Today at church I briefly stood before my congregation and bore my testimony of God’s love, how sometimes in His love (and infinite wisdom) He asks us to do hard things…because He knows that it will make us strong.
Motherhood has been a struggle for me lately. Particularly with my first born. He is determined to help me be strong. Really strong.
After my testimony, I returned to my seat. Wiley was so happy to see me and said, very enthusiastically, “Mom, you did a great job!” followed by a sweet little boy kiss.
Floating – his kiss and exclamation had me floating the rest of the day! (much like the hot air balloon we saw fly over our home.)
God sent me a strong willed, funny, intelligent, happy, passionate, particular and loving boy we call, ‘Wiley.’
Wiley turned 4 years old last week.
Lord knows time is flying and somedays it doesn’t fly fast enough to bedtime…
I am well and healthy today, but the entire month of April I was sick. So, as Wiley’s birthday neared, I knew he wouldn’t care if he had a party, but I wanted his day to feel really special. I wanted him to know I thought he was special.
He started his day with cartoons. I had blown up several orange balloons to litter the floor and got him four floating balloons and two dinosaur puzzles.
[go Dollar General!!!]
I had to coax him away from the TV for a morning outing – just with mom.
I took him to the grocery store and let him pick out anything he wanted! Cause, I’m money bags like that.
The birthday boy wanted fresh strawberries, raspberries, whipped cream and donuts.
He also wanted a “grown-up sippy cup” (those plastic drinking glasses with straws/screw on lids) colored orange. The boy likes orange.
I’m pretty sure most of his t-shirts are orange.
Kind of fits his personality.
After our breakfast outing, he wanted to put his dinosaur puzzles together with me. He and his little brother had hours of fun playing with the balloons. I read some books…and I let him play on the iPad, because that was just what he wanted!
Daddy took Wiley and Tyler to the “big slide park” for about two hours later in the day.
(I love, LOVE, when Dan takes them to the park – no bedtime troubles – and quiet time for mom.)
The grand finale to the birthday boy’s day was after the two babies went to bed.
Daddy made a fire in the fire ring and they roasted marshmallows!
It’s been a long time since I’ve eaten marshmallows, they aren’t my favorite.
We didn’t have cake, I pointed them out in the store, but he wanted donuts for breakfast and marshmallows for dessert; who am I to argue with the birthday King?!
Wiley stayed up late. I wish I could say it was way past his usual bedtime, but he typically refuses sleep until around 10pm every night, so it was business as usual.
Wiley finally passed out on the bed next to mommy and his sleeping baby sister.
Dan and I agreeing on a name when I was six months pregnant, was the soonest we decided on a name.
We had driven down to Texas for my sister’s August wedding, so we had ample time to talk names.
On our drive back to Missouri, Danny had his cellphone out and was telling me all the cool bird names he liked (because I really like the name Birdie, and we were trying to find a bird name for awhile).
I smile when I hear ‘Kestrel’…my youngest sister could have been Kestrel.
So, from Houston, TX to Tulsa, Oklahoma, Danny and I tossed names back and forth. Separately, he and I decided we liked the name Bell, but not as a first name.
Our little family made a really fast stop in Tulsa to stretch our legs and visit a close friend of mine.
My friend Rachel happens to now work at our alma mater, The University of Tulsa. It being August, the football team was in the middle of their two-a-day practices.
So, our brief stop was in the football training room to catch up with Rachel.
As she and I were catching up, one of the long time Orthopedic Doc’s came into the training room and joined our conversation.
I think some things are truly meant to be.
Out of no-where, Rachel says to Dr. M, “So Katie and her husband are having a hard time choosing a name for their baby girl.”
Dr. M has been a long time friend of my mother’s family, so when he got a sparkle in his eye and said, “I know a nice name.” I knew he was going to say, “Adrien.”
Dr. M’s wife died of cancer in her early forties, and I have heard, for many years from my Grandmother, what a lovely and gracious lady she was. He never remarried and adopted The University of Tulsa athletics as his family (in addition to his children).
Rachel and Dr M said how they liked the sound of Adrien (how his wife spelled her name) with our last name.
An hour later, Dan and I back in the truck swapping names again, I asked Danny what he thought of the name Adrien.
He said he liked it!
Dan looked up the origin of the name, depending on where you look, “dark one” or “one who comes from Adria” which makes way more sense to me.
Adria is on the north eastern coast of Italy, sitting on the Adriatic Sea.
Now that Dan is neck deep with research in Water Engineering, it only makes sense that he said, “if we spell it ‘Adrian’ after the body of water.”
And that is how our sweet little Adrian Bell came to be named.
Alert, Smiles all day, babbling, a great sleeper (when she isn’t sick) and trying to get up and walk to keep up with the boys.
The last thing I remember was, I had a baby…the other baby in August of 2014. Then, I was having a baby.
About the time I got serious about getting back in shape in Jan/Feb of 2015, I joined a beach body fitness group…my entire family had whooping cough (yes we’d been vaccinated, thanks).
Sick as a person with whooping cough, who is taking care of two small people with whooping cough, can be – I still started my fitness challenge the day the rest of the group did.
A month into my fitness challenge, I was growing another human again.
I was eating well, just got off antibiotics, and exercising regularly – so I couldn’t figure out why I was so tired.
Well, truth be told, I knew (deep down) that I was pregnant, but hadn’t excepted or tested the fact yet.
Here I am less than a year later with another baby laying next to me. My brain is not… what it is capable of being. I can’t remember some people’s names, I can’t recall words I used to know (I think I still know them, somewhere in there…) and every day feels like yesterday.
We’ve had a wedding, births, deaths (in my extended family), holidays in all those yesterdays. Where has today gone? Just another yesterday now.
My husband has been just as tired and overworked as I am. This winter vacation has been such a blessed and lazy affair.
We have had a very short visit to see my family this break and a weekend visit with Danny’s parents.
I was mind boggling tired with each visit and forgot to get pictures of my kids with their grandparents!! I was so grateful for the time we had together.
I’m enjoying this “honeymoon” of sorts with a(nother) new baby! The long days just cuddling are slowly fading and I’m slowly pulling myself together.
It’s good to exercise my mind again – with the whole blogging thing – and having just looked at a calendar, I can see that today is Monday…January 2016!
Wishing you all the best while facing your trials and reaping your blessings of another year.
My aunt Julie read a poem at Grampa’s funeral, one that he had found in a newspaper years ago and one that he shared with many, that was a much needed reminder to me – in many ways.
I have saved the xeroxed copy Grampa gave to me and I wanted to share it with you.
When things go wrong as they sometimes will, when the road you’re trudging seems all uphill
When the funds are low and the debts are high, and you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit – Rest if you must, but don’t quit.
Life is queer with it’s twist and turns, as everyone of us sometimes learns,
And many a fellow turns about, When he might have won had he stuck it out.
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow – you may succeed with another blow.
Often the goal is nearer than, it seems to a faint and faltering man.
Often the struggler has given up, When he might have captured the victor’s cup,
And he learned too late when the night slipped down…how close he was to the golden crown.
Success is failure turned inside out – the silver tint to the clouds of doubt.
And you never can tell how close you are, It may be near when it seems so far,
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit – It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.
I sent the following email to my younger brother in Africa last week:
I have been sick this week and I have a week and a half left of this pregnancy…
So, I slowly get anything accomplished – including emails.
After waking up today with a weird rash on my arms and legs, fighting a cold and…well, one other thing that left me feeling yucky the words of one of my favorite hymns came into my mind.
Isn’t it great how the Spirit can bring such things into our remembrance? That’s why studying the things that matter are so important, they are a balm of healing when we are in need.
Anyway, the words to ‘Praise to the Man’ came into my mind, “Sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven.” This pregnancy is a great sacrifice for me, some women love this time of creation – I don’t, I don’t love anything about it, except for the blessing that follows – I love my children.
Sacrifice isn’t a sacrifice unless is requires work, patience/long suffering, a bit of discomfort and times where you feel all alone. It is our own personal mini-Gethsemane that we are called to walk through…though, unlike the Savior, we are not asked to walk it alone.
I know that I don’t walk this life alone, there have only been moments where I feel really lonely…usually after everyone in the house has gone to bed.
I’m awake, uncomfortable, aching, heartburning (I get nauseated from heartburn), and brain buzzing from the overproduction of hormones.
Although I’m far away from family and my closest friends, I have such a great support group of friends and acquaintances here in Columbia, Missouri – I am very grateful for my life and for the people in it.
I’m grateful for this yearly time to reflect on the things we are grateful for – because when we stop to count our blessings, especially during times of trials – we can see how much we have.
If you have family or friends who love you like a family – then you are blessed.
now…I just need to remember this every day for the next six days, as I wait for this baby to arrive.
Peace and Comfort to those of you in this world who are truly suffering – you are in my prayers.
Parents teach by example…sometimes the things I say to my children, get said back to me. Sometimes, my kid is just funny. Well, I think he is funny.
I don’t let my kids drink the bath water – because that’s gross – and I sometimes say, “Wiley, don’t drink the bath water, it will give you diarrhea.”
So in the last week, I caught Wiley going through my purse (like he usually does) and since I haven’t yet replaced the pack of gum he is always stealing, he was exploring other pockets.
He found the hand sanitizer, had removed the entire lid and was licking the mouth of the bottle. I shrieked, just as his face was souring from the taste, “Wiley, spit that out!”
I took him to the the bathroom to rinse his tongue over the sink, “Wiley we don’t put strange things into our mouths, it can make you sick.” I’m flushing his mouth with water and as a handful of water falls from his mouth he shouts, “I’m going to get diarrhea!”
I laughed, I can’t stop laughing yet, it’s too funny to me.
This week Danny and I had our Temple recommend interviews at the church, Danny was already there for weekly Scouts and I brought the boys. While I was waiting for Danny to meet up with us, I got the boys out of the van – it feels like about 50% of the time – our sliding doors won’t work and I’m left heaving to get the side doors to open and close, “ahh, piece of junk,” I grimaced. Wiley was barely paying attention, or so I thought, he was throwing rocks from the sidewalk into the parking lot.
After leaving the interviews, it was dark, Wiley was denied ice cream (misbehaving and therefore ineligible for a treat) and the van doors started beeping on our drive home (like they usually do). I said, “so annoying,” to which I hear from the back seat, “piece of junk.”
I don’t regularly turn the car stereo on while I drive, I like the quiet. Wiley requested some “cool music” on our drive back from the church one night, I started singing Disney princess songs (I missed my calling in life??) and Wiley complained, “I’m not a princess, I’m a little boy.”
I laughed and said aloud to myself, “I’m not a princess, I’m a little boy.” Wiley then called from the back seat, “no, you’re not a little boy, you’re a princess.”
See, even my kid can see I am a princess.
Since the boys spend the majority of their time with me, they’re bound to be my parrots…I try to be careful (because sometimes less than stellar things come out of my mouth).
Although, I’m pretty pleased at some of the results.
Last night, after Wiley draped his Lightning McQueen blanket over my chest, he looked up at me and said, “Mom, you look, you look ter..ter.. terrific.”
I pat myself on the back for that one.
Some other very Wiley quotes in the last month:
I told him, “your room is a mess, clean it up.”
His response, “it’s not a mess, it’s cool.”
While buckling him into his car seat, “Mom, I’m the coolest Wiley in the world.”
I responded, “yes you are son.”
Asking him to do something I want done…his response is, “no thanks, I’m going in time out.”
Typically, when the sun is out in the morning, Wiley will say with glee, “it’s a sunny day mom! It’s a good day!”
Two days ago, it was a little cloudy in the morning, he was a bit cranky when he woke up and I said, “it’s a good day Wiley!” His reply was, “no, it’s a rainy day.”
I’m a little weird, rainy days make me happy, as they remind me of England/Scotland.
What are the funny things the kids in your life say?
Today I slept in till 9:15am, while my husband took care of the kids…
It wasn’t until 9:30 that I heard the sound of the tub and wondered how long it would take for my husband to fetch me…
The sound of the tub in the morning means all the baby bedding needs to be washed in addition to the baby.
Too tired to finish dinner.
Water sounds were followed by a screaming three year old.
“Happy Anniversary,” I said to myself.
Here we are, married four years and I’m on my fourth pregnancy (having had a miscarriage), resulting in two kids and baby due in November of this year.
It figures that our morning would go wonky today…I stayed up way too late reading Pride and Prejudice. It was so late, that I was at the part near the end where Elizabeth, on her walk with Darcy, says “do not repeat what I said…” after Darcy says how her words haunted him, “had I behaved in a more gentlemanly like manner…”
Yeah, I was so tired, it was so late, that’s when I put my book down.
So, it’s only fair my morning start off with laundry before breakfast.
Danny stayed home with the boys this morning, while I took care of the vehicle and ran errands around town. So romantic, someday I’ll have to base a best selling novel from it.
Tonight, we are having a small family over for dinner. On Sunday, when I made the dinner appointment, it didn’t register that “Thursday this week” was my anniversary.
But this is real life.
Most couples don’t spend lavish weekends away from home or buy each other expensive gifts.
I call a night out alone with my husband, “lavish,” even if it is eating tacos.
Two weeks ago some friends of ours watched the boys (for FREE!) so we could have a date.
I chose a restaurant called 44 Stone Public House – they have outdoor seating (which we enjoyed immensely) – Danny tried his first Welsh Rarebit. Their Fish and Chips are not as good as the real ones found in UK, but I think I could go back for more of the Welsh Rarebit.
Our life is good, it’s happy, it’s stressful, it’s…the family life.
I say, ‘high-five’ for making it four years, through four pregnancies, two moves, three schools and multiple jobs.
Danny has asked me for a few weeks why I haven’t written? Well, “if you don’t have anything nice to say…”
You can go back and read my early blog posts about motherhood, they all have nothing but happiness and gratitude within.
I am going to tell you that the last few weeks have not been fun – they have been very hard for me.
My escape was always thinking about what life was like before the children came along (pooping and vomiting on everything).
College – oh I loved college – my worries were whether or not I studied enough for an exam or whether my team would win the football game – heavy stuff guys.
Traveling was much easier – there was one bag – not five – and I didn’t have to haul any extra seats or strollers around or strap any tiny humans to my chest. Hopefully not any crying (pooping or vomiting) tiny humans to my chest.
Time spent with family for reunions and weddings were much more simple. I didn’t have to worry if my child was in danger or eating to much junk food (potentially going to stay up all night with a sugar high).
I could sit and enjoy a quite afternoon with my grandparents.
It’s been months, MONTHS! since I’ve been to the Temple. Something I used to do once or twice a week – now almost never happens. I really look forward to having more time there again.
My husband is aware of my princess complex – that thing where I like people to do everything for me? Okay, but really, I loved having someone around who could do my hair for me…does my hair ever get done now? nope. Unless you count a bun or a pony tail.
I rarely leave the house (because it takes lots of bags and effort) with two small children – throw in I’m pregnant too – and you have, “I would rather lay here and read…”
So the long outdoor adventures have been replaced by long days in my house wearing pajamas.
Do I make time for silliness these days? yes, I do, but again it all occurs right here at home, in my pajamas.
There was a time I was the person in our extended family that was called upon to house sit and watch kids.
The only kids I was responsible for were the kind I could hug and kiss…then leave after a nice visit, to return home to the quiet serenity of my clean living space.
In pictures, it looks like my life was a constant party or adventure and in a way, it was.
But after a lot of time thinking about what my life used to be like, I remembered the emptiness it still held.
I don’t feel that emptiness anymore – I feel tired, overwhelmed, busy, but not empty – I am free of the longing to fill my emptiness.
My husband and children complete me in a way that brings me the greatest ups and downs that life can bring.
My sweet moments are so much sweeter, because of the hard things I endure. I sacrifice so much for these kids and the return is so much greater than a short trip or long hike in the mountains.
Kids grow up and my quiet time will return, so I’m still learning to embrace the chaos for now. Because life moves so fast and I don’t want to miss the happiness of the present.