Five and a half weeks from my due date.
I can't decide if that seems far away or as if it is way too close.

Either way, in a matter of weeks Tyler and I will have kids.  Not just one kid, somehow a fluke that you tricked everyone in to thinking you should take home from the hospital and raise for the next eighteen years, but two little boys for whom we are completely responsible.


I don't know.  In my last post, I mentioned the "oppresive boredom" that I can sometimes feel.  I wonder if having two little munchkin-a-roonies around will be more my pace.  No time to be bored!  Or eat!  Or shower!  

What kind of parents will we be with a little experience under our belts?  Will we treasure the newborn stage, find ways to make 3:00 am "fun"?  Will I be able to admit that I can't do it all and say yes when someone offers to hold or rock or love my baby?  Will Henry be able to contentedly play while I spend hours upon hours upon hours nursing a newborn?  What will precious one-on-one time with each boy feel like?  Will I be ok with letting house things slide in order to pursue things that really make me feel alive?  Since we are planning on this being our last baby for the next long while, will I actually exercise and get in shape post-baby?  Will Henry only eat carbs because I am too tired to make his few favorite vegetable-laden foods?  Most importantly, what is a good four person Halloween costume that can include a newborn and a toddler?  (Side note:  Tyler and I discussed how amazing it would be to be the characters from Seinfeld.  Obviously the baby would be George Costanza.  But, it's pretty low to make your two year old dress as Jerry or Kramer instead of something that he actually likes, so we scrapped that idea.)

I just keep telling myself that we will take it day by day, hour by hour, or even minute by minute.  We'll laugh at diaper explosions.  We'll comfort a crying toddler, even if it is literally over a certain pair of socks being unfortunately unwearable while in the washer.  We'll scarf down our meals in shifts while standing in the kitchen.  We'll ask for help when we need it.   We'll laugh and cry and fight and apologize.  We'll think that our two boys are the cutest things to ever grace our planet.

On the cusp of two, I'm not really worried.  Not really worried.  I'm excited and hopeful.

And, perhaps most of all, ready for my ribs to NOT serve as a xylophone for baby feet.

Oh boy, do I ever need a heavy dose of intentionality in my life these days.

I described what I've been feeling to Tyler as "oppressive boredom mixed with constant overwhelm".

Sounds healthy, right?

Maybe if you are a stay-at-home momma you can relate to this.  It's such a weird thing to have constant things to do at all times of the day and yet feel so...bored.  I'm sure that anyone can feel these things at any job, of course.

So, my plan is to add a heavy dose of intentionality to my life.

Intentionality in:

  • My marriage: often, Tyler and I just kind of go about our evenings on our own or watch some television or read.  I know that we are both tired of this.  I would consider our marriage strong and we love eachother so very much (I still can't believe that I somehow tricked Tyler into marrying me.) But, we want to be creative together, to have fun together, to work together.
  • My parenting: I'll be honest, I work pretty dang hard at being a mom.  If you're looking at time spent with my son (ok, both sons, since I am literally with the baby in my belly constantly), I could hardly spend any more time with them than I do.  I'm not sure what intentionality will look like in this area.  I know that it (for me) does NOT look like planning more toddler learning activities or anything.  I'll explain this in a later post sometime.
  • My hobbies:  My...what?  Besides reading, there isn't much hobbying going on around here.  Often if feels as if in order to do anything "fun" I have to get all the "work" done first, and since I am a highly unmotivated person, I usually procrastinate with meaningless screentime and get neither fun nor work done.  I like sewing, cooking, reading, writing.  How about less facebook and more of those things?
  • My relationships:  Being brutally honest (in a totally public forum, probably not the best place to first say this out loud, but, ya know....) I don't feel like I have any close friends because I stink at keeping up with relationships.  I have new friends, long time friends, lifetime friends, older friends, younger friends, all of them so wonderful.  But if I'm having a hard day and need someone to talk to, often I just don't know who to call.  I feel like reaching out would be a burden on someone or overstepping boundaries.  If you are one of my oh-so-wonderful friends, you may be thinking that this is a big load of (overly-processed) baloney.  Because it is.  It's time to work hard at loving my friends and letting myself be loved by those friends.  No more isolating myself out of inconvenience.
  • My spiritual life:  This one is the hardest one to put in to words.  Basically, I need to add some reverence to my daily life with God.  The prayers of thankfulness for the blessings in my life are often, but the confessions and thinking about and taking action on actual issues, not so much.
  • My health:  It's simple really:  Move everyday.  Eat lots of plants everyday.  Breath fresh air everyday. Being eight months pregnant, a new exercise regimen isn't exactly on the list of things that could reasonably be accomplished, but simple things?  I can do that.

Because that is more than enough rambling for today, the rest of my thoughts: what makes this time different?  what am I implementing?  what am I not concerned about (i.e. cleaning my bathrooms more than once a week)?  will be for another post.

Sheesh, it feels so great getting all that honesty and vulnerability out there.  No fancy staged picture, barely proof-read, and written during naptime.

Now tell me: how are you intentional in these areas of your life?  Seriously...tell me.  

First of all, I'm writing this post while listening to Henry's Spotify playlist, so if I randomly start talking about a Teddy Bears' Picnic or a Dinosaur Train, you'll know why.

By way of an update:

We're having another baby boy at the end of September.

We celebrated six years of marriage.

My husband is changing jobs.

We bought our first house.

Henry turned two.

So, not too much is new.

I do say that with some amount of sarcasm, but really it still feels like we are the same Tyler and Jess, just plugging along doing gradually more grown-up things all the time.  We have felt closer than ever through all of these changes and the changes that are looming ahead.

Every single night I go to bed so incredibly thankful for the person that I married.  I'm thankful that we are so well matched when making decisions (hemming and hawing over tiny insignificant decisions, but just jumping off the deep end on the big stuff).

We are so excited to welcome Baby #2.  He is a long hoped-for addition to our family.  Just based on the 20 week anatomy scan, it seems like he is going to be rambunctious and look nothing like his big brother.  Two boys seems like plenty kids for the next long while, so we're also excited to feel that (for now) our family is complete.

As for the new house, the short story is: WE LOVE IT.  It's smaller and much newer (only 45 years old!) than our last house.  The historic church parsonage that we have called home for the past 4.5 years holds so many sweet memories.  What bittersweet feelings as we gather our last few belongings from it.  But, the thrill of choosing our own paint colors and having a deck are outweighing the sadness.

That's what the Tanks are up to right now.  A whole lot of sleeping on air mattresses, sorting through cardboard boxes, feeling a baby boy rolling around in my belly at all hours, and lots and lots of playing Batman with our two year old little guy.

Christmas this year was so much fun.  Here are a few lingering thoughts:

-I thought last year was fun enough with Henry at Christmas, but this year was even more so.  I will say, Henry got more than his fair share of presents (ahem, grandparents), and by the end of Christmas day he was completely overwhelmed.  Now most of his new toys are safely tucked away in a closet to be brought out slowly over the course of the next few months.  

-Up until last year, I was SO OBSESSED with Christmas that I never wanted it to end. I would go to bed on the 25th as sad as can be because it would all have to wait until next year.  As cheesy and cliche as it may sound, now that we have Henry everyday is so fun and exciting that it kind of dulls the excitement that I used to feel over the holiday season.  

-I have GOT to work on my camera skills.  Practice makes perfect and I literally left my DSLR in a bag from Thanksgiving until this morning, just in time to take blurry photos of my toddler so we can take down the tree tomorrow.

-There is no place like home.  It may be because we traveled so much for Thanksgiving and Christmas and the fact that we had a whole week less between the holidays this year, but I found myself longing to be home and back to my routine.  A certain one year old felt the same way, as evidenced by the frequent mini-meltdowns.  

-I'm spending New Year's Eve alone, going to bed early, and feeling just fine about that.  The midnight countdown always feels a little anti-climatic to me anyway.  I'm always the one complaining until midnight and then scurrying off to bed at 12:02. 

-I'm on the fence about making New Year's Goals this year.  Clean slates are so refreshing, and that's what 2014 feels like, but I never seem to keep track of my goals well.  What are your thoughts on New Year's Resolutions/Goals?

I love to read.  Well, I love the idea of reading, but somehow it seems like I never do it.  I'm pretty sure it has to do with the fact that toddlers take a lot of work, but moreso that social media has a pretty good grip on me and that takes time, y'all.

In 2014 I want to make more time for reading by shoving to the side some of those fluff time-fillers in exchange for true relaxation.  To me that means curling up with a good read.  I'm going to have to read other places than in my bed because I'm snoozing after only two pages, no matter how great the book.

I saw this map on Pinterest and thought I would try to read through this list.  I'm a pretty big fan of young adult novels (for the most part) plus they are usually engaging enough that I read through them pretty quickly.  

What do you think?  How many of these have you read?  Do you even like young adult literature?  Anyone want to join me?

It seems like the holidays are the time of year when we all have a little more kindness in our hearts.  We want to do good and be good because we feel a little more connected to others.

Often we want to do good things, but we don't know exactly where to focus our efforts.

Here's a place to focus some resources for a good cause:

All these women need is $1,500 to make this dream a reality.  It's a completely manageable number...if every helps chip in.  It sounds cliche, but it is true that every little bit helps.

For more information or to donate, head on over to Mark's blog and check out the Tres Generaciones project.

*disclaimer: Do what works for your family.  Whatever that may be.  We are all just doing our best, right?  And these are just my thoughts.  Since Tyler and I are a team, we come to decisions together.

If I've said it once, I've said it 1,000 times.  At 17 months, Henry is a frequent night-waker.

I've been exclaiming, "I'm at the end of my rope!" for a year.  Clearly that rope is a lot longer than I thought because here I am, somehow making it, caffeine-less and with a mostly-positive attitude.

Seriously, about that rope.  I feel like I really had reached it with the nursing at night.  For 16.5 months I had been waking up and nursing my boy anywhere from 1-6 times at night.  Even as the most "he probably is hungry and needs to eat at night" person around, I had to admit that Henry could go more than two hours without nursing, so one night I just said, "You can have milk when there is sunshine outside."

Cue the tears and cuddling.  His cries of "Hoooooooold joooooooo!" while I fact...holding him were pretty intense, but only for a while.   After the first night when he would ask, I would say we could do it in the morning, and he was satisfied with cuddles, a tucking in, and pats on the back while he fell asleep.  He would of course keep waking up and would eventually end up in bed with Mama.

Yay!  Night weaned with ease, now we get some sleep.

Except that first night back home we didn't.  About six times I had to go in and pat his back for a few minutes while Henry fell back asleep.

In the shower Sunday morning I decided that I could handle a couple of days of letting him
cry-it-out and learning to fall asleep on his own.  Frustratingly enough, he had been falling asleep on his own until recently when he decided that Mama must stay and rock/pat/nurse/sing.

So, I was unsure but psyched up to leave the room and give him space to fall aslepp.  He was so overtired at naptime that day.  He cried and cried for 30 minutes until he fell asleep.

The relief that I normally feel knowing he is sound asleep at naptime was replaced by feelings of guilt and sadness.  I couldn't do anything but lay in bed and stare at a computer screen, trying to take my mind off the stress of his tearfull falling asleep.

If naptime was bad then bedtime was worse.

He cried for an hour.  An hour. With no signs of even trying to fall asleep.  My heart was breaking and soon I decided that I would rather get up with him for the next 365 nights than listen to him crying out for me for another minute.

I went in to his dark room, picked up that boy, snuggled him, and he was asleep within minutes.

And then guess what...he slept through the night.

Even though I had "failed" CIO, even though I gave in to my "spoiled" baby, even though he had cried, hard, for an hour.  He slept through the night.  Something that has only ever happened one other time.

So this is my farewell to letting my son cry that hard without going in and meeting his needs or even his wants.  It's just too hard, I'm just too weak.  It's just not right for our kid.

Our stubborn, wonderful, exhausting, exhilirating, wouldn't-trade-him-for-all-the-sleep-in-the-world kid.

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