Looking on the Bright Side

Time for a post of happy things…

Last Friday, I got a day all to myself.  Well…  With Ruby, the 8 month old.  Same thing, really.  I decided with the boys gone, I would use that day to start sleep training her for naps and bedtime.  Well…  Little Noodle was way ahead of me, apparently.  She fully cooperated – and has been sleeping like a champ ever since!  It’s currently 8:21pm and she’s been asleep, in her crib, for over an hour.  Success!!!

In addition to getting the little one to sleep well, I managed to clean, organize, do three loads of laundry, and read.  Like…a book.  And write.  And daydream.  Outside.  On the porch.  It felt like I was being incredibly irresponsible, sloughing off my responsibilities.  In other words, it felt wonderful.

On Saturday, our family went to one of my favorite places to pick blueberries.  An amazingly beautiful farm, tucked up in the hills of Wisconsin, near the Mississippi River and Lake Pepin.  It’s one of my happy places.  And much to my delight, I discovered my son is an awesome blueberry picker!  (And I think he had as much fun as I did – and has already asked to go back.)

Sunday, I snuck out for a bit.  We have lived in our new house for over a year, and still have nothing hung on our living room walls.  I visited a few shops to try to rectify that situation.    I found a couple of things…  On sale, too!  Gotta love it.

That evening, we grilled kabobs for dinner!  And grilled some fresh pineapple, too.  Deeeelish!  We don’t grill near as often as we used to (too many mini-people running around with tight schedules to stick to).  So this tasted even better than usual.  AND, we had blueberry cobbler for dessert.  Perfection.  Summer meals make everything seem brighter.

Have to admit, I had a rough morning with my boy…  Thought my good vibes had already come to an end.  BUT…  This afternoon, after his nap, he and I cuddled up and watched videos of the Okee Dokee Brothers on Youtube for an hour.  (Not something I normally would do…)  He is fascinated with bluegrass instruments – guitar, banjo, fiddle, mandolin, bass, harmonica, drums…  And has been pretending to play them all day.  We have a coffee can that we have turned into a drum (that is actually pretty cool).  It’s cardboard, with a plastic lid, and a metal bottom – so lots of different noises are possible, depending what you use to play it!  He was experimenting with it all afternoon.  I’m in awe of how his brain works.  (And need to find someone to start teaching him some instruments!)

 

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A piano outside an antique store in Stockholm, WI.  A street performer in the making!

Another high point today was simply getting the mail.  Besides receiving my fun new hairbands from amazon, I got the sweetest note in the mail from a lovely friend (and former youth group kid).  Her card simply said that she appreciated the “honest, authentic” perspective that I share about life in general.  I’ve been afraid, beginning to blog again, that people would take my writing the wrong way….  Some of it may seem really negative or like I’m complaining about being a parent…  But really, it’s just my perspective from the now.  If I wrote about these things years from now, I’m sure I’d look back with rose-tinted glasses.  But right now is hard.  And that is ok.  It’s real.  And for other moms going through the same things – we need to hear it from each other.  Because it’s a lonely road when most people say, “it gets better;” “you’ll miss it someday;” “you’re just lucky to have kids;” “you’re so blessed.”  And yes, while I agree with all these things with a whole heart, sometimes it’s nice to hear, “you too?!  Ugh…”

So, yes.  I loved this quote, sent from my friend (it’s now hanging on the wall right next to my computer):

 

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Life is what we make it.  But it gets knocked around a lot by influences outside our control…  So it’s important to look on the bright side!  What’s your bright side today?

 

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I Cried.

Yesterday, I cried.  My little boy, 2.5 years old, is in the midst of figuring out feelings and impulses.  This, I know.  In my mind, I understand this.  But when he hits, kicks, throws things, and screams….  It’s hard to be rational, patient, and kind.

Yesterday, was a tough day.  He would go back and forth between being the sweet, lovable, little boy that I adore and giggle with – to being full of piss and vinegar…  He’s taken to kicking me when he’s frustrated.  He screams an ear-piercing, insanely loud, wail if he doesn’t like something you said or did.  And just for the sake of adding a little more frustration, he’s taken to pulling my hair – just for the heck of it.  (He’s seen Ruby do it, and me say “no,” and now thinks it’s funny.)

He was playing with baby Ruby on the floor…  Making her laugh and giggle, and sigh with glee.  She was trying to crawl and we were both cheering her on.  So fun.  So happy – all three of us.  For about 30 minutes, we were all full of giggles and joy, loving our time together.

When all of a sudden, with no warning, he stands up.  Walks over to Ruby.  And smacks both sides of her head.

That was it.  I had it.  He went to time out.  And I cried.

Maybe it’s part of normal development…  But it makes my heart hurt.  And I find myself wondering what I’m doing wrong?  I’m sure all parents feel this.  I’m not alone.  But that doesn’t make it any easier in that horrible moment….

I know he’s a sweet boy.  I know he’s full of compassion and empathy.  I know he loves to take care of his sister, protect her, and love on her.  I see this side of him everyday, too.  But that doesn’t make me worry less.

Yesterday, I also heard the news of Philando Castile’s death.  Another incident of a black man being shot by a police officer…  It turns out, I know several people who knew Philando…  And it sounds like he was someone everyone should have known.  Sweet, loving, peaceful.  Stopped for a traffic violation, when all hell broke loose.

I cried.

My heart hurts at all the horrible violence in our world…  Terrorists.  Guns.  Racism.  Fear.  Fear that leads to violence…  Emotions too big for some people to control.

And I look at my little boy…  Going through normal, developmental temper tantrums that lead to hitting, kicking, throwing things…  And I pray to God that I know how to nurture his kindness, compassion, and empathy…  That I know how to help him deal with emotions – especially sadness, frustration, anger, and fear – in positive healthy ways.

And the immensity of that task…  It made me cry.

We live in a broken world…  And sometimes it’s too hard to feel all the feels…  But I’m determined to be part of the light.  Part of the good.  Part of the peace that our world so desperately needs…  And while I fear for my kids growing up with this violence all around them…  I pray that they will be part of the solution.

I was crying this morning watching the news about the snipers who shot into a peaceful protest in Dallas…  Shooting 11 police officers, killing 5.  It feels like it will never end!  I cried for our country, for police officers, for the families and friends and communities that are feeling these losses the strongest…  I cried out of feeling hopeless for our world…

I think my little Ruby sensed my sadness.  She started smothering me with her open-mouthed, slobbery kisses…  Giggling.  Smiling.  Reminding me…  Life goes on and there is hope for the future – especially if we can nurture the love of our children.

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I cried….  And will cry again, I’m sure.

But I love, too.  And help.  And care.  And am, hopefully, raising my kids to do the same.  In the midst of the dark…  There has to be light.

“This little light of mine…  I’m going to let it shine!”

 

Things I am thankful for today:

  1.  God.
  2. Prayer.
  3. The helpers.  (Thanks, Mister Rogers.)
  4. A quiet day at home with Ruby.
  5. A clean house.
  6. Candles.
  7. Cold brew coffee.
  8. Parent friends to commiserate with.
  9. My desk…  (I think this is the first time, in 16 months, I’ve sat at my desk and typed!)
  10. The kids’ naps.  (Hee hee.)

July: Currently

Another blog I used to read did a quick “where am I at?” post once a month… And I love it. It’s so simple, and yet – a great check in. So, I’m going to give it a try! Here goes:

coming to terms with being a stay at home mama of two littles.  One was work, and fun, and surprising, and manageable.  Two is different.  A handful, chaos, frustrating, and exhausting…  Finding the joy takes a little more effort from me somedays.  But I’m lucky – I have two adorable goofballs.  We’ll get there.

feeling burnt out.  Busy holiday weekend.  Both kids still wake up at night.  The two year old was up to his new tricks today – busy, busy, busy.  It was a tough day of balancing discipline and compromise.  Ugh.  He’s smart, persistent, energetic, talkative, and cute.  Sometimes its hard to be mad…  And sometimes it’s hard not to!

looking out my window.  Storms are rolling in.  The birds are getting their last snacks from our feeders before racing off to hide from the winds and the rain…  It’s suddenly much darker…  Which only makes me more sleepy!

starting to get back on track.  Looking for the magic in each day.  Recording those moments in pictures, Facebook posts, and journal entries.  I learned from Sawyer’s baby days how much those little memories mean to me…  I love looking back on them already!  (And so does he!  He looks through my pictures and asks me to tell him the stories…  Pretty sweet.)

laughing at both the kids.  As exasperating as they can be, they’re quite the team.  Today, Sawyer was pretending to give a concert in our living room.  He’s standing on the ottoman, holding his “guitar,” talking through the intro of his song, then singing screaming some unintelligible nonsense while jumping around.  Ruby, who I thought would be terrified by this display, proceeds to bounce and clap, cheer and laugh when we was done.  Oh brother.  They’re quite the team.

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squeezing in a little quiet before dinner.  By the time Hubby got home today, I was done.  Fuse was short.  I just needed a break.  He took the kids for a walk, and in a moment I’ll make dinner.  But the last 45 minutes was just what I need to recharge before dinner, baths, and bedtime…

And…  Storms brought a power outage during story time   We lost power for 16 hours!  I’m finishing this post the next day.  Ugh.

believing life is good.  Even through the storms.  Literally, and figuratively.

thinking I’d love a family vacation at a cabin this summer…  On the water.  Something to soothe my soul and nerves…  (Not likely to happen.  But I can daydream!)

knowing Ruby is almost on the move!  She’s rolling, rocking, pulling herself partway up on things…  Life is about to get even crazier.  (I’m kind of excited for her to chase Sawyer around…  Is that mean of me?!  Hee hee.)  Time to start contemplating child-proofing, again.

fighting – or arguing – with the 2.5 year old all. day. long.  He’s an emotional mess these days.  One moment he wants to do something for himself, then he screams and throws something because he wants mommy to do it…  And then, regardless of whether I do it, he will cry and scream for the next 30 minutes.  Somedays, life seems impossible for him AND me.  He’s feeling a lot of things these days.  And they’re big feelings.  And apparently, I’m the wrong person to help him through them…  So we sit at an impasse most of the day.  It’s exhausting to say the least.

thanking God, everyday, for these kiddos.  They make me crazy.  Like, somedays, certifiably crazy.  But…  They can be sweet, cute, funny, amazing, lovable little creatures, too.  I’ll keep them – God help me!

being me. The good days and the not so good days…  Pluggin’ along.

Happy Fourth of July!

Gotta say…  My heart is full this weekend.

Hubby took a four-day weekend.  I got to spend time with friends and family.  I got some time to myself.  The weather was perfect.  The kids were mostly great.

Life was good.

And now, as the munchkins are sleeping and the fireworks are popping all over our neighborhood, it’s a gift to sit down and simply “be.”

So grateful for this life.  For the freedom to live it as we see fit.  For the grace of “do-overs” and second chances.  For the sunshine and cool breezes.  For the beautiful man I have the honor to call “hubby.”  For kids who sleep through fireworks.  For cold watermelon and sweet tea pie.  For stunning sunsets and orioles at our bird feeder.

Life is good.

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