Friday, July 21, 2017

Life has been really good lately.  I have enjoyed spending my summer days with my four little best friends. Yesterday after our picnic at Porter Park, we stayed a little longer and played with friends through a summer storm.  I had to peel them from the swings and slides when it was time to go home.  
Later, while I went running, John took the kids to the splash park. They came back so, SO happy. Every single child was just glowing. I love when they get special time with just John.
I ended the day spending time with my little sister, Rebecca. We don't see each other as much as I would like and every time we do, I get all the feels.  I was so excited when as the only girl, my mom exclaimed I would have a little sister, and Rebecca has not disappointed! It was nice to have a heart to heart over nachos with the only person who loves nachos the way I do.
Here's to another day of packing, bike rides, and good-fill-your-heart moments.

Sidenote: we are without a computer right now, so my posts are written on my phone....excuse the more than normal typos please! Thank you!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

MMA Morning Wake up Call

Excuse the following series of blurry, abstract photographs. They represent an attempt in capturing what I endure every morning as consequence of both sharing a bed with my husband and giving birth to three boys.  One by one those boys make their way to our bedroom, and give us a play by play of how their last night's sleep went. Johnny is typically chipper and usually let's us know he's been awake at least three hours already (usually not true.) William is always pretty proud of himself and happy that the sleeping portion of his 24 hour routine is now completed, "I 'WAKE!" He'll then curl up in a ball next to me so I can hug him and rub his back.  Matthew is a bit of a wild card. Sometimes he comes bolting into our bedroom all squeals and excitement, other days he is pretty livid with the world and just yells "Nooooooo!" while gathering his bearings.  No matter Matthew's mood, his requests are typically the same: that he weasel his way between John and me, and that I go warm up some milk for him.  While I am away serving that two foot tall tyrant, he excitedly arranges his blankie around him and nuzzles into dad. He'll then take a deep breath of anticipation as if he is saying, "All systems go! Momma, bring me my milk!" Then, I'm pretty sure fireworks go off around him spelling, "Youngest Child Right Here!"
These mornings are all fine and dandy for the brief moments that the five of us peacefuly enjoy each other's company.  There is chatter and joking and cuddling...then IT happens.  What is IT, you ask?
The wrestling. The crawling. The throwing. The growling. The swinging. The clamoring. The hitting. The pulling. The pushing. The creeping. The jumping. The landing. The legs in the air.
Our bed quickly transforms to a wrestling arena.
What was once a cheerful, quiet morning turns into a mixed martial arts display of their mother's nightmare and their dad's dream come true. They're animals. And their father relishes in it. To be fair, I do find it rather endearing in the early stages of their morning wrestling match, it just escalates so quickly!
Cue the pictures:

Today as I watched their brawl, introspective thoughts cascaded my mind. First, what a great dad. I am so grateful they have these moments with him every day.  Second, I have THREE boys; three dirty, mischievous, tender-hearted boys. Third, in ten years, I will have three TEENAGE boys; I will have stinky, hungry, taller-than-me boys, that probably won't want to cuddle and tell me all about the best and worst parts of their day. They will probably just want pizza rolls and more Axe Body Spray or something like that.
I guess I don't really know.
What I do know is that this phase of little blond boys clamoring for their mama's attention has an expiration, and it is quickly creeping upon me. I am excited for their lives ahead of them, those boys have magnificant spirits. It is my role as their mother to stengthen them for the mountains they will be called to move.  This morning, my heart swelled with gratitude that I get to be a nurturing influence on their journey.
Then I got kicked in the face, and everyone got kicked out of the bed.  The get-ready-fast-because-we're-going-to-be-late-again morning routine throttled into high gear.
I thank God for the moment of perspective that inspired me to squeeze my boys a little tighter, and laugh with them over something silly a little longer.  I am grateful for the realization as we knelt down for morning prayer, that no matter what lies ahead; I am not alone in my work and God is watching over His boys.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Sheep(ish) Falls

A couple of weeks ago, we thought it would be a grand adventure to hike down to Sheep Falls and have a little bonfire.  It didn't go as planned.
We got stuck.
REAL stuck.
The actual frame of the truck was propped in the snow and no matter what we tried, those tires just spun. As you know, this isn't our first rodeo stuck in the mud/snow/whatever. My husband likes to push his limits and majority of the time, it lands us in a wild adventure that we otherwise wouldn't have had access to. I love his adventuring spirit. This time, however; it landed us into the snow.  Every time we do get stuck, I am impressed with John and his positive outlook and ingenuity through the whole ordeal. 
The below picture is the beginning of our grand adventure. By the time we left, the tires were buried another six inches in the snow!

It was a hot day, so playing in the snow was actually kind of fun for the kids.  The kids and I searched for rocks to lodge under the tires while John dug with a stick.
Two hours later we still had no luck in the stuck-vehicle department.  The kids and I played lava tag on the lava rocks, made snowballs, searched for bobcats, and read books in the car; but that suburban was not budging.
We finally caved and called in back up.
While we waited for friends to arrive, we decided to have a little bonfire. Despite the soggy wood and pine cones, we got a fire going strong enough to make us some very luke warm hot dogs. The kids thought it was a success, so that's something. Haha. As John was working to start the fire, Matthew and William would blow air into the flames just like their dad. Their serious concentration kept John and I laughing. What would we have done without their help?

Our friends finally arrived and they were met with a bunch of kids jumping up and down like they had been stranded for two weeks. Long story short, we broke a couple tow ropes and eventually John was able to go back with another friend and pull the suburban out with a massive chain. We have wonderful friends.
Personally, I found the overall outing to be quite an adventure. 
I know John was pretty sore the next day, but I imagine deep down he had a grand ole time spending the day in the partial wilderness with me. 
Isn't he dreamy?

Monday, May 15, 2017

Let's Go Ride a Bike

Thursday night John and I decided is was finally time for William to graduate from the creepy little tricycle he rode around our parking lot.  Every time we go to Walmart, William runs to the bikes and says, "Oh yes, this is my bike I want for my, THIS is the bike I uh weally want for my birfuhday." His face expression when I suggested we just buy it today? Priceless. He made all sorts of promises of never being mean again to keeping his bed clean (he's a hoarder, so this was a big deal.) 
William, Caity, and Johnny took to the parking lot on their bikes as soon as we got home. Caity and Johnny were so attentive to their little brother teaching him how to break (albeit unsuccessfully) and how to go over bumps in the concrete without falling over (again unsuccessfully). Their effort was so touching to this mother's heart! While they were riding fast and furious around their turf, Matthew and I sat on the porch playing with " 'cary guys and good guys".  With the sun setting, it was a perfect end to the day.

Saturday seemed like the Day of the Bikes.  
We woke up early and rode a bike trail to McDonald's.  One of my all time favorite views is seeing everyone in front of me riding and laughing. For a brief moment, all seems right in the world, you know; until someone runs into a trash can or something.  On the way home from McDonald's, John and the older kids played at a bike park with dirt mounds and jumps; I'm always so impressed with their lack of inhibitions- they get that from their dad! For the last leg of the journey, John asked William to show us the way home.  He squared his little shoulders and he was so proud of himself peddling his little heart out.  He took the responsibility seriously.
Every time I'd help Wiliam over a bump or up a little hill, he'd say "Thanks Mom," and always turn around and say,  "Do you need help now, mom?" I must say, I was flattered by that little gentleman! 
It was just a great outing for all the kids. 
Johnny would fall behind on purpose just so he could pedal as fast as he could to pass everyone.
Matthew sat with his hands in his pockets in the seat behind John, giggling whenever John raced up a hill.
Caity rode in the back with me for awhile just talking to talk, "Yeah, Matthew in my class has a crush on me. I know he has a crush on me, he knows that I know, and our whole class knows; but I just tell them: 'Look guys, a crush just means you think someone is really cool. It's not a big deal, you can still be friends and stuff.'"  (I just love her.) 
We went on a couple more bike rides to places throughout the day, and it was just an all around great way to spend a Saturday. I'm grateful for John for making us get out of the, five more days until the next Saturday!

Friday, May 12, 2017

Snip, Snip!

Yesterday the boys got haircuts. I usually am the culprit for the uneven blending, but yesterday John gave it a go- and he did a terrific job.  I was on bath tub duty, washing off the hairy backs and dunking screaming heads (affectionately) in and out of the water.  From my view on the toilet seat, I was in a pretty happy place. He's a good dad. They're good boys. The sun is shining outside, and Life is good.
Matthew kept checking his reflection when ever he could and would just smile at himself and wave or shrug. So cute.

William wasn't so thrilled...haha!

No, I Didn't Give Up Blogging

The other day I was wasting time on the computer and it weighed me down. I thought, "Wow, the internet is a lousy place. I'm boycotting it. Like, for REAL this time. No more Facebook, Instagram, Snap Chat...nothing. It seems every single post I read today was negative- I logged into a world of bitter, bleak, self-indignant-----well, except for that one post." And stopped mid-thought, changing directions.
My husband's grandma, Carolyn, wrote a cute little bit about her amazing ability in growing dandelions- and I must ask alongside her- who decided those things were weeds anyway? Her words made me smile and miss her in that achy-heart, just-an-afternoon-would-do way.  The more I thought about it, the more I realized I was approaching my frustrations all wrong. Something so simple as a post about dandelions counteracted at least fifteen negative posts. Of course it is OK to vent frustrations and point out discrepancies and facebook can seem like a valid platform to be heard- but when done from a place of self indulgence, pride, and bitterness- it hardly ever promotes the change you hope to inspire.  More often than not, it just spreads more bitterness and more frustrations. Rather than opening hearts to your perspective, people are more likely to become closed off and defensive- driving a deeper wedge in our differences rather than inspiring the change and perspective aimed for.
  At least that is my opinion.  
Yet, there is something about negative posts that seem to suck me in, and I willingly dive into a pool of angry emotions on my own free will.  And I hate it.  I hated the way I felt after my facebook excursion...and that two hours later I was still harboring resentment....until as I already said- I was reminded of dandelions. 
So...perhaps the solution isn't boycotting the internet (duh.) Perhaps it is deliberately choosing to be the good.  There is so much in life worth rejoicing amidst the political unrest, the differing moral views, the wars, and the injustices.  There are daily moments that wake us every morning feeling a compelled determination to live a more full life.  It is the smell of the lilacs blooming in my parking lot, piles of Legos color coordinated by a six year old boy, the three year old praying that he'll remember to be nice, the giggles when you push a belly button, the swelling anticipation every time I see John's car pull into the driveway after work. It's the tucking kids in bed multiple times- when finally on the fifth time you remember why you like those kids so much, it's snow cones, it's holidays, it's a good book, it's a bear hug, it's walks to the library, it's when you feel God is listening to your prayers, it's strangers smiling at the grocery's just insignificant moments of our daily life that set a climate of gratitude and purpose. 
And it's not much, but it's the good I can gladly contribute.
And that whole shpeal was supposed to be two sentences. But it's me we're talking about here.
So, here's to hopping back on the wagon!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

So Long, Halloween Twenty Sixteen!

November 1st is always a strange day for me.  I look around my house at our "Halloween hang over" observing a diaper clad toddler running through the wreckage with his chubby cankles protruding from his ankle socks. I take in the other toddler with his then-black-now-gray-spiky hair, sorting his candy for the third time on the couch. I watch the older kids viciously scrub at the remnats of a captain america star and the dripping vampire blood, looking in the mirror with sleepy eyes.

I have vague memories of last night, October 31st. 
Memories of picking up William and running him from house to house so he could keep up with the older kids...and on that note, Caity shouting "WILLIAM!" as soon as she saw the homeowner begin closing their door, only to realize Johnny already grabbed a candy for his little brother.  
I think images of jack o lantern and ghost pancakes for breakfast and dead man's toes and pie crust tombstones in potato swamps for dinner.  
I see William and Johnny working on the witch hat craft at the Library with William's proud smile and Johnny's tongue sticking out of his mouth while he colored in the lines, them both being watched by a little tiger trying to figure out how to open his sucker. 
There was Caity in her jack o lantern shirt and striped tights helping me make treats for teachers at school, and there was a lego-made trunk-or-treat by Johnny.
I swell with gratitude and pride thinking about John braving the winds to fix the van for me last minute.
I have memories of trying about a million pictures unsuccessfully of my kids' costumes before we headed to the Season's Medical Trick or Treat.
I see my kids blend with swarms of neighborhood kids dressed as witches, super heroes, and tigers going door to door, and the fun I had greeting all our wonderful neighbors.  I remember a very shy hulk when he finally had the courage to say "Trick of Treat!" and the intense face of a cute baby Tiger every time a piece of candy made it into his Frankenstein pail his white knuckles clutched for dear life.
I see Caity posing, and re-posing to be a more convincing Vampire as she dripped with confidence, swooshing her cape over half her face.
And I see Johnny flexing his fake muscles and flexing again and tackling and speed racing with his fist in the air. 
I see wilting Jack O Lanterns and wind blown wreaths.
The face expressions of cute newlywed couple, Becca and Tyler, as they came out to the car to see their excited to-show-their-costumes niece and nephews.
I think about the piles of candy being sorted, a certain little girl sorting them by type, then size, then finally settling on alphabetically. Then, Johnny trading "anything you want in my pile, even milk duds" for a pumpkin donut flavored laffy taffy, and then every time William found a KitKat, he'd say, "ANUDDER ONE!?" All this while Matthew watched in his crib until he fell asleep.
I remember the pure exhaustion as children dragged their sore feet to their beds, while their Mom and Dad confiscated their candy to pull out taxes that we enjoyed while we cuddled and watched a show together with the kids asleep. 
My crowning moment of every Halloween is the time I get to spend with John.  I think about that on November 1st. I think about his amused face as he walks the kids to the doors, and talks about hometowns, big foot, and politics with the other parents. I think about his smile while he humors me and my themed dinners, and how he brings me back down to earth when I get too worked up about making everything perfect. I think about how he fixed the van without having any clue how to when he started. I think about dumping out Matthew's candy to find a flower he picked for me along our trick or treating route. I think about how great it is that I get to go home with him every night and we get to laugh about all our favorite kid moments and spend time together eating their candy. Haha.
Yes, it was a good day with good memories. 
But on the morn of November 1st, it feels so foreign and the wilting bats on my walls and the smiling witch suddenly become clutter of a distant memory and I get all excited for this new turned page.  It is the holidays. It is time for Thanksgiving- a time for gratitude and family and autumn harvest and gosh, I love that.  So, I get to spend my November 1st switching gears, pulling out the gratitude poster and preparing my family for our next great venture, all while yesterday's adventures still keep me smiling and feeling all nostalgic. 

In other news....I think I am making breakfast for dinner tonight because, hello- breakfast for dinner.

Coming home from School

A Vampire, Iron Man, "Hoek", and a Tiger

Swampy graveyard, bloody bone (biscuits), dead man's toes, Frankenstein's brains.

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