Wednesday, August 28, 2013

storytime with Gramps

We have the privilege of living right around the corner from my in-laws.  It's really nice to be able to walk over randomly and leave the kids with them.  Just kidding, we usually ask first. 
 
Well, today Miss Bee wanted to bake a cake, so she and her Daddy baked one and had a blast!  Afterwards we invited the grandparents over to enjoy it with us.  It was close to the little's bedtime so Keith and Cheryl stayed for storytime and snuggled down with Bee in the livingroom.   
 
This is what happens when Gramps is involved in bedtime storytime. 
 
They're all settled on the couch and Bee hands over her book of choice: The Paper Bag Princess
 
Gramps: Is that the princess?
Nana: Yeah, the dragon burnt her clothes so she is wearing a paper bag. 
Gramps: that's an ugly princess.
 
Me: You're just like Ronald!
Nana: He hasn't heard this story before I guess
 
Nana keeps on reading.
Story is finished.
 
Gramps: That was a weird story. 
 
Laughter ensues from all.


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

three weeks

The past three weeks have been a whirlwind of traveling, emotions and people.  So much so, that I feel completely drained. 

Josh's Grandmother passed away and we decided that it was important for our family to attend her funeral and help in whatever way we could.  So we packed all night and left the following day for our 16 hour drive to Minnesota where we slept for a few hours and left very early the next morning to catch a plane to Pittsburg, PA.  The kids traveled so well which made everything much easier on all of us.  Grandmother's funeral was lovely and heartfelt.  We were all in tears, remembering her life and her walk with Christ.  She was such a wonderful example of someone who lived her life to the fullest, and who loved God and her family so very deeply. 

We got to visit Bethlehem, the town Grandmother grew up in and where Cheryl's father, Grandpop, is buried.  What a beautiful old town.  If you ever go there, you must walk through the colonial area and just drink in the beauty.  I took so many pictures but there was no way my amateur skills could have captured any of it properly. 

Then we were flying back to Minnesota, and driving back home.  We got home at 2am and left 6:30am the following day to head to the Daher family reunion/ 60th Anniversary party for my grandparents.  The reunion was held just outside of Glacier National Park at my Aunt and Uncle's cabin.  Even though we left a day early, it was a blast!  Seeing family that we never get to see was refreshing and the weather was beautiful.  It was so fun to see the little kids running around with each other, shrieking with joy from being let loose outside. 

Then we headed to BC.  My sisters got to meet Jude for the first time and everyone loved on him and Bee.  Bee loved the backyard and bugged everyone to push her on the swings, almost to the point of being annoying.  Ok, she was quite annoying!  A highlight for me, which sounds silly, was playing a game of Monopoly with my nephew and foster sister.  Or, I should say, losing to my nephew and foster sister in a game of Monopoly.     

We had such a good time, we didn't leave quite early enough and missed our good friends Rich and Becca's wedding ceremony.  Not living in the Seattle area for the past two years, we had forgotten just how bad traffic could be!  If we had left just an hour earlier we would have been golden!  Three hours just wasn't enough time to drive from the border to Renton, WA.  We did make the reception though, and it was just wonderful!  Becca was so beautiful and it was such a fun reception!  Bee danced her little heart out and made friends with Rich's nephew.  We left the reception with smiles on our faces and two wiped out kids.

We began our final trek home the next day, and boy were we ready!  All the emotions from our time in Pennsylvania, to the bittersweet feelings of leaving the west coast, to the fatigues of being on the road for the past three weeks, came bubbling to the surface.  We got home just after midnight and after a slight hiccup in getting Jude back to sleep, we all crashed.  Hard. 

The last three days have been even harder.  Getting used to the daily ebb and flow of life again has not been as smooth as I would have liked, but that's to be expected.  I feel like I've been a zombie, just going through the motions, barely surviving.  Bee and Jude go from playing as hard as they can to crashing just as hard.  The waves of their moods come and go so quickly it's hard to keep up.  Basically they've been acting like moody teenagers. Luckily for me, I babysat a friend's son today and he helped to keep Bee entertained and happy all day. 

 It's during times like this that I am so very grateful for Josh.  We make a good team. 

The biggest realization I've come to from the past three weeks, is just how important my family is to me.  I love my husband and kids and couldn't imagine my life without them.  I appreciate the life Josh and I have made for our kids and ourselves so much more.

I know that this has been longer than anything I've written in a long time, if ever.  If you've made it this far, thank you for bearing with me.  I'm nearing the cliff's edge of rambling, maybe even fallen off already so I'm calling it quits.    

Good night folks!  Thanks for sticking with me!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

who knew shaving cream could make such a difference?

A word of warning my peeps.  I'm about to get deep.

Lately I've been feeling "less lost" than I ever have before.  Or more specifically, more like me.  Not more like Josh's wife and not more like a mom.  Just me.  Leslie.  In the midst of getting married, moving to another country, getting depressed, experiencing anxiety like never before, unexpectedly becoming a mom, gaining 60 pounds, working and then not working, I forgot who I was as a person.  I stopped thinking about what I needed to do for myself.  I even stopped driving because the idea of it made me so anxious I would cry.  It was a slow process but I fell deep into it all.  I forgot that I liked to write, that I loved being around friends, and that I really did like to be outside and be active.  Instead when things got rough I turned to food, sleep and TV shows.  I also stopped trying to make friends and isolated myself, which didn't help at all. 

The last month I've slowly started to realize that I am a shadow of who I used to be.  And its my fault.  I allowed myself to become who I am today.  I have changed.  Some of the change is good.  I'm a lot more organized, much more responsible and a lot less selfish.  But I am also content to just stay at home, watch TV, and live thru other people's experiences on Facebook.  I respond with anger and frustration a lot faster than I ever used to.  I don't find opportunities to create new friends and I allow myself to become fully immersed in my role as a mom. 

I'm not as happy as I'd like to be. 

I can feel my anxiety creeping in just writing that.  I don't want to tell anyone that I'm not 100% content because it makes me feel like a bad mom, wife, friend.  And I'm terrified of judgment.  I'm terrified that people will realize just how insecure I really am.  That people will think that this admission is a go ahead for them to flood me with unhelpful advice and smother me.  Or that people will think I'm weird and not want to be my friend.  Or, that no one will care. 

But I have to stop worrying about other people, because this really has to do with me.  I have to figure out what I NEED to do to feel better about myself.  And I HAVE to do it. 

I'm in the process of figuring this out.  I'm also starting to realize that this will be a life long process.  A daily struggle.  But I've taken some steps to make some much needed changes in my life. 

1. I got a job!  Well, two jobs actually.  Starting the first of August I'm the new secretary/treasurer for our church.  I am SO NERVOUS about the treasurer aspect of it, but I'm pretty certain that its not more than I can handle.  Plus I can do everything from home, which is a huge blessing.  My second "job" is as a consultant for Better Way Imports.  It's a sales job and combines my loves of people and missions so perfectly.  I am extremely excited to start having parties and introducing this company to others.  I even opened up my first business account at the bank!  If you're curious as to what Better Way Imports is look them up at www.betterwayimports.com.  And if you're in the area, host a party! 

2. I told Josh I needed more "childless" time.  Even if all I do is clean the house top to bottom, I feel like the time away allows me to be a better mom to the kids.  I finally get silence and then I won't be worrying later about all the things I need to do while trying to be present while playing with Bee and Jude. 

3. I bought shaving cream.  I know, it sounds SO STUPID, but this was huge.  For the past 4 years Josh and I have been scrimping by and have only just recently passed the "I only have 5$ left till the next paycheck" stage of life.  One small way to save was to only buy the necessities when it came to hygiene.  I did have a razor so I still shaved, but I'd just use shampoo or conditioner instead of shaving cream.  I finally realized that we could now afford for me to buy shaving cream, so I found my Target coupon and bought a Target brand container of Strawberry-Tangerine shaving cream.  I gotta tell you, it felt so luxurious to use shaving cream again!  My legs had not felt this hydrated or smooth in four years!  I'm pretty sure I grinned the whole time!  HAHA 

4. I'm trying to fit time in to exercise.  I'm not very good at it.  I always have 101 excuses as to why I can't, or why something else is more important.  This is something that I need to do.  No one else is going to take care of my health but me.  Some weeks I do great, and other weeks go by and I barely make it for a mile walk around the campgrounds. 

I'm still trying to figure out what else I need to do to be more at peace with myself, but its a journey.  A long journey.  And I really don't want to burn out right at the beginning so I'm trying to start with baby steps.  And a short list. 

And a lot of prayers.  So, Grandma, if you're reading this, I could use a lot of your prayers since I know you've got a direct link to His ear.








Conversations with Bee



I was changing Jude's diaper when Bee came over to check it all out. 
 
 We then had this conversation:




Bee: oh Mama!  Ju poo?  Ju poo?
Me: Yes, Jude pooped.  Isn't it stinky? 
BeeAwwwwww!  Ju pooed!  I pooed too!  Mama I pooed too! 
Me: (checks her diaper) So you did....
 
 
 
At least it was easier to change them both right there and then
 
 
As you can tell, potty training has gone wonderfully.....not. 


Friday, July 5, 2013

"the four of us", it's got a nice ring to it

 
We've now been a family of 4 for 7 months.  Some days it feels much longer, but today, it feels as if we're still those overwhelmed yet deliriously happy- sleep deprived parents, bringing their sweet newborn baby home for the first time.
 
When we first found out we were having a boy, I was instantly worried about what I would do with a boy.  I was used to a girl, not only was I comfortable because of Bee, but I was a girl.  I knew how all the parts worked, and I think I have a pretty good idea of how the female brain works.  But BOYS.  Its a whole different ballgame.  (Did you notice the sport's reference?  I know, I'm pretty proud of myself!)

I was also very worried about changing a boy's diaper.  My dear Mother-in-law had laughingly regaled me with stories of how both of her boys had peed all over the walls and themselves.  My sisters have rambunctious boys and I had witnessed first hand potty training, tantrums, and random weird boy behaviours.  So far, other than having pee shot up at me while half asleep, it's been a lot smoother than I had anticipated. 
 
The first month and a half were a haze.  Jude was gassy and colicky; Bee was clingy and whiney.  Jude wouldn't sleep anywhere but in a vibrating bouncy chair and one of us had to bounce him to sleep.  Josh did have paternity leave which was amazing, but when he went back to work I thought I was going to lose it.  I'm going to sound like a horrible mom, but I basically let Bee watch TV whenever she wanted and fed her grilled cheese everyday.  Thank goodness I had a month's worth of dinner meals in the deep freeze thanks to my pregnancy nesting and some wonderful friends.  I was such a hot mess minus the hot.  I think I managed to shower once a week unless Cheryl was over visiting and then I'd dump Judah in her lap and retreat as fast as I could to the bathroom.  At night the kids would take turns waking each other up and on the weeks Josh was working I was getting maybe 4 hours a night if I was lucky.  I started resenting Josh, sending him angry texts while he was at work, about how I felt like he had the opportunity to get a full night's rest, while I was stuck at home doing all the hard work.  I longed to switch places with him.  To get away from the kids and go to a job where I could interact with other adults and not have a child hanging off me at all times. 

 
Thankfully it got easier.  Jude stopped screaming all the time and started to sleep in his crib, Bee started getting used to having another kid around, and we all got a little more sleep.  Our freezer meal stash ran out and I had to start actually cooking again, which surprisingly helped to clear the cobwebs out of my head. 
 
Now I don't dread the weeks Josh is working. It's still hard, but I know I can handle the kids.  There are days when we all stay in our PJs and do nothing but play, and I've come to realize that its ok.  It's ok to have a house that's not always picked up and swept.  And it's ok to have clean laundry sitting in the hampers for a week.  Well, maybe its not, but it happens.  And if Bee won't eat anything but peanut butter and honey sandwiches all day, at least she's eating something.
 
There are still growing pains and bumps in the road, but we're slowly adjusting and growing.  I love how Judah has made us change and how he's added so many wonderful attributes to our family. 

Some moments/images I don't think I'll ever forget:
 
1. the first time the little guy peed on me during a diaper change
2. the first sibling beat down, which included a hard headed doll being thrown at Jude's head
3. his squealing
4. the way his whole body laughs when he's tickled
5. the way he watches Bee
6. the warning hoot he gave my in-law's dog the first time he noticed her being too close for comfort
7. the way he looks when he sees, smiles, and reaches for me
8. the first time I put both kids in the tub together
9. how much he LOVES food
10. the day Josh plopped him in his Bumbo chair and stuck him in the wagon with Bee
11. his chubby thighs

 
 
All in all, it's been good.  Hard but good.  I like being a family of 4. 
 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

A letter

To My Son, Judah
I am amazed and overwhelmed by how much my heart swells for you.  I truly did not know it was possible to love another child as much as I love your sister.  You are such a gift and a blessing to us, and even though we are all still adjusting to being a family of four, I already cannot imagine life without you. 

I cannot imagine not being able to hold you, to rock you, or to be up at all hours of the night with you.  I love nursing you, to be able to "have to" hold you in my arms when you get hungry is a privilege.  It's a fantastic reason to sit down, relax and spend some one on one time with you. 

Your sister sure loves you.  I know this morning you probably thought differently when she tried to kick you, but please give her some grace, she's just learning how to be a big sister.  Also, I'm sorry to tell you this, but I'm pretty sure that won't be the last time she tries to kick you.  You are awfully good to her, letting her hold you, pat you on the head, and all those kisses!  She is always trying to kiss you!   

Now, I am your Mama, so I can guarantee you that I will be protective and perhaps a bit smothering.  Ok, a lot smothering.  Sometimes you'll have to tell me to let you go, to let you make mistakes and to let your knees get skinned.  When that time comes, please be gentle with me, as I'll still be picturing you as a sweet but fragile little baby.  I know your Dad will let you do all the crazy things a boy has to do at least once in a lifetime, and I might cringe and/or worry, but I'll always be there when you do need a snuggle or a kiss.  I'll even be there when you don't want one.  

I pray that you become a solid man of God.  That you will look up to your Dad, and respect him.  That you will look out for your sister, and treat all women with respect and honour.  I pray that you will not hold grudges, that you will be compassionate and understanding.  That you will stand up for the underdogs and less fortunate.  I pray that you will become a leader.  A man who knows he is loved for who he is, and who can love others for who they are.  I pray that you will live a good life, with all the twists and turns that make a good one.  I pray that your Dad and I can do our best to provide you with a wonderful childhood full of memories, lessons and lots of laughter.

But most of all, I pray that you will be happy. 

So please, don't grow up too fast little dude.        

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Chazz

 Our oh-so-lenient kitty.  He lets Bee love on him and when he's tired of all her lovin' he walks away without trying to prove anything.  Best pet ever.
You can tell he's not really into being wrapped in one of her bear blankies, but he lets her.  He also lets her hug (almost strangle) him, pet him (not so gently), kiss him (leave slobber on his head), play with him (chuck his toys at him) and basically be a toddler with him.  And for all that she does out of love, he seems to get it.  He sometimes follows her and allows her to snuggle up to him while she reads books.  We try to be really watchful so she doesn't actually hurt him, and so far they seem to be on track to being best pals.  Not bad for a first pet.  Jimmy on the other hand, is still pretty skittish, but surprisingly lets her get the closest to him out of the three of us.