05-18-18 Last Day of Mom’s Morning Out

Baby E had his last day of preschool this morning and while I didn’t get to see the closing ceremonies, he seemed very happy when I picked him up this evening. Mom’s morning out has been the highlight of his weeks since September and I’m so glad he got the chance to attend! ❤️

We came out to the nee house this evening. I was so exhausted that when we got here I wandered to my room and flopped on the bed. I didn’t mean to fall asleep but I was out! When I woke up an hour later Tim had gotten the kids to sleep.

05-17-18 Baby E’s Eyes

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Baby E’s eyes disappear when he smiles. He has these huge cheeks that push his eyes closed, so when he is really happy his eyes look completely shut. This evening he practiced opening his eyes as wide as he could and the result was adorable!

I wanted to thank everyone that reached out since last night’s post. We are blown away by all your encouragement and we are so thankful for each of you. 🙂

05-16-18 I Quit My Job

Two weeks ago I quit my job. I handed in my notice, that is. My final day in the office is June 29th. It’s taken me these past two weeks to come to grips with it, but there it is. I’ve had lots of people ask me why, and I figured you guys would too. Do you want the happy answer or the honest one?

The happy answer is this- after much consideration, Tim and I have chosen to homeschool our kids. We have wanted to for ages, and we decided we’d better do it soon, so we’ve been prepping for the past year to make it happen. On top of that, Tim has a really rough commute and he has been doing it for years, so it’s time to simplify. By me quitting my job, we will have more time as a family and our kids will get the education we want for them.

That’s the easy, go-to answer. The honest answer is a little more complicated and uncomfortable.

In the weeks and months that led up to the fall of 2016, I began to feel a shifting beneath me, an acknowledgement that while I loved the individual aspects of my life, (my family, my job, my church, my hobbies, etc.) they weren’t working well together. Because of his commute, Tim and I weren’t seeing each other very much, and the kids were missing out as well. I wasn’t in any hurry to change anything though, after all we had been juggling our lifestyle for awhile and we were getting by.

But then on October 29, 2016 I suffered from a ruptured ectopic pregnancy and everything changed. I remember coming home from the hospital and seeing my children. They had no idea what had just happened, no concept they had just lost a sibling. But the loss was real and it was devastating. When you lose a pregnancy you lose so much more than a clump of cells- you lose an entire future. You lose the first smile, the first steps, the first ‘I love you, Mommy.’ There is no kindergarten, no wrestling on the ground, no tickle parties, no snuggles, nothing. There is nothing, only a void where your child should be. Your existence becomes merely that, existence. You are there, but you are not present. Life continues and you flow along with it, vacillating between feeling everything and feeling nothing.

Thankfully we had an army of people surround us as we navigated the dicey waters that followed that experience. People came out of the woodworks to encourage and love on us. We cried. We prayed. We mourned. We resumed our routine.

But we had changed.

The following months were filled with constant sicknesses, an unending clobbering of illnesses that pushed me past my limit. Between recovering from the miscarriage, all the illnesses, working full time, commuting long distances, and raising three children we were spent.

One weekend we got away and visited my parents and sister. They sat us down to tell us they had an idea. What if we all pulled our resources and went in on a house together? It would mean a move to a different state, I would quit my job, and I would homeschool our children. It would put Tim over an hour closer to work, and I would have the help of family and the opportunity to watch my kids grow.

Normally I hate change, even minor change, and the idea set before us was drastic. It was a complete overhaul of our lives. And in that moment I needed an overhaul. I had spent the better part of 3 months praying for a change, but this certainly wasn’t what I had imagined. This was huge. This was scary. It would have been easy to say ‘no’ and keep going on our path, existing while life slipped by, after all I was in a job I could retire from, my kids were in a good school system, and we were surrounded by Tim’s family and a church family we had known for most of our lives. But in doing so we would be sacrificing our own family. I didn’t want to get to the end of my life and my kids say, “Mom worked a lot. I wish we had seen her more.”

So we prayed about it. We sought counsel. And we said ‘yes.’ The plan was set into motion. By November we had sold our townhouse and my parents had sold their own house. Tim, the kids, and I moved into the basement of his parents’ house. The kids stayed in their same school and Tim continued his commute. In December, we bought our new house, an hour and 40 minutes away from home. We decided to keep the kids in their school until the end of the school year and move to the new house after that. We hoped that would minimize the chaos for the kids during our transition. We didn’t anticipate that Tim would be practically living at the new house, though, which left me to raise the kids on my own during the week, but we’ve made it work. We go to the new house most weekends. We have found a new church family and we have started to settle in.

Over the past year, I can’t tell you the number of times I prayed that God would stop the forward momentum; that if we were making a mistake, he would let us know. But the opposite happened. Every obstacle was removed, every hurdle was taken out of our path.

So on April 30th, I put in my resignation. It was hard. If I hated my job, it would have been easier, but I like my job and I like the people I work with. In just under 7 weeks, I’ll be unemployed and moving to a new state, and while I am nervous, I am also incredibly excited.

I know our new life will come with its challenges, but at least now we will face them together, we can invest in our children and our marriage. The next few months will be bumpy as we make our transition, but I’m looking forward to it with optimism.

It’s been amazing to see how God has taken the worst tragedy we have ever experienced, and turned it around for good and used it for His glory. We are stepping out in faith that God will continue the plan He has for our lives, and we pray that we will be obedient to His will, no matter where that takes us.

After all, God is good all the time!

The lord is near

05-15-18 Foot Flops

The other day we bought the kids new flip flops for the summer. Baby E was especially enamored with his and has insisted wearing them all the time, even to bed, which honestly I find hilarious. He is a funny little guy when it comes to his bedtime routine. He wears a ‘Daddy Shirt’ for pajamas. He uses a pull up at night, but doesn’t like the way it feels against his skin, so he insists on wearing underwear underneath. Since he next to never wets the bed, I allow this unorthodox fashion choice. So as you can imagine, Baby E looks pretty ridiculous sleeping in his oversized shirt, diaper outside his underwear, and a pair of flip flops (which he refers to as Foot Flops.) He sleeps with a 10in tall Batman figure that has to have its legs completely straight or he thinks it is broken, and he insists on sleeping with a butterfly decorated blanket. This kid definitely knows what he likes.

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05-14-18 MOPS – Free Indeed

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I am not a huge fan of the term ‘tribe,’ but for lack of a better word, this is a large portion of my tribe. I have had the privilege to work alongside these women over the past year on the steering committee for our local MOPS/MOMSNext group. I might be in this picture, but the hard work was really done by all the other women. I took some photos and made some videos, but the amount of work these women put into each and every meeting was astounding. They didn’t do it for status, or to be a part of a clique- they did it because they love each other, motherhood, other moms, and Jesus. They spent a lot of time outside of their comfort zones, they were brave, and they were kind.

We ended our MOPS year this evening, and for me it was bittersweet. I have loved serving with each of them, their friendships have been invaluable to me, and I’m going to miss our adventures together. But God is good, and through them I have seen more and more of Him.

05-13-18 Mother’s Day

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I took the above photo on the morning of the first day I returned back to work after having C. I didn’t have much leave saved up and I only ended up staying home for 8 weeks, using time I borrowed and spent the better part of the next year paying back. (We do maternity leave wrong in this country, but that’s another argument for another day.) I remember the heartbreak I felt when I left her that morning, and I well know the ache of leaving my children each day.

I look so young in that photo. That was nearly 8 years of sleepless nights ago. Motherhood changes you- far beyond the physical aspects, it pushes you past every limit you thought you had. Your capacity to love, hurt, fear are all multiplied when they place your first child in your arms.

It only gets better and harder and scarier after that.

I still don’t have it all figured out. I yell when I should whisper. I set unrealistic expectations. I forget things. I lose my patience. Often I feel completely overwhelmed.

I get to the end of some days and my failures are greater than my victories. It’s easy to feel defeated, but then I remember this… my children know I love them- beyond a shadow of a doubt.

Motherhood is predictable, only in its unpredictability. There is no pattern. There are no cookie cutter answers. Every child is different… as is every mother.

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What I’ve learned is that I don’t need perfection. I cannot grasp it.

These truths I know- My children will have mismatched socks. They will eat hotdogs when I am too tired to cook. They won’t get a bath everyday. I won’t sign off on every single paper that comes home from school, because I won’t always read them. I won’t sign up for the PTA. I’ll plan a birthday party two months late. I will cry when it gets hard. Those things are a given…

But so are these…

I love my children. I love Jesus. I want my children to love Jesus. So everyday, I pray they will see past me, past my flaws and insecurities, and see Him. That is my hope and prayer- that I can point them to Him- imperfectly as I may, even in mere shadows of a reflection, and that He would draw them daily ever closer to Himself.

Happy Mother’s Day to my own sweet mother and all the mamas out there loving their babies! God bless. 

 

05-12-18 The Carnival

The local fire department has a carnival every year and it has become a tradition for us to attend. They opened up on Wednesday, but we had church so we didn’t get to go. We had planned to go on Thursday evening, but Tim got home too late, so that didn’t work either. We briefly considered doing it last night, but since it was running alongside the huge Friday night farmers’ market, we realized it was going to be packed.

Going to the carnival is expensive. We buy the wrist bands so the kids can ride as many rides as they can. Last year Baby E was too young, so we got by with just Tim and the big kids riding, but that wasn’t going to cut it this year. So, if we were going to spend that much money for us all to ride, then we wanted to get our money’s worth. We found out the carnival would be opening at 3pm today, so that’s when we got there. And the kids rode and rode and rode until they were too exhausted and hungry to ride anymore. We were there for nearly 4 hours, so it was definitely worth it to wait until today. There were very few people there, and the first several hours there were not even any lines. A few of their cousins showed up, which made for an even more entertaining day!

C loved the roller coaster, which no joke we went on at least ten times. Big E and Baby E loved the Spiderman ride, which was less of a ride and more of an obstacle course. They did the carousel, the scrambler, the ferris wheel and so much more. Our only mishap was when Baby E tried to get off the Spiderman ride which ended on a bouncy floor. Somehow he went head first over it and landed on his head on the gravel ground. He has quite the bruise and scrape to show for it this evening, but eventually he cheered up and rode some more.

When we were finished riding, we ended our evening with a trip to the local ice cream shop. It’s been a long time since we have spent that much uninterrupted time together, as a family, doing something fun. We were covered in dirt and grime by the time we got home, so we grabbed quick showers and then ate a fast dinner. The kids fell asleep in record time! I think we will too (and probably wake up pretty sore) but with some wonderful family memories!!

05-11-18 Bullies

“Mommy, I had a really bad day at school,” Big E told me when he came home the other day.

“What happened?”

“(Kid’s name) keeps calling me ‘Baby Girl.'”

This wasn’t the first time Big E had mentioned this kid and being called Baby Girl, but I had told him to ignore it.

“And he kept hurting me all day.” He whimpered.

“What?? What happened?”

“He kept pulling back my fingers and twisting my arm.”

I emailed his teacher and she told me she moved Big E so that he no longer has to sit with the boy.

Guys, I can’t stand bullies, and my kids have gotten the brunt of a few of them this year.

C comes home every day with a new story about one particular girl in her class that is her friend one day and then not the next. And when the girl decides not to be C’s friend, she is downright nasty to C. C has been talking about it for months, and while I am a firm believer in making friends and including everyone, I have told her to stay away from this one girl.

We are about a month away from the end of school and I cannot wait. The school has been very responsive to all of my concerns, but honestly, it’s just getting old.

On a happy note, though, Tim and Baby E met us at the beach this evening, and the kids enjoyed some nice outdoor time. The tide was low, so the sandbar stretched for forever. It was fun to watch them play and splash. Man am I glad the warm weather is here to stay!

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05-10-18 A Day Off

I spent the day at home with my youngest. He kept me up most of the night with his tossing and turning and talking in his sleep. We both finally fell into a deep sleep around 4am. When I woke at 6, I knew I wasn’t going to be worth much today. I called it in and Baby E and I hung around the house watching way more tv than necessary. I think he is on the mend, and his complaints have gotten fewer and farther between.

I tried to sneak in a nap today, but he would have nothing of it, so I am extra exhausted this evening. I’m off to bed. Hopefully soon my posts will get a little more interesting! 🙂