9.23.2016

Around Here: Week 38







{Photo credit: Logan}



Daydreaming... about a yard with no pokey weeds!  Josh is working this week to make it happen!

Feeling... grateful that my boys have such an awesome dad.  Every day after work he comes home and plays outside with them in the huge field next door.  The boys love it, and so do I.  Melts my mama heart.

Hating... my tiny mohawk.  Every time I have a baby, I lose tons of hair, and about six months later, it starts growing back.  I have shoots of one inch hairs everywhere.  Along my hairline, where my hair parts and by my ears. It's just the worst. Luckily Miss Carly May was worth it.

Thankful... that while Wyatt has been sad a few times at drop off, he hasn't screamed or refused to enter the classroom since that first time. Baby steps, baby steps.

Settling... into a new routine with the boys gone. A nice mix of work, work, work, and doing what I enjoy.  Hoping to get more blogging done as I continue adjusting.  Meanwhile, I am baking all the things-- homemade bread, zucchini bread & cookies. Yum!

Jumping... on the trampoline everyday after school with the boys. We all laugh and I cherish those moments.

Falling... in love with the sky here. Even Logan took notice of the sunset last night and used my good camera to capture it. I love that I'm passing my love of nature on to my kids.

Making... the most of the nice weather.  It's crisp in the mornings, but not yet cold, so we're still walking to school and I'm so glad.  I think it's good for the boys, but I also know that I feel more alive after our walk.

Enjoying... Josh's parents visit last weekend.  It was such a nice, low key weekend.  We really had a great time.  I am also enjoying the twins' love of reading.  Part of their homework is twenty minutes of silent reading every night.  They are zipping through chapter books and really loving it.  I couldn't be prouder.

Looking Forward... to my parents' visit.  They get here today, but my kids don't know they're coming.  We are hoping they'll make it in time to accompany me to pick the boys up at school & surprise them there! I can't wait to see their faces.

Sleeping... very little.  Sister is up at least every two hours in the night, and I.am.exhausted.

***

9.20.2016

Life After Miscarriage


I've been wanting to write this post for a while now, but what I have to share is hard to say.  Well, maybe not hard to say, but it's unlike things I've read or hear others say, so it makes me feel self conscious.  My message is this: I am over my miscarriages.  They were hands down the darkest time of my life, as I have never felt so hollow or empty before or since, but now it's like a great peace has settled over me, and with Carly in my arms, I can see that they were a necessary part of my journey.

A girl I follow on Facebook has a blog about miscarriage and she wrote a post recently about how she still mourns her lost babies and that she hates that no one on social media shares what life is like post-miscarriage (particularly in regards to having a baby after miscarriage) and it inspired me to write about my experience.

Please know that just because I feel this way doesn't mean I expect others to feel this way or that I judge anyone in any way, shape or form, for responding to their losses in a different way.  Honestly, it feels strange for me (who is typically deeply sentimental and emotional) to feel this way.  And I only recently realized I feel this way.

In the beginning, for weeks I couldn't even say the word miscarriage.  I would say, "When I lost the baby" or "The lost baby was probably a boy". I wouldn't, couldn't, say miscarriage.  I felt like it didn't give enough life to what was lost. It made it sound like a simple, one time event. What I lost was not simple, and that loss was not a one time event.  I kept feeling the effects of that loss long after the actual miscarriage.  Appointment days, my due date, the return of my monthly cycle... The losses kept on coming. Hands down the biggest loss, though, was my hope. 

Every night after I tucked our three boys in their beds in their shared bedroom in Alaska, I would sit in the rocking chair singing JJ Heller's Dream of You album to them, shedding tears particularly over:

"I Get to Be The One" 
"I"ll be there to watch you grow.... 
How does someone so small hold my heart so tightly? 
I don't even know you, I love you completely"; 

"I Know You Will"
"You don't need to let the rain clouds underneath your skin
Love sings louder than the darkness
Let the light shine in";

"The Sun Will Shine"
"Sometimes it feels like forever,
when it's dark outside
Baby the sun will rise, baby the sun will rise
however long the night."

I would sit in that rocking chair, often with Wyatt in my lap, silently weeping, grieving those babies of ours who had flown on to heaven before I even got to know them.  Wyatt's pudgy hands would wrap around my shoulders, comforting me the way only he could, falling asleep in my arms, oblivious to my heartbreak.

I remember, too, crying randomly.  Standing in the middle of the kitchen making dinner, gasping for air I was crying so hard; at bible study, or near bedtime when the house was quiet and my loss felt so heavy.  The grief felt like a cloak, numbing me to life, making dull things that before had seemed vibrant.  But slowly, as I walked myself through the heartache, the emotions, (the anger, the sadness) I started to see bits of light again. The thought of trying once more became plausible.  I had walked myself out of the darkness and was able to trust God with our family size. If he meant us to have another, we would. 

And sure enough, we did. 

It came full circle for me when I discovered I was pregnant with Carly on the due date of my first loss, and as I spent the first two months of Carly's life singing her those same songs, weeping tears of joy, and thanking God for letting me be the one.

Over Carly's bed in our new house I hung a shelf and on the shelf, side by side, are two Willow Tree figurines.  One is the figurine I bought from the hospital gift shop in Anchorage after I got the news there was no heartbeat that sad day in October 2014. The other figure is a pregnant mama.  They sit, side by side, reminding me that it is truly darkest just before the dawn.

I am beyond-words grateful for everything God has done in my life.  That he took me to the lowest low, literally carving the future right out of me, and then, in His time, brought me to a place where my hands, and heart, are full. 


I never expected to feel this way or to see the losses as a part of something beautiful.  But Carly's arrival in my life did just that.  She truly is the rainbow that came after the storm.

***

9.16.2016

Around Here: Week 37














Teaching... Jack & Logan how to borrow and carry.

Regretting... that bad curriculum left them a year behind in math.  But super grateful for their can-do attitudes and how quick they are learning.

Crying... as I left Wyatt this morning tantruming in his kindergarten class.  He clung desperately to my leg screaming, "I'm not gonna go! I'm not gonna go!" in his Level 10 Death Scream.  It was equal parts mortifying (I had zero control) and heart breaking (it was all I could do to not scoop him up & take him home). But I did it. Told him he'd have a great day and I'd see him this afternoon.  I got a call a half hour later from the counselor who assured me he was better & settling in fine.  I think being out sick for two days really threw him off his routine and he just misses his mama.  Some extra snuggling will be in order for the weekend! And hats off to all the mamas who have gone before me and survived this.

Spying... Carly's second tooth popping up.  Little one is growing up!

Reading... Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott while I sit in the car pick up line. #momlife

Taking care... of sick kids. Strep, the flu... I am happy to report that as of today, all kids are healthy & the house has been scrubbed down! Whew!

Rejoicing... that Carly is finally sleeping in her crib all night. No more couch co-sleeping!  She's still up three or four times, which is a bummer, but at least she's falling back asleep & letting me go back to my bed!

Painting... the entry & hallway.  They look dreamy!

Decorating... the house finally!  I am so happy to be making this space more homey & beautiful.

Finishing... unpacking the laundry room/office.  Hooray!

Making... a list of books I want for my birthday in November:
Bodies of Water by T. Greenwood
Looking Up by Beth Moore
Daring Greatly by Brene Brown
Fervent by Priscilla Shirer
Winter Storms by Elin Hildebrand
Love Warrior by Glennon Melton Doyle
Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty
Rising Strong by Brene Brown


***

9.13.2016

Homeschool to Public School...


We've had some big adjustments as the kids have transitioned from homeschooling to public school this year.  As I sat one evening before school had started with Logan saying prayers he asked me, "What if my teacher is deaf?" I assured him that he would not have a deaf teacher because he doesn't know sign language.  It wouldn't work.  He took a deep breath and then goes, "So she probably won't be blind either!" He sounded so relieved.  I mean, I knew they didn't know what to expect, but he really had no idea what school was going to look like.

***

Friday night of his first week of school, as we sat down for bedtime stories, Logan started telling us about his school day.  It was a student's birthday in his class and they had cupcakes.  Once the cupcakes were passed out, Logan started eating... and the whole class began yelling at him because he had taken the first bite.

He was homeschooled.
And our family, at family parties, doesn't abide by the "first bite" rule.
How was he to know?

He didn't.
And he paid the price for it.

The kids laughed and yelled at him.

When he told us that he was mad about it, Josh and I said we might have also been embarrassed, had it been us who made the blunder.  A few minutes later he admitted that he was embarrassed. Nearly to the point of tears.

I can just picture him there, cupcake filling his mouth, red from his cheeks to his forehead, trying not to cry, and it breaks.my.heart.  I feel my kids' feelings with a distressing amount of empathy, and I kept having waves of heartache wash over me after he shared his story with us. I hate that he had to experience that kind of humiliation. But I also know that those kinds of things build character, and that he is less likely to laugh at someone breaking social rules because he knows that maybe not everyone knows the rules.

He shared his mistake with his brothers so they won't make the same mistake, and we hugged him and told him we were sorry we didn't think to let him know.

I have a feeling this will just be the first of many "homeschooled kid" moments that he (and his brothers) will endure this first year. I hope my heart (and his) can stand it.

***

As I was walking home from dropping the twins off Friday morning, I walked past the high school, and heard them doing the Pledge of Allegiance over the loudspeakers.  It suddenly hit me that our kids don't know the pledge and would need to learn it.

When we all got home together that afternoon, I asked Jack about it.  He goes, "Oh no, mom. I know the Pledge of Arregiance!" We laughed and laughed together. So adding to the list of "Things to Learn in Third Grade" is the pledge.

***

The twins are behind in math thanks to some crummy kindergarten curriculum a few years back, but thankfully that and a bit of a distraction issue are the only academic things holding them back.  I am hoping with time their ability to focus despite distractions will improve as they adjust to a classroom of 25 kids.  

I'm just so so proud of them.  They are so enthusiastic and brave.  And despite any challenges, they go back each day for more.  I hope I can be just like them when I grow up!

9.09.2016

Around Here: Week 36










Loving... our house more everyday.  It really feels like home, and I feel so grateful that our kids get to grow up here.

Sending... Wyatt off to kindergarten.  He has adjusted beautifully and I could not be more proud of him.

Watching... the twins go to school, become responsible and settle into our new normal.  They are making friends, learning everyday and impressing me with every step.

Spending... my days with Carly.  I joked with Josh that she's never in her life had more attention from me.

Joining... the local MOPS group. (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers) My friend Katie had told me how wonderful her MOPS group in Vancouver was, and that inspired me to look for one in Moses Lake.  Sure enough, there's one here, and our first meeting was great.

Making... new friends!  I've met a few moms at school and also met a bunch at MOPS.  It's making me smile. (Hi JoAnne! Hi Kara! Hi Penny, Jeannette, Debra, Laura & Terry!)

Walking... the kids to school as many days as possible.  We are squeezing every last bit of summer out of this year and loving the opportunity to walk/ride/scooter to the school everyday.

Combatting... anxiety by doing as much as I can, getting things crossed off my to do list, and giving the rest to God.  (this little book helps me remember how to get through anxiety. even though I've struggled with it many times, I always kinda forget how to deal with it)

Crying... during the day.  It's hard being away from my boys.  The first few days I felt like a mama duck whose babies had fallen into a sewer drain.  Part of me wanted to sit outside their classroom windows, crying for them to give my babies back to me. (Okay, even I have to admit that sounds dramatic... but it's how I felt those first few days!)

Enduring... the quiet of my days without the boys.  Everyone assures me that I will get used to it, and even come to enjoy my time with just Carly.  But for now, it feels unsettling.

Establishing... an afternoon/evening routine of homework, playtime, dinner & baths, followed by family story time and then silent reading for the big boys in bed.  I can't describe to you accurately how much my heart swells when I see those two with their noses in a book.

Communicating...
with all the boys' teachers to help them acclimate to school.  Having been homeschooled, this is a huge transition and we want to make it as seamless as possible.  I'll be posting next week about some of the mishaps we've had thus far.

Laughing... at how many people talk to me about Carly's "big blue eyes". I love how sweet people are to her.  Yesterday at the boys' school, a fifth grader stopped and said to me, "What a cute baby!" Wha?!? Be still my heart-- what is it about boys who love babies? Just leaves me all starry eyed.

Shrieking... every time Carly bites me while nursing. Sister's got two brand new bottom teeth, and OUCH! they hurt!  She doesn't cry when I yell at her.  She smirks at me, reminding me of her brothers' faces when they're up to mischief. ;)

Hosting... my first playdate ever at my house.  Gave me the inspiration I needed to clean, and set my weekend off on the right foot. (Thanks for coming, Christa! I hope to have many more!)

Killing... all the bugs.  Still.  This week? More moths, less potato bugs.  And the baby spiders have departed, leaving in their wake, all the daddy spiders. {{shudder}}

Enjoying... my first bath in our new house. It was divine. And only the first of many.

Giggling... watching Carly be reunited with Wyatt every afternoon.  While he sits at the kitchen table eating snack, telling me about his day, Carly laughs after each thing he says.  Like she can't stand how much she loves him and missed him.  It's beyond precious. Also precious? Him hugging her everyday before he goes into class, "Bye bye.  I love you, Carly May," he says in his sing-song-baby voice.  Melts me.

Reminding myself... to find beauty in everyday, and to give myself grace.  This is a big transition not just for the kids, but for me.  Focusing in on little things of beauty (a picture of my family, flowers in the yard, a colorful sunset) helps me.

***

9.07.2016

100 small things-- August check in

My friends Ashley & Tabitha have long been doing 100 small things lists for each school year.  I finally decided to join them this year. I think the timing is perfect as I will have more time on my hands than ever with my three big boys all attending public school this year.

Here is my first month check in.
I am astonished at how many I crossed off the list!


1. Plant a succulent
2. Make a dirt pit for the kids
3. Clean the windows inside & out
4. Read Brave New World
5. Read Lord of the Flies
6. Blog Weekly Update
7. Register to vote
8. Get WA state license
9. Make pumpkin muffins
10. Make a cobbler
11. Get a vanity for me (I changed my mind!)
12. Buy a desk for the boys (I changed my mind!)
13. Blog twins: separate classrooms
14. Finish reading One and the Same
15. Jamberry my nails
16. Meal plan weekly
17. Buy wool balls for dryer
18. Choose one "grooming" day/week
19. Haircuts every 6 weeks all year
20. Small group get together
21. Order Home Field. Read it
22. Read When Breath Becomes Air
23. Read What Was Mine
24. Read Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids
25.. Read Peaceful Parent, Happy Siblings
26. Read Bird by Bird (working on this one!)
27. Read Boys Should be Boys

28. Read The Rocks
29. Read Flight Behavior
30. Read The Shack
31. Read Brain Rules
32. Read Tuesdays with Morrie
33. Read Snow Falling on Cedars
34. Find a doctor
35. Find a pediatrician
36. Find a pediatric dentist
37. Find a chiropractor
38. Follow up with an OB
39. Learn to coupon
40. Meditate everyday for a week
41. Wash kitchen cabinets
42. Read Believing God
43. Read Mindsight
44. Read Don't Let Me Go
45. Read Deception Point
46. Read Iron & Silk
47. Purchase & read Winter Storms
48. Find a dentist for us
49. Read Dave Ramsey's book
50. Find an eye doctor
51. Choose a pharmacy
52. Find a way to display my rock collection
53. Paint the whole house interior

54. 3 playdates with new friends
55. Find a Hanford documentary
56. Go over insurance with new insurance lady
57. Workout everyday for a month
58. Walk the boys to/from school
59. Have Paul & Lynn over for dinner
60. Plant a lilac bush
61. Find a used BBQ
62. Sort Holiday decor into totes
63. Don't eat out for 1 month
64. Arrange "Tucker Family" sleepover
65. Establish family move night
66. Establish date night
67. Read Kon Mari. Clean house accordingly.
68. Read aloud chapter books
69. Make 3 pinterest dinners
70. Plant pansies
71. Make carrot cake from scratch
72. Decorate for Christmas
73. Make a book for Pansy/Jerry's birthdays
74. Write a poem about motherhood
75. Write a poem about twins
76. Write a poem about Logan
77. Write a poem about Jack
78. Write a poem about Wyatt
79. Write a poem about Carly
80. Take a pajama walk after dinner

81. Meal plan monthly
82. Collect Box Tops for school
83. Save toilet paper rolls/paper towel rolls
84. Attend MOPS group
85. Try 3 new parks with the boys
86. Read old journals
87. Share bits of old journals on social media
88. Decorate master bedroom
89. Deep clean master suite
90. Put contact paper in laundry room
91. Spider bomb the house
92. Establish Quiet Time activities
93. Organize kids craft supplies
94. Make blog calendar (monthly)
95. Have a trampoline sleepover with boys
96. Volunteer in boys' classrooms
97. Buy outdoor chairs
98. Read old writing (from jr. high/high school)
99. Make m&m cookies
100. Make a cake from scratch

I am so happy to have accomplished so much this first month.  The boys love their dirt pit, and I am so glad to have cleaned our windows inside & out.  Spending more time blogging (including weekly updates) has helped me get back to who I am, and reading so many great books (thank you, book club!) also has me feeling more and more like "Shelly" again.  

Finding a chiropractor and doctors for all has given me great peace of mind, as has choosing a pharmacy.  I am proud of myself for being responsible and registering to vote, as well as trying out new recipes is my precious kitchen.  Choosing Sunday for our family "grooming" day has me feeling much less stressed out about cutting nails & cleaning ears each week (thank you for the brilliant tip, Tabitha!). In addition to baking, I've been big into meal planning and that makes me happy.  Sitting down for family meals is just the best.  

I changed my mind about buying a desk for the boys' room and a vanity for my room, so I'm crossing those off the list as well.  It felt great to get the house unpacked, and even better to have the chance to sort through all my holiday decor.  On top of all those things, we managed to get the Tucker family up for a sleepover (!!!), established family movie night (complete with homemade pizza!), and penciled in date night for every Friday from here unto eternity.  I am hopeful that my momentum keeps up and that each month I can cross a bunch off my list.
***

9.06.2016

100 small things

 My friends Ashley & Tabitha have long been doing 100 small things lists for each school year.  I finally decided to join them this year. I think the timing is perfect as I will have more time on my hands than ever with my three big boys all attending public school this year. 


1. Plant a succulent
2. Make a dirt pit for the kids
3. Clean the windows inside & out
4. Read Brave New World
5. Read Lord of the Flies
6. Blog Weekly Update
7. Register to vote
8. Get WA state license
9. Make pumpkin muffins
10. Make a cobbler
11. Get a vanity for me
12. Buy a desk for the boys
13. Blog twins: separate classrooms
14. Finish reading One and the Same
15. Jamberry my nails
16. Meal plan weekly
17. Buy wool balls for dryer
18. Choose one "grooming" day/week
19. Haircuts every 6 weeks all year
20. Small group get together
21. Order Home Field. Read it
22. Read When Breath Becomes Air
23. Read What Was Mine
24. Read Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids
25.. Read Peaceful Parent, Happy Siblings
26. Read Bird by Bird
27. Read Boys Should be Boys

28. Read The Rocks
29. Read Flight Behavior
30. Read The Shack
31. Read Brain Rules
32. Read Tuesdays with Morrie
33. Read Snow Falling on Cedars
34. Find a doctor
35. Find a pediatrician
36. Find a pediatric dentist
37. Find a chiropractor
38. Follow up with an OB
39. Learn to coupon
40. Meditate everyday for a week
41. Wash kitchen cabinets
42. Read Believing God
43. Read Mindsight
44. Read Don't Let Me Go
45. Read Deception Point
46. Read Iron & Silk
47. Purchase & read Winter Storms
48. Find a dentist for us
49. Read Dave Ramsey's book
50. Find an eye doctor
51. Choose a pharmacy
52. Find a way to display my rock collection
53. Paint the whole house interior

 54. 3 playdates with new friends
55. Find a Hanford documentary
56. Go over insurance with new insurance lady
57. Workout everyday for a month
58. Walk the boys to/from school
59. Have Paul & Lynn over for dinner
60. Plant a lilac bush
61. Find a used BBQ
62. Sort Holiday decor into totes
63. Don't eat out for 1 month
64. Arrange "Tucker Family" sleepover
65. Establish family move night
66. Establish date night
67. Read Kon Mari. Clean house accordingly.
68. Read aloud chapter books
69. Make 3 pinterest dinners
70. Plant pansies
71. Make carrot cake from scratch
72. Decorate for Christmas
73. Make a book for Pansy/Jerry's birthdays
74. Write a poem about motherhood
75. Write a poem about twins
76. Write a poem about Logan
77. Write a poem about Jack
78. Write a poem about Wyatt
79. Write a poem about Carly
80. Take a pajama walk after dinner

81. Meal plan monthly
82. Collect Box Tops for school
83. Save toilet paper rolls/paper towel rolls
84. Attend MOPS group
85. Try 3 new parks with the boys
86. Read old journals
87. Share bits of old journals on social media
88. Decorate master bedroom
89. Deep clean master suite
90. Put contact paper in laundry room
91. Spider bomb the house
92. Establish Quiet Time activities
93. Organize kids craft supplies
94. Make blog calendar (monthly)
95. Have a trampoline sleepover with boys
96. Volunteer in boys' classrooms
97. Buy outdoor chairs
98. Read old writing (from jr. high/high school)
99. Make m&m cookies
100. Make a cake from scratch

9.04.2016

Before & After

This weekend I had a couple of goals.  We are getting to the point where the house is fully livable and we are really feeling settled.  So this weekend my goals were to unpack the office and to decorate the kids' bedrooms. It's fun to be at this point. 

WYATT & CARLY'S ROOM:
Before          //          After
Before Above // After Below
Before Above // After Below
The art above Carly's bed is from my sister.  I love it so much. I am still deciding what picture to put on the other small shelf above her crib.  Wyatt is also still deciding what he wants on his square shelves.  One of my other favorites in their room is the shelf with the world "Linger" on it, above Wyatt's dresser.  Josh's sister Julie made it for me last year (it was my word of the year) and it reminds me to sit a little longer in that rocking chair holding my sweet girl.  

THE TWINS' ROOM:
Can you find Carly?




I'm super happy with how Logan & Jack's room turned out, too.  I am excited to see what they put on their shelves, and love that they have their own bit of space after sharing with both their younger siblings.  Let the home decorating continue!

***