Apparently There’s Something In My Eye

If you’re at all like me, you find yourself, from time to time scrolling through your Facebook newsfeed, and coming across link after link.  Where we MAY differ, is that I have an un-official rule that I typically don’t click any link unless at least 5-10 people have shared it.  Basically, I want other people to waste their time on funny, informative, sentimental videos, which will indicate to me that it’s worth MY time.    

All that to say – this particular video has popped up on my newsfeed enough times that I figured I would give it a watch, and well – mercy me – I wasn’t expecting to TEAR UP over the darn thing.  (Although, let’s be real – it’s not like it’s out of character for me to “get something in my eye” over the little things)

There is something so endearing about this couple and the way they react and interact with each other.  And from 2:35-2:45 the guy just kind of sums up why a project like this can be so moving.  

If anything, it has served as a little reminder that while I probably won’t have the luxury of getting a sneak peek at Ben and I in our 90’s, I can still invest so much into today and the days that follow, to shape and create those stories and memories that we’ll have when we’re old and grey.  And to know that I don’t have to look elderly to tell him often those things that I would want him to know.

Take a look – and if you find your eyes getting misty-  it’s ok – it really IS dusty this time of year.  

Mother’s Day

I know that Mother’s day was a few days ago and I should have waxed poetic by now about how incredible my kids are and how sentimental I feel in how they have made me a mom.

And the irony of it all, is that because I’m the throes of motherhood, I didn’t exactly have a lot of time between then and now to put together said post.  And so it is these days.  These days that are so ordinary, sometimes exhausting, and yet so filled with the littlest pieces of wonder.

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And while Mother’s Day itself didn’t seem that much different than all the other days, my goodness, all the other days are just as sacred for me as a mom.

  • The morning conversations we hear coming from Zeke’s room, as he is usually the first one awake – the noises that help us to wake up with a smile on our faces.  We usually have about 30 minutes from the time we first hear him to when his “HI DA” “HI MAMA”‘s become loud enough that we have to do something about it.
  • The way Ellie comes stumbling into our room shortly after, with her morning bed head extra curly from the humidity that is growing as the months get warmer, and helps herself to my side of the bed.
  • The mature conversations that Ellie will engage us in – everything from asking caring questions: “How did your run go tonight mom?”, to things of spiritual significance: “My memory verse tells me I need to be kind…but that is hard to do with Zeke”
  • The guttural laugh that comes from Zeke’s belly 100 times a day, mostly because he is doing something that he hopes will make us laugh too.
  • The way Zeke communicates – not so much with words, although he has a couple handfuls of those in his repertoire – but with his “enhs”, and “ahhs” and “yeahs”, and pointing and hugs.  Oh the hugs.  But also because he is adding almost daily to that growing list of words and I’ll never tire of having a front row seat to watching him figure out this part of his world. (“Bubbles”, being his latest conquest)
  • The family conversations we (try) to have each night after dinner.  We try to talk about something we think God is teaching us these days – and Ellie is quick to have answers – usually related to her memory verse from the month.  Zeke is quick to fold his hands, his sign that it’s time to pray – yet another way that he tells us that he too, wants to be a part of what God talks we are having.  And then we pray.  And while the kids squirm, and sometimes resist, and get silly, we still hope and know that the values of prayer and learning about God will only be taught if we model it – and so we do, even in the midst of giggles and cries.

And the complex beauty of motherhood (parenthood, really), is that these moments that sound so idyllic on paper screen are intertwined with just as many daily challenges.  

  • The tears – oh – the tears that exist when the house contains a three year old resident.  
  • The hours of 4 to 6pm – when I come home from work and almost daily reminisce about the days before kids when I wouldn’t have to walk in the door and instantly be “on” for dinner, entertainment, engagement and care.  (I could take a nap!  From 4-5 pm! In front of the tv!)  
  • The lessons that are so important to teach with consistency that sometimes you just want to let slide in an effort to avoid more tears.  “Yes, you DO have to share that with your brother.  Yes, you DO have to listen to what daddy just said.  You can not respond with hitting, even if you feel mad.”  
  • The chores that really are never ending, that you CAN choose to leave for the night, but then you just know it will make tomorrow feel that much more chaotic, and so you forfeit a night of irresponsible tv watching, or blogging, for the much more mundane world of kitchen cleaning.  Even though it will be dirty again immediately following breakfast.  
  • The seven times that our daughter will wander down the stairs after being put in bed for one trivial reason after another.  (and the patience that wears thinner, and thinner)

And I think as mothers we hope that the “good” list will outweigh the “bad”, leaving us feeling a little more accomplished in our roles, and a little less like who we are has been drained out onto the floor that day.  And on those days – it is easy to stop and lay there, and replay the scenes of what made you smile, made your heart well up, made your eyes tear up and made that laugh escape from your gut.  And when the day ends all wrapped up in a bow, with your 16 month old laying still on your chest, letting you sing him to sleep with lullabies, his chubby little hands gripped tightly around your neck, it is easy to wear the Mother badge with gratitude.

And there are days when the scales tip the other way, and we are left depleted.  We can lay there, and think about the things that made us speak harshly, or bring weary tears to our eyes, or made us take an extra 5 minutes in the bathroom just to escape in a teeny, tiny way.  But even on these days, there is a such a gift in motherhood.

And it is this reality in which I live as a mother.  All of it.  The good, the bad and the ugly.  But while I know it is hindsight that is 20/20, I also know that I don’t want to wait for these days to become my hindsight.  I don’t want to wait for these days to be so far in the past that I don’t remember the things that were difficult and only remember them with rose-coloured glasses.  And so as a mother, I choose to make these days sacred.  Even the days that contain more poop, tears and literal spilled milk than is desired.  Even the days that contain far less alone time/me time/tv time/ nap time than I would hope for.  They are planned and purposed days that are shaping my kids, and shaping me.

So, to you, mothers – on this day, two days after the day we were supposed to raise a glass to each other – may you see the sacred-ness that is right before your eyes.   Each and every day.  

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Binge Watching: The 30-somethings version

I have memories of university days (which were *ahem* 10 years ago….), and my relatively new boyfriend at the time was ranting and raving about how him and his dormmates had rented entire seasons of 24 and were watching episode after episode in rapid succession.  I honestly couldn’t quit wrap my head around what an ENTIRE WASTE OF TIME that was – they literally watched an entire season in 48 hours.  That is a LOT of hours of mindless TV watching.  

I’ll be honest – I judged them a little.  But clearly not a lot, because I stayed with said boyfriend and he eventually became my husband, so I guess I could see past the lethargic couch-potatoe state he was in at times.  (Plus, he’s pretty hot, so that helped).  

A few years later, in our first year of marriage, we got HOOKED on Prison Break.  I started to see that there was something to this whole “watching a tv-show without peeing or eating commercial breaks for a long period of time”. Things had evolved ever so slightly since the years before, and while we did rent entire seasons on DVD from the local Blockbuster, we could also watch them online – in what was the early years of online tv streaming.  We ploughed through SO MANY episodes that I honestly started seeing the opening credits scene playing in my mind once I would close my eyes at night.  

It was still a new experience to have the tv world at our fingertips, and we were starting to get hooked into the world of binge watching.  (Much like the rest of our generation).  

We had some beautiful child-free years of watching tv shows whenever we dang well felt like it.  Come home from work? Watch an episode.  After dinner?  Sure – let’s watch 3 more!  Saturday night with no plans? Oh you’d better believe we had plans – they just didn’t involve real people anymore.  From The Office, to Friday Night Lights, to One Tree Hill (ok, that one was just me…) those first few years of our marriage held some great TV series. 

And the world of binge watching has continued to evolve – as Netflix has entered our homes.  But while the Netflix era has taken over our TV’s, another reality is that we are now in our thirties and happen to have 2 kids. And it struck me the other night how much our “binge watching” has changed.

We are currently working our way through season 3 of House of Cards with some friends. And while the 20-something versions of us would probably have knocked off the 13 episodes in 2 solid nights of TV watching, we have now gotten together three times and still have 4 episodes left.   Don’t get me wrong, it’s been awesome.  We have developed a great tradition of incredible food, (the same every time!), we talk for a bit and catch up with each other and then we get down to business.  But the thing is,  we can’t event start watching until our kids our in bed, and so we’re lucky if we get the first episode going by 8:30.  And honestly? Three episodes later, at 12:00, we are BAKED.    It’s a weak version of binge watching, but we are plugging along.  

And so there you have it.   The 24 year old version of me would scoff as we call it a night three episodes in, having hardly made a dent in the couch by that point, but so it is. Call us LAME if you must – we are ok with owning that title – at least when it comes to TV watching habits.  Rest assured that in all other areas of life we are so hip-and-with-it you won’t know what to do with us.  *cough….cricket….cricket….*

Lately

Oh how I have wished I have written here more.  And while life seems “ordinary”, that doesn’t mean it’s not worth documenting.  And while I only have 5 minutes before I should really go wake Ellie up from her nap – I figure that if I don’t get in the practice of taking these moments when they come, I may never blog again.  So here’s the quick update on our lives, for the few of you who are still faithful readers.  (I know, I know, I can’t expect the masses to keep being content with the SAME DANGUM POST for three weeks…)

We are in a busy season, but a good one.  I have been in my new role for around 7 weeks now, and I really am loving it.  Although there is much to learn, and many people to get to know, I really feel like it is a great fit, and truly do love heading to work each day. It’s been so great to exercise the parts of my brain that love thinking about and doing ministry.

The kids are awesome.  They make us laugh so much these days – Ellie continues to be a constant conversationalist, and seems wise beyond her three years.  She currently also loves singing “Uptown, funk you up, uptown funk you up”, and it’s at times like this that I’m thankful that she has great articulation and pronunciation, or we would have an entirely different set of works coming out of her mouth.  

Zeke f-i-n-a-l-l-y got his first tooth.  I tell ya – my kids may win some award for how late their teeth come in.  (ok, not really – I’m certain if I googled that stat, it would be something crazy like 5 years – but really, 15.5 months?)    He is a HILARIOUS kid who loves to tease, and then chuckle about what he’s teasing you about.  He runs all over the place, and fully has his own language.  When he starts having actual words, we will be hard pressed to keep him quiet, based on the amount of babble he currently does.  He has about 10 real words, but doesn’t seem terrible keen on using them unless prompted.  

Our new family rhythm is slowly coming together.  The days are busy, and they need to be well planned out – but they are good.  The kids are used to me abandoning them leaving the house each day now, and I am enjoying having Fridays off.  (Fridays off when I worked in youth ministry, often still meant an event that evening….not so with this role!)

Ok – well there you have it.  A somewhat factual, quick snapshot into what’s happening these days.  I will be back soon with something a bit more readable!

Bye Bye Bouchie

Well, we finally bit the bullet.  The day has come when our family (one member in particular) has had to say goodbye to a dearly loved friend.

This past week, we finally took away Ellie’s soother.  After a fantastic 3.25 year run, these two have been the best of buddies, but it was time to move along.  Well, at least, we as her parents thought so.  She has had a different opinion on that.

(and if you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you’ll know that as soon as Ellie could talk she started calling her soother a bouche.  We NEVER called it that – we always called it  a soother, but she somehow took to calling it a bouche.  And yes, we know that bouche is french for “mouth.” And yes, that DOES mean our daughter is likely a genius)

Some of you may be thinking “I can’t believe you let your 3 year old STILL have a soother”, while others of you may be thinking “ummm, is it bad that my 4 year old still has theirs??”, (the answer to that is no.  Well, maybe it’s yes – but who am I to judge?)

And while we have been pretty adamant for past year that her soother has to stay in her bed, and only be used for sleeping times, we still felt like we were reaching the point where even that needed to end. So, reluctantly (more on my part – Ben is a bit more level headed about these things), we took it away.

And oh you guys – it’s been a SAD week around here.  Not a terrible week, but sort of sad, nonetheless.  I think it would have been easier if she had cried and argued and raised a stink.  But our little girl is SO DANG obedient, and SO DANG articulate, that she has gone along with it, which makes me feel even worse.

For example – on night one – I hear her calling from her room and she says to me “mommy – there’s still another bouche in my bed – you’d better come get it”.  WHO DOES THAT? What three year old is that stinking honest?

And then, later that night, after a potty break, she says “Mom, I’m just having trouble sleeping.  It’s really hard to fall asleep without my bouche”.  Oh honey, I KNOW.

And the past few days, she has bravely crawled into her bed, and will say to me “I don’t really want to go to bed.  It’s just so tricky without bouche”  And then I’ll hear her silently whimper and cry to herself.  (annnnnd, cue heart break)

And so yesterday, together, her and I made this chart.IMG_0661

 (I know, I’m an AWESOME artist).  And for every sleep time (nap/quiet time, and bed time) that she goes without her bouche, she can put a sticker in one of the squares.  And when we get to the end, she gets a new toy.  And while we’re not so much into the bribery around here, we ARE into setting goals, inviting Ellie into the process, and working towards something we can celebrate.  (Those circles are Ellie’s latest way of “writing”)

So, only 6 more days to go.  **SCHMOOPIE MOM AHEAD WARNING**

And while I KNOW this break was inevitable, I also knew it would be hard for me to watch this next step of growing up happen.  She has had that thing since she was born, and it was one more way that I got to keep her in her toddlerhood a little longer, because goodness gracious there are NO ounces of it left.  And since bouche is gone, she has left Ducky by the wayside, because as she puts it “I just need to have bouche WITH Ducky”.  Don’t even get me STARTED on how sad I’ll be if Ducky becomes expired. (again, if you’ve been around these parts long enough, you’ll know what a friend Ducky has been to Ellie, these short years of her life).

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So, yes, this has been a week of adjustment.  Mostly for Ellie, but if I’m being honest, me too, a little bit.  I know growing up is inevitable, and such a gift, but tonight I’m wishing for time to take just a little bit longer.

Time to Turn the Page – Part 1

A few posts ago, I eluded to the fact that there were some changes coming up for our family, and while I couldn’t make them public quite then, I can now.

I have started a new job.  And while this may seem like normal, ordinary news to many of you, it has definitely been a “big news” item in our family these past months.  Remember this post a few months back, where I shared that I really felt that it was time for me to resign from my former job at the church we love?  I had NO idea what lay ahead, but just knew that it was time to move on.  

And so I did.  And for a few months, I really didn’t know what was coming next.  And that was ok with me.  But through a series of connections that can only be credited to God’s leading, I ended up having coffee with a pastor at another church to discuss a possible job (one that I wasn’t really looking for).  I truly wasn’t looking for full time work, but by the end of our meeting really sensed that this was something I was to keep pursuing.  

And so I did.  I kept having conversations, and heading to interviews and letting the process keep moving.  All the while wondering “how the heck can we leave this church that we have been at for 7 years, and all of these people that we have come to call family?”  
But God kept saying, in a still small voice – “just keep moving forward”.  And it became more and more evident that this was where we were to head.  
And there were parts of me that have been reluctant to turn the page to this new chapter – but if I’ve learned anything in my limited years on this earth – it’s that you don’t experience too much growth if you keep living on the same page your entire life.  

And so as of March first, I have joined the team at this church, as one of the Oakville site pastors.  I have officially been in my role for eleven days, but have been spending one day a week in the office since January, meeting people, and getting through my orientation.  (and my oh my, is there ever so much to learn).  And it has been awesome.   There is so much more I could tell you – about how really hard it was to say goodbye to our church community, and how we are now living in the land of child care, and early mornings, and how truly great it has been to get back into work.  But those are words for another post (hence the “part 1″), and another day.  For now, I have to haul my keester up to bed, because this whole getting up each day and needing to actually smell good and contribute in productive ways to a society outside of my living room is KICKING MY BUTT.  (“springing forward” also didn’t help).

Twelve Months

Hokey toot guys.  I made it. Barely.  Scraping across the finish line in what feels like last place. But I will cling to the old adage ‘better late than never’ in this instance and celebrate the fact that I actually got these letters posted.  Thanks for letting me take up this space to put these words down.  Enjoy!

Dear Zeke,
Oh my boy, you are one whole year old.  And try as I might, I’m not sure I can even find where the last 12 months have gone.

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It’s true what they say – life gets a whole lot busier with the second child, and while you had no say in the matter – that happens to be what you are – our second child.  So, while this year whipped by far faster than I would have liked, and the amount of little things that I continue to lament that haven’t yet made it into your baby book is ever growing, you need to know that despite all of those things, celebrating YOU is of first priority these days.

 There are a few things from this month that I want to make sure I remember, and eventually, will get them on ACTUAL paper in your baby book, but for now, this letter with have to do. 

You are walking!  Of course, you literally waited until ONE MINUTE after your dad left for a week-long work conference (I’m pretty sure he was even still in the driveway), before you took those sacred first steps, and by the end of the day, you were up to six or seven steps all on your own.  And yes, Zeke, there is video evidence of this wondrous moment, and while I’m sure I’ll show it to you someday – you have to promise not to roll your eyes at the ridiculous shrieking I did as you took step after step.  I’ll admit, I was pretty excited, but even I am a tad embarrassed at the decibel level of that laugh. 

 You are sleeping through the night!  Kiddo – you are probably reading this and thinking that your mom has way to many unnecessary exclamation marks in her writing.  This is probably true.  But in this case, it is SO DANG WELL DESERVED.  You put me through the ringer on this one kid, and while I know it’s not terribly uncommon for 10/11 month old babies to be waking up, I still don’t think that 2-3 times a night was really that necessary.  I’m all about mid-night parties, but one a night is just fine with me.  And so somewhere, right around 11 months, you got the memo that there is something so beautiful about 9-10 hours of consecutive sleep and all of the angels rejoiced.  I will admit though, that as much as I love my sleep – those moments of you falling asleep on my chest after nursing at night rank as some of my highest ever in my short years of motherhood. 

You continue to win over anyone who you see Zeke.  Sweet mercy child,  are we EVER in trouble if that smile of yours stays as charming as it is right now.  You are so personable and will engage with whomever is around you, which I love.  Watching you make other people’s day is a highlight, to be sure.

One of your favourite people, though, is your sister.  You (much to her chagrin), beg to go (or just barge) into her room each morning when you wake up.  You toddle your way over to her bed and say “enh, enh” – which among several other things – means “up, up”.  Depending on her mood, or state of awakeness, this is either a welcome sight in her eyes, or the reason she wakes up grumpy.   I have my suspicions that this dynamic will continue WELL past your guys’ younger years.  Keep flashing that winning smile, though Zeke – even Ellie can’t resist your charm for too long.

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 Speaking of your smile – it’s probably worth noting that you are still tooth-less.  I’m not surprised – Ellie also didn’t have any teeth by the time she was one, and secretly, if there is one more area that keeps you in “babyhood”, I’ll take it.  If you’re still without teeth a year from now, maybe then I’ll start to get concerned. 

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Zeke, I have said over and over to anyone who asks, (and to anyone who reads this blog) that you melt my heart.  I honestly can’t remember feeling quite so gushy with Ellie on such a regular basis, (I’m sure I did, and you, being the second child have taken up more of that memory space) but seriously Zeke, there is just something about you that makes me think my heart my leap out of my chest fifty times a day.  In an effort to keep it in place, I choose to smother you in kisses, and while I doubt that will still be the case by the time you read this – hopefully it will shed some light on the reason why I still try and sneak them from time to time.

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You are gentle, have an incredible sense of humour, are curious, busy, and the best cuddler of all time.  (Another fact I have probably swooned over far too much in these letters)  You still love having your face next to mine, just like you did in those first days of your life.  You have this straight from the gut laugh that we get to hear all the time, and you are so relationally smart – knowing how to interact with those around you.   You greet us in the morning with excited bounces, and you are at the sweet spot of development where you are literally learning something new every day.  You are a brother, and a son, and while you weren’t the one that first made me a mom, you had better believe that you have shown me over and over again what a gift it is to be one. 

Happy one year Zekie boy. 

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 Love,

Mama