Thursday, May 14, 2015

Not so Polar Plunge

For some reason, I've been extremely emotional lately (see previous post(s)).  In a good way.  I'm sure it's lack of sleep, nursing and the rollercoaster of emotions the toddler and preschool go through in the course of the day.  So, here is something a little less emotional. 
Straight up fun.  In Minnesota.  In the winter.  In the pool.
The pool at Lifetime feels like a tropical vacation.
They keep the air around 90 and the water even warmer.
In the middle of the week on a random morning, we practically have the pool to ourselves.
They were all little fishies and it got us all so excited for summer....
Which is just around the corner!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Emotional rollercoaster

Parenting.  That's what it is.  An emotional rollercoaster.

I recently read this article. Watched this video. Started reading this book.  And joined BSF to study the Life of Moses.  And it's all making me very emotional.  Or I'm just emotional and now I just know how to channel it, feed it and let it flourish.

Whenever I read blog posts/articles like that, watch those kinds of videos and study God's Word they cause me to think.  To reflect, and cry. Big tears....ugly tears....good tears.  Tears that prove this all means something.  That how we live matters, that how we raise our kids will impact them, and that we love because we are Loved. Over the course of the day, I feel all kinds of big emotions and feelings, usually in some sort of repetitive pattern.

Wake up, try to fall back to sleep, hear a voice and simultaneously feel the disappointment of the loss of extra sleep and excitement to see my little one.

Grounded.  Read my Scripture of the Day. If you're looking for something good to get in your inbox each morning, Steve Moore is spot on.  Email to get subscribed.

Worldly.  Read a few emails, skim the headlines.

Interrupted.  By someone.

Ready.  Ready to get the day going, excited. Excited to see people, teach the kids new things, watch them interact with others, excited for coffee.  Excited for what the day will bring, how I will get to practice my newfound patience that I somehow perfected in my sleep overnight.

Disappointment.  Disappointment at the fighting over toys, the struggle to get dressed, eat, brush teeth, get 3 kids all 4 and under into the car and safely buckled.

Accomplishment. We did it. We got out of the house. We went into the world. Out in public.  And everyone wore shoes.

Encouraged. Filled up, renewed, challenged. My fellow parents who I interact with day in and day out help me gear up for the next portion of my day.

Lunch. Dreaded lunch. When everyone is fed and happy, we call it. Faces wiped is a bonus.

Tired. From putting the littles down for nap. Jealous that I don't have time to take one myself. Renewed by the "open-ended" yet "fixed" amount of time before me. Will they nap for 1 or 3 hours? How much of my to do list will I get to check off?

Scrambling. Kids are stirring...

Hungry. Did I eat lunch?

Awe.  Looking at my child I am overcome with gratitude that I get to be with them. Both as their mother and this exact moment.  I don't want to forget it.

Impatient.  Is it 5:30 yet?

Peaceful, for a minute we all sit, pray and eat together. Then I'm a mom again and waters need to be filled, napkins passed out, 2nds dished up and dogs fed.  And by now, the baby is crying.

Frantic. Must get house put together before bedtime. This is only for my own sanity.

Intellectual even though it's Bernstein Bears and Dr.'s literature.

Hostage situation ensues.  If you don't know what I'm talking about, watch this.  Skip ahead to 5:20 or just watch the entire's pretty spot on.

But, the minute I close the door, a sense of accomplishment and worth floods over me. And at the same time, I miss them. I enjoy the quiet and the possibility of time alone with Nate, to be adults.  But we usually end up talking about the kids.  How wonderful they each are.  Their uniqueness, their gifts and the joy they bring to our lives. 

One more quick peek.  One more kiss.

It's like a highly addictive habit, parenting. Except the stakes are even higher...

Sunday, May 10, 2015

The glue.

When my brother Tommy comes to Minnesota, we get together.  We do dinners and BBQ's, golf outings and brunches.  It's such a great excuse to get together and he's so good about wanting to have time with the family, and the kids especially, love it.  They love it even more when he brings Jenna. 

The thing about Minnesota is that it brings families together.  Uncle Charl and Kat live here but with the busyness of all of our schedules its hard to get together, so when Tommy comes to Minnesota we get to see Charl and Kat even more too.  After our week in Florida last year, Uncle Charl and Kat had the kids smitten, and well, they have been ever since.

Neither brother of mine is in the same phase of life as we are, but I'm in awe at how wonderful they are with my kids.  My kids adore them.  And those big boys are so good to them.  My brothers and I haven't always been close, and we certainly haven't always gotten along, we're siblings.  But I admire and think the world of these two men.  They have grown up and worked hard and I am so proud of who each of them has become, using his own strengths, interests and talents to do what he loves.

It would be easy to look to the past with regrets.  Regrets of sibling rivalries, harsh words, and mean spirited actions that would have been easily justified and defended in the heat of the moment or just sibling stuff.  But when I think back to our childhood, I don't look back with regret, what-ifs and if only.  I need only watch my children and the way they look at each other to know that the love I have for my brothers runs deep.  Always has, always will. 

We're all grown up now, and I have an even deeper appreciation for them, and the role they play in my kids lives.  Showing up for stuff, encouraging them, playing with them and doting on them.  I can only hope they continue to be an instrumental part in my kids lives, especially as they move into their teenage years, and need Uncles to give them advice that I can't.

I also pray that as my kids grow up, in the midst of fighting over the bathroom, who gets the car keys and whatever other sibling battles come up, that they continue to love each other, support each other, look out for one another and as they enter adulthood, that they have a new and fresh appreciation for each other as people.

But neither my brothers, nor Minnesota is what holds us all together. None of that is what holds us all together, none of that plans our get togethers and none of them are the person everyone goes to, to find out how the others are.  None of them are the glue.  The glue of our family is our mother.  And since today is a day to celebrate that, I have three very important mothers that I get to celebrate. 

I look to my mom, my step-mom, and my mother-in-law for different things, but all are extraordinary women, with amazing talents, unique gifts and all love us and our kids more than words.
They babysit, make us food, have us over for dinners, show up for the kids and pray for us.

The kids do see them quite often, so it is understandable that they would feel comfortable with and love them, but they seem to have some sense beyond that.  A bond.  A bond between grandmothers and grandkids.  They are making memories now by which they will forever remember these lovely ladies.

They will tell stories that begin, "My Grandma..."  "My Nani...." "My Meme...."

The kids faces light up in a very special way knowing they are headed to Meme's, to Nani's or to Grandmas.  They never want to leave. 
I know this stage in life will not last forever.  But I will continue to pray that the grandmas will continue to be relentless in their involvement in our kids lives.  That our kids have deep and meaningful relationships with them, that they always feel they have someone safe to go to with anything.

I love you so much, Mom, Sig and Shelley. I now know about all of the countless, thankless things that you do during a day to help everyone else.  I have felt the exhaustion of a day filled with nothing but making sure everyone is fed, clean and rested.  I appreciate what you have done for me, Nate and our kids.  I hope you feel celebrated today, because you spend most of the time making sure everyone else feels celebrated.  You deserve it.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Pa is 60.

My dad, Pa, as he is affectionately known by the kids, is 60 today.  I'm sure he would tell you it's just another day, just another number.  He is so busy, active, healthy and involved, that he's right.  It is just a number.  But the day should be special.  The day should celebrate the man.  The man he has been, the man he is, and the man he still is yet to become.
 My kids already have so many memories of Pa.  Things they will forever associate with him.  Lots of food items, fresh baked bread, hummus and "nola," are many of his deliveries.  He has his own set of stories he riffles off that bring me back to my own childhood.  And he's always there for us.
Dad, you are an extraordinary man.  You've accomplished so much in your first 60 years and I am blessed to have you as my dad and my kids' Pa.  I look forward with anticipation to what the next phase of your life brings.  You are a role model to me and I love you so much.
I am so blessed to have you as my dad and as a resource for so many things.  You are my go-to for any home/car repair advice, for conversation about new health/food trends, and you are an example to me for so many attributes that I aspire to posses.  Loyalty, honesty, humility, generosity. You always encourage me in my faith and you always have a good story to tell.  I am happy to report, I have inherited your ability to use your hands while telling a story:).
Happy Birthday, Pa!

Thursday, May 7, 2015


One cold winter day, we finally joined the zoo.  It has been such a fun place to go to change up the usual routine and its fairly easy to bring all three. 
While I do enjoy seeing the animals myself, I enjoy much more watching Griffin and Hattie's little faces, the awe, wonder and questions observing the animals bring.

It's hands-on, stimulating and they walk the entire zoo.

The Minnesota Trail is our favorite.  What can I say, they know and appreciate their roots.

Five wolf pups were rescued last May from a fire up north, and they are awesome.  They are playful and interactive.

I could stare at them all day.  Unfortunately however, I think they are the source of Griffin's recent surge in nightmares.

I love seeing their love for learning. Their questions.  The way they desire to understand their environment.  They truly are kids of a science teacher.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Archie: 7 months

Oh hey there Conan.  Look at that swoop of curls up on top!  It doesn't last long after a bath but the curls are coming.  A bit lopsided as he really only has hair up on top, but there are there...already wants to be just like his big brother and sister.

This guy.  Starting to ooohhh and ahhhhh  all the time.  Still just the happiest guy in town.  (sister is trying to sneak in on this picture:).

He is officially sitting, though unreliable in his toppling.  Surrounded by a boppy or other pillows, he's fine.  He's totally mastered the bend-at-the-waist-and-reach-a-toy maneuver.

He is eating like a champ.  Finally dropped a day time feeding!  So now we're breakfast, earlier lunch and a nap from 12:30-4, snack, dinner, bed.  All in a day's work.  He's had his rough patches of sleeping, but we're in a good stretch right now.  He still wakes up halfway through his nap and I flip him over.  Yes, that's right folks.  7 month old who still can't roll over.  All three of them.   Not rollers.

Archie, you are grabbing everything.  My hair, earrings, skin, clothes, other toys that aren't yours, Cooper's fur, Hattie's hair, everything.  The best part about your grabbing, is your hugging.  Your hugging is intense.  You hug with your whole body, and then some.  When I pick you up from your crib you grab me so tightly, I tell myself each time that I'll never let you go.

This month has brought a whole new level of animation.  Facial expressions, and evidence that you are learning and understanding the world around you.  Your smile is still amazingly contagious.  You make my world brighter with your affectionate looks.

Archie-man.  My man.  You have us captivated with your sweetness.  You are already so observant, nothing gets by you.  Your belly laugh gets us all laughing.  You don't want to be left out.  Ever.  But we would never want you to be, either.  Your brother and sister continue to dote on you, taking special care of you when you need extra attention while waiting in your infant car seat to head out the door.  They know what you like, where your nukie is and what noises usually mean you spit up. Your sweet animated face is hard to look away from. I just don't ever want to forget the feeling of your tiny little arms, hands and body, squeezing me so tight...

 I wish I could capture in a picture....your baby hugs.