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School Days

Here we are again. It’s been a while since I have posted anything here. We have had a whirlwind of a summer. I feel like summer had really just begun these last couple weeks and here we are starting school again.

This was the summer of “The Move.” We finally bought a house. It is terrifying – the financial responsibility home ownership after renting for so long. But, it was definitely time to do it. We spent most of the month of May getting the new house ready – painting, cleaning, etc. The kids got out of school June 7th and we moved June 8th. Then, amidst unpacking and trying to get settled in the new house, we spent most of June cleaning, painting, and fixing up the old rental house before we turned the keys over. July sped by as we worked on getting settled and here we are already in the middle of August (still with some boxes to unpack) and school has started.

There are so many reasons we wanted to move, but the primary reason has always been to get the kids in better schools. One day in and I am so incredibly grateful for the school district we are now in. The supports they have built into the school day for the kids are amazing. Teachers and counselors have been extremely responsive. The higher expectations they have for their students are laid out from the beginning. I am so excited about the options and opportunities they will have here. Even my oldest, for whom school is rather challenging (and who hates change and new experiences) had a great first day yesterday and is very positive about everything so far.

The hardest part of school starting is going to be adjusting to a new schedule. The bus is coming at 6:40 for the big kids, which is a huge difference from what they are used to. And a huge difference for me. My new wake up time is 5:30 a.m. Let’s just say I’m not a morning person and neither are my kids. The bus thing is all new as well. For the last 9 years, I have driven kids to school every morning. It is strange to put them on a bus and trust someone else to get them to school and back home.

The benefit of this schedule, however, is a little quiet time to myself in the mornings in between the bigs leaving and the little one getting up. I don’t know how long I’ll keep it up, but for two days in a row now I’ve been showered and ready to start my day at 6:30. Since Caleb’s bus doesn’t come until almost 8:00, I have a little time to just do my thing before I even need to wake him. Today, I’m writing. Not that this is anything amazing, but knocking the cobwebs down in this space is a good thing. I’m hoping to spend more time writing, reading, photo editing, maybe even exercising (!). I’m sure a routine will work itself out over time. For now, I’m just enjoying the quiet in this space.

We also added this guy to our family about a month ago. Phoenix is an almost 10-month-old Jack Russell Terrier. His family needed to re-home him due do some medical and scheduling issues and I’m so happy that we were able to add him to our family. He is super energetic, but also so sweet and loving – just not so much toward the cats. We’re working on some training, but he loves to go on walks (and runs) and is getting me out exercising as well which is a great thing. I’m totally smitten.

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What Makes Us

Our experiences make us who we are. We hear that simple statement so many times during our lives, albeit in many different forms. But it’s true, isn’t it? Everything that happens in our lifetime molds and shapes us into who we are from infancy through our eventual death.

This idea of experience has hit me several times during the last several days, both through personal challenges and exterior observations. I’ve been thinking a lot about how my lifetime experiences have shaped me into who I am now, and about how I am shaping those around me simply by being me. I see glimpses of myself in my kids, both good and bad at times.

I think about Caleb, who spent the last 9 months or so attending Montessori school – an opportunity my other two children did not have. He learned a lot of skills there that they will learn or have learned over time, through home or other sources, but he has had this amazing experience that they will never have.

My daughter is getting ready to head off to a new school next year where she will have so many opportunities for learning beyond what is offerered in a traditional school classroom. How will that change her and shape her life differently than if she continued on her current path? I can’t wait to see.

My oldest son, who has struggled for so long, had the best school year he has ever had thanks to a teacher who really cared about finding ways to make things work for him. Changing a few things both environmentally and procedurally made a huge difference for him. He now has a positive outlook on school where it has always been a little negative.

Our work environments, our social environments, our Spirituality, our teachers and mentors, our friendships – all of it makes us who we are. I am not the same person I was even three short years ago. That time in my life seem so far away now. Not that life is perfect by any means, but losing my job may have been one of the best things that ever happened to me. It forced me to change my environment and get out of my comfort zone where I could grow instead of remaining stagnant.

I’m not even sure where I’m going with this rambling, disjointed entry so I’m just going to publish it and call it good. This is just what I’ve been thinking about.

**random picture of my boy just because!

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Celebrating Four

While I was off in LaLa Land (otherwise known as maternity leave) Miss Evie had her fourth birthday. Turning four was a VERY. BIG. DEAL. It was the first year that she really grasped the concept of what a birthday is and she was crazy jealous that her cousin turned four a few months before her.

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She insisted that her birthday party be held at a place that had bounce houses and inflatables. Most of her cousins have had these parties and she was not going to settle for anything else.

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The place was a bit crowded (and HOT!) but Evie had an absolute blast bouncing and sliding with her friends. Her theme this year was Tangled (I couldn’t tell you how many times she has watched this movie!) and, as usual, her Aunt Tanya made her an awesome cake!

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She received some awesome gifts from her friends and bounced and played until she was completely worn out.

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Caleb made things really easy on me by sleeping through the entire party on his cousin’s lap.

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I’m both excited and sad to see her turn four. This year has started out pretty rough so far behavior-wise, but there have been a lot of changes in our house with a new baby around and it was expected. She is growing up so fast and tries so hard to act older than she is, pushing all the boundaries. I want to enjoy this year with her because I know that year five brings so many more changes and my little girl will soon be a big girl.

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34 Weeks

Baby Love

So you guys know by now that when I promise to write you might as well just look away and come back in a couple months, right? As my OB told me to yesterday, I’m letting go of the things that take too much effort. Writing shouldn’t take that much effort, but when you are completely sleep deprived and can barely stay awake past 8:00 p.m., writing becomes difficult. And yes, I know that this is just the beginning of the sleep deprivation. Right now, I’m blaming it on stuffy sinuses that aren’t allowing me to breathe and the fact that I’m not supposed to be sleeping on my back. I never realized just how much I slept on my back until I started waking up during the night realizing that I was on my back when I started out on my side. But! I did get some sleep last night! In fact, the last two nights I have mostly slept through the night and my head (although still a little sleepy) is much clearer than it has been lately so I’m taking advantage of it and spewing out some words.

Want to hear more about my pregnancy? I thought so. I’m just going to be totally honest here and say that this third pregnancy has by far been the hardest one I have experienced. I really have tried not to complain (because complaining about such a blessing seems like the wrong thing to do) but I can tell you with absolute certainty that this body will not be carrying any more babies. Ever. I remember being extremely uncomfortable with the the other two pregnancies in the last couple of months, but this one has been uncomfortable from the beginning. Now that I’m in the home stretch? I can barely walk across the room without being in pretty serious pain. If I didn’t know better, from the amount of pelvic pressure, I would think this guy was making his appearance within the next few days. And yet, I still have probably at least another four weeks to go.

On top of barely being able to move, I have been way more tired this time around than I remember being in the past. Because of that, I am totally unprepared for this baby to be here.  I run out of energy by the time I get the older two kids taken care of and have nothing left for baby prep. I did finally go out and buy a few diapers and essentials, but I haven’t even managed to wash one baby blanket or onesie yet. The crib is piled with baby things that I’ve gathered as I ran across them in the house, but I have yet to sort through the tubs of baby stuff sitting in my basement. Somewhere in all of that is a stash of baby blankets, burp rags, bottles, an infant bath tub, and all the other baby things I couldn’t part with “just in case” there was another one. I am so thankful that I saved all of that now, even if it is taking up way too much of my basement. Every night I think I need to start sorting through that stuff, and every night I end up falling asleep in my chair before I can even make an attempt. At the very least, I need to get a few little outfits washed up for him. As long as I have diapers, wipes, and a few clean clothing items to put on him, the rest can wait, right?

I also had every intention of documenting this pregnancy better. I bought a new journal and started out writing at least once a week in it. Of course that didn’t last long at all. I also planned to take better belly photos this time around seeing as I actually know how to use a camera now. I had all these ideas for fun photo projects. And yet, almost every photo I have taken has been on my iphone. I had grand plans of doing a fancy self photo shoot at about 32-33 weeks and, well, that didn’t happen either. I did set up the tripod earlier this week and let Evie snap a few. She thought that was lots of fun. Then I put it on the self-timer and got a few fuzzy pics of the two of us together. The one posted above is about the best one. Oh well, at least the other two kids won’t feel like they got the shaft when it comes to preggo pictures!

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Through the Lens

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I’ve been missing my camera lately. It has been sitting on the shelf, packed safely inside my bag pretty much since we came home from our vacation. I did take it out to snap a few photos when my cousin and her family were visiting, but I haven’t taken the time to really photograph anything. I’ve been looking at some amazingly creative photos online recently, and have felt discouraged that I don’t have the time to experiment with my camera the way I would like to. Then I though about just how long my camera has been sitting on that shelf. Huh.

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After dinner last night, I decided I was just going to shoot. Maybe just a few lifestyle type snapshots of the kids – anything just to get my finger clicking again. Since Zach refuses to let me take his photo, I ended up snapping 20-30 quick shots of Evie. A few of her playing with Thomas the Train set, then we went outside and she played in the yard while I snapped a few more.

My Sunshine

I realized later, while I was looking through the photos I shot, that I’ve been missing out on a lot of her smiles lately as well. I’ve been tired and short-tempered lately, and that is probably only going to get worse over the next 6 months or so. Giving her a few minutes of my undivided attention made her so happy.

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Sometimes, it really is the small things that matter the most. Funny how sometimes I see things so much more clearly when I’m looking through the lens.

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