My Anthony, your bond with "Baby Leo" is so beautiful to me. When he was born, I knew how I felt. I knew my love would grow for him daily like it does for you, Lucy, & Kate. I love seeing how his birth affects you, and being surprised by it. You rush in each morning to see if Leo is up. You hang out with him when you see that he's been left by himself. You always give him a hug and a kiss. This makes me so very happy.
You get carted around from place to place and you remain content. When I look at your beautiful face, you smile with your whole body and I return the grin. It’s amazing to me that just under 4 months ago you were tucked away in my warm belly. I can’t imagine my life without you here to hold & squeeze & love, and just to make every day just … really good. I love you with my whole heart Leo.
When I was younger, our relationship was like mine with my kids now. You were there. You were always there, and you always delivered. I know you’re not perfect, and I know there were times where things were hard for you as a mom… and that we drove you up the wall… but as a kid I only remember you being there. In my teens and twenties, there were a lot of times things were hard for me, you always listened... I knew I could talk to you about anything. And now as a mother of 4, your help is essential to me, from watching the kids, making meals, to just being around. I texted you the other day feeling overwhelmed, and so maxed out, and just like no one got how I felt, you replied with a joking comment, and it made me just feel gotten. Your words lifted so much weight off my heavy shoulders. There’s not a day that I live and breathe that I don’t feel lucky to have you as my mom. I love you with my whole heart.
Lucy Mae, you are beautiful, inside, outside, and every other way possible. To my extreme pride you were honored for showing your kind heart at school. At home, you pick up where I fall short. You hold Leo so I can get a few things done; You and Anthony are best friends; and You are the unifying link between Kate & Anthony. I swear they are auditioning for World War III when you’re not here. I love you with all my heart & I am so thankful for you.
If I don't set goals each month, I wander around aimlessly and get really frustrated because I feel lost and like I'm not moving forward. If I don't take stock of my life before making goals, I make goals that make no sense in my life. Taking stock is something I often forget to do, but I'm going to give it my best this month.
I've been having a very hard time adjusting to the changes that have come with the addition of Leo to our family. This February, every day has felt hard. Like I'm an exhausted version of myself being held hostage by an unhappy, hurt little 2 year old. My days have been struggle centric. If I was asked how I was doing, I'd say "It'd be better if I got more sleep" or "The baby's easy, Kate's the hard one." And why I prefer being honest when I'm asked about my life, I was letting that negativity fill all of the space. I just couldn't see past how hard I felt things were. At 2:30 AM Saturday morning, I was up nursing Leo and I just started feeling hopeless. When is this going to get better??? On Saturday, at a more happy time to be awake, I was sitting in the Starbucks drive thru line and waiting to order my Grande Coffee with extra cream & one equal. It occurred to me that maybe I needed to think about my life right now, aka take stock, before moving into March with the same defeated feelings. So I pulled out my iphone and opened my Evernote app and began writing.
saturday starbucks DRIVE THRU line musings.
"my Goal here is to clear my head... I'm so focused on the walls and the box.. that I've forgotten about the windows & the light. I'm obsessing about my cage and how it holds me in ... instead of how I can make it pretty & meaningful and good. this is us. this is our life right now. all I am i focusing on is why it sucks right now. and not the beauty of it. i'm making myself stuck. i'm pouring the concrete and standing in it. i'm the one who is holding myself back. it's time to notice the windows first. see where they are. use that light and begin seeing beauty again. march is just about here. time to push forward"
From taking that 2 minutes of time to take stock of things, I realized I'm focusing on all of the wrong things, and that's why I feel the way I do. Hence, my March project: "Find the Good". My life right now is so full. Every moment is accounted for. There's plenty of good in my day, but if I'm not intentional about noticing it, it passes me right by. This month is going to be different.
Each day in March I'm committing to writing something down that was really good in my day. It's my intention to also photo this really good thing. However, the words I believe are most important. I am hoping this daily focus on what is truly worthwhile in my life will help me see all that I have to be thankful for. If you're interested in joining me, you can use your March 'Story of Us' Book journal pages, you can use the Evernote app, anything you want, just keep it in 1 place. Write the date down and write your something good next to it. If you use Evernote, you can include a photo too. I'm hoping that this project will turn my perspective around. I'll report back on April 1 and let you know how it went!
WHAT IT IS: The 'Find the good project' is my attempt to put what's good in my life in the forefront. When I get too stuck on what's hard in my life I tend to forget what's actually going well at the same time. To participate you can either write or write & photo about something in your life that makes you feel very fortunate. If you'd like to go the write & photo route use hashtag: #findthegood on instagram. You're welcome to also keep it private. The Evernote app works very well for both photo & text. If you'd like to simply write what's good, you can use the March journal pages in your Story of Us book, a notebook, or a word program.
MY 'FIND THE GOOD' PROJECT
3/1/17 - I remain sane if I keep a schedule. Naptime is the part of my schedule that everything else is planned around. It's time of day that I don't let anyone interfere with. If there is naptime I get my break. If I get my break I am a mentally balanced happy mom. If Leo sleeps during Kate's naptime & Anthony's rest time, I get to work at my desk. There has not been 1 day since he was here that he has not slept during this time. For me this is the ultimate 'good' thing.
3/2/17 - Things are getting back to normal. Only one time did Kate get her feelings hurt today. My goodness that felt good. I can handle that. After feeding Leo, I put him in the swing and we had a morning where she was her sweet happy playful little self. I haven't seen this side of her in 2 months. It made me so happy to see it today!
3/3/17 - I got myself in the frame!!! This is something that's been so big in my head that I just simply haven't tried it! A photo challenge given by Heather Robinson, who I admire so much, got me in the picture! It's a starting point! I'm so excited to see where this can go!
3/4/17 -A day with Leo. The older 3 are at Grandma Chris's. Which means a day that is free and clear to work! Quality time with this little guy lasts as long as a feeding & about a half an hour after. He is such an easy going little snoozer. I am so thankful for this!
3/5/17 - Luke taking this picture! To me this is one of the greatest gifts he can give me. An image that celebrates our life and the relationship that I have with our kids.
3/6/17 - Something good: The love my kids have for each other. They have us they have each other.
03/07/17 Our life right now, a beautiful, organized, mess. I am worn out and a bit brow beaten, but feeling victorious today. 6 years and 8 monthsish ago, I can remember having a particularly low day. I was about to have my first night alone with you Lucy. You were one month old. I was scared out of my mind. I remember sitting at mother's day brunch and trying to hold it together in front of everyone when I realized your dad was going to start working nights again. I excused myself to the bathroom so I could cry in private. I didn't believe I could make it through that night, with a new baby, by myself.
I've got to tell you I'm proud of myself. I'm proud of today. Today, you & Anthony were home sick and I held the house together. There was breakfast, and vitamin refusals, I got my grades submitted. 45 minute meltdowns from Kate. Anthony fell down the stairs. Leo needed to be nursed. Lunch. An accusation of having bad manners. Naptime. Rest time. A clogged toilet. An attempt at a self portrait. Taxes. Dinner. And I held it together. It wasn't perfect, but we made it through the day, and that's something I'm very proud of.
03/08/17 - Today, I came down with a flu/mastitis?? combo. Something good: I had help when I needed it. I felt really crappy & I didn't have to muscle through when I wasn't up to it.
03/09/17 - Something good: In another jumbled day, with more pain I had Kathy Dietrich, a lactation consultant who has been ridiculously helpful to me with Leo, call me from her home to let me know how to take care of my blocked ducts. I asked for help & again received it.
03/10/17 - So many good things. I have a place to go when I need a break & to recharge my batteries. This place is full of inspiration and interesting light to practice with. I'm taking a class that guides me to this new light to learn. I have a camera that lets me express myself through its body & lens. I have a wonderful father-in-law who helps me & my helpful husband pack up the kids when it's time to go.
It blows my mind how what is familiar one day ceases to be the next... or how what you couldn't wait for but you never thought would come is all of a sudden here. My Leo, this is your spot. This where you hang out, where you sleep during the day, where you get affectionately bombarded with kisses. 1 month and 1 day ago, you were still lodging comfortably inside of me. Amazing. You bring mre and more joy to our family each day. I love you wholeheartedly.
He's brought so much love into our home.
It's incredible. Lucy, Anthony, & Kate can't get enough of him. Cousin's flock to him when they see him. In our family there are a lot of them!
There's so much love & joy. This I remember. I somehow forgot the exhaustion from multiple late night feedings. I don't think I forgot the frustration and aggravation that come from the emotional outbursts that come from the just bumped baby. I think I just haven't experienced them lately and forgot how hard they are to handle. Each time I feed Leo, Kate decides at that moment that she needs to be held and totally melts down. I've started to get better at distracting her, but man this wears me out. I think the hardest part is just having no set schedule. Not being sure when I'll time to work on the things that balance me out. This time is just so hard. I'm feeling very stretched. With all of this newness going on, there are so many things that are essential to my well-being that I've set aside. Planning! I feel so much better when my week is planned, and I can check things off my list! So much better! Also Gratitude! Nursing this time around has been stressful and painful and I've felt way too sorry for myself. I'm seeing what's negative and not what's good and beautiful. Also, I stopped writing things down daily, when I got back to writing them down, I wrote a bunch at once. My recollections were more surfacy then if I wrote regularly. So it's time to set my February goals!
1. PLAN! Plan my week on Sunday! This way I can think about what I want in it, and make sure it's included daily. By monday, my week is already underway. Planning is so much more effective and beneficial when I actually do it! and when I do it on Sunday!
2. GRATITUDE! Gratitude re-routes your brain. It's so much harder to feel sorry for yourself and be negative when you look for what's good in your life first. I need this.. Especially now! There's so much good that's right in front of me and I'm not seeing it! I'm making a goal to write 5 things I am grateful for each day.
3. WRITE SOMETHING DOWN EVERY DAY! Things change so quickly, what's essential, what we're doing, what we're into is always changing. Write it down or it will be missed. My goal is to do 1 daily & 1 monthly prompt per day.
Make my goals yours!
The very independent lady didn't want any help with her pants :)
It’s amazing how change happens so seamlessly with little ones unless you’re watching for it, you don’t always notice it happening. It wasn’t that long ago I wished for a vacuum to be an extension of my arm because our floors were constantly covered with food and I had to vacuum after every meal. It’s one of those things you have this mild desperate aggravating hopeless feeling that you will be vacuuming all of the time forever. It’s never going to end. And now sitting here writing this, I realize I only vacuuma few times a week. Being the crappy housekeeper I am, I’m sure it really could use more than that, but I’m no longer stepping on sticky noodles, or wet bananas, that make the arm extension essential.
My biggest challenge right now as a mom that’s transitioning from 3 to 4 children is the change. It hasn’t happened yet, but knowing how this goes, I feel it coming in my bones. My youngest Kate has been my baby for 2 years now. When the baby comes she’s going to look two feet taller. Her feelings are going to get hurt by this new tiny little person, and I know the heart break I’ll feel because of this. I’m not going to be able to get her what she needs whenever she needs, which is really something I need to work on anyway! I don’t want to raise a demanding little diva. Though I know so much love is being added to our family, I know the transition is hard for little ones.
Change & growth endlessly equally challenge me & inspire me. Kate & I have had this routine for months. It involves me singing to her and rocking her, plunking her in her crib, and some form of kisses and nigh nights. It used to be more elaborate. It wasn’t that long ago that I rocked her and sang to her over and over, and then we needed several kisses through the bars of the crib before I said good night. At this point, there was a lot more space on my lap, and she’d spread her small square very weathered purplish blanky on my belly and lean in and we’d snuggle. It was this really tender beautiful thing that I would have paid the big bucks to have photoed, just so I could remember this time. In this time she was my shadow, everything I did, she wanted to do. This was September/October. Then came October/November, and me getting ready for my holiday open house and her developing her bond with her dad. There was wrestling and often he’d be her preferred mode of transport to bed. It always hurts a little to not be their only one, but it also brought an inkling of freedom. I think the need of our routine began becoming less to her. Now we’re in November/December & she thinks her older sister is the bomb diggity. She wants to do whatever she’s doing. And although there are still parts of our beautiful sleep routine there, there’s less of it. And now she’s moving into a phase where she’s very independent. There’s still the need for me of course. But when I get up stairs to put her to bed. She’s already in the rocking chair and asserting “Kate Rock”. I’ve got to scoop her up and tell her it’s time for her & I to rock. This change that you don’t see happening but is shaping them and revealing who they are is my inspiration for writing our life down. It’s the reason, I break out my camera daily. All of the beauty , change, and growth of our everyday continues to flow& happen whether I capture it or not. The only difference is that I lose something if I don’t.
INSPIRATION: My inspiration for this project comes from my family. I have been passionate about photography for years. However, the spark ignited after having my oldest daughter Lucy. I wanted to capture everything about her, who she was, what she loved, what I loved about her... However, if I didn't write anything down, I felt that when I'd go back to those photos, some of the stories and depth of my experience as her mom were lost. I started writing down a lot of details, such as how much she weighed at what age; how often she'd eat & how much. Again, a year or so later when I looked back at them, I wondered why I had wrote them down... because they didn't bring any memories of her, or our life with her back to me. So I began really working out what was important to me, what was good, what mattered to me and us. I wanted to write down what I wanted to remember. because I would blink, and what mattered to her or what her favorite thing was would change. I began writing those things down. From that I created a long list of prompts to draw this information out. Just because I remembered what I wanted to write down one day, didn't mean I'd have any idea of what I wanted to write down the next. The list of prompts that I created draw out a beautiful story full of honesty, imperfection, change, growth, & what matters most to me: who they are right now. This is how the "Story of Us" was born. The beautiful thing about this whole process, is that it's lead me to search for what's good in a day. I believe that if you look for the good you'll find it. A day with 3 kids under 6 when I'm 32 weeks pregnant is no where near perfect, but there's so much beauty in the imperfection. So I write that down.
WHAT 'THE STORY OF US' IS: A book that combines a planner, prompts to draw out your story, and a journal, all in one.
One place to write down your family’s story, your struggles & triumphs, your moments & feelings, your life, your love & your inspiration. Your book will hold what is meaningful to you, what is beautiful in your life right now, and all the incredible details that make your family who they are. It’s a place to grow and be heard. A place to document your family’s unique story. A place to have the beauty of it all recorded before it’s forgotten and gone. This book will have a place in your library for years to come. It will bring you back to this time. It will include all of the love you have for your family inside. Life in its most honest state is beautiful. Life in its most mundane is full of love. This book will give you one place to write it all down.
WHO IT'S FOR: It’s for anyone who loves their life and wants to remember
the beautiful, imperfect details of it all.
WHY DO THIS:
So on a really bad day when you feel driven up the wall, you can release your feelings on the page, then flip a few back and see what’s beautiful in your life.
Because life changes so quickly, it’s so easy to forget how much good there is. It needs to be written down, or those stories are gone forever.
Because some days are just hard. Some days are hard before you even get out of bed. Then there are demands coming from every which way... It’s easy to get buried with exasperation and frustration. At the same time there are these incredibly joyful beautiful snippets... Or mornings, or days... And they’re made up of the simple stuff. Not the big trips to places, but the genuine smile you receive when you get your little one up in the morning or the picture your oldest made in art class for you, even though she didn’t have to; or the way your little man spent the early morning with you, just the two of you, which is so rare, making a necklace together. The day happens so quickly, that these deeply meaningful wonderfully joyful moments get passed by ... And quickly forgotten if they’re not recorded.
It’s amazing to look back, even a month, and see how much your life has changed. Imagine reading this in 5 years.
That’s what this book is for. It’s a home for those moments, a place to help you see, and a place to tell your story.
If you look for the good in your life, you will find it.
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