Saturday, June 3, 2017

Midnight Musings: Parenthood

Actually, 3am musings...but midnight sounds better

ahem.


Guy on the trail today, "Babies! Oh, Mamas, you are so lucky!"
Me to other mama: "Yeah, you know, he' right."
Other Mama: "He is."
Joe: "Huh, that guy was weird."

Haha! He was a bit cooky! Tall, white haired older guy with 80's themed, colorful clothes. We saw him while walking around Lake Harriet with friends today and I've been thinking of him and what he said. It was another of those, "don't blink or you'll miss it" reminders. Happened again this afternoon in the grocery store parking lot. A grandma across the lane in the parking lot stopped and waved and talked to Henry a little bit. He did not engage, but she was thrilled to make eye contact with this baby. Don't blink!

So here is what parenting looks like now:

It's wrapping up our first year with a kindergartner.
I was so torn up about sending her to school that first day...and for about 6 months after. Had I not felt spiritual confirmation that it was in her best interests to go to school, I would have pulled her for homeschooling. We all missed her terribly, and not having all my babies around me all the time felt like the end of a golden era. But how satisfying it has been to see her grow and develop and love learning, and her teacher and her classmates and and her lessons and her field trips. Every mini-essay, every video and picture sent by her teacher, every delighted story she shares over an after-school snack or at the dinner table, is absolutely filled to the brim with cuteness that melts me in a puddle of warm fuzzies. Watching her navigate social waters has been a little stressful - just be nice to my kid, kids! - but the triumphs have been sweet! I have felt to pray with her just before she walks out the door in the mornings that she will have the Spirit with her to help her learn a lot and to be a good friend to those around her, and you know, she has, on both counts! She is wonderful. School is wonderful. I look forward to the years ahead on this wild ride! And I wonder how long before she doesn't want me to crawl in bed with her at night so we can have a cuddle a heart-to-heart. Yesterday when I told her it was time for me to go out now and for her to go to sleep, she giggled and said, "Yeah, we are just a couple of girls chatting late at night. We just like each other so much!" We do like each other so much!
Parenting now is being quietly impressed with Joe's thoughtfulness in taking care of his baby brother and his own preparation for school starting in the fall. He's so smart. The other day he bit his pretzels into "rain drops" and then bit one into a "B" to spell "brain." Roll your eyes at my mother-doting - the way the kid thinks is just...cool. He also makes me count with him when we're in the car. I've counted to 100 more times than any sane person can handle (that's right, I'm insane now), and he's begun to try to count in patterns. "2+2=4, 4+4=8, 8+8=16, 16+16=....Mom! What comes next!" He gave us a run for our money the first 9 months of Henry's life in learning how to be gentle with a baby, but boy has he come into his role as big brother. He has learned to wrestle and not hurt him! (Henry LOVES it - is actually the instigator more often than not). Joe coo's and talks him down when Henry is hating his car seat. Joe does NOT believe in letting a baby cry for any length of time. More than once I've thought that Henry soothed himself and is now napping, when actually, it's just Joe is in there throwing his toys in his crib or entertaining him with his antics.



Parenting now is THE BABY! Still killing it with all that cuteness! Getting very good at communicating without saying actual words, just babbles, grunts, and head banging. Has mostly "baby-proofed" the house by now (read, already broken everything within his reach...). It's NOT BEING ABLE TO SLEEP more than 5 hours in a row because of his feeding habits, so, even though he actually hasn't woken up all night on this rare occasion, here I am, awake at 3:30am, writing about his highness (the allergies might also be to blame).  Parenting is coming home from work and hoping to make it before he goes down so I can hear his baby roar and stomp-walk coming down the hall to greet me with outstretched arms. He is into anything and everything, but, that's what anything and everything is there for, right? No? Yes. He has pulled us all into his orbit and we all thoroughly enjoy being part of his world.


 Glad I got that off my chest. Now, sleepy time.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Ballerinas and Ballers



See what I did there?

Softball is back! What red-blooded American doesn't enjoy and night at the ball park, eh?

Same goes for a little one's ballet recital. So many warm fuzzies! All the feels! It was the sweetest thing I've ever seen in my life. Here is a video from the dress rehearsal. They were nervous, on stage under the big lights. But they bravely carried on, smiling, "even though it was hard to smile that whole time, Mom" and totally won the show. (If there was a competition for cuteness.)


The dress rehearsal went great and then we had a girl's night with Riley's friend and her mom. We went to dinner and shopping, and let me tell you, it is getting so fun to shop with Riley - she has opinions. "Ooh, that looks so good. Ooh, Dad would love that hot dog shirt."

The next day was pouring rain ALL day, but never mind. The first half of the day we spent house hunting. With the kids, their raincoats and umbrellas, in and out of the car, in and out of houses. Definitely the best way to house hunt ;). Then we headed back to the auditorium for another rehearsal right before the actual performance. Those girls were super prepared.
 Warming up.

Eagerly waiting the big reveal. We haven't watched any of her practices this year so we really didn't know what to expect.
 (No pics during the actual performance, but here is one from the rehearsal)
They did such a great job! I was mush inside, absolutely melted.

Here is Riley and Gracie, and Riley and Ms. Zachari. Their teacher does all the choreography for all fifteen or so dances for all abilities and ages - she is very, very talented. And Riley loves her - totally wants to be a ballet teacher now.


So beautiful. I see so much of my mom in this picture.

Following the recital we went (back out in the rain) to...Snuffy's!


 Kid-approved as a great place to celebrate a sweet ballerina victory.

And for the "Baller" portion of this post: here's Dave.



It was so fun to be back out at the ball park. I love how no matter the ballpark, there is always a mismatched gang of happy, wild children packing around, running up to the fences to yell at their Dad or Mom, trying to hug the dogs, bumming food off each other's parents, leaving socks, shoes, and jackets strewn across the bleachers and playground, and basically having the time of their lives without any regard to bedtime or the dirt on their toes. It's also fun to watch the teams though. Dave's team appears to be something of a "comeback" team. It makes games extremely engrossing and satisfying to watch. We are going to have a fun summer!

Mother's Day

I had a very nice Mother's Day! It could have just been sad and hard, but Dave and the kids made me feel really special and appreciated. I requested, and was granted, breakfast in bed and episodes of Fixer Upper on my computer. I couldn't stay in bed though, because they brought me their extremely thoughtful presents, and I was so touched and happy, I felt like being with the family and up I got. So that's good :)




We went to church and Riley and Joe sang this beautiful song with the primary and had everyone crying (not me...but had I not been distracted by Henry trying to electrocute himself, I might have.)

It was a gorgeous day for a Sunday walk. 


We walked and talked, and ate Twizzlers, in honor of Mom. Twizzlers always make me think of Mom. Specifically, sitting in the car with Mom waiting for one or more of my siblings to get out of music lessons or sports. Sometimes we'd pass around a pack of Twizzlers to "tide us over" till dinner, and now they taste like peace and comfort and well-being.

We talked about Mom, "Grandma Jan" while we walked. Joe asked if there were Twizzlers in Heaven. Dave figures anything we want to be in Heaven will be in Heaven. Sounds right.

I'm glad I'm a Mom! It's been really good for me! You could drown trying to not mess it up and be everything for your little people, because they are amazing and they deserve everything! But here is a thing that I've learned: God takes our best efforts and makes them enough. That is my mantra on the hard days and I'm relying on the Atonement now more than ever. The calling of motherhood has led me to that. I suppose life is a proving ground to learn that and make choices that lead you to Christ no matter your calling, but that has been my experience and there is nothing I'd give up for that knowledge.

Also, these kids, man. Pieces of my heart walking around outside my body! They have turned me into a doting, protective Mama bear I never thought I could be. Thanks to Dave and these three cherubs, I laugh more now than I ever used to (very likely sleep deprivation plays a part in that too - we're slap happy a lot these days...Dave came home and laid face-down on the carpet yesterday and Henry toddled over to sit on his head. Life's just fun!) I love experiencing things for the first time through the eyes of a child. The questions like, "What's the healthy part of candy?" and "How many money's do you need to buy a house," said while counting his pennies. Riley, stroking your face and looking deep into your eyes to bend you to her will. Henry, and his heart-melting cuddles.

And finally, my Mother's Day favorite's roundup: (Putting my scrolling to good use.) If you haven't already seen these lovely Mother's Day gems, well, enjoy!





  • This blog post I read a long time ago and still think about when I change my kids into cute clothes
  • Language but LOL (have your brunch at home)
  • Sharing this solely because it recommends catching crawfish: summer fun for the thrifty parent
  • One of my favorite parenting podcasts of all time - this lady has GOOD advice

Friday, April 28, 2017

Brothers

It does a mother's heart good to see siblings having fun with each other. Sometimes they get a little rough (and it's not always Joe dishing it out! Henry often tries to lure Joe into rough-housing, as you will see here) but there is a deep adoration. For all their being almost four years apart, I see a lot of similarities between the Joe and Henry. They have the same kink in their hair on the top of their heads. They have similar taste in foods. They fight over the same cars and they both like to dance to a good beat. Both fall asleep on their own, and they love a good cuddle. Henry can't really talk yet, but he will babble a mile a minute to a willing audience, like his brother. And they both like to wrastle.


Of course when she's not at school, Riley is in the thick of the fray as well.

I saw a thing on Pinterest today.


I think I've actually posted about this thought before, back when Joe was a baby. Today it touched me again, and turned me back toward my blessings. I mean, I get grouchy. I try not to send too much negativity out there - too much of that in the world already - but whether I complain to you or not, I feel it. And I for sure take my blessings for granted. But this was a reminder to reflect and feel gratitude. I remember praying when I was young for the man who I would marry. Just like, hoping he was having a good day and that he had good friends and stuff. And now I know him and married him and am part of that equation! My children. My relationships with my siblings and friends. My relationship with myself. Fulfilling ways to spend my time and efforts.

Well, it's a roundabout way of saying, "I'm grateful for the little guys roughhousing on the floor."
And also, I'm going to keep praying :)


Sunday, April 16, 2017

Happy 1st Birthday Henry!

One year. This year: this year, Henry has brought so much fun and love into our home. He is a cuddly little monster. Even his burgeoning fits of temper are pretty stinkin cute. He is so busy and curious and mobile, and if he is awake, he is ON. Baby Godzilla. How I love him. And so chatty! Not a sensible word as yet, but we have held many meaningful, in-depth conversations - his babbles have a lot more interest to me than, well...most coherent conversations. Smitten. We all are!

Here's some things about Henry:

Milestones:
  • First tooth: 6mo
  • Rolled: 4mo
  • First camping trip: 6mo 
  • Crawled: 7mo
  • Walked: 10.5mo
  • First swim: 3 weeks
  • First clap: today! He clapped today! All that birthday celebrating did it!
That felt a little braggy. How about this one:
  • Started sleeping through the night: never. He will never sleep through the night.
  • Bonks on the head: like a thousand. He is extremely tip-able.
  • Foods that he likes more than breast milk: 0 
Some of his interests include:
  • Rocking in his little rocking chair
  • Wrestling with his siblings
  • Dancing, even if just to the rhythm of the dishwasher
  • Bath time and water in general
  • Bacon
  • Remotes
  • Getting anyone to chase him (at least half the allure of the remotes)
  • Drawers, drawers, lids
  • Activities way beyond his abilities - if he sees brother or sister doing it, he wants to do it! Does not like being left out.
  • Welcoming home anyone that walks through the door - he has a very keen ear, and a wonderful shriek of delight. Makes you feel like a million bucks.
So what can I say? We'll keep him.

A Year In The Life:
What a fun year!
(For an even bigger throwback, the video from 4 days after he was born: http://themunionfamily.blogspot.com/2016/04/henry.html

Little side note: you always hear the transition from two kids to three is the hardest. I get that - not enough hands, more chaos. But I love being the mother of three - I feel so much more confident and have more faith than I did the first go around. I like that when the baby is up every 90 minutes at night, or throwing lots of fits, or whatever it is, that I know it is a phase and that it will end. Also, the cute baby things, I know will be grown out of, so I savor them more. There is more baby-talk, more cuddles, more stroller walks. Dave and I have loved, relished this little baby. Haggard and sleep-deprived that we are.






 We love you Mr. Cute!