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Thursday, October 9, 2014

Lots of new things!


It’s long overdue for a real and thorough update.  But let’s be honest, that’s not going to happen. Therefore, I’ll update, but it’ll be sporadic and probably brief. 

Baby number three is due in 7.5 weeks and we’ve done almost nothing to get ready for him/her.  Actually, that’s not entirely true, we bought paint for the nursery (once we finally get Gavin out of it!), I bought material to make curtains AND we stepped up our status as parents and bought a van! I can hear the snickering from here and I must confess, I once would have agreed that vans are not cool.They are mom-mobiles.  And you know what?  You’re partly right, they are mom-mobiles but they are very, very cool.  Especially mine.  It’s so wonderful! From the automatic sliding doors to the one million cup holders.  I can literally drive with 7 drinks in arms reach at any given time.  Toyota cares about my hydration, yo.  It has bells and whistles, some of which make me laugh, but some I’m just giddy about.  I’ve been welcomed to the swagger wagon club, now when do the parties start?!



Speaking of parties, Molli turned four last month.  Sometimes I’m still in shock that she’s already so old, but then other times I’m weirded out by her maturity and the conversations she initiates.  On Monday we picked her up from school and like usual, I quizzed her about her day, what she learned, who she played with etc. and she very casually told Myles and me that she spent recess hugging and kissing Ben.  On the mouth, she said! Heaven help me.  I tried not to make a big thing of it but we had a couple conversations about how kissing is ok with families, but not something we should really do at school. I also added a dose of practicality and explained that kissing spreads germs.  It must have been sufficient because on Wednesday she told Ben that they can’t kiss anymore.  Phew, bullet dodged! In her defense, Ben really is a sweet and cute boy and her teacher said they’ve held hands through story time before. I guess when you’re the only girl in the class, you have the pick of the litter.


(Everyone got into dressing up for the party!)


(The other little girl moved since this picture of Molli's preschool class was taken.  Ben is the little boy in the back row in the black sweatshirt)

Gavin is becoming quite the big boy too.  We experimented with potty training recently, and while it wasn't a complete disaster/failure, I certainly wouldn't call it a success.  He looks awfully cute in underwear though! The kid is exhausting me with his constant chatter!  I think he is taking after his cousin Jackson with the constant commentary.  The only difference is that his vocabulary isn't especially vast yet so he has to piece things together in a way that is very toddlerish and adorable.  Well, adorable except for the part that he repeats, repeats, repeats himself until he's acknowledged. 


About a month ago, Myles dad and step-mom came up to visit from Florida.  It was really nice seeing them and boy did they get put to work!  We had a leak situation in the kitchen, requiring us to replace our flooring.  We figured if we were going to replace the damaged parts, lets go all out and make it what we really want.  So we did.  We (please note that I use the term “we” very loosely) replaced the entire downstairs flooring with a lovely dark wood look, but the walls were too dark for dark floors so the downstairs got repainted- walls, ceiling and baseboards, then while the toilet was out for the new floors, we went ahead and replaced it and upgraded the counter, sink and fixtures.  We replaced the ugly light fixtures in the living-room and the kitchen AND decided to go ahead and upgrade the kitchen appliances!  My downstairs is so beautiful!  Poor Marc and Suzette were worked to the bone everyday.  Aint no rest for the weary! If they ever thought they’d escape the work, they were immediately conned into playing store, fashion show, dinosaurs, cars, dance party, dress up, or whatever the imaginations of my children could muster up.  These kids have their Papu and Nanette wrapped around their little fingers. I’m pretty sure they’d admit that an air mattress in the middle of a playroom never felt so good at the end of the day!


(I got this picnic table at a yard sale this summer.  It came in very handy while the inside of our house was turned upside down being remodeled! I also managed to let go of my OCD long enough to let the kids water color and ruin everything... paint mixing is not something I handle very well!)





I had the pleasure of participating in the women’s retreat through our church last weekend.  It was so refreshing to get out and be among women, and filling my mind with truth.  I don’t get out much, but when I do, it’s typically pretty mindless.  Occasionally I’ll manage to go grocery shopping solo, but it’s been years since I’ve gone somewhere with an intentional focus on spiritual growth.  The retreat started the day after Myles got home from a 2.5 week hitch on the slope and sleep is increasingly important to me so I opted not to spend the night, but I hope that one day I’ll be able to.  The church family I’m a part of has some really fantastic ladies that I’d love to get to know more deeply. While I absolutely value relationships, it seems like it takes me a long time to really be friends with people, and I’d like more of that going on in my life. (Not that I’m lonely, I just believe that everyone has much to offer and I want in on that!) It was a nice time of reflection and insight.


(Does it get any prettier than this?!)

For the most part life is good these days!  It’s turning into winter around here and I’m not quite excited about that. I can handle fall with the changing leaves, pumpkin muffins and whatnot, but beyond that it bums me out a little.  Icy roads, gray skies and darkness are rapidly approaching and I just don’t think I’m ready! For now though, I’ll enjoy the changing seasons and embrace all the upcoming changes in my life.  A new member of the family deserves my attention and excitement.  So this year, I’ll smile as the snow begins to make appearances and snuggle up with my growing family in this beautiful, cozy new house of mine.  God is good!

PS, Molli is playing outside with Myles and she just knocked on the door to tell me it's snowing.  Bummer!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

little update.

My kids crack me up each and every day.  They do/say the silliest things that make perfect sense to in their sweet little minds.  Whenever I tell my mom about these little things, she asks if I'm writing these things down.  The answer is always "no." Which is lame of me. I figured I could just start posting things here because, well, I'm not posting much else here these days!  Again, lame!


Why do I wait so long between updates?!  It’s impossible to go back and fill in all the gaps.  Sooo, for now, here’s a brief(ish) update on what’s going on with our family.

Molli (3): Somehow my baby girl is turning into a big girl!  She surprises me everyday with her new skills and expanding vocabulary. I don’t know where she comes up with half of the things she says these days. Yesterday she walked into the kitchen and saw a vase of fake eucalyptus and thought it was the most beautiful thing ever.  She stood there in there with her eyes wide and said, “It’s so pretty, I can’t even believe my face!”

She’s also been increasingly affectionate.  For quite a while, every night before bed she wanted me to snuggle with her for as long as possible, then throughout the day she’d climb on my lap to tell me she loves me.  She tells me, “you’re my best girl.”  She’s my best girl too.  What a sweetie pie!  That’s not to say, however, that she’s perfect.  She tests me daily and pushes buttons I didn’t even know I had.  The girl can really make me crazy!  I hope that as she grows up she uses all that spunk to be a leader among her peers.  Assuming I manage to guide her heart toward the desire to be a God-fearing young lady.  No pressure.

Gavin (2): Ah, what a funny little man!  I love this boy to pieces and am constantly entertained by him!  He’s a boy of few “real” words, but it’s so fun watching him explore this language.  He’s actually caught on to a lot more lately and some of it is really entertaining.
What was that- “Wah, wah, wah, wah, wah, wah was daaat?”
I love you- “E too!”

I brought out the toddler bed for him when we first moved into this house and he wants nothing to do with it.  I thought it would be wise to get him used to it now so it’s less like the new baby is taking over all his things- his room, his crib etc. Today he fell asleep in the car so I carried him in and tried to trick him a little.  I laid him down on the toddler bed instead of the crib and he woke up just enough to tell me, “No, no big.  That one.” Meaning, not the big boy bed, put me in the crib. So I did.  I just bought them bunk beds but need my husband home to before they get to try them out.  They currently live in the garage.  I’m not pushing the bed thing until we can get their bunk beds going on and a more permanent set up.  No sense in making him get used to a toddler bed if it’s not going to be his sleeping residence, you know?

There are a lot of other things going on, but I figured I’d make a quick update, for my sake if nothing else. 




Saturday, February 22, 2014

Constant lessons


I’m sitting here with Molli’s entire drawer of pajamas and a wooden spoon.  What do these things have in common? It is her favorite thing and her least favorite thing.  We are having a lot of bedtime issues tonight.  I’m not sure if today’s diet of way too much sugar is finally catching up to her, if it’s Daddy being gone for going on 4 weeks, three year old attitude or what, but I’m about to wig out.  For real.  

What started tonight’s incident doesn’t even matter (it was over her beloved pajamas of all things), but I had the misfortune of my precious angel pointing her finger in my face shouting, “You can’t take that away from me!” Then switching the direction of the finger toward her chest, poking with each syllable “They’re MINE, MINE, MINE, MINE!” Then putting her hands down she demanded, “You go out of here.”

I don’t say any of this to brag on her rottenness, or to mortify her later.  I’m not flaunting misbehavior. I’m just here with a depleted repertoire of discipline.  No one told me when I held her for the first time, completely in love with each tiny feature, that those sweet eyes would ever glare at me, and that when they do, it will cut straight into my heart.  No one held my face and stared me down to ensure that I understood that just a few short years later, those parted lips would spout ugly words, a swift kick in the gut. The tiny human, my daughter, would bring me to my knees, defeated.

Anger bellowing from her bedroom, the screaming muted on the monitor but the stomping reverberates through the house. In these awful moments, my love for her is confirmed.  If I didn’t love her from the deepest part of my heart, I wouldn’t care about any of this behavior.  It would be annoying for sure; No one wants to hear a screaming kid.  But it wouldn’t hurt so badly.  I would have no reason to shed tears for the tiny heart making poor choices and exhibiting behavior worthy of discipline.

The lessons of parenting are endless.  It’s a miracle anyone makes it to adulthood.  So far the outlook is bleak for my firstborn. Kids are like mean little animals, feeding off of weaknesses and preying on the lost.  The aforementioned kick in the gut and the stab through the heart bring me down quickly when I’ve poured out all my energy. Created in the image of an almighty Father, my attempts to love, discipline, understand and forgive my children are feeble at best.  My prayer tonight is to be the example of self-control and love that my kids need. He will provide the strength to be a godly parent.  Tonight, I’ve made peace with my girl and I take refuge in the promise of new mercies!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Life these days

Upon sharing this blog with a friend earlier today, I realized how long it's been since I've posted.  My bad... again.



Gavin:
The sweetest little boy you'll ever meet.  I don't know how many times a day I tell him that he's so stinking cute.  Because he is.  Really.  His face gets me every time and I simply cannot resist a snuggle with his head resting on my shoulder/chest. This is his move of choice these days.  If he doesn't want to me to leave, he sneaks that move in on the last quick hug.


 At bedtime (probably my favorite time with him) it's all snuggles, complete with his arms wrapped around my neck and his little voice prompting me to sing.  He loves anything I sing to him, but specifically requests "ba, ba, ba, ba" (Baa, Baa Black Sheep) or "up, up, up" (Twinkle Twinkle Little Star).  He pauses the snuggle in the middle of "Jesus Loves Me" to show his muscles after "They are weak but He is strong." Then it's all "nah-night" when he's ready.  He sleeps with his little blue doggie/blankie thing and his special Lambie. I put him down and pull up his blanket as I tell him I love him, to which he always responds in a shout his own special version of "I love you."


Gavin is a little man of few words.  A lot of talking, but few real words.  I'm figuring out some of his code words, but he's certainly not working on sentences like Molli was at this age.  The boy still loves his food and is a pretty serious eater.  He's a pretty serious runner too.  Not so much marathon running, but he moves like he means business much of the time.  He prefers to run from one place to another (must run in the family) and he ducks his head and really pumps his right arm.  It must help, I suppose.

He loves blankets and playing with his sister, especially when the two come together.  Outside is his favorite place to be.  He has a snowsuit and he will put it on the floor and sprawl on top of it, waiting for me to put his limbs in place and zip it up.  Before this weird January faux-spring, we'd all go for walks pretty much daily and it was a time we all looked forward to.  Although, "walk" is probably not the word for it.  Gavin and Molli spend most of that time in the sled, so I guess they go for a ride while I go for a walk.  Either way, outside = good. Now everything is gross outside so we haven't been much.



Molli:
Spitfire.  She keeps me on my toes, that's for sure. I never really know what to expect from her.  She's a smart cookie with a mind of her own.  She started preschool a couple weeks ago and although I don't get a lot of information about what happens between 8:30-12 on Tuesdays and Thursdays, the little bits I do gather make me raise my eyebrows.


I picked her up one day last week and was a bit upset to see that she had colored all over the knees of her adorable burgundy skinny jeans.  Although it was in marker, it was just yellow and washable so it wasn't a big deal, really.  We talked about how to use markers appropriately and at the end of the conversation she knew that makers are only for paper.  Fast forward a few hours and I'm getting her clothes off for her bath and I see that her entire stomach was colored in with that same yellow marker.  I'm not just talking about a couple yellow stripes, I mean her whole stomach, from the top of her pants up through the ribs, colored in solid.  I looked at her and asked her to explain that to me.  Her explanation was simply that her tummy is now yellow.  I asked if her teacher saw this (also confused that a child could color THAT much skin with her shirt up and go unnoticed) to which she put on her best teacher voice and mimicked, "we're not coloring on our tummies right now, Molli."

(Apparently she's learning at school and bringing it home)



Yesterday she went to school and had a really cute Matilda Jane jumper dress on.  That afternoon she napped in jammies and she asked for help putting the dress back on and said "yeah, my teacher said it's a hard dress to put on me!" Now, she's right, it is a little hard, but why was her teacher putting her dress on her?  I asked and as always, the answer made perfect sense to her. "I got sweaty during show and tell so I took off my dress." Ugh... I guess I have never specifically told her that she has to leave her clothes on at school, or anywhere for that matter.



(This is the dress)




My world <3

Monday, November 18, 2013

Post-Vacation, Vacation...Please.


I think enough time has passed and I’m recovered enough to write about it.  We went on vacation to Idaho at the end of October and it was quite a venture getting home. I don’t even want to call it an adventure because that seems to denote something fun or enjoyable, and it wasn’t.

I have never been more grateful to be traveling with a partner.  I’ve done my share of solo traveling with kids and while it’s no walk in the park, I’ve kind of gotten a feel for it. However, traveling with anyone sick is a game changer. We were gone for about a week and right off the bat, Myles was sick with major stomach issues, I got it on at the end of that week, just hours before Molli woke up in the middle of that night with it. My concern, at the time, was Gavin.  Please, please don’t let him get it! But if he does, let it happen soon so we’re not traveling with it! 

The good news is, he didn’t get it!
The bad news is, Molli had it for days it and Gavin got something different.

The day before we were scheduled to leave, it was obvious Gavin was coming down with a cold.  Sure enough, he fussed and whined all night and Tuesday morning, travel day,  he was dripping green gunk from his nose AND his eyes.  I’ve never seen anything like it, but apparently that can happen.  I guess it all comes from the sinuses anyway.  Very gross! The poor guy just looked sick.  The droopy face, blotchy cheeks, swollen, droopy eyes.  Plus of course all the drainage. He was a total wreck.

Tuesday morning, the day we were scheduled to leave Boise, Molli was also a disaster.  She threw up again in bed again and I was up with her bright and early at 5am running her back and forth to the bathroom.  Kids are not good at being sick, especially tummy sick.  She had no idea what was going on, poor thing.  We called the airlines, knowing that traveling this way was not good for anyone, but had to dismiss changing the dates because it would be an extra $400+ PER TICKET to change to the next day.  At least $1,600 for a few hours grace… not in the budget.

So we sucked it up, bought some kids pepto and pull-ups, packed changes of clothes, plastic bags, tissues, extra wipes and ventured out. 

I think I’ve blocked some of the specific details from my memory but the first flight was more or less fine.  It’s never “fun” with kids, but it went fine.  No major meltdowns and no major bodily fluids is considered a win.  Of course there was ants in the pants on behalf of both kids, but Gavin is the more difficult one at this point.  Who wants to try to explain to a 16 month old that no, he cannot run and play, in fact, he can ONLY stay here, on laps and deal suck it up with the rest of us.  Obviously that logic is ineffective. 

Flight number two was long and squirmy beyond belief. There were seating issues and as I was waiting for things to be sorted, this man looked at me, rolled his eyes and told some guy next to him something along the lines of, “Ugh, there are so many kids getting on this flight.” I might have given him the evil eye as I thought to myself, I hope you’re in front of us. My brother (he will remain nameless) said I should have responded to him with, “Ugh, there are so many douche-bags getting on this flight,” Hindsight…

Anyway, that flight started with a very wiggly boy who wanted to touch everything he wasn’t supposed to, topped off with the flight attendant handing him the bag with the seatbelt, oxygen mask and other goodies for her safety presentation.  Look, I’m all for sharing with kids, but mine are already sick and the last thing I need is for them to intentionally be handed germy things that they aren’t supposed to be playing with anyways. Once we were in the air Molli informed us that she pooped her pants (remember the tummy bug, yeah, it was still wrecking her). Myles dragged her and a fresh pull-up to the bathroom. Which if you think about it, that airplane bathroom must have been beyond max capacity.  There’s hardly room to pull pants up in there, much less a big man changing a 3 year old’s pants! That happened twice on the plane.

We finally landed and thought we were golden. After gathering all our bags (thank you AK 49 club for getting to check everything for free!) I realized I left Gavin’s coat on the plane, told the lady at the desk, waited forever then found the coat in my back pack and Molli had one more accident. Eventually Myles set off to get the car. We waited another forever, loaded up and headed home.  At that point, what’s three more hours traveling with two sick kids? About ten minutes down the road we had the distinct pleasure of seeing everything Molli had consumed that day come shooting out her mouth.

Vomit everywhere. 

I almost lost it. We had to pull over at a gas station and clean her up. Myles took care of the nasty car and I walked her, covered in puke, into the gas station bathroom with a pair of jammies.  I ended up giving her a sponge bath of sorts with hand soap and paper towels. The poor girl was miserable.  She didn’t feel well (obviously), was naked, smelled like puke and was being washed up in a cold gas station. UGH!

We survived the trip home and I called the doctor the next day. She’s out of town. Greaaat. By then Molli had been unwell for a few days and Gavin was getting worse by the hour. I love the kids’ doctor but was fine to call someone else.  Unfortunately the one recommended was full but we got Gavin in with someone else. Good thing because he had two ear infections (one very bad), a sinus infection and pink eye in both eyes.  A couple days later we took Myles and Molli in.  Myles had bronchitis and pink eye.  Molli had pink eye in both eyes, a cold and strep throat.  It was like some kind of cruel joke throwing such a variety of sicknesses our way right before Myles leaves us for three weeks for work. 

Yeah, that’s right.  Three weeks without daddy.  He’s gone now and we are literally counting the days until his return (17). Everyone is finally healthy and I think I need a vacation. A post-vacation vacation.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Progress


Between the instances where I’m yanking out my hair and enlisting an army of friends to help me in the daily battle of life and parenting, I am so smitten by these kids.  They do things that make me smile and I realize that I AM doing something right sometimes! Little bits of progress are a breath of fresh air.

I got to watch a couple sweet kids for a friend this morning for a teeny little bit and I am proud of how everyone did!  Molli and the little boy (just a bit older than her) played together so nicely.  I let them play in her room.  I didn’t hover, I just listened and peeked in.  It made me happy to hear them playing and talking.  Some phrases that made me smile were:

“Uh oh, this room is a mess, what should we pick up first?”
“We’ll play with one thing, then when we are done, we will put it up and play something else.”
“When you are done with that, can I have a turn?”
“Can we go let the babies play with this for a little bit?”

You guys!  There were words of cleaning up, sharing and taking turns!  I can’t even tell you how happy that made me.  Not only because I think these things are good and important, but because it means I’m being heard.  They are listening to their parents and remembering what to do.  This is greatly encouraging considering the phase we are in with Molli.  She’s listening and remembering what I’ve told her and work SO hard to reinforce in her.  I want her to be a kind, respectful friend and regardless of how it seems sometimes, it’s in her little brain somewhere!

And Gavin… If you don’t know Gavin, you are missing out.  He is a sweet and very fun little guy.  He loves being silly, and he REALLY loves his momma.  He’s a momma’s boy through and through, well, unless Papa or Grammy are around. He wants to be held and tended to, always.  I wasn’t sure how he would cope with a baby in the house, much less in my arms, but he rocked!  He couldn’t leave her alone because he was so excited to see her.  He wanted to look at, touch and tickle her.  He was so gentle and didn’t even seem to mind that she was in my arms and he wasn’t.   What a pleasant surprise! He also cracked me up because in his excitement he wandered around the house shouting, "Baby! Baby! Baby!" (baybeh)

It’s a happy start to this day.  Let’s carry the happiness on all day!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

tough stuff


I don’t know if I’m being dramatic, but I am feeling deeply discouraged tonight.  Parenting is so hard.  There are some days when I feel on top of things, more or less, and can go to bed believing that I’m doing things right.  I’m instilling values, facilitating the drive for learning, reading, praying and cleaning together.  I’m making plans for socialization, developing motor skills and creative play.  The gamut of childhood experience is being addressed and I’m tired.  What do I do then when it all feels like I’m failing despite my best efforts?

From very early on, Molli has not been a “by the book” kind of kid.  Myles and I were part of a parenting class and always left feeling more lost than before because the guaranteed solutions for the various issues of infancy through toddlerhood fell short in our home.  We’ve been making things up and figuring things out as we go, praying that we don’t mess everything up. Like usual, once I feel like I have something about her figured out, it changes and new issues arise.  Honestly, it’s exhausting and I am struggling to find answers to the subjective parenting questions I’m facing. 

I have been blessed to stay home with our kids but sometimes there is so much pressure.  It’s the same pressure toward perfection that I’ve always felt and have always fallen short. All of the typical household things combined with raising kids is a lot. I feel like I should be able to do all these things with relative ease but of course, once I feel like things are smooth, it crashes and I am in the dumps about it.  I am no good at this!  I love being home but I have no idea how to not let these things control me.  How do you get a three year old be nice? To share? To obey? To love, be apologetic, sincere, responsible and caring? I want to instill love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self-control in her but I don’t know how.

We spend all day working on things and I really don’t let things slide.  Back-talking, hitting, not sharing, yelling, refusing to clean etc all get some level of discipline and I feel like the meanest mom in the world sometimes!  Timeout! Nose in the corner! Say you’re sorry! Pick that up! We don’t hit! Yell, yell, yell.  I’m sick of it! And when did I become a yelling mom? Would more spanking help or make it worse? Do I take away her toys until she learns to take care of them and clean them up? I know that I have memories from when I was 3 years old and it would absolutely break my heart if her only memories from this age are of me nagging and her sitting in time out. 

Tonight felt a little like a blow from someone I care about and respect on many levels.  There was a statement made indicating that I am not doing enough in terms of discipline.  It was an innocent statement, not intended to hurt, I know that, but it did.  Somewhere imbedded in those words were an indication that I am not good enough.  I am doing my best but I sometimes feel so lost. The details don’t matter.

These kids are the most cherished, precious part of my life and the investment of a lifetime. When it’s all said and done, I can just pray.  I pray for my children to be spared the memories of my failure and that the things I do right resonate and stay with them in their little minds.  I pray that my actions will reflect God’s loving persistence toward His disobedient children.

This feels like a very “woe is me” post.  I don’t mean for it to be, but I’m sure I’m not alone in this.  If you have any genuine, heartfelt advice, please share.  We are open to whatever creative methods that might be floating around out there.  I have no intention to raise perfect kids, but I do want to watch them grow up knowing that I’ve done my absolute best, and I’ve sought out the counsel of others who have been though this.