Friday, December 27, 2013

A Christmas Video

Christmas 2013

I had high hopes.

Last year was the Christmas of the flu.  I was determined to achieve health.


This year, a toddler full of life and questions and vocabulary.  A baby's first season, full of all the magic potential.

But for some reason I was off this month.

Yes, we had some extra things on our plates this year.  But nothing insane.

It was the year of the reality check.

See, I am an imagination, romance, magic, nostalgia, dreamy kind of gal.  And when I plan things for my family, it's often through that lens.  So whether it was trying to sit through one Christmas movie,  making it through one uninterrupted verse of a Christmas song, tantrum free and silently gazing at Christmas lights through the car window, reverently reading through the Christmas scriptures, or the entire family joyfully participating in decking our halls...a certain toddler and baby kept messing up my plans.

Apparently they were not interested in my list of how to achieve Christmas cheer.

And quite frankly it was bumming me out.

For example, our tree.

Last year we had a fun little trip to the local tree farm where Lucy picked out a tree and we cut it down and hauled it home.  I just knew it would be even more special this year....

Either Steven was working late, Lulah was sleeping, Lucy didn't feel good, or I hadn't showered in 5 days.

10 days before Christmas, 'Babe, swing by home depot on your way home and get us a tree.'

A tree.  A tree with 10 ornaments hanging because that's what was achieved in the 2 1/2 year old's attention span, and that's the amount of unbreakables we had to hang.

We didn't take a Christmas Eve picture, we didn't leave cookies for Santa, we never even managed to get a family picture together to send out a card.  A Christmas card for Lulah's first Christmas.

But can I tell you something?

This Christmas??

It exceeded every expectation I had.

I woke up to the sweetest, simplest, most thankful Christmas mornings yet.

I woke with a heart full and light with love and thanks for good and thoughtful friends, thanks for the unconditional love of family, thanks for a man who loves me when I'm unlovable, and thanks for daughters...daughters...I have daughters!

And a Savior.  A Savior born to save me.  A Savior born because of a love that is faithful and all consuming...for me. 

I spent my simple, quiet Christmas morning with a man full of generosity and strength, a toddler so enthralled with the sweetness of the morning she had to be encouraged to actually open her gifts, and a baby who just loves to smile.

So thank you to those who sent us a card.  We received them and we loved them and you are dear to us.

From our family to yours,

a late but still Merry, Christmas wish for love, joy, and peace...

Friday, December 20, 2013

Dear Lulah {month 9}

Dear Lulah,

9 months in, 9 months out.

What a difference only 9 months can make.

You now have 4 teeth total. Your two bottom middle and two top side teeth.  Fangs, just like your sister's came in.

You've also got 5 days of crawling under your belt.  The first day or two you moved at the hilariously slow speed of a three-toed sloth.  It was pretty stinking cute.  And it also brought me some relief.  You are so much more content to be on the ground playing now that you can move.  However, the relief was short lived.  Your speed and curiosity have begun to exhilarate.  And a curious little girl you are.  There will have to be some changes made in this household and pronto.

Lulah, the last couple of months have challenged me.

Learning to balance the needs and wants of two very different individuals.  Just thinking I had a pretty good handle on a routine, when someone decides to totally change it up on me.

I fight to remember to slow down and soak up the moments of your first Christmas season.

But also not feeling like a failure when I have days I don't slow down and soak up moments, but rather just try and make it through them with everyone in one piece.  Remembering it's not so much plans, activities and events that will be remembered, but a happy, loving, laughing, patient Mama that will be.

It can be hard.

But it is so good too.  I mean really good.  And I know that's what I will hold on to.

I thought I would share something I wrote two nights ago (the day you actually turned 9 months).

Tonight I was tired.  I had plenty of things I needed to work on once you girls were in bed, yet my body was screaming for sleep as well.  Your Papa Daddy (what Lucy now calls your father) had to work late.  So just us girls.  We all seemed tired, but nobody wanted to go to sleep.  Ready for my 3rd attempt to get you down, I got your sister settled on the couch watching Charlie Brown and went to lay down with you in bed.  This time didn't take too long.  Finally, I thought.  One down. 

PJ's on, books read, I take your sister to her room to lay down.  She sings me a new rendition of Jesus Loves Me that she wrote.  She throws her arms around my neck and tells me she had a great day.  I agree with her.  Then she starts moving and twisting and I ask her what in the world she's doing.  "I trying something new Mama."  After she settles back still, I realize she's laying with her feet on her pillow and her head by my knees.  "I just tryin' this out Mama."  Of course she is.  Who doesn't try this at some point?  Helping her back to her pillow, 15 minutes later and she's asleep as well.

Before I get up, a thought hits me.  Lying there thinking about the time it takes me to do bedtimes and adding up the minutes that could have been working on things, and wishing you girls would just fall asleep faster...and then I thought, man, I get to lay down with both of my babies.  I get to hold my daughters as they fall asleep.  I get to hear their sounds and learn their movements as their minds and bodies unplug for the night.  Who wouldn't count that as joy?

Lulah, I do.  I count it all joy.  Maybe not in each moment.  I'm working on that.  But I can tell you that when my head hits my pillow, it's joy.  All of it.  The hard and challenging and exhausting, it's joy.  Mothering my two daughters, it's joy.

And baby girl, the reason we can have peace, hope, and joy in every circumstance and at all times?  We will celebrate His coming in only 5 days.

I can't wait to tell you His story.


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Dear Lulah {month 8}

Dear Lulah,

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day.

It's been almost 10 days since you turned 8 months.

It didn't slip by me.  I didn't forget.

Each night, the house quiet, you girls in bed.  I would sit down, eager to reflect on this last month.  A sentence or two typed and you would begin to make yourself heard.  Grinning and taking the hint, I would close my laptop and instead of writing about your 8th month, I would just surrender to what has become your needs in this season.

Your 8th month has certainly been a Mama month.  We are BFF's right now.  You no longer want to be laid down in your cradle to drift off to sleep by yourself.  You want me to lay down with you.  Though not very convenient, I really am enjoying it.  You aren't wanting to nurse to sleep, you just like to look at me and reach out and touch some part of my face or arm.  You simultaneously suck your thumb, sigh, and chuckle as you drift off to sleep.  Sometimes, in the rare circumstance that big sister is content and entertained, I sneak in a little snooze with you.

You've gained 2 teeth since last I wrote.  Bringing your grand total up to...two.  Your first bottom tooth appeared the day before Halloween.  Your second one broke through about a week later after a day spent at a friend's farm where you gnawed on carrots and radishes straight from the ground.

Speaking of gnawing...YOU LOVE TO EAT.  I mean, it is hilarious.  We chop up any vegetable that can roast down soft enough for you and you have just recently starting inhaling beans.  The only problem is that your enthusiasm is not reserved just for food.   You enjoy picking and pullling and eating rug fibers.  And every time we sit down to nurse I end up finding a piece of chewed up cardboard or paper that you have apparently been sucking and chewing on for who knows how long!  I'm talking every time.  This whole 'everything goes in the mouth' thing is actually new to me.   Once you become mobile, things are probably going to start getting very interesting.

Mobile?  Not quite.  Bless your heart those big ol' thighs are making it tough for you.  You like to rock on your hands and knees but when you're intrigued by something out of reach, you flatten onto your belly and stretch and reach as far as you can.  Now if we're talking just've got some moves!  You rock and thrust and shake in true beat keeping fashion.  It is hilariously cute.  Just this last week you've even learned to clap.  And I'm not even going to try and explain how you do it because I could never do it justice. I'll just have to get it on video because it seriously might be the cutest thing I've ever seen.  You are so awesome.

There was also this one other tiny little thing that happend this last month.

Mamamamamamama and Dadadadadadadada.

I forget how incredible it is to start hearing the first sounds of a little voice that will be chatting up a storm this time next year.

Lulah, there is definitely a lot going on.  And this last month has been one of the first months where I have felt really challenged and inadequate at handling the needs of two.  But baby girl, as with all things hard, there has also been growth.  And with that growth, joy.

Thankful for the days you just want to be held and you won't nap unless you're in my arms.  Thankful for when you are yelling at me because I can not get food on your tray fast enough.  Thankful for the times when Lucy makes you laugh hysterically one minute and then has you screaming mad the next.  Thankful for all of those hard times, because it means I have you.

Thanking God that you are you.

I love you my love.


And this treasure...

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


Pieces of our Fall thus far.

And the amazing little souls that I get to spend it with.

She's just awesome...

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Dear Lulah {month 7}

Dear Lulah,

Friday night, October 18, we went out to a friend's farm and built a fire.  We roasted hot dogs and marshmallows.  We ate chili and humus and pumpkin biscuits.  We gathered with old friends and new friends.  We talked and laughed.  We wandered through rows of vegetables.  We held babies and watched children.  We marveled at the size of the moon.

Someone asked me how old you were.

"She'll be 7 months in just a few days."

Whoops.  We were unknowingly celebrating your 7 months with us.

Oh sweet girl!

This month has been a month of transitions for you.  That shift that moves you toward baby-child.  You are more and more stable.  You like to go from a sitting position to your belly, but one leg usually gets stuck folded under you and then you get frustrated.

You have developed a good ol' fashioned, ticked-off scream.  It is impressive to say the least.  Certainly catching your sister off guard when your personal space has been invaded one too many times.

You started eating real foods.  So far on the list:  banana, apple, sweet potato and pumpkin.  You have such an eagerness for food.  You prefer when we just give you a chunk of something you can hold and eat yourself, but when you see us with a spoon you open your mouth and stick out your tongue like a little bird.

You've yet to get any teeth, you still smile with your whole face, and your laughter could bring about world peace.

Lulah, every day is a celebration that I have you.

7 months baby girl.