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.



Around Here: Week 45 {2018}

Spending... the weekend at the beach with my friends from small group (bible study).  We met every Monday from seventh grade through high school graduation and have stayed in contact all these years later.  Together we have 13 kids, but somehow we managed to get away together.  I love those girls so much!  We were bummed that Emily couldn't make it this time (love you, girl!) but the three of us made the most of it, talking, walking on the beach, enjoying dinner out, and savoring each other's company.  I even squeezed in a little reading and journaling while we were there.

Driving... home from the beach, which took forever!  There were two huge car accidents and traffic in general was just terrible.  It took me almost ten hours to get home! Blah!  The good thing about that much time in the car is that I got to finish Marilla of Green Gables on audio, and I got to start A Spark of Light. 

Relishing... being reunited with my kids after a weekend away.  All four kids ran out to the driveway when I pulled in, hugging me and welcoming me home. It was so sweet!  I was so happy to be home, and they were so happy to see me.  It was really tender. 

Creating... our family Christmas cards with the pictures my sister and I took of my kids a few weekends ago.  Josh and I opted out of our family pictures because my hair was falling out and Josh had Bell's Palsy at the time... so this year's Christmas card will star the children. ;)  The cards turned out *adorable* and I cannot wait to get my hands on them. I always use Shutterfly and have never been disappointed.  I will probably get started on addressing them after Thanksgiving.

Taking... Halloween decorations down, finally.  The last two weeks have kind of flown by, and with my being out of town, November sort of snuck up on me.  It felt good to tuck Halloween away.

Putting... Thanksgiving decorations up.  The kids' favorite part of each new holiday decor is, hands down, the books that come out.  So they were thrilled to wake up to all the Thanksgiving books on their shelf.  I love their enthusiasm so much!!

Suffering... some random anxiety symptoms on Tuesday & Wednesday this week.  I'm not sure why I was feeling so shaky and scared, but I felt miserable.  Thankfully, Josh was home Wednesday, so he was able to take Wyatt to Spokane for his Pulmonology appointment for me, so I could stay home, take a nap and engage in some self care.  Self care this week looked like a lot of sleep, and a lot of time on the couch watching TV.  Josh was really understanding, and between the sleep and the rest, I was able to start feeling better by Thursday, and by Friday I was back to my old self. Phew!
Josh thinks that maybe I was having anxious feelings about taking Wyatt to see the Pulmonologist, and he may be on to something.  His Pulmonologist is at the hospital where he was in the PICU back in December, where he almost died, so going there with him is always a bit emotional for me. I didn't put two and two together, but after he got back from taking Wyatt for me, he told me he figured that was why I was having a hard day.  Such an insightful guy.

Reading... and finishing Not That I Could Tell.  It was a good read, but I felt like the ending was weak.  That was a bummer.  I have since started The Patron St. of Liars by Ann Patchett.  It's good so far.

Taking... the kids to school in the car on Friday after the weather suddenly got very cold!  I am so grateful we got to walk/ride bikes to school for so long this year!  Making it this far into November has got to be some kind of record!  Now I will start waking up before the kids and working out with Leslie Sansone's Walk at Home videos.  In addition to that, I will be meditating in the morning.  I'm praying those two things will keep my mental health in place the way that walking the kids to school used to do!



Around Here: Week 44 {2018}


Visiting... the pumpkin patch after school last Friday, which was an awesome choice.  There was hardly anyone there, and it was so fun to have the place to ourselves.  The kids loved climbing the hay pyramid, visiting the animals and riding in the train behind the 4-wheeler.  The twins loved riding the zip line they had there, and even convinced me give it a try. It was so much fun, I did it twice!!  Toward the end of the afternoon, we all got to pick pumpkins on the hay ride.  It was an awesome family memory to make, and I'm so glad we did it.

Happy... to be back on social media after a month long break.  I did some serious culling on Instagram, so I don't waste as much time on there, but otherwise, I am just watching how much time I spend on my phone.  The extended break showed me that my FOMO (fear of missing out) was unjustified and that I won't miss anything if I don't check my phone every two minutes!

Helping... Carly heal with plenty of snuggles, popsicles & story time. Thankfully by mid-week she was feeling much, much better after that terrible cough & cold she had.

Organizing... the boys' school memoribilia.  For the last two years, all of it (every.last.piece) has been in a humongous green laundry basket (all the boys' stuff-- all mixed together) and I finally got around to sorting it this week.  Now I just have to decide how, exactly, I want to separate and store it from here on out.  It feels amazing to have come this far!

Walking... finally, and for the first time, in a month!  I am SO happy!  My broken toe is all healed, and it felt great to be pushing Carly in her stroller, out for a long walk.

Choosing... my book of the month!  The options were so good this month that I actually chose 2 (instead of 1), plus I threw in an additional book! If you have thought about joining Book of the Month, I highly recommend joining this month and picking up these amazing books for only $14.99 for the first & $9.99 for each additional!!
The books I picked this month were:

Carving... pumpkins with all the kids.  Logan & Wyatt did well with theirs, but Jack really struggled emptying his.  He hates the smell and feel of the guts inside the pumpkin, so I had to help him out quite a bit.
All their pumpkins were super adorable, and I was surprised how quickly they got it done.

Celebrating... Halloween and loving Carly's enthusiasm for life.  She was SO excited to go to and get candy.  We started at the Trunk or Treat in the church parking lot near our house, then we marched around the neighborhood, the kids' pumpkins getting heavier by the house.  When we got home, the boys dumped their candy out all over the kitchen table, taking stock of all they had, and they spent the entire next morning trading candy with each other.  It was so cute to hear them negotiating.

Leaving... Carly with my mom all day Friday after a Thursday night dinner with her and the kids while Josh had parent/teacher conferences for his students.  She was going to be in town visiting my sister over the weekend, so we scheduled a visit for us as well.  Once the kids took off for school, I hugged both my mom and Carly and took off.

Road tripping... 7 hours, alone, listening to good books & great music after leaving Carly with my mom.

Getting... away for the weekend!!!  I finally made it and met up Friday night with the girls from my small group bible study at Katie's in-law's beach house along the Washington coast.  We had an amazing weekend, but I'll be blogging more about that next week.

Adding... a new medication to Logan's repertoire after he had 3 seizures this week.  He had two in class and 1 at the pool during 5th grade swim lessons.  Luckily he always feels them coming on, and told a friend each time, so he was safe during all of them.  The emotional toll that his seizures take on me, however, is high, and by Friday, I lost it.  I cried and cried (I was alone in the car, remember?) and let it all out.
I just wish that I knew why he had them. And I wish I knew how to stop them.  He is so brave.  And thinking of him, so vulnerable and disoriented, hurts my mama heart.  By the end of the week, though, I was fighting to keep him at school.  If he's going to have three seizures each week, he certainly can't afford to come home after each one. So his teacher and I worked together to get him to stay in class, hallelujah.
Now we're all just putting our hope in this next new medicine.  He will take it in addition to the medication he's already on. (So he'll be on two.)  And I think when he has his follow up neurology appointment in December, I will be requesting more workups.  This mama needs some answers.

Reading.... and finishing Lord of the Flies, Marilla of Green Gables, Not That I could Tell. I had read Lord of the Flies in 10th grade, and revisiting it was super disturbing.  What a messed up book!  Marilla of Green Gables was fun to listen to, but I enjoyed Caroline much more.  Caroline's writing was far more poetic.  I am still working on Grace (Eventually) by Anne Lamott.  I started A Spark of Light (on audio), and The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer, that my mom sent me for my birthday (which is on the 18th) which I couldn't wait to open & read!  I listened to it earlier this year, and having the actual book in my hands is a dream come true. I am underlining something on nearly every page!  It's a life transforming book.  If you want to know what it's about before ordering it, I highly recommend listening to this Supersoul Conversation he has with Oprah.

Contemplating... the last year of my life as I rapidly approach 36.  My oh my, it's been a doozy!  But with the struggles & challenges, has come so much growth.  I've learned that I can't wait until life slows down or is perfect to find joy.  And I've learned to enjoy the bits of peace as they arrive, no matter how long they do (or don't) last.  And that I'm strong enough to face whatever comes my way.