I'm Not Okay

So I have cried pretty much every day since Josh left.  Some days I would get the boys in bed and think, "I did it! I made it through the day without crying," only to then put myself to bed and cry myself to sleep.  (Both depressing to admit, and crappy to wake up to- my eyes, red ringed and burning from all the salty tears released the night before- a super bummer way to start the next day.)

A friend of mine whose husband is also gone and is also pregnant told me she was still in the "crying everyday" phase of his departure.  I can't tell you how I have clung to that, her honesty buoying me, making me feel normal when I break down in tears over a song on the radio, the headlight going out in the car, or the gas light coming on. I'm just still in the "crying everyday" phase, okay?

My missing Josh is three fold.

I miss him.  Just him.  My friend.  My husband.
I miss my co-parent.  Sharing the load that is raising these kids.
I miss the boys' daddy.  Seeing them be without him, breaks me.

So sometimes at night, when things finally quiet down and I am alone with my thoughts, I find myself wishing he'd been there for special things (like baseball practice-- hitting their first balls, catching their first throws) or that he'd come rescue me from having to do all three baths.  Other times my missing him has nothing to do with the kids.  I just wish he was here for me. To hug me, to rub my back, to fall asleep on the pillow next to me so I would feel less alone.  It's hard.

I am counting down the days until his visit in October.  In my really negative moments, I think, "Then what? You see him for a week and just have to say goodbye all over again."  Which is true, but not very helpful emotionally.  So basically, I guess it's just hard because he won't be a regular fixture in our life again until May when school gets out. And that's a long time for this mama to imagine parenting alone, without my best friend by my side.

So many of my friends have reached out.  Asking how I am, checking on me, and offering to meet for playdates to help me pass the time. I am so grateful.  It helps to have friends who get it.  My friend Angie (hi, angie!) said that our being apart is even more brutal because of how we were living before this.  Life in the bush makes you pretty dependent on your partner for everything.  Our life in Marshall was very small and concentrated.  Our time was spent together and we had to rely on one another for friendship, support and entertainment.

I find that Fridays are my hardest days.  In Alaska, Fridays were my best days.  The twins had testing, so school was done early; Josh was happy because it was the weekend; and we would both look forward to date night & Josh's homemade pizza once the boys were in bed.  Now my weekends look just the same as my week (with me in charge of doing it all... still...) only worse because we don't do school on the weekends, so there is absolutely NOTHING on the schedule for over 48 hours and it's agony.  Knowing Josh, too, is free (from work, from responsibilities) and missing us as well just makes it worse. What we wouldn't give to be spending another night on our old brown couch watching Hunger Games for the twelfth time eating his amazing pizza.

Last night he said he made pizza, but that it was just sad.  Sad to be making & eating it alone.  Sad to be watching a movie by himself in the dark.  I teared up when he said that.  I love him so much, it kills me to imagine him sad or lonely.


My goal for next week is to wake up before the boys.  I just couldn't muster the strength the last two weeks, but I am hopeful the third week is the charm.  This will help with how I feel each day (who wants to be wearing day old yoga pants with bed head for half the day?) and will give me a few quiet moments on my own to start my day.  I am also hoping to figure out a weekend plan that I am excited about because I hate dreading it so much.  It's pretty much the worst.

(An important side note: I know that things could be worse. I know that I am lucky he's: alive, employed and coming back to visit so often.  That said, my journey, doing this without him, is really really hard and I can't handle anyone being negative or rude about it. Being without him even a day is hard for me. So the next nine months are going to be really challenging.  I know most of you support me and are amazing, but for those who might have something unkind to say, please keep it to yourself. I can't. I just can't.)

So that's where we're at.  Feeling a bit low at the moment, but ever hopeful that things will improve and being apart will get easier.



Today I...

Today I...

Woke up at 6:15
Made my bed
Threw on some yoga pants
Read another chapter of my book club book
Fed my three boys breakfast
Argued with one about clothing choices
Cleaned the kitchen table
Did three loads of laundry
Homeschooled the boys for nearly four hours
Read four books with them
Made macaroni & cheese for lunch
Did the dishes
Wiped a bum
Washed a face
Organized our homeschool disaster area table
Emptied the top of the dressers in my bedroom
Took a deep breath
Made plans for this afternoon
Texted my husband

Now it's noon, "quiet time" here, so while the boys are watching Netflix & playing on their tablets, I am going to jump in the shower and pray they let me bathe in peace.

Then we're off to Aunt Julie's for an afternoon of baseball playing, trampoline jumping, pizza eating fun.


Coop Park & Fall Coming

{I spy with my little eye, my nephew Ferris. Can you find him???}

{My sister Roxanne and her youngest, Milo}
We've spent many afternoons this summer at Coop Park.  Sometimes with friends (mainly my sister and her boys) and sometimes on our own.  Yesterday we went, just the four of us.  While the boys rode their bikes around the big loop and climbed trees, I walked and walked and walked.  It felt good.  Energizing.

It looks like fall there now.  The grass is brown.  There are leaves falling off the trees, and in the shade I got a little hint of the crispness fall will bring in a few weeks.

I'm ready.  It has been full-on SUMMER since we arrived in May, with only one day of rain.  One day!  We've had amazing temperatures, countless trips to the river, and so many memories made.  I'm ready to settle back into a routine and find our new normal with homeschooling, baseball and other "city living" things, like grocery shopping and trips to the library.

Josh, too, is working on settling in.  He arrived home (in Marshall) to a sink full of dishes and a fridge full of old food.  He said doing the dishes was a bit like a science experiment.  When he told me there were dishes in the sink, I didn't believe him.  I never (ever!) leave the house for vacation with dishes in the sink.  Then he said there were medicine cups in there and I remembered- Logan had had the flu the two days before we left.  (He miraculously recovered the day we were scheduled to leave!) And it all come rushing back to me.

He'd been throwing up as I was packing, and we'd been up all night for two nights prior to our departure.  And on top of that "excitement" (ha!) I found out I was pregnant the day before we left.  Suffice to say, my mind was elsewhere!

In the fridge there was a pitcher of milk that Josh said had turned green and yellow, as well as some old salami and  moldy cheese (not the good kind!).  Bless his heart, he cleaned it all and was able to laugh about it.  He has also begun packing up some of the boys' toys and homeschool stuff to ship to us here in Washington, which the boys and I are ecstatic about.  We can't wait to get our hands on their big legos, our chapter books and their Imaginext toys.  Wyatt, especially, misses his toys and can't wait to be reunited with them.

This weekend the boys and I have big plans-- swimming this afternoon, family movie night tomorrow and dinner with my parents on Sunday.  Hoping our first whole weekend without Josh is full of smiles despite his absence.


Josh's Final Message

 Josh's final shower message to me (written with Wyatt's foam alphabet, that has only one of each letter) was "U CAN DO THIS".  I had been doing great.  Holding it together, feeling optimistic.  At the sight of that beautiful encouragement from my husband, I lost it.

It reminded me that I would be doing this alone.  But also, it reminded me that he believes in me.  And that vote of confidence was so uplifting.  I left it up for two days.  I needed it to buoy me along as we hugged our last hugs and said our goodbyes.

 It was strange for him to pack (in about an hour) everything he needed into just two pieces of luggage and a backpack.  Normally we have ten pieces of luggage, plus a backpack per person!  It was strange to drop him off and not go get on the plane with him.  For four years now, we've traveled together as a family.  The last time we did a drop off like this was when Wyatt was about six weeks old.

 It was very, very different this time.  The boys understand that Daddy's going to be gone a long time.  They, along with me, have their own feelings about this.  Thus far, we haven't had any tears from them, but I can see in their behavior that they're dealing with his absence in their own ways.  And last night at bedtime Logan said, "I hope daddy surprises us and comes home early."  I felt bad crushing his dreams, but I reminded him Daddy will be home on Halloween and not before, simply because I don't want him to have any unrealistic expectations.

 I won't lie. I did the ugly cry when he was hugging those boys goodbye at the airport.  
They were so sweet. 
"I love you, dad."  
"See you soon, dad."  
"Have a safe flight, dad."  
"Do good teaching, dad."  
They totally get it.  They know that him leaving is hard, but also necessary.  They know that he's working for our family.  And what I know is that this will all be worth it when I have a healthy baby in my arms, and we're back together as a family.


 This first bit apart is eleven weeks.  He'll be home for Halloween.  Then we have six weeks until he's home for Christmas.  Then it's just three short weeks before he'll come home for my planned c-section.  We're hoping he'll get two weeks home for that.  And after that, we're not sure.  He may come home one more time in the spring, but we might not see him again until May when school lets out.  Honestly, I am taking it one bit at a time.  Right now my focus is on the fall, starting up homeschool (on Monday! Eek!) and staying busy until Halloween.  (Including fall ball- baseball- which I signed the twins up for on Saturday. They are so excited! And swim lessons, my personal favorite.) 


So many people have reached out to us during this time of goodbyes, and I can't tell you how much it means.  A lot have asked what, if anything, they can do.  A few suggestions:
Send Josh a care package
We can make him feel loved even though we aren't there to love him.  Snacks, meal items, prizes for his students... It doesn't matter what makes up your care package-- it truly is the thought that counts.  I want him to know that he is loved and supported and appreciated for what he does.  Yesterday Wyatt told the lady at Winco Foods that his dad was going to Alaska "to teach all the kids".  It was so sweet.  What he does is really amazing and really challenging, and if we can collectively add a little sunshine to his weeks alone, I want to do that.
Reach out to the boys and myself
If you think of us, let me know.  Send me a message, comment on a blog post, shoot me a text.  And if you want to get together, even better! Nail me down for a time so that the boys and I have something to look forward to on our calendar.
Pray for Josh, pray for me, but mostly pray for this baby.  It's the reason we're sacrificing all that we're sacrificing and I can't wait to meet him or her.


In other news, I hit sixteen weeks today, four whole months, and I am so relieved to have made it this far. I will be even more relieved when I hear Little's heartbeat again on Thursday at my prenatal appointment.

Meanwhile, I'm contemplating gender reveal ideas to make things fun for Josh who won't be here when I find out.  There are so many awesome ideas!

"I love you mom"

And I'm enjoying my boys: Jack wrote me this note last night during his bath; apparently taking a note from his dad's book.  Logan hugged me while I was brushing his teeth and said he was sorry I cried at the airport and was going to miss daddy.  And Wyatt cracked us up on the way home from baseball sign ups.  Exasperated with his brothers, he sighed loudly then said, "For the love of pete! Would you listen to me?!?"  They are the sunshine in my days, and I'm so so grateful to be home with them.



You & Me

Love is absolutely real.  I know love is real because I have felt it every day for the last twelve years with this man by my side.  Today is our wedding anniversary.  In twelve years we've seen each other through some hard times-- car accidents,  illness,  poverty,  college courses that kicked our butts, the birth of our twins and our singleton, (the raising of said twins and singleton!!!), living apart for six months and then (finally!) living together in rural Alaska, which provided challenges all its own.

We have laughed and cried together, been overjoyed and frustrated together.  But through it all, good and bad, stressful and hilarious, we've been just that: together.

We are a week away from things changing.  A week away from doing things apart.  2,500 miles apart.  I am dreading it. I've done it before, so I know I can raise these three boys without him, but oh how my heart aches for those guys to miss their daddy.  Not to mention myself.  I haven't worn makeup in four days because I just keep crying.

Imagining saying goodbye at the airport. Imagining him getting home to our house in Alaska and us not being there.  Imagining him falling asleep alone in our bed instead of next to me.

In twelve years of marriage Josh has shown me countless ways he loves me.  But my favorites are the simple ones-- folding the laundry for me, primary colored love messages left in the shower with Wyatt's foam alphabet, and most of all, letting me sleep in.  I'm so thankful he speaks my love language. ;)

Beyond his sweet gestures, he lets me be me.  He lets me cry when I need to for no reason.  He lets me tell him where to hang things, change my mind, and make him do it again.  He assuages my parenting guilt when I've had a hard day being a mom, and he knows how to make me smile.  Because of all this, I will miss him.  I will miss him desperately when he leaves.

Here's to enjoying the light while it's still here.



A Calm, Thriving Life

My friend Ashley over at Big White Farmhouse posed a question recently asking:
"What does a calm, thriving life look like?"

She went on to write the things that would make up a calm, thriving life for her and her family of seven.  It inspired me, in light of Josh leaving next week, to imagine what a calm, thriving life would look like for us during his absence.  I will copy Ashley's format and simply bullet the things I am going to make a priority for the next few months, keeping it simple.

  • A strong marriage:  Keeping in touch consistently throughout our days despite the distance
  • Raising good kids: encouraging kindness, and play instead of plugging in
  • Consistent blogging: Weekly blogging at the very least
  • Paying down debt: making large payments toward one card at a time & buying second hand
  • Quiet Time: using meditation to quiet my mind
  • Exercise: Daily for me & outside time for the boys (+ sports + swim lessons)
  • Homeschooling: creating a good routine & maintaining consistency
  • Peaceful parenting: a quiet, patient, kind mama who lingers
  • Setting expectations: Following those up with allowance & lessons on spending



Ring Bearer

The day of the wedding, we bribed Wyatt to behave himself by carrying around a police transformer toy (still in it's box) and promising it to him only if he walked down the aisle nicely and smiled for pictures.  Bribery for the win!

Terry helping Wyatt get in his tux.  He looked so sharp!

I was so proud of him.  
And I'm so glad he's ours!

Wedding Rehearsal

This summer Josh's little brother (and by little, I only mean younger) brother Samuel got married.  Wyatt was the ring bearer.  Wyatt & Samuel have a special relationship.  They just adore each other and it's pretty precious.  I personally think Wyatt looks more like his Uncle Samuel than his daddy.  So it was adorable to have him look like Samuel's mini-me at the wedding. 

The groom and his sister

The bride's brother

Mother of the bride and the bride

Mother of the ring bearer
AKA me

The flower girl
Our niece Gisele

The groom

Me looking mighty pregnant
This guy...
He's too cute for words.

Father of the bride
& the bride

Practice makes perfect...

Those two together just melt me!