Monday, July 29, 2013

The SAHM adjustment

In a combination of finishing grad school and Derek being gone, I'm finding myself in a new funk as a readjust to stay-at-home-mom life. It's not bad, just different. For the past eight months, my life has been go-go-go that I'm not quite sure what to do with myself now that I have so much time. I have played, cleaned, and organized (and blogged!!!) more in the past few days than I have in the past several weeks put together. Oh, and I've gone to town on some creative projects (which make more messes and then I do more cleaning!).  

Today was a cool, rainy day. No complaints... we really needed the rain, but I was almost lost as to what I was going to do for a full day alone with my kids when outdoor activities were out of question. It's quite ridiculous, really. As I was feeling overwhelmed by trying to figure out what our entire day would look like, I decided it'd be best to just take it one step at a time. Turns out that it was a good approach and we had a fun day. 

The rain didn't stop my kids from wanting to play outside, so we spent an hour playing football in the rain. Jackson got really good at catching the big football! 

We came inside and Jackson asked to watch The Price Is Right (I boasted with pride at his request. I've been watching TPIR since I was his age!!). After the show was over, Jackson then wanted to play The Price Is Right, so I was Drew Carey and I said, "come on down!!!" Then, he'd jump up and down while screaming woo-hoo. I'd make up a money game and he'd guess "68" every time, which was always the perfect number to win a prize... and more jumping, clapping, and woo-hooing followed. The moment was far too fun to stop and try to capture it. These moments, I remember, are what make staying at home so great. 

I remembered half way through nap time that the local bowling alley has Buck nights on Mondays. I called up and invited my in-laws and we met up in the late afternoon. Jackson was beyond thrilled. He's been asking to go for awhile. I was thrilled because it was $8 for two games each plus shoe rental!

Belle was excited to participate for about 6-7 frames. At that point, she began crawling on the floor and "resting" on the shelves. 

I started out with two strikes back to back in the second and third frame in the first game. It went consistenly downhill after that. Especially in the second game. Jackson regularly beats me at Wii bowling and I have a strong stance of not losing to make my kids feel better. As embarrassing as it is to admit, Jackson did beat me (he did have bumpers and I didn't, FYI). Forrest only won by one point. No one is going to be calling us to join their bowling league anytime soon!!!

We finished out the evening with a movie, picnic dinner, and reading books. I'd say it was successful day as a SAHM! I'm off to cuddle with my little man. He shares a bed with me when Derek's gone. Belle isn't invited yet because cuddling with her is like trying to snuggle with a windmill. :) 

Julie and I are headed to Chicago overnight tomorrow. It's going to be a whirlwind trip, but I think it's going to be so much fun. And when we get back on Friday, Derek will be home!! Woo hoo!!! 


Friday, July 26, 2013

Deja Vu

As I was cleaning the house and getting last minute things for Julie's arrival, the feeling of déjà vu came over me. Three years ago, almost to the day, we said our goodbyes to Derek as he went off to basic training. Less than a week later, we picked up Julie from the airport for the very first time as she was about to embark on her journey as a foreign exchange student.

 And here we are now, welcoming Julie back "home" again just six days after Derek left for training for his new army job after being promoted to sergeant! So weird.

Only fortunately, Derek is only away for ten days, not nine months this time. And I won't be having a baby while he's gone. :) 

It's been sort of a joke around here about the army seems to just have something against Julie. And not only because he was gone for the first several months when she lived with us, but because he often has army duty when she flys in, flys out, or has a graduation party. For being Danish, she's far more familiar with US Army life than many Americans. (She once told me that attending Derek's basic training graduation was one of the coolest things she experienced in America.)

The kids have been so excited all day. They have each taken turns being Julie and sleeping in her bed. And while we were at Target picking up some last minute Julie-essentials (like fruit loops and sweet tea) they told everybody... EVERY SINGLE PASSER-BYER that Julie was coming. Now, the two high ladies behind us in line were fortunate enough to hear our entire family lineage, our ages, and pretty much everything other than my social security number. What can I say, my kids are enthusiastic and they know no strangers.

The ride home was spent with the kids fussing over whose turn it was to talk while Julie and I started catching up. The déjà vu slipped away at this point as I realized how much she's grown over the past three years (and not just taller!). No longer a 15 year-old living to play basketball... She's now 18 and deciding on college majors and looking for jobs! 

I'm looking forward to the fun we'll have over the next couple week...  Especially when we head to Chicago next week!!! 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Remember me?

Oh, hi there! Remember me? Well, I'm back! As of this afternoon my internship and schoolwork is complete-- and not a moment too soon... I was running out of stamina! I only wish Derek were here to celebrate with me, but he's at training down at Camp Robinson. But in other news, Julie is coming tomorrow. She's my graduation present! :)

We've been having fun this summer! Here's a few pics to catch y'all up!

We've still got a lot of summer left to to pack in lots of fun. And I plan to be back here blogging about it! It's good to be back! :) 


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Summer celebrations in St. Louis

We celebrated the 4th this year in St. Louis! Derek was able to get an extra day off so we opted to visit his brother and family for the holiday weekend. We had a super fun time and have some awesome pics to prove it! 

We enjoyed a parade in the morning in downtown St. Charles.

We traveled to the St. Louis fair -- first stop: air show!

Michael's had a fun trailer with crafts for the kiddos. The boys made a pop tab necklace.

And Belle made a crown! She said, "I look like Repunzel!!" :)

Belle and Uncle Brad

We set out our blankets and hung out by the arch!

 We ran into KC friends! Brian, a family friend, married Derek and I seven years ago and here he is loving our little girl! 

All of the cousins!

We enjoyed the fireworks that night and then we had an interesting journey home on the city metro, which proved to be a cultural experience at the least for our kiddos. As much as we think our kids don't listen at times, all of the kids did a GREAT job of listening when it was really, really important in the giant swarms of people!

We spent the rest of the weekend just hanging out and spending time with family! Uncle Brad cooked breakfast and read books to the kiddos.

The kids played in the pool

 And we did a few fireworks ourselves!

We ended the weekend with a trip to the arcade- the kids (and dads) had fun!! 

It was a wonderful little trip away. I'm glad I got to experience the fourth at the arch-- it was something I've been wanting to do for years!!! Spending time with Brad and Mary is always enjoyable and I'm glad to provide opportunities for the cousins to play together! 


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Parenting: not for the faint hearted

Along with just being busy, parenting has been more difficult lately... which has really put a damper on the blogging output for sure. I, of course, love my kids to the moon and back. But this whole parenting deal is not for the faint hearted!

We've reached the ages of back-talking, incessant demands, whininess, bossiness, and the worst-- sibling fighting. Belle has learned to screech at the highest possible decible when Jackson just thinks of making her mad. And Jackson, he'll erupt in tears if Belle insists that she's 4 years old too (and he has yet to realize that she just says everything he does.)

Though, even though the fighting has increased lately-- so have the special moments I catch these two having. They love to play pretend together and I hear them laughing together so much. I love that these two have so much time together!

This particular morning-- Jackson and Belle played for TWO HOURS hiding out in these cabinets. 

Belle is at an age that makes me feel like I'm on a never ending roller coaster. (Does this ride ever stop?!) When this girl is sweet, she is the sweetest, most precious baby girl in the whole wide world. But when she's sassy... whew! Belle has an opinion on everything and it is generally opposite of whatever you say. 

"I'm not bootiful!!", "I'm not silly girl!" , or the one particular night in which she asked me to sing a song about God. I attempted a few songs that came to mind and ended up singing God is So Good. Clearly that wasn't the song, so she simply declared, "God is NOT good!!!" {She wanted me to see Mighty is Our God, by the way...}.

Check out this picture from our cousin's wedding. Belle really loves Jesse and she was under the impression that SHE would be the one to kiss him at the wedding and not the bride. Seriously, two seconds before the pic and it was just Jesse and Belle, she was all smiles and loving on Jesse. And then Paige walked over and this happened:

Attitude and all-- Belle is at such a sweet stage. Throughout the day, she'll come up and say, "I love you mosts!" or "I want you!"... which means she wants me to stop what I'm doing and snuggle. Coming from the girl who I never thought would cuddle, I love these moments!! She loves to be my helper and is actually a very good listener. Sharing is hard for her, but she's actually quite compliant when you remind her to share. Belle moved into her big girl bed this week. She crawled out once the first night and got a tiny swat. Since then, she hasn't gotten out of bed on her own. Even in the morning, she'll call for us to come and say, "Can I wake up please!?" 

Four is a fun age. So fun. But, it too, comes with it's struggles. Jackson is my sensitive little fella and his feelings can be hurt at the drop of a hat. Literally. His hat drops, tears might come. Jackson is sooooooo active that he seemingly just forgets that he can't throw/hit/bang/etc. And this is different because we don't have to teach him that those things are wrong, but that he needs to slow down and just think. Any advice on how to implement critical thinking in four year olds? (maybe I've been in grad school too long?!?) 

At the same time, I'm thinking four is my favorite stage -- and I've probably said that before... but Jackson is so much fun. He is a HUGE helper in the way that is actually helpful and not just getting in the way. Jackson's imagination is unbelievable and I am so entertained by listening and watching him play! And I know he's getting older, but Jackson is my snuggle bug. I find myself wanting to cherish every last, "Mommy, can we snuggle?" because I wonder if it will be the last!!! 

This is a picture of Jackson as he is telling a "knock knock" joke. His jokes are hilarious in a way that they aren't really that funny... but are just so out there that you can't help but laugh. And he thinks he's a comic, so we do too. ;)

Parenting is hard. And exhausting. And draining. And humbling. And I'm often left wondering if I'm doing the right things as a mom to cater to their unique personalities so that they can grow into the kids/teenagers/adults that God wants them to be! 

But parenting is SO much fun. The smiles, the giggles, the tackles, the stories, the uncontrollable laughter. The unique bond between us is just special-- they are each so different, but yet my role is the same in trying to make sure they each get what they need and I'm so grateful for the opportunity! It's humbling in a different perspective-- that God somehow chose me to be their Mommy. It's the little things that I want to remember. I never want to forget their precious little traits that I know'll they'll outgrow! the mean time, I am SO grateful for the grandparents, aunts, and babysitters that are so available to jump in and have quality time with the kids so I can recharge when needed. It's best for everyone that way! :)



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