Monday, December 27, 2010

First Goodbyes

I need some blog therapy tonight. I was fine all day today- I played with the kids, made cookies, did some laundry, talked to Amy on the phone, spent time with a good friend and neighbor, and then- at 7:00pm tonight, as I put Lydia into her crib for bedtime-it hit me. This is the last time that I will lay an under-one-year-old baby into bed for the night. Ever. As I covered Lydia with her favorite brown and pink polkadot blanket that she has slept with every night since her first two days in the hospital, I started to sob. Crocodile tears- the kind that makes your mascara run. Shoulders shaking, I sat in the kids' bathroom and wondered where in the world this flood of emotion was coming from. Since June of 2006, I have carried a baby either inside of my body or in my arms without ceasing- that is, until tonight. No, Lydia will not miraculously begin to walk and talk in the next few hours, but she will no longer be considered an infant. For the past five years, being the mother of an infant has become a part of my identity- both to myself, and I am sure as well to others- and letting go of that identity is hard. Now listen, before rumors spread- I am not regretting the decision to not have more children- the no-trespassing/eviction notice is forever tattooed on my womb. That chapter is closed and I recognize that. It's just that tonight I'm realizing  this particular moment in time will soon be recaptured only in memories and pictures. The next time I put my hand on a pregnant mother's belly (with permission), I'll remember sitting on the couch in the first house that Bill and I ever lived in as a married couple, watching The Apprentice, when I felt Brooke kick inside me for the very first time; or screaming in line at Wendy's restaurant after the first hard karate kick from Isaac.  I will hold someone else's newborn in my arms, and smell that sweet new baby aroma, and remember back to when that was my own baby; I'll wonder how life passes so quickly, while thinking back to the moment that I met each one of my children for the very first time. I know that love at first sight really exists; I fully understand that, in a single moment a person can feel all of life's pain and then all of life's joys, willing to do it all over again just to hear that precious first cry.

Every first in my babies' lives has become a memory- the first smile, losing the cord, recognizing mama and dada, rolling over, moving out of the bassinet and into the crib in their own room(that has always been a big tear-jerker) sitting up, saying mama, holding a toy in their hand, playing with their siblings, eating solid food... I have loved every single milestone. And now I have to say goodbye to the first- year -of -life milestones. I'm sorry if I sound very dramatic at this point, but this has been my life for more than six years, and the time has truly been like a vapor.

My favorite saying in this part of my life is "Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened." Honestly, I'm doing both right now. I am wiping away tears just so I can see the computer screen, but smiling because I recognize I have been blessed far beyond what I deserve. To Brooke, Madeline, Isaac, and Lydia- being your momma is an absolute honor, and it is a gift from our Father that I do not take lightly. I love you so much, and I look forward to raising you, teaching you, and enjoying each one of your many firsts to come. There will be the first ballet recitals, the first ballgames, the first Kindergarten graduations, the first grade school crushes, and the first sleepovers. You have so much childhood left, and I intend to soak up every second of it. And Lydia, sweet dreams my baby girl. I wonder how you will react to your first taste of cake tomorrow.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Animal Safari

While in Alabama a couple months ago visiting my bestest Amy and her family, we spent several days on various adventures around the area- the Montgomery Museum (FYI- it's closed on Mondays- best to find that out before spending over half an hour trying to locate it with Amy's awesome GPS skills), the Atlanta Aquarium (the largest in the world, and definitely worth the elbow-to-elbow traffic inside) and, most interesting of them all, the animal safari. If sweltering heat and giraffe slobber is your thing, than be sure not to miss this adventure the next time you head south. A big word of advice though- if you plan to not eat at the pizza place indoors, than I would suggest that you not picnic outside with the flies and ants swarming nearby. Your children may end up with more protein in their diet then you had anticipated.

The safari really was amazing, and I only got a smidge cranky once or twice due to the 100 degree heat mixed with the wafting aroma of animal feces. Here are some great pics of the adventure.

I know it's been artfully camoflauged, but if you look carefully enough, you'll see the van that we rode in for the animal safari. 

Eager little guys.

I bet this shot turned out beautifully.

The zebras were seriously gorgeous- if they didn't have such big teeth and excessive slobber, I would have tried to touch one.

Our children didn't know it, but the real reason behind this trip was so that Amy and Stephen could place a down payment on the dowry for our girls.

I'm sorry Amy- I'm sure this isn't your most favorite picture, but I would like to point out how happy and excited I am to be on this great adventure, and yet you yourself are not smiling. Perhaps your memory of my own grumpiness is a tiny bit off. I myself can't wait to return- though maybe in a month colder than August. 

Friday, October 15, 2010

Up and Down

I've been asked several times why I have not blogged in so long, and I'm finally back to explain my absence. It isn't because I became tired of writing, but because I wasn't ready to discuss a recent change in my life. While I don't feel it is a bad change, it is one that has required lots of prayer and reflection on what is best for my family. A few months ago, while working as an adjunct faculty member (teaching one hour a week- no typo: I said one hour) I was approached by the program with a full- time, tenure -track job opportunity. I immediately knew that a full time job outside the home was not an option for me, and let the college know that if they could consider making it part time, that I may be interested. To make a very long story short,  after several phone calls, meetings, negotiating, and praying, the full time position was tailored down to a part time position, and I accepted the job. I was elated- the schedule was flexible, and I would still be able to be active in my girls' elementary school and preschool. Assuming the job would turn into a career, Bill and I would not have to pay for college for our four children (tuition there is free for employees' dependents). Also, while Bill makes a salary allowing me to make the choice to stay home, having an extra income would allow us to pay off the mortgage at a very accelerated rate, which has always been a big wish of ours.

**Before I go further- I want to explicitly say that you will not find anyone less judgemental than me when it comes to "working" mom versus SAHM. I have been on both sides of the fence, and know that there can be overwhelming feeling of judgement from others- no matter what you choose. SAHMs can be made to feel that they "just stay home". (I hate that question, by the way. Don't ever ask a woman, "Do you work or just stay home?") Staying home full time raising children is one of the hardest jobs on the planet, and can be satisfying in and of itself. On the other hand, working moms can feel the condemnation from some SAHMs and other nosy adults. No one should take it upon themselves to imply to a mother that she is wrong in her choice. Wow, I'm rambling, aren't I...Here's my point- the following paragraphs are my own life story, and I do not judge what other mothers do.**

For the first two weeks with my new job, I couldn't stop smiling. I was home the majoirity of the time with my children and picking my girls up from school every day, yet was still getting out in the professional setting, using my degree, sitting at my desk in my own office, and feeling fulfilled in another area of my life. Then, after the honeymoon period wore off, I started wondering if I had made the right choice. It wasn't because I felt my children were suffering (my mom was taking care of them when I was away) but more to do with the fact that my title was gone. I could no longer say, "I'm a stay at home mom." That was more painful than I could ever imagine. Staying home with my children was such a gift- one that I had prayed for even before having children. I loved the fact that I got to be the primary person in my children's life, day in and day out. That isn't to say it wasn't exhausting. Some mornings I felt overwhelmed and burned out by the fact that I had the responsibility to not only take care of the children, but also the house and everything that comes with it- that the job never ends from the time you get up to the time you go to bed. When I first became a full time SAHM while pregnant with Isaac, I secretly struggled with this for several months. Working professionally as a PA, I was consistently commended for my work, and told what a good job I was doing. Suddenly leaving a job outside the home, I missed the affirmation more than ever. When you spend your days wiping noses and folding laundry, your baby isn't going to pat you on the back and say, "Job well done, Mom. That shirt was folded perfectly. And those dishes- wow, spotless."

These conflicting feelings made me wonder if I could ever let myself be content. When I was working, I wanted to stay home. Then I made the choice to stay home, yet consistently checked the want ads for PAs. Now that I was working again...I considered and almost quit twice in the past few weeks, because I was so unsure if I made the right decision. In this whole process, I prayed that if it was meant to be, that all the doors would open, and if not, that the door would slam shut. All the doors, and even windows, opened for me through this whole process. A career that has never been even considered part time in the past, was made so, and every single concern of mine was addressed and taken care of by the college. So to think that God would lay the plan out as such, with Bill and I both in prayer over the situation, I was so confused as to why the doors would open if it wasn't to be so. I will say this- with the exception of one horrible week where everything that could go wrong did, I have absolutely loved this new job, and have become a better mother for it in so many ways. I appreciate my time home with my children more than ever, am more "present" as they say, and still have that little piece of me that is my own apart from my role as mother and wife. I am so very blessed to have this choice to make, and remind myself of that every day.

A very sweet story before I end this post. Our son Isaac has some speech delay (he's not autistic in any way, but simply stubborn), and is working with a therapist. Three words he can say very clearly, and repeats often, is "up and down". When we ask him what he wants to pray for or what song he wants to sing, he says "up and down". Yesterday, while Lydia was napping and the girls were at school, I turned on Sesame Street. It isn't one of the shows he usually watches, and I'm not sure why I even turned it on, except to say that God must have been leading my hand on the remote. The subject of the show: Up and Down. For an entire 35 minutes, Isaac excitedly watched as Elmo talked about up and down, and sang up and down songs. I was floored at first, and then excited that our Lord had answered my little boy's nightly prayer for Up and Down. Thank you Lord Jesus, for using a little puppet named Elmo to make my precious boy's wish come true.

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Night Before Kindergarten

Dear Brooke,

You are sound asleep in bed, after hours of excited anticipation for the morning. Not only are you to be visited by the tooth fairy tonight, you will also be able to finally start kindergarten tomorrow. Mommy helped you pick out a special outfit from your closet tonight, and you helped pack your own lunchbox- applesauce, grapes, Life cereal, pudding, and a juice box. You can write your name, count by tens, read Dr. Seuss books, and recite the Pledge of Allegience. You have not stopped talking about school, and wanted to play school bus and teacher today. I even heard you whisper to your baby sister this afternoon, "It will be so much fun!"

While I know you will be in good hands, make wonderful friends, and have a great time, I have told you that you may see mommy cry happy tears tomorrow. I have protected you around the clock since you were formed in my belly six years ago, and it will be a very different experience to place you into someone else's hands.  I have tried to prepare myself for tomorrow, but a few tears may slip on by. I will be anxiously awaiting in the afternoon to pick you up at school and hear all about your wonderful day. In the meantime, sweet dreams, my baby girl. You are loved more than you know.

Love, Mommy

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Tooth Fairy in Training

Last week Bill and I learned how to be a tooth fairy. To Bill's relief, I am sure, it did not involve a tutu- only being able to sneak into a room of five sleeping children without getting caught.

After days of trying to convince Brooke to let us pull a tooth hanging by a thread, she had to explain over and over that she wanted to do it herself, in her own time. As tempting as it was to just yank it out, we wanted to maintain her trust and not do something she wasn't expecting. Here is a pic of Bill checking out the tooth at Amy's house, and then Brooke explaining why he could not pull it for her.

The next day, Amy took us to the Columbus Museum in Georgia. Brooke was in a different vehicle than me, so when we all met up at the entrance, Brooke ran up and asked me to notice what was different. Her tooth was gone!! I was so happy for her that she had been brave enough to let it come out. I took this picture immediately. You can't see the missing tooth spot since it was on the bottom, but you can see how excited she was.

She was definitely excited for the tooth fairy to come that night. I wasn't sure if she really believed that a two inch fairy would bring her gifts, but we played along. Here is what she got for her first tooth. Deflation will follow for the other teeth, I'm sure.
The next morning, Brooke ran excitedly into the bedroom to show us her loot. Later that day while she was sitting on my lap, she talked about the tooth fairy and her toys. She asked me how such a tiny fairy could carry all that loot. I paused, wondering how to respond. I have mixed feelings about Santa, Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy...While it is fun to play along, I never want to lie to my child. So I said, "Well, you know that it is fun to talk about the tooth fairy, even if it is just for pretend." I could tell she was annoyed by that response, and said "Yes, mommy, I know that. Now, how do you think she carries all of this stuff?" So she had known all along the tooth fairy was pretend, and was having fun with the fantasy all the same. I laughed, and we came up with different ways she could possibly carry all that stuff. We decided that she shrunk everything to carry it, than brought it back to normal size before she left.

How to carry out the duties of a tooth fairy is what I learned this week. For more on what others learned, visit Julie at Inmates.

Monday, August 9, 2010

A Dream Come True

When something is built up in your mind by someone else, whether it be a restaurant or a book or a movie, usually a small part of you feels let down when you experience it for yourself. I had heard my entire life how wonderful Disney World was, and while I believed it, I was a bit afraid that I would be let down when I finally experienced it for myself. But two weeks ago we took our family to the Magic Kingdom in Orlando, and I found out that Disney is everything that I had heard, and more. So much more. It far exceeded my expectations, and I couldn't stop smiling the entire day. Walt knew a thing or two about how to create magic.

One of the best parts of our vacation was making a dream come true for our little girls. Ever since Brooke and Madeline were able to speak, they have asked over and over to see Cinderella's castle in person. They are infatuated with Disney movies, and every time the castle is shown in the intro, they scream out, "Cinderella's Castle!!!" and occasionally throw in, "Mommy, can we go there??" I would explain that the castle was in a land far, far away, and it costs a lot of money to go there. Mommy and Daddy would save up, and one day they would get to go. When the opportunity to take them for one day finally arrived last month, the excitement was palpable.

We spent one night in a two bedroom suite in Disney's Contemporary Resort, mainly because it had the monorail onsite that would drop us off in the Magic Kingdom in a matter of minutes. The hotel room was absolutely beautiful, and the girls were able to see the castle afar off while walking to dinner. Here they are seeing the castle for the very first time.
There is nothing like being a parent and watching the joy in your child's eyes as you watch a dream come alive. They were so happy and we had not even entered the park yet!! The next morning, Brooke seemed to be the one most excited, because she was old enough to truly understand what would take place that day. She knew she would be meeting the princesses at lunch in the castle, and that she would see Mickey's and Minney's houses. Watching her board the monorail and see her smile is definitely a highlight that I will always have to look back on. Madeline was beside herself with joy when she met Belle, and Isaac was more than happy to fulfill the role of prince, though he seemed more like a pirate when using the sword. I could go on and on about the rest of the day, but I'll leave with a few images instead. I am counting down the days until next year when we get to back for an entire week and experience it all over again.

The first four pictures are of Madeline modeling in the Dumbo ride. She asked her daddy to take these photos prior to leaving the elephant.

Brooke riding the teacup. A classic ride, I know, but one I may have to pass on next year.
Though it may not be clearly evident, Isaac was loving every minute. He cried everytime a ride ended.
Despite a terrible cold, Lydia was a perfect baby the entire day.
My baby girl and her prince.
I was outside with Sleeping Lydia, so I missed this part. My mom and Bill said that Isaac was so excited to see Mickey and Minney that he ran up and gave them both hugs. He also honked Mickey's nose.
This was taken at Cinderella's Round Table lunch. Madeline was beaming. She is infatuated with Belle.
I think Isaac liked Jasmine. He wouldn't pose with any other princess.
Madeline and Grandma on the Nemo ride in Epcot.

While we had planned to stay and watch the electrical parade and fireworks that night, my mom unexpectedly became ill. She fainted from dehydration while in line for the rocket ride, and was taken to the hospital by ambulance. She thankfully recovered a few hours later and was able to leave the hospital before morning. The staff at Disney was absolutely wonderful in taking care of us, and even put us up for another night in the Contemporary Resort for free. I absolutely cannot wait to go back next year. It really is a place where dreams can and do come true.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Turning a New Page

I'm baaa-aack!!! After a two week hiatus, my nightly blogging habit has officially resumed. My family and I have been on a whirlwind tour of Florida, Alabama, and Georgia for the past 16 days,  giving us a much needed break from day to day life, as well as giving me loads of blog fodder for weeks to come. I have so many blog ideas buzzing around in my brain, but tonight I am settling on one in particular- my birthday.

Yesterday, ready or not, I turned in my twenties card in exchange for the big 3-0. Although I wasn't bouncing off the walls from excitement, no tears were shed. It's hard to feel self pity about my age when I have soooo much to be thankful for. When I left for college twelve years ago, I had a life plan organized in my mind. I wanted to earn my degree as a physician assistant, get married to a loving, God-fearing man, have three to four children, buy a home, and raise my family. I am still amazed that God has allowed (yes, allowed) all of this to happen and more. I still have my health- something I don't know even dawned on me to pray for back then,  as well as wonderful parents, sister, and extended family still alive and well. I have amazing friends who I love and respect, and have reconnected with my childhood best friend who I love so very much, maybe more than she knows. So when I sit down and seriously think about all I have been blessed with, how can I feel sad about the number thirty?

Funny side note: The week we were in Florida, just days before my birthday, Brooke asked me  how old I was. I smiled and told her twenty nine, knowing this was probably the last time she would ask me before my big day. Then yesterday, after we cut my birthday cake, Madeline asked her daddy how old he was. Bill was able to still say 29. He likes to say that he married an older woman, even if it is just a difference of 8 weeks. Watch yourself, my love, you aren't too far behind me.

So glad to be back up and writing again! See you all tomorrow night!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

What is Your Facebook Personality?

*Disclaimer* No real names have been used in this post. Any resemblance to you or someone you know is purely coincidental.

If you are on facebook (by now, who isn't, really) you have a fb personality-whether you want to admit it or not. This diversity is part of what makes social networking so much fun. Here I have listed a few of those personalities, in no particular order.

1. The Energizer Bunnies
These are the facebookers who are so busy they have zero time for punctuation in their busy schedule they have so many ideas that need to get across to their friends and so many places to go that taking even a nanosecond to use any sort of punctuation is not possible so why even bother to take a breath and insert it in.

Whew. Lost my wind there for a sec. Ok, ready to move on.

2. Ole' Yellers

3. Raindrops on Roses and Whiskers on Kittens
Just as reminiscent as the song, so is this personality. This is the facebooker who takes time to see beauty in all things, at all times. It is rarely taken to the double rainbow level, but posting pictures of kittens and baby ducks is not out of the realm of possibility.

4. Oscar the Grouch
While this personality is rarely owned on a daily basis, all of us from time to time use facebook to oust our frustrations. (Some more so than others.) Rants can range anywhere, including cell phone carriers, annoying traffic violators, disobedient children, and gross sinus infections.

5. Mommy's Angels
This is the facebooker who has dedicated her profile solely to her children. She feels guilty if her profile picture displays anyone else, including herself. Statuses must always include cute quips from her darlings, and photo albums must be uploaded on a monthly basis at minimum. Facebook serves as a giant car bumper to display all of her babies' accomplishments and milestones. Social networking is also what keeps her sane in a child-consumed life.

6. The Gamers.
You know who you are- facebook serves little else than a place to do your farming, mafia hits, and inquiries on how many children you will have one day and which celebrity you most look like.

7. The Spies
I'm not sure what percentage of the fb population makes up this personality- it's impossible to know-but these are the ones who never post anything on their profile, yet silently probe into everyone else's business.

8.  Play by Play
Just like a sports announcer during a basketball game, this personality must alert all friends of daily activities- when they eat, shower, even go potty.

So, what personality are you? I own at least a couple of them myself. And if you have taken any offense to anything in this post, pleae remember the above disclaimer. Happy social networking!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Wiggle, Wiggle, Wiggle

While I have been preparing myself to send Brooke to kindergarten soon, I had no idea I would be hit with another growing-up whammy today in the dental office. Brooke, Madeline, and Isaac all had dental cleanings today, where I mentioned that Brooke had been complaining about her teeth "being funny" during meals. Within seconds, the hygienist figured out why. Brooke's two front teeth on the bottom are loose, and an adult tooth has already erupted behind them. How in the WORLD did I miss this? In any case, she must lose the teeth within a few weeks or they will need to be extracted. So wiggle, wiggle, wiggle we go.

Which brings up the subject- how much money is appropriate from the tooth fairy these days? Is it sentimental or gross to keep her baby teeth? Hmm... I should also go ahead and make her a cute tooth holder.  Something girly, yet still functional.

Oh, Brooke- I thought I would have another year before admiring a toothless smile, but time marches on whether I like it or not. I love you, baby girl!!!

Also, happy birthday to another kid I love- Parker D. He turned three years old last week, and while I am so very bummed my kids had to miss his birthday party, I can't wait to give him a huge hug next time I see him. You can read about his big day on his mommy's blog.
Oh Steph, I can't believe he is THREE!! Great job on raising such a loving and smart little boy. You are an amazing mama- so glad to be a part of your lives. Love you!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Pools, Procrastinating, and "Peed My Pants" Google Style

Last week the kids and I spent our days going back and forth between home and VBS, and though exhausting, it was 100% worth the time and energy. We ended the week with a pool party provided by the church, where I let the kids play in the "big pool". Ever since I watched that episode of Oprah a few years ago about dry drowning, I've been terrified to watch my children in any body of water bigger than a bathtub. Letting go of my intense grip on my children in the water was further challenged when Isaac decided to go after a pool toy all by himself. It's number one in this edition of What I Learned This Week.

1. Even though he shows fear of strangers, parking lots, and being lost in a crowd, my two year old son does not understand that he can't walk on water. I am very thankful his daddy has the reflexes of a cat.

2. When volunteering in the craft room at Vacation Bible School, the messiest age group may not be the one you expected.

3. I am more of a procrastinator than I like to admit. Four days after deciding to take my BFF Amy up on her "whip it up" challenge, I still have not completed the blanket I started for Lydia three months ago.

4. My once burning desire to learn to knit for an upcoming 16 hour car drive has fallen to the wayside, and I am very sad about this. But obviously not sad enough seeing as I am doing nothing about it. Again, that darn procrastinating problem.

5. Recalling which alternating week the recycling truck comes by is much more difficult a task than one might think.

6. Telling your little girls that their dream of seeing Cinderella's castle is coming true will be one of the most fun times in parenthood. You will also hear, "How many sleeps until..." every waking moment of the day.

7. Watching House Hunters International reminds me of how spoiled I am as an American, and thankful I don't have a washing machine in my kitchen.

8. Blogging has apparently become an addiction of mine.

9. Doing a google blog search for "peed my pants" sends you to my blog. Funny.

For more things that people learned this week, hop on over to From Inmates to Playdates.

Fixing the Water Pipes

I had decided she was never going to come. I would be pregnant forever. After daily contractions for weeks on end, and my stubborn desire to be all natural and to not induce, Madeline was nine days past her welcome. So, after putting Brooke down for a nap, I had a good frustrating cry, then got ready to join my SIL Julie and our mother in law for lunch that day. A few minutes later, I felt a tiny, but distinct "pop"! And then a trickle. Either I had peed myself (definitely within the realm of possibility) or my water just broke. I can't remember who I called first- Bill or the midwife- but not much further down the list of phone calls was to Julie, letting her know that I wouldn't be making it to lunch after all. Later that evening, Julie's then 3 year old son ran up to his daddy and asked him to get his toolbox. He explained that Aunt Michelle's water was broke and he needed to go over and fix it for her.

I remembered this story tonight after Madeline spilled a tall glass of water all over the living room floor. After cleaning up the mess, I chuckled about that hot summer day nearly four years ago when I considered her spilling the water to actually be a good thing, and my sweet nephew's ingenious solution to help me fix it.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Don't Cry Over Dried Laundry

After a six month hiatus, my husband is helping with the laundry again. While this does speak for how much my love cares for me, it speaks even more for how much my postpartum hormones have finally started to normalize. This past January, Bill came under the harsh wrath of my after-baby blues while in the laundry room. He had made what should have been a harmless decision to switch a load of clothes from the washer into the dryer. Little did he know the chaos this would cause my fragile post-delivery brain, only a couple weeks following the birth of our beautiful Lydia. As the dryer came to a stop, I opened the door, and- to my absolute horror- realized the gravity of what my husband had done. In his attempt to help me, he had used regular heat on the normal cycle, and he had used a dryer sheet. A scented dryer sheet. My eyes immediately welled up with tears. I felt panicked. I didn't know what to do as I felt my entire world cave in around me. I knelt to the floor, picked up a warm onesie, and buried my face in it as I wept. My unsuspecting husband walked in at that moment, stunned to see me hysterically crying. My tears then turned to anger as I let him have it- asking him how he could possibly think it was ok to use a dryer sheet with baby items?! Didn't he realize that the high heat would shrink the clothes, and the normal, nongentle cycle would wear them out faster? And what if there had been a stain on something (which there wasn't) but what if there had been and he didn't know it and the hypothetical article of clothing would have then been ruined??? Bill looked at me- a crumpled mess on the floor wearing a milk-stained nightgown now soaked with crocodile tears. He quietly apologized, promising to not ever do laundry again. I wiped away the tears and removed myself from the floor, carrying my unperfectly laundered clothes with me. So last night, when I saw Bill switching clothes from the washer to the dryer, it took me back to that crazy moment. And instead of crumpling up hysterically crying in front of the washing machine, I gave my love a hug and kiss, and thanked him, happy that both my brain and my heart were finally in unison once again.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

From the Diaries of a Homeless Dyson

Hi. I'm Dyson, the hard-working, floor-cleaning accessory in this non-bug-eating household. I am plugged in daily, and never feel neglected. My owner has even referred to me once or twice as her sexy cleaning companion. However, even with all this love, I have one major problem. I am homeless, usually left alone in the foyer, as there is no closet to call my own. The downstairs closet used to be called home, until a sudden shoe reorganization kicked me out a few months ago. With the upstairs closet dedicated to linens, I am now left to wander aimlessly throughout the day. It's ok, though- really it is. It allows me to join in family activities, even if it is in the background.

I enjoy watching male bonding in the foyer from time to time.

I also serenade Brooke on occasion as she listens to her music.

I help comfort Lydia in the car carrier just before outings.
(I know- I barely made it into the picture. But don't the floors look clean and shiny?)

I like to oversee the older girls make a castle out of blankets and pillows.

And I watch Isaac play with his mommy while she snaps a few pictures.
Yes, I love this family. I work hard to keep their floors dirt-free, and thoroughly enjoy being a part of the action, even if it is in the background. Maybe one day I will find a closet or space to call my own. (I mean, really- is it my fault that just weeks after I was purchased, my makers released a smaller, lighter version of myself?) Until then, look for me hidden in the background on future blog postings. I'll be sure to say hello.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Sitting Pretty

Lydia sat up yesterday! In the past, when one of my children reached this milestone, I scrambled around to snap a picture. This time, I decided to just sit still and enjoy the moment. This turned out to be a good decision, because seconds later I had to soften her fall as she slumped over to the side. Later on in the morning I sat her up again to take these pictures.
Just before the fall.

Isaac decided she needed some help and came over to take care of her.
I love that he takes it upon himself to take care of her.

I am amazed that just six short months ago, my baby girl was a tiny newborn.
I love you Lydia!! I'm so excited to watch you grow. Take your time before learning to crawl, at least until I have time to baby proof.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Power of Advertising, Band Aids, and Hot Glue Guns

I'm linking up again to Julie's blog this week about things I've learned in the past few days. In my life I always seem to be learning new things, as the giant burn on my thumb is reminding me while I type this.

1. Don't try to hot glue something while pointing the gun in the air. This will avoid a giant glob of hot glue landing on your thumb, and then doing the crazy dance while trying to rip it off your burning flesh.

2. A Barbie Jeep will survive heavy rain. (I think. I'll tell you for sure next week.)

3. A toddler is not tall enough to be seen over a grocery cart. Remember this so you don't knock him to the ground if he happens to step in front of it. (Again, sorry Isaac.)

4. A Toy Story, Barbie, or Hello Kitty Band Aid immediately heals any wound, no matter how microscopic.

5. Allowing your children to start watching SpongeBob, or any other station other than PBS or Disney, will result in several requests for whatever item they see in the commercials. Your five year old may even explicitly tell you that the only reason she wanted that kind of cereal is because "that bee is so silly on tv."

6. Pop Tarts sold at Sam's Club state on the box that the product is approved for use in public school nutrition programs. Enough said on this topic, unless you would like to see smoke pour out of my ears and flames shoot from my mouth.

7. When picking out pottery to paint, be sure to take note of the price tags, or else you may end up spending twice (or more) than you thought you were going to be.

8. Your three year old looks adorable in pigtails, leaving you wondering why you hadn't been fixing her hair like that long before now.

9. Don't let your kids improve on their game skills with hide and seek, or it will backfire on you when you truly want to hide.

10. Children who have an internal alarm clock that goes off at 6:30am will inexplicably turn off that alarm on the ONE DAY that you need them to get up at such an early hour. (Why, oh whyyyyyyy.........)

For other things that people learned this week, go on over to Julie at Inmates.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Elusive Perfection

I'm not sure exactly why I'm about to post this picture, except to say that if I were to see this image in someone else's house, it would in a wierd way lift my spirits to see that someone else is imperfect like me. I seem to live with a subconscious belief that every other young mother's house is spotless 24/7. And why exactly do I believe this? Think back to the last playdate you had at your house. How much time did you spend cleaning beforehand? Especially if that mother had not been to your house before? In my case, not only will I try to make sure my house is spotless, I will even reorganize closets on the slight chance that someone will need to look in there. I act as if my home is a model house up for sale. I have in my head that every other mother, including the one coming over, lives in a spotless home nearly every second of her life. But unless this elusive, perfect mother has given birth to robots, I should know this is not true. I work throughout the day keeping up my house, cleaning to the best of my ability while still  maintaining a life outside of Pledge and bleach. But perfection is always just out of reach. I wake up in the morning, determined to maintain and end the day with completely clean rooms, no laundry to be dealt with, children engaged with their mother all day long, and no project left undone. Which means I go to bed disappointed. Every. Single. Night. And I'm sick of it. So, here is a picture I took the other day, just five minutes after the kids and I had completely cleaned and organized the playroom from top to bottom.
I am not exaggerating in the least. Seriously, this is what my children can do in five short minutes. And that is ok. That is ok. That... Is... O... K...

Let that sink in. It's ok that my children play, and have fun, and make a mess. It'll get cleaned up. And it will get messy again. And so will the kitchen. And the laundry. And the unmade beds. It's all fixable. And cleanable. Because one day, I will have a clean, spotless house, 24/7. And there won't be fingerprints on the wall. Or peanut butter on the ottamon. Or crumbs under the table. There will only be memories. Of the time when my children were small, and laughed, and played, and made messes, and reminded their mommy of what really matters. And it didn't include Pledge. Or bleach. Or even, perfection.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Kindergarten Tears- Advice Wanted

I became teary-eyed at church this morning. It had nothing to do with the fact that I left my six month old in the nursery for the first time, or that I was overwhelmed managing four children in four different classes/nursery rooms. It had to do with walking away and leaving my oldest daughter Brooke in Kid's Church. She was promoted a few weeks ago to the school age class, and so there are a lot more "big kids" around her. On this particular morning I could tell she was nervous because she couldn't find a familiar face right away. I saw a friend of hers out of the corner of my eye, and brought Brooke over to her. My baby girl was visibly relieved, and settled into her seat. Yet I immediately choked up. I flashed backward in my mind to all the times I was scared as a child, looking for a friendly face, and then I flashed forward to next month when she will experience the same emotions. I walked away quickly before she could see my face, and then let the tears flow at the nursery door while dropping off the baby. The sweet nursery workers thought I was crying about leaving Lydia.

As much as I know for a fact that God will take care of her, I can't imagine walking away from the school on that inevitable day in one piece. So I am asking my blog-world friends with school age children- how did you do it??? I can't think about it for more than a second or even drive by the school without the tears welling up in my eyes. She will always be my baby, and I am viewing the school system as a loss of her innocence- as the start of pain and hurt from bullies, and possibly even worse, her friends. I'm even more scared that she will be going through pain and I won't know about it because she won't tell me. I always tell her she can come to me about anything, but is that enough? So I ask, in practical terms, how did you do it? Submit your story in the comment section below, and I may use your story in a future blog post.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Wonderfully Ordinary

It happened, finally! A picture with all four of my children looking into the camera and smiling. The one and only other time this has occured was on Valentine's Day, when Lydia was still a newbie. Bill was able to snap this pic on the steps of our house this evening.

Today was so much fun, though somewhat unexpectedly so. Bill was scheduled to work this weekend, and I ended up taking all the kids to Sam's Club by myself. It sounds like torture, but it was actually- dare I say- fun! Everyone was in a good mood, no one cried, and I only knocked one child down with the grocery cart. (Sorry Isaac.) Then, all five of us came home, ate lunch, and took a nap. ALL of us. I woke up two hours later and wasn't sure if it was morning or evening. Glorious. After my dad stopped by to play with the kids, Bill came home and we traveled a half hour north to paint pottery. Here are some pics of our artwork.

Here are the finished products, before they are put in the kiln.
I'm thinking of hanging the plate in my dining room -unless it doesn't turn out as well as I hope it will, in which case it will be used to serve food.

We rounded out at the day at Chick Fil A. Once home we were surprised to be able to view fireworks from an upstairs window. I love days like today, so wonderfully ordinary. The kids are now tucked into bed, and Bill is sleeping soundly beside me. I've said it over and over, but it is so true- thank you God for all you have given us. Each and every day is such a gift.