- DD's pumpkin spice coffee (ground, found at Target!)
- The new carts at Target that hold 3 kids in buckles at the same time. Just in time for Baby #3!
- Ellie constantly crawling up into my lap or begging me to hold her; I am always happy to oblige.
- Slow mornings that start with both kids asking to bounce around in the same crib together, followed by a big hot breakfast.
- Playing in the leaves, and gathering acorns and pinecones wherever we go.
- The constant support and encouragement of my husband. Quiet evenings on the couch, resting together and enjoying sugary desserts. (I make him eat with me through my pregnancies.)
- Finding a wonderful daytime babysitter that lives minutes away and is very available! (Don't ask for her name. I have needed this desperately and I'm feeling protective! Haha.)
- Crock pot soups!
- My dad's healing from the accident - it has been so much better than we anticipated. So much protection and provision from God in this whole situation.
- Down vests.
- Popcorn from the popcorn shop, best enjoyed in the comfort of a swing at our favorite park in the late afternoon.
- My grandmother's move from Cincinnati to my parents' house in the next few weeks. We miss her and are anxious to help care for her and make her last days memorable and full of love and laughter.
- Robbie asking me to repeat 'Poor baby, you are sick' each time he coughs.
- Ellie's little face poking out from behind anything, huge grin and saying "Hi!!". Also her quick forgiveness towards all of us.
- Long drives in the early morning light through the Arboretum. Bonus: catching the mist over the lake. Double bonus: not getting stuck behind the Acorn Express tram, which maxes out at 2 mph.
- Friends who trade encouragement, babysitting and dinners for one another at the first mention of crisis or difficulty. Is this a midwestern thing? It's all I've known and I love it - being on both ends. We are lucky to be able to care for one another as moms.
- Fuzzy footy toddler pajamas.
- My friend Cheryl's new position at work, which is permanent and also allows for her to live here in Wheaton for part of the month again! 2 blocks away from us. The way God provides is always amazing and beyond what we dared to ask.
- The second trimester. Being able to enjoy my babies and still get down and play with them; not being so uncomfortable at night that sleep is difficult; the absence of food aversions (I am eating everything, including Boo Berry cereal. Gross. And chicken too, now.) But still being able to feel that growing knot in my belly that promises new life and daydreaming about the child we have yet to meet! Anticipating the first kick or felt movement.
- Hearing Robbie's little voice singing along to every single Praise Baby song in the car.
- Tuesday night bible study with a really sweet group of women.
- Football season, coupled with hot Sunday lunches and long naps afterwards.
- Pregnancy hormones which in my opinion, heighten my awareness to all of my blessings and the beauty of life in general. Yes they make you weepy, but who doesn't love a good cry over the things that are lovely that you don't deserve?
- Having a backyard full of squirrels and birds - constant entertainment for the kids.
- The realization that all of God's promises are firm, whether or not I believe them, have experienced them, or trust them to be fulfilled. That He is faithful regardless.
I have been learning a lot about how deep God's love is for us, and how there are so many examples of how He chooses us to be His own. And not necessarily in the predestination-way (although I believe that to be true). Just in terms of understanding on a deeper level that He pursues me, wants my devotion and relationship, and cares about me... my kids, my marriage, the things that are dear to me and close to my heart. In contrast, I have tended to be the kind of friend/daughter/sister/wife who is quick to notice and be hurt by the times someone or something else is chosen over me. (Don't we all desperately want to be chosen and valued?)
But so much healing comes every time I think about how God chose to come down to earth as Jesus, chose to die for me, chose to give me eternal life, chose to give me His Spirit while I am still living this brief life on earth, and chooses me every day in a thousand different ways. I am released from the need to be chosen by others, and trade that in for contentment, gratefulness, and rest in the perfect love of a perfect Savior. I am better able to release the decisions others make, the incidental wounds, and go on with what He has called me to specifically without distraction. Praise God for these lessons.
And before you think it's all peaches and roses over here, a few things that we are loathing right now, too!
- Being woken up at 6:15 am every morning by a certain someone who is enjoying the freedom of his big boy bed. Love the face, not so much loving the hour.
- The seemingly endless reasons both kids cannot sleep through a single night without waking up at least once. Mainly pitched pacifiers and lovies, which I'm about to start strapping to their person.
- Mopping the kitchen floor after every meal.
- A certain 16 month old still refuses to walk on her own and is fully capable.
- The revolving door of illness.
- Turning my back on Robbie for even a few seconds is just dangerous now - recent incidents include the attempted consumption of Tums, washing his face and hands with my Keihl's lip balm (think vaseline), various physical assaults on Ellie, and attempted escapes outside or down the block. He sometimes takes his clothes off as well, but that's only happened inside the house so no harm done.
- The hours of 4-6pm, every day. Enough said.
Luckily, this list is much smaller and not nearly as significant as the first list. We are a thankful bunch.