Friday, December 14, 2012

Where I've Been

I was struck down hard last week with the news that an elementary school classmate of my brothers' passed away. He was killed in a car accident, hit by a drunk driver. My heart is still aching for his family.

While I've processed this, there hasn't been room for much else.

This is also finals week. Four down, one more to go.

I'm working hard at finding the happy in each day.

I will be back.


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Moving On

Sometimes the past holds you down.

It grabs you tight and won't let go. I feel such a weight on my shoulders, hands wrapped around my neck, pulling me down, crushing me.

I found a letter today. I don't know why I saved it.

The infamous "You are a bitch" letter from high school.

I've never been one to let go. I still hold grudges from events years a go. I don't mean to, I want to let go, oh how I want to let go, I just don't. Or can't. Or won't. Or whatever.

So this weighs on me some more. Hurts my heart and crushes my soul.

I had such lofty ambitions for myself. All I wanted to do was go to Harvard and become a doctor.

Then life happened. Life happened hard. And it hurt, it wasn't easy, and I froze. I was literally stuck where I was and could not move forward.

So I never did what I wanted to do. I just existed, trying to figure out my next step, another path, leaving behind every friendship I had made. I couldn't be a friend because I was so stuck inside myself.

I feel like I've moved on from that time of my life in some ways, and not at all in others. I'm happy again. I'm in a good place in my relationships, and growing my friendships again. I still am rusty, but I'm working on it.

I am just still so disappointed in myself. I feel like I let myself down.

I let other people tell me that is the case.

I ran into a kid I went to high school with a few years back, and he was disgusted with me. How I looked, how I had changed majors, how I hadn't stuck with my plans. It shook me to my core.

I let go again. I felt worthless and broken and lost.

Had it not been for my fiance-turned-husband, I'm not sure what I would have done. He believed in me above all else.

Because of that, I moved on. We got married, started a family, and now have three beautiful, amazing children. I no longer feel like a failure.

I may not have chosen the path that was laid out before me, or the path I had boasted was the right one for me, but I forged my way. I found a path that excites me and thrills me and fits me perfectly.

So now I'm a college student again, and though I still struggle sometimes with feeling like I've failed, it's an easier bounce back to reality than it used to be.

Harvard would have been nice, but there are plenty of good schools out there. I don't WANT to be a doctor. It's not in my heart anymore.

The time has come to allow myself to embrace the path I've taken, the path that picked me, that fits me and completes me like nothing ever has. I know what I'm doing and where I'm going, and for once, finally, that is enough.

Though I may always struggle with the letting go, I feel like I'm moving forward. Slowly but surely. Learning from the past, knowing and acknowledging in myself that a change in paths does not constitute a failure in life, and understanding that others' opinions of me do not make or break me.

I know me, I love me, and I am embracing me and my potential and my gifts and what I can offer to the world. For the first time in a really long time, I am glad to be me.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thankful

I don't often forget to be thankful for what I have, but this year, especially this year, I'm more grateful than ever.

It's been a big year.

I'm so thankful that we were able to stay in one place. We have moved pretty regularly over the last seven years. I know we aren't done moving yet, we have at least one more move in our future, but for this moment, we are here. 

Being here feels good.

We are finally home. 

Because of that, my sweet Tee was able to stay in the school two years in a row. That seems like such a simple thing. We just went to her school conferences, and though we are always met with good reports on her academics, there are often worries over her behavior. And beyond that, she hadn't been happy.

This year, though? She was blessed with the most amazing teacher who accepts her just the way she is. Allows her to be chatty and social, and teaches her to use those traits in a positive way. That's all it took, an accepting teacher who could see the real her. And she is SO happy. She has friends who she loves, she's not the "new" kid, she feels like she belongs. I am SO thankful.

I am so thankful that my sweet Bam has blossomed. His speech has improved, his vision has been helped tremendously by his glasses, and for the first time in his life he has started to sing! This is HUGE. For years, he would cry and cover his ears anytime I tried to sing him a nursery rhyme, we weren't able to listen to the radio in the car because he couldn't handle the sound. But now? He sings along! Actually sings. He dances. He smiles. He still will have moments when he is frustrated and sounds bother him, and he still can't handle it being too loud, but for the most part, we have turned a huge corner. I am SO thankful.

Then there is my darling Gray. I am so thankful she is here and she is healthy and oh so happy! She is a constant joy in our lives. I had no idea we were missing anything until I looked into her eyes. She's just such a wonderful, happy baby. She was the baby I had been praying for. Had things happened the way I had intended, she would be three years old now. I don't know why it took so long for her to come into our lives, but I can promise you that she is beyond worth the wait. I am SO thankful.

I am thankful that I have a husband who works so hard to provide for us so that I can stay home and care for our kids the way I want to, and so that I can continue on in my college education. He's so supportive, coming home from a long work day to take the baby so I can pour over my books, most of the time coming home to a messy kitchen and a cold dinner. He has been my rock and my shoulder to lean on in my breastfeeding journey with Gray. I have not had the mound of support I had anticipated or had envisioned when it came to nursing her from other areas of my life, but he was in my corner all the way. 

He's always been in my corner, backing me all the way with every crazy idea or dream I've had. He truly is my partner and soul mate. I am SO thankful.

I'm thankful that my mother has remained in my life, no matter what. I'm thankful for each of my three brothers, near and far, they are always close to my heart. I'm thankful for my extended family, my grandmothers, my cousins, aunts and uncles, all of my dear friends, my husband's entire family.

We are blessed to be loved by so many wonderful people.

I'm just thankful. For it all. Every second of it. The good and the bad. The ups and the downs of this past year were extreme, but through all of it, through God, we are here and standing.

For that, I am SO thankful.

Love each other this holiday season. Be the good. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Change the World ~ Freecycle

I've been working hard to find ways to involve my kids in helping others. It seems like we spend a lot of time in the car, racing here and there, school, activities, coming and going. Our free time is rushed to get homework done, finish laundry, get everybody showered and in bed.

Rush, rush, rush.

I want them to understand how lucky we are.

Admittedly, we aren't in the best of places, but there are people even more worse off than us.

And we have so much STUFF. People are kind and wonderful and we have been blessed by gifts from so many. I want my kids to be able to pass on to others.

So then there is freecycle. You've heard of it, right? Where you pass on your belongings to others?

There's no guarantee that you are passing on to somebody less fortunate, and that's not really the point. It's passing on and fulfilling a need. And sometimes you really get a chance to connect.

I know a lot of people who sell their belongings, and that's wonderful! It just isn't what's in my heart right now.

So we freecycle. Today we passed on some boys clothing to a single mom who was struggling to get winter clothes for her little boy. We also passed on some girls clothing to a family of little girls who are growing like weeds.

A few weeks a go, I cleaned out Bam's room and he helped me pick out some toys he no longer plays with. I put them on freecycle, and got a response from a very sweet woman. Her daughter had called her in a panic earlier that day because she was having trouble getting the money together for her son's third birthday that weekend. Her email spoke to me. It wasn't that long a go when we found ourselves in a similar position and I had felt like the worst mother in the world.

I told Bam how his toys were going to go to a little boy who wasn't getting much for his birthday, and my sweet little boy's heart was broken for this other child. He ran off to his room and collected a few more toys and a brand new coloring book for this other boy.

I knew in that moment that I am doing something right!

So we put the large bag of goodies on the porch. A few hours later, I hear a knock on the door. It was the grandma picking up the toys. She wanted to show me a picture of her sweet grandson and thank me personally. She was very sweet, and even volunteered to help us in the yard in the spring if we needed help. I love meeting kind hearted people!

A few weeks prior to that, I read a post from a woman in search of baby items. Her daughter's friend had given birth, and subsequently been kicked out of her home. This poor girl was in a desperate situation, and this kind woman had opened her doors and taken the two of them in. They had nothing for a baby, and she was asking solely for the basics, some clothes, diapers, anything at all. I searched my heart and knew I was ready to pass on some of our bigger baby items.

So I responded and collected for her a swing, a bouncer, and all the little boy clothes I could find.

A very sweet teenage girl showed up to pick it up and gave me the biggest hug and thanked me for helping her friend. I told her what an amazing person she was and her family was for helping this girl and her brand new baby.

I don't always make these types of connections on freecycle, but sometimes I do.

It's simple. One small act of kindness. Giving of something to somebody who needs it. That's it. I didn't spend any money, I didn't go out of my way, my schedule for the day did not have to be rearranged. Just one little bag on my front porch could change the day for one other person.

One small act can change the world. Maybe not the entire world, but one person's world. And that's enough.


Check out the website! www.freecycle.org

I love their tagline... changing the world one gift at a time.

THAT, my friends, is my point. One small thing. You can do it!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Calm

Between the all-night-long nursing sessions and the sick kids and the dirty diapers and the vacuuming and the laundry and the homework and the this and the that...

...there's something.

Just a moment of calmness, of peace, of sitting still and being and existing in this place.

"This place" is so much right now.

The house we live in. The house we want to live in. The kids in their own worlds, different ages and stages and how they connect and how they conflict. The husband, how we are, how we aren't. The goals. The dreams.

All of it.

It's all in this place, this tricky maze of confusion and excitement, possibility and fear. All bottled up with the day-to-day and the week-to-week.

How do you possibly begin to make sense of it all? How can you peel back the layers and find that moment of calmness where it all makes sense?

I feel it, with every sense of my being, I feel it. Within grasp, right in front of me, I just have to get up and get it.

That simple.

I can have it, if I want it.

Oh, how I want it.

I don't even need to keep it. Just hold on to it for a little while. Just a little moment of clarity and being able to breathe easy would be all I would need, then I can pass that moment on to another mama.

Because I can't be alone in all of this. I know I'm not. I know there are a host of other Super Mama's out there doing and being and feeling and wanting it all.

To embrace that sisterhood is my next step.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Serious Talks

So, the election is over.

Don't worry, this is not a political post. Don't run screaming for the hills just yet!

The interesting thing about this election is that we have a kid old enough to get that something is happening. She hears the commercials and the news reports, her friends talk about things, and they were studying elections in school. Very simple stuff.

She comes home from school one day, all bubbly and talkative as usual, her mouth running a mile a minute.

"Hey, Mom? Who are you voting for?"

Simple question. Not really a simple answer.

You see, my thoughts and opinions have changed over the last few years, especially now that I'm a mom. I worry more about issues that never crossed my mind ten years a go. I see more in gray, not just black and white.

Pretty much that means I hadn't decided yet. Which was not a good enough answer for my inquisitive seven year old.

"Well, you see, there are more than two candidates..."

"But, MOM. What if you HAD to pick one of the two?"

There's no explaining to her that there are more than two parties, that you can vote whichever way you please.

And again, I had no answer.

My bright idea?

"Hey, let's ask Daddy when he gets home from work!"

SCORE. Conversation tabled for later.

The crazy thing about this kid is that she never forgets anything. EVER. I promised her a trip to California when she was two years old. She still asks when we're going, because, you know, I promised.

I guess I better start planning that trip.

So there was no chance that she'd forget our conversation.

Sure enough, as soon as Daddy walked in the door, and before he had a chance to take his coat off, she's all over him.

"Hey, Dad! Who are you voting for in the election?"

Dad was in the same boat as Mom.

He was honest with her. "I still have some research to do."

With that big bright smile, she exclaims, "I can help! I know ALL about the candidates!"

We chuckle. Then I think, wait, how does she know? She really IS smarter than me.

Well, what the heck, right? If she could just tell us, then I wouldn't have to do the work myself. Bonus!

"Ok, tell us about them!"

"Mitt Romney likes meatloaf! And President Obama likes chili!"

YES. There you have it. All you need to know!

I should have posted this pre-election, it may have helped all the other undecided voters make their choice!

She also knew their wives names, how many kids they had, and their favorite color.

You know, all the really important, juicy stuff!

I thought we were about to have this deep conversation with our kid about the state of the world, what we believed, how she could formulate her own opinion. I forget sometimes that her version of the world is still innocent.

Thankfully so.

I know that deep conversation will come one day, along with several other deep, scary conversations. It's not that far off. I'm anxious about those talks. I want to make sure I tell her the important things she needs to know. I want to be sure I foster in her the ability to formulate her own opinion.

Raising a person is scary stuff.

In the meantime, I embrace the innocence. I love on her and hope that she will gain the confidence she needs to go forth in the world and do good.

That's all you can hope for.

That, and some seriously good meatloaf.

With chili.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Fresh Start - Just Write

So the facelift didn't quite go as planned, time-wise or look-wise, but I'm happy.

I just needed a change. Something fresh and new. Different than the old, but still the same.

Like a fresh coat of paint. The room still looks the same, the walls are still the same, the furniture is all still there, but the color changes everything. The vibe, the feeling, the emotion.

That's what I was looking for. I needed a fresh start.

I needed to paint the walls and begin again.

I feel that way about so many aspects of my life. If I could just take that brush and add a fresh coat of paint to this and to that...

It would change things. I could start anew. Fresh. Ready to face the difficult head on.

So I'm taking that brush today and I'm painting.

I'm painting relationships.

I'm painting my job and my school.

I'm painting all the avenues that I'm dying to travel down. Getting rid of the roadblocks with a swift stroke.

It's all the same, but fresh and new and I can handle it.

Linking up with Just Write (go check it out and link up!)

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Awesome

I watch them sit together on the floor of our living room.

One, two, three.

Giggling, playing, being together.

That's what I had envisioned.

Right there in that moment.

This was it.

This was the family life I had dreamed of.

Sitting on the couch, cuddling with my husband, the dog curled up at my feet, watching our three children play together.

Wow.

This is real.

Every part of this is happening, right now, right here.

And there are moments of excruciating frustration that I'm not enough, I'm not doing enough, I'm not being enough.

And then there are moments like this, where I know it doesn't matter.

I'm raising three pretty awesome people.

Even when I burn dinner, or I forget to wash the favorite pair of jean leggings, or I didn't make the kid read before she went to bed so we had to wake up at the crack of dawn to get the reading done so she didn't lose a chance to get her ticket pulled...whatever that means...

They are three pretty awesome people, and this is a pretty awesome life.

Embracing rather than worrying and regretting.

Linking up with Just Write

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Ahh Fall

Ah ha!

What is that I feel outside?

Is it...no...it couldn't be...

It's not hot! Is it actually...*gasp*...kind of chilly?

YES!

It sure is! Helloooo, fall!

Man, we live in the north for a reason. I don't like heat!

We lived in Texas for a year a few years back, and the heat was just insane. 40+ days of 100+ degree weather? No, thanks.

But here, in the north, in the midwest, we have this wonderful little season called fall.

Or autumn.

Or, honestly, heaven!

It's chilly. The air is crisp. The leaves are changing colors. The sky is bright and blue.

Yes, indeed, this is my favorite time of year!

Cider mills and hayrides. Raking leaves and jumping in the piles. Jeans and hoodies.

LOVE.

For two mornings in a row, I have been tempted to turn on my heat to warm up the house!

Instead, the kids and I pile on to the couch, under some blankets, and cuddle up until we get warm enough to start our day.

Ah yes, fall is here. The season of possibilities.

Monday, September 10, 2012

She

She knew that her life was meant for something. Something great.

Isn't that how every child should grow up? Knowing he or she is meant for something. That their existence does indeed have purpose.

For that, I suppose, she was lucky.

However, unlucky in her indecisiveness.

So she exists. Wondering how to accomplish all that her heart feels it needs to do.

There's just so much. No way to sort it out. No place to start.

And while she waits and wonders, the world carries on.

Senseless deaths. Crime. Murder. Poverty. Homelessness. Pain. Sadness.

And her heart aches. For all of it.

Something has to change.

She has to change.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Change the World: Drive Thru Blessing

There was a quote going around Facebook this week that really inspired me.

I am only one, but I am one.
I cannot do everything, but I can do something.
And I will not let what I cannot do
interfere with what I CAN do.
~Edward Everett Hale

I have these grand plans of how I intend to change the world, and sometimes they become so elaborate and complicated that I'm not sure I even know where to begin. So I don't. I just sit and stay and exist, and that's not doing anything constructive to help. This quote ignited the fire within me to find that focus I needed.

So how can I change the world? Maybe not the entire world, maybe just a group of people. Maybe just a city, or a neighborhood, or a street. Maybe just one person's day.

Several weeks a go, we did a quick afternoon trip through the local Sonic. "Happy Hour" seriously makes me happy! Half off drinks? Happy kids? Yeah, sure, sign me up for that!


I think we've all either heard the story, or maybe even experienced it, about a person in a drive-thru line paying for the people behind them. A little "Pay it Forward" thing going on. Recently I heard it referred to as a "Drive Thru Blessing" - awesome! I've always wanted to do it, but never really brave enough to try.

I know that sounds silly. "Brave enough." But it's true. At Sonic, they display your total bill on a small screen directly outside the window, and you can swipe your own credit card through. Once your bill is paid, it will show the person behind you in line's total. 

So that particular day, I paid our bill, and saw $2.24 pop on the screen for the person behind us. I decided that today was the day, I was going to pay somebody else's bill. What's an extra $2.24?

I'll admit, some days, an extra $2.24 is the gas we need to get from point A to point B, or how we finish getting dinner on the table. Some days it's not extra. But this particular day, I had a little extra, and I wanted to do something nice.

As I waited for the person inside to open the window so I could tell them my plan, another worker came out the door and went to the car behind me and took their payment directly, and gave them their drinks, and off they went.

I was discouraged. I had finally decided to do this and off they went! I was scared that the next person's bill might be $20, something I definitely didn't have at the time.

I held my breath as the screen changed to the next person in line.

$4.89.

Perfect! The woman inside opened the window to hand me our drinks, and I told her my plan. I slipped my card through the card reader again. She said she'd never had anybody do that before, just that she's heard about it, and she thought it was amazing! She was excited to tell the next person in line that their order was paid for. We had a wonderful exchange, smiled at each other, and off we went.

I hope that the person behind me was able to pass on this one small deed to somebody else in their life.

I hope that the woman working the drive thru window was inspired to do one small deed to somebody else in their life.

I hope the cycle continued.

It was one small deed. I certainly didn't get any recognition for it. But it wasn't needed. We can do small acts for the pure purpose of making somebody's day. Changing their world in a positive way, even if just for that one moment.

Happy Sunday! Have you done anything this week that has changed the world in a positive way? Something big? Something small? Please share! Not for recognition, but to inspire others to do the same. Imagine what the world would be like if we all took the time to do one small act for another person. Amazing!

Friday, September 7, 2012

I'm Funny

"Hey, Bam, keep your eyes peeled for Mimi!"

*hysterical laughter*

"Mama, my eyes are not bananas!"

*more hysterical laughter*

"Mama, you are the funniest mama ever!"

Heck yeah I am. I should get a trophy or a plaque or an embroidered pillow or something!


Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Song in the Car

We chatted about how great it is that some of her best friends from last year are going to be in her class this year. A boy she thinks is cute, one she might marry, and two of her very best girlfriends, one who lives very close to us, and the other who teaches her words in Japanese. Her excitement for the school year to start is electric.

We sat in the parked car, I turned off the engine but the radio still played. She asked if she could unbuckle. It amazes me that she is capable of doing that herself. I said sure, and she unbuckled and propped her elbows between the front seats.

"Turn the radio up, Mom!" she squealed as one of her favorite songs came on the radio. I obliged, of course.

We sang together, me and her, as loud as we could. She let me be in the moment with her, something that I've noticed she's been stepping away from lately. She didn't ask me to stop, she just leaned on my shoulder, pressed her cheek to mine, and sang with me. We danced, her blonde wavy hair bouncing to the beat of the music. I secretly prayed for the song to be longer.

I didn't want this moment to end.

But it did. And it was okay. She kissed me on the cheek and said, "I love you, Mom." I knew that she felt the same way as I did in that exact moment.

She's becoming this incredible little person. She's not a baby anymore. She's a kid. And I'm not exactly sure when that happened, nor am I sure how I feel about it. Each age and stage has been more exciting than the last, but I don't want to rush it, I want to live it with her. While she still allows me to do so.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Speeding

Sometimes I think I would love to be an octopus.

Yeah, that sounds odd. But think of all the things I could do with 8 arms!

Start dinner. Nurse the baby. Read to the bigger kids. Brush my hair.

Wow.

This mama is running on empty.

It's the end of summer. I go back to school in two days. Tee goes back in a week. Bam starts about two weeks later. It's bittersweet. I'm excited for them to start, new opportunities, getting out of the house and playing with friends, all good things.

But I do miss them.

I will definitely be that mom who sneaks into their rooms at night, in their own houses, to kiss them goodnight. You know that book, right?

I don't want to let go. Ever. But man, I just want to brush my hair in peace. Or not even in peace, just want to brush it. I HAVE NO TIME.

Or to shower. Wow. That sounds exciting.

I bet I'd feel better if I pulled on some real clothes rather than these pajamas. Though comfy, they are not mood uplifters in any way.

I want to do so much right now. I have projects in all corners of my head. I just can't break it down. It won't stop and separate and organize and prioritize.

This is a common theme for me. I always have so much to do, I can't figure out how or when, so it never gets done. I break down, I cry it out, and I sit. Waiting. For what? I don't know. A sign. Some help. A miracle.

Anything.

Even sitting here now, my mind is racing.

RACING.

Ridiculously fast. I'm already on tasks I need to do later, bypassing a good ten other things that need to be done now.

Slow down. I'm missing everything.

Every single little beautiful moment is flying by. My kids are planning for snow days already. I need to teach them to wait, be patient, enjoy the now. I can't teach what I can't do.

That's two "can't"s in one sentence. When I was coaching, I'd make my athletes do push-ups every time they said that word. There is no such thing as "can't", I'd say. Maybe "I still need to learn", but not "can't" ...

I'd make myself do push-ups, but umm, yeah. That requires effort. Boo.

So, I need a remedy. Some magic potion of something to get my butt moving. To motivate me. To inspire me. To MAKE me.

Do you ever feel this way? What do you do to beat it?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

I Want to Remember

It was a long day. I was beyond grateful that all three kids had finally fallen asleep. I needed a moment, or two, or three, to just breathe. Gray was asleep in my arms, after a long nursing session. I laid her down, and she immediately stirred and started to whimper. I felt broken, tired, will she ever sleep? I picked her up, her sweet hand rested on my cheek, her face buried into my neck, and with a big sigh, she was asleep again. I smelled her, the sweet mix of milk and baby-ness that is just intoxicating. I thought about laying her down again, because I desperately needed some time to myself. I just couldn't do it. Instead, we walked back to the couch, and I just held her. I thought about how fast these five months have gone. How fast the next five will go, and the five after that, and the five after that. I tried to think back to Tee and Bam at this age. Why couldn't I picture every moment with them? Why isn't it so clear? I remember things, yes. A lot of it is general. How Tee would only sleep if I was next to her, how we spent our mornings giggling in bed together while Daddy was still at work. How Bam would spend hours awake, and we'd sit rocking night after night, his little body aching in pain from a gluten intolerance we didn't understand. How he'd put his sweet cheek next to mine, our faces facing the same direction. He never would put his head in my neck to cuddle like his sisters did, we were always cheek to cheek.

I guess I do remember more than I gave myself credit for, but I want to remember everything. Every second of their babyhood. Every moment, every breath, everything. I just can't grasp it. I know they were little once, but how did they grow so quickly? Why can't I picture them at this exact age and time as Gray is tonight? I feel like I'm losing them, slowly, like sand through my fingers, slipping away. All the memories. I can barely feel them, I can barely remember the smell of their sweet skin, the sound of their sweet laughter.

So I don't worry any more about that moment of alone time I so desperately had daydreamed about all day. All I think about is how I want this moment, this moment right here, to be the one I remember for the rest of my life.

So I soak her in.

Her chubby fingers and toes, ankles and thighs, wrists and cheeks. I kiss her head at least a hundred times, feeling her soft hair brush my lips. I can't help but smell her, close my eyes, and try to burn that smell into my memory. I want to be able to recall exactly what she smelled like. I let my body relax and try to imprint exactly how she feels against me, where she places her hands and arms, how her feet curl up under her, exactly how heavy she feels against me. I try and match my breathing to hers, in hopes that we can connect deeper than just my imagination. I hold her tight, eyes closed, and I force this moment to become important. I run it through my head several times, over and over, hoping that I won't ever forget.

This motherhood thing is so amazing. It's frustrating and scary and wonderful all tied into one. I can't believe time is passing by so quickly, each day and year more exciting than the last, and I look forward to what these people will become. But in that excitement, I don't want to lose the moments we shared of who they once were. Three tiny little people, completely different from each, completely and utterly loved by everything that I have, completely dependent on me to give them the life they deserve. It's sometimes too big to even wrap my mind around.

So, I won't. I'll just soak in this moment. This moment with my sweet Gray, wrapped in my arms, entwined in my soul for eternity. I will never forget how this feels.

Linking up with Just Write

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Mama's Losing the LBs



So, weight loss. Blah. It's been a long journey.

I went through a bit of a depression while in college (the first time) and ate my way through my feelings. Couple that with the fact that I was not participating in a sport for the first time in my life, I ended up really sitting around doing nothing and feeling sorry for myself. I had made an attempt at weight loss right before I found out I was pregnant with Tee. I've never really gained much in any of my pregnancies, and I've lost all of it right away. 

But you bet your ass I blame all this on those pregnancies. That's right. It's all their fault!


Damn kids.

In all seriousness, I'm scared to even say how long I've been dealing with this.

But I came to a realization after Gray was born a few months a go. I love myself. I really, truly do! Seriously! I love myself! Every inch, every pound, the whole package. 

That statement alone has helped me prioritize and really decide I want to be healthier. I'm happy with ME, but I want to be healthier. I want my family to be healthier. I don't want to be skinnier, though sure, I'll take that little perk, but I could care less. I just want to FEEL better.

How freeing it is to not be restricted and controlled by diets and plans and numbers and routines I just never felt I could keep up with.

It feels GOOD to be free.

So, with that freedom and my new love for myself, what should I do?

First and foremost, gotta get off my rear and do something. The first and easiest thing I can do is just walk. I put Gray in the sling, let Tee and Bam get their bottles of water ready, and off we go! We aren't moving at any record-breaking pace, we aren't walking for a set amount of time, we're just walking, enjoying each other's company, exploring, and getting fresh air. It's good for ALL of us!

So that's my starting point. That and I pretty much completely gave up pop! (yes, people, it's POP, I'm a Midwest girl, let me be!) I gave it up completely when Gray was born and I was nursing her. She seemed extra fussy when I would have some, so I gave it up. She was a happier baby, and I shed a few pounds right then and there! Awesome! 

This is an ongoing process, and I'll post about my efforts and progress as the weeks go on.

Focus on being healthy. This is for my entire life, it's gotta be something we can stick with! And really, being alive and feeling good is something I can definitely handle!s

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

You Capture - Feet

Jumping back in head first to my blog. We had a much-needed couple days away as a family, and it was lovely. Feeling refreshed!

And HOT. Is it hot where you are, too? I live in the north for a reason, me and the heat are not friends.

So You Capture this week was feet. Um...I'm not a foot person. I hate adult feet.

But baby feet?? Oh yeah, I'll kiss on those piggies all day! I'm actually even okay with the older kids and their stinky feet. Who knew becoming a mom could change you?

I just can't help thinking that these are the feet that will carry my precious cargo out into the world. That's pretty powerful.

Here's the oldest baby holding up her baby sister's foot. She's a chunky monkey. :)



Here's baby girl's new socks her grandma bought for her! They are 9-12 month socks. She's almost 4 months old. Yup, that's how we roll around here!



She also just figured out that she has feet! Today, she pulled off her sock for the very first time. This is one of her first major accomplishments! Right up there with smiling, learning to walk, going to college, etc.



And here's a little peek at what a happy baby looks like after she pulls off her sock for the first time!



 Linking up with You Capture

Friday, June 29, 2012

Letting Go

Yesterday was profound for me. I had held on to this lingering hope that I could keep part of my old life for just a little longer. A piece that wasn't that important, but I loved it just the same. As much as I know it was time to let go, and I'm ready for it, it still stung a little. Bittersweet, I guess. I didn't think it would hit me that hard.

But that's life. Moving on.

There's more exciting things out there for me. For my family. That mean more.

Taking a deep breath, and letting go.



So what's next? I feel like with the end of this chapter, a new one is ready to begin. So many thoughts and ideas just pouring out of me. It's a jumble, I'm a mess. I need perspective.

Just in time for our annual vacation. Stay-cation, really. It would be lovely to be that family with the three young kids that travels and goes on real vacations, but that's just not us. I do enjoy our stay-cation, though. 

Family, food, fun, fireworks. Lots of swimming. Lots of laughter. Just what I need to snap me out of this funk.



*Sigh* It feels good already.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

A day in the life

Summer is in full swing and my time management has flown out the window.

We come and go as we please, spending hours in our pjs and staying up late.

I feel stretched and strained and carefree all at the same time.

We are getting in a groove. Slow but sure.

I question my abilities, how to spread myself and fulfill all their needs.

One night this week Bam woke up in the middle of the night sick. I brought him to my room, throw up bucket in hand. He wants me to hold him as he drifts off to sleep. Gray wakes up and needs to be nursed. Who gets to be first? How do I decide?

I don't.

All three of us pile into my bed, I cuddle Bam in one arm, and scoop Gray up to nurse in the other. I have to do some funky bending to make it work. I'm exhausted. And uncomfortable. But these babies are happy and content. I relax and let myself doze for a moment, smiling and full of so much love.

I'm not always super mom. But some nights, I'm pretty darn close.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Here We Are

Oh, life.

Tee is out of school now. Mornings are nice and slow again. Just the way I like it.

We've just been here, being and existing and it's nice.

I had a ridiculous headache that lasted just under three days. I'm finally feeling normal again. We might even venture out of the house this afternoon. To the park or just to the yard, whatever works.

My headache may have subsided, but my head still feels like it is about to explode. With ideas. With excitement. With SO. MUCH. STUFF.

I am trying to let things be and enjoy each moment and this summer, but I'm antsy and excited for the future. It's a fine line.

I've got an end goal. Now it's just working on the plan to get there.

I washed my kitchen counters this morning. Something I do often. But today? The counter was shining, and it keeps catching my eye. Such promise. Clean, shiny counters. Clean, shiny life.

Lunch time has rolled around. Dinner is already in the crockpot so the afternoon is all ours. Gray is waking from her nap. Is it Wednesday? Or Thursday? Just a few days into summer break and the days are already melting together.

The calm is here. And I welcome it.

Linking up (a tad late) with Just Write

Monday, June 11, 2012

Savory Summer

Summer in our house officially starts tomorrow afternoon. My little girl is just a few hours away from moving on to second grade!

In the fall, I'll have two little ones heading off to school.

I sound like a broken record lately. I keep repeating how unbelievable it is that they've grown so quickly.

But seriously...where has the time gone?

They have grown up so much and developed their own personalities, mannerisms, likes and dislikes. They are their own person these days. I feel like they should still be my little babies, relying on me for every aspect of their lives. Tee can pretty much take care of herself. She's even changed a diaper or two lately!

I'm just the one who makes sure their clothes are clean and there is food on the table. Though, frankly, they don't exactly need me for that, either. Bam loves doing laundry, and tries to shove me out of the way so he can do it by himself. And Tee would make dinner every night if I let her.

Again, what happened? Where are my babies? I'm trying to savor every second of Gray's babyness. She is three months old now. (WHAT?!?)

So yeah...even my baby is growing too fast!

This summer is going to be busy. Birthday parties and graduation parties. Trips to the library and to the park. Book reading activities and a folder of homework to keep the oldest busy (though she already started, and would have finished if we had let her!). Family barbecues and weddings. Fourth of July carnival and fireworks up north. Maybe even a night out for our wedding anniversary (now I'm getting carried away...). Bam starts a summer program next week to evaluate his needs for the upcoming school year. Playdates and pool parties and movie nights galore.

Savoring each moment is my motto for the summer. Each memory. Each of my babies as they grow more and more every single day.

Here's to a savory summer for everyone!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

10 Years

I graduated from high school 10 years a go today.

And now you all know how old I am. Or how young I am, however you want to spin it.

I knew this was the year. There has been talks of the reunion in November. I didn't think it was really a big deal.

Then today. Today marks the official day. There is so much of high school I wish I'd done differently. I was a terrible friend. That's something I still work on today. I was so glad to graduate and get away from my senior year.

But then what? In 10 years, I don't see what's changed. I'm still sick to my stomach, rehashing senior year over and over in my mind. What about college? 10 years later...still taking classes. Nothing to show for it.

I just envisioned so much more in my life, for my life, for my family. This wasn't what was supposed to happen.

I just can't let go.

I'd go back in a heartbeat, and do it all over again. But better. I would make so many different choices.

I know I need to let go. That's been a huge crutch in my life. I just hold on to everything. I hold on to the dreams dashed. I hold on to the friendships ruined. I hold on to the pain. I want to go back and fix it all rather than accept and move on and foster the new relationships in my life. Or make new ones. I can't fix it all.

I sound so ridiculous. I should not feel so sad and defeated.

I feel like I have nothing to show for it.

I'm trying to look outside of me, and see the good. Because it is there. I married a wonderful man who loves me and supports my craziness. I have three fabulous, beautiful children. I have trouble seeing much more than that, but that's still a pretty big thing.

It needs to be enough. It is enough. It's more than enough.

So baggage be gone. Take the motivation and make the next 10 mean even more.

Brushing that off my shoulder as we speak. Insert relief here.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Early Morning

I woke up early and snuck into her room. It's rare that she sleeps later than me. She's such a light sleeper, if she hears my alarm, or hears someone in the bathroom, she pops out of bed to see what's happening.

But not today. Today she was still sleeping, so I tiptoed into her room and climbed into her bed, scooping her up in my arms. She nestled her head on my shoulder, and I felt her soft blonde hair against my cheek. I smiled, soaking in this moment, holding my precious baby who isn't so much of a baby these days.

She woke up, surprised but delighted to find me there. We used to cuddle like this every morning. These days the baby is up first and usually nursing by the time the others get out of bed. I've missed our moments.

We talked, like best friends, giggling about a joke she remembered from school, listening to her tell me what her plans were for the afternoon. There's always so much to do when you are six!

Then she had a great idea. She jumped out of bed, turned on her CD player (a Christmas gift that made her feel so mature!), and we danced to children's Christmas songs. (her CD collection isn't that large just yet!)

She is just so full of life. Every day, every moment, is full of dancing and music and fun. Her smile is contagious. She's sensitive and emotional, and feels every feeling so passionately. Nothing is small to her, every moment, every feeling, every experience is a big deal. She's witty, clever, and one of the funniest people I know.

She's also so kind and generous. She's worried about how other people feel. She's creative and really goes for her ideas and dreams, something I really admire in her. I would imagine these great projects as a kid, things I wanted to write, or make, or do. But they stopped there. Not with her. When she has an idea, she does it. Nothing holds her back.

She's incredible. And growing entirely too fast. We have already had six and a half years together. How does it go by so fast? How do I hold on to it just a little bit longer?

By moments like today. When we danced around her bedroom in our pajamas, with the early morning sunshine streaming through her window. Just the two of us. I don't think I'll ever forget it.

Linking up with Just Write

Monday, June 4, 2012

You Capture - Sky

I wasn't going to participate in this week's You Capture, because even though it's super easy to take a picture of the sky, I just hadn't had the time to do it! I thought about it earlier today, but the sky was just kind of blah.


The whole day had been kind of blah. It was one of those days where you know you are testy and cranky and shouldn't be yelling so much. I was trying to figure out how to overcome it.

And then it rained. The sun was still out, except for one dark cloud over our house. It was a few minutes after our usual bedtime, but I felt spontaneous. I told the kids to take their socks off and get outside! They were shocked! It was awesome watching them run around the yard in the rain. All of a sudden the rain picked back up and they ran into the house, and we sat by the windows watching. It stopped quickly, I nursed the baby to sleep and put her in bed, and out we went again. To enjoy the puddles and to enjoy the sky.








And it was good. The whole experience erased the negatives of the day. The kids had a blast, jumping in puddles, laughing, smiling, having such a great time!

So, thank you, Mother Nature. I owe you one.

Linking up with You Capture

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Passion

The last few years have been tumultuous, to put it mildly. So many changes, sometimes for the best, sometimes not. Lots of pain. Lots of happiness. It's been a rollercoaster ride for our entire family.

As we settle down, far removed from the chaos, it has really dawned on me that we need to prioritize our lives. I've realized that while I was spending time with my kids, it wasn't always quality, and my parenting is not something I want to put on the back burner.

So something had to go.

Somethings had to go.

And it's okay. It hurt at first. Letting go isn't always easy. But knowing that I was making these decisions for my family made it a little less painful.

And then one day...I finally felt like I could breathe again. Oh what a feeling!

I've also realized that now that we've gotten rid of some of the baggage and some of the things that weren't high on our priority list, I've had some time to really think about what I want out of my life.

What I'm really passionate about.

First and foremost, my family. Working on my relationship with my husband. Working on my relationships with my children. Being there for them, providing a safe and happy home for them, taking care of their health, fostering their creativity and their own passions. That makes me so happy!

But as rewarding as being a mother and a wife is, there's more to me than just that.

And not that that is a small thing. It's huge. It is the biggest challenge and the biggest blessing in my life.

But there's still more.

Deep in my soul, deep in my heart, I'm passionate about so many things.

I want to give, I want to help, I want to guide. I want to make a positive change in somebody's life.

As a coach, I tried. I was blessed with a coach when I was in high school who became my mentor and who I looked up to, who helped me figure out my life when it was a mess, who believed in me when I didn't believe in myself. I tried to pass that on while I was coaching. It wasn't as easy as I had thought.

But it's not something I will stop trying to do. Whether I'm coaching or not.

I'm still chugging away at my college degree. It has been a slow process, with multiple degree changes, and I'm still not quite finished. At the root of all my decisions, though, has been this need to help make a difference.

I will get there one day. I have a big picture of what I want to do to help. There is just so much need out there!

In the meantime, I will make small changes and small differences in my day to day life. Every Sunday I will talk about them, and hopefully inspire others to make a difference, too.

Reaching deep down inside myself and recognizing what I'm passionate about has been so freeing and so exhilarating. I see all the possibilities before me, and that's something I hadn't really seen before.

One day at a time, one idea at a time, and I will follow my passion and I will make a difference.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Family Fun - Movie Night!

One of my main goals for this summer is spending quality time as a family. Not necessarily MORE time, though that would be great, but making the time we do spend together mean something.

I'm not perfect. Sometimes these once a week activities drive me crazy. The kids are screaming at each other. The husband was late coming home from work. The dog ate a turtle...

Yeah, THAT'S a story for another day. The dog sometimes makes more work for me than the three kids combined.

Anyway, one of our favorite activities is movie night. Pretty simple, right? But oh so fun!

I allow the kids to pick the movie. Sometimes if there is something on that night I might overrule, but usually they get a chance. If there's a new kid movie out, we'll occasionally go to Redbox instead.

(NOTE: please, don't be like us, return your movies to Redbox! Otherwise, after 20-some days, you'll be paying over price for a movie you watched one time...true story!)

So having two kids who are old enough to have opinions does often mean we argue about the movie. The best solution I've found so far is we keep track of who's turn it is! Simple as that. Seeing it written down, on a calendar, on a dry erase board, whatever, really sets the expectations for my kids and then we have less yelling.

I will do anything to prevent yelling. *sigh*

Another fun thing is we always have a snack! We vary between popcorn, popsicles, trail mix, something quick that everybody can have their OWN of, and that they don't get that often. Makes it a little extra special!

                                                      
We picked up some of these popcorn cups at Target in the dollar bin last year!

I usually do movie night on Fridays. It's a nice way to relax with the kids after a long week of school and running around, and before we start a weekend that usually consists of family visits and house projects. We start a little bit before bedtime. Everybody is in their pj's, we're piled on the couch with blankets, and usually at least one person falls asleep before the end of the movie. :)

I know it's really a simple thing, doesn't take a lot of time or energy to plan, but my kids love it! They love getting a chance to cuddle with me, and I love watching them laugh and have fun and...I like cuddling, too!

So tonight's movie pick is...

                                        

The kids are just a tiny bit addicted to the chipmunks these days. Plus, it's free on OnDemand!

Happy Friday...enjoy your family!!

What are you doing with your family this week? Link up and share your ideas! (please link to the blog post, not just the blog)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

More

The warm weather soothes my soul, yet I yearn for a cool breeze to rush through my hair.

That's how it always is with me, the push and the pull, the happy and the sad. I always want just a little more, or just a little different. Always content, yet unsettled. It's a ridiculous combination that makes no sense.

I want more than anything to be "that" mom. The one with the perfect house, who gets on the floor with the kids, who never yells, who coaches every team and who's kids are involved in x or y or z. Kids coming over to our house to play. Happiness, and laughter, and fun.

I want that so badly. I'm not there. I don't know that I ever will be. I realize it's not achievable, really. It's a fantasy. Nobody is perfect. But perfection haunts me. It's that whole wanting and being more thing.

But my kids think I'm perfect. They think I'm Super Mom. Even though I seem to always be a step behind the dishes or the laundry, even though I've been too busy nursing to play superheros, even though I lost my temper, even though they aren't signed up for any kind of activity this summer because the van is broke and the baby needs to eat and do you realize how expensive some of this stuff is?

I just want so much more, to do so much more, to be so much more. And it's right there, I'm just a step away from it. It's closing the gap, being mindful of my steps, thinking more than doing that always gets in my way.

I guess the trick is not to try. It's to just do my best, do what I can, in that moment, and embrace whatever happens. They love me anyway. They think I'm great anyway. And that means something. It truly does.

I'm the best mom they've ever had, and I'll sure as heck take that accolade any day of the week.

And I'll try and do a little more tomorrow.

 Linking up with Just Write

Friday, May 25, 2012

Family Fun - Cooking dinner!

I'm excited about today!

One of the things that I've been trying to work on is really playing and interacting with my kids. I know that sounds a little silly considering I'm their mom and shouldn't I be doing that already? Yes, yes, I do. But I'm not perfect. There are certainly days where I bribe them into playing with each other so I can get dinner finished, nurse the baby, or just breathe for a minute or two.

A few years a go, the hubs and I had crazy work schedules, but somehow we both had Sundays off, so we made a point of doing something as a family EVERY Sunday. And we did and it was great!

Then we moved, got new jobs, schedules changed, things happened, and we drifted away from that.

I've been trying to refocus our family and get us to spend some quality time together. All five of us would be ideal, but it is true that my hubs is a hard-working man and isn't home much during the week. Sometimes our weekends consist of visiting family and birthdays and graduations and housework we put off for far too long. We can't always get out and DO. So sometimes, after a long week, it's just me and the kiddos, and why can't we have some fun just the four of us?

So I've decided to start a little meme type deal. Each week, I want to come up with one activity we do as a family. Maybe just the four of us, maybe all five of us. Probably not the baby, she's not that handy with scissors and glue just yet.

I will write about what activity we did that week or plan to do that weekend. I will then have a link below so others can write about their activities as a family and link up. I think sharing ideas is going to really encourage myself, and others, to get out (or stay in!) and have some fun with their kids!

So last week I decided that we needed to do something about the way these kids are eating, or how they are NOT eating. For whatever reason, the older two have become a bit picky. We eat together at the table most nights for dinner. I haven't quite mastered the art of nursing the baby anywhere in my house besides the couch and my bed, so if she's fussy, it is sometimes the kids at the table and me with the baby on the couch. No ideal, but I'm still learning.

ANYWAY, mama needed to get creative! So I remember reading about how some kids really eat better when they are involved in the kitchen. I figured why not? I tend to be the mom who yells at them for getting in my way or making messes in the kitchen, which has nothing really to do with them and is just all about me and my issues. I figured if I let them help once a week, pick the menu, make dinner (with my guidance of course), and we did it on Friday nights when there was really no rush to get to bed at a specific time since there's no school the next day...maybe if I could let go of the control a little, we'd be able to have some fun and get the kids to eat.

A few years a go, somebody bought me Rachael Ray's 30 Minute Meals for Kids. I had always kind of brushed that book off because she made foods we just didn't eat normally, and there was always an ingredient or two I wasn't sure of. I finally pulled it out and let the kids look through it.

                                          Cooking Rocks! Rachael Ray 30-Minute Meals for Kids

They came up Fruit Benedict's and Egg Scrambles. Easy enough...english muffin with peanut butter topped with pineapple and banana, and essentially scrambled eggs and ham. We can do that!

I wish I would have taken pictures. Mental note for next time!

Also? It took us WAYYYY longer than 30 minutes!

The kids had a BLAST! We learned that they do NOT like Fruit Benedict's...they would rather just eat the pineapples and bananas on their own. But they did try it! And that doesn't happen often with the four year old!

They had so much fun spreading the peanut butter, cracking the eggs, mixing. It was seriously a good time, and well worth the mess I cleaned up after. They actually cleaned up most of it on their own, so I had nothing to worry about!

I think we've decided that every Friday will be their night to get in the kitchen. The nice part of that is they don't bother me too much on the other nights to be able to help. And because I now see how helpful they really can be, I'm not so quick to say no when they do ask. Win, win, I think.

So what are you doing with your kids this weekend? Family outings? Craft time? Memorial Day weekend for us means we will probably head up north to hubby's sister's house!

(I also realize that it may take some time for anybody to link up with this, but I will post it every week until it happens! Don't be shy, join in and share!)

Please link to your entry, and not just your blog!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Just Write - I'm a Rambler

I had a list of things I wanted to write about this week.

I just can't.

It's hot and I get cranky when it gets hot.

It's only mid-80s, so I'm not feeling positive that I'll be a happy camper all summer long.

I almost kind of wore a dress this week, for the first time since my wedding.

Part of that is because I don't like how I look in dresses. The other part is that I'm just not that girly.

I'm currently wearing a tank top and softball shorts.

I am still in high school, apparently.

But I wore that dress. I did put leggings on underneath. I just had a baby, for crying out loud.

And I wore a sweater over it.

So I guess it was more like just wearing a big shirt?

Either way, I felt good. I'll take it.

The baby is amazing, since we're on the subject. She's 10 weeks old. Would rather sit up than lay down. Babbles away all day long. I'm so, so in love with her!

She also takes naps and sleeps pretty well at night. Not all the way through the night or anything, but nice stretches, and she goes right back to sleep within just a few minutes of nursing.

She's wonderful.

I have a brief moment of time right now to do whatever I want. I should do dishes or laundry or sneak in a shower or nap, but I'm so content on just sitting still and breathing.

It feels so good.

My motivation to get things done is slowly slinking back in.

Maybe tomorrow will be the day.

Linking up with Just Write

Monday, May 21, 2012

You Capture - Life

This week the "You Capture" theme was life.

I now cannot stop singing Our Lady Peace's song. Oh life is waiting for you....

This first picture of life is from this pretty bush outside our back door. When we first moved in, it really looked like a big pile of junk. I was so pleasantly surprised this spring when flowers started blooming. This color is gorgeous! Shows me not to judge a book by its cover. 


And here is a picture of life as a four year old sees it...



Linking up with You Capture

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Ramblings

Hello, summer, is that you??

It sure feels like it. Turned the air conditioning on in the house today!

I'm done with school.

Just a few more weeks and Tee is done with school.

Summer is truly around the corner!

We spent some time outside today getting the yard put together. Hubs moved and edged, and then put together the kids' jungle gym. It's beat up now, and probably won't survive another move, but oh how they love it!

Even baby Gray came outside with us to enjoy the sunshine. She sat in her bouncer in the shade taking it all in.

I'm just imagining late summer nights out in the yard, playing and laughing together.

Yeah, summer, I'm ready for you.

(Stay tuned: beginning this week there will be some new exciting stuff on the blog! A little project I've been working on that I'm excited to put out there!)

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Spotlight...Baby Gray!

Back again! We've been so busy with our new little one, who is now two months old! Can it possibly have already been two months now? It's so hard to believe!

I've got some new ideas for the blog. We'll see how it goes. The best laid plans, of course!

I've decided on Saturdays (or, perhaps, more often, or less!) I'm going to "spotlight" a person or item or place that I find intriguing. Today's spotlight...my new baby! :)

She is such a joy. It's been interesting to do this newborn thing again. It's been four years since Bam was born, which didn't seem like that long a go, but gosh, I really had forgotten how hard it can be! The first two weeks were hell. Pure hell. I'm breastfeeding for the first time and I was not ready to be the only person waking up with her to feed her in the middle of the night and the only person at home all day with Bam and the only person putting Bam and Tee to bed at night while trying to nurse a baby...

Yeah, it wasn't pretty.

But, as it always goes, we got through it! Day 3 was honestly my breaking point, but the hubby stepped up and helped me through it. He was awesome. I called him, sobbing, begging him to stop and bring home formula because I was done. Yes, I was that desperate. Instead, he came home with a breast pump and cooling gel pads (or, as I call them, heaven!). He told me he believed in me and that I could do it, and I am so grateful for that. It's really what I needed to get over the edge. (And seriously, those pads? Freaking AMAZING. Best thing ever invented!)

(Also...haven't really used that pump yet! Tried it once, and both of us laughed hysterically like we were children...it was hilarious to watch the milk coming out! Need some amusement? Rent a breast pump!)

I was exhausted for about the first two weeks, and then we finally fell into sync. I'm still tired now, no she does not sleep through the night, but it's just more manageable. In fact, I already miss her very cute little brand new baby things! This is why us crazy mamas have more than one baby...we forget about the pain and exhaustion pretty darn quickly!

Plus, they are so stinkin' cute! She really is adorable. At 8 weeks old, she is smiling back at us now, and it melts my heart. Bam and Tee adore her. Tee probably the most. She has such great plans for them as sisters. Matching outfits, bunk beds, best friends for life! Bam likes to hold her sometimes, thinks she's really cute, but he's got other things to do. He'll pay attention when she starts getting into his things!

She's got her daddy wrapped around her little finger already. He takes her from me as soon as he walks in from work at night. She'll lay in his lap and stare at him and smile.

And me? I'm in love. Her smell is intoxicating. Her smile is delicious.  I just can't get enough of her! We're pretty much joined at the hip because of this whole nursing thing, but I wouldn't have it any other way. There's plenty of time for us to be apart as she gets older. For now, I'm soaking in every second of baby-ness that I can get.

So that's our little Gray! The newest addition to our family. I already can't imagine our lives without her!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Here we are - plus one!

So here we are. Three weeks and one day since the most beautiful little girl entered into our family. She's amazing. I'm so in love with her!

Things are still a little crazy and chaotic here. In my head, I figured a third kid was no big deal. What's one more, right? Easy!

Not quite.

But it's good. It's a good chaos. Filled with lots and lots of love.

And sweet new baby-ness! :)

My oldest is just smitten with her new baby sister. She can hardly stand being away from her for a second. The first thing she does when she comes home from school is get her hands on the baby. She's constantly asking to hold her, willingly (and without being asked!) will entertain her during a diaper change or while I'm trying to get dinner on the table. It melts my heart watching their relationship blossom.

The boy, well, he loves her, definitely, but he can do without her just the same. He'll hold her for no more than 30 seconds at a time before he's ready to go do his own thing. Oh to be four and have so much to do! :) He does come up to her several times a day, kisses her on the cheek, and will tell me how she's the prettiest baby. He has had a few moments where he's cried, saying he wished he could be a "little squishy baby", but a cuddle and a kiss from mama and he's moved on. :)

I'm just a happy, exhausted ball of hormones right now. I'm a mess. At the same time, I'm deliriously happy. I'm trying to enjoy each second of these newborn days. I cannot believe it has already been over three weeks.

(I do miss sleeping, though!!)

Monday, February 20, 2012

Odds and Ends

I have such big plans for this blog, and for life here in our little world. Everything seems to have been put on the back burner for now. I'm a little sad, because I want to DO so much, but I know these are things I will get to when the time is right.

I've glanced over into the bedroom a few times this morning, and every time I am surprised to see a crib up against the wall. The hubs built it yesterday. Wow, does it make things real! Somebody is going to SLEEP in that thing!

So, life is on hold, and I'm trying to be patient. Less than two weeks until her due date. That's it. After what seemed like the longest pregnancy EVER...here we are. Less than two weeks away. Essentially, I could go into labor right now. While I'm typing this.

I'm not, unfortunately.

Rumor has it they all come out eventually, so I'm just trying to be patient.

I'm going to be mom to THREE kids in the next few weeks. THREE! I feel like I am already, but for now I'm not having to dress the 3rd one or make sure she's fed or changed or whatever. She's handy like that. But juggling three in-the-flesh kiddos? I'm sometimes overwhelmed at the thought.

It's also pretty exhilarating! I always envisioned myself with a huge house full of kids. So we're getting there!

So much I want to do. To be. Dreams are just flowing.

This baby doesn't necessarily change them, just lets them simmer for a bit longer in my head.

So there it is, why I haven't been as present here as much as I had intended. Why I might not be present here for a few weeks more.

Growing a life can take a lot out of you! :)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Six Years Later

Yesterday was a hard day for me.

It was the 6th anniversary of my grandpa's death.

I don't know why the 6th anniversary seemed harder than the 4th or the 5th. Maybe it's because I'm a cranky, huge, hormonal pregnant woman. I woke up very aware of what the day was and meant, but I could not figure out why I was so gosh darn moody.

I yelled. A lot. For silly things. I apologized. A lot. And then apologized some more.

I cried most of the morning. I spent a lot of time thinking about what could have been.

I joked about being okay for him to visit me. Believe whatever you believe, but over the last six years there have been odd occurrences that can only be explained by a visit from my grandpa.

Usually, I will say something on facebook, on a phone call to my mom, out loud into the universe, telling my grandpa that I love him and I miss him, but I'm totally cool with NOT seeing him.

It freaks me out.

Well, for some reason yesterday, I didn't say that. My mom even noted I seemed more at ease about him showing up. I laughed and said I hope he showed up and washed my dishes. (he did not do them, unfortunately, they are still staring at me and laughing)

I stood in the kitchen, making my little guy some lunch. He asked to watch Scooby Doo while he was waiting, which sounded like a good idea to me, and it happened to me on TV at that moment. So, back to the kitchen I go. A few minutes later, while SD was supposed to still be on, I hear a very familiar voice, "I say, I say, listen here, boy!"

I literally froze in my tracks. I would have sworn to you that voice was my grandfather's.

I gingerly peeked around the corner to the living room, and instead of Scooby on the television, there was Foghorn Leghorn. Now, I can't even tell you the last time I saw that show! Years, easily! I grabbed the remote and pulled up the guide, and nope, no indication whatsoever that Foghorn Leghorn would be on at that time. It was supposed to be Scooby Doo. I was dumbfounded.

My grandpa could do a perfect impersonation of Foghorn Leghorn.

In fact, the last time I heard any phrase in that voice was out of his mouth. I get chills just thinking about it again.

From that moment on, the rest of the day, I was at ease. Everything was okay.

And next year, I'll be more specific. I don't want to see OR hear dead people in my house!

I think he just likes to keep me on my toes. And honestly? Little reminders like that make me smile and put my heart at ease. I know he is watching over us. I'm grateful for how well he loved me while he was still here, and the lessons he taught me just by living his life the way he did.

He is a pretty incredible person. I'm very lucky to be one of the four people who had the privilege of calling him "Grandpa."

Friday, January 27, 2012

Struggling

Struggling to keep up with life this week. I haven't done much of what I had planned. That means no blog posts (obviously), little homework read, etc.

But I have done something more important. I've done a lot of cuddling with my babies. I've enjoyed the kicks and apparent dance parties this little one inside me partakes in at all hours of the night. I've enjoyed just existing. Which has been nice.

But I'm so, so tired.

Exhausted, really.

I read some comment this week about how you don't get much sleep at this stage of your pregnancy because your body is getting you ready to be up all hours of the night feeding the baby.

I'm calling BS on that one.

I think my body should be allowing me to SLEEP while I still CAN.

Please, please, please. Just a little sleep.

My eyes are closing while I type this.

35 weeks along tomorrow. I feel like the little engine that could...

I think I can, I think I can, I think I can...

5 more weeks. I can handle 5 more weeks. Sure. No problem. 5 weeks. No biggie.

I'm probably going to cry now.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Just a few more weeks...

I wonder what it is going to be like...

To be 5 instead of 4.

I get annoyed because I can't sleep anymore and bending down to pick things up hurts, and why can't these kids put their stuff away? Or at least not in the walkway?

I feel huge and I'm cranky and emotional and why does this seem to be taking forever?

Then I think about my oldest. How incredibly creative she is, and full of life, and oh so sensitive! I miss her baby days, her chubby little feet and hands, her head full of curls. Her cuddles, her "mama, hold you!" when she wanted to be held, how her smile just lit up the room. It still does, in fact.

Then I think about my baby boy. How much fun he is! He plays and imagines and creates these incredible worlds that he just dives right into, and sometimes, if I'm lucky, he'll invite me to join along. He's starting to slowly move away from being my baby, and my heart aches for just another cheek-to-cheek hug, just one more nap in my arms. He still adores me, and I'm holding on to that with everything I have.

Then I think about our new baby. What will she be like? Will she have curly hair like her sister, or straight hair like her brother? Will she have blue eyes like me and her siblings? Or will she be like her dad and have green eyes? Will she want me to rock her to sleep like her sister did? Or will she only want her daddy, like her brother did?

I know one thing for sure, she is going to light up our entire world. She's the missing piece we didn't even know we were missing.

So even though I am incredibly sore and tired and just so over this whole pregnancy thing, I remember that I felt this exact same way when I was pregnant with the other two. And more importantly, I do remember that once I hold that baby in my arms, I'm going to forget about this moment when I feel so overwhelmed that I want to curl up and cry.

I got this. Just a few more weeks.

~ linking up with Just Write

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

Another year has come and gone. It's amazing how slow life seemed when I was my daughter's age, and how terribly fast it is flying by now!

This coming year is full of so much anticipation. Work changes, home changes, and the biggest change of all? Our littlest girl will be making her grand appearance in the next few months!

I crave to make so many changes in my life, in the life of my family. Health changes. Food changes. And so much more.

I want to be present in the moment, not wondering, planning, thinking, stressing about something else.

I'm going to be giving up something I love doing so much for something that I love even more.

It's hard to let go.

But its so exhilarating to move on!

I will cherish and treasure the moments, the people that mean so much to me.

Happy 2012 to everyone!