Slow and Steady

I have three kids. A four year old, a two year old and a zero year old. Guess what? Turns out, it’s busy. Like a constant string of preparing food, serving food, cleaning up food, nursing, napping, answering questions, dressing, undressing, diaper changes, activities, more feeding, feeding, feeding. Mostly it’s alright because the little kiddos that I’m ever caring for are really precious and cute, but sometimes it’s really hard. Not the physical kind of hard, though I am always physically present, but the emotional and mental stamina you have to have to keep going and going. The sacrifice of anything you. The lack of self care. The setting aside of personal feelings, goals and identity.

This stage of life for a young mother is difficult. It’s filled with beautiful moments that make it worth it, you know, dealing with all the poop, spit up and squished food 24/7. There’s a distinct sense of nostalgia already in play just knowing your little innocent cuties will be grown before you know it. All those hilarious phrases that come out of no where, the questions asked with no inhibition (‘mommy, girls don’t have wieners?!’), and the snuggles. Oh the cuddly, sweet little bodies looking for comfort after a fall, bonk or slip. The press of a sad little face buried in your neck when they’re tired, missed you or didn’t get something they wanted.

It’s a paradox. You’re lonely, but never alone. Exhausted, but an insomniac. Clearly defined yet lacking identity.

I once watched a Ted Talk about parenthood. They showed on a graph how the over all happiness of a parent is slightly lower than a non parent but the highs of happiness are far higher and the lows are lower. You never experience the sheer joy, extreme entertainment, or beaming pride that your own child brings before having a kid. But there are little things more frustrating in the world than having your two year old gift you a poopsplosions every night at 3am.

It’s very fulfilling, to be needed, wanted and busy. However, the catch is that you’re ALWAYS needed, wanted and busy. I’m an extrovert, I love being surrounded by noise, activity and people but motherhood has definitely given me a healthy appreciation for quiet moments, alone time and any sort of independent activity (showers included).

The thing is, I know this stage is short so I alternately freak out about how fast my kids are growing and wishing that they were old enough for me to not have to deal with so much poop all the time….and also, I’d love to get some sleep some day.

I’ll never in my life stop appreciating these times. The good moments fill me with inexplicable ecstasy.

SAMSUNG CSCWhen my heart feels it will burst if any more love tries to fit in.

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When I realize the range of emotion a human is capable of can’t be fathomed.

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The hard (some times very very hard) times challenge my strengths and weaknesses both. I now know that I’m able to do far and away more than I’ve ever imagined. By ‘do’ I don’t mean ‘productive’. I mean I can handle things that I hadn’t thought even existed. Both emotionally, mentally AND physically. I’m stretched thin now but I know that because I was brought to this place, I’ll be thicker and stronger than ever when I get a chance to regroup.  When I come out of the phase where I have three very young children, my marriage will be stronger, my faith will be stronger, my identity…won’t be lost. If I have the endurance to tackle piles of dishes sixteen times a day, endless diapers, sleepless nights..night after night, trouble shooting sicknesses, wiping snot, washing laundry, and so so much more, then I can pretty much do anything. If my body can grow a human being, nurture them through infant hood and then repeat over and over again, then it can do anything. It may look a bit mushy and soft at the moment but it’s not weak. It’s the source of life for my infant, it functions without sleep or proper fuel sometimes. It is healing after doing things worthy of blocking out of my memory forever. It has endured and will endure.

There are many other things I could talk about when it comes to this particular place of life but that could fill, and has filled, many books. All I know is that I’m grateful for my life and have a profound appreciation for all the good that makes all the hard worth it.

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(that’s right, I’m spiderman’s mom and I think that it means we’re super parents)

 

Family of Five

 

SAMSUNG CSCMaybe not the best weather for a family picture. Bright, windy and chilly. I think any picture with all five of us is a good thing though. I’m going to try and have a lot more of these than we’ve done in the past (aka, never). I don’t need them posed, perfect or polished. Just there. Recording the stages of our family even if someone is crying, has closed eyes or won’t sit still.

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I just had my mom snap these while we were over there for a family gathering. It looked beautiful outside but it was quite deceiving. Next time we’ll be more prepared!

 

MY Daughter

Avery looks a lot like Shane. Sure, he has my eyes but when you watch Shane and Avery together you think ‘Okay, that kid belongs to him.’ They make the same expressions.

Eli looks like my family but not really like me much at all.

And then there’s Ida.

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She looks like me as a baby. I don’t see my features in her face at all but when I look at my baby pictures there is definitely a resemblance.

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Granted, I was born in the eighties and the photo quality just wasn’t the same..not to mention I took a picture of a picture that was already blurry. hehe

 

 

 

 

I wonder how much she’ll change as she grows. I know she won’t look just like me but it’ll be nice to have a family member resemble me. I was always called adopted in my family because all my siblings look pretty different and I don’t look much like either of my parents either. I don’t look grossly different, I just lack certain features that are apparent in some of my family members.

 

 

 

Where Does All the Time Go?

Three kids has brought about a small dilemma when it comes to time management. I’m fairly certain it’s because of feeding an infant but there are a few things I have YET to catch up on since giving birth.

1. Bathing. Haha, no, I’m not talking about my kids…yup, you guessed it. Finding that special moment when the two younger children are sleeping during the day is really really hard. I can’t shower when Eli is awake because he’s a sneaky trouble maker when left to his own devices (especially with an infant around), and Ida is obviously a newborn so she’s gotta be sleeping too.  I manage a small amount of personal care after Shane gets home.

2. Dishes. WHAT THE HECK!?!?! How can I not get all these dishes taken care of?  Every time I get through most of them it turns out I have to feed my children. So yeah, more dishes happen.

3. Eating. Again, not trouble feeding my children, they eat quite well. I’ve started eating exactly what my boys eat every day for breakfast (I make oatmeal with an egg whisked in) but their lunches are less veggie heavy than I need and I have found that it is incredibly difficult to prepare food for myself or start dinner before Shane gets home…with extra hands.

Obviously this is a very short season since Ida will grow up so much faster than I’m prepared for but right now I nurse a lot, change lots of diapers, chase boys around, make food, clean up food, clean up house in a very tight cyclone of activity every day. This doesn’t include any outings or appointments we might have. Needless to say, three kids has made me far more busy than having two.

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Even though my hours seem to skim past me in a blink of an eye and the days skibble past as fast as can be, I find my new life quite fun. The boys play well together and now that the weather is chilling out they’re having to find things to do indoors in the mornings until it’s warm enough to go outside. Like building forts!

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All those fleeting moments nursing.

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There are also all those disasters that happen pretty much endlessly when you have a couple energetic boys.

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They get pretty exhausted.

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Every day is speckled with sweet moments.

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Avery brought all these gorgeous fall goods from the garden and that they were for princesses. Me and Ida. Then he explained how I’m not a princess anymore because he wants me to be ‘just’ his mommy.

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Then there’s Eli sleep eating. I laughed for quite a few minutes while filming him.

 

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These guys.

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I have it pretty good. Despite struggling to shower, eat and get the darned dishes washed, I am really loving this stage and I’m hoping it doesn’t start going any faster! I added all these photos because I know that in a few years I’ll be looking back here crying tears of nostalgia over them…but in a good way, I think?

Recovery Eats

Eating is hard during pregnancy. There are aversions, heartburn, nausea and a stomach that is squished into oblivion.

However, the MOMENT the baby is outta that belly I am a different person completely.  I suddenly love coffee again, the smell of meat doesn’t nauseate me and I pretty much NEED chocolate every day.

We were incredibly blessed to have meals provided for us for three weeks after Ida was born. I’m still reeling from the amazingness of that and what a huge help it was. I made our breakfasts and lunches but a lot of the lunches were leftovers from the dinners so that was easy.

Our last meal provided came on Monday and now I’m on my own!

Part of recovery eating is NOT cooking and the other part is what you actually eat. We did make a few meals throughout the first weeks though and alongside the wonderful (and generally very nutritious) dinners, I felt pretty amazing despite just having had a baby.

A few days after Ida was born we had this fantastically beautiful day and Shane decided it’d be a sin not to grill.

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I made home fries and a salad to pair with his perfectly grilled pork chop. We used a steak rub on them and it turned out really delicious.

The weather has held up pretty well and it wasn’t but a few days later we were grilling again! This time steak. I made some sweet potatoes (from my parent’s garden, obviously), and a salad out of my garden (cilantro, parsley, kale, radishes, tomatoes and lettuce) and we called it a meal.

SAMSUNG CSCShane is an expert steak griller. I mean like, the best. It was phenomenal.

Pretty early on I started eating super veggie heavy lunches since I’m pretty sure that’s the best way to recover along with taking probiotics.

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I’m a carrotaholic. It’s a disease. I generally eat two to five pounds of carrots a week or so.  The majority of that is for lunch. This lunch was a big bowl of leftover sweet potatoes, avocado, cauliflower, and carrots. Then I heavily doused it with hot sauce.

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I know that right now I need lots of protein so adding to super large spinach salads every day is important. Beans, quinoa, cheese (unnecessary but so tasty) and carrots…for texture. Then I doused it heavily with hot sauce.

Of course most of my lunches were leftovers of the meals people have been bringing us.

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Chicken fettuccine, steamed broccoli and salad.

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chicken and white bean soup (really really yummy) with some grapes!

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This quinoa, black bean and butternut soup was so incredibly delicious! It was really nostalgic for some reason. Probably the bean and tomato part of it. We were given a crock pot full of this and I ate it like it was my JOB.

So my recovery plan is basically, lots of veggies, eat breakfast and try to keep my chocolate cravings under control.

 

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