Saturday, February 27, 2016

The Darndest Things

The best things about parenting are the front-row seats we get to the life of our child. At this age, at least, we get to experience the full-throttled joys of his accomplishments and two year-old excitements, but we also are there to soothe the heartaches of social struggles, and the bumps and bruises of a toddler who doesn't slow down. Our kisses solve every problem and our smiles show him that we are there, we saw what he engineered, and we couldn't be more proud. Our corrections hurt more than anyones, but he knows that we will always scoop him up to comfort, listen, and begin again. We have the best seats in the house. And there's no way we're giving them up.

That's why it's hard to be apart! We want to see everything and hear every word. 

But this kid handles separation like a champ, we've learned. He's secure and confident, knowing that we'll always return. Going to the hospital was no different. We'd prepared, explained, and discussed the plan daily for weeks. 

In the end, our friend Barb came over for the night and brought Ian back to her house before her husband needed to go to work. Barb said that Ian wasn't phased by her presence and knew that we were at the hospital, almost as soon as he saw her. He knew. He understood. And he was strong. We'd be back.

Mom arrived that morning and brought him straight to the hospital. When she wasn't sure where exactly to go when they pulled up to the hospital, Ian told her. He knew where to go, since he'd come with me on the tour. We'd discussed how Äma would bring him to see us. He knew. He even knew the location and what the building looked like. That boy. My heart bursts. We are so proud.

So, here's a post all about him. A post about what he's saying lately. He says the cutest and darndest things. 

He's learning our language and so there are a few phrases that he says that just make us smile... I won't remember all of them, but I'll at least get some of them written down before they evaporate out of this mom's brain.
When he's hurt or has something to show you he says, "Look, I have..." He doesn't finish the sentence, he just wants to point out that he has something. "Look, look, look... I have..."
 When you have something that he would like to have he says, "Can you please just not have that?" Haha!
 Many sentences start with "You just..." For example, "You just need a drink, Mama?" Or, "Oh, Owen's just upset!" Or, "Leif just caught the ball, Mama!"
Another phrase he says is "We probly _______." For example, "We probly go home and have some lunch." Or, "Those monkeys probly climb the tree to rest."
One morning, while eating breakfast, he was trying to tell me something and I wasn't quite sure what he was talking about. After listening for a while I finally figured it out and said, "Oh, ________ is what you were saying?" He responded with, "Yes, that's what I'm talking about!!" He was so exuberant and excited in his response. To be understood & acknowledged is a lifelong desire, isn't it? I just loved the way he had his own phrase with the same meaning to match my response. It surprised me, really.
One of my favorite things he's said came this morning when he noticed that Jim has some stubble under his beard on his neck. He said something like, "Look, look, you have..." and rubbed Jim's neck.  And then he said, "You have a beard so you can play rugby, Papa?" 
Hmm, interesting logic. And oh so funny!

Another wonderful thing about parenting is having someone to share the joys, the sayings, the challenges, laughs, and tears with you. Daily we debrief the day, sharing stories in front of Ian if he's still awake when Jim gets home, or showing videos and photos long after he's gone to bed. The darndest things happen in parenting, too. We need all the support we can get from each other.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Week Two (Phone Photos)

When Ian was born, we did not yet have a smart phone. I carried our nice camera with me and tried to snap pictures. Inevitably, I didn't capture as many images out and about as I would have liked because it was cumbersome to carry our camera. I am still taking pictures of Owen with our nice camera often, but it's easier to capture the day-to-day outings and quick moments with my phone. So, here's another phone photo post :)

The snow was still here in the beginning of the week, but it has since left. 
 I just love baby-wearing.
 This boy is a fantastic sleeper, but he also has wonderful periods of awake time. I cannot get enough of his beautiful blue eyes.

 Our first family outing happened last Sunday. We went to the Huckleberry for a nice walk. Jim was slightly limping from rugby practice and I didn't want to push it, so we meandered and chatted. Ian snacked. Owen slept soundly.
 I love this picture of Ian playing blocks with my legs and Owen sleeping. This is our new life!!
 Jim and Ian have had a lot of good time together. Ian's gone with Papa to get a haircut, hang out with friends and to watch his basketball game. Right now they are outside gathering sticks, sawing logs, throwing the ball for Leif, and doing whatever else it is that guys do. It is SO cold outside, but that's not stopping them today.
 This kid and I have been almost inseparable since his birth. He loves to be on my chest or in my arms and I am happy to oblige.
 Why can't we keep the ability to sleep like a baby?! It's such a lovely skill.

 Alert Owen and holding Papa's finger while we watched a movie.
 See, back on my chest ;)
 Lynn, my MOPS mentor mom and friend, came to visit one day this week and that was wonderful. She read with Ian, she played, she held Owen while I got a few chores done. She's a gem.
 Baby-wearing is seriously wonderful. Ian feels loved as I engage with him outside and Owen listens to my heartbeat, snug on my chest. It's the ultimate double-tasking.
 After many discussions about not throwing a ball around Owen, Ian beckoned me into the kitchen and said, "Just roll it, Mama. We just have to roll it." So sweet. And so we did.

The picture next to it is of Moosey, the animal, with our baby "Moosey." Ian named our baby in the womb after this stuffed animal.

  Ian sat down on the couch with me and said, "I take a photo with you, Mama?" Yes, please! I will certainly oblige. He proceeded to put his hand under my chin, as a hug/check to make sure my mole is still there. He is very attached to checking on my mole and it's often a very sweet interaction. I wonder if Owen will be interested in it, as well. Time will tell...

 It's been so cold outside, but that doesn't stop this duo. Sticks and sunshine are all they need :)
 Bath-time fun and a shot of the baby in the mirror, just like a few of my pregnancy photos.
 And the bath-duty buddy. Life's a little harder for solo nights without Jim around, but we are managing!!
 Today's cuddles after his 2 week appointment. He weighed in at 9 lbs 12 oz... he's growing so fast! That's one pound heavier than his birth weight already!
 A common question around here is if Ian can hold Owen. I love that he's taking such a great interest in Owen now AND he is so very gentle and concerned and caring. What a great big brother he is!!
That's a wrap of Week 2's phone photos. A real post to come... one day.

P.S. Blogging is getting harder and harder!! Eek! I want to keep it up and document everything!

Monday, February 22, 2016

This Gig Called Motherhood

I must say that life has a way of getting sweeter with time.

If you think about the whole design of our lives, there's always something mourn from the past, something to cherish in the present, & then more to look forward to in the future. The more I live, the more I cry (for the good and the bad), smile, and the more I appreciate the simple joys. Joys such as a morning with just my kids, a small act of service, or the power of a written note of encouragement.

Motherhood has been the most trying, joyful, strenuous, confusing, life-giving, & rewarding experience of my life. And I am only just 2 years and 5 months into it... I can't fathom what the next decades will entail.

Being a mama for the second time, though only for 1.5 weeks now, has been quite different than I expected. I was so worried about being able to love two children as much as I loved my one, worried that I would be too exhausted to function well during the day, too in pain from labor to move, and the list goes on.

But, as many friends have counseled me, your heart just expands. There's only more love. The young baby was meant to be in your family and your hearts have made room to love them over the nine months in the womb. We've been knit together in words and in our hearts.

I now cannot imagine life without this sweet boy here. His place is forever set at our table and in our hearts.

In the beginning, Ian was hesitant about Owen... a mysterious baby who needs to be treated gently. Now, he brings him his own bear to cuddle, rubs his head while he is listening to me read, asks if he needs to eat when he's upset. It's all new to him and he is taking it in stride. It's obvious that he loves Owen.

My perspective, as a mama, is also different this time. I don't expect to get 8 hours of sleep each night. I fully expect to have interrupted sleep for a long while. I wake up feeling fairly rested and ready for coffee. I seize the opportunity to nap when both kids are napping and this has helped me to survive each day. Maybe I am learning how to take shorter naps. One can dream! My expectations of myself are also far lower. As long as I am pouring into each child when I can, nothing else needs to get done.

I was incredibly blessed and fortunate to have my mom here and then my mother-in-law here for extended periods of time (THANK YOU SO MUCH!!). They helped each child to be cared-for while I was with the opposite child and they took care of a lot of the household duties. This also encouraged rest and recovery, after a labor that was much easier to recover from, physically, than my first.

Now that I am on my own, I need to remember the things that matter most... loving the people in this house and getting food on the table. That's it!

I'm also not pouring through as many articles and books as I can trying to figure out how to ensure the best sleep environment for Owen. Or how best to care for him. I'm trusting my instincts, which I did in the end with Ian, and going with his needs and wants. It's incredibly freeing.

I realize that this is very early in my mothering journey of more than one child, but I wanted to write a little bit about this time in our lives. It's been a time of growth, joy, and amazingly, rest.

I am savoring every chest cuddle with Owen and every time Ian kisses on the top of Owen's head, or rubs his head gently, or gives him a quick hug. I know that this time is fleeting... it went so fast last time. I am deeply humbled by the opportunity to be the mother of these two amazing boys.

We are so grateful for the love and support of our own mothers and for the wonderful friends we have in our area who have brought us meals, lactation cookies, snack bites, and sent encouragement. Our boys are so fortunate to have so many lovely people surrounding them as they grow during these early years. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for being our village, both near and far.

This gig called motherhood is hard. There's no doubt. But I feel so blessed to be walking this journey with some amazing women, following in the footprints of some amazing women.

This life is sweet. And gets sweeter still.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

One Week Owen!

I just love taking pictures of our sweet babies. On Owen David's first week birthday, I snapped a whole bunch of pictures during a quiet moment while Ian & Gramee were at the grocery store.

And, fortunately, he was happy to oblige...

 So far, this sweet boy is a great sleeper and nurser.
 He loves to turn his head to the sound of his mama's voice.
 He loves being on our chests and very rarely fusses. Here's a rare moment...
 His eyes appear to be a really beautiful deep blue. I love staring into them.

 He's very long and lean.
 And he sneaks out of almost every swaddle. Those legs are very, very strong!
 His hair is a light or medium brown.
 Aunt Christine got him this sheepskin, which stays in his co-sleeper most of the time. He loves wriggling on it and sleeping on top of it. Sheepskins, apparently, help them to regulate their temperature.

Look at those eyes... yes, I think he's comfortable :)

 Sometimes he looks like he knows karate ;)

 When he's older, I want to be able to remember the way he looked up close during these days.
 I want to remember the cute baby acne and the sleep in his eyes.
 I wish I could recreate that super soft skin and the glorious smell of baby rolls, but these pictures will have to dredge up those other senses.

 He has since lost the nub of his belly button, which surprised this mama. They had said that it takes a few weeks...

His neck strength is already amazing us...

He loves lying on his belly. He takes after his mama... a belly sleeper.
Did I mention the strength of his one week-old neck?!?!
Yeah, he's pretty proud, too! ;)
Sweet baby arm rolls.

 Oh, one week old Owen David, we certainly love you. Our hearts were knit together so well. You are a wonderful addition to our family. We cannot wait to experience more of this life with you. You are loved beyond measure.