November 24, 2013

Coffee With You

{Walter on the left and Millie on the right.
Most of the time I don't think they look much alike, but in these pictures? Oh yes.}

"Everything in the world is here, in my room, 
in a great closet, named and orderly,
and I am here too, in front of it, 
hardly able to see for the flash and the brightness-
and sometimes I am that madcap person clapping my hands and singing;
and sometimes I am that quiet person down on my knees.” 
― Mary Oliver
 I feel like I'm often better at talking about the small things than I am the big picture. But if you wanted to come over one afternoon while the babies slept, sit next to me on the couch with a cup of coffee, and ask me how life has been- really been- since the last time we talked, I would take a sip from my mug and tell you something like this...

Walter was dedicated at church on Saturday. He wore his most adorable outfit to date- suspenders and a bow tie. I didn't think I would have much fun finding adorable boy clothes, to be honest. But while they are much harder to find sometimes, they melt my heart every bit as much as poofy dresses and sparkly headbands. Millie tried to climb on stage in front of the entire congregation while the pastors prayed over Walter. I'll be a little shocked if she's not a singer or comedian on stage someday.

{All dressed up for church}
Sky began his new job last month. He works for a military-style program for at risk teens, and has a sort of "nice drill instructor" role there. Everyone with his job has to have current or prior military experience, so he has a lot in common with the other instructors. So far, he seems to like it much better. There is quite a bit of overtime, but he'll actually have time off for Thanksgiving and Christmas this year. He's doing well in the Reserves too, and will have some training coming up that will keep him away for at least a month after the holidays.

We're gearing up for Christmas and already put our tree up, shockingly early from tradition. I asked my parents if they would mind helping with a ballet class rather than buy lots of toys this year; Millie's room is full to the brim, and I'm wanting to concentrate more on building memories and having experiences than just piling up presents. This year, she'll unwrap a pink leotard, tights, and the sweetest ballet shoes. She starts class right after the new year. We'll be giving her a few other small things to open, but they'll be second hand. Walter will be getting a couple second hand toys and books, but mostly useful things like containers for food when he starts solids in a month or two.

{Finding his feet}
I'm in awe that Walter will be six months just about on Christmas Day, and that Millie is 3 1/2 already. Most days are are still the coffee-fueled blur of every day tasks that really do get done even if I don't feel like they do. I'm doing better at seeing the miracles of mundane because if it's enough for Sky, Millie, and Walter, then it should be enough for me. We eat, wear clean clothes, have a reasonably tidy house, and make it to church most weeks. Walter is happy and Millie is learning the meanings of words, manners, and how to love God. That sounds like I'm setting the bar very low, but really, those things are my main job requirements as a stay at home mother. I have so much room to improve, but I'm not being as hard on myself as before.

{Millie set the table for the first time}
Marriage is...not good right now. I so long for it to be a place of comfort and good things, but it seems to be the opposite much of the time. I am tired of building only to have my work demolished. And my heart's been hurting a lot lately. That's really all I want to say about it.

My mom and stepdad went completely overboard for Christmas this year, and sent me a present early this year- a Kitchenaid mixer. I am surprised someone didn't call the police from all the screaming and jumping up and down when I opened the door and saw a huge box there. Five years ago, I could only bake a little and couldn't cook to save my life. Now, I make meals every day, and usually have some sort of dessert on hand. I can't wait to use it for all kinds of Christmas baking. As I told Mom (after I'd stopped hyperventilating), a Kitchenaid is one of those things I've always wanted but never (ever ever ever) thought I would actually own. I look at it on the counter sometimes and wonder if I'm in the wrong apartment.

{Airplane baby}
I planned to go back to school in January, but keeping up with the babies and the house, and on very little sleep, is much more draining than I expected it to be. I will go back, but it may be another semester or two before it's a good idea. Besides, Millie will need to start homeschooling soon enough.

Walter is miles away from sleeping through the night, but he's started stretching times between feedings just a little. He has had the same routine since birth, so this is very welcome. I don't feel more rested yet, but I know he'll get there someday. He's still the happiest baby I've ever seen, and that makes my days so much better. Millie is behaving a little bit better, and she is still a sweetheart even with a rough day here and there. I love how kind she is towards Walter, how concerned she gets if someone is upset or hurt, and all the silliness in her made up songs or off the wall anecdotes. I'm so grateful for these two.

{the sweetest ones}
Goodness. If you were still sitting there beside me, still listening until I trailed off and bit into my gingerbread cookie, I would apologize for talking so much. I would ask how you are, where you're going, what you're reading, how your heart feels. 

And I hope you would tell me, trading stories between us like the gold they are.

19 kind comments from you:

Jen said...

What a sweet gift! My kitchenaid mixer is my best friend haha.

Stacey B said...

I love a good heartfelt conversation when you can talk about stuff that you just can't tell anyone else ... I, too, am happy that I get us fed and in clean clothes ... and I've been doing this for 5 1/2 years now. Marriage is tough ~ we have had our shares of ups and downs ... it always, somehow, gets better ~ only to hit another bump in the road ~ and we've been doing this 18 1/2 years .... Hugs from Ohio

Michelle said...

I love this so much. And I REALLY want to have coffee with you.

Chantal said...

I like hearing a good update from you! :D

@Melissa_Dell {on twitter} said...

Couldn't have said if better myself. 3 girlfriends & I got together yesterday (with 3 babes under 6 months - the 4th is pregnant) and it was so nice to just talk openly about how we are doing. Or not doing. It's so needed. Even if it's just posting it online. And great idea for Millie! She's gonna love ballet!!

Fran said...

I can't even the handle how cute Walter looks in his outfit. I wish we could be actually having coffee with this update <3

Katie Nay said...

It is possible that there is nothing cuter than a baby in suspenders and a bow tie! You made some cute kiddos there :)

Brittney Liann said...

First off, your children are adorable! :) That picture of Walter in his suit & the one of Millie giving him a kiss are just too precious! I also think it's a wonderful idea for Millie to start ballet. She's going to love it! Aso I feel you in the marriage department. It's really hard, and most days I wonder if its supposed to be this hard but I haven't figured that part out yet. I hope things get better for you and that you keep giving yourself credit for raising two beautiful children. :)

Jenn said...

First of all, your kids are so stinkin' adorable. I love these photos. Secondly, coffee at 3pm sounds like a bad idea (I might be up all night!) but you make it sound very doable and relaxing. Thirdly, I like the "experiences over gifts" idea for Christmas. Millie will make such a beautiful ballerina! Lack of sleep is so rough. Next to whining, I think it's one of the most draining parts of motherhood. Luckily you know there is a light at the end of the tunnel and he will, in fact, sleep through the night at some point in the near-ish future. ;) Peace and wine and lots of coffee be with you, Erika!

Sue // As It Seems said...

Those two definitely look like brother and sister! I don't think you're setting the bar low. I think your expectations for yourself are great. There's always room to grow but it's easy to lose sight of what really matters when you're focusing on all the things you're doing wrong, or not doing. You're doing a wonderful job.

Jen said...

You two babies are so cute! I love that you're so honest, I wish I could write about my marriage. It's here and we love each other but we're in a weird place too. Hopefully it's just a phase for us both.

Sarah said...

I don't talk about the ins and outs of our marriage on my blog, mainly because family reads it. But, if I were being honest, we've had a rough time the last 6ish months, too. Nothing huge or life-altering, but just STRUGGLES, you know? Living the day-to-day, talking, dealing with stupid money issues (and the sheer lack of it), my crazy hormones....all kinds of things. It's tough. But thankfully, we decided to get some help in the form of a marriage class/small group at our church. It's time consuming, and I didn't think we could handle it what with Joe's schedule, and having Charlotte, and all the other life things that go on. But somehow, we've been doing it for 6 weeks and it's been fine. (The class. ;)) We've still had tough moments and arguments, but we both feel a difference. So basically? I'd encourage you to find something similar - a small group, a class, a pastor, or couple at church you could talk to and learn from [and with]. There are people in our class right now who were ready to call it quits 6-7 weeks ago. And I wish you could see them now. Marriage will never be easy, but pointing your relationship in the right direction makes a HUGE difference. If I were sitting there with you, I'd give you a hug and let you know that you are so not alone.

P.S. I basically run on coffee these days, and my Millie isn't even here yet. Life is gonna be interesting once she arrives!

greaterexp said...

Always so much to pray for! I wish we could all get together for coffee, tea, or just water! What a great group of gals who visit this blog!
I'm praying for you and all your readers who are struggling.

Sarah said...

That outfit with the bowtie!!! So cute!

blm said...

i wish we could have coffee! usually mom has these kinds of conversations with me but they get challenging with the time difference (14 hours--:( ). i need one of these long talks about everything. sending good vibes your way.

Kaylee said...

Love this coffee talk - I love hearing the heart behind the blog, you know? Not that you don't pour your heart into everything, but I love hearing the little detail-y things! Like the kitchen aid - awesome! And Walter's dedication - so fun! Millie's dance class? She'll love them, and I can't wait to see pictures!

It took Evie 11 months to sleep through the night, and it was very, very hard for me. Eliana & Ezra had been pretty good sleepers from birth, so I guess I had it coming, but still! I really did survive on lots of Jesus and coffee :)

Praying for you and Sky. You know I am in a similar place - and it's hard and scary and at least, I feel alone most of the time. I know God is good and has good plans for us - and that I need to lean on Him. Oh the lessons He is teaching me. They are not easy or fun, but I trusting in His goodness.

Karen said...

I am so excited for Millie to start dance classes!!! She's going to LOVE them :) Annika doesn't sleep through the nights yet - I live on Cherry Coke :) And also - Kitchen-Aids are awesome, I love mine and use it so much. Sending hugs and prayers to you all :)

Brittany Sommer said...

Love this! And they are just sooooo cute!!!

Jessica Lynn said...

I'm a little (a lot) late on commenting, but I truly hope things are getting better with you and your husband. Also, Walter in the bow tie and suspenders? I die. Adorable beyond all adorable things. Oh! And I love that you're not getting Millie much for christmas. I think there's waaaaay too much hype over presents. I can already tell that we're going to have that issue with my in-laws. The amount of things that they've already bought her is ridiculous. She's 9 months old and has ZERO use for a radio flyer car right now (bangs head on coffee table).

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