Sunday, May 14, 2017

Giving Yourself Permission

Today is Mother's Day...

Josh let me know, early in the weekend, that I was "off duty" on Mother's Day.  That meant I could spend time as I chose without feeling like there were things I had to do.  Josh was going to do the diapers, do the bedtime, do the cooking.  Yes, I will keep him :)

While the boys were napping, Josh asked me how I was going to spend that time.  I am usually extremely productive during naptime.  It is basically one of the few chances I have to get things done and it is also literally the only time I have to myself.  When choosing whether to spend time with myself or being productive, I basically always choose being productive.  I often grade papers or work on school work, do laundry, fold laundry, put clothes away and lots of other work-type stuff.

Today, I was mulling how to spend my time.  I was pretty sure I was NOT going to be productive- I was going to do something just for me.  I thought about watching TV, reading, writing, and taking a nap.  With that, came the guilt.  Our house was messy, there was laundry to fold, the cars could use a wash and vacuum, and yard-work?! Don't even get me started.  How can I justify taking time to nap or watch TV when that list is so long and so vast and feels so necessary?

Parents, you feel me?! The struggle is real.  We are overworked under-rested.  Both moms and dads give and give and give, work and work and work.  We wouldn't change it, are happy to do it, but that doesn't mean it's easy and that doesn't mean we aren't freaking tired. 

Today, I gave myself permission to rest. 

I went upstairs, turned on an episode of "The Real Housewives of New York City" and was out cold in about fifteen minutes.  The nap I took was incredible.  I woke up and it was dinner time.  

The laundry and cars and the messy house and the God-forsaken yardwork (can you tell yardwork is a total #trigger for me right now?!) were still there, but so was a smile on my face.  

I know people always say that in order to be a good mom or a good parent, you HAVE to take care of yourself.  That is SO easier said than done.  But today, for a little bit, I lived that and it was great.  I pushed the guilt down as far as it would go and gave myself the permission for some peace, some quiet, and some rest.

Moms, parents, grandparents, anyone who puts themselves behind the children they love, support, and take care of, please give yourself permission to rest in whatever way feels good to you.  Let that rest be guilt-free.  Don't make excuses for it and don't feel like you have to justify it to yourself or anyone else.  YOU DESERVE IT!  You are raising tiny global citizens!

Schedule it if that helps make it happen.  Put it on the calendar if that it helps having something to look forward to.  Use it as a reward for accomplishing a DIY project you've been wanting to tackle or after putting together a new bike or cleaning out a closet.  Make time for you... just you

Rest! 

It sure can feel like the "holy grail," but that's exactly what makes it so necessary.

Give...Yourself...Permission...    

Sunday, May 7, 2017

NOLAN and JUDAH are FOUR!

Dear Nolan and Judah,

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! YOU ARE FOUR YEARS OLD!!!! Turning four, somehow in my mind, makes you a kid- not a baby anymore, not a toddler anymore, but a kid. This growing up thing is so bitter sweet.  Sweet because I am endlessly grateful you are healthy and smart and growing appropriately, but bitter because of how fast time goes  When I held you both in my arms for the first time, I couldn’t grasp how much time would fly.  You both began the family we’d been praying for, hoping for, and trying so hard for.  In that moment, in the hospital room, I savored that and took it all in.  Now you two are a walking, talking, thinking, creating, individual people with so much that makes you… you.

TO NOLAN:
I have truly enjoyed this last year getting to know you.  What is life like for you as an almost four-year-old you might ask… Nolan, your life is so full.
 
You are flourishing in school- you participate, you lead, you help, you continue to learn and progress. We need to work on cutting and drawing faces more with you, but, like I have been saying a lot, you may go to kindergarten having no idea how to tie your shoes, but you will be able to label an incredible amount of countries on a map.  Some things we focus on more than others ;)  By the way, you can name like fifteen countries on a map- it’s wild.

You’ve been getting into more sports lately- wanting to practice tennis and basketball the most.  We got you into a little soccer camp that starts in a couple of weeks so we’ll see how you end up liking that. 

You are still obsessed with the weather.  This week we are celebrating screen-free week and I’d say the hardest part for you is not being able to wake up and check the Weather Channel or ask Siri what the weather is going to be like today.  I love the weather too, so it’s been super fun to talk with you about it endlessly.  As if your compassion for others wasn’t big enough, the weather has helped you know about flooding and tornadoes, and other natural disasters, which shapes your nightly prayers.

You are continuing to ask more questions about the world around you.  For example, you just asked the other day what ‘jealous’ meant.  That was not easy for this teacher to teach so thank you for continuing to push MY thinking too.     

We tell you all the time to 'only worry about you,' but you are the caretaker of everyone that’s ever been I’m convinced.  You consistently put others needs, wants, and happiness above yourself.  You are quick to give up a toy if someone else wants it, quick to drop everything you are doing to support a sad brother, quick to check with Judah if he does or not does have to use the potty.  You will ask me about my day before you even think to tell me about your own.  You are selfless.  I hope that doesn't change and I hope your strength and occasional stubbornness doesn't either so that you continue to stand up for yourself too  

Your incredible memory and incredible awareness makes you extra wise and extra curious.  Not much gets passed you ;)  

You thrive on predictability so having community meetings each day to go over our schedule has helped keep you centered.  

You spent your three-year-old life playing 'pay' and 'picnic', exploring, building things constantly, pushing around huge trucks, playing hide-and-seek, Pop the Pig, Zingo, Feed the Woozle, making forts, coloring, painting, trying to learn how to 'read', labeling countries on maps, doing yoga, playing sports, singing and putting on concerts, making 'presentations,' and reading an endless amount of books with some favorites being Max the Brave, Little Pea, Yes Day, Tumford the Terrible, Who Stole the Cookie From the Cookie Jar, and Daily Devotional Prayers.
Artist at work
Weather Day at Impression 5
Just one of many, MANY towers and structures built this year
A map puzzle combines two of Nolan's favorite things

He will  build anywhere with anything 



TO JUDAH: 
This last year has been an incredible journey in your world- let me tell you about it…

This was the year we finally figured out what was going on with your sensitive and often rashy skin.  You had allergy testing done, blood work done, a huge elimination diet and ultimately the discovery that you are allergic to wheat.  You rallied, you overcame.

This was also the year you began to see a speech therapist to help your pronunciation and articulation of words and sounds. You worked hard and have made wonderful progress and growth.

Finally, you started preschool this year. You were excited and open-hearted.

These things would be enough for any adult to handle, let alone a three-year-old.  But you, JuJu, accepted any situation, took it in, took it on, and flourished.

I am reminded daily of your incredible grace.

Don’t ever lose your adaptability and flexibility.  Don’t ever lose that positive attitude and outlook on life. Don’t ever stop leading with kindness. 

Our whole family has learned so much from these three changes in your life.  We are balancing more schedules and more appointments, learning new games and strategies to help you and your brothers practice skills and learn, and soaking in how cool it is to watch you be a student- to watch you lead, make new friends, try new things.

You spent your three-year old life playing on playgrounds, exploring, putting together puzzles, playing instruments, getting way more coordinated in throwing, catching, and kicking, making gluten-free brownies, muffins, and cookies, learning about countries like South Sudan and Mali, playing hide-and-seek, Pop the Pig, Zingo, and Feed the Woozle and reading so many favorite books like Little Pea, Max the Brave, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, Go Dog Go, The Incredible Messed-Up Story, Exclamation Mark, and countless others. 
Engineer Day at Impression 5

Creating and pretending

Homemade gluten-free french toast sticks! 

This huge box gave lots of hours of entertainment and pretending 


Judah's outlook on life
Nolan and Judah,
Learning with you and about you is one of my most favorite things in the entire world.
I’m excited to see what four-years-old brings.

You are my favorite Nolan that’s ever been.  You are my favorite Judah that's ever been. 

Keep loving each other exactly as you do right now.  Your friendship, kindness, and complete support for one another leaves me speechless with tears in my eyes all the time. No one could have prepared me for how incredibly special a twin relationship could be.  You are so lucky you have each other and we are so lucky we have you both. 

I love you,

-Mama   

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Carter Pavona, The Bing, is TWO!

Dear Carter,

I can hear you making noise after Daddy put your down tonight- your first night of being two.  I was talking to Grammy and Grandma earlier and they both kept saying they couldn’t BELIEVE you were two.  I think they were certainly waiting for me to echo their thoughts, and I do, but there is so much more to it.  Let me explain…

I seriously don’t remember a time without you in our family because you fit in perfectly since day one.  You were meant to be here and in this family, I just know it.  So a part of me feels like you’ve been with us for so much longer than two years. 

Also, you often act so much bigger than you are that it makes me forget you are ‘only’ turning two.  You are talking like CRAZY. Like incredible amounts- fully sentences, big words.  The other day you said from the back seat- “Mommy! Turn it up- I can’t hear the music!”  Who are you I thought to myself.  You are trying to get on to a training wheel bike to ride it, you climb on everything no matter how high, and you keep up with your brothers every single day.  Your dad will often refer to all of you as the ‘triplets.’  For these things, again, it feels like you’ve been around here much more than two years.

But then…

Oh my sweet little Bing…

It feels like three seconds ago I found out I was pregnant with you- feeling like conceiving a baby naturally would never be in the cards for us and then there you were- two lines on a stick.

Two seconds ago, I was pregnant with you- trying to balance having two toddlers and a baby growing inside of me.  Wondering what you would be like, what having one would be like, agonizing and debating over names with your dad.

And then, it had to have been only one second ago that I held you in my arms for the first time.  When we locked eyes, when you grabbed hold of my heart- A heart I knew could and would instantly love three children as it had loved two. 

When I reflect on those moments, with tears in my eyes, the fact that you are turning two is absolutely shocking.  I can't even put words to how fast time has flown.

So what is life like for you right now, as a two year old?  Well, Carter, you love so much, know so much, do so much! 

You LOVE LOVE LOVE being outside. You want to play outside constantly and tantrum heavily whenever it is time to go inside.  While outside you want to ride, and push, and dig, and explore.  You don’t care if it’s cold or hot or sunny or cloudy, you just want to be out there. 

While inside, you love to play with your big trucks especially.

You will participate in just about anything- drawing, playing instruments, throwing and catching, singing, cooking.  If your brothers are doing it, you are so in.  If they aren’t, you are mostly in ;)

The moon in your room is one of your favorite things. 

Reading is something you will do at any time (I was nervous you might not like reading much at first, but you have come around so very much).  Some of your favorite books are: Hand Hand Fingers Thumb, Goodnight Michigan, Head Shoulders Knees and Toes, Jolly Olly Octopus, If I could Keep you Little, First Words, First Animals, Little Pea, The Crown on Your Head.

While Nolan and Judah are at school, you have become quite an awesome helper and I think you love that time with me. 

You can already say the alphabet and count to ten and love music.

Your blond hair, crinkly nose, and the fact that you smile with your whole face makes anyone who meets you melt.  The amount of times I hear how cute you are is kind of ridiculous actually, but I eat it up.

You must know how loved you are- you just must.  We haven’t been able to get enough of you over these last two years.

Happy Birthday, Carter Pavona Hundt.

We love you so much, Bing Bong.

To a wonderful year ahead,

Your lucky Mama