I need a hero

A late evening post today because it's been a crazy two days. I wrote Monday's post on Sunday night.  So it was already done.  But Monday & today have been really hard emotionally.  Monday my anxiety seemed to be getting the best of me, but today has been better.

Well, better emotionally. Not better parenting-wise.

I am working to get enough sleep, to get exercise, and to deal with my anxiety... all in the hopes that I will then be a better, happier, more peaceful mother.  That's the hope anyway.  Today was a flop.

But I am a continual optimist, so I'm counting on a better tomorrow.

In the mean time, a little mind rambling for you.

Today at lunch I was sharing my strawberry yogurt with Wyatt and he said, "Yogurt doesn't have boogers!"  I laughed and showed him a strawberry chunk and he said that was a booger. It was seriously hilarious.


My husband is the best.  
Just... everything.  He is great at everything. He's an amazing dad, and an incredibly hard worker and the best husband. He listens and hears me and loves me through it all.  And I'm so grateful.


The heat is still out.  So the kids are semi-filthy.  And with the carnival tomorrow and Halloween on Thursday, I'm not sure when we will get over to the neighbors to steal warm water & bathe them!  After I post this bad boy, I'm thinking I've got a date with the kitchen sink so I can wash my hair.

Washing dishes is probably the worst part (aside from my laundry not getting quite as clean with cold water) because I finally submit that I have to do them, and then I have to sit around and wait twenty minutes for the water to boil on the stove.


We had our first real snow day on Monday.  The forecast called for rain, but instead we watched big, fat flakes fall all morning, and once Wyatt woke up from his afternoon nap, out we went.  It was so much fun to see the kids experience snow again.  Dressing them all to get out the door was a huge pain (I had forgotten that part) but watching their eyes light up was worth every minute.

"One of the very best reasons for having children
is to be reminded of the incomparable joy of a snow day."
-Susan Orlean


Weekend Update + What Makes Me Happy

Weekend Update:

Friday night Josh and I planned on date night, pizza + a movie, but it was interrupted when we discovered that our heat was out.  Josh and Leah went to the school to pick up space heaters for everyone on our side of the housing.  Saturday morning we found out we also had no hot water.  I guess the boiler is out.  Our maintenance guy said that it will be at least a week before the part we need arrives here in Marshall.

In the mean time, we are heating water on the stove for dishes, using space heaters to keep warm and sponge bathing the kiddos.  Oh, and complaining. I'm doing lots of complaining. ;)


Saturday Josh took the boys to Saturday Social and I was left for two blessed hours all by myself.  I did nothing. I sat on the couch, watching episode after episode of Parenthood (I ordered Seasons 1-4 for myself for my birthday) and read the magazines that had stacked up all month on my end table.  

Josh was gone most of Saturday afternoon, and the twins had their friend Michael over.  I had Leah over for a visit, and before I knew it, it was time for family movie night.  We watched Planet 51, which is a pretty cute kid movie, and had cheese pizza.  My kids are gaga for candy corn right now, so I pretty much made their night when I gave them each 3 candy corns when they finished their pizza.


I have been suffering headaches the last week and a half, and the only thing I can figure is that I am not getting enough sleep. I have been getting upstairs later, and then staying awake too long in bed. Plus one or the other of the kids has been up each night at some point.  This week, I told Josh I am going to be really strict about 9pm: Upstairs and 10pm: Lights Out. Hopefully it will bring my headaches down to none!

In addition to headaches, my anxiety has been off the charts again. It's like since I got triggered back in late August with my stomach illness, I can't shake it all the way.  I get a stomach ache and instantly I am certain I have abdominal cancer or an ulcer.  Saturday night I talked to Josh at length and he put a lot of my fears to rest. I am hopeful this week to talk back to my worries with "I can do hard things" or "If that happens, Josh will take care of it."  It feels good to have a plan.  (I also think getting more sleep will help my anxiety as will getting outside as much as possible.)


Peaceful parenting went really well last week.  I got four out of seven days with No-Yelling, and I am hoping for even more this week.  All together, I have ten No-Yelling days in October. I am two days away from my goal of 12 days.

In general I would say I just feel much more calm and relaxed about my parenting.  I don't freak out when the kids make a mess or a mistake. I find it easier now (nearly six weeks later) to breathe instead of yell.  My goal this week is to eliminate the word "if" from my vocabulary.  

The book {Peaceful Parents, Happy Kids} is against discipline in any form.  My whole world revolved around discipline and consequences before this book came into my life, so my go to parenting phrase was, "If you do that one more time..."  Well now that doesn't make any sense, because I am trying not to punish or threaten. So my goal this week is to replace "if" with "please"

"Please" followed by an explanation of why I need that behavior to stop. (ie "Please don't throw the legos because you might hurt your brother.")  I think saying please will remind me to be kind, choose love & explain why I want the behavior to stop instead of just barking orders.


Sunday I took the boys on a walk & it was good for us.  Jack wrote me a thank you note afterward and Logan talked about next time we get out.  Wyatt pretended we were on a Team UmiZoomi adventure and kept saying he was "Geo." It was so adorable.  Then we had hot cocoa & cereal for dinner, with baby oranges-- thank you Moore Family!  It was a good way to wrap up our weekend.


 What Makes Me Happy:

1. Reading the same Halloween books over & over

Bonus of having a teacher for a husband? Access to all the Scholastic orders.  I have been slowly building up our library, and the kids love when I pull out each new set of holiday books.  Right now Wyatt is obsessed with Ten Timid Ghosts by Jennifer O'Connell.  We all pretty much have it memorized.  It makes me smile when I hear them reciting it as they play.

2. Creamer for my coffee

Saturday Josh called me from the gas station and said they had real Coffee Mate creamer in French Vanilla and Irish Creme.  He asked if I wanted some, and I said Yes Please!  They weren't cheap. $9.49 each.  Oh, but they make me so happy!

3.  Carnival + Halloween = Excited Kids!!!

Cop partners and a baby Cougar are counting down the days in our house.  It's so fun to see their joy! They can't wait for Wednesday & Thursday!

4. Space heaters & kind neighbors

I am feeling, despite the bummer of no heat or hot water, oh-so-grateful.  I am grateful for our space heaters, and our kind neighbors who have offered to let us shower & bathe our kids at their houses.  Times like these show us just how important this little community is.

5.  Parenthood (Seasons 1-4)

Seriously LOVE this show.  I can see parts of myself in each character, and I love seeing other parents agonize over decisions.  It's proof that parenting is hard.

Today's Inspiration:



One on One :: Jack

For Jack's one-on-one day, the two of them went to a Mariner's game in Seattle.

It was a long drive, but Josh said Jack was pretty good.

While they were gone, I took Logan & Wyatt out to lunch and during Wyatt's nap Logan and I snuggled up and watched a movie together.  It was a sweet little day for us back at home, too.

Jack enjoyed some chicken & french fries at the game,

and got to meet the Mariner's Moose, who, Jack informed us, does not talk.

I love this picture of Jack.

Josh loves baseball, and I think our boys are going to be sports lovers just like him. So it was neat that Josh took Jack to his first game.  Jack got bored for some of it, so it'll probably be a while before they go to another game, but Jack was happy for the alone time with Josh.


One on One :: Logan

This summer Josh took the twins each away for a day for some one on one time.

He took Logan to the beach.

First they went to Astoria & visited the Columbia River Maritime Museum

where they visited the Coast Guard ship.

Meanwhile, I was back home enjoying being the mom of only two kids!

Jack and I went out to eat and had special time with Wyatt.

Josh said he was shocked at how shy & quiet & somewhat uncertain Logan was.

He would just shake his head instead of saying no,
and wasn't sure what he wanted.
After visiting the museum, they went to Long Beach & spent some time at Funland.

I love this one!

This is Logan's favorite picture from the trip, which he talks about all the time.

So cute!

{Logan & the Pacific Ocean}

Then they went to Rockaway Beach, where they spent the night at my grandparents house.  My grandparents and Josh both mentioned how completely different Logan was by himself.  That's proof for me that this alone time the boys get with us is important. It gives them a chance to be who they are.  And to have all the attention for once.

Oh, and yes. He did eat every.single.bite on that plate.
Good Lord what are we gonna do when they're all three teenagers???


You Don't Have To Worry Mom

Today I had some really severe anxiety.  I called my mom, took a break, lowered the standards and took a pill.  It worked, and by early afternoon I was feeling good again. Or at least more calm.

But those boys of mine? They know me. They pick up on my anxiety and respond in their own little ways.  Wyatt tends to be more temperamental-- needing lots of hugs & snuggles, which is fine by me when I'm feeling low.  Jack tends to hug me, tell me he loves me spontaneously and color me pictures. (He reminds me a lot of myself when I was little.)  Logan is more pragmatic. He likes to help out with the house, doing chores for me or helping me get things done.

This afternoon while we built a cardboard city in the playroom I took a deep breath and Logan asked why. I told him my stomach hurt and that taking deep breaths helped me not worry about it.  

Cue bedtime conversation after having the boys all take deep breaths (as I do every night):

Jack said to me, "Hey mom, if you are afraid when you are sick, you should take deep breaths.  Or count to five.  Even if you are freaking out, that will help.  And if you are scared of spiders, I will kill them for you. Even furry ones."

Then Logan piped in, "You don't have to be scared mom. You have a family. You have us. And you will never have to kill another spider again."  (The bedtime story we read had a brave little boy who took care of spiders in the kitchen for his mommy.)

And then Wyatt. My sweet Wyatt. He reached up, stroked my cheek and said, "Don't worry mommy, God will take care of you. And Daddy will keep you safe."

I choked through my sobs that I loved my boys and that they were right, all those ideas were wonderful for me to not worry and to feel safe.

I am so blessed to be these tender boys' mom.
Never in my life could I have imagined how full my heart would be with love for them.
And how full their hearts would be with love for me.

Reasons I'm a Good Mom

When my anxiety was at its height, I would lay in bed at night, obsessing over the rights and wrongs of my day.  The mistakes I had made, opportunities missed, avenues not explored. Basically, along with anxiety, I was suffering from Mom Guilt... The worst case I'd seen in my five years as a practicing mother.

In response to this, I started making a list of the things I did right.  Every day (sometimes only an hour into the day) I can make a nasty laundry list of things I do wrong.  But focusing on that only pushes me into a downward spiral.  Recording what I do right is harder (it's more difficult to find the good when you're feeling bad), but focusing on the positives has helped me cultivate goodness and got me where I am today with FIVE successful No-Yelling days (in-a-row!) behind me.

Here are the things that have made the list:

1. When Wyatt asks me to rock him a little bit more, I do.
2. When Wyatt asks me sing another song, I do.
3. When Wyatt asks me to read to him, one more time, I do.
4. Every morning I get up with the boys
5. Every day we give the boys vitamins
6. Every day we make sure they brush their teeth.
7. I cut their nails.
8. I cut their hair.
9. I lotion their bodies.
10. Every night I read the boys bedtime stories.
11. Every night I tuck them in with hugs & kisses.
12. Every night I pray with them, inspiring gratitude.
13.  Every day I feed them two healthy snacks, a delicious lunch & a nutritious dinner.
14.  I let them help me bake.
15. I do "One Fun Thing" everyday.
16. I am trying to be a better parent.
17. We do fun crafts.
18. I homeschool.
19. I provide them with lots of books.
20. And lots of toys.
21.  I take them outside whenever I can.
22. I make sure they get to Saturday Social.
23. We revisit our fun summer memories together.
24. I keep the house clean so they can be healthy.
25. I take care of them so they can be safe.
26. I feed them well so they can grow.
27. I hug them daily so they can feel loved.
28.  Their father and I put our marriage first so they don't have to worry.
29. I am a stay-at-home mommy, which I believe is best for them.
30. Their dad works hard to provide for our family & better himself.
31. Their father is an educated man.
32. I am an educated woman.
33. I limit their screen time.
34. They always have clean clothes to wear.
35.  I decorate the house happily for every holiday.
36.  I take care to acknowledge their differences.
37. I don't let them watch inappropriate shows or movies.
38. I don't let them listen to inappropriate music.
39. I keep their glasses clean.
40.  I give them "fun" baths.
41.  When I make a mistake, I apologize.
42. I hug them through their emotions.
43. I take pictures, recording the magic of their childhood.
44. I encourage their creativity.
45. I read out loud to them everyday.  Multiple times a day.
46. I teach them kindness.
47. I gave them the gift of siblings.
48. I let them make messes.
49. I teach them how to clean up those messes.
50. I encourage responsibility.

I hesitated to post this because it sounds like I'm tooting my own horn.  Let me assure you, I could make a list three times as long, of all the times I've overreacted, screwed up & let myself (and my kids) down.  But losing my temper, becoming frustrated, & lacking perfection does not make me a bad mom.
There will be hard days.
That's okay.



Keep Him Safe

Tonight my heart weighs heavy.
I am going to talk about something that is semi-controversial.

School shootings.

This week alone I have heard of three school shootings that were either in the works or carried out.  There were three fatalities and in our own hometown of Vancouver, Washington an eleven year old boy was taken into custody after it was discovered that he had a hand gun and 400 rounds.  Earlier this year my nephews' school was closed due to bomb threats, and of course last year there was Newtown.

Josh is a teacher. He works with nearly 20 third, fourth & fifth graders.  When I kissed him goodbye this morning, I have to tell you, my stomach was doing flips and once he was gone, I had to bite my lip to keep the tears from coming.

He didn't become a cop. He didn't join the military. He became a teacher. Yet in the last year or so I have worried more for his well being and lack of being armed than I could have ever imagined.  All I can do is pray everyday that God will keep him safe.

Oh God, keep him safe.

Care Packages


My friend Kari's care package just keeps on giving!
The boys favorite thing is to bring the creepy crawlies to the park and hide them to "scare" their friends.

We thoroughly enjoy the Nutella on graham crackers for afternoon snack.
Holy delicious!

Her creepy crawlies also decorate our windowsill. 
Matched with some tealight candles we're looking pretty festive around here!

{Also, Shannon Thomason-- Kari is the one who sent me the sand you noticed a few posts back. It's Sand by Brookstone, found here on Amazon, and is amazing!  We are in love with it!}



For Halloween my mom bought the boys their costumes.

Wyatt is a Cougar,
just like our alma matter,
Washington State University's mascot.

He absolutely loves his costume.
Although he's pretty sure he's a dog.

We love him in it!
And the bonus is that it's super warm.

Josh thought it needed a "mascot" touch, so we put on Wyatt's WSU jersey.

Oh man, is he ever cute!

And the tail? It kills me!

For the twins she bought shirts & accessories so they could be police officer partners.  They are so excited to wear their badges and have their handcuffs!  Growing up I loved Halloween, so it's fun to count down the days with the boys (seven more!!!), get them excited about Marshall's Halloween Carnival at the school and watch them look forward to trick or treating.



Josh's sister Julie sent us an awesome Halloween care package.  Cookie cutters, orange Oreos, holiday dish towels, cupcake mix, Halloween cupcake cups, frosting, Halloween cups & plates and brownie bats!

But the most important thing she sent was the boys' favorite Halloween chocolate/peanut butter eyeballs!

They called immediately to thank her.

Here's Jack enjoying his eyeball!

Wyatt dug right into his...

and then requested "more meatballs" once it was gone.

She also sent us Halloween chocolate chips.

We promptly got to work making them into cookies. Oh man were they tasty!


Carol & Carl:

Josh's parents sent him pumpkins for each kid in his classroom, and also sent us a ton of candy to pass out on Halloween.  Halloween is a huge deal in Marshall. The kids live for it!

After receiving our package from Grandma & Papa, Josh called them and let the kids talk.  The twins were glad to say hi, but it was Wyatt who melted hearts. When he was done talking to Josh's dad, he said bye and I love you. Then he turned his forehead into the phone and closed his eyes, hugging the phone with his face. It was so precious.

He and Papa Carl have always had a special bond, and even though they haven't seen each other in a long time, he felt warm all over after talking to that special Papa of his.  It was so sweet to watch.



Mary is a past teacher/blog follower who has spoiled us with care packages all year!  First we got some BOB books for the boys to supplement our reading curriculum.

This time we got a Halloween care package full of goodies for the boys.  M&M's, Hershey chocolate nuggets, Halloween straw cups (that the boys ADORE), pumpkin flash lights, and a bunch of fun glow-in-the-dark toys (masks, spiders...) that entertained them for hours.

The boys also got Halloween Cap'n Crunch...

that turns the milk GREEN!

I used the Hershey Nuggets she sent to make the best milk chocolate cookies ever!

I quartered the nuggets and used them instead of chocolate chips.
They were a hit!

Thanks for thinking of us Mary.


Jolene & Rachel:

My girlfriends back home got together and sent us the two sweetest care packages ever!  

They were chock full of delicious goodies (like pumpkin spice coffee creamer for me!!!)

and tons of fun crafts for the boys.

They sent Halloween activities (like pumpkin painting!) and some Thanksgiving activities as well that I set aside for November.

They also sent lots of food & baked goods for us to have fun with in the coming winter months. 
Thanks so much girls!
I miss you!!!


Grandma Pansy:

My grandparents sent us a package that was so full 
Grandma said that Grandpa had to sit on the box to get it to close!  

Canned Chicken
Peanut butter
Hot chocolate
Canned salmon
Onion dips

She also sent creepy crawly rings, glow sticks, Halloween napkins, & a John Deere movie. 

But our favorites, I think, are the candy corn (my favorite Halloween candy!) and the M&M's we made cookies with.  


Steve & Kathy:

We got a box from my Uncle Steve & Aunt Kathy the same day we got the box from my grandparents.  Steve's box had tons of candy for family movie night, almonds, & chapstick as well as maps (world & US) & a puzzle.  There were granola bars which are awesome for easy snacks, and special flavored chapstick for the twins.

There were cars & an alphabet puzzle for Wyatt plus stickers and beef jerky.  

But mommy's favorites, of course, were the gorgeous candle (that made it without breaking!!!) and the Dove moisturizing body wash. So excited to use both of those!


The Moore Family:

 Yesterday afternoon we opened a package that was a complete surprise & so exciting!

 Inside this sweet care package from the Moore Family (whom I assume are blog followers???) was an entire bag of Cuties (baby oranges) that were a huge hit, about a dozen lemons, rainbow goldfish & cake batter chapstick!

The funniest thing was that when we were at the store, Wyatt super wanted some Teddy Grahams, and I said, "I know you want those, but mommy's not buying them today." Then the twins got in on the begging, and I said, "Maybe someone will send some in a care package." 

An hour later, we opened your box, and voila! Teddy Grahams appeared! 

The boys favorite is the Cocoa Pebbles. These boys are cereal-lovers! We currently have ten opened cereals on top of our fridge. Literally. Ten.  They love a variety & choosing which kind to have each morning is serious business. 

Personally, I adore Cap'n Crunch, but those boys of mine? They take after their Nanny, and their *favorite* is Cocoa Pebbles. So thank you, thank you, thank you!


Every care package is different & wonderful.  It's so fun to gather the boys around and let them open the boxes, pulling out each item with care as they exclaim what it is and who will love it most.  Living here is teaching them gratitude for the small things.  And every single person who sends us a care package is contributing to that lesson.

For that, we thank you.

Thank you.