December 31, 2014

this, the last of 2014

Oh hello old blog. How are you these days?

Clearly I'm struggling to find time to visit you, which I am sad about.  I'm stealing a moment today though because it's one of my least favorite holidays yet, I feel the need to commemorate. I should point out though, that even if it not my favorite holiday, this week is pretty much my favorite week of the year!

Those 5 sentences took twenty minutes to complete. I'm answering my own "why can't I seem to find time to blog?" question.

Someone needed a sandwich, two sandwiches and can't find the peanut butter, a rolly polly girl is about ready to roll right into the rocking chair, the dog stole part of a sandwich.

My hands are busy these days.

I know that in a few months (years?) it will feel less like I'm putting out fires and less like survival mode and so I'm doing my best to breathe through this season where...

getting kids to rest time and moving the rocking chair. . .

where at the end of the day I have no idea what, if anything, was accomplished beyond five people mostly getting their 4 basic needs met and some kids are getting some schooling in. Which, really, is all I need to be doing, except I do have hobbies that keep me sane. Saner.

rolly is tooting on the floor. . . not a toot. . .

seriously kids, rest time. it's new year's eve!

This year has really been one for the books. I have mixed feelings about it being over, largely just because my kids, they are growing up so very, very fast. The kids love to play 'how old will I be when...' when Juniper is 4, when Laithe is 12, when Guthrie is 30 when, when you are 60 and I get the appeal, but man the answer catches in my throat almost every time. My gasp is tempered with excitement for them though; growing up, it can be just amazing.

So, yes, this year, this year that flew by and contained so much love and laughter and tears and heartache and oh the growing. Contained the ages 0, 4, 8, & 36 and our 12th year of marriage, our 3rd child, the loss of a beloved pet and I know that it really was a good year. A beautiful year.

And yet,
and yet,
for me? As I sit here looking over the past 12 months I have a profound sense of relief that this year is done.

This will, obviously, always be the year that Juniper was born, but it will also always be the year that I was pregnant with her. I feel like I have a choice to make in thinking about this third pregnancy. I can be angry with a side of grief that I was treated like I was by our healthcare practitioners, that my two prior pregnancies and my age etc had led us to where it felt like they were our best option - and maybe they were our best option. That I had to constantly defend and explain my choices and desires. That I was constantly reminded that I was "old." That I was in a position where someone felt it was appropriate to tell me that if my child died it would be my fault.

Or I can be grateful that I am not 20. Twenty and overwhelmed and without the foundation that can only come from age and knowing yourself well. I know there are 20 year olds who are rock solid, but truly it has taken me this long to get where I am. To be confident and sure of myself and my choices. To giggle inappropriately when bullied. To take your shit, but not keep it. To know that it will take me years to get to where I want to be as far as my births go, emotionally and mentally and to know that I have years. That it's a worthwhile journey to heal from these experiences. That being honest that these experiences necessitate healing does not in any way, shape, or form have anything to do with the fact that I feel lucky to have had them. I can be grateful that I had/have a partner that stood by me firmly without question. I can be grateful that I had two older kids who I could be an example for. And the support I had for this pregnancy, it was incredible.

So, there it is. I actively choose that second path, even as I let myself explore the first because I think that's important too. I didn't choose a word for 2014 as so many other people did. I still don't know what it would be. I know I respect myself more in December than I had the occasion to in January, so that's something. Though the route to get there is not one I would have chosen.

About a week after Juniper was born John and I were in the living room and I turned to him and said, 'is it horrible that I'm so relieved all of that is over?' He said no, that he could tell I was relieved, that it was like a 50 lb weight had been lifted off my shoulders. That's kind of how I feel about this year. And I have so enjoyed this year, it's been amazing, but man I am so glad it's over.

Happy New Year Friends! I wish all the very best things for you and yours!

October 14, 2014

i know it's already fall

I'm still a little bit holding on to summer. This was a big one for us. It was lovely and hard and I think all of us grew by leaps and bounds.

Sometimes I think older siblings get a little eclipsed when there's a new little one. Maybe not eclipsed entirely, but a lot of their identity gets funneled into being an older brother or sister. There are so many "how do you like having a baby in the house?" "how do you like being an older brother" questions - which are good and important and necessary, but it doesn't leave a lot of room for everything else.

I want to always remember that this was the summer Guthrie taught herself to read and became comfortable reading aloud to other people - not just her brother, though that was such an important step. She slowly, sometimes painfully, makes her way through short chapter books these days and almost always happily reads Laithe whatever he brings her. Bedtime usually ends with me reading a chapter from a longer book to both kids and then spending a few minutes cuddling after lights out. These days though she waits until Laithe is asleep and then requests to read one or two more books to herself. I feel like Marnie in Little Women when I kiss her head and admonish that she not stay up too late.

This was also the summer she started to really think outside of herself. She's always been so sensitive and empathetic to others, but she has this new desire to help others and to see needs that could be met. Many evenings she will ask if she can do anything to help me. This has also been the summer of needing privacy, needing some time alone to recharge and be inside her own head. She's spent hours drawing in her notebooks and I watch how sometimes the transition away from whatever is going on in her mind is difficult. I'll admit it's a little frustrating sometimes, but oh I remember those days! When I was so involved in my play that I stepping out if it was just the worst! She spends time quietly on the porch with her pocket knife sharpening sticks and I want to guard that time and space for her.

For Laithe I will remember how much he changed physically. Gone is my tiny boy with baby chub still hanging around. He lengthened and stretched until it's easier to see a six pack than a belly. He's always been so intensely physical and this summer was all about football and dancing and rough and tumble. His first trip to the ER for staples in his head (just a few, after a tumble down our top flight of stairs) and I steel myself that it will likely be the first of a few if he's anything like his father. He's intentional with his movements, but I've noticed that in the right environment he'll perceive the risk and then run towards it with all his might. Last summer with his mop of blond hair he reminded me so much of Dennis the Menace, but this year he's full on Peter Pan with an impishness I'm discovering is a personality trait as much as it is his age. Oh he makes us laugh! He tells terrible jokes!

I always knew he loved music, but I guess I didn't realize that there is a constant stream of song in his head. This summer there was so much singing! I occasionally sneak videos of him singing while involved in another activity. I love it.

Though she needs a break from him, Laithe has such a strong desire to be with his sister. She's as much his sidekick as he is hers. I worry sometimes about him carving out an identity separate from her, but he's got years and years to do that. In the past couple months I have also watched him start to really play with other kids, not just next to them. He's beginning to engage with some of our homeschool friends instead of just sitting by them while everyone does their own thing. He comes home from park dates with stories of shenanigans I didn't even realize were happening which makes me very happy for him -- even when they do involve decaying animals!

Both kids have become so independent. I find myself doing the dance that all parents do - to not hover, to let them go out of my sight at the park (within family rules), to help me in the kitchen with real tools and dangerous objects. Some days it's tough, but honestly most days it's a relief and a joy to watch them move comfortably outside arms length.

I have amazing kids. They are such a gift. And I'm so honored to be their mother! For sure it was a summer to remember.

October 11, 2014

one month, two month, three months old

This baby girl of ours! She is just the sweetest. Three months have passed since she made her entrance. And, if it's possible, we love her even more than when she arrived.

That first month, it really was full of sweetness. The five of us learned how to function with a newborn and spent so much time together. 

The second month, well, that one was a bit rougher, if I'm honest. You had a lot of tears that month and I got a little nervous you were taking after your sister a bit with the rough adjustment to the world, or you know colic. 
Life got back to normal with school and work and everyday life. No less sweet, but this mom got 
a bit of a rude awakening, or something. 

And now sweetness you are three months old and the days are just slipping by with you growing and changing every day. Your smiles are the best and your laughs and squeals, oh my goodness! Your brother and sister take such good care of you. They love to make you giggle. You are a flexible baby thankfully with easily dissuaded tears. As Guthrie says, I just love your little personality that's coming out every day!

Happy Three Month Birthday Juniper Leigh! 


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