Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The lap

Bryson wants a ball.

But he didn't say that.

He said...

Get me the heck off of here mom.

Lily asked for a "Once Upon A Time" book.
Would have been nice to know that when I was putting in my Discovery Toys order 2 weeks ago.
Scramble, scramble.

Addie froze.

She couldn't remember what she wanted.

He ask her if she wanted a coloring book and she said YES.

Then she remembered.

A puzzle.

And a car.

With a track.
A "Gelb" one.

Lily said she would wait and tell the next Santa more stuff.

It was a winter wonderland in Joseph and we sure were happy to see Santa.

I hope he drops off Bryson's other glove when he stops by our house. It was only 5 days old.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Addie's Prayer Last Night

"Pwease help me to not hit Bwyson tommowoe. If I do hit my brudder den it's dist an oopsie and you will foegive me, okay God? Okay!"

Thursday, November 25, 2010


It's thanksgiving.

I'm enjoying the first moment of relaxing in as long as I can remember. THANKFUL.

I know that sounds a little dramatic, but it's true.

Bryson is napping, Lawrence is at the store with Addie. Lily is enjoying sibling free time printing pictures with her grandma. Julia is showering. And there is absolutely nothing that needs my attention right now. Except my coffee.

Aaaaaaaaahhhhh. Exhale.

A fleeting moment but I will enjoy it just the same.

I attempted a wordless wednesday all day yesterday. It was a winter wonderland on the drive accross the state. I think it didn't go. But maybe it did. I'm not sure. The internet is faster on my phone than on my mom's computer.

Ironically cell service is sparce but texting works.

If you are reading this it means that I updated the blog via text message. If not my thumbs are sore for nothing.

I'm enjoying big mountains and dial up internet and no cell service.

It's cold and beautiful. I forgot how cold 8 degrees is and the mountains never get old.

Yummy food and good friends coming up next. I don't have to cook.

I need to show you a picture, but that just isn't possible, I guess. Or maybe it is, you tell me.

My kids love it here and so do I.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The fallout

So last week was every bit as hard and grueling as I thought it might be. The week before, while I worked long hours, was better. And I was hopeful last week would follow in the previous weeks footsteps, but it didn't, not at all.

I've hesitated to write a blog. Because I haven't had time to, number one. But also because I'm always so scared of getting judged. There are lots of days I just downright hate that I am a working mom. But I'm also really committed to staying firm in an attitude of not being discontent in my life. To feel blessed by our life, rather than dwell on the things that I wish were different. And USUALLY I can do that. Well. And I mean it, I'm not faking my way along pretending to be happy in a life where I am not. I am happy. I do make the best. But sometimes things just sucker punch you. And for some reason, blogging honestly hasn't been coming to me easily. I'm not seeing the humor in it, I don't have the energy to be witty. At least not for long enough to get it written down.

So last week just sucked. The kids had many bad days where I only saw them for 30 minutes in the morning. Except in the case of Addie or Bryson, where they were up in the night or at the crack of dawn. In my guilt ridden mind, all I could think was that they were trying to find some time with me, time when I was home. So I struggled through the days where I had to be mentally at my best on 2-6 hrs or sleep and on the verge of tears.

Since the first day I went back to work when Lily was a baby, I have always felt like I wasn't enough. Before that, I always excelled at my job. I always felt pretty good about how hard I had worked and how much I had accomplished. I also knew that I was a darn good wife. However, once I became a mom, I just wasn't as good. For the most part, I'm okay with that. I'm happy to be good enough at my profession that my mediocrity is still on par with some people's excellence, and generally, no one seems to notice.

Except, now, my company got this huge investment that requires an annual financial statement audit for the first time in 20 years. The threat of an audit has been dangling for years, for one reason or another, and I've done my best to be prepared for it. And as far as a first time audit goes, I couldn't have asked for a better circumstance. (I won't bore you about the details of an interim opening balance sheet audit prior to the income statement audit after year end, on prior year only, and the generous deadlines they've given on that, but these are good things). Still, it's hard. We've basically hired a Top Company to go through all the detail of all the work, I (or my team has done) since I've started, and find any and all mistakes, or problems with processes, or answer questions about why things have been done such-and-such a way since the beginning of time. Frankly, it's exhausting. Depleting. For 12-16 hrs a driving-home-in-the-dark-eating-dinner-by-myself day. It points out all the weaknesses. That's what it's supposed to do, but it's hard to hear it since many of the "problems" are due to resource or system constraints, so the "how to" fix them isn't easy or straightforward.

At home, each night there would be a report (that I asked for) of who did what all day from Julia. And it was hard not to wonder and worry about why Addie started having accidents or why Lily all of sudden hit Julia for the first time. Bryson also wasn't nursing well in the morning due to teething, a stuffy nose, and his sister waking up to come see what's going on promptly at the moment of nursing, and I wasn't home for his night nursing. So there's that. Lawrence was super great about making sure he was off right on time each day and we did a lot of meal planning so making dinner and caring for all three kids, bathing them, and putting them to bed was *slightly* easier for him. There are lots of weeks where he has to do this one night a week. We decide that if I'm going to miss bedtime, I might as well stay really late and get it all done. But for 2 full weeks, this was ridiculous. And so by the time I finally got home, we'd both worked 2 full time jobs, and we just beat.

By Tuesday night, I honestly COULD.NOT.BELIEVE it was only Tuesday. Oh, and that's the day that Matt finally got on the plane headed to Iraq from Mississippi. He called and we had one last good bye around 7pm. Then he called the house to talk to Lawrence and the girls. And I got to Skype with him briefly, test out his new laptop, and see his new glasses. :) I shut my door after and had a brief cry. It wasn't nearly long enough.

By Friday I was too tired to even be excited that it was Friday. Our audit team was good, but by Friday, I was ready for them to leave, as they were already 2 days longer than scheduled. I just couldn't wait to get home and be with the kids.

Except when I got there, I was too depleted to even be how I wanted to be with them. And I was super mad at myself over that. I can ALWAYS dig deeper, find more to give. And I just couldn't, there was nothing left.

Bryson was so needy and clinging that even when we were at the grocery store at 5am on Saturday (thank you daylight savings time STILL!) he would cry when I would step to the side of the cart to grab a box of cereal off the shelf. I REALLY could not be ONE step away from him. He is going through separation anxiety to the max anyway. But this weekend he cried when I walked INTO the room, fearing (as I perceived) that I would leave it again shortly. Even when sitting on the floor with him, I reach over to the toy box and he'd cry. So I felt myself upset and annoyed as I snuck off to the bathroom, listening to him screech if he caught me. He had a terrible time going down for night and naps. After several weeks of an easy system we had going. All of this swirled inside of me, guilt, exhaustion, depletion. I don't want a moment to myself because I feel selfish for being away from them, even at a time where I didn't chose that.

This pretty much lasted all weekend for me. SO annoying. We went to a restaurant to watch my college football rivalry game, something we do every year, and had planned for months. It was so fun, it felt like everyone who went to either Montana school who lived in Portland was there. Except I just could not relax. I was wound so tight. We took Lily and Addie and Julia stayed with Bryson while he napped. I was worried about them spilling milk and bothering others, and arguing with each other over Littlest Pets. Lily was giving me a bit of an attitude, but nothing that normally would have bothered me. I was upset because even on Saturday, I had nothing more to give. I can't remember that happening to me before, not like that. I just wanted to cry. Then the Griz lost. Stupid Griz! :)
On Sunday, my only saving Grace was that there were only two working days this week. But still, even after Lawrence let me sleep in a little, I felt annoyed and guilty, overwhelmed and rushed as we went out to take a family pic for our Holiday Cards and it was so bitter cold that I'm not even sure if it turned out or not. Poor kids!!!

To top off my fail of a week/weekend family wise, I totally forgot to call our niece and nephew to wish them a happy birthday on Sunday. I know (hope and pray) that they know how much we love them, and that our (my...cause let's face it, that's my job) forgetfulness is no indication of how much we love them. 2010 has seriously not been my year for remembering to send cards or call on birthdays. I hope 2011 will be better. It almost CERTAINLY could not be worse. Love you Ty and Cass!! Can't believe you are already FIVE years old.

So in the spirit of trying to not be a complete negative Nelly:
Here Are Some Grateful Things...
  • I've never appreciated more that I am permitted to work from home 2 days a week. Even thought the kids are with Julia during that time, I don't have a commute, and I'm just THERE with them, although in another room. Five days a week in the office is exponentially more exhausting and I'm not sure I'd ever full acknowledged this. Some times you ask me, how do I do it all? Well, working from home is a large part of my 'how'.
  • In the end, the auditors felt pretty good about how we (I) have been doing things. There are some adjustments, but nothing that I don't agree with, and nothing that they wouldn't expect in the first year. This is a great relief to me because when they come in every two minutes every day, I'm just not sure what means what. It's nice to find that, in the end, they were mostly just trying to get an understanding, rather than passing a judgment. It's not clear during.
  • The auditors told my boss that I am responsible for a lot of areas and made a recommendation to him that we get additional staff to help me. Whether we do or don't doesn't matter to me as much as the acknowledgment that an outsider noticed this and told my boss. It also makes me feel better about small things that slip through the cracks, I'm only one person. Also, in my own head I always know that I could do more, or do it better, and I guess it was just nice to see that they think, I do a lot, enough, too much. I got some validation there.
  • I have this job. Tomorrow I get to go to Addie's Thanksgiving Feast and Lily's 6 year pediatrician visit and then take Wednesday off to prepare for the holiday. This job, and all the stress it has caused me, ultimately has saved us. When Lawrence was laid off last year, we struggled with unemployment, my maternity leave, and he is now in the process of starting over at a new company. We are so blessed that I continued to have a stable and flexible job with good health insurance through that. We have everything that we need, and more.
  • That we have Julia. Another great AuPair who LOVES our kids. I sent her an email a few weeks ago, letting her know that when I see her talk to my kids, even when she disciplines them, that it is so obvious that she loves them. You can hear it in her voice and see it in the way she looks at them. We have been through several different child care options in the last 6 years and we KNOW without a shadow of a doubt that this is the best one for us right now. It truly feels like I leave the kids with a family member, someone who is in my home, helping it run smoothly. It is impossible not to want the daily moments back with my kids. To wish that THAT was my stress and my hard days, but since it isn't, I'm just really grateful for all she does to make this family work. Including cleaning up poop and working through proper consistent discipline with a lovely and very strong willed six year old. When I'm working from home and I hear her laughing with the kids or speaking to them. I find myself smiling because of the excellent care she is taking.
  • I remembered this week that even though all of the critique, I'm a really good accountant, and as nerdy as that sounds, it was good talking shop with people who knew more about it than I do. I (over)used my brain in a way that I hadn't in a while. And it felt kind of good.
  • I have a husband who is my teammate. We both do what needs to be done when it needs to be done, without question. I hate weeks when we are "just teammates" and it feels like there is little interaction between us. He also had a sore throat this week and didn't really feel like talking after I got home. But I know too many wives who would give anything for a good teammate husband like mine. And I'm also glad that when we are just teammates, it is a fraction of what we normally are together, and for that I'm grateful too.
It's Thanksgiving. And I'm thankful. Thankful for all of you out there in my life, those who read my blog, those who don't. I'm thankful for my healthy family and our good life. I'm thankful for who I am, and for who I am becoming. Thankful for a God who will not love me less and could not love me more. Thankful for our parents and our siblings, their health, that we love them and they love us, even when we don't do it just right.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Frugal Pretend Play

Lily had last Wed-Fri off of school for conferences, veteran's day, and teacher work day. I had to work a lot more than usual, and was really impressed with how great the kids did. They behaved well for Julia and were really sweet to me, not whiny, just appreciated the time we had together and not much guilt inducing complaints. The girls have been playing REALLY well together. The way they used to, when they acted like best friends instead of sisters. I has been so much fun to not break up fights, and let them play a little longer before dinner, nap, bedtime because they are just getting along so well, laughing and agreeing, listening to each other in their pretend play.

Yesterday evening the girls were again playing together beautifully. We (Lawrence and I) were headed out for dinner with friends after bed time but we didn't waste a moment before that, playing up until the time we were to leave. We made a boat out of a box and it was really fun. Lawrence snuffed my ideas of how to make a sail and in the end I WAS RIGHT. Heh. After the boat was finally crafted, all three kids sat in the boat for a long time, and then Lily and Addie sailed alone. Lily was the mommy and Addie was the daughter. I was the grandma and I was babysitting Bryson while they were off on their adventure. When it was time to get PJs on, I told them to go upstairs, pick out jammies, and bring them down. They pretended that they had forgotten to pack them on their voyage and they had to stop at a store. As they ran upstairs to the "store" I ask them if they could "buy" some for Bryson too, and "don't forget a pull up for Addie and a sleep diaper for Bryson".

They had great fun shopping for pajamas in their drawers.

When they came down, Lily handed me a pair of Bryson's PJs and said, "I got these Christmas ones at the store for a dollar".

"Oh Thanks, the dollar store?" I asked

"No, a regular store, the were just a good deal."

"Cool, thanks", I laughed

"Addie wanted to get a Firetruck shirt and Firetruck bottoms, but those were ten dollars and there is no way I was going to spend TEN dollars on clothing! "

"Especially for someone else's kid."

HA! I wasn't sure whether to feel proud about that pretend frugal/greedy mommy or hide under a pillow!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Make a Wish

Yesterday was a good birthday. Another Year Older. The bookends of time I had with my husband and my kids surrounding the insanely busy day at the office, were really nice. I got like 150 facebook birthday wishes. Jeez, it's like all people need is a reminder - complete with my picture, and a free & instant way to tell me happy birthday, then they are all about it. I felt loved. And some people said some really sweet stuff.

In the morning I got a nice Columbia sweater and jacket from Lawrence and the kids. There was no mention of cleaning devices as a gift. Lawrence and Julia gave me cards that had beautiful words that brought tears to my eyes. My children painted picture frames with Julia and she included a picture of me with each of them inside the frame with their name on it, it was an awesome gift. Julia gave me a book called "Mommy Grace - Erasing your Mommy Guilt". Given my last blog post, and after reading a few reviews on it, I just can't wait to devour it and learn a little something. Sabine called in the morning from Germany, it was a sweet pleasant surprise, and again, I felt myself holding back the tears. I got some other nice cards in the mail from my friend Robin, Sabine, my mom, and my in-laws. MY MOM got me a card and gift ON TIME. Unheard of for her, therefore so appreciated. I know it's hard. My friend Carrie put THIS link on my FaceBook wall, and I watched it again and again and again, laughing hysterically! She also sent me an ecard that said, "Sorry you didn't get the card that I can't remember if I sent". That made me laugh because I have felt that way more times than I care to admit.

Worked wasn't easy, full of frustration, but I had a great lunch and talk with my good friend Lynnette at the office who shares my birthday. Neither of us had time to leave for lunch, but at 2pm we just decided to go because we deserved it and wanted to give ourselves that lunch date. I also got to skype with my brother for a few minutes. He is at Camp Shelby in Mississippi waiting to deploy next week and it was SO good to see him and talk to him. It made a really wonderful break in the day. I miss him. I left the office at 5pm and didn't get out of downtown until 5:40, traffic was so bad. I wanted to cry because I left in time to get home by then.

But then I got home. And my birthday was awesome again. Bryson crawled toward me quickly saying a version of "mama" and smiled big at daddy and Julia while he rested his head against my shoulder after I'd picked him. I LOVE when he rests his head on my shoulder and hugs me. And then he pulled my hair, just because he loves to do that too. Lily made her and I matching necklaces, out of what appeared to be shoelaces, beads, and a key-chain ring - complete with a J bead for me and L bead for her. Can't wait to wear it. :) The kids and Julia had made me a yummy German Lemon Cake and Lawrence had left work early to shop for and make my favorite dinner of steak and mashed potatoes. After NOT getting my candles blown out on the first (or second) try, I had a little help from Lily. We ate our dessert and got into jammies. I nursed Bryson and put him to bed, then read to the girls and put them to bed. I thanked God for my wonderful family. Everyone went down perfectly. I called my mom because I knew she was probably waiting to call me, not sure when bedtime would be over, and not wanting to interrupt.

I collapsed in sweats and cuddled with Lawrence. It was a perfect birthday, minus the stressful work day - but even that was made better by Matt & Lynnette. I felt kind of emotional as I soaked it all in. I was glad to soak it all in. We'll go to dinner this weekend with a few friends to celebrate, it's been a few months since we had a date night so I'm looking forward to that. But we'll go after everyone is in bed so I can maximize my time with the kids. No working from home this week or next. boo, that makes things harder! Bryson is still getting up at the crack of dawn, but it is 5am rather than 4am, so we have progress. Update re: bad mom. I'm not one, I know, and she hasn't said it again, even though she would be entitled. I do miss them right now, but they are happy and loved and they are okay. And they are insanely excited to see me each evening, if only for a few minutes before bedtime. And that feels bittersweet.

Yesterday morning, Lily asked me what I would wish for. I don't remember the generic answer that I gave her, something like, I already have it all right here in front of me.

Then I really thought about what I would "wish" for on my birthday. For some reason it took on a deeper meaning than usual as I mulled it over much of the day. What do I wish for? Like in my life? So I jotted a few things down about what I really "want".

1. I want my children to feel loved, really really loved, like I do from my mom.
2. I want to stay married to Lawrence for my whole life and to model a realistic loving relationship that I would proud for our kids to seek in their own spouses.
3. I want to make a difference in a lot of people's lives. I want to be thought of as someone who truly cares, not just someone who goes through the motions of caring, or someone who doesn't care at all.
4. I want my friends to feel like I understand them, and I want them to feel validated by that. I want them to understand me, and love me as I am.
5. I want Matt to come home safely in a year. I want to remember to send him a lot of packages so he feels loved and thought of.
6. I want to love in a way that makes people see and feel God's love. I've seen that, felt that, in a few people, and I want people to see that in me. I want to be so full of love that His love overflows on to those around me. For those who don't feel close to Him to believe that He isn't about judgment or rules or hypocrisy, just about Love and Grace.
7. I want to be debt free.
8. I want my friends who are are grieving and in extreme turmoil to feel peace. To have some rest.
9. I want to remember to always to look at my blessings and my strengths, rather than be discontent in my circumstance and wallow in my weaknesses.
10. I want to be up to date on blogging, scrapbooking, and photo organizing. I want our life and their childhood to be fully and wonderfully documented.

When I look over this list I see 2 things, besides the fact that it sounds a little sappy. One, a lot of the stuff on here talks about love, that means I'm definitely on to something. Two, #10 is probably the most difficult to accomplish, maybe even harder than paying off the house! :)

Monday, November 8, 2010


I know, I know, you all voted...and I have not delivered. I started the MCT blog, yesterday, while I should have been napping, but I only get 15 minutes at a time to write, and it's all over the place, way too long to put it all on on one blog.

As I was doing Lily's hair for her soccer game and her play last Saturday, Addie came and knocked the baggie of pony tails out of my hands, looking for attention. I was pressed for time, and I needed Lily's hair to withstand a rainy soccer game and then keep her hair out of her face for a dress rehearsal and 2 performances complete with lobster hat. But I didn't get upset. I said,

Me: "Addie, do you want me to do your hair first?"

A: "No"

Me: "Okay well I need you to not touch that while I do Lily's hair"

A: "You are a bad mom!"

Me: "I know"

Lily: "ADDIE! No you aren't, mama!"

Me: "Addie, it's okay to say that if that is what you are thinking, why do you think am I a bad mom?" (I'm working on validating her feelings - and I pretty much knew she had the right to feel that way in that moment)

Addie: You are a bad mom because you are SO busy.

Out of the mouths of babes.

Oh kid, if you only knew. Things are about to get so much worse.

So if you don't see me on here for a while it's because I'm preparing for my company to get audited for the first time in 20 years, chasing after my new toddler who is not only taking steps but also waking at 4am in celebration of "falling back", attempting to be home before bedtime on my 34th birthday so my kids and my husband remember I'm part of the family...racing there on public transit to get a few minutes with my kids after full days of audit staff sitting at my desk, learning to provide what they need from the new accounting software -once again- as it was "updated" over the weekend, there will be dashes of waterworks caused by my ridiculously over-tiredness starting the day and the fact that my little bro will finally get shipped out for real now, from his training place in MS to "the yucky place" overseas. As far as nursing, I've decided to stop pumping and only nurse Bryson in the morning and before bed, that is, when I make it home in time for bedtime. I think I can, I think I can make it five more weeks until his first birthday. So, I'm not going to say that the next few weeks will be much fun for me, but I'll get through it and I'm not really complaining. It would be nice if none of you out there email me to tell me that you miss me, talk to me about making a commitment for something, ask me to get together, request a favor, or remind me that I haven't updated my blog. I KNOW! I'm going to do the best I can, and that leaves little time for anything other than work and my family. I don't love you any less, just have to prioritize. Again. Always.

And if my kids don't say it to my face, no worries, I realize that at least for the next couple of weeks, I might deserve to be called a bad mom, because I am, in fact, too busy.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Through Lily's Camera's Eyes

This is what you get when you put a brand new six year old in her quiet time alone for an hour with her brand new camera from her Grandma.

You can see the future facebook profile pics now

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Getting started to get started

I have SO many things to blog about that I'm blogging about nothing! And each day something new comes that I want to blog about and I don't.

There are just so many things...

First we had Lily's birthday party
Next a post with some pictures as Lily sees the world through her new camera
Some other general things to be grateful for
Bryson's 10 month post - he has a tooth and is taking steps
PLUS our family went to the pumpkin patch and the kids have gone with Julia 2x with some amazing pictures to show for it.
Then Lily got cast in her school's MCT play
THEN MY MIND WENT RACING regarding my love affair with MCT and all the ways it shaped my life's path
Then Pumpkin Carving
DOn't forget the post on why Addie thinks I'm a bad mom :)
Then Lily's last soccer game
Plus Addie to Disney on Ice (since there are no pictures that probably won't be a full post)
Next the MCT performance

And just today, Lily's school conferences and me doing something right. Us, I mean, us, Lawrence is obviously doing it too. I'm just selfish and like to take all credit for myself.

Okay, now that it's out there, perhaps I can tackle something.

October was just too awesome I guess. Parts of it felt awesome but at the time it felt almost too busy to enjoy it, but I know I did, I just don't remember enjoying it all. That's okay, I guess, but it would probably be better next time if I remembered enjoying it, you know, because that part would be nice.

Any votes for what I write about first? Or should I just continue rambling about not knowing where to start? Wordless Wednesday tomorrow...that's an easy one!