Halloween & Carnival

Since Thanksgiving is tomorrow, I figured I better get pictures of Halloween & the School Carnival up on the blog!  We had a great Halloween.  The boys trick or treated with Josh despite a nasty wind making it very, very cold; and the carnival was a night full of smiles & laughs.  So grateful the boys had a happy celebration!


Stay-at-home Mommy

This post is a little all over the place-- beautiful parenting moments intermingled with the stuff that makes me pull my hair out.  That's the reality of parenting, I guess.


The boys love playing Super Mario Brothers on the Wii together at the same time.  It's amazing to watch their brains work together. They are a really good team. I couldn't play (and not fight) with someone so well as they do.

On the other hand, the rest of the time, they fight!  Oh Lord do they fight.  Over airplanes, dinosaurs, tiny Legos.  They run and scream and play.  Even their "getting along" is loud. So loud.  


Wyatt never goes to the bathroom right when he needs to go. Instead he dances around, making me feel that I need to go, and then, at the last possible minute, he runs up, hugging my legs, and tells me has to go!

He refuses to go to the bathroom, whereas I never get to go to the bathroom.  And I never pee alone. Not ever. Last week I finally laid down the law. They are six and three now!  Enough already!  Mommy is allowed bathroom time without the door being unlocked, opened or banged on.  For the love of pete!


Logan has been cracking me up lately.  He told me today I had a good point.  He also tells me, "I'd like some more as well, mom."  So proper.


Wyatt is three and a half, and man alive is he challenging.  He is demanding and screams and tantrums if he doesn't get his way. Mostly he tantrums about food, sharing toys & change of plans. It's a struggle for him.  I often find myself at my wits end with him.  Sick of him screaming at his brothers and melting down when my answer doesn't please him...  By bedtime I am through!


The older two are starting to follow our conversations more, which is dangerous.  We've had to give up spelling things like  L-U-N-C-H because they know how to read now.  The other day Logan asked, "What does apply mean?" When I asked where he had heard "apply" he said, "Daddy told me, that rule doesn't apply to me when I told him you read while you're eating."  They do love to read while they eat. Apple, tree.


Oh my lord, the worst by far is that EVERYTHING HAS TO BE FAIR. Going potty first, sitting in our laps, choosing stories, helping in the kitchen... Everything has to turn out even, or so help them god, I will hear about it. I finally told them that I will make fair what I can, but the rest of the time, we gotta let it go. Life isn't always going to be fair.


Making amends:
When I seem stressed out, the boys love playing with my hair or rubbing my back. And Wyatt will ask, "Are you mad at me?"  or he'll say, "I love you, mommy," when I'm grouchy at his brothers.  I love that they are so tender to pick up on my moods.  They are also very quick to apologize when they know I'm frustrated with their behavior. 


Tonight at bedtime Wyatt called Jack "Spratty", which is my nickname for him. It was so cute. I could tell he was tickled by it because he kept saying it.  At bedtime that little one always wants a drink of water after just getting one in the bathroom.  Drives me nuts, but I always acquiesce.  And after his drink and his prayers, he always asks, without fail, "Will you lay with me for a few minutes?" So I do.  With the loss of daylight here in Alaska, it's dark in their room.  And he falls asleep almost instantly with mommy (or daddy) by his side.

While I'm in there, the twins tend to want me to sing.  I do.  It makes me so happy to sit in that dark room with my sweet, sleepy boys, murmuring lullabies as they drift off.


Tonight I yelled.  And when I apologized, Logan said, "I give you second chances. I forgive you mom.  Because I love you very much."  I hate that I yelled, but it reminded me of why I don't want to yell, and also that I haven't yelled in a long time. And I'm proud of that.


As I was writing this post tonight, I saw this post on stay-at-home motherhood by Beth over at "Five Kids is a lot of Kids".  She said, "You have more patience, courage, fortitude, and strength than you know."  I needed to hear that tonight. That what I do here {the good, the bad & the ugly} matters.

It's not an easy job, but I am so grateful it's mine.


Finding Some Happy

 I've been feeling a bit low lately so I thought I needed to find some happy.

Sunrises on the tundra...
There's just nothing like it.

Peek-A-Boo with this little boy in a box.
He's so cute!

The boys' enjoying the streamers I hung for my birthday.
Watching them run in and out giggling was full on joy.

Birthday presents...
This box of candles from Josh I got this weekend is rainbow beautiful!

Sleeping babes...
Oh how I love watching those beautiful boys of ours sleep. 

Chubby little fingers...
Need I say more?

I love the seashells, picture frame & new basket of bath goodies that adorn my bathroom.

Movie Night (How To Train Your Dragon 2) at their school desks per Jack's request. 
Pizza + Koolaid + Smore cupcakes= Three Happy Boys

This little boys' lizard tongue.
Josh and I were dying watching him lick all the frosting off that bad boy.


This week I have my first appointment with my new (old) counselor; will clean house in preparation for hosting Thanksgiving; and will be doing some baking prior to the big day.  Here's hoping for happy days this week.


On Firing My Therapist

So two weeks after the miscarriage, I kind of lost my shit. (That's also when I started calling it the miscarriage. Before that, the word felt foreign in my mouth, and I refused to say it. I would just say, "Before I lost the baby."  Now I have had a bit of acceptance, and I can refer to the loss as a miscarriage, even though it feels inadequate at describing the loss.)

The day after I lost it (my shit, not the baby), sobbing in hysterics to my poor, under appreciated husband, I got an email from that sweet guy of mine, informing me of a program his employer offers that will pay for six sessions of counseling.  That very day I called and set up my first appointment.

I believe very much in being proactive about your mental health.  I believe in self help books, and therapy and, if necessary, pills.  I believe in knowing what you're facing and in doing so head on.

When I had my first counseling appointment, it didn't start well.  I called in at the appropriate time and was asked if I could be called back. Ten minutes later my phone finally rang and I was beyond irritated. Do you know how much work it is to settle and occupy three kids in three different spaces (cause we all know they can't be quiet together for an hour) and prepare them for leaving me alone?  It's a lot of work. And actually, it's impossible, because no matter how much prep work you do, they will inevitably need you and find you during that hour.  Hell, I can't even go to the bathroom by myself. 

But I digress.

She called me back and we started talking.  Before our session I had jotted down some goals I had for our time together.  I had also made a list of issues I wanted to discuss.  This is not my first rodeo, people. I was prepared.

One of my goals is to no longer fear death.  That sounds a bit extreme, but fearing death is exhausting, and I think of it multiple times a day. I blame this fear on my being a mother and feeling irreplaceable in the lives of my children.  I have realized with time that my fearing death does not change its inevitability, so I would really love to be able to think of death (mine or someone else's) and not freak out and go into panic mode.  When I discussed this with my counselor, she told me that maybe I should write out a will and talk to my kids about my death. It felt like odd advice, but I was like, "Okayyy..."

Then we moved on to talking about the miscarriage and she said to me, and I quote, "Maybe mommy wasn't ready for a baby just yet."  What? Seriously? You're putting this on me? {sigh}  I didn't know what to say.  I just sat on the other end slack jawed, disbelieving that a person would actually say that to someone.

At the end of the phone call I didn't feel any better, and as we made my second appointment, I could tell the therapist was scattered.  She had put me on hold twice so she could help the guy who was fixing her computer, and when she confirmed the appointment, I had a feeling she wouldn't remember it. 

Fast forward to yesterday, and sure enough, when I called in for my second session, neither phone call was answered.  I left messages on both her office phone and her cell phone.  She called me back four.hours.later and asked what I needed.

I was like, "Well, actually, we had a session booked for this afternoon."  She mumbled something about her calendar not working and an apology. Then she asked to rebook. I told her no. That I would be going with another counselor. 

I am not a confrontational type of person, so it was really hard to tell this person, who seemed genuinely nice, that I would no longer be needing her services. But it was worth it, because when all is said and done, she just wasn't a good fit.  She was not understanding about my fear of death as a mother, she was not understanding of my need to talk about the loss of our baby without coming up with some "reason" for why it happened. And she was not respectful of my time. I am busy. Yes, I am stay-at-home mom, and our sessions were over the phone instead of in person, but that should not have made me any less of a priority to her. 

But it did.

That one hour a week is the one time that I need to be put first. It's my time to be heard, to feel the feelings I am too busy to feel the rest of the time, and to make progress toward my emotional well being. 

I am happy to report that I called the program coordinators to seek out a different counselor and my counselor that I used last year is "in network", meaning I can "see" (talk on the phone) to him.  I am so relieved to know that next week when the time comes for my appointment that I will be speaking to someone who will make me a priority and will respect my time.  Bonus? He does evening appointments, so I won't have to worry over the kids as Josh will be home to take care of them.



Not Allowed

I threw it away.  That's how it started.


Everyday while Josh fed the boys breakfast I would get in the shower, listening to inspiring music, hop out, blow dry my hair and then take out my make up bag.  Except putting on my makeup was hard when the contents of that bag would make me cry...


I talked to Josh about it. He agreed that I needed to let it go. But knowing it would just end up at the town dump, getting burned with all the other trash was hard.  Finally I made peace with the fact that keeping the pregnancy test didn't mean I got to keep the pregnancy.  That was already gone.

So I took a deep breath one day and took out all the garbage in the house, quickly tucking the First Response Test in its depths before I could change my mind.  The next morning I was able to get ready for the day without crying.  I was glad I had let it go.

The pregnancy test wasn't the only thing that was hard to let go of. I kept my hospital bracelets on for a week after the D&C.  I also had my maternity clothes in my drawers & closet until yesterday when I had finally had enough of looking at them and feeling either empty or angry.

Those items that I could hang onto and tuck into my Pregnancy journal, I kept.  But I put the pregnancy journal up in our closet, out of sight, so I don't have to be blindsided by sadness unexpectedly when I go to pick out a pair of jeans or a sweater.


With the physical moving on past the pregnancy, there has also been an emotional moving on.  That has been much harder than the physical.  Putting pregnancy tops in an empty blue tote is fairly easy compared to saying goodbye to a baby you never got to meet.  Tossing out a pregnancy test (hard as it was) is pretty basic, whereas separating emotions like grief, anger, sadness & relief is far more complex.


The emotions are likely more challenging because of all the voices 
I have in my head telling me I'm not allowed to feel them:

--I'm not allowed to be sad cause I have three healthy kids.
Wanting a fourth was just plain greedy.

--I'm not allowed to be sad cause there are women who carry a baby for nine months and lose it.
Mine was only ten weeks old.

--I'm not allowed to be sad cause mom's lose children, real beings they have held and loved.
I never even saw my baby's face.

Thankfully I have a husband who helps me talk back to those voices.  That baby was real to you, he says, as I sob hysterically into his chest.  He holds me as I let out all that I held in while I was alone in Anchorage.  He holds me as I grieve and cry and get angry over the unfairness of it all.  


I've been listening to Life Ain't Always Beautiful by Gary Allan.
Makes me cry every time.  But sometimes that's just what I need.

Life ain't always beautiful. Sometimes it's just plain hard.
Life can knock you down, it can break your heart.

Life ain't always beautiful.  You think you're on your way.
And it's just a dead end road at the end of the day.

But the struggles make you stronger.  And the changes make you wise.
And happiness has its own way of taking its sweet time.
No life ain't always beautiful. Tears will fall sometimes...
Life ain't always beautiful, but it's a beautiful ride.

Life ain't always beautiful. Some days I miss your smile.
I get tired of walking all these lonely miles.

And I wish for just one minute, I could see your pretty face...
Guess I can dream, but life don't work that way.

But the struggles make me stronger. And the changes make me wise.
And happiness has its own way of taking its sweet time.
No life ain't always beautiful, but I know I'll be fine.
Hey life aint' always beautiful, but it's a beautiful ride.



Our Weekend

I started the weekend off by trying a Pinterest recipe.  My bestie sent me a box of devil's food cake mix, a can of pumpkin & pumpkin flavored Hershey kisses.  So I gathered those up and attempted my first Pinterest dessert.

They were disgusting.  

Those pumpkin kisses are like a nutmeg bomb, and the "cookie" part was equal parts undercooked and overcooked.  I know that doesn't make sense, but trust me. They were.  And it was awful.

Luckily things turned around in the cooking department when Josh took over and made us pizza for date night.  We enjoyed our delicious dinner while watching M. Night Shyamalan's The Village.  Super good, scary movie.  I love that one. And I'm not normally one for scary movies.

 Saturday we had Saturday Social at the school and the boys had a great time.  When we got home Josh went to the post office and brought back the best care package.

 A new friend of mine (Hi Angie!) whom I met via another blog, sent me the iron I needed to combat the dizziness I have been dealing with for the last two and a half weeks.  My doctor thinks that excessive loss of blood during my D&C may be responsible, and iron should rectify that.  (Along with rest, which is unfortunately even harder to come by around here.)

Angie herself used to live in Bethel, and now lives near Anchorage. So when she reached out, offering to help me if ever the need arose, I was beyond touched.  I knew that she got it.  Having lived in the bush before, she understands my struggle.

Herself being a mama to little boys, she also understands the joy of unexpected goodies.

 And her box was chalk FULL of unexpected goodies.  Coloring books, crayons, stickers, candy, snacks, full size candy bars (...I may or may not have had two of those today!) plus crafts for the kids and, much to their delight, a little Lego set for each brother.  They were entertained all afternoon on Saturday by those sweet little Lego creations!

And for the mama? Angie sent this beautiful set of journals by Katie Daisy (whom I love!) and a set of brand new pens.  We've decided that we are twin spirits, and I am so grateful the universe arranged for us to connect!


Also on Saturday we cleaned & reorganized the playroom.
When I woke up this morning I was even more pleased with the new arrangement.  My desk now looks out the window, and this view...

Well, it's quite lovely.


This week I am going to start addressing my Christmas cards (eek!) and I'm excited.  We will have school as usual, plus a few extra Thanksgiving crafts.  Tuesday is my birthday (Hello, 32!) and the boys are anxious to decorate the house and make me a chocolate cake.

I am mostly hopeful to start feeling better (and not so dizzy) and to allow myself the chance to rest as needed.  In addition to the the iron making me feel better, I've also upped my vitamin D per doctor's orders, which will help with the darkness that is spreading across Alaska. 

I will close with some inspiring words for the week...

"One day, in retrospect, the years of struggle 
will strike you as the most beautiful."
-Sigmund Freud



Perfect Walking Weather

It's funny... Everyone in the lower 48 is facing arctic blasts with wind and cold and snow. 
Meanwhile in Alaska, we've got 40 degrees and raining.

It's perfect afternoon walking weather.

Okay, it's not actually perfect walking weather.  There are patches of ice, huge mud puddles and that gray sky is down right depressing, but when you have three little boys stuck indoors for months at a time, you take forty degrees and not-currently-raining and you run with it. Literally.

And after your walk, you let them throw rocks into the puddles under your house because, well, why not?

Then you warm them with cocoa, bags of chips and episodes of Arthur, and for a little while, all is right with the world.


Ten on Ten

Here are my ten on ten. Ten pictures of our day (roughly one each hour) on the tenth day of the month.  Except actually there are less because, well, I have three kids and am easily distracted.  And one of the hours has two pictures because Wyatt's chubby hands playing with tiny Legos are just too cute.


Boys are dressed & fed, Daddy's at work, time for cartoons


Cartoons are over, time for school
Twins complete journals, reading & math before lunch


While brothers do school in the kitchen,
little brother plays in the playroom.

 Recent favorite?
Little Legos


Playing "scare mommy" while she washes the dishes before lunch
Wyatt is a super spooky ghost!


We've enjoyed lunch with daddy (he comes home everyday)
and are clearing the table


Quiet reading time
Two boys, twenty minutes, too many books to count


Quiet time is over, let the craziness begin
Today's afternoon activity, rocket ship adventures to the moon, of course


Crazy time is over, time for dinner prep
But first a picture of this cutie with proof of just how dark it's getting out here!