Happy Due Date to my little sister!
Baby Tucker (we don't know if it's a boy or a girl) was due to arrive today.
We are all waiting on pins & needles to meet him/her.
 Especially Roxanne, who is looking fabulous.

And a side by side comparison, just for fun.
(Both at 40 weeks exactly, on our due dates.)

Book Review

I am currently reading a fantastic book. The 10 Habits of Happy Mothers by Meg Meeker. I got this book back in February when I was in a pretty low place. (Remember this? And this?) I have recently pulled it back off my bookshelf, and am finding it inspiring. I feel the joy seeping back into me.

Being a mom is exhausting.
And you are often both under appreciated and overworked.
Not a good combination.

The book walks you through ten steps to becoming a better, happier, mommy.  The steps (because I read them before I bought the book, too, so I could make sure I bought the premise) are:
  1. Understand Your Value as a Mother
  2. Maintain Key Relationships
  3. Value and Practice Faith
  4. Say No to Competition
  5. Create a Healthier Relationship with Money
  6. Make Time for Solitude
  7. Give and Get Love in Healthy Ways
  8. Find Ways to Live Simply
  9. Let Go of Fear
  10. Hope Is a Decision- So Make It!

I just finished chapter 8 today and will be doing a post for each new habit, the advice given in that chapter of the book, and how I plan to apply said advice to my own life.  I am clinging to this book, praying I can follow her advice and find myself enjoying parenting again. Because a few weeks ago, I was ready to throw in the towel. I was ready for someone to rescue me. This is the hardest job I have ever had.  And having my heart so involved makes it that much harder.

Well, I'm off to read another chapter & hope to start my "10 Habits" Series tomorrow.
Good night.

Mirror, Mirror

Most of the time, I honestly forget that Logan & Jack are twins.  They play, they fight, they laugh. I feed them, I bathe them, I dress them. Everything is done twice (three times if you count Wyatt), but it doesn't occur to me constantly that they are twins.  The other night I went into their room to pray over them & found them asleep in nearly identical positions, exactly mirror opposite of each other.
Logan, asleep on his left side, right hand up, left hand cradling it.

Jack, asleep on his right side, left hand up, right hand cradling it.

I love when those moments come. It gives me the chance stop and think how lucky am I to get to witness them & their magic firsthand everyday.


A Good Night

Last night we had a good night.  These are few & far between. Most of the time we have an "okay" night.  And about once a week we have a "bad" night.  (This is when there is a screaming baby, two arguing three-year-olds and a yelling Mommy.) 

A good night in our house is cause for celebration. It's like the stars aligning, or winning the lottery. All the right cards must be in play for everything to come out right.

 Good nights generally start at the dinner table, at home. Around 6pm I make dinner, and on a good night, the boys like what I make, eat what I make and even thank me for making it. Then it's time for dessert- last night it was pudding for Logan & graham crackers with Nutella for Jack. They had good manners (no spitting, bubbling, spilling or food throwing) the whole time, even though I wasn't sitting at the table (I was feeding Wyatt in the rocking chair).

 Then I wiped them off, they pushed their chairs in to the table, chose books to read at bedtime and put on their jammies (We skipped baths because I had given them haircuts yesterday morning and bathed them afterwards to get all the hair off) and they did it all without arguing or playing "fight game."

Not only were they cooperating, but Wyatt, who had been grumpy all through nap time and the entire afternoon yesterday, was a happy boy.

 Then we read stories (Trains & If You're Happy and You Know It), sang Sunshine (they like to sing it while taking turns holding Wyatt), gave hugs, kisses & snuggles, and it was time for lights out. After I closed their door, they went to sleep like good little boys & I was able to have an evening of relaxation with my friend Annie who came over at 8pm.

I went to bed on time myself, feeling like a very good mommy. It's so nice to have a stretch of a few hours where everything you have taught them seems to have sunk in. I am getting in the groove of these evening by myself, and that feels nice. I am figuring out how to cut corners if Wyatt is fussy (skip baths, do easier dinners, let the boys wear whatever they will put on for jammies) and how to encourage the boys to follow directions instead of punish them if they're breaking the rules.

I am reading a book that is really helping with all of this. The 10 Habits of Happy Mothers by Meg Meeker.  I am loving it. I highly recommend it, and plan on doing some blog posts about each specific habit and how I am incorporating it into my becoming a better, happier, mommy.

Maybe a better, happier mommy is all these boys needed to make them better, happier boys!



Best advice of the day:

"Own the trial. We each come with our own personal trials. God trusts us with them, he knows us and knows what we are capable of. He hopes we can learn and teach others from our own experience."

From NieNie, who knows a thing or two about suffering.



 The boys have become more challenging than I ever remember.  They are so smart. And articulate. And determined.  And I like to be in control. The mix is... well... not good.  I liked when I was the boss, and they did what I said without saying, "But, but, but..." or "No," or screaming & rolling on the floor like wild animals. I miss telling them what to wear without outbursts about how they want shorts and I'm wrong about the weather.  I miss feeding them what I wanted without being told it was "yucky" or "going to give me a tummy ache." I miss being told the truth.  I also miss my sidekick. Their dad.

Today in the car I was telling the boys that it's hard for mommy some days because parenting is for two parents and I don't have Daddy here right now. Then Jack said, "Maybe Samuel could be the daddy." It nearly broke my heart.  

 On top of how much we all miss Josh, I got bad news.
We won't be leaving as soon as we had hoped.  We won't be leaving until Christmas. It hurts to even type it. I can't believe it's going to be that long before I see him again.  He'll have been gone nearly 20 weeks when he gets home.  The baby will be six months old. School in Marshall doesn't let out for Christmas break until December 23rd. That's three long months until we are together.

He told me yesterday. I don't know that it has really sunk in. Housing is estimated to be completed end of October, which means he will likely get keys mid-November, and then I'll ship our stuff up (which takes 3-4 weeks) and by then it wouldn't make any sense to leave- it'd be early December anyway. So we made the heart wrenching decision to wait until he has two weeks off.  On paper, it makes sense... He has plenty of time off, he'll be able to fly home, visit family & friends, celebrate the holidays, help me tie up loose ends here at our duplex, and be here for the New Year. Then we'll be able to take our time in Anchorage doing any shopping that needs done and getting the paperwork end of things taken care of.  On paper it makes sense.

But in my heart, in my heart, that doesn't matter. In my heart, I don't care if we spend the holidays here or not. I just want to be together. I want to fall asleep in his arms. I want his help with the boys. I want someone to catch me. I'm falling.

I have been learning to ask for help. It's really difficult for me. But with so much responsibility on my shoulders, I can't possibly do it all myself.  I hate asking, but I am surrounded by people who love me, and whom I know don't mind.

Woke up late today and I still feel the sting of the pain
But I brushed my teeth anyway
I got dressed through the mess and put a smile on my face
I got a little bit stronger

Riding in the car to work and I'm trying to ignore the hurt
So I turned on the radio, stupid song made me think of you
I listened to it for minute but I changed it
I'm getting a little bit stronger, just a little bit stronger

Even on my weakest days, I get a little bit stronger

-Sara Evans


Family of babies

To counter my previous negative post about my week in gripes, here's a positive one full of something we all love- babies!

Ferris & Roxanne/Amy, Indie & Kahlil/Hailey, Stefani & Cole/Me & Wyatt, Jack & Logan/Erica & Xyleena

My mom's dad Harold has a little brother named Norman. Norman is a fraternal twin. Norman has six kids- Martin, Eric, Jeff, Jennifer, Amy & Stefani, who are all my mom's first cousins. Amy, who lives in Hawaii was in town with her son, Kahlil who was celebrating his third birthday and her newborn son Indie; Stefani was there with her daughter Hailey, who was celebrating her birthday as well, and her son Cole, who is eight months old; Eric's daughter Erica was there with her brand new daughter Xyleena; Roxanne was there with her adorable pregnant self & Ferris; and I was there with Logan, Jack & Wyatt, who is only 11 days younger than Amy's baby Indie.

Birthday Boy Kahlil

The boys were very excited to watch Kahlil blow out his candles.

And eat his cake!

This was one of the most fun family get-togethers I have been to in ages. The older boys all played together so well under Nanny & Papa's supervision, and us mama's sat in a circle sharing birthing stories and baby care techniques while openly breastfeeding our babies.  It was so nice to be with a bunch of other breast feeding mommies and not have to hide and sweat under a blanket trying to get the baby to latch on.

 I only wished Roxanne's baby had been there so she could share in the magic & show off her newest little one.

Sidenote: We are still waiting for Baby Tucker to make his/her debut.  Things are moving in that direction according to Roxanne's midwife, which is good. Her official due date is September 30th.  We are all on pins & needles wanting to know if Ferris is going to have a little brother or a little sister!


Farewell Friday Funk

Feeling a bit of irritation/annoyance/rage and I'm gonna gripe about every bit of it.
Here goes:

I don't think I will ever eat a warm meal again. Ever. 
I am working on accepting this fact.  I cook and get dinner on the table, serve the boys and then inevitably, Wyatt is crying, wanting to be fed as well, while my delicious pillsbury biscuits sit cooling, uneaten, on the kitchen counter.
What makes it worse is when the very food I am dying to eat repulses the boys. Logan in particular is known to say, "This is yucky," as soon as he lays eyes on whatever I've made. Even if he loved it the day before or has never tried it before in his life.

In the same vein, I hate when I am trying to make dinner and the boys, who were previously occupied, suddenly feel the need to follow me into the kitchen to see what I'm doing, get into the fridge, and distract me from the task at hand.  The only thing worse than that is when the baby cries while I'm trying to cook.

I hate where I live. (My duplex, that is.)
Here is why:
1. I have slugs. Everywhere. Mostly in the kitchen & bathroom.  And all around the house outside.  In the kitchen, they come in and leave a slime trail along the bottom of my cupboards.  In the bathroom, Josh found one on his deoderant (in the medicine cabinet!) and we are constantly finding them in the bath tub. Wednesday night I found a three inch slug climbing up the side of the vanity. Gross.
2. I live in the ghetto. Everyday I hear bumping music, people swearing, horns honking & police sirens blaring.  I see people who are drunk, high & swearing at their children. (If they even know where their children are.)
3. My dishwasher sucks. And while, yes, I know, I won't have a dishwasher to complain about in Alaska, I was hoping to enjoy the last few months of dish washing free duty while I am here.

I hate household chores. 
Well, actually, once I am doing them, I enjoy them. Like Monica on Friends I get a disgusting satisfaction from seeing it go from unsightly to beautiful.  The part I hate is after it's done, and it looks great and I feel great, and then the kids just destroy it. If I've vacuumed, they spill Cheerios; if I've swept, they spill apple juice; if I've cleaned the bathroom, they spit toothpaste on the counter. It is inevitable. And painful to watch after I spent the last few hours getting everything to shine.  Sometimes I think, why bother?

It is ever-living hot here. 
It is officially fall, and today the high in Vancouver was 85 degrees people! I sold my stupid air conditioners at my garage sale last weekend, and now we're hitting the mid-eighties! The baby was even sweating.  Tonight after his bath, little tiny baby beads of sweat pooling on his sweet forehead. It's miserable. I guess it's making Marshall look pretty good.

Another gripe I've got- customer service phone lines.  
I have had to make so many phone calls to straighten out our life insurance, car insurance, phone lines, and health insurance, the numbers make my head spin.  This week I called the health insurance people to get our pre-existing condition stuff taken care of and after I put in my numbers and pressed 2 for English, 4 for being a patient, and 8 to speak to a person, I had to give her all my information again and tell her what I needed to talk about. Why do they do that? Why do they waste my time when they are going to ask for it anyway? All it does is make me one of those crazy ladies swearing at the poor customer service girl who's stuck at that lame job in a tiny office cramped full of people dealing with other irate customers. Who is this helping? Then... this is the kicker... she hung up on me. Oh, she pretended she was trying to "transfer" me, but I was immediately disconnected. Whoo-whee, I was livid!

So I called back and this time I got a girl who was pretty sure I was mentally handicapped, or at least that's how it felt cause she kept saying the same thing over and over, like if she said it enough times I would understand. Problem was, I understood what she was saying, but she wouldn't shut up long enough to let me explain what I needed her to understand.  Finally, she stopped talking and I told her what I needed.  Then she and I got on a three-way call with my old health insurance and after 42 minutes on the phone, we had the pre-existing condition problem solved.  Honestly, who has 42 minutes to waste, plus however long it took me to get through to Eve (yes, I write down the names of who I'm speaking to) just to be disconnected? I spent an entire nap time getting that ironed out.  Not how I want to be spending my nap times, let me tell you!

This one is the clincher. 
It started my Wednesday off wrong, and I haven't felt good since.
I had just pulled up at the park. There is only street parking at this park. So I opened both the boys' doors, told them to get on their back packs and told Jack (who was on the street side) to watch for cars before he got out. (This is in a residential area with minimal traffic and speed bumps.)  So while they were getting their packs on, I went around to the back of the car to get the stroller ready for Wyatt and pull the boys' bikes out for them.  So I saw a car coming, but Jack wasn't ready yet, so I wasn't concerned. Then it stopped, right at the back of my car, near the driver side tail light, while I was standing at the passenger side tail light. It honked at me. I looked up and the driver, maybe 65 years old, looked at me with a nasty face and held her hands up in the air expectantly.  I raised my eyebrows, looked at Jack, still safe in the confines of the car, looking out at her and asking why she honked, and I waved her on. Like, go ahead. 
She pulled forward, slowly, the length of my car until her tail lights were near my headlights and then she rolled down her passenger side window and yelled, "You should watch your kids!"
To which I replied, "Don't yell at me, please."
To which she replied, "I'm not yelling at you, I'm advising you."
And she drove away.


Seriously, if my children hadn't been present, I would have used some of my inappropriate grown up talk to tell her what she could do. Instead I finished unloading the car and called Josh.  I was irate. That woman doesn't know me, or my children. She had no right to stop & yell at me.  And what made me more mad was that even though she doesn't know me, she was able to get me so worked up!
I kept trying to make myself feel better. I know Jack. He's terrified of cars and getting hit by cars. He would never have gotten out without looking. If it had been Logan on that side, I would have left the door closed until I could walk with him, because he's more impulsive... I went on and on in my head. Then I wanted her to come back so I could tell her that given the circumstances, I really have my shit together.  That she doesn't know what crazy looks like if she thinks that was it.  That was a calm moment during a calm morning.  Those are few and far between. Had she been willing to stick around I could have shown her how much parenting I do, how much work these kids are, and what a good mom I am.  I often feel I am on the edge of being overprotective.  If she'd been willing to follow me home, to this neighborhood, where the parents allow their five year olds to ride bikes with no helmets where cars go upwards of 50mph, maybe she'd have been willing to recant her comments. Instead she just drove away, leaving me a raging mess.

So there you have it. My week summed up in a series of gripes.
What's been under your skin lately?
Please tell me I'm not alone!

Sail Away

I've been sick.  Like, the flu sick.  Completely miserable for about three days. It's tough being sick with a new baby.  It's tough being sick with three year old twins. It's tough being sick without a husband to help you out. Then you combine all those, and it really feels like my life is survival of the fittest.  I managed to stay hydrated and get plenty of sleep despite all of my responsibilities.  And I was lucky enough to have my mom, sister & good friend Katie rescue me when I needed.

Times like this make me feel almost claustrophobic about Josh being gone. I get kind of panicky that he can't just come here and be with me.  Then last night we were talking about housing, and if it's not done or there is a delay and I could feel my heart palpitating. It just has to be done in October. It just has to be.  I can't stay here any longer than that without him.

I mean, we're managing. The boys are loving school, and the baby is so easy. Plus the garage sale is over, and I have a pretty good idea of what's going to Marshall and what's going into storage... Right now life is pretty well under control my being sick aside. I was not feeling so good earlier this week when I was still (six weeks later) trying to rectify our pre-existing condition exclusion on our new health insurance. This would mean Josh's epilepsy & medication would not be covered.  The new insurance company wanted one form and my old insurance wouldn't give them that form. blah,blah,blah. Hours on the phone later, and we had a three-way phone call that *hopefully* solved the problem.  But in this moment, things are good.

The weather is changing and I can feel it speaking to me.  Warning me that I'd better get to Alaska quick before the snow & darkness encompass Marshall.  I am ready.  I am ready to be there with Josh. I am ready to make new friends. I am ready for this adventure to start already.

 "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails.  Explore. Dream. Discover."
-Mark Twain


Ten Fritty

I got the boys watches a few weeks back. They love them. The watches have firetrucks on them.  I let the boys (independent of each other) choose what design they wanted. There were diggers, frogs, balls & firetrucks to choose from.  They both chose firetrucks.  The watches light up. And the coolest thing is they have a one year "if you lose it, we'll replace it" guarantee. Awesome, right?
But the cutest thing is that the boys are constantly checking their watches and telling me that it's "ten-fritty." Adorable!

So, I have a friend.  He's black.  He is one of the two black people my children have ever met. (One being my nephew, Isaiah, who is 12.)  So the boys met this friend at the garage sale when he stopped by to support us.  Then this morning I was watching the Today show and Al Roker came on to tell us the weather and Jack said, "Mommy, is that your friend? From the sale?" 
I laughed out loud.

We were driving to Costco, which Jack kept calling "Mexico", and Jack asked if we were going on the freeway (he always asks me this) and I told him no, we weren't going on the freeway. Then I asked why he wanted to know. He said, "I don't want to go on the freeway." I said, "Why?" And he told me, "Cause I'm spazzy!"

What is it with kids and farting/pooping? Here are three stories for the books:
1. Jack starts laughing randomly on the couch and says, "They say Poo Poo Heads." I asked him who says that. And he told me the bugs on the Bug Movie. 
2. The boys along with their cousin Gustav took turns for about twenty minutes yesterday blowing raspberries (AKA- making farting noises) on baby Gisele's belly. She was very tolerant of their raspberry blowing & incessant giggling. Boys...
3. Logan went to the bathroom and was hollering for me to come wipe him. I told him I would, in just a minute.  Then he said, "Mom!?! Are you coming? Are you going to come see my holy poop?" (I think this is because when something big or exciting happens, I tend to say "Holy cow!" I guess it was a big or exciting poop...)
And on a sweet note, this morning Jack was talking to Josh, and before he hung up he said, "I miss you, Daddy." And tonight, after the preschool Ice Cream Social, I sat in the parking lot crying, missing my husband, and Logan rubbed my back.  They really do make this easier.


End of summer ramblings...

With summer coming to a close, I decided I ought to post pictures of our last trip to the Washougal River.  I've been going there my whole life.

Every summer we'd pick the hottest days to spend along the bank of this freezing cold -straight from the mountain- river & make some awesome memories.

This is the first summer I ever brought my boys here.  When they were younger the current plus the cold water made me nervous.  Plus the fact that there are two of them.

Bringing them this year was perfection... except that Josh was gone.

The boys are old enough to be steady on their feet (not easy on all those rocks) and well behaved enough to listen.  They stayed close to adults, wore their life jackets when necessary and had a blast.

I really can't believe summer is over.  We finished up our big garage sale today. I made pretty good money considering it poured down rain the entire weekend.  Everywhere I turned people were there supporting me. Josh's sister Julie took the boys Saturday; My parents hosted the garage sale & also helped with the boys; Josh's friend Thom came by Thursday, Saturday & Sunday to be the muscle; and so many other friends & family members came to the sale to support us. Thank you Katie, Roxanne, Brittany, Samuel, Eileen, Sarah, Tom, Margaret, Jennifer, Erica, Savanna, Linda, Debbie, Jeni, Jolene, Rachel, Lenny, John, Peggy, Carol, Carl
-I am so blessed to be loved by all of you.

Today was not only the end of the garage sale (hooray!) but also marked six weeks since Josh left. I have heard it said before that it can take six weeks to develop a new habit.  And at six weeks post departure it feels normal to be without Josh.  I have this whole "doing it alone" thing under control.  The dishes & laundry are getting done, the boys are getting fed & we are all relatively happy.  I feel proud of myself that I am doing it. I feel proud that I am this strong.

Preschool is going well except for one small hiccup.  The boys love it. They haven't shed a single tear. They just hug me good-bye when I go and tackle me with smiles, hugs & stories when I arrive to pick them up. That is awesome! The only thing we're working on is their teachers telling them apart. It's hard since they aren't there everyday for their teachers to get to know them, and last week they got them mixed up when Logan got bit, but Jack's name was written on the incident report form. It's super important to me that they be told apart, so we decided for the time being that we will be using name tags.  I hope this rectifies the situation until they can be easier told apart by the staff.

I am enjoying the break that preschool provides. I am able to run errands so quickly with just Wyatt and last week was able to prepare for the garage sale while they were in school.  I also like preschool because of all the other mom's I see there.  It's not abnormal to see another mom with two or three kids age 3 & under.  It's not abnormal to see another mom with a baby strapped in an Ergo or Baby Bjorn. It's not abnormal to see a tantrum or hear squealing toddlers coming down the stairs. I fit in there.

I recently finished watching The Secret Life of the American Teenager on Netflix.  It was my guilty pleasure once Josh left, to watch it during naptime.  It has Molly Ringwald in it and I love her!

I've also been reading magazines a lot (mostly at 2am when Wyatt wakes up to eat) and I keep hitting articles about anti-aging, which aren't exactly relevant to me just yet, but I keep hearing these three things: Eat full fat dairy products, take a vitamin D supplement and eat fiber everyday.

The vitamin D information was fascinating.  It helps you absorb calcium, and reduces depression & anxiety.  Needless to say, I am starting a vitamin D supplement before I go North!

This little one is getting bigger everyday.  He holds his head up like such a big boy, and when you put him on his piggies, he pushes his legs straight to stand up.

He's getting closer and closer to giggling, and I can't wait till he just busts out laughing!

He's still in that newborn phase, though, where they can fall asleep & stay asleep anywhere.  After this big garage sale & all the bustling about the last week, I plan on spending my morning tomorrow (while the boys are in school) sitting on the couch, holding Wyatt as he sleeps.  I can't wait!

We are also, as of late, on pins & needles waiting for this little one to make its arrival.  He/she is due to arrive September 30th (less than two weeks!) and we are all dying to find out what it is!

His/her arrival will make this little guy a big brother.  And he's going to do great. He adores Wyatt, and I just know he's going to love his little sibling even more!

(I had to include this picture of Blake- freezing cold, fresh out of the water- sneaking up behind me to give me a shockingly cold hug! Roxanne saw it coming and snapped a picture, instead of warning me... Thanks a lot! ;)

King of the Mountain

I've been thinking a lot lately about legacies.  Some of my older extended relatives have started having dementia and seeing their age & state, I can't help but think about the end of ones life.  In thinking about life ending, I got to thinking about what really matters in life, and the legacy that you leave behind. I think your legacy is quite simple. A legacy is how you lived.  Were you funny? Did you volunteer? Were you forgiving? Did you listen? 

When I think of an amazing legacy, I think of my mom.  She lives her life with her priorities perfectly aligned.  She knows what's important and what's not.  She loves her family: her children, grandchildren &  husband. She loves her dogs, and all animals. She loves people: her sisters, nieces, nephews & strangers. She is fascinated by humanity, human development and all the quirks people have.  She is a listener, by nature, and people are drawn to her.  She's like Barbara Walters at WinCo.  People meet her picking out soda near the fresh bagels and pretty soon they're telling her about how they were raised with Australian Shepherds & lost infant twins a few years back.  She has a way of asking questions that gets answers.  And more than that, people find they want to share their answers with her.  She's Oprah without the mansion, Rosie without the "cutie-patootie", Dr. Phil without the "How's that working for you?"

My parents willingly gave up a significant pay raise and a beautiful house in South Carolina so they could remain in Washington to be near all of us.  They sacrificed a lot of things while we were growing up so that my mom could stay home with us.  Without Disney trips or fancy getaways, we had memorable family vacations every summer that we'll treasure for a lifetime.  
Because she is my mom, I find myself meeting people at WinCo and getting them to share with me their lives, their experiences.  I think my need to blog, to share my life with the world at large, comes from her need to know.  So if you love my blog, the honesty, the incredible detail I give, you can thank my mom.  I'm her living legacy.