Child proof

Does my coffee table look a little cluttered  Do you notice anything on the coffee table that’s a little out of place?  Maybe that big piece of pink chalk right in the middle?  I noticed that this morning…  Yah, it’s been there for probably 2 weeks.  It is a complete wonder that a pink chalk line isn’t circling the living room–pink scribbles on the brand new sofa or pink on the rug.  It has literally just sat there for 2 weeks.  Shew.  I guess, I do have pretty amazing kids… Or else, they haven’t noticed it.

My eldest really surprised me this week.  Our house is pretty well kid friendly but my no means “child proof.”  We don’t have any cabinet locks or foam pads taped to corners or gates on the stairs.  We’re “always” watching them; so, I think it’s important to teach what’s okay to get into and what’s not…  Most chemicals and things are out of reach.

Except for the dishwashing liquid.  I’ve got to watch out.  If I leave the dishwasher door open, Abby will get out the dishwashing liquid and pretend to pour it in!  So cute.

This week, though, while I was NOT watching Sophia, she got into something that gave me a BIG scare.  She was standing at the kitchen counter playing with a tea cup, a tea bag and a packet of sugar.

I left the room for just a minute to take Abby to Daddy.  I heard Sophia yell, “I think I just hurt myself with a knife!”

She had pulled out a huge utility knife from the knife block and sliced her palm with it.  It bled like crazy.  I freaked out.  Thankfully, it was nothing that a little Neosporin and a princess band-aid couldn’t fix.  It was really eye-opening, though.  I keep forgetting that she’s just a little girl, not even 3-years old.  We had a good talk about.  She definitely understands now that a knife is not a toy, not for little girls, and the shiny part will cut you.  Thank goodness a lesson was learned without a trip to the emergency room.

Back to the craziness that is life lately…

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Precious time alone, a cherished treat

I’m sitting outside under our back porch, reclining.  I’m thinking about how I have this rare time to myself today. No agenda. No plans. Nothing pressing to get done… (expect for some cooking and cleaning and all that business that can definitely wait.)  I’m thinking about how my body needs some “me” time.  I need to spend an hour or so doing nothing but what is restorative.

My life is good.  I think I have no stress.  I was laying awake a few mornings ago about 4 a.m. listening to Abby fussing and chewing on her blanket.  She’s getting 3 molars at once, and it’s taking a toll on her in the middle of the night.  Our “noise maker” oscillating fan is out of commission, so I had to listen to her.  😦  In the moment, I’m sure I felt some stress.  8 hours of sleep is a rare commodity that I am learning to live without.  Here’s the thing, though.  I was laying awake listening to her fussing thinking about this: what yummy conglomeration of leftovers and pantry items I would put together for lunch.  I hardly ever lay awake at night thinking about anything.  If my stress is “what-I’m-gonna-make-for lunch-without-going-to-the-grocery-store” stress, then I think my life must be pretty darn good.  (By the way, we had grilled chicken and black bean quesadillas with yummy peppers and jalapenos and sour cream and cilantro for lunch.  I’m thankful for that middle of the night epiphany.)

So, today I have this nice opportunity to relax.  The girls are both sacked out, and it’s beautiful outside.

I’ve been doing a lot of recuperative things lately. I’ve been doing yard work, riding my bike on the beautiful trails throughout town, doing kundalini yoga, reading from the word… I also like to read novels and watch T.V., though I’m unintentionally taking a break from those things lately…

I’ve found that one of the most truly recuperative things that I can do is to reflect.  Often that is stemmed from a short reading from the message, but sometimes it is stemmed from simply being quiet.  During this nap time today, I wanted to do something fun.  I thought read or catch up on my Brothers and Sisters.  Both of those options gave me stress.  “Brothers and Sisters” is high-drama.  It’s a soap opera, really.  Sometimes I love to veg out into a made-up high-drama scenario, but today I thought it didn’t feel right.  I think I love to veg out in someone else’s drama when my own drama is too stressful to sit in.  And, that’s okay sometimes. I’m just not there right now.

What I’m thinking about today is what it was like to be out by myself, yesterday.  I took a few solitary shopping trips, yesterday.  Luxury, I know, right?!  More than ONE trip!  I went out to buy birthday presents for Will and Sophia, and I went to shop a little for myself, too.  It was weird.  I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE shopping for other people.  I LOVE buying presents for my husband, and I LOVE buying things for my girls, too.  I love to think about them, and the joy that these surprises will bring them.

Well, so last night I planned a trip to T.J. Maxx.  I’ve lost a LOT of weight since last summer, and the spring/summer wardrobe is  hurting.  No one wants to see Mama 60 pounds down still wearing her maternity t-shirts… (I really should toss those…)  I walked into T.J. Maxx, and I caught myself heading toward the pretty pink girls’ section.  WOAH, MAMA!  HAULT.  I literally said out loud, “This shopping trip is for YOU.”  I turned a 180, and stared at the women’s department.  I kept getting pulled toward the girly child stuff, but I kept away.  

Why was it so hard to keep the focus on myself?

Anyway, I tried to let myself go nuts.  I pulled every shirt that I sort of liked, and I tried them all on. It felt so good to be able to do that without constantly pacifying and entertaining and reassuring that I’m almost done, never getting to really think: “Do I feel good in this?”  Ah, the luxury of a precious moment alone!  Thankfully, only a few of them (with low price tags) did I love… I felt so old and out of touch looking through these clothes.  I didn’t recognize many of the styles–baggy, oversized shirts, weird 80s looking prints, military style jackets, lots of awkward embellishments… I felt like I was definitely suffering from mommy-stays-at-home-with-the-kids disorder.

I have so much to be thankful for in my life.  I love to remember what they are and to gush about them.  What I’m thankful for right now, is how precious my time is.  Now, as a mother, time is more precious than ever.  Time with my children is a gift! My girls are gems that I love to cherish.  Time alone is also precious–it’s not lonely, it’s not boring; it’s not even rushed.  It’s a gift.  A gift that there will be more of–if not this afternoon, then tonight or tomorrow.  When my time alone is interrupted, it’s interrupted by a loved one who wants to be seen, loved, and enjoyed.  And when God gives me a moment to be alone, to be silent, to maybe reflect and see Him, I am restored and ready to be back with my family.

What a beautiful day to pause, listen to the chirping birds and noisy squirrels, bask in the gorgeous, warm sun, cherish the cool, gentle breeze,  and listen to the dazed frisbee golfers across the fence of our backyard… no seriously… 😉

weakness revealed in the waiting

2:00 p.m. My most difficult hour.  Abby is cranky and tired.  It’s time for Sophia’s nap.  I’m at the end of my patience.  I’d like some time to myself. Today at 2:00 I laid down Sophia and picked up Abby.  No big deal.  No nap for me today. I feed Abby.  I soothe her.  I lay her down.  The fussing begins.  I take myself downstairs and I notice my shoulders are tight, my neck is stiff and my mind is racing with worry.  I say to myself that I’ll get a snack, lay on the couch, try to chill out while I wait for her to stop crying.  The thing is I’m not hungry. I’m worried, I’m unbelievably stressed out, and I want immediate comfort and solace.  What I really want is for someone to tell me, “Don’t worry.  She’ll go to sleep soon.” (Sometimes I text Da-da and he tells me that.  Thanks, Da-da.)

I do this a lot.  I reach for a snack as I wait for her to fall asleep.  I reach for a snack after she falls asleep wondering if this is for real.  I reach for a snack when 30 minutes has passed because she could wake up any minute.

I think what is revealed in my time of waiting on Abby to fall asleep is my complete inability to control this situation.  I cannot make her go to sleep.  I can’t guarantee that she’ll sleep for any amount of time.  I can’t make sure Sophia stays asleep, either.  I can’t control these babies!  So as I wait for her to fall asleep, I worry; I reach for my quickest comfort, and I don’t receive comfort at all.  My girls’ naptimes are often wasted with worry and pacing and indecision.  I can just snack, I don’t need time or energy for that.

This post isn’t about over-eating.  I realize my weakness to snack when I’m stressed, and I must give myself grace here.  Awareness of that tendency is the biggest battle.  What this post is about, though, is that there’s something in my waiting time that I need to pay attention to.  Something has been making me so stressed, irritable and cranky.  I think it may simply be that my day is not mine to control.  I may be able to control parts of it, but I cannot control my children.  Abby will sleep when she sleeps, and Sophia will act how she’s going to act.  I can help Abby sleep, and I can discipline and help Sophia’s behavior.  But, I cannot control them.  I can’t make Abby sleep, and I can’t make Sophia be still during a diaper change or not throw a tantrum as we’re trying to leave the house.

This waiting is revelatory if I pause and take note.  This waiting reveals my need to control and my inability to do it.  This waiting reveals my weakness and my need for the Father.

I was reminded of 2 Chronicles 7:14.

“If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

As I wait for Abby to fall asleep, I want to humble myself (I cannot control this situation.), pray (Lord, be with me.  Help me trust You.), seek His face (He is with me.  He is trustworthy.), and turn from my worry and need to be in control (He is in control.) He will forgive me and heal me.

That feels like a deep breath.  Lord, give me a deep breath.

who has time to blog?

Wow, so having two under two is just as much work as I thought it’d be.  No, it’s more.  My new sweet daughter is most precious, though she seems to cry all the time.  I think you forget just how much a newborn cries when you’re used to a toddler…

As a matter of an update: Abigail Eliyah Spicer was born December 11 at 4:33 p.m., 8 lbs. and 20 inches long.  After finally getting checked into the hospital at 2:30 p.m., I popped her out quickly thanks to a friendly anesthesiologist.  Lord, did I forget how much labor hurts!  If I deliver another, I will get a doula!

Abby is sweet.  She looks and acts so different than Sophia.  Her skin is pink and her hair is red and her eyes are a deep blue.  She has sweet red birth marks all over head and back.  We’ll see in the coming year how her looks change.  So far she is a completely different newborn than Sophia was.  She likes being swaddled, she’s easily overstimulated, and she nurses wide-awake, quickly but sloppily.  (Sophia hated being swaddled, slept anywhere, and always fell asleep at the breast.  She had yellow skin, brown hair and gray eyes…)  Abby sleeps too much at night and not enough during the day.  Oh, and also she’s kinda fat.  We need to photograph her arms!  They have the most amazing rolls!  Plump!

It’s been a rough 6 weeks.  As you can imagine, I’ve had no time to blog.  We started sleep-training with Abby on Friday.  Today, I am having much success!  Both of my girls have been asleep at the same time for two hours!  Yayah!  After trying to nap, cleaning house, washing dishes and doing laundry, here I am.  The most difficult thing with sleep training during the day seems to be catching Abby’s drowsy signals before she gets overtired and soothing her in time to put her in her crib calm, yet awake.  (Sophia doesn’t help this!  I’ve been so annoyed and so in love with her lately.)

Back to the rough 6 weeks.  We’ve been worried that Abby has the infamous “colick.”  If it’s simply defined as 3 hours of crying 3 days a week, then she has it for sure… But, we have good days.  And, those seem to be related to how well and often she sleeps.  An overtired baby is a cranky one!  We seems to have it diagnosed as gas and overtiredness.  Ask us next week… 😉

Here’s a few pictures.  I’m sorry we haven’t taken more.  I’m sure I’ll be telling her that in a few years, too.

Still asleep at 5, say what?!  I guess, I’m going to have to wake them both up!

heavy nesting

Well, we’re less than 4 weeks to the due date, and I’m nesting hard!  I hope I don’t go into labor anytime soon because I’ve got some projects in the works.  The upstairs bathroom needs all manner of storage solutions/decorating, and our bedroom (where the new baby will sleep for a time) needs to be rid of a hideous border, needs curtains, and needs a pretty major rearrange to accommodate a small nursery in the corner.  I just got the supplies to get started on these major projects.  I hope they don’t prove too big.  I finally have the energy and my foot has finally healed enough that I am rerring to go! Tomorrow we go in for the first “weekly” appointment where my cervix will be checked for dilation and ripening and what-not.  So, tomorrow we’ll know a little more if I am being a little too ambitious…. 😉

In other news Sophia has been hilarious lately!  I’ve really been realizing how much she’s growing up, too.  Her language skills are on the verge of blowing up.  She’s just started rote repeating us and her verbal comprehension is freaking unbelievable.  She doesn’t have all the sounds to work with, so repeating us is pretty funny.  A few minutes ago I was working on putting a shelf together for the bathroom and getting frustrated as one does with nothing to work with but an allen wrench and sweaty palms… when I exclaimed emphatically, “Oh crap!”  Sophia, only inches away from my side, says, “Oh sap!”  Wow!  That was a first!  Better watch your mouth, Mommy! Good thing she’s not around when Mommy and Daddy are playing video games… 😉

A few days ago, she first verbalized the word “no.”  She’s been shaking her head no for at least a year, but this is the first time the sound “no” or anything sounding like it came out of her mouth.  And, she said it for the first time yelling it 6 times in a row when she didn’t want to do something.  Woah!  She never does anything half-way, I’m realizing.  Since then, we have heard “no” at the door when Daddy goes to work, “no” when I take something away from her, and “no” when I’m putting her diaper on.  Argh!  I could’ve done without that word for a while.

We’ve also noticed that she understand so, so much.  When Will and I have been talking about something, she has understood just enough to go get something that one of us has mentioned and bring it to us.  Will and I are talking about going somewhere, out to eat or something, she goes to the door, picks up my purse or my shoes… Will and I were talking about Christmas gift ideas and I said, “I should get a pencil and paper and make a list.”  She immediately goes and finds paper for me to write on.  Mind you, we are not talking to her. We were talking to each other. She’s off playing by herself… or so we thought!

Moral of the story: your children are listening.

What I’ve been up to…

I haven’t been blogging much lately for 2 main reasons: 1) Sophia won’t let me, and 2) I found a new hobby (or addiction).

So, Sophia won’t let me.  The computer has become yet another source of tantrum-time.  If I’m ever merely looking at it, moving the mouse, or typing, she motions with her arms, says “Dup,” and then immediately starts whining, screaming and falling over in the floor.  If you were a fly in our household all day, you might not think that this was any different than anything else that I am doing: washing dishes, cooking dinner, getting dressed… Yup, I haven’t worn make-up in weeks because it’s also a tantrum starter.  Sophia wants to be “dup” and doing every single thing that I’m doing.  She’s not happy with just being held, though… oh, for those sweet newborn days… she’s wants up and then wants something, anything to entertain her.  The last two days lower back pain has begun and so picking up Sophia 100 times a day is going to have to stop…

I just entered third trimester.  We’ve got less than 3-months to go!  After my last check-up and a couple of days of swelling-scares, I’ve rearranged my days into a specific and intentional routine: 3 mile walk in the morning followed by 2 hours of reading in the recliner while Sophia naps.  I have to rest every time Sophia is resting or else by the end of the day I feel the puffiness and acheyness begin as if there were no turning back.  So far my feet look pretty normal, my shoes still fit, and I’m resting as much as possible.  I’ve figured out that I know one thing that causes swelling: Sitting.  Who knew, right?  Basically sitting without my feet up.  I’ve recently spent some time sewing and repairing our cloth diapers.  (15 diapers completely repaired!  They’re awesome now!)  However, I noticed after only one hour of sitting at the sewing machine, my feet were huge and my legs ached.  I’m really thankful that I’m not working, that I’m able to be pregnant at home with Sophia.  Though it’s hard chasing her around all day, I’m able to rest when she rests.

The other reason I’m not blogging much…  We don’t have a laptop, so swelling is one reason I’m not sitting at the computer.  Oh, but really I’m not because I have another passion during naptime!  I’ve rediscovered a love of reading.  I have NEVER read like this before!  I feel like a kid!  I have read almost 10 books in the last 2 months, devouring a hundred pages one nap time at a time.  It’s been such a recharging thing for me.  It really feels like ME-time, my private time.  I’ve read some really great books, some really weird books, and a couple not that interesting.  I just finished “The 19th Wife.”  It’s a historical fiction novel about Mormon plural marriage.  Fascinating!  It follows two different stories of two “19th wives,” one from the 1800s-one of Joseph Brigham’s wives and and one from a present day fundamentalist.  It was wildly interesting, and I learned a ton about the history of the Mormon church.  I don’t know if that sounds interesting, but I seriously couldn’t put it down!

So, what I’ve been up to is taking care of myself, basically… day by day being intentional to do so.  That coupled with taking care of the house and taking care of Sophia fills up the day.  We’re having naptime trouble mixed with this new independence and personality that she’s trying to figure out…  My patience is wearing thin with her, thankfully she’s uber-precious when she’s not a tired-wreck.  We’re trying to switch her from two naps to one because she loves her 10:00 morning nap but isn’t sleeping in the afternoon.  This results in an overtired, tantrum-throwing evening baby that is all Daddy gets to see from 5-7.  One afternoon nap hasn’t worked either as she’s so tired by then that she can’t sleep for more than a hour…. Weird, huh?  So, we’re off to the library this afternoon to research some daytime sleep solutions to help her get the rest she needs.

I hear banging in her room.  What could she be doing?  Singing and banging.  Dad would be proud.  😉

My Little Toddler

I’ve been wanting to give an update on my little growing toddler.  She’s doing so much fun stuff, and I know there’s a few of you that only check this blog for her… 😉  I tried to take some pictures and video, but they’re really not very good.  She was acting a little snobby when I took these.  That little stinker.  It really shows her grown up face, though.

100_5844 100_5842

Can you see her in action on the shot on the right?  This is what she does all the time when we’re upstairs.  She’ll take the most random things, pile them in a laundry basket, and push them from room to room.  She’ll put so much in them that they’re too heavy to move, then she’ll scream when she can’t push it over the hard floor to carpet seam!  Ah, enough to drive Mommy insane!  But, she loves this game.  Her favorite item to pile in the basket?  Daddy’s shoes.  Yup.  And, usually in pairs.  She loves Daddy’s shoes.  She’ll go find them from the closet, get a match, and haul them out to her basket.  Then, she’ll go back for another pair.  Once she’s satisfied with what’s in her basket, she’ll push it out into the hallway and into her bedroom… and back out to the hallway and into the extra bedroom… and back out to the hallway and into the bathroom… Oh, I left out all the screams in between when she goes over a seam!  Here’s a video of the busy girl.  Watch out for screams of frustration.  I had just closed the gate at the top of the stairs because she just learned how much fun it is to toss things down the stairs… and, I didn’t want this video to show her falling down the stairs with the basket. 😉  Oh, and pardon the dirty clothes in the floor. 😉

Her other favorite thing to do is carry her purse around the house on her arm.  If she doesn’t have her purse, any object that she can put her arm through will do.  We’ve got her with one of Daddy’s flip-flops on each arm and with wii remotes on each arm wearing them until they leave a red mark on her arm.  Oh, the things that give her delight!

Sophia is so much fun lately!  She’s really learning to play and explore.  She’s so much fun to watch and listen to.  She interacts so well with us and is learning to pretend.  Just earlier while I was fixing lunch, I gave her a little piece of cheese to snack on while she was standing on the floor below me holding her Pooh bear.  When I gave her the cheese, she first put it up to her bear’s mouth so he could have a bite, then she ate it!  Isn’t that sweet?  She loves feeding her dolls.  When the new baby comes, we’re going to have to strictly teach her that the new baby is only fed by mommy and only drinks Mommy’s milk!  But for now, this is sweet.

This last week we’ve seen her grow so much!  She’s finally learned to go downstairs by herself, and though cautious, is doing it very well.  I’d say that she learned that just in time because I don’t know how long I can keep carrying her down!  Sophia’s teeth have been popping in like crazy.  She has about 9 now.  She got a new bottom front one, and two top molars are poking through the skin.  It’s a good thing she’s getting all these teeth because she doesn’t like eating mushy stuff!  She’s been learning some new words lately, surprising us every time she says something.  The other day when I was getting grapes out, she said, “Gapes.”  Now, she always says “gapes” when I get them out.  We’ve been trying to teach her to say “I love you.”  She’s working on it.  Sometimes, she’ll point at her eyes when she tries to say it…  Last night, we were singing “Old McDonald” with her, and when we were done a few minutes later, she pointed at the book and sang, “E-I-E-I-Oh!”  Can’t wait til we get THAT on video!  Oh my goodness was it precious!

Sophia in her rocking chair with her baby doll in one hand and Yoda in the other