Dreams To Do

Comparison: The Thief of Joy

Shortly after I gave birth to my daughter, I remember sitting in our tiny living room, sun streaming through the window on a hot summer day, gazing down at this sweet little innocent bundle asleep in my arms, and thinking about all of my hopes and dreams for her future. I dreamed she would be fearless, determined, brave, outgoing, and confident – all things I’ve never been. I hoped that she would be different from me, better than me.

Now at just barely five years old, I already see so clearly the little person she is. She’s amazing in so many ways, I can’t even describe, but looking at her is like looking at myself 25 years ago. My heart is already breaking a little bit, seeing her struggle in ways that I also struggled at her age and knowing that she is going to face a lot of the same internal battles that I myself have faced.

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The night before Halloween was Leila’s very first school dance – a Monster Mash costume party. The days leading up to it were full of bursting-at-the-seams anticipation. She couldn’t wait to get all dressed up in her leopard costume and see all of her little friends in theirs. The night of, we couldn’t get there fast enough.

Her school gym was packed full of families in costume, lots of decorations, and loud music blasting from the speakers. As we walked in I could already sense the social anxiety building inside her. I myself wasn’t looking forward to the social event, but I was looking forward to watching my kids have fun. I figured once we found some of her friends, she’d loosen up and have a blast. Wrong. My heart hurt as Leila’s little friends held hands and danced around, but nothing I (or they) did or said encouraged her to join in the fun. I finally got down on her level and in the middle of a million people with music burning our ears, demanded that she tell me what’s wrong. After asking several times and telling her to speak up, I finally made out what she was saying to me through sad eyes: “I don’t look like everyone else.”

My heart seriously shattered in that moment. How is my five year old daughter already worrying so much about what other people think of her? A few weeks prior when she told me she wanted to be a leopard for Halloween, I had a strange feeling she would regret not wanting to be Elsa or Anna or some other princess like every other little girl. I even asked her several times if she was sure that’s what she wanted to be. She was excited to be a leopard. But as soon as she saw all her little friends in their pretty costumes, she lost all confidence in her choice. It killed me.

We ended up leaving the Monster Mash after only about 20 minutes. Leila was just frozen in a state of sadness (and the loud music and crazy costumes were freaking Landon out). As soon as we got in the car, Leila lost it in a sea of tears. We ended the night with a deep heart-to-heart talk about being confident and not worrying what other people around us do as long as we’re happy with ourselves. A difficult conversation to have with a little girl.

I couldn’t sleep that night. I flashed back on all the moments in my life when I had confidence and happiness stolen away from me as soon as I compared myself to others. How do I teach my daughter, who is so much like me it isn’t even funny, to not let the same thing happen to her? How can I help her have fun and embrace life instead of worrying so much about what other people think? How do I teach her these things when I don’t even know how to do it myself?

On Halloween the next day, after our deep talk and a mini life lesson learned, Leila once again embraced being a leopard and ended up having an awesome time trick-or-treating with her brothers and cousins. I just love this little girl so much and I wish she would realize how awesome she is.

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4 months.

Considering everything I have going on in my life right now, I’m pretty impressed that I’m getting this post written just two days after Roman turned 4 months old. 4 months!!! Every month it gets better and better with this little guy and we are entering my absolute favorite time in babyhood – when they start sitting up, playing with toys, and becoming much more interactive. Love it!

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Since Roman turned 4 months old the day before Halloween, it was only appropriate for us to photograph him in his costume. The same monkey costume that his big sis wore 5 years ago! My little monkey…

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Happenings with Roman Michael at 4 months old…

  • This kid is becoming a little drooly monster. He is constantly sucking on his hands and soaking his clothing.
  • He’s rolled from front to back.
  • He finally doesn’t hate tummy time now that he’s getting stronger.
  • Such a smiley, giggly little beast. Can’t get enough!
  • Sleeps through the night about 75% of the time now. Put him down around 7pm, feed him before I go to sleep around 10/10:30pm, and then he wakes up around 6am. I’ll take it!
  • Takes a binky when falling asleep, but that’s it.
  • Takes most of his daytime naps in the ergo carrier. It’s just so much easier for me to get him to sleep in it and he stays asleep much longer than in his crib. And I don’t hate the snuggle time.
  • Roman has recently decided that he pretty much hates his car seat and likes to scream his head off when you strap him in. If we time car rides close to nap time, he’ll usually fall asleep right away. Otherwise, there are a lot of tears.
  • His favorite person is his mommy (well, duh!) – it is the best feeling in the world watching his face light up whenever he sees me.

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I’m just obsessed with this kid. I love spending pretty much every minute of my day with him. I seriously never want him to grow up.

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Life Lately

Fall leaves, tall boots, chilly morning school drop offs, baby drool, hot coffee (lots of it), Daily Mom, diaper changes, play dates, photo editing, internet socializing… these are the things that pop into my head when I take a moment to sit and reflect on what makes up my life lately. The family and I are fighting off colds that came with the recent change in weather. It’s finally really starting to feel like fall around here and I’m slowly adjusting to this new life I’m leading.

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Days that used to drag on and on back when I was “working” now disappear in the blink of an eye. Going to work means something completely different to me these days and while I no longer “work,” I now truly understand the true definition of what it means. My payment may not come in the form of dollar bills, but it’s much more valuable than all the dollars in the world.

I have a new favorite time of each and every day. It’s the late afternoon hours between 3 and 5pm, after we pick Leila up from school and before the craziness of dinner and baths and bedtime sets in. It’s just me and all three of my kiddos and whatever we want to do. Today we decided to bake cupcakes and while they were in the oven filling our home with the smell of warm pumpkin spice, I sat in the living room nursing the littlest while his big siblings rolled around tickling each other on the floor at my feet. Sure, most days are filled with chaos and mess and disorganization, but it’s these little stolen moments that keep me strong and feed my soul.

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Tomorrow Roman turns 4 months old. I love how this little peanut has completed our family. Each day we all fall into more and more of a steady rhythm as we get to know this new little human being. I seriously can’t get enough of having a baby in the house again. I am so, so, so, so, so savoring each second I have with him before he becomes an unruly toddler and a small child who can talk back to me. We spend a lot of time snuggling and I spend a lot of time chowing down on those sweet little cheeks.

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I still question whether being a stay at home mom is truly for me, but I don’t have one single ounce of regret in any of the decisions I’ve made to get me to this point of my life in the here and now. I’m learning each day how to be a little bit of a better mom, with lots of failure along the way. But, mixed in with the failure is a whole lot of love and laughter and days ended with the sheer satisfaction of a comfortable bed. It’s a new season and I’m really enjoying it.

THREEEEEEEEEE!

I know I keep bringing up the cruelty of time, but I seriously feel like I can’t keep up with the ticking clock! Yesterday my firstborn son turned THREE. His birthday came and went in the blink of an eye and I totally wasn’t prepared for it. Between his big sister starting school and his baby brother rocking his world and taking away any smidge of undivided attention from him, my poor Landon Drew is heading for a serious case of middle child syndrome. Luckily, I rallied at the last minute to deliver him a birthday full of special treatment – lots of sweets and lots of loving.

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I can’t believe that THREE years ago I was in the hospital meeting this little man for the first time. I’m already getting details from his and Roman’s birth mixed up in my mind because they seem like they only happened days apart. Thank God I have this blog to help me remember special things about each of my children.

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Landon Drew at age three is the funniest, quirkiest, short-fused little bugger I know. Sometimes Andy and I make eye contact while watching him and I know we’re both thinking, “Where did this kid come from?” And the funny thing is that we know he 100% came from us because we’re both pretty weird.

Things I never want to forget about Landon at just 3 years old…

  • He walks on the balls of his feet and frolics wherever he goes. He’s got a spring in his step that just makes ya smile.
  • He HAS TO do everything himself (he says, “My do it!” for “I’ll do it!”) or else he will throw an epic tantrum. And you don’t want Landon to throw a tantrum.
  • His favorite thing to do when I tell him to go play with his toys is get his big stuffed Mickey Mouse and his little stuffed Mickey Mouse and go roll around with them under the covers in Mom and Dad’s bed. Cracks me up.
  • He loves airplanes and is constantly on the lookout for them in the sky.
  • He loves when his dad and I pretend to be monsters and chase him around the house. This is his #1 request throughout each day.
  • He loves play-doh and will play with it for hours.
  • Obsessed with playing with the iPad (we now keep it up on top of the fridge).
  • Favorite foods are beef jerky and mac n cheese.
  • Favorite show is Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.
  • He likes to blow raspberries on my stomach – something he started doing when I was pregnant with Roman and now still will do periodically out of nowhere.
  • Loves to wear his bright blue sunglasses whenever we go anywhere in the car.
  • Landon also loves to make his baby bro smile and thinks it is just the most hilarious thing when he does.
  • He’s an early riser who climbs in bed with us at the butt crack of dawn and snuggles for a while until he can’t take it any more and starts bugging us to wake up.
  • He worships his big sister and listens to her better than his dad or I. When he gets hurt, he cries for his “Diddy” (aka “Sissy”).

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I could seriously go on and on and on about each of Landon’s little quirks, but it wouldn’t do him justice. This kid brings me so much joy and grief all at once. One minute he’ll have me rolling with laughter and the next I’ll be pulling my hair out when his good mood flips to very bad in the blink of an eye. He’s smart and athletic (yes, I already know he’s going to be a star athlete some day) and loving and gentle and rowdy and rough all rolled into one adorable blue eyed little boy.

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This kid has my heart. In three years he’s already taught me so much about love, about patience, and about my own self worth. Knowing that I helped create something as intricately beautiful and complex as him is all the proof I need that God exists.

Wait, summer is over?!

In the delirious state of adjusting to life with a newborn, I’m just now really coming to grips with the fact that it’s fall! As you can imagine, when your world is rocked by the birth of a new baby at the start of summer, it mysteriously seems to disappear right before your eyes. When I look back on the past few months, it’s a blur of breastfeeding sessions, diaper changes, child wrangling, bedtimes, nap times, and HOT weather.

However, mixed in to the chaos that defined my summer of 2014, was a lot of simple and wonderful sweet summertime memories. Before I officially say good bye to summer (after all, it was near 80 degrees here until just this last week!), I thought I’d jot down a few things I never want to forget.

Long, hot days spent swimming at the lake with cousins…

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The bulk of time spent out in our beautiful backyard with our new bundle of joy…

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A dozen long car rides with wild kids to our tiny hometown…

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Andy’s 1st summer growing dahlias – they were huge!

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The first family photo of all 5 of us (a selfie!) during Roman’s 1st trip to the beach…

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Popsicles in underwear every day afterΒ nap time…

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Our one and only family trip to Leavenworth, WA…

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Warm evening walks to our local ice-cream shop at least once/week…

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It seriously boggles my mind that it’s over already. I spent many months growing a baby inside of me and anticipating a summer at home with my family, so it’s shocking how fast it flew by. I saw Christmas stuff out already the other day and I couldn’t believe it. I’m trying with all of my might to slow down time, to savor each second. It’s sad how with age it seems to slip through your fingers in the blink of an eye.

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