Lately.

It’s ironic that when we are at our busiest – when there are so many possible topics to write about – I’m finding it harder to share.  Possibly because I don’t even know where to begin.  I could easily write volumes about the last few weeks.  Or better yet pen a script for a new Lifetime mini-series.

But for now let’s keep it simple with emoticons shall we?

👨👸👦👱👦👶🐶🐟
👍😀😜
🏠
🚐 🎹⚽️⚾️🏀🏇
⛽️
🍺🍷☕️
🚐 🎹⚽️⚾️🏀🏇
⛽️
🍺🍷☕️
🍪🍰
⛽️
🚐 🎹⚽️⚾️🏀🏇
⛽️
🙏
🏡
😁😳
🙅🙇
😷
😓😢😬😕
🍺🍷☕️
🏠🏡
😘😋

Basically.

We’re all alive.  Happy.   A little nuts.  Tired.   I practically live in my car driving littles around from one thing to the next.   We’ve prayed for a long time to find a bigger home for our bigger family.  Prayers were answered.  As of today we own two homes.  Naturally we’re a little nervous.  Excited.  Overwhelmed.  {Wanna buy a house?}  We’ve had some other scary stuff come up.  I know He’s got this but I’m not going to lie, it’s a lot.

So I guess really nothing’s new.

😋

P.S.  Thanks to everyone who has been checking because the blog has been so quiet.  That really means a lot.  😘

 

 

 

 

A date

In a big family like ours one-on-one time with mom and dad can be tough to come by, so last week Alex and I took Henry out to dinner.  It was a wonderful and much-needed evening for all three of us.

I’ll be the first to admit that in this whirlwind of caring for little people – feeding the baby, packing lunches, doing laundry, driving from one practice to the next, making dinner – its easy to get caught up in all that I have to do and miss out on opportunities to slow down and check-in with each child.  When the boys were all little we tended to lump them into one big group.  And sometimes, basically out of survival we parented them as a herd.  Today, the younger children seem to urgently demand my time and attention, meanwhile our first-born is fighting to stretch his wings – separating himself from the herd – and needs our attention in new and more complex ways.

Of course I never handle this parenting thing as gracefully as I’d like.  Nor are the answers always obvious.  Even as their mother, I will never know exactly how my children are feeling or all the burdens they carry.  I’ll never know the responsibility Henry feels as the oldest brother of four.  Or understand what it’s like to have a brother with special needs.  Or how he manages to almost always meets everyone’s high expectations.

We’ve never set our to burden our eldest son.  His independent soul and strong will are characteristics we’re proud of.  So is the way that he seemingly handles everything with ease.  He’s so grown up.  “Thank goodness for Henry” we say, “isn’t he amazing?”  But as we all know even the lightest of expectations can begin to weigh you down.

What it all boils down to is this: I really, really, really want Henry to know without a doubt that we love him.  Not as the oldest brother, the big helper, the good friend, or the great student.  That we simply love him for who he is.  No matter what he’s feeling, or how he’s behaving.  Our love will remain constant.

Once again we are learning as we go.  We pray everyday for grace and forgiveness as parents and I don’t think this will ever stop.  We pray to find that sweet spot of encouragement and love and discipline.  And we pray that we will always be there for each of our children, to help ease their burdens and join in their celebrations.

Chicken Little

I’ve lost my groove.  It’s been a seven-month funk.  Nothing like the winter blahs coupled with a dose of postpartum depression to make you feel awesome.

I know that this won’t last forever but when you’re in the thick of it you can’t help but feel stuck.  For me this doesn’t translate into days or weeks of doom.  More like intense moments of panic or anxiety.  Think Chicken Little.  The day is going smoothly and then bam!  The sky is falling.

There’s no doubt that being a mom is simultaneously the hardest, most wonderful, enlightening, terrifying, stressful, joyful thing I have ever done.  But right now there are days when I wake up racked with anxiety, because there are four little people I’m responsible for.  And Alex and I have the daunting task of molding them into decent, kind, good human beings while also letting them blossom into who God designed them to be.  Meanwhile I can’t seem to get the baby to take a nap, keep the three boys from fighting or convince them that the potty talk needs to stop.  I’m sure the sleep deprivation isn’t helping but I also think these struggles are a daily {hourly? minute by minute?} reminder of my own short-comings.  And lately I’ve never been so aware of my own shortcomings {there are many}.

I know that we will work through all of this.  I know that Caroline will someday take a bottle.  Or a sippy cup.  Or she will just be very thirsty.  And then I will have something new to worry about.  But in the meantime it does feel good to at least admit that yeah, this stage right now, it’s hard.

Just because

The six-month milestone is rapidly approaching and while Caroline has mastered the art of sitting in her high-chair we have yet to actually introduce any real food.  I’ve never been excited about starting solids, probably because I’m also not a fan of rushing through any of the baby stages.  But the good news is we are officially smack-dab in the middle of the golden, happy baby stage.

Kindergarten Christmas Program

look center, up to the left of the bright blue skirt…see our favorite blondie?

Last week was Charlie’s kindergarten Christmas program and I seriously wish that we had invited every single person that we know.  Leading up to the big night we were a bit nervous.  Charlie is doing so well at school but standing up on a stage, in an auditorium that he’s never even set foot in?  We didn’t know what to expect.

As usual, Charlie set me straight.  Not only did he do the hand motions to all FIVE of the songs, but he was SINGING.  Sure he was a bit off-key.  Yes, sometimes he was a beat or two behind.  But to see him standing proudly and to hear his voice along with all of the other kids in his grade was quite simply the best.

Of course I’m kicking myself for not taking more photos or a video or doing something else to document this moment, but honestly Alex and I were paralyzed in our seats for the entire performance.  Amazed.  Panicked.  Ready to run down to that stage in a flash.  But mostly we couldn’t stop laughing and smiling at the wonder of our little guy.

It probably sounds silly, but that night felt a bit magical.

Who knew it could be so good?

**total side note…for weeks Charlie’s teacher, me, really anyone who has tried to get a photo of Charlie cannot get him to keep his head straight for a photo.  I couldn’t figure it out.  Until I was snapping these photos.  And guess who had her head turned to the side while holding the camera?  Duh.  Mystery solved.  ;)

What a ride.

We learned a few things during our recent visit to Seattle:

1.  We would have been amazing parents if we’d only had two children.  We would have totally nailed it.  Of course I can say such a tongue in cheek comment from my little corner of the world where I actually have four children and run from fire to fire.  Maybe like most things, we’re doing better than we think.   But to spend a day with just William and Caroline was a real treat and a great reminder to schedule more one on one or two on two-time with our kiddos.

2.  After more blood work our delightful doctor confirmed that there is no indication that William has cancer or any other major blood disorder.  And while some of the pieces of the puzzle still don’t entirely make sense, what we do know is that William is healthy.  Whew.  Amen.  Alleluia.  Praise Jesus.

Of course I don’t mean to sound so casual about it all, but I honestly hadn’t even allowed myself to think such thoughts {though duh, we had an appointment at the Seattle Children’s Cancer and Blood disorder clinic} because quite honestly I might have officially lost it.

We’re still standing. Praise God He doesn’t give up on us.

It’s taken me a while, but I’m finally coming to terms with the fact that my children and all of the little details that make them who they are, aren’t going to necessarily fit the mold that I’d so {foolishly} dreamed and planned for them {me}.  I’m sometimes reluctant to admit that our Creator, the King of the Universe knows so much more than this suburban mother ever could imagine.  Of course He hasn’t missed a single detail when crafting their personalities, dividing cells and designing each fingerprint.

Saturday morning.

A typical fall Saturday morning has Alex and Henry off duck hunting before sunrise while Charlie, William and now Caroline and I enjoy a slow and lazy start to our weekend.  Honestly it is such a relief to not be rushing off anywhere, to sit and sip my coffee and to have the time to make pancakes {pumpkin spice, yum!}  The boys run around happily building forts, pausing to watch a show, move on to art projects, a big bubble bath, you name it.  I putter, bake something, clean the kitchen, start some laundry, and maybe read.  However, my new favorite Saturday morning pastime is taking pictures of baby girl.  After her morning nap she is happy to watch me dance and sing and coo while I snap away on the camera.  Something tells me that I’ll be quite grateful that I’ve captured as many sweet moments as possible during these fleeting baby days.

In all fairness I should point out that during our sweet photo shoot, Charlie and William were having a nerf gun fight while wearing only their underwear.

PS – these pictures are also a sort of love letter and great big hug for my dear friend.

Caroline – four months

 

…kissable cheeks and a well-earned double chin…

…we’re learning how to accessorize…did we even do this headband thing right?…

…she always looks so serious when I bring out the camera, she really does smile…

…reality…

There is certainly something special about that delicious squishy newborn stage but the transition into the happy, smiley baby stage has us all falling madly in love with Caroline again and again.

Sweet Coco is now four months old and oh what a wonder she is.  She is four months full of joy and of strong will.  Baby girl has a rather demanding spirit but serves as a constant blessing to our family.  She keeps us on our toes and has my brain spinning round and round already.  {Though this might possibly be due to a *growth spurt* that has her waking up at least a bazillion times a night.}

I’d forgotten all of the things that one can worry about with a new baby.  Is she eating enough?  Sleeping enough?  Sleeping too much during the day and not enough at night?  Does she get enough interaction?  Too much interaction?  Tummy time!  We forgot about tummy time!  Does her head look flat?  But that new fancy head pillow that is supposed to make her head round makes her ears stick out…debate endlessly about which is worse, ears that stick out or flat head?  Will she be traumatized by the fact that she takes half of her naps in her carseat on the go?  {sigh, perhaps this is why head is flat?}

And then there is the whole feeling that I’m mothering in three different worlds.  One being the world of a mom with kiddos in elementary school.  {good grief, how did they take me seriously with all the spit-up on my shirt during the parent-teacher conferences?  oh and trying to be a cool mom: “what’s mind crafts?”  and what is the etiquette on nursing when your oldest son has friends over?}  Then there is the preschool world.  {hello, preschool world, I’ve been here for almost six years now…} And the newborn world.  {that beautiful fuzzy world where you fall madly in love with your sweet new baby while living in a constant state of survival mode.  i.e. I can now go four + {!} days without washing my hair.}

I’m rambling.  Of course all I really wanted to do was post some cute pictures of Caroline and write down her four-month stats.

10 pounds 4 ounces

23 1/2 inches

She’s still a peanut.  But quite possibly, the cutest little peanut you ever did see.