Apr 6, 2016


In the wee hours of this morning, at exactly 1:54am, she is exactly six years old.

The birth stories might all be blending together, memories turning a little fuzzy around the edges, but the love I have for each one of them, there is nothing blended or fuzzy about it. It continually amazes me how the more children you have, the more your time may have to be shared and split, but the love isn't shared or split at all. The love for each individual child is there, distinct and unique, just like the child. My heart just grows bigger and bigger and sometimes I wonder if it will burst wide open, yet it doesn't. Not in that way, anyway. It just grows and expands and feels like a big fuzzy blanket surrounding us together.

Today is her birthday.

Six years on the sixth.

My sweet Little P, who sits in the middle. Her older sister on one side, her younger sister and angel brother on the other. This dainty little girl, with her love of accessories and fashion and high heels, who hates getting her hair brushed but likes having it styled nicely. She is the most tender-hearted six-year-old I know. Almost always the first to share, she sometimes bases her decisions on what she knows her sister would want. She is kind and thoughtful and has a delicate heart.

Paige, who was only three when we lost her brother, she is the first to bring up his name, to talk to him, to draw for him, to remember her baby brother in every family thing we do. She cries for him and misses him and is the most vocal about his absence.

My darling middle daughter, who wears her feelings on her sleeve. Whose entire body radiates joy when she's happy, dancing and skipping and singing with smiles. And alternately it is clear when she is not happy, her emotions unable to stay contained, she can yell and stomp her feet and slam doors with the best of them.

She needs her sleep like her mommy, and will actually sleep in unlike her sisters. She is not a morning person and needs time to wake up before rushing into the day.

She is creative, and loves to draw or paint or do any type of art activity. She frequently asks if she can use my phone, not for a game or video, but because she wants to plug her headphones into it and listen to music.

I still sometimes think of her as my baby, partially because each of my kids will always be my baby, but also because she was the littlest for so long. She can be quiet and hesitant, especially in new situations, but she has also gotten more confident and sure of herself this past year. But she can also be loud and silly, especially trying to make her family laugh.

Oh, Pega Ninnie. My dearest Little P. My Paige. You are such a beautiful little girl. Your beauty radiates from the inside out, and I am so proud to be your mother. Happy, happy, HAPPiest of birthdays to you, my big-little six-year-old. May you dream of joyful things always.

Love forever and ever,

Mar 1, 2016

I Don't Lean In

Why is it that when life gets busy or crazy or overwhelming or just changes that one of the first things to go is anything I enjoy doing for myself? You'd think that when things are overwhelming or changing that I'd need those interests and hobbies and passions even more. That I would lean into them instead of turning away.

But the thing is, I'm not a leaner-iner. I'm a shutter-downer. When time management changes and there are shifts in our normal, well, the things that get dropped are things that are not necessities. Yes, one could argue that my interests are most definitely necessities for me and my well-being, but unfortunately when it comes down to it, there are other necessities that take much more precedence.

When I'm submerged in trying to juggle and balance change, well, I sort of shut down. Doing something for myself takes time and energy and more energy. And even though I know that I could totally find the time if I really tried, it just requires way too much energy to try. It's too hard. I can't do it. I don't want to do it. There just isn't the internal motivation pushing me toward anything. Well, except for my bed. I always have motivation pushing me in the direction of my bed.

I'm pretty sure I've always been a low energy person. Or at least, ever since I've had kids. But I don't think I can really blame it on them. My body needs more than the average amount of sleep to function well, and any task requires a high volume of energy. If even activities I enjoy are "work" for me, think of how much extra energy I have to muster up if it's something I don't enjoy.

All of this to say, adjusting to part-time work is still in process.

I do realize I am only working twelve hours per week. Trust me, the pitifulness of it does not escape me. But, the truth of the matter is that it still is something that requires a lot out of me, and because of that other areas of my life have been put on the back burner. (Namely, my own personal interests. Sigh.)

As with everything in life, I will adjust. I am adjusting. And even though it feels scary and hard and overwhelming a lot of the time, there is so much that makes me excited and happy and love-filled.

These three joys, most definitely.

I'll get there. I will. I just need to give myself forgiveness and time.


Jan 8, 2016


We are eight days into the new year and she is eight days into being an eight-year-old. I'm not sure where the time has gone, and I can remember her birth day as if it were yesterday, and all the old clich├ęs of time going to fast and children growing up.

About a month before her birthday I already started thinking of her as an eight-year-old and even had to correct myself a few times. Strange for me to rush her age considering I am usually holding back tears at the thought of them getting older, yet in this case when the day actually came, it felt right. Probably because I was already referring to her as eight in my mind.

Since having a New Year's Day baby eight years ago, the first day of the New Year does not feel as renewing and fresh and calling me to make resolutions and goals and to start my year with pep and zest. Although maybe I was never that way and now I'm just more aware of it. The New Year is fun, of course, but mostly I am thinking about my oldest and how it is HER day because that's what birthdays are.

This was the first year we let our girls (the older two anyway) stay up until midnight, and they did. And when the countdown to midnight came to an end instead of, "Happy New Year!" my husband lifted his glass and said, "Happy Birthday, Hope!" And my heart skipped a beat and I was mostly just happy that he thought to do something so special (and I didn't let myself focus on feeling sad that I hadn't thought of it too).

I am continually amazed at what a beautiful young soul this child of mine is. And I am continually scared that I am going to completely mess up raising her in some significant way. I will never have all the answers and I will never do everything single thing right, but I will promise to do the best that I can and to be there for her, however she needs.

On January 1st eight years ago, she came into this world with big, blue eyes that stayed open for hours. She came into this new place and immediately wanted to see it all. She has been that way ever since. At one day, at five weeks, at eight years. Her eyes are open and they are taking it in. She does not want to miss a moment of anything. And she won't.

Happy Birthday to my beautiful, intelligent, caring, sweet daughter! May this year be as silly and joy-filled and magical as you. I love you, Hopey!

xoxo, mommy

Dec 16, 2015

Warning, Warning. Cheer-O-Meter at Dangerously Low Levels

Christmas Eve is eight days away. Eight! The Holly Jolly and Rockin' Around and Fa La Las are getting louder and closer. And it seems that the more deeply we fall into the Christmas season, the more my Cheer-o-meter decreases. I'm afraid that by next week I'll be at level Almost-Grinch, a thought that makes me cringe with embarrassment.

I'm not sure what happened this year. My husband would probably argue that I started my Christmas Cheer too early, gung-ho and strong in November only to peter out a month later. He may have a point, although it hasn't seemed to bother me other years, but I think the more likely culprit is starting a job.

Transitioning into part-time work has actually been fairly smooth. I think my anticipation of how everything would look and feel was much more dramatic than the reality. The schedule works so wonderfully with being available for my kids, and the number of hours is just enough but not too much.

It still, however, has been an adjustment for me, which I think is why this Christmas season has not felt very Christmasy. It's not so much me being a grinch as it is being exhausted from the all the change and temporary chaos as we all adjust to a new schedule. Even though I am home right after lunchtime, the first half of the week feels completely booked up, because once I'm home it's time for Nora's nap (and mine) and shortly after she's up the older girls get home. By the time Thursday rolls around I feel like I need to recover from the first half of the week, or I am trying to fit in about one hundred things that I put off because of work.

Somehow the day-to-day mundane is overpowering the once-per-year holiday and I am left deflated and wondering how Christmas is next week and I don't feel more magic about it all.

Also, I'm blaming the weather. Because it's always about the weather. Not that I'm complaining about the temperatures, but mild temps and rainy? Doesn't sound much like Christmastime in Minnesota. Give me a little bit of snow and surely my Christmas Ho Hum will turn into Christmas Oh Joy!

Either way, I've got to figure out a way to get out of these doldrums and into the spirit of the season. This weekend we have our annual cookie baking extravaganza. What better way to put me in the Christmas spirit than wrangling four (five?) kids to cut out and decorate sugar cookies?

And if all else fails, perhaps it's time to watch a few more cheesy Christmas movies on TV.

xoxo, christine

Nov 30, 2015

The End

Well, today is the last day. The last day of writing every day this month. And the last day before I officially start work. Starting tomorrow I will no longer be scrambling to find something to write about every day. And I will no longer be a one hundred percent stay-at-home mom.

I'm not too worried about starting work. I don't feel nervous, in fact I think it will go well. But, I am feeling a bit overwhelmed and a bit...well, nervous. Not nervous for the job, but nervous to not be a stay-at-home mom anymore. I know, it's an extremely part-time position, only three mornings a week. I can hardly call myself a "working mother" now. But for me, who has been full time at home with my kids since 2008, this is a huge change.

I am nervous about the change.

I know that everything will be fine. The job will be fine. I will be fine. Nora will be fine. My mom will be fine. But I am still worried about how my mamaheart is going to feel tomorrow when it's time to say goodbye to Nora. Logically, I know that it is no different tomorrow than it is any other time my mom has watched Nora for me, but my heart knows that it's different because it's not just one appointment. It's not just here and there. It's not just once in awhile.

That is why, as I get ready for bed tonight, as I lay out clothes for tomorrow, as I start packing the girls' lunches, my hands feel shaky, my heart feels flip-floppy, and my eyes feel teary.

Everything will be okay. I'm not too worried about Nora. Although she may have a bit of an adjustment ahead of her, she also might not even notice the difference. And this job? It's a good opportunity for me, and a really good fit, for our family right now.

Maybe I just need to pretend that I'm going off to an appointment tomorrow. Maybe that will make me feel less sad, less guilty, less heartbroken about leaving Nora. Maybe I'll just pretend I'm going to an appointment every morning. Until the day that I don't. Because I know that someday (probably sooner than I realize) this will be the Normal, the Regular, the Routine. And everyone will be just fine. Even me.


Thanks for reading my ramblings this past month. I'm really hoping to continue writing more regularly, although not every day.

Happy December!

xoxo, christine

Nov 29, 2015

Writing this Month

The month of November is coming to an end and so does my month of daily blogging. Things I have learned from blogging every day this month:

1. I'm not particularly happy with most of my writing from this past month. The quality is not the greatest, even though the quantity is plentiful. I think that writing every day does not bring out the best for me, yet I realize I'm not happy with only writing once per month either. So, I need to find a happy medium between almost never and every day.

2. If I want to keep writing regularly, I need to make it more of a priority. I'm not going to get up early to write (I can barely get up to get my kids on the bus in time), and when I try to write late at night I can hardly focus. So, either pull myself together and focus at night or find time during the day.

3. Instagram is so much easier than blogging. More fun too.

4. There are some things that I want to write about here but feel like I can't. But sometimes I really want to get things out, so then I settle for journaling.

5. Even though I'm not impressed with the quality of my writing lately, I am glad I've been writing more. I've missed it. And I'm going to try to do it more regularly. Because writing and taking the time for writing, is one thing that feeds me.

One more day to go!

xoxo, christine

Nov 28, 2015

And With That Break Is Almost Over

I am not ready for tomorrow to be Sunday. I am not ready for the weekend to be over. I am not ready for the girls to go back to school, for Adam to go back to work, for our regularly scheduled life to start back up.

It has been so relaxing being away from the stress of everyday life. No worrying about laundry or vacuuming. No walking into the bathroom and being reminded by the grime that I still haven't gotten around to cleaning the sink (or bathtub or toilet). No dishes piling up in the sink. No grocery lists to make. No furnace not working, then kind of working, then teasing us that next year our budget might need to include a new one.

Being with family has been wonderful. The older girls have been playing with their cousins almost non-stop, meaning they don't require a lot of extra time and energy from me. And having other adults around is always helpful with Miss Nora May. And I have gotten to read an entire book and watch cheesy Christmas movies.

This weekend launched me into full mode Christmas cheer, and I guess I'm a little afraid that break ending will dim the light that's been lit in me this weekend. But maybe if we crank up the Christmas music, and I keep up my streak of Christmas movie viewing it'll help keep some of that regular-every-day-stress at bay.

I'll try anyway.

Happy beginning of the Christmas season!

xoxo, christine