Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.

Most people love Christmas. The presents, the family traditions, the memories they’ve made since their childhood, and all the holiday decor.

But I love thanksgiving. It’s always been the big celebrated holiday in my family. I’m from a big family so it was always fun to get all the siblings together and feast on the big meal that my mom had done most of the preparation for. She made sure we had plenty of food and pies and made all the siblings and usually a few friends welcome. It was never fancy or well decorated but we always had fun.

And we always remembered the many things we were grateful for.

Aside from the sentiments of thanksgivings, I find the theme of the holiday refreshing. Rather then being all about what kind of gift one is getting, it’s about being thankful for what we already have. It’s so good to see people from everywhere become aware of all the blessings they have. So many people spend the whole month of November listing things they are grateful for and I think that does a soul good!

“It is not happy people who are grateful, it is grateful people who are happy.”

For my younger years we never did anything for Christmas so I don’t have those sentimental memories or the joys of being a child getting gifts. Now that I have my own kids and even more extended family, I find Christmas a little more stressful then I like. I’m not the one of the kids getting gifts…I’m one adults giving gifts. It’s hard enough for me to figure out what to get people for their birthdays, but now I have to get everyone another gift! Am I the only one who’s no good at gifts? What do you get people? And the money spent….Christmas takes a blow to anyone who’s on a tight budget and trying to save money.

Oh well, I definitely enjoy decorating the tree and baking cookies with my little boy who just loves to cook with me nowadays.

But back to my thankfulness. I’m so thankful for my babies. Despite that this isn’t how I would have planned my life and that taking care of kids can be so hard, I really love my babies. They do bring us so much joy.

But more then anything I’m thankful for this man who is the best friend, husband, and daddy anyone could ask for. We’ve been through some stuff in life but we’ve been together through it. And I wouldn’t want anyone else.

(Jackson helping his “Haddy” make a new tabletop. We pretty much always have some homemade project going one around our house. )

Ella Charlotte

My Beautiful baby girl arrived Thursday morning after a hard labor of 13 hours. She was a healthy 7lbs and 13 oz, but is quite a tall baby at 22″ long. I can see her physique growing up to be like her daddy’s side of the family, where even the girls tower several inches above me. But that’s okay. This little girl is so perfect; and we are completely smitten.

Even big brother adores her. He keeps kissing at her saying “aww, dee dee is cute!”

Today is my first day alone taking care of a toddler and infant. I foresee lots of movies in our afternoon. 😉

Night off

My baby spent his first night away from me…😭
My husband and I had our 3rd anniversary this week, but due to work had to wait till the weekend to celebrate. We decided to send Jackson to spend the night at his grandparents for the first time. There were a couple of reasons for doing it now…
1: we both really wanted a night off. We've had them babysit him before, but we thought this time it would be nice to sleep in a little bit and take it easy in the morning.
2: I'm pretty sure he'll have to stay the night/s with them when baby Ella is born, so I wanted to see how he did before then. I know if I waited for him to spend his first night away until I was actually in labor, I'd be worried about him the whole time and that is added stress that I didn't want.

He did amazing. I know it's pretty normal for babies younger then him to spend nights away, but he's so attached to me I was a little worried. He's slammed the door in his daddy's face before because he only wanted to see me first thing in the morning. I wasn't sure how he was going to do without waking up to me. I know, my first time mom-ness is showing through.
But he did great. He was a little sad at first, but ended up have a great time with his aunties and getting thoroughly spoiled. And even though I'm slightly sad that he can get along without me, I'm so happy that he had a good time and that his aunts and grandparents were able to bond with him. They just adore him.

And Ben and I had a good time. It was so great to spend some good quality time together. Life has been so tough lately, it was nice to take an evening off, relax, stuff ourselves with sushi, and pour out to each other a little. Reaffirming that marrying each other was the best decision that either of us has ever made was so reassuring too. Life may be hard, but it's so much better with the right person at your side.

Toddler Summer Activities

I've found that the busier I keep my energetic 2 year old, the better he behaves. Letting him get bored at this age just leads to a lot of whining and messes and driving mamma crazy.
For several reasons I'm also trying to keep his screen time to a minimum. Which is harder to do then I like. It's just so convenient to turn on Paw Patrol (he's obsessed with Paw Patrol right now) when I need to get things done. And even when I do find a good activity for him he always wants me to do it with him. Guess I shouldn't complain about him loving to hang out with me.
But I'm all ears for fun, inexpensive toddler activities!
Here are a few we've come up with.

Chalk: I'm so happy to have a (small) patio out back that we can cover in chalk drawings. I definitely want to encourage creativity in him. Those scribbles you see in the below photo are actually tractors. 😉

Popsicles: wait, do popsicles count as an activity? Well, they definitely help with happy moods.

Play dough: he has been very determined to learn colors lately, and play dough has been a hit. He loves the naming the colors more then actually playing with it.

Water: water activities are way more messy, which is why it's great having a fenced in backyard. He loves playing with the hose and thinks the nozzle is a water gun. This of course means mamma is going to get soaked too…you should hear his evil little laugh.
I filled up a bowl full of water balloons for him to play with while I made dinner the other evening. He loved them…but unfortunately they only last for about 5 seconds. 😏 He sure had fun throwing them though.

I also got him some bright pony beads and pipe cleaner/fuzzy sticks to string them on. Again, he really loves the colors.

Focus on the positive

My last post was one I had written a little off and on and then just dumped it all out in one bad afternoon. I feel like it pretty much sums up a lot of life lately…yet I hate how negative it is. I don't like being the one who just dumps out their aweful days on the internet; everyone else has their own bad days. 

 So why don't I just hit the delete button?

Because it's reality. It's the realist reality of my life right now. While my life may not all be days filled with poop messes and migraines, it certainly is a lot of it. 

 But since it is my reality, I'm working hard to change my attitude about it. I'm trying harder to simply be thankful for a lot of the things I do have and the few things that are going "right." Thankfulness can make a big difference in perspective. 

 So in attempt to be thankful and focus on the positive, here is a bright spot in my Monday.

 

I'm really looking forward to having a newborn again. I'm especially thrilled that we're having a girl. The newborn stage is my absolute favorite. They're so tiny, so dependent, so perfect, so content, so snuggly. I just love it.

I'm having a blast collecting these tiny adorable things for her. I've always wanted a girl…dressing her is just the cherry on top.

Stripes and floral may be my favorite combo right now. This little outfit I'm working on for her is just going so right!

Ugh😍 Those polka dots are everything!

My Struggles 

Pregnancy sucks. It really does. I hate admitting it because I know so many people who just love being pregnant, or at least can name half a dozen things they love about pregnancy. But not me. 

 I thought I was alone in this until I recently stumbled on this blog post that was so relatable for me. There’s something so nice about seeing someone else put into words all the misery I’ve been feeling. 

 I can hardly say anything anywhere  about how miserable I am without offending someone because I’m “lucky I can get pregnant so easy,” or I’m  “going to miss it,” or I should “enjoy it while I can.” 

  But right now it doesn’t matter. My head hurts, I’m tired, I have at least 9 more weeks of pregnancy, and I’ve cleaned up pee, poop, a room covered in baby powder, and a makeup mess…all from my toddler. The day isn’t nearly over yet. 

There’s a lot of people dealing with infertility and it seems like their voices are the loudest and most easily offended. They don’t want to hear that pregnancy and motherhood sucks or how ungrateful I am to have what they can’t have.  Don’t get me wrong, I feel for them. I really do. It really sucks having dreams and hopes taken away and destroyed. No matter what those dreams are. Whether it’s to be a mom right away and have so many babies and get pregnant with no problem, or wanting a time away from babies to enjoy life and be a little adventurous without having to change diapers and put up breakfast fights first thing in the morning. 

  So while I’m laying in bed with a migraine and morning sickness all day and trying to raise a toddler, hating every moment of pregnancy, struggling with motherhood and the guilt I feel for not loving it, don’t tell me to enjoy it while I can (all while posting articles on how inconsiderate super fertile people are telling you to enjoy your time without kids. 🙄) Just because my struggle is the opposite of yours doesn’t minimize my struggles any more then it does yours. 

I’m sorry to rant or hate on your struggles…it’s just been peeving me lately. 

 

 I know I need to be thankful for what I have and make the most of life no matter what I’m struggling with or what phase we’re in. It just makes it so hard when no one else seems to get it…When everyone else seems to have that pregnancy glow and you’re experiencing depression which you’ve never even known before.  
“Be kind to everyone, you never know what struggle someone is going though.” 
 When Ben and I got married, we planned to wait a few years to have kids. I had just spent the last year (since my mom had passed away) putting dinner on the table every night for my large family of 8, doing all the laundry, helping my sisters keep up with house cleaning, and helping teach my youngest brother school. I was a little burnt out on taking care of family and was greatly looking forward to a simple job, fun with my husband, and hopefully getting to enjoy life some. 

Jackson was an unexpected oops 2 months after our wedding that threw me head first into reality. 

  Ella wasn’t planned either, although I knew we’d probably end up having another baby sooner then I’d like because we wanted Jackson to have a sibling closer in age. 

 I love my kids to death, don’t mistake me. (That’s why I keep mothering and not giving them up for adoption. 😉) And I really am looking forward to another newborn. Gosh I love the newborn stage! But it still makes me want to scream into a pillow when I think of spending the next several years going through all the same stages that’s I’ve already gone through with Jackson. From changing sleeping routines to teething to lack of sleep to staying with a babysitter for the first time…and everything in between. 

  I try so hard to focus on the positive. I know happy people are the thankful ones. 

So much of the time it feels like the good days (or moments, since we seem to have every mood swing possible multiply times a day) are outweighed by all the bad ones. It’s so hard to stay on top and not drown in mess and stress and tiredness. 

 I fail so much. I can see all my failings so clearly. So many fails. How do I raise my child to be the a good hearted, thankful, happy man of integrity when I can’t even set an example of gratitude? How do I put my husband  and his needs first when I have clean up after a toddler and the miserableness of pregnancy wears me down so much? How can I be a decent Christian witness when I’m walking through the store trying not to swear and go insane from the screaming tantrum my little brat is throwing? 

I’ve heard it doesn’t get easier, you just get stronger. But so often it feels like it’s all just dragging me under, making me weaker. 

Is this really the rest of my life? 

Sometimes it’s so hard to survive. 

Stress

 Life has seemed crazy stressful lately…I mean it always is. When your husband works so many hours at a super stressful job, you’re taking care of a toddler, pregnant and preparing for another baby, you and your husband never get to spend much time together doing anything you enjoy due to life being so busy; that’s enough stress to last a while. But I’m always good at not letting it get to me. I chill when I need to, let the dishes go, let the child have too much screen time when I need to get other things done, or some days letting every thing go just to keep calm and relaxed. I’ve always hated stressing out and love to find the balance of what works for us. Letting go is always a better option then being uptight  and miserable, in my opinion. 

 But this past week, that’s been different. I think it really started getting to me when the weight of all the new bills we have to pay became real. Buying a home, new car, buying baby stuff, etc.  Monday morning I discovered that the midwife bill was going to have to be paid much sooner then I had anticipated, add a migraine and lack of sleep to that and you might find yourself crying off your makeup while applying it. 

(Nap time for this beautiful but crazy child. Aka, Mamma’s secret chocolate time.) 
 I think hormones are playing a part in it though. Emotional hormones are an entirely new ground for me. I’ve always been steady in that area… no crazy PMSing, no pregnancy mood swings with Jackson, just level headed as I always try to be. But this pregnancy has felt different. Especially since I’ve hit the 3rd trimester. I’ve wondered if having a girl has affected my hormones differently. I know every pregnancy is going to be different, but I feel like maybe having a girl is some of the reason for how different this time is. 

 Anyway, tomorrow is Friday which means this week is almost over! A new week means one week closer to this pregnancy being over! I can’t express how much I’m done being pregnant. 

 (Pictures above is one of my current favorite snacks…roasted chickpeas. {along with some sewing for a little diy project} I’m mildly obsessed with them lately. Also watermelon. I eat it by the half. Thankfully I don’t feel too guilty for either since they are both inexpensive and pretty good for you. Now if I can just keep myself from buying all the donuts I’m currently craving…) 

 Now on to keep myself busy cleaning this crazy messy house and working on a few projects, which I hope to have photos of soon. 

 I’ve been working on our bedroom and am so excited for the end result. I can’t wait to share some pictures. 

Moving Made Easy…

We just moved…for our third time in three years. 

 I love moving as it keeps me from cluttering up our current house and gives me the opertunity to deep clean, which would otherwise never happen. I am not a cleaner! 

Plus, I love interior decorating and a new house is like a blank canvas to me. 

However, this time is different as we now own our house and will be here a few years at least. I’m going to have to try my best to clean and declutter  without the motivation of moving. 

Here’s my insight on how moving can be easy. 😉 

Step 1.

 Know that you are going to move any time in the next year and thus, collect nothing unnessisary. 

Step 2. 

Purge your house one room at a time and get. Rid. Of. Everything! 

Step 3.

Have three amazing big brothers who help your husband load everything onto your neighbors trailer and your truck all in one morning.  

Step 4. 

Drive you parade of vehicles loaded down with stuff to your new home and get it all unloaded in one afternoon while big brothers are there to help. 

Step 5. 

Spend the next several weeks unpacking. Enjoy living in the mess! Haha 

Bonus points if you can keep your toddler from confiscating every box to play in and put his toys in. He thinks claiming a box is as simple as saying “mine!” 

Toddlers aren’t predictable 

 Last week,  I was told multiply times that I was a good mom; that I was doing such a great job with Jackson. 

 You see, we went on a long road trip. 12 hours in the car and 5 days away from home.

 And Jackson was angelic

 He didn’t cry or throw fits on the car ride up to Maryland, he barely even whined. He was happy and funny and entertaining to everyone. And most of the time he was *patient.* Even sitting over three hours for the USNA graduation. It was miraculous. 

 I’m not complaining one bit. I’m so thankful he was so good. But I’m shocked. I was definitely expecting the worse. Impatience, fits, constantly wanting out of his car seat, throwing fits and causing uproar during the long graduation and at any other time. Of course there was a little bit of trouble since he hardly napped the whole time there and didn’t sleep well at night. But overall we were so pleased with his behavior. 

 I have no idea where it came from though. Because at home he’s a pretty typical stubborn toddler. 

 The words “you’re doing a great job with that boy” had me smirking. It wasn’t any of my doing, that’s for sure. It’s all I can do to keep up with this boys moods and behavior. But when he’s this amazing I’m just going to go with it. 

 I’m getting thrown back into reality now though…especially since we’re attempting potty training this week. 😬 

We took an extra day to have a little fun before we drove back home and I’m so glad we did. We went to a little beach off the Chesapeake Bay and spent the day with friends beach bumming and paddle boarding. Paddle boarding was a first for us and we love it now. Jackson does as well. He also loves the beach and I could definitely see him growing into a beach lover. Crawling through the sand, making sand angels, digging his hand through it,  and getting it all in his hair was just the greatest fun. He didn’t want to leave. 

The aunties covered him in sand and he loved it. He had whole bunch of girls acting as his slaves and granting him his every wish. I barely had to watch him. 

Yes, prego mamma on the water. I’m so glad I got the chance to do this. Pregnancy is such a bummer for me as I rarely get to anything interesting or fun, much less feel good enough to. 

Fun was had and memories were made. I’m summary, I think the key to a successful road trip is to have the lowest expectations possible. It can only get better from there. 😉

 And gosh I love this guy. 

Naptime Struggles

Its naptime…probably the time of day I look forward to most. I hope that’s not too awful to say. Its just that this kid really wears me out. Well, both of them do, really. But especially the toddler. He always needs something. Always wants juice, always wants snacks, always wants me to hook a trailer up to his tractor, always getting mad when it comes unhooked, always wants me to help him ride a bicycle (Yeah, he’s way to small and young, but he doesn’t think so,) always needs me to play, always asking “Whats dis,” always making the biggest messes, which he doesn’t even play in after he makes them.

And then comes naptime. The 1&1/2 to 2 hours that I get silence. Quiet. Peace. Time that I get to do nothing, to watch a movie, surf the web, or, most of the time, take a nap myself. (Thanks Pregnancy.)
IMG_1693

(These Pictures were taken last week when I took the little Munchkin strawberry picking.)
IMG_1702

The Strawberry-Honey pops at the farm where we pick are to die for. So simple, refreshing, and yummy.
IMG_1736

Would you look at this kid’s big ol’ blue eyes.
IMG_1717

 

But naptime is such a struggle. Anytime he needs to go to sleep has become a struggle. He just does not want to go to bed…ever!

When he was a little bitty thing, he use to adjust to any sleep changes I made pretty quickly. Like when we moved him into his own bed in his own room. It took two night before he settled in and became use to it with no struggles. The same thing happened when I started making him nap in his own bed once a day.

But we had to transfer him to a toddler bed…aka a mattress on the floor (for now) I started laying down with him to go to sleep. Just trying to make the transition easier. Then it became a habit. And now it takes him forever to go to sleep. He just play around, needs a drink of water, needs this or that, throws fits, and it miserable. Now that the big fits have started, I’ve decided he needs to go to sleep on his own again. He’s not adjusting to it nearly as quickly as he use to. So frustrating.

But the tantrums are something that I won’t take. Especially since it seems like he’s just getting worse about it. So He’s going to have to figure it out.

Mama has to maintain some sanity somehow.