Thursday, March 15, 2018

Dreaming of Baby Girl: Foreshadowing or Letting Go

For basically this entire pregnancy, I've been pretty sure this baby is a boy.  I'm not sure if it's because I swear I heard an ultrasound tech say, "Oh!  Look at HIS big hands!" Or if it's because the baby's kidneys have been monitored because they've been dilated (something much more common in boys than girls) or if it's because that's all I know or if I've got mother's intuition (I have correctly predicted the gender of all three of my boys)... maybe a combination... I don't know.  

Honestly, I also think I'm trying to prepare to allow myself to grieve never having a girl.  Although I am truly at peace if a girl is not in my future; I LOVE and adore my boys and being a #boymom, but I know there will be times I will feel like I'm missing out.  I think it's natural to feel that way from time to time.  I imagine lots of people, when planning their future children in their heads, picture both genders.  There are certainly some different milestones, some different challenges, some different experiences that a parent will go through with a son AND with a daughter.  I will only get one half of that coin.  

Don't get me wrong, I know there are special moments between a mother and a son that I will have the honor of experiencing with not just one, but possibly four sons.  But you don't grow up with three sisters like mine and a perfect, angelic mom like mine and not have an appreciation for how incredible sisters are and how close and important a mother/daughter bond can be.  


Three nights ago, I vividly dreamed I had a baby girl.  I went in to have a C-section, and met a beautiful, dark hair, girl.  We named her exactly what we would if we really had a girl- the first and middle name were spot on in the dream.  Despite the fact that I was told the baby was a girl, and the fact that I saw her and held her, AND the fact that she already had her ears pierced and was wearing pink Minnie Mouse pajamas, I didn't believe. I kept saying phrases like, "No way!" or "This isn't right." or, "We don't have a daughter." I kept checking what parts were in her diaper.

My brother was even in the dream, on the side of my hospital bed, pointing and saying, "I told you!"

What I can't decide is whether this dream is foreshadowing what might actually be (I will seriously be shocked if this baby is a girl) or if I was given this dream to experience a daughter of my own, just for a little while.  If/when this baby is a boy, I will now always be able to say I've held a baby girl that Josh and I made, named her exactly what we'd want to name her.  I can smile knowing I got to meet my daughter even if it was only in my dreams.

Maybe I was given this dream so that I can put the possibility of having a girl past me to prepare for the fourth baby boy that will arrive.  

IF having four boys is the lot I've been given, there will be no one more versed on boys- what they need, how to help them be successful, how to emotionally support them, the inter-workings of their brain, than I will.  After all, when I've got something to be passionate about, I go all in.  What's better to be passionate about than your kids? :)  I will truly shoot to be a #boymom expert. 

I'll have to wait, if all goes well, about seven more weeks to find out if this dream was foreshadowing an awesome surprise to come or allowing me to spend a bit of time with a baby girl before my last precious little man arrives.   

Sunday, February 25, 2018

When Mommy "Purple Crayons"

Cover art

This is a well-loved children's story of a boy named Duncan who received letters from all the crayons in his box.  Some crayons were proud of their work, others frustrated and tired, some begging to be used more.  The yellow and orange crayons aren't speaking to each other because they both feel they should be the color of the sun.  It's a cute book about perspective and how they all combine, together, uniquely, to make something beautiful.  This book has been loved by both my boys and my sixth graders.

One of the crayons, the purple crayon, really speaks to me.  Not only has purple been my favorite color for my entire life, but this purple crayon sounds a lot like me...

While Purple Crayon can appreciate the creativity of Duncan, it cannot deal with the inevitable disorder that a young person coloring brings.  Like the purple crayon, I love my boys' imagination, zest for life and exploring, desire to touch, to feel, to experience, and I appreciate how curious all three are about our world and their surroundings.  I have been given three very busy, very active boys.  These positive character traits, also inevitably, bring about a fair amount of disorder, chaos, and mess to our home.  

It's very typical, starting at 6:00am to have train track pieces scattered around our TV room as Nolan and Judah build a new track.  Daily, we have Magnitiles all over our fireplace room building apartments, garages, restaurants, walls, roads, and castles.  We won't go a day without having Hot Wheels cars organized in rows by color, in between elaborate Magnitile structures, or being "driven" all over our main floor.  And when it's nice out, there will be play kitchen supplies covering the floor in our three seasons room after they've opened a new restaurant or dumped them from any number of dump trucks we possess.  

Tools are often strewn about as they "fix" doors, cabinets, buildings, train tracks, etc.  And doctors kit essentials- stethoscopes, thermometers, and blood pressure checkers (I don't even know what that thing is called) can be found anywhere because someone always has an ailment that needs checking by Dr. Nolan, Judah, or Carter. Don't even get me started on what happens when the boys want to do art- markers and their tops separated and all over the kitchen table and floor. 

These things have some commonalities- they allow my boys beautiful opportunities to play, together, mostly in harmony.  They are also MILLIONS of small freaking pieces!  Many opportunities to get knocked over, stepped on, end up in between couch cushions and behind furniture, and generally, make a HUGE mess.  

My boys know, as they have spent now several years with me, that I like things neat, orderly, clean, and organized.  They see me go at bins with my label maker, have sat for many "lessons" on where things go, have watched my face as I walk into a room and see the destruction.

Their play and my need for control (#MyCrazy) are constantly at odds.  My smart brain knows how important it is that we just play and I LET THEM JUST PLAY- this play is beautiful and necessary and brings joy, problem solving, critical thinking, fine motor skills, vocabulary, teamwork, and social skills into their lives in an authentic way. So, because of my smart brain, I try to take all these messes in stride, I really do.


sometimes I just can't take it.  I look around and see disaster everywhere.  There is no room I can walk into and have it be clean and organized.  And, I lose it.  I completely lose it.

Because I accept my children for who they are and they accept me for who I am, we have coined that when Mommy gets this way, she "Purple Crayons."  

Usually that means a couple of things...

1.) I will label this- I will warn them that I'm about to "Purple Crayon."  My three boys will often start cleaning things.
2.) If cleaning of something doesn't happen, and soon, I will probably make everyone stop what they are doing and pick a room and we will tackle it together.  I often find that if I can have one room on the main floor be completely clean, I can handle the rest better and won't "Purple Crayon." 
3.) If that cleaning doesn't happen (because people don't always listen the first time- who knew), I might end up raising my voice and start threatening that toys are going to get thrown away, donated, hidden, put up high for a while, or given to either of their cousins to play with. 
4.) If it gets really bad, I really do completely lose it, just like Purple Crayon warns in the book.  I'm not nice to be around; I'll just leave it at that.             

Listen, I'm not proud of myself when I "Purple Crayon."  Not even a little bit- they are some of my worst moments as a mom.  But I think we all get there, as parents, about certain things that drive us crazy. It might be huge messes, it might be when you've had to repeat yourself the hundredth time just trying to have someone put on their shoes to leave the house.  It might be the last straw when your kids have had a day where no one seems to be getting along with one another, or the fifteenth time your kid comes out of their bedroom at bedtime asking for a drink.  Sometimes, we cross our limits of patience, kindness, and understanding.  We are human, we lose it, we "Purple Crayon."  

The important thing, I think, is that I label this feeling and that both I, and our boys, know it's coming.  I'm trying to raise boys in touch with their feelings and be well-versed enough to be able to talk about them and problem-solve about them.  Not everything in a day is great or easy.  They need to see that I'm real and I struggle so they can feel comfortable to struggle too.  Nolan is my child most likely to also "Purple Crayon."  He has started to use that term as well when he gets frustrated with something and on the brink of not being able to take it. 

The other necessary thing is that once I am done "Purple Crayoning,"  I own my behavior, apologize if I've yelled or hurt anyone's feelings with my frustrations, and talk with my kids about what I or we could've done differently to prevent that from happening next time.  Usually we realize that if we had worked better, as a team, we wouldn't have gotten to that level of frustration.

Finally, I need to remember that kids are little only a short time.  Yes, some days are frustrating and chaotic and dysfunctional.  In fact, sometimes it seems like most of the winter is like that.  But, thankfully, because my "Purple Crayoning" is fairly rare, I can still appreciate watching these young boys play without a care in the world.  That is magical, and perfect, and just how it should be.  It's what I always dreamed for, hoped for, and prayed for.  Someday my house will be quiet and clean and I'll probably dump a tub of Legos just to remember when these precious boys were little. I cried just thinking about that as I wrote it.  I have to remember that I am SO grateful for this mess, these million pieces, and that stepping on a car and hurting my foot means I have a house full kids who like to play and have fun.


Tuesday, February 20, 2018

At-Home Doppler: The best worst gift I've probably ever gotten

End of October: 13 weeks pregnant with #HundtBaby4

In case it hasn't been made obvious enough, you can probably tell I might not be the easiest pregnant person to live with.  Especially during first trimester (or let's be honest, basically until a baby continually gives me reassurance with kicks or actually let's be REALLY honest, until the baby is in my arms), I am a DI-SAS-TER.  #MyCrazy is in full swing during this time.

You can go back through old blogs while I was pregnant with Nolan and Judah and also when I was pregnant with Carter to see the pattern- losing sleep, checking to see if I'm bleeding a million times a day, constantly worrying, etc.  

In October, I hit a really rough patch- mentally.  I had my 12 week appointment to which I did not score an ultrasound (even though I tried and actually also cried) and I was going to have to go another four weeks until I was next given any reassurance that things were okay.  That feels like ETERNITY TO ME.  I completely lost it one day and poor Josh was the receiver of my breakdown (as he usually is).  I was feeling like I wasn't taking good enough care of myself, I was getting frustrated with the three boys I had outside my belly, and felt like my behavior was affecting the baby.  This is #MyCrazy ladies and gentlemen- totally irrational, but very effective.  Once she comes out swinging, I can't turn it off.  

Josh was at a loss- nothing he could say or do would make me feel better and he couldn't give me what I really needed, which was reassurance that the baby was okay... or could he...

While searching on Amazon, he found an at-home Doppler- something we could use to check the baby's heartbeat.  We've looked into these before but know they don't work nearly as well as the ones at the doctor's office.  Those cause me to panic enough as it it so we both decided getting one for us during previous pregnancies would probably do more harm than good.  But what else could he do?  I had lost it.  So, after reading a lot of reviews, he put the best-seeming one in the cart and hit "purchase."  

It arrived on Halloween.  I cried when I received it.  THIS was going to help me.  

Josh, the saint that he is, knew that I was going to need some healthy parameters around this new tool.  We decided that I could only use it once a week- checking it every day or multiple times every day (which is what I probably would've done being left to my own devices) wasn't going to do me any good and wasn't healthy.  And so it began...
The Doppler with gel
Each week, on Mondays usually, I would put the gel on the Doppler, hold my breath, say some prayers, and check #HundtBaby4's heartbeat.  At first, this wasn't always easy, which is why I still refer to this thing as the best worst gift ever.  It would sometimes take several minutes to fish around and find what I was looking for.  During those minutes, time, and I think my own heart, stood still.  Actually, I take that back, my heart would speed up, which definitely caused some issues- I would think I had found the baby's heartbeat sometimes when really it was just my own.  We had a few weeks where I had to call in reinforcements, my mother, to come help me find the heartbeat.  Those were not pretty moments... not at all. 

As the weeks have progressed, however, checking the heartbeat became easier and easier, which allowed this Doppler to truly be a gift. Josh and I listening to the heartbeat, together, has really given us some special moments.  Nolan, Judah, and Carter have now all heard the heartbeat multiple times.  We can now hear kicks and movements as he/she is swimming around.  The Doppler has also truly provided me with some reassurance in between the weeks where I could do nothing and know nothing about how #HundtBaby4 was doing.  All in all, this device has truly helped me.  

N, J, and C with #HundtBaby4
I'm pretty sure Josh has wanted to light this thing on fire multiple times and has cursed himself for hitting that "purchase" button, but at that time, at the end of the October, there was really nothing else he could've done.  He was desperate, I was desperate.  It was the only thing to provide with me with any solace.

I don't know that this is the right gift for others, but Josh, I can reassure you that it's been the right gift for me.  Thank you, thank you.
Boys with #HundtBaby4~ End of November (17 weeks)

Monday, February 5, 2018

To Thy Own Self Be True

I've been a proponent of therapy/counseling for as long as I can remember.  When I was in elementary school, I saw the school counselor anytime I needed some perspective and extra guidance.  When I was going to become a big sister, we would go to the library and check out some books on the subject to read together.  When my friends had a conflict, I made them go see the counselor with me to work it out.  I like to verbally talk things out and if I couldn't solve a problem on my own, I had no shame asking for outside help.  I am still exactly this way.

In the summer of 2010, I was struggling big time- Josh and I were knee-deep in our infertility issues having just switched from the Fertility Center in Grand Rapids to the U of M Center for Reproductive Medicine in Ann Arbor.  My family was also knee-deep in my brother's drug addiction.  It seemed like all I was receiving was bad news and there was no "end of the tunnel" in sight.

My sisters and I had been seeing our brother's counselor every so often just to get an outside perspective on what WE were dealing with a loved one with a drug addiction.  We were all on our own journeys: my mom, dad, Eric, and all of us sisters, and it was really difficult finding any common ground, it felt.  The counselor was a nice outlet.  

I divulged my fertility issues to her during a session only to learn that she, herself, had NINE... that's right... NINE miscarriages in between her first and second child.  She understood pieces of my struggle, which was so helpful, but that hit just too close to home for the both of us- she could not counsel me on something so raw for her.  She referred me to a different therapist and I signed up for her next available appointment right away...

Through the next seven and a half years, Dr. A has been an incredible source of peace, understanding, and self-awareness for me.  Seeing her was such a beautiful time that I took for myself to take care of myself.  I knew, in all that I was dealing with, how much harder it was for me to get pregnant if I was stressed out, worried, hopeless, and faithless.

Even though I originally sought her out to help me deal with infertility, it did not take long to start talking through my brother's drug addiction, my issues with weight and food, and then, as the years went on, my brother's death, anxiety, miscarriage, the crippling fear that takes over every pregnancy I have, my tendencies to worry way too much, and wading through my recent, most important job of mom.

She has given me SUCH a gift- a gift I didn't know I needed- extreme clarity.  I now know, with such certainty and a highly deep level of understanding that EVERY struggle I have comes down to pretty much the same theme- my need to control things (what I affectionately refer to as "#MyCrazy").

I had no idea my infertility and brother's drug addiction were related in any way; they were separate struggles that just so happen to be going on at the same time.  How could my issues with weight loss have anything to do with my crippling fear during pregnancy? Nothing in common there.

I could not have been more wrong.

Of COURSE I have crippling fear during pregnancy- I cannot control what happens and I have a NEED to so badly.
Of COURSE my anger was out of control when dealing with my brother's drug addiction- I could not fix him no matter how hard I tried.
Of COURSE I was struggling so deeply with our infertility struggles- there was nothing I could do about my unbalanced hormonal levels and erratic cycles.  

I felt honestly embarrassed that I hadn't put all these things together realizing they all came back to the same thing.  How could I have missed that?!

This clarity has opened up an incredible door- self-awareness.

Dr. A has provided me with the best tool to help myself- I know exactly what my struggles are and exactly where they come from.  I am not in denial; I am not oblivious, naive, or uninformed.  

I can predict #MyCrazy, I know her triggers, I know when she's arrived and when she's left.  I know exactly the type of situations that are going to give me extreme worry and anxiety even before they happen.  I know precise events that I will want to take over and control.  This self-awareness allows me to communicate to people in my life openly and honestly about what's going on in my head, where I need to draw limits, where I know I will struggle, where I know I'll need help and support, and when I've totally lost it, where that is all coming from.  You can imagine how helpful that all is.  

Best of all, this self-awareness has led towards a level of acceptance for who I am.

That doesn't mean #MyCrazy isn't still there- oh she exists and she disrupts all peace, calm, and balance I try so hard to keep in my life. 

It doesn't mean I don't still struggle with a need to control everything I possibly can because that is truly who I am, at my core.

Never have my visits with Dr. A been about changing myself- they've been about figuring out who I am, why I am who I am, and what I can do to best help myself so that I can be the best I can be.

I recommend therapy and counseling constantly- for me, it has been one of the very best ways I've ever spent my time- to truly take care of me.


Around Christmas, Dr. A and I had our last session together- I always knew there'd be a day where she would retire and it arrived a little quicker than I was ready for.

I think back to the Kristin I was when I first met her- absolutely hopeless, angry, confused, frustrated beyond belief, and truly just very, very sad and lost.  

Through tears, I revisited myself 7.5 years ago with her- those feelings still raw and real.

I tried to find words to explain to her what our time has meant to me and how much she's truly helped.  Nothing seemed good enough to say.

Instead I just thanked her, for helping me know me.  I'm pretty sure, through her big smile as she hugged me tightly on my way out, that was really the goal all along. 

Sunday, January 28, 2018

#MyCrazy Returns... A Big Scare for #HundtBaby4

End of August and September: 4-7 weeks pregnant with #HundtBaby4

After lots of years of searching, I think I've finally found my favorite exercise avenue- spinning.  The pace is fast, the music is fantastic, and I leave there exhausted and sweaty.

I had been spinning since last April and was to the point now where I was all in- I asked for bike shoes for my birthday, work out clothes with words about spinning, and was looking forward to continuing to push myself and get more and more in shape. 

When I found out I was pregnant at the end of August, I made a commitment to myself that this pregnancy was going to be different. If I was lucky enough to get a chance to do this pregnancy thing one more time, I was going to have a different type of pregnancy- a calmer one, a less frantic one, one that I could really enjoy and relish instead of worry and fret.  I was also going to take better physical care of myself.  

Because of #mycrazy, when I've gotten pregnant, I do not exercise really.  I know exercise was not the cause of my two miscarriages- I know that, really I do.  However, #mycrazy has a mind of its own (actually, it's my own brain struggling, which is why everyone should be grateful they don't have to spend any time with my brain and my thoughts).  It does not take much to convince me that instead of continuing to run, instead of continuing to strength train, instead of continuing to spin... I should be sitting with my feet in the air as much as possible ;)

Not taking very good physical care of myself has definitely had an affect on me, both during pregnancy and after.  During pregnancy, especially at the end, my body is physically spent.  With the twins, I literally couldn't even walk to the mailbox because my knees, ankles, and thighs hurt so badly.  Yes, I was carrying two babies and like 65 extra pounds that my body wasn't used to, but I'm certain if I had moved more regularly, taken more walks maybe, I would've felt better.  

After pregnancy, I am an out of shape disaster.  I cry every time I go back to working out because I am so disappointed with what I can't do- little things, easy tasks, short distances that completely wipe me out.  Again, if I had been more physical during pregnancy, I'm sure I would've bounced back a little easier. 

I was going to shut #mycrazy up this time- I was determined!!!!!

So, there I was, newly pregnant, waking my butt up, sometimes at 5:00am to make a couple of spinning classes a week.  I was doing it!  I was going to stay in better shape with this baby! To heck with you #mycrazy! I AM DONE! 

And then...

Two weeks after I had found out I was pregnant, I got home from spinning and used the bathroom.  In  my underwear, was blood.  In the toilet was a dime-sized blood clot.  I was absolutely certain I had just miscarried my baby.  I crumbled to the bathroom floor in tears muttering "no, no, no" over and over and over again.  Josh tried to console me, but he knew too that the clot didn't look good. I knew how teeny tiny my baby was.  We called the doctor right when the office opened begging to be seen.  Thankfully, they were able to get me in that afternoon.  I was only six weeks pregnant exactly.

I spent most of the morning crying knowing with every inch of my being that if this baby wasn't to be, we were done- done trying to have another baby.  I couldn't do this again.  I had only been pregnant for two weeks and my soul was aching, my brain hurting, my fear crippling.  I couldn't put myself through months and months of this again.  If this was over, it was over for good for us.  I hated thinking like that but that was absolutely my truth.  I also spent the day praying over and over again that maybe things would be okay- maybe this was just a fluke and our baby, our teeny tiny baby, would be safely inside of me.  

In the waiting room, God played some serious tricks on me.  Two families came in with moms visibly pregnant with their third and fourth children.  The small children they had each asked to be read to by their parents.  One little boy and one little girl- probably both around Carter's age, the boy actually named Carter, had gotten a book from the table and walked over and asked their parents to read the books to them.  Both sets of parents said no.  Both sets of parents were on their phone.  Those were the people in the waiting room with me while I was waiting to confirm that I wasn't pregnant anymore. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!

I laid down on the table in the ultrasound room, I half heard the tech let me know that there was a good chance, because I was so early, that even if the baby was fine, we might not hear a heartbeat.  As she fished around in there, I can't even explain how I felt- a murky combination of scared, hopeful, heartbroken, sick, and honestly mad at myself that I went spinning, which is stupid and I know it. 

Josh was pacing back and forth breathing loudly.  Time seem to stand still.  Then, I saw it...
A small gray circular mass.  I've had enough early ultrasounds to know that something was in my uterus.  Was it a baby? was it just leftover tissue?  Then, as the tech zoomed in, I saw a heart beating.  

There was a baby in there.  Through tears and sighs Josh and I held each other- overwhelmed with surprise and gratitude.  I stared at that little miracle as long as we could, clutching the picture with clenched hands  after it was given to us.  Our baby was still there- still alive.  

As I sat down in the passenger seat to drive home, I knew something had come back with a vengeance- #mycrazy.  She was back as strong as ever.  After this scare, my pregnancy would be no different than the rest- I would be panicking and worrying, and sitting with my legs in the air as often as I could.  My first words to Josh while driving were, "Well, I guess I'm done with spinning for nine months."  

Listen, these are the cards I've been dealt.  I have crippling worry while pregnant- fear overtakes me.

I tried to fight #mycrazy during this pregnancy, but after that moment, I had to embrace her because she wasn't going anywhere. 

 I am thankful and grateful and appreciative every single step of the way, but also so scared, and fearful, and nervous every step of the way.  

That is me, pregnant.  

Friday, January 12, 2018

An Ode to this Roller Coaster we Call Parenting

I woke up from a restless sleep to see that I had been given a snow day.  As a teacher, snow days are such a gift.  They are the gift of time- extra time at home, extra time with your family, extra time to get caught up, extra time to sleep, etc.  

As a part time teacher, snow days have taken on a different meaning for me.  While still the gift of extra time with  my boys, they make me fall short of what I needed to accomplish before my teaching partner takes over.  Also, in the case of this year so far, I've been the only one given this gift of snow days, which will make me owe time later, which gets tricky while balancing child care.  

Even though I was frustrated with all I wasn't going to get done at work when the snow day was called, I knew I would feel a lot better when I went in to announce to Nolan and Judah that Mommy would be home today with them instead of at work.  They always jump up and down and get huge smiles on their faces, which helps me feel grateful for the gift of extra time.  

I tiptoed out of our bedroom to meet them in the hallway and said, "Guess what?!" Pause for dramatic effect, "I GOT A SNOW DAY!" And then stood with a grin, eyes lit up, waiting for all the jumping and hugging and excitement to commense.  

It did not.

In fact, what I got was giant tears and wailing from Nolan when his reaction was, "That means Papa isn't coming?!  I wanted Papa to come" Sobs, sobs, more sobs.  He was inconsolable.  He kept mentioning over and over how much sad he was Papa wouldn't be here and how much he wanted to spend the whole day with him, not me.     

Cue all the warm fuzzies. 

I will admit that I was actually crushed and my feelings were super hurt.  So much so that I needed to retreat back into the bedroom to have a really good cry.  Now I was behind in my work AND no one at my house wanted me around either.  Sheesh.

Don't get me wrong, it was I love that my kids love their grandparents- we are very lucky how much they look forward to and enjoy time with my parents and Josh's parents and how close we live to them so they can see all four of them often.  None of that helped my bruised ego.    

A few minutes later, Josh came into the room to console me, understanding how much that interaction hurt my feelings.  He tried, so kindly, to reassure me- reminding me how much Nolan loves me, how his favorite thing about the day before was when I was watching him dance around the house.  He was right, of course, but I was still pretty low.  

After he left, I reflected on how crazy this roller coaster of parenting is.  You have such ups and such downs.  You can be filled with such disappointment one minute and pride that will leave you speechless the next.  You can feel like a super hero and a villain in a matter of seconds.  You can feel like a supreme success and supreme failure many times within a given day, within a given hour. Their are big dips, stomach-flipping drops, loops, and spins that will make you dizzy.  It is quite manic- parenting.

I know my kids are going to hurt my feelings- I know that, I really do.  It's already happened and will continue to happen.  I also know they love me, very, very much.  But in that moment, I couldn't help but question some things.  Wouldn't Nolan know that would make me sad? Haven't I taught him to think of others before speaking?  About empathy?  Am I that un-fun?  Do I spend too much time asking them to clean up instead of playing?  I was questioning everything- where in the world did I go wrong in this situation?  I was only trying to light them up, which would've lit me up.

My door creaked open again, more slowly this time. 

I heard, "Mommy? Are you asleep?"  It was Nolan.  

He walked slowly over to my side of the bed- Josh a few steps behind him.  I sat up and looked at him waiting for what might be next.

Josh began, "Nolan has a couple of things for you- he's been telling me quite a bit downstairs how badly he feels for hurting your feelings and making you think he didn't want to spend today with you."

"I wrote you a note and drew your a picture with your favorite colors,"  Nolan said bringing pieces of paper into view from behind his back.  "Can you read the note I wrote for you?"  He handed me one of the papers.  On it was a note in Josh's handwriting with Nolan's signature.  

I read the words above out loud in that lumpy broken voice when tears are coming.  Then he handed me the picture filled with mostly purple (my favorite color) but also pink (my second favorite).

Josh assured me, several times, that he had nothing to do with this- these papers were not his idea, but Nolan's.

Nolan and I hugged for a long time and I let him know how much better this made me feel and how much I appreciated his kindness.      

Just twenty minutes before, I was questioning so much of my parenting.  Thinking I had screwed up big time if my kid would rather not spend time with me and could find words to hurt me that badly. Now, I was... touched, deeply touched.  So proud, so impressed, so in awe of this little kind-hearted being who knew he may have made someone sad and worked so hard to make it better. I needed to have a good cry again, but for a completely different reason.  This little human is incredible and he is mine.

Again, such a roller coaster and it wasn't even 7:15 in the morning yet.  

I had gone from such a low to SUCH a high.  I knew the rest of the day wouldn't be perfect- there would be more highs, like when we pretended we were in Cancun and went swimming in the bathtub, when Judah went from one side of the couch to the other just to snuggle with me, when Carter said he missed me while he was at school yesterday, and Nolan showered me with kisses.  I knew there'd be some lows too- when the boys took FOREVER to get dressed, when they disagreed and tears were shed, when Carter knocked over an awesome Magnitiles tower built by Nolan and Judah, when we were arguing about how much carrot needed to be eaten during dinner.

This parenting is such a ride.  

Bottom line- I need to keep trusting my instincts, putting in the time, boundaries, and  consistency, and showing these boys an extreme amount of love, patience, compassion, and understanding.  The parenting roller coaster is an extreme ride, but so worth it.    

Monday, January 1, 2018

#OneWord 2018: Less

I don't know why, but each year, I love to decide, as many others do, to try to sum up my new year goals, resolutions, and changes with only one word.  I do find this incredibly challenging since I am not concise and am always striving to change and improve 783 things at once.  How can I sum up all that in one word?! 

After much reflection and thought, I've decided that my #oneword for 2018 is less

Less can often be a word that has a negative connotation: being less happy, caring less, giving less effort towards something, spending less time with someone.  For me though, this year, I'm hoping this word helps me gain more.  

I couple of things I'm going to try to do less of...
- worry less about things I cannot control
- spend less time on things I don't want to do
- purge things in my house so that there are less things, less clutter
- spend less time ignoring myself
- get up less early in the morning (please, please, please)
- say yes less
- check my email less 
- be winded less (I MUST EXERCISE)
- spend less time making decisions
- know my boundaries and limits and stick to them so I am ultimately juggling less

I also can't use the word less without making a reference to eating less or eating less junk food (I'm afraid #hundtbaby4 will pop out a pizza, cookie, or piece of chocolate... like really).

I want to think less, do less, give less, get less worried, and less fired up about things that aren't mine.

As a detailed-oriented perfectionist control freak, I will often take on more and more and more and it can be really damaging.  I can get overwhelmed, frustrated, and begin acting as though my priorities are different than what I actually know them to be. 

I hope that lessening a lot of things will help me get more of what I really want: more family time, more connection with friends, more time to do what I love

I find myself constantly searching for more balance and more peace.

Less can be my key to finding these values that always seem unreachable for me.  

What is your #oneword for 2018?