Friday, June 06, 2014

Bubble Backstory

I love playing with different types of photo editing apps -- if they are free, don't cost much and don't take up too much space. I'm not picky. Flipagram is really, really fun and their latest update came with some great additions. I had just taken a series of pics on my phone yesterday of Maggie and Moses blowing bubbles, or attempting to anyway, and only wish I'd had video as well because of some of the little moments that took place. Moses has recently been this bubble-blowing expert, but suddenly changed his approach and can't seem to get back in the groove. Maggie has struggled with it all along, but yesterday found she could blow a bubble now and then by holding the wand against her mouth. I know every toddler does it, but all I can imagine is how yucky the soap tastes, and can't they taste the yuckiness of the soap? Thing is, they never seem to care.

Halfway through our end-of-the-day adventure, Maggie took notice that Moses was having trouble, and with a sweet, motherly gesture she held her bubble wand in front of his face as if to say, "Here, I can see that one's not working for you. Try this one." And he tried it! And tried, and tried...of course, she would 'help' him only after using up the soap on her own bubble wand, but it was sweet and funny all the same. But the best part came when she was assisting him, and at the same time blew a soap bubble with just her mouth -- that's how much soap she was leaving on her face! I managed to capture the moment, but I was laughing so hard that Maggie started laughing with me, pretending she was in on the joke.

I honestly hadn't planned on posting today, but having shared the slideshow on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube I thought, "why not share it on the blog?" Difference here is that you have a little backstory now, which I think will help a little more with the enjoyment of the show...which you'll find here.

Thursday, June 05, 2014

#thth (Thankful Thursday)

I haven't decided whether 'throwback Thursday' or #tbt, as it's known on Facebook, is a good thing for me. I do enjoy seeing how far back others go, and sometimes I'll find a fun little photo to share. There was a time on this blog when I made an effort to post a 'thankful Thursday' each week. Kind of sad I can barely remember doing that, much less what I posted (I'll check the labels later).

Here's why I say it might not be a good thing for me: I went through a difficult time after Miles was born and then through our infertility struggles when all I did was look back. I was extremely stuck in my past, sometimes on one specific day. For crying out loud, I wrote an angry letter to my own ruptured appendix! I was angry and hurt, partly because all I did was stay in the past.

Things are better now as far as that hurt is concerned. Moses and Maggie arrived in September 2012, amazing little miracles and more than I could ever hope for or deserve. And it was...wow. So hard.


The sleep deprivation. That was probably the worst, and I was not prepared for how bad it would feel. I did not sleep more than three hours at a time for the first four months. When Miles was born, I didn't even get to take care of him until he was nearly four months old, so this was all brand new to me. But what awesome brand-newness it was, and as each month went by I found myself desperate to slow time down -- funny how perspective changes a person, because throughout my angry and 'stuck' season of life I wanted time to speed along. Just wanted to be caught up with everyone else (whatever that means, right?).

And then 'the babies' as we call them (and I still do) were about to reach one year. I struggled with sadness mostly, wondering where those tiny little things had gone. I was looking back over my shoulder every day. I think it's a struggle many moms have. The newborn, infant and toddler phases are consumed with giving and giving and giving of yourself and of your time and emotions. Did I mention the mental part? Probably forgot that one...see what I mean? So by the time your 'baby' is nearly two, three and four years old, you will sometimes think, "wait, I want to go back again and snuggle that little one for a little while!" There is this constant pushing and pulling -- we're teaching them to learn, well, everything, and yet we are yelling "stop growing so fast!" (either inside or outside our heads, sometimes both).

When Maggie and Moses had crossed that one-year line, I realized it wasn't so bad. I could do this. And I still do struggle occasionally with the deep heartache of knowing they're nearing two in just a few months. But for my sanity, and for my emotional wellbeing, I must make the effort to live today. This hour. This moment. Put everything down and chase them through the house, listening to the squeals of delight. Play ring-around-the-rosy just one more time before saying goodnight. Read one more book. Steal one more kiss. Look straight into their eyes and see who they are.

I found this post I'd written the day before Miles was 21 months old. I can see some similarities in his personality with his brother and sister, and also some differences. In some ways he seemed so much older to me then than they do now. Possibly just a mother's view on her oldest and youngest, I'm not sure.

I've spent the morning and part of this afternoon looking at photos and coming back to type a line or two of this post, and in doing so I have realized this: I do like 'throwback Thursday' and I don't think it's such a bad thing for me. Maybe I'm thinking it would have been a bad thing for the me that used to be. I think it can only become a bad thing if we're still living in that 'throwback' rather than in today. Having said all that, I will share a #tbt of my own, from one year ago today:


Such sweethearts (and stinkers at times). I feel that ache rising up, but I can honestly say I wouldn't go back now. We are here today, with these beautiful 21-month-old kiddos, and each day brings more smiles and joy. Is each day still difficult? Well, duh. But nothing so awesome wouldn't be difficult.


Wednesday, June 04, 2014

First post in 18 months and I'm already quoting Frozen

After a little more than 18 months of no posts, I am slowly making my way back. I'm not counting on the readers to be back, but that's completely fine. Writing is something I miss so much, but when we added two whole people to our family in one day...well, that tends to derail a few 'side' projects. Take my knitting, for instance. It was more than a year after the babies were born until I picked up my needles (strike that, I think I took my knitting bag on our Christmas 2012 visit but maybe got two rows done). Writing and knitting, even photography, took a long backseat ride for a while. I knew there was no real preparation for having twins, and it has taught me that life is gloriously insane at times.

I want to write with purpose, but I'm not going to hold myself to a 'must-blog-every-day' standard. I don't even get to shower every day for the most part. I like sharing humor, and my life in photos, but I also like to write about heavier things. I have not been without struggles these past 21 months (that's how old my babies are tomorrow). Like any mom, I have had days of struggling. And I can hardly go anywhere without hearing, "you've got your hands full!" Yes. Full. But my heart has also been full. Of course, some days I have to stop and tell myself to be more thankful. I can see Infertile Tracey glaring at me from the corner, a reminder that this is what my heart ached for...and what so many other women still ache for.

Backing off the heavy stuff now. Again, I write as though no one will read this, and that is truly okay. It is simply a creative outlet for me, maybe something my kids will appreciate waaaaaay down the line. Who knows where blogs will be then...

That's all for now. It feels like I'm writing my first post, and I have nothing to say except, "Hi Internet, here I am!" And now I hear Olaf in my head: "Hi, I'm Olaf, and I like warm hugs!" Yikes.

Monday, December 31, 2012

...and I won't even make it to midnight!

This is probably my best New Year's Eve since...I don't know when. Not to say I haven't had some wonderful memories in past years. But even four years ago when we started a certain little family tradition (you'll see in a minute), I was having a tough time enjoying the holidays because we had been trying for nearly a year to add to our family with no luck.

When Miles was two and we were putting him to bed, I decided to get a series of photos of our little family. Just funny little photos where we squeezed together and got silly for the camera. The best one is one of my favorites of all time, and it's up on our wall in the house. The only year I don't have is the next year, 2009, because we were at a party and it just didn't work out. Plus, it hadn't really become a tradition yet since we'd only done it the one time. But the next year we picked it up and then again...and this afternoon we made a go of it, even though we didn't know how it would turn out with our two new little munchkins. I think it came out okay considering.

Here are the best shots from each year:

 2008

2010

2011

2012

I said it was my best New Year's Eve in a long while, but I can say that 2012 has been the best year in a very long while. How blessed I am...I hope you are feeling just as blessed as you head into 2013.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Dear Maggie and Moses

Last summer I drove about two hours from home to a place of solitude. I needed solitude. Everyone does, and no one really has to go anywhere special for it, but I had felt a strong pull toward truly getting away to be with God for some time. I found a wonderful little place where I had my own tiny cottage for two nights, and Casey's full support made it possible for me to have this time away guilt-free.

While there, I spoke about twice each day with the lady who essentially ran the place. Clare is her name. I told her my very long story, going back to when Miles was born and getting to the place of grief I was currently in, the place where our dreams of more children had not been realized. I had been journaling during my solitude, and on the second day Clare suggested I write a letter in my journal to the children who had never come to be. I knew instantly that I didn't want to do that, and so it meant to me that I needed to do that. But it was going to be one of the hardest things I would write.

It just so happened that Casey and I, over the course of our four failed in vitro cycles, had each come up with a name we liked if we ever had a boy or a girl. He had a girl's name in mind, I had decided on a boy's name. We had talked about them through each cycle, dreaming that one or both of them might be ours one day. The names had come to mean so much that I decided to address my letter to these two specific children. Keep in mind that this was June of last year...we weren't even at a place of knowing if we would try in vitro ever again.

With all of that said, I feel as though tonight is the perfect time to share this letter, so here goes.

_________________________________________________________________________________

Dear Maggie and Moses,

     I find it so very difficult to begin this letter. My fear is that I will cling to the hope of you even more, and that hope has been discarded and trampled over and over again for more than three years.
     Instead of sitting here writing a letter to children who don't exist, I should be holding you in my arms. I should be listening to your laughter as your big brother Miles is his usual, funny self. I thought that one or both of you might be here by now. None of that has come about as I dreamed...it's only been one more heartache after another.
     How do I miss a child that never was? But I do -- have seen you in my dreams, have imagined you coming home, have wondered what you would look like.
     For so long, it has felt as if you were waiting for me at the end of this long journey; it was like I could see you as that light at the end of a torturous tunnel.
     But now...now something I was sure would happen in time might never happen at all. Will I never know you? I struggle mightily to let you go.
     If you are not to be, I need God to change the desires of my heart, because I cannot do it myself. This longing seems almost more than I can bear at times.
     But oh, how you would be loved! And every day that you are not a reality makes me want to hold Miles that much closer. As much as I hope for you...well, he is here and you are not. God gave me such an amazing, beautiful boy in Miles Kendrick. I am desperate for him not to suffer because of my own grief. He is loved, he is precious, he is pure -- HE IS HERE. My love and delight need to be reserved for him, and not for a child that isn't.
     I'm sorry, Maggie and Moses. Please come if you can. But if you can't, God will take care of us. I hate to say goodbye to you, but I need to lay the dream of you at Jesus' feet. He will know what to do.
     I still want you...I do. But if my holding to the idea of you is futile, I am only doing a disservice to Casey and Miles. They need me, my heart and my nurturing. They are my boys.
     If you come someday, you will know what I mean. The love you will find in our little family is precious. It is waiting here if God's will is for you to be.

Love forever,

Mama
_________________________________________________________________________________

Even now, that is a very hard letter for me to read. I don't feel the sadness as much, but I remember it. But my sorrow was turned to joy on January 19 this year when we found out our fifth cycle was a success. And then again a week later, the joy grew as we found out we were having twins! Then came April 9, the day we learned we were having a boy and a girl...our Maggie and Moses.

Tomorrow is the end of a long chapter and the beginning of another, because our sweet little ones will arrive in this world. We only just learned that this afternoon, since Moses' growth had dropped down a bit, so the safest and best thing to do is to get them outside my body as soon as possible so he doesn't lose any more nourishment. Having carried these two miracles for 36 weeks and 6 days by the time they're born, I am so relieved to be where we are. I am so blessed. Praise God for new beginnings!
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