.:17:. Survival: A Child’s life.

IMG_5345

August 2013 ~ My girls at 1 Month

Where am I? Who are you? What are you saying? Why are you staring?

Why don’t you understand me?

I’m so frustrated!!!

These are the questions that I believe run through our children’s heads immediately after they depart from the cozy little world they called “home” for nearly 9 mo.  A peaceful, quiet, calming place where everything made sense. Leaving that behind for a cold, foreign world where the language is confusing, fingers and needles poke at them, disease and sickness lingers in the air they breathe, everything is too big and it’s impossible to tell anyone what they need or how they feel…

Can you imagine? This crosses my mind frequently, while the puzzled look on my face tries to explore the reasons for my children’s unpleasantries. I believe our children go through more than we’ll ever understand (because we were not built to remember the beginning of our life). Learning how to eat, sleep, move, speak, express – the basic necessities in life. They define survival. When we are swamped, our house is a mess and our children throw tantrums we think we have it rough… Something to consider – maybe they have it rough?!

>>TRY THIS<<

Sleep in a cage with just a sheet and wait for someone to take you out of that cage to change your pee filled diaper you slept in all night. When they come to “release you”, you find a way to smile and jump for joy because you love them! Then, you wait for that same person to figure out the complexities of your eating needs/habits and feed you food that you really hate or… you’re just not sure you like yet. You sit with sticky fingers and crusty hair in a drool drenched shirt as your mouth throbs (encouraging teeth to painfully pop out). Your tummy hurts and for some reason your bones do too (because you’re growing). You are overwhelmed by your environment, surrounded by walls and furniture that tower over you and stare silently, just waiting to pick a fight. Nobody speaks your language, but they frequently nod and smile as if they understand – – but they have NO IDEA.

Yet in this world you still manage to smile at silly faces, scream with excitement and joy when you learn something new, show your curiosity on a daily basis because you are determined to figure this place out, and you still manage to love the people that welcomed you into this very scary place…

Something us adults could learn from.  The world isn’t fair, it isn’t built for us, not many people really understand us, we crave love + attention and seek solitude.

>>TRY THIS<<

Wake up patiently for the day to welcome you, be happy to see those around you and smile at their silly faces, be grateful for the people who help you and put up with the things in your life you can’t control, embrace the change around you (even when it’s hard), learn from your mistakes and be glad that you did, and just like your children – be curious sponges on a daily basis and challenge yourself!

Yes, this is easier said than done but we all started out this way and we can really learn from the little ones we brought into the world… or did they bring us into the world?!

 

 

.:16:. Parents “away” {first trip post-kids}

IMG_9587

As a new mom, my job description in life has really changed. My duties have been forever altered in order to manage the two subordinates I call my sweet little baby girls. They have relied on me to not only give them life but to give them me and all of me.  I’ve learned that in order to do this, I’ve needed to find ways to keep myself sane. Mom’s NEED this.  They need time with other women, they need actual alone time with their husbands, they need to sip on wine in peace and chug a coffee or two while indulging in some good-ole-fashion tv ;).

…and they NEED a vacation (so do Dads).

Our first trip as parents and first time away from the girls came with mixed feelings. Besides the overwhelming task of detailing my children’s daily routine/mealtime, there was more weighing on my mind… 1. We didn’t even plan it, so until we boarded the plane I wasn’t sure if I was dreaming.  I’ll explain later. 2. I’ve never been away from my girls for more than a few hours.  So, I was excited but also nervous to pass onto someone else, two toddlers – who are bursting at the seams to welcome us all into the world of the “terrible twos”. 3. My husband and I haven’t been alone and away together for a long time and I knew there would be a strange void without our girls but we really needed this. 4. We would be gone for just over a few days, and they were in great hands. But, I had an odd guilt about it. I almost felt bad that I was so excited to get away! Then, on the flip side I felt sad that they were missing out on this experience with us. I knew neither was true. If you can’t tell, I put way too much thought and emotion into most things in my life (ha). Can I blame that on being a mom?! …and pretend I wasn’t like this before I was a mom?! In the end, I was able to succumb and officially turn my out-of-office to “away”. Ok, my office is home and (as stated above) my subordinates are my little girls. Let’s just say I found a way to let it all go.  Sorry…for the song you’re most likely singing in your head right now.

Now, back to this vacation that we didn’t plan…

So, in the fall of 2013, I found myself on a regular schedule alone with two new babies. This became a redundant, exhausting, repetitive schedule and I needed to find something to keep me from going too stir crazy with two little ones. The Today show became my outlet. Specifically the 4th Hour with Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb. As I chugged a coffee or two and indulged in good-ole-fashion TV, I found my sanity in the candor of these two women. I laughed at their crazy jokes, I (mostly) related to the topics of discussion and instantly became a fan! Such a big fan that I decided to submit an entry as a “Fan of the Week” in January of 2014.  Fast forward 4 months and I got a call that I was chosen as a possible winner! I couldn’t believe it.  I never win anything. I actually thought it was a joke at first. I even asked that over the phone in a slightly annoyed voice. Who would do that?! Well, it wasn’t a joke and before I knew it I was on Skype, on National TV with my girls, winning a free trip to Cancun from KLG and Hoda! I shared a cheesy poem I wrote (yada yada) and talked very fast through my nerves. It was a thrill!

see my poetry skills below.


 

Before the sun peeks out to greet,

I grab my little ones who are ready to eat.

Get out my yawns, stretching head to toe,

turn on the Today Show and let the coffee flow.

 

After diapers then comes bottles and the day begins.

The 4th Hour strikes and we are joined by our friends,

KLG and Hoda, sharing all the cool trends.

 

They sip on their wine and everything is fine

They laugh, they cry, and have such a good time.

I feel lucky to spend the morning this way

What an absolutely fabulous start to my day!

i love klg and hoda

Hannah on the left + Lainy on the right, one of the photos we submitted!

wewon

Top: Just before we won… I had to quickly explain to Hannah and Lainy what was going on and that they needed to behave very well ;). Bottom: Just after we won and the girls were very well behaved!


http://sys06-public.nbcnews.com/today/klgandhoda/mom-twins-shares-poem-about-klg-hoda-2D79778628


 

Since then, we’ve been looking forward to this trip! The past year has been filled with much less than enough sleep, (possibly) dangerous amounts of coffee, way too many diapers, spit up stains, bumps, bruises, drool and much more. It’s so nice that we could mix it up a bit and include some sand, sun, ocean, beachy elixirs, relaxation and time to just sit and do absolutely nothing (ahhh). I am incredibly grateful and flattered to have been chosen and have the chance to go on a vacation that otherwise would have never happened!

While “away”, we were the typical parents concerned for our children as they most likely were having the time of their life with their aunt and uncle, cousins and grandmas. Yet, we still worried – are they going to be ok without us?, are they sad?, oh I bet they miss us! We called everyday and used FaceTime to see our girls (or their blurry little squirmy bodies). Everything was fine but we were now unfamiliar with not caring and letting loose like we used to. However, we quickly turned that around and enjoyed every moment the best we could… parasailing, snorkeling, sailing, kayaking, and thoroughly soaking up the sun. Our vitamin D intake had been depleted from our MN hibernation, and we were desperately in need of this recharge!

Well, we sure did love the little break and I think every couple needs time away to reconnect and just breathe together – while sipping a mojito (my favorite) with feet in the sand and a sun setting over the ocean. Or, anywhere in the world that takes you out of the daily grind and back to just being you two.

~Feeling more than blessed~

.:15:. {daydreaming} A mama’s escape.

IMG_4062

“look what happens with a love like that, it lights up the whole sky.” -author unknown

{daydreaming} Let’s be honest, this is sometimes the only escape we get.

In this busy life of chasing two toddlers and keeping myself from being too unkempt, I somehow have the time to daydream.  It’s somewhere in the hours (or seconds) I have to myself while my girls play together, while they dance/laugh/and roll around on the floor together and of course while they are in their own little slumber. I daydream about organized drawers, clean and folded clothes, continuously happy children (ha), continuously happy mama (as I interrupt this message with a sneeze), freshly polished nails, clean floors, dishes and so much more. So, in all reality, my daydreams consist of stuff I could probably deal with if I wasn’t daydreaming. But, that just wouldn’t be fair.

I haven’t had a good night of sleep since before I was pregnant. Since then, my lack of sleep has been filled with…

excitement and joy – we’re having a baby!

anxiety – we’re having two babies?!

fear – if I sleep than I won’t hear the babies.

stress – I have so much to do and no time to do it, and I must think about all of it instead of sleep.

exhaustion and confusion – why in the world can’t I sleep by now??

Are you like me?  Please say I’m not alone or completely out of it!

I see daydreaming as a break, even somewhat of an escape. Heck, at times I’m probably sleeping with my eyes open but it’s my moment: my 3 seconds of deep breathing, my 5 min of relaxation, my 10 min of envisioning normalcy, because it will come again someday. Right? Please tell me it will. Well, my positive outlook is that these daydreams will all add up to a wonderful night of sleep. With lack of sleep comes lack of energy. However, I still have a version of the energy I had prior to kids, but it’s shifted a bit and I expend it much quicker than I ever had in the past. Unfortunately, I can’t replenish it as fast. Dancing, singing, dodging food, coloring with toddlers who have an appetite for crayons and dressing little ones who prefer tiny sock hats versus socks on their feet – all of that can really wipe me out.


However, I have discovered that these daydreams can backfire. It’s like that relaxing feeling you have during and just after a massage and then you realize you have two 20+ lb weights to carry for the rest of the day.

While in a recent daydream of some sort, I was watching my girls play with each other – peering in while I slowly gulped my black coffee in a groggy daze. They were actually playing, sharing and laughing! This was a first and I couldn’t believe what I was finally witnessing!  These girls really love each other and to SEE this love was so incredibly amazing that it felt like a real dream. I even got a sneak peak of a unique combination of emotions… Anger from accidental hair pulling and eye poking, followed by sincere concern and forgiveness (a pouty lip made an appearance), along with a desire to help and assist while figuring out a puzzle together. I even saw a hug and a kiss on the head somewhere in there!

I snapped out of my stare and this sweet exchange between my two girls continued. I snuck away to finish the dishes and moments later, two screamers b-lined it to my legs begging to be held, almost “pantsing” me. Ok, they succeeded. Is that a word?  Pantsing: when you are unknowingly approached by someone (or more) and they pull your pants down.  It has to be a word, because I think it happens to me daily. Maybe my pants need to be tighter or I need to switch to jumpsuits.

…and this is where the Motherhood of the Yanking Pant Hands begins. Sounds like it would make for a very popular movie ;).

Back to the story. So, I had just been “pantsed” (past tense of the verb Pantsing) by my two little drama queens who, not moments before, were playing very sweet roles in each others life – making for an award winning day dream. Talk about tag-team attack! When I turned to one, the other one yanked and when I unclenched one set of mini “yanking pant hands” the other set of hands took over and finished the job.  Yep, they have very effectively learned how to “pants” their mother. Maybe if I would have screamed and flopped on the ground (like they do during diaper changes), I would have survived… but I think that would be very unmotherly of me.  I guess I have to learn to accept this process of needing to be held: First comes the beg in their eyes, then a yanking and pulling on anything that is getting in the way of being held.  And I, the one and only MAMA, must sacrifice her pants sometimes.

Note: This has yet to happen in public and when/if it does you will all be invited to the world premiere of the Motherhood of the Yanking Pant Hands.

-You’re Welcome.


So, daydream every now and then. Savor those little and (sometimes) short lived moments of silence, bliss, stillness and call it a mini vacation! And when that silence is broken and the stillness quickly turns to commotion, you’ll be glad you gave yourself that time to stop {daydream} and breathe…

.:14:. It’s a New Year {for PATIENCE}

 

family

Tried to take a normal picture, then decided it was much easier to enjoy the moment.

As another year passes by and a bright + shiny year begins, I’d be remiss not to reminisce… Not just on the year that flew by, but also the year before that and many of the years prior.

There is something so raw and welcoming about a new year. An untouched palette, a fresh start, beginning anew. The chance to try it again, make things better, challenge, motivate, encourage and accomplish. We can’t wait to fill our plates (that are most likely already full). So, why am I looking back when a new year is about looking forward? Well, for me this new year is a stepping stone to the years ahead. It’s my way of responding to my past. We cannot forget or ignore the past but we can learn from it and improve upon it. I believe it’s so important to reflect on our history in order to continue growing. As I think about goals and “resolutions”, I laugh a little because I know (first hand) how easy they are to break and that it’s really just another year… This year is slightly different. I’m not changing anything too dramatically but I believe that what I want starting now, will uncover some beautifully dramatic results…

>>>PATIENCE<<<

2015 (and the years that follow) will be filled with “enjoying the moment”, caring less about a clean house and more about quality time, less concerned about keeping up with life’s fast pace and more about being thoughtful and thorough, less about feeling rushed and more about accepting my own preparedness and saying “it’s ok”.  It’s not that I wasn’t trying any of this before, but I just wasn’t doing it fully. I wasn’t PATIENT enough.

This will be a year of new experiences, new discoveries, new words, and even new teeth… By the way, teething is an experience I never knew took so much patience! I knew it would be rough.  It’s rough to see your children in pain, hear their screams and cries for mercy as they wait for their pearly whites to slowly break through their delicate baby gums.  Ok, now when I re-read that, I cringe and completely understand why we don’t remember this stage of our life… because nobody is that patient, especially a child who lacks the vocabulary and comprehension to tell you what’s wrong or understand when you say “it will all be ok…it will pass…you’ll be just fine my sweet little peanut”.  They hear gibberish and feel an excruciating pain that only time can fix.

This year is the start of so much for our family… the beginning of that dreaded thing called potty training (times two), learning to share and care, all sorts of growing pains, and probably interesting surprises I just can’t fathom at this moment ;). I hope that 2015 will welcome me and my family to a place we can finally call “home”, where we can settle into a new life, new neighborhood, new house with a real basement and an actual yard (ok, I’m getting greedy now). I’m not naive to the fact that the year ahead is going to be hard – just like the past year was and like next year will most likely be – it’s a sort of “hard” that I have yet to experience because every stage of parenting brings new challenges that nobody is really ever prepared for, even if you’ve had kids before.  Every child comes with very different instructions that require a unique set of skills in order to navigate, understand and develop.  Now, when I say that the year will be “hard”, I’d like to stay away from it’s negative conotation.  Of course it will be hard – – it’s parenting! However, I am determined to accept it and work through all of the craziness with strength, creativity, determination, a lot of humor and most importantly… PATIENCE.

I’ve discovered something about myself throughout the years. Well, I’m IMPATIENT.  I’m sure many can relate and those of you that cannot… I am assuming you are made of gold, your heart beats to the tune of Amazing Grace, and your feathers have never been ruffled because they are absolutely perfect.

To be fair – I’ve met some very patient people that have inspired me.  BUT, we can all use an extra dose or two of this highly necessary virtue called PATIENCE.  Hey, I’d love a RX but it’s not that easy. This is a virtue I’ve been seeking to attain since I can remember. Maybe it was when I was 8 and I secretly (shh don’t tell) found all my Christmas presents before they were wrapped, or when I was 17 and took my parent’s van out for a drive when I shouldn’t have and ended up with a nice dent, or when I was 20 and I lost my patience with a friend whom I believe did me wrong, or especially when I was ONLY 27 and began to question why I wasn’t a mother yet, and then of course a couple years later (29) when I found out I was going to be a mother of twin girls and pregnancy felt like a never ending story of aches, pains, fat feet and unflattering clothes!!  We all carry a lack of patience in some shape or form.  As a mother I’m noticing how important patience is to my itty bitty learners who stumble, fumble, destroy, break, and love so hard it hurts.  My actions, my reactions, and my love for my children and those around me are examples I am setting for this tiny fraction of the next generation I am raising.

PATIENCE isn’t just a resolution or a goal, it’s a must needed change for all and it will be my main focus, right along side my innocent little angels who need me to be PATIENT more than I’ll ever know.

 

“Children are the living message we send to a time we will not see.” ~ Neil Postman