Truth with Toddlers

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As most of you know, I have 3 children.  Three miraculous children.  Amazing, really.

One is 9.  Her name is Adelyne.  She’s awesome.

The next is Maxwell.  He’s 3.  He’s awesome.

The last is Josephine.  She literally just turned 2.  She’s awesome.

And my home is messy.  And naked (meaning most of us most days—no, we are not a nudist colony on purpose).  And, more often than not, my children watch too much television and eat way too much toast (that’s a step up from plain bread in my home, folks.  Step up.  Booyah!)…

And yet it is so stinking lively and fun.

My husband is currently in an Asian country far and away to receive surgery for his knee (it’s a closer and better price than sending him to the US)…and I am yet again alone.

But with toddlers are you ever REALLY alone?

Heavens no!

This morning, as my son woke up screaming because he NEEDS his momma—waking toddler youngest…I dragged them both into bed with me, where none of us then went back to sleep.

And soon I hear toddler youngest screaming, as I am finally drifting slowly into a peaceful semi-awake slumber—No!  Those are my TOES!

Yes, toes, my friends.  Her brother looked at her toes…

Later, after I finally dragged us all out of bed.  My youngest pulled out his bubble gun that makes fluffing noises (as in passing gas).

He asked, “What’s that noise, Momma?”

“That’s farter-warter noises,” I responded (our way of saying fluffer-wuffers ;))

“Oh—Farter-warters like MOMMA!”  He then proceeded to shout with glee.

There is a time for every season under the sun—and, I have to admit, while this time in my life is tiring and busy and messy and everything else related to having Littles…

I would never want to miss this season under the sun.

Oh how I love my truthful, NO shouting, honest speaking toddlers.

They make my heart complete!

How to live with the toddler tornado season of your life.

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Yesterday started and ended in a tornado.  If we had a storm cellar, I may have hidden down there.  I don’t have twins, but I have toddler-like twin tornadoes that swirl through my home daily—and I just can’t keep up.

In a few short months, I will be 40.  Did you read that correctly?  FORTY!

That’s like the beginning of Phase 2 of life.  And I feel great and look so forward to it.

But there is this thing.  Having a baby at 30 versus 40 is a new ballgame.  It’s like the NBA Stars in their prime versus the Dancing Grannies that move and kick at all rhythms, even though they are suppose to be kicking together.

I am kicking at my own rhythm and the toddlers are not kicking with the nearly 40-year-old me.

And when I feel worn down, I look the tornadoes in their faces and realize that, although I am in the eye of their storm, too quickly this storm will pass—and I will miss the mess!

I feel as if I failed miserably raising my first daughter who is now 9 (my toddler-like-twin tornadoes are respectively 1 & 1/2 and 3).  I feel like I pushed her too hard, disciplined her too much, and expected her to grow too quickly.

Perhaps I feel as if I had to prove to the world that I was a fantastic 1st time mom?  Perhaps I had to feel as if I had the world’s greatest daughter?  Perhaps I just had too many expectations for myself in my mind—even though everyone around me told me to Stop.  Enjoy.  Love.  Care.  Laugh.  Don’t stress.  And Just be.

But I didn’t heed any of their advice.  Before I knew it, my daughter was no longer the tornado toddler, and I miss every naked moment when she was running around in nothing but pink cowboy boots or singing and skating in flour skating rinks on the kitchen floor.

I miss the days when she invited the dogs to sit at the table to eat with us.

And I miss the days when she told me I was greater than Santa and any present he may bring.

Therefore, although I am nearly 10 years past the birth of my oldest — and far more feeling 40 than 30 — technically “nearly” the middle-aged mom of toddlers — I am TRYING … OH TRYING SO HARD — to get it right this time.

If you feel as if your life is a toddler tornado zone—remember me.  And remember how I already miss the toddler tornado moments because I have already seen one child exit the zone and have come out on the other side.  Oh how I wish that I could relive every moment with her in that tornado again.

I would actually throw open that cellar door and run out into the storm with her and say, “OH!  Look!  It’s snowing inside again, is it?!”  And simply vacuum up the baby powder that dusted her doll house and carpet later.

Because, after all, how much longer will she truly believe that it snows inside?

But my other 2, my toddlers, are still there—living every moment of that beautiful snowball of imagination.  Yesterday reminded me how glorious their brilliant imaginations are—and I intend, in my aging and wiser years, to soak it up this time.

And not rush it out.

I hope you throw open the storm cellar and run into the tornado with your toddlers.  May snow grace their bedrooms and monsters be slayed in the halls.

May little Batman briefs and diapers with tutus grace your living rooms…

And may crumbs tumble onto your floors.

Because the toddler storm will end and your house will seem far too clean and quiet—and you will wonder where time went.

Seize the day, my toddler mom friends.  Which means—you will hardly get to eat, sit, shower, or breathe—but seize the day in toddler imaginations, mess, and a good ol’ squeeze them tight and watch them squeal sort of day.

Enjoy your storms.

I do!

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Here is my Facebook post from yesterday where I was inspired to enjoy the tornado versus get myself upset over the newfound work before me:

i walk up the stairs during maxwell and josephine’s nap time —this is what i find:

max in the hallway in his batman pajamas, hello kitty pink ballerina shoes, and gold princess gloves—wielding a pop-gun “sword” shouting, “I am fighting the monsters, mom!”

to which i think—is josephine sleeping? 

so i walk into their room — where i find:

josephine trapped in her bed, standing up, , wearing a ballerina skirt and superman baseball hat shouting “UP! UP!”

i don’t stop there—i look around the room === this is what i see:

fish and turtle food everywhere.

every clean sheet that was once (only a mere hour earlier) tucked away waiting for the future use—strewn about the floor covered in fish food and turtle food.

but at least max is keeping our house free of monsters, right?  wink emoticon

hope your day is made up of the most beautiful of memories. i know mine is! 

AND THEN THIS HAPPENED:

and the night ended with baby powder all over the floor—because, you know, it snowed 😉 haha!  #whenthemessendsiwillmissit

My Sweet Littles Saying Their Prayers and Dancing on Couches!

You must think that I only have two children with the fact that only Josephine and Maxwell appear to be in my videos.  Sometimes I feel as if I only have two children.  But I actually have three:  Sweet Adelyne, as well.  It’s just that, at 9 years of age, Sweet Adelyne has the most social of social calendars of ANYONE I know.  Not just of 9 year olds. Of anyone—9 or 90—that I know.

It’s awesome fabulous—because, you know, we live in this foreign land called Poland.  And it’s awesome fabulous that my daughter is not a foreigner in this foreign land—she is a Pole.  A proud one.  And she lives her life as a full-blown Polish gal.  Romping, playing, going to school, studying, extra curricular activities, and so forth.

She breathes White and Red.  I am so thankful to God for that!

But that also means when I am at home being Mommy 24/7…(last night daddy actually was home and by 6pm, so we had family pizza night.  twas awesome!)…

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Anyhow…As I play this magical and amazing role of Mommy 24/7, I tend to video those subjects most around me:  Which would continue to explain the absence of Adelyne and Richard 🙂  Neither tend to be around me that often…

Hmmm?????  Perhaps it’s me?!  Haha!

Once again, I really hope you enjoy the videos of the Littles that steal my every moment—even my potty breaks.  But they fill my life with such amazing miraculous wonder, I can’t help but love my every minute.

Here continues the sweet adventures of my Littles, Jo and Max!  Enjoy.

GoGo, will you dance with me?  Asks her awesome Big Bro Maxwell!

Trying to get two toddlers that share a room to settle down and pray is oh so stinking sweet!

I walk into the living room and find Max on top of the couch dancing to Christmas music (yes—we’ve been playing it ever since the chill hit the air!).

I wish you all well and lots of warm love, Christmas music, and overall contentment with where God has placed you in life.

xo for now,

b

Laundry Mountain and Maxwell with his pretty shoes.

When you have one boy and two girls, you will most likely see your boy dressing as a girl than the other way around.  Now, mind you, he will have a wooden sword in one hand while prancing in pretty silver shoes at the same time.

But you do see his Batman underwear, right?

It’s like he’s all boy — with a dainty side 😉

Anyhow, I thought you may enjoy my laundry adventures with Max and Jo.  Which pretty much means I get no laundry done.

But I get the moments of love with my kids (although I am sure Josephine was feeling a little too loved tonight).

Have a great day and enjoy the episodes of Laundry Mountain!

xo b

Laundry Mountain and Maxwell Pretty Shoes!

Snow angels in the clothes!

GoGo my special sister!  Declares Maxwell.  Jo does NOT feel the love tonight 😉

Keeping up with the Littles

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Sometimes exhaustion takes over and all you want to do is leave them in their beds.  Trapped.

And you would be resting.

Happily.

But then you begin to think.

Oh no!  What if they are stripping down to their diapers?

What if they are taking their diapers off?

What if they have poopy diapers?

What if they are smearing it all over the walls???

Because you know EVERYTHING like that has already happened.

I remember the first time my son stripped his diaper, I walked into the room and caught him ever so happily standing and peeing all over his crib. He was smiling so brightly!

Later, after we moved back to Poland, my son refused to move into a “big boy bed”.  At first, I really tried to convince him he was a big boy and to sleep in a bed, but sense took over and I thought—holy cow!  Why take him out of his trapped environment?

And he loves his crib.

But I am also a big believer that sometimes we ask kids to grow too quickly.  Therefore, I am VERY content my son loves his crib.

Although he loves his crib, and he remains trapped, doesn’t mean that I have freedom.

The other day I walked in and he had fresh rice milk handprints all over his wall.  He found a way to smear his rice milk all over the wall—but there is literally about 50 handprints that can be seen on his brown wall.  And they are so cute.  And I am not sure I want to cover them up.

And, believe me, I have already had enough poopy episodes to last me a lifetime.

Keeping up with my littles is hard work.  And tiring work.  And sometimes I feel so unfit to be their mommy work.

But then my little man comes and throws himself in my lap and tells me he loves me.

It’s a brief moment because he is not the most cuddly child…but it’s a moment.

And I take it.  And sometimes I get to extend him my hand.  And he gives me a finger.  And I take it.

And my littlest trails after me pulling my sweatpants off all of the time with her constant tugging at my leg.  And I pull them back up over and over again, picking her up at the same time.  And she cries, “Momma!”

And I love it.

I have gotten to stay home with my babies the last 3 weeks—and as utterly exhausted as I have been stoking coal, lighting wood fires, cleaning baby puke and poop…

I have loved every moment.

My son today, after I put my daughter down for a nap, said to me, “Sit down and play with Maxwell, Momma!”

And I sat on the floor and played sensory water marbles spoons-thingy with him.  For about an hour. And we moved marbles back and forth and scooped water.  And did pretty much nothing except sit with spoons, water, marbles, and one another.

And it was blissfully beautiful because it was with my boy.

I have not kept up with my showers or hair combing.  I haven’t kept up with wardrobe changes or even really eating much except soggy cereal leftovers from their remaining breakfasts, but I have loved them much these last 3 weeks that I have gotten to stay at home and be mommy.

I don’t do the best job at keeping up with my littles—but I do the best job I can at loving them way more than a little.  I love them a lot.

And perhaps during all of this crazy diaper pooping puking playing crying trying time in my life, I will actually understand that keeping up with my littles simply calls for loving them enough.

And, if that is the case, hopefully I am doing a swimming job of it all.

   

You know your husband has been away when…

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So today I fed my son lunch.  He is the cutest thing.  But he ate his chips (of course) first and his blueberries next.  His strawberries and hot dog remained on his plate.  And then he did what any normal human would do—he asked for more chips (I mean, come on, we all love salty potato chips).

I said, “No.”

And then he started to cry.

Typical response of a toddler who has been told no.  So I was not worried.  Not only was it typical, it showed me that it was time for the little man to head to bed.  Nap time.  Obviously he had good food in front of him:  strawberries and hot dog (okay, the hot dog is questionable), and he didn’t eat.  Therefore, my mommy sense picked up that he was tired.

So I did what I would do any other day…I said, “Okay, Maxie…Nap time!”  He didn’t object.  I prepared his milk (coconut milk—the boy has a dairy allergy) and got him down to change his diaper before his nap.

That’s when the man of the house came along…”You want more chips, Max?  Okay.  Eat a couple hot dog bites and strawberries for daddy and I’ll give you more chips.”  Boy walks dad to the pantry and points to the chips.

Oh no!  Sinking ship—and fast!!!  Where are your water pails???  Because it became a tsunami of tears.

“Chips, Dadda!  Chips!”

“Eat 2 bites of hot dog for Dadda.  You are two.  One.  Two.  Eat two bites.”

“Chiiiiiiipppppppps, Dadda!”

Crocodile tears are now cascading down his cheeks.

“Maxie, do you want chips?  You have to eat your strawberries and two bites of hot dog for Dadda.”

“CHIPS!”  Waterworks galore.

At this point, my husband looks at me, “Should I give him chips?”

“Yes.  Give him chips.”  The toddler has won.

One.  Two.  Chips for the sobbing toddler.  Mommy packed up the hot dog and ate the strawberries herself.

“Moh (for more) chips, Dadda!” As I sweep him out of the bar stool and proceed to change his diaper.

Yes, you know that your husband has been away when you try and stick to the routine you have been doing on your own for the past month and in an instant there is another factor—the Daddy factor.  And all of what you have been doing gets flipped upside down and inside out.  And daddy gets suckered in.

But, you know, in the end, I would rather my son take my husband by the hand and lead him to the pantry and ask for more chips, while leaving a perfectly good uneaten lunch on his plate.

Why?  You may wonder.

Because that means daddy is home to ask.  And there is nothing more grand than that.

Except, perhaps, chips…

 

Happy Hooligans…

Well, many of you may know.  Many may not.

We return to Poland in one month.  EXACTLY.

AAAAAAHHHHHH!

Time is running out.

This is a super busy month for our family.  Not only are we packing up a home and preparing a container to send…

Not only are we trying to help our two littles overcome nasty breathing problems…

Not only are we seeing our daughter finish machine-pitch softball, junior chorus, and her 2nd grade school year…

Not only are we finishing our quarterly newsletter IMPACT for our foundation while running an international foundation…

Not only are we…

You get it.  The list is long and goes on and on and on.

But I am also starting to prepare my son’s 2nd birthday party.

He turns two in two weeks.  No.  He won’t remember it.  But I will.  His sister will.  His dad will.  His cousins will.  His grandparents will.

And, with that, I am looking—looking for inexpensive (we have ENOUGH expenses at the moment, eh?!) ways to have 2-year-old fun.

That is when I ran across this unbelievable gem.  Wait.  Let me say it again—GEM!

Please.  Don’t take my word for it—go here yourself and see!  It’s called the Happy Hooligans.  Here is her site:  http://happyhooligans.ca/

In about 1 hour of searching, I have found a gazillion brilliant and inexpensive ways for the kids to celebrate our Miracle Max as he turns two.  And they are all creative activities.  Outdoor.  And messy.  Messy, of course, is the best!

Now…in honor of my little unbelievably cute miracle’s upcoming 2nd birthday, I’d like to share a few of my favorite photos with you of my buddy as he prepares to exit his 1st year and enter his 2nd.

XO for now…happy hooligan hunting!

b

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Why is he a miracle, you may ask…

Because he fought hard to make it into the world and even harder to stay here in the world.

Every day, because of our little man, we look at the rising sun with a new appreciation for this life God has given us.  It is a gift.  A fragile, fragile gift.  And no one knows how long it is given to us.  So, we celebrate!  And this May it’s our turn to celebrate him.  Maxwell.  Turning 2!  Time runs, friends.  Time runs!  Just like Maxwell.

 

Living One Minute at a Time…

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Okay.  I lied.  Sometimes it’s Living One Second at a Time.

You see…we walked to the doctor’s office today.  It’s across the street, about 1/2 a mile away.  It was our little chub-a-love, Josephine’s, 1-month appointment. 

Trumpet sounds for making a month.  Woot-woot.

And on the way back, we said, “Why don’t we stop at the park for 30 minutes.  Maxwell (our 1-year-old) would love that.”

And we said, “And, he’s already pooped two times today, so, despite the fact that we FORGOT his diaper bag, we should be okay.”

We arrived at the park.

Grunt, groan, grunt.  Red face.  And voile!

He was NOT okay.

We were NOT okay.

The smell was NOT okay.

But we stayed at the park for 30 minutes anyway.

Then we make it home.

Perfect.  Josephine will sleep.  Max will eat and sleep.  Adelyne (our 8-year-old) still has a few hours left of school.

Change one diaper.  Leave one infant sleeping in her car seat, and make one hot dog for the freshly changed 1-year-old.

Gobble-gobble.

Goodbye to the husband who is off to work.

Good sleeps to the son who is off to nap.

Good job to the 1-month-old still snoring in her car seat.

Good seats to the Momma who is now typing this blog.  2 free hours just for M.E.  Me!

And then it happens…

The doorbell rings.

It’s the scorpion-spraying bug guy.

REALLY???? 

And then the baby starts fussing.

The toddler starts howling.

The 8-year-old arrives home.

Sigh…

THREE poopy diapers, a double-sided nursing, and an afternoon snack later—I am all down with that.

Now I have 1 sleeping infant.

One 8-year-old playing on her Nook.

One 1-year-old holding his ba-ba (blankie), Elmo (stuffed doll), and watching Elmo’s world on his elephant seat.

How long with this last?

Well, let’s just say that I’ll take One Minute at a Time 😉

How about you? 

Happy week to all.  Like I heard on the radio the other day—Only the first 5 days after the weekend are the hard ones!

Ciao for now.

xo b

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THIS Season in Life…

This Season in Life is spent in sleepless nights.

Touching the chest of a newborn to make sure she is breathing.

Taking random showers at odd times and feeling accomplished if I get my hair combed, clothes on, and remember deodorant (because, believe me, there were a couple times I forgot).

This Season in Life is full of caffeine.  Lots of it.

And comforting crying newborns.

And keeping little, toddling brothers from “applying” too much love to her soft spot!

This Season of Life is letting Daddy do Adelyne’s hair for school—and gratefully accepting it.

It is letting a 7-year-old pick out her clothes every day.  Despite the fact that, for the majority of the time, THEY DON’T MATCH!

It is feeding your 1-year-old hot dogs daily AND potato chips.  Because, right now, when he cries for them, he gets them (heaven forbid he WAKE THE BABY!).

This Season in Life is full of gratitude.

For God.  For my family.  For my friends.  For my husband.  And, especially, for my children.  Our brood of 3. 

Gratitude for sleeplessness and shower-less days.  For dirty diapers and mismatched clothes.   For messy homes and unkempt hair.

For in This Season of Life my heart is fuller.  My home is louder.  My time is less.  And my smile is bigger.

And until the next season of our lives, we will appreciate the crying babies, the double diaper duties, the messy 7-year-old, and the potato chip lunches.  Because, all too soon, this season will be over and my children will be older.  And I will spend my time wondering, with great nostalgia, where THIS season went…

And all I will have to remember it are fuzzy memories and photos stored on a digital card that I will have to remember to print—in my next season of life.

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