Friday, July 3, 2015

You're Not Trash

I'm cleaning the kitchen as my son plays beneath my feet. I love giving Jase jobs helping to keep him busy as I get a few things done. As I take the last sheet of paper towels off the roll I hand Jase the empty paper towel roll and say, "Can you throw this away for mommy? It's trash." Jase takes it from my hand and says "Thank you" as he always so sweetly does when I ask for his help. Instead of throwing it away though it became this special treasure to him. He was putting it up to his eyes and looking through it like a telescope. Then he was talking through it laughing at his distorted and echoing voice. It was the sweetest thing to watch. This piece of cardboard with leftover paper towel scraps that no longer serves a purpose was the most exciting new toy in my toddlers hands.

Here is where I felt that whisper....

"What so many people believe to be trash, it's my treasure." 

This empty paper towel roll was just cardboard in my eyes. It served it's purpose and held my paper towels neatly in a roll until I had used them all. I was done with it and it was trash. But my son saw it  in a different light, he saw a treasure just waiting to be used.

I believe there are some people who think they're use in this world is done. They're beaten up, they're bruised, they're buried under mistakes and mess ups. They're nothing more then a piece of trash that no one has use for anymore. They are allowing themselves to be defined by the mess in their life and see themselves as nothing more than a piece of trash.

Maybe that person is you.

Maybe you feel defeated and that all hope is lost. Maybe you feel like who you are, and who you have been, is far from the person anyone would want. Your life is shattered into pieces and there is no way it can be put back together.

But there's that whisper again.  "What so many people believe to be trash, it's my treasure."  You may feel like trash that no longer has a use, but when you're in the hand of God you're this treasure waiting to be used. He sees what no one else sees, he sees what you can be. He doesn't look at what you were before, He doesn't look at your past, all He sees is you right now. God sees who you can become.

So it doesn't matter how worthless you think you are, in the hands of a Mighty God you are the most precious piece of treasure.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

& Now I Have Two

I am finally having the chance to really sit down and do some writing about life these days. It's very far and few between that I have time to catch my breath without at least on child with me. There isn't much time where I find myself alone, but it isn't all that bad. Some days it gets to me, others it doesn't bother me at all.

So the big question you all want to know, how am I doing with two? You know, it hasn't been as bad as I thought it would be. I think I worked myself up thinking it was going to be a lot harder than it really is. Now I am not saying it's really easy, but it's manageable. I am definitely a lot more tired with the second baby because there isn't as much time to nap. When the baby is down, the toddler is usually awake, so I just have to keep going. I think the first month or so I was running on pure adrenaline. But as weeks five and six approached I kind of hit a wall and became a lot more emotional and I think that is because I was just plain exhausted.

The first day I was going to be left home with both of them alone I was so overwhelmed just thinking about it. But I survived. Really all those natural instincts and a mother's special gift to multi-task just really kicked in. The transition went a lot smoother than I thought. I really made myself think it was going to be way worse than it was. The only time I start to really panic is if they both happen to cry at the same's rarely happened, but it has happened. Now where I draw the line at bravery is leaving the house with both of them by myself. I have done it a few times, but I have to be really strategic about where I go. Jase still doesn't grasp the whole waiting thing. So if I am out and have to nurse Elyse, I am worried he would be done with whatever he's doing and run off. So I go to play areas that block him in. Or where I can stick him in a shopping cart or stroller. I also really have to work up the courage before leaving with both of them...Jase isn't even two yet so his patience skills are next to nothing. And his ability to comprehend everything I say is rare, so yes I do get a little anxious leaving on my own. I'll get there.

How's big brother? He's doing pretty well. I did really good with all my emotions this time around and wasn't as big of an emotional wreck as I was after Jase. But one thing that did really make me break down was the way Jase handled having a baby the first week or so. I have realized there is about two ways a toddler usually handles the new baby. First, they may smother them and you'll fear to ever leave them alone with the baby. Second, they may be completely disinterested and want nothing to do with them or with you when you have them. Jase was the second one. He was very unsure of Elyse, admired her from a distance, and wanted nothing to do with me for about the first ten days. It broke me. That boy was my baby and he was completely refusing his mama. But after the first few days he would come near me when I wasn't with her. Then about two weeks into it he had warmed up a lot more. He still isn't completely interested because she can't do anything. He loves to talk to her, give her her paci and blanket, share his toys with her, and more. He looks for her when he wakes up in the morning and he loves showing her off to people when they come over. He's a pretty good big brother and I can't wait to see their relationship blossom over the years. I especially cannot wait for when she can play more with him and I get to see that unfold.

It's an adjustment remembering how much having a newborn keeps you at home more. I miss being out of the house, scheduling play dates, and getting more adult interaction, but I know it's only a season. I also know how important it is for me to be right where I am. Having a new baby always seems to stir a season of change in my personal life with the direction God wants me to go. Having a new baby is adventurous in more ways than one.

Some days are good and some days are hard. The look I get from people at the store when they find out both my kids are under two (except he's two now!) kind of makes me feel like I am an alien, but I love this crazy life full of toddler adventures and newborn snuggles. Every day I find a little more of my rhythm and what works. And every day I discover more and more of God's grace and how to focus on what really matters.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Preparing for Second Baby: Remember Yourself

Every mama knows that the moment she becomes a mom taking care of yourself seems to be a distant past. Cold meals become your new norm, you have to think hard to try and remember the last time you showered or brushed your teeth. You are constantly thinking of another person's needs that you so often forget the needs you have yourself. There is this tiny little baby before you that isn't capable of doing anything for themselves and it quickly consumes your entire life.

Things get easier as that child gets older and you begin to find your new normal and establish a routine that works for you. That child also gradually becomes more and more independent which helps to remove some of the pressure off of you. It's such a bitter sweet thing though, isn't it?

One thing I quickly realized when I found out I was expecting number two was how hard it was to take care of myself. I remember trying to get food ready for my toddler while barely being able to stand up straight because I was so nauseous and needing to eat myself. The constant headaches I usually have in the first trimester that beg for me to lay down and close my eyes for sometime, but my toddler is asking me to play. During my first pregnancy, I could do these things when I needed them, I could take a break. This time I had a toddler who needed my attention and I couldn't just take it easy all the time.

It took me awhile to figure out that I had to give myself a little grace. I was actually put on mild activity rest due to a pregnancy hematoma early on so it required me to slow down a lot more than I had intended.

I couldn't help but feel guilty that I couldn't be on 10 every day with my toddler. I wanted to run around, I wanted to be able to keep up with everything, I wanted to be on the go, but the reality was I was getting ready to spend the next ten months creating another child. A lot goes on in your body when you're forming a little being and you have to know that it is okay to take care of yourself.

I had to be okay with saying no to Jase at times so I could make sure I was eating. I had to be okay with a day full of movies if that meant I was getting some rest in. I had to be okay with staying inside when I knew it was best for me at that moment. I had to be okay with letting Jase play in his crib a little longer if that gave me a few minutes to sit.

One of the most important things to do when you're pregnant is to remember to take care of yourself. When you already have a little one it's really hard not to allow the mom guilt to take over if you feel like being pregnant is causing you to be any less of a mom. I walked through being on light activity rest early on and then again later in pregnancy when I injured myself and I found it extremely hard to rest. I had the hardest time thinking it was okay for so many of my last days with just Jase to be spent on the couch. But then someone told me that maybe it was those extra snuggles, those extra moments of holding my baby boy that he needed most before his little sister arrives. He wasn't going to remember all the things that we didn't do, but he was going to love all the thing we were doing.

As moms we have a really hard time putting ourselves first, but remembering to take care of ourselves too is really important. In fact, it only helps to make us better mothers.  So when you're preparing for that second baby, don't forget to take care of yourself. If you need to slow down a little, that's okay. If you sit on the couch snuggling and watching movies to rest, that's okay. Your first baby is going to love you no matter what. You are giving them what no one else can, a little sibling.

How did you remember to take care of yourself during your second pregnancy? Did you find it hard not to feel like you were letting your first baby down?

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Jase's Second Birthday

We celebrated peanut's second birthday a couple weeks ago and I still can't believe I am saying that. The party started off a little hectic as just as I was starting to finish getting everything set up outside, and people were starting to down poured. No joke. It poured really hard....for a good ten minutes...yep you read that right a whole ten minutes and then it completely stopped and didn't rain again. So not raining again was great. But the fact that we had to hurry and get everything inside, and then decided to bring it back out and dry off all the tables and chairs was quite fun. But it was all good and we got everything back out and I snapped some very quick photos since all our guests were waiting and I wanted to share them with you.

Jase is OBSESSED with Disney Cars. I am not exaggerating at all. He will ask to watch that movie a hundred times in one day. I am glad we own both the first and second one because the first few weeks I was home with Elyse we watched Cars a lot. I would switch between the two so I wouldn't go crazy. With the kid's love for that movie we knew it would be the perfect party theme. So to Pinterest I went for inspiration and here is some shots from the party.

I found the thank you cards here:

I found the food labels here:

Monday, June 22, 2015

Preparing for Second Baby: Big Brother Gift

One thing we really wanted to make sure we did for Jase was put together a special big brother gift for him. I knew that this would be something that he would get at the hospital when he came to visit. The thought behind this was to help him feel special with his little sister getting all the attention at the hospital. After all, he is stepping into the role of big brother and that is very special!

Jase is still so young that he doesn't really understand the concept of having a little sister yet, so it made deciding on what to get him a bit of a challenge. I realized that the hospital is not a fun place for a toddler, so I decided to put together his gift with that in mind. What could occupy him and not cause too much chaos while he is at the hospital.

So I went on the hunt for some fun quiet things he could have while at the hospital that may be new and exciting to him. I found this really cool Crayola dry erase board at Babies-R-Us. It's actually dry erase crayons! I had no idea that existed, but they only write on the dry erase board which is a huge bonus with a toddler. Then Chad and I went to a children's ministry conference recently and they gave out no mess coloring books where the markers only write on the paper provided. Perfect!

We also found a cool Cars water bottle and bought some Cars fruit snacks as something special for him to have as well. Jase is obsessed with Cars all of a sudden so when I stumbled across those I knew it would be perfect. Add in a big brother book and it was complete!

Now, I think the skip-hop back-packs are absolutely adorable and really wanted to get Jase one. I went back and forth between getting a smaller inexpensive back-pack or the skip-hop bag. When I realized that it would be a perfect big brother thing for him to have his own bag to take to class on Sundays I knew the skip-hop bag was worth it! This bag will be special for him at the hospital, but also something we will be able to use to pack things he needs when the diaper bag needs to stay with his sister.

Putting together a gift for the big sibling doesn't have to be huge or expensive, but it really makes a difference in helping that child feel like they are special too. Babies definitely get all of the attention with all those visitors, but becoming a big brother or sister is a pretty special thing too.
Did you put together a gift for your older children? What did you do for a big sibling gift?