Saturday, November 30, 2013

A Year (almost) Gone By

Wowza. What happened to fall? Tomorrow is December 1st. With good memories from a laid-back, yet packed-full Advent season last year, we look forward to this year's time of waiting. Today I went for a walk with the girls while Nate made jars and jars of applesauce with the apples from our trees. While we were walking, I asked Louisa whose birthday we celebrate on Christmas. She answered, "Ahhhhhh," waiting for me to give her a hint. I gave away the answer right away and she immediately said, "oh! we eat cake with Jesus on his birthday?!" Maybe Loubear. Maybe. We'll probably have pie though.

The past two weeks were lovely. Marcia was visiting for a week, followed by a week-long visit by my parents. The three grandparents overlapped for a little over 24 hours to participate in Cora's baptism. During the entire two weeks, Cora was on cloud-nine, always looking happy and entertained and Louisa basked in the attention from her favorite Oma, Papa and Belle.

Thanksgiving went off without a hitch. My mom and Nate's cooperation in the kitchen was brilliantly choreographed - Nate dirtying every pot, pan and utensil we own as my mom danced behind cleaning up. Occasionally, I came in and put clean dishes away and made apple pie and mashed potatoes. We were sad that my brother Matthew wasn't able to come up from San Diego, but glad to share our meal with Nate's coworker and our friends, Pam and Brian.

On Friday morning after my parents left for the airport, we realized we had the whole day open, so we took off for Monterey to visit the aquarium and the coastline. Louisa is at a perfect age to enjoy an aquarium. We wondered how she would spend her time if given the freedom to wonder without prompts (i.e. okay, let's go see the octopus). A nice scenario was playing through my mind until Nate mentioned the gift shops. So lock the gift shop doors and put a FitBit on that girl! We drove south on highway 1 and watched the sunset on a small, warm beach. What beauty! Here are some of my favorite pictures. Take note of Cora's eye color. I think it's official!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Totally Improved Two's

The other day I told Nate that I've recently been writing a blog post in my head. I told him that it was about how awesome Louisa has been lately. I also told him that I needed to figure out how to make it SO CLEAR that I wasn't bragging. It is mostly for me…so that I can come to appreciate the good times in case the bad times come back. So here goes.

You may remember my miserable posts about our sleep wars. Well, soon after I bought a baby gate, pleaded with God, and bought a book about Positive Discipline, something worked. I'm a new person and so is Louisa. I think God poured a ton of patience into my heart and a bit of maturity/love into Lou's. Nate put it this way the other night: "She's just so much more reasonable now. She's tired and she knows it." Well said.

I bought the gate because I needed to have a way to know for sure that Louisa wasn't going to come walking out of her room long after I thought she was asleep. I hoped that we wouldn't have to use it often, and we haven't. I bought it on Friday, October 4th. I remember because Sunday, September 29 -- my 31st birthday -- was THE WORST mothering day ever.

Nate was out of town and Louisa refused to nap. I dragged a piece of plywood from the backyard to Louisa's doorway, set up a chair against it and sat down on the chair while I nursed Cora. You're probably wondering why I didn't just close the door and lock it. Believe me, I tried that. Louisa interpreted that as an invitation to try on layers and layers of clothes and stand on little wicker doll chairs to reach things that were purposely put out of her reach. Of course the plywood didn't work either, so after two hours of attempting naps, we went for a walk - Lou in the stroller and Cora in the carrier. I thought about who I could call and complain to, but I didn't want to whine about things that later would seem so insignificant. So I walked and I cried and I prayed. I did call Nate and say something like, "I just need you to know that I feel so unloved and alone right now." Poor guy. But I knew I needed to be real so that once I was feeling better I wouldn't just glaze over things and say the my day was fine. It was a very sad walk, yes. But later that night I completely understood why I had to go through it.

That night, the girls were asleep, so I took out my prayer journal and complained to God again. The gist of the conversation was this: mothering an infant was common sense and there was no discipline involved. I could do that (and did that) without asking God for help. Now I was desperate and literally said, "I CAN'T DO THIS." I had been good about asking God for help in other areas of life: whether to move to CA, job searching in CA, healing friends' cancer, but I was too full of pride when it came to parenting. After I prayed that night, I knew that if I would have called someone, I would have temporarily patched a hole while neglecting a conversation I'd been meaning to have with our loving God.

He is good and the past 6 weeks have been infinitely better. May I always ask for help sooner! Here is my sweet two-and-a-half year old. I apologize that it may be a video that only her parents find really cute and funny.

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