Posts in Life
Motherhood Is...

Motherhood is spending 48 hours making a frozen excavation site.

For 10 minutes of fun. 

Because you like the way he purses his lips when he's focusing.

And because you love the glimmer in his eyes when something novel is set before him.

You see yourself in those lips. And you see his daddy in those eyes.

And after all, in the grand scheme of his childhood, what's one more puddle on the floor and one more pair of shorts in the laundry?

If it means I've met him where he's at and spoken the love language of mess making and mess enjoying and mess cleaning.

Shall we talk about expectations?

So we took a long weekend, packed up the boys, and the matchbox cars, and the play mat, and the potty seat, and the pack n' play, and the sippy cups, and a million other things, and trekked up to Lake Tahoe to a cozy little cabin tucked beside the fir trees. Matt and I peeked inside before unloading the boys, opening the wooden door on 495 Woodchuck Drive into a peaceful, serene cabin. Simple, clean design. Huge windows overlooking a forest of trees with similar cabins nestled beneath them. Sunlight streaming through the pine needles and into the little corner of the world that was ours for the weekend.

And then we proceeded to unpack so much life into that little cabin. In under 10 minutes, serenity transformed into beautiful mess.  Cars and trains spilled out onto the floor. Boxes of various snacks took up their usual spot on the otherwise spotless, white marble counter tops. The pack 'n play was reassembled beside the king size bed upstairs in the loft. A toddler sized pallet of towels and blankets was quickly made on the floor in the bedroom. The Sanders know how to turn a house into a home in a matter of seconds. We quickly gave up the idea of trying to maintain the crystalline atmosphere, although that was initially the plan. 

Because toddlers. And babies with diarrhea. And diapers. And more diapers. And socks. And toys. And real life. 

And this is where I need to talk to my own self about expectations.

Because vacation no longer means what it used to mean.

Vacation means memories, and laughter, and adventure, and stories we will tell for years to come.


It also means the tantruming of a toddler on a rainey hike, the taking off of a warm coat to nurse a baby on a cold and windy mountain side, the sleep deprivation of an entire family because when baby can't sleep, ain't nobody gonna sleep at 2 am in a cabin, and parents who occasionally get overwhelmed with the noise, and the mess, and the behaviors that come with this season of life and exchange angry words and angrier looks.


My personality would be tempted to hibernate during this season of babyhood. Because of the work. It is so much work to make memories and plan adventures.  And to be honest, most of our adventures backfired this trip. Because of rain. Because of sleep deprivation. Because of a hangry toddler or a diarrhea baby.

Several times Matt and I reminded each other that "We don't NOT do something because it's hard." (Pardon the double negative.) Because in addition to being hard, it was beautiful. And raw. And real. And life. And a season. 

There was popcorn on the couch beside the fire in the stove.

There were early morning snuggles with a squishy toddler and a cooing baby.

There were fist fulls of rocks thrown into the lake on a lonely beach.

There was a toddler running around the "Abenture House," eating "Abenture Chili," taking an "Abenture Bath," using the "Abenture Potty," and sleeping in an "Abenture Bed."

Even the backfired hikes, like the cold and wet hike/run back through the trees with rain dripping off our hair as we thawed out frozen noses and pink cheeks in the car, is a precious memory (in hindsight). Because we did something hard. Together. And we can look back and say "Hey, remember when we did something hard?" And we will all look back and remember that Sanders can do hard things together. (Ok, Milo won't remember and neither will Oliver in a month or two, but Matt and I will hold the memory for them.)

And I hope I have the courage to keep doing hard things with them. I hope I keep doing the work of adventures. Because our heart is to build a sense of identity as a family. A sense of "Sanders-ness" for our boys. And I have this growing sense that developing the culture that lives inside our home means doing the work to make adventures happen. Enjoying the ones that pan out. Living  through the ones that backfire. And making a record of them all, so we can look back and laugh, and wince, and remember what it is to be a Sanders.

For this season of life, vacations are work. A lot of work. 

Self, you need to adjust your expectations about this and decide to do the work. Because even the hard is sweet.

These are a few of my favorite things

I think I have mentioned before that I am ridiculously forgetful. Hands down. I forget things. Often. I will adamantly argue that I have not seen a certain movie, or have not been to thus-and-such restaurant, or did (or did not) tell Matt about something on our schedule... only to suddenly realize that I forgot. It happens to the best of us. And it happens to me. A lot. It seems like maybe more than it does to the average person. 

That being said. This is a post more for my own memory sake-- than for anyone else's interest.

This season has it's ups and downs (often many in a single day), but here are products that bring a bit of fun and peace to our days.



Baby Einstein Tummy Time Pillow

Milo (and Oliver for that matter) LOVE this pillow. Sweet boy is rocking tummy time on it. He is super great at propping himself up on his elbows and looking around. He loves talking to himself when I put a mirror up for him to see. This is honestly the only new toy we have bought for our little guy... and I'm super glad we did.






Dragon Eye Oolong Tea

You guys. I don't love coffee. I don't even super love hot chocolate. But this. This I love. It is my very favorite tea. I first had it at PF Chang's several years ago, but since then have found it in health food stores mostly. For whatever reason, it's a hard one to come by. Anyway, I'm on my last cuppa right now, and have just ordered more. I recently found out that the Vitamin Shoppe carries it. And I'm set.





Caroline Cobb: The Blood + the Breath

Just in general, I'm a big fan of this girl. Thankful to hear her heart and share time and space with her in this season of life. But also, so very thankful for her music. It is working on my heart and is often playing in our home. It helps me pause to worship during the day, and helps me refocus during chaos. Also, Oliver is her biggest fan.

"Wisten to Miss Car-nine's song? I wuv Miss Car-nine music!"







Elizabeth Mitchell: You are My Little Bird

Speaking of music. Children's music that I don't hate. I love the folky tunes of Elizabeth Mitchell. Oliver asks for "Wittle Wiza Jane song" on  repeat. And I don't even mind. Because it is amazing. She has a way, ya'll. Today in the car, he kept asking for the "zoo song song" and I had NO idea what he was talking about. Finally, by happen stance, Elizabeth Mitchell's Zousan (Little Elephant) came on, and it all made sense. Seriously, if you have kids music on in your house, and you like the folk sound, you need to take a listen.






The Hidden Smile of God, John Piper

So the thing is, I very rarely find myself thinking about things of depth. I miss the days where there was room and space for thoughts. Piper helps me take a moment. He wrote a series of biographies, and if there were lives worth remembering and honoring, it would be these heroes. This particular book is written about John Bunyan (author of Pilgrims Progress), William Cowper (author of they hymn "There is a Fountain Filled with Blood") and David Brainerd (missionary who gave his life on the mission field). Their stories lift my eyes. They remind me that God does not toy with our lives or our hearts.



Native Shoes

Ummm shoes that my 2-year-old can put on independently. Yes. This is our first pair and I'm so loving them. As much as he is outside, playing at the water table, getting soaked... these have become our best friend. Also, their customer service is top-notch. I know this because I failed to read the warning labels that came attached to the shoes... the one that says don't leave in direct sunlight for extended periods of time. And our shoes melted. People. OUR  SHOES MELTED. And the kind folks at Native quickly replaced them, at no cost to me. Needless to say, they have won me over. 



Stitch Fix

I'm about to open my 4th box. And I just want to say. Hallelujah. One. I'm not going to pay a baby sitter to come watch the boys so I can shop. Baby sitters are hard enough to come by... I'm saving them for date nights. Two. My stylist picks things that I would never even consider pulling off the rack (aka anything other than a solid or striped shirt and a pair of jeans) and I love her for it. As it turns out, there is a whole world beyond stripes and solids. Three. It's Christmas in a box. On the first of every month.




Google Express 

Seriously. This. Is. Amazing. I don't mean to make anyone jealous who lives outside the Bay Area, but really. You guys. I order my groceries. And they come to my door. This is a game changer. It's $95 per year, and as long as the order is over $15, delivery is free. I'm pretty sure it's saving me money too, because I'm not wandering around Target as often, picking up all those "oh yeah, I probably need this too" items.