Monday, November 11, 2013

Independence.

Today is one of those days that I am NOT feeling inadequate as a mother. Things are good. Declan is napping... sure he pulled his 8 year old brother's night stand down on his face today, but I was there to  pick him up, wipe away the tears and give him the confidence to explore once more. Lucy is watching Cinderella for the 9 millionth time, but she's happy and we painted today, something she LOVES. Tatum went to school with a giant smile on her face because she is start student of the week and ready to talk about herself in front of her entire classroom... Something we used to struggle with. Spencer left this morning with a pack of Pokemon cards, ready to trade on the bus ride home, cuz that kid has a ton of friends. Spencer and Tatum both gave me giant hugs and kisses on their way out the door this morning, secure in themselves and what awesome kids they are.

Today is a day of triumph. Tomorrow, I'm not sure... We will reassess then.

I'm sitting here thinking of all of the things I've done. I've endured a baby girl in the hospital for 10 days and made it out alive. I have 2 kids that read. I've successfully gotten 3 human beings to dispose of their waste in the proper receptacle, only one left. But for now, I'll be okay with him throwing his diaper away himself. That's awesome, am I wrong? I've made it through Spencer's terrible twos, night terrors, bad dreams, bullies, countless colds, bouts of pneumonia, flus, I don't know how many bouts of croup, sleepless nights, asthma attacks, vomit, spit up, snot... AND who knows how many more I'll have to endure. But today is a good day. And I am grateful.

You all may wonder why I am so full of myself today. Well, there are days that you sit and think, man I suck. And there are days that other people make you feel like you suck... Today is the latter. And the more I sit and think about it, the more I realize I DON'T suck. I've made the choices I have for my family because they were the best choices for us. And my kids are going to be better for them. Sure, I could have sacrificed everything I had in order to make their lives as easy as possible, but what good is that going to do them? They are strong, independent, happy, loving children because I DON'T do everything for them. And in 10 years, Spencer won't be struggling to go off to college because he is afraid, or because he doesn't know how to do laundry... Tatum will be confident in herself and know how beautiful she is on the inside and out without anyone having to tell her. Lucy will be the spirited  individual that she is, knowing that it doesn't matter what other people say, she's awesome and her clothes don't match, but who cares? Declan will know it's okay to try and fail and try again. And that their father, their father in Heaven, and I will love them no matter what.

These are the things I want to instill in my kids. Is it hard? Yes. But I teach them every day because one day they will need to stand on their own two feet and walk forward on their own paths in this life without holding my hand. Will I be there to catch them fall? I hope so. But if not, they will still be able to pick themselves back up and try again.

And THAT is why I am waiting to put away the laundry until the kids are home from school... So they can do it themselves. :)

Friday, October 18, 2013

My People

Some of you remember back in January when my back locked up on me and I was unable to pick up my baby let alone move. Well, out of the blue last night, it started happening again. I woke up this morning barely able to move, with two littles to take care of. And while Lu is helpful! she can't very well pick her 26 pound baby brother up. As I slowly made my way upstairs to get Declan, I had a sudden craving for a Kicker from Dutch Bros. For some crazy reason I thought it would make me feel better.

I made it down the stairs with the baby, praying every step of the way that my back wouldn't seize up. I got the kids breakfast and slowly started the process of making my coffee. Irish cream, half and half, espresso... I sat down. Sort of. It actually felt better to stand. I sipped my coffee and despite my hopes, it didn't make me feel any better. 

How was I going to make it through the day? Tony's at work and I couldn't even take the baby upstairs for the nap he so desperately needed. But it had to be done. I opened the baby gate and followed behind Declan as he crawled up the stairs. I stood by the crib for a good five minutes waiting for him to get close enough to snatch him and lay him down. Success. So what if he's going to sleep with a pan from the play kitchen and banging it on the bars of the crib? He was in bed.

After making it back down the stairs, after about ten minutes of trying to figure out how I was going to make it through the day, Tony walked through the door. My savior. That's when the tough mom facade went out the window and the real pain set in. He helped me to the bed and here I lay, teary eyed, realizing why my coffee drink didn't make me feel better. 

You see, it wasn't the drink. It was the hands that brought it to me last January when my back gave out on me. It's my people. My people that gathered around my family and lifted us up with meals, and coffee and true love. You know you are. And today, know that you are missed, not just for the coffee you brought, or the meals you prepared, but you. You are missed, I didn't know how truly blessed I was with your friendships until I was gone.


Saturday, October 12, 2013

My Bucket is 8.

There's nothing in this world to make you feel old like your child's birthday. Am I right? Especially when you look at them and can barely remember what they looked like as a baby. Today marks the day I became a mother 8 short years ago. Who knew what a sweet boy that not so little ten pound, four ounce, screaming-all-the-time-baby would grow up to be?

While he came into this world with an abnormally large body, a squished neck on one side, bulging on the other, with no chin, and the loudest scream you can imagine... he has become the most adorable, kindest, giving, think outside of the box, kid. And I am proud to call him my son.

In my mind, he stopped aging at 6. But when we have our heart to heart chats, his reasoning and ability to fathom concepts is well beyond his 8 years. We went for a walk yesterday and he stopped at every blown over garbage can and picked them up for our neighbors. After wrestling with a little boy in the neighborhood yesterday, you could see the look of devastation on his face when the boy accidentally got hurt. He didn't even have to be asked to apologize as he rushed to see if the child was okay. Earlier, Declan was trying to climb the stairs to the slide and Spencer just scooped him up, carried him up the play structure and took him down the slide without even being asked. I am so proud of the kind, helpful, giant hearted kid he is and the man that I know he will grow up to be. He's going to make big waves in this world. Big waves.

An hour old:


8 years later:


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Bittersweet Birthday

Welp, here we are.

My baby turned one.

*Sigh. We did it. We made it through 4 stints of babyhood. Sleepless nights... the zombie-phase. The gassy nights, the screaming nights, the "I just don't wanna sleep, so I'm gonna keep you up with me" nights.

I look at those moms that are ready to give birth at any moment with their first baby, or are cradling their newbies with pity. I don't ever have to do that again. But at the same time, that moment when you first see your baby and realize just how fragile life is and how much you are responsible for from here on out... My favorite moment.

I'm overjoyed and saddened. I want to press the pause button on the day and relive the moment I walked into his room this morning when he awoke and started bouncing up and down in his crib. It's true what they say, it went by fast. Really fast. But I do feel like I took in every moment, cherished it, and stuffed it deep down in the crevasses of my brain so that those moments, the ones I don't ever want to forget, will always be there. It might take some gingko biloba to access them, but they're there.

So here's to a day of celebrating the birth of by far, the happiest baby I've ever had. With the biggest smile, and head rocking excitement, he will melt many a girl's heart someday. But for now, he melts mine. I love you Mr. Gibbers.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Employed.

As most of you know, I had a job interview last week to be a barista at a coffee shop.  The interview was interesting. For starters, I had never been on the opposite side of the spectrum, in terms of age. The interviewers were in their mid 20's, and here I was, trying to hide my gray hairs. It went smoothly, they seemed like really sweet people. Perhaps a bit too hipster for me in that the experience of drinking coffee has brought them to tears before. But who am I? I've seen credit card commercials that have brought out the shaking sobs in me before. 

I left feeling confident. I'd spent most of my early twenties making and serving coffee. I can do it in my sleep. And the sheer thought of doing it again reminded me of my youth, and a more simpler time. Jim with his decaf orange spice tea, Tom with his huge world mug filled with our drip of the day, leaving about an inch of room for cream. Jackie with her one shot decaf, extra hot, extra foam, nonfat chai tea. The regulars, the conversation, the feeling that I am an important part of those people's days... Okay, I'm not in complete denial, we all know it was the beverage that was the important part, but still.

3 days a week. Two weeknights 6pm-midnight and Sunday mornings 8am-2pm. Those were the hours they threw around when talking about the position. I could do that. Tony would be home and I wouldn't have to worry about someone watching my kids. Lets be real, the job wouldn't pay for someone to watch my kids! I got home and cuddled with my baby. As I say there, something stirred in me, I shoved it down. I was excited. I could potentially have a life outside of my children. Which was something I somewhat longed for. I love my kids. They are my life. But I didn't want to lose who I am and the. Wake up 18 years from now with an empty nest and an identity crisis.  

Later that night as I put Declan in his jammies and sat down to cuddle and rock with him before laying him in his crib, that thing began to stir again. Maybe it was the Beatles lullaby music on the CD player, or the burrito I had for lunch, but this time I didn't ignore it. What was I doing? Sitting here, snuggling this little man, giving him my undivided attention, was one of my favorite parts of the day. Wy would I give this up? He's not ready, I'm not ready. What am I doing? 

Now I know there are moms out there who are thinking, "it's guilt. Don't you think if you just weaned him that he would be fine?" Yes, I could wean him, and he would be fine, but that's not the point. It's not even about nursing. It's about the fact that when I had one baby, sure I could wean him and go out and get a part time job and have little problem knowing Daddy was home putting him to bed at night. But he isn't my first, or my second, or even my third. He's my fourth. And do you have any idea how nonexistent his one on one time with me is? That time before he goes to sleep at night is the one and only time during the day that he gets me, all of me. It's sacred and I'm not willing to give it up. Not yet. 

So I made up my mind, unless the job was one shift on Sunday morning, I wasn't going to take it. 

So when the call came on Saturday and the guy on the other end said, "so you want a job?" My response was, "It depends. What hours are you offering?" And to my surprise, he responded with, "What hours do you want?" 

A short conversation later, I'm happy to say, I will be a contributing member of society on Sunday mornings. Call it a blessing, call it what you will, but I didn't compromise what I thought I wanted for what my family needed. And I'm okay with that. In fact, I'm more than okay, I'm happy. 

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Raising four children doesn't pay in cash.

I have a job interview today. Why? Simply put, like every other stay at home mom, I don't make any money. In a moment of disparity, I went out of my comfort zone and put my resume in at a local coffee shop. When they asked to meet me and then called later to schedule an interview, my stomach churned. 

What have I done? 

I have this great gig where I don't have to wear pants, why on earth would I want a job where I have to act like a grown up?! There are so many moms out there that HAVE to go to work to make ends meet. That HAVE to say goodbye to their sweet babies every morning in order to pay the bills. And I am beyond blessed in that I am not one of those moms. I do not envy them. what they have to do is heartbreaking and sacrificing and I am in no way devaluing what they must do. I get to see every smile, every laugh, the first time they crawl, walk, run, sing... I've kissed every owie, heard every joke, received every hug, and at the exact moment in which they wanted to give one. And now I sit here with knots in my stomach, wondering why on earth I would want to trade those irreplaceable moments in for minimum wage.

And this is where it gets dicey. Our medical insurance sucks. There, I said it. We have four kids. They get sick. Heck, I get sick. A LOT. We are paying far more than we ever did before. I used to be able to buy a box of cereal for less than $2 but since moving to Arkansas, that price is no where to be had. Milk is a dollar more than it is in Oregon. We pay a $50 fee every month on our water bill to help protect some dumb endangered cave fish (Disclaimer: I apologize for saying dumb, I appreciate endangered species and know that we need to do our part to protect them, but in this instance, I'm merely complaining about the extra cost I wasn't planning on paying when I moved across the country). I know it's not huge, but it adds up. These are all costs we didn't calculate when my husband took this new job that I feel I need to compensate for. 

But let's get real people, I have always felt the need to contribute monetarily since I had my first baby almost 8 years ago. I've been making and selling headbands, accessories, dolls, whatever I can, for years now. Every day when I have a free moment to myself, I think of ways I can make money. I have a website, I will go ahead and plug it, no shame: Http://www.thepaisleynderground.com, where I sell the stuff I make. I even have a DIY blog that links to my website that I created in the hopes of getting enough traffic that I can make money off of google Adsense. In fact, yesterday I was brainstorming ways I can sell tutorials on Etsy, on how to make the things I make so that I can make some extra cash. And I love creating, I do. But the real reason I create these things and sell them... Because I feel inadequate. Because after all of the hours I put in, at the end of the day, I don't see a paycheck. Don't get me wrong, the hugs, the kisses, the smiles, giggles, "I love you"s... They are totally worth it, but they don't pay the bills. 

There was a time when women were expected to stay home. When a Homemaker was a proud title to have, not something people saw on a medical form in the "job" area and said, "oh, so you don't work?" 

Sometimes my reaction is defensive... 

Do you have any idea how much I DO in fact work? How about I trade you "jobs" and we see who works? I have one of the hardest "jobs" there is, making sure that these four small souls grow up knowing how to be patient, kind, loving, smart, hard working, positive contributors to society, all while they scream and throw food at me.

Other times my reaction is one of embarrassment. 

You're right, I don't work. I don't make any money. I don't pay the bills. I. Am. Worthless. 

My husband makes good money. I don't NEED to work. I don't NEED to contribute. But there's this gut response every time I go to the grocery store, pay the bills, buy a coffee (because I was up for two hours and couldn't sleep and then the baby decided he wanted a midnight snack and I can barely function)... It's guilt, it's a knee-jerk reaction of "I don't make money and therefore I can't spend money."  I don't think I've ever met another stay at home mom who hasn't felt this way at one point or another, if not all the time. 

I'm not here to tell you that society is wrong. That you have value, that what we endure while staying home, raising our children to be people of worth is one of the hardest jobs there is. You and I already know that. No one has to tell us that we are valuable. Our children tell us. Maybe not in this moment, maybe not tomorrow, maybe not in words, but in the way they treat others, in the way they love, in their hugs and deeds and ability to function outside of us, in a chaotic world...  THESE are our reminder that we are of something more worthy than money.

It doesn't mean I don't have days like the other day when I haphazardly took my résumé in to a coffee shop thinking to myself, "heck yes, a job... I will make money. I will be worthy. I will get a break from the screaming and the fighting and the food throwing."  Those days happen... a lot. The grass is alwats greener... There are days when my husband comes home and I tell him, "I quit. It's your turn with the crazies... I'm gonna go get a job." Maybe I'm bipolar. But what mother isn't? It's a coping mechanism. How else are we capable of being the disciplinarian and the fixer of owies at the same time?

So today I am in a unique situation. Instead of going into this interview wanting to wow them, I have the opportunity to go in with the mindset of, "this job must wow ME. It has to be something I love to do." Because I already have a job that I love. A job where I am irreplaceable. A job where I am of the greatest value. 

Sunday, August 04, 2013

I'm inadequate.

So my daughter Lucy turned 3 about three weeks ago. And every day since then I wake up saying to myself, "crap, I suck... I was totally going to update my blog and write some cute thing about Lucy and her birthday and how much I love her. And I didn't... I'll do it today." But then I realize the reason I woke up in the first place, the 11 month old is crying upstairs in his crib because he awoke and there wasn't a boob in his mouth. Sidenote: He loves the boob, more than any of my other kids did, what can I say? So I run to the bathroom because I know that I won't have another chance to go for another two hours- when he goes down for his first nap. I then spit my retainers out and rinse them off because, you know, I've had braces a million times and I've become this crazy rule follower since becoming a mother, and braces cost money. I run upstairs because the faint cry that was coming from his room has become more of a wail and I open the door to not only the near-one-year-old jumping up and down in his crib because he's half excited to see me and half pissed that I'm not already topless, but The poor 7-year-old is moaning and whining with the pillow over his head because this was the one day he decided he wasn't ready to wake up yet and his brother woke him up. And we all know that if we ourselves make enough noise, we can drown out the source of the noise we are trying to avoid, right? 

And down the stairs we go. I fend the baby off just long enough to help the kid pour his bowl of cereal. I sit down and the baby immediately starts moaning at my shirt in this, "I'm pretty sure you know what I want, but I'm gonna be extra loud just in case you forgot" sort of way. And just as he starts in, down the stairs traipse the 3 and 5 year old beauty queens with their blankets in tow and their curly hair matted up in fluffy rats nests plastered across their faces. 

"Good morning Beautifuls," I say, as the oldest plops herself on the couch, but mostly on top of me, and starts loving on her baby brother, who is totally distracted and yanks away to smile at his sister as my plethora of milk squirts halfway across the room. I get him redirected to the task at hand just as the 3-year-old looks me point blank in the face and says, "I want breakfast," and continues to utter the exact same phrase over and over even though I've already explained to her just as many times that I can get it for her when her brother is done nursing. I love her, but she's the result of that phrase my mother told me over and over as a child, "I hope you get one just like you." Apparently mothers have that sort of control in life. I got one just like me. And she wants what she wants when she wants it and she wants it now.

So I plop the baby in his chair at the counter and immediately dump some cereal in front of him in hopes of distracting him for a couple minutes so I can get the girls some breakfast. That works for about 20 seconds. I flip the switch on my espresso machine, because I have one now you know. The girls get settled and I sit and start to feed the baby some food while I try and shovel some cold cereal into my face and end up feeding the baby half of it because he's the size of a two-year-old and eats more than I do. Meanwhile, whatever food I've given him that isn't mind, he throws on the floor. I guess that means he's done. I wipe him down and take his banana covered clothes off and change his diaper. In his cleanliness he decides to go sit in the middle of the food he threw on the floor and starts to eat his 2nd breakfast. 

He's occupied, the 5-year-old is still eating, and the 7 & 3-year-old's have their noses in a book, nows as good time as any to get me some coffee! I enjoy coffee and today I'm gonna have an Irish cream latte. The whirring of the steam wand in my milk is comforting. The smell of the pulled shots bring me back to a simpler time in my life. I finally get to sit down on the couch to drink my liquid comfort and the 3-year-old comes over to announce she's hungry. You see, she eats about three breakfasts a day because every single night, whether the food is something she actually likes or not, she refuses to eat her dinner and is probably starving every morning. I reach around to give her a hug and realize she's wet. Awe... Crap. She must've peed the bed. She's potty trained mind you, but sometimes she just cant make it until morning and decides to NOT share the fact that she wet the bed. 

Let the cleaning commence.  I send her upstairs to go stand in the bathtub while I find and clean everything she's sat on. Then I head upstairs to take her bed apart and throw it in the washing machine. I go and have a talk with her about telling Mommy when she's had an accident and I decide to not just rinse her but give her a full on bath since I can't remember when the last time she actually bathed was. Oops.

I throw a yogurt on the table for the newly bathed and dressed child and by the time we are done, the baby has had it and needs some attention. We hang for a bit, play on the floor and soon it's time for his nap. I get him to bed and I sit my butt on the couch just to realize my epic cup of coffee goodness is cold and nasty. So I nuke it and the count down timer in my head starts... An hour and 25 minutes, tops... I take a couple of sips and set my sights on getting the other two kids dressed and ready for the day. That's a twenty minute fight... 1 hour, 5 minutes... The 3-year-old wants her third. Breakfast. I brush everyone's teeth and jump on the treadmill for a quick run. I'm sweaty, I'm gross... 30 minutes left, just enough time for a shower... And he's awake. Crap! 

I bribe the older kids to play with and distract the baby with half empty promises of greatness so I can shower. I clean myself in less than 3 minutes, pack the kids some lunch, and we jump in the van and head to the library. We pick books, we check them out, and I need to run to the grocery store cuz we're out of milk... And yogurt, and probably a hundred other things I won't realize we are out of until I walk down the aisle and go, "oh yah, we need that." The kids eat their peanut butter and honey sammies in the van while I starve and by the time we get home it's time for nap number two for the smallest of the small fries. I get the baby to bed and for two seconds, the kids are playing nicely. I sit. That's it. I sit. And the longer I sit, the more inadequate I feel. 

I need to be productive.

I need to make something I can sell since I don't have a job and I need some source of income because we have four kids and raising four children doesn't pay in cash.

I need to come up with some awesome craft to do with my kids like all the moms on Pinterest do. 

I need to plan some child's birthday party with handmade invites and streamers made out of all of the old newspapers I've saved. Oh wait, I don't get the paper.

I need to document and blog about the latest wonderful thing one of my children did, like turning 3.

I need to go bake something delicious and gluten/sugar/dairy free because that's what good health conscious mothers do.

I need to go for a run because I'm not as thin as I could be and there is this mom down the road that is gorgeous and teensy. Why did I have to be the one with the slow metabolism and big bones!?

I need to create a handwritten treasure map and clues to the map and go bury treasure that I happened to have hand made in my free time the other day in some obscure place in order to entertain my kids because I was put here on this earth to entertain them.

And oh crap, I need to defrost some meat because I need to have it thawed for that dinner I pinned onPinterest  that I need to have on the table when my husband gets home at 5:30.

And I am overwhelmed. Completely overwhelmed.

And I realize something: I suck. I'm inadequate. I'm not a good enough mother. I'm not the best mother, far from it in fact. And so I sit. Then a child cries. And another one yells and I jump up out of the fog of self appointed patheticness and I run upstairs to break up the fight. And I go downstairs and I sit on Facebook and see all of the wonderful and amazing things all of my friends are doing. I see all of the pins on Pinterest I planned on doing or making and I decide to start a project, or sweep, or vacuum, and a child cries. And I repeat the process. Until the baby awakens and I realize I never finished anything. The floor is still filthy and only half of the dishes are put away and we didn't do a treasure hunt and why am I so dizzy? Oh yah, I didn't eat lunch. So I grab a handful of leftover raisins from the kids' lunch and I get the kids a snack. 

Some days we go hang out at the pool because I don't have the energy to do anything else. Or we will have dance parties or make forts or play games. But a lot of the time I just play referee. The husband gets home and most days I'm like, "welp... I didn't make dinner." And my husband, being the saint he is, will whip something up. Part of me just doesn't have the heart to make food for a bunch of people that just yell at me and tell me how much they hate it. I guess there's no joy in that. 

So after we spend the better part of the evening trying to convince four small people to put a nourishing substance in their mouths AND swallow it, we spend the last bit of daylight wrestling them into their beds. And we get slandered while we do it... Like the time my husband told our 3-year-old she can't sleep with the tape recorder and she yelled, "STOP BEING MEAN TO JESUS!" at him. This is the point in time I tell them, "Mommy is done. Do not come out of your room unless you are on fire or have to go potty." And yet they somehow make it down the stairs a few more times to get a book, or tell me there's a bug in their bed, or just because they wanted to tell me a random fact about a Pokemon character they know before they all finally pass out around 9:30pm. And at this point the very VERY last thing I want to do is well, anything... Especially write a blog post about the wonderful antics of my newly three-year-old daughter. But I do it. And why is that? Why do we feel this overwhelming desire, as mothers, to make all other mothers think we are the healthiest, craftiest, most put together one of them all? 

It's tiring, it's relentless, it's the farthest thing from glamorous, but it's the job. And we do it because we love them. And I know a lot of times people think I have it all together, which at times I do... But most times I don't. And that's okay. I'm sure I'm not the only one that has days when I'd rather sit, pantless on my couch, without makeup and my hair pointed sideways with food all over my floor, and everyone in their pajamas, than expend the effort it takes to leave the house. Or at least those people are better at hiding it than I am.

Friday, June 14, 2013

I miss.

Drive thru coffee stands
Dutch Bros
Kickers
Cash and Carry
Dry heat
My neighbors
Wine Wednesday
Laminate floors
Date night
My mom
My family
My church family
S@t6
Cartography
Fellowship
My friends
Thai
Fred Meyer
Mongolian Grill
A.T. Nails
Piercings
Coffee dates
The French Press
The beach
Pine trees
Mountains
Friday nights I had something better to do than this. 


Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Tazey Eli

Tatum is 5. That went by far too fast.

I still remember how desperately I wanted her, crying and praying, thinking that Spencer would end up being an only child. I was heartbroken... NOT that Spencer was my only child, but that he would never know how amazing it was to have a sibling. I am so very grateful to have grown up with 3 fantastic brothers and I wanted that for my child. Brothers, sisters, didn't matter. Someone to grow up with, rough house with, play with, laugh with, fight with... And I thought Spencer would never get that. It wasn't until I gave up trying that God blessed me with the sweetness that is Tatum.

It's almost as if Tatum herself is an embodiment of my struggle to have another child. I tried so hard to have another baby, just like I tried so hard to get Tatum to be mobile. But just like God was waiting for the right moment to grant me another child, she was waiting for her exact right moment. She moves at her own pace, a perfect pace for her. You can't force her to do anything, never have been able to. But if you're sweet and kind to her and always loving, she will return that kindness and love tenfold. God does the same, turns out.  He is continuously teaching me through Tatum. I am so grateful he gave me her. I suppose there were some lessons I needed to learn, and He continues to teach me every day.


She was by far, my easiest baby. That's why I always encourage mother's who are scared of transitioning from one baby to two, not to worry because that was the smoothest transition from baby to baby I've had. It might be Tatum's calmness, but I could set her down to go deal with her ruckus causing brother and come back to a completely content little girl. Almost too easy.

When Lucy was born, Tatum took to the older sibling role like an absolute professional. At 2 she would sit and hold her baby sister and soothe her to sleep. It was insane to me. Spencer, would just try and leave Tatum (when she was a new baby) where she was if she started to cry, (while he was holding her) and he was 5 months older when Tatum was born. But not Tatum, she would shoosh Lucy and give her a binky to calm her. It was the most amazing thing to watch such a little person have such patience.

At three, Tatum's personality really started to blossom. She loved everything pink and frilly and girly. Still does. Still "shy" but when you were blessed enough to experience the moments where she came out of her shell, it was like magic.

Then 4 hit and this adorably snarky little thing, with the quirkiest sense of humor emerged. I give credit to the little girl down the road that she would play with. She talked baby talk to Tatum, told her what to do, and would call Tatum shy. Tatum wouldn't stand for it. And I seem to recall a time or two when Tatum told her "You're not my boss, and I'm not shy. I just don't want to talk to you." I was probably more proud of her than I should've been. Since then, there's been no looking back. She is growing into a strong, independent "Little Mama." Or at least that's what we call her because every time her baby brother wakes up, she asks, "can I go take care of him?" 


She's growing up so fast. Literally, she's only a few inches shorter than Spencer. I have a feeling she's gonna pass him up in the next couple of years. 

I love you infinity Tatum and thank you for always cuddling with me when I ask and giving me my kisses and squishes. You are more than I could have ever imagined could be possible.





Wednesday, May 01, 2013

We are not in Oregon anymore...

I'm starting to notice a lot of things that are different here in Arkansas...

There is land. Land is everywhere. And yet there is not enough room to add a shoulder on the side of the road.

Everyone has wonderful manners, but not everyone is nice. Just because you use the phrase "yes ma'am" or say please and thank you, it doesn't make it nice if you say it rudely. Yes, I'm talking to you Ma'am at the front desk of the doctors office yesterday.

There's a whole lot of talk going on down here and very little action. We've received many offers for "help" but no one has actually gone so far as to even come introduce themselves to their new neighbors. Whereas in Oregon, people don't offer, they just help. I miss that.

Women my age wear workout attire when they go shopping. It's odd to me. They all wear makeup and have their hair done all pretty but have clothes on like they just went to the gym or are going to go. But I find it hard to believe that every housewife is just headed to the gym every where I go because its obvious no one just left it.

No one honks. Ever. Even when we watched a man drive his delivery truck straight into a guy's pickup truck and crush his front end. Everyone just sort of watched and smiled.

The weather is bipolar. In Oregon it can snow, rain, hail and have sun all in one day. Here it goes from rainy and cold one day to 85 degrees the next to near snow the day after.

The lack of environmental concern kills me. There is no where to recycle glass, there is no bin for grass clippings, and there are styrofoam cups everywhere. The Oregonian in me cries a little each time I drink my tasty, always cold, beverage from my styrofoam cup.

And every neighborhood is secluded. There is a fence that encloses every named neighborhood with only one or two entrances. So when you're near residential, it's just fence every where as you drive.

Oh and I almost forgot the cows. If there isn't fence, then there's cows. Cows are everywhere. But not smelly, muddy cows like in Oregon. They are the kind you see in books... Eating grass in a huge pasture and just hanging out.

It really is beautiful here. Aside from the lack of mountain scenery, the land is just breathtaking.






Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Quiet

The kids are all still sleeping after their 15 hour day of traveling. Tony's in the shower and I'm fully dressed and ready to rock sitting on the only comfortable thing in the house... The stairs. When I awoke this morning at 9am, 7am Oregon time, it was quiet and all I could feel was the pain of my pounding headache. After I stumbled down the stairs and took a bite of one of the last granola bars from our trek across the country, I started to peer out the blinds through the windows. I realize I probably looked uber creepy to any passers by but I didn't care. I felt like a zoo animal taking in its new environment for the first time after being caught from the wild. Cautious... So this is Arkansas...

Flat, not a lot of trees and quiet.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Traveling with Tots

Well I'm sitting here on the "hair plane," as Lucy calls it, and I'm realizing in my attempt to keep the kids entertained on our flight, I completely spaced bringing anything to keep me from getting bored. Lu & Tate are watching "Wreck it Ralph" on my laptop, Spencer is playing his DS, and Declan is asleep on my lap. So here I am, alone with my thoughts.

I now realize why we have never gone on vacation with all 6 of us. It took us forever to check 3 bags, bag and check 4 carseats and then get to security. Fortunately, since we are a large brood, we were able to bypass standing in the security line and head to the front. But oh my goodness... That was fun. We had 3 backpacks, a purse, a computer bag, a carryon, a ginormous stroller, and a 2 year old who refused to relinquish her sippy to the X-ray machine.

After taking the ten minutes it took to get everyone put back together, we headed towards our gate. I needed my venti iced caramel macchiato and made a beeline for Starbucks with my gift cards my fabulous friends bestowed upon me. The wait was a little long and I had to hustle it back to our gate as we were starting to board.

It's been a pretty uneventful trip thusfar but then again, this is only the first leg of the trip. After having to get the engines jumped on the Tarmac before taking off, we were delayed a bit. Praying we still make our connecting flight in Chicago. I would really rather not have to run through the airport with 4 small children.

Still hasn't completely set in that this is a one way flight. Lucy asked to go home again. Hurts a little less each time. I told her we were going to our new home to which she replied, "I want a gator house." She cracks me up.










Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Big Ugly



You ever get that feeling that you really need to cry but you're afraid that if you fully give into the cry that you'll never stop? Don't get me wrong, I've cried... A lot this last week. But every time that huge lump wells up in my throat I stop myself. I know this is supposed to be an adventure that we are on but the adventure part seems to escape me at the moment.

All I can think about is : The Stress... Getting 4 kids up and ready at 6:45am, getting all of them through security at the airport, making sure no one goes number 1 or 2 in their undies on the plane, feeding them, making our connecting flight, etc. I've only ever flown 4 times, which brings me to...

The Unknown: I've never even been to Arkansas. What if I hate it? What if I'm miserable? What if our stuff doesn't fit in our house? Even worse, what if my kids don't make friends? Tatum's birthday is in 2 weeks and it will be her first without family or friends to help celebrate. I'm afraid that she will be sad and it breaks my heart.

Leaving our Friends and Family: I can't even start to go there. I started to think about it last night and was overwhelmed with emotion. I'm angry. But I don't know where to focus that anger. I'm hurt and broken. I know that I shouldn't feel this way in my head, that I'm being illogical and that I'll make new friends, but I don't want to listen to my head. My heart says I've reached my quota. I'm 30 and I have the most amazing friends and I shouldn't have to start over, and yet here I am.

I like to think I'm a very organized person. I'm also a planner. I like to know how things are going to go, so I work out the details beforehand. But my belongings are caught in a snow storm somewhere between here and Arkansas and my van won't get to our destination until we've been there a week. So here I sit, squatting at my parents house while my world is turned upside down.

"God is in control... God is in control..." I have this on repeat in my head as I rock back and forth in the fetal position...

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Help I Need Somebody.

Really feeling the love today... Too many friends and family members helping out to name, but their actions are more than greatly appreciated. From feeding us, to lending us stuff to sleep on, giving us rides, a home to hang out in and care packages for our kids... It is going to be excruciating to say goodbye.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Adventure time.

It's our last night in our home before we take off on our new adventure (or at least that's what everyone seems to be calling it). We've only been in this house for three years and yet it seems like we've been calling it our home for much longer than that. Laying here on the blowup mattress our friends & family so graciously lent us, it's hard not to think about all of the lives who've touched us in these three short years. Friendships were made that are irreplaceable. I keep replaying the "make new friends but keep the old, one is silver and the other's gold" song from my Brownie days over and over in my head. These friendships are gold and no matter where we lay our heads at night, whether it be in Oregon or Arkansas... They will be lifelong.

I truly haven't had a chance to fully feel what is about to happen to our family, as I've been busy trying to one, keep our house spotless while my husband is bacheloring it up without us so we can sell it, and now, trying to keep calm as my entire home is packed into a semi truck. I'm playing the part of excited mother so my kids will enjoy their last moments with friends and family.

Looking around at the house we bought and made our own, I'm somewhat relieved that it didn't sell. We have found wonderful people to rent our home to while we are away and I feel God has put a sense of peace in my heart knowing that some day, when we want to return to Oregon, we will have a home to come back to... As well as friends with open arms.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Tooth Fairy

I'm having a moment. I'm really hoping I'm not alone when I share my feelings, because quite frankly, I'm feeling a little insane. My 7 year old, Spencer, has had his very first loose tooth for a couple weeks now. And it wasn't until he walked down the stairs a few moments ago, to show me his teeny tooth hanging on by a thread, that this overwhelming feeling of complete sadness washed over me.

You see, it was that little tooth that kept me up for many a sleepless night, caused my baby so much pain, and took nearly five months to break through. And when it did finally make its way into the light, it mysteriously went back down and came back through a handful of times before taking permanent residency in my first born child's mouth, forever robbing him of that sweet, toothless grin that stole my heart over seven years ago.

When he does finally lose it, I fear that I might as well. I feel this overwhelming need to keep it forever to remind me of that babyhood with my firstborn that I'll never be able to have again. It will remind me of the journey the two if us took together and how lost I was that first year, attempting so desperately to gain footing on what it meant to be a mother.

I know it's just another step towards Spencer growing up but it's all so heart wrenching. If only I could go back and replay it all I wouldn't feel like I am slowly forgetting what his chubby face looked like as a tot. The more I look at him, the more I see the man he's growing up to be and although I am so proud of who he is becoming, I fear that I am becoming less to him.

And there it is... the sadness.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Limbo...

I'm having a hard time being articulate today. I just deleted an entire post because I felt like I came across as a bit of an idiot. Life is crazy. Scratch that, life FEELS crazy sometimes. Right now it definitely does. But in all honesty, not much is going on. Does that even make sense? Here I am, in my pajamas, sipping on my luke warm coffee while my husband is at work, one child is at school, one is napping and 2 more are playing "nicely" upstairs. Not much going on so it would seem... But in my head, I can't turn off the crazy.

Even when I'm not actively thinking about all the things that could happen to our family in the next, I don't know, month, it's going on in my head without me and it's making my skin crawl. 

I think I might be a control freak.

Which is completely ridiculous because I KNOW I don't have control. 

God is the ultimate captain on this ship called Carrie, sailing through the waters of life. 

*Sidenote: That was an awesome analogy and ALMOST made me feel like I am still smart and that having 4 kids hasn't sucked every last bit of intellect from me.

Something big might be happening to our family. Not bad, just different (no, we are not having any more babies). I can see it on the horizon and I'm torn between terrified and ecstatic. I've battled the pros and cons and the only thing that I've come to realize is that either way, God has control and whichever way the wind blows us, he will protect and care for our family. Now if only I could get my body and my brain to settle down and let my heart remind me of this every minute of every day. That's the control freak in my taking over. I feel like I'm one step away from going complete OCD on everyone.

Who am I kidding? I have 4 kids. The control freak doesn't stand a chance. And therein lies the constant battle between letting go, and letting God and trying to make plans. I am also a planner, you see. And when I don't have control of situations to even know what's going on, I can't PLAN for them. So here I am, my brain is planning through all the what-ifs, but there's nothing actually happening. Insane, right?

This entire post is mostly for myself, if you haven't noticed. Because I'm pretty sure it makes little sense to you... Perhaps the next post in the weeks to come will offer some clarity to both you and I. :)