Monday, September 27, 2010

I threw a fit

Yesterday, I got Addie down for her nap and I ran downstairs to tell Lawrence I was headed to the store to do some MUCH needed grocery shopping. I would have rather played quietly with Bryson, or taken a nap myself, but diapers weren't buying themselves and Bryson's baby food cupboard was bone dry. Lily sort of stomped a bit that she couldn't go with me, but Lawrence reminded her that she needed to go to quiet time, because we let her stay up super late the night before visiting with her friend who was staying with us and going to Rachel's birthday party. She didn't listen to him and continued to sulk and pout. It was noon and I'd been up since 5am with Bryson after going to bed too late, at midnight the night before.

As I was trying to explain to Lily that it wasn't up for discussion, (though I continued to heartily discuss it with her!) I just needed to run and get a few things, and I'd be back by the time her quiet time was over and then we could make the flash cards from school; she continued to make a huffy face. Just then, Bryson got his arm caught in the top of one of the girls' stools and started to scream hysterically. As I went to rescue his pudgy little bicep from the weight of the lid plus his other fatty hand pressing down on top of it, Lily would not take no for an answer. I hugged Bryson, and I yelled at her, "Lily, get up to quiet time, NOW!" in a mean nasty mama bear voice. She scampered away in tears, yelling, "I want to bring my flash cards!". "NO!" I shouted.

Bryson calmed down and I looked up at Lawrence who had eyebrows raised. I could tell by the look on his face that I'd overreacted a little. I knew I had, and I didn't appreciate the judgment. I said, "Do you think I handled that too harshly?". He shrugged and said, "All I know is that we were down here having fun...", "...until I CAME ALONG!', I snipped. I reminded him about how the day before I wanted to run Lily over to the birthday party and Addie was practically dragging behind me on my leg - even though she had a friend here with plans and fun of her own. She couldn't go with to the party drop off because she has a runny nose and they have a new baby. I went on to Lawrence's raised eyebrow and wide eyes, about how earlier, Addie was crying and banging outside the bathroom. "I can't even go to the bathroom without disappointing someone in this house" I shrieked dramatically. I was so frustrated, explaining that while I would prefer not to leave the house to do errands or go to work, I literally have to kick someone off my leg and back in to the house as I close the door behind me.

"Do you know how that makes me feel? Every single day?" I demanded in my best woe is me quiver. He said that I was right, in a tone that told me he didn't think so.

Still holding Bryson, I attempt to do a donkey kick behind myself to illistrate for Lawrence yesterday's getting out the door debacle, but I trip a little. This doesn't stop me, once I get my grips again, I kick back in a reattempt and hit the toybox HARD with my heel. I lose my balance again while pantomiming a door slam, and sort of spin around falling on to the couch on my back with Bryson on my chest. "JEEZ! Take it easy!" Lawrence exclaims. I stop (easy to do when you are flat on your back on the couch). Horrified. Humiliated. Then I start laughing hysterically. Partially because I've been ranting and donkey kicking and I'm embarrassed by my behavior. Partially because I think it's pretty freaking funny how worked up I've got, all because Lily wanted to go to the store with me. I laugh at how ridiculous I sounded, and the hysteria in my voice as I ranted to my husband's wrinkled forehead and slight smirk. Then I start to cry. I'm not ever sure why exactly, but I think more than a little bit because my heel hurt so bad and more than a little bit because I feel so bad for how I yelled at Lily, and more than a little because I'm so glad Bryson is safe with my failed kicking falling fiasco.

I take my time out and then I say sorry to Lily, bringing her flash card materials to quiet time. And then I head to the grocery store, totally and completely emotionally depleted.

It reminded me how easily I come to expect my little ones to keep their composure when they are over tired and frustrated with things and how easily I can lose my own. Sometimes to be a better parent you have to get a little closer to where your kiddos stand and imagine what it feels like to be them for a moment, how it feels to feel disappointed or over controlled about something.

And sometimes, you just need to throw a fit.

I did.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Vertical Greeting

This is my new greeting when I go to get Bryson first thing in the morning or up from a nap. Except first thing in the morning has been 5-6ish, so still pitch dark out. It means that when I hear him squirming or talking after a short nap, he won't be settling back to sleep. Once he is UP he is UP.
His napping is a little bit inconsistent, he usually naps around 9am and 1pm, unless one of those naps is super short or super long and then we adjust accordingly. He is pretty darn happy to see me though, and it's a great way to wake up. In the photo below he was half laugh and half cry because I opened the door then left to grab the camera and he wasn't too thrilled with that.
I love you, my chubby thighed sweet little man. You truly light up my life. Muah!

Also, happy birthday to Shawna today!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

My buddy and me

Father's day this year was a MAJOR fail at our house. In order to not drum up more sour feelings, I'm going to leave it at that. All around cruddy day. Soo....

With our anniversary on the horizon as the next time I could replace that sourness, I wanted to plan ahead. Something really special. Something that would be super cool for Lawrence and I to do together, to celebrate us, and really have fun. Not just dinner or a drink, but something different and special.

So when I got a Groupon deal in early July for a 4 hour sea kayaking class, I knew I had just found my anniversary gift. As our anniversary neared, things were getting crazy. Life felt really stressful and so we decided to celebrate on our Tuesday night anniversary with a beer and nachos at the new Big Al's that was in it's Grand Opening a mile from our house. And we scheduled our "real" anniversary kayaking celebration for last weekend.

Every time we have plans away from the kids on the weekend I get anxious. Especially when it is during the day, before bedtime. I spend enough hours away from them while I am working during the week; I really feel like I can't afford any time away during the weekend and I stress out getting ready to go. My partner in crime, aka Lawrence, stays cool, calm, and collected and usually even finds a few minutes or thirty for some Sports Center, while I'm scrambling around in shear panic. :) Then of course once we do have an actual date, I'm refreshed, and I remember that I need to do things alone with Lawrence more often. But it's hard to do that. To make time for that. And usually our dates are set up because someone has invited us to an adult only event, a going away party, birthday party, football game, concert, etc, etc, and much of the time is spent with the guys doing one thing and the girls talking about another. We spend the drive in the car together and then our date turns into a "see each other in passing" kind of thing. And since we are SO Dave Ramsey, we rarely do out to dinners, just the two of us.

So this sea kayaking class. It was more awesome than I could have imagined. Even though I was anxious when we left, we had a blast, and when we came home we made a big family pancake breakfast dinner, and the kids had a great afternoon with Julia, they were happy and excited to see us. And I didn't feel guilty, I felt good.

We weren't together the entire time, but it was just us with 2 guides and 10 strangers, for four hours, doing something new and cool and outside and active and together. Something that we couldn't, wouldn't, wish we'd brought the kids too. We went 9 miles in the Willamette River around Ross Island and saw the city (of Portland) in a totally new and interesting way.

Lawrence is kind of a bossy teacher, and it reminded me of our early dating days when he'd try to instruct me on how to (snow) ski better, totally out of love. But my know-it-all-this-is-good-enough-self, hates that. So I chuckled inside when I yelled at him, "I KNOW!"
as he suggested I hold my paddle with my thumbs pointing a different way or what ever. The river was so peaceful, so there were long periods of time of no talking, being alone with our own thoughts, working hard the whole time. It reminded me of us. What we are like when the busyness of every day life and the tasks involved with carrying and caring for 3 young children aren't there to distract us from each other, from us. Don't get me wrong, we LOVE that distraction. We love how involved the other is our children's lives. We look at the other being a present parent and love more for it. It's not that we want to be away from the work that children bring. It's that last weekend when we were, I felt reconnected and rekindled and reminded. He is my buddy, he is fun, he is my best friend. When we get away to realize that, we come home and model that we are more than just teammates working for a common cause. Mommy and Daddy are in love, they are friends, and they go out and come home and are even more fun to be with because they have each other as a partner in this life. It's pretty cool.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Out of the Past: My Panties are Too Tight

I was planning to win a blog contest this week. A new washer and dryer were at stake. Yes. All I had to do was blog M-F this week and follow a series of blog post topics that they suggested. I was excited because the first three blog topics were about bringing back 3 old blogs. First, your first "real" blog. You know the one beyond saying, Hi, this is a blog, I'm not really sure what to write about. The second was to find an old meaningful post that you wish more people read - add some reflections on how you feel about it now, and the third was to repost your blog with your all time favorite blog title.

Since I "blogged-but-didn't-call-it-blogging-because-it-was-a-baby-journal" with for 2 years upon finding out I was pregnant with Addie in 2006, I occasionally log back into that and find some real gems. A while back I called these posts I reposted "out of the past", named for one of the newspaper columns my mom invented at her paper, and has been writing weekly for as long as I can remember. I haven't been in my "past" for a long time though. It's password protected because I wrote it more like a journal and I shared info about things and people who I knew did not have that password. There was also always way TMI. That's also true with this blog, but now I'm comfortable with it, and I've always written this with the openness that anyone could read it. Unlike my babysites.

So (run on sentence alert) in the blog contest that actually started last Monday rather than this Monday so I missed the whole thing (FAIL!), aka I will not be winning the beautiful Turquoise W&D set that was up for grabs, I still did a lot of thinking and the 3rd day blog topice with my favorite blog title would have been the babysites I wrote titled "My Panties Are Too Tight".

I wrote this post on 9/4/08 after I'd broken my foot. We'd just returned from a wonderful vacation, Addie had just learned to walk, and I'd just found out that I couldn't walk or drive for 6 weeks (which turned into 8 weeks at the next dr appt). I'd also been told that if I stepped down on my foot even once it would mean I'd need surgery because the broken bone was so small and fragile, one step would do me in. That would lead to a do over and restart date in my healing.

A few weeks ago, I was put in touch with a mom who has 3 kids, same age as mine, her oldest is named Lily (she's been the "other Lily" in my daughters school for the past 2 years.) We've hear a lot about each other since our girls had the same teachers, but we'd never met before. She has two girls and a boy, her youngest is 8 months. We have a lot in common. Today I just saw on FB that she broke her leg in three places and had to have surgery. No walking for 8 weeks. The past just flooded me. When I went to go find her a blog I'd written here about how bad it sucks, I realized that most of the foot breaking blogs were in the protected babysite, and since I was going to post this one any way for the contest I can't win, I'll do it now. Enjoy. And appreciate your two working legs.

Without further run on ado:
My Panties are Too Tight

I started the day out with a pretty good outlook. One of my friends is going through a tough break up and her heart is broken. While talking her off the ledge I was thinking about what it feels like to have a broken heart (knowing all the advice I was giving I would NEVER have taken, tho my last broken heart was 10 year ago so maybe I would now take that advice at 30). Anyway it got me to thinking. I keep saying, "this is just a foot, not a life, I'm not in a coma or have cancer, it's a small bone". But then after talking to my friend I remembered that even a broken heart takes years to heal, and how I wouldn't trade with her for the world! At least I know when this pain will end.

In other good news we have figured out help for the next 6 weeks. During that time I have 3 weeks of mornings on my own, but at least I have care for my kids during the day, thanks to Susannah (my 11yo cousin), Tamara (new nanny), my mom, and Lawrence's mom, we are covered until Oct 14...Lily's bday. That sounds like a good day to be able to move! Now I just have to coordinate drop off and pick up of Lily for school some of the days, and how do I get her ready to go if I do find her a ride.

My triceps are the most sore today, the bruises on the palms of my hands are a close second, then my foot, strangely enough.

My friend Robin called today to tell me she was bringing me coffee and cookies tomorrow. I told her thanks but I need bread and Tampons instead. She said she'd bring both. :) Oh yes, in other great and too much information news, I started my period yesterday too. My cold that I acquired on the plane ride home from our wonderful vacation is feeling better today tho. Could vacation really have ended just 5 days ago? It doesn't seem possible.

So let me TRY to describe how I'm feeling at the end of a day. The feeling I have is like when you are out and about and you realize you wore panties that were too tight. Like WAY too tight, you can't-believe-that-you-actually-convinced-yourself-that-these-fit-when-you-got-dressed-this-morning kind of tight and worse, you left for the day in them, they are cutting into your inner thigh like two rubber bands tying of fat leg sausages, and they are riding up your crack so far you can barely sit still during a meeting at work. There's no chance of digging them out without fully taking your pants down, and it's no use, they are just too too small. When you get home you come up the stairs to your room, your mouth watering at the relief of being without this terrible restriction, you kick them into the garbage, and look for the softest, t-shirt like sweatpants to wear all night, commando.

That's sort of how I feel when I come up the stairs in this freaking painful restrictive air cast. I'm so pumped to get home and take it off, only to realize that's NOT happening. And I have to wear it for 7 weeks 5 days more! And I feel this way several times a day, waiting/excited for relief, realizing I can't have any.

Today was Lily's first day of school and I had to go. Highlights were getting out the door, hitching a ride, taking her potty, sitting in preschool sized chairs in a preschool sized room trying to not trip everyone with my foot and crutches, or worse tripping a toddler on to my foot equaling surgery, and staying an hour past everyone else, waiting for our "ride", only to realize he didn't have a car seat for Lily.

Yeah yeah, I am comedian, but just dealing with this the best I can.

Wheelchair gets delivered tomorrow.

After talking to my new friend, and remembering so vividly how hard it was to get through that time, I am reminded today to not complain about things because I have a healthy body that works perfectly today (even if it is pretty sore from Kayaking with Lawrence yesterday). That, and I'm thankful that my panties are NOT too tight.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Old Man Lily

I promised myself I would start writing down conversations that make me (and the grandparents) laugh out loud.

Lawrence: Lily come here let me tuck in your [soccer] shirt
Lily: (preferring the Erkel look) Is it supposed to do that like that?
Lawr: What, blouse out a little?
Lily: Yeah
Lawr: Yes, it looks good that way - you look sharp
Lily: I look like an old man!
Lawr: Is that how old men wear their shirts?
Lily: Yes, it's how Grandpa Steve does his
Lawr: Gpa Steve's belly does that to his shirt.
Lily: Oh, (in gruff voice, walking like a ape with arms out) I look like an old man, I am Grandpa Steve, this is my belly doing this to my shirt.

What? Girl cracks me up. If we weren't running late, I totally would have had her call Grandpa himself to tell him the story. I just love her perception! So funny.

Meanwhile she looks like the littlest cutest soccer girl ever. Soccer Saturday take 2.

And look at that, it didn't take too long and I'll actually remember the story now

Friday, September 17, 2010

Welcome Blake William Powers

It's a boy!
Josh and Shawna and big sister Rachel, welcomed a new baby boy to their family.

I had the privilege of taking Rachel and Shawna's mom Becky to the hospital to meet their new little guy. Oh, I really could have wept (and to be honest I did, just a little) at the happiness and joy that filled the room as soon as we walked in. Wow. Watching Shawna experience loving her kidS! Watching Rachel love cautiously on her little brother. Awesome.
It just never gets less amazing. How small and new they are. How beautiful they look. How precious that newborn rooting is. Blake is so perfect and small and sweet. It was awesome to hold him and swaddle him and stare at him.

You know there is a reason that women come into your delivery room and share stories of their own births and their own babies. Because ALL it does is flood you with emotion watching this all happen for a family you care so much about. It is absolutely breathtaking. It's the reason it is so hard for women to decide they are done having babies. That newness and incredibleness (probably not a word but should be) of a baby just hours old is beyond words. BEYOND WORDS. My head was swirling with wonderful thoughts the whole drive home.For those of you who like stats, he was 7lbs 8oz and 20.5 inches, born via natural birth at 5:02pm. Shawna's water broke at 4:04am at home. She is feeling great and didn't need any pain meds. Blake was already latching and nursing great. Blake's middle name, William, is after Josh's dad, who passed away last December. He lived with Josh and Shawna for nearly five years and was a big part of their and Rachel's life. Below is a picture of Grandma Becky admiring her new Grandson. Grandma Linda is likely going crazy in Iowa right now, looking forward to her chance to love on this perfect little man!

Excited and Honored

Oh, it's my cell phone, and thank goodness I remembered to bring it in here.

I fumble to get the screen unlocked as I see it is Shawna's cell and I know that can only mean one thing. It's time to go. When Rachel was born, Shawna was TEN.DAYS.LATE! And today, she has ten days to go until her due date. I haven't talked to her or anything yet today, but based on my own experience, I'm guessing she's gonna say that having a baby ten days early, is so much better!

Back to the morning, with a sleepy brain, I hear Shawna say that her water just broke and the two of us try to figure out if it would be better for one of us to come over there to sleep or for one of us to come get Rachel and bring her back to our house. We decide that it would be better for Lawrence to run out, pick her up, and bring her back here to get ready for school in the morning. That way, Josh and Shawna can tell her what's going on and I can get everyone ready for school together in the morning here because it's also my morning to be classroom mom at Lily's school for a few hours.

Before we get off the phone, Shawna says in the sweetest, most excited, little girl voice, "Jenny, this means I'm gonna have a baby today. Oh my gosh. I'm going to have this baby today, right?" I laugh and promise her that she will. (Oh dear I hope she will). And make sure I tell her I love her a million times before I hang up and call one more time for one more question about after school coverage to which she answers the phone"What's Up?" like the most casual thing in the world, haha.

It was a good decision because Rachel got here and went right to sleep, after only moments. I lay awake reflecting at what a big girl she was and thinking about how a few years ago, if they'd spaced their children closer together, waking sensitive Rachel up at 4am and having her say goodbye to her parents and taking her to our house and trying to get her back to sleep could really have ended in disaster. I worried the whole time Lawrence was gone if I shouldn't have gone instead, a warmer voice, more comforting words, for the ride back over. But this Rachel is happy but still, wide-eyed, and so mature, she's watched after Shawna like a little guard dog her entire pregnancy, and she knew exactly how she needed to be, now that the big day had arrived. She was sweet and quiet and brave when she got here. She smiled, told me to turn the life off in the room where I'd made her a bed, said she didn't need anything, and went straight to sleep.

When she woke around 6:20 in the morning, she came downstairs and I asked her if she wanted to get Lily up. She did. Lily told me later Rachel woke her by saying "Lily" and she felt her hot breath. LOL. The girls were so happy yawning in their PJs together on a school day. Bryson started to grab Rachel's little stuffed
Stitch Pumpkin doll and Lily said, "Rachel, do you mind if it gets some spit on it?" Rachel said, "No I don't mind, I'm going to have to get used to a lot more spit than that". They laughed over chosing what to eat for breakfast and how to have me fix their hair.

It was just so sweet. My girls acted like she was the queen of the world now that she was going to be a big sister today. Lily kept telling her things like, "Rachel, today you will get your first baby, ever". "Rachel, I'm so happy that you are going to be a big sister today". And Addie too, gave her knowing nods and smiles, "Yo baby wiw be he-ah toDAY, Waychel" . I loved that they made her feel so special today in a way that only two little best friends could. I loved that they really did know how special it was and it was such genuine happiness for her. And I loved how happy it made Rachel to get such sweet assurance and admiration from her friends. The whole morning was crazy and busy, and just so incredibly perfect.

It was made even more perfect in that I did not miss Rachel's bus. But I cut it dangerously close, so I wasn't sure for a minute. Shawna thought it would be better for her to ride the bus as usual. Again, I was worried about doing the wrong thing and messing up the day for her. Luckily, nothing could have ruined Rachel's mood today. She was totally cool, calm, and collected. A very mature big sis-to-be. I said, "Rachel, if we miss this bus [near your house], are you fine if I just drive you all the way to school and Lily and I walk you in?", she's like "Sure!". Then I asked her about her birthday party scheduled for tomorrow because she and Lily were discussing it (and about which Shawna was worried about on the phone this morning!), "Are you worried about what happening with your party tomorrow?" "No", she said, "I'll be fine if it's next weekend, I just care about my baby". Awww. She just looked so sweet and innocent and somber as she said it, making eye contact with me in the rear view mirror!

So we got to her stop, and we dropped her overnight bag at her house, and we watched her get on the bus, and we waved profusely. I thought about all the ways her little life will change forever. All the great, amazing ways. And she was just getting on her bus, sat next to two other girls and waving profusely back. She was all knowing about something special happening to her today. I sacraficed grabbing my camera for making it to the bus stop on time, but I did snap a few with my phone to send to her mom and dad.

Waiting for the bus and waiting on the call from mommy and daddy to say that their little family of three was now their little family of four.

It occurred to me how special it feels to be part of someone's big day, even with the smallest of favors, it feels so good to be asked. It even feels good to be asked at four in the morning. And for the first time, in what feels like a long time, it was easy to say yes. My plate wasn't so full that I couldn't do it. It worked out great. It's an honor to be part of it. And new babies - the excitement, change, and anticipation that surrounds them, just does not get old no matter how many times you've experienced it for yourself or those that you care about. As I was typing one of Rachel's comments over text message to Josh, it occurred to me that it might be sort of special for me to write down the happenings of the morning, not only for those of you who know them, but also for them to read and for Rachel, Lily's first and best friend, to have something documented about the morning before she became a big sister.

I hope I will be back soon to post - a big sister to who?

Send out your good vibes, your prayers, your positive thoughts, or whatever it is you do - for Shawna's strength and endurance, to have the drug-free birth she wants, and for Josh to be an amazing support to her, as he was last time, and as he always is. Stay tuned!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Hodge Podge from the bus...

I'm on the bus and am going to once again attempt to write and post a blog via text message. The last time I tried this, I wrote a lengthy post and hit send and it disappeared into cyberspace or wireless space or however the heck that all works. I'll be smart this time though, I will save a draft, just in case.

Bryson turned 9 months on Tuesday and I'm trying not to feel guilty about the fact that I didn't get a post/letter written. And I didn't take his photo with the dog. In this last month he has started to eat a lot of finger foods, still no teeth and is cruising up a storm. Due to our vacation, his minor cold there, and having a very high fever last week it was his worst sleeping month since month 3. But he is all better now and back to sleeping through the night and up at 5am, champ that he is. He is so super sweet and cute, I can barely stand it. Several times a day, you look at him and his smile makes you want to die with love for him. He looks at you like he is seeing you for the first time in weeks and he is genuinely SO happy to see you. He is pulling up all over and getting into everything. He laughs all the time and he will wrestle you to the death if you want to change his diaper. If you don't make a game of it, he will cry, but if you kiss his belly and play peek-a-boo and make funny faces, it will take twice as long but he will be happy and squirmy rather than mad and squirmy. He has taken quite well to our new AuPair Julia, and it has been good for he and Addie to have some quality time while big sis Lily is at Kindergarten. Since I didn't get pictures with him next to the pink dog ON his 9mth bday, and there is no way I could do it 2 days later, perfectionist that I am, it's just not the same, I'll just tell you he seems to weigh about the same, with a face and tummy that is slightly thinner, maybe from all the crawling and walking. Damn I wish I got that dog pic for comparison sake.

Tuesday was also my sister-in-laws birthday and while I thought of her all day it wasn't until 7pm my time and 10pm her time that I finally got around to calling. In my head I thought about a post I could write to her, a picture of her and Bryson I could find in order to pay tribute to them both, but it just didn't happen. Addie had some weird tummy issues that turned out to be nothing -but appeared to maybe be a hernia - and I was coordinating her first day of preschool and pediatrician appointment. Sorry Laureen. I promise it is not an indication of how much we love you! Oh, and your card is still not sent either. Shootie. Damn again. And I wanted to post another REAL first day of school pic, but the ones from her first day meeting her teacher and seeing her classroom, will have to do.

My dear friend Jeanine lost her dad Jack on Monday night. He has been in hospice care at home for a few months and has hung on to his well-lived life for years longer than any medical professional could have predicted. I don't know the exact timing of all the events in his life but I think its been a year or so since he decided to decline further medical intervention. Ever since I met Jeanine, 12 or so years ago, he's been threatened with "no possibility of making it through another case of pneumonia" due to severe lung deterioration. I bet he's had pneumonia every year since, at least once, and he's always pulled through. Thirty or so years ago, he fell through the ice while driving truck in Alaska. He was seemingly rescued by an angel because no one knows how he got there but he woke up in a hospital bed, after being submerge in the subzero Alaskan waters. God had great things for his life, and he's spent all the years since then living life to the fullest, while on oxygen. Including giving my friend the daddy she so loved and deserved, a great man who showed her such unconditional love, taught her much about life, and kissed her wounds. For several years, he's also spent every day after school with her two children, getting to know them, and passing on his wisdom and love. Over these past few years, I've learned a lot from Jeanine. She is so humble and kind, and she and her husband have sacrificed unselfishly for her parents. She is a reminder of what a good daughter does, when her grown parents need her. These last weeks, when they were sure every moment was close to the last, Jeanine spend so much time with her mom and Jack. She sat and held his hand and talked to him, and she changed his diapers. And now, even though there is relief among them that he is in Heaven, breathing easy, pain free for the first time in a long time, it still hurts so bad to let go. I think she thought she should be more prepared, you know, because it's been such a long time coming. And in a way, he's seemed nearly invincible, beating the odds every time. It's not easy to lose someone you love, even if you know it's coming. You just can't prepare yourself for it, no matter how hard you try. I'm hurting for my friend, and I want to do more to help with all that has to be done. At a time when people deserve to grieve and sulk and do nothing, there is always so much to do, so many details to take care of. Only one state separates us, and I just want to go and help. Be with her and let her be weak for a minute giving her the strength to be strong again. If you live in Boise, and can help with organizing or cleaning or moving, or funeral arrangements, or printing programs, anything, please let me know - as I just want to do anything I can to help them. In the meantime, I'm left with sending text messages and having abbreviated phone calls and loving pep talks. I feel guilty that I can't find a way to be there for her.

When I hear her sobbing, it puts all the other stuff in perspective, though. All the minor worries and troubles with this or that.

Like the fact that I signed up for way too many volunteer things at Lily and Addie's schools. Lest I forget, I am a working mom. A working mom with a flexible job, but a working mom, just the same. I got caught up in the sign up sheets and the moms putting their names down for lots of slots. I was excited by the pep rally about how essential we parents are in the learning process, and partnering with the teachers, and I wanted to be in the class room, seeing, learning, helping. But it was way too much stuff. And way too much right away. Like I signed up to bring some play doh for Addie's class, the make it at home kind. At her school you are required to do 10 parent volunteer hours. I thought making play doh with Addie would be fun, and we could do it at home, on our own time. Except that it was due TODAY, and you had to like, buy ingredients for it. So I humbly sent an email to Mrs. K saying that I'd terribly underestimated my time commitments this week and could I bring later in the year. AND OF COURSE I NEED TWO MONTHS NOTICE FOR SUCH AN ACTIVITY. You can't drop a bomb like making the play doh I volunteered to make just 7 days before it's due. The nerve. Heh.

And then Lily's class. Oh my. So, they need classroom moms to come. I said I could do one Friday or Tuesday a month. Those are the days I work from home and school is out by 10:40. I'd heard that if you sign up for the Library, you go for 30 minutes during library time, and that would be my perfect lunch hour during working from home days. Except that I guess I didn't make the OR clear. Tuesdays OR Fridays ONCE a month. So now I'm on the schedule tomorrow from 8:20-10:40 AND on Tuesday from 8:20-10:40. So tonight at BACK TO SCHOOL NIGHT I have to humbly bow out and ask the teacher if it is a problem for me to do one day a month, and skip this month all together, because have I mentioned that I've already had to go to the pediatricians office TWICE since school started. And I have two more well child visits in the next month for Lily and Bryson? And I just can't ask for more flexibility with the work that there is to do at work hanging over my head. There is no end. There are a reason lots of moms don't work at the office. Being a mom is a full time job. And I have a full time job too. Two full time jobs. Both which require a lot of effort and hours and planning from me.

I know I can do this. I will work it out. It's just that sometimes I'll have to be less. And find a way to be okay with being less. And I can't feel guilty because non working moms get to sign up for once a week when I can "only" sign up for once a month. And when I don't make a call or send a card or show up to clean for a love one in need, I just have to be okay with my own limitations. I need to bring the circle back, reel it in a little closer.

Only do what you can do.

I give that advice to my friends like it is going out of style. But somehow I just can't expect less from myself. I give those words to my own ears, and I believe, with every fiber of my being that I can do more. Be more. I honestly believe that I can. But then sometimes I just get so extremely tired. And so I've been mindful to meet those needs too. To go to bed an hour earlier. Facebook less. Say no to a coffee date that I'd love to have with a friend. Say I have to go on the phone, or don't answer at all if I can't talk. Last night I got home, scarfed dinner, put Bryson to bed (Bathless AGAIN), played Pet Shop with the girls, put them to bed, did day 10 of my "shred" and I showered and I loved my husband and I went to bed. This morning I WISHED I'd gotten the coffee ready, and laid out my clothes, and laid out the girls clothes, and wrote a check for the book orders, and filled out the book order form, and made Addie's snack, and filled milk cups, and loaded my pump and bottle supplies, all last night. But instead I went to bed and rushed around this morning and it all worked out. I got to the bus, so did Lily, and Lawrence got to work, and the girls hair and teeth were brush. It worked. It always does. And then I got pediatrician appointments made - so what if Bryson's is 10 days after his 9 month bday and in the middle of his nap time because that's what's available. And Lily's is a month and 10 days after her 6 year birthday and the day before Thanksgiving (BUSY!!!) because that's what's available? So what, in the whole scheme of things, it doesn't really matter. That is no indication of the kind of person or mother I am.

So I'm giving myself a break in the way that I know how. I'm putting things in perspective as my heart bleeds for my dear friend left with a big hole in her everyday life. I'm devastated and sick for my other friend, Julie, who is losing her battle with cancer. I'm apologizing to the people in my life who don't get the attention they deserve from me on the day they deserve it. I'm continuing to work out by habit and blog by habit and read my bible by habit because those things DO truly feed my soul. And if that's the me time I can fit in, that's pretty good, because those things mean a lot to ME. But if I miss a day, that's not the end of me, I'll simply come back when I can.

It seems like mothering and living to me, is often the daily reminder that I must recommit to do the best that I can, with the best attitude I can, and not to do more than that. I must re-prioritize again and again, and worry less what people might be thinking of me. I must leave emails unanswered, sometimes for days at a time, because babies need holding and taxes need filing and financial statements need preparing. I must be smart with my time and with my money. I must complain less and rejoice more. I must remember to let God's love flow through me so that the people in my life feel that Love, without question. And with a heart like that, no matter what else happens, I really can't go wrong. I won't please everyone, but isn't it just an audience of One anyway? This isn't the first time you've heard me say these types of things, and I promise it isn't the last. The to-do lists and the guilt changes tasks and topics but it doesn't go away. It is never finished. And this here blog, is how I process it, this is where I post the goodness of my life, the greatness of our family, and this is where I say 'out loud' that I will do better today, and that even the doing I'm doing now, before doing better, is still doing pretty good.

And for the record, no, posting via text message from the #&%$#%&%&#@!@#@!# bus did not work, AGAIN, not at all. Longest waste of time and battery, do not try that at..uh..public transit. Luckily I did have it saved in drafts on my phone so I could re-type from there rather than rethinking this whole post up again. But can you believe I typed this whole post on my phone, only to retype on my computer and re-post again? ME NEITHER! Oh well, it was too crowded and wet on the bus to read it killed an hour of commuting as I organized my thoughts and prepared me for my positive and productive day...

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - The Herman Men

Just when you think you can't get the perfect picture, you get the perfect picture. Three Generations worth. Incredible.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Day 8 - habits

This picture of Addie having the time of her life doesn't have much to do with this blog post topic. But I think a post with a picture is better than a post without a picture. And it makes me happy. And that's sort of the point of everything...

Today is day 8 of blogging even though I'm officially done with this round of 7 blogs in 7 days. It is also day 8 of my 2nd round of the 30 day shred. I haven't actually completed day 8, but I will. I will.

I started my first round of the shred back on Feb 1 when I was on my maternity leave with Bryson, at 7 weeks postpartum, my goal was to be out of maternity clothes by the time I returned to work, when he would be 13 weeks old. I completed the goal with energy to spare. I came back to work in regular people clothes and with a renewed sense of purpose for finding 20-30 "me time minutes" each day for working out. I scaled back my every day regiment to 5 days a week rather than 7, you know, to be realistic that off days would be necessary. I was pleasantly surprised by my good can-do attitude and the energy I had. I loved the fact that I did have days where I wasn't begging for a nap 30 minutes after waking in the morning. Better than that, working out had become part of my day, part of my week, in a way that I hadn't experienced since college. There wasn't a question of IF I would workout but WHEN. But then mid - May some deadlines came crashing down. I took a week off, but I got back on. For one week. Then another week off. Then it got nice out and I didn't want to work out to a DVD. I was sick of looking at Jillian's mug. Lawrence hurt his shoulder and stopped with his work out regimen. Every time I set a goal all summer long, I couldn't stick to it, even for a week, and gave up. I was annoyed with myself, but felt pretty good physically and emotionally so my motivation evaporated.

Over the summer, I was active, I certainly didn't put myself back into maternity clothes. But I'm not feeling great. My energy and mood have been pretty zapped. Yes from a sick baby, and lots of activities, work deadlines, mothering 3 kiddos, nursing, and trying to keep all the balls in the air. But, note to self, this is my life. This is what it will be like for the foreseeable future and beyond. So I have to find a way to keep fitness as part of my life. I remember feeling like I didn't need a nap, but I don't remember WHAT THAT FEELS LIKE again. I need it back. And it's worth it to me to get it back.

After blogging each day for 8 days, I'm in the habit of getting some pictures uploaded off the camera, coming here, writing about something. After working out for 7 days (8 at the end of today), it is starting to feel more like a WHEN not an IF. But my energy isn't quite back yet. Last night when I started the DVD (well actually my DVD is lost at the moment so I'm using Comcast on Demand - Exercise TV style, until my new one arrives from Amazon) at 9pm after a little push from Lawrence who is proud of me for wanting to get there again, I REALLY didn't want to do it. And I dialed it in a little bit. But it was good. I got sore and sweaty. And more important I moved one day closer to the point of habit again.

And maybe, just maybe, I have more of an addictive personality than I think. I'm kind of an all or nothing girl. (Shoulda known that based on the binge drinking in college!) And if this case "all" can be a half hour a day of working my body hard in exchange for more energy. Then by all means, get me addicted. One day at a time, (wait, doesn't sound quite right...).

Interestingly enough none of my goals this time are physical. Actually none of my goals are mental either. There are no goals really, except to just do it. Every day for 30 days. And I'm just doing it, one day at a time. No matter what.

I want this habit back. And I wanna be hot and energetic when I'm 60, so that Lawrence and I can have fun together doing stuff that isn't easy with 3 young kids. We keep saying that, during these weeks of divide and conquer parenting. When do I get to connect with my teammate and partner again? But the good news is, I recently realized it's when Lawrence is 60, not me, I'll still be a spry 55 and a 1/2 when the kids are graduated from High School. And who knows - I have a glimpse of a day sooner than that when we could be active as a family and I might not be carrying somebody. One can dream. In the meantime, I don't want to rush it. I love this age, and this age, and that age. I am enjoying these days of busy, and blowing kisses, and carrying, and caring for. I just wanna wish for a nap a little bit less. I'll do it, I'll get there. I always do.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

7 blogs in 7 days - Day 7 -Lily's 5th Bday Party - Carnival Style

Okay, so in my 7 blogs for 7 days, I haven't cleared off so much back log that I'd hoped. I guess that's because this was a crazy week of firsts and I wanted to document it all as we went. If I had to write a blog each day, I didn't really feel like going back and digging up old drafts and old pictures to dust off, when I had new stuff I couldn't wait to write about and record.

The good news is that I shared some pretty important stuff in a timely matter which almost never happens, and I feel freed to keep blogging as life comes rather than feeling like "how could I blog about that when I haven't even written about the first days of school, and buses, and soccer YET." So YAY. So - This wasn't exactly what I wanted, and it's also not exactly what I'd planned on. But still fun and productive just the same. And it's also what I had time for.

Pretty weak on the comment love though, guys. Pretty weak. Ah, well, it's so much more for me, this blog. I mean I know some of you love it. But really. I love to look back at stories I wrote about long ago, things I never would have remembered, things that make me laugh and cry. And sometimes, when "long ago" is really a week ago, and I'd totally forgotten something important that I already blogged about, I am so glad. And sad. About all the unblogged amazing happenings in our life.

For day 7 I decided to go back to the oldest draft . It was from almost a year ago. Lily's 5th birthday party. She turns 6 next month, and I just HAD to post this before she actually turned 6!

At least one draft is done, and that might be IT for 2009. Hurray, just as we are about to conclude 2010. That's about where I am with my scrapbooking too, one year behind.

Started on 11/10/09. Really? My birthday, odd.
For Lily's 5th Bday, Lawrence and her decided to do a Carnival Themed Bday party. To me this sounded kind of nuts and a lot of work, but it all came together very nicely.

We had a duck pond, a fishing pond, cake walk, pinata, and pin the tail on the donkey.

There were 17 kids and 7 families, counting ours. Rather than goodie bags we had a prize box and the kids goodies were the prizes they collected at the games above. Lawrence had some grand ideas that really stressed me out but with the help of my mom and Sabine, we were able to pull it off nicely.

It was the first time Lily invited her own friends, ones that I didn't know their moms. Two girls from her class. It will be interesting for me as the years go on, and less of my friends come to her parties and more of her friends. Luckily, from each of these 7 families, there is at least one close friend her age, who I'm sure will continue to get invited year after year. I'm worried that we are getting to the age where kids just get dropped off parentless for birthdays and it becomes child care for 17 of her nearest and dearest friends who have consumed an insane amount of SUGAR. :)

LILY's FIFTH BIRTHDAY DAY, it was a Wednesday or something.
This is the morning of Lily's real birthday. I'd forgotten about this picture, but simply LOVE it because of how HAPPY Addie is that it is Lily's birthday. I remember that morning so clearly!

Lily got a home made ice cream cake with just the fam on her big day

What's for dinner? PANCAKES. And she helped make them too!

Making cupcakes before her party.

Making cupcakes with mama and Bryson

PARTY TIME! I do cake first as to not send kids home with a sugar high right before dinner. No one repays that favor, so I may switch it up this year... :)
For some reason Lily was on top of her cupcake and her eyes were burning so she did this. Luckily, nothing singed!

The perfect candle blowing out shot

Cake walk!

Fish Pond + Q

Pin the tail...

2 of her Besties, and daughters of mine, Alex & Rachel

Duck Pond

Saturday, September 11, 2010

7 blogs in 7 days - day 6 - First soccer game

This morning was Lily's first soccer game, and we honestly could not have had more fun. She was so good. And so happy. The whole time on the field she had the biggest smile on her face. She hustled, she tried hard, she was awesome. In her Kindergarten league there is no goalie, and that seemed to bother her somewhat. Rather than go after the ball, she would run back and guard the goal, even though the other team wasn't near it. Lawrence would yell, "Lily get off the goal and go after the ball", like a real crazy psycho sports fanatic dad. It was awesome. Haha.

Lily's soccer coach is due with her 4th child on Oct 20.
She scored 3 goals, and this was after one of them. Man she was happy with herself. They don't keep score. But Lawrence did. It was 7-1.

Lily and Alex. Cutie little soccer friends.