This weekend I posted on Houston Moms Blog about just how overwhelming the pace of motherhood can be. In searching for ways to grow on the journey, I identified one way to escape the downward moody spiral in which I sometimes find myself: Make A Plan.
A large part of my happiness as a mom depends on the smiles on the faces of two, soon to be three, little boys. And maybe it's not just smiles. I need to feel that they are experiencing life, making memories, learning, growing together, and feeling loved. I am guilty of putting too much pressure on myself to mold a world where this is always possible, and I'm learning to let that go.
But I do believe that it's part of our jobs as parents, and I love being able to rise to that occasion.
When the temperatures finally crept out of the 40s last week, The Sheriff and I introduced John to what we've named "The Little Park," and W was so proud to show his little brother the ropes.
It was still pretty windy, so we didn't stay long, but the time spent that day felt right, and although my body was tired, and the little guy requires a great deal of supervision on the playground, I felt like I gave myself to these boys of mine, and moments like these fulfill me.
I'm not sure I will get a picture of both of them looking at me and not moving in the next few years, but they sure do love each other.
And this little guy...
We need to get to walking STAT because he is itching to catch up to that big brother of his.
These are the moments that make life sweet, and they aren't always organic. When I can't run the parenting race anymore, it's taking time for these memories that refreshes my soul.
I can't totally claim the idea; in fact, it's one I jotted down a drawing and reminder after flipping through an Oriental Trading catalog. Finding crafts from the catalog that I can make out of materials we already have is like searching Pinterest in a way. When I came across the Valentine's crowns, I immediately pictured my Godchild dancing around in one. Combine that with my love of sending little bits of mail here and there to friends and family, and our Valentine's Craft in An Envelope was born.
I couldn't leave out her siblings, of course, so after a bit more catalog searching, I put together these materials from our craft stash, grabbed and extra Christmas card envelope, and persuaded my husband to run by the post office on his lunch break to grab the right postage.
Colored card stock or construction paper
Ribbon (Dollar Tree)
Heart stickers or cutouts (Dollar Tree)
Written instructions (not pictured)
Scissors (I used pattern edged)
Cut out long strips of paper to form base of crown.
Cut out large paper heart to glue on front of crown.
Cut out a necktie shape from another piece of paper.
Gather stickers (or cut out heart shapes to glue on crown/tie.
Place pieces in an envelope and mail to your favorite little Valentines.
This couldn't be any easier. We had leftover ribbon from our Hugs for Soldiers Valentine's Day crafting play date, and I included a strip to wrap around for the necktie. I wrote a quick note passing on our love, of course, but also giving simple directions for the kids to assemble their crafts.
I can't wait to see pics of all three kiddos in their accessories, and I hope this quick piece of mail offers afternoon smiles from the mailbox and a few moments of family crafting that my sweet friend did not have to prepare!
It's only Monday! You've got plenty of time to send a crafting package to some sweet littles you love!
Daddy: Because you know what happens in the twelfth hour?
Daddy: I don't know.
Yes, so we don't quite know the exact tract as you cruise your way to ONE, but we are so blessed to be on the journey. Two more molars are making their way in, so there's that. You are also getting closer to walking, and we know when you are ready you will surprise us with more than just a few steps here and there.
I knew it would be difficult to get posed pictures of you in your month tie, but I managed a couple where you are still enough to be blur-free.
And then I had a wonderful morning behind the lens watching you just be.
You, Sweet Pea, love to make a mess. Whether pulling everything out of the kid-safe cabinet in the kitchen or emptying baskets of toys in the front room, you are all about dumping. I guess we should start working on putting things "in" when we play.
I'm sorry we have been stuck inside so much these last few weeks. You love being outside and make a dash for the door if open.
W and I have been singing, "How old is John? ONE!" to you are the table, and I'm fairly certain we can get you holding up one finger by your birthday. You are partial to Wyatt's version, though. Understandable.
He's your big brother who is teaching you all about aviation, after all, and you sure do love it! You love to "fly" any planes and helicopters that he will allow you to play with by holding them up in the air with a grin.
Momma loves watching you study their parts, much like Wyatt does actually. It's interesting to watch the fascination you two share with the moving parts.
The lovable Dusty Crophopper is your favorite, and Momma tries to sneak extra time for you to play with him when your brother is at school.
You two are going to have so much fun in the months to come!
Bananas and HEB whole wheat tortillas are probably your favorite foods, with grilled fish and zucchini/carrot muffins following as a close second.
We have introduced some dairy, and you see to be doing ok. Let's hope our transition to milk goes smoothly in the next month.
I am so thankful for your sweetness, Little One. You remind me to slow down.
I am thankful for the adventure in your eyes. You, John Man, are pretty fearless.
You are precious.
You are perfect.
You are a shining gift from above, and this family is beyond blessed to call you ours.
How is time passing so fast?!? In less than a month you will one, my boy, ONE!
I didn't pick the best day (or time of day rather) to skip big brother's afternoon nap and bring him outside to help with some picture taking. You two are really fun to watch together and no one, not even Daddy, makes you giggle the way he does. It's not all giggle, all the time, though. The toy stealing and knocking down bit shows me that you two will be brothers indeed.
He did a great job though. I love when I asked him to "make John laugh." He knows that making silly noises in your face does the trick, but it didn't help so much to take some solo pictures.
You do love him for sure, and you love what he loves: things in motion, and particularly, things that fly!
It's fun living near an airport. You, Little Radar, know the sound of an approaching aircraft and look around the skies until you spot it. And those flying machines make you so very happy. I'm certain you try to say airplane but it often comes out like "Duh" because we've caught you trying to say Dusty here and there after growing quite attached to the lovable Dusty Crophopper.
Month 10 has brought lots of fun around here. You pull up on everything and stand by yourself for quite some time before deciding that crawling is more your style.
You will take a few lunging steps, but we are still waiting for those legs of yours to gain some confidence and take off. It's so much fun, and you will love chasing after your brother, I promise. So let's get to walking!
You say "Mama" mostly when crying, ok, only when crying but I will take it. Along with perfecting "So Big!" and clapping to your favorite song "If You are Happy and You Know It," you love to wave "Hi" and your favorite person to wave to is definitely Daddy. You make the best fake-sounding laugh when he's around especially after work. It's hilarious to watch you get his attention this way.
You are still curious as can be and do not mind crawling off into other rooms to explore according to your own agenda. I pray that I can always keep track of you, little one, and I pray this confidence and sense of wonder opens many wonderful doors in your future.
You cut a bottom molar this month and didn't really enjoy the process. None of us did, but hey, one down, seven more to go! You are trying your hand at different table foods, but are holding fast to baby food.
We love you John Man! I am looking forward to this Spring where we will spend hours outside. Maybe you will even be doing some walking! God Bless You!
I wasn't quite ready to let the day go as I tucked you into bed tonight, but then again, I was. You certainly were. After waking almost an hour earlier than usual, having hardly wasted a minute of the day, and not napping, you were spent. I knew a meltdown was coming when you longingly mentioned it almost being bedtime at dinner. You are one, though, to not let go until required to by us or sheer exhaustion, and usually the former comes first. I couldn't even get through a review of our day as you lay beneath your Dusty blanket before you were quietly said, "Goodnight, Momma."
Today, Son, inspired me. Yes, it also completely exhausted me, but today lifted my spirits and gave me a beautiful vision of a future filled with more memory making with you. There will be days where it's your brother that I race in the backyard with while you are at school and even special moments with your new little brother or sister while you older ones do "big kid" things. But today, well, it was your day.
So it's late. I should be sleeping, but I'm jotting down these memories because tomorrow will be a different day, and whether good or bad, it won't be today. And I kind of loved today.
Ok, so we've been listening to one too many Christmas carols around here. You turned 9 months at the end of November, and after a quick trip to LA to celebrate with our family, it's been full-on Advent mode around here, complete with much colder temperatures and Christmas crafting. I've had to do laundry more often as you and your brother just don't have that many flannel jammies!
It's been pretty dreary and without much natural light coming inside. I wish I had tried to take these pictures again, but somehow you managed to destroy the sticker again.
You've been pulling up and just starting to cruise along furniture, and your favorite spot is surely the train table. This keeps W and I on our toes, and we can no longer hide dangerous toys up there, and of course, his toys are much more exciting than yours. You are a curious little fellow and want to get into everything. I have caught you more than once on a shelf trying to see where it might lead.
You "sing" in the car, and The Muppets' "Twelve Days of Christmas" seems to be a hit. In fact, I've calmed you down with melody on a few night wakings.
You've mastered "so big!" and W thinks it's so cool that you've got a trick now. You show off mostly in the high chair where your favorite baby foods are green beans and bananas. You also seem to like the meats, big boy. You aren't quite a fan of table food just yet but are enjoying sampling the various puffs out there.
When I try to teach you baby sign language, you look at me like I'm nuts. On the other hand, you are also a master of turning off the light in your room when we walk out.