Around Here: Week 42

Relaxing... with our two new cats. I keep calling them kittens cause they are only nine months old (my sister joked that I have triplets, cause they're the same age as Carly- ha!) and they're crazy rambunctious like kittens throughout the day.  But they also take their share of sweet naps, often together, and each day I'm falling more in love.  Hands down my favorite part of having cats though is watching Carly with them.  She squeals when she sees them, or cracks up laughing.  She's not crawling yet and Josh & I agree that those cats are going to be what gets her crawling.

Reading... My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She's Sorry by Fredrik Backman. My favorite quote so far: "This is a grandchild's ultimate privilege: knowing that someone is on your side, always, whatever the details.  Even when you are wrong. Especially then, in fact." I'm leading the next two book club books and this is the first one.  We would love to have you along! Find us on Facebook and let's get reading!

Loving... our evenings.  Homework, dinner, baths, and bedtime stories with Dad followed by silent reading in bed for the twins... it's the stuff my childhood dreams were made of, and I feel so blessed that this is my life.

Brushing... Carly's three little teeth with her own teeny tiny toothbrush.  Her first top tooth poked through last week, joining the bottom two, and I can't wait to see what she looks like when they both come in on top.

Letting... the boys jump in the rain this weekend.  The twins loved every second, whereas Wyatt got pretty cold pretty fast and was none too impressed.

Finishing... Wyatt's treatment for his lingering cough.  Antibiotics and some nebulizer treatments for the last week and a half, and he is back to 100%. I'm so relieved!

Looking forward... to a visit from my grandparents.  A big storm prevented their visit last weekend, so I'm excited it worked out for them to come see our new house this weekend.

Watching... Season 5 of Alaska: The Last Frontier. I downloaded the Discovery Go app and watch episodes as I accomplish chores around the house (mainly baking & laundry).  I missed the show so much last year, it makes me happy to be getting caught up as Season 6 is beginning.

Making... new friends as I continue doing things with the local MOPS (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers) group.  This week we went to the pumpkin patch.  I am loving the connection to all kinds of moms.  What a blessing.

Tearing up... when I caught sight of Logan at morning recess (they have a free play time just before the bell rings for school) as he caught sight of Jack. He immediately left the football game he was involved in and ran, full fledge, toward his twin. When he reached him, they shoulder bumped and laughed together before running off to play together.  It made me grateful yet again that they have each other.


P.S. Thank you all so much for your kind words & encouragement from last week's Weekly Update.  My anxiety ebbs and flows (thankfully) and this week I'm feeling good.  I know that October is an historically hard month for me and I'm trying to give myself grace keeping that in mind.  


Family Pictures

I realize I never shared these pictures from the summer before last. We took them in August, just before Josh left for Alaska.  I was a few months pregnant with Carly, but didn't know yet what I was having. I love them so much.  One last "hurrah" as a Boy Mom. Although to be honest, now I can't wait until Carly is a little bigger to do more with the amazing Eryn Kesler.  :)



Around Here: Week 41

Twins are different: Exhibit A 

Feeling... more at home in our new hometown, but also looking forward to a trip "home" at the end of the month for my nephews' birthday party.  I can get around town without GPS (woot! woot!) and have a few friends I could call upon in an emergency. It feels great. Planning our trip home also feels great, knowing we'll get some much needed quality time with those we miss so much!

Petting... our new kitties!  I haven't captured a good shot of George yet as he mostly lives under beds. ;) But I'm hoping next week he'll have ventured out and warmed up to us.  Ramona, on the other hand, is uber friendly and playful.  The boys are all thrilled to have pets and I think once they settle in it will be really lovely for our family.

Preparing... to lead the next two book club books, My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She's Sorry by Fredrik Backman and Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver.  If you feel so inclined, please visit our The Inspired Readers' Book Club facebook page and join us! We'd love to have you!

Studying... the bible with bible study videos from Beth Moore.  I use this link to choose different studies and am feeling so inspired and comforted by her.

Laughing... alongside Carly as her brothers crack her up. I think I shared five videos of her laughing on Instagram & Facebook this week (#sorrynotsorry) she's just SO adorable!

Worrying... about Wyatt's cough. It's lasted about five weeks now and we went to the doctor this week, and he thinks Wyatt may have asthma. We're working on getting it under control with the nebulizer and some antibiotics in case it's not asthma.  I can't wait for him to feel 100% again.

Loving... Jack's newfound love of writing.  He's pumping out stories, working in the office at the desk like a grown up, and talking about being an author when he grows up.  It's melting this writer-mama's heart!

Attempting... to keep my anxiety at bay. It's manifesting these days (per usual) as health concerns and a rapid heart beat that makes me feel constantly afraid. I'm praying it's just cause #fourkids & stress and that with a little more sleep (and maybe some extra prayers) I'll be back to my old self.  My bigger worry is that it's a seasonal depression thing (with fall coming) coupled with the anniversary of my first miscarriage and that I'm going to spiral down a bit. Prayers & words of encouragement welcome.

Proud... of the twins and Wyatt adjusting so well to school.  They've been in school six(ish) weeks now and our routine feels totally normal.  I love their excitement for new friendships & learning.  I hope it lasts for always!

Struggling... to not compare Logan & Jack. Gosh, for identical twins, they sure are different.  Jack is a super organized student, whereas Logan struggles to stay organized.  Luckily they have found their niches in class and get along great with their teachers, so I have hope everything will turn out alright, even though going through Logan's binder makes me cringe.

Rearranging... the dining room to make it more functional.  I am loving the activity shelf we have in there and the new placement of Carly's high chair, which has it more out of the way than it was.  It's so nice to work in our house and make spaces more user friendly for our family.

Lounging... with an extra day off this weekend.  I think having today off was just what we all needed.  A day to breathe, to get caught up on things that sat undone all week, and to enjoy those new sweet kitties of ours.

Soaking up... all the advice our Mentor Moms gave at MOPS yesterday. Many of their ideas really rang true for me and I'm going to be implementing some changes per their advice.  Mostly the mentor moms encouraged me to look at this stage of my life differently, and it has me appreciating the little things, like Wyatt playing cars on his belly in the dining room.  Or Logan coming out of his bedroom in the mornings with his two favorite stuffed animals tucked under his arm.  Or Jack leaving "projects" (read: gallons of tape & markered cardboard) all over the house.  Too soon these days will be but a memory.  And I'll wish I was back here, with my four children gathered together under one roof.  So for now, I'm going to try & relish it.



Fall Book Club Picks

After our awesome summer book list, it's time to curl up with some fall books! 
Join The Inspired Readers on Facebook & read along with us!  
We'd love to have you!


Looking Inward

I have been feeling really overwhelmed and sad lately.  Everywhere I look is bad news and heartache.  We recently had fraudulent charges in our bank account, which lead me to discover our bank has been doing some bad business elsewhere.  And other than switching banks, there's nothing I can do to stop it.  We watched some of the presidential debate and read a lot (too much) on Facebook following it.  And other than voting and saying a prayer, there's nothing I can do to change it.  Everything around me feels big and outside my control.  What good can I do? What impact can I have?

At an appointment today I saw a little boy, maybe four years old, being pushed along by his mother who was yelling at him through his tears that he couldn't visit the doctor because they didn't have their insurance card.  He was upset, she was upset, yet they weren't able to turn to one another in their frustration.  I wanted to swoop in and tell them it would be okay.  I wanted to find the insurance card, hug the mama, who it seemed was upset about more than just the missed appointment, and console the boy whose tears ran desperately down his powerless cheeks.

The feeling reminded me of a day back in August when I witnessed something similar.  I was sitting in a sterile waiting room, patiently counting the minutes until my turn, when I saw a little girl, maybe 8, burst into hysterical tears, screaming, "Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!" obviously elated to see her father, unexpectedly, in this place.  Within seconds it was clear that she was not going to be allowed to visit or stay with her dad, and she was pulled, agonizingly, away from him by her mother.

I sat on the fake leather chairs, letting the tears slip from my eyes, hot & slick, with no shame. I had, in those moments, witnessed a heart breaking into a hundred pieces, and it deserved my rawest emotions.  Again, I felt pulled to do something, but found nothing fitting or helpful to do.

I was talking to Josh about these feelings last night and he said, "Babe, I think you gotta look more inward."  I knew exactly what he meant. We could all walk around witnessing the "bigger than us" problems in the world and end our days feeling useless and frustrated.  Or we can choose to look at what we can do to make things better around us.

This quote by Mother Theresa sprang immediately to mind when Josh said I needed to look inward.  I may not be able to take on corporate banking or the presidential candidates, but I can love my kids better.  I can be more patient, offer a kind word and make my home a refuge for them.  I can make my marriage a priority alongside family dinners and bedtime stories.  They may seem small things, but if I raise my kids up right, maybe, just maybe, they'll grow up and take on some of these battles I'm not equipped to face.



100 small things-- September 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 second month check in.
I am astonished at how many I crossed off the list!
(September's accomplishments are crossed off in red)

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 1/4
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 3/5

54. 3 playdates with new friends 2/3
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 1/3
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) 3/12
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

Reading through my list, I was surprised at how much I accomplished in September.  I gave all the guys a haircut (even Josh) saving us at least $80.  I followed up with an OB to check my IUD and was relieved when all is well.  We painted, I had playdates and I met with our new insurance lady to make sure our coverage is all set.  We planted lilacs I received as a gift from my Aunt Barbara and my parents brought up for us when they visited.  I am beyond excited for our yard to have lilacs. They are my favorite plant (always have been) and I can't wait to bring the first bunch into the house!  We also planted pansies in the yard, and were surprise-gifted a BBQ from my parents.  The boys are so excited to fire it up and have some hot dogs & burgers later this week.

We've been collecting Box Tops, and Jack's class won pizza with the principal this month! Lucky kid! We've also been collecting toilet paper rolls and organizing our crafts now that the office/laundry room is set up.  I joined our local MOPS and have attended a few meetings.  I love the ladies there and how inspired I feel as I leave each time.  I spent some time working on our master, decorating our room and deep cleaning the bathroom.  

I'm still not in a consistent blogging groove, but I am trying to blog more often, even if they are short & sweet, and if nothing else, I am making sure that I do my weekly update (Around Here) post every Friday.  

Now on to October's small things!



The Tuckers Visit The Cunningham Ranch

My sister's family came to visit the last weekend in August, and it was so much fun! The boys were overjoyed to be reunited and had such a great time playing outside in the back yard and on the trampoline and swimming together at the water park.  The grown ups had fun watching Rugged Justice after the kids were in bed, and sipping coffee while the kids played outside each morning. My sister and I enjoyed trading babies and my boys LOVED on their sweet little baby cousin. All in all, it was a great trip and left me feeling grateful, yet again, that we're within driving distance of family!!!


A Family Wedding

Back in May my cousin Alix got married.  She asked Josh to photograph her big day and what a beautiful day it was.  I was eleven when Alix was born, and I loved her from the first moment I laid eyes on her.  I loved to hold her and play with her, make her laugh and giggle.  As she grew up, we stayed close.  Now we love to get together with our sisters and moms whenever we're all in town together.  Watching her get married felt surreal.  How was this baby I'd known from her first day on earth getting married already?!? Time is funny that way.

Seeing her get married had me thinking about my own wedding and the marriage that has followed it. Josh and I talk about it a lot. Are we just lucky? Was it good timing to meet while we were still so young and flexible in our ways?  We certainly are blessed to have both sets of parents still married and our grandparents as well.  I am usually a black & white thinker. All or nothing. Full or empty. But in this case, I think that our marriage lasting 13 years (and us still being happy!) is due to quite a few factors.  

One is what I already said, the examples laid out before us. Another is definitely (in my opinion) dating from a young age. We weren't set in our ways at 16 & 17.  We have been able to grow together and adapt.  Another is hard work. We work to put our marriage first, celebrating date night every week after the kids are in bed, talking and texting throughout the work week and making sure we're on the same page with everything from projects to parenthood.  Another is that we are selfless.  That is a bold statement to make, I know, but I see it everyday.  Josh makes sure that my needs are met before his, and I work to make sure his needs are met above mine.  It's in the little things-- me waking up to make his lunch every morning before he goes to work.  Him making the bed after his shower or folding the basket of laundry he sees sitting on the living room floor.  We are constantly thinking of the other instead of ourselves and that makes the little annoying things we do to each other a lot more tolerable.  Lastly, we laugh. Oh do we laugh.  I never knew how important laughter would be until I met Josh and we hit some hard times.  We always say, "If you don't laugh, you'll cry" and it is so true.

At our wedding, I had known little heartache.  I was beautifully naive and optimistic.  Since our wedding, I have experienced some loss.  Our marriage has taken a few hits--namely, Logan, Jack, Wyatt & Carly ;) and I wouldn't trade it for anything, but it hasn't been easy.  Parenting together is hard.  Making financial decisions together is hard.  Adulting is hard. But there isn't anyone I'd rather work hard alongside than him.

I hope that as my sweet cousin and her husband grow old together, they feel the same way.  Facing life down, working hard together and laughing all the way.