Independence

Our Country and My Toddlers

For some of you, this weekend means barbecues, family and friend gatherings, lakeside parties and much more. I’ve already seen so many pictures of fun summer activities happening among my virtual friends. We’ve spent some time outdoors but this swollen pregnant lady has been keeping it relatively low-key. There is nothing truly exciting about a holiday weekend since it’s usually coupled with a day or two off work, am I right?! 😊 But this weekend is so much more than that. And I’m pretty sure our Founding Fathers didn’t think this day would be coupled with so many summer activities or that Hobby Lobby would have stocked their shelves way back in March for this weekend. But I do believe they did their fair share of celebrating. I mean, why not celebrate going to war with one of the greatest countries in the world in 1776?!

Most people would mark the beginning of our country with the date of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776 – hence the holiday. However, did you know that the Declaration of Independence wasn’t actually signed on July 4th – GASP! It was officially signed a month later on August 2nd. How incredible were these men to help 13 little colonies stand up to Great Britain? Pretty incredible and fearless. Doesn’t all this history of the Declaration make you want to watch Nicholas Cage’s National Treasure movie? I do! I love that movie! Haha!

image

Do you remember what the fuss was about anyway? The 13 colonies were under the direction of Great Britain and wanted their INDEPENDENCE from the Mother Country. We went to war with a HUGE, fully stocked with weapons and soldiers, country. Hello! Talk about a death sentence! But these guys were united by the need for freedom against an oppressive motherland. Ummm anyone want to watch Mel Gibson’s The Patriot? Another one of my favorites! It’s much more complicated than that but hopefully that jogs your memory.

image

In all seriousness, this holiday is important to me. Not just for my history heart but also for me personally. This year in Cincinnati, Ohio, in the subdivision of Banning Acres, they will be celebrating 50 years of their neighborhood 4th of July parade. I remember going to this parade at least one time, maybe a few times, growing up. My grandparents started this parade in their neighborhood and while my grandfather has recently moved out of the neighborhood and my grandmother is looking down from above, they are still doing the parade. I think that is so awesome. It’s so cool to have been apart of something lasting so long. I’m sure that’s why we, Americans, treasure this weekend. We have been apart of something huge for so long – even if we weren’t even alive. Many of us have ancestors connected to this special day or are here in this amazing country because of this day.

image

I do believe it’s important to honor those who made a huge sacrifice for us in 1776 and, even though it might not cross your mind as a day to honor dudes like Thomas Jefferson, it is important to know our country is still growing and changing and figuring out who exactly we are. In the eyes of the world, we are mere toddlers!

For comparison sake and because I love Rome so very much, did you know Roman history dates back to BC which means that Rome has a history lasting over 2500 years old?! American history hasn’t even hit the 250 year mark. Roman history is 10 times older than ours! Just think about that! We are BABIES! Budding toddlers with, at times, an attitude problem. Learning how to voice our opinions and many times being put in time-out.

image

Disclaimer: I’m not looking for a political debate nor do I even want to know if you like our current president. I had enough of that during the election.

In many ways, America reminds me of my Twinadoes. Andrew and David are becoming fearless when voicing their thoughts and opinions on things such as food or whether or not they would like to take a nap, go to bed or even share their toys. Many of times this results in screaming, yelling and even crying from them in protest. And we definitely have some time-outs! Our vacation was full of this part of parenting. 😫 Yet, somehow they survive and move on until the next hour when it happens again.

image

It’s similar to today in America. Our Amazon, social media, and high-speed internet has brought us into a generation of instant gratification or bust type people. I’m guilty of it just like the next person but seeing it in our younger generation in the classroom might have scared the poop out of me. It’s like we are raising a generation of kids that really need a good spanking. Haha! Seriously! I’m sure the British felt the same way about these Americans in 1776 whining about their much-needed freedom. Why did the Americans need their freedom? Why now? I mean without the Motherland those colonists wouldn’t be there!

image

But what does this really boil down to with our 1776 Americans, twinadoes and our current younger generation: INDEPENDENCE. Quite frankly, like the 1776 Americans, my boys are trying to become more independent with every push of the boundary; yet, like the current younger generation in this country, when told NO revert to their baby-self, not quite ready to be in the real world. Not quite ready to face what’s actually out there – which is a lot of NOs, by the way. Even some of our young adults in the real world, don’t get it. They might be too busy looking at all their participation trophies (okay, that was mean but so true) wondering why they can’t get it together or they are completely content with mediocrity (that’s even scarier).

But regardless, this need for independence is just ingrained in us. It’s who we are, not just as Americans, but as people. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” (Declaration of Independence, 1776). These rights fuel our need for independence; encroach on that and you’ll see us kicking and screaming in the face of injustice. But we will be okay, we probably just need a nap. 😊

image.png

Want to check out more cool facts that you may not have known about the Declaration of Independence? http://www.history.com/news/9-things-you-may-not-know-about-the-declaration-of-independence

Moments

Hold them close

Moments. We all have them multiple times a day. We have good ones and bad ones. Many times we miss moments. We don’t miss them intentionally; it’s really the hustle and bustle of life that causes us to just let them pass by.

Personally, I feel like I’m so busy some days that by the end of the day I don’t even know if I actually SAW my children (even though they were around me all day). Other days, I’m just trying to survive this moment or that moment. Do you ever feel like that? Maybe it’s not with your children but with work or your spouse? When I was teaching, there were definitely days I just trying to survive. It’s honestly DRAINING to stay in survival mode. I absolutely can’t stand those days because I usually feel more exhausted than if I had one full of activities. I don’t want to just survive life, I want to LIVE it. Don’t you? But how do you live every single day IN THE MOMENT? Is it possible? We could all learn to take a step back and “smell the roses” sometimes. It’s so insane how fast time flies, yet, we tend to let a lot of life pass us by. Sounds sad but it’s the truth.

For me, I do wish I was better at living in the moment. There are times I put my phone away or I’m not checking it as much but I could always do better in that department. We probably all could. It’s so easy to drown yourself in mindless searching or reading articles. Then there are times I turn the TV off – I like it for background sound but it tends to even eat up the moments with all the sound, too. Plus, the twins are paying more and more attention to it these days so it’s a good habit to scale back.

The moments I really love watching are the ones where my boys are playing. Now I do mean all 3 of my boys but watching the twins play is becoming more fun too! They are really trying to talk and they crack me up! And of course, they are becoming more fearless – see evidence in the above left picture. They REALLY LIKE READING and lately I’ve been catching them sitting together with a book “reading”. It’s so cute! They also really love telling Dakota she’s a “good gurl” – haha! Oh and they are masters at saying “NO” or “NO WAY!”. But either way, they do keep Nick and I on our toes. We couldn’t have more of a stubborn pair of children but we knew it was going to happen. My guess is that this little girl might be surpassing them all! Stay tuned. 😊 Lately, the boys, specifically David, really hates wearing clothes. It’s either shorts or a shirt or nothing. Tonight, he went to bed in his diaper. I just usually pray I don’t wake up to pee and poop everywhere because they do like to take their diapers off.

Something I really enjoy are those fleeting moments, the ones you miss once you blink but if you catch them they are ingrained in your mind forever. I had one with Andrew today… It was so sweet. I broke down and gave the boys bottles this morning…. A Monday after a week of being sick is pretty slow going… They were drinking them while watching some Fixer Upper (it’s educational, right?) until Andrew just couldn’t calm down. I really don’t know what was going on. He had a BIG quiver lip and I just scooped him up and cradled him in my arms like I use to when he was much smaller. With the boys wanting to be more independent, holding him like that doesn’t really happen anymore. I barely get snuggles! 😭

He and I had a moment. I SAW him. He looked so much older but somehow I still saw my little fussy reflux baby. Maybe it’s the hormones or the impending new arrival of the girl but I miss them. I miss my babies. It’s incredible how much you forget along the way (and we’ve only just begun) but in a second you’re taken back to a moment. It sends a jolt in your body and you’ve time traveled to that memory.

image

This picture is one of my favorites. I’m so happy I was obsessively taking pictures in the beginning because a lot of it is hard to remember between the reflux, feedings, and sleep deprivation. Nick was probably at RCIA working on becoming a Catholic so I had the evening with the boys. When they were much younger they both wanted to be near me ALL THE TIME. Makes sense, they were new to the world (the world is scary!). They needed mommy. (Oh how I miss those moments, too). They were also small enough I could have one on a boppy and another in my arms. In this picture, I got David to fall asleep on the boppy pillow and Andrew was in my arms. I’m sure at one point it was the opposite and I somehow creatively switched them without moving but I’m glad I captured this moment.

1. Because Andrew hardly took a pacifier outside of the first few months of life. Quite honestly, I don’t remember it much even then.

2. Because I need to remember I am a rock star. I definitely didn’t give myself enough credit at that time and I am not sure I do now. But I need to. I deserve it. I don’t mean for it to sound like I’m tooting my own horn here but I did a lot of things I didn’t know I was capable of including growing them in my body.

But how I miss holding them both so close to me. ❤️️ I probably needed to pee really bad and I was far from exhausted but they were so sweet to hold like this. I need to remember missing that when they are clawing or pushing at my leg or grabbing at my food. Or just when I don’t think I want to be touched one.more.time that day.

I imagine all parents have these moments. As a fairly new mother of young kids and I feel like we are in the trenches most days but I’m sure my parents have had these moments. I’ll never forget something my dad told me after I graduated from college. He said “Life only goes faster after this.” And boy, was he right. (Don’t let him know that though. 😉 ). I blinked and it’s been almost 11 years since high school graduation, 7 from college and 5 since our wedding day. Where has the time gone? What’s happened since you blinked? I bet a lot! Have you made the most of it? I’m not sure I have.

So I’m working on embracing my moments with my boys, even the bittersweet ones, because soon enough we will all have new ones with the little girl. I hate change, even good ones. However, I do learn to embrace the change, eventually. 😉 This transition seems like it will be hard for me but I am comforted to know she belongs with us. She is needed here for my heart to feel whole. I can’t slow down time or redo yesterday but TODAY I can do something about.

image

Here’s to the moments,

Rachel