Monday, January 8, 2018

A New Year. A New View.

 A couple weeks ago,I was up in the night nursing Isaac. The sound of a thunder storm played on repeat from his noise machine.I rocked softly in the rocking chair by the light of the dim night light in the wall beside me. I popped Isaac on my shoulder to burp him and as I did this, I caught a glimpse of my shadow on the wall behind me. The silhouette that I saw looking back at me wasn't the overtired, disheveled mom that I imagine I am, but of a mother who sacrifices her sleep, her body, her personal schedule and life for the care of her baby and her other children. If that shadow could get up and walk away, I would want to be like Peter Pan and attempt to sew it back on because... I loved it. I loved what I felt when I saw it. Isaac's little shadow was the perfect shape of him. Simple. Sweet. Dependent on me for his everything right now. He was silent for the moment as I patted his back and stared at our forms on the wall. The shadows we make are sometimes all we need to see to recognize our real identity. At least for me it was.
Life has been somewhat of a whirlwind the last six months. Adding a fresh baby to the family always slows me down to an extent but speeds everything around me up to full speed (or so it seems) I have come to learn so much more about myself and what I am capable of handling, even in the midst of chaos.

I love a new year. A fresh beginning. A clean slate. I sometimes fantasize about packing up our family and moving somewhere where no one knows who we are and starting new. But since that will probably never happen, a new year will do. 

 I am excited to challenge myself this year to be a little better. A little better at being present, a little better at listening to understand, to learn and to feel for others, a little better at being flexible with the many things my children do (that slow me down, or make me curse in my head or are inconvenient or annoying) A little better at saving money. A little better at self control toward food r other impulses and a little better at teaching my children the things that interest them in their moment (not mine) and running with it. It is comforting to know that there are always tomorrows, second chances and opportunities to "try again" and "new years" to make goals again.

I feel as though I am a mighty work in progress- I don't even know if I can say, "I'm getting there..." But I am trying!

Here's to another year of trying!

First Photo of all the boys together in 2018

Friday, January 5, 2018


Wow! The year is ending and I cannot grasp the time that has passed. I am feeling overwhelmed by the growth within our family and as each individual in our home. Every single person in our home has an expanded knowledge of new discoveries and new things and new physical capabilities of their own self. We are all communicating to our personal fullest ability. We have stretched our hearts and minds in places we didn't know exsisted in previous years and we are learning how to love each other in the most meaningful way. Everyday, I am reminded how differently all of my boys need to be loved. Ezra needs love in words of affirmation and quality time, while Eli needs love through physical touch and words of affirmation and Oliver and Isaac need basically all kinds of love. The personalities in our home are all unique and special and really intrinsic to who these boys are becoming in their own time. It can be lovely and frustrating all at once.

December has been busy and wonderful. I was surprisingly the calmest I have been in the past years. ( I haven't been stretched to the max in any other responsibilities besides within my own home and business, which has been a nice break) I was able to enjoy this Christmas season with my kids. Daily we talked and learned of Christ and his mission on earth. We learned how we could be more like him and how we could invite the Spirit of Christ into our lives through our words, actions and service. It is always so sweet to be able to focus on the Savior with small children. (Every year we do 25 days of Christ and add an ornament to our tree- the boys love this-- we also did light the world)

We sent out Christmas cards this year! I am always surprised that we actually pull this off every year.

Ezra performed Jolly old St. Nicholas and The falling winter snow at his piano recital. I also performed and sang, "Mary, did you know" at the recital as well, and also at two church events. I was so happy to be asked to work on this during this season.

Isaac is plumping up! He is approaching 6 months (next week) He already has 2 bottom teeth. Which came up suddenly! I didn't even notice until he BIT ME!

Keeping Oliver busy has been a new set of challenges. I feel like he is advancing verbally at an accelerated rate and is wanting and needing to learn along side his brothers, which is fantastic, but at times exhausted. I wasn't prepared for him to catch on to all that we do as well as he does. He is SO much fun! I am loving who he is becoming.

Eli was taken on a date with (my mom) Grandma. She took him to get a happy meal and shopping for his gift. He picked out this costume and also a little paw patrol toy. He loves pj masks and this costume has been a hit this month!

Ezra is so sweet and tender to Isaac. In fact, all the boys totally clobber him with kisses and snuggles any chance they possibly get. Isaac loves the attention and prefers to be surrounded by the noise and busy bodies. (He did pick up their colds, unfortunately.)

We went to the church Christmas party and Santa was there!  As we were walking to our car, Ezra said, Mom.. I noticed that Santa's beard fell down and he had to pull it up"
Me - Well, that's because it wasn't the real Santa. But don't tell your brothers or ruin it for anyone else
Ezra- (yelling to everyone in the parking lot) YOU GUYS! That Santa wasn't real!!!

Eli and Ezra helped make Eli's Birthday cake. Eli chose chocolate cake with white frosting. He is 5 everybody! And he is loving it! (It's also so amazing to me how seriously he has taken this age adjustment. He has become more self aware of the things he is more capable of achieving now that he is 5.)

Here, Ezra is being a "mechanic" working on Isaac's "vehicle" - it needed new batteries.

Isaac is not quite sitting up on his own, but trying so hard. He is just so big and heavy, I am not sure when he will have the strength to do this on his own.

The boys all bathed and clean, hamming it up for me.

Lots of hot cocoa!

Eli staring out the window at our real first fallen snow. He was Super Santa.

My grandparents had a white elephant Christmas party at their place in Bloomington. It was a lot of fun to see everyone and the enjoy the good food and company. The boys ran around the room until they were sweating. It was a good time.

I love dressing the boys up in their Sunday/Christmas best and forcing them :) to get a decent Christmas photo. This year, we let them open a gift for sitting nice for a family picture. We pulled it off!

Christmas morning was so fun. It is so fun how magical it all is through the eyes of children. They boys opened their stocking and gifts from Santa right away and also from us. They were so happy for all that they got. We got LOTS of books! I am so excited about this. 

Santa brought this startwars set for Ezra. I was so impressed by how quickly he was able to put this together. He did awesome.

Marshall and the boys decorated this gingerbread house. I may or may not have accidentally ate the roof.

The boys played outside on the days that it wasn't too cold. They love it out there.

Marshall took the boys sledding the other day. When they got home, Marshall asked them what their favorite part of sledding was. Eli responded "Well, the scariest thing was when Oliver and I slid right into the road" ...... I looked at Marshall and he put his hands on his head and muttered "of all the things you tell mom, Eli."-- I was like, "Wait! WHAT!? In the ROAD!?" and then Eli said, "Ezra saved us!" ---- WHERE WAS DAD!? 
I still don't know exactly what happened here- I am just glad everyone was/is safe.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

November (looking back)

November came and went quick. 
We have been busy with our everyday "school" lessons, which mostly consists of interest led learning led by the boys. Many, many books, math problems- usually inspired by money in, money out scenerios and gift lists for the holiday season. Ezra and Eli are blowing me away with the knowledge they are consuming about everyday life and all things interested and read about. They are little sponges and are really loving to learn. I am so inspired by them. I would think there would be a lull in the learning at this time of year, but there hasn't been any of that around these parts.

We learned and focused on the water cycle (again) this time including Oliver. The boys love learning about this (it's so interesting to me that they love this so much)

Isaac is even bigger this month. 98th percentile and happy. happy. happy. I am feeling really grateful that he has moved past his fussy 3 month stage and onward to a happier, more calm countenance. 

We made a couple trips to the library this month, stocked up on all kinds of books. Books about our brains, our blood, our planets, fairy tales, star wars, women in history, the creators of superman (so good) I love how much time these boys spend flipping through all of these books, studying their photos and words. My favorite is learning beside them.

Eli and Oliver have been the best buddies. They are usually happy to play together doing all sorts of fun things. Not always playing the nicest together, but when they do get a long, it is a dream!

Isaac's sleeping routine took a turn backwards this month. He was waking up every 2 hours, worst than a newborn. I was dying of sleep deprivation. 

One of Marshall's assistant coaches got married and it was a great excuse for us to get gussied up for the evening and get out of the house. Marshall and I were excited for the black tie event and both purchased some fancy clothes for the night. (This stressed me out far more than it should have. Why it so hard to find a modest, appropriate, respectable, fancy dress?)

The boys room was clean at least once this month!
We hosted Thanksgiving again. We love to have family over. Not only does it give us an excuse to scrub and clean all parts of our home, but we also get to have people over to celebrate the holiday.

Unfortunately, no great photos of our thanksgiving feast.
But we did manage to catch an annual holiday family pic. (Notice our big blackboard. Marshall and I made this!)

Also, Dinner turned out "okay"-- honestly, the turkey was a total bust. I will never go "easy" on a turkey again.  But the sides and desserts were amazing. (thankfully ;)

Ezra (and all of us) went black Friday shopping and picked up quite the deal on these nerf-like guns.
The boys all played for hours with these. 

The boys love dressing Isaac up into some type of character. This day, he was a "worker."

We always put up our Christmas tree up after thanksgiving. Marshall is usually in charge of it all, which is fine by me. I am happy to take it all down after the holidays. The boys were so happy to help their dad decorate.

Ezra is continuing to gain self confidence and independence. He has been wanting to style his own hair before leaving the house and setting the timer for 2 minutes every time he brushes his teeth.

Isaac is just the sweetest. His skin has been pretty dry, so here I am lotion-ing him all up and wishing I had his life.

Eli and Oliver after being at gramma's. They made muffins with her and brought them home and wanted to eat them in the backyard sunshine. 

We tried desperately to soak up any amount of sun we could before the bitter cold of winter arrived. I think we did an okay job.

Marshall's coaching season started immediately after Thanksgiving. Gone by 6:30 am, home by 7pm if there isn't a swim meet. (otherwise, 9:30 pm or so) 
We are hanging in there. I have us on a pretty wonderful rhythm. I don't mind him being gone all day, actually. The boys get pretty excited when they hear the doorknob jiggle around 7 pm though. :)