Friday, September 19, 2014

So It Begins

Once upon a time, Shem and I got married. And riiiiight after we got married (surprise!) we found out we were expecting! Even though I was a little nervous and worried about how our baby would change our plans, I was beyond thrilled. I'd always, always, always wanted to be a mama and from the very beginning, I couldn't wait to meet my Luke.

But then, something happened that would scar me for years to come: right at the very beginning of my pregnancy, Shem and I were given callings at church to work with the three-year-old class in primary. (dun, dun, duuuuun... Sunbeams) It was then that I made a startling and terrifying discovery: I do not like three-year-olds. At all. And I'm sorry if you have a three-year-old who is super precious and awesome, I promise it's nothing personal and as SOON as they turn four (maybe five...) I'll like them again, but for now, I'm just not a fan. (Disclaimer: I have been known on occasion to like certain three-year-olds. Almost without fail, those ones have been girl ones. But if you have a three-year-old, just assume that he/she is probably an exception and I really love him/her. *butIreallyprobablydon't*)

So. This was a problem for the following reasons:

1. I had to figure out how to not hate church because for a two hour period every single Sunday, I had to figure out how to get a room full of THREE-YEAR-OLD children to sit still and be reverent and learn about Jesus. For two hours. While I was also puking intermittently because I was GROWING A FUTURE THREE-YEAR-OLD. Which brings us to number

2. I don't know if you people have made this connection yet or not, but in the very moment that I discovered that I didn't like three-year-olds, I also realized that the very precious life growing inside me time...become a three-year-old.

Suddenly, life hit a fast-forward button and brought me here. To this place. Where I sit next to my three-year-old. Who is watching Caillou. Who is a perfect example of everything that is wrong with three-year-olds. Which is worrisome, because I'm pretty sure that Caillou is actually four. Will it ever end??

Okay, and granted, it's true that the fact that Luke is MY three-year-old makes just about everything better about our interactions, but it does not make it easier. In some ways, it makes it harder because. He lives with me. And I have to keep him alive. And psychologically undamaged. 24/7. As opposed to two hours once a week.

Slowly, ever so slowly, behaviors have begun making their terrifying appearance in our lives that suggest that he is everyday becoming more and more three and less and less two. Examples, you ask?

Yesterday, he decided green beans were the end of his life. Thirty minutes the battle raged on between Luke and Mama and...Luke won. How? How could a kid out-stubborn me, you ask? Oh, because he puked up all of his lunch. So we got to clean up barf after having already waged war for half and hour! And he STILL never ate the last green bean! Hooray!

Another example? Glad you asked.

Today, he decided it would be really funny to hide my phone between the couch cushions. "Luke, keep mama's phone on top of the couch, please." To which Luke responded by making purposeful eye contact with me, pausing for about a minute and then shoving the phone deeper into the cushions with an expression that clearly said, "You don't know me. You don't know my life." and I think he flipped me off with his eyes.

So that's my life now. Also, saving Samuel from traumatic experiences involving big brother's on top of him every five minutes. And saying 'no' so many times, it has stopped sounding like a word. And sighing Luke's name more times than I say Luke's name. It's good times!

BUT! We've had several break throughs over the last couple of days. I feel like I'm going to be a seasoned pro by the time we go through this stage with Samuel. Which is really a good thing because by the look of it, Samuel is going to be about fifty times as stubborn and strong-willed as Luke is.

Small victories:
-I'm getting the hang of the whole 'deep breath and count to ten' concept and I didn't raise my voice ONE time today. Which I really think made all the difference because Luke had a pretty excellent day today compared to previous days when I've lost it... Sigh. Good thing kids are so resilient because patience, unfortunately, takes practice.

-I tried a modified version of an idea my dad gave me to help him feel like trying a scary looking food wasn't so intimidating and it totally worked! He ate lunch AND dinner today and we barely had a fight over it. I was so excited, I almost cried. Because guys. The pasta literally was green because it was avocado sauce and broccoli. AND HE ATE IT!

-I've realized that I need to think about him more positively thanks to some ideas my mom gave me indirectly. So I've been working extra hard at pointing out all his wonderful qualities and making a big deal out of the things he does that are good. (And dang it, I'm telling you, there's never been a better three-year-old sharer. He's got that down. Mostly.)

-I read some articles that gave a lot of good ideas for how to talk to your toddler and remembered how important it is to give pre-schoolers choices so they can feel empowered in their world. I also got new ideas about how/when to offer choices. I feel like I have more tools in my belt now.

Luke is SUCH a good boy. Even as a three-year-old. He's just so smart and so capable and he's lots of fun to watch grow. I am head-over-heels for that kid and I'm excited to make it through this year alive and well. He's so responsive when I figure out what it is he needs and he's really pretty easy to figure out. I'm so grateful for the internet at times like these because after dedicating nap-time to doing research, I feel like he's exuding completely age-appropriate behaviors and that developmentally, he's right on track. And I have a deepened understanding as to the why behind his behaviors which helps me navigate through them.

Who knows? Maybe as I get to know what makes my three-year-old tick, I'll be better equipped to deal with other people's three-year-olds and it'll make me love them!


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Big Move

Well, friends. We've done it. We're here. We're settled. We officially live in Bountiful, Utah in our own little place and we are loving (almost) everything about it!

I can't tell you in language strong enough how glad I am that I'm not in the process of moving any more. My life isn't in boxes any more! We're not living in someone else's house! I don't have to lift heavy things every single day! If you need to borrow a stapler...wait for it..I CAN FIND THE STAPLER! Life. Is. Good.

Moving away from home has to have been one of the hardest things I've ever done in my life. (I know, right...cush life.) No, really, though...driving away from our home in Bakersfield, with all of our worldly possessions loaded in the back of a truck, was maybe the single hardest things I've ever had to make myself do. It physically hurt to push the gas pedal. And let me tell you: literally and figuratively, that drive has never been longer. Between an enormous moving truck that could barely push 75 mph, two kids two and under, and such a badly broken heart it's amazing I was functioning, that drive felt about seven months long. But then a miracle happened! We got to Bountiful, had a good night's rest and I have been happy and full of peace every since. I have no doubt that the Lord has been working in me and has granted me the peace I've had every single day since we've gotten here and I have no doubt that it's because Shem and I were called to move here. I don't know why, yet, but I know that this is where we're supposed to be.

Our family is very blessed to have such amazing and selfless people on both my side and Shem's. We couldn't have made this move a possibility without help on both ends and they all went above and beyond to help us get to this point. Shem's parents were so generous and let us stay with them for almost three months while Shem learned the ropes at his new job and we waited for a good place to open up.

That brings me to the next miracle: Our new place.

Let me just tell you...this apartment could not be more perfect. First of all, we didn't even have to look for a place, really. This place was recommended to us by my brother and sister-in-law who lived here fifteen years ago and loved it and told us that we should look into living here because they're really affordable (I'm talking super affordable, here, guys) so several weeks after moving here, we came by the complex and asked if there were any openings. There weren't, but we were told to fill out an application and bring it back and when something opened up, they'd give us a call. Eventually we got around to doing that and I think just a week or so later we got a call from the manager telling us we'd just missed an opening (whiiiiich turns out to be a good thing...wait for it) but that she had one opening up in a month/month and a half and would we like to put a deposit down on it?

Now, you have to understand. I am on the more "A" side of type "B" while I've got a lot of type "B" in me, I've got enough "A" that the idea of dropping some serious coinage on a deposit for a place we'd never seen (and wouldn't see until we moved in) should have sent me into a tailspin, but strangely enough, aside from a tiny little "...but what if it's crappy?" moment, I was totally calm about it. I just had a feeling that this was where we were supposed to be. AND had a feeling that the timing was going to be perfect even though I was really hoping we could have gotten into our own place sooner. So I decided to be patient about getting into a space of our own, and also take a tiny leap of faith and put money down to secure our spot.

And heavenly days am I glad I did. I can't even tell you how much I love living here.

1. Laundry room. There is a laundry room. I have a washer and dryer. DO YOU UNDERSTAND HOW GLORIOUS THIS IS? I don't have to drag my laundry anywhere anymore. It's just. I can't get over it. The sound of my washer going in the background while I'm finishing up various chores around the house is like sweet, sweet music to me.

2. Neighbors. Virtually all of the people living here are young families or newlyweds. There's a three-year-old boy who lives directly across the hall from us. He loves guns. I'm pretty sure it was love at first sight for Luke. The first day we moved in, we met like three different neighbors. Everyone has been super friendly and welcoming and it's awesome. Basically.

3. Location. I can walk virtually anywhere. The grocery store is down the street. So are the gas station, the dollar store, books stores, clothing stores, and the recreation center where we take the kids swimming and Shem and I work out. But we're still tucked back enough that we're not right in the middle of all the crazy busy-ness. It feels like a neighborhood more than our old place did.

4. More traditional set-up inside. I liked our old place. There were so many good things about it. But it was a little bit of a quirky set up. It was kind of nice for having people over, but it didn't feel very homey. This place TOTALLY feels homey. I just love being here. I love how it's set up, I love how all our pictures look in the space, I love everything about the way it's been laid out. Though it's technically a smaller space, it FEELS bigger than our old place did.

5. Outside storage. We have TWO outside storage spaces for stuff we don't need to use all the time. Which is spectacular because that means all those tubs of baby clothes and holiday decor and camping stuff and tools and bikes and scooters are all out of the house. Huzzah!

6. Okay, guys, here it comes...the crazy, craziness that has made me feel like this was completely meant to be: we are in the EXACT SAME unit that my sister and brother-in-law lived in fifteen years ago. How crazy is that?? The timing had to be perfect in order for that to work out! I love the coincidence of it all!

Oh also, there's a pantry. And a walk-in closet for Shem and I. And pretty close to no cockroaches. (They spray the complex once every two months. Huzzah!) So, as you can see, this is basically the best place ever. And I love it.

I really do love living here in general. It's a really awesome city. And it's only fifteen minutes away from Salt Lake which is fabulous. I love Salt Lake. There are so many things to do there and it's this beautiful metropolis that I don't have to live in to enjoy it because Bountiful is so close. Things couldn't be better here.

Unless all my friends and family moved here. Then it'd be perfect.

I sure miss everyone there and I'm so grateful for Facebook. Trust me when I say I'm using it to stalk the crap out of everyone I love so that I can stay connected to you all.