Thursday, September 26, 2013

Five of the most wonderful months of my life

The giggles and smiles of this one get me.  They shoot little love arrows straight at my heart.  He is my personal cupid.  I bet you can see why.  Third baby.  Laid back, happy baby.  Joyful, giggly, oh so very wiggly, lovely baby.  Your eyes have that same exact mischievous tilt that your Papa has.  Happy 5 months, littlest guy.  We are crazy about you.

P - 5 months
P - 5 months
P - 5 months
P - 5 months

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

I Never Wear High Heels - and my other failings as the mother of a girl

If you know me, you read that title with the sarcastic lilt that you know you would hear in my voice.  I don't think it is a failing as a mother to not wear high heels.  IN FACT, I think I personally am a better mother because my attention isn't on what my feet look like.  Or my outfit.  Or my nonexistent makeup.  However, I do have awesome hair.  When I wash it.  Ha!

But I didn't always feel that way.  My mother didn't wear shoes often at home and if she did, it was wooden bottomed clogs, or boots.  It was the 70's.  It was Texas.  (now she wears sliver and pink sneakers...go figure)  And there was a time I was sort of ashamed that she wasn't more cool.  Or more dressed up.  Or teaching me how to wear makeup.  I learned haphazardly from friends and from watching my older sister.  It was a rough route at times, but I settled into a style that, when I am not between pregnancy fluctuations, is a comfy jeans a t-shirt kind of style.  With sneakers.  Or flip flops.  And a ponytail.  Not that fancy isn't fun, but it's just not for me on a daily basis.

I see women who pull off the coolest outfits and walk flawlessly through this journey called motherhood and I am in awe, because when I put on fancy clothes, I feel strangled.  And unnatural.  And I sure can't ride bikes, or go on hikes, or scrub toilets, and sweep floors, sort laundry, clean up poo and pee accidents, or get puked on every feeding by my babies, (3 for 3 in the reflux department...awesome) or read books on the floor, or play chase like a bear, or wrestle my children without worrying about those clothes. *For those of you who do it, more power to you.  Your fashion rocks my face off. 

When I do take the time to dress up, the appreciation on the part of everyone here is great!  All the kids who can talk and my hubs take the time to tell me how lovely I look and in the mirror, I know it's true.  But I also know I am lovely like I was today.  Slightly grubby.  Wearing yesterday's jeans, a t-shirt with a spit up stain on the shoulder and having an indoor reading fest of new library books, spread out on the floor around us like a feast of words.  I will teach my girl all the fun of being fancy in years to come (as if she isn't already schooling herself), but I will also enjoy days that end in mud and dirt and a different kind of fun.  And I will LOVE not having crumpled up feet when I am on old lady from wearing heels.  Just my thoughts for today.

Sunday, September 08, 2013

The world stops

Everything stops 
I have housework to do.  I have laundry to wash.  I could take some "me time."  But some how none of that matters when these babies fall asleep on my shoulder.  I let it all go and stay here in this moment.  Wouldn't you?

Monday, September 02, 2013

Music in her blood...or not

Music runs in my family.  My parents play instruments and sing, and each of their seven children (my siblings and I) sing and play an instrument of some kind.  My grandparents played instruments and sang.  Three of four of my uncles have made a career of music of some kind at one point or another in their lives.  My mother taught us harmonies in the car when we drove anywhere and dragged us to nursing homes to regale the elderly with our Von Trapp-like musical styling.  When we get together, we sing and make music.  It's just a natural thing we always did.  I also married a musical guy.  He has a great voice (that he rarely uses) and played musical instruments for years. 

It was always my assumption that my children would be musical, but in truth not all of them are.  Cora sings but only to herself when she thinks no one can hear here.  She flat out refuses to sing with me, every day.  She was nearly four before she could sing a song back to me.  In the car, I love to listen to music and sing, Cora, from babyhood until recently, would cry if I turned it on.  She just wants to talk to me.   Judah came out with music in his veins.  He would match pitch as a six month old when I sang to him.  And now all he wants to do is sing.  He sings songs all the time and I love it.  I also began to noticed a little twinge in my heart when he wants to listen to music and she doesn't, and I thought to myself, this is when it begins, if I let it.  This is where the divide could happen.  Music doesn't run in her veins the way it always has mine.  She isn't 'just like me'.

So many moms and daughters butt heads and have such a hard time being together.  Even my own mother has the power to make me batty.  But this is my only girl.  She and I will share a unique bond through the years.  I will weep when she weeps.  When her best friend says that she is no longer my girl's best friend, I will see the hurt in her face and cry for her, all the while teaching her about sharing her friends with others.  The same thing I struggled to do in my childhood.  I know what it is to be a girl growing into a woman.  I could smother her with motherly wisdom, not leaving room for her to talk or feel, or I could try to mold her into a mini version of myself, or I could let her grow into who she is.

I am choosing today to not focus the thing she does not do, but the things she does.  I hesitate to call her an artist or a dancer or a deep thinker, because those are just things she does.  She IS a wonderful little girl, my daughter, and when we are older, she will be my friend.  Even if she never loves to make music.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Mother's Day Out and Middle Class Guilt

My oldest child is nearly five years old.  She just missed the kindergarten cutoff by several months (August 1st for Nashville schools), and will start kindergarten at five years old and promptly turn six years old.  She is on the cusp of reading, sounding out words to herself, and has a sharp memory for sight words.  Again and again, people ask me if she is going to a Mother's Day Out program, or Pre-school and the answer is always no.  All of her little friends have trundled off to school and our Facebook feed is awash every Autumn with "first day of school" photos.  Not us.

If our family was in a lower socioeconomic class, this wouldn't even be a topic.  She would either already be in a pre-school/day care situation because I would need to work to make ends meet, or she would be at home with me and everyone would know that it was not something we could afford.  Period.  But watching all of her little friends go off to those pre-schools, I wondered if I was depriving her of some advantage that her peers receive.

She would love it!  friends say,  and she would.
She would get great socialization! friends say, and she would.
She wouldn't be bored at home any more!  friends say, and it's true.  She wouldn't be bored at home.

I love all my well wishing friends, but my recently baby addled brain would like to come up with a succinct answer.  So my points are these:

1. Why rush it!  Come Autumn (or SUMMER, thanks, extended school year!) of 2014, my little big girl will go off to school, for better or for worse, for the next 13 years of her life while living at home and then hopefully off to some higher education after that.  Yes, she is a challenge at times when I am stretched thin by the new requirements of being a mother of three, and YES, she is bored sometimes, but she is learning how to be a friend to her little brother and to treat him kindly.  She is learning how to turn boredom into her own imagination and projects.  (I heard her leading her brother in a "camping adventure" this morning.)  She plays with her peers and neighbors and she is already "socialized".  In fact, she is friendly and far more well mannered with people she meets in the Kroger than she is at home.  I think she has got the "socialization" part down pat. 

2. It's expensive.  For lots of people $80 - $175 per month for a few hours sans kids is cheap, and it's not beyond our spending range, but honestly, I would rather spend that money on things we do as a family rather than someone else getting to watch her do all the things she does at home.  Playing, art, letters, monkey bars.  Even if money were no object, I still don't think we would do it.

3. She won't enter kindergarten educationally behind.  I am sure of it.  We do "school" at home several days per week at her prompting and she loves to learn.  In fact, she will go practice her letters and math on her own and then come show me. 

So I am going to set aside the middle class guilt and just enjoy her.  Enjoy our times when she wants to "have a conversation".  Enjoy our times when she invents a new form of art (for her) that I have never shown her. (Paper collage, spit ball sculpture...eww)  Enjoy her when she willingly helps me do laundry and has an impromptu ballet recital for me, or helps me crack eggs for breakfast, or talks to the baby while I run in the next room for something and he calms down and coos at her.  Enjoy her when she curtseys to her brother and says "May I have this dance." and he says, "yes!" Enjoy her when she is frustrated or downright pissed off and I get to lead her back to joy and help her practice the art of happiness.  Enjoy her when she is bored and comes up with beautiful imaginings.  Enjoy her when she does exactly what I don't want her to and creates crazy, yet beautiful, murals on her wall with a contraband crayon she sneaked upstairs and then cries for an hour while I make her scrub the wall.  Enjoy her while I referee toddler fist fights and screaming matches between her and her brother, her best Frienemy. Yes, even those moments.  I want to enjoy her.  It's her last year at home and she will be big soon enough.

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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Your marriage is worth saving - a letter to a friend

I don't know you very well.  You are really the dear friend of a dear friend and I see you here and there.  I don't know the specific details of your marriage and your heart, but I heard that your marriage is on the rocks and my heart went out to you.  I hate it when people give me unwanted advice, so I won't give you any.  I'll just tell you about me.

I have sat alone in church looking at the apparently happy couples all around me, arm around each other while the preacher preaches, feeling utterly lonely.  I sat there wondering why my marriage doesn't look like anyone else's, why my husband wasn't next to me and did everyone else wonder what was wrong with me too.  Could they see the broken relationship that I was half of? 

I have sat side by side with my husband on the couch of many a couple's counselor over the years, emotionally raw and sad and so full of fear and anger and pride.  When the counselor asked the question, "Do you want to continue with each other?" I wanted to scream both, "NO!" and "YES!" and desperately wanted to hear what he had to say first because I didn't want to be the first to say it, either way.  I only wanted the pain of being in a relationship with him to stop.  I wanted it to be his fault and not mine.  I wanted to be the victim and cry and then he'd see how much he had hurt me.  I didn't want to admit that I had been wrong, or selfish, or distant and disinterested, or demanding, or used him as my verbal whipping boy when I was angry about other things, or lonely or sad, and had been a hormonal wreck that wasn't very fun to be around.  And I didn't want it to be over because that somehow meant I had failed in a monumental way and because some part of me still loved him.

I didn't want my heart to be that vulnerable to him, this man that I loved, but didn't (and sometimes still don't) trust.  I didn't want to see what he had done for me, for us, for our family over and over again, sacrificing himself for us, carving out a life and becoming a better man.  I only wanted to see when he screwed up and made his own mistakes, while ignoring or expecting unending forgiveness for my own.

I wanted it to be about me and my needs, and his should not matter.  Even though I never thought or said that out loud to myself, it was the reality of how I acted in relationship with him.  There are details of our marriage that I'd tell you in person, but since this is out in the world for everyone to read, I won't.  (Because I love him and want to cover him with that love.  Not cover up for him, cover him.  It's different.)  But over the last 9 years, we have been through hell and back.  Luckily, in my ear, I had a sponsor, a mentor if you will, who had been down the same path I was walking and her marriage had ended in divorce.  Even though she fought for it, her husband did not.  I'll share what she would remind me of, over and over when I'd call her in tears, ready to give up and walk away.

She asked me if I thought getting divorced would make it easier and I said, "No, but at least I won't hurt any more!"  Her reply always shook me out of my self pity. "Yes, you will." She said, "But it will be a more sad and lonely kind of hurt with no resolution because there is no hope that the two of you will ever get to a better place." And I knew she was speaking from experience.

She reminded me that wherever I ran, my baggage would follow.  All the stuff that comes out when I am tired, lonely, hurt, and angry would come out again and again.  With someone else, or toward my children and friends if I never got married again.  It's like that children's story, "Going on Bear Hunt."  which says, "You can't go under it, you can't go over it.  Oh no.  You have to go through it."  And I did.  And I still am.  And it sucks.  And it is glorious.  And it is hard.  And I hate it and wish it was easy.  And I love it and am grateful that the crap in my heart is being changed and that our love is deeper because of it.  Imperfect and still needs work (and man, he can still dive me up a wall), but it is deeper and richer today than it has ever been.

I'm not saying that I did it, so you can too.  I am saying it's worth it, even though it is really, really, really freaking hard.  It really is.  I hope you don't give up.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Thoughts on Three

Milestones.  I missed them.  I have yet to sit down and put Peter's birth story in his journal.  It's here on the blog, but not in his book.  He smiled lots in week 5, but I didn't captured a photo until this week (week 7).  I'm too busy drinking in this babe.  With Cora I had endless hours to look at her and think about her and write about her.  With Judah I had less time, but still more than now.  Now my hours with Peter aren't endless and so I find myself hoarding up the uninterrupted minutes where I can look into his eyes and he can look into mine and I rarely reach for my camera.  Maybe my smartphone...

Peter has crossed out of the newborn phase in terms of sleeping all the time and now is busy with things to look at and wiggles to be had.  Cora and Judah dealt with the chaos of a new baby in their own ways, both acting out and sweet in turn.  They find each other easier and harder to play with as the days roll on.  Frenemies.  They want to share a room together and often I find then both in Judah's crib (which he can probably get out of, but thankfully has not tried hard enough) looking at books and pretending together.  And yet, in the blink of an eye, it becomes a fist fight, or an elbow fight with screeches and screams and someone, often Cora, because Judah is a tank of a child, ends up in tears.

I have to be careful and carve out time for them.  Judah and I rock in the recliner together and sing Michael Jackson's "Rock with You" and have wild conversations about trains and cars and trucks and things that go.  Last night, Matt and I watched him assemble his dinner in an elaborate display and then declare it was a car track and play with it.  We just had to laugh.  Cora and I spend time reading and talking together and finding, oddly, more time for little projects because there is less time for projects.  I can't explain it.  Maybe I am more willing for them both to do messier things because I know how much they love it and want them to find joy in creating something in the midst of a day that is often not about them at all, but just about getting through. 

The house is...well...always in some state of disorder.  Even when we had the luxury of someone over to help me clean it once per week, by the end of the day, we had descended into kid chaos again.  But hey, the toilets were clean!

Matt and I have been on one date since the birth of our third baby and man, do we need to keep that up!  Finding someone to keep all our littles is proving the biggest challenge of all.  It's hard to find someone that we like who is reliable and available and sometimes when we do, something happens that cancels our date anyway.

My mantra is "Roll with it, Baby" and I have that song buzzing in my head when the decibel level gets too much and I am tired.  Sometimes I don't roll with it and yelling ensues, but thankfully these little people are quick to forgive if I am quick to say I am sorry.  Do overs are the best.

So I'll end with this.  Listen, enjoy and roll with it.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Mother's Day 2013

My mother's day was spent in a new way this year.  With this crew.  Peter was just 2 weeks old and we were still taking it very easy.  But we went to breakfast and the park and had an impromptu photo shoot.  It was a beautiful day to be a mama. Mother's Day 2013
Evans Family

Friday, May 03, 2013

Peter's Birth Story

This little boy was brought into the world with laughter on the night of the pink full moon.  There was no laughter during labor, but laughing started it off.  On Wednesday night, the 24th, I went to bed early feeling extra tired, but decided to check facebook before bed.  Of course that got me reading and I ended up reading an article with hilarious autocorrect mistakes that people made on their phones.  I can't find the link now, but suffice it to say, I laughed so hard that I had to finish reading it in the bathroom.  I thought I had compromised my bladder laughing.  Seriously.  When I got up later that night at 2am, I felt a little gush, but since it wasn't a big gush I thought it was my bladder.  Turns out I was wrong.

I woke up on the morning of the 25th and realized pretty quickly that I was in labor.  A very random, disorganized labor that would last all day, on an off.  Matt worked from home and took us all for a walk that morning, where I realized that my water had REALLY broken since I didn't make it down the block without soaking my pants.

A kind friend, Jaime, took the kids for the afternoon around 3:30pm and that is when my body decided to get down to business.  It felt like I could finally concentrate on what was happening.  Our doula, Lauren, came over and within just a few hours, my contractions got very close together and we both thought I had transitioned.  I had all the signs.  Close, long, and intense contractions, vomiting, hot and cold flashes.  I had hoped to stay home long enough that when I got to the hospital, I would be almost ready to push.  God had other plans though. 

8:30pm We took a very not fun trip to the hospital with Lauren in the back seat with a bowl in her lap and me hanging over the back of the passenger seat and Matt holding me up while driving.  Every bump and turn brought another contraction.  We got there and though my contractions were a minute or less apart, I was only 4-5 cm.  I wanted to cuss everyone in that room out.  I thought for sure I was nearly ready to push.  I had done 29 hours with Judah before I wanted some kind of relief from labor, but it had only really been 4 hours of regular labor and I was losing it.  The contractions were stronger and more intense than I had ever felt with the other children.

9:30pm I asked for nitrous oxide, which they warned me would not really take the pain away, but just make me not care.  This was a very accurate description.  Essentially I felt like I was stoned out of my head and the contractions still hurt like hell, but I just didn't give a crap.  Matt had to hold me up while on my birthing ball so I didn't fall over.  I heard Matt and Lauren comment about how 'high' I was and I wanted to laugh, but couldn't really concentrate on laughing while having a contraction and trying to huff that gas.  It wasn't really working.  I finally asked for an epidural and though at the time I felt like I was chickening out of "real labor", it was really all I could do.  My blood pressure was on the rise and I felt like I could not continue with the crazy contractions.

10:30pm I get half of an epidural, which just worked on the left side.  There are some drawbacks to birthing at a teaching hospital.  But they fixed it eventually and both sides went numb.

11pm I felt better, but the baby started having late decelerations, which were worrisome for the medical professionals watching him.  They give me oxygen and his heart rate improves for awhile.

After that, the rest of the birth is a blur, but sometime after midnight, Peter's heart rate became more and more worrisome and they took me to the O.R., just in case.  I progressed all the way to 9cm and the midwife is trying to help me still do it naturally, but Peter's heart rate was getting slower and slower with every passing minutes and the Docs made the call.  Another C-section.  They turned up the meds and my arms and part of my lungs went numb.  It was rough.  I felt like I couldn't breathe and was so woozy and doped.  I remember hearing Peter's first cries when he came out at 12:54am.  I remember the nurse saying that he peed on the doctor.  I remember they said his cord had gone ahead of him in the birth canal and he was pinching it off with each contraction, thus the decelerations.  I remember his little crumpled, red, sweet face next to mine, and him not happy about being out in the cold world.  He went away with Matt to be cleaned up and I doze in and out of a panicked, scary sleep where I felt like my lungs weren't working, gagging because I can't swallow all the way, even though they kept telling me I was at 100% oxygen saturation.  They got me put back together and wheeled me to recovery, where I got to hold and nurse Peter for the first time, with help because I couldn't sit up or feel my hands.

But he was strong, and healthy and we both recovered quickly and well.  There were things to mourn about this birth. I am not able to fully nurse this baby either, even though I am making more milk than ever before, and for a very short time I felt bad that I had to have another C-Section and that I felt like I was not strong enough to labor all the way through, but you know what?  I don't feel that way now.  There is so much more to rejoice for.

My labor signs got ahead of where I was in terms of dilation, but in hind sight, I believe that was God's way of keeping Peter safe.  He knew my water had broken early that morning and that the cord was ahead of him.  He knew that Peter might be in trouble if I spent too much time at home, stubbornly waiting to get far enough along so I could just push when I got there, so I wouldn't have to be monitored (because I hate that part!).  I'm grateful for how things turned out.  I am grateful for our beautiful, healthy son.  And there are small blessings to having a C-section.  Like not having post partum incontinence, for example!  It's nice to not pee my pants. Just sayin'!  So here he is.  Our littlest guy.  Peter Israel.
(Photo overload to come! *Mama and Papa, just let it load for awhile. :) )
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Thursday, May 02, 2013

A blur...and a baby

Our third baby is here.  I'm working on a fancy post with photos, his birth story and all that, but for now, I'll tell you this much:

Peter Israel Evans was born on the night of a "pink" full moon (and lunar eclipse if we lived in Europe or Africa), April 26th at 12:54am, weighing 7 lb, 5 oz and measuring 20 inches long (21 inches if you ask his pediatrician, who measured him 5 days later and declared him an inch longer).  It was an unexpected C-section instead of a second vbac, but I'm OK with that.  He is here and beautiful.  The entire thing is big blur of time and images and thoughts that I am collecting for later.  I'm sifting through them like sand, sorting them and arranging them in my mind. 

So for now.  A self portrait of me and my new little guy, taken the day he was born.

Mama and Peter
More to come.  When I find the time in the middle of all this chaos!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Right here. Right now.

39 weeks

Are we near the end of this pregnancy?  Who knows.  None of my previous babies made it this far into the pregnancy.  Today I'm 39 weeks and 3 days.  Judah was 38 weeks and Cora was just 35.  Physically I'm OK.  In fact, I'm better that I ever was with either of the two before in terms of how well I feel on a day to day basis, but I am tired of keeping the house/fridge/car/laundry in a constant state of readiness. 
39 weeks

Each day brings "practice labor" and I'm ready to be done practicing and move on to the real thing.  I know, he's still growing/baking/packing on the lbs and I SHOULD remember that it is easier to take care of him on the inside than on the outside, but OH I am so ready to hold this little guy.  I am SO ready for the kids to meet him and SO ready for the family time that follows the birth of a child around here.  Inlaws and friends visit and Matt is home from work for weeks on end.  It's hard and good and wonderful and tiring, all at once.  I love it.

I've always been one to look ahead to the next thing, the next day, the next event, the next wonder, missing what is right under my nose.  And what is right underneath my nose is so delicious and in need of Mama, even if Mama's mind is drifting ahead to the future.

Me and my babes

Judah's vocabulary grows and grows, even if most of what he talks about centers around Lightning McQueen and Thomas the Tank Engine and all his (Thomas's) friends (I try not to feel like his TV habit is a total parenting fail after making it 2 yrs with no TV for my oldest.  Sigh).  He loves to snuggle with me in the morning and puts his face just next to my face and smiles his little smile that crinkles his eyes into half moons.

Never a dull moment

Then we read "'Dog Go' by P.E. Basement". Every morning.  Until a car outside distracts him and then he's off to the window, telling me what he sees.  He wants to wrestle and play rough with Cora and she has no desire to.  None.  And it usually makes her start howling and tattling.  Judah doesn't understand that at all.  He's just being a rough an tumble boy!  We practice gentleness a lot. And in truth, he's still so very small and has so much to learn.

Still a little guy

Cora wants to be big and yet get equal treatment to her younger brother, who is still learning the rules she master long ago, all the time.  We have lots of conversations about either being the big girl, or the baby, but not both.

Personality examples

I remind her of the benefits of being oldest, but she quickly forgets, reverting to baby talk she never used, even as a baby, but Judah did, and sometimes throws fits just to match her brother's fit.  Lord, give me patience.  The sassiness wears me out!

Me and my girl

We talk a lot about her heart and her attitude and finding beauty there, rather than in princess clothes and sparkly shoes.(Although she has those too.) She cranks out around 30 drawings per day of people and places and friends and parties and fairies etc. My art stack grows and grows! ( Don't worry. I save the favorites.) Her questions are deep and somber and often out of the blue. She loves in a different way than my boy and her love is quiet and sweet and tenderhearted, not the run-by strangle hugs that Judah gives. It's easy to lose that quiet love in the wild wrestling of a two year old boy whose joyful exuberance is often louder than she has any desire to be. So we find time in the quiet moments together.

Me and my girl

It will all change soon. A little one will be between Matt and I in the bed again, taking all our extra moments.  And while I love change, I love these moments too. And I get to practice being right here. Right now. For a little bit longer.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Snapshots of an evening - with words

A friend and neighbor of mine, Alana Rasbach, does the most wonderful documentary style photography, capturing a family at home, or a birth.  Her images are beautiful.  I strive to do the same with my own family, except I am never in the photos, so I sometimes have to capture it with words.  This is set of snapshots that sum up an evening in the life of us, in this season, with words.

4pm: Finds me in comfy clothes, nearly 38 weeks pregnant, waddling around the kitchen getting dinner started for my family who are always ready for dinner at 5pm.  My bare feet on a never quite clean floor, apron wrapped around my huge belly, while Cora "cooks" in her little kitchen or sits at her small blue table pouring over a book or random catalog that has come in the mail.  Judah, bare bottomed in the last stages of potty training, is "helping" me, standing next to me on a tall step stool and saying "wassat, Mama?" amid a flurry of chopping and stirring and mixing.  Music plays in the background, symphonic classical, or oldies, or family folk favorites, depending on who makes the request first.

4:30pm Dinner cooks in the oven and the kids hear the roar of Matt's motorcycle on our street, causing a riot of running feet and squealing children who shout, "Papa! Papa!  I hear him!".  Little faces peer out of the door's sidelights, waiting for him to come up the steps.  The door opens and the giggles and squeals start again.  Hugging his legs and scrambling for kisses while Papa tries to get in the door properly.  Stories and tickles and hugs and "Hi, Papa, Hi!" over and over again from the children as they fill him in on the day.  I stay out of the rabble and Matt comes to find me and kiss me hello.

4:45pm Little ones run back and forth between the kitchen and the dining room, setting the table as best they can, carrying heavy dishes one at a time and arguing over who gets to carry what and Judah ends up climbing in his chair to wait for dinner there, impatient for food with cries of "I hungry, Mama!".

5pm Dinner on table, we pray and eat and talk and joke with each other.  Things like "No cars at the table." and "Use your fork." and "No forks in your drink." and "What do you say when you burp?" punctuate the conversation again and again.  Cora snuggles close to me on the bench, eating all her veggies and leaving the meat, while Judah eats all the meat and leaves the veggies.  Judah likes to make his Papa laugh with silly antics and words, while Cora, our thoughtful girl, tells stories about her day and asks questions she has been pondering.  Matt and I sit close and talk about the day, over the continual rabble.  Clean up and chores follow.

6:30pm We all troupe upstairs for bedtime.  Teeth brushing in the bathroom with me saying, "Say Ah.  Say Eee.  Stick your tongue out. Spit!" to the youngest who still gets a followup brushing by mama.  Everybody goes potty and puts on jammies and then meet on our bed for nightly "Hop on Pop.", a wild wrestling and jumping on Matt with pillow fights, tickles, giggles, and nearly falling off the bed only to be saved by Papa grabbing a foot, while I sit safe in the recliner, watching the fun and feeling our unborn son wiggle with the noise.

6:45 Matt reads the chronicles of Narnia to a solomn eyed girl in the crook of his arm while I sit and rock in the recliner with Judah, whispering the words of his favorite picture book in his ear and he snuggles in close, looking up at me with his sweet smile and eyes that crinkle into little half moons when he grins.  He is too wiggly for Narnia still.

7pm Prayers at the end of the day, sips of water, kisses for everyone, kids climb in their beds and snuggle down bunny and puppy, respectively.  A final tickle and kiss and small chubby arms wrapped tight around our necks.  "Good night.  I love you.  Sweet dreams." and then we switch rooms and say it again to the other child.  Pleas for one more snuggle are kindly declined and we head downstairs.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Easter Pictures - the week after

Easter was gray, cold and rainy, but the week after was glorious and full of Spring.  So I postponed photos until the sun was out. Get ready.  There are lots.  I can't choose.  I love the personality in each of my kids that comes out in these photos.

Easter 2013
Easter 2013
Easter 2013
Easter 2013
Easter 2013
Easter 2013
Easter 2013
Easter 2013
Easter 2013
Easter 2013
Easter 2013
Easter 2013
Easter 2013
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