You’re not inadequate, you’re the perfect fit.

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family walk time

I got a phone call from a friend I haven’t spoken to since – 2008? Now that I count it up, almost a decade ago! Wow. Thank goodness for social media to help keep tabs on those friends!!

We talked of many things, but something that stayed on my mind was the feelings we shared in our ability to be good mothers.

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run baby run

After pondering on the matter for some time, the thought came into my mind that my children chose me.

They chose me.

Of all the brilliant, kind, talented mothers in the world, these kids chose me.

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run dance run

I don’t have any evidence to prove to you that this is true, it was just something that came to me and brought me peace.

I want to remember that feeling any time the temptation to feel inadequate creeps into my life.

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our deep thinker

They knew you before they came to this earth and thought, “yeah, you’re going to be the perfect fit!”

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He loves to bring me flowers

Keep trying your best. Keep giving them your time, your love, your hugs and kisses.

Keep praying that they will continue to grow up to become the incredible humans you pray they will be.

Keep taking the time to do the things they want to do – even if you can’t finish all the things you want to do.

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They need you. They want you. They are your greatest treasure.

There are still long days ahead. They will need your guidance, your patience, your understanding and most importantly…

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everyone gets a turn on daddy’s back

They need to know that you love them.

Each child will understand, feel and show love in different ways.

Just like you understand, feel and show love in different ways.

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Take the time to learn how they communicate.

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In time you will see that not only were you not inadequate, you were exactly who they needed you to be.

“Life must be understood backward. But… it must be lived forward.” -Søren Kierkegaard

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hold on as long as you will

In writing this open letter to myself I want other parents to know that you are doing better than you think you are.

XOXO

Me

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Raising children in an uncertain world.

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Every other day I wonder what kind of world I’m raising my children in…

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I want to shelter them forever from the absence of love, so I love them more.

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I want to shelter them from anger, so I try to be more patient with them…

I don’t always succeed in that, but I will keep trying.

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I want to shelter them from unkindness, so I try to teach them to say ‘thank you’ and ‘please.’

We’re still working on sharing.

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I want to shelter them from other people’s bad choices, to I teach them to be aware.

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I had a happy childhood and I want my children to know what happiness is, so they can look for safe and longterm solutions to cope with the world.

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I want them to know how much God loves them, how much God loves every human on this planet and how we need to see each other as brothers and sisters.

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I want them to know that every human has the potential for greatness – not the world’s definition of greatness – that, in the words of Howard W Hunter,

“True greatness [comes from] the thousands of little deeds and tasks of service and sacrifice that constitutes the giving, or losing, of one’s life for others and for the Lord.”

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Children, your time for service and sacrifice is coming. Your job now is to know joy, to know love, to see beauty in the world you live in and to know that in the end, everything will be alright.

Indeed, in the end, our life is in God’s hands.

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Play on babies, play on.

Our oldest turns Four years.

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This boy makes me laugh – No, I didn’t make him sit like this.

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.

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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!!!]

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Happy Birthday!

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.

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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.

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Dad and Wiley had about 30 minutes of just ‘them time’ before I came out.

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!

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I love his face as he bites into that marshmallow.

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.)

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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!

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It’s been a long time since I’ve eaten marshmallows, they aren’t my favorite.

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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.

Fighting sleep till the bitter end.

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Spring Breaker 2016: Sick Parent Edition.

Last week was our Spring Break (Dan had the week off from school) – we were going to head down to Texas to see family…

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The day before I woke up with pink eye, Easter eggs hunt with Wiley’s pre-school class and their younger siblings. I was starting to feel more sick as this day wore on.

Seven days before break, I got a little cold, the Thursday before Spring Break, I got pink eye. I knew I didn’t have time to mess around, so I went to a walk-in clinic for eye drops.

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Day 2, both eyes goopy and felt like sandpaper.

On Friday, I woke up with Pink eye in both eyes and my face was so swollen…I called my sister and told her I was not coming and maybe if things cleared up by Monday, we’d head down then?

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oh, hey Monday.

Come Monday morning, Danny was doing better and I had two pink eyes and a sinus infection.

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The internet is where you put un-flattering photos of yourself, right??! Had to wear the head band for 8 days, to keep fly away hair from getting into my eyes and therefore my fingers.

I was really bummed to use our break for sick days, but, Danny was able to spend a lot of time at the park with his little boys.

I was really really bummed that I wasn’t able to smother my baby girl in daily kisses.

Each new day I didn’t see much progress – I even woke up every three hours to put those drops in my eyes. Was it a viral infection? yes, but I thought, ‘hey, it can’t make it worse,’ will it?

We did a lot of resting, played with a silly face swap app on the iPad…

Wiley got ahold of my phone and took pictures while I nursed the baby in my room.

Not bad, not bad. hehehe

Thursday morning, nearing the end of break, my pink eyes cleared and although I still had sinusitis, we decided to head down to my parents a few hours south.

So, to my family in Texas – I’m sorry we couldn’t make it down. I hope that we get to see ya’ll soon, here’s some fun photos from our Winter:

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I’m so crazy from being stuck indoors, I’m going outside, I don’t care how cold it is! We’re just prepping for that time we live in Finland?

 

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My little super boy! He loves playing with Daddy’s chess pieces, I’ve had to hide the ones he has not yet lost.

 

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Tyler loves food. When he finishes his, he usually goes after Wiley’s plate…because Wiley doesn’t care much for the stuff.

 

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Ty will help Daddy finish too.

 

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Don’t leave food on the table…or the troll will climb up and eat it when you’re not looking.
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Also, Moms, don’t leave your oatmeal on the kitchen counter, because that pesky troll will pull it off and eat that too.

 

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Playing chess again. Meanwhile, in potty training…two steps forward, one step back.

 

Always wondering when Daddy will come home:

 

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The complete guide to Lego Star Wars – captures even the smallest imaginations.

 

Ah well, I feel like another road trip is in our future:

Naming a child, with your spouse.

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Two and a half months. My children all get this look from time to time, I love it.

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).

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Birdie?

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.

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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).

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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!

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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.

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Adrian Bell at three months!

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.

 

Can someone tell me what day it is?

The last thing I remember was, I had a baby…the other baby in August of 2014. Then, I was having a baby.

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Adrian Bell – 5 days old – my holiday 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).

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My Princess, 5 days old.

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.

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3 weeks

I was eating well, just got off antibiotics, and exercising regularly – so I couldn’t figure out why I was so tired.

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4 weeks – taken Christmas Eve. She was totally crying when I took this.

Well, truth be told, I knew (deep down) that I was pregnant, but hadn’t excepted or tested the fact yet.

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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.

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She was 2 weeks! Her brothers LOVE her.

We’ve had a wedding, births, deaths (in my extended family), holidays in all those yesterdays.  Where has today gone? Just another yesterday now.

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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.

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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.

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Read Mommy?

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!

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Sigh, I love my babies.

Wishing you all the best while facing your trials and reaping your blessings of another year.

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God Bless.

 

“When things go wrong as they sometimes will…”

Family that gathered in Tulsa for Grampa and Gramma. So much love.
Family that gathered in Tulsa for Grampa and Gramma. So much love. Taken at the funeral home following this service.

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.

“Don’t Quit:

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,

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Potty training…a boy who has no interest in potty training.

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,

He also doesn't like to wear diapers...
He also doesn’t like to wear diapers…

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.

One week I started to intermittently got hives...on all my arms and legs...and bum.
One week I started to intermittently get hives…on my arms,legs and bum.

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,

Still not quite sure why I got hives. They came and went throughout each day for a week...whilst we all had colds.
Still not quite sure why I got hives. They came and went throughout each day for a week…whilst we all had colds.

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.

The boys get a bit wild - tearing down my window curtains and peeing on my furniture.
The boys get a bit wild – tearing down my window curtains and peeing on my furniture.

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.

-Author Unknown”

I can get dinner made, at the cost of more work. And two constructive boys.
I can get dinner made, at the cost of more work. And two constructive boys.

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 love quiet time with my sons.
I love quiet time with my sons. Wiley loves to “read” Calvin and Hobbs.
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.
Half of this year's costumes - Hobbs.
Half of this year’s brother costume – Hobbs.

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.

Sunday's are the best - everyone usually takes a nap. Blessed Sundays.
Sunday’s are the best – everyone usually takes a nap. Blessed Sundays.

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.

Daddy and Tyler creating art before bed.
Daddy and Tyler creating art before bed.

Peace and Comfort to those of you in this world who are truly suffering – you are in my prayers.

What other cool things can I teach my kids?

These brothers love each other so much - every morning Wiley asks where Tyler is.
These brothers love each other so much – every morning Wiley asks, “where is baby Tyler?”

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.

Wiley couldn't be bothered to look away from the cartoons.
Wiley couldn’t be bothered to look away from the cartoons…but he did smile for me.

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.”

Around 11pm (he had long been put to bed), he wanders into my room.
Around 11pm (he had long since been put to bed), he wanders into my room.

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.

stuffed himself into a bee costume for a 6-9 month old. Then sits down to meditate.
stuffed himself into a bee costume for a 6-9 month old. Then sits down to meditate.

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!”

This guy practically puts himself to bed.
This guy practically puts himself to bed.

I laughed, I can’t stop laughing yet, it’s too funny to me.

Our own personal bounce house...and reading nook.
Our own personal bounce house…and reading nook.

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.”

Loves his Ninja Turtle Towel.
Loves his Ninja Turtle Towel.

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.”

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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.

Caught going through my purse...for the ump-teenth time.
Caught going through my purse…for the ump-teenth time.

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.

I was only on the phone for 15 minutes with my mom. Normally I'd refold everything again, but I didn't feel like it after this.
I was only on the phone for 15 minutes with my mom. Normally I’d refold everything again, but I didn’t feel like it after this.

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.

COMO Heritage Festival this morning. Wiley was anxious to milk the cows.
COMO Heritage Festival this morning. Wiley was anxious to milk the cows.

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.”

I told him Grandad would love to have his help on the Wanch.
I told him Grandad would love to have his help on the Wanch.

While buckling him into his car seat, “Mom, I’m the coolest Wiley in the world.”

I responded, “yes you are son.”

This boy LOVES tractors.
This boy LOVES tractors.

Asking him to do something I want done…his response is, “no thanks, I’m going in time out.”

After being put into time out...he feel asleep.
Where’s Wiley?? After being put into time out…he fell asleep.

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.”

We sat and listened to the Pipers. Someday, we'll get Danny some bagpipes so he can serenade me.
We sat and listened to the Pipers. Someday we’ll get Danny some bagpipes so he can serenade me. Muy Romantico.

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?

Just Another Year In Paradise…It’s been Four So Far.

We have been enjoying the rain here in Missouri.
We have been enjoying the rain here in Missouri.

Today I slept in till 9:15am, while my husband took care of the kids…

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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…

Daddy and Wiley enjoying Oreos. Doggy begging for a bite.
Daddy and Wiley enjoying Oreos. Doggy begging for a bite.

The sound of the tub in the morning means all the baby bedding needs to be washed in addition to the baby.

Water sounds were followed by a screaming three year old.

10 months old and already a professional mess maker.
10 months old and already a professional mess maker.

“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.

17 weeks pregnant (three weeks ago...) after a day at the lake.
17 weeks pregnant (three weeks ago…) after a day at the lake.

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…”

That blue goo is called FLARP - you can find it at Michael's craft store for $1. It will bring your toddler HOURS of entertainment for an entire week. Then you buy more. Mother's Serenity for ONE whole dollar.
That blue goo is called FLARP – you can find it at Michael’s craft store for $1. It will bring your toddler HOURS of entertainment for an entire week. Then you buy more. Mother’s Serenity for ONE whole dollar.

Yeah, I was so tired, it was so late, that’s when I put my book down.

Day One of FLARP happiness.
Day One of FLARP happiness.

So, it’s only fair my morning start off with laundry before breakfast.

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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.

Perfect for recreating the dinosaur age.
Perfect for recreating the tar pits of dinosaur age.

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.

Daddy builds the bounce house...
Daddy builds the bounce house…

But this is real life.

Climbing, tumbling and laughing.
Climbing, tumbling and laughing.

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.

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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.

Cold leftovers for lunch - typical.
Cold leftovers for lunch – typical – enchiladas, not great cold.

Our life is good, it’s happy, it’s stressful, it’s…the family life.

Our fruit eating Monkey.
Our fruit eating Monkey.

I say, ‘high-five’ for making it four years, through four pregnancies, two moves, three schools and multiple jobs.

Wonder what life after pregnancy looks like?

My recent struggles with Motherhood…

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.

Along the coast of Northern California.
Along the coast of Northern California.

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.

Go Golden Hurricanes!
Go Golden Hurricanes!

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.

Oregon coast - Cannon beach with my youngest sister.
Oregon coast – Cannon beach with my youngest sister. Goonies forever!!!

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).

That's me and my chubby cheeks in the background laughing with Dad.
That’s me and my chubby cheeks in the background laughing with Dad. My Dad’s parents and older sister at family wedding. It was a great family party!! Nana was born in the UK, so we are totally a legit clan.

I could sit and enjoy a quite afternoon with my grandparents.

I lived with these grandparents for five and a half years during undergrad. So, they are kinda like parents.
I lived with these grandparents for five and a half years during undergrad. So, they are kinda like parents.

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.

April 7th, 2009 I received my Endowment and went every week for years!! Until, I couldn't.
April 7th, 2009 I received my Endowment and went every week for years!! Until, I couldn’t. I still have that dress…I’ll wear it again when the baby factory shuts down for awhile.

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.

My sister doing my hair.
My sister doing my hair.

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…”

Confession, I'd still let her brush my hair if she was around. Yeah, she used to brush my hair. Yep.
Confession, I’d still let her brush my hair if she was around. Yeah, she used to brush my hair for me (because I love it!!!). Yep.  Also pictured is my baby brother – who turns 16 this year!

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.

That one time I house sat my Aunt and Uncle's house and stayed with the girls...and we fought Saturday boredom with dress up. I believe my name was 'Phyllis Moneybags.'
That one time I house sat my Aunt and Uncle’s house and stayed with the girls…and we fought Saturday boredom with dress up. I believe my name was, ‘Phyllis Moneybags.’ After we got dressed up, we drove to Walgreens. Just because.

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.

My nieces and I - The niece on the far left turns ten this year!
My nieces and I – The niece on the far left turns ten this year!

In pictures, it looks like my life was a constant party or adventure and in a way, it was.

Party time - excellent! Pictured with my older brother and baby sister.
Party time – excellent! Pictured with my older brother and baby sister.

But after a lot of time thinking about what my life used to be like, I remembered the emptiness it still held.

Kayaking in San Diego bay.
Kayaking in San Diego bay.

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.

Bay Area, California - right before I got sick and found out I was pregnant.
Bay Area, California – right before I got sick and found out I was pregnant with child number one..

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.