Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Tally time.


{This seems to be working for me right now}


Victory:

Had self and all little misses dressed and ready to go out the door by 9am. Dropped Lily off at school on time. Was set to arrive five minutes early to LONG AWAITED MUCH OVERDUE hair appt.

Casualty:

Not thirty minutes into the school day, Lily throws up. School calls.
 Hair appt: Cancelled.
I did, however, enjoy the drama of rushing into the nurse's office to rescue my poor daughter. I get a pretty sweet parental high from the heroic-ness of it all.
Oh my lily! Are you okay my darling girl!? 
She sat hunched over and pale in the chair, happy to see me and teary eyed about having thrown up in the trash can in front of her class. 

"Don't worry Lu bug, remember how we read when Ramona Quimby threw up in class too?"

She muffled back...no she didn't...she cracked an egg on her head.

"Yes, AND threw up...talk about DOUBLE embarrassing and look...she's fine!"...

then Lily threw up again in the gutter before loading into the car.

Laundry time.


 Victory:
Snapped photos of stacks of Lily and London's artwork before saying Adios! and dumping it in the trash. Best fellow mom tip ever: take pics of all of their incoming projects, save them to a folder on your computer and have them all printed in a photo book at the end of year. Genius. Of course you can hold on to those really precious few items, but as for the rest this can help to alleviate the guilt when you finally have no choice but to say your final goodbyes to the cotton ball bearded Santa Claus brown paper bag puppet from 2 years ago.


Casualty:
Lily presented me with two darling pictures yesterday.....
i smiled and expressed my gratitude for her creative eye...
she responded with...

Good! These will cost you ten bucks.

Art swindler!




Victory:
Evening picnic at the park.



{lils doing much better...it's a pretty mild stomach bug apparently}

Casualty:
All events of the day leading up to the necessity of an evening picnic at the park.

Today's husband/wife text transcript:

Rae: I will not have a nervous breakdown, I will not have a nervous breakdown, I will not have a nervous breakdown

T: What is the matter?

Rae: Throw up, dirty house, Emerson screaming, Ellie throwing tantrum, can't get anything done, animal cookies for lunch even though I need to lose weight, port of subs sandwich from monday smooshed all over floor in laundry room...








Victory:

Text conversation continued...

T: Have I told you that I love you and you have the hardest job in the world?

Rae: I love you more, have I told you that even though I adore the little squirts u are still the best part of my day?

T: Ditto.























Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Wrap up.



Rainy Day weekend Victories:


 Tent making. What grand pianos are really for. 
Emerson learning to sleep in swing and car-seat.
Ellie's teeth. What? I can claim that.


 Ellie discovering the bliss of sticking her face in front of our bedroom fan.
The Maxi dress. Or what I fondly dubbed: what to wear when you can't button your pants.
Balloons.


So says Lily: Hey Mom! It's a rainy day! And YOU KNOW WHAT WE DO ON RAINY DAYS?...
Best Chocolate Chip cookie recipe ever. Click here. 


Casualties:

Not too many to report actually. Husband was home for the weekend, life is much more manageable under such conditions.







Coming soon: Raecovery.


Hint: 
Up first: hair.

wish me luck.























Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Win some, Lose some.



Well whadda-ya-know? I actually have a minute to post. Lily is at a friend's house, I have miraculously managed to get London and Ellie to take a nap, and Emerson is here with me nursing. My ability to breastfeed while simultaneously blogging is both an excellent testament to a mother's ability to multi-task and the perfect representation of everything that is wrong with modernity. Oh well, let's run with this, shall we?

I've been thinking a lot lately. In fact, the majority of my day is spent in deep thought as I motion through the adjustments and find solutions to this crazy existence called life. Which as a side note, whoever came up with the lame gender generalization that women aren't interested in solutions is full of bullhunkydory CRAP AND A HALF. Have you ever heard that one from a man giving advice to fellow men? I've read this line of thinking in quite a few books. Actual books written by real professionals who are supposed to be giving good advice. It goes something like this: Women don't want solutions, they just want you to listen. So instead of giving her answers to her problems as she discusses them, stay silent and nod and give her the empathy and understanding she is really looking for.


Uh, not me. 

Why would I be telling you my problems unless I wanted solutions? What kind of a moron does that? Do you think I'm just talking to talk?!?! That I like to just hear the annoying sound of my own whine?!! Solve my problems and I'll gladly shut. up.

I'm a woman AND a solution finder. No apologies for that.




{Sometimes I like to spend a warm afternoon on the front porch with my half-clothed children and think about how weird we must look to the neighbors.)



Anyhoo, solutions to the new complexities that have arisen of late have been on the forefront of my mind. I would be lying if I said that these last five weeks haven't been an exhausting whirlwind. To a certain extent it was expected. But there have been other realities of raising these little ones that have arisen that I didn't anticipate, and learning to deal and move through has me re-assessing what I think of as important.

My newly adopted strategy to move forward is that of Win some/Lose some. I simply can't do it all. Isn't it so insanely stupid that you can know that in theory and yet still adamantly try to maneuver your way around the cold hard mathematics of it all? One person equals one person equals one person. Period. And yet I'm just sure some days I can tackle a list only physically plausible if eight people each devoted all twenty-fours hours to accomplishing.

I think the pressure gets stacked higher the more children you have. Which isn't to say that those with less than four children are in a less stressful situation. We all have our battles, no matter the circumstances. It has just been my experience coming from a family of eight children and now having four myself (and by the age of 28) that the microscope is applied a little more. I think it is probably the case with pretty much any endeavor that is outside of any typical societal norms. And when people start noticing, you feel a need to go into hyperdrive to prove that you're not the total whackkadoodle that you look like. If Lily attends school one day with her hair not brushed and her outfit mismatched, I am plagued with worry that her teacher is going to think I am neglecting her. If I cry over the difficulty I feel from a frustrating day people might think I made a mistake to have so many children. If I go to the store in my sweatpants and run into so-and-so from my previous job who I haven't seen in years they are going to think I let myself go.


My Mom just mentioned the other day how long it would take her to primp all of my younger siblings before bringing them to my eldest brother's high-school football games. My Dad never wanted to miss kick-off so she would send him ahead and be a little late because she would work extra hard to make sure everyone was perfectly cleaned and polished before coming. She wouldn't ever want my brother to feel embarrassed about our large family or heaven forbid have somebody think we were a big bunch of freakshows.
I had to laugh remembering, but now I do sense a bit of the pressure myself. And I don't know where it comes from, because I honestly don't think people care all that much. But when you take even the smallest bits collectively multiplied over time, it really can feel like people are watching and waiting for your next fantastically validating screw-up. Yep, always knew she was a nut-job.

And I haven't even mentioned the most intimidating spectator of all, the most relentless, ruthless tyrant who never forgives failure or let's any un-done deed go unpunished...
myself
This she-devil can be the toughest of all. This is the person who cares the most, who insists on the best, and who never forgets.

So it is no surprise I felt a huge surge of relief last week when I heard a gentle whisper to my heart:

You have to let some things go. 


I must let some things go.


Win some. Lose some.
It's okay.



This week's victories thus far:
Made the girls their favorite strawberry pancakes for breakfast (and on a school morning), stayed in bed an extra thirty minutes playing with Emerson who kept smiling and cooing, all poopy diapers were changed, swam 1/2 mile at the gym, enjoyed awesome and long overdue makeout session with Tyler over the weekend, family's new conversion to all paper plates and bowls, read another chapter of Mouse and The Motorcycle to the older girls, attended sister's baby shower and made flower arrangements which turned out lovely, sang lullabies to Ellie for a good 15 minutes before bed and almost DIED over her cuteness, worked on budget, ate a killer sweet potato kale red onion homemade pizza, prayed, made a concerted effort to notice and compliment Lily and London on their good listening skills, attended church for the first time in weeks and didn't yell at anyone while getting out the door, listened to two great podcasts while cleaning, taught Lily 7 new sight-words, scratched London's back (her favorite) before her naptime, built blocks with Ellie on the floor, didn't freak out during this morning's school run, washed car.

And alas, a few casualties:

Late to school two mornings this week (and we're only to Wednesday), Emerson screaming in the car, freaked out at Tyler for running the Vitamixer at 5:30 am, Ellie's ratty hair, my hair in a wet bun for three solid days, family's new conversion to all paper plates and bowls, still haven't brushed teeth as of 2pm today, bed not made, still haven't apologized to Tyler for freak-out regarding the Vitamixer at 5:30am, girls have watched too much television, migraine/neck pains, utter public humiliation in the check-out line when Emerson was crying and we were stuck and that nice lady asked if I needed help, had to cancel my personal dental appointment which I've had for over six months and still can't seem to manage getting to, overspent on budget (as always), lost my temper with London.


So summing up my progress as a woman and a wife and a mother each day may involve this tally of sorts. I intend on celebrating my victories while forgiving the casualties. And that is that.







Sunday, May 20, 2012

A Peek Inside.









Today as we were exiting church we passed my Dad in the foyer. The girls squealed in delight as he scooped them up and asked if they wanted to come with Pop to his house!? ....and just like that our chaos train of ribbons and bows and sparkly shoes breezed out the doors and away, leaving Tyler and I standing in a stupor, empty handed and facing the sudden prospect of a silent afternoon. 
We blinked in amazement at each other:

This. is. awesome.




Blog-journaling has and will continue to be sporadic.
As much as I need to document the journey, I can't help but hear the piercing irony in the command I issued to my children from my computer desk last week,

"Everyone SHUuuuuuuT!!!! UuuuuP!!!!!, No Talking! No Skipping! No Throwing! No Playing! No Fun! No Games! Sit and watch your television while Mommy blogs about how PERFECT OUR LIFE IS."


Wowsa!
Okay... so I didn't yell shut. up. But there is some yelling. And my oh my things are not perfect.
Never will be.


Life likes to frequently bend a know-it-all, somewhat abrasive, and occasionally overly confident little Miss like myself over its knee and give her a darn good spanking.

We're still in the sorting-out-and-figuring-out-baby-who-screams-the-entire-car-ride-everywhere-we-must-go-but-we-love-her-anyways phase. 

And the when-are-you-going-to-realize-you-are-NEVER-going-to-have-clean-floors-so-get-the-anxious-stick-out-of-your-butt phase. 

And the Costco-team-member's-eye-roll-that-says-oh-there's-that-crazy-lady-again-with-all-those-kids-eating-churros-and-buying-bulk-toilet-paper-and-diapers phase.

.............................

But here's the thing about those phases...


You're still guaranteed your moments.

I may not have much time to blog and elaborate on these moments for a while, but I still have them.

The sweet ones.



And the still, soft ones.




                                                   Or the melt-my-heart ones.



And the funny ones.


And the sunshine on the backyard swing while breastfeeding and getting kisses from Ellie Jane covered in strawberry jelly ones.


And the where did this {cute hilarious posing fashionista} kid come from? ones.




........................................

So many moments that you're pretty much left crying through your camera's memory card line-up as you comb through and upload photos.

So, no matter what the phase, I figure if I'm alert enough to notice these moments and wise enough to soak them in...there may be no irony at all when I call this a pretty perfect life.









Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mom.







Emerson Alexis was named after 
Alexis Margaret Ann Lloyd-Hansen.

My Mom.

What a comforting word that is, isn't it? Who doesn't need a Mother?

And to get a good one? My husband and I were both lucky to have first-hand knowledge of such an unspeakable gift. We have good Moms.

It was important to me to that my daughter carry on her name, because if my girls feel half as much love and appreciation towards me someday as I do now for her....


I'll consider my job well done.




Happy Mother's Day.












Friday, May 11, 2012

Londisms.




My Big Little Helper, this one.



When asked, how do you take care of four little ones?
I must honestly respond with:
Well my four year-old took over raising the newborn... Four divided by two equals two plus baby minus four year-old multiplied by three totaling: OH WHATEVER I'VE NEVER BEEN GOOD AT MATH BUT LET'S JUST LEAVE IT AT: 
I'm managing.{with help}



Love at first sight it was. 
I think she asks to hold her "Emmasin" every 15 minutes. 
A total accumulation of oh...five solid hours a day.



She frequently elaborates on her mothering skills and instruction:


"Mom, when Emmasin cwies, and den opens her eyes just a wittle bit, we lay her in da cwib. When she jus opens one eye, i pick her up. When she just closes both eyes a wittle bit, we put her back in da cwib."
{Mom, when Emerson cries, and then opens her eyes just a little bit, we lay her in the crib. When she just opens one eye, i pick her up. When she just closes both eyes a little bit, we put her back in the crib.}

Um yeah, something like that.

.....................

She pointed to my chest while I was breastfeeding.

Pointing left:

"Mom, dat one is fo wada."
{Mom, that one is for water}

Pointing right:

"And dat one is fo food."

Um yeah, something like that.

........................


Today she surmised:

"Mom, I think Emmasin likes me bedda than you and Lulee."
{Mom, i think Emerson likes me better than you and Lily}



Um yeah, something like that.












Thursday, May 3, 2012

Awake.




It don't like to waste her alert moments. There is so much to do and manage constantly that while she sleeps soundly I squeeze in whatever {minimal} productivity I can.

But when those little eyes open and she looks intently in my direction, I'm a goner. Straight up useless and tuned out to the rest of mankind while she and I sit in the recliner.

 Staring. 

Just staring. 


I've realized it's the only opportunity I'll ever get to look into my child's eyes for such a nice chunk of time. Believe me, I've tried it with the older ones and it ain't pretty. Much too squirmy and forced and filled with Lily's flattering anatomical questionnaires:

"Mom, why are there so many dots on your face?"

Okay, we're done here.



And in other sibling news, I'm doing my best to keep everyone entertained. It's a jungle around here currently. And that's okay. It usually isn't until around three months after having a baby that I begin to feel like I am getting a grip. Until then, Tyler receives daily reports over the phone at work when I insist we are in over our heads, I am not equipped to handle this situation, and would he please pick up another round of twenty piece chicken nuggets for dinner?.

















We'll get there. 

But in the meantime, if the older girls have each received a few minutes of undivided Mom attention daily, if Emerson and I have had a few good stare-sessions, and I managed to shampoo the spit-up out of my hair from Tuesday: I call this SUCCESS.