Wednesday, August 31, 2016

My beach with my people.

Sometimes. Just sometimes it is best to ignore real life and all it's responsibilities and go to the beach. Especially at the end of a crazy weekend!





Sure mowing the lawn and mopping the floors are important and necessary tasks but they can wait. Living in a messy house is ok. The bathroom counters can be wiped down later:) Especially when it means an impromptu evening with family and friends. Relaxing in the sun. 




Last year I struggled with figuring out where - more specifically with whom - I fit in here in Texas. Finding "my people" so to speak. Because on the surface it seemed like I would/should befriend the ladies at my church and MOPS group. But it just didn't happen. I didn't connect with anyone (and believe me I tried). Likewise it seemed like I should have been able to make friends with other moms from my kids' schools last year. But nope. So this summer while I was away I spent time thinking about this lack of friends conundrum I found myself in and I decided to concentrate my efforts on residency people this year. Because despite not having many things in common (age, beliefs, marital status, children/no children, etc) we had one major thing in common. We are all living/surviving residency. And that's enough. More than enough. 

And on this particular beach day I sent out last minute text messages to two residency wives inviting them to join us at the beach. Both of these women showed up and spent time with me and my wild crew. Just the confirmation I needed that I had indeed found "my people". And I can stop looking elsewhere. These people get me and our crazy life right now because they are living it too! 


Oh and if just hanging out wasn't enough...one of them even invited us over for a swim in the pool. 


And a swim in the pool at sunset is most definitely THE BEST way to end a weekend. Even if it meant the kids got bed a little late. We'll clean and sleep...later;-)
 

Friday, August 26, 2016

Ma'am

Tonight I went to the grocery store at midnight without kids. That last part is obvious, right? But just to make it crystal clear I added it in. I was ALONE at the grocery store. And you want to know what is nice about shopping kidless? Besides the obvious...the ability to focus and shop quickly and efficiently without listening to screaming and interceding as WWIII rages in/around your shopping cart. Yes those things are nice. But the best part was how the grocery store employees talked to me. They called me "Miss" and "Sweetie" instead of the usual "Ma'am" and "Lady". 

Sweetie. That's me:) It felt so unencumbered and young. 

(Me. All dressed up for a murder mystery dinner last weekend. That's NOT what I looked like at the grocery store at midnight.)


Then again the fact that I was nearly giddy over the 5 pound bag of frozen peas I found on sale for $2.94 probably indicates that I'm a ma'am. No longer a miss. Hey if the shoe fits, wear it!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Homeschooling

Day 1

Me: This is the best! I'm so glad I'm keeping the girls home with me. This year is going to be awesome. I've totally got this. 

Charlotte: Thank you for being my teacher mommy. I love homeschool! 



Day 2

Me: Homeschooling is the worst decision I've ever made. Ever. We will never survive this. 

Charlotte: I don't want to homeschool. I'm going to REGULAR school because it's fun and this is not!


Hopefully we will find a happy medium soon! Because clearly our start has been a little rocky:) That and I really need to order us some curriculum. That might help. 


And unrelated. Pictures of my boys on the same day 8 years apart. 



Friday, August 19, 2016

Falling Through the Cracks

Also known as "picking ourselves up by our bootstraps and figuring it out". Or maybe a better title would be "doing what works best for OUR family right now in this particular life situation". But those are a bit lengthy so...I picked something shorter and still fitting. What am I even talking about? The beginning of the new school year of course:) 


This school year I will have three kids in school. Isaiah is starting 4th grade. Charlotte is starting 1st grade. And Hannah is starting preschool. My children have all attended public schools in the past and I presumed this school year would be the same. Since arriving back in Texas I have spent a significant amount of time getting the kids ready for the new school year...buying and organizing school supplies, sorting, washing & hanging school uniforms and just generally getting my kids excited to start the new school year. 

And then we found out Hannah could not attend the public PreK program. We didn't qualify (thanks to a teeny tiny raise Joe received this summer). And yet private preschool was most definitely out of reach for our budget. So there's the crack. And we fell through it. Or in it. Whatever the correct terminology is we were seemingly without a good (easy!) preschool option for our four year old. And she most definitely was excited and ready to attend preschool (from all the talking it up we had done for weeks!). Womp. Womp. Womp. 


This is where things got interesting. First I felt discouraged and a little hopeless. (Yes I'm dramatic. I know it's only preschool, but still. My plans changed unexpectedly. And I felt like I failed my child. And I do not like that.) Then I got thinking and dreaming and google searching. And talking to other local moms. Because moms know stuff. And if they don't know - they figure it out!  And that's just what I did. I figured it out. After the initial disapointment wore off I realized this might just be a blessing in disguise. The nudge I needed to make changes for our family. A chance to make school work for us. Because honestly public school didn't feel like the best fit for us last school year. Two kids in two schools across town from each other was a logistical nightmare especially with a napping infant and energetic toddler. Add in a crazy, ever changing residency schedule. And Charlotte was so young for her class - I never felt a peace about having her in school last year. It just never felt right last year. 

So I took the plunge and withdrew Charlotte from public school the Friday before the first week of school! (Actually in all honesty I made Isaiah do my dirty work. He ran the official "withdrawing from school" letter into Charlotte's school office while I waited in the idling van with the sleeping toddler in the parking lot. Still counts. She was withdrawn). 


And Monday we started school. Isaiah chose to stay at his school. Which is a decision I fully endorse. It's a perfect fit for him. Charlotte and Hannah started 1st grade and PreK with me at home. 


And Levi of course is along for the ride. Terrorizing the girls and the house as I try to educate them. At this point my "curriculum" is a modge podge of educational books I own + Charlotte & Isaiah's old public school textbooks + library books + dollar store workbooks. But I'm researching actual curriculums and will be ordering one soon. We joined a homeschool co-op that meets weekly. And I cleared off a small section of our book shelf to make room for our school supplies. It's a start. 



Will we always homeschool? Probably not. Will Isaiah stay in public school? I think so. But honestly I don't know. We are just doing what works best RIGHT NOW in this moment. And that looks different for everyone in our family. And while it's a scary change. I feel good about it. 


I guess I better pack up those school uniforms we don't need those taking up precious space in the girls' closet:)

Saturday, August 13, 2016

A backyard party

Darn it. He was right. Again.

Just last night after I finished a lengthy monologue complaining about this (residency) life Joe said to me "You are going to miss it. You are going to look back on these times and think about how wonderful it was." To which I quickly and confidently responded "No. Never. I won't miss THIS."

And then today happened. Today was the day of Hannah's postponed backyard birthday party. And as I stood in my kitchen chopping fruits and veggies like a crazed woman I received a group text from another resident wife asking if she could bring anything. My natural instinct was to say "NO". Instead I said "YES! Juice boxes." And when the party started people came pouring in with food and drinks! They brought juice boxes. And chips. And cookies. And homemade pretzels. And soda. And freezies. And rice krispy treats. And a whole lotta kids too! There were 27 children to be exact!





The kids played with water balloons and the sprinkler. They shared one small kiddie pool and slide quite nicely. There was a piƱata and a homemade cake. It was the best kind of backyard chaos! It was simple. And easy. It was pretty close to perfect. 







And then when it was done one resident's wife stayed and asked what she could do to help me. I said she could put my kids to bed. And she did. SHE PUT MY KIDS TO BED!! Brushed teeth. Pajamas. Bedtime stories. The whole works! So we could clean up. (Because let's be honest 27 children can really trash a house and yard.) It was amazing. Again simple but perfect. 

So yes...maybe...just maybe I will in fact miss this. 


P.S. Apparently I don't have friends over enough because my girls were quite confused as to WHY my friend was staying after the party. While in the bathroom they kept asking each other why she was still here after the party ended - which my friend overheard - the only explanation they could come up was to help me clean up! Ha. 

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Four!

It doesn't seem possible but today our Hannah turned four! We were supposed to be celebrating this crazy kid with friends in our backyard - with water balloons & a sprinkler - but the non-functioning a/c unit made me question the wisdom of having dozens of children + parents over and we (wisely?) postponed the party to next weekend. 


The birthday girl has taken to this change of plans surprisingly well considering she has been planning and dreaming about her party for months (and counting down for weeks)! I think the chocolate "muffins" for breakfast and dozens of presents given to her by her siblings helped ease the blow of the "no party today" news. 


Levi on the other hand was devastated. 


Not really:) He just really disliked the party hats. Which is ironic since he normally LOVES wearing hats. 


Quit raining on my parade kid!


Much better!


I so enjoyed watching Charlotte and Isaiah lavish our birthday girl with attention and gifts this morning. My kids typically don't give each other gifts so I was surprised when all they wanted to do for a few days before her birthday was plan, create, organize and wrap gifts for their little sister. Then again I don't typically give them free reign with an entire roll of wrapping paper, tape, ribbons and scissors. So maybe it was just the novelty of it all? Either way - Hannah felt loved and celebrated. Which is good because the only plan we have for the rest of the day is waiting for the a/c repair man...again. :/  Because Joe is working so someone has to be here to let them in! 


Squished between the two doors. Why? I have no idea! It's just where Hannah wanted her picture taken as she practiced showing me her new age. Which perfectly sums up Hannah - she's a wild card. You just never know what she is going to do or say next! Or as one of her great grandpas says "she's a spit fire!"  I couldn't agree more. Never a dull moment with this one around. Speaking of being around, this birthday marks four years of me staying at home with my kids. 

Just because this made me chuckle - a little Hannah story...she still wears diapers at night which are mostly wet in the morning. But she often takes them off by herself therefore I often don't know if it was wet or dry. So I ask. One morning recently I inquired about her bedtime diaper. 

Her response: "It was just a little wet. A teeny tiny bit wet. Like the size of Texas."
Me: "Huh?"
Her: "Like Texas when you see it on the entire world map. Teeny tiny Texas wet."

Sorry Texans your state isn't so big after all. It's teeny tiny. My four year old told me. It must be true. ;-)

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Leaving Minnesota. Again.



Leaving Minnesota this year was HARD. And I don't just mean because I had to drive solo with the kids. (And in order to see Joe on his day off this week we had to do the trip in only 2 days). Sure that was hard. Physically exhausting. Sometimes emotionally exhausting as well. It felt never ending. Like the time when I got on a tollway in Oklahoma and Charlotte immediately begged me to stop to use the bathroom but the next exit was 22 miles down the road! I stopped when I got to that exit (after listening to her cry/whine for all 22 miles) only to discover there was nothing at this exit. So I pulled out the potty chair and Charlotte took care of her business on the side of the country road while a donkey looked on and brayed at us! (I'm not even kidding.) Oh and all of that whining was for a tablespoon of urine! And if that wasn't bad enough I accidentally got back on the tollway going NORTH. It was an excruciating 22 miles before I could turn around - pay the toll two more times - and head south once again! Yep I lost it in that moment. I yelled and pounded my fist on my dashboard and threw one big fit. So yes the drive was hard. But that wasn't the worst part. 


The worst part was leaving all of my friends and family. Leaving "home". The place where I feel loved and known and supported the most. Sure I did the same thing a year ago when we first moved to Texas but at that point it was one big adventure. Everything was new and exciting. This year I knew exactly what I was driving back to. And don't get me wrong I love my husband. And I missed him terribly. And there are parts of our life in Texas that I love. But....after being away from it I realized I don't love it. So driving back to it was hard. It felt like I was driving away from a better/happier version of myself and back to a lonelier more burdened version of myself. 

Would things really be better if we lived in the Midwest? Would I be happier? I don't know. Texas definitely has an unfair disadvantage: residency. Maybe it's just residency I don't like. Maybe Texas really isn't so bad. But it's impossible for me to separate the two at this point. I do know that I had too much time on my hands to ponder all of this because my poor unsuspecting husband got an ear-full at one point when he called to check on us. (Oops.) 


The kids and I were welcomed back to reality with temperatures in the mid 90s, a broken a/c unit (main floor of our house) and a week long stretch of 12 hour shifts for Joe. Yay Texas! ;-)