the adorable straws online!

The Root Beer sign, I was able to print, 
add a simple frame, and it worked out just right!

I set up the table with a burlap runner as the base(Walmart $5),
 I had to have root beer colored balloons, and then just placed things where they looked right.

I made Martin this special mug for his float, by etching the glass
 myself. I used a "3" and "0" stickers, and used an etching paste 
that you can buy at most craft stores. You actually use the negative space, 
not the sticker. You put on the paste, let it sit for about 5 minutes, 
then rinse it off. I think it's pretty awesome stuff!

I had a lot of fun making this poster! It is suppose to look like a chalkboard,
but is actually a black foam board. I bought special markers made to
make this effect!

The "note" station! I wanted people to leave Martin a personal note,
or advice about his 30's, so I set up this little table, also we did a 
"30 Things About Martin" quiz, just for fun!

The Root Beer "cake." I saw this idea somewhere and just had to steal it!
I made the stand myself from dollar store plates and martini glasses!
I'm hoping that alone blows your mind! I blew mine!

Okay, so the banner is not quite hop-notch. But after putting everything together,
 Jenny, who was helping me, and I realized it was missing a "Happy Birthday banner. 
It did the job, but it was a last minute, thrown together thing.

The full view of the set up.

Using an easel really made the foam board work.


This was the "center piece" on each table.

Here's a closer look at the frame on the note table.

Me, my mom, and sister all wore aprons so we could serve.

So, here he is coming in. He had all the boys, thinking he was
 bringing them in to William's party.

"What? It's for ME!!!!!!!"

My beautiful mom and sis serving it up right!

Me, holding Will, enjoying a sip of the good stuff!

Air hockey kept the kids busy and happy!

Happy 30th Honey!

Him and the guys!

I know he had a really good time, and I hope he will remember it forever! I may have went a little over-board on the details of things (I just can't help it)!
P.S. A big thanks to my sis for helping me set up and make everything look wonderful!!!