Monday, April 20, 2015

33 weeks

33 weeks.  It feels like I have soooo much further to go.  But then I look at the calendar and realize it is almost May.  And technically I could easily have this little one in May, since my due date is the first week in June. 

Today has been rough.  Little miss feels like she's stretched all out and is trying to claw her way through my skin.  I can't get comfortable.  My body aches and I feel like my skin is stretched as far as it can go. I took a hot bath with Lavender oil and Epsom salt tonight (I can't even count the number of oil filled baths I've taken this pregnancy.  It has helped SO much).  I followed up the bath with ice cream, naturally.  Hahaha!

Porter is getting so excited to meet this baby.  He loves trying to feel her move and was talking to her tonight.  He's going to be such a huge helper.  

We kind of but kind of don't have a name.  I have 3 I like.  We have sort of agreed on 1 name, but I keep feeling all wishy washy.  I think we will have to meet her to decide for sure.  

He nursert is slooooowly coming along. I suppose by the 4th kid she should feel lucky to even get a room haha!   I'm excited to make a special space for her, though.  The decorating is just coming along slower than I typically do things.  It'll get there though. I ordered a quilt for her and we still need to get out the crib (even though she'll sleep in a co-sleeper in our room for awhile). 

Porter seems to be feeling pushed aside with the new baby.  Or something.  He has been complaining a lot about just feeling like no one wants to do anything with him, or that his life sucks (basically).  Anything he can complain about.  (Even when we have suggested many things to spend time with him and he declines.  But then complains 10 min later).  I know he's just likely feeling anxious about a new baby in the house.  He has complained about sharing a room with Hudson (and believe me I can't wait to move or build a house so all 4 kids get their own rooms!). And he's been asking me to sing songs to him at bedtime. Total regression over here haha!   Today I surprised him and picked him up at school and took him on a lunch date.  He seemed to enjoy it.  I need to do this more often with both of the boys.  I feel like our house is so full of chaos all the time that really getting intentional time with each of them is difficult.  

Anyhow.  Here is a 33 week pic. Busting out there.  Holy mother. 

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

hocus pocus omg i need to focus!

We are back from vacation and holy mother my brain is in overdrive.  I feel like I can't focus on ANYTHING... yet I have so much swirling in my brain.   I have commitment-phobia.   Nesting this pregnancy has turned into an overload of anxiety, unease, stress, desire for change change change, and lots of tears.  EWW.  

BRAIN DUMP TIME!

  • I need to order Baby Girls' quilt off Etsy.  But I *STILL* have not fully settled on the fabrics I want to use.  GAH!   I need to buckle down and put together a sample and get it ordered!
  • Did I mention the nursery still has tons of junk in it.... a full sized bed, old rug, random pieces of furniture..... it is the epitome of unfinished.
  • I have a sign for her room halfway made.  Meaning... it has been built, stained, painted and is waiting for an actual QUOTE or something to be painted on it and then distressed.  Only..... I can't decide on what I want it to say.  So that sits unfinished.
  • Third trimester has me falling apart.  I have acid reflux galore.  Oils aren't helping this stage of it.  Its irritating my throat and I've been coughing like its my job, which makes me pee, which makes me so frustrated and I end up puking and peeing and crying all over the bathroom.  Glorious.  Such a glorious trimester.  I'm so over it.
  • Our house is grossing me out.  I feel like everything is dirty.  And cluttered.  I want to purge everything.  I want to organize everything.  I want to take a big fat mop and scrub every little surface of the house.
  • I also want to move.  BADLY.  I feel like we have zero room in this house.  I'm desperate to have more land.  I'm desperate to have a larger family area.   I want to move and settle in somewhere for the long haul.   I have found a perfect home for us except... it's in Michigan.   Though neither of us can commit to moving out of state, so we'll probably stay in MI. Who the hell knows.   All I know is I want out of Jackson and into a different school district.
  • And speaking of moving.  HOW DO YOU CHOOSE WHERE TO MOVE TO?   I mean, those of you who have moved out of state, or to an unfamiliar area.... HOW did you choose where to move to?   Did you find any websites that were helpful in helping determine which area to move to?   I've been looking on GreatSchools website as well as Neighborhood Scout website for schools but would love to know exactly how accurate that is??
  • I've been house shopping.  And school district shopping.  And beach house shopping.   Because obviously the best time to decide we want to invest in an oceanfront rental property is when you're 83 months pregnant and ALSO want to move out of town.   But.... if we had somewhere to vacation a few times a year, that'd so be worth it.   This winter actually wasn't too terrible- probably because we spent a bit of it traveling- Virginia, California, Nashville, Utah... maybe that's the key. Stay busy and get the hell out of the frigid winter HAHA!
  • My heart about broke into a million pieces today because Amelia discovered her 1st year scrapbook album... that is so unfinished.  She was SO FREAKING HAPPY and excited to look at all her pictures.  I feel like an awful mom.  I've been so behind on scrapbooking the past 3 years.  I need to make it a priority.   Maybe this needs to be something I do.... get away for a few days and really just focus on catching up!
  • I'm ready for the sun to shine!  I'm ready for summer!  I'm ready to camp and take the kids swimming and be outside on our deck and go riding! (OMG I so can't wait to be able to ride again!)  Today is gloomy and gray and it is depressing.  And it's making my antsy stress levels rise.  Ugh.   

Sunday, April 5, 2015

where is the insecurity coming from?

Please don't think my blog is going to become this place of hashing out mommy war issues.... I totally hate that this is on my mind and that I'm yet again blogging about this.  But... we are in the car and I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow that I'm dreading (UGH) and the kids are quiet so my mind is racing and thinking of all sorts of things.

This will probably all be so boggled.  I hope it makes sense.  I started to think about this whole "breast vs bottle" war (which IMO isn't really a war just a mommy issue thing and I think really just stems from insecurity or a sense of being shamed by others that do differently) that seems to be so prevalent the past few years online.  

Let me start out by sharing about my friends and group of friends I associate with.   I would say a good 90% of my friends breastfeed.   And they have never, ever made me feel insecure about my choices to feed my children.  I'm super super blessed (why should I even have to say that... as if people should ever have friends that aren't supportive???) to have non-judgemental friends even though they choose a different route of feeding their babies.   And I have never judged them (or at least I hope they never feel I have!) because I support however works best for them.  I know that insecurity is not coming from my group of friends.   And, knowing that most of my friends do breastfeed, I hear their insecurities about breastfeeding in public (ie... their cries to normalize breastfeeding), which I think is crazy that anyone should care how a person is feeding their child in public or in private.... as long as that baby is being fed.

This all made me start to think... WHERE is this insecurity coming from?   Why are we mothers, who are all doing what works best for our families and our babies, feeling so insecure and "shamed" by our choices?   If it isn't coming from our core social circle (which, in my case, is mingled with nursing and formula feeding moms), WHERE are we feeling it from?  And WHY?

I wanted to ask my readers that.   Leave me a comment.  No judgment from me nor anyone else reading.   Did you feel insecure about how you chose to feed your baby?  Do you feel the need to defend your choices?

Did you feel shamed for nursing/nursing in public?  Who, or what, made you feel most insecure?  

Did you feel shamed for choosing to formula feed?  Who, or what, made you feel most insecure about that?

Recently there was an article about a sports stadium creating a "baby nursing room" for nursing mothers.   My first thought "Cool!"  My second thought "I wonder if it is only for nursing moms, or if bottle feeding moms can use it too?"   WHY did my mind race there?  Why was I feeling like it was something that any mother feeding her child couldn't utilize?    THEN I read the comments.   I expected to find moms saying "YAY!  Awesome!  A comfy place for us to nurse if we have a distracted baby and don't want to nurse in our seats or feel like we are shunned to the bathrooms (EWW)"   I saw comments like "Why should we be confined to a room to feed our babies?" and "Why can't we feed our babies at our seats like bottle feeding moms?"  WHERE did this come from?  WHY were mothers feeling defensive about something created for them to use, for their comfort?  Who was making them feel like they couldn't feed their child in the stadium seat?  (And another question... damn I would so not even want to take a baby to a game HAHAH!)

I'm just so curious as to where it is coming from.   In my experience, it is not my social circle.  It isn't my family.   I feel a lot of insecurity and shame coming from my doctor, as well as the media and people who don't know me and feel the need to question why I formula feed.

Let me explain further.... With my first child I wanted desperately to breastfeed and had no intentions of formula feeding. Part of it was a financial thing, and part of it was that my husband has stomach issues and I assumed if I fed Porter what was "natural" he'd have a safer bet of not genetically getting those tummy issues (he doesn't have tummy issues FYI).   BF'ing didn't work out and I had about a week of awful sadness that I had to formula feed.  And then I got over it and never really thought about it again.  I never felt insecure to take out a bottle in public. Ever.  

With Hudson, pretty much the same.... I decided during my pregnancy I'd formula feed.  I wavered back and forth but ultimately I felt like bottle feeding worked out great for us and I was comfortable with it and that's what we did.  Porter was smart, healthy and loved me and so would my 2nd child.  I think I briefly remember being asked in the hospital what I was planning on doing and there was never any "grilling" about it.  They asked, I told them, they brought me formula.

With Amelia... I think "times" had been changing.  I was noticing more online about "baby friendly hospitals" (as if feeding your child formula was not baby friendly?) and I didn't feel pressure from the doctor or at the hospital to nurse (because again, I'd decided to bottle feed before I had her). However, after she came home from the hospital I had numerous people (not super close to me or anyone who knew my reasons to bottle feed) ask me if I was nursing... or why I wasn't.   It kind of took me by surprise.  I mean, it really took me by surprise.   Why was it their business?  And why were people asking?  I'd never experienced that before.   And thus, I kind of became a bit insecure about my choices, even though I knew without a doubt my children would grow and develop and be happy and healthy and bonded and brilliant regardless of if they nursed from me.

Baby #4... well, I'm feeling the pressure/judgement even more.   The more I see in the media about breastfeeding and how breastfed babies are smarter, healthier and more bonded to their parents, the more insecure I feel about my choices even though I KNOW and have living proof that my formula fed children are smart, healthy and bonded to both myself and my husband.

It seems like in the past 3 years or so it has become so prevalent to pit breastfeeding against formula feeding and in social media everyone comes out and chants for their "side" which I feel makes everyone feel insecure.  I've never felt breastfeeding wasn't normal. I've never felt formula feeding wasn't normal. Until the past few years, I always viewed them as a NORMAL way to feed your child. Whatever works for you, your baby and as long as your baby is happy, healthy and growing why should it matter??

WHEW.  Anyhow.  I'd love to hear from you.   No judgement at all.   I want to know where your insecurites come from.   Is it the media?  Your doctor?  Local businesses?  Places that have nursing stations/rooms?  Places that don't?    Your friends?

Thursday, March 26, 2015

kickin' it old school parenting

It's been awhile since I've vented about my children driving me to want to drink.  Actually... I am pretty sure the last time they drove me to drink I ended up knocked up..... errrr.   Its been awhile since I've vented about the boys because well... maybe I've just become desensitized to the embarrassing parenting moments.  Or maybe because they're both in school.  Or maybe because it isn't summer.  Oh summer... I know there will be some doozies then.

It's not a secret that my boys are a bit... strong willed.   At least that's what I'd assume you'd call them.  Maybe I suck as a parent.  That's probably more like it.  At this point I'm not quite sure.  We'll say its both.  Because for some reason my kids can toe any line like it's their job.   Tell them not to do something and they find some bass-ackward way to do it without actually going against the very thing I told them not to do.   I've dreaded school and babysitters because they need someone who is firm and will put their foot down and not let my kids walk all over them (ie... those sweet, doe eyed teenage babysitters who just want to be their friend... uhm.... doesn't work).   Luckily, my boys are pretty good in school... minus Hudson's first 2 months where he tried to get away with being stubborn but his teacher out-stubborned him.  I knew she was awesome. I'm also buying her a fifth of somethin' somethin' at the end of the year because lord knows I'd need it after a year of working with him HAHA!

The boys take an art class every Thursday night.  This is their 2nd semester.  The teacher is a young, quiet, sweet college girl.   Enter... recipe for disaster.   First semester we had a few issues with Hudson being a snot and not listening (ie... he thought it was a joke when he was goofing off and was told to stop).   2nd semester they had a sub for a few weeks.  She was a "mom age" and I could tell had a much more "doesn't take any crap" personality and the boys were great for her.  No issues. Well, young, sweet, college girl teacher has been back teaching for awhile.  Tonight both of my boys decided to royally embarrass me with their rottenness.

First, Miss Sweetie Pie brings Porter out of class to me.  She explains that he didn't want to draw and wanted to read his book, so she told him he'd need to leave class.   I thought this was it.  I looked at him and said "So what your'e saying is I'm paying for your art class and you'd rather read?"  Then she explains further... that he was being rude when she asked him to put his book away and had an attitude when she told him he needed to leave class.   I'm pretty sure steam started to pour out my ears.  I apologized to her and took his book away (WTF talk about irony... sorry kid I don't want you to read!).   I told him to sit down and had him write her an apology.   I was fuming.    

After class, we went to get Hudson and Porter took his letter to Miss Sweetie Pie.  Then Hudson decided to start talking like a baby and saying "I'm a WOMAN!"  loud while all the parents are in the class checking out the art work from the evening.  I asked him to stop and he continued to baby talk and say weird, awkward things.  (Porter did explain to me that last week all the boys had sat at one side of the table and the girls at the other... and Hudson was on the girls side so they were joking with him that he was a girl or a woman).  My brain was screaming >>holy shit my kids are being so awkward and rude and weird tonight let me go crawl into a hole and die wtf is wrong with them I swear they're normal!<<  After asking him to stop numerous times more I finally just growled at them both to go get their coats and get to the truck. NOW.  

Ryan was not happy when I told him Porter was kicked out of class.  H
e immediately started pacing the house looking for something.   A notebook.  And a pencil.  He wrote down "I will not be disrespectful" and told Porter he was to sit and write it 100 times. Ouch.    Then he realized Hudson had been rude too, so he told him to write 50 times (because he was just not listening... Porter had been disrespectful to his teacher).  Then Hudson earned 10 more sentences TWICE for throwing a fit about not being able to use a pen and something else.

AUGHGHGHGH!!

Porter got his sentences done.  Hudson... got to 17.  He can not focus.  He sits and whines.  We told him he could do them during recess tomorrow if he doesn't finish and still he sat and whined and dinked around with his pencil and anything else he could occupy his time with. Soooo... he'll be writing tomorrow at school.   And probably in the truck on the way to the beach tomorrow night.

I swear.  I swear.   I'm at the end of my rope with consequences.  They've had privileges taken away.  They've lost technology. They've lost time with friends.  I don't know what else to do.  So... I guess we go old school and write sentences.   Lord help me.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

happy 2 year anniversary, lemon droppers!



Today marks the 2 year anniversary of the Lemon Droppers. Two years ago my friend Lindsay Teague Moreno came up with an idea... a plan... a DREAM.... that would change the world of essential oils and ultimately the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. I'm one of those lives.
I joined the Lemon Droppers in April 2013 and in the past 23 months my life has evolved into something I never imagined possible.
I've turned my family into oil obsessed fools (we use oils like we're freaking granola hippies. WHAT? That is so not us!).
We've learned so much about using essential oils and how to replace so many OTC medications in our home. We don't rush to the doctor when we get sick... we know with a majority of ailments we can take care of it at home- naturally and more quickly than with OTC/prescriptions- if we begin oil use early and apply often.
I've build a business that gives me the flexibility to live my life the way I've always dreamed of.
I have made a job I love and never want to stop thinking about.
This team... my job... has allowed my husband to quit his life-sucking J-O-B and work from home with me.
We've been able to pay off debt and student loans that I'd come to terms would take me decades- or until my death- to pay off.
I've formed relationships and strengthened friendships with some of the kindest, most encouraging, supportive people ever.
I have and will be traveling to places I never thought would be possible.
It is amazing, really, to think that so much could and has happened in the past two years. I'm forever thankful and so blessed to be a part of this team. To be able to experience all that life has to offer and to live life the way we want to. You only get one shot at this life. Go big or go home, and make the most of it! I can't wait to see what the next 2 years has in store. Without a doubt, it's going to be big and life changing.

you belong

Remember that time I was in Utah filming some videos with an awesome tribe of Lemon Droppers? When we first got our script, I'm pretty sure there wasn't a dry eye in the room. There may have been a few sobs from one preggo Lemon Dropper. This... this speaks to me. This is our heart. This is what it's all about.
“We’re not just about business. We’re a tribe. A clan. A family.”
Two years ago I was at a really REALLY low spot in my life. I was working from home in an oversaturated field (photography... you know it.... have SLR, become photographer... talent or not) in a market area where quick and cheap rules. Making ends meet was barely happening. My kids had been sick all winter and at the time, my oldest was home with a sore throat.
That day in April, when I had all 3 kiddos home with me, feeling lost and overwhelmed and like I was on a dead end road to forever being in debt, forever feeling like I was overworked, underpaid and under-appreciated- that day I took a huge leap of faith. Multiple things over the previous few weeks had pointed me to essential oils and after a long phone conversation with a friend (Michelle Heroff Sauer), I decided to charge my essential oil kit and try it out.
What I didn't know was that decision would change so many things in my life beyond our health. It changed friendships. It changed our habits. It changed our comfort zones. It changed our view on life. It changed our jobs. It changed our life. IT CHANGED OUR LIFE.
To say that investing in this little (awesome) kit of oils (because back then we didn't even get a diffuser with our kit!) changed me for the better is the truth. This team, these amazing, talented, strong, brave, funny, kind, encouraging women (and a few men!) have made me into a much better version of myself. We are all better today because of this crazy team called the Lemon Droppers. Because to be honest, that's what this business is all about- the people. Everything else, the health, the money, the rewards, the perks, the events, it’s all icing on the cake. The people are the core of the Lemon Droppers and they will always be. And, at the core of us, don’t we just want to belong to someone or something?
So, thank you, Lemon Droppers. Thank you for believing in me. For dreaming with me. For pushing me. For cheering me on. For empowering me. For trusting me. Thank you.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Saturday chores

This has been the most productive and exhausting Saturday. Sleep was hard to come by last night. I had bad acid reflux/indigestion and could not get to sleep. I think I was up until 2am?? Porter is staying at Dave's this weekend. He was desperate for a weekend away from Hudson and Amelia. Ryan is out of town. So it's just me and two kiddos this weekend.

Hudson and amelia were up at 8am. Oddly I was not a total zombie, so I was up too. Dreary, grey Saturday.... Not much motivation to do anything fun. I decided to try to be productive around the house.

We went to Menards to get wood to make a sign for the baby's room. We picked up a rake, too, since I can't find either of our rakes.

 After Menards we went grocery shopping. It was lunchtime. Bad idea. We ate through a bag of brownie brittle and loaded up on more junk than necessary.

I hate grocery shopping. It exhausts me on a normal day, let alone a pregnant day. And Ryan wasn't home to take over and unload/put away groceries. Boo.

Hudson and AJ ate lunch while I out away groceries. The sun came out. Yay! Since it was already 2pm I figured we would skip nap and play outside.

While the kids played I cut the boards and screwed together the sign, stained it and painted it. Then I decided to take out our landscaping out front (omg. 4 huge piles of leaves!) and trim up the dead plants by the mailbox and prune the bushes in front of the garage windows.

 I'm glad I picked up a deli pizza for dinner because that was about all I had energy for. The kids are in the shower and I'm counting down the minutes until I can set them in front of a movie and go take a hot bath. My body aches.

why do i need an excuse?


Well this is crazy that this quote/blog post popped up in my feed this morning. I literally just got back from my 28 week appt with baby #4 and my doc (a male) asked me if I plan to nurse or bottle feed. I told him bottle feed (I formula feed by choice. My breasts get ginormous during pregnancy and even worse when my milk comes in and I just can't stand the back pain... and I just want my body back. Selfish? Sure. But it's my body).

He gave me a nice lecture about how they recommend breast feeding and how it passes on antibodies to the baby and increases bonding yadda yadda yadda... I sat there nodding my head, feeling like I was being scolded. If I'd had the balls (or brain cells to think of this quickly) I'd have cut him off and let him know I have 3 growing, happy, super healthy children who are very intelligent and bonded to their mother and I'm pretty damn sure I'm capable of deciding how to feed my 4th. And I probably would have/should have thrown in there "So you're saying your bond with your children is not so great because you obviously don't have boobs to feed them with". GRRARRR. 


Well what great timing to see this post in my feed this morning.  I could have written her exact feelings:



"I’m a stay at home mother. I have the “time.” My older two are in school five days a week. I’m white, college educated......I’m SUPPOSED to breastfeed.  And I don’t want to."

Believe me.  I've read allll the articles, blog posts, studies... touting how brilliantly smart breastfed babies are (a whopping 4 IQ points.  Woah.  Totally bet that'll get them into an Ivy League College on that credential alone!).  I know it passes on all sorts of goodness to the baby.  I hear the preaching about how amazingly bonded all these breastfed babies are with their mothers (as if formula fed babies are fed by a machine HA!). I'm not an idiot.   I'm informed.  And I still make my own choice.  

For the most part, I don't give a crap what anyone else thinks.  I don't feel guilty.   Do I wish I wanted to breastfeed?  Of course.  Do I wish I had the desire to suck up the pain, the backaches, the sore nipples, the inconvenience, the constant attachment... to experience nursing?  Absolutely.   But I know myself.  I know I'm a better mom because I choose to formula feed.   I NEED my body back.  I NEED my boobs back to a halfway normal size.  I enjoy the freedom that bottle feeding gives me, my husband and my kids.  There wouldn't BE any bonding between mother and baby because I'm pretty certain this mama would be committed for going crazy if I was forced to nurse.  

Since my last 3 appointments I've been questioned about wearing my seatbelt (yes, I do.... is this a thing.... Pregnant Women Boycotting Seatbelts??) I'm certain the nursing/bottle feeding question is going to come up again in the future.  And I'm prepared for the shaming at the hospital.  As with each of my kids' deliveries... the pressure/looks have gotten worse at the hospital when I tell them I have chosen to formula feed from the get-go.  With our hospital being a "Baby-Friendly Hospital", I'm pretty certain that this baby's delivery is going to be uuuber awkward with nurses.  Thank god this is my last.  I can't imagine in the coming years the lectures that will be pressured onto mothers for the choices they make.    I'm preparing myself with my defense statement and going to cut off the lecture at the get go.  My choice is made, and I don't need a lecture to tell me you disapprove.   Get over it :) 

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

let's pretend

Let's pretend you could move anywhere. You didn't have jobs holding you back and had the freedom to go wherever and put down roots anywhere your heart desired.  How would you choose?  What factors would you weigh?

I feel at a crossroads.  A really weird one. It's not bad.  I can't complain at all.  I just.... Feel in limbo.  

We want to move.  It likely won't be until later this year or even next year.  Or maybe the year after that.  We don't have a timeline.  Ryan is home now so we don't have his job weighing us down. We are in this amazing, yet peculiar, situation where we can literally go wherever the hell in this world we want to go.  It's kind of crazy and overwhelming. (No oilers, we won't be heading to Utah)

I would love to buy an old farm and renovate but I also would love to build our dream home.   However.... WHERE do we do this?   I can't imagine like, picking a town and buying land and building having never lived there before.  However the thought of moving to a new town/state and renting and then building sounds like a lot of work hahaha!  Moving sucks.  But I don't want to lock ourselves in somewhere and end up not loving the area (however we do live in Jackson soooo unless it was a total po-dunk town it will likely have more to offer than where we are at.  

Do I start with schools?   Though I constantly consider homeschooling.  Do I start with communities and what they have to offer?  Or do I look for real estate and hope that where we find something we love that the area falls into place too?  

After last winter I was ready to get out of Michigan but this winter hasn't been bad at all.  Totally tolerable.   I would miss the snow and the kids being able to do winter things but can we find somewhere that winter doesn't linger forever? (Not likely).  I would love to move south--- we always love love love North Carolina but will I die in the summer heat?  Maybe we should look more towards Michigan's west coast to be closer to the "michigan ocean" haha but then that'll bring harsher winters.   

Ugh.  The decisions.  Luckily it's not something we have to do right now.  Financially, I want to have a huge hunk of a down payment for something awesome. And the next few months our financial advisor has us socking away a disgusting amount of money into an IRA to try to avoid paying so much to lovely Uncle Sam (joys of hitting the high tax brackets.  Gag.) so for now we have no plans to go anywhere but I know once #4 arrives our house is going to begin to feel more cramped than it already does.  

So I just wonder, aloud, where would you go if you could pack up and go wherever?   What would weigh into your decisions? 


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

wanderlust


  
I've been bitten by the travel bug.  I've always WANTED to see the world, but never knew how I'd make it possible.  The COST!  The TIME!   In so many ways I am reminded how much Young Living has brought to my life and changed so much for us.  In the past year I've seen places I never thought I'd see, and in the coming year I have a full travel-log too.  And, as a family we're getting to travel together.  I want my kids to love to travel.  I want to take them to see the world.  Yes, I know it will be EXHAUSTING with 4 kids in tow but if not now, then when?  I want them to experience things they didn't know existed beyond their little bubble of the world.  I can't wait to experience these things TOGETHER.


I was reflecting today on all the travels 2014 and 2015 have had or have in store.  

In 2014 I visited:
  • Birmingham, AL
  • Topsail Island, NC (our family beach trip)
  • Spokane, Washington 
  • St. Maries, Idaho 
  • France: Nice, Eze, Carcassone, Sisteron, Paris
  • Chicago
  • Edisto Island, SC
2015 Travel in the books:

  • Anaheim, CA (Disneyland and to venture out to see the west coast)
  • Nashville, TN
  • Topsail Island, NC
  • Italy with friends, and Croatia work retreat (Not sure if I'll make this trip since I'll be 30/32 weeks preggo but.... I'm going to try!)
  • Mediterranean Cruise (I won a spot on the Global Leadership Cruise in June.... on my due date. I should be browsing Italy, Croatia, Turkey, and Greece. Buuuuttt..... not this year.)
  • Dallas,Texas
  • Ecuador
  • I want to take one more family trip somewhere we haven't been before... in the fall or winter

    Its crazy to me that this is something we can do.  That is feasible for our family to do.  I keep thinking I need to figure out a way to homeschool so we CAN travel when we want and not worry about pulling the kids from school.  I'm not sure that's the plan but its an option.   I have a feeling the next few years are going to be full of adventure.  



Saturday, January 10, 2015

diy Disney trading pin mini zip up book

Last year when we went to Disney World, I made the kids lanyards and ordered them some trading pins off eBay.   We all had fun trading pins with the cast members, but I didn't realize how much the boys remembered (or cared) about it until we pulled out our pins the other day in anticipation of our January trip this year.  They remembered pins they had, and traded, and had favorites and ones they wanted to collect more of.  (Who am I kidding... Ryan and I are kind of excited about finding new pins this trip too!). 

The lanyards were not a favorite of the boys.  Maybe they'll like to pick a favorite or two and wear on their lanyard, but for the most part, the lanyards rode in a pocket in the stroller.  

When preparing for our first big family trip to Disney in Dec 2013, I totally cracked up when I heard people had huge binders of pins.  And then after the lanyards weren't a favorite, I thought.... Hmmmm it would be nice to have a zip up mini book. So I decided to make one.  

I searched Pinterest and found a few ideas and kind of modified my own book.  It really was quite easy!  

I bought 4 sheets of the stiff felt at JoAnn (the sheets were legal paper sized).  They were $1.19 each I think?  2 sheets per kiddo. 


I also bought two Case Logic zip up cd cases that hold 32 cd's from Best Buy.  They were $9.99 each. I carefully took scissors and snipped the threads that attached the cd holder to the outside casing. 


I traced the cd case insert onto the stiff felt and cut it out.  I ended up using 4 of these templates per book.  


I sewed together the 4 sheets of felt.  I put two lines of stitching down the middle. 

I used a super duty craft glue (E-6000) to glue the sewed felt to the cd case.  I clamped them down with clampers (pic not shown, and also clampers is not the actual name of them I'm sure). I let the clamps and glue sit overnight.  

And here we go..... Ready for pins!  The first two pages I wrote "TRADE" on the top so the boys could keep the pins on those pages that they are willing to trade.  The rest of the pages I helped them organize by theme/character/set etc.  


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Names names names...

Why is it so hard to name a baby??   The boys seemed so easy.  Porter we pretty much knew we'd name him Porter.   We took awhile to officially settle on the name only because we were afraid it was too "different".   Hudson was a runner up for Porter, so when we were having Hudson we pretty much knew we'd go with Hudson, but again... there was about a month of debating other names. But... Hudson always was the go-to.  

Amelia... she wasn't named until she was born.  Although... I guess I kind of knew that's what we'd settle on only because it was the only name we could agree on.  I really was pushing for Norah but Ryan said no.  So, when Amelia was born he looked at me and said "So... is it Amelia?" And I could tell he really wanted it to be Amelia so that's what she was.

And this baby... well... I have no clue.  I still like Norah but maybe not AS much as I did when Amelia was born.  And Ryan isn't a huge fan.  I have a list of names I've kind of narrowed my ideas down to, but... we'll see.  

Here's the things I keep thinking of.

Porter Evan  (2 syllable, 2 syllable)
Hudson Riley  (2 syllable, 2 syllable)
Amelia Jane  (4 syllable, 1 syllable)

... all have 6 letter first names.  I really liked Norah Lucille for Amelia because it'd fulfill the 2 syllable, 2 syllable (though not 6 letters!)... but alas, we went with Amelia.  So.  I think... we could go with a 4 syllable girl name, or a 6 letter girl name.  I really don't want to do a P or an H because sometimes when I write lists/notes/texts etc I use "P" or "H" or "AJ" for the kids.  So... if we had another P or H it would mess that up.  I also don't really want a name that can be shortened naturally to a nickname (like.. Madison/Maddy, Kimberly/Kim, Abigail/Abby etc).  I'm weird.  I know.   HAHA!

So... here is a list of names.   Some are names that are seriously on "my" list.  Some are names that I'm going to throw out there to just add in :)  I'm not sure if we'll tell her name until after she's born so... we'll see.

Norah
Ellery
Eloise
Hazel
Charlotte
Aria
Violet
Mallory
Elodie
Melody
Alice
Cora
Kathleen
Eden



18 weeks | It's a.....

We were finally able to get a good peek at this little one.  I knew I wanted to do something fun to tell the kids if they were going to have a new brother or sister... so I decided to do a cake and put colored frosting in the middle.

We told the kids they'd find out if the baby was a boy or girl when we cut into the cake.  Porter said "So, wait... are there going to be baby CLOTHES in the cake... or is it frosting?"  HAHA!  

The video of this is really hilarious, so if you're a Facebook friend, check it out.  Cracks me up.

Porter said he wanted a boy.  Amelia says brother and Hudson wants a girl.  Hudson also said we need a girl so there are 2 boys and 2 girls... but then we need another boy then another girl. HA!  I asked where all these babies were going to sleep and he said "Eh, in the basement."

Porter pulled the server out of the cake and it was..... PINK!   We're having another GIRL!  









Porter scrunches his nose and says "Aughhh!  A stupid girl!"  Amelia just stares at the cake like... yum yum yum.... and Hudson is all grins... HUGE grin.   I say "It's a girl!" And Hudson raises his arms and screams "YAY!"  Amelia copies him.  Porter does a face plant into the table.

Poor bud was embarrassed afterward... he cried into the table for a bit and then felt embarrassed for how he acted.  :(   It is kind of funny to me that he's so bummed because he just adores Amelia.   However, I think he's worried about having another SIBLING... he kept saying "I don't want to have 3 siblings!"  Hopefully he'll have a change of heart once she arrives.  I think he'll be wrapped around her finger like he has been with Amelia (though... she's gotten into that stinker age where she's getting into the boys' things and being a pest in general).

For the past week or so (maybe a little longer) I've been feeling little flutters from the baby.  I forget how sweet that is!  I'll enjoy the next couple months before it becomes full on jabs and stretches and rib and crotch kicks HAHA!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas 2014


  • We spent Christmas Eve with Ryan's dad, sister and her family.
  • The kids are all getting so big! Lia got a Canon SureShot camera and was ecstatic.  Shae and Brenna got Lego Friends- the mall and cruise ship and were all googly eyed over them.   The boys got the Skylanders Swap Force for the Xbox and Amelia got lots of toys.   




  • The kids (except Amelia) are at an age where we can actually play games without them needing us every second.  The adults were able to play Ticket to Ride after dinner while the kids played in the basement.
  • We went to the 8pm Christmas Eve service at Westwinds.  As always, they outdid themselves with the decor and theme.  The theme was Christmas in the 40's and they had a vintage looking Santa.  There were work benches set up in the lobby... 1 for kids to write a letter to Santa, and 3 for families to make pinecone ornaments to remember this Christmas Eve at Westwinds.  They were painted green, and there was glue and Epsom Salt to sprinkle on them, put them in a paper gift bag and take home.  The service was amazing... all 40's themed Christmas songs and as always, worship was spot on.  We are so blessed to have found such an awesome church to call home.
  • The kids were beyond tired by the time we got home.  We forgot to put out reindeer food. Oops!  They were out like a light (well, Amelia was a bit fussy but after Ryan sang to her she zonked out.)
  • Porter woke us up at 7:30am and drug us downstairs.  He and Hudson were giddy as can be. I had to wake Amelia up, so she was so confused at opening her stocking and seeing gifts.  Santa brought android tablets for each of the kids (in their favorite colors: red, green and purple), sleds for the boys, a stroller for Amelia and lots of little goodies... their annual Nutcrackers as usual (a hunter for P, mouse for H and ballerina for A), kinetic sand and more.  They were so surprised over the "iPads".  I'm pretty sure that was their favorite gift.
  • Hudson was the most excited this year... he's really into random, quirky things so he's super easy to please and surprise.  He got this Animal Babies Monkey that giggles, burps and farts and he LOVES it.  He also got a stuffed macaw parrot, Waddles the penguin, dry erase markers, Spirograph, Mixels, Shrinky Dinks, Pokemon cards and Legos.   





  • Amelia got a Bitty Baby, Frozen dress up clothes, some tutus, a doll high chair, a vintage Fisher Price camera, and a Llama Llama book.
  •    


  • Porter got Minecraft Legos, books (Harry Potter, Wonder, and Magic Treehouse), Skylanders characters, Pokemon cards. (He was the hardest to buy for... his wish list literally ALWAYS consists of: iPhone, iPod touch, dirt bike, bb gun and quad.  Sorry buddy... not happening).


  • They got combined gifts of Osmo iPad games (I.LOVE.THESE) and Disney Infinity 2.0.  Whoop Whoop!  Each of the kids got a Little Live Pets bird... yeah.  Ryan hates them HAHA!
  • We thought we'd use Christmas morning to surprise them with our DisneyLand trip... big mistake. Turns out they're like "okay, cool"  Uhm. HELLOOOO we're flying to CALIFORINA to see RADIATOR SPRINGS!  Yeah.   Next time we'll just wait and tell them when we're on the plane HAHA!  #surprisefail
  • My sister and her girls came over for dinner and a movie, and my dad stopped by for a bit.  We all just hung out in jammies and relaxed all day.  


  • Sunday, December 14, 2014

    Random updates and thoughts



    • We have been addicted to watching Yukon Men lately.  Ever watch it?  My jaw just drops at every episode.  I can't imagine 24/7 trying to survive. GAH!   I'm actually watching my first episode of Risking It All and have mixed feelings.  Three families.... 1 moving because of health.  (All I can think is... HOW CAN I SEND HER SOME OILS?), 1 moving to save their marriage and get away from technology, 1 moving because the husband lost his job and they're just... moving off the grid because he was so disconnected from their family working 7a-9p. This show just solidifies my goals of having so much more freedom with our time and life.  Ryan is leaving his job soon to work from home with me and I can't wait.  I love the idea of having a free schedule... work when we need to, have fun when we want to.  LIVE life.   The daily grind will be OUR choice. 
    • Today we had a huge craft/family fun day.   I spent a couple hours this morning making Christmas Crafts for people I want to show appreciation to this Christmas.  Our mail-lady, UPS man, the sweet adults who help kids out of the truck at Hudson's school drop off, the people who run the barn where I board Lacey.... I have a list of 10 people and got these adorable little snowmen jars made and am going to write a note to each of them.

      Hudson and Amelia helped me make Christmas Crockpot Crack.  YUMMY.  This stuff is delish, so easy to make and makes a TON!  (think: lots to share with neighbors!

      One of our Christmas gifts to someone involves the kids painting some pictures.  While Amelia napped, the boys and I worked on their paintings.  They did a GREAT job!  I'm so excited about this gift!


    • This evening we went to the Christmas Lights in Jackson.  The kids wore their pj's and brought their blankets.  After we got home we had hot chocolate and watched Polar Express.  Perfect ending to a great day!
    • Speaking of Polar Express, there were some things in the movie that I've never understood the meaning of (like... why the little boy goes into the other train car not the one with all the other kids).   I googled up some analysis on the movie and found this one.  WOAH.  Never really thought of it that way but..... pretty neat.
    • Porter is starting basketball on a 2nd/3rd/4th grade team. I'm excited about this sport because the practices are only 2 days a week and 1.5 hours HAHA!  He'll play in 5 weekend tournaments on Saturdays.   That's kind of a downside but... hopefully it'll be better than wrestling as far as crowds.   (SO glad he decided NOT to do wrestling again this year!)
    • Baby Barczak #4 now has a carseat and stroller.  We literally got rid of EVERYTHING except the crib and I think a boppy seat and the changing pad for the dresser.  Yeah.   Luckily, though, by the 4th kid you realize how much of that crap you DON'T need!   I think we just need to get bottles and a swing and we should be good to go.  I think we might have a bouncy seat in the apartment?   And clothes.  Yeah.  We have ZERO baby clothes from either Amelia or the boys.  I'm in love with the stroller we got... its the City Select by City Jogger.  Elephant Ears was having a special where they gave you the 2nd seat free, so it'll be perfect to swap from a single to double stroller (on basically a single stroller frame) for Amelia if need be.   We're taking it to California next month when we go to DisneyLand.... I'm thinking that the extra seat might be good for Hudson to sit in if he feels like it. And if we decide we don't need it, we'll just take the 2nd seat off in the hotel room.
      (yes.... I got an eggplant colored stroller! HAHA!  I wanted black... and was all set.  Then they called to get it from their stock and didn't have it.  So then I picked this deep teal.  Didn't have that either.  It was either red, tan or silver.  Soooo I went with eggplant.  If Baby #4 is a boy hopefully he doesn't mind purple. )






    • The boys are finishing up a semester of a painting class at JSOA and Amelia is finishing a fall creative movement class.  All 3 really enjoy it!  The boys have opted to try a Minecraft Art class starting in January, and I'm re-enrolling Amelia in creative movement again.  I really want to find a gymnastics class for her that isn't during naptime or evenings (ie... one that is in the weekday mornings), but might just have to wait until fall.
    • I finally broke down and got some help around here.  It seems so frivolous.  I'm technically HOME during the week, so I feel like I should be able to handle it all.  But to be honest, working from home with a toddler isn't as easy as I'd assumed. Or tried to make it.  So, I found an awesome person to help with weekly house cleaning (Wednesdays are my favorite day... Annie comes!! My house is soooo clean for about an hour after she leaves and then my kids take over!) and then I found a fantastic babysitter/nanny/whateveryamacallit for Amelia. Suzanne is sooooo good with Amelia and Amelia loves her!  I feel so so thankful to have found these two ladies!  

    Monday, December 8, 2014

    my life is poop

    Some mornings you just can't escape the reality that your life really is.... all about poop. 

    It started off with a dream.  Yes.  I dreamt about poop.   Pregnancy does weird things to you.   I dreamt there was a turd in the toilet that I could not flush. (Someone... quick... analyze this dream!).  I tried and tried to flush it but.... there wasn't enough water pressure.  So, I looked in the tank of the toilet and realized the chain wasn't short enough and the stopper kept slowing down the flow.  I stuck my hand in the tank, pulled the chain up a few little "balls" (like those military dog tag chains that are ball necklaces) and then flushed and in my dream I saw a close up of the turd flushing down the toilet. SUCCESS!

    I woke up (for the 5th time that morning... I can't get a decents night sleep anymore) to Ryan telling me Amelia had pooped in her pajamas and it was down her leg and on her floor... and she was trying her hardest to clean it up with baby wipes.  I got up and... cleaned up poop.

    I put her in the bath because, really, that was the only solution to this mess.  Hudson wakes up and comes into the bathroom to..... poop.   He talks about his poop and asks if he's stinking up the bathroom. Yup.  Poop.

    I make my way downstairs and find Ruby sniffing something on the living room floor.   She pooped in the early morning on the living room carpet.  I clean up poop.

    I go back upstairs to brush my teeth and find the toilet filled with poop.  Hudson hasn't flushed. WHY CAN'T BOYS JUST FLUSH THE TOILET WHEN THEY ARE DONE?   I threaten to take a picture of it and tape it to his bedroom wall every time he leaves poop in the toilet because IF I HAVE TO SEE IT SO SHOULD HE.

    And finally... I find myself cleaning the rabbit litter this morning.  More.  Stinkin.  Poop.  

    What has my life become.   

    Poop.  

    Friday, December 5, 2014

    13 weeks

    I had my 13 week appointment on Wednesday.  Heartbeat was in the 160's and everything else was normal.  I went in to see LeeAnn Thursday night to take a peek at the baby.  He/She was being super wiggly and we weren't able to get a very good picture of the baby.  He/She was in a really awkward position and kind of upside down.   Have you heard of "the Angle of the Dangle"?   It's pretty fascinating!   We tried it with Amelia and I *think* we were accurate... but heck if I remember (I'd have to pull out her ultrasound pics).   We attempted to peek at this one but he/she wasn't giving us a super great side view.  I'm so glad I got to see this little one wiggling and moving all around.   Makes it feel more real (as if feeling like a huge 80 year old whale didn't feel real enough....).

    I started an ExpectNet game to see what everyone thinks the baby will be, when it'll be born and how much he or she will weigh. I loved doing these games with the other kiddos pregnancies!

    Cravings:  Nothing major recently... nothing that I "HAVE" to have.  

    Symptoms/Feelings:   My hip issues are already starting.   I have begun to see the chiropractor (Which Amelia calls the "firecracker") at least once a week.  I do need to go again for the 2nd time this week.  Boobs are still hurting and huge.  I haven't been sleeping well either... quite a few nights in a row I have been waking up a couple times a night.  Makes for some unproductive and exhausting days.  

    Changes:  Between my huge boobs and huge belly, my regular shirts end up too short on me.  I finally went shopping and got some maternity shirts and have ordered a few pair of pants off eBay.  

    Baby right now, at 13 weeks, is the size of a peach

    Wednesday, December 3, 2014

    9 free favorite printable holiday tags


    I love searching Pinterest for great printables.... especially when it comes time for Christmas and making gift tags!  I decided to post links to my favorites that I found on Pinterest.  I decided to print #3 from Shanty2Chic on cardstock.  Now if I can just get my printer to work.... I swear it was just working yesterday.  Today... no dice.  Doesn't want to load the paper.  GRRR.   Electronics.   


    Free Printable Christmas Movie Quote Tags @ The Happy Tulip


    Colorful Gift Tags @ ColorMeMeg



    Black and White Tags @ Shanty2Chic


    Adorable Stockings @ Fresh Picked Whimsy


    12 Different Calligraphy Tags by Lindsay Bee  Download HERE




    Hand Drawn Printable Gift Tags @HeyLook



    Hand Illustrated Holiday Tags by Emily McDowell


    Watercolor Printable Tags @Oana Befort


    Vintage Printable Tags @Oana Befort

    Thursday, November 27, 2014

    Gratitude

    November.   Thanksgiving.   The month of counting your blessings.    

    In a way, this seems so cliche.  So.... forced.  Why must we wait until November to be thankful for what we have?   I know it isn't intentional but this month brings out everyone's awareness of all they've been blessed with.   Be it a roof over their heads, a healthy family, a heavy burden resolved, final peace in their life, family finally near them, a new job, the ability to provide for their family, their technology, good food, their favorite shoes... whatever.... everyone seems to awaken to the awareness of their blessings.  

    I can't count my blessings.  I've been given so many.   I've had seasons of severe drought.  I've had seasons of plentitude.  I've had seasons of contentment.   In all those seasons, I've always had exactly what I needed and have been thankful for it all, no matter how much suckage was felt during that time.  

    After coming from a season of severe drought, yet realizing now we had just enough, to a season of abundance (Lemon Dropper people let's all gag at this word), I realize in both there are things gained and things lost.  Things given and things taken.  Things needed and things unnecessary.  I'm so thankful for it all.  I'm thankful for the highs and lows.   Live always seems to come around in a circle... around and around.  I know drought in some way or shape or form will come again and I'll welcome it with thankfulness.  

    This year it is hard to express my gratitude and thankfulness.  I have so much to be thankful for.  Spending my days with Amelia.  Being available for the boys at anytime.  A new little life growing inside me that I can't wait to meet.  Friends I never asked for or dreamt of.  Family that loves me through thick and thin (AHAH literally!).  Our health and that we aren't facing anything life threatening.  My horse that has come full circle... my childhood dream now available to MY children. A home we love.  Neighbors we love. A church that I love to worship in.  A God that we can freely worship.  Internet!  A job I love and enjoy doing every day- the good parts and the sucky parts and the happy parts and the annoying parts.  The financial ability to give freely to others.  The ability to travel as we wish.  Finances to pay off student loans in huge chunks every month, and that the light at the end of the tunnel is so much closer than 20-30 years I've always accustomed myself to.   

    I hope you are all with loved ones today, or at least someone you're loved by.  I hope you can see all your blessings, no matter how big or small, and for those be thankful.   Happy Thanksgiving to you all.  May you be blessed beyond measure. 


    Sunday, November 23, 2014

    12 weeks

    Cravings:  
    Bread, cheese, cereal and milk.   Pizza sauce/spaghetti sauce give me heartburn and acid reflux.  I still eat it though, just not a ton.  I've also craved Arby's roast beef sandwiches and Wendy's spicy chicken sandwiches.  

    Symptoms/Feelings:  
    Heartburn. UGH.  Peppermint oil has been my lifesaver here.  A drop under the tongue and wash it down with water helps super quick.   My boobs.. SORE and huge. Gross.  I remember why I hate pregnancy.   My sense of smell has been like super-sized.  CRAZY.  I haven't been as tired or nauseous lately which is a plus!

    Changes:  I feel huge.  Still looking more fat than pregnant.  Gross.  


    Baby right now, at 12 weeks, is the size of a plum


    brain dump

    It's 3am and I found myself wide awake and my brain churning.  Thoughts running rampant, trying to sort out the feelings I have about Porter and school.   My mind is racing with what should I do, am I doing the right thing, am I overreacting, am I being ridiculous.   I need to write it out.  I need to list it all.

    Right now, for various reasons, I'm considering homeschooling or sending my kids to private schools.  This is something I never... ever.... ever... thought I'd consider.   I'm a teacher by degree.  I've worked in public schools and I am far beyond a helicopter parent who wants to shelter my kids from any little harm they could get in this world.   However, I feel like things have compiled to make me consider other options.

    My biggest concern is Porter.   Porter.... at school he's the friendliest, kindest, most loyal friend to others that I know.  He goes out of his way to shovel the neighbors driveways and sidewalks when it snows.  When the neighbors dog gets loose, he runs outside to get him and take him home.  He's helpful.  Kind.  Goodhearted.  Social.  In kindergarten, I remember going into school with him one day and he said hi to every adult that worked there that he passed.  Teachers from different grades, the gym teacher, aides.  He was Mr. Social.   He was- and is- friends to everyone.   He gives up his snack if someone in his class doesn't have one.  He goes out of his way to do nice things for them.  He risks his mothers wrath and stays with his friend on the playground after school because his mom is late and he doesn't want him to be alone.  However, his choices in friends kind of....sucks.  I don't know how to put this nicely.   He's a great student-- academically, socially, and behaviorally.  He doesn't get in trouble.  He follows rules.   But the kids he gravitates towards... do not.   This is isn't something new... I've had concerns since Kindergarten.   And, as he's gotten older and I've become more involved at the school, there are other issues that have been raising red flags to me.

    -Kindergarten.... he talked all the time about a 1st grader "G" who always seemed to be in trouble, or making bad choices.
    -The one child in his class, "M" that had all kinds of rotten behaviors- belching in my face one day while I was helping a little girl tie her shoes, talking rudely to adults etc- is one he started to gravitate towards.
    -First grade- he continued sitting by "M" at lunch, and playing with him on the playground.   We had many many discussions about choosing friends, and who you decide to hang out with can affect how others view you, and you have to make good choices in friends or you may find yourself in trouble even if YOU weren't doing anything wrong.
    -Second grade was when I really became concerned with SCHOOL, as well as friends.  1.  His class was a bit... disorganized.   I volunteered in his classroom one day a week, for the entire morning before lunch.   He had a student teacher for part of the year, which compounded the inconsistency in his classroom.  One child had an MP3 player in class.  There were tons of distractions- a handful of kids who were just... off the wall.  During writing assignments I couldn't help but feel like.... Porter can do better than what he's doing.  He isn't putting forth enough effort because there isn't structure here.  He's just "getting by".  He's capable of more.
    -I ask the boys every day... "Who did you sit with at lunch, kiddo?   Who did you play with a recess?"  I want to know who my child is choosing to spend their time with.   The boy in his 2nd grade class, "T", that he gravitated toward as a friend this year, knew more things than a 2nd grader should know.  It broke my heart, but also.... I don't want MY child exposed or hearing some of these things.  His dad had been in prison.  He stole from Porter.  He talked back to the teacher. He refused to listen to the teacher.  He put forth zero effort in his work and just scribbled.  The teacher told me at the end of the year that "T" was acting up more because he didn't want school to end and to be at home.  I'd discussed with the teacher if he was someone I should encourage or discourage Porter to play with/continue to be friends with.  He said Porter would be good for "T" but never let Porter go to his house.  My heart ached for this child but.... as a parent of my own child I have to protect MY child.   I felt like Porter was always going to have these friends he chose that I didn't allow him to hang out with outside of school.  And, as he gets older.... its going to get harder to discourage these friendships as peer pressure rises.
    -2nd grade, a boy was talking to Porter about SEX.   He came home and asked what it was.  What the actual hell.  SECOND GRADE!
    -Last year I had to stop the boys from riding the bus to and from school because the things I heard them say the 6th graders were talking about on the bus were so inappropriate.   Cussing, sexual words, threats to each other (not the boys, but other kids on the bus) etc.
    -3rd grade, I went on a field trip and in my group there were 4 kids.  A little boy and girl who were super sweet, Porter and another boy "D" who was a wild child.... as in, teacher having to ask him repeatedly to do things, him refusing to listen to the teacher, throwing a tantrum, etc.  Who does Porter talk about playing with? THIS child!
    -On the bus home from the field trip, I overheard another boy, "G", who was sitting in teh seat across the aisle from us say multiple totally inappropriate things. Mentioning something about "Condom candy" to the boy he was sitting with.  Joking about his friend (the boy he was sitting with) "licking his penis and liking it HAHAHA"  I was so appalled.  I said something to him numerous times and then the teacher did end up taking him to the front of the bus (along with "D" who was getting in trouble on the bus too).
    -The girls in front of us on the bus had her mom's iPod and were looking at half naked black and white model pictures of men on it and giggling. THIRD GRADE!  I'm sorry... but 1, why are you keeping sexual pictures of men on your phone (celebrities and the like.... you know, like you see some people Pin on Pinterest as "eye candy") and giving it to your child to take to school???
    -Hudson rides the bus from his school to Porter's after school so I can pick them up in one location.  Hudson told me one day a boy on the buss called him a "Mother F@$#er"
    -Porter- 3rd grade- goes out to recess with 6th graders. Doesn't this seem like a bit of an age gap to be playing unsupervised??  4th and 5th graders are together for recess.
    -Porter told me he was threatened during "Fun Friday recess" (an extra recess) by a 4th grader.   He was talking to his friend and this kid butted in, and Porter told him not to be rude and the boy told him "You'd better not talk to me or you'll be lying on the ground with a bloody nose/mouth (something like that)"

    AUGH!  As you can see.... its not just one incident.  And honestly, I can handle bullying/mean kids.  I can handle that.  And my kids are no strangers to swear words... I'm not mother of the year by any means.  But our society put so much sexualization in EVERYTHING and I'm starting to see the trickle down effect... its not just parents who let their little girls dress like mini teenagers... its the sexual things kids know about, hear about, think about.... and it grosses me out.   I want my children to be CHILDREN for as long as they can be.  I don't want to have to explain to my 3rd grader what a condom is.  I don't want my 3rd grader oogling over sexual pictures of the opposite sex.  And, I don't feel this way so much about HUDSON'S experience at school... he's in 1st grade right now and I haven't had one concern about friends/kids in his class etc.  He plays with 2 little girls most often, and they take stuffed animals to school and play with them on the playground.  I haven't had any red flags with him- yet- other than the kid on the bus calling him a MF'er.

    The hard thing is.... I don't dislike the school or school district.  I have no problem with the teachers or the curriculum.  I have FRIENDS who send their children there who have totally different experiences and who love it there.   I KNOW there are great kids that go to the school because I know their parents.  I want more than anything to LOVE where I send my kids to school.  I WANT to send them off to public school and feel they're safe and learning about age-appropriate things and not having access to the minds of children who have been corrupted by their parents/home environment.  I know private school isn't going to shelter them from all of this either.  There will be naughty kids there.  I know homeschool won't hide them from the horrors of the world forever, and to be honest it could totally trash our parent/child relationship because I honestly don't feel like I'm cut out for it.

    I don't know what the solution is right now.  I do know I've had this nagging feeling for the past year that this isn't working.  I don't know what to do, or where to go.   I could discuss all these concerns with the principal but honestly.... are they going to follow my child around and make sure he's not hearing inappropriate conversations at school on the playground?  No.  Is it going to change how other parents are parenting their kids at home?  No.  Is it going to change Porter's choice in friends he plays with during free time?  No. Its all things that CAN'T be controlled that are the problem.