Saturday, April 20, 2013

16 Months Old

My baby girl is getting so stinkin' cute! I can't even believe it. In the past month she's started:

*saying new words: ok, no way (doh way), chicken (keekin), booboo, bonk, flower (fwuh-wuh), apple (up-uh), five, amen, say, these (deeze), sit, pants (pence), shirt (sirt), Elmo (ehmo), peacock (cock), sun, bee, potty (pah-ee), pee, eyes, Mickey, Minnie, Daisy. And more that I just can't think of right now.


*saying "cock-a-moo" when referring to farm animals. It's so, so funny.
*just being sweet. She loves to sit on your lap and let you read books to her. She loves to snuggle. She loves to sit on your lap and watch television or basketball or her sister playing.
*babbling a ton. She frequently will just look at us and babble, babble, babble, just to finish it all of with "OK!"

What? Just another day sword-figting in necklaces and shiny shoes.

*getting even when she gets picked on. Lane frequently takes things from Noel, and Noel will chase Lane down and start smacking on her or pulling her hair. She is definitely not afraid to stand up for herself!
*"singing" Jesus Loves Me with us when we sing to her at nap/bed time. She, of course, doesn't get many of the words right, but she babbles for the whole song, sounding about right at "Jesus" and ending right on cue with "so."
*running. I actually think she's been able to run for a few months now, but she's pretty quick now.

*referring to all drinks as "muk" (milk). If it's liquid, it's "muk." She doesn't seem to care which "muk" she gets (milk or water, and every now and then, juice).
*always confusing "yes" and "no." Do you want more banana? "No." So we give her some more and she's happy. Hilariously confused.

More Easter. Shortly after this she sat down in the dirt to play with rocks.

*being a picky eater. She definitely loves fruit and bread and eggs and cheese. Beyond those things, it's always a toss-up as to if she's actually going to eat. One night she'll eat a pound of carrots and then she won't touch them the next day. She is not a fan of meat, anything too cold (ice cream or smoothies), or potatoes. She'll usually eat vegetables, fruits, and carbs with no issues, and of course on the rare occasion that we give her a cookie, she gobbles it up.
*saying "baaa" (with her voice reverberating) when asked what a sheep says.

*identifying her: belly button (she bends over looking for it since her flab usually folds over and she can't see it), feet, fingers, cheeks, arms, eyes.
*wearing all 18-month clothes. I guess we still have a few pairs of 12-month pants and a few long-sleeved onesies out, but she's nearly completely into 18-month clothes.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


Yesterday I babysat three other children for four hours, along with watching my own. These kids' ages are just-turned-eight, almost-six, and three. Along with my three year old and 16-month old, it made for a fun few hours. But the beauty of it was that it gave me a glimpse out of the "little years." And it. was. glorious.

Playing with the laundry (hanging over the doorframe since it started raining today, about an hour after I decided to wash our sheets...).

Everyone says that it gets easier. That it gets better. But it's hard to imagine when you're stuck in the middle of temper tantrums, sleep strikes, the millionth diaper change, and so on. Yesterday gave us a glimpse of what life might be like just four or five years from now (although maybe not with five littles...). A few months ago I read somewhere (sorry, no idea where exactly) that being the mother of young children can feel like you're stuck in the movie Groundhog Day. Every day you wake up and life is the same. The same sleep deprivation. The same meltdowns and temper tantrums. The same battles. The same discipline. The same, the same, the same.

This is so true.

Because, well, it is. Every day is much the same. Every day I will have to tell Lane not to lay down at the table, but to sit on her bottom and eat her food. Most likely I'll have to feed her some of it, unless I want to sit at the table for an hour. I will, most likely, have to discipline her for not staying in her bed at bedtime. I will have to cook breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I will have to do a load of laundry or diapers, hang them, and fold whatever was on the rack before. I will have to vacuum, make beds, sweep floors, clean toilets, and so on. I will build block towers, wipe up spilled (or thrown) milk, do my "silly dance" for Lane, tell Noel not to pull her sister's hair, wipe bottoms and change diapers, and wipe noses and comb hair and clip fingernails and toenails and hold Noel's arms by her sides with my legs to get a ponytail holder in her hair. I could go on, but I think you get the point. At the end of the day when the girls are in bed I keep pushing on, exhausted, to wash some dishes, wipe off tables, fold laundry, write emails, study language, and maybe, if I've finished all of my other chores, I'll watch a television show with Shannon or read a chapter in a book.

My life is boring. And repetitious.

But, at least today, I'm ok with that.

I've been reading (on my Kindle, in fairly large print, with one hand while I blow-dry my hair with the other) the book Desperate, by Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson. And I have to say, it's pretty good. I happen to be reading it in a break in my "desperateness," but just a few weeks ago it would have been SO good to read, as I did feel like I was drowning in motherhood (along with everything else that living overseas entails). If you are feeling overwhelmed in your mothering, I'd recommend it to you. 

There is one quote that I really, really appreciated and needed to read:

"My ultimate encouragement to you so that you don't feel defeated? Give in to your season of life. You will feel desperate sometimes, I know, and it's scary some days. But the more you allow yourself to be fully and completely invested in the discipling of your children, the less defeated you will feel."

So that's what I'm doing. I'm giving in. I'm a mother to young children. My house will not be spotless. (I've mopped my kitchen once [with an actual mop] in the last 5.5 months.) My children may watch television nearly every day. (A mom does need a few minutes to cook dinner or take a shower, after all.) And I will mess up, lose my temper, not know how on earth to get my child to sleep, and feed my children more crackers and bananas than is actually good for them.

But really, if my kids watch television every day and my floor isn't mopped and my kids eat too many bananas and crackers, and they don't take great naps, and they end up in time out more than any of us would like, but I can play with them and take them to the park and buy them ice cream when they do something great and we can eat breakfast for dinner a lot (since it's the only thing both of them will eat every bite of), is that so bad? 

This time is only a season, one that will pass quicker than I can imagine. So I might as well embrace the insanity: the less-frequent-than-I'd-like nights of interrupted sleep, the spills, the laundry, the gashes in my kitchen table, and the meltdowns at the completely wrong time. Because with them come kissing every boo-boo, hugs and kisses and snuggles willingly given first thing in the morning, excitement over ladybugs and big sticks at the park, milk being "so good,"and giggles and screeches over what is, to most people, absolutely nothing. All the sweetness of the "Groundhog Day years" is accompanied by all the inconveniences. And I'm going to try my darndest to embrace this season and not to wish it away. If you're a young mom struggling in motherhood, I'd encourage you to try to do the same.

Any tips out there that help you to embrace the insanity instead of want to run from it?

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Easter 2013

How is it that time goes so fast? I think I read once that the older you get, the faster time goes, because days and weeks and months and years are a smaller percentage of your life than when you're little. When you're five and your birthday is a year away, it's 1/5th of your life away. When you're 30, it's 1/30th. When you're 60, it's 1/60th, and so on. It makes me wonder if the rate at which time passes is exponential...

Anyways, all that to say, WOW, how is it already April? Today is my little sister's 30th birthday. Also unbelievable.

Easter for us was, in one word, unforgettable. To start, we spent the morning dying eggs, reading telling the Easter Story over lunch to Lane and some guests of ours, and getting the girls down for naps. We finished up our cooking and after the girls woke up we headed out to "the farm" (some friends of ours live in a village where there are lots of cows, chickens, goats, horses, and sheep wandering around. Since it's the closest thing to a farm that Lane's ever seen, and she loves the farm, we call it, affectionately, "the farm."). After 60 or so expats showed up, we all stuffed ourselves silly and then headed outside for a huge Easter egg hunt. The girls had a blast. Lane was so, so excited to hunt for eggs, and Noel managed to find a couple, too (with daddy's help).

Hunting eggs. Love the boots...they remind me of hunting eggs in the snow/slush while growing up in Alaska.

Chasing bubbles with friends.

After all the eggs were found and prizes distributed (awesome idea: give a prize in exchange for real eggs, so that kids are just as excited about finding them as they are the plastic ones), we gathered outside to sing songs about the Risen King. After worship time, the girls and I headed inside, along with almost every other mother and child under the age of six (it was getting chilly and nearly bedtime for many). I helped clean a bit while the kids were entertained in "Sunday School." And we all headed home around 8:30. Seven or so minutes down the road we got a flat tire. Ten people in a van on Easter Sunday at 8:30 p.m. and we got a flat. We didn't see a spare so we called a friend. He drove over and found the spare (under the van) and helped us get the tire fixed. He left, we all piled in the van, and...the van wouldn't start.

After rolling my eyes, I called our friend back. He came and we all spent the next hour trying to a) jump start the car, b) pull start the car, and c) keep the girls from melting down. At around 10:00 I finally told our friend that I was sorry but I really needed to get the girls in bed. So he ferried us all home, leaving a couple of singles with the van. We got home and I laid Noel in bed (we had put her in jammies before we ever left and she had fallen asleep in my arms on the way [p.s. awesome that car seats are not mandatory over here in situations like this!]). I got Lane into jammies and laid in bed with her until she fell asleep. Before she fell asleep she looked at me, snuggled next to her in the bed, and said, "Mommy?" "Yes, Lane?" "Happy Easter." It was the sweetest thing ever. After she fell asleep I headed to the kitchen to start some massive clean up, and Shannon came home around 11:30 after helping our friend tow the van into town and park it.

Lane's first spin on a tire swing.

All in all, the girls did very well being up so late. I was very glad we had made Lane take a nap (since she usually doesn't), and also very grateful that it doesn't phase Noel that much to be up past her bedtime. The girls both slept in a bit yesterday, Noel took a long nap, and we had Lane in bed by 6:00.

We have a photo of Lane at about this age in nearly the same pose, in Ephesus. You can see it here.

It was a good Easter. It was so fun to celebrate Jesus and his resurrection with fellow believers in place where most people don't believe. Lane had a blast running around with all her little friends, Noel enjoyed getting a dinner of rolls and strawberries, and we enjoyed fellowshipping with expats from many different countries. Next year will look quite different, as we'll be in the States for Easter. I'm looking forward to it. And to these two yahoos maybe looking at the camera at the same time?