Friday, January 23, 2015

Exhausted & Fulfilled


That's what I am.

It's the mark of Mommyhood. Regardless of how well of a sleeper your little one is (and my littlest one is NOT), regardless of how old your kids are, regardless of the fact that you're a working-outside-the-home mama, or a working-inside-the-home-all-day-long mama, ALL mommies exhausted.  Or they're lying. It's one or the other.

You're exhausted from lack of sleep. (Me! Me! Me!)
Or from worrying.
Or from making a million phone calls to figure out where to send your child to daycare/school.
Or from cleaning up after a sick baby all day long.
Or rocking said baby all day long.
Or from the never-ending toddler tantrums.
Or from trying to keep the toddler from shoving goldfish in the newborn's mouth. (Been there, done that.)
Or from washing 24 bottles, that will last you all of one day.
Or from keeping your two (or three, or four) elementary school kids from getting into fights.
Or from feeling like you have no idea what's going on after 14 hours of common core homework.
Or from a colicky baby, who will only be soothed by the bouncing walk (you know the one.)
Or from cleaning the crayons off the wall.
Or from wiping away the tears and kissing a million boo boos.
Or from going from soccer practice, to piano, to gymnastics, to dance to....
Or from putting shoes away for the millionth time.
Or from cleaning squished up cookies out of the car seats.
Or from folding the 6th load of laundry today.
Or from saying "If I have to tell you ONE MORE TIME...."
Or from trying to figure out what's for dinner.
Or from just simply keeping people alive!
Maybe you're even exhausted from being exhausted. (It happens.)

Being a mom is rewarding.  It's fulfilling.  It's pretty awesome.  But, goodness, it is tiring! 

What nobody tells you before you had kids, is that it never gets any easier. You think "Once my baby starts sleeping through the night, I can handle this.", never considering that your baby might not sleep through the night ANYTIME soon. Or, not considering that once that baby DOES sleep through the night, she will just be learning to walk and pull everything off of every piece of furniture in your house.

It gets different, but it doesn't get easier.

Just when you finally have it under control and think to yourself "I've got this", you hit a new stage and realize you don't have a handle on anything.

And you know what?  We were created that way.  We weren't made to ever "get this" on our own.  As parents, we were created to have a partnership with our spouse to share the load.  But even more than that, we were created to have a relationship with one who made us. We were created to lean on Him, and RELY on Him to get us through each day.

There is a well known verse that takes on a total different meaning (at least to me) once you become a mom:

"Then Jesus said, come to me all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest."

Matthew 11:28

He wants us to bring our worries to Him. He desires for us to have a relationship with Him.  He made us just for that.  And just like any good Father, he wants to help us when we need it.  He wants us to cry out to him when we are frustrated, when we are hurting, and when we are exhausted.

And to ease our exhaustion, he gives us daily reminders of why WE were chosen to be the moms of our little ones. He gives us fulfillment and shows us just how needed and valued we are when our little one...

Calls out for us (Mommy) in the middle of the night.
Runs to us with arms wide open.
Gives us sweet baby kisses.
Or sweet toothy (maybe toothless) smiles.
Cries out "Watch me, Mom!"
Asks us to lay down with them at night.
Offers to share their food. (Hey - for my 3 year old, this is a BIG deal!)
Asks us to wipe their tears.
Hugs us tight.
Face lights up when we get home from work.
Says "Thank you for my Mommy" when they say their bedtime prayers.
Comes to us with their troubles.
Copies every thing we do.
Asks us to hold them.
Gives us the best belly laughs.
Draws a picture just for Mom.
Wants to be our helper.
Kisses OUR boo boos.
Asks for snuggles.
Gives us butterfly kisses.
Tells us when they grow up, they are going to marry us.
Presents us with the "best" rocks they could find.
Waves to us from the stage of their school performance.
Lays their head on our shoulders.
Wants to be just like us, and walks around in our high heeled shoes.
Grabs our hand and holds on tight.
Trusts us with their secrets.
Asks to play princesses or pirates with them.
Looks to us for approval. 
Picks dandelions and wildflowers to give to us.
Asks for our advice.
Says "I love you".

They need us, and we need Him.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Psalm 23

Wow.  It seems as if church-goers across our state of SC have blown up on social media with regards to certain things that were said by a well known pastor, and the response a governing body has issued.  I have pretty strong thoughts on this, but I'll keep those to myself for now.  All I'll say is...

The LORD is my shepherd; 
I have all that I need. 
He lets me rest in green meadows; 
He leads me beside peaceful streams. 
He renews my strength. 
HE guides me along right paths, 
bringing honor to HIS NAME.

Psalm 23:1-3

Saturday, January 17, 2015

The Girls

My mom came up for the day on Friday and spent the night with us.  We had lots of fun, but one thing I really wanted was for her to take a picture of me with my girls.  I don't have any!  How did that happen? :)  Probably because I'm usually BEHIND the camera, instead of in front of it.  

Anyway, I think we accomplished it!  It only took about 50 pictures to get a few good ones, but it was worth it. 

A close up of the littlest...
(And yes, I know that's not grammatically correct.)

Friday, January 9, 2015

Kisses from Kate

One of the biggest "problems" that we have with Kate is also one of the sweetest problems. She is ALWAYS in Karsten's face.  She likes to touch her face.  And if she wants to talk to Karsten, she thinks that she has to get down about 1 inch away from her face.  And, she LOVES giving Karsten kisses.

Admittedly, Kevin and I are somewhat of germaphobes.  Especially when our kids are babies. And especially when it is cold/flu season.  So, we are constantly correcting Kate about touching and being in Karsten's face.  But the kisses are sweet. And we're totally okay with it. 

I mean, who wouldn't want to kiss those sweet cheeks? 

My prayer is that these two girls grow up to be the best of friends.  I have a sister that is 2 years younger.  While we were really little, we probably got along pretty well.  I don't really remember. I guess I'd need to ask my parents!  But as middle schoolers and teenagers, we did not get along at all.  Maybe there was too much competition between us.  Who knows.  But now?  Best friends.  It might have taken us a while to get here, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

And maybe Kate will always want to give her little sister kisses. And maybe Karsten will always look at her big sister like this.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Karsten: Three Months

It happened again.

Karsten is THREE months old.  This was her first "monthly birthday" that I didn't spend all day with her. Tear. :(  Just kidding.  I WAS at work, and had to rush to get these pictures taken before bath time, bottle time and bedtime. We're figuring out a routine. We're getting there.

I still can't believe this little one is three months old though. We're still using Size 1 diapers, though they are getting pretty tight! I tried to move her on up to Size 2's and they swallowed her whole!

She drinks about 4 oz at every feeding, but right before bed (around 8pm) she will drink up to 6-7 oz!  I wish that meant she would sleep longer, but she's still eating again at 10:30ish and then again at 4, before she wakes up for a bottle at 7am.

She has been rolling from her belly to her back since she was 9 days old, but she is THIS CLOSE to rolling from her belly to her back.  She actually did roll all the way over yesterday, but I'm not giving her credit because her arm was sort of in her way and she only stayed rolled over for about 5 seconds. I really think this is part of her nightime sleep issues. She really wants to be on her belly and this is when she practices. The problem is, when she is on her belly she wants to be on her back and quickly rolls over.  She's never satisfied.  She is a girl though, right? :) 

She loves to stand up and has gotten really good at it.  I wouldn't be surprised is she is an early walker, or even skips crawling all together.  Not that I WANT that.  I'd love to slow time down!  She likes to smile, coo and "talk" to us and we are totally in love.

Happy 3 month birthday, baby girl!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Thirteen Weeks

Well, my time as a temporary stay at home mom is coming to an end.  I am so very thankful that I got to spend the last thirteen weeks with my girls, a full five weeks longer than I was able to stay at home when Kate was born. I think God knew I really needed this time with my girls, and it couldn't have worked out more perfectly for me. With the vacation time that I'd saved up, the parental leave time that my work gave me, and the fact that my time overlapped with some holidays, these last thirteen weeks have been so great.  Definitely not relaxing, but I sure got in some good quality time with both Kate and Karsten.

It has been so fun seeing Karsten roll over for the first time, smile at me, coo and laugh! And even more fun has been seeing Kate and Karsten start to interact with each other.  Kate loves being a big sister, and is a pretty bossy one!  She loves to sing to Karsten when she gets worked up, and often that will quiet Karsten's cries.  Karsten also rewards Kate with the biggest smiles, even bigger than the smiles she gives Mommy or Daddy!  I love the fact that I haven't "missed out" on any of her firsts, yet.

And though I'm so EXTREMELY thankful for these past thirteen weeks, they have flown by even faster than I imagined.  And now, they're over.

So Monday morning, bright and early, I'll be back in the office at my other job (you know, the one other than MOM).  I know I'll miss my two girls terribly, but I can't deny that I'm looking forward to having some conversations that involve something other than:

"Do you need to go potty?"

"Please don't touch your sister's face."

"Are you pretending to be a puppy again?"

"Please don't touch your sister's face."

"Are you playing dead again?"

"Please don't touch your sister's face."

"Thanks for being my helper! Can you throw this diaper away?"

"What is that in your mouth?"

"Did you really just draw on the wall AGAIN?"

Oh, and don't let me forget - "Please don't touch your sister's face!!"
(Can you tell what we've had trouble with?)

In the last thirteen weeks, I've said so many things that I would have NEVER thought would come out of my mouth.  We have used 45 gallons of hand sanitizer.  We've gotten about 5 total hours of sleep.  I've lost my patience plenty of times, raised my voice more than I care to admit, and gotten frustrated on many occasions.  But don't get me wrong, I've enjoyed this time.  A lot.  And it has been pretty stinking rewarding.  Especially when some of the things that I've been hearing back consist of:

"I love you Mommy."

"Mommy, can I have a hug/kiss?"

"Awww... Karsten's so cute!  Aren't you, Sweetheart?"

"Mommy, will you cuddle with me?"

"You're my favorite Mommy!" (Which she gets from me, because I tell her she's my favorite Kate!)

"Look, Mom! Karsten's wiggling! She's so funny."

Or, when Kate, Karsten and I are walking somewhere, and Kate looks at me and says "We're all sisters!"  Ha!  Then she corrects herself and says "We're all girls!"

But my VERY favorite is, of course (again):

"Mommy, I love you!"

I'm going to miss these two sweet girls each and every day, but I know they are being loved on and spoiled by their Nana and are in great hand!  And, come 5pm, I'll look forward to getting home and spending the evening with them before getting up the next day and doing the work thing all over again!

So, to round this all out, here is thirteen weeks of sweetness. I'd appreciate your prayers this week as we figure out our new normal and try to navigate some type of scheduled chaos in our family.

Oh, and pray that Karsten sleeps.  Or even that she just wakes up once a night.  This mama needs some sleep.


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