Monday, December 19, 2016

Waiting for Christmas

Happy 4th week of Advent. I like the years when we get an entire week more of advent. I like the extra prep time. Now maybe I'm not the best at getting things done in a timely manner around the holidays (this said, while I am finishing up our Christmas cards at this very moment), but I like the reflection time for preparing for the little baby Jesus to make His appearance once again in the manger. After having babies I appreciate what Mary did a lot more than I ever did before.

The song that has been my reflection "go to" this season is this one. I think it's mainly because the word "hallelujah" is in it and the word literally breaks in two meanings: "praise" and "the Lord." What better way to sing about His coming then by interjecting that word throughout a song? It gives me goosebumps every time.

This season of preparation has also been a season of change. Having little ones makes the whole "preparing the heart" thing take on a whole different meaning. In a good way. A child-like way. I find myself simplifying the meaning of Christmas and Christ's coming so Gabriella and Judah can understand it and I think that it's helping me to enter into Christmas with a much more child-like joy and anticipation. I mean, we're super excited to make Jesus His birthday cake. I was just a little stumped when Gabriella asked me how many candles we would need......anyway my sister-in-law gave us this book and we've been reading it over the past couple of days and the kids are loving it AND putting a few things together in terms of this season of giving.

Any of you still Christmas shopping? I'm kind of obsessed with these though I suppose I shouldn't have asked if you were still looking because they are sold out until after Christmas. oops...but still. I'm obsessed. If you are looking for something fun and unique for that special someone...well, let me know what you find because I'm still looking for my special someone.

The kids are taken care of though...Marty, being the digital marketing king that he is, is super excited about this for the kids...really Judah just enjoys sticking USB cables into pretty much anything these days so we think he'll be pretty thrilled.

Gabriella was pretty straight forward: princess dress, crown, and dancing shoes. Nothing else...though yesterday as we were talking about Jesus' birthday party she told me she thought He'd really like an Elena of Avalor toy...maybe He would, Gabriella, but if He didn't send Santa a letter last week asking for it, He's probably not getting it.

We are super excited to be celebrating Luciana's first Christmas. Does it ever get old? Don't tell me if it does. Every time we have a baby with a first Christmas I get giddy and feel like I need to wrap them in a million feet of Christmas lights and take a million pictures (hence the picture above). But have you seen the pictures that go terribly wrong? I have my fair share of these pictures myself, just ask Marty.

Okay, okay I need to get back to my Christmas cards and Hallmark Christmas movies...and wine. But last thought: it is so, so easy to be stressed during this season, to get wrapped up in buying presents for your kids, families, friends, etc, making the perfect meals and desserts and Christmas goodies for every. single. person. I get it. I am there sometimes...most this is a reminder to me as well. Take time. Take time to sit and soak up this season of waiting. We are waiting for THE greatest gift. He doesn't cost a thing, He doesn't need wrapped, He doesn't need presents He needs us to BE present. He just needs us. Hallelujah He is coming!

Merry Christmas from our family to you!
Gabriella 4, Judah 2, Luciana 6mo
I know, I know Luciana looks terrified....

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Dusting off the old blogging fingers

This picture perfectly captures the whirlwind that is our life
Because when better to recapture your sanity through the interweb then when your children are losing it?

And I guess because it's been way, way too long. So many thoughts and moments to catch up on but I'll start with the one that has rocked our world significantly since May. We added a new little lady to our tribe (can I say that since Marty is like 1/100 Native American? Let's say yes)! Luciana Marie Link came into our world by force. She was not budging at all when it came time to come around and I wasn't waiting, so at 41 weeks and 1day Marty and I packed our bags, kissed the kids and headed to the hospital. I'm not sure what I expected being induced but it certainly wasn't what I imagined. I'll spare you all the details but after a long, night of waiting and a super fast delivery our newest addition was here (because everyone cares about stats she was 7 lbs 10oz and 20 inches long). She is an absolute dream. We adore her. Literally, the kids adore her; their sun rises and sets with her.

We had the blessing of my mom being able to be with us for the first month or so of Luciana's life which made the transition from two to three much easier but also all the harder when she left. I don't want to say that I fell into any sort of depression after she left but the adjustment was harder than I had anticipated and I think, probably like many mommas, I was lonely and feeling overwhelmed with life while Marty was away at work for some long hours. It's better now and God worked perfectly as only He does. He placed the right people in my life right when I needed them and slowly life fell back into a (new) routine and I came back to life. I like life with three (I get lots of crazy looks while out shopping with three...I didn't think three was a lot and I still don't but I guess whenever people have more than two it's an anomaly or something).

Life continued way too fast and in addition to Luciana coming into the world, Judah turned two, my sweet boy is growing up faster than I'd like him to; and we celebrated Gabriella's 4th birthday. They amaze me every. single. day. with their imaginations and how quickly they develop. I never would have imagined parenthood to be like this. It has some of the slowest days that fly by. I end each night by looking at my sleeping babies and marveling at how the day brought something new for someone, sometimes everyone. People keep telling me not to wish these days away, and I don't, even though they are long. I know that way too soon they won't need me to affirm their accomplishments so I try (and fail) to be present in every moment. This usually requires copious amounts of coffee and prayer.

This is teetering on being too long with too little sleep. Hopefully my next blog will actually be a little thought provoking but that might require my own brain to step up and organize something other than diapers into size 2 and size 5...cause that's where we are in this chapter of life....

Thursday, March 3, 2016

This is probably going to be too long....

It's me, not you...this has been a long season of hibernating for me. I have been uninspired and tired. This third pregnancy has been a little harder for me. My first two had their ups and downs but this little girl hit me hard from the beginning. I have never been super sick with either pregnancy (sick but not throwing up) and this time around...well, let's just say the little Link I'm hosting was not a fan of her home for a while. She still has her moments and I told Marty the other day that I hope she's more agreeable on the outside, otherwise we're really going to be in for it with her. She is nameless also, which is surprising for us...we were pretty set on the names for our first maybe she's just angry that she doesn't have a name yet...

Annnnnyway, I had this moment yesterday, sitting in the drive-through line at Chick-fil-A that was an eye-opening moment for me. I was sitting in that long line, waiting to order dinner for the kiddos, because after yesterday's day I wasn't making dinner. Yesterday won.

To paint the picture a little more clearly I'll start with the day before yesterday, after a long (napless) day of play, G fell off of her tricycle onto the handlebars, or so I assume based off of what she told me and had two huge, horrid bruises on her belly. Me, being a slight hypochondriac, immediately thought of internal bleeding, and called the doctor to assess her situation. The doctor wanted to see her the following day to rule anything out but was fairly certain she was fine.

I hesitated to make the appointment for Wednesday because I had to go in Thursday to that same office for my own prenatal check up, and debated how bad of a mother I would sound like if I asked to wait a second day and kill two birds with one stone. My fear of judgement won out and I made the appointment for Wednesday knowing full well I had to bring the little crazies with me to my check up the following day.

So Wednesday afternoon right when they should have been napping we were sitting in the waiting room at the doctors office. Gabriella turned out to be fine, thank God, but her normally mellow brother decided to completely lose it in the doctors office from the moment we stepped in the door, right up until about the moment we left. I'm not sure why he was such a disaster, because he normally is so wonderful in situations like that. I was one stressed out mama, trying to bounce an inconsolable little one while trying to have a decent conversation with the doctor about G's belly.

So back to Chick-fil-A, a young woman came bouncing out of Chick-fil-A to go to her car, and for a moment she reminded me of me before I was married with kids. She was slim, athletic maybe, super put together, chatting on her phone, and got into her cute little car and drove off. She didn't look tired, her car was clean, seemingly carefree (I know, I know....probably not but) … All things that reminded me of me before children. I knew today I looked tired, I looked down at myself sitting in the drive-through line, in my slightly pilled Blanqi maternity leggings and cardigan, hair in a messy bun, empty Starbucks cup still in the cup holder (because one coffee wasn't cutting it) and was a teeny bit envious.

It's been a rough year of getting a schedule worked out with Marty's job, learning the art of budgeting (damn you Target!!), and just juggling life with littles in general. I know I don't always look tired or frazzled but I knew today I did. Then, from behind me the sweetest little voice from the backseat started belting out Adele's "set fire to the rain" and I was immediately pulled back to my awesome life that I would not change for anything. Being tired, being "not so put together", not having a super clean car, are small sacrifices when I think about the gifts that I have now. These kids, Marty, fill my world with such joy. But I forget sometimes that without them, being single, I was lonely. I wasn't quite whole yet.

When I'm cooking dinner in the kitchen, and I hear a little belly laughs coming from the living room I don't remember, (and I don't necessarily want to) what it was like before they were here. It's worth it. It's hard to remember that sometimes when we put on the glasses that see through the eyes of the world. It's not just worth it, it's the most necessary thing we do.

It's Lent, and being a mom during Lent is a lot different than being single during Lent. There are no extended holy hours in my life right now where I can sit in silence and bask in God's glory. But there are amazingly holy days where I can bask in the blessings of the children that God has given us. Trying to explain the Stations of the Cross to a three-year-old is not easy, but there's Grace there.

A very dear priest friend of mine told me once, shortly after becoming a mom that my prayer life would never look the same again, he laughed and said "your life will never look the same again." And that's because, in the same way that Christ calls us to conversion on a daily basis, our lives call us to conversion on a daily basis, we are constantly changing. When we look through the eyes of the world, conversion seems hard, and sometimes unfulfilled.

Marty recently was telling me about an article he had read about a woman claiming that being single was so much better than never being married. She had nothing to compare this to because she had never been married. But she staunchly believed that being able to live your life for yourself was the best option. Her reasons seemed very worldly but also desirable: traveling, having money to spend on yourself to go out to eat or buy whatever you wanted, being able to go out with your friends at will. But she's never experienced the flipside of things.

The flipside of things for some of us is being married, for some it's being single, for some it's being called to the religious life but we are never called to put on the glasses in the world when we look at our life. We need to look at things through the eyes of Christ and see what's worthy, what's good. So on days like yesterday I am so thankful for that little voice in the backseat singing her heart out, because it was the reminder I needed from God that this is all so worth it.

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