Monday, December 27, 2010

Keeping Christmas going

So Christmas is over. The lights look a little less twinkly, the garland is falling limp and the wrapping paper has all been ripped. No matter how you prepare for it, after Christmas let down is always a tad depressing. And in an effort to honor the season and be thankful, instead of slip into the after Christmas funk, lamenting over my children's attitudes of entitlement and the pile of returns I am not sure I'll ever get around to, I have decided to make a list of the wonderful things that happened this season!
-We had Amanda's first Christmas and she was so sweet and cute in all her little dresses.
-My sons sang wonderfully in the Christmas program and both were so pleased with their costumes...Gavin a wise man ("the green one mom") and Brayden the cow ("I say MOOOO")
-We did our annual tradition of delivering cider to those we want to honor for their quiet service to others and it was wonderful! The boys kinda got it (as opposed to last year...see december 2009 blog) and they participated fully, with grins wearing their Santa hats.
-Gavin loved (and Brayden tolerated) reading the Advent book we have and both of them have much of the scripture in it memorized, by reading it each night.
-The boys and I made a birthday cake for Jesus and they were so excited and proud.
-The boys were very patient during gift time.
-My family decided to do a service project with the kids and collect/buy items to create bags to hand out to the homeless. The kids got in the assembly line and fully participated, helpfully without complaint.
-My husband has been super dad and given me multiple hours with only one (and sometimes none) kid. The best was the day after Christmas...he took the boys so I could make a secret trip to the goodwill with old toys and clothes and put away all the Christmas stuff without little people underfoot!
-We have had the opportunity to do such fun things as a family, go ice skating, go out to eat, go Christmas light looking...
-Shawn and I have had two date opportunities and one with the boys staying overnight at Grandma and Grandpas!
-I had the chance to reconnect with a friend from highschool and meet her sweet family.
-We are getting to go up to a friend's lake house for New Years with some of our closest friend's and their kids.

We are blessed. After Christmas can be hard. All the ramp up and suddenly the celebration seems to stop. But when I look at my life, I mean really sit back and take stock...WOW! Not only do I have salvation and a God who has given me eternal life, to spite my sinful nature, but he has blessed me over and over again. Sometimes simple, sometimes awe-striking...He continues to provide far more than I can ask for or imagine...just like His word promises.
And so, when it seems so easy to slip back into the routine and the grind, I am going to work on training my heart. Because when I stop and look for the gifts, I see that God didn't just stop with Christmas and Christ's birth. He kept going and kept giving. I am going to try and do the same. Not just be thankful at Christmas, but keep going. If He did that for me...surely I can do this for Him.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Choosing Joy

With Christmas approaching, I can say my stress level is starting to rise. I am doing my best to keep it at a minimum, but it seems like every time I think I've bought the last present or been to the grocery store for the last ingredient, another item creeps up. The to-do list gets two items added for each thing crossed off and my shoulders start working their way up to my neck. For some reason (namely, my three children) I do not keep mental track of things like I used to and I just start to get stressed that something important is going to slip through the cracks. And in all of this, I get stressed that I am getting stressed and forgetting the meaning behind Christmas.
Due to the various errands and to dos of the season, my children have found themselves in the van and in the grocery carts quite a bit. Drug from here to there, they start to get cranky, then I get cranky. They disobey, I punish. They get mad, I get madder. It's really quite the holiday love fest and I get so disappointed. I want to be super mom, get it all done, have all the patience in the world and be doing the fun Christmasy things I feel I am supposed to do as super mom. This is not to be.
We have been trying to crack down a bit on the defiant behavior anyway, because since the baby has been born, the kids have taken to ignoring directions and throwing fits when we ask them to do stuff. For awhile I think Shawn and I were too tired to care, but recently we have teamed up to get back on track and well, the kids are not liking the follow through and frankly, neither am feels like they are always being punished, because the are pushing every line there is! I am considering letting Gavin take up a permanent residence on his bed since he seems to be sent there so often.
And an effort to make everyone feel better, I have been trying to make a consciencous effort to do Christmas things with my kids and find opportunities to some of the things they want to do and not just fulfill my own agenda. We have made some salt dough ornaments, we went to the children's museum, we went out ice skating, and went to the toys at McDonalds (this is a biggy, cuz they love it and it's just a bit too much for me on a normal day).
It's been nice to feel like I am putting them first. I know in the back of my mind, my kid's are far from deprived and loved well, but lately with all the defiance and disobedience from them, i think we have all felt a lack of joy around here. I am working hard to choose joy and put first things first. Sadly, for me it really is work. I am hoping it soon becomes habit.
Today, after a day where the kids went to the children's museum and got to go ice skating, Gavin got out of bed and was throwing some toy down the hall, thinking no one was nearby. I was so frustrated...a full day of fun for him, it's way past his bed time and he is totally disobeying the rule to stay in bed (might I mention here, he had already had two warnings from his dad to go to sleep and it was about 2 hours past bed time). I was ready to make the kid's life miserable. I snuck around the corner and asked, "Just what do you think you are doing?"
Gavin made a bee line away from me and started heart sunk and then lifted slightly. It sunk, because he was obviously sad he got caught and knew that meant trouble. But it also lifted, because he knew he had done something wrong. I didn't have to punish him for him to know. He was already sad. He was fully aware of what he'd done and what it meant.
I had him come out to the couch and we talked. He knew what he did and that he should have been in trouble. I told him, it wasn't going to happen tonight. Instead, I held him, rubbed his back and sat quietly looking at the Christmas tree with him.
As I sat there, I thanked God for my little boy. I thanked him for how many times he chose to talk to me as I guiltily cried and ran from Him, knowing I deserved punishment. I thanked Him for Jesus who took my punishment. I thanked him for a Christmas moment where on a very small scale I could show my son the mercy and forgiveness His Son has given us.
I thanked Him that because of Jesus, I could choose joy tonight, for me and my son.

Friday, December 10, 2010


Amanda has been a pretty easy baby. She is happy, she sleeps well, and when she's awake she coos at you, all smiles with her big blue eyes. Once a routine was established, she just blended right in.
As child number three, there isn't a great deal of time to sit down with Amanda and do all the things you do with number one. We don't have hours of tummy time on the floor, where I am capturing every moment on film. She has a great deal of swing time and is often left lying on her back to look at the Christmas lights, while I run number 2 to the bathroom or deal with number 1 throwing a tantrum. It's just life as she knows it and she goes along with it pretty well.
I will say, we have had some troubles with her gaining weight. I have taken to feeding her the breast milk in a bottle, just to make sure she's getting enough and even though she gets up to 30 oz. a day, she hasn't gained one ounce in the last two weeks. Today, the doctor made a referral to Children's Hospital's special growth clinic. She seems developmentally right on track, so I haven't been super concerned, but still it was a bit disheartening to hear.
Then, today, during one of those Christmas light gazing moments, I heard a blood curdling scream from Amanda. Somehow, she got a scrape on her forehead. I am pretty sure one of the boys accidentally drug something over her, but I heard a huge wail from her tiny little self. Gavin and Brayden both looked completely innocent and confused as to why she was yelling, which did my heart some good, knowing it wasn't on purpose, but you could still tell she was hurt.
My heart ached and all the sudden I realized I have fallen in love with my little girl. Before today, I knew I loved her and I would have told anyone. But like I mentioned, there hasn't been time with Amanda to sit, gazing at her and contemplating how much she means to me and how amazing it is that God gave her to us to care for. But when I saw the big tears come from her little face, my heart kicked into gear and I realized how completely I love this little girl and how much I wanted to see the tears dried and her ever present smile return.
I am so thankful for Amanda and so glad she is ours. This tiny tiny little girl, who just three months ago entered our world. I pray God would protect her and hold her close. And though I won't be able to dry all the tears she sheds, I hope that I can dry many and even when they fall, she'll know just how much she is loved!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Here is a bit of what we have been up to, in pictures. I feel like the picture loader on this thing takes awhile, but it was high time I put a few new ones on. Of course, typical me...I accidentally got them chronologically backwards and am too lazy to fix it. Oh well...they are still cute! Brayden's year to put the star on the tree. Notice we ran out of lights, but it was past the boys bedtime and we decided to let them top the tree before Shawn ran to Bartells to get the finishing strand!
Amanda's first snow and first time in the snow bear outfit.
The boys were soooo...excited to see the snow and go out and play and soooo sad when it melted.
We now have a super smiler on our hands. This is her usual self if someone is talking to her. Lovely!
Amanda on the morning of her dedication at church.
The boys in Pastor Phil's office as we prayed before service for Amanda's dedication.

Our friend's children who are here visiting from out of the country! We love and miss them so much!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Back to India

Our good friends R & K returned from India this August. K came busting through the trees to meet us at the park for Gavin's fourth birthday. It was like no time had passed. Her contagious smile, excitement to be around people, doing her little dance of joy and handing out hugs. R and the kids were close behind. The kids seemed a foot taller and R seemed, well the same, smirking at how excitable K and I were and commenting on how cute I was as a pregnant person, just because he knew I'd want to hit him for it. It was great to see them both and like no time had passed.
But it had passed. It had been two years since they had moved across the world to spread the gospel to people in India who did not know the love of Jesus. Two incredibly long and short years. Years in which they had traveled to places I've only heard of and seen things I can't comprehend. Years where jobs had changed and our family had caved to the American dream of the minivan. Years in which kids had grown taller and changed drastically.
But then they were here. We got to go out to dinner, play games, eat brownies, have a girls night, eat brownies, talk on the phone, and eat brownies. For three months, I was easily able to reach them by phone. We chatted after church on Sunday and we hung out together. My kids grew to know and love them (who wouldn't...K is amazing with little kids and well, R taught my son of the art of dart gun wars and is now his personal hero, much to my chagrin). My husband and I had a sense of contentment knowing they were living just down the road. Even though they were busy meeting up with friends, visiting family and sharing about their mission, there was a huge comfort in knowing they were just 5 miles away.
Friday night we had our last dinner with them and yesterday at church we hugged good-bye. My throat started to hurt, my eyes welled up and the ache of missing them began to set in. I'll be honest, I know for both of us life goes on. It's busy here with three little ones and from the sounds of it, Indian life is very busy with people and activity. But when I need someone to ask parenting advice from, when I have a question about the Bible, when I am need someone to hold me accountable, when I want to vent or to share a story of something lame I did that is too funny not to share, but too embarrassing to tell most people, when I need prayer, when I need brownies and laughter...I miss them terribly. I love these people.
It usually happens at night, at the end of a long day...Shawn or I will turn to the other and say, "I miss R & K." The other will say, "Me too." And we'll just lay there for awhile talking about how much they have brought to our lives and trying to convince ourselves that India needs them more than we do. I think my head knows that's true, but I am still trying to convince my heart.
It was so fun to have them here. SO great for my kids to KNOW the people in the picture we pray for. To ask for their kids to come play and to talk about them with the excitement we have. It was, as K would say, "a sweet season".
And so I am trying to be thankful for the time and not consider the loss that comes this Friday when they board the plane. Afterall, I am not the one headed back to India. I am not leaving all my family and friends. I am not entering a culture and world so far removed from this one and so challenging. I am trying to remember this and pray for R & K, as their transition is a thousand times harder than any of their friends back home. But still...I will miss them. I am so proud to call them friends and proud of the calling they have and they're fortitude to follow Jesus, no matter where He asks them to go.
They will be back in a year and a half. Yes a great deal will change, but I have a feeling the key things probably won't change at all and that comforts me. Plus, I still have my calling card and can always remind myself, a year and a half really isn't that long...especially in the scheme of eternity, right?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Listening to Words

My kids have been testing me and I think I am beginning to get an inkling of just how much God loves us and how often I must break His heart each day. The boys have been in constant disobedience, not listening to my words or heeding my advice. They are not getting along with each other well and they are often treating each other very poorly. They are making decisions that hurt themselves and have consequences that they do not like. They are being disciplined and rebuked quite often. I keep saying, "PLEASE listen to my words!"
I wonder how often God is saying this to us..."PLEASE LISTEN! Life would be so much better if you did." I know it wouldn't be all roses and sunshine (afterall, we do live in Washington) but I also know there would be less need for discipline and rebuke. I wouldn't cry out in frustration so much, I wouldn't get shocked when things didn't work out and I would treat others the way they deserve.
I think to myself of all the things we do to take care of our kids. To bless them. To treat them. To try and raise them right. And I think of how their little 4, 2 and 0 year old selves have no idea the lengths we go to and the sacrifices we make in order to make this happen. I think of how far God went, sending his only Son, to try and make things right...and how my 32 year old self has no real comprehension of the sacrifice He made. It is beyond me.
But I am beginning to get an inkling,just an inkling, of the great love He has for us and how much He wants the best for us. I am starting to understand how our obedience blesses Him, how listening to His words makes Him happy, because He knows it is for our best. How thanking Him for all the things He has given us, pleases Him and warms His heart.
I can say, in the midst of the chaos and difficult days at the Ryan house, I am grateful that I have been learning more about God the Father...the Ultimate parent. And hopefully, I will do a better job listening to His words as I ask my kids to listen to mine. Because where else will they learn it?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Hard weekend

It was a tough weekend at the Ryan house. A week where, try as I might, the kids don't seem to want to behave and I don't quite feel like the mom I want to be. Shawn was gone on the annual football trip, Gav was on his asthma meds and I was attached to a breast pump due to loss of milk (I got the flu) and Amanda has some weirdo rash we can't get rid of. Lovely. (Amanda also doesn't seem to be gaining weight like they want her to, but proceeds to spit out half of what she's fed, so who knows what to do there. She seems developmentally great and looks healthy, so I am letting that go for now.) was one of those times where I just sat down in despair, feeling as though all I had done for three days straight is discipline my children. NOTHING was going right. I was doing my best to be consistent, but I finally broke and called my friend Stephanie crying...
"Just tell me I'm a good mom."
Oh bless Stephanie...she came through with a friend pep talk like no other and gave me a few words I think I'll be clinging to for awhile..."It's only been four days, they won't remember these four days."
Kids are resiliant and I think I forget that. They remember the train we took them on, they remember the pillow pet they got, the games we played and the special things we do. Sure, there are times they remember a punishment we doled out, but is that so bad...if sitting on your bunk bed for 30 minutes while your brother got to play games helps you remember not to throw the game pieces at your brother's head, PLEASE remember!
I think, as moms we can get down on ourselves for not having a day full of all positive reinforcement, arts and crafts, healthy snacks and hugs in between. I don't know where that reality is, but somehow I have a picture that days should go that way. My days don't. Yesterday we had chewies for snacks, no crafts what so ever and a quite a few corrections had to be made. However, I can say...there were hugs in between. And for now, in this season, I think I'm going to be proud of that.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Calling it good

Now, with three, we are settling into a little routine. What I am finding with this routine is that there is little time for mommy and what time mommy does have, she is more likely to plop down in front of the TV, read a book, or fall into bed, than to attempt productivity. Overall, however, we are getting the essentials taken care of. Here are a few of the things we are proud of:
-We can get out the door and to appointments by 8:15 am if necessary.
-I have managed to refinance the house and take bids on and order a new furnace within the last two weeks. This means lots of paper work, phone calls and appointments, all without locking the children up to accomplish it (:
-We have all (including mom and dad) made it to the Dr. at least once if not twice in the last two weeks and I have remained relatively positive and sympathetic.
-I think I have finally managed to correct the craziness with our medical benefits and I have successfully saved myself money by calling and discovering I do NOT in fact have to pay the bills!
-I have written up meal plans/recipies/ and grocery lists for up to four weeks
-I have exercised every morning for 10 days in a row (for those that know my laziness tendencies, this is a miracle unto itself)
-Brayden has been wearing underwear out of the house and staying dry!
-Amanda has been sleeping through the night for the last week and a half...YEE-HAW!

Here are some of the things that have fallen to the wayside:
-The bathroom has been cleaned once in the last three or four weeks
-Not only have I been reheating old coffee, just to get some, I find myself using whatever to stir in the creamer. Today it was the medicine syringe, yesterday the end of a ballpoint pen.
-The children are not bathed as often as they used to be...I refuse to count the days anymore (I believe this task falls exponentially with each child)
-Last night we told our son who was crying to brush his teeth, that he couldn't...yes we are that desperate to get them into bed.
-I have started to let Brayden play with playdough all by himself...this is huge for my cleanliness issues.
-I haven't changed the kids sheets in forever and when Gav had a wet night I actually considered leaving them on, because they weren't that wet...only for a second though, but still, YUCK!
-I have been sporting a mom ponytail that I am not proud of, far more frequently than I would like.

All in all, I think the pluses are outweighing the minuses. I think it's going well. I am sad I have not found as much time to document their progress. I am lucky the pictures have been uploaded, but not developed for a long long time. I don't get on this here blog nearly as often as I'd like and Amanda's scrapbook...oh wait, I haven't even gotten her one yet! But the kids usually have smiles, and are clothed, fed and loved on a daily basis. I"m calling it good! Here are some recent pics...

Friday, October 15, 2010

5 weeks old and counting

Amanda is five weeks old now and life has settled down into a routine. It actually settled far faster than I anticipated. I think, for me, number three just added a bit more juggling to the chaos that is life with toddlers. It wasn't the huge transition I was anticipating. It's been good.
We have had our moments. Amanda has reflux and whereas, Gavin and Brayden were huge on the spitting up, she takes it to a new level. She would do it in her sleep, choke on it, soak herself and wake us all up. I did finally succumb to medication and it's helping. She has always been a pretty routine eater and sleeper, but the last week, with the medicine she has kicked it into high gear and has slept consistently 5 hours a time at night. Last night we got six! Wahoo!!! Needless to say, this has mommy feeling better too (:
She is quite the trooper, keeping up with the family and going where we need to go. Yesterday, the kids and I all trooped out to Gavin's make up soccer game in the pouring down rain. It was awesome (insert sarcasm here). Amanda in the front pack, Brayden in his rain jacket, me holding the ginormous umbrella (which is quite heavy) in one hand and a Starbucks in the other. Afterwards, we trooped back to the van and stripped down all our muddy clothes, boots, rain gear etc. Through all of this she didn't udder a peep. Now dealing with the wet, cranky 4 & 2 year olds was a different issue altogether, but Amanda was little work in the whole process. Like I said...there would be chaos with or without her. We are glad it's with her.
She is finally getting to be a bit more alert and even smiling every now and then. When they are open, she has wide eyes and they look promising to be as blue as the boys'. She is quite the charmer when she wants to be. I see a lot of Gavin in her, but when she pouts, she has a very Brayden like expression. It is fun to see the resemblance.
The boys are quite taken with her. Bray is still a bit rough around the edges, just wanting to be involved and well, Gav is in love with her. He'd hold her all the time if he could and is constantly asking if her eyes are open. If they are, he is right there talking to her. Quite sweet. (His behavior to other people has been terribly rude and naughty lately, but with his sister, he seems to have a special soft spot.)
Well, that's the baby update for now. I want to get back into blogging, as it is my goal to have some sort of record for the kids of their growing years. I have a feeling it will be a tad more sporadic now, but hopefully they'll have something to look back on. And Brayden...if you read this later in life, I want you to order to type even this much...our kitchen table just got colored on and decoupaged with Thomas stickers thanks to you. I love you're gonna get in trouble!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I will...

So...needless to say, the updates are coming less frequently. I am lucky to get my e-mail checked on the computer, let alone a blog entry! I used to be the mom who uploaded, edited and sent pictures to the printer once a month and I am on such a backlog, my type A anxiety is starting to catch up with will I ever get caught up?
Here is the conclusion I have come to: I won't. I won't ever be done with laundry, I won't ever have all the dishes/toys/clothes put away, I won't ever walk through the house without finding a renegade hotwheel, I won't ever have all the bibs or burp clothes smelling fresh at one time. I won't have all my thank yous written in a one day turn around time, I won't have a home cooked meal every night (or possibly every other night), I won't be able to wash my hair every day, I won't have our living room free from toys and I won't have my van floor as clean as I'd like.
All these things when written down, seem a tad petty and not necessary at all. However, on a daily basis, when they all add up and stare at me, I can get quite overwhelmed. However...I am making it a goal to try and think of all the things that I will (or will at least try to) do instead.
I will play with my kids. I will read books, I will take advantage of the sun when it's shining and go on matter how short. I will laugh with my children and be silly. I will compliment my kids and husband. I will work hard to teach my kids right and wrong, to be humble, gentle, patient and to love one another. I will work hard to not raise my voice in frustration. I will teach my kids to sing loud and often, even if they are tone deaf like their mom and I will have dance parties with them. I will spend time taking mental pictures of my baby and enjoying her life that is flying by, because she is my last and is already so big! I will pray. I will pray. I will pray.
It's hard as a mom to look past the "to-do list" and think of all that is not getting done. At least it is for me. But it is a resolution, that I am going to at least try. I will try.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Watching them Grow

Well, we are approaching week two of Manda's life and time does indeed fly. I will say, so far I am in agreement with the statement, "the transition from three to two is easier than one to two." I am not sure why, maybe it's because, once you pass one child, chaos just insues, but it has been easier than I imagined. Granted, we haven't done any huge trips yet or ventured to the grocery store alone, but we do get out and manage to get where we are going in a relatively timely manner. Heck, the family even braved Chuck E. Cheese for a birthday...I consider that a feat.
The boys are adjusting relatively well. Adding a new child is definintely bringing their personalities to light. I am finding Gav to be an extravert and struggling with staying at home more and less "people time." He talks even more than he used to (if that's possible) and if people come, he is usually right there vying for some interaction. He is constantly coming up with ideas where to go and what to do and if we are at home, he pesters Brayden to play with him, usually trying to convince him to do what he wants to do.
OUr new punishment when Gavin acts out for attention is time in his room...trying to teach him the fine art of playing alone. He does not like it and you will regularly hear him yell out, "Am I done, cuz I've been in here a long long time." Three minutes constitutes a long long time for this little guy and we are working on expanding that. He's getting better.
Brayden is proving to be a home body who has actually fared well not leaving the house too much. We are finding he is good at imagination and playing by himself. He loves to dress up, is constantly having his "men" talk to each other and you hear noises from all sorts of transportation items come from his mouth. It is really quite fascinating the difference between the two. Brayden often wants to do his own thing and resents Gavin butting in. Sometimes, miracle of all miracles, they play super well together and it is quite fun to watch their little minds and how they work.
Amanda's a trooper. She is on a pretty fixed three hour schedule and sometimes goes longer at night. She would sleep her day away if we let her, so the boys and I work on talking to her on the ground or giving her baths during the day, to get a little awake time in. She really does seem to love her brothers voices and usually will stop fussing to watch them. I just watch her carefully, knowing, unless God has other plans, this is our last. There is a part of me that grieves each day she gets bigger. I want to savor the baby stage, knowing we won't return again. It is a sweet time.
Dad went back to school pretty early on and is trying to catch up on the beginning of the year stuff. It's hard, but from what I hear, it sounds like he's doing a good job. I know he's doing his best to get home and be a good dad and has started a ritual of climbing onto the top bunk with the boys to read books at night. They love it and it's their time together. I love it means the day is winding down!
All in all, life is good and I am thankful for my sweet children and the joy of watching them grow into the people God made them to be. It's a fun season and I am trying to soak it all in before time flies away.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Amanda Kathleen Ryan

Well, she's here! Last Friday I was induced. They broke my water and three hours later, out she came...little Manda. 7lbs 12 ounces and 20.5 inches long, born at 11:03 am on Sept. 10th. We love her to pieces.
I will say it was a bittersweet day. Two hours after Amanda arrived, we received a phone call that Shawn's Grandpa (who we love and adore) was in the emergency room across the hospital with serious bowel twisting issues and doctors conferencing to see if surgery was even an option, due to his frail health. He underwent a minor surgery that day, but also had two mini heart attacks and things were not looking good. He pulled through though and a week later is on his way home to a more elaborate care system, but at least no hospital.
Amanda has blended into the family well. The boys love her and Gavin is especially attentive to her every cry. She's doing great at night and already sleeping in four hour chunks (PRAISE THE LORD). We hope to keep this up, but I am not holding my breathe. Just about the time you count on a baby for any consistency, they tend to change it up on you (:
Life seems to be a marathon right now. Gavin started preschool and soccer and MOPS, which I volunteered to help with started. Also, Wednesday nights at church starts up next week, where I lead a small group of girls and, after taking two days off, Shawn is back at work trying to figure out life as a principal and make sure to get home in time to spend QT with the kiddos.
In the midst of it all I am trying to figure out how to juggle caring for my husband, the kids, my house and a newborn. I am finding it especially hard, seeing as we plan on this being our last baby. I don't want to miss a moment and I want the time to cuddle and play with her like a firstborn, but it just is not to be. I have two little men who are far more aware and in need of attention right now and one big man who is working like crazy to care for his family, who needs my support.
All of this has helped me to appreciate the nightime feedings more. It's our time together, just me and my baby. I will admit to watching TV quite a bit, but I also use it to pray over her and soak in her tininess, that is already changing so much!
It's a new season, one I will admit to being apprehensive about, but also excited for. We have our complete family (unless God has a surprise out there...), a family of five. Crazy, scary, exciting and oh so blessed!!!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Coming this Friday?

So, as of my Dr. Appointment yesterday, we are scheduled to get induced on week early. It was the same scenario with Brayden and I heard the Dr. udder the same words,
"I'll be surprised if you make it until then."
This did not sit super well, seeing as Shawn's first day of school (as a principal) was the next day and to put it mildly, this would be the poorest timing EVER! Last time the Dr. said that, I had Brayden the next night!
Off I went and about an hour later, the contractions started. I had them all day. I finally laid down during naptime and that helped. I also tried to sit down as much as possible, willing them to go away. Shawn had also gotten in the car that morning and found it barely started and the check engine light on so we were having to schedule a trip to the mechanic that night. Oh anddid i mention we just paid an obscene amount to fix the van and had a huge crack appear in the van windshield, which we needed to schedule a replacement for? He did not need this.
I am sure God was rolling his eyes a bit as I began to reverse my utterings from, "Get this baby out" to "Please God, give her one more day in there!". I just want my husband to avoid mental breakdown...the poor guy has been such a trooper with all life has thrown at him lately.
Anyway...I decided it's a good thing I'm not God, cuz if I had to listen to all my whining about things, I would have probably taken a little delight in causing the baby to come today. However, our God is far more gracious than I. I woke up this morning with very few contractions and Shawn got all dressed up for the first day and off he went.
I have been reminded constantly of the verse, "For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you." It is a verse quoted frequently in Christian circles, because it is often an encouragement. In this instance I was made aware of how selfishly I use it. I consider it a verse for ME. But in reality, it is a verse for all God's children. God has plans not just for me, but for my little girl and my husband too...plans that are good for them and to keep them from harm's way. Those are plans I need to take into account, be grateful for, and recognize that they may be more important than the plans I have.
Today I am thankful for a God who is so gracious and cares for those I love so much better than I ever could. I am still excited to meet my little girl. I still am ready to not be pregnant. And as far as I can see, Friday would be great...if it's in God's plans.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Turning Four

Tomorrow Gavin turns four. We held his birthday party at a park in Country Village that offers train rides. We had a small handful of his friends and their families show up. The kids got to ride the train, make a craft and then we had lunch and cake. It was quick and fun and required little clean-up...PERFECT!
It has been slightly confusing for Gavin. We have been talking about turning four for so long, but due to the fact that we had a baby coming and we weren't sure about the weather (the train rides aren't offered on rainy days) we didn't really tell him about his party or build it up at all, in case we had to cancel. (I can imagine nothing worse than saying...sorry dude, no party, no train, maybe next year.) One day he woke up and we were like, "Hey, today you're having a party!". It was still very fun for him, but I am sad about him missing out on the build-up to the big day.
After his party he and his brother passed out in the car. We went to wake him up and the first thing he said, as he wipes his sleepy eyes is, "Am I going to school now?" Not quite yet kiddo.
Tomorrow is the actual day and I am trying to explain that to him too. I should just let it go, but I want to celebrate and I know the kids won't be disappointed with a cupcake or two. Plus we haven't given him his presents yet.
He keeps informing me he is "bigger" and doesn't need my help as much. It is good to see him becoming more independent, as he has always been my one who doesn't like to struggle through things, but breaks down in frustration. Suddenly, at four, he has a new tenacity. It is sweet to see his spirit grow, helpful to have him figure things out, frustrating to see him insist on trying things that are well beyond his big four years, and heartbreaking to watch my firstborn grow up.
I am a mixture of emotions watching my child and I am thankful for the insight into God's eyes as to the complications of a parents love. I want to cheer him on, discipline him, push him forward and hold him back all at the same time. I can't imagine how God goes through this on a global level, so intensely for all of his children. My heart is overwhelmed by just a few.
Still, my heart is fuller with each day and each year that passes. I think I am going to like four...I also know that five will come way too soon!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Favorite discussion as of late

Gavin: Mom I want to be a front loading garbage truck when I get bigger and bigger.

Me: Well, you can't be a garbage truck, but maybe you can be a garbage man.

Gav: But whhhhhy? You said I can be anything I want.

Me: I decided I was wrong.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Upcoming arrival

I will admit I am starting to get a tad nervous about the arrival of this baby. Not so much the actual addition to the family as the event itself. With daddy working a 45 minute commute in the opposite direction of the hospital and my last child coming 2.5 hours from when the first contraction hit (well, technically from when my water broke) I am starting to play out various scenarios in my head of how to make SURE I get to the hospital. Brayden's wasn't the easiest delivery and let's just say, things would not have gone well for him or for me if we were not at a medical center.
I know in my head God has it all under control, however my type A, overly organized self keeps giving Him some great ideas of how it could work out. You would think after listening to Gavin all day long, telling me how he thinks the day should go and whining "Whhhhhy?" when I say I have different plans, I would let up on God. But it still doesn't stop me. I am sure I am far more obnoxious than my four year old, continually pestering him with my plans, thoughts, and frustrations at not getting my way. I mean really...I, at least, should know better. Gav is just learning.
In the end, I will be interested to hear this little one's story. Both the boys had quite the different entries and stories on their way in...I am looking forward to knowing the end of this one's journey into the world.
Tomorrow is an ultra sound and I am also looking forward to making sure she is still a "she". I still have a hard time believing this, but they better have gotten it right or I maybe posting a desperate need for boy things, seeing as all mine have been given away or consigned, not to mention he'll be sleeping on flowered sheets!
I am also looking forward to seeing how big they think she is. Well, at least I think I am. We'll see after the results! It should be interesting...the hardest part will be walking out and not beginning a monologue with God to tell him my new plan after I receive all the new information. I am already praying for a peaceful spirit and a willingness to hand over the information and let Him have his way. I just hope He gives me more grace than I give many lessons to learn here. More grace to Gavin and more time with my mouth shut...tough ones!

Thursday, August 12, 2010


Gavin and Brayden have found their "backpacks". Gav's is a little blue one his Mimi and Papa have brought back from Italy and Bray's is a little frog one that Gavin got two Christmas' ago. They have been sporting them around the house, climbing on the couch, aka the "bus", and riding to school. Suddenly, school is the game of the day.
Gavin takes it quite seriously. "No Bray, you wear the back pack like this," as he puts it on both arms. "Otherwise, it's a purse." He tells Brayden how the bus works at that the backpack holds your stuff for school. Then he tells Bray what he thinks school is like. It is fun to listen to his rendition of how a school day goes.
Brayden, slings his little arms through and drives his pretend bus around. Sometimes he sticks his hand in the pack and makes the frog hop around saying ribbit ribbit. Sometimes he unzips it totally and puts it on his head. Either way, he is seriously adorable and a total crack up.
There is a small, but good example of the difference in my boys. Shawn and I were talking just last night about how different they are and how much we love their opposite in so many ways. I remember my mom saying to me, "I don't love you or your sister better, I just love you different." I thought it was a cop out and she was trying to smoothly get out of my tactless question. But I think I finally get it.
I can say, as I watch both acting ready for school, in their different ways, I get sad already. I know come fall when Gavy really sports that backpack for the first day of preschool I will get emotional (the pregnancy hormones do not help). He really is so ready. As for Bray, I am glad he's still just 2, because as he walks around telling me he's "going school, mom" my heart and whole being says, no way Jose! I'm not ready to let that little guy go yet. Fortunately the rules tell me I can't! I have a whole year to prepare my heart to let him go too. I think it might take that long!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The to-dos and of late

I am finally feeling like we are catching up with life around here. We are also preparing to get ready for baby. I laugh when I look at my to-do list, it looks like an excerpt from some Good-Housekeeping article. However, I have crossed much off in the last two weeks and though they may seem silly, feel pretty good about the recent accomplishments.
  • Reorganized all the kids clothes (including consigning a ton and packing up hand me downs), made room and put away baby's clothes too!
  • Finished off the "ode to girl" in the crib corner of the room.
  • Caught up on Gavin's scrapbook and only have about 4 pages left to catch up on Bray's.
  • Got as far as possible in the baby book we bought for little girl.
  • Made 2 sets of six freezer meals for the frozen food exchange I am a part of.
  • Made Gavin's birthday invites (for his very small party) and bought his birthday present.
  • Washed and sterilized all bottles and breast pump paraphernalia.
  • Sorted through and found house hiding spots for all the baby "stuff"...burp clothes, crib sheets, blankets, changing pads, diapers, etc.
  • Made room in the kitchen for bottles, paci's and other baby things that inevitably need room in a cupboard.
  • Made a drawer of baby toys in the living room.
  • Cleaned the rest of the office closet and reorganized the boys toys...eliminating some.
  • Updated all our bills to online payment and created an excel budget sheet.
  • Packed my bag and the baby's bag for the hospital.
  • Made over5 phone calls to update various aspects of life...from new insurance to making an appointment to get the van's automatic door fixed (let's just say, being 8 months pregnant and climbing into a van to help buckle the kids has stunk).
  • Did major grocery shopping trip for the month.
I will admit to having a day without children (thank you Grandma Joan) that helped make this all possible and an hour and a half one morning without kids (thank you Holly Moe) to make phone calls. It is amazing what can be accomplished without is also amazing how much I miss them and love hearing about all they did in our time apart.
Overall, it feels nice to be relatively caught up. Sometimes I do feel like the minute I cross something off my list, I am also writing something onto it. It reminds me of my days at work, where I would intentionally write down things I'd already done, just so I could cross more things off! But in the end, I believe we are at the point where the baby could come, the kids would have food and I would be in a pretty good state.
I am starting to get really tired by the end of the day and I am looking forward to having a little more agility and desire to be out running with the boys. I think they are ready for baby to come too. Gavin is constantly asking about his sister and Brayden is always wondering when we are going to the baby dr..
I am trying to enjoy my last few weeks with just the boys. I am noticing Brayden is getting so big and using sentences and I am a tad sad that he won't be my baby. He is too funny and turning into the family ham. I can tell he is ready to not be the baby anymore. Gavin is definitely turning into a huge nurturer and will be a great biggest brother. But I still want to capture a bit of this time with just my boys to save in my heart. It is so sweet.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

summer update

So, this summer I am horrible at getting back into the office to catch up on this here blog. It doesn't help, that my super trooper, Brayden, learned to let himself in through the gate and refuses to obey when I tell him to stay out. Since the office is currently a dumping zone for paper work, baby stuff, Shawn's school supplies,'s also seen as a cornucopia of treasures by my two sons. The words "stay out" mean nothing to their little ears.
I digress.
Here is the quick catch up. I am very pregnant. Bleck. Never the one to love pregnancy, I do not feel the glow and for the first time ever I want to waddle. I have to make a mental note to walk with my feet pointed forward and my legs together. I often get the highly overrated comment, "aren't you so cute?". And though it is said with good intention and sweet meaning, I must say, I get a tad irritated. "Yes, adorable. I think when the baby comes I'll just shove an over inflated basketball up my shirt because it really is just SOOOOO cute." I know these people are just being nice and I really need to work on my gracious attitude.
I think there is something about being short that people associate with cute. I don't know what it is, but that is all I can conclude. Because at this point I am bigger than when both Gavin and Brayden were born and I would argue it's not cute. It's pregnant.
All that said, we are making some progress on getting ready for the baby. We got all the stuff out of the attic and it's in the laundry room. I'll attack the laundry room later. I don't know what happened to the bottles, but am just thankful that we found the misplaced carseat. Yes, out of everything, the two things we couldn't find were the carseat and bottles...we're off to a great start!
The boys are doing good. I think they too are ready for baby. Especially Gavin. He's been very curious and protects anything we say is for his sister. "Bray, get out of the crib, that's our sister's. Braaaaayden, don't touch those shoes, their for our sister." It's really quite cute. He wants to know if she'll talk or walk and he doesn't think she should, which is good, no disappointment there.
Brayden is going to have a rude awakening when mom can actually get off the floor again in under a minute. Right now he gets away with so much because, well...he can get away. The other day as he ran away from me I just sat on the floor of his room yelling, "When this baby comes, you are toast little man." He looked back with a huge grin and replied, "Mommy so silly."
We'll see whose the last to laugh little buddy.
Aside from baby, the boys are enjoying their summer. We went to a cabin with some friends and had multiple days at a river to throw rocks, play, swim and create our own dams. They LOVED it. Gavin asks to go back every day and has cried often when we say no.
Both boys are in swim lessons and doing great. Bray has really suprised us by doing so well. His fearless nature works for him, but he has also sat in his class and obeyed relatively consistently. He definitely gets kudos for his behavior and improvement. (Unfortunately, the more familiar he gets with the water, the more testing he does, but still...he's not even two and a half and doing what the four year olds are doing...). He is so fun to watch too. He smiles so much, he is constantly swallowing water. Even when he is ducked under, he comes up coughing and grinning.
Dad is working hard, at his new job and at home. He has been at his new school nearly everyday and in the yard most nights. He has both getting into shape and I am quite proud of all he's doing in both places. He does say he is looking forward to August and actually having some of his staff back at school to talk to, but relishes the the time to get things done uninterrupted.
I am just enjoying the more laid back season of sunny days. It finally arrived and I do love it. I love being out back with the kids and spending some time in the yard. I have gotten in my fair share of yard work and do enjoy looking at the results. I also love hearing my boys playing together out back and enjoying their imaginations and God's creation. It's so simple and so enjoyable.
Welp. That's the update here for now. Hopefully I'll get some motivation to post some pics soon, but seeing as I just ordered all our pictures dating back to Christmas, we'll see. (Yes, Christmas...for those of you who know me well, this is so out of the mighty type A's fall when toddlers prevail.) Either way, I am hoping to do a slightly better job here on the ol' blog. As a true Washingtonian, I can only say...if the sun's out, I make no promises and no commitments.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The worm sprinkler

For Brayden's birthday, his Grandma gave him a worm sprinkler. It's about 30 little worms that stand up with sun hats and squirt water out of their mouth. That was in April...the kids have been waiting to use for what feels like forever.
We have had to improvise with "summer" ideas, since the sun has foresaken us up to this point. Fortuately, dad has been home earlier and we have had some extra hands to do things like bike rides and park trips, zoo trips and visiting friends. Dad and mom have even managed to squeeze in a few dates!
All in all, we have kept busy and enjoyed being a family, but I can say we miss the sun and we are a tad sad that the summer vacation plans we normally make have been waylaid in leu of Shawn's new job and a baby on the way. We have a few tiny get aways planned and Shawn and I are trying very hard to keep our chins up and not lament over lack of a real "vacation". I have a pretty lousy attitude about it and would like to GO! Our boys of course are completely oblivious and just happy to have more of dad home and anticipating use of the worm sprinkler.
We finally got it out the other day for an hour of sun. The boys stripped down and ran naked...full of screaming delight. They couldn't have been more happy, until the clouds rolled in and mom and dad made them call it quits. I told them they could use it again when the sun arrived.
Today is the big day. It's supposed to be 80 all week, ideal worm sprinkler weather. The boys can hardly contain themselves. Worm sprinklers and popscicles...that's apparently all it takes. Shawn and I, once again could learn a lesson from these two crazy nuts. I have a lovely backyard, two amazingly funny little boys, a wonderful husband, sugar on a stick and water flowing from a worms mouth. I really don't need to go anywhere...maybe I could just ship my attitude. (:

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

potty training...we did it?

So, for those of you that have followed the blog, you may know that potty training Gav was a nightmare and something that made me realize, I was going to have to let my dream go of having a child follow "the rules" I had made about certain behaviors or attitudes. Sometimes, you just have to adjust according to your child, not have your child adjust according to you. I am happy to say he now confidently uses the potty, but we definitely took the long road.
Well, I decided, with baby "Sparky" on the way, we should at least give Brayden a concept of what it means to use the potty. Since the baby should be here in less than three months (which feels like forever at this point, but I know is certain to be much sooner than I think) I wanted to try and see how far we got. I figured, even if he just realized that pee goes in the potty and did it a few times, he could then practice while the baby was here and maybe, just maybe we could try again when the baby was about 4 months old and get Bray potty trained by three.
Now, I hadn't given up all hope that the "potty train in a day" theory would work and I decided to give it my all for two days and see where we were. Dad and Gavin left the house and Brayden and I spent the day in the kitchen. I pumped him full of juice (which he rarely gets, especially not without me completely watering it down) and threw some underwear on. He peed on every chair. My floor is much cleaner than normal, due to the amount of wiping I did.
However, come mid-day, we got it. He went in the potty and cried when I tried to take his "unerwares" in exchange for a diaper at naptime.
As of day two, he went in the potty all day, until two little accidents at night. I was shocked! And frankly a tad overwhelmed that it worked so well I'd have to stick with it. He loves his underware and he is actually pretty good at telling us he has to go. We still have accidents and I still have to do reminders a lot, but he's going. Once again, my kids teach me about expectations.
I am interested to see where we are by the end of the week. I am proud of the little guy. I am also interested to see how much our water bill is, seeing as Bray only seems to go when you let him flush the toilet!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Recent photos

Here are just some recent photos of the boys. I thought it captured their spirits quite well. gav at the zoo, wide eyed and thuroughly enjoying an adventure with lots of "why's" and "what's that's". And Brayden...enjoying the beach waaaaay too much.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Things I'll Miss

So, as I am going through this mothering journey, there are things that happen on a daily basis that I lately I have been thinking to myself, "someday I'll be done with this." Some of these things are the things I keep waiting to be done with (like whining, wait...I think I still whine to my mom) others are just things that come naturally with the boy's reminding the boys to wash their hands before meals and after a potty stop. Here are just a few things that have caught my attention as of late:
-Stepping on hotwheels, after I thought we put them all away
-Having Brayden's feet run into my room in the morning (after I have yelled from bed that he can come find me) and his little face climbing up next to me at 6:30 am, whispering "bekfast, mama?"
-Heading out into a parking lot or sidewalk and automatically holding my hand behind me to have Gavin take it
-Finding marbles in my slippers and other various obscure locations
-Having to remind the kids not to squeeze the juice boxes to avoid the squirt in the face
-Picking up Brayden's shoes off the floor of the van and removing his socks from his hands, because he likes to play sock puppets every time we drive
-Pretending I am buzz lightyear as we all hold hands and jump off the fireplace yelling, "to infinity and beyond" in our superman shirts (yes, I own a superman shirt and I think Gavin thinks the capes on their pajamas makes them like buzz light year...i don't get it, I just go with it)
-Having babywipes at my disposal for all sorts of great uses
-Answering the question "why" or "what" a million times a day, because my child thinks I know everything (which I do...of course)
-Tying shoes
-Zipping coats
-Cutting up food
-Having my children believe three skittles does count as a dessert
-Reminding Gavin, at least once a week, that he is too young to drive
-Lifting the kids in and out of the grocery carts
-Having macaroni be a "special favorite" meal
-Having spontaneous hugs to my legs all day long, from Brayden, who just randomly seems to decide he needs to love someone
-Having Gavin insist he can't go to bed because he forgot to kiss me good-night

I am not sure why the melancholy has set in. Maybe it's because Gavin is getting taller, he's thinning out, running faster and needing me less and less. I see a kid instead of a little boy. Brayden is growing up so much faster than Gav, with a big brother to watch. He is so independent and no longer a baby, trying to dress himself, get his shoes and hat on and opening doors to go, far before I am ready. No matter what the source, I suppose it has helped me in these past rainy weeks of grumpiness. Trying to appreciate these little guys I have and be grateful for the sometimes irksome, but in the end, endearing little things. I am trying to store in my heart, because someday they will cease to exist.
Well, who knows, maybe macaroni will always be a "special favorite" and not a last resort? We can always hope.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Doin' good

Life has been busy! Shawn has been working lots and it seems with all these "endings" the schedule is filling up...graduations, wedding showers, retirement parties, birthday parties, etc., etc. Good, but tiring.
The boys have been growing up a great deal and I am starting to see Brayden become a big boy and Gavin become a "kid". Bray is using mini sentances...the most common being, "I have it." He is also getting down the singing, though he loves to make up his own songs and march around, his favorite by far is Happy Birthday. Gav is starting to learn the fine art of negotiation. A common retort to me saying, I don't think so is..."Well, mom, we can always check and see." My personal favorite is, "Okay, let's just talk about it later." Hoping that maybe then I'll agree. It's all I can do not to laugh.
Not much new with me. I got away for a three day weekend, courtesy my mom. She treated both my sister and I to a retreat and it was AWESOME! I missed my boys terribly though and after a day and a half back, I am not entirely sure where my head was. (Just kidding...they are cute and I love them.)
Shawn's work is winding down. Two more days as a dean, a week or two more left with the summer school job and of July first he is down to one job, as a principal! Wahoo! We keep meaning to go celebrate, but thus far our schedules are packed with celebrating others. I think we are looking forward to July for that one!
Beyond that, no real news. As Gav says, we're "doin' good." I'm happy with that!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


So as it turns out, I have made a post, only accidentally to my husband's Principal blog...whoops!

Anyway...this rain is going to be the end of me. I am fresh out of rainy day ideas and seeing as it's June, I don't think I should have to come up with them. Gavin said it best this morning,
"It's rainy out. And a little bit foggy...again. No picnic."
Sorry kid. We can have one on the floor, but we're definitely not making our park date.
We've done the mall toys, we've done the Barnes and Noble train table and book purchase, we've had friends over, we've played hide and seek, I don't know how many times. I am a loyal Washingtonian, but even I am discouraged and lamenting the curse of the rain. I'd be fine if it were February, but it's not.
I think I am one of many moms who are praying fervently for sunshine. Please oh please Lord!!!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A small tribute to consistancy

My children have been cleaning up after themselves. It started with Gavin. I told him it was time for lunch and miraculously heard, "Just a minute mom, I want to put my train set away." Huh?
"Uh, okay, Gav. Great idea! Way to go!"
The last week, he has been relatively consistant on wanting to clean up his room for me. So much so, that I actually had to stop him, so he could just get in bed for nap time.
Catching on to the obscene amount of praise I am doling out for this act, Bray has started putting his things "way". Before nap, he will run and find a toy to put "way." Or after book reading run and put his books back. It's awesome!
Considering that there are many moments this blog is a journey of the crazy ideas my kids have or wild adventures they take me on...I decided, I would give a shout out to when things work. Here it is! Waa-hoooo!!!!

Not abused

My sons have an abused look about them lately. What is it with boys? It's like they attract corners, hard objects and anything that may cause their skin to turn interesting shades of blue, purple and yellow! I usually feel like I am pretty protective about not doing dangerous things, but these kids seem to have a magnatism for accidents.
Brayden is currently sporting a black eye...from a fall I did not witness, but did hear from the other room. (There is a suspicion here that a certain older brother was involved, however no confirmation.) He also has some lovely bite marks (confirmed: from afore mentioned older brother) on his arm and a lovely new purple bump developing on his head from a fall taken at church today (witnesses were there to attest, it was not from lack of parenting, but merely an accident). Gavin is finishing off a black eye, from a run in with the car door (also witnessed by friends) and both children have shin bruises that I can only say come from being little boys. (I am slightly suspicious that it may have something to do with how they climb the bunk bed ladders and use their shins as resting spots.)
I am considering having Brayden wear his helmet on all occasions and just carrying ice packs with me wherever we go. The good news is...our pictures were taken last month. Bruise free. This is me finding a bright side.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


Well, the big news here is DADDY GOT A PRINCIPAL JOB! Yay for all dad's hardwork! We will post some details on that later, when we have it figured out a bit more. (He's still in Mukilteo for now, finishing his year as Dean, finishing and handing off his work as Summer School Principal, and trying to complete all the paper work to sign on in Gold Bar as of July's a bit much and we're a tad overwhelmed.)
Anyway...all this means is dad is all work no play for a bit and mom is on full time kid duty. Today Brayden made me consider going back to work myself. Once again...five minutes of a back turned is five minutes of chaos. While the kids were happily playing puzzles, or so I thought, I went to try and look online to see what it would take to send Shawn's transcripts to his new district and send out one e-mail. I do believe it was less than five minutes before Gavin came to me with pen on his hand claiming, "Mom, I'm dirty."
It wasn't that bad, but I could hear shouts of glee from Brayden, which made me question how the pen got there exactly. I rounded the corner into the kitchen and proceeded to find: seven boxes of 24 pieces puzzles dumped on the floor, the "no kid allowed without permission" cupboard open and a mess, and Brayden covered front to back, up his arm, on his clothes, in his scalp, on his face, on his stomach and even on his back (how he did this, i have yet to figure out) in black dry erase...which does not come out with water or stain remover. Brayden was in the bathroom trying to scrub his arm off, with the pen, in the sink.
Deep breathe.
I marched the boys out to pick up the puzzles. Which really meant me sorting and picking them up and taking out all the pieces they put in the wrong boxes. Who knows how many actually have 24 pieces anymore, seeing as Gavin was finding some in the heat vent and behind couch cushions.
I then proceeded to start a bath and while the kids got in, took the clothes to the laundry room and pulled out the rubbing alcohol (surprising cleaning tip here: rubbing alcohol does take out ball point pen, and as it turns out in this case...the dry erase pen too!) . Upon reaching the bathtub approximately 3 minutes later, I find Brayden had already bailed out most of the bathwater with a cup and mommy's "special treat, way more than I ever spend on shampoo" shampoo, floating half opened in the tub.
Deep breathe.
I will admit, at this point, the tears are welling up. I had to walk out of the room for a time out. I wanted to scream, "What are you doing?" I actually might have, it's all a blur. I did however leave out the part about him being crazy and my swelling desire to drop him off on a friend's doorstep.
Onto bath clean up. I got the floor cleaned up with three towels, cleaned up the training potty, which had the lid up and was full of water, and I managed to get most the pen off my children, without bathing them in rubbing alcohol (I figured some may frown on this and CPS would NOT help the day go any better. As is, the house already smelled like a distillery from cleaning the clothes off.) I took brayden out first, and set him in front of his train set while I got Gavin. By the time Gavin was cleaned off, I found Brayden in the office playing on the computer. Fortunately, nothing befell the computer, because Mommy was way past the end of her rope already.
Lastly, as I tucked Gavin into his bunkbed, I realized there was black pen all over Brayden's bedspread and his whiter than white gate, that holds him in bed. Hmmm...I didn't realize the pen had made it that far. I didn't bother to look for more. I just ran out of the room.
I think I may laugh about this someday. Not today. Today, I keep reminding myself how great he was getting his haircut this morning, how brave, how cute and how sweet giving me hugs when it was all done. I am reminding myself how he loves to laugh and is not afraid to enjoy life. Even when it's risky. I am reminding myself how much I love this little boy who has my shoulders tensed up to my ears and my head throbbing. It's really quite a phenomenon.
Here are a few pictures for enjoyment.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

My turn

Welp, it was finally my turn to get sick, I guess. Rarely do I actually catch something the kids have, but this time I took it in full force. I got a cold, turned sinus infection and have been breathing like Darth Vader for the last few days. My head throbs, my nose is completely plugged, I am coughing and, being pregnant, my friends Nyquil and Advil are not available. Yesterday, I was so short of breathe while having lunch and I couldn't figure out why. Finally I realized, if I chewed I couldn't breathe through my nose and so it was like holding my breathe every time I ate! It stunk.
Both the kids and Shawn have colds too, but they are functioning at a tad higher level than I am and have seemed to bounce back faster. (Well, maybe not Shawn. He's got it pretty bad, but is so busy that we are passing ships this week and we really haven't talked much about it. I am hoping he can see the Dr. on Friday.) The boys seem to sniffle and move on. Good for them!
I really am just not used to being sick and frankly, am not too keen on it. It isn't enough of a sickness to stop the daily routine, so I have been plugging along trying to be a good mom, but probably failing miserably. Yesterday, I did take the boys to play on the trains at Barnes and Noble, get a cookie and a new book. It was a nice treat for us all. But I can alway say, I have sunk to a new TV low with the children, just to get some down time.
Yesterday was also my month to host BUNKO for the group I play in. So I spent much of the day cleaning and preparing dinner and dessert for 12. I usually enjoy hosting, but was a tad sad that my week of all weeks was this one. I must have washed my hands a million times trying to sanitize! All in all it went well, however I didn't win any money and that was a bummer.
Today, I could be on the upswing. I can take a small breathe through my nose and my headache is a lesser throb. We have some friends coming for lunch that I know Gav will be pumped about and the sun is shining...which may mean some outside time for the boys. I am trying to be positive...not my forte.
I keep thinking about Job. I have no boils, my family is alive and all in all we are doin' allright, yet still I feel like I want to whine. Stepping back I am disappointed with myself for getting so down about something so minor. I wish I could rub Job's elbow and get some of his gracious praise worthy attitude. I am trying harder. Because, well...God is good and He does still sit on the throne. Cold or no cold. And frankly, I am very grateful to serve Him and that He tolerates my whininess with love, mercy and compassion. That is something very praiseworthy!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The bonk beds

Upon request, we have some pics of the boys room...freshly painted with the new "Bonk Beds" as Gav refers to them. Since finding out WE ARE HAVING A GIRL...oh my goodness...I think there will be a little bit of redecorating over the crib. Good thing Shawn and I are too lazy, um, I mean busy, to have put any of the stuff back up on the walls!

Bray showing off his bunkBray's first night...he seems so small!
Showing mom how he goes night night.
He tries to help make the bed...showing me his new pillow
The crib & the khaki side of the room
The view from the door...a tad crowded...why yes!
Gavin, in his oh so Gavin "everything in it's place way" (where he gets this, I have no idea) places all his favorite things right up on his bed. Very tidy, very precise. The kid is a crack up. I especially like the toilet paper roll with the orange Easter egg in it. Now that's a keeper.

Bird Update

The bird is still around. We are on day five. Each morning at 5am he begins head butting our windows. I have posted some google images of Owls on the back windows. I think it's working.
I am now risking my neighbor's judgement and printing out many owl pictures to cover the rest of the three windows and the sliding glass door, which have taken quite a beating. I will have some serious beak mark cleaning to do, by the time the bird dies or gives up.
Frankly, I am still not entirely sure why the bird is not dead. I think if it continues to wake us up at 5am it may be by this weekend. Shawn is NOT happy (and he doesn't even hear it during the rest of the day).
I am moving from "Silly bird", to "Stupid bird". I guess I can't blame him. I am pretty sure brain damage is now officially involved.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

April's Greatest

Daddy & Bray...the birthday boys!Brayden who loves to dress up, totally unhappy with his new super cool policeman outfit.

Bray, Gav, & Maryn with armchair covers on their head...we thought it was funny!
Bray on his big boy bike!
Not too happy about the party hat!
Really happy with the garbage truck and garbage truck video we got him!

Happy birthday boys!
Gavin at his soccer game!
Easter egg dying

Monday, April 26, 2010

Silly bird

Today has been interrupted frequently by a banging noise coming from the far end of the house. At first, I thought someone was knocking on my window. Then, I was concerned someone was trying to break in. Then I braved pulling back the window drape to see a brown bird fly at me and smash itself into the window. I jumped back, taken off guard and then started laughing a bit. Silly bird.
I figured, the bird would figure it out sooner or later. But to no avail, this little guy must have smashed himself into the back windows over 200 times. He started at about 7 and was still going around 3:30. He did try different windows and even resorted to the sliding glass door a few times (until he saw Brayden who was fascinated and would slam himself into the door to get a better look). But in the end...the bird did not make it in.
I was thinking how stubborn this bird was...trying the same thing over and over. I had to laugh a bit, seeing as today was a super stubborn day with Brayden, trying the same thing, over and over. And a stubborn day with mommy, who tried to discipline the same way over and over. None of us were getting anywhere and with all the head butting, I am pretty sure we all had headaches (I cannot attest to the bird and Brayden, but I did).
Finally, the rain came and the bird gave up. Brayden has not given up and neither have I. But I did at least resolve to find some new tactics.
Thank you little bird. I will let you know if your lesson was any good.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


So it was awhile ago, but over spring break we went up to Leavenworth for one night. Just a little family time away. It was a sweet time with the boys and we enjoyed ourselves. I finally uploaded some pictures!
Gavin at the resteraunt...happy to be out of the car!
Brayden and Gav got to pick out one toy...this was their pick. Thomas pez dispensers. Awesome, cuz I don't think the Bartell's a mile from our house has one of those...however, as you can tell from the face...SO HAPPY!

The pool was definately a hightlight for both kids!

The fish hatcheries were a suprising hit and Gav and Bray flirted enough with one lady worker to get some fish food to feed the fish...onlookers were jealous.


Gav loved stopping in the snow on the way up...on the way down Shawn stopped and Gavin got very upset when Shawn threw a snowball at his feet. "Dad, I get to throw them at you! You do not throw them back. No dad!" We had to inform him that wasn't how it worked. It didn't go over well.

A beautiful phenomenon

So...yesterday, after the boys "roomtime" (this is the 30-40 minutes they have alone each morning...yesterday, Brayden was in his room and Gavin at the kitchen table with a project), Gavin went to let Brayden out of their room. I sat on the couch with my book, thinking they would come out and play for the next hour before we left for a friends house. My only goal was to finish the last three pages of the chapter in that hour. It seemed possible. So I began.
Five minutes went by and I only heard the boys chattering together. Ten more minutes passed and I heard more toys escaping from the toy box. Fifteen more minutes passed and I could hear Gavin teaching Brayden about Thomas trains and Brayden reading stories on his bed. In total, the boys must have played together in their room for about an hour. Amazing!
Multiple times, I thought of getting up to do something productive or to check on them, but I realized that would probably break the happy aura that surrounded the room. Their seems to be some sort of phenomenon that happens when I attempt productivity: productivity for mom = fighting and grumpiness for small children. Who was I to mess with the beauty God had provided?
And so I sat, on the couch, reading for an hour. Praise be to God. He knew I needed it and it was like a little piece of heaven! The boys are in roomtime now and we'll see what transpires when it's over. I have no delusions that we can repeat the glorious cooperation of yesterday, but boy wouldn't it be nice! At least I can say we are headed in the right direction! Go team!!

Monday, April 19, 2010

A time to laugh

Between sicknesses (from Gavin's asthma and random fevers spiking to 103.9, to Brayden's sinus infection and his mysterious case of pooping pure liquid over 30 times in one day) Birthdays (Shawn's, shawn's mom and brother, Brayden's, my neice maryn and my mom's) and life, we have been quite occupied. Not much time to catch up and journal about life, liberty and the pursuit of sanity (:
To be honest, there isn't a whole lot new going on. Gavin is still loving his soccer games. He is not all that fabulous at the sport, but his desire to play and smile of joy make up for it. Gav is definitely starting to grow up. We can expect more cooperation and logic from him, but along with that there is more negotiation and frustration when he fails to seal the deal. (Whining has reached a whole new level).
Bray is, well Bray. He is active, on the go and is loving the sunshine and outdoors. He would do the "lawn" any day with his plastic lawn mower and blowing/eating bubbles never seems to get old for him. He acquired a bike for his birthday, so we now take bike trips down the street and back, his little legs propelling him like Fred Flinstone, because they aren't even close to reaching the wheels.
I am nearly 19 weeks into this pregnancy and tired enough to prove it. I look at my boys getting more and more self sufficient and think, "What was going through my head...we are starting all over?" But then I see their big boy moves and think, "At least all my babies aren't grown more!"
I must say, with the business of dr. appointments and birthdays, I feel like we missed a month of life and somewhere in there, we turned a corner. The boys are older. Not necessarily wiser Today I found Brayden trying to stick his hand in a light socket...why he thinks this is clever, I am not sure. Yesterday, I found Gavin trying to pee standing up and found a majority of the pee floating around the outside of the toilet all over the ground...about a gallon of it, I'd say.
But they can get their gear ready to go by themselves. They can set their own places for dinner and say grace. They can play together for approximately 5 minutes without someone falling apart. And they can go outside all by themselves while mommy works on dinner. It's huge.
I am relishing these days. They are good days, with sweet boys.
So I am taking a moment to breathe in recognize that I am enjoying parenting. We are healthy and happy and it has been sunny three days straight! It's a seasonal thing and I am sure the season will change soon enough. But for is a time to laugh and I am so grateful!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Our very own Curious George

Sometimes, I feel like having Brayden as a part of the family is like living with Curious George. I am often exasperated and Gavin likes to question, "Mom, is he being naughty?"
Most the time, I can't decide if he is naughty or just interested in everything. Although, he does get a defiant look when he really wants to press your buttons....Anyway...
Easter Sunday, Gavin had been sick, so Shawn stayed home with the kids. I had promised to help set up at church at 7 am. I called to check in about eight to see how it was going.
"You aren't going to believe it."
"What did he do."
"Brayden took off his sleeper, took off his diaper and smeared poop all over the pack and play, himself, and the blankets. I think he ate some. I have to go. He's in the tub and I'm trying to get it cleaned up."
My first thought, what a mess. Second thought, I am so glad he saved some of his creativity for his dad.
So, I left them to it and went into service and called to check on dad during my ride home.
"How's it going."
"You're not going to be happy."
"What did he do."
"Well, I got him cleaned up and in his Easter outfit and then set him and Gavin up to watch a show, so I could take a quick shower. He found a tub of vaseline, smeared it all over the floor in our room, laid down in it and began to smear it all over himself head to toe. I have a whole new respect for you."
"I'm sooo sorry Shawn."
"I have to go, I am trying to get it off in the tub...vaseline is hard to remove."
My first thought, darn it...the Easter outfits were cute and matching. Second thought, at least now Shawn will understand why sometimes when he gets home, I'm just done.
We love Brayden. I get a kick out of his love of life, curiosity and creativity. But man alive, that kid can wear you down! He is so busy. Shawn and I have already started praying that this can all be channeled into good works...I know he can be something great! He really does have a spunk that could change lives.
The real bummer in all of this, aside from the completely ruined Easter outfit, Shawn never got any pictures. He was to afraid to leave him alone any longer with the poop or vaseline, for fear of what might occur. I can appreciate this, the kid is quick. But man, it would have made for some quality kodak.