Thursday, September 27, 2012


 It was a busy afternoon and evening.
There were some unplanned changes to the schedule.
Then the "crazy" in me made a bad decision.
Since we were driving past Costco on our 3 hour after school jaunt...
might as well run in for milk!
But it was almost bedtime, the kids were running on snacks & hoping for dinner soon.
It wasn't a disaster but left me wondering why I try to squeeze too much in?!?!
When we finally got home I stuck this fussy baby on the counter next to me 
while I whipped up an amazing 5 minute dinner.

She's a smart kid.
Why wait 5 minutes when you have a block of cheese next to you?
Go to town baby!

Flashback 12+ years.
Ryan & I were married in England.  
It was a double wedding with my brother & wife (for convenience not cuteness!)
I'm the second oldest of 11 kids.
I had siblings all the way down to 2 years old at the wedding.
Plus 2 families of in-laws.
It was a zoo..a happy wonderful zoo!

At some point in the happy chaos Ryan and I walked into a room and found my 2 year old brother in fetal position on the floor.  We tried to coax him to tell us what was wrong.  Eventually we found out that he was simply guarding a large block of cheese that he had managed to escape the kitchen with.  It was carefully nibbled around all the edges.

I'm sure glad to know that kids are resourceful when our mothering falls short.
And I always need to keep a block of cheese in my fridge!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Day of Dates

About 4 years ago Ryan and I took ballroom dance classes and had a blast!  We totally had fun stepping on each other's toes but also enjoyed every second of having a weekly date that we were committed to showing up for!  We've reminisced and wished for the last 4 years that we were still doing that...other priorities got in the way (like baby #3 and baby #4! and various other excuses!)

Well we finally decided we were going to somehow carve out the time and money to make it happen again.  Hallelujah!  As life gets more chaotic we see each other less and need these dates more and more just to stay connected.  Plus it really is fun to waltz around the room with no babies hanging on our legs!  So, we started our weekend off with our awesome weekly date!

We are blessed to have the most wonderful family for neighbors.  She and I help each other out all the time with quick runs to the grocery store and other child care helps.  In the spirit of trading back and forth they offered to send us out on a date before they have another baby and we get our turn to babysit.  So we took them up on it!

We took Hayley out on a date with just Dad & Mom.

This was the "big talk" that we've been dragging our feet on forever!  Yeah...kind of meant to check that box at 8 years old.  Amazing how easy it is to procrastinate.  After 10 years of dreading this "talk" I'm wondering now what I was worried about?!?!  It was perfect--no awkwardness--and I'm not worried about the next 3.  I'll post more details later for those of you that still have a few years to squirm and don't know how to handle this.  But the short story is that we hung out at Panera Bread for breakfast then found an empty field, laid out a blanket and talked!

Man!  She's growing up!

Then because we still had willing babysitters and time on the clock Ryan & I escaped for a quick hike doing one of his favorite things...letterboxing!

After we returned it was my turn to take Alice out.  A slurpee date at Target (you know those errands that masquerade as dates?!)  Alice is my silly & fun kid to hang out with.  4 years old is hard though....on me and her!  So one-on-on time with no whining or battles is much needed therapy for both of us.  I stole this little trick from Values Parenting.  I told her 10 things I loved about her/things she was good at, while writing the first letter of each thing on her fingers.  Sometimes it's good to stop and remember the good stuff! 

After all that Ryan took Maya on a date [trip to Lowes] so everyone ended up with love buckets filled...

...and yet we still had a cranky bedtime!  Thank goodness for pictures to remind me of all the good moments!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Recording My Messy Journey

Summer 2012: Tie Dye Shirts!
Hayley (9), Alice (4), Maya (6)
Audrey (18 mos)

It's been a let me start over.  I am a mother of 4 beautiful, growing daughters.  I am the wife of a devoted husband and father.  I love to organize and plan.  I love to learn and perfect things.  I love to share ideas and improve lives.  On my own I enjoy reading, watching the news, and scrap booking online.  With my husband I love our ballroom dance classes, cooking together, and watching whatever show or movie we are both completely hooked on.  As a family I love it when we are outdoors playing or hiking.  I love one-on-one moments with my girls--board games, experimenting with hairstyles, coloring & reading.

Maya, Hayley, Alice
September 2012
My oldest is 9 1/2 years old.  My baby is 18 months old.  I am grateful for the things I have learned & the ways I have grown up in the last 10 years!  But the last 18 months of mothering have changed me more than all the years before that.  Maybe it was because I reached my limit and had to stretch.  Maybe I was just ready to completely submerse myself in this journey of motherhood and grow from it instead of just surviving on the surface.

September 2012
I'm here to record my journey.  Not because it is impressive, heroic, or tragic.  I want to record it for myself and my children and whoever else chooses, because I think it's a normal, everyday story.  I read of mother's who are required to be much more heroic than me.  I know of mother's who have mastered more skills.  But I want to write about me because I have grown.  I don't want to forget that process because it was hard!  I need to grow more.  I am learning to appreciate and love and be patient with the process that is me!

August 2012
I disappeared from the blog-o-sphere soon after Audrey was born.  When she was about 6 weeks old I took a nose dive into post-partum depression.  This was a first for me.  I was lucky that it was like someone flipped a switch one day.  It was so black-and-white obvious that within 2 days of starting to cry all day and have panic attacks about dumb little things I was getting help.  My husband saw it immediately and gently encouraged and supported me as we experimented to "lift" me back up.  My mother swept in and rescued my kids on days that I couldn't function.  The worst of it was short lived.  And I know that I am so lucky and am so grateful for that!  I don't know how our family would have survived me for much longer!!!

March 2011
Audrey: 2 weeks
Since then, I have learned to say no to many things.  I have protected myself from becoming overwhelmed and tried to just focus on all the basics because having a functioning wife and mother is too important to a family!

I have chosen not to blog for a while partly because I wasn't in a happy place but also just to preserve my resources for the people that are most important to me.  But oh, how I have missed it!  Lately I have been ready.  Ready to embrace all the joy I get from regularly recording my experiences.  I know that I see more good in my days when I am looking for moments to share.  I pick up my camera more often when I know I might blog that picture.  I laugh at the hard stuff quicker when I imagine it as a blog story.  I love how spending a few minutes recounting a good moment erases hours of hard moments and hard work. After blogging I am suddenly ready to embrace the ups and downs of parenting and living life because I feel more confident that there will be more good and I can see the big picture more clearly.

So, if you choose to follow along...welcome!  Someday these will be my treasured memories!