Wednesday, January 9, 2013

a blogging duel, how marriage is a crapshoot, a look back, and my theme for 2013.

looking back into 2012, i can see it was a really great year, probably the best i've experienced in a long time.  not because things were perfect, but because somewhere along the way i came to a place of peace.  of feeling comfortable in my own skin.  finding a balance in certain areas that i've longed for and thought i would never achieve.  i feel closer to God than i ever have, and the itchiness of fear that once creeped along the edges of most of my thoughts has been scratched and settled.

my theme for 2012 was faith without fear, and it was tested many times in many different ways.  i would name them all, but it would take me hours to type and you would probably fall asleep drooling on your keyboard.

being able to write this last year...well, for me it was big.  and hard.  it was the culmination of what all of my previous semi-hard posts had led up to.  and not just my hard posts, the story behind it is what caused some of the hardest lessons i've had to learn in life.  i've wondered since i've written it, is there more to come?  more hard to dig up?  harder than that was?  i don't feel like there is, at least from the past.  getting that out, realizing where almost all of my inner struggles have stemmed from, i have been able to lay it to rest.

sometimes i'm sad about this little blog.  it's seems so....emo.  you know?  where did funny lynsey go?  is she ever coming back?  my friend told me that funny lynsey still lives on facebook, that's where her outlet is. apparently my funny side just needs only a couple of sentences to emerge nowadays, no longer dedicating to entire blog posts.  maybe it's because lately funny= surface, fun, everyday things and emo = deep and life-changing.  and i've been swimming in the deep end of the blog for a while.  well, whatever the case, this season is what it is.  and i have learned so much--through my writing, but also through responses from loved ones, friends and even strangers.

i can't thank you enough for your kindness and love.  even through the change of the past couple of years.


i'm starting off 2013 by forcing myself to write more, whether i have the time or energy or brain capacity for it or not.  the talented and poem-y Clancy and i are having a blogging DUEL!  and my competitive side is DETERMINED TO WIN, while my non-competitive side wants to shrug and do it anyway because i love writing so much.  and it will push her to write, and i love her writing so much.  

and now, a look back on the year:

2012 was the year my marriage took a shift.  in a surprisingly hardbutgood way.  not sure how to expound on that more right now, but i do know that it has something to do with this post, and the finishing of it....when that comes.  ben and i have been extracting our unhealthy pieces, and doing our best to change the dynamics of our relationship that sprung from those pieces.  what i also know is that i have never loved or felt closer to ben than i do right now.  the shift has brought a lot of discussions, some more difficult than others...but all of them ending in a good place, with a deeper understanding than we have ever had of ourselves and each other. 

{warning:  extremely fuzzy picture ahead.  how do people take such CLEAR pictures on their phones??  i'm trying to figure it out, and failing miserably.}

so there we were, on our 10th anniversary, eating at the fanciest restaurant i have ever been to.  we felt so out of our league, but tried to play the parts of acting natural while looking at a menu with a salad that cost $18.  and the meal itself took almost 3 hours, but it was exactly what we wanted.  just time together, and an enormous bill afterward.  ha ha!

we asked each other questions, we went through our history.  man!  marriage really is kind of a crapshoot, isn't it?  i have seen the tough roads that some close to me have had to trudge through in marriage and have done my best to offer love and support as they have been drug through hell and nasty cesspools of emotional fungus.  but i haven't actually been in those cesspools, i've only seen them from the sidelines.

at 22 i felt like i knew everything about myself and him....and at 32 i can say that i truly knew nothing back then.  how can you know how someone is going to respond when they become stressed?  or anxious?  or experience heartache that lasts longer than just the few months of dating?  pregnancy?  grad school?  hard babies?  financial struggles?  a group home of mentally unstable teens?  external family issues?  how can you know the way someone is going to treat themselves and you with the curveballs life throws?  the truth is, you can't.  you get hints of it along the way, and a general idea when you're dating.  you hope for the best.  you tell yourself that your immature love for each other will certainly conquer all.  and then you leap!  and watch married life unfold.

we talked about our gratitude, to go through so many learning curves and growing pains and feel this way about each other when we're now on the other side of some of the big ones.

in my book, it's all about trying.  not just trying to spend time together or be happy or be a good mom/dad and wife/husband, but trying in the way of being willing to look at our own selves through microscopes that show all of our ugly little pieces and hang on through them.  to not stop communicating, or showing love or doing our best to meet our own needs and then the needs of each other.  to not shut down or give up, or become complacent and uncaring.

only a few years ago, i remember patting myself on the back in congratulations.  that ben and i were one of the few couples that i knew had a really fantastic, sturdy marriage.  i thought we were unshakable because we were us.  but that pat on the back was made of a house of cards....not because we didn't have a fantastic, sturdy marriage, but because the things i built us upon were made of fluff.

i will expound more when i finish that post.  :)

but now i don't just pat us on the back, i figuratively wrap my arms around the married version of us, ten years in, through stretching and pulling and pushing, still dedicated to each other and the family we have created.  and still laughing and having fun along the way.

anyway, 2012 was the year that caleb turned 7 and learned to whistle and finally {FINALLY} has his first loose tooth {STOP WHAT YOU'RE DOING AND CHEER RIGHT! NOW!}  it was one of the first years that medically, he has thrived.  and that blessing has not gone unnoticed in my book.

it was also the year where he turned a corner and {i'm sorry caleb, but it's true} kind of do i say it kindly?  endearingly obnoxious.  rumor has it, this stage end around 12, when he becomes a more obnoxious teenager...but we will love him through it.  plus the good qualities of him are still heavily outweighing the...need i say it again?  obnoxious qualities.  

he wants so much to be grown up, and smarter/stronger/faster/bigger/funnier than he is.  he wants to be an adult and for life to be fair, and i have told him to get used to being disappointed about that one on a regular basis.  he does amazingly well in school both academically and socially.  another blessing.

he has been an amazing, gentle, kind and funny older brother to june.  the two of them get along so well.  which constantly makes me wonder why he has continued to bump heads with leah, because i know he has it in him to get along with a younger sister.  he wants so much to control leah and she refuses it.  but in the past couple of months i've seen them turn a corner in the way they are interacting and treating each other.  he really has been an amazing example of a big brother.  he is honest, and sensitive and really tries to do what's right.

he is a reflection of both the best and worst pieces of me as a mother.  and so far, i say we're both doing alright.

the year of leah as a 3 year old has been one of the most fun so far as a mother.  

she is bright and silly and beautiful and kind and most of all....imaginative.  caleb only had a small slice of what she has been given in imagination and i love to just quietly watch her as she creates animals and friends out of anything and nothing.

but the struggle has arrived as she has pretty much thrown in the towel when it comes to sleeping through the night, and i have resigned myself to letting her come in at some point in the wee hours of the morning and sleep in my floor.  i just don't have it in me anymore--i feel like i have tried it ALL, and she stays quiet so it's better than what we've had to work with in the past.  

she has a stubborn streak and a sassy side and is constantly testing me to make sure i will hold the line and boundaries i have set. and she flies off of the handle when she's in a mood and i hold the line, but in the end it calms her because she nows what to expect.  when i make exceptions to rules or consequences, she becomes confused and doesn't like it.  

for leah, the line between truth and un-truth is kind of blurred.  i don't really think it's a conscious or sneaky thing {yet}, but because her mind seriously creates situations to be her reality.  and luckily so far, it's been an extremely hilarious thing to witness.

leah is such a good girl who really loves to be loved, and june has definitely tested her patience in this area, because she gets the brunt of june's newly acquired temper.  but she is slow to react, which i'm grateful for.  {caleb could take a page out of her book here.}  and i have a feeling that the girls may butt heads some times, but are going to grow up to be really great friends.

leah is the child that i need to plan ahead at least 10 minutes before going anywhere, because whenever i say the words "we need to go!  get in the car!"  she wanders around looking for a random toy to bring......or her drink.....or suddenly needs to go potty.....or can't find her shoes.  this honestly used to frustrate me because it put a very big cramp on my leave-things-to-the-last-minute style, but i have learned to work within who she is.  and instead of becoming increasingly frustrated, i do my best now to give her ample time to prepare for whatever journey it is she thinks we're going on.

she still has her adorable listhp, a huge vocabulary, and absolutely loves preschool.  she's a social girl, that's for sure.  2012 was the year we had the joy of finding "my little pony" on netflix and our lives have never been the same.  woah boy!  and her serious obsession with dolphins hasn't died down in the least....visiting seaworld was a dream come true for her.  

and then that leaves us with june of 2012.

june has evolved from the sweetest, calmest baby to a quirky, snuggly, shrieking, independent busy-body of a toddler.  i've lost track of all of the words she knows now, it feels like every day she's picking up a new one...or three.  she counts to five, sings and says prayers with a lot of mumbling softly and then ending them with a lot of gusto in the big finish, "ABEEEE!"  and she prays even if it's not her turn, looking around every time she yells/ends her prayer, wondering why people are quietly snickering with their bowed heads instead of looking up and cheering.

she is extremely attached to me, and i have love/hate feelings about this.  i can drop her off easily at other places as long as there are kids & toys around and she doesn't bat an eyelash--until i come to pick her up, then she acts like she hasn't seen me in years and WHY DID I ABANDON HER??  poor girl.  but when baby-sitters show up at our house, or when she sees me putting on shoes and grabbing keys, she freaks out with a capital F.  it's super fun!  

i love that she loves me though, she is constantly giving me hugs and kisses and when i pick her up, she wraps her arms and legs around me like a little monkey and holds on tightly, saying over and over "mama, mama, mama" with an enormous smile on her face.  

she is still obsessed with baths and it's a good thing, because she has said good-bye to the days of sitting in a high chair, letting someone feed her.  not kidding, if i try to give her a bite of anything she refuses it.  if i pop the same bite onto a fork and hand it to it goes. 

the times when i do need to feed her, whether it's because we're late or i don't have the ability to deal with the aftermath of a mess, she shrieks and cries and twists and turns until i finally have to satiate her with a baby einstein show, or her favorite....pocoyo.  she started saying "COCOYO!" a couple of months ago, and yells it anytime we turn it on.  

and as much as she is joined at the hip with me, this little girl doesn't adore anyone more than her dad.

she is thoughtful about things, picking them up and quietly turning them over and over.  she explores everything about every page on a book.  she is extremely ticklish.  she loves music and sings...duets with her are the best, and usually happen when i'm taking a shower and she's staring at me through the glass, two inches away.  she's continued to remain my healthiest child so far and i was kind of hoping for least emotional child, but the jury is still out on that one.  oy.

2012 turned this baby into a toddler, i can't believe what she looked like at the beginning of last year, and here she is now, the same eyes staring back at me, with a mop of unruly hair and a mouth with teeth and swollen gums waiting to pop through some more.



well, if you made it to the end of this extremely looooong look back on last year, i applaud you.  instead of picking a word for 2013, i have picked a theme:

out of my comfort zone.

and as much as i feel like it's what i need, it's not exactly what i want.  but i've been feeling that since i've reached a big milestone when it's come to letting go of fear and actually liking who i am, now i need to push myself.  

whether it's to meet new friends, or volunteer somewhere, or sing in front of a crowd, or shave my head...

who knows.  

but i have a feeling it's going to be hard, and really really good for me.

so buckle up!!

and a belated happy new year!!  

love, us


Bec said...

Same theme for me, girl. We can do this! I miss you

Charlotte said...

As I was reading about Caleb's relationships with his sisters I forgot for a moment that you weren't talking about my kids.

I so wish we lived closer so Leah and Alivia could be friends. Because they would be.

Loved all your photos. Loved all your thoughts. Totally got sidetracked reading all the posts you linked to. :) Happy New Year!

ClancyPants said...


(more dueling noises)

But seriously, I love this post. It's well thought out and flows nicely and it smacks of posts in my past... stirring the rememberance of what it used to feel like to write from my heart.

Keep it up, girlfriend. I'll crank out another because I'm competetive, but I can't promise it will be anything really worth reading. We shall see.


I love ya!

(and I might copy some ideas in here)

Janelle said...

Fantastic post and fabulous pictures! You are inspiring me to do an amazing post for our 10 year anniversary (in June). Your children are beautiful, so so so cute! Congrats on 10 years!!

Rachel Chick said...

This post makes me happy. And I really love you.

Meghan said...

I really loved this post for many, many reasons. I agree with you on so many angles. I also think you have a beautiful family and loved reading about how they have changed. Also, kind of random but I love your pictures and was curious what kind of lens you have on your camera. Can you email me that info? You take excellent pictures! Meghanfrost(at)gmail (dot) com

Lauren Horsley said...

This post made me cry because I miss you all SO much! Having only gotten little peeks at all these wonderful milestones in yours and your childrens lives, it was fun to see it through the eyes of one who is witnessing and marking the days. You live in the moment, Lynz, and that is such an amazing lesson to me. Here's hoping 2013 has lots of Pony Fiestas!

Love you,


Nana said...

I love your beautiful hair! Don't shave it!! :0) Beautiful post Lynsey.
I love reading your posts no matter how long or short. You give me a lot of things to think about and YOU teach me things I probably should already know.
You have a beautiful family and they are blessed to have you as their wife and Mom.
I hope that your 2013 will bring more discovery of who you are and who you want to be.
Love you!

lynsey said...

meghan, i will send you an email, but am just putting this out there in case anyone else is interested in the photo info:

i use the canon Rebel xsi EOS with the lens that came with it {an EF-s 18-55mm i think??

i am honestly an amateur when it comes to taking pictures...but i think i'm getting the hang of editing them. for that i just use the free iphoto program that came with our mac. yes the camera is good {it's several years old, and i bought it used} but i personally think that editing them through iphoto is what has made a HUGE difference in my pictures. hope that helps!! :)