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Friday, September 28, 2012

tough times

I am really struggling right now. So much is piled up on top of my chest, so many thoughts twirling through my head...so I'll just start at the beginning...

Four and a half months ago our family celebrated a very important day: the birth of our sweet little Brooklynn Mae. The birth of a child is certainly a precious, special, treasured time, for babies are sweet little miracles sent straight from heaven...but this time can also bring with it many challenges. I'll just share my own. After I had her, I was running off of pure adrenaline and love for the first few days; then the exhaustion started to set in, and with it came frustration. Brooklynn did not start out a very easy baby; she suffered from some tummy issues which caused a lot of spit up and a lot of crying: from us both. After you have a baby, your hormones go nuts. Everything is rushing around, trying to return to normal, but your body has forgotten what normal is...I've read many times that it takes a full year for your body to recover; I'm thinking it may be something more like 18 years. Those crazy hormones do some crazy things to your head; I didn't have the baby blues too bad this time, but I definitely had my weepy, stressed out moments.

The transition from one child to two has been way harder than I ever anticipated. Before I had Brooklynn I asked a few friends if the change was a hard one to make; some said yes, others told me no...I'm convinced they are liars. I have honestly had a terrible time of it. I think one reason is, I don't adjust to change easily or quickly. It takes me a lot of time. For example, we have lived here in California for two years...and sometimes I still do not feel like I fit yet. It's just how I am. For over three years it was just me and Ave, best buds, together all the time. She was (and still is) my whole world, my reason for living. Then suddenly there were two little people begging for my love and affection...I've had a hard time trying to figure out how to divvy it out between them. Then that makes me feel guilty. I'm a woman, a mom, isn't this supposed to come naturally?! Everyone else makes it look so easy, what is wrong with me? You'd expect Avery to have a difficult time, but I truly feel like it is me who is struggling. Plus their ages are just sooo different. I can only play with Avery so much at the park when I have a baby in the stroller, or strapped to my chest.  I just can't do all that I used to with her. And that makes me sad. But it's just how it is, I know it's normal.. but still it makes me sad..

I find myself in the midst of all these changes and struggles, so what do I do? I workout. Two, three times a day even. I'm training for a half marathon in November, so I have been running a lot also. I, for a while, was obsessed with getting my body back. I had worked so hard for that six pack, I couldn't stand the flab that was my post-baby belly. So I worked out like a woman possessed. I worked out when I should have been in the Word, doing my devotions, talking to God. I put exercise at the top of my priority list because honestly, my brain was too tired to sit down and read and think...but a twenty minute workout or a four mile run? No big deal, because while I do it I don't have to think..

And so now my husband is starting six months of work-ups; basically, for the next 6-7 months he will be busy, traveling to train. I will mostly be seeing him only on weekends, and not even every weekend. This brings with it more stress... Really it's not fair to say that his deployment will only be 8-10 months, because in all honesty I feel like it is starting now...I feel like I am beginning a 15-17 month deployment. And that is discouraging and daunting and depressing. All of this is new for us, we have no idea what to expect. Plus I have never been on my own with the two girls before; I feel so tired just thinking about that. And then there's the fact that Justin has been home with us for a year, which is awesome and rare in this career. I am so thankful for the time that we have had, but I am also so spoiled and I know this. Justin for the last several months has been home from work by 2:30. This week he worked later, and I could tell a difference oh my... Avery asked for him every day, often. One night he didn't get home until almost eight and she was devastated that he wasn't here for our nightly routine. If she is acting this way now, how in the world will she be with him constantly in and out?! Avery and Justin have really bonded over the last year, more than ever. They spent so much time together while I was pregnant/in the early weeks of Brooklynn's life. I'm very thankful for their budding relationship, but I really feel like that will make all of this even harder on sweet Ave. I always thought that this would get harder as the kids get older, and I believe I was right...

And so, there you have it. Mix all that in with the fact that Brooklynn has been waking up 3-5 times every single night and you have on your hands a woman at her wit's end, who is at the brink of tears at any given moment. I have been snappy, I have been irritable, I've been overwhelmed. And no wonder, since I have been neglecting to make time for the single most important thing in life...my Creator. He is the only reason why I am good; without him I'm a mess (clearly). He holds me together when I want to fall apart. He is the only reason I am ever strong, joyful, peaceful, loving. He is all the good in me. So if I'm not making time for Him, of course I'll be a mess. Now, excuse me while I go read my Bible... :)

Monday, September 24, 2012

mom, play with me!

let me first say, i hate the park. i don't know why, but i do. i just don't find it fun to climb around on jungle gyms and scoot down slides that are five times too small for me. especially when it's hot outside, so the slide burns your legs. or when there's dew on the slide, so you end up walking around looking like you peed your pants. i don't enjoy playing tag really, or pretending i'm a princess stuck on a ship in the middle of the ocean. but i do all of that anyways, with a smile on my face (most of the time), because i know it makes my daughter happy. and i guess when you love someone that much, you're willing to make a few sacrifices...even if they make you look like a complete idiot :) 

"mom, come play with me!" we have all heard these words, a millionnnnnn times! but how do you react when you hear them? if you're like me, you could use some improvement...

while out with my daughter over the years i have noticed that there are three types of parents that you will find at the park: the oblivious parent; the spectator parent; and the participating parent.

you know the oblivious parent when you see one. they're the one texting, checking facebook statuses, or talking on their phone the entire time. their child either is used to this and acts like they don't care, going on their merry way; or he/she is desperately trying to get their parent's attention. "mom, look at me!" "hey, mom, come play with me!" "watch what i can do!" the oblivious parent won't even hear them...because they just aren't paying attention.

the spectator parent is the one sitting on the bench or talking with friends, watching their child play. their child too will usually try so hard to get their parent's attention, until they find someone else to play with...

the participating parent is the fun one. this parent gets in there and plays with their child, while looking at times sort of ridiculous. the child of this parent is happy, wearing a big smile and laughing, because his or her parent is interacting with them, which is all our kids really want right?

i am not judging any of these parents, because i admit at different times i have been all three...and that's ok. there are times when i have just been too exhausted or frustrated or whatever, and i have sat on that bench the entire time. it's ok to do that, once in a while. the important part is remembering that your child is a little person who craves your love and attention. your child will not be a child for very long; one day my avery won't want to play at the park with me anymore and when that day comes i'll be sad (and maybe somewhat relieved). but for now she enjoys pretending we're lions and gorillas stuck at sea...so for now i'll try to be the best darn gorilla that i can be.
"...even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many." Matthew 20:28

Friday, September 21, 2012

vacation time!

coming back from vacation is never fun, or easy. at least not for me. i am not a person who accepts change easily; it is always so difficult for me to go from one season to another. but our week in Oahu was glorious, and well worth the readjustment to normal life.

we were in Oahu for one wonderful week. we stayed in a condo right in the heart of Waikiki. my little family went, along with my sister and mother-in-law. the extra help was amazing. i feel like i was actually on vacation, and if you're a mom you know that's a big deal. so thankful for the help!

Waikiki was a bustling town, or at least the part we were in; lots of shops and eateries, and very beautiful but crowded beaches. don't get me wrong, the scenery was completely breathtaking and i enjoyed myself thoroughly...but it was a good idea to rent a car so that we could escape the business and venture into more laid back spots.

we took a scenic drive up to nu'uanu pali lookout; this spot on a mountain top offered awesome views of the valley below. we went snorkeling twice (my favorite). i had never snorkeled before; what better place to do it than hawai'i?! we saw so many gorgeous fish, of all colors, as well as a sea turtle one day! that was neat! and the coral was really neat too. the water was so warm and clear. perfection. i don't think there is anything more peaceful than swimming in the sea with beautiful fish and underwater seascape. one day we walked through botanical gardens up to waimea waterfall. beautiful plants and flowers along the way! we went out to eat every single day (justin's idea of a vacation) and of course visited some of the local shops. we also stopped by pearl harbor on our last day and toured the museum. sometimes i just love a good history lesson.

avery isn't sure about water right now, so she had a few meltdowns about the ocean. but thankfully our condo had a playground, which she spotted right away and frequented during our stay. that child loves playgrounds :)

brooklynn did awesome. i couldn't have asked for a better, more laid back baby. she just went with the flow the entire time, and did excellent on the plane! i was nervous to travel with two kids, but her and ave both did really awesome. i still can't believe how good they were.

all in all i would say our vacation was a huge success. no one got sick or sunburnt. nothing went majorly wrong. the condo was perfect for us all. everything was just great! i can't wait to go on our next adventure! i'm thinking next will be maui :)

Friday, September 7, 2012

busy week!

Well this week has been a busy one! The time just flew!

Monday Justin had the day off work in honor of Labor Day; an extra day with him was nice :) We spent the evening at the beach playing in the sand, at the playground, and enjoying time with our friends; there was even time for a beach volleyball game! Fun!

Tuesday our MOPs (Mothers Of Preschoolers) group had its first meeting. Wonderful! I am part of the hospitality team, so I was able to welcome the mommies and help them feel at home. I really enjoyed making new friends, and I love being part of a team; it makes me feel useful outside of the home (which is important!). Not to mention Avery had a blast; I love that her time there is filled with fun and some Biblical education also. Win-win!

Wednesday we finally had a rest day. I have been battling a cold since Tuesday, so I needed a day at home. Ave and I did some school work. We tried out this cool experiment with water and food coloring that I found on the internet. Ave enjoyed watching the water change colors, then I set her up with spoons, medicine droppers, and containers and let her mix the colors together. We did this activity for two days; she loved mixing the colors together to create new ones!

Thursday we were supposed to go to Bible study, but I had to take a sick day :( I hate being sick, it makes me so mad!!! Moms aren't allowed to get sick! Ave and I did some more school and the girls and I went for a jog.

Friday Avery's ballet and tap class started back, and she was so excited! After breakfast this morning she got into her new tights and leotard and we strolled over to dance (I love the fact that we can walk everywhere. Love. It.). After dance we had a snack and got crafty with our neighbor friends. So fun:

First we made a magic wand with paper, a pencil, and jewels glued on for extra pizazz. Avery loved the finished product and walked around outside waving it around :)

Then we headed outdoors for some fun painting time! We worked on a pretty craft in honor of dance class starting back (pictured below), then we let the girls finger paint to their hearts' content. Such fun!

                                                   B hanging out, happy as can be :)

The finished product! Turned out sooo cute!! I cut the leotard out of scrapbooking paper, and Avery's handprints are the tutu. I am in love with this one :)

We had a good week, other than me being sick. EWW. Somehow I'm supposed to complete a nine mile run tomorrow; half marathon training stops for no one, even moms with a cold!