Tuesday, January 17, 2017

christmas in carolina

over the recent holidays i was able to spend ten days in north carolina with my family.  i threw a video together of the highlights here.  in the past, spending such long amounts of time away from home with kids has been challenging but we were really able to settle in and enjoy the time.  i wanted to go down far enough in advance of christmas so that i could actually spend time with my family without the hustle and bustle that come the days immediately before christmas.  we did have such a beautiful christmas and christmas eve, but we also had such a great time leading up to the holiday.  and of course our joy was increased by having two new cousins this year.
eden and florence have become such good playmates.  of course there are the squabbles to work through, as with most 3 year olds, but for the most part they really delight in each other.  and its really sweet for elise and me to watch.  i find myself just staring at them, these two girls, in many ways just mini versions of their mamas.  its so fascinating. 
and of course, both of these girls adore their grandparents.  so more time with them is always a huge incentive.  its such a privilege and i am acutely aware of what a gift it is to have my parents living and around for such special holidays. 
uncle paul was also in town.  talk about a famous person right in our midsts.  eden thinks he about hung the moon and wants all of his attention when he is around.  of course, with a sister and two cousins to compete with, she does not get it all.  but she would take it.
my mother always has the house decorated so beautifully, she could make any place feel like home for the holidays.  this year was no different.
paul took elise and me out for a sibling date a few days before christmas.  it was the first time in a long time that we have just been together, just us.  its a nice reminder that we are all friends and peers and we genuinely value time alone.  and we also genuinely value ramen.  
the days before christmas were full of dressing up and going off to concerts and candlelight services.  nothing says the holidays like little girls in poofy dresses if you ask me.  we snagged these great swan dresses this year for the girls and i just loved them.
it also felt so special to be a family of four this year.  of course we have been a 'real' family since we got married 6.5 years ago.  and we were a family with eden.  but something about having multiple kids realllly makes you feel like your own unit.  when there is at least one kid for each parent to hold maybe?  whatever it is, we really felt like team agaba to me this christmas.  
its really dull, being around these two.  i get so bored.  no personality.  no fun.
elise set a gorgeous table for christmas eve. never mind that a little mishap meant we had to grab indian take out (which was delicious).  elise has been hosting christmas eve for a few years now and she always does it beautifully.
christmas day itself was full of magical gifts and really slow, intentional time together.  we gave eden a handmade doll that i had a dear friend make for her.  coco is the character in her favorite book and eden was delightfully surprised by her gift.

 we also gave her a tutu and told her that she will be in little ballet classes this year.  she was also really excited about that idea.  she adores the nutcracker and dances ballet all over the house.

these two are joining the ranks of some wonderful JAN cousins.  i think they fit right in

 there, got them all in!  phew.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

reflecting and resolving

for all of the month of december and i was up to my eyeballs in busyness.  i cant really even think what it was that had me so busy because i didnt feel like i had a lot on my schedule.  but it seemed that i was rushing around every day from thing to thing.  post office, library, park, traders, costco.  everything just feels more rushed in december, even if its the same errands i run all year round.  i guess its especially true because i always want december to go by slowly and so of course it speeds right past me.  and also true because the days are shorter and colder so i literally am rushing against the darkness and the cold.  

christmas is over and we had a fantastic visit with my family.  i shared a little video about it here and i will post about later.  but for now ill just say it was ten days and it was relaxing and rejuvenating.  here is a favorite from the week. these two cousins.  smh

i feel excited about the new year.  i have to admit i am not excellent at new year's resolutions.  i cant even remember the ones i made this time last year, which is evidence against me.  there was one year when i gave up chocolate for a whole year and that was hard.  i actually stuck with that one.  but aside from that one, its been a wash. and as i look back over last year i dont see much intention on my part.  i feel like my primary goal was to survive.  survive being sick and pregnant.  survive child-birth.  survive a new baby.  survive going from one to two kids.  survive moving out of a house that i just did not want to leave and into a house that i was just not that excited about.  it was alot of surviving.  

but i have to say, i feel like i ended up doing a bit more than surviving.  etta's birth was really amazing and i loved the process (though not in the moment).  eden is a great big sister and the transition that i dreaded ended up being such a delightful blessing.  eden was, and continues to be, an excellent big sister.  and etta as a newborn was wonderful. and etta as an eight month old is wonderful. and she has pretty much just been that way the whole time.  and moving did suck.  and i dont like our house now. but you cant have everything.   i am so thankful for team agaba, as eden calls it.  

i do have a list though, and i hope i can remember it at this time in a year.  some of my resolutions have to do with my personal life, some with my spiritual walk, some with my business, some with my life as a mother, as a wife.  the overarching themes of my resolutions mostly fall under two broad goals;  to be authentic and disciplined.  

1. wake up before the kids.  this is for several reasons.  i need the quiet time in the word before the day starts.   its the only way my heart has any chance of being anything resembling soft toward my kids, my husband, really toward anything.  i also need the chance to get my head on straight before little people need me all day.  its just the simple truth that any day that eden has to pull me out of bed just starts slowly and goes badly.  so, up early. 

2. be disciplined about what i eat.  this is broad but what it means for me specifically, especially these first few months of the year, is to consciously give myself food and drink that will nourish me not just momentarily satisfy me.  choosing food that will give me the long term, delayed gratification of good health rather than fleeting momentary gratification. im participating in arbonne's 30 days to healthy living right now, and i hope to keep it up for at least the first few months of the year.  i want to fuel myself and my family well.  

3. work out at least thrice a week.  this is something i should absolutely be able to achieve. not sure exactly when or how, still working that out with the juggling of my schedule, the girls, and robert.  but i have to put this on the calendar.  i just feel better when i am active. that is that. 

4. treat my business like a business.  i have an incredible opportunity to make life-changing income for my family and to share the opportunity with others and i am committed to actually doing the work that it takes. discipline is not something that comes naturally to me in this field and its high on my list for the year.

and then specifically to do with being authentic

5. i am really really insecure.  alot.  insecure in friendships and in my marriage and as a mother.  and this leads to numerous problems.  it makes me be defensive and passive aggressive when i am in the wrong.  i know i have hurt those closest to me in this way. and it also to means i never have true assurance of people's affection for me.  i just wait around for people to stop wanting relationship with me.  and it stinks.  i am determined to be authentic in relationships and to be willing to hear the constructive things that people who love me tell me.  i am also determined to be secure in my friendships and actually believe that people value me.  both of those things are tall orders.  

i have plenty more little goals here and there that have to do with photo taking and documenting and being organized and minimalist, but those five really sum up most of what i am working toward.  realizing, of course, that all of this assumes that God is continually doing work in me and through me to accomplish his plans.  

etta mae is eight months old

its the beginning of a new year and our sweet baby girl is eight months old.  every time it comes time for me to write one of these monthly updates i think to myself 'how in the world is she this old already?'.  last night i took time to read back through the little calendar that i write on every day for her.  it has a photo of her during each month of life, and little scribbles here and there about things she did or ways i felt.  its not well written or organized but its proof.  proof that these eight months have happened, one day at a a time. proof to make me believe it now when i just dont.  as i sat there reading over the little highlights of her life i had one of those paralyzing moments where i just realized how quickly she is growing, how i cant do anything about it.  how i absolutely want her to grow and absolutely dont want her to change one bit.  how can both of those sentiments ring so true at the same time?
etta does something to my soul that i just cant describe.  she radiates joy at such a rate that it is impossible to remain grumpy or unhappy when she smiles. her entire face just lights up and her mouth opens into the wide and sure smile.  eden was my feisty little spunk.  etta is my little light.  sometimes i really to worry that i will be overcome with affection and literally bite her.  or squeeze her too hard.  its a problem people.  
she still does not seem interested in crawling at all.  she has pulled up onto all fours a time or two but it only lasts for a few seconds.  she is very content to watch eden bounce about and at this rate i dont see her crawling any time soon.  which, of course, is just fine with me.  with eden i anticipated every milestone and could not wait for her to be mobile.  with etta i am just thinking 'Lord help me when i have to keep up with eden AND etta mae'.  
she eats pretty much whatever we do as long as it is soft enough.  strangely she still does not love avocado.  we are trying to teach her sign language but of course nothing has really stuck yet.  when we are all sitting around our little round table at night and she is eating right along with us i feel very very satisfied.  
if every baby were like her, id have a million more.  shes just the kind of kid who could convince even the least interested person to have another child.  

im telling you, if you have baby fever, stay away.  

unless you want to catch it.  then come on over.  


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