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.