My winter world is full of trying desperately to make sure Audra actually wears shoes outside the house, full well realizing the irony of two people who hate wearing shoes as much as we do having to try and convince our progeny to wear them anyway.
Winter has been saying the word "shoe" seven billion times in a row and clapping when a tiny person uses a fork correctly, then dodging wildly before she can accidentally stab me in the nostril with it.
It's full of miniature blankets that are so much softer and warmer than mine, it seems, and sounding out the names of dinosaurs in her very favorite book. Sooner or later I'm going to figure out the right way to say "Troodon" and no, don't try to tell me, Jason tells me over and over again and somehow I never quite get it right.
This winter has been feeling myself dig in to faith because there are nights when I realize that my father never actually experienced a Christmas with my daughter and I really need God to answer at least three of my fourteen thousand questions about that.
It's full of encouraging Audra Grace to eat more than two green beans and four tiny pieces of corn for dinner while she stubbornly ignores delicious veggie enchiladas, then sitting back wide-eyed the next night as she inhales breaded pork chops and sauteed zucchini with wild abandon.
It's full of realizations about just how weird Dinosaur Train really is, once you think about it.
Winter this year is finding Superman in the Nativity scene and an angel steadfastly tucked into the horse stall in the barn.
It is hunting all over the house for Audra's new baby doll while she wails inconsolably, only to discover the doll was in her crib, literally sitting within arms' reach directly behind her, the entire time.
It's watching the sun rise a little earlier and set a little later each day, and feeling my spirits start to lift accordingly.
It's never quite getting used to never really needing my winter coat in South Carolina. No matter how long I've lived here, I expect my fingers and the tip of my nose to freeze and yet they never do.
It's trying to do the "read the Bible 16 pages a day" challenge and instead having to read like 15 pages every two to three days, because whoever designed that challenge obviously did not have a toddler and a full-time job.
It's trying not to let myself go to bed as soon as I'm sleepy, because I slept away half of September and October that way and I don't want to lose January, too.
It's trying to take my goal to "nurture" seriously and trying to buy kitchen rugs at Target and finding literally not a single kitchen rug that didn't just look like they came from the Land That Happy Colors Forgot and giving up and going back to shopping on the internet.
It's buying a 'Choose Joy' shirt because damn it, at this point I have to.
This winter has been full of hugs and kisses and "bye bye" each morning before work, and watching her face light up when I walk in to pick her up from daycare at the end of the day.
It's been full of watching her get her walkin' feet, the slowest stumble-steps turning into a confident meander around the house.
Yesterday she tried to run.
That... happened fast.
This winter has been the winter of being tired, and happy, and sad, and joyful, and grieving and then terribly homesick all within a thirty second span.
This winter has been full of Audra's everyday, and brunches downtown with friends, and sneaking away to coffeeshops to stare my social anxiety in the face (and then slink off and away to a different one.)
This winter has been the winter of pulling myself together and putting on my grown-up pants and powering through anyway, but it's also been a winter full of all those little moments where I watch my daughter's mind really start to burn with her fierce need to know things, and those little moments are the ones that will shine for me in the end.
This may be the second winter in a row of 3 AM wakeups more nights than we'd willing to admit to, it's true.
It's also been a winter full of Audra's arms and her smile and the way she resolutely insists that she will carry her snack tray all by herself.
Even if she then promptly spills her snack all over the floor.
Which is why it's good we have a dog.
Today's post is my fifteenth while participating in the #wholemama link up. This week's theme was "winter". You can find the linkup here over on Erika Shirk's blog Overflow. My other posts as part of the linkup can be found by clicking the #Wholemama tab on the blog's menu or just by clicking this link.