Life on Cottage Hill: PAGES

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

3 years as Mr & Mrs Engel

Yesterday was our 3rd wedding anniversary- 3 years as Mr and Mrs Engel. 3 years of unconditional love, adventures, laughter... and a growing family! I smiled to myself yesterday when I realized that we are a family of three for our 3rd anniversary and will be a family of four for our 4th next year. The best gift that I could have possibly received yesterday came true- Dan is officially back to his normal work schedules which means Jackson and I have him back into our lives! Such a huge relief, I can't even begin to explain how good that feels. 

Sunday, May 22, 2011

ahh, the weekend!

watching the work crew work outside on the addition

his sad eyes when he realizes daddy is not out there 

the crew working on the patio & garage floor 

best buddies 

 out hidden little oasis

shopping with mama- first purchase: new flashcards 

yes, I do realize how perfectly adorable he is 

I am obsessed with this little profile 

jp's firs trip to ault park 

he was so excited to climb all of the stairs- half-way up his little legs gave out, making for a long climb for this pregnant mama

but we both agreed it was well worth the view from the top 

playing on the newly-poured garage floor 

mama & baby cow who live in the pastures next door 

the eldest son- most likely bitter to be outside instead of inside napping

Monday, May 9, 2011

blurry lessons

I have been a mother for a little over 2 years now (Jackson is 15 months old, but you're fooling yourself if you don't believe that every second of the 9.5 months that I carried him inside of me didn't count). And over those 2 years I have learned a lot. One of the biggest lessons has been that being a mom forces you to shine a light on yourself brighter than ever before, illuminating every facet of you- for good or for bad- because in the deepest corner of your heart you strive to be your best... not for your own sake, but for the sake of your children. Because your children are destined to grow up to be versions of you... and if you're like me, you pray that they will blow the 'you-as-you-know-it' out of the park in every way. 
I believe God gave us families- especially mamas and daddys- for many reasons, one of which is to learn from the generations before us. What good is it for us to face trials and hard times if we don't learn from those lessons of the past... and more importantly teach those lessons to our children in a way that proactively equips them with the common sense and know-how to avoid making them themselves. And I'm not just talking about lessons from the not-so-good times, I'm also talking about the wisdom we gain when we take the time to soak up our blessings and really understand where they came from and the responsibility we have to give back to those around us when we are given so much. 
There are so many things that I want to teach Jackson, so many lessons that I have learned- sometimes the hard way, sometimes the easy way- but things that I hope he doesn't have to waste so much time himself figuring out. I think that sometimes we end up having to re-learn the same lessons over and over. It's like when you were a kid (or maybe still as an adult) you would run across the grass in the summer without shoes on and step on a bee and it hurts so badly. And in that moment when the sting was so real and so intense you would swear that you'll never run barefoot again, that you'll wear shoes every time. And somehow that lesson would fade and you would end up running shoe-less dozens of times that summer, not always resulting with a bee-sting, but lesson-forgotten momentarily nonetheless. 
I certainly can't prevent Jackson from ever getting stung by a bee and I do realize that a bee sting every once in awhile will be good for my little man- although hard on him and probably even harder on me to watch, but what I can do is to be the best me every day because there will never be anything more influential in his life than the example of Dan and I. I know this. I think about it every day. The reality of the power in that statement is both awe-inspiring in the most energizing way, yet can have a crippling effect that comes from the paralysis of fear if you allow it to.... just as all the most worthwhile things in life do. 
Lately I have allowed the anxiety from the pressure that I'm facing in a few places in my life to overtake me. Overtake my thoughts, my vision and inevitably my actions. It's certainly not something I am proud of, but it's also not something I have had any control over. I think 'depressed' would be far to heavy of a word to describe my state of mind right now, but overwhelmed, burnt out, major rut would all be fair contenders. But, the amazing thing is that, first of all, I know it's only temporary and even having the energy and passion to sit down and write this is a sign that I'm coming out of it. But, even more beautiful in my eyes is that no matter how stressed and smothered I feel with some of the responsibilities in my life... there is never a day- not even a second- where being a mom adds to that stress. Not even a little bit. For me, Jackson (and the growing baby inside of me)- and Dan- are my happy place. They are for me the eye of the storm- the most peaceful, uplifting parts of my day. 
I don't know yet what lesson I am to be learning during this season that I'm going through. Maybe it's to not allow the expectations at work to weigh so heavily on my mind, maybe it's to appreciate Dan far more for all he does because having him gone right now is far harder than I thought it would be, maybe it's to stop taking life so seriously so much of the time, maybe it's to get me to open my eyes to possibilities outside of life as we know it right now or maybe it's just God's way of slowing me down right now when I have the most fragile and precious blessing forming life right inside of my belly. Whatever the lessons turn out to be, I am sure of 2 things: that I'll not only learn from them this the first time but that I'll tuck this lesson away to pull out at the most opportune time for my children some day and that amidst all of the chaos and deep, hard feelings that I'm dealing with right now, there is this most pure and untainted love that I get to call all mine. All mine, completely unconditional. The love of a son and the love of a husband. Thank you, thank you, Lord. 

Sunday, May 8, 2011

thank you.

It's too late to let all of my thoughts flow tonight. All of the words that "mother's day" brings to mind. But, I did want to thank one very special little man who completely stole my heart and changed my life forever when he made me a mother 15 months ago today. I am humbled each day to know that God chose me to be his mama. I love you, I love you, I love you.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

meeting zoe marie

This past weekend we got to meet Zoe Marie, the newest, most beautiful addition to our family. Zoe lives in Cape Cod where my cousin, Aaron, is stationed with the Coast Guard, but they made the trip home this week to baptize Zoe and introduce her to all of her newest fans. Jackson loved playing with the "bebe" ...a little practice for when our little "bebe" comes in November!

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