My Beautiful Thing

I wrote earlier this week about how sleep deprived I felt in these earliest stages of Littlest Man’s life and confessed the full blown temper tantrum that I threw on a day I was unable to take a much needed nap.

I mentioned at the end of that post, that although some of these days have been rough, I do not wish them to pass too quickly.  I cherish these moments.  The sweet and the tender.  With every bit of my being I hold them close to my heart knowing that one day I will look back and wonder just where did those moments go.

One of my ‘bestest’ friends, at Surprised by Life is hosting a weekly photography challenge called “One Beautiful Thing”.  The goal is to capture one picture a week to remind us of the beauty God created around us.

I love photography.  I love how it captures those moments in our lives that are either changed or completely gone in a second.  I love how it focuses on the detail of life and carries it forward to the generations that come.  I love how it sparks memories and allows for interpretation.  I wish I were better at it!

So, as a gift to myself, I am participating.  I challenge myself, however, to not become disappointed when the subjects (i.e. my children) do not want to participate or when the captured photo does not match my own vision.  Whether it be the smiling (or crying) faces of my kids or the the sunset off of my front porch I want to use my camera to capture the beautiful life that God has so wonderfully gifted to me.

I love the picture above.  I took it when the other two were napping and I had a few, quiet, undisturbed minutes to enjoy this sweet, newest addition to our family.  These moments are few and far between as noted by the chaos that often erupts when I settle down to nurse.  I am so glad I was able to capture the  expression on his face, and the peacefulness he had as he began to drift off to sleep himself.

Is it me, or is there a small ‘heart’ shape created by his hands? That, right along with his smile, seems to be saying to me,”Mommy, I know what I’m doing. You just enjoy!”

And because there was no way I could upload just one, I also included this beautifully sweet picture as well.

Don’t forget to join me each Thursday as I link up to Surprised by Life to show off my own beautiful pictures.

One Beautiful Thing

Advertisements

Sleep Deprived

I planned a nap, you’re going to get this post instead.

At 2:45, after a more tiring morning, all kids were in their rooms for their afternoon nap.  Pretty Girl should be down for 2-3 hours, BroBro for about 2, and Littlest Man was due to be woken for his next nursing at 4:00.  My mind wondered.  Just what was it I should do with this precious quiet time?

There was the to-do list; long, and growing by the minute.  There was the book; intriguing and too often neglected.  There was the exhaustion; overbearing and almost overwhelming.

Which one would win the battle?  The list, the book or the nap?  NAP?  I needed a nap!

Littlest Man turned 8 weeks old today.  Oh, the moments have been so precious….but oh so tiring.  Sleep deprivation has been harder this time around.  Maybe it is due to the fact that caring for an infant is not “new” or maybe it’s due to the fact that I’m a few years older, or maybe it’s just because there’s a 4 and 2 year old sibling that alone keep me on my toes but whatever the reason, I am tired.

Both BroBro and Pretty Girl started sleeping through the night at exactly 7 1/2 weeks.  I think that maybe I was hopeing Littlest Man would do the same.  Well, 7 1/2 weeks have come and gone and a full night’s sleep has not yet been gained.  Now, at a few days past that mark I have started to feel frustrated. I think I knew I could make it to that point, almost giving myself a goal point.  Now, I just feel tired.

So why is it that I have a blog post during this time; this sweet time when I should have taken that much needed nap?  At 2:45 everyone was down and asleep and I was just about to lay my head back and close my eyes but at 3:15 Littlest Man was awake and screaming his presence.  As I listened to his cries and begged him to sleep his scheduled 45  minutes more, I too began to cry.  I needed this time and I was frustrated.  I wanted to hurl myself on the ground and throw a tantrum just like my 2 year old daughter.  

Torture in it’s rawest form, sleep deprivation has left me grumpy, impatient, frustrated, and emotional.  It has given me days that I have been so tired that I have lost my balance just standing in one spot and many more where I have found it virtually impossible to think clearly.  Not only have I felt miserable myself but I have felt that I have made the life of those around me also miserable.  I have earned no “Mother of the Year” awards lately.  With most days resulting in total chaos, I have felt almost incompetent to handle the day-to-day situations that arise from staying at home with 3 young children.

But wait, it hasn’t be TOTAL chaos.  I recently read the following two posts:   The Crazy Comes in Waves and Toot Your Horn that seemed to hit this very struggle that I am currently facing.  Both of them pointed out the importance of focusing on the positives of each day rather than dwelling on the struggles.  As I read both of them, I nodded my head in agreement.  Noting that this was me!  This is where I am right now.  How right they were.  Not every moment has been chaos.  Not every minute has been stressful.  I have had many good days.  I have had several where I have felt rested.  We have continued to work on school.  We have made it to our music class, library time, and playdates.  We have read books and played with toys.  We have had fun.  God placed those posts in my reader for a reason.  And he did it twice because because he knew I was just tired enough to only half pay attention the first time.

I can do this.  Sleep will come and with the help of God I will survive and so will my family.  I do NOT pray these days to pass quickly.  I know way to well how the moment they are gone is the same moment I wish them back but I do pray for my own continued patience as I savor the next few nights…or weeks…or do I dare even say months of precious, baby-hoding sleep-deprivated time.

Please Lord, help me to not just nod my head in agreement as I read these words of hope and encouragement but to live them out when I am struggling the most.  

Acts of Kindness

“How are the older kids adjusting to the baby?”  

This has been a common question lately.

The answer:  “They have adjusted quite well to Littlest Man, it’s with each other where the trouble lies.”  

Of course since this has been a hurdle for the last 6 months it has very little to do with ‘the baby’ and much more to do with them.  For most of the day our home operates more like a boxing ring (without the boxing).  On one side there is an extremely strong-willed, very independent, only child wanna-be 4  year old (almost 5 year old).  On the other there is an almost as extremely strong-willed, also very independent, wanna do everything my brother does, 2 year old.  I am not sure which one gets the upper hand throughout the day but I do know who gets the short end of the stick; ME!

Most situations carry out as the following:

Big Man doesn’t like what Pretty Girl does and Pretty Girl only wants to do what Big Man does.  All of what she does, of course is what she has learned from him.  Big Man loses every bit of the small amount of patience that he possess and throws a fit.  Pretty Girl, hurt by Big Man’s reaction, also throws a fit.  With a newborn, you can imagine that there is also most likely a hungry, wailing infant in the background. In these situations, there is not much that I am not still learning but I have learned that 5 year olds have absolutely no concept of “Just ignore your sister and she will stop” and 2 year olds have  no concept of…well…just plain “Stop”.

I know, I know.  I did grow up as an only child myself but I am not completely naive.  Sibling rivalry is common…it’s part of life…it’s what brothers and sisters do, HOWEVER, I do wish to teach my kids that while there are times you are frustrated by the other there should be more times that you are not.  Each one of us has a role to play in this family and we can best show our love to each other by living up to the role effectively.  This means teaching Big Man how to love and protect his younger sister,   teaching him that girls have different needs than boys, and teaching him that being mean is just not an option.  It also means teaching Pretty Girl that she can trust and depend on her older brother, that boys are rough and tough (so they think) and that people have boundaries.

I have tried to handle the conflict with conversation and consequences.  I have also handed it over to Daddy and asked him to take on the responsibility of disciplining when the heart became an issue.  Progress is being made but I realized that for Big Man, the important part is for him to see that Mommy and Daddy are on the same page with this and that we are working together as a family.

As a result we have started a new dinner time routine.  It now includes a family devotion time.  While scoring the internet I came across a resource from Focus on the Family (Canada) called KIDS of INTEGRITY.  The lessons are family geared and last about a week.  Each night a bible story is read and questions are asked geared around that week’s topic of discussion.  Several hands-on activities are also included as well as memory verses and prayer examples.  Creative discipline ideas are also listed. Do you want to guess what the theme for this week includes?

                                            Kindness

So this week each of us, Mommy and Daddy included, worked together to make kindness flags.  As each day progresses we are each on the lookout for acts of kindness performed by the other.  If an act is spotted then that person’s flag is put into the jar.  The goal:  Everybody has their flag in the jar by the end of the night.  I just wonder what kinds of acts I will need to do to constitute having my flag put into the jar.