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Two.

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We are down to two more days until Adam is here! Unless you have done long separations with your loved one, it’s hard to describe the feelings involved with a homecoming. Granted, this time he wasn’t even gone a full month, but to be quite honest, some of the feelings are just the same as the homecomings of his 6 month long deployments.

Excitement. Anxiousness. Happiness. Joy.

I’m beyond excited, as is Brooklyn, to have Adam back with us again. It’s really hard to live my life playing the roles of two people, yet only having the human ability to be one. We are not designed to be both a mom and a dad to our little ones. Thankfully, God has given me the strength to at least attempt this while Adam is away from us. At first there are more hard days than easy while we are all adjusting. But, life continues to go on and we need to move on with it.

Adam is personally flying a jet back from Australia. He’ll be in the cockpit between 8-9 hours by himself. Yes, I’m nervous. Yes, I know he’s capable, but it doesn’t stop me from feeling anxious. I’ll be praying a lot on Tuesday for his safety.

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I’m so ready to hear the jets approaching the base, seeing them flying in formation overhead and knowing that my husband is flying in one of those. I’m getting all tingly just thinking of it. The look of pure joy and happiness on Brooklyn’s face when she sees her daddy climb out of his plane about does me in every time. Her silent pride of her daddy is something so special. For both her and Adam.

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So, on that note, I’m going to take a few days break from the blog. I have an apartment to clean, fridge to stock, camera to prepare, and homecoming outfits to lay out.

 

*all photos taken by Teena Hester from our homecoming last year

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That Kind of Mom

I’ll be the first to admit I’m not the world’s best mom. A lot of nights I lay in bed thinking over the past day’s activities and what I could have done differently. I try my best, but I know I fall short every single day. I’ve come to realize that I need to look at the big picture of life. Are my girls safe, healthy, fed and loved? If the answer is yes, then I know I did a decent job of mothering my girls that day. Thankfully I’ll have another chance to start over with the little stuff the next day. And no matter how much I think I fail, somehow my little girls always seek out snuggles, kisses and hugs from me even after an off day.

That is what matters to me. And that is when I know I succeeded. 

I often think about what kind of mom I am not. What I could be doing better that I don’t. So, instead I was thinking,what kind of mom am I?

I’m the kind of mom that enjoys every moment my children are at home. Tears fill my eyes just thinking about sending them off on their first day of school. I secretly want to homeschool them for the selfish fact that I won’t be separated from them so many hours each week.

I’m the kind of mom that would give up fancy cars and downgrade our house if that’s what it takes to afford to send our girls to private schools, just Adam and I were blessed with.

I’m the kind of mom that cried after leaving our girls for the first time overnight. Even though they slept most of the time we were gone, I still felt like a horrible mom.

I’m the kind of mom who internally freaks out when both Adam and I are away from our daughters, afraid something will happen to both of us, leaving our girls parentless. I am trying hard to work through this fear, and have prayed about it, but it’s a fear I am not able to easily let go of.

I’m the kind of mom who tries hard to give our daughters healthy food, but doesn’t mind if Brooklyn gets a special ice cream cone or snack every once in a while.

I’m the kind of mom who I won’t succumb to the pressure of sending my kids to daycare or preschool earlier than needed. I strongly believe that children need their parents in their lives as much as possible (especially when one parent is deployed so much). I love teaching our girls at home, watching them learn, and spending time with them… that is something I would never get if I sent them off to daycare/preschool during the day.

I’m the kind of mom who will get up 10 times during the night with my child instead of trying the cry-it-out method. I’m not capable of hearing my child cry, knowing that I can do something about it. I just can’t do it.

The wonderful thing about parenting is that we can be given second chances when we have a bad day or two (or three). Thankfully, my girls (and husband) have been very forgiving of me!

I’m not writing this to be judged or to judge others about how you parent. Each person and family have their own ways to go about raising children. 

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Wanting Off the List

One of my favorite things to do since living here in Japan is walking to the post office and receiving mail. As sad as it may sound to you friends who live in the States and have unlimited amounts of fun activities to do each day, it’s true.

It’s a fun mother-daughter date, that we probably get all too excited about. I mean, getting a card in the mail from a loved one? It’s a great day. A package? Even better. My heart rate is increasing just thinking about opening up that little metal door to see the desired yellow slip of paper with my name on it, representing a package of something wonderful that was sent to us. Gifts, purchased items, heck — I even get excited about surveys and insurance envelopes!

Unfortunately, lately we have been receiving un-welcomed things in our box. They come in the form of a catalog. These annoying “books”, addressed to me {but might as well have had Brooklyn’s name written in big, bold print on the front}, have pictured in them lovely dolls, or toys, or clothes that my 2-year-old is inevitably drawn to and immediately desires.

Yes, I’m talking to you Land of Nod. And American Girl. And Pottery Barn Kids.

Apparently these companies have our names on a list entitled, “Has young child, perfect prey” and sends them to us at timely intervals. Just when I was able to hide the last one after hours of being looked at, the next one arrives.

I’m sure it’s partly my fault. I buy one backpack from Pottery Barn kids, and will now forever be haunted with my purchase by my child picking out ten more things from their catalog that costs ten times what I want to pay.

Good job, children’s companies, on your marketing ploys. They are in full effect and working perfectly for you. But, as a concerned parent for my daughter who is picking out all these wonderful things that she will never be getting, maybe you could take our name off that list and put it on the “tortured long enough, take one year sabbatical before continuing.”

I’d really appreciate it.

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Just Let Them Be Little

At times, I find myself wishing for the next stage in my girls’ lives.

When my frustration over Brooklyn’s two-year-old whines are pushing me towards the end of my rope, or Scarlett’s sporadic sleep schedules are making for a rather exhausting night, I tend to think about the future when I won’t be constantly cleaning up after them and changing numerous dirty diapers all day long.

I sometimes dream of the day when Brooklyn can tie her own shoes, brush her own teeth, and not have the annoying whine-cry that she has seemed to perfect in about two days’ time. Or the day when Scarlett will take long naps and sleep through the night without me needing to rise and break up my peaceful slumber.

But then, remorse fills me. I can’t believe I am actually wishing away my daughter’s need for snuggles all day long, her request for singing song after song while sitting on my lap, laughing and looking at me like I’m the coolest person there ever will be.

Or the way my baby girl sleepily opens her eyes during the middle of the night after I pick her up, immediately drawing close to me, and knowing that everything is right again. And the biggest smile you can imagine when I walk into her room, lighting up her face because I am near.

My girls need me to live in the now. I realize that once this stage is over, I will miss it so much. That sweet, sweet smell of freshly washed baby skin. That little hand holding mine as we cross the street because she’s scared of oncoming cars and she knows mommy knows best….

I will miss it all.

And so, even during those frustrating times, I am determined to live out each day not wishing these magical times away with my girls.

Because even though I see “good” in the coming stages, I also see “bad” in leaving these behind.

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Gone

Today, it hit me.

I no longer have my own privacy.

You see, this morning {like every time I need just a couple minutes to myself to regroup}, I put in a video for Brooklyn in hopes of her being so distracted that she doesn’t notice I’m not in the room. I slowly inch towards my bedroom, quietly shutting the door and sit down with a sigh of contentment.

Silence. Glorious silence. 

I usually give it two minutes before I hear a pitter patter of toddler feet come running down the hallway, yelling “momma,” then the pounding on the door begins. Some days when that break is really needed, I’m able to move to the back bathroom for one extra minute of solitude before her patience (and mine– from her yelling) runs out.

Well, this morning, it happened. She opened the door!

Brooklyn has only ever pounded on the door before, waiting for me to come and let her in. Which meant, I was in control.

That no longer is the case. Many thoughts went through my head. Where will I go now? The bedroom was the last resort, a place she wasn’t supposed to be able to enter without my help! Now, I’m the helpless one! 

Having your sacred place of quietness taken away is a feeling no mom ever wants to have. While we love our children dearly, sometimes we just need those couple minutes of time away to re-energize before the hours of headache and chaos begin again.

So, now I have a new problem to figure out this weekend: if shut doors won’t stop her anymore, what will?

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Staying Fit with TWO

When we found out we were pregnant with our second child, many people commented to me on how my fitness would go right out the window. That I would be much too busy to be able to exercise. That, while I was able to lose the weight from my first pregnancy, there would be no way I could lose it with the second.

Well, this blog post is written for you: the ones who don’t think it’s possible to work out and be a mommy of 2. I am not here to endorse any workout plan or anything. I am here to tell you what worked for me, and that it can work for you, too.

Around 6 weeks pregnant, I began an almost-10 week morning sickness bout. Dealing with a 12 month old on top of that was not fun. Think: kid videos all day (to this day, I still feel the need to throw up when B wants to watch one of them), crackers ground into the living room floor and this neat-freak, sick momma so sick on the couch that I didn’t even care. (I should mention my husband was deployed, hence the drastically lazy life we led.) So, there obviously was no way I had enough gumption to strap my girl into the jogger and head out for a nice 5 mile run. 

After my morning sickness subsided (hallelujah!), I eased back into running again. I only lasted until 24 weeks along, and from there until S came, I walked. I would walk anywhere from 2-5 miles a day, 4-5 days a week. It wasn’t a lot, but enough to get my blood flowing and my heart pumping. 

So, once S came along, I had a small fitness base. Nothing compared to before I got pregnant with her, but enough. A couple weeks after her birth, I was itching to get back out and start running. I very slowly started around 2.5 weeks postpartum. (This is where I need to say: do what is right for your own body. Every single person {and pregnancy} is completely different. Wait until you and your doctor say you are ready). 

Now that you have my back story, here is where you come in. I make exercise a priority. It’s not the highest priority in my day to day activities, but it is quite high on the list. Once my girls’ needs are met (fed, diapers changed, clothed, etc), we head out each day for a run. I have a double BOB jogging stroller and can honestly say it is one of the best purchases I have ever made.

Thankfully, both girls love to ride in the stroller which makes my life easier, but we usually head out for an hour or so while I run and they sit. I bring toys, snacks, and a water bottle to keep B occupied. After each run, we stop by the track on base or a park and she can get out to run around and play. It honestly is the best of all worlds. Each of us gets our needed daily activities in and we go home happy.

I understand, each family/child is different. I’m not saying you need to do what I do. I just want to say that being a fit mom of 2 is possible and can happen. You may need to put your mind to it, find a way to make it possible for your own schedule, but it is possible!

I would love to read any comments from mommas (or daddy’s) and what works for you and your child(ren) to get your workouts in!