Thursday, May 23, 2013

Learning Definitions and Creating Our Own

This boy. This sweet, sweet boy. 
Oh my first born son, how smart and friendly and awesome he is.
Oh how he had me so frustrated yesterday.
I was not going to yell. I spent the day doing household stuff, grocery shopping, hanging out with the little ones, watching The Chew and pouring out into a blog post and I was feeling lighter. Maybe fresher, a new start for the day. Then Dylan got home from school and we all made snacks. Things were fine and normal when suddenly the whiney monster came out. Dylan spent the good part of an hour in and out of his room for whining about every.little.thing. His legs hurt, he had too much homework, his brother wouldn't let him have a moment to himself, he couldn't play the Wii, he didn't get to help make the Cranberry Bog Bars. I was seriously on the verge of losing it and I couldn't figure out what was actually wrong or why he was having such a hard day, but he was.
Eventually with time he calmed down and helped me make dinner. "This is my favorite dinner now. Well pizza is here" holding up a hand as a level, "and this is here" holding his other hand equally high. We got through out difficult time and I tried to hold it together. I did the best I could and you know what happened? Magic!
He saw a magazine on the counter, Thriving Family published by Focus on the Family. I got a free subscription (I think all subscriptions are free but I found it through some sort of promotion) a while ago and it has so great ideas and articles so I had it there to remind me to talk to Shane about something in it. He tried to read the title and couldn't quite pronounce the word thrive. I helped him and then he asked me what it meant. I explained that it meant to do really well or to keep growing better. Then we looked it up in the dictionary to keep that learning active (who's with me mommas?) and found it was related to the word flourish. So of course we had to look that word up too. Once we were all done researching I sort of dropped the subject and moved on to cleaning up after dinner when he came up to me and said, "You know that thing we were talking about earlier, that's like our family right now." 
Oh be still my heart. After a rough day this boy thinks our family is thriving. You know what? He's right. I did struggle through the surviving stage and couldn't wait to get to the unattainable thriving stage. When I finally stopped to look around I realized I was actually there, with the help of a small and sometime whiney voice. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Picture Perfect... almost


Lately I have been struggling with well, everything. I feel like I haven't been the kind and encouraging wife I want to be. I feel like I am a crumby homemaker, no pun intended. I feel like I am a disconnected and selfish friend. And above all I feel like I have been a grumpy, awful mom. I know these things aren't true but that is where my mind has been going. Finally coming out of the fog of sleep deprivation (it was like having a newborn for 11 months!) has made me feel alive again. I am able to have sane conversations with Shane again. I am making playdates and realizing that I need to use my MOPS time as a ministry rather than just something I do. I am taking care of my body and starting to feel it. And I am seeing that my time of less-than-perfecting mothering is starting to come out in the kids. I don't want them to become yellers or be angry at one another. I read this amazing blog post and hope to some day have the same outcome the writer did. Some day. For now I am coming to terms with what is perfect for my family in this season of life. We have been having nice weather and the back yard is coming together the way I have envisioned it for years so I decided that we were going to eat dinner outside. And I was going to take pictures and post them on facebook so all could revel in how together I seem to be now. But the wind came up so everyone had to find their jackets and shoes which took way longer than I thought for this impromptu outdoor dinner. Then with where the sun was at this time there are lattice shadows across everyone's faces and no one wants to smile when dinner is finally ready. There is cous cous in the baby's hair. I'm not in the "family" picture. Oh I could go on. 
So it was then and there I finally realized that I don't have it all together. There is no possible way to be perfect. But I have to be what is great for me, for our family. We love our Sunday salmon dinners, we got some vitamin D, and spent time together. Lincoln shoved too much food in his mouth at one point in time and thew half of his dinner up onto his plate. Then the boys all took a bath together and we settled into the evening routine. 
At a MOPS meeting recently a friend commented that it seems like I had it all together. Sure I try not to post negative things on facebook and I like to pin what my dream life could be like on Pinterest but I know I am no where near together. I think I'm doing an ok job at what God has given me but I want to do better. So as I strive to "have it all together,"I also want to be transparent and sincere enough to let every mom know that there are hard days, there are times of struggle, there are moments where you really don't think you have it in you to scrub one more super hero plate of dried on macaroni, times when yelling just seems like the only solution and times when things are 100% perfect in the moment. Look for those great times and just be in the moment. That is my goal and I challenge you to do the same. Because you never know when something else imperfect can become great.

When your backyard becomes the neighborhood water park.

When a stack of pay stubs can become Captain America arm shields. 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Warner is One!

Wow, we've come a long way in one year! This time last year we had a brand spanking new baby, Danielle just moved back in with us and was getting ready to graduate, Dylan was finishing up the school year and I was getting ready to take over as a co-coordinator of MOPS. Stress was sky high, life was busy but full of love. I've definitely went through quite a few months of the baby blues but I am finally feeling like I am getting my act together and feeling a bit better about everything in general. I can tell because I'm actually planning ahead with freezer meals, getting cute outfits on in the morning, making playdates with friends, and getting out in the yard and doing some gardening (which I haven't had any desire to do it what seems like years! I'm even trying harder to get back to blogging regularly but not quite like I thought I wanted to do before. 
At his one year check up Warner's head was in the 75% - which is apparently common in all my children, 50% for height and 25% for weight. He's so busy now that he is walking around that he's probably going to be a skinny minny like his brothers. That kid will eat for days so at least I know I'm not starving him. 
We have been having record highs so on Warner's birthday we went out to the Lake for a day of fun with the kids. He wasn't into swimming, just being held by Mommy and bopping to the hip-hop music being played by the college kids hanging out. The older boys loved playing in the "tide pools" created by the overflow runoff. Danielle was even in town so we all got to hang out and take turns at keeping Lincoln out of the water without his life jacket, that little dare devil. 

Watersocks! He doesn't like walking around in the grass yet, but he will soon to keep up with this brothers and the big kids. 

All four of my kids. 

Warner getting to work, trying to sweep the kitchen.

One year post birth, I have a little ways to go but at least I wore a bathing suit in public and didn't freak out too much. Shane is in the best shape of his life now so I'm working on it slowly too. There is supposed to be a gym membership in my near future to lose those extra 5 pounds and several inches. But oh how I Love his chubby baby cheeks. 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

An Elephant Toothpaste Experiment


So far, Dylan is my only kid in school and what I have learned from him is that since I have the opportunity to be present in his life most of the time, I should and can, make many moments teaching moments. He got a homemade science kit for Christmas and one Saturday when his little brother was taking a surprise nap (oh thank God!) he wanted to try his hand at making Elephant Toothpaste. He read the instructions, got all the supplies out of his kit and was ready for me to help. Fortunately I am trying to be the kind of mom that allows the kids to be a little more independent and learn for themselves so instead of taking over I only helped with disaster was eminent. Dylan was so proud of himself! The experiment wasn't as spectacular as I was expecting (maybe we didn't use the fancy beauty supply peroxide so it wasn't as potent?) but it was still pretty cool. He even wrote up a description of what happened and drew a picture to take in to school and show his teacher. What a little stud. It was especially sweet to hear him explain the whole thing to Lincoln when he woke up. 

I had a video too but the computer keeps having errors while trying to process so I will try to upload that sometime later. 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Who dresses these kids?


Ok so this picture is adorable. Warner has amazing blue eyes and is getting the cutest little hair do... but I mean seriously, who lets their kid play with a wooden spoon constantly?


Who lets their kid wear a bat man shirt, farmer hat and clip on tie for a walk through the neighborhood?


Who lets their kid dress themselves and put their entire outfit on backwards? Usually the shoes are on the wrong feet too, but I think he got it right this time. At least he's wearing a helmet.

This mom, that's who. If they like something and it's not causing a problem, I'm learning to just let things happen. Giving over control will help me win wars not battles. Kids want to be in control of their lives and letting them make safe choices is one of the best ways for them to learn. Just finished up a course through Love & Logic and I definitely recommend looking into it!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Counting Down to One

Yep, both of these pictures were on the same day, just before I had Lincoln. I thought it was Warner when I started posting this and then realized we wouldn't have been swimming in the lake in April around here. Oh well still funny to see old pictures downloaded from Shane's phone to remind how fast my babies grow up. Mothering - the things we do to our bodies!
Yikes Warner is almost one! My baby is moving into the toddler stage and it makes me a little sad. Don't get me wrong, I am SO grateful that he started sleeping through the night this last week, and he's finally not going through as much separation anxiety, and he can self feed most things and follow his brothers around, but he is walking and responding to me and turning into a big boy right before my eyes! These boys sure have me on my toes. 
Laughing with Sissy the last time she was in town.

So happy to be eating - sent this to my brother - I <3 my Uncle bib from when I had Dylan.

Holding his own juice cup, almost outgrown his infant car seat :(