Archive | naptime diaries

from a weary mom after the holidays


I don’t know what exactly snapped on Saturday night, but it was at that point that I decided I’d had it with the kids.

Too many mornings staggering around the kitchen half-asleep listening to Lena recite what she would like for breakfast (“I want Grape Nuts with some of your milk in a bowl and then some of Daddy’s milk in a cup! OK, Mama? OK? I want Grape Nuts with some of your milk…”) and putting food on Gil’s tray as fast as he can eat it while just longing to sit quietly, read my book, and sip my cup of coffee. Too many hours on the floor with my children, building the same towers or scooping the same markers and crayons back into the same Tupperware container after we all “color” together. Too many hours in the kitchen throwing together meal after snack after meal after snack for my family. Too much time in the house, not enough time outside, not enough time with other people.

Marriage is like dancing, and at that moment on Saturday night, I just couldn’t dance anymore. One thing I’m learning, though, is that even when your partner stumbles, the music — that is, life — keeps right on going. The kids still need your help, the stomachs still need to be filled, the routine still must go on. Sometimes both partners stop dancing at the same time, and it’s messy and sad. But in that moment, Elliott kept dancing even though I couldn’t. He played with the kids, put them in the bath, and then, after they were in bed, he found me and encouraged me.

In those moments, I felt like a failure. I said I wanted to do this stay-at-home mom thing while the kids were tiny, and Elliott has not only been fine with this but has also praised me, supported me, and been grateful for me. But on Saturday night I just wanted a break from my life.  Unfortunately, there was really no feasible way to do that. Like most situations, the easiest answer was just to get a good night’s sleep, pray for strength and perspective, and start again the next day.

Honestly, I think part of the issue was that I just didn’t get out of the house enough over the holidays. Christmas through New Year’s keep people at home with their families, which is wonderful in some ways, but my home includes two kids two and under… ack! They need more to wear them out than just block towers, and I need more to give me a break than just their two-hour nap every afternoon.

It’s Monday morning now, and it’s a new day. There is coffee in my cup, laundry in the machine, and sunshine streaming through the windows. It’s highlighting all the dirt on the floor, but… I’ll tackle that eventually. Gil is napping, Lena is at a friend’s house, and Siena is rubbing affectionately against my legs, then dashing ahead of me with a little Maine Coon-chortle wherever I go. I pray at the end of Gil’s nap I can pick him up with genuine joy and go to meet Lena with anticipation and thankfulness.

What do you do to help you recharge your batteries when you’re tired of your work, whatever it might be? No matter what our profession, we all have to show up the next day (or right after nap time) with a smile on our faces and a can-do attitude. How do you get there? What recharges you?

27 :: in Becoming a Stay-at-Home Mom Series, motherhood, naptime diaries, thoughts

one day I’ll be a good blogger again


Wow, when did this blog turn into nothing but a travelogue?  I have all kinds of aspirations to be a writer and share my thoughts here, but in the busyness of everyday life, sometimes the easiest blog post to throw together is a bunch of pictures from our most recent adventure.  Of course, they can be fun, and I do know I’ll be grateful for them in the future when I want to look back and remember our life in Italy.

But my favorite posts — for myself in the future and for honesty’s sake with my readers — are the ones where I really write and think and process and share life with you all.  The ones that are filled with pictures from our home: playful mornings with my children, a butter-smudged baking project with Lena, an iconic snapshot of Gil as he grows and changes every day.  (He’s almost 11 months old.  11 months!!!  How is this happening so fast?)

I know that this world is made a richer place by sharing, and I want to share with you.  To share what I’m learning as a mom, to share what’s working for me in this whole parenting thing, to share what is beautiful or hard in our marriage, to share a recent favorite from my kitchen, to share a recent book that I just couldn’t put down.

So I’ll start now!

The children are napping, a blessed time of day that will hopefully last at least another 30 minutes.  We had a good morning with breakfast together, a short playtime on the living room rug, and then Gil’s nap from 9-11:30. (He’s been sleeping so much lately! Growth spurt? Deprived of sleep? Either way I’m grateful.) Lena and I took a shower and then she put lotion on my face and brushed my hair and blow-dried it for me. I felt like I was in a salon; it was amazing!  She asks, “Can I make you fancy, Mama?” all the time these days. I was impressed today, as this is the first time she’s actually had the skill and attention span to perform these tasks without putting either of us in mortal danger. I have high hopes for training her to also give me a pedicure and draw a bath.

We painted pictures together until Gil woke up, then ate a quick lunch and drove to base to see Elliott, send a package (be on the lookout, Abi and Lucie!), and hunt for books in the library. We found a whole stack of wonderful winter picture books for Lena. (But they are all about snow, and I realized that she doesn’t know what snow is! I think we need to take a trip up to the now-icy slopes of Mt Etna sometime soon.) I wanted to get a Christmas movie to watch with Elliott, but they only had Four Christmases.  I’ve never seen it.  Is it any good?

On the way home I bought a crate of blood oranges for 5 euro. These will be our first blood oranges of the season, and I can’t wait to eat them! They are my favorite fruit in the world.

Yesterday I hosted a simple hot cocoa and cookies party for some friends, and it was so much fun. They brought their kids (if they had some) and we sipped hot cocoa as the children played. I told people to come as they were, in pajamas if they’d like (which gave me the excuse to wear my yoga pants the entire time). It was definitely a sugary and casual way to enjoy the season.

Finally, a general life update: two days ago Elliott was offered his dream military job supporting a special operations unit in San Diego. He’s been wavering as to whether he wants to stay in the Army or not, and he needs to make his decision by early January. We were thrilled that this job offer came now, as it gives us a couple of weeks to think and pray before moving forward. There are so many factors to consider, and the job sounds amazing… but so does civilian life. If you think of us, please pray for wisdom and humility in our decision-making.

Also, if you happen to know any military wives with husbands in a similar job to what Elliott might have, will you send them my way? As much as I can, I would love to know what we will be getting into if we take this job!

And now back to the present day, I’m planning to make this for dinner, but sadly I don’t have any apricot jam. Do you think I could substitute raspberry jam?  Might be interesting…

… and I hear a little voice calling, “Maaaama, I’m awaaaaake!” Hope you all have a wonderful rest of the week!

12 :: in military life, naptime diaries, thoughts

savoring life with my littles… I think


“And what’s your plan for the day?” Elliott asked me this morning as he poured coffee into his travel mug.

“Absolutely… nothing… planned,” I replied, sorting through my schedule and coming up empty.  “Maybe we’ll take a walk?”

“Sounds nice,” he sighed wistfully. “Taking a walk, reading books, all with your kids….”  With that he kissed us all goodbye and walked out the door for another day in the vet clinic.

He’s so right, I realized as I sat down on the rug a few minutes later to play with Lena and Gil.  It has been good for my soul to be at home with our children these past two years in Sicily.  I know that Elliott, too, would trade places with me in heartbeat.  And yet for this season of life it’s been my privilege to be the one who gets to be at home.

In an act of thankfulness, I picked up my camera and took some pictures of our morning.


And then I read this article today entitled Don’t Savor Every Moment and have since struggled over posting these pictures.  The author of the article challenged the tendency today for young mothers “to take in all of life and to feel the constant beauty of motherhood. We are a generation that puts an incredible premium on happiness.”  Her conclusion is that we should learn in every situation to be content (Philippians 4:11) and to let go of the burden of savoring and capturing every moment.

I know that this article was written just for people like me.  I know the pressure of wanting to capture these years with my children; I know the desire to edit my life along with my pictures.  I often let my motherhood become my identity instead of finding my roots in the renewing work of Christ within me, as the author so aptly put it.

In the end, I am a mother for this season here on earth, at home with two beautiful children, shouldering the weight of parenthood and adult responsibility with a compassionate husband.  Yet this is not my ultimate identity, or my final identity.  It is like a spark, here and gone, in the grand scheme of my life and in the far broader swath of eternity.  But I love this spark, these moments, and so I savor them for as long as they are given to me.

And so here are the pictures from this morning, already a moment here and gone.



^ Lena read books in bed while I put Gil to bed.  She’s proudly showing me the horse she found.


^ I don’t know about you, but I’ve given up on dust covers on children’s books.  A stack of them waits to be used again… never?



becca-garber-morning-babies-sicily-wooden-train-2 becca-garber-morning-babies-sicily-maine-coon-cat    becca-garber-morning-babies-sicily-maine-coon

^ When Gil wakes up, they seem to be saying to each other, “Why… hello there!”



What about you?  Do you feel like you meticulously, even frantically, capture and savor every moment?  Or do you feel like you’re still waiting for your life to start?  Or have you found a balance that gives you roots in a greater story?

18 :: in Becoming a Stay-at-Home Mom Series, home sweet home, motherhood, naptime diaries, thoughts

naptime diaries


my babies and me visiting Agrigento, Sicily

Ahh… the quiet calm of the house when two babies are sleeping simultaneously!  I’m on the couch savoring every second of the hands-free, sit-down silence.

How has your week been so far?  Somehow it’s already Wednesday.  It’s market day in our town, and today I decided to walk all the way to the market instead of just halfway to my favorite truck.  It was kinda brutal!  I had Gil in our Moby wrap and Lena in our stroller in hopes that Gil would sleep more than he does in his car seat.  (Fail.)  Lena had to stop to use the toilet (ie. some private corner along the way) not once but twice, Gil cried most of the time when he wasn’t lightly asleep, and I should have brought big bottle of water for myself.  But I came home with lots of goodies: fresh chicken and eggs, cured olives, three bags of fruits and vegetables, and caught-this-morning shrimp for scampi tonight.

As little update on our fussy baby… well, Gil is almost three months now, although I can hardly believe it!  He has changed and grown up so quickly; he really can’t be called a newborn anymore.  He recognizes us and coos now, but his smiles are few and far between.  Our theory on this is that he’s just more of a grouchy baby who has trouble sleeping deeply and peacefully, and thus his social smile may come later when he can learn to self-soothe and nap on a more regular schedule. Did any of you have a baby who was more reticent than smiley?

The times when he is awake and happy, though, are more frequent and last longer, and they are the most joyful moments of my day.  Even though he won’t slip into a full-facial grin more than once or twice a day, he does get so excited and so happy when he makes eye contact with me and hears my voice.  His whole face lights up, his eyes get bright and eager, and he kicks so excitedly as he puckers his mouth into a little “O” and coos back at me with all his might.  It melts my heart.

We’ve moved Gil into the guest room now than visitors have come and gone.  Honestly, that’s been a relief.  He still has trouble sleeping, but at least his grunting and snuffling aren’t keeping us up anymore.  Generally he sleeps the first shift of the night in his swing (he will not stay asleep in his bed, even if we lay him down when he is completely asleep… trust me, just last night I tried three times before I gave up) and then sleeps in his bed the rest of the night.  I get up to feed him at least three times — ouch — but lately that means he has slept in till 8am.  I do think a big part of his angst has been congestion (he got sick a couple of weeks after he was born) and reflux, and both of those issues appear to be dying a natural death as he’s growing up.

OK, that was probably more than you wanted to know!  For some of you I think it may bring back a lot of memories, whereas for others it might scare you away from ever having children.  (Sorry either way!)   We’ve been humbled by Gil, who has defied all our expectations as he mostly grumped and grouched his way through his first three months of life.  But the glimpses I get into the warm, sunny child blooming inside of him give me hope for the days to come.  I see the cute little boy underneath who loves his mama and enjoys his sister’s roughhousing and snuggles peacefully onto his daddy’s chest.  These early days will be over before we know it.

Like my friend said the other day, at this stage of life the days often seem like an eternity but the years flash by.  Isn’t that so true?


Title for this post is inspired by a wonderful blog that I highly recommend!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
8 :: in Gil, motherhood, naptime diaries, thoughts

Powered by WordPress. Designed by WooThemes