Wednesday, November 11, 2015

fall conferences

Talk about a blow to parental confidence.  The kids had their first parent teacher conferences and I walked away feeling like inadequate parents.  

Porters conference was both the most surprising yet the easiest to process.  Porter has always been a mostly A student, top of the class in reading and in math.  Imagine my surprise when we meet with his teacher (whom I really like and feel is an amazing teacher) that he's "below grade level" in reading.  Whaaat?  This kid loves to read.  He has his nose in a book nearly every evening at bedtime.  In the past, he’s always been above grade level.  Comprehension/retelling was what he said kept his score down, which is understandable.  I know many factors can play into this, so it doesn’t worry me TOO much.  I feel like we need to step up our game immensely, though.   Socially, he said he seemed to have a setback in the beginning of the year- the kids he started to hang out with (mostly based on where he was seated in the classroom), were not making very good choices and he said, credit to Porter, he decided not to hang out with those two boys and kind of had to start over.  YAY! We are making progress on that front!!  Every year up until now I felt like he’d always gravitated toward “naughty” kids in class.   FINALLY!   He has been hanging out with a boy and his twin brother and a friend of theirs that he met during football.  His teacher said they’re good kids.  We’ve met their parents and spent a few minutes at their house on Halloween when we Trick or Treated in their neighborhood.  I’m feeling good about the “friend” issue this year.  

Hudson's conference was not unexpected, but made me feel so helpless as a parent.  Smaller issues were… messiness (he’s SO messy and disorganized), fiddling with little things, handwriting, spelling.  Across the board, attention and focus and lack of work completion was an issue.  This isn't new to us, and he has struggled with this the past 2 years. She said she knows he’s very intelligent- he has great ideas and he’s very imaginative.  He just doesn’t focus and can’t apply himself.   We discussed him being a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to some things (obvs. not his organization HAHA!  His room is not neat!).  He shuts down if he feels like he can’t do something the right way, or perfectly. She said she hates taking away recess to have him do his work because she feels he needs that social time.  We made a plan to have her send his work home, because we want to know when he’s refusing to do work, and we also think that will be a motivator for him to do it in class.  He knows there will be consequences at home if he doesn’t do his work in school.  I really love his teacher- she has all sorts of “seating” for the kids.  Some kids use a chair.  Some are on a balance board.  Some are on these “t” shaped board things that they can sway on while sitting.  Some are on a yoga ball.  Some just stand.  She said that she’s tried other seating tools and he does best standing.  She said that day in particular he did use a chair and she noticed it was not a very productive work day for him, so she’ll encourage him to stand as he seems to focus a little more when he stands.  This year, however, I feel is a make or break point, especially when it comes to writing.  I didn't realize it was at this point, but his teacher wants us to look into other options to help with his focus.  She mentioned speaking to his pediatrician.  Reading online. Looking at his diet. She welcomed him using essential oils if we felt that may help.  She was fully supportive of anything we wanted to try.   We’re going to try oils for awhile and hopefully will find a combination that works well for him.  I’m so worried… so frustrated… I feel so helpless.   We see his lack of focus at home all the time.  It takes him FOREVER just to get his pajamas on and brush his teeth because he ends up distracted by multiple things.   

On a better note, we went to Amelia’s conference that morning…. and turns out we were 2 weeks early.  So, yeah.  Winning on that one.   Luckily she’s doing great- socially well rounded, very independent (HAHA!), and very in tune with others’ feelings (she mentioned one little boy wanted to play dinosaurs on the playground and kind of scared the other girls, who just didn’t want to be chased by a dinosaur.  He kind of started sulking and was sad, and Amelia went over to him and said “Hey, here’s a ball to play with!  I’ll play with you!”)  So sweet.  :)   

Saturday, November 7, 2015

wild and free saturday

This morning, Poe, Hudson and AJ put on their rain boots, fleeces and hats, packed some snacks in a backpack and headed out to the woods to play.  They spent hours out there, imagining and playing and being kids.  They cleared a spot in the woods and built a (non-functional) campfire in the middle of it (carefully clearing around it so the leaves could't catch on fire).  They scouted out places to build a fort.  They came inside and I packed them lunches in their lunch boxes and sent them back out, after showing them some stick fort ideas from Pinterest.  Way to marry technology into this, right?  HAHA! 

This afternoon, the neighbor boys came out and they made their "base fort" in the pine trees out front and spent the afternoon and early evening playing nerf wars around the yard.   

This evening, the rest of the neighbor kids came over and they continued their nerf wars, rode the quad (and pushed it up our road when it ran out of gas... so cute seeing them all work together), and made plans to play kick the can after dark.

Days like this make me so thankful for our trust in this journey.   While we're settling in and feeling like this is more and more like home, days like this make me realize that this is what it's all about.  I wanted my kids to have room to run, land to play on, nature to stretch their imaginations.  They rarely ask to play electronics.  The whining and complaining indoors doesn't happen near as often.  They can spend endless hours outside running and playing and imagining.  This is the childhood I wanted for them.  This is the childhood I dreamt of for them.  Wild and free.  

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Big dreams

I turned the tv on for Amelia and gymnastics were on.  She was mesmerized and said about a girl on the beams "She's good.  When I get big I'm going to do that too!"  

When a girl came on on the bars she says "Oh that's me.  Wow.  I'm good.  I'm doing good on the bouncy bars!" 

Of another girl, she said: "I want her to come to my house!" 

Saturday, October 3, 2015

day by day

For the most part, we've settled into our home and it feels pretty good.   Most days, it does.  Most days it feels like we're in our own little corner of paradise.  We are secluded from the hustle and bustle, the kids have acres and acres to play on, we have a spacious home where we are no longer crawling on top of each other (except when everyone and the dogs want to be in the kitchen at the same time!), and the community is welcoming, friendly and has such a great, happy small town feel.  We're close to bigger cities... just 15-20 minutes from numerous cities with great shopping.

Other days just feel... off.  Other days it feels like a big mistake.  It feels isolated and foreign and unfamiliar and messy.  The "other days" are easy enough for ME to handle.  I know that we've landed in this spot for a reason.  I know we felt the need to move, to pick this place- this house- this town- for a reason. I know this is part of our journey and His plan.  But when the kids are feeling the "other days", it makes it so hard as a parent. 

Hudson has had the hardest time adjusting, and this doesn't surprise me.  I spoke with his teacher before school started and voiced my concerns.   He's quirky.  He doesn't play "typical" boy games like most of the boys did at his old school.  He sometimes has a hard time recognizing personal space. He can be obnoxious and not read social cues when people are all " You're being obnoxious, get out of my face... I'm over you".   He is immature for his age.  Even moreso being a boy.   My heart ached for him starting school.  I prayed the other kids would be accepting and find the good in him and realize his silly, sweet personality and heart were worth getting to know- quirks and all.   I was also terrified about his school work- he tends to want to do everything PERFECT and it paralyzes him into not doing ANYTHING at all.  He can be stubborn and refuse to do his work (Writing especially... he can sit for EVER saying he's thinking about what to write nad never get anything down on paper.)

As I've always done with the boys since they started school, I asked them each day who they played with at recess, and who they ate lunch with.  The first day of school I was so excited to know Hudson made a new friend right off the bat- Luke.  After a few days, it appeared he was no longer playing with Luke "because he wants to play cops and robbers and I want to play house!"  There were days he could name a few kids he played with, and there were days he said "I don't know...." hesitantly, only to finally admit he played alone.  My heart broke.  We discussed compromising and trying to play something the other kids wanted to play, but he was set on playing "house" or "wild baby animals".   He didn't want to play cops and robbers, or puppies and dogcatchers, or dinosaurs with the other kids.  We discussed that it was his choice- he had to decide if he would rather compromise and have friends to play with, or play alone and play what he wanted to play. 

The first week of school he brought home a paper that was incomplete (nothing even started on it) and a note stating that he refused to do any writing.  Another paper had a sentence on it with a note stating he completed with SIGNIFICANT help from the classroom aide.   I started having him write after school... I printed random, silly pictures off google and had him write 5 sentences about the pictures.  

I emailed his teacher last week and asked how he was doing- how school work was going and how he was doing socially.  She told me she was seeing the same things... that her class was full of great pretenders and the kids loved pretending, but Hudson wasn't wanting to try playing what everyone else was playing.   She recommended having him see the school counselor who can informally help him meet friends with a "friendship group".    She also said work completion was difficult- she could tell he was very bright but has a difficult time demonstrating it.

On Friday, I spoke with his teacher at the homecoming parade and she said that since we'd emailed, he seemed to have done a 180.   She had moved him next to Luke, and they seemed to be motivating each other to do their work.  He also had made a couple new friends that she noticed him playing with (He did tell me one day "I can't wait to go to school tomorrow... I have a new friend named Grace!"). 

Porter seemed, to me, to be taking everything in stride.  He made friends at football, and he always said he'd played some game or another with kids at recess.  He's enthusiastic to complete his homework as soon as he gets home.  When we went to the homecoming football game, he was greeted by a group of kids who ran up to him to have him go off and run around with them.  He seemed like he was doing fine. 

Tonight, however, he broke down.  All day he has been rotten to his brother and I had had enough.  I sent him to his room and went upstairs to let him know how I felt about his behavior... that he was being a bully, that the way he treated his brother was not how he would ever think of treating a friend or classmate, that I wasn't going to allow one of my kids to be a bully and that he was not going to be playing with friends until he could learn to be kind to his brother.  He started bawling.  And sobbing. We hugged and I let him calm down and asked him what he was feeling... he said he felt invisible. He said he had no friends.  He felt invisible at home and at school and that he's felt like he didn't fit in ever since 1st grade.  I asked about the boys he played with at the game and it seems like they're friendly, but this boy already has "good friends" that he's obviously been friends with for years.  I realized... maybe this isn't as easy for him as I thought.  Yeah... he isn't going to be able to jump into class and be good friends with anyone right away, and that can make you feel invisible and like such an outsider.  It takes time to build up those relationships and get to know someone well.  I explained to him that I felt very much the same... that I don't have any friends here and there isn't a school for moms to go meet other mom friends.  I let him know I understand how he feels and that the change is going to be hard for awhile until we let people get to know us.  

 So... day by day... day by day.   I know there will be good days and bad days.   I'm trying to roll with the punches here but some days I am afraid we made a wrong choice.  Most days I know we didn't... most days I know I won't regret this.  Most days I know we've opened up our kids to many more opportunities here.  But some days... some days I hate the messiness of this transition.  I hate the heartache my babies feel as they adjust.  I hate the behaviors and attitudes it brings out in all of us as we try to internalize our fears and worries and sadness and loneliness.   I look forward to the day where we feel like this is 100% home... where we belong... where we feel welcome and comfortable and familiar.

Day by day... day by day.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Amelia Says

Today, as she left for school, she was wiping off the fog/condensation from the front door.  She squeals, excitedly..."Look!  I'm windshielding!"   HAHA!  OH my word.  

This girl cracks me up all the time.  I regret not writing down every little thing she says because she is SO. DARN. CUTE.   Right now she LOVES "Fight Song" by Rachel Platten.  We get in the car and she says "Let's listen to the take back my life song!"  And she really gets into it.  I need to record her one day.  

Putting on "doderant" like mommy

"Look!  I did my hair spikey like Hudson!"  (that's a GLOB of hair paste)

Lunch one day after storytime at the library.  She has the best expressions.   

Thursday, September 17, 2015

half year updates

AMELIA @ 3.5:
This girl… she has such a charismatic personality.  I swear, everywhere we go the pre-tween girls just LOVE her.  And she eats up the attention like its a bag full of candy.  When we go to Porter’s football practices on Wednesdays, there is a group of 3 girls who are probably 8-11 years old maybe, and they just LOVE playing with her.  They push her in the swing and chase her around (because she is just running wild, grinning ear to ear “Hey come this way!  Let’s go do this!  Oh you can’t catch me!”).   I smile when I overhear the girls saying to each other “She’s so ADORABLE!   Isn’t she funny?  She’s so cute!"

She cracks me up when she accidentally breaks things… she’ll fess up. “Mom, I sorry I broked that ______… but it’s okay, it was an accident!”   And she’ll flash her big grin with her dark puppy dog eyes.  

This summer she fell into my grandmas pool without floats and Ryan had to jump in and save her.   She told us for weeks “I almost DRAINED!”   And every time we went to a pool she’d say “ I need my floats so I don’t drain again.  I don’t like to drain!”  

HUDSON @ 7.5:
Hudson is slowly but surely coming out of his shell.  He’s always been so painfully shy.  When we know he’s going to be in new situations, I try to coach him on how to respond when someone talks to him…. I let him know “You don’t have to talk to them a long time… you can be polite and just say Hi, or if they ask your name just tell them. OR if they ask you a question you can give them a thumbs up if it feels to hard or scary to talk.   When we went to his new school to meet his teacher he floored me with not being scared to say hi.  He recently started gymnastics where Amelia goes and he’s having a blast.  I think he lack of competition with others is giving him confidence… he loves the pit and trampoline.  He’s becoming more confident in going into class alone (I dropped him off yesterday and when I got inside with the girls he had joined his class on his own)

PORTER @9.5:
I am so proud of the little man he is becoming.  When we went camping this past August, I noticed just how much he’s growing, socially and emotionally.  This boy, he has so much wit and sarcasm and he’s hilarious to talk to.   At the campfire, he wanted to be included in all the conversation and joked back and forth with Ryan’s uncles.  It cracked me up, seeing him light up and shoot sarcastic jokes back.  He is starting to jump out of his comfort zone, too.   He’s always been a super social kid, and is always a friend to everyone.  But, in new situations, sometimes he freezes up, which has always surprised me with his go-getter attitude.   While on vacation, he randomly volunteered to be part of a demonstration for a log cutting mill demonstration.   He got up in front of the crowd, joked with the guy doing the demonstration, and had a great time.   It was adorable.   We also went zip lining and walked across a rope bridge.  I was CERTAIN he would bail, because when we were at Disney this past January he refused to do any of the big/fast rides that went high.  He wouldn’t go on the ferris wheel, or any ride that went high up.  However, he had no fear with the rope bridge, rock wall climbing or zip lining!  It was so neat to see him becoming so brave! 


Bear with me here.   My mind and heart are so full at the moment I feel it may explode.  You see, I’ve had an amazing weekend.   Again.  WORKING.   What’s that?  Yes.   Working.  This weekend has been a mixture of Hustle and Heart… digging in and doing hard work and collaborating and brainstorming with amazing women I have the pleasure of working with on a daily basis.  And digging in and doing hard emotional stuff that digs down deep to the core of you and leaves you raw and exposed and not the same as you were before.  

My job as a Lemon Dropper… our team puts on these amazing FUEL events (Fire Up Everything in Life) and I had only planned on attending the Chicago one.  However, when I found out Kelly secured Glennon Melton (THE Momastery writer) for Orlando Fuel, I was in.  I booked my flight and I was in.  

Glennon was amazing.  I mean, how couldn’t she be?  She’s amazing.   She made me reflect and think and cry and laugh hysterically, sometimes all in the same minute.  She said something this weekend, though, that really hit me.  She was talking about how we, as women, tend to judge ourselves so harshly.   We look at others and we judge ourselves because we aren’t like them, or our lives aren’t like theirs.   We see everyones “highlight reel” on social media and feel like we aren’t enough.   We start to feel like those that make choices that differs from ours means that they’re doing things better.   She told this hilarious story about not having it all together (surprise HAHA!) and feeling like this mom at the mall was feeding her “perfect” child an avocado as a dig at her.  She said…. we see these glimpses of things that are different than our journey, and we feel like those people are doing those things “at” us.  She said… No one is breastfeeding “AT YOU”.  No one is organic eating “AT YOU”.  No one is stay at home mom-ing “AT YOU”.  No one is vacationing “AT YOU”.  No one is dressing perfectly “AT YOU”.  We have to stop letting other women and their life choices be a reflection of what we don’t see in the mirror.   We have to stop judging ourselves based on their pretty, or their money, or their perfect, or their success, or their talent.  And…. we have to stop hating them for it too.  We have to be able to see and appreciate the beauty that they possess and the unique beauty that we, too, possess.  H.E.L.L.O!  

Mothering is hard.  We can’t bear the weight of life all alone and spend our lives in competition with others that are not like us.  Another thing she was saying was:  In carpentry, walls are built on joists.  Joists are where two pieces of wood join together to bear the weight of a load above it.  When the joist is too weak to bear the weight of the load, the carpenter will put a a board on one side of it.  If that isn’t enough, they’ll put another board on the other side of it.   Do you know what this is called?  SISTERING! Sistering.  Seriously.   What a perfect word, because isn’t that what our girlfriends do?  When life is hard, they come and stand beside you and they help you bear the weight of the load you are too weak to carry.  We have to stop being at odds with each other as women and we have to stand together, beside each other, and support each other.   Life is so heavy.  And messy.  And HARD.   We are going to need our sisters to survive it.  

My word this just about hit me upside the head.   And you know what happened this weekend?  A lot of sistering.   As we had dinner Saturday night, and I ended in tears about how NOT together I felt I was, how crazy life felt for me, how out of control I felt with things…. my girls… they were there beside me, standing there, giving me words of advice and encouragement and supporting me while I was weak.  Its so hard to admit I’m weak and broken and imperfect. I’m so blessed to have these girls by my side.  

As I leave Orlando and reflect on the amazing relationships I have with these women… these sisters… I realize that this is what its all about.  Coming together, working together, supporting each other.  SISTERING.   My heart is heavy as I give hugs and say goodbyes, knowing that little pieces of my heart are hopping on planes and scattering across the country back to their homes and families.  And I, too, will head home to my sweet family that I’ve missed.   I know, despite the difference, they are there beside me, sistering when I need them.  And I can’t wait to see them again, to hug their necks again.  What a blessed life I have.  

Monday, September 14, 2015

Life on the other side

Holy heck... it has been a whirlwind this past month!   Let me do a little catching up, I guess.  I may come back later and go into detail more (like about our trips etc) but we'll see.  I spent my flight back home from Orlando (for FUEL)  writing out a daily schedule.  Some of my goals for my schedule are:
  • Blog 30 min/day
  • Run 30 min/3x's a week
  • Read 30 min/night before bed
  • Scrapbook about 2 hrs/week (or two times a week?)
  • Ride 1-2x's/week
So.   This past month.  
  • We closed on the house Thursday, July 29th. WOOT WOOT!  We got in and immediately I started painting the kids' rooms.  There was a bit of drama with the power etc... I'll have to write more about that later HAHA!
  • That Saturday, Ryan, Eloise and I headed to Dallas for the week for Young Living's Convention.  We had an awesome time, but I was so ready to get back to Michigan and MOVE!
  • We got back home Thursday night and drove back out to the new house to check out the painting.  We hired a painter to paint the living room and upstairs loft.   It. Looked.  Amazing. 
  • Friday we moved some things out to the new house and I finished up painting a bit. 
  • Saturday... MOVING VANS CAME!   Boy they were super fast!  Totally worth the cost. 
  • We spent a week in the house getting settled.   The first night in the new house, Porter and Hudson slept together in Hudson's new full-sized bed.   It was so sweet but it kind of broke my heart to know that they felt unsettled.  I know its normal, and I love that they felt that each other was their security.  
  • On August 15th we left AGAIN for a week up in Mackinaw City.  It was a trip we'd planned before we knew we were moving, and Ryan's uncle was flying in from Texas to camp the week with us.  We couldn't miss it.   I hate to admit, though, that my heart just wasn't into the trip.  We had a great time, but I was really just itching to be home and getting settled in.  Not to mention that I'd barely had time to work in the past month and felt like I was in a working mood and really really really wanted to just go home and hole up in my office.  Sick, right? I'll write more about the trip later :) 
  • We got home from Mackinaw and had a busy week.... the McKenney's and Kilchers came over Monday, I spent Tuesday at the barn and back in Jackson, I had a few team webinars that week, and we met with a builder to have our mudroom/laundry room addition built.  Oh, and Ryan met with a realtor back at our old house to get it listed for sale.  AND we had Home Depot out to measure to put in wood floors here at the new house.  Yeah... this carpet has GOT to go.   I don't know how people live with carpet.  Ruby keeps peeing on it.  Duncan keeps pooping on it.  The kids are spilling shit on it left and right, and I've dropped paint on it already.  Fail. 
  • We took the kids on an "official" back to school shopping trip. We had a lot of fun.  The boys picked out matching shoes.   I found lots of cute things for the girls- as if they need anything new HAHA! 
  • The last week of summer we tried to cram everything in.  We went to Independence Lake Blue Heron Bay waterpark/splash pad on Thursday.  I felt like we just needed to go do something fun.  Ryan was mowing the lawn (it takes freakin' 5 hours!) so I loaded up the 4 kids and we went!  I was a bit bummed at first... seeing all these other moms with groups of friends and I was there alone.  But whatever.   I ended up chatting with a dad whose daughter was playing with Amelia and heard his whole story about moving back from Chicago and he's an actor and we talked about challenges of working from home/for yourself etc.   Then Porter realized a little girl he'd been playing with was in his grade at his new school.  SOOO I mustered up guts and went up to her mom and introduced myself and chatted with her for quite a bit.  
  • The next day we went to Erika's and hung out at her pool.   The boys had Eian, our neighbor at our old house, come stay the night.  
  • I finally got the boys registered for school... whew!   We went to their open houses and I'm super impressed with their schools.  I'm a little leery of P's teachers, so we'll see how that goes (he has a male teacher... and his last male teacher wasn't so great, so I'm just totally skeptical of male teachers HAHA!).   Hudson's teacher has been teaching awhile and she seems like she has a good, firm personality for Hudson which will be great.   Their media centers have iMacs in them... like 15....whaaa?  Sweet.  They also have this local Farm to School Program where one week a month they bring in fresh fruit/veggies etc from the community as a part of their lunches.  It seems pretty awesome!
  • Amelia started preschool today and she LOVED it.  I knew she's be great.  She went into her class with no problem at all.  She's so ready.  I'm not. 
  • Eloise is getting so big! She's the smiliest thing ever.  She LOVES her big siblings and they can make her smile and laugh so hard.  
WHEW!  So that's it for now... I have a lot I want to go into more detail about, so I'll have to get my butt to work on that 30 min/day blogging!  

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The last time

Last week, we were in the middle of chaos moving into the new house.  The kids had had about their 14th consecutive night being up far past bedtime.  Nerves were frayed. Everyone was overtired.  I got the kids in the bath and my eyes were on the prize: bedtime.  

I got Hudson and Amelia out of the girls' bathtub, and inbetween reminding Hudson to brush is teeth and wrangling Amelia to get her pj's on, I heard Porter yell for me to look at him.  I peek across the hall and acknowledge him and his silliness.  He says to me "Take my picture, mom!"

I sighed.  My phone was downstairs.  I wanted everyone in bed.  I began to tell him no and then I paused.  No. These moments are going by too fast.  They're growing up so fast.  How do I know this won't be the last time he ever asks me to take a silly picture of him in the bathtub?  How sad will I feel if I pass up this opportunity in my hands to document these fleeting moments of childhood that he is so quickly outgrowing?  

So I told him to hang on. I ran downstairs and got my phone.  So worth it.  So. Worth it.  

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

goodbyes suck

7 summers ago I sat in this exact spot, on dirty carpet, feeding an infant Hudson while 2 year old Porter scampered around. The weeks prior to closing on this house were stressful and emotional. This house was my happy place. It was dirty, a foreclosure, but it was to be our home and I had big dreams for it. I would come here during the days, pick up a hot n ready pizza, land slowly work on fixing things up and making it a home. Today we are picking up the last straggling things of our belongings and it's breaking my heart to say goodbye.

Emotional wreck right now. I can't revisit this house again. It makes me so sad to think of all the memories we leave here. This is the last time the boys will run to the neighbors to play with E and K. I won't see them climb the tree in the front yard again. I won't hear them scamper off to the neighbors for Popsicles. It's crazy how 4 walls can hold so much more than your worldly belongings.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

The last night.

Tonight is our last night at H House.   This move is so bittersweet.  We never thought we would have or want to move from H House. When we moved here, we had a 2 year old and 7 week old.  This was our first "real, grown up" house.  It had a doorbell and sidewalk to the front door!  It was more than double the size of our first home and we had big visions for this house.  I still have the long term "to do" list for H House and we surprisingly completed SO much of it.  We have so many amazing memories in this home.  Our boys grew up here!  The boys had their first days of school here.  First steps were taken by Hudson and Amelia. Our girls were brought home here.  Our family expanded from 4 to 5 to 6 in this home.  We've eaten dinner with good friends here.  We've had Thanksgiving dinners here from the stages of having "kid tables" to now having to host it buffet style because everyone has grown so much.  Santa came down this chimney for the past 7 years.  We've put sweat, tears and lots of love into these 4 walls.  I pray that the next family that moves in will see how special this house is and they too will create some amazing family memories here.  I hope they realize what a treasure the neighbors are.  Earlier today I heard the kids laughing and playing outside and it made me sad to think that it would likely be the last time Gary and Linda, our neighbors, would hear our kids' laughter (and fighting) from their yard. As hard as the house is going to be to say goodbye to, the neighbors will be the hardest.  They've become like family to us.  It's special, having neighbors who are a bit older than you but who get along with you and are so fun and relatable. They treat my kids like their grandchildren.  I remember when Porter was about 4, he realized Linda kept popsicles at her house so he would draw pictures for them and ask to take them next door, hoping she would offer him a Popsicle in return for his scribbly art.  The memories here.... So many amazing memories in our hearts.  So long, H House.  Many blessings for your next family.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

you will be changed

A few years ago, if you'd have told me my completely content and happy life was going to get shaken up, relationships broken, plans flipped upside down and yet it would fall into the most perfect place I could never have imagined existing I would have called you crazy. Everyday I thank my lucky stars that I have the faith and patience and trust to follow paths that God has put in front of me. That I've been brave enough to make myself vulnerable and take risks. I've been rewarded with the most amazing circle of women who allow me to be me. Who support each other. Who make each other the best versions of themselves. Who learn from each other, grow with each other and cherish each other. To say that every fabric of my being has been altered by these amazing women is the truth. And I'm fully better for it in every way possible.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

saying goodbye

Tonight the boys and I had a good cry over all the changes going on.   We've had a rough few days- they've been GOOD days, don't get me wrong- filled with fun and hard work and exciting changes, but not a whole lot of "family connecting time".  

I was tucking them in bed tonight and reminded them to get to sleep quickly so they didn't sleep in too late tomorrow and miss us before we left for the airport.  They both started bawling- but not because we're leaving- because we're moving.  They're SO upset about leaving our neighbors.  And truthfully, I am too.  And I know our neighbors are as well... last weekend we sat out on Gary and Linda's new deck and had a few drinks and the kids played Bocce ball with Gary and Ryan.  Linda got choked up watching the kids play- she said that's what she wants her back yard to look like- people over there having fun, kids playing.  She said she always thought she'd get to watch our kids grow up.  And that Amelia just has this special spot in her heart- she just adores her.  

Gaw.  I'm about crying now.   We just LOVE our neighbors.  And the Kelleys--- our kids have grown up together!  They're like siblings.  Its going to be so so hard to leave them. SO hard.  I know that changes are hard but will bring lots of new, good things into our lives, but it really sucks to have to say goodbye to people we love so much.

I tried to explain to the boys that goodbye doesn't mean we won't ever see them again.   Its like our family- we don't live next door to them, but we still love them and still see them.  Same goes for the Pattons and Kelleys.   We will always love them and miss them, but we can always call them or email or text them and see them if we want!  We just have to make time for it.   Porter wanted to get a picture of them, so I told him we'd make sure to take pictures with them before we move so we can put their pictures up at our new house.  I told them that Gary, Linda and the Kelleys will ALWAYS have a special place in our hearts because they were a big part of our lives the past 7 years.

I'm also so nervous about our new neighbors.  Its hard to think of a move as if we are "trading" off one set of neighbors for another.  It kind of is.  Moving is give and take... compromise.   We're trading off a smaller house for a larger one.  We're choosing a home that suits us better.  But, the trade off is we're also trading in our neighbors, community, school as well.  So, we have to pray and hope that what we're trading ends up being good for us.   So far we really like our new neighbors but we don't know them well enough to know if they are truly down to earth type people.  My gut feeling right now is that they won't really be people (wives) that I hang out with and get close to, but so far our kids get along SO well and love each other.  Time will tell.

I'm trying to remind myself that we've been so blessed with amazing neighbors and we're so lucky to have people in our lives that make it hard to say goodbye.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Be still in the inbetweenness

This moving thing is starting to wear on me.  The stress of being here, and wanting to be there.  Top that off with a crammed timeline- hoping to close ASAP so we have time to paint and get some things done in the new house before we leave for Dallas, trying to pack and also plan for the kids to be here with my sister for the week we are out of town, planning for the movers to come the day after we get home, and then knowing we have another vacation a week later.  I'm feeling 50 shades of anxious and stressed.  

We've had so many hang ups with the mortgage on our new house. Turns out it's easier to get a loan when you don't have money.   The underwriter is being so ridiculously nit picky about things.  They are having all sorts of issues with our LLC and the fact that we just created it this spring even though we've had this business for over 2 years.  We have essentially had to launder our down payment into our personal account because they don't want us using funds that are in our LLC bank account or that can be traced back to it.  Funny, seeing that the LLC account IS MY JOB and everything that is in our personal account comes from it when we write ourselves a paycheck every month.  We are waiting for one last hangup and if the underwriter still isn't happy with our documentation we will likely switch to another lender and start the process over.  (However, we have an AMAZING loan person who is fighting tooth and nail for us, and had already given the 2nd bank the rundown of our story and they said they could likely close us by the end of the month since we have everything done already) 

So I'm trying to be patient.  I'm trying to be still and trust that there is something to be gained or learned from this process. I'm trying to be happy in the present, even though I'm so checked out of this house already.  I'm ready to go into the next step. I'm ready to settle in and get our lives started in our new home.  I'm ready to not have boxes everywhere, and to not have these trips ahead of us anymore.  I have been trying to spend some quiet time each day and pray and just be present in the here and now.  I know that this is just part of the process and we will be through it soon, but being stuck in the middle of it right now just feels like the light at the end of the tunnel is so far away. I know it isn't.  But it feels that way.  

So anyhow, I've been trying to focus on things that keep me centered here, where we are, regardless of mess or chaos or in betweenness.  

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

(the other) Apple Creek

We decided at the last minute to go camping with the Kilchers and Deers at Apple Creek (not our new neighborhood... but ironic, right?), which is a little campground about 10 minutes from our house. Worked out perfect so that we could go let the dogs out a couple times a day. 

Erika texted us that a site was available across from them, and we packed up and headed out a few hours later.  We had a great relaxing weekend.  The kids rode bikes, got disgustingly dirty, we watched fireworks, went on walks, played at the playground, decorated bikes for the 4th of July parade, roasted marshmallows, grilled out, walked dogs, found worms and frogs and bugs, and well... all sorts of fun things!  Our kids get along so well.   Hudson LOVES Jude... he was so excited to go camp with him and he took him on countless walks.   Jack just ADORES Eloise and was always snuggling up to her and wanting to hold her.  Amelia and Emryk had so much fun being silly little toddlers together too.  

We had a couple hilarious things happen over the weekend.  Sunday, the people next to us were leaving and the wife accidentally drove the truck into the water spigot, breaking it off.  Water was shooting EVERYWHERE and flooded our campsite.  We had to move our camper, but luckily a lot of people were clearing out so we just moved next to the Kilchers.  (Michelle and Kevin had left already).  Then, late Sunday night everyone was playing kick the can in the dark... I was sitting in the camper and had fallen asleep waiting for Amelia to fall asleep.  Hudson comes in and tells me there is a problem... there is water everywhere.  I went outside and there was ANOTHER water spigot broken.  Turns out a 12 year old girl from another campsite was playing kick the can with them and she ran into the spigot and broke it off, flooding ANOTHER site next to us.  The poor girl was in so much pain and her parents took her to the ER.  I wouldn't be surprised if she broke her foot.   I felt so bad for her!   Erika and I couldn't stop laughing at the craziness of not one but TWO broken spigots near us, and TWO geysers of water flooding the campground.  Quite the memories! 

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

when your tuesday feels like monday

Today has been so chaotic and jumbled and I feel like neither Ryan nor I have enough arms or eyes to keep on top of things.  Our living room looks like our closets exploded.   Loads and loads and loads of laundry are waiting to be folded.  Ack.   The kids have been running wild.  Eloise is being super needy today.  Not fussy... just... she wants to be held.   She's also been more awake lately and she's still in that awkward stage where she can't play or interact much, but just wants to be awake.  And held.  
  • We took a last minute camping trip over teh weekend.   We had a great time but.... we had limited wifi/cell service so I am spending a huge part of my day catching up on work I got behind on over the weekend.
  • We have both been scrambling to get together last minute documents and information and letters to get our mortgage on the new house loan wrapped up.
  • Speaking of... buying a house and being self employed is like jumping through a million hoops. We've had to write letters with proof of when I started with Young Living, and letters stating our intent of keeping our current house off the market until we move, and letters from our CPA stating they have in fact done our taxes and that we still have our LLC.
  • I signed the boys up for football and soccer camp in the new town we're moving to, and signed Hudson up for a Cookies and Canvas class too.  I'm hoping that they can at least meet a few kids that will be in their school so they have a few familiar faces when school starts.  Porter thinks he wants to try lacrosse in the spring too.
  • I have been obsessed with Pinterest and planning what we're going to do with the house once we move in, as well as trying to figure out how we're going to lay out our horse pastures etc.  I have no clue what I'm doing, by the way, when it comes to horse pastures!  But then this leaves me thinking... we need to clear out the wooded area to make pastures.  When will we have time for that?  
  • I think I'm going to board Lacey this fall/winter so that we can try to get settled into the house, get some of the property cleared for more pasture land, and I'll have access to an indoor arena to ride (score!).   So, calling boarding stables in the area is on my list as well this week.
  • I'm chomping at the bit to get things scheduled before we leave for Convention in August.  We're going to have someone come in and do the floors and paint the interior of the house while we're gone... or at least that's my plan... but I have a feeling dates aren't going to line up like I want HAHA!
  • We should have a closing date in the next 2 weeks or so!  This is exciting... as it may give us about an extra week before we leave for Dallas.   Did I mention we have 2 trips planned in August... so we'll be gone 14 out of the 31 days in August?  I'm not sure how we're supposed to move in the middle of all that!
  • My brain is just in 53 different directions.  I'm making lists on top of lists on top of lists on top of lists.  Work Lists.  Moving Lists.  Kids Activities Lists. Chore Lists.  Team Lists.  Finding New Doctors/Insurance/Barns/Vet/Dentist/Church Lists.  New House Project Lists.    Scrapbook/Project Life/Photo Book Lists.  Childcare While We're Gone Lists.  Summer Camp Lists.
  • I'm finding myself wishing that time would hurry up so  can get into the new house, get this house on the market and get settled into life again.   But then, I'm realizing that summer is going by SO FAST and that technically once we're settled into the house means summer is over!  Catch 22 there.  
The boys have Nerd Camp tonight.  Tomorrow I have a full day of coaching calls with my team, and then I got a phone call today reminding me of Eloise's ultrasound appointment tomorrow (which I had completely forgotten about). Plus I have dinner with a friend to cram in there too.   Ryan's going to be single dad-ing it up tomorrow, that's for sure.  Sorry, honey! 

Thursday, July 2, 2015

its time

If I said I wasn't freaking out about the upcoming move we're making, I'd be lying.  I have thrown around "what if's" left and right since the sellers accepted our offer on their house.  I'm scared.  I'm nervous.  I'm excited.  I'm hopeful.  But mostly... I'm freaking out.  

We've never lived outside of Jackson.  We don't HAVE to move to this are.  We don't HAVE to leave Jackson.  However, we also don't HAVE to stay here either.  Our jobs give us the freedom to choose where we want to move to, and that's overwhelming.  Exciting, but overwhelming.  I almost think it would make it easier if we had a pinpointed spot we NEEDED to stay near.   Neither of us loooove Jackson enough to want to stay here forever, but it also makes me nervous that we won't love the area we're moving to either.  (you know, that whole "Grass is greener on the other side" saying...)

I'm just so afraid of regretting this move.  I'm afraid we aren't going to find a church we love as much as Westwinds.   I'm freaking out that we won't like our new neighbors (and we only have 2 options... since there are only 3 houses on the private drive and all 3 of us have acreage so there isn't likely to be anyone else building here).  I'm worried we won't make friends in the area that "mesh" with us.  Or that we'll hate living a little bit out in the country/rural areas.  

I'm also sad... sad that we'll be further away from our friends in Jackson.  I'm sad that we're leaving a house that we've spent the past 7 years putting our sweat and heart into.  I'm sad that we're leaving neighbors that we absolutely adore. I'm sad that the boys are going to leave the neighbor kids they've grown up with.  I'm scared for the boys and their transition to a new school.  What if they don't make friends? What if they don't fit in? 

I know for the most part I'm overreacting.  I know for many people moving to a new town, or even a new state, is nothing.  But, moving outside of our comfort zone isn't something we are used to, so this is huge.  And scary. And it feels really unnecessary, but it also feels so right.  It feels like a chance is in front of us- nothing is holding us here.  It feels like we need to be brave. Adventurous.  Live a little. Explore and get outside of this little town we've grown up in.  Show our kids that we can do brave things, that we can stick together in scary, new situations.  

All those things have been running through my head.  The fear.  The worry.  The thought of regret.  The excitement.  The possibilities.  

On Monday we had the inspections done at Apple Creek.   Monday could not have come at a better time.  I literally had just spewed all those fears to some of my closest friends and then God gave me a nod of approval that I'd been waiting for. 

When we got to Apple Creek, the inspector (Ken) came out and said "So, this is my house..."  to which we were both kind of confused.   Turns out wife who owns the house was Ken's daughters preschool teacher.  They liked Ken's house and floorplan, so Ken gave them the blueprints and they had the house built!  So, he was super familiar with everything in the house and filled us in on all the pros/cons.   The house passed with flying colors.  It is a nice, solid house.  The only issues are that the gutters need to be cleaned out and there is a leaky tub handle in the master bathroom.  Easy peasy.  (Way better than the inspections on H House almost exactly 7 years ago! )

As we were leaving we saw the neighbors walking up the road.  A girl around the boys' age was riding a bike and a littler boy was on a motorized john deere tractor.  Their mom was walking with them.  She stopped and said hi and we started chatting.   She was really sweet.  It turns out they have 4 kids as well- 10 year old twins (boy and girl), a 9 year old girl and a 5 year old boy. AND the other house on the road has a 9 and 6 year old.  So incredibly perfect.   She seemed really nice, and we chatted about schools and the neighborhood and kids for a few minutes.  

When we drove away I just felt so at peace.  I feel like I was given a nod of approval that this is the right decision and that everything is going to be okay.   It will be a-okay.  

Friday, June 26, 2015

Kidz Kamp and Jesus

The boys went to Kidz Kamp this week... as usual, they loved it.  If you're in the Jackson area, this is SUCH  an awesome church camp!   They have tons of different classes kids can choose from (They get assigned to 3 for the week).  Hudson did Clay Creations, Wearable Art, and Drivers Training.   Porter had CSI, Driver's Training and Wilderness Survival.   Hudson REALLY loved the Clay Creations class... and both loved Driver's Training.  I wish they had more of these throughout the summer... I'd sign them up for every one!  They have so much fun.

Wednesday night Porter said to me, out of the blue "Do you know I have Jesus living inside me? Pastor ____ told us that we can accept Jesus into our hearts to live in us, and if we haven't done that yet, he said we could go to him at camp and ask Jesus to forgive all of our sins.  I went up with some other kids and asked Jesus forgive my sins."  Oh my heart.  My heart just exploded and I almost cried.  I told him I was SO proud of him and SO excited for him... and that I remember when I was about his age asking Jesus into my heart, too.   Porter told me that Hudson didn't go up there and I said that was okay, that he could do that on his own time and you can ask Jesus to forgive your sins anytime you want.  And it was kind of like being baptized, and if he remembered watching baptisms at Westwinds.  That being baptized was asking Jesus to wipe your sins away and to vow to follow him and have him in your heart always.  He told me he wanted to be baptized at Westwinds.  I have prayed for my kids (and my husband) for the day they decide they want to be baptized and to follow Jesus.   And here, here is my sweet boy telling me he's ready.   I'm so so proud of him.

Eloise Claire | 1 month

Exactly one month ago I was meeting this sweet girl for the very first time.  It is amazing how in those very first seconds, you realize you could never imagine life without them.  And in such a short amount of time she filled in every empty space in our home and hearts as if she has always been here.  She was meant to be, maybe not quite in our plans, but in His.  And I can't believe we ever thought we were complete before her.

  • She loves to be held.   Probably because I hold her all the time.   What can I say... she's the last baby!
  • We have an extra double bed in her room so I've been sleeping in there so that I can get up with her in the night and not wake anyone else up.  She has yet to sleep in her crib... she falls asleep best next to me.  
  • At 1 month old she eats between 2-4 ounces.  She's sometimes a grazer when it comes to eating and will eat an ounce here, an ounce there... other times she'll eat an entire 3 oz bottle and want more half an hour later. 
  • She's still wearing newborn diapers and size 1's (though they're a little big).  
  • In the past few days she's begun smiling when you talk to her.  Like, genuine, big grin, wiggling body smiles.  I love it. 
  • She wears newborn size clothes, and some 0-3month
  • She isn't a fan of swaddling.  She loves to be held close to you, though, and likes to sleep on her side. 
  • She rarely cries... only if she's hungry.  
  • In the past month, she has accumulated a few nick names already.   We call her Lulu, Lou, Louie, Baby Sis and Hudson for some reason calls her "Bum Bum".   We clearly love terms of endearment in this family :)  

Sunday, June 21, 2015

new babies bring new houses....

What is it about new babies and new homes coming at the same time?    7 years ago we moved from our first home to my mom's house while we were trying to close on our current home ("H House" is the nick name I gave it).   We had a 10 day old baby.   I slightly lost my mind. I documented it quite well back then and it makes me laugh thinking of all the craziness we went through.  

Eloise is not quite a month old and we have an accepted offer on a home that is pretty close to our dream home (ok... not DREAM home... because well, I can dream pretty damn big, but this house is perfecto for us!).   I'm going to attempt to blog more often and document our process to moving into "Apple Creek"

For the past few years I've been itching to move... out of Jackson.  Out of Michigan.  Well, we went back and forth for some time about moving to North Carolina.  After our recent trip to the coast for spring break, we finally decided that instead of moving to North Carolina, we are going to stick around Michigan.   We would miss the Great Lakes, Mackinaw, sand dunes, camping, family, etc.... we just can't leave.  Sure, winters suck... but that's when you plan a vacay somewhere warm in the dead of winter!    We decided that once we are settled into a new home and have our finances all set up (aka... all of our grown up responsibilities that our financial advisor has us investing in such as IRA's, life insurance policies etc....), we hope to invest in an oceanfront rental in North Carolina.  It'd be an investment, and we'd also be able to use it for vacations as well... so it's a win win (and somehow I'd like to make it a work expense and do something like offer it up to my team members as a reward/incentive/rank congrats etc).  We'll see how that pans out.  First focus is on getting into a home on land for horses and kits to run.

Where was I going here?? Oh yeah, Michigan.  So, we decided to stay in Michigan but neither of us *love* Jackson... and since a job does not hold us back here, we decided we're going to head on out.  We casually have been browsing the market to see what was out there... we've looked at a handful of houses over the past few months but nothing was "right".  We need land for a few horses and quads.   And we need a larger house because... kids (and dogs).   We'd find THE PERFECT property, but the house was small/weird layout/needs too much work, or we'd find THE PERFECT house and it was not on land or something.

We hooked up with a friend who is also a realtor in the area we had decided to move to.  On a whim, we decided to have her take us to see 4 houses that had been on our watch list on  One house had my eye for sure after I saw the floor-plan on the realtors website, but I wasn't planning on making any commitment this soon.   We knew we weren't going to send the boys back to Michigan Center this fall and were okay with finding another district for a year, or homeschooling, or driving them to the school we planned to move to.   We knew with our list of "must-haves" that it might take awhile to find the right property.

When we walked into Apple Creek I'll be honest... the oak trim and doctors office colors in the house really blocked my mojo.   I was hesitant.   I liked the house.  I really liked the house.  I just wasn't sure if I was supposed to find THE ONE.  We spent some time there and honestly, I kind of felt like I did when I walked through H House the first time.  Kind of like... ehh it's okay, but I'm not moved.

We spend the afternoon and evening discussing the houses and the more we discussed it, the more we thought about it, the more we felt like this was the right one.  I began moving ourselves into the house in my mind.  My brain started decorating and remodeling and I saw myself watching the kids play in the woods and looking out my office window at my horses in the pasture.  We really started to fall in love.

We set up another appointment to go back to the house and walk through again, this time bringing Ryan's dad and my friend LeeAnn.  I wanted other opinions.   I wanted someone to tell me if there was something I'd end up hating in the long run, or to point out things I might be missing.  In the meantime, I spoke with our mortgage person and got our finances in order.

The kids came with us to the house and after a good hour and half of checking everything out, we realized we wanted to put an offer in on it.   Ryan's dad- Mr. Negative- had a paper to write a list of anything he thought could be a "con" about this house.   Before we left he said "Well... I don't have anything on my paper....".   I'm pretty sure this house is meant to be.

The next evening we put in an offer and heard back from the sellers within an hour.  We negotiated back and forth and within 3 hours we'd settled on an offer and they accepted.  Kind of surreal!  I'm anxious to get the ball rolling.   Our realtor is out of town this week and the following week we're on vacation, so getting both of us there for inspections is proving to be tricky.

So, here we go again... new baby, new house.  Hopefully this transition won't be quite as stressful or crazy.  We're not planning to list our house for sale until we move into the new house, which will make things a lot easier.  The thought of packing up 4 kids and 3 dogs and getting the house in show condition makes me cringe.  The only downside is the house will be empty when it shows, and that means all the awful dings and marks and scratches on the walls from 7 years of living will be loud and clear HAHA!

Saturday, June 13, 2015


SCENE:  Bedtime.   Amelia is having a "sleepover" in Hudson's room since Porter is out of town with Oma. She had a chewed up piece of gum she sat on the night stand to chew in the morning.  Imagine utter attitude and disgust in the 3-year olds voice.

Ryan:  Ok, you need to get in bed and cover up.
Amelia:  But I NEED to find my gum!
Ryan:  I threw it away.
Amelia:  Are you KIDDING me?
Ryan:  I'll give you another piece in the morning.
Ryan: It was all chewed up.  You can have another piece in the morning.
Amelia:  SERIOUSLY?   (puts head in hands) Dummy. Don't even worry about it.

Lord help us when she's a tween.

Friday, June 5, 2015

losing at jumanjii

The past 2 weeks have been insanely busy and overwhelming.   Let's see... the chaos seemed to start the week before Eloise was born.

  • We had the floors put in, so that was 3 days of jumbled, unorganized mess. 
  • Hudson's birthday- which we didn't celebrate in our typical "party" way... which crushed me a little bit
  • Eloise arrived that weekend
  • Baseball games 2-3 nights a week
  • Dance rehearsal one evening
  • Dance recital one afternoon
  • Field Day at Porter's school
  • Author readings at P's school
  • P's end of the year class party
  • Hudson had a Memories Party with his class one evening
  • The horse had her hooves trimmed one day, and another day the vet was out to the barn for shots
  • Eloise has had 2 baby well visits in the past week
  • Multiple chiropractor appointments
  • I've been planning Hudson's actual birthday party we're having for him next weekend
  • Drake, the dog, has been to the vet 2 times in the past 2 weeks 
  • I've been desperately trying to catch up on work, and get things out for June for my teams, as well as follow up with my team members from May.  I'm feeling overwhelmed because people still need me and are still coming to me as their leader but I'm just drowning.  
Let me tell you.... I am SO SO relieved school is over.  This has to be the busiest end of the year ever. My house... I saw this funny joke on the internet the other day "My house looks like I'm losing a game of jumanjii"  Oh yes, yes it does.  The kids have brought home all their crap from school, we have laundry galore, never ending dishes and just kid stuff EVERYWHERE.  GAH!  I can't wait to be able to focus a little bit and not be on the run so much.  Hopefully we can try to relax a little bit this summer?? 

Friday, May 29, 2015

the birth of Eloise Claire | part 3

Around 12:30 or 1am (it's blurry) I get my epidural.  The nurse checks me and I'm about 6cm dilated.   With my last 2 epidurals I felt nothing of contractions, even when I pushed.  This time, I kept feeling pressure.  Like, why am I feeling pressure?!?  

After my epidural was all set, Ryan came back in and Jaclyn, the photographer was there as well.  I felt relieved knowing I had drug relief and Jaclyn had made it before I delivered.  

My contractions subsided after about 15 minutes and Ryan went to get something to eat while I relaxed/rested/chatted with Jaclyn.  

LeeAnn stopped down to visit around 1:45.  Shortly after that, I think around 2, I started feeling a lot more pressure during contractions. The nurse checked me again and I was 7.5cm.  She said she would catheter me to see if that helped dilate me the rest of the way and get my bladder out of the way.  Everyone left the room and as soon as my bladder was empty I felt a huge amount of pressure.  This all freaked me out because I have always felt totally numb.... nothing.... During my last 2 deliveries. (With Porter I pushed for 2.5 hours so I don't remember much of that, but I don't remember feeling this much pressure or pain that's for sure). 

The nurse checked me again and sure enough I was 9.5cm.  They called the doctor in and Ryan and Jaclyn came back in.   It felt like a bit mush of chaos.  I was starting to freak out because my sweet nurse took away my epidural button and I was not dealing with the pain too well.  I felt like I was going to split apart.  

I started to feel a huge urge to push and knew that if I did she would be here as quick as that.  I watched the doctor sit on his stool and take his time putting on his hat.  I wondered why they weren't rushing faster.  Maybe they were but I was too panicked to realize.  I don't know.  

Everything else was kind of a blur.  I remember thinks (or maybe saying) that I couldn't do this.  That I needed more drugs.  That I was going to die.  I remember wanting to just shake myself off the bed and be done.  I remember holding someone's hand and gripping hard.  I remember my sweet girl entering the world quickly... By the 2nd push they laid her on my chest and there she was.  So tiny and perfect and complete.   

I remember gasping for air and feeling so relieved that it was over, and so overwhelmed that she was finally here.  This little one, she was the one we were waiting for.  She was the unexpected.  The one we didn't know we were missing but now, now she completes us.  

Eloise Claire
5lbs 15oz
Born 5.24.15 at 2:16am

[photograph by Jaclyn Michele Photography]

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

post-partum hormones suck

I always dread the post-delivery hormones and emotions.  I know it's coming and I also know there isn't a stop to it.

I don't find myself anxious or worried.  I find myself more or less sad or depressed at the finality of things.... At the quickness of the newborn stage, the desperate attempts to preserve and remember everything and the fear of failing and forgetting it all.  

With Amelia, I thought she was our last.  She WAS our last.  And I still did a miserable job of documenting so much of her pregnancy and the newborn stage.  Her scrapbook is still barely there. That kills me.... the boys have such elaborate, thoughtful and heartfelt scrapbooks.   Eloise for sure is our last.  A surprise, a second chance, maybe, but for sure our last.  And I sit here in the quiet of the middle of the night and think about how much I already failed to document because "it won't matter" or I didn't think I would care.   Sure, in a few months or years I won't care that I declined maternity pictures with our birth photographer. But tonight, I wish I had sucked it up and done it even though I felt fat and ugly.  Later on, I won't think about the way my belly moved toward the end when Eloise was kicking and rolling around... But tonight I wish I had taken a few moments to record it.  I walked into the hospital telling myself I should take one last belly picture, but I didn't.  And tonight I wish I had taken a second to snap even a poor selfie in the bathroom mirror.   Last week Amelia reached up and grabbed my belly and kissed it.  Why didn't I ever take a picture of her loving on her baby sis and talking to her while she was in my belly?  When the kids came to the hospital to meet Eloise, why didn't I take a video and preserve the looks of awe and pure wonder on their faces, and record their voices and sweet things they first said upon meeting her?  

I hate all these regrets.  These moments that pass so quickly, often without a second thought at the time, but in the days following delivery I always replay them in my mind and load up on wish I would haves and why didn't i's.  I know it'll pass and in the coming weeks and months it won't feel so awful or like such a loss.  Maybe, though, just maybe, I can attempt to document more from this point on.   

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The birth of Eloise Claire | part 2

We left the Clemons' house at 9:47 (I was somewhat timing contractions but not really because well I'm the only sober adult remember?) and by the time I got Amelia's bag packed and Heather picked her up, and got some of my own things placed, it was ohhhh 10:30 when we were ready to leave.  Oh, and Ryan had showered.  I already instructed him on the way home to shower because alcohol.  At this point I was afraid my contractions were too uncomfortable for me to drive so holy mother of Mary, Ryan drove us to the hospital.  I was a littl worried that this was going to progress fast.  With Hudson and Amelia, the doctor broke my water a few hours into labor and they were born within 2 or 3 hours.  Gah!   

We got to the hospital and Ryan is all wanting to drop me off.  No. Just park.  I can walk.  He finds a spot and decides he should BACK THE YUKON IN.  Oh my word.  He made it, luckily, but way to irritate me.  We go in the ER entrance bc they lock up the front entrance to the hospital.  I was instructed by the l&d nurse to just head up to the 4th floor.  Ryan, however, is insistent I need a wheelchair even though I'm about to waddle my ass away from him and leave him there talking to an ER nurse with a wheel chair.  The nurse comes at me with the wheel chair and I'm all "I AM JUST FINE I DONT NEED A WHEELCHAIR!" (Seriously I am fine.... I can walk and breathe through my contractions. I am, however, highly irritated that my husband is making a big deal of this.).

We get to the 4th floor and I tell him just to shut his mouth and not talk... I've got this under control and I don't need to be any more irritated by his half drunken stupor.   A sweet nurse, Libby, takes me into a room to make sure it's amniotic fluid (hello.  Contractions are 3min apart and I'm like don't talk to me during them so I can breathe. This is labor if this isn't my 4th kid...)

Some foreign doctor comes in, Dr. Rashandwa!?, and starts asking really dumb questions like "what brings you in here tonight? So, you think you're in labor, correct? And is asking me questions during my contractions.   I'm staring at the ceiling thinking.... This can't be happening.  I have a drunk husband, this is my LAST BABY.  My LAST DELIVERY.   And thus doctor is also incompetent and I'm highly irritated with everyone in this room except sweet Libby.  Can Libby and I have a baby together?!?

 Luckily, he is not the delivery doctor.   By this time it is 11:30pm.   He checks me and I'm 4cm and 80% effaced.  I can't remember what this is supposed to mean but I know that I'm in more and more pain by each contraction and I'm paranoid I am not going to have time to get an epidural.   I text Paige back to give her an update as I last left her hanging with a phone call about leaky water.   My husband has been on am his phone typing quite a bit so I'm sure he's half drunk face booking and half updating everyone in the world with our riot of a birth story progress.  

I get into a delivery room and the next hour is kind of a blur.  I remember being pretty calm and collected during contractions, and then suddenly realizing that it usually takes what seems like forever for the anesthesiologist to come in and starting to panic that I'm not going to get an epidural and I will have to deliver in horrific pain.  I start to cry instead of breathing during contractions and beg my nurses to just get the epidural here.  The anesthesiologist comes in and I'm watching every move he makes, wishing he would hurry the hell up.  

Monday, May 25, 2015

the birth of Eloise Claire | part 1

Well, we ALMOST got our 23rd of the month birthday baby.... Almost!   Hudson's birthday is 5/20, porters is 2/21 and Amelia's is 4/22.  We were rooting for 5/23 for this little one but we missed it by 2hrs and 16 minutes.  Although..... if she were a west coast baby we could have made it haha!

This past week had been a rough one.  Is been feeling pretty depressed and withdrawn, just done with the world.  Done being pregnant.  Done being huge and uncomfortable and grumpy.  Our house had been torn apart to have new floors put in, so that was irritating me (having furniture in all the wrong rooms and nowhere to walk comfortably through).   

Saturday, Ryan and the boys went over to a friends house to help put a railing on their deck. Amelia and I stayed behind, cleaning the house and we took a nice nap in the afternoon.  After our nap, we went with Jamie and the boys to play putt putt golf.   It was nowhere near as fun or relaxing as i had imagined.  Amelia was either a hole in front of us or behind us, or in the middle of the boys' way.  Hudson just wanted to putt putt and have fun (he'd only gone one other time), and the 3 older boys argued most of the time about keeping score and who was cheating and what not.  After golf, we took all 5 kids to Meijer (mind you I already needed a drink by this point) and then headed back to Jamie and Tony's house to grill dinner. 

The evening was relaxing... Us girls chatted, the guys had some drinks and grilled, the kids played in the yard.   Great evening.  Around 8 or so noticed I was leaking fluid a little.  It wasn't like I was losing my bladder.... I've been dealing with that crap for the past 3 months.  I called Paige and asked her what to do...  She suggested wrapping it up there and heading home soon.  I didn't think it was that urgent of an issue.  I just rolled up some toilet paper to soak up and little leaking and voila haha!  Around 9 I started having some mild contractions.  Mind you, my husband had been drinking all. Freaking. Day.   So he was totally lit.  It's a long weekend, we've been with friends all day.... My due date isn't for 2 more weeks.  All of a sudden, I started just gushing water on the floor.  Holy embarrassing.  It was quite hilarious as well... All the kids are like "why are you peeing on the floor?!" Haha!   

Luckily, Jamie and Tony offered to keep the boys (well actually all 3 kiddos but I wasn't sure if Amelia would stay in a strange place), so I texted my sister to have her pick Amelia up.  At this point I was just wanting to get home so I could leak fluid in the privacy of my own home, not with our friends bath towel stuck between my legs in a crowd of people.  Imagine, though, my drunk and overly concerned husband freaking out about me driving home.  Our friend Mike was insistent he would drive us to the hospital.  Kids are running all around, wondering what the heck is going on.  I'm trying to find Amelia, waddling through the yard with a bath towel between my legs, growling at Ryan and Mike that I am So Fine To Drive Myself Home.  Hahahaha!  It was a hot mess.  

We finally got on the road (we only live about 10 min away) and by the time we got home and I had thrown some random clothes and necessities in a bag (why do I never have any idea what to pack??), my contractions were getting pretty strong and uncomfortable.  I texted my birth photographer (who was 2 hours away) and let the hospital know we were on our way. 

Stay tuned for Part 2.  

Thursday, May 14, 2015

36.5 weeks

At my appointment last week I found out little miss was breech.  This totally took me by surprise... But I did remember a few days earlier she had been doing some crazy, uncomfortable movements.   She had been head down as of my April appt.

He sent me for an ultrasound and sure enough, her head was right up in my ribs.   Awesome.  The plus side was the ultrasound tech took some 4d (or is it 3d?) images and oh my word is she precious!!  I can't wait to see her in person! 

For the past week I have been researching different ways to get her to flip naturally.  Today I went to a new chiropractor who is certified in the Webster Method, which has about an 80% success rate of encouraging babies to flip head down naturally.   She did some poking and prodding on my spine and joints and yadda yadda, and my pelvis is rotated as is my sacrum.  So, her plan is to get me back in alignment and loosen up some of my ligaments so that little miss can flip and drop naturally into place.

After my Chiro appt, I had my 36 week prenatal appt.  They scheduled a c-section for June 3rd (which is 39 weeks 4 days) because my actual 39 weeks falls on a Saturday.  I swear, if they're going to cut me open; they could at least give me a week off of being pregnant (they won't do it on the Friday may 29 bc I'm only 38 and 6 days.  Gimme a break).

So I left my appointment discouraged and grumpy.  Wait.  When am I NOT grumpy anymore.  June 3 is Hudson's classroom memory party. His teacher is amazing and does a party with a slideshow from the whole year and each student gets a scrapbook from the year that she makes for them.  Seriously awesome.  However, now my c-section is that morning.  Grrrrrr.   I don't plan on making it that long.  May is the month.  It needs to be.  My sanity can't take it any longer.

As far as pregnancy goes, I'm hanging in there.  I feel like crap by the late afternoon.  I'm just done and over it.  My right hand/wrist has carpal tunnel and 3 of my fingers have been numb and tingly for the past 2 weeks.  Little miss is all up in my ribs, which is so uncomfortable.   My right hip hurts.  It is painful to walk.  My heels are cracked from wearing flip flops and my feet are swollen.   I'm just ready to have her here and get back to somewhat normal.  I'm trying hard to enjoy this pregnancy because it is absolutely my last, but I really truly am so miserable when I'm pregnant.

I think one of the hardest things right now is my attitude and lack of ambition to do anything (which frustrates me and makes me even grumpier).  Our house is a mess but I have no energy to organize or pick it up.  I am in such a rut with work, and just want to do nothing at all.  I have zero patience.  I want to do yard work and plant our garden but all of it just exhausts me.  I want to play with the kids and go horseback riding and take Amelia to the barn but there is no energy left to do those things.  I've skipped the past 2 baseball games of porters because I don't have the patience or energy to chase Amelia around for 2.5 hours.  And all of that makes me feel like a horrible mom, and that just makes me grumpier.   It's a ridiculous cycle.