Vacation Exhaustion

Don’t get me wrong, the memories we made will last forever. Even the ones of Easton’s new vocabulary and Wyatt’s obsession with screaming at everything.

But…..I need a vacation after our vacation. More like a momcation.

Vacationing with little ones is a true test of your patience and sanity. In an unfamiliar home with strange beds and no schedule. A place that’s not entirely child safe with two heathens who get into everything they’re not supposed to. A raging 3 year old whose only hopes and dreams when his angelic feet hit the floor is to push everyone’s buttons he crosses paths with. A 1 year old whose quickly learning to be sassy and cries if I’m not holding him.

I’m wiped.

I need my own bed.

I need my kids to sleep 10 hours straight in their own bed tonight and take good naps.

I need the laundry fairy to show up when we get home and get it all clean and put it all away.

But then I feel guilt. Mom guilt for being exhausted and not remembering we made some incredible memories.

We made memories and we were together for a whole week for 24/7. And everyone lived to tell about it. Even Easton.

The boys are true beach lovers like their momma. Daddy knows it’s now 3 vs 1.

We were with our people. As we drive home the oldest is already bummed and teary eyed he won’t be with Bryce building sand castles or ShaiShai dancing to music.

We love you St. Joe.

We can’t wait to be back next year.

And now I’ll sleep for the rest of this drive because I’m betting no one will be ready for naps like I am when we get home….

My Mom

I often find myself reading posts from Grief to Hope with Nikki Pennington on Facebook with tears in my eyes at the connections I make.  She takes my thoughts and beautifully puts them into words every time.

A post she made yesterday had me hoping and wishing that today I’d be given opportunities to talk about my mom.

But being a mom came first today.  A little one who is sick and his big brother who needed constant attention.  A gross day outside with flowers to planet.  Laundry to fold.  Bills to pay.  Life happened.

No one ever asked me about her and I decided that I owed myself this moment to write about all the things I had hoped someone had asked me about my mom.  Her name, what she was like, and all those intimate details that I think about every single day when I miss her.

Her name was Debra, but she went by Debbie.  She was an incredible wife and mom.  She had the greatest smile and an infectious laugh.  She loved the same white Reeboks and bought the exact same shoes every year.  She loved to shop on Saturday’s and had a strong affinity for B.Moss and Kohl’s.  She enjoyed eating Mikesell’s potato chips and Sandies pecan shortbread cookies.  She took care of every single one of her nieces and nephews like they were her very own and when life was particularly tough for our extended family she stepped in exactly where she was needed.  She was a 4-H club leader and a member of Mohawk United Methodist Church.  She played the organ at church and had played there since she was 17 years old.  She made Pillsbury cinnamon rolls or cherry turnovers every Sunday morning and while they baked she would practice that day’s hymns on the organ while everyone got ready.

So many people say that I look like her.  They say our smile and our facial features are so much alike.  I see it when I look back at pictures.

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They day she left for Heaven was definitely the worst day of my life.  A difficult decision had been laid upon us after we watched her fight for her life for 18 days.  A very sudden death.  A tragic death.  A death that shook the whole community, really.  A death that never destroyed our family because we’re entirely too strong to be destroyed, but it did change us forever.  A death that may have been prevented if the hospital would have done their job right the first time.  A death that makes me wonder day in and day out so many “what ifs” to mistakes that people had made.  A death that makes me angry for having to live through so many special moments and so many major adult choices without the rock of our family and the glue that held us all together.  I’ve never doubted I’ll see her again, but I certainly wonder what that joyous day will be like.  I have so many questions to ask her about that day she left for Heaven.  Every day since she’s left has been slightly sad, because without her life just really isn’t the same.

I miss her every day. I miss her so much that I experience physical pain and depression at times.  I have two blue eyed babies and one handsome man who make getting out of bed worth the struggle.  But I miss her.

I have days and weeks where my husband is working long nights or out of town and I think – if mom were here none of this would be difficult.  Heck, she’d probably just stay the night with me when he was gone if I really needed her to.  That’s the kind of mom she was.

My mom lived her life always giving to others.  She lived to serve the Lord and she always wanted to help others.

I deal with my sadness and grief by trying to keep her memory alive.  I’m active in the church she raised me in.  I volunteer time in our county 4-H program that she was a part of.  I cook the recipes she brought to our table growing up.  I visit her grave and eat a cupcake on her birthday.  I tell my boys stories about the amazing Mamaw Debbie they never knew.  I love her grandkids (my nieces and nephews) in ways I know she would.  I spend time with her sisters who remind me of her in so many ways.  I spend time with her friends who take care of me like I’m one of theirs.

My boys don’t know their Mamaw and as the years pass by I feel like my mom is slipping away too.  The memories start to fade because the business of life takes over.  

My mom lives in me each and every day and Mother’s Day is one of the many holidays that is difficult to get through without shedding a few tears.  It’s a struggle to get through this day knowing I can’t celebrate with her in person. 

I’m blessed to spend this day as a momma myself.  The reason I get up every single morning.

I woke up to the most precious cards and the sweetest hugs and smiles a mom could ever ask for.

I’m blessed that I have memories of my mom.

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I am fortunate to have been raised by the greatest mom there was.  The day may cause an ache in my heart but nothing can separate us.

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I miss you Fall Break.

Fall Break was one week ago.

We survived the first week back.

But oh how I miss it…..the relaxed days of nothing.

We snuggled.

We spent a lot of time on our couch.

I took a break for myself and went to paint some pottery with friends.

We went to a church bonfire and made hot dogs and smores over the fire.

We enjoyed a hayride with friends.

We took a trip to the zoo with friends and Aunt Cathy.  The animals were active and fun because the weather was gorgeous and sunny!

We snuggled some more.

Easton wore his “Fuzzy Wightweer” costume a LOT!

Even to the field to take Papaw, Jeff, and Bruce some dinner and for a ride.

We ate breakfast out and enjoyed a HUGE fuffin.

We painted pottery with friends.

Wyatt Lee turned 5 months old.

He finally got his wish of baby food and LOVED it.

We snuggled some more.  We held hands.

We even took a dip in the pool because it was over 80 degrees on FALL BREAK.  What?!?!

We took a trip to the Children’s Museum with our friends Katie, Rory, and Didi.

We even snuggled a bit with daddy.

We checked out a VERY awesome park in Carmel that we will definitely go back to.

with our favorite people…..

We smashed some paint balls with Kiki.

We took a trip to Tuttle’s Orchard…..#3 Pumpkin Patch in the UNITED STATES!

We had a major Pinterest fail  with Wyatt.

I took Wyatt on a date to our friend Teri’s wedding.

Mamaw had a Fall Party and bonfire.

We relaxed a lot.

We loved a lot.

I miss those days of no schedule and being at home.  It’s always hard to get back in a routine but it’s also great to be back in.  We love our Miss Jenny and I love my students.  Of course if I could win the lottery and feel financially unstressed I’d choose to stay at home.  Sadly, that doesn’t work for us.  BUT, we make the best of what we’ve got and teaching my cherubs gives me the best possible schedule to be with my own babes every night, every weekend, two week break, and all summer long.

We are blessed.

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How Bout Me?

We hear many times a day from this little one, “How bout me?”

 

When we brought his little brother home he seemed to adjust well.  He craved more attention from daddy, was a little meaner to mommy, and tried to throw us all in the looney bin by refusing to sleep.  Pretty typical older brother stuff.

Since then he’s finally mastered sleeping in his big boy bed.  He’s learned how to sleep in with the amazing Ok to Wake alarm clock.  He’s learned to use the potty.  To put it simply…..he’s growing up.

Faster than I would like.

It happens.

One thing that still remains….are the daily questions for affirmation…..”how about me?”

“Oh Wyatt you’re so cute and chubby”

Easton – “How bout me?”

“Wyatt you’re such a big boy sitting up and smiling.”

Easton – “How bout me?”

“Oh hi Baby Wyatt!”

Easton – “How bout me?”

 

You get it?

Sweet boy Easton Wayne.  I promise you’ll never be forgotten.  I know you won’t ever let anybody forget about you either.  It’s one of the million things I love about you.  You’re smart.  You’re kind.  You’re a stinker.  You make us laugh.  You’re wonderful at hugs and saying “I love you” a million times a day.  You’re the best cuddler and hand holder around.  You’re an amazing big brother.

No worries my man.  We love you too!

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Dear Second Born

Dear Second Born,

You’ll soon understand the reality that life is not fair.

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Your hand me downs, your relaxed parenting, and fewer restrictions.  I’m constantly thinking to myself as I raise you, “you poor thing.”  Your brother assumes you’re his toy and I struggle daily to keep you alive and away from his reach.  You barely get the luxury of something new because we already have it slightly used waiting for you.

Your big brother has the advantage of doing so many activities and being constantly active.  Swim lessons, zoo trips, museum trips, library trips.  By the time you’re his age will I be entirely too exhausted to watch your first trips too?  I took my good camera to every event he every took part in and you simply get the iPhone pictures.  Shame on me…

I read book after book about becoming a mother, raising strong sons, and breastfeeding.  You name it, I read it.  I read blog after blog about how to be the right mom.  I read about how to be the perfect mom.  Now, all I want to do is throat punch anyone who tells me that my tricks to get you to sleep are unsafe.  You’re alive.  I’m alive.  We’re both just trying to stay alive, aren’t we?  I read nothing about mothering before your arrival.  I mean, I know it all from the first go round, right?

Now…..

With all that said there are a few things that are working in your favor.

I’m more relaxed.  Somehow with the added chaos in the house there still seems to be less stress.

It helps that you were and still are the most chill baby ever.  It helps that you were a nursing champ from day one.  Was it because this wasn’t my first rodeo?  Was it because you were just a little less lazy than your brother?  Or, was it because I knew whatever was going to happen….was going to happen.  It didn’t matter how many books I read.  It didn’t matter what anyone had told me.  I knew I could do it and I wasn’t nearly as worried about it as I was with your brother.

You know what else is in your favor?  I can’t remember shit.  No really.  I cannot remember anything about being a mother the first time around.  When do babies sit up?  When will you start crawling?  When will you get teeth?  And for the love of God, when will you sleep through the night?  No clue!  Sleep deprivation and a toddler who talks nonstop and insists on carrying tiny figurines with him everywhere he goes have caused me to straight up lose my damn mind.  But, it’s fine.  We’ll survive this too.  As they say, “this too shall pass.”

It also helps that I sometimes wonder……Could you be our last baby?  Possibly.  I mean you never know what life will bring.  Sometimes I struggle to put you down and not hold you and kiss your chubby slobbery cheeks for fear you’re my last.  Every diaper change and sleepless night I can’t help but soak up all your sweetness because it could be the last time you keep me up all night.  I’m exhausted right now because you want to eat every 2-3 hours and want to be right by my side all night.  I find myself complaining less each day because deep down I know that each day is just another day closer to you not needing me anymore.

So, I’ll end with this.

My sweet little second born….You give me hope each morning.  Hope that this world will be a better place because your daddy and I are doing our best to raise two fine young men.  I look at you a million times a day and you never cease to amaze me with all the happiness in the world.  To be wanted and needed as a mother is the greatest and most challenging reward all wrapped up in one.  I pray each and every day for so many things but most of all that you never feel “second” to me.

I am truly one fortunate momma.

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Instapot = Baby Food Jackpot

I’ve loved my Instapot for many reasons and this morning I fell in love all over again.

Now, I’ve never been an “Insta Junkie.” I’ve used it occasionally and loved it each time but I’ve also been a bit skeptical on some of those one pot wonder meals I’ve heard of.

This morning I decided to make some baby food for Wyatt because I think he’s ready to start solids. With Easton I made baby food in the crockpot and it was easy. I sipped my coffee and thought….couldn’t I do about the same thing but FASTER with my Instapot?

Well, guess what folks?! I did! It was! And in about 2.5 hours I have 52+ little meals of green beans, sweet potato, and squash for little chubs to eat. This should be a great start on our solid foods adventure.

I put each peeled vegetable in the Instapot alone with a bit of water. With the sweet potatoes I added a bit of cinnamon.

I set the timer between 12-15 minutes based on some Pinterest posts I had found

After they were cooked I tossed them whole into the large blender my amazing husband got me for our anniversary. No worries, I also got flowers but the modern anniversary gift was an appliance and he knew I would use this a lot and I do!

I pressed purée and let it go to work!

Once done I got the cups I purchased on Amazon ready and began scooping and dumping and sealing. These cups are reusable, freezable, and dishwasher friendly.

And Ta-Da! 52 servings and 2.5 hours later I’m done!

Warning – the green beans and squash are a bit smelly! Hopefully this little man loves it all!

Only Love Today

This book.

There is no better way to wake each morning or end each night cuddled with my littles or my husbands arms wrapped around me.

Then I found this book. And as Easton would say, “oh my goodness.” It’s always exactly what I need to read. How does an author even do that? It’s filled with short chapters that seem to me like devotionals. There’s no scripture relation, but I feel God in each passage I read. There are no dates so when I skip a few days because of exhaustion, kids, a dead Kindle, or simply life….. it doesn’t even matter.

I highly encourage you to begin reading IF any of the following apply to you:

  • You’re stressed
  • You don’t feel enough
  • Anxiety sometimes gets the best of you
  • Mom guilt gets you on a daily basis
  • You could use a little reminder to breathe
  • The world is too much

All the above is my life. On a daily basis. This book (and lexapro) have helped me find a new balance since I became a mom of two and I feel like shit really hit the fan.

This book has helped me breathe and smile again. I love ending and beginning days by reading a passage.

Buy it.

Read it.

Thank me later.