Monday, September 22, 2014

Come Lord Jesus...

The twins are turning three soon, and I love, love, love this age...well, except for the blood curdling tantrums when things aren't going exactly as they expect...but we're taking it in stride.

The things they say lately are incredibly entertaining. We laugh at them a lot. Lately, Elin has been asking for a hug by saying, "Mom, may I take a hug now, please?" (I must note that while Justin and I need to constantly remind them to use their manners lately, saying please when they ask for a hug makes everything better.)

Elin has also altered our dinnertime prayer and I have no desire to correct her because it's so dang cute.

Instead of the standard, "Come Lord Jesus, be our guest..." she now says, in her little cartoon squeaky voice,

"Come Lord Jesus, be the best..."

Ha. Cracks me up everytime. Thankfully, Elin, Jesus is our guest AND the best. All at once. Xoxo.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Happy Birthday, Sweet Baby Tess

Tess Isabel,

Today, you turn one. I feel like it's one of those moments where I just can't find the right words.

I think of your eyes. Round and blue. Bluer when you're crying. I think of your hair. Straight, flyaway, and a little fuzzy in the back. I think of your squishy cheeks, your squishy belly, your squishy arms and legs. I think of that soft white baby skin that I brush my face against every chance I get.

I think of your baby babble. Your squeaks. Your high-pitched screams. I hear your sing-songy voice saying "da da" and "bye-bye" and "hi Tess!" You mimic so many words when we say them. I think of you wobbling all around the living room and kitchen, like a baby giraffe just learning to use her legs. You're so excited to be walking and trying so hard to keep up with your sisters...

Your sisters! I think of how, in the last month, they have not stopped loving on you. So many hugs and kisses and sisterly squeezes (which sometimes resemble headlocks.) I hear Elin's cartoon voice saying, "Hello little baby Tessie-bel," and I see Anna lunging at you for hugs and tickles anytime you get close enough to her. I see them both taking things away from you that you shouldn't be playing with and saying, "No Tessie-bel, not for you! You get hurt!"

I think of your ear-piercing screams when your sisters are being loud and crazy, and you want to be heard. I think of the way you walk up behind your sisters and depending on your mood, you either wrap them in a big bear hug or reach up and pull their hair until they shriek.

I think of how you always, ALWAYS wave to Auntie Jamie. Now you wave to everyone, but for awhile it was like waving was Auntie Jamie's "thing", and no one else knew about this cool little secret you two shared. I think of how it took you months to wave to me, yet everytime you saw Jamie you'd start waving and laughing.

I think of how lately, sleep is eluding you. I think you're finally pushing some more teeth through. Your sisters had all of their teeth by the time they turned one, and you've got four. But it's not stopping you from keeping up with us at the dinner table. You're totally over baby food and purees and now it's all about keeping up with your sisters with avocados and bananas and chicken and cheese.

Mostly, on your birthday and every day, really, I think of how much I love you, and how it's impossible to tell someone how much you actually love them. That there are no words in the English language that convey the pure, unconditional love your Dad and I feel for you and your sisters. I think of how blessed we are that God gave us you. I pray. I say thank you. I try to express my gratitude by being the best Mom I can be for you guys. I try to live in the moment and experience you and know you in all your one-year old glory. Some days I fail, but some days I succeed.

This love we have for you. For your sisters. It's huge. Bigger than you can imagine. Impossible to describe. And it's not because you bring us so much joy, or make us laugh or turn us into puddles of mush when you're being adorable. It's simply because you're you. We are so blessed.

Tess Isabel, I wish you the happiest of birthdays today and a year of wonderful things to come. (Your sister made you cupcakes with electric blue frosting, so I'll just turn away and let you enjoy.) Dad, Annaleise, Elin, and I are so happy you came to us. We love you more than you could possibly know. Our Tessie-bel. Our baby girl.

Happy Birthday, Sweet Baby Tess.

Love, Mom

Monday, September 8, 2014

Learning to Fly...

Yesterday morning Elin, Justin, Tess, and I were all in the living room watching Brave, when we heard Anna crying from the playroom.

"Anna? What's wrong?" Justin called.

Anna came out, still crying. She was holding her toy broom and she said, point blank, "I want to fly. But no me have wings."

Justin and I exchanged a look like, oh my gosh, how sweet is that? But before we could jump in with any consoling, Anna's twin took over.

Elin looked at her and said with very mom-like inflection, "Oh sweetie it ok. Just need to practice."

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Summer is No Time for Computers

A few of my friends have mentioned that I haven't written anything here which I think, "Oh, you read that?"

Gretchen has even made some post suggestions, which I will take eventually, Gretch. Thanks! But the truth is, no blog posts means no time for blogging, and no time for blogging is a beautiful thing because it means it's summer and gorgeous and way too nice outside to sit down in front of a computer!

The summer has been full. The days have been long and short and slow and quick; full of joy and frustration and smiles and skinned knees and sunshine and thunderstorms.

Life has been full. Tess was baptized. We visited friends. We took some day trips and some longer road trips. Door County. Milwaukee. South Haven. Farmer's market. Picnics. Swimming lessons. Potty-training. Grilling out. More visits to the park than I can count. Hours worth of swinging for all. Baby shower. Wedding shower. Bachelor and bachelorette parties. Zoos. River walks. Softball. Yoga. Bubbles. Chalk. The beach.

September means more of the same as above, but with an extra layer on. The month hasn't even begun, but it's already jam-packed. Plus, football. Badgers and Packers. (Weekend attire is so simple in September.) So...hopefully there still won't be time for blogging. Heaven knows winter will arrive soon enough.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

RIP Robin Williams

Oh Captain, my Captain!

Oh, Robin Williams, where do we even begin to find the words?

You were certainly one-of-a-kind. I first remember you when my parents watched Mork and Mindy all those years ago. Then in your serious roles in Dead Poets Society (is there any better movie?), Good Will Hunting, Patch Adams. My favorite characters, by far, were in Mrs. Doubtfire and Aladdin. I can't wait until my girls can double up in fits of laughter because of your talent. No one else could have brought those characters to life in the way that you did. (The Genie is Justin's favorite character of all time. I know the girls have years of Aladdin viewings in their future.)

You were not the Hollywood of today. You were down-to-earth. Funny. Authentic. Talented. Kind. The way true stars should be. The way we all should be. Thank you for being one of the few who still had class.

I have a feeling God is very, very proud that you took the talent He gave you and stretched it to its limits, making the world a happier, more joyful place. You were so blessed. Not everyone is able to make millions smile.

It's impossible to overlook the tragic way in which you've died, but the brain is a very mysterious, powerful thing. Something we will never fully understand. I pray that God is with your family and friends - those who will feel your loss deep in their bones, to the depths of their souls. For this loss is truly theirs.

May we all remember you in the inspiring way that you lived, and not the tragic way that you died. May we all let loose and turn on the crazy once in awhile. May we laugh at the absurd. May we speak in funny voices and say ridiculous things and strive to make one another just a little bit happier. May we find something that feeds an unstoppable energy within us; things that ignite our passion. May we seek to find our own God-given talents and show them to the world, in the tremendous way that you did. And for the not-so-happy times, when our load in this world feels like it is too much to carry alone, may we reach out to one another and get through the dark places together.

You made this world a better place. Thank you for the smiles. May you rest in peace, Robin Williams. There must be a lot of laughter in Heaven today.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Carrot Costume Chaos two-year-olds are moody and getting moodier.

I know, I know - wait until they're teenagers. They're two and I've probably heard that one about, I don't know, seven million times. I'm pretty sure every Target checker in town has used that line on me at least once. There's one lady there who I avoid now because I know the warning is coming. (And I'm just one Target guest. I wonder how many times a day she doles that clever one-liner out?)

But I'm not worried about the future. I'm so busy I have no choice but to take things as they come. Right now what I'm worried about is my mother - who selflessly watches our girls - throwing up her arms and walking out on us at any given moment. Because the crazies keep getting crazier.

And because this morning seemed nice. It seemed pleasant. Tess woke up, sleepy but happy, and Elin followed suit shortly after. But then I said the wrong thing. Moms do this a lot, I'm learning.

"Mama, I be carrot for Halloween?" Elin asks. She is sitting in my bed paging through her Little Blue Truck book and Tess is babbling and kissing the dragon on her exersaucer. I'm standing at the mirror putting on mascara. Anna, in an odd turn of events, is the last one sleeping. Justin left for work ten mintues ago.

"A carrot?" I reply, walking into the hallway to search for my hairbrush. I never know where the girls have wandered off to with my things lately. "Yes, you can be a carrot. But you don't have to decide quite yet. It's still summer." (I like to remind everyone it's still summer - do not rush my favorite time of year!)

"WAAAAHHHH!!!! I want to be a carrot!" Elin follows me out of the room and breaks down in tears. What on earth...

"Yes, honey, you can be a carrot. Please stop crying." Aha! I find my brush under Tess's crib, placed there by Annaleise, I'm sure of it.

"Noooooo!" Elin cries.

"Elin J!" I whisper loudly, trying to sound stern but be quiet at the same time. "Please be quiet so you don't wake up Anna!" In Elin's defense, it's usually Anna waking her up, but to be honest, I don't care who's awake or who's sleeping...I just want the sleepers to carry on, undisturbed, so I can enjoy the moments that haven't yet turned into inevitable full-blown morning chaos.

Anna's bedroom door swings open and I look at her, blondish-brown hair in a mess on top of her head, puffy eyes still swollen with sleep, and arms full of the books she insists on sleeping with every night. It never fails. Every time I see these girls in the morning, no matter what the circumstances, a wave of love and gratitude washes over me. My baby. My Anna.

"Hi, baby girl!"

"Hi, mom," she says with a smile. She is a morning person, thank God. "Got my books. What wrong with Enin?"

Elin stopped her crying for Anna's entrance onto the scene, but takes this as her cue to resume the root vegetable tantrum.

"Carrot!" she screams.

I think she scares Anna, who then starts to cry and says, "Mama! Enin say carrot!" like this is a completely normal reason to be crying inconsolably.

Good Lord. "Girls, please stop. It's morning." I close my eyes and take a deep breath so that I don't yell. It's not easy. This is so ridiculous. It's about a carrot Halloween costume. I say a silent prayer for patience.

I walk back into my bedroom and scoop my only non-cryer (for the moment) out of the exersaucer and head downstairs. Two wailing toddlers trail behind me. My head aches. I haven't had any coffee yet, which might be a good thing at this point. Something to look foward to. A cure for what ails me.

I decide to use one of the techniques I've read about, having no idea what kind of rationalization skills a two-year-old could possibly have, but feeling desperate nonetheless. I look at Elin who is laying on the floor; a sobbing pile of moppy blonde curls, pink bunny pajamas, sniffles, and tears.

"EJ, you have two choices. You can stop crying and stay down here with us, or you can go back to your room and have some quiet time."

"I wanna be carrot!!!" She wails. I'll take that as option 2. I set Tess down, scoop Elin up, and carry her back upstairs. Who needs CrossFit when you're lugging around 30 lbs of  kid all day? She starts screaming bloody murder as I place her on her bed. "Elin, cry it out if you have to, and come downstairs when you're done." I close the door, then close my eyes. Another small prayer for patience.

Downstairs, things are somewhat calmer. Anna is seated at the table, waiting for breakfast. She instantly asks about her twin. 

"Where Enin, mom? Enin need breakfast, mom!" They are always looking out for each other.

"Elin needs a couple of minutes to herself, Anna." Mom could use some, too, I think.

About ten minutes later Elin calls for me from her room, and I go. I love my current role in life, no matter how frustrating it gets at times. The call for mom is music to my ears...especially when it's not accompanied by whining.

I open her door slowly, because we never know what emotion we'll get from our Elin. What will I find on the other side?

She is sitting up, waiting for me. "I no cry, mama. Come downstairs?"

I scoop her up again and hug her, and for the first time without Justin or I prompting her she says, "I sorry, mama." My heart melts just a little bit.

"I forgive you, baby girl."

"Carrot for Halloween," she says.

"Yes, honey, I know."



"Tessie be potato."

Oh my.

"Good idea!" I exclaim as I lug blondie back downstairs. I'm not sure how cute a potato costume sounds, but I am not about to set the child off with my opinion. I will walk on eggshells to keep the Elin volcano from erupting. I slide Elin into her booster seat at the table.

"Can I have fruit, please, mama?" She asks.

I go the the fridge and return with two small bowls of watermelon for the girls, happy they are being sweet again.

"Here you go!"

Elin takes one look at the watermelon, breaks down in tears, and yells, "ME WANT FRUIT!! NOT WATERMELON! WAAAHAAAA!"

So begins round two.

Sweet Elin. (Not carrot morning, obviously.)