Wednesday, March 18, 2015

March on.

So. I skipped the entire month of February. Not because I had nothing to write but because I had no time to write it. In fact, I could think of a dozen things I could write but here I am. More than halfway through March with not a single sentence written. I have no time.

Jared went back for his master's degree and since then our life has been barely livable. Jared gets up at the crack of dawn, goes to work,  goes to school, goes back to work, comes home, eats dinner, helps put kids to bed, does homework, and then goes to bed late at night long after I've already gone to sleep. Over and over again. There is no time for anything else.

With Jared out of the picture, I am the sole laundry, housekeeping, childcare, and food provider. I do this all while waking up multiple times a night with one or more kids. It's hard. It's really hard. I had gotten into a good pattern of getting things done, but that went out the window when I had to figure out how to do that stuff on my own to give Jared time to do homework and get in his fulltime work week and his full time class schedule.

William has started crawling, so all choking hazards have been banished to the basement. The baby gate at the top of the steps is back up. He has 4 teeth fully in and he's working on more. We started feeding him solid foods, which he thus far hates.

Oliver has lost his first two baby teeth and he's starting to learn to read.  Colin started preschool one day a week and loves it, but I'll be damned if it isn't the hardest part of my week just getting him out the door to go to school each Friday.

There is so much going on, and I am spread way too thinly. I'm not under any delusions. I know that, like every single other person in the entire world, I'm not capable of everything.  I can't do everything. I am okay with that, and I really do understand that more than anything...

...But at the same time, what else can I do? What choice do I have but to continue trying to do everything right now? I just have to suck it up and make it through until summer when Jared can help out more. I hate being so busy. So busy that I feel like I'm not even here for any of this. One day I realized that William is steadily sitting up on his own, but then when I looked back at pictures, I realized he's doing it for weeks and I'm just now noticing. Somehow Colin has begun speaking in more or less complete grammatical sentences and it didn't even occur to me until I showed up for his speech assessment and really, truly listened to him talking for the first time in a long time.

The biggest thing that I miss is having people here to interact with. I've joined a local mom's group and I attend weekly mommy & me classes, but without any free time, what chance do I have at making friends? The friends that I do have aren't local. My parents are two time zones away. Most of my & Jared's families are far away. I feel like I haven't even spent any time with Jared since Christmas, despite living in the same house and sleeping in the same bed each night. Being alone is hard.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not complaining. Or if I am, I'm at least not forgetting all of the things I'm grateful for. I'm happy that Jared has this opportunity to go back to school for free. I'm happy that Bill is growing and learning and changing. I'm happy that we are healthy and that we have food and clothes and the means to take our kids out to the zoo and the mall and all the other places we go. I have a million things that I am grateful for.

But still. I am exhausted and lonely. Summer can't come soon enough.

Colin caught hiding under the table after cutting up a loaf of bread and eating at least a dozen cookies I left on the counter.

William trying out the new high chair.

Jared, Oliver, & Will riding the turtle at the zoo.

Colin with a plastic toy stuck on his leg.

Baby just hanging out.

First food. Carrots.

Missing tooth.

Sitting up.

Carrots take 2.

New Spiderman PJs.

"It was William's turn to choose what we're playing."

Enthusiasm to try new food. (It was short lived.)

Fat baby.

Baby begging for scraps at the table.

Colin, with a jar of dirt he brought inside and named "Bonnie."

Eating toast.

Oliver holding his baby brother.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Sitting around all day.

Will wants to know why people equate "sitting around all day" with being lazy. Because, really. Does it look like sitting up is easy?








Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Christmas Eve: Say Yes.

On Christmas Eve, we went to the beach. But we almost didn't.

During our whole 2+ week long Florida trip we had been meaning to get out to the beach, but somehow we never quite made it. Living as a family of 5, we've got excuses up the wazoo.

While I was tucking Oliver into bed on the night of the 23rd, he asked me when we were going to the beach. In my head I pulled up the calendar and realized we didn't have much time left: the next day was Christmas Eve, which we spend with Jared's grandparents. The day after that was Christmas, which we spend with Jared's immediate family. And then the day after that, we were boarding the plane back to Minnesota.

We didn't really have any time left to go to the beach.

As I started explaining all of that to Oliver, I realized that I was breaking his heart.  So halfway through my excuses, I stopped making up reasons why I was saying no and instead I chose to say yes.

Yes, Oliver. We will go to the beach. Tomorrow. Sleep well, and tomorrow we will go to the beach.

When "tomorrow" came, it was the windiest, cloudiest day of the whole trip. After finishing my morning pumping session and feeding everyone breakfast and getting everybody dressed, we were off to a late start. We had only a few hours before we were expected to be at Christmas Eve dinner. Again I almost canceled our beach trip, but then I remembered: I said yes.

We were going. We had to go. I said so.

As we piled all of the kids into the car, we tried to set their expectations low and set up some ground rules: 

We can't stay long. 
You can't get all sandy right before we go to Oma & Opa's. 
The weather isn't very good. 
UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES are we going into the water.

On the drive to the park, Jared and I argued about which part of the beach would be best. Jared wanted to walk along a more secluded trail, but I didn't think we had the time nor the kids' abilities to walk 2 miles at a reasonable pace. I wanted to head to the boring beach area where everybody and his uncle parks their beach umbrellas because it was the easiest choice.

When we parked the car, we still hadn't decided what to do, so I threw up my hands and decided to give up and walk along the trail Jared chose. A quarter of a mile in, Colin threw himself onto the ground and refused to walk any farther.

So Jared and I argued more. "I told you this was a bad idea!" was what I may or may not have yelled at Jared multiple times before I took the baby and headed back to the car by myself.

For the 1/4 mile walk back to the car, I kept imagining how good it would feel to have Jared return with the two cranky, exhausted older boys so that I could smugly say to him, "I told you so."

But the longer I sat in the car waiting with Bill, the more I realized I didn't want to be angry anymore. I just wanted to have fun with them. When I finally spotted the boys coming down the path towards me, the first thought in my head wasn't, "I told you so" but instead, "I'm sorry."

Apparently Jared also had the same change of heart, because the first words out of his mouth to me were, "Let's not be angry. I'm sorry."

We sat in our rented minivan and looked at the clock. We had to leave in twenty minutes if we wanted to get home in time to shower and make ourselves look nice for dinner.  After a moment's discussion, Jared and I knew what we had to do: We were taking the kids to the beach that they had been hoping so very much to see, even if we only had a few minutes.

As we drove the half mile to the beach's parking lot, we warned the kids that we couldn't stay long. Again, I told them we were not going to be getting sandy or wet right before Christmas Eve dinner.

But by the time we got the kids down the little boardwalk path to the beach, I knew there was no way that I could stop them from putting their bare feet into the sand. After waiting so long to see it, I had to let them really experience it.  Reluctantly, I said to them, "Alright, guys. Go ahead and take your shoes off and leave them here. But stay out of the water."

It was less than thirty seconds after I finished saying those words that I saw Colin running into the surf. I almost opened my mouth to yell for him to stop, but when I saw how excited he was to play with the waves, I couldn't do it. Instead I settled for rolling up his pant legs and a muttering a half-hearted "try not to get your pants wet."

At that point in time, I knew I wasn't kidding anybody. I know Colin. I knew he was going to be in that water. The farther we walked along the waves, the wetter Colin got. The wetter he got, the more pieces of clothing we took off of him until finally he was jumping the waves in nothing but a soaked pair of Sesame Street underwear.

Oliver was right there with Colin, scooping up sand with his bare hands and throwing rocks into the waves. Oliver's pants, too, were soaked. The beach was deserted and it was the windiest, cloudiest day you could imagine but we were having so much fun. We knew we really should be leaving the beach if we wanted to get home and shower for dinner, but we saw how joyful those boys were with just the waves and the sand, and we stayed longer. The shower wasn't worth it.

We stayed on that beach until the very last minute, every single one of us having a great time. We rushed back to the van when our time was up, laughing at the piles of sand in Colin's hair. Both older boys were so sandy that we actually took them over to the dog wash and literally hosed the sand off of their bodies.  While running back into the car, Colin tripped and skinned his knee. He cried the whole ride home. When we tried to clean out his scrape, he got so upset that he peed all over himself and Jared. At one point, all three of our kids were crying in the back of the van. Jared and I, still riding the high of our successful and offbeat beach trip, exchanged a look that says, "This is so us! Isn't this funny? Our life is great."

We ended up being late for dinner and walking through the door with saltwater in our hair, dried tears on our cheeks, and a skinned knee but it was so worth it. What started out as such a terrible, rushed morning actually turned into the best hour of our whole vacation. All because we willed it so. Because we chose to have fun. Because we said, "Yes."

Will waiting in the car, but clearly he wasn't angry.
Walking to the beach.
Almost to the beach, everybody is still dry and fully clothed.

Feet on the sand.

Staying out of the water...
...but not for long.
Colin's signature look on the beach.
Jumping waves sans pants.

So windy.

Very sandy. Moderately wet.

Even more sandy. Even more wet.


Baby testing the gulf waters

Now shirtless and pantless, but still with dry hair.

Completely soaked from head to toe after going under.

Later that night Colin was given a shirt which reads, "Put your toes in the sand. Let the sun kiss your face. Enjoy life."  How funny that Colin got to do all of those things only hours before. All because we said yes.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Three months old! Well, close enough.

Will is three months old. Actually, he's been three months old for a while, but. You know. He's the third baby. He gets what he gets and he doesn't get upset.


I packed away and sold a box full of 0-3 month sized clothing. There is an empty shelf in the closet left from when I took down the box of 6/9 months' clothing. For once, that space isn't being filled with more baby clothes to save for later. Part of me feels like I should be sad that this is it. There won't be any more 0-3 little footie pajamas.  But the other part of me is able to look at the new, larger clothing and be amazed thinking, he is this big already. He will be able to do so much.

 
Tummy time is already a thing of the past. If he doesn't want to be lying a certain way, he takes matters into his own hands. His fat little belly is so round that a gentle breeze could send him rolling. When I sit down next to him on the floor, he twists his whole body and flails his little arms out towards me to say, Look! I'm right here! Pick me up!


The thing I love most about him is that he is so generous with his smiles. Any tiny thing is a good reason for him to smile. I can leave the room for just two minutes, but you'd better believe that when I return he will kick his legs and squeal with glee as if to say, I was waiting for you! I'm so glad you're back!


Every night when the big kids are in bed, I take this little baby and I sit him up on my knees with our faces just ten inches apart and we talk. You wouldn't think that a 3 month old baby would be such a good conversationalist, but every night he tries so hard to communicate with me. I say a few words to him, and he smiles & coos back to me. Every night. Without fail.


And it's not just me he loves. He loves his daddy. He loves his brothers. He loves anyone who is near enough to give him a friendly glance.



On my computer you can scroll and scroll and scroll through all the lines of smiling photos of I have of this baby, and he's only three months old. Every night I take another picture of his smiling face. I think I'm going to need to buy a few more hard drives just to keep up.







Anyway, happy 3rd (month) birthday, Baby Bill. Keep smiling.