Saturday, June 11, 2016

Hello...It's me.

Now finish the Adele lyrics.  I'll wait.

It's funny how little things turn into big things.  I never got around to writing Fischer's 1-year old birthday letter.  That was the corner I turned it. Somehow, after that I couldn't seem to find it in me to get back to updating the blog because of the whole... "what kind of mom skips her baby's first birthday and never goes back and adds it?!" sort of thing + a long, lingering bout of postpartum depression turned regular ol' depression...and then, overnight, it seemed, there was no more blog.  But, you throw a new baby into the mix and now I just can't help but think that I need to start blogging again.  Maybe it's my need to throw my voice into the universe again.  Maybe I just think it'd be a crying shame for Baby T to want to hear about her birth and I don't have it recorded anywhere.  Maybe it's just time.  Regardless, I'm here again, calling out to a big empty online universe and asking if anybody is listening.

I wish I could squish the last two years into a single blog post.  I might throw some #tbt posts on here to catch-up on the big events.  Births/Baptisms/Birthdays...and all the other important Bs in life.  Or I might not.  If there's anything I've learned in the last two years it's that I've got to let go of the mama guilt, the should-have-dones.  Y'all, it'll eat you alive if you let it. Every night I just pray that tomorrow I can be a better mom than I was that day.  And then I try to let it go.

Here I am, half a dozen kids into this whole mothering thing.  I feel like a veteran and also such a novice, all at the same time.  I was recently featured on this blog, discussing my feeling about Motherhood.  With a capitol M. 90% of the other featured mamas only have a single child or a couple of really young ones.  So, I felt a tiny bit out of place when I was doing it.  But also, while I've read the other posts over the weeks, I feel so...battle worn.  It's odd.  I look at their bright, happy faces and read their optimistic, yet tired words and I want to give them all a hug, tell them to hang in there, not just for today but also for all the tomorrows.  They don't know yet how hard the years will be be.  Or how beautiful.  Or how gut-wrenching. But also amazing.  And also so, so fast.  But also so, so loooong. Mess AND Magic, as my favorite blogger, Beth Woolsey says. The insane thing is, even while I'm reading these things and thinking these thoughts, I know there are other veteran mamas out there who have been in the trenches for a lot longer than me know are thinking the same things about me.  I have years behind me but also so, so many years ahead.  Long, exhausting, and awe-inspiring years (but don't forget exhausting). I recently said something about seeing The Light at The End of The Tunnel of Mamahood.  Not because I'm almost done with it (heaven knows, my 3 month old insists I'm definitely not), but because I'm starting to get a sense of how quickly it all passes. Anyway, when I called mamahood a tunnel, I wasn't meaning it an negative way, like it might be taken, but it's still very much a tunnel.  You can't see very far ahead or even behind.  All you can see is what's RIGHT THERE in front of your face, RIGHT NOW. It can feel really lonely hanging out in the dark. Occasionally you'll find someone to walk with for a while, but at the end of the day it's just you in that tunnel, trying to put one foot in front of the other.  So, to all my other mamas out there, know that I'm in the tunnel with you too.  Maybe in front of you. Maybe behind. I can't carry you through it with me, although sometimes I wish you could carry me.  But maybe just knowing that I'm walking in the tunnel too will make it seem a little easier.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

mental wanderings of a negative nature

Sorry, this is really meandering...consider it a free-flow of mental thoughts. I'm sure my grammar and punctuation is a joke.  sorry in advance.

I'm typing this up while kneeling next to the computer desk.  I should steal the seats back from the kids, they're using them for heaven knows what...but I'm not.  I don't know if it's because I'm a laid-back mom or a lazy one or a tired one.  Life has been hard lately, which makes me sad.  If there's a time of year I should be happy, it's October-December.  It's the BEST time of the year.  If I can't be happy during those months, I'm kind of screwed for the rest of the year.  I'm trying though, but sometimes things are rough.  I don't know if my kids are just at hard phases or my head just isn't in the game.  I feel like I've already run a marathon but I have so. much. left to go.  Not to mention, for the 2 littlest boys, they're just beginning.  They shouldn't get a worn-out mom already, should they?  I guess it's a trade-off for getting to have the kind of mom who doesn't put them in time-out for every infraction, like I did with Ezra.  Georgia beat that out of me, though.  Poor Ez.  I expect so much of him.  I suspect it's hard being the oldest.  I have to cut my teeth on him with every stage.  He's a rough one to cut them on, though.  I just don't know what's normal.  What's his aspie-ness or what's normal, obnoxious 9-year-old boy stuff.  I suspect it's a mixture of both.  I worry about him.  Honestly, I think he's getting more autistic.  I don't know if it's the stress of school bringing it out in him or just a natural progression (or should that be regression?) of things.  When he got him diagnosed (right after Kindergarten) he didn't have any noticeable physical traits.  That has definitely changed over the last year.  I feel like every month I notice more and more quirks coming out.  The way he sits (ie-crouches).  How he seeks out small corners to squeeze into or spends more and more time covering his head with blankets.  How he'll systematically bounce his head off the couch.  How he can't seem to focus on anything or anyone when we're in loud/crowded/chaotic places (which, unfortunately, includes our house).  He just so extreme...he's either rolling around on the floor/wrestling with his siblings/running around like a crazy OR completely zoned out; doesn't want anyone touching him OR laying all over me; refuses to talk to anyone/completely zones out OR won't stop talking about his current obsession.  I know this is what high-functioning autism looks like, I do, it's just hard to feel like we're going backwards instead of forward.  He comes home from school everyday and just unravels.  He'll throw fits over everything, refuse to eat most foods, and constantly verbally or physically hurts his siblings.  I'm hoping to get him into his own bedroom after the new year (he's currently sharing a room with the little boys), hopefully that'll help him a bit.

So, sorry for not having updating this.  Like I mentioned, things are feeling a little overwhelming right now. Thank heavens for tender mercies and little blessings.  Like Friday lunch dates with a bestie or the fact that Scarlett is pretty easy right now (hah! she's currently standing next to me with her killer whine.  how's that for ironic?).  Hot pink ipsy packages in the mail.  Georgia was going through a super-rough patch but seems to have been on the up-swing since about Thanksgiving.  PRAISES BE!  I was about ready to sell her to the circus as a side show-act.  Something like The Human Tigress! would work well for her. We have Fischer off of dairy and that seems to be helping with some of his general fussiness.  Oak is still hilarious although he's picking up his siblings' bad language.  If I hear him call one more person a Stupid Idiot or yell Shut Up one more time, I'm going to slit my wrists.  It's bad enough that I have to try to keep my grade-schoolers from talking like that, but my 3 year old?! ugh.

I think sometimes the holidays are hard because so much is expected of us mothers...both by society and ourselves.  I'm expected to do SO MUCH.  Teacher gifts, fun holiday-themed family activities, cookie-making, costuming, taking each kid personally Christmas shopping, homemade sibling gifts, holiday count-downs, christmas cards, and elf-hiding, work parties, church parties, elders quorum parties, friend parties, and present-wrapping and present-buying (for *5* kids, y'all...that's an INSANE amount of gifts, even if we keep the numbers low per kid)...and just ALL THE THINGS.  Now, before I start getting lambasted for listing stuff that I'm choosing to do, I'm fully aware that I'm putting a lot of this on myself.  It's just that I WANT to do it.  I want to be that mom.  My kids get Tired Mom and Grumpy Mom and Mean Mom so much of the time that I want to be the Good, Nice, frickin' Cookie-Making Mom for a couple of months out of the year.  They deserve that.  It's just hard to be worn-out and super-fun and enthusiastic at the same time.  Oh well, c'est la vie.  So goes the way of mothers all over the world, I'm sure...or at least the First World ones.

Well...time to make dinner...or at least it was an hour and a half ago.  Oh dinner-time, how I loathe thee.  Anyway, sorry to be such a downer, I just needed to get it out there, I guess.  Hopefully it won't be another eternity before I post again.  Here's to new starts in the soon-to-arrive new year (including on the blog)!

Monday, October 27, 2014

The most magical night of the year

You GUYS...this, THIS post is why I love Halloween so darn much. It's about magic and mischief and a little bit of gleeful naughty-pants-ness.  It's about imagining, for one amazing night, that we're something bigger, better, stronger, shinier, brighter than we are every other day of the year. It's about staying up late and out past dark.  Eating enough sugar to give you a bellyache.  Getting to wear red lipstick and eye shadow, despite the fact you still have your baby teeth.  It's all a big game of Pretend, and I LOVE it. It's Magic, at it's finest.

And the frosting on the cake?  We get to share it with everyone around us.  I wish I knew all my neighbors, but I just don't. I do, however, know that the single guy around the corner loves kids, despite having none of his own, and gives out goody bags and compliments generously.  There's that house few streets over that always sets up a mini-haunted house in their garage for the kids and hands out popcorn to waiting parents.  I love that often teenagers (who are really big kids themselves) tone down the scare-factor of their door-greetings for the littlest ones and amp it up a bit for the slightly-bigger ones. I love watching the couple who as newlyweds handed out candy one year, then had a new baby of their own the next, and goes trick-or-treating along with the rest of us now.  One day a year I don't have to apologize for our rowdiness, our volume, the sheer numbers of our brood...everyone is welcomed.  There is candy and smiles for all.  Chubby fingers, sticky smiles, and both the shy mumbles and gleeful shrieks of Trick-or-Treat. I love it ALL.

People get so distracted when it comes to the holidays.  They shake their fists at Santa because he takes away from Christ, presents because they distract from the Gift of the Atonement.  People grimace at the work and money that goes into Halloween costumes, rant about the teenagers that come around with half-costumes and pillowcases, even complaining that we celebrate a holiday that's all about evil and black magic.  They're missing the point!  Santa and presents ARE about Christ and candy and costumes ARE about joy and magic...the good kind.  It's all about what you make it be about.  If you focus on the negative, then you miss the magical.  As Beth said in her post,

"As for me, though, I don’t want to miss out on the magic because I feel to the marrow of my bones that we find that of Love there."

And that, folks, is what it's all about.  Love...both the general kind and the Christ-kind, with a capitol L.  I just know that He would be handing out candy and guessing costumes with the best of them and loving every minute of it.  I know that I sure do.

Ok, well, believe it or not, this rant of mine is actually just intended to be a prelude to one of my very favorite posts from one of my very favorite blogs.  Enjoy!

On Robin Hood, His Merry Men, and Why We Celebrate Halloween. Even as Christians

Saturday, June 7, 2014

To my Oak, on his 3rd Birthday

Oh, Oakie, my Oakie...Happy 3rd Birthday, crazy boy!  I love you so, so much.  You add your own unique brand of fun to this crazy house and I wouldn't change you one single bit.

Oakie-boy, you are still my little friend in every way.  I seriously just want to hang out with you all day and listen to the crazy-pants things you come up with to say and do.  You are the single biggest ham I've ever known.  Whether it's putting cucumbers over your eyes and pretending that you're at a spa/a pirate/blind, or a "stinky diaper baby" crying for mama (ironic, I know, considering you, yourself, still wear stinky diapers), you are one entertaining guy.  You make my life better every. single. day.  You are insanely rough-and-tumble, wrestling with anything that breathes, running (literal) laps through the kitchen and living room, and pretending to fly off the back of the couch.  You're such a fireball, so full of energy and spunk.  I'm officially apologizing now to all future teachers and babysitters.  You're a lot to keep up with.  It's funny, though, because as insanely All Boy as you are, you're also my biggest cuddler.  I love to hear you request to "cuddle wif mama" as you pull me onto the couch with you.   I've never had a mama's boy (or girl, for that matter!) before and I just eat it up.  Pretty sure I'd walk on water for you, my love.

You're a good big brother to Fischer.  He seriously adores you.  You love to hang out with him...up until the point he starts putting your toys in his mouth.  You absolutely do NOT approve of any of that nonsense.  You love your older siblings too.  Your greatest goal in life is to be grown-up like them and do all the cool things they can play in the front yard (you know all the cool kids are doing it) and pour their own milk.  One day, little man, one day.  Don't grow up too, too fast.  You're growing up so fast already.

You have the biggest imagination I've ever seen.  Everything is a game, a chance to pretend, a toy just waiting to be discovered.  You don't fill just one niche, you try it all.  You mix toys together with blocks turning into dinosaur food and lalaloopsies riding on the back of the dinosaurs.  I love to just sit and watch you play.  You're just amazing.  Sticks are swords, blocks are food, and baskets are hats. I'm always amazed with the speed and direction in which your mind works.  You love anything superhero-related.  Your current fave is Captain America, but really it switches around a lot.  I don't know what made you latch onto superheros, it's not something any of my other kids have done, but I pretty much adore it.  Those larger-than-life characters fit your larger-than-life personality.  If you could, you really would fly, break through buildings, and defeat bad guys daily.

You're a ham and love to make people laugh.  This is kind of unexpected because you're a little slow to warm to people.  Once you decide you like them, however, you'll do anything you can to make them smile.  You crack toddler-jokes, pretend to be a dinosaur and chase them around, anything to get a laugh.  The perfect example of this is our doctor (Dr. Kimmel) and her nurse.  Since you see more of the nurse you've decided you like her and now you act all silly around her and let her see you smile (which, believe me, took a verrry long time).  It's a big change from when all you did was lower your brows and scowl when she tried to talk to you before.  Dr. Kimmel, however, has not made it onto your good list.  I figure it's just because we see less of her, but I don't know for sure.  She has not won your approval and affection yet and so all she gets are scowls.  It's like a light switch from when the nurse leaves to when the doctor enters.  You're so funny like that. Anything you can think of to do to make us laugh, though, you'll do it.  You're always watching for an opportunity to entertain.  I love it.

I compared you once to a lightning bolt, always crackling and sparking and it still holds true.  You're electric, fiery, and bright.  You light up the room but can also destroy it (both with your messes and tantrums).  Dude, you are INTENSE.  People love you, Oak. They're drawn to that electricity and just can't help but love you, whether you like them or not.  Watch out so that fire of yours doesn't burn the place down, Little Man.

Oh, Oakie, my Oakie.  I love, love, love you!  I'm so very glad you're mine.  I never would've imagined having a personality like yours for my very own.  I COULDN'T have imagined your personality.  It's so darn huge.  I know I say this about all of my kids, but you really do have so much personality.  It could fill a room.  You're hilarious and sweet and grumpy and crazy and tender and rough and funny, funny, funny all rolled into one.  I didn't realize how amazing the gift I was receiving was 3 years ago, but I realize it a little more every day. You are so amazing, Oak Gideon, so darn amazing.  I love you, my baby boy, so darn much.

Happy, Happy 3rd Birthday, Oakie Boy!!!

Monday, May 26, 2014

To my Georgia, on her 7th Birthday

Let me tell you a birthday story, Miss Georgia. Once upon a time there was a beautiful little princess.  She had long honey-colored hair and when she smiled her beautiful blue eyes twinkled. This girl was special, though, because she wasn't just beautiful, but also smart, determined, and oh-so-fierce. She was a brave warrior princess. Instead of staying inside the castle, this girl roamed the hills with the knights and fought foes.  This girl knew how to move mountains.  She wasn't always kind, but she was always loyal.  If you gained her respect and admiration she'd love and defend you forever.  She did have a compassionate streak, however, that would come out when she played with the royal baby prince.  Thank heavens, the princess could use a little softening up every once in a while.  Sometimes she let her fierceness take things over.  This girl was so brave and determined that she didn't wait around for a prince to come and save her, she went out and slayed the dragons herself, because that's just the kind of girl she was.  One day, she found a handsome prince who could handle her fiery temper and general hard-headed-ness.  He appreciated her spirit and intelligence.  He won her heart and loyalty.  They got married in an eternal, heavenly castle and while things weren't always roses and sunshine, they were happy ever after.

 If you haven't figured it, Miss G, you are the princess in the story.  You haven't found your prince yet (thank heavens, you're only seven after all), but you are busy developing those qualities I mentioned.  You're fierce and smart and determined and, yes, beautiful too.  But, you are so much more than beautiful, Georgie-Girl.  You are the strongest, fiercest person I've ever know.  You don't just stay inside playing dolls, you go and slay dragons with the boys.  I love that about you.  I love mostly everything about you.  I don't really know how to handle all that "everything" but I wouldn't ever want to take it away from you either.  You are the true definition of a Warrior Princess, Georgia Marie, and I love it.

There's big news in the Favorite Color arena this year.  For the first time ever, you've chosen blue as a contender against pink.  They're tied, you've informed me.  I gotta say I'm pleased with the new change.  It shows that you're not afraid to shake things up a bit and follow your own mind.  Your best friends ase still Baleigh (has been since Kindergarten) and your cousin, Ella.  Your current favorite song choices are Katy Perry's Roar, American Author's Best Day of My Life, the Minecraft version of Imagine Dragon's Demon, and (of course) anything from the Frozen soundtrack, especially Let It Go.  The crazy thing is I really had to think about those.  Its always shocking how little time I spend with you now that you're in school all day.  I'm looking forward to spending the summer with you and re-getting to know your favorites.

Not only are you fierce and brave, you're also vulnerable and a little (lot) anxious.  It's hard for me to see this in you since it's something I've struggled with for as long as I can remember.  I hate seeing your get all tense and nervous when you're faced with a challenge, overwhelmed at the endless school days, or cringeingly mortified when I inadvertently embarrass you.  A lot of the time when you lash out in anger, it's because you're feeling overwhelmed and anxious.  I know those feelings myself all too well.  Right now we're waiting on any kind of intervention...just watching and waiting to see how you cope.  Hopefully, having dealt with anxiety myself, I can help you learn how to handle it.  Just remember, Miss G, that you're not a victim.  You're in charge of your own decisions and destiny and are responsible for their consequences.  Your life and choices are up to you. As the late, great, Eleanor Roosevelt said, "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." No one, Georgia, can make you into a victim without your consent.  Play the hand you're dealt and play it well.

You're a great big sister, Georgia.  I know you and Miss S don't always get along, but you try.  I love to hear you two giggling to each other at night as you both huddle together in your bed reading books.  You're such a good sister to your brothers.  You love to rough-house and play Pokemon with Ezra and love to take care of your younger brothers.  Both Oak and Fischer adore you.  You're always willing to keep an eye on them when I need you to.  Thank you for being my little helper, Miss G.

Oh, Miss G, my baby, my girl.  I love you so.  I can't even believe how grown-up you're getting.  I swear your hair is getting longer, your legs are getting taller, and your personality is getting bigger right before my eyes.  I love, love, love, love you.  Thank you, first daughter, for being you.  I would never wish it any other way.

Happy Birthday, Miss Georgia Marie!!!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Resurrection Day 2014

I know I've been really blog-lazy lately, but I had to post our Easter pictures.  I've been faithfully documenting Easter since 2008 and this year wasn't going to be any different!

We started off by dying eggs the day before.  We couldn't resist and bumped up our number from 4 dozen to 5 dozen this year!  I love having enough eggs so everyone can dye (and later find!) to their hearts' content.  Go big or go home, right ? :)

Easter day dawn warm and beautiful.  I couldn't have hand-picked a more beautiful day to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord.  The kids were mostly cooperative-ish.  Well, 4 out of 5, anyway.  I'll let you guess who the naughty-pants was :P 

Daddy-Fischer Selfie

Ezra Emil

Oh, how I love that big ol' mis-matched-teeth grade-schooler grin

2 outta 3 brothers ain't bad

Fischer was all dappered-out for the occasion

Fischy is all about showing his tongue right now.  I'm pretty sure sticking out his mini-tongue in response to ours is his very first intentional trick.

Oh, how I love this sweet, happy little man!

Georgia was cooperative...I dare say it was an Easter miracle!

 Love this pretty girl!

So glad she's sloooowly starting to get over-ish her awkward poses.  At least she's not giving herself a double chin, right?

This is the face I got in response to me asking her to smile "for real"

I'm pretty sure this is one of my favorite pictures of the day.
so. beautiful.

Oh, such lovely girls!

and now for the hooligan...

Oh, he was sooo mad at us for making him take pictures.
Let's take a moment to appreciate the rock in his hand...he threw it at my head soon afterwards.

Luckily (or unluckily?) that pouty anger soon turned into pure naughtiness, chock full of mischievous grins.

there were some of these...

and these...
thank heavens for the rare smiley picture!

mixed in with a heck of a lot of this...
he's hiding behind me so I can't take a picture of him

and this...
why yes, we do have small feral humans living in our bushes.
thanks for asking.

Next we moved onto a group shot attempt.
and the fun didn't stop...

Maybe if I splice them all together I can actually get one where they're all looking at me and smiling and not flashing anyone their panies.

but maybe not.

Really, though, I am so blessed.  I have 5 beautiful babies that make me smile every. single. day.
but also yell.  there is a lot of daily yelling.

Regardless of rampant naughtiness, missing hard-boiled eggs that are currently hiding somewhere in my house, and sugar-fueled tantrums, I gotta say it was a good day.  Maybe even one of my favorite.

Happy Resurrection Day, Friends!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

So back in October...

Will someone please explain to me how a month can pass in the blink of an eye but the 28 days it consisted of individually lasted an eternity?  Goodness.  Anyway, my brain is fried and I don't really have any beans to spill so I figured I'd do a catch-up post that I've been meaning to do since...October.  that's right. October. true story.

Once upon a time, in October, we got a big ol' batch of family pictures taken by the uber-talented, gorgeous, kind, and all-around fabulous Kamian Christenson.  Man, I love that lady.

Anyway, originally it was just going to be a kid shoot, since no girl in her right mind wants photographic proof of her body at less than 2 months postpartum.  Spencer, however, managed to convince me that my children would one day want actual proof of my existence other than their own existence.  So...a family photo shoot it became.

For the record:
Ezra and Scarlett were only a couple of weeks shy of 8 years and 5 years, respectively.  Oak was 2 years, 4 months and Georgia was about 6 years, 5 months.  Fischer was about 6 1/2 weeks old. Spencer was about 31 1/2 and I was 28.

Warning: There are A LOT of pictures.  I kid you not.  Probably more pictures then I've ever put in a single post before.  I just couldn't resist! Also, they are in no particular order.  It might also seem like I love some kids more than others.  I don't.  Some just happened to thrust themselves more in front of the camera more than others.  It's just the way the cookie crumbled.


phew!  I told you it was a lot of pictures! I just couldn't NOT post these pictures.  Despite Oakie's overall stinky-pants-ness and Fischer's fussiness when we finally got around to taking a few photos of him, I think it turned out smashingly.  Glad you made it through to the other side.  Hopefully it won't be a full month before I post again.  We'll see, though.  I'm still somewhat in survival mode, so we'll see what the month brings.