I'll Give You One Guess

The kids and I went to Costco after preschool pickup this morning. I needed to restock on snacks and a few other essentials after a pantry/fridge/freezer clean out as we're trying to avoid artificial food dyes, flavors, and necessary chemicals in our food in hopes of gaining some better behavioral benefits. Plus we just shouldn't be putting that junk in our bodies anyways.

SO.

Costco was great; the kids were semi-patient as I was reading food labels, they got a few samples to hold them over since it was close to lunch time, I found my debit card in a random pocket in my purse after thinking I had lost it in the last couple of days, and there was minimal requesting needed on my part for the big kids to get in their seats and buckle up as I moved everything into the back of the Suburban from the cart.

We even had significantly less bickering and teasing in the car on the drive home since moving Nelle back up to the middle row and leaving Henry back in the third row.  

I got everything put away in the kitchen once we were home around 12:15pm and started some mac and cheese while the kids watched a quick show,
and then we sat down to eat.

I kept thinking I could smell gas or something burning. I went back to the stove to check to make sure I had turned off the burner and that nothing was close enough to it to catch on fire. I thought maybe something that wasn't dishwasher safe accidentally was loaded in and got too hot as I had just run it. That surely had to be it. 

I convinced myself that was actually it, and I couldn't really smell it anymore, and got the kids into rooms, beds, naps. I wasted too much time on the couch checking my phone (bad habit lately), and a bit after 2pm got up to go grab something out of the garage and sure enough heard the gas line running into our fireplace.

OMGggggggggg.  

Sure enough, the key to turn on our gas-start fireplace was cranked on. Which is interesting because we don't leave the key in it, and which means a certain someone grabbed it from it's hiding spot behind a frame on the mantle, climbed down from the fireplace, put it into the switch and turned it on two hours prior.

TWO HOURS.

I'm not kidding when some days feel like literal survival.
I texted Andrew to give him the run down and after my backdoor and garage door are open letting a nice crisp 50 degree fresh air chill into the house (but more importantly letting all the gas OUT), he texts back and asks which kid did it.
I'll give you one guess.
Surviving till the weekend over here, guys. SURVIVING.
Happy Friday to you and you and you!

--

ps, your kind words and support and encouragment after last week's post were sooo amazing to hear and feel.  thank you!!

pps, this photo is from Christmas morning. thanks for pretending not to notice. ;)

PS. Henry, don't say asshole.

Happy Friday! Let's have a #truthtalk.

I'm feeling brave because I survived the grocery store on the day before an ice storm, at lunch time, with ALL THREE OF MY OFFSPRING, and I think the only casualty was losing the soup recipe I took along to make sure I didn't forget any ingredients for it
...and maybe a little bit of dignity.

JK.  That goes out the window the second one becomes a mother!!

JK again.
It actually wasn't a terrible errand.  

The three minute ride, on the other hand, was.  

And so is most of our time in the car these days because Ham uses everyone being strapped in moving down the road together in a box as a chance to verbally terrorize Nelle until she's yelling at the top of her lungs, STOP IT STOP IT STOP IT STOP IT, and June has a front row seat to it all often times trying to repeat everything the big kids are, and I'm trying to drive, diffuse the situation, and not lose my shizzzz again. 
And again and again and again.

This week wasn't my best. 

There were so many times by 3pm (or 8am, but who's keeping track) I was totally D-O-N-E, most of which I'm attributing to the fact that June doesn't nap anymore in the mornings and Henry doesn't nap anymore at all so there is never a time where I can be alone and be QUIET.  The constant barrage of requests, and crying, and chatter and noise is deafening at times and wearing on me.

I feel like I totally let Henry down when we got caught in the weather change on Wednesday and instead of parading through the neighborhood with stroller, dog, bike and scooter in the 60 degree weather we enjoyed at the zoo earlier that day, we were in temps with wind that felt closer to 25.  Without gloves, hats, and winter coats.  His shoe lace came untied, when we were about 2 blocks away from our house, and instead of stopping to tie it as he was in tears from the cold, I just told him to pedal home faster because the faster he rode, the faster we could get home and get warm.  So he tried, and his shoelace wrapped around the pedal, and he fell, and I wasn't a safe, warm place for him I wish I would have been.  Instead, I just pulled his foot out of the trapped shoe and told him to run home with the girls in the stroller and I, and I went back for the bike and the shoe (and Nelle's scooter than had fallen off of the stroller because girlfriend was tired about two blocks into our walk) after everyone was home and under some blankets.  I had the worst guilt about it that night and even the next day, feeling like I totally let him down, wishing I could have a do-over for that moment.  

Which is kind of how I feel a lot of times because it seems like no matter what we try, something isn't clicking, and we're not doing this parenting thing right, and we're constantly disciplining for things that we talk through and try to teach from over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again.

--

There's a piece from the forward by Joan Blades in the book Momma Love that my parents got for me for Christmas this year (woohoo!  I'd asked Andrew for it for three years in a row for Mother's Day so I gave up asking him and went elsewhere, ha. He will defend himself as he did get me other things those three years, I'm just pointing out the facts. I digress.) that I've been keeping close to my heart these past couple of weeks.  

She's sharing how mothers, after opening up in candid interviews and photographs, that aim to paint a realistic portrait of motherhood, purposefully not only illustrating the motherhood-is-ALWAYS-bliss mentality, would approach and express guilt, "concerned that in the process of revealing her ambivalence, struggles or conflicts regarding motherhood she hadn't made it clear how much she adored her children. All I could tell her was what I believe, in no uncertain terms: that admitting to the complexity of the situation doesn't negate the love.  On the contrary, if you're committed to someone in spite of the inherent difficulties,  
it might just be evidence of a more powerful kind of love."
 
That's so true. I love him so much it hurts, and Dad, you're right...I can't give up.

So Henry, if you're bored one day when you're older and allowed to browse the Internet alone and are so desperate for entertainment (because parental controls FTW), and stumble upon your mom's blog (lame), then hear this (in my best Diane Keaton from the dinner table scene in The Family Stone)...

I love you. 
And you are far more normal than any other asshole at this table.

- Meaning - 
God doesn't make mistakes. You are exactly who you are supposed to be.
And He thought I should and could be your mother.

It's definitely a powerful kind of love.

 PS. Henry, don't say asshole.

Five Days Late Resolutions

It's the 5th day of January, and I'm still mulling over resolutions for the new year, or goals, or whatever it is you call the ideas that make your heart feel fuller and pitter patter a bit harder. 

There are a lot of things I'd like to get better at.  Getting to the gym more and cooking more to name a few.  (Although the first may have to happen if I follow through with the latter.)  Budgeting, whomp whomp.  Saying no.  Spending more time with friends.  Travel.  Not only notice beauty in the mundane and ordinary, but revel in it.

But one thing that has been stirring inside of me for a while is the idea of documenting more, which probably seems ludicrous because I document for a living.

But hear me out.

I make looooads of images of my kids each month that end up on my external hardrives, some that no one else sees but me, not even Andrew.  And they sustain me.  They make my heart pitter patter and speak a 1,000 words to me.  The stories behind each one, the stage of life we're in, the funny things the kids are saying and doing and what makes them so them right now. 

Things like when Nelle says, "I'm getting too tired, can you carrrrwy me?"
after we've been at the zoo for five minutes.

Or when she says at bedtime, "I need somebody to cuddle me all day!!" because girlfriend has always been the snuggler.

And how we're clearly in the dress myself stage based on the pink, pink, pink she picks.

How Henry can push me to the brink every single darn day, but then do things like want to walk his baby sister and be so proud when he does it.

I don't document just for me, but for the next generation too.  I want my kids to have their own stories when they see our photos.  Like when Henry saw these photos and said after looking at Junie's picture, "babies are the sweetest in the whole world."

He's always loved the babies, that one.

So here's to 2017 and more traditional feel better/do better resolutions, but also to documenting for me and my kids...at least one blog post each week, printed photos and chatbooks.  Plus I've really got to make Nelle a baby book since she's three now. 

And while I'm at it, I maybe should do June's too.

Cheers to making memories, documenting memories
and holding memories in your hands.

Snoooooow and the Start to a Holly Jolly Christmas Break

I wore leggings as pants today and didn't get up until the kids did this morning, and even then I felt like they were dragging me out of bed plus I didn't have to get the four of us dressed until we ran errands late this morning AND I drank my coffee out of a legit mug - while it was HOT - and not out of a travel mug in the car.

All of which means...we're on CHRISTMAS BREAK! 

I have just felt SO much holiday spirit since I finished up editing the remaining sessions in my queue on Saturday morning.  I feel like I don't have to have my to-do list running in the back of my head at all waking hours! 
Plus our cozy snowed in weekend didn't hurt.  

We didn't have snow last year at all so I'm not sure if the kids would have been as into it as then as they are now.  But this year.  This year, they are in love with it.

Henry rarely naps anymore so after quiet time on Saturday he and I went out just as the first of it was falling.  He just wanted to do alllll the snow things!  Snowballs, snowmen, catch it, eat it, make snow angels, go sledding!  It actually made me think Andrew and I may have to learn to ski so we can take him at some point,
because I think he'd be obsessed.

We all went back out together after the girls got up and tried to make the most out of the event that is getting three children ready to be out in the snow.

I took the kiddos sledding solo on Sunday after Andrew unexpectedly had to go into work and they reported to him afterwards that it was so fun! We found the slightest bit of an incline at our neighborhood pool parking lot entrance where I gave them a shove, and they slid on down about halfway through the parking lot which was great until the bigs started bickering (per usual) about who got to bring the sled
back up to me to do it all over again.

We went back the next day where they learned that Andrew is really the one you want shoving you down a (small) hill because if he's going to do it, he's going to do it with his all whereas probablyyyyy not going to happen with me.
 Junie's tongue!  Ahhhhh!


We've got a bit more jolly to squeeze into the season before Christmas Day.  Goodies to bake for our neighbors, a few more gifts to wrap, more Christmas movies to watch.

Today Henry came out of his room after quiet time/nap time for the girls and told me he got me a gift. Which he's been to known to do as we've currently got one of his favorite cars wrapped up and postmarked to his cousin with a Christmas letter dictated by him that says something along the line of "It sure is great when it snows! May your heart be filled with the joy of the season."

I kid you not.

So imagine how I felt when he told me my gift was a bird with poop in it.
 
It's the thought that counts.