Friday, September 23, 2016

The Struggle Is Real

Do you know what gets me every time? The diaper bag/purse scenario. My wallet and lipstick are never in the correct one. So alas, this was me yesterday afternoon at McDonalds without my wallet asking ever so kindly if they might, perhaps ah hem accept a check for $2.27?!? Turns out they will. So if you ever find yourself at McDonalds in a pinch without your wallet in serious need of caffeine, just know you have some options.

In all seriousness though, the last couple of weeks have been a doozie. Or rather, I've been a doozie. I've been struggling quite a bit, and then struggling with the fact that I am struggling when I have so much to be thankful for and several close friends dealing with real, actual, intense, painful life situations. Trust me, I've spent entirely too much time laboring over the mental gymnastics of it all, then guilting and un-guilting myself.

So I have no intense life situations here. What I do have is the typical exhaustion that comes from having a newborn (I would kill for a good night's sleep right about now!! Please GOD let him start sleeping so I can feel sane again.) and then the growing pains of trying to figure out life with a four year old, a two year old and a newborn. (i.g.: Preschool drop off. Navigating the stroller down those crowded, narrow halls with the other two trailing behind, plus the two backpacks and two lunch boxes and nap mat... Or figuring out how on earth one is supposed to cook dinner while simultaneously meeting the needs of three small people? Or what to do when they all three need something at once?) Besides being exhausted and feeling like I'm never, ever alone (my trip to the dentist all by myself was the absolute highlight of my Tuesday), a lot of it just boils down to me trying to find my grove with another kid in the mix. Add that to the fact that Nick is working a lot of 12 hour days with his new job for the time being, and it feels like the two of us are simultaneously running on a hamster wheel.

So that's the first layer, and just beneath that, what seems to be bubbling up to the surface is a pretty ugly case of insecurity. It's weird because insecurity isn't something I've particularly struggled with since about junior high. (And it's not because I've ever had some sort of rock hard body or a steel trap mind, let's be clear on that.) I've struggled with all kinds of other things, but insecurity really wasn't one. Pretty much, I am who I am and what you see is what you get.

But not lately. First, it's physical insecurity. It's not hard to surmise why, after three kids, there are some things I'm not loving about my body these days. I swear I look around and everyone I know weighs 110 lbs. and is in the process of training for an Iron Man while simultaneously drinking their Shakeology. Meanwhile I've got a belly full of jello, stretch marks and milk stains on my shirt and spit up in my hair. So clichè but in fact, the truth.

Second is insecurity about my role and life in general. This is more unchartered territory for me. I overhear Nick on important work calls with important men and women and celebrate his career taking off. I watch friends excel at their jobs and their passions. I read about people adopting children across the world or starting up incredible non-profits. And it's just like... well... I can talk to you about eczema creams and breastfeeding. I changed about 15 diapers today.

I'm sure all of this sounds incredibly ridiculous and dramatic and it's not in any way a ploy for sympathy. This is just where I'm at mentally these days with a new baby and Nick's new job and not a lot of sleep. I do know this is just a season, sleep will come, and at some point, my world will start to feel right side up again. In the meantime, there are these incredibly gorgeous and over the top thoughtful flowers from Nick. He really is the best EVER! I'm so very lucky he's mine.

And I'm not sure how you shift gears from that to a few superficial pictures, but I'm going to do just that. Here are some of my favorites from the week. 

The boys said they wanted to play baseball in the backyard together. I'm pretty sure I envisioned this exact moment sometime within the first few hours of finding out Everett was a boy. 
Also, there were no broken windows afterwards, which I will say, surprised me. Nick got in on the fun too.

On Sunday after church we had lunch with the Manns. Logan and Malley were very proud of the fact that they could pick up the younger sibs. I love this picture so much. 

Malley had a sucker and so kindly shared it with Logan. Completely sanitary. And of course Beckham never suffers from lack of attention.

Tuesday was RED day at school!
And on Thursday we had some #regression going on just a little bit. Ha!

One of my very favorite things of all from this week, besides my beautiful flowers, are these precious, precious notes Logan has taped in all of our bedrooms.

He taped two on his wall that say LOVE LOGAN and BUBL PUP LOVE YOU (Bubble Puppy is his stuffed dog). And I know there aren't many more years left of that. And so in this season that can feel hard and exhausting and so often depleting, I have to remember there are so many sweet things to be celebrated and cherished. 

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Some Stuff & Some Things & Some -isms

The other night I was right in the middle of cooking dinner when Logan sauntered into the kitchen, guns blazing with questions and facts. I did the thing you do, where you half listen and throw out the occasional uh huh and oh really! for good measure.

"Mom, why do mice run so fast?" he asked as I chopped and poured.

"Hmm.. I don't know.. I guess because they're little and run fast across the floor." I answered, focusing my efforts solely on dinner prep before Beckham woke up from his nap.

Logan's silence caused me to look up, and I'll never forget the look on his face, a combination of horror, pity, and sympathy for his poor, simple-minded mother. "Yeah. It could be that," he said, talking slowly and annunciating everything clearly so I could understand. "Or- it could be because mice are prey so they have to run fast to escape predators." 

Before turning to walk out of the kitchen he announced, "And do you know why that fire on the stove is blue? That's because blue is the hottest of all the fires. And do you know why we don't have a diving board on our pool and Grammy does? That's because her pool is more measuring tapes deep than ours is."

Sometimes, I worry my mental capacities may not withstand another 14 years with that one.

This week was the rest of Logan's testing after his fainting episodes. Thankfully everything came back perfectly normal, and the cardiologist confirmed it was vasovagal syncope, which just means a tendency to faint in response to stimuli (like pain or intense emotions). It's not a huge deal, more so something to be aware of. It doesn't happen any time he gets hurt, but only when he feels pretty intense pain. One time when he fainted he was rough housing and fell off the bed, another time he twisted his arm at the jump park. It was good to know for sure that it wasn't something more serious causing him to faint. 

That night after his appointment we went out for dinner and let Logan choose the restaurant. Before going inside I was giving the boys the rundown on their behavior and how I expected them to act. Logan assured me, "Mom. We'll be so good in there you'll cry!" Ha!
I also took Beckham to his first appointment with Dr. Beights, our Naturopath, this week. I was going in for a check up and wanted her to look him over as well. Apparently I'm having all kinds of issues, but Beckham looked great. The only thing she recommended is taking him for some cranio therapy to try and help his head shape. Hopefully doing that will avoid one of those bazillion dollar helmets. It's similar to the treatments we did with Everett to fix his lip and tongue tie. I'll be curious to see if it works!

Yesterday morning Kimba and the girls came over for pancakes and bacon. It was fun to mix things up and let the kids run around together in their pj's. I'm trying to keep a mental list of things like this to do, that we won't be able to do next year once Logan is in kindergarten. We've got to live it up while we can!
My little pancake sous chef

Last night was our annual visit to Grapefest in Downtown Grapevine with the Gregorys & Co. We met at David's office Downtown where Everett attached himself to Natalie.
We left to walk around Main Street... still holding on tight to Natalie.

Natalie still has a little lemur here too. 

It's funny, our dog Lexi has this strange obsession with Natalie and has since college. When Natalie comes over Lexi stares at her and follows her around the house. Erin and I used to joke it was their matching shiny black hair. Looks like Lexi gave Everett a tip from her playbook. 

Obviously, I'm super biased but Everett is just THE sweetest kid! He is the most joyful, twinkly eyed guy. It's sometimes harder to write funny stories about him, because it's not so much what he says as it is the way he says things and his facial expressions. He is for sure our comedian though. 

One funny, random Everett story- the other day he was watching 101 Dalmatians, and I said something about Cruella DeVille being mean. He looked up from the movie and said, "Yeah! She's a big WOO-SER [loser]." Obviously *SOMEONE* has an older brother! Hashtag: Words Logan definitely didn't know at age two!! 

Nick and I have officially declared two our favorite age ever, and Everett's hilarious personality and sweet little spirit make two extra great!

Sweet cousins!

There were rides and corn dogs and cotton candy, and Nick and I had two very, very happy little boys!
And a sleepy one

Logan and Everett each rode the ferris wheel and the dragon roller coaster twice, and begged for more. At $8 a pop, twice was more than enough. Grapefest will bankrupt you in a hurry if you're not careful. 
But the sweaty smiles make it oh so worth it!

A few other miscellaneous things of note...

Last weekend I went through a big box of school stuff I had saved and pulled out a few kindergarten activities I thought Logan might enjoy. He is all about them! When Everett and Beckham nap he always asks if we can play some of my "kindergarten games." You know my love of this is off the charts. For ten minutes I get to pretend to be a teacher again!
Racing Bears
Making words 

The rest of his day is spent:
 Loving on Beckham

Everett tells me that when he's five he's going to "pump milk for B," so we will all look forward to that!

Monday, September 12, 2016

Bits & Bobs & Back To School

Why hello! I have been wanting so badly to sit down and write on my blog for the last week. I've had so many random thoughts floating around in my brain I wanted to type out and sift through, as well as various happenings around here (back to school! a new job for Nick!), but then... life. And three small kids. And it just hasn't happened. So I'm just going to attempt to do a catch up post, along with some random pictures from my phone. I apologize in advance, it's probably going to be erratic and disjointed and maybe not even make a lot of sense. But again, that's life right now, so I'm just gonna go with it. 

Last week Nick was out of town five of the seven days, the boys started back to school, bible study resumed, and we happened to have a bunch of random appointments and things planned that we normally don't. The week was marked with celebrations and some sadness. To top it off, from Sunday until Friday Beckham never slept more than a three hour stretch at night. I'm not kidding, by Thursday night I felt like a crazy person. Who am I kidding? I was a crazy person. 
This was me today. Kimba and I took the kids to play at an indoor playground. On the way there the boys were making up all kinds of potty talk songs on repeat at a deafening volume. I was past the point of ignoring. I could feel my frustration rising and my skin starting to crawl. But then, a lightbulb went off in my head. Instead of fighting the battle and letting them push my buttons, I opened my center console, took out a pair of headphones and plopped them in my ears. Some old school Mumford & Sons was playing on my iTunes, and it was like a symphony to my joyfully oblivious ears. Why didn't I think of this sooner?? "What's that you say back there, children?" It's so obvious and simple and yet so genius. A win for all, but mostly for me.

Then, this was us also; clinking together red wine glasses and tiny plastic glasses of sparkling cider in celebration.
After a very long, drawn out, nail biting and anxiety ridden process, we found out that Nick got a new job!! We were all so thrilled! After all that HE GOT THE JOB!!! He's going to be AMAZING at the job!! He deserved the job! Yay Nick!

The boys and I picked up Eatzi's for dinner, along with a small cake and some balloons. As we were driving around gathering our celebration materials, the Dave Mathews lyrics kept floating around in my head:


Dave knows some things about some lyrics.

The boys were so excited, they wanted to turn out all the lights, hide everything we bought and hide from Nick. And so when he came home from work, he found the four of us and a giant bunch of balloons, crouched down beside Beckham's crib in the dark. The boys jumped out at him and yelled, "SURPRISE!" and then took his arm and dragged him into the kitchen, talking over one another, to show him each little thing... the food and the "champagne" as they called it, and their fancy "champagne cups." It was a sweet, memorable celebration!

We also celebrated school starting back up! Thursday was the boys' first day. It was Logan's last, first day of preschool (WAH!) and Everett's first, first day of preschool (also WAH!). Dave Matthews needs some lyrics for this.

They looked darling in their matching green plaid, but right after we took the pictures Logan announced he wanted to wear his "dressy" Under Armour shirt (collared) for the first day, and immediately changed. The fact that he had a collar on was a win, and I wasn't about to turn the first day of school into a battle. The plaid was cute while it lasted.

Both boys marched into school with big smiles, and of course Everett's backpack was the same size as he is. I am so excited about both of their teachers, they seem fantastic! The first day was a great success across the board! 

That night we had our first annual Back To School Supper. I decided this is going to become a thing at our house. I stole the idea from Kimba, although my mom used to do a version of this when we were kids. I kept it simple and did a taco bar with all the fixin's, plus brownies and vanilla ice cream, all per the boys' request.

Logan made the place cards and beautiful popsicle stick table art while the younger two napped. It was very festive!

Logan also made me this rad "LOVE MOM" bracelet. He went from anti writing and crafting, to pretty much a full timer. When he gave me the bracelet I gushed about it and told him it would remind me of him when he was at school and I was missing him.
"Well," he told me. "You can wear it when you're old and dead and think of me. And that won't be long!" 

So there's that.

While Nick was out of town my mom and Scat came over one night to help me with the dinner/bedtime portion of the day. I appreciated their help so much! This may well be one of my favorite pictures of all time.

I had a hair appointment another day, and Al & Teri kept the older two for me- which was also very, very much appreciated. Hair day wears a man out. Beckham assumed the relaxation pose like a boss.

Another night the older boys and I cooked a Mexican Quinoa recipe my friend Kim sent me. I was so proud of the boys, they did pretty much all of the chopping, and Logan cooked the entire meal all by himself on the stove. 
He and Everett's pride was through the roof, and rightfully so. For all of those- Everett is whining because Paw Patrol isn't on/Beckham is crying because he needs to eat/Logan is asking me for the tenth time "WHAT ARE THE LETTERS TO SPELL ___" all in tandem... moments like these also exist. It was awesome to share something I love with the boys and see them enjoy it also.

And also, there's this.

Logan loves to go get Beckham up from his morning nap, usually when I'm getting ready for the day. He unswaddles him (it's for the best I haven't seen his method- but there are no tears or sounds of distress from Beckham, so I assume it's alright) and then sits in his crib and talks to him, while Beckham flashes him the biggest smiles you've ever seen. It's pretty much the greatest thing ever. Everett will usually get in on the crib action too after a while, and for those few minutes every morning my heart is right on the brink of bursting.

And then other times, they laugh and stick "Call 911" stickers all over Beckham's clothes, and Logan muffles his ears with his hands when Beckham cries and Everett tries to talk/whine over the noise, and life is a lot less like The Brady Bunch, and a whole lot more normal-ish.

Over the weekend Nick went to Arizona for the Tech game. My mom and Al & Teri- being the saints that they are- took the older two for the weekend, so it was just Bubbs and me.
And I'll tell you what, it's not a cake walk with a newborn, but it's a whole heck of a lot easier having one instead of three. Especially one that doesn't sass talk you! There were moments that felt almost vacation-ish, I won't lie.

The boys had a blast with the grandparents, and my mom sent me this picture of Logan writing a book.

Then we were all reunited Sunday- YAY!- and it was straight back to work for Logan, working on some signs for the front yard.
Everett was upset because he wanted to watch 101 Dalmatians but Logan had another show on TV, and Beckham started getting fussy because who knows why, and Logan was shouting, "WHAT ARE THE LETTERS TO SPELL: BEARS THAT KILL PEOPLE LIVE HERE?" And all was right with the world, because all of my people were back together under one roof.


Sunday, September 4, 2016

On Two Different Pages

Basically, Nick and I been up every hour with Beckham since 11 p.m. We were just settling back to sleep when our bedroom door flew open and hit the wall. It was 6:23 a.m. Logan marched in with his hair sprayed and combed over to the side, dressed in a collared shirt and shorts, and announced with entirely too much gusto, HE WAS READY FOR CHURCH! 

That's what you call not on the same page, my friend. That is also when a lot of cuss words fly through your brain.

Logan came down with a cold or virus of some sort last week and has since passed it to me and Beckham. I spent most of Thursday night awake and shivering with a sore throat, looking for anything I could add to my pants/sweatshirt/socks/fuzzy blanket/heading pad combo. 

On Saturday Beckham's nose was stopped up, and I could tell he didn't feel well either. It's so sad the first time they get sick! As a result, he hardly slept a wink last night. And as a result of that, Nick and I didn't either. 
Those cheeks though!

So I apologize in advance, this post might not even make sense when all is said and done, but I'm just going to type it out, close the computer, and hope for the best.

You would think after three kids, Nick and I would have a better middle of the night system down. Why we haven't devised a logical, mutually beneficial way to split up shifts during particularly hard nights is beyond me. On a typical night, where Beckham is up once or twice, I always get up with him. And if Logan or Everett happen to wake up for something Nick handles that. But on the hard nights (last night) after about the third time out of bed, I want some reinforcement. And so our middle of the night song and dance unfolds.

The baby cries, and we both lay there. Nick pretends to be asleep, and I start nudging him and hiss, "It's your turn." He then mumbles some reason about why he's too tired, and I sigh dramatically. We try to wait each other out. Baby cries louder. We then go back and forth trying to out-tired the other for a few seconds: 

"Are you kidding me?? I've been in there FOUR times already!"
"Yeah and I was up at midnight refilling Logan's humidifier!"
"Did you forget last week? I was up three times with him every single night!"

We lay there in silence again. A few seconds later someone gives in, throws back the covers, and angrily huffs out of bed. The first time around it's usually Nick, but then I typically end up doing the subsequent trips. Or Nick ends up on the couch, and Beckham comes to bed with me. Three babies in, and we are still a piece of work in the middle of the night. That part just never gets easier!

The good news is, this time around has been so much smoother on our marriage. I think I've blogged about this before, but the newborn stage is typically pretty stressful for us. In the past we haven't been our best selves or been the nicest to one another when we're in the throes on newborn life. Thankfully, this time around has been so much better! I'm not sure if it's because we've become more selfless or we have an easier baby or the three of them combined have just beaten us down into submission. But even on the hardest nights this time around, we've been able to laugh it off in the morning. Or in the midst of the three kid mayhem, we just look over their heads at one another like, "WHAT! THA!"

So it's good. Even when it's crazy, it's good!

For example, the other day I was filling out Everett's preschool paper work just crying my eyes out. 
As much as I've talked about being ready for summer to end and school to start, something about filling out those questions and thinking about him actually being in school all on his own just killed me. 

I had *just* finished his papers when I looked out the back door and saw Logan and Everett throwing fistfuls of dirt at one another, laughing their heads off. CRAZY right there. CRAZY! Why would you even?

Needless to say, that scene dried my tears right up. Yep, I'm ready for school to start after all! Those two little gentleman earned themselves some porch sweeping duty.
On Wednesday Jaymi brought Hayden over to swim and play Magic Tracks. Everett was the supervisor.

Bubbs oversaw the operation.

On Thursday they both had dentist appointments. 
 Everett looked 12 sitting in the chair with his long legs.

Everett actually let them clean his teeth this time and was the perfect patient!

Friday was meet the teacher day at their school. Luckily, Nick had already planned to take the day off and come with us, because I ended up not going since I was sick. I felt absolutely horrible about missing their meet the teacher, but I would have felt worse going up there and spreading my germs around to everyone. Afterwards Nick took the boys up to his office to take care of a couple of things he forgot before the long weekend, and then to lunch at Chic Fil A. I appreciated him doing that so, so much!

We did make it to church this morning- I mean we were 20% ready to go before 6:30 after all- but other than that we've basically laid low all weekend trying to feel better. 
And doing some stunts and sleeping when we can...