Just over a year ago, we welcomed our second sweet boy – just 6 minutes into St. Patrick’s Day.
He has not once ceased to surprise us. Gideon is definitely his very own person – looking and acting completely opposite his big brother, but loving him fiercely.
We call him a brute nowadays. He is seldom without a bruise or mark from his daily curiosities and challenges to danger. Just today, he figured out how to hoist himself up onto an old school desk we use as a bench. He began to scale the side of my desk. He HUNG from an open kitchen drawer. He climbed onto the handle of the stove’s bottom drawer while hanging onto the hinged door handle. He pinched his tiny fingers in the garbage can lid (which is currently backwards to deter him). And these are just the ones I can recall.
He goes. And goes. And goes.
He’s working on his eighth tooth (at his birthday, he had just 5!) and outweighs his brother by over 3 pounds at the same age.
I handed him off to the amazing nursery workers at our church on Sunday and they asked, “is he every unhappy?”
I had to chuckle to myself, remembering his first days with us, screaming for five hours straight.
He has grown into a delightful baby with lots and lots of charm, an area where he shadows his brother pretty well. BUT come 5 o’clock and misery has plenty of company. Gideon is our dramatic child, which is saying a lot with our already broadway bound four-year old.
We so, so enjoy having not one, but TWO amazing little boys. Gideon has been a great addition to our little family and now we couldn’t imagine our lives without him!
I love hearing all that baby babble again and watching him learn new things. It’s different the second time around. You can anticipate some things and you’ve learned to let go of more (or at least it’s been that way for me). I find myself just holding onto these early days a bit more, trying to soak it in as I look at Josiah and see how quickly it’s going by.
This charmer is still our baby for now and “lucky” we are.
Post birthday celebrations included a simple Easter and the flooding of a cracked toilet tank through our floor and downstairs ceiling. So, we are currently in the process of putting our bathroom back together after an interesting experience with a remediation company for water damage and spending 48 hours with industrial sized dehumidifiers. Thankfully, the damage was pretty small and insurance covers it. We just have to live with the inconvenience. It’s shaping up!
Have you ever had that “urge to purge” as I like to call it?
Me – I’ve never been a natural at pitching things. No, I’m a saver. A sentimentalist. A hoarder to a small degree. I remember being in college and finally throwing away an entire stack of elementary school spelling tests (I think from 5th grade).
I am almost 30 (I have a year) and I finally brought home my last boxes, large boxes have you, of things stored at my childhood home.
To top it off, my mom sold the house and I inherited a lot of items that I feel “attached” to.
And it’s gotten to be too much. Too much STUFF, which, can’t go with us when we die.
So, I decided we NEEDED to get rid of a lot of STUFF.
And my husband rejoiced.
It’s been really, really freeing!
I feel lighter and more able to concentrate on what’s really important. I have items that are special to me, that remind me of special people, places, and times. But I don’t have EVERY item that reminds me of a special person, place, or time.
I have practical things that are useful to the ins and outs of our everyday lives and some practical things for special occasions.
I have more space to breathe and move around.
And this has all translated into being more productive and organized, as well as focused on making more of our time. We are concentrating more on making memories and are hoping to help our kiddos do the same.
We have been trying to simplify the way we purchase gifts for our kids for awhile now and it became clear what we could make a birthday tradition when we heard about a “Berenstein Bears LIVE” show coming to a theatre nearby. We got tickets and took Josiah out to focus on just how special HE is. And he had a great time. It was an afternoon with Gideon at a sitter and just Mommy, Daddy, and Josiah doing fun stuff with him!
He is still enjoying some rad gifts from his grandparents and pals, but he is also learning that gifts come in different shapes and sizes. Hopefully he is learning that material things aren’t the only way people can express that he is loved, but that choosing to spend time with him and do special things with/for him, those are valuable investments.
It isn’t easy to step back and not want THINGS for my kids. Josiah gets so excited about Spider Man, Paw Patrol, and LEGOS that I can almost taste his excitement when I see something I think he’ll like. But I know, that I know, that I know that no item replaces memories. No item replaces a person or spending special, quality time with them.
We’ll still be wrapping presents sometimes, but we’re going to be thinking more about what things are coming into our house and what things aren’t.
We’ll continuing purging (there’s still more stuff). And while we’re doing all this, we’ll also be making memories. On purpose.
Approximately 14 years. That’s about the time we are counting on still having our oldest at home. And it doesn’t seem like enough.
Josiah will be Four in less than two weeks. FOUR.
I looked at his face tonight before kissing it and sending him off to dream land. You know what I thought? I thought, I couldn’t have imagined that face from the baby we first met. I couldn’t have imagined his little voice or his big imagination. I couldn’t have conceived of this greatness. How will I ever live without kissing him goodnight?
And now I’m crying. For real.
Because this little boy, who currently refers to himself as being “big three,” is moments away from hunting, driving, and going to college.
Earlier tonight, we had just performed our version of “Love You Forever,” turned off the light, and went about our nightly tasks when I heard him call (in his usual cadence), “Mom.” I answered and he told me he needed another goodnight kiss. And a hug. So, I indulged and I lingered a little bit. I joked that I could stay the whole night – while I was squishing him, pretending he was my pillow. I may just have stayed, if he’d have let me.
He’s been especially trying of late. He has a little bit of a mean “what can I get away with?” streak that comes out daily. Like when he casually puts his foot out for Gideon walking by (no joke). He cries at even the possibility of things not going his way. And he sometimes just plum ignores our directions. But man, he can be so sweet too.
“Mommy, when I get bigger, can I marry you?”
“Mommy can I have money for Gideon’s piggy bank? Is there a chore I can do for him to have some money for it?”
“Mommy, I love you more than life itself. We can both love each other like that.”
And when we talked about inviting friends for his birthday he said, “Maybe my goodest friend will be there.” I asked who his “goodest” friend was, listing off some names. He replied, “No, Daddy is.”
I will try to remember you my sweet, sweet boy, just as you are today.
I will not be upset that you tried to color the ant farm, spilling it over and setting them free. I will not be upset that you couldn’t handle not wearing your favorite socks before washing them. I will not be upset that you yell so loudly it hurts my ears, because you simply cannot contain the “Spidey” (Spiderman) in you.
– Because I know – I’ve heard it from the Moms who are aching to be in my shoes again, that this will all be gone tomorrow.
One day, I will long for ant spills to clean, tears to wipe, and dirty socks to sneak away. I will look at yellowed pages of favorite books and tattered edges of well handled toys, remembering them in tiny hands.
Those tiny hands which are already so much bigger than the first time I grasped them.
“Can I keep you forever?” I often ask. Please, keep saying, “yes.”
We’d given notice and were packing up boxes to move into our first home just over 6 years ago. It was stressful in the typical fashion of moving, plus some. But we got through it and on August 9, 2009, we began our DIY journey through layers of field-stone masonry, lath and plaster, buckled paneling, and 100+ years of settled “squareness.”
This summer we made leaps in the right direction and knocked out some big projects, all while holding babies and kissing boo-boos. Seth and I managed to put up 200 linear feet of backyard privacy fencing, to which I bear literal scars as proof. I was indeed useful. Fortunately, we hired an HVAC guy Seth worked with to install a REAL heating system for our first level (up to this point, we’d had a 65% efficient radiant floor furnace). And finally, family and friends came together to help us put vinyl siding over the white-painted, peeling wood (unrecoverable at best).
We finished the bulk of these with a few days to spare before Seth had his first day of in-service. We stood back and stared, a little bit in awe, recollecting the last 6 years of projects and memories inside our tiny home. The least of them ranks with pickle juice flooding out of bad under-sink plumbing and the greatest – the two treasures we call sons.
When we bought our home, I thought for sure it’d be up-to-date with an easy five-year project span.
I was slow to learn that all projects take three times longer and cost twice as much as one can possibly anticipate. But anticipation has been met with reality and reality with humility.
All things “humble” come to me in plenty, but absorb slowly. It seems I am a project that also takes three or four or 100 times longer than one can possibly anticipate.
And while I’m not sure how, I know that God is gracious in this process. Much like our old home, I require fixing and beautifying. There are layers of problems; things I need to get rid of and start with new, things completely lacking, and areas much too crowded with nonsense.
I’m going to be honest. It is hard for me to have patience and as the mommy of a 3.5 year old – I am especially challenged with this lately. I’ve always said I would never pray for patience. I’d be setting myself up for God to teach me patience, which would mean putting me through situations that require I exercise it.
But Silly me, I prayed for children. 😉
Much like our old home, much like the grace God affords me every.single.day. – this and more is what is required of our growing-up these two boys.
I can sit in our home of many projects, which hasn’t come easily, and appreciate what it has been teaching me.
There IS beauty in imperfection. There IS value in having to wait for what you want. And every time we learn something, God will use it to His glory and advantage.
I’ve been praying He would take it all and mold my “mommy-ness” into something better than I’ve been able to make it.
I’ve been praying He would remind me when my patience is absent that He is patient with me and the value will always come out on the other side.
And it’s more than just asking. It’s putting prayers into action.
We can pray, “God please give me a nice home that I love and am proud of,” but it means nothing if we aren’t willing to pick up the hammer.
So this week I’m not just praying, I’m strategizing with God. I’m saying help me by doing your thing AND showing me my part. That means hard things for me like going to bed at a reasonable hour, getting into a better routine, doing devotions in the MORNING. I know these things set me up to be a better, more patient mom. Now I need to do them.
I was sitting down to write a post that was all about summer. I have some nice pictures from a hike at Watkins Glenn you can at least look at. But then all this. This came out.
Who is with me? Anyone want to be accountable with me? For real. Who?
I’m just returning to the computer after filling up our second nugget’s belly. I heard him talking loudly from the other room, letting me know he was hungry. Unlike Josiah, who cried just about EVERY time he woke up (until this past winter), Gideon simply starts to fidget and groan. He will work up to a cry, but it takes a bit.
Josiah is much more like me, quick to react and slow to calm down. And so, you can see why this blog has been neglected. I’m too busy reacting to the changes in life and this new season of parenting two little boys.
But while I excuse myself for being busy, because it’s my go-to reasoning for a pardon, I am missing the opportunity to write about all the things that are worth remembering. Only after seeing someone start a blog and someone posting about returning to it, has motivation returned.
As I chuckle to myself about all the quirky remarks of a certain three-year old, plus the milestones of a baby, I know I need to keep up with this!
Seth and I have been reading “Ask It” by Andy Stanley where he proposes we face choices by asking “What is the wise thing to do?” in light of our past, present, and future. He challenges us to take a little time to consistently invest relationally, spiritually, financially, and professionally so that we don’t look back thinking we need to “make-up” for lost time.
I’m not sure what category this blog falls under, but I know that writing and keeping track of life is something that inspires me. It helps me to reflect and process so that I can continue to find wisdom from my yesterdays, for my tomorrows.
It also helps me appreciate where we’ve been and what we’ve been blessed with.
When I started sharing pictures and memories, I thought it was about sharing our sweet family with those who couldn’t be close by. And I honestly don’t know how many people even click on the links I share, but it has been a sweet little journal. It’s still missing some parts of me, so maybe this Mama will take some more time to reflect and share. Not because I have something special to say, but because I’m someone who likes to say “it.” I’ve recognized that I have an extreme case of “diarrhea of the mouth.” I can’t help but say just a little too much most of the time. I leave a conversation thinking, “why on earth did I share that?” (with that perfectly kind stranger sometimes).
And I’ve beaten myself up, wanting to temper this characteristic. Until recently.
Guess what? This is kinda just who I am. I say a lot (AND believe it or not, keep a lot to myself – yikes!). If someone asks me for advice or what I did for something or where I found something, they aren’t going to get a one word answer. Ever. I just can’t.
So, here’s to future posts; to sharing memories and too much information.
And that my friends, is what I call an introduction…. hahaha.
I’ll actually not write a ton, but thought you could use a few more pictures of the munchkins before I wrapped up this post. In fact, if you’ve only connected with me via blog land (any of you??), you won’t have even seen our youngest. Gideon is already four months old.
3.5-year old Josiah loves being a big brother, but has gotten a little too comfortable with the role. He’s lost all the caution that should come along while interacting with a child 1/2 his size and 1/4 his abilities.
He’s also brought out some colorful habits that bring out equally colorful reactions from Mommy and Daddy. We’re all working out our “abilities” at this phase in life.
Gideon is rolling in every direction, belly to back (for the past 1.5 months) and recently back to belly. He’s talking a lot with big gurgles and long vowels. He’s generally a happy guy, a far cry (no pun intended) from how he started life. I’ll try to back-track and write about him more soon.
Our days are full, that’s for sure. These sweet boys are our priority and the biggest portion of our plate. But the entree isn’t any good without some sides to compliment it, right? More on that later.
The visual in my head isn’t quite like a scene from Twister, but almost. I have visions of finishing sheetrock, Christmas decorations, baby clothes, and all sorts of non-related things funneling in brain-clouds as I sit to type this and wonder what bullet points are worth sharing.
Recovery from the summer has taken a bit. I think we can finally say we’ve caught up and are just behind in the way we usually manage to be. Nothing extreme, which is refreshingly peaceful despite the major change we have coming around the corner.
I did freak out a little bit when I hit 30 Weeks last Tuesday, but making a to-do list and scratching a few things off helped me feel better.
We managed to survive and do maybe a little bit of thriving through the fall. Josiah adjusted well to Seth going back to school and Mommy taking back the reigns as my nausea subsided and a brief window of second-trimester bliss was enjoyed.
In fact, he likes his kind of lazy days with Mommy so-much, he sometimes tells Seth to go back to work; until Daddy starts playing hide and seek or lets him ride on his back like he’s a horse. Then I’m history. Fickle never knew its real name was Josiah.
Fall came with the richness I think most of us expect in the Northeast. There were bright colors that held on long enough to keep Winter in its place.
Josiah quickly noticed the trees shedding their leaves and the phenomenon left him with concern. “We need to put them back on,” he’d say whenever we left the house and he saw our grass covered with orange, crunchy leaves.
We made applesauce (mostly Seth) in such large quantities, we could probably distribute it to some local grocers, thanks to an abundant supply of apples from Seth’s Mum-Mum.
I was able to take a trip with other Moms to a conference in Kentucky where God placed a renewed sense of mothering on my heart with wisdom from moms across the country. It was the National MOPS Conference; a ministry I never knew could mean so much!
And in early November, we found out this sweet baby’s gender:
Josiah has been so good and on-board with this baby, but it is funny to watch him figure it out. I think he was most impacted by the birth of a friend’s baby in early December. He managed to lavish her sweet boy in kisses and showed more interest than I anticipated when he first met him. Another friend’s earlier arrival in September barely phased him.
He talks to my belly, hugs and kisses it. When we’ve asked him to tell Gideon (the name we’ve chosen) stories, he raises his hands in the air with each suggestion of just what his little brother is going to be able to do in this world. He says, “ You can read books (hands go up), or play toys (hands go up), or …..”
He also uses his little brother as a stalling technique. It’s time for bed, but he needs to see Gideon. And then he pushes at my belly to try and get him to move. He’s become quite interested in all the things we’ve started taking out of storage and realizes that they were all once his.
He bounces between possessive and seeming to think it’s cool that Gideon will get to wear his clothes. Mistakenly, Josiah is convinced he can wear these things again when he “gets little.”
I cannot imagine what these first days will be like as Josiah experiences babyhood with us. It is so different the second time around.
We certainly wouldn’t have found ourselves here willingly without the first sweet boy who made us Mommy and Daddy OR Mom and Dad as he often refers to us now. I’ve tried to nip that in the bud, but it doesn’t seem to bother Seth. Mommy is just right for my heart right now. He seems too grown up already.
And he knows exactly how to smooth the edges of our struggles with sweet remarks and extra hugs and kisses.
I came downstairs in a dress not long ago. Josiah stopped what he was doing and looked up at me, “That’s the perfect dress Mommy.” Swoon.
And anytime we correct him he opens his arms and puckers his lips, obviously thinking it will make us forget what we were saying. Of course, sometimes he will also “roar” at us, but that is cute too (We have to hide our grins. A lot.).
Some of the struggles have become more challenging than we were able to prepare for, but we’ve made progress as we’ve tried different ways of dealing with them. He is definitely dramatic, a Laskowski gene I’m afraid. The word “no” tends to prompt the saddest, crinkled face. Josiah’s little body melts to the ground and tears come pouring out. It isn’t screaming or throwing him self, but a definite “the world is ending now” kind of sadness. It has made us re-think on what things we need to plant our feet in and on what things we need to let go. “Pick your battles” is definitely a recently adopted mantra that’s grown on me.
This boy still loves to read, read, read books and would probably sit on my lap for an hour every day just to soak up stories. Hearing him recount them is priceless.
He remembers parts of stories that will show up in random conversations and activities throughout our day. While putting a puzzle together he begins to chant, “Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf, the big bad wolf, the big bad wolf” from The Three Little Pigs. And he personalizes some stories too. He told us about how his dad was stuck in the “base-ah-ment” and he was coming to the rescue! This of course, was Little Critter’s personal account of an event, not Josiah’s.
He was especially fun with Christmas this year, but definitely confused/overwhelmed by all the presents. He says, “This is from……” when he plays with different toys and has it right maybe 50% of the time. He grabs one of his new “Jake and the Neverland Pirates” swords and spy glass whenever he sits to watch an episode. He has been spending tons of time putting together puzzles, which he has quickly mastered (to my surprise!). And Legos, Legos are a great piece of leverage. He loves them so much, all I have to say is “do you want to play Legos later?” when he begins to test his boundaries. Obedience immediately follows. Seth figured out this treasure.
It was even better to hear him start to really understand Christmas this year. “Jesus is the best reason we have!!” he began to repeat from a Christmas book we read throughout December. Hopefully we can all remember that as we jump into the New Year. I know we will still be in the way of striving for peace in life’s difficulties while soaking up joy in its triumphs because we can’t have some without the other. But, we have a lot to be thankful for from 2014 and are learning that God’s plans are what we need to look to for 2015.
Summer – it ends as quickly as it begins. In fact, this trend seems more severe as I age.
School started for Seth over 3 weeks ago and I feel robbed, daily. I realize that is a very spoiled thing to say. I am spoiled, but I recognize how great it is to have him around for 2.5 solid months and I am grateful.
Especially the last two years.
In the midst of Dad’s sickness last year, we “lost” most of our summer dream days to dark, scary hours watching my Dad suffer and eventually succumb to cancer’s final call. And so we looked hopefully at the days following May this year, thinking surely we could make some brighter memories.
I will never regret the time we spent with my Dad last year, but it is certainly not something I want to relive.
This year started out very promising. We had no big vacation plans; just house projects, small family visits, and local site seeing. As soon as Pomp and Circumstance wished the Class of 2014 well, Seth and I TORE off the paneling in the living room, Seth broke off every last bit of 100+ year-old plaster and we hung drywall together. I am sure our drywall adventure would have made for a good episode on any sitcom showcasing marriage strife. The money pit continues to challenge our communication skills and patience with one another, which isn’t always a bad thing. Of course, if you’re me, you’re the less patient and therefore the one growing and learning more. Painful.
We fit some family fun into each week; visiting my sister in Maryland, taking a train ride, and learning all about glass at the museum in Corning. The view was good. Very good.
I should have known something was up (and I kind of did) when I nearly cried at the site of this picture Seth took of Josiah and I on the fourth of July.
I don’t really cry day to day. So, it’s gotta be deep or my hormones have to be whacky if something so simple incites my ducts to start producing.
We were very excited!!! With my thyroid condition, we’ve faced several challenges and two early miscarriages since last September. I had kind of thrown in the towel for a few months, trying to figure out medication and what our plans were. I prayed and finally (since being diagnosed with Hashimoto’s when Josiah was 6 months old) told God it was His. The plans for my family were not something I could control and nothing we’d done naturally had helped my condition. I couldn’t do it anymore. He was going to have to.
We weren’t trying. And so God said, “here, I love you.” Seriously. That’s sometimes how He works and shows me how big He is and how much greater it is to rely on Him!
Exciting news, a rainstorm that flooded our basement, a pause in the living room construction, and the start of building a big back-yard shed all pre-ceeded a rocky start to this pregnancy.
We learned after some scary symptoms that I have a sub-chorionic hematoma and nausea set in like it had been looking for a place to get comfortable. Fortunately, the hematoma (also called a clot or bleed) was not threatening the baby as long as proper care was taken, but the nausea was threatening our summer!
We managed a visit to my cousin and his family in CT, but many days were spent in miserable tiredness, nausea, and returning many meals. I am so very grateful for a husband who took his time to care for me. He has been cooking for over two months. I have started to feel some relief, but as you will see, the amount of pictures post fourth of July is very little.
So, while in some ways Summer seems like it went quickly, it’s mostly just because it’s gone and we didn’t get to fill it with everything I’d hoped. In the midst of those mid-summer days when all I wanted was to feel better, they couldn’t have gone slower.
Here is to a hopefully promising Summer of 2015 and a less-nausea filled Fall of 2014. I will TRY to post about baby Number 2 and all the joys of Josiah soon! He really is a precious, precious boy. I know all this physical grief will be worth it come March when another precious baby joins our family.