Thursday, September 27, 2012

first haircut!

It was finally that time. As much as I loved Joseph's little blonde curls, they'd gotten a tad out of control and a haircut was in order. Those curls at the nape of his neck were so dang cute how they'd pop up out of nowhere when he played outside. But, hair was long and everywhere, and he was starting to look like a girl. I'm ok with a pretty boy, just not a pretty girl - that is actually a boy. It was sad watching those first locks be cut off. Joe and I exchanged frowns as the scissors were snipping away, realizing that instantly our baby aged months.

{I took these pictures with my phone, going for quantity over quality.}

Before:



Sitting still for a little bit.


Why did you just cut off all my curls lady?


He was eager to help though...


The try-to-cut-my-hair-while-I-move-around picture I posted on Facebook:


And after:


It's short, a little too short in some places, but I can't blame the nice lady. She did well, considering. She wanted to take a family shot:


Hannah's turn. Joseph, always the little helper...


Constantly moving kid = blurry pictures.



But you get the idea.

And for his baby book, a sweet little curl...


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

today...

Wow.

So today has been one of those... Joseph woke up way early and fussed on and off from his crib for an hour before falling back asleep until about 7:30. I got to go for a six-mile run while Joe did breakfast duty. {This part was great. It was brisk this morning to say the least and the peace was nice.} Unfortunately breakfast, as so often happens lately, was miserable. Hannah was miserable (?). Joseph was miserable (teeth).

9:00 a.m.: Hannah got off to preschool, then Joe off to work, and it was just me and the little guy. He just wasn't happy, so I deemed a trip to Wal-Mart necessary. {Crazy as it sounds, going to the store can be as good of an experience as it can be bad, depending on the situation.} It went ok, but back in the car, he hit.the.wall. You know what I'm talking about. Inconsolable screaming, snot, tears, the whole nine yards. This time I found it necessary to pick up Hannah early so that I could get him home and in bed.

11:45: Hannah was happy for point two seconds and then proceeded to have a meltdown like you can only imagine...right there on the parking lot side of the playground fence. All watching. Let me paint you a picture: First she did the limp noodle as I tried to pick her up. She's not so light anymore when this happens. I carry the folder, backpack, and her by the armpits screaming to the car, all the while Joseph is at a fever pitch crying in his carseat with the windows down for all to hear. {The windows down is usually a smart move.} Hannah will not cooperate as I try to buckle her in. You know, she starts bucking like a horse and screaming at the same time, unbuckling the top buckle whenever I try to do the bottom. {Again, everyone is watching.} I - in a harsh grunt/whisper (the really mean voice) - tell her she will be still and let me buckle her in or she will get spanked. She cooperates for a millisecond, to thwart the spanking I guess. Finally I can shut the door. I walk around the car to get in and the teachers say something to me about going around the back of the church, honking the horn outside of Joe's office and yelling "You're turn!" It's tempting... Hannah and Joseph are still screaming, and the windows are still down as I drive away. I do call Joe so I can share a little bit of this bizarre drama. Am I the only one that does this?! It's so horrible I almost laugh.

Noon: I get back home, give Joseph a dose of ibuprofen and put him to bed without lunch. Trust me, he wasn't going to eat anyway. He was asleep in less than a minute. I make lunch for Hannah, then find her in the playroom having just had an accident, her and the floor a mess. So it's to the bathtub, the peanut-jelly sitting on the counter, the floor and clothes (and shoes) needing to be cleaned out. Are you there, God? It's me, Lindsey!!!

12:30 p.m.: Hannah finally eats lunch, a completely different child, as I unpack the load from Wal-Mart. By 1:15 she's asleep too.

2:00: I do a few things around the house then sit down to eat my sandwich and have my daily devotion time. Lo and behold, the Upper Room reading was Romans 12:9-13. "rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer" (v. 12). The prayer focus was young mothers and the devotional written by a woman with two young kids, under two years apart, and the challenges in everyday life. Um, hello God! I hear ya!! 

As I said...wow. I find it amazing how God speaks to me at just the right time. And He's always there, if I just look for Him. That's the ticket: I have to open my eyes. These quiet moments in my day are, without a doubt, necessary for me to go on functioning.

2:30: Both kids are still sleeping. Quick shower and maybe finish the ironing (if I could be so lucky) before they wake...

Post coming soon on yesterday (Joseph's first haircut!).


Thursday, September 20, 2012

a rough patch

Can you believe this?



Somehow the little rascal got her wooden (read: heavy) chair into her crib. And may I point out, all four sides are firmly intact. I would rather her actually nap but, I'll give it to her, she's pretty innovative.

I have to tell ya, I'm glad things were running so smoothly around here when I wrote that letter to Hannah. The last couple weeks have been a little rough around here. My sweet girl has been replaced by a monster. A monster I've been close to putting out of the house.

More accurately, I've been close to running away.
"I am about to lose it."
"I seriously don't know how much more I can take."
"I am at the end of my rope."
Sound familiar to any other parent of a strong-willed preschooler?
 {Please, only tried-and-true advice and encouragement appreciated. I can't handle any more "It only gets worse." or "Just wait..." comments.}

My incredibly stubborn daughter has tried my patience, and pushed me past my limit (which I admit is sometimes not as high as others) more times than I care to think about. Usually I have to walk away or stop whatever I'm trying to do or explain, and take a deep breath. I know it's the age, but I just struggle on how better to handle it. The screaming fits (and these fits make the fits of the past seem like nothing), the tantrums, the persistence to do exactly the opposite of what I ask her to do, the constant will to push the boundaries on every single thing, is enough to drive a mom mad, especially a stay-at-home-mom. {And this is assuming all is well with the other kid.} Perhaps she's picking up some behavioral problems at preschool, or maybe her behavior is worsened by seeing the other kids act up too, but at least those are three hours, five days a week that I have a chance to recharge my battery.

This sign needs to hang in my house:


I don't want to rush into the whole terrible two's versus the terrible three's or whatever people call them. I think that different kids do different things and some years are more challenging than others. {Two wasn't easy for us by any stretch of the imagination.} But I will say that this phase we are in can go ahead and move on, thankyouverymuch. I try to be patient and manage the stress level. I try my absolute hardest to stay in control. But it's impossible all of the time. I am humbled daily on my parenting skills. I know there is room for improvement.

 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. - 2 Cor. 12:9 (ESV)

I ask God to help me be the best parent I can be. I constantly rely on His grace.



 Unchanging.

All day long I find myself praying one liners for wisdom, patience, discernment, energy, consistency...help. I would like to say that I recall scripture in these oh-so-frustrating moments, but usually some of these favorite verses only come to mind later on when I am removed from the situation.

Pinned Image



This post is not to receive pity. It is only a reflection of what's been on my mind and, because it is my reality, the only thing I see fit to write about. Every day is not miserable. Some days are easier than others. Perspective always helps. It is the bad days that really test me. And it is the good days that encourage me.

Just now (almost 10 o'clock), after a relatively trying day, I went to Hannah upset in her crib. I rocked her, scared from a dream I presume, and then stroked her head as she lay back down in bed. It was one of those beautiful moments as a parent when you love every inch of your precious child and feel so blessed. She asks for her Daddy so once I get back to the sofa (and my laptop), I listen on the monitor to him singing "Be Thou My Vision" and "Amazing Grace". 

Moments to build strength on. Perspective. Grace. 

Friday, September 14, 2012

happy birthday hannah!

The third birthday celebration started on Friday morning with a preschool party. Hannah wore her cupcake outfit and Joe, Joseph, and I brought cupcakes for the class. {Not store-bought ones - we wanted to make them so they'd actually taste good and we could eat the leftovers.} They sang to her and she was a little shy.



Saturday night we went to a Japanese steakhouse for dinner. The last (her first) time we took her was a year ago and she loved it. This time she was scared at first. {There was the banging of loud drums when we walked in. She didn't know what we were doing.}


After a little bit, she warmed up and had a good time watching the extra-silly chef.



They sang to her and brought her sherbert (and her very own kid chopsticks to keep!) and then we sang again and gave her a cupcake with candles. Her blowing has dramatically improved since last year.



Sunday the 9th, her actual birthday, she went up to the children's sermon for the first time. She was very excited about getting to do that. Usually half-way through the service (sometimes earlier) I take her to the toddler nursery, but she's a big three year-old now! No more baby stuff for this girl. I snuck in a picture with my phone very discreetly.


Afterwards, I tried to get a picture of the birthday girl, she wasn't really interested. On purpose, she moved around as much as possible.


Finally after lunch I got that one of her in the gazebo from a couple posts ago.


Acting shy again while being sung to.


She loved her Mickey Mouse Clubhouse cake. {Thanks Meme for bringing from Savannah!}


Present opening time, another improvement from last year, went a lot faster.



Yes, golf clubs from Meme. Real...and pink! This may seem strange to you, but she has worn out her plastic clubs so it was time for an upgrade. The girl likes to golf. We are fine with that. Uncle Ben helped her (and was a tad jealous) as she practiced putting through Poppy's legs.



...I will be glad when the cheesy-smile phase ends.

Playing with her new easel from Momma and Daddy - a supervised activity we have decided. Wonder how soon it will be before there is paint on the chalkboard or regular markers on the dry-erase board. Any guesses?


It was a busy day, so we had an easy dinner at Waffle House. We love Waffle House. And the nice lady gave us hats to wear.


When we got home we Skyped Granddaddy, Renee, and Andrew in Bellingham.



Birthday videos:

video


video

Thursday, September 13, 2012

by joe



Below is Joe's piece from the most recent church newsletter. We thought it was kinda funny that he wrote this before he read my letter to Hannah. I had no idea he was writing about our family either...

Raising children is an experiment for Lindsey and me. We have never done it before, so like many people, we are learning as we go. With the usual limitation of paralysis by analysis and the consultation of countless experts, we try to do what’s best for our children, but it is still just a grand experiment. Lindsey and I try to keep Hannah and Joseph in the worship service as long as she (and they) can stand it, which isn’t always easy. But we want them to know what church looks and sounds like; we want it to be a familiar place.
So, the experiment continues. 

Then there is the occasional Sunday like we had two weeks ago. Hannah has always felt comfortable saying hello to me or saying “Amen” at points in the service. I know this will end one day, but I do enjoy it when it happens. On this particular day, the choir sang an arrangement of “Amazing Grace” beautifully. As they began singing, Hannah said to Lindsey almost loud enough that I understood her, “My daddy sings that song to me.” Joseph also chimed in and began singing as loud as the choir (I also sing that hymn to him as well). This came after the pastoral prayer where I talked about sharing with God, and Hannah said to Lindsey, “Like I share with Joseph.” 

Our children may not understand everything we do in worship, but some of it is staying with them. That gives me hope for them, but also for the rest of us. Maybe the anthem, or a hymn, or even the sermon stays with us. Maybe it gives us hope or assurance. Maybe the worship and adoration of God makes us better people. I look forward to worshipping with you this week. Who knows what may happen. 

Blessings to you, 

Joe

Monday, September 10, 2012

a letter to my three-year-old


Dear Hannah, 

How the time has flown. Three years ago I was so full of excitement and anticipation of meeting my baby girl, I didn't sleep a wink the night before in the hospital. When you came into this world, I had no idea how much my life would change, how much it did change the very instant I held you in my arms in that hospital bed. Daddy and I insisted on keeping you in the room with us, only letting you leave for mandatory tests. We woke at every tiny noise that came from your little bassinet. We played ocean sounds on the iPod, which you loved and still listen to every night. You loved to be held, rocked, swaddled and sung to. You still love to be held and rocked and sung to. We had to stay in the hospital for five days because you were jaundiced and were struggling to regain your birth weight. I also had some post-delivery issues. It was a scary couple of days for us brand new parents. We were so excited to take you home and get our life started as a family. Your room was all ready and your cradle waiting beside our bed. You were a good sleeper. Thankfully, you still are. We adjusted, but our world was changed forever.




Your first year was full of lessons learned, successes, and plenty of failures realized. Life as a new family was beautiful and real, the good days and the bad passing quickly by. We had a busy first year celebrating your "month days" and all of your firsts. We went on lots of trips, spending time with friends and family. Daddy baptized you on Valentine's Day - a day that I will never forget. You learned to do all sorts of things and we loved watching you. You started talking and walking, and just like that you were one.




Your second year was even busier. I was pregnant with your baby brother and we got ready to welcome a new member to our team. We went to New York for the first time and celebrated my 30th birthday where you first called me Momma. I loved our family of three so much, I worried what adding another person would do. But a family of four we were meant to be. Joseph was born in April and you became a big sister. Life was great. We moved to a new home and a new church. You met a lot of new friends, and you started preschool right before your birthday. And just like that you were two.





Your third year was your best yet. Life felt settled. We loved our new home and you thrived in preschool. At some point, and I'm not sure when it was, your personality exploded. And I mean exploded. You are full of life, full of energy.

You were every bit of a two-year-old and then some. You can throw some of the biggest fits I've ever seen (or can imagine). You can play, dance, and sing in your crib for hours before falling asleep. You are dramatic and emotional. You have a definite sense of style; you love to dress-up. You have a great imagination, and a sense of humor too. You say the funniest, and sometimes most unbelievable, things. I write it all down so you can read it one day. You are curious and stubborn. And you are very strong-willed. You know what you want, and you know how to get it. You amaze us every day, in good ways and in not-so-good ways. You are smart. So smart it is scary sometimes.

You are the most social kid I know. You've never met a stranger, and you never forget a name (a skill I wish would rub off on me). In fact, when I can't remember who someone is, I just ask you! You love to make friends, and friends to you means everyone from the employee stocking the shelves at Wal-Mart, to the ladies at church, to another kid at the park.

You are a loving, caring child. You love to love and be loved. You have a kind heart. You are a daddy's girl but reserve a special place for me. You are a great big sister, always looking out for Joseph and taking care of him, introducing him to people you meet, "This is my little brother, Joseph." He is lucky to have you. I hope you are always so close.


And just like that you are three. 

 

Just recently I've noticed how tall you've gotten, how much you have grown. Somewhere between two and three, you became a little girl. A little girl that is growing up just too fast. I am so glad that I get to be home with you. Each day with you is an adventure. 

As I try to teach you things and model the kind of person I want you to be, I discover I learn just as much from you. You inspire me to enjoy life, have fun, and not spend so much time dwelling on to-do lists. You inspire me to be a kinder person, more aware of others, and more aware of the beauty of life around me. With you in my life, I am constantly made aware of just how fortunate I am. I have learned to spend more time thanking God than making requests of Him. You make me feel like I am a good mom, even when I feel like I fail. You have proven to me that the love of a mother is unconditional, and that nothing compares to the love of a child. My love for you goes beyond any words I could form in a letter or say to you. And that love, somehow, grows every day.

A few weeks ago, I came into your room after you woke up from your nap. I got you out of the crib and put on your big-girl panties. I pulled your hair back in a ponytail, and you asked to wear your crown. I picked you up so you could see in the mirror. As I watched the sweetest smile appear on your face, I had a heart-wrenching feeling and a sudden, very unexpected thought. I imagined you on your wedding day, me standing behind you in your dress, as you look at yourself in the mirror.

 

I know that day will be here way too soon. I know that the day you go to kindergarten will be here way too soon. Each day with you is precious - not always a walk in the park, but precious nonetheless.

Thank you for three amazing years - the best of my life. I love you forever.

xoxo,
Momma