she was also just a girl

When you're a kid, you don't realize your mom is also a woman.  
She is really, actually, in her heart, just a girl. 
Just a girl raising her babies.  
Just a girl with worries, fears and a heavy heart for the load she's carrying.

This week I have found myself thinking a lot about my mom.  

Last Sunday I found a lump on cheek near my jawbone.  Naturally, I completely freaked out.  Then I called my mom. She assured me it was likely a swollen lymph node, and nothing to worry about.  (I went to the clinic today, and she was right.)  

But she also told me that my freak out was normal.  She said she was never so scared to be sick as she was when she had small children in the house. 

Sure, I have life insurance, but no one, no one, can take my place. No one loves those boys like I do. No one sings to them, teases them, hugs them like I do.  No one is as invested in their future as I am.

I think back to my childhood memories, and find myself exiting my personal memory and trying to experience them through my mom's eyes.  That time I cracked my head open with my dad, and he left her a bloody dress with a note that said, "At the hospital".  That time I sat, in my Garfield panties, on the hibachi, still hot from cooking Oscar Meyer's.  Now that I'm a mom, with all the same worries, fears and heavy heart, I feel how she must have felt.

I imagine the sleepless nights, the anxiety, the tears shed over the four of us.

I have felt lately that I worry too much. That I control too much.  That I obsess over every tiny detail, and in the end, it's not really up to me.  But then, after mulling those thoughts over the last few days, I have decided  I am doing what I know is right for my children.  To worry, control and pay attention to every detail is the way I pour my love into them.  

This job I'm doing here, raising these boys into men, is meant to be all consuming. What on the planet could be more important?  It's not easy.  Doing Day Two of "No Screens" wasn't easy.  Getting chores done while contemplating the lump on my face and its inherent danger wasn't easy.  Enforcing rules, manners, and listening all.day.long without Josh wasn't easy.  But I didn't sign up for easy.

I am so thankful that I have my mom to turn to for moments of clarity like we had on Sunday.  I am thankful she said to me, "Yes. It's scary. You are needed.  You are vital, and that fear? That's real."  It allowed me to take a breath and feel that I wasn't losing my mind.

This job really is all that matters.
This job is what I live for.
These boys are what I live for.

And as I'm living that truth, I feel like I am coming to understand my own mother better.


around the house

Things here have been buzzing.  We are at three weeks and counting until we leave for Washington, and I am all about the preparation process right now.  Organizing, sorting, dumping, cleaning.

Making lists.
and lists.
and lists.

Things to pack.
Things to buy.
Things to check my storage unit for.
Gear we'll need in the fall.
Summer clothes we'll need right away.

Our agenda for Anchorage.
Our plans for Washington.

It's all getting very real.

The house in Vancouver is gonna be awesome.
Total answered prayer.

The summer is gonna be awesome.
And I can't wait.

Our family is awesome.
They put a smile on my lips everyday.

We have been very focused lately on character traits with the boys.
Being kind.
Treating others as we would want to be treated.

It's exhausting work, but it's also good.
When we see them sharing, putting their brother first, we know it's paying off.
Today we decided, at the last minute, to join "Screen Free" week.
I knew that with all the craziness, I would need the internet for sanity...
but those boys could stand a week without it.

No TV, movies, Wii or Tablets.
No Angry Birds.

So Day One is done, and was a great success.
They played and cleaned and helped with chores.
And by bedtime they were all three exhausted!

Tomorrow I hope to pull out a few more fun, exotic toys or activities.
Maybe painting? Or washing their little set of dishes in the big sink?
We will also do more reading.  They are big into Junie B. Jones right now, and I love it.
I can hardly believe they are old enough to listen to a chapter book.  It's so fantastic!

Right now my favorite part of our day is the evenings.
Josh gets home and we have dinner.  The boys are great eaters, and have awesome manners.  Plus our dinner conversations tend to be hilarious.
Then we brush teeth, get on pajamas and read stories upstairs in our bed.
We end the night with bedtime prayers in their room, which crack me up nightly. 
Thank you, God, for Daddy's macaroni.
I pray tomorrow we can play the Wii.
Thank you for Wyatt. He's so cute.

And then my favorite.
Wyatt asks for me.

It's the only time of the day he requests me over Daddy.
And I soak it in.  I scoop up his cozy self, settle into the rocking chair,
and sing him every song I can think of.
And when I close the door on those three precious sleeping boys,
I thank God for my life. For this life.

It's so beautiful.

Summer Fun: Portland Children's Museum

Summer Fun: Random

The following are some random pictures from summer, that were too cute to leave out.

Jack was watching a Beauty & The Beast video, and he fell asleep like this.

In the car, Wyatt would always cross his feet like this.  
That was about the only cute thing about Wyatt and his carseat.
Mostly, he just screamed. And screamed. And screamed. 
All summer.
It was awful.

Makes me a tad nervous for this summer, and that whole "roadtrip to Montana" thing we have planned.
Nothing sweeter than a naked baby in Saltwater sandals!
I love this picture of him in the water at the Washougal.
So beautiful!
Logan was playing so intently this morning, he didn't even hear me sneak out to snap these pictures.

This boy has the best play-focus.  
I love to see it, and to hear his imaginary play with his guys.
We did a lot of little bike rides last summer on the boys' new birthday bikes.
I love this picture of them, trucking along with their backpacks full of lunch boxes and water bottles.
So many wonderful memories!
I absolutely LOVED Wyatt's sunhat last summer.
Isn't it just too fun?
It's strange to see the boys in carseats as I look back at all these pictures.  Now, they just climb in the van or truck and off we go.  The farthest we go is one mile on the dirt road to the post office.  I am excited, though, because this year they will only have to have the bottom part of their booster seats. Hooray!


Summer Fun: Sunset

Before this summer begins, I'd like to get all the adventures of last summer blogged.  So I am doing a Summer Fun series, full of sunshine and happy memories.