Thursday, December 29, 2011

the surprise.

here is a picture of ben's oldest brother matt, and his wife jennie.

matt is honestly one of the best people i have ever known.  genuinely good to the core, how many people can you say that about these days??  {by the way, his wife jennie just as awesome...maybe even more awesome than matt.  but this post is about him, so i will carry on.}

matt has been there for our little family when we needed support, good advice, and unconditional love.  specifically multiple times last year when there were some rough days.

this year, on christmas day, was matt's 40th birthday.  we haven't been out to visit his family in texas and decided that if there was any way we could be there to celebrate with him, we wanted to make it happen.  

luckily ben was able to round up some of his family members to join us for the surprise, we made plans and amazingly enough, pulled it off.  {ben is convinced that matt was onto us, but whether or not he knew, we saw him shed a few tears as we surprised him, and the emotion was genuine.}

the surprise was set up in 4 stages, so he could be surprised with each individual family:

  • matt's own family decorating & surprising him with a family party.....
  • ben & i hiding in the closet when he came home from work to change.....
  • carrie, troy, bailey & carter hiding in the minivan & screaming out while he drove down the street to the restaurant....
  • then ginny {my MIL} walking down the street in the neighborhood as matt drove by.

they all went off without a hitch and it was so fun!

anyway, i'm going to write about our time in texas, but for now, here are some pictures of the initial surprise.

setting up decorations:

ben hiding in the closet:

leah hiding in the closet:

june sleeping through all of the screaming:

the official SURPRISE!! face:

a hug:

going out to dinner, eating the most amazing fajitas, wearing our awesome MATT IS OVER THE HILL t-shirts, complete with his face on the front, and a picture of him riding a jazzy on the back:

 {carrie makes me laugh.}

singing cumpleanos feliz with a sombrero:

scaring june with the song:

then we went home to the kids, and got settled in for a week of birthday & christmas fun.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Monday, December 26, 2011

the nugget at 5 months

{all dressed up, christmas morning.}

so it looks like time does fly, 
and june turns 5 months old.

oh i just adore her, 
that's pretty much all there is to it.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

all is calm, all is bright.

surprise!  we are in texas for christmas this year!

we have been planning a surprise visit to see ben's brother matt and his family for matt's 40th birthday, which just so happens to be on christmas day.  i couldn't write about it, because he reads this blog and facebook, but after 3 days in a car caravaning with ben's mom & twin sister & her family, we arrived.

the surprise went off without a hitch and now we're here to enjoy ourselves.  this break from stress, worry, and sadness is exactly what we needed.   

it has been a big, loud, happy, messy, laughing, fabulous christmas.  and the fun isn't over yet!  

i'm so grateful for this crazy group of people, and all of my other loved ones.  

happy christmas!  

may your days be merry and bright.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

missing december

{june, minutes old.  
just wondering how she started out looking like this and now i can hardly remember her this way?}

when i look at the blog at how much i haven't written lately, it tells me a couple of things:

1)  i'm probably not taking great care of myself.  because i love to write, and love to think about things to write, and love taking pictures and writing about them.  then looking at how much i haven't done these things, i'm wondering what i've substituted as an outlet for me lately?  and why do all of my pants feel too tight?  and where did the rest of that ice cream go?  hmmmmm....

2)  it's the end of another really tough semester.....for both ben and myself.  holy toledo, am i glad this one is over.  why is it that the wives of grad students don't earn some sort of certificate when this is all over?  or at least enough chocolate and massages to last a year?

3)  i am busy.  that's all there is to it.  sometimes so busy that i feel like i'm not sure which way is up.  and this is definitely a busy time of year, complete with illnesses, parties, working, selling cars, buying cars, endless laundry, the random medical mystery of my strange knee continuing, baking, fighting with our insurance company yet again, planning and planning christmas surprises, and a lot of happiness in between the madness.

i had a little bit of a nervous breakdown last week.  just felt like something had to give before i gave.  but luckily i caught myself before i went over the edge, voiced my needs, and got out for a couple of much-needed hours.  sometimes that's all it takes to return ready to dive back in.

life is good though, isn't it?  here it is, almost christmas.  i just love christmas.  the tree, the lights, giving presents to others, to my children and husband.  opening the mail and getting so excited to get another christmas card from friends.  

i'll tell you what, it's my new year's goal for 2012 to send out family christmas cards, because i really love receiving them.  plus it would force us to actually get a real family photo taken.  what would that be like?  it hasn't happened since caleb was 2.  a sad and true fact, which is going to be changed, mark my words.

well this was a lot of writing about not much.  i'm tired, and surrounded by sleeping family members.  i'm going to join them, and enjoy the rest of this december that has gone by so quickly.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

"clowns to the left, jokers to the right and here i am, stuck in the middle with you"

before june was born, ben used to give leah a biiiiig hug and jokingly say,

"oh you poor girl, you're now going to be the crazy middle child."

of course, he would say this knowing that

a middle

i always felt proud of being the middle child, the one who didn't ruffle feathers too much, who liked hanging back for the most part.  i actually didn't like a lot of attention, and pretty much loathed a shining spotlight.

so whenever ben would make a jab at my cute little leahpants, i would defend her honor.

"that just means she gets to be the sweet, easy-going kid!  at least she won't end up a spoiled brat like the youngest kids of families do."

{no offense, my sweet baby junealicious....i was only saying this to jab back at your father who is, in fact, the youngest--technically a twin, but treated as the youngest--of his family}

ben, being the spoiled baby that he is, then had to list all of the poor qualities of the middle child.  {of course he had memorized them, as spoiled babies tend to do} i couldn't believe it!  i hadn't heard of all of these negative characteristics before.

so i did what middle children do---and tried to call his bluff.  i google searched "middle child characteristics"  and woah boy!  did i pull up a seriously depressing list.  hold on to your hats.  {for the middle children--my peeps! :  a warning.  you might feel like jumping off of a bridge after reading this.}

"The middle child, unlike the others, is not given much attention. The following are just some characteristics that define middle children. Note that not all of them or maybe even none may be observed in middle children. Middle children have low self-esteem. They need support for anything they do, sometimes talents are wasted when they do not pursue their dreams. Middle children have a feeling of emptiness.They are always lonely and are jealous of others. This is a very broad trait, since it affects every aspect of their lives. They may be a little weird, unfriendly and even worse, psychotic because of this feeling of emptiness. The two traits mentioned above can interact differently with different personalities. For example, an introvert middle child may prove to be more depressed and lonely than the extrovert middle child. There are a lot of possibilities for middle children, but the results are mostly negative."

well, there you have it. 

my favorite part?  "they may be a little weird..."  that one struck me as randomly funny.

and as i was reading these traits, and trying to pick up my shattered ego off of the floor.....who happened to walk by but this lady:

who was wearing a bike helmet on her head, a pair of june's socks on her hands, a big poofy skirt over her pants, her hair in pigtails, and holding in each gloved {socked} hand, a plain noodle from lunch a few minutes earlier, talking to them and singing about how they are friendly snakes.

and i smiled at her and thought to myself,

she is so weird.

then stopped myself.  oh, no!  i've totally created the middle child monster in my own daughter!  this must be corrected before it's too late.  i am going to give my poor, forgotten middle child the attention she deserves, darn it, and talk about her for the rest of this post.

leah is an absolute crack-up.  yes she wears crazy things on her head and hands and feet at pretty much all times of the day.  she sleeps with her hippo on top of her face.  when we drive in the car with the windows down, as soon as we pull up next to another car with windows down, she'll yell out a really loud, "HI FRIENDSTH! WHATCHA DOIN?" 

she could have totally been potty trained a good 6 months ago, but honestly?  i just didn't feel like it.  i like to potty train my kids late, and move them to big-kid beds late too.  {it had nothing to do with me forgetting about her, maybe it was because i need support in everything i do??  because i'm the middle child??} but she announces to me every time she's going #1 or #2.  in public that's a whole lot of fun, especially because i congratulate her each time to encourage her.  it doesn't even phase me anymore.

she laughs when she burps, and has to walk around the room while she prays. 

she is both friendly and shy, it's such a funny combination.  she has no problems with nursery or playing with friends, and has easily gone into situations like that from the first day with no fear.  i love that about her.

we signed her up for a little kid's fitness class to give her something to do, and she loved it.  but when the teacher would talk to her, i noticed she was more quiet than she is at home.  she knows colors, shapes, animals, numbers, letters, all of it. but when she's asked by an adult who isn't someone she's particularly close to...she just smiles at them.

she is extremely talkative, we carry on conversations all day long.  i find i'm having to remind myself that she's only 2, especially when she says things like, "mom, i'd like to share an idea with you!" and then goes on to tell me whatever thoughts are swirling around in her brain.

she has multiple songs and books memorized, long books and she makes the characters use different voices.  she tells me what she dreams about when she wakes up in the morning.  she loves being outside.

she is a master at torturing her brother, and he loves to tattle on her.  one day, i heard some sort of scuffle going on in his bedroom between the two of them, and i heard caleb yell out, "I'M TELLING!" then heard leah quickly follow with, "NO, I'M TELLING!"

and i thought to myself, this should be interesting.

they both came charging up to me, wanting to be heard.  caleb had arrived first, so i told him to go ahead and then it was leah's turn. {always second, in true poor-middle-child-fashion.  wink.}

"MOM, LEAH HIT ME!"  he screeched.

"okay leah, your turn.  what would you like to tell me?"  i asked her, thinking she would defend her honor.

"MOM, I HIT CALEB!!"  she yelled in reply, tattling on herself.  i busted up laughing, so did caleb.  so did leah. 

she is so sweet with june, another thing i'm thankful for.  knock on wood, she is soft and sensitive to her, and always announces to me when she's crying.  over and over and over and over again, until i get the chance to pick june up.

she loves music, and we dance a lot around here.  she spins, points her toes.  she is easily self-entertained.  she has an amazing imagination.  she loves the "little einsteins."

leah is spunky, and fun, and hilarious, and sometimes a little devil of a child, but in a good way.  now i'm going to go and play with her, making up some sort of game together, i'm sure.

my lovely, not-forgotten, middle child,
who is going to achieve whatever the heck you want to in life,
{and i'm sure no matter what, you're going to be awesome.}

i'm going to dance to this song with you today.
and enjoy being right where we are.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

roly poly

well after that last really uplifting post, 
which was written partially on an airplane
with the lady next to me reading over my shoulder
{not nerve wracking at all}
and the rest finishing up at 4 a.m. on friday night, by the way.
i'm sorry if it was fragmented & all over the place.
{those thoughts made all sorts of sense in my head though.}

how about we switch things up to a lighter note??

junie june junerson
is 4 months now.  

4 months!!  i love it.

she technically rolled over on her own for the first time a couple of weeks ago,
but i never consider it a real milestone with my kids until they do it a few times,
so i know it wasn't just a fluke.

and now she has the skill down pat, along with the classic toe grabbing pose.
what a big girl.

p.s. don't mock the hat, i've been waiting for winter for a LONG time and now that it's here,
i'm kind of refusing to turn on our heat.  
i get heat 9 months out of the year, you know?  
but june's poor noggin doesn't have anything to keep it warm, so we help her out.

p.s.s.?  she's started saying "mum mum mama" for the past 2 days.  
pretty sure she's a prodigy.  and that she adores me.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

minimizing the damage

this post may sound a little sad.  melancholy?  depressing?  i hope not depressing.

maybe, just less....spunky....than other things i've written.  it doesn't mean that i'm not happy, because generally and over all, i truly am.  but there have been circumstances lately that have caused deep thoughts, and i know that expressing them will help me let them go.  sometimes i worry about writing these things, because i know people who know me read my blog, and i don't want them to think that i portray myself as someone i'm not.  

i am the laughing until i cry, upbeat, outgoing person who loves getting together with friends, and absolutely loves my husband and children.  believes in God, and goodness, and blessings.  is so extremely grateful for my life.

but i am also someone who feels.  things get deep sometimes in lynsey world.  {i'm assuming by now most readers here know that}  and i don't know if i hide that side?  or just compartmentalize it?  or it's just not necessary to always show it?  i definitely don't hide it, if i'm asked about it.  anyway, this isn't really about me explaining myself.  just wanted to give that perspective so that those who love me don't think i'm about to go and jump off a cliff or anything.  {though drowning in a bowl of ice cream is more my style.}

there are things in life that happen that are sad.  devastating.  things that are hard for me to understand, and when i try to, i just end up getting a stomachache.  then i find myself turning inward, not knowing how to release this sadness because i don't know where it can go.

i am not someone who has escaped things that are devastating.  they are a part of me.  they have brought me to places that are hard for me to understand sometimes, places where i have found myself waking up in the middle of a moment thinking "who in the world am i?" 

there are more difficult stories than mine, however, i get that.  i try not to exaggerate the sadness i have seen as much as i try to not minimize it. 

i know that life is about will.....deciding our own adventure.  what is difficult for me to sometimes wrap my mind around, is that many times in the life i have seen, myself and those i love have been the product of someone else's choices. 

"minimize your damage," words spoken by my kind and wise brother, who has seen his own sadness.  "everyone is screwed up.  just figure it out.  get help, fix it.  and minimize your damage."

i'll be honest, there have been times when i've felt hopeless or jaded, extremely sad at the fact that most people i know have had some very devastating things happen to them.  i've become angry that it seems so unfair to suffer at the hands of another who is also screwed up, but has decided that instead of fixing it, they want to project it, sharing and continuing their pain.  they cause the domino effect to continue, knocking down those in their destructive path.  allowing the cycle to continue.

however, i recognize that on those hard days when i'm lost in my own thoughts and find myself getting really down about what people are put through at the hands of others, my perspective actually is jaded.

because there is hope.  

we all are given the ability to overcome these things, and by going through them, we are actually able to achieve such a deeper level of understanding forgiveness, and self-worth, and what it takes to break the mold.  the blessings that come from really facing the ugly are there, just waiting.

i also know that not everyone i've come across has gone through ugly things.  hard things, yes.  but hard and ugly are different.  the hard things still allow us to look at life through rose-colored glasses, while the ugly causes us to looked through a cracked lens.

i love these people, who lift me up when my cracked lens becomes consuming.  i love that they are optimistic, have not had to fight for happiness, and genuinely believe that most humans are still good. 

but there have also been days when my lens has been cracked, and i've felt like i'm losing hope in my abilities to fix myself.  and on those days?  i will be honest.  i've found myself often jealous of those who still have obtained their rose-colored glasses.  i look at them and wish, and wonder, can i ever get back there?  can i work hard enough to really become one of them?

i know i can.  i am already changing, i've been feeling it for the past 2 years now, and it is such a feeling of freedom.  it's why i keep pushing myself, keep working, keep fixing.  it started for me with really getting honest.  with myself, with others. 

i go through this fight not only for me, though i know i'm important enough to do this even if i stand alone.  but when i made the decision to be a mother, i had not known the weight and responsibility i would feel to fix my broken parts for them.  i am doing my best to raise children {fingers crossed} to have this perspective.  to go through the hard, but escape the least any residual ugly from me.  

i refuse to pass this on.

it takes hard work, turning to powers greater than me.  there is something magical about the combination of therapy + God.  if you are open to it, it brings miracles, and change.  

courage.  humility.  patience.  understanding.  forgiveness, whether it's asked for or not.  unconditional love, for myself and others.  acceptance, even when it is not what i hope for with a relationship.  letting go.  saying good-bye to the hurt.  breaking out of the mold i was cast in, knowing i can be whoever i want to be, no matter who has tried to tell me differently.

i am minimizing the damage that has been done, repairing the cracks in my lens, refusing to let the dominoes behind me fall down too.  

and changing my course.