Saturday, January 28, 2012

A Mile In New Shoes

So it seems like it would be odd for me to neglect writing a post about my new reality. I've been dreaming (and whining) about being a stay-at-home mom for years of my life. And now, after much trial and a length of time that certainly tested my endurance, I finally got what I wished for. And there's a reason I haven't blogged since last November--I sort of feel like I've been hit by a train. Don't get me wrong, I adore my two girls more than words can express. But, man, I have a whole new appreciation for that old adage "don't judge a man till you've walked a mile in his shoes." I've gotta be honest--I had NO idea just exactly how challenging this transition would be for me.

It's probably a combination of a lot of things--I went from having one child for nearly five years to now having two, I had my second child around the beginning of winter so it feels like I'm stuck inside all day most days, I've been dealing with some postpartum depression of sorts, I don't love where we're living right now, I'm an hour away from my parents and siblings, and I've learned that my inclination to keep my house spotless while having the aforementioned two children only results in driving me mad.

BUT, the madness and exhaustion are so worth it. I finally got both my girls to bed before 9:00 tonight and I am so full of gratitude for both of them that I had to write it down. Here's a little bit of what we've been up to over the last few months.

Halle

It's hard to believe how much this little miss has grown up in the last year. I'm continually struck by her beauty, wit, and charm. She is already reading at a first grade level with ease and she won't even start kindergarten till this fall. She loves preschool and wakes up each morning with an eagerness to learn and socialize. She would much rather play with boys than girls, but she effortlessly makes friends with every kid she meets. Today, we were taking a little walk around our neighborhood and she kept asking me when we would "meet some new people." She is constantly flitting and fluttering around the condo singing all sorts of songs. She adores her baby sister and is an amazing helper. She is so responsible and loves to help me with anything she can. She helps me cook and bake all of the time and she is great about taking care of her dirty laundry and cleaning up her toys. She's growing like a weed. Although I have to insist that she eats something for breakfast, by the time she gets home from school at lunchtime she nearly eats me out of house and home. She loves chicken nuggets, applesauce, yogurt, and macaroni and cheese. But she's also much more willing to try new foods. We can usually get her to try something new at most meals now.

She loves to color all sorts of different pictures these days: our family, rainbows, butterflies, giraffes, dinosaurs, snowmen--you name it. This is a huge step for her because she used to just draw the same rainbow over and over and over.

I see her growing up and her mind expanding. She picks up on so many different words. I'm amazed by her vocabulary when she just spouts out words and phrases like "prepare for liftoff" and "all in a day's work." She absorbs everything she sees and hears.

And she talks. Boy, does she talk. She talks and talks and talks. Incessantly. She asks questions about everything. She wants to know why all the time. She tells imaginary tales that would give Mother Goose a run for her money. Her little imagination is on fire right now. Everything is magical and mystical and full of life. I must say that I have never enjoyed playing with her more than I do now. We laugh and pretend, imagine and investigate. And at the end of the day, she thoroughly wears me out. :) But I wouldn't have it any other way.

She just had her 5th birthday. She ended up having three different birthday parties and was spoiled with way too many gifts. She loved hanging out at Boondocks for one party with her cousin Britain and having another party with grandparents, aunts, uncles, and other cousins.

 



She's also becoming quite the little photographer. I recently got a new phone and noticed that I suddenly had about 85 pictures in the camera roll. I thought it was odd because I knew I hadn't taken that many photos. And then I started to look through them.

 



Yep, that's a pic inside the refrigerator. And these are only a few of the dozens she took on several different occasions when I didn't realize she'd sneaked away with my phone. I certainly can't deny her creativity and inclination for the abstract/surreal.

Olivia

What can I say about this cuddly, lovey, beautiful baby? She has the most wonderfully chill personality, not to mention the nummiest cheeks I've ever plastered with kisses. She smiles at nearly everything and everyone--although she gives Halle the most frequent and intense smiles of all. She's a great sleeper, a good eater, and doesn't cry except for the rare gassy tummy episode. Yesterday she laughed for the first time when she and I were playing with a little stuffed puppy. And then later she giggled again randomly as she looked up at me mid-feeding. It was about the cutest thing I've ever seen. She holds her head up effortlessly, does very well with tummy time, and loves gazing up at her bunny mobile in her crib as she coos and talks. She's only three months old but is already fitting into nine month outfits. At her last checkup, she was above 95th percentile in weight and 85th percentile in height. She is definitely her daddy's girl and looks just like his side of the family, although lately I think she's starting to look a bit more like Halle. She has all of this beautiful dark brown hair that just wants to stand up straight all the time. She definitely know how to rock the faux hawk.

 
 

Unfortunately, we've all been sick off and on for the last few months. Halle had a pretty bad UTI at the beginning of December, the stomach flu at the beginning of January, and a yucky cold a week after that; Nate's been battling a sinus infection for several weeks; Olivia wakes up with nasal congestion most mornings; and I've officially come down with a nasty sore throat/laryngitis this weekend. So, life is whirlwind. And these last few months have been no exception.

We've also been busy with church stuff. Nate was called to be the YM Secretary and I just got called as the Bear and Wolf Den Leader for the cub scouts. And since before now I had no idea what in the world goes on in cub scouts, that has certainly thrown me another curve ball. We'll only be in this ward till June and then we'll move back up north when Nate starts work at his firm full-time after graduation. I'm so looking forward to being settled somewhere for longer than just a few months.

Speaking of which...Nate has done so well in school this year. I think he literally does his best when his life is most chaotic. He got three 4.0s in his classes last semester, had a cumulative GPA of 3.9 and is now officially in the top 10% of his class. If he holds steady, he'll get special honors when he graduates. I know he'll do it. His intelligence and ability to hold everything together amaze me. He even took the online test to be a Jeopardy! contestant. He's pretty much a walking encyclopedia of facts. So I encouraged him to try out for the show. Maybe he'll win us some big money! :)

Really I'm just doing my best to take one day at a time, walk this new path as steadily as I can, and bask in the beauty of the blessing that is my little family. It will pass by all too quickly and I'll be on to the next phase of the journey. Living in the present has always been a bit of a challenge for me. And lately, I realize it's my best chance at being truly happy. So, I'm giving it my very best shot. More updates to come...