Mar 8, 2016

february recap- when crackers just don't cut it

We've been living in our backyard this past month. Picnics at lunch time and dinner around the picnic table. Ryan has planted our garden and Lincoln and Simon have done well throwing rocks, digging in the dirt (or in Simon's case, eating dirt), checking out the birds and squirrels with the binoculars, swinging, collecting leaves--- pretty much just soaking in this perfect weather before we begin melting in the hot humid summers of Texas and become eaten alive from mosquitos.

Simon's favorite toy right now is the fire truck. Luckily, Lincoln likes pushing him around just as much as Simon wants to be inside of it.
A few weeks ago, Simon was sick, which meant quarantining ourselves home for a few days. We made it 4 straight days at home and then finally decided to make it out of the house for a "quick" trip to the grocery store. (I say "quick" because even though I try to convince myself that taking the kids grocery shopping for a few items will be quick and easy, it never is.) 

We got to the grocery store and we were lucky enough to score the double-car carts for the kids to ride in. Those are one of the best inventions ever--- clearly invented by a mom. Anyway, things were going well the first part, but I was only half way through my list when Simon became fussy and wanted out of the cart. Do you know how hard it is to carry almost a 25lb baby AND maneuver that beast of a cart?? Very. That's the only downside of that cart--- it's nearly impossible to steer with one hand.

I started to become flustered because Simon is a hard one to pacify when he's angry. I picked up the pace to finish my list, racing down the isles as fast as "the beast" would allow. I busted open a box of crackers straight off the shelf to shove in Simon's mouth to calm him down. (Don't tell me I'm the only one who does that.) Unfortunately, when he's angry, food sometimes won't even do the trick. Luckily, Lincoln tried a different approach.

He started stroking Simon's head ever so gently and singing, "I am a Child of God..." And guess what?! Simon calmed down. He calmed right down and just stared all wide-eyed as Lincoln's singing continued "...and He has sent me here." I was so taken back by the effect this nursery song was having on Simon and that my two year-old was managing my cranky baby better than I was. So I joined in with Lincoln, "Has given me an earthly home, with parents kind and dear." (Or in Lincoln's words, "with parents kinda dear".)

And there we sat in the middle of the cracker aisle singing the rest of "I am a Child of God" together. "Lead me, guide me, walk beside me, help me find the way. Teach me all that I must do, to live with Him someday."

It was a short-lived peaceful moment (I'm pretty sure Lincoln grabbed the graham cracker out of Simon's hand moments later), but nevertheless, a moment that I'll never forget. It was that experience that my little 2-year-old taught me a valuable lesson. He was an example to me. He was quick to turn to the Savior for help. I find myself wanting to accomplish everything on my own because I tend to believe I can do everything by myself! Why do I do that to myself? I don't have to feel that way. I don't have to do things on my own. And what a relief that is!! I would never want my kids to feel like they couldn't turn to me for help. I know God feels the same way; He wants us to turn to Him. He is there to lead and guide us, to walk beside us, and help us find our way. If there's one thing I've learned this past month, it's to rely more on my Savior--- to turn to him as my first resort, not my last. Allow Him to help me, calm me, and strengthen me through everything I do... even at a grocery store when crackers off the shelf aren't helping. :)


Feb 24, 2016

backyard camp-out

I keep telling Ryan how much I'd love for all of us to go camping. Ryan and I used to camp all the time when it was just the two of us. Our summers in Idaho were the ultimate--- campouts by the Snake River and views of the Teton mountains. Ryan would fish, I read; it was peaceful and quite and sunny and beautiful! Something tells me adding kids to the mix wouldn't be quite as relaxing...  

Anyway, Ryan promised Lincoln we would have a little camp-out in our backyard and I'll tell ya, it actually ended up being a brilliant idea. We didn't have to pack up our car with all of our camping gear, I didn't have to prepare food to take in the cooler, we didn't smell like smoke for the next few days, there was no popping-squats behind trees, AND we were still able to put the kids down at their bedtimes in their own beds! We had the basics: a tent and s'mores. And yes, we even toasted the mallows on our grill. :)

I had made Simon his own birthday cake and he didn't even touch it. Not one nibble. I thought it was because of my baking skills, but the other day I tried giving him a donut and after a few chews, he spit that out, too. Boosted my confidence a bit knowing it wasn't just my baking. But seriously, is he my kid? Point being, he technically hasn't had much sweets. But a s'more? He loved it! I know it's hard to tell with his somber expressions, but he did. :)  Nom Nom Nom!
(can we take a moment to focus on Ryan. He's sure rockin' the whole shorts-with-cowboy-boots-and-full-blown-beard look, huh!)
And we rocked story time till the sun went down. I foresee much more camp-outs in our near future, all placed in our backyard, of course. :)

Feb 4, 2016

january's recap: spiritual with a side of sass

Simon got sick the day after his birthday. Gahh. So lame, right? I mean, who wants to celebrate their first year of birth with a cold? That week was a little stressful (a complete understatement---majorly stressful), but he's finally starting to feel better and I'm not having any more emotional breakdowns. YAY for us! 

We saw the doctor for his 1 year checkup and he's 22lb 8oz. It's weird having a baby in the 60% percentile. I'm used to a 90% percentile with Lincoln and now I feel like I need to fatten Simon up.

Last month had been challenging for me and if it's a preview for what's in store this year, I'm screwed. I had the most horrendous experience with Lincoln. HORRENDOUS. I'm not sure if I can even type this out because I'm already feeling my blood pressure rise recalling the incident. Oh well, it's already risen and it's not coming down till I spill it out. 

I was trying to get the boys out of the house one afternoon because Simon had been extremely fussy all week and afternoons were when stress levels peaked. I had this brilliant idea to take them to Barnes &Noble to play with the train table and Legos they have set up there---oh yeah... and uh...maybe read some books to them?? Anyway, Lincoln was being a terror the moment he got up from his nap. Simon had woken up from his nap early crying, which then woke up Lincoln from his nap early, and I'm like, "Freak, Ryan doesn't get home for another 3 hours!!!! GAAAAAAH!"

I managed to wrestle two crying boys into the car to go on an awesome adventure!!! Right? Wrong.
I wanted to run into a store right next door before Barnes & Noble. Looking back, I can only blame myself for the whole incident because I deviated from the original plan.

Fast forward to our first 3 minutes in the store and Lincoln is screaming BLOODY MURDER on the floor and I'm cupping his mouth to silence the blood curdling screams. Simon was sitting in the cart, but slowly drifting down an entire aisle until he bumped into a rack and some customer pushed him back to me, asking if this was my baby. I had no idea he was rolling away because I'm trying to pick up Lincoln who keeps throwing his head back and arching his back and LITERALLY making it impossible for me to pick him up. Did I mention he's like really husky and heavy for his age? Because he is.

I had a sales associate try and come over to help me at this point. Not sure if it was out of pity or because I was causing a huge scene. Simon was crying and wanted to be held and Lincoln couldn't be consoled and every soul in the store was glaring at me and my child and I'm thinking, "Heaven help me, I might just crawl under one of these circular clothing racks and hide."

I told Lincoln we were going home, which made things worse. The lady asked if she could help because I couldn't carry both kids. For some reason (pure anger maybe?) the adrenaline kicked in and as I thanked her, I grabbed Lincoln's arm and LITERALLY DRAGGED HIM across the store, across the parking lot to the car.

Just to clarify, when you read that I dragged him, you might be thinking, "Oh, she was pulling on his arm and he was begrudgingly walking behind her." NO. what I said was, I LITERALLY DRAGGED HIM ACROSS THE STORE AND ACROSS THE PARKING LOT BY HIS ARM, his feet dragging, with Simon in my other arm crying, and Lincoln screaming.  

If there was a woman in that store browsing baby clothes and flirting with the idea of having a baby and thinking about how wonderful it would be... I think that scene we just made in the store and parking lot made her celibate.

After a wrestling match to get Lincoln buckled in his car-seat, all three of us were crying when I called Ryan in the car. I didn't even tell him what happened. All I said was, "I've never called you and asked you this, so please--- I need you to leave work right now and come home." He knew, and he came home right away so I could get out of the house, alone.

He came into the house and brought in a box that was on the doorstep addressed to me. I quickly opened it before leaving and saw that one of my dearest friends sent me a book entitled, Walking with God in the Season of Motherhood. She had mentioned this book to me weeks before and how much she enjoyed having this book to correlate scripture study with motherhood.

At that moment, the stress, the frustration, the anger, the embarrassment, the hurt----everything disappeared and I knew that this gift, given through a loving friend, was from my Heavenly Father. He was showing me what I needed to do in my life---study the scriptures.

The funny thing is, I have read articles and research studies and blogs on dealing with tantrums and what "to-do" and what "not to-do" and I was so convinced that this was a problem that I had to help Lincoln with and if I didn't discipline him the right way, or if I was too strict, or if I wasn't strict enough, or if I wasn't consistent enough... then he'll never behave like an angel 24/7 like I would love for him to do :) A mother can dream, right? He's still TWO!!! Of COURSE he's going to misbehave.

Not to justify his tantrums and not that what he did was okay (because it TOTALLY WAS NOT), but I've found that I've been so focused on what Lincoln needed to do to be a more behaved toddler that I haven't been focusing on myself and what I need to be doing to be a better mother.

So even though January was a month of 80% crying, sickness, fussiness, tantrum-throwing, teething, I'm-the-worst-mother-in-the-world and I-think-I'm-ruining-my-kids kinda month, the other 20% has been this awakening experience of turning to the Savior more for help by strengthening my relationship with Him. I'm hoping to share my experiences over the next few months because I've always loved the idea of journaling. I love being able to look back and see how I'm progressing and to remember this time in my life where I'm making some important prioritization of what's most important.  

Don't get me wrong---I love being Lincoln's and Simon's mother and they're freaking awesome kids who bring a tremendous amount of joy to my life. But I know that if I'm not continuously trying to strengthen my relationship with my Savior, I'm missing out on more blessings and being an even happier mother...even though I'm sure there will still be times where they drive me straight-up crazy... :)

In reality, if last month was indeed an indicator of the rest of the year, this will be a stellar year. :)

yeah, he's really good at acting clueless as to why Simon is crying.