In This House We Call a Home

It's quickly setting in that our house won't actually be ours for much longer.

We're under contract (praise Jesus!!!) and scheduled to move mid-May.  Andrew and I had a whirlwind weekend with both of us working and juggling getting the kids to birthday parties, but he did manage to start boxing up a few things here and there.  Seeing bare walls in a few rooms and shelves starting to empty makes it REAL.  

I've already had several moments where I've gotten lost in nostalgia over these walls that have seen a LOT of life over the past eight years.

While we were in the chaos of showing our house and things were taking longer than this impatient lady could handle, I started getting defensive of this sweet house.
You know, she wasn't even my first choice. Of course Andrew remembers it differently, but it wasn't love at first sight for me. We knew we wanted to be in this neighborhood, and we wanted a ranch with a basement, so when this little gem popped up after looking for several months it was the right choice for us. There were lots of things that I didn't love about it, but Andrew was sure about this red brick house, and I knew we could make it more of what we wanted.

No, this place wasn't my dream house,
but she has been the place where dreams have taken life.

There's a big adventure ahead for us
once we get past the work of moving where more life will happen.
Good, good life.

Until then, we're going to jump on the bed first thing in the morning where the light streaks in from the east. More fire pit nights, more laps around the neighborhood just as it's coming to life with spring in parade fashion because two bikes, plus a stroller, and a dog totally justifies parade status, and more good, good life will happen.
Hard things too, sad things too, real life things too (like Nelle's dried ketchup on her belly in these pictures from the previous night's dinner...what can I say,
my children are ragamuffins.)

But good life, in the sun, in this house we call home.

1,803,041 Messes and 1,803,042 Cleaning Frenzies

We're buying a new (old) house!!!

Whooooooop!
But first we have to sell ours, and I just know we will. Positive thinking, plus this feels like God working on all of this for us because it just feels like things are happening exactly when they're supposed to for us.

We listed last Monday and had our ninth showing this afternoon.

That means I've cleaned my house probably 1,803,042 times,
and the kids have made 1,803,041 messes.

It feels like we're living pretty day-to-day right now as showing requests have popped up anywhere from days in advance to an hour in advance. 
And overall I'd say it's going well.

Except for those too many times I've totally lost my temper on each of the kids because they just don't understand as I'm frantically trying to make alllll the beds why I don't want them climbing on alllll the beds.  Or why I've cleaned the glass doors to the backyard over and over and over again because #fingerprintsanddogbreath.

Have you ever seen this video?

This is pretty much me the thirty minutes before we have to leave for a showing.
Running frantically from room to room, fluffing pillows and eliminating all signs of actual life in our house while herding butterflies, I mean my kids, to the bathroom, into their clothes AGAIN because why can't anyone keep their clothes on?!?!, changing June's poopy diaper and wondering if our whole house is going to smell like poop because she always has to poop right before we leave, and then ushering them out the door and into the garage when Nelle goes into full on sloth mode while climbing up into the Suburban and takes FOR-EV-ER to buckle herself in.

No, really, it's going well.

Wink!
So, last Friday when the kids didn't have school, we stayed at our house for the morning and made more messes than as of late and jumped on the bed.  And I took these pictures to remind myself that even though it feels like all work (cleaning) lately
and no play, there is play.

These little tornadoes are kind of the best at that.



do do do < stop stop stop

This feels like the year to make room for less.
An intentional mental shift from do, do, do to stop, stop, stop.  Slow down and be.
Less work, less commitments, less stuff so we can do more of this -

I had the best, quiet, slow morning with June last Friday while the bigs were at school.  We were supposed to be packing and tidying up before we all went out of town for the night, but instead of making the bed like I had intended when I walked into our bedroom, June crawled up onto it instead and hid (really well, I might add) which is THE favorite thing to do right now.

She giggled SO hard and was so proud of herself, and we totally got lost in this moment.  I was feeling a little guilty later, my mind moving through the to-do list that I didn't do, and I remembered a post I read a while back that quickly helped me banish any of those ridiculous thoughts circling around the theme that I "didn't get anything done" and just being mom wasn't enough.

Well, this is what I got done on Friday morning.

And being mama is always enough.

 It really is that simple! Retraining myself to go their first instead of the opposite,
and enjoying it oh so very much so far.

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.