Sunday, March 4, 2012

Life and Lola

Lola 17 months

I feel as if I haven’t said “hi” to y’all recently. I’ve posted a few things here and there, but no real update on life in my world. There hasn’t been much time for blogging lately, or picture taking and editing, for that matter. But I’m going to cram in a long, exceedingly random chat about life along with 300 million pictures of Lola in one ginormous post to make up for it. What do you think about that?

Lola 16

Every once in a while, I think about life two years ago. I was all ready to move on to a new phase of life. One in which I had everything together and under control (HA!). A life focused on my boys and on education. A life in which everyone worked together, did tasks independently, and I had some breathing room. A nice and tidy life. (Ha! Again.) Then I found out we were expecting a baby.

Lola 1

I didn’t know how I could do it. I was already stretched thin. Whisper thin. Parenting these boys is no Sunday walk in the park. But to add early pregnancy exhaustion and nausea? And then lose physical energy and agility (what little I had, and which is a crazy big deal when raising young boys)? To make it to all those prenatal Dr. appointments? To feel claustrophobic and want to live in a silent cave without anyone touching me (which is how I feel when pregnant)? Then go through labor, birth, and recovery? To go through the no-sleep, breastfeeding-around-the-clock early days of newbornhood? While parenting said boys?! And to haul diaper bags and baby carriers. Extra well-baby (and sick baby) Dr. visits. To constantly trip over the exersaucer thingy in the middle of our one little living space. More sleepless nights, teething, highchair, baby food, learning to crawl, getting into everything….

Lola 10

Then {POOF} we’re here. (Okay, it wasn’t exactly {poof}, but can you believe she is almost a year and a half?!!!)

Lola 5

We’ve been through a lot, including my husband losing his job just weeks after Lola was born. But God has been here every step of the way. Even Russ’s job (or absence of one) has been a blessing. We LOVED having him around when he was home. I NEEDED him home. And now his new job makes it possible for him to get off early enough to take the boys to the pool for swim practice and lessons three days a week. He is also able to work from home one or two days a week.

Lola 2

And Lola, oh, Lola. Lala, Loli-bug, Lolli, Lovey, Doll Baby. She gives us all endless joy. Every day. The boys live to adore her. Her daddy is her favorite person in the universe. And me—I can’t even describe what she is to me. She is just plain FUN.

Lola 3

She is 17 months now. She is a go-getter. She is opinionated, silly, and FAST. She sits still for nothing. She LOVES attention, but don’t get in her space. She won’t look at the camera. She rides down the stairs in a sleeping bag with her brothers. She climbs on things, gets into drawers and cupboards, turns every knob and pushes every button, goes through every open door. She doesn’t really play with toys, but she just discovered clothes. She LOVES writing (on paper, her hand, walls….) Her shoes never stay on. She still removes all hats and headbands.

Lola 4

Lola’s down to one nap a day. {sigh} And it’s usually only an hour and a half. {double sigh} She sleeps 10-11 hours at night…often straight through. Cutting four molars while having back to back colds wasn’t very fun, though. We’re glad to be past that.

Lola and Leif

She doesn’t say much, but we’re working more on a few signs. She has please and thank you down. I’m telling you right now, it is almost impossible to resist an angelic little face while she is signing please for something. We sing ‘her’ song all the time (“Whatever Lola wants….”), because it is so true. At some point we’re going to have to stop spoiling her, I suppose.

Lola 6

I know it’s hard to believe, but I do have three other children! The boys are their crazy, loveable selves. Levi is really enjoying swim team, and Luke and Leif have been doing swim lessons twice a week, as well. Russ takes them (Levi practices three times a week), deals with all the parent meetings and volunteer duties, and even gets in the pool himself a couple times a week! I think swimming is a valuable activity, but the time and effort commitment is most definitely extensive. I’m so thankful Russ is available to participate and spend that father-son time.

Lola 7

Swim practice and lessons have made our schedule rather full. I am also involved in three separate book clubs that meet monthly. One is our parent-child book club which I host and co-lead every month. Russ has had some projects that have taken extra hours and out-of-town travel. Luke is still taking piano lessons weekly.

Lola 8

While Lola is so. much. fun, she certainly adds to the chaos at home. The boys are easily distracted. I am TERRIBLE at multi-tasking. If I’m keeping the house clean, that is ALL that is happening (and sometimes I spend the day cleaning the house only to have not made any progress at all). If we have a productive day of lessons, we eat Little Caesars pizza for dinner.

Lola 11

I’ve started staying up very late at night because I CRAVE the silence. That, and whatever I get done STAYS done…at least until the kids wake up in the morning. And then I’m tired in the morning and can’t get out of bed. I love saving up the laundry and ironing and whatever else can be done in the living room so that I can watch television at the same time. I just finished the first season of Downton Abbey, and I LOVE it. I had just watched North and South, and my beloved Nicholas Higgins is Bates in Downton Abbey. I adored him from the first second I saw him, and he only gets better. {grin} He reminds me so much of Russell Crowe.

Lola 12

Russ and I just celebrated our SIXTEENTH! wedding anniversary last month. I posted our love story a couple years ago. I am amazed at the life we’ve lived together and I am looking forward to our future together!

Lola 13

Speaking of anniversaries, February also marked FIVE years of Mt. Hope Chronicles! How many of you have been around for five years? Four years? Three? Can you believe Leif was only 6 months old when I started blogging?! I really should do a cool give-away or party or something. Hmmm. I’ll have to think about that one.

Lola 14

January and February (and often March, too) are so dreary around here. It is dark. And wet. And cold. And sloppy. I never feel like taking pictures during these months, especially inside where it’s extra dark. On the plus side, the fields are such a lush green and the sheep are out grazing. I enjoy the scenery even if I don’t feel like taking pictures.

Lola 15

I’m spending a few days with my sisters and mom this coming weekend. We are going out of town for a girls’ weekend. I am so looking forward to time away. We enjoy each others’ company so much. I haven’t had a night away since Lola was born! All three of us girls share the birthday month of March, so we have an excuse to party!

Lola 17

Speaking of nights away, I have a fantabulous trip coming up. I can’t wait to share all the details with you. Soon, I hope! I don’t know when I’ve been so excited about something!!

Lola 18

Hmmm. What else? We only have five weeks of Classical Conversations left for this year. We continue to love the experience, and feel doubly blessed by the incredible families with whom we have the opportunity to be in community. I think I am going to take advantage of the opportunity for parents to become Memory Masters this year! It is a bit of a daunting task, but I enjoy a challenge and hope to rise to the occasion. As much as I enjoy CC, I admit to looking forward to May when we aren’t out of the house one day each week with time spent on Sundays gathering all our stuff, finishing up tasks, and getting the boys’ presentations ready.

I guess that about wraps it up. My house is a disaster, I need to go grocery shopping, and I have a huge pile of laundry with my name on it. So many days this life feels like a ‘five steps forward, four steps backward’ sort of process. But we’re making progress, and forgiving, and learning, and loving and embracing grace in the midst of it.


Anonymous said...

i loved this post and found my eyes filled with tears that someone else speaks exactly how i feel on two important things in my heart: OH MY GOSH, i clean ALL DAY but it never looks like it. and my sweet baby kinleigh. my three month old granddaughter who lives with us {as does her mom and my three other children} i take care of her all day when her mommy is at work. while a joy and a blessing {hmph} i don't get much done because she demands my attention. i look at lola and i am reminded {for the 100th time} that the time flies. thank you so much for your words heidi. i adore your family. enjoy your week.

with much love, jamie {from michigan}

Hannah said...

Heidi, I love how you just plunged in and talked to us, honestly, openly, like a friend catching up. I've felt so blah lately about writing ... so little time to do so, and when I do have the time, little inclination, perhaps due to perfectionism. There are big things I want to say but I don't know how to say them succinctly. Reading your post does many things for me, but one of them is to encourage me to just write *something.*

As always, terrific photos! The one of Levi and Lola especially tugs at my heart.

Hugs to you.

Danielle said...

I've been following your blog for almost 5 years. I think before I even had kids, so that would be about right. Glad you're enjoying your little Lola. What a cutie.

And if you like Nicholas Higgins have you seen Lark Rise to Candleford? SUCH a good series. He has a major role in that. I think you'd really like it, but save it for after Downton! One can only be addicted to so many shows at once. I was able to borrow all the seasons of Lark Rise from our local library.

Timi said...

Thank you for this post!!! I love when you write about yourself and your family and Lola!!! She is such a precious girl! A really blessing for you, just like the boys :o)!
Have a great week, Heidi!

Heather said...

Not to sound gushy, but I enjoy everything you post. Thanks for posting all these lovely pics and telling us the good and bad of your days. It's encouraging to know that others are in the same boat too. :)
I have read here for a long time, but not sure how long. Keep up the great work!

Mary S. said...

My boys are 3 and almost 5 and I am getting very comfortable with having more independent and capable children. I barely remember life with a newborn. I too have thought how much easier it would be to "keep it together" if they were our only kids. But oh that Lola! To think of missing out on a sweet little girl or boy makes me think twice.

Oh and I am ashamed to say my husband recently discovered Downton Abbeyand I watched this first 2 seasons of in a week!

Heidi said...

Mary S.~ I just finished season 2 at midnight last night. Both seasons in less than a week for me, too. ;-P

Sarah said...

This post was oh so perfectly timed! I just discovered I am pregnant after only verrrrry recently emerging from the "weeds" of raising 7, 6, and 4 year-old boys. In my good moments I know that it will all be so. good. but man, it's hard to imagine starting all over again! These thoughts about Lola are such a needed perspective (and the idea of adding a GIRL to our testosterone-laden family helps, too :)Thanks, as always, for sharing.

Laura at By the Bushel said...

Thanks as always for posting. :)
I just finished watching North and South. Wow. just wow.
DA was fab.u.lous.
And I totally get the staying up for a little sanity time, till the morning and they undo it all again.
Lola is beautiful.
Thanks for sharing her sweet face.