Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Who, me?

Most of the time, I feel like sometimes my identity is so wrapped up in being a wife and mom, that it is hard for me to even think of myself apart from those titles.  I love being those things, but I sometimes think to myself, "What do I even enjoy doing other than just having a break from the daily routine of taking care of everyone?"  Because right now, I consider any alone time--be it anything from a relaxing spa treatment to a visit to my OB/GYN--something I enjoy! Haha!  Right now, I am finished pumping and I should go to bed, but I just feel like writing a post, and this one is going to be about me!  So, here are some random things about me that you may or may not know:

When I was little, I dreamed of being a veterinarian.  I LOVED animals, especially my dog.  These days, however, I am really not an animal person at all.  I get why people enjoy having pets, but I have NO interest whatsoever in getting a dog.  Ryan really would get one at the drop of a hat, but I am in no need of more responsibilities or messes to clean up.

I feel most loved by acts of service, especially if it is cleaning or cooking or something I would other wise have to do myself.

I believe that prayer is very powerful.  It was very instrumental in the change that took place in my heart shortly after I graduated from high school.  I pray a lot for people around me.  At work, at church, in my family.  Basically the hope of every prayer boils down to the same idea: that whoever I am praying for would know Jesus' love for them and that their life would have new hope and meaning because of that revelation.  And that any difficulty they may be experiencing would somehow draw them closer to Jesus.

Every time I go online to routinely check our bank account, I get really nervous until I see the balance pop up because I am scared that someone has stolen our identity/money.  Weird, I know.

I wish there were some way to go back in time and tell myself when I was feeling overwhelmed by taking care of one or two (or none!) children that LIFE IS NOT AS HARD AS YOU THINK!  I stressed over silly things and had way more free time than I realized.  Why is it that you can't appreciate these times fully until they are already over?  My feelings back then were legitimate, certainly, but I just wish I could have taken myself for a walk in my current life situation for a little bit to gain some perspective.
The number one thing I am learning how to do (or, better put, learning that I DON'T know how to do) is to admit that I am wrong without having to give some kind of defense or reason for why I did it.  Our church pastor has really challenged me in this area to re-think the way I view myself as a Christian.  I am no less in need of his grace today to save me and renew my selfish thinking than I was 12 years ago when I was recovering from addiction.  Somehow, I thought that since God had helped me change completely, that I had made it to a place where I didn't really need Him as much.  That is not true.  My heart is just as sinful today as it was then, just in more subtle ways.  The difference between my heart before Jesus and my heart after is that after, I was able to understand that he loved me, and His love gave me hope and the desire to love Him in return.  The focus tends to be so much on our behavior, when really, it starts with our heart.

I love to make friends and be a part of the lives of people around me.  It just feels natural for me to reach out to someone new at church or a mom hanging out at the park with her kids.  Sometimes I feel overwhelmed because there are so many people I know that I'd love to invest more time in, but with having 4 kids, a job, and wanting to spend time with my husband, there isn't enough time to form deep lasting friendships with everyone.  I still try to make the most of the time I have to do that though.

I am a homebody mostly.  I know some people feel energized by getting out and about during the day, but with four kids, getting out of the house is just exhausting to me!  I love to go do things by myself or with a friend.  And Sophie and Sally are getting old enough to where taking them out isn't as stressful (usually).

Even though our family is a size that I am MORE than happy with, as my babies grow up, a little part of me wants to have more babies forever just so we'll always have a little one around.  They are so sweet and precious. (No, we are not going to try to have more kids!)

I feel immensely blessed by my friend Sarah.  This past year she has helped me survive the transition from 2 to 4 kids by faithfully coming to our house twice a week, all day, for no pay just to help me out and be my friend.  She inspires me to serve others selflessly and to give back to others in the same way she has done for me.  Seriously, when she has kids and later on in life and as I am able to as I am older, I plan to help moms out just by going over to their houses and doing laundry, dishes, whatever to give them a break.  It means SO much to me, and I can't wait to be that blessing to others.  I mean, really, how many moms (unless they have paid help) can say they get that kind of break?  It just goes to show that God knows what I need far better than I do and that He blesses me beyond what I could even imagine.

Speaking of God's blessing, you may remember that health insurance and bills from my pregnancy were a concern when I first found out about my pregnancy with the twins.  Well, through the generosity of others, extra unexpected income and through MediShare (a Christian bill-sharing program), I am happy to report that we have paid almost all of our medical bills.  What a testament to God's faithfulness and provision.  Why did I ever even worry?

We have four children, but each pregnancy I have had has been completely unexpected.

I wish I were one of those people who just loved being pregnant.  Pregnancy for me was always a pretty miserable experience (especially my pregnancy with the twins).

I can be pretty lazy sometimes, but with odd things.  For example, I hate getting appliances out and having to clean them and put them back.  We have a food processor, but I NEVER use it unless I have to because I hate to clean it. 

My least favorite chore is laundry.  Completing it feels so much less gratifying to me than getting a room clean.  Maybe that is because laundry can hide out in the laundry room and I don't have to see it pile up.  Oh, and the part of laundry that I am worst at completing is putting it away (right, Sarah!?).

People always say that I seem so easy going, relaxed, and peaceful, but I can get really upset and argumentative with Ryan.  One time (fairly recently), I got so angry I dumped a cup of water on him.  Not my best moment :\  In fact, both of us are very strong-willed and stubborn.

I love having kids, but they do put a strain on mine and Ryan's relationship sometimes.  We agree about the end goal of childrearing, but sometimes our parenting styles are not exactly the same.  It is hard to find a middle ground when there is something we both feel strongly about, only in opposing sides.

Of anything, I worry the most about my children's well-being as they grow older.  Physically, spiritually, emotionally.  I have to remind myself that God is in control and that worrying will not help anything.  I remember times in my life growing up when I questioned my worth or when I bought into a lie about myself or life or God.  I am not sure why I didn't talk to my parents about those things.  Sometimes, it never even occurred to me that there was something to talk about.  I want my kids to talk to me though.  I know they won't always, but it is my prayer that they do as much as possible.

My favorite memories (other than of my children) are of my college days.  Ryan and I were dating, and life was simple and fun.  My relationship with the Lord was new and exciting, and I formed meaningful lasting friendships.  I love SMU and everything about my time there.

Well, if you read all of that, congratulations!  I know it was long.  It was just therapeutic for me to write all this down.  One day, I can read it and say, this was me at age 30!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

8 months old!

I probably say this with each passing month, but I really CAN'T BELIEVE the twins are 8 months old already!  In just four months, they will be turning one!  This is so sad to me in a way because I feel like, of all my children, the twins' "babyhood" has been passing the most quickly.  I have never been one to get very emotional about my kids growing up.  Each new stage has just seemed exciting and fun (and hard, in a lot of ways too!).  But with these babies, the next stage is no longer as mysterious since I know more what to expect.  I just love this sweet innocent time and want them to stay here forever!  I also know that as babies grow, the independence they gain through potty training, eating on their own, learning to communicate, etc. (all things I could NOT wait for when the older two were babies) is really not as great as I had thought it would be in my mind.  I mean, yes, some things are nice, but now that they can feed themselves, I pour just as much energy into telling them to: stay seated, eat their food and not play with it, don't get up and play until you are done, don't smash your sandwich up all over the table!, etc.  And don't even get me started on potty training.  That was just a year long nightmare.  Oh my goodness.  There was just no logic to why they did what they did.  It was like they were trying to make me go crazy.  And now that they can talk and communicate well what they want, need, etc., they can ALSO argue, speak disrespectfully, completely defy us, and whine incessantly.  So, you folks with babies who dream of the days of toddlerhood, believe me when I tell you that you only continue to trade the current difficulties you have for different ones as your child gets older.  I don't mean to be entirely negative though.  Sophie and Sally are SUCH a joy, and watching them grow and have their own distinct personalities, likes, and dislikes has been so rewarding.

Well, at eight months old the twins:

-have teeth!  Elise got one first.  Now they both have two on the bottom.

-still don't crawl, but seem to be heading in that direction.  Especially Erin who gets up on her hands and knees sometimes.  Elise still is less of a fan of being on her tummy.  They do scoot backwards really well when on their tummies and never stay in the same place that they are left.

-sit very well unassisted.  We still put boppies behind them for the occasional loss of balance.

-continue to sleep through the night.  They sleep from 8pm-8am.  Yes!

-babble lots of precious sounds.  I think they have started saying mama when they are crying sometimes.  Still hard to be sure completely, but I think it is what I am hearing.

-have started to take toys from each other and get upset when they don't have a toy they were wanting.  It is so cute.  This is the only age when fighting over toys is cute.

-eat solids twice a day.  I am doing less purees than I did with S and S at this age.  I am not in such a hurry for them to transition to more solids.  Also, I am letting them experiment more with non-pureed soft foods in hopes that they will be able to do more finger foods sooner.  They had a hard time at first with things like banana pieces, avocado pieces, dissolvable crackers, and little pieces of bread, but now they are doing really well with them.

-take an 8 oz. bottle 4 times a day

-continue to have their own little personalities.  Erin is more vocal, a toy hog, and more mobile.  Elise is still so chill and relaxed.  She also seems very sensitive and is startled/scared easily.  She has this horrible heartbreaking cry when she actually does cry about something.  It just makes me so sad!  She sounds so desperate.  I can never ignore her when she is crying like that.  There is a difference between that cry and the slightly fussy cry she has on occasion when she goes down for a nap or to bed at night.

-are such great babies!  I really have no complaints at all.

For those of you who are interested, here is our current routine:

8am wake

8:30am eat 8 oz. breastmilk

10am nap

12pm wake and eat 8 oz. breastmilk

1:30pm eat solids

2pm nap

4pm wake and eat 8 oz. breastmilk

5:30 or 6pm eat solids

7-7:30 pm eat 8 oz. breastmilk

8pm bed

Here is just one picture of them, but I plan to upload more soon for a picture post.  Sally wanted to be included :)