Monday, April 24, 2017

Brother and sister.

One of the greatest gifts of this season of life has been watching these two fall in love with each other as the three of us have spent our days together over the past few months. We had hopes that they would one day be friends, but it was a surprise to me how much they love each other now. I am grateful that they get to spend so much time together in this season of life and that I get to be a part of creating a beautiful childhood for them. Everett likes Cambria to be involved in his playing and learning at home, so she often gets invited to do whatever he is doing or he invites himself to join her.

We are in a good place right now. I am really enjoying spending my days with these two. Some days are simple and slow and consist of a lot of play time at home. Most days we are out and about connecting with people and our local community.

Our nights are still rough. These photos are from awhile ago. I am behind on my photography and journaling, which are two gratitude practices for me, so I try to carve out time for them in the midst of this full season of life with two little ones. I am hoping to catch up a little this week. At the same time, it has never been more difficult for me to form a coherent sentence let alone paragraph because of sleep deprivation. I am tired of hearing myself talk about how little sleep we are getting, because it is sad and boring, but it impacts all areas of our life. Just this past Saturday, I was awakened by children eight times throughout the night, and that was with Matt taking Cambria out of our room for three hours. It is not sustainable. We are beginning research on what to do to try to remedy our lack of sleep, because I don't think we can function like this for much longer. 

I like to joke that God didn't want us to have a third child, because he gave us such a horrible sleeper for a second kid, but there just isn't anything funny about not sleeping. Really though, I don't think Matt would ever let me have a third child because of how much suffering we have experienced due to sleep deprivation this time around. 

Anyway, the days are good and beautiful and I love that these two get to hang out and play and that if nothing else, in the midst of this crazy life, they have each other. 
We can't forget about this sibling, too. ^^^ He puts up with a lot, and he is a trooper. 

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Welcome, April. // A family canyon walk.

Good-bye, March.

The past month has been a challenging one. As 2016 was ending, there were a lot of “good bye, good riddance” discussions taking place, where people were commenting on how glad they were to see 2016 go, and I read through them thinking, wait, I got pregnant, grew, and had a baby in 2016. I loved this year, despite the political turmoil that was a constant backdrop to the joy in our home with new life. 

That “good bye, good riddance” attitude is how I feel about the month of March, though. Ironically, I started a gratitude project in March, and then the universe responded with, I’m going to make everything hard for you this month just to really challenge you to feel grateful for your life! I’m left wondering what lessons I was supposed to learn through this month. 

March for us included a full work schedule for Matt with so many extra hours put in to write a grant, adding stress to all of our lives; a scary couple of doctor’s appointments for Cambria; Everett getting the flu and passing it to me, so we didn’t leave the house for over a week, and I could not get out of bed for three days straight; and a grueling personal decision and some uncomfortable self reflection for me.

However, I am choosing to take these hardships, shift my perspective, and start this next month on a positive note, focusing on the things from March for which I am grateful:
  • I am grateful for a hard-working husband who is involved in inspiring work that he is passionate about. 
  • I am grateful for a healthy baby girl who turned five months old in March. 
  • I am grateful for a lively two and a half year old boy who is my daily adventure buddy.
  • I am grateful for family that came down to help with our kids while I was sick in bed.
  • I am grateful that we have the space in our lives to make choices that feel right for our family, and that I am able to make personal decisions that feel like the right path for myself.
  • I am grateful that I am still learning a lot about who I am at the age of 33 and that I am continuing to grow. 
April, please be kinder to us than March was.

***

How can I look at these photos from a recent family canyon walk and not feel grateful? I love that we live in an urban neighborhood, but can still walk to and explore canyons from our house. I love that Everett exudes joy being in nature. I love taking pictures of my family. Lately, I am making more of a conscious effort to hand Matt the camera, so that I am in some photos, too. I like being behind the camera 1,000 times more than in front of it, but I also want to be in these pictures that document what daily life looked like for our family during this season with two young kids. 

Sunday, March 19, 2017

A gratitude list.

On Friday morning, I went to a yoga class before we had to take Cambria to her follow up doctor's appointment with a pediatric dermatologist after a bit of a health scare at her four month check up. I find that it is easy to have gratitude in the comfortable and beautiful moments of life, but a lot more challenging when there is something to worry about. However, those are the times, in the midst of feeling anxious, when practicing gratitude is most helpful to me. I was really worried about Cambria this week while we were waiting for our follow up doctor's appointment. 

As the yoga teacher began and we closed our eyes and deepened our breath, we were asked to set an intention for our practice. I focused on having gratitude for our daughter. It was a beautiful hour where I was able to be fully present and active. After the class ended, we were welcomed into the reception area and offered complimentary Dark Horse coffee, and everyone was smiling and friendly. As I walked to my car, the sun shone on my face, the warm coffee warmed me from the inside, and I was grateful for the simple beautiful things: yoga, coffee, sun, exercise, friendly people.

As I reached my car, the worry that I had tried to escape began to creep in once again, so I decided to take a moment to finish my coffee and make a list of everything I was grateful for that week.

It helped me to feel hopeful and positive, even though I still felt anxious.   

Grateful for:
  • my beautiful children.
  • sunshine.
  • lots of time outdoors.
  • picnics.
  • playing in the water.
  • photography.
  • time to journal.
  • yoga.
  • the opportunity to create a fun and adventurous childhood for my kids.
  • a career that I am so passionate about that I miss during time away.
  • time off to be more present for my family.
  • making new friends.
  • dinner with long time familiar friends.
  • reading books with Everett.
  • living room dance parties.
  • a rare moment of silence in our home.
  • lots of loud moments of liveliness in our home.
  • podcasts.
  • nap time.
  • baby smiles and giggles and noises.
  • music.
  • discovering animals with my son- gophers at the park, caterpillars on the grass, a lizard on a tree, hummingbirds in the garden, and butterflies in the backyard.
  • having a garden.
  • extra light at the end of the day to spend outdoors.
  • a kind and caring husband.
  • watching the sibling relationship between my kids develop.
***

Cambria and I have spent a lot of time lately lying on blankets in the backyard, while Everett rides his bike or scooter or literally just runs in circles around us. The weather has been beautiful, and I am loving it after all of the rain we had this winter.

Sometimes, Everett takes a break from his busyness to come cuddle with his sister. Seeing these two together brings me so much joy. These pictures crack me up, because Everett is being his crazy, loving self, and Cambria is like, really?

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Five months old.

This little girl turns five months old today, and we've never felt more grateful to have a healthy, happy baby. This week was a tough one with two doctor's appointments and a little bit of a health scare for our sweet girl. Yesterday we found out that everything was okay, and I cried on the way home from the doctor's office with a huge sense of relief. It's amazing the vulnerability that parenthood brings, when it feels like your heart might just break as you worry for the health and well being of your child. 
***
She brings me joy and I love her.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Sweet Cambria.

It's funny to me now that I ever worried I wouldn't be able to love our second child as much as the first, because my heart is so full of love for this sweet girl. I look into her eyes and sense a certain depth there, something special. I want to simultaneously protect her from the world we live in and send her out into it as her biggest encourager, telling her, "you're strong and brave and independent and capable of great things." Even though she is only four months old, sometimes I softly whisper affirmations like these to her, because I want her to grow up knowing these truths that I am still trying to learn for myself sometimes.