Well well well. It has been a while, hasn’t it?!

As you can imagine, a lot can happen in 4 months, so I have no intention of fully filling in all the blanks. That would basically take writing a novel, and I’m not up to it. Plus, who would want to read that?! Ha!

I’m here writing today, because my birthday is tomorrow, and that felt like as good a reason as any to reflect on where life is at right now.

Ellen will be 18 months old in 5 days. She is a fully formed little person now, and as she has settled into herself, separation anxiety has all but disappeared. With that struggle behind us, it’s now a matter of learning who she is and learning to be who she needs me to be.

First off, she’s amazing. She is just the most spirited, hilarious little person. She makes me laugh harder than anyone else, but she also makes me scratch my head. She does everything at full speed, full volume, and with her whole heart. She feels things “bigly”.

I don’t want to change a thing about her, but I do find myself quite challenged. I haven’t felt that my mothering style has naturally worked for who she is, now that it is clear who she is.

I’m working on figuring out why I’m struggling to be the mom she needs, but some of the theories are 1) she’s not similar to me, so I don’t understand her, 2) she’s not similar to Lewis, so I have experience working against me, or 3) I have some other personal issues going on that are hampering my abilities to improvise.

Anyway, she’s pretty grown up now. She has quit the highchair (sigh), she has been talking in sentences for months (wow!), and she sleeps through the night as long as I remember to dress her super, duper warmly. (there was a loooong stretch where I forgot how hot she likes to sleep, and no one got much sleep. Doh!) She has even started to figure out how to put on her own pants, AND she went pee on the potty for the first time!

Lewis is a little nearly-four-year-old hero. He loves to help, he is patient and kind with his wild little sister. He sleeps (most nights), and he has been eating well. He has also been testing boundaries, so we’ve had more discipline with him lately than in the past, but he is starting to understand consequences, so if you warn him that a punishment is coming, it is usually enough to curb bad behavior.

Lewis is recognizing more and more letters and numbers, which is so thrilling. He is a sponge that soaks up everything you say. I marvel daily at his ability to retain information, and boy… he is always listening!

I’ve been working out regularly since October 1st of last year, and my body has been reacting. I definitely feel better, and the visible changes are really lovely to see too. I wish there was a way to measure how much thinner my face looks!

Last month I also started counting calories to see if I might finally get the scale to move, and I’ve been rewarded by losing 5 lbs in 3 weeks. I’m now 3.5 lbs away from pre-Ellen weight, and 13.5 lbs away from pre-Lewis weight, which feels really fabulous!

My goal is to hit pre-Lewis weight by Ellen’s 2nd birthday in August. It is a goal I think I can hit with continued calorie-monitoring and regular workouts. And because my workout schedule (4 days per week) and eating are now pretty routine for me, I don’t think I’ll find myself struggling to make progress.

I’ve been working hard on my outside, but I mentioned above that I have some personal issues, so I’m also working on my inside! Namely, I have begun to see a therapist!

As part of a new year’s resolution, I decided to focus on finding more joy in 2019. I had found myself with a short temper and no patience, and I had this horrible feeling that my family was getting in the way of my to-do list, which is a terrible reversal of priorities! My to-do list should be “getting in the way” of my family time, not the opposite!

Additionally, I need some help putting my childbearing chapter behind me so I can be comfortable with the fact that there will be no more pregnancies/children in my future.

I realized that, despite a clear picture of how I wanted to feel, I couldn’t see the path to get there. So I am excited to be getting some help finding that path. I know the destination, I just don’t know if I should take a plane, train, boat, car, or walk to get there. So I’m looking at my therapist as my “travel agent” on my journey to a more joyful life.

The last four months since my last post have been quite the ride. Friendships have been cultivated and feel really solid, my relationship with Kyle had some lows but now feels like it is brand new and we’ve fallen in love all over again, my kids have grown and learned and changed, and I’d like to think I have too.

As I head into my birthday tomorrow, I realize that I have a lot of people who show up for me regularly. I feel tremendously cared for from external sources, and I also feel like I’m caring for myself internally in a way that I haven’t in a long time. I’m proud of myself for feeling more secure in the relationships I have with friends, family, my kids, and my husband, and also for feeling confident enough to say that I am having a hard time without feeling embarrassed. As a matter of fact, I’m feeling more confident than I have in years, in spite of the difficult times I’ve been having emotionally.

2019 is going to be a great year. I’m determined to love being 32, and to have no shame in being where I am or being who I am. I am awesome, even if I am flawed (which I most definitely am). And I will learn to be the mother both of my children need, even though that person is different for each of them.

I’m sorting it all out. And I feel really, really happy. Here’s to a happy birthday, and a happy every day. There’s so much joy in my life, and I’m determined to hold on tight to it.

I don’t know why, but I feel like I need to say thank you. So… whoever is reading this… Thank you! You know what for, I’m sure of it. ❤

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