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Thursday, August 13, 2015

You are not a mess, you are mine

My kitchen sink is FULL of dishes. There are weeks worth of clean/clean-ish clothes piled on my dresser, and my suitcase from our trip last week is still full of clothes. I was late for Mia's orientation day today and got called out for it by some random administrator (because apparently tardiness is just not tolerated in four year olds on their not-even-real-first-day. Whatever.), and I even tanked at my own blogging challenge.

As I walked into my dirty kitchen with the intention to get a drink and then walk right back out, dishes untouched, to play with the baby, I heaved a huge sigh as loads of negative thoughts flooded my mind in an instant: "You are such a mess. You can't do anything right. You still can't get this time management thing down. What do you DO with all your time?! Your husband is gonna be ticked..." And on and on. But through all that noise I heard Truth speak, "Don't talk like that about My beloved child! You are my beloved daughter. You are not a mess, you are Mine."

He's speaking to you too.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Re-entry

11 months... It had been 11 months since I last posted anything, and then I spouted off with some ridiculous junk about how much I love green tea because coffee makes me sweat. Nothing but the best here y'all.

There's something about summer that makes me want to bear my soul to the masses, or maybe I just need to escape the four walls of our sauna/playroom and it's too damn hot to go outside and I have too many kids and it's too exhausting to actually go anywhere so I escape to the recesses of the blog to do some creative writing. But whatever the momentary reason for writing, I love reading though old posts to see what I got right or what a moron I was or what I STILL HAVEN'T LEARNED. [Exhibit A: for the third year in a row I should get the award for overscheduling summer vacations (2013, 2014, 2015 recap to come).] In the "moron" category, I especially love the story about "empty threats parenting" which I won't even link to because it is too embarrassing but it is already out there and shows me how much I have grown along with my children.

Anyway, after essentially two years of radio silence, I am challenging myself to seven days of posting. I hope to feed my soul by creating something lasting and to provide material for comic relief for my future self. So friends, if you've neglected your blog for while, please join me in the challenge! I love reading your stuff. (I'm cyberstaring at you Layla.)

And because no post is complete without pictures...
From the cutting room floor:
Cow Appreciation Day at Chick-fil-A
When did Mia turn 13?

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The silver lining list

Today has been tough, really tough. With Mia's strep diagnosis, the resulting lack of sleep, and two other little people who both seem to be in an unusually needy phase, I am fried. Tired... impatient... empty. On days like this it is easy for me to feel like I am failing all around. I yelled at Olivia at nap- FAIL! My kitchen is dirty- FAIL! I didn't read scripture today- FAIL! But somewhere in the waaaaaay back of my mind (or on the background of my phone) are the simple words of Christ: "My grace is sufficient for you" (2 Cor. 12:9). His power is made perfect in my weakness. I am forgiven. I am loved. Jesus fills in the gaps where I fail.
 
Even with these truths in mind, it takes a lot of effort to be mindful of His presence and to praise and thank Him for ALL of it... the good and the bad. I certainly can't say I am running toward Him with open arms screaming, "Thank you for the opportunity to take up this cross!" but here are a few things that I am thankful for today.

1) Amoxicillin! This $4 bottle of scientific genius should relieve Mia's discomfort and diminish her contagiousness in 24 hours. Thank you Modern Medicine.
 
2) TV. I admit I have probably overused this prop today, but the effects of too many hours of screen time cannot be as bad as the damage I might do without it. #sanitysaver

 
3) "Baby Adim"! Though his recent motto seems to be "Nurse to sleep or don't sleep at all," I am cherishing every minute of his sweet smelling snuggles. Nursing this guy are the few times that I actually breathe; I sit in my chair and take deep inhales of the cool, dark, quiet air, and it brings a little bit of peace to my disquieted mind.
 
Other Notables:
-Caleb's step mom who took my rooster:thirty phone call and went to the pharmacy to pick up some children's Advil
-Layla who immediately Googled and schooled me on how to deal with the after effects of washing a disposable diaper
-A verbal child that could tell me, "My throat hurts." She mentioned it in passing, and I relayed it to the nurse with equal casualty. The diagnosis was in the details.
-Green tea! I love coffee, but I really have to limit my intake because me + too much caffeine = anxiety and pit stains. Green tea gets me through these long days without the bipolar effects of coffee.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

That's it, we're leaving!

This morning at the breakfast table and rather out of the blue, Mia asked if we could go to Mass this morning. It wasn't on my to-do list for the day, but when a child ASKS to go to church, the answer better be a loud resounding "Amen, Allelulia, H-to-the-YES!" Mass alone with the kids is usually a physically draining, patience-testing adventure in the wiggles, so my plan was to keep them in the vestibule and watch through the glass doors. On the drive over I laid out expectations for Mia's behavior with the promise she could run around in the grass afterward. As we trotted into church just in the nick of time, Mia beelined for a corner, got down on her knees, and started praying that she would find her missing piglet figurine. Olivia "Me-Too" Templeton copy-catted her way over right next to sister, and this mom's heart swelled with relief that today might not be the worst Mass ever. But the relief was short lived. Running and raised voices rapidly ensued, and despite my best efforts to calmly correct, in T minus the Gospel, Mia had disintegrated from this...


to this.
I warned her that if she reached a running clip one more time we were leaving, so as she trotted away from me post tongue-out incident, I pointed to the door and out we went. She hung her head as we walked to the car knowing she had disappointed me and asked if she could try again. Yes, I told her, we will try again on Thursday, and per her request, we will try sitting IN the chapel.

There are 100 ways to analyze, question, deconstruct this incident, but here's the angle of the day... As heart wrenching as it was to walk out of Mass before communion, I think it was an effective punishment for Mia. You know those empty threats of "If you X-Y-Z one more time I'm calling Miss Layla and we're not going to A-B-C!"? (Or maybe I'm the only idiot mom who makes empty threats that in my gut I know I'm not going to follow through on.) I have a whole new perspective on just how effective it might be to actually go through with it one time. My hesitation to follow through is usually based on disappointing my friend or the friend's kid. After someone has made the effort to have us over or meet us somewhere, it feels insensitive to yank my kids away and bail. But on the flip side, I wouldn't mind if any of my friends took their kids home if they were misbehaving. It would probably be a good lesson for Mia in the process. Kristi and I talked about this a long time ago, and her suggestion was to warn the person that today may be the day we leave, but for some reason I never have the forethought to do that. 

So the next time you invite us to play, we might have to go home early. And if you ever want to follow through on cancelling plans with us due to behavior, I completely understand.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Rolling out those crazy, dazy, not lazy days of summer

I had really hoped that I would get back to blogging this summer, since summer was the season that started it all last year and hello longer days and bye bye seasonal depression et cetera, but evidently my priorities have fallen short of self centered cyber sharing. I'd like to blame my ridiculously part-time job, but in truth I simply decided I'd rather experience life than write about it, at least on a regular basis.

Last summer I lengthily lamented my state as over-traveled mother of infant, and I foolishly assumed that the infant part was the key portion of the statement. The month of June 2014 basically beat into me that the over-traveled status was the real relaxation killer. Within the span of 6 weeks we: traveled for a long weekend (lake with the Krogs), were home for 11 days, traveled for 10 days (beach/Georgia/lake), were home for 14 days, and traveled for 7 days (B'ham, Lake Martin, Highland Lake with Pawpaw and Tutu). We are on glorious week 4 of being home, and I finally feel caught up. Caleb has another 7 days of vacation scheduled beginning on Monday, and with heavenly inspiration we have decided to stay home, work on projects, and have local family time. Between Caleb's work weekends and the constant tug of the lake, we're rarely just home on any given weekend, and if we are, we're struggling to cram 3 weeks of backlog into those 48 hours. Recipe for stress and failure.

But despite the lengthy recovery from all our trips, the time away was well spent. We had wonderful relaxing family time,
at Poppee and Yaya's house on the way to the beach
  
Destin!
Mia's favorite part of our entire tri-state trip- the one night hotel stay

 
 took the girls on several fun and exciting adventures,

 celebrated my grandmother's 94th birthday with family I see once every 10 years, 


and spent 12 ridiculous hours with our best good friends from RI. 

There is nothing I would change about the past 2 months because of all of the wonderful things we were able to do, but looking ahead I vow to learn from the exhaustion. I realize that traveling with kids is guaranteed to be completely absurd, and if you want to do anything you have to be willing to pay the price of insanity. It was totally worth it for the aforementioned escapades, but there is very little I want to do badly enough to hop back in the yellow submarine and sail off to crazytown anytime soon.

It was good, great, and wonderful, but I'd rather save my energy reserves for summoning patience with the girls. Because oh Lord, when Olivia dumped the entire contents of my FULL water bottle on the bed or when Mia bit/hit/kicked me on the way to time out or coping with the loss of the paci or when Mia peed all over herself/her bathroom... Its enough for me to just Be. Here. Now. And never leave again. Until we do.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Well this is awkward...

After 6-ish months of unexplained absenteeism, I have been encouraged by a best friend and a sister to blog a little life update, so here goes.

I suppose first to explain the blogging truancy: winter sucked and I was depressed, and sulking/whining just ain't my virtual style. And then there was the whole "get busy living or get busy blogging; I choose 'A'" decision. After ignoring kids, husband, personal needs for screen staring, I closed the computer, read books, and took naps instead. I probably did a good deal more laundry too. Now moving on.

We're pregnant! Hip-hip-hooray!

We have been open to pregnancy forever and by December I was really freaking out that it wouldn't happen soonish/on my time table/immediately. It took 11 months with Mia and 5 months with Olivia, so what's my deal? Well basically I'm surrounded by really flippin fertile people and I read blogs about other really flippin fertile people, and at one point I was actually the only person in my friend group with a child over 6 months old who wasn't expecting, so... baa-baa black sheep. It can be a little isolating to be the only one who has to "try". And try and try. Thank goodness for my sister-in-law who is with me in camp try, try again. But I prayed a lot.

In early March, Layla and I went on a retreat in Alabama, and oh, poor girl! She is/was expecting and had to listen to me moan and groan about my non-pregnancy for a constant 50 hours. But of course, she was wonderful and reassuring and decidedly un-obnoxious about her pregnancy. And the retreat was amazing too! The topic was "With Mary at Calvary", and we had an incredible priest from a seminary in St. Louis. Not to mention 2 whole days and nights sans chil'ens and a couple contemplative Masses... It was all very recharging both physically and spiritually.

Especially post-retreat I was really focusing on accepting God's will. I mean, Mary quietly submitted to the Father's will to send her son to the cross for the salvation of mankind, and she walked with him every step of the way. *So yeah, I can pipe down about getting pregnant.* But a couple weeks later at the end of March, we got our BFP! I had 4 "peaks" and 3 cycles, so... we're getting faster each time!

Oh my godness, this has by FAAAAAR been my worst pregnancy, and I was not expecting it at all! I felt pretty good with the girls, so I figured this one would be the same. But no. Weeks 6-11 I could barely get off the couch. I didn't actually get sick very much, but I was so nauseated, had terrible stomach pains, and literally zero energy. Mentally it was hard too because I felt like I couldn't take care of my family. For awhile I was convinced this would be our last baby because I didn't want to neglect my family like that again. Ever. Now, at 14 weeks, I'm feeling better. I'm still a little nauseated and get sick occasionally, but I feel SO much better and have more energy. I feel more like myself.

I'm due December 1, and Olivia's birthday is November 30 and Mia is December 16. Honestly, if we had had a better shot at pregnancy-on-demand I might have waited a month, but my OB reassured me that quite a few people have kids clustered like that. She also assured me that terrible pregnancy *does not equal* boy. "Every pregnancy is different". Well we'll see. In December.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

A covered Christmas

Mia turned 3 on Monday, December 16. Aunt Ray Ray and Uncle Russell bravely took her to see Frozen in the theaters which was only her second movie ever, but of course my little couch potato did great. Since I had to work on her actual birthday and we had already had her party, we ate chili and cake after the movie and that was that. On the 19th I took Mia for her 3 year well check and Livi for her 1 year vaccines since she was too sick to get them before. Both girls were healthy as ponies at the check up, but a precise 48 hours later the beastly bugs from the doctor's office incubated into a ferocious like-the-flu but not flu virus. I figured the virus would just run its course, so I busted out the humidifier, Advil, and coffee and settled in for a long winter's illness. Mia would run in circles every morning and collapse every afternoon. Three days later she was still running a fever but it was Christmas Eve and we aaaaalways go to Mass together on Christmas Eve. So like insensitive boneheads we crammed ourselves into the pew with all the regulars and Chr'Easters, and then went on to find other inhabitable bodies for Mia's bugs at PawPaw and Tutu's Christmas party. About 10 minutes into the party Mia starting completely falling apart. She was burning hot so I zipped home to get the ibuprofen, and while I was gone she puked on their couch. Exit stage left. But I did get this super adorable picture of Livi Lou.


The next day? Same song, identical dance. Except this time I was double teamed by sickies as Olivia came down with the plague.
Sick 1 and Sick 2
I had juuust gotten Livi off of her antibiotics for the ear infection and was trying to wean her by New Years, but I can't wean a sick baby! Mia was still scorching on Thursday, day 5, so I took her back to the doctor. Her flu test was negative so it was probably "just a virus," though pneumonia did get thrown around as a potential diagnosis. Olivia is on day 4 and is unsurprisingly still running 102 fevers, so Dr. Long will get to see my lovely mug first thing Monday if Livi's fever stays up. I feel like I'm never gonna wean her, but somehow the monitor read high today for the first time in 2 years.