Saying Yes

From one of those days I said yes.
(And also from one of those days we didn't get Nelle's hair brushed 
and didn't wipe her face after snack...
but that's most days.)
I feel like my initial reaction to the kids is so often no, and my goal for the year is to be this softer place for them when the rest of the world is so hard. So saying no isn't always what I want to come out of my mouth, but spills out before yes. 
(Although clearly often times necessary because all of us here are on the same page 
that parenthood is a lot of having to say no -
because safety and boundaries and such.)
I'm always hesitant to answer when people ask me how I'm feeling during pregnancy, because overall I feel good. I had that terrible spell of migraines for a couple of weeks, and my lower back has been hurting for several weeks now because this is my fourth baby and he/she is LOW plus positioned down and towards the back. But, I don't have the typical debilitating symptoms so many women suffer with - nausea, heartburn, etc.

But dang I am tired.
This is my fourth baby in six years, and my body is tired. 

And there is no break.

I literally told Andrew a couple of days ago that I feel like the kids are suffocating me lately. We've had tons of time off from kindergarten, preschool and Kids' Day out between spring break and Easter, the weather has been gloomy and I let it put me in a funk, we don't have family in town that can offer some relief on a more consistent manner, both girls have been skipping naps on most days which leads to a lot of whining and fighting and crying, and no one wants to just sit on the couch with me in silence. It's the weirdest thing.
So, by the end of the afternoon after we've picked Henry up from school I find myself trying to recede into the background, and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't, but either way doesn't feel like a win because darn that mom guilt that creeps in when I hear the kids playing together, and I think I should be on the floor with them spending a bit of uninterrupted play before we launch into the end of day dinner/bath/bedtime hustle. And every time I do it's good, and I'm glad I made the effort. But even so, sometimes no happens first.

So on this day I said yes to jumping on the bed and hiding under the sheets instead of saying no and just making the bed for the day (yes, at 4pm), and it was good, and I was glad I made the effort. 

Nelle keeps asking to do it again so remind me next time she does to say yes.

Also if you could tell my kids to take naps and sit on the couch with me 
and use inside voices that'd be cool too.


Let's talk about this baby!

Because this little one is 20 weeks and some odd change (confirmed at this week's sono, thank goodness because I can't keep track), and because before we know it, #moorenumberfour will be here, officially due July 29.
 We are all just so excited to have another baby in the house! Four has always been my number, and Andrew is easily convinced. He tends to be more practical about things, like "how are we going to pay for four kids to go to college?", whereas I'm like I don't know, but we'll figure it out?! Or I joke that one kid won't go, one will get a scholarship for something so then it's really only necessary for us to pay for two kids to go to college. But in case they all do four go...anyone have an even million lying around? Ha. That's only the amount it's projected to cost when they're college-aged.
Like our other three kiddos, we're not finding out what we're having until baby arrives. I have no inklings on whether this baby is a boy or girl, but everyone else is saying girl around here. And Andrew is 3/3, so I might stock up on a bit of extra pink. We took the kids to go see the new Peter Rabbit movie last weekend, and I did totally project my own children into the lives of Peter, Flopsy, Mopsy and Cottontail (minus the no parents thing), and think that another girl would fit in just fine with our crew. Also, because Henry and Peter seem to have some very similar qualities. Mainly in the sense that Ham does whatever you tell him not to. He has asked for a brother (Henry, not Peter) since June was in my tummy so he very quickly said he wanted this one to be a boy when we told the kids we were expecting, but he's changed his tune and now says he wants another sister. I think Andrew is trying to prep him for being the only boy, but still, it's very sweet. He's super into the baby and rubs my belly all the time, and wants to give the baby a kiss every night before bed.
I'm sure we'll blink and it will be mid summer and I'll start panicking about how we're going to manage four kids, and then someone just remind me about 1st grade, and both girls going to preschool shortly after baby is born, and I'll panic a bit less...until I think about getting them all dressed, fed, and in the car in time to get to school, and then I'll just go hide in my closet because that hustle is the WORST right now, so what's adding a newborn to it?! Like I literally just told Andrew earlier this week that 7:30-8am is the absolutely worst/hardest part of my day right now. 
Getting to see this fourth baby this week was such a highlight. Four times we've gotten to do this, and four times everything has looked healthy, and we just feel so so fortunate. I just wanted to soak it all in, staring at that screen, looking at this little person that's both there and here. 

Little one we can't wait to meet you!


One week from Christmas Day! 

Which means we've been doing the Christmas things for about three and a half weeks now, and again this year I feel like the traditions are a bit fluid. I mean, we always wait until after Thanksgiving to put up the tree, but this year on the Sunday after turkey day I let the kids handle the bulk of hanging the ornaments and ribbon. Mainly because I couldn't keep up with them. They swarm. And grab. And I can hardly say, "gentlllllllle!" before they're back for another one. And also because they were so obsessed with doing it all. 

Henry exclaimed, "You're a lot nicer this year letting us decorate the tree!"


He was full of cheer while we were decorating and had lots of good Henry-isms in regards to what a good mom I was like asking, "did you and Daddy get married because you knew how good each other would be at being our parents?". I mean whaaaa? 
Kind of, but so profound. 
And also, piiiiile it on, Ham.

I decided to let the good times roll this holiday season because check out his outfit in our annual Santa photo this year. Too-small boots he refuses to give up and shoves his feet in, sweat pants, red thermal long sleeve tee and red cardigan sweater. 
It's tucked in. 
Also he likes to part his hair in the middle.

Andrew and I were dying when we saw this outfit, and here I go again laughing out loud because it's so ridiculous next to those sweet girls in their best Christmas plaid, but that's kind of what makes it awesome.

We have yet to make any Christmas cookies yet, and our stockings have been hung with care for approximately two weeks until Andrew took them down again to cut more limestone rock in our den. Because living through renovations.

We have lights on half of the front of our house because SURPRISE! our new house has more roof line than the old, and we cannot seem to find the same C9 big bulb white lights to save our life so we have yet to turn on our half-lit house. 

A tradition we have followed this year - I LOST MY RINGS AGAIN. 

They have since been found, but it was reminiscent of last year when I turned the house upside down for days, this year I had clients scouring their land for my band, and having a perma-sick feeling in my stomach until the missing band turned up at the bottom of one of the ornament tubs under a pile of discarded tissue paper. I hadn't even noticed it fell off while we raced to decorate the tree with as many ornament clusters as possible multiple days earlier.

All this to say, every year I have these ideas of how our Christmas prep is going to go, and every year I'm like, huh. It's a lot of normal, every day life with a bit of extra thrown in here and there. Is that so bad? The kids are off in a couple of days for Christmas break, and I'm sure we'll throw in some extra baking and Christmas movies then. And I'll try really hard for Henry to ditch the sweats in exchange for some plaid of his own for Christmas Eve mass. But friends and I were talking a couple of weeks ago about how we remember our own mothers making our own childhoods so good and magical and special. So many crafts, so many goodies, so many thoughtful gestures that we remember to this day. 

And perhaps they did. Or maybe childhood is magical on its own because you remember the good over the bad.

I think that needs to be my new holiday tradition. Laughing about the things that drive me crazy and celebrating the good, through the normal every day life.

Merry Christmas early, friends!

The Twitch

I haven't been shooting as much at home as I did before we moved. Probably for more than one reason, but the one that comes to mind most is that I'm not in our space yet. We're here, we've been moved in for five months now. We're unpacked...except for those last few boxes in the basement that are a hodge podge of things we haven't needed yet and could potentially have gotten rid of before we moved. 

And yes, the space is technically ours. But we haven't made it ours yet. Just within the last couple of weeks have we started shuffling around furniture, mainly beds in the kids' rooms to their "official" spots so I could start hanging frames on the walls. Hooray! Pretty things coming up and out of the basement to see and enjoy again.

We're about to dig into the main living space and I've got inspiration coming out of my ears, but then I look at reality around me and there's so. much. to. do.

So when the kids were playing outside as we typically do once we get back from the bike ride home from school, and the light was dancing around juuuuust right, 
I finally got that twitch back. 

It didn't hurt that everyone was actually for once in a million moons getting along, 
and that is not an exaggeration.

And, as I keep reminding myself, by the time we get this house just right, 
I'll probably want to re-do it again, 
and no one will be around for me to make pictures of except for Andrew. 
He's just not as cute sitting on the swing.

Here's to doing what we love. 


So Long Summer

It's decidedly cooler today, the first day after Labor Day - the send-off to summer. It's a welcome change hearing the breeze slightly blow through the backdoor, and summer 2017 was difficult to say the least, but even so, there's something about that season that has always had my heart, that makes me sad to see it officially go once more.
The heat, the water, the long days, the summer nights, t-ballers in jerseys and hats to big, beer on the back patio, the smell of sunscreen, the break from schedules, the chance to get lost in adventure and make-believe and pretend, morning walks, afternoons at the pool.

Popsicles for snacks, ice cream for dessert, the grill hot almost every night. Camps and family vacation, sleepovers at grandparents', and movies in the backyard. 
Both so much childhood innocence and growth exists in those delicious, swift months sandwiched between the end of one chapter and the beginning of another.
I was beyond ready for routine and structure and ALL-DAY KINDERGARTEN to begin a couple of weeks ago, and you couldn't pay me to go back 
and relive the summer of 2017. 

But even so...the nostalgia for this season remains.  

There's something about the freedom of summer that can't be matched.

So long summer. You were hard and had the soundtrack of ear-piercing shrieks and sobs, but even so, I'll look back on you and think, but we had some good times too. And since we can't (and won't) go back, I'll take those with me.

The School Lunch Menu

I cried looking at the August lunch calendar on Wednesday.
(How's that for equal parts of honesty and embarrassment?  Andrew may have weighted embarrassment a little heavier when I told him that night. 
Always keeping me humble, that one.)

Henry is starting kindergarten in less than three weeks, and as much as I have loooooooonged for this day at many, many times over the last several years, it's hitting me harder than I thought it would.  It feels like he's leaving for college tomorrow (Manhattan clearly, where else would he go?), not starting kindergarten.

He's ready (for kindergarten, that is),
and I know it's the right place and right time for him.

And while some of you have been having the #bestsummerever, we've been over here literally #survivingsummer or #tryingtomakeittobedtime or just even trying to #hideinmybathroomandtakedeepbreaths ALONE which never happens because my kids have a radar for when I try to potty in solitude. 
(Also helpful in the humility department.)

 How is my first baby old enough to be eating school lunch in a lunch room with school friends instead of at my kitchen table having peanut butter and jellies
for the 1,000th time?

It's the start.
The beginning of the school years where he spends more of his waking hours away than at home.  And while this tired mama is like, oh my gosh, yasssssss, a break!!, this tired mama is also mourning the end of these first years when we could stay in our jammies until 10am if we wanted to and naptime dictated our schedule and Daniel Tiger provided many life lessons, and I didn't have to think about bullies or homework and now I'm ordering kindergarten uniform pants and filling out final registration paperwork and praying that he's both brave and kind to others and others to him, and wondering have we loved him hard enough, and does he know that, and will he be lonely or scared, and will he make friends, and, and, and, AND.

This is what they're supposed to do...grow up?  Can we find a happy medium where I don't have to play referee and both cruise entertainment director every waking moment of every day, but where he stays sweet and innocent and giggles and build forts in every room of the house even though it drives me crazy?  

To finding ways to enjoy our last bit of summer (and also survive), and to giving them both roots and wings, and to maybe scheduling some lunchroom visits. 
Because the school menu looks way better than mine.