Me and Wee: January 2013

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Acceptance: Love your child as she is

Disclaimer: These posts are dedicated to following along with the book "Deliberate Motherhood: 12 Key Powers of Peace, Purpose, Order & Joy," a compilation of essays on motherhood written by authors who contribute to the Power of Moms website. Each month has a different "power" to focus on with the purpose of finding peace, purpose, order and joy in the role of motherhood. I will be writing various posts each month based on that theme. You don't have to have the book to follow along though! January's theme is "Acceptance."

Frigid out!

During the months that Paige was first starting to see therapists for her delays (back when she was around 21 months old or so) and then she was diagnosed with PDD-NOS (an autism spectrum disorder), I was struggling to understand my daughter. Was she ok? Was her personality her OWN, or was it something reflected from her "disorder?" I didn't know what to think. I didn't know what was HER or what was the delay. It took a long time to figure out what little things were just normal everyday personality traits for a 2-year old and what things were signs of her diagnosis.  I was overwhelmed and sad. This was my first baby and I had no idea what was "normal" or what was a red flag. Why was this happening? Why MY little girl? I cried a lot.
Well, after some time, peace all came down to acceptance. My daughter was a miracle. We'd waited for her for so long. She was sunny, bright, happy, silly, sweet, cute, and clever. She certainly was very smart, and knew just how to make us smile. Nothing would change that. No diagnosis would modify these things in why should I let her diagnosis define her? She was still the same person.
Once I chose to accept that my daughter was perfect JUST AS SHE IS, everything fell into place. I stopped worrying so much about her future and realized she's just fine as she is. She is learning how to be more flexible, how to make friends and have social interactions with other kids, and a whole host of other skills that will enhance her life. She's doing great and she's going to be just fine.
See, sometimes our children come into the world and we expect that we have influence in who they are. It turns out, we actually have very little control in that area. We can discipline...we can guide...we can suggest...but in the end, our children reveal a little bit of themselves to us every single day. It's already been done. We have to buckle up and enjoy the ride.
Noah, I can already tell, is a more "typical" child. He engages with me easily and is pointing, waving, clapping and doing these things Paige never did. He is also very willful and loves to get into things. Paige always listened when I said "no." He just ignores me and grins. He opens every cabinet and drawer. Pushes every button he shouldn't. Ignores his toys in favor of the cable box or tv remote or telephone. Noah is his own curious person. When I get frustrated with his antics, I remember to accept him as he is. I feel gratitude for who he is; knowing that his behavior is typical and healthy.
When I accept my children, I get a rush of patience I didn't have before. My frustration can melt away to love. I'm able to see things as they really are and enjoy the moment. When they are crying, fussing, moaning and groaning all at once I accept it. I smile and know that it will be over soon...too soon. So, in essence, acceptance is a powerful tool. It can take a stressful frustrating moment and turn it into a moment of peace and forgiveness.
I accept my children every single day, as they accept ME. I'm not perfect. They are not perfect. But we accept each other's love and that is what makes our world go 'round. Accepting those around you for who they really are is a gift. It sets you free to live in the moment.
What do you accept about your loved ones? Is there something you need to accept in your life that would make things go more smoothly?

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Acceptance: Sometimes Mediocre is Good Enough

Disclaimer: These posts are dedicated to following along with the book "Deliberate Motherhood: 12 Key Powers of Peace, Purpose, Order & Joy," a compilation of essays on motherhood written by authors who contribute to the Power of Moms website. Each month has a different "power" to focus on with the purpose of finding peace, purpose, order and joy in the role of motherhood. I will be writing various posts each month based on that theme. You don't have to have the book to follow along though! January's theme is "Acceptance."

Tough life
^^^Maren the Wonder Dog knows how to loaf^^^

I knew when I planned to have children that I wanted to be the best Mom I could be. I knew that I wanted my kids to have the same kind of childhood I did...magical, fun, full of love...and I was going to be the provider of all this (in my perfect vision). I wanted to be the kind of Mom who gave everything her all. Her very best. And I try! I do.

But, to be honest, there are many MANY days that I'm simply feeling worn out. Taking care of the kiddos full time is exhausting! I just can't be "ON" all of the time. I can't be everything all of the time. That's been a real eye opener for me. 

There are days when I am just so wiped out in the morning that I can barely get out of bed. Those are the kinds of days where I shuffle around in a stupor...wearing my pajamas all day long, never combing my hair, never putting my contacts in. It's even worse when I'm sick (stay at home Moms don't get sick days). I have to rest AND take care of both kids who have lots of energy. These are the days that are long and arduous that leave me feeling spent. I'm not doing my best on those days. And a lot of other days when I'm just plain tired out...I'm less than my best. 

The tv ends up on all day, lunch is some crackers and fruit strewn together, and the kids are in THEIR jammies all day too. I just sort of lay there and can't get out of my funk. So I don't really do anything but the bare minimum. I can even get grouchy and whiny (who, meeee?)

You know what? Sometimes, that's ok. That's what's needed. Why do I beat myself up about these days? Everyone has them! 

We are taught early on that we must always try and do our best. That, if we do our best, then that is good enough. Or, you can feel good as long as you tried hard. 

But, what about the days where you DON'T try? You DON'T do your best? You eat popcorn for dinner and don't do the dishes. You don't read books to the kids and you don't show interest in moving from the couch. You heave heavy sighs when you have to wipe sticky fingers again or vacuum up all those crumbs that weren't there a minute ago. I've decided that those days are part of mothering and part of life for all of us. Our body tells us when we need down time and time to check out. That mediocrity is ok in order to save our sanity.

Stay at home moms don't get vacation time, so I look at these days of mediocrity as just that. Vacation time. And nobody gets hurt. We just get back to things in a day or two, albeit a bit more refreshed than before. 

I've decided that I'm not going to feel sorry for giving it my least effort sometimes. Some days mediocre is good enough. I'm learning to accept that I don't always need to give my best in order to be a good Mom.  It simply means I need to be good to myself and allow myself time to turn it all off and loaf around for the sake of taking time for me. And I think that's a good lesson to teach my kids. Accepting that we can't always give our best allows us to relax and know that we deserve a break now and again. It keeps us from burning out and allows us to really be there for our kids when they need us most. And THAT is what's important. At least, to me anyway. 

What do YOU do to allow yourself a break now and again? Are you giving yourself enough breaks? What could you do to give yourself more "me" time? What if you're taking too many breaks? Do you think you could be doing more? What are some things you'd like to do better?

Thursday, January 17, 2013

An Interview with Paige (Part 2)

Here's the other part! heee!

Also, yesterday during the snowstorm and home from school, she put my bra (fresh from the wash) on her head and said "I'm a sheep!"
Creative, that one.

She said she was a sheep.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

An Interview with Paige (part 1)

A little chat over a meal in jammies and a costume. The norm.

Paige is sweet

Isn't this a darling picture of Paige? I think it looks timeless. I love the sweet look on her face. Her band aid is from when she got stitches in her eyebrow after she slammed it into the edge of the kitchen island. booo.

This blog has been all about Noah lately, but Paige is still here and still so sweet. She's been busy with preschool and loving it. She comes home each day in a state of blissful upheaval (her hair askew...paint all over her arms)...all signs of a fun time at school. She's then a flurry of play until it's time for dinner and bed. I love that girl.

She's become so much more snuggly and I am loving it! She comes for hugs and even tells me she loves me all on her own. *sigh* Autism spectrum disorder has not counted out our chance for affection! And I'm so happy. What a lucky Mom I am. She's a treasure!


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Just another day

I am ONE!

There's Noah! He's saying "I'm ONE, bitches!"
Naw, not really. Well, he's ONE now, but he's not saying such filth. hee!
Today I was getting ready to take Noah to the doctor (his ONE year checkup! Wup Wuuup!) and I was trying to select his outfit in the laundry room. He came in and was playing with the dryer door and he shut the door against his little fingers. Poor thing cried...


Sigh. He did the puke-cry all over the clean laundry and the floor.
We were about to be late, so I put him in an outfit that managed to not get dirty and had to leave the mess behind for cleaning at a later time! Good thing the laundry room has a door! We don't want Maren the Wonder Dog to have a feast of that sort.
His checkup went well. 30 point-something inches long. 23 point something pounds. 18.5 inch noggin.
All is well! Until he had his 4 vaccinations, but he got over that pretty quick.

Now,  I'm home with a freshly cleaned laundry-room floor and all is well.

True Story.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Happy First Birthday Noah!

Dearest Little Noah-Nut,

You are ONE today! The big OH-ONE! My beautiful boy is growing up. My goodness, this past year went by so fast! Much too fast for me.
I love you so very much my sweet. You delight me with your glorious smile and your plump cheeks every day.
You are made of smiles and sweetness. Such a gift you have!

This year has been filled with wonderful, fabulous you. And YOU have brought us all (Mommy, Daddy, and Paigey) so much happiness, sunshine, and love. What a blessing God has given us. Straight from heaven, you are an angel of happiness and peace.

I could go on about all the things you've done this year; but I won't. I will simply say Happy Birthday my sweet angel. The day you came to us is a day that made my life mean something.
I love you always and forever my precious.

Love you always and forever more,

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Poop is as poop does.


"I might have pooed on the stairs...on the carpet. I also miiiiiight have pooed all over the dining room. Oh, and a little bit in the foyer. Aaaaand my crate...allllll over the blanket. And a bit on your bedroom floor...   ...   ...   ... my bad."

Monday, January 7, 2013

Acceptance: Motherhood isn't predictable

Disclaimer: These posts are dedicated to following along with the book "Deliberate Motherhood: 12 Key Powers of Peace, Purpose, Order & Joy," a compilation of essays on motherhood written by authors who contribute to the Power of Moms website. Each month has a different "power" to focus on with the purpose of finding peace, purpose, order and joy in the role of motherhood. I will be writing various posts each month based on that theme. You don't have to have the book to follow along though! January's theme is "Acceptance."

Port Clyde 2

There was a blurry film over my eyes when my lids lifted to the faraway sounds of Noah's moaning cry. Uggggghhh. I glanced over at the clock and noted the 5:32 am time. I shut my eyes again but his cry became pretty insistent so I threw my feet out of the bed with a sigh. He just needs his little morning bottle; maybe I'll get lucky and he'll get back to sleep when he's finished? I glanced at Chris' sleeping frame knowing his alarm would be going off in a few minutes anyway. I stumbled down the hall with unsteady feet knowing full well that I hadn't slept enough. Noah had woken up at 12:30 moaning and crying for who-knows-what; then again at 2:30 and 3:15. Of course, after the 3:15 debacle, I got back into my cozy bed-about to fall asleep-only to hear 3 year old Paige yelling for me (her feet were out of the covers and she needed my help for some reason).
Now in the rocking chair, Noah greedily gulped down the bottle I'd made while I rocked him in the dark. I kept my eyes shut and let my mind wander to the dreams I was having not more than 2 minutes ago. He finished with a flourish and didn't nestle into my neck like he usually did to go back to sleep. He began babbling and bouncing around on my lap.  So much for the extra shut-eye I'd been coveting! I changed his heavy diaper and the day began with a sleepy shudder.
This was the way life had been for some time…me making hopeful plans about what would happen next (can I go back to a peaceful sleep THIS time?) while the kids went about their OWN plans. Obviously, MY way always goes to the highway. When I was single and childless my life was full of time for ME. Lingering over a big breakfast, reading any magazine from cover-to-cover at random times, taking a nap when I felt tired, sleeping late in the mornings because I could, Showering every day and having lots of time to do my hair and makeup…little pleasures you take for granted until they are gone.
Once I had my children I had to learn quickly that my time wasn't MINE anymore. I made that choice, and I'd do it again (I've traded it for a whole host of other blessings and treasures).
But it doesn't mean it's been an easy transition.

My biggest challenge as a mother so far has been learning to accept that motherhood isn't predictable. It's an inevitable and sure FACT that as soon as I make a plan for what I want to accomplish during the day SOMETHING will come along and blow that plan to the sky. As soon as I say "I'll just shower during Noah's morning nap" I've pretty much guaranteed that he won't be able to nap for some unknown reason and I'll go yet another day looking like a greaseball. For every plan, I can expect 5 other things to suddenly jump in its path. This can become so frustrating and stressful and leaving me feeling completely out of control (and grouchy).

But, somehow, when I finally came to terms with the unpredictability, all the challenges became no big deal.

There were many days I threw my hands up in frustration with some fresh tears to boot. I'm a planner! I'm Type-A! I like to know what is coming next or I feel constant anxiety and stress. The tasks and responsibilities in Stay-At-Home Motherhood are ALL unpredictable. It's the nature of the gig. It's the biggest thing to accept (for ME anyway).
Now, I've been learning to just sigh and say "oh well, I can try again tomorrow." I've found ways to adapt, overcome, move on and smile.
The day I learned that acceptance is the key to joy in motherhood is the day I found so much peace and enjoyment in the little things.

Here's a list of things I might accept in one morning:

1. I'm up way too early and didn't get enough sleep
2. Paige is going to dilly-dally in getting ready for school (she's only 3)
3. Noah won't stop fussing until I hold him while I make breakfast.
4. The kids aren't neat and tidy eaters. The kitchen floor and table is already a mess.
5. I can't eat my food until both kids are done theirs because I'm constantly getting up to wipe spills, get tissues, fetch drinks, you name it.
6. I eat while standing at the sink…If I have to sit down and then get right back up again I might scream.
7. Noah's morning nap only lasted 45 minutes instead of the hour and a half I'd become accustomed to. I only read and answered emails and did the dishes in that time.
8. No time for a shower now, sigh.
9. Noah cries until I play with him and all his toys for a chunk of the morning.
10. Maren the Wonder-Dog gets sick all over the living room rug: No time to sneak in those calls to the doctor, the heating place, and my friend…I guess I'll wait until the next nap.

See, this is just the morning and there's already a list of things I've had to reconcile…they are small and simple and add up through the day.
It can be quite a shock going from endless amounts of smooth sailing to sudden choppy waters and squalls that set us off-course.
Out of necessity, I've learned to use my time more wisely. If there is something I MUST do during the day, then that is the thing that gets my attention first when I get a pocket of time. I want to shower today? I do it as soon as Noah is asleep for his nap (no checking emails beforehand!). That way, I've ensured it to happen. This is just a small example of knowing what my priorities are and then setting my sights on them through the day. It takes deliberate thought, planning, and flexibility to know what I want to accomplish today and how it might best happen. Doing this has reduced a  lot of frustration and resentment on my end. Kids come with chaos and mess. They don't tantrum on a schedule. They don't have a plan to get sick. They don't pencil in insomnia. And they certainly won't check with YOU on any of it beforehand.

When you accept the unpredictability the life of motherhood brings, you free yourself to just live in the moment. You decide to let the day bring you along for the ride. You allow yourself to enjoy your time with your kids and not be preoccupied with a long to-do list in the back of your mind. You allow yourself to see the beautiful moments in every day life and participate in them. What a joy! You start to enjoy the opportunities in the so-called interruptions, road blocks and obstacles…those are the moments that make up the marrow of our lives. These are the moments we need to find the fun and silliness. I now try to wipe the spills (and poo!) with a smile and a tickle, get out of bed with a grateful grin for another beautiful day, get in and out of my breakfast chair 50 times during one meal because I'm lucky enough to have little mouths to feed…so I do a little dance across the kitchen…you get the picture. Maybe things didn't happen as I'd PLANNED, but they happened as they should in the way God intended and what matters is how I handled them. Did I handle challenges with grace, patience and clarity? (sometimes!)  Did I breathe in with love? (yes!)  Did I keep my temper in check? (maybe not today, but tomorrow is another day!)  At the end of the day I want to be proud of myself and feel the catharsis of a job well done. Accepting the somewhat anxious unpredictability of it all has been the first step.

Talking points:
What are some things you plan for but often have to put aside while you tend to the kids and then you feel grumpy because your plans were thwarted again?
Some of mine are:
1. A hot meal
2. A shower
3. Going back to bed, or taking a nap
4. Going to bed early
5. Sleeping in (see? lots of them involve sleep)
6. Browsing the shops in a leisurely manner
7. Eating out at a restaurant in a slow fashion
8. That one magazine article (or book chapter) I've been trying to read.
9. Crafty projects that take way longer to complete than ever before

What are some wonderful or rewarding things you traded those aforementioned planned things for? Here are some of mine:
1. The chance to help my daughter learn a new skill
2. To watch my daughter or son smile when they learn aforementioned skill
3. To do a task out of love for my child/ express my love through action
4. I get to hear my daughter tell me something funny or important to her
5. I get a chance to share a laugh with those I love most.
6. I prove to my kids that they mean everything to me while they remind me that they DO mean everything to me.
7. I get to share the sunrise and yummy breakfast with happy little voices
8. I get to soothe the tears away from chubby little cheeks and be the voice of comfort and peace.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Deliberate Motherhood: Introduction

31 Weeks kitch
(here's a photo of me; pregnant with Paige and so excited about what was to come)

Hi friends!
When I was suffering from the worst parts of severe antepartum depression in August of 2011(depression while pregnant) I remember the horrible feeling of wanting to get into my car and drive away. To who-knows-where. Anywhere? To possibly drive off a bridge and never have to deal with anything again. It was so awful. I was so sick. I also felt the most terrible feeling of guilt I'd ever experienced.  I had everything I'd ever wanted: a beautiful daughter, an amazing and supportive husband, a cozy loving home, a baby boy on the way…why did I feel nothing but dread and emptiness? I was depressed. But the truth was, I also felt so overwhelmed. I felt so out of control and overloaded that I was simply frozen in terror. There was no more room for anything else. I couldn't think clearly because everything scared me. I was also angry all the time; yelling at Paige for the littlest things and promptly feeling so horrible for losing my temper. This was not the life I'd wanted to create! Now, looking back, I know that I didn't want to leave my beautiful family behind. Of course not! I loved them with all my heart. I was scared and overwhelmed by the TASKS and responsibilities related to mothering. I was becoming a mother of two and was feeling like my own more simple life was being left behind. The truth is, my very purpose was just coming to the forefront and I was shedding the skin of my former life. It wasn't easy! I was facing a big scary job. I wanted to symbolically drive away and leave my cares and fears behind me. We can't do that in real life; we must face our challenges head-on and take them down.
I'm so much better now, and going through that experience made me put a lot of thought into this sacred calling of motherhood. Specifically, how to find all the joy, peace, and sense of purpose motherhood can bring when we know where to look for it. How to flourish while we accept the sometimes dirty work of mothering. How to help make our children's lives magical while happily taking on extra work to do so. These things come easy to some people. Some mothers are just so natural! They let trouble roll off their backs, they come up with craft ideas and games with ease, they whip up delicious dinners every night, they laugh with their kids in the rain…things I don't just DO. At least not until lately. Being the kind of mother I want to be has involved a lot of thinking, planning, and deliberate action…involving list-making, reading, and daydreaming. But, I'm starting to get a rhythm and confidence!
In my quest for enlightenment of the mothering kind, I found the book "Deliberate Motherhood: 12 Key Powers of Peace, Purpose, Order & Joy " and read it speedily from cover to cover. I was so excited to finally find other mothers who felt like I did! Who didn't have all the answers and often felt overwhelmed and over-tired. The book is organized into sections called "Powers" where each topic, or power, suggests what makes up a great mother. You can follow along each power to a corresponding month of the year with a book club, group of friends, or individually. I've chosen to explore each topic here on my blog throughout each month and share my thoughts here with you. You're free to explore your own thoughts in the comments section. This journey is my own and I believe everyone has THEIR own personal feelings, wishes, and goals.
This first month, January, will focus on the power of "Acceptance." There are many ways acceptance plays a part in the daily life of the mother; it is so helpful to think of them as I ponder how I can rise above my personal challenges to be a better Mom. I hope you find sentiments you can relate to and feel better about; feel free to comment and share your experiences.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Year, New Goals 2013

Hunter Wellies

Happy New Year!!!!! I love a fresh start. Of course, it's not so fresh since I'm coming off of having the flu for several days, but I'll take it. How were your holidays? Ours were awesome. So much fun!

I'll post some photos of our Christmas highlights later on (just because I want to save them here in my "journal" for memory's sake.)

But today I wanted to write down and share my goals for the year. I'm thinking it's all fine and good to have some improvement goals but I also wanted to include FUN goals.

So, I went and got a ukulele. Yep. I want to learn to play ukulele. Not to be great at it, but to have fun with and to maybe sing some songs with the kids and such. It's totally just for me though.
1. Learn a whole song on ukulele and sing along while I play. Perhaps record myself playing and post it here so I have someone (you) to answer to. I have till the end of the year, but will likely do it before hand.
Bonus goal: write an original little ditty to sing and play.

My other plan is to lose my remaining 8 pounds of baby weight and try to get rid of my belly fat pouch that I have to suck in all the time in my photos. When I let it go, I look 5/6 months pregnant (I get asked if I'm pregnant ALL THE TIME). SOOOOO I have to get working on getting rid of it.

2. Start jogging and work my way up to at LEAST 6 miles by the end of the year. I made it attainable. I don't run or exercise, so I have to start slowly and see what happens.

And here are the rest of my little goal wishes:
3. Sew at least 3 projects on my new sewing machine (I got the super-awesome machine for Christmas before Noah was born, but then he came along and there's been no time to use it! But now I intend to carve some time out).

4. Attend church more regularly and participate in groups there/volunteer

5.Do a full year of "Deliberate Motherhood" blogging to focus on the beauty of motherhood and the challenges we must overcome.
Our first month's topic (for January) is "Acceptance."I plan to do several posts on this theme throughout the month. You can follow along with the book "Deliberate Motherhood: 12 Key Powers of Peace, Purpose, Order & Joy" and share your own thoughts in the comments or on your own blogs if you'd like. I love this book!

And along the blogging lines:
6. Blog on more of a regular schedule.
So, those are my goals for the year (aside from home decor improvement projects and other things house-related). I'm looking forward to working my way toward them!  Do you want to share your goals? Feel free! When you write them down, you are more likely to think of a plan for making them happen, right?

Happy New Year!! Let's DO this thang!
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