Thursday, January 21, 2016

Just a Thursday at home

Just a normal Thursday at home... and yet so FULL. Full of so many blessings.

We often lose blessings in the ordinary. But this year I'm trying to see those little (and big) blessings more, and it has been such an attitude-shaping encouragement.

Today I am thankful for a morning at home with my girls. We actually have friends to get together with so much that sometimes we only have two mornings a week where it's just us. Rather than the monotony it used to seem to be to be JUST us all day every day, now these times are special. I don't have to rush to get morning chores done, since no one is coming over, so we just take it slower. I get to enjoy Hadassah's creativity more, and snuggle Ellie just a little closer. 

 This little miss has had a favorite thing lately: building a "church" out of blocks. Started as me building a "castle" for her cars, but she saw what looked like a steeple (since we do that simple finger rhyme, "here's the church, here's the steeple...") and declared it to be a church. Now she's started building them around one stuffed animal, and then decided to make seats for all her little friends. She then stands in front to lead them in a song (made up by her and complete with clapping) and today grabbed a toy and declared it was a microphone. How I love this age... she's so creative!

 Speaking of creativity, I bought a book for a few dollars with 365 different activity ideas for toddlers, and have been trying to plan out at the beginning of each week an activity for each day. Because originally I thought I'd just grab the book when I needed something to do, but I've found that doesn't happen. Planning in advance and writing it down (and making sure I have what I need on hand) makes it happen each day. And it's fun to see her creativity shine! This tear and glue and stick activity was a big hit with her. Have a toddler? Definitely something to try. She filled 4 pieces of paper and still wanted to do more later!

Here's her demonstrating:

Another huge blessing? My man that comes home for lunch. Sure, it's extra work. He's not a huge fan of sandwiches (but doesn't complain if that's all I can get to) so it's extra cooking and dishes. That can be tiring sometimes. But it's so so worth it! Everyone's situation is different, but we love this routine. It is worth the sacrifices we have to make of where we live and what we do. That mid-day connection is so sweet.

 And these days I'm hardly ever ready with food *right* when he walks in the door, so he gets a few minutes to connect with his daughters. He's the man who will crawl under the mobile to talk face to face with the baby, then cuddle next to the toddler reading books at the couch. And it so melts my heart...

Then there's the conversation. As a mom of littles, it helps a lot to have the day broken up with adult conversation! It keeps us more connected to exchange tidbits about our morning, and gives Hadassah something to look forward to as she tells Daddy things now too. Someone else to help reinforce training and discipline mid-day helps me a lot too.

 And who doesn't like extra kisses? Though sometimes I have to wait a moment if something's about to boil over on the stove, I try to meet him and leave him with kisses each time he's going to and fro. They never get old.

 Then there's some mommy-Dassah play time before she goes down for a nap... She's huge into puzzles these days, and can do the 9-piece jigsaw ones pretty easily. This 20-piece one from Grandma she calls the "tricky puzzle" because it is! Yet she's stuck with wanting to do it, and can now do it completely by herself, though sometimes I have to give a suggestion to flip a piece or something. But seriously, the rate these little ones learn at is incredible.

And the pink tutu? Makes her dancer mommy happy. We were doing some exercise/burn off energy to music in the living room, and she noticed my skirt moving while we skipped around and said, "I don't have a skirt!" So we went to her room to get one. When I offered her her choice of a pink or red tutu, she looked at her shirt and chose pink to match. Seriously, when did she get so grown up?

Then, glorious nap time. She's in the big girl bed and tests boundaries now and then, even having two days where she never did fall asleep because she was getting out of bed so much. But today as I laid her down she said " Mama, I'm going to stay in the big girl bed and not come out!" How a mother's heart jumps to hear consistency paying off and a young one choosing to obey.

The morning we spent making cookies for Ryan's co-workers. And yes, I say the morning, because between little interruptions, cleaning up messes, Ellie only napping for short spurts (that 12 week "wonder week"?) and my trying to get her back to sleep thwarted when I had to quickly put her down to prevent the big one from going out the door on her little car ("I was going to ride my car to the playground, Mama!" - yes, 4 days in a row is too long to be inside, I know!)... But they got made and they're delicious.

And again, it was encouraging that while I was pulling over the chair for my big helper, she said "Mama, I'm going to not grab - just ASK!" even before I reminded her that she wasn't to just help herself to tastes. Sometimes it feels like (at this age especially!) all I'm ever doing is reminding and disciplining and reminding again for the SAME things over and over and over... So when I see these little glimpses that she's remembering and learning and maturing, it makes all that training and giving her another chance to help so so worth it.

Yesterday I'd sent a tin of cookies someone had given us to work with Ryan, and he'd put it out and sent a message to his co-workers that it was there. Almost immediately, there was a mass migration over to the cookies, only for him to hear disappointed, "We thought it was Anna's cookies!" Makes me happy to have people who so enjoy my cooking, so today I sent some homemade cookies along. Good thing too, because if the whole batch had stayed here... Let's just say it was really hard to limit myself to just two today!

Then the blessings continue... Ellie finally got a longer nap this afternoon, and awoke my happy, well-rested little one. I got to chat with a cousin via Facebook, reconnecting after way too long. I got my "Ellie hour" as I call the sweet time while Hadassah naps that Ellie's usually awake, where I get to just talk with her more and enjoy cooing back and forth. She's growing so fast (15 pounds already and just 2 1/2 months old!) and seems to learn a new sound every day. She's starting to smooth out her movements and grab on to things, and the full-body stretch she does after sleeping is the best thing in the world to see.

I do miss going out. Winter is definitely NOT my favorite season. But I am so thankful for my life. For the lives I get to live it with. For a cozy apartment on a cold day with the potential of snow, and the joys of home life. There is so much joy to fill each day.

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