Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Last Week

I'm finally here. Week 39. The last week of my pregnancy. In exactly one week (and hopefully not any sooner!) we will be meeting our newest little bundle of joy, finding out if it is a he or a she, welcoming him/her into our new family of 6, completely and abruptly turning Ella's charmed little world on its axis, and trying to somewhat contain the absolute chaos that is to become more of our life. As terrified excited as I am for all this, this is also a week of lasts in other areas too. And that is making me a little sad.

It is my last week of summer break with my boys before they head back to school (2nd grade and Kindergarten.. how did that happen??). I will be in the hospital most of next week, probably coming home Friday, then they start school ridiculously early the next Monday. This summer flew by at warp speed and I just can't believe it's over. I am sure I have some pregnancy hormones to help blame for this tidal wave of emotions but WAAHHHHHH! I don't WANT school to start! I don't wanna go back!! Of course not every day is perfect and some days they drive me absolutely up-the-wall-nuts, but I LOVE having them around. I love seeing them all day every day. I love spending time with them. I am SO not ready for the dreaded 'S' word to start. (Don't worry teachers.. I don't let my kids in on the secret that I absolutely hate school starting. For all they know they think I'm actually excited about buying new folders and pencils instead of fighting back the tears as I toss them into the cart..) :) We are trying to have the most fun week around here complete with swimming, fair time, demolition derby, and fishing, but it is still a weight hanging around my shoulders.

I'm also conflicted on how to feel this final week because while this is my last week of having this baby in my tummy, is it the last week of having any baby in my tummy.. ever? I'm not sure if this is my last pregnancy or not. I'm not sure if every kick I feel is the last one I'll ever feel or if they'll be another one down the road? I know in a lot of people's minds having 4 kids is crazy so having 5 is certifiably insane, but I just haven't felt that emotion yet of "we're DONE" like so many people say they do. To complicate things I have to have c-sections so being able to have a 5th child kindof all depends on what things look like on the inside, which we obviously won't know until next week. The not knowing drives me a little crazy. Should I be thankful for every last bit of uncomfortableness I feel this last week because it's my last? Or should I woefully endure it, waiting in anticipation for it to just be over, knowing I'll be doing it again in a few years?

I have no idea what life is going to be like for us next week. I am excited and scared and totally unprepared. While I did go a little freezer-meal crazy-lady last week (I may have over 50 meals in my deep-freeze. I'm obviously a little nervous about not being able to do anything for months after the baby comes..) I have virtually nothing else ready (except for a few onesies I finally washed and have been out on my clothes line for 3 days because they keep getting rained on..) I could be in denial that summer is actually ending. I could be postponing the inevitable of cramming our living room with a pac-n-play, swing, bouncer, boppy, more diapers, blankets, and baby toys. I could be avoiding the fear that comes with the recovery of c-section (and an Ella to go with it..) Or I could just be a natural procrastinator who is too exhausted to do much of anything at this point. Whatever it is, this week will come and go just like all the others so quickly do, so I will try my hardest to make the absolute best of all these lasts, and all the unknowns, in anticipation that there are surely many exciting firsts to come as well.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

This is Ella.. on Oreos

Remember those old anti-drug commercials with the egg in the frying pan? 
This is your brain.. 
This is your brain on drugs.

Here is our version.

This is Ella.

This is Ella on Oreos.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Soon Enough

The past few weeks I've been tired. Exhausted. Unmotivated. Frustrated. Impatient. Overwhelmed.

So when my sister texted asking if the boys could come stay at her house for a few (four!) days I guess I should have jumped at the opportunity for some much needed R&R. A chance to sleep in, relax, get caught up. It should have sounded like a dream come true. Instead? I panicked.. Like--hold a brown bag over my mouth, hyperventilating panicked. FOUR days?? What would I do? What would they do? What if they missed me? What if they needed me? What if they got hurt? What if she didn't tuck them in at night the same way I did? The house would be so quiet! What in the world would Ella and I do? For four days?? The thought of those seemingly never-ending lonely, quiet days stretched out before me like the waves of the ocean-as far as I could possible see. My first instinct was, "Absolutely not! Are you crazy????"

But after my heart rate returned to a halfway normal rate, I semi-reluctantly stammered out a reply that must have sounded like an agreement to the plan. I knew they would have fun. I knew they would want to go. I knew I couldn't/shouldn't hold them back from something just because of my own fears. So I quickly packed up a bag and all too soon they were on their way, their faces full of smiles and hearts full of anticipation. Apparently I seemed to be the only one with reservations as Charlie told me right before he left "I'm kindof sad.. because I'm going to miss.. (insert mommy's heart swelling) the bunny." Oh.

The first day, I will admit, was hauntingly quiet. I paced around, trying to remember what all those things I always feel like I should be doing but never have the time to do, were? I know I spend hours looking around me, feeling a few steps behind in life, but what was I actually supposed to do to get caught up now that I had the chance? What were those tasks that I felt were so important to finish yesterday??

So I started to make a list. A list of things that are incredibly hard to get done around the house with all the kids needing/spilling/tattling something at the same time. I realized that as much as I missed them and felt like I didn't know what to do without them, I needed to take advantage of this time. Throughout the next four days I worked tirelessly to accomplish this and complete my list. And it went well. I feel guilty admitting how much I actually ended up enjoying this time. I thought I would be heartbroken and miserable the entire time they were gone. Instead it was nice. It was relaxing. We could come and go as we pleased more easily. Meal times didn't have to be so structured. My mind wasn't constantly revolving around bedtime starting at 4 in the afternoon, immediately after they got up from naps. The dirt wasn't getting tracked in all day. Cat food wasn't spilled all over the porch every single morning. Laundry didn't seem to pile up faster than snowflakes in a Nebraska blizzard like it normally does. And the dishes! I ran the dishwasher only once the entire time they were gone instead of once (at least!) a day. I could nap if I wanted to, but I found I was much less exhausted at the end of the day without the boys here.

As the days wore on I was excited to get them (I suppose), but I also felt myself growing a little nervous. I had had a taste of freedom. Of clean living. Of half the contents of our sandpile not being tracked into the house 30 times a day. Of chores that I did, not immediately being undone. Of projects being completed, quiet times that were actually quiet, impromptu outings with just JJ and Ella without 20 minutes of putting clothes on, going potty, finding shoes, bickering over seating arrangements. Of time to myself! I was a little hesitant.. My clean house that I worked so hard on was destinated to be ruined. The mess would be back. Would I be more frustrated now that I had a taste of the quiet life?

But as I expectantly walked into my sister's house (after the boys saw me from the backyard, looked at each other and obviously missing me very much immediately said, "Mom!!.... Can we finish our football game please??) I suddenly realized something. I realized that I had been missing something all week. Her home was bursting, literally bursting at the seams. Yes, with blankets, unfolded laundry, and dirty dishes. But also with so much more. With life, love, laughter, energy. With dirty faces and messy hair and colored on table tops. With happy children running in and out, climbing up and down, shouting and yelling and giggling. No, it wasn't as nice and neat and quiet as the home I had left. But it felt more like home than my freshly scrubbed floors and carefully disinfected counter tops did.

Her sink was full of dirty dishes-because she had been feeding my children. Her bathroom was full of wet towels--because she had been bathing them. Her floor was covered in crumbs-because my children were nourished there. Her living room was full of toys-because my children had been making memories there.

Yes, my floors at home were all freshly scrubbed, our winter clothes were finally all put away (don't judge..), I had 6 pints of fresh strawberry-rhubarb jam sitting on my counter and my dishes were all remarkably washed and put away. Our laundry was clean, folded and back in the closet, and I had had enough time to myself to get an entire book read. (Totally not trying to brag about all I got done. Okay.. maybe just a little.) Yet I realized in that brief moment of comparing our weeks and the resulting looks of our houses, that along with this precious time in life comes mess. Dirty shoes, spilled milk, scattered toys. And in the mere minutes the boys were home I already had clumps of dirt on the floor, supper crumbs all over the floor, laundry flung everywhere, dirt from a plant knocked over in the bathroom and of course cat foot spilled on the porch floor. But as hard as I had worked to get rid of those things the past week, I realized those messes didn't bother me near as much as I thought they might. Our house was full again. It was a home. There was loudness and laughing. There was excited voices and doors opening and shutting. There was energy and curiosity and love.

Soon enough the day will come when all this is gone. Soon enough they will grow up and head out on their own into the world. Soon enough their beds will be made-because they won't be here to sleep in them. Soon enough the floors will stay clean-because nobody will be around to walk on them. Soon enough I will have time to relax on the couch and read a book or watch a tv show-because no one will be here needing my attention. Soon enough this will all come. And I will miss it. So I will embrace the mess, the noise, the chaos, the dirt, because that is what brings life to our home. And I wouldn't want it any other way.

Monday, July 1, 2013

A month of walking by Ella

So for some reason my mommy has been really really tired lately, thinking she needs to nap every day AND go to bed early every night. I've noticed she has been completely neglecting this blog (again) so I will take it upon myself (again) to keep you all updated on what's going on around here. 

Most importantly, I have been walking now for a month. A whole month! In some ways my mommy says it seems like I just started yesterday since she loves to just sit and watch me run around (mostly she likes to just sit I think..), but in other ways it seems like I've been doing this forever since I'm so awesome at it. I actually don't even walk much anymore.. I pretty much run everywhere!

I'm realizing it's okay if mom walks out of the room without me (unless she's trying to make supper or do something productive like wash dishes or something.. then it's a complete meltdown-worthy disaster). And I'm also getting a little friendlier with strangers and realizing I can run away from them now (just do NOT try to pick me up. Unless it's my idea of course...). 

But since I don't have much time before mom wakes up and realizes she's the only one napping while us kids get high on Cheetos and juice boxes and she finds up doing crazy stuff like this..

I'll just stick to some highlights of my last month of walking.

Not trying to toot my own horn here, but clearing my own dishes on the 2nd day of walking? 
Pretty impressive if I do say so myself.. 
Don't let my mom try to tell you that I put my dirty dishes back in the clean cupboard though.. details.
Anyways.. when I'm not busy doing chores,

I enjoy eating rubber ducks

and helping mom get ready to go to town

for lunch dates with my cuz at Chick-Fil-A!

We've been fishing quite a bit

but I'm more interested in checking out the worms.

More fishing..

And more chores??


I like to play

PEEK-A-BOO in the curtains

 and wear pretty headbands.

And... what the heck?
(next year's Christmas card anyone??)

Sometimes I try on my mommy's swimming suit

and make my brothers take me for rides on their bikes.
Rrrrrrummmm Rrrrrummmmm...

They love every second of it.

But basically I still spend a lot of time doing what I've always done best.

 Just being cute.