Wednesday, August 29, 2012


hey, so....

i wrote a small post a couple of days ago, hit 'publish' and saw that it showed up....and then today it's not here.  not even in my drafts.  i know i've been severely sleep deprived {even more so than usual} the past couple of days, but am i losing my mind?  

did anyone else see it?  with some pictures of caleb & june playing?


anyway, here's a picture of one of my favorite poems, andrea had it printed & ordered it through etsy.  it hangs where i can see it every day, and makes me happy.  

hope you're having a good day.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

shaking it off.

{me today, no make-up, looking tiredslashglum, picture compliments of caleb.}

Regrets collect like old friends
Here to relive your darkest moments
I can see no way, I can see no way
And all of the ghouls come out to play
And every demon wants his pound of flesh
But I like to keep some things to myself
I like to keep my issues drawn
It's always darkest before the dawn

Sometimes out of nowhere, sadness appears.  It doesn't happen often, but when it does...

It does.

When it shows up, it twists and turns from deep-down and as hard as I try, I can't shake it.  It usually happens to emerge {as it did this time} on days when Ben isn't home until after 10 p.m., which is pretty unfortunate because when I feel it hit me, the only thing I crave is to be alone.  I know others who work through it differently, wanting to reach out and have a good cry while someone listens and holds them, but I have never been this way.  I just want space from every living thing so I can move through the waves as easily as possible on my own, feeling it all the way through my fingertips and toes, and then have it be done.

But alone-ness isn't often found among 3 very chit-chattery children.  {oh yes, Miss June is speaking now, picking up words and inflections and tones that crack us all up. And also add to the noise level of our home.}  And that's okay, that's my normal and the space I love most to be in...  except when I'm sad. Because when I'm sad, I don't even want to be in my own presence, and I'm guessing my kids probably feel the exact same way.

I'm someone who lives in the present, most of the time.  Well, I vacillate between the present and the past. I'm not much of a future thinker, which means I stink at setting and achieving goals {something I'm working on}.  But the good news is that I feel very present most of the time in my life, and I live in the moment.  I have a constant feeling {not a fearful one, more of an aware one}  that it could all be swept away at the blink of an eye, so I do my best to make sure that when I leave a person or situation, I'm at peace with the way things are left. I spend most minutes of my day feeling grateful for what I am surrounded by.  And most importantly for me, I'm at peace with who I am when I lay my head down each night.

But when the sadness comes, I live very much in my past. Suddenly I'm haunted by ghosts full of regret or disappointment, old fear and insecurities, mistakes and missteps.  I find it so strange that it randomly hits me at once, on all sides, when the majority of my life is lived giving these memories very little, if any, thought at all.

"Try to bury my troubles away

I drown my sorrows the same way

it seems that no matter how hard I try

It feels like something's just missing inside"

Back before therapy, these days used to feel unendingly frustrating.  I wanted to know why I was sad, so I could just get over it.  I told myself there just wasn't a good enough reason for it. There were people who were really suffering all over the place!  Right now!  What was going so wrong in my life that I deserved to be sad for?!

Well, I know better now.  Instead of trying to figure out why the rope is fraying, or beating myself up for even having frayed emotions at all, now I just do my best to own it.  I take care of myself through it, cancel plans if I need to, stay in my PJ's for as long as I can manage, and just lay low...while playing my favorite deep-down-emotions-type of music of course.  I'm a more mellowed-down version of a mom to my kids and wife to my husband. I don't take a lot of calls and kind of stay off the grid.  And it's enough, I'm enough.

It doesn't make the sadness more bearable, but it does make me more pleasant to be least I think it does.  Facing my ghosts and demons head-on helps me to shake them off without pretending they aren't there, because they are.  We all have them.  They are a part of me just as much as my present-day diapers and mini-van trips are.  I've had sadness where I've tried to plan my way through it, busy myself during it, avoid it, and it seems to stay longer and only causes me to get irritated on top of getting sad because I'm trying to force it away.  And who wants to be irritated on top of sad?

Then, once I've felt it and faced it, as quickly as it arrived,

the sadness is gone.  

I'm fun mom and content wife, who lives in today, and life returns to normal.  The air around me lightens and the ghosts return to their tucked-in corners while I play my happy music, laughing with my chit-chattery kids, soaking in their noise and chaos as we dance around the kitchen.

And I'm relieved the sadness has been shaken once again, 
because it's hard to dance with the devil on your back.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


rationally, i know that it's the body's way of fighting infection.  and i tell myself this, over and over when one of my children's foreheads heat up.

their little body is just healing itself, i say, taking deep breaths and reminding myself i am a pro at this, i've seen this many times before.

but i think, that is where my fear has sprung; the many, many times of doing this before that has traumatized me.  i haven't always been someone who has anxiety, it has not always been a part of me.  and though i now know how to talk myself out of it, how to surrender what i cannot control so that it does not control me....for a moment it grips me.  

but fevers for my firstborn equated to seizures--multiple seizures--and screaming, and vomiting, and seemingly endless nights.  two years of these nights, and many of them for weeks in a row.  fevers meant bending an extremely tiny 3 1/2 month old body in half for a spinal tap.  fevers meant hospital stays and non-stop beeping machines and specialists and worry.  

i stuffed the worry down though, during those 2 years.  i did not know how to voice my worry and my fear, did not know how to feel my way through it and climb over the top of it.

now it spikes up inside of me, all of those memories flashing through my brain as quickly as a light turning off and on over and over again, as i touch my daughter's unnaturally clammy forehead.  

she is not him, now is not then, this is different.  you are different.  

not only that, but through it all--even when it was him, and it was then, and i was me--we were taken care of.  we came out on the other side of it, with thankfully very little scars.  

but my remaining scar is that what is routine for most moms, has the ability to hold me captive.  it's frustrating and i'm hard on myself sometimes.  when are you going to get over this?  when have you seen your children through fevers and come through them healthy enough that it no longer takes you back to this place?

i don't have the answer for that.  maybe never?  i don't believe that, though.  there have been other things i had anxiety over related to those two years that i no longer do.  i have worked through them, surrendered them enough that eventually they have been carried away from me, my burden lightened, my fear released.  

i know this will pass.  i don't know when, but it has already lessened as years have gone on.  and i will continue to see myself through it.  remembering who is in control, who always has been.  

so, i take a deep breath.  feel her clammy forehead one more time.  close my eyes.

here you go, it's yours now.  you can carry this for me.  i trust you.

then i turn, walk out of her bedroom, and close the door.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

to my second grader.

{oh, i love you bloggy friends.  you gave me some great ideas/advice about bedtime.  we've been trying some of them....and things are easing up just a little.  thank you thank you!  i'll share the details when the outcome is a little more consistent. } 

and now, a letter to my son.

“You know that place between sleep and awake, the place where you can still remember dreaming? That’s where I’ll always love you. That’s where I’ll be waiting.” 
― J.M. BarriePeter Pan

Dear Caleb,

I didn't want to start this letter out with a downer, but I want to be honest because I know you'll read this someday, and one of the rules of our house is to be honest--with kindness.  The 6 and 7 year old years have been extremely bittersweet for me.  I think it's an in-between age, where you're not a little boy anymore, but you're also not a big kid yet.  You seem to be crawling out of your skin, wanting more, and I find myself sad that part of the little boy who adored his mom and dad, when we were all you needed, is growing up.  I know it's supposed to happen, and is a good thing, it's just that change like this has been harder for me than I expected it would be.

Up until this point, I've been the mom who doesn't mind when her babies grow and change and turn into toddlers like most moms do.  Watching puffy feet and rolling thighs turn into thinner, stronger, running legs.  I've loved each new stage even when it meant saying good-bye to the last one because it's replaced with more things to love.  I've tried to revel in all of your moments so that I didn't feel as if they had passed me by too quickly.  So this sadness of watching you become a big kid, knowing what it means you are leaving, has snuck up behind me and taken me by surprise.

I've watched your imagination go, where your old toys no longer satisfy you the way they once did.  You have always been an old soul, with an understanding and maturity that can sometimes shock me, so much that I often have to remind myself that you're still so young.  You want to know exactly the way things work, but you are no longer believing in things that keep childhood magical and alive.  Like when you came to me, telling me that the Tooth Fairy isn't real, and when I asked you why you felt that way {assuming you would say that one of your friends told you}, you informed me that you knew she wasn't real because fairies aren't real, so obviously she isn't.  And I said that if you felt that way, I understood.  It made sense.  But that you could either believe, and see what happened when you lost a tooth, and see if something showed up under your pillow... or you could choose not to believe, and I'm sure you would be right-- nothing would happen.

You walked away, only mildly satisfied with my answer because I would neither confirm nor deny your suspicions.  Unfortunately you have yet to lose a tooth {which has been driving you bonkers for the past 8 months to a year now, and has become quite the hot topic at our dinner table}, but when you do, I'm curious to see what you will choose.  

I hope you choose to believe.

Childhood only lasts for so long and in my opinion, not long enough.  You had to go through something this year that has taken a piece of that, and your dad and I had to figure out how to balance the situation.  It wasn't easy.  You were brave though, and we were so absolutely proud of you.  I wondered what other situations were going to come to you to challenge your soft heart. I say a prayer every night that you are able to overcome whatever is given to you, and that I have the strength as your mom to help you through these things in a way that will shape you to become a man who will use these trials as a piece to build your foundation so that they bear you up with courage instead of tear you down with fear.

You have such a strong spirit, Caleb.  Your competitive side has pushed your body physically to run all of the Fun Runs, no matter how difficult they have been.  At recess you choose to play football, and basketball, and wall ball, instead of do the less-physical things some of your friends choose to do, even when the physical games are so much harder for you.  I absolutely love this about you, and want you to love it about yourself.  You know your limitations, but you're constantly challenging them.  I'll always encourage you to do this.

A couple of my favorite ways to spend time with you lately are playing baseball with you {you are seriously awesome at it}, or on Sunday evenings when we play Monopoly just before dinner.  You are hilarious to watch!  We've played it probably 6 times now, but you've memorized all of the prices of all of the properties and how much they charge in rent when you land on them.  You've won almost every time we've played and get so full of yourself, it cracks your dad and I up.  

But my most favorite thing to do is read C.S. Lewis with you at night.  You lay on my shoulder and wrap your arms around mine, and we get nervous during upcoming battles and excited at the latest adventures.  You are my little boy again, when we read together.  There is nothing else except you and me during that time.  

I love that you still love to be around me, asking if we can hang out, just you and me "without the kids" as you put it.  And when I had to remind you that you are, in fact, a kid, your reply was so typical-Caleb, a shrug of your shoulders as you whispered so your sisters couldn't hear you "you know what I mean, Mom."

For this year, my wish is that you hold on just a little bit longer to childhood.  As much as you want to be an adult, I promise that it's not all it's cracked up to be.  Much less-fun than it looks to you right now.  So hang on, if you can.  Just until I get used to the idea, please?  I promise to be more ready to face it.

Know how much I love you, how much I adore your little face.  Your dimples, your olive eyes, your dark lashes.  You are an amazing boy who will take on the world someday.  Thank you for all you show me, for making growing up as easy on me as it can be because you are such a joy to be with every day.


Thursday, August 9, 2012

bedtime nightmares.

so two weeks ago, i made a really regretful decision.

i decided to put caleb and leah in the same room, in bunk beds.  

june has been sleeping in our walk-in closet for 12 months now, and i was tired of not being able to have a life after she was in bed.  our treadmill is in our bedroom, which means that i couldn't exercise after 8:00 p.m.  i'm not a morning person, and love to exercise after the kids go to bed.  it also meant sneaking into a dark room to get ready for bed, brushing our teeth in the dark, taking out my contacts by flashlight, and ben either waking up the baby or laying his clothes out the night before in order to get dressed in the morning.  not awful, but it was time to be done.  

when it came time for thinking of having two of our kids share a room, we knew leah was the wild card, and is not the easiest when it comes to winding down and putting herself to sleep.  in her own room, it wasn't a big deal, because the only person she bothered was herself {and occasionally me}.  so that was the reason that we first decided to have caleb and june share a room.  but then we realized the error in our thinking, because when caleb had friends over or needed some quiet time, he had nowhere to go if june was sleeping.

we were given hand-me-down bunk beds that we'd had sitting in our garage, and after a lot of talking between ben and i....we decided to just go for it.  how bad could it be, right??

we switched the rooms around, got caleb and leah all excited to be room buddies, decorated their room so it worked for both of them, and crossed our fingers.



the first couple of nights, there was so much fighting between the two kids, and going back and forth and in and out of their rooms.  settling disputes....cracking down on rules....trying positive motivation.....then finally resulting in all-out threats......which eventually led to me having to follow through on those threats {because i do my best not to say things i can't back up}....and that turned into weeping, wailing and GNASHING of teeth.  

{these pictures were taken during an actual leah meltdown in the car...
while she carried on, the rest of us practiced our grumpy faces.}

they didn't go to sleep until 11 p.m. and that is not like my kids.  they were in awful moods the next day.  the next night was 10:30.  

caleb has been easy when it comes to bed time.  it's a rare night when he can't sleep, he just settles on down and that's it.  leah is a night owl and not only does she want to be creating games and imaginary friends out of whatever she can find, she also wants to bug her brother.  he's been highly motivated to ignore her, and he does his best.  but it gets to a place of ridiculous-ness and i can't blame him; he snaps.  and gets so frustrated, and begs to sleep in our room.  where we eventually let him go, and then move him after they're both asleep and we're ready to go to bed.   

on top of the late bedtime, leah has been waking up some time between 2-6 a.m. and crying out, trying to wake up caleb because she says she's scared.  i've ended up in her bed with her, trying to calm her seriously loud cries before she wakes him up again.  

we're now a couple of weekw in, and i am so exhausted.  mentally, physically, emotionally.  bedtime drags on for about 2 1/2 to 3 hours and i'm beginning to dread it.  no matter how nice i start out, no matter how strict i become, leah is a hot mess.  

as i'm typing this, ben {who just walked in the door at 10 p.m.} is right now talking to a screaming leah about how she lost her privilege for the morning because she was out of her bed again.  

i've had friends recommend melatonin, but i've read a lot of studies about it and there has been a lot of negative side effects {many parents said that it actually gave their kids night terrors}.  plus i really don't like to medicate my kids if i don't think it's necessary.  i've used essential oils, long baths, soothing music, books on CD, giving the room extra light, giving the room less light.  
i've also heard to just let them play/fight/workitout on their own, as long as they stay in their rooms.  which i would do if both of them were participating in this, instead of it being one kid driving the other one mad.  and if caleb wasn't a kid who needs--has always needed--more sleep than what "normal" kids need.  he started school this week and i just don't think it's fair to him, or what is best for him to have to suffer while leah continues for hours on end.  

sorry to complain....i can't stand complain-y posts....but i'm fresh out of ideas and need some help.  do we just switch them back?  go back to june in the closet?  hold on for as long as we can?  hope this ends?  

i adore this little girl, seriously adore her.  she is normally so much fun to be around.  sometimes the beauty of her face combined with her amazing little spirit and personality take my breath away.  i mean, honestly.  how did i get so lucky to be her mom?

and i'm so sad every time we have such a negative experience at bedtime, it used to be my favorite time with my kids.  hearing her cry and carry on and not listen is both heartbreaking and frustrating.  

so, help please.  ready!  set!  go!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

to the pap.

dear dad,

i don't have a lot of vivid memories of my childhood, but the ones i do have where i remember you in them, you were usually making me laugh.  your sense of humor is one of the things i love the most about you, and am grateful you passed onto me the ability to not take life too seriously when it doesn't need to be, and learning how to laugh at myself.

i remember jumping on the trampoline with you, playing baseball at the park for hours, you teaching me to drive a stick shift when i was 16.  i remember when i was a young girl, sitting down as you would blow dry my hair on saturday nights so it would look pretty for church the next day, and when i was scared at night you would play a song to me on my tape player and stay with me until i went to sleep.  you were the best spider-killer, and were there for me even in the middle of the night when i woke you up screaming that there was one on my ceiling....which i did many times.  {sorry about that}

you have always believed in me, believed that my heart is good even when i was making stupid teenage mistakes.  you have no idea what listening to me and trying to understand me meant to me back then, and i will forever be grateful for you for always accepting me and loving me for who i am, even if you don't always agree with my choices.

thank you for being a soft place to fall when i have been broken.  thank you for seeing beauty and talent in me when i couldn't.  thank you for your courage during times when i know you have been afraid.  thank you for your generosity, and always making me feel welcome.  thank you for loving me through the hard things, and offering forgiveness when i have asked for it.  thank you for apologizing to me when i have been hurt.

thank you for the way you treat my children and husband.  i know how deeply you care for them and that you would move mountains for any one of us, if we asked.

you are someone who could be put in a crowd of strangers and immediately make friends.  i admire that about you, and love that you are so friendly to everyone you meet.  the way you reach out to new people and can start a conversation like you have known someone your whole life is something i admire and want to be more like you.

dad, i am so proud to be your daughter.  i know you are not a perfect person, but what i admire so much about you is that you are willing to admit your mistakes, apologize and try to change, no matter how late in life.  thank you for this example, and for being someone who i can talk to.....even if it's about hard things.

it's been interesting, to become an adult and see you through grown-up eyes instead of adoring, hero-worship-young eyes.  i have come to see you as a real person who is not perfect, who has made mistakes.  i'm not going to lie, part of that was hard on me, but in a good way.  my growing-up process has taught me that this is what life is really about--knowing all of a person and loving them not in spite of--but because of all that they are.  that is true unconditional love, and it is what i feel for you.  

through you i have learned that life is about second chances, trying again, picking yourself up, discovering who you are through the eyes of God.  and then helping others to do the same.  

knowing who you are now, with my grown-up eyes opened, has brought my feelings for you full circle.  i can look at you and see the history of a father and a daughter, all of the memories and changes and hard moments and laughter and tears, whistling and penny whistles, words of advice and life lessons, badminton and ping pong tournaments, spiritual conversations and insight and understanding.

i have a very small number of heroes dad, and you are one of them.  i love you.

happy {late} father's day.

your daughter

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

my best friend's wedding.

well, i picked some of my favorites...and there's a lot of them.

beautiful bride, handsome groom, amazing sealing, wonderful family, even better friends, a lot of tears {who knew you could cry out your nose too?  well, now i do.}, and a magical weekend.

hooray for mr. and mrs. parks!  here's to a lifetime of happiness.