He Sleeps

Isaac is a lot like me. He looks like his Daddy (mostly) and he has a lot of characteristics that mirror David’s, too. But he’s like me in a few particular ways. He loves to be around other people. He isn’t necessarily the most outgoing kid, but he doesn’t like to be alone. Me. He has a hard time falling asleep, too. David’s head hits the pillow and he’s out. I, on the other hand, have to get comfortable and think through my day, plan for the future, pray, whatever. It usually takes me a little while to fall asleep. Isaac is similar. He’s always had a hard time with sleep, but since he’s acquired better language skills it’s become clear that a lot of the problem is just shutting down his little brain! Since he was three months old we’ve had a few different bedtime routines. Usually one works for a while and then we need to switch (either because Mommy and Daddy need the change, or because it doesn’t seem to be working for Isaac anymore). A few weeks ago, after David had spend 45 minutes trying to help a squirmy, whiny toddler get to sleep, I looked at him and said “Something’s gotta change!” That night we brainstormed a new bedtime routine and the next night we implemented it. The first night was rough, but after only a couple of nights things got much better and now I don’t hate bedtime anymore! The first week of the new routine David was sick with the flu, so I did almost the whole thing myself and it was wonderful how well it worked. Then, a few nights ago I was gone at bedtime and Isaac went to sleep without me (he was a little emotional about it, but he did it). So, it’s working for us right now. And I’m so proud of Isaac for adjusting to the new routine and doing such a great job going to sleep! This is one of the things I like about him growing up (along with not changing diapers anymore!).

So, here’s the routine:
Time depends on whether Isaac napped or not. If he didn’t nap he should be asleep between 7 and 7:30, if he did nap it’s more like 8.
Usually we set a 15 minute timer after dinner for playtime. When the timer rings Isaac (almost always) gladly helps pick up his toys and heads up for a bath. Daddy is usually in charge of bath time and they have a great time.
After about 30 minutes playing and getting clean it’s time for lotion and jammies.
Mommy comes in then, and Isaac nurses for about 10 minutes (shhh…don’t tell my deep dark secret…my 2.5 year old still nurses!) This really helps calm us down and sets the mood for bedtime and quiet, but since it isn’t the last thing we do the focus isn’t on nursing anymore. (On days he doesn’t nap he might actually nurse to sleep, but not always)
After that Isaac and Mommy (or Daddy) snuggle down in his bed with one or two bedtime stories. He’s loving Harold and the Purple Crayon and Where the Wild Things Are right now. I am too.
Then it’s time for lights out. Isaac has a little nightlight to give us some ambiance while we snuggle for a few minutes, whispering and getting comfy with all his teddy bears (a recent addition to bedtime). Then I tell him I need to go check on Daddy or put my pjs on and that I’ll be back to check on him.
Five minutes later I do go check. If Isaac is still awake (50% of the time) I’ll snuggle a couple more minutes while Isaac shares all the words he stored up while I was gone and I then go away again. Usually he falls asleep after that. By himself! This is a big deal for our pack-animal son!

It might sound like a lot, but we only have Isaac and it’s completely do-able and works really well for us. The pros for David and me are more time together in the evenings, David being able to help a little more with chores, and that we don’t get so frustrated with Isaac.

So, there you go. It’s working now, and we sure are glad for that!

Of Something He Loves

It’s amazing, as a mom, to see the personality of my son blossom. He is a very smart and opinionated 2.5 year old. He loves to pick out his clothes and shoes, is particular about toys, has movies he loves, and the memory of an elephant (like his mommy). Over the last year he has cherished a major crush on a certain something. It just gets stronger and stronger. He adores the space shuttle Endeavor. Anything to do with rockets, really. He’s already told me he wants to be a space man and plays a game of putting on an imaginary space suit with his dad. He learned how to count down from 10 doing rocket launches with a toy space shuttle, and he knows just when the booster rockets release in his imaginary launches. It’s a wonderful time to live close to a California attraction that can feed this passion!

Our first trip to see the shuttle was last year with Nana. He was amazed and adores the toy space shuttle he got that day:

Isaac's first time to the California Science Center, Sept 2013

Isaac’s first time to the California Science Center, Sept 2013

Endeavor

Endeavor

The next time we went we took Auntie Hannah, who was almost as excited to see the shuttle as Isaac:

Auntie Hannah and Isaac with Endeavor, Oct 2013

Auntie Hannah and Isaac with Endeavor, Oct 2013

We got to go again at Christmas, with David’s whole family. I didn’t get a shuttle pic, but here’s one of Isaac and Nana on the escalator (which he loves):
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And then, just last week we got to visit again. This time we went with friends and had a great time (though it was stressfully croweded).

Pointing to the Endeavor

Pointing to the Endeavor

Mommy and Isaac with Endeavor, Feb 2014

Mommy and Isaac with Endeavor, Feb 2014

These pictures are a neat way to track Isaac’s growth (he looks SO different now) and it’s pretty incredible that he’s astounded every time we see the shuttle. I am too! I mean, it’s huge and it’s been to space and back multiple times. Pretty awe-inspiring.

We get to take Grammie and Papa in March, too. We’re all pretty excited!

 

 

Discouragement

It’s easy for me to get discouraged. Maybe it’s that way for everyone, I don’t know. But, when I start to feel down, when I feel like I haven’t accomplished anything or done anything of value, making a list helps put things back in perspective. Over the last week I’ve taken care of my toddler and house as well as a sick husband, started a new bedtime routine that is helping my little boy fall asleep on his own, gently and happily (yay!!), edited 6 articles, made new friends, provided lunch for a church fellowship, and started getting up at the same time every day, along with lots of other things.

Today so far, got up at 6:10 (before Isaac by a few minutes), had a little quiet time, made breakfast for David and Isaac, played Play Doh with Isaac, folded all our laundry, got us out the door for my Fit Moms class, watched Isaac ride his bike for a few minutes, made lunch and a smoothie, edited two articles (Isaac is watching Mater’s Tall Tales–never discount the ability of TV to help you get things done!! ;) ), and started sourdough bread to rise (experimenting with wheat flour because I’m out of white). I still need to shower, put away the folded laundry, continue to work on the bread, and make a menu and shopping list for my grocery trip tomorrow.

And I just say to myself, “See, you’ve done a lot.”

*I’m planning posts on our bedtime routine and visits to see the space shuttle, too!*

Tired

Readers, I’m tired. I mean, moms are pretty much always tired, right? And it is all worth it, but the last few days have been particularly rough. David has the flu. An by flu I mean FLU. He is sicker than I’ve seen him in 10 years. It’s bad. Thankfully he can stay home with no penalties and Isaac and I are still healthy, but seeing him so sick is awful.
Plus, we’ve been experimenting with no naps. It’s a little rough, but Isaac goes to bed so much easier if he doesn’t sleep during the day. Today, though, he just couldn’t deal with anything. My sweet rave boy was crying at the drop of a hat, falling down, and super whiny!!
There were some really bright spots: coffee-play date with new friends, finding ladybugs in the yard, Isaac and Dad playing tent (adorable), and taking new friends to church with us.
But y’all!!! This Momma’s plain worn out. So, now that the boys are put safely to bed, I’m making a cup of lavender chamomile tea and taking myself up to snuggle in bed with a good book.

What does it mean to be Real?

I love to write. I’ve always enjoyed keeping a journal. It’s the Romantic in me, I suppose, imagining that someday someone might find something I had to say interesting or helpful. But, I do honestly believe that writing can help process emotion. It can reveal things that we didn’t even know before we started writing. And, I remember reading what people have written to me in letters, journal entries, and emails knowing the words meant so much and appreciating them.

Sometimes, though, I think my words must be perfect. They must record a picture perfect day, Not the, I got frustrated when my toddler asked me the same question in a row for the millionth time so I snapped at him moments. Not the, I have wonderful friends who are moving soon and I’m worried I won’t make new friends (but keep the old) moments. Not the, I’m overwhelmed and sad and frustrated and stressed (but I have the *perfect* life moments). But here’s the thing, those moments are mine, too. I’m not perfect. I do get frustrated with my precious, curious, wonderful toddler. I do burn dinner. I do grumble about folding laundry. I do argue with my husband.

I admit, I have a pretty wonderful life, but there are days when all I want is to escape to a private room and read all day. Or sleep.

I don’t think that’s wrong. I think it’s normal. But I also know that when I dwell on and in those moments I’m unhappy. I’m unfulfilled. I’m unsatisfied.

So I try very hard to focus on the wonderful in my life. On the little boy kisses; on the sunsets I get to see in LA; on the friends I know now and the ones who are to come; on the quiet evenings to myself, which are so rare that they are an unexpected treat.
And I think, what are the things I enjoy reading? What makes me feel encouraged? The answer? Women who are real: real about the hard, hard things in life; real about the amazing things in life.

So, maybe I can bring this blog (and my passion for writing) back to life by being Real. I need to stop comparing myself to other women, other moms, other daughters, other wives, other sisters, and other friends and just BE a woman, mom, wife, daughter, sister, and friend. I need to remember what I love to do—cook, write, read, imagine, travel—and do those with the people I love. I need to stop worrying all the time about being perfect and know that the One who is perfect has covered over my imperfections and that in knowing Him I am perfect too.

What does it mean to be Real? My favorite definition comes from The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams:

“What is REAL?” asked the Rabbit…
“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”
“Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.
“Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”
“Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “or bit by bit?”
“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t often happen to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

And so, I pray that God will make me strong in the broken places, soften the rough edges, and help me to live adventurously. Come with me…

Two

I’ve been much more emotional about Isaac turning two than I was about his first birthday. I can’t pinpoint exactly why, but I’m also so happy and proud of him. Last year I decided I wanted to write Isaac a letter each your for his birthday. Here’s this year’s letter:

Dear Isaac,

You are two! I can’t believe how fast the last year has gone, and yet, you’ve changed so much. I can’t believe that there was ever a time that I didn’t know you. I know you inside and out, every contour of your face, but you constantly surprise me. You are smart, funny, willful, brave, caring. You are like you Daddy, your Grandpa, and your Papa. And, son, they are all men worthy of modeling your life after.

Your thirst for knowledge is inspiring and challenging. You love reading stories, doing puzzles, and flashcards, coloring, and painting. You listen carefully and observe closely and you fearlessly repeat what you’ve learned. I pray that your love of learning will continue throughout your life and that I may accompany you on that journey, learning many new things with you.

You are such a brave boy. You run and play with kids older, taller, and bigger than you. You love bikes and scooters and you are SO good at riding them! Where will that love take you?

One of the things I love about you that has become apparent in the last few weeks is your servant’s heart. You love to help me feed the kitty, fold laundry, make beds. You even vacuumed with your toy vacuum the last time I mopped. I can already tell you will be a responsible, goal-oriented, driven boy—it’s who God made you.

As we head into what people call the “terrible twos” I pray that Daddy and I would foster communication, learning, and joy in our home; that we will be able to teach you integrity and compassion; that we would be consistent to love you both through discipline and through hugs. I pray that you will have a quiet and gentle spirit, a sense of adventure, and a love for others that draws you and those around you toward Jesus Christ.

I will always love you,

Mommy

Something I’m Good At…Most of the Time

I’m pretty good at making a grocery list. My detail oriented mind likes going through the menu and determining what I have and what I need to make the different dinners for the week. Making the menu has been challenging lately, as I’ve been focusing on making quick, easy, healthy dinners for my family, since we eat a little later and my husband doesn’t get home until after I’ve cooked.

Usually I shop on Wednesday. I start coming up with meal ideas on Monday, asking David for suggestions on Tuesday. I shop for a week (I’ve tried two and it was too many meals for me to plan and shop for accurately, although I know people do it and my parents did a whole month at a time when I was a kid!). I like to vary the menu, including something new, an old favorite, and probably some stand-bys. I also try to remember to get a good variety of veggies for sides and little things I can eat for lunches.

When I’ve finished the menu I can work on my grocery list. I always shop at the same store, so I can efficiently make my list. I group the shopping list by aisle, in the order they go from the entrance of the store. This helps me ensure I get everything I need and I can move through the store relatively quickly–always important with an impatient little shopping buddy!

Wednesday morning we usually leave the house around 9:30, get to the store around 10 (yeah, I drive in the carpool lane on the 405 to get to the base grocery store), do our shopping (snacks are standard issue for shopping with a toddler), and meet David for lunch around 11! I like shopping with Isaac because it’s a great teaching opportunity–we talk about a lot of the things I’m shopping for. Also, shopping with a kid gives you an excuse to talk to yourself without looking crazy ;)

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Menu and Grocery List

One of the meals I was proud of planning this week was chicken quesadillas. I used leftover grilled chicken and felt very thrifty. I knew I had two jars of salsa in the fridge so I didn’t buy any. But, last night when I made dinner I discovered that the salsa was moldy. Yeah…I said I’m mostly good at this!!

Tradition

Traditions have always held great importance for me. I love the special things we do at certain times of the year, or on certain days, or with certain people. As we’ve crafted our life together, David and I have kept different traditions from each of our families and created some new ones to incorporate into our lives. Now that Isaac is more aware of routine and the world around him, he is coming to relish traditions too. His two favorite involve food (of course). Pizza and movie night–watching Mommy make the dough and then helping Daddy make the pizza, putting his little booster seat on the floor and saying “bring my pizza Daddy please”, and watching part of a movie together. He loves it! He knows what it means when we say it’s “pizza and movie night.” He knows where his chair goes. He’s even started enjoying some of the cesar salad we usually prepare! The other tradition our little one loves is pancakes for breakfast. He used to sit in the sling while David made pancakes, now he stands on the stool and watches as his second favorite food is prepared. It’s so important to have these little, normal traditions…it’s what I remember most about growing up and learning what it means to be family and to be together. I hope it’s what Isaac will remember, too.

Fruity

We like fruit around here. And by “we” I mean Isaac. And by “love” I mean LOVE. When I was pregnant I ate tons of fruit (I eat fruit still, just not as much). I was obsessed with fruit smoothies and once hunted the whole city of Dayton for a peach milkshake. People say your child will like what you craved, and Isaac proves that true.

Today my little fruit fly ate a whole peach, a plate of watermelon, an applesauce pack, a banana, and some green grapes. He will probably eat more watermelon with dinner, or some blueberries. Don’t worry, he had a half of a cupcake (frosting and all) to compensate for all that fruit ;)

Bubbles!!

We bought a giant bubble bucket. It didn’t come with bubbles. So, I took myself to the Internet and found a few recipes for bubbles! I combined a couple and here’s what we got:

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Fun!

I used:
2 cups water
8TBS Dawn dish soap (original)
4TBS light Karo corn syrup (in place of glycerin)
Mix it all up and blow bubbles!

A few people said the bubbles were better after 24 hours and I found that to be true. I’m also considering adding a bit more water because the bubbles are pretty stiff. But, in a pinch, these are great!

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