Saturday, November 30, 2013

Family Snapshot

What it's like to be us, right now. November 2013.


Likes: spending time together as a family, quiet weekends, regular exercise, paring down his diet to include as much raw and unprocessed food as possible, then trying to get the kids and I to try it! 
Dislikes: Hmm, you'd have to ask him... but I know a big one is that this time of year, it's dark out when he leaves for work and it's dark out when he comes home. Not seeing the sun all day must be really awful. 
Can be found: reading the Bible to our kids at dinnertime, The Chronicles of Narnia series to Robbie at bedtime, hitting the pavement around town or making good use of the Prairie Path, working hard at the office, up first with the kids on Saturday and Sunday mornings so that I can catch an extra hour or two of sleep, volunteering in Ellie's Cubbies room at Awana at Church on Wednesday nights, next to me on the couch at the end of exhausting days.
Is heard saying: "Let me do it." (Usually in reference to a chore or task I loathe.) "Thanks for dinner!" (Usually after a sub-par showing of my culinary skills.) "Hang in there." (In reference to all my little grumblings about whatever, spoken sincerely.) "Do you feel up for it?" (Never pushing me, always considerate.) 
Defining physical attributes: super skinny and fit, thanks to nearly a year of marathon training and healthy eating! 30 is the new 20. ;)
Something I don't want to forget about this period of time: how attentively supportive he is to me as I carry our fourth child. The vast number of times he's cleaned up dinner and loaded the dishwasher for me. The many times he's forgiven my (sometimes hormonally-induced) offenses. The way he overlooks my shortcomings on a very daily basis - not holding things over my head... (not that I have many examples. But for instance, two weeks ago when I backed out of the garage and nailed the side mirror of a rental van and shattered the mirror and cracked the frame... or the way the kitchen is perpetually cluttered, mainly with pastries (me) and crafts (kids) right now... or my sheer inability to complete the week's laundry in a single day and it becomes a permanent fixture, just hanging out on the side of the family room like a guest who won't leave and begs for attention.) The way he is constant and even. His texts early in the morning encouraging me or pointing out lovely things about me. His leadership in our family and all the time and effort he spends on loving each of us well, the way we need him to. His discipline in nearly every area of life. His strength.


Likes: my morning cup of espresso {christmas blend} coffee alongside the dark and quiet first hour of the day as I try to spend time with the Lord each morning. Blogging my thoughts and hopefully encouraging other women in their spiritual journeys. Taking the kids to school and picking them up, then talking about what they're learning and experiencing. Helping them learn to see God in everything, teaching them how to pray, teaching them how to serve and love others well. I also like a good hot ham and cheese sandwich. I still like my makeup but I'm not insecure anymore without it, and I use a lot less of it. I love a good hot bath at the end of hard days, bath bomb included. I like getting involved in new ministry opportunities and the way it expands my heart and perspective. I really like any amount of time I get with friends to talk about the good, important stuff of life. I like the occasional Starbucks, and the relationships that are slowly forming with the kids who work there (seriously, sometimes they call me ma'am, so referring to them as kids is no longer a stretch). I love giving things away right now. I also love the idea of turning Christmas on it's head and really living out what we believe at this important time of year, but that's another post for another day. I love the way God is showing me new things about myself, both beautiful and ugly, and is lovingly pruning me. I really love the time I get to spend with Rob and the kids, and cherish it... and I also love the time I have alone during the day or week. 
Dislikes: how far away my best friend Kacey is. How sassy the kids seem to be this week. The way I have rapidly put on weight with this pregnancy (eek)! How infrequently we are able to see family members who live far away. Being out of breath after exerting any amount of physical energy - the stairs wind me! ha. The occasional nightmare about one of the kids getting the stomach flu, and the pathways I continue to fight to close in this area that causes me anxiety - thankfully, so much less than it used to. Laundry, crumbs that seem to perpetually live under the table, tasks that add up to more than my energy level. The way I often feel relationally exhausted. Also, I really, really dislike what has been going on in Congo and what continues to play out to this day. I had no idea until recently. 
Can be found: reading as much as possible (mainly early in the mornings and late at night), driving kids to and from various schools and activities, taking pictures to capture all the sweet and sassy of the moment, and generally attempting to convince little people to put on clothes, stay in buckles, eat their well balanced meals, stop fighting and use kind words, wipe and flush and wash. Once a week I can be found at church leading Bible study (although that recently ended); periodically you'll find me spending time with a sweet young woman from Congo and her little boy; in the mornings you can see me through our front windows at my 'Bible study table'; in the late afternoon and evening I'm anchored in the kitchen. Once a week I'm spending time mentoring the greatest college student you've ever met. In between all that, I can usually be found at playdates with friends, popping into our favorite resale shop downtown to visit my sweet friend who owns it, and enjoying the occasional one-on-one time with each of my kids.
Is heard saying: "That is NOT what a Livingston does/says." and "I love watching you ___ ." and "Please stop sassing me." and "You're so beautiful in the morning! I missed you while you slept!" - on repeat, ever day. Generally going on and on about the Refugee Resettlement Ministry our church has that I am dipping my toes in. Because it's amazing and God is changing so many hearts and lives through it, on both ends.
Defining physical attributes: Ever-growing belly. Ever-blond hair that was recently heavily low-lighted and quickly bleached back out. Problem skin and tired eyes but hopefully the happiness I have in my heart right now outshines these things!
Something I don't want to forget about this period of time: How miraculous it is to have life growing inside of your belly. The sweetness of my very little children, trying as they may be. How blessed I am to be married to my husband. The awareness I have of how powerful God can be in my life if I so choose and allow Him to be. How much I am growing as I learn more about myself and the Lord every day. The way it feels to be poured completely out every single day, and then miraculously filled to overflowing again and again.


Likes: Legos, Kindergarten, playing with friends, rediscovering his trains in a box in the basement, keeping track of time, backseat driving, generally monitoring all things and keeping a frighteningly accurate and long memory. Morning hugs, routine, learning about anything new, wrestling.
Dislikes: disorder, running late, white milk, when things happen differently than he was expecting, being 'tested' in any way (so much anxiety), when a sharp tongue lashes out at his sensitive heart, being drug along on grocery shopping trips, getting vaccinated (you'd think we were cutting his arms off).
Can be found: independently moving through the routines of the day, playing in the playroom, being with his sisters, working intently on homework, reading EVERYTHING.
Is heard saying: "Mom, did you know..." and "Remember when..." and "SHE WON'T STOP BUGGING ME!". When asked what he's going to do for the baby when she comes: "Tummy time!"
Defining physical attributes: No meat on his bones. Growing so fast right now, face thinning out and looking so much older every day. Bruises up and down his shins. Sweet puffy eyes in the morning. The way his waist is a size 5 but his long legs require a size 6 (nearly 7!) in pants. How much he resembles his daddy, in pretty much every way. How I love his skinny-limbed hugs and loving gazes. The kisses are becoming few and far between but the love is certainly there. 
Something I don't want to forget about this period of time: How strong and tender he is at the same time. He loves being with other kids his age, especially other boys. His incredible ability to memorize and learn quickly. The way nothing escapes him. The way he and Ellie discuss orphans, and their honest conversations (without me) about whether we should adopt one someday into our family. How sincere his faith in God is. His imaginative play and love of superheroes. How he can still seem so very little and young, and yet very old and mature all at once. The way he reads to his sisters - and really well. How incredibly proud I am of who he is and how deep my love for my son is. How much he teaches me.


Likes: nurturing her little sister. playing with her brother, whom she adores. being read to, held, fussed over, physically loved on. any and all animals. praying at dinnertime. going to preschool. putting bandaids on everything. talking about all the things she's going to do with me for the new baby when she arrives (so far her role is clearly defined as bottle feeding the baby and kiss her).
Dislikes: being on time. getting dressed. going to bed easily. submitting to my authority. being challenged. having tangles brushed out of her hair. having to stop to use the bathroom. being alone in any situation. not sitting by mom at the dinner table. showering. cleaning up her toys.
Can be found: dashing urgently to the bathroom. coloring incessantly. playing babies with maddie. singing sweetly in the car. saying the lines to whatever movies she's watching. crafting. potty training maddie (ironic).
Is heard saying: "But Mommmmmm...!" and "I love you SO much." and "Don't worry...".
Defining physical attributes: Thinning out - we might be able to wear the same pants for a whole year straight! Her long wavy hair continues to be the envy of every woman who meets her. She's taken up with picking at her nails and often needs bandaids for little ouchies she creates. 
Something I don't want to forget about this period of time: how she moves so quickly between emotions. her ability to apologize and forgive quickly and completely. her love for praying - ask to pray at dinnertime and she will pitch a fit because SHE is our prayer warrior. :) how she is nurturing towards maddie, especially at ballet class when maddie needs corralling or comforting. the ways she is honestly trying to learn to restrain her negative reactions and emotions. the hundreds of times a day that she walks up to me and kisses my belly, talks to the baby, tells me I'm the most beautiful mom in the whole world, or that she loves me. 


Likes: being with her siblings, playing independently, apple juice, dancing, playing on the iPad, reading her books (especially the ones with the bubbles you can pop on each page), running ahead of her siblings to press the automatic button for the handicapped door or elevator. her paci and lovies (specifically the one with the birds on it).
Dislikes: finishing any meal or cup of milk, being put down for her afternoon nap, when someone tries to buckle her into her car seat (she can do it by herself thankyouverymuch).
Can be found: wherever her siblings are. sneaking into Ellie's room and rifling through her toys and desk drawers. flashing her best smile when I'm giving her a stern look for disobedience. 
Is heard saying: "No, I DO IT by myself!" and "Gimmie dat, Ellie" and "Where'd Bobby go?" every day of the week while he's at kindergarten. "The Bay-bee" with a funny southern-like accent.
Defining physical attributes: still my skinny little minnie. tiny waist, skinny arms and legs, the smoothest delicate skin, still-strawberry hair that has just enough curl, blond eyelashes, and as if that weren't enough to make you want to eat her up, she cannot pronounce her "S"'s correctly. All "s" sounds come out "th", with that cute little tongue poking out between her teeth. Perfection, if you ask me. "Thankth!"
Something I don't want to forget about this period of time: How dependable, adaptable and flexible she is. Her love of routine. The way she puts herself to sleep, but always asks for "huggie-kissie?!" before being tucked in. Those sweet paci-kisses and hugs, complete with gentle pats or rubs on my back. Her occasional request of "you rock me?". I scoop her little body up, drape her long legs on either side of my baby belly, she gently and sweetly lays her head on my shoulder and I sway back and forth, stroking her hair and telling her how much I love her. The way I have begun to feel that old familiar panicky feeling that soon my youngest will no longer be my baby. And will I have room in my heart for ANOTHER child? (yes, always) The way she proves to me every day that she has been gifted with a spirit of independence. She is the child that showed me that no matter how badly I feel like I am failing as a mother, I don't have to fear that I am ruining my kids because God's plan and love for them is bigger than me. Maddie is quite possibly my happiest child, and she is the one who stared up into my sad eyes for months as a little babe, her own cheeks catching my tears at times. I worried that she would carry my sadness somehow as she grew up, and the opposite has been true. She brings me so much joy.


kacey said...

This is so beautiful and tank filling. Thank you for sharing and for the beauty that you display in your motherhood. You inspire.

Wear Share said...

I adored every letter and punctuation mark of this.