Tag Archives: three girls

The summer of her discontent, or not…

As I sat down tonight to blog (oddly, not about what you’re about to read, so you’re welcome for the topic switch!), I forgot my password, as I do every single time I sit down to my computer for one reason or another. I am completely the reason I cannot have nice things, and it is part of my charm. Sitting at the keyboard, I racked my brain trying to remember what email address I even use for this thing, when I heard footsteps coming down the hall in my direction. Since I am the only one home right now who was not in her assigned bed, I knew it was one of my kiddos. And, to be honest, I wasn’t surprised.

“Hey, you. Go to bed,” I sighed – not looking over my shoulder because everyone knows if you make eye contact with the bed-wanderer, you have to have a conversation with that person that usually ends up with no fewer than 4 sips of water and a 2 snuggle minimum – wondering if I would ever figure out how to get back into this thing.

“Uhm, okay, nevermind…” Aaah, yes. My oldest. I knew it. Forgetting all about passwords and email addresses, I stood and moved to the couch and invited her to sit down with me. Tears threatened to spring forth from her eyes.

“What’s wrong, Lovey?”

Sniffling, the tears came. “I’m so sad summer has to end. We had so much fun…”

Tomorrow is the first day of school for our district, and trust me when I say that my children are very much ready for school to be in session and the routine and craziness that ensues from that. It’s obvious in their behavior and their actions that they need routine like fish need water, and the school year provides routine that summer does not, especially with me also not working a traditional full time schedule. So, they’re all ready. Go to school, kids. It’s time.

What shocked me was the fact that she said she had so much fun this summer. This summer was, thankfully in many ways, one of the most low-key, chill summers we’ve had. For the first time since 2015, I didn’t require any surgeries this year (yet!! lord knows there is time). So, I suppose that’s been a big bonus around here. But, fun? We didn’t do much! We put vacation on hold because we’re surprising them with a big trip in the spring, but we told them that we put it on hold while waiting for their dad’s work schedule to change. This, of course, is not a lie, but it was all they knew as to why vacation had to wait. We didn’t get to Kalahari like we had planned (but we will!) because I worked a ton this summer in my day job, and I ended up doing a lot of writing projects as well. As I rolled through the things we wanted to do and didn’t do in my head when she said, “fun,” I lost sight of what the summer did consist of…

We went to the drive in a couple times to see kids’ movies that they loved. We stayed up too late and caught fireflies. We wanted to get “real TV” and subscribed to DirectTV, so the girls were able to rekindle their love of mindlessly watching television without typing anything into Netflix. We watched a lot of Cartoon Network and got reacquainted with our friends in Teen Titans Go!, along with other shows we’d lost touch with (and I have rekindled my love affair with HGTV). We did a few small road trips but not even all the ones we wanted to! We had a pool up for a while, and then one of the littles replaced the plug with a water bottle cap – which is not effective at plugging a pool – so that wasn’t long lived. But, we also got a splash blob, which is my favorite thing ever. We grew a garden, and they learned about how plants go from seed to table, and they even got to help us harvest things (and still do, since it’s still going!). We celebrated two birthdays! We created outdoor living spaces on our patio and brought the backyard to life. They played in that backyard every single day, some days ALL day, and we had lots of baths that turned the water brown with dirt and smells that only can be recreated in Ohio summers. We did lots of library days and read books and made Lego things and painted  and all of that fun creative jazz. We had a lot of ice cream for dinner, and for other things as well, and ate out more meals in three months than we usually do in a year. We spent more money on little toys and gadgets they wanted than I ever care to admit. We said “yes” a lot more than we said “no,” and I suppose, at the end of the day, that’s what makes the memories that count when you’re small.

It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows and unbridled happiness, however. We had lots of frustrating moments with raised voices and pounding countertops and slammed doors. Lots of tears over sisterly injustices and parents who “just don’t understand.” Lots of “PLEASE GOD GO TO SCHOOL SO YOU STOP KILLING EACH OTHER” and more than one occasion of one of us girls begging their dad to take us to work with him (usually me). We talked a lot about being grateful for what you have and taking care of those of us in this world who may not have as much as you do. We talked about a lot of big picture world and society issues. And, yes, lots of bedroom cleaning and chores and the things that no one ever wants to do. I tried very hard to get them to learn the importance of pulling their own weight, and how not everything is going to be fair because life is one big unfair bullshit ride a lot of the time, and what is more important is grace and being a team player and gratitude and all of that shit that you say and then you’re like “Yes, I am nailing this parenting thing cuz look at their faces looking at me, nodding and getting this…”

Those moments – the ones that involved lessons learned and some yelling and maybe some tears – are what stand out to me as a parent. The discontent is what sticks out to me, and maybe that’s because I am naturally predisposed to remember negative things and experiences and sort of file away the good for moments when the negative gets to be too much. But, as my blue-eyed, blond-haired, lookin’ more like her momma every day child sat hugging her knees, laughing as I talked to her about how good things need to come to an end and that she wouldn’t want the summer to last forever because it would lose its special magic, it hit me. Kids need time and energy and space to run and roam and to fight with each other and figure things out even when they drive their parents nuts with it all. What I saw as a summer of discontent with all of the things we “didn’t do” was a summer of fun and freedom for the kids, and it was such a fun time that the thought of it ending brought my kiddo to tears…

What the fuck happens to us as adults that just kills our joy?
proof-that-growing-up-is-definitely-a-trap-6

Now, that ^^ is just sad…
(but, I have spent enough time around both children and adults that I don’t doubt it!)

My body is a wonderland…

How’s your body? I pretty much love mine. But, I haven’t always loved it. Oh no. Not by a long shot. As far as I am concerned, I never loved my body – truly loved it – until I was pregnant. I loved getting bigger, rounder, and filling out. I actually had boobs (a welcome surprise). I had power. I was making people!! My body was a factory of people! I loved it. I got soft and round and had reason to eat whatever. Now, my body is what it is. I’ve given birth, gained weight, lost weight, been back and forth. And it fluctuates all the time. Hormones, exercise, and the occasional snack right before bed all shape my figure in different ways. Exercise is fun, but who has time for it all the time? And I did well with running until it started to kill my knees. But that’s ok. I’m still decently active with the kids, and I do what I can. And that’s enough for me.

My body has never been model “perfect”. I’ve never had the flat tummy, the curves in all the right places, etc. I’m more Reubenesque – my tummy is rounded, I have hips, a short torso, long and lean legs, and absolutely zero in the chest department. Even after four pregnancies, one of which tore my abdominal walls from side to side and all down the front, so that flat tummy will really never be, I have never really had the frame for which fashion designers like to design. I have always dealt with it, never really was super excited about it, but now, I have three girls…

And those three girls need healthy body image role models. They don’t need to hear any negative body talk from anybody, especially me. They need to know that no matter what their bodies look like, no matter how big or small, lean or round, thin or thick, they are beautiful. And they need to know that I am beautiful – and I need to show them this. Everyday.

I need summer clothes like plants need water, and I found some excellent deals on clothes. So, the other day, I ordered clothes online. Who has time to try on clothes with kids? I had the thought that I would order them in the size I wear, and if they were hideous or tight, I would send them back. No problem. I was ready for whatever happened…

They came today, and I was so anxious to see if my choice of size (medium) was a good call or one I would regret. As I opened the packages and pulled out the clothes, putting them on and examining myself in the mirror, I realized that, yes, my body may be softer in some places than I would ideally like, but it’s powerful. And it’s beautiful. And damnit, I deserve to wear clothes that show it off. With each piece (a tshirt material dress, some tshirts, some tanks), I felt better and better about my choices. My rounded belly doesn’t look as rounded in the mirror as it does in my head. My hips don’t look so hippy to the world as they do to my own eyes. And, damnit, I am proud of my body and what it has achieved. I need my girls to see that Mommy is beautiful – and can wear whatever she chooses (within reason, of course, spandex never works for anyone) – and that their bodies are beautiful, too.

I love my curves, my soft belly, and my legs-for-days. Sure, I eat right (most of the time) and exercise when I can. I would love to drop a few pounds like anyone else. I also love food as fuel, and food as fun. I watch what I eat and try not to overindulge (often). My frame does not define me, but how I embrace it does. I may never rock a bikini (I said within reason, folks), but I will never shy away from wearing a bathing suit or a shirt that may be just a bit too tight. You won’t see me on a catwalk, but you will see me having fun with my family, laughing and enjoying myself, and not sucking one little bit of my body in. I’m having far too much fun enjoying my life and belly laughs to worry about one insignificant belly roll.

My body has been with me for 32 years and counting…
It deserves to be loved and cared for…
It may fluctuate with time…
But, I only get one.

confidence-beautiful-size-weight-large

Dear Caelan, Ellery, and Finola:
You. Are. Beautiful.
Know it.

Tonight, my child ate bubbles…

After a great day off and a fun evening of giggles, I made a delicious dinner, and the girls had bath time. If my husband is home, bath is his thing. He does it well, and I let him. I encourage it even. But, he is on afternoons, so it came to me. I stripped down all three ladies, added some bubbles, and let the water flow. Apparently, and I didn’t know this before, this was Finola’s first bubble bath with big bubbles in it. So, she started exploring. She put bubbles in her hands, on her face and head, and on her chest. She discovered tonight more than the power of suds in water; she discovered the power of laughter.

She began putting bubbles to her mouth, leading them to go in her mouth (which is where everything goes at 8 months old), and Caelan laughed so hard. Finola realized this was funny, and she laughed along while shoving another fingerful of bubbles in her mouth. Then she had all of us ladies laughing, including herself. She discovered that her sister would laugh harder if she put bubbles on her nose while eating them, leading her to experiment more with new bubble placement. She was covered in bubbles by the time it was all said and done. And she had an absolute blast. It was a riot. At one point we all were laughing so hard that Finola threw herself back, lying on her sister’s legs, and that made her laugh even harder. It was so awesome. I am so glad that I was there to witness it, as I often feel like I miss the good stuff.

See, that is the good stuff. Sure, the bubbles weren’t organic and probably not super fit for consumption. It’s not like she drank the whole bottle. She was learning and experimenting, seeing what would happen. She was working on cause and effect and led us to have a memory to last a long time. It’s not always about big things: trips, presents, experiences out of the ordinary. No. It is about these little moments – bubbles, eating big girl food together, laughing as sisters, clapping and singing and dancing along with Frozen, being sisters who love each other every single day- that will matter the most to the girls as they grow up. It’s about being together, having fun, everyone in a good mood, and enjoying each other’s company. The night went so well that I pushed my own limits and made up a game for them to play called Tiny Tornadoes, where they would clean up the living room for points, and who ever had the most points would get two snacks before beds. They loved it, and they both (miraculously enough) cleaned up so well that we also tackled their bedroom and everyone got double snacks. I was the Best Mom Ever once again, the girls’ room got organized a bit better than it was before, and my living room no longer looks like a daycare exploded inside it. Everyone wins. Sigh. If only every night could be like this…

I have this exact print on my wall inside my front door…
And it is the best reminder I need everyday.Enjoy-The-Little-Things-In-Life-Motivational-Love-QuotesCherish the little things,
They do get bigger.

I believe…

If there is anything I have learned in the last few years, it’s that God will provide for us what we need, not what we want. He will not give us anything we can’t handle, nor will he allow what is truly to be ours to pass us by. I am confident in my beliefs, and I have beliefs about other aspects of my life as well. I believe it is all meant to be, predestined by God, and brought to me only by His grace. I believe this all to be true.

I believe a lot of things about parenthood. I believe that it is the single most important job that a person can acquire in his or her lifetime. I believe that it is also the hardest job, the most thankless job (and I am a TEACHER and I say that), and the most rewarding. I believe that those without kids have zero business giving advice to those with kids, and that those with kids should also just keep their mouths shut when it comes to how others raise their kids. I know a lot of people with a lot of different ideas about parenting, and you know what? Their idea isn’t mine. And that’s okay. We don’t spank; I don’t understand those who applaud spanking, nor those who do spank. But would I say anything to others who spank about that? No. I don’t understand co-sleeping. Or attachment parenting. Or breastfeeding until a kid is old enough to get off of a school bus. But would I say anything to those parents about their beliefs and methods? No. It’s none of my business. I wouldn’t want anyone coming in to give me unwarranted advice on how I handle my children, so I wouldn’t do it to them. Also? It’s rude. I believe in not doing any of that.

I believe that kids are the best things in the world to have. I also believe that children choose their parents somehow. Their spirits find us, those of us who are lucky to be called “Mommy” or “Daddy” and any variant therein. I can’t imagine having any other children, nor anyone else having mine. I can’t imagine not hearing my five year old’s voice tell me about her day at school where “This boy was talking about Minecraft, and I actually understood what he meant!” We have a four year old in Heaven, who left us without meeting us, and I can’t fathom not knowing that I have another child to meet with me when I get to the Other Side. I can’t imagine not having my three year old snuggle up with me on the couch, sucking her fat little thumb, and rubbing the tag on her bunny. To not have my baby girl, who celebrated eight months on the outside today, smile at me, crawling at me while shrieking in her own way, while I make dinner in the evening would be unthinkable. To know that those little ladies chose me and my husband to be their parents is so beyond me and makes me so happy that it moves me to tears, making my heart well up and my chest get warm. And to think, before I met my husband, I didn’t want children of my own at all.  I am so thankful, blessed, and honored that these three little ladies are the ones I am meant to raise, with my husband, who I was obviously meant to meet. I believe that’s all God right there.

I believe we do on this earth what we are meant to do, and if it is hard, it is worth it. Though I am struggling with working outside of my home and being a mom, with loving my job so much while missing my kids so much more that it hurts in my heart to even walk out the door in the morning. But my achy heart sings with the power of a thousand voices when I open the door to come in my home, and I hear, “Mommy!!” as I cross the threshold, running into the arms of my three year old who has waited for me to be home with her all day long. And I feel peace when I pick up my baby, who was likely sleeping when I left, and spin her around laughing while basking in the pure joy in her twinkly brown eyes and big, goofy grin, a joy just for me. And in those moments, the happiness is overwhelming to the point of near pain, pain that I was gone and missed any moments in their little big lives, but happiness that I am an example to them and I can be “just mommy” when I am home. And I am trying to remember that I am only Mommy for a short time and that I need to remember patience and kindness in all things, even when I am stretched too thin and kindness is the last thing on my lips. I know that I am here, doing what I am doing, for a reason. God has put all of these things in my life for my own betterment and good. And I have to remember that everything I do, every hat I wear during the day, and every minute of my life that I dedicate to others (as a mom, that is every single minute of every single day) is to help them become fully who they are, no matter who they are. I have to believe all of these things. If I don’t believe them, I would have nothing else in which to believe. As a mother, I believe many things. But none of these things is more important to me than my belief that God has my back with all of this crazy parenting stuff, that I am here for a reason, and that my jobs I have throughout my life, especially motherhood, are the ones I am meant to have and enjoy. It may not be easy all the time, it may not be fun and games, but it’s worth it. It’s all worth it. I believe that, one hundred and ten percent. I believe in, trust in, have faith in, and love my God.

And as for these three knuckleheads?

1654193_10101062590192922_1506614518_n I believe that my loves are worth every bit of “not easy” I have to go through…
I do it for them. Everyday. It may not be easy.
But look at their faces!!
It’s worth it.