Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Celebrating Small Victories

"I worked so hard today, I got nothing done, and I am so tired."

This was the constant complaint out of my mouth for the first half of 2016 as we adjusted to life in a new country. In California, we operated fluently in the language, culture, and everyday life. When we moved, we stripped away most of our competency. In Thailand, everything was (and is) foreign and new. We worked hard those first months to complete the simplest tasks. The systems are different here, so moving required constant learning for several months.

At the end of most days, complaints were on my lips. "Michael, can you believe it took me three hours to get the grocery shopping done? I could do it in a little over an hour back at home with both kids in tow." "Michael, I only got in an hour of Thai study today because Cora wouldn't nap!" "Michael, today I got nothing done."

Enter: the outlook changing practice of acknowledging and celebrating small victories.

After a few months of complaining, we decided to begin talking about all we accomplished rather than all that we didn't get to that day. We would take turns most evenings. One of us would list out for the other all we did and the other acknowledged the hard work that went into each of those victories no matter how small.

Our lists were simple, "Today, I reviewed my Thai tutoring session, learned where to buy the shoes Grace needs for preschool, and called my mom." (Though I must admit, it took at least a month to reach that level of productivity in a single day!)

When we acknowledged the hard work that went into even a small victory, at the end of the day, we felt proud. We felt grateful each evening for the progress we had made in learning to operate in a new language and culture.

Even today, we sometimes feel frustrated and tired at the end of a day or week that appears to be fruitless. So, when we notice our hearts bending toward dissatisfaction and complaint, we stop to acknowledge and celebrate small victories together.

For you, it may not be moving around the globe with little children that has taken away your competency. But, there may be something else that has stolen your ability to produce -- becoming a parent, starting a new job, coping with chronic physical or mental illness, etc. So, I encourage you. When you are able, try listing out your victories, large and small, to a friend or even to yourself. I hope it's a game changer for you too.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Third Kid

We're anticipating the arrival of our third kid in about three months. I've noticed some pretty major differences between pregnancy with the first, second, and third baby. For instance...

Ultrasound pictures

Baby #1 - Newest ultrasound pic is always on the fridge

Baby #2 - Forget the ultrasound pics at the OB's office. Have to go back in to get them. Once home, they eventually go on the fridge... I think.

Baby #3 - Ultrasound printout turns into scratch paper for big sisters' butterfly project.

Naming the Baby

Baby #1 - Start talking about names well before you know the gender. It takes months, lists, perhaps even an excel spreadsheet and a couple arguments.

Baby #2 - Realize your baby grows into whatever name you give it, so just choose something you both like. Decision relatively painless.

Baby #3 - Don't even mention names until you know the gender. When you find out the gender (boy!), choose the baby's name in one 20-minute sitting.

Levels of Tiredness

Baby #1 - Tired.

Baby #2 - Tireder.

Baby #3 - I'm gonna die.

Baby Moon

Baby #1 - Baby moon spent at a B&B in a quaint, artsy little town on California's central coast having long conversations over lattes, touring a mansion, and taking lots of pictures.

Baby #2 - Grandparents watch baby #1 and we get away for one night at a local hotel, sleep until 10am (!), eat an enormous breakfast buffet, and take one terrible selfie. Decide two days before going to call it an anniversary getaway and a baby moon.

Baby #3 - Grandparents thousands of miles away. Take the whole family to an inexpensive, family friendly beach "resort." It will feel like vacation because we will not have to do laundry, cook, do dishes, or clean. Amen.

Baby registry

Baby #1 - Baby registry takes many long hours to complete. Advice from the internet and other moms is absolutely bewildering.

Baby #2 & #3 - Feel confident about what your needs and wants. Preparing for the baby is almost stress-free. Yes!

There are some strong similarities between all three pregnancies, too.


Baby #1, #2, and #3 - Worry but try not to worry about miscarriage the entire first trimester. During the second and third trimester, start to worry whenever you don't feel the baby kick for a couple of hours. Breathe a sigh of relief as you pass important viability milestones... 28 weeks (sigh), 32 weeks (sigh), 37 weeks (full term!).


Baby #1, #2, and #3 - The anticipation for and the love for each child is the same. We marvel at how each kid steals your entire heart, but then when another kid comes, your heart grows and the next kid completely steals it as well! We are so looking forward to October when we get to see our little boy's face and hold him in our arms and be enraptured once again by a tiny human who does nothing but poop, cry, nurse, and sleep.

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