Saturday, June 28, 2014

this and that

a little bit of this, a little bit of that...

- foot update: during the last couple of weeks I've seen a lot of, MUCH more than I or my neurologist expected (thank you for praying, pray-ers!). Nerves are healing and making connections; I finally have upward motion and more feeling overall. I have even ditched my leg brace for the most part. (!!) Not being able to drive is still the most debilitating thing at this point, but I'm optimistic that I may get some strength back for that in the next few weeks. I won't be irish step dancing anytime soon, but hey, progress is progress!

- speaking of my foot. I've never been much of a runner, but I've recently had the urge to start. Obviously I can't run yet, but there is something about having my ability to walk/run taken away that really makes me want to do it.  Not sure if I'll really find the time or motivation, but who knows?! I keep joking to Brian that I'm going to run the Boston Marathon next year. Yeah... no.

- I'm parenting a mini-teenager. Levi's stays up for HOURS reading books in his bed (I probably shouldn't complain...) and then sleeping in waaay late (again, I probably shouldn't complain). Luckily, we usually don't have anywhere to be most mornings, but we're going to have to get that kid back into gear come September.

- Most of my crafting has been on hiatus in the last few months, but the other day my friend and I spent the morning making some way-cute baby friendly accessories. Post to follow!

-the other day Brian called and I was holding Magnolia, so I put him on speaker phone.  The second she heard his voice, she lit up with the her biggest smile to date.  I love that she knows and loves the sound of her father's voice.

-we recently rearranged our living room in the most significant way since we moved in.  I was tripping over things and just feeling too cramped, especially being home for so much time with two kids. We took out a big piece of furniture and moved stuff around and it feels so much bigger.  I'm not tripping and Levi has more room to spread out and play.

-I had so much fun yesterday taking newborn photos of my friend Laura's new baby, Callia. She is just darling and we're hoping she and Magnolia will be great buddies just like their brothers are! 

- next week is Brian's birthday and I'm so excited about a big collaborative gift me and our families are putting together. If all goes according to plan, it's going to rock his socks off.

- the creative arts ministry at church is already planning for ArtSpeak 2014. Even though it's next March, we need our event image/painting by September.  I've been nominated this year, so this summer I need to paint something under the theme "Imagine". So open-ended...still waiting on inspiration.

- in a few weeks, we're heading up to Maine with the group of girls I was friends with when we all lived in Yemen. We have a private blog where we keep up with each other's lives. Even though we all live so very far apart, we try to get together ever couple of years...usually at a wedding. Alas, no weddings this time, but this year we decided to rent a house together in Maine. I'm SO excited. 3 babies have been born since our last get together, so it's going to be fun for us and our families to hang out all together and of course for us to reminisce about being 5 little blond girls running wild around the middle east. Good times.

-during the winter months this quote by John Steinbeck was written on my kitchen chalkboard: "what good is the warmth of summer without the cold of winter to give it sweetness?" oh man.. this winter was so long and so hard and I'm bound and determined to appreciate the sweetness of this summer! 

Friday, June 27, 2014

farmboy (The Children's Garden, Long Hill)

I've often said that Levi would probably be most happy living on a farm. He loves nothing more than using tools, digging holes, playing in dirt, watering things and wandering around outside on his own accord. Our small urban backyard is not ideal for this sort of thing, but we recently stumbled upon The Children's Garden at Long Hill. Long Hill has been a favorite place for Brian and I for many years, but this was the first time we noticed this awesome little garden set up for kids to play and "work" in. In addition to a beautiful and well kept garden next to a big red barn, there are kid sized rakes, spades, brooms, hoes and watering cans; a wooden well, stepping stones and even a cozy little playhouse covered in vines. Levi happily spent the morning enjoying the sunshine, digging holes, watching the chickens, picking strawberries and just reveling in being a farmer for a while. I have a feeling this is going to become our new favorite summer hang out!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Brother Sister Love

I wasn't prepared for how early Levi and Magnolia would start to form a special sibling relationship. I guessed that Levi would be very excited to meet his sister (he talked a lot about her when she was in my belly), but I assumed the excitement and novelty would wear off pretty quickly. I also assumed that it would be a while (months?) before Maggie would start to respond to him or care if he was around. Boy, was I wrong. 2 months in and it is clear that these two really love each other.

When Levi wakes up in the morning, he runs into our bedroom and exclaims in his high-pitched only-for-Maggie-voice "Where's my Mags?!". He gives her countless kisses and lays next to her, coddling her and "interpreting" her coos. If she fusses, he exclaims "She's saying she needs me...I'm coming, Maggie". He asks to hold her many times a day almost every time he sees her, he rushes over to talk to her or kiss her cheek, legs, arms or toes. If she seems upset, he covers her gently with his blankey (he KNOWS the healing power of the blankey). When a visitor is in the house, he whispers to me that he wants them to see "his baby". He is so proud of her.

Magnolia has already started showing affection for her brother, too. She bears (and possibly enjoys?) his not-always-gentle toddler-boy forms of affection. No one makes her smile like Levi does and she looks around for him when she catches a glimpse of him or hears his voice. There is no one who showers her with more love than her brother and she responds with happy coos and smiles.

I know their relationship will grow and change, ebb and flow...but for right now, I'm just savoring the sweet, uncomplicated and tender sibling love they have for each other. 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

the greatest

The greatest men are the men serving greatly.
The richest life is always found in the humblest place.
It’s not what you do every now & then, 
but what you do everyday that changes everything.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Summer List: 2014

(you must pardon the wonky handwriting this year, I wrote this while nursing the baby and making sure the toddler wasn't getting into trouble while I was doing so. Good thing "Multi-tasking" is my middle name.)

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Magnolia's Magnolias

Little Maggie (or "Noli" or "Mags" or "Mag-pie" or "Magalicious" ..the girl with many nick-names!) just so happened to be born when the Magnolia trees were in full bloom here in the northeast. We probably would have given her the name either way, but that certainly helped solidify the decision and make it all the more perfect. In the days following her birth, we couldn't pass up the opportunity to take some photos in front of blooming magnolia trees; one next to our church and one in my parents front yard. I'm sure there will be many more in the years to come. :)

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

these days...

these days I'm....

- walking more confidently in my AFO brace, totally ditching the walker and almost never using my cane
- oh-so-slowly regaining toe and ankle movement
- trying not to get anxious about the whens and ifs of full recovery (according to the neurologist, I should be "cautiously optimistic" about a full recovery in "many" months.)
- going to physical therapy about 3 times a week with a kind and optimistic doctor.
- figuring out how to keep a toddler and baby occupied and me sane while we are homebound this summer
- doing exercises in my mind that I can't do yet with my foot
- wishing my baby would stay just the way she is forever and soaking in everything about newborn Magnolia
- bursting with pride watching Levi be such a doting and helpful big brother. 
- glad that Brian is able to go back to work and thankful for the time he spent selflessly taking care of his family 24/7. He really wasn't kidding when he vowed to take care of me "in sickness and in health"...also enjoying nightly foot rubs.
- transitioning surprisingly well to being a family of four and so happy that me and my boys have a sweet little Magnolia to love and care for.
- grateful for the time spent living at my parents house and glad to be back in the Sea Kettle; spending lots of time cleaning, organizing and preparing activities and scheduling outings for Levi
- writing my summer list
-overwhelmed (in a good way) by the many visits, prayers, texts, calls, emails and meals from family and friends.
- thankful for the many obvious and not-so-obvious blessings of this time.