She's Their Triplet

 So my sister texted me last night saying she thought it was about time for some six month comparison pictures of my kids.  Being the amazing sister that I am, I obliged. ;)

So here we have pictures of Carly, followed by pictures of her brothers.  You know, everyone tells me that they see so much Wyatt in her, but I gotta say, I think she's basically Logan & Jack's triplet.  (All pictures are from six months of age)

Logan & Jack

Jack (still swaddled at six months!)

Logan & Jack





Top: Logan & Jack
Bottom: Wyatt & Carly

And because I never did this at four months, here's the line up from then:
I have to say looking at the comparison at four months, she does more closely resemble Wyatt.  Funny what time does!

Top: Logan & Jack
Bottom: Wyatt & Carly



More Than Three Plus One

I was on the phone with my mom this afternoon, crying.  I am packing and it is slow going.  I have four kids.  And everyday they require my attention and my time.  That alone is more than a full time job.  Add to that all the paperwork for buying a house and moving north, as well as packing up all our earthly possessions, and you have the perfect storm.

I am so overwhelmed.  I feel like I can barely keep afloat.

Between my high expectations of summer  (which have not been met due to crummy weather and crummier tummy aches) and having a sleepless baby, I'm struggling with the day to day currently.  I want so badly to meet all their needs.  To say yes, to have fun, to listen to their stories, to be the one who tucks them in.  I was telling my mom that I'm like a triage nurse, but all my patients need the exact same care. So where do you start? How do you keep up?  

On top of that, once I decide whom to care for, I suffer from mom guilt for the child (or children) who had to wait. I knew that four kids would be hard, but I had no idea it would be this hard.  Somehow taking care of the boys and Carly feels like more than three plus one.   

The comedian Jim Gaffigan said, 

"You want to know what having a fourth child is like?
Imagine you're drowning...

And someone hands you a child."

He pretty much nailed it.


On Public School, The House & Generosity

Thank you so much for your kind, encouraging feedback on my public school post.  I am scared to send the boys... but only selfishly.  I'm afraid I'll miss them; I'm afraid our time together will feel too limited; I'm afraid of it changing our family dynamic.

But for them, I only feel excitement. I'm excited for new friendships; fun learning and good challenges.  I'm excited for school supplies, new school clothes and their very first "first day of school".  I'm excited for Wyatt to shine and grow up a little (even if it pains me!) and I'm excited for Logan & Jack to be in their own classes (another decision that was tough to make!) and for them to be recognized for who they are individually, not what they are as a pair.

Some of your comments also got me excited about what my days could look like with just Carly at home.  I might have time to blog more regularly, cook real meals (cooking from scratch? what's that?) and keep house the way I want to. I've never had just one baby.  We started our family off with a bang bringing the twins home, so having Carly be my "only" will be a new experience for me!

We're getting closer to closing on the house, and thus far, everything is in order, although I still feel like I'm holding my breath.  I just can't believe we are going to get to buy a house. It's always been a dream of ours, and one that, on a teacher's salary, we knew was a bit of a stretch.  So for it be turning into a reality in as little as 2 weeks feels a bit surreal.

Lastly, I wanted to talk generosity... You guys.  YOU GUYS.  The outpouring of love both on the blog and on Facebook after I asked for help furnishing our house was incredible.

My parents are helping me pick up a high chair and stroller; my nephews' Grandma Aniko gifted us two storage shelves and a bedside table; Josh found a couch & loveseat on Craigslist for $200 and the guy even delivered it for us (!); my elementary school friend Marisa gave us her rocking chair & ottoman, plus to adorable bar stools; my teacher friend Jackie gave me oodles of storage stuff (even Lego ones, which the boys are using, making my organized-mama-self very happy!) as well as a lamp and some laundry baskets; my lifelong friend & ex-neighbor Kerry gave us an office chair, a desk and a crockpot; my grandma's friends' daughter Barb gifted us her basically brand new vacuum cleaner; my mom found an extra iron she had on hand and is giving it to us; my brother-in-laws' parents are giving us a screaming deal on a dishwasher, stove and microwave; my elementary bff Brittney's mom Linda is gifting us utensils & plate sets; my sister's best friends' sister Nicole gave us three brand new Ikea shelving units that will be awesome for our new living room; and my friends Peggy & John gifted us an Ikea high chair that we'll be using here at the in-laws since it's so small & convenient. It's like people came out of the woodwork to help us.  It's been overwhelming and humbling.  You all are amazing.

(Also, a shout out is required for both my sister and my parents who have let us commandeer their garages as storage for all these awesome pieces until we get keys to our new digs.  Thank you!!!)

In the midst of buying the house and acquiring things for the house, I got in a car accident, so every week I am going to the chiropractor at least three times, and I was also diagnosed last week with an ulcer. Ugh. How timely.  So while I've been suffering unbelievable abdominal pain as well as a stiff neck and a total lack of sleep (thanks a lot, Carly!), I've been even more grateful that everyone has been so willing to help us out.  It's been beautiful to witness.

Because of your gratitude, that huge list has been pared down to this:
2 kid desks
a recliner
area rugs 
Laundry baskets & hampers

Thank you.
Thank you.
Thank you.

Your generosity has been a testament to your love for us.
And we're feeling it!



Best for them...

We've decided that this fall we will be enrolling all three Cunningham boys in public school.  This is a hard fought decision, made with much prayer and thought, and a huge pro/con list.  But what it boils down to is they're ready for it.  The bummer is, I'm not.  I'm not ready to have three kids in school.  I'm not ready for our days to be spent apart.  But it's not about me.  It's about them.

So I am going to take a deep breath and let go.  I'm going to let go because Logan & Jack are ready for recess and friendship and cafeteria lunch.  I'm going to let go because Wyatt is ready for choice time and calendar and following his kindergarten teachers' rules.  I'm going to let go not because it's easiest for me, but because it's best for them.

This winter when Carly joined our family, homeschooling became very challenging.  Nearly impossible.  I found I had lost my zeal for teaching and my patience.  Being a nice "teacher" made it very difficult to be a nice "mom".  It zapped my energy and left me feeling empty.  My desire in homeschooling was to make it a positive, loving, fulfilling learning environment, and if I'm being honest (which I strive to do here in this space) it wasn't anymore.

I (obviously) reserve the right to go back to homeschooling at any point, because it is something that worked for us and we had some great times together, but I am moving towards fall ever hopeful that the boys will grow and learn and be challenged, and that I can continue letting go, because that's what's best for them.




I came across this quote tonight on Pinterest and it made me smile.  I spent a lot of time today enjoying my happinesss-- tickling Wyatt, listening to the twins read, making Carly laugh...  It made me wish I spent a little more time enjoying it everyday.

Luckily I've spent quite a few days enjoying it this summer so far...

Like enjoying my new niece Annie...

Enjoying my adorable, sweet bundle of a girl...

And enjoying these big rambunctious boys that keep growing despite my pleas to stay little...

Go enjoy your happiness today!



We're Buying A House... and We Could Use Your Help

With Josh's upcoming job in Eastern Washington (about four hours from where we are currently), we decided to try a buy a house in the new area as opposed to renting.  We were so happy to be approved and start looking.  In one whirlwind weekend we traveled (with all the kids, and my mom) to our new hometown to start the search.  During that time we saw a few houses that stuck with us for not so good reasons (dirty underwear in the bathroom, garages transformed into bedrooms...) and some that stuck with us for all the right reasons (bright light, beautiful new carpet...) but it ended up boiling down to this one house that was: a) within our budget; b) in a good school district and c) had a great neighborhood.

I'll share a few pictures here, but keep in mind everything inside is the previous owners.

I fell in love with this house because of the kitchen.  All that counter space, a great big window and lots of cupobards.  Plus they're white, which is my favorite!

This little bonus laundry room space is pretty cool too.  Josh and I may have to play Rock-Paper-Scissors as he's thinking it'd be a good office for grading papers, and I think it'd make a pretty nifty craft room. ;)

The twins will continue sharing a room;

While Wyatt & Carly will share with each other, instead of having all three boys together.

The main bathroom looks small in this picture, but behind the door is a huge amount of space. I'm thinking we will put in a laundry basket for the boys' laundry and maybe a bench for when they're waiting their turn for the shower or sink.

What won me over (other than the kitchen) is the master bedroom.  It's huge. And it has an en suite bathroom, plus a walk in closet!

The garage is a bit cluttered with things they were preparing for their move, but it is as long as the house, so storage will abound! Plus there's a really good size storage shed in the backyard.

We are still in the midst of all the paperwork, but I finally feel like it's actually going to go through, which is very exciting.  I had no idea all the steps involved in buying a house and feel like a "for real grown up" for going through this experience!

This house is going to be a wonderful place to raise our kids.  It's going to need a little elbow grease and some TLC, but we are ecstatic to be homeowners.  But this is where you come in... With all our extra money going towards a moving van, closing costs, the down payment and the few things we need to take care of from the inspection, things are a bit tight in terms of furnishing the house.

When Josh left Alaska in May, everything we owned was shipped in a box via USPS back to Washington.  All the furniture we owned was left behind in Marshall.  Since then we've purchased a table, beds for everyone and a few dressers, but we are still short on making up an entire household since we've been able to live with my in-laws.  I know many of you have been cheering for us to find a job closer to home (and we're so grateful we did!) and I also know many of you have offered help in any way.  So today I'm posting here a list of things we will need (or want) for our new house.  If you have any of these items (new or used... we aren't picky!) please let me know, and we would be so grateful to take it off your hands. 

While I am excited to have a house, as I think of the things we will need from room to room after five years living in the bush, I get a bit overwhelmed.  So a little help from my friends will be lovely.

Stand alone high chair with adjustable tray
Kitchen table chair (one of ours broke)
2 bar stools
Coffee tables
Kids desk
Kids play table
Area rug
Entry rug
Laundry baskets
Laundry hampers
Plate set
Large crockpot
Rocking glider & ottoman
Vacuum cleaner
Iron & ironing board
Washer & dryer
Storage of any type: bins, boxes, drawers

Thank you all in advance for your generosity.  We are so excited for our family to be together under one roof, we can hardly stand it!