Dear Eloise: A letter to my daughter

Dear Eloise,

Today is your first birthday.  It has been the most amazing year!

Before you were born, I was already a mommy.  Lincoln was 2 years old, and his entrance into the world had changed my life.  He had changed me.

Being a mom was a title I’d always longed for.  Since Lincoln is my first child, I thought I knew what it felt like to be a mom.  I felt like the person I was meant to be: the world made sense, I was so close to God, and I was incredibly happy.  I had no idea how to love someone else as much as I loved Lincoln.

Then I had you.

Eloise Grey, you shook my world upside down.  When you were born, and over the last year, you have shown me what being a mommy is. I am even closer to God than ever before.  I love Lincoln more profoundly than I ever knew I could.  I value your daddy more than ever.  And I love you so intensely.

You have taught me what true joy is.  You laugh at anything and everything, including yourself.  It is infectious.

You have taught me how to love with no limitations.  No matter how many times your brother hits you, takes away your toys, or ignores you, you continue to love and accept him with everything you are.

You have taught me that it is good to break the mold.  You love Link’s “boy” toys more than your own, and yet you always pick the girly-est dress in your closet to wear.

You have taught me to be fearless.  You would scale a cliff if I let you, and you test my patience and trust, and cause me more anxiety than Link ever has.  No matter how many grey hairs that causes, you are bettering me for it.

I never imagined that something that entered this world so quickly and just shy of seven pounds could change me to such a magnitude.

I love you, my sweet, beautiful, silly girl.  I can’t wait to see how else you change this world.

Love,

Your mommy

photo(1)

Busy busy

We have been so busy lately!  Mostly just enjoying each other and the sun!

Memorial Day weekend was extra long for me.  Thursday I woke up to a spinning world, so I ended up staying home and sleeping hoping it went away.  I’m not sure if it was vertigo or something else, but it was awful.  I woke up on Friday to a planned vacation day back to normal.

We spent a lot of time outside.  Justin, my dad and his dad stripped and stained the deck, which was a great accomplishment!  I did a lot of weeding and tree trimming.  My fruit/herb/veggie garden was planted along with a few plants.  We chopped down a tree and cut down an incredibly overgrown rose bush.  I did many loads of clothes and diaper laundry, which is still not all put away.  Justin and I ended Monday night by moving his office from a bedroom on the top level to a bedroom in the basement.

Eloise is nine months now.  She is crawling like crazy and almost walking.  She can kind of say “mama” and now says “dadada”.  She is a happy little girl at almost every moment, and is doing fairly well sleeping.  We will go in for her checkup next week, and I’m looking forward to seeing how long she is now.  She seems quite tall.  If you’ve seen any photo of her, you know that she has crazy hair.  My mom gave her a nice short pixie cut so that her hair looks a bit more under control.

Lincoln is such a little boy now.  He is enjoying playing outside with his sand and water tables, and loves to help in the garden.  He gets very excited when we find worms, which rarely turns out well for the worm.  He plays with them a bit too long and they dry out.  At least he isn’t ripping them apart anymore!  He currently has two girlfriends at school, so we are preparing ourselves for his teenage years.  We will be starting swim lessons with him soon, and I am very excited about that.  I want to make sure he is and feels safe in the pool.

We try to get outside every night, and I hope to continue that throughout the summer.  Link gets a lot of outside time during the day, but I don’t.  I never used to like the outdoors much, but now I feel like I need them!

My new craft closet:

Eloise:

One of our beautiful blooming trees:

Overwhelmingly blessed

There are moments when I feel God’s blessings in my life.  Sometimes, it is a bit overwhelming.  This weekend included many of those moments.

Mother’s Day weekend was everything I needed it to be – minus extra sleep.

I was able to spend quality time with my favorite sister-in-law, and watch our cousin pick out her beautiful wedding dress.  I am so excited to celebrate Ali’s wedding planning journey with her as a bridesmaid, and watch her begin a marriage to a wonderful man.

I watched my children, who have been very “new-people-anxious” lately, embrace Amy and Collin, who in turn just loved on Link and Ellie.

I was able to spend time with my family, enjoying our last week all in the same suburb, but looking forward to Ashley and Peter being so much closer than before!

This was a beautiful, happy weekend filled with love and Jesus.  For me, being a mom is the greatest gift in the world, and this weekend made that so much more special.

Playing with Aunty Amy and Uncle Collin

Playing with Aunty Amy and Uncle Collin

Sweet moments

Sweet moments

Sibling love

Sibling love

Cheese!

Cheese!

Sweet girl

Sweet girl

Splashing!

Splashing!

 

 

 

While I was away

Giving up Facebook for Lent was a blessing.  I felt like I spent more time with God, myself, and my family.  I was more present, and noticed the details.  Going forward, my goal is to continue to restrict my time on my smart phone in general.  I want to see my children, and devote my time with them, with them.

While I was away from Facebook, life happened.

Eloise Grey:

Ellie has grown up so much!  She has two teeth and lots of lighter hair.  She is an expert crawler – much different than Link was.  He finally crawled after weeks of army crawling, and then jumped to walking.  Ellie is climbing not only stairs, but chairs!  (So just a small, cushy chair, but still).  She loves to stand and can pull herself up on anything.  She loves to play with tiny fuzzies on the floor, Link’s hair, and any small toy she can find of her brother’s to choke on.  Ellie is a big fan of eating and BLW is going great!

photo 1photo 1 (4)photo 4 (2)photo 5 (2)photo 2photo 2 (4)photo 1 (2)photo 2 (3)photo 1 (3)photo 3 (2)photo 5 (3)photo 4

Lincoln Xavier:

I have fewer photos of Link, because he doesn’t sit still.  He still loves dinosaurs and really any animal.  As I mentioned before, he had his first true injury, and is healing very nicely.  He loves to be outside, once he gets out there.  He often would choose to stay inside, especially if it is windy, but I push him a bit.  He loves his sister, and is learning to be gentler with her (and everyone else).  He is still talking like crazy, and the words he knows continually astounds me.  His imagination has really taken off, and he is now telling us stories he has made up.

photo 4 (3) photo 2 (2) photo 5

Etcetera:

Justin and I went to California for my work conference.  I did much better than I thought, being away from the kids.  It was great to spend time with just him!

Easter was lovely also, and we were able to spend time with some great friends and family – and welcomed baby Ethan to our “family” on Good Friday!

photo 3 photo 3 (3)

We are so blessed, and I am grateful for the past 40 days that I had to reflect on the importance of how I use my time, and who I use it for.

 

“It takes a village”

Waiting so patiently.

Waiting so patiently.

Friday morning I received a phone call from Link’s school.  He was hurt – he had a bad cut on his thumb and needed to go to the doctor or hospital.  Link’s school is 30ish minutes away from my work, plus Ellie pick up time, and they said he couldn’t wait that long.  I called Justin, who could have responded faster, but he didn’t answer.  So I called his parents, who are 5ish minutes away from Link’s school.

Calmly as I could, I communicated that “Link is bleeding, needs to go to the doctor, can you go get him?!?!?”  I’m sure I freaked them out.  Then I packed up all of my things at work (except my wallet – oops!), called Ellie’s daycare and said I was on my way, called my mom, called the dr., and called Justin.  Picked up Ellie, and sped as reasonably fast as I could to the doc’s office.

Listening to mom tell a story instead of watching the NP.

Listening to mom tell a story instead of watching the NP.

We arrived, everyone close to the same time.  Link’s hand was wrapped in a bandage and he was wearing a glove over it.  He was fine, but wanted his mommy.  We got in the room, and the doctor thought it was best to head to Children’s Hospital.  So my mom went with Link and I to the hospital, and Pat and Ron took Eloise home with them.  When Link heard we were going to the hospital he said, “but mom! I don’t want to go back in your tummy!”  Where he got that idea, I’m not sure, but the only time he’s heard about a hospital or been to one is me having babies.  I assured him they were just going to make his hand better.

The staff at Children’s were wonderful, and they took such great care of him.  Link was great, until he saw his cut, and then he cried a bit.  If it was covered, he was fine.  Especially once they have him apple juice and cheese crackers, neither of which he gets at home.  He was also able to watch cartoons.  They put numbing ointment over the area, and when the Nurse Practitioner came in, she evaluated the cut.  She described it as a very deep papercut, and it was fortunate to be on his thumb, and not in the webbing.  She said she rarely recommends glue, but in this case gluing the cut shut would be enough, and would save Link the trauma of stitches.  One popsicle and a few minutes later, Link was all bandaged up and ready to go home.

All glued and wrapped.

All glued and wrapped.

This was hard on mommy, of course, but I was thankful to Jesus for so many things during that experience.

First, I was so thankful for my village.  Link’s wonderful school took great care of him and reacted quickly to clean his injury well, keep him feeling loved, and were truly sad that he was hurt.  Three grandparents were able to respond so quickly so Link got right to the doctor and Eloise didn’t have to come along to the hospital.

Second, I was thankful that we were the family that could wait.  We waited in the hospital room for awhile, and there could have been many reasons for that.  But what I know is that Link was not injured so badly that he couldn’t wait. On that note, while washing his bloody clothes, I was thankful that it wasn’t worse – I never want to have to wash blood out of my child’s clothes for anything more than a bad cut.

Last, I was thankful for my sweet boy.  He was so strong.  He only cried a little when he could see his cut.  He was so kind to the staff at the hospital.  He didn’t pull off his bandages. He isn’t upset when talking about it.  Our neighbor asked him what happened to his hand, and he said “At school, I was working with a tape [measure], and suddenly it cut me! I have a bad owwie, but the bandage is making it all better”.  (The metal tape measure retracted and sliced his finger).

Not interested in sitting still anymore!

Not interested in sitting still anymore!

I truly believe that raising children and cultivating a family takes a village.  You can do it without one, and do it well.  But I’m so blessed and glad that I have the support of my village walking alongside my parenting journey.

I see you, God

Sometimes it’s hard for me to see God in the usual places.  And when I do see Him, I’m not always loud about it.

When Link was born, and after I healed from my baby blues, I tried to make it a priority to thank God for Link daily.  It lasted months, and then dwindled.  When Eloise was born, I was amazed at how she was exactly what I prayed for, but I don’t praise Him every time she smiles at me.  I should.

But today, I recognize God.  He is in the cold water I used to wash my face with since the water heater broke.  He was in the puddle I stepped in, reminding me that we all have obstacles.  He is in my husband’s tired eyes, who spent more time that not rocking our babe last night.  He is in my mom’s pain, as she recovers from surgery.  He is in Link’s tears, and Ellie’s smiles; in Ellie’s tears and Link’s smiles.  He is here, with me in everything.

For that, I will never be alone.