Seriously, this summer passed so quickly. Doesn't help that for the first several months I wasn't feeling the best. All my great plans for getting out and doing things just didn't come to pass the way I had hoped.
I'm going to do a little recap of the end of summer...because there are some fun pictures and updates to share. First, I'll start with pregnancy updates:
I am almost 21 weeks along. Can't believe we are over the hump of halfway! Again with the flying time. I am feeling pretty good for the most part. Over the weekend I picked up Asher and used my back, not my legs. Still recovering from that one. He is just too heavy for me to pick up any more and so I am working on being patient with all the sloooooowwww walking and stair climbing.
My belly is now undeniably pregnant. I forget it's there sometimes and end up ramming into things or realizing I can't slip between things the way I used to. Lots of squatting, no more bending. And no sucking in this bad boy.
Now see, I said "bad boy" there, but don't get too excited. Gender has not yet been confirmed. Although we do find out THURSDAY! Well, technically on Sunday, because our dear friend is throwing us a gender reveal party. We opted to be surprised at the party along with our guests...which has me both parts excited and sooooo impatient! We were supposed to find out a week ago, but the doctor had to cancel due to a scheduling conflict.
There are noticeable kicks and last night Ben and I could actually see the little bumps appear on the surface of my belly! Feeling and watching a baby move in my belly is quite possibly one of my most favorite things about this process. I am once again in awe of the creation of life.
Asher turned the grand ol' two last week. And my goodness are we experiencing both the terrific and terrible sides of this glorious age! I love this kid to death, but the delightful combination of molar-teething, expanding independence and fierce determination are quite the combination. I am trying to live in the balance of realistically sharing the facts of this stage while not complaining. He is a challenge at times. He has perfected the toddler whine. He says my name countless times in the most pathetic voice until I feel like telling him I don't know who this "Mommy" is he speaks of. I let the kid watch a few minutes of a YouTube video about trucks and he pesters me to "watch a show on my phone, Mommy!" All. The. Time. That stuff about the addictive nature of screens is no joke.
And yet...he is incredible. He is funny. Oh so funny. He is saying things like, "Actually I don't want it, but probably I will." He adores any and all babies. He loves physical touch and is learning how to give it and ask for it appropriately and gently. He asks, "Mommy, sing 'Talk to Jesus' and snuggle on 'da bench [the couch]." This melts my heart because I used to request this same song from my dad while snuggling with him. I love that he loves it.
He will get a sweet grin and say (unprompted at times), "Thank you so much!" I hear him talk to himself and say, "No, no, dump the water" or "Good job Buddy, thank you for listen to Mommy!" It makes me smile and cry because he is so darn sweet.
On a personal note, I have been feeling a little defeated when it comes to this vivacious kid. It is hard to parent a toddler who's brain is still just figuring out language and doesn't have a grasp on reasoning. I feel like I repeat myself a million times and there are no results. It is easy to wonder what the point is. There are these little moments of triumph when he responds to discipline (consequences and teaching moments) with obedience. When he says, "So sorry Mommy."
And oh the grace that is poured on me in the moments when I lose my cool, raise my voice and speak crossly with him. I feel like a horrible mom and yet all he wants to do is have me hold him and snuggle him. These moments break my heart and fill me with hope. Despite all the brokenness I bring to this parenting thing, he still loves me and wants to be close to me. Really gives me a glimpse of how persistent God is...I mess up and He still just wants to hold me close and tell me he loves me, and have me say I love Him.
This weekend I reconnected with a long-lost pen-pal I had when I was 11! I was in her wedding at that age too (she was a bit older than me), but life has happened and we haven't kept in touch. Anyway, through the course of talking, she said this to me: "I realized that feeling overwhelmed has less to do with what is actually going on than how much grace I'm asking for in the moment" (or something to that effect). It really reminded me that I quite often marinate in my overwhelmed feelings and circumstances and don't readily reach for the lifeline of grace offered in abundance, if only I would ask.
Here are some snapshots of our wondrous summer/fall!
We went to California in September to celebrate my mom's 60th birthday! It was such a lovely time. We rented a house in Santa Barbara where we could all stay.
Attempt at a grandchild picture. Tommy took off and most of the littles weren't too happy...
Hiking by the beach!
He was a bit apprehensive about the waves, but loved playing in the "Big Sandbox." Ben told him we were going to the "Big Sandbox" one day and that is what he now refers to the beach as.
Ben and Asher sleeping in after the worst night ever. Ash was up for around three hours straight. Even when we brought him in bed with us, he would just sit and poke our eyes to make sure we weren't sleeping. Good thing he is so cute. (They both are).
After the beach we did naked toddler swimming in the pool to get off all the sand. However, Asher insisted on wearing this life jacket, so it turned out really akwardly adorable with his bare bum under his bulky life jacket.
My dad caught this *fantastic* snap of me looking fly.
Ladies (just missing Krissa). Love them mucho!
J&K had left a few days earlier and we had forgotten to take an adult group shot with them.
This stud checking out the Pacific off the Ventura Pier
Uncle Joey is just the best. They love him.
Asher back home on a nature walk with his friend Cecily. Notice him trying to touch her. She wasn't super excited to have him in her personal bubble.
The glee of hose play on an 80 degree September day.
My lil' family. I love them. Can't wait to see what the picture will look like when baby #2 is added!