Catching Up

I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus since having baby #2.

 

A lot has happened in 4 months. There have been a lot of ups. There have been a lot of downs. There has been a lot of self doubt and an unimaginable amount of tears. I was so looking forward to coming back to work. I love my job and the people I work with. I love the atmosphere of the office and the ideals that we strive to share with our community. Be it by force or by choice, these women have become friends.

So when unspeakable tragedies in their lives came rolling in one right after another for the first few weeks I was back, obviously it was hard. Really hard. There was a lot of weird guilt on my part for having a healthy, happy baby while two of my co-workers had lost theirs. There was a lot of anger- a lot of questions. How could a loving God allow such an exciting and happy prospective only to take it away at the last minute? Why did this happen to them? The why’s, the how’s, all of it. There was a lot of awkward “do I text or call?” “Should I go with the others to visit?” There still is, honestly.

By nature, I’m a worrier. I worry about everything. I know I shouldn’t- but it’s my thing and I can’t help it. I’ve become a crazy about my children. By this point in Gage’s infancy I had moved him to his own room. Easton is still sleeping in the pack n play next to my bed- with 0 plans of moving him anytime in the near future. A sniffle or sneeze sends my nerves into overdrive from either of them. I’m slowly getting better about this. So far both boys are doing wonderfully. Gage has warmed up to being a big brother and Easton adores him. We’re all learning together.

Speaking of learning… I’ve always known the importance of taking time for myself. I’ve been aware that in order to properly “fill my family’s cups” I needed to have a full cup of my own. I’m learning how to do that better. Learning to appreciate the small things and quiet moments more as well as when I need to take a break. Learning that it is absolutely okay to get a babysitter while I go grocery shopping or to lay down and nap while the boys are napping. I’m learning that my kid’s are different. They have different personalities. Different quarks. Different things that make them tick. I’m learning that my two year old is going to be a very dominant personality and that traditional “bust his hiney and make him mind” ideals really don’t even phase him- having to find different ways of discipline…and I’m learning that that’s okay! (yeah, I said it, it’s okay, come at me) I’m learning to accept what is and be even more flexible when it comes to planning (I already was because…farm life.) I’m learning that I will never stop learning.

SO… yeah, working mom of two life has been a whirlwind thus far. But we’re making it. And we’re doing great. Currently (not so) patiently waiting for wheat harvest.

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Hands for Larger Service

Marathon County 4-H

This would be a great project for a club, or maybe even just Cloverbuds.

Grass Hand Print

Seems pretty straight forward.

Take some disposable pie tins, poke a few small holes in the bottom for drainage.

Fill with potting soil.

Make hand print in dirt a few centimeters deep.

Carefully sprinkle grass seeds in hand print.

Sprinkle vermiculite over grass seeds to cover.

This will allow the hand shape to still be seen until the grass starts to grow.

This could be kept on the window sill or even outside when the weather turns nice.

Make sure to keep it watered.

Send pictures of the process!

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A Letter to Gage

My dear, sweet, beautiful boy,

I love you.

I love your laughs and giggles. I love the sound of your feet as you come stampeding through the house. I️ love your imagination. I love the ornery look you get in your eye when you’re on a mission. I love your love for all things farm and trucks. I love our conversations about Blaze and Jesus and baby Easton and any other thing we come up with. I love your sweet and compassionate heart. I love your humor and your quick wit. I love your cuddles. I love your independence. I love every hair on your head and all ten of your little fingers and toes.

This past couple weeks has been hard on you. Bringing home a baby, learning to share your home, your mama and Daddy, and all the visitors who come. Listening to the crying baby. No amount of preparing or talking about getting a brother could have prepared your innocent little mind. You’ve been such a champ.

Always being gracious and forgiving when mama snaps at you when she’s stressed. Sharing mamas lap with the baby and trying your best to help all the time. When mama has a mini breakdown you’re little arms around my neck with your sweet little “what’s wrom mama” and wiping away my tears. (Which only causes more tears, because half the time I’m crying because I️ feel bad for being grumpy with you.)

Mama’s sorry. It’s too easy to get caught up in the stress and my own selfishness. It’s easy for me to wish you had napped just 10 more minutes or get really grumpy when you come crawling into my bed at 1 am and put up the biggest fight when I try to take you back to bed.

Just know, Mama’s trying. Someday she’ll get it right. It may not be today or tomorrow or even next week, but some day I’ll get this figured out. Until then, just remember, I love you, sweet boy.

I’m Officially A #Boymom x 2…

11 days since Easton arrived.

11 days since I officially became a “‘mama of 2.”

11 nights of almost 0 sleep (though I can’t remember the last time I slept for an entire night anyways.)

Countless diapers, pull-ups, loads of laundry, an obscene amount of coffee and tears. So. Many. Tears.

Tears from the baby.

Tears from the two year old.

Tears from me.

I’d be lying if I said I have enjoyed the past 11 days. They’ve been hard. Really, really hard. Newborns are hard. Two year olds are hard. Being home alone with one of each is hard. Watching my husband walk out the door at 7 am and not seeing him come back in til 7-8 pm every night is hard. Letting him sleep in the guest room so (in theory) he can get more rest is hard. I’ve spent most of my showers (that I haven’t shared with my 2 year old) a puddle on the floor crying.

“I haven’t done enough today.”

“What is wrong with me.”

“I miss my husband.”

“I miss Gage.”

“Was I too hard on Gage today?”

“Did I spend quality time with Gage? With Easton?”

“Am I making the right choices for my kids?”

“Am I doing everything I can to make this house a home for my kids and my husband?”

“Am I serving my husband?”

“Are my kids healthy?”

“Oh gosh, they’re not getting sick are they?”

“Why did my big boy stop sleeping through the night? Will he ever sleep again?”

” Will I ever sleep again?”

“Will I ever look like anything other than a sleep deprived zombie again?”

“How many more episodes of Blaze and the Monster Machines can one watch before going insane?”

“Will I ever stop crying?”

But the love. The love is so much stronger. The love I feel when I look at my sleeping 2 year old or how much my heart almost bursts when he hugs my neck and kisses my face and says “love you mommer.” (His new term of endearment for me because I call him Gager.) the love I feel when I look at my newborn’s sweet face or feel him snuggle up into my neck and fall asleep. The complete and utter love I feel when I see the excitement my husband and my two year old have when they see each other after a long day. The way my husband loves on and hugs and plays with Gage. The way he lays Easton on his chest to rest or cooes and talks to him and rubs his little belly as he’s laying on the floor. The rare, but oh so sweet moments when Gage loves on his new brother.

It’s not easy. I’m learning even more to depend on the Lord for my strength and to get me through each day.

It’s messy. It’s exhausting. Sometimes it’s lonely. But our home is full of so much love. And some day I’m going to look back and miss the toys scattered around the house, and the endless amount of bottles and laundry to wash, and sharing my showers with a two year old, and the sweet baby snuggles I get after each night feeding…

Xo,

Amber

P.S.

This morning I saw this video and blog post on Facebook as I was laying in bed with a newborn on my chest and a toddler clinging to my waste as he had all night. I hadn’t even been remotely asleep since around midnight. And this video just hit me like. Ton of bricks.

https://www.facebook.com/HerViewFromHome/videos/1749770068377073/

He Ordered Pizza

Weird title, I know, but hear me out.

December, so far has been insanely busy for me this year. I’ve been out of town at meetings or trainings at least once a week since December 1 rolled around. During the weeks I’ve only been out of town one day- I’ve had to stay late for one reason or another at least two or three nights. On top of all that -training someone new to take care of my office’s financials, preparing everything I can possibly think of, down to the smallest details for a new secretary coming to take my place, and trying to transition to my new position in my office. At 7.5 months pregnant I’m beginning to feel the exhaustion (and slight panic) set in.

This past Monday was… well… a Monday. From start to finish. We won’t get into those details, but after work was over I needed to run and buy groceries. I called Nick to see if he had any special requests. While I was in the store he shot a text letting me know he ordered pizza and to stop by and pick it up before I headed home.

He probably has no idea how elated I was that he did that. I did thank him multiple times… but the relief I felt that I wasn’t going to have to get home late, put away groceries, and find something to cook for supper was the biggest relief in that moment. whether he did it to be thoughtful or if he did it because Pizza Hut pizza sounded good, I don’t know- I don’t care. I am appreciative.

Guys, it’s the little things that make a marriage. Show appreciation for the small things. Pick up on the cues and do those small things for your spouse when you can. It’s the small things that make up your life. It’s the small things that, combined, make the big things. Don’t let those small moments pass too often, you never know when you’re going to make that person’s whole entire week with just a tiny little gesture.

Hit Them First- My Unpopular Opinion

Bullying is not okay.

No one should ever have to go through some of the hateful and hurtful things kids (and adults) say and do to each other.

Parents should not allow their children to bully other kids.

With all those, I agree but…

I’m gonna be the unpopular person- but here it goes… 

I disagree with parents who film their children after having been bullied and post it on social media. I don’t think you’re doing it to raise awareness- I feel like it’s a “let’s see how many shares and comments I can get on social media” stunt. There. I said it.

I’m sorry, but I just don’t see how holding your cell phone in your child’s face during his or her most vulnerable moments and asking them to “speak out” is really going to help anyone in the long run… and you can’t really think it’s going to stop the crap from continuing. Those bullies saw that post. You think they saw that and thought “Oh, I made him cry. I better stop!” More than likely- the answer is no. Kids are mean. People are mean. Sometimes, life in general is mean.

I’ll admit, I’m no parenting expert. In fact, most days I’m barely capable of handling my own affairs, let alone those of the tiny human I am also in charge of. But I just can’t see that if or when that day comes when my sweet boy comes home in tears with bruises on his back.. or his heart, because some boys in the locker room decided to pick on him or say mean things to him, that the first thing that comes to mind is “I’m gonna grab my camera and document this moment.” No. I, like to think that I will scoop him into a hug and let him talk about it… if he wants to… and then I’m going to give him the same advice my dad gave me.

“Don’t you dare go picking fights, but if it comes down to that; hit ’em firstest, hit ’em mostest, and hit ’em hardest.”  And then we are going to go to the school and inform the teachers and principal of the situation at hand and inform them that if nothing can be done about said bullies, my son has full permission to defend himself.

I’m not a violent person. I’m not a fighter. I never have been. But when I was in high school and was having some trouble with a group of girls constantly on a mission to ruin my life I remember that feeling of hopelessness. But I also remember the night it all came to a head and the first time I heard that little diddy from my dad.

My best friend was spending the night. My mom had taken my brother somewhere so my dad was charged with watching me. Around 10:30 the phone calls and texts from these girls started coming in. They wanted to fight. There were 5 of them and 2 of us. At first my friend and I were “preparing for battle” (putting boots on, and maybe some rings or something.. I mean whatever a 9th grader could think of to use as self protection.) Then I got a message on my phone (an unintentional recording on their part) talking about bringing rakes. *Nope. That’s it. I’m out. I don’t care how stupid I look, my dad is getting involved now.* By this time it was around midnight. The girls (driven by a college aged sister) showed up at my house but were met by my dad instead, who told them they needed to go on home.

I believe this was the first time my parents knew of any problems I was having at school. We filed a sheriff’s report (I had the texts and message recordings on my phone) and my parents talked to the school. But my parents are old fashioned in the sense that they believe the best way to solve a personal problem is to do it personally. During that time in my life I was meek and quiet for the most part, but my dad quoted the old book “Of Mice and Men” me time after time while the drama persisted. “Don’t start a fight, but if it’s coming to that, hit ’em firstest, hit ’em mostest, and hit ’em hardest.” (no my dad doesn’t have that terrible of grammar.) The teachers and principal were given a heads up of that permission I was given.

Nothing ever actually came of that couple months of girl drama. But the fact that my parents stood back on the sidelines but were there to listen to me- and also gave me the permission to stand up for myself has stuck with me since. As I’ve grown older I hold that little quote close to me. Not in the sense that I actually think I’m going to go hit someone because they made me mad- but I have that permission to stand up for myself. Verbally or physically. I don’t have to go through life scared of others- scared of the “mean” people. I don’t have to put up with crap I truly don’t deserve. I have permission and the capability to demand better.

Now, with that permission and realization comes responsibility. You can’t turn into the bully. Stay true to yourself. Stay true to what you believe in. Live an honest life. Know when to defend yourself and when to let the rain roll off your back and move on down the road. Not every action requires a reaction- but know the ones that do. Teach your kids the same.

Give your child permission to defend his or herself. Don’t just shove a phone in his face and record him in his vulnerability. Accept and harbor that vulnerable side, but encourage that strength- because like I said above. Life is mean.

Life is rough and if a man’s gonna make it he’s gotta be tough.

-Johnny Cash

Urgent Care Revelations

So, last Friday I had to take my sick kiddo to Urgent Care. I HATE Urgent Care- but I won’t rant about that today. I tend to pride myself on being a nice person- but I had a real truth bomb hit me that day sitting in the waiting room. (for 4 freaking hours, but we won’t get into that.)

I marched into that clinic in my typical (though I didn’t realize it until that day) snotty fashion. (Opening the door with a Wet Ones wipe) then proceeding to sanitize my hands and Gage’s hands after signing in- finding the least populated and cleanest looking area to sit… not letting Gage or myself touch A N Y T H I N G other than our rears to the seat. (quite a tough task for a two year old) The place looks dirty… and it’s full of sick people. It’s gross and I hate being there. While I was submersed in my discontent for having to be there, of course I was people watching. One of my favorite activities.

There was a couple sitting a few seats away from me that particularly caught my interest. They had sat nearest the outlet so they could charge their cell phones. They were both submersed in facebook videos (and playing them much too loudly for a public waiting room) They were shabbily dressed and just over all didn’t look well kept. I couldn’t help but listen to their conversation when it turned to having children.

“I wouldn’t mind trying again and having a boy this time.” the woman said and the man agreed… after they were talking about living with one of them’s parents.

OH LAWD, no, no you do not need more kids! Where is your child now? Probably in state custody by the looks and sounds of you two. 

I couldn’t help it. My internal dialogue went nuts… and not in a good way.

Pretty soon a cute little girl comes out of the little playroom where there was a T.V., probably 10 or 11 years old, and hugged both of them. They were asking how she was feeling, and promising they would be seeing the doctor soon. She asked the dad to braid her hair and he gave it a shot- the mom then had to step in and try to show him (for the millionth time, by the sounds of it) They were working on times tables with the little girl and there was genuine love and concern there.

They were happy.

The child was happy.

…and clean and well taken care of.  She wasn’t dressed in the trendiest or nicest clothing, but it was appropriate for the weather, her size, etc…and she was comfortable.

She was loved, she was wanted, and she loved and wanted those two people as well.

I haven’t been able to stop thinking about those people all weekend. As I said earlier, I tend to take pride in the fact that I am a genuinely nice and caring person. Apparently I’m not as nice as I like to think I am. As the old adage goes “don’t judge a book by it’s cover.” I’ve started paying closer attention to what I allow myself to think, and I’m not nearly as kind as I once thought.

I’m working on that. I’m praying for eyes of Jesus and not eyes of my own, torn and sinful nature. I’m praying for more compassion.

I encourage you to take a look at yourself. to slow down and listen and actually pay attention to your thoughts sometime. You may find you need to do the same.

 

 

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourself in compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. 

Colossians 3:12