A few days ago, TD2 got hurt at school. I was working in the office when her teacher brought her to me to console her. He told me what happened and I showered her with lots of Mommy love and a bandaid. We took some deep breaths to calm down and I walked her back to her class. A short while later, she came back with a picture.
T-Mommy: What’s this a picture of? TD2: What happened when I got hurt. T-Mommy: What happened sweetie? TD2: I was walking on this and I fell. T-Mommy: And this is you after you fell? TD2: *nods* T-Mommy: Who is this? TD2: Mr. Banana
It’s technically not a milestone birthday, yet it feels so special and worthy of being honored. To celebrate, we took some family photos with Truly Loved Photography, and will do family mani-pedis and have a bday meal at the restaurant of her choice.
I am filled with so many emotions about this day. Mostly disbelief and awe. I can’t believe that T-Daddy and I have a 7-year-old. I can’t believe that she’s closer to being a tween than she is a newborn. I can’t believe the time passed so fast. I still can’t believe God trusts me to be her mom. I’m in awe of the person that she is. I’m in awe of how no matter how much I question if I’m doing this mommydom thing right, she somehow seems to be just right. I’m in awe of the maturity she possesses already. I’m in awe of how understanding, compassionate and gracious she can be to others, both adults and children.
I find myself staring at her more these days. Talking to her more. Wanting to cherish her touch, her voice, her laugh, her presence. She has ideas, dreams, fears, opinions and feelings. Regardless of who or how I want her to be, she is her own person. That becomes apparent more and more each day. And the moments she chooses to share with me seem all that more precious now. Because she recognizes that she has a choice, and still chooses me. I know it won’t always be that way. It’s not always that way. Sometimes she chooses her friends. Sometimes it’s TD2. Sometimes it’s T-Daddy. I naively thought it would be me and her until she was at least 16, but those days, weeks, months came 10 years early.
As she excitedly embarks upon year 7, I can’t help but wonder the person she’ll grow up to be. I want her to soar higher than I ever thought I could. I want her to be so grounded in her faith and love for Jesus that not even T-Daddy or I can come between her and God. And I pray that, even at 7 years old, she feels the love and respect I have for her.
Happy 7th birthday to a girl who “God Must Have Spent a Little More Time On”!!!
Today makes 3 years since T-Daddy and I said “I Do!” Since that day, there have been giggles, smirks and infatuation with most things lighthouse, nautical, infinity or storm-related. It’s like a forever inside joke.
There have also been some very real and raw moments and conversations in those 3 years. I’m constantly reminded by a very dear mentor-turned-friend to protect our marriage. And be intentional in doing so. What she already knew but I didn’t fully realize till this year is that the biggest threat to our marriage isn’t other women and men, friends that don’t like him or me, or even our family. No, the biggest threat to our marriage is us.
She was telling me to protect my marriage from my insecurities, my fears, my overthinking, my grievances, my anger, my desires, my busyness. Even our children. As I set out (and failed) several times to really listen to T-Daddy, I realized that in so many instances, I was our own worst enemy. I was so busy looking for the enemy on the front lines that I never noticed the one who snuck in the back door.
The biggest threat to our marriage is us.
Every time I chose to scroll Facebook or Instagram instead of being fully engaged in my husband’s presence, I was attacking our marriage. Every time I led our daughters to believe they were somehow equal to and therefore entitled to the same respect, authority and priority as T-Daddy, I was attacking our marriage. Every time I failed to truly become fluent in and speak T-Daddy’s love language, I was attacking our marriage. Every time I vented to my friends about how much he annoyed me, I was attacking our marriage. And every time I cringed at his words and behaviors in public because he was “embarrassing me,” I was attacking our marriage.
This past weekend, I was talking to my brother and the subject of our anniversary came up. He asked how long had it been and when I told him 3 years, he enthusiastically said “That’s so cool!” Funny, that wasn’t my first, second, third or fourth thought. But he’s right. It is so cool! Today, I get to celebrate three years with a man I am perfectly happy lying with under the stars, watching the moon rise. I get to do life with a man who is most definitely cheering the hardest in everything I do and carrying me when I can’t go on, even if that means he isn’t the loudest or even seen doing so. Who’s the yin to my yang. The ice cream in my root beer float.
And he is so worth protecting…even from myself. Especially from myself.
Summer came and went way too fast for me personally. I definitely was not ready to start another school year. The girls both had mixed emotions – ready to see their friends, but not ready to give up their summer freedom. TD1 also had a little added anxiety of meeting her new teacher (more on that in another post). TD2 knew she was looping another year with her teacher so all she cared about was whether or not she could still play video games. (Because those Super Mario games won’t beat themselves.)
Like any good mom, I placed 100% confidence in Amazon having what I needed and waited until a few weeks before school started to order the guinea pig book bag and lunch box I promised TD1 this year. And now, TD2 had decided that she really needed a JigglyPuff book bag (which later turned into a Hatchimals book bag). Hours down the Amazon hole, one long delivery, and one wrong product description and subsequent return later, we were back down the Amazon hole looking for replacements. Who knew guinea pig book bags weren’t actually a thing?!? After agreeing upon a Plan B, then having said Plan B fall through after the first week of school, TD1 now has a very small guinea pig book bag to be used for a change of clothes and an emoji style matching book bag and lunch box set and TD2 has a different Hatchimals book bag. Kohls for the win both times!
All in all, though, we survived. Through school supply shopping and reshopping, last minute uniform runs because we didn’t account for growth spurts, uncertainty and change. For all the tears, tantrums and big opinions, the TDs were all smiles when we dropped them off the first day.
It’s a new school year with a new teacher, new pet, new friends, new routines for TD1. TD2 learned that while some things stay the same, some don’t. Same teacher, same class pet, same classroom, same friends, but new student teacher, a few new friends. It may or may not have taken her a few days to realize a few faces weren’t returning this year. While it wasn’t met with grief, it was met with lots of confusion and questions. Why aren’t they coming back? Why are they going to another school? Why can’t their brother come to my class? In other words, “They were supposed to be here with me!”
All things considered, the first week was a success! The school year is off to a great start. TD1 has an amazingly sweet teacher who has more than stepped up to the challenge of being a new face in their community of familiarity. TD2 has the same amazing teacher who has already shown them that just because they know each other, they have no idea what to expect this year.
And T-Daddy and I have two T-Daughters who are growing and maturing and amazing us every day.
I was looking for a Whole30 compliant snack to hold me over between meals (and to help make sure that I was consuming enough calories) when I came across these sweet treats. They are delicious and an instant hit with T4 (and friends).
1 lb pitted dates
1 cup slivered almonds
1 cup unsweetened dried coconut flakes
Blend dates, almonds and coconut flakes in a food processor (or blender) until well mixed.
Roll the mixture into small balls. (The dates are very sweet, so I personally prefer smaller balls.)
Toss balls into dried coconut flakes. The mixture is very sticky, so the coconut coating makes the balls less sticky.
*While in timeout for a few minutes* TD2: Daddy! I’m scared! *cries* I don’t want to be by myself! *cries* I’m thirsty! T-Daddy: [TD2] you have to face the wall and be quiet. TD2: *cries* Daaaaaadddyyy! I’m sorry! I forgive you. I forgive you Daddy!
Spoiler alert: I love taking pictures, and thanks to Instagram, Snapchat, Marco Polo and whatever latest app comes out next week, my girls love taking photos of themselves (although TD2’s behavior said otherwise). So when I found out a friend of mine was launching her photography business, I reached out to her to get T4’s family portraits taken.
Have you noticed those new header photos at the top of my blog? Yup, that was all her. She did an amazing job with the cold weather and an uncooperative 4.5-year-old who was in her feelings about some Cheez-Its she couldn’t have. All things considered, we had a great time and have some beautiful memories to look back on. Check out some more of her work on Truly Loved Photography.
She’s currently offering a promotional deal through the end of the year for mini photo sessions. For $50, you get a 30 minute photo shoot and printing rights for 20 images. Buy 2 to get a full hour session and 40 images. The certificates expire 12/31/2018, so you can even use them for next year’s holiday cards!
Helping TD2 rehearse for her school’s holiday program: T-Mommy: [TD2] What are your hopes for the New Year? TD2: I hope for a cat, a dog and a baby. T-Mommy: A cat, a dog and a baby? TD2: Yeah because they’re all soo0o0o0o cute and I just love them and want them all the time. T-Mommy: And um, where do you think you’re getting any of those from? TD2: The store. T-Mommy: So you can just buy a baby at the store? TD2: Yup! Or we can just ask Santa. T-Mommy: Ask Santa for a baby? TD2: Yeah, he has a hundred and he lives at the North Pole. So all we have to do is just go to the North Pole and buy a baby and a cat and a dog.