Apr 29, 2015

Mid Week Sunny Days and Sick Kids

It is a beautiful day, the sun is shining, I feel the warmth through the window, the sun's rays casting a glare on the computer screen. A slight breeze sneaks through the open screen, filling the room with the scents of spring, green plants, flowering bushes, wet soil.

I have a baby sleeping in my lap, her head nestled into my chest. Aside from Saturday when she was sick, she hasn't napped on me for weeks (even months?) and I'm enjoying a little extra snuggling. The oldest girl is on the couch, home sick from school due to a middle-of-the-night puking episode, watching cartoons. As her silence turns into comments and questions and her still body starts to move and kick to the music playing from the television, I can tell she is starting to feel better.

The middle girl is currently at school, playing and learning and crafting. She is happy to be with her teachers and friends, but I know she is hoping her older sister feels well enough to do a little playing together when she gets home.

It is a quiet and relaxing kind of day, except for the noise coming from our basement. We've had a steady soundtrack of construction below us the past couple weeks while we get work done in our basement. It will be wonderful when it's done, especially the recessed lighting, but I won't mind when our house can be put back together.

But still, even with the sounds of nail guns and sawing under our feet, it is a peaceful moment. The color is returning to Hope's cheeks as Nora wakes up and wanders the living room and we prepare to pick up their sister. Hoping for more sunny days to follow, preferably with well children who can go out and enjoy the weather.

Happy Wednesday!

xoxo, christine

Apr 21, 2015

Baby Yoga

My baby girl, she likes to practice yoga while she nurses. The stretching and the pulling and the twisting and foot-grabbing, it's like a whole yoga sequence in those few minutes of feeding. I guess she likes to nourish her body while she's nourishing her body.

Her standard move is what I like to call Foot Drumming, when she lays flat against me stretching one leg straight while grabbing the opposite foot in her hand. She swings that leg in a back and forth rhythm, banging her foot against my abdomen.

Both my older girls practiced calisthenics while nursing too, but Nora seems to be taking it to a whole new level. The basic elementary poses are just not cutting it for her flexible little body and she is on to the advanced positions.

Her newest position, Cheek Tickle, starts much like before with one leg straight and the opposite foot in her hand, but then the foot gets pulled up to her face, tickling her cheek with her toes. I've even seen her get her toes all the way to her ear.

So basically, my little bendy baby has her whole body extended with one leg straight and the other leg pulled all the way up so that her toes are touching her cheek. Cheeky baby. (See what I did there?)

I can tell you, she did not get her flexibility from me. Must be courtesy of her daddy, the former goalie.

Nursing a baby who is not staying still is not always fun, but oh my goodness it is pretty hilarious right now, I just can't help but find it adorable. Especially when I look down at her big blue eyes looking back at me with her toes resting on her cheek.

Keep on yogaing my sweet baby.

xoxo, christine

Apr 19, 2015

Trying to Embrace a Messy Life

I'm trying. I really am.

My logical brain knows that life is messy and disorganized, but sometimes my brain is not ruled logically, and the ordered side of me fights with every cell inside me to accept the mess as necessary fact. I want everything to have a place and everything in its place! But life is not clean and organized.

Life is mess and chaos and unpredictable and disorganized.

I know this, and sometimes I can even accept this, but what I really want to do is embrace it. And I'm trying. Most of the time I completely suck at it, it's true. It's hard to break years of wanting everything to fit nice and neatly into whatever box I put them in. It's hard not to freak out when the dirty clothes are sitting in a heap on the floor right next to the hamper instead of in the hamper. When I've told my darling children about 19498402 times to put their dirty clothes in the hamper.

But I want to know how to embrace the mess. How do I embrace the mess!?

I'm not saying that I want to live without teaching my children how to clean up after themselves, or be okay with them not putting their toys away. I just want to be able to avoid completely losing my shit when the art supplies have exploded all over the dining room floor (again!) and there are abandoned pillow forts in our living room (again!), meanwhile the two big girls are off pulling out every outside toy we own into the backyard.

I like my life. In fact, I love my life. I love my children. I love my husband. I love the things that my children are interested in, and that they enjoy drawing and writing and using their imaginations. I love that they are creative and turn couches into houses. I love that they aren't afraid to play with their entire bodies and whatever they can find pull into their games. I love the way they play together, and even apart. I really love my family and where we are.

But (and I hate to use that word because it makes it sound like I'm not happy with what I just said I am happy with), I do not like that sometimes the chaos gets the better of me. I'm not okay with getting mad when they failed to clean up, again. I am fully supportive of teaching my kids how to clean up their stuff, and even giving consequences when they don't. I just need to work on following through on that, because my current technique of yelling and being annoyed and throwing my hands up and wanting to get away from my family and house when I'm overwhelmed and the house is messy is clearly not working well.

I am working on changing my perspective. Chaos is okay. Messy is okay. Messes do not have to be annoying and overwhelming. And they can be cleaned up. And I can help my children learn to clean them up instead of letting someone else do it for them, or living in complete disorganization.

That's the kicker though. Somewhere there is a balance between embracing the messy life yet not constantly living in a mess. Because life is messy, but that doesn't mean our dining room has be messy all the time. Yes, make a mess while you are playing and creating and doing art projects. But then put the stuff away when you're done. I just want to be able to keep myself from freaking out every time my kids have made a mess that they haven't cleaned up.

Life is crazy and messy and disorganized. That doesn't mean there can't be calm and cleanliness and organization in my home, but I just need to have the perspective that the chaos will prevail. That I can't always keep things neat and tidy without missing out on the joy that is the messiness of life. I don't need to yell at my kids and give up on everything when there are toys out in every room. I just need to find the best strategy to teaching my kids to put their stuff away when they're done.

I am trying. It is so hard though. It is hard. I just don't want to spend all this wasted time and energy on being overwhelmed and stressed out about mess. It's not worth it. Either clean the mess up or don't. But it's not worth stressing out if it doesn't get cleaned up. If the mess sits longer than a few days. Its okay. We're okay. In fact, we've got a pretty good thing going on here. And I don't want to be freaking out about mess and chaos and disorganization and not notice the goodness I already have right here in front of me.

xoxo, christine

Apr 13, 2015

It's A Big Deal Day

Last week, along with a five-year-old's birthday and Easter, we had a major milestone for Miss Nora. She turned nine-months-old. Nora has now been out of the womb for more than she has been in the womb.

(Of course my husband, Mr. Stickler For Details, had to point out that Nora came two weeks before her due date so technically she was likely already past that point by the eighth of the month, but I put my fingers in my ears and stuck my tongue out at him and ignored his attention to detail.)

How strange to think that she has been in our outside world for nine months already. Where did the time go? Surely she can't already be crawling and pulling herself up and trying to put everything in her mouth? She was just born! Yet, surely she has also been with our family from forever ago, so nine months really isn't that long at all. Nine months? Only? But how did our family dynamic ever feel complete without her presence?

I am in love with this little baby of ours. The way she smiles and kicks her legs when she sees someone she likes. The way she wrinkles her nose. The way she squints her eyes and shudders every time she tries a food for the first time. The way she leans and tilts her head to the side when trying to see something out of view. The way she fusses every single day when it's time to put her arms through the holes in a onsie. The way she makes a beeline straight for whatever she's not supposed to have, pretty much anything small and chokable. The way she rolls herself onto her tummy to sleep. The way she follows her sisters around the house now that she is mobil. The way she smiles, big and wide, still gummy with no teeth. The way she leans in open-mouthed to give kisses.

The way she fits, just-so into my arms.

Happy Nine-Month You've-Been-Out-Longer-Than-In Birthday, Nora May.

xoxo, mommy

Apr 9, 2015

When I Want To Be (Like) Someone Else

There is a writer/photographer who I really admire. Her words are like the soft brushstrokes of a masterpiece, creating a painting I immediately want to hang on my wall. And each of her photos tells a story, evoking so much emotion in just a single image. She is such a creative soul, not just with her words and camera but in all areas of her life. She lives with such ferocious love and abandon, I admire her perspective and spirit.

I admire her, and I am little jealous, because I want that. (Let me be clear that I don’t want her to not have it – those double negatives, sorry English teachers – she can have it, but I want it too.) I want creativity to spill out of every pore. I want to view the world and life and parenthood with the awe and beauty it deserves. It’s not that I feel like because she has that, she does that, that I can’t don’t and can’t. I know that’s not how life works. I know that’s not how gifts are passed out. There are enough gifts for everyone. Her gift of telling a story doesn’t mean there is less of that gift for me. There are endless gifts to go around. I admire her and I applaud her. But, I wish that I could tap into my gifts the way that she does. I wish that my personality was more of the rainbow-believing-view-the-world-with-rose-colored-perspective-and-freshness that hers is.

There are days that she inspires me. That all of the writers who I devour inspire me. But then there are also the days that I use their amazingness against myself. I compare my gifts to their gifts and because they have gifts that I want, I feel lacking next to them. Their eloquence and beautiful spirits outshine my own. And I beat myself up and I compare and of course I can’t compare because I’m not them but then I feel like I want to be (like) them.

The thing is, it’s not just her gifts I appreciate. I also really marvel at her personality and perspective. I want to see the world like she does. I want to have open eyes and an open heart and live with so much joy that some people find it exhausting. I want to be silly and crazy and laugh. I want to be creative and adorable and light.

Light. Yes, that’s the perfect word. She is light. She is airy and light and seems to carry no heaviness with her. And she is Light. She’s a person who is an almost constant source of light for those around her. No darkness can linger near her for long. She is light and she is Light. And I want that. I want to be that person. I want to be the sunshine when there is none to find. I want to see the happy and BE the happy.

How do I change that? I’m not saying I’m an unhappy person (I just had déjà vu, have I written about this before?), but I’m not sunshine. I don’t often see the world in color, I see it in grays. I don’t make joy wherever I go, I just, go. The best I can say is that I plod along, sometimes smiling, sometimes not, but I certainly don’t emit anything resembling joy and light into the great wide world. How do I take the weight off my shoulders? The weight I’ve managed to put on myself, but it’s been there for so long I have no clue how to get out from under it? How do I stay real to who I am and what I’m experiencing, but change what I experience to something other than foggy sometimes depression filled mediocrity?

(And of course I feel like qualifying that to say that I don’t always feel like I’m plodding. I occasionally skip. And it’s not that I think my life is mediocre. Quite the contrary actually. My life is wonderful and there is beauty everywhere, it’s just that I seem unable to see the joy as often as I’d like. I see it, but not a lot. And I want to be seeing the joy and beauty more. I want to be FEELING that joy and beauty more. I want the moments to be mostly sunshine with minor amounts of gray. Right now I feel like it’s the opposite. And I’m not sure how to change that.)

Perhaps it is less about personality and more about perspective? Or is perspective a part of personality? I don't know. All I know is there are definitely things about myself that I don't want to change, that I like and am proud of, but then, there are some things that I do want to change. A lot.

How do I do that? How do I see the good over the bad? How do I change myself from a realist (the glass is neither half-full or half-empty, it just is) to an optimist (the glass if half-full, and it is full of a delicious and tasty drink and we will make a party out of it, gosh darn it!)? How do I appreciate what I have and what I am living? And how do I portray that appreciation and joy into the life I am living?

I have no idea. (Yet.)

xoxo, christine

Apr 8, 2015


My heart has felt weighted lately. The part devoted to the loss of my son is pulling down more than usual, washing me over in melancholy, sorrow, and fear. Although I know that things are just as they are supposed to be, and I would never trade the baby I have for the one I lost, I still sometimes wish that I could have both. That the way things are supposed to be include one toddler boy and one infant girl, who get smothered with love from their two older sisters.

He feels very far away right now, my son. I can not imagine what it means to raise a boy. I can not picture what he would look like or be like. I am reaching out to him, but it's as if I'm reaching for a cloud or a rainbow. My hands either go straight through and grasp at nothing, or he is always just out of my reach. Every time I move closer he moves farther away. Yet, despite my sadness, I am afraid to look at photos and examine what is currently pumping through my heart.

The memories of him seem so distant that I'm afraid they never happened. What did it feel like when I found out I was pregnant? How were those first few months before we knew anything was wrong? How did we tell our girls?

How did I feel him, trying to grow within me?

What did it feel like to hold him?

How was my relationship with my husband when we lost our son? I have a vague recollection of feeling really good and close and having an amazing perspective on life and what is important. I remember being desperate to keep that perspective forever.

I'm afraid we've lost that.

I'm afraid that what we learned from our son, what we gained in losing him, has faded. Perhaps into nothing at all. What was it all for?

I'm sorry, my baby, that you seem so far away. I'm sorry that I'm too scared to look at pictures and read your book. I'm sorry that you do not get to be here with us, evening out our little family, fighting with your baby sister for our attention.

I love you, Calvin John. I love you, I love you, I love you.

xoxo, christine

PS. If you want a wonderful perspective on the ongoing grief of losing a child, Jessica at Four Plus an Angel wrote this beautiful post that a friend shared with me. Grief is like carrying a stone.

Apr 7, 2015

A High Five

She's got the whole world, in her hand.

She's got the whole world in her hand.

Yesterday, after a weekend filled with rainbow candies, tie-dyed cake, birthday singing and present opening, after egg hunting and Easter baskets and family gathering doubly over, my second child, my sweet middle daughter, turned five years old.

Five years ago she came into the world with a rush and a handful of pushes. With the doctor commenting, "Just one more push!" and my mind screaming, If it's not just one more push this doctor is going to end up with my foot in his face! And, lucky for the very kind doctor, it was just one more push. Another beautiful daughter placed on my chest. Our skin warming each other. Her face squished in disgust at being disturbed from her familiar (albeit cramped) environment. My surprise at just how much more baby chunk those Dairy Queen blizzards packed on her sweet cheeks. My little garden gnome.

Paige is every bit a girl's girl as one can imagine. She asked for dresses for her birthday, the more colorful and twirly the better. She begs to have her nails painted, and to experiment with my makeup. She loves to play make believe with her sister and Barbies with anyone who will join her. Although she enjoys the park and swinging, she is not quite eager to play outside, and certainly frets whenever she gets too dirty. She is a princess in most ways except that she never wants her hair brushed. Ever.

Occasionally she tells me she misses her pacifier, and I can not believe that it was only a year ago that she still had one. She delights in helping her grandma with all her flowers, and has been asking to check out the flowers at Home Depot with her daddy.

Paige is my little shopper. She will go to the mall just to look around, even making the request herself, yet she is perfectly happy to spend the day at home, making her baby sister laugh, drawing a picture, playing with her dolls, and watching an episode of Lego Friends on You Tube.

Her emotions take her by storm, and we are never unclear as to how Paige is feeling. Joy spills out of her with smiles and skipping legs, just as easily as anger jolts out with door slamming, yelling, and big moaning cries.

She is our sleeper. The only one of our children who will ask to go to bed if she is tired. The only one who will sleep in on a lazy morning.

She is a wonderfully, sweet little girl, who is eager to please her big sister, and make her baby sister giggle. She is polite and (mostly) picks up after herself, and will be the first to remind her sister or friends of the rules. She is joy multiplied by a million. She is my middle daughter. My darling Paige who is not a baby, yet still my baby.

Happy Birthday, my dear P. I love you through and through.

xoxo, Mommy

Apr 5, 2015

My Computer Almost Died, but Then It Didn't

Our computer died this week, so I fully intended to clink out a little post finger by finger on my iPhone. I was minorly worried about losing all the information and photos on our hard drive. Actually, it was really the thousands of photos because, I am a photo person and to have those gone makes a little (okay, big) part of me die inside. But. BUT, I did not let myself think about it too much because I was pretty sure (and hopeful) that it was something to do with our charging cord and nothing to do with the computer itself.

It was the cord. And my Apple savvy father donated a cord for us so that we could have our computer for the few days it takes us to get out to get a new one. Not that we can't go a few days without a computer (we could, I swear, but only because we now have smart phones. We might've perished with the inhumanity if we still had our old phones AND no working computer). Anyway, thanks Papa.

Crisis averted. Photos in tact.

But, our computer is pretty old for a computer. A whole six years (gasp!). So, this little hiccup made me realize that perhaps I should do something about the thousands of photos on my computer that are here and only here and not backed up and I perhaps would be DEVASTATED to lose. What can I do about it? (No really, I'm asking you.)

Not to mention the gazillons of photos take up all the space on our hard drive. It's pretty terrible, actually.

Anyway, blah blah blah. Computer, shomputer. Technology, shmechnology. Apparently my lack of access to the computer has really taken my pointless ramblings up a notch.

Other people can write poetically about the symbol of Easter today, I'll just bore you with a story about my nonworking (but now working) computer. My computer was reborn! Hah! I brought it back to Easter! See? I can be symbolic too! (Although I'm kinda wondering if comparing the death and rebirth of my computer is blasphemes, is it? Obviously I know that Jesus rising from the dead is the important thing here. I promise.)

Clearly this post is going down hill fast. Thanks computer, for not eating all my photos. I'll make an appointment at the Apple Store asap.

xoxo, christine

Apr 1, 2015

(Spring Breaking) With a Little Help From Our Friends

Hello from Spring Break Land! I am enjoying a week home with all three of my babies and Adam even gets to join us starting tomorrow. Could I possibly be enjoying break a little more if all four of us girls weren't coughing and sniffling? Probably. And, would I maybe like to be somewhere with endless sun and sand and ocean views like we were last year and the year before? Absolutely.

Somehow, though, we are still managing to have fun and laugh and make new adventures. It's always made easier with a little help from friends. We managed three different parks in two days, exploring a few new (to us) parts of our locale. One of the nice things about living in a metropolitan area is that there are plenty of places we've never been that we can discover.

And yesterday was so sunshiney that I ended up with this weird redness on my forehead and collarbone. At least, I'm pretty sure it has something to do with the sun. I have vague recollections of getting similar patches of skin last summer if I didn't put some kind of special lotion on before going out for extended amounts of time. Ah, I think it's called sunburn? Could that be right? I don't know, it's been so long since I've been able to be outside and enjoy a warm sun that I just can't be sure. Further investigation and time in the sun (with sunscreen of course) might be necessary.

As an aside, have I mentioned that along with obtaining a smart phone I started an Instagram account? In case you don't quite get enough of me here. (I'm looking at YOU my dear sister, because obviously if I'm not posting here every day you need more of me and where oh where can you get some? At my Instagram account of course! You don't even need an account of your own to view the photos.) But, even if you aren't my sister, feel free to enjoy another way to peak into our lives. You might even get an amusing anecdote or two.

And, if you're not up for Instagram, I occasionally still post on Facebook too.

(What? Does it seem like social media is taking over my life? Yeah....kinda. But I swear it could be worse.)

Happy Spring Breaking everyone (who's on break this week)!

xoxo, christine