Wednesday, May 25, 2016

13 Years

All of the following pictures and words have been stolen directly from Joe's Facebook page. He made an album for our anniversary and even wrote something a little sappy. Which is so unlike him! Like my sister said he knows my love! 

Somehow it's been 13 years already. We've been through a lot together and she's stuck by me and supported me through everything. 

And the adventure continues...Thanks for everything Bear. I love you. 

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Birth order & personalities

I am the baby of my family (of origin). I'm also the third child. I have one older brother. He's the eldest. I have one older sister she's the middle child. Just to paint a crystal clear picture. My parents always said there's a good reason I'm the last child. That reason being ME. I was do you say this politely...a...handful. Or according to the book on my mom's bedside table "a strong willed child". Ironically that book is now on my bedside table. The reason I own the book is also my third born child. Unlike my parents I (foolishly?) persevered therefore she isn't my youngest. Though in my defense I think I'm the youngest because my siblings and I were all born within a three and a half year time span. Three kids three and under? Yep that sounds exhausting! 

After my first was born my mom said to me "Too easy. Try again" (in regards to his temperament). After my second was born she said it again. "Too easy." Shortly after my third was born she said "BINGO!  Good luck. Have fun! You deserve this." And chuckled as she walked away. *Or something like that. And when Hannah is acting a little too much like me my mom fondly refers to her as "Hannah Bear". Joe often calls us "Bear and Little Bear". Usually when I'm at the end of my rope with her. So while it's cute I'm not so fond of that nickname! 

Naively I assumed parenting a child with my temperament would be easy. Not because it's an easy to deal with temperament but because I would understand it. I mean I understand me. I know what makes me tick. I know what drives and motivates me. I know what frustrates me. I get me. So I assumed I would understand and therefore easily parent a child just like me. 

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. 

Dead wrong. 

This girl challenges me and drives me to the brink of insanity. Daily. Hourly. Sometimes even more frequent than that! Dealing with a miniature version of myself feels impossible at times. I should know what I'm doing...but I don't! I am so out my parenting league with this one! 

Just going to the grocery store with this child feels like a battle. I'm exhausted by her never ending need to discuss/argue EVERYTHING. Every item I put in our cart warrants a long in-depth discussion in regards to my reasons for purchasing said item. Usually followed by her counter arguments. Why we should NOT buy the item. All while I'm just wanting to shop in peace and quiet/get out of the store before the baby melts down! It's draining. And none of my usual parenting tactics work with her. She laughs at my bag of tricks. And she fears no consequence. 

It turns out parenting my two kids that have similar personalities to my older siblings is much easier! I have YEARS of experience interacting with/managing/navigating/relating to them that has easily translated into parenting children similar to them. 

My eldest reminds me a lot of my big brother. They are both insanely imaginative and inventive. They can make something out of nothing. Often weapons:) And their minds are always on. Pondering. Creating. Learning something new. Thinkers. And creators. Too smart for their own good. Those two. 

Charlotte is sweet and caring and incredibly empathetic. To a fault in fact. She cries when others are sad or hurt. Often she cries before the hurt person! She is the peacekeeper in our house. Always looking out for others. Growing up I actually used to get annoyed with my sister for being "too nice!"  Ha. And now I have a daughter just like her! 

I didn't grow up with a younger brother so no comparisons here. But so far Levi fills the cute, laid back youngest child role very well. 

Back to my original point - Hannah and I butt heads a lot. More days than not I am at a loss as to what to do with her. How to best parent her. I count down the minutes until her father comes home and can take over as her primary caregiver. For very different reasons I was at a very similar spot with Isaiah a few years ago (the time I took all his toys away). Thankfully we aren't there anymore. In fact we are in a very good place as mother and son. And while I can go back and re-read that post and distinctly remember how worried I was about my son and my ability to parent him at that moment. It's just a memory now. One filled with anxiety and insecurities. But those feelings no longer haunt me in regards to Isaiah. So in typing this out I m hoping that some day I can look back and re-read this post and say "thank goodness we aren't in that spot anymore! Wow that was tough but look how far we have made it." It will take a lot of work. And consistency. But I think we will get there. 


*I promise her words were not this harsh. But that was her general sentiment. 

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Walking (Levi 15 months)

This guy is officially walking more than he is crawling these days. 

And now I want another baby! 

Ok. That might be a slight exaggeration. But while his high knee unsteady slightly off kilter toddle/nearly a run is extremely adorable to watch and cheer on (because YES I cheer him on like he's the first kid to learn to walk ever crazy!) it also marks the end of an era in my life. My days of being a mother of babies is done. My youngest is officially a toddler. And I'm not sure I'm ok with that. 

Oh and yes I take an insane number of pictures and videos of him walking. Because this the LAST time one of my babies will take their FIRST steps! The last time I get to watch a baby become a kid. A kid that walks around with a goofy grin on his face because he's so proud of himself for WALKING. 

Of course on the days when my husband is gone for too many hours and my kids are ready to brawl over a bottle of bubbles or the last string cheese and nobody wants to nap or just be quiet for a minute I can't imagine adding another baby to the mix. 

I'm sure this phase will be great too. Kids. No babies. It's uncharted territory for me. For us as a family. 

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Mother's Day 2016

This moment is brought to you compliments of intern year. Actually all 43,200 moments that I get to spend alone with my children today are compliments of intern year. Yep Joe's at the hospital. The children's hospital today. 

And actually I'm perfectly ok with that. I mean I would have preferred my first interaction with my children this morning wasn't ending a dispute regarding whether or not a piece of paper had brown spots drawn on it or not. But we persevered (i.e. voices were raised and papers were taken away followed by apologies - some more sincere than others). Eventually I enjoyed oatmeal around the table with all of my children. I was showered with all sorts of homemade gifts and cards from my children this morning. But the best gift I received was the three year old telling me my nose looked "funny & blue". My lotion. The lotion I quickly slapped on my face as I was loading all the children into the van for church. Those words saved me a bit of embarrassment at church! Although being described as a queen (with swirly eyes because I have SO many children!) on my Mother's Day card definitely comes in as a close second for best gift:) 

One would think having a husband work (most) holidays would be what I like least about residency but it's not. Holidays can be celebrated on any day. Or at least most holidays can. The Fourth of July is hard to re-create. But Mother's Day can easily be changed dates. Having a husband that works most days that my children are home from school. That's what I like the least about residency. FYI. (Though admittedly that might be a career-long problem given his specialty.) 

Overall the kids and I had a pretty good day. We tried to go to the museum. It was closed. So instead we wandered around town on foot enjoying the sunshine and warm breeze. We watched a husband and wife fish. We stumbled upon a "Mother's Day Festival" complete with live music and over priced vendor booths. The festival was entirely in Spanish and if we were playing a "one of these things does not belong" guessing game my children & I definitely would have been IT. But that didn't stop my girls from dancing their hearts out! On our walk back to the van we stopped and watched the cutest baby being photographed with her first birthday cake. She kept butt scooting away from the cake despite her mom's attempt to get her to eat the cake! Watching her I was brought back to Charlotte's baby days. Gah! She was the cutest butt scooter. Lastly we climbed in some trees before heading home for our gourmet meal of leftovers. 

And since Joe didn't want to be outdone by our children and their efforts to celebrate me he brought home a hospital cafeteria dinner for one...

I didn't eat it despite how appealing it was. Ha! Maybe one of my lucky kids will get it for lunch tomorrow. 

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Monitoring babies

Are video baby monitors necessary?

This was a recent question posted in an online "mom group" that I'm a part of. My instinctive answer was/is: ABSOLUTELY NOT! 

While pregnant with my first (nine years ago!) I was given a used baby monitor from a kind co-worker. It is one of those old fashioned monitors that has two frequencies and....nothing else. Most of the time I heard more static than actual baby noises. Additionally Isaiah slept in our room with us for the first six months of his life. Plus our house was SO tiny and poorly insulated there wasn't a room in the house I could go into and NOT hear his crying...even if I wanted to! Basically a baby monitor of any kind was unnecessary! Except when traveling. I always take my monitor with me while traveling. Almost always. Fast forward a few kids, years and houses and my stance on baby monitors remained the same. (I attribute my kids early sleeping through night/good sleep habits to my lack of monitor use. I sleep soundly. They sleep. Win-win!).

However...this past fall I was selected to test a video baby monitor...and I've been swayed. Just a tad. Are video baby monitors necessary? No! But are they incredibly fun and useful? Yep. You betcha! Because how cute is it to watch your baby sleeping? Off the charts cute!!! And how nice is it when I take the super rare night away from the house to use my baby monitor app on my phone to check and see how bedtime is going at home? Yep. I totally spy on my kids and husband. Oh and in the evenings when I'm binge watching my current favorite Netflix show and eating a bowl of ice cream but I can hear the girls NOT sleeping in their bed, the talk-through-the-monitor-feature is AMAZING! Semi life changing. ;-) Necessary? Nope. But it definitely has it's perks. 

Yesterday at the end of one of those crazy-I-just-can't-catch-a-break kind of days I finally FINALLY was able breath and relax for a minute in our backyard while my children were playing peacefully together. I was able to chuckle a little at the irony of what I was hoping to be a fun little trip earlier in the day to Hobby Lobby to pick out a Mother's Day gift for MYSELF turned out to be a sprint through the store with two screaming children (one of whom was determined to throw crackers down every aisle) while I grabbed every single sign/wall hanging that I thought could possibly work to decorate my laundry room.

The fact that the school nurse called just as I was pulling into my driveway after said shopping trip AND just moments after the one year old had fallen asleep somehow didn't surprise me. Not in the least. However I was not expecting to get vomitted on as we were exiting the school with my sick child. But it happened. It really happened. So yeah it had been one of THOSE days. That being said when my children migrated inside I decided to sit outside a minute or two longer. To enjoy just a little peace and quiet and sanity. My bladder however had other plans. But...........…………………… kids had locked me out! Intentionally? I'm not sure. What I do know is knocking on the door got me no where! Levi was the only one I could see and he couldn't be bothered to help out his dear old mom. He had a (forbidden) recycling bin to sort/destroy! And the big three were who knows where. 

Video baby monitor to the rescue! I grabbed my phone and checked the camera in the girls' room. Nothing! I switched over to the boys' room and while I could not see my children (thanks to one of them changing the camera's angle) I could hear them! Which meant they heard me loud and crystal clear when I spoke through the monitor asking them to please unlock the back door. Problem solved. 

So yeah video baby monitors come in handy. I'm a fan. 

Oh and I may have decided to pick up a thing or two for my kitchen today when I went to return the excess laundry room decor today. That place is dangerous...

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

This guy.

He's pretty incredible. 

He is tiling my kitchen backsplash right now! After working a 12 hour shift today.  

And tomorrow on his day "off" he's putting sod down in our front yard. 

Feeling incredibly loved right now.