1.20.2019

Week 3 Around Here {2019}




















Taking... Wyatt and the twins to birthday parties Saturday afternoon.  It was nice for them to have a chance to get out of the house for a while, and Josh picked them up, which was great.  While they were gone, I went on a walk with Carly, which wasn't necessarily what I wanted to do, but it was definitely what I needed to do.
The weather was beautiful, and we even met a super friendly kitty on the way home, which absolutely made Carly's day.

Putting... hardwood flooring down in our house. (It's actually composite click-lock flooring that looks like hard wood but is waterproof/kid proof. It's amazing!)  Josh and his brother Samuel worked their tails off this weekend moving furniture and laying flooring, getting our room, the boys' room and Carly's room finished, as well as half of the hallway. 
While the flooring looks awesome and is a dream come true, living in the mess with four kids in 1400 square feet in the middle of winter made for a bit of a long weekend for all of us. Ha!  We were all very glad when the furniture could make its way back into each room and life resumed normalcy.

Experiencing... some physical anxiety in the early parts of this week.  I think some of it was due to the chaos in our house with all the renovating, but a lot of it was due to anticipating Wyatt's tonsil and adenoid removal Friday.  None of our kids have ever had surgery, and with Wyatt's asthma, I was really nervous about him being put under.  Because of that, I made sure I worked out every day this week, and it made a huge impact. 

Putting... stickers on the calendar in the kitchen every day that I exercised this week.  I remember from when I read Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin, that keeping track is often the best way to make a habit stick.  Plus I am like a kindergartner and love the positive feedback that little sticker gives me every time I get to put it on the calendar. Hah!

Giving... our boys the Love Language Test to see what their primary love languages are in an effort to improve my connections with them.  It was really interesting to see the results.  Logan prefers Quality Time & Receiving Gifts; Jack prefers Physical Touch & Quality Time; and Wyatt prefers Words of Affirmation & Quality Time. 
What struck me is that each of my kids desires TIME.  As a mom of four kids, time is not necessarily something I have a lot of! So I am going to have to get creative there.  The other ways they prefer to be shown love are really good to know as well.  I am hopeful that knowing these will improve our relationships moving forward.

Snuggling... Wyatt as much as possible leading up to his surgery. We spent a lot of time talking about his surgery, recovery and all the questions that he had.  He's such a little buddy, and I just soaked him up this week.

Reading... Troublemaker by Leah Remini.  I finished it, and gave it 5 stars.  I absolutely loved it.  (Go here to read more about my thoughts on her leaving the church)
I finished How To Walk Away during Wyatt's surgery, and I really enjoyed it. I would say it is a solid 4 star book, such a sweet read, with likable characters, and a compelling storyline (plane crash + following recovery).  The writing was beautiful and I liked the ending.
I have been reading one chapter each day of Girl, Wash Your Face, and I cannot stress enough how inspirational this book is. When I am all the way finished with it, I plan to sit down with my journal and write my thoughts about the things I have underlined in it.  So many gems in there.
When I finished listening to Troublemaker, I started listening to The Rainbow Comes & Goes, which is written by Gloria Vanderbilt and Anderson Cooper (and is read by them as well) and is really interesting to listen to.  I love memoirs and have found that I only like listening to audio books if they are thrillers or memoirs. So I am sticking to those genres this year, and reading books off my shelf the rest of the time.

Geeking... out that Katherine Center, the author of How To Walk Away, commented on my Instagram post about how I didn't want to clean my house, I wanted to lay on the couch instead and read her book.  I love how social media can connect us with people we would normally NEVER have contact with.  I think she is the third author to comment on my Instagram account, and it never fails to give me heart palpitations. #booknerdforever

Kon Mari'ing... the office & the boys' toys as I continue through the house in order to stay sane leading up to Wyatt's surgery at the end of this week.  The office was challenging, but really rewarding.  It feels so good to walk in there now and know that all the craft items I kept are things I really love and will use, and to know where everything is.
The boys' toys were another thing that were hard to sort.  But I made them do it, and they made a big dent in their stuff, plus we sorted them into "like" items, which makes them more likely to play with them. 

Crying... as we left the orthodontist office this week, as our orthodontist is the most amazing guy, and he is determined to help fix my kids' teeth, whatever the cost.  Putting the twins in braces will be expensive (as you can imagine) and they have some pretty severe issues, so when we were discussing the finances, he said that whatever needs to happen, he can help us out, he wants to help us out. He said that after all we have been through with Logan and his seizures in the last year, we could really use a win.
The rest of the day, I could not stop randomly bursting into tears. I mean, who does that? Who helps out like that? Who sees a need they can fill and just fills it? There are such amazing, good, kind, generous people in this world, and I am so blessed to be surrounded by them. It is humbling and beautiful.

Thankful... for friends who brighten my week.  Hanging with my girl Shana on Wednesdays is a definite bright spot in my week, and my friend Jen watched Carly for me Thursday so I could go to the dentist, and getting to visit with her at drop off and pick up put a huge smile on my face as well.  I love how every week God shows me why he moved me here, and that I belong here, in this village. 
I am also thankful for Uncle Samuel who showed up at our house Tuesday while the boys and I were in the throes of Kon Mari'ing their toys as Josh worked late, and made dinner as we sorted & organized.  It was no big deal, he said, but to me, it was a very big deal.

Celebrating... Carly being completely potty trained.  It took less than a week, and you guys, I seriously did nothing other than buy m&m's.  (I mean, the girl is seriously motivated by chocolate, but the truth is, she was just ready.)  She's so dang cute in her little underwear, and you can just tell, she is really proud of herself.

Grateful... my mom was able to come and stay for the long weekend to help with the other kids for Wyatt's surgery.  She has been helping around the house, taking Carly & the twins to run errands and go do fun things... it's been such a blessing.

Praying... as Wyatt went in for surgery to remove his tonsils & adenoids Friday morning.  He was so brave, he never shed a tear at the hospital, and thanks to all your prayers for peace, neither did I.  He did great during surgery, and the doctor was able to get both his tonsils & adenoids out easily.
But after his surgery, when he was coming off the anesthesia, whenever he would fall asleep, he would stop breathing.  His oxygen, which was 99 or 100 when he was awake, would drop rapidly- 97, 94, 87, 83, 79, 77, 72, 68, 65, 60... bottoming out at one point at 33%. 
Now to give you some perspective, when Wyatt was hospitalized with Status Asthmaticus in the PICU, in December 2017, his oxygen was 73 and that had the doctors in the ER freaking out. So 33 is unheard of. 
When this was happening, his entire body was completely still, heavy and unmoving, like he was dead, with no breath coming in and out of his lungs. It was absolutely terrifying.
As soon as we woke him up, he would begin to breathe again, and be fine.  But the second he fell asleep, his body would forget to breathe, and he would desaturate again.  I was freaking out.
His doctor came in and told us that this was his Central Sleep Apnea manifesting and being made worse by the anesthesia.  So it was just a waiting game.
Thankfully, as the anesthesia wore off, he was able to fall asleep and his oxygen would drop off only into the 80's.  By the time we were home and he was getting ready for bed, 9 hours later, he fell asleep and his oxygen didn't drop at all.  I cannot tell you what a relief that was to me. (And how grateful I was to have the oxygen meter I ordered last fall to better monitor his asthma!)
The recovery time should take about two weeks, with lots of ups & downs, I am told, so your continued prayers would be such a blessing to us.  Currently, I am just glad to have the surgery (and those scary not-breathing episodes) behind us and to be on the road to recovery.

On parenting... I read the following quote this week, after the terrible parenting week I had last week (where I was left feeling like a total failure on all accounts) and I like the idea that our mistakes are just ways to learn how to do better next time.  Maybe if I can remember this gentle advice from Brene, I will be less hard on myself.
I seem to think that parenting requires perfection.  And the more I think this, the more I screw up, because the pressure is so high. 

Maybe just loving my kids and doing my best is all I can do. 
And that is enough.

***



And for a little laugh:

I will fold my socks for you, Marie Kondo.
But I will not get rid of my books.
That's where I draw the line.

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1.19.2019

Week 2 Around Here {2019}





















Watching Christopher Robin with Logan, Wyatt & Carly on movie night. It was such a cute movie, I didn't want to miss a minute. Pooh said so many quotable things!! I absolutely loved it!!  I also watched Birdbox on Netflix this week, with Josh, and it was really good.  Highly recommend both.


Undecorating for the holidays.  I did this slowly, over the course of several days, which is very unlike me, but the boys' school schedule was weird this year and they didn't go back until January 7th, so I had lots of time to do as I pleased following the new year.  Eventually it all got done, and Josh took down the tree and Christmas lights outside, and Christmas was wrapped up for another year.


Sending the kids back to school this week after two weeks off for Christmas.  It was time for them to go back, and we were all ready for a routine again after so much free time.  We had a great Christmas break, but the boys missed their friends & I missed my quiet time. (mom truth)


Celebrating nearly a month seizure free for Logan.  I am so excited that his new medication (Depakote) is working and we are now weaning him off his old medication (Tegretol). Woot woot!


Potty training Carly, who is actually, basically, potty training herself.  She is amazing and had only two #2 accidents and then took to the toilet like a fish to water when she realized that if she poo'd in her Paw Patrol panties, I was going to throw them away. She is crazy grown up and blowing us away!  The only negative to her potty training is that her sleep took a bit of a backslide as she became aware of herself peeing and I think it started waking her in the night. I'm sure it will improve with time, but I was tiiiiired this week as she woke me up a few times each night.


Counting down the days until her birthday (it's on the 24th) and feeling both right and shocked that she will be three.  She is so mature for her age (and that vocabulary!), but also I can't believe it has already been three years since she joined our family.  Time is sure a funny thing.
She was a big girl at the dentist this week and when she goes next time, she gets to sit in the big girl chair and watch a movie on the ceiling, which she is PUMPED about (!) and when my friend Jen asked her how old she was turning at the end of the month, she promptly answered without pausing, "Fifteen." Hah!  This girl. I am just cherishing every.single.moment with her. She is so much fun.


Going to counseling this week at the last minute when he had a cancelation and offered it to me.  Thanks to my in-laws (who were able to come watch Carly) I was able to scoop up that opening and go see him. (Josh's parents' house sold & closed, so they were finally able to move here, and we are so, so glad they are here for good!!!)
It was a much needed session as we discussed some parenting issues I've been having (self esteem and lying issues with the twins- heading into middle school years is going to be HARD on my mama heart!) as well as what I want to do now instead of emotional eating & book buying, both of which I want to give up in the new year.


Planning to clean/organize, workout or journal when I feel like emotional eating or book buying.  So far, this has actually been working, which is fantastic.


Kon Mari'ing my entire house in preparation for Wyatt's surgery to remove his tonsils & adenoids next week (the 18th).  I have taken that nervous "I'm-not-in-control" energy and siphoned it into something extremely useful. I am slowly watching all the episodes of Tidying Up on Netflix (after having read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up two years ago when we first moved here) and have been slowly but surely tackling areas of my life again since the new year.  It keeps me busy when my anxious feelings pop up about Wyatt's surgery (the idea of him being put under for surgery with his history of asthma makes me so worried!) and is really productive.  If you haven't checked out the show on Netflix, I highly recommend it. There are only 8 episodes, and it's a very gentle, achievable type of clean/organized. When they are done, the houses are NOT perfect. They are real and livable, and I like that.


Feeling like a failure as a wife & mother in the early part of this week.  I haven't been working out this week, plus it's my time of the month, so I know that is contributing to my feeling this way, but the feelings are real, nonetheless, and it sucks.  I just feel like I am letting everyone around me down, and it is really heavy. Parenting the older two has been really emotionally hard as of late, (hormones and morals and tempers and lack of fully developed frontal lobes...) while preparing Wyatt for his surgery hasn't been easy either ("Do you ever not wake up from being put under?" "How do they take my tonsils out?" "What will it look like?") and while Carly was a breeze at two, she seems prepared to make three a bit of a challenge for me ("I said I wanted to do it myself." "Jack is being a butthole." "Why did you say no to me?!?") sigh.  I feel pulled in a hundred different directions, and all I want is some time to myself, which feels ridiculously selfish when they all need so much from me.  It's been hard.


Taking Wyatt to the movies as a reward for good behavior, and enjoying the rare one on one time.  He chose to watch Bumblebee which was a super cute movie, and we enjoyed the snacks & time alone.


Looking forward to doing the hardwood floors in the rest of our house and redoing our bathroom.  After doing the main bathroom (which looks amazing and still takes my breath away every time I walk in it!) I am really on pins & needles to start our master bath & put those gorgeous floors throughout the house!


Reading As Bright As Heaven and finishing it.  It was such a sweet story (despite being about the Spanish flu in Philadelphia), and one that kept me turning pages despite the hectic first week we had back in our routine.  This week I also listened to Off The Clock on audio.  Off The Clock was an interesting read.  The author suggests you measure your time (preferably in half hour increments) to literally see where your time is going. This is something I may do at some point in the future, especially if I want to increase the amount of time I spend reading. I would also like to better track how much sleep I get/need.
Her other advice is to do something memorable everyday (which I love!), and to lower expectations (for example, instead of saying, "I'll do a 45 minute workout everyday", say "I will work out everyday".  That way, even if it is 10 minutes, it counts, and you are more likely to try and squeeze one in at all.)


Starting Troublemaker by Leah Remini and How To Walk Away by Katherine Center.  Troublemaker I listened to on audio.  It was read by the author, which I really enjoyed, and was such a fascinating story of Leah's childhood, experience in scientology and insider's look at life near Tom Cruise and inside her church.  Her story of leaving her church, a place once warm & familiar, really resonated with me, because I also had to leave my church once upon a time, and it is not an easy thing to do, no matter the reason.  Her heartbreak, the way she lost friends & loved ones because of it, gave me such compassion for my 18 year old self that before hearing her story I hadn't been capable of giving. I felt TERRIBLE for Leah, and in doing so, was able to feel the same way for myself.  Sad for the choices I had to make and the things I had to leave behind. Sad for the memories that leaving tarnished. It was a book that really left a mark on me. I am so glad I read it.
How To Walk Away is the book I chose for our local book club this month, and I am so happy with my choice!  It was a very sweet book about a girl who is in a plane crash and the story follows her recovery.  I felt like the story was very inspirational, even though Margaret isn't always feeling like she will come out alright, and I underlined a lot of lines.
My favorite:
"They couldn't possibly get it.  Some kinds of wisdom can only be earned... The greater our capacity for sorrow becomes, the greater our capacity for joy.  So I went on, "That's the thing you don't know- that you can't know until life has genuinely beaten the crap out of you: I am better for it all.  I am better for being broken."


***
I feel like this quote goes perfectly with what Margaret was saying in How To Walk Away.
It's the hard things we face that build us into who we become.
And after you've been through them,
you'd rarely wish them away.
Because they are what make you so strong.


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1.11.2019

Week 1 Around Here {2019}











Hahah! #truth

New hair growth mohawk

Josh & his baby sister Margaret
Top Nine Reads of 2018



Our new bathroom!
Unexpected Good Reads



Reading... As Bright As Heaven, which I got from Book of the Month, and Girl, Wash Your Face which I bought myself for my birthday with money I got from my grandma back in November.  As Bright as Heaven is about the Spanish Flu in Philadelphia, and is such a good book!  I really like it.  And Girl, Wash Your Face is a very inspiring, "pump-you-up" read.  I am doing a chapter a day, and it's keeping me very motivated to work on my goals for the new year. Love it!

Meditating... daily using the "Calm" app on my iphone.  It costs (I think I paid around $40 for a yearly subscription) but it is so worth it. I use it when I am having a panic attack, or when I need to fall asleep and my mind is racing. One of my goals this year is to meditate everyday (even if it's just two minutes) so having access to this app is really helpful.  I'm currently doing "21 Days of Calm" which is a different meditation each day, along with helpful advice about how to better stay on top of your emotions. I am loving it.

Sharing... my top 9 books of 2018 on social media, and also sharing my most unexpected good reads of 2018.  I would love to know in the comments what your favorite or most unexpected reads of 2018 were! (follow me on Instagram for more book posts!)

Ecstatic... over Josh and my brother-in-law finishing the main bathroom remodel.  Those two are machines, and I cannot get over how amazing the bathroom looks. It's truly unbelievable. It's also unbelievable that they accomplished what they did in less than two weeks.

Relishing... every minute of a nap Carly spent in my arms.  I can't remember the last time she slept in my arms, so rocking her in her in the rocking chair as she slept while the boys were off with Josh one afternoon felt like a dream come true.  Oh, my sweet baby. sigh.

Enjoying... a Christmas visit from my parents.  They came bearing gifts (holy adored grandchildren!!!) and we had so much fun together!  We went out to eat, went swimming at their hotel, and then bathed Carly in their room since she hadn't had a bath in quite some time with the bathroom remodel happening at our house!  The next day they came over and we played Headbanz, or at least we tried to.  Carly looks at what is on your card, tells you what it is, "Bacon!" and then yells, "You win!" Hahah! After that, they took us all out to eat and then took the boys ice skating!

Loving... the pictures that Julie sent me of Josh and his baby sister Margaret. I always think that Carly looks just like me when I was little (and she does in some pictures) but goodness sakes! Looking at these pictures of Josh as a toddler made me realize that Carly looks a lot like her daddy as well!

Relaxing... for an entire day when Josh took the boys out to his parents land to ride their four wheelers (they got four wheelers for Christmas from Santa!) and I got to spend the day at home with Carly.  I took a bath in our new tub, cleaned the house, read my book, and just enjoyed the peace & quiet.  It was so, so lovely.

Organizing... my "To Read" shelf in the living room and discovering I have 100 books I haven't read.  I couldn't believe I had 100 exactly!  From there, I set a goal of reading 1 book per week this year, so my (conservative) goal is to read 52 books.  But here's the catch- I can't buy any more books this year (barring any from Book of the Month. I am going to allow myself to continue that monthly subscription) so those 52 have to come from my shelves or my library app on my phone (where I listen to audio books).  I hope to surpass that goal, but I also want to enjoy reading, not feel pressure to just fly through books.  I definitely felt that at times last year.  What is your goal this year? Do you have a # in mind?

Growing... my hair back after it all fell out in September after the stress of caring for Wyatt in the spring.  I got on some strong vitamins in October and also started using Monat and am definitely seeing strong growth, but it means that 90% of the time, it looks like I have a tiny mohawk. Ugh. Not cool.  But I know that in another month or two, that will improve (the same thing always happened to me when I had babies) and my hair will be thick again someday.
Using the Monat does take some time- I have to wash my hair twice everyday in the shower, but I can feel the difference in how clean & strong it is.  I also put in the oil treatment overnight once a week, and use lots of product after my shower before I blow dry, but I am really trusting Haverlee that it will all be worth it when my hair fully grows in and is even healthier than before.  I seriously cannot wait.
Between my suddenly terrible adult acne and my ridiculously thin hair, I feel so self conscious these days.

***



I love this quote.
Here's to "the hardships that became our teachers"... 
Yes, yes, yes.

So glad for a new year,
and a fresh start!

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