Around Here: Week 47 {2018}

Grateful... Wyatt has been healthy for so many weeks now (no asthma & no nebulizing, it's been lovely) and that Logan hasn't had a seizure in two weeks.  I am thrilled.

Reading... Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty.  It was my Book of the Month Club pick for November, and I could NOT put it down. I have enjoyed all of her books, but this is my new favorite.  Highly recommend.

Drinking... lots of cocoa.  Since the weather turned, I've been missing coffee so much.  I've been tempted to go back to drinking it... but I know better- it's not good for my anxiety, and also not good for health (I drink about half coffee and half cream) so instead I am having cocoa on those days when I really crave a yummy warm drink.  It's totally hitting the spot.

Watching... Ocean's 8 with Josh & Samuel on date night.  I enjoyed it, but it did not live up to Ocean's 11 or 12.  Luckily I love Sandra Bullock, so I liked it even though I was missing Danny & Rusty.

Hanging... with my sister & her kiddos on Saturday.  She drove over to spend the day with us, playing and sharing pizza & a movie.  The boys played super well, spending most of the day outside, while we spent it chasing the girls around inside.  My favorite part was when Roxanne went to change Romy, and Carly went over to change her baby doll's diaper at the same time.  It was so precious!

Celebrating... my 36th birthday with dinner, cake & ice cream with Josh, the kids and my brother-in-law Samuel.  It was such a lovely evening.  The kids sang Happy Birthday and Carly helped blow out the candles.  After we had cake & ice cream (yum!) I opened presents, and was thoroughly spoiled.
Wyatt bought me a frame that says "Best Mom Ever" that's my favorite (!) and wrote me the sweetest card.  It said, "You are the greatest mom ever!!! You have been so good at taking care of all of us.  Have a really happy BIRTHDAY!!!!"
Logan bought me the most beautiful, sparkly, gold water bottle and a notepad & pen for making grocery lists, both things that I LOVE and that I needed.  His thoughtfulness & how well he knows me meant so much.
Jack got me a sign that says, "I just love that you're my mom" that I jokingly pointed out to the twins while we were shopping, and he also got me a book of quotes that I can rip out and send to my pen pals or tape into my journals.  It's like a book of Pinterest quotes. I love it!
My Aunt Linda sent me a pair of adorable heart earrings & a heartfelt note.
Samuel got me some notebooks, gel pens, stickers, gemstones & puff paint because he had teased me about how much I spent on journals, when a spiral notebook is so cheap.  This way, he said, I could decorate it myself.  I laughed so hard as I opened his gift, and am actually really excited to use all the craft supplies, as are the kids!  I love that guy.
And lastly, I got a box from my mom (in addition to the two books she got me {Small Victories by Anne Lamott & The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer} and the amazing bath bombs she sent with my sister) and in the box was a pair of Lularoe leggings (my fav- so soft!), Bath & Body Works lotion & foam bath, and a pair of earrings and a necklace from Origami Owl
The necklace made me burst into tears.

Feeling... all the feels.  Seeing "Nevertheless She Persisted" on the necklace from my mom, after the year I have had, just meant so much.  I think of my mom as a really, really strong person, and for her to look at me and think of me as a strong person was just a huge compliment.  For her to take the time to acknowledge what I've been through, and how I've handled it just made me really proud of myself and grateful for her in my life.
35 was a bit of an ass kicker, I'll be honest.  But without hard times, we don't grow.  And I really love who I am now, heading into 36. I love this quote that Haverlee shared on her Instagram last week:
{mike foster}
I conquered some dark this year.  I faced some scary shit.  Between my last birthday & this one, I faced nearly losing one of my kids.  I have faced Logan's seizures being uncontrollable. Still.  All these months later.  I have faced anxiety, depression & massive migraines; multiple ER visits for various kids for various reasons (cracked open heads, concussions, seizures, breathing issues, fevers); my hair falling out from stress and Josh getting both shingles & Bell's Palsy.  And all of that was in addition to the regular crazy that is being a mom to four kids. 
But in the end I've learned some amazing, life changing things.  (That I plan on sharing with you later this week!) 

Dealing... with a cold that will.not.quit!  It started with Josh, then Jack, then me, then Carly, and it will not go away!  We're all blowing our noses and coughing like crazy. It's so annoying!  Carly has probably had it worst cause she's so little.  But I will admit, when she wakes up in the night needing me, I kind of love the snuggles and her sweet warm breath on my neck.  I know how fast these days fly by, and I'm not taking a single one for granted.

Organizing... the garage with Josh on his day off Wednesday before Thanksgiving.  The kids had a half day, but his school district is different, so he had the whole day off.  Even though I was sick, I threw on some cozy pants and made myself go help him because the garage had been driving us both crazy for weeks.  We laughed that we are officially grown ups that a day off spent organizing the garage brought us such joy. ;)

Making... rolls from scratch using Josh's mom's recipe.  I also made two pumpkin pies (and their crusts) from scratch, as well as two batches of fudge Wednesday so that Thursday would be a little easier for me.  Everything turned out great, and I was really proud of myself!

Hosting... Thanksgiving at the last second because Josh just couldn't bear to let his family have it out at his parent's shop on their land, which was the plan.  He went out there a few nights before Thanksgiving and came home to me saying that there was no table, and no chairs, and hardly any room and it was going to be cold and miserable, and he thought we should just host it here.  So we called everyone up and changed the plan.  "Come on over!" we told everyone.  We borrowed some chairs from the neighbor and set up an extra table, and it ended up being just perfect. 
We had the best time- the food was great, the company was awesome and the memories were oh-so-sweet.  We had his parents, his brother & his girlfriend, as well as his sister, her girlfriend & her three sons.  So it was a full house, but a happy full house.

Decorating... gingerbread houses with Aunt Julie on Friday.  Josh's sister is the fun aunt, and she brought gingerbread houses (and tons of candy) to decorate and let the kids go to town on Friday.  Even Carly got in on the magic. 

Taking... the kids bowling with their cousins after gingerbread houses Friday.  They had fun bowling (Wyatt got a strike on his first roll!) and it was a fun time hanging out, visiting for the grown ups.  After that we all headed back to our house to have pizza and watch the Apple Bowl (WSU vs.UW) where sadly WSU (where Josh and I attended) lost.  But it was a super fun day of family, and I'm so grateful we had that time together.  Especially Julie's girlfriend Erica and I, who managed to finish an entire puzzle in two days! (Even after my cats decimated it Friday morning!)  I love doing puzzles and was glad to find someone in the family who enjoys them as much as I do.


This year I was thankful for:

1) My kids being here.
2) Josh
3) Samuel moving here. He's brought so much happiness & laughter into our lives.

I'm also thankful for this little space on the internet.
I love coming here to share my heart with you.
Thanks for reading.



Around Here: Week 46 {2018}

I cracked up when my sister sent this to me with the caption:
"Carly's Asian doppleganger" 

Working out... five days this week.  I've been waking up before the kids and doing my Leslie Sansone Walking video, which is great.  After my workout, I have been meditating, which is such a lovely way to start the day.  A couple times I also worked out after the kids were awake and I'm happy to report that at their current ages, that was actually okay as well.

Staying... overnight with my girlfriend Shana at a hotel here in town to celebrate my birthday early.  She was so sweet and splurged on us so we could both get away from our kids & responsibilities for a night.  We got good food and watched HGTV and talked and talked and talked. It was so lovely.  I'm so blessed by her friendship and the time together was so filling to my soul.

Waking up... to what looked like snow on Sunday morning at the hotel.  It turns out it was actually just freezing fog, but the whole town looked magical and sparkly.  The wintery magic continued Monday & Tuesday as well.

Discovering... that I am highly effected by the weather.  It creates a lot of anxiety for me, trying to prepare the kids for the weather (making sure they are wearing the right gear, making sure they are warm enough), trying to prepare our house for the coming weather...  I was really nervous for the fall, and now that fall is nearly over, I was getting really nervous for the winter.  But now I am trying really hard to embrace the seasons and all they hold.  Throughout the fall, I lit candles and cozied up with good books and sweaters.  Now that the weather is in the twenties every morning, I'm wearing my winter hats (I love hats!) and turning on my heating blanket twenty minutes before bed every night.
The other night I was washing my face & slipping into my pajamas before dinner and I could hear Josh and the kids in the kitchen.  He was finishing dinner, and the twins were setting the table, and I thought, "I love this time of year." The thought surprised me, but I knew it was true. It was about 5:30pm, completely dark outside, but inside our house felt so warm and full.  I found myself feeling so grateful for this little family we have created and the joy we have together, no matter the weather.  It was a good feeling.  I guess saying goodbye to summer isn't all bad.

Laughing... as every morning I go in to find Carly naked in her crib.  When you ask her why she's naked, she rubs her belly exaggeratedly on her super-cozy blanket from Nanny (my mom) and says, "I wanted to feel the cozy!" Thankfully, she leaves her diaper on!!!

Grieving... another seizure on Sunday which ended a nine day streak of no seizures for Logan.  This one, for some reason, hit me really hard.  I think maybe because I wasn't there (I was at the hotel with my girlfriend) but also because I had really put my hope in his new secondary medication.  The good news is that he's not on the full dose yet (and won't be for another week) so there is still hope that he will hit the sweet spot and it will work to stop his seizures.
I just found myself wanting to know whyyyyy he keeps having them, and wishing I could stop them.  He was playing outside with the neighbor kids when he felt it coming, and he told them.  He got himself safely to the sidewalk, and our neighbor boy had to run to our front door to get Josh and tell him Logan was having a seizure.  I just hate this life so much for Logan. Of course, things could be worse, and I often remind myself of that, but things could also be better-- he could have nothing wrong, like Jack.  He could be perfectly healthy like his identical twin brother.
Life can just be so confusing sometimes.

Spending... the rest of the weekend cleaning the house and going to the grocery store as usual.  I have started making sure those two things get done over the weekend so that I can spend the time that the boys are in school relaxing or getting other big things crossed off my to do list.  I like the kids to come with me to the grocery store (to help) and they are in charge of a lot of the house cleaning now (the twins alternate bathroom cleaning and vacuuming) so getting it done on the weekends just makes sense. It's so nice to start the week off with a full fridge and a clean house!!!

Relishing...  having Monday off for Veteran's Day.  I'm telling you, if we could have a three-day weekend every weekend, we would get so much done!  With three days off there is enough time for work and pleasure.  We got time to relax and time to cross things off our to do list.
This Monday I took the twins shopping with me.  I had a bunch of random errands to run and they have had terrible attitudes about running errands lately, so I made them come with me.  It actually ended up being really fun to have them tag along with me, and I think we will do it more often.  They may not love it, but it is a nice way to spend a little special time together.

Surviving... early release all week this week for parent/teacher conferences.  I have dropped the boys off at 9:00, just to turn around and pick them up again at 11:30 (I go early to get a good spot in the parent pick up line #momlife) while eating my lunch in my car everyday.  Our parent/teacher conferences were on Tuesday, back to back to back, and the kids actually did surprisingly well, considering I had all four of them for all three conferences.  Logan's teacher said that he is so respectful and empathetic and polite and that he just needs to work on talking less in class.  Jack's teacher said she loves having him in class, and that he's super friendly and respectful, and he just needs to work on talking less in class.  (Hah! I love that both twins need to work on the same thing.)  Wyatt's teacher said that he is a joy to have in class, that he is super smart (excelling in math and reading beyond his grade level) and that the only thing he could improve on is his desk organization, which surprised me & cracked me up. He held his little hands up above his shoulders & shrugged, and we all giggled.  He said it is a mess in there.  Haha!

Loving... our beautiful new bedding!  For my birthday Josh asked me what I really wanted (other than tennis shoes, which I needed) and I told him I wanted a new bed set.  So I took myself (and the twins) out to chose something new.  I went to Ross and found a beautiful light purple comforter (for only $23.99!), a set of brand new 400 thread count sheets, and some new throw pillows for both the bed and loveseat we have in our room.  I am in love with how our room looks!  It's so nice to have such a lovely place to retire to each night.

Walking... the twins through their twice yearly dentist appointment.  Jack was up in the night beforehand, worrying obsessively about if he was going to have cavities.  I assured him that while I don't want him to have any cavities, if he ever gets one, it will not be the end of the world.  It was causing him so much anxiety. 
Thankfully the next morning they were both cavity free, and their mouths look great!  We are faithful about brushing twice a day, but we need to get better about having the kids floss.

Luxuriating... in our living room with new curtains that Wyatt helped me pick out.  I was having trouble choosing, going back and forth, and back and forth, and he pulled the ones we chose off the shelf and said he liked them.  I hadn't even noticed them before that.  But they are really gorgeous!

Organizing... the office, or at least getting started on it.  I still have a ways to go, but it feels good to have it started.  It's the last room left in the house that needs to be sorted & organized!  It got REALLY bad before I finally tackled it, but that just means the results feel even more amazing. Hah!

Reading... The Untethered Soul while drinking tea, bundled up under blankets and also spending lots of time journaling.  I have also been reading Thanksgiving books to Wyatt & Carly from our collection.  We love Thanks for Thanksgiving. The art is my favorite, and Carly likes pointing out all the kitties & puppies!
I also finished listening to A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult on audio, but I did not care for it at all.

Feeding... Carly way too much candy because it's impossible to tell her no. Thankfully the Halloween candy is now officially gone, so it shouldn't be a problem anymore.  She loves candy, but luckily she also loves fruit & veggies.  Otherwise, we'd be in trouble!

Delighting... in the new cubbies that Josh and his brother built me. I've dreamed of these cubbies since we moved in, and this week, they are complete!!!  I love them! The kids have two baskets each (for mittens, gloves & hats), a place for their boots & shoes, and three hooks- 2 for coats & 1 for their backpacks.  They are epic!  (Thanks Josh & Samuel! You are the BEST!)

Taking... Wyatt to the follow up appointment for his sleep study Thursday (after getting the day wrong and trying to take him on Wednesday #momfail) and getting some disturbing news.  It's normal for people to stop breathing up to 5x an hour while they are sleeping.
Wyatt stops breathing 24x an hour.  He has Obstructive Sleep Apnea.  The solution for this is an adenoid and tonsillectomy.  After he has those removed and is all healed, we will do a repeat sleep study to make sure they have solved the problem.  (In 70-90% of cases, the removals solve the obstructive sleep apnea.)
The scarier issue is that Wyatt also has Central Sleep Apneas, periods of time where his brain is forgetting to tell his body to breathe.  Those are happening 17x an hour.  And that is not normal for a child. At all.  The doctor asked us if Wyatt had had any head injuries, and I looked at Wyatt, racking my brain, trying to remember if he had had any head injuries recently, and Wyatt came through and remembered that he had cracked his head open in July during a pillow fight with his brothers.  The doctor then started explaining that head injuries can take time to heal and that was probably why those were happening.
Literally as he was talking, I suddenly remembered that Wyatt had had a terrible fall at the pool {see pool injury photos below} shortly after cracking his head open.  (I have since looked and it turns out, it was exactly two months after his pillow fight accident.)  I told the doctor and he looked serious. He said secondary injuries to the same area are not good for the head.  But he said the only thing that helps is time.  Wyatt had his sleep study about six weeks after that second injury.  So our hope is that with more time, his brain will continue healing, and it will remember to tell him to breathe consistently.  If not, we will follow up with an appointment to see a neurologist.
In the meantime, our course of action is to get his tonsils and adenoids out to address the Obstructive Sleep Apnea, and to pray for his brain to heal and solve the Central Sleep Apnea.

{I had freshly cut his hair that morning, hence the haircut marks}
Driving... to Wenatchee to see a movie with my sister for my birthday.  We decided to see Instant Family because I love Mark Wahlberg and foster care is my sister's passion.  It was such a good movie, so well done.  The perfect mix of serious emotions and laughter.  We both loved it.

Hosting... a playdate at our house after school Friday, with a playmate for each of the boys, plus one neighbor boy, meaning we had seven boys, ages 7-11 at our house from noon to four Friday.  It was a little loud & crazy, but they all had a great time, and I felt like a good mom, so it was totally worth the mess & headache. Bonus was that it wore them out so completely, they were all ready for bed extra early that night!  #momwin

Connecting... with this quote from A Spark of Light, even though I didn't love the book:

"Parenthood was like awakening to find a soap bubble in the cup of your palm and being told you had to carry it while you parachuted from a dizzying height, climbed a mountain range, battled on the front lines... All you wanted to do was tuck it away, safe from natural disasters and violence and prejudice and sarcasm, but that was not an option.  You lived in daily fear of watching it burst, of breaking it yourself.  Somehow you knew that if it disappeared, you would too."
-A Spark of Light
Jodi Picoult

Lately parenting the twins in particular has been challenging.  They are growing and stretching and bucking against all the boundaries, and it's been so hard.  I definitely identify with the fear of breaking it myself.  I try and try with all my  might to do my best, but I know that no matter what I do, none of it will be perfect.  And that's really frustrating.  Luckily, perfection is not required.

This week I also came across this:
This is everything.

I love the reminder to:

breathe in the amazing
hold on through the awful
and relax and exhale during the ordinary...

Such beautiful reminders.