Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Bombardings: Easter, 20 Months, and I'm pregnant.

See how productive I am?
I'm covering three major family events all in one post.

That's how I roll. At least as of lately. For the last, oh, three and a half months or so.

I pretty much save everything for a day when "I feel well" or "have the energy". But so far, that day hasn't really arrived. So that simply means we consistently have around 7 loads of laundry at a time and the blog milestones pile up so much that I have to cover from present day to Lyla's 21st birthday in one post.

And just in case you missed the social media announcement, we're expecting. As in baby #2. And we are just sure Lyla is going to be the best big sis ever. Even though it completely confuses her when I tell her "there's a baby in Mommy's tummy". And the fact that she cries every time I hold a newborn. Regardless, we're excited. And I promise to give a real update on the ol pregnancy soon. When I "have the energy". {Sigh}.

 What would an egg hunt be without blue jelly bean juice dripping down your brand new easter dress?

That being said, my sweet girl is 20 months old. And no, I don't go around telling people she's 20 months old. Because that's obnoxious. She's "a year and a half".  But, actually, I've slipped a few times and felt embarrassed. When a stranger asks how old she is, they want to know in years, not months. Because that's simply too much math.

Anyway...this has obviously been my favorite month. I'm not kidding when I say that I've never, ever seen Lyla as happy as she's been this month. I mean, we have an overall pretty happy kid. But this month, she's been spending a lot of time outside, and she is head.over.heels. She runs around, collects rocks, chases the dogs, picks flowers, throws her ball, and picks up grass and blows it out of her hands (a trick she learned from Dad). She runs around in circles, talks to the birds, and laughs hysterically at pretty much every sound she hears. Oh, and she loves dining al fresco. Just like mom and dad.

Ly has also been quite the little lover this month. Lots of kisses and actual hugging. Just today, she was throwing a little tantrum, and I told her "no". She looked up at me with teary eyes, threw her body into mine and gave me the biggest bear hug. {I die.} She's finally started puckering when she kisses, and I get a blown kiss every morning before I leave for work.

And oh my, the vocabulary! It has exploded this month. She's still only saying two-word simple sentences, like greetings, but it's so fun to hear all the words she knows. I can no longer track the words she says and am constantly surprised by the connections she makes. A few weeks ago, she was working on her shape puzzle by herself, and I peeked in at her. She was placing the star and heart into the proper spots and actually said "star" and "heart". I couldn't believe it! I think I've mentioned those shapes once or twice. Or the other night before bed, she was pointing to and naming all the letter "A's" on my shirt. Or this morning, she was excitedly making monkey noises at the grocery store. I kept looking around to see if there was a picture of a monkey somewhere. Sure enough, there was a teeny-tiny stuffed monkey hanging about 10 feet away. Then she pointed to his long fingers and exclaimed "TOES"!

But I'm quite sure her new favorite pastime is officially hunting for easter eggs. Oh the joy it brings! I'm not even completely sure how she knew what to do, but she was instinctively a master hunter. My mom works at a nursing home, and they hosted an easter egg hunt for the families. It was Ly's very first hunt. Usually, she's the last one to chime in and participate, but she bolted out ready to FIND HER EGGS before the hunt even began.

Luckily, we had three more egg hunts after that one.

Hunt #2

Unfortunately, I don't have a good picture of Ly actually "hunting" because 1. The Kansas winds were blowing approximately 60 mph. 2. There were about 200 kids in the age 1-3 group {and Ly doesn't love big groups}. 3. This was the start of an undetected double ear infection. 4. This was her second hunt of the day. And she was sort of over it. Until she got her lollipop. 

Ly and her best buds she's known since they were in their mamas' wombs. See. Look how much fun she's having. 

Hunt #3
Ly got together with her best buddy, Cal. Always a good time with this little lad. These two have also known each other since they were little beans in their mamas' bellies.

 Someone started getting confident and decided to be an egg-hog. 

Hunt #4

This was Ly's personal favorite as she was by herself at GiGi and Pops and got all the jelly beans {and attention} to herself.

This Easter was just perfect. Church service with the fam, dyeing easter eggs with Grams, waking up to a fun-filled easter basket, and dining on cranky turkey sandwiches with the grandparents.

And some pretty nice weather to boot.

Oh, and a healthy little nugget on the way.

Incredibly blessed this spring season.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Just Being

I'm pretty sure I've broken some sort of absence rule over here on the blog.

I'm surprised I even remembered my login to my Mac as my brain muscles are most definitely getting squishy and rusty. And I don't like it one bit. {Yet, admittedly, I kind of do.}

I wish I could give a good excuse as to why I haven't had the desire to sit down and blog.
Like we've been busy completely remodeling our house.
Or I took on a volunteer project which has taken up all my time.
Or we have been busy packing all of our belongings to move to Madrid for a year.

But instead, the only real excuse I have is simply life.
We have been very busy enjoying every bit of it.
Busy enjoying happy.

Our pastor put it perfectly into perspective a couple of Sundays ago when he said, "We must find the value in being, not doing."
I'm pretty sure he was looking right at me when he said that.
Ok, not really.
But truer words have never been spoken, and these particular words struck a nerve deep in my soul.

So here I am, really focusing on simply being, not doing.

And to be quite honest, for the first time ever, my life is tranquil.
I am at peace with every aspect of it.
I feel content. I'm sleeping at night. And I don't feel even a twinge of anxiety.

This level of contentment, however, hasn't come naturally. I've had to work quite hard and make a very conscious effort to get to the where I'm at. I've spent the last 8 months detoxing and intentionally eliminating things from my life that tend to cause me anxiety - things like perfectionism and comparison.

I've said no to more commitments in the past 3 months than I have in my 30 years of living. I've made more of an effort to be around the people who make me feel the most "whole" and whom I feel no pressure to impress. I spend more time in the word and in prayer. I try to focus on gratitude instead of wanting more. I've forgiven myself for mistakes I've made and regrets I have. I left a profession that I thought I would love but didn't. I have learned that my value is not in the things I do but who I am.

Earlier this week, my morning devotional from Jesus Calling really stayed with me, "Accept yourself and your circumstances just as they are...Do not wear yourself out with planning and analyzing".

Once again, I'm pretty sure the author must have done a bit of stalking, and then wrote this just for me. Not that planning or analyzing are bad qualities, well, at least I hope not. Those are two characteristics that are absolutely etched into my being - I will never be able to rid my planning nature. Planning in and of itself is a wonderful thing, but planning to achieve perfection is where things get sticky. I have learned {and am still learning} to let go of things I cannot change and to not sweat the small stuff. **But believe me, this isn't easy. There are still plenty of small things I sweat. Just ask my husband and his habit of putting his cereal bowls in the left side of the sink. ;)

But I promise I'm getting better.

Know how I know? Because I made scones from a box this week instead of scouring Pinterest for an hour looking for the perfect recipe for two co-workers' birthdays. Or the fact that I'm totally fine with pizza and balloons for Lyla's second birthday. Or the fact that I am perfectly content updating and improving our current home instead of being sour that it's not time for us to "upgrade".

I'm really enjoying this whole avoiding perfectionism thing.

But also in my moments of weakness, I find myself getting antsy. Hoping for a new project or commitment. Wanting more responsibility. Wanting a challenge. Wanting to take on the world.

I'm a doer through and through.

But then I'm immediately reminded that this time with Lyla is so precious, so sweet, so fleeting. Each milestone, each passing moment, will never again be repeated. And when I have other commitments, I tend to not be as focused on my family as I'd like to be. My entire heart, brain and existence goes into whatever responsibilities I've been given.

So for this very short spec on the timeline of my life, and for the very first time ever, I have chosen to put my entire self into just being.

And it's amazing how just being brings a somewhat unfamiliar feeling to my bones: peace and contentment.
Oh. And lots and lots of happy.