Author Archives: Dianne

Summertime Struggles

Being that it is summertime, I’ve been on the search for toddler classes to keep Dylann occupied. I’m thankful to have summers off so that I can do this with her. I go back to work in August, and there are very few toddler programs that take place in the late afternoon/evening. (Why is that, by the way? I know there are working parents out there that want to enrich their children’s learning experiences, too.)

The Main Library in our area has a toddler story time that takes place once a week, and it’s FREE! We tried it out last week, and it went pretty well. There were lots of little ones around Dylann’s age group, which was great as she needs to be around people her age more. We sang songs with funny actions, read books, had play time, and even made a simple art project. I really only had 2 BIG issues with the program:

A part of the play area smelled like urine.

The toys looked like they hadn’t been cleaned. Like ever.

Maybe it was the carpet, or perhaps a little one was running around with soiled underpants, but the smell was very present and almost overwhelming. I tried very hard to keep Dylann away from the area, which was hard because it was near the play kitchen which is her favorite thing in the world.

I found some of the toys to be sticky, and the clothes on the dolls were stained. It just means that the toys are well-loved, right? Ew.

When I spoke to David about it later that evening, he said he was surprised I even stayed for the whole class. I’m not a neat freak or anything, nor am I OCD about germs, but I do have a tendency to get grossed out easily. And, of course I wouldn’t want my daughter to contract anything from playing with dirty toys. But the truth is I loved seeing her in a new environment – using her imagination somewhere other than in the comfort of our living room. She had so much fun watching the other kids and exploring. (Not to mention it was very refreshing for me to get out of the house.)

I don’t think we will be going back, sadly. I think what did it for me was when my husband said, “If it was you who had to work in a place that smelled like urine and that had dirty object that you had to handle, you wouldn’t do it. So why would you subject our daughter to it?” He has a point.

Am I being too OCD? Are my standards set too high? Should I just let it go and focus on the fact that she enjoys going to the class?

I guess for now I am continuing to search for other venues. Let’s hope she didn’t contract anything from being in that room for an hour. I’ve heard hand-foot-mouth is so not fun.



Working on it.

“I need a break.”

Both girls were crying. One didn’t want to take a bath and the other just wanted to be held. My husband had just gotten out of the shower after a long day at work and an hour commute home. In traffic.

I walked downstairs and sat on the couch, listening to my husband stomp around in the room above. I hear the bath running and him trying to coax #1 into the tub. He runs back to #2 to give her the pacifier. It works for 10 seconds. She is crying again. He puts white noise on. #1 is now screaming, “Mommy!”

I just wanted 10 minutes to myself.

Feeling defeated, I walk back upstairs after 3, pick up the baby, and go over to tub with my fake smile and my best mommy voice.

“Wow! You’re taking a bath, Dylann? What a good girl! Now you’re going to be all clean!”

She stops crying, looks up at my with red, puffy eyes and says, “Yeah.” She grins.

Then something happens between that moment and after #2 is done with her bath. I feel anger, resentment, and exhaustion rising from within. And it all comes out. There is yelling and tears and screams. There is also confusion and hurt. Somehow we had forgotten that the kids were in the room.

“Stop talking!”

#1 is confused and scared. She puts her hand on my face and repeats, “Stop talking!”

I can’t even begin to describe the million thoughts that went through my mind in that one moment. My two-year-old knows something is wrong. Does she get it? Does she really understand? I see the fear in her eyes. Mommy and daddy don’t talk to each other like this.

What ensued next further perpetuated my guilt and affirmed my belief that we had scarred her for life. She wouldn’t look at me, at either of us. We asked for hugs, she turned her back. She never does that. She didn’t say anything for a while, and she didn’t want to go to bed, even when we offered her her bottle – usually a source of comfort and sure-fire way to get her to go to sleep.

I woke my husband up later that night to apologize. There were more tears, but the yelling was replaced with words of forgiveness. We promised to try and be slow to anger, more understanding, and more loving. We promised to try and never fight in front of our children again. The way they will view the world will be dependent on what they see going on in front of their eyes. And we agreed that we don’t want harsh words and raised voices to be their normal.

Parenthood can bring out the worst, though it demands the very best. It will push you to your limits, and also expand your heart to territories unknown. But I think overall it has made my husband and I want to become better versions of ourselves. I see so much of ourselves in our daughter – in the way she talks, reacts, laughs, and loves. Being her parents has shown us what it is to love and be loved unconditionally.

I know there will be more days like this, where we forget how to be kind and patient, when our voices are full of anger and resentment and tiredness. Hopefully those days will be few, and our children’s normal will consist mostly of laughter and light and love.

We’re working on it.

 



The Golden Hour

Dylann wanted to take a picture of Devynn sleeping.  srcset=

Dylann wanted to take a picture of Devynn sleeping.

There is an eerie sort of calm that has just come over my house at this moment. Both my girls just happen to be napping. At the same time. Finally, some time to myself! My first instinct is to pick up my purse and head over to the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. Oh, wait. The girls would have to come with me, huh? Forgive me, I’m still somewhat new to this whole mom-of-two thing. Today was the first time I took both girls out by myself. We took a short trip to the library for a Learn and Play class we signed up for this summer. It was our first time, and I was excited for Dylann to get the chance to be around other kids for once. (Is it normal that 2 of her dolls are named after her 20-something year old cousins? That’s her crew nowadays.) The whole “getting ready” process took a total of 2 hours. That included changing and feeding both of them, packing our things, taking a shower (people without kids take this for granted), making coffee, and getting everything and everyone loaded into the car. We arrived at the library 30 minutes early, which was good because just getting them out of the car and into the sling and stroller took a while. But we got to the door with 10 minutes to spare! The class was great and my one-month-old slept the whole time, which made our time there much easier. We sang songs and played and danced. We even made a paper turtle. When we got home, both girls were just as exhausted as I was from our little field trip. It’s no wonder they both knocked out. I thought about the things I could do during this golden hour – fold the laundry, watch TV, sleep, do the dishes that have been sitting in the sink for 2 days. But instead, I choose to write. I write because it gives me a chance to collect my thoughts. I write because nowadays, more than ever, I feel the need to be creative. I write because I want to remember. And as I write I wonder if my house will ever be clean again (it’ll just get dirty again tomorrow), if I should just give up on folding laundry altogether and start a “clean clothes” pile on the floor of our guest room (our laundry piles are endless), and whether or not I should clean up the toys strewn about the dining room turned play area (she’s going to throw a fit when she realizes her Doc McStuffins doctor bag is put away). I also start to wonder if it is normal to miss my kids when they are sleeping. While I type the conclusion of this post, Dylann is already up and calling for her baby sister. Devynn answers back with a loud cry. And just like that the golden hour is over.



I thank my God every time I remember you.

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I got the chance to chat with 2 friends on separate occasions the other day – a rarity nowadays due to the busyness of chasing after a toddler and caring for a newborn. I honestly had forgotten what it’s like to talk to someone who is not a toddler. I totally get now why mommy & me groups exist. One can go a little crazy hanging out with littles all day long!

My good friend from college called me up and we talked on the phone for almost an hour! (Keep in mind the only reason I was able to chat that long is because my parents had my kids preoccupied in another room. God bless them.) We spoke about random goings-on in our lives and complimented each other on how beautiful each other’s kids are. Mostly we talked about how inspired we have been to put good things out there in the world. See, we used to be in a young adult church group together and were constantly doing things to serve our community – from serving at mass, to making sandwiches for the homeless, and even dressing up like M&M’s one Halloween for the children at a shelter. We were making a difference. Nowadays we spend our time serving our own families – still making a difference, just in a different way. And we both feel like doing more. I found myself being inspired to take action. It’s amazing how one conversation can prompt you to act, to move, to do.

Later that evening my husband and I had dinner with another friend and her husband. This friend I have known since Kindergarten. We were best friends all throughout elementary and high school. We even went to college together, but drifted apart a little bit at the time. We remained friends, and I can honestly say that she has been such a comforting constant in my life. Even though I rarely talk to her, I feel like I could tell her anything and she would just get it. We spent our dinner catching each other up on married life and married life with kids. We didn’t really delve into anything “deep” or serious, but for some reason our interaction felt so easy, comfortable, and real.

Connecting with these two made me so thankful for people in my life that help me – sometimes without knowing – to be who God meant me to be.

 

Phillippians 1:3

 



Just Begin

 

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I recently came across a blog that was offering a micro course on How to Start a Blog with Purpose. I have no idea how I found the blog. The origin was one of those links that led to other links that led to a whole group of links, etc. I definitely think it was divine intervention, though, because I have been sitting on this blog for a while now, wanting to post all the time but never really taking the time to do so after I finished with the Letting Go series.

While I was in college (about 14 years ago…SERIOUSLY?! I am old.) I started a blog because I loved writing, I had a lot to say, and I was experiencing so many cool things that I wanted to remember. Your readers consisted of your main group of friends, and it was basically an online diary. I wrote about road trips with friends, the perils of Hell Week (the week before finals), and finding God in the everyday. Blogging was somewhat new, though not too popular at the time. Presently, blogging is a whole different ball game – an entirely different world. There is so many blogs out there that are inspirational and beautiful and amazing, and I guess when I think about my own blog I feel as though I’ll never be any of those things. I want to continue blogging, but I fear that I cannot keep up with the current blog world and what’s expected of a good blog nowadays. But this course has really reminded me that my message to the world is unique, because of my own unique experiences. It has also made me come to realize that my fear of not being good enough is preventing me from doing something I really want to do, and that is to write about my life in the hopes of inspiring others.

A lot of my inspiration has come from reading other blogs. They have helped me

organize my home and my classroom

heal from my miscarriages

be a better keeper of memories

be a better teacher

figure out the kind of mom I want to be

and much, much more.

So right now, I’m just going to keep writing, mainly for myself but also in the off chance that someone out there might be inspired by my story. Cheers, to the good life!



embracing change

Photo Jun 29, 4 56 14 PM

 

There have been quite a few milestones celebrated in our household as of late that have somewhat prompted me to feel a tad bit overwhelmed at life in general. My first born turned 2 (waahhhhh), I gave birth to my second babygirl shortly thereafter, and my husband and I celebrated our 5 year wedding anniversary. Seriously, where has the time gone? Everything in me is telling me to be happy and excited and joyful that my daughters are growing and that my marriage has survived this long – and I am happy, really. But there is also a little tiny voice inside me that cringes every time I think about how fast life is going and how so much changes from one moment to the next.

I’m not a fan of change. I never have been. Change requires adjusting to new things, and that takes work. It calls for the acceptance of challenges that perhaps were not welcome. Change ignites fear. And I don’t like feeling afraid.

I recently found out via Instagram that some of my besties took a weekend trip out of town without me. TFTI. To say that I was hurt would be an understatement. We always take trips together – everyone is always included, no matter how far we are living away from each other or what phase of life we are in at the time. Yes, I have one-month-old baby at home so of course I would not have gone anyway, but no one likes to feel left out. Least of all the woman who is still suffering from a bit of the baby blues! It took me a couple days to get over it, but I spent those days sad and deeply hurt that I wasn’t included. I know my besties well enough to know that my lack of invitation wasn’t for any reason but the fact that they knew I was busy at home with a newborn.

I’m so not a fan of change.

Alas, I am also slowly realizing that things are different now whether I like it or not. My life is different. I’m different. And I can’t expect the rest of the world to roll with me. I’ve spent some time thinking about all these changes and have decided to embrace it all. This isn’t going to be easy for me, but one thing I hate more than change is regret. And if I don’t start embracing this season of my life, it’ll pass me by before I know it.


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hello, blog.

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I cannot believe it has been more than 6 months since my last blog post. I was on a roll with the 31 day challenge and I guess I was all blogged out by then! Much has taken place in the past 6 months, not the least of which included the birth of my second child. Needless to say, there has been a lot going on.

Devynn Gianna was born on May 27th at 11:30pm. Eight pounds and 3 ounces of pure love. I was in labor for only a couple hours before she decided to make her appearance, and thank goodness she came quickly because laboring without any drugs is no joke. Props to all the mamas out there who have gone au naturale during the labor process. I never knew I was capable of tolerating that much pain. (Or that I could scream that loud, either.)

Since her arrival life has been…crazy. Most nights she sleeps pretty well for a newborn – 3-4 hours at a time. But during the day, that little baby can scream. She cries pretty much the whole time unless someone is holding her, and by “someone” I mean me. And even then sometimes I can’t calm her down. I’m breastfeeding, so that usually works, but it doesn’t pacify her for long. I am grateful she’s a good sleeper, though. It has given hubby and I a chance to catch up on Scandal. Oh, Scandal. SO. GOOD.

It has been quite the challenge living life with a 2 year old and a newborn. When one stops crying, the other one starts. Unless both are crying at the same time, which is when I start to cry, too. And the amount of laundry is insane with just one extra person baby around. Tomorrow my husband goes back to work and I’m left to fend for myself. Luckily my dad’s going to stop by for a bit to help out. Thank God for Grandpas!

Yes, life has been crazy. But it has also been crazy beautiful. Watching my first born hug and kiss the baby is priceless. I wasn’t sure if I could love any one else like I love my first daughter, but God has this way of expanding your heart’s capacity when you didn’t think it would be possible. I am amazed at how blessed I am.

The good life, indeed.



31 day wrap up

13 days later and I am finally writing a follow-up post to the 31 day blogging challenge. I guess one might say I was all blogged out! I’m pretty proud of myself, though. I only missed 3 days and I managed to stick with it and see it to the end, which is a big deal for me.

I started the challenge thinking it was going to help me clean and organize my house and my life. I wanted to let go of clutter in order to make way for more structure and order in my day to day. This did not happen. (I did find some really cool resources, though, that I think will help me in the future. Hopefully.) What did happen, however, is that I became more aware of the emotional baggage that was cluttering my life. Past grudges, fear, worry, insecurity, change. Because I had to blog every day, letting go was constantly on my mind. And what mostly came to my mind was the stuff of the heart, not the stuff.

The experience was definitely a challenge. Writing for a whole month is not easy! But it was worth it. I plan on participating in this challenge again next year. Maybe then I’ll make it to 31 days instead of 28!



Clearing the clutter

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On turning 32

I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling 32.

Yesterday was my birthday, and it was the first time since I hit the late 20’s that I didn’t get depressed over my age. You see, I loved my 20’s. I was so carefree and spontaneous and fun. Then, around 27 or 28, things started to get serious. I needed to get serious about my career and finances, and all that other stuff that comes along with being a grown up. Not really my idea of fun.

This year was a little different. I guess it was the first time in a while where I didn’t feel like anything was missing from my life. I no longer feel the need to hold on to my 20-something-year-old self, or the desire to get her back. I’m happy with right now. Really, really happy.

I didn’t have a party or big dinner like I usually do. My dad graciously watched my daughter as my husband and I had a date night at a prime rib place I’ve been wanting to try. When we came back home from dinner, my sister and mom had come over and brought a cake. We sang “Happy Birthday” twice so that my daughter could blow out the candles two times. And then I was in bed by 9:30. The night was perfect.

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This was the only picture I took the night of my birthday. Please excuse the little minion…we were trying on her costume!

So, here’s to turning 32. I’m excited for what (and who!) this year will bring.

Everything will be alright, if we just keep dancing like we’re, 32!