Motherhood with Three

1.30.2017

I feel like I am wading waist deep in motherhood these days.  The newborn honeymoon phase is over and we're hitting our stride: nurse the baby, hold the baby, change his diaper, nurse him again, hold him again.  The cycle never ends.  Toss in two high-strung little boys and I stay busy all day long: cleaning up messes, refereeing arguments, making food, folding laundry, helping with homework, and filling the dishwasher.  That cycle never ends either.  I sometimes worry about how much attention I'm giving Jed over Levi (or vice versa) and if I'm teaching the boys good work habits, how to be kind, and choose the right.  It's hard to find time to fit in a shower, let alone exercise or edit pictures, but I seem to find "me time" in ten minute snippets.  It's not ideal, but it will do for now.  I know it's just a phase.  Motherhood is definitely a lesson in selflessness.  And it's not easy.  Last week, the winter blues started setting in and both Conrad and I caught colds which meant less sleep for us both!  Tired, the monotony of the endless cycle of filling needs left me near tears several times.

And yet, despite the hard moments, I feel like I am in my element.  I feel like I am exactly where I need to be and doing exactly what I was meant to do!  I find so much joy in this job called motherhood.  For instance, Conrad gives the best coos and smiles on his changing table.  The way he looks up at me, milk drunk and happy after nursing, is priceless.  Levi tells the best stories at the dinner table that often leave us in stitches laughing.  And reading the first Harry Potter book to Jed is something both he and I look forward to every afternoon!  Though the house is often littered with toys and I can't find my pillow and there are jolly ranchers smashed into the carpet, there's a deep sense of contentment I feel at the end of the day as I tuck my babies into bed.  It's worth everything.  They are worth everything.


P.S.  Levi chants, "Merry Christmas!  Happy Mother's Day!  Sweet Dreams!" each evening before I shut his door.  I hope he never outgrows saying it and if he does, teaches the phrase to Conrad to carry on for a few more years as Jed taught him.

January Daze: Snapshots of Life Lately

1.29.2017
January can be summed up briefly: wearing our pajamas all day long, a whole lot of snow, freezing cold temperatures and short weeks at school. See what we've been up to!

^^Snow Me's! No school and a whole lotta great packing snow meant we played outside. Meet Snow Jed and who Levi affectionately calls, Snow Boba Fett.^^
^^Recess at school has taught Jed how to make some pretty efficient snow balls!^^

Before getting all geared up in our snow clothes, I told Levi that the fresh powder was perfect for building snowmen. 

He replied, "No Mom.  Powder snow is for skiing.  It's not for making snowmen."

"So is this just regular snow?  Or wet snow?"

"Yeah, cuz powder is for skiing."

Can't argue.  Kid knows his stuff!  Hahaha.  

A Special Blessing for Conrad

1.25.2017

Sunday was a special day!  It was the day Conrad was blessed in church by his daddy.  For the record, Bron had been teasing me that he was going to change our baby's name to Festus at the blessing since before he was even born!  There was a very small chance, but I was a tad nervous he'd actually do it!  He didn't.  Whew.  It was such a sweet blessing though.  I have no doubt Conrad is here for a purpose.  He has already brought me so much comfort and joy.  I can't wait to see who he is and how his life unfolds.

Two sets of grandparents, three of Bron's brothers, and countless friends turned out for the occasion.  I was surprised how much it meant to me!  Conrad and our family of five were completely surrounded by love, lots of love. 

After church, everyone was invited out to our house for pizza, salad, and dessert.  I was pleasantly surprised at how smoothly everything went!  There was more than enough food for the mob of people that invaded our home (12 adults, 3 teens, and 16 children) and nothing wound up broken.  I guess I was stressing out over nothing.  It was a memorable day,  one that Conrad certainly won't remember, but I hope he could feel that he is loved and supported by an army of good people.

Happy Blessing Day, Conrad!
  

Naps in the Wrap

1.20.2017
^^Smiling in his sleep.^^

Just a couple of quick phone snaps because I know I'm going to miss this one day.  Conrad is sleeping like a champ through the night (6-8 hours!) but struggles during the day to stay asleep for more than 30 minutes at a time... unless I'm holding him.  Sometimes I can tell that he is just so tired!  It's makes a good excuse for me to curl up with him in bed and take a nap too.  But other times, there is just too much going on for that to happen, so I slide my little man into our Solly Baby Wrap.  I say this every time, but it feels like a  hug!  He pals around with me for a while, eyes alert and looking around, as I prepare lunch or empty the dishwasher.  On this particular day, I had three four year olds playing at our house!  Inevitably, he dozes off.  He stays fast asleep snoring against my chest for an hour or two.  It's a wonderful feeling.  I'd buy another wrap but I know that that's just silly, right?  It's got to be my favorite baby accessory to date though.  Here's to many more naps and snuggles in the wrap, Little Man.  Don't grow up too quickly; I want this feeling to last.  I love you so, so very much, Conrad.

The Boys' First Snowshoeing Adventure

1.18.2017

On Saturday we beat the winter blues and took the boys out on their very first snowshoeing adventure!  I need days like these: fresh air, sunshine, a little exercise, and family time--especially during the cold winter months.  Days like these make me feel refreshed and alive.  The world is a gorgeous place all year round and I've learned it can be really enjoyable if you have the right gear!

We borrowed the snowshoes from our good friends and started up the Wahlstrom Hallow trail in the South Hills.  I was impressed!  Jed and Levi took off through the snow like a pair of naturals.  I mean, it is just walking, after all.  Jed cruised through the deep drifts zig-zagging off trail showing us how it was done.  Levi struggled a little more, but he is only four.  He took his falls like a champ.  We hiked less than a mile round trip but I'm calling it a success because everyone made it back to the car wearing a happy smile. 

The pictures tell the rest of the story:

Proud Mama

1.15.2017
Larry, Curly, and Moe all ready for church this morning in their matching ties. 

The Baby Conrad Growth Series: Two Months

1.11.2017
^^Lying in the cradle he rarely sleeps in one day shy of 8 weeks old^^
^^The cutest little belly I ever did squish!^^

Dear Conrad,

You're two months old!  The last weeks have been a beautiful and messy blur of sweet cuddles and cozy sleepless nights--with a sprinkle of magic from Christmas time!  You've grown so much in the last few weeks, morphing from a floppy, sleepy newborn into a sleepy but much more alert tiny baby.  Your head quickly turns from side to side as your eyes find something new to stare at.  And your skin is so kissably soft!  I've enjoyed watching the little fat rolls on your thighs subtly appear and your cheeks and chin become more round.  I can't help laughing every time you stretch your short legs out on the changing table as if you are so tall and big.  "Hi, Tiny!" I often say.  You've also begun to smile and coo!  You have dimples, Conrad!  It's the cutest thing and is so exciting.  It makes leaving those precious newborn days behind less bitter as we move into this sweet new phase.

January Snow

1.10.2017
^^There's something about a quiet snow covered street that I love.^^

Last week winter was showing her wild and snowy side!  Drifts as tall as me, no school for two days, streets so snowy the garbage man never made it through, sub zero temperatures, and church was even cancelled.  It meant we had to reschedule Conrad's blessing day!  If it weren't for kind neighbors with tractors, we would never have made it out of our driveway.  I love winter storms though (as long as the power stays on). If it's going to be cold it might as well be cozy and pretty!

This week, however, winter is proving herself to be a bit more mellow with drizzly overcast days.  I already miss the snow but am happy to have a bit of routine back in my life.  After nearly three full weeks together, the boys need a break from each other.  (Read: Mom is tired of playing referee!)

Still, I want the boys to remember their awesome snow days.  Their second day off from school, the house was a disaster.  I told Jed and Levi that there would be no tv until they cleaned up the living room.  We wound up playing in and out of the house together all day long!  When dinner time came around, I bribed the boys with their favorite Dad's-out-of-town meal.  In exchange for picking up the living room, I would make Macaroni and Cheese!  So it was an all around win for everyone.  We had a fun day playing outside AND I got a clean(er) house.

Check out the fun!  

First Smile

1.05.2017

Oh, my heart! Scrape me off the floor. Bron helped me catch Conrad's smile on camera for the first time.

Snow Day!

1.04.2017
^^Jed warming up with a cup of hot chocolate.^^

It's a blizzard out there!  The boys stayed home from school and we enjoyed a cozy snow day.  We ate a big breakfast followed by playing in the fluffy white stuff.  I helped Jed and Levi dig a giant hole in one of the big drifts in the backyard.  Then Jed's hole caved in!  Levi didn't miss a beat to pile on even more snow on top of his big brother.  It's not very often the little brother comes out on top, literally!   Haha.  We built a blanket fort in the living room for reading, watched movies, baked banana bread, and get this: all three boys napped at the same time.  It didn't last very long (Conrad woke up) but it happened.  I almost didn't know what to do with myself for fifteen minutes!  It's been a good day with the promise of a second round tomorrow.  Good thing too because I'm not sure I can get the car out of my driveway.  I'm just keeping my fingers crossed the electricity doesn't go out.  Forget the routine and our responsibilities... it's an extended Christmas break.  Bring on the snow!


When I Asked

1.03.2017

The new worldwide church youth theme for the year comes from James 1:5-6. "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him."  As the teacher presented the new theme to all the young women at church on Sunday, I became lost in thought and was taken back to exactly this time last year.

I was aching and I was desperate.  Two years, one miscarriage, and countless tears later, we just could not conceive a baby.  I know I sound like a broken record when I mention our struggle, but it was one of the harder challenges I've ever had to navigate through, not knowing why or if I'd ever become pregnant again.  And I wanted another baby so badly!  I had hit my low point, the time when I had absolutely no where else to turn but to God.  No one in the world could possibly provide an answer; not a doctor, not family, not a friend.  Only my Heavenly Father had an answer for me.  It was truly humbling.

And so I fasted and I prayed.  I asked Heavenly Father to bless us with another baby and if it was not His will, I asked Him to bless me with peace; peace to know that raising the two amazing boys I already had was exactly His plan for me and that it was enough.

As I prayed, I felt a distinct impression: 2016 was going to be our year!  We would have a baby!  I also felt that I just needed to hang on a little bit longer, it would happen soon, February or March to be exact.

And so I pressed on with faith and hope.  But oh how easy it is to forget and become discouraged.  By the time March arrived, I'd given up hope that I would ever be pregnant again.  But that's when it did.  That's when I saw two precious lines on a pregnancy test!

Sunday, I looked down at the baby peacefully sleeping in my arms.  Tears filled my eyes because here he was: Conrad, that perfect baby whom fills my heart with so much joy and is more than I could ever dream.  Conrad is a living reminder that my Heavenly Father does answer prayers, that He has gentle lessons to teach me, and that He loves me.

 ^^A little experiment with in-camera double exposures and little Christmas lights.^^