Wednesday, March 19, 2014

On Being Three (and NOT two!)

You know, March used to make me think of four-leaf clovers, corned beef and cabbage and my Irish grandma. Now when this special month rolls around I have just one thing on my mind - birthdays, birthdays and more birthdays! March is the month that saw all three of our children brought into this world, each 12 months and a week or so apart - March 6, March 15, and March 31. It is an unintentional, very sweet thing that I love about how God has created our family so far. It also means we have two birthdays down and one to go.

Rowan turned three on the sixth and (fingers crossed) may also be turning a crucial corner in his short little life - one that takes him out of the terrible twos (cheers and applause). I know it's more kosher now to call it the "terrific" twos, or so I've heard, but put yourself in a crowded Target with a slap fight distracting you from trying to remember what the heck your pin number is, followed immediately by a lightening-quick grab and dash that lands you stopping traffic in the parking lot, and then you can tell me how terrific it is.

We joke about it, but the twos have been rough. Figuring out the whole discipline thing has been crazy for everyone - yes for us, but also for our strong-willed, independent thinker of a son. Lots of head butting, both figuratively and literally. And we're still trying to nail down the whole consistency thing. Thus far everything seems very situational. Some days (and depending on the offense) time outs are the most effective, some days spankings, and other days a good talking to gets little man right back on track. This has required a lot more effort on our part and being "on top of things" more, but I think we're starting to see the pay off.

So yes, we've had our fair share of tantrums and meltdowns and Target trauma, but what has completely amazed me is watching our first baby turn into a little boy. I look at his curly-haired, mischievous little head on a daily basis and wonder at how big he is. I mean old. The kid talks like he's 3 going on 13. Sometimes it's cute. I walk out of his room after kissing him goodnight and hear "Don't forget to wash the dishes!" Cute. One time he accidentally destroyed an ant hill and leaned down to say, "Don't worry ladies. It'll be ok, girls." He then spent the rest of the day figuring out a plan to get the ants a new home, including buying and donating one. Cute.

Sometimes, though, it's not so cute. My three-year-old already does the eye-rolling version of "Fine!" when he finally concedes an argument. Like I said, 3 going on 13.Yesterday I told him he was going to time out and he yelled, "Never!" like he was channeling Braveheart. He's sassy and he's sweet. He's complicated; he has layers. And I love it.

He's already my little helper, wanting to be part of everything that John and I do. He's obsessed with "smoke stacks" because Daddy works at a refinery. In fact, if you ask him, he goes to his own "smoke stacks" every day as well. He will also inform you that there are exactly five smoke stacks at his particular place of business. This is really important.

But my favorite thing about Rowan has actually been somewhat of a surprise.

He's sweet. I mean tender-hearted, care how you feel, pets little babies sweet. The reason this is surprising is 50% the fact that he was a fussy, unhappy baby that didn't like being cuddled (aka mommy didn't know his body hated milk) and 50% the fact that he is prone to smacking friends (or anyone near him) with the closest sword-like object. All in the name of fighting bad guys of course. And he's loud....and a wrestler...a loud, wrestling, fire cracker of a kid. Essentially he's a boy. :) So to see a sweet and tender spirit developing in this little macho man is probably one of my favorite things in the whole world.

Now that we have one finally coming out of those terrific! twos, we have one waiting in the wings, raring to take his place, yay.  More on that later. But I think we're ready for this one. We've got one under our belt and, lucky for us, it's all still fresh in our memory. Bring it on twos!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Ya feel me?

I am going to apologize ahead of time for the downtrodden and longish nature of this post. If you are looking for a spiritual pick me up or a really good laugh, maybe stop now. I do not have this for you. But on the off chance that somebody reading this might enjoy a little commiseration or someone else to say, "yeah I'm not ok today....but I think it's ok," I'm gonna go ahead and post my bad attitude all over the interwebs. Totally for your benefit. God help us, and you're welcome. :)

I realized today, again, that I have no idea what I'm doing. Or how to do it. I have these three amazingly crazy little people running around my house, almost literally non-stop, and more often than not all I can think about is how I should be doing this differently. Like, I should be doing more of this. Or at least less of that. I'm so scared that 20 years from now I'm going to wake up with all of these thoughts and ideas about how I could have been such a better mom. But then it will be too late.

Don't get me wrong, I don't think we're doing any kind of irreparable damage to the tiny ones in our hands (please God don't let me be doing any irreparable damage to the tiny ones in my hands). But are we being the best parents we can be? Am I being the best mom I can be?

What's scary is I think I am.....and in no way, shape, or form does it feel like enough.

I should spend more time with Jesus. My house should be cleaner. Our kids should watch less tv. I should yell less. We should discipline more effectively. Maybe we're spanking too much.....or not enough. I should be more hands on. I should let them learn how to entertain themselves more. I should be more diligent and structured and intentional about my time with them. I should let them have more free time and self-guided play.

This feels like a life full of paradoxes. How do all of these things happen at once? How do we know what's worthwhile and what's not? We've never done this before. And those who have done it before will swear by 500 different "right" ways to do it. Blah, it makes my head hurt.

Shameful confession: Thinking about all of this makes me want to curl up into a ball under the covers and sleep until winter is over. Or at least until someone can give me all the answers. Also, this might be because I just want to sleep, in general. I think I have about two years to catch up on. But that is neither here nor there.

The point is, it's getting hard.

I didn't always feel like this, you know. We've had our ups and downs figuring out how to be parents, but overall I'd say we've had a pretty optimistic approach to the whole thing. I've been nervous about the unknown here and there, but we've always figured it out and moved on to the next thing.

 Like when Rowan came home from the hospital wanting to nurse for an hour and a half about every 20 minutes. Did we know that was strange? No, he was the first baby and what the heck did I know about nursing? But a week later it was under control. We discovered that pacifiers are a gift from God and babies sometimes need to wait for their dinner. Cool. Bring on the next challenge.

Or how about the time when we couldn't figure out why he wasn't sleeping through the night anymore. Every night for weeks we would wake up and rock him for what seemed like hours thinking THE WHOLE TIME, "I thought we were done doing this, why won't you just sleep? I'm not gonna be able to do this when baby #2 gets here!" And then his teeth came in and he started sleeping better and we looked back and realized we should have just been patient. Boom, challenge over. Give me something else!

But two more babies in two years later, I feel like I'm running out of steam. My body is tired, my brain is tired, and my spirit is tired. Oh, and did I mention my house is a disaster? Challenges seem more...well, challenging.

I know that what we are doing is worthwhile. I know that our children are a blessing. I know this so much that we will be ECSTATIC if and when we find out that baby #4 is on the way (I said IF and WHEN mom, calm down).

But this doesn't change the fact that it is still hard. I am still struggling on a daily basis. Struggling with my attitude, struggling to find grace - for others and myself - and struggling to be ok with struggling. So much is at stake - I don't want to screw it up!

I have no answers. So aside from 100% using this post to vent my concerns and frustrations so I can move on with my day on a more pleasant note, I just want to tell somebody, it's ok if you're not ok. It's ok that you don't have it figured out. It's ok that you are making mistakes and sometimes don't apologize for them or even tell anyone. It's ok because life is more than today.

I know that I am being made new every day. I know that God is faithful. I know that He is in control and all things work together for good for those who love Him. I know that this world is temporary and what matters most is the eternal. I know that He who began a good work in me will be faithful to complete it. I know that as I fallibly and inconsistently follow Him, my heart's desire is for Him. And I know that He is creating me to be exactly who He designed me to be, and EXACTLY the kind of mom that He wanted my children to have.

So I will continue to ask Him for help, to ask for forgiveness, and to ask for the discernment to KNOW when I need to ask for forgiveness. But mostly I will continue to trust that the person He is creating in me is so much better than the person who I actually am. Thank God.....literally.

If you made it this far, maybe you can relate. But mostly, thanks for letting me get that out. I really needed to hear it. :)

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Ode to Sleep

Whoever said "Sleep is overrated" was obviously sleeping too much.

We do not have that problem.

If I could, I would change that quote to, "Sleep is that thing that I used to get a long, long time ago." or "One time I slept. And then I had babies."

Sleep feels like a long lost friend that doesn't really feel comfortable hanging out with me anymore. I wish I could entice sleep to spend a little more time at our house, but our lives have just gone in such different directions. It's obvious he doesn't fit in here anymore.

If I knew what sleep liked, I would shower him with gifts. I would bake. I would sing. I would dance on my head. I would do just about anything for sleep.

As far as I can tell, the feeling is not mutual.

I hate to say it, but I think my kids are part of the problem. They really don't seem to like sleep. Multiple times a day we talk about how wonderful sleep is. How much Mommy really REEEEAAALLLYY loves sleep.

But it doesn't seem to make much difference. I mean, I suppose I can't really blame sleep for not sticking around where he's obviously not wanted.

I just wish he would try a little harder.

What's exasperating is how untrustworthy sleep can be! I frequently go to bed with the hope and promise of deep and restful sleep. But so often I am disappointed. Yesterday started at 2 am; we didn't sit down again until 10pm. Where was sleep then? You understand my frustration.

I suppose this is the season of life we are in. A season of sleeplessness. And somehow, we are functioning without sleep. Although I do look forward to the day when he finds his way back to our home.

Until then, we will make due with naps. Naps, as you know is a close relative of sleep. While he's not nearly as deep or engaging, naps has given us a few blissful hours here and there. The children still don't seem to care for him, but Mommy has made naps non-negotiable. And although naps often has us tip-toeing around the house and fighting the urge to shoot the dog next door, we consider him a friend and a close second to sleep.

Sleep, you are loved and missed dearly. You, my friend, are anything but overrated.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


Do you ever have days where you reeeeealllly want to get something done? Like, not something specific, just SOMETHING. But the longer you think about what you want to do, the more you actually have no idea what to do? Maybe you have too many things to do and you don't know where to start? I think that's where I'm at. Eaten up by a sense of restlessness that is going in every direction and no direction, all at the same time. My list of options is long:

Pack for our trip back home - 1 month in Illinois....we leave in six days, what?!
Make Emma's Minnie Mouse costume.
Clean my house. I would break it down, but ain't nobody got time for that.
Give my baby a bath.
Be a super cool mom and do a craft with my kids.
Do some more homeschooling research. 
Finish making squares for the quilt I started....oh about a year ago.
Sleep. ha. ha.
Go through the kids' clothes and pack the ones that are too small. Joseph (6 mo.) is wearing 18-24 mo. clothes. Giant baby!! Point being - hand-me-downs have gotten a little confusing. 
Bible study.
Return about five phone calls that I have neglected to make. 
Cut out the coupons that have been sitting on my counter for three weeks.

I'm gonna stop there because I just got tired rereading all that. 

But the list goes on and on.

And now you see my dilemma. Or maybe you don't. So much to do, and such a strong desire to get it done. And yet, here I sit, typing, deleting, retyping. Thinking about how much I want to get something done, talking about how much I want to get something done, but not ACTUALLY getting anything done. It's exhausting. 

I know, I know, prioritize. Make a plan. yada yada yada. I'm sure it will finally come to that. For now, though, I will continue to ponder the unexplained feeling of restlessness that has been hovering over me the last several days. At least until the babies wake up from their nap. Then I will probably do something. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Back on the Wagon

How does one return from a self-imposed blogging hiatus? I should say something snappy. Something catchy and quirky that you will remember.

I got nothin.

But I do have these.

At the zoo for Rowan's second birthday

This is a pretty good depiction of their personalities in general :)

Birthday girl turning one and celebrating with cake

Just a few days before the arrival of Baby Joey

Joseph Dane DeLuca
March 31, 2013
Easter Sunday

Rowan with his great-great Grandma Dody

This happened

This may seem like a strange picture to post, but I swear to you my dad makes this EXACT same face

She finished her chocolate milk and realized there was no more. I can relate.

Trying to get a good picture of all three of them lying down. Not possible.

So there's the last 6 months in a nut shell. 

You're welcome Mom and Kathye :)

p.s. The rest of you are welcome for filtering out Rowan's 190 selfies from this summer. 

1 9 0. 

Friday, December 21, 2012

Why does everything smell like poop?

This is going to be short, and a little gross, but also very true. For some reason having little kids around makes literally everything smell like all the time. Not that I'm complaining. I mean, I'd rather have a home that smells like poop than a poop-free life with no Rowan and Emma. But seriously, all the time!

I just listened to both the kids fall asleep and thought I'd take a break from packing to sit and enjoy the serenity that is nap time. I changed two dirty diapers (one of which was cloth...bleh), brushed some teeth, did a little snuggling and then some tucking in. All is well. But for the life of me I cannot shake the lingering sense that there is baby poop on me somewhere. I can't see it, oh no no. But it is there, I assure you. Someone's dirty diaper has followed me into my nap-time oasis.

Now, if I were really clever, I would share with you how the smell of baby poop during this precious quiet time is really some sort of metaphor. I would reveal to you the hidden symbolism that somehow makes it representative of all mothers everywhere. But let's be real, poop is poop. It smells bad; I like when it's not around.

But until my tiny little humans learn how to plant their bottoms on the "poppy," as Rowan says, this is my reality. And the reality of every single person who has ever had the pleasure of raising children. So, I'm embracing the poop and getting back to packing.

No I am not showering, all of you problem solvers out there...that would be the opposite of a poop embrace. Also, regular showers are not a real thing in our house anymore. I am embracing....and packing. But mostly embracing.

Embrace the poop. Check it off my list for today.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Two Kids and Counting

Yes, we will have three kids under the age of three.

Yes, they will all be 12 mo. apart.

Yes, they will all potentially have birthdays in March.

Yes, March will be an expensive month.

Oh, and yes, we do know what's causing this.

Ok, I think that pretty much covers the most frequently asked questions.

God has blessed us with another soon-to-be DeLuca baby. A sweet little boy who is set to make his open-air debut on March 31 (although secretly I'm hoping for know, change of pace and all that).

We're super excited.... and a little nervous. Well, I'm a little nervous. Hello people, three kids under three. That means three kids potentially in diapers, three little people running around my house with limited verbal and physical abilities (aka lots of screaming and falling into things). In the last two days alone, Rowan has run directly into a folding table, eye first, fallen off the dining room table, gotten stuck in the bottom half of an exersaucer, and Emma has fallen on her head at least seven times - usually because Rowan pushes her over as he's running past. I can't help but think of cow tipping. Don't judge. Anyway, the result of all of this being multiple mommy heart attacks. Now add one more. Eek!

All of this to say we are excited and nervous and very thankful. More than ever we have the opportunity to completely rely on God for strength, endurance, and patience (oh do we need patience), among other things. I'm thankful to be directly in the center of His will and 100% counting on for my sanity anticipating His full provision. With God's grace baby #3 will be coming home to a pair of blissfully exhausted parents, an adoring sister and a brother who has lost interest in drive-by baby tipping.