Thursday, December 10, 2015

November 2015 In Our Home

A blurry attempt at a family photo. Taking a photo with
 two young children is a bit of a challenge. haha
         November marks the beginning of the holiday season. I was so excited to bring out our "30 Days of Thankfulness" activities, and had such high hopes of going through them with the children. In reality, we did just a few. I feel like I'm so busy taking care of the basics of life with two very young children most days that I just don't have the capacity for an extra something. I was a little disappointed that we didn't do things as planned to celebrate the Thanksgiving season because the heart behind the activities and celebration is very important to me. However, I had to remind myself (yet again) that the children are still very young and life won't always be so demanding.

     David's parents came in town for a visit the weekend before Thanksgiving (they live about 14 hours away). These visits are always difficult in terms of strain of relationship, extra work, and the capacity of our very small home. They chose to stay in a hotel and took care of their own breakfasts during this visit, which made the visit much more pleasant. I enjoy having company, but I grow weary quickly. Nonetheless, I'm glad they got to spend time with David and their grandchildren.
Making yummy pumpkin bread together!

        I don't get to visit with my family as frequently as David does with his, and I know how hard that can be so I'm glad he gets that time with his family. For whatever reason, after they left and the Thanksgiving holiday arrived, that void hit me hard. I ached and cried on Thanksgiving Day to be with my family. I typically am okay with our distance and try to stay connected in other ways. However, the holidays have a way of bringing out a longing for family.
     I think the fact that we had nothing special planned for Thanksgiving while everyone else gathered with family was a catalyst to those melancholy feelings. David and I talked about perhaps doing things differently next year. Perhaps next year we'll try to find and invite another family who doesn't have anyone or anywhere to be on Thanksgiving to join us, and our two families can have Thanksgiving together. I consider a divine purpose to this experience. Perhaps the longing in my heart is a call to be the resolution to another's longing. In other words, God desires for me to use my situation to reach out to others. That will be my prayer until next year.

Tot School/ Baby Book Club
       We did still try to fit in some Thanksgiving themed tot school activities, which we also used for this month's meeting of our Baby Book Club. The Baby Book Club went well, but was still a struggle. The idea is for it to be an opportunity for mamas to really engage with their child(ren) in exploring the book and activities. It seems like anytime mamas get together they have the children go play while they chat. I completely understand the need for this social break! However, there is another opportunity for that during the month and the baby book club is to have a different purpose. I talked with David about my frustrations over elements of the gatherings, and my temptation to quit. Then, I considered the children and the fact that without me trying they wouldn't have the opportunity at book+activity exposure, which is something I'm passionate about. If I feel strongly for the matter, then I must persist. I did decide to skip gathering in December. As much as I'd like to plan some Christmas books and activities, I don't want to completely overwhelm myself during such a busy time.

He enjoyed the Thanksgiving dinner
pretend play activity! I love his big smiles!
       For our tot schooling, I only planned a week's worth of activities for us knowing that we would already be busy with the "30 Days of Thankfulness" and Thanksgiving activities. However, the same five activities for the entire month got old, and we ended up getting out of our tot school routine. It's not just a learning opportunity for Tennyson, but a wonderful time for he and I to have one-on-one time. I always miss that time together when we skip it (and I'm sure he does too).  Hopefully, I can find some time and plan some upcoming units.

5 months old & 22 months old! Best friends!
      Life has just been really busy (and, admittingly overwhelming). Caring for two little ones and the home is quite a task! Tennyson is a busy little toddler eager to explore. His speech and language skills improve daily. It's incredible to be able to communicate so well with him! We have daily moments which serve as teaching times for proper behaviors and accepting boundaries. I try to keep that perspective in mind as we work through tantrums. He's learning! Annelise is as sweet as can be. She grins and her entire chubby face transforms. Lately, she has taken an even stronger attachment to Mama. She doesn't like to be apart from me much. It can be difficult to care for another young child, and our home with a child that won't separate well. She also continues to not sleep well. She sleeps in 20 minute increments day and night. We've compromised our preferences for the sake of everyone getting adequate rest (she's currently taking her afternoon nap in the Ergo, for instance). Honestly, many days try my patience. I love my children dearly, but this role of Mama can be so demanding and exhausting at times. So many days have included a momentary cry. I know that certain behaviors are just phases or a need for teaching. But because I'm always "on the job" as a Mama, I encounter those moments over and over and over again.
She rolled from back to belly!

     Mothering well certainly necessitates a dependence on the Lord. I need His wisdom and strength! I haven't been as diligent and/or faithful in reading and/or studying the Bible or praying lately. And, my reliance on faith to push through difficult moments has waned. I'm prayerful for greater time spent in devotion and faithful living.

I want to remember so many of the little
moments with the children, but easily forget.
So, I picked up a simple weekly planner
 book, and each day I jot down a
 little something that one of them
did or said. I love having all these little notes!
           I did well at maintaining my daily yoga routine! ....and then I allowed it to slip again. I can definitely tell a difference in my body and mind when I take just 10 minutes a day to pause and stretch. I need to get back to it!

     I'm hopeful to plan some fun Christmas activities for the children for next month. My heart for Christmas for our family is to create it to be a time that is concentrated on meaningful moments together. The key will be for me to orchestrate those activities and moments without being completely overwhelmed. We shall see. Either way, I think it will be a lot of fun this year with Tennyson being nearly two years old! Hard to believe that the year before last we had no children, last year we had one, and this year we have two. Wow, how life changes. :)



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