Thursday, December 12, 2013

Two is BIG

To Soren on his 2nd Birthday,

You, my dear, are a force to be reckoned with.

In your two short years, you have grown faster & stronger & surer than any of my babies before you.

You are the piece that completes our family... the one makes us whole.

Your quest for independence astounds me with its ferocity.

You don't want hands to hold, or to have anything done FOR you.

You've got your own way of doing things.

Sometimes I miss the weight of baby-you, sleepy & sated after a feeding.

You are so very busy stretching, growing... testing limits and finding your place.


You learn so very quickly, taking in new things with an appetite for adventure that makes me nervous for your future years.

I struggle to make those special moments just the two of us.  As the third child you often get dragged along in your brothers' wake.


I promise to help you explore your own path too.

 But now you are two... you love your big brothers, your dog and stealing whatever toys any of them might currently have.  You love the itsy-bitsy spider song and move your fingers so carefully making your spider crawl up that spout.  You love bananas and crackers and have a wicked sweet tooth just like me.  More than anything else you love to dance to Daddy's loud music.  Swinging your body round and round and round again... until you wobble and fall in a heap of giggles.  I love dancing with you.

Happy 2nd Birthday my sweet Soren!
I love you so very much.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

And Still We Rise

Last night I stumbled upon a blog entry on Rants From Mommyland that has become a lifeline of sorts.  In a letter to her younger sister, who is going to become a mother far earlier than planned, she uses the phrase "And still we rise" to sum up motherhood...

“And still we rise.” 
To me, that’s motherhood in four words. No matter what happens to you, you will rise to it.  We do, mostly because we want to...but also because we have to. Sickness, sleep deprivation, divorce, puking, pain, disappointment, betrayal, exhaustion, anger, all of it. Things that, right now, would send you to bed for a week. Or storming out of the house. Or running away as fast as you could run. But you can’t run from these things if you want to be a mom. 

Oh yes.

Solo parenting 3 boys + 8 days = 1 crispy Mama.

Last night the littlest woke up screaming in the middle of the night.  And proceeded to scream for three hours.  Three middle-of-the-night hours that should be used for sleeping.  Diaper change, warm milk, walking, rocking, snuggling, singing, screaming back (yes, not my best moment), tylenol, crying with him... nothing worked.  Until it did.  Eventually he just tired himself out.  Probably gas.  Because, of course.

Oldest little decided that six AM is a very good time to wake up... not just regular wake up, but worked up from a nightmare about being chased on a hill by monsters, kind of wake up.  Because, of course.

And Still We Rise

Literally, figuratively, emotionally... we Rise.  We assuage fears of chasing monsters.  We wait out fits and unexplained freak-outs.  We brave storms.  We rise to occasions, to illness, to storms of shit (both literal & figurative).  We rise to bullies, coaches, teachers and schools who don't want to deal with our kids.  We rise to breakfast, lunch and dinner.  And then we do it again.

We rise to scale dish & laundry mountains that we would rather just ignore forever.  To early mornings, late nights and phone calls from school in the middle of a busy work day.  We rise to face all that needs facing.

And when we are very lucky, and can pry our eyes open long enough to see, there are the moments that let us know that all of this Rising matters.  That it means something bigger than ourselves is happening.  Watching brothers be kind, walking hand-in-hand, playing together in the last rays of summer.  Having a little one tell you that his heart feels warm & tingly when he snuggles with you.  Sometimes the Rising is more of a "And We Are Lifted" kind of thing.

And then they start fighting over couch cushions and what TV show to watch and who breathes the best.

And Still We Rise

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

first days

The house is strangely quiet after so many weeks of summer chaos.  I am a bit giddy with possibilities... should I be responsible & tackle the laundry/cleaning/list of projects that never ends?  Or be decadent and lay on the couch with the latest People magazine?  Downright giddy, I tell you.

first day of 2nd & Kindergarten

little brother photo bomber

The morning went pretty smoothly even with the unexpected sound of Remy's asthma cough as my alarm clock.  His sharp seal bark bringing me out of a very happy dream.  Poor little guy had to start his first day of school hopped up on asthma meds.  He was a bit nervous & uncharacteristically quiet as we made our way to his class.  His teacher is wonderful... just the right mix of kindness & business.  We started the day with an art project & the story "The Kissing Hand" about a young raccoon on his first night of school.  I managed to keep my tears at bay until the moment I stepped out of the classroom... waterworks at milestone events are my specialty it seems.  Remy will be just fine at school... can't wait until pickup to hear all of the stories & who his "new best friends" will be.

Quinn has this school thing down.  Yesterday we went to visit his classroom & meet his teacher.  He was ready to get started & didn't want to leave.  I was able to pry him away with the promise of ice-cream & that if we came back the next day, all of his friends would be there too.  He has a different aide this year.  I am a bit nervous about that... but trying to remember that the goal is to eventually have him be as independent as possible.

William went with Quinn to his class this morning while I stayed with Remy.  He said he did great... following the routine of backpacks, finding his desk and reuniting with friends.  He tends to have a honeymoon period at the beginning of the year, each thing new & novel, until... it's not.  We are so proud of him and excited for his adventures in second grade.

Soren seemed to sense the excitement this morning... doing his best to be a part of the hustle & bustle.  He will be going to daycare three mornings a week so I can work.  (We are diving in to our latest business venture, The Dharma Door, importing Fair Trade housewares with our partners in Australia... more on that coming soon!)  I know he will miss his brothers but I am looking forward to one-on-one time with him too.

Have been thinking a lot lately about how fleeting this time with the boys really is... even in the midst of too much togetherness during the summer... I tried to remember that things will not always be as they are now.  If I do my job right, they will all three be making their ways out into the world.  Independent.  Strong.  Kind.  A day of happy firsts.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Reals & Ideals

It is 8:00 pm and, by some miracle, all three of my boys are sleeping.  Funny thing is, about a half hour ago I lost it with the two big boys... thinking it was already 8:30 I hustled them through pajamas, brush teeth, story, lights out... impatient & barking at them through each step.  When I came back to the kitchen I realized my mistake... it was only 7:30.  Perhaps I should find my glasses & actually wear them?

There are some mornings I wake up to little boy snuggles and excitement about the day ahead and I think to myself, I am doing pretty well with this parenthood thing.  Other mornings I am equally convinced that I am messing the whole thing up as I referee squabbles over ridiculous things, losing my cool well before breakfast.  I'm pretty sure that somewhere in the middle lies the truth.  Royally screwing up some bits & mostly handling the rest of it pretty well.  I cling tightly to the idea that all will work out in the sum total, as long as I keep trying to do better.

Right now my kids are all at a place where they need so much more than they can give.  On the worst days I carry their needs heavily... slogging through the have-to's and routines.  On the best, I can find all of the little ways that they do give back to me... the love, trust, small moments of joy that lighten the rest.  I try hard to remember that these light moments are there all the time... even if not visible to the naked eye.  If I could just find a pair of those glasses... the ones that remind you to see the beauty in the midst of chaos... I am certain I would never take them off.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Sunflakes & Random Bits

This morning before school Quinn drew a picture for a classmate named Emma.  He often receives drawings from girls in his class, his beaming smile as he reveals these treasures to me at pickup says it all.  He has peeps.  They bring in drawings & art for each other, shyly handing them over before school starts and then excitedly going on about their morning business.  He only recently started reciprocating though.  First a rainbow and sunshine for Alexcia.  Then this morning for Emma a flower, rainbow & a sunshine.  After drawing the sun he continued to make yellow dots throughout the picture.  I asked him if those were the sun's rays... he informed me that those were "sunflakes".  But of course, sunflakes.

His school participated in a Read-Across-America day.  I brought my lunch & a blanket and we ate and read along with his entire school on a bright sunny afternoon.


We finished up basketball season by actually playing in the last half of the last game.  
Got the medal & everything.
Celebratory ice-cream

Next up for Quinn is baseball... he sure looks cute in the uniform... will soon see if actual baseball will happen.  First game coming up on Saturday.

Remy's new favorite thing to do is to take my phone when I'm not looking, take a ton of random photos and then sneak it back where he found it.  I often don't notice until much later, when I come across photos like this... 


Or this...

 Until... caught in the act...


Warmer days have meant a return to playing out on our front porch.  Not having a yard is tough with little guys, but we sure have fun with the space we do have.

Must be spring... brand new box of sidewalk chalk!

Remy's masterpiece

He has "the COOLEST bike helmet EVER in the history of EVERS."

William continues to work nights at the Gulag... only a few more weeks left.  We try to get him out in daylight whenever possible before he turns vampire... or worse, zombie.

How did I get so many BOYS?!?

Yesterday Soren took six steps on his own... pulled up on the kitchen cabinet & started walking to the door.  He still prefers crawling as his main mode of transpo, but it is only a matter of time before he's running after big brothers on his own two feet.

Free-ranging with the chickens at Grandma's house.

Last week I escaped for an entire day of pampering at the Spa.  Yes, I got to be a lady who SPAS.  I started the morning with an hour & a half long massage and a soak in a hot mineral spring.  Then a gorgeous lunch of exactly what I wanted (steak salad!) as I sat in the sun and read a book (a real actual book.) 

Steak salad with marinated mushrooms, arugula, parmesan spoonbread & a light horseradish dressing.  Oh-my-goodness it was delicious.

The afternoon brought a pedicure and nourishing facial.  I enjoyed a hot cup of tea and fresh cinnamon donut holes before driving back to Grandma's house for the night. 
happy feet

Hot cinnamon crack balls with a Bailey's Irish dipping sauce.  Pure heaven.

It felt decadent and delicious to have such a day.  Now it all seems a distant dream... floating weightless, the only sound my own heartbeat.  I had almost forgotten what quiet sounds like.

What quiet looked like...

When I got home the next day the boys surprised me with a project they had made.  With Daddy's help (and powertools!) they designed, built & painted a birdhouse for our front porch.  Adorable little buggars, aren't they?

Here birdy birdy... come on & move in.

 A sneak peak at Quinn as a teenager... such a pose & attitude...

And that's a bit of random... a few sunflakes too.