Mother of three

Well, here I am. Mother of three. I love it. And I hope I am blessed with a few more babies on top of these ones I love so dearly. Yes, I’ve had a few sleepless night since Liam came into my bed. I have fought to control my frustration with my two older kids as we all adjust to this new normal. I have wanted to snuggle up with my husband at the same moment that Liam decides he wants to nurse. But when I watch my two older kids as  they run laughing through the sprinkler on a hot summer day, or when I hear them apologize to one another without being prompted, or anytime that this new little baby smiles I know I am blessed. My heart overflows.

I feel like I am finally emerging from the post postpartum haze and becoming interested and aware of things again. Christy and I have started meal planning – which is so much fun with all the produce available through the local farms – and working out a rhythm for our collective children. So far the rhythm revolves around meals and an afternoon rest period with plenty of outdoor time. They love any game involving water and Ethan (3) and Willow (now 4!) spend much more time naked than clothed.

The garden is producing broccoli, squash, zucchini, and lettuce. We have lots of herbs that get thrown in everything from pastas and salads, to iced teas. The tomatoes and peppers are getting closer to harvest. We finished up the last of the strawberries just before the strawberry moon of the solstice and are now on to wild blackberries. Our first harvest brought in enough for a night’s dessert, this morning’s blackberry lemon scones, and Sunday’s pie!

Ayden is into superheros these days and runs around in a cape and mask much of the time. Thankfully, his recent superhero power is helpfulness. He is growing up so fast and loves to spend time working with Ben and Dustin. Or just working in general, preferably outside in farm boots. He does well with Liam although he is not always as gentle as I would wish.

Willow is still the princess in the games. But a princess with super powers. She falls in love with one dress at a time and will refuse to wear anything but that dress until I manage to sneak it into the laundry without her knowledge. We went bowling for her 4th birthday and she loved it. She will sit with Liam sleeping on her lap for 30 minutes before she needs to move.

Liam is a darling boy. I think his favorite thing to do is nurse all day, every day. He sleeps pretty well; I have only had a handful of those exhausting and frustrating nights. (Quite the change after Willow, my little fireball.) When he wakes up from a nap he often opens his eyes and starts looking around. Twice now, I have gently said his name as he is laying awake and he smiles, turning his head to look for me. Melts my heart.

Parenting in this community style – two families in one house with 5 children ages 5, 4, 3, 1.5, and a newborn – is a challenge, to say the least. But it is also such a blessing. To have another young mother encourage me when I am having a hard time holding it all together is a gift I have not experienced very often since becoming a mom. I am thoroughly enjoying sharing life with Christy here on the farm.

busy and bright

The days are flying by and I am happy. I am counting blessings in the every day moments and finding sunshine in the cloudy times.

The cafe is hoppin’ and we are trying to keep up with it! When we opened the cafe I never imagined we would ever fill all the seats – now we’ve added more seating and turn over tables during the 5 hours of operation! Muffins, scones, cinnamon buns, cakes, brownies, rolls, loaves, granola, yogurt, fruit platters, soups, omelets, salads…. it is all being produced and sent out the door at an alarming speed. People ask where I find the time and I don’t really know… I’m not sure how all this food is coming together!

I know that I am staying up after the kids fall asleep most nights prepping for the next day and that the alarm or a drowsy hubby wakes me up at 5 o’clock most mornings and I stumble into the kitchen and put on water to warm for the yeast breads. I have never enjoyed early mornings as much as I do now (although I will admit that there are mornings when my dark scowl makes the dog walk away with his tail between his legs). The darkness and stars, the just-lightness, the steam off my mug of coffee, the lists and recipes laid out in front of me on the table: it all holds together and holds me in some kind of tight, safe, comfortable place of life.

I am praying and learning and trying with Ayden constant. He is dropping words more and more and it’s our challenge to understand them! Vamonos, andale, banana, no, not there, right here… He loves tractors and watching youtube videos of farming machinery in action is a favorite pastime – one that I try to keep in check! He gets angry and doesn’t know what to do with it.. we’re working on that one, explaining that it’s ok to feel angry and when he feels that way it’s good to go be alone for a bit and calm down. He is growing up so fast.

I am holding and laughing and hushing Willow as she takes her new steps everyday. She is just learning her first, unsteady crawling moves – most often ending in a face plant on the tile floor. She maneuvered herself into a sitting position yesterday all on her own and grinned a big, still toothless grin of triumph at us. She is making more noises and they sound very much like the noises Ayden makes when playing with her, mostly grunts and growls. She took her last nap in our bed yesterday when she woke up and crawled right off the edge. She hit the tiles with her forehead but, thankfully, the quick application of some Eden Salve and homeopathic arnica tablets and she doesn’t look too bad this morning, just a little discolored spot.

We’ll see how long this season holds out for us: both the tourist season for the cafe and this busy and bright season of our lives.

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The terrible 2 years, 5 months, and 11 days

Wow.. and what am I supposed to do? I keep reminding myself this is just a stage that he will grown out of. He’s just trying to figure out his boundaries, his capabilities, his world. And it’s not easy…

And he hit his sister on the head with a board. She’s screaming. Someone is at my door asking for food. Telling me how beautiful my son is. I look at his face smeared with snot, it’s solidified on his cheeks and in his ears and hair. I keep wiping his face with a wash cloth but that snot just reappears. A well meaning person walks in and gives me a toothbrush for my son. “We are handing them out to all the poor, underprivileged children.” Wait a minute… what? I wipe his face again.

“No, you can’t watch tractor videos right now.” A toy truck goes flying across the room as he collapses onto the floor in a heap, rolling back and forth crying. I take him to his room, sit him on his bed. I am trying hard to control my voice and my attitude.

He refuses to take a nap. He sits in his bed for an hour but no nap. So I let him get up. He walks into the kitchen and rips a toy away from Willow and she cries. What do I do? How do I “train him up” and “set boundaries” and “discipline in love” . . . So I sweep the kitchen and he’s trying to help with his child sized broom and I just don’t want his help. I am so frustrated and lost and the tears are streaming down my face and he’s singing little two year old melodies to break your heart.

My heart is broken. I am broken. I want to be a peaceful, grace filled mama. I want to be a safe haven, an anchor, arms wide open. But so often I am lost in selfishness and I don’t look for the joy and the blessing so all I see is the dark, cavernous face of my own inadequacies. I am trying to learn but I am a slow learner. Sometimes I wonder that I have been entrusted with these wee ones – how in heaven’s name am I supposed to lead these little hearts to Christ?

I guess that’s just it. I have to lead. I have to be on my way first, ahead of them on the road. Not having arrived, just pushing ahead – sometimes in the sun, sometimes lost in shadow, but still putting foot in front of weary foot. God’s grace is new every morning and don’t I know that I need it fresh like manna every morning! Enough for that day. Tomorrow is a new day and because I live in the tropics the sun will shine brightly, stream through my kitchen door, and I will try again to live a worthy life.

Stop. Breathe. Lift eyes to heaven. Give thanks. Look for the blessing. Smile. Laugh.

january 2013 023

Here we are

at La Taza Negra!

It was a push to get open and there is still so much work to do – so many projects – but we are open and living here! Our first day was hoppin’ and it has been pretty quiet since then. Which is ok; the extra time lets us figure out exactly where we want things and helps us to work out kinks in the baking schedule and such. I am already drinking way too much coffee, of course. I am really enjoying the baking and the meal planning and by 8 o’clock I am ready to crawl into bed with my little girl!

Ayden seems to be adjusting although I think it is a pretty big change for him. Not only being in a new home with a new bed but the slow routine we had been enjoying has been replaced by a busy one full of “no” and “don’t touch that” and “put that back”. No, you can’t have a bite of every cinnamon bun and cookie that comes out of the oven. Don’t touch all those nicely stacked to-go cups and lids or that extremely hot pan. Put back that chopping knife, sugar caddy, and customer’s cell phone. I am trying to be patient with him and keep “yes” and “I love you” and “good job” at the tip of my tongue but it is not always easy. Ben and I are trying to be more intentional with the time we have with him when he first wakes up and when he gets up from his nap.

Willow decided she was ready to sit up so she did! I have been propping her up with a nursing pillow to help her learn and on Wednesday I realized she wasn’t leaning on it anymore but just sitting there! She loves her new freedom and will sit for quite a while reaching for different toys and looking around at everything. Her normally idyllic sleeping pattern has been replaced by an inability to fall asleep – not really great timing! The night before we opened Ben and I decided to call it a night at midnight and when we walked into the room there was Willow, wide awake! And she stayed wide awake until 3! Happy, but definitely awake.

Thanksgiving passed without event. We decided that our celebration of Canadian Thanksgiving in October was enough for us! I have plenty to be thankful for though: my amazing husband who, once again, is taking all the random pieces of this house and our trade and building something beautiful and successful – all the while loving and encouraging his family! My children, who keep me real and force me to live a little closer to the way Jesus taught us – I love them to pieces! My family: scattered all around the world, serving God on their own corners, shining light in every dark place, sharing their salt with different tribes. My God who is living, loving, and awakening hearts all around this globe!

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grace

The last few days have been difficult for me. Willow has been teething which for her means a fever, plenty of drool, and a high need for arms and attention. Although all my efforts seem for naught when she continues to cry in my arms no matter what I do! Ayden, possibly because he senses the tension in me or because he has been getting less one-on-one attention, has been intense and into everything. I can’t let him out of my sight for more than a minute or he is drinking the hose water (not always ok in Mexico), carrying the cat by the neck, beating the plants with a stick until all the leaves fall off. Ben has been busy as well. We turned over the house we had been renting (the old location of La Taza Negra) which meant moving the last of our things over to the Maya house, putting some furniture back in order, and cleaning, cleaning, cleaning! Being interrupted with orders for coffee (hooray!!) and keeping tabs on the construction at the Maya house has had him running left and right and left again!

Underlying all is a sense of getting tired of the “treading water” phase that I have been in for the last month. I just want to get into the house and DO SOMETHING!! I am tired of lists, boxes, dreams, Pinterest.

Everything culminated yesterday in the worst possible way. I was trying to get lunch on the table and Willow was getting cranky so I hurrying when Ayden woke up from his nap and all he wanted to do was cuddle. That was the LAST thing I wanted to do! But he would not wait and he wouldn’t take the 5 minutes I offered him. So I sat in the rocking chair with Ayden resting on my chest, Willow bouncing on my knees, lunch in process all over the counter and stove-top and tears running down my face. I did not want to stop to cuddle. “But,” I kept telling myself, “this is who I want to be! I want to be available, I want to love and take time anytime to cuddle.” No matter what I told myself I aspire to be like I could not make my frustration or tears go away. So there we sat for 30 minutes, the three of us, sweating and cuddling in the rocker.

I have been following a blog by Ann Voskamp, A Holy Experience, and in yesterday’s post she said something that resonated with me:

Grace is not soft or trite — Grace is what saves and grace is what transforms. Grace isn’t the weakness of a Christian — grace is the completeness of a Christian. Grace isn’t ever a paltry thing — Grace is always the very power of God.

I need that strong, power of God grace! I feel like I have been asking for it and searching for it everyday. And maybe that is the way it should be. I received a sweet email from  my sister saying:

Psalm 39:7 “and now Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you.” there’s no need to wait for hope or joy or love or peace- it’s all there in him and he’s here right now….

He is here. He is near to me. Where am I?
This has been the cry of my heart these last few days:

Psalm 85.8 “let me hear what God the LORD will speak, for He will speak peace to His people, to His saints; but let them not turn back to folly.”

I am constantly turning back to folly. I am always seeing things through my own eyes. I do not learn the lessons that I am taught over and over again. Or maybe it is part of this life to turn and return to truth? I am turning again.

sunrise … a new day

calm strength and patient wisdom

Today has felt totally chaotic. From waking up at 5.30 only to find that my husband was not in bed with me  to now – Ayden is napping and Willow is in her rocking chair watching Ben – I have felt on high alert.

I found my husband (somehow he ended up in bed with Ayden – he’s not even sure how that happened!) and went back to sleep. I awoke 15 minutes later when a land crab crawled down my arm. HOW DO THEY GET IN MY BED?!?!? Once I decided it was a land crab and not a giant, hairy spider, I wandered out to the kitchen where Ben was making the coffee. We enjoyed our coffee but there was something between us, some wall. Finally we talked it through and built a bridge and ended up on the same side of the chasm before the kids woke up. (Thankfully! What would the day have been like if we hadn’t!!) Ayden was fussy. He wanted this and that and lost it when it didn’t come fast enough. I sent him back to bed at one point with a big stack of books and told him to come back to the kitchen when he felt better. Ben started working on cafe business and in the process was warned that it was a possible fraudulent site that he had already entered his credit card info on. It turned out to be fine and we moved on to a coffee cupping which ended with Ayden on the counter with the beans, coffee grounds, and breakfast in his lap and our notes on each particular coffee rather scattered.

Ben left to run errands and I started cleaning up the kitchen when my (for the moment) quite and peaceful little girl started shrieking. Ayden had put a clothespin on her toe. Ok.. it was then I accepted the fact that the dishes were not going to get done, the bed was not going to be made, I was going to be lucky to get lunch on the table by 5, and I better not let Ayden out of my sight.

We went for a walk. We bought some groceries. We brought the kitten home from the Maya house for Ayden. Willow napped for 10 minutes. I started making a loaf of bread (what WAS I thinking?!). The cell phone rang. Ayden unraveled 3/4 of the toilet paper roll. Neighbors stopped by with a question. Willow cried. Ayden pulled all the books off the shelves. Ben took Ayden to town. Willow cried. I started lunch and continued the bread. Willow napped for 3 minutes. Ayden and Ben came home. Lunch wasn’t ready. Ayden took a nap. Ben put a couple beers in the freezer. I finished getting lunch ready. Willow napped for 15 minutes. Ben cleaned the entire house!! Wow, what a husband I have. Seriously.

How does a mama get through a day like this? Only by the grace of God and with a healthy dose of His joy. Oh, Lord, I need it today! (True, having an amazing and understanding husband is a HUGE perk, but still, I am a selfish and emotional person who is capable of ignoring his help and losing my joy and grace as soon as Ayden crawls out of bed and bashes Willow’s head with his John Deere tractor.) I need Christ’s redeeming work to continue to mold me into the follower I want to be.

 

Almighty God, heavenly Father, you have blessed us with the joy and care of children; Give us calm strength and patient wisdom as we bring them up, that we may teach them to love whatever is just and true and good, following the example of our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

Prayer For the Care of Children – Book of Common Prayer

Grace, Support, Worship

 

balance, balance, balance

We are only a few days into this house-and-shop transformation and I am already seeing and feeling the effects. The kids and I have had a couple bad days. And when I say bad, I mean that I spent almost an entire day in the dumps with tears in my eyes and fussy children in my arms. It’s not that we are so busy or even packing up our things, we are just at home like normal. So why the downward spiral? I realized that it is because I want to be 100% invested in everything that is going on and I can’t be. There is simply no way. When that finally hit me this morning I smiled ruefully. I put my kids and myself through some tough days because I was frustrated with them for taking up my time and not allowing me to check things off my to-do list. (Those damn to-do lists that keep following me around, only growing, never shrinking!)

So, what I need is balance. And I must come to accept that things will either get done in time or they won’t, but my first desire is to be a good mother and wife. That has to be my top priority or everything will fall apart like it has the last couple days. I can’t mother part-time and I don’t want to.

Balance. That is my mantra these days. How do I juggle my family, the bakery, a new employee in training, household chores, the renovation project that is the cafe, and myself? Well, for starters I like what Kristin had to say here and I am working toward developing my own morning routine. I believe that some structure will help me step into the day a little more prepared. So I’ll be up at 6 tomorrow!

Here are some photos to keep you up to date with the project. Definitely “before” shots!

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