Wednesday, November 4, 2015

What a "Normal" Week Looks Like

The last few months of this year seem to have just flown right by.  The last time I wrote on this blog was September 8, and the post before that was in July.  It always is so amazing to me how fast time goes by, and the more children we have the faster it seems to go.  Here's a run down of what we are doing on most "normal" weeks.  I put normal in quotations because between 3 children, you learn to expect anything and anyone can come down with some illness or whatever out of nowhere.

    Sundays are usually pretty quiet around here.  Mark has to be at the church around 7-7:30 to set up the stage, lights, and sound equipment each week.  We currently are renting out the Convention Center in Marshall, which means during the week all the things church related must be down and stored away and then on put back up again on Sunday mornings.  So no one really sees daddy until we get to church later that morning.
    Usually I get the kids up and going around 7:30-8 and they get to watch one show or so while they eat their breakfast.  This is a special treat, because normally they aren't allowed to watch television while they eat, instead they eat together at the table.  However, daddy says during the weekends the rules relax a little and it gives them something to look forward to and enjoy.  While they are preoccupied with the show and eating I finish up whatever is left for me to do to finish getting myself ready, which means hair and make-up, but I wait to put on my clothes.  I also try to pick out and get everyone's clothes ready too.  After the show it is on to the bath (if we hadn't taken one the night before) so everyone smells good and clean.  Then I get the boys dressed, then I get Halle Kate dressed, and then I put everyone in the car with whatever items are needed (diaper bag, bible, drinks, etc).  Then I come back into the house to put on my outfit for church.  This prevents anything spilling on it or getting spit up upon before we get there and I don't have to worry about how is getting into what while I change since they are all strapped in ready to go.  We go to church, then come back for lunch, nap (Mark usually has a soccer game he plays on Sunday afternoons), then some play outside time, dinner, and more play time.  Very relaxed and not a whole lot pressing us this day.

    Monday is a day we have nothing "scheduled" so it is also the day I do "school" with Reid. We start school around 9:00ish or so after everyone has woken up, eaten breakfast, and done their morning chores.   We work on whatever letter they will be working on at his school that week.  I usually pull various worksheets from pinterest, including one where he makes a book.  I want to do more and make more little crafts and all, but between the letter work, a math sheet, calendar time, and bible lesson, that is all the sitting still we have in us, and that is ok with me.  One day I will get it all together and do the neat things.  Halle Kate is hopefully napping during this time, though I don't let her sleep very long, because I would rather her sleep later on when everyone else does.  She is the worst napper out of the three, but she is also the one who gets toted around the most during the morning, so her morning nap is never at a real consistent time, except for on Mondays and Thursdays.
    Once we have done school I usually give them free time to play, hopefully outside if the weather permits.  I try to take that time to do housework that needs to get done, like laundry, dishes, vacuuming and mopping, cleaning bathrooms, etc.  Anything that is generally too loud or has me moving around too much during the afternoon nap time.  We then come in for some inside play time or I go out with them to the driveway in the front yard and watch them as they ride bikes or scooters.  Then it is time to make the kids lunch and let them eat around 12 or so.  After they eat, they can play, or we sometimes draw, or paint, or do playdough, depending on where they are emotionally.  At 1 they get to watch one show before going down for nap at 1:30.  After everyone is put in their beds I go and get myself lunch and sit down to eat that and watch one show of whatever I choose. I try to make sure I am up and doing something from at least 3-4, whether that is laundry, or working on my bedroom, which happens to be the catchall for stuff.  My kids then sleep until 4 or so when they wake up and go to play again.  This usually means going out to the front yard to get out their energy.  A snack is usually given about this time.  Then it is time to fix supper if it isn't a crock pot meal, or get it prepared.  Sometimes this is crazy town because there isn't a "set" thing for them to be doing at that time, and I am preoccupied with dinner before daddy gets home.
    Finally daddy makes it home and we are able to eat together as a family, clear  the table, and head back outside one final time before our bedtime routine begins.  Around 7, we put the kids in the bath, clear up whatever is left in the kitchen that didn't get cleared before, then they are out and in PJs and ready for bible time around 7:20.  We do bible time together, then it is either one more show (this is usually what happens) or sometimes daddy gets out his guitar and we sing before bed.  I try to also read a book here, but that doesn't always get accomplished.  I need to get better at that aspect.  8 o'clock, all children are in bed, and Mark and I fall out on the couch and chill for a bit.  We usually watch netflix until around 10, then head to bed ourselves because seriously it is exhausting, and get get ready to do it all again in the morning.

    Tuesdays are mother's day out days for all three children, so the morning is a little rushed with breakfast, chores, and clothes on to prepare for "school".  They get dropped off at 9 AM and I get to do whatever I have planned for that day.  I really thought I would be home a lot more, but usually these days I am gone from the house for almost the entire time.  This is where I get those random things done that need to be done but is too hard to do with 3 under 5 with you.  They get home at 2:30 and then we weather the storm until bed, which the routine is the same as above.

  Wednesdays are great days because we go to Bible Study Fellowship, which I adore.  It is an absolutely free class where women gather together to learn more about the bible by going through specific books or themes.  For instance last year they spent the entire year on the life of Moses, and this year they are doing the book of revelation.  It is truly like a college course with reading and homework to do every week and I just love it.  There is also a children's program which is AMAZING.  The kids learn what you are learning each week, as well as many other songs and verses.  Their teachers also pray for them by name weekly, which is such a neat thing to know someone else is praying for your baby right along with you.  I go to an hour small group meeting and then an hour lecture, and then usually me and 3 friends and all our children eat lunch outside on the playground at the church.  It is a great time to just be together.
   We come home from that, watch our pre-nap show, then head to nap.  This day I really have to push to get certain things done so our house stays afloat, and I try to do those during the show so I am not making too much noise at nap time.  Once nap time is over it is a fast and furious race to get dinner cooked, eaten, and everyone ready and out the door to Wednesday night church.  We absolutely adore our small group and the kids love getting to see their friends.  We also get home rather late, so once we are home around 8:30 it is usually a  fast bath (at my request, I want those sick germs off, Mark doesn't care) and bed.

  Thursdays are essentially the same as a Monday.  Some days we have somewhere to go, an errand to run, or a play date with a friend.  I try to stick around the house as much as possible so the kids are at home with me more than they are away.

   During the week, Mark work around the clock and tries to see all his patients, which will leave Fridays open to spend with us.  Those are "special days" because the boys get to watch a show while they eat and then they go somewhere with daddy while I either work on things around the house that need more intensive attention (closets, eesh those aren't fun). We usually  meet up for lunch and then come home, show, nap, wake up and play, repeat.

   Everyone is home all together and those days are fun and slow, spent with everyone all together,  We adore these days and are thankful for the time we get as a family.  It gets kind of hard trying to keep 3 littles entertained and having enough to do to pass the day but we make it work for us.  God has been so gracious and I know I will one day look back on this and wonder "what all did I do" or "how in the world did we survive?" So I am writing it down. . . Instead of folding the three piles of laundry while listening to HK cry because she woke herself up an hour early from her nap (sorry sugar find your paci and get on it, I am not coming in until nap is done).

So  yes, this is what we have been doing lately and some as the weeks have passed.  Every week looks different, but they basically have this skeleton to go off of.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Sometimes Childhood Is...

In the world of social media it is so easy to make it look like we have it all together.  Perfectly staged photos of clean smiling children, eating their incredibly healthy-looks-like-an-octopus-sandwich-sculpture, peacefully together, at the table you handcrafted yourself out of reclaimed barn wood, while listening to instrumental hymns playing softly in the background is the ideal idea I had in my head of what raising 3 children would be.  Um, eeerrrrkkk, can we just put on the brakes on that one and realize it will never happen!  It just isn't reality.  And no matter what I think life with littles should look like in my head, it just doesn't look like that in real life.  Not only am I too exhausted to create anything, including handmade tables and octopus sculpture lunches, I am sometimes too exhausted to be in the same dirty messy room as my kids.  Sometimes I just want to close my eyes and wish it clean and POOF, that is what would happen.

However today as I sit watching my boys play in a massive lawn mower box giggling their heads off as they play together (which in turn makes their sister laugh), I can't help but realize just how blessed I am, and that these are just some of the things that sometimes childhood is.

Sometimes childhood is messy rooms, like incredibly messy rooms, because when you're a kid, you don't get anxiety over how many things are on the floor (or what your 9 month old sister may eat).

Real life, of our real game room, on any given day.

Sometimes childhood is laughing uncontrollably as you and your kid brother are playing with a huge ball in a small box together.  The logic doesn't make sense, but that doesn't matter.

Sometimes childhood is your mom just sitting in the room being present, not even participating, but just being there enjoying you.

Sometimes childhood is watching the same episode of Barney over and over and over again.  You have no concept of the term "overuse" and "my-ears-are-going-to-fall-off-my-head-if-I-have-to-listen-to-this-one-more-time.

Sometimes childhood is comprised of iphone photos, or unedited and poorly taken "real camera pictures, because that is how memories are captured.

Sometimes childhood is running up and down the only hallway in the house and jumping on any and all furniture, because you have just that much energy.

Sometimes childhood is rolling around on the ground for no reason, because you know, why not?

Sometimes childhood is messy hair, unbrushed teeth (gasp), potty training woes, pop-tarts in the car, peanut butter and jelly hands, snotty noses, and so much more that comprise of your days.

However childhood is where the memories are and I hope oh so much that you Reid, and you Owen, and you Halle Kate make wonderful memories while you are under this roof.  Life is crazy, and man kids, this parenting thing is hard, like ridiculously hard, and so many times I feel like I am failing you miserably.  I DON'T have it all together, some days it is just a miracle we are up and dressed.  But the mantra that I hear in my head oh so often is "the days are long, but the years are short".  Sometimes I wish away these days in the "trenches" but I know I will miss it (well ok, maybe not all of it, you being able to make your own drinks and breakfast sounds pretty stinkin' amazing and I am sure always will be).

Please know more than anything you guys I pray for you.  I pray over you, I pray for you.  I pray above all else, above anything I could teach you academically or athletically (ok maybe your daddy for that one really), above all I hope for these years I have you here with me you learn to love God and you learn how to have a life lived for Him.  I hope you see it displayed, I hope you see it taught, I hope you see it expected.  I pray I lead well by example, that I don't expect anything out of you that I am not currently doing myself.  Y'all are some of my biggest blessings and I am thankful to be your mommy, even if on some days I need to be fired.  You are loved, deeply, completely, and by a human and broken mama.  Give me grace as I figure out how my vision of what I think your childhood should be differs from what is reality.  Sometimes childhood is an ebb and flow of grace upon grace between me and the 3 of you, you know what, that is ok.  It's ok. . .

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Drawing Close To God

I hesitate to even write this post because I definitely do not feel like I have it all together, have figured out some amazing secret to being uber spiritual or anything like that, but I need to document this time in life.  This crazy season we are in, when life seems to be one big clean up blur, going by in a flash and yet the hours just crawl by.  A time when you can feel like super mom one day and then lose it an hour later when you yell at your kids for doing something you've asked them 40 million times not to do.  A time when sleeping through the night completely is never a guarentee, in fact you proabably guaranteed to wake up at least once each night more often than not.

All that to say we are tired, I am tired, exhausted, falling out any time I sit down kind of tired.  Mothering littles is not for the faint of heart that is for sure, it makes you weary, tests you in every possible way, and is relentless.  Which is why I knew I needed to be plugging into God's word and what He had for me each day, but I wasn't.  I had so many excuses, albeit good ones, "I am waking up every 2-3 hours to feed a baby" was at the very top of the list.  Now before I go any further let me say here and now I believe there is grace in all things.  I don't think God is sitting there with a timer ticking off when you do or don't do your quiet time.  I don't think He is mad at the exhausted mother who is getting every ounce of sleep she can, especially in those early months, however we should not stay there.  I was using the excuse even when I was only getting up once or twice.  Finally once my dear Halle Kate started sleeping through the night I knew I had run out of valid things to blame my lack of time spent with the Lord on.  It came down to my own motivation, lack of desire, and laziness.

As I type those words I cringe.  I cringe to think about how I felt towards the Maker of the world, how I thought, how I acted.  I don't know if I also felt like I didn't know how to get back to a place of closeness to God so that made the task kind of more daunting or what.  However this was me 3 weeks ago.  then a friend let me borrow a book called "Shopping for Time" and even though I only got part of the way through it, it totally changed my persepective and gave me the motivation to get up and meet with God before my day started.  Now let me tell you I have NEVER nor will I ever be a morning person.  I always thought those people or studies that said you should do your quiet time in the morning were saying it merely out of opinion (and they are to some extent) but that it would really never apply to me.  Arrogant I know, but it is what I thought.  This book somehow covinced me that getting up early is actually so much more beneficial and I don't even really remember how.  I do know they made a 5 AM club where they all would call or text to make sure each other was up and reading the word so they had motivation and accountability.  Maybe it was knowing I wasn't alone with getting up and going that finally did it, but I began getting up to read my bible.

And wouldn't you know it, God honored it.  He honored the "sacrifice" (and I use that term VERY loosely) of a few more minutes of shut eye and the choice to come sit at His feet and get my day started by mediating on Him.  I actually began to look forward to being up, to praying, to reading, to listening.  It has been so refreshing to my soul.  I don't know why I am so surprised by this, I should have done this a long time ago, God has been waiting to pour out this blessing on me, I have been the one to refuse it in a way.  Am I perfect? No way!  HK had a week in there where she had a UTI, and was up every 2-3 hours screaming  at night and there were mornings I just couldn't get up.  However, more often than not I am up.  I sometimes fall asleep again while praying (I try really hard not to do this, but its happened a few times) but I am doing it.  I have been praying scripture over myself and Mark, another passage over my children, and then reading whatever I happen to read that day whether its the proverb for the day, a psalm or the study I am currently doing with Mark.  

So yes, if this encourages anyone I hope it encourages you to know you can get up, you don't have to be a morning person, but you can start your day off at a mediating slow pace instead of running 2 steps behind your children from the moment you wake up.  I wish I could adequately describe how much better it makes you spiritually, but I think it is just something you may have to discover for yourself.  Do it, for a couple of weeks, and I guarantee you won't regret it.  

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Instagram: The Mini Blog

Ok you guys, I honestly can't believe this blog is still going (kind of).  Seriously 7, going on 8 years is a long time, sometimes I cannot even believe it.  It would be so hard to give something up that is so old and so near and dear to my heart.  I love to go back and re-read what I was doing at certain points in my life and to remember details that I have long sense forgotten.

However with three 4 and under it gets a little harder to get over here and do what I love (writing).  It's not even that I am strapped for time as much as it is anytime I sit down I am almost certainly going to fall asleep while doing whatever it is I am pursuing at the moment.  Whether that is blogging, reading, watching t.v., anything really, sleep WILL overcome me.  I think that just comes with the territory.  All of this to say, Instagram has become like my "mini-blog" where I can just pop in, talk about what's going on, and then not worry about it.  However I know I will need to remember this season, because that is truly what it is, a season of mothering littles and so many times I think we as moms tend to forget (maybe by God's grace? haha) what we have really gone through.  So here is what life is feeling like right now. . . this will be jumbled, crazy, and just a tiny look inside our lives at the moment.

Since it is summer there is, how should I put this, a very loose schedule.  We have a consistent wake up, nap, and bed time, but other than that it is all kind of free game.  After our Morning Jobs we usually we spend the rest of the morning with friends or out in the front yard (before it gets too hot), or in the game room.  I try to do some stuff around the house at this time too (laundry, clean the kitchen, dinner prep if there is any, etc).  Sometimes it works out that way, and sometimes you have to just go sit and read a book and play cars.  Before you know it, lunch is here, followed by one show, and then nap until Daddy gets home, then the sky is the limit as to what we will do that night.

This is the first time I can ever actually remember loving summer.  I am a fall and winter girl, if I am not a mom of 3 children.  This past fall and winter we were so sick, I couldn't wait for warmer temps to take all of that away.  The bigger our family grows the longer the illnesses are drawn out it seems, so summer is now a favorite until they learn how to throw up without my assistance.

The boys are growing so big, like seriously, it is ridiculous.  I mean I almost have a five year old! FIVE!!!! What the what?!?!  That blows my mind!  I have absolutely adored year 4 and with Reid, he has grown up into a great and mature kid.  He is learning so much, especially educationally, and to really no credit on my part, just things he has picked up on, asked me about, or wanted to know.  However, he is still a little guy, which I absolutely love, how suspended between stages he is.  He says the funniest little things that I know will one day be a distant memory.  Things like something is "soaking big" (He means "so very big" I think, but I love the way he says "So-King BIG!" that I just can't correct him), or how a hot dog weenie is a "winnie".  Basically I love this boy big, though he knows just how to push every single crazy button I have, I know and pray he will do great things for the Lord with that strong will.  He is so precious to me

Owen is 2.5 and oh is he ever in the throws of being two.  He is the funniest, slyest, sweetest kid I know, and he totally knows it too.  He tries (and sometimes succeeds) in using his charm to get him out of trouble by a smile or saying something funny. He is still a mama's boy through and through.  No one else can hold him after he wakes up from nap if I am around.   He is the loudest screamer, the most dramatic and the whiniest thing, all while being a cute, precious, love and cuddle bug.  His vocabulary has totally taken off and he is now speaking in full sentences and can pretty much tell us exactly what he wants.  I love the language development that happens during the 2nd year, it is so neat to watch them really learn how to communicate.  We are working on what is appropriate and what isn't at the moment (don't scream at brother, be careful with sister, don't throw your food on the floor, etc.) but he is an adorable and sweet kid!

I am going to do a whole post on where Halle Kate is right now tomorrow so for today she doesn't get a paragraph (hashtag: third kid problems).  We are loving being a family of 5.  It is the most exhausting yet most meaningful thing Mark and I have ever done.  We are so very thankful to God for all the many blessings we have that we most definitely don't deserve.  

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Redeeming the Time

I I read a blog post recently by Patty over at babynumber10,  entitled "The Little Moments" that just hasn't let me go. Patty is a stay at home mom to 11 kids(!) and baby number 10 has down syndrome.  She chronicles some of their daily life on instagram as well as her blog.  This particular post is nothing earth shattering, she just reminds us there are little moments in our day we can redeem and use to be productive.   It is just practical, and maybe even for some blatantly obvious, but for ADD people (like me), it challenged me to think.  To think about how I spend my time going throughout my morning and to rewire my natural tendency. 
For those who don't understand what it is like to live in an ADD brain let me fill you in somewhat.  We spend a lot of our time feeling overwhelmed.  Overwhelmed by what all there is to do, and feeling like there is no clear direction in which to do it.  This in turn leads to avoiding issues, like getting the mail because you don't want to have to deal with sorting and paying out all the bills from your daughter's birth (by the way don't do this, it leads to a VERY full mail box and a grumpy mail man).  I do little things like this every day, avoiding them because when I think of everything that needs to get done all together and the time it is going to take me to do all of those things I freak out a little in my head.
Now I know all of you rational, sane, organized people are sitting there thinking "if she would just do it when she first thinks about it, she could avoid this problem" to which I would tell you you're absolutely right.  I know this, deep down I really do, and I desire to change which is why I think this post struck a cord with me and hasn't left.  Here is an excerpt from her post.

Keepers of the home have a lot on their collective plates - and if we were to enter that noble profession, Mrs. Smith forewarned us, we should continually be looking for opportunities to seize the "little minutes" of our day.
What are "little minutes", you say ??
Glad you asked.
Little minutes are the moments in between the big minutes ... that make up our days.

If big minutes are the chunks of time we spend each day devoted to the big tasks : washing the dishes, folding the laundry, cooking dinner, mopping floors .... then little minutes are the moments we have in-between these things : straightening a bookshelf as we return a book to its place, grabbing all the pencils in the junk drawer and securing them with a rubber band as we answer a phone call, wiping the spots off the mirror with a paper towel as we brush our teeth - so many little ways to redeem the time.

Mrs. Smith taught us that there were untold little minutes in every day - and if we paid attention and made room for them, they would be one of our greatest keys to success in the art of homemaking.

So now for the past few weeks I will randomly hear my own version of a mantra as I tell myself to "redeem the time" and try to do those little things when I actually see they need doing.  Redeeming the time comes in the tasks of hanging up clothes when I am putting away all other laundry, wiping window seals in the dining room at least once a week while I am wiping the table down, taking items back to the appropriate rooms, etc.  
So often as a homemaker I feel like I am running in place and falling further and further behind.  This job has made me realize I can't do everything, my house may not ever look "pinterest worthy" or the way I would choose for it to, I mean come on, we live here.  However, in the middle of the love, and chaos, the big moments, and skinned knees, there are ways to attempt to stay on top of stuff and make our home an enjoyable place to be for everyone.  

Friday, March 6, 2015

Snow Day 2015

Ok one thing should be noted is that I am from north east Texas, and being in the southern part of the United States, we don't see much "real" snow.  In fact there is no guarantee that it will snow even one time a year.  I've actually gone quite a few years without seeing snow in my hometown.  It is just a fact of life, something we southerners are used to I guess. 

As such, when it does snow, everything shuts down and everyone goes outside to play, partly because it is so rare, and partly because no one knows how to drive in the conditions.  A couple of inches is heaven for us, but this particular day no one really saw coming.  We got a whopping 5-6 inches!  I have never seen that much snow where I live in my entire life.  To say it was an epic day would be an understatement.  

We knew there would be some snow accumulation so we decided to stay the night at my parent's house where there is a huge hill that is perfect for sledding, acres to pull sleds behind four wheelers, and family across the pasture to enjoy it all with! This turned out to be a great decision considering the snowfall we got that day.  

We all woke up disappointed that morning though because no snow was on the ground yet, and they had predicted it should start falling around 4 AM.  Of course being in Texas we are used to crazy weather that can change quickly, so I think we all expected it to just not happen at all.  Thankfully at about 7:55 AM it began to fall and just didn't stop!  I am talking HUGE, massive flakes that began to cover the ground in a hurry.  Everyone kept saying how crazy it was that it snowed so hard for so long.  It didn't let up until around 3 that afternoon.  

Mark and I are so blessed to have such wonderful family, that all get along so well.  This particular day we were able to celebrate our snow day with my parents, brother Adam and his wife Abby, my cousin Kyndall, her husband Rory, her daughter Haylyn, my aunt and uncle, Meredith, a friend from small group, and the Bordens.  We had a great time just doing things we don't normally get to do like make snow angels, or legitimate snow men, sledding, and having a snowball fight.  By the way, snow is TIRING, we were all out of breath after walking back up hills and fighting each other.  We had a boys against the girls snowball fight (which we sadly lost), and then spent time just talking to each other outside.  

After a while, the littles couldn't handle to cold and wet anymore so we would take shifts with sitting inside while they warmed up.  I was able to catch up with Kyndall while our kids watched "Frozen" by the fire.  It was such a relaxed, fun day that it quickly went up on everyone's list as one of the best days they had in a long time.  There is just something magical about snow (well snow that is here a couple of days then is gone) and when you have as much as we did, it just adds to the wonder of it all.  

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The Beauty Of Simplicity

Today was a fun day, an unexpected day that turned out to be exactly what we needed.  When I woke up this morning it was raining pretty hard outside, and then all the sudden I hear "whooom" and the air conditioner whined down leaving the house quite quiet.  Yep, it happened, the electricity had been knocked off for the first time in the 9 months we have been in our house.

One would think I would have been concerned about what we would do all day, and maybe I should have, but in the 10 minutes I had before I went to release the boys from their room I processed the situation and got oddly excited about a day without power.  I began to think about all the different things we would be able to do because we didn't have access to our "lazy" vices that we so often have used as a crutch this winter.  No television, no internet, no clothes dryer, no lights, nothing.  And strangley (or maybe sadly) it was so liberating.  I felt like  I had the world at my fingers again, my choices were limitless, as if I had been granted so much of my time back.  I became excited to think I may actually sit down and read a book, or even write out a blog post on paper and have it ready to transfer over; I could have taken a candle lit bath, there were endless possibilities.  The sheer excitement at being powerless made me begin to think about what a beauty there is in simplicity and just how much that desire is pulling at my heart.  It is like a dull ache that you don't know is there until someone hits it just the right way.  I desire to live simply, with more management and less distraction.  Granted I am the one who chooses how to spend my time, I know that.  But to be pushed to realize the fact you don't care as much about certain thing was such a good experience.  

It was so good an experience that event though by 10:30 that morning the when the power had come back on,  I never told the boys.  Instead I chose to keep all the lights off and continue on our "no power" day.  And wouldn't you know, we had the best day!  They took a bath by kerosene latern light, we then read about 5 books in a row (We are doing good to read a book every other day.  The teacher in me beats myself up about it constantly), played in the game room , made a little charm bracelet, fought each other with pretend swords, colored, sang, and read some more.  I could tell they were enjoying it to, a day out of the ordinary, so much so they didn't complain once.  This day taught me so much, gave me so many ideas, and stirred something deep inside that I am still trying to process.

I learned that sometimes a messy house means a loving house.  It wasn't my first choice to have the boys color at the dining table, but since the room is basically made of windows, it had the most light.  They were entertained at least 30 minutes while I made their lunch, coloring to their hearts' content and using as much paper as they wanted.  It all still sits there now where we will use it tomorrow.  Owen still has toys in the living room he brought out and never put away.  Laundry is everywhere on the couch, folded, but everywhere.  And despite the appearance of chaos, I know there is love here.  I am trying to lower my expectations of how my house should look or how I wished I had somebody else's view of clean (hello OCD people).  We had fun today and it showed.  

So yes, I was reminded today of how simple isn't bad, simple is actually good.  I was pushed to maybe rethink the way we schedule our days, what we have, and why, and perhaps now I am pushed to change it.  I desire to change it, to take away and trash the things that don't matter.  To overcome my hoarder-ish tendencies, and evaluate why we have each item in our house.  I was challenged today, and it was good, so very very good.  

Monday, January 19, 2015

Christmas Festivities 2014:Cookie Party

 I don't know if I have written about the cookie party on the blog before or not.  I feel like I have but it has been a while, so for those who don't know here's the back story. . . My mom's friend, Lisa, loves to cook, it's like her favorite thing in the whole world to do.  My mom on the other hand really just doesn't like it at all.  Well back when my brother and I were little kids somehow it came up that mom didn't do the whole bake and decorate Christmas cookie thing with us.  Lisa couldn't believe it, and since she had no kids of her own yet quickly volunteered to do cookies with Adam and me.  So every year close to Christmas we would go to Mrs. Lisa's to make Christmas cookies.  It gradually grew to include a group of friends and their kids and now a second generation of cookie party kids in with my children and Haylyn.  It is loud, crazy, and fun to just get together and hang out.  

Adam and Abby made Olaf

My mom and Reid.  How I love her love for my boys.

Owen loves music and spent a lot of time on her piano.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Christmas Festivities 2014: Painting Ornaments

Christmas is always one of my favorite times of the year simply because it means getting together with people you love and care about and doing projects that will hopefully translate into memories.  Even though this Christmas kind of felt like I was in a fog due to adjusting to life with a newborn, I still wanted to attempt just a few different things with our boys to ensure they had a good holiday season.  

One thing we did was made cornstarch ornaments.  These are better than salt dough and so easy to make using baking soda, water, and cornstarch.  The boys loved cooking the dough, rolling it, cutting it with cookie cutters, and then painting them the next day.  I am hoping this will be one thing always do each year.  It was so fun to watch their little personalities as they painted.  Reid our ever meticulous first born working hard on his creations, while Owen, our free spirit did whatever and got paint EVERYWHERE, including his face.  Needless to say he went right to a bath!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Detoxing (Written 3 Weeks Ago)

This post probably won't make sense and likely will never make a public appearance on the blog but I had to try to get it out anyway.  I feel as if I am detoxing in a way from being pregnant/giving birth.  With each pregnancy this has been a stronger feeling.  It is something I can't really explain at all except that I can't quit thinking about it/ want to remember, need to remember what happened.  To be honest I love labor and delivery, it the day I look forward to the most and love/hate the fact it is only a day.

With this pregnancy I never really thought about the fact this could be our last baby.  It wasn't something that crossed my mind really, especially at the end because I was just so uncomfortable.  It took about 2 weeks after she was born for me to realize and say to Mark "She could be our last one couldn't she?"  Why the thought had not crossed my mind until then I am not really sure, but it did.  I just want to freeze time right now, freeze her right where she is, freeze the hospital stay, freeze everything so I don't forget, so I don't take for granted.

I am so thankful we got to spend 2 days instead of 1 in the hospital.  It really gave me the time to rest (besides the vitals checking every 4 hours, that is NOT fun at 4 AM) and cuddle and just be with her. I was able to get a shower, doze on and off some, and relax which was wonderful since I had been having contractions for a couple of weeks.  I loved all the nurses I had and want to just go back and thank them for being a part of such a special time in my life.  I really just want to remember it all vividly because we could not have the opportunity to do it again.

I need to remember her newborness, how tiny she was and is, that she loves to be swaddled and cuddled, hates diaper and clothes changes, poops every diaper, grunts with the best trucker out there, and can already produce burps to rival those of her big brothers. She likes her paci only sometimes, eats every 3 hours like clockwork, looks exactly like me with my baby pictures, and is just the most precious little light in our lives.  Her brothers adore her and make sure I take care of her ("Mom, Halle Kate is crying, calm her down please.")

I wrote this about 3 weeks ago or so when Halle Kate was still oh so tiny.  There are still so many emotions (and hormones I am sure) that go with having a baby and there is still just this strong desire to not forget her birthday, what and how it all happened.  

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Thanksgiving 2014

I know I am going very much out of order since I have already posted about Christmas, but I know if I don't post what I have it won't get done.  So we are backing it up all the way to Thanksgiving, pre Halle Kate, my last few days of being pregnant.

We started the Thanksgiving week off in the hospital of course and then I spent the rest of my week trying to take it easy, having contractions pretty consistently, and just being highly uncomfortable in general.  One oversight I had with this pregnancy is I never got any "over the belly" jeans.  This wasn't a big deal until those last couple of weeks, it got increasingly uncomfortable to wear them.  However by the time I realized my error I knew I only had a few weeks left and I was determined not to spend more money!

This brings us to Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving.  My uncle and aunt had invited all of the family over to their house to celebrate.  It was about a forty minute drive from our house to theirs which normally wouldn't have been a big deal at all except I had been contracting pretty consistently for a week or 2 by then, and that night was no different except for the fact I was in jeans that were way to tight on a contracting pregnant belly, sitting in a car for 40 minutes.  Those contractions were some of the hardest ones of the whole pregnancy, they hurt so very much!  In fact we had trouble finding my uncle's house so I made Mark pull over to call someone just so I could get out and stand up and walk around to find some relief.  It was awful.

We finally find the right house and make it inside where I am able to relax a little bit and rotate from standing/walking around to sitting.  We make it through the night, with contractions, but just not as hard.  It is always so much fun to get together with my family.  I am so thankful that everyone gets along, loves each other, and genuinely enjoys the company of their family.  I know this is a rarity.

Me very pregnant, uncomfortable, and contracting

These two cuties born 3 weeks apart!

Ring Around the Rosies with the grandmas

Love my Poppy and his energy

The next day Mark and I had a slow morning because my parents let the boys spend the night with them.  It was nice to wake up slow and have no where to be until 12.  I had learned my lesson the previous night and decided to go with a comfy dress which was a much better choice!  Once again the other side of my family all gathered together and we had the best time eating lunch and dinner with one another.  I was glad to be there eating and not in the hospital on bedrest! Once again I have to say it is wonderful to be around family that actually enjoys being around each other.  I don't know how I was blessed enough to experience this on both sides but I am!

My great-grandmother, 95 and still sharp as ever!

Grubbing down!